Monthly Archives: June 2011

An Interview with Steven Montano, Author of Blood Skies

It’s a Me and My Shovel first today: a by-god interview with a real person instead of with fictional characters. It is my pleasure today to interview Steven Montano, author of Blood Skies, an apocalyptic vampire urban fantasy military novel. Trust me, it all makes sense. After you finish reading the interview, go to and read more about it, including Tales of a Blood Earth, a series of unrelated (OR ARE THEY???) short stories set in the Blood Skies world. I’ve read the book, I give it 5 stars, and I recommend it to you as well. It’s because I enjoyed it so much that I pressured Steven to talk to me at length. And I do mean At Length; this is Me and My Shovel, after all, so get yourself another tasty beverage and get comfy.

Now, when you read this, imagine my voice is all deep and Barry-White-esque, and Steven’s got like this Michael Caine accent thing going. Trust me, it’ll sound cool.

Here we go!

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Blog Ideas I’ve Rejected In the Recent Past

A lot of the time, I struggle with exactly what I’m going to write about at any given time. I imagine most bloggers feel the same way. Some of the time, though, an idea hits me and it’s so resonant inside my own head that it just flies out. Believe it or not, I don’t always write them, because of a sense of decorum.

Yes, I have one. It’s very small and goes by the name of Chester and is sad because of how little attention I give it.

But those ideas I’ve rejected in the past still rear up from time to time, eager to be written. I just know I can’t for one reason or another. As caustic as I can be, I avoid certain things just because I don’t necessarily want to come off as a loud, over-opinionated jerk with no regard to the feelings of others.

Hey, you can stop laughing anytime you want. It’s cool. I can wait.

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I Am A Guest In Someone Else’s Bloghome

First off: Steven Montano wrote an excellent book called Blood Skies which I highly recommend, and as soon as I have 2 usable neurons to rub together I’ll be writing up a review for it here. It’s apocalyptic fantasy with face-shredding vampires and magic. You can get it dirt cheap right now. So buy it, hard copy or for your e-reader. You won’t be disappointed.

For some godawful reason, though, Steven asked me to do a guest post for his site here. I tried to be good. I shot for charming, urbane, and witty. I ended up long-winded and foul-mouthed. I guess he knew what he was getting into, though, so while I ate all the canapes and drank the last of the milk, I’m kinda not really to blame. I hope.

So go here. Read the post if you want. Buy his book. Hug a panda.


Too Long, Didn’t Read

One of those Rules of Blogging that I never bother to follow is about post length. Supposedly, blog posts are supposed to be 400-600 words in length (that’s a total guess. I hate research. There’s this dude in my brain who looks like me and works like me, and when I wonder shit like “hey, what’s the ‘rule’ about post length again? How long?” the little Me looks up from the game he was playing or book he was reading or whatever he does when I don’t ask him shit and shrugs, takes a random guess at something someone in Memory once heard about, and goes back to what he’s doing. I should give him a raise. He’s my kinda guy.). The reason? People don’t have time to read anything longer than that. Anything after word 601 is just a blur of text that makes people feel all swoony. So unless they can see the end of the post from there, it’s too much. They have to stop reading RIGHT THEN. Some of those people are kind enough to warn the poor, misguided blogger that they’ve become a health menace, and so they take the time from their incredibly fast-paced, meaningful lives to comment on the post. Some will say Too Long, Didn’t Read – but that takes too much time to write. So instead, it’s become TL/DR.

And no, this isn’t a joke.

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A Friday Rant: Angsty Vampires

First off, sorry it’s been so long since I rapped at ya (thanks, Jim Anchower) but, well, shit happens. This week, it happened for me a lot. Back to the show. Oh, and serious profanity ahead.

It’s ubiquitous now. It’s as ingrained in our culture as breathlessly reporting on the antics of a bunch of skanks and meatheads. It’s everywhere we go, everywhere we turn.

Angsty fucking vampires.

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Two Problems I Have with (Some) YA Fiction

I’m gonna get the disclaimers out of the way first. I don’t have it out for Young Adult fiction. I respect the work that goes into it, because writing anything is hard. This post does NOT say anywhere that YA fiction sucks (except the three words before this parenthetical aside) or that it’s all terrible or anything like that. Some is terrible, certainly. But I am not attacking ALL YA fiction. I have some problems with every genre, from fantasy (chainmail bikinis! Dual-wielding rangers!) to science fiction (convoluted science-like mumbo-jumbo! Space-suit bikinis!) to zombie stuff (zombies with a twist! Survivors in bikinis!) and on and on. So just so we’re clear: I do not hate ALL YA fiction. Just some. Here’s why.

I’ve written a lot of shit in my day. Some would argue that it’s pretty much all I write, and to that I say, meh, okay, solid point. I’ve written training manuals, software help files, fantasy, horror, fantasy horror, fantasy training manuals of horror, exercise DVD reviews, football articles, farm tour memoirs, restaurant reviews – you get the point. I feel like I can write in pretty much any genre if I get inspired, from romance to fanfic to tourist guides and so forth. There is, however, one genre I could never write:

Young Adult fiction.

I can’t do it. I can’t imagine doing it. It would be impossible for me to have the perspective necessary to pull it off well. However, like any critic, I sure know how to bitch about something I can’t do.

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Oh, Just Publish the Fucking Thing Already

This post is likely to be a minority view. It certainly goes against a lot of conventional wisdom. But it’s a viewpoint, maybe worthy of consideration, maybe not. Your mileage may etc etc.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how other writers go through the process of putting words onto paper (both virtual and actual). Some of it is about how they write, what they listen to, their favorite chair. Other parts are about how they either plan to or already market their work. The rest of the time, though, it’s all about The Rest of It. The publishing aspect. Critiques. Discussions. Edits. The birth process from Unpublished to Published. The messy, bloody, screaming struggle to bring something into the world that fills you with joy and wonder, and eventually, the panicky thought what the fuck do I do now?

I want to talk about that part.

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Guest Post: The Power of Personality by Evelyn Lafont

Today I have something unprecedented here at my little ole site – a guest post! Evelyn Lafont, aka Keyboard Hussy, is a writer, yes, but she’s funny, caustic, blunt, imaginative, and a ton of other things besides that. If you like the type of humor I attempt to purvey here, then I highly recommend you read her book, her blog, and her online mag. Links below her article. I’m going to get out of her way, because she’ll totally knife me in sternum if I don’t.

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I Got Interviewed Like Real Authors

And you can read it here! Well, to be honest, it doesn’t read like one of those staid, normal interviews. And that’s what happens when Evelyn Lafont, aka Keyboard Hussy, and I sit down to chat (virtually. I was sitting, at least. I can neither confirm nor deny that Ms. Lafont was or was not sitting). There were some technical issues, but honestly, it just makes it funnier to me. It’s entertaining, and she’s awesome and funny in her own right – if you don’t believe me, check out her Keyboard Hussy site, the VampLure online magazine (an homage to the trashy women’s mags of yore, and hilarious – Suicide Jeans!), and her novel, The Vampire Relationship Guide Volume 1. I owe her a debt of gratitude, but she would probably prefer a debt of TRENTA and a million dollars in Starbucks gift cards.

Go read it.