Monthly Archives: June 2020

26Jun/20

Jayne Lockwood

June 26, 2020

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Jayne Lockwood as the guest on Episode 274 – You’ve Ruined It!

Jayne Lockwood, one of WROTE’s co-founders, returns for a lengthy, brilliant, informative and thoroughly entertaining discussion about her latest novel “Going Down,” and touching up and re-releasing older works!

(Normally, we would edit for conciseness, but when Jayne’s in the hot seat, you just sit back and let her go!)

Follow Jayne and support her work:

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Bio:

Jayne Lockwood has always wanted to learn to fly. Spending free time honing her Peter Pan skills on an aerial hoop, she also creates flights of fancy in her books, mingling sex and romance with angst and a healthy dash of dark humor.

Lady Jaguar is Jayne Lockwood’s unpredictable alter ego. Her first den was in the depths of Wattpad and AO3, where she still writes fan fiction. She two books out and one on the way. Expect erotic filth, high-octane frolics and every beloved romance trope known to mankind!

Lady Jaguar is on Instagram (when they haven’t banned her,) Twitter, and down with the kids at Tumblr.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayiHeartRadioSpotifyStitcherTuneIn

Or right here:

22Jun/20

Borderland by F E Feeley Jr and Jamie Fessenden

F. E. Feeley Jr will be on WROTE to talk about Borderland later in the summer, so don’t miss it!

Okay, so on first reading the blurb, this book doesn’t sound like a whole barrel of laughs. Borderland is the story of a young married couple, but of the MC’s has a one-way ticket to the next realm, via a terminal cancer diagnosis. Their final journey to George’s home town is hindered by their car breaking down in a ferocious storm, just outside the gates of an old hotel, the Borderland. This hotel has all the elements of “don’t go there or you won’t come out,” but George and Jason have no choice. George is sick and needs looking after.

In less accomplished hands, this premise could turn into a horrible, excruciating mess, but the authors are none other than F E Feeley Jr (author of the majestic When Heaven Strikes and Hallelujah) and Jamie Fessenden, whose genres include the searing (Violated) and the cheeky (Bigfoot Hunters In Love.) That mix of spirituality, horror, gut-wrenching emotion and dark humour is just what a story like this needs. Cancer is a serious subject, and it is treated with respect., but it is married with a good dose of black comedy and genuine creeps.

After a slightly muddled start of their stay, George and Jason begin to twig that All Is Not As It Seems. There are some great visuals, from the pristine hotel turning to a cold dusty wreck and back again, to the guests being alive one moment and very dead the next. There is a hall of mirrors feel about the place, and a garden maze that never seems to end. The genteel owner of the hotel, Rebecca Thibault, is part-Mrs. Danvers/part-Mary Poppins, and Harry, the gardener, is a deceptively simple man who misses nothing. There are tiny dramas occurring amongst the staff, from the young couple who want to be together to the torrid three-way affair of a travelling theatre troupe. The way this story plays out is hideously sinister, with the two MC’s running down endless corridors filled with unearthly screams, being pursued by a demon whose goal is endless misery for guests past and present.

And yet… just read this.

It had been months, and now he needed this man—his lover, his husband—more than ever. He needed him to suspend time. Here in this moment, he wasn’t dying. Here in this moment, as they made love touched by the silver moonlight from the window, he was immortal.

It’s a tiny taste of which tells you all you need to know about the beauty of this book. The prose is beautiful, elegant, poignant and heartbreaking at times.

There are nods to the Eagles’ classic, Hotel California, and the plot also weaves in the Spanish Flu epidemic from 1920, together with colourful characters from the Jazz Age. It’s a glorious technicolour chase for the truth through a haunted house where the walls come alive and yawning pits will swallow the unwary. George and Jason are the unwitting witnesses to a drama which has been going on behind the fetid walls for decades, but their presence, their love and their sexuality is unnerving the inhabitants of the hotel and encouraging them to let go of the narratives they have held onto for a century.

I’ve never read a ghost story quite like this one before, but I’m so glad I took a chance on it. Despite the unlikely premise, the ending is curiously uplifting. Fessenden and Feeley make a formidable writing team and I hope they collaborate on another novel soon.

BLURB

They were young.
In the prime of life and recently married.
And then the diagnosis came.
Cancer.

George and Jason make arrangements to travel back to George’s home state of Vermont so he may pass away in the town where he grew up, but a terrible storm diverts the couple into the gates of an out-of-the-way hotel called Borderland.

Sure, the employees are well dressed and polite. Sure, the food and entertainment are old-time fare. But it’s all a schtick, right?

Or is there something far more sinister at work here?

Welcome to the Borderland Hotel, where you may check in, but you’ll never, ever leave.

19Jun/20

Maram Taibah

June 19, 2020

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Maram Taibah as the guest on Episode 273 – A Scene With A Lot of Potatoes!

Maram Taibah, children’s fantasy author, shares her recent releases, The Road to Elephants and Weathernose – a steampunk fantasy for kids!

Follow Maram and support her work:

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Bio:

Maram Taibah is a novelist, screenwriter and blogger. She is the author of two novellas, The Road to Elephants and Weathernose, and the writer/director of two short films. Maram is currently working on an exciting fantasy novel.

She’s been a mentor to many writers in Saudi Arabia through workshops, coaching programs, and online events.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayiHeartRadioSpotifyStitcherTuneIn

Or right here:

12Jun/20

Jo Quenell

June 12, 2020

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Jo Quenell as the guest on Episode 272 – Transgressive Trashy Stuff!

Jo Quenell joins us for a fun look at their current release, The Mud Ballad, their current anthology, Bleak Friday, and a talk about various subgenres of horror.

Follow Jo and support their work:

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Bio:

Jo Quenell uses They/them and She/her pronouns. Their short fiction has been featured in Zombie Punks Fuck Off, Dark Moon Digest, Bleak Friday, When the Sirens Have Faded, and LAZERMALL. They are the author of THE MUD BALLAD.

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayiHeartRadioSpotifyStitcherTuneIn

Or right here:

05Jun/20

Afterlife

June 5, 2020

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Tuffy Stanley as the guest (along with Baz) on Episode 271 – Depend on That!

Tuffy Stanley and our very own Baz have started a new YouTube channel called Afterlife to discuss queer life after the age of 30. Vance tries to keep them on task, but silliness and giggles ensue.

Follow Tuffy and support her work:

Videos mentioned in this Episode:

This Podcast episode is available on these channels (in order alphabetical):
Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayiHeartRadioSpotifyStitcherTuneIn

Or right here:

01Jun/20

A Little Chatter by Terry Connell

To find out more about Terry and his work, check out Episode 264 – There Are No Shoulds!

I was a little hesitant about reading this book at first. The cover doesn’t invite one in, with a barrage of repeated words that made my eyes go funny. It had a bit of a “try hard” feel about it, and the title seemed to suggest something frivolous, a trifling matter to pass the time if one had nothing else to do. It was an inauspicious start, and a shame because the stories themselves are startling, poignant, sometimes desperately sad, but always entertaining and well-written.

A frivolous read, this certainly is not. It is a truly diverse collection of vignettes than actual stories; snapshots of people’s lives and experiences, each one very different from the last. The author uses dialogue, prose, sections as if taken from official reports, and weaves all those things in to a highly readable package with some intriguing characters.

These stories feel more personal than ones written with fictional characters. These tales read like people who have really existed, people from the author’s past, or echoes of people he has encountered, however briefly. There are exquisite observations of everyday life, perfectly preserved. I can imagine the author sitting in a diner with his notepad, quietly taking in all the tiny dramas around him, then weaving them with words drawn from his imagination. It is a true piece of literary work, crafted with skill and a keen eye.

Standouts for me are the first story, Goodbye, Willow Grove, where two people have very different memories of the same, sun-drenched day. The Tire Swing, where an elderly man reminisces over his life. It is written from a second person aspect, which isn’t for everyone, but there was a poetic rhythm about it that I loved. Finally, Thursday Night at Niko’s Italian Restaurant, which sounds like a Billy Joel song and is a slice of life from the underbelly of old-school Americana.

There’s a theme of savagery running through a lot of the stories, a cynicism as well as rose-tinted sentimentality. Just like any good conversation, there is something for everyone. The book isn’t always a comfortable read. I didn’t warm to some of the stories, but that’s like any collection, as well as being human. And everyone in this book is achingly human; flawed, honourable, selfish, angry, loving. This is definitely a short story collection to check out if you want human stories to make you think.

BLURB

The characters moving through Connell’s wondrous, hypnotic stories are vivid, unique, and somehow familiar. With insight and humor, they challenge the status quo, wrestle with shadows from their past, and make innocent mistakes – not always with the best results.