Monthly Archives: August 2014

Exciting Week Ahead

This week will be a rather exciting one for me.  Rarely do I have more than one thing going on at a time, but this week I have two things to look forward to.

For starters, the Monster Squad Compendium has been released on Smashwords and should be ready shortly on Amazon. Due it’s size, it will only be available as an e-book or hardback.   It IS nearly 365,000 words.

Rise of the Sicarii - Heath Stallcup

For those who aren’t familiar (and yes, I’ve actually been asked, ‘what is a compendium’) it is the first four books, re-edited, rechaptered and placed back to back…the way the story was originally written.  A complete saga with a new cover, new title and the same great characters in the same story.

My second big thing to look forward to?  The audible edition of Whispers should be made available some time this week.  For those who don’t know, Aaron Shook narrated this story and he did a helluva job! When your story is based in Texas, get a Texan to tell it!


I know I’ve said it a hunnerd times, and I’ll say it again, any time somebody else can read my own story to me and leave me wanting more…I know I picked the right guy for the job.  I’m hoping that this story will sell a gazillion copies, if for no other reason than to repay Aaron for all the hard work he put into it. Trust me, once you hear it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So, that’s it really.  It’s a waiting game now. Trust me though…once everything is available, I’ll definitely let you know.

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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Lisa Vasquez In da House!

Okay fans and followers. We have a treat for you today. Lisa Vasquez has agreed to stop by and share a bit about herself with us. You may be asking yourself, ‘who?’ and rightly so! She’s a new talent on the scene and like any new talent, she’s trying to get the word out. The difference is, I’m predicting this girl is gonna go places. Hey, I may be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. That whole Rubik’s Cube thing? Yeah. But for a little while, there were a lot of really frustrated kids out there ready to kick old Rubik’s…anyway.
No sense in making people wait. Let’s kick this party off.


Me: Welcome Lisa! You and I already know each other, but for those fine folks who aren’t in the know, tell us a little about yourself so that they can at least pretend that they know you too.
Lisa: My name is Lisa Vasquez and I was born in Chicago on the south side. My father was a Vietnam veteran and my mother is a retired City of Chicago employee. My step-father was an entertainer and owned his own business. In 1996 I moved to Houston where I’ve been ever since.
I went to college to study pre-med but decided to change my career path to my passion which is writing. I have four boys, and this awesome dude that puts up with all my shit in exchange for me not smothering him in his sleep. His demons play well with mine.. Sometimes they even dance a little.
I collect Clive Barker action figures, living dead dolls, Nightmare Before Christmas anything, horror anything.. I think I have a problem.. And I have an unnatural obsession with Hannibal Lecter.

Me: Eesh. And here I thought you were just another pretty face. Looks like there is a much darker side that I wasn’t aware of. Okay…moving on. Let’s get to some of the standard questions. What is your writing style? Are you a plotter or a seat of the pantser?
Lisa: I’m a little of both. Sometimes pants just aren’t warranted. It gets hot.. You know? I live in Texas and it gets 100+ degrees here. Other times when I’m writing my ideas come in the form of little mini movies in my head. Sometimes they are dreams. Being a lucid dreamer makes it interesting because I will stop and pause things, rewind them, work them out. Sometimes, I even have conversations with the characters.

Me: Wow. That’s a talent I wish I had. Seriously. Rewind a dream? I could think of a lot of…um. Nevermind. So, when did you first decide to start writing? What influenced you to go the indie/small press route?
Lisa: I started really writing stories on paper in the fourth grade. I had this fantastic teacher that read to us and then she would break us into groups, give us a sentence or scenario and have us build a story from it. It was the most fun I’d ever had in school. My step-father was also an entertainer and he’d do little skits or pretend with us. He was also really into special FX and horror movies so we’d always watch Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone together. When we were older we got to watch Dracula, The Mummy, and the classics. I spent a lot of Saturdays with him at the matinee watching Godzilla marathons.
What made me go the indie route was that I had put so much of my own time and work into my book…the story, extensive social media, the marketing, the book cover.. It was ask exactly how I wanted it. I don’t think I could have handled someone else changing it or having that much control over it.

Me: That makes a lot more sense than you’d think. I get a lot of generic answers to that question that usually deal more with the problems dealing with Big 6 publishers. Anyway, where are you from (what do you consider home) and did it influence your writing?
Lisa: I’m from Chicago. Born and raised. I spent my life on the south side and in some pretty bad neighborhoods. People think it’s all gangs and violence. There was a lot of that, but mostly it was hard working families trying to make a living. I met my best friends there and I’m still friends with them to this day. One of them runs an Internet radio show that specializes in the preservation of exploitation movies. Another is an actress in New York, another runs his own dance studio in California. So, really I was surrounded by creative, genius minds all the time.

Me: That’s cool. I guess you fit right in, then, huh? So tell us a little about your book. What is the title of your latest release?
Lisa: The Unsaintly


Me: Okay. Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it?
Lisa: The main character is Isabel who is the daughter of Blanche of Castile and Louis VIII. She’s dedicated her life to her faith and even talks the Pope into allowing her out of an engagement to pursue her life as a nun. In the background watching is God and his eternal rival, Lucifer, who even though he is cast away from God, still shows him respect as a father. In their long-lived war, they’ve used humans as pawns to gain leverage to their favor and Isabel becomes their next target. Only this time something goes awry. And you’ll have to read more to find out what happens!

Me: That’s a hook if I’ve ever heard one. So, what (if anything) makes this story unique?
Lisa: I think what makes my story unique is that the story goes deeper into the father /son relationship between God and Lucifer and I create a unique race that isn’t your usual fantasy creature. They aren’t vampire, demon, angel etc.

Me: That’s interesting. Tell us about your hero/heroine? Is this a masked or blanketed characterization of yourself?
Lisa: That’s a fantastic question. I think she is for sure. But I think all of the characters touch on every side of me that has struggled with my faith and reconciling that with what my religion was.

Me: Would you say that there is a lot of symbolism in your story? How did you pull historical fact and apply it to your fictional story?
Lisa: There is a tremendous amount of symbolism in the book. The hardest part about my book was the historical aspect. I actually knew an ex nun who helped me with the daily life and mindset of what Isabel and the other nuns might think or feel. I wanted it to feel authentic and then build the fantasy fun there. I also wanted to show respect to the Catholic religion and their rituals. So I needed to do a lot of reading. Some of it isn’t easy to find, like stigmata and exorcisms.

Me: Yeah, I can see where those things would be something they wouldn’t want to advertise. Not the real cases, anyway. So, do you see this being the first in a series or is this a stand-alone novel? If it’s part of a series, do you have a set number of volumes in mind?
Lisa: This is definitely the first in a series. I’m not sure how many I’ll write. I’ll leave it up to my characters!

Me: Classic ‘seat of the pantser’ answer! Okay, how about you give us a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work.
Lisa: Anne Rice influenced my writing the most for several reasons. She’s so smart, she’s unafraid, bold, cultured and she’s a woman. It’s tough for any writer, but for women I think it gets harder if you don’t write romance, or “light hearted” content. We have some really stiff competition in the horror/fantasy genre.

Me: Ain’t that the truth. Okay, let’s switch gears and get personal. How do you balance your ‘writing time’ with ‘family time’? Do you find your family encouraging you more now that you have been published?
Lisa: My family is very supportive. If it weren’t for them I might not have finished my book. Balancing family, work, and social life is hard, though. I think you just have to have a good schedule and lots of things to keep everyone else busy.. It gets tough writing in the bathroom but since I got the wireless keyboard it’s a little easier.

Me: Hahaha, I hadn’t thought of hiding in the bathroom to write. What a genius idea!
Okay, for those folks who want to way to catch you online, give me a list of ways to reach you. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
Lisa: Here ya go.
@unsaintly – Twitter

Me: Awesome! Thank you Lisa for dropping by and gracing us with your presence.
Remember folks, the name of the book is Unsaintly and once you’ve read it, go by Amazon and leave a review. It’s important for all authors, but especially so for those just starting out.

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Q&A with TW Brown!

Today is kind of special.  I get to interview a friend and an awesome author.  This guy has helped me succeed in so many ways…I can’t even begin to start.  He’s put his own projects on hold in order to push mine to the head of the line, just so I could meet a deadline that…well, it wouldn’t profit him at all.  Not many people will do that.

When I first got started and knew even less than I know now, Todd did a quick author interview of me and put it on his blog.  It helped to get my name out there amongst his followers and I’m sure boosted my sales before Phoenix ever hit Amazon.  It does me great pleasure to be able to finally return the favor.  He helped me to build a brand, a name amongst readers and now I have my own small, but faithful following.  So, for those who aren’t already familiar with TW Brown, you’re in for a treat.


So let’s get this party started.  Everybody, meet Todd (TW) Brown. We’re going to start with some standard boilerpot questions and then get a little more personal.  So…

Me: Tell me, what is your writing style? Are you a plotter or a seat of the pantser?

Todd: I definitely let the story unfold as it goes. So I guess that makes me a seat-of-the-pantser. I just believe that an outline can make a writer too linear and predictable.

Me: Thank goodness you said that.  I thought I was the only one until I talked with a couple of others.  One agreed with me.  The others were all classical plotters.  I felt like the odd man out.  Okay, so when did you first decide to start writing? What influenced you to go the indie/small press route?

Todd: It just sort of happened, and at the perfect time. I think 2009-2012 will be looked at in many ways as the start of the Indie revolution. Folks keep saying it will die…but I think they are wrong. Traditional pub got too predictable and I believe the Indie scene is rife with amazing storytellers.

Me: I’d have to agree with you.  There are tons of awesome storytellers out there that we might never have heard of had they not had this opportunity.  And thank goodness we can. So, where are you from and does it influence your writing?

Todd: I live in the Pacific Northwest. I would not say that it influenced me, but I do enjoy using it as a backdrop.

Me: Beautiful country up that way.  I wouldn’t mind living there again, myself.  So, let’s move on to your writing. What’s the title of your latest release?

Todd: DEAD: Spring, book 9 of the DEAD series is my latest release, and Next, on a very special That Ghoul Ava is just around the corner.


Me: Sweet! Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it? And I say spoiler free because you know how readers can be…

Todd: With book 9 of the DEAD series, my best spoiler free description is that we have just crossed the first year anniversary of the zombie apocalypse. The survivors are now more concerned with the remaining humanity than the zombies at this point.

Me: Sometimes I think the real monsters are the humans.  The zombies?  They’re just doing what zombies do.  But tell us about Ava…

Todd: With Next on a very special That Ghoul Ava, Ava learns more about what makes a ghoul special. There are not as many jokes or one-liners, but this will set of the next several books of the series. Also, Ava might find a possible love interest.

Me: That’s different. We’re used to Ava stories being lighter and definitely laced with humor.  I can see how the title applies.  So, what (if anything) makes these unique?

Todd: I would say that I give the readers a reward for sticking with me this long. Also, it is my longest work to date at almost 180,000 words.

Me: Woah, that’s like two books in one.  Literally.  And Ava?

Todd: For Ava, it will not be as funny or joke-driven as the previous books. I wanted to set some framework for her as a character and give her an arc that has legs.

Me: Okay.  Well, I look forward to diving into it and seeing where you take her.  Alright.  For those aren’t totally familiar with your DEAD series, tell us about your zombies? Why do did you choose the classic Romero type over the faster viral zombie?

Todd: They are mostly the classic variety. And while I won’t say that I invented the idea, I do have an immunity factor as well as something extra creepy involving zombie children that add a nice twist.

Me: What was your first experience with zombie media (movie, book, comic, etc)? Was that experience what drew you into writing the genre?

Todd: I saw the original Dawn of the Dead in the theater at age 14. A girl two rows in front of me puked during the opening scene in the ghetto apartments. What could be cooler to a fourteen-year-old boy?

Me: Okay…I’m sorry.  But if it were me?  Rather than drawing me closer to zombies, it probably would have turned me completely off popcorn! LOL

Pop Quiz Time: The dead rise now and you can choose ONE weapon as your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival are?

Todd: I go with an aluminum baseball bat. No reloads, no re-sharpening…and REALLY durable. I think my odds are good.

Me: Finally!  Somebody else who believes in the effectiveness of blunt force trauma!
Okay, how about a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work.

Todd: Stephen King tops the list. If he wrote nothing other than The Stand, I would say the same thing. Beyond that, I would say Kim Harrison covers my modern influence and is somebody I look at as having the perfect blueprint for a female targeted series.

Me: Good choices.  My favorite King works was his Gunslinger series.  Okay, now to get personal. We’ve talked before about the future and what it holds. You’ve also mentioned Podcasting. With the big push so many authors are making toward audiobooks, what part do you see podcasting playing in it and how do you plan to incorporate it?

Todd: I have a background in actual radio. I have hosted talk shows in a top 25 market. I think it is simply a step in the evolution of promotion. This is where indie authors excel. Their readers get to connect much more personally to them. As far as audiobooks, I remember when everybody dismissed the ebook format. We live in a busy world. I would love to read more, but at least I can put a book in my ear while shopping or doing yard work.

I do plan to build a recording studio this fall. I will be making a go at my own audiobook shortly thereafter. This will put my hat in the ring with many other artists. Also, I will always be available as a narrator who will do the “Royalty Split” option with anybody that is published under the MDP banner (provided that I pass the audition process).

Me: I doubt you’ll have any problems meeting their requirements.  I’ve read through them and they give you everything necessary.  It sounds to me like you have a lot of really cool stuff in the works.  Although, I’ll have to admit, with all the stuff on your plate already, somebody had better add more hours to the day!

And there you have it folks.  My friend, editor, adviser and all around good guy, TW Brown.  If you haven’t already checked out his works, go to Amazon and give it a spin.  I think you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.

If you have the overwhelming desire to contact him…
His blog can be found at:
You can contact him at:
You can follow him on twitter @maydecpub and on Facebook under Todd Brown, Author TW Brown, and also under May December Publications.


Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Quick Update

Things are fluid.  Much like life, no matter how much we plan and plot, things happen and monkey wrenches are tossed into the best laid plans.  Meh.  Take it in stride or your blood pressure goes up.  When you have a houseful of kids (and now grandkids) you soon learn that things get broke, other things get spilled, things come up missing and NOBODY did it.  If I ever find this invisible person named ‘Nobody’, I think I’m going to wring his neck.  Until then, he’ll continue to get the blame piled on his poor unfortunate soul.

Is there a point to my rambling?  Ha!  You should be so lucky.  Actually, yes, there was.  I’m finding a pretty consistent theme to the questions being asked.  Whether via email, Facebook or posts here on the blog.  What’s next for the Monster Squad?  Will there truly be a ‘next’ book in the series?  The answer is YES.  MS5 Homecoming has been sent to my editor and I’m in the middle of MS6.

Homecoming - Heath Stallcup

MS5 is planned for a September-ish release.  As we’ve all come to realize, it could be early, it could be later.  MS6 has been renamed from Snapback to Wayward Son.  The story took on an interesting twist and although the original title could have worked, Wayward Son is much more appropriate. I have a feeling that MS7 will probably take the title Snapback.

The compilation of the first four was placed on a back burner for a while.  Things at WHC weren’t what was expected and interest in a hardback compilation seems to have dwindled somewhat.  Will it still happen?  Perhaps in time, but there isn’t a huge push to make it so.

Will there be a YA spin-off of the Monster Squad?  As of now, it is only in the planning stages.  All of the ingredients are there.  MS5 & 6 lay the groundwork for a young adult series to spring from the original, but it isn’t etched in stone.  A different YA series has been discussed since Phoenix was originally published but the idea lost steam until recently when it was revived during a brainstorming session.  Totally unrelated to the MS storyline, this YA series would be centered around a shape-shifting family that still had to deal with common problems that most families see touching their lives in one way or another.

Caldera is sitting at the editor’s and the second in the trilogy is now only a few chapters into the story.  Things will have to be revamped in the storyline to prevent appearing as if it is stealing ideas from popular TV shows. Shortly after Caldera II – Return to Yellowstone was begun, certain TV shows aired that paralleled a lot of ideas that were highlighted in the story.  Rather than try to explain why there were so many coincidences, I thought it better to simply rewrite the story and omit anything that gave the appearance of being another person’s idea. So, it’s back to almost the beginning.

I know, that isn’t much in the way of ‘updating’ but honestly, not a lot has been happening.  I slacked off this summer.  Took it easier.  Dealt with things other than writing.  Now, it’s almost time to put the nose to the grindstone and get caught up.  I have to have MS6 & 7 to MDP by September.  And they have to measure up.  I need to have Caldera II to Todd by then as well.  Something tells me that I probably won’t make that one.  Not since I had to delete the better portion of the story.

Stay tuned.  Things are constantly changing, but I’ll keep you up as they happen.



Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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