AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – S.R. MALLERY

cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgI welcome S.R. Mallery to Author Wednesday today. This talented author recently published a collection of short stories, Tales To Count On with a unique combination of genres, including historical, Gothic, and fantasy—with many twist endings. If you’ve ever read any of the O Henry short stories and enjoyed them, you’ll be in for a treat with this collection. Full disclosure: I edited and formatted this book. The “work” became a labor of love as I fell in love with the characters and the delightful storytelling ability of Ms. Mallery. She has also published another collection of historical short stories, Sewing Can Be Dangerous. You can read my review of that book here.TALES_final_full

Hello Sarah or S.R. I’m so happy to have you grace my blog today. Since today is Earth Day, I’d like to ask you about something Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) once said about her writing. She said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Have you ever had this happen?

Talk about a subject choosing me!  I can still remember sitting with my father years ago, out on his little corner balcony way up on the 27th floor of a Manhattan apartment building.  As the sun was slowly setting and the lights were glowing across the Hudson River on one side, the twinkling lights of Manhattan on the other, he told me all about the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911.  According to him, not only was that day horrific—over 140 young women’s lives were lost—but how important that event was because of the building codes that were changed after that.

I sat there, riveted, envisioning those hapless immigrant girls, either leaping or falling to their deaths; girls who also piled up against doors that at that time only opened inward. So, several years later, when I wrote my very first short story entitled, “Sewing Can Be Dangerous,” it was all about that fateful day.SEWING_CAN_BE_DANGEROUS_full

Tell me about Tales To Count On and its eclectic short stories. 

My Tales To Count On is a mish-mash of stories.  The synopsis says it best:

Curl up and enter the eclectic world of S. R. Mallery, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic meets Gothic.  Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these Tales To Count On, which include a battered women’s shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTSD fallout, sisters’ tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.

I’ve also been working on an historical fiction Wild West romance:

The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Add to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 Land Rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and romance. It’s not only a taste of America’s past, it’s also about people overcoming insurmountable odds.

I’m really looking forward to reading The Dolan Girls. It sounds very exciting and like everything you write, it’s a grab bag of action and conflict. Your stories are set all over the world. Do you think setting plays a role in your stories?

Although I feel good characters are probably the most important part of any fictional book, with historical fiction, setting is EVERYTHING!  In that genre, authenticity is vital in the transportation to older times. That’s what makes you live and breathe that period alongside of your characters.  People have asked me how I am able to capture people in past times and make them so believable. Well, there is a tremendous amount of research that contributes towards that: reading about actual events, studying the lingo of that specific time, the culture, the dress. In other words, it’s all important.

But I also feel even with my more modern material, settings help ‘set the stage’.

 Are you planning to continue writing historical fiction?

Probably, although one never knows what the future will bring.  I will be continuing on with the Wild West book next and a tiny seed has planted itself inside my brain recently about perhaps writing a murder mystery that takes place during the 1920’s Jazz Age.  But who knows?

I love that period in American history, between the two world wars and during prohibition. Life was lived with a different attitude. How did you choose the title for the new book, Tales To Count On

As for the title for Tales To Count On, that was a hard one.  First of all, these stories are so eclectic and range from 500 words to 5,000 with various genres included.  Titles came and went and just when I thought I had something, then either Amazon already had that title listed, or it didn’t grab me or my supportive friends.  Then one day, my brother casually asked, “How ‘bout Tales to Count On?”  And that was that!

Smart brother! It’s a perfect title. Tell me how you came up with this unique idea for Tales.

Having decided to ‘clear out my writing cupboard’ to see if I could cobble together another collection, I started to put some of my flash fiction and other stories together. But unlike my Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads, which had the definite connection of sewing or crafting, just how could I link these very eclectic stories?  Then it hit me.  Since the ‘word count’ is so important for writers, why not link them that way?  Each story title would have the word count under it, and it would go by ascending order of numbers.  And…and…I could include a few of my stories that were lengthier, as long as I put the word count under their titles! Eureka!

It’s amazing how it all came together. I love these stories and I’m sure the book will be very successful. Congratulations on a job well done. I expect you back when The Dolan Girls is published. I’ll add that S.R. Mallery’s first novel Unexpected Gifts is under construction right now. She should have it up again sometime this summer. 

S.R.Malleryheadshot_04forblogsS.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy.
Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.

Click below to connect with S.R. Mallery

Website/Blog 

Twitter@SarahMallery1

Facebook Fan Page

Google+

Goodreads

PinterestS.R. has some good history boards that are getting a lot of attention—history, vintage clothing, older films on this site.

Amazon Author page

Tales To Count OnAmazon

Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads  – Amazon

Author’s Blog Chain

It’s my pleasure today to participate in the Author’s Blog Chain. Francis Guenette tagged me on her blog, Francis Guenette - author photoDisappearing in Plain Sight. I also reviewed her delightful novel, Disappearing in Plain Sight. Disappearing in Plain Sight - coverPlease visit her blog. She writes thoughtful pieces on the process of becoming and sustaining a career as an Indie Author. I’ve found many of her insights very helpful in my journey as an Indie Author.

The Author’s Blog Chain requires me to answer four questions about my writing life, so here goes:

Sketch of P.C. Zick by Jae at Lit and Scribbles

Sketch of P.C. Zick by Jae at Lit and Scribbles

1. What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my next Florida Fiction novel, Native Lands. This work looks at who owns the land on which we live and how we should tend to that land as good stewards. There’s plenty of love and intrigue and nasty antagonists. I hope to publish it sometime before the end of the year. I’m also working on a nonfiction book, Odyssey to Myself, which is a collection of essays on my travels from 2004-2009 and how each trip held a significant life lesson. I’m also developing an editing and book formatting business, which I hope to launch very soon.

2. How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre?

I think most authors like to think their work is different from any other work, and I’m no exception. I’ve been compared to Carl Hiassen because I write about the disastrous effects of development on Florida; I’ve been compared to Anne Rivers Siddons because of my southern characters. I may have elements of those writers’ genre in my work, but I also write in-depth about nature and wildlife. I take a page from the John Steinbeck book of writing and try to create metaphors in nature that represent man’s actions. I aspire to write as noteworthy books as those I’ve mentioned!

3. Why do you write what you write?

Good question. I often refer to Rachel Carson’s (Silent Spring) comment on how she chose her subjects. She said that she never chose a subject, but rather the subject chose her. I believe I’ve chosen my path to help bring awareness on issues regarding nature and all its creatures. If we continue to live thoughtless lives without consideration of the natural world around us, then we’re dooming our future generations to some heavy burdens.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m not sure I have a process. I write when the mood strikes, which is every day. I keep several journals going. I usually have a work in progress. I tend to begin with an idea and then plot it out, researching as I go. With every project, the process changes.

Now that I’ve answered questions about my writing life, I’m tagging three other authors so they can continue the Author’s Blog Chain.

IMG_0140 resized-framedChristina Carson – I discovered Christina Carson’s work through my social media channels and what a lovely surprise to find her. I’ve read one of her books, Suffer the Little Children, and reviewed it, and Christina wrote a guest blog for Author Wednesday in June. Her books are delightful reminders that novels serve as more than entertainment; they also show a way to live a more thoughtful existenceSuffer the Little Children-resized

From Christina: I was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, when it still looked like the verdant farming country of England. Horses and dairy farming were prominent, and I chose horses. Educated as a scientist, I was a child of the 1960s, and one of the outcomes of that was my stance as war protester. Leaving a Ph.D. program and the United States in 1968, I settled in western Canada and fell in love with the wildness of the country and the tolerance of the people. The cold was a tad stunning, however. I’ve been writing nonfiction and poetry as long as I can remember, but eight years ago, I began to write fiction. In 1996, I came back to the States on the arm of a Vietnam veteran. Now there’s a story for you. Presently, I reside in Alabama with my husband, also a writer. Neither the adventure of life and its wonder, nor what it has yet to teach me seem anywhere close to an end.

Links:

Amazon Author Central

Suffer the Little Children

Dying to Know

Blog: Cristina Carson, Writer

100-0059_IMGDarlene Jones – Darlene Jones caught my attention when I came across her blog, Em and Yves. Her experiences from living in Mali made an indelible mark on her so much so she’s dedicated herself to writing books that reflect a country and culture living in poverty and pain. I usually don’t read science fiction, but Darlene’s purpose in writing her novels intrigued me. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed reading, Embattled, which I reviewed on Book Review Friday. Darlene has also appeared on Author Wednesday.Embattled jpg for Kindle

From Darlene – A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart-wrenching poverty. The story line of my books reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place. If only wishes could come true. And of course, every novel needs its love story, so along with the sci-fi magic, I’ve added the requisite romance.

I’ve always believed we can’t be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe. There must be others “out there somewhere,” and I brought some of them along for the ride. The setting stays, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I’ve found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings can bring to the story.

Links:

Blog: http://emandyves.wordpress.com

Books: http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Jones/e/B005ZVH88G

PicturePaffi S. Flood – One of my blogger friends, Staci Troilo introduced me to Paffi S. Flood. I’m very pleased to meet her and add her to the growing list of author friends I’ve met since starting Writing Whims. Her novel A Killing Strikes Home is another in the series of Mystery, Ink by Goldminds Publishing.Picture

From Paffi – Ever since I worked on the school newspaper in the seventh grade, I had a passion for writing. Although I pursued software engineering in college, being a writer was always in the back of my mind. A decade ago, I attended writing classes and workshops and was encouraged to chase my dream. A Killing Strikes Home published by Goldminds Publishing, LLC: in January 2013 is my debut novel, and I’m currently working on my next one.

Links:

Website: www.paffisflood.com

Twitter: @paffiFlood

A Killing Strikes Home on Amazon

Please visit these other authors and their outstanding work. They’ll be posting their Author’s Blog Chain on February 3.

Write that Novel

“If you have a story that seems worth telling, and you think you can tell it worthily, then the thing for you to do is to tell it, regardless of whether it has to do with sex, sailors or mounted policemen.”

Dashiell Hammett

June 1924

Love this quote. Rachel Carson once said the writer doesn’t choose the subject, but rather the subject chooses the writer.