Review: Heart of Iron

  Ekaterina Sedia’s Heart of Iron is the latest from a novelist who embraces genre–in this case both steampunk and alternate history–but brings a full-on literary sensibility to them.  This, her fifth novel, posits a Russia where the 1825 Decembrist revolution succeeded (read about that history here) and the new emperor sets about modernizing Russia with a vengeance.  But people … Read More

The return of Sir Francis Colby

For Halloween, I thought I’d tell you the story behind my latest foray in the horror genre. When I decided to write my first vampire novel, Blood Groove, I had a problem. Its name was Count Dracula. As the gold standard of vampires, his cape cast a very long shadow. Every literary vampire, from Lestat to Edward Cullen, is measured … Read More

Guest blog: Alana Joli Abbott

Today’s post is by Alana Joli Abbott, a fellow contributor to Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror.  Here she talks about the origin of her story, “Missing Molly.”   *** One of my jobs, when I worked at the reference desk at my local public library, was to scan the local newspapers for articles about our town to clip and put … Read More

Interview: Tim Hall, writer of The Last Mortician

Recently premiered The Last Mortician, a comic written by my friend Tim Hall (author of Half Empty; see my review here) and illustrated by Dean Haspiel.  You can learn more about its creation in this video, but I wanted to ask Tim some specific things about the story, which will involve spoilers.  So we’ll wait while you go read … Read More

Jennifer Goree: the voice of the Tufa

If the Tufa have a voice, it belongs to Jennifer Goree. The Tufa may be the fictional people at the heart of my novel The Hum and the Shiver, but Jennifer is very real.  She’s a singer-songwriter from Six Mile, SC who has recorded three marvelous CDs that demonstrate such a range, it’s hard to believe the same person is … Read More

Guest blog: Dale Short on the music of the South

Dale Short is the author of Turbo’s Very Life and The Shining Shining Path, and the host of “Music from Home,” which airs on Oldies 101.5 in Jasper, AL and is archived here. I was born in the middle of the woods near a coal-mining town in northern Alabama, and I grew up in church. Literally. Seeing as everyone in … Read More

Stone Reader: One and done

Because I’m so far from the cutting edge that I’m likely to fall off the spine (that’s the flat part of the blade opposite the edge), I just now saw 2002’s documentary Stone Reader.  It’s a must-see for every writer, and especially for writers who wonder if anyone “gets” what they’re doing.  This is the story of how a writer … Read More

Reading in public: learn from my fails

I’ve attended a lot of readings, and been on both sides of the podium.  It can be nerve-wracking to look out at the crowd; it can be ennervating sitting in that crowd and realizing you’re in for a dire presentation.  I make no claim to being a “good” public reader, but I have learned some things from both reading and … Read More

Who are the Melungeons, and where did they come from?

My upcoming novel The Hum and the Shiver posits a secret, isolated race of people living in the middle of modern-day Appalachia.  They have a distinctive physical look, very different from those around them.  They hide in plain sight, using the standard Southern tactics of politeness and misdirection to deflect queries about themselves.  I call them the Tufa.  They’re entirely, totally … Read More

Love, revenge, and Conan: what’s my motivation?

So there’s a new Conan the Barbarian movie.  And, if the previews are any indication, Conan spends the movie on a quest for revenge against the villain(s) who destroyed his village and murdered his family. I won’t go into how many ways this deviates from the original Robert E. Howard character (short answer: a lot). Instead, it got me thinking … Read More