Ladies and gentlenuts of the Jackverse, it is my pleasure to bring you a jacking of another flavor. This should be a rather tasty, yummy treat for those of you who’ve been along for the dark hayride. Chocolate? No. Vanilla? Nes pas. How’s about a chilled melange of Fontanez brains? Now that is something we can all nom!
Without further ado, let’s get our jack on!
JW: Lori, lori, lori! Where have you been all my life? I know exactly where you’ve been … creeping on Facebook, lurking in corners the smell of Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln. Am I wrong? tell me if I’m wrong? I dare you.
Okay, let’s not kick this off with The Walking Dead. It seems you cannot have a chat with a zpoc author and not devolve into a convo about the series that repainted the zombie genre (for the masses) with a color palette so fabulous, it’d make Ru Paul weep.
You’re a big fan of the short story and the short story anthology. Although I will never let go of long-form fiction, I have a feeling that the ever-shrinking attention span of the average human being is starting to affect their ability to consume longer bits of fiction, longer films, longer music. I hope this isn’t a permanent dive … but if younger generations hold the key to that particular kingdom, I think the writing on the castle wall is pretty clear.
LF: Well Jack I do creep Facebook a lot especially to find out what you are narrating and am not ashamed to say that I Love your voice. Haha ! I am a huge Walking Dead fan, I do tell you and not ashamed to say that I Love Norman Reedus, I like Andrew as well, but the I have always fallen for the bad boy type.
I am a fan of short stories because I like to see other writers in the same genre write about the same thing. I write zombie stories and like to read zombie to see the survival mode the characters are dealing with. The killing of the zombies is pretty cool as well!
I talk daily to Mike Evans about my stories and he has read a few before I submit them and will help with suggestive changes. I also chat daily with Veronica Smith she also reads my stories and I read hers, she has some great shorts out there as well.
I did a short story about the character Grynn and he liked it so well he invited me to do a five book series with him. This will be my first full blown story and am excited about it.
JW: I strongly believe in what Shaun Phelps and All Things Zombie are doing. With this collections of stories, they are giving a lot of new writers a chance to find their voices while also learning to navigate the waters of publication. A lot of anthologies out there really only serve one purpose ? to attract readers back to established authors (which is a very good thing as well). But the idea of sharing the wealth is outstanding and long overdue. All too often, within the world of publishing, the idea of doing your “time” is not just a necessity, it’s part and parcel to the process. That old-school train of thought tends to ignore how the surrounding world has evolved. Personally, I feel there is plenty of room for young and old, established and rising. Of course, I also strongly believe that we live and die as a collective.
And by the way, you may stalk and creep all you like ? I’ll keep narrating.
LF: I enjoy doing the shorts, it does get our names out there with already established writers. My first short story was with ATZ “A Very Zombie Christmas” It was a great christmas present for me and a few others. Being in an anthology with Eric Shelman was an honor. I am ready to do a full blown book. I’ve been working on my story called No Place Safe, It’s a pretty good story and I killed my husband off in it. LoL! he was getting on my nerves at the time. Then I changed it because I felt bad.
JW: Personally, I feel every writer should take a brief period and focus on short stories. Why? The short story is an incredible exercise in focus. With long-form you can take your time and create a story arc that weaves in and out out of character develop, action, horror, humor, etc. With the short story, however, you really have to hone your craft such that every element must be present and accounted for up front. It’s so concise and compact ? there’s no time for dalliance. You spend too much time developing a character, and you’ll find yourself out of time to develop a story. You wait until halfway through the story to introduce genre-specific elements and you’ve lost your reader.
And, if you want to really get into form, try your hand at writing monologues for acting auditions. That’s seriously challenging stuff ? condensing everything (character, plot, movement, ebbs and flows) into less than one minute of dialogue! Of course, I also feel strongly that all authors should, at some point in time, study things like improv. Improv is one of the best ways to improve dialog.
LF: Eric Shelman mentioned to once to read the story at least three times, then read it at least one time out loud to see if it flows. Then I send it to my daughter Stacie, she’s 22 years-old. She reads everything I write and tells me rather it flows or not.
I had a secret yesterday, Mike Evans and I are doing a book together based on a short story that I submitted that was rejected recently. He had beta read for me, and made some suggestive changes. It will be a zombie vs aliens book that we are hoping will be out by July 1, 2015.
JW: That’s another viable solution for both author and reader ? the co-authored story. I’ve done a few of them and plan on doing more (I just have to fit them into an already stacked schedule). With co-authorship, I find there are two ways to go about this: Find an author that compliments (or matches) your style/voice or find an author (or authors) who are in direct opposition to your voice. Either let the reader guess who’s writing what … or make it so obviously clear as to completely remove the guesswork. Either way, co-authored fiction can be a joy to write and read (with the added bonus that it takes much less time for you to complete).
Shelman’s advice is sound. As a book narrator, I’ve recorded quite a lot of books over the years. As I record, it becomes quite obvious which authors have mastered their flow and voice and which fight against it. The written word should gracefully pour from the writers mind like booze at a catholic wedding. When you read aloud and you stumble … something is amiss. When you write and you struggle … your voice has cowered into a corner and you must breathe it back into your being.
You’ll have to pardon me, I oft swim in waters esoteric.
LF: Evan’s and I do flow, we both have a lot to bring to the table and we both like to write zombie books. I downloaded an app on my tablet that reads out loud, However it’s not your voice. HaHa
I always have been a writer, I just never put it on paper. I wrote a book report way back in 6th grade. I was suppose to write a report on “The Catcher and the Rye”, Well ! that didn’t go over very good because I didn’t read the story to write the report so I just made up a story that I thought the book was about. Yes! I received a big fat F on it, but she said I had a great imagination.
My Grandmother loved it so much she kept the report and we found it in her room when she passed away. She supported everything I ever wanted to be. My parents also support everything I do and they are both proud of what I have accomplished in my life.
I am a registered phlebotomist and I am in my last few weeks of online college to do medical coding and billing.
I believe that if I can get out of my corner than anyone can.
JW: Having a supporting family is an incredibly important element of this journey. I don’t really have that pleasure, but I don’t really expect my family members to read the likes of Hell’s Muse, where I eviscerate humanity and paint still life portraits with the spilled contents of their bowels.
Such a lovely picture.
Actually my mother in law came to visit recently with a paperback copy of Among You and asked me to autograph it. I cannot begin to tell you how much that surprised and deeply touched me.
First the mother in law, next up … world domination!
But seriously, it is those little victories (and other minute and fleeting connections) that help to replenish my soul. When a reader takes the time to reach out to me ? that’s meaningful (especially at a time when so few have time to do so little).
LF: If I would have joined the writers groups years before I would have read your books Jack. After Evan’s said shared a little of G with his warriors with your name I was hooked line a sinker of your books. I have a few in audio right now and use those when I have a knitting project due for someone.
I let my mother read some stuff, but the grim and twisted stories in Grynn with Tj Weeks I would be uncomfortable her reading. I can now start a story and I have no idea where the gruesome twists come from but before I realize there’s a lot of words written.
My cousin, well my dad’s cousin is in her late 60’s and she likes my zombie stories and she just purchased my book with TJ. She says she is going to buy a bookshelf for my books. HAHA! Family does help the encouragement to continue to write.
Hello! My name is Lori Fontanez I live in a rural area in West Virginia. I’ve been married to hubs James for 16 years. We have four daughter’s, my Boston Terrier pup Millie is my side kick.
Find more about Lori on her Facebook Author Page