UnCommon Bodies Q&A: Bob Williams

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A new anthology, UnCommon Bodies, containing my story, Phantom Pain, comes out on November 24th and to celebrate I’ve lined up interviews with a lot of the authors from the book. Today, I’m talking to Bob Williams, author of Ruby. What attracted you to the UnCommon Bodies project? I was about half-way through my story for the upcoming “Shape Shifter” Chronicles and I’d hit a snag. I had just chosen the day before to put it down for a couple of weeks when Aletia Meyers (a friend to the Indie publishing scene) alerted me to Pavarti’s UnCommon Bodies Anthology. Oddly enough I knocked out this story in about a week. Maybe I found my genre. What’s the setting for your story? The setting for my story “Ruby,” is 1936 Ransom, Oklahoma. A fictional hard luck town barely surviving after the devastating “Dust Bowl” storm from the year before. Most of the townsfolk left after the storms and the few that are left feel hopeless and have given up. In to town comes a traveling freak show: Melvin Mitchell Presents: Ruby and Her Amazing Freak Show Friends. An odd assortment of freakish characters with a genuine appearing barker in Melvin Mitchell. However all is in … Read More

UnCommon Bodies Q&A: Robb Grindstaff

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For the second of my UnCommon Bodies interviews, I’m joined by Robb Grindstaff. His story, Rudy and Deidre, is described as “A shorter than average man admires a taller than average woman from afar.”   What’s your favourite part of being involved in the UnCommon Bodies project? I’ve been able to participate along with some writers I’ve known for quite a while and have a lot of respect for, along with some excellent writers I’d never met before. Writing is, by its nature, such a solitary endeavour, so it’s great on occasion to be a part of something a little bigger. Are there any authors that influenced your story or your writing in general? In general, a lot of writers over many years. To narrow down the main influences to perhaps the top three (and ask me again tomorrow, I might list a different three authors): 1. John Irving 2. F. Scott Fitzgerald 3. Ernest Hemingway 4. Edgar Allan Poe (yeah, that’s four, I know) What music should readers listen to when they read your story? None. Read with no distractions. After reading, listen to some melt-your-heart blues and set-your-hair-on-fire guitar. Think Stevie Ray Vaughan and Samantha Fish. How will … Read More

UnCommon Bodies Q&A: Laxmi Hariharan

Philip HarrisAuthors, Interviews4 Comments

UnCommon Bodies, a new short story anthology edited by Pavarti K Tyler will be released on November 24. My short story, Phantom Pain, is featured in the book alongside some great authors. I’m working my way through the book at the moment and so far, every story has been a winner. It’s been a while since I posted any interviews on the site so I got in touch with the other UnCommon Bodies authors and put together a series of Q&As that all be posting here in the run up to the release of the book. First up is Laxmi Hariharan, whose story, UnTamed, is a coming of age tale with a twist. What attracted you to the UnCommon Bodies project? I actually saw a call for entries from Pavarti Taylor, specifically she was looking for a wolf girl story and something clicked there for me. Tell us about your lead character, what makes them UnCommon? Wolf girl Leana Iyeroy, the first hybrid in her family, only ever wanted to be 100% human. When she inherits her grandmother’s ancient sword, she decides take it back to Bombay; to the temple where her grandma had touched the sword to the altar and set off a … Read More

Apocalypse Weird Q&A: E. E. Giorgi

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Next up in my series of Q&As with the first wave of Apocalypse Weird authors is E. E. Giorgi, author of Immunity. Hi Elena, welcome to the site. Tell us a little bit about your Apocalypse Weird book, Immunity. My book Immunity takes place in New Mexico and follows the stories of thrash metal lover and computer geek David Ashberg and career-driven scientist Anu Sharma as they fight an unprecedented viral outbreak. I set the story in New Mexico because I love the landscape and it’s quite easy to imagine a post-apocalyptic world out here in the high deserts. What can you tell us about your two main characters, Anu and David? The two are quite different, as David is mellow and good natured, whereas Anu is ambitious and very possessive of her data. Circumstances will force them to come together against a common enemy that’s far more evil than the virus itself. Your background is as a scientist, how did that influence Immunity? As part of my day job I research viruses (HIV in particular), so I wanted to give my unique spin to the Apocalypse Weird world and describe the apocalypse from the point of view of scientists. We work … Read More

Happy Birthday, Clive Barker

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I first encountered Clive Barker’s writing when I read Cabal. It was the second horror novel I’d read, the first being Barbara Hambly’s Immortal Blood (known as Those Who Hunt the Night outside of the UK). I was blown away – it was just such a cool story. I still have my original copy of that book (along with three other versions). I followed up Cabal with The Damnation Game and Weaveworld and I’ve been reading and rereading his books ever since. Imajica is still one of my favourite novels and I reread Cabal this year and really enjoyed it – it’s aged surprisingly well. His films have also been a big part of my life. My wife introduced me to Hellraiser (a fact I still find extremely amusing and which went a long way towards convincing me she was someone I could spend the rest of my life with) and it immediately became one of my favourite films. I have multiple copies on DVD and VHS (yes, VHS), including a copy signed by Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley. I have all the Hellraiser sequels on DVD, even the terrible ones and the Hellraiser/Prophecy crossover fan film – Hellraiser: Prophecy. I love Lord of Illusions and although the movie adaptation of Cabal, Nightbreed, isn’t as good as the source material, I still have … Read More

Graham Joyce

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I was saddened to hear today that British author, Graham Joyce, has died of cancer. I’ve been reading a few of his blog posts this evening and the last one is even more poignant under the circumstances. I was fortunate enough to meet him at a British Fantasy Convention many years ago. The exact details of that day are long and involved and probably don’t work as a story unless you were there but he struck me as a very nice guy. He was also an excellent writer and if you’ve not read any of his books, I definitely suggest you check them out and see if one takes your fancy. He will be missed. [Graham Joyce by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 9th September 2014]

Pennsylvania Book Bomb

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Today is Pennsylvania book bomb day. That’s nice. What’s a book bomb? Well, it’s a concerted effort to sell as many copies of a book as possible in a single day – usually launch day. The goal, apart from selling those copies, is to get as much visibility for the book as possible. The more sales a book gets the higher it climbs in the rankings on Amazon and other places and the more people will see it. That kind of visibility is the lifeblood of indie authors that don’t have the marketing muscle of the big publishers behind them. Okay, so what’s Pennsylvania? I’m glad you asked. Pennsylvania is Michael Bunker’s Amish science fiction novel and the book that taught me how to spell Pennsylvania. Originally published as a series of five individual books, he’s now put together an omnibus edition and today is launch day. Which is where the book bomb comes in – Michael is looking to sell 500 copies across both paperback and ebook in one day. I read the individual volumes earlier this year and really enjoyed them so I’ll be doing my part by picking up the print copy of the book. I’m looking forward to seeing it. As I mentioned in a previous … Read More

Lost Souls

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Every reader a book that really speaks to them, mine is Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite. I read Lost Souls right in the middle of my goth/horror phase – it was the book for horror fans at the time. I’d read and enjoyed a couple of Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles but the darker, grittier feel of Lost Souls really resonated with me. I immediately moved on to Poppy’s other books and I loved them all but Lost Souls has always been “the one”. It’s one of the few books I reread and  I still enjoy it now,  probably because I’m still a sad old goth at heart (I used to have a t-shirt to prove it) and I’m secretly waiting for my real vampire parents to come and get me and whisk me off to New Orleans for a life of absinthe fueled debauchery. Poppy Z Brite and Caitlin R Kiernan are the only two authors that I really “collect”. I have all their mainstream books (sometimes multiple copies) plus limited editions, signed editions, chapbooks, CDs, monster doodles – pretty much anything I can find. In the case of Lost Souls, I have my paperback reading copy, a mint condition first edition, the 10th anniversary limited edition … Read More


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Dust by Hugh Howey

The third book in Hugh Howey’s Silo Series, Dust, was released today. The first book in the series, Wool, began life as a fantastic short story that Hugh self-published at the end of July 2011. Encouraged by the fan reaction and sales the book was getting, Hugh published four more parts to the story and an omnibus edition all of which dominated the Amazon bestseller charts until Hugh was making enough money to quit his day job. Wool started getting mainstream publicity and rose up the overall Amazon charts. That attracted the attention of the big publishers who backed up the money truck and offered Hugh a publishing deal. And this is where it starts to get interesting, particularly if you’re thinking of self-publishing your work. Rather than signing a book deal, jumping in a limo and riding off into the sunset waving his bottle of champagne at the poor slobs toiling away on their little ebooks, Hugh invited the publishers in, had a cup of tea with them, then thanked them nicely and sent them back to New York with a slice of cake [1. Okay, it may not have happened exactly like that but he seems like a nice guy … Read More

Following Neil

Philip HarrisAuthors, Events4 Comments

When I posted on Facebook that I had tickets to see Neil Gaiman, one of my friends commented “Isn’t Neil Gaiman an author?” to which I replied “Yes, but he’s a rock star author.” I was wrong, he’s bigger than a rock star. When we reached the Vogue theatre, about 45 minutes before the doors opened, the queue was already at the block and a half stage, far longer than any band we’ve seen since moving to Vancouver. Twenty minutes later it had stretched another block and was in danger of reaching Ouroboros status before the doors were opened. The Vogue is a good venue for this type of event. Large enough to accommodate a reasonable number of people but small enough that everyone gets a decent view and there’s plenty of atmosphere. An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer was held in the Vogue and it’s where we first saw Evil Dead: The Musical so it’s given us some good memories. Steadfastly refusing to look at the table selling copies of Neil’s books, we got into the theatre just before six. The room was filled with hundreds of politely excited people talking about Neil or books or how they can’t grow a … Read More