Interview with Author/Poet John Ormsby

Photo submitted by John Ormsby

Bio:

I grew up in Toronto where upon graduating university I landed a job as a copy editor for a legal publisher. The work was poorly paid and mind-numbingly forensic with no room whatsoever for any creativity; we were basically word accountants. Upping sticks, I moved to the UK where I’ve ended up teaching high school. It can be a tough gig some days but the kids are insanely creative and there are always lots of opportunities for laughs with them. Often what I hear during the day inspires my writing.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

My greatest accomplishment to date would be starting my blog and sticking at it. I wrote loads when I was a kid, edited the newspaper at university and almost went into journalism so writing’s definitely in the DNA. And then finally, just over a year ago I got off the pot and started my blog. To date, I’ve posted a collection one publisher has called ‘eclectic’- it’s a mixture of humour, horror, poetry, prose, essays and opinions – which has attracted an equally eclectic readership. I’m proud of my efforts and honoured that others consider it worth reading.

Why do you write?

I guess I’ve got lots to say. Sadly, few of us are gifted orators and writing offers me the chance to get my points across without being interrupted. I’m not a very brave sort but when I write I become a superhero who’s unafraid to pull out the creative big guns and tackle anything. I use different styles and voices I wouldn’t normally get away with at home or at work; it’s very liberating being a homicidal demon one moment, then a camp Martian in hot pants the next.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I’m writing this on a laptop with my dog snoring next to me on the sofa. Years ago I used to rise early and write until noon, after which I spent the rest of the day making revisions. These days, however, I can write day or night. I’ll often write and then take the dog for a walk so I can mull it over without seeing it. Usually by the time we’ve returned home I’ve ‘pictured’ what I need to do and make the necessary changes. And I revise constantly, often searching days for the right word until I find it. It sounds tedious and it is, but it’s essential because I rarely do anything right the first time in life.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

As more friends read my blog they’re becoming braver with their criticisms which is invaluable when it comes from those you trust. They’re catching everything from typos to non sequiturs which is surprising because all of them were raised outdoors.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

My blog contains the prologue of a novel entitled The Abomination which you’re featuring. It revolves around the First Nation peoples of Canada, the Church and a lot of cultural rituals we no longer notice within our society. It’s a supernatural thriller and I’ve written about half of it so far. Right now I need to kill a character to further the plot but I can’t bring myself to do it. I think I would have made a terrible vet.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I would like every one of my students to have to read my work and then sit a five-hour exam on it. That would be poetic justice after having had to read all their crap. Other than that, like most authors I simply wish to become widely-read because I’m not writing a diary. That’s it, really.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Write about what you know and research what you don’t know before writing about that. And don’t be intimidated because someone’s already covered what you were going to write about – what you have to say may spin the whole thing on its head. In this life, we have few opportunities to break rules without ending up before a judge; writing has no rules except those you impose upon yourself, so impose as few as possible and go for it.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Honesty: draw ideas from all around but don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.

A decent vocabulary (or a thesaurus): make every word count because the readers deserve it.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)  

The best place to find out about me is my blog: mrormsbyatlarge.com


Interview with Author Olivia Arieti

Photo courtesy Olivia Arieti

Bio:

I was born in Pisa, Italy, spent my childhood in Miami Beach, my teen years in Detroit and Milan, graduated from the University of Pisa and settled in Torre del Lago Puccini where I live with my family and my four dogs. Being bilingual (English and Italian) I have to deal with two languages constantly, and that’s not always an easy task. Since I was a child my parents have exhorted me to write and I am very grateful to them for that.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

I believe that having some work published is an achievement nowadays with all the amazing competition there is.

Why do you write?

Because I enjoy it. My characters whether in a play or a story, end up intriguing me and that’s exciting.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I prefer writing at my pc, generally in the morning. I do a lot of revision as complete satisfaction is never easy to reach.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

No, I always review my work by myself.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I’m working on a few short stories and revising a play I wrote years ago.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

I have some stories that should be published soon and a streaming of a play in March. It was one of the six finalists in a playwriting competition in London.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I hope to write something good and worthy that may impress my readers and remain in their hearts. 

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Bad reviews are never good and also hurt, but sometimes you can spot some clues that may turn out helpful.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Keep being creative, never stop nourishing your imagination and believe in your work.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

The dictionary and good grammar books are basic tools. There are also useful online resources and writing communities.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)  

On websites that have published my work.


Interview with Marcelo Medone

Marcelo Medone

Marcelo Medone (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961) is a medical doctor, lyric tenor singer, painter, journalist, fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His fiction and poetry has received awards and has been published in reviews and editions in various languages in more than 20 countries, in Latin America, USA, Canada, Spain, France, Nigeria, India and Australia. He currently lives in San Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.


Bio:

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1961 and was raised in nearby Montevideo,
Uruguay, where I resided till I was 27, when I moved back to Buenos Aires. (I have dual
citizenship: Argentinian and Uruguayan.) I started writing and became a journalist in
Montevideo, working for newspapers and magazines and also on radio. I studied and
became a Medical Doctor in Uruguay and I specialized in Pediatrics in Argentina. I
married, had three children and got divorced. I started singing as a tenor in choirs, studied
cinematography and became a screenwriter, then I dedicated myself to painting. Now I
continue singing, painting, writing and cherishing my children. I currently live in San
Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

In 2009 I earned my first international writing prize with my book “Nada menos que
Juan” (“Nothing Less than Juan”), that was published in Spanish in most of Latin
America, and in Portuguese for the Brazilian market. Since then, I have been published
more than a hundred times in 27 countries, in various languages, thanks to the fact that I
write in English, Portuguese and French in addition to Spanish. The list of places include
Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Spain, France, England, Nigeria, India
and Australia, as well as California, Texas, Illinois and now Arizona in the United States.
Most of these publications are flash fiction and short stories, but my poetry has been
published in 10 countries, so far.

Why do you write?

It is the same urgency that I have with singing or painting. I want to express myself and
produce something that I presume beautiful out of nothing. I read a lot (mostly books in
Spanish and English) and I also watch a lot of movies. And very often I find masterpieces
that inspire me or, on the other hand, good ideas badly executed that trigger my own
writings, in short fiction, poetry or even screenwriting.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks,
traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something
before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

I try to write every day, even when I’m on call at the hospital or in my private office,
making annotations in medical prescription pads. I devote three days a week to my
medical profession and four days to writing. Sometimes a story or a poem comes right
away, but most often I read it and revise it many times until I know that it is good
enough, even along many weeks or months. I write in my notebook and keep many of the
intermediate or alternate versions of my writings. Sometimes a short story has two or
three different endings. Sometimes I take a short screen script I have written long ago and transform it in a story or a chapter of a novel. There are some editors that help me but
only when I am sending material to be published with them. In the last two decades, I
participated in many literary workshops as a member. Since 2019, I take part in the
literary workshop coordinated by a great writer, editor and friend of mine named Sergio
Gaut vel Hartman (you can Google him). I upload some of the stories to his workshop
and we discuss them, which often results in better versions.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish
them?

I live alone and, besides the literary workshop, I rarely ask for a second opinion. When I
send a story or a poem to a magazine or to an editor and it is eventually rejected, I revise
it and try to find a reason for the rejection. Sometimes I rewrite it for better. Other times,
I find a most situable destination for it.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

So far, I have written four novels that remain unpublished, the last, a thriller titled
“Wolves and Rabbits”. And I am now writing what I am sure it will be my best novel,
titled “Open Ties”, in which each chapter may function as a separate story, but all
together they constitute a coherent whole, in the style of the great collection of stories
“The Burning Plain” by Mexican Juan Rulfo, one of my favorite authors, alongside Jorge
Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Levrero and Ernest
Hemingway. And I have finished my last feature film script titled “After the Tremor”, in
which a low intensity earthquake shakes a great city and as a consequence a series of
stories intermingle in unexpected ways. Its tagline is “Do you need an earthquake to get
your life shaken?” I have registered the script and I am actively looking for producers.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being
published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or
talks?

I’ve been interviewed many times in the past, for literary and cultural magazines,
newspapers, and radio programs, and participated in various speeches in book fairs or
most recently in teleconferences by Zoom or Google Meet. I have more than fifty works
awaiting verdict in contests around the world and a dozen waiting to be published in the
next months.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

I hope to find an original way of telling the same old stories, the same old themes that
have always moved human beings: love, hatred, power, blood ties and the desire to
transcend death. I always have new projects in mind and I believe that my best work is
yet to be written.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

I’ve always had good reviews. Or maybe I was lucky enough for not finding the bad
ones.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Read a lot and varied. Read books with good and bad reviews, but always with a critical
eye. Write every day, even half an hour. And read out loud what you write, whenever it is
possible. You learn to write by writing, revising and correcting what you have written.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

If you are smart enough, you can decode the process of writing of the best well-known
writers in your language or in good translations and find a way to assimilate it to your
writing. This, as for the form. Then, you must observe everything around you as if you’ve
never seen it before and register the little details that may inspire you and give credibility
to your ideas. And use your imagination.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (web sites, social
media, etc.)

My short fiction, stories and poems are scattered among a large number of anthologies
and magazines around the world, mostly in Spanish. “101 Words”, in Berkeley, has
published me twice so far. Besides, you can find some more by visiting me on social
media: Facebook: Marcelo Medone / Instagram: @marcelomedone


Interview with Author Joe Pawlowski

Bio:

Joe Pawlowski is the author of four books: The Vermilion Book of the Macabre (where “The Intruder” originally appears), The Watchful DeadDark House of Dreams, and, most recently, The Cannibal Gardener. He is a retired journalist living in the Minneapolis area with his wife, Debbie, and rescue dog, Lucy. He is a U.S. Army veteran, a secular Buddhist, a major Beatles fan, a vegan, and a lifelong student of classic horror and supernatural literature. Besides reading and writing, he enjoys music, movies and socializing with his many friends. 

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far? 

I was a journalist for many years, both in newspapers and magazines. I was an editor, a columnist and a freelancer. I remember the first time I sold a freelance article to a national publication called U.S. Art, it was pretty exciting. But nothing matches having a book published. I’ve loved horror fiction since I was a grade-schooler reading Edgar Allan Poe, and am thrilled to be working in this same medium. I always think that my best book is my most recent one, but opinions vary. And, hey, having my story printed in The Chamber magazine is pretty cool, too. 

Why do you write? 

The easy answer would be to say I want to scare people, but there’s more to it than that. When I’m in the writing mode, it’s like visiting another world. Admittedly, reality is subjective even in a state of mindfulness, but when I’m writing I’m able to reinvent any aspect of existence. Black is white, up is down, the laws of science aren’t binding. Why? Because in this story, I’ve designed things that way. When I’m writing, I’m in a completely different zone than in my day-to-day life, and I’m totally invested in the lives of people I’ve created; their struggles, their triumphs, their failures. Ultimately, writing is its own reward. 

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.) 

I write pretty much every morning from around 8 or 9 a.m. to about noon or maybe 1. Sometimes longer. Depends if I’m a writing groove. I tend to rewrite quite a bit, mostly as I go along. I write at my kitchen table. My productivity is much higher when I stick to this routine. 

Usually, I start every story with an idea and a basic concept of where the story is headed. I develop my characters, and a lot of the plot hinges on what types of people they are and how they react to their circumstances. I read a lot to research, mine and merge plot points, create atmosphere and construct (hopefully) believable characters. People ask me if I’m a sadist, but I’m really not. I feel for the people I’m putting through the wringer. Even the not-so-nice people. To some degree, even the monsters. 

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them? 

After I’ve written, rewritten and extensively edited a story, I’ll usually ask friends to read it. My stepdaughter, Jennifer Thompson, has a good eye for details and she enjoys reading, so her input is invaluable. I use Grammarly on everything. For novels, I also use the services of Danita Mayer, a class-A professional editor. She’s been very helpful in pointing out ways to improve a story, and I almost always follow her advice. 

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything? 

I’m almost finished with a collection of weird-fiction stories, which should be out in March or April. I’m also writing a novel about a troubled guy who inherits a fishing resort in northern Minnesota. He thinks he’s headed for a simple life of peace and tranquility. Of course, he couldn’t be more wrong. It is a horror novel, right? 

Do you have any writing events coming up?  

I’ll probably do some book signings after this Covid situation gets resolved. 

What do you hope to achieve as a writer? 

A measure of immortality, I guess. The books will be around after I’m gone. For me, writing books is building a legacy of sorts. With digital publishing, there will probably be copies of my work for future great-great-great grandchildren to look up. They can say, my relative wrote some pretty scary stuff. 

On a case-by-case basis, I hope I create fiction that goes beyond tropes and, ultimately, says something about the human condition. 

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you? 

You have to shrug them off bad reviews. Some people are going to like your stuff, others aren’t. If there’s some wisdom to be gleaned from a reader’s remarks then, yeah, I’m listening. If you just don’t like it, well, I’m sorry you wasted your $2.99 or whatever. I can’t please everyone, though, of course, I wish everyone loved my stuff. 

What advice do you have for novice writers? 

Read. I usually read books for an hour or more every day, plus websites. I listen to audiobooks all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies and some TV shows, but the boob tube will devour every free, waking hour of your life if you let it. Same thing with video games. To each his own, but don’t think you can get away with not reading and still be a worthwhile writer. You won’t have the tools to do it. 

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use? 

Be yourself. Be a unique individual. There’s a lot of books out there and, if you want to attract your share of readers, you need a unique voice and outlook. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)   

I have a website (www.joepawlowskiauthor.com), and I’m on Facebook (Joe Pawlowski, Author), Instagram (www.instagram.com/joepawlowskiauthor), Goodreads, and MeWe.


Interview with John DeLaughter, Author and Essayist

John DeLaughter photo

John A. DeLaughter M.Div., M.S., is a Data Security Analyst and Lovecraft essayist, horror, and fantasy author. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife Heidi. His work has appeared in The Lovecraft eZineSamsara: The Magazine of SufferingTigershark eZineTurn To Ash, and The Eldritch Literary Review Journal. John is presently editing his original epic fantasy work, Dark Union Rising.


Bio:

John A. DeLaughter, MDiv, MS is a data security analyst, author, and Lovecraft essayist. Discover his HPL essays in publications such as The Lovecraft eZine, Aphotic Realm, Vastarien: A Literary Journal, Turn to Ash, and Círculo de Lovecraft (Spain). His horror shorts appear in HPL anthologies like “Ancestors and Descendants: Lovecraftian Prequels and Sequels”, “Protector of the Veil”, and “The Fellowship of the Old Ones”.John is also the author of fantasy novels in the Dark Union saga, “Night of the Kwatee and “Dawn of the Dark Union”.  John lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Heidi and two dogs.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

To me, the fun is in when you are asked to join a project out of nowhere. I am not sure that stands as “the greatest accomplishment”. But, it is very satisfying when you have developed a niche with what you have written, and based on whatever reputation that has garnered you, an invitation here and there appears. I think it validates what you have been doing as a writer.

Why do you write?

Once you come to the place where you do write—not just someone who says they want to write “someday” though many of us start out in that category—there is a compelling sense or need to write in order to feel fulfilled in life.

I cannot put it any simpler than that.

Just recognize that your passion to write is not something everyone else, either among your family, friends, or social contacts, is equally interested in or wants to hear you talk about it.

Learn not to be discouraged by that fact. Not everyone is interested to a sport like fishing or Tour-de-France bicycling either.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

Particularly in non-fiction writing, I bone-up on the subject quite a bit before I ever begin writing about it. I accumulate MS word files with notes from what I read. Then I begin to assemble my thoughts based on those notes, and the unconscious ideas that suddenly pop into my head that result from all the reading involved.  I work on the order of the ideas, on catchy titles, for the main title and subsections of the essays, etc. I continue to work a piece until it feels right.

Sometimes, I create a MS word file with two columns using the “insert table” feature, use the left column for the wording of the actual essay, while using the right column to gather facts from my notes and work on assembling the ideas into my words and my order of thought. Plus, always cite your sources with end notes. That shows the work that went into the piece and that you are not plagiarizing someone else’s ideas. Nothing kills your credibility more than not citing your sources.

For horror and fantasy fiction, I like to add true ideas and plausible thoughts that lend an air of authenticity and believability to a fictional narrative. For example, from Lovecraft’s writing, he included longitude and latitude readings in “The Call of Cthulhu” and “At the Mountains of Madness” to lean an air of “the fictional, unknown events portrayed occurred here in the known world…’

Or, if the fabled mountain ranges in the Antarctica that were higher than the Himalayas in Lovecraft’s narrative simply do not reflect our modern map of that continent, come up with a logical premise that is plausible and explains the apparent contradictions. Another such device that Lovecraft and others used was to place their fictional, forbidden magical grimoires along side real similar volumes to lend authenticity to their fictional works and the disasters that resulted from using them. For example, the dreaded but fictious “Necronomicon” exists in some of his stories alongside Cotton Mather’s  “Wonders of the Invisible World.” You can do the same with famous, known events from history and either place a fictious event beside the true event. Or give a fictious, horrific explanation of the known event.

One final thought. After you have gone through and made changes, run a standard spell/grammar check over what you’ve just edited. Sometimes, while you are in the process of correcting mistakes, you unintentionally create others.

Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

There are many people in your life, friends, and family, who promise to read and write a review on what you write. But when it comes down to the actual fulfillment of those promises, it doesn’t happen.

In a recent Time Travel project with three other writers – Byron Craft, Matthew Davenport, and David Hambling – we employed a professional editor/proofreader to tighten up the five stories in that volume and split the cost.

That work, “Time Loopers: Four Tales from a Time War” (2020) has Mythos-elements in each story to varying degrees.

If you do not have a beta-reader or reviewer, once you have made changes, put the work aside for a few days to a week. Then pick it up again. It will help you to have a fresher set of eyes looking for mistakes and logic issues.

What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

To me, the fun is in when you are asked to join a project out of nowhere. I am not sure that stands as “the greatest accomplishment”. But, it is very satisfying when you have developed a niche with what you have written, and based on whatever reputation that has garnered you, an invitation here and there appears. I think it validates what you have been doing as a writer.

Why do you write?

Once you come to the place where you do write—not just someone who says they want to write “someday” though many of us start out in that category—there is a compelling sense or need to write in order to feel fulfilled in life. I cannot put it any simpler than that.

Just recognize that your passion to write is not something everyone else, either among your family, friends, or social contacts, is equally interested in or wants to hear you talk about it.

Learn not to be discouraged by that fact. Not everyone is interested to a sport like fishing or Tour-de-France bicycling either.

What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.)

Particularly in non-fiction writing, I bone-up on the subject quite a bit before I ever begin writing about it. I accumulate MS word files with notes from what I read. Then I begin to assemble my thoughts based on those notes, and the unconscious ideas that suddenly pop into my head that result from all the reading involved.  I work on the order of the ideas, on catchy titles, for the main title and subsections of the essays, etc. I continue to work a piece until it feels right.

Sometimes, I create a MS word file with two columns using the “insert table” feature, use the left column for the wording of the actual essay, while using the right column to gather facts from my notes and work on assembling the ideas into my words and my order of thought. Plus, always cite your sources with end notes. That shows the work that went into the piece and that you are not plagiarizing someone else’s ideas. Nothing kills your credibility more than not citing your sources.

For horror and fantasy fiction, I like to add true ideas and plausible thoughts that lend an air of authenticity and believability to a fictional narrative. For example, from Lovecraft’s writing, he included longitude and latitude readings in “The Call of Cthulhu” and “At the Mountains of Madness” to lean an air of “the fictional, unknown events portrayed occurred here in the known world…’

Or, if the fabled mountain ranges in the Antarctica that were higher than the Himalayas in Lovecraft’s narrative simply do not reflect our modern map of that continent, come up with a logical premise that is plausible and explains the apparent contradictions.

Another such device that Lovecraft and others used was to place their fictional, forbidden magical grimoires along side real similar volumes to lend authenticity to their fictional works and the disasters that resulted from using them. For example, the dreaded but fictious “Necronomicon” exists in some of his stories alongside Cotton Mather’s “Wonders of the Invisible World.” You can do the same with famous, known events from history and either place a fictious event beside the true event. Or give a fictious, horrific explanation of the known event.

One final thought. After you have gone through and made changes, run a standard spell/grammar check over what you’ve just edited. Sometimes, while you are in the process of correcting mistakes, you unintentionally create others.

Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

I am presently editing the final book in a fantasy trilogy series entitled, “Day of the Archmage.” The Dark Union Saga Trilogy has some Lovecraftian/Mythos themes to it. I hope to release that in early 2021.

I have the outlines, research, and an identified market for a H.P. Lovecraft essay, tentatively entitled, “Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’ and HP Lovecraft:

Did Rover Arise from a Bloom of Shoggoths?” I hope the title is self-evident as to the direction of the subject material.

Along with both projects, I will be developing promos and sales pitches to post on the various social media outlets where I maintain a presence.

For now, that is what appears on my literary “Drawing Board” for early 2021.

Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

Once it is completed, The Innsmouth Book Club wants to do an interview about “Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’ and HP Lovecraft: Did Rover Arise from a Bloom of Shoggoths?”

The Innsmouth Book Club is associated with two anthologies my horror work has appeared in, “Ancestors & Descendants: Lovecraftian Prequels & Sequels” (2019) and “Weird Tails: a Lovecraftian Cat Anthology” (2020).

And of course, there is this interview for Phil Slattery’s The Chamber an online horror zine.

What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

As a non-fiction writer, there are certain topics that continually come up in my mind that I need to address. Since I write about Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the horror writer, it could surround either an event in his life or letters. Or it might concern so aspect of his fiction, such as similarities between his horror stories and the fiction of others. For example, I wrote an essay that examined whether J.R.R. Tolkien’s work was influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, entitled, “Lovecraft and Tolkien: Lovecraftian Horrors in Middle-Earth?” That one got translated into Spanish and appeared in a Horror-zine based in Spain.

My point is, I like to write about issues in horror non-fiction that others haven’t addressed Or I like to add an angle that hasn’t been fully explored.

In fiction, I have horror as well as fantasy aspirations. I try to give voice to both of those motivations, either through horror shorts at the moment, or through fantasy volumes, such as editing the final volume in a LOTR-style trilogy. That book is entitled, “Day of the Archmage.”  The Dark Union saga does feature some subplots that reviewers say lean a Lovecraftian vibe to the series.

What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Bad reviews are inevitable. They can be harmful if you struggle to get reviews. Many are over elements in you book that you have no control over it. Disgruntled writers who got rejected from a project write bad reviews about the finished project. People who don’t like the price point or the way the book is formatted, may write a bad review.

If you read a bad review, glance at it, gather quickly any value in it, then move on. Continue to promote the book, because when other reviews come, good reviews will balance out the bad ones.  You cannot let a bad review throw off your composure and your drive.

What advice do you have for novice writers?

Write and get published somewhere. You may write for publishing credits for some time versus pay in order to get a name in the writing arena and some type of following.  That has been my path as a writer, but that may not be everyone’s experience.

Next, you must learn how to deal with rejections. They come as “cattle-call” rejections, rejections you can learn from – the rejecting editor give you some helpful advice on what you’ve submitted, rejections from someone who has previously published your work, etc.

One I have is a partial rejection that’s still up in the air. The editors enjoyed my initial submission, but had some issues they felt that needed to be addressed. They spelt out the issues, I revised the project to tailor it to address their issues, and resubmitted it. I have not heard back from them yet. There was no guarantee that if I revised the submission to their specifications that it would be accepted.

You must exercise patience with publishers. You also need to develop a “live-and-let-live” attitude towards a publisher, who may have published some of your submissions, while rejecting others. That’s part of becoming a professional in your outlook as a writer.

One last thing. You need to develop your marketing skills as a writer. If you get published by a traditional publisher or end up self-publishing that is not the end of the process. It begins the second half of the process—which is peddling your work to the masses. Some type of social media presence is a must. And recognize that not everyone who follows you on a social media platform equals a sale that self-same person.

Use what is immediately available to you. For example, if your book or a book you appear in sells through Amazon, develop a related Amazon’s author’s page.

But do not overdo your social media publishing efforts. For instance, there is a “law of diminishing return” i.e., there is a point where doing additional promotional activities does not equate to increased sales. People can get numb to your wonderful ad promos if you push them too much, too often. Related to that is, do not let your promotional time eat up the time and energy you need to write. You need to discover that balance for yourself.

For me, I have a full-time job and family concerns. So, writing and promoting that writing needs to fit into the other priorities in my life. For instance, I do social media promotions seven days a week. That usually occurs in the evenings. But, sometime I have other things to do at night, so you have to make allowances for the rest of your life.

And a final thing. I am foremostly on social media to promote my writing. As a rule, I do not use social media for the reasons other people use those mediums.

Don’t forget we all have literary influences. Mine include H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, C.S. Lewis, Clifford Simak, and J.R.R. Tolkien. If someone reads your work, and brings up “your writing sounds like So-in-So” that’s ok. A writer’s life is constantly developing their own style and voice. Take any such comparisons as a compliment and move on.

What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Your time, your energy, and your attitude. You need to do whatever you can to “keep your head in the game.” Read things other writers do to keep writing. Hear about their struggles so you don’t think the difficulties you face in writing are insurmountable.

To me, your stick-to-itiveness—meaning dogged perseverance—is your greatest asset as a writer. The odds of lightning striking you—i.e., you becoming a best seller—increase if you are walking around outside in a storm holding a lightning rod. The more you write, the farther afield your work gets published, the greater the chance of getting struck by lightning.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

I have an Amazon Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/John-DeLaughter/e/B078ZKDR12

I have a Twitter Author’s Page: https://twitter.com/HPL_JDeLaughter

I have a Facebook Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/HPLJDeLaughter/

I have an Instagram Author’s Page: https://www.instagram.com/hpl_jdelaughter/?hl=en