Search Results for: toby tate

Interview : 5 Minutes with Toby Tate

Today’s guest on the 5 Minutes with series is Toby Tate.  Toby’s latest novel Lilith, has just been published by Dark Fuse.  Lilith is a brilliant mix of action, horror, and science fiction. Toby Tate has been a writer since about the age of 12, when he first began writing short stories and publishing his own movie monster magazine. He is a freelance journalist and writer with dozens of pieces published on sites like as well as in The Pedestal Magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Scary Monsters Magazine and more.
An Air Force brat who never lived in one place more than two years, Toby joined the U.S. Navy soon after high school and ended up on the east coast. Toby has since worked as a cab driver, a pizza delivery man, a phone solicitor, a shipyard technician, a government contractor, a retail music salesman, a bookseller, a cell phone salesman, a recording studio engineer, a graphic designer and a newspaper reporter.
Toby’s first novel, DIABLERO, a supernatural thriller, was published by Nightbird Publishing in Oct. 2010. A songwriter and musician, Toby lives near the Great Dismal Swamp in northeastern North Carolina.

Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

My father was in the military, so I moved around a lot as a kid. When I became an adult, that trend continued until I joined the Navy and came to the east coast of the U.S. I’ve been here ever since. I’ve always loved telling stories, even when I was little. My cousins and I used to try to scare each other with ghost stories. When I was about twelve or so, I started writing my own short stories, mostly horror fiction, and even had my own movie monster magazine at one time. I just always seemed to gravitate towards the dark side for some reason, even though I’m a pretty optimistic and happy person. I guess the psychologists will have to figure that one out! I also grew up in a musical family and play several instruments. I write songs, mainly pop rock, and learned about studio engineering on my own. I have a couple of CDs out that you can find on my web site.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I don’t know that I particularly like any one term. They all have different connotations for me. I think that weird or dark fiction doesn’t always have to be horror, it can be weird fantasy, or dark crime fiction. My publisher, DarkFuse, uses the term “dark fiction” because they publish most any genre, as long as it’s dark, whether it’s crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries or whatever.   
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Stephen King rates up there at the top, though I don’t always agree with his politics. King knows how to bring characters to life on the page and how to tell a story in a way that drags you in and doesn’t let go. Even long, wordy books like The Stand are just mesmerizing to me. The man is a master. He is probably one of my biggest influences as a writer. I also love reading thrillers by Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, James Patterson, James Rollins, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Nelson DeMille, and all those guys you see on the bestseller lists, though I know that’s supposed to be passé. I don’t care – they’re good. I love the writers at DarkFuse and have read several of them – Michael McBride, William Meikle, Ronald Malfi, Greg Gifune, Alan Ryker – they have such a great stable of writers over there. I also love older works by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Rod Serling, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and I could go on forever.
What are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading The Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. I just finished reading Michael McBride’s Snowblind, an excellent creature thriller.
 Which book do you wish you had written?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I guess it would have to be Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. I mean, what a concept – man brings an entire species of extinct creatures back to life in the 20th century and then totally loses control of it. There’s quite a lesson in there for us. I think that book should be considered a classic.
If you could use any other author’s creation in your own work, who or what would you use?
I’d like to do a story where Hunter and Lisa Singleton, the two main protagonists in Lilith, end up meeting Scot Harvath from one of Brad Thor’s books, or maybe Mitch Rapp from one of Vince Flynn’s books. It would be kind of funny, actually, because Hunter is such a smartass, they would get along perfectly. Or they might kill each other. Who knows?
Describe typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I usually get up and get my daughter started with her home school after breakfast, then check my email, check the social media and see what’s going on with my books. Then I look over what I wrote the day before and start plugging away at the next chapter. I wouldn’t say I have any unusual habits, other than the fact my home office is in a closet. It does have a window, though, so I can look out at the world and get inspired. Right now, I’m watching it snow.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That would probably be my latest novel, LILITH. I did so much research and so many stops and starts on the manuscript, I’m just happy that I actually finished it!
What is the hardest lesson you have learned with regards to your writing?
Probably the fact that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. I wrote for small magazines, websites, blogs, newspapers and everywhere else before I got my first book published by a very small, but awesome publisher called Nightbird. I must have sent out a hundred queries before I finally got my first offer. It can be pretty discouraging. But I decided I wasn’t going to give up until it happened, and eventually, it did.
What do you like to do to relax?
Believe it or not, I usually read! I love spending time with my family, going to the beach, going shopping, to a movie, a museum or whatever. If I’m not doing that, I’m watching a DVD movie or playing music. I rarely watch TV. Except for Sponge Bob.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My last book, which was also my first, was a story about a married couple who get mixed up with a supernatural being called Diablero, which is also the name of the book. An underwater archaeologist discovers the wreck of an old ship called the Adventure, the command ship of Blackbeard the pirate. What they don’t know is that the bones of Blackbeard himself are resting near the ship, and someone has used an ancient spell to bring them to life. But the bones are also inhabited by a demon, the Diablero, who has plans of his own. He eventually becomes fully human, and has terrifying supernatural powers. For instance, the Diablero, which is an old Sonoran Indian legend, can change itself into an animal. A group of people, including Hunter and Lisa, are trying to stop him from opening the gates to another dimension and releasing all sorts of nasty demons. It’s kind of H.P. Lovecraft-ish, but it’s also an adventure that follows Blackbeard and his pursuers from North Carolina to South Carolina to the Caribbean. It’s a lot of fun.
I just finished writing two books: a horror novella and a young adult sci-fi thriller. The novella is about a lawyer who inherits an ancient prayer rug from his father, who was mysteriously burned to death in his own back yard. Soon, he is having bizarre dreams and visions and the people around him start dying as he begins to realize that there is a dark, malevolent force at work within the carpet. You’ll never look at prayer rugs the same way again! I’m waiting to hear back from DarkFuse on that one.
The sci-fi thriller is about a 16-year-old physics prodigy named Chloe Johansson who is attending MIT when her father, a physicist at the CERN labs in Switzerland, suddenly goes missing. He was one of the scientists who discovered the Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle, and he has invented a device that allows the human brain to tap into the particle itself. It’s a pretty wild ride that goes from Boston to Geneva, Washington D.C., Iran, Israel and back to D.C. There are a lot of bizarre surprises in there that I think people will find pretty cool. I had fun writing that one and it’s set to be published by Crossroad Press, who publishes books by Steven Savile, Tom Piccirlli and other great authors.
If you would like more info on me or my books, just go to my Amazon Page. 
Thanks for the interview, Jim, it has been an honour!
Check out my review of Lilith here, and if you like the sound of it please think about purchasing the book by clicking the link below 

Review: Lilith by Toby Tate

Before evil had a name, there was LILITH.
Something has come aboard the U.S. Navy’s newest state-of-the-art super carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, something supernatural and as ancient as time itself.  And it’s taking over the crew one by one.
Reporter Hunter Singleton and his wife Lisa, guests invited aboard to witness a routine training mission off the coast of North Carolina, soon learn that the CIA is onboard as well, and that some of the ship’s crew are acting irrationally, even violently.  When an unexpected monster hurricane slams New York, the ship rushes to assist in the aftermath, and Hunter, Lisa and the crew are faced with the terrifying realization that whatever has come aboard the Ford must be stopped before it is set free on the streets of Manhattan.
But how do they fight something beyond human comprehension?  How do they kill something that may not even be alive?
The clock is ticking…and Time itself is running out.

Some books are just meant to be read for pure enjoyment factor alone, like the best of the Summer Blockbuster movies, these books take a hold of your brain and bombard with thrilling images until a big grin forms across your face.  Lilith is a very good example of such a book.  It can be best described as a techno-thriller, with a heavy dosage of sex and violence.  Sounds good doesn’t folks.       Well in truth it is.  The narrative helped by the authors use of short chapters rushes along, barely stopping for breath.  It doesn’t take long for the action to take off, after  brief introduction to personae dramatis, the plot slams its foot down on the accelerator, and doesn’t let off. 
If I have one complaint about the book, and it is one that I have for the majority of these sort of books, is please stop giving the heroes silly names.  Yes I know Hunter is of Native American descent, but it would be nice to read a book of this sort where the heroes name isn’t an job title.  Despite this Hunter is actually a rather good main character, and at least Tate makes an effort to flesh out the character in between the explosive set pieces of the book. 
This is the perfect example of the type of book I turn to when I am need of pick me up, it’s a hell of of a lot of fun, peppered with some nice touches.
If you are a fan of James Rollins, but are looking for a more horror themed version of these sort of books then Lilith is the perfect book for you.  
Available from Dark Fuse as of 29 Jan 2013 

News:Books On The Horizon

Dark Fuse, have announced details of some new and upcoming books, from some very talented authors.

Before evil had a name, there was LILITH.

Something has come aboard the U.S. Navy’s newest state-of-the-art super carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, something supernatural and as ancient as time itself.  And it’s taking over the crew one by one.

Reporter Hunter Singleton and his wife Lisa, guests invited aboard to witness a routine training mission off the coast of North Carolina, soon learn that the CIA is onboard as well, and that some of the ship’s crew are acting irrationally, even violently.  When an unexpected monster hurricane slams New York, the ship rushes to assist in the aftermath, and Hunter, Lisa and the crew are faced with the terrifying realization that whatever has come aboard the Ford must be stopped before it is set free on the streets of Manhattan.

But how do they fight something beyond human comprehension?  How do they kill something that may not even be alive?

The clock is ticking…and Time itself is running out.

eBook ($4.99)

ISBN 9781937771997
Not Available Yet
Available To Download: January 29, 2012

Paperback ($14.99)

ISBN 9781937771515
Not Available Yet
Available To Purchase: January 29, 2012

A new breed…a new evil…

Hidden deep beneath its landfill lair of trash and filth, a strange new organism has come to life. When an accidental fire drives it out, the mysterious creature escapes across the drought-blasted Kansas prairie and finds the home of elderly hoarder Anna Grish. In desperate need of shelter, it burrows in, concealed amidst the squalor and mess.

When Adult Protective Services force Anna to vacate her junk-riddled home, she moves in with her son and his family. But there is something wrong with Anna, something more than her declining mental condition and severe hoarding disorder. Something sinister has taken hold of her, and it’s not only getting stronger, it’s spreading.

Amidst the wide-open Kansas plains, with endless blue sky above and flat, open vista stretching from one horizon to the next, there is nowhere to hide from…THE HOARD.

They come at night.

A stranger staggers out of the wilderness under the cover of a blizzard and stumbles into a diner full of people. He collapses in the entryway, unzips his jacket, and allows the object hidden inside to fall out. Screaming commences.

Four old college buddies embark upon their annual elk hunting trip into the Rocky Mountains. This promises to be their last, for the passage of time is as merciless and unpredictable as the Colorado weather. And they’re not alone.
There are other hunters in the mountains, stalking game of a different breed. They know exactly what they’re doing, because they’ve been hunting in these woods for a long, long time. And no one ever survives to betray their existence.

eBook ($4.99)

ISBN 9781937771492
Not Available Yet
Available To Download: November 27, 2012


Hellofolks today we have Robert S Willson  over for an interview, you may rememberRobert did a guest post a few days ago on Murdering Your Muse.
RobertS. Wilson is the author of Shining in Crimson, the first novel in his dystopianvampire series Empire of Blood in which his vampires aren’t affected byreligious relics, don’t become romantically involved with humans, and neitherdo they sparkle. He lives with his wife, kids, dog, and a rehabilitated evilcat in Tennessee.
Hisnovella The Quiet is in the  anthology Not in the Brochure: Stories of a Disappointing Apocalypse  of which all saleswill go to help fight illiteracy.

GNOH– Hello Robert, how are things with you?

Eh,I suppose about the same as usual, good, bad, and terrible all at once.
GNOH– Could you give the readers some background info on yourself?

Well, I’m an Indiananative. I used to play guitar and sing in several metal/alternative bands inthe late 90’s and early 00’s (wow it feels weird saying 00’s). I startedwriting around 2002 very casually. I just opened up Wordpad and started writingsomething and it wasn’t real but it was honest. It was also very definitelyhorror. The most I had written prior than that were the occasional ambiguoussong lyrics.
Me, my wife, and mykids moved to Tennessee about 6 years ago and shortly after I started writingmore seriously. I first started the serious approach with fantasy as I was abig fan of the genre at the time. Then I started delving into science fictionand eventually made my way back to horror, sort of. I really feel likeeverything I write has a bit of science fiction in it because I’m such a fan ofscience and the way that things work. Some more subtly than others, of course.
GNOH– What’s this about a rehabilitated evil cat?  Surely all cats cannot betruly rehabilitated, aren’t they just a whisker away from a face tearing?

Haha, Gabriel. Wepicked up Gabriel as a kitten about 3 or 4 years ago from a small pet storehere in Tennessee. We named him after the cat in The Crow. He seemed cuteenough at the time. But it wasn’t until we got him home that we realized justhow vicious the little bastard was. He hated to be petted and almost seemed tothirst for human flesh and blood with the way he would attack people almost ashis way of showing affection. Then, he had to stay at my sister’s for a fewmonths with her and her cats and ever since he’s come home, he’s startedchanging, growing more and more loving all the time. It’s gotten so I hardly recognizehim. But maybe… just maybe, he’s biding his time… waiting to catch us unawareswhile we sleep. Hmm.

GNOH-  So Robert, what is the appeal ofhorror to you?

I would say themirroring of humanity. I think after we’ve been through the worst there is thecapacity for us to find ourselves at our best. And for some that isn’t true andthat is, to me, equally as interesting.
GNOH– Can you remember what caused you to become a fan?

There have beenseveral milestones in my life that have caused and reawakened the horror fan inme throughout. The original Twilight Zone series, 80s horror movies that Ieither watched or listened to as a child with my hands covering my eyes,stories of alien abduction scared the living begesus out of me in my preteenyears, and then I started reading Whitley Strieber’s “true” accountsof alien abduction and barely slept throughout middleschool. But I think thebiggest milestone in my youth with horror fiction was when I read in almost oneentire sitting 3 novels by Stephen King written under the pen name of RichardBachman: Rage, The Long Walk, and Road Work. All were contained in an omnibustype book called The Bachman Books. I think my most recent milestone wasrealizing only after I had written it that my first novel was, in fact, a workof horror.
GNOH– Quickly, your three favourite films, and three favourite books?

Quickly? Ahhhh! OkayMovies: Brainstorm with Christopher Walken, great movie! Another ChristopherWalken film Scotland P.A. and rather hilarious. And last but not least,probably The Stand 4 part miniseries. Now, books. Probably Road Work by StephenKing, I am Legend by Richard Matheson, and Blindsight by Peter Watts.

GNOH– Can you remember what your first story was about?  Do you still have it?

Yes, it was about aboy whose best friend dies and then an adult ghost claiming to be the bestfriend starts paying him visits. I still have it. It was never finished and wasway too chaotic to be usable but the concept still sits in the back of my headwaiting for another go.

GNOH– How would you describe your writing style?

Bleak but emotional.My characters tend to not have the best of lives and I use that to explore thefeelings that come with life less fortunate.

GNOH– Your new novel, Shining In Crimson, which we talk about in full later on, isa vampire novel.  What do you think aboutthe current state of Vampire fiction?

I think some goodthings are happening and lots of very bad things are happening. I think thegrowing trend to literally romanticize the vampire has gone too far. I, myself,cringe when I hear about a new vampire book. I pass them up all the time. A fewyears ago, this wasn’t the case. I’ve read the Twilight books and though Ididn’t hate them as literature, they didn’t really move me, either. I thinkCharlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books are fun, unique, and interesting butsince I started reading them I’ve seen a serious rise in the amount of vampireliterature and an even larger decline in the amount of originality that’s beenbrought to the genre as well.

GNOH– A lot of folk blame the likes of Stookie Stackhouse on the current defangingof the Vampire, but I personally think the rot started with Buffy, Much as Iloved Buffy and Angel, I do think they have a lot to answer for?

Let’s be honest here.There is no defanging, it’s more like giving them what they never had infiction before: rigor mortis in a positive way, at least to the ladies.

GNOH– For you, which vampire novels would you say best encapsulate what a vampirenovel should be?

Hmm. Definitely I amLegend. I was a big fan of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, read the first fivebooks in a row over and over in highschool. Salem’s Lot. Dracula, of course. Ifind myself particularly fond of vampire novels with a science fiction leaning.I am Legend is certainly one of those. Then there’s Blindsight from PeterWatts. Blindsight is actually a bleak as hell hard science fiction novel. PeterWatts’s writing makes most horror writers seem like they’re writing aboutsunshine and pretty flowers. In the world of Blindsight there are vampires andthere is a very strong science fiction explanation for them and I absolutelylove it.

GNOH– And which one would you says sums up all that is wrong with them? 

Normally, horror fanscomplain about romance leaking in and I’ve been guilty of it myself a time ortwo, but really it’s carbon copy mass production. It’s hundreds and hundreds ofauthors taking the genre in a “new” direction that just happens to bethe same as all the others. Right now that particular direction is paranormalromance.
GNOH– As a relatively unknown author, how do you get yourself noticed?

Goodness, your guessis as good as mine. I have to agree with Scott Nicholson when he said you justhave to keep trying things and no one really knows what actually works! I meanauthors don’t go out and try walking out in highway traffic with a blown upcopy of your book cover hanging from your neck but definitely be creative. It’sthe best you can do. I myself am doing a free audio serial of my novel that Ipersonally weed through music from submissions and artists on the internet toincorporate a great dark feel to it. I read my novel in a sort of intense voicethat I feel will grip the listener and I use my years of experience with audioproduction to make the best damn recording I can.

GNOH– Do you ever have days, where you’ve just had enough?  How do you keep yourself motivated?

Definitely. I’ve hada lot of them in the last year. It’s definitely been a rough one. But I focuson my family and on my writing and I have confidence that I am gettingsomewhere in the world if I have to claw my way there through sticks and mudand guts.

GNOH– I see you have a fan in Scott Nicholson, how did this come about?

I actually had nevereven heard of Scott until I started seriously looking into self-publishing. Ifound him on Facebook and added him and he’s actually a great, approachable,and all around friendly guy. He was nice enough to give me some very greatadvice and mentoring when I needed it.

GNOH– Your novel Shining in Crimson has just been released, can you tell us aboutit?

Shining in Crimson isthe first book in my Empire of Blood series. The Empire of Blood series overallis about the American Empire, a religiously ruled empire ran by an Emperor whohas made himself out to be God. On the other side of this story there are thevampires. The vampires arrived on the scene around the time the nation was atwar before the Empire took over. The Emperor’s side won and made a deal withthe vampires that they could have a city of their own and all the blood theycould ever want if they stay put.

In my story there are2 kinds of vampire: Natural and Human Vampires. There is a very science fictionorigin to this idea that I won’t give away here. In Shining in Crimson we meetHank, a Penitent. Penitents are criminals and sinners who are sentenced to diein Necropolis. Hank’s a regular guy who’s definitely had a hard life. He’s awidower trying to raise his son and still deal with the loss of his wife. Hankloves his son very much. More than himself. And that’s what motivates him totry and escape the city of the dead.
GNOHDid you deliberately set out to do something different with the vampires in thebook?

Well, I didn’tdeliberately choose vampires, the idea came to me and I couldn’t not write it.But, yes, I did deliberately set out to do something different, something thatfit my understanding of science and biology.

GNOH– Do you explain what they are, and how they came about?

I do to some degreeexplain what they are and how they end up on the scene. I think anyone whounderstands a little bit of science can figure out their biological origin fromwhat information is given.

GNOH– Where you ever concerned about retreading old ground?  Did you do a lot of reading to ensure yourvampires were fresh?  Well as fresh as anundead corpse could be.

I’ve read a decentamount in the genre but I haven’t read all that extensively, really. As soon asmy idea for them came together I knew a major part of it was original. And justlike any other writer of something like this there are going to be some thingsthat trickle down. I would say I was definitely very influenced by Peter Wattswith my vampires but at the same time I was mostly influenced by what I’velearned over the years about biology.

GNOH– What would be on the soundtrack to the book?

Just listen to theaudio serial to find out 😉

GNOH– In one paragragh, sell the book to the readers

Hank Evans issentenced to one night in Necropolis, city of the dead, the former city of LasVegas. As he runs for his life to escape a city full of vampires, his onlymotivation is to get back to his 16-year-old son, Toby. But, even more dangerousthan the vampires that hunt him is Hank’s fading will to live. Ever since hiswife died, he’s wanted to follow her to the other side, if there is one. Willhis love for his son win over all?

GNOH– It has also been released as an audio serial, how did that come about?

As a musician and alover of audiobooks I felt I had an edge I could add to an audio version. Atfirst I was going to write all the music for it. But then I had the idea ofmaking it a cross promotional endeavour. By finding some great artists tocontribute I can promote their work while promoting mine. It’s like I told anew artist I selected earlier today for my next episode, one of the best partsabout this gig is finding great new music to listen to that I might not haveotherwise!

GNOH-  How much work is involved in doingit? 

Oh, it’s hard worknow doubt. I would say after a couple of hours or so of narration your jawtends to lock up and the simplest words refuse to be uttered from your mouth.Then there’s the really hard part: finding music that I feel is good enough andfits the atmosphere of the story. But when an episode comes together it’stotally worth all the hard work. In fact, I’m enjoying this process so muchthat I’m starting to branch out and do other’s work. I’m currently working onan audio version of a short story of J.T. Warren’s titled Flies. And I’mthinking about making it a regular thing once a month or so doing a short storyby someone I sincerely respect.

GNOH– Can you tell us about your novella The Quiet?

The Quiet is about aman named James Benton waking up to go to work and finding the city he lives inempty of human life and as he goes on all other forms of life as well. Thestory centers around his struggle to understand what has happened and to findanother human being if he can.

GNOH- How does this differ stylistically to Shining

I would say it’s morebleak for sure. Being a novella it’s more condensed. In fact, I’m leaving theoption open to expand it into a complete novel sometime in the future. But timewill tell if that idea holds or not.

GNOH– Can you tell us about any future projects?

I’m off and onworking on a hard science fiction/crime noir/horror story about a PC peripheralthat can interface with the human brain. The concept is that the device is usedto record and edit human experiences, and then share them on the web sort oflike a Youtube for human experiences. It’s called Exit Reality. The story isabout a virus that spreads through the device committing mass murder and one ofthe “detectives” that’s trying to crack the case.

GNOH– Cheers Robert, it’s been fun chatting with you, keep your eyes peeled for myreview of Shining in Crimson, it sounds just like my cup of tea.

You can purchase Shining In Crimson from all the usual onloine sorces, so why not click the link below

You can also buy it direct from Robert in paperback and hardback 

by clicking here