Monday, December 12, 2011

Nailpolish Stories: a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal

I have three pieces up today at Nailpolish Stories: a Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal. Editor, writer, and creator, Nicole Monaghan, has taken micro fiction to the next level. I'll let her explain: "I had this idea a while back that stories should be made of the flashy names of nailpolish colors. I think the seed for this was planted when I was old enough to paint my nails. As a little girl, I remember thinking, Whose job is it to make up nailpolish color names? I was aware, on some level, of all the possible stories each one suggested."

Full guidelines can be found here, but the bare basics are:


  • Use a nailpolish color as the title.

  • Stories should be exactly 25 words, title not included.
I was amazed at just how original and fun nail polish names can be: Fuchsia Fever, Hot for Chocolate, and the aptly named Endless Possibilities.

Stop by, read my stories Emerald City, Cherries in the Snow, Don't Feed the Hand Models, and the fantastic work of many other talented writers.

Huge thanks to Nicole Monaghan!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Liking the ‘Like’ Button Sometimes Scares Me

As most of you are aware, a ‘Like’ button can been found on almost every personal blog, social and business site. Hell, there’s one right above this post. I’ve read countless articles on the power of the ‘Like’ button. It’s a great tool that provides an opportunity for you to stay connected to your target audience. It also grants you exposure in newsfeeds which may in fact generate a more “viral” traffic to your site or page and possibly increase the sales and/or recognition of your specific product or service.

Important? Yes, I think so. But that’s not what I’m leading to here.

When someone ‘Likes’ your page, what exactly are they ‘Liking’? Is it the overall design of the page? Is it the product(s) you’re offering? Is it sweet, wonderful you? Is it an addiction to clicking buttons?

I’ve heard women speaking with each other about men they’re dating.

“I like him,” Woman #1 says to Woman #2. “But I don’t ‘like him’ like him.”

You see, it can become so complicated. And the answers to these questions are still not what I really want to talk about. My actual focus is on ‘Liking’ the books of authors whose work we haven’t read. That’s right, books we have not opened and read. Yet because they ask us to, we click ‘Like’. Like a favor. Like somewhat of a… lie.

It’s one thing to ‘Like’ an author’s page, but to say we ‘Like’ the book they wrote, but haven’t read seems quite misleading. Would you ever say you ‘Like’ the food at a restaurant you’ve never dined in?

Let’s face it, as a writer my main objective is to be read. After that, I want to know the reader enjoyed what he or she read. I want to know if they ‘Liked’ it. I want to know if they hated it. Okay, I really want to hear them say they ‘Loved’ it, but I don’t know if that button exists yet.

In truth, I worry that my desire to get my books ‘out there’ will lead me to only look at the numbers (i.e. # of books sold, income earned, sales ranking, etc.) and not on the satisfaction of my reader. I worry that fishing for “Likes’ will ultimately override the honesty of reader feedback I receive. And I’m starting to see that from other writers. I don’t want it to appear I’m judging or bad-mouthing any writers. We all want success and follow different roads there. I do my upmost to help the writers around me achieve success too. And I want success as much as the next guy, but for me, I don’t want people clicking the ‘Like’ button for my book unless they read it and truly ‘Like’ it.

I mean, are eight million ‘Likes’ worth more than the genuine joy one reader feels about your words?

Well, is it?

Birthright: a new poem up at Every Day Poets

I have a poem up today at Every Day Poets. It's called Birthright. It's about a father holding his newborn son for the first time. Of course, this joyful moment does have a bit of a shock...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Angel Zapata live tonight! on Flashes in the Dark Radio

Horror writers and blog talk radio hosts, Lori Titus and Tonia Brown interview me tonight live on Flashes in the Dark Radio at 6pm EST. We'll be yakking about horror, The Man of Shadows, and 5x5 Fiction.

Join us on Blog Talk Radio here.

ADDENDUM:

If you missed it, you can listen to the interview by clicking play in the Blog Talk Radio link in the right hand column of this page.

-Angel

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Online Fiction Recommendations: Jodi MacArthur and Chris Allinotte

There’s a slew of awesome new fiction available from two very talented writers, Jodi MacArthur and Chris Allinotte. Don’t ask me how they pump out this much quality stuff. My guess is these two maniacs never sleep. Anyway, I wanna make sure you haven’t missed any of it. So get to clicking the links.

JODI MACARTHUR
This Texas-dwelling chick is all teeth and nails. She knows the flavor of your skin. Her words have sharp points and she’s not afraid to stab you in the face with them. I’m still wiping away blood and stitching myself up.

I’ve been reading Jodi’s work for over three years and she never disappoints. She’s able to transport the reader to whatever insane world she’s living in at the time. Mark my words, one day she’s gonna be sipping a hot cup of blood beside Stephen King himself. Besides the links below, you can find more of her work here at the cauldron of evil she calls a blog.

MANTRA at All Due Respect, Issue #16

BLACK, WHITE AND RED ALL OVER at In Between Altered States

FREE MERCURY at Beat to a Pulp

CHRIS ALLINOTTE
Chipping away at the frozen tundra in Toronto, Chris slowly inserts splinters of ice under the reader’s fingernails. I, for one, am grateful for the pain. In addition to penning stories about hellfire pie and sewer-dwelling, man-eating creatures, he is also editor of the anthology, Eight Days of Madness. It happens to be a free anthology you can download here.

You can read all about the Canadian creator himself and his work at his blog, The Leaky Pencil. I’ve often wondered exactly what was seeping out of that Leaky Pencil of his. Now I know. It’s blood.

PICK YOUR OWN PUMPKIN at Thrillers, Killers ‘n Chillers

MONKEYFISH at MicroHorror

SEX AND BEER at the Flash Fiction Offensive

TEMPTING MORSELS at Lily Childs’ Feardom

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Poetry and Micro Fiction up at Cavalcade of Stars

I have a series of brand new poems and micro fiction up at Jeanette Cheezum's Cavalcade of Stars. In Jeanette's own words, the Cavalcade is "A place to read fiction and poetry from some of your favorite online writers. Don't be surprised if you see some of mine sprinkled here and there."

Each week, The Cavalcade offers a platform for writers to share their words. Today, it's my turn. You can find my poems, Taffy and Labor, and my micro fiction, Other and I Don't Care if We Ever Do Laundry Again here.


You can find Jeanette Cheezum's work at Hampton Road Writers and at Six Sentences.

Jeanette, you're a gifted writer and a lovely woman. Thank you for printing these works!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trestle Press Author, McDroll talks about her crime fiction book, Kick It!

It's been a long while since I've featured a writer here at A Rage. Having recently joined the Trestle Press family myself, it is my pleasure to have fellow Trestle Press short story writer, McDroll stop by and provide you all with the lowdown on her crime collection, Kick It. McDroll is quite obviously excited by this publication and shares with us, "To have a book published is a magical experience that very few people ever get to achieve, but thanks to TRESTLE PRESS and their amazing outlook on the revolution of digital publishing which is about to hit readers around the world like a literary tsunami, more amazing writers will be able to get their writing out there to an ever increasing digital audience.

My first collection of short stories, KICK IT has just been published this week and my goodness, I certainly did get a kick from seeing my book up there for sale on Amazon. KICK IT is a collection of 5 short noir / crime stories with a little twist of Scottish humour thrown into the mix.

Three of the stories have my favourite character, DC Gemma Dixon, strutting her stuff around the crime scene of Glasgow. New to CID, Gemma has to learn very quickly to stand up for herself in male dominated environments where as the newbie she gets some of the roughest assignments on offer.

I love having fun with Gemma as she banters with her fellow officers, making sure that she asserts herself and doesn’t take any of their cheek.

My other two stories deal with our perceptions of people and I attempt to show how far off the mark we can be when we don’t take the time to dig a bit deeper into ‘hidden stories;’ the secrets that people keep close to their chests as they go about their daily lives. So much can be going on beneath a person’s outward shell and I try to uncover some of these tales.

So I hope you check out my first ever e-Book and please let me know what you think!"

Let's get to know a bit more about the mysterious McDroll (aka. Fiona Grace), shall we?
1. Who is McDroll?

To begin with, going back about three years; McDroll was the silly name I came up with when I started tweeting. I wanted a name that would combine the fact that I am proud to be Scottish and indicate that my tweets would contain a certain amount of ‘tongue in cheek’ humour. Like most nicknames it kind of stuck and now that’s how most people on-line know me.

I think it’s quite memorable and a bit different so perhaps it will help me to get noticed!

When I’m not writing / reviewing, I teach and have been a primary school head teacher for the past 23 years, I know, I don’t look old enough! Cough

I live in Argyll, Scotland which is easily one of the most beautiful places in the world, steeped in history from prehistoric standing stones to Celtic crosses and castles and countless lochs and glens.

I sit at night, laptop on knees and write about murders…well, what else would I do?

2. Why crime writing?
I’ve always wanted to write as far back as I can remember and over the years I’ve had various disastrous attempts that just didn’t work. My writing was boring, bland and twee. I had come to the conclusion that I just didn’t have what it takes.

Then I joined Twitter and quickly discovered that there were lots of writers around the world tweeting about their writing. They would discuss their difficulties, the characters they wrote about and the struggle to get published.

Slowly I crept into this circle of talented people and as I have always been a rabid reader of crime fiction, I thought that if I couldn’t write then at least I could review and be a little help to those with talent struggling to get noticed.

Eventually some very kind people asked if I wrote. After the initial, ‘no, no, no,’ I decided to give the writing lark another go but this time try to write within the crime genre….and that’s all it took. My years of reading crime have somehow helped me understand how to write the type of story that people seem to get a lot of fun out of reading.

3. Who do you read?
I’ve really enjoyed reading No One To Hear You Scream by Julia Madeleine, another Trestle author. She takes you on a trip to a beautiful house in the remote countryside, the most beautiful spot imaginable and in this amazing setting creates the home to die for. If you love browsing through House and Home magazine then you'll pretty much have seen the type of house she creates. What more could anyone ask for? Oh yeah...the owner murders his girlfriend and buries her body in the woods at the back and he’s built the house on the back of his drugs money. He's one of those Irish guys that (WARNING) women, don’t ever go near because he's got a twinkle in his eye, he can soft soap the pants off you and then he'll garrote you when he's bored and toss your body aside. And he's gorgeous (I was thinking Patrick Dempsey with an Irish accent and a couple of days' stubble.)

Anyway, twists of fortune and all that, Rory Madden (that's the Patrick Dempsey guy) ends up in jail and loses all his money and his house that he loves more than anything in the world gets sold from under his feet and Rory vows to get it back come hell or high water. Pity the family who bought it and my, do they have their own troubles!

I love Julia’s ability to weave a wonderful story that just doesn’t allow me to put down from start to finish.

4. What’s next?
I’m hoping to have another collection of short stories KICK IT AGAIN out soon and then move onto a serialization of a novella that I’ve been working on for some time. More ‘Gemma’ stories are in the pipeline and you will be able to meet Gemma again in BRIT GRIT TOO, soon to be published by TRESTLE.

Many thanks to McDroll for making the time to be here with us. It's been a true pleasure!

You can visit McDroll at her blog site here, and for .99 cents you can purchase Kick It for your Kindle on Amazon. You can also follow her Twitter tweets @McDroll.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Book

In the advent of my publisher, Panic Press suddenly calling it quits, there are some unresolved issues. For one thing, my book, The Man of Shadows is still available in certain markets. If you purchase the print and/or the Kindle version, I won’t receive any compensation for it. Translation: At this time, please don’t buy my book in print or e-pub form from anywhere or anyone. Secondly, there are a lot of angry writers from the Panic Press line who are battling for reimbursement of unfulfilled orders and unseen royalties, so I can easily feel my rage beginning to froth at the surface again, and I’m trying to remain moderately professional about the entire ordeal.

The small press is a wonderful resource for aspiring authors to see their work published, but if you’re not careful it can also turn and bite you on the ass. As I still retain all rights to my work, my hope is to have another publisher pick my book up, dust it off, and make it available on their shelves. Yes, I know I can self-publish, but it just won’t feel the same to me… you know what I’m saying?

In general, and this is cumulative to this situation and my growing weariness with publications, I feel a bit like a home in need of a makeover. Maybe I’ve reached a crossroads. There are definitive choices to be made. Either way, The Man of Shadows will be slipping back into the darkness for awhile.

-Angel

Monday, September 19, 2011

A.A. 1998 (a poem)

1.
It’s awful this morning. The windows are gray,
air pinpricks skin with cactus familiarity.
I do not recognize the disease.
The mattress is torn and the gods of love
are nervous. I cannot sleep here.
You left me huddled between pillows,
soaked in liquid thoughts.
These aren’t notes I dare sing.
I’m typing this far from the wagon’s table.
The coffee is tepid in the mug,
your lipstick still smeared red on the rim.

2.
My fingers strum the aluminum can
of an imaginary beer. This is the melancholy
of poets, balancing bar stools
on the tips of our noses, clowns
packed into Volkswagens
twelve to a case.

3.
The greeting card would say, I miss you.
Blake would ask, Did He who made
the Lamb make thee?
I just need to know
where you hid the keys
to my car.


Copyright ©1998, Angel Zapata

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11: One Possible Future (a poem)

It’s no longer the cosmic shock
so much like late frost kills early buds;
but rather acceptable sadness,
the realization all leaves fall.

It’s no longer the rhythmic flag sway
(America this, that, or them),
the extravagance of anger
became a cross, a mosque, a scar.

It’s no longer about people—
twin towers are labeled: Data, Debris;
ashes in barrels and potpourri bowls,
such casual causalities.

The ground went from zero to sixty;
clock hands hid seconds, seized time,
shook sand over sleep-swollen eyes—
now nothing more than holiday.

It’s a calendar X, a movie, game—
that’s the cold, hard reality;
check this box to initiate pain
and pilot those ill-fated planes.


Copyright ©2011, Angel Zapata

This poem was inspired by the Poetry Matters Celebration word prompts: Reality check, pain, sadness, shock, anger.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Panic Press and House of Horror are Kaput

In this here this moment and gone the next publishing world we live in, another horror publisher bites the dust. Editor, Sam E. Cox, the woman behind both Panic Press and House of Horror, has announced on a Facebook thread that, “…no more books will be going on to Amazon. Panic Press and HoH have gone into liquidation. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do, but everyone who has ordered from me will get their books…”

Sam was recently hospitalized for undisclosed health concerns. Upon her return, she faced a slew of technical problems. “I’ve had issues with both Paypal and Lulu,” she wrote on her Facebook wall, “and my e-mail was hacked. Basically what happened is I got into debt with Paypal spending more than what I had…”

It’s incredibly sad news for all of the supportive readers and the authors in the Panic Press and HoH family. Sam also states, “…of course I will be canceling all the books on Lulu and turning them over to the authors, but can’t until I’m done ordering and sending out books.”

Author and Rainstorm Press editor, Lyle Perez has offered to help. “If Sammi is willing,” he announced on Facebook, “I can take over the anthologies that never saw print and release them with my publishing company, Rainstorm Press. I’d hate to see these anthos not see print because of funding issues.”

Panic Press and House of Horror has been the catalyst for many newbie writers entering the publishing world and its absence will definitely leave a hole in our horror community. Sam has been a wonderfully gracious editor and friend. I wish her all the best.

As most of you know, my book, The Man of Shadows is part of the Panic Press line. I’m not sure what this means for its future availability, but I’m hoping it gets picked up by another publishing house. Only time will tell.

-Angel Zapata
8.23.11

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Putrid Poetry and Sickening Sketches (Volume 2), Available Now!

I'm delighted to say the paperback, Collaboration of the Dead Presents Putrid Poetry & Sickening Sketches (Volume 2), is now available for purchase on Amazon and Createspace.

Product description:
"Poetry and Zombies... Art and the Undead... Terms that may not seem to go together, but after seeing what the living dead poets have placed on these virtual pages with their rotted hands, you just might think again. What you hold in your hands is a fan-freaking-tastic collection of zombie-themed poetry and art some names you probably know as well as some new writers you may not know. Either way, you are in for a treat! Bon appetite! See, it rhymes... Featuring Putrid Poetry by Angel Zapata, Carey Burns, D.G. Sutter, Gerald Rice, Jamal K. Luckett, Jeffrey Angus, Karime Limon, Matt Nord, Michael C. Dick, Mike Mitchell, R.M. Cochran, Rebecca Besser, Reina Sobin, Rich Boorman,Scott Emerson, Suzanne Robb, Trevor Smith, William Cook and William R.D. Wood Featuring Sickening Sketches by Christopher Bonnette, Dennis Bower, Matt Nord, Rich Boorman, Rob Sacchetto, Rodrigo Obon and William Cook, who also offered up to sick cover illustration!"

Editor, Matt Nord has produced a stunning anthology of excellent poetry and absolutely spectacular artwork! If you're a zombie enthusiast, this is the book for you. Plus, you'll get to read my poem, "The Zombie Creed."

Also, be sure to pick up Matt Nord’s Tainted Tales & Rotten Rhymes for your Kindle, only .99 cents!

Product description:
“This anthology is chock full of stories with zombies, cannibals, zombies, killer birds, zombies, homicidal clones, zombies, evil ghosts, zombies, serial killers, zombies, murderous mermaids and, you got it, more zombies! … Oh yeah, and poems…”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Poetry Resurrection: The Immaculate Conceptionally

I’ve recently returned to writing poetry. My goal is to complete a chapbook in the next few weeks or so. I’ve also gone digging in the attic for some of my older work. There was one box up there stuffed with old notebooks, napkins, cereal box tops, and utility bills— all loaded down with my scrawl. This is when I still used pencil, ink, and a Brother typewriter versus the plastic letters of my keyboard. Some of them are unbelievably awful, but there are others that continue to sing. In the next few weeks, I’m thinking I may share some with you. The following small work was written twenty years ago.


The Immaculate Conceptionally

The soft wood,
then a fracture in your dark.
Light footfalls on broken toes;
thickets lean against grassy slivers
of silver moonlit bone.

Soon the thrush
takes flight with the swallow
beneath the gold shelter of skin.
The flurried feathers of thick lashes
thumb and thrust.


Copyright © 1991 Angel Zapata

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Absolutely- Kate Pilarcik comes to Georgia!

That's right, the woman behind the veil is no other than Harbinger 33's indomitable force, Absolutely- Kate Pilarcik. She lowered her sails and docked here alongside my home in the peach state. Last night, I had the pleasure to sit down with her and share coffee in the lobby of her hotel.

It's always wild to meet someone you've only corresponded with in the virtual world. You really don't know what to expect. Gotta say, I was impressed.

Our encounter began with a warm hug and a somewhat spiritual assessment of each other's unique energy frequencies. A showdown of wills, so to speak.

I gave her my best hypnotic horror stare and she easily slipped into a jazz note look of surprise. Yes, I know, a bit odd. But our common goal as writers is to bring the weird back… and I think we achieved that. Anywho, this concentrated vibe spawned not only the makings of inspiration, but also a super-critical caffeine crave.

Hell, she even managed to whip out packets of sweetener (Sweet 'n Low, Splenda and Equal) and incorporate them into an improvised pyramid chart of sorts. I got the (Sweet 'n) lowdown on Harbinger 33, discussed up-and-coming writer conferences she'll be attending, and booked a seat on a future Amtrak, mobile writer's symposium. The woman has a wealth of ideas.

I'm so glad I got to meet her and her sweetheart, Matt.

Oh, and in the middle of our conversation her cell phone rings. She answers it, and then says, “Angel, it’s for you.” I was like, “Huh?” Turns out, on the other end of that line was no other than central Florida writer, Harry B. Sanderford himself. How cool is that?

For those of you wanting to learn more about Kate, you can find her lurking in the projectionist’s booth At The Bijou.

Kate, you’re an amazing woman. Maybe next time we’ll meet up at the Waffle House and have ourselves some hashbrowns, smothered and scattered.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My interview at 1st Author Interview

1st Author Interview is a dynamite site that allows the author to promote their book and create their own personal interview.

Per their website, K. J. Robinson states, "1st Author Interviews is a unique website that allows you a chance to personally promote your book and allows your reading audience a chance to get to know you! You'll attract more readers, giving them the opportunity to get to know you and your work better. You get your material out there in front of readers, literary agents, publishers and development executives from films, cable and TV. 1st Author Interviews is your first stop to getting your book promoted to that vast online audience. We offer this outlet to any traditional or self-published author, whether in e-book or print formats."

Head over to their site, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page. BTW, it's offered to authors FREE! My interview can be found here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Man of Shadows reviewed at Darkeva's Dark Delights

Darkeva has done a wonderfully thorough and honest review of my book, The Man of Shadows. Check it out here at Darkeva's Dark Delights.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Author, Richard Godwin interviews me over at Chin Wag

Recently I was interviewed by author, Richard Godwin. We had a wonderful time discussing Blake, Wordsworth, Michel Foucault, and cannibals (yes, I was feeling a bit peckish). You can read all about it on his blog Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse.

Not only is Mr. Godwin a true gentleman, but he’s also author of Apostle Rising, a novel author, Vincent Zandri says is “…a noir tour-de-force that will leave you breathless and teary-eyed…” and Crimetime Magazine calls, “…an arresting and cleverly plotted police procedural married to gothic horror and the aesthetics of the slasher genre.”

I am so grateful to have had the privilege of sitting down with this incredible writer. Thanks, Richard!

You can purchase Mr. Godwin’s Apostle Rising here on Amazon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Moon Pie featured at The New Flesh

It's been awhile since I've had anything published over at The New Flesh. This time, I give soft sci-fi a try. The story is called Moon Pie.

It begins, "Glen Horn believed his mother was a portal for interstellar travel..."

Stop by and support this publisher of all things weird.

Thanks to editor, William Pauley III.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My story, Keeners wins First Place for The Lost on the Rock Contest!

I’m very happy to say my story, Keeners has won first place for The Lost on the Rock Contest! It’s a departure from my usual supernatural horror, and deals more with the reality of death. It was hosted on Laurita Miller’s Calling Shotgun and Alan W. Davidson’s Conversations From Land’s Edge. They also feature an interview with me here.

There were several winners and honorable mentions, so please make sure to read them all as they are posted over the next few days.

1st Place
Keeners by Angel Zapata

2nd Place
Lost by Denise Covey

3rd Place
Oubliette by Susan Harding

4th Place
Where is Esther? by Mike Jackson

Honourable Mentions
Simply Lost by John Wiswell
Numbers by Gerard Smith

Upcoming schedule at Calling Shotgun:

Monday - 1st Place story Keeners by Angel Zapata
Tuesday - Interview with writer Denise Covey
Wednesday - Interview with writer Susan Harding
Thursday - 4th Place story Where is Esther? by Mike Jackson
Friday - Honourable Mention story Simply Lost by John Wiswell

Upcoming schedule at Conversations from Land's Edge:

Monday - Interview with contest winner, writer Angel Zapata
Tuesday - 2nd place story "Lost" by Denise Covey
Wednesday - 3rd place story "Oubliette" by Susan Harding
Thursday - Interview with 4th place writer Mike Jackson
Friday - Honourable mention story "Numbers" by Gerard Smith

Thank you Laurita and Alan!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is up at Flashes in the Dark

It’s been awhile, but I have a new flash piece up at Flashes in the Dark.

Jim’s little phobia has a very long name. Drop by and read Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

Many thanks to editors, Lori Titus and Robert Eccles.

BTW, Lori has a couple of dynamite books, Green Water Lullaby and Lazarus, both available at Amazon. I’m sure she won’t mind you buying them.

And Bob was just nominated for a Parsec award. He provided voice for a podcast over at Cast Macabre. Swing by his blog, Tiny Terrors and wish him luck.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: Grave Echoes by Erin Cole

Some of you may not know Erin Cole. She's a dynamite writer from the west coast, a writer I very much admire. She's also the author of the mystery novel, Grave Echoes. Here's my take on why you should buy and read it:

Kate Waters is a woman of science, a geologist who suffers from narcoleptic visions. The sudden death of her sister, Jev catapults her into unfamiliar ground, ground that seems to be steadily crumbling beneath her feet. Now she’s seeing the ghost of a little girl in her home, and even worse, suspects a very real stalker may be after her for the key she acquired from her dead sister’s belongings. And to top it all off, it seems Jev may have been a practicing witch.

I think mystery, horror, thriller, and paranormal junkies will find this book quite delicious. There’s a wonderful balance of ghostly happenings and witchcraft with concrete, by-the-book police procedurals and scientific fact. Erin shows great skill at creating creepy atmosphere and nail-biting suspense. And her characters are people we can relate to, void of clich├ęs or one-dimensional caricature studies.

It’s always the small things that win me over. Early on in the book, the lead investigator attends an autopsy, and, in order to mask the smell of death, he chews on a piece of peppermint. Most readers would skim right by this. But as a person who’s actually attended autopsies, the use of something as mundane as peppermint validates this novel for me. It shows me an author who pays meticulous attention to detail.

You can classify Grave Echoes as a paranormal mystery, but at its core, it’s really about transitions and transformations. Kate Waters is at a crossroads. On the one side, she must remain true to how she's defined by her vocation, standing firm on rock. But on the other side, she must deal with her grief by stepping off the cliff of her emotions and trusting in unseen forces. Erin Cole has done an outstanding job at scripting a very believable parallel between Kate’s emotional turmoil and the seismic rumblings of Mt. Hood’s volcanic activity happening all around her.

Erin Cole’s Grave Echoes does just that; it resonates perfection. I anxiously await the sequel.

Learn more about Erin Cole and her writing at her blog here. You can purchase Grave Echoes on Amazon here.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Networking: How Do I Know My Net’s Working? or Yep, I Totally Suck at This

Author, Anne R. Allen recently posed an intriguing question on her blog. The post heading:

Does Social Networking Make You Feel like Your Back in High School?

Read it. How much of it do you agree and/or disagree with it?

Many of you reading this are fantastic social networkers. You cast your net and draw out a boat full of fish. You’re well-spoken (I guess, well-typed in this instance), leave thoughtful feedback, and engage other writers with genuine relationship building skills and carefully presented self-promotion. You’ve got tons of Twitter, Facebook, and blog followers.

Me, I’m terrible at small talk and self-promotion. And don’t get me started on my net-flinging skills.

I often ponder; how social does a writer have to be? Personally, I’m not a social butterfly. For that matter, I’m not even a social caterpillar. In fact, truthfully, I write so I don’t have to speak aloud. I understand that as a writer, I have to take responsibility in promoting myself via all available media outlets. And I know this may include public readings, mingling with like-minded individuals, and general social schmoozing. I know this…yet, I remain hesitant to participate. Why? I think Ms. Allen’s right; to me, in a lot of ways, social networking is like high school all over again. There are the cool kids, and then there are the rest of us. Sadly (although there’s the hint of a smile as I type this), my high school no longer exists. The building was torn down. Terrible, I know. But I don’t have many fond memories. Of course (and please feel free to refer to my psychologist for further details), this may be due to my own self-induced ostracism.

Anyway, I do spend time lurking the halls of Twitter; waste time in front of my Facebook locker, nervously pretending to search for a textbook that doesn’t exist, willing myself to turn invisible. Is this something innate in me? Can a non-social person/writer flip the coin and change? I’m not shy; I’m just somewhat…disconnected, disconcerted.

Anne speaks of feeling ignored on social networks. I partake in conversations, add my two cents when opportunity presents itself, but the drive to engage individuals, who may or may not be who they portray (especially online), usually leaves something to be desired. And selfishly I think, man, I should be using this time to create.

I’d like to build stronger relationships with writers. I’d like to see more folk read my book, The Man of Shadows (like how I worked in a hyperlink to Amazon here?), AND have it increase in sales. But how do I successfully balance between writing and networking?

And with that question (yes, and now my sad attempt to throw my net out and gather ye little fishes up), I leave the mike open for social commentary.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Evil Inspirations: The books that made us want to write horror

On occasion, I’ve been asked, What horror authors have inspired you?

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention there’s no doubt Stephen King, by reputation (and sales) alone, is master of the horror genre. I’ve read, enjoyed, been in awe of many of his novels and short stories. I admit that. BUT, as fantastic as his work may be, he never reached in and touched that vulnerable, terrified chamber of my heart in the way the following five gentlemen have.

Make no mistake; these five books are for the hardcore horror fans. If you liken Edward the vampire as your perfect cup of tea, then these authors would be like drinking a bottle of Absinthe on an empty stomach.

I highly recommend them as must reads for lovers of dark horror fiction.

Greely’s Cove by John Gideon

It’s a story about miracles, dark miracles in a town plagued by ghosts, necrophilia, resurrections of the dead and black magic. It’s fast, ugly and graphically mind-blowing.

Grimm Memorials by R. Patrick Gates

It’s tales of the brothers Grimm spun by an evil, modern-day witch. There’s also a healthy dose of necrophilia along with other awful sexual deviancies, child torture, and violence to the Nth degree.

They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon

No romantic and/or rock-star vampires here. These bloodsuckers want to eat you and play with your blood. It’s chock-full-of disgusting death and charged with an apocalyptic climax threatening the entire west coast.

Dominion by Bentley Little

Take’s dorm life by the balls, Greek mythology-style. Blood, guts and lots and lots of sex. If you like your stories over-the-top, this one will leave you gasping.

Creekers by Edward Lee

All I can say is strippers with three breasts, in-bred rednecks, demons, witchcraft, mutilations and B-movie dialogue. Fast-paced and relentless to the shocking end.


So tell me, What are some of your favorite horror books and authors?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is Plagiarism the only form of word theft?

Can we really trust fellow participants in our writing groups not to steal our ideas?

Writer, and creator of Crooked Fang, Carrie Clevenger has some sad and scary news. A character she created seems to have been “borrowed” by a former writing companion. A close variation of that character is now the title of that writing companion’s book!

Go to her site Mindspeak and speak your mind.

UPDATE:
The perpetrator has been unmasked at Christina Vincent’s site Naps in the Library. Read all about her unforgivable behavior here.

UPDATE (3.18.11):
I've gone ahead and disabled the links for this post. This is done to respect the wishes of Carrie Clevenger. She has dealt with the issue and would like to return to doing what we all share in common here...writing.

Thanks for coming to a writer's aid. No further comments to this post are required.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My story, Mad Dash appears at Chris Allinotte’s Madness in March

Stop on by and join the insanity. Chris Allinotte’s hosting a week of mad fiction featuring a different patient every day. I happen to be patient #110315.

Get your daily dose here. My story, Mad Dash is posted today.

My thanks to Chris for keeping it crazy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5x5 Fiction presents ISSUE ONE: Murder, Monsters and Misfortune

At long last, it is my honor to present the premier issue of 5x5 Fiction, Stories Told Loud and Clear.

ISSUE ONE: Murder, Monsters and Misfortune

View and/or download your free copy now!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

AJ Brown at Type AJ Negative interviews me about writing, horrors, and 5x5 Fiction

I recently sat down with the awesomely talented writer, AJ Brown of Type AJ Negative and chatted about writing, plagiarism, The Man of Shadows, and the upcoming issue of the brand new 5x5 Fiction.

Pull up a chair and join us here.

I had a lot of fun, AJ. Thanks! And may your computer live a long, long life...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Panic Press Kindle/mobi books for only .99 cents!

Panic Press is offering their Kindle/mobi books for only .99 cents. That includes my book, The Man of Shadows. Here’s your chance to own all of their releases for less than $1 each!
Per their site:
Click on your chosen title(s), pay 99 cents and have your chosen title(s) sent straight to your email address. If it is different to the email on your paypal order, then please add the address you wish to have it sent to in the buyers instructions section.
All books are 99 cents. No more, no less!
The Man of Shadows by Angel Zapata
Ashes in her Eyes by Alan Spencer
Scream For Me by Brian Rosenberger
Sins and Tragedies by The Dark Fiction Spotlight
Sustenance by Nate D. Burleigh
Tales from the Dark Path by S.E.COX
Werehouse by Ryan Hunter
Without Notice by Jason Hughes
DEADication Anthology
Mind Rotting Tales by Ken and Kevin L. Jones
Revolution City by Darren James
Pantomime by Robert Essig

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

She's Nothing like a Feather When She Falls at In Between Altered States

Episode 10 of Aleathia Drehmer’s In Between Altered States is now live. It features work from Timothy Gager, Len Kuntz, Jeffrey Miller, Mike Whitney, Shawn Misener, Alexandra Brunel, and Justis Mills.

You can also find my flash piece, She’s Nothing like a Feather When She Falls.

They are currently open for subs for Episode 12 based on the prompt: Junkie Nightmares and Hustler Fiends. General guidelines can be found here.

Thanks, Aleathia!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Who holds the pen— you or your characters?

Something that’s intrigued me as writer is: how much control do I have during the creation process? When I sit down to write, I usually have a brief outline either generated in ink or, at the very least, well defined in my brain. I usually know where I want to begin and have a ballpark estimate of how and where my story should end. The middle, or meat and potato portions of my tales usually dwell in very murky waters.

But…

…usually…

…my characters dictate their own direction. How so?

Let’s try a writing exercise.

I see a woman. Her name is Wendy. She’s tall and beautiful. She has brown hair and blue eyes. She loves the theater and Italian food. She loves her boyfriend, Max and has never cheated on him. She practices witchcraft and eats babies. Whoa! What happened there? She was almost perfect until I found out she loves the theater…

Just kidding.

The witchcraft and eating of babies just came out of nowhere. Or did it? How does the brain birth a person of our own devise? Is it our own devise?

Sometimes I get stuck in the middle of what I consider a strong story. Everything is going splendidly until I hit “the wall.” You writers know what I mean. There’s no way to get around it either, so I try breaking it down. I try going over it. I try going under it. Every attempt ends in failure. I look back and I can see Wendy with her arms crossed. She’s tapping her foot with a smug look of “I know what your problem is…you’re simply not listening to me.”

I get worried. Do other writers have conversations with figments of their imagination? Is it schizophrenia? Is there a bit of insanity in store for me? Is there any harm in listening to what Wendy has to say?

Maybe not. Okay…here goes.

Hey, Wendy. Uh, I think I’ve been a jerk. I probably haven’t been paying enough attention to you.

You haven’t.

I know. Sorry. But I’m willing to listen now. What should do? I’m stuck here in front of this wall, and I really don’t know what to do.

Angel, Angel, Angel…first of all, the main problem is my name isn’t Wendy.

It ain’t.

No. It’s actually Frank. And I’m short. And I hate the theater. And I cheat on my wife all the time.

Wow. No wonder I can’t get through this wall. I’m really sorry, Frankie.

Excuse me, it’s Frank.

Oh. Sorry, Frank. What now?

I need you to trust me.

How so?

I need you to give me that.

Give you what?

That pen in your hand.

Why?

Because that wall isn’t a wall at all.

It isn’t?

No. It’s a door. Watch. Give me the pen and I’ll show you.

* * *

Okay, a bit theatrical, but this is how it works for me sometimes. I have to hand over the reins to my characters. I have to give them control. I have to listen to them. It’s not enough to create this person from out of the thin air. I may have given Wendy…er, Frank his first breath, but I have to realize he longs to breathe on his own.

Okay, enough about me.

What’s it like for you and your creations?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

New story, "Chewing the Fat" up at Pulp Metal Magazine

I got a brand new story, Chewing the Fat up at Pulp Metal Magazine. Many thanks to Editor, Jason Michel – The Dictator.

Excerpt:
Millie had her first baby the day after her eighteenth birthday. Although “had” would imply “given birth to” when in fact “had” in this particular case denotes “ate.” And she’d have no problem telling you that that Antichrist infant tasted nothing like chicken.

“It really didn’t,” she’d admit with a wink...


Read the entire story here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Author CK Webb Reviews The Man of Shadows!

The Deepening is a fantastic resource for book enthusiasts. Editor-in-Chief, Clayton Bye and his staff offer insightfully honest book and novel reviews. One of his staff members, Author CK Webb, has just posted a review of my book, The Man of Shadows, published by Panic Press. She says, "I absolutely loved The Man of Shadows. The writer’s tales give a new spin to old stories, and he does it with a style unlike any other. Angel Zapata will have you questioning everything that you believe as an adult and wanting, more than anything, to pull the covers up tight when you crawl into bed at night…"

Read the entire review here.

You can pick yourself up a copy of The Man of Shadows through Amazon here.

I really appreciate CK taking the time to read and review my work. Thanks so much, CK!

CK Webb is author of Cruelty To Innocents & Collecting Innocents which she co-wrote with her mother, DJ Weaver. You can find out more about her work at the site, WebbWeaver.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Man of Shadows FREE Giveaway on Goodreads

My book, The Man of Shadows has been listed on Goodreads. Stop by and enter the FREE giveaway for a signed copy here!

The winner will receive a signed copy of my book, The Man of Shadows.

Panic Press presents, The Man of Shadows, a dark collection of twenty-five short horror stories by Angel Zapata. Edited by S.E.Cox and illustrated by Darren James.

It begins with “The Mouth of Babes,” a visceral tale of streetwalkers and addicts, morbid voyeurs, cannibalistic tattoos, and witchcraft. Jimmy only wants another photograph for his online Death Images website. But when his good friend, Steve calls him down to the morgue to see a body with a strange tattoo of a mouth on her abdomen, he learns that sometimes the dead have incurable appetites.

“In Death Reversal,” a grief-stricken wife hopes to resurrect the husband she murdered by making a long distance call to hell.

“The Bridge” pits the superstitious beliefs of the neurotically-challenged, Benson against the very real presence of a modern-day troll.

“Dead Flames” paints us a brief love story between the walking dead.

From the wicked predilections of children to the varied manifestations of evil personified, The Man of Shadows will have you running for the light.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Anatomy Fidelity and The Hole Truth at The Glass Coin

The Glass Coin has published a couple of my poems for their Open Minds, Duplicity themed issue. My works “consider the external/physical human body and dig deeper into its internal/spiritual significance.” Explore Anatomy Fidelity and The Hole Truth.

My sincere thanks to editors, Sairah Saddal and JM Prescott.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Man of Shadows available for Kindle on Amazon.com

Don't have a Kindle? Hmmm...you may need to buy one so you can download yourself a copy of The Man of Shadows for only $4.99 on Amazon.com. If you prefer, the print version can be purchased through Panic Press using the link on the right of this page. Of course you can always order both...

I'm saving my pennies now so I can get my own Kindle. Hell, I just realized my Rage of Angel header still says I'm an unpaid writer...I may have to change that...;-)

Hey, and if you enjoy my book, please feel free to leave a review over on Amazon.