Dredging up Memories by AJ Brown


On May 6, 2016,  I had the pleasure of attending the release party for Author AJ Brown or for those of you that know him better Jeff Brown.    He is one phenomenal author for Stitched Smile Publications, and I am so happy to have not only attended this party, but also purchase his book.     Once I began reading this book I could not put it down.  Wow, what is there to say, this is Master Telling at it’s very best.   I give him 5 stars. It is one amazing book and if you have not gone out to get it you need to do so today.

My review: 

Dredging up Memories is the best book I have read in a long time that reflects upon the zombie apocalypse. Author A.J. Brown masterfully creates this amazing story and brings it to life in the main character of Hank Walker. I could not put this book down. This is master storytelling at it’s best. To take a protagonist and put him through so much loss and devastation due to the zombie chaos. Then have him try to keep himself together by finding a bear dressed up in a bunny costume, which he names Humphrey. Then give Humphrey life by imagining the voice a little girl to help him deal with all the tragedies he has to endure as he has to take on the part of arming himself with the task of being the executioner of all the people he cares about who are turning into zombies. How does he find solace? How does he find strength to keep going? As he fights to stay alive and work on being with his family which he hopes found safety after the contamination broke out. His only friend has become Humphrey who appears to tame his sanity. I tell you this is one amazing book and the journey AJ Brown takes us into is just one that a reader should not miss.




Being Professional

What makes a writer a professional? It’s not money, though I can see where you could think so. Deriving your entire income from writing may very well make you a self-sufficient writer, but I have seen writers who are self-sufficient without being one whit of a professional. Panel appearances aren’t the litmus. Not all panels are created equal. All that means is you got to sit at the front.

If you want to be a professional, you have to exhibit an air of professionalism. I know. Go figure, right?

Yet, many writers neglect this part of their development. I suspect it is because it doesn’t get written on the paper, no one cheers you for it on Twitter, and, in reality, it just creates more work for you in the long run by setting expectations. Still, it can be a rewarding part of your writing career.

Professionalism is how you handle yourself. As a writer, you are a business entity unto yourself. There are certain straightforward, responsibilities that are expected in a business arrangement. Delivering a product on time, delivering quality, being responsive to your customers (publishers and readers) are all good business practices. But, it doesn’t have to be quite that cut and dry.

While you are a business, you also get to be a person. Not the fake kind of person corporations are so they can buy senators, but a real person. That means you get to fudge those hard business lines a bit, but be careful how you fudge them. Using your personal agency to enhance a business deal is what puts your personal brand on your business deals, but that brand can speak good or ill, depending on your actions.

I recently had the pleasure to be included, through a competitive selection process, in a fantasy anthology. Somewhere between the selection process and the publishing, one of the authors decided that despite a full explanation of the terms of the anthology being available upfront, that she had a few problems with them. This is not a big deal.

Once again, you’re a business, also a person. People can ask questions, clarify, even change their minds. Granted, these would be better asked before hand, but the heat of the moment and all…


The problem came from the manner in which it was addressed. Rather than keeping this discussion private with the publisher, she chose a forum that was open to the other contributors. She then proceeded to have a meltdown of fairly epic proportions. This included a pontificating speech right out of any number of writing manuals about the importance of creating her brand (her phrasing). She had obviously read but did not understand that material.

Whether she was right or wrong, the other contributors, several of which were themselves small press publishers, saw a conversation that should have been private devolve into allegations and not-quite-accusations. That was the impression they were able to form of that author right before she angrily quit the anthology to protect her image.

Now, she was young, and I truly hope that she is able to find a niche in this industry where she is comfortable and successful, but by sacrificing her professionalism, she didn’t ease her path.

For many of us, writing is a second job at best, possibly beer money. It is still a job, though. Give and expect the same respect you would want to see in your day job. It will make the business side of writing much more enjoyable for you and your customers. Who knows, maybe you can even turn a professional writer into a self-sufficient writer.


Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents: Creatives World Tour

Date: 5-27-16
Time: 8:00 pm till 1am EST
Place: YouTube- https://goo.gl/lQPXI2

1. 8:10-9pm EST: Author Trevor Kennedy
Author Country on the Planet: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Author Title: Phantasmagoria: Fantasias of Possibility
Author book link: https://goo.gl/PH7fKB

2. 9:10-10pm EST: Author Veronica Smith
Author Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Author Title: Chalk Outline
Author book link: Coming soon from Stitched Smile Publications

3. 10:10-11pm EST: Author Syvia Sylvia Stein
Author Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Author Title: Closure
Author book link: https://goo.gl/U60rFM

4. 11:10-12am EST: Author Druscilla Morgan
Author Country on the Planet: Austrilia
Author Title: Blood of the NYX
Author book link: https://goo.gl/FL93pd

5. 12:10-12:50am EST: Music Creative: Victor Vasquez
Music Creative Country on the Planet: U.S.A.
Zombiepalooza Radio LIVE

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5 steps for writing preparation Mark Deloy #2 Perseverance

Welcome to the second installment of 5 steps for writing preparation.  Step one was desire, where I laid out my thoughts on having the desire to write, write often, and hopefully, write well.  The second part in our journey has to do with sticking to it: perseverance. 

Let’s face facts.  If you are anything like me, it takes a fair amount of self-discipline to sit down and start a project, especially if it’s a large project like a novella or a novel.  It’s even harder to keep writing, to keep that momentum, because momentum is key.  You’ll start seeing that word count go up, and you’ll start thinking, I really can do this.

Novels can be especially difficult because not only do you have to remember what you wrote way back in chapter one, but you have to remember how each character acted, their traits, their dialect, events that happened to them and stops they made along the way in your story.  That gets even more difficult if you don’t edit as you go, as I do.  Short stories pose their own problems.  Most of us don’t hammer out a short story, even a three thousand word one, in one sitting.  Shorts are a bit different for me, in that when I sit back down, I need to re-read what I’ve already written.  There’s something special about short stories and their flow that needs to stay perfectly consistent throughout the tale.  You may not write the short story in one sitting, but most readers will read in one.  In a novel, you can correct style variations when you go to edit it.  You may have been having a dark day and wrote in a slightly different ominous style, or you might be listening to an especially good audio book and inadvertently take on the narrators tone.  I know when I was listening to Lisey’s Story by Stephen King, read by the amazingly talented Mare Winningham, I wanted all my villains to sound just like Scott’s, sometimes insane, father.  Be careful, this is easier than it sounds.  I had to give my villains their own voice.  One I created.

The second part of sticking with a project, and the most difficult for most writers, is the edit.  By the time I’m finished with the editing process, I honestly never want to read that novel again.  I’m a bit more forgiving with short stories, but novels, nope, the reader can have it.  I’m sure editing is different for everyone.  Here is the way I do it.  I print everything out, find a comfortable place, and a red pen, and start marking.  As I finish a page, I flip it over, so I have two stacks.  Edited, unedited.  I edit until I get tired of editing for that day.  Then the next day I repeat until I get through the novel or short story.  Then I take everything back to the laptop and start making the changes.  Sometimes it’s just an added punctuation mark, sometimes it’s an added or deleted scene.  I also recommend reading the story out loud when you edit, at least the first two times through.  At least the first two times through?  You mean I have to do this again?  Yes, when I finish making the initial changes, I print off the story a second time, go back to my quiet place with my trusty red pen, and go through it again.  Hopefully, this time, there will be less red ink.  Then repeat one more time, just to make sure you have everything as perfect as you can get it.

At this point in the project, I’m ready for someone else to read it.  I usually give it to five people I trust with my life.  Not only my life but my work.  People who will tell you something doesn’t sound right, people who will be honest, and hopefully kind, and who will take their time and do it right.  Let them mark up those copies and get them back to you.  Some of the suggestions you’ll agree with, some you won’t, but the great part is you’ve just shared your work with your first readers.  Get their thoughts on the story, the characters.  As much as it’ll hurt, tell them, to be honest.  You know you’re good at this.  It’s time for other people to hopefully tell you you’re good.  Now this last step, some writers swear by and some skip.  If you want to pay a professional editor, it’s time to send them your manuscript.  When you’ve made any changes based off their input, you should be ready to start sending queries to agents or publishers.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, writing requires quite a lot of perseverance.  The most important thing you’ll get out of that perseverance is a finished product you can be proud of.

Next up – Mindset


SUBMISSION OPEN CALL! Anthology: Monsters VS. Zombies

Deadline: July 31, 2016
Publishing date: October 30, 2016
Pay: $25 upon acceptance, plus one contributor copy
Word Count: min| 3500, max| 5,000
Title: The Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies

Are you tired of the same old zombie stories? Have you had your fill of man vs. zombie? Stiched Smile Publications wants you to unleash your imagination and mash it up. We are looking for uncommon stories featuring a monster (Dracula, big foot, Frankenstein, etc.) fighting the undead. Unleash your imagination and take us on a ride that we’ve never been on.

Thank you, Mark Deloy, for the idea. It’s why you’re a part of SSP!

How to submit:

  • Please send your submission to submissions@stitchedsmilepublications.com
  • You must have your full name, pen name if applicable and mailing address included.
  • Entries without all information will be disqualified.

One on one with author Lori Fontanez



Sylvia Stein (SS):  Tell us about yourself?

Lori Fontanez (LF): I live in a rural area of West Virginia, I am married and have four children. Well, three of them are adults and one still lives at home. I call her the teenager. Lol! I have two cats, Sunshine and Moonshine; they live outside. We also have two dogs. My dog, Millie, is a Boston Terrier. She’s my world. She stays with me at all times. I have fibromyalgia and a few chronic illnesses that sometimes causes me grief. I enjoy reading and writing. I have just learned to sew. I love doing crafts, I have to keep busy so, I even play video games on the Ps4 and the Wii. I like the shooting games.


SS:    How did you get started in writing?

LF:    I’m in the group called ATZ with Jeff Clare, he’s the leader. LOL! Anyways November of 2015 he was going to do an anthology, and I submitted a story. It was accepted, and the book came out around  Christmas. Then I met Lisa Vasquez, and she took me under her wing. I met Veronica Smith and she did a lot for me with editing.  From there I have continued to write and would love to do this full-time. I need to find a place, I can go to write without interruptions.


SS:  What type of books do you write?

LF: I write #Horror, I have always liked scary books, mysteries. Thomas Leeland beta reads and said,”I write like Stephen King.” I love that. My stories can be very twisted and Intense.


SS:   How many books or stories have you published?

LF:    I have a few anthologies stories: ATZ A Very Zombie Christmas, Fifty Shades of Slay,  Grynn anthology, Painted Mayhem and Bite Size Offerings.  I recently have my first solo book out called Stalker.


SS:   What is your current book?

LF: I am working on the paperback of Stalker, It will include a few short stories that never found a home. I sent a ghost story to Lisa Vasquez called The Closet, I’m waiting on her to read through it. Stalker 2 Obsessed is in the works. Mirrors is a creepy story that I have been working on.


SS: What can you tell us about this book?

LF: Stalker is a short story that is intense and is a good story, I don’t want to brag, but I liked this story. The stalker is in the book some just to as an introduction. The second book is very intense, and he will blow your mind.


SS:  What can you tell us about the type of characters you create?

LF:  I create the characters, and they rule me. I plan a story on paper, and the characters take it their way. I like horror so, most of my characters are shifty and not to be trusted.


SS:   Do you have a current book you are working on?

LF: I am working on a few, Stalker 2: Obsessed is first, though.


SS: What is your writing process, do you have a particular schedule you follow?

LF: My schedule is screwed up, I write when I can. There are two many things going on with the after school activities; I have taken my laptop to track meets.


SS:  Do you prefer music when you write?  Why or Why Not?

LF: Most of the time I listen to music, It’s calming and love my rock music when I write. I love AC/DC, Ozzy and Everlast. Lately, it’s been Hoozier. There is more It just depends on my mood.


SS:  What is something we do not know about you?

LF: Yep, I am sentimental, I get my feelings hurt easily, I love helping people. I gather things all the time in case someone needs it. I collect baby clothes mostly and house hold items. Someone in our area is always in need. I knit hats for the cancer society.


LF: Thank you Sly for the interview, It was fun…..Have a great day.
SS:  Thank you for having me, Lori.  Lori Fontanez is an author from Stitched Smile Publications I hope you will take the time to check out her work.   



For more on  Author Lori Fontanez be sure to  check out her links:





my twitter wouldn’t keep the link, but my name is Lori7566 on there


5 steps for writing preparation #1 Desire

Mark Deloy

This is the first in a 5 part blog on how to prepare yourself to actually get some keyboard time and hammer out the next great American (Horror) novel.  First a little about the thought process behind this series.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t get up every morning, make yourself some coffee, and automatically start writing.  If you do, you’re either extremely disciplined or very lucky.  Most of us have to carve out some time during our day somewhere in between work, school, time with our significant others, taking care of kids, social media mindlessness, and friends.  THEN, you have to actually be in the mood to write.  If that magical combination of sheer will, and opportunity arises, you want to be ready.  First, I’ll explore some of the more serious aspects of preparation, then at the end I’ll cover some of the more fun examples.

So, on to # 1 – Desire.  You have to WANT to write.  That one should be easy.  If you are a writer, then you know you were born to write, to create, to imagine a world and then map it out on paper or on a computer screen.  If I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about my current project, my characters, my settings, and my plot.  I’m playing around with how different characters would handle situations, and how those situations would affect the other characters.  Most of all, I strive to figure it all out and get it down in some kind of sequential order that makes sense and doesn’t have gaping plot holes.  Let’s face it; we are basically world building.  If we are writing fiction, those people, our characters,  don’t actually exist.  You might have one or two that are modeled after real people, but generally, they are conglomerations of many different peoples’ attitudes, prejudices, likes, dislikes, thought patterns, and probably quite a few of your own traits as well.  This takes an enormous amount of thought and effort to think all of that through.  Stephen King said in his book, On Writing, that writing is like an archeological dig.  We work to unearth as much of the story as we can without damaging it.

So, how do you get desire?  I’m not sure you can “get” it.  I think you’re born with it and have to work your ass off to develop it, to practice it, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  You’ll know if you have that desire because you’ll be writing, every chance you get.  It’s something you’ll have to do.  The desire comes from making writing a priority in your life.  You’re going to have to give up some things.  That’s just how it works.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to watch a ton of TV, play around on Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest, play video games, have a social life, and then try to write a novel.  Remember, you’re world building.  Immerse yourself in that world, make it real, make it your own, see the bark on the trees, and the texture on every tombstone.  Above all, have the desire to create meaningful characters.   Characters are what get readers coming back.  Because hopefully, if you did your job right, that world you created has become real to your readers as well.


Up next: Perseverance

Getting Deep with Donelle Pardee Whiting

A couple of weeks ago I got to sit down with one of the editors for Stitched Smile Publications. Her name is Donelle Pardee Whiting. She’s smart and witty and funny. She’s also a superb editor and has just recently gotten back into writing fiction. We sat down, as always, at a computer screen and chatted. I had my coffee and a comfortable seat on the couch. I’m not sure where she was sitting. What I am sure about is she surprised me with some of her answers.

AJ: Donelle, tell me a little bit about you.

DPW: Oh you would start with the question I hate the most. Well, let’s see. I am married with one son and three (soon to be four) grandkids.

I love to read, but I go in cycles. I don’t stick to one genre. I read horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, suspense, mystery. I guess it would have been easier to say everything except straight up romance.

I like to spend time outside. Skiing, camping, hiking, sitting at the beach. Wherever my mood takes me. I absolutely love being out on the Harley with my husband.

And I enjoy traveling. I have been blessed with a mom who likes to take me with her on trips.

AJ: Hold the phone: Harley? I would have never guessed that. Tell me more about how you got into that.

DPW:  I didn’t always love Harleys. But I did like motorcycles. In college, I had a few friends who rode. When we were dating, my husband had a Kawasaki, but he always wanted a Harley. So, through his eyes (I let him keep those), I started to see the appeal. They’re growly and tough. And if treated right, they last a long time. There is a long history behind them. Although my husband is more knowledgeable about that than I am.

Strigoi COverAJ: If you had to choose between a Kawasaki or a Harley, I’m guessing you would go with the Harley?

DPW: While the only truly important thing to me is my husband is the one in the “driver’s seat,” I would definitely choose to have the Harley. A few years back I took a class to get my motorcycle license. Now I have to save my pennies so I can get one of my own.

I love to ride on the back, but unfortunately, I only get to ride when my husband is able. I won’t take his out. That’s his baby. I didn’t even want my name on the registration when he bought it six years ago.

Still don’t.

I almost forgot. We had a Suzuki Katana before the Harley. I still prefer the Harley.

AJ:  Most folks I know love their Harleys. Let’s step back a minute and talk about your reading preferences. Anything except romance?

DWP: Right. I have nothing against people who like a good romance. I have, in the past, read a few. When I was younger…by several years. And occasionally, in the past, I have read works by Nora Roberts, but I prefer her books under the name J.D. Robb. I have nothing against romance; I just don’t need to be romanced. It’s nice when there is a spontaneous gesture, but I don’t expect it, so to me getting lost in a straight up romance novel is akin to getting lost in what a person feels is missing from their life. I could be wrong, but that is what it feels like to me. Plus, a lot of those books are formulaic and predictable. I don’t even really enjoy romance movies. I will watch some rom-com films, but I have to really like the actors. I prefer movies that are in line with my reading tastes.

I think I just figured out something else. I don’t like meek, subservient, female characters. I am not saying the character has to be Xena, the Warrior Princess. She can have weaknesses or a softness to her, but I don’t like when a female character is portrayed as needing a man to rescue her or to make her feel like her life has meaning. I like that I can count on my husband to be there for me, and to help me. I don’t need for him to, but I like that he is there. Especially, those rare times when there is something I can’t do like fix my car.

AJ: You hit on something very deep here. Getting lost in a straight up romance novel is akin to getting lost in what a person feels is missing from their life. I’ve said something similar to this when referencing erotica and romance and have been blasted for it. Since reading is essentially losing yourself in a book or story, do you find that sometimes people really do read certain types of books to fulfill something missing in their lives?

DWP: Oh boy. I opened the door, so time to step through. I get lost in a good story. And I am perfectly okay with getting lost in a story. But, is it always a matter of it being a case of something missing in real life? It can be, and it can’t be.

Let me explain where I am going.

I love reading fantasy stories. A high school friend introduced me to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and I loved them. It opened a whole new world of reading material for me. Until then I read the typical girl young adult fare. But, those books, and starting to read my mom’s Stephen King books, really grabbed me. I learned I didn’t have to lock myself into one writing style, one genre, or even one author. It wasn’t just the books either. My dad was a huge sci-fi fan. He and I would stay up late and watch The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Tales From the Darkside together. He introduced me to Doctor Who and Star Trek and Star Wars. Getting lost in a good Doctor Who episode doesn’t mean I feel like traveling through time and space is missing from my life. Would it be fun if the Doctor was real and came to sweep me into an adventure? You bet.

But, romance to me is different. It is similar to the soap operas that began airing in the…what, 60s? In my opinion, they target lonely, dissatisfied women. There is nothing wrong with reading them. They are not my style. The problem becomes when they become a substitute for what is really out there waiting. Very much like video games. It becomes all encompassing. There is a difference between losing oneself in a good book for a bit, and getting completely lost and missing what life has to offer.

AJ: Wow. That is deep, Donelle. I get what you mean completely. I have heard a lot of women mention before that they love their romance novels because of the fantasy feel to it. It’s not always bad to fantasize, but to get caught up in that fantasy and not live is another thing all together.

Where do we go after that answer? What is your favorite style to read?

DWP: Now that is tough.

I mentioned I loved The Hobbit and LOTR, and I have read the Game of Thrones books. And while I love Tolkein’s work and like Game of Thrones, they are a bit ploddy – I know, not a word – in spots. I do enjoy a descriptive, easy going style, I guess. Honestly, I never really thought about it much. But thinking about it now, I really do enjoy a more conversational style. As if I were sitting with the author in a coffee shop and he/she is telling me a story. Just me. It draws you in. I do not really enjoy lengthy, preachy styles. I have a hard time with non-fiction because there usually is no lightness to it. Working on Strigoi: The First Family with Michael Freeman was interesting because there was the historical element to it. I love history, and I did not want to lose that. I feel like I am rambling, but you asked. I guess I don’t really have a favorite. The style has to fit the story. Some stories are meant to be told in a light-hearted way, or a conversational way, or a more straight forward manner. What is important to me is it is done well.

AJ: Personally, I love the conversational style. Speaking of Strigoi, tell me about that.

Strychnine COverDPW: Strigoi is a re-imagining of the Dracula origin mythos. It is written in a historical fiction style. There is a historical background with fictional elements weaved in, similar to the way Hollywood presents their “based on a true story” films. Some examples would be Titanic, Pearl Harbor, and 47 Ronin (my favorite). We know from history those three events happened. But did they happen exactly that way? Were all those characters really there? Same with Strigoi. We know Vlad Dracula’s lineage, and we know what happened to his family. We also know the Bram Stoker version. So, Michael and I *tweaked* the myth, although he did all the, as I say, heavy lifting.

AJ: You came to be co-author of this book, correct?

DPW:  Correct.

AJ: How did that happen?

DPW: There were actually two books I eventually co-authored with Michael. The other is Strychine, a werewolf story. Anyway, after joining Stitched Smile Publications as an editor – shout out to David Youngquist, a freelance editing client, who put me in touch with Jackie Chin of Zombiepalooza Radio fame who put me in touch with SSP’s CEO Lisa Vasquez – Michael’s two books were given to me for editing. Unfortunately, both books required a lot of reworking through no fault of his. I mean, you’ve seen his writing.

It is my understanding Strychnine was slated for a film, but whoever was going to do the film wanted to make too many changes, so Michael pulled it and submitted it to Lisa. Strigoi was submitted for re-release under Stitched. The previous editor, in my opinion, dropped the ball. Michael said he trusted me to be thorough. After some discussion, he decided we should team up, and I should go ahead and do the corrections and whatever rewrites I thought were needed. He put a lot of trust in me. I have to admit; it felt good. I mean, he is extremely talented in both writing and with his film work, and I was the new kid to the party. We agreed to continue a writing partnership. There are three more screenplays he wrote that I will be converting to book form. I enjoy working with him. However, I am not giving up on the editing. That is what got me where I am now. And, I have some other projects, as well.

AJ: So, then you guys pretty much hit it off so well the collaboration works. It is hard to find a good writing partner these days.

How has the editing phase of your job with SSP gone?

DPW: Busy. But also very rewarding. I am enjoying myself immensely. I love what I do, and the people I am getting to know are fantastic. It’s like everything I have done before has led to this. This is what I am meant to do.

AJ: Why do you say that? Why do you say this is what you are meant to do? I always find it intriguing when someone says that.

DPW: Because even in school as a kid, I would help classmates with their papers. Plus, when I was a kid I would write stories using characters from movies or shows I saw. And I have never given up on my dream to be a published author. Put it aside for a bit but never lost it.

AJ: So, then you have always been the helpful type?

DPW: When I can, yes. There are times I have to say no. But, if it is in my capabilities and when I can I will.

AJ: So, let’s turn back to Strigoi and Strychnine. Both books were released at the same time. Why did you and Michael go with a dual release?

DPW: As far as I know it was a publisher decision. To be honest, I never asked.

AJ: Okay, how about a break from the seriousness? Give me one-word answers for the following questions:

Vampire or Werewolf?

DPW: Werewolf

AJ: Beer or wine?

DPW: Wine.

AJ: Are you a fan of Darth Vader?

DPW: No.

AJ: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

That’s tough. Near a beach, but not too far from the mountains. I know, more than one word.

AJ: That is okay–I knew that one would be.

Favorite food?

DPW: Chocolate

AJ: Okay, now let’s get serious again. Are you working on any solo writing endeavors right now?

DPW: Always. I have a book with dragons that has been back burnered since 1995. I like to say the dragons were too young, so they were maturing in their caves in my head. They are awake now. Plus, I have some short stories in need of being written. Thought of one today while out and about. And I have another co-author project with someone else, but her identity is currently a secret until she chooses to come out of the veil and into the light.

In a way, it is still sinking in that I am published as an author and not just as my previous “identity” as a journalist.

AJ: I understand that. I think it should always continue to sink in. That way you keep working hard at it.

DPW: Yep. Finding my rhythm.

AJ: Rythm. That leads us right into my next question. I’m a music guy, so with that said, recently Prince passed away. His manager said this about him: “His music did the talking.” He did some amazing things in the music business. As a writer, what do you wish to accomplish with your writing?

DPW: A very good question. I don’t write for others, so to speak. I write what is in my own head, my own imagination. However, when I share that part of me, I hope people join me for the ride and are able to put aside their own worries and such and just live in that moment, to be a part of my world.

AJ: Have you been reading my notes?

DPW: Ahahaha. Nope. We just think alike.

AJ: Okay, let me throw this at you: I am a reader. I have never read anything by you. Sell me on you, not just you the writer, but Donelle, the person as well.

DPW: I am not afraid to admit I am human, I am not perfect. However, I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and take some chances. I love to have fun and I like to share the fun. And I am more than willing to fly my Geek Flag. And, if I can get one person to join every so often I am a success. Especially if we can share a laugh.

AJ: And you know I like to laugh.

DPW: Very much so. I am even willing to laugh at myself. I prefer not taking life too seriously. More fun that way.

AJ: What, if anything, would you do different with your writing or editing?

DPW: When I edit, I go through more than once. I approach it like a treasure hunt. There are corrections to be made and I want to find where they are. With my writing, I am a firm believer in self-editing. I will go over it with a critical eye before saying it is done. And even then, I know it needs another set of eyes because I miss things because I know what it is supposed to say and I auto-correct in my head.

AJ: Are you sure you are not looking at my notes?


AJ: Okay, one or two more questions and I will let you go. If you could sit down with any living writer and have a conversation with him or her, who would it be and what would you talk about?

DWP: Stephen King. He has overcome challenges in his life. He never gave up. And he doesn’t let his critics beat him down. He marches to his own music. So, I guess that, in addition to finding his rhythm, his routine. Keeping balance in his life and, well, his dogs. One is Molly the Thing of Evil. The other is the angelic one. Can’t recall its name, though.

AJ: I would have said King as well.

DPW: Great minds.

AJ: I’m sorry–you have slipped a notch if we are thinking alike.

DPW: Nope. Means you have been elevated. 

AJ: Hahahaha—nicely done.

DPW: Thankee, sai.

Donelle, Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers out there?

DWP: Never stop reading. Never stop dreaming. And, thanks for joining me on the ride. I’ll see you on the next page.

AJ: The next page is a good place to meet.

You can find Donelle on Amazon and her website, Pardee Time.  You can also find Donelle on Facebook. Show some love for Donelle and leave her some comments.

As always, until we meet again, my friends, be kind to one another.

Getting personal with Mark Deloy

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of getting to know another very talented author. Mark Deloy is so much fun to talk to. He is smart, witty and a great family man who I am proud to have as a friend. If you haven’t gotten a chance to know him, you are missing out on a good friend and talented author! Please check out his books you won’t be sorry! It is my honor to introduce you to Mark Deloy.

1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story? 

I was ten. I read quite a lot of comic books at the time and the small store in downtown Winsted, Connecticut where I bought comics also had a big rack of paperback fiction. So in between months waiting for new comics, I started buying paperbacks. They were mostly crime thrillers. I started to get some ideas about plot twists, how to develop a character and wrapping up a story. So, I decided I was going to write my own short stories. I wish I still had a few of them. It would be interesting to read them again. My daughter, who is twelve has started writing now as well, which makes me extremely proud. I didn’t push her towards it at all, she just started reading like I did and then started writing her own short chapter books. I encourage her and show her some things that I’ve learned along the way. Hopefully, she will follow in my footsteps.

2. How many books have you written? 

I’ve written a total of four novels. The first one is an apocalyptic thriller that I’ve never tried to get published. It never got a title either. I wrote it in my late teens, and I may go back and do a massive rewrite someday.

The second novel was The Ghosts of Silence. It’s about a cop in small town 1890’s Tennessee who enlists the help of a country doctor, with the ability to see ghosts, to solve a rash of serial killings.

The third novel is Life Suspended, definitely the best of those first three. It takes place in the same area as The Ghosts of silence, but much later. A child rapist and killer who calls himself the Hangman (Life Suspended, see what I did there?) is terrorizing a small town. He hangs his victims out in the woods near town to be picked clean and found by the police. The novel is split between the past and the present for the main characters, so you get to see them as children, facing the same monster. Sort of like IT, but much different.

My newest novel which will be out this year from Stitched Smile Publications is The Southern House. It’s a paranormal thriller centering around a drug addict who inherits his grandparent’s house and farm. The farm has a dark secret from the past. A creature lives on the farm as well. He travels between all worlds and was given the name Mr. Shift by generations of children and madmen. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I think readers will be given something unique with Mr. Shift. He defies convention; that’s for sure.

3. Anything you won’t write about? 

I read a novel by J.F. Gonzalez called Survivor **Spoiler Alert** Where a baby is raped and then torn apart. I don’t have any desire to bring anything that dark into this world. Both for my reader’s sake and my own psyche.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job, etc… 

Sure, I’m 43. I just recently got married last May to my beautiful bride, Christi. We have 2 children, Molly, is 12, and Hailey is 8. My day job is working for a terrific dialysis company called DaVita. I’m a Knowledgebase Analyst/ Technical Writer.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written? 

My favorite book I’ve written is without a doubt, The Southern House. I was really trying to get outside of the known genres. I’ll eventually write a zombie novel and maybe a vampire book, but I really wanted something different and terrifying that you couldn’t define. I don’t want to give too much away, but you go into the book thinking it’s one thing, and it turns out to be something completely different.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

I would say two things inspired me to write and make a career out of it. The first is Thomas Harris. Reading the Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs for the first time was an experience for me. There is a forward in the Red Dragon where Harris is describing a cabin in his hometown where he would go to write. It set in the middle of a field and at night he could hear the coyote’s howling along the tree line. That cabin is in my first published Novel, The Ghosts of Silence and it sets the reader up for a pretty terrifying scene. The second inspiration was reading about Stephen King and how he wrote Carrie living in a trailer and writing in the laundry room. It gives me hope.

7. What do you like to do for fun? 

Mostly for fun, I like to spend time with my wife and two girls. We stay pretty busy on the weekends, trying to cram as much outside time into the weekends as we can working in the garden. Other than that, reading, of course, and playing with my two dogs.

8. And traditions you do when you finish a book?

I usually get up, stretch, and just start thinking about my next project. I’ve found that if you stop writing, or at least thinking about writing, that muscle atrophies. I think Stephen King said that in his brilliant book, On Writing. And it’s very true.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

When I’m plotting it can be anywhere quiet, no music. When I do the actual rough draft, I’m in my office with the door shut, very loud music and a lot of coffee. Listening to AC/DC, Metallica, Chevelle, 30 Seconds to Mars, Breaking Benjamin, and Shinedown mostly.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

I’d like to get more disciplined about writing every day. I hate that sometimes I have to go two or three days without actually doing it. I’m usually plotting in my head, but it’s not the same thing as having keyboard time.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

I’d like to be able to write full time. That’s it. I don’t have to be super famous, although it would be nice. I’d just like a sustainable income.

12. Where do you live?

I live in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

13. Pets? 

Two dogs. A pit bull, named Max, or as my wife likes to call him, Booter, and a Rat Terrier named Chopper. They are big buddies.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I would have to say my favorite thing about writing is creating worlds and characters out of nothing. Then watch as they make decisions in the book on their own, and I get to write it down. It’s kind of a surreal experience.

You can connect with Mark here:



Mark, as always I wish you much success and happiness! Glad I met you!

Review for Strigoi The First Family by amazing Authors Donelle Pardee Whiting and Michael S. Freeman


The First Family is one page turner you do not want to miss out on. The collaboration by the talents of these two authors Donelle Pardee Whiting and Michael Freeman is so captivating and full of surprises it grabs you from the first page till the very end. I love how they incorporated this story by making it about the history of the family Dracul and going into the history of events and combining the freelance writer who gets invited by the elderly man to speak about the first member of the family which was cursed. This was one captivating plot because I thought they brought out some of Anne Rice’s tendencies as she did in Interview with the Vampire. This has so many historical references in it, but I love how the plot centers around it within the story.

My review of this book is 5 Stars:

Make sure to check this book out today!strigoi


Check out the books on Amazon and Create Space: