Author: Jennifer Griffen

A New Year Perspective: How do you inspire others when you aren’t even inspired yourself?

How do you inspire others when you aren’t even inspired yourself? The words start and stutter like water trying to come out of an old faucet that hasn’t been used in years. But there are words. That’s the important thing.

As the words dribble and drip in to the paper I try to find a way to neatly arrange them to make sense. And be inspirational. Which is no mean feat after this past week. But what can you do when tragedy strikes but get up and keep trying? Each day, each hour, each moment is a step away from the tragedy. The further you get away the less it hurts, the less it overwhelms.

I have thought more than once these past few weeks about throwing my hands up and chucking it all in. Then I thought about those I love and how it would affect them. Was I being selfish if they wanted to help by throwing it all away? Yep. But no one can help if no ones knows.

So I tried to share my story with friends and family to let them know I was hurting. This is hard if you are an independent person and just want to be left alone. There are times I feel like I’m looking for sympathy when I tell people things like that even though I’m not. I just want people to know why I am acting the way I am.

Not very inspiring I know but I also know that the day will come when it doesn’t hurt so much. The sun will be shining and it will be a balmy 80F.

It will happen.

I just have to take that first step toward the sun.

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Carissa Ann Lynch

Jen – I am grateful to be able to talk with you!  You have such an amazing collection of work published!  How hard was it to get started in writing?  I know some authors have been writing since they were little while others discover it later in life.  Is this something you have done on and off in your life or just something you found yourself doing one day?

Carissa – Getting started was the easiest part– I’ve always loved books and journaling, but the decision to write a full-length novel came to me on a whim out of sheer boredom in my late twenties.

It was keeping the momentum going, and finishing the project, that was so difficult for me.  I had no idea that writing a book could be so hard!  It took me more than a year to finish my first book.  Once I received my first publishing contract, I felt a boost of confidence that kept me going…writing is always tough, but it’s gotten easier over the years now that I know I have readers who are eager to enjoy my stories.


Jen – Goodreads says that you never really considered yourself a writer until recently.  Do you consider yourself one now or just lucky?  I have a few friends that are published and they still think it was a fluke.  People see the outside and the finished product.  They don’t see the blood, sweat and tears it can take to just get the words out!

Carissa I consider myself a writer now, but I felt like an imposter at first.  I’ve always loved books and never considered writing my own stories…but now that I do, it just feels RIGHT.  I love that I get to spend most of my days reading and writing—it’s a dream job!  If luck is defined as “factors outside of one’s control”, then yes—I do think there is an element of luck in publishing.  For example, you could write an incredible book…but if that genre isn’t selling right then, or if the editors already bought a similar project…well. Your book might never see the light of day.  You can’t control the market, so all you can do is focus on yourself and your stories.

I think the real keys to success in publishing are stubbornness, patience, passion, and the willingness to accept feedback.  You have to be stubborn and patient in the business because you will hear a lot of “No”s before you get that “Yes”.  You have to keep going no matter how many times you’re told no…and the publishing process is incredibly slow, so buckle up and get ready to wait some.

And when one book doesn’t sell, write another.  And another.  And another.  Keep going until others have no choice but to finally sit up and pay attention.

Also, if you get criticism or feedback, USE IT!  There’s always room for improvement, and there’s no such thing as the perfect book…readers are fickle creatures; we don’t like everything we read, and it’s ok if some people don’t like my books…  One of my goals this year is to shake off that “imposter syndrome” and give myself more credit—I’ve worked really hard to get where I am in my writing career.  And I hope I can keep pushing harder and getting better and growing my confidence.


Jen – If you weren’t an author what would you be (even if you had no qualifications to do it)?

Carissa – Before I wrote, I worked in social work and corrections. I enjoyed it but the burn-out…yeah, the burn-out…it’s draining.  If I wasn’t a writer, I think I would do something else…but still something related to books—like working in a bookshop or becoming a librarian.


Jen – What do you want people to remember about you?

Carissa – I want people to remember that I am a reader first, and my number one goal is to create stories that keep them turning pages into the night…and also: I adore my readers.  I want them to know how much they mean to me and how excited I get when I know they are reading my work!


Jen – Do you have any favorite books?  Have they helped you with your writing?

Carissa – Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite book because it changes all the time!  My favorite genre is psychological thriller, but I’ll read anything that looks good.  I recently finished The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, and Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. All three were fantastic! Reading is part of my job and I DEFINITELY think I’ve been influenced by all of the books I’ve read. Especially other female thriller writers—their books inspire and excite me!  Books are tools—every single one I read improves my craft in one way or another, even the ones I don’t like… I truly believe that.


Jen – What is the scariest thing you’ve written (even if it never got published)?

Carissa – The scariest thing I’ve ever written…hmmm.  I’m not sure.  All of my books scare me ma little—if my own heart isn’t pounding a little during a scary scene, I know I need to turn up the heat!  My Sister Is Missing might be the one that scared me the most…writing some of those scenes left me feeling rattled.


Jen – I was able to meet a few of my writing heroes over the years.  Have you been able to meet any of yours?

Carissa – I live in a small town in Indiana, so I haven’t had many opportunities to meet other authors.  I would like to change that though!  I did, however, meet Chuck Palhniuk once in Louisville, Kentucky.  I waited in line for hours to meet him, and when I got up there, I just blanked out completely.  I honestly have no idea what I even said to him.  So embarrassing!


Jen – Carissa thank you so very much for your time!  I really enjoyed talking with you!

Carissa – Thanks for the questions!  I hope I didn’t ramble too much!


To find out more visit:



Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Evan Marlowe

Jen – Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Evan – I don’t see myself anyplace differently than I am now, from a creative perspective. Unless you’ve already made it, writers tend to keep churning out work without a particular goal. Most of this will never see the light of day. We keep going through the moves, regardless, for the usual nonsensical reasons, like scratching an itch. Basically, it’s a journey we’ve signed on to, but one that doesn’t generally change where we are on the map.


Jen – What would you be doing if you couldn’t be a writer/director?

Evan – I think the question boils down to not what alternative career path would I follow, because I have a day job, but what other creative outlet would I pursue? If the ideas stopped coming or I couldn’t find a way to articulate them, I’m sure I’d be driven into another medium like painting or origami or making soaps. People with a creative impulse will always find an outlet of some form.


Jen – If you could bring any mythical creature or character to life what or who would it be and why?

Evan – Funny you should ask, since I did recently finish a novel called Pauper King that features a slew of mythical creatures. It’s about a serial killer on the loose in the world of fairy tales. It doesn’t end well for most of our beloved characters. Hard to pick a favorite, but I enjoyed portraying the seven dwarves as filthy, foul-mouthed louses.


Jen – Where is the one place (or places) you can always find inspiration?

Evan – The news. The easy part is drawing inspiration for themes and plots. The hard part is avoiding being on the nose or too obvious about the source.


Jen – What is your favorite mode of transportation (real or not) and why?

Evan – There isn’t one. I don’t like moving.


Jen – If you could fix one thing in the world what would it be?

Evan – Get rid of the people. The rest is fine.


Jen – What is a typical day for you?

Evan – I do my day job, then spend time with my family. Writing usually is the result of insomnia.


Jen – What is your favorite thing to eat and drink while you are creating?

Evan – Caffeine tends to be an effective motivator. But really, I have so little time to create now that I’m usually doing it in my car over a break or in the early morning when everyone’s asleep. It would be weird to eat or drink.


Jen – What season best describes you?  Why?

Evan – Fall. I’m cool like that.


Jen – What little thing always seems to make you happy?

Evan – Always happy when I discover some new kind of food. Never fails to amuse me.


Jen – Who would you most like to meet (alive or dead)?  Why?

Evan – John Lennon. Obvious.


Jen – What have you written or done that you are most proud of?

Evan – I think for its scope and sheer number of ideas, Pauper King. I wanted it to be written from the perspective of someone living at the close of the 19th century, about life in the middle ages. The language needed to be perfectly accurate, so every word had to be researched to see when it came into common use. It was incredibly laborious and took over a year to write. Sorry, it was never published. In fact, agents and publishers lined up to let me know how unmarketable it was. Maybe some day…

Of works that are out there, my collection of short stories called Gone is Gone.


Jen – Where can we find your work?

Evan – My books sell on Amazon.

My films are around the web. Check out my second feature, Horror House, starring Lloyd Kaufman. My wife wrote that one.


Jen – Do you have any other upcoming projects?

Evan – Abruptio will probably forever be upcoming, since it’s such a massive project. I’ve got a few things in my pocket but otherwise I’m taking a breather.


Master Class? Enroll In Your Future!

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Taking classes can be expensive. I’ve gone the way of the free courses you can take but only pay if you want a certificate many times. Recently though I’ve stumbled across Going through their class list surprised me. Not only were the course choices impressive, but the instructors are a who’s who in their chosen field.

But being a writer, I took a look at the choices under “writing.” Seven authors are listed. I’ve read and/or heard of all of them. I clicked on Margaret Atwood, who teaches creative writing, to see what the course entailed. It’s just like signing up for a college course. There is a video of the instructor telling you about the class, and there is a syllabus to read through as well.

Classes are amazingly inexpensive with being able to take an unlimited number of classes for a year for $180. I was thinking about the course with Carlo Santana, who teaches “the Art and Soul of Guitar.” Doing the course won’t be a problem either since I can watch the videos on my phone, computer, or tablet.

If I wanted to, I could even gift a class (or classes) to someone else. But I have to admit the thought of studying with the likes of Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown, or Margret Atwood have me leaning toward doing it for myself first. After all, I need to make sure that whoever I am going to get it for will like it!

This is a fantastic gift for yourself or someone you love. Imagine being taught by your hero!

So, what are you waiting for? Click one of the links below and start looking for your dream class. Go learn what you always wanted to but thought you couldn’t and follow your dreams!