Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Razored Zen Interview: Chris La Tray

I think it’s time to run another author interview. My guest today is Chris La Tray. I first became aware of Chris’s work on Beat to a Pulp, with his story entitled “The Pickle”. Later, we exchanged blog visits, and then I got to meet Chris in real life when his job brought him to the New Orleans area for a visit. We ate some Italian food and had a few Italian beers. Then we had some American beers. There are plenty of geographical (beer) areas to explore yet on his next visit. Without further ado, here’s Chris. (RZ represents Razored Zen and I’m sure you can figure out what CLT stands for.)

RZ: Tell us a little about yourself outside of writing. Home town. Family. Job. That sort of thing.

CLT: I live in Missoula, MT. I was born and raised in the area, but have lived in other places (Pacific Northwest, Ohio) for enough years to know this is pretty much where I want to be. The University of Montana is here, so culturally we are kind of a little oasis in the midst of what is a pretty conservative state. I like that from my ass at my desk here, I could literally be on a trail in about 20 minutes where I'd be as likely to see a bear or mountain lion as I would another person.

As for family, I share the house with my 18yo son and my wife, Julia, who is a clothing designer operating under the name DonkeyGirl Designs (shameless plug, buy her stuff!). Both of them are wildly creative and keep me inspired with the things they do. We also have two cats and four dogs here -- three of which are Jack Russells. Those little bastards keep me on my toes too. In fact, I'm downstairs writing this with the music loud so I can't hear any mayhem they may be up to elsewhere in the house.

RZ: What made you want to write? Is it a desire that’s always been with you? Or was there some particular event or book that ignited the fire?

CLT: I grew up living kind of in the middle of nowhere and didn't have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with other kids when I wasn't in school. As a result, I read a lot, and that led to writing stories. I have this little blank book I received for the "Reading Award" when I graduated from 8th grade, and it has an inscription from my teacher that says something like "A little something to help you on your way to writing your first fantasy novel!"

When I got into high school I started playing in rock bands. That became my primary passion, but I always thought that writing a book would be something fun to do on the side (while on the tour bus, you know). When I realized that rock stardom probably wasn't going to find me (we arrived in Seattle in the late 80s/early 90s packing spandex instead of flannel), the rock band sort of went on the back burner, though I do still play in one. I wrote two fantasy novels back in the early 90s, then stopped for a few years. Started writing again, mostly record reviews and interviews and things, which led to some freelance stuff for the local weekly, and then I started writing fiction again after taking a couple local workshops. So I would stay it has been a path I've been staggering along since I was pretty young, really, with occasional diversions. Seems to be going pretty steady now, though.

RZ: Writers always get asked about their influences. Consider this that question.

CLT: I was into fantasy as a kid. Conan, the Lord of the Rings, stuff like that. When I started playing Dungeons and Dragons as a junior high punk, I used the "suggested reading" list in the First Edition Dungeon Masters Guide as gospel. As I've gotten older, the stuff I read and the writers I admire have become so varied that this could go on for pages and pages. What I like best, and what I try to create with my own writing, is the kind of stuff that reads quickly and tells a compelling story. I can forgive writing that could use some tightening up much more readily than something that is working magic with language but isn't saying shit to me.

RZ: Chris, you write both fiction and nonfiction. Do you have a preference between the two? Do you find one easier than the other? Is there any common thread between your fiction and nonfiction?

CLT: I love fiction, and I could go on and on with ideas of stuff I'd like to write, or stuff I've read that I had a great time with. But in the last ten years or so the stuff that really wows me the most, and inspires, and makes me say, "Damn, I wish I'd done that!" is all in nonfiction. Writers going out and learning about something and writing about it, having adventures, telling stories that are factual revelations. People like David Quammen, John Vaillant, Susan Casey . . . these are narrative nonfiction writers that have blown me away not just with their writing but with the adventures that drove them. I would LOVE to do that kind of thing.

As for a common thread, that sense of adventure is probably it. It goes back to stories of Conan or Tarzan exploring lost ruins, or Doug Chadwick chasing wolverines in Glacier National Park. I find it utterly thrilling, utterly compelling.

The majority of my nonfiction writing has been related to music, and I burned out on it. I got tired of finding descriptions and trying to find new ways to describe bands when it came to articles, record reviews, etc. I finally stopped doing it just because my heart wasn't in it. I would write a 200 word music review and get paid $15 for it. When I decided to stop, I was irritated that most bands, rather than send press kits with CDs and things, would send links to downloads. I didn't want to put in the time to find it, wade through all the MySpace bullshit (because that is where the majority of the links were directed), download it, and burn a CD, because I would do the bulk of my listening in my truck which would only play CDs. For $15 I didn't think it was worth my time.

Honestly? Big mistake. When I consider the thousands and thousands of words of fiction I've written for zero, zilch, no money, that irritation over a "measly" $15 is pretty stupid. I could sure use the extra $45 - $75 a month I was getting for the reviews, not to mention the occasional feature article that might net me $60 or $80. It also taught me economy of words, because 200 words isn't much to work with, especially related to something I liked. Or 800 words, for that matter. Trying to write an article about the Melvins, a band who has been around a long time, while also including quotes from Buzz Osbourne -- who is one of the most entertaining interviews ever -- is a real challenge with only 800 words to play with. I probably learned more from the discipline than I realized, not to mention the process of working with editors, deadlines, etc.

What am I saying? The nonfiction stuff I was doing was much easier in a lot of ways, paid better, (i.e. at all) was excellent practice, but was also irritating and mildly soul-sucking. But I was an idiot for dropping a gig that paid pretty regularly.

RZ: Writing can be hard work. What motivates you to keep going? What inspires you?

CLT: I think watching my wife work so hard with her clothing design inspires and motivates me more than anything else, just to keep at it. It certainly isn't the money, nor is it the idea that I have something huge and important to say that hasn't already been said, better, many times before. It really is hard friggin' work, and I'd be lying if I said I don't struggle with that. Not the work so much as just the turnaround. It sucks to write a story, submit it, then wait weeks and weeks or months and months to hear anything at all about it, for better or worse. If one hears anything at all, mind you. I haven't submitted a novel yet, and I'm already gnashing my teeth over that. I've been writing songs and performing them for most of my life, and the turnaround there is way faster. I could write a song tonight, go to rehearsal tomorrow and be playing it as a band in a matter of minutes. Then unleashing it live shortly thereafter and getting some feedback. The wait when it comes to that kind of sharing with writing is the hardest part for me. But I keep doing it, and try not to bitch about it too much because there are so many of us in the same leaky boat. I realize that ePublishing and stuff can alleviate some of that, but I'm not thrilled to join the throng screaming, "Buy my stuff!" over and over again. Right now there are at least three collections out I'd like to pick up, and at least that many I already have but haven't read yet. It all gets pretty overwhelming, because I feel that if I don't buy and support other people's work, then what right do I have to ask them to support me?

But what can I say? I do it anyway. At some point, though, as the day gig becomes less and less capable of making the ends meet, I may need to find something different to spend this much time on that actually includes the occasional check. But I'm not to that point yet. And who knows, there might be spare minutes here and there while delivering pizzas, or standing on a street corner with a belly shirt and that spandex on I mentioned earlier, to jot down the occasional pulpy paragraph or two anyway.

RZ: What are you working on currently? And what’s next for you?

CLT: I'm juggling two novel projects and have a couple short story ideas I'm kicking around. I'm really trying to focus most of my energy on the novels, because I want to get them complete and submitted so I can be pissed off about that part of the process for a while, muttering the names of agents and editors into a growing pile of beer bottles, stuff like that. As for what's next, I have a story coming out at Beat to a Pulp at some point that I collaborated on with Grainger/Cranmer where I "cover" his Cash Laramie/Gideon Miles characters, adding in one of my own, but I'm not sure when that will show up, if ever. David is doing so well with his own work on those characters there's no real reason to publish it; I'd ride that wave too if I were him! Then I have a story coming out in a future issue of Needle; the Winter one, I think. Finally, I have a story coming out in the inaugural issue of Pulp Modern; I think that comes out before the year ends, but I'm not sure. Honestly, once something gets accepted, I don't really care when it comes about because by the time it does I know I will have a) forgotten what it's about, and b) will likely hate it when I re-read it. I'm just grateful to editors who actually respond to a submission at all, let alone say they will publish it. That tickles me to no end. Those people are the ones who are doing the thankless work, that's for damn sure.

My current band is in the process of recording our first album too, that should be wrapped up hopefully in October sometime. I wrote all the lyrics for that thing (except, now that I think about it, one song), and they're absolutely awful. But I love every damn word.

RZ: What work is available from you right now, and where can readers find it? Is there a place online where folks could go to learn more about you and your work?

CLT: My website, which is just a fancy word for "blog", is the best place. There is a page there with links to stuff that can be found online, both stories as well as some of the other articles I've written. As for the blog itself, it is probably a perfect example of what a writer shouldn't do, because it's totally all over the place, and is hardly ever about writing. One day I might review a movie, another day I might have pictures from a kickball game, and then another day I might have a picture of a pile of bear shit I came across out in the woods. But it's definitely a snapshot into my day to day life, and if it seems like I'm a jackass as a result, then it's probably because I pretty much am.

Chris, thanks for visiting Razored Zen.

And thanks for having me, Charles!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heroic Fantasy and Myth Making

Heroic fantasy is a literature of myth making. It's not about telling things the way they are, or even about how they were or might have been. It's about telling, or at least hinting at, the deepest truths and mysteries of human existence. It's about ancient days when human consciousness was first arising and we as a race were becoming something more, and less, than animal. In those days the gods and demons and all manner of supernatural beings were real--at least to the people of those times--more real than they can ever be to the majority of modern humans.

Despite what one of its practitioners once wrote, Heroic Fantasy is not about a world undreamed of. In symbols at least, we have all dreamed of it. I consider thinkers like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung to be more philosophers than scientists. If you want to understand psychology as a "science" then you might as well ignore them both, as well as many others of the same mindset. But, if you enjoy speculating about the origins of human consciousness and the ways in which those origins influence modern literary traditions (which is not scientific psychology), then both Freud and Jung (particularly Jung) can be useful.

For both Freud and Jung, human prehistory was a time when the seeds of later myths, and of many later truths, were being planted. I believe they are right (though not for the reasons they are often thought of as right). And I believe that one thing that separates great Heroic Fantasy from lesser work in the field is the degree to which a tale taps into the substratum of myth, and the degree to which it evokes the “depth” of prehistorical time in which those myths were arising. (All this assumes, of course, that the writer has the storytelling skills to hold the reader's attention long enough to evoke his or her sense of myth and of time’s vastness.)

Robert E. Howard is perhaps the best illustration of what I'm talking about. Howard tapped into almost pure myth when he created the worlds of Kull and Conan, and when he modified historical ages to provide an arena for the adventures of Bran Mak Morn, Cormac Mac Art, and Solomon Kane. There is an underlying coherence to Howard's fantasy worlds. His mysteries are shrouded in the web of ages but when one reads of his green-walled ruins and his leftover denizens from elder races one feels the living power behind his craftings. One feels as if there is something more there behind the stories, something that is real, or should have been real. It’s much the same feeling one gets when swimming and something powerful passes by just under the surface.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Adaptable at Novel Spaces

I've got a post up over at Novel Spaces today on "Adaptability." Stop by if you get the chance. I'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Question

I'd like to get your opinions on something. When I first published Killing Trail, I set the price at $2.99. The price seemed both reasonable to me, and it allowed me to get the 70% royalties from Amazon for each copy. However, I've since seen other, roughly equivalent, books published at 99 cents. I've been wondering whether I should drop my price to 99 cents. I've not made a decision on it and I'd like to gather some information first. So, given that Killing Trail has now been out for a little more than a year, here are my questions.

1. Would dropping the price upset folks who paid $2.99 for it, or would it be more likely seen as a natural discounting process for a book that has been out a while?

2. How do readers view it when an author drops the price on a book ‘temporarily’ as a promotional offer. I know some writers start out with a lower price for a week or two and then go up, but in my case I was thinking about dropping the price to 99 cents for say a month. What are your thoughts on that.

I tell you, the business end of writing gives me fits. I neither want to be seen as a money grubbing author, nor do I want to sell myself short. I probably spend as much or more time agonizing over this kind of thing as I do a plot twist. The latter is much more fun, though.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back To School, and To The Stars

Well, school is back in session. We had registration on Thursday and Friday. Classes start on Monday . I’ve got a pretty good schedule this year and I’m ready. My class numbers are pretty large so it’ll be a busy grading year. As usual once school starts, I won’t be blogging quite as much or able to visit blogs as regularly. The last couple of blog posts were prescheduled.

A bit of good writing news. To The Stars and Beyond: The Second Borgo Press Book of Science Fiction Stories is out and up on Amazon. Why is it good writing news for me? Because it contains my story, “I Can Spend You,” which is one of my favorites among my own stories. There are also stories by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Richard Lupoff, along with plenty of other writers. They’re really holding the prices down on this series to try and encourage readers. So far it is only available in print, but I think it’s going to be a kindle book as well. That’s what it says in the “Product Description.”

And now I’m off to make my blogging rounds.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In a Story…(Part Two)

In a story, things happen. And they don’t happen in a nice, predictable pattern. Telling a story isn’t like playing a game of chess. The writer doesn’t have to have the board all set up and the pieces all arranged just so before starting the story. In fact, messiness is desirable at the start. “In media res” is a piece of writing advice I like. It means, begin in the middle of the action. Another piece of advice I like about writing is, never tell the reader more than they need to know at that precise moment in time. In the perfect book, the reader always wants to know a little more than they do know. That’s why they turn the page.

Of course a book doesn’t have to start with a battle or an alien invasion. As long as something is happening, there’ll be readers who will follow you. What do you think of the following scenarios, for example.

1. “I’m pregnant, Don. And it’s not yours.”

2. I heard the car coming and looked up from weeding my flower garden. We didn’t get many visitors out here in the country. I never expected this one. The daughter I hadn’t seen in ten years got out of the car. She wasn’t alone.

3. I recognized the ring tone as I answered my cell.
“Hi, Granny,” I said, smiling.
“I’ve shot your grandfather,” she said. “I just thought you should know.”

I’m not saying these are beautifully written opening lines but at least something is going on in them. My thinking is that all three of these are essentially literary openings. The stories that developed from these would most likely be primarily about human relationships, either their development of their destruction. I might not actually want to read any of these stories, although #3 sounds the most interesting to me. I’m a genre junky. I don’t often read stories that are solely about relationships. For me, a writer needs something like:

1. She looked like she was about twelve years old until she pulled the gun on me.

2. The howling began around dark. I should have left the cabin then. But the sound was far away and I told myself it was only wolves. Besides, I was expecting friends to join me for a weekend in the woods.

By midnight my friends hadn’t arrived and the howling was closer. It was closer and all around the cabin. And it didn’t sound like wolves anymore.

3. The ship plunged through the atmosphere, burning as it went. Only a fragment hit the earth. But that fragment was alive.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interview With Me Up at Kindle Author's Blog

We interrupt our scheduled Part Two of "In a Story" to mention that there's an interview with me up over at David Wisehart's Kindle Author's Blog. It just went up today so I wanted to link it. I hope you'll check it out if you get the chance. I'll put up the second half of "In A Story" on Thursday.


Monday, August 15, 2011

In a Story…(Part One)

In a story, things happen. They happen immediately, or at least PDQ. Things that have happened are frequently revealed in dialogue, or, often with less effectiveness, in summarized form in what is called an info dump. Talented writers, in certain types of stories, can have action happening in the dialogue itself, although it’s a rare story that can get along with dialogue alone.

The first line of this essay came in a fit of irritation as I was reading a book from a mainstream SF publisher. It came because this particular book did not illustrate the principle that ‘in a story, things happen.’ By thirty-five pages in, we’d had a dozen characters introduced and had “hints” that a major crisis was threatening earth. (I already knew from the back cover that we were looking at a first contact scenario.) We’d learned a few things about the characters, almost none of it very interesting. We’d also had a nine page conversation in a jeep with a flat tire in the rain, about nothing. Starting with page 35, we got a page and a half info dump about a specific character, including pretty much the character’s whole military service and the honors he’d received. That was it for me. I closed the book and uploaded it to bookmooch. I was irritated enough to vow never to read another of this author’s books again.

The worst thing, from my point of view, is that the first book I read by this author was absolutely wonderful. It was also an alien contact story, but the action began in the first paragraph as a research lab at a major university blew up and opened a gateway to another dimension. The action seldom slacked off after that, although a lot of characters were introduced as the book went on. I was so impressed that I immediately bought two more books by the author. The second one I read was written with a coauthor and was horribly slow with a lot of character description that ended up going nowhere. I blamed it on the co-writer so I still came to the current novel with high hopes. Dashed hopes, as it turned out. If this had been the first book I read by this author I would never have gotten to the one that was really good.

Things happen in a story. Or else it’s not a story. No matter how many characters a writer introduces, it’s not a story until things happen between those characters. No matter how much a writer hints at big things to come, it’s not a story until some of those things actually begin to occur. I think most writers have to learn this fact. I don’t believe it comes naturally for most of us. It didn’t for me, although I never took 35 pages to get to some big happening. Swords of Talera is my slowest starting book. There’s a five page introduction that reveals Ruenn Maclang’s character and sets up a mystery about Ruenn and where he’s been. Then comes Chapter 1, with three and half pages of rather mundane activity until the screams begin and the story is fully launched. Wings over Talera has a three page introduction with a battle happening by page 2 of the book itself. Witch of Talera has a two “paragraph” introduction and an assassination attempt on the first page.

Here’s my plea to writers. Make things happen. Make them happen quickly. I don’t want to put your book down any more than you want me to.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mucho Reviews

We finally got internet access back late on Saturday so I’m trying to catch up on blogging. I won’t be able to get to every post I’ve missed but will get back to regular visiting tomorrow. Today’s post is going to be reviews of books I’ve read lately.

Mark C. Durfee: scent of the garden within
A jam packed collection of poetry, with nearly every inch filled with Mark Durfee's sometimes loving, sometimes bitter, but always accurate words about today's world. This is the third in a trilogy of poetical works, and is the largest in scale. Mark is one of our blogging buddies, of course. For more information, or to order a copy of this book, see Mark’s blog.

Gerald So: We Might Have: Poems
This is a collection of contemporary poems that I read for Kindle ebook. I'm not sure if it's available in other formats. I didn't intend to read this one so quickly. I just got it yesterday. But I read the first few while taking a break from TV and found them addictive. Most are short and pithy. But there's clearly a sound talent behind the words and a lot of feeling in them. I'm 52 now and these poems probably apply most strongly to younger individuals, in their teens and 20s perhaps, but I could easily put myself back in those days and recall when I felt just like this. Good stuff. Gerald blogs here.

Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall: Night of the Living Trekkies
Since this is somewhat of a "gimmick" book, I was afraid it would be awful. But I love Star Trek so I decided to give it a try. It was actually very well done and I enjoyed it very much. I'm very pleased to have been wrong about it.

The key to this kind of thing is good writing and this certainly qualifies. And clearly the authors knew their subjects, both Star Trek and Zombies, and Star Wars to boot. Lots of nice touches, like using episode titles for the chapter titles, and having the dialogue at places reflect the shows.

Kudos to the authors.

Robert B. Parker: Resolution
I didn't think it was quite as good as Appaloosa or Brimstone but it was enjoyable and I feel comfortable giving it four stars.

Christopher Rowley: Heavy Metal Pulp: Pleasure Model: Netherworld #1
I reviewed this on Goodreads and gave it 2 stars and just said I didn’t much care for it. I’ll say a little more here. First the positives. It was a very quick and easy read. It’s heavily illustrated and the illustrations are pretty good. It was well edited and the writing was certainly professional. However, I personally found it fairly full of clich├ęs. I also think the book didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. It sort of acted like it wanted to be an SF, hardcore porn version of a noir detective novel, but the sex was very limited. The SF aspects were not explained well enough for us to clearly see the world in which the story was set. And the noir detective part was certainly rather standard. There was a lot of graphic language but the story itself seemed fairly tame. It also didn’t really have a clear cut ending to the immediate story line, and I tend to dislike that. Even a series book should have a clear cut ending, I think.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Internet Non Connectivity

Our internet is down. Equipment failure. They have a service call in but we're not sure when they'll be coming by. I'm at the library for the moment with my laptop just to indicate here that I'll be largely off line until the problem is resolved. We live in the country so it's a 20+ minute drive to get to a place with wireless capability. I'll return to visiting everyone's blogs as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Monday, August 08, 2011

Razored Zen Interview: Keith Gouveia

I’ve decided to do a few more interviews on my blog. These won’t be exclusive to writers, although that will probably make up the bulk of the posts. I don’t plan to make it a mainstay feature but I like learning about other folks and this will give me a way to do that. And maybe it will introduce those who visit here to some new writers or new blog pals.

My first guest is the writer Keith Gouveia. I met Keith in an online writing group called “The Parasitorium,” which was founded by my good friend Del Stone, Jr. Del went on to publish a collection of stories from group members in 2003. It was called The Parasitorium: Terrors Within. I had a story in the collection called “Thief of Eyes,” and Keith had one of his early stories published in that collection, a nasty little work called “Taper.” Without further ado, here’s Keith. (RZ represents Razored Zen and I’m sure you can figure out what KG stands for.)

RZ: Keith, tell us a little about yourself outside of writing. Home town. Family. Job. That sort of thing.

KG: I grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts and now live in Florida. I’m married to my lovely wife, Lisa, and I’m a mechanical engineer in my off hours.

RZ: What made you want to write? Is it a desire that’s always been with you? Or was there some particular event or book that ignited the fire?

KG: Telling stories has always been my favorite pastime. Unfortunately, in high school, I had a Literature teacher who berated me over my topic choice when it came to creative writing. He would often assign homework to write freely, I would chose a horror story as that was what I enjoyed reading the most outside of the Hardy Boys and Conan stories, and he would give me a C with a handwritten scribble “this trash will get you no where.” No red punctuation markups, just his vitriol. The mental block he instilled in me wasn’t demolished until Lisa entered my life (eleven years ago) and supported my writing. Been going strong ever since. I write to entertain myself, and if I can do that for someone else then that’s just gravy.

RZ: Writers always get asked about their influences, so consider this that question.

KG: Edgar Allan Poe is at the top. Robert E. Howard and Stephen King are close seconds. I remember reading Poe and feeling his pain, it resonated with me as I shared his pain of loss and loneliness. I borrowed my mother’s copy of Stephen King’s IT and was thoroughly frightened, and was and still am in awe at Howard’s vision.

RZ: Keith, one reason I wanted to interview you is because, like me, you seem to enjoy writing in a variety of genres. I’ve read horror stuff by you, fantasy oriented stuff, and even materials that border on Young/Adult. Why is that? Is there a common theme or thread that you see running through all your work?

KG: I think it boils down to my reading habits when I was younger. I read various age appropriate material and a lot of not so much, and when it comes time to explore a story idea, I’m open minded and allow it to fit where it’s best suited. Plus, I have two great kids and I want them to be as well read as I was. Regardless of the genre though, I will always fit in a horror trope or two.

RZ: Writing can be hard work, especially when you’re slogging through the middle passage on a novel. What motivates you to keep going? What inspires you?

KG: Life inspires me. Combine that with my wife’s nurturing words, and I rarely hit that proverbial wall called writer’s block. Once I get going, I have the strong urge to see it to completion. Discipline is one of a writer’s greatest assets.

RZ: What are you working on currently? And what’s next for you?

KG: Right now I’m working on new werewolf short stories for a sequel collection to my Animal Behavior and Other Tales of Lycanthropy as well as finishing my zombie novel Death Puppet. After that, I’ve been writing a fantasy epic off and on titled Sword of Darkness, Sword of Light and I’d like to get back to that.

RZ: What work is available from you right now, and where can readers find it? Is there a place online where folks could go to learn more about you and your work?

KG: Right now, my most notable works are the aforementioned werewolf collection and my continuation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Black Cat, titled The Black Cat and the Ghoul. It is a zombie mash-up ala Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but rather than splicing zombies into the piece, I’ve continued the tale of a nameless character in Poe’s short story and turned it into book length in a way I believe true to Poe’s vision and macabre taste. But if you want Fantasy, check out my YA novel Children of the Dragon, all titles released by Coscom Entertainment and can be found at all on-line bookstores and can be ordered via brick and mortar stores as well. And to learn more about me, I have a website (though I’m terrible with updates) at or befriend me on Facebook.

Keith, thanks for visiting Razored Zen.

Thank you for having me. Until next time, “Pleasant Screams!”


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Coming to a Con Probably not Near You

Looks like it’s going to be a busy fall for me. But I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be going to both “Undead Con” in late October, and to CONtraflow in early November. Both are local New Orleans cons and I’ll be sitting on panels with some talented folks.

Undead Con is put on by Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club. All kinds of exciting things are happening there, including the Annual Vampire Ball, which is the place to be in New Orleans for Halloween. This year the events will be held October 28-29.

CONtraflow is November 4-6, and David Brin will be the author guest of honor. Since I’ve got a lot of his books, I’ll be looking forward to meeting him and getting his autograph. There are many other great guests as well. I’m not sure what panels I’ll be sitting on yet but no doubt I will have fun.

If you’re gonna be in the area at either of these times, or both, I’d love to see you.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Free Story from Midnight in Rosary

I haven’t talked much about my vampire/werewolf/ghost collection lately. That’s Midnight in Rosary, the title of which the blogosphere helped me decide on. I thought I might post a sample story from the collection, one called “The Poetry of Blood.” It’s not quite vampire. I’m not sure exactly what it is. But it’s short, which I think it needs to be for this sort of thing.

There are erotic elements to the story, and mostly the “threat” of violence. That’s why I didn’t put it up directly as a blog post. If you find those elements distasteful then you may not want to click on my link. If I’ve done my figuring right, however, clicking on This Link should take you to the story. I hope you enjoy.

The book is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with the links below.

Barnes & Noble