Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with Horror and Dark Fantasy Author Patrick Rahall

Here’s my interview with the talented horror and dark fantasy writer Patrick Rahall, author of Cycle of the Hunter and Mist and Shadow:

Tamworth Grice: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Patrick Rahall: Well, I was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts and currently live just outside the city with my fiancĂ©e Ashleigh.  I’ve been writing stories for most of my life due to an overactive imagination. But I always thought my ideas were too far-fetched or stupid to be of any interest to anyone but myself or maybe close friends. 

Then I read “The Mangler” by Stephen King, about a haunted laundry machine that kills people.  After that I didn’t think that anything I wrote would be any more far-fetched than that.

TG: How would you describe the genre you’re writing in? Speculative fiction? Fantasy? Other?

PR: When Mist and Shadow came out I was informed that it was “contemporary urban fantasy,” which I didn’t know was a genre.  I refer to myself as a horror and dark fantasy writer.
Patrick Rahall in a Festive Mood
TG: What inspired you to write in this genre?

PR: Believe it or not it was Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. 

When I was a kid my brother and my dad and I watched the “Making of” video probably a hundred times and I got wrapped up with zombies and werewolves and the like. 

I made it my goal to publish a vampire, werewolf, and zombie novel. 

Cycle of the Hunter is the vampire novel, and I am currently working on the other two.  I like to take the genres in different directions than they have been taken in before.  Like in Cycle of the Hunter, in which vampirism is passed on as a genetic trait, like blue eyes, and most people don’t even know what they are.

TG: What is your latest book called? Tell us briefly what it’s about?

PR: The newest ones are untitled at this point but I am thinking of Reckoning for my zombie novel, which I am co-writing with Alyn Day (@Z0mbieGrl on Twitter). She’s doing the prologue, called “Onset Apocalypse.” It focuses more on the struggle people have adjusting to both zombies and the real danger—other survivors.

The other is a story that Jack Ketchum thought was a great idea; when I asked him what he thought he signed a book simply “write the book.”  I don’t want to get into too much detail but it is a werewolf novel involving a series of murders, a young boy, and his dog.

TG: What inspired you to write these books?

PR: I am so tired of seeing the same ideas paraded by Hollywood over and over.  I am trying to bring some originality into the world. 

It seems that writers are the ones who have to good ideas, but movie producers only want to show us the same damn things over and over.  It’s frustrating.
Patrick Rahall with His First Novel
TG: How or why did you go the selfpub route?

PR: I went the selfpub route because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone.  I got a few offers from publishers who wanted anywhere between $750 and $14,400 for publishing packages.  I can’t come close to affording that.

TG: Your publisher, PublishAmerica, has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the publishing world. For example, Wikipedia says: “Disgruntled authors told Publishers Weekly that PA did not pay royalties owed to them, sold books it no longer had any rights to sell, set unreasonably high list prices and lower-than-average discounts for authors to buy their own books, and either neglected or failed to place books into bookstores.” But Wikipedia also says, “Other PublishAmerica authors have spoken out in support of the publisher.” Would you care to comment briefly on this controversy?

PR: The one good thing I can say about them is that they will publish without charging you.  It was that philosophy that allowed me to get my work out there.  And they did a really good job on the cover art for Mist and Shadow

As far as the other stuff, yeah it’s true. 

They pushed the price of my softcover books from $19.99 to $24.95.  Then they said they were discontinuing the softcovers and that I had one last chance to order some before they were discontinued forever.  So I did. Then a week later they announced that they were NOT discontinuing them but now offering a new format.  Instead of the 8x5.5 inch format, they would look more like trade paperbacks, but in order to get them in that format you had to pay something like $49 per title, and I had to order some books as well. 

Then they offered to turn the book into an eBook, but that was going to cost $199 per title.  It’s ridiculous. They say they will do PR work for you, but then they charge ridiculous amounts of money in order to do so, and they are no longer offering discounts on the books I order myself.

TG: Your books are hard copies and not eBooks. Do you have any plans to go the eBook route in the future?

PR: I plan on doing both.  I know the eBooks are very popular, but I also know that people cannot have those signed by the author.  I love signing books! 

TG: What are you working on now?

PR: Like I said above I am working on both my zombie and werewolf novels as well as a couple of other minor projects that may or may not end up being a collection of short stories. 

And I am always looking to collaborate.  And I’m not afraid to ask people who are way more successful than I to team up!  I asked Jack Ketchum and director Adam Greene (Frozen, Hatchet, Hatchet 2), but they said no.  I was not surprised, but I still felt confident with my skill and talent level that these guys would be impressed.  Jack was very impressed with my werewolf story idea.  That gave me a confidence boost.

TG: Where can we buy your books?
PR: Amazon, Books A MillionBarnes & Noble, and Borders.
To read one of Patrick's intriguing stories, click HERE

Sunday, June 26, 2011


In the moonlight I saw the bright metallic flash of a huge-bladed dagger.
I grabbed it, and the girl fought me.
Her eyes widened, her mouth contorted, and her long-nailed hands clawed my face.
Then I heard his voice, and my name.
“Chelsea. Kill her. Now!”
The knife came down.
Blood splattered my face.
And she no longer fought.
She went limp and collapsed on the lawn, and her severed head rolled across the grass like a bloody volleyball. Her hair was a tangle of crimson wetness. Her wide bulging eyes stared upward at the full moon. Her mouth gaped. Gore seeped through her nostrils.
At my feet, her headless body jerked with spasms. It seemed to be trying to sit up. The legs shook and the arms flailed as blood spurted from the neck. The red liquid splashed onto my hands and my feet. Then the body gave out a tremendous shudder, and the convulsions stopped. The corpse was motionless.
I stared down at the knife in my hand. Blood dripped from its blade.
I was now a killer.
I had murdered someone, and I had done it for Ian Magick.

Want to read more? You can buy the book for 99¢ by clicking HERE!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Questions for Barnes & Noble

1. There's a rumor going around that Barnes and Noble won't include a self-published eBook priced at under $3 on its Nook top 100 bestseller list, even if the book's sales merit this inclusion. (Here's an Internet article about this situation [dated June 10]
Is this true?
2. I checked, and 20 of the top 100 Amazon Kindle books are 99¢, but 0 of the Nook top 100 books are priced at under $3.
Can you explain this disparity?
3. One person on Twitter said he'd read that B&N has "criteria" for inclusion, and that 99¢ self-published books don't meet this criteria. (He didn't say where he'd read this.)
Is this true?
4. Amazon apparently doesn't have this criteria and  thinks these books do merit inclusion.
Do you have any idea why B&N and Amazon might have such different policies about inclusion on the top 100 lists of eBooks?
5. If true, doesn't this all mean that B&N is lying to consumers about which books are its bestsellers?
6. If true, doesn't this all also mean that B&N is unfairly discriminating against 99¢ self-published books, especially because some buyers will purchase a bestseller over a non-bestseller?
7. Also, if true, why should any writer, such as myself, with a 99¢ self-published book offer those books as Nook editions?
8. Finally, if true, please give a good reason why indie authors and their supporters should not boycott both Nook and B&N?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview about Indie Film Project SHADY VALLEY

Through Twitter I learned about a new indie film project in South Africa called Shady Valley, so I interviewed the film’s writer/director, Tyron Janse Van Vuuren.

TG: What’s your project called, and what’s it about?

Tyron Janse Van Vuuren: Our project is called Shady Valley, and its about a geeky kid who discovers that his made-up karate moves can slay demons.

TG: What inspired you to undertake this project?

TJVV: I am inspired by the talented people around me.  For me, a film project is a way to bring my creative friends together and let them shine.

TG: Tell me more about the main people involved.

TJVV: The Shady Valley team is made up entirely of friends and family. This really helps when you’re making a film with limited resources, because we’re motivated by more than just a paycheck!

(NOTE: You can check out the team by clicking HERE.)

TG: You’ve said you think you’ve got “a pretty irreverent take on a horror concept.” What do you mean by that?

TJVV: Traditionally, fighting the forces of darkness is something that should be taken seriously.  Even Buffy had a “calling” to fight vampires. But our hero stumbles onto his ability to slay demons, then spends the whole film trying to get someone to see how cool his made-up karate moves are.

TG: How did you come up with the karate concept?

TJVV: The script started out as a very serious horror movie set in the afterlife, and I was struggling to get it to work. At the point of giving up, I tried adding karate. And suddenly the whole story came to life because it was so funny. Also my dad is a black belt, so karate was always a part of my childhood.

Tyron Janse Van Vuuren
TG: How are you moving forward with this project as you pursue the “indie” approach?

TJVV: As new filmmakers, we need to have a good example of what our movie will look like to get potential investors excited. We are raising finance for our three-minute pilot with crowd funding so that we can make it our way—after that, we will use the pilot to pitch the project to anyone who is interested.

TG: When do you expect to reach your financial goal for the pilot, and when will you begin production?

TJVV: Our campaign to raise finance for our three-minute pilot runs until July 7. We’re planning to shoot the pilot at the end of September.

TG: How will you move forward after that?

TJVV: Once we have a kick-ass pilot video, we will shop it around and begin as soon as we have finance.

TG: Will Shady Valley be released to theaters or straight to DVD, or both? Worldwide, or South Africa only?

TJVV: The film will have a worldwide theatrical release. Watch for our announcements!

TG: What can my blog readers do to help?

TJVV: Join our team! There are super-cool perks for getting involved! 

To find out more about this exciting indie project, click HERE.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why, I Ask, Why . . .

Why are you here reading this when you could be reading my short story, "The Loneliness of the Rural Vampire," at Christian Jensen's blog? Go there now by clicking HERE. Go! Go, I say. I'm watching you. Hurry. Go now!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lean Freedom Is Better than Fat Slavery

Here's hoping the significance of the fable in the preceding post is obvious to indie artists.

The fable came into my mind about two weeks ago.

After years of cruel rejections (some of which are detailed in a previous blog entry) I had vowed never again to grovel to agents, publishers, editors, and so on.

Then I saw, via Twitter, a call for authors to write short history books for no payment but for fifty percent royalties. That's not a bad deal, so I immediately began to put together the required proposal for a book on Roman history (something I know a lot about).

I finished the proposal, and rather than send it, I decided to let it sit overnight and proofread it in the morning--to make sure that it was absolutely perfect, so the publishers would accept me. (Please, please, PLEASE!)

Immediately upon awakening, the fable of the wolf and the dog popped into my mind.

I thought, omigod, I can't believe I'm doing it again! I'm ready to grovel to yet another publisher, desparately hoping for his approval!

And you know what? I'm just not going to go there.

So I decided I'd write the book anyway, and publish it myself.

And so I am. In addition to my novels, I'm creating my own series of short nonfiction history books. Maybe they'll sell, and maybe they won't, but at least I won't be at the mercy of someone else, grovelling for approval.

Lean freedom is better than fat slavery!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Aesop's Fable of the Wolf and the Dog

A hungry wolf met a fat dog in the forest.

“You look so well-fed,” said the wolf. “Where are you finding food? I’ve looked for days and can’t find even a mouse to eat.”

The dog replied, “Finding food is no problem. My master feeds me. He gives me the choicest cuts of meat every night. Plus he provides a warm and dry place to sleep.”

“But what’s that red mark around your neck?” said the wolf. "The skin is raw, and the fur is worn away."

“Oh, that’s where my chain chafes my skin and rubs the fur off my neck. My master keeps me chained up,” the dog said. “Today I was able to break free, but now that it’s dinnertime, I’m going back. Why don’t you join me? There’s plenty to eat.”

“No thanks,” said the wolf. “I’d rather starve than be kept on a chain.”

Moral: Lean freedom is better than fat slavery.

Wondering how this applies to anything I write about here in my blog? Please post your ideas in a comment!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Diamond Sam Show

I had a great time last night as a guest of Diamond Sam LaValerie.

He's the DJ of a heavy-metal Internet radio show on XChamber Radio every Friday night beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Diamond Sam
On the Webcam and in the Chatroom

It's soooo fun, because listeners can watch his antics on a live Webcam. Plus there's a chatroom where you can interact with Sam, his producer Mistress Tara, and other listeners.

Along the way he does what the listeners call his "Rant"--last night's was about terrorism and included a challenge to terrorists to meet him in Washington Square park. (He's a New Yorker who was across from the World Trade Center on September 11th).

And best of all, he supports indie artists!

In addition to, say, Kiss, Whitesnake, and My Chemical Romance, he plays Big Black Novel, Ruby Violence, King Whack, and others too numerous to mention.

So check out the Diamond Sam radio show on Friday nights at 7 p.m. Eastern on XChamber Radio. Hope you have as much fun as I did!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review of My Book by Patrick Rahall

Horror and dark fantasy writer Patrick Rahall posted this review of Listening to Ian Magick today on his blog, Randomness of the Universe and Other Places. (By the way, he's the author of two excellent novels, Cycle of the Hunter and Mist and Shadowboth available at Amazon.)

"Been Away, but I'm Back!

 Yeah I know, I havent been around recently but I do have some good things to say about "Listening to Ian Magick" by Tamworth Grice - great story and very well written!  I definitely liked the point of view and the way she keeps you guessing as to what is actually going on.  You're never really quite sure, and every time you think you have the answer she throws you another curveball.  Excellent story, definitely check it out.  You'll love it if you like well-written stories and awesome characters with depth to them.  None of her characters are shallow or one dimensional.  She makes you care about what happens to Chelsea and what is going on with her life.  Go check it out!
Also, Go Bruins!  Kick some more Canuck ass!"

Thanks, Patrick!

Patrick Rahall

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Indie Support Day

I'm designating Wednesday, June 22, two weeks from now, as Indie Support Day.

I'm calling for everyone to show their support on this day for any and all independent writers, musicians, and filmmakers, and any and all other indie artists.

You can show your support in several ways.

Refuse on that day to buy any books from the corrupt, heartless, and monalithic commercial publishing industry.

Buy a self-published print or eBook. Some are as cheap as 99 cents or less. Who can't afford that?

Attend a showing of an indie film.

Buy a song or album by an indie musician.

If you know of an indie artist who needs money, make a donation to help him or her survive.

If you know of a fundraiser for an indie project, make a contribution to help that project reach completion.

If you personally know an indie artist, take him or her to lunch, or do his/her laundry, or buy him/her some household necessities like toilet paper. Do something--anything--to show your support!

Communicate with at least one indie artist--via email, Twitter, or Facebook, or in person--and say:

"I support you as an indie artist! I think what you're doing is great!"

Let's do it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Review of My eBook--This One at (USA)

Check out this review of my book from

5.0 out of 5 stars
Tamworth Grice, a great talent in gothic horror. June 7, 2011
By Claude Fridley "Randy Fridley" (Panama City, FL)
Amazon Verified Purchase

"I was hooked on page one. Tamworth starts with a bang and weaves a tale of horror one just can't put down. Her characters are larger than life and her plot keeps you guessing and wanting more. When I did put it down, I couldn't wait to get back to it. I can't wait to read the next story this exciting writer creates for us. An absolute must read for all who enjoy this genre. Tamworth Grice is at the top of this kind of storytelling. Please keep it coming. "

Thanks so much, Randy!

The Art of Subtlety

Last night I spoke by phone to my brother and his wife. I told them about my book and asked them to buy a copy. Neither one is computer-savvy, and they don't get the whole Kindle concept, so they were rather lukewarm about it, saying "We'll take it [buying the book] under advisement."

Today I sent this e-mail. Do you think I was too subtle?

"Would you PLEASE buy my book. It's only 99 cents, I worked very hard on it, and Richard is mentioned in the acknowledgements. 'We'll take it under advisement' isn't good enough, LOL! I NEED you to buy the book!!! It means a lot to me that you buy it! You don't have to read it, you don't have to have a Kindle or Kindle app, just spend 99 cents and buy it, PLEASE!!! Here's the link to go to in order to buy it:  
If you don't buy it, I'll know as I can see the regions for the sales. If you don't buy it, I'll come visit and stay forever ROFL!!! So you better buy it, and do so today!!!
PS I'm not kidding so buy the book! Now!!!! (Pleeeaaaase?!)"
Again, was I too subtle?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Amazon UK Review of My Book

Check out this review of my book from

5.0 out of 5 stars. k3books review, 6 Jun 2011
By Paul Kendall

"I found the book a very entertaining read. I had the book read to me, by the Magick Amazon kindle 3, on a lovely sunny day, while doing other things. The story takes the reader or listener, into other worlds, into the furtile minds of Goth music or 'Magick' fans and then enter "the Rasputin like rock star Ian Magick". Another world for me, messages from Satan well frankly, I have had a few. Seriously this is dark stuff and Goth Horror fans should enjoy it, I did. Ideally, I prefer to read Goth Horror, when I am in a Hotel in Whitby, North Yorkshire, with a storm out at sea rattling the windows, tucked under the heavy Egyptian cotton sheets, just before I fall asleep reading a good book. I get some great dreams that way."

Thanks so much, Paul!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Interview--About My Forthcoming eBook

Here's the transcript of an interview I did last month about my new book, Listening to Ian Magick, available as a Kindle eBook for 99 cents at Amazon. To buy it, click here.

Berkshire DuRoc: I'm here with author Tamworth Grice. Tamworth, you call yourself an “author, adventurer, and anarchist”—let’s talk about the “anarchist” part.

Tamworth Grice: Okay. I’m very much against, to use a hippies' term, “The Literary Establishment.” The big book companies have been screwing authors over for years. Stephen King was snubbed by executives at his first publishing house, even when he was the company’s top moneymaker. Authors have been underpaid—or not paid at all—the royalties that are due them. The treatment of horror writer Brian Keene by Dorchester is a recent example of this. And this crap has been going on for decades!

BD: And you say it’s not happening only in publishing, correct?

TG: Correct. For example, music companies have been screwing over musicians for years. There was even an episode on The Sopranos about how soul signers from the 1960s were cheated out of their royalties by music industry executives.

BD: How is this changing in 2011?

TG: Now, with ePublishing, authors (and musicians such as rappers and hiphop artists, too) have a chance to seize control. In the music industry, people are recording their own songs and albums and music videos, and they’re marketing them on the Internet. In the world of books, writers are increasingly taking control away from the publishers and the editors and the agents who’ve treated them like dirt for so many years.

BD: And all this is behind your decision to ePublish?

TG: That’s right.

BD: Your novel is about a “Satanic” rock star who influences his fans through his music. How did you get the idea for that? From Anne Rice?

TG: Not at all. Until you mentioned it just now, I hadn’t ever thought about Lestat being a rock star. I don’t think much is made of that in her books? I can’t remember—it’s been a while since I read her.

BD: So how did your idea originate?

TG: I saw an article somewhere—maybe on Wikipedia—about how Ozzy Osbourne had been sued by a father whose son committed suicide.

BD: Are you a fan of Ozzy Osbourne?

TG: (Laughs) Actually, I’m more a fan of the idea of him—and his wife and kids—than of his music per se. The whole family just seems very strange and interesting and loveable to me. I know that’s not the image he’s going for, but that’s how they strike me.

BD:  Go on with what you were saying about the suicide.

TG: Oh, yes. Ozzy had a song called “Suicide Solution.” Tragically, some time in the 1980s, a depressed teenager in California played the song and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

BD: Yes, I think I remember that. Didn’t the family say that Ozzy Osbourne was subliminally telling kids through his music to kill themselves or something like that?

TG: That’s it. That’s what the father said. He hired a lawyer and charged that Ozzy, through his song, had encouraged the kid to kill himself—which is ironic, because I guess the song is really an anti-alcohol song, saying that drinking to excess is a type of suicide and so people shouldn’t overindulge. The word in the title, “Solution,” is supposed really to refer to solution not in the sense of an answer but in the sense of a liquid. Therefore, the title suggests that alcohol is a “Suicide Solution”: a liquid that’s the equivalent of suicide. Do you see the difference?

BD: Yes. So what happened in the courts? With the case?

TG: The courts found in Ozzy’s favor. But meanwhile some guy who was like a scientist or something analyzed the song and said it did in fact contain subliminal messages of some sort. Then there was a second case about ten years later, when another poor kid committed suicide, but Ozzy won that case, as well.

BD: So how did the case, the cases, inspire your book?

TG: Well, I thought, what an interesting idea that a rock singer could be almost like a cult leader, you know, and inspire, if you will, his followers through his music? I believe Charlie Manson sort of achieved this in a way. I mean, he influenced those girls to kill, and he had rock-star aspirations. So I thought, what if it were really possible? What if a rock star could influence, or even coerce, his fans to kill with subliminal messages in his music? And that’s how I came to write the book.

BD: It's a horror novel, am I right?

TG: Yes, it's a horror novel. And a psychological suspense-thriller? (Laughs.) I'm not good with labels.

BD: There have been several title changes for your book in the past few weeks, am I right?

TG: (Groans) Yes! First of all, I was motivated by the title of the Lois Duncan book, Killing Mr. Griffin—which I think is a fabulous novel and possibly the best YA book ever written. The best one in the twentieth century, anyway. So I wanted the title to begin with Listening to and use the rock star’s name, because the book is about how the narrator listens to the singer’s music.

BD: And the singer was called?

TG: Originally, when I first wrote the book, the title character—the Satanic rock star—was called “Johnny Magick.” I pictured him as looking like a young Billy Idol, or like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 Billy Idol
BD: Where did you get the name?

TG: I can’t remember how the name came to me. Anyway, after I wrote the book—quite a while after—this rock singer from the 1960s named Neil Young came out with a song called “Johnny Magic.” To make things worse, there’s a DJ in Florida who calls himself “Johnny Magic,” and there’s a book about a card counter in Las Vegas called Jonny Magic. All of these appeared after I first had the idea for the character and the book. But I felt the name had been taken away from me, so I had to come up with another one.

BD: And the name went through several iterations before it reached its present form, am I right?

TG: Yes. I tried Donnie Magick and Ronnie Magick and Lonnie Magick. And Jamie Magick and Ryan Magick and Jack Magick and lots of other choices, but nothing seemed quite right. Character names are important. Elmore Leonard said the character Jack Foley—the one played by George Clooney in Out of Sight, with Jennifer Lopez?

BD: That’s a great film.

TG: Yes, it is. And the author says he originally named the character Frank Matisse, but he couldn’t get him to talk. And then he changed the name to Jack Foley and the character wouldn’t shut up! So a character name is vital to who the character is.

BD: And the character’s name is in your title, so it’s doubly important.

TG: Exactly. Meanwhile, the folks at my publisher, Dusty Raven Publishing, are inspired by Harry Potter and the Twilight books, I suppose, and they felt the book might sell better if it had a word like “vampire” or “werewolf” or “warlock” in the title. So I experimented, and even at one point announced that my upcoming book would be called Listening to Joey Warlock. But that name still just didn’t seem right. It’s hard to explain.

The character "Spike" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

BD: The muses didn’t like it, perhaps?

TG: That’s a great way to put it. Yes. So I kept trying and trying for the right name. And finally I came up with Ian Magick. Which feels very right to me. Ian is a form of John, after all. And very British. And although the rock-star character isn’t British, he is loosely based on Billy Idol and Spike, both of whom were English. So the title is now Listening to Ian Magick.

BD: Thanks so much. This concludes our interview with “author, adventurer, and anarchist" Tamworth Grice. The book, Listening to Ian Magick, is due out June 1st as an eBook released in conjunction with Dusty Raven Publishing and available for Kindle via Amazon.