Sunday, 9 December 2012

From the Literary Minds of the Grim Vengeance Crew


(the literary minds behind the Grim Vengeance anthology)


Welcome to the Grim Vengeance Anthology, a collection from Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing featuring tales of cryptic and fury-filled efforts that show just how far one will go when there's a vengeful vendetta.
Whether it is for retribution or for retaliation--be it from the guardian or the renegade--the primal urge to enforce a personal sense of justice lies with every being.
Neither man nor myth is free of this drive, and the lengths to which they'll go are vast and astounding and plunge even the purest heart into the darkest depths of depravity. The end result of the violence and mayhem is nothing if not destructive...
Nothing if not grim.

Hosted by yours truly, Nathan Squiers (The Literary Dark Prince), "Grim Vengeance"--a top-selling Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing anthology (available in both print and Kindle)--features both stories and poetry depicting the dark scene of supernatural revenge. The collction went live to the public at the end of October (just in time for Halloween), and the hype surrounding the collection has driven me to introduce the authors behind the project.

When I first decided to host the collection, I had no idea what I was in store for. This being the first collection I've organized, I was, to say the least, cautiously optimistic. Fortunately for me, the response provided me with a PHENOMENAL line-up of remarkable authors and poets that truly put their best into depicting their vengeance-filled work.
And while I could go on forever-and-ever about the unbridled talent and effort that everybody tied to the project put forth, I'd sooner let the reviewers do it for me.
See what's got the readers raving HERE!!

Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the authors (listed alphabetically by last name):

Amanda R. Browning ("That Hoodoo that You do")
Amanda lives in southern Indiana with her husband and three children.  She has been an avid fan of all things paranormal her entire life.  After being a dedicated reader since childhood, she started writing when she ran out of books to read and her brother challenged her with, “So write something.”
Amanda does intense research for everything she writes, hoping to lend a sense of reality to the worlds she crafts from imagination.  She is a big fan of history and tries to find a piece of real history to explain with the paranormal. She writes all types of paranormal fiction, from horror to romance to erotica.
Amanda is the author of The Immortal Choice Series, and is currently writing the sequel to Birth of the Nyxian, as well as several short stories. When she isn’t glued to the computer writing, she can be found with her children exploring the woods near her house for the hidden fairy portal, or playing zombie tag.

Linna Drehmel ("Madison's Gift")
Linna was born at the Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho in 1973 and grew up surrounded by military. Her father served for 22 years in the Air Force, her mother was a military police officer in the Marines, and her older brother served for 10 years in the Navy. She draws inspiration from her family's many years of proud service in the military. She has spent much of her life studying anthropology and has a particular fondness for archaeology. She loves to find ways to intertwine anthropological and archaeological themes into her writing. She also has a strong understanding of what the reader likes, as she herself is an avid reader.

Stefan Ellery ("Career Change")
Stefan, born in Gothenbourg Sweden raised mostly in Ontario Canada, is an author that dabbles in a variety of genres that include Horror, YA Paranormal, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. His first complete works are children stories though they never have been published they have led him to write more complex stories for an older audience. His first novelette Unfiltered is a Self Published tale that mixes dragons in an urban setting.  He has had his short story "A Miller's Daughter" published in the Dark Light Anthology published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.


Gabrielle Franchetti ("The Fallen" & "Unbelievable")
Born and raised in New Jersey, Gabrielle Franchetti grew up with the arts surrounding her ranging from acting to drawing. There are many writers in her family, but she is the first to reach for her dream in becoming a published author. Franchetti was always encouraged to reach for her full potential as a writer and artist throughout her childhood. She adores writing in any genre, ranging from fantasy to murder mystery. She enjoys writing screenplays, short stories and back-stories for her characters. She loves to find ways to intertwine a sense of mystery and her own creatures into her writing. Franchetti spends most of her time studying mythology in order to create her own mythical fantasies within her work of sci-fi and fantasy. She enjoys keeping her readers guessing by undermining their sense of reason of what they already perceive as good vs evil. She likes to incorporate complex plots and twisting events within her writing, ultimately turning the tables on the reader when they start to feel comfortable with what they are reading. Franchetti finds her inspiration while day dreaming of her stories. She is constantly thinking of new plots and characters in which she is eager to share with the world. Franchetti is proud of her first published works within the anthologies “Grim Vengeance” and “Darkest Desires”. She is eagerly preparing for her first novel to be published with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing titled “Crimson Rose: Inferno.” Franchett’s Crimson Rose series is her first of many more to come.

                                      Andrew katz("Darkest Heart")
Andrew is a 20 year old out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began writing out of sheer boredom (yes, that is really the reason) in September of 2011. Some would say that his writings are the bizarre ramblings of a mad man, but what do they know? His work is inspired by the world around him, odd dreams, and a sequence of hallucinations brought on by sleep deprivation and hanging upside down at night.  Andrew listens to a very eclectic playlist when writing to try and keep a mixed feel to his words and feelings. Handsome, charming, superb, and flawless are all words that have been used before to describe Andrew and his bulging brain. He has dabbled in time control as his preferred superpower, and has made some major steps towards shifting history in his favor, although we’re not entirely sure how yet. Being an artist is the major role in this master genius’s mind, and something that, contrary to popular belief, he takes very seriously.  The young author would like nothing more from his readers than for them to simply enjoy his words, and what they mean.

                    Joseph J. Langan ("The Moles", "Grim Vengeance", "Human Farm" &                                           "Victims and Vultures")
Joseph is a lover of science fiction and fantasy. He is a futurist, an eccentric, and at heart, a poet. Being a coffee enthusiast, he is able to burn the midnight oil, writing short stories and working on his dystopian novel. He enjoys Ohio’s gray, wintry weather, where he finds himself at home with his prose. He is a philosophical, inquisitive individual and makes it a point to get to know his fans. “Persephone,” a paranormal romance short story, featured in Sinister Seductions, is his first publication. His post-apocalyptic story, “The Moles” and his daring portrait of a world where the Government sucks the life and resources out of us even more than usual, quite literally actually, “Human Farm” as well as the anti-abuse poem “Victims and Vultures” and the themed poem “Grim Vengeance” are featured in the Grim Vengeance anthology. He has recently submitted some more short stories to Science Fiction markets so be on the lookout for more from this forthcoming author.

                                 S.R. Schulman ("My Brother and Me")
"I love how the brightest star in my universe doesn't burn me when I get too close. I love that I can touch it and how bright it burns. That radiance is the purest thing in this world. Pure, and forgiving. I pray it never burns in a million eternities."

                       DJ Shaw ("Playing with Demons" & "Revenge be a Demon")
DJ Shaw belongs to the part of the Unseelie Sidhe that lives in Albuquerque, NM with her husband, The Vengeance Demon, Terminal, the beast who stole her heart, and together they have spawned five children.  They also own a Ocelot and four Hell Hounds.  She loves to write about the experiences of her Dark Brethren, and some of her own.  Please enjoy some of her adventures.  You can contact her on her author page at

                               D C White ("Night Train to Noarlunga")
White lives in Blackwood, South Australia. He has been writing for several years and has been published in Australia, the UK and the US. His work was nominated for an Aurealis Award for ‘Best Fantasy Short Story 2011’.


~How long have you been writing and what got you interested in the writing process to begin with? What inspires your writing process?

Browning - "I've been writing for almost exactly a year. I got a kindle for my twenty seventh birthday and went on a crazy reading spree. When I ran out of new books to read, my brother told me to stop complaining and write something. So I did, and I haven't stopped since."

Drehmel - "I have been writing wild tales all my life. But what got me going seriously was a need to express fully who I am." 

Ellery - "I have been writing steadily for two years now, though I have had attempted to write when I was younger I was not ready. What had pushed be further in my writing career was a bout of depression that took me away from work. The writing helped change my focus from negative to positive thoughts and now I cannot stop writing. I am a daydreamer and constantly change the world around me to fit a story. If I see a statue, a pile of dirt or an empty house I cannot help give it a story."

Franchetti - "I have been writing since the fifth grade. I became fascinated with the idea of creating my own world in which no one else existed except for my characters and me. I became interested when we had to write our personal experience with the 9/11 attack, in my fifth grade writing class. I had recalled my father being on Ellis Island; therefore, he had witnessed the entire event. Instead of writing something boring as being stuck in my classroom, doodling on the back of a spelling test, I decided to write how I experienced the event as if I was on the Island with my father. I had apparently made it believable enough for my teacher to approach me. When I had told her I made it up, she was quite shocked because of the detailed emotion and imagery I had placed in the event I had created for myself."

Katz - "Since September of 2011, and there was nothing really specific that got me started, I was just pretty bored one night and started writing.

Langan - "I have been writing for over a decade. My grade school teacher inspired me to write when I was very young and I have been doing it ever since. I can’t go a day without writing and the rare days, few and far between as they are, that I don’t invest time to polish my prose, I feel ashamed that I didn’t work on my craft. Everything can be a source of inspiration. A side comment, a simple remark, a question. Almost anything can get the gears in my brain to start turning. There isn’t a day that I go without coming up with a potential idea. It can even be overwhelming! I’m always thinking about the inner worlds I create, on top of working at the local library and maintaining somewhat of a social life. It’s sorting through the junk ideas and highlighting the good ones that is key to being a successful writer." 

Schulman – Samuel Robert Schulman discovered his first love in writing when he was in the sixth grade, in the far off month and year of January 2004. His English teacher Vickie Curry was teaching a lesson about “showing, not telling” in writing. From there, Samuel was inspired to write the first sentences of the first draft of his first completed novel (which as of this moment, is nowhere near the light of day). When asked about his influences, Samuel claims that the world is his muse. “I’m just as soon to call my coffee table the headquarters of some ‘save the world’ type agency as I am to call a long-decayed tree stump a castle carved in a mountainside.” The absurd, the plain, the majestic, the disgusting, the kitchen, the stars, his friends, his family, his enemies, his nightmares, his dreams, his hopes, his fears, his good habits, his bad habits— literally everything is his inspiration.

Shaw – “I have been writing since I was about 12/13 years old. I have always had an active (some would say over-active) imagination and found that a good outlet for it was to write my own make-believe worlds.”

White – “Reading! I don’t think a writer can write without reading. Possibly it’s the new words coming in the push the other ones out. Or something. I like to explore themes. ‘Night Train to Noarlunga’, for example, was an attempt to write a modern horror story involving ancient Indigenous myths from Australia. Another recent story came about when I discovered the Soviets had their own Land Speed Record attempts in the 1960s. Once the idea lodges, I have to write it, no matter how odd.”

~Do you listen to music when you write (and, if so, what sort of a playlist do you rock out to) or do you prefer silence?

Browning – “I listen to music. What I listen to depends on the scene I am writing. I like rock for action scenes, but I tend to prefer jazz or something calmer for love scenes. I listen to a wide variety of music, so I can always find something to fit my needs. Non English lyrics are fantastic for both writing and editing, and I've recently become a fan of Japanese rock.”

Drehmel – “I dont think I can write without it. I have several playlists on Spotify and YouTube. Some of my favorites, Ashestoangels, Obscure Pleasures, Fearless Vampire Killers, Evilyn, Ugly Love, William Control, Depeche Mode.”

Ellery – “I have no idea how people manage to write with music on. I have tried that and I end up typing to the rhythm and it becomes distracting.”

Franchetti - "Music is my motivation to write a scene in which I am having difficulty portraying a certain emotion to my readers. I feel if I am not scared, sad or happy as I am writing a scene, then my readers will not be either. I listen to strong instrumental music that would cause someone to feel a certain way as I write. I recall scaring myself silly while writing one of the ending scenes for Crimson Rose: Inferno because of the music and of what I was picturing in my head. The music only magnifies my ability to fully draw the reader into the scene and story itself.”

Katz – “I have to have music when I write or literally nothing gets done. I’m very eclectic so I’ll put the ol’ Ipod on shuffle and get anything from System of a Down to Taylor Swift going.”

Langan – “I don’t usually listen to music when I write. I do however listen to Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s Creative Mind System which stimulates creativity in my brainwaves, greasing the old neurons to send ideas slipping across the synapses. I do however, use music in the brainstorming process. While a fan of many genres ranging from Acoustic to Death Metal, Indie to Dubstep, 80’s Goth to poetic Rap, I have been writing a lot of science fiction since these pieces were published and am currently listening to: Juno Reactor, a major contributor to the Matrix trilogy soundtracks; Clint Mansell, the phenomenal composer who’s scored director Darren Aronofsky’s movies like my favorite film, The Fountain, (a groundbreaking Sci-Fi drama, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey or Solaris) as well as Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. All of which are innovated films I highly recommend; A Perfect Circle- whose album eMOTIVe has helped me paint a mental portrait of the dystopian Brave New World that is the setting for my upcoming novel; and finally, the ever-popular Skrillex- for the futuristic club scenes in my novel: holographic dancers, brain-altering waves laced with electronic music, audio drugs, neon vidscreens and the lingering clouds of cigarette smoke that hang lethargic ghosts.”

Schulman - When writing, Sam finds that he gets his flow on best with music playing in the background. Most recently, Puscifer and The Mars Volta have been his biggest influences, with Puscifer’s song “The Undertaker” serving as the basis for his short story “My Brother and Me”. Additionally, The newest Mars Volta album “Noctourniquet” served as the inspiration for “Saint Christopher”. Other artists Samuel enjoys are Nine Inch Nails during the Fragile era, Depeche Mode, Maynard James Keenan projects, At the Drive-In, early 90’s AFI, Tom Waits, Beck, The Arctic Monkeys, Coheed and Cambria, Yes, King Crimson, Ministry, Portishead, Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, Muse, and many others.

Shaw – “Both actually. There are times when I need the music to write and then I have moments when silence is better. My playlist is pretty long but it consists of a mixture of music, rock, rap, r&b, heavy metal, etc.”

White – “Music definitely inspires me and gets me thinking about stories to write, but I find myself too focused on the act of writing to pay attention once I start. If there’s music on I tend to block it out. Being an audiophile, I’ll listen to a piece of music and find it puts me in mind of a story to write, then I’ll turn it off and write. In terms of what I listen to Country, Rock, Folk and Blues feature large, but I don’t tend to notice genre. Favorites include Neil Young and Jethro Tull, but I’ve got Shooter Jennings blasting on the ipod at the moment, so there’s that too.”

~What four words would you use to describe yourself

Browning – “Unusual; dedicated; sincere; funny”

Drehmel – “Determined; Phoenix; little; tough.”

Ellery – “Dreamer; geek; collector; listener.”

Franchetti – “Mischievous; energetic; kindling; bashful.”

Katz – “I don’t know how.”

Langan – “Solicitous; rational; anomalous; perceptive.”

Schulman - In four words, Samuel mostly just fidgeted and contemplated. His ability to think of himself so compacted is... limited for lack of a better term. After enduring three hours of water-boarding, Samuel said, “Asshole. Not a dick.” A follow up may be necessary.

Shaw – “Easy-going; fun; imaginative; freaky.”

White – “I am. That’s it.”

~If you could have ANY super power, what would it be and why?

Browning – “Trick question. Ha Ha I would want the ability to fly. The freedom it would offer, as well as the unique experience would be amazing to me. ”

Drehmel – “I would like to be able to freeze time like Piper Hallawell in Charmed.”

Ellery – “That is easy. I want to have a teleportation ability. I would never need a car and I could travel the world without a plane.”

Franchetti – “If I had any super power, it would be able to shape shift into someone else/steal an identity. I pick this because it involves one of my main characters whom I absolutely adore.”

Katz – “Time control since it would be absolutely sweet and I could actually do whatever I wanted.”

Langan – “While one might argue that understanding everyone is not a “superpower” I argue that in this world where few people take the time to talk and actually communicate, our desires are often not voiced, and if I were to have the power to be, in a way, omniscient, aware of everyone's viewpoint, in such a close-minded society, that would be an incredible achievement. In my novel,  I have solved this problem, implementing machinery into humanity’s biochemistry in order to send and receive thoughts between people like Instant Messages today in the ‘Matrix’ we live in with everything ruled by social media.”

Schulman - When asked about having superpowers, he’d prefer to have telekinesis, because he is physically quite weak, and feels light as a feather as a result, and is quoted as saying, “You get flight and super strength without lifting a finger. How can you go wrong?”

Shaw – “The power to shape shift. Because I think it would be awesome to be able to turn into a powerful cat.”
White – “Ah, a tricky one. I’d like to be immortal, I think. I like to keep my options open. Death would cramp my style.”

~What does being an artist mean to you?

Browning - "Being an artist means to pour your soul our on canvas/paper/clay/etc. and share it with the world. It means having something that you are compelled to share with others. It still humbles me that I can entertain others with my words."

Drehmel - "I love that I get to call myself an artist at all, I have no talent for music or drawing or that kind of art but love it very much so to be able to express myself in an artistic manner and share it with the world is pretty amazing to."

Ellery - "For me it is the best way I can express myself and at the same time share thoughts without feeling I have exposed myself."

Franchetti - "Sharing my ideas and stories with the world is what it means to me to being an artist."

Katz - "It’s funny, I don’t really consider myself to be an artist, just a goofy kid with an overactive imagination."

Langan - " Being an artist means to me that I get to paint pictures with words. All art poses a question rather than an answer. I challenges my readers to come up with their own conclusions after reading my work and interpret my sometimes cryptic worlds however they see fit. It’s not about how I envision it, it’s about how you envision it. I merely paint the picture, you tell me what you see."

Schulman - He considers being an artist something that everyone does to a degree. He lives his life by these words spoken by Maynard James Keenan, “Life is too short not to create something with every breath...” and goes forth to try as many new things as possible to expand his palette.

Shaw – “Freedom.”

White – “Being an artist means creating things. Taking ordinary words and building an extraordinary universe, a history, a narrative. There’s too much destruction in the world. Let’s create instead.”

~If you could say/instill ANYTHING into the minds of somebody about to read your contribution to "Grim Vengeance", what would it be?

Browning - "Be careful who you cross. Not everyone is willing to turn the other cheek. And those that aren't, usually have the ability to inflict their vengeance in a suitably awful manner."

Drehmel - "My stories always are written with a piece of my soul in it"
Ellery - "In this world we have not explored all that it has to offer. There are secrets that are meant to be revealed and some that should stay hidden and others that need to be respected. If we lose ourselves in personal gain we can be harming ourselves and those around us."

Franchetti - "Imperium and deceit can power a person for revenge and blood while a forbidden creation, and public execution can stab a heart and start a war."

Katz - "Enjoy."

Langan – “First of all, I would like readers to keep an open-mind and I wouldn’t want to install anything specific. However, to answer the question, I’ll expand upon this: In a reiteration of what Edgar Allan Poe asked in the 1800’s in a poem of his. “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?” I would like to forewarn readers in a quote circulating around the scientific community: ‘Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine - it is stranger than we can imagine.’ Keep that in mind when reading my writing.”

Schulman - Before you read his story, he wants you to be aware of a typo within “My Brother and Me” that he missed before it was too late.
Shaw – “Beware! This is a darker part of my mind that I haven’t visited very often before my pieces for this anthology.”

White – “Aboriginal culture is rich and deep, and should be treated with the utmost respect.”

*note - some of the anthology's
contributors were unableto be
reached for their information.

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