Archive for small press

A WRITER’S JOURNEY: Part 16.1

Posted in A Writer's Journey with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2011 by brandonlayng

A WRITER’S JOURNEY: Part 16.1

The Books that Started it ALL

I won’t say it’s true for all writers (exception to every rule and all that jazz) but most writers can pinpoint a single book as the one that inspired them to write. I’ve heard all kinds of inspiration stories from my friends and peers. Children’s book writers wanting to capture the joy of hearing Dr. Suess read to them as a youngling. Horror writers hiding under the covers terrifying themselves with their first scary book. Or the writer so unimpressed with a horribly written book they are inspired to write something better.

We all have a story about the first book that made us want to write. More often than not, those same books have an influence on what we write. And it seems that for authors who write in certain genres, they can often share the same book or writer as their initial influence.

I credit a few books and writers on changing the course of my journey to becoming a full-time writer. But the one that made me say, “I want to be a writer”, is No Change, Please by Gordon Korman. Korman will probably be familiar to Canadians more than Americans or UK readers. Korman began his writing career at a very young age, barely into his teens he began with his Bruno & Boots books. The first in the series was This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall! begun during a semester in the 7th grade. His English teacher encouraged him to finish the book, which was published by Scholastic along with many of his 55 books that followed.

My grade 5 teacher was reading No Change, Please to the class and explained to us how Korman started his journey to the book we were hearing. That was the moment. Right there. Being told that a kid roughly the same age as me had written a book and had it published, inspired me to try and do the same. Well, I didn’t. I wasn’t published until I was in grade 8 and it was a short story in the photocopied school newspaper. I followed that up with a few poems in different issues of that paper and a couple more short stories and poems in highschool Writers’ Guild anthologies.

But I’d been bitten by the bug.

For this part of A Writer’s Journey, I decided to ask some of my peers to share their stories about the book that inspired them to write. They were all asked the same question and I was amazed by their responses. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Maybe you’ll find a book in their answers that will inspire you to write your own book. Or possibly you’ll take the time and read something by the authors themselves and find that spark you’re looking for.

***

Zoe E. Whitten

Website http://www.zoewhitten.com/

The first book to make me want to be a writer was Stephen King’s It. His characters were so real, and I wanted to create people just as flawed and believable.

***

David Dunwoody

Website http://daviddunwoody.com/

I think I’ve wanted to write since I was 10 or so. Around that time I wrote a story called “The Lost Souls” (recently updated as the novella “Lost Souls” for THE UNDEAD: HEADSHOT QUARTET). At that time I was reading Louis Sachar and Roald Dahl, but I don’t believe they were as much of a direct inspiration as what I wasn’t allowed to read – the King books in my parents’ bookshelf, books my older sister had told me about and at which I sneaked peeks whenever I was home alone. It was more than likely IT that did it for me, as that’s the only one I can recall with clarity. I didn’t read the entire novel until I was in my twenties, and it is one of my favorite books today, if not my #1. As a kid, I think the mystique and taboo of the book was as affecting as what I actually glimpsed in its pages (and what I did glimpse was wonderful and scary and definitely left an impression). Between its title – emblazoned in giant blood-red letters on the hardcover – and the fact I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near it, the book took on a mythic quality which only drew me more to it and to that genre. I really do have my parents to thank for getting me into writing horror. I don’t think they’d take that too hard.

***

Mark Leslie (Lefebvre)

Website http://markleslie.blogspot.com/

Wow. That’s a tough one. When I first heard the question I thought, oh, cool question – now what book was it for me? And then I realized that I couldn’t be 100% sure. Why? Because I’m pretty sure I wanted to become a writer long before I actually started typing out stories on my typewriter which was in my early teens. Of course, it was many years after when I started sending my stories out to publishers (which is often what I think about when I think about becoming a writer). But to be true to wanting to become a writer, it goes back even earlier than my teen years, it goes back to even before I wrote long prose tales. When I was a boy, I loved to draw cartoons; to tell stories via a combination of words and images. Before that, I remember creating epic adventures with either my Lego figures or my Fisher Price figures, compiling long complex plot adventures that would last weeks in short episodic segments.
And throughout all that time, there were a lot of books I read, many of which likely provided me inspiration to want to tell my own tales, produce my own stories.

So, nailing down a specific single book that inspired me to become a writer is a challenge indeed. I mean, if I go back far enough, it was likely a comic book (likely a poignany story told by Stan Lee about a young outcast teenager with the proportional strength, speed and agility of a spider) that inspired me to want to write my own tales. Later on in my childhood, it might have been one of Lester del Rey’s novels such as Marooned on Mars or Tunnel Through Time. In my early teens, there were books such as George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides that I remember enjoying so much and wanting to write my own post-apocalyptic tale.

And when I first pulled out my Mom’s Underwood typewriter and started seriously hammering out tales, Piers Anthony was a writer whose science fiction and fantasy novels I was avidly consuming. The use of my pseudonym of “Mark Leslie” was derived from reading about how this particular author’s full name was Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob and he simply sliced off the extra names to get a “writer’s handle” that was easier to say and spell.

But in a nutshell, it might seem like a cop-out to the question, but it seems as if books have always inspired me to be a writer – and the books I read today continue to inspire me to write. When I was young and I read a tale that I marvelled at, that tickled my imagination, I would set forth and want to write my own story that would do the same thing for other readers. And when I write today, it’s not without that part of my mind that conjures up the feeling I get when I read a great story or book.

***

Amy Grech

Website http://www.crimsonscreams.com

When I was twelve, an aunt gave me a copy of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Being at a very impressionable age, I devoured the entire novel in one sitting! King’s haunting portrait of an All-American family facing evil sparked my imagination—that’s when I knew I wanted to become a writer!

***

I’d like to thank all of the writers for taking the time to answer.

I’ll be coming back to this question again. Hopefully you’ll join me for the second half of this part of A Writer’s Journey.

Until next time, keep writing!

One of the BEST days

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by brandonlayng

What do you say when a writer you have the utmost respect for, that the genre has the utmost respect for, tells you he thinks the first half of your unpublished book is good? Yeah, sure you say “thank you”. Or you can smile like an idiot and jump around like I did. Because I haven’t yet revealed who’s reading the book and since I didn’t ask his permission I can’t give out names or go into too many details (Updated below post). I’m just too damned happy to keep my mouth shut about my excitement. I have spill some of it.

Before I talk about what was said, I want to talk about the author in question. He’s written some of the most innovative horror I’ve ever read. He continually amazes me with each book I read. His fiction has made me laugh, turned my stomach and want to jump in the pages to kick some ass. He’s one of my top favorite horror authors. So any praise from him, means a great deal to me. It’s that validation we’re all looking for. You want to hear from someone who’s been there and still doing it, that you have what it takes too.

He’s not done reading the manuscript yet, and I’ve got fingers crossed his opinion doesn’t turn sour on it before the end, but… seriously, he’s already made my year. The only thing that could top it would be being able to send him a copy of the published book with one of my wishlist of publishers’ names on the spine.

To top off all the great things he said about the book, he made me feel like a writer. There’s always talk about the lonely writer sitting in a dark basement plugging out words nobody is going to read. Well, a lot of days in front of the laptop, I feel like that. Today, I didn’t feel like that. And I probably never will again. Thanks to him. So if you’re one day reading a copy of “A Walk Amongst the Dead”, be sure to drop him a line and tell him thank you again (for me, and you, if you like the book) right after you read his introduction to the book. He’s offered to write one and I want to take him up on that offer, hopefully future publishers will see it my way and put it in.

I rank this one of the best days of my life. So far.

I’m not done writing you know.

*After asking if it was okay to post his name, he said it was okay. I’m very honored to say the author of roughly 60 published books, Grand Master Stoker Award-winning author, who is reading “A Walk Amongst the Dead”, is none other than… Ray Garton! If you don’t know who he is and you’re a fan of Horror, you should be ashamed of yourself. March out or log onto Amazon and buy one of his books today. He writes some of the craziest, scariest, most twisted stuff out there. His book “Lot Lizards” recently went into reprints through e-Reads.com buy a copy HERE It’s a good place to start. Then move onto Live Girls, Bestial, Ravenous, Nightlife, The Loveliest Dead, Dark Channel and many more you’re sure to enjoy them all.

WE DID IT! Don’t forget the LittleGuy!

Posted in News, What Pissed Me Off Today with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2010 by brandonlayng

Our efforts bore fruit. The Pedophile’s Guide to Love & Pleasure has been pulled from Amazon.com. I’d like to thank Amazon.com for doing what’s right, for listening to their customers as they stood united against this book. I’d still prefer to know that all profits from the book have gone to make reparations to victim support groups. But I’ll leave that up to Amazon.com and the author to make that wise decision.

Now it’s our turn.

We need to remember that a continued boycott of Amazon.com means we’re hurting the people who deserve our support. #SupportTheLittleGuy and return to your regular shopping. Many small press/indie publishers and authors depend on Amazon.com as a way of continuing to provide us with hours of entertainment with their written words. If anything we need to show them now more than ever that we support them. In your anger don’t forget the LittleGuy.

Please buy a book from a small press publisher or author today.

I’ll be removing my previous post later today, because I don’t want people to misled into believing this issue continues in regards to this individual book.

Note: I would like to add, that if you purchased this book, out of curiosity or any other reason, I strongly suggest you consider making a donation to victims of sexual abuse support groups. You should also feel shame. You’ve lined this man’s pockets and shown others that a book like this can make money because of people being morbid. You’ve helped to encourage his cause.

ANGEL’S CROSSING A GRAVESIDE TALES E-SERIAL

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by brandonlayng

My novel, ANGEL’S CROSSING, is being sponsored by Graveside Tales publishing as a newsletter exclusive e-serial. The GRAVESIDER Newsletter is free, filled with the latest info on one of the small press’ best publishers and now comes with a FREE novel straight to your inbox. It can’t get much better than that. You gotta love getting a free book every Friday in easy to digest instalments just for signing up.

On a personal note, I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally share this novel with you and to have the opportunity to share it through Graveside Tales. Below you’ll find a brief description and a sample from the novel to whet your appetite.

You can sign up today for The GRAVESIDER Newsletter and get started on ANGEL’S CROSSING by following this link http://www.gravesidetales.com

ANGEL’S CROSSINGHe wrote the world into existence in six days and on the seventh day He will rest. Will the world have the strength to write its own story? Our first – or our last – stand will be made in the town of Forest Hills, a town stricken by the horrors of a serial killer who is only a harbinger of the evil to come. By the time the four angels meet at the crossing will there be anyone left to stand with them against the waves of infected and their creator? Find out for yourself beginning September 3rd, 2010

Sample from ANGEL’S CROSSING
Eddie registered the blindness and pain simultaneously. Some thing was latched onto his face. He choked on the agony, gasps for breath hurting his chest, his mouth sucking air like a goldfish out of water. The thing holding his head slithered between his lips, a lover’s unwanted tongue pushing them wider as it scratched down his throat. He urged his hands to release their death grip on the window bars and the pain forced them tighter. Panic taking over, he attempted swallowing the thing and the coaxing muscles in his neck helped the worm find its way into his chest.

Thump, thump, his heart hammered at his ribs. He prayed for a heart-attack.

The empty husk released its hold, fell to the pavement below the prison cell window and dissolved into a phlegm-like film near the discarded remains of the former Bedroom Slasher. Inside of the new host, the firewyrm began the process of taking control, infecting and reproducing.

Eddie let go of the bars. His knuckles white from the strain of supporting his weight. Collapsing onto the bench, his knees buckling. Eyes bugging out in fear for the briefest moment, then slowly they closed to slits bloodshot with black veins. Eddie was a changed man.