3Q’s Special – Tyler Jones and what haunts his DNA!


Hello, I’m Steve Stred, and this is… (BOM BOM BOOOOOOAAAAAAMMMMMMBBBB) 3Q’s.

Today’s guest joins me at a time when the world is influx, the NHL season has started, the MLB playoffs are in full swing and his books are flying off shelves.

That’s right – I’m talking about none-other-than (BOM BOM BOOOOOOAAAMMMMMBBBBBB) Tyler Jones.

I connected with Tyler when his debut, ‘Criterium,’ arrived and his fiction has a way of infecting your soul.

Please, do welcome (BOM BOM BOOOOOAAAMMMMBBB) Tyler!


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?

Tyler: It’s changed a lot over the years. The first ten (or maybe more) books I wrote were done in stolen hours after my kids fell asleep. I’d think of the story all day at work, and then the words would come rushing out when I finally sat down at the computer.
These days, my schedule is much more intentional. Writing time has become an important and protected part of my day. I’m incredibly blessed that my wife supports and encourages me to hide away for hours at a time and tell spooky stories.
On a good day, I get up early and spend an hour or two before the kids wake up attending to the more “business” side of writing. Emails, interviews, scheduling etc. After the kids go to school, I’ll get at least three hours of solid writing done. No music, no distractions. Around noon I’ll break to have lunch with my wife, run errands, do work around the house, and maybe a little reading. I’ll try to fit in another hour before school lets out, and if I’m really caught up in a story, I’ll steal another hour at night.
I keep a close eye on how many words I’m writing, but it’s more to feel a sense of progress on a day to day basis.
Depending on where I’m at in a project, that “writing” time might actually be editing or rewriting or note taking.

Steve: You decide to host a writer’s retreat. One weekend in a luxury house on an island. What three other authors do you invite to come along?

Tyler: Only three? Well, this means I have to be selfish. No room for friends on this retreat. First, I’d invite Thomas Pynchon. I assume he wouldn’t come, but in this scenario, let’s just say he does. Why Pynchon? Besides the obvious (no one knows what he looks like, he doesn’t do interviews, and he’s written some of the craziest books in American literature), because I’d love to have a conversation with him about anything other than writing. We already have the books. I don’t want to know his process. I’m fine believing he performs some kind of sorcery, or goes into a trance and auto-writes stories telegraphed from the future. I just think it would be cool to hang out and chat with him, get his thoughts on the world, on society. I’d love to discuss Edward Snowden, government surveillance, privacy in the digital age, UFOs, and the JFK assassination. And he seems like he’d be a fun guest. I mean, he voiced himself on The Simpsons and his character wore a paper bag on his head.
Second would be David Mitchell. His prose is electricity in my brain. His novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet is one of my favorites of all time. I didn’t read that book so much as live in it. And I really admire all the effort he and his wife put into getting the book The Reason I Jump out into the world.
Last, would be Joe Hill. To those who know me, this will not be a surprise. I love Joe’s writing. His prose, his stories, his ideas—especially all the big ones lurking behind the smaller ones.
I imagine this writing retreat being one where we all go our separate ways during the day and write our stories. But once the sun goes down we’d gather in the dining room for dinner, then move to the massive library where we’d drink wine and talk into the early morning.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Tyler: Earlier this year my horror collection ‘Burn the Plans’ was released. Fifteen stories that contain ghosts, bloodthirsty machines, witches, ghosts, dark family secrets, and mysteries that touch the edge of the cosmos. Two stories in the book, “Trigger” and “Full Fathom Five” are my favorites of anything I’ve written. If you’re looking for stories that are character and concept driven, and don’t hesitate to run headfirst into the dark…then grab a match and set your plans on fire with me.
I’ve got a new story called “Trip Sideways” that’s in the anthology Campfire Macabre 2, which also includes tons of other great writers/friends.
In a couple months Thunderstorm Books will release a special edition collection called Turn Up the Sun, which combines four novellas (Criterium, Enter Softly, The Dark Side of the Room, and Along the Shadow) into one volume, along with a brand-new novella that takes place in the Criterium world. My good friend Ryan Mills did the cover art and it’s stunning.
My story “Who Built the Moon?” will be appearing on the Tales to Terrify podcast later this year as well.
A new novella called Heavy Oceans will be released by Dark Lit Press in Spring 2023. It’s a cross between The Mist and Nope. A bloody, bonkers good time.
And last, my novel Midas will be released in October 2023 by Earthling Publications. It’s about a man mourning the death of his son, and he stumbles across a cave that contains the power to transform anything into solid gold. This puts him on a collision course with a violent cult leader who has been searching for the power for years. This book means a lot to me, and I’m absolutely thrilled it found such a good home.

Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?

Tyler: Victor Frankenstein, without question. That book is somewhere in my DNA, and so is he as a character. A tragic figure who follows his ambition across a line he didn’t even know existed. And that mistake, along with an act of cowardice, set in motion a series of events that lead to death after death, loss after loss, until Victor is a just a haunted shell of a man, obsessively trying to destroy what he’d created.
That book is one of the most haunting stories every written. It contains so much, and I’d love to unpack the details surrounding a life suffocated by guilt. I’m sure he’d have some unique insights. If he’d survived that book, I bet he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from creating again. A man like that…he’d have to. You know he’d be thinking, “I can get it right this time.”


Excellent reason! Thank you so much, Tyler and best of luck with all you have going on!

To find more of his work, check the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Jones/e/B0069ESEZ4

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tjoneswriter

Website: https://www.tylerjones.net/

3Q’s – S. Alessandro Martinez Bottles Up Darkness!


Hello, my name is Steve Stred… and… this… is… 3Q’s! BAH DAH BUM!!!!!!!

Welcome back to another fun, fantastic, phenomenal (with an F!) 3Q’s.

Today’s guest is none-other than Bram Stoker Nominated author S. Alessandro Martinez!

Welcome, S!!

S Alessandro Martinez

Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try to write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
S.A.M.: I try to write every weekday, starting around 10:00 and going until 4:00 or 5:00. I take weekends off, but I usually end up writing a bit anyway. I don’t have a word count I try to hit. Just getting any writing down is good for me. I’m also reading and researching topics related to what I’m working on, which I count as part of the writing process.

Steve: If you started a series and for some reason had to have another author finish it, who would you choose?
S.A.M.: That’s a tough question. I write horror as well as fantasy. I have already started writing a fantasy series (currently working on Book 2), so I think I would want Brandon Sanderson to finish it. Now for a horror series, I think I’d love it if Adam Nevill completed it.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
S.A.M.: My debut novel, Helminth, came out last year! Four best friends decide to get away for the weekend after one of them suffers a great tragedy, and drive up to a lakeside cabin in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. It seems like an idyllic location, that is until the women start experiencing unexplained phenomena such as disembodied whispers, shadowy figures, unnatural fog, someone moving in the house, oh, and something begins to call to one of them from beneath the waters of the lake. It’s got lots of things for horror lovers to enjoy: ghosts, hauntings, nightmares, monsters, cosmic beings, cults, dark rituals, blood. Did I mention it was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award? You can grab a copy on Amazon!

Steve: Bonus Question: If they made a movie about your life, what actor or actress would you suggest they get to play you?
S.A.M.: Hmm, I’m going to go with Charlie Cox. He seems like a nice guy. He’ll have to go a bit goth though.


Good stuff! Thank you again!

To discover more outstanding work – click the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/S-Alessandro-Martinez/e/B01K8C23K4

Twitter: https://twitter.com/The_Morda_Shin

Website: https://salessandromartinez.com/

Book Review: Decimated Dreams by Brennan LaFaro


Title: Decimated Dreams (Slattery Falls, Book Two)

Author: Brennan LaFaro

Release date: December 13th, 2022

Huge thanks to Brennan for sending me a digital ARC of this one!

Book one was a blast and when Brennan announced a book two was coming, I was super excited to see where he went with it. Brennan is on a roll right now, with exciting new releases on the horizon and a ton of stuff in the works. His storytelling is solid, quick and powerful and he has a knack for creating characters that you immediately know and root for. Saying that – this one is a sequel and in this case – you definitely need to have read book one to follow along with book two.

What I liked: Set five years after the events of book one, we arrive as Elsie and Travis are trying to continue on with their lives and do their best to remember their friend Josh. They have a daughter now, April, and this is the jumping off point for their return to Slattery Falls. One night, April gets taken, and while the police try and find her, Elsie and Travis know exactly who/what is behind her disappearance and they go in search of them and April.

Over the course of one full novella (book one) and a quarter of book two, I soon realized just how familiar Slattery Falls felt and how easy it was to slide back into this world. LaFaro has done such a solid job with these characters, that even when this book has periods of, let’s call it ‘lightness’ – where we go from scene to scene with minimal between developments, it still works and holds up.

This novella works purely as a set up for book three, which means some questions won’t be answered, but it does a great job of getting us from point A in book one to where we need to be for point C in the finale. The ‘why’ of the novella is the true catalyst for a lot of what happens and guides the characters along nicely.

The ending, while a bit rushed and not as fleshed out as I was hoping for, does what I mentioned, setting us up fantastically for where things need to go for the final book in the trilogy.

What I didn’t like: Even though Elsie and Travis knew who took April and where they were taking her, it still felt a bit like they weren’t as affected as someone would be if their child was kidnapped. For instance, they rush out to Slattery Falls and we get a scene where they sit and chat with the owner of the Bed and Breakfast they’re staying at. It was an odd juxtaposition. Yes, they need to get clues and collect info to find where their daughter is, but at the same time, it came off as very relaxed when they should be wracked with anxiety.

Why you should buy this: If you loved book one, this will be a must read and if you love Brennan’s storytelling, definitely dive into book one before this one comes out. The characters are top notch, the bad guy is a really intriguing bad guy and the town of Slattery Falls is a fantastic back drop for all of the going-on’s that give us readers so much stress.

This was a blast and I’m now going to have to wait for book three!


3Q’s – Tim McGregor LURES the reader into his dark world!


3Q’s today is with ANOTHER Canadian writer! How exciting. I’ve loved doing my best to try and get more Canucks on here, but also in front of you, the readers, eyeballs!

Tim McGregor has been churning out darkness for over a decade now. His latest has just dropped, which makes for a perfect time to have him on here!

Please welcome, Tim!

Tim McGregor

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

Tim: The writing time looks pretty glamorous; a guy staring at a screen with a confused expression, frequently interrupted by the cat scratching to go outside. I always laugh at the depiction of writers in movies. You know the ones where the writer gets a flash of divine inspiration and races to the typewriter to write like a demon while crumpled pages pile up around them. Who does that?

I’m all about routine; early in the morning and later at night. It’s a habit I got into when the kids were little. It’s a routine, but I think the fact that it’s routine is why it works for me. My brain/body knows it’s time to write, even on days when I lack enthusiasm or ideas.

I used to push for a daily word count of 2K, but I don’t do that anymore. It started to feel like a weird competition, followed by berating myself for failing to achieve that. So I stopped. Now I just write and see what the day brings. Sometimes it’s 3k, sometimes it’s 500 words. Writing is hard enough, so why add pressure to it, you know? (deadlines of course are a completely different story)

Steve: If you could write a story for another author’s fictional world/series, which would it be and why?

Tim: Writing something in the Cthulu mythos would be fun. Say, Miskatonic University in the 1920s, with all the characters being nerdy professors or socially awkward archivists. And then everyone goes insane glimpsing some “indescribable horror.” I’d give it a shot if I thought I could bring something new to it.

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

Tim: LURE comes out July 18 from the fine folks at Tenebrous Press. It’s a folk horror novella where a mermaid descends on a remote fishing village and turns their world upside down. It’s a weird piece, but one of my favorites and I hope it finds its way to a lot of readers.

Steve: Bonus Question! Do you have a cherished book?

Tim: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. It’s all about the voice with this one. Whenever I feel I’m floundering with my abilities or story, I read this for inspiration.

Thanks for chatting, Steve. All the best.


Most welcome!

Thank you, Tim!

To find more of his work, please do click the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tim-McGregor/e/B004Z6M8EQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimMcGregor1

Website: http://timmcgregorauthor.com/

3Q’s Special – Trevor Henderson conjures crazy creatures!


Man, what an exciting 3Q’s I have for you today! In the course of doing these 3Q’s, I’ve tried super hard to have a solid mix of authors – be they Internationally Best-selling authors to those who’ve only released a story or a poem or their debut novel/novella/collection. The reality is  – a writer is a writer is a writer – no matter what stage you’re at. But then I also started thinking about those on the periphery. Those who may not release work in a traditional sense, but who have staked a claim in the dark fiction community.

Today’s guest is one such writer. Trevor Henderson is no stranger to those in the dark fiction community. Between the cover art he has created, illustrations he’s done as well as the support to so many authors, Trevor has sealed a spot in the dark fiction community as a whos-who. As well, with his Flash Fiction tales he shares on Twitter/IG etc, he shows his ability to create creepy stories with only a hand full of words. But, things are about to change soon. Trevor has releases of his own coming shortly through Scholastic (which my son and I can’t wait for!) and I figured it was high time I reach out and invite him to come share some thoughts! It’s always a blast to have another Canadian creator on here!

I do want to add – Trevor has been beyond kind to my son’s obsession with his creatures – and that has been really, truly phenomenal to see.

Please, do welcome Trevor!


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?

Trevor: My writing time fluctuates wildly! I’m trying to keep to a stricter schedule but it’s honestly difficult. When I’m actively working on a bigger project, like when I was writing the MG kids book for scholastic, I tried to stick to the hours of 10-6 and used a timer to work in 20–30-minute intervals, but I’ve since kind of fallen off of that, haha. At the end of the day, if I have 500 decent words, I consider it a net gain.”


(Trevor’s iconic creation Siren Head as shared on his Twitter account)

Steve: You end up at an estate sale and discover an unpublished manuscript from an author you love. Do you keep it just for yourself or do you share it with the world?

Trevor: Oh man. I feel like I’d take my time and read it myself, first and foremost. Then, I’d do everything in my power to find out if the author would have wanted it to be released or not, under those circumstances. That’s very important, I think. If I released it to the public from there it would be completely dependent on what I’d found out about their intentions. If they wanted it to never be released, I’d probably bury it in the woods in an air-tight Ziploc bag, I think.


(Trevor’s iconic Long Horse character, as shared on his Twitter account)

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

Trevor: Well, I’m currently just starting edits / revisions for my middle grade horror book for Scholastic, so I’m still quite deep in the weeds, but hopefully you’ll hear more about it soon! It’s about kids being hunted down by a variety of monsters in their small town, various creatures from local urban legend that might be connected to a mysterious Art Bell-style paranormal radio show. Aside from that, I’m the creative director of Mayfair Watchers Society, a podcast that spins some of my internet creatures into 30-minute scary stories. The team involved is incredible, and the first episode just dropped.


Steve: Bonus Question! You wake up in a comic book. What is your comic book character and what is your super power?

Trevor: I would absolutely just be some random person but with absolutely bone-crushing, flesh-melting, body horror, John Carpenter’s The Thing shape-shifting powers.

Fantastic option!

Thank you once again, Trevor for doing this!

To find more of his work and stay up to date with his upcoming releases, check the links!

Website: https://trevorhenderson.format.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/slimyswampghost

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trevorhenderson/

3Q’s – Wesley Southard just wants to be one of The Boys!


Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Today’s 3Q’s guest is a new father, an award-winning author and all-around conjurer or dark, brutality!

Please, do welcome, Wesley Southard!!

Wesley Southard

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?

Wesley: Oh, man, these days my writing time is as dead as disco. My wife and I had our first baby last December, and since then I haven’t been able to get any meaningful time to actually write. Not that I’m necessarily complaining. I’ve always wanted to be a father and the experience has been even better than I could have imagined. When I was able to write, I usually preferred to get my work done at night before bed. Maybe two hours or so and, if I could get on a roll, I could probably knock out 1,500 to 2,000 words or so. I never seemed to get much work done on the weekends, but weeknights were always my best time to write. Hopefully, I can jump back on the train and get back to grinding the words out here soon.

Steve: You win the lottery and the only condition is that you need to fund another author’s book to be made into a movie. What book would you choose to be filmed?

Wesley: That’s such a hard question. I read between 50-75 books a year, give or take, and I lose track of how many times I think, “Man, this would make a killer film.” It would probably be something by Bentley Little. After being told for years to check out his stuff, I finally tried him out a few years ago and ended up falling head-over-heels in love with his work. He’s an absolute master of the craft. I think an adaptation of The Association or The Bank would be fantastic. If that wasn’t possible, I would absolutely finance a film adaptation of Simon Clark’s Vampyrrhic. I adore that book and think it would make a stellar film.

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

Wesley: I’ve only had one release this year so far and that’s a book called Try Again. It’s a novella I was fortunately able to crank out while my wife was on maternity leave and allowed me the time to get it finished so I could have it ready for AuthorCon. Try Again is about a woman named Robin who’s absolutely fed up with the way the world treats her. Once a fairly large girl, she became a gym rat and bulked up quite significantly, but that hasn’t stopped the constant criticism. One night, after getting into a verbal altercation at the gym, she drives home to the house she shares with her father and discovers several armed men inside, holding her father at gunpoint. The problem is every time she tries to enter the house, she suddenly finds herself right back in her car, driving home, thinking about that jerk at the gym. By the time she realizes the house won’t let her inside and she’s caught in a loop, she sets out to find the one and only way into and through the house to save her father before the men inside lose all patience. I’m really proud of how this little book came out, and the response to it so far has been very gratifying.

Steve: Bonus Question! If you could be an extra on any TV show, which one would it have been and why?

Wesley: I would love to be on the set of The Boys. I just love that show so much. I think being around all of that would be fascinating to witness. I would especially love to watch Antony Starr act. Homelander is such an unnerving character to watch, and to see that up close would be quite interesting.


Most excellent!

Thank you again, Wesley!

To find more of his work;

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wesley-Southard/e/B005HFH8JY/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WesSouthard

Website: https://wesleysouthard.com/

3Q’s – Todd Keisling delivers a Haunted Heart!


I’ve said it previously, and I’ll say it again for this 3Q’s – but I always love having guests on here who are not only super nice, but also are super talented – in this case – multi-talented. Todd Keisling is an author, developer of Patreon content and cover designer. It’s been awesome seeing some of his creations arrive in the world, so I was super excited when Todd agreed to do a 3Q!

Welcome, Todd!

todd keisling

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

Todd: My writing times vary day to day, but on average, I usually write from noon to 3pm, and then again at night from 10pm to 2am. I do try to aim for the same time(s) every day, but it doesn’t always work out like that due to other commitments/chores. I also allow myself a day off here and there. Writing every day works for some folks, but I’m not one of them. That said, when I do write, I try to aim for five hundred words. Sometimes it’s way less than that, and sometimes it’s a lot more. Lately, I seem to average about 500-750 a day.

Steve: If you started a series and for some reason had to have another author finish it, who would you choose?

Todd: I wouldn’t. I’d rather sketch out the outline of the next book(s) and release that to people. I considered doing this with the final Monochrome novel several years ago when I was struggling to finish it. Fortunately, I was able to work through the issues I had with it. Anyway, I guess if I had a gun to my head and had to pick an author to finish my work, it would probably be either Bob Ford or Anthony Rapino.

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

Todd: My latest short story release is called “Annie’s Heart is a Haunted House,” which readers can find in THE HIDEOUS BOOK OF HIDDEN HORRORS, edited by Doug Murano and published by Bad Hand Books. It’s a dark tale about a group of teenagers who wake up in a mansion full of traps. They don’t know how they got there. And there’s something living inside the walls that wants to kill them. I pitched it to Doug as “The Breakfast Club meets Harlan Ellison.” As for longer works, my latest novel is called NONENTITY, the final book of the Monochrome Trilogy, which caps off a journey I began 16 years ago. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and relieved that it’s finally finished. You can find the whole trilogy over on Amazon.

Steve: Bonus Question! If they made a movie about your life, what actor or actress would you suggest they get to play you?

Todd: Ah, man, I’m bad at this. Let’s see… Maybe Edward Norton for adult Todd. Teenage Todd would have to be Adrian Greensmith.


Great choice!

Thank you so much, Todd!

Find more of his work below!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Todd-Keisling/e/B002RDT0T0

Twitter: https://twitter.com/todd_keisling

Website: https://www.toddkeisling.com/

Book Review: The Stone Serpent by Nicholas Kaufmann


Title: The Stone Serpent (Dr. Laura Powell #2)

Author: Nicholas Kaufmann

Release date: November 29th, 2022

Firstly, huge thanks to David at Crossroads Press and Nicholas for sending me a digital ARC of this one.

This is a sequel to 2021’s ‘The Hungry Earth’ which I read and really enjoyed earlier this year, and while it is a ‘sequel’ in the sense it continues on with Dr. Laura Powell and the aftermath of what happened, it has moved onto a different plotline. So, if you’ve not read ‘The Hungry Earth’ you’ll be good to dive in here, although you will miss a bit of some of what they discuss surrounding those who didn’t survive book one.

I was curious to see where Kaufmann went with this one. I knew it involved the discovery of a strange, petrified person, but that was about it. So, I dove in head first, not completely sure how deep the water was.

What I liked: Funny enough, it wasn’t until I started this one, that I really understood how enjoyable a character Laura is. She was the star of book one and now, with book two, her and her boyfriend, Booker, become a solid and dependable team, especially after the opening sequence where a young man dies and when his body is found it is solid as a rock.

The story within here is a told at break-neck pacing and Kaufmann does a great job of leaving a few potential possibilities lingering that give us a trail and then diverted as needed. Unlike book one, where we know it’s this crazy fungus infecting everyone, we are not 100% certain of what is going on until finally the reveal occurs and the book shifts into yet another gear.

Much like book one, ‘The Stone Serpent’ has a ton of really intriguing and fantastic research crammed in, with so much of it forcing you to put down the book and head to Google. I guarantee that will happen when you hear the true story of a dog and a discovery involving petrification. Kaufmann has really made sure he’s done his due diligence and the reader is all the better for it.

As for the characters within, we get some really solid new ones, some vile despicable ones and it all works to keep the plot moving along until we get to the bonkers, everything thrown at us ending.

What I didn’t like:  There’s two subplots that push the reader regarding the ‘what is going on’ aspect of the story. I actually found the religious storyline to be fairly formulaic at times – crazy leader, someone challenging them, faith is tested, etc etc. There was the underlying bit about biotech and big company that had me far more intrigued, so I wish we would’ve gotten more in that realm than the religious realm, although it was necessary for the family backstory aspect for Laura.

Why you should buy this: I actually loved this one, while I only liked the first one. Both are great, but if I had to choose, this one would win. We get crazy people, insane attacks and a slithery creature-feature aspect that also leaves the door open for things to continue on in a book three. I for one would love to see more of what Dr. Laura Powell and Booker get up to!

This was a blast!


3Q’s – Joseph Sale – a mind beyond your wildest imagination!


Joseph Sale should be an international, bestselling author who doesn’t reply to my emails or DM’s.

I’m just going to lay that out there before we get going. I think he’s such a splendid author, a mind like no other and a truly talented editor as well. His work always provokes, pushes the reader and stays strong to its emotionally grounded core. Yet – I find he’s criminally overlooked.

So, I am truly excited for Joseph to join us today and I hope those who’ve not read his work yet, discover him and dive into the phenomenal worlds he has conjured.

Please, do welcome, Joseph!

Joseph Sale

Steve: Question 1 What does your writing time look like? Do you try to write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Sale: The answer to this question has changed quite a bit over the years, so I hope you don’t mind a long-winded reply!
I personally believe that writing at its best is not an act of output, but paradoxically of input. In other words, not speaking but listening to the inner voice. My best writing feels like someone else wrote it, and I think in one sense this is literally true. The Greeks referred to this as the Daemon. We also have the term “Muse”.
In addition, as authors (or Artists if we want to go that far), we are constantly evolving and changing due to new experiences, and the creation of each new project is therefore a process of self-discovery and initiation. As a result, I find it very difficult to replicate any previous creative process and re-use it. I couldn’t, for example, just sit down and write another novel like Beyond The Black Gate. That book came from a very specific place in time, from specific feelings, and was channelled in a very specific way. If I tried to replicate it, the result would be something inferior to the original, a pale imitation of myself. Some writers do seem able to write very consistently in one genre and with one aesthetic to their work, but I find my writing has to change with each new concept.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that I just sit down and wait for inspiration however! That way lies stagnation and procrastination. What I tend to do is try to gently invoke and invite the creative fire, whether this is through meditative practices, illustration, painting, listening to or composing music, or journalling. Usually, with a combination of these practices, I find the kernel of an idea. I then will likely experiment with some writing to see if the idea captures the imagination and is sustainable. With prose I normally aim for 2,000 words in a day. With poetry, I will content myself with one stanza, because poetry is far more creatively demanding and distilled.
I abandon many, many projects because they are simply not good enough (I once abandoned a novel 50,000 words in). Maybe they have a great setting but the characters aren’t right. Or maybe the characters and setting are strong but there simply isn’t a story I can conjure out of them that will capture the reader’s attention. I used to feel bad about these “lost projects” but now I really come to see them as a natural part of the creative process (one of the few parts that does remain a constant, actually). Usually the idea I end up running with long term has some elements from all the abandoned ideas, a kind of Frankenstein’s monster of hodgepodge parts!
In terms of timing, I used to write a lot in the mornings, but now I generally find I’ve become an afternoon writer. I have no idea why this change has occurred! Maybe it’s due to me shifting to self-employment. I no longer have to get the words out before the commute.
If anyone reading this is interested in learning more about my creative process, I actually have a book coming out August 11th entitled The Divine: unlocking the magical creator within which is a book on writing craft and channeling creative inspiration.

Steve: If you could write a story for another author’s fictional world/series, which would it be and why?
Sale: This is an awesome question! There are so many great worlds to choose from. What I think is interesting, though, is that sometimes the best worlds are not the ones you want to write in, because they’re already so perfect. For example, I would never dream of trying to write in Middle Earth; what could I possibly add to Tolkien’s world?
Lovecraft’s universe is always an interesting choice, of course—those cosmic gods were so influential on me—but much of his world is freely available to use anyway, so I won’t choose him. The same goes for Carcosa, which is another fictional world that fascinates me (if you haven’t already, you should definitely read the original Robert W. Chambers stories, and the contemporary short story collection by Brian Barr—his reinvention of Chambers’ work is ingenious and enthralling).
I would probably therefore have to pick Quiddity, which is the secret world of the dream-sea in Clive Barker’s amazing but unfinished Art series (currently composed of The Great and Secret Show and Everville). It is such a fascinating world and even after two books we only really get glimpses of its strangeness. There is so much unexplored territory and that is what makes it interesting to contemplate as a guest in its vast splendour.
I am almost ashamed to admit I once had a dream in which Barker had passed away and his ghost came to me and demanded I write the third and final book of the Art series. I woke up distraught with grief and had to check the news—relieved nothing had happened and it was just my overactive imagination (though it felt disturbingly real).
I hope people will not interpret this dream as ego (I was quite panicked and horrified by the prospect of taking on something so important). I love Barker’s world so much, and the characters within it are so fascinating, but I know I am not on his level, not even in the same stratosphere, and the only person who can finish that series is the genius Barker himself.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Sale: Very kind of you! My most recent release is actually the third book of The Illuminad trilogy: The Tower Outside of Time. It is probably a book best enjoyed having read the first two books in the sequence. Book 1, Dark Hilarity, is currently only 0.99c on Amazon, if you are at all curious.
The Illuminad series is about friendship, friendships which will be put to the ultimate test in a dark fantasy world… It features four female leads, a serial killer rockstar, a Laughing God, and scenes of pure horror. Funnily enough several authors have compared it to Barker’s work in terms of its feel and genre, so if you like horror mixed with dark fantasy, it might well be your cup of tea!

Steve: Bonus Question! Do you have a cherished book?
Sale: I have so many! This is a positively cruel question, haha!

However, I would probably have to say my copy of Grady Hendrix’s Satan Loves You, signed and personalized by the author himself, would have to take the biscuit. I will never forget my meeting with Grady Hendrix and how insanely kind and generous he was. When I brought him this book at the book-signing he was genuinely shocked and surprised to see it in the wild, and I think quite humbled to realize how long I had been a fan of his and collecting his books (I had all of his books except one with me, a total of seven in all). Satan Loves You is not my favorite Grady Hendrix book (that award goes to My Best Friend’s Exorcism) but there is something totemic and magical about that book—perhaps it’s simply that I connect overmuch with the main character of Satan?—and this has only been amplified by its rarity.

A good book can be a friend in hardship, speaking to you on not just a surface level, but a subconscious and spiritual one. Sometimes the narratives contained in books can help us re-write our own. That’s the power but also responsibility we hold as authors!

Thanks so much for having me!


That is amazing!

Thank you so much, Joseph!

To find out more of his work – check the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Sale/e/B00MEHVY5W

Twitter: https://twitter.com/josephwordsmith

Website: http://themindflayer.com/

3Q’s Special – Laird Barron is Uncoiling


I’m not gonna lie – I send out a ton of invites for these 3Q’s and honestly only expect a handful of people to reply and say yes. The response so far has been so amazing and so humbling, but also nerve-wracking. Case in point – today’s guest is one of the most accomplished and lauded authors out there. When he agreed to do one, I was over the moon. I sent him the questions – and then I thought – “Shit, I just sent Laird Barron these goofy questions.” (Actually, I think that each and every time I send these out, hoping people will have fun with them and 99% of them have!)

That’s right, today, we have the phenomenal Laird Barron!

Welcome Laird!

laird barron

(Photo credit: Jessica M.)

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?
Laird: I live in the shadow of the grinding wheel. Rise, shake off the cobwebs and work, seven days a week, no holidays. I tend to break the day into three or four blocks; the blocks are about two hours a shot. Unless a deadline looms, I don’t subscribe to quotas. Consistent progress is the goal—be it a thousand words or a measly sentence. Every couple of years, I pause and take stock. So long as I write routinely, the rest takes care of itself.

Steve: You decide to host a writer’s retreat. One weekend in a luxury house on an island. What three other authors do you invite to come along?
Laird: John Langan as we drink the same scotch anyway. Paul Tremblay’s a mensch. Stephen Graham Jones. Stephen is the rare genius who’s also socially adept. No question in my mind that these guys would be cool heads when the murders begin. Also, we’d solve the murder mystery in short order because I’m confident Stephen started them.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Laird: Try “Uncoiling” in the January, 2022 issue of Cosmic Horror Monthly. This story follows a pair of over-the-hill mercenaries as they seek to eradicate a nest of brigands while fending off the cursed attentions of an ancient mountain spirit. If you enjoy Gene Wolfe, Karl Edward Wagner, Roger Zelazny, and dark fantasy, this might be your cup of tea.

Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?

Laird: I suspect that Dr. Frankenstein is a wonderful conversationalist. However, his practical interest in my body parts might be problematic. I’d definitely be sweating whether the absinthe was dosed with a sedative.
Count Dracula would be fine company, regaling guests with his romantic forays and adventures abroad. More physically dangerous than Dr. F, but I’ve heard if one stays in one’s room after curfew, no harm will befall them. Besides, garlic, crucifixes, and sharp stakes are in ready supply.
So, I’ll be in Harker’s old room if you need me.

Steve: Fantastic choice! Thank you so much for doing this, Laird!

To find more of his work, check the links!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laird-Barron/e/B0034Q4PH6

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LairdBarron

Website: https://lairdbarron.wordpress.com/