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The Story Behind The Voodoo Follies

In Book of The Month on April 4, 2012 at 1:59 am

People ask me all the time how I come up with my stories. So, here’s the story of how The VooDoo Follies came to be.

First of all, let me address the title, because I have been attacked by “critics” for the capital “d” in Voodoo. I capitalized the “d” on purpose because it is, in itself, a folly. That’s it. That’s my big reveal! lol Sometimes, the answer is short and sweet. I won’t change the spelling – no matter what my critics say! 😉

So, how did this book happen? It all started when I was taking a shower. My mind runs rampant at the most inopportune times, really. And I just happened to have zombies on the brain that day for some reason or other. So, as I am taking a shower, I am thinking… ‘I wonder what it would be like to hear the zombie’s side of the story?’ Lots of moaning and groaning I would imagine. But, what if you could be inside the zombie’s head? So, then I wondered what it would be like to be a teenage zombie. Let’s face it, as the mother of a couple teenagers, I often stash the Twinkies away and worry that I will have to get cracking on more cardio if the kids get any faster. Sometimes all my kids are capable of are grunts, groans, and jerky shuffling movements to get to necessary spaces in the house.

BAM! an idea has been born. I believe I might have titled it, “My Life as a Teenage Zombie” or some such nonsense at first. Then, as I’m washing my hair the ultimate zombie question pops in my brain. “But how did little miss teenage zombie become a zombie in the first place?”

This one tiny little question changed my story and turned it into The VooDoo Follies. You see, I was tired of the virus route. So, I figured what better way for her to become a zombie than a voodoo ritual run a-muck? Then the character of Seraphine developed rather quickly, because obviously someone had to loose control of the zombie to begin with. Seraphine was such a fun character to develop, that she actually became the focus of the story instead of the zombie.

Seraphine is based off of my own 16 year old daughter. She’s super smart, but she also has issues with grace. In other words, she’s clumsy. So, Seraphine took on a little of that demeanor and ended up being “clumsy” with her voodoo, which leads to a slew of other problems along the way.

Those problems are worked out in a series of six short stories told in succession. When put together, they become The VooDoo Follies. I do plan to follow up The VooDoo Follies with a full length novel this summer titled, Beyond the Grave. Until then, I hope you grab a copy of The VooDoo Follies and enjoy Seraphine’s adventures. Oh, and the first story in the book is all about that darn zombie that started it all!

Until then, you can check out more about The VooDoo Follies on the website HERE or like the series on Facebook HERE

Christine M. Butler is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, blogger, reviewer, and owner of a rabbit named Mr. Fuzzy Bumpkins. You can find her personal blog HERE.

Author Interview: J.E. Taylor

In Interviews on August 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm
Our own Christine M. Butler recently sat down with author, J.E. Taylor and had a conversation about her books, her own publishing house (Jet-fuled Fiction), and her duties as an assistant editor for Allegory E-Zine.
CB: You have quite a few books and short stories under your belt already, do you find that the ideas come easier as you go along?
JET: Yes and no. I had over twenty years of stories bottled up in my head when I started writing in 2007 and those stories came barreling out at mach speed.  I’ve since slowed, letting the new stories percolate while I polish up the ones already written.   I’ve got a few that are nagging at me and I’m writing a YA horror novel with my eleven-year-old son.  He had a fantastic idea and we flushed out the plot together and I’m “ghost writing” it under his name.  It’s a great endeavor, one that he is uber-excited about.

CB: You’ve previously released Dark Reckoning and Vengeance with FIDO Publishing. Both books have since been re-released under your own title, can you explain what prompted the change and how that change has affected you, your books, and the future? Also, tell us a little about your publishing title now, is this something that will continue to grow, (representing others) or is this simply something you are doing for yourself?

JET:Fido made the decision to close their doors on new titles and by that point in time, I had enough experience in formatting and uploading and such to take this endeavor on myself.  There really was no marketing done by the publishing house and I don’t even think they sent the books out for review.  It was a very different experience than eXcessica even though it was a sister company.  I figured instead of shelling out their cut, I could do a better job of this and jumped ship.  How has it affected me?  Well right before I jumped ship I had an ad run for Vengeance that bumped sales.  I lost that ranking, but I did gain some of it back during my May and June blog blitz for the release of the third book in the series – Hunting Season.  I figured my own label would be JET-Fueled Fiction – nice and catchy.

As for branching out to others, well right about the same time that I went out on my own, another FIDO author, one that I had done editing for, contacted me about starting our own label – our own e-publishing house.  Thus Novel Concept Publishing was born and we have three authors in the pipeline for Fall releases now.  Of course our work is highlighted there as well.

CB: You work as an assistant editor for Allegory E-Zine, can you tell us a little about what it is like going through other authors’ submissions? As an author yourself, do you find it tough to weed out the work of others, or do feel that being a writer helps your decisions?

JET:  Before I traveled the writing road, I couldn’t articulate the particulars of what constitutes a winning story from one that just didn’t do it for me, but I knew how to recognize it.  That feeling of losing yourself in a story, of the world disappearing around you and rebuilding based on the words in front of you.  You know that feeling when the writer has completely captured you in the story – well that’s what I look for, even now.  And as a writer, I know how to direct those that don’t quite get there with their prose.  I think it helps that I’ve been in their shoes, that I’ve received some very touch critiques on my early stuff, stuff that when I wrote it I thought was the best thing since sliced bread but then I took a writing course or two and realized just how lacking the stories were.  With my rejections, I usually try to give guidance on what needs work as well as tell them what they’re doing right.  But even then, there are some that are just beyond all redemption and for those I default to the standard form letter.

CB: You’ve had a bit of experience now with the world of small/self-publication, what is the number one piece of advice you would give to other authors who are just starting out?

JET: Actually there are two major items that go hand and hand.  Learn the craft and find a good editor or critique partner that will be brutally honest with you about whether your story works and what your strengths and weaknesses are – one that will push you to become better.

CB: Of all the characters in your various books, which is your favorite and why?

JET: That’s not an easy question to answer. I absolutely love Ty Aris (a.k.a. Chris Ryan).  He is by far the most complex of my characters and he’s a bad boy trying to find redemption which makes him so much fun to challenge.  Then there is Steve Williams, my FBI agent who is a bit of a cowboy himself but at the core he is a good man, pushing him to the edge and beyond has been fun.  I honestly have a hard time choosing between the two of them and so I got creative and threw them together in Hunting Season.  What a fun ride throwing my favorite undercover cop with a criminal mastermind that’s hidden from the law for fifteen years.  Imagine Criminal Minds meets Supernatural and you’ve got a taste of what Hunting Season brings to the table.

CB: For those readers out there who are already fans, what do you have on the agenda for the coming months (sequels, new releases, etc)?

JET:  The next Steve Williams Novel Georgia Reign is coming in early November.  This book brings a whole new set of challenges to Steve and the case he is investigating introduces him to a heinous serial killer that is targeting the children of Atlanta.

CB: As a reader, what is your favorite genre of books?

JET:  Thrillers and horror.  I’m an adrenaline junkie and love a good thrill ride.

CB; Authors are all about taking over the world – one story at a time! So, tell us, if you were to have an amazingly cool super power, to aid you in your world-wide literary domination, what would it be?

JET:  You’ll have to check out Hunting Season to see exactly what that might be, specifically the endowments of Chris Ryan.  J

CB: Since we are discussing taking over the world this next question is of utmost importance. If there was one food in this world that you couldn’t live without, what would it be?
JET:I debated on this one between a good steak and chocolate.  Seeing as chocolate is my weakness, I’d have to say this ends up being the winner in this category.   However, I could live without it if I had to.

CB: We couldn’t possibly end an interview on a better note than chocolate! Thanks, once again, to J.E. Taylor for taking the time to share a few things about herself and her work!

JET: Thank you for having me Christine!

CB: For you curious souls out there, I am including a few back of book blurbs for the Steve Williams Series:

Dark Reckoning:
A sadistic killer stalks the secluded college town of Brooksfield, New Hampshire.  With bodies piling up and rumors of the murders being part of sacrificial hazing rituals, the FBI plants Special Agent Steve Williams in a fraternity at Brooksfield University.  His investigation takes a ninety degree turn into the bizarre when he’s introduced to Jennifer, a clairvoyant co-ed who swears the killer isn’t human.
Steve considers the plausibility of the extraordinary, the unspeakable, even the inconceivable when his notebook starts bleeding cryptic messages.  Messages that indicate Jennifer is at the heart of the darkness in Brooksfield.

When she describes her latest vision, a trail of violent deaths, including his, Steve asks the million-dollar question:  Is Jennifer trying to help . . . or is she actually the one responsible?

Vengeance:
Living large in New York City as a corporate lawyer for the most savvy drug lord on the East Coast, Special Agent Steve Williams carefully plots Charlie Wisnowski’s downfall.  His plans go to hell when his wife Jennifer survives an attack by a serial killer.  With her life in jeopardy and his undercover guise threatening to unravel, he orders Charlie’s arrest.  But the sting goes woefully wrong and Steve becomes the target of a mafia assassin hired by the biggest crime boss in America.

Escaping from the city, Steve and Jennifer settle back into their quiet life on the banks of Mirror Lake. Their peaceful existence shatters with a crippling loss and Jennifer’s visions escalate, forecasting a brutal assault on their family.

Armed with scant details from her dreams, Steve trudges through a litany of past connections, searching for the key to stop the course of fate.

What he uncovers chills him to the core – a brother with a grudge, a serial killer and a mafia assassin are all on his trail.  The hunt begins . . .

Hunting Season:
Special Agent Steve Williams trials begin when serial killer Kyle Winslow escapes from custody. Winslow systematically eliminates everyone close to Steve, including his new partner.  When Steve delivers the bad news to his partner’s family, he discovers his partner’s stepfather, billionaire Chris Ryan, is a criminal mastermind topping the FBI’s most wanted list.
The only thing stopping Steve from arresting the man is Chris’s arsenal of psychic gifts – gifts that could give Steve the edge in the hunt for Winslow.
Steve must make a decision. Join alliances with Chris, or arrest him and lose his best chance to catch the bastard who destroyed his family.

Christine M. Butler is not only an official member of LitU, but an author, a blogger, and the driving force behind the LitU Twitter page. You can find her personal website HERE.