Monday, October 23, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 2: Jones' Character Has Spoken


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Sean.  Welcome.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Sean Casey:
Which story?  Jesus, there are so many.  How I got so fucked up as a kid?  The joy and grief of being a foster parent?  How I got into drawing a horror comic?  How I met Mare?  How dead people showed up at my house?  How my mother is to blame for all of my psychoses?  You're gonna have to be more specific.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Sean Casey:
I believe in my love for Mare.
            Everything else?  Well, I guess that's all subjective.  Maybe.  Shit, I dunno anymore.  What is life?  What is death?  What is memory?  What does *anything* mean?
            I KNOW I love Mare.
            I love Mare.



            I love Mare.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Sean Casey:
That goddamn fucking dog.  I mean the Minotaur, sure.  But the dog.  Jesus, the dog.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Sean Casey:
Dogs.
            Seriously.  I have nightmares about the damn dog.
            Have you ever seen a dog eat a severed kid's foot, maybe your foot, out of a shoe?  I have.  Fucks you up, man.  It seriously fucks you up.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Sean Casey:
For real?  You're seriously asking me this fucking question?
            I do not want to go over my entire backstory AGAIN.  Read the damn book.  Pay attention to the dog.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Sean Casey:
Not anymore.  Facing your past shit while dead people hang out in your house pretty much obliterates any sense of personal illusions.
            I'm a dude who illustrates horror comics, loves a far-too-patient woman named Mare, and I see dead people.
            Oooooo.  *waggles fingers*  Spooky.
            Put that in your little notebook and NO, this is nothing like The Sixth Sense.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Sean Casey:
Well, my mother was really fucked up.  And it fucked me up.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Sean Casey:
Not sure there's a difference in my case.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Sean Casey:
Well, here's the thing.  If I would have went back to *that day* and insisted my mom let me stay over at my buddy Todd's house, I'd have a completely different life story, but I never would have met Mare.
            So, what do you pick?  Lose the best thing when you lose the worst thing?  I don't know what the answer is.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Sean Casey:
That's an odd question.  I'm named after my grandfather, Sean Patrick Casey, whose own great-great-something-grandfather came here from Ireland instead of starving there in the 1850s.  It's just a family name.  Mare said if we have a boy I cannot name him Sean Patrick, or any Casey-Irish-name-nonsense, and that's just fine with me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Sean Casey:
I have a scar from stitches on my cheek due to my book, an appendix scar from having appendicitis about eight or nine years ago, and a handful of xacto knife cuts on my fingers thanks to my job, but that's it.  The scars from my childhood are all internal.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your book and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Sean Casey:
Well, it happens at my house, most of it anyway, which I think is different.  A horror novel that mostly takes place at the regular-guy-protagonist's house.  Oh, it's in small-town Iowa, middle of summer, hotter than shit and rainy.  Not sure if that's different or not.
            Setting matters.  There's a reason for everything in Tam's books, so I guess it enhances.
            I really don't want to write a term paper on my house being an illustration of decay and the lack of individualism and awareness in modern society, etc. blah blah blah, whatever.  It's just a house.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Sean Casey:
Not quite six feet tall, reasonably shitty shape since I'm a comic nerd, average looks, pretty boring, actually.  I'm one of those 'no one really notices me' or 'he looks married' kind of guys.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Sean Casey:
Ha!  He doesn't.  Not anymore.
            He used to see me as a pushover, though.  Soft.  That's a not anymore, too.
            I won, you fucker.  I WON.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Sean Casey:
As herself.  Mindy and I both.  Mare, to a lesser degree, although Tam's more like Mare now than she was when she wrote me and Mindy, but don't tell her I said so because she'll deny it.
            Hasn't she mentioned all of her books are autobiographical in some way?  Mine's a lot more than the rest.  Least I think so, anyway.  Except maybe Morgan's.  We were written back to back, Morgan than me, but we were conceived in the opposite order with a couple of other stops between.
            So, I guess I dunno.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Sean Casey:
She has always said it's because Spore was the next book in her queue, but that's a bald-faced lie.  Tam started my story not long after her first novel, Ghosts in the Snow* sold.  Spore and Anonymity both.  She hasn't written anonymity yet, but I hope she does.  Becky needs to get her shit aired out, too.
            Anyway, Tam started it and wrote three proposals for her agent, then her internal shit bubbled up really bad and she never sent them in.  Six, maybe seven years later, she decided to try writing again and wrote a book that just came out this October.  Once she finished that book, she went back to the mess of dead people at my house.  Resurrected me, if you will.
            Hah!
            Dunno where that came from.  I usually don't make jokes and I'm definitely not funny.
            As for a good job?  Yeah, I think so.  She was honest about it anyway.  She doesn't flinch (one more thing which makes her more like Mare than me) and I appreciate that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Sean Casey:
I like it.  It's a happy ending, of sorts.  Mare and I are alive and together.  As long as we have that, everything else will be okay.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Sean Casey:
Sometimes I think she was a little TOO accurate.  I'd like to be bigger, stronger, and have more money, that's for sure.  (Hey, Tam, suggestions for re-writes, hint hint.)
            But, no, I wouldn't change anything.  She told the truth, all of it, the good and the God-awful. And she didn't flinch.  Can't fault her for any of that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Sean Casey:
Yeah, her new book (Morgan's Run) is pretty good, even though Morgan's a mess through most of it.  I feel for the gal, ya know?  At least her story didn't involve dead peo... No wait, it kind of does.
            Shit.  Sorry Morgan.

It's cool, Sean.  We're all in this together.  Go on, you're doing fine. :)

Okay.  Ahem.
            Morgan's book, while violent and sometimes awful, is much, much nicer than mine is.  Probably because Morgan is a lot nicer than I am.

Oh, please.  It's the same stuff, Sean, just a different genre.

Whatever.  You're still nicer.  Nyah. :p
            The Dubric books are good too, but I'm not allowed to read them.  (I have, it's just... They're difficult to access.  Tam has some serious barriers there.)  They're autobiographical, too, just in a different way.  All the books are.  Especially Ghosts in the Snow*.
            She has this short story named Sid and, well, I can relate to it on a lot of levels.  I was there.  Except it wasn't my muse eating me when she finally finished my story.
            God, I hate dogs.
            Anyway, if you follow her protagonists, the real protagonists, not necessarily the one you think (cough, it's not Dubric, cough), we're all totally different people, but have the same clear core.  Inside we're the same.  Me, Morgan, Lars, Berkeley.  Tam.  She really likes writing incredibly flawed people with clear cores.



Looks like I'm out of questions.  Whew!  
            Thank you, Meghan, for the chance to be here.  #GoSpore


*Tam hates that book, by the way, but doesn't like to say it publicly.  Oh it's a good book, she'll admit that, there's just too much personal trauma tied up in there.  Ask her sometime, she doesn't keep it secret.


About the author:
Tamara started her academic career as a science geek, earned a degree in art and, when she's not making quilts or herding cats, writes tense thrillers as Tamara Jones and the award-winning Dubric Byerly Mysteries series (Bantam Spectra) as Tamara Siler Jones.  Despite the violent nature of her work, Tam's easygoing and friendly.  Not sick or twisted at all.  Honest.

About the book:
The dead are coming back.

Ten naked people walk from a cemetery into artist Sean Casey's backyard: ten Spore People who used to be dead.  One, Mindy, stays with Sean while trying to reclaim her life, but her ex would rather she return to her grave.  Sean struggles to protect Mindy and other Spores while battling his recurring - and worsening - nightmares.  Meanwhile, the media feeds a panicked frenzy that leads both the hopeful and hateful to Sean's front door.
            As the Spore fungus spreads, so does the fear.  When mutilated children match Sean's nightmares, he realizes his own worst terror may be closer than he thinks.

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 2: Among the Stacks with Russell James


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Russell!!  Welcome back to The Gal.  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Russell James:
I've had a really fun B-movie monster adventure novel called Cavern of the Damned released through Severed Press.  It's gotten some fantastic reviews.  A group gets trapped in a cave searching for a mythical giant bat.  Instead, they get creature after creature trying to kill them.  Good, clean popcorn fun available in ebook, paper, or audio.
            On the other end of the spectrum, Return to Q Island came out.  The stand-alone novel returns to the world of Q Island, where a viral infection has turned people into crazed killers and the government has quarantined Long Island, NY.  One man is trapped in Connecticut and loses touch with his family on the island.  He sneaks back in as part of an illegal safari going in to hunt the infected.  But he's not the guide he was promised he'd be.  He's a slave, and that is just the start of his harrowing journey to keep his family safe.  Ebook and paper.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing?

Russell James:
A very boring technical writer for a Fortune 50 company.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Russell James:
Usually, I'm okay with it.  Anyone can read Cavern of the Dead, but Return to Q Island has some grisly scenes and some sex, so my mother, for one, is not getting a copy of that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Russell James:
Definitely a gift.  There is a lot of satisfaction in writing a story.  Then there is immense satisfaction having someone read and appreciate your work.  I wrote a novel called Sacrifice about a group of teens in 1980 who slay the town demon.  I had a reader write me and tell me how the story touched him, brought up a lot of good memories about his graduating class of 1980, and that the book prodded him to get in touch with some of the members who had drifted away.  That felt great.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Russell James:
It seems that most great writers have awful upbringings, so I'll be condemned to be mid-list forever.
            A number of my books have been set on Long Island, where I grew up, and I know that my language choices are certainly influenced by the dialect of the area.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Russell James:
I checked a bunch of voodoo books out from the library to write Dreamwalker.  That took some explaining to the wife that night.  Voodoo is absolutely terrifying.  I really think it taps into something evil.  So does the Haitian government, who made the practice illegal in 1952.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Russell James:
It's all hard.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Russell James:
I'm generally a punster, just sitting down and writing, until about halfway through the story when I can't keep the evolving plot straight in my head anymore.  Then I outline what I have on paper so far and try to fill in the rest of the framework so the story makes sense.  I did outline Cavern of the Damned ahead of time and that method is much faster.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Russell James:
I just follow them and see where they're going.  Sometimes it is good to find yourself written into a corner and have to find a way out of it.  If it's a surprise to you, it will be a surprise to the reader.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Russell James:
Deadlines rule, whether set by a publisher or self-imposed.  Waiting for the muse to strike is a recipe for doing writing as a hobby.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Russell James:
Nowhere near as much as I used to, or should.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Russell James:
I really like history books that cover small things in great detail.  The Longest Day comes to mind, and The Tsar's Last Armada.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Russell James:
They never seem to live up to the source material because they are different mediums.  The movie has less time, and cannot leave anything to the imagination.  In a book, I, the author, only meet you half-way.  You fill in the rest, and that makes the reader much more invested in the experience.  So I have to treat the movie versions as a different work, like having a painting of the Eiffel Tower versus a photograph of it.  Same thing, but you use a different grading system.
            You know what's worse?  A movie based on a toy.  Any Transformers movie, Battleship.  I mean, what are people thinking?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Russell James:
Yeah, sorry.  No one is safe.  No spoilers to tell you which ones, though.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Russell James:
Just the bad guys.  And they do get to suffer.  The reader deserves the satisfaction of seeing them get what they deserve.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Russell James:
The antagonist in Q Island is a virally-infected, telepathic cannibal.  I think that qualifies.  (Wow, what kind of sicko even thinks that up?)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Russell James:
The best feedback I get is from my writing group.  Four very skilled and very honest writers who always tell it like it is, call me out on errors large and small, and somehow find every section where I consciously glossed over imperfection thinking "that's good enough."  They are all part of our charity collections, Out of TimeStill Out of TimeIn a Land Far Away, and Centauri Station.  Check them out and all royalties go to Doctors Without Borders.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Russell James:
Absolutely everything.  Without them, none of this happens.  High costs for table space means that convention signings do not always break even, but it is worth going to meet the fans.  Doing that is creatively invigorating.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, which would it be and why?

Russell James:
Myron Bolitar, the sarcastic investigator from Harlan Coben's books.  Witty, daring, expert.  I don't want to steal him, I want to be him.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Russell James:
I don't think I could do it.  Like I think that writing an episode of the TV show Supernatural would be a dream come true.  But trying to stay creatively within the boundaries of someone else's world would be very restrictive.  And writing something for Star Trek, for example, I'd be afraid to tread on icons.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Russell James:
Stephen King.  And I'd let him write the whole thing and just watch in awe.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Russell James:
I've sent a continuation novel with Dr. Grant Coleman of Cavern of the Damned to the publisher, so we'll see if they bite.  There are also several other manuscripts floating around garnering rejections.  We'll see where those go.
            I'll be live at MegaCon Orlando on May 24-27, 2018 and Scares That Care on August 3-5, 2018.  Come and be underwhelmed.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (Stalker links.)

Russell James:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview or the last?

Russell James:
Thanks for reading my work.  I am deeply appreciative that you invest your cash, and more so, your increasingly precious time, in what I've crafted.  I hope I have kept, and will continue to keep you, entertained.


About the author:
Russell James grew up in Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching ChillerKolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents' warnings.  Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn't make things better.  He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.
            After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight.  He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark InspirationSacrificeBlack MagicDark VengeanceDreamwalkerQ IslandReturn to Q Island, and Cavern of the Damned.  He has four short story collections, Tales from BeyondOuter RimForever Out of Time, and Deeper Into Darkness.
            His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says, "There is something seriously wrong with you."
            Visit his website and read some free short stories.  Follow him on TwitterFacebook, or drop him a line complaining about his writing.

About the books:
Millions long to break out of quarantine.  One man needs to break in.
            The paleovirus has swept Long Island, turning residents into psychotic killers.  A government quarantine traps Patrick in Connecticut, separated from his mother and pregnant sister on what all now call Q Island.  When he loses contact with them, he fears the worst.  His only chance to get back is to infiltrate the island as a guide for an illegal safari hunting the infected.  But he arrives to find he's more slave than guide, and the infected are fiercer than ever.
            His sister Kim gives birth to Charlotte in the midst of Q Island's living hell, and begins to struggle to survive attacks by the infected and betrayal by family and friends.  Kim's love for her daughter gives her the strength to fight on, but if her brother doesn't arrive soon, she won't keep beating the odds.
            But there's something special about Charlotte, and others born under the contagion's dark cloud.  Will children like her prove to be the salvation the islanders pray for, or the last pieces in the puzzle of infected domination?

Broke and desperate, paleontologist Grant Coleman gets the chance of a lifetime exploring a long-sealed cave, the fabled home of gigantic creatures.
            NPS Ranger McKinley Stinson discovers a archer's prize bull has been butchered by an airborne killer, and tracks the blood trail back to the re-opened cavern.  But as she's about to arrest the trespassers, the unstable roof collapses, trapping all.
            Their only way out is at the cave system's far end.  But an eco-system of terrifying mega fauna stands between them and freedom.  Death, double-crosses, and a slew of monstrous cave creatures take their toll as the group battles to what they pray is an exit.
            Will anyone survive this cavern of the damned?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 1: Fallon's Character Has Spoken


Hi!  My name is Hannah Roberts.  I don't know what there is to say about me, exactly soooo... I guess the basics!  I'm 13 years old.  I go to Rosedale High School and I live with my mom.  My parents are divorced and I live with my mom.  My parents are divorced and my dad's in the military, so he's gone all the time.  I really wish he'd quit, but I guess you can't exactly do that.  Whatever.  My favorite color is red and I love mango smoothies!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Hannah.  Thanks for sitting down with me today.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Hannah Roberts:
Nothing much!  I'm just a regular girl, lol.  Nothing special.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Hannah Roberts:
I believe that people are generally good, if you give them half a chance.  Everyone is so quick to judge these days!  We slap these labels on everyone and just decide who they are without ever really asking them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Hannah Roberts:
My parents' divorce.  I know they said it wasn't about me, that it wasn't my fault and that they both still love me, but still... I wish I had been a better kid, maybe did my chores without being yelled at all the time or cleaned my room more often.  Maybe if mom wasn't so mad all the time, she might've been nicer to Dad when he was around.  I wish I could've been better for them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Hannah Roberts:
I freaking HATE snakes and spiders!  OMG so gross!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Hannah Roberts:
When my dad took me out for ice cream one day and told me that he was going to live somewhere else.  It still hurts when I think about the look on his face.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Hannah Roberts:
Um, I dunno?  Maybe that I'm still going to be friends with Erin and Christine when we all go to different high schools next year.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Hannah Roberts:
Pretty good, I guess.  We moved around a lot for my dad's job (he's in the military) until he and my mom got divorced.  I don't mind it, though.  I liked trying new things and seeing new places all the time.  I kind of miss it, honestly.  Or maybe I just miss my dad.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Hannah Roberts:
I remember this one day, one time when my parents were fighting.  I hadn't been doing my homework... yeah, I know.  My mom found out about it at a parent/teacher conference and she was REALLY mad.  She called my dad and she kept calling me "your daughter" when she talked about me.  It made me feel really sad and super guilty.  Six months later, my dad moved out.  I don't want to think it was because of that, or because I'm messy and sloppy and I never put the cap back on the mild that my parents split up, but if I did have a chance to go back in time, I would definitely do my homework.  I'd also work on that whole milk cap thing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Hannah Roberts:
It was my grandmother's name.  I never got to meet her, but my dad says she was super cool, so I like having a piece of her with me like that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Hannah Roberts:
I got my appendix out when I was 10 and I have a gross scar from that.  My dad says it means I'm badass and tough, though.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your book and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Hannah Roberts:
ALIENS!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Hannah Roberts:
As a normal, everyday kid just trying to do her best.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Hannah Roberts:
Enemy?  Sometimes I think my mom sees me as her enemy.  Sometimes it feels like she blames me for things so I guess that counts.  In that case, she sees me as a responsibility, but probably without much reward.  I'm like an obligation and she has to take care of me even when she wants to go out or whatever.  She says I'm not old enough to be left alone, but I totally am.  Dad does it sometimes when I stay with him, and look at me!  I'm fine.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Hannah Roberts:
I think she wishes she was more like me sometimes.  Also, I know I make her sad, but I don't really know why.  She says "SPOILERS!" so I can't talk about more than that.  I wonder what she's worried about spoiling...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Hannah Roberts:
I think she needed someone like me to balance things out a bit.  There were a lot of other characters in the story, but they all had their own stories and backgrounds and goals and stuff, like people do, so I think I rounded them out.  I also needed to be there to do something later on, but I can't talk about that, either.  Sorry.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Hannah Roberts:
I hate it for the most part.  But I will say... GO DAD!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Hannah Roberts:
Yeah, I think she did.  I do wish I had more of a part to play, like maybe she could have started talking about me earlier when I got to the airport, or even maybe before that, but whatever.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Hannah Roberts:
Mom says I'm not old enough, but that's OK!  She doesn't know that Dad let me read a copy of TV Dinners from Hell that he got from an Authors Supporting the Troops program and it was great!  I love that cover, too!


About the author:
Amber Fallon lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two dogs.  A techie by day and horror writer by night, Mrs. Fallon has spent time as a bank manager, motivational speaker, produce wrangler, and butcher.  Her obsessions with sushi, glittery nail polish, and sharp objects have made her a recognized figure.
            Amber's publications include The WarblersThe TerminalSharkasaurusDaughters of InannaSo Long & Thanks for All the Brains, Horror on the Installment Plan, Zombies for a CureA Quick Bite of FleshOperation Ice Bat, and more!
            For more information, please visit her website.

About the books:
Air travel during the holiday season.  Yuck.  Stupid people, flight delays, and long lines at security are pretty much the worst things ever - or so Dirk Bradley thought until a horde of bloodthirsty psychopaths from beyond the stars invaded the airport, cutting a swath of death and destruction through everything he knew and loved.  Can he survive the attack and live to tell the tale?  What hope does an average Joe have against a race of brutal killers bent on world domination?

After the sun would go down, I'd hear them out there, back by the shed, shrieking their twisted warbling cries out there in the night, followed by squeals of whatever prey they'd managed to hunt down.
            When his rural farm becomes overrun with terrifying beasts called Warblers capable of eating livestock, dogs, and even people, 14-year-old Dell McDale's life is torn asunder.  He watches through the eyes of a boy on the verge of becoming a man as his father is forced to go to awful lengths to rid the family home of the infestation, culminating in a confrontation between Dell and a local bully-turned-soldier on a night that will change everyone involved, forever.
            The Warblers is a mysterious tale of a young man learning what fear can do to people and what happens when, in order to fight monsters, one must side with another monster.

COMING OUT OCTOBER 31, 2017!!

Don't touch that dial!  TV Dinners from Hell, the debut fiction collection from Amber Fallon, includes 17 stories from the twisted mind that brought you The Terminal and The Warblers!  Almost half of the stories have never before been published!

From the introduction by celebrated author and reigning queen of weird fiction, Mary SanGiovanni:

Citing early influences like J.F. Gonzalez and Brian Keene, Amber's work is a rich and spicy dish of unflinching violence and unapologetic humanity.  There is a pervasive sense in each of these stories of being alone, whether by choice or an error in judgment, and of a history of dinners for one in these characters' pasts.  There is also a frank examination of the kind of choices people used to being alone make, good or bad.  Much of the work that has influenced Amber is precisely in the realm of universal conditions of aloneness and loneliness; one of the great horrors in tales of the apocalypse or after is what people do with those two conditions, or what is done to them as those conditions evolve.  And much like those previous influential works, Amber captures the inherent vulnerability of those conditions.  Like both Brian's and J.F.'s work, she infuses her writing with a kind of honesty and integrity in the face of being alone that warms the gut.
            Mouth watering yet?  It should be.

Table of Contents: Night Music, The Donor, Pretty Pretty Shiny, Behind the Smile, 78154, The Glen, Something Bit Me, Tequila Sunrise, Dawn of the Death Beetles, The Shark that Ate Everything, Demolition Derby, Blind, Tell Me How You Die, Clickers in Space, Odessa, The Dick Measuring Contest at the End of the Universe, Ornamentation.

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 1: Among the Stacks with Amber Fallon

I can't think of a better author to begin this year's Halloween Frivolities than Amber Fallon, one of the most awesome horror chicks I know.  I finally got to meet her in real life earlier this year, and she is exactly how I expected her to be (and that is all good, I promise).
            Amber graced us with her presence during last year's Extravaganza, as did some of the other authors participating this year, so I came up with some additional questions that would allow us to learn even more about them.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Amber.  It's been awhile since we sat down together.  What's been going on since we last spoke?

Amber Fallon:
So much!  There was some stupid medical stuff, but let's not talk about that... Lots of writing stuff!  I have a new(ish) book out called The Warblers which is getting some very positive buzz, humblingly so!  And another book coming out on Halloween, my very first collection!  I also had a birthday, which included my first every surprise party!  So much fun!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Who are you outside of writing? 

Amber Fallon:
I'm a huge dork that loves to cook and bake, collects way too many t-shirts, loves her crazy little dog, and works in tech during the day.  Oh, and also I am a HUGE klutz!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Amber Fallon:
There really aren't many people in either of those categories, and those know what I do and who I am so I'm fine with it.  I will say that my company's head of HR stopping me in the hallway to tell me how much he loved my book was weird to say the least.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Amber Fallon:
Oh, it's a curse alright.  A beautiful, wonderful, splendid curse, but a curse all the same.  I didn't have average, normal fears as a child, oh no.  I wasn't scared of monsters, or the dark, or bugs, or any of that... I was afraid of infinity, sometimes to a paralyzing degree.  You see, I understood the concept of an infinite universe, with infinitely probably dimensions.  With my horror writer's brain, I went to very dark places.  I never envisioned dimensions where I was a princess or a mermaid, or had wings, or everything was made of cream cheese frosting, or cool things like that, no sireee.  I envisioned the worst possible versions of an alternate reality: dimensions where I was a monster like Pennywise who ate other children, or where everyone was dark, twisted creatures with transparent eyelids and teeth like steak knives.  Yeah.  That'll keep you up at night.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Amber Fallon:
Oh man!  I could write an entire book just to answer this question... Instead, I'll say that my mother read Edgar Allan Poe to me when I was a baby and that everything from then on helped shape who I am, and how I write.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Amber Fallon:
Religion... where various kinds of berries grew in the US 100 years ago... cowboy medicine... or maybe how to blow up an airport with things you can find past security checkpoints...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Amber Fallon:
The middle, for sure.  Beginnings are very exciting and they tend to flow right out of me.  I usually start my stories, long or short, knowing how they're going to end so actually GETTING there, especially the "boring" parts (not that my books are boring, heh), is kind of tedious.  Like watching a bunch of trailers you've already seen before an exciting movie starts.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you outline?  Do you start with characters or plot?  Do you just sit down and start writing?  What works best for you?

Amber Fallon:
It really depends on the story.  Sometimes the muse just bites me and I get inspired and the words just come pouring out.  Other times, I'll get an idea, or a scene or two will flash into my head, but I'l have to think out the rest of it, other times I'll want to write about a specific thing, so I'll brainstorm and storyboard, and play around until I get there.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do when characters don't follow the outline/plan?

Amber Fallon:
Kill them off.  This is MY world, little wordpuppet.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Amber Fallon:
Don't laugh, but I use an app for that...

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you an avid reader?

Amber Fallon:
Very much so!  I always have been.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Amber Fallon:
Pulp!  Gory, cheesy, wonderful, beautiful pulp!  It's my favorite!  But I also love quiet horror, and sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, supernatural, mysteries, pretty much anything.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you feel about movies based on books?

Amber Fallon:
I like them if they're good... but even if they're not, I like the idea that maybe they inspired someone to go out and get the book, maybe discover a love of reading or a new author or genre.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you ever killed a main character?

Amber Fallon:
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  I mean, what?  Sorry, I was too busy wiping the blood off this metaphorical knife to hear your question.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you enjoy making the characters suffer?

Amber Fallon:
No, not at all.  I'm pretty empathetic and sometimes it SUCKS.  The longer a story is, or at least the longer I've been thinking about it, the harder it is for me to hurt the people that populate it, even when it's necessary to move the story forward.  I've cried over it before, no lie.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the weirdest character concept that you've ever come up with?

Amber Fallon:
Hmmm... maybe the pair of traveling, dimension-shifting cowboys?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the best piece of feedback you've ever received?  What's the worst?

Amber Fallon:
Best: One of my favorite authors compared me to another of my favorite authors.  I was glowing for DAYS!  Oh, and there was the time that JOE FREAKING R LANSDALE said he was proud of me!  Yeah, that was a good one.
            Worst?  I got a submission back once with a tiny, handwritten note at the bottom of a generic form letter.  It said "Completely lackluster and unimaginative."  That stung.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do your fans mean to you?

Amber Fallon:
Everything.  There aren't many, but they are why I do what I do, and I always fret over whether or not they're going to like this book or that story, or whether they'll give up on me.  I hope not.  (I love you all!)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Amber Fallon:
Paige Christian from Christopher Pike's The Starlight Crystal.  I admire her spunk!  Besides, how many other people can say they drank orange juice while watching the big bang, spawned a race of aliens from their own DNA, and almost shot a younger version of themselves in the face to stop it all from happening?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Amber Fallon:
Hmmmm... this is a good question.  I was tempted to say the Clickers series, but I'm actually part of that next book, which is a tribute anthology to the late, incomparably great J.F. Gonzalez.  So instead, I'll say Michael A. Stackpole's DragonCrown War Cycle, and it would be about Kerrigan, the nerdy and awkward magician, and what happens to him when the last book ends.  (No spoilers!  Go read the books!)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Amber Fallon:
Hands down, no hesitation, Mary SanGiovanni.  I have a loose outline written for a story about a race of spiritual carrion eaters that I would adore working with her on.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Amber Fallon:
BOOKS!  Horror.  Pulp.  Gore.  Weirdness.  Aliens.  Monsters.  Cookies.  Cakes.  Injury photos.  Pictures of my dog.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (Stalker links)

Amber Fallon:
My website is the best place!  I'm also on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Only that reviews REALLY matter, so if you are reading this and you've read some other things, too, go leave a review for it on Amazon or Goodreads!  It means so much to the people that made it!


About the author:
Amber Fallon lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two dogs.  A techie by day and horror writer by night, Mrs. Fallon has spent time as a bank manager, motivational speaker, produce wrangler, and butcher.  Her obsessions with sushi, glittery nail polish, and sharp objects have made her a recognized figure.
            Amber's publications include The WarblersThe TerminalSharkasaurusDaughters of InannaSo Long & Thanks for All the Brains, Horror on the Installment Plan, Zombies for a CureA Quick Bite of FleshOperation Ice Bat, and more!
            For more information, please visit her website.

About the books:
Air travel during the holiday season.  Yuck.  Stupid people, flight delays, and long lines at security are pretty much the worst things ever - or so Dirk Bradley thought until a horde of bloodthirsty psychopaths from beyond the stars invaded the airport, cutting a swath of death and destruction through everything he knew and loved.  Can he survive the attack and live to tell the tale?  What hope does an average Joe have against a race of brutal killers bent on world domination?

After the sun would go down, I'd hear them out there, back by the shed, shrieking their twisted warbling cries out there in the night, followed by squeals of whatever prey they'd managed to hunt down.
            When his rural farm becomes overrun with terrifying beasts called Warblers capable of eating livestock, dogs, and even people, 14-year-old Dell McDale's life is torn asunder.  He watches through the eyes of a boy on the verge of becoming a man as his father is forced to go to awful lengths to rid the family home of the infestation, culminating in a confrontation between Dell and a local bully-turned-soldier on a night that will change everyone involved, forever.
            The Warblers is a mysterious tale of a young man learning what fear can do to people and what happens when, in order to fight monsters, one must side with another monster.

COMING OUT OCTOBER 31, 2017!!

Don't touch that dial!  TV Dinners from Hell, the debut fiction collection from Amber Fallon, includes 17 stories from the twisted mind that brought you The Terminal and The Warblers!  Almost half of the stories have never before been published!

From the introduction by celebrated author and reigning queen of weird fiction, Mary SanGiovanni:

Citing early influences like J.F. Gonzalez and Brian Keene, Amber's work is a rich and spicy dish of unflinching violence and unapologetic humanity.  There is a pervasive sense in each of these stories of being alone, whether by choice or an error in judgment, and of a history of dinners for one in these characters' pasts.  There is also a frank examination of the kind of choices people used to being alone make, good or bad.  Much of the work that has influenced Amber is precisely in the realm of universal conditions of aloneness and loneliness; one of the great horrors in tales of the apocalypse or after is what people do with those two conditions, or what is done to them as those conditions evolve.  And much like those previous influential works, Amber captures the inherent vulnerability of those conditions.  Like both Brian's and J.F.'s work, she infuses her writing with a kind of honesty and integrity in the face of being alone that warms the gut.
            Mouth watering yet?  It should be.

Table of Contents: Night Music, The Donor, Pretty Pretty Shiny, Behind the Smile, 78154, The Glen, Something Bit Me, Tequila Sunrise, Dawn of the Death Beetles, The Shark that Ate Everything, Demolition Derby, Blind, Tell Me How You Die, Clickers in Space, Odessa, The Dick Measuring Contest at the End of the Universe, Ornamentation.