Tag Archives: Halloween

Review: Gather ‘Round The Campfire for a Howling Good Time … of Horror, Fear & Fantasy

Flash O'Lantern: 13+ Stories
Flash O’Lantern: 13+ Stories by Todd Russell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you loved sitting around a campfire, as a kid, and spinning quick yarns to scare the ‘bejeezus’ out of your friends, then you’ll really enjoy Flash O’Lantern: 13+ Stories, a collection of flash fiction tales by horror writer/novelist Todd Russell.

Flash O’Lantern presents 13 Flash horror stories interspersed with Russell’s own thematically-related commentaries about memorable October events and trivia. The stories deliver quick, light, entertaining reads, and the commentaries provide plenty of great water-cooler conversational grist. Together they make Flash O’Lantern particularly good reading for people on the go. Here are my four favorite flash fiction offerings from the book:

Brush is the creepy story of a homeless guy who, let’s say, bites off more than he can chew, when he hijacks a kid’s Halloween goody bag. ( I think the National Dental Associationshould purchase reprint rights to this one and distribute them in dental offices nationwide.)


Graveyard Crazies offers a fun, yet spooky, take on working the mid-night (graveyard) shift in a supermarket. (Great atmospherics, and some well-done tension-relieving humor.)
Remdee Gate won me over immediately with the imaginative concept of the gate itself – an altogether new idea that I’ve never come across before in sci-fi/horror fantasy writing.
And finally, I found Rachel’s Number to be a quick, but haunting, story.

Todd is currently offering Flash O’Lanterns: 13+ Stories for FREE at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/98723 . I’d quickly grab a copy before his mercenary tendencies take over!

Other Important Todd Russell Links:


Mental Shrillness – An earlier collection of Todd’s short stories


Fresh Flesh – Todd’s debut psychological thriller, horror novel



Connect with Todd Russell Online

Official Website









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Lost Souls, Byzantium and the Anti-Christ: Meet Author Athanasios Galanis

Athanasios Galanis

Athanasios Galanis, author of the Mad-Gods series.

If you believe there’s more to the world than meets the eye, and if you have a fondness for the occult, history, fantasy and horror, then the Mad-Gods series, by Athanasios Galanis, may be just what the doctor ordered. Athanasios is a Canadian born graphic designer/writer and perpetual student of life whose imagination occupies a multidimensional world that serves as a crossroads for ancient spirits and modern men. It’s a place where current and past events interact forming a living background for the ongoing struggle between the agents of good and evil, of prophecy, treachery, intrigue and divinity. I’m pleased to introduce you to the subject of today’s author interview: Athanasios Galanis.

1.       Athanasios, what got you started writing what I’m going to call historical/fantasy novels?

I haven’t written anything else.  So the singular would apply here and to be specific what I write is what I would read. The Predatory Ethics story that begins with Mad Gods is not intentionally cross genre but it is Occult/Thriller/Historical/Fantasy/Horror because those are the subjects that interest me.

2.       How would you define your genre, and what do you find most compelling and challenging about writing in it?

I define it as Occult/Thriller/Historical/Fantasy/Horror and the most compelling thing about writing it is seeing how the themes and subjects I explore really do affect my thinking in the same way as the separate subjects have affected me in the past. To me the best examples of those genres explain and illustrate life and reality as nothing else can. I try and do that with Predatory Ethics.  Hopefully it comes through.

Amazon link. Click to buy.

Amazon link. Click to buy.

My inspiration comes from everywhere.  Mostly from documentaries and books about religion, history, myths, psychology, and the subjects I stated earlier. My writing process is sitting down and writing out in a steno pad whatever comes into my head. It’s mostly stream of consciousness but I always have a rough outline to follow but not adhere to. That is my first draft that I end up typing into my computer as the second draft. Once that’s finished I print it out double-spaced and edit and revise what ends up being my third draft. I then update the computer version from the revised printed copy and that’s my process.

4.       When did you know you were going to be a writer? Was there a specific incident or triggering incident? And how did that knowledge make you feel?

I want to tell this story, I didn’t think about being a writer or not, the idea never entered my head.  I thought this was a really captivating idea. I want to transcend and make readers feel and think as I did, and still do when I read a great story.

5.       Balzac had a simple method for staying focused and churning out copy: He chained himself to his desk and consumed endless cups of coffee? What’s your technique?

No great technique, I “just do it,” with respect to Nike.  I’ve worked as a graphic artist for most of my adult life so I know that you’ve got to keep plugging and knowing that if you’re dedicated to something you keep doing it when you’re not inspired.  Inspiration makes the process easy, it’s doing it when it’s just not coming out and it feels like you’re fighting yourself that shows dedication to what you want to say.

6.       How long did it take you to write Mad-Gods? Is the book cycle (5 books) complete yet? If not, how many more volumes do you plan to write?

It took nearly 20 years from the first germs of the ideas inherent in the wider story arc. I don’t know if the book cycle is more or less than 5 books.

7.       What were the biggest challenges you faced in writing the Mad-Gods books?

The biggest challenges were and still are doing it in my spare time. I so hope and wish to be doing this as a full time endeavor that will keep me comfortable and happy.

8.       Since the books are set — at least in the beginning — in Constantinople/Istanbul — how did you research the area: it’s streets, there appearance, the traditions, history and language, etc.?

Some of it came from the myths and background stories I grew up with. My family was always talking about how we Greeks used to have a great empire called Byzantium and the golden capital of Kostadinoupoli.  Whatever I didn’t know I researched online. Thank the gods for Google.

9.       How much time, if any, did you actually spend there?


10.     Do you have a favorite passage from your book? If so, would you share it with us here and tell us what is it about it that has such special significance for you?

Yes. It’s short and encapsulates my day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute thoughts that I finally wrote down and still shake my head at how on the mark it was about me. “Endurance is overrated. I wish I were weaker and able to endure far less.”

11.     What writers have influenced you the most in your writing career and in developing your writing style? What, specifically was it about them that captured your attention and imagination?

I don’t know if they’ve influenced my style but they did influence my desire to affect people the way they did me.  The first was Michael Moorcock and his Eternal Champion series.  It showed me how expansive imagination could be with the wonder and fantasy that was on every page. The next was Mary Renault who showed me that our own world, whether it was history or our own time could be and was as full of wonder, fantasy, danger and transcendence as in any fiction.

12.     Why did you choose to take the Indie route in publishing your books? How satisfying has it been so far? And what lessons have you learned about indie publishing that you’d like to share with others?

I chose indie because there was no other avenue. I’ve gotten nothing but rejections from agents and publishers. It’s been critically satisfying but little else. The only lesson I’ve learned was learned a long time before my indie publishing, keep trying and do anything and everything to make your work reach paying readers.

13.     What book marketing efforts have you found to be most effective?

Do whatever crosses your path. Everything.  Plenty of time to be discriminating once you’ve gotten SOME recognition.

14.     What valuable lessons have you learned about self-publishing that you’d care to share with other writers?

Fake it till you make it.

15.     What is it that you want most readers to get out of reading your books? What do they tell you about their experience?

I would like readers to think about reality and what life is. Lofty goals I know but that’s not my specific intent, I just hope that the story will do that.

16.     What other books have you currently got “in development?”

I just finished Commitment, the second part of Predatory Ethics.  It’s being edited and I hope to have it up by Halloween. I’ve started In Who To Trust, the third part. I don’t know where that will lead me, but I’m excited to find out.

Thanks, Athanasios, for giving our readers a deeper insight into your books, your character and your thoughts!

Links to:

Website: www.mad-gods.com

Blog: www.mad-gods.com/blog

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu2O4StE8DQ

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Filed under Historical Fiction, New Releases, Uncategorized