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Monday, June 29, 2015

Something a little out of the ordinary from me!

I don’t usually speak out about religion or politics but I’ve read many statements since the ruling by The Supreme Court that have surprised, and quite honestly, disappointed me.
The Supreme Court ruling grants the liberty of marriage to ALL human beings. I was appalled to read about the resistance in many States. It has been ordered and should be without hesitation honored, should it not? It is the law. 
Another surprise to me is how many people use their belief in God to justify their homophobia (and racism). It baffles me that “believers” think that God could be so inhumane that he would shun one of his own creations simply because of their love for another. If God was that ruthless, would he not be more likely to abandon child molesters and murders rather than human beings just because of whom they love? No one human being is greater than another. Straight or gay, we are all equal. The time has come (and it’s way overdue) to stop judging one another simply because of our sexual preference or the color of our skin? This is my belief. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Dweller

'The Dweller' is my contribution to this month’s Friday Frights. The theme: Demonic Toys. Previously published under my real name by Angelic Knight Press in the anthology Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls, this story is longer than the flash fiction normally posted but when I tried to split it into three parts I just couldn’t decide where each installment should end. So I’m posting the full length story.

The Dweller
by Quinn Cullen

Dan and his best friend Buck, a German Sheppard, were frequent visitors at the local landfill, an awesome scavenger hunt territory. They were treading through heaps of rotting waste, narrowly avoiding stepping on the motionless crows and seagulls strewn about. Under normal circumstances, those obnoxious foragers pillaged the dump for something to eat. Tonight was different. An unnatural stillness had settled in the area as dusk cloaked the small Kentucky town of Flatgap, where Dan lived with his parents, John and Sarah, and younger sister Lexy. Although a hard worker, due to the current recession Dan’s dad had found himself without employment. He was trying to provide for his family through odd jobs offering meager wages while Sarah, a homemaker, was now working at the local hospital scrubbing floors and cleaning restrooms. They were poor, but considered themselves fortunate to have, scanty as it was, any means of income. And if the love they shared as a family had a monetary value, they would be the wealthiest family in the area.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Remember

I Remember
I remember your arms wound around me tight,
and it hurts.
I remember your body ever so close to mine,
and ache with longing.
I remember your scent,
and sigh.
I remember your eager kisses,
and my lips begin to throb.
I remember your caressing hands,
and yearn for your touch.
I remember the evidence of your desire pressed hard against me,
and gasp.
I remember your loving gaze, 
and tears well in my eyes,
for now repulsion is all I see staring back at me,
I remember that you loved me once, 
or so I thought.
Then you stopped,
and confusion clouds my mind.
My heart is broken as I remember,
and I mourn.

by Quinn Cullen

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Heath Stallcup's Forneus Corson - The Idea Man, attracts well deserved attention! Check out these great reviews!

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What starts as a simple "assist" turns into the nightmare of all nightmares. When needing and accepting help, be careful who that help comes from - Forneus Corson offers plenty of help, but the price tag is exorbitant.
The twists and turns of Steve's life after accepting Mr. Corson's help keeps one on the edge of their seat, waiting to see who outsmarts whom.
Putting the story aside was difficult to do. I had to know what was happening next, and the way the story reads makes it dang near impossible to find a spot to "let it go". Take the ride, it is well worth the price of admission.
I compared this book to the works of a well known writer, and discovered today that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Stephen King is at the top of my list for this genre, with Heath Stallcup closing in fast!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! Couldn't put it Down! January 20, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is fantastic! It has an unique story line, likeable characters, and I couldn't put the book down. The main character is an author and as you read the book you will feel like you are right next to him experiencing the action up close and personal. This is not my usual genre but I have read Heath Stallcup's previous novels, so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did. The book keep me glued to each page and the style reminded me of some of my favorite Stephen King novels. If you are searching for a great book to read, you will not be disappointed buying this book!
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

'Forneus Corson - The Idea Man' by Heath Stallcup

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Come one, come all! If you haven't read 'Forneus Corson - The Idea Man' now's the time to treat yourself. 'Forneus' is free on Smashwords through January 2o, 2015. Just use the code VV37M.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Say hello to Heath Stallcup, story teller extraordinaire!


Heath has gracefully agreed to let me delve into his personal and professional life, and as a huge fan of his, I am very excited about this interview and the upcoming release of his novel, Forneus Corson: The Idea Man.  For those of you that have not yet had the pleasure of reading his work, or “meeting” him, this glimpse into his life will be a journey you will not soon forget. Heath’s talent and flair with words will surely astonish you. So, without further ado – Meet Heath Stallcup, the man behind Whispers and the Monster Squad books, to mention just a couple.

Quinn - Tell us a little about yourself.  Who is Heath Stallcup? Are you married? Do you have any children?
Heath – Oh, yeah. Very married. Very childrened. Even grandchildrened a bit, too.
I’ve been married to the same wonderful little gal for 372 years, every one more happy than the last.  If you ask her, it’s only been a little over 20, but you can’t fill that much joy into such a short time period.  It’s just not possible.  I think my math is closer…
We have seven wonderful kids…okay, we have seven kids.  They have wonderful moments and they have their ‘I’m about to choke the life out of you’ moments, too.  Of those seven, we have two sets of twins (let that little factoid soak in for a moment). The older five are boys and the youngest are a set of twin girls. Most are grown and out of the house (thank goodness), but our youngest son keeps coming home because he’s not ready to grow up and the girls are only freshmen in high school. 
We have five grandkids…another set of twins tucked into that precious group, too. So, to say that I’ve lost most of my mind over the years, readers with children can fully empathize. Only the creative part is left, which allows me to write.  As long as that part works, and the part that tells me when I need to pee…I should be good.

Quinn – Sounds to me like you have a wonderful large family Heath. And I do hope you never loose either of those two parts you refer to in the end of your comment. To totally change the subject - What do you do for relaxation?
Heath – Seriously? Relaxation? I’m retired.  My LIFE is relaxation. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell ya.  I used to do woodworking or experiment in the kitchen, but with my arthritis getting steadily worse, I’ve had to give up the woodworking. Which is probably good because my kids keep borrowing tools and forgetting to return them.  And then breaking them. And then wanting me to buy new ones so that they can borrow those. It’s a vicious cycle.  Now…I think I’d have to say that I write to relax.
Quinn – You had me chuckling there about the tools, my kids are the same way LOL. Are there any recent works (books) that you admire?
Heath – I think the book that I most admire is the Hunger Games trilogy. When you think about it, it’s supposed to be a YA story, but there are such strong underlying stories within it. It may have been written with young adults in mind, but those who appreciate it the most are older audiences. The adaptations to the silver screen didn’t butcher the story completely like most are. True, there are changes, but most are needed to either fit the time restraints or to explain to the watcher what only a reader could have known. Having the play-by-play announcers inserted, I think, was an excellent move.

Quinn – I totally agree Heath. The Hunger Games Trilogy is incredible. That said, who is your favorite author?
Heath – That’s an impossible question to answer. I have ‘preferred’ authors. Janet Evanovich, Joe McKinney, JR Rain, TW Brown, Suzanne Collins, Mark Tufo…these are but a few of those who excite me when something new hits the market. 
Quinn – All excellent authors. Are there similarities between you and any of the above mentioned authors?
Heath – If you mean physically, only that we both breathe oxygen and exhale CO2. If you mean in writing style? I doubt it. I’m a total seat of the pants writer and most of my stuff is worthy of lining only the best of bird cages. I’ve had NO real training in how to properly tell a story. It was only recently that I’ve learned a lot of the ‘proper ways to…’ and of course, I was left smacking my forehead wondering how I hadn’t seen that before as it seemed so obviously once it was pointed out. But one thing I will give myself credit for, always trying to better myself as a writer. My theory is, if I can ever reach a point where my editor just has to read through it as more of a beta reader, then I’ve achieved my goal. Since EVERYTHING can always stand some editing, I’ll never reach that goal. But it’s a worthy goal to aspire to. 
Quinn – I’m a huge fan of yours Heath and there’s no way I would line any cage with your “stuff”! Unless, of course the inhabitant can read LOL. Why do you write?
Heath – Now THAT is a good question. Why? Because I have stories to tell? Because I want to leave something more to my family once I’m passed on than a closet full of oversized clothes? Wow. You really set me back on that one.  I mean, I know HOW I got started, but ‘why’? I guess now the reason why I write is I feel like I have to finish what I started. At first, I wanted to prove to myself that I could…even if nobody else would read it. I had started and tossed out probably 75 different projects over the years, all of them long forgotten. Never completed, their dusty remains were thrown out like old, worn out socks. But even now, once I’ve proven that I could complete a project and then see the next step through and the next and the next, I think the ‘why’ is the hope that I’ll eventually write that one great piece that makes people stand up and say, “Whoa! This is worth reading.” 

Quinn – Personally, I think you’ve accomplished that already. Everything I’ve read written by you was worth reading, believe me. So what is a typical working day like for you?  
Heath – Lots of laundry, dirty dishes and bulldog. Being ‘retired’, I’m Mr. Mom. The house is pretty much my responsibility as my wife still teaches.  So my days consist of chores, paying bills, taking kids to the doctor, etc. I reserve the late night hours for writing. It’s the only time the house is even remotely quiet.
Quinn - When and where do you write?
Heath – Well, as I said above, the wee hours is my writing time. The where is my dining room table.  We moved to a different house with a den that I was going to make into my office. I was so excited and had things collected to ‘enhance the experience’ and make it into my own personal little…well, space. But then our youngest son who ‘left’ for college decided he’d rather drive an hour each way than to stay on campus in the room that was paid for, so he took over my office and made it ‘his’ bedroom. So, I’m still stuck writing at the dining room table.
Quinn – A special writing place is hard to come by when you have a family. I have the same problem. If I’m not sitting at my kitchen table, I’m in the basement at a table I have set up for myself for when the house is too noisy.  What kind of research do you do for your books?
Heath – For the most part, I try to make any stories I write as realistic as possible. Even in the worlds where vampires and werewolves are real, the surroundings are realistic. If the surroundings are accurate, readers who know those areas are more likely to accept the story as ‘real’. I’ve actually had people ask me if my monster squad stories were based loosely on a real clandestine group.
While I can’t say that every tiny detail is accurate, I try to incorporate as much lore, history, religious background, etc as I can to paint a more complete story. Just like with Forneus Corson, I knew the name was right…I went in search of ‘demons’ and the first one that stood out was Forneus; ‘He teaches rhetoric and languages, gives men a good name, and makes them be loved by their friends and foes’. The very next name I came across that stood out was Corson; ‘He is the king of the west according to some translations of The Lesser Key of Solomon’. Combine the two (actually, in the sequel that was begun, Corson consumed Forneus to become one), and you have a King of West who teaches languages, gives men a good name and makes them be loved by all.  It seemed like providence that the first two names I stumbled upon fit my demon so well.  

Quinn – Forneus Corson was predestined. How do you conceive your plot ideas? 
Heath – It can be ANYTHING that sparks the original idea.  But I’m definitely a seat of the pants writer. Before I start on the story though, I have to have the beginning and the end. A ‘general’ idea of what I want the story to tell and any plot twists is really all I need to dive in. The story tends to tell itself after that.  I’ve said it often and so far it’s held true: ‘My stories are like life. We have a beginning and an end. What happens in between is where the excitement truly lies.’
Quinn – Well said. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
Heath – Until Forneus Corson, no. If a name sounded cool, manly, tough, girly, sweet, whatever…I’d run with it. But with the demon, I wanted it to have an underlying meaning. If I’m naming somebody from Pakistan, I’m not going to call him ‘Bob Smith’. I search out the most common names for the region, both first and surnames. Again, believability being key.
Quinn - What are the major themes of your work? How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Heath – Horror is the genre, but major theme? For most of my works it’s simply good VS evil. I try to make it so that Good wins, but that isn’t always how things are, is it? Too often, Evil gets the upper hand. The difference between the two? Good doesn’t stop until Evil is vanquished.
The time it takes me to go from blank page to ‘the end’ varies so much. On an average story of approximately 100K words, I can have one completed in six weeks if there isn’t anything major that crops up to interfere. Or, it can take me MONTHS to pound out a manuscript. In the past, I would sit down and write until the project was completed. Here recently, I’ve had ideas that demanded I write them. Rather than simply put them into my ‘ideas log’ I had to actually start penning them, knowing that my OCD wouldn’t let me simply walk away from them once they were started.  If, while working on my flagship series, I need to step away and clear my head, I’ll thumb through the five or six other projects that I’ve started and work on one of those. 
Quinn – As a writer you can most surely weave an internal struggle into your storyline and the reader may not realize it until the end. That's when your audience has that sudden realization; Oh yeah, I didn't see that coming. Do you know what I mean? Is that something you do often? A writing style you prefer? Or are your stories an “open book” so to speak?

Heath – Each story is different. I don’t know that you could actually call it internal struggle, but with Corson, it was Man Vs Evil. The reader finishes the last chapter thinking one thing, then finds the epilogue opening on what they think is an afternote or something along those lines. It isn’t until further into the story that they realize there was a twist somewhere between the end of the chapter and the epilogue.
With Whispers, a vengeful ghost story, I have everyone pointing the finger of blame one direction while planting little hints throughout the story. At the end of the story, again in the epilogue, there’s a twist that leaves the reader thinking…hey! I should have seen that coming. Some figure it out early but most don’t.
Quinn – Whispers is amazing! I love that story. Who are your target readers?
Heath – The world. Oh wait…yeah.  The world.  I want everybody to read my stuff.  It would be nice if they ALL loved it too. It would be even better if they all left reviews.
Quinn – Yes, it would be nice if everyone who read your stories could leave a review. Do you think it would be illegal to pay them? Just kidding LOL. What do you think readers search for in a book?
Heath – Words. Words that form sentences that make sense. No?
I think most readers are looking for an escape. A place where they can go that is ‘not here’ and ‘not now’ and find themselves either caring about or rooting for people that maybe they can relate to on some level. It’s like stepping through the looking glass to a land where vampires, werewolves, zombies and demons are all real. Not those pansy glittery vampires, but pasty faced, fang filled bloodsuckers that will rip your throat out and eat your heart. THAT world.
Quinn – Hey, I’m a fan of those glittery vampires! As well as the gory bloodsucking kind J  What is your favorite part of a book?
Heath- My own? Release day. Others? Release day. Or the day I discover a new writer. I love finding new writers whose work I enjoy.
If you mean the book itself? It would have to be after the introductions are made and the action starts.  I like to be kept engaged.
Quinn - What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Heath – Actually typing.  My fingers are so stiff from arthritis that I’ve actually considered trying Dragon. I haven’t because every writer I’ve ever talked to that has tried to use it has told me that it isn’t writer friendly.
Quinn – They’re right, I’ve tried it and it’s not writer friendly, unfortunately. What is the best thing about being an author?
Heath – I still don’t consider myself one. I’m a storyteller. I love that people read my stories and enjoy them. I love that they contact me and tell me that the story had them up all night, flipping pages, dying to find out what happened next. It makes me happy that I was able to tell a story that somebody else WANTED to read.
Quinn – Those are great moments for a writer. Many authors listen to music while they write, whenever I do I find myself singing and swaying to the beat. Do you listen to music while you write?
Heath – Every night. Usually classical and from the Baroque period, but sometimes it’s 70’s rock or 80’s hair bands. Lately, it’s been movie scores or ‘epic battle music’. Usually, the less words, the better.

Quinn- What and/or who inspires you?
Heath – Easy. My wife Jess. She inspires me to keep on even when I want to quit. Anybody who tells you that bad or hurtful reviews mean nothing to them are either very thick skinned, so full of themselves or lying. There was a run where it seemed like the only news was BAD news. Bad reviews, bad sales, bad rankings…bad everything. My wife came to me and said, “I understand if you’re ready to quit and if you really want to, I won’t try to stop you. All I ask is that you finish what you’ve started.” She was referring to the second saga of the Monster Squad. I thought about it a long time and decided that quitting just wasn’t for me.  I stopped reading the reviews, stopped checking my rankings and stopped checking sales every day. All good things comes to he who waits.
Quinn – Thank Jess for me. I can’t imagine a world without you stories in it. Have you ever collaborated on a book? If so, who was the other author? How did you collaborate with that author? What writing process did you use? 
Heath – Not yet. I had toyed with the idea with another guy and we bounced some ideas around, but it never got any traction.
Quinn - If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Heath – I have no clue.  I’d have to make sure it was silly, stupid or downright inappropriate and it would definitely have to have a double meaning.
Quinn – Now that sounds interesting. Would you care to fill me in on the story line at all? I'll understand if you don't.
Heath – The story of my life? I came, I saw, I tripped and fell down the stairs. The life and times of an old, fat, ugly, bald guy.
Quinn – You crack me up Heath. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview, but never have?
Heath – How big is your wiener? Last year I could have said 20” long and 12 pounds…but our miniature dachshund passed away. Not what you were expecting, was it?
Quinn – Okay, now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor and caught my breath (laughing way too hard). I’ve got to ask you, how would you answer that question? LOL
Heath – Now I’d have to pretend I was offended and tell them it was none of their damned business! But in reality I’d be laughing that there are others out there as twisted as I am. 
Quinn – What have you written? And what are you working on at the moment? What’s it about? 

Heath – Ooh…let’s see. We can start with the Monster Squad series. Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, Wayward Son and Obsessions. Rise of the Sicarii is the first four books in the series under one new cover. Then there’s the vengeful ghost story Whispers. A viral zombie novel called Caldera that came out Thanksgiving.
I’m currently working on Monster Squad 8. It will hopefully wrap up this second saga. I’m also working on Flags of our Fathers, Sinful, Return to Yellowstone and Idle Hands.
Idle Hands is the sequel to Forneus Corson. Corson discovers that Satan has sent bounty hunters out to round up all of the demons who went rogue and he’s trying to pull his own fat out of the fire by getting the other rogues to bond together.
Sinful is about a young man who survives a car accident and begins to see other’s most heinous ‘sins’. He takes it upon himself to save the future victims by killing the killers first.  There’s a nice twist planned for the ending of that story.
Return to Yellowstone is the sequel to Caldera. With the virus that causes the rage zombies spread globally, an effort to return to the park to collect an unmutated sample is underway. In order to do this, they need the one man who knows that park inside and out. The hunt for Daniel Hatcher is on.
Flags of our Fathers is a bit different. It’s more of a political thriller. A renegade team taints the fabric used to make American and British flags burned in protest. The chemical is colorless, odorless and dries without a residue but when burned, will create a cyanidic effect on those close to the flame. Bobby Bridger from Whispers is brought back as the main character in this story.
Quinn - Where can we buy or see them?
Heath – As far as I know, Amazon is probably the best place.

My Amazon author page has links to each of the works, including some really cool boxed sets.
Quinn - What advice would you give to your younger self?
Heath – Start writing now.  Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. Even if your earlier stuff isn’t ‘great’ you can only improve.  
Quinn – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Heath – Write what interests you. Don’t write to the masses. If you write what interest you, you’ll write with more passion and the readers will be attracted to that.
Quinn - Is there anything that you would like add?
Heath – I think you forgot to ask my shoe size.  It’s a fourteen, by the way.
Quinn – How could I forget, shame on me! LOL Last question, what do you consider your best accomplishment?
Heath – Getting my wife to marry me. I’m still not sure how I accomplished that. I wish I could say that it involved a bottle of Tequila and a less than honest Elvis impersonating priest, but it wasn’t anything quite so sordid.
Quinn – Thank you Heath, for allowing me to explore your personal and private life. And as I expected, it’s been a hell of a ride! You never cease to amaze me.


Please join us, Visionary Press Collaborative and Quinn Cullen, as we present Heath Stallcup during our on line book release party celebrating the publication of his book “Forneus Corson: The Idea Man”. Stop by and say hello to Heath, author of the Monster Squad series and Whispers, a chilling tale of ghostly revenge. And while you’re getting to know him better, you just might win a signed copy of “Forneus Corson”. And please, invite your friends, the more, the merrier!


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Dweller

It's been a long time since my last post. Time is slipping by so fast it's hard to keep up. I promised a poker buddy, Giorgi, that I would post my story The Dweller here on my blog. It was originally published by Angelic Knight Press (under my real name-Yvonne I. Bishop), and is included in the anthology "Satan's Toy Box: Demonic Dolls. If you haven't read it yet there's an impressive line-up of author's sharing their scary tales of a little girl’s best friend, her precious little doll. But these dolls are nothing like the ones you might remember from your childhood, be it your doll or a siblings doll. Alongside all of the other excellent books published by Angelic Knight Press, Satan's Toy Box: Demonic Dolls is available on Smashwords and Amazon. Check it out, you won't be sorry-I promise you. 
Following this post will be a post highlighting the brilliant author John Gilmore. Look for that some time tomorrow.
So for now-without further ado, I present to you The Dweller. I hope you enjoy my little tale about Rose, a beautiful porcelain doll.

The Dweller
Dan and his best friend Buck, a German Sheppard, were frequent visitors at the local landfill, an awesome scavenger hunt territory. They were treading through heaps of rotting waste, narrowly avoiding stepping on the motionless crows and seagulls strewn about. Under normal circumstances, those obnoxious foragers pillaged the dump for something to eat. Tonight was different. An unnatural stillness had settled in the area as dusk cloaked the small Kentucky town of Flatgap, where Dan lived with his parents, John and Sarah, and younger sister Lexy. Although a hard worker, due to the current recession Dan’s dad had found himself without employment. He was trying to provide for his family through odd jobs offering meager wages while Sarah, a homemaker, was now working at the local hospital scrubbing floors and cleaning restrooms. They were poor, but considered themselves fortunate to have, scanty as it was, any means of income. And if the love they shared as a family had a monetary value, they would be the wealthiest family in the area.