Thursday, July 28, 2011

Disquieting Visions Published: A Challenge in Writing Fantasy Short Stories

Disquieting Visions published my article:

While relevant to all writers of short fiction, it focuses in on a particular aspect of writing fantasy.
Click on over and give it a read.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hocking Hills 2011

Here are a few pictures from the day I spent hiking with my older daughter at Hocking Hills State Park.

Along the trail to Old Man's Cave
 It's only about a two hour drive from our home and visiting the park (and its trails, caves and water falls) is something my older daughter and I strive to accomplish as father and daughter each summer. Yes, someday my  younger daughter will be included--in a few years. The trip involves a lot of hiking up and down stairs and rocks and some slick, unsteady paths that require focus, concentration and endurance. But it's worth it.

The Water Fall at the end of Conkles Hollow

View from within the
Falls Cave at Conkles Hollow

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cinema of Shadows Book Trailer

I came across this book trailer for the novel, Cinema of Shadows by Michael West.

It views more like a film than a standard book trailer. Even a 'twist' at the very end.

I think it's pretty darn well done. Give it a view and see what you think.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Steven Brust Quote on Writers and Readers

"All literature consists of whatever the writer thinks is cool. The reader will like the book to the degree that he agrees with the writer about what's cool." --Steven Brust 

Contains the first three
Vald Taltos novels.
The perfect place to start.

As both a reader and a writer, what Brust said sure rings true.

Friday, July 22, 2011

National Debt Again

It's still a problem and not getting better. What is the Congress and the President doing about it? Ummm, nothing... Well, that's not true. They're busy pointing fingers and wringing hands, worried about default on debts owed. They 'need' to raise the debt ceiling to pay all of the obligations and promises they've made--of course then they could go on business as usual.

Nobody has a plan, except the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Everyone else in the government seems to have an opinion but nothing concrete or constructive. Sniping and trying to make themselves look good. Theoretical plans that will cut the deficit by a couple trillion dollars--plans that extend ten years into the future. Promises of cuts way out then. Those cuts will happen--ummm, right.

Does anyone see a problem with, after paying all of the entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and then paying the interest owed on the National Debt, there is basically no tax revenue left to pay for anything else? Thus, to pay for/fund anything else the U.S. Government has to borrow money? For the military, for the FBI, for road repair?

For every dollar spent, the U.S. Government borrows 40 cents (there is some debate on the exact amount, but this appears to be close).  If the government doesn't raise the debt ceiling, then they can only fund 60% of what they've 'budgeted.'

If our Representatives in Congress and the President don't do something soon to stop the spending--yes, actually reduce spending (you cannot raise enough taxes to cover all of the spending), this house of cards is gonna collapse. Won't that be pretty?

Get some guts, folks. Step up and tell the citizens: "We're broke...even worse, were in debt big-time and sinking further. No, you cannot have all of the goodies we promised. Even if we tax every rich person in the country, take every penny their earn above, say $250,000, we'll still not collect enough money (and won't that taxation plan do wonders for the economy). Everyone will have to tighten their belts. Everyone."

In the end we can only grow the economy to get out of this, but stemming the tide of spending is the first step to that happening. Maybe look at adjusting taxes after cuts are made. At least that's the way I see it.

The Gross National Debt

Note: At 4:40 pm EST on 7/22/11When this blog article was posted, the debt totalled: $14,412,536,802,223

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Accelerated Justice"

Here is the link to my short story "Accelerated Justice," part of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine's Summer 2011 Issue. ("Accelerated Justice" starts off the issue!)

Link: Strange Weird and Wonderful Magazine Summer 2011 Issue

Hope you enjoy the story and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strange, Weird and Wonderful Interviews Me

Okay, some of you know me pretty well. Some of you don't. In either case, I think you'll enjoy the interview--and learn something about me, my reading interests, the cover art for Flank Hawk, or several other things.

Here's what the editor at Strange, Weird and Wonderful had to say:

Terry W. Ervin II is the kind of writer we like to bring to our readers; his career is on the way up and he has real talent. He made a promise to himself back in his college days to write a novel, but lucky for us, he also has written a short story or two.

His career and writing style has been heavily influenced by the likes of Steven Brust, Stephen R. Donaldson, Roger Zelazny, and others. His writing is gritty, and absorbing, and his characters breath with the life of a writer doing what he loves.

His Featured Story "Accelerated Justice" is a futuristic piece with a protagonist you will find easy to care about in a world where justice is served at the point of a needle.

If you'd like to learn more about Terry W. Ervin II and his writing, read his interview here:  Interview with Terry W. Ervin II.


Note: My short story "Accelerated Justice" is part of Strange, Weird and Wonderful's Summer 2011 Issue. I'll post the link tomorrow :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Intelligence vs. Wisdom

This saying isn't new but I heard it on the radio last week (variations have been attributed to anonymous) and it stuck with me.

 "Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing not to include it in a fruit salad."


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Update: The Thylacine (Tasmanian Wolf) Recent Sightings

In a follow-up to my previous post (Thylacine (Tasmanian Wolf), I will respond readers/visitors who contacted me about sightings of the thylacine in recent (or relatively recent years).

I knew about them and that is part of what has kept me hopeful about the species not being extinct. Still a long shot, but why not?

For those who would like to see, here are some videos. Compare what is seen in the videos to the zoo footage from the 1930s. Maybe it's like the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, believed extinct since the 1940s, and now that status is in serious question. You be the judge.

The thylacine footage for the video above occurs about 40 seconds in.

If interested, you can search Youtube and find a few more.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Interview with Southern Gothic Horror Author Bonnie Stewart

Me and Bonnie at
Piqua's Taste of the Arts Festival

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Bonnie. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I was raised in a quaint small town on the outskirts of a captivating county lake. As charming as the neighborhood may seem, it demented my mind, fostered my insanity, and scarred my soul for eternity. (giggle)

As I adequately impersonate a rational person, I write southern gothic horrors. My writing is whatever I want it to be--I have no inhibitions. It's whatever I want to be or what my characters want to be, or experience at that time, with no regard to possible hypocritical frowns and judgments. (evil grin) The series is an easy-to-read, gritty compilation of horror, comedy and murder, psychosis and society-considered normal human nature, all for the glory of entertainment.

You mentioned a series in your no-holds-barred writing style. Can you tell us a little about the books that are in it?

Currently, I have two novels within the series. The Slate Hill Covenant and the sequel, Ellabeth the Oldest.

The Covenant is a dark humor horror novel based on the most frightening and interesting facets of all—the human psyche, greed, lust and insanity.

The Covenant follows a promiscuous mother with six children, who are each plagued with varying disorders, such as: physical mutation, psychological disorders, religious fanaticism, or basic insentience. The tale follows this bizarre family’s move into a semi-abandoned mansion, the gruesome death of their mother while giving birth to a mutated infant, and how the children fare alone in the isolated house. And because of their instilled fear of separation, they make a peculiar and precarious covenant to keep the family together—indefinitely.

Ellabeth The Oldest follows the eldest daughter of the family of defectives, lunatics and murderers. Having been plagued with unimaginable degrees of guilt and insanity, she is soon unable to co-exist with others, which forces her to new and demented adventures, all the while, keeping the peculiar and precarious covenant that her and her siblings made to keep the family together—indefinitely.

I am planning on publishing the third addition, a prequel, called Becoming June, this fall. The novel will delve into the mother's childhood.

The series sounds intriguing and not exactly like anything else out there. Are there any authors and/or experiences that have influenced your writing?

You know, that's the problem. I read a lot--from Anne Rule to Stephen King, but, I get bored easily. I'm hyper, quickly distracted, and easily disinterested. Hence, my 'to be read' or 'never read' stacks are nearly as high as my 'read', however, movies were highly influential. Such as: Burnt Offerings, The Nanny, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, The Shining. The older, darker, gray films that included a little bit (or a lot) of psychosis. And, for sure, my father's ghost stories were as influential as terrifying. He could make me scream out loud just listening and using my imagination.

And, definitely, my unique upbringing helped me conjure up the descriptions and some of the shocking storylines.

So, I write novels, which I believe to be easy reads, character driven, with constant action and suspense. I want to care about the characters and their plight. But, I also want to fear them and their insanity. I want to wonder about them throughout the day, while I am doing other, needful things. (yeah... Needful Things was cool, too)

It sounds as if your stories are constantly moving around in your thoughts as they develop and take form. Can you describe the process you go through from the initial idea or premise to reaching the final draft of your novels?

Wow! Chaos... to everyone, but me. I jot down an idea on a piece of paper (seems innocent) but, soon after, I have a clipboard (broken and taped) I carry with me that contains outlines for different chapters, which, I constantly move around, scribble on (my form of editing), add chapters (never remove, you just never know), and keep personal notes about each character.

(Ancient Native American-Scottish secret - works for me, probably only me ;)

Thus far in your writing career what has proven to be the most difficult hurdle to overcome and, to counterbalance that, what is the best/most interesting/most memorable comment you’ve received from a reader of your novels?

I guess the most difficult hurdle to me was fitting in. I'm a complex creature. A writer. An inside-my-head person. Ha! And, I was as unsure about fitting in the horror realm as much as I was the cheerleader-mom realm! But, in order to find my readers, because my novels are so different, I had to search for an appropriate audience, and bring my books to them. And, in the process, I've met some really great people and made friends I will have for the rest of my life.

Oh! I have some great comments, but I will quote the one from Kathy Smith, because I know she will let me. "Such a sweet, innocent face with such a sick, twisted mind."

I met her at my very first convention, Scarefest in Lexington, nearly three years ago. She bought my first book and we became quick friends. She actually helped me at the Scarefest last year.

Do you read outside the horror genre and if so, what three books would you recommend and why?

Well, yes, I'm a fan of Jane Eyre, odd book, eh? The only book I've read more than two times. Recently read True Grit, charming. I used to read a lot of Ann Rule, loved her true crimes. But, mostly, Koontz, Saul, King, Rice and Follett. I guess I like weird, twisted story lines. (The "oh no they didn't" stories.)

I can't really recommend any particular book. I would feel disloyal to the others. :)

Bonnie, we’re coming to the end of the interview. Is there anything you would like to say or add?

No, sir. Well, you are asking a self-proclaimed anti-social hermit to add something... what did you expect? ;)

Well, I do want to say, it was a pleasure and an honor working with you and I enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you so much!


You can find out more about Bonnie and her works (including how to obtain her novels) through DarkDays Publishing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Thylacine (Tasmanian Wolf)

Way back as a kid I paid attention whenever I spotted a rare bit on the news or a nature program mentioning the thylacine. Of all the recently (or relatively so) extinct animals out there, this one appears to have a slim chance of still existing in the wild...just maybe.

Even though the odds are against it, how cool would that be?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stephen Zimmer's Seven Ways to Help Authors You Like

Here's an article by Stephen Zimmer on how readers who enjoy an author's novels can help (seven easy methods): 

Want to Help Authors You Like? Here Are Seven Ways!

Give it a read and apply (if you already haven't)--not only for me :) , but any author whose works you think others might enjoy. The effort will be appreciated beyond what you might imagine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frustration with Amazon: Update

It did eventually happen, and it appears to have stuck (four days and counting). The Kindle and print versions of Flank Hawk remain linked and all of the reviews have returned. :)

Reference: Original Frustration w/ Amazon post

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July 2011

Enjoyed the community fireworks celebration Saturday night. My family found a spot out on the middle school's football field next to some good neighbors. My older daughter walked around a bit with her friends and my younger daughter ran around us with one of her buddies, both tossing their glowstick necklaces high into the air and chasing after them.

Sack races and concessions and music sounded while an appreciative and patriotic spirit ran through the crowd.

Sure, the fireworks display wasn't as impressive or long-lasting as some I've seen, especially when I lived in Toledo and watched them along the Maumee River. But it was pretty awesome in its own way. Tonight, when the sun sets, it'll be sparklers in the ally behind our house.

I hope you were able to enjoy the weekend and Independence Day with family and friends as well. And think about and say a prayer for those who made it all possible, and those serving our country now, sacrificing to allow us this and many other freedoms.

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Interview with Author Cher Green

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Cher. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

Thanks for having me.

As a child, I became intrigued with books. At first it was the delight by other worlds existing alongside my own, but soon they became an escape. As a teenager, I wished to disappear into my own imagination. My first experience with writing was with poetry and short stories. In high school, I sent my first submission to a publisher, who planned to showcase writings of the youths in my area. The magazine never saw light due to the lack of submissions, but I received my first letter of encouragement. I continued writing, but life pulled me away from dreams.

In 1999, my father died in a work accident, sending me a wakeup call. I’d given up on my life’s dream. Two years later, I dug into my first novel. With no writing experience, the piece became a learning experience. With the help of other writers, I continued to learn and hone my writing skills. Short stories proved a better method of learning the craft, so I made the temporary switch.

In 2010, I had my first publication, and have been striving forward ever since. 2011 has proved to be a great year with two short story publications and an upcoming publication of my first novella, Escape to Love. This year, I’ve also delved into the editing world and have found this a great supplement to my own writing. I have a variety of stories in submission mode, a novel in progress, and many more projects simmering in my head.

What (if anything) do you find different when writing longer works, such as novels and novellas, as compared to short stories?

Wonderful question! The writing process is the same: brainstorm, rough draft, revisions, and polish.

The biggest differences in the two are the timeline and structure.

A short story timeline usually spans over hours, sometimes days. Its structure is quick and to the point. There’s no room to explore added depth. You have a limited amount of words and you better make everyone count.

A longer piece’s timeline can span from days, months, sometimes years. Its structure is more detailed and involves much more work. The larger word count allows for more exploration, a bigger area to develop your characters and their needs. Not to say you shouldn’t make every word count, but the expanded space allows your imagination a much bigger playground.

Speaking of characters: If you could share a meal with any fictional character, who would you select and why, and where would you dine?

Well, that’s a hard one. I’ve gotten know a lot of characters in my lifetime, and many were wonderful and worth getting know better. At first thought, I would have said Thad Beaumont of Stephen King’s The Dark Half, but then I thought, what would we talk about? So, my answer is Meredith Martin, of Kate Mosse’s Sepulchre. I would love to get a look at those tarot cards painted by Léonie Vernier. I’m sure we’d have an enjoyable conversation. Where? A little coffee shop. Her choice.

Interesting choice. With that in mind, could you introduce us to the main character in your upcoming release, Escape to Love?

My story has two main characters: Constance Spenser and Lawrence Wilder

Constance is a relatively quiet woman, who has sought solitude in a country home with her cat, Angelica. In attempt to find meaning in life, she seeks spirituality and turns to witchcraft. With no talent at the art, she accidently opens a portal to another world. Although she seems very normal, her destiny proves to be more than an average destiny. She’s strong and up for the challenge, any challenge for that matter.

Lawrence is a kind person, but life tragedies have sent him into the arms of the devil. He’s one of the council members. The council controls the people of the village, maintaining a magic free environment, and possesses full power for itself. Lawrence has come to a point where he’s had enough and wants to rejoin normal society, but one doesn’t leave the council. He’s a man with a big heart and many regrets.

Many writers fear or dread losing their work to a digital disaster—some through experience. Do you have a particular method for backing up your work and are you regular in your backup efforts?

Luckily, I’ve yet to experience such a tragedy. I do back up regularly to two flash drives. So, at the end of the day, I have three copies of my work. I backup once a day to one flash drive and weekly to the other.

It is often said that good writers are avid readers. Do you agree and, if so, what are your reading habits/what do you read?

I do agree, but I am guilty of not being as avid as I once was or should be. I used to devour books, now I nibble. On most nights, I make it a point to read for at least thirty minutes before bed, and if I’m lucky, I get sucked in and read longer. I do, however, read when editing, but for me this is a different type of reading.

My reading material consists of both fiction and non-fiction. I try to alternate between the two. On non-fiction, I read mostly books on writing or tarot/spiritual books. On fiction, my appetite varies. I enjoy Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Kay Hooper, but the list could go on and on. I also explore other genres and have stacks of unread books just waiting to be opened.

As already mentioned, you have a novella soon to be released. Why do you think readers should open it? What should they expect?

Escape to Love is a mix of paranormal suspense and romance. The main reason to open any book is to experience a journey. Readers will enjoy the characters, atmosphere, and experience. Everyone has a limit to how much they are willing to do for love. Would you step into a portal of the unknown?

Would I step into a portal of the unknown for love? Tough question—a good question, Cher. One would like to automatically say “Yes” but who knows for sure.

As we’re coming to the end of our interview, is there anything you’d like to say or add?

Yes, I’d like to address all writers, professional and aspiring. The writing dream is lonely, hard work, frustrating, and even heartbreaking. It is a journey we chose to take and only the tough will survive. Continue to follow your dream. It’s all worth it in the end.

Thanks, Terry, for having me. I enjoyed talking with you and sharing. This has been a wonderful journey from aspiring writer to publication, but in truth, the work has only begun.

Escape to Love is published by eTreasures Publishing. You can find more about her novel and where to obtain it there.

You can learn more about Cher and her writing by vising her website, Cher Green, fiction writer and her blog, Footsteps of a Writer.