3Q’s – Mark Allan Gunnells is singing in the rain!


Hello and good day! In today’s edition of 3Q’s we have a fantastic writer. Mark Allan Gunnells is an author who continues to put out quality story after quality story, no matter if it’s in short form, novella length or novel length!

Mark is extremely versatile, which made me super excited to see what his answers would be!

Welcome, Mark!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Mark: I do try to write first thing in the morning every day. And that means as soon as I roll out of bed, before I’ve had breakfast or anything. I like to get right to it, and it gives me a great motivation to get up and get moving because I am usually pretty excited to find out what happens next. I do not really aim for any particular word count or page count. I feel like adding pressure to myself is not conducive to my creativity. Some days I might write a few pages, others a few paragraphs, others a few sentences. My motto is any progress is good progress.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a favorite character you’ve written?

Mark: I love all my characters, even the ones I don’t like, but certain ones do tend to stick in my mind. Often side characters with big personalities that are fun to write. And usually these characters end up with more prominent roles than I intended because they are so much fun to write. Two that come to mind are Lelani in my novel SEQUEL, and Harold (who performs drag under the name Titty-Titty Gangbang) in 324 ABERCORN. Both those characters were delightful to spend time with.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Mark: Three months ago I released the novella WHEN IT RAINS with Crystal Lake Publishing, and I think it is a book that will resonate with people because of certain current events but ultimately it’s also an exciting and surprising story with some great characters I think. Next month I release my collection TWILIGHT AT THE GATES with Cemetery Gates, and it is an eclectic collection of stories, vignettes, and poems that speak of my love for the classic Twilight Zone.

Steve: Bonus Question! What is your favorite album?

Mark: I have recently been listening to Yes I Am by Melissa Etheridge again, and I think that is a near perfect album. Every single song speaks to me.


Thank you so much, Mark!

More links for you all to check out!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Allan-Gunnells/e/B005C18L7Q

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkAGunnells

Book Review: Horror House of Perversion 2: The Slaughtered Lambs by Carl John Lee


Title: Horror House of Perversion 2: The Slaughtered Lambs

Author: Carl John Lee

Release date: August 5, 2022

I know the horror landscape is vast and filled with peaks and valleys. With each passing day more and more releases arrive and they run the gamut from deep explorations of grief to straight up torture porn. It’s up to each reader to find what they love and what their limits are.

It might surprise the three or four of you who read my reviews that I’m not an overly large fan of ‘extreme’ extreme horror. There are some classic extreme books out there that people rave about and I stumbled through them, barely getting through without DNFing. Then there are others that I’ve read and was blown away with the layers and the messaging and the depth of writing.

So far, what I’ve read from Carl John Lee puts him in the middle. ‘Uncle Carl’ to his fans writes both novellas that ask pointed questions and are topical (see: The Blood Beast Mutations) as well as straight up extreme slasher/survival exploitation (see: Cannibal Vengeance). It’s a neat line to walk and thankfully, for the readers, it doesn’t come across as formulaic or speed written.

What I liked: This one follows two fans of the heavy metal band The Slaughtered Lambs. Led by lead singer, Bobby, (a sexed up maniac who makes the women swoon and the men bang their heads), the two female fans go to the concert. They end up getting an invite back to the bands headquarters aka The Slaughterhouse and they can’t wait. But, things take a turn and blood begins to be spilled.

Lee writes stories that are always fast-paced. He is mysterious himself, his bio suggesting he cut his chops writing screenplays, but his writing is so similar in style to a few other authors, I’m curious to wonder if he isn’t a pseudonym. Most likely not, but it’s always fun to speculate!

One thing I really loved was the strong female leads who continue to persevere, even as it seems all hope is lost. There’s a ton of gore, violence and sadistic moments, which Lee deftly describes, but seeing how Kacey and her new love, Beth, continue to fight was great. Swallow (yes that was her name) is also a solid character and seeing her complete story arc was great.

For those asking or wondering – yes this is a sequel to the first, but you could get away with diving into this one without reading the first. It gets tied together in the final quarter (at one point I was wondering if this was a sequel in name only), but you won’t be lost at all if you didn’t read book one.

What I didn’t like: There was an all-too convenient plot point regarding an ex-significant other that played a role in the ending but the reader will see coming from a mile away. It was still a fun moment, but if Uncle Carl was attempting to have it surprise us, it definitely didn’t.

Why you should buy this: Carl John Lee is always a fun time, writing bloody B-Movie splatter. One thing I always love about his books is that they never feel like they take themselves too seriously, instead making for a fun reading experience and something that you could read in a single sitting if you wanted.

This was another great blast of brutality by an author who continues to slyly release solid novellas. I’d think this would become a big hit if it was released over on Godless, who knows, maybe Uncle Carl will read this and take my advice.


3Q’s – Laurel Hightower whispers to us…


Hello all! Wow, we’ve sure had a great mix of authors so far haven’t we?!

Today’s guest is a real treat. Laurel Hightower has been a supporter of mine since day one and her writing is simply phenomenal. You can always expect chills, emotions and dark, dark moments. Hailing from Kentucky, let’s all welcome Laurel!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Laurel: Depends on the day! I’m lucky enough to work part time now, so my mornings are generally set aside for writing, at least a bit of them. After I drop my son off at daycare, I’ll settle in and write for 30 to 90 minutes, depending on what else is going on. I try to set modest goals for myself – 200 words on short days, 500 on long. I usually exceed them but it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. As for the rest, my house is now, and forever shall be an unholy wreck, so I’m not too picky on my surroundings—I just need quiet, so white noise is definitely my friend. And when I’m working on a longer project, like a novella or novel, I try to make sure I write a little everyday, to keep the story fresh.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?

Laurel: I’m going to cheat on this answer a bit since it’s not actually a release (yet! I remain eternally hopeful!) but I have a couple of characters in a series I’ve written I could endlessly tell stories about. Cam and Morgan, a lovely duo who can’t seem to stop stumbling into supernatural messes. In a perfect world they’d become my primary series and I’d put out a book a year. A girl can dream…
For actual releases though, it’d be fun to revisit Luke Harris from WHISPERS IN THE DARK. He’s a good dude and it’d be cool to give him his own stories.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Laurel: My latest solo release is BELOW, my take on the Mothman legend. It follows a woman named Addy on an ill-advised trip through the mountains of West Virginia. People should read it if they’re a fan of Mothman, or female central characters, weird creepy critters, or really quick reads!

Steve: Bonus Question! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?

Laurel: Hulk Hogan, actually, but only because he had facial hair. My dad always had a full beard and mustache so I was strangely mistrustful of clean shaven dudes. The mustache saved you, Hogan.


Amazing! Thank you so much, Laurel!

As always – find more links to connect with Laurel below!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laurel-Hightower/e/B07NPLMV1G/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HightowerLaurel

Website: laurelhightower.com

Book Review: Call to the Void by Robert Royal Poff


Title: Call to the Void: Definitive Edition

Author: Robert Royal Poff

Release date: October 11th, 2021

It’s probably been close to month now since I tweeted that if people were looking for reviews etc, to reach out and I’d do my best to get some books read. I’m coming to the end of that batch of books that were sent my way (believe I have two left now that I’ve finished this one) and I’ve come across some really great gems that for one reason or another were either missed by folks or have slipped through the cracks.

Case in point – ‘Call to the Void.’ At the time of posting this review, it has no ratings/reviews on Goodreads and seven ratings/reviews on Amazon. For as solid of a collection as this is, that always makes my readers heart hurt.

To begin with – look at this fantastic cover! It’s not a case of poor cover poor desire. No, this cover harkens back to the old illustrated style that always captivated me. The Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta days. A cover like this makes you want to pick up the book, flip it over, read the backmatter and then bring it to the check out.

What I liked: This collection is filled to the brim with novelette length stories. You won’t find any flash fiction pieces in here, instead Poff lets the stories play out and are not beholden to word count limits or how much of the book they take up. I’m not sure of the background behind the writing and publication of this collection, but I’d guess that each of these stories were written individually with out an initial plan to release them as a collection, but that it came together somewhere down the line. I say this because no stories feel atmospherically similar and the scope of the subject matter is wide enough that it doesn’t feel like any were forced to fill pages or word count totals.

Highlights for me were;

‘Under Silent Sight’ – this was perhaps the most unsettling story within the collection. Set in a dystopian world where people try to survive while these giant eyes hunt them. Completely unsettling and worth the price of admission alone.

‘The Colours of Death’ – the story revolves around a new treatment for PTSD where people are put into a simulation to try and confront their issues. Of course, things go horrifically wrong and Poff does a great job of creating an anxiety inducing read.

‘The Other Side of Grandeur’ – we get a solid story about a patient who continues to have visions and hallucinations. This goes to a number of areas that were both fantastic and unexpected.

I do want to highlight that throughout each story, Poff gives us some really solid characters, ones that you want to root for and others you detest.

What I didn’t like: As I mentioned, every story in this is of a longer length, which for me caused a few stories to drag on longer than I think the story called for and began to diminish the positive returns from the initial set up. Saying that, those ones might be the stories that connect with you the most. Collections are always such an individual experience.

Why you should buy this: Well, if the brief little description of ‘Under Silent Sight’ didn’t intrigue you, I think you’d be doing yourself a favor if you grabbed a collection that traverses from horror to sci-fi and back without hesitation. Poff does a really great job of sucking the reader in really quickly and holding you rapt until the very end.

Solid batch of stories for sure and I hope others take the leap and experience this one.


3Q’s – Jeremy Hepler is a Road Warrior!


Yes! I am so pumped for today’s 3Q’s! Jeremy Hepler is (and I might muddle this up) an author I would consider a T-Ball stand for readers. What I mean, is that you know for 100% certainty that when he has a book or story come out, you will love it and it’ll be an easy home run. Did that work? Sure! Sure?

Anyways, please welcome, Jeremy!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Jeremy: My favorite time to write is in the mornings on weekdays, but sometimes it carries over into the afternoon. I usually don’t write on the weekends, using those days to decompress and spend time with my family. When writing a first draft, I write at a desktop computer in what we call our computer room. It’s a room with only one window, a few book shelves, and nothing on the walls. I light a candle (the scent based on season) which sits on one side of the keyboard next to my phone and whatever book I’m currently reading, On the other side, I put my notebook with notes for my WIP, a cup of coffee, and there’s a lava lamp on that side I turn on, too. I’m not one for word counts because some days I can churn out thousands and other days a paragraph. I just like to walk away from the computer thinking I improved the WIP that day.

Also, on a quirkier note, I have some cotton gloves I like to wear when I type my first drafts. When I put them on, it’s psychologically like a batter putting on his batting gloves before stepping into the batter’s box. It started around seven years ago when I lived in Amarillo and our heater went out for about a week in the winter when the temperatures were in the twenties. I started wearing the gloves when I wrote, and for whatever reason, after the heater was fixed, I felt naked trying to type without them on. Like something was missing. I’ve actually typed the fingertips out of them many times, and my wife sews them up when she can. They were both originally gray (my son’s grade school winter gloves I believe, so they fit me tight), but one became too damaged to repair, and I switched it out with one of my son’s black ones. I don’t wear them when I edit (which I do on my laptop for the most part), however. 🙂

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?

Jeremy: Alice in my latest novel SUNRAY ALICE is my favorite character to date, and I’d love to revisit her on some level, but since I already spanned her entire life in that book it might be hard.
So…one of my other favorite characters I’d love to revisit is a character I named Luke Steele who appeared in one of my short stories. He was a “Master of Horror,” famous writer type, who had inherited a family of beasts that he was responsible for taking care of. His books (The Beast in the Cellar, The Beast in the Toilet, The Beast in Me, etc.) were based on those beasts, but of course no one in the public knew that. I wrote all 4500 words in one day, and my wife likes to read with her middle school students every Halloween. In the future, I’d really like to write more about his life because the short story (LUKE’S LOST MANUSCRIPT) was such a fun story to write. As a writer, I think there’s a lot more fun to be had with Luke.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Jeremy: My latest novel, SUNRAY ALICE, came out in April from Crossroad Press. It’s a speculative/historical/coming-of-age story with a female protagonist (Alice, of course). The story is about…well…here’s the back of the book teaser instead:

Approaching the end of her life, Alice Mayes, notorious caretaker of the anomaly known as the Garden of Sunray, is eager to tie up one last loose end before moving on. The last loose end. For decades she’s been dreaming of finding someone to share her secret with, someone worthy of her truth, and in twenty-year-old Emily Newell, she thinks she finally has.

On a momentous stroll through her massive garden with her young friend, Alice delves back into the past, back to those five horrific, mind-bending days in the summer of 1944 when she was sixteen, and for the first time in over seventy-five years, gives voice to her role in the Nazi prisoner internment camp tragedy that befell the small town of Sunray, Texas. In revealing all she witnessed, confessing all she did, she hopes to pass on a wondrous legacy as well as validate and honor the mysterious man she knew as Karl Wagner.

I think people should read SUNRAY ALICE because it touches on a lot of relatable aspects. There are struggles and triumphs in friendship, romance, and family relations. Struggles and triumphs in dealing with the loss of a loved one, gender expectations and roles, discovering reality isn’t all you thought, war, discrimination, religion, and on and on. The two main characters, Alice and Karl, are two people I know I’d journey with any time.

Steve: Bonus Question! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?

Jeremy: As a kid in the early 80s, I loved wrestling. My first favorite wasn’t a wrestler but a tag team: The Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal. They marched to the ring to Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” wearing football shoulder pads topped with spikes and wearing black leather pants and motorcycle boots. One had a mohawk, the other a reverse mohawk (I guess you’d call it), and they painted their faces with different designs, my favorite being a spider web. I had a toy wrestling ring, Animal and Hawk toys, and all the other NWA plastic figures (and later WWF rubber ones). Later, I went through phases when I loved Sting (when he was starting out in the NWA), Tito Santana, and another tag team, The Rock-N-Roll Express more than any others. I did also enjoy the WWF in the mid-80s once it became popular, too, wrestlers like Ricky The Dragon Steamboat, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, and Rowdy Roddy Piper being some of my favorites.


Awesome! Thank you so much, Jeremy!

Find more from Jeremy at these links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jeremy-Hepler/e/B00VSI7KRE/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeremyHepler

Book Review: The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper


Title: The Homecoming

Author: Andrew Pyper

Release date: February 26, 2019

I’ve been meaning to do a re-read of ‘The Homecoming’ for about six months or so, but I kept putting it off. The reason being – I typically don’t do much rereading because A) there’s so much out there I haven’t read and B) much like with movies, if I’ve already read/watched it then I know what will happen and it’ll lose some shock and awe. But, saying all of that; A) as you may know, I have a love of Pyper’s work, B) it has been three years since I’ve read it, so I knew I would be forgetting some aspects and C) recently, I was listening to an interview he did to promote ‘The Only Child’ while I was preparing to interview Andrew about that book, and at the end, the interviewer asks him what he’s working on. Normally, Andrew is pretty evasive about that in interviews. I consider myself fortunate that he actually answered this exact question when I interviewed him (and now I sit and wait!), but as I said, he answered it and said he wanted to write a thriller novel with a huge twist at the end – and that was this novel, ‘The Homecoming.’

You can watch that ‘The Only Child’ interview here if you so desire;

Now, as I said, this was a re-read, so if you want to see my original thoughts, you can here;

The Homecoming Review! – PYPERMAYNIA!!!

Funny enough, before I dive into the review, when I read this the first time, Andrew and I had already developed a friendship, but it wasn’t to the level as it is these days. So, when this came out, I missed the possibility of getting an ARC and this became an edition of his that was incredibly difficult for me to track down! The copy I do have I cherish, but crazily, the ARC for ‘The Only Child’ was even tougher to track down!

What I liked: The backmatter of the book uses this tag line: What if everything you knew about the people you loved was a lie? Intriguing right? And the front of the UK cover uses this lead in: One Family, One Month. All they have to do is survive. Got your attention yet?

The story follows the Quinlan’s, a family whisked to a remote, fenced property in the Pacific Northwest after their absentee father has died. The reason? The reading of the will. It is here that our main character, Aaron, reunites with his older sister Franny, his mother and his younger sister, Bridge. They are brought to an enormous mansion and the scope of just how wealthy their father becomes a reality.

Pyper doesn’t stop there though – the will states, that if they all remain there for thirty days, with no contact with the outside world and that they don’t leave the property, they’ll each split their quarter of their fathers money.

It’s from here that we get Pyper utilizing two of his common story aspects; strong family dynamics and the location/environment becoming one of the main characters.

Belfountain, itself plays such a role in the ‘unknown’ and the ever changing aspects of what the readers believes they know that it may well be Andrew’s best utilizing of location yet (The Wildfire Season and The Trade Mission pushing hard from either direction). As I mentioned in my previous review, the location reminded me so much of a massive mansion near where I grew up, The Blaylock Mansion near Nelson, BC. So much so, (and with the cover image mirroring architectural aspects of it) that this was the place I pictured this occurring at.

But, Andrew doesn’t stop there. We get mysterious cabins, a strange discovery in the woods and an external threat – two characters that come to be referred to as The Tall Man and the Witch. You’d think that would end there, but no, we also get a constant description of “deja vu” and shared dreams, which all work together to create a hyperventilating chaos where the reader gets sucked in and will be struggling to keep themselves above the surface.

And then…

And then we arrive to the horrible reality of what has been happening, what the true nature of this place was and is and, I’ve said this before, I’m thankful to see that Andrew is willing to go there. When people ask why I love his work so much, it’s this exact reason. Andrew writes like a literary behemoth, the type of prose and book narrative that lends itself to be featured on bookshelves, in airport kiosks and on the bestseller lists. The type of book that a person picks up randomly and ends up reading it before their boarding is even called, dipping back over to pick up another book from him. But, Andrew is also one of the few ‘Instant Bestselling’ authors out there who also is willing to have visceral, extremely violent moments and not hold anything back. When he goes there, his writing is rated R, not rated PG13 like many of the other ‘dark-thriller’ authors who saddle up next to his books country wide.

I wish I could tell you exactly why I love the ending of this book as much as I do, but stupid spoilers make it so I can’t. What I will say is this – on my reread, I actually saw some of the subtle clues that Andrew sprinkled throughout, at one point even groaning that in my first go around, I had missed a key detail. But that’s the beauty of Andrew’s writing. He’s a top ten new release author with a ‘Where’s Waldo’ of extremity soaking through the pages. You know it’s coming, you just need to find it before it finds you.

What I didn’t like: I kind of hate rereading Andrew’s work because each time I do it throws my “favorite Pyper book” list into complete disarray. ‘The Homecoming’ is that pop-song that gets stuck in your head and won’t leave. It is rock solid and almost completely difficult to pick apart as to anything that might turn you away from it. So, in fairness to all the other books I read and offer up something here, I should do that for this book too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the mom character. It makes sense when the book is done, but throughout, some of her reactions really annoyed me. And there’s a character, Jerry, that’ll drive you bonkers, but again, this is all purposeful. A means to an end.

Why you should buy this: Out of Andrew’s last number of releases, I’d almost offer up that this book is an overlooked gem. Between ‘The Damned,’ ‘The Only Child’ and ‘The Resident,’ this book came out and while I saw it shared a little bit, not near as much as I did with ‘The Resident’ and ‘Oracle’ his audio-only release. ‘The Homecoming’ is a gripping, pedal-to-the-metal, thrill ride. This book is tailor made for you to take it camping, or to the beach or your Air BnB on your vacation and have you ignoring everything else around you. People often ask me where they should start with reading Andrew’s work, and I usually say ‘The Demonologist’ or ‘The Damned’ or ‘Lost Girls,’ but honestly, I think it should be this one, now having finished it again. ‘The Homecoming’ shows Pyper’s literary brilliance with his Indie-extreme badge that he wears when his big five publisher isn’t looking. This will captivate you from page one until the very end and once done, you’ll feel the weight of this story leave you and let you breathe again.

Well done, Andrew. Phenomenal work.


3Q’s – Brian Fatah Steele and the Infinity Beyond!


Brian Fatah Steele has one of the most amazing imaginations out there. Every single time he releases something, you know you’ll be transported away to somewhere you never even thought possible. It is phenomenal. I was super excited to see what he’d deliver in this installment of the 3Q’s!


Brian! Welcome! Thank you for doing this!

Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Brian: I’ve found that I write best in the morning. After I get up, feed the cat, make coffee, and check my accounts real quick, I usually sit down at my desktop. My routine is pretty well in place by this point. Coffee, smokes, Spotify, and go. Since I plot everything out ahead of time, I try to get approximately 2000 words done a day, and if I have time 4000 words. All just depends.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?

Brian: No, probably not. A single trilogy is the most I could crank out from a story before I’d get bored and want to move on to a new idea. I love world-building and creating new characters. All my books loosely exist in the same multiverse, but nobody could really tell unless you searched for the clues. I love a lot of my characters, but I have a tendency to do some terrible things to them and their planets in my big, loud, cosmic horror tales.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Brian: My last release was a collection called VIOLATION HIVE. Ten tales of cosmic horror centered around the theme of “belief,” that veer off into other genres like dystopian, science fiction, folk horror, super hero, apocalyptic, and weird. Edited by Jospeh Sale and cover by Dimensionaut Media, it’s available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Steve: Bonus question time! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?

Brian: Heh, not really. Maybe Undertaker or Ultimate Warrior. I was never all that into wrestling. I was the weird art kid with a massive comic book collection, reading his dad’s old pulp sci-fi novels. I went to art school to become an illustrator and ended up finding far more fulfillment in writing. I know a lot of my friends were into wrestling, and you’d think there would have been a crossover for me, but I suppose there wasn’t enough of a fantasy element… which is saying something.


Awesome! Thanks so much, Brian!

Check out more of Brian’s stuff here;

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brian-Fatah-Steele/e/B002V7OJR0/

Website: https://www.dimensionautmedia.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brian_f_steele

3Q’s – J.R. McConvey and his different beasts!


Hello, my name is Steve Stred… and this is… 3Q’s.

Today, we have a fellow Canuck who frequently asks Elon Musk for $1,000,000 on Twitter.

That’s right. I’m talking about the Notorious J.R. Mc.

I’ll give you a second to check the O.R. You like it so far?

Welcome, J.R.


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

J.R.: To my discredit, I don’t have a regular writing routine. I’ve tried—time, word count, what have you—but I find that life, so to speak, often derails my efforts, and also that rules around my writing often just creates feelings like stress or guilt, which are counterproductive. Writing doesn’t give me much, materially—the work is the reward. So I treat it as such, and weigh how rigid I am with it against all the other rigidities I have in my life, and try to find a balance that results in the most enjoyment.

That said, currently, my thing is: shower, then an hour. I get lots of good ideas in the shower, so this is an attempt to try and translate them to the page right away.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a favorite character you’ve written?

J.R.: Tough call. I don’t know if I have a favourite, per se. It’s usually more about whether or not they’re doing the job they’re supposed to. To that end, I’m proud of the unnamed narrator of “The Streetcar Goes Sideways Down Cherry Street.” On a zanier level, it always amuses me to revisit Dale Westin, the mayoral hopeful from “The Last Ham”, who is based on the Ford brothers. I keep meaning to write a sequel to that story called “You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next”, in which Dale’s brother shows up to sleepy Bedford and is probably eaten, or something.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

J.R.: Technically, I guess, my latest release is a flash story called “The Infinite Shape of Regret,” which you can find as part of Dread Stone Press’ Dose of Dread series here. I am not nearly as efficient or productive as many horror writers in terms of published output, so my sole book remains my collection, DIFFERENT BEASTS. I like to think it lives in a world where not much fiction does—weird, unsettling, moving, horrifying, unafraid to nose around in a few different genres, and filled with references to heavy music. The Winnipeg Free Press compared it to “Stuart McLean channeling H.P. Lovecraft,” which I think is a fun description, although I would add J.G. Ballard, Karen Russell and Kafka to the mix. Also, Steve Stred gave it five stars, and this man knows books!

Steve: Bonus Question! What is your favorite album?

J.R.: Impossible to name just one, so I’ll bend the rules and give you my top three. My teenage self says The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. Its sounds and words are inscribed on the inner walls of my guts. From early adulthood, Shine a Light by the Constantines. An air-tight classic, maybe the last great rock n’ roll album. For the last few years, I’ve lived and died by The Congos’ 1977 album, Heart of the Congos. It’s producer Lee “Scratch” Perry’s masterpiece, one of the most transcendent albums ever made. And it has an amazing guest vocal by a cow. Honorable mentions: London Calling by The Clash, Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos, Young Team by Mogwai, Bordeaux by Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd, Avanti by Alessandro Cortini… then there’s metal, and country… we could go year by year…


Thanks so much, J.R.!

Links to the good stuff!

Website: jrmcconvey.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrmcconvey

3Q’s – Come visit Shelly Campbell in Western Canada!


Yeeeeellloooooo, and welcome to another 3Q’s!

One thing I’ve quickly discovered doing these 3Q’s, is that a number of authors live near me. And I’ve also realized that I’ve not met any of these authors in person haha!

So, that brings us to today’s 3Q’s with Shelly Campbell, an author and illustrator who lives about three hours south west of me! Good grief. Really need to start visiting people!

Welcome, Shelly!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Shelly: My writing time can go one of two ways. If I sit in my office with the comfy chair and the dual screen computer, inevitably, I get sucked into important stuff like research and social media, and I’m lucky to squeeze out a handful of words in a few hours. Luckily, I am the proud owner of an ancient Compact Mini notebook that barely maintains the capability to run a word processor. Trying to open the internet on this old gal takes hours. I back up documents religiously while using this little computer because I’m certain that every day might be its funeral, but it keeps chugging along giving me the capability to write with less distractions in a variety of locations, like out in my backyard under the pergola listening to birds, or in the living room, reclined in the La-Z-Boy in front of the fireplace.

I write on my days off in the mornings while it’s quiet and my kids are in school, but I’m a slow starter, and often morning sessions culminate with the imprint of the keyboard on my forehead and pages upon pages of progress that consists of only a few repeated letters 🙂 My best editing is done at night with headphones on, a healthy Spotify list of instrumental music–lyrics distract me–and the dual screen computer humming away. I tend to prefer editing to writing, so I usually stay up far past my bedtime tweaking phrases and polishing scenes, as opposed to hammering out first drafts.

When I’m on a deadline, I try to complete at least 1000 words per day and when I’m not, I consider any words hit the page and stick there to be fine progress indeed.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?

Shelly: That’s a great question! You know, it’s the supporting cast, the ones who were only meant to be foils for my main characters that tend to roost in my head and demand I tell more of their stories. In my past and upcoming works, I’m tempted to expand on Tanar, James, and Vinton. None are main characters, but all know how to get into my MC’s heads and push them in directions they need to go.

People who accomplish great things often do so with this huge support system behind them that is mostly unseen, but so incredibly essential. I could write forever about the Sam Gamgees of the world, but not so much the Frodo Baggins.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Shelly: My newest release, coming out on August 16th, I’ve cowritten with a friend. Knowledge Itself is a YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi set in western Canada–not far from where your Mastodon takes place actually, Steve! We just finished hammering out the back cover blurb:

After solar flares wipe out electrical grids worldwide, a small community survives by selling data recovered from decrepit hard drives and rare books. Nostalgic for the days of big business, the commune’s founding members call themselves Corporate and micromanage everyone.

Raised into the hustle, Iris Ecosia’s ADHD brain rebels at Corporate’s strict structure. It’s not all bad though. She attracts the attention of Robert Lycos, the son of one of the Shareholders, but their relationship comes to a crashing end when she loses focus at a critical moment and a vital piece of equipment is destroyed.

The mistake plunges her into debt. Corporate demotes her to an indentured gardener. Her romance with Robert dissolves. Worse, there are no paid sick days in the post apocalypse. So, when Iris’s whole family falls ill, starvation is soon knocking on their door. Meanwhile, the Shareholders live like tycoons.

Iris and her family are not alone in their poverty or their impotent rage at the corporation who keeps them poor, hungry, and dependent. An underground revolution intent on toppling Corporate wants to recruit her. She can still do big things if she joins them, but if she’s caught, the Shareholders won’t stop at destroying her. They’ll go after her family too.


I think people should read it because it is a neurodiverse Canadian post-apocalypse story and you don’t run into those very often. Plus, it was gratifying writing something that kids with ADHD can see themselves reflected in. Megan King and I had a blast writing it and are diving into the second book of the series as we speak.

Interested readers can pre-order Knowledge Itself here: https://books2read.com/u/4jgYdY

Steve: Bonus Question! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?

Shelly: We only had three local channels on TV growing up, depending on how you aimed the ole aerial antenna–not dating myself at all–and one of the channels broadcast WWF wrestling. My cousin was a huge wrestling fan and insisted we view matches at full volume with the living room floor lined with as many couch cushions and pillows as possible, all the better to emulate play-by-plays in proper boisterous fashion.

My favourite? André the Giant, without a doubt. The man was legendary. Although, I must say, I liked him better in The Princess Bride 🙂

Thanks so much for having me on, Steve. It is an honour!

Thanks for doing this, Shelly!

If you want to find more work from Shelly;

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shelly-Campbell/e/B0929GWGL8

Website: shellycampbellauthorandart.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShellyCFineArt

3Q’s – Sonora Taylor steps into the ring!


Another 3Q’s and another awesome author! I’m really digging these splashes of tidbits we get to discover!

Today’s author guest is none other than the fantastic Sonora Taylor!

Welcome, Sonora!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Sonora: I usually like to write between work tasks at my day job. Sometimes I write before I log on for the day, since I now work from home; but I’m usually more productive throughout the day as opposed to early morning or evening. Ideally, I’ll write a few hundred words per day for a short story, and 1000 words per day for a novel. However, that doesn’t always happen, so on the days I’m really struggling with the desire to write, I aim for at least a sentence. That way I’m engaging with the story once a day. And those sentences do eventually add up! I also don’t write on weekends unless I’m on a deadline or I have a huge hankering to write, since I consider it work and try not to work on Saturday and Sunday.

Steve: Out of all your releases, do you have a character you could write about forever?

Sonora: This is a tough one because my stories are basically one and done when I write them. I sometimes imagine what happens to the characters after I’ve finished telling their stories, but never strongly enough to keep writing about them. A character type I could write about forever, though, is a woman who kills–and how that sometimes ends up being the most innocuous part of her darkness.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

Sonora: My newest release is Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology, which I co-edited with Nico Bell. It features 12 fat positive horror stories. People should read it because we need more fat positive horror in our lives, and because the stories kick ass! You can find it through any online retailer, as well as this link: https://books2read.com/u/mlLXvP

Steve: Bonus Question! Did you have a favorite wrestler as a kid?

Sonora: I didn’t watch wrestling as a kid, but plenty of my friends did! My best friend in middle school loved the Stone Cold/The Rock era


Awesome! Thank you so much, Sonora!

As always, follow the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sonora-Taylor/e/B075BR5Q7F/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sonorawrites

Website: sonorawrites.com