An interview with Patrick Pillars, a From the Dark Side Anthology contributor

From the Dark Side Anthology

Today is a very exciting week for those of us involved in the From the Dark Side Anthology. We’re all busily promoting it in many ways.

One way that I’ve chosen to do it is by interviewing my good friend Patrick Pillars, who, you may remember, guest blogged on this very site in May.

So, without further ado, here is my interview with Patrick Pillars.

Q: First, can you tell us a little about who Patrick Pillars is?

A: I was born in 1965 and being a part of that generation has shaded my writing as much as my life. I was a typical Michigan kid until I went to the University of Tennessee where I got an education in more then just English Lit.

I have been lucky to be married for 21 1/2 yrs and have 3 sons, the youngest being 4. I have dabbled in art, a rock band, and always writing. I have loved poetry since I was a wee lad and until the past couple years, few knew I was even writing poetry. Like most poets, I am also a frustrated short story writer and someday novelist. That is the condensed version.

Q: Can you tell the readers a little bit about Veil? What inspired it

A: Veil is my nemesis. Some poems just come right out, and I don’t tinker at all with them. Some are more difficult and require some writing and tweaking. Veil was tough right out of the gate. I had a vision standing on a balcony in Traverse City, MI, looking out across the bay. With that came a scene of the vanishing woman type thing and the way I went. This poem has been floating around for awhile and I never really did much with it until the Anthology came along. Then the idea of mirrors and alternate, dream-like reality took over and I worked it for over a month. I think, much like the poem, that I never quite touch what I am looking for, and maybe that was the point. Poetry can be weird that way.

Q: How did you come to be involved in the anthology?

A: One day I was talking with Jennifer Hudock and I asked her if she ever thought about doing an anthology. She said yes, a little, what did I have in mind. So we chatted about some ideas and how to get folks who write in all kinds of genres and styles together to do an anthology, and we would do it for charity. I just kinda gave her an idea and she ran with it and did all the really hard work.

Q: What do you think is special about this anthology? What sets it apart from others?
A: I think there is a big difference between this type of combined effort and other anthology works. Most anthologies are genre specific with a theme and standard submission guidelines. For this book, the people involved are poets, podcasters, and short fiction writers from a wide variety of genres. This makes this collection unique. The response has been very good from folks willing to donate their creative effort to charity, this also makes this work special. I believe that there is something in there for everyone and for the cause of literacy makes this project fun and fulfilling.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I will have a story appearing in another Anthology this summer. I also have been submitting poetry and short stories here and there and hope to have a few more published this year. Still working on that novel too.
Q: Where can fans go to find out more about you?
A: You can get a copy via Amazon or Smashwords this Friday, July 9th. You can catch updates here, from Nikki, or my blog, or from Jennifer Hudock’s blog, as well. Cost is $4.99 and benefits literacy through the fine folks at NaNoWriMo and The Office of Letters and Light Program.
A big thanks to Pat Pillars for taking the time to do this interview. Now here’s an exciting video for you to watch courtesy of Jacqueline Roth. Enjoy!

From the Dark Side Anthology News

From the Dark Side Anthology

As many of you know by now, Friday is the release date of the From the Dark Side Anthology. And I have to say, I’m VERY excited. This is the first time I’ve had a short story published, so it’s a big deal for me. How lucky am I to be included in a group of such amazingly talented people? (I’ve actually been battling a “I’m not worthy” feeling.)

So, if you were wondering what cool peeps are included in the anthology, here you go:

  • Nicole Godin
  • Joseph Bowley
  • Josh Crummer

If you would like more information on the From the Dark Side Anthology, you can visit Jennifer Hudock’s site or you can read the press release below:

From the Dark Side: A Charity Anthology

In March 2010, a group of creative types got together in search of ways to showcase their work. There were talks of collaboration which evolved into the From the Dark Side Anthology. Because there were so many people involved in the project, an equal distribution of earnings seemed silly, and so those who gave birth to the idea decided to ask contributors to donate their work.

A worthwhile cause creative-types could stand behind was not hard to find. We turned our attention to the Letters and Light Organization, a non-profit charity that promotes youth creativity.

Since most creative people have a special memory of someone who encouraged and supported them, nurtured their gift and inspired them to pursue their dreams, it seemed like an obvious choice to donate all the proceeds earned from this charity endeavor to The Letters and Light Organization.

Details: Will go on sale electronically July 9, 2010 on Amazon and Smashwords for $4.99 per copy.

Readers do NOT need an eReader in order to download and read the anthology. Amazon offers a download of their Kindle software for PCs and Macs, as well as the iPhone and iTouch. Smashwords has a wide variety of downloadable mediums, from direct browser html and PDF to eReader and Kindle, just to name a few.

A Time for Reflection

Wells Beach

Today, when I woke up, I was greeted by quite a few birthday wishes. It was a nice way to wake up and begin the day. As I’ve thanked those who have wished me a great birthday, I’ve had time to reflect back on the past year.

As those closest to me know, it hasn’t been easy year. In fact, suffice it to say, it’s been one of the toughest. I spent the first six months of my 27th year with very limited use of my left hand. It was a very frustrating time for me.

Last Christmas, though, I was the lucky recipient of a miracle, of sorts, by way of my parents Wii. (Don’t ask.)

My injury was just one problem I dealt with this year. While I won’t post info on my other trials, I can say that there have been days that I’ve wanted to stay in bed, pull the covers over my head and cry. It hasn’t gotten easier to handle, though, in recent months.

It was back in March, or thereabouts, that I started writing again following my hiatus due to my hand injury. It was slow going, at first, but what really got me motivated was The Creative Alliance, created by author James Melzer.

TCA has given me so much over the past few months. I’m surrounded by a group of insanely talented people who accept me just the way I am. They provide me with support and laughs when I need it.

Because of their support and love, I want to take the time today to thank those who made the second half of this year better than the first.

Jenny, you have been such an amazing friend to me over the past couple of years. You’ve believed in me and helped me to grow. You’ve been a shoulder when I needed one. So thank you for that and thank you for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing anthology.

James, thank you for starting TCA. Without it, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have the past few months.

Acadia, I know it cramps your style and makes you look less tough, but thank you for believing in me and for nagging me about this site. I’ve made myself accessible to a lot more people because of you. I owe you one.

Pat, thanks for being a great friend and allowing me to guest blog on your site. It was a blast, and we must do it again.

Edit: yesterday, I forgot to include the most important person at The Superificial Gallery — Vange. (We just allow Acadia to think he is.)

So Vange, thank you for reminding me every week to floss my teeth. 🙂 I’d be lost without you.

And as a whole, I must thank Jenny, Leslie, Jackie, Mary Lou and Annie for your time, friendship and support of Second Chances. I truly appreciate it.

Before I forget, as cheesy as it sounds, thank you, Lee, for your Slumberland album. Without it, I would never have figured out my lead character’s name.

As always, I must also thank my mom, dad and brother for their support. They’ve seen me at my worst and yet, they still love me. I love you guys!

OH! One more thing, to commemorate today, here’s a look at the cover for Second Chances, which, as most of you know, is part of the From the Dark Side Anthology. Enjoy!

Thanks to Jennifer Hudock for creating this beautiful cover.

Helping out a friend

So, tonight I received a message on FB requesting my help. As some of you know by now, I’m the Lee DeWyze Examiner, which is great. I’ve met some truly nice people since starting this new topic.

One of the people that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know is Brian Friedopfer, a very good friend of Lee DeWyze. When we first started talking, I told him if he ever needed help with anything to just holler. Tonight he took me up on that offer.

Brian is trying to become the first MTV TJ, but in order to do that, he needs to be nominated, so right now we’re encouraging people to vote for him.

I even wrote up an article that includes some questions I posed to Brian so those voting for him would have the chance to get to know him more. (An excerpt from the article can be found below.)

I would like to take a minute, though, and thank Brian for asking to me help out.  I truly enjoy helping others, and I want to make a difference and pay forward all the good deeds that have been done for me.

Over the past few months, I’ve received a tremendous amount of support and guidance from my fellow TCA members, like Jenny and Acadia. There’s no words to describe how grateful I am for all the help they’ve done for me, so this was another way for me to thank them.

And Brian, seriously, it was fun working with you on this. I truly hope this works out and you get that fresh start that you need and want. You know I’m rooting for you.

Article excerpt:

Q: Why do you want to win?

A: I feel like I’ve already sort of stepped into a similar role, and this would give me a better foundation. It would definitely be a better opportunity to bring more to the fans, which is really what’s important. I think I can bring a different perspective to the entertainment world. I’d watch me!

Q: What would winning mean to you?

A: It would mean a huge step forward for me!! Things haven’t been so easy for me lately. I’m currently unemployed and have been looking for work for 4 months now, and it’s really hard out there. The economy is in really bad shape. This could be a fresh start for me — a chance to show the world who I am!! I’m excited just thinking about it!

You can read the rest of the article here.

And the Flood Gates Have Opened

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a few days, but it’s not because I haven’t been busy. I have been. I have a ton of stuff on my plate right now, and I’m trying to get it all done. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today,  after weeks of arguing with my short story’s main character about the story was headed in, the flood gates opened, and I was hit with a diluge of ideas. They hit me one after another, and I couldn’t type fast enough. It felt like the words were pouring from my fingers like a rushing waterfall. What a great feeling it was. I felt productive and alive.

I think part of the reason I’ve felt blocked and was having such a hard time with the plot was because I wasn’t allowing myself to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in the world that I was creating in the story.

Part of me was afraid to open up because this story is the total opposite of Second Chances. Where SC was filled with hope and love, this story is darker, grittier and filled with images that are a bit disturbing, at times.

Now that I’ve allowed the ideas to pour forth, I feel calmer and like I can truly bring this story to life. I knew the potential was there before, but I also knew I needed some kind of breakthrough in order for the story to reach its full potential.

I think, knock on wood, that I’ll have the first draft done by my birthday on July 2nd. After that, I’ll tackle another short story that’s sitting on my desk, begging me to finish it.

But for now, my sole focus is on my current short story. I want to hold that story in my hands and feel the weight of it.  I want to see the end result. Am I scared by how it may turn out. Absolutely, but I’m also filled with anticipation because this story is unlike any other that I’ve written. So here’s to progress. Hopefully tomorrow is as productive as today was.

Jennifer Hudock Discusses Who She Would Cast in a Dark Journeys Tale

As you all know by now, author Jennifer Hudock has been touring the blog world, allowing us all the chance to get to know her and her work a little better.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Hudock’s work, you can visit her official site, which is loaded with lots of goodies, including reviews, short story excerpts and podcasts of the ever popular Podcaturday and Goblin Market.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to one of my best buds Ms. Jennifer Hudock.

Q- I know you have been asked this question tons of times already, but could you tell us a little about the Dark Journeys stories?

A- The Dark Journeys Collection are a series of stories I wrote over the last five years. They are completely unrelated to one another, save that they are all characters on a dark journey in life. They are available currently on Amazon and Smashwords for $.99-$1.99, and will eventually be combined into an anthology collection I hope to put into print.

Q- What about Goblin Market? What’s that about?

A- My free serialized podcast novel, Goblin Market, is a story about a young woman who spent her life taking care of her younger sister. When her sister is abducted by the king of the goblins, Meredith ventures Underground to save her and bring her back home again. While there, she discovers the truth about who she is, and that in order to preserve everything she’s ever loved, she must make the ultimate sacrifice: herself.

Q- Can you tell us a little about the sequel to Goblin Market?

A- The sequel to Goblin Market, Jack in the Green, takes place about seventeen years after the original story. The main characters are Meredith’s two sons, Jack and Krayven. One grew up in the Upland, and the other as a prince. Heartbroken and devastated by the events in her past, Meredith hasn’t exactly been the picture perfect mother, and her son, Prince Krayven will do anything to win her love, including venture Upland to bring her son Jack home to her. But Krayven has a wicked agenda, for he is his father’s son.

Jack in the Green is set to kick off as a free podcast on my website this July, but you’ll definitely want to check out Goblin Market first.

Q- For those who don’t know, where can they find your work?

A- Goblin Market, as well as a few other projects, including short audio stories from time to time, and a weekly roundtable chat podcast called Podcaturday are all available for download on iTunes and my official website: http://jennybeans.net.

Q- Do you have any messages for your fans?

A- Thank you for believing in and supporting me. It means a lot to me to know there are people out there who enjoy and look forward to my work.

Q- How can people stay in touch with you?

A- Aside from my website, please feel free to add me on:

Facebook

Twitter

The Creative Alliance

The next set of questions are some different ones that I thought all of you would love the answers to. Enjoy!

Q- Of all the Dark Journeys stories, which one is your favorite and why?

A- This is a really hard question because I really love them all. I become incredibly attached to my characters when I’m writing, but if I had to choose, my favorite story is one that hasn’t been published yet. It’s called Two Weeks and it will be the thirteenth story added to the full collection once I publish it this July.

Q- If you could take one of your Dark Journeys stories to make a movie out of, which one would you choose and why?

A- I would love to see Black Velveteen turned into a short movie because it is one of my all time favorite stories. It was the first time I’d ever delved into science fiction writing, and I was so happy with how it turned out.

Q- If you had the chance to pick the cast for said story, who would you pick and why?

A- I would love to see Edward James Olmos to play Detective Proctor. He is one of my favorite actors, and I think he would do the character justice.

Meagan Good would probably be able to do justice to Velvet.

Q- Which songs would make a good soundtrack for the movie?

A- “Black Velveteen” by Lenny Kravitz, which inspired the story would be a perfect song for the soundtrack.

* Now here is a chance for all of you to voice your opinions. If you’ve have an opinion on which Dark Journeys story you would like to see made into a movie, leave a comment below along with your reason why. Make sure to include who you would love to see star in it. The person with the best answer will win a copy of the next installment in the Dark Journeys series.

Now remember, be creative and thorough with your answer because Ms. Hudock will be the one judging them.

Working for Home – Is it Right For You?

From here on out, I plan on posting one blog post per week on working from home. I’m not making promises, but that’s my goal, so if you have a question or an idea for a blog post, please feel free to contact me at nicole@nicoleireland.com

*

So the question for today is whether or not working from home is the right choice for you.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that working from home is easy because it’s not. There are many factors and questions to take into consideration before you start your work-at-home journey. You don’t want to go into it unprepared. Knowledge is power.

First, are you in need of instant money? The truth is, when you start looking for a job, whether it be as an employee or as an independent contractor, it can take a lot of time and submission of resumes before you hear anything back. I know people that have waited a good six months before landing their first work-at-home job. It’s those long wait times that can discourage a person, but you have to be diligent and keep at it and eventually it will pay off.

If you’re looking for instant money,  you’re going to have a hard time. There are some money-making opportunities online, but you won’t see money from them instantly. They still require some time, so if you do need a steady income right away, you may want to rethink working from home. Or, at the very last, try finding parttime work outside of the house to help compensate.

Second, are you willing to research jobs that are right for you? There are two great work-at-home sites/forums that I have frequented over the years: Work Place Like Home and WAHM.

Of those two, my personal favorite is WPLH because of the wealth of information that can be found there if you’re willing to read through it all and take notes, which I strongly recommend.

There is nothing more irritating to those who have done their research and found jobs on their own than to have a newbie come in and say “I don’t have time to look at all the information, so just tell me what jobs are hiring.” Big no no!

Let me tell you a little secret. We are ALL busy. Many of us are moms and dads that stay home with our children, with some of us even homeschooling. There are some of us who work outside jobs in addition to our work-at-home ones. And some of us have other responsibilities that keep us busy, so don’t come in and say you are too busy. We are too, and we found time, as should you.

On the otherhand, if you do your research and read through the forums, and you still have questions, you won’t find a better group of people willing to help you because we understand what you’re going through. We’ve been there, and we’re proof that hardwork and dedication does pay off in the long run.

Third, do you have self-discipline? If not, you’re going to have a very hard time making a work-at-home job work for you. In most cases, save for a few exceptions, you’ll be an independent contractor, which means you’re your own boss. You are responsibility for keeping yourself motivated and focused. No one else is.

Fourth, are you willing to get up early and work later hours? While working from home affords you more flexibility in terms of scheduling, many of us start work early or end up working very late because we have families to take care of.  But since we can work our hours around our schedules, we’re willing to make those sacrifices when needed.

Now that you’ve had a chance to think about the above, do you still think working from home is right for you? If so, then go get ’em! You can do this. Have faith in yourself and believe in your abilities. Good luck!

Remember, if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to try and answer them, so please drop me an email or leave a comment below.

Jennifer Hudock will be in the house a week from today

So somehow in my Benadryl-induced haze, I mixed up the date of when Jennifer Hudock was stopping by here to answer some questions regarding her Dark Journeys story collection.

For some reason I thought it was the 19th, which gave me a false sense of security since I thought I still had time to come to terms with the fact that I’m recording the interview. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a week from today. And now that I think about it, I purposefully scheduled  on the 2nd because it was one month from my birthday. It amazes me that I can even function on a day-to-day basis.

So anyway, here’s the updated Dark Journeys Blog Tour list. Jenny still has one open date, so if you’re interested in interviewing her, stop by her site and let her know.

May 14, 2010: Jim – Yes, THAT Jim
May 17, 2010: Edward G. Talbot
May 19, 2010: Morgan Elektra of Trickster Moon Productions
May 21, 2010: James Melzer’s UNLEASHED
May 21, 2010: Ramblings of English with Chandra Jenkins
May 24, 2010: Paddy’s Wanderings with Patrick Pillars
May 27, 2010: Drew Beatty
May 29, 2010: Scrivener’s Circle with David Sobkowiak and Laura Frechette
June 2, 2010: Nicole Ireland (That’s me)
June 4, 2010: Mary Rajotte
June 7, 2010: Scott Roche
June 9, 2010: Superficial Gallery
June 11, 2010: OPEN
June 14, 2010: Slushpilehero
June 16, 2010: Jason Warden of ShadowCast Audio
June 18, 2010: The Feckless Goblin

WAIT! Don’t go! I have one more piece of Jennifer Hudock news to share with you. She will be releasing the ninth story in the Dark Journeys collection, titled The Gentle Sound of Tapping on Friday, May 28th.

Updates

Things have been really busy around here, which is a good thing. If I had too much free time on my hands, I’d start to obsess about things in my life that are hard to deal with. Instead, I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into this new site, my writing, work, my family and helping my friends out in any way that I can.

Thanks to some very special people, I’ve managed to get a lot accomplished, which is a great feeling. I don’t feel like I’m letting life pass me by anymore.

One of the most exciting things to come about in recent weeks is this new site. Had it not been for Acadia and his prodding (i.e. nagging), I wouldn’t have this new site up yet. (Thanks dude!)

Second, I wrote my first guest blog, which you can find over at Paddy’s Wanderings. (You can find Patrick’s guest blog here.)

Third, I will be interviewing Ms. Jennifer Hudock in a few weeks as part of her Dark Journeys Blog Tour. The hard part about this particular interview is that I’m actually going to record it. I’m not real comfortable with the sound of my own voice, so it’ll be trainwreck, but Jenny’s a good sport, so I’m sure her and I will have a good laugh over it afterwards.

Fourth, several weeks ago I did a written interview with Dream Wanderers author Paula Brown, which I feel turned out great. She offered some great insight and advice into writing, following your dreams and more.

Fifth, I’ve posted a few pieces of poetry that mean a lot to me and reflect things I’m going through in my own life that I hope others can relate to in some way. (And from what I’ve heard, I’ve succeeded, which is always my goal.)

Well, that’s it for now, but I’m sure I’ll have another update soon, so can an eye out.

Give it up for Patrick!

Tonight, I would like to introduce you to my  first guest blogger, Patrick Pillars who can be found over at Paddy’s Wanderings. He’s a fellow TCA member and all around good guy. Once you’re finished reading Patrick’s post, please take some time to stop by his site and show him the love. I know he’d appreciate it.

Now read and enjoy. Momma says so!

I discovered Stephen King through the movies before the books. I saw The Shining first, then Carrie. I really did not like either one. I have since read The Shining and it was meh. I never did finish Carrie.

Then I saw Christine, and I liked it. And then I read the book, which I really liked. I watched Stand by Me and The Running Man, both of which I liked. But I am here to tell ya, I was not a fan in any way.

Then I met Steph, she who would become better 1/2. She was a huge fan. I mean huge! She pestered me about how I should try other books by Stephen King. I said yeah well.. only if you will really listen to the Beatles — really give em a try. She was not a Beatles fan. I know, how is that possible? Then again, I was not a fan of Stephen King, how could that be possible, as well?

Well, we were fans of each other at this point, so we decided to trade an album for a book. She got the White Album. I got IT.

She did become a fan of the Beatles, although she likes Paul, and I kinda always liked John. I became a fan of Mr. King and we argue which is better, IT or The Stand. Good thing is, we are still fans of each other in spite of our differences. I may not have ever given any of his stuff a real chance if I had not been prodded along, and I would have missed an awful lot.

I am a short story nut, and I love his short stories. They just do it for me. I also like his older work much more so then his latest stuff. I think that The Long Walk may be my favorite novel, and I believe he wrote that in college. I also like The Gunslinger and the beginning of The Dark Tower series, all written early in his career, like The Stand and IT. There is a rawness, if you will, an abandon which seems to be missing from his later work. The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption are two others I really like.

I fancy myself a writer, or at the very least, an educated wannabe, and what strikes me about King is his style. The stories are easy to slip into, to be a part of the story. That is what grabs readers and takes them on the journey and that, to me, is good writing. Whether confronting the Walking Dude or Pennywise, both improbable situations, the reader is right there with the characters, and it is believable. That is the magic. That is stuff I strive to do myself and what has made me a fan.