Thursday, May 24, 2012

DISSECTION OF AN AUTHOR




Who’s Jeffrey Kosh?

Easy answer, you may think; a struggling horror storyteller with highs and lows, a funny fellow who loves writing (and talking) and promoting other authors’ works. An expat living in Thailand, looking for inner peace. Even a weirdo, if you like.
Yes.
And No.

There are many Jeffrey Koshs; yeah, some you can detect by reading his books, or his posts, that’s for sure, but they’re not all immediately discernible unless I give you a lead in.
Well, today I want to talk about those many Jeffreys, and I’ll do it by using some of my fictional characters to illustrate the shades in this author’ soul.
The monster lies on the surgeon’s table, and since we’re taking no chances, it has been sedated and strapped, ready for you to dissect.

AXEL J. HYDE
(Feeding the Urge)

Axel, the protagonist of ‘Feeding the Urge’ is the darkest aspect of Jeffrey Kosh.
A socially unstable individual with a strong urge to right what’s wrong, the good (?) doctor is a force of natural selection, an uber-predator culling out parasitic scavengers from modern society’s hedge. Inside, he’s a good man – or rather a kid – doing his best to understand his peers, but failing to fully grasp social dynamics and standard behavior.
For many years this character lived inside me, driving me ironically as my Rider.
I felt different; a freak of society, and also ugly, with less sex appeal than a carbonic bar. More, I was the weird guy who loved morbid and creepy things.
He was my Frankenstein’s creature.
Still, like that monster, I longed for companionship, unable to stay away from my kind.
I exorcised him by writing Feeding the Urge, allowing him to take his path into the world.
He is yet a part of me, although confined into a dark cellar of my Io.

CAPTAIN DANIEL DRAKE
(Dead Men Tell No Tales)

Cynical, practical, but passionate.
Drake is my outward attitude. People who meet me get the idea of a self-conscious, determined, and flamboyant individual. It’s not a mask I wear, but some kind of self-defense mechanism, like a cat ruffling its pelt to appear bigger and dangerous.
Drake was also a charming pirate and I’m sorry had to trim most of his description and background in ‘Dead MenTell No Tales’ due to the fact he was meant to be featured in a short stories collection of a Floridian publisher. I’m planning to use him in future projects, maybe in a complete, full-length, rewrite of the story.
Well, Drake may be resolute and charming, but he had this darn weakness: passion.
Passion drives my life, too, and leads me to act with hotheaded judgment, standing like a stalwart knight for those I feel deserve my affection. I’m protective of those I care for, but this can turn into a downfall when that protection isn’t wanted.
Pope Alexander VI, better known as Rodrigo Borgia, had this fault. He could’ve have been a great statesman and reformist, but being a temperamental dude, ended up being reminded as full of nepotism and viciousness.

SLADE CARVER
(Thrill of the Hunt)

Who the heck is this guy, now?
Slade is the main character of my work in progress, my first non-horror tale. A cowboy at birth, turned into a drifter by fate, he’s a hunk and hot as hell. Manly, old-style, and cocky, he’s the epitome of my sex appeal.
With time, I came to understand not being ugly, quite the contrary; I’ve had my shares of conquests and a discrete female following just for my good looks.
It was my Axel’ side which scared ‘em away.
I’m attractive (not posturing, mind you) that’s a fact, and now I have come to terms with that, accepting what others said before but I never took for real. 
Not playing in George Clooney’s or Brad Pitt’s league, but neither struggling in the Swamp of Eternal Monsterhood.  
By jailing Axel in that cellar, I’ve been able to gain some self-esteem and finally accepting to show myself on pictures or videos. If you explore my Facebook or Goodreads profiles, you’ll notice there aren’t so many photos of my teen years, cause I hated being photographed. Almost all the pics you see are recent.
Slade is more boastful than me, but that rugged cowboy attitude is gaining the upper hand in my personality and is slowly bringing me back to my country roots.
You don’t see me strut around, but I’ve become fitness conscious and love taking care of my body.

THE ALIEN EXPLORER
(?)

No, you won’t find this character in any of my published books.
Not yet.
It’s the weirdest part of me; a distant creature studying humanity from the outside, genderless and detached. There are some days I act like that, sliding amid society, avoiding being noticed, and taking in as much I can of my fellow travelers, giving back none.
I like to share, but when in this ‘mood’, I’m more a ghost than a living guy.
Loving to explore everything, I still stare at novelties with the eyes of a star-crossed child. The sky is always new to me, as do the ocean and the land; can spend hours watching a lizard, or a butterfly, or a group of kids playing.
Everything is new.
And new is always good, because I dread stagnation.


There are other faces, some too private to share with my readers, inside me.
However, those I’ve sketched, and sectioned, in this post are more than enough to get a first glance of who really is Jeffrey Kosh.

Or not?   


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MY REVIEW OF 'CARNIVAL FREAK' BY BILLIE SUE MOSIMAN

I was fortunate enough to read this delicious short story just after its release. As you can see I'm becoming a fan of Mrs. Mosiman's work, having started with `Wireman', and then following her up to her latest short masterpiece `Frankenstein: Return From the Wasteland'.
If you read my review about her take on Shelley's greatest, you'll register my initial skepticism, soon replaced by adoration for the piece.
This author has one of the rarest gifts in the writing world: versatility.
She could write a novel about Godzilla traveling back in time to save Abraham Lincoln and make it believable and interesting. She adapts her voice to the setting, yet here and there you can hear her distinctive use of words and lines, but she never intrudes, allowing you to enjoy her descriptions.
In short, you never hear her saying `Heck! Look how much I'm good at it!'
And this short tale is a marvelous example of it. Another author would have jumped at the opportunity to use his voice and style, wearing the clothes of the Carnival Barker, and guiding the reader into the dark side of the story.
Nope, with diligent professionalism, she stays out of the stage, and tells this tale in the manner of a consummate storyteller, as a master weaver of weird tales, just like the ones we used to watch in TV shows like `Tales from the Crypt', Twilight Zone, and many more.
And it's one of those rare tales of mirrors.
Do not look too close or you'll see the monster in you, because the longer you stare, the deeper you see.
And we all harbor monsters, don't we?
Don't we all slow down to peek at the result of a car crash? Yes, we all find excuses for that: 'I'd like to be of help', 'Maybe someone got hurt'.
But the monster inside us craves for blood, it really wants to see the mangled bodies, the pain.
That's why, deep inside, we all like freakshows. Today, we made illuminated laws to protect those unfortunate from humiliating and undeserved exhibit of themselves for the monster's enjoyment. But freakshows are still out there, in different guises. They hide on TV, in the news, in social networks and on youtube.
We keep feeding our monsters.
The freak of the side show may not be the ugliest and scariest at first glance, yet, once truth comes out, you'll find he has his place among the vilest of things.
But is he really?
Or are the watchers worse than the caged beast? He doesn't hide his nature, like them. He may be a monster, and he shows it, but are the avid and morbid onlookers more candid?
I don't think so.
And you'll discover why buying this excellent page-turner.





Sunday, May 20, 2012

SPOTLIGHT ON: JANET BEASLEY'S MAYCLAY

Today, I'm glad to host in Prosperity Glades another great author. As you know, here I like to present you the best in all genres, not just horror. We explored erotica, sci-fi, adventure, thriller, even surreal books. Now it's the turn of High Fantasy, and author Janet Beasley is a master at it.
Enough with my small talk, here comes the meat:



AN EXCERPT FROM HIDDEN EARTH VOLUME ONE: MAYCLAY

     Bewildered, Iona cut loose again with her gift of chattering. “Let’s see…today I’ve seen a…a…gnome-like guy pop out of a cloud and leave a Dream Decanter on my nightstand. It spewed musical fog that my feet and legs are now dangling in causing my legs to heal. And let’s not forget the three-inch-long buzzing something…whose name, by the way, was apparently Jit? And he…she…I think it was a he…had a face like a human and wings like a dragonfly that he used to fly by my eyes leaving a trail of sparkles. Then he disappeared into the cloud with the little gnome guy…man…thing. I opened a magic letter signed by SUL, and now my birthmark is warm. Are you kidding me?” 
     She tried to put all of the recent events together. The poem on the card faded. It and the envelope burst into flames in her hand, making her jump. “Too weird. It didn’t burn me. Well, that was interesting.”
     She went silent, pondering to herself. I will never see this place again. Though it might have been guilt forcing these feelings, she wanted to believe she was truly thankful for the provisions she had received.
     “Yap! Yap! Yap! YOWLY-WOWEEE!” barked Wiskee.
     “Well, there’s another new noise from you. I guess you’re getting a little anxious? All I can say is, it’s a good thing you can’t talk because you’d chatter on more than me!” Iona calmed her small dog, Wiskee, with her touch. “OK. OK. I’m on it.”
     She brushed her hands together and resituated herself on the bed. She thought about her job—she was no longer going to be visiting those in need, and this troubled her.
     “I will see to it they are cared for.” Iona could not believe she was hearing what she thought was SUL’s audible voice again.
     She looked at Wiskee and whispered, “And we’ll never see our strange but lovable friend, Dumpster Man, again.” She had grown quite fond of him.
     With his nose, Wiskee pushed her hand toward the Dream Decanter, but she was still admiring the apartment. “Holy smokes! I can’t leave those!” She jumped from the bed and gathered the only remaining tangible memories of her family, their photos, and put them safely in the waistband of her pajama bottoms.

     She sat back down on the bed and clutched Wiskee under her arm without thinking. He made the noises to let her know she was holding him a little too tight.
     “Oh, I’m sorry little buddy.” She loosened her grip.
     Saying goodbye to her home was all too familiar and unpleasant. Iona closed her eyes and silently beckoned. Please let this be true. Please, SUL, I want to trust You with all my heart, and believe that You will take me to my family. She reached for the Dream Decanter, never letting Wiskee out of her grasp, and did just as the poem had instructed.

     Window shades dropped with a whoosh and a thud. Iona freaked and spoke from the pitch dark, “I didn’t know we had window shades.” All of the outside noises ceased; the silence was spooky.
     Guarding Wiskee with her life, she crossed her legs underneath her and felt the bed begin slowly turning and moving upward through the darkness. She was afraid of hitting the ceiling but was also afraid to jump because she did not know how high they really were. She reached high above her head and felt nothing. “STAY PUT WISKEE!” She hated to let go of him, but was concerned at their height. Carefully she stood on the bed but could not feel anything above them; she knew she could reach the ceiling if she stood on the bed. Frightened she sat back down and immediately grabbed Wiskee. If we’re floating in space, where are the stars? Where’s the moon? What are we…suspended in time?

     With her next breath she gagged. “What is that awful smell. Ack! That certainly isn’t roses! This can’t be right.” She saw what she thought was a fireball heading toward them. It came up fast from below and just missed the bed on its rapid ascent. Iona screamed. The fireball fizzled out high above their heads like a dud firework. She tossed the Dream Decanter to her pillow and scooted to the center of the bed, not letting Wiskee out of her tight grasp. She felt him trembling.
     She had always longed for adventure, but this was not exactly the adventure she had pictured in her mind. Somberly Iona spoke into the darkness, “What have I done?”  


A FEW WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR

JANET BEASLEY

Maycly Volume 1 Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the six-volume series Hidden Earth, is an epic fantasy that takes you on the journey of Iona, a girl in her twenties on Earth, who “has it all” and “loses it all,” nearly giving up on life altogether. She has never questioned her trust in the Grand Wizard, SUL, but when she develops multiple chronic illnesses, loses her wealth, and is forced to deal with the mysterious disappearance of her last three living family members, she chooses to believe that SUL no longer exists. Refusing to ask SUL for guidance, Iona is determined to find her family on her own; however, SUL has other plans for her. When a very special puppy shows up on her doorstep, things begin to change. The story explodes, taking you to the captivating world of Maycly 100 years prior, setting the stage for their queen’s hopeful arrival. The novel is full of twists and turns, monumental battles, and illustrations of never before seen flora and fauna. Tag along with Iona and her band of newfound friends as she discovers her destiny, faces a myriad of dangers, and continues searching for her family. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, maybe even say “aww.” But best of all, no matter your age, you’ll find characters, Earthly and/or Mayclysian, with whom you can relate.


*BLOG #1: JLBCreatives Blog
*FACEBOOK: JLBCreatives
*TWITTER: http://twitter.com/JLBCreatives - @JLBCreatives
*FLICKR - Free photos from Janet: Janet's Scenic Nature Photography


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WHEN A REVIEW IS A MIAMI LIME CAKE


OK. I rarely talk about myself or promote my books, preferring to point my readers to the works I have enjoyed the most from other writers. You see, I hate marketing; it’s an essential weapon in today’s Indies’ arsenal, but it’s like walking on a thin sheet of ice on a frozen lake: press too much and you plunge.

The second thing which scares me the most are reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I love reader’s feedback, we are nothing without their critics and (yum!) praises. Yet, being the new kid in the block, I’m always afraid someone will be bully or nasty toward my works.
Oh, I’m big enough to defend myself, but hate so much conflict that I tend to avoid it all costs.

Two weeks ago, I was attacked on a Facebook group I’m part of by a guy who felt offended by one of my post advertising a ‘Giveaway’. Now, I limited self-promoting there because I’m in that place as a fan of the author the group is dedicated to, not as Jeffrey Kosh the writer. But chance had this old post, which I published to allow some of my friends to get a free copy of ‘The South Will Rise Again’, bounce up; this guy saw it and got pissed.
I engaged him in a productive dialogue and, by the end of it, we became friends and he even bought one of my books.
Unbelievable, but funny.

All the reviews I get are spontaneous.
I’ve messed with my family before becoming a writer, so I’m basically alone; no relatives to praise my stuff, no real life friends buying or reading my books (I live in Thailand, remember?), and I never pester for reviews from my fellow writers.
At the moment, there are six gracing ‘Feeding the Urge’ at Amazon. “Spirits and Thought Forms) got one, even if it’s my best seller of the lot. ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ got five, and ‘The South Will Rise Again’ three.
As I said, no one of these comes from ‘on-demand’ reviewers.

Today, I received one of those reviews that can make an author cry with joy.
Jenn, a reader I don’t personally know, after savoring my book as a Miami Lime Cake, a page at a time, has published this touching comment at Amazon:

This book has so much going on within the pages that once you start it you will never have to worry about your mind wondering off in a different direction. In the beginning it is a story about Dr. Axel Hyde but it becomes so much more. There are so many different stories within this book it is crazy, but it all works and flows so well together.
This book does have some very adult situations and it does have some very taboo subject matter that a lot of people my want to turn away from the book but I can assure you that this book is very well thought out and written in a way that some of the subject matter is never to overwhelming. The characters are so well written that it is very easy for them to become real in your mind. You are able to feel the pain and hate and fear of each and everyone of them and that is what made this book so amazing for me.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a good captivating read and as much as you wouldn't think it being in a book like this, there is a bit of romance and a hot and steamy part.”

Well, I don’t like to brag, but innit worth my brush with the pen? (Forgive the slang)
I fought seven months to bring this wretched creature to see the light, and still don’t know from where that weird idea stemmed from. Even if I’ve got a clue or two.
This reader clearly took her time in reading my novel, taking in as much as I had pumped out.
I imagined her eating this ‘Miami Lime Cake’ like a consumed chef patissiere, diving inside my story, unwilling to swallow it at once.
So, I could have written ‘Feeding’ just for her and be happy about it. Because I need money, hell if I do, but as a humble storyteller I feed on this: readers’ approval.
This pushes me to go on, better myself and offer my readers the best stories I can find in those micro-distant universes in which they happened.

Thank you Jenn. 




Sunday, May 6, 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: JAIME JOHNESEE



Today I’m honored with the presence of one of the best new promises in the Horror genre. She’s not only a brilliant writer and my best pal, but also a pretty Michigander with a heart of gold and a resolute attitude. Author of the acclaimed anthology ‘Oh, the Horror!’, a former zookeeper, and greatest mom of her hood.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to interview the next to be winner of Bram Stoker’s Award:

JAIME JOHNESEE

Jeff: First of all, welcome to my blog. Now, please introduce yourself to our public –
Jaime: Hi my name's Jaime Johnesee and I'm a horroraholic.

Jeff: When did you start writing?
Jaime: When I was seven or eight the teacher had us write a little book. I've been creating my own little worlds and scenarios ever since. I didn't write my first novel until I was knocked down with an illness. I had to leave my 14 year profession as a zookeeper and wrote my first novel a few months later.

Jeff: What’s your actual job?
Jaime:  Which one? I'm a mother and wife first, then author, and finally a zoologist. I may not be working with animals but that part will never leave me.

Jeff: You were a zookeeper. Tell us something funny which happened at the zoo.
Jaime: I have a lot of those moments, like one that occurred during my internship at Mobile Zoo. I had been kicked in the hip by a zebra, spit on by the llama, then the camel, and a fiesty rhea. It was like a regurgitation conspiracy.
All I wanted when I was done for the day was to go back to my studio apartment on zoo property and take a shower.
As I turned on the faucet to start warming up the water a spider rappelled down from the ceiling and missed my hand by nearly a quarter inch. I jumped back and grabbed the oven cleaner from the kitchen (works quicker than bug spray) and started spraying the large arachnid.
I was cleaning his corpse from the shower floor when another came down. I looked at the ceiling only to find a swarm of about twenty black widows right there on the ceiling above the stall. That is one of those days I look back on and laugh.
At the time it wasn't so funny.

Jeff: How many languages do you speak?
Jaime: Well I speak English and Behavior which is its own interesting language in my opinion.

Jeff: What’s your favorite genre?
Jaime: To read, horror and dark fantasy. To write, I like horror, dark fantasy, and mystery.

Jeff: I see a difference. Why don’t you read mystery?
Jaime: I read mystery occasionally but most of my pals are also horror authors so I'm lucky enough to be surrounded with brilliant stories to read and reread.
Jeff: Feeding the Urge’ notwithstanding, what’s your favorite book of ever?
Jim: I have so many. The one I love and cherish most is The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe. I've had it almost fifteen years. As for current books, Finding Poe is up there. I've actually read it twice now and will probably read it again.

Jeff: Lisa Lane’s ‘Finding Poe’, huh? Did you read some more of her stories?
Jaime: I have some of her other work but I haven't quite gotten to it yet. She's a wonderful lady as well as a great author.

Jeff: Lingerie or Nightgown?
Jaime: Neither, sorry guys not like that, I'm a t-shirt and boxers kind of girl.

Jeff: Favorite author?
Jaime: Well I'm torn between Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I know Poe's character Dupin disparaged and disliked Doyle's Sherlock Holmes but alas I love both detectives and their worlds.

Jeff: Tea or Coffee?
Jaime: Tea. Straight up orange pekoe.

Jeff: Is your family supportive of your writing?
Jaime: Yes, my husband is amazing. The kids are also wonderful, we sit together and make up stories around the table all the time. Kid appropriate stories of course.

Jeff: Fast or Slow?
Jaime: Depends on the moment. Sometimes fast is good, but sometimes slow is much better.

Jeff: Something about your current work in progress?
Jaime: I'm editing a novel that will be released as soon as she is as beautiful as I can make her. It's about a former sniper turned Vigilante. She's got a bit of an odd life but it was fun to write.
I'm also writing a novel about a werejaguar FBI agent. Having fun with her too, she is quite the smart ass.

Jeff: Zombies or Vampires?
Jaime: Well as I say in a short story 'Horde equals family' but there is something visceral and inherently attractive about vampires, except the sparkly ones. I don't think I can decide.

Jeff: Do you believe in the Supernatural?
Jaime: Yes, and no. I've had some experiences I can not explain. At the same time though, I look at those instances with a skeptical eye. We know so little about our world, I just think more research is needed before we say, 'Hey that's a human spirit' rather than look at all the possibilities. Isn't it possible what we see as ghosts are not just glimpses into the past rather than actual deceased souls?

Jeff: Any suggestion for starting writers?
Jaime: I want to tell people not to give up on their dreams.
It is possible to make your dreams come true. It takes lots of hard work and faith in yourself but you can do it.

Jeff: Thank you for bearing this, Jaime. I kiss your cheek and wish you all the best.

Buy at Amazon



EXCERPT FROM JAIME'S NEXT NOVEL
Shifters by Jaime Johnesee.

On my way to work I'd had some time to think about life and what I want from mine. What I decided was there are a few things in life that bother me greatly, one of them is all that crap out there about shape shifters losing it during the full moon. Seriously, the moon doesn’t have any more pull over us than it does you humans. But I guess it’s like the stupid ‘vampires need an invitation to enter’ myth. Some things become what I like to call a Hollywood-fact. Mainly it’s those little things you see in all the monster movies.

I can tell you honestly that vampires are free to enter any dwelling, place of business, or warehouse that they choose. They are also just fine with garlic, crosses and holy water. Mainly because vampirism isn’t some demonic curse, it’s a virus. So too is lycanthropy. The bite from a were-beast causing it’s victim to also become one is the only thing
Hollywood got right.

Unfortunately it’s one that has caused many humans to fear us. What the myths don’t say is that the virus can only be transferred during an outbreak. Like most viruses, if the host isn’t infectious at the time, the infection is not transferred. Basically we have to be furry and feverish to bite you.

Another interesting fact is that lycanthropy didn’t exist until scientists in the early 1900s got together and tried to cook up a serious bug for germ warfare purposes. Before that it was only a myth; wolves native to
Hungary and Romania were blamed for anything bad that occurred. As time went on they felt stupid blaming animals and thus created the wolf-man stigmata to attach to villagers that were disliked.

A fuzzy version of
Salem’s witch hunts, if you will. The were-wolf virus was born in a lab in 1910 and as the decades went on many other strains were created. Basically our DNA is similar enough to every species of mammal for DNA manipulation to occur. I know all this because I just happen to become a black panther once in awhile.

Like other viruses, it flares up more when I am sick. Apparently my panther virus doesn’t much care for the common cold, or the flu. When I fall ill the shifter virus takes over and I turn. When I turn back (usually four hours and a raccoon or two later) I’m completely cured of the rhinovirus or influenza. I think that’s where the whole ‘turning into their animal heals a Were’ myth came from. It heals us of some illnesses and disease, but not gunshots.

Oh and the whole needing silver to kill us thing is also a myth. A regular bullet will end us as easily as the next guy. Our pain thresholds are higher than humans so you might have to get a head or center mass shot to stop us, but hey, we’re killable.

Another myth that annoys me is how we turn into mindless beasts when we change. When I’m a panther I am fully conscious and aware of what I’m doing. True, my animal urges sometimes overrule my common sense. While I normally don’t chase, kill, and consume rabbits; my panther can’t resist.

Mind you, I don’t go into a pet store and chase bunnies there. I have some land attached to my house. It’s not as much as I wish but 25 acres is damn helpful when you turn into a giant Disneyesque panther.








Wednesday, May 2, 2012

AARGH! THAR BE FREEBIES!

For the first time, 'DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES' goes free at Amazon.
Here's a great opportunity to have a peek at my writing style ... without paying a cent!

This brings to my mind that I never had the opportunity to present my books in a concise way; I tend to blubber a lot. So, here we go, that's what I feel about my babies:

Feeding the Urge is my first son: unruly, wild, and unpredictable.
Spirits and Thought Forms, the second: neat, intellectual, and successful.
Dead Men Tell No Tales, the third: artsy, creative, and flamboyant.
The South Will Rise Again, my little one: scary, romantic, and lethal.

Free from Thursday to Saturday!