All posts for the month June, 2015

I recently sat down with Lisa M. Collins, one of the Pen and Cape Society members. Her new book, “THE HOUSE BAST MADE”, drops on June 15th, and I thought I’d see what makes her tick.

For those who don’t know her yet, Lisa’s non-fiction has been published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She copy edited and researched on “Understanding Global Slavery” by University of California Press. Her Sci-Fi story, “The Tree of Life”, is in Issue #4 of Holdfast Magazine’s 2013-2014 anthology. These days Lisa edits for Metahuman Press, is a member of the Pen and Cape Society, and is an upcoming creative contributor with Pro Se Productions and Mechanoid Press. She is a Sally A. Williams Grant winner for writing from the Arkansas Arts Council.

Lisa in blue

What books have influenced your life the most?

I have read so many books in so many genres it is really hard to pick. Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis are two who rise to the top. Dragonlance books are a favorite, especially the ones with Raistlin Majere. I would also say movies and TV influence my writing quite a bit. I love Pacific Rim, Interstellar, Contact, anything Star Trek or Star Wars. Movies and TV show writers how to bring in the action and how to fit in small bits of back story without boring the reader.

Tell us about your writing environment. Do you have a writing area? A desk, maybe? Is there music?

Right now it’s nothing fancy. I generally write using my Chromebook either at the dining room table or sitting on the couch.

The relaxed approach. An author after my own heart! Speaking of which, who is your favorite author, and what is it that really makes their work important to you?

Recently I have fallen in love with the work of J.A. Jernay and the Ainsley Walker Gemstone Travel Mystery series. The books take you to exotic locales and the writing is tight. I learn so much from her style and the books are a rip roaring good time.

From time to time, we all have stories we ‘trunk’. Have you ever finished a project, looked at it, and decided you absolutely hated it?

I usually know I’m despising a project well before it is finished. I have a folder on my computer full of half-baked ideas. Recently I pulled one out of the abyss and polished it up. All it needs is an ending and I think it will be good to go…perhaps our bad or dud ideas just need more marinating.

Who would win in a fight between a lemur and a meerkat?

A meerkat would totally dominate. Not only are they tough enough to put the hurt on cobras, they are carnivores.



Storytelling is an ancient art. Where do you see it heading in the future?

Humans have been sharing stories since we were drawing pachyderms on cave walls. The fact is we as a species can’t help but share our thoughts and imagination with each other. Storytelling has gone viral out on the Net…I for one hope we never put the genie back in the bottle. I see the future continuing down the digital path. I think we will eventually have a generation of kids who have never owned a paper book.

What is your most interesting personal quirk that tends to appear when you are writing?

Selective hearing. When I’m really on and in my groove writing I become nearly deaf to the world around me. My husband could probably tell me the house was burning down around us, but until I smelled smoke I would be completely clueless.



What projects are you currently working on?

I have so many irons in the fire. I have plans for a New Pulp P.I. story, a Halloween anthology, and follow up novel to THE HOUSE BAST MADE. My main project is a new science fiction series simply called SPACE.

Well, this new one of yours, “THE HOUSE BAST MADE”, sounds intriguing and fun.  What was the hardest part of writing this book?

When writing a novella or shorter fiction the hard part is giving enough details to keep the reader moving forward in the story, but also not dragging the reader down the unnecessary. Since I love Egyptian mythology it was a real balancing act.

Did you find yourself doing any specific research for this book? If so, what kind?

This novella contains a lot of references to the Egyptian pantheon of gods and goddesses. I often had to refer back to my notes to keep the bits and details about them clear.

What kind of future projects do you have planned?

I want to keep putting out books in regular intervals. I have plans each month to put out a novella, or cookbook, or anthology. My hope is to also put out 2-3 longer works each year.

About the lemurs: What if they had knives?

Even if a lemur had a knife they would just be making it easier for the carnivore to have their way with them.

Everyone comes down on the lemurs, man…

Lisa’s new book, “THE HOUSE BAST MADE”, comes out June 15th. You can find a link to it on her Amazon author page, here or a direct link here. You can also connect with her in a variety of online locations:

Twitter for Lisa M. Collins

or for Deep Fried Dixie Goodness follow Lisa as Tea and Cornbread







Wookiees for Cookies Racing team

Southern Food and Culture @ Tea and Cornbread


I love Southern charm and food. I think everyone should get a taste of what we have cooking down here in the South…and not just in our skillets, but what we have cooking in our industry and our general Faulkneresque attitudes about life, liberty, the Oxford comma, and pursuit of happiness.”  – Lisa M. Collins


Looking for more of:

Healthy Writer Series

Author Interview Series


To begin, let me state the following: This post may be triggering to some. It might not. Hell, I don’t know.


A lot has been said recently on the subject of “triggers” in fiction — written or on a performance basis. Rape scenes in film and television have ignited a firestorm of debate among authors and critics, readers and writers, creators and consumers. Various “-isms” have been decried in one form of media or another for being the counterproductive bullshit that they are.  Words or phrases that leave some people uncomfortable or bring up memories allegedly better left buried are being assembled into lists so that they can be touted as “unacceptable” words.

Read that closely: Unacceptable words. A group of random people on the Internet are banding together to tell you what you can or cannot say, write, read, or shout from the rooftops. If they must be discussed, say these people, then you as a creator or author must place some form of “trigger warning” to let potential consumers know that they may well encounter discussions of sex, suicide, corpses, insects, firearms, spiders, death, abuse, eating disorders, or a laundry list of other topics. They ignore the fact that a true “trigger” bypasses all rational thought and acts as a neural stimulus that brings previous trauma slamming back into existence in the mind of one who has been harmed. A “trigger” is that thing which returns the victim to the scene of the crime, so to speak: The crash of noise that causes the veteran to grab his child and dive for cover, the scent of a particular cologne mixed with sweat that brings the sexual assault to the forefront of the mind and leaves the victim in terror that it is happening once again, the surprise touch from behind that puts the victim of a violent crime into a fetal ball.

The meaning of “trigger” has now been perverted by these faceless Internet people to mean essentially any word or concept that makes them uncomfortable. It has lost its true meaning as surely as has the word “terrorist” — once reserved for those who used terror tactics to advance a political goal, but now simply a euphemism for anyone the user deems opposed to their personal outlook on politics or patriotism.

Blogs have appeared out of nowhere telling writers that this topic or that one is never acceptable to use in your story for any form of motivation: a person once raped may never use that event as grounds for revenge, a person abused may never use that abuse as a reason to become an advocate for the abused, on and on ad nauseum. It might be upsetting to someone who has suffered such an event or trauma in their past. They bypass completely the thought that stories are meant to move the reader, that words are meant to explore, and that what a writer puts in a story is generally there for a reason.

Trigger and trigger bar assembly, GLOCK pistol.

Trigger and trigger bar assembly, GLOCK pistol.

While this image is much more what I see in my mind when I hear the word, “Trigger”, for some the word has come to mean the oh-so-self-centered school of thought that says, “I don’t want to see (or hear or read or experience) anything that might make me uncomfortable, so it’s your responsibility to warn me that it is there!”


Read it again: No.

It is not my job as an author, as a citizen, or even as a fellow human being, to protect you from thought. In point of fact, many would argue otherwise: that it is the job of writers to expose you to new thoughts, ones that make you question the things you once held as unassailable truth. That will always make you uncomfortable.


Years ago, I wrote a story for Gordie Laughlin’s super-fic page Heroic Monkey called “Bait”. The story of the aftermath of an alien invasion and the resistance to it by a group of determined Supers, it was a contest entry that surprised me by winning.

The fine folks over at have reprinted “Bait”, and I’ll happily share it with you all once again for the first time since 2008. Click the dinosaur and enjoy!