Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feeling Lucky?

Times are tough, but not so tough that you can't try to win a FREE copy of Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales.  You can enter here! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Safe Upon the Shore" the Year's "Must Read"

Tangent, a Science Fiction and Fantasy short story review magazine, reviewed Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales in this month's issue.   The review can be found here.  In addition, both "Cinder" and "Safe Upon the Shore" have made their yearly Must Read list, to be published in January!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Interview with Kristina Wojtaszek

Photo courtesy of Sara Scott and Jenn Simeone
Firemen and dogs.  Doesn't get much better than that.  Unless you make it a ghost story. And that's exactly what Kristina Wojtaszek has done.  Krisitina's story "Cinder" is included in Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales.  Aside from ghost stories, Kristina writes YA and fantasy fiction, especially retold fairy tales.  She is a guest blogger for Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine, and her novella, Opal, is coming out in November from World Weaver Press.  Follow her blog, Twice Upon aTime, or follow her on Twitter @KristinaWojtasz(  or Facebook. Shortly before the release of Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales, Kristina was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for me:

What was your inspiration for “Cinder?”

KW:  Cinder is a conglomeration of several ideas.  My little boys were enthralled with the movie Firehouse Dog, so I guess firefighting scenes and dogs were floating around in my head at the time that I saw the call for ghoulish tales from World Weaver Press.  I'd always been fascinated with great ghost stories, so I knew I had to give it a try.  Add in my obsession with retelling fairy tales, and Cinder began to emerge from all those sparks of inspiration.

The opening scene of the fire is both frightening and fascinating.  How were you able to capture what to me seemed like a very real description of what it’s like to be in a burning building?

KW:  After meshing out my idea for "Cinder," I decided I needed to do a bit of research on firefighting.  I read bits of books and articles, watched Youtube videos of firefighters at work, and found websites that listed requirements for firefighter training, equipment, techniques and also listed terms used by firefighters (which can very greatly by location and department).  I inquired of friends of mine who are married to volunteer and army firefighters as well.  But I have a confession to make.  When it came to finding a truly passionate portrayal of firefighting, I watched one of my all time favorite movies, "Backdraft," over and over again, analyzing the most dramatic scenes with a writer's eye.  Just talking about it makes me want to watch the movie again!

Fairy tales are a recurring theme in “Cinder.”  How have fairy tales influenced your writing and/or your point of view? 

KW:  Fairy tales provide many well-known motifs that seem to flow through every kind of writing, whether intentional or not.  I found these motifs in my own writing enough times that I started rereading fairy tales to figure just how many of my ideas were truly my own, and how many came from tales of old.  This easily led to reading retold fairy tales, which I enjoyed so much, I began writing my own.  Adding that fairy tale/folklore element to my pre-existing ideas gave my stories new dimensions and greater ties to history.  Now, I simply can't help weaving bits of fairy tales into so much of my work!

Do you have a favorite fairy tale?  If so, what is it and why is it a favorite? 

KW:  Oh my.  You want me to choose just one?  I am finding new and enthralling fairy tales I'd never heard of before every day!  But, there are several from my childhood that have evolved into fascinations of late because of all the history they hold and the unique variations I've found.  As a little girl growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I spent many days dreaming about living life in the water and what it would be like to be a mermaid.  After outgrowing my girlish fascination with Disney's "The Little Mermaid," I found Hans Christian Andersen's tale and fell even more in love.  This wasn't the predictable happily-ever-after I was used to; it was so much better!   So I guess you could say "The Little Mermaid" is my favorite, for the simple fact that it was the catalyst that started my fairy tale obsessions.  My most favorite, recently found adaptation of the mer theme is the Chilean folk tale "Mariana and the Merchild."  

Do you have a particular genre in which you enjoy writing?  Why or why not? 

 KW:  Umm… several!  I love fantasy.  I like playing God I guess; making up creatures and worlds and magical abilities.  Who doesn't?  Folklore and fairy tales are easily slipped into a fantasy backdrop, but I also love fiction as a whole.  I write young adult fiction as well, sometimes speculative, sometimes not.  Science fiction is also an interest of mine, though every time I pick up a science fiction novel, I find myself disappointed for some reason.  Maybe it's because I'm looking for that perfect science fiction story I have yet to write?  Who knows?  I never did think of myself as much into horror, but when it comes to ghost stories, I often find myself totally enthralled!  I also see romance showing up in a lot of my work, but only as an underlying motif, not as the main plot.  The same goes for nature motifs.  Biology was my major in college and for me learning about wildlife and the natural world around us is as fascinating as any speculative fiction novel.  I guess I'm all over the place, but speculative fiction and YA fiction are the yarns I find myself spinning the most.

And, of course, have you ever had a ghostly encounter?

KW:  I have had a few occasions in the past where I thought I might have seen a ghost, but nothing definite.  However, I recently went on a ghost walk at the Sweetwater County Library in town and at the end of the tour, as the librarian told us how the area used to be a playground before it was a library, we heard the sound of children's laughter resonating from the dark, abandoned hallway behind us.  It was very real, loud enough to startle us, and several people heard it, including me.  It was pretty cool, actually!  You can read more about my experience on the ghost walk on my website

Thanks so much, Kristina!  And we look forward to the release of Opal!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Author Interview!!

Learn more about Safe Upon the Shore in my interview with fellow Specter Spectacular contributor, Kristina Wojtaszek (click here).
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