Q&A

Wag the Fox interview – Wilted Lilies

Sadly, the website for this interview is no longer with us. Should you ever see that on this site, shoot me a note through the contact page so I can give it a proper burial—like this one. The website, the wonderful Wag the Fox, is kaput but the interview is not. I save everything. Remember that when passing me notes…

Here you go, an interview with Gef Fox


 

1. So Wilted Lilies was first presented as a four-part serial in Lamplight. Was it originally crafted as a serial?

In a word: Nope.

The longer version: I knew the story (had the outline) and had just started writing it, when I decided to read the opening at the local bookstore. Jacob Haddon from Lamplight Magazine was in the audience—he and I had been discussing me being his next serial novelist. After the reading he simple grinned at me and said, “yes, that one.”

Each section was to be between four and five thousand words per issue, so I just needed to cut the action somewhere in that area as a teaser for the next installment. It didn’t change the storyline at all really, though it may have changed the pacing of individual scenes just a touch.

2. If there’s a supernatural entity that trumps vampires and zombies in horror fiction, it’d have to be ghosts, I figure. Would you agree? What’s the allure for you to ghost stories?

I would absolutely agree that ghosts trump vamps and walkers. Because vampires and zombies are monsters, born of something else. But ghosts? They’re scarier than monsters, because ghosts were once human. If you listen to my podcast about ghosts (Buttercup of Doom ep 10) you know I also think demons and devils and such were once human as well. The fact they used to be human adds a touch of terror to the idea of a haunting or possession. This isn’t some spell or a monster dredged up from the pits of whatever. This was a person. Born, raised and died.

The other sketchy thing with ghosts is that they’re unknown, and there are no rules with the unknown. There is no lore or superstitions that carries across beliefs. Oh sure, some believe this or that to be rid of them, but it’s not universal. Ask someone how to kill a zombie: shoot them in the head. A vampire? Stake in the heart. A ghost? Well… if you believe in god, you can call a priest. If you’re Wiccan you do this. If you’re agnostic you do that. If you’re atheist you don’t believe in them in the first place (usually). No set rules for destroying, vanquishing, etc. Which means there’s no set way to fight them. And all that leads me to my favorite saying for the unknown and ghosts: how can you hope to fight that which you do not understand?

3. What kind of considerations if any did you have to give the story’s pacing in serial format, as opposed to it now being released in its entirely?

I’ve only experienced this once, with WILTED LILIES. The pacing wasn’t really changed so much as it was more carefully controlled by word count location. For instance, I knew Tommy was going to show up in the beginning of the tale because he’s important to the whole story, but to serialize it properly and leave that gulp in the reader’s throat, I needed to make sure his appearance landed after that first break.

I don’t use a true outline. I use a notepad file with thoughts, scenes, dialogue bits, etc. put into the order they’ll appear. Usually I follow that. For this one, those were broken into four larger areas, and I planned the breaks based on what was there. Then I gave each area a header, so I would know what story notes were in each section. I thought about putting them in here for you, but there’s no way to do it without spoiling storyline. In the end, the only thing that really changed was pacing near a break.

4. You’ve got quite a few novella notches on your gun belt now. While you don’t concern yourself with story length as you’re writing, once you have a novella in your hands, how have you found the internet age lending itself to selling and publishing that length of fiction?

I don’t know if it’s the internet age or not, but I’m glad they’re popular. In truth, most of mine were planned to be novellas, by request of the publisher—the four to Paul at Thunderstorm Books for the Waking The Dead collection (Grave Wax, Survivor’s Guilt, Buried Memories, and Crossroads), Wilted Lilies to fit the format of Lamplight, Deceiver was requested for the novella line of Dark Fuse, and The Hatch was expected to be a novella (as a sequel to a novella: Waiting Out Winter) but went longer than the rest to tell the story naturally. The only two to naturally land as novellas on their own were the first two: Waiting Out Winter and The Neighborhood.

The audience is obviously out there as the length was repeatedly requested, but I also personally enjoy the length. It’s a good way to tell a simple story concisely, without purple prose or forcing it to stretch to novel length. Most of the time an author can tell from the idea what length they “think” it will be based on the complexity or scope. When they get to the outline (if they use any type of method at all) they have a more solid idea as things start to twist and turn and unravel. At that point, some will decide to chop some and make it a short story, or add to it and bring it up to full novel. Once I get to outline, I just write. The characters tell me how long it will be. And the audience seems to be okay with me doing that, so I’ll stick to that.

5. In the acknowledgements preceding the actual story, you mention you’re not done with Lily May. Was she a character you saw yourself returning to from the get-go, or did she kind of impose herself on your imagination as you went along?

She’s a noisy one. I can actually her voice, little dirty twang and all. And I could from the first sentence. But worse than that, I started to hear the other characters she meets after the end of Wilted Lilies. One in particular, Caroline, is especially chatty.

Over the years I’ve heard requests for continued stories or the return of specific characters—Ryan from Survivor’s Guilt, Mark from White Picket Prisons, The Neighborhood, and Six Days are the most often mentioned. In truth, there are tidbits for some stories or characters among those requests, but I don’t know which will ever truly solidify enough to happen. Six Days probably has the best chance for a sequel. But outside those, Lily May jumps up and down in a place all her own.

Lily May had a sequel brewing before she was halfway done telling us Wilted Lilies. And if I’m to be truly honest, there’s more than just a chance she could turn into a serial character… it all hinges on what goes down in McMillan Hall.

6. I’ve seen you tinkering with Periscope. How has that experience been so far interacting with readers and others?

Outside of the fans with names I can see who interact directly with me, it’s creepy. Really. There’s no way around that fact. A little bit on the “skin-crawling, need a shower in bleach, new blackout shades, and maybe move to a new town and get a different name” side of creepy. It’s inviting stalkers to not only talk with you, but to look directly at you, or your eyes, hair, neck, whatever it is that gets them going, screenshotting their little creepy hearts out—and if you’re not careful, see your house, or surroundings, wherever you are at the time. Ack… creepy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the program is interesting and could be used for good. I watched a sunset in Rome, saw a man play piano in Australia (his own music), and giggled at the yelling at a fish market in Japan. But I also ran away from other things, which felt mildly voyeuristic if not downright stalkery. I don’t need to stare at strangers doing private personal everyday things, like eating, or watching television.

I could see using it for a Q&A or live reading again sometime, maybe. But considering a couple things that happened on the tail of me using it, I won’t ever do a public session again. I’ll invite everyone who’s following me and they can use the app where they have a name and face and aren’t an invisible stalker. Because *shudder* eww. Just eww. The idea of people clicking a link to log into the web and just watch anonymously, with no name, and without even having the ability to interact, is beyond creepy. I think it’s a huge flaw in their program, and it’s one of the reasons I won’t do publicly open sessions again. (Read as: if any of your readers ever want to periscope with me, they’ll have to follow me so I I can invite them)

7. You also have your new podcast up and running. With fourteen episodes of Buttercup of Doom in the can, do you feel you’ve found your footing and a feel for what you want the podcast to be about?

I would love to say “yes” or “god, I hope so” but I think those would both be lies. I never truly find my footing in anything—life, writing or otherwise. I’m in a constant state of movement and growth. I don’t expect the podcast to be any different. Also, I’m my own worst critic, so I’m constantly striving to be better than myself. I like to think they get better as you go, but I don’t want to think that will stop and they’ll just plateau. That sounds so boring!

I’m having fun with it. I’m still humbled anyone listens, but am delighted people are enjoying it.

8. Now, last time we talked on the blog, you had mentioned the projects coming to pass this year, including Wilted Lilies as well as your Waiting Out Winter sequel, The Hatch. But you also mentioned you were working on a novel or two. How is the progress on your Lovecraftian homage, Floaters, coming along?

Floaters is coming along. It will be done and handed in by Christmas, and out sometimes early next year. I really like this one, and I think the fans will, too. My patreons will get a sneak peek of it before it goes to print, so if any of your readers are interested there’s that tidbit.

Did I say Lovecraftian? I may have. Usually I say “love letter to Frankenstein but most people will think it’s a Lovecraftian thing.” Time will tell what people try to compare it to or call it as they analyze my thought process while writing it.

It’s monster horror, like Live Specimens. Maybe not as red-shirt and gory, but definitely more of a monster horror than quiet thriller. Much more.

And after that, another monster… though I’m not sure in which order. It’s either time for coming of age, the end of the world, voodoo, or those damn vampires. And then Lily can tell me all about Caroline.

And Thank you, for asking me to participate. Always a pleasure. 

Cat After Dark – an interview

Cat After Dark is all about dark fiction. Whether it’s reviews or interviews, there’s something from every corner of horror, thrillers, and suspense. Not just a fan of the genre, she’s an advocate for those of us working in it.

She has done several reviews for me, and oh look, a new interview … check it out!

 

FLY After 5

Fly After 5, once called simply Fly magazine, did a quick and dirty little interview with me and posted my short story Childhood Ghosts.

To check out the interview, go here. To check out the story… well, it was originally published in Shroud magazine’s Halloween issue and will someday be in the second collection I do, but it has also been posted for my patreons. Are you a patreon? You could become one here, and then you’ll get a lot more goodies than just this one short story…

 


note: if an article, interview, etc. is every missing due to the website being down, defunct, or otherwise, please let me know so I can adjust the post which points to it. Thank you.

 


 

Guckles

gucklesMy love of pickles is not a secret (deal with it Nate). I have always loved them. Forever. Period. And as I giggled at my little Raynebow munching on one the other day, my mind went off into a whirlwind of thoughts regarding the little green treasures that excuse cucumbers for their existence.

I have been known to get just a pickle when the work crew orders from the local sandwich shop, and the delivery guy knows exactly who that for and smiles at my child-like joy. When I was a teen, my brother called them guckles (he was a toddler at the time). Not sure why. He could say “p” but in this instance, he preferred his own word for the happy dill treat. And going back even further, when I was six, my mother bribed me with pickles.

Yes, bribed.

And that’s where the whirlwind stopped.

My mother used to stop on the way home from work at some mysterious place and bring home ginormous pickles, individually wrapped just for me by a group of fairies living near the dill tree in the woods. Hmm… I was six. I believed this. She would then show me said pickle and put it in the fridge and tell me I could have it if I would just be a doll and rub her back (and/or feet) for a few minutes. I was the youngest masseuse to ever work without a license! And I had a lot of fairy-wrapped giant pickles Monday through Friday that year.

And looking back now, as an adult, the woman was brilliant! It wasn’t even about the pickles. It had nothing to do with getting tiny masseuse to work on her kinks. Nope. It was her walking in the door and being able to plot on the couch and just be still and quiet and let the day melt off her for 20 minutes. It was mommy time, not pickle time. Brilliant. Kudos to the woman I often refer to, with love, as crazy (what? she is!).

So here’s a fun wayback-machine question for you… thinking back now as an adult, did your parents ever trick you into something for “you” that was really for them? How brilliantly evil were they?

 

#trending

twitterdudesThe internet is a strange strange thing. Social media makes it even stranger. You can plan and plot how to expose something new and get no buzz. You can ask a question you really want to know the answer to and get nothing. And then you can say something completely random and your feed explodes. Makes. No. Sense.

So welcome to No Sense Thursday.

Today’s question: what makes your feed trend? What bizarre thing can you discuss, question, or otherwise mention that gets the most feedback, responses and attention? Because it isn’t what you want it to be. I’ve been watching everyone’s feed and have learned, it rarely is. Examples you say? Why certainly… (and yes, please, feel free to follow anyone I may mention in this particular blog)

My personal favorite for the week — saw this the other day, and it sums this up perfectly.  @steveniles (Steve Niles) summed it up well with “I say ‘good morning’ and lose three followers. I’ll try ‘fuck you’ tomorrow and see what happens.”

@marysangiovanni (Mary SanGiovanni) twittered a cthulu emoticon /\(;,,;)/\ and it was the number one most re-tweeted thing she’s ever posted. Also popular are her tweets regarding cannibalism and NJ traffic… she writes books she’d like you care about too =)

@natesouthard (Nate Southard) has random squawks of pointless rage get the most response. He’s declared this is either a terrible commentary on the population or the golden secret of working in the horror small press—take your pick.

@Nukegumby (Michael Huyck) has a wide range of popular tweets, from funny to sarcastic to accidentally motivational. Yes, accidentally motivational. No rhyme. No reason.

@bobford (Robert Ford) can say something truly horrific about midgets and gains followers—if I said the same thing I would not only lose followers, I would get hate mail (justifiably so). He proclaims hatred of all things Michigan while driving through there and gains followers. I say it’s cold and lose 10.

@DaveThomas76 (Dave Thomas) past a lot of things, but if it’s about booze (aka: “Is it too early to drink scotch?” or “Martinis: so much more than a breakfast drink”), people always seem to chime right in. He wonders if his followers are functioning alkies too =)

me @kelli_owen ? Yeah… I post comments about the dayjob, my books, crazy news tidbits… mostly to my following of loyal crickets. But the moment I say anything remotely lesbian or sexual in general, especially to one of my female friends, I’ve got everyone’s attention.

It’s strange. What will grab someone’s attention is so bizarre. Anger, humor, cruelty — very popular. So, the question is… What strange non-important topic do YOU twitter about that makes your feed explode? As an experiment, feel free to answer here, but also and more importantly, answer in twitter by posting a link to this (or just retweet the tweet that got you here) and hashtag your answer in the tweet if possible. It will be like a meme and a hashtag had an illegitimate lovechild…  (feel free to copy and paste this and fill in the blank)

RT: @kelli_owen Fun Blog: #trending http://wp.me/p2tbLH-X5  answer: #_______

 

 

Let’s Get Dad a Tank For Christmas

iwanttobelieveel4This post has nothing to do with my dad, Christmas, or a tank. And only a little to do with the X-files’ poster and UFOs.  Of course, it’s not about LOLcats either — which is good — so please, no throwing tomatoes at the screen.

It’s about conspiracies. Or rather, the theories that abound — even more so now that we have the internet to help propagate paranoia, supposition, and false information.

See, there’s been a lot of television programming in my house lately that leans toward the strange, the bizarre, the unspoken, hidden, or otherwise secretive. Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, Mysteries at the Museum, etc.—from ancient alien theorists (drink!) to secret cults and strange NSA data centers. It was that last bit that inspired the title for the blog. After watching a piece on the information stored by the government, there was a discussion about how they decide what’s dangerous and what’s just a conversation. I’ve joked about getting my dad a tank for the front yard for years. I’ve told him a couple times that I’ve found one online but he wasn’t getting it because the shipping would cost a college fund. But does the NSA know that I’m actually talking about a real tank, for my actual dad, for the holiday known as Christmas? Or do they think it’s some bizarre code, like “dad” is really the president, and “tank” is really some weapon or plan or something. Who knows. I once checked out the wrong combination of books from the library and called the FBI in the same week and ended up with a dark sedan with tinted windows outside the house for a month or so. Anything is possible. But this particular show spurred a fun conversation and google search, which then led to Bob Ford being a trouble maker and suggesting I google certain things just to see how fast the NSA shows up at the door—I chose not to follow his suggestion.

Now, I watch all those shows. I’m intrigued by what they’re investigating more than I am what they’re proposing. I make fun of them on occasion for jumping the shark and have turned a couple of them into drinking games, but I enjoy them at the same time. I don’t necessarily believe the conclusions they come to, but I like that they open the topics up for debate, discussions, and insane theories of my own. I’m not what you would call a conspiracy theorist, I’m more a curious pain in the ass (just ask the priests back at catholic school… they “loved” my million and two questions they couldn’t answer).

Some of the top conspiracy theories on google are:

  1. New World Order – group of international elites controls and manipulates governments, industry & media worldwide
  2. Lee Harvey Oswald either didn’t act alone or didn’t do it at all
  3. Marilyn Monroe was killed by the Kennedys
  4. Cancer has been cured but costs less than treatment so they won’t release it
  5. 9/11 was either done by our own government or covered up by it
  6. Elvis (and Tupac for that matter) is not dead
  7. The moon landing was a hoax and all those pictures were taken right here on earth in a studio
  8. Area 51 – ’nuff said

So, since I still haven’t found an actual tank for dad at a reasonable price with shipping included, and it’s Monday rather than Thursday and therefore my strange behavior could be a conspiracy of its own, let’s toss out the question you knew I was going to ask way up at the first mention of the NSA… What’s your “favorite” conspiracy theory. Now, of course I use the word “favorite” with caution, much like “who’s your favorite serial killer?” No one really likes serial killers—when you say that you actually mean “which one intrigues you the most, or you study the most, or you find the most bizarre, etc.”.

Explanations and examples aside… my answer? I’m a huge, will-watch-anything-at-all-to-do-with the Freemasons, Illuminati, and any other secret cult, group, or society even if only linked to the Masons on a the dust of the fringe of a robe they no longer wear. My grandfather was a Shriner/Mason and his ring had my attention from a very young age. The fact that I’m just a girl and am not allowed to join on any level may have something to do with it as well… I never have reacted well when told I can’t do something =)

What’s your poison? Your passion? Your go-to conspiracy of choice? Go ahead, you can answer… no one is watching, recording, or storing this conversation anywhere… no, really…

 

 

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