Follow Your Arrow (Part 2): Stay Gold, Ponyboy

stay

Stay Gold, Ponyboy…

I started writing in 2011. It took me four months to write the first draft of my first novel. Ever since then, I’ve been working on getting better as a writer. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was: “Don’t let schooling change how you write” She was talking about my voice as a writer, but I think that line of advice can be applied to any sort of lesson or instruction you may receive on how to be a writer.

I know plenty of people, great authors, who pay good money to attend writing classes, or workshops, or writing boot-camps,  and I think if you can afford them and have the time, go for it. The concern in taking classes and instruction is that you may take every lesson as a “how-to” manual. The problem there is that, for some writers, you begin to think that anything that doesn’t go step-by-step the way you were taught is somehow wrong.

Writing is more than that. There is definitely some structure involved. It’s not an “anything goes” venture. Not everyone can or should do it (even though Amazon says you can). You have to have an idea about how a story should flow, how to bring characters to life, write dialogue, and have a decent grasp on grammar. I believe the best way to learn is simply to read. Read your favorite authors, read the classics, and mix in some riff raff. Yes, you can learn plenty of what not to do by reading through those bad books, too. The key is to find a few authors you truly enjoy and marvel over, and note in your writing brain what they did that worked so well for you. And likewise with the bad ones–what really killed the book? Where did it all go horribly wrong? I read like crazy. I read more now that I’m writing than I did before.

I like to look at learning as taking advice. Use what works for you. Use what you’re comfortable with. I often will send my pieces to another writer friend or an editor and ask them what they think. More times than not, I get a great piece of advice in return, or some little nugget that I never thought about. When I first started the process of using beta readers, I took everything I was told to heart. Besides, the rules and suggestions were coming from professionals. Then, I began to notice things in books I love that went against the rules. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like the move from innocent reader to writer/reader, but this enlightenment is inevitable. After a while, it got a little better.  Like anything in life, we go from not knowing, to thinking we know, to understanding.  I started to see that what we are taught, the advice we are given, is just that–advice. Yes, the lesson is coming from a professional, someone who has been there, done that, but that does not mean you must play strictly by these rules.  Your story doesn’t have to fit into the Writer’s Box.  Some of the ones that fit perfectly in that box are heartless. Almost like someone was doing paint-by-numbers with their book.  That is the travesty.

“Permission to Boogie”

Writing is about heart and soul. You can learn how to build the robot, but can you make it move? It’s about finding your voice. To do that you have to use what moves you to move the reader. What scares you? What breaks your heart? What makes you trust somebody? Hopefully you don’t have first-hand experience in disemboweling people (unless maybe you’re a doctor, or a mortician), but you need to use what makes your blood pump in real life and transfer that into your story. When you succeed in doing this, the magic comes to life. Your book comes alive. Your robot begins to boogie.

So yes, take the class, do the workshop, take notes when someone explains what didn’t work for them or what they would like to see, but don’t let it erase what makes you special. Apply the advice to what you already do. If your story doesn’t fit exactly into the manual, if your colors don’t stay in the lines, so be it. Art is about doing your thing, expressing who you are.  Readers will find you through one of your books or stories, but they’ll keep coming back to you for you.

Goodreads–A great place to spread the gospel

Do you read a lot? Are you just a bookworm or are you a professional reviewer? Whatever the case may be, authors love to get reviewed. Goodreads is one of the top spots to find these reviews. Authors have to do the majority of their promotions these days. Sites like Goodreads and Booklikes are helpful tools that assist authors in lightening the load we have to shoulder in the ever-changing world of promotions. These sites provide a place for the readers to spread the word on the books and authors they like. As a fairly new writer, I am grateful for these types of sites, Goodreads in particular.

I read quite a bit. I try and review each and every novel or novella that I read. I love to report on my favorites reads, the ones that really surprised me, and sometimes, the ones that let me down. It’s in this latter case that we authors cringe a bit, and honestly, as a reviewer, so do I. It’s never easy to write about a book that didn’t work for you, but, as long as the review is honest and not an obvious outright attack on the author, the review is (or at least should be) appreciated.

Word of mouth, grassroots, whichever you see it as, Goodreads, and sites like it,  provide a great place for readers to help authors reach their target audience.  If you have a Goodreads account and appreciate any of my works, or are interested in checking out any of my works, please take a second and click the “g” below my book covers here.

I look forward to reading your reviews (good or bad) on Abram’s Bridge or Boom Town. There’s also a Goodreads page for my next novel, Blood and Rain. Werewolf fans may want to click and add this one 😉

Abram's Bridge (2015)

Abram’s Bridge (2015)

 

Abram's Bridge
Boom Town (2015)

Boom Town (2015)

Boom Town
Blood and Rain (October, 2015)

Blood and Rain (October, 2015)

Blood And Rain

A Guest Post by Glenn Rolfe: Be the Fearless Writer

If you missed it earlier this week.. I posted this bit on Jonathan Janz’s website. It is a piece about writing with out fear. Check it out.

Jonathan Janz

My friend and new Samhain Horror author Glenn Rolfe dropped by the blog tonight to share some thoughts on fearlessness. So without further ado, here he is!

Be the Fearless Writer
by Glenn Rolfe, author of Boom Town

“I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”—Stephen King

This might be my favorite Stephen King quote. It’s definitely the most important one for me as a writer. When I began to take writing seriously almost four years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d read a lot of Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, and Brian Keene, plus plenty of Stephen King and Jack Ketchum, but I hadn’t taken an English course since 1995! Needless to say, I knew my writing would be pretty rough. I knew I had A LOT to learn, but the one thing I thought I understood was what would make a…

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Blood and Rain Cover Reveal: Who wants to howl?

Blood and Rain (October, 2015)

Blood and Rain (October, 2015)

This is totally my favorite cover from my Samhain collection. I hope you guys dig it as much as I do. Blood and Rain is about a mad puppy…or a werewolf. 🙂  Fun trivia for you here: ROLFE–This unusual and interesting English surname derives ultimately from the Old Scandanavian and Germanic pre 5th century personal name “Hrodwulf”. This was composed of the elements “hrod”, meaning “renown”, and “wulf”,a wolf.  Blood and Rain will be my first full-length novel with Samhain. It’s set to come out in October. Perfect timing, right?

The werewolf is a monster near and dear to my heart. Growing up, my older brother, Greg, introduced me to the beast through movies like Silver Bullet and The Howling. He passed away in 2010, before I’d even started writing.I wish he could have been around to see this. Blood and Rain is dedicated to him.

You will hear plenty more about this book when the summer winds down and the cool nights of fall come creeping back to us. Until then…

Feel free to grab my latest novella, Boom Town.

boom-town

  • Boom Town is an alien invasion novel with teeth…blue, gelatinous teeth, the be exact. Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!” -Hunter Shea, Author of The Montauk Monster and Tortures of the Damned
  • “Glenn Rolfe’s writing is a breath of fresh air, followed by a jolt of adrenaline.” – Iain Rob Wright, author of The Final Winter

MAY’s Crimson Blossom: New Releases from Samhain Horror

the-cure

She was born with the power to cure. Now she’s developed the power to kill.

Leah DeGarmo has the power to cure with just a touch. But with her gift comes a dark side: Whatever she takes in she has to pass on, or suffer it herself. Now a sadistic criminal has discovered what she can do and he’ll stop at nothing to control her. He makes a mistake, though, when he kills the man she loves, triggering a rage inside her that releases a new power she didn’t know she had: the ability to kill. Transformed into a demon of retribution, Leah resurrects her lover and embarks on a mission to destroy her enemies. The only question is, does she control her power or does it control her?

revels-ending

Let the bad times roll…

Ashe had everything going for him. He had a successful career, a stable life, and a beautiful fiancée, until she died…and was resurrected. Now everything is falling apart. In addition to Mardi Gras floats, the streets of Mobile are filled with walking corpses. Somehow Ashe knows it’s all connected back to him. Can he and his friends stop the sinister forces at work, or are their revels ending—along with their lives?

experiments-in-terror

The secrets of life…and death!

For centuries scientists have sought the secrets of life itself.  However, these experiments have often gone very, very wrong.  Gathered together in this volume for the first time are two novellas by Sèphera Girón that show exactly how terrifying these attempts can be.  In Captured Souls, Dr. Miriam Frederick is determined to create the perfect human specimen—and the perfect lover—with decidedly unexpected results.  And in Flesh Failure, a young woman pulls herself out of a shallow grave to roam the foggy streets of Jack the Ripper’s London, desperate to find answers…and what she needs to remain alive!

nightmare-in-greasepaint

Some family legacies are best left buried.

Will Pallasso has brought his wife and young son, Billy, back to his childhood home to settle his late mother’s affairs…and remove all traces of his haunted past. But now hideous memories are coming back to Will, and Billy has started suffering from night terrors. Returning to this house was a big mistake. Some memories should not be disturbed, and some nightmares will not stay buried forever.

Especially nightmares that wear greasepaint spattered with blood.

“Manages to build some serious suspense and will easily freak out those who suffer from Coulrophobia. A satisfying, well done creep-fest.”  – Nick Cato, Horror Fiction Review

the-bear-who-wouldnt-leave

Sometimes evil looks like a fuzzy teddy bear.

Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant to accept a well-worn stuffed teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy…and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things begin to happen.

Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ efforts rebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth—Edgar will always get even.

scarecrows

They do more than frighten birds. Much more.

Early one morning in the fall of 1964, Robert searched for his missing six-year-old daughter, Cathy. He found her asleep in a nearby cornfield, covered in blood and holding a small axe. A few feet away lay the mutilated body of her classmate Emily.

Assumed guilty of murder, Cathy lived in a hospital for insane children. She always gave the same account of what happened. She talked of murderous scarecrows that roamed the cornfield on moonlit nights. Her doctors considered her delusional. The police, her neighbors and the press thought she was dangerous. And so she remained incarcerated. No one believed her. That was a mistake.

winterwood

You’d better watch out!

No one in Anders Bach’s family believed his old tales of Winterwood, a place where Krampus and his Wild Hunt rule a frozen land and where bad children don’t get coal for Christmas, they get baked into pies or forced into slavery. But now the Yule Lads have kidnapped Anders’s grandsons, and he has to rescue them before they’re lost forever. Anders and his daughter must cross the divide between worlds and enter Winterwood, where evil holds sway and even the reindeer have a taste for human flesh. By the time the sun rises, they’ll learn the awful truth about Winterwood: there is no escape without sacrifice.

Seven great new releases from Samhain Publishing!  All discounted for May. Click the covers  to grab a copy from Amazon, or go to Samhainpublishing.com

Happy shopping!

Come back tomorrow for the Cover reveal for my next Samhian novel, Blood and Rain. It promises to be a howl.  😉

Stay tuned!

Glenn Rolfe: Past, present, and future….

For anyone that might be new to my body of work…here’s a look at what’s available and what’s to come:

HH PROMOOO

The Haunted Halls (2014)

Praise for The Haunted Halls:

  • “an atmospheric, spine-tingler that sustains the reader’s attention until its resolution with the inclusion of vile, cringe-worthy moments that’s sure to accommodate the churning of one’s stomach. Without a shortage of unwarrantable violence, sex, and profanity, Rolfe revels in his storytelling like that of a feverish child during a winter day; blissfully engaging himself in the act of snow angels.”- Horror After Dark
  • “Glenn Rolfe’s The Haunted Halls pulls out all the stops in delivering a blood-soaked, sexually charged spook show” – Peter N. Dudar, author of A Requiem for Dead Flies
  • “The Bruton Inn is the scariest hotel I have read about since The Overlook…”- Terry M. West, author of Heroin in the Magic Now
  • “Fast-paced and chilling, with eroticism and gore delivered with style.” – Russel James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

Released July, 2014 from James Ward Kirk Publishing

The Bruton Inn, located outside of the small Maine city of Hollis Oaks, is home to something special. An icy presence has made its way from a dark past to the present day. Cold spots, shadows, and whispers permeate the halls, and guests are beginning to change.

For two front desk employees, Rhiannon and Jeff, the dark rumors are about to come to light. They call upon Lee Buhl, the urban shaman, and his connection with the spirit world to dig up the truth.

Will they be able to stand against this malevolent force? Or will they come face to face with something beyond even your most frightful dreams. Welcome to the Bruton Inn. The Ice Queen has arrived.

Slush (2014)

Slush (2014)

Released October, 2014 from Alien Agenda Publishing

A collection of shorts stories, flash fiction and micro works.Slush will include previously published stories “Skull of Snakes”, “Jackie Boy”, and “Sweet 16”, alongside a fresh batch of terrifying stories to help you sleep at night.

Abram's Bridge (2015)

Abram’s Bridge (2015)

Praise for Abram’s Bridge:

  • “…an entertaining, tightly written ghost story that reads like a classic ghost tale with modern sensibilities. The story flows from an innocent, even sweet, ghost story, to a story of father and sons, and finally one of small towns and the secrets they can harbor. Pick this one up for an evening’s read!” – Hellnotes.com
  • “…Through written word or poetry in motion Glenn Rolfe’s supernatural soiree is a bona fide thrill ride for the ages.” – Horrornews.net

Released January, 2015 from Samhain Publishing

There is a darkness in this town, and it’s buried beneath Abram’s Bridge.

When Lil Ron meets Sweet Kate under Abram’s Bridge he is mesmerized. And when he realizes this beautiful girl is a ghost, it frightens him, but also draws him to her. Curiosity and a drive to make things right lead Lil Ron into a tangle of small-town secrets involving his own father and other members of this otherwise quiet community. Bit by bit, he will uncover the truth about Sweet Kate, a story of heartbreak, violence…and fear.

Boom Town (2015)

Boom Town (2015)

Praise for Boom Town:

  • Boom Town is an alien invasion novel with teeth…blue, gelatinous teeth, the be exact. Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!” -Hunter Shea, Author of The Montauk Monster and Tortures of the Damned
  • “Glenn Rolfe’s writing is a breath of fresh air, followed by a jolt of adrenaline.” – Iain Rob Wright, author of The Final Winter

Released April, 2015 from Samhain Publishing

Terror from below!

In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.

Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

And if you need more, there’s plenty on the way. Some will be released by Samhain Publishing, some will be self-published, others may end up elsewhere, but here’s what I’m looking at…

FUTURE RELEASES:

Blood and Rain (October, 2015) Print and eBook

Slush (2015) Audio and Print

Things We Fear (March, 2016) eBook

Where Nightmares Begin (March, 2016) Print

The Wold Comes Down (2016) Print and eBook

Becoming (2016)  Print and eBook

Window (2016) Print and eBook

October House (2016) eBook

An Interview with BOOM TOWN Author Glenn Rolfe

If you missed it last week, here’s the guest spot I had on the lovely Mercedes Yardley’s blog. 🙂

A Broken Laptop

I adore Glenn Rolfe. I adore him so much that he had a cameo in my novella Little Dead Red. I received emails saying that Glenn was their favorite character, and that doesn’t surprise me at all. Not at all.

Glenn just came out with his new novella, Boom Town.

boom townGlenn was kind enough to sit for an interview, and he starts off by giving us a quick description of his book!

Glenn, gimme your pitch! Tell us about Boom Town.

  1. A famous UFO sighting in Wisconsin. A couple witness a flying saucer blast a blue beam into the earth. The ground rumbles for miles. Thirty years later, a series of nightly mini-earthquakes, or “booms” as the locals refer to them, begin to happen in different parts if the Wisconsin town. Rumors fly as to what the actual cause may be. Two pre-teens (you can call them Brady and Kim…

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