Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts

Monday, January 23, 2023

Excerpt: The 8th Grade Killer by Katy Pierce

Images are Amazon affiliate links to the book


Amber hopped down from a haphazard pile of driftwood and peered off across Lake Michigan, watching the sunset spill its reds and oranges across the dark water.

At her back, Harborside was already tucking itself into bed. There wasn’t much to do in her hometown—it was mostly filled with boring old shops and creeps walking around with big maps, listening to murder podcasts. But Amber did love this beach. The summer wind blowing off the lake was already cooling down the evening, and she was happy she’d remembered to grab her hoodie.

The crowd of swimmers and beach volleyballers was already disappearing behind her as she trudged through sand in the opposite direction, the distant cheers swallowed by the gentle lapping of waves and an occasional bark from her dog, Cooper. Amber giggled at the big, dumb yellow lab. His tail was wagging at an almost dangerous speed as he trotted ahead along the shoreline.

“Cooper,” she called, knowing the cheeky mutt would ignore her. “Cooper, get back here!”

Amber smiled as he barked at a bug crawling toward the water, batting it with his paw before the next distraction drew him away.

“Are you even listening to me?” Jaclyn, Amber’s friend, snapped her attention back to their gossip. “I asked if you saw what Bethany is wearing.”

Mild curiosity grabbed Amber as she picked up the perfect stone to toss into the lake. Meanwhile, Jaclyn huffed in frustration as she struggled over a tree trunk. They had been coming to this beach all their lives, yet Jaclyn still had trouble navigating nature.

Feeling unusually gracious, Amber decided to humor her. “No, what?”

“It’s the sluttiest bikini I’ve ever seen!” Jaclyn threw her arms into the air, her body exploding with the news. She often made comments like that, and Amber picked out a slight twinge of jealousy in her tone.

“Sounds about right for Bethany.” Amber tried to stifle a chuckle, grabbing at Jaclyn’s mouth to bring her volume down. Jaclyn tended to shout her opinions, and while Amber loved her candor, she didn’t want anyone overhearing what they really thought of their mutual friend.

Amber could appreciate a good slutty bikini, but wearing one was an art form and Bethany was no artist. She didn’t understand that deciding
when to wear a swimsuit was almost as crucial as the choice of swimsuit itself. For Bethany to wear something like that at Whittler’s Cove, at night, was a bold statement.

“Bethany’s probably still trying to ride Abigail’s brother. I saw them there too.” Jaclyn rolled her eyes at how obvious Bethany was being. She was normally too savvy to do something as stupid as wearing a string bikini in early summer.

“Probably. She’s gone into whore hyperdrive since graduation. Abigail’s brother is pretty hot, though.”

“Oh, is he? I guess so…”

Monday, September 19, 2022

Guest Post: 3 Tips for Increasing Your Exposure as an Artist by Ian Garza

3 Tips for Increasing Your Exposure as an Artist

Guest Post by Ian Garza of Big On Balance

Getting your work discovered is a life-changing experience, but boosting the visibility of your art can often feel like an uphill battle. Exposure is vital to your future success, whether you're a painter, fashion designer, or crafter. Being proactive, investing in marketing, and expanding your network lets you show more people what you can offer. Follow these tips to boost your profile and attract more clients to your work.

1. Develop a Plan

According to experts, having a clear business plan contributes to your brand's future growth and success. When developing your business plan, it's a good idea to include information about your products or services, target market demographics, and financial needs.

If you are a fashion designer or craft maker, determining how to source materials and whether to sell your work on an e-commerce platform or in a brick-and-mortar store can help you anticipate initial costs. In addition to details regarding your business's finances, your plan should include its operational structure.

There are several options when selecting a business entity, but most artists form either sole proprietorships or LLCs. Each of these offers unique benefits, but the rules and regulations governing them can vary depending on your state, so you should do your research before making a decision. Find out how to start a business with ZenBusiness for the ease they offer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

GUEST POST: The Jackdaw and the Doll by John Biscello (Illustrations by Izumi Yokoyama)


"K. leads a double life. Timid office clerk by day, storyteller by night. But not just any storyteller. Transforming into a jackdaw, K. takes secret night-flights around the city, collecting moments of inspiration. Confronted by sickness, and “The Shroud” which has haunted him since childhood, K., joined by his new love, Dora, moves away from home to The City of Birds. It is there that he will meet a young girl, heartbroken over her lost doll, and be given a golden chance to share the healing magic of storytelling.  A fable about love, compassion and creativity, inspired by a story about the writer, Franz Kafka."

IZUMI YOKOYAMA: Izumi Yokoyama is a multi-media artist who lives and works in Taos, New Mexico. Born in Niigata, Japan, in 1980, Yokoyama graduated with an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute and moved to the high desert. Yokoyama’s artwork, which has been presented locally and nationally, spotlights apparitional motifs while celebrating the juxtapositions of living and dying. The Japanese culture and desert stories significantly influence her creative process. She works in ink pen drawings, installations, murals, calligraphy, and interactive community projects. 

JOHN BISCELLO: Originally from Brooklyn, NY, novelist, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has called Taos, New Mexico home since 2001. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag; two books of poetry, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street, and an adaptation of classic folk tales, Once Upon a Time: Classic Folktales Reimagined.


Monday, April 29, 2019

GUEST POST: How to Always be on the Lookout for New Inspiration by Kelvyn Fernandes

Hi, my name is Kelvyn Fernandes, author of The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi. As a writer of a fantastical journey, filled with peculiar characters and wondrous creatures, I’m often asked where do I get the ideas for my tales. Where do I pull my inspiration from? And the long and short answer is: everywhere at once.

The book I sought to write was based on snippets and extracts from memorable moments throughout my life. It is a compilation of every book I wanted to tell my way. Every movie I felt was missing something more. And every song whose lyrics stoked my imagination. A spark of an idea would start, based on a chance encounter or new set of information. And in my mind it would snowball through my backlog of interactions with the world; picking up bits and pieces to form a full character, a full setting, a full scene.

I take detailed notes on the thoughts that gain the most steam. From there I flesh out the narrative and over-arching plot. As such, I’ve formed a few tenets I try to live life by. These tenets help push me towards new, creative revelations. Therefore–in doing so–I keep my ideas fresh and interesting for the reader. More so, for myself.

It's important to embrace new experiences, even if you’re not interested or think they might suck. It’s almost never a bad idea to try something once. And if your bias is confirmed, a bad experience will likely make a great story.

Break away from your genre. Strong stories are found in strong characters. And strong characters can be found anywhere. If you’re writing a fantasy novel, don’t just look for ideas in other fantasy novels. It’s definitely good to familiarize yourself with fellow fantasy authors–and build on their stories. But sometimes if you’re stuck (anywhere within your writing), it’s refreshing to look somewhere outside your chosen genre.

For example, I read Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams as part of my friends’ book club. It follows a documented and real-life wildlife adventure the author took to see endangered species throughout the world. I wasn’t expecting to get so engrossed in a journal of his trip, but it really opened my eyes to the amazing places that exist in the world.

Most importantly, it gave me ideas for amazing places I could incorporate into my own writer's world.

Friday, November 2, 2018

GUEST POST ~ The Perfect Idiot by Frank Iodice

The Perfect Idiot by Frank Iodice

Title: The Perfect Idiot
Author: Frank Iodice
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: Winter 2019
List Price: TBA 
Publisher: Articoli Liberi
Synopsis: A Perfect Idiot is a poetic, tender novel. Odette is a six years old girl. She is living in a foster home in the south of France when she meets the narrator, a night custodian, and decides he should be her father. To look for him, Odette escapes with the help of an old Argentinian prostitute, Signorina Rosario Rossi, who has quite an original philosophy of life, and her ex-boyfriend, don Vito Palladino, an irreverent parish priest…

Frank Iodice created a series of marginal, eccentic characters trapped in a story full of delicate and yet bitter regrets.  With his sense of humor and his humanity, he was albe to help them find meaning in their unfulfilled lives.

Meli Montreux was always tired every morning she arrived. She gave me the impression that someone hadn't let her sleep. I imagined that a big hairy brute forced her to stay up all night. When she walked in, she sat down placing her chin on the palm of her hand. Her honest face, framed by her short, disheveled hair, didn't show the traces of violence that I found in the other social workers. It couldn't be described like any other face; probably it came very close to what I would call now perfection. Meli often wore long skirts with flowers, and smiled with her lips closed. 
Up there in Sospel we had a big black cat found on the street. That night, he was waiting for the fat from my ham; he stared at me from the sill of a window so low that it could also work as a door if you had long legs. I ate without looking outside and didn't share my ham with the cat. I didn't have the time because, a few days later, I died. 
On the hill across the way, there was the white building where the General lived. He was explaining to the cleaning woman how to wash his balcony, one tile at a time. The cypresses with a few branches out of place swayed, imitating the clouds. A beetle came in and began to beat against the wrong wall. It's going to end up killing itself, I thought. In the meantime, I listed the scenes I had seen in the previous days. 
I very much enjoyed making lists.

Uno. A mother thanks cars while crossing the street: her daughter imitates her and thanks the cars. Another mother doesn't thank the cars: her daughter imitates her and doesn't thank. Heredity of civility.
Due. The hairdresser complains about the stink from the public toilets. There's pee everywhere, she screams, but the pee is perfumed by anise, so that the hairdresser hopes no one has heard her.
Tre. This morning the girls were playing with the cat, which, at least apparently, didn't smile at them. From the back of the garden came the deep chirps of the blackbirds and the pleasant cold of the land. 
I liked the cat, too. Early in the morning, we were the only ones in the garden. We kept each other company while waiting for the others. I felt the calm of the green, old estate. The caretakers arrived at seven in the morning. On the weekend at seven-thirty. 
I was the custodian. I’ve always been a custodian. At night I was the only one to watch over the children. I brought books and sweets with me. I had been reading almost a book a day ever since my own childhood. As for the pastries, the kids and I ate them in secret, at least a couple each. The ones with a lot of cream were the hardest to hide. 
In that place on the edge of Nice, I could imagine the city any way I wanted because I didn't hear its noise. When I left in the morning, after my night shift, I felt my legs heavy and lazy. I had time to see details that, otherwise, I wouldn't have noticed: like the noise the hairdresser made when she placed nail polish in the window (the hairdresser was also the beautician of the town) the little bottles clattered against each other or hit the glass and made the same sound of pebbles on the beach, a liquid pleasing knocking. There was also the girl with the long neck, who left home with a bunch of flowers in her hand. She might have been the daughter of the florist, a woman with the same neck, whose shop was a little down the street, but I enjoyed imagining that she received a fresh bunch every evening, and that the next morning she passed them on to someone else.

‘A child who doesn’t read is a child who doesn’t dream.’
Articoli Liberi is based in the south of France. We are a nonprofit organization born to diffuse free books to schools all over the world. We distribute for free and we use the proceeds from the online sales to print extra copies. The objective is to join as more students as we can and pass down the importance of reading to the new generation.

We are a group of friends, all different from each other, but united by a unique big passion: reading. We believe that a book keeps in its pages the ideas of the person who wrote it, but also those of the person who reads and will speak about it. And for this exchange of ideas, we started exchanging books.
We decided to collaborate with Frank Iodice and publish his amazing novel because (as it was with his ‘Brief Dialogue on Happiness with Pepe Mujica’) it contains all the messages that we ourselves try to leave to the young: the importance of personal freedom; love for reading and for a simple life; rebellion against the modern politics of hate and obsessive competition.
‘A Perfect Idiot’ was originally published in Italian as ‘Un perfetto idiota’, by Edizioni Il Foglio, in February 2017. An excerpt from the first version of this translation project appeared in Trafika Europe 14 - Italian Piazza, in July 2018. Then the author reworked the whole novel and turned it into a new novel, as he himself explained to us:

‘I had to change the structure of every sentence, cutting almost 50 pages in total. Many paragraphs from the original version simply didn’t work in English. So, I adapted my story to an English-speaker readership. And I must admit that I prefer it now. The story goes right where I want it to go’.

The English version will be distributed for free to schools (starting with a conference plan across France, Italy, and the UK50 copies to each school).

It will be also presented at the Writers Weekend, Augusta University, in March 2019, by the author and Giada Biasetti, one of the professors that collaborated on this wonderful project.
If you want to know more about our future encounters with the students or our nice books, follow us at

Diffusing books for free has turned out to be our vocation, but we constantly need your support if we want to succeed.

We are proud of the cover art. It was realized by Gary Taxali, an acclaimed, award-winning fine artist and illustrator, known for his retro stylized art in the realm of pop. Gary was glad to participate in our project and offered his terrific artwork wishing us the best with this mission. Find out more about Gary Taxali at

Frank Iodice is an Italian freelance journalist and writer. He is the author of numerous novels, like ‘La meccanica dei sentimenti’ (Eretica Edizioni 2018), ‘Matroneum’ (Il Foglio 2018), ‘Un perfetto idiota’ (Il Foglio 2017) and many more. 10.000 copies of his ‘Brief Dialogue on Happiness with Pepe Mujica’ have been distributed for free to French and Italian high schools.
He lives between Paris and Lyon.  His blog is

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

GUEST POST: Nocturne Variations by John Biscello

Unsolicited Press 


Nocturne Variations by John Biscello

Genre: Fiction
Release Date: November 30, 2018 (Available for Pre-Order HERE)
List Price: $18.00 
Publisher: Unsolicited Press
Synopsis: Dystopic Peter Pan meets surrealist noir in this cinemythical tale about love, loss and the illusions of shadow-play.

Los Angeles, December, 1989, is when we first meet the seventeen-year-old Piers, a runaway and a savant puppeteer.  Addicted to Sike, an experimental drug which promises a surrogate return to Childhood, Piers, in an act of revenge, robs a briefcase full of Sike from her dealer and flees L.A., pursued by two hit men.  Hiding out in the Southwestern town of Redline, where she meets and is taken in by a man named Henry Hook, Piers is soon confronted by the buried trauma of her past.

Comprising a jigsaw synthesis of narrative, journal entries, letters, monologues, film footage, poems, photographs, and press clippings; Noturne renders an interior world of fragments and parallels, and casts a tinted light on the neverland between dreaming and waking.


They were spinning slowly, ever so slowly.
  Do you want to go faster, Piers reached down for the dial. I can make us go faster.
  No, Anya smiled. I like the speed. We’re moving so slow it’s like we’re not moving at all.
  Piers and Anya sat in the Amusement Seats, across from one another.
  Piers drew the cloth to her face, huffed, then passed it to Anya.
  Piers stared at Anya, half her face masked in cloth, an asthmatic bandit in the throes of huffing.
  Piers stared and stared,
  and her vision dissimulated into small birds,
  winging across the painted winter of Anya’s face,
  and into the rabbitpink of her eyes, a dying sun
  or lighted prehistory.
  And then, like a slow-motion dream in reverse,
  Piers found herself earlier in the night:
  Anya, on stage, a glacial Venus, dancing with the other Winter’s Brides,
  dancing to invoke snow, which came in the form of electro audio fuzz.
  Can you hear the snow falling, Piers elated to Trink,
  who nodded—Yea yea I can hear it babygirl, I can hear it.
  The Brides, rejoicing in prayer, intensified the frenzy of their dancing,
  as the snowfalling amped into a blizzard of white noise,
  that raged and raged and then
  A ribbed, cathedral silence,
  freezing the Brides into a penitent tableaux.

Monday, June 27, 2016

GUEST POST: The Unwanted (Black Water Tales Book 2) by Jean Nicole Rivers

JNR Publishing Presents
The Unwanted (Black Water Tales Book 2) 
by Jean Nicole Rivers
Author: Jean Nicole Rivers
Publisher: JNR Publishing
Genre: New Adult Horror & Psychological Thriller
Length: 306
Release Date: OUT NOW (Ebook & Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0692549926
Synopsis:  In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.
Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted. 
The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when she discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help…There’s something in the basement.

Monday, April 25, 2016

GUEST POST: Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor by J. G. Clay

Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor Volume 1 by J. G. Clay
Author: J. G. Clay
Genre: Horror
Length: 212
Release Date: July 20, 2015
ISBN: 978-1513701998
Synopsis: Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur
J.G Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem……
There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin......
A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.
The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent.

Bozo Nightmares? Get Real: A Very Short History of Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor
My name is J.G Clay. Rather, my pen name is J.G Clay. I like it. It’s snappy, stylish and a bit mysterious. I wrote and released a book called Tales of Blood And Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor. Again with the snappy stylish thing. It’s a great title. It could have been so different. Somewhere out there in an alternative Universe, it could have been ‘Bozo Nightmares’ by Steven Singh. I’m glad it wasn’t but this is one of those little stories woven into the backstory of ‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur
There are (probably) a hundred more anecdotes but to be honest, I can’t remember them all. Tracing the origins of a novel is pretty easy. Get an idea. Sketch out idea. Write idea. Rinse and repeat. Nice, neat and infinitely easier to write about when someone asks for a guest blog on the history of your book. A short story collection is a different matter altogether. For instance, I can tell you that ‘On The Beach’, the first of the Tales, was originally written in 1998, that ‘God Bless George A. Romero’ started life as the day to day blog of a zombie holocaust and that one of the stories I dropped for what would become my debut was a rather pleasantly titled piece called ‘F**k Art, Let’s Dance’. But the exact dates of what happened where and with who are a bit elusive. SO, a potted history is all I can manage.
Four of the original seven stories that made up Tales of Blood and Sulphur were pieces that had been hanging around in one form or another since my late twenties. I’ve been writing since I was about thirteen; not very well admittedly but writing nonetheless. The idea of dusting some ‘Golden Oldies’ and retooling for a forty year old had a lot of appeal (mainly because it didn’t involve having to think up new stuff). I got to work polishing and honing this old stuff around February 2015 with the vague idea of expanding on the sparse pieces I had. But, as ever with this writing thing, something happened. Not only did I enjoy what I was doing, but new ideas reared their head. The floodgates were opening. They haven’t stopped since. The newbies (as I like to call them) - ‘Legally Dead’, ‘LLTC (Lucifer Loves The Clash)’ and the aforementioned ‘The Writer’s Friend’ - were all finished in about two weeks. Some other stories also cropped up but they were put to one side for a rainy day, a decision which I’ve always been happy with. One of those bonus tracks eventually went on to become the Doctor Who-ish ‘The World Stops When The Smiling Men Cry’. ‘F*ck Art, Let’s Dance’ and a story exploring colonial mind-sets and racism called ‘Mizungo’ were also born during this time. At the time of writing, neither one had has appeared in print. I’m sure that one day they will.
Stories in hand, I put the book on Amazon and Createspace and released ‘Tales of Blood and Sulphur’ on 13th May, 2014. It sold a few copies, got some great reviews and also attracted the interest of a publishing company called Booktrope, the same publisher I am still with. Now the fun starts. Armed with an editor, proof-reader, cover designer and Dane Cobain, my book manager, ‘Tales’ was ready for a new lease of life. With two pairs of fresh eyes on the case, the original seven stories expanded to ten plus a ‘wraparound story’ to pin everything together. The ‘wraparound’ was suggested by my editor Christopher Nelson and it was a master stroke. Not only did it give the stories a framework to hang from but it also gave me a new character to play with in the form of Null, the mystic and not quite human storyteller. He’s my crypt-keeper, the man (ish) who will bring you a new ‘Tales’ every year as well as taking payment in souls.
With a stunning cover, fantastic editing and proofreading, work was completed in short order and ‘Tales of Blood And Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor’ was unleashed onto the public in July 2015. Sales have been moderate but the reaction has been fantastic. More importantly, that first release has given me back the passion and hunger for storytelling, something that I’d lost in the years previous.
I wonder whether the passion would have stayed the same if I had gone with the original title. Somehow I doubt it.
Author Information & Links
J.G Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the 'Duke of Spook'. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?
Here at Clay Towers, we don't believe in coincidences.
The 41 year old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the '2000A.D' comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey's most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.
Connect with J. G. Clay
Purchase Tales of Blood and Sulphur Apocalypse Minor Vol. 1 

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