Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Creative Process Blog Tour

I want to thank Sabrina Kaleta for inviting me into this blog tour. Some previous blogs are listed below.

Next week, three talented friends of mine are going to be participating in the tour so be certain to go to their websites on July 14 to see their posts about The Creative Process. You can go right now just to check them out!

Gemma Files lives here in Toronto and not only is she a kickass writer with several books from Chizine Publications but she’s also a mom and wife. This is a powerhouse of a woman who sings in a church choir at night after taking body combat classes and chasing after her son all day.  Gemma and I’ve been swimming in the same horror pond for a couple of decades and are founding members of the on-going Bellefire Club lady horror writers group.  We’ve seen things...oh yes, we’ve seen things...

John Palisano lives in Hollywood, and is not only an author but a rock star, (I’ve seen him play with Heather Graham’s band so it’s true. Oh, and he also opened for Roger Daltrey last summer but I digress...) and a filmmaker. He created the kickass trailer for my book, Captured Souls (Samhain, 2014) and no doubt, can be commissioned to create one for your own book. How can you not love a guy who works with animal rescue? Since we’re both Horror Writers Association chapter heads in our respective cities, we often pick each other’s brains about HWA matters and horror in general.

Richard S. Todd lives in Toronto and is a tireless creator: author, screenwriter, editor, toastmaster, and entrepreneur. Since I invited him to join HWA, he has shown himself to be a valuable teamplayer and horror enthusiast.  I’ve sucked him into a couple of projects and so far he hasn’t tried to toss me from the CN tower into the Ripley’s Aquarium shark tank. Now he’s doing this blog tour and he fits right in with Gemma and John when it comes living the crazy artist lifestyle.  Richard is President of The Editor’s Desk and I’m proud to be part of his creative editing team.

Here are the bios and blog links of Gemma, John, and Richard:

Film critic and teacher turned award-winning horror author Gemma Files is probably best known for her Hexslinger series (A Book of Tongues, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones, all from ChiZine Publications). She has also written two collections of short fiction and two chapbooks of poetry. Her next book, We Will All Go Down Together: Stories of the Five-Family Coven (CZP) will be released in August, 2014.  
Gemma's blog post is here:

Fangoria writer and multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee John Palisano saw his first novel Nerves released from Bad Moon Books, where it was quickly categorized under the "WTF?" section at Amazon. His next book, Dust of the Dead, from Samhain, about zombies in Los Angeles, will have no such problem, it obviously being Non-Fiction. He's also got over a dozen pro-short story sales, in venues such as Lovecraft eZine, Terror Tales, Evil Jester, Dark Discoveries, Dark House, Dark Fuse, Dark Moon, and many other Dark places. You can find all this terrible darkness at his website,, or just look him up on Facebook or Twitter, because, really? Who goes to author websites when they can be directly mentally harassed through social media. 

Richard S. Todd is a Toronto-born author of Canadian fiction. From the critically-praised novel Raincloud to the newly-released The Orphans of the Creek, Mr. Todd has entertained his denizens of readers with crisp, exciting, character-driven literature. His short story 'Clive' has been published in the Brainstorms anthology and NoD Magazine #15. Visit Richard S. Todd online at

 Here's the creative process at work in Sèphera's World

1) What am I working on? 
An erotic horror novella, two horror novels, a couple of short stories, a non-fiction book, plus my freelance day job of editing other people’s books. Hopefully there’s another play in my near future as I enjoyed working on TheGet Happy Hour with Judy which opened in Toronto during World Pride. I’m also getting ready for my close-up with Mr. Greg Lamberson where I’m playing “Gypsy” in Killer Rack written by and starring Paul McGinniss. Yes, this is my second film with Greg, the first one being Slime City Massacre where I played, “Ruby.”

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure that it does. I enjoy crossing genres, such as horror and science fiction such as in Captured Souls, or erotic horror-light romance such as my Ravenous Romance series. Early in my career, people were used to having their horror “pure” so when I had a vampire, werewolf, witch, phoenix, mermaid, werepig, and more all in one book, Eternal Sunset (Darktales, 2000), people thought I was nuts. Now it’s almost expected to combine monsters and tropes.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know. A compulsion? An addiction? When I was around eighteen, I remember closing a Stephen King book after reading it and saying to myself, “I want to scare the shit out of people just like he scares the shit out of me.” And so, a horror writer was born.

 4) How does my writing process work?
Over the years, I’ve had to be creative about being creative. I’ve had children, cats, dogs, partners, jobs, school, and all the various responsibilities that go with these lifestyles. I was on boards, a dance mom, and yet found time to write. You make the time. When you’re busy, you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the muse.

My writing process up until about the last ten years consisted of always having a pen, and paper handy and then scribble snatches of sentences, ideas, conversations, and so on as they happen. If my sons were in a class and I was waiting, I didn’t sit and gossip with the other moms. I went to my car, a coffee shop, the gym, a tree, the library, and wrote for that half hour or hour or even ten minutes. You can flood a page in ten minutes if you've been building up all day, waiting and hoping for a tiny slice of time. Each little snippet added up. You can see it did, I have over twenty published books after I had children and that was mostly as a single mom. I’ve written various articles over the years about finding the time to write.

My perfect ritual these days begins with waking up around eight or nine; grinding my coffee beans for a perfect cup of coffee is number one priority, check email (I used to read the paper at this time) and consume an entire cup of coffee before making any attempt to work. I work all day and night until I drop around two or three in the morning, if I know I have to go somewhere in the morning.  

At this point in my life, I truly live an artist's lifestyle. Sometimes in this oppressive summer heat, I’ll take a nap around midnight, usually with my head on the keyboard, and burst awake around two with imprints on my face, and work until the birds start chirping in the pre dawn.

 Of course, I’m not just writing. In fact, these days, the writing is a small part. I do a lot of social media including 12 video horoscopes every month (yes, I’m late for July) and sporadic daily Aquarius horoscopes on Instagram. As I’m creating, my work is present in my mind.

I always have my files open and will snatch time to work on them as the day goes along unless I’m editing someone else’s book. On those days, I only write fresh stuff at night, and sometimes don’t at all in case I take on the other author’s voice.

Walking is important to me. I think a lot on my walks about my characters.

I believe in trying new things to in an attempt keep the brain sparking with fresh energy whether it’s taking a class or doing something physical. My latest "build my synapses" experience has been learning Zumba, and other dance crazes to keep my mind active and connected to my body.

When I have a contract, I outline my books and follow my outline. When I was writing a book a month for Ravenous Romance, I had a detailed chapter by chapter outline. Since it was a series, I had an index box full of cards. Each card had a character, a setting, a plot point, general information, and so on. It was easier to keep track of my thirteen main characters and a bucketful of lovers that way.  

I almost always have a piece of paper somewhere with characters and various details written down whether it’s a short story or a novel. Some characters, such as Vanessa in Eternal Sunset, I created when I was a teenager and I never needed a sheet to know who she was and what she looked like no matter where she turns up (Borrowed Flesh for instance is Vanessa in middle-age) however, other characters, I don’t know as well. Index cards are great device for minor characters because we forget their names or eye colour or their job title or even purpose for the plot progression.

When you pitch a book, you need to know your main characters and plot and try not to go off track with what you write.  Index cards can help you stay on course.

When I don’t have a contract, I write the story I want to tell and take as long as I want to tell it. And sometimes, I just abandon it and go on to something else. Yes, I’ve abandoned entire books.

As my career continues to grow, I listen to what my readers want or don’t want to see in my work. My chief goal is to entertain you for a couple of hours. That is why I write, make videos, take pictures, give you free video horoscopes, act, dance, take your mind off your real life and fall into a strange new world. I love feedback so please don’t be shy to pop me an email or leave a review.

There is no right or wrong way to write or to experience a creative process as far as I’m concerned. All that matters is that you actually write instead of talking about writing. Talent may vary but there is one trait that you may have noticed when you see people who enjoy successful careers as writers. Tenacity is key; from sitting down at the keyboard to pushing forward through rejections of all kinds in every level of life. When you see strangers paying to read your work, then you know you’re on the right path. You don’t have to be prolific but you can’t be a quitter. That’s a very big part of the writing process to me.

See what other authors have to say about the creative process!

Lucy Taylor was born in Rich­mond, VA, and never really got the South out of her sys­tem, as evi­denced by the fla­vor of South­ern Gothic in many of her works. She’s pub­lished seven nov­els, includ­ing NAILED, SAV­ING SOULS, and LEFT TO DIE (under the pseu­do­nym Tay­lor Kin­caid), and over 100 short stories.

Sabrina Kaleta is a poet, music journalist, mother, performance artist, Doo-Dah Queen, reluctant debutante, punk, hostess, fortune teller..all these labels might tell a bit of my story. As a poet, I have graced the stages of The Espresso Bar, The Old Towne Pub, Sam’s Book City, the Coconut Teazer and Highland Grounds and been published in Flipside, Saturday Afternoon Journal and Kether. Other publications include Guitar World, Metal Hammer, New Times, Diabolik and BAM. In my Pasadena, CA home, I continue to try to ignore the outside voices, have a good time and create what I can.

 John Eder has been writing fiction for the last three years or so.  He’s also a photographer, with a career spanning the film and digital ages. You can see his photo work at Eder has always written, mostly non-fiction for mags like the Village Voice, Conde Nast Traveler, Creem, Photo District News,, and  He also draws, illustrating his own work when it’s called for.  His work is still tragically (to me, anyway) unpublished, to which end he is starting his own house, Moon Base.  Also in production is an anthology podcast of my short stories, To The Manor Borne (By Robots), the idea being that in the distant future a giant monster has invaded Earth. It’s Scheherazade meets Godzilla. To The Manor Borne (By Robots) will be on, a podcast network he’s recently gotten involved in as creative director.  He lives in L.A. and grew up in south Florida, and is the father of a wonderful daughter. May the wind be at your back as you go check out his blog.

Calling M.Christian versatile is a tremendous understatement. Extensively published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even non-fiction, it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with more than 400 published stories, in many “Best of”s. He is also a prolific and respected anthologist, having edited 25 anthologies. M.Christian’s short fiction has been collected into many bestselling books in a wide variety of genres, including the Lambda Award finalist Dirty Words.  He also has collections of non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, Pornotopia, and How To Write And Sell Erotica); science fiction, fantasy and horror (Love Without Gun Control); and erotic science fiction. As a novelist, M.Christian has shown his monumental versatility with books such as the queer vamp novels Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys; the erotic romance Brushes; the science fiction erotic novel Painted Doll; and the rather controversial gay horror/thrillers Fingers Breadth and Me2. M.Christian is also the Associate Publisher for Renaissance eBooks. Find him at

Jim Goforth has been writ­ing tales of hor­ror since the early 90’s. After years of detour­ing into work­ing with the extreme metal com­mu­nity and writ­ing reviews for hun­dreds of bands with Black Belle Music, he has returned to his writ­ing love with his first book PLEBS, pub­lished by J. Elling­ton Ash­ton Press. He has sto­ries in a cou­ple of antholo­gies with a col­lab­o­ra­tive novel and a col­lec­tion of his own short sto­ries to emerge in the com­ing months. To learn more about Jim Goforth, visit http://​jim​go​forth​hor​ro​rauthor​.word​press​.com/

Sèphera Girón is a horror author, tarot reader, editor, and paranormal investigator. Flesh Failure and Captured Souls from Samhain Horror Publishing are her latest forays through the dark fiction labyrinth. You can find most of her work as eBooks these days. She has stories in Axes of Evil, High Stakes: A Vampire Anthology, The Haunted Mansion Project: Part One and Part Two, The Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope, and Telling Tales of Terror. Enter Sèphera’s World at