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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Interview With K.G. McAbee

I guess I’ve known Gail McAbee for a couple decades now. She wrote for our FADING SHADOWS magazines in the ‘90s, and later was the head editor for Novel Books, Inc. (NBI), and was instrumental in three of my books being published by NBI. Due to our friendship we never lost contact, even after NBI and FADING SHADOWS ceased publication. Early on I read her novels, “A Fine Impersonation” and “Escape The Past”, as well as her science fiction anthology created for Mystic Toad Press, “Port Nowhere”. While with Mystic Toad Press, she published my wife’s pulp anthology, “Tales of Masks & Mayhem V #1”. She is my strongest influence, and if not for her, I would still be an unpublished author.

Tom: When did you first begin writing?

K.G. McAbee:
First of all, let me correct some of Tom's seriously questionable comments. He's MY strongest influence, and I'm completely beholden to HIM for some of my earliest published work. I had a bunch of short stories that appeared in his late and immensely lamented series of magazines, and the mere fact of seeing my stuff in print made me what I am today. Whatever that might be, hah!

But back to the question. I remember that I couldn't wait to start reading, and once I did, I've never stopped. At first it never occurred to me that writers were actual people, but more like amazing beings who created even more amazing lands and people. Then I started reading biographies of writers, and writers on the writing process, and thought maybe I could do this.

Life kind of got in the way, but in 1994 I wrote—well, finished; I'd been throwing down paragraphs and sometimes actual chapters for years—my first short story. Then another and another. Then I started researching what to do with them.

And found Tom. And sent him stories. And, lo and behold, he said, "Sure, I'll print 'em."

Thanks so much, Tom!

Tom: Did your experience as an editor help you improve your own writing?

K.G. McAbee:

You bet! It's amazing to see different styles and ways of attacking a story, and I stole every one I could! It's always hard to edit your own work, though. I think it's because you see what you intended to put down instead of what's actually there.

Tom: You recently placed high in a Writer’s of The Future contest, can you tell the readers a little about the story you submitted for the contest, and will it eventually be included in one of their anthologies?

K.G. McAbee:

I'm not sure of an anthology deal; I'm pretty sure those spots are reserved for 1st and 2nd placing stories, and mine was a measly Honorable Mention—see how I capitalized that? Can you tell I'm proud of my Honorable Mention?

The story is a steampunk/zombie mashup. I created an organization called D.I.R.E.—which stands for Damocles Institute of Research and Exploration—and filled it with famous Victorian scientists, writers and explorers, like Sir Richard Francis Burton, Charles Babbage, Michael Farraday and Edgar Allen Poe. But my main characters are Jonathan Blackthorne, a magician, and his partner and beloved, the inventor Lady Rose Blakeney. And of course, they run into zombies in the sewers of London, as one would suspect. Much excitement ensues.

Tom: The SF Anthology, “Port Nowhere” was a fascinating concept, and I’m surprised we didn’t see more volumes. Do you have any back copies available? Where can they be ordered?

K.G. McAbee:

The old Port Nowhere has morphed into the new Tales from Omega Station, with two of the earlier writers and a new one. In fact, the three of us—me, J.A. Johnson and J. Kirsch, aka Gail, Jim and Jon—are going to be on The Book Cave soon, to talk about Omega Station. We're way excited, as you can imagine, though of course Tom is practically a regular there.

Tom: How did you come up with the idea for Port Nowhere/Omega Station?

K.G. McAbee:

I pictured a distant outpost in the galaxy, kind of a dead-end place in many ways—it's an airless planet where most of the inhabitants live in caves and tunnels inside, though there are domicile domes on the surface—that was still strategically important due to its location. The governing bodies change sporadically, as various military cadres or corporations take control, but most of those who live on Omega Station are there for life. It's very much like a Western-in-space/space opera in a lot of ways: criminals, rich people, folks in charge, ordinary people, all trying to survive. And cool aliens make up many of the folks/people, of course!

Tom: For the new writers just getting started, maybe you can help with this question. What do you find most difficult about your work-in-progress? Plot? Characters? Beginning? Ending?

K.G. McAbee:

I'm awful with plots; ask my collaborators! I tend to start with an image/situation, throw a character into it, and see what develops. Recently I started a new novella set in a generation ship, and I didn't realize the character who was talking was female until page four. Crazy, huh?

Tom: What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

K.G. McAbee:

There is nothing more fun than making things up! I tell people I lie for a living. I've always been able to 'see' the things I imagine, so getting to write about them and share them with others is the ultimate in fun.

Tom: You write many different genres, from SF, pulp, horror, YA, Steampunk, et al. Where did you get your idea for these tales?

K.G. McAbee:

I think, because I love to read so many genres, that I can't limit myself to writing in just one. If I'm reading a good fantasy, I want to write one. If I just ran across a cool new scifi, I want to write one. And mashups are fun too, like my D.I.R.E. novella: steampunk meets zombie. I love comics too, so I've even tried my hand at them. And I've recently had my first non-fiction academic publication: I've got a chapter in Breanne Kirsch's GAMING IN LIBRARIES published by McFarlane Press.

Tom: Tell the readers about your latest release or WIP.

K.G. McAbee:

J.A. Johnson and I have an exciting new project we've been working on. We've collaborated on a zombie novella based on an album by an indie band called The Gifted Children. It's called THE REGINALD PANTRY: A ZOMBIE CHRONICLE. We hope to have it available soon, plus we're going to have links within the book to the music which inspired the stories. It's sort of a book with a soundtrack.

Tom: What advice would you give to a person trying to get their short story / novel published?

K.G. McAbee:

Write the best thing you can. Edit it and edit it again. Then decide if you want to go the traditional route or self-publish. Then do it! Then write something else.

Tom: Where may someone order copies of your books?

K.G. McAbee:

My stuff is available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. And check out my western here

Thank you Gail. Along with all of your fans, I look forward to each and every new release from your pen. Thanks for stopping by Pulp Den. Dino (G).

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