Monday, August 31, 2015

"The Malocchio" by Bruce Capoferri

Interview conducted by Marie Gilbert

The Steampunk Granny, Marie Gilbert, is back and she’ll be interviewing the authors featured in Hypothetical Press' first anthology called Reading Glasses.

Bruce Capoferri sells automobiles, but enjoys writing stories and songs in his spare time, and is currently working on a novel. He has had four autobiographical stories published in Primo magazine and one in Buona Salute. He lives with his wife Barbara, and cat Krikat.

Thank you, Bruce, for taking the time to do this interview. I’m happy to meet you and we have a few questions for the people out there.

Marie Gilbert: What got you started in writing? What was your inspiration to take pen to paper? What authors inspire you?

Bruce Capoferri: I have always been a storyteller. But I have to thank Miss Shepherd, my eighth grade English teacher, for recognizing it and encouraging me. I wrote a short story entitled "The Paradise Lost Affair" that she edited and submitted to a teacher’s magazine and got published. I wish I had gotten a copy of it, because it was the first time I was recognized for having some talent. I must also blame - I mean, thank - my fantastic coach and brother-in-law, Glenn Walker, for coaxing me into putting my stories down on paper and submitting them to magazines. I have to thank my wonderful wife, Barbara, for introducing me to H.P. Lovecraft, Phillip K. Dick, and a host of other fantasy and science fiction writers. Barbara is a children’s librarian and constantly supplies me with a wide variety of fodder for my imagination.

Marie: What type of stories do you enjoy writing about?

Bruce Capoferri: The first few stories I got published were autobiographical. I truly enjoy documenting my slightly askew memories of growing up next to my Italian grandparents in Elm NJ. But fantasy and science fiction is right up there as well. I guess it’s because I can make my characters say and do whatever my devious mind dreams up. I am in the process of finishing the last few chapters of my first novel and I’m enjoying wreaking mayhem and chaos so much I’m having difficulty reaching the conclusion.

Marie: Where did you get the inspiration for the story in Reading Glasses?

Bruce Capoferri: The inspiration for "The Malocchio" sprang from the Italian belief that someone can impart bad luck upon a rival or enemy with a malevolent glance. Over the years I have also heard this curse referred to as the Maloiks or the Maloikies. But, no matter how you may pronounce it, my story takes this old world superstition to a deadlier level.

Marie: One of our anthology editors, Amy Holiday, mentioned that you are working on a novel. Could you tell us a little about that?

Bruce Capoferri: "The Children of God and Men" sprang from a conversation I had with my cousin, Sandy Core, at a family reunion. She mentioned that a short story I had written, and shared with her, titled "Hitching a Ride on Borrowed Time" reminded her of an excerpt from the book of Genesis in The Bible. It portends that Angels (known as The Watchers) were sent to Earth by God to supervise the development of mankind. But finding the women of men attractive, the Angels took as many of the women as they wanted for wives resulting in the births of giants and men of renown (also known as Nephilim). In my research I discovered the banned Book of Enoch and then really became intrigued. The book allows me the opportunity to explore comparative religions and how worldwide myths and legends have shaped multi-cultural beliefs. If you enjoy reading stories about conspiracy theories, ancient alien influences and Native American prophecy mixed with apocalyptic action, you will love my book. By the way, did I mention it is also a dark comedy?

Marie: Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, why and if not, why?

Bruce Capoferri: I'd like to consider myself a member of the South Jersey Writers' Group because it is the only one who has recognized me. It will also be the first entity to publish one of my stories in a hardback book. The difficulty I have is time to attend meetings. This is because I am a full-time automobile salesman and work most evenings. I do my best to keep in touch with what is going on, however, and read Writer’s Digest and similar publications. 

Marie: Was this the first Kickstarter that you ever participated in? What was it about our Kickstarter that made you want to help out?

Bruce Capoferri: Although I have submitted my manuscripts to various contests, this was the first one of this type.

Marie: Thank you, Bruce, for doing this interview.

Bruce Capoferri: I want to thank everyone at South Jersey Writers' Group and Hypothetical Press for making my dream a reality.

You can purchase Reading Glasses, featuring "The Malocchio" by Bruce Capoferri, in paperback here.

This interview previously appeared in a slightly different form on Marie Gilbert's blog, Gilbert Curiosities, right here.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Walk the Walk

By Glenn Walker

Everybody always says (whether they are a writer or not), "You know, I could write a book, if only I had the time." Those of us who are writers know these people, have heard them say this, and we hate them. Admit it, we do.

Writing is not just something one does, it is something one is. A writer cannot not write. Simple as that. But in every field, there are folks who walk the walk, and those who only talk the talk. We see them every day in our writing groups, meetings, and the like. There are the writers who are writing, and the writers who only talk about writing. There's a point where you have to stop talking, put your butt in the seat, fingers on the keyboard, and actually do the deed. Start walking the walk.

There are numerous ways to get that magical motivation needed to move from talker to walker, I'm just going to visit a few here, but however you do it - you gotta start walking.

1. Make time. For a week, keep a journal of your every move, everything you do. Note where the idling spots are, the wasted minutes, the waiting for buses, the time in front of reality TV shows you really don't like any more, maybe even meeting with writer friends for time that's more social than productive. These minutes add up.

Box up all that time and carve yourself an hour, maybe two in your daily schedule. This is now your writing time. You do nothing else during this time. You write, or you edit, or you rewrite (which is what most of this gig is anyway), you research, or you just stare at that blank screen or page until something comes to you. No matter how you go about it, that allotted time is for nothing more than writing.

2. Treat it like a job. Be serious. If you're serious about this writing thing, treat it like your job. Would you slack off or talk with your friends or watch TV or surf the net while you were on the clock at your job? Then don't do it here. Here you are the boss and you must be merciless. Fire yourself if need be! No slackers allowed.

Let everyone in your household know that this is your work time. Spouses, partners, children, and pets should all get the word that when you're at your desk (or wherever your workspace is) at a certain time, that this is your job. Do not disturb under any circumstances (except maybe fire or injury). Bothering the writer is forbidden. After all you're on the clock, and you are. Being self-employed is no different than any other job - time is money, money is time, and your time is worth money.

3. Discipline. You've blocked off time. And you are serious. Now is the hard part - stick to it. That time is only for writing. No rationalization, no bargaining, no flex hours. Write when you said you would, every day that you agreed that you would. If you're wishy-washy and don't think you can do this, find another writer in the same situation and keep tabs on each other, keep each other in line. Without discipline the whole system falls apart.

If you say you're a writer, then write. Don't just talk about it. Walk the walk!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Mason, On My Way Home" by Randy Ribay

Interview conducted by Marie Gilbert

The Steampunk Granny, Marie Gilbert, is so happy to interview Randy Ribay, author of "Mason, On My Way Home" in Reading Glasses, the first anthology from Hypothetical Press.

Before we start the interview, here are some fun facts about Randy. Born in the Philippines and raised in Michigan and Colorado, Randy Ribay holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado and a MEd from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. By day he teaches high school English in West Philadelphia, and by night he reviews books for The Horn Book Guide and writes strange stories. He lives in Camden NJ with his wife and dog-children. You can see Randy’s website here.

Marie Gilbert: Randy, thank you for joining us and I’ll start with my first question. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a writer?

Randy Ribay: I have always been a reader of stories in any form—books, comics, TV, or movies. One of my favorite feelings in the world is when a fictional story moves me, when it is so powerful that I feel like I’ll never be the same for having experienced it. And so I picked up the pen (rather, set my hands on the keyboard) in order to help others feel similarly and remember what it means to be human.

Marie: What was the inspiration for the story in the anthology?

Randy Ribay: Driving around, I often see people standing on the corner passing out flyers. I wondered it must be like to stand outside all day and pass out paper. From there, I began to wonder if they ever got harassed by passersby. I imagined such a thing happening to someone, and then decided to explore that story.

Marie: What type of stories do you enjoy writing the most? Genre?

Randy Ribay: I write young adult fiction across a variety of genres. I’m interested in teen characters because I think that’s largely when most people become the person they’ll be for the rest of their lives.

Marie: Have you been published in other anthologies? If so where?

Randy Ribay: "Mason, On My Way Home" is my first published work of fiction -- and also the first short story I’ve ever submitted!

Marie: What made you contribute to our group’s Kickstarter? What was the selling point?

Randy Ribay: Damn the Man—support independent publishing!

Marie: Do you belong to a writers' group? Why if yes, and why if not?

Randy Ribay: I had a critique partner for a couple of years, but then his wife had a baby and he fell off the face of the earth. So I eventually joined with the South Jersey Writers' Group because as lonely an endeavor as writing can be, connecting with other writers is invaluable.

Marie: Randy, I loved your story and I want to thank you for the interview.

You can purchase Reading Glasses, featuring "Mason, On My Way Home" by Randy Ribay, in paperback, and also on Kindle.  Randy's first young adult novel, An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes, will be released in hardcover on October 16th, and on Kindle in September.  Make sure to pick up both of these great books! 

This interview previously appeared in a slightly different form on Marie Gilbert's blog, Gilbert Curiosities, right here.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

SJWG Member Roundup for July 2015

Compiled by Jessica A. Walsh, Mieke Zamora-Mackay, and Glenn Walker

There is so much talent in the South Jersey Writers Group, and as we've mentioned in the past, so many bloggers. And many of these bloggers produce content on a fairly frequent basis, so we thought it would be a cool idea to highlight some of each month's more intriguing and interesting blog posts and present them here.

Please give a click and a read, and we hope you will like the samples enough to become regular readers. Check them out!

Kristin Battestella shared links to recent vampire podcasts and interviews she was a part of on her VampFan blog. She also reviewed several movies and series this month on her I Think, Therefore I Review blog including Walt Disney's Return to Snowy River; several older vampire and mummy movies, including The Nude Vampire; the second season of "Thriller;" and the complete series of "The Hollow Crown."

Dawn Byrne wrote about what it's like to always have a home under some form of construction in "Fun Houses."

Joanne Costantino was busy in July, reviewing the television series "Wayward Pines," reflecting on 30 days of yoga, and sharing a family matter and how she handled it in "Perspectives and Snap Decisions" over at her blog, The Life we Claim we Didn't Sign Up For.

Frederick Doot provided his readers with an update on his writing activity, as well as some early reviews of his work in progress in this post.

Jennifer M. Eaton shared three more posts in her "Ger Your Manuscript Past the Gatekeeper" series on her website, with Donna Galanti. She also recapped events from the flash storm that slammed down on South Jersey recently in her post, "The Day the Storm Hit - A True Story."

MK England shared a great idea in her post, "Collaborative Prompt Building."

Mark Galarrita wrote four more drafts of short fiction stories for his website.

Marie Gilbert shared some advice on how to identify and handle negative, energy-draining people in "Negative Energy." She also reviewed the movie Frailty, and also wrote about two recent trips, one to the California wine country and one to The Big Apple. Marie has also been busy reviewing the television series: "Defiance" and "Twin Peaks" at Biff Bam Pop!.

Barb Godshalk kept us updated on her comings and goings at her blog, Momsanity.

Sarah Hawkins-Miduski has been doing a fair bit of traveling recently and has written three more travel posts full of wonderful photos from her trip to California. Check them here.

Amy Holiday reviewed Coraline by Neil Gaiman. You can read the review here.

Jim Knipp updated his readers on his comings and goings over at KnippKnopp, including his appointment as President of The Philadelphia Writers' Conference. Congratulations, Jim! He has also been reviewing the second season of "True Detective" for Biff Bam Pop!.

On her writing blog, Adventures in Writing, Victoria M. Lees wrote about the need for universal questions or themes in memoir. On her Camping with Kids blog she wrote about what to do when the power goes out.

K.A. Magrowski brought her readers up to speed in her post, Catching Up...

Emmy Martin shared a personal story about the negative stigma surrounding mental health on her blog, Finding Stastie.

Lisen Minetti wrote four posts this month on topics such as bucket lists (click here to see what's on here), and a negative Etsy experience and how it creeped into her writing.

Editor extraordinaire, Patti O’ Brien, has an unfortunate tale from a visit to her dentist

Randy Ribay speaks the truth about what real writing is… revising.

Kevin Stephany reviews The Wedding Singer by the Haddonfield Plays and Players. You can read it here.

Loretta Sisco does some time at the Burlington County Prison… Museum, that is.

The Elephant Journal was good to Vince G. Sparks this month. Check out his articles, “The Stigma of Mental Illness," and “The Discrimination No One Talks About, Even Now.”

Cassandra Ulrich shares an excerpt of Love’s Intensity on the Paranormal Romance Blog Hop.

Rich Voza instructs on choosing the right word, and how variety is not always better and posts Chapter 25 of his novel in progress, Dreamlands.

Our very own Membership Trustee, Glenn Walker, takes on this year’s Lay’s Do Us A Flavor contest at French Fry Diary and appears on screen with fellow SJWG member Kristin Battestella on Morning Coffee.

Jessica Walsh continues her journey into self-discovery, understanding, and self actualization with on empowering blog, The Cracking Nut.

Janice Wilson reflects on finding beauty in nature despite being in an industrial wasteland.

Our Outreach Trustee Mieke Zamora-Mackay reviews her 2015 so far – and shares with us what propels her to do everything she does.

We hope you liked this month's selections from SJWG member blogs, and will not only read more at their respective sites, but also come back here next month for more. Don't forget to 'Like' the South Jersey Writers at Facebook, 'Follow' us at Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest. Thank you!