Author j.a. kazimer has taken fairy tales and forced them to grow up, twisting them into something darker, funnier and more modern. Her versions are closer to your great-great-great grandmother’s fairy tales, yet laced with j.a.’s wonderful humor. In CURSES! A F***ed-up Fairy Tale, You’ll find a fairy-noir tale of a villain gone good, quite against his will, drawn into a murder investigation by the victim, Cinderella’s, not-so-ugly step-sister. Action, hilarity and mayhem ensue in this f***ed up story you won’t want to miss!
Today, the fantastic j.a. has agreed to answer a few questions for The Warrior Muse. Having published in several different formats, she has a unique perspective that few other authors can rival. Her sparkling wit and friendly support make her someone I’m proud to have gotten to know, and I’m delighted to introduce Colorado author, j.a. kazimer:
Where did the inspiration for CURSES! come from?
The idea for CURSES! started with the question: What does a villain do at the end of the day? Does he go to the grocery store and buy a TV dinner? Does he go to yoga class? Sharpen his knife for the next day? Eat all the candy he pilfered from a baby? I wondered if a fairytale villain was evil outside his job, and that brought me to the idea of my protagonist being a famous villain (you'll have to guess his name) who is forced to be nice.
Ooo, a mystery! Do we find out in the book who the villain is? Are there hints (I know he gives initials in the beginning of the book...)?
Yep, a villain. You'll have to guess his name. But I'll give you a hint...he's a lot taller in person.
I find your background very interesting (degree in Forensic Psychology and experience as a P.I.); did these help in the writing of this book?
My experience as a PI and my work while in school have both helped my writing, in that, I 'know' things, like...running a princess over with a bus isn't the best way to kill someone. Not to mention how I learned all about how to lie and when to tell if someone else is doing so.
I will definitely have to make sure not to lie to you! Combine your background knowledge and all the great hiding places for bodies around here and you could be a mastermind criminal.
See that you don't!
You have both self-published and been traditionally published. Do you have a preference for one or the other, or do you find they both have benefits and drawbacks?
I love being traditionally published, just as an ego thing. But, surprisingly in the long haul, I will make more money with self-e-publishing unless CURSES! sells a lot of books. Not enough money to make a living, mind you.
There are plenty of things about a traditional publisher that I love, namely wide distribution and my very own editor, who helped me so much by kicking the manuscript into shape and even thinking of the CURSES! part of the title (which I adore). On the other hand, I've had a book published with a smaller traditional press that was a mess of typos and sold only a handful of copies. So I'm on the fence about indie versus traditional. I don't think a writer has to go either one way, but pick from the options available. Both have positives and negatives.
Now that you've been traditionally published, would you ever self-publish again?
Heck yes. My self-publishing wasn't due to not having or being able to sell a project to a traditional publisher, but rather, a choice about content, which made the decision that much easier. The Junkie Tales is a short story collection, which big publishers often disregard as a form because, for them, the monies just not in it unless the writer is famous. Therefore, when I decided to do the collection, I chose to go the indie route. I also wanted control over the content since the collection is...um...a wee bit dark. Indie publishing has opened up a new world of possibilities of what can now see the light of readers’ eyes.
Indeed, it has!
Had your short stories been published before you gathered them into your collections, Junkie Tales and Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes?
Yes. I'm a firm believer in journal and magazine publishing. Short stories are where you earn your pub credits. It's where you learn to query, cut your teeth on craft. In so many ways, writing a novel is easier than pulling off a really good short.
That is actually really good to hear, because I’ve put my editing on the back burner to focus more on short stories right now in order to [hopefully] build up a bit of a portfolio. It’s hard to know whether that’s the right decision.
It totally is the right choice. It helps you understand rejection. With novels all you hear is “NO” until someone says “Yes.” That can be years of “NO.” With shorts, you learn that it's not about you or your story (most often) but the subjectivity of the editor and the needs of the journal. Plus you hear “Yes” a heck of a lot more.
What was your very first paid submission?
December 31, 2008. I sold one of The Junkie Tales (Slut. Bitch. Whore.) to Savage Kick Literary Magazine in the UK. They paid me 35 pounds, which was 50 or so bucks. That day I became a 'professional' writer, as in I got paid for it!
And, finally, what piece of advice do you think each writer should know?
Write. That's really it. All the 'rules' have exceptions. Write what you love. Read that genre. And submit. That's where too many writers fall apart. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to submit your work. Don't live in fear of rejection. Yeah, it sucks, but you'll survive.
Excellent advice, j.a.! Thanks for agreeing to this interview, and for the great information.
In the dark spaces of author j.a.kazimer's bookcase, hidden behind literary classic and the occasional book of poetry (unread, of course), is a well-loved collection of mysteries, urban fantasies, suspense, thrillers, romance, and humorous novels.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, j.a. left at a young age, and now lives and writes in Denver, Colorado.
Books include, The Junkie Tales (Obscure Publishing, 2010), Stolen Kidneys, Dead Hookers & Other Nursery Crimes (Obscure Publishing, 2010), The Body Dwellers (Solstice Publishing, 2011), CURSES! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale (Kensington, March 2012) & Holy Socks and Dirtier Demons (Champagne Books, April 2012).
j.a. kazimer holds a master's degree in forensic psychology, and has worked as a PI, bartender, and most recently at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
You can find your copy of CURSES! A F***ed-up Fairy Tale at:
Amazon in Paperback or Kindle
Barnes & Noble in Paperback or Nook
You can also find j.a. at her…
And her blog: The New Never News, where you can find twisted fairy tale news shorts!
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Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's teaser is from Night Rituals, by Gary Paulsen. I'm posting 2 teasers, from 2 characters' POV's.
"He liked his homicides to be predictable - no mysteries. Family conflict, suicide, anger flashing up and somebody getting killed. He hated the weird ones. They always complicated things." p. 10
"He knew exactly who 'they' were - they were the spectators. The people who had nothing to do with life as it counted but merely went along with it, moved with the flow the way fish moved with a river, never understanding why they moved or where they were going to be next." p. 61
Thursday, we'll have a guest post from author Stephen Tremp!
Have you picked up your copy of CURSES! yet? What are you reading?