Meet the Author – Larry Benjamin – WHAT BINDS US

It’s my pleasure today to have a fellow Carina Press Author, Larry Benjamin, as my guest, talking about writing, his book WHAT BINDS US and other fun subjects!

Please tell us a little about yourself:

I was that nerdy, sensitive kid everyone avoided.  To keep loneliness at bay, I used to make up stories in my head and create all sorts of interesting people.  Then I discovered books and a whole new world was mine for the taking.  Once I read The Great Gatsby, I knew what I wanted to do.  I read everything by Fitzgerald and then discovered his short stories.  I began writing my own.  Short stories were my first love but an agent once told me I needed to write a novel before I could publish short stories so I continued writing short stories but kept them to myself.  Then I saw the movie Philadelphia and hated it.  I was very vocal about my -dislike in the local paper.  Someone wrote back and asked if I could do better.  That’s when I sat down and wrote what would become What Binds Us.  No publisher or agent was interested.  Crushed, I put it away; it sat in a drawer for nearly 20 years.

What prompted you to start writing?

I’ve always written—as I’ve always read but I never really thought about publishing until I got laid off from my job a couple of years ago.  Both my partner and I were unemployed at the same time so it was a pretty tarrying experience.  I kept wondering what I would do if I never got another job.  That’s when I pulled What Binds Us out, edited it again and started sending out to publishers.  Getting it published gave me the confidence to finish and send out Damaged Angels.

3. What’s your writing process? Where do you write?

From a process point of view, I’m pretty unstructured.  I don’t have set hours to write or a set number of words to write per day.  I don’t even write every day—unless I’m editing under deadline.  I don’t outline, though I sometimes make notes about characters or plots.

Typically I get an idea for a story and I flesh it out in my head before I write anything down.  Then I figure out how the story ends.  Once I have an endpoint I begin writing, creating characters and situations geared towards reaching that endpoint. I don’t write sequentially.  I just write as the ideas and words come to me and then once I have everything written down I start organizing chronologically so it makes sense—I do a LOT of cutting and pasting.  I also tend to write first drafts by hand in composition note books though, because I write anywhere and everywhere, also on scraps of paper, backs of envelopes whatever paper is at hand.  As I transcribe onto my computer I edit.  I’m a terrible typist and really slow so I have lots of time to edit.

I once posted a picture of by current work in progress—note books and stacks of paper and another writer wrote back: “frightening.”

While I tend to write everywhere even in the car (when I’m not driving) I do have a writing space on the third floor of our house.  We painted it chartreuse and hung some wonderful Miro posters so the room is filled with light and color which I find inspirational.  The dogs have their beds in there and usually keep me company when I’m writing.

(VS sez I’ve seen a photo of the chartreuse writing room and it is absolutely a haven where an author can spin magic with words.)

What’s your greatest extravagance?

Books.  I love books—the old fashioned hold I your hand, tree-killing kind.  I stick to hard covers for most books and indulge my passion in leather bound-books from The Easton Press and beautiful editions from the Folio Society.  Those get shipped in directly from the UK in these wonderful sacks marked “Royal Mail.”  It’s quite a sight to behold our post man hauling a sack up the driveway.

(Vs sez, ooohhhh, I want “Royal Mail”! LOL)

Which word or phrase do you most overuse?

According to my Carina Press editor, I use “that” way too often.  I’m now highly aware of this and ruthlessly excise the word from all my writing.

(VS hangs her head in shame – “that” is my worst word too.)

Have you ever used an incident from real life in one of your books?

Absolutely. Early on in What Binds Us, the narrator tells a story of throwing away his bow tie one Sunday morning before church.  His parents search frantically and finally giving up he gets dragged off to church in a suit with no bow tie.  I don’t remember the incident but am told I did that.  It’s one of those stories that got passed into family lore.

Damaged Angels, my next book being released by Bold Strokes Books in October, is inspired by my three-year relationship with a crack-addicted hustler, so many of the stories there are based on real incidents.

Favorite TV Show: Glee

Favorite Movie:  The Great Gatsby (both the original with Alan Ladd, Jr. and the remake with Robert Redford)

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Favorite Flower: Whatever you’d like to send me

Boxers or Briefs:  Boxer-briefs.  I’m all about compromise.

Favorite song: Where there was Darkness by Randy Crawford

What are you working on next?

We’re about to start edits on my next book, Damaged Angels, a collection of short stories being released by Bold Strokes Books in October.  In it I attempt to give literary voice to the usually invisible: hustlers and drug addicts, the mentally ill, people of color.

And I’m working on my next book, tentatively titled His Name Was Jose, another love story.  This book came about when I answered a Tweeted question from All Things Queer in South Africa (@AllThingsQueer.co.za): “How old were you when you first realised you’re gay/lesbian/bi/trans/queer?”

I thought back to “the moment“ and quickly tweeted: “I was 12 & in 7th grade. He was the new kid. His name was Jose. He walked into 4th period music, smiled & changed everything”

And out of that 124 character tweet the idea for His Name Was Jose was born.  It’s a fun and interesting for me because while José was real, I never really knew him so casting him as the main character in a book is a challenge because I have to create the fictional Jose and figure out what his story is and what impact an unknown kid’s crush on him might have on his life.

What one question do you want to ask your Readers today?

I’ve heard from readers—and they either love the book or they don’t and they’re usually good about telling me why.  What I’d really like to know though is why they chose to read it?  What made them pick it out and add it to their cart?

Where can your Readers find you online?

  1. Website  www.larrybenjamin.com
  2. Twitter https://twitter.com/WriterLarry   TwitterHandle = @WriterLarry
  3. Fan Page on Facebook facebook.com/AuthorLarryBenjamin
  4. Good Reads Author page –http://www.goodreads.com/writerlarry
  5. This Writer’s Life (Blog)  Http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5723405.Larry_Benjamin/blog
  6. E-mail:  larry.benjamin.writer@gmail.com

Buy Links for book:

Carina Press: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/CFD32031-C494-4508-9BF6-4943581C4ABD/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=1393C38B-7539-448A-B867-80847EB1140D

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Binds-Us-ebook/dp/B0070Y4EG0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329786918&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-binds-us-larry-benjamin/1108376044?ean=9781426893469&itm=2&usri=larry+benjamin

Audible:  http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B007APEO32&qid=1332698325&sr=1-1

Thanks for guesting with me today, Larry!

Six Sentence Sunday – More Science Fiction Adventure

Going back to my SFR , which is still an R&R, status unknown but fingers crossed!

Set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. 

We’ve been through Tom’s near fatal illness, his recovery (but no spoilers about how that was accomplished)….(did teasers about their romantic encounter LOL)

Now on to their next challenge in the desperate journey across Zulaire – the Chikeeri River. Two weeks ago Andi was knocked overboard.

If you were here last week you know Andi was imminent danger of death at the hands of the rebels. Skipping ahead to a few moments later, after Tom has arrived…

 “If she’s so important, she goes with me as my safe­guard.” As (the ringleader) backed away, dragging Andi with him, he kept the knife pressed to her neck, right above the jugular.

“Like hell she goes with you. So you can kill her at your leisure later? I’m not some dumb trooper fresh off the first transport, pal.” Tom centered the blaster’s aim at (the ringleader’s) head, permitting himself one more rapid, anguished look at her.

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts

 

 

Interview with Director Steve Latshaw – “Return of the Killer Shrews” Premiere

It’s my pleasure and honor to have Director Steve Latshaw as my guest today, talking about his latest movie “Return of the Killer Shrews” and other fascinating topics! “Shrews” has its world premiere this week, as a major fund raising event for a worthy cause –  Speedway Children’s Charities.

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post on my favorite old science fiction movies, one of which was the original “Attack of the Killer Shrews.” Turned out to be one of Steve’s favorite movies as well. We exchanged e mails about the movie and I was very excited to hear he had just finished directing the sequel, with James Best returning to star again in the role of Thorne Sherman, which he originated 50 years ago! The movie also stars John Schneider and Bruce Davison.

Steve was kind enough to do an interview for my blog on his many experiences with the magic of movie making and “Return of the Killer Shrews”  in particular. So welcome, Steve, and let’s proceed with the interview!

Please tell us a little about your background in film making.

I made my first Super 8mm movie at the age of 8… a documentary about making plaster art.  Made home movies into teen years… was obsessed with old flicks… serials, monster movies, westerns.   Anything made by Republic Pictures.  Plus schlock sci fi like THE SLIME PEOPLE, ROBOT MONSTER, DR. ORLOFF’S MONSTER, etc. Dreamed of one day living in Hollywood.

1972:  Saw a horror film about killer snakes called STANLEY at the Decatur, Illinois Lincoln theater.  Read an article about the picture and its director, William Grefe.  Turns out it was shot in Florida.  So immediately got the idea to go to Florida and start making low budget horror movies… and that would be my route to Hollywood.

1988:  Move to Orlando, FL. Worked as entertainment reporter for local TV station, doing documentaries and news stories about Florida moviemaking and moviemakers.  Met, became friends with William Grefe, director of STANLEY.  He mentored me.   I was introduced to prolific, genius genre film king Fred Olen Ray, who started his career in Florida.  He also knew Bill.  I made a low budget horror film in Orlando with my writing partner Pat Moran called VAMPIRE TRAILER PARK.  Bill talked me up with Fred… Fred was impressed enough to finance some low budget movies for us with real stars, and on film –  and we were off!

Between 1993-1995 we cranked out DARK UNIVERSE, starring Joe Estevez, a huge hit for Curb Entertainment (We made it for $40,000 – it took in over $400,000 in world wide sales)… shot that one in ten days.  More monster stuff followed for Fred… BIOHAZARD 2 aka BIOHAZARD THE ALIEN FORCE, starring Chris Mitchum.   Big hit for Trimark.  JACK-O – big hit for Royal Oaks… featured for an entire hour of the Phil Donohue show (scream queen contest – winner got to be in our movie).  JACKO starred Linnea Quigley plus the late John Carradine and the late Cameron Mitchell.  Producer Fred Ray had leftover footage of them and we gleefully put it in our film, using doubles to cover.  To this day, JACK-O is a big cult hit.  We put out a 10th Anniversary DVD in 2005.  An indy movie followed… the little seen DEATH MASK, starring and written by my dear friend James Best.

In 1995 moved to Hollywood… fell into screenwriting after this successful run as director.  Got known for family films after INVISIBLE DAD (1996).  Got known for military action and disaster movies after SCORPIO ONE (1997).  40 movies later, here I am, thanks to William Grefe, James Best,  Producer Andrew Stevens and, especially, Fred Olen Ray.  And a lot of help from co-conspirator Pat Moran.

 When did you first see “Killer Shrews” and what did you like best about the original movie?

Tight.  Compact.  Full of action.  Suspense.  Dark and scary.  James Best.  Saw it first on video cassette back around 1988.

 What drew you so powerfully to the idea of making a sequel?

James Best, James Best and James Best.  I wanted to bring him back as Thorne Sherman.  I met him in Florida after the DUKES OF HAZZARD had finished its run.  He had a big acting school in Florida.  I did a news story on him and saw a lobby card for Shrews on the wall of his office.  Gotta do a sequel.  For the first five years he laughed at the idea.  For the next fifteen we worked on various scripts.  I only wanted to do the film if Jimmie played Thorne again.  Otherwise, for me, there was no point.

I understand it’s been quite a journey from concept to finished film. How did you persuade Mr. Best to reprise his role as Thorne Sherman?

See above.  He was always willing if it was a good script.

The cast has a number of amazing actors – Bruce Davison, John Schneider to name a few. Were they fans of the original? I heard Bruce’s remarks on the website about the interesting challenge of acting with cgi – was that what drew him to the project?

John agreed to do the film because of his friendship with James Best.  But when he hit the set he realized the bar was pretty high in terms of acting and comedy… and he turned in an amazing performance.  You’ve never seen John like this… funny, intense, imitating cultural icons, amazing.  It’s like that moment when the first AIRPLANE came out and we all suddenly realized that great character actor Leslie Nielsen also happened to be a comedy genius.  Bruce Davison loved the script.  He agreed to do it as soon as he read it.  Bruce told me he liked the fact that all the other characters do the set up and he delivers the punch lines.  He insisted on doing a number of WILLARD references in the film, among them the iconic line  “Tear ‘Em Up!”

 I noticed quite a few ties to the “Dukes of Hazzard,” in the cast, one way and another – will movie goers see some hidden references to “Dukes” perhaps?

Hidden and not so hidden.  We also have Rick Hurst, who starred as Cousin Cletus  on the Dukes… there are plenty of delightful references for Dukes fans.

 What was the major challenge you encountered in making the sequel?

Convincing the world it was ready for a sequel.   Now they’re convinced!

 The original had an underlying message about overpopulation – does the sequel hold any “message” or is it pure adventure?

Adventure, horror, comedy.  And one of my favorite movie themes.  You’re never too old to kick some serious monster ass.

 Any humorous anecdotes you can share from the Making of Return of the Killer Shrews?

Too many to count.  It was the happiest set I’ve ever been on.  Jimmie (Best) and actor David Browning, who do a lot of personal appearances together (David, a talent actor, is also known world wide as “The Mayberry Sheriff” – doing a faultless Don Knotts imitation at various Andy Griffith Show conventions).  Jimmie and David would do classic comedy routines spanning everyone from Laurel and Hardy to the Johnny Carson show.  Jimmie would also be doing his Jimmy Stewart and W.C. Fields imitations (I am almost as good as he is on that one)… periodically we’d have to cut down the laughter so we could shoot.  Jimmie would also tell great stories about the old days in Hollywood.  There was a very emotional day at Bronson Canyon.  James Arness had just died.  He’d been a friend of Jimmie’s; Jimmie had done many GUNSMOKE episodes.  So there Jimmie was, at Bronson canyon, where he’d filmed so many westerns (and it looks the same).  I think that was a tough emotional moment.  Shooting –wise, we had seasoned crew members running away from the set in tears from laughing so hard during the “goat” scene… probably the funniest scene in the movie, thanks to our comic genius Chris Goodman and a wonderful deadpan performance from young Sean Flynn.  Working with Sean was a delight.  He’s the grandson of the great Errol Flynn and a talented comic actor on his own.  He’d spent four years as the teen idol star of Nickelodeon’s ZOEY 101… ours was his first “adult” role.  For me, I’d been a surf music fan since the 1970s.  I got the opportunity to work and record with Dean Torrence of JAN & DEAN on some songs for our soundtrack.  Bruce Davison had actually played Dean on screen in a 1978 CBS TV movie about Jan & Dean called DEADMAN’S CURVE.  So I had a fun afternoon listening to Bruce singing Surf City and Barbara Ann.  Later, in the fall, we were able to reunite Dean with Bruce in the recording session (“The Two Deans!”) so that was a thrill… which we have immortalized in the closing credits of our movie.

Will we learn what happened to the character of Ann Craigis from the original movie?

Yes.  Her character motivates a major plot point.

(VS sez: Good! I liked her character in the original, glad we’ll find out what happened to her!)

Toward the end of  ”Killer Shrews” Dr. Craigus explains to Thorne that by the next morning only the largest shrew will be left on the island and it will die of hunger. How does the sequel get around this point? (Or do we have to see the movie to find out!)

We got around this by conveniently ignoring any scientific or plot points in the original film that did not gel with what we had in mind for the sequel.  Look at the Universal horror films of the 40s… they do the same thing.  HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN… movie ends with the monster sinking in a bog with Boris Karloff.  HOUSE OF DRACULA (sequel) begins with monster being found in a cave near the edge of the ocean.  THE MUMMY’S GHOST ends with Kharis the Mummy dying  somewhere in New England.  THE MUMMY’S CURSE finds him waking up in the swamps of Louisiana.  In all seriousness, though, we stuck as closely to the original film as possible.  It’s a good solid retro sequel  to the original, with a visual style we described as “1965: SECOND SEASON MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.”  The original film was in B&W and dark and grungy, which added to the appeal.  Because ours is a bit lighter, a genre blend ala SHAWN OF THE DEAD (with horror and comedy), we went the opposite way,  as if this was a brightly lit, garishly colored A.I.P. Euro backlot jungle epic ala 1965, in Pathecolor and TechniScope.

 What is your favorite aspect of directing a movie, versus being the scriptwriter? Do you prefer one role over the other?

Moviemaking is the director’s palette.  He calls the shots.   It’s his movie, win or lose.  Writing a movie is like drawing a blueprint of a sculpture, then handing the blueprint to someone else who actually uses their hands to make it.  Having said that, Jimmie, Pat (Moran) and I spent lots of time re-writing on the set.  Our actors were so good and adding so much we kept adding scenes, refining scenes, etc.

 As a director, how do you work with the actors? Do you let them explore their characters pretty freely or do you give detailed notes and direction?

I give them a certain amount of detail… enough to build a character from.  Sometimes they might not use it.  The best situation is when an actor comes in with a good idea for the character.  We had written the character of the director (Willard) a certain way… but Chris Goodman came in with something that was completely differently, yet brilliant and incredibly funny.  The second half of the film is much more serious and with this tone change I had to push Chris in a different, more serious direction.  He handled the transition beautifully.  With really good actors, you don’t have to say much.  Just be prepared to answer  their questions intelligently and usefully if they have them.

 If you could tell ANY story on film, rights, budget and stars being no object, what would that be? What’s your all time favorite movie monster and why?

I have a number of projects I’d like to do.  Books I’d like to make, etc.  I like to keep them to myself.  RETURN OF THE KILLER SHREWS was a movie I’ve wanted to direct since 1989, after first meeting James Best.  I still get a thrill when I think to myself that we actually got it made.  I love showbiz biographies and am currently circulating an original screenplay about  Al Jolson’s 1950 trip to entertain troops in Korea.  I don’t have a favorite sci fi film… I have eras… for me,  1951 to about 1962 is my favorite period.  However, I have a few guilty pleasures I always return to… THE SLIME PEOPLE… NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST… ROBOT MONSTER… FLYING DISC MAN FROM MARS (A Republic serial – if anyone can find me the feature version of this one, called “MISSILE MONSTERS” – I’ll be eternally grateful)… GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN… WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST… RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON… INVISIBLE INVADERS… BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS… HIDEOUS SUN DEMON… ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS… NOT OF THIS EARTH…. IT CONQUERED THE WORLD… MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND… ASTRO ZOMBIES… and all the early 1980s Fred Ray classics like BIOHAZARD, THE TOMB, PHANTOM EMPIRE, WARLORDS, ALIENATOR, HAUNTING FEAR, BAD GIRLS FROM MARS, STAR SLAMMER, SCALPS, etc.

(VS sez: You’re listing a lot of MY favorites above as well!)

 What’s your favorite science fiction book or series?

Original Star Trek series and movies.  Even GENERATIONS.  Heinlein’s FUTURE HISTORY stories. TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE.  But my biggest influences are adventure fiction writers (novelists).  Alistair MacLean (GUNS OF NAVARONE, WHERE EAGLES DARE, ICE STATION ZEBRA) probably has had the biggest effect on my writing, in terms of stories and characters.  And Ian Fleming, in terms of how, and when and how much I write.  I’ve been reading and re-reading his James Bond books since 1969.  A great travel and historical writer… his novels are now picture perfect looks at the bad old world of the 1950s and 1960s.

 When can we expect to see “Return of the Killer Shrews” released?

We’re doing festivals right now and benefit screenings.  I’d like to see it out soon.

 Besides this movie, which of your other projects is your most favorite and why?

BIOHAZARD THE ALIEN FORCE because of the wonderful memories of Florida, our cast and crew, and the fact that we broke all the rules and made an action-packed sci fi adventure with 28 speaking parts, 50 locations, car chases, helicopter battles, running and jumping fights, more car chases at Universal studios, exploding lab complexes and Chris Mitchum.  And all for about $50,000.

COMMAND PEFORMANCE (2009) because it was a wonderful, fun collaboration with co-writer/director/star  Dolph Lundgren.  Dolph and I set out to make a fun, 90s retro action piece, with tongues firmly in cheek.  And we did it.  Set in Moscow, Dolph plays a formerly violent ex-biker turned rock and roll drummer for a metal band in Russia.  He’s opening for a Brittany Houston type.   Fun stuff… we had one of the Pussycat Girls as the singer.  Not surprisingly, it was a major ingredient in Dolph’s recent career surge.  And I got to work with Dolph, who’s a hell of a nice guy and a fine filmmaker, heading rapidly for Clint Eastwood status as he directs more and more of his own stuff.  It has one of my favorite lines… “Dying is easy… rock &roll is hard…”

 What’s the next creative project for you?

Next up is a balls-to-the-wall horror western called COWBOYS & ZOMBIES.  Leone meets Romero.  Writing this with Pat Moran and Steve Spear.  Spear is an up and coming writer/producer you’ll be hearing a lot more from in the near future.  The project was his concept; we are collaborating with him on characters, story, settings, everything.  It’s got homages to everything from RIO BRAVO to the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, DJANGO, GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY, THE BIG GUNDOWN and DAWN OF THE DEAD.  This has actually been in play for a while.  Some would suggest comparisons to COWBOYS AND ALIENS but our films are distinctively different.  There’s was a western that happened to have aliens in it… something that hurt the film with present day audiences (though I loved it, as a western buff).  Ours is a flat out, rapid fire zombie movie that happens to take place in the old west.  I think it’s what you want to see with a title like that.

 Do you have a question you’d like to ask the Readers today?

What movies haven’t you seen that you’d like to see?  What do you like and dislike about today’s movies?

 Where can the fans find more information on line?

www.killershrewsmovie.com

Thank you so much for being my guest today – I can’t WAIT to see the movie!

Readers, we appreciate any comments you’d like to leave for Steve and/or your input on his questions above…

Guest Character Interview/Giveaway – Richie & Tommy Ray from Patricia Preston’s LAID TO REST!

Update: Renee F was the winner of the randomly drawn giveaway – thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting!

As my guests today, I am hosting two characters from Patricia Ann Preston’s story, “Laid to Rest,” Richie Underwood and Tommy Ray Petty. Patricia is also giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one randomly selected Commenter, so be sure to leave us a comment to enter!

Here’s the story:

In “Laid to Rest,” set in 1957, Mayor Clifford Earl Stroud dies from a heart attack in Darlene Higginbottom’s bedroom, which is most unfortunate for everyone involved. Especially Darlene, who is only trying to make a little money on the side so she can get to Hollywood and become a movie star like her idol, Marilyn Monroe.

The mayor’s death is just the beginning of her troubles that night. How can she keep Mayor Stroud’s wife from finding out what happened? Regrettably, Darlene has to rely on the dumbest two guys in Clayburn, Richie and Tommy Ray, for help with the mayor’s corpse. Now, if she’d had two sensible men helping her, this story would never have been written. But, you take Darlene, Richie, Tommy Ray, add a dead body, and you’ve got…well, there’s not a single word that can describe what happened that night. It had to be a story and a funny one at that.

And now to find out more about these two…..

Tell us about your life:

Richie:  It ain’t been easy. The only thing I was ever good at was playing the fiddle, but most folks don’t know that because I’ve never played in public. I probably ain’t very good anyway. Never was much good at anything. My girlfriend ran off and married another guy. I got fired from my job at the service station because an old lady accused me of trying to look down her blouse when I was washing her car’s windshield. I’m desperate but I ain’t that desperate. Then I got mixed up with Darlene and now anything’s liable to happen to me.

Tommy Ray: I like going to the movies.

What is your biggest fear?

 Richie: I got a bunch of those. I sure don’t like messing around with dead bodies. It ain’t right, and regardless of what Darlene says, dead bodies bring bad luck.

Tommy Ray: I had a brown dog when I was a little boy.

Richie: Tommy, we ain’t on that question now. Okay. Sorry, you gotta to look over him.

What is your opinion of your co-character, Darlene Higginbottom?

 Richie:  I don’t think a bad girl should be so full of herself. She’s not as smart as she thinks. She’s not as good-looking as she thinks. And, all that talk of hers about thinking positive and dreaming big is nothing but a load of malarkey. It ain’t happening.

Tommy Ray: He won’t say that to her face.

Why?

 Richie: Well, she can kick like a mule. She almost broke my knee already, and she could put any man in his grave. I felt sorry for Mayor Stroud.

What do you hope happens to you in future stories?

 Tommy Ray: I hope we have a lot of fun. I hope we get to go to Hollywood and see movie stars in real life. And, I want to go to Florida and let the waves roll over me. That’s my dream. I know Darlene gonna become a movie star and someday, Richie will play the fiddle at the Grand Ole Opry.

Richie: That ain’t never gonna happen. Darlene’s filled his head with them silly notions. We’re going to end up broke and back on the farm, if not in the pen. The law don’t like us much.

Tommy Ray: The sheriff was pretty mad the last time he picked us up.

In parting, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

 Richie: We’ve got fans? Really?

Tommy Ray: A fan comes in real handy when it’s summertime.

Thanks so much for the interview, guys. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you again in future stories including “Haints in Hollywood,” coming soon.  

“Laid to Rest,” a Kindle Best Seller in Comedy, is 99 cents. http://amzn.to/LLHoPy

Also its sister story, “The Yard Sale” is available on Amazon.

You can visit Patricia at www.patriciaannpreston.com

If you are a fan of Richie and Tommy Ray, leave them a comment. They’ll be proud to hear from you and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card!  

Six Sentence Sunday – Science Fiction Adventure

Going back to my SFR , which is now an R&R, sent it back in today with fingers crossed!

Set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. 

We’ve been through Tom’s near fatal illness, his recovery (but no spoilers about how that was accomplished)….(did teasers about their romantic encounter LOL)

Now on to their next challenge in the desperate journey across Zulaire – the Chikeeri River. Last week Andi was knocked overboard and now she’s in the hands of the rebels.The ringleader is speaking (had to delete his name to avoid spoilers).

“You outworlders never give up, do you?”

Jerking herself away from him, Andi  said, “Don’t touch me, you bastard.”

“Defiant to the end.” Examining his knife, (the leader) ran a careful finger along the edge, his smile revealing yellowed teeth. “Maybe the offering of your blood will be pleasing to these fields, improve the harvest next year – what do you think?”

“I think you’re insane – go to hell.”

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts

Character Interview & Giveaway – ZERO GRAVITY OUTCASTS by Kay Keppler

Update 7/20/12 Dianne was the Winner of the Giveaway – thanks to all for stopping by and especially for commenting!

It’s my pleasure today to host fellow Carina Author Key Keppler  and the three main characters from her recent science fiction novel ZERO GRAVITY OUTCASTS, in a lively interview. Before we get to the interview, Kay is giving away one copy of her book to a randomly selected commenter so be sure to leave your comment below to be entered! I’ll add one $10.00 Amazon gift card and will select the winner after midnight on July 18th.

Here’s the book blurb:

Minka Shokat needs only three things in life: her Wayfarer spaceship and her two best friends and crewmates by her side. Anjali Tilak and Tex Arcana stood by her—both of them wearing fringed, pink leather boots—after she was falsely branded a traitor and kicked out of Central Command five years ago.

Working with her friends on their own terms beats flying warships any day. But keeping her junker of a ship flying takes more money than Minka and her crew have. As a last resort, she accepts a job transporting cargo for Central Command.

Then she finds out what her “cargo” is: the very general who ruined her reputation. He needs Minka to deliver him safely to a peace conference. Now Minka and her biggest rival must work together to fight off space pirates, commandos, and rebels who are determined to stop their mission—or be blown out of the skies for good. And while the pink boots are made for walking, they’d never survive that.

VS sez and now folks, welcome to the blog, let’s talk!

Hi, Veronica! Thanks for inviting us to crowd around your kitchen table for snacks and chats! I’m Tex Arcana, our space ship’s mechanic. I’m the most important person in the book and the most handsome, not to mention the most clever, but Minka—that’s Minka Shokat—likes to think she’s our boss. So, you know, pushy. She’s on, like, every page. I ask you.

(Minka slams down coffee cup) I am not! And, hey, are those pink boots regulation?

(Tex sticks out leg, admires his boots) Absolutely. Right, Anjali?

Well, they’re as regulation as we ever get. That’s why we love flying with Minka. Hi, Veronica. I’m Anjali Tilak, alternate captain with Minka, plus navigator and penny pincher. And janitor.

Before the action in the book, what were your plans/hopes for the future?

(Anjali mops up the coffee) Minka and I were going to be captains with Central Command, flying war ships. That’s a big deal. Tex was just trying to stay out of jail, and not succeeding all that well.

Hey! That was totally not my fault!

Want to elaborate on that experience a bit more, Tex? Sounds interesting!

Really, you don’t want to know the details, Veronica. Tell her about Minka, Anjali.

Minka got railroaded out of Central Command. I was her roommate, plus I was there. I know what happened. And after that, who could work for those people?

(Minka  refills her coffee cup) I was really upset at the time. But Anjali showed more guts and loyalty in her little finger than those jerks in Central Command showed in their entire battle structure.

(Anjali shakes her head, wagging a finger) Minka’s exaggerating. Plus, flying with her is fun. And then she rescued Tex and we all became partners. So we’ve been an impoverished but happy cargo company ever since.

How would you describe your personality? Tex, you might as well go first:

I’m fabulous!

Tex is fabulous. I’m boring.

Minka, you’re never boring. You’re brave and independent and funny. I’m the boring one.

Oh, please, you two! Modesty does not become the most famous captains of the skies. Anjali is a darling, even if she copies my fashion style.

Do you have a motto or code you live by?

(Minka turns to Tex with a grin) Tex, you’re the clever one. What do you think?

All for one, and one for all, girlfriend. BFF forever!

What one thing would you take to a desert island?

Anjali: I’d take Tex.

Tex: Anjali, of course, you’d take me! I’d take Minka.

Minka: And I’d take Anjali.

Tex: And then we’d all be there! How fabulous is that? Speaking of fabulous, how’s the shopping on this island?

(VS sez: Pretty limited, coconuts and grass skirts, I think!)

If you had to pick another career, what would it be?

(Tex throws his arms out) Seriously? There is no other career. Minka saved my life. I’m sticking with her, in case she has to do it again. What about you, Anjali?

Same. I’ve had more fun, and more adventures, since Minka and you and I started our company than I’ve ever had. Why would I do anything else? Minka, I know you feel the same.

Nope. I’m thinking of becoming a circus aerialist.

(Tex laughs.) Minka, honey, I love you, but you are so full of it.

What are your future plans?

Girlfriend! There is a one-day clearance sale at Macy’s that is not to be missed!

(Anjali sits bolt upright in the chair, glares at Tex) Tex! If you get the same shoes as me again, I swear I’ll…do something!

Boys and girls! (Minka taps her fingers on the table) Remember we’re guests on somebody’s blog! Well, Veronica, I think I’ll work on our schedules for a bit. Somebody around here has to keep the ship flying! Thanks for letting us drop by. But I think Macy’s is calling.

VS sez it was terrific to have you all here today and good luck with the Macy’s sale!

Buy links for the book:

Carina   Amazon

So Readers, what is the most outrageous pair of footwear you own? I have a pretty trippy pair of 3″ heels in turquoise, yellow & red snakeskin myself……leave a comment & be entered to win the book & gift card! (I moderate comments daily after work so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear right away.)

 

Six Sentence Sunday – Science Fiction Adventure Continues

Going back to my SFR , which is now an R&R, working on the comments with fingers crossed!

Set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. 

We’ve been through Tom’s near fatal illness, his recovery (but no spoilers about how that was accomplished)….(did teasers about their romantic encounter LOL)

Now on to their next challenge in the desperate journey across Zulaire – the Chikeeri River.

The sound of the river was im­mense, deafening, as fifteen foot waves reared up in spots, crashing against boulders too massive for the river to tear loose. Then came another of those dizzying slides down a chute, the raft turning sideways despite Tom’s frantic efforts to steer.

Rocks, captain—watch out,” the sergeant yelled.

His voice was the last thing she heard before Andi flew through the air.  Gasping at the shock as she landed in the frigid river, she took an inadvertent, choking gulp of water. Going all the way under, Andi panicked, thrashing, unable to tell which way was up in the churning water.

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!

Six Sentence Sunday

Going back to my SFR , which – STATUS CHANGE – is now an R&R, working on the comments with fingers crossed!

Set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. 

In the excerpt three weeks ago Tom was taken suddenly ill. Last week Tom and Andi discussed his near fatal illness. He’s recovering…the conversation continues (had to skip ahead due to spoilers so this is NOT directly after last week’s excerpt)…:

Aching to touch him, Andi settled for tracing the dagger and comet tattoo on his bicep with her forefinger. “Special Forces?”

“Yes – I have a couple in other, more interesting places.”

“I know, I’ve seen them,”  she said, blushing, not meeting his eyes. “Mitch and the monks needed my help when you were so sick.”

“I’m not sick now.”

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts!