Month: January 2015

Behind the Story: Project Lupine

Wolves at the door cover

To celebrate the release of SNAFU: Wolves at the Door (Which is out today. Just sayin’!) I decided to put a little behind the scenes post together for fans of the series. I’ll do my best not to spoil things.

Why did you submit a story for Wolves at the Door?

Way back in 2014, Cohesion Press put out a call for three separate anthologies (Wolves at the Door, Blurring the Line, and SNAFU 2). Since I was busy writing my second book, I decided to pick the one I felt most passionate about and write a story as a change of pace. Writing a book can get a bit tedious. Out of the three anthologies, I obviously went with Wolves at the Door. Project Lupine was my first attempt at werewolves, so I was kind of excited to try my hand at those mythical creatures. Plus, one of my favorite films is Dog Soldiers. How could I not submit something?

Where did you find inspiration for Project Lupine?

I absolutely loved the second season of Defiance (a Science Fiction television show airing on the SyFy network). One of my favorite characters is Datak Tarr, played brilliantly by Tony Curran. I found a bunch of pictures of Tony and physically based my main character, Rolf Alfredsson, off of him. Personality wise, I knew I wanted mercenaries, or ex military who worked security, which meant a hardened soldier who maybe didn’t see eye to eye with his superiors. A soldier who wasn’t just good at what he did, but, also, smart enough to ask questions.

Tony Curran

Tony Curran

 

As with Covert Genesis, Project Lupine is a prequel of a planned novel. I can’t say much without spoiling things. Basically, I already had an idea and this is what happened “before”. Think of it as an origin story.

Fun Fact: I based the character of Sully off of Dewshane Williams, who plays Tommy LaSalle on Defiance. I don’t generally think of looks first while creating, but thought it would be fun to try something different and I think it worked out nicely.

Dewshane Williams

Dewshane Williams

 

 

How do your werewolves work?

For this story I didn’t want to go for a more traditional werewolf. Knowing that, I had to come up with something that would both make sense and also fit into the story. The answer came fairly quickly: genetic splicing. From there it was a matter of researching. Hopefully readers will like what I’ve done with a classic, and beloved horror creature. After I worked out the werewolf aspect, the story pretty much wrote itself. I’d say it took me about a week to bring all the pieces together in a way that made me happy. As you can see, I like to do a lot of planning before I write a single word.

I love that short stories give me a chance to explore stories, characters, and subject matter I probably wouldn’t otherwise. Having Project Lupine published adds to the planned novel. The origin is already out there. I can build upon, and expand that world in a longer format. As a writer and creative type, ideas are the easy part. Taking those ideas and making sense of them on the page is the hard part. Plus, I get to be published alongside established authors like James A. Moore which is never a bad thing. I’m extremely grateful to Geoff Brown and Cohesion Press for the opportunity. Thanks also go to Amanda J. Spedding for her expert eye, and edits. As always, it was a pleasure working with the entire Cohesion staff. Hopefully readers will have as much fun reading Project Lupine as I had writing it.

You can purchase SNAFU: Wolves at the Door from Amazon herehttp://www.amazon.com/SNAFU-Wolves-Door-James-Moore-ebook/dp/B00RQ56AUG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1422368528&sr=1-1&keywords=snafu+wolves

Feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments below.

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Behind The Story: Covert Genesis

2_SNAFU_FINAL_TEXT_3_brightened

How’s everyone doing today? I thought it might be fun to give a little inside information, or a behind the scenes look at my short story, Covert Genesis.

Let’s start with the fact that Covert Genesis was my first major publication. Yes, I was pretty much unknown at the time (still am!). I found an open call for submissions and figured I’d take my chances. Well, apparently a little over 1,100 other writers did too. Eleven mighty stories were plucked from the slush, mine included. That still blows my mind.

So, where did the idea for Covert Genesis come from?

I have a virtual folder full of story ideas. One of those ideas was for a zombie book set on a Naval base. The military aspect was already in place. The concept evolved after I made up my mind to switch from zombies. Let’s be honest, zombies are everywhere. I let the idea marinate in my mind for a while.

Eventually I thought what if I had monsters similar to zombies but weren’t really zombies?

The answer was parasites – worm-like creatures that control their human hosts. Oh, and they’re from outer space. Extraterrestrial parasites sounds so much cooler than zombies, don’t you think?

One of the things I ended up doing was taking Sci-Fi elements and incorporating them into what boils down to a story of survival horror. I’ve always been a big fan of survival horror – video games like Resident Evil, Condemned: Criminal Origins, and Gears of War, films like Dog Soldiers and the Alien franchise. Hopefully I did the genre justice with my short story.

What you’ll find in SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror is actually a prequel of sorts to a planned novel. The novel would cover the parasite’s arrival, discovery, and how they spread to the naval base, as told through a military family’s perspective.

The character of Solomon Watkins is based partly on my military experience. One of my responsibilities as an aircraft mechanic was to go and fix our planes no matter where they broke. I’ve been to Greenland, Qatar, and several cities in the United States chasing fuel leaks. I figured what better alibi than a broken plane to get another Spec-Ops team to the crash site under the radar. Poor Solomon has no idea what he’s getting into. And that’s part of what I think makes the story work. He’s clearly not a hardened soldier, but he isn’t someone to turn his back on his responsibilities, or duty, either. He’s a good guy thrust into the unknown. There is no handbook for what he encounters. How he reacts is a testament to who he is as a person.

Stylistically, I wanted to depict something readers maybe haven’t come across before, but might strike them as vaguely familiar. I play video games. There’s a first person shooter called Serious Sam where these headless guys run at you with bombs, all the while screaming. The closer they get, the louder the screaming. They’re called headless kamikazes and those moments were tense because if you didn’t shoot them before they reached you, BOOM! That’s where I got the idea for the screamers. As if the exploding head wasn’t bad enough, you would have to contend with what came out of it too. Scary stuff.

For me, I wanted this story to be more action oriented. Let’s be honest, short stories have a limited amount of space. I had to pick which aspect of the story to lean more heavily on. Since the anthology called for military horror, it was an easy decision to go action heavy. That’s not to say I abandoned character building altogether, but, rather sprinkled it throughout the story. As the creator it was more important to see how the characters reacted in real time, as they’re thrust into these crazy situations. Hopefully readers appreciate the end result.

I believe there are influences all around us. Whether we know it or not, everything we do has some sort of influence on us. Video games, television shows, movies, comics, books, music, and more all wriggle their influence in our minds. I like to try and bring as many influences to the table as possible when I write. Ideas can come from the unlikeliest of places.

Maybe you’ll see Solomon again. I know I’d love to revisit that world and those characters in book form. There’s a more vast, and broader picture to paint. Who knows what the future holds…

Feel free to ask any other questions you may have about Covert Genesis in the comments below.

Wolves at the Door Release Date and More Updates

How was everybody’s New Year? Did you make some goals for 2015? I know I did and I’ve been working hard to try and keep them.

Let’s start the New Year with a bit of news. Cohesion Press will release SNAFU: Wolves at the Door on January 27. That’s only three weeks away. You can already add it on Goodreads or pre-order it on Amazon if you like. I can’t say enough good things about the folks at Cohesion. Each new release is better than the last. Amanda J. Spedding in particular, who edited my short story, was instrumental in getting the most out of my characters. I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on this anthology. It features a novella by James A. Moore so you can’t go wrong there.

If you’ve been reading this blog then you know one of my goals is to finish two novels in 2015. Well, we’re five days in and I’ve already managed 7,000 words (for a total of 12,000) on a supernatural thriller which I’m calling THE BLACK SACRAMENT. I know, I can hear some of you ask, “But what about MISTS?” I decided to tackle the tougher project first. Let’s face it, MISTS already has a solid 29,000 words. It’s a third of the way done. I’ll get to it, hopefully, around summertime. What I can share with all of you is that I’m excited about these characters, stories, and books. The Black Gate Trilogy centers more on plot and action, while The Black Sacrament relies more on character and tension. It makes writing a bit more of a challenge for me. I really have to stop and put myself in each character’s shoes, to understand why they would do something, or think and react in certain ways.

I’ll try to share a little more detail about The Black Sacrament as the word count rises. For now you’ll just have to be patient.

In anthology news, I have a couple more stories under consideration for a couple of top notch anthologies. Being short listed and the possibility of appearing alongside award winning authors would be a great, and humbling, honor for me at this point in my career. The stories have been written. The editors have had them. All I can do now is wait.

Between Shadows and Darkness remains with my agent. Still have no word on what’s going on there. Again, all I can do is wait. For all you up and coming writers out there, I hope you notice the waiting trend. Publishing can be slow. As writers and authors we must move onto the next project while we wait. If things stall with my Black Gate Trilogy then I’ll have The Black Sacrament and Mists to shop around. When I finish The Black Sacrament and Mists, I already have plans for the next book. It’s a never ending cycle of writing and waiting. We must find a way to keep moving forward, even when we may not want to. The more material you have to submit, the better.

It looks like 2015 will be the year my career gets rolling. I subbed a boatload of short stories in 2014 and most of that hard work will show up this year. Wolves at the Door will be the third anthology my work appears in and the first of 2015. My resume is slowly building. And with each new release, my writing skills improve. The pressure is on to get my books out into the world. Even though it may not seem like it, I’ve been busting my ass behind the scenes creating the kind of grand-in-scope stories I love. Like Tallahassee from Zombieland said so eloquently, “Time to nut up or shut up.” I’m pushing all my chips to the center of the table. I’m all-in for 2015. Are you?