About the Book
Title: Raising Mary: Frankenstein
Author: Ace Antonio Hall
Published: August 26, 2016
Publisher: Bards and Sages
Down in the Catacombs, No One Can Hear You Scream But the Dead.
Sylva Slasher has a unique job for a high school senior: she raises the dead for criminal investigations…and parties. Her latest client is a seven-year-old dying from Leukemia who has requested that she raise Mary Shelley. Sylva wants to make sure the event goes perfectly for her special client, which, of course, means things go horribly wrong.
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About the Author
Ace Antonio Hall is the author of the horror novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher (Montag Press, April 2013). His short stories They, Raising Mary: Frankenstein, and Bated Breath have been awarded Honorable Mention for the Writers of the Future Awards 2013, 2014 and 2016. He published his short story Dead Chick Walking in Calliope Magazine Fall 2013 #141 and The Eldáling in their Spring 2016 issue.
In 2015-2016, Hall sold his short stories to be published with Weasel Press/The Haunted Traveler, Bride of Chaos/9 Tales, Pure Fantasy & Science Fiction, Vol. 4, Jitter/Prolific Press, Calliope Magazine, Bards and Sages, Bloodbond Alp and Night to Dawn Magazine #29. Hall received a BFA from Long Island University and taught English for more than a decade. He is a native New Yorker who now resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Follow Ace on Twitter @sylvaslasher, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Tumblr.
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What is the hardest part of writing your stories?
Making sure that I don’t put too much action in them. I like my stories to be scary, but my character is also a martial artist. When you balance your time between watching horror and reading/watching Marvel Superhero films, the hardest part is keeping the goosebumps rising on my reader’s flesh.
What are your favorite TV shows?
In no particular order, Penny Dreadful, Fringe, The Twilight Zone, X-Files, Qunicy, M.E., Rockford Files, Star Trek (Original series), Daredevil (Netflix), 24, The Blacklist and the Creature Feature TV movies that came on back when I was a kid. Anyone who is keen on those shows will definitely see the influence in my stories, and novels. Rod Serling probably influenced me the most, as many of my stories have big twists and elements of speculative fiction. J. J. Abrams and Alex Kurtzman are geniuses. Besides Cowboys and Aliens, everything that Alex tapped his creativity in, I love. From Spider-Man to Star Trek to Ender’s Game. He just gets the kind of science fiction that I live for.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I go to the movies to watch horror films. There’s nothing better than a bucket of popcorn and screaming women to give me the adrenaline rush I love that inspires me to tap on the keyboard, the minute I get back home.
Who is your favorite author?
It’s a toss up between Octavia Butler and Stephen King. Many of my peers complain that King is too wordy, but the way he can slow down a moment and make it terrifying is worth the extra descriptions. He’s also phenomenal at characterizations. He writes his characters in such a natural way that the reader can bet his life’s salary that they know someone exactly like one of them.
Parable of the Sower seems to seep into every one of my novels. Octavia is such a powerful storyteller that uses symbolism and vivid imagery that not only entertains but inspires.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Yes. Here are the top things that publishers look for in the first ten-to-fifteen pages:
1) State the name of the protagonist.
Many have said otherwise, stating that it is boring and not creative, however, I have found that if you’re trying to get past the slush pile, there is nothing more irritating to the agent or publisher reading your manuscript as to not knowing who the protagonist is, and much worse, not knowing if it is a male or female.
2) Introduce all the main characters (or make a reference to them) by pages 6-10.
3) State the age of the protagonist. (Especially, if you are writing YA. Publishers and Agents want to know right away the age group of the target audience. For YA, it is 12-18)
4) Reveal the ghosts of protagonist. What pains the character? This information is not only good to allow the reader to empathize with the character but also allows the reader to relate to the character’s pains. Needless to say, the pain must be an emotional one that most people in your target audience can relate to. Remember: The thought process that many publishers and entertainment producers have is, “Show me something I’ve seen before, but differently.” Also, you must insert, masterfully (or as best as you can), the internal/external conflict of the character, thus showing the beginnings of the arc, which sets up the arc’s path and destination.
Before page ten, we should know some of the demons that plague the protagonist, and show things that makes the character likable. Unless you want your protagonist to be an unlikable character, which is probably not the best idea (unless she is an anti-hero, even then, be cautious). Also, writing an action(s) which make the reader, in this case, the Publisher or Agent, like the character is also key. For example, when the hero helps his neighbor get a cat out of a tree even after telling the neighbor about his allergies to cat fur. The reader can’t help but like your hero. See how powerful that tool is?
Note how long this point is—that’s because I feel it is Very Important!
5) Setting. The setting is more than the place, it is the environment, the weather, time of day, and date. You can barely get through the first paragraph of any good novel and not know if it is hot or cloudy, cold, or windy.
The weather, as well as your descriptive word choices, will help set the tone whether you want the mood to be dark, or sarcastic, colorful, humorous, or Gothic.
The time of day is simply letting the reader know if it is day, or night, morning, or midnight. The date can be literal:
On October 29th, 2008, I helped my mother kill her abuser; dad.
Or it can be more ambiguous:
Long, long ago, in a world where zombies were as common as the cold, I’d finally learned how to throw a curve ball.
6) Inciting incident/Call to Action. Sometimes, these are two different occurrences, many times, they are the same. In either case, this is where your plot truly begins, letting the Agent or Publisher know what your story is about. Wait until after page ten to do this, and it is highly plausible that your story will not catch their attention.
7) Use the 5 senses, thematic elements (many first time authors simply have the character state the theme), mold the tone, and have the opening images set up the mirror images of what the character will have to walk into upon his/her adventure–the normal world before they enter the STRANGE NEW WORLD.
8) If it’s a Science Fiction story, technology must be introduced immediately. If the character is a bad-ass, show the reader why within the first six pages, but also remember that it is so important to integrate the ghosts, and characteristics that the reader can relate to, as well, or you chance making the reader not care about your numero uno character. Not good.
9) Lastly, if the character is employed, either use an immediate reference to what their job is, or allow the reader, in this case, the Agent or the Publisher, see the protagonist in their workplace immediately. For example, a witch bewitching, a vampire feeding, a teacher instructing a class, an agent on a mission, an athlete in a competition, etc.
For more than nineteen hours, I inhaled death. Darkness crawled around my soul and ripped jagged holes in my sagging heart. The death I inhaled spilled out of my lungs, oozing acidic poison so damaging to my spirit, it was scarred for life. I pressed play one last time before getting off of the plane which had just traveled from Bournemouth to Hawaii.
A warm hand came down gently on my shoulder.
Her voice eased out a gentle tone. “Are you ready to go, “Sylva?”
My best friend, Emily. She knew not to utter another sound, for I had no voice in which to answer. The moving image began again, and almost for an instant, I smiled. But seeing that sweet little girl in the video again—those tiny dimples, that heart-warming smile, and hearing her cheerfully sing, dancing like a ballerina on that small airplane monitor only reminded me that I would never, ever see her again.
As I watched, my thoughts drifted omniously like black clouds floating into the stormy memories of the past downpour of chaos, the last forty-eight hours. I knew for certain that I wouldn’t study for my AP necromancy exam for Monday, tomorrow. Mom would chew me out because I’d miss yet another day, or two, of senior high school.
I wouldn’t eat. I wouldn’t sleep much either. I’d spend that dreary time obsessing about how, for a seven-year-old girl named Dresette Swansea, raising Mary Shelley from the grave sealed her walking papers in an envelope marked death.
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