Tag Archives: fiction

In November – Novelist Chase J. Jackson

Chase J. Jackson, writes mystery, thriller, and suspense. unnamed-1

VAH: The kick off question is always why do you write?

CJJ: I write because writing is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression. I love the idea that I can create characters, dialogues and situations that people can relate to and can get a message from.

VAH: What got you started?

CJJ: I became a writer in the 4th grade. I remember my teacher gave an assignment with a variety of words listed and we had to create a story using those words. I wrote the story and when the teacher gave me my assignment back she asked if I got that story from somewhere. I told her I didn’t and she said it was really good. That’s when I felt like a writer.

VAH: Who were your influences:

CJJ:  R.L. Stine Goosebumps and Fear Street books influenced me as a writer. My friends and I collected all of them when we were in elementary school.

VAH: What do you remember about one of your earliest stories?

CJJ: I remember writing a story in the 6th grade about one of my classmates. The teachers thought he was funny, girls loved him & all the guys thought he was so cool. So I thought, this guy has to be an alien. There’s no way someone is this well rounded in the 6th grade. So I remember writing a story about him being an alien.

VAH: And your favorite piece that you’ve written?

CJJ: My favorite piece that I’ve written to date is my first novel, Whispers In The Dark. I spent a lot of time working on this book and developing the characters and making sure there was a message that readers can take from this story.

 

Chase J. Jackson Bio:

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Chase J. Jackson developed an interest for writing suspense and mystery at an early age after reading all of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books. As a teenager, Chase began writing short stories and poetry based on his experiences. After winning a local poetry slam, Chase decided to bring his writing to life through the art of film. During his collegiate career at the University of West Georgia, Chase studied literature, cinematography, and film editing, ultimately graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English. Working two jobs to save money for film equipment, Chase filmed one of his short stories, Paralysis, which chronicles a teenager named Alyssa as she battles with sleep paralysis. In 2011, Paralysis was nominated for Best Film by The Peachtree Village International Film Festival.After college, Chase dedicated his time to writing his first novel Whispers in the Dark. Chase’s goal is to keep the readers interest from the very first page to the very end, keeping them on the edge of their seat until an ultimate surprise ending. Chase’s future plans include writing his second novel, The Parish Prophecies, and traveling across the country to film other various projects.

 

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July’s Three by Five – a chat with Matthew J. Pallamary

IMG_1590

And we’re back!

An extra-long Three by Five with Matthew J. Pallamary since due to technical breakdown, he lost out on part of July. Writing life, writing community, and random facts all rolled into one.

VAH: Are you a full-time writer?

MJP: I write, edit, and teach full-time to make ends meet. If not writing, I would probably have a high level technology job as that is where I used to make my money.

VAH: Would you say writing is a vocation, occupation, or profession?

MJP: Yes – probably more aptly defined as an obsession.

VAH: Young writers often ask about writers block. When the page is blank, what gets you writing?

MJP: Getting out of my intellectual and emotional bodies and into my moving body. I go into great detail about these dynamics in my upcoming book Phantastic Fiction – A Shamanic Approach to Story.

VAH: Sounds interesting, and a different approach to writing. What is your “process” when working on a new piece of writing?

MJP: Research, gestation, outline, and then a draft.

VAH: I always find the research phase challenging. I’m inpatient.

What does your typical writing day include?

MJP: Writing, editing, and promotion.

VAH: Promotion – such a big part of the author’s job in the current publishing climate.

What about the writing community? What words of wisdom do you have for the emerging writer?

MJP: Writing = Ass in chair.

Just because it is easy to publish does not mean that you are ready. Writing is far more of a complex art and craft than people realize. One well known quote says, “There is no such thing as writing, there is only rewriting.”

If you are not doing it because you love it and have fantasies of being rich and famous, then you are in for a world of disappointment.

VAH: That is a quite often repeated quote of Robert Graves. Matthew, what choices have you made regards to traditional or independent publishing?

MJP: I am Independent all the way. I have been writing for well over thirty years and have seen and experienced all manner of disappointment and thoughtlessness as well as three agents who never did anything for me. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than having complete creative control as well as all the rights to my works.

VAH: That creative control is both enticing and challenging. Everything is now your responsibility. Getting the writing out there – what part does social media play in your writing career?

MJP: I have been involved with it from the start as a means to promote my writing and see it as a kind of necessary evil. Having said that, unfortunately it is being flooded by volumes of “not ready for prime time” crap that muddies the waters with all the desperate “Buy my book!” posts.

VAH: I’m in agreement with that. If one is going to independently publish, the standard remails make a book as good as the big publishing house does.

Have you found a benefit to writing or author?

MJP: I have been teaching my Phantastic Fiction workshops at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conferences for twenty five years now and have been a member of numerous other IMG_1704conferences, conventions, and workshops.  These conferences are my writing family. Everyone needs to get input from sources outside their immediate family and friends if they want to improve. They especially need it from those with more experience to share.

VAH: What was your writing education?

MJP: Other than a creative writing class and English classes in general, I have gotten the most from hands on writing read and critique groups led by qualified professionals and by attending writer’s conferences.

Your favorite writing conferences, retreats, seminars?

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference and The Southern California Writers’ Conference.

I have taught at both of them for twenty five years and they are my family.

VAH: I’ve had the same experience with the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. A core of people I see only once a year at the conference yet I consider close friends and my writing family.

Now, a little fantastical and random life –

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

MJP: Omniscience – so I could be everywhere at once and fully aware of everything.

VAH: Haven’t heard that one before! How about in a movie about your life and times, who would play you? What would the theme song be and why?

MJP: Mark Wahlberg – because he grew up in Dorchester where I did.

I’ve already written Spirit Matters, an award winning memoir. The song would be “Flying in A Blue Dream” by Joe Satriani because I love the energy of it.

VAH: What is a little known fact about you that will amaze and/or amuse?

MJP: I have been working extensively with visionary plants in the Amazon for fifteen years now.

VAH: What are three random, non-writing facts about you?

MJP: I am an accomplished drummer and vocalist. My mother was a famous child acrobat. I have an extensive background in technology.

VAH: And who is your biggest fan?

MJP: Margaux Dunbar Hession.

VAH: If you knew tomorrow at midnight was your last day – how would you spend it and what would your last meal be?

MJP: I would spend it in the rain forest under the influence of powerful visionary plants to get as much of a preview of “the other side” as I could, so I could have some kind of idea of where I am heading. My last meal would be Thai food.

VAH: Big, nasty bug in the kitchen – what do you do?

MJP: Help it out the door.

VAH: Favorite quote and why?

MJP: “Through the ages, countless spiritual disciplines have urged us to look within ourselves and seek the truth. Part of that truth resides in a small, dark room — one we are afraid to enter.”

It is mine from my first published book – a short story collection titled The Small Dark Room of the Soul and Other Stories.

VAH: Thank you Matthwe J. Pallamary for participating in Three by Five.

Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show by Agent Red, directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.

He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.

His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards.  He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.

Connect with Matthew J. Pallamary:

Web site.  Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Smashwords author page.

Sampler:

The Small Dark Room of the Soul and other stories – Preview.

Land Without Evil.

Spirit Matters a Memoir

A Short Walk to the Other Side – A Collection of Short Stories

DreamLand

Eye of the Predator

CyberChrist

The Infinity Zone

CyberChrist launched in December 2014cyber christ book cover

Ashley Butler, a prize winning journalist at the San Diego Times receives an email from a man who claims to have discovered immortality by turning off the aging gene in a 15 year old boy with an aging disorder. The email has pictures showing a reversal of the aging process and the names of a scientist and a company to investigate. Thinking it a hoax, she forwards the email to friends.

Though skeptical, she calls to investigate and gets a no longer in service message. When she leaves her office she overhears a news story about the death of the scientist mentioned in the email.

Ashley checks out the company mentioned in the email and discovers a gutted building. At the deceased scientist’s address she has a confrontation with an unfriendly federal investigator. Returning to her office she finds him, subpoena in hand, confiscating her computer. He tells her that the scientist who sent the email is a killer that they need help catching. When her own investigators do more checking, none of them return.

The forwarded email becomes the basis for an online church built around the boy, calling him the CyberChrist. The church claims that the Internet is the physical manifestation of the group mind of humanity and the boy is the second coming of Christ online.

The federal government tries to shut down the church, but its website replicates faster than they can stop it. While church and state battle over religious freedom online, the media and the state battle over freedom of speech.

Ashley battles to stay alive.

book cover phantastic fiction

Due out in 2015 –

Matthew J. Pallamary’s popular Phantastic Fiction Workshop has been a staple of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conference for over twenty five years. He has also lectured at numerous other venues and led his own weekend intensive workshops.

Matt has spent extended time in the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures. Through his research into both the written word and the ancient beliefs of shamanism, he has uncovered the heart of what a story really is and integrated it into core dramatic concepts that also have their basis in shamanism.

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July’s Three by Five – a chat with Matthew J. Pallamary Part Two

IMG_1590Matthew J. Pallamary and writer reads…

VAH: Who is your favorite literary character?

MJP: Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan and Dr. Dolittle when I was very young.

VAH: Do you have a favorite author?

MJP: Ray Bradbury. He was always passionate and supportive of other writers and he graced me with a blurb for my first short story collection. He rarely if ever gave out blurbs. I learned volumes from him.

VAH: You’re stranded in a snowstorm, stuck on a deserted island. What books would you hope to have with you or find?

MJP: War & Peace. Carlos Castaneda’s books, Hanta Yo

They all transported me to magical times and places which provided great escapes.

VAH: What is the most memorable book, story or poem you’ve read?

MJP: My mother handed me The Exorcist when I was in high school. I went into my bedroom at 7:30 that night and emerged 7:30 the following morning when I finished it.

VAH: Do you have a favorite book, poem, or story and why?

MJP: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance stands out as it delves into the nature of truth, logic, and perception.

VAH: What author or books keep you up at night because you can’t put them down?

MJP: Nothing since The Exorcist, but I am admittedly a bit burned out and jaded after reading, critiquing and editing thousands of manuscripts.

VAH: Which reader are you – always finish what you started or put it down and move on if you don’t like it? Why?

MJP: Once I start, I finish 99% of the time. Something can be learned, even from bad writing and stories.

More Matthew J. Pallamary this month, on days that end in 3.

Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show by Agent Red, directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.

He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.

His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards.  He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.

San Diego, CA

Connect with Matthew J. Pallamary:

Web site.  Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Smashwords author page.

Sampler:

The Small Dark Room of the Soul and other stories – Preview.

Land Without Evil.

CyberChrist launched in December 2014cyber christ book cover

Ashley Butler, a prize winning journalist at the San Diego Times receives an email from a man who claims to have discovered immortality by turning off the aging gene in a 15 year old boy with an aging disorder. The email has pictures showing a reversal of the aging process and the names of a scientist and a company to investigate. Thinking it a hoax, she forwards the email to friends.

Though skeptical, she calls to investigate and gets a no longer in service message. When she leaves her office she overhears a news story about the death of the scientist mentioned in the email.

Ashley checks out the company mentioned in the email and discovers a gutted building. At the deceased scientist’s address she has a confrontation with an unfriendly federal investigator. Returning to her office she finds him, subpoena in hand, confiscating her computer. He tells her that the scientist who sent the email is a killer that they need help catching. When her own investigators do more checking, none of them return.

The forwarded email becomes the basis for an online church built around the boy, calling him the CyberChrist. The church claims that the Internet is the physical manifestation of the group mind of humanity and the boy is the second coming of Christ online.

The federal government tries to shut down the church, but its website replicates faster than they can stop it. While church and state battle over religious freedom online, the media and the state battle over freedom of speech.

Ashley battles to stay alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July’s Three by Five – a chat with Matthew J. Pallamary

 

Author PhotoWelcome Matthew J. Pallamary. Let’s start with writer beginnings.

VAH: Three by Five always starts with asking why do you write?

MJP: I am passionate about my search for truth and meaning and I believe that I have a unique perspective on reality that comes from a life time of exploration, particularly in non-rational and non-ordinary shamanic realms that defy description and can only be experienced directly. Most people never get to experience reality in these ways, so I have spent a lifetime trying to articulate them to give my readers a glimpse of an expansive perspective that pushes the boundaries of the “known” world.  

VAH: Why did you become a writer and when did you know or feel like you were a writer?

MJP: English was by far my best subject in school. Everything else was secondary. I won school wide spelling bees and excelled as a storyteller. When I took a creative writing course in college I had to write an essay, which was to be turned in as a first draft to the teacher, then re-written and typed out for a final grade. I wrote my first draft about my first experience skydiving in longhand and when the teacher read it, she said, “This is excellent. You don’t have to do anything else. You get an “A”.”

VAH: Any influences on your development as a writer?

MJP: I was blessed to be taken in and more or less adopted by the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference where I had the tremendous good fortune to be mentored by Ray Bradbury, Charles Schulz, leading L.A. Times film critic Charles Champlin, and Barnaby Conrad as well as learning from Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Gore Vidal, and many others. In San Diego, I have had an awesome friendship with science fiction writer David Brin.

VAH: What do you remember about your first piece of writing?

MJP: I am also a drummer and a vocalist, so my first poem/songs were about my search for truth and meaning. My first published piece was an article titled “Whose Reality is it Anyway?” which was published in an inspirational magazine. It had to do with the multitude of different ways that people view the world.

VAH: What is the favorite piece you’ve written to date?

MJP: I remember reading an interview with Billy Joel many years ago where he was asked, “What is your favorite song that you have written?”

His answer that I have paraphrased here was, “They are all my children and though they are different in popularity and achievements, I love them all equally.”

 

More Matthew J. Pallamary this month, on days that end in 3.

Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show by Agent Red, directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.

He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.

His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards.  He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.

San Diego, CA

Connect with Matthew J. Pallamary:

Web site.  Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Smashwords author page.

Sampler:

The Small Dark Room of the Soul and other stories – Preview.

Land Without Evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three by Five Schedule Update

Three by Five has really taken off this year. The author interview series that highlights a different author or indie publishing professional with five questions (usually) over three – five days during a month has filled up 2015! During this year, you’ll find the following authors highlighted here:

Currently in March is Laurie Kolp. Coming in April is poet Rebecca Foust. In May, Poet and Novelist Mariah E. Wilson. In June, Canadian Poet Carol Stephen. In July, Novel and Memoir author Matthew Pallamary. In August, Poet and Non-fiction author Bernadette Geyer. In September, Hiatus. In October, Fiction and Non-fiction writer Sam Slaughter. In November, Novelist and cinematographer Chase J. Jackson. In December, Memoir author Kelly Kittel. Then, welcoming in 2016, January’s Three by Five will host the 2015 Runner-up and Honorable Mention for this year’s Emerging Writer Prize, Caroline Zarlengo Sposto. The February, 2016 Three by Five featured author will be the 2016 Winner of the Victoria A. Hudson Emerging Writer Prize.  In March, Poet Ronnie K. Stephens will lead the rest of 2016. In April 2016, Science Fiction & Fantasy author Edward McKeown.

Don’t let the schedule deter you if interested in being highlighted in the Three by Five interview series. Additionally, occasionally the schedule is open to change in order to highlight an author with a book publishing during a specific month.

Three by Five interviews publish on days that end in three every month. Find out what why an author writes, what inspires them, who they read, and what their writing life is like. Discover their work and maybe find a whole new author to follow and enjoy.

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Readers – What Would You Add?

In 2011, No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups & Critique was published just in time for that year’s San Francisco Writers Conference. Now I’m looking at completing a revised 3rd edition. I’m interested in what readers of No Red Pen think was missing in the original book or what could use a little more depth of discussion. Now’s your chance to let me know by using the feedback form below. NO RED PEN

Additionally, I have a survey that asks about individual experiences with writing groups and critique. Please take a few minutes and give your thoughts and opinions by participating in the Creative Writing Critique Experiences.

Thanks for your feedback and for participating in the survey.

While you’re at it, have you signed up for the newsletter yet?

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Emerging Writer Prize Honorable Mention: Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

I WRITE BECAUSE

I write because it is the first thing I recall ever wanting to do.

It was a time when paperboys threw Sunday newspapers on to damp lawns from early morning bicycles and children skinned their knees on playgrounds and their mothers painted the
wounds with coral red Mercurochrome and no particular concern.

Before I was old enough to go to school and labor over the alphabet letters in a Big  Chief pad with an over-sized pencil, I sat at home making loopy shapes on old paper grocery bags with a crayon. Then I lined up my stuffed animals and read them my stories. They looked on with serious, plush faces and rapt, unblinking plastic eyes, giving no indication they were wise to the fact that I was improvising with the help of scrawled gibberish.

Once I was six, inches shy of four feet tall, barely forty pounds, and compelled to wear dresses to school, even on snow days, I learned the letters and how to attach phonetic sounds to them by rote.

Having to walk in this manner, before I could run, was a painstaking process for me, and not an easy one. I wanted to use all of those tools but did not know how, and for long months,
I felt consigned to the margins.
A lifetime later, and near the mid-­‐century mark, my own children are grown, and I am, at long last, able to stop doing work-­‐for-­‐hire corporate communications and instead write
from my heart.

My little shelf of small anthologies with my essays, poems and stories is growing. So is my list of urls.
I keep scrawling, keep improvising, keep sorting and parsing my thoughts – often not knowing what I think until I read my own words.

My little dog sits on the sofa beside me, wagging her tail, and looking at me with blinking eyes that give no indication she thinks her owner is anything less than a wit and a thinker.
I dream that perhaps one little verse or essay or tale might remain alive when I am gone.

I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.

For more about Caroline Zarlengo Sposto, visit her website.

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Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize – Publishers Take Note

Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize

Since 1976, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester have awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman.  The idea for the prize came out of the personal grief of the friends and family of a fine young editor who was killed in an automobile accident just as her career was beginning to achieve its promise of excellence. She was 30 years old, and those who knew her believed she would do much to further the causes of literature and women. Her family, her friends, and her professional associates in the publishing industry created the endowment from which the prize is bestowed, in memory of Janet Heidinger Kafka and the literary standards and personal ideals for which she stood.

How to Enter:

  1. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2014 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted.
  2. Entries must be submitted by February 1st , 2015, and the works must have been assembled for the first time. For collections of short stories: at least one-third of the material must have been previously unpublished before the release of the collection to be submitted.
  3. Four copies of each entry should be submitted.
  4. The $7,500 prize will be awarded annually to a woman who is a USA citizen, and who has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, whether novel, short stories, or experimental writing. Works written primarily for children and publications from private and vanity presses cannot be considered. We are particularly interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.
  5. Only under the most unusual circumstances will a writer be considered for a subsequent award within a ten-year span.
  6. Please download the application form (PDF) and submit entries toUniversity of Rochester
    Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
    Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies
    538 Lattimore Hall
    RC Box 270434
    Rochester, NY 14627-4034

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Get Paid for Writing!

No, not the bright, shiny, scam spam that often lands in your mailbox – both virtual and physical.

Typically, emerging writers send out reams of work and their only payment is seeing their name beneath the work when an editor selects the by-product of their blood, sweat, and tears for publication. In the current data driven, information economy, content is viewed as a right to the consumer and 21st century culture has created an expectation for free access. But free access won’t pay the bills and creative content was the work product of someone, somewhere. So I am happy to share with you this post from Trish Hopkinson with a compilation of markets for submitting creative work and low and behold, get paid for it! Paying  Calls for Submission – Poetry, Prose, Art, etc.

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And Then There Were Nine

Entries have been further winnowed down to nine semi-finalists for the Emerging Writer Prize.

Congratulations in no particular order to:

Susan Karr

Tonissa Saul

Kristen Falso-Capaldi

J.C. Augustine Wetta

Ali McCart

Eric Maus

Phylise Smith

David Fong

Caroline Zarlengo Sposto

Each writer’s response to the prompt Why I write… brought a spontaneous laugh, a tear, or a sense of resonance that invited me to get to know that writer more. Each response held up as better crafted when compared with others that made it past the preliminary round. The next phase includes reading the writing samples and weighing both their craft in responding to the prompt and the sample of their writing in their chosen genre.

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