WELDON BURGE

Publisher/Full-Time Editor/Freelance Writer

Bullets and Butterflies: A Blog by Weldon Burge

Crowdfunding and Smart Rhino

January 24, 2017

Tags: crowdfunding, Kickstarter, Smart Rhino Publications, Zippered Flesh


Crowdfunding.

Kickstarter. Indiegogo. GoFundMe.

Hmmm …

Worthwhile for independent publishers? I guess we’ll find out.

Smart Rhino Publications is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming ZIPPERED FLESH 3 anthology. We’ve lined up 14 writers so far, and we’d like to pay them pro rates—they deserve it. But it all comes down to the success of the campaign. It’s all or nothing with Kickstarter. Tricky. Suspenseful. Worthwhile? We certainly hope so.

Check out our campaign site, see what you think.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/106699384/zippered-flesh-3-more-tales-of-body-enhancements-g

To help the campaign along, we’re providing great rewards for those folks who pledge in support. You can get a thumb drive containing e-versions of ZF3. Paperback books. A Smart Rhino mug. Books. A print of the cover art. Editing of a short story by yours truly. Did I mention books?

We even created a rather icky promo video for the campaign. (Not for the squeamish!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQTxYqnr4iU

And I also made a personal appeal for the Kickstarter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sACX5OVnBmA

So, what do you think? Does this interest you? Do you feel compelled to support ZIPPERED FLESH 3 and its writers?

We’re crossing our fingers …

Armand Rosamilia Talks About Horror

January 16, 2017

Tags: Armand Rosamilia, Zippered Flesh, Smart Rhino Publications, horror fiction

Armand Rosamilia knows quite a bit about horror writing. His work has appeared in many publications, including his story, "Creeping Death," in the Smart Rhino anthology Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! He's also written a good many novels, including his Dying Days series, Chelsea Avenue: A Supernatural Thriller, Middletown Apocalypse, Dirty Deeds, and others. We were thrilled to have a chance to talk with Armand about one of his favorite topics--horror writing.

Zombies seem to be the rage, especially with the success of The Walking Dead TV series. You've written a good deal of zombie fiction, particularly in your Dying Days books. What do you think is the appeal?

It depends on the person. Some readers love zombie fiction because it is a mirror held up to society. Some think it foreshadows our future. Some think it is an analogy for the way the world is today, and is falling apart. For me, I just think zombies are really cool. I love reading about them and, as a kid, I loved watching zombie movies. So I can see the entertainment value of them first and foremost.

You're an incredibly prolific writer. Where do the creepy, often bizarre ideas come from?

I read a lot. Always have. Dean Koontz books started me on this journey at 12. I read mostly nonfiction now and watch Discovery Channel Investigation shows. The real horror is all around us, and is easy to tap into as an author. I have so many ideas for novels and shorts I'll never get to, and it would be a large chunk of my day just to write them all down. Whenever I don't have a specific contract on my desk and I'm able to add whatever I want to my writing schedule I simply tap into my brain and see what's at the front of the ideas and if I'm excited about writing it right now.

What's your latest (or impending) release? Can you tell us about it?

I always have a few projects on the horizon. I just released Green River Blend: A Supernatural Thriller with Devil Dog Press. It is a story about coffee. Yep, coffee. A mysterious man opens a coffee shop in a small Florida town and, when the residents get addicted to his coffee, strange things begin to happen. Beta readers said it was very much Bentley Little-ish, and I agree. When I began writing the novel, I was looking for that exact feel to it.

Next up is my crime thriller Dirty Deeds. I won a Kindle Scout contract with it. Look for it the end of January. I'm excited about it because I've never strayed this far from what I normally write. The advance readers love it, so it will definitely turn into an ongoing series.

Thanks, Armand, for giving us some background on your incredible work!

For more information about Armand, visit his website.

(This interview was originally published in the January 2016 issue of the Smart Rhino Publications e-letter.)

The Multi-talented Aaron J. French Discusses Writing, Editing, and His Love for Anthologies

July 21, 2016

Tags: Aaron French interview, horror fiction, Lovecraftian fiction, anthologies, Smart Rhino Publications, Zippered Flesh

Aaron J. French is one busy guy! Besides being a prolific writer, he is an accomplished editor and has pulled together some of the best horror and weird fiction anthologies now available. His story, "Whirling Machine Man," appeared in the Smart Rhino anthology, Zippered Flesh. His latest novella, The Dream Beings, is a hard-boiled Lovecraftian tale involving a serial killer and an investigator who is pulled into cosmic horrors.

Aaron agreed to answer some questions for us--and we hope you'll learn something from his vast experience!

Aaron, you and I have similar backgrounds: writer, editor, anthologist. Let’s start with your own fiction. Your collection of stories, Aberrations of Reality, has been described as a “modern grimoire of mystical horror,” and you’ve also written a zombie collection, Up From Fresh Soil. Your The Dream Beings is an incredibly creepy serial killer/occult novel. Plus you’ve written a number of novellas. How do you manage to juggle your time to write your own work, considering your many other obligations? Do you have a defined routine?

Thanks. Yes, it’s a lot of work, there’s really no getting around that. But it’s work I love to do, so that makes it worth it. I used to have a steady routine of writing 1000 words a day, and I did that for many years. But at this point, I’m basically just working all the time, whether writing, editing, and working academically (still writing). So I basically just do as much as I can on all fronts, but focus on whichever one has the nearest deadline (ha). But whenever I have a break, I try to write a new short story, or at least revise one that I have already written. It’s a way of keeping myself working on my own fiction, given everything else I do. And yet, I will say that more and more—as you mentioned with AoR and The Dream Beings—I have been using my own personal experiences and my research into science, religion, and magic to inform my stories. Yes, life is weird. So, while I still write to entertain (as it were) or for a certain market, lately I have been formulating more of a specific agenda with what I want to do with my fiction. You can see this most explicitly with Aberrations. I feel almost like a scientist, and I am doing experiments with my work to see what I can tease out of it. Ultimately, I want to explore how horror and science fiction affect states of consciousness.

You’re a book editor for JournalStone Publishing and the Editor-in-Chief for Dark Discoveries magazine. What advice would you offer horror and other fiction writers looking to publish their work? What are the common “mistakes” you see in the submissions that come across your editor’s desk? (more…)

Meet Horror/Suspense Writer W.D. Gagliani

June 30, 2016

Tags: W.D. Gagliani interview, Smart Rhino Publications, horror fiction, suspense fiction, Zippered Flesh

W.D. Gagliani is the author of many novels, including Savage Nights, Wolf’s Trap, Wolf’s Gambit, Wolf’s Bluff, Wolf’s Edge, and more. Wolf’s Trap was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award in 2004. Bill has published fiction and nonfiction in numerous anthologies and publications. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the International Thriller Writers (ITW), and the Authors Guild. Raised in Genova, Italy, as well as Kenosha, Wisconsin, he now lives and writes in Milwaukee.

Bill, with his co-writer David Benton, wrote the story "Piper at the Gates," published in the Smart Rhino anthology Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! We had fun in the following interview!

You tend to write a hybridization of horror and crime fiction/suspense. Do you find this combination easy to write, and why?

I do find it easier (no writing is truly easy, as you know). But not because there’s something magical about the mix that I’m tapping into. I find it easier because I grew up loving thrillers (and mystery and other genres, but thrillers were big), and later fell under the spell of one S. King, who blew my mind and sent it reeling into that black hole of terror I’d always been circling anyway. I had enjoyed horror before, such as James Herbert’s The Rats and The Fog, but when King came along with ‘Salem’s Lot, I truly was lost. I went all in on horror then. I took a break for my first couple years of college, then jumped back in. It became my favorite genre to read.

But, in any case, I never quite lost the thrill of the thriller. I loved the British authors the most. I admit, writers such as Ian Fleming, Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley, and Duncan Kyle. Although David Morrell made a huge impact with First Blood and I started discovering great American writers, too. After quite a few years concentrating on horror, I just naturally started to channel the thriller people I’d always liked so much. So, the idea that thrillers and horror aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive swirled around in my head, but subconsciously. I think in the long run I found that I couldn’t always sustain that sense of terror or dread needed in a horror novel, but if I mixed in a sense of more realistic suspense, maybe less supernatural and more grounded in what happens every day in the world (violence seems to be the true universal language, unfortunately), I was able to fill out the plots in a way that seemed more fulfilling to me. Since I came to love the so-called splatterpunks of the '80s, whose work tended to be more visceral and less supernatural, it was like blending two primary colors to create a third (secondary) color, you know? Whether or not it works, I don’t know. I have fun with it, so I hope that sense of fun translates down to the reader.

The sixth Nick Lupo novel was recently released. How did you develop a character who is a werewolf homicide detective? (more…)

Meet Bram Stoker Winner L.L. Soares

October 27, 2013

Tags: L.L. Soares interview, horror fiction, Smart Rhino Publications, Zippered Flesh, Green Tsunami

The horror fiction of L.L. Soares has appeared in many magazines, including Cemetery Dance, Horror Garage, Bare Bone, and Shroud, as well as anthologies such as The Best of Horrorfind 2, “Right House on the Left, Traps, and both Zippered Flesh anthologies from Smart Rhino Publications. His first story collection, In Sickness(written with wife Laura Cooney), was published in the fall of 2010 by Skullvines Press. He recently won a Bram Stoker Award for his first novel, Life Rage, which was released from Nightscape Press in 2012.

Soares is an incredibly talented and versatile man, working not only as a writer but as an editor, publisher, and frequent film critic. He took some time away from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

Weldon Burge (WB): Your novel, Life Rage, won the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for “Superior Achievement in a First Novel.” Aside from the obvious ego massage, how has the award benefited your writing career?

L.L. Soares (LLS): To be honest, I think it’s too early to tell. I’m actually still in shock – it all seemed kind of unreal at the time. I’m hoping it will make it easier to sell future books, and that hopefully more people will read my work. But I guess only time will tell.

I am proud of the fact that I can put “Bram Stoker Award Winning Author” on my book covers now, though. That’s very cool.

WB: Your second novel, Rock ‘N’ Roll, was published earlier this year. It seems to be more of an erotic thriller than Life Rage, but still laced with violence and horror. Which novel did you have the most fun writing, and why?

LLS: Even though they are different in a lot of ways, both books do share a love of characters. My stuff is very character-driven, and I think that is what links the books. Life Rage just deals with more characters, whose stories intertwine. For the most part, Rock ‘N’ Roll is focused on one main character, Lash. Also, where “Life Rage” is more obviously a horror novel, Rock ‘N’ Roll was harder for me to categorize. It’s almost more surreal than horrific at times. I hesitate to say it falls in the “bizarro fiction” category, because, despite rather odd elements, it is rooted in a real, recognizable world, so I don’t think it’s strange enough to be bizarro.

But the truth is, they’re all fun, and I am comfortable in several genres. The first stuff I wrote as a kid in manuscript format—the first stories I sent out to magazines and publishers when I was still in high school—was mostly science fiction, and some fantasy. I am also really into noir fiction—Jim Thompson is one of my heroes. So I incorporate all kinds of things in my writing. I do notice that horror is one of the more universal elements in my fiction, though. There’s always some horrific element in most of what I write. I just have that sensibility, I guess. I think of all genres, horror is the one I am most in tune with.

(more…)

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