anhonestlie

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

THORN IN YOUR FOOT?

 

 

 

 

 

Image

 

(My, I feel just like the poor fellow in the picture above.)

 

You may, or may not have heard that Open Heart Publishing, and An Honest Lie, are now on a company-wide production hold. This means that due to circumstances beyond our control, all printing has been halted. Unfortunately, this means there will be no more freshly printed books to buy until the production hold is removed.

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahh!

 

So, what are we going to do in the meantime?

 

Keeping busy, believe it or not!

 

Book copies … Many of you have contacted me looking for book copies. Sadly, all the extra copies I have are one copy of V2. It’s available for anyone who wants it. As far as finding other copies that may be available to buy, I can only suggest that if you are looking for copies, contact me at sredohp@yahoo.com and let me know which volumes you are seeking. Adversely, if you have any spare volumes you’d be interested in selling, contact me at sredohp@yahoo.com and I’ll put the word out for you. (Please note, all transactions are strictly between seller and buyer. I will not accept or forward money, or books. My job is simply to match buyer and seller and put them in contact with each other.)

 

 

Speaking of interviews, we still have them and they are still available for your review! You’ll find them at this blog, http://anhonestliespeaks.blogspot.com. Just scroll down until you find your interview!

 

Don’t forget, you are always welcome to contact me via email at sredohp@yahoo.com, should you have any questions about the material you are working on, marketing, writing advice, comments on posts, or any problems, etc.

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

(My, I feel just like the poor fellow in the picture above.)

 

 

You may, or may not have heard that Open Heart Publishing, and An Honest Lie, are now on a company-wide production hold. This means that due to circumstances beyond our control, all printing has been halted. Unfortunately, this means there will be no more books to buy until the production hold is removed.

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaahh!

 

So, what are we going to do in the meantime?

 

Keeping busy, believe it or not!

 

Book copies … Many of you have contacted me looking for book copies. Sadly, all the extra copies I have are one copy of V2. It’s available for anyone who wants it. As far as finding other copies that may be available to buy, I can only suggest that if you are looking for copies, contact me at sredohp@yahoo.com and let me know which volumes you are seeking. Adversely, if you have any spare volumes you’d be interested in selling, contact me at sredohp@yahoo.com and I’ll put the word out for you. (Please note, all transactions are strictly between seller and buyer. I will not accept or forward money, or books. My job is simply to match buyer and seller and put them in contact with each other.)

 

 

Speaking of interviews, we still have them and they are still available for your review! You’ll find them at this blog, http://anhonestliespeaks.blogspot.com. Just scroll down until you find your interview!

 

Don’t forget, you are always welcome to contact me via email at sredohp@yahoo.com, should you have any questions about the material you are working on, marketing, writing advice, comments on posts, or any problems, etc.

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

 

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Please say Hello to returning author PATRICK SCALISI!

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Please welcome returning author PATRICK SCALISI! He brings us “Salvage”, to be published in Open Heart Publishing’s anthology An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables.



ET: Patrick, this is not your first story. Can you tell us about your other publications?

PS: I’ve been publishing professionally since 2008 and have been lucky enough to have my work appear in multiple web and print sources. I’m glad to be back working with Open Heart Publishing, which printed my story “The Registry of Lost Socks” in An Honest Lie Vol. 2. Apart from that, I’ve also been working a lot with another independent publisher called Post Mortem Press. PMP published my ghost story “Carousel Gardens” in two of their anthologies and was gracious enough to ask me to guest edit a forthcoming anthology about haunted machines.

ET: Editing is a great way to get your name out, and to hone your craft. What about other engagements, such as public speaking and book signings?

PS: I’ve held book signings and spoken in public about my writing. Public speaking has never bothered me for some reason, so I’ve found that a good way to get my name out there—and even sell a few books—is to teach workshops or lecture. I had the pleasure of speaking to the creative writing classes at Stratford (Conn.) High School this past spring. The students were incredibly polite and asked amazing questions about the entire writing process. At the end, the teacher bought several copies of An Honest Lie Vol. 2 for the school library!

ET: Nice job. How did you find Open Heart Publishing?

PS: I initially found out about Open Heart Publishing through Duotrope Digest during the call for submissions for An Honest Lie Vol. 2. OHP is wonderful in that they invite “alumni” writers to submit their work for future anthologies. Although I didn’t have a story that was a good match for An Honest Lie Vol. 3, I’m glad that my current story, “Salvage,” fit the theme of OHP’s fourth annual anthology.

ET: As someone who read and enjoyed “The Registry of Lost Socks”, I can say with some authority that readers should be excited about your forthcoming story, “Salvage”. Can you give us some insight on your writing philosophy?

PS: As the storyteller, I’m responsible for guiding the reader along the journey that is the story—be it flash fiction, a short story or a novel. In that respect, I think it’s important to tell a good story. I never really set out to convert someone, or satirize a serious topic, or even build intricate pyramids of symbolism. Really, I just want to tell a good story that I hope people enjoy.

I think it’s important to be true to yourself. A publisher can (and should) suggest edits but should never take away from the writer’s vision. I’ve turned down work from publishers who wanted to change my vision of a story to their vision of a story. Ultimately, the author has to be happy with what bears his or her byline at the end of the day.

ET: Words of wisdom from a burgeoning professional. What about deeper elements such as religion and politics?

PS: Looking back, this is a strange one for me. Politics are typically fair game in my stories, but I usually don’t touch on religion much for fear of offending or alienating certain readers. Religion is very personal and, to me at least, very private; I don’t have the right to mock or promote any one belief system over another. That having been said, I love playing with religion and archetypes in a fiction sense: creating fantasy worlds that have fictional religions, etc. One of the first novels I wrote—a fantasy that will never see the light of day, thank goodness—focused heavily on the religion of a fantasy world.

ET: We as authors walk a fine line, no doubt. You are obviously busy with writing, and need both support and space. Can you tell us how your family supports your writing goals?

PS: I’m very gracious that my family respects my writing time, which is probably the best support they can offer. When I’m at the computer writing, they know to keep quiet or refrain from asking me too many questions. The cat, however, is less sympathetic to the starving artist and will meow until his attention quota is met.

Untidiness gives me stress, so my writing area is typically neat—or else I can’t concentrate on writing. When I moved into my current house, I was able to take my childhood desk with me and remove the lofted bookshelves from the desktop. It’s now the perfect size to hold my laptop, speakers and a few other items. The desk is right next to a window, so I can gaze outside if I’m procrastinating.

ET: Outstanding. Without support, we would never be successful. Where can readers find you online?

PS: I have a personal website (patrickscalisi.com) that I update once every month (or sooner, if need be). I also have a Facebook fan page (facebook.com/patrickscalisi) that I update daily with news related to my writing, as well as interesting articles about books, the craft of writing, arts and entertainment, and more. Finally, I blog occasionally on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4607795.Patrick_Scalisi) and share book recommendations, what I’m currently reading, and what I’d like to read in the future.

ET: Like a good author, sounds like you are busy writing, promoting, lecturing, writing, networking, and writing. Our readers should join me in heading over to your websites, so we can all watch you grow as a successful author. I know we’ll be seeing more of PATRICK SCALISI in the future!

I’d like to thank Patrick for allowing me to interview him, and for taking time from his busy schedule to answer my questions. Please visit his websites and show your support for this talented, dedicated author.

BIOGRAPHY

Patrick Scalisi is a journalist, magazine editor and emerging author from Connecticut. He has published fiction in several magazines, including The Willows, Neo-opsisand Twisted Dreams, among others. His short stories have also appeared in a number of fiction anthologies, including An Honest Lie Vol. 2, Shadowplay and Penny Dread Tales Vol. 1. Most recently, he served as the guest editor of the anthology The Ghost Is the Machine, released in August 2012 by Post Mortem Press. When he’s not writing, Pat enjoys watching way too many movies than are good for him, reading more books than he has shelves for and listening to music (his tastes range from classical to classic and modern rock). Visit Pat online at patrickscalisi.com or facebook.com/patrickscalisi.


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to Author ERIC NOTARO!

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

Please say Hello to published author ERIC NOTARO. He brings us his latest short story, “The Cossack’s Samovar” in Open Heart Publishing’s anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables. Eric, can you tell us about some of your other publications?

EN: My short stories have appeared in the online journals The Four Cornered Universe and The Squawk Back. Another short story is also forthcoming in the Fall 2012 issue of Zone 3. I am busily cranking out stories as I develop a creative thesis for my Masters of Fine Art in writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. My hope is that I’ll have a story collection that is publishable or nearly so by that time.

ET: Outstanding! If you keep it up, you’ll have a great start on your own anthology. Can you tell us how you found An Honest Lie and Open Heart Publishing?

EN: A friend invited me to a facebook group for submitting writing for publication. I figured it’d be a good networking tool. Somewhere along the line someone else had posted a link to An Honest Lie.

ET: And yet another case for online networking, and how it can help writers. When and how did you decide to become a writer?

EN: My interest in writing really started to develop in the last few years of high school. I was one of the multitude of nerdy kids who took a stab at writing a fantasy novel and churned out about 300 pages until I realized how awful it was. Still, I’m still really jealous of my younger self’s ability to churn out content without fear of its quality. Of course, if you want to be a serious writer in any capacity you have to be aware of what you’re putting on the page and how it may be read.

ET: I’ll second that motion. I suppose if you’re serious, it means you want to be a full-time writer. What are you goals in that respect?

EN: I used to think that my ideal goal was to live off my writing alone. I still think it would be great but the more I think about it, the more I realize I’d love to be doing something that complements it on some level. On the most realistic and pragmatic level, I’d be happy with anything that allows me enough of a life outside of work so that I can write and provides some inspiration and encouragement. My program at UAF gives me the opportunity to teach while working as a grad student, so my hope is to continue on that track, but I’d love anything that engages my intelligence and imagination.

ET: I wish you the best of luck in that regards, and it sounds like you are on the right track to square up a career in writing. What is your philosophy regarding writing? Should it be fun, serious, informative, entertaining, etc.?

EN: It seems to me that writing is such a broad art form that no one can pick a handful of qualities to describe a good writer. In fact, the best writers usually do a little of everything in an organic way. George Saunders, for example, is absolutely hilarious in many of his stories and yet the human struggles and failings of his characters against his depiction of a cartoonishly cruel society still comes out genuine. Of course, some writers might have a few dominant qualities and still shine through. Cormac McCarthy is downright dark to the point of nihilism but is still hard to put down.
The best writing, whether it be mine or anyone else’s, is consistent and honest to what is being written. Humor is a powerful thing but can backfire if all the reader is doing is laughing and nothing else. A traumatic moment can shake the reader but is useless if all it’s doing is creating that reaction for reaction’s sake. The written word is reflective and contemplative in nature. Anything that strengthens that nature is doing something right.

ET: Wow, sounds like you could have an MFA in Writing from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks! How about when you write and create? Do you write to music or other background noise? If so, what sort? If not, how do you find your quietude?

EN: I prefer a quiet experience. Music can be too distracting to me and when I am writing with music on, it’s because I’m able to tune it out. The extremes of the day tend to be my time: early morning or late at night which can be hard living up in a place like Fairbanks since one portion of the year is perpetual daylight and the other is 20 hours of night. Still, if I can get myself to my desk, keep facebook closed and have an idea of what I want to work with I can get something through.

ET: Ah, the quiet writer. I share your view on quiet writing spots, but they are rare times. Do you plot your stories, or write as you go?

EN: Usually, It’s a matter of finding some concept or opening scene to work from. After that, as long as I have a vague sense where I want to take it I let the story find itself. I’m also obsessive about revising as I go which is an issue if you’re just trying to get a draft down, but I try to ensure that the first typed draft is as good as possible. Recently, I’ve been handwriting at least some of the drafts and transcribing on the page, editing as I do so. It’s mixed results so far. Sometimes I’m not satisfied with how it’s going but other days I get a few pages before I even start typing.

ET: A fellow pantser, as they’re called. I share many of your views on writing, and if I’m ever in Alaska or you’re ever in Texas, it would be nice to sit and talk writing. Until then, I’ll say THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts, and we all look forward to seeing your latest story, “The Cossack’s Somnovar”, in An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables, from Open Heart Publishing.

– Eric Trant


BIO: Eric Notaro was born in upstate New York, attended Chester College of New England in southern New Hampshire, and is working on an MFA in writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has worked as a charity canvasser on the streets of Boston and as a bookstore clerk in interior Alaska. He is a Graduate Teaching assistant leading a course on introductory composition at UAF.

Eric’s stories include “Ghost,” published in The Four Cornered Universe and “The Stars, and Other Crap” published in Squawk Back. His forthcoming works are “The Nomad” in the Fall 2012 issue of Zone 3 and “The Cossack’s Samovar” in the anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables.


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to returning author DONNA HOLE!

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Please say Hello to published author DONNA HOLE. She brings us her latest short story, “Eros and Kris” in Open Heart Publishing’s anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables. Donna, can you tell us about some of your other publications?

DH: So far I have only short story publications. I have a mainstream fiction in the e-zine Bewildering Stories (Issue #424), An Honest Lie Vol 3; Justifiable Hypocricy, and The Literary Lab presents; Variations on a Theme.

ET: Good deal! I’m glad you found Open Heart Publishing and are sharing your latest piece with us. How did you find OHP?

DH: I found OHP and AHL through a fellow blogger buddy, Eric Trant. When Eric announced he’d been published in AHL vol 1, I bought the anthology to read his story and support him as an author. I enjoyed every story in the anthology, and became intrigued with the publisher, and the company, and while I was not able to submit a story to AHL 2, I did write for the third anthology. And to my surprise, was accepted.

ET: There you go! Social networking works! I’m glad we found each other online, and I’m grateful for your support as well. We enjoyed your piece “Scent” in An Honest Lie Vol. 3: Justifiable Hypocricy. Can you tell us about your online presence?

DH: I have Linked In, Good Reads, and Google Plus accounts, but I use them mostly for reading articles, posting book reviews, and keeping up on some of the latest changes in marketing and stuff. I haven’t taken the time to learn how to effectively use these media. I don’t Tweet at all; I may have an old account that my youngest son set up a couple years ago when he was using my computer, but I wouldn’t even know how to publish a comment or follow a conversation. And my Facebook account is used mostly for keeping in touch with my family as we are spread out geographically.

My main form of social media is my writing blog, http://donnahole.blogspot.com/. I post to it at least twice a week, and consistently follow other authors and comment on their publications. The blog has been invaluable to me in my journey as a writer, and I often wonder if I would be published at all if I hadn’t discovered this community of supportive writers and industry professionals.

ET: I agree completely, regarding the opportunities you find online via networking. I use mine extensively, and visit yours often. Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Do you write free, or with constraint?

DH: I don’t use a plot, and rarely show a work in progress to critique partners because I need to write without constraint. I get easily frustrated by too early feedback. But I’ve frequently written stories to specific criteria by a writing prompt, or the desires of a publisher. As long as how the story and characters progress is up to me, then I am actually more comfortable writing when I have a few guidelines to keep the concept on track.

For me, writing is a form of relaxation; a way to unwind from the day and go somewhere of my own choosing. I get to be in control – with my character’s permission, of course.

ET: What about religion and politics?

DH: In my women’s fiction novels, religion is a large part of two of the character’s personality traits. Religion/higher power plays an important role in the culture of Recovery, so I couldn’t leave it out. In my fantasy and sci-fi writings, politics and religion are a part of the world building. I don’t try to persuade the readers to any certain opinion though. It means something to the characters only, even when contemporary issues are addressed in order to allow the reader a frame of reference to identify with.

I write with a premise in mind; a viewpoint I want the reader to consider as they read and finish the story. However, if my story inspires alternatives, then I’m all for free thinking. What I really hope is that the reader is entertained, or learns something about themselves or their world through the writing. So I guess it’s more important a reader understand their own viewpoint.

ET: Entertainment is key, and if you can inspire the reader, so much the better. What about your family? How do they feel about your writing?

DH: My immediate family (two kids still left at home ages 23 and 14) has adjusted to my weird schedule. They’ve stopped asking me “how’s the writing going”, they know by my attitude will reflect it. Plus, they really don’t want to know unless/until it comes with a big advance. But my youngest has read every publication – after its published – and even shows off the printed anthologies to his friends. The rest of my family purchases my writings (they don’t want me to send them free editions), and my mom has brand new, un-read copies of the anthologies (and a printed copy of the Bewildering Stories e-zine publication) in a box in her fire proof safe. They also try to be understanding when I refuse to participate in family outings/events because I’m working on a project – as long as they know I have a specific submission date/publication to write to. My kids are understanding – my obsession lets them get away with missing events and eating junk on a regular basis. I’m happy enough for my adult family to purchase/read my accomplishments.

ET: You are blessed to have that much support! I don’t think it’s possible to succeed without the support of those around you. Where do you write?

DH: For a long time I didn’t have a specific area. I started on a desk computer in my bedroom, used solely the laptop where ever convenient when we had to move in with family, then back to the desktop in my bedroom when finances allowed us to move to our own place again. This last year, I’ve moved to a house with a spare room that everyone agreed should be my “office”. It’s still an unorganized mess, but I usually have either the TV or music running as background noise. I can’t stand complete quiet. I still do a lot of work on my Netbook in the living room, in my recliner with the TV on, but the kids (23 and 14) are so involved in their own worlds in their rooms I hardly notice even when they do come out. (As long as they don’t pop the dreaded question “what’s for dinner.”) It’s weird, but it is a comfort to me, and does aid my progress, when I know I am available to them, and to hear them moving around. I get my solitude without feeling isolated.

ET: Solitude without feeling isolated — a perfect balance that we all should work to attain. I’ll conclude on that note, and say THANK YOU DONNA for entertaining us with your stories and interview. We look forward to reading your story “Eros and Kris” in the anthology An Honest Lie 4: Petulant Parables.

On a personal note, I’ll add that you are and continue to be a wonderful online friend, and I hope to keep working with you in the future.

– Eric

BIO: Donna Hole lives in California, and is an eclectic reader who enjoys horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and women’s fiction. She has a passion for short stories, both for reading pleasure and to write. Her short story “Two Minutes In Tomorrow” was published in Bewildering Stories issue #424; and “Scent” was published in An Honest Lie, Vol 3. Donna continues to write short stories and novels, and also enjoys social networking. For more information about Donna Hole, visit her blog at
http://www.donnahole.blogspot.com.

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2012 at 10:52 am

Please say hello to veteran author GAIL TAYLOR. She is a widely-published author who brings us one of her latest stories, “Gingerbread House,” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables.

ET: Gail, can you tell us a little about your other works, and where we might find them?

GT: I have four other short stories pending publication at the moment. “Rinse and Spin” is short listed for the 2012 Random House Creative Writing award at University of Toronto, to be announced in the fall. Another story, “Green Sheep,” has just come out in the literary review, “The Linnet’s Wings,” published in the Republic of Ireland Two other stories are shortlisted for publication. I find out soon.

My first book of short stories, “Tornado and Other Seasons,” came out in 2011 and is available as an e-book at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon.com, and in hard copy from the publisher: CLICK

Also appearing right now is a poem called “Toronto” in the ezine “Tuck Magazine.”

I have done non-fiction, notably for the ezine Canadian Actor Online. An example is found HERE.

All told, I’ve placed stories in 19 literary journals in the USA, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, Turkey and the UK. I’m delighted to have “Gingerbread House” appear in Volume Four of “An Honest Lie.”

I built a website (ugh, I dislike HTML codes and Cascading whatevers) to promote my book and to post reviews of the book and to list signing events. The site is found at: GailTaylor.com.

ET: Wow! That’s a lot of publications. We are honored to have you join us for An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables. How did you find Open Heart Publishing?

GT: I found “An Honest Lie” in 2010 through Duotrope and submitted a story at that time that made it as far as the “Accepted Consideration Folder.” Although in the end, AHL did not take the piece, Debrin Case sent me a very positive comment. I remembered that and decided to submit again this year. I am glad I did.

ET: We are, too. I’ve been rejected by Debrin and our editor, ME Johnson, so you’re not alone there. Rejection is simply part of the process. With all your successes, have you ever held a book signing?

GT: I would LOVE to sign anywhere in Manhattan –a street corner, back steps of the Public Library, a subway stop. I just came off about a year of signings and launches in Canada and the USA. Without a distributor, you do what you have to do. I LOVE interacting with people who like to read, but organizing these events is a big deal.

ET: The Great Book Tour. How exciting. You obviously take writing seriously, and put a lot of effort into the craft. How does your family support your habit, and where do you create your stories?

GT: We have a deal: my family members only read my work once it is published. That way, I do not foist raw material on them and they are not forced to appraise it. It’s a good deal. “Gingerbread House” is a rare exception: I had to consult my construction-savvy son. Any errors are mine, however.

My writing area is Utopian perfection: an outlet for my laptop; a big table for spreading out material; lots of fresh drinking water; nice distracting magazines to read if I want to; and people who come in at night to clean the place. It can be as loud as it wants to get because I wear ear plugs and go to the heavenly land of oblivion and imagination. My writing area is the public library, just five minutes walk from my home.

ET: Perfection. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

GT: There are three periods to writing for me: pre-, during and post-. Pre-story, the boiling pot of ideas is a creative torture; during is the process of getting it down on a roll and that can be wonderful but also awful; and post- is really fun because I usually do not find out until afterwards what the dominant symbols and metaphors are. Teasing them out is the joy of solving a puzzle.

In the pre- and peri-periods of the process of writing, tackling the task without constraint is definitely the best policy for me because those periods are like roiling in a maelstrom and the story can float and bob along sloppily. In the post-period—the analytical, critical, judgmental editing period—the publisher’s guidelines become the imperative, because at some point you have to climb out and ground the story.

ET: Words of wisdom from a seasoned professional. How about something fun. Can you give us a haiku?

GT: My first offering is deflective:
Hives, bouts of ague:
Agonize we who strive to
Compose a haiku.

My second offering is reflective. Both define me:
Each day a flavor
To taste, to sip, to savor
My life’s true labor.

ET: Nice. What about serious issues in your stories? Do you ever wax philosophical, or religious?

GT: I don’t discuss these things but my characters do. A notable example is Dr. Ivy Feine and her son in the story, “A Good Belief is Hard to Find,” in which the good doctor and her son live within the existential struggle of faith versus reason. I think this question is one of the largest one bedeviling us as human beings.

I had a wonderful teacher who said we read to find our “me”: we want the writer to give us our “best me.” Reading a story is most satisfying when we identify with the characters and their conflicts and conquests. In my own reading, when an author guides me to a viewpoint that lends me wisdom, I am deeply grateful. Alice Munro does that for me. I think the ability to do that is a gift of genius.

ET: Again, wise words. One final question, again for fun: If you lost your dominant arm, how would you write?

GT: This can happen, with injury or surgery, rather like the dilemma of Hazen Forster in my story, “The Turning.” Luckily, a lot of the time, writing is really just thinking and dreaming in a hammock or a sofa or a subway car, but hands are necessary to go from the dream to words to screen and paper.

A couple of years ago, I found I was using the computer mouse so fast that my rotator cuff was becoming sore, so I taught myself to use the left hand. Since then, I have learned to do much more with my left hand and since my left hand is less dexterous, I have had to slow down. Slowing down, though frustrating, gives a better result, I think. In sum, if I lost my dominant arm or any other crucial part of me, I’d figure out how to create stories—and my life— with what I had left. Two people in my life have taught me that: my brother Jim and my husband Pat.

ET: Well, I’ll finish there, and say THANK YOU, GAIL, for suffering through my questions. We look forward to reading “Gingerbread House” in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie, Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon!


Gail Taylor BIO: Gail E Taylor is the author of the short story collection, Tornado and Other Seasons, published in 2011 by Punkin House Press. Her fiction has been published in 20 literary reviews and journals in the USA, Canada, Turkey, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. In 2007, she was a winner in the Random House of Canada Creative Writing Student Award at the University of Toronto, and she was short listed for that prize in 2009 and again this year, in 2012. She has also published poetry and non-fiction.



– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to returning author WILLIAM WALTON

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

ET: Please say hello to returning author WILLIAM WALTON! He brings us a true parable to An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, in the form of “Genesis 22”. He is also the winner of Open Heart Publishing’s book contest for AHL Vol 2. Can you tell us a little about your publications?

WW: I have published an article in Angels on Earth and short stories in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie, Vol. 2, An Honest Lie, Vol. 3, and now An Honest Lie, Vol. 4. I am very excited about an upcoming book of my short stories to be published by Open Heart tentatively titled Madmen and Fellow Travelers. I am currently working on a collection entitled Killing Time: Essays on the Life Cycle, Aging, and Death and a rather frivolous collection of pieces of six words or less which I call By The Short Hairs.

ET: Very nice. Your short story in An Honest Lie Vol 4: Petulant Parables, is titled “Genesis 22”. Do you normally discuss religion and politics in your writings?

WW: I generally avoid religion and politics in my stories, mainly because they tend to be divisive issues, and I am trying to get my readers to go on a shared journey with me. That said, my story for An Honest Lie, Vol. 4: Petulant Parables is based on an old testament biblical parable which I personally find very disturbing. I felt the need to address my reaction to this bothersome (to me) parable in a story. That’s the exception that proves the rule though, and I prefer to address religion and politics, if I have to at all, in essay form. I recognize, however, that political and religious conflict have been the basis of many great books, and given the significant role they play in our culture, they influence our work whether we recognize it or not.

ET: I could not agree more. As writers, you need to remember that when you write divisively, you lose half your readers. How about your viewpoint, in general? Do you think it is important that you make the reader see your viewpoint, or make the reader see theirs?

WW: I don’t want to make my readers do anything, but I don’t see how I can write a story without at least inviting, or even encouraging, them to see my point of view. I hope that my viewpoint helps them put theirs in a broader prospective, that understanding mine can be a starting point for looking at theirs from different angles. Whether their viewpoints are confirmed, changed, or refuted entirely is up to them. Sometimes I wish I could know their thoughts so I could make the same choices with respect to my own point of view.

ET: Alright, enough seriousness. Having read your stories, and looking forward to your upcoming personal anthology, I know your writing can be cheeky and fun. How about an example for our readers, in the form of a flash fiction. You are in the grocery store parking lot when you see a hundred dollar bill on the ground. As you lean over to pick it up…

WW: …I felt a hand on my butt. Startled, I looked up at an attractive lady smiling at me.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said, blushing. “I thought you were my pool boy.”

“I’d like to be,” I said, although she was quite a bit younger than me.

“Would you mind giving me back my hundred dollar bill?”

“Of course,” I said, passing it to her.

“Okay,” she said, handing me a five in exchange. “We have a deal.”


ET: There’s some of that unique, fun voice we’re used to. How about another fun question. Describe the last time you were pulled over by a police officer.

WW: “How can I help you officer?” I asked.

“You were driving twelve miles over the limit, sir.”

“Yeah? So were you.”

“Hey, you are not helping yourself with remarks like that, sir.”

“That’s okay. I’m pretty much beyond help anyway.”

“Do you always have such a smart mouth?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

“You know, so do I when I’m off-duty. Have a good day, sir.”

ET: Cheeky. Now that the readers see you can be both serious and funny, let’s get back to the topic of writing. How does your family support your writing habit? And what about your writing area?

WW: My immediate family consists of my dog, a boxer named Cyrus (the Virus). He supports everything I do. If I ever get to thinking that I am really in charge, he simply asks me “who picks up whose poop?” But he is a great comfort, which helps with everything, including my writing. One can learn a lot from a dog.

My writing area is quiet, secluded, and often in disarray. It is a very comfortable place to be. I call it my Chapel of Chimes because I have five antique clocks with beautiful chimes in it and in the next room. Although I set them frequently, being old mechanical, mostly pendulum, clocks, they don’t keep perfect time. Soon they are slightly out of sync and chime in a sequence. When the first one chimes the hour, I stop everything and listen until they are all done. These simple chimes have sensitized me to all the unnoticed, unappreciated forms of beauty that surround us. It has me more attentive to beauty in all its forms. It makes me try harder to achieve it in my writing. One can learn a lot from a clock.

ET: Sounds like the perfect place to indulge in ritualistic creativity. How did you find out about Open Heart Publishing?

WW: A (then) fellow member of one of my writers’ groups, Bob Clark, published a story in An Honest Lie, Vol. 1. Since Bob’s stories are kind of quirky, as are mine, I thought, “if he can do it, maybe I can too.” In other words, I had reason to believe that my stories might be a good fit for Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie anthologies. I guess I was right since I have had stories accepted for the last three volumes. For that I am truly grateful.

ET: Do you have a blog we can follow?

WW: I have a blog, www.williamwwalton.com that is focused primarily on my writing.

ET: Good deal! We’ll finish with a haiku. Take us home, William.

WW: A Texas Yalie
Savors Courvoiser, chugs beer
Bad boy with manners

or

Grounded voyager
Sailing seas within his mind
Read right returning

(Note: I think I like the first one better)

ET: I sort of like the second one better. Grounded voyager, sailing seas within his mind. Love that! Anyway, thank you, William, for indulging me in the interview, and for being such a good sport. I look forward to seeing “Genesis 22” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon.


William Walton Bio:
William Walton was raised on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country. His rougher edges were later honed at Yale, where he graduated with a B.A. in Latin American Studies. He earned an M.S. degree in Sociology from Trinity University, and then taught for a year at The University of the Americas in Mexico. From there he moved to Buffalo, N.Y. where he spent over a decade creating, developing, and reforming programs for troubled adolescents. Finally, he moved back to his native Texas where, today, he makes his living managing agricultural properties. His avocations have included sailing, scuba diving, and working with abandoned animals, both as a volunteer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Humane Society. William’s passion, until he was forced to give it up, was voyaging under sail. He has crossed the Gulf of Mexico many times, and the Atlantic Ocean once, in a small sailing vessel. When that was no longer possible for him, he rekindled an old love, writing stories. That continues to be his passion to this day. William’s article “Stray to the Rescue” was published in the May/June 2008 issue of Angels on Earth. His stories “Ozzie the Clown” and “Mike, from the Mail Room” were published in Open Heart’s An Honest Lie, Volumes. 2 and 3, respectively. Also, his story, “Genesis 22” will appear in An Honest Lie, Volume 4: Petulant Parables. William has also secured a contract for the publication of a collection of his short stories, Madmen and Fellow Travelers through Open Heart Publishing, scheduled for release this fall. Other writing projects include a collection of essays titled Killing Time about the life cycle, aging, and death.


– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Say Hello to International Author KOSTAS PARADIAS!

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

Please say hello to KOSTAS PARADIAS! He is an international author from Greece, who brings us an amazing childhood story called “Something in the Sandbox”, featured in this year’s anthology, An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables. Having read the story as an editor, I can say this is a must-read story, that is family friendly, with a Neil Gaiman-ish flair to his storytelling voice.

Let me get on with the interview. I know this is not your first work. Can you tell us a little about your other sites and pieces?

I have a blog called Shapescapes, where I showcase some of my short stories for all genres and ages, called Fairy Tales from Far Away, as well as my first English novella, called Stone Cold Countenance. I also try my hand at reviews, every week there and publish my Greek Science Fiction novel weekly.

Future projects are aplenty. There’s a limited comic book series (which is complete and I am currently in the process of submitting to various publishing houses) called Post Rapture, there’s a webcomic series that’s coming soon on my blog, there’s a science fiction novel that I’m translating into English which is to be the first in a series, there are short stories aplenty (mostly horror though) that I am looking to publish in certain anthologies and, weather and money permitting, a video game script.

As for my social accounts, I have a Facebook page under the name Konstantine Paradias which I use to present any anthologies with free submission I happen to stumble upon so I can help people also find something that will help them realize their dream. I pretty much do the same thing on twitter, @KonstantineP.

 

You sound incredibly busy! Now, you’re from Greece, and the publisher is in the United States, and distribution is world-wide. Can you tell us a little bit more about your Greek background, specifically writing and publishing in multiple languages?

To be a Greek writer is to bear a particular kind of burden. You see, the literary scene (and market) in Greece is fairly limited, which means that it has very few and narrow windows of opportunity, as well as a very small audience you can present your works to.

Not to say that there aren’t any creators worth mentioning. The influx of fiction from foreign writers and artists has given rise to a great number of aspiring authors, who wish more than anything to showcase their work and present new genres and ideas to the Greek public to the audience, but find that the publishing scene in Greece has yet to develop.

As a result, I turned to English. But to write in a language that isn’t your mother language is a difficult (though certainly not impossible) task. I started off very soon, at the age of 13 to be specific, when my mother convinced me to read H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and I suddenly realized that I needed to learn more about the wonderful world of fiction so I could experience it in its original form. So I put my all into studying and comprehending the English language, even though I know I have a very, very long way to go yet.

 

As an editor, reader, and author, I can say with some authority that your second-hand command of the English language is superior to most of the native-speakers, as well as many published authors. Do you think you have an advantage as a multilingual author?

In this day and age where we’re at the cusp of achieving a global culture thanks to the vast and mind-boggingly fast methods of communication available? How can you possibly not be multilingual?

Allow me to elaborate: as I said, the English language is a perfect machine that allows the melding of other languages into a cohesive whole and also the new common tongue. To an English native speaker, these properties are lost, because he (or she) takes the language for granted. But to a Greek, it’s his chance to reach out and communicate with the world through his works.

But knowing a foreign language does not merely give a man the advantage of communication. It also allows him to think differently. It is said that Russians can see more colors, simply because their language has more words in its vocabulary for colors, therefore allowing their brains to adjust to the idea and, in fact, see them. Do you see where I am going with this?

A language, no matter how well-known or well developed, does not just allow you to restructure your ideas. It allows you to restructure you perception of reality, to understand things from a different viewpoint and in fact, see things from a completely different perspective than before. It gives you a certain kind of clarity that you could never possibly achieve through your mother tongue.

It also turns any travels to foreign countries into cultural walks through the kitchens to meet the chef, instead of brief, casual glances at the menus, with faceless waiters hovering over you.

 

That is truly an amazing way to look at not only different languages, but also vocabulary within existing languages. A larger vocabulary can certainly open your mind beyond additional colors. Do you think it is better to make the reader see your viewpoint, or that you make the reader see theirs?

Both. Some stories work for me as a means to present my feelings and opinions about people, situations and ways of thinking. Sometimes, I feel so strongly about those things that I absolutely can’t find it in my heart to distance myself from them, no matter how hard I try.

But sometimes, stories work as a mirror. I find that I can write better when I use someone else’s viewpoint. That I can actually make a much better story when I let the viewer fill in the blanks. These are also the stories that can be so much more than meets the eye.

 

You are a deep-thinking man, chock full of both intellect and humor. I’m afraid I haven’t showcased your humor, so let’s ask you something fun and see what comes out. Can you tell us about the last time you were pulled over by a police officer?

It happened about two years ago, just a week before I was to be enlisted in the army. I and some friends of mine had hit the clubs and since I had lost the rock-paper-scissors contest, I was to carry the burden of designated driver.

I started on the long drive home at about 3 a.m., with a carload full of good friends who were too drunk to even stand up straight, feeling strangely cheated in my sobriety. It was at that point that we were asked to pull over by a traffic control officer, who immediately began administering tests.

Despite the fact that I had not touched a drop, the officer did however put me through the entirety of the test curriculum (starting with the reverse recitation of the alphabet, all the way to walking in a straight line and touching my nose with the tip of my hands), with my severely inebriated friends laughing uproariously at their sober driver. I was so nervous that I thought that any minute now, the officer might change his mind and take away my license. I guess it is true how they say that innocent men are the ones that usually bear the greatest guilt.

 

Well, there you go, Dear Readers! I’d like to thank KOSTAS PARADIAS for taking the time to answer my questions, and for being a good sport about the answers. Be sure to check back later to catch his story, “Something in the Sandbox” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables!

KOSTAS PARADIAS BIO


Konstantine Paradias is a jeweler by profession and a writer by choice. His lifelong dream has been to publish a series of children’s books, since he considers it to be one of the loftiest achievements an author can have.

His short stories in Greek have been published by the fantasy and science fiction magazine Universal Pathways (Συμπαντικές Διαδρομές), while his work in English has been published in the Open Hearts Anthology, Vol4: Petulant Parables.

He writes science fiction short story reviews for the website bestscifistories.com and a series of comic book reviews for his own blog, (Shapescapes) and is in the process of publishing a webcomic, titled Aeternum.

His first e-book, Stone Cold Countenance is available for purchase on Bibliocracy and it’s only the first of many that are in the works.

– Eric


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Say Hello to Author AMANDA KABAK!

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2012 at 11:38 am


Please say HELLO to AMANDA KABAK! She brings us an amazing story, “Over the Rainbow,” in An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, which I predict will be a fan-favorite in this year’s anthology. Her style and prose mark her as a seasoned writer, which begs my first question: What else have you written?

I’ve had a couple of short-short stories published on the Life with Objects site, and I’ve got a half-dozen other stories out looking for homes. I’m also one short draft away from a finished novel concerning love and friendship and the study of mechanical friction in a small college town.

I can’t wait to see more of your work in print, and after reading “Over the Rainbow,” I bet our readers won’t be able to wait, either. Your writing is fluid and effortless. Where do you write?

I write mostly at a Caribou coffee shop located between my day job office and my home. I have been going there just about every day for well over three years, and all the counter folk know not only my name and my habitual tea but also that they should expect me back at the counter for a refill of hot water. It’s a relatively loud place, but the kind of loud that actually helps me concentrate: the hiss of the espresso machine, the whir of the coffee grinder, the murmur of conversation. I can look outside at the ebb and flow of pedestrians on Wabash or the South Loop wind rattling the trees.

Ah, a coffee shop writer. I have my own coffee shop where I write sometimes, along with an Irish Pub if I really get stuck. How does that environment factor into your stories?

Coffee shops, for me, have always held a primary place in my social life, are places where we can connect that aren’t here or there but are still comfortable and, with enough patronage, become familiar enough to be a home away from home. While I’m at my shop, I am both there and adamantly elsewhere. I laugh with my baristas and scald my tongue on hot tea, but I am also a million miles away in an imaginary direction with my characters.

Although most writers tend to be eavesdroppers scrounging for material, I tend to let the hubbub wash over me. The only thing from my shop that bleeds into my writing is coffee itself, which is ironic since I can’t stand the stuff!

Given how much time I spend there, I’d love to hold a book signing at my home coffee shop.

Hopefully you will soon have a book for the signing. I am confident that if you keep putting out high-quality work like “Rainbow,” that you will land a dream contract one day. How do you feel about introducing religion and politics into your writing?

I don’t usually discuss religion or politics as a topic in-and-of-itself in my fiction, but I do explore how they factor into human nature. Both religion and politics are enduring human beliefs and behaviors and so are windows into the things in us that are universal and useful in illustrating commonalities and differences while also being able to rely on empathy as a gateway into the story.

I write about people. I am continually interested in the varied human experience, though especially around friendship and love. I find it fascinating how we both make and are made by not only our physical environments but our social ones as well, how we seek out and reject labels and roles, the things we do and say to each other to maintain the facade of us versus them. Politics and religion are two essentially social institutions that manage divisions between people–among other things, of course. They are two aspects of the human condition.

When I compose something new, though, it is entirely about my characters. His voice, her predicament. Fears, loneliness, need for connection, all that good human stuff that makes us who we are. My stories don’t work unless I get so deeply into my characters that their essential natures emerge, the things that are idiosyncratically them. Only by making these people come convincingly to life do I have any chance of evoking enough empathy in my readers so that they are open to what I have to say. If I get on a soap box or harangue without evoking empathy (or even with, frankly), whatever “message” I might want to pass along with my story will inevitably be lost.

Because of this, I will never write “about” religion or politics or any other of the many charged topics we have at our disposal. I will write about Cassie and Josh or Mitch and Carol or Julie and Diane, but if I write their stories convincingly enough, I trust that what I have to say about the larger constructs of their (and our) world will become clear.

Note to Dear Reader: You will notice that in this interview, I gave Ms. Kabak quite a bit of space to expound her thoughts on this prior question, and it was an on-demand question from me. If her story “Over the Rainbow” does not inspire something in you, then you did not read the same story I read during her edit (which was little more than a simple proof-read).

The point is, READ what she just wrote. If you skipped owing to length, go back and read it. Copy it to your notes.

Let me finish the interview with a flash-fiction request to highlight Amanda’s writing style. Here is the tickler: You are in the grocery store parking lot when you see a $100 bill on the ground. As you lean over to pick it up…

… your pants split down the middle seam and you know, finally and for good, that your love affair with burritos the size of your sizable thigh is over. You swing your backside into the waxed quarterpanel of the nearest Ford F-150 and contemplate your next move. Cold seeps through the thin fabric of your underwear, and you wish some of the heat from the flush in your face could be relocated to your other cheeks.

The hundred-dollar bill drifts away on a tendril of wind that also holds some cold, dry snow and an empty bag of Cheetos. Cheetos sound good. Or maybe Fritos with some of that jalapeño-studded cheese sauce. And a little ground meat in the spicy taco seasoning over in aisle 8. Oh, and sour cream. Yes, sour cream makes everything better, even a split in the back of your pants that lets in breeze enough to raise some gooseflesh.

When you think of the extra-large soft flour tortillas in the refrigerator case back of aisle 12, you pull the hem of your coat down as far as it will go and saunter into the store, rip be dammed.

Readers, trust me when I say that you need to pick up the forthcoming An Honest Lie Vol. 4: Petulant Parables, which will include Amanda Kabak’s “Over the Rainbow.” Unique and gritty, “Over the Rainbow” will make you see the world a little bit differently.

THANK YOU to Amanda Kabak for taking the time to answer my interview questions. I can’t wait to read more of her work!

BIO: Amanda grew up outside Chicago, came of age in Boston, and was recently reeled back into the Windy City for reasons beyond comprehension. After earning a degree in physics from Boston University, Amanda meandered through various jobs before parlaying her affinity for logic and problem solving into her current career as a software engineer. Despite the title on her business card, writing has always been her first love. Although she spent nearly fifteen years swearing never to return to higher education, Amanda recently recommitted herself to writing and has earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Pacific University. Amanda’s short stories, “Three” and “Driving North,” have been published in Life with Objects, an online journal, and she is in the final revisions of a novel about love, friendship, and friction in a small town. Her story, “Over the Rainbow,” is forthcoming in An Honest Lie, vol. 4: Petulant Parables, published by Open Heart Press.

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to DEBUT Author Phillip Twining!

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2012 at 9:31 am

Please say Hello to DEBUT Author Phillip Twining! “The Story of Eva Burns” in An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables, is his first paid-published story. We hope to see many more stories that feature his unusual, mind-bending twists that Eva Burns introduces us to.

Let’s get right to it. How did you find Open Heart Publishing?

I don’t remember! I might have done an internet search for writing contests.

 

There you go, folks, a true writer is born. You can usually find us in Duotrope and many networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs. Just look for Open Heart Publishing!

Since this is your first publication, can you hint what else you may have in store for us?

I’m currently writing a series of essays on public education. I’m absolutely appalled with the way Texas is treating its children and turning schools into drill camps. I advocate for stronger community control of public schools, more equitable distribution of funds, and an easing of standards so students can aim for enlightenment instead of commodification and docility.

 

Sounds like you may have a bit of an agenda-bone in you. Do you discuss politics, or religion, or other important issues in your works?

The story I have published in An Honest Lie [“The Story of Eva Burns”] is not consciously political and, as far as I can tell, not religious at all. It may be one of the last stories I’ve written that hasn’t had politics in mind. For although it’s not necessary for a story to take a political stance to be good, today I feel morally obligated to address and discuss social inequities in my writing.

Of course I have certain principles that I adhere to, but I think it’s important to acknowledge prevailing viewpoints—even if they’re not my own—and to make writing a collective effort. That is, I think the public has to be kept in mind if the author has any intention of moving them. And I do. Therefore, I want to reach the viewpoint readers most likely already have—say, on some moral issue—but to make it kinetic and alive.

 

This is an outstanding and heartfelt viewpoint. I think most writers would agree that we have a responsibility to the public and to our readers. What about to our publishers? Which is more important: Writing without constraint, or within the confines of a publisher’s guidelines? Why?

Reasonable deadlines are healthy, but, yeah, the writer needs all the freedom he or she can get. So much of what we write is trapped in ideological bubbles and to codify that type of writing is oppressive. Of course publishers are trying to cover their own end and it’s a constant struggle for creative freedom and the bottom line. Small publishers seem to be better about managing the two.

 

Wow, there’s a thought we can hook into. Why do you think small publishers are better at managing artistic freedoms? Does this make you less likely to seek publication with a larger house? And how does this influence what you read?

I work at a radical/progressive bookstore called MonkeyWrench Books. We’re volunteer owned and operated and any decisions effecting the store are made collectively. Our goal is not only to provide books you wouldn’t normally find in large bookstore chains, but also to provide a safe space for community events, organizing, and education. We’ve been around for ten years and even in the sour book economy we’re still thriving and championing social justice.

Since book sales have fallen, we [MonkeyWrench Books] have lost credit with the large publishers and distros, but our friends in the small publishing firms, with whom we have actual interpersonal relations, have been patient with debt collection and continue to help us out during a particularly rough financial time. We do a lot of business with small publishers whose duty is to forward a message of social justice and radical critique of our current political situation.

Personally, by delving into the independent and radical publications, I’ve not only improved my critique of many facets of US foreign and domestic policy, corporate capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy, but I’ve been roused to act on a local level to organize and mobilize my community. Currently, I’m working with a friend to begin a free language school that brings together Spanish and English speakers who don’t normally interact. The aim is to have them teach each other not only their language, but share their culture as well. Without books on radical, popular education that we receive from small, independent publishers, we’d be at a loss on how to effectively organize our school.

 

Wow. That is an impressive and aggressive agenda to pursue. I know for me that writing is very therapeutic, as well as self-educating. Why do you think that is?

Lots of reasons, I’m sure. It’s good to get the chaos out of your mind and logically piece it together on paper. It’s also nice to know that you are producing something and that you have something to say that matters enough to be planned out and executed.

 

Outstanding. You are a deep-thinking individual, but let’s change gears and ask a fun question. If you lost your dominant arm, how would you continue writing?

I’d move to Montparnasse, hang out in cafes, and smoke lots of cigarettes. Worked for Cendrars.

 

There you go! Another sign of a true writer. Let’s finish with a blurb about your childhood family.

My father was a pediatrician and my mother drove my brother and me around to our respective soccer and football practices. There was always plenty to eat and we all had our own rooms. Like many kids in my situation, I never thought that anyone lived any differently.

 

Perhaps this helps explain your generous nature. I’d like to thank Phillip Twining for taking the time to answer my questions, and can’t wait to read his story, “The Story of Eva Burns” in An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables, coming soon!

Thanks again, Phillip!

Phillip Twining BIO:

Phillip Twining is a new and aspiring writer and poet. As an undergrad, he won the University of Texas at Austin Fall 2009 Writing Contest for best personal essay. He has since been developing his political ideas at MonkeyWrench Books, a radical bookstore, collectively owned and operated in Austin, TX. Thoroughly deserving of invectives like “pinko,” “commie-anarchist,” and “rabble-rouser,” he hopes to soon publish a collection of short stories and poems that deal critically with issues of race and power strucures. Fascinated by the resilience and resistance of youth culture, he has recently become a high school educator in hopes of teaching and learning better ways to confront the problems we face as a society.

 


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications

Please say Hello to Author DL Hammons!

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 at 10:12 am
Please say Hello to first-time Author DL Hammons! His debut short story, “Itinerary”, will be published in Open Heart Publishing’s An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables. He comes to us through, well, let me let him tell you how he found Open Heart Publishing.

Donna Hole [a blogging friend], who is one of the authors included in this anthology, had one of her stories included in a previous volume of An Honest Lie and when she was spreading the news about that book she suggested that [writers] who were looking for ways to get their writing out there, submit to Open Heart. I took her up on the suggestion and here I am.

Well, I for one am very happy you found us. Donna came through us the same way, via me, so there is definitely something to be said for networking as an upcoming author. Can you tell us about your blogs?

I’ve maintained a writers blog since 2009 and its addrress is:
http://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com/

My Twitter account is: DL_H

I’ve held off establishing a Facebook Author page until I was actually published, so that is on the horizon shortly.

Outstanding. You have over a thousand followers on your blog, which is a lot of support from your online community. How about at home? Do your friends and family support your writing?

Everyone in my family, including my extended family, is totally behind all of my writing pursuits. I bounce plot idea’s off my wife before I write word one, then she’s my number one critique partner while I’m writing. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law, both avid readers, are next in line for critiques. The entire family has devoted long car rides taking turns reading my novel out loud to catch needed edits. I’ve developed and practiced my elevator pitch for hours with my daughter. My family is behind me 110%!

Wow. You’re a lucky man to have so many devoted family members. Two questions: 1) Can you give us your elevator pitch for said novel? 2) What have you learned most about hearing someone else read your story aloud?

1) Elevator pitch: I like to compare my novel – FALLEN KNIGHT – to a hybrid between David Baldacci’s The Camel Club and a adult version of The Goonies. It revolves around small group of tight-knit friend’s quest to find the person responsible for beating one of their own into a coma. Teaming up with a female private investigator they are soon drawn into a murderous plan involving a copy-cat Columbine attack and a bio-terrorist threat targeting our nation’s capital. In over their heads they come to doubt themselves, their purpose, and most importantly, their safety, but there is one thing they will never doubt…each other.

2) Having someone else read your writing aloud to you really helps spot those area’s that are clunky, needing more work to smooth out the flow. Even though you’ve gone over your manuscript a hundred times, they stick out like a sore thumb when read aloud. It’s also great way to pick up on plot details that need more context.

Love the pitch for Fallen Knight! How about you personally? Tell us about how you grew up.

I was raised a military brat. Sandwiched between an older and younger brother with one other younger sister, both of our parents were in the Navy. Mom became stay-at-home when us kids started coming along, and we all found our own ways to deal with the constant moves and
adapting to new environments that life in the military demands. Space was always an issue with military housing, but whenever the possibility arose I always had my own room because I kept my space the neatest. My wife now wonders whatever happened to that trait!

Sounds like you traveled quite a bit as a child. Where was your favorite place to live (as a child), and why?

This was a tough choice. We lived in Sheboygan Wisconsin to be near my Mom’s family when my dad was in Vietnam, and I have very special memories from our time there. But I’m going to choose Havelock, North Carolina, for a couple reasons. First, we were stationed there for my entire four years of high school, so it has a special place in my heart. The second reason is that I just really loved the diversity of North Carolina. In thirty minutes and I could be laying on the beach catching rays, or a couple of hours in the other direction I could be hiking in the mountains.

Sounds like quite an adventurous and noble childhood. Let’s talk about your writing style, now. Which is more important: That you make the reader see your viewpoint, or that you make the reader see theirs?

A combination of both. I hope that my writing elicits feelings within the reader that mirror the ones in me when I wrote it, but I’m constantly amazed at the depths some readers can see. The sub-conscious evels at play I wasn’t even aware of when I write that their unique life experiences allow them access to.

That’s an acute observation. I find that readers often see things in my writing that I never consciously intended. Part of being a writer is self-discovery. Which is more important: Writing without constraint, or within the confines of a publisher’s guidelines?

They are equally important. We cannot grow as writers and improve our craft if we’re constrained by whatever borders that exists. However, a publisher knows their market, their targeted readers, and what bodies of work will serve them best. Not staying within a publisher’s guidelines is detrimental to them both, and ultimately the writer.

Well, I’ll conclude on that remark — which every writer should make note of — and say THANK YOU to DL Hammons for taking the time to answer my questions. I have known him for quites some time in the blogosphere, and now through OHP. I know readers are as anxious as I am to read his debut story “Itinerary”, in An Honest Lie Volume 4: Petulant Parables.


Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novel Out of the Great Black Nothing. He is currently represented by Debrin Case at Open Heart Publishing. See more of Eric’s work here: Publications