Zoe loves books, writes horror, erotica and erotic romance, and can be found as close to the stage as possible at small clubs across the Southeastern U.S., rocking the fuck out to her favorite bands.
Under the name Holden Wells, she has published several short stories in gay erotica anthologies. One of these—Roughing It—has been revised and expanded into a novella and is now available in print and ebook format. The sequel to Roughing It will be coming out in 2014. A number of short stories featuring the same characters are also in the works, the first of which, "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," was released in ebook format in October 2013.
Zoe has also written a novel and a long story (both erotic romance) as Zoe X. Rider, both of which are currently seeking publication. In the meantime, she is working on a couple horror novels and a sequel to the erotic romance novel.
The working title on my current writing project changes more often than my underwear. We'll just call it That '70s Horror Novel for the sake of discussion.
I wrote draft zero back in March/early April. It had issues (as they do), and I spent the summer brainstorming on them, in between finishing another novel (currently out on submission) and revising and expanding a story I'd published ages ago so that I could author-publish it.
I'm now writing draft zero-point-one on That '70s Horror Novel. It's been slow going. I spun my wheels for a while writing in third-person omniscient in the form of a nonfiction book about the fictional band's final tour, written by a fictional music journalist. I imagined the published book having a section of black and white photos in the middle—candid pictures of band, photos of people whose deaths had been linked to the tour, a picture of Dean's wrecked Chevy C-10. I decided this book would be the "second" edition, revised and updated from the original, which would have been released in 1998. The new edition would include an afterward that opened the doors for the rest of the series:
"When Dean Thibodeaux approached me in 1997 about setting straight the story of Man Made Murder's final tour, he was clear that we would not be discussing any part of his life after the tour, and he stuck to that: any post-MMM questions were deflected or outright ignored. I had no clues as to how or where he'd been living, what had become of [redacted for spoilers], and how he'd managed to—mostly—disappear for two decades. Once his contribution to the book was finished, he vanished again. Now, nearly fifteen years later, he has gotten back in touch. He wants to tell the rest of the story. We have only just begun work on that."
This nonfiction novel thing...it was a fantastic idea! I loved that idea! I still love that idea! But.
I was writing as a narrator who was completely separate from the story being told—a narrator in whom I had no interest and gave not a crap about. This was more than slightly problematic; I felt like I was pretending to be someone, which doesn't usually happen when I'm writing, not even in first person, and because I felt like I was pretending to be someone, I felt like a fraud. It's complicated and convoluted, as feelings often are, and entire days would slip by without my writing a word—because I didn't feel like pretending to be this music journalist. Also I kept thinking, "This is a cool-ass way to approach the book, but is it going to provide the kind of reading experience I want readers to have, or is it going to be a gimmick that keeps readers at a remove?"
I took a brief break to write an unrelated short story in first person, and that was the end of my clever novel-as-nonfiction idea. I'm now writing (mostly) in third-person limited.
It's good to be back in my main character's head again.
You have to see this book in person to get the full effect. It's hardcover. It's massive. It's gorgeous. And it's all about meat! (I haven't had breakfast yet and I just read a pot roast recipe on my Facebook feed; these things may be affecting my choice of book, but it is a great, gorgeous book on sourcing, selecting and preparing meat, and good meat makes me very happy.)
I'm currently suffering a concert hangover. I'm officially too old to work all day, drive 4 hours, start the line outside the venue so I can secure my spot at the stage, rock out to 3 hours worth of music, drive 4 hours home, crawl into bed at nearly 5 am, wake up a few hours later...and not feel like a bag of rundown crap all day. (Not that this is going to stop me from doing it again next time I have the chance.) (The show—Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with Restavrant opening—was absolutely fucking worth it.)
Due to all of that, however, I am unable to articulate the greatness of The Curse of the Wendigo. Just go read it.
Rose's Notes: That's a really good measure to live by. I think many writers are free to feel inspired by others, but in the vein of comparisons, one should strive to improve upon their own experiences and talents from where they started. Inspiration and comparison are not the same thing.
I have nothing eloquent to say about Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series. My thoughts amount to "EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeee! Those books!" This series is some of the best horror I've read in a while. It's got great writing (great writing!), atmosphere, tension, suspense, gore, great characters and great dialogue. The publisher actually cancelled the series at book three, but the fanbase convinced them to let Yancey finish the story. I'm reading the fourth and final book, The Final Descent, now—but slowly, for I will be sad, at the least, to see the last of Will Henry and Dr. Pellinore Warthrop.
I'm not much of a re-reader—there are too many books out there that I want to read for me to justify revisiting ones I've already finished, and often even when I want to re-read a book, I never make it more than 50 pages before wandering off to something newer and shinier. There are a few, however, that I've read again and again: Michael Crummey's Galore, William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, and William Goldman's The Temple of Gold.
I bought The Temple of Gold by mistake, along with a handful of William Goldman's other novels. I was 13, I was at a flea market digging through a box of books, and I completely confused William Goldman with William Golding. I gave The Temple of Gold a tryanyway and fell in love. It was (and still is) my Catcher in the Rye, my A Separate Piece, my The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was also my first experience (A Separate Peace may have been my second) where I was waiting for it to be revealed that one of the characters was gay.
It's probably been a decade since I last read it—I should dig the paperback out and add it to my to-read pile again.
I read all the A Song of Ice and Fire books last year in a 45-day period, but this is the one that really fired me up. I pumped my fist in the air and shouted "Fuck yeah!" in Astapor, completely missed the signs on the way to (and at!) the wedding at The Twins and so was taken completely by surprise, devastated only because I'd been excited about the plans the King of the North had been about to put into action, and then I danced in my seat as The Queen of Thorns adjusted Sansa's hairnet. Plus--plus!!! Sandor traveling with Arya.
Before the A Song of Ice and Fire books, I was Not A Fantasy Person, but G.R.R.M. changed that. I've gone on to read and love other authors in the genre—and like many other people, I am tormented by the wait for the next book in the ASoIaF series.
My favorite book that I read last year that was released last year was Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. It's not without flaws, but it was wonderfully twisted and great fun to read: Alfred Hitchcock meets Jim Thompson. I devoured it. Gillian is one of my favorite authors.