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My First Story: C. Le Mroch

My First Story
with author Courtney Lynn Mroch
aka C. Le Mroch

Age first started writing: 6 or 7
Location of first writing: Denver, CO; child living at home


Nothing special that I remember.

My first story/Basic plot:

My first story was apocalyptic in nature, even though back then I of course had no idea of the genre. (Was it even a genre back then?) Two people were left on Earth. They started a new family. Somehow mushrooms were involved. (Likely they killed everyone, because back then I hated mushrooms and gagged even just being in the same vicinity as one.)

What did you think of the story then? 

I thought it was great…until I read it to my mom. Harshest critic in the world. Also my first editor. She explained why the couple could not have 99 babies in two months. (Without even explaining the birds and the bees.)

What do you think of the story now? 

Gotta start somewhere…

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

It’s always haunted me. Even though I was just a kid and didn’t know about the birds and bees, my mom’s stinging criticism (she was not the gentlest person) ignited a hunger to always do better. It also made me super aware to be critical of the facts in my work and make sure they’re right.

Current work: 

Title: Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?

From the creator of Haunt Jaunts, a travel site for restless spirits, comes a unique anthology where reader participation is encouraged. Inside this book awaits a baker’s dozen of tantalizing tales of terror based on true stories…or are they? You, Dear Reader, will be the judge. See if you can tell what is based on fact or pure imagination. All is revealed in the Truth or Fiction section. But no fair peeking. It’s bad luck to look ahead. With a book filled with accounts of ghosts and cursed objects, you don’t really want to take your chances, do you? Includes stories by: Carl Barker, Alice J. Black, Barry Charman, Evan Dicken, Sean Ealy, Keith Karabin, S. Mickey Lin, C. Le Mroch, Emerian Rich, Ken Teutsch

Courtney Lynn Mroch is the Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a travel site and radio show for restless spirits. Her novels include Beneath the Morvan Moon and The Ghost of Laurie Floyd. In addition to her fiction, she’s a four-time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul publications. She also writes horror as C. Le Mroch. Under that nom de plume she’s published The Shadow Stalker and edited an anthology called Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?

Next time, you’ll hear from author Michele Roger.

My First Story: AR Neal

My First Story
with author  AR Neal

Age first started writing: Elementary school, about 6 or 7
Location of first writing: Child living at home with parents (South Jersey).


As a child of the late 60s, I was fascinated early on by rockets, the aftermath of the space race, and as such I read tons of Bradbury; his story collections like R is for Rocket, S is for Space, The Golden Apples of the Sun, and others were fuel.

My first story/Basic plot:

It was about a space toaster – even if I could remember more, would I want to tell it now? 😊

What did you think of the story then? 

I was very excited about my story. Our local electric company was running a contest – the winning stories were to be published in the company newsletter and there were prizes to be offered, including savings bonds and other giveaways from a local partner bank. I received an honorable mention so my story was printed in the newsletter and I got a little bag of bank-branded goodies. Oh, and there was cake, which is usually a greater prize than cash for a little person.

What do you think of the story now? 

I’d love to find it and read it! I suspect I’d laugh but would then be impressed at the wild concept that the young me had developed.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

I remain devoted to speculative fiction, so it was a foundation that gave me hope. I didn’t write for many years because life got in the way. I don’t write as often as I’d like because life still gets in the way. But since then, I have self-published as well as gotten picked up by three different publishers for books that fit three different genres.

Current work: 

Life in the Floating City uses the songs of musician/producer Thomas Dolby’s 2011 studio album Map of the Floating City as a framework for the story of Anderson Brown, husband, friend, and attorney, who lives on the Floating City, a place that serves as a pit stop on the edge of the Sombrero Galaxy for interstellar explorers, transport ships, and leisure travelers.

Anderson and his wife, Caroline (who is having an affair with Anderson’s best friend, Herbert) take an airship trip, during which there is an accident and Caroline is lost. Upon his return to the Floating City, Anderson must face legal proceedings and questions – there are suspicions that he did not do all he could to ensure Caroline’s safety, particularly in light of her sizeable estate. Herbert does what he can to help Anderson move forward, which includes taking him to meet an eccentric pair of scientists who synthesize a hallucinogenic drug from a certain breed of frog. During the trip, Anderson meets Simone, who becomes the love of his life. However, all is not as it seems and before long, Anderson loses everything and learns that those he thought he knew had much darker motives than he could ever imagine.

Andreé Robinson-Neal got bit by the writing bug back in the late 1970s while watching Rod Serling and reading Ray Bradbury; although she has worked in education for more than a quarter-century, she has never been cured of her penchant for speculative fiction. Find some of her flash fiction www.starvingartist.com and her professional portfolio at http://drarneal.org. She writes under the name AR Neal and reads more than she sleeps.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Courtney Mroch.

My First Story: J. Malcolm Stewart

My First Story
with author  J. Malcolm Stewart

Age first started writing: 7
Location of first writing: The story was for a 4th grade composition competition at Valle Vista Elementary School in San Jose, CA  in which we could write whatever topic we wanted. So, I wrote a ghost story called “The Old Man” (yes, ageist I know) about an octogenarian ghost that terrorizes two small boys who suspiciously resembled my brother and myself.


The story was inspired by a game that we used to play, amazingly called “The Old Man” where we would pretend the aforementioned ghost was coming up the stairs to hunt us down… What the significance of his age? No clue… All the older people I knew at the time were perfectly nice people. Somehow, being an older ghost was scarier than if he had been a peer…. I guess… Who knows really any more? That was a lot of brain cell ago!

My first story/Basic plot:

The two brothers are home alone when the heavy footsteps of the Old Man are heard on the stairs. The pair promptly covers themselves under the sheets of their individual bunks in a vain attempt to hide themselves from their elderly tormentor. Hilarity ensures.

What did you think of the story then? 

It was certainly the scariest story ever written! It had tears…. It had laughs… It was better than “Cats…”

What do you think of the story now? 

The greatest compliment I could pay the story now is probably 70% of the words I used, I spelled correctly.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

Rejection training! I was 100% sure it was the scariest, most captivating story yet written. I was waiting for my offers when one of my classmates won for a story about her cat and her garden. In fairness, her descriptive phrasing really gave me a tangible impression of her cat, Fluffy and all those carrots she used to eat. (My classmate not the cat…I think.)

Current work: 

Look Back in Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film is an intimate look at the impact of the genre’s films in the life of suspense author, J. Malcolm Stewart. Part memoir, part retrospective and part love-letter, Look Back in Horror celebrates the films, actors and directors that made horror history. From the Golden Age of Hollywood, to the Hammer Films Revival of the 60’s to the New-School Horror movies of today, Look Back in Horror relives the cinema moments that shaped our lives and warped our brains.

J. Malcolm Stewart is an author, journalist and media professional who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. His short fiction has appeared in the Pulp Empire Series, Heroes of Mars, Twisted Tales, Temptation Magazine as well as on the Smoke and Mirrors podcast. His novel-length thriller The Eyes of the Stars can be found at Double-Dragon-ebooks.com in ebook and paperback. His short story collection The Last Words of Robert Johnson and Other Tales is also available now on Amazon.com along with his non-fiction collection of horror film essays , Look Back in Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film.

Next time, you’ll hear from author AR Neal.

My First Story: Martha J Allard

My First Story
with author Martha J Allard

Age first started writing: Late 20’s
Location of first writing: I live in Flint, Michigan with three cats and three roommates. We have an old house that has no heat on the top floor.


I was living in L.A., and mostly not enjoying it. It turned out to be nothing like the movies.  My roommate and best friend told me the story of Errol Flynn’s grave up in Forrest Lawn. My friend said that they buried Flynn with a case of scotch. He said that he’d like to drink that scotch with Flynn.

My first story/Basic plot:

It’s called End of an Era. Brian, a young film maker arrives in Hollywood just in time to live through the “big one;” an earthquake that flattens the city. He makes his way to the cemetery Queen of Angels   grave of Roger Peregrine, an old Hollywood legend and my stand in for Errol Flynn. The grave is open, the scotch is there, and so, impossibly, is Roger. Brian discovers that Roger didn’t, in fact die. He’s been fading slowly, like his old films, rotting in their cans. He tells Brian as he is reduced a yellowing flickering image. He tells Brian that this is all that Hollywood ever was, just images that fade if nobody remembers them.

What did you think of the story then? 

I was so surprised to have actually finished it. I secretly loved it.

What do you think of the story now? 

I still love the story. It reminds me of all the good thing about L.A. Elements of it show up in other thing I write. The main characters in the novel I have out now sit in the cemetery that stands in for the real Forrest Lawn. They drink, sitting at the same grave that Roger chooses. Errol Flynn also makes an appearance in Black Light, mostly because of End of an Era. It was the first piece of the world that most of my stories take place in now.
I think I’m still fond of it because it makes me think of all the good things about L.A. that I remember, and also of my friend that inspired it.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

Well, I got to write an ending. And also it was one of the stories that got me into the Clarion Writers Workshop, which taught me how to sustain my writing.

Current work: 

Black Light: Los Angeles, 1983. Trace Dellon knows exactly what he wants: the white heat of the spotlight. When his band Black Light is offered a record deal, Trace grabs for it. He will do anything to make it. Bass player Asia Heyes knows what he wants, too. It’s not fame or the adoration of groupies. It’s Trace. It’s always been Trace. Though it’s been unspoken between them, Trace’s other lovers—his audience—push Asia aside. With the record contract, Albrecht Christian comes into their lives. He has everything but what he needs to live: the energy that runs just under Trace’s skin. When everything crashes with a bullet, they all learn the truth. Rock and roll, like magic, requires both love and sacrifice.

Martha J. Allard is a writer of contemporary and dark fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like “Talebones” and “Not One of Us.” Her story “Dust” won an honorable mention in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction,” 19th edition, edited by Gardner Dozois. Her story “Phase” was nominated for a British Science Fiction Award. They are both collected in the chapbook “Dust and Other Stories.” Her first novel, Black Light is out now. You can find her on her blog at marthajallard.blogspot.com.

Next time, you’ll hear from author J. Malcolm Stewart.

Emerian on ParaMania Radio

Did you miss Emz on ParaMania Radio?

Click the graphic to listen to the interview in it’s entirety now. 🙂

My First Story: Ann Kate Suton

My First Story
with author Ann Kate Suton

Age first started writing: Twenties
Location of first writing: Happily married to the Prince of Dorkness and living in sunny South Carolina


I’ve always wondered what made me write that story. Too many TV police crime dramas?

My first story/Basic plot:

A woman discovers that her husband is cheating on her so she poisons him and frames the girlfriend for the murder.

What did you think of the story then? 


What do you think of the story now? 

Still strange.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

Turned me to tech writing. Figured I’d be better off sticking to the facts than to my strange imagination.

Current work: 
Desperate Hearts: In this “what if?” variation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet find true love in a story that starts off with our dear couple happy and hopeful.Until, that is, two villains – each for their own reason – launch a plot to separate them.Darcy is broken-hearted and sure he has lost Elizabeth, but things are not always as they seem. It is up to Darcy’s loyal cousins to unravel the mystery and reunite our dear couple.

As they do, a long-hidden family secret is revealed to explain why Elizabeth is her mother’s least-favoured child.

Ex-New Yorker now living in sunny South Carolina with husband and a houseful of critters. A former writer and editor of computer training manuals and courseware, this is the author’s first published work of fiction. Gardening, vegan cookery, all aspects of tea, Sherlock Holmes, and Jane Austen are amongst the author’s favourite things.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Martha J Allard.

My First Story: Theresa Braun

My First Story
with author Theresa Braun

Age first started writing: 12
Location of first writing: Child living at home in St. Paul, Minnesota


I’m pretty sure I was influenced by the movie Romancing the Stone, which is still one of my favorites. Also around that time I remember taking a family vacation on a deserted island, called Dead Man’s Key, in the Bahamas. The whole tropical island backdrop was something so exotic to me, since we were living in the Midwest. Also, someone who had been previously staying on the island had left behind a copy of the novel version of Romancing the Stone. And, since there were no electronic devices and no TV, I was quick to finish reading the book, loving it, of course.

My first story/Basic plot:

The female protagonist meets a cute guy on an airplane. The plane goes down and the two of them are stranded on an island in the middle of the ocean. There are cannibals after the couple and I’m not really sure if they escape or are captured. Since I write horror now, I’d like to think they had a grisly experience at the hands of these natives. If they did survive, it was by the skin of their teeth. Probably the adolescent me had them living happily ever after and getting married or something to that effect…but I can’t be sure.

What did you think of the story then? 

I really got into the story back then. In fact, I illustrated the whole thing, spending countless hours making my own cover and depicting the major events. I think I thought I was a better artist when I was that age. However, my teacher ended up telling me that my writing was also pretty good. That kind comment was always in the back of my mind.

What do you think of the story now? 

Looking back, the whole thing was rather unoriginal. Maybe even Gilligan’s Island can be blamed for this, since I watched lots of episodes. In the end, I think I just wanted to get lost in an adventure that I wouldn’t have minded having in real life. Danger. Cute guy. Happily ever after…

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

That early experience didn’t have an immediate effect on my creative writing. Actually, I went down a long road exploring my artistic talents while drawing and painting. Although I journaled off and on, most of my writing was about literature. Actually, I really sucked at writing in high school, but I had a few teachers who pushed me. And, in college I read a lot of literature, spending my time analyzing them. Then, when I became an English teacher I got caught up in more of the same, while also teaching students to write. It hasn’t been until the last ten years or so that I decided to pursue fiction writing, taking it seriously. I spend much of my time now writing and studying the craft in order to improve with everything I create.

Current work: 

Dead Over Heels: Veronica lands a date with Sebastian, after countless hours of dead end online dating. On their first meeting, they encounter the ghosts of their past that threaten to tear them apart. The couple decides to face the evil that stands between them–but will they make it out alive?

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—the weirder the location, the better. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to blog about topics in the horror genre. Her short stories are published in Under the Bed Magazine, in Hindered Souls, in the spring 2017 issue of The Horror Zine, and by Frith Books.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Ann Kate Suton.

My First Story: Naching Kassa

My First Story
with author Naching Kassa

Age first started writing: 8
Location of first writing: Washington, Child living at home.

Atmosphere: I loved monsters and the fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” so I wrote my own version.
My first story/Basic plot: Henry is a red, hairy monster who wears a paper bag over his head. He thinks he is ugly and doesn’t want anyone to see him. He hides from everybody.

One day, Henry meets a beautiful blonde woman who thinks he’s nice. She convinces him to take off the paper bag.

Surprise, surprise! Henry is a cute monster who wears a flat straw hat and carries a cane. The girl thinks he is handsome and the story ends there.

I drew illustrations to go along with my story and I put it out for my 2nd grade classmates to read.

What did you think of the story then? I thought it was great. Of all my stories, it was the one I liked the most.
What do you think of the story now? I think it’s silly and cute. It wasn’t as great as I thought it was but it must’ve been better than the others. I can’t even remember them.
How did the story help you on the road to writing? My second grade teacher really liked it and all the stories I wrote. She encouraged me to share them with my classmates. (Last year, I found out she was sharing them with the teachers during her lunch break.) It was the first time I realized that people wanted to read what I wrote. That story gave me the desire and drive to be a writer.

Current work: 
Final Masquerade  The evening is ending and the guests are ready to leave but the final event of the night is just beginning~ the unmasking.  Welcome to Final Masquerade where no one is who they seem.

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She’s created 15 short stories, two novellas, and co-created two children. She lives in Eastern Washington State with Dan Kassa, her husband and biggest supporter.

Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Thersea Braun.

My First Story: H.R. Boldwood

My First Story
with author H.R. Boldwood

Age first started writing: 14
Location of first writing: I was in the eighth grade, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Atmosphere: I had a huge crush on my English teacher, Mr. Helmick. He was 22, fresh out of college, blue-eyed and gorgeous. He asked the class to write a short story about anything and turn in a rough draft, cross outs and all.  I wrote a horror story (what else) titled, “The Reincarnation of Sir Thomas Moore.” Very gothic. I turned in my rough draft, complete with cross outs, back arrows, and text written in the margins. He scrawled A+ across it and sent a copy to a professor friend of his at Northwestern University. I got a personal invitation from the professor to come for a visit when I was looking for a college.
My first story: Basic plot: Benjamin Moore inherits a gothic manse, moves in, and immediately is taken with a portrait he finds in the attic of an ancestor, Sir Thomas Moore, who bears a striking resemblance to him. The portrait seduces him to darkness, and soon, we see Benjamin losing his mind. In a final fit desperation he sets fire to the portrait to free himself, but the flames spread throughout the room, killing him, and turning the manse to ashes amid the laughter of the very evil, Sir Thomas Moore.
What did you think of the story then? I thought it ROCKED!
What do you think of the story now? Ha! I’ve long since lost the manuscript. I’m certain it must have lacked polish, but it ignited my love of writing. I even went to the school librarian and we looked up a suitable quote to open the story. I chose a quote from Lyke-Wake Dirge, an archaic English poem about the travels of the soul: ‘This ae nighte, this ae nighte, every nighte and alle. Fire, and fleet, and candle-lighte, and Criste receive they saule.’ That was an awesome fit. I was very proud of that story. I’ve looked for it many times. Sadly, it’s long gone.
How did the story help you on the road to writing? I fell in love with writing. I wrote poetry and short stories all through high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go to college back in the day. I didn’t have time to think when my kids were little, let alone write. I picked it back up again in 2006 when my mother passed away, writing a poignant flash fiction piece titled, “Sadie’s Choice” that was loosely based on her passing. I attended Thomas More University (such a coincidence!) in 2009 and 2010. I began writing literary fiction and settled into horror because I enjoy the genre so much.
Current work: I have a story appearing in, “Killing It Softly” that I’m very proud of. I also have work that is scheduled to appear in Quickfic, Hyperion and Theia, and a couple of other projects I’m not at liberty to discuss yet. Loving it!

H.R. Boldwood is a writer of horror and speculative fiction. In another incarnation, Boldwood is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was awarded the 2009 Bilbo Award for creative writing by Thomas More College. Publication credits include, “Killing it Softly”, “Short Story America”, “Bete Noir”, “Everyday Fiction”, “Toys in the Attic”, “Floppy Shoes Apocalypse II”, “Pilcrow and Dagger”, and “Sirens Call”. Boldwood’s characters are often disreputable and not to be trusted.  They are kicked to the curb at every conceivable opportunity. No responsibility is taken by this author for the dastardly and sometimes criminal acts committed by this ragtag group of miscreants.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Naching Kassa.

My First Story: Emerian Rich

Welcome to my blog series, “My First Story” where my author friends and I talk about how we started writing, what we wrote first, and how it relates to our careers today.

Recently in a post called “It’s MY Northanger Abbey, not yours!” I talked about the first novel I ever wrote and how it was similar to Jane Austen’s first work Northanger Abbey.

Northanger read surprisingly like something I had written myself. The first novel I ever wrote when I was ten. I wasn’t going to be a novelist—my dream was to be a singer—but I had this fabulous idea that everyone would want to read my work too. Fifty-six pages of big, bubbly, pencil writing later, I had my masterpiece. A tale about a teen actress who lives her life in a fantasy world where she is the star of every situation. She encounters horrors (her plane to Paris being hijacked by a terrorist group) and deals with them as if she is an action star despite her being young and having never handled a gun before. But it isn’t that I feel I am so great having written something very like Jane. It’s more, because I had penned something similar, it made me feel closer to the writer herself. She was once like me. We both lived in minister households and had to find some way to escape the restricted and unvarying life we had. Mine was not a piece of art like Jane’s is. In fact, I’ve been repeatedly made fun of from a certain quote, “They went to the most expensive stores like K-mart and Target.” However, I found a connection to Jane through it. Not because we’re both writers, but because we were both young women with overactive imaginations and through the story, are almost chastising ourselves for our wild ideas. If you study both of our first novels—and no, mine will never be in print lol—you’ll find our fears when growing up. We lived in novels most of the time and our imaginations were always getting us in trouble. We were disinterested in the real world and by writing this storyline, we were advising ourselves (although I didn’t realize it then and she probably didn’t either) that we couldn’t always live in fictional worlds, while at the same time enjoying every minute of it.

Since writing this post, I started wondering what other author’s first novels are like. Did they have the same silly plot lines? Did they start young or in adulthood? Are writers always writers? Or is it something you can grow into? I started writing at ten, but it took me 15 years to realize that is what I wanted to do with my life.

Join me and my author friends as we take a journey of self-discovery, sharing our first works and the sometimes embarrassing stories behind them.

Next time, you’ll hear from author H.R. Boldwood.