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Trip Into Imaginarium: The Secrets Behind the Scenes


It is time. Last week, we heard from Stephen Zimmer, in his interview, on the inspiration as well as some in-and-outs for Imaginarium coming up in September. This week, we hear from Susan H. Roddey, the mover and shaker behind the scenes in today’s guest post. It is time to pull back the curtain and peek at what lies behind…

Pay no attention to that girl behind the curtain…

Whoever said being a creative person is easy was nuts. Seriously. Cray-zee. Off his rocker. The honest, ugly truth is that being creative is extremely difficult. Sometimes it even sucks. You see, we spend entirely too much time in our own heads, tumbling through the labyrinthine halls of our imaginations, becoming burdened down with those annoying little creative clingers – ideas that eventually turn into books, movies, artwork, and music. We are at the mercy of our brains.

That tidbit will be relevant in a minute. I promise. But first, a story.

So last year, Stephen Zimmer and I were in a bar in Louisville along with a dozen or so other people. And we were drinking. I know, I know. Most stories that start with “We were drinking whiskey and…” never end well. Don’t worry, nobody lost their clothes and nobody ended up falling into the Ohio River. What did happen was a spark; a simple idea.

I’m speaking of the night Imaginarium was born. Stephen announced that he wanted to start his own event – an idea I’d been tossing around for months on my own but didn’t have the resources. Everything he said was exactly what I’d been thinking. We needed an event for the artists. We needed a place where people of our ilk, hard-working artists from all walks of life, could be the focus. We wanted to foster friendship and fellowship among the creatives, to build a strong network of people who… well, who get it.

The more we talked, the more excited we became. Now here we are a year later. We’ve chased this crazy dream down the rabbit hole, and it’s more wonderful in reality than we ever thought possible.

“…Stephen is the driving force behind Imaginarium.”

I do need to pause here and tell you that Stephen is the driving force behind Imaginarium. He probably won’t take as much credit for it as he should, but this is his dream. He wanted to make this real, and he’s done it in the most amazing of ways. I’m just the mouthpiece he enlisted to help keep it functioning. I’ve spent half my life in administration and events planning, so it was a natural fit to step in and help with the organization and paperwork.

Sometimes people don’t realize how much work goes into a show of this size. It isn’t easy, but even having taken a few lumps in the process, I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

Busy is an understatement. Stephen and I hit the ground running each morning (him more so than me since I tend to stumble along in his wake). We have lists and spreadsheets and grids. There’s also a Facebook chat thread that’s teetering somewhere at the 50,000 messages mark. We chat. We email. We text. We call each other at ungodly hours of the day and night. We’ve done pretty much everything but send up smoke signals.

We’ve also sought out the best in the business and drawn them in to help coordinate various events across the weekend. We’ve networked and schmoozed and emailed until our eyes have crossed. Most mornings Stephen comes online to find random diatribes waiting in his inbox where I’ve gone off in stream of consciousness mode listing off all the things that kept me up the previous night. He gets to see my rants and ravings and the general silliness that comes with being overworked and underpaid (that would be the day job), being a struggling author, and keeping my head on my shoulders while making sure we’ve covered all of our bases. Then he laughs at me, tells me to behave, and go back to work.

“The energy is amazing already. I can’t wait to see it explode when everyone comes together.”

It’s not just about contacting panelists and asking for their favorite topics. That’s the easy part. Right now we’re working on promoting this monster of an event and the guests involved, but I’m also wrangling volunteers while Stephen works with the Crowne Plaza to finalize room details. We’re securing A/V equipment, planning for security, creating t-shirts, printing up badges, building a program, organizing workshops, and still working hard to keep the friendship and camaraderie going among the guests.

Because I’ll tell you, the key to a good event is happy guests. If our panelists are excited, others will want to be excited too. Happiness is infectious, and it’s what keeps us going day after day despite the looming stress of Making Things Work. The energy is amazing already. I can’t wait to see it explode when everyone comes together.

In the last year, we’ve met some of the most wonderful people. It’s part of why I was so eager to jump in and help when Stephen first uttered the word “Imaginarium.” I like to get to know other authors and artists, to see how they work and what makes them tick. I like hearing their stories and seeing how their creativity comes out in their work. (And we won’t discuss the squealing fangirl moment in a message to Stephen when I discovered Jeffrey Reddick is now following me on Twitter, because that would be embarrassing.) My goal over the last month has been to build relationships with our guest and make certain they know we’re always available if they need us.

“Quite simply, Susan is involved with me in all areas of the event. Susan and I complement each other extremely well in our styles. Like me, she also brings to the table an understanding that encompasses both sides of the equation, the artist perspective and the organizational aspects. This balanced outlook, coupled with her keen intelligence, spreadsheet wizardry, and easy to work with personality make for a pleasant and productive environment. She definitely brightens any world that she is involved in, which is why I call her Sunshine Susan. I am deeply appreciative and honored by her involvement with Imaginarium. We are very lucky to have her with us….Stephen Zimmer’s thoughts on Susan H. Roddey

Which brings me back to my first statement about creativity. Yes, Stephen and I are shuffling paperwork and wracking our brains for the perfect balance to the schedule, but we’re doing it for the best causes. We’re doing it for the guests, for the fans, for the indie community, and for the industry. But above all else, we do it for the love of the craft. We’re writers, you see, and in this day and age of flooded markets and stiff competition, we creative types have to stick together.

In the Imaginarium, we welcome everyone with open arms and hope that by doing our part to provide a safe haven and comfortable atmosphere, we can help solidify the artistic community and keep creativity alive.

S.H. Roddey

About S.H. Roddey

Susan H RoddeySouth Carolina native S.H. Roddey has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the speculative fiction spectrum filled with mystery and intrigue. She brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. In addition to writing she is also a voracious reader, wanna-be chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative social media professional, and mom to two cats, a teenager, and a precocious toddler with an affinity for computer keyboards.

For more information on Susan, her imagination, and the things she writes: www.shroddey.com

 


Imaginarium Con 2014September 19-21, 2014
Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky

Imaginarium 2014 is a three-day creative writing convention and book fair suitable for attendees of all ages! With over 140 panels spread across twelve programming tracks, after-hours events, and a full vendor hall, it’s the place where ideas transcend imagination, where authors and readers can come together, and where new writers can learn tricks of the trade from more than 130 of today’s best independent publishing professionals. In addition to the literary programming, Imaginarium also features world-class workshops, an art show, film festival, gaming room, and more.

www.EnterTheImaginarium.com

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Trip Into Imagineering, Writing

 

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Five Best Zombie Series You Already Know About (And A Bonus One)


Guest Post Time! I reached out to Armand Rosamilia asking him, almost begged which isn’t pretty, to visit Trip Through My Mind for a guest post. After some negotiations, bribes of M&Ms, and my agreement to make a public statement here, “Armand it the greatest guy in the world.” (Now, I have said it so I have paid my dues) he agreed to visit us today.

You have heard the name before on Trip Through My Mind as I have featured an interview (Summer of Zombie Blog Tour: Armand Rosamilia Interview), a guest book review from Margaret Colton for Armand’s Dying Days 4 release (Reader’s Retreat: Dying Days 4), and featured his website as part of the Weekly Spotlight (Weekly Spotlight: ArmandRosamilia.com). Today, I wanted to get his insight– the Five Best Zombie Series according to Armand Rosamilia. I will step aside now and give the podium to Mr. Armand Rosamilia.

Five Best Zombie Series You Already Know About (And A Bonus One)

Armand Rosamilia

First off, I need to thank Jerry Benns for letting me stop by and chat a little bit… I have a new book out, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is to point out a few zombie series I like and you should, too… and this is posted not for the veteran zombie fan out there (who already owns all these books, I’m sure) but for the newbies coming into the zombie book world who are looking for a great jump off starting point.

Five authors who write what I believe are the books you need to read, in no real order (although they are numbered, so technically that is an order):

1. Brian KeeneThe Rising is the book that started it all for me when it came to zombies. All of his zombie books are loosely connected (indeed, all of his books are in one way or another) and with each slightly different change the books get better and better. Highly recommended.

2. Joe McKinney – I saw Dead City on the shelf at the local Barnes & Noble a few years ago, saw it was zombies and the cover looked cool. Why not? From the first page it hooked me and I’ve waited for each and every new zombie book from Joe. He’s another writer that doesn’t technically write it as one series, but they can be read as a broader sense of his amazing zombie stories.

3. Mark Tufo – I’d like to think (and brag) I got Tufo really started in zombie stories when I published his “My Name Is Riley” short story in the Undead Tales anthology, which he launched into a great set of zombie books. Of course, you need to read his Zombie Fallout series. The guy knows how to write a story that is terrifying, funny and realistic all at once.

4. John O’Brien – If you’re into realistic military zombie stories (whatever that really means, I guess), Mr. O’Brien has you covered. A New World series showcases his military background without trying to show how intelligent the author is and what he knows. He presents his situations so the casual reader of zombie fiction can keep along without having to relate or know all of the jargon. And he succeeds in pulling you in and keeping you reading.

5. Shawn Chesser – His Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse series is tightly written and jammed with memorable characters and scenes, and he’s another author (like everyone on the list) with a rabid fan base. It’s been earned, because Mr. Chesser keeps you reading until the end and then wishing you had another book. And the way he writes (and writes well) another zombie book is right around the corner.

Super Bonus Pick…

Armand Rosamilia – Hey, why not? My Dying Days extreme zombie series is easily my biggest seller and readers really respond to the rawness of the characters and the zombies, who sometimes take a backseat to the carnage the survivors, put you through.

I may be partial, but I’m still going to recommend it. Dying Days 4 just came out, too… so hurry and catch up.

Oh, and you have to read the short story “Dead Like Me” from Adam-Troy Castro. An extra bonus pick. It is my favorite zombie short story of all time, and you’ll love it, too…

I’ve given you enough homework to last awhile.

Armand Rosamilia


Armand PicArmand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he exacts revenge on his enemies and neighbors alike by writing them into his Dying Days zombie series. And not in good ways. He has over 120 releases to date, with more coming. He is also a radio and internet DJ and runs Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast, with interviews from the best authors, etc. in horror. He loves talking in third person. http://armandrosamilia.com and armandrosamilia@gmail.com if you want to chat.


Check out Armand Rosamilia’s 120+ releases on Amazon and pick up your copy of Dying Days 4.

Meet Armand Rosamilia in person at the Imaginarium Conventions 2014 where he will be a guest panelist, signing books, and hanging out with fans. For more information on Imaginarium, see below.

 Imaginarium Con 2014

September 19-21, 2014
Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky

Imaginarium 2014 is a three-day creative writing convention and book fair suitable for attendees of all ages! With over 140 panels spread across twelve programming tracks, after-hours events, and a full vendor hall, it’s the place where ideas transcend imagination, where authors and readers can come together, and where new writers can learn tricks of the trade from more than 130 of today’s best independent publishing professionals. In addition to the literary programming, Imaginarium also features world-class workshops, an art show, film festival, gaming room, and more.

www.EnterTheImaginarium.com

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2014 in Books, Horror, zombies

 

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Trip Into Imaginarium: Stephen Zimmer Shares All


Imaginarium Con 2014I will start today by saying I am excited. Yep, pretty excited to introduce a new feature, Trip Into Imagineering. This new feature will be focusing on some of the guests and events happening around the first annual Imaginarium Con 2014. What is an Imaginarium, you ask? Once again, I am so proud of my reader’s inquisitive natures. Imaginarium Con is an epic event which will take place in Louisville, Kentucky September 19-21, 2014. In order to clarify how cool Imaginarium is, I went to the source, Stephen Zimmer. I met Stephen Zimmer earlier this year at another event, MidSouth Con 32. As you may notice by how many times I mention meeting people at a particular Con, they are great places to network and build one of the things I hold dear–community. In September, I will once again seek out like minded individuals at the gathering, Imaginarium Convention 2014. At the end of the interview will be links directing you to the registration and information. Now it is time to learn a little more about the event and meet Stephen Zimmer.

Trip Through My Mind: I would like to welcome, Stephen Zimmer to Trip Through My Mind. This is your first visit to our little venue. I want to start by saying, I cannot wait to attend the Imaginarium Con in September. When I first heard about the con, I marked it on my calendar. Could you give us a little info on what to expect at Imaginarium for both veteran con-goers and newbies?

 

Stephen Zimmer

Stephen Zimmer the man behind Imaginarium

Stephen Zimmer: All conventions have themes or a focus of some sort and Imaginarium is no different. In a nutshell, Imaginarium is a convention that is centered upon creative writing. I say it like that because I do not refer to books alone, but all forms of creative writing, including screenwriting, writing for games, stage and song, and even poetry. Our programming is extensive, with over 125 panels in twelve categories, featuring over 130 professional panelist guests coming from all across the book industry, and the worlds of gaming, comics, and movies. We also feature a number of dedicated workshops too.

While there is a richness of content, Imaginarium is set in a fun convention environment, with a vendor hall, masquerade, art show, gaming room, film festival and other activities .   I see Imaginarium as a prime place for writers, editors, publishers, cover artists, comic artists, filmmakers, screenwriters, game designers, poets, songwriters, and readers to come together for a great weekend of networking, learning and fun. We have worked hard to make it as affordable and accessible as possible, even offering special group rates to enable student groups to participate. We want Imaginarium to work for everyone at many levels.

TTMM: I cannot wait to be one of those 130 panelists. It will be my first time as a panelist and I am beside myself with excitement. I first heard of it through the podcast you are involved in, The Star Chamber Show. When we met in Memphis, your excitement for Imaginarium was contagious. What I have wanted to ask you is, what inspired the creation of the Imaginarium Con?

SZ: I am around a lot of conventions and literary events, many of which I absolutely love such as MidSouth Con, which you mentioned, but I really wanted to see an event that made the creative writer and storyteller the focus of the entire event. I did not see that as limited to only the short story, novel and novella realms, hence the areas of the event catering to gaming, screenwriting, comics and graphic novels, and more.

At the same time, I did not want it to be overly formal. I wanted an environment that is comfortable for newcomers, those just getting into the industry, unpublished authors and readers too. So, I felt that this should be done in a convention-style environment, with a lot of the things that those who go to mixed media or fandom cons tend to enjoy, such as a masquerade, an art show, or a nice vendors hall.

We are trying to make sure we don’t spread too thin in year one, but I do feel we have all the elements in place to have a really nice event.

TTMM: From your website EnterTheImaginarium.com, I get the feeling you are building a community of writers, publishers, artists, instead of fostering competition. We have had this conversation before, but I think we have very similar ideas on the subject. Could you share with everyone why building up the writing community is important to you?

SZ: Our competition is with ourselves, to push ourselves to produce better and better material with every new release. The competition is not with fellow authors and publishers. This might sound counterintuitive at first, but truly the authors that have noticed who tend to progress the fastest are the ones who have a win-win philosophy. Mainly, they are supportive and willing to help other authors and publishers.

Being mutually supportive really does create a stronger environment which is much more suited to attract a greater number of readers and cross-pollinate among the various authors and publishers. A reader who discovers Seventh Star Press will be exposed to and discover authors with Charon Coin Press, or Blackwyrm Publishing, or Apex Book Company. Same dynamic for individual authors. It really does work like that when you have a cohesive, friendly, mutually supportive community.

This kind of positive-driven environment also has the effect of encouraging everyone to put out quality work. None of us want to be a turnoff that sends a reader running. All of us want to be a beacon and bring more and more readers into a love and embrace of indie books, whether by small presses or self-published authors. We really are in this together. The sooner everyone figures that out the better, in my view, especially with the mounting challenges we continue to face in the industry itself.

TTMM: I remember back a couple of months ago when you were so excited you almost could not wait to make the announcement for the Guest of Honor. We were chatting the day you received the confirmation and you were almost bursting with the news. Could you share a little insight about Rose Pressey, the guest of honor at this year’s Imaginarium?

SZ: Rose is extremely talented and she also happens to be a very gracious and kind-hearted individual. We thought it would be wonderful to have a big success story from the home state for Imaginarium be our guest of honor in year one and I could not be happier with having Rose as our first author given this designation.

She does embody what is possible as an indie author in this day and age. She is a wonderful success story herself and having her at Imaginarium will be an inspiration for the attendees. I am confident that everyone will walk away with the same high esteem that I hold for her, once they have had the pleasure of interacting with her.

TTMM: I am looking forward to sitting in on some of her panels and events. I saw this on the site and I have to ask. What is an Imaginator and what will they be doing at the con?

SZ: An Imaginator is a very special designation. Our policy is to name one Guest of Honor for the event, but the Imaginators are a spotlighted, select type of guest and we aim for having representation of different creative writing areas. They will receive special Q and A sessions and will be placed in some very carefully targeted programming areas. They will also receive special recognition at our awards banquet on the 21st.

This year, we have three, Jeffrey Reddick, Maurice Broaddus and Dan Jolley. Jeffrey Reddick is a fantastic screenwriter who was the creator of the Final Destination franchise. Maurice Broaddus is a truly exceptional author whose Knights of Breton Court series from Angry Robot is well loved by a great many urban fantasy readers. Dan Jolley represents the game-design and comic worlds, in addition to being an author too! Dan provided game-design and dialogue support for Transformers video games and has multiple projects with the renowned Dark Horse Comics.

I feel this trio embodies what our Imaginators are about; individuals who have made a real mark in their fields and who also happen to be wonderful people to work and interact with. To me, the latter aspect is very important too and I think our attendees are going to absolutely love these three great fellows.

TTMM: The programming is very eclectic with everything from blogging, editing, graphic novels, romance, mystery, speculative fiction and even poetry. How hard was it to get experts from all of those different areas to participate in the con?

SZ: It isn’t easy to assemble a group of over 130 professional guests, but over the past few years I’ve built a network and gotten to know quite a few great individuals and for Imaginarium I wanted to bring as many of them together as I could. I think it is important to have this mix, as there are fantasy novels with romance elements, moments for poetry in a mystery novel, and blogging effects all types of writers, for example, so even the things that might seem eclectic on the surface can also be useful to the savvy attendee!

I’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm for the concept too. The event is not a clone of something else, it has its own kind of focus and it fits a niche, I believe. I think a lot of our guests recognize this and want to see something like this take hold.

TTMM: There are several publishers sponsoring Imaginarium: First Page Last Page, Hekate Press, Hydra Publications, Fates Press. Do you feel the con is a good way to bring writers and publishers together?

SZ:  Absolutely. This is going to be a friendly environment for both published and self-published authors, and writers exploring both options. I should also mention that Blackwyrm Publishing just came aboard as a sponsor too. But this group of sponsors and the involvement of Seventh Star Press in the organization of Imaginarium reflects the win-win environment I spoke of earlier. It sets a tone of us coming together in mutual support and camaraderie.

There are also a number of other publishers who will be vendors. I feel that the combination of rich content and a relaxed atmosphere is going to make this a bonanza for writers and publishers to interact and hopefully it will lead to all kinds of new projects, from anthologies, to publishing contracts, to many other things.

TTMM: Are there vendor tables still available? If someone wanted to find out more about being a vendor, where can they go to get information?

SZ: We still have a few tables left and we do have a nice range of hours for the vendor hall. Our price is nice too at just $75 bucks for the weekend and that includes the table and a badge for the vendor.   The link for that is Imaginarium Vendor Restration.

TTMM: I agree with you and can see several projects coming out of the great networking opportunities you have created at Imaginarium. I know the company I am associated with, Charon Coin Press, is really looking forward to not only being a vendor but also sharing ideas with the different groups of people. Putting something this large together requires a large team. I know you are one of the busiest people I know but, not even you can do this all on your own. Are you looking for volunteers for Imaginarium and what would volunteering entail?

Yes, we do need volunteers. We exchange a badge to the event in exchange for 8 hours of volunteering during the Friday to Sunday period, which will be broken up into two four hour blocks. Volunteers will help us watch over the panel rooms and signal moderators on time, others will help people get information and get their badges at the registration counter, and others will watch over events like the awards banquet and masquerade. Nothing will be overly strenuous, pretty straightforward stuff. Definitely visit our site and fill out the volunteer form if interested. Imaginarium Volunteers.

TTMM: I know I am a little over-excited for this event but, what are you most looking forward to at this year’s Imaginarium?

SZ: Seeing this group come together, of attendees and guests. There is a method to the madness of picking the kind of panelists we have and I really think this group is going to gel wonderfully and really get along. Going to be a lot of positive energy in the air and I think people will see what we want to do with this event.

TTMM: What do you hope attendees will take away from Imaginarium this year?

SZ: I hope that they both have fun and find great value in their experience, whether that comes in the form of new contacts, projects, skills learned, or resources accessed. I believe strongly that all of that is there to be had for everyone. I want every person attending to come away on Sunday more empowered than they were when they arrived on Friday (or possibly Thursday night!).

TTMM: I was planning on attending with my family. My youngest daughter, who is an aspiring book reviewer, will be accompanying me. Will there be events for the younger attendees?

SZ: Imaginarium is designed to be family friendly. Most all of the programming is accessible to younger attendees and those few that involve more adult themes such as in the romance/erotica area will have an age restriction. Our Harassment Policy on our site also clearly spells out the kind of environment that will be in place and enforced, if need be. From gaming to the film festival, there definitely will be things that younger attendees will find enjoyable.

TTMM: One of Charon Coin Press’ editors, Margaret Colton, will be attending her first Con. We will be popping her “con cherry” with Imaginarium Con 2014. What could you share with her or someone attending their first con? What tips could you give them to get the most out of their experience and want to come back for more?

SZ: Our full schedule will be available for download online before the event and I advise reading through it and marking down things that are of interest, so you have a few things in mind to attend once you arrive. The atmosphere itself will be a relaxed and non-hostile once, which I think will clear up a lot of worries that some first time con goers might have. Stroll around the vendor hall and meet a few of the attendees early. Go to a few programming sessions and get a sense of some of the panelists. Often that provides a good way to break the ice, when you tell a panelist that you enjoyed their panel and introduce yourself. Also, attend some of the more social activity Friday evening after programming ends. Those are some good ways to ease into things.

I’m sure a few attendees will host room parties later at night and there is no need to be too scared of those! Those are great ways to stop in and introduce yourself to a few fellow attendees without any pressure at all. Just remember that a lot of people at Imaginarium will be newcomers.

TTMM: Thank you, Stephen, for being a guest on the initial issue of Trip Into Imagineering. It is only fitting with the launch to bring you in to give readers an overview of the event. In the weeks leading up to the Imaginarium, we will be working to highlight some of the guests and their craft. For more information on Imaginarium Con and details of all the things mentioned above, follow the links and information below.

Until next time…

jerry b.

© 2014


Imaginarium Con 2014

September 19-21, 2014
Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky

Imaginarium 2014 is a three-day creative writing convention and book fair suitable for attendees of all ages! With over 140 panels spread across twelve programming tracks, after-hours events, and a full vendor hall, it’s the place where ideas transcend imagination, where authors and readers can come together, and where new writers can learn tricks of the trade from more than 130 of today’s best independent publishing professionals. In addition to the literary programming, Imaginarium also features world-class workshops, an art show, film festival, gaming room, and more.

www.EnterTheImaginarium.com

 

 

 

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Reader’s Retreat: Interview with Alexander S. Brown


Today on the Reader’s Retreat, it is my great pleasure to share an interview with author and editor, Alexander S. Brown. Many of you know his name and have read the anthology he co-edits entitled Southern Haunts. We will talk about Southern Haunts, The Star Chamber Show, and his new release, Syrenthia Falls. I had the enjoyable opportunity of meeting Brown earlier this year at MidSouth Con 32. His excitement for the craft of writing, as well as the writing community drew me and many others into really interesting conversations. Let’s not waste more time with my ramblings, it is time to get to know our guest, Alexander S. Brown.

Southern Haunts Volume 1TripThroughMyMind: Alexander, it is great having you here at on the Reader’s Retreat feature of Trip Through My Mind. We first met at MidSouth Con 32 in March. After talking with you, I had to purchase a new bag to carry all the books I purchased. You introduced me to the Southern Haunts anthology in which you are a co-editor. Could you tell us a little about Southern Haunts?

Alexander Brown: Southern Haunts is an anthology based in the south and southwest. All stories are loosely inspired by actual places, persons, and events. The goal of Southern Haunts is to consider a nonfictional subject and fictionalize it by your characters interacting with the subject.

TTMM: How many Southern Haunts books are out currently?

AB: Currently, we have vol. 1: Spirits that Walk Among Us and vol. 2: Devils in the Darkness. Vol. 1 is mostly ghost story inspired and vol. 2 is demon inspired.

Southern Haunts Volume 2TTMM: As I go through the process of editing and putting anthologies together, I have been discovering many different areas in the process. Some I like some I do not. What is your favorite part about editing for Southern Haunts?

AB: That moment when I have read all the stories and know which ones are going to make the cut.   It is a feeling of accomplishment and excitement when I realize who I will be working with.

TTMM: Now let’s talk about your big news. You recently had a new book released Syrenthia Falls. Tell us a little about this book.

AB: Syrenthia Falls is a coming of age novel intended for adults. This book is a mixture of action, adventure, drama, romance, suspense, and most of all – horror. In Syrenthia Falls, I take a different approach to the werewolf fandom. I’m not going to release any spoilers; you have to read for yourself.

TTMM: I looked you up on Amazon to see some of the other books you are involved in. You write in many different genres from steampunk to horror and both YA to adult. What audience are you hoping to capture with Syrenthia Falls?

AB: Syrenthia Falls is intended for the adult horror lover. One who enjoys strong characters, complex plots, and splatterpunk.

TTMM: The main character, Syrenthia, seems like the outcast and has trouble finding acceptance. What would you say about the different relationships and the part they play in Syrenthia Falls?

Syrenthia Falls cover artAB: The picture I tried to paint with Syrenthia Falls is how an outcast can be made into a monster by those who bully her. The characters interact the way they do so the reader can see how cliques band together while in high school, regardless of if they are good or bad. I chose high school as the setting because it is a complex time for most young adults, one that I feel needs greater observance for their safety.

TTMM: As a writer, I tend to pull character traits from the people around me as well as internal personality traits. Where do you pull your inspiration?

AB: I am inspired by friends, family, enemies, and strangers. I am a people watcher, not a stalker, but a watcher, who can gain inspiration by observation.

TTMM: I thought I was busy, but from following your social media, it looks like you are all over the place these days. I see your updates on writing, book signings, editing as well as being one of the hosts on the Star Chamber Show. I have been wondering, how did you get involved in the show?

AB: Stephen Zimmer, who is a publisher with Seventh Star Press, invited me to be a co-host on the show. He felt I could offer contributions to the podcast. I hope I haven’t let him down LOL.

TTMM: I am proud to say I was a guest recently on Star Chamber Show and found the experience very enjoyable. We had to be reeled in; otherwise we would have chatted all night. What do you enjoy most about hosting Star Chamber Show?

AB: I enjoy asking complex questions. I try to ask questions that I feel could empower and improve the life of those who are listening.

TTMM: I noticed in 2014 you undertook a project of releasing one short story in eBook format per month. That seems like a tall undertaking. What prompted that project and where can we find these stories?

AB: This project is known as Single Shots and it was presented to me by Pro Se Press, a pulp publisher. When I was asked to participate, I was concerned how much I could actually contribute. Then, Pro Se inquired about my Halloween stories I had yet to publish. I mulled over the idea and thought, Wow, a year’s worth of Halloween stories. How awesome would that be? My Halloween stories can now be found via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Smashwords.com. Just type in Alexander S. Brown and I should come up. The reader will receive a new story monthly.

TTMM: I will have to admit, my first introduction to the steampunk culture was at MidSouth Con. Before then, I saw movies in this vein but did not know it was a whole subculture. Now, I am exploring the genre as often as possible. You have quite a few young adult steampunk stories out there in several anthologies. What is it that draws you to that genre?

AB: The ability to imagine inventions in the Victorian era is my main love for writing steampunk. Although I’m not a sci-fi person and most people write steampunk as Victorian sci-fi, I mostly write steampunk murder mystery, horror, and superheroes.

TTMM: The setting for your stories are in the South and with Southern Haunts focusing on southern states, could you tell us why the South seems to be a good place for scary stories?

AB: I believe it’s the culture and history of the south that provides us with a good scare. Also, southerners have always been known to spin tall tales.

TTMM: Ok, I am always curious on why authors pick and choose certain stories to write. When you are looking for anthologies to write and submit a story for, what do you look for in the anthology? What draws you to a particular anthology collection?

AB: I am driven to an anthology if it provides enough versatility for me to be creative and honor the genres of suspense and horror.

TTMM: As we wrap up, I would like to come back to your book Syrenthia Falls. Characters become real to the author as they write their stories. If Syrenthia was one of your friends what would you like best about her and what do you like least about her?

AB: I can’t say that I dislike anything about her. A few of her actions sadden me. I guess what I like about her the most is her potential.

TTMM: Finally, any parting words for the readers and where can they get your books?

AB: Never stop reading and always support your local bookstore whenever possible. Ebook when there is no other option. Bookstores need our support, we do not need to make them a dying breed. My books can be ordered through any bookstore, or you can contact me personally for a signed copy. For those who may not be able to access local bookstores, you may purchase my work on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Booksamillion.com. My Halloween ebooks are available wherever ebook downloads are sold. For signed copies, contact me at traumatizedboy21@aol.com Subject head your email, Signed Edition.

Find me on Facebook at: Alexander S. Brown Facebook Page


Meet Alexander S. Brown

5Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008 with his first book Traumatized. Reviews for this short story collection were so favorable that it is being released as a special edition by Pro Se Publishing. Brown is currently one of the co-editors/coordinators with the Southern Haunts Anthologies published by Seventh Star Press. His horror novel Syrenthia Falls is represented by Dark Oak Press.

He is also the author of multiple young adult steampunk stories found in the Dreams of Steam Anthologies and the anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. His more extreme works can be found in the upcoming anthology Luna’s Children published by Dark Oak Press.

Visit Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com to download his monthly short stories known as Single Shots. These are represented by Pro Se Press and the first available story is The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out.


Imaginarium Con 2014Alexander Brown is one of many guests who will appear at the first annual, Imaginarium Con in Louisville, Kentucky. Imaginarium Con is centered upon creative writing. Imaginarium is the place to be to discuss and learn about all forms of creative writing all forms of creative writing including books, publishing, screenwriting, writing for games, stage and song, and even poetry all wrapped up in one great event. It will include 125 panels in twelve categories, featuring 130 professional panelist guests. Come meet Alexander Brown, and yours truly, on September 19-21. Visit http://entertheimaginarium.com for more details.

Until next time…

jerry b.

©2014

 
 

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Reader’s Retreat: Ken MacGregor’s An Aberrant Mind


AnAberrantMind_KenMacGregor_FrontCoverPromoSome of my first forays into reading horror was the discovery of short story collections. As a young boy, I would put aside the longer novels and explore the concise tales of Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon, and Clive Barker. The short story collections guided me through the many facets of the authors’ storytelling abilities in a collective format. Many nights were spent working myself up into a state of fear only a good story could evoke. When the opportunity to be a part of Sirens Call Publication’s blog tour for Ken MacGregor’s short story collection An Aberrant Mind, I jumped at the chance to relive the old, cherished feeling of fear brought on by well crafted stories. I purchased the book, dimmed the light, pour myself a cool beverage, and dove in to MacGregor’s world hoping he would take me on a wild journey. First I had to answer the question– what is An Aberrant Mind? I will say, for all my reading, I had to look up the word ‘aberrant’.

ab·er·rant- adjective 1. departing from the right, normal, or usual course. 2. deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type; exceptional; abnormal.

MacGregor delivers on the title’s promise. The collection of twenty stories takes a departure from the normal horror stories found in many books these days. Out of the gate, he grabbed my attention with A Creature Stirring. I will never discount the sounds coming from my vent as the house settling again. When I was halfway through A Lesson Learned from Archie, my mind kept whispering “no way he is going there” only to shout out loud “OH, he did go there”—much to my sleeping wife’s dismay. Killer Bagel, will remind me to skip my morning routine in favor of something less deadly. Disaster Blanket and Tom’s Personal Demons both made me look around the room when I turned off the lights. Protégé was well-crafted and reminiscent of a classic tale Rod Serling would give an approving nod to. Story after story, MacGregor led me through places I have not traveled often. He brought back memories of why I was first drawn to the early short story horror collection. An Aberrant Mind is one of those books I will find myself picking up over and over.

Somewhere, I heard it said, fear is more frightening when it is seasoned with humor. The moments of laughter make the drop into terror so much deeper. Ken MacGregor’s writing will have you recoiling one moment, repulsed the next, and chuckling as he take the reader out of the normal, deviating from the ordinary, and through his own trip through An Aberrant Mind.

Available for purchase at:

Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil

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KenMacGregorABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in over fifty anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. You can find Ken on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and at ken-macgregor.com. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken hopes you enjoyed the stories in this collection and that you sleep just a little less well because of them. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway information:

Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGregor to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!

Win 1 of 5(five) copies of An Aberrant Mind by Ken MacGreogor

AnAberrantMind_KenMacGregor_PostCard

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Books, Horror, Reader's Retreat, Review, Writing

 

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Reader’s Retreat: Dying Days 4

Reader’s Retreat: Dying Days 4

Once again, we have guest editor/author Margaret L. Colton joining us at TripThroughMyMind with a new review. This time she takes on Armand Rosamilia’s Dying Days 4, which was recently released. I must admit, I am a little jealous that Colton had the opportunity to read this book so quickly. I have been a fan of the series, as you might have guessed, since my discovery in October 2013. After reading the below review, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in Rosamilia’s Dying Days world. However, don’t take my word for it, let’s hear what Margaret L. Colton has to say in this week’s review of Dying Days 4.

Dying Days 4 Cover with BlurbsDying Days 4

Dying Days 4 by author Armand Rosamillia is my first foray into the Dying Days world. It was quite the trip. I had no problem picking up the story. In fact, the story pulled me in and I found myself coming back to it to see what would happen, even when there were other things I needed to be doing. Finding myself entertained and caught up in the characters, looking around the next corner to see where the story would lead next I quickly finished the story. I really enjoyed how the zombies were not just mindless munching machines. They were intrinsic to the plot, but not just as a typical zombie. Some of the Dying Days zombies actually have a personality and not only a personality but real depth and some scheming going on. I was pleasantly surprised, expecting hordes of senseless zombies chasing people around then finding something different. Dying Days 4 took several twists around that kept me fully engaged in the story and wanting to keep reading, so much so I was stunned when I reached the end.

In addition to the good story Dying Days 4 is, I also became invested in the characters. I know that there is back-story in the previous books which would add to the nuances in Dying Days 4, but I found it easy to connect with the characters in this book. Some I liked and rooted for immediately and others- well if they were to be eaten or eviscerated by a zombie I would be fine with it. Still other characters I would have liked to have personally fed to a zombie, but that might just be me. There was a wide range of humanity portrayed in Dying Days 4 from the dead and the humans. There is an underlying commentary on the human condition within the Dying Days world, disturbing at times. So even being late to the party, I care about these characters and not only want to know what happens to them, but also how they got here.

I would highly recommend Dying Days 4. It was a very entertaining read. Whether you start with DD4 or have been following the Dying Days world it is definitely worth your time. Dying Days 4 will not only keep your attention but, also keep you entertained until the very last page. So now I’m headed out to dive deeper into the Dying Days world by picking up the previous three books and other places Dying Days can be found.

M.L. Colton


Armand PicDying Days 4 is available at most online retailers. Pick up your copy today. For more information on the Dying Days world, book order and spin-off series visit: http://dyingdayszombies.com

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not watching the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music… and because of him they won the 2013 World Series, so he’s pretty good at watching! He’s written over 100 stories that are currently available, including a few different series:

Check out Armand Rosamilia’s new podcast– Arm Cast Podcast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast featuring some guest from all around the horror genre.

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool. He’s a proud Active member of HWA as well. You can find him at http://armandrosamilia.com for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes!

and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal: armandrosamilia@gmail.com

 

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Books, Horror, Review, Writing, zombies

 

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Summer of Zombie Blog Tour: Armand Rosamilia Interview


Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014Armand Pic

 

Sometime last year, I came across Armand Rosamilia after asking author Mark Tufo who was responsible for this really cool Zombie Blog Tour that I had found. After directing me over to Rosamilia, I reached out and started to chat with him, as I tend to do, and got to know him over the few months which remained of the year. Armand Rosamilia is someone I would call a friend, just not to his face. We have that kind of friendship, he IS from New Jersey and all.

Today, I finally have the opportunity to do something I had planned on doing for a while, but was waiting for just the right moment — I get to interview Armand Rosamilia on TTMM. Take a moment, get to know Armand, and see what he has in store for us in the coming year.

TTMM: I want to start by saying thank you for doing the interview. You are involved in so many different things, I can just imagine what a challenge it is for you to keep up with all your activities. I am really glad to have you here on TTMM at this point in your career. You recently concluded the 2014 Authors Supporting Our Troops book drive. Can you explain more about this event and the response you received?

Picture from troops receiving books.

Picture from troops receiving books.

ARMAND: The response as better than I could have ever hoped for. We collected 2,500 author-signed books for soldiers in remote parts of the world and shipped boxes of books. Because it was taking so much of my time and space in the house, we finally stopped ‘officially’ collecting books, although I received another package today… we’ll keep sending books as long as authors keep sending them to us, and we’ll start up the event again on January 1st 2015 and run it for 4 months again. We’re hoping it is a yearly thing and can grow each time.

TTMM: I was following the Authors Supporting Our Troops event. I also saw many people helping out with the cost of shipping by purchasing one of the many t-shirts (I have mine as well) and some fund raisers. The support for your cause was amazing. Around the time this concluded, you went straight into the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, which you organize each year. How many years have you been doing these Zombie Blog Tours and tell us a little about how they started?

ARMAND: They started 3 years ago, when Mark Tufo and I noticed the worst month for sales was June. So I created a small tour for zombie authors and it has grown each year. This year it was 30+ authors, and I did all the behind-the-scenes work. For some crazy reason I like to tackle giant projects. Next year will be smaller. I don’t want to do 50+ authors, and a small Winter of Zombies event will be run in November again, as well.

TTMM: I was excited to be on the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 with this interview with a tour stop earlier this month. TTMM featured author Peggy Martinez. What surprised me is the response from the tour. I had people send me messages saying they purchased the books from not only the post here, but also the ones shared throughout social media. If 30+ authors received exposure to new audiences and had the same results, you are responsible for connecting an unfathomable number of readers to new books. Let’s move on to another aspect of the Armand world. You are also a radio personality and launching your podcast this summer. Want to share some of the information on your radio shows? What will be expected with the podcast?

ARMAND: I am still doing Mando’s Manic Melodies on Friday nights from 10 til midnight EST on 97.3 FM The Surf (www.flaglerbeachradio.com) and Mando’s Metal Covers on Monday nights from 6-8 pm EST (www.metalmessiahradio.com). It allows me to play the songs I grew up on and have some fun interacting with listeners.

The podcast is coming at some point in July. It is called Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast. Each weekly episode will be about an hour and include 1-3 interviews with not just fellow horror authors, but film makers, publishers, horror clothing lines, editors and artists.

TTMM: Once you told me about the broad spectrum of potential guests for Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast, I have been eagerly awaiting its launch. The show will be right up my alley and has definitely peaked my interest. Looking back, I first discovered you through one of your Zombie Blog tours and your series, Dying Days. Before we dive into the Dying Days series, what are some of the other book series and stand-alone books you have out there? Can you share a little about each?

ARMAND: If you have all day, haha. I have over 120 releases to my credit so far, and not all of them are zombies and/or horror. Hmm, where to start? My contemporary fiction releases, Flagler Beach Fiction Series, is quite popular. I also have a thriller, Death Metal, awaiting a sequel. I did a non-fiction series called Metal Queens, interviewing females into Metal, but had to stop because I got too busy. I’ll have a horror novel or two coming out from publishers this year as well, and some movies… I’m busy.

TTMM: Recently, you released Dying Days 4. Over the series, we have met many characters in this world but, the main arc seems to be based around Darlene Bobich. Before we get into this specific book, let’s discuss the series a little. Dying Days is not your typical zombie story. How would you describe the world of Dying Days?

ARMAND: Brutal. It’s not a fun place to be living in. Not only do the zombies want to bite you, they want to sexually violate you. And now they are gaining their intelligence back to do even worse things to you. Throw in many of the living being selfish and nasty, and you have a really screwed up world to survive in.

Dying Days 4 Cover with BlurbsTTMM: Hence the term “Extreme Horror” which is attached to the books. These are not for the faint of heart. The first scene of Highway to Hell, which is the first book in the Dying Days series, gives you the setup for what it to come. I have wondered what was the inspiration behind your main character, Darlene Bobich? She isn’t your typical heroine and we have come to know her throughout the series.

ARMAND: I was sick of Resident Evil and Tomb Raider heroines. Women who showed up the men and had no fear, killing thanks to military training and nerves of steel. Darlene started as a chubby plain-looking woman who worked behind the makeup counter at the mall. She knew how to shoot thanks to her dad, but she wasn’t ever a marksman. She cries and has panic attacks. She worries about the little things. She is one of us.

TTMM:That is a great summary of Darlene and one of the qualities that makes Dying Days so popular. The characters feel real. Not the over-the-top-action hero. Many in the story could be people the readers could see as their neighbors or family members. I have recently finished Dying Days 3 in preparation for the upcoming release. The story took an unexpected turn for me. What can we expect in the latest release, Dying Days 4?

ARMAND: Even more unexpected turns. The series is going in a direction no one will expect, and it is going to be a fun ride for me as the author. An advance reader told me I was insane once they realized the big twist in Dying Days 4, and couldn’t wait for the next one.

TTMM: I have read Dying Days: Origins and really enjoyed the back story. Will there be more origin stories coming for other characters?

ARMAND: Yes. Dying Days: Origins 2 is already about 20% done, featuring David Monsour from Dying Days 2. It actually begins in his prequel story from Still Dying: Select Scenes From Dying Days, fleshing out the character as they move between that point A and point B of Florida and Dying Days 2.

TTMM: Where do you see the Dying Days world going? Do you have a vision of the future?

ARMAND: I have a definite vision for the future. I’ve already left Easter egg hints as far back as Dying Days. There is an ongoing story to be told, whether or not Darlene is part of it… who can say?

TTMM: What can we look forward to coming out this year? Any more releases planned for 2014?

ARMAND: Quite a few. The sixth and seventh books in the Flagler Beach Fiction Series. Dying Days: Origins 2 in November, right in time for the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour. Several anthology releases with my stories in them. My Chelsea Avenue horror novel from Ragnorak Publications. A couple of movies I had a part in. Whatever else I have time to write.

TTMM: I have had this conversation with a few authors and wanted to get your take on the subject. With all the titles you have out and the fan base you have built over the years, many people have enjoyed your stories. How important is it for them to go back to the site where they purchased the book and leave a review?

ARMAND: It is probably the most important thing a reader can do for an author. Reviews are the lifeline on Amazon and Goodreads and other sites. It helps other potential readers make a decision (good or bad) and helps with author rankings and visibility. As an author it also helps to see what readers think of your work.

TTMM: I could talk with you for hours and many of your fans do just that. I will have some links to your social media sites below for those who want to stay up-to-date on the world of Armand Rosamilia. Besides “Buy Dying Days 4” is there anything you would like to share before we wrap up?

ARMAND: Thanks for the opportunity to chat. I do enjoy talking to people about horror and writing and publishing. I was lucky enough back in the day to have gotten some advice from author Scott Nicholson about being available and not looking at other writers as competition, and reading JA Konrath’s blog as he transitioned from traditional publishing to self-publishing. I feel it is good karma to keep helping others who are in spots I used to be in. Thanks, Jerry!

TTMM: Thank you for taking the time to share will us today, for putting together the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, and the advice you have shared over the past year with me. I purchased my copy of Dying Days 4 this week and I am looking forward to seeing your stories coming out later this summer in State of Horror: Illinois and State of Horror: New Jersey.

Want to learn more about Armand Rosamilia and his world of Dying Days? Check out these great links below.


Armand Rosamilia

Armand Rosamilia with Joe McKinney

Armand Rosamilia with Joe McKinney

Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not watching the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music… and because of him they won the 2013 World Series, so he’s pretty good at watching!
He’s written over 100 stories that are currently available, including a few different series:
Dying Days” extreme zombie series
Keyport Cthulhu” horror series
Flagler Beach Fiction Series” contemporary fiction
Metal Queens” non-fiction music series

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool. He’s a proud Active member of HWA as well. You can find him at http://armandrosamilia.com for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes!

and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal: armandrosamilia@gmail.com


Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Books, Fiction, Horror, Reader's Retreat, Writing, zombies

 

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