Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BLOODLUST

Tuesday Tantalizers is pleased to welcome the writing team of Jody R. LaGreca and Michael McCarty. Welcome. Will you share a little bit about yourself?

Jody: 
I am an award-winning poet and a multi genre author of eight novels. My books include Afternoon Tea, Suburban Weird, The Gloaming, Seduction, Fleshpot and Forever In Vein as well as my collaborations with Michael McCarty on Bloodless and Bloodlust. I specialize in Historical/Modern Fiction, Romantic Suspense and Gothic Horror. My books have received five star reviews from Midwest Book Review and other reviewers. I have a BA in Writing/English from Queens College University of New York and graduated Phi Theta Kappa Magna Cum Laude in Fashion Apparel Design.

Mike:  
I’m a former stand-up comedian, managing editor of a music magazine and the author of over 30 books. I write fiction and nonfiction, all within the horror and science fiction genres.  

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

Jody: 
I enjoy reading during the summer, which is generally the time of year I have the most free time. I often sit on the beach and bring a good book. I am an eclectic reader as well and enjoy Nicholas Sparks, Stephen King, and authors of times gone by such as Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, and Jane Austen.

Mike: 
As a former English major, I love the classics Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, William Shakespeare, Ernst Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Kurt Vonnegut. I also like contemporary authors such as Dean Koontz,  Joe McKinney, Frederik Pohl, Bentley Little, Christopher Moore, Nate Kenyon, John Saul, William Nolan, Laurell K. Hamilton, Peter Straub, Richard Matheson, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Ray Bradbury and I have interviewed each of these writers in my interview books. I also like Stephen King, Jane Smiley and John Irving – which for some reason, I have never interviewed.    

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

Jody: My favorite place to write is in a pink room at home. It is a serene room with lace curtains and a Chantilly atmosphere with hand painting on the ceiling and vintage artwork on the walls.

Mike: My office is jammed with books, music, gargoyles, my book covers (hanging on the wall). I have autographed celebrity photos and posters. It is a cool living space, that I hang out, to write, read and listen to music. 

What is your favorite writing tool?

Jody: 
I have a program called “Text Aloud” which reads my writing back to me in natural voices. This really helps me with catching typos and spelling errors. It also allows me to hear the flow of the story.

Mike: 
Imagination, it is hasn’t let me down yet.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

Jody: 
In my senior year high school yearbook I wrote that I wanted to be either a poet or artist. Although I am still a poet I found writing and publishing books much more lucrative professionally since poetry has a limited audience nowadays. I feel like I have accomplished my dream in becoming an author.

Mike: 
A mad scientist. I use to watch those old science fiction and horror movies and really wanted to be the person who created a monster. The problem was, I was horrible in science. But I soon found out, you can create monsters in fiction, I might have been in fifth grade or so and my writing was getting some attention. It was at that time, I realized I was going to be a writer.   

What were you like in high school?

Jody: 
In high school I evolved into more of my own person. I was very artistic, and had my own style. In retrospect I had a sort of a Bohemian look and I gravitated toward vintage fashion with a flair. Being from an artistic family I lived in a fantasy world similar to my mindset for today.

Mike: 
High school was my personal own hell, that is why I decided to satire those years with my book I Kissed A Ghoul. Definitely not the cheerleader type … I’d look funny with pompoms. I was the class clown. I was the nerd. I was the nerdy class clown.

What’s your favorite theme park?

Jody: 
When my daughter was young my husband and I took her to a theme park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania which was a great experience. Growing up my family would take me and my brother and sister to places that had rides. Since I was born in Sea Gate Brooklyn we often visited relatives there and went to Coney Island afterward. I would have to say the memory of Coney Island, although not exactly a theme park that they have today, is a favorite memory of going on rides, in the funhouse and on the cyclone.

Mike: 
I really liked Disney World, when I went there as a kid in the ‘70s and early 80s. I’d like to see it again someday, because they have added a ton of stuff since than. I also liked Adventureland and Six Flags a lot. I love roller coasts, but my wife doesn’t.

Is there a secret you’d like to let readers know about you?

Jody: 
I write from my heart with emotions and often times unravel the ironies of life and human nature. My books have many twists and turns which surprise. I want the reader to keep a part of the story in their subconscious as something that can give them insight into their own life.

Mike: 
I write in my underwear sometimes. I hope the readers don’t lose their appetite now (laughs).

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it. Does your favorite genre influence your writing?

Jody: 
Right now I’m reading Michael McCarty’s book Conversations With Kreskin. This is an amazing book! It is an interview book where Michael asks Kreskin questions to bring out information about Kreskin’s experiences and extraordinary gifts as the worlds foremost mentalist. This book is a classic and is going to own its own spot in Non-Fiction legacies of famous people.

Mike: 
I am reading Forever In Vein by Jody R. LaGreca right now. The book is an incredible mixture of history and mystery, scares and sensuality—all packed into one vampire novel. I love it! I remember when she started working on this novel, the birth of the idea into the novel it has become. I’d highly recommend it.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?

Jody: 
“Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.”
This is basically my philosophy for life. If the world followed this motto there would be a lot more peace.

Mike:  
"Science fiction and horror have to do with our dreams and our fears and our hopes, which you don't find in one hell of a lot of literature" - Ray Bradbury from my book Modern Mythmakers.

Who are your mentors or inspirations?

Jody: 
My inspirations are the books and movies I saw when I was growing up and when I was a writing major at college. I have always been a fan of Alfred Hitchcock type of horror where there was an irony involved which had a realism to it. I was also influenced by the classics and old fashioned ethereal books like Wuthering Heights  and movies that showed the emotions and vulnerability of humanity.

Mike: 
Mentors: Neil Gaiman, Mark McLaughlin, William F. Nolan, Joe McKinney and Richard Laymon.

Please tell us about the journey that led you to write your book.

Jody:
Michael McCarty and I initially collaborated on Bloodless, a vampire saga of history, vengeance and eroticism from beyond the grave. The main character, Daniel Peck is a modern day vampire, who is over one hundred years old with a terrifying legacy. Michael wanted us to collaborate on a sequel which led to the writing of Bloodlust (Paranormal Romance Horror). Both books are published by Whiskey Creek Press.

Mike:  
The late, great Michael Calvillo and I wrote a short story called “The Substitute,” for my short story collection called A Little Help From My Fiends. I wanted to develop the story into a novel, but Mike was busy with other things at the time.

I then met Jody LaGreca and asked her if she wanted to work on the novel with me, which she did. Jody did an incredible job co-writing the book with, I really enjoyed the experience. We did a sequel called Bloodlust, which are the future adventures of bloodsucker Daniel Peck. 

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Jody:
I often dream about my stories. My first book Afternoon Tea evolved from an idea that came to me in a dream. This book is a Historical Fiction that has received acclaim.

What gave you the idea to write your book? And where to set it?

Jody:
After going back and forth on many different ideas with Michael McCarty the book came to life. Bloodlust is set in several locations but begins in New York City since the book starts off with the legendary Marilyn Monroe’s career in 1955.

Mike:  
The short story “Night of the Squealers” (co-written with Mark McLaughlin in my collection A Hell of A Job) about space rats was inspired by a nightmare I had when I worked in the warehouse at IBM in Chicago.

Monster Behind The Wheel (co-written with Mark McLaughlin), Bloodless and Bloodlust all evolved from dreams and nightmares I had. The ending of Bloodless was from a nightmare both Jody and I had.        

What inspired you to write about the theme?

Jody: 
The inspiration for the theme of Bloodlust in the Marilyn Monroe segments evolved through the mystery and grandeur of her movie star life. For the second part of the book, which is a continuation of the storyline in Bloodless, the saga continued through the actions of the characters where the human and vampire element inherent in the book made for a fantasy theme.
  
Mike: 
There are a lot of different themes running through Bloodless and Bloodlust: immortality vs. morality, the secrets and revelations of your true identity and how to love when your heart is dead. Each of the themes are mixed together in a spicy stew. It really isn’t the authors place to discuss the themes; it is their own interruption and story to explore.   

Please tell us about your current release.

Jody:
Bloodlust continues with Marilyn Monroe as a central character. It reveals the secret to her demise through her involvement with vampire Daniel Peck. The book begins in 1955, and contains true elements about Marilyn Monroe’s life combined with the imaginary. The two seamlessly meld to bring two worlds together where you cannot decipher between fiction and fact.

Mike: 
Like always, I have a lot of work out. Besides the Bloodless saga with Jody, I also have the Scream Queen series with Linnea Quigley: Night of the Scream Queen and Return of the Scream Queen (the later also co-written with Stan Swanson) – all of them are available from Dark Moon Books. I also have Conversations with Kreskin co-written with The Amazing Kreskin, Lost Girl of the Lake co-written with Joe McKinney (from Bad Moon Books). And the Young Adult book I Kissed A Ghoul (from Noble Young Adult).   

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jody:
An interesting writing quirk of mine is how I never plan what I am going to write. The stories come to me through my unconscious mind in a manner that almost feels like the stories are being channeled through me.

Mike: 
That I have no shortage of material. After 30 books, I still can cram a scream or a laugh into a book.
  
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?

Jody:
Writing and creating the story is the reward since I am being entertained and surprised by the creation of the storyline. I also get an emotional release from writing. The most challenging aspect is the publishing, marketing and getting the word out there.

Mike: The energy to keep pushing after writing 30 books. The most rewarding aspect for me is when the fans say they adore the books and buy even more from me. The awards and the money is also nice. 

How much editing do you do? And when and how do you know that the manuscript is ready?

Jody:
I am a perfectionist and do a lot of editing. It is a learning process which has evolved through the years. I know a book is completed when I proofread it and I’m pleased with both the storyline and the lyrical sound of the prose.

Mike: 
Mark McLaughlin and Jody are better at editing than I am. But I do tend to catch things here and there. I guess it is from years of working with newspapers, I still edit like I am writing an article for a newspaper. 

What’s your favorite part of this writing process?

Jody: 
The writing? The finding a publisher or self-publishing? The marketing?

My favorite part of the writing process is the organic creation of the book. This is the easy part for me since I am a natural born writer who has been writing since the age of seven. Once I am on a roll I write on a daily basis and can accomplish a lot in a short time period. However, this is more of a personal accomplishment, which I then take to the publishing world. A title can be equally as successful through whatever type of publishing an author chooses. It all depends on luck and building an audience.

Mike: 
The idea is my favorite. And seeing how that seed of an idea blooms into a book, is like planting a seed into the ground and watching it grow into a redwood tree.
Books are really ideas collected in story form and the more you can cram into one book, the better it is, in my opinion.  

How do you develop your characters?

Jody: 
The characters naturally come on the scene in the story as my subconscious mind creates them. They become developed through their thoughts and actions as the book progresses.

Mike: 
I develop the character as if they were a friend of mine, sitting in my office. I ask them questions, and listen to what they say to me. “Why do you want to be in my book, Daniel Peck?” “Because I’m a 100-year old vampire with a lust for blood a vegnence that is unbridaled like the fires of hell….”

How do you go about the writing process? Are you a strict outliner, a seat-of-the-pantser, or somewhere in-between?

Jody: 
When I am working on a book I begin in the morning and write for an hour or so. Within two days I will usually have a ten page chapter completed. The editing takes far longer and I generally do this repeatedly for each chapter, until I feel it is smooth.

Mike: 
I’m a seat-of-the pantser. I will have a very loose outline, but that often changes when I’m writing. If I don’t know how the story is going to go or how the characters are going to react, how are the readers? My books are just as surprising to me as they are the readers, and that is why they keep coming back for me. More surprises. More scares. More sex. More laughs. 

What you need your surroundings to be like when you are writing? Are your needs different to write than to edit?

Jody: I need quiet for both writing and editing. Thankfully I can find that by closing the door. Plus my family is very respectful when I am working on something.

Mike: When I write, my office usually has some music softly playing on the CD player: anything from Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Norah Jones, AC DC, Chris Isaak, Nirvana – everything from classic rock, jazz, blues and heavy metal.
                 
When I edit, silence is golden for me.    

Let's talk a bit about marketing. Tell us about the story behind your book cover.

Jody: 
Michael and I wanted to have a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the cover, but decided on using a cover with a picture that looked like her. The bookcover designer, Gemini, from Whiskey Creek Press is very talented and did an amazing job.

Mike: 
I love the cover. Actually I really like the cover for Bloodless too.

 What steps have you taken to marketing your book?

Jody: 
I have a fanpage on Facebook where I market my books and share them to other sites and on Twitter. I write blogs, create YouTube trailers for all of my books and I’m constantly marketing my books through interviews and by creating new posts that reveal unique aspects of each book.

Mike: 
Facebook, Twitter, newspaper, magazine, ezine and radio interviews. I write blogs although I don’t like writing blogs. And book signings. I try to cram as many local ones in as possible. Eventually I will go back to doing more regional and national signings, but don’t have the extra cash for travel right now. 

What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?

Jody: 
Bloodlust is such a unique book with the story of Marilyn Monroe and the twist the turns of Daniel Peck and the love triangle inherent in the story-line, I would have to say it stands alone.

Mike: 
That was the fun thing about Bloodlust, the story kept taking twist and turns. I wasn’t even sure how it was going to turn out, but was pleasantly surprised with the end results.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

Jody: 
This is an easy question, Marilyn Monroe of course since we have not only dedicated the book to her but were inspired by real life facts about her life, which we added fantasy to.

Mike: 
If I could have anyone in the film: I’d love Marilyn Monroe and Bela Lugosi to be in a black and white movie of Bloodlust that was based on a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, but all those greats have passed away, but it would still be awesome, just the same.

Knowing Hollywood these days, it would be more like: screenplay by Joe Eszterhas, directed by Michael Bay and starring Adam Sandler as Daniel Peck and Paris Hilton as Marilyn Monroe – the horrors, the horrors!  

Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.

Jody:
In the excerpt below Daniel Peck is becoming involved in a love triangle with two sisters in a blood induced twist along with the desire to become a father.

Nightshades and moonbeams filled the room. Daniel led Vicki over to the couch where they both reclined in the heat of the moment, clutching each other close. Vicki felt a little nervous and giddy, yet there was something about Daniel’s manner that entranced her. Like the leader of a cult, he had her following his suggestions with total devotion. They kissed tenderly and hungrily; Daniel reveled in the feel of her lips. It reminded him of Annie on their first night together. Like a flashback, he wanted to relive the night he fell in love with Annie—something he knew was not the norm for a vampire. Nonetheless, love was not the emotion he felt for Vicki. It was a raw desire, intensified by the power he held over her with his words. He saw the submission in her eyes, smelled the scent of her rushing blood, tasted her humanness, felt her heart beating furiously. It made him feel earthbound for the moment, a refreshing change from his allegiance to doom.

He disrobed her, one garment after another. First the white lacy blouse, then the black slacks, which hugged her derriere like an erotic embrace. She lay there in her white lace bra and matching underwear, looking like an angel, comprised of porcelain and purity. Daniel became mesmerized by her beauty and innocence. He kept his eyes focused on her expression as he took off his black shirt and slacks, and revealed the form Vicki had been wondering about. The stone cold look of his muscles reminded Vicki of a statue in a museum and made her face flush with yearning.

They embraced side by side, like teenagers infatuated with love. Daniel became crazed by the combination, which lay ahead. The thought that Vicki might become a mother to his child made the connection all the more intense. With Annie it had happened by accident and he had not been around to witness it. He had not been aware he could even impregnate a woman. Yet now that he knew it could happen, Daniel thrived on the perversity of having both women at his command; one was a necessity, but two made him feel like king of the netherworld.

They touched with light fingertips sparked by fire and ice, shocking and celestial, causing sky rockets to explode inside them with the spirit of Halloween harkening on the horizon, looming in shades of orange and black.

Tell us about Bloodlust and where it's available.

Jody: 
Bloodlust is not your cookie cutter vampire tale, it is infused with horror, history and romantic suspense. It will illuminate your senses and take you to uncharted worlds beyond the imagination …Bloodlust is available on all the online bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and on the Whiskey Creek bookstore.

Aside from entertainment, what would you like people to take away from your book?

Jody: 
I would like readers to see the world from a different perspective and escape into a fantasy world. I hope this can take a little stress away from the frantic, hectic world we live in.

Mike:  
Entertainment is the main thing I want people to come away with the book. Besides that, I’d like them to open their minds and worlds and let it take them where they like to go.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

Jody: 
In the five star review I received for my book Afternoon Tea (Historical Fiction) from Midwest Book Review I found this comment very interesting with the comparison to modern life.
“This could be a modern day portrayal relating to challenges of success and the rewards of unwavering devotional love. Even though this is a by-gone era, the book enchants you from beginning to end. The author laces a romantic triangle that will tug at your heart with a surprise ending. J. R. LaGreca has captured the Victorian Era exquisitely, like a fine painting or a glass of aged wine.”

 Mike:  
The magazines have been very kind with the reviews of my works. I was especially happy to get good reviews in Cemetery Dance, Rue Morgue and Famous Monsters of Filmland. The five star customer reviews on Amazon are also nice. As well as the comments from fans at book signings and fan mail people email or snail mail me.

Can we read more about you?

Jody: 
Readers can always read about me and my books on my Amazon author page, on Twitter and on my Facebook fanpages.

Mike: 
I have five new books in 2012, I probably will have about three new titles in 2013.

What's next for you?

Jody: 
I have three other books in the works which I am currently looking for publishers for, one is a Horror in the spirit of Stephen King, one is a Detective, Police Drama and one is my first Contemporary Mainstream Romance.

Mike:  
I have Revenge of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster co-written with Mark McLaughlin and the kid’s science fiction book Rusty The Robot’s Holiday Adventures co-written with Sherry Decker and the short story collection Laughing in the Dark by year’s end.

I’m looking at doing graphic novels in the future.

This has been a fantastic interview. If I've missed asking something, is there anything you’d like to add?
  
Jody:  
My book Forever In Vein is worthy of notice since it is a Historical Fantasy Horror and written with attention to detail. It is more than a vampire story since there is a realistic storyline which also depicts human nature.

Mike: 
Thanks for reading my books.

Please give us some links where we can find you on the web.

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JS0L06

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/michael-mccarty

Connect on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jodylagreca
https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMcCarty.Horror?ref=ts

Follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jrlagreca
https://www.facebook.com/PartnersInSlime

Connect on BLOODLESS https://www.facebook.com/bloodless.vampire


Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/JRLaGreca
https://twitter.com/MichaelMcCarty6
https://twitter.com/monsterbook

My blogs at: https://monstermikeyaauthor.wordpress.com/


GoodReads at: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/180297.Michael_McCarty


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