Interview: Alison Lyke

Interview: Alison Lyke

by Judy Spring Alison Summerhayes Lyke is a 31-year-old novelist, poet, and freelance writer from Rochester, New York. She recently released Honey through Spectacle Publishing Media Group, and we’d like to take some time to get to know this unique artist and ask her some direct questions about her craft, as well as learn a little more about who Alison is. Alison lives with her nine-year-old son Jonah, and her two cats Milo and Zoonz. Milo is deaf which brings a few challenges. Zoonz is named from the African word for “home.” Sushi is Alison’s favorite food, and when asked, she replied that white is her favorite color. Interestingly, she says the color represents purity to her—a blank slate and the beginning of something new. Her single pet peeve is when others are judgmental, and her suggestion is to just calm down and realize that no one has any idea what another is going through. Passing judgment is useless. Music is a big influence in her life, and rock of all kinds is her preferred genre, although she likes some “hippy music” as well. Alison enjoys writing film, music, and art reviews, and also life musings and anecdotes. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She contributes poetry and short stories to literary magazines. Alison enjoyed being a freelance writer for five years, and now works with a local agricultural technology company, writing for their various needs. The following questions are from a personal interview with the author.   When did you know that you wanted to be an author? “I’ve always been writer. There was never any wanting or deciding. It was an eventuality.”   In your writing process, do you use an outline to write your story? “My stories come together like puzzles. I often have a vague outline with very specific portions written in. Certain scenes, chapters, or conversations are vital and I tend to write them randomly, and then fill in the story around them. My first drafts are seas of gibberish with islands of clarity.”   What sparked your interest in the story subject of Honey? “I wanted to write a mythology with a rich, full pantheon of gods, functioning like ancient Greece, but in modern day. I also wanted to touch on the power of meditation and contemplation. Then Honey came to me, this mess of a woman under a rat’s nest of hair, so stoned that she didn’t even have enough ambition to work up an attitude problem. I had to explore her character, test her limits and make life better for her.”    What does the story matter of Honey...

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2013 Catalog – SPMG

2013 Catalog – SPMG

This summer is going to be huge for SPMG. Upcoming titles include The Darkest Age, a YA epic by talented newcomer Ashleigh Galvin, a surreal fantasy by Alison Lyke called Honey and so much more! Click to download our catalog in PDF format! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Magic

No, not the magic of writing. Well, maybe a little of that. Mostly it’s the magic of your fantasy world. Come on – you know you’ve written that next Lord of the Rings fantasy epic. You’ve done away with Orcs (Orks) and Elves and come up with something completely new and fresh. You’ve got an epic hero, who while still being “the chosen one,” manages to break all the stereotypes of fantasy literature and maintain the mythic cycle. You’re sure that Joseph Campbell would be bouncing with delight at your clever five act novel. You know that Ed Greenwood has nothing on the intricate fantasy realm you’ve created.   But there’s a problem. Your magic isn’t internally consistent. You might not even know it’s a problem. You might think it’s just some awkward scenes. Maybe you let your D&D group read the piece and they’re scratching their heads about the difference between Sorcerers and Wizards. Or maybe it’s something deeper, more subtle yet intrinsic to the plot.   Magic is a very slippery slope for a writer. Once the die is cast (or spell, in this case) there is not going back. If you’ve introduced magic to your world, your novel cannot ignore it. No one would. A magic-rich setting changes all the dynamics as well. Suddenly there’s no need to plow the fields – magic can do it. Suddenly, everyone carries a magic sword; your flaming scimitar of ass-kicking isn’t so special anymore. In fact, if everyone is walking around with a magic sword, mighty swords like Excalibur and Stormbringer suddenly become less wondrous. Even the Sword of Omens (Thundercats ho!) becomes more of a trinket or gimmick if every character has a magic sword. By the way, who is making these magic swords? If every man in the Evil Count’s Army has one, there’s no time for the Wizards to be casting their magic spells to plow the fields. Which puts us right back to where we started from.   You begin to see the problems with magic as a storyteller.   Finally, there’s the worst mistake a writer can make with magic – the dreaded Deus Ex Machina! Yes, one must never rely on magic to wrap up your plot. We see it all too often. For example, when the Prophets from Star Trek Deep Space Nine intervene (for unknown, undisclosed and unrealistic reasons) by destroying a force of thousands of Jem Hadar starships – we can call this a writer’s cop out, or a Deus Ex Machina Moment. Don’t do that.   Be the master of the magic in your world, not vice versa. Here’s how:   Be internally consistent: establish and understand the limitations...

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2012 – Let the End begin!

We all know it’s not going to happen. We’ve lived through one Rapture, this next supposed Apocalypse might be worthy of opening a bottle of champagne, but not much else. But that doesn’t mean people don’t want to read about it! “End of The World” stories are making their mark as one of the most popular sub-genres of Science Fiction, Horror and even some other less obvious styles. That’s why Spectacle Publishing Media Group LLC is assembling top-notch fiction stories for our upcoming anthology Omega. You got it my friend; this is a flat-out call for submissions! You want to be published! You have a story to tell! We want to publish you! We want to tell your story! Here are the details on what we’re looking for: End of The World, Civilization or Species  stories 2,500 – 10,000 words Strong CHARACTERS Unique Plots (or common plots told in face-melting style) Error FREE, proof read and spell checked submissions For inclusion in this Anthology email submissions@spectaclepmg.com with the subject line “2012 anthology” Short story submissions DO NOT need queries. DO NOT put your story in the body of an email. Attach as a Word doc or RTF file. Deadline for submissions: December 31st, 2011 (however, this date may be changed at our discretion due to scheduling and content needs) By submitting your fiction to SPMG, you are agreeing to allow us to publish in print and eBook format. As always, if you have a longer piece that fits this genre, prepare a query and send it to queries@spectaclepmg.com. Got it? Let’s review: Short Story about the end of the world go to: submissions@spectaclepmg.com (subject line: 2012 Anthology) Do not put your story in the body of an email Longer stories (novels) need a query and they go to: queries@spectaclepmg.com Hurry up! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Scary S@*#

Halloween is just around the corner. Or maybe it’s hiding in the closet or under the bed. It might be sliding from shadow to shadow as you wander wearily to the bathroom in the middle of the night. My bet is that it was watching you from the window, probably ever since you got home this evening. Did you lock the doors up? Do you dare go check? Whatever your relationship with Halloween, no one dislikes a good horror story. Everyone likes to be scared. It’s fun when you’re a kid, it’s fun when you’re an adult. The question becomes “what is scary?” There’s no shortage of Stephen Kings and Dean R. Koontzs and Clive Barkers, but is this stuff scary anymore? How many times can King tell a story about a haunted car? Three to my best estimation (Maximum Overdrive, Christine and I’m sure there’s one more…) The trend in “scary” has changed from that tingling uneasiness you get when walking in the woods alone at sunset, to scenes of gruesome torture and mutilation. Mutilation is not horror. Mutilation is a car accident or an artillery shell. Torture is not horror; it is a debased form of intelligence gathering. So what is scary? Well, it’s not vampires anymore. They’re too clever and charming, their fashion sense is overwhelming and with such perfect smiles, how could they instill fear in anything? Werewolves too, have fallen to the wayside on the highway of terror. Ghosts, while unsettling for most are recycled and trite. Zombies and some of the more gruesome undead seem to be holding out cultural attention. I personally have read a dozen books that treat the topic with excellent insight as well as innovation. Ever since the 2003 release of 28 Days Later, we’ve seen the Zombie sub-genre blossom like a yellow-musk creeper in corpse pile (old school D&D reference anyone?). Now that zombies are fast, can run and chase you, and want nothing more than to devour you, to eat you alive while you struggle vainly to protect your exposed flesh from their rotting, chipped teeth, they are a bit more frightening. The denizens of the underworld, demons and devils, always occupy a special place, a shadowy corner in the recesses of the minds of the pious. But is it the threat of eternal damnation or the threat of a being whose very existence is anathema to your continued survival that is scary? I guess we should check in with William Peter Blatty for that one. When I talk with writers about horror, about mustering up strange fears that often the audience didn’t even know it had, I always start with a conversation about what the writer...

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Scare us (if you can)!

Spectacle Publishing is looking for some terrifying fiction to publish for Halloween. Give us your best monster stories; urban fantasy, terror, horror, vampires, ghosts, goblins, spiders, bats, werewolves and high-school teachers with long black fingernails and that thing growing on their noses! What we’re looking for specifically: Full length novels (70,000 words or more) Horror/Monster fiction Character driven, immersive settings with fresh plots No clichés (unless they are damn clever) Send us only your very best work. We want to publish your work, but we also want it to be successful. Our editors take great pains to make sure your work gets a fair review. If they like your work, they work with you, becoming a creative partner, getting your work in the possible shape for success. Don’t be afraid. Really. What are you waiting for? The Query Monster lives here. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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