Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ryan Stegman

Michigan based comic book artist Ryan Stegman. What can you say about the gentleman that hasn't already been said? The young artist has applied his tender mercies to the likes of She-Hulk, X-23 and the venerable Spider-Man and has brushed elbows with some of the best in the business.

The road to sucess wasn't easy for the young artist. Having toyed with the idea of breaking into comics since he was fifteen and spending several years working stock at the mall and living in his parent's basement Ryan finally got his start in 2005. The British comic series Midnight Kiss with writer Tony Lee quickly lead to a string of smaller company-owned works, Marvel/Dabel Bros. Magician: Apprentice, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and Warhammer. These were great opportunities for the young artist, allowing him to hone his craft and refine his technique, but his first real shot at the big time came when he was drafted to draw Marvel's Incredible Hercules in late 2009. That work lead to an exclusivity agreement with Marvel and by late 2010 Stegman's She-Hulks was launched.

Now, by the power of Greyskull...

6 Questions with Ryan Stegman:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite sounds?
  "Favorite sound is my 6-month-old son laughing. Least favorite sound is when he does the "I'm actually in pain" cry. The one where it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.  These cries are usually short-lived, but they're after he's scratched himself or something."

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
  "Creatively: Good, interesting art.  Anything where the artist gives you their opinion on something in a way that I never thought about it before.  This can be a comedian, a comic artist, a musician, anybody.

Emotionally:  Just hanging out with my wife and son. All the time I get to spend with family."

3. What decision in your career are you most grateful for?
  "I am most grateful that I decided to be completely naive about how difficult this job would be or how hard it would be to "make it".  I don't know if I would have had the guts to stick it out if I knew that it was going to be so tough.  But looking back, I'm glad I had no idea."

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?
  "I don't know that I ever came close at all. I did interview for a job editing a newspaper in Chicago at one point, and I came close to getting the job.  (I graduated from college with an English degree).  If I would have gotten that job, who knows if I would have continued on this path?"

5. What is the best thing you ever ate?
  "There's a Mexican restaurant in Detroit named Xochimilco's that is amazing.  I always get the beef burritos.  There's just something about them.  They're amazing.  So either those or a Ruth's Chris filet."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "You made the most of it."

Fantastic man! DW is proud of you! Thanks for doing this!
And thanks to you for reading! If you'd like to know more about the amazing Ryan Stegman check him out at any and all of the following links:
You should also check out this FANTASTIC interview iFanboy did with the talented Mr Stegman:

And that's it for today! Hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you next time!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Michael R. Hicks

Michael R. Hicks was destined to become a genre writer. Born in 1963 Hicks spent his youth in Scottsdale Arizona where he was a voracious reader throughout elementary and high school, to the point that he was often admonished by his teachers to get his nose out of those books. He was also an avid fan of classic science fiction movies and television. His weekends were often spent with his grandparents where he would stay up until the wee hours, consuming the likes of The Abominable Doctor Phibes, The Blob, and Forbidden Planet. The youth filled his brain with images of aliens and spaceships until it could take no more. Then he began to write.

Mike drafted his In Her Name series (Empire, Confederation, and Final Battle) which at that time was actually a single work between 1991 and 1994. "The omnibus draft sat under my desk until 2008, when I took advantage of the eBook revolution and published it on the Amazon Kindle, receiving a delightful shock when people not only began buying it, but actually liked it." He calls writing his "enjoyable compulsion" and says that "hearing that readers enjoy what I write has been a true and treasured gift."

Mike spends as much time as he can traveling across the country with his wife and two stepsons, and writing.

Now Robby, do you understand the mechanism?

6 Questions with Michael R. Hicks:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?
  "My favorite would probably be "australopithecus," and my least favorite is "but." I love australopithecus because when the boys were little and curious about learning new words, I used to try and get them to say that, and we'd all have a good laugh at the results. "But" is probably my least favorite because I tend to over-use it in my writing and it's been a hard habit to break."

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
  "Creative and, um, other turn-ons. Well, creatively speaking it would have to be red wine and dark chocolate. That gets my muse fired up, although she doesn't really understand why she can't have wine first thing in the morning. So we make do on that score with the chocolate. Spiritually, I don't know if it's a turn-on, but just the fact that my family and I have been so incredibly blessed in so many ways. We've got good health, great kids, and God saw fit to give me a gift of writing through which we're now making our financial way in the world. Sorta hard to beat that. And my emotional turn-ons, well, I'll keep those to myself!"

3. What turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
 "Creative turn-offs. Hmm. The biggest one is probably distraction, writ large. The muse gets very peeved if she can't concentrate (I'm just along for the ride). Spiritually, I'd say the biggest turn-off is hypocrisy, particularly people who wear their religion on their sleeves, but whose actions and words show something altogether different. Emotionally. Hmmm. I'll probably keep that to myself, too."

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?
  "I gave up on writing after finishing the draft of IN HER NAME back in 1994 and receiving the typical rejection notices. At the time, the only other publishing venue available was vanity press, where you have to pay someone to print your books (which then sit in your garage). So I didn't do anything more until 2007 when I learned about Kindle publishing and got the book ready, sending it out into the Kindle store in 2008. So that was a long, 14 year dry spell."

5. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while creating?
  "I'm not really sure I've done anything terribly strange. Maybe the closest is that I "spin" the story in my head just before I go to sleep. It's like watching a movie: I rewind a bit into what I've already written, then start playing it forward. I usually don't get to see much new stuff before I fall asleep, but in the morning my muse picks up the thread and off we go, writing again."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you check in at the pearly gates?
  "Someone else asked me this not long ago, and I'll give the same answer: "Welcome home, son!" 

Thanks Ryan! Hope you and the family are having a fantastic time right now, in what ever part of the country you're in! If you'd like to know more about Michael R. Hicks you can try his website, follow him on Twitter or check out some of his work over at Amazon.

Thanks for reading! Next time? How about comic artist extraordinaire Ryan Stegman!

Until then: PEACE!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shawna Benson

Writer and producer Shawna Benson has written for television, film and multi-platform (web). She co-wrote and sold a multi-platform series with Bernie Su, wrote scripts with her sister, Julie Benson and wrote, directed and produced a webseries pilot called #Follow. Shawna has maintained a screenwriting blog, Shouting Into the Wind since 2004 and is currently employed as Ashley E. Miller’s assistant. She also likes all manner of tea and is a budding oenophile. She also has a penchant for fireflies.

And now, like a leaf on the wind.

6 Questions with Shawna Benson:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?
  "Favorite word: sonorous
Least favorite word: synergy"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
  "I am a sucker for a good turn of phrase.  I find as I get older that my creativity is sparked more by the words and thoughts of others.  There’s something inspiring in the creativity of other people that helps to spark my own.  Of course, this runs counter to my tendency to keep to myself, so it’s a constant balancing act – spending time with others to become inspired so that I can go into solitude and utilize the inspiration for my own creativity.  Still, it’s the primary balancing act of my life, I reckon."

3. Turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Nothing halts creativity faster than “I don’t think that’s possible” – whether it comes from others or from within.  The second you believe you can’t do something or that an idea is stupid is the second that inspiration dies.  An idea is never stupid – it may need further definition and refinement, but within every idea lies some kernel of golden truth."

4. You are to be reincarnated and you are given the choice of animal, vegetable, or mineral. Which do you choose?
  "Not sure I’m ready for non-sentient life, so I’m gonna go with reincarnation as a little purse dog (maybe a teacup terrier).  Those things are so pampered, I can’t imagine it being a bad life."

5. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft? 

  "I nearly give up my craft every day.  There probably isn’t a day that I don’t think “I’m a fraud.  What on earth made me think I could write?” but ultimately, I always come back – the blank page is a siren song and I am forever damned to crash against the rocks (or something like that.  I swear, I am such a fraud.)"

6. What is the most fun you have ever had?
  "This is actually the most difficult question.  Fun is so fleeting, and usually only recognized once it has been had.  Some things are fun in retrospect but within the moment are not at all fun (thinking about “haunted” houses and seeing scary films here).  It’s so much easier to think of decidedly not fun times.  Okay, I’ve got one – most fun I ever had: 2 or 3 AM in the Driskill Hotel bar in Austin, Texas a couple of years ago for the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference.  I sat around in a circle with the likes of Shane Black, Terry Rossio and Danny Rubin who were all swapping stories and talking about writing.  I remember thinking in the moment that I never wanted that little party to end – that I was exactly where I wanted to be at that moment."

  7. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  “That’ll do, pig.”

Awesome. That'll do indeed. You are many things but fraud is hardly one of them. Thanks for doing this Shawna! If you'd like to know more about Shawna Benson choose any or all of the following:

And thanks to you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it! Tune in next time for author Michael R. Hicks.

See you next time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

J.K. Woodward

Born in the Northeast United States, J.K. wasted little time in becoming the kid your mother warned you about. A strong rebellious streak combined with an intense work ethic meant that he gave 110% to being his own person AND a pain in the ass! This personality mix made a rote life as a drone in a cubicle an impossible career choice and left him with one of two choices:

Become an artist.
Become a rock star.

Since his only talent for music was a decent taste in it he made the obvious choice and became an artist who dressed like a rock star. He also moved to L.A.

Those were dark, fruitful years, years where the young J.K. would experiment with style and develop techniques that he uses to this very day. Eventually the City of Angels lost its appeal and seeking a change in life, climate and creative energy he followed the example set by David Bowie, one of J.K.'s heroes, and moved to Germany. Despite the presence of (or more likely because of) strong German beer, J.K.  self-published a comic comprised of his expressionistic paintings titled Flesh Angels. He followed it with a comedy comic series titled These Things Happen - comprised of random funny stories, a talk show host who doesn't talk off the clock, and emus.

After that it was off to Desert Hot Springs, California,  a town which has the dubious honor of most abandoned washing machines in the western hemisphere. Here J.K. collaborated with A. David Lewis on the indie comic Mortal Coils and Michael Colbert on the Digital Webbing Presents series Crazy Mary. The publishing house IDW noticed his work on Crazy Mary and offered him a gig doing a CSI:NY limited series which he followed in short order with a standout story in BOOM! Studios' Zombie Tales series. When Peter David was re-launching his creator owned series Fallen Angel at IDW, James (J.K.) was a natural choice for Peter's dark world of magic, violence and redemption.

J.K.'s painted work would soon catch the attention of Marvel editor Mike Marts. Marts quickly chose the young artist to illustrate X-men Origins:The Beast which was released September 2008.

J.K. recently relocated from Long Beach, CA to Long Island City in Queens, NY where he still illustrates Peter David's Fallen Angel as a reoccurring miniseries for IDW as well as various other works for both IDW and BOOM! Studios.

As a quick aside I should say a special thanks to Michael Colbert who wrote the original biography. I simply paraphrased.

Now, Mr. Saavik, you go right on quoting regulations.

6 Questions with J.K. Woodward:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite sounds?
  "Favourite sound: A woman's breathy moan in my ear.
Least favourite sound: the gurgle sound a tap makes when the keg has run dry"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?
  "I'd have to say freedom, definition and control.
Creatively, I do my best when not encumbered by a conflicting vision of what it should look like. I love to collaborate, but in a way that works to each persons strengths, but that doesn't happen by 1 person trying to affect the way you envision things. As a professional, I will make changes in my work if needed and maintain a positive attitude about it, but generally I feel my first instincts are the best and I just would prefer to go in that direction.

Spiritually? I would like that one defined. Everyone throws that word around and no one's really told me what that means. Generally I hear people refer to themselves as spiritual as apposed to religious. ie."I don't subscribe to any particular religion, I'm just spiritual". When I ask what that means, they all tell me different beliefs they have.There is very little commonality between them other than they all believe in life after death, though no one can tell me why. That can't be what spiritual means. Anyway, I stopped asking because it seems to mean something different to everyone, making the meaning personal but also meaningless when talked about. If it is at all possible, I want "spiritual" defined, because I'm not sure I've ever felt, craved or did anything "spiritually".

Emotionally, I want control. We live in a society that seems to want to emote all over each other. YUK! I've worked all my life to keep control over my emotional reactions. Note the word "reaction". I'm not suggesting anyone can control their emotions, really, but we don't have to react to every single one.
I'm kind of a Hank Hill when it comes to that stuff."

3. What decision in your career are you most grateful for?
  "Probably illustrating a script that I read at comic con from some guy I barely met. The script was called Crazy Mary and it was brilliant, but what I liked more than anything is the writer's understanding of the medium he was writing for and his instinct for composition and design. He was a very visual writer in that he understood what would work on the page and what wouldn't. I really wanted to draw this script. At first I was unsure because it was 12 pages and to paint that would take appr. 240 hours or 6 whole work weeks without pay. But I sacrificed my free time and the book looked great. We self published and the art caught the attention of IDW and eventually Peter David and that's how I ended up working on Fallen Angel."

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?
  "I almost became a teacher once. I enrolled, I was going to get my degree while still working in comics and then quit the whole thing. Then I realized that wasn't what I wanted as much as what my fiance and possibly her mother wanted. This was almost 4 years ago, we never got married and I still draw comics, but I was close to quitting. If you work in this industry, work will always come first. It has to if you want to make your deadlines. So if you work in comics, make sure your significant other understands that at the beginning or you may end up going to college to become a teacher. That's what I learned from that."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?
  "This one's hard. There are so many, but probably this assemblage/painting/sculpture/photography project I was working on with with a German Record Producer back in 2000. I had just moved to Frankfurt and we had embarked on a very ambitious project to be used as an album cover and was later displayed at the record labels personal gallery. We worked a little over 36 hours straight, focused on the work but laughing, chain smoking and drinking wine the whole time. I'm surprised we survived it, but it was probably not just the funnest, but most rewarding experience to date."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "It's about time you showed up. This lager isn't gonna drink itself. Get your ass in there and after-live it up!"

Could not have said it better myself! Thanks J.K. for taking the time to do this and for giving us some brilliant answers. If you'd like to know more about J.K. Woodward simply surf over to where there is another fantastic interview with the man and while you're at it check out his website

And that's all for today! Thanks for reading and stay tuned because next time I'll be speaking with author, screen writer, script monkey and general roustabout Shawna Benson.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Tony Deuce

Tony Deuce is both author and podcaster. As co-host of the Back Seat Producers podcast he brings his love of Scorsese and Cagney-style crime thrillers, as well as his affection for the European (Guy Ritchie, Michael Lonsdale) and Asian (John Woo, Tony Leung) equivalents in crime cinema, to an eclectic mix of hosts. Tony and his partners in crime, Tony #1 (Tony Mast), David (Adam), and Darryl, podcast every Wednesday evening, giving you their collective and often confrontational insights on exactly what is going on (or wrong) in Hollywood.

Tony the author has just published his first novel. "The Boston Connexion" is a gritty crime and revenge tale that harkens back to the heyday of mob fiction. It's a coming-of-age story that sprawls three cities on three different continents,"a gritty, pub-soused, bare-knuckled-brawler of a revenge novel." that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Tony will also have a short story published titled ” 商君書 (Shangzi) Or Engine of the Species." It's being released with the “Built for Speed” anthology by Unasked Question, LLC later this year (2011). He is also working on a forthcoming project with Tony Mast that hopefully will see release at the beginning of next year.

Now, wait right here while I make this man an offer he cant refuse.

6 Questions with Tony Deuce:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?
  "LOL, I couldn't tell ya. Every word has a purpose. Even those formed from complete nonsense."

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally? 

  "Wow, where are the questions like "What's my favorite color," etc? :-)
Creatively I try to be influenced by everything and anything possible. I want to feel like I could theoretically write about anything. To the extent that some creative work continues to impress me as interesting and different enough from something that was done before, to the extent that it reframes my thinking, that stuff usually can be fascinating and creatively invigorating. One example would be "The Social Network." To me, that movie kind of reframes how a movie about modern society could be done. It's like a modern day "La Dolce Vita" style-commentary, only that it's legal drama about computer geeks in a script vaguely reminiscent of "Animal House." When you see something like that--kind of breaking the formula--that gets you thinking. "I want to write something like that someday." And that pushes you further. 
  Spiritually I'm a Christian and a believer and you can't escape that stuff. Salman Rushdie says "Atheists are obsessed with God." Well, many believers can't run away fast enough! I'm no exception, and this is the central yin-yang dichotomy of spirituality. I find spirituality a trying and intellectually challenging, rather than a blissful experience. But it's just as important either way. It finds its way into my work generally, I think. I know it did on  "The Boston Connexion."
  I also like kung fu philosophy, and classical taoism alot as well. Laozi and Zhuangzi, and the internal-external dichotomy of kung fu principles, and how a lot of other things in life are like kung fu. But that's not as much of a spiritual thing as it is a philosophical and physiological thing. But it affects the spirit significantly. Mind and body always affect the spirit. I wish I had the discipline to be a hard core kung fu guy.
  I wish I had the discipline to be a better Christian as well. In short, I think spiritually, what turns me on would be more self-discipline. How does that relate to my writing? Hopefully it's in the characters.
  Emotionally, I try to let the characters' limited perspectives drive the story. As the omniscient voice in my stories, usually, I try not to involve my own emotions too much in what I write."

3. What profession other than yours would you most like to attempt?
  "There are a ton of things that I would love to do professionally, that I could never do. Boxing is just one of them. It's easily the most extreme thing that I would want to do, relative to who and where I am now. I think those fighter guys/gals have a lot of guts, endurance. To stand in that ring and take hits, and think on your feet, and not hesitate to deliver the blows... that's a kind of stubborness, intransigence and discipline I would never have. It's also high on strategy. Either that, or maybe it's just crazy. But you still have to be disciplined to be crazy too."

4. What profession would you least like to attempt?

  "I've cleaned enough sewer lines in my life to know that I prefer not to do that professionally."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?

  "I have fun everyday! I don't measure it too much. I try to live in the moment, like my dogs. Everyday for them is the most fun they've ever had."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

                "We have Guinness."

Make it a Yuengling and I'm in. Thanks to Tony Deuce for giving a GREAT interview! Tony I really appreciate you taking the time to do this!
And thanks to YOU for reading! If you'd like to know more about Tony Deuce and his work check out the following links:
Here's another great chat with Tony

Thanks again for reading and I'll see you next time for an interview with the extraordinary comic book artist J.K. Woodward!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A.P. Stephens

  A.P. Stephens grew up in the suburb of Mesquite, to the east of Dallas, TX. He attended West Mesquite High School and then went on to the University of North Texas to study English. From a young age, he has always shown the wanting to create his own stories and characters, starting off with the desire to make video games.
  After reading The Lord of the Rings in middle school, he turned his focus to fantasy and began laying the ground work for many of the ideas featured in his current works, as well as all future works. With backgrounds in both martial arts and the theatrical arts he brings a heavy dose of action into his literary works where he enjoys putting new twists on the staples of fantasy lit stereotypes.
  His first novel, The Stolen Moon of Londor, Book I in The White Shadow Saga, was released in October of 2009 and went on to be named one of the Top Books of 2009 by Fantasy Book Critic, as well as being recognized as one of the Top 50 Books of the Year by Conversations Live! radio. The novel was also nominated for the 2010 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction.
  The second book in the Saga, Shameless Wonders, published in October 2010 is his latest work and promises to be an even bigger and badder story than the first installment.
  A.P. Stephens has been a guest at a few cons where he has sat on panels to discuss world building, the fantasy genre, as well as leading some panels on Self Publishing, (Fanda Books is his own indie label bringing The White Shadow Saga to the great readers of the world.)
  He is currently writing the third and final book of The White Shadow Saga trilogy and is also developing his first indie action rpg video game under Fanda Studios. Stay tuned for more updates about Book III, the video game, and much more.

Now, dont go that way. Never go that way. If you keep going that way it'll lead you straight to the castle.

6 Questions with A.P. Stephens:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite sounds?

  "My favorite sounds are my wife's voice and her laughter. That always makes me feel better and drives me forward in wanting to succeed for her, myself, and my family. I also enjoy music, which is a big inspiration for my creativity. I really prefer to listen to old RPG soundtracks from the Super Nintendo and Playstation 1, back when I was formulating most of my stories.

My least favorite sound is my alarm clock in the morning. It would be great one day to be a full-time writer and set my own hours. I get really creative when the sun goes down. So I would like to be able to stay up all night and sleep during the daytime."

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively, I would have to say music turns me on. Lyrics and the way instruments move through songs can really strike a chord with me, be it to progress a story or character I am working on, or be a song that motivates me to keep going strong and do the best I can."

3. What decision in your career are you most grateful for?

  "Deciding to self-publish my books. After playing the agent hunting game on and off for a couple of years, I took it upon myself to get my works to the readers. I have always been told growing up that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. You cannot wait around and wait for it to happen. I believe that publishing your own work can potentially build you a fanbase and give you the needed stats if you desire to pursue an agent or publisher at a later date. But if you do self-publish, you have to be twice the professional that the regular publishers are. You need to have your book edited by a pro, you need a pro type-setter, artist for your cover, etc. Do your homework and act as a professional, and your self-published book can go far."

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?

  "I never have thought about quitting. The only thing that really holds me back is laziness. When I am at work during the day, I think about all of the things I want to write about when I get home. But when I get home, I usually want to rest or watch tv, play a video game, etc. But once I get over the hurdle of not wanting to do the work, I get going big time and go full force into the book, etc until it is done. It's just the first nudge of that boulder sitting at the top of the hill that is the hardest.

I don't want to give up. I was motivated as a young man to be a writer and I want to pass it along to today's young people, or anyone for that matter, to be creative or to go for their own goals."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?

  "My wife and I had a great time in Seattle a couple of years. It's my favorite city, so any time I can get to Seattle, it is a great time.

As for writing, my favorite times are at book signings and book club meetings. It is always great to talk to readers and talk about books and to those who are curious about the writing process."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "The arcade is down and to the left."

Awesome. Here's hoping they've got Dragon's Lair. I used to love that game! For more information about A.P. Stephens, or if you would like to drop him a line to discuss literature, leave feedback about the books, or to set up an appearance, interview (written. podcast, or radio), please feel free to email him at:

Thanks to A.P. for the fantastic interview and thanks to you for reading! If you enjoyed this one wait till tomorrow! Author, podcaster, Tony Deuce!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ben Templesmith

Ben Templesmith is a New York Times best selling artist and writer. He is most widely known for his work in the comic book industry where he has received multiple nominations for the International Horror Guild Awards as well as the industry’s top prize, the Eisner Award. He also won a Spike TV Scream Award.
While his most notable works have been 30 Days of Night (which spawned a major motion picture) and Fell his other projects are no less amazing. They include the critically acclaimed serial Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, Welcome to Hoxford, and Singularity 7, all of which he wrote and illustrated.
Ben has worked on the Star Wars, Doctor Who, GI Joe, Army of Darkness, Silent Hill and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer properties and produces art and design for music bands, dvds, toys, and film concept work.

Now, what exactly are you a doctor of?

6 Questions with Ben Templesmith:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "Current favourite? Lemonland.

Least favourite? "Y'all" ( when spoken by people not from the South )"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Good food, good conversation and company. Amazing art by peers and the masters. People who accept and like you despite the flaws."

3. What profession other than yours would you most like to attempt?

  "Hmmm. I have no life but comics. I'm going to become like a monk, except with sequential art."

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?

  "I've nearly given up on my craft twice, for personal and professional reasons... but I always come back. The comics always win. I'm not about to share those particular instances though."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?

  "That's a lot of comic convention experiences rolled into one. I couldn't pick just one time. It's all about the people."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "Since absolutely none exist, according to rational belief, evidence and sheer common sense, I can't really answer the question except to say I'd have no consciousness and meet complete silence."

"Good food, good conversation and company." Absolutely. Thanks to Ben for a great interview. I really appreciate him taking the time. If you'd like to know more about the man and his work you can visit him at his website or, just send him an email to Thanks again Ben.

And thanks to YOU for reading! I really hope you enjoyed it. Next time: Author A.P. Stephens!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mur Lafferty

Writer, podcast producer, gamer, geek, and even martial artist, Mur Lafferty is a multi-faceted talent and a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Durham, NC where she lives with her husband and eight year old daughter, Mur churns out fiction and editorials at a breakneck pace. Her fiction works include the Parsec winning Playing For Keeps, Nanovor: Hacked!, Marco and the Red Granny, and my personal favorite The Afterlife Series
Mur's podcasts are many, Escape Pod magazine and Angry Robot Books Podcast premiere among them, the seminal author is probably best known as host of  the long running podcast I Should Be Writing " the podcast for wanna-be fiction writers by a wanna-be fiction writer." The award winning podcast follows Mur's trials and tribulations in the publishing world, offers advice to new and beginning authors, and boasts a series of interviews with some of the top names in scifi publishing. 
Mur is also an avid gamer and has written for several RPG's. She currently writes a column for the gaming magazine Knights of the Dinner Table, and in the past she has been a contributor to Games Quarterly, Suicide Girls, and Anime Insider.
Mur also studies Kung fu. No, I'm not making that up. Kung fu. Northern Shaolin five animals style to be exact. And she plays World of Warcraft. And Dragon Age. And Button Men.

Now, when you can move across this rice paper, and leave no trace...

6 Questions with Mur Lafferty:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "Favorite words: Pie, defenestrate, limerent. Least favorite words: It's misuse of words that bug me, and anyone using "nom" as anything but onomatopoeia. (for example, as a noun, "It's time for noms" or verb "I'm going to nom that" or adjective "It was nommy." I just cringed writing that.)"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Reading excellent writing makes me want to write, it moves me in ways that I can't describe. Any story well told can inspire me in a number of ways."

3. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up writing?

  "When I gave up on writing. :) I quit in college because I figured I'd never get better than I was - and others were better than me - and then spent a decade thinking to myself "I want to be a writer" without actually doing anything about it."

4. What is your favorite profanity?


5. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while writing?

  "Uh, nothing leaps to mind. I think one time I laid out Reese's Pieces on my desk and ate one for every hundred words I wrote, to push me along."

6. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "Probably what Douglas Adams said the last known message from God: "We apologize for the inconvenience."

Reece's Pieces. I rather love Reese's Pieces.
Thank you to Mur for taking the time to share this. And thanks to you for taking the time to read! If you'd like to know more about Mur Lafferty simply go to the Murverse.

On the menu for tomorrow is comic book master Ben Templesmith! See you then!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ray Dillon

Ray Dillon is an artist and writer in comics, movies, and games. Works a lot for IDW with some Marvel, DC, Archie and others thrown in. He lives in Maine with his beautiful and talented wife, comics artist Renae De Liz, their sons, Tycen (8) & Drake (1) (also beautiful and talented), and some cats that won't leave him alone (grrr--aww). He was born in Kansas with a rusty spoon in his mouth, but he'll be darned if he'll quit before he reaches all of his dreams. He wants YOU to do the same. MAKE IT HAPPEN!

And now, Thunderbirds are go.

6 Questions with Ray Dillon:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "Favorite: Baby
Least Favorite: Doubt"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Passion. What someone is doing, if they have a strong passion for life, love, family, the future, their goals, other people's goals, whatever. Just passion for positive things in life. THAT is what gets me going!"

3. Star Wars or Star Trek?

  "Gosh, it's hard to pick a favorite anything for me. I can find reasons to like just about anything. I guess I'll say Star Wars because it has more of a good time feeling to it. Star Trek is a little more serious and darker most of the time. Not enough Ewoks. :D"

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?

  "Never even come close."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?

  "My honeymoon at Disneyland right after getting married at Comic-Con 2009. Renae was pregnant with our baby boy, Drake, and we also had our older son Tycen with us. My favorite place on earth and the whole time was filled with love and family. Just wonderful!"

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "You never have to stress again and you can spend eternity doing whatever makes you and your loved ones happy. Also, you can fly now. COWABUNGA!!"

Fantastic! That you were married at Comic-Con may make you the coolest person I know! Thanks again for doing this!
If you would like to know more about Ray and Renae you can find Ray at or!/RayDillon and Renae at or you can check out some of this dynamic duo's work:

The Last Unicorn
All Ghouls School 

And that's all for this time! I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Next? The Indomitable, the Mighty, Mur!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mara Marini

While actress, model and comedian Mara Marini hails from the great white north, she is now happy to call sunny California home. While there she has blazed inroads into the entertainment industry, landing roles in both television (most recently on the US series Parks and Rec on NBC and The Whole Truth on ABC) and movies (look for Mara in the upcoming features Alongside Night and King of the Road). She has filmed pilots for SpikeTV and the Oxygen Network and worked with the likes of Bryan Callen (from MadTV and The Hangover) and Hedda Muskat (Emmy winner for The Ellen Show).
An active member of The Road Theater she studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (under the Princess Grace Scholarship), the York University in Toronto, and under many prestigious acting coaches. Last year she was cast in the world premiere of BITCH, by Susan Rubin, at The Bootleg Theatre and she he recently ended a fifteen week run of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, directed by the critically-acclaimed director, Ken Sawyer, at The NoHo Theatre.

Now, what do you say Mr Anderson, would you like to learn some Kung-Fu?

6 Questions with Mara Marini:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "Favourite words: Bellagio (I just love the way it sounds), Mars & Love.
Least favourite: Late & Good-bye"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively: talent, uniqueness, pushing the envelope, seeing people I admire doing amazing work
Spiritually: the ocean, calm/peace/silence, inspiration
Emotionally: sense of danger/risk, excitement, the need to care for something/someone"

3. What profession other than yours would you most like to attempt?

  "Well, I got accepted into the University of Hawaii for Marine Biology and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I've always been fascinated by the ocean and ocean maybe something in that realm. (But nothing compares to the feeling I get when I'm working and on set). ☺"

4. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up your craft?

  "I can honestly say that giving up was never an option for me. My parents made me apply to more than once school (hence the Hawaii bit in the previous question). But I literally told my parents I was moving to Los Angeles to become an actress (back in Winnipeg, when I was four) as soon as I graduated high school and never really faltered from that vision."

5. What is the most fun you have ever had?

  "Working with Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Jay Jackson and Dean Holland on Parks and Recreation. Hands down."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "Good job. Level One passed. You did exactly what you were supposed to do. Now you are heading back down as a Princess. ☺"

One last thing I'd personally like to add to this. When I got the email from Mara with her answers this message was included at the bottom:

"Sent from my Game Boy Color"

Thanks to Mara for taking the time to participate! I really appreciate it! If you'd like to know more about Mara Marini suf on over to:
And thanks to you for reading! I really hope you enjoyed it and check in again tomorrow for an interview with comic book artist and writer Ray Dillon!

Thanks again! Peace!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tee Morris

Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. He won acclaim and accolades for his cross-genre fantasy-detective Billibub Baddings Mysteries, the podcast of The Case of the Singing Sword winning him the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Audio Drama.
2011 marks Tee's return to fiction with his madcap steampunk adventure, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, written with Pip Ballantine and released by Harper Voyager.

And now, by your command...
15 Questions with Tee Morris:

1. What is your favorite word?

  "Enigma. (The word just evokes mystery.)"

2. What is your least favorite word?

  "Nigger. (The hatred behind the word just makes me cringe. I find the word utterly repulsive.)"

3. What decision in your writing career do you regret most?

  "Writing the Social Media how-to books. I did two for podcasting, two for Twitter. I honestly thought they would open doors for me, and I kept getting passed over for speaking events (and even professional jobs) for fly-by-night Social Media Snake Oil Salesmen and the like. The years and the efforts I put into those books could have been spent in fiction."

4. What decision in your writing career are you most thankful for?

  "When I said in 2004 to Evo Terra and Mike Mennenga "Guys, I got an idea. I want to podcast my first novel."

5. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Music. The natural splendor of the world around us (like a gorgeous sunset, the Natural Bridge of Virginia, etc.). Friends."

6. What turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Politics and the backbiting nature of it. The hypocrisy is sometimes too much to stomach."

7. What is you writing ritual?

  "I select a playlist on iTunes, fire up Scrivener, and then I start working. Usually the music fits the mood of the scene."

8. What sound do you love?

  "My child, laughing."

9. What sound do you hate?

"My child, crying."

10. What was the closest you ever came to giving up writing?

  "When I thought I was facing some close calls, I found something to keep me going. Writing is a part of me that, when I don't do it, I feel "off" in some way."

11. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while writing?

  "It's something I tend to do, if I ever need to take a moment's break. I'll crank up the music and start grooving a bit. If I'm feeling festive, I'll have a glass of wine in my hand when I do it."

12. What is your favorite curse word?

  "Seriously. The word "Cunt."


When you call someone THAT, it is a point of no return. You have only one direction left when the C-bomb is dropped. It is a commitment.

Two enter the octagon. Only one will leave."

13. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

  "I did that already. I was a professional actor. A part of me still enjoys performance when I podcast, but acting and writing are two professions that have a lot in common with one another."

14. What profession would you not like to do?

  "Pretty much, any job seen on Dirty Jobs."

15. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "Hi, Tee. You did good. Real good. I'm proud of you."

Wow! I can't believe you did ALL 15! An amazing author and a gentleman to boot, Tee gave me a HUGE portion of his time and I cant thank him enough. If you'd like to know more about illustrious Tee Morris surf over to or drop him a tweet at TeeMonster on Twitter.

And we close yet another interview! I really hope you enjoyed it and be on the lookout for tomorrow's interview with model and actress Mara Marini!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Philippa Ballantine

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, fantasy author and podcaster Philippa Ballantine has always had her head in a book. For this she blames her father who thought Lord of the Rings was suitable bedtime reading for an eight year old. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science and then a Bachelor of Applied Science in Library and Information Science. So soon enough she found herself working in the magical world of libraries where she stayed for over a decade.
In 2006 Philippa became New Zealand’s first podcast novelist, she has since gone on to voice and produce Weaver’s Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have been short listed for the Parsec Awards, and won a Sir Julius Vogel award.

Philippa is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace. Geist, the first in the Books of the Order series, was released in October 2010. Spectyr (released June 2011), Wrayth (2012) and Harbinger are to follow. She is also the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris. Phoenix Rising will debut in May 2011.

When not writing or podcasting, Philippa loves reading, gardening, and whenever possible traveling.

She is currently in the United States where her two Siberian cats, Sebastian and Viola make sure she stays out of trouble.

And now, hang on kid, we're in for a bumpy ride.

6 Questions with Philippa Ballantine:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "I love the word 'quentessential'- for some reason I adore words with Q and this just feels nice on the tongue.

I'm not found of the word 'receive' just because it is a word I always mix up and there just seem to be too many vowels in there!"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively what turns me on is travel. Meeting new people and seeing news places just fires me up and makes me want to include them into my stories. Spiritually I need greenery, forests and gardens. It feels to me like the place where I can recharge and find my inner zen. Emotionally I need to be around creative people. Something about being in a community of like-minded souls fulfills me and just makes me happy"

3. What is the closest you have ever come to giving up writing?

  "When I did! From the ages of eighteen to twenty-five I gave up writing. Mostly it was just despair at never getting published A New Zealand writer hoping to break into the world of New York publishing was just a lot harder back then. Luckily, I saw the light and came back- I'm kinda glad I did."

4. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while writing?

  "I actually started Geist on the ferry from Scotland to the Orkney Islands. It was kinda choppy water and I was writing on a piece of paper all the ideas that were flying at me. It was a strange, yet also strangely appropriate way to start the books of the Order."

5. What decision in your writing career do you regret most?

  "I've taken logical steps in my career and I don't regret a thing, but I do with it had happened faster. This was probably because I did give up for seven years. So I regret doing that, because I know I would be even further ahead in my career path than I am now. Also all those extra stories I could have been telling."

6.  If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "The first draft was great- no need for editing!"

Thanks Pip! A great way to close an interview! If you'd like to know more about Philippa Ballantine and her work...

Email: pip at
Twitter: philippajane
Facebook: Group page

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you next time for an interview with the ever suave and smooth Tee Morris!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Von Glitschka

Von is principal of Glitschka Studios and has worked in the communication arts industry for over 23 years. His work reflects the symbiotic relationship between design and illustration. This duality of skills within his own creative arsenal, inspired him to coin the phrase and title of “Illustrative Designer.”

In 2002, he founded Glitschka Studios, a multi-disciplinary creative firm. The studio shines as a hired creative gun for multi-national ad agencies, medium to large design firms, and in-house corporate art departments working on a diverse range of illustrative design projects across a broad range of genres.

So, who is this Superman?

6 Questions with Von Glitschka:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?
  "Favorite word: Grace (Unmerited Favor)
Least favorite: Greed (You know like the CEO of GE etc.)

Hmmm, two "G" words. Interesting."

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively: Curiosity
Spiritually: Connecting the dots based on personal inspiration.
Emotionally: Compassion

OK, this is kind of strange. Now it's all "C" words?"

3. What turns you off creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively: Playing it safe. (Try new things and embrace failure.)
Spiritually: Playing it safe. (Resist complacency and be willing to admit you're wrong.)
Emotionally: Playing it safe. (Take risks, move out of comfort zones.)"

4. What decision in your career do you regret most?

  "I stayed at some jobs too long and wasted time doing things I didn't enjoy doing."

5. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while creating?

  "In the midst of ideation I think to myself "Try something you don't think you'll like." I did and half way through I still wasn't sure if I liked it but now that I'm done I love it. I could have easily just ignored that inner voice but sometimes it's good to move into new areas even though you're unsure most of the way while working on them. This is the creative fear you have to be willing to live with to increase your creative potential IMO."

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

  "God says to me "Thanks for not screwing up too much and soiling my brand equity." I smile and he continues "BTW, can you design me a logo?" LOL Seriously, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Awesome! Thank you Von for allowing me this little indulgence. You were a prince! If you'd like to know more about Von and his work surf over to

Thanks again for reading! I hope you enjoyed it and I'll see you next time for an interview with author Philippa Ballantine. See you then!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Caine Dorr

Caine Dorr is a writer and genre fan who enjoys the creative process. Illustrator, letterer, and colorist Caine also edits video and audio, mows the lawn and, as owner of a mid-sized pick-up, helps everyone he knows move. Caine's work has been featured at Jim Shelley's Flashback Universe and in the Zuda competition.
For  Zuda he created the Paladin Brigade, a private law enforcement firm offering tactical support, investigative services, fugitive retrieval/ apprehension services, and more for the world court.
Caine is currently developing a project featuring two characters from his Apollo City titled Apollo City: Midnight Talon & Raven Star as well as a pulp style adventure taking place in the fictional Serpent City. Will it be a comic? A podcast? An ebook? Stay tuned… 

Now, you're about to learn WHY things work on a Starship.

6 Questions with Caine Dorr:

1. What are your favorite and your least favorite words?

  "Favorite: Daddy, Inspiration, Word Count
Least Favorite: Writers Block, Delays, Busy Schedule"

2. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally?

  "Creatively: A great comic, movie, television show, book, or play. I come away thinking: I really like what they did there with the plot, or how they hid that from me until the end, or how they laid out that two page spread.  I'd like to use/modify that for my own purposes.  Come to think of it really bad productions tend to motivate me just as well. I come away thinking: man, I would have gone this way with that, what was missing was X, I could do that better." 

3. What profession other than yours would would you like to attempt?

  "Special Investigator to ___________ someone powerful (like a senator or the president) where its requires me to fly all over the country, and sometimes the world, looking into trouble." 

4. What decision in your career are you most thankful for?

  "Sticking to my guns and being true to my employees no matter what the corporation thinks about any particular item. I'm unemployed because of it, but I'm still thankful that I didn't sacrifice my ethics to save my job. Those who worked under me still look to me as honorable and that means something." 

5. What is the strangest thing you have ever done while writing, lettering, penciling etc?

  "Once while lettering a comic I was asked to assist in delivering six pterodactyls for a cooky paleontologist and his beautiful wife on the run from a major bio-engineering company. Yes, it was messy." 

6. Assuming heaven exists, what would you like to hear God (or Allah or Yahweh or Odin. Generally the Supreme Being of your choice.) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
  "It was close, we nearly sent you the other way, but hey at least you got some living in doing things that way.  So welcome."

Thanks Caine! Brilliant stuff as always! If you would like to know more about the works of Caine Dorr go here:

And thanks to you for reading! See you next time!