Monday, December 10, 2012

Countdown to Apocalypse!: Z Minus Ten.

Hello Splinkervillains!

Like every writer of zombie novels, I wake up every morning and thank God for the Mayans!

According to the Mayan calendar, there's just ten days until the end of the world.  (I know it's really eleven, but ten works better for me.)

So, as there's only ten days or so left for mankind, I figured I'd get a few things off my chest. Every day until the undead rise, I'll be telling it like it is.
"There's still time.  Unless you're a slow reader."

Today I want to bitch about Climate Change.  Several years ago I paid good money to watch Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth."  I remember waking up and thinking "Is it hot in here?"

That was about ten years ago.  And where are we now?  The climate is just find, thank you very much.
                                                 "HELLOOO KANSAS!!"

It's been ten years and I've seen zero evidence of climate change.  Zero!  Just a bunch of liberal entitlement hungry farmers bitching about droughts and erratic weather patterns.  If they saved all their tears, they could water the crops for the next decade.

If it were real, you'd see it here!

Yes, there are parts of the world underwater that shouldn't be, and where there used to be corn, there's dust.  Sure, it's getting hotter and colder and wetter and dryer and, like most of my dates, in all the wrong places.  But so what.  I've got my bottled water, my air conditioning, my Mexican gardener --

Que? Que? Que?!?

whatever.  The point is, everything is going along just as it always had, climate change or no climate change. 
If I have to pay a few dollars more for groceries, and double my galoshes budget, big deal.
Fuck climate change.  And that's my first rant on Countdown to the Apocalypse.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Someone Else Who Isn't Me: Interview with B. Lloyd

Hello Splinkervillains!  Today is December 9, the day the Japanese sobered up and said "Uh-oh!"  Whenever I think about those [politically correct phrase here]  I get so angry, I want to self-promote. 

"Tora" is Japaense for "Zombie!"

But, given that the world is going to end in twelve days, I don't see the point. Instead of going on and an about "I've Been Deader," a near perfect blend of horror and comedy, I've decided to interview someone else who isn't me.  And that someone else happens to be B. Lloyd!

Welcome Mr. Lloyd.  I assume it's Mister, but that's just me hoping your not married. Mr. B. is a well known writer of words and such. He's agreed to be interviewed here today for reasons that i can only guess at.
So, let's get to it.

Mr. B., after reading your latest book, I just have to ask: Have you read "I've Been Deader," and how much did you love it?

B: Click on this link:  "Musical Zombies" - we all loved it so much we made a musical out of it. Does that answer your question ? 

Me: Really?  Why wasn't I told about this before. I hope you were kind. How did you start your writing career?

B.:  I have always scribbled, doodled, scratched and penned from childhood upwards.

Me: Who are your books published with? 

B.: Grey Cells Press:, an imprint of

Me: How do you describe your writing style? 

B.: I don’t – my publisher refers to my flash fiction as ‘quirky imaginings’. I like quirky. I hope also atmospheric. And dry.


Me: Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

B.: There are several, apart from sequels to Greenwood involving Julia (I already have the third roughly outlined); Of Pockets & Puddings (complete, partially uploaded:, a ghost anthology, some steampunkish (or steampiffly) stories with a view to creating a series of novels, and other historical adventures/thrillers (Georgian or Victorian Gothic).

Excerpts from Of Soul Sincere, sequel to Greenwood Tree, and The Gondola Cat are uploaded on

Me: And now for the question that writers just can't say "no" to: Do you have a Website or Blog?

Me: Several of each: my personal blog for Greenwood and other writings:
I have another called AuthorsAnon, which I set up to help promote fellow authors : ; there is a Spotlight page which hosts a new book each month.

The other websites, blogs, connections are here :

Me: What do you find most rewarding about writing?

B: Invention,  creation, atmosphere.
The business of entertainment.

Me:  Listen.  You SAY you're a writer and I have no reason to doubt it.  But my readers are a mistrustful lot. Many of them are also cranky and hung over.  Can you give us a little taste of your magivc?

Excerpt :

Nightfall. Two muffled figures with full bags running across the nightscape, two flitting shadows across tarnished silver grassland, heading for home after a good night’s work. Little need to ask what that work may have been; they run with guilty speed, the moon that served them before now pointing them out in their escape. There is some doubt however at a certain point – should they have turned right, further back? A quick, whispered consultation, and they choose instead to go on across the land towards the clumps of trees huddled together in some form of copse. They enter unknown territory unwittingly, and roam around in circles, getting caught on twigs and branches, and tripped up by roguish roots. Their panic grows as they tumble deeper into the maze of trees, long left to grow wild, until one gasps to the other ‘In the name of all the saints, what place is this you have brought us to?’

The other shakes his head, and then both cry out as they feel the earth shift under their feet. On and on they scramble, any direction, so long as it takes them out and away, well clear of the cursed place, yet they only succeed in falling deeper into its trap.

‘Where is that wind coming from?’ asks one of them, as a stiff breeze comes through, pushing branches about and thrusting yet more unwanted leaves and twigs into their faces. They fall into a clearing of sorts, and almost with relief stand for a moment, clinging to each other as they regain breath. The wind increases, and with it the sound of a distant roar. The noise is added to minutes later by the full-throated roars emitted likewise by the two men, struggling insanely to fight their way out of the thicket, their plunder by now abandoned, satchel and trap thrown aside, only one thought now uppermost in their minds: that of survival.
With one final heave, as if impatient to be freed of its intruders, the earth shifts once more beneath their feet, and they find themselves hurled out on the other side, falling, rolling, scrabbling and torn, down, down, down towards a brook. Cold water shocks them into lesser hysteria, and as soon as they can stand, they take to their heels without another look back.

A small furry foot lies poking out from one of the bags left behind, a trophy from the night’s hunting. All is quiet again. The wind has gone. Yet, there is a sigh, brushing through the leaves.

 Me:  Wowsa!  There you have it.  The magic that is "B."  If you're one of those people who like to read things, you can do a lot worse than B. Lloyd.  

That's it!  Feel free to leave a comment or two.  B., thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 7, 2012

More on the Amazon Review Mafia

Hello Splinkervillains!

It's a slow day and I have things to do.  As I'm sure you don't know, the Amazon Review Mafia, or ARM as they don't call themselves, are a non-existent group of individuals who believe they run a small section of the internet called "Amazon."

They aren't exactly a group.  More of an association.  I probably shouldn't even say this much.

The first rule about ARM, is that we don't talk about ARM! 

Now that I have established that ARM doesn't exist, let me tell you what they do.
They do three things.
First, they look for authors who don't play by the rules.  People who talk about their books where they aren't supposed to, or talk back to reviewers who are critical of their work.  You know, special snowflakes.

  Every time an Indie whines, a angel gets its wings.

Second, they look for authors, or anyone else for that matter, to wander into the Amazon fora and say something they don't agree with.  They are a very forgiving lot, so it isn't easy to get on their bad side.

"But all I said was 'love your neighbor!'

Lastly, if you're stupid enough to say anything, they engage in a repetitive but effective pattern of picking apart words, lightly attacking the poster, hoping to draw them into a discussion, and then slamming them repeatedly until it's time to go home or another author wanders in and says something.

It's the same pattern, and anyone can observe it on the Romance and Kindle Book Forums, if they have nothing better to do. It's not exactly the world's best kept secret. I don't need to name names, as that's not important.  What concerns me, other than their refusal to purchase "I've Been Deader", is their contribution in expanding the rift between Indie authors and readers.

"I used to look like Brad Pitt. Then the ARM got their hooks in me."

I don't mind that they are a group of people who, as far as I can tell, simply enjoy the thrill of attacking and arguing with authors, forum posters, Christians, 'newbies,' trolls, hobbits and themselves. The Internet is the great unifier of dividers.  We all need a place where we can shout "I'm right, you're wrong."  That's human nature and I don't fault ARM for behaving like humans.

What bothers me is the mixture of delusion, self-righteousness and butthurt victimization that they insist on clothing themselves in, as if they were all staring in a Keanu Reeves movie as a rag tag band of misunderstood heros determined to save the world, even if it means sacrificing their virtual lives.

"If we're going to hell, we're dragging every horned indie with us!"

To sum up, the ARM is real, if disorganized.  They enjoy a good fight and they are intentionally or unintentionally stoking the anger between readers and writers. A small war as far as wars go.  But don't be fooled by their cover story.

Like their evil counterparts, STGRB (See prior posts or wait for me to become bored again), they thrive on stirring the shit.  Just remember, their shit stinks as bad as the rest of the internet.

Present company excluded.

"We were never here."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Someone Else Who Isn't Me: Interview with M.T. McGuire!

Hello Splinkervillains!
Today is the first day of the rest of your lives!  I wouldn't take too much comfort in that if I were you, though.  Today is just more of the same crap you had to put up with yesterday. For example, here's another interview with someone else who isn't me.

 M.T. McGuire not only writes books, she also engages in questionable gourd behavior!
"I shall call you... Antonio!

If that doesn't get your attention, you must be deader than dead.  Speaking of deader, let's get right to the hard hitting questions.  Hello M.T., thank you for stopping by.  Please put Antonio down and have a seat.

Now, first things first.

Have you read “ I've Been Deader,” and how much did you love it? 

MT: It’s the most amusing Zombie book I’ve ever read. Except that I haven’t finished it… and I should probably admit that it’s the only Zombie book I’ve ever read but so far, I’d say it’s easily as funny as Sean of the Dead. 

Me: Shaun of the Dead?  never heard of it. Is that one of those movies that tries to be as entertaining as me?

 "We're good, but Deader is better!"

Me: How did you start your writing career?

MT: I got fed up with dodgy film scripts and plots that I could pick holes in. I also got fed up with being able to predict the outcome in films and TV programmes. So I started to try and write a plot where the characters behaved in a manner that was true to their personalities at all times. It took me 13 years to write my first decent book. The second one took a bit less time, 18 months.

Me: 13 years??  I bet it must have tons of zombies in it. Tell us about your current release.
The Wrong Stuff, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 2 is the second book in my humorous fantasy series, the K’Barthan Trilogy, believe it or not.
Hmm… how can I explain? K’Barth is a parallel world inhabited by all sorts of weird and wonderful species – as well as humans. So, if you ever read adventure books or watch films… and if you like sci-fi you may like this. Some of the highlights are the flying cars, the teleportation device, the action, the sarcasm, the different varieties of K’Barthan and there is a dash of romance.

Me: Sarcasm? From you? Imagine my surprise.  Tell us about your next release.
The next one will be One Man: No Plan, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 3
Once again The Pan of Hamgee is in the poop. Once again his first instinct is to take to his heels. But now there is nowhere left to run. Instead he must take to the skies to save his friends, the woman he loves, his country and most importantly, his arse.

Me: How do you describe your writing style?

M.T. Pretty much like this, only funnier because I work on it for longer and more interesting because it’s about my characters who are much wackier than I am.

"Step on me and become a writer!"

Me: Other than zombies, what do you think makes a good story?
M.T. Something I enjoy. If I enjoy what I’ve written then with any luck, someone else will.

Me: Other than reading "I've Been Deader," What was the scariest moment of your life?

M.T.: When I was on the beach with my Mum aged about 12, she saved a toddler from drowning. That was pretty scary. A wave broke over him, knocking him down and then the undertow caught him. He was rolling over and over, screaming when my Mum leapt up, ran down to the waterline and grabbed him just as the next wave broke. She managed to hang onto him as it washed over them and then hauled him out. The water’s pretty murky in the English Channel, you can’t see your hand in front of your face, so if she hadn’t got to him, he’d have gone under and no-one would have found him.

Me: How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula? CONFESS!

M.T.: Nope, I start off with a few bits of conversation, then I start wondering who’s talking, why are they saying the things they are, what’s the relationship between them, what is the weather doing in their world, is there an R in the month… stuff like that. Then a few situations crop up; arguments, fights, car chases, whatever. Once I have those, then the characters start to react to what is happening to them.

Me: What book are you reading now?
M.T.: Yours, actually. Phnark.

Writers who write, read "I've Been Deader!"

Me: You don't actually have to read it.  Buying it is the important part. If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

Not Me: Well, er hem. I am; the K’Barthan Trilogy. It’s about an inveterate coward who falls in love and discovers that the only way to get the girl is to save the world. It’s lucky for the world, which is in dire need of saving, that he thinks with his trousers.

Me: What are your favorite TV shows?

Not Me: Ah now that’s a pertinent question because they’ve had a lot of influence on my stuff. So, StarTrek – especially the first series, anything from the 60s along the lines of the Avengers, Jason King, Space 1999, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Get Smart, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) that kind of stuff. 
This show was da bomb!

Me: When you're not reading, talking, or dreaming about me, what do you do to unwind and relax?

Not Me: I’m afraid to say I find something I’d like to see; an attraction, a town, a beach; whatever, so long as it’s a decent distance away. Then I drive there. I am a terrible petrol head. I love my car, really, really love it. I particularly enjoy accelerating more than is wise or prudent and listening to the kind of burbly exhaust note that makes me weak at the knees. I love the gearbox. And I enjoy driving. And I like overtaking things. And I’m afraid I do have a regrettable tendency to pretend that my car can fly and that there are machine guns mounted in the wings and All Purpose Torpedoes behind the headlights and… I should stop before I scare anyone.

Me: Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? Like telling them to do something else and stop flooding an overcrowded market with crap about vampires and teen angst? 

Not Me: Think very hard about what you want to achieve. Selling e-books takes a lot of hard work. Indeed, I sell way, way more paperbacks by showing them to people who ask what I do then I ever sell on line. Unfortunately, my books are too verbose to be financially viable for sale in brick and mortar stores – long story but nobody will take a debut novel that sells for more than £7.99 here.

That means, in order for the printer and the middleman to get their cut then, if you’re doing print on demand like me, you have to limit your works to 70,000 words. If you don’t can’t set your discount at 55% without making a loss. And… you have to discount it to 55% or the book shops won’t get their 34% after the wholesalers have taken their 20%. Sadly few stores will purchase books outside the two main wholesalers. Ho hum… shot myself in the foot a bit there.

Me: Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?

Not Me: Yes. I will be 45 next year. How am I approaching it? As slowly as possible, although I doubt it will be as bizarre as my 40th birthday. I had an emergency C section then.

Me: Same thing happened to me, and I wasn't even pregnant. Have you attended a high school reunion and what did you learn? 

Not me: Not to go to another one.

Me:  What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?

Not me: Obviously considering where I am, the smart answer would be ‘yours’. However, I can’t really answer that question because the book changes with different moods and different days. High odds that it’d be something by Pratchett though.

Me: Oh, you were so close! As you may know, there is a lot of controversy over how to spell controversy, as well as authors arguing with readers who post bad reviews (the bastards).  How do you react to a bad review of your book? 

"Why Did I Choose This???
Not me: Luckily, both times it’s happened the reviewers have been balanced and flagged up genuine problems which I was able to fix. So actually I was quite grateful.

Me: Other than me, is there a writer you idolize? I realize any such person would be a distant second, but try to answer this one.

Not me: Sir Terry. The man’s a God. His writing is fantastic and he’s a nice person, too.

Me: Use no more than two sentences and one prop. Why should we read your book?

Not me: Because it’s the next big thing, OK, no hang on, I’ll quote Awesome Indies on the subject of Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 1:
“It’s a perfect combination of action, superb characterisation and delightful tongue-in-cheek humour. The story is sleek, well-paced and builds to a fine conclusion that leaves you certain that you want to read the next instalment. It never stops moving, but gives you breathing spaces when you need them, and it’s not like any other story I’ve ever read. Yes, it’s truly unique.

Me: I never knew two sentences were so many. Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
Not me: I’ve a one on the way called Saving the World is Not for Girls which is about telepathy and a bunch of huge lobster type things with seven eyes and antennae. They have really cool ships, their computer memory banks are tanks of water and their ships are lit by the plankton living in the water containing their computer data banks. That’s not very appealing is it.

OK, try the one after that. It will be called Space Dustmen and is about the reclamation of space junk. So far I just the hero’s name, Driff, a picture of an aeroplane and this piece of conversation.

Driff: “I worry you.”
Baddie Politician with no name: “What? You? Epsilon pond slime shovelling space crap?”
Driff (laughs): “I’d rather shovel space crap than pedal shit.”

Me: God forbid I forget to ask this question of any of you ego maniacs -- I mean writers: Do you have a Website or Blog?

Not me: Yep, is my blog and there’s a more general website at about my books. I’m mtmcguireauthor on twitter.

Okay!  That's it!  If you haven't checked out M.T. McGuire and her amazing gourd -- and books -- do it now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Someone Else Who Isn't Me: Interview With M.A. McRae

Hello Splinkervillains!

Like all writers of zombie fiction, I'm just counting the days to the apocalypse.  According to the Mayan calendar, WallMart might as well start paying the employees a decent wage!

I plan on spending my last days eating Twinkies and -- What?  That's insane!  How can you have an apocalypse without Twinkies? A sock puppet cannot live on SPAM alone!  I mean, what's the point. I might as well pack it in and let someone else talk.

Whoah!  Relax, I was getting to you.

M.A. McRae is great writer who also happens not to be me. Despite this, she's managed to muddle on in life, writing stories, running down sandy beaches, and doing all those wonderful, exotic things we writers spend all our free time doing.

  Is it Saturday night already????

Welcome Marj!  Thanks you so much for stopping by today.  As you know, I've prepared a three page list of questions so we can all learn as much about you, your private life and your books, as possible.We're all dying to hear about your latest book, so let's get to it!

First off,  have you read “I've Been Deader,” and how much did you love it? 
Terribly sorry, Splinker, but my too-literal mind means that I see the pictures as you tell them, and I cringe. Others find your zombies funny. I shudder from them. Even some of the pictures on your blog page have me averting my eyes. Just a wimp, I guess.
But after all, fair’s fair. You didn’t -- 

Oh no! It seems that the internet is broken and we won't be able to give you the rest of M.A. MCrae's interview after all. I do apologize. Please feel free to enjoy these pictures of bunnies while we try to fix the problem:



Well, thank you everyone!  Come back again and -- Oh, all right.  Fine. Er, oh look, the internet was unplugged.  Fixed it.  Let's continue!

McRae:  Thank you.  As I was saying, after all, fair's fair.  You didn't my Shuki stories either, did you?  ‘Not a Man,’  my book about a eunuch, may have acquired some devoted fans and rave reviews, but there are also comments such as ‘difficult to read,’  ‘challenging’ and ‘intense.’

No Zombies?  Two Stars!

So now I’m going to shout about my recent releases – two books much lighter in tone and only about 300 pages rather than over 500 pages. Even the sex has been firmly placed ‘off-screen.’  A brand new release of not one, but two brand new books.  

Angel No More:  Bob has had some real highs and lows in his life. He’s a bit of a mystery when he arrives at Penwinnard – he refuses to talk of his history and he gives what the police are sure is a false name. But there are his friends left behind when he escaped, the ones still sentenced to death once they get too old for their purpose. So he tells the police a story – a story that ‘someone’ told him. According to him, he was never there, his name is Bob.    

 'You Gotta Have Manners.' The second Penwinnard Story centres on a young child, young Sidney Sneddon, orphaned, who sets his heart on earning himself a new family. Bob features in this story as well. Sid has to learn manners, and Bob’s the one who looks as if he could sit down to dinner with the queen and not look out of place. Sid learns from his hero, but also, he saves his life, and suddenly, the shame of being rejected for adoption no longer stings as much.

 The Penwinnard Stories are projected to be a collection of six books set in a Boys’ home in Cornwall. They are fiction, and while for many of the boys, there is a background of abuse and neglect, this is not what my stories are about. They are about the boys -  resilient, tough, sometimes far from docile, doing the best they can with the cards that life has dealt them.

The release date for these two new books on Amazon was set at 30th November, but now it’s 30th November, and it appears that they may not appear nicely linked to the author name and my other books as they should be. One can always look for them, of course, and the paperbacks are there. But if ‘Angel No More’ stays stubbornly invisible, simply find it on Smashwords.
Links to find my books:  Also available on Amazon and other online selling sites.
And a link to my blog:

And oh yes, the questions -
How did you start your writing career?
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
Does travel play in the writing of your books?...

And all that. Sorry, I’ve ignored your questions. Just like a politician – I only told you what I want to tell you.

Me: Nobody likes a comedian.  

Well, there you have it. If you're one of those weirdos who like your books zombie-free, give M.A. McRae's new tomes a try.  You could do a lot worse. Feel free to leave comments, small gifts and karma below!

M.A., thanks for stopping buy!