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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Ace Antonio Hall



1. Are you a parent?

I am a proud step-dad, and met my sons when they were two and four-years old. They are fifteen and seventeen, now. Proudly drove my oldest to Arizona State University this past fall as he embarks on being an economics student. Both of my sons are avid readers and it was my youngest one that more or less told me one of my earlier drafts of Confessions of Sylva Slasher was boring. I revised it with his thoughts in mind, and when it was published, was pleased when he excitedly texted me all throughout reading it.

2. If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

Absolutely yes! It was very difficult to stay focused on writing. I had to get up at four in the morning when all in the household were asleep to get a lot of writing done for Confessions of Sylva Slasher. There were very tough times for all parties involved when I disappeared in Starbucks for ten-twelve hours on a Saturday or Sunday because I couldn't concentrate at home. On a few occasions, I've gotten to Starbucks at six in the morning and left at closing, eleven that evening. Completing my Confessions was easily one of the most difficult tasks in my life. Parenting while writing a book was ten times more challenging.

3. Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

I'm juggling with the concepts of the power of our subconscious and life existing after death, but through our consciousness, as well as issues that deal with the obstacles women face every day.

4. What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Ever since I started writing, I've lost the ability to feel comfortable in social environments. Years ago, I used to read a variety of magazines, newspapers, and watch the news religiously. I was always aware of the going-ons of society, and thus could carry on conversations with just about anyone. Now, all I do is work, read a ton of horror and science fiction, and write, so unless the conversation is about writing, horror, American football (Dallas Cowboys), or health and fitness, I feel completely uncomfortable with most people I meet in social environments. I've never done well with small talk, and feel weird talking about myself, most of the times. There are many who might think otherwise about me, but they don't know that it's all an act. What would most people be surprised to know about me? I'm terrified of social settings if it means I have to carry on conversations with others.

5. When you’re not writing what do you do?

I work as a stand-in actor. Currently, I stand in for the brilliant actor, Alfie Enoch, on the ABC show How To Get Away With Murder. A stand-in is kind of like a stuntman, without the stunts. We help the camera and lighting crew set up for the shot with rehearsals that the actors will be doing for every set-up of the scenes. Standing-in takes up ten to twelve hours each day. I'm also kind of a gym nut, so I run about six miles a day and put in a minimum of a hour and a half at L.A. Fitness, plus seven-to-eight hours sleeping … I eat in the car, and drive with the radio off so I can write in my head as I'm heading to and from work, or wherever. While on set, I try to write and read. It's very difficult to stay focused. My days are long and full. On my off days, I write, read, study writing, research at the library and workout at the gym. In 2008, I had a 37 waist and weighed 210 lbs. In 2010, I'd trimmed down to a 29 waist and 164 lbs. Now, I stay in the gym to keep the weight from finding its way back.

6. Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I guess my real guilty pleasure would be playing Madden Football video games. Actually, I haven't played any since 2010.

7. Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

Hell, I wish I'd written Shades of Gray, the Vampire Academy novels, or Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Great stories that hit their prospective industries with a bang. No pun intended.

8. Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

I'd love to write a great historical fiction novel.

9. Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

A new character I'm developing, Aspen Harp, is my favorite. She is sarcastic and sees life in a fascinating way. My goal is to have her actually like people by the end of the book.

10. If Confessions is part of a series … what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Confessions of Sylva Slasher introduces the protagonist and her world of the undead. The next book starts off a trilogy: Skateboard XombiesSkateboard Xamurai, and then after Sylva finally rests her demons, and finds peace, Skateboard Xen. All I can tell you is that I believe Skateboard Xombies is the best story I've written so far. I look forward to share it with the world.

11. What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

I'm excited to say that Skateboard Xombies is in the process of being optioned to be made into a film. A really gnarly skateboard company is interested in producing and sponsoring the book, and a X-Games gold medalist has attached his name to the project. It would be crazy if the movie comes out before the novel does. Anyway, thank you for the interview. Here's wishing you a very Merry Holiday season! 


Confessions of Sylva Slasher
A Zombie Novel
Ace Antonio Hall

Publisher:  Montag Press, April 2013
Genre: YA Horror

Book Description:

THE LOVE OF HER LIFE BECOMES THE DEATH OF THEIR LOVE

Sylva Fleischer is a teenager who works as a necromancer for a living. Wanting to get away from raising the dead for police investigations and demanding grieving families for a while, she goes on a cruise for spring break. Her vacation from the dead is short-lived when passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies. These are not the same simple-minded harmless zombies she raises and can control, so Sylva and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean. Their only escape comes from a guy Sylva thought was dead: Brandon. It just so happens to also be the anniversary of his death, and she's still hurting from his loss!

Why didn't he call to say he's alive? All those tears … for nothing.

Sylva doesn't normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something.

It didn't take long for her suspicions to hold true when it's revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. To top that brutal betrayal, the villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.

When The Heart Bleeds, Sometimes Your Friends Are All You've Got

Available at Amazon


 Praise for Ace Antonio Hall and Confessions of Sylva Slasher

“A treat for Buffy fans—but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don't shamble to get a copy.”
—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the WWW trilogy

“In a vast sea of zombie tales, Hall's tale is more than a cut above. He brings the entire genre to heel and treats us to one Hell of a ride.”
—Art Holcomb, writer of Professor Xavier and  the X-Men vs. The Avengers, Marvel Comics



Excerpt Chapters 1 and 2

PART ONE SILVER KISSES

For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead
comes also through a man.— I Corinthians 15:21

Chapter 1

YEAH, THE WHOLE STINKING PLANET WANTED ME DEAD, and they got their wish. I tried to move but couldn’t. Not with a broken back. Breathing slow, uneven, I stared into the undead woman’s eyes that dripped an ominous glare down onto my helpless body.

Maybe if I hadn’t gotten dreamy eyes for this really cute guy (I mean jerk), the weight of the human race wouldn’t be sitting on my shoulders. I would’ve easily given my life so my best friend, Emily, wouldn’t die. Too late.

The full moon draped around the undead woman’s shadow that climbed up my broken body like ghosts of death. The island soil, thirsty for moisture, welcomed my blood. Terror wrestled me into a stone cold chokehold—I forgot how to scream. The scent of rotten corpses gripped my nostrils. A horde of the walking dead moaned and hovered over me like starved coyotes as the undead woman crept forward on all fours to kill me, again.


Chapter 2

Several hours prior:

I HATED THAT I COULDN’T TELL REALITY FROM MY NIGHTMARES. Maybe, just maybe I spent one too many nights raising the dead. My parents named me Sylva Fleischer, but most people knew me as Sylva Slasher (I’ll get to why later). I made a pretty cool living as a necromancer for The Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scattering Company. We raised zombies for mourners to say their last goodbyes. A lot of times we did it for police investigations, occasionally for corporate disputes, and then we cremated the deadheads and scattered the remains over Hawaii’s beautiful waters. As a matter-of-fact, some guy from the military base in Honolulu kept leaving messages on my cell phone that he wanted me to raise some dead soldier for a case they were investigating. But I had other plans. Look, I just turned eighteen, so if I wanted to ditch some lame colonel for something way more hella-fun, I would. What? Can’t a girl have priorities?

Twilight peeked over my shoulders as I looked for my friends while aboard the Sea Queen a.k.a. The Ship of a Thousand Corpses—the best freaking zombie-themed cruise in America. Imagine being in one of those magnificent hotels in Las Vegas during spring break; the golden elevators, escalators, walkover bridges, restaurants, and stores, filled with tons of thrill-seeking college kids and adults. You could call the Sea Queen one of the world’s best luxury hotels but on water.

A woman hired me to do a raising on the ship. Emily, and her boyfriend, Beckham, or Flip as he liked to be called (Hawaiian-born and Japanese-descended like Em), were going to help me. After I finally got dressed, I saw Emily’s wacky picture that she posted on Facebook and her bitchy complaint that she and Flip were waiting on me (I’m always fashionably late) in the bar on the Nightwalker Deck. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue where to go. The captain was escorting me up, but some kind of urgent call came in and he dashed out of the elevator speaking radio codes into his walkie-talkie.

One of my all-time fave videos, Sweet Dreams, played on the inside of the elevator doors via a hi-tech projector system. I loved it that I could watch a music video (albeit, one I’ve seen a kazillion times) inside of the elevator. A volume control knob sat beneath the red emergency button. Marilyn Manson crawled out of the rundown fireplace wearing black boots, a dirty tutu, and a torn bodice that showed off his skeletal bare chest. Alright, that’s enough. I turned the sound down so I could briefly gather my thoughts for the raising.

The elevator doors eased open. I stepped out, immediately folding my arms and shivering. I wore a black mid-riff tee shirt, tight leather pants, and some five-and-a-half inch knee-high Gothic boots. I sighed, berating myself for not wearing a warmer top. The ship’s fake fog blanketed the air so I could barely see anything. Already late, I didn’t want to waste any more time so I stopped to ask a person dressed like a zombie nun for directions. She sat on the bench in front of the ship’s THEATRE UNDER THE STARS, rocking back and forth. A broken dog leash dangled in her hand. The closer I got, the more I realized her hunched feeble posture.

“Lady, are you okay?” I asked.

She didn’t answer but kept rocking. Her abrupt movements made her wimple flap around her neck and chin. I glanced up at the speaker mounted on the wall above us, creeped out by the spooky organ music streaming out into the foggy air.

The lady made a gurgling sound.

“Miss, hey? Are you okay?”

Her head lifted slowly. The yellow rays from the moon crept into the shadows under her headdress. I stepped forward slowly, swallowing unease.

A name spilled out of my mouth, slow, whispered. “Malena?”

I remembered admiring the blind woman’s seeing eye dog when we embarked the ship. I couldn’t resist petting her wolfdog. Emily and Flip were so occupied looking for their tickets that they didn’t even see Malena and her dog.

She made another gurgling sound. I took a step back, peering into her cloudy-white eyes.

“Um, okay, I get it,” I said. “You were hired by the ship to scare people. Right?”

I swayed a little to the left as the ship went over choppy waters. The blind woman stared past me with a vacant stare, and then her head rolled over to her right shoulder.

“Hey—hey—hey. You’re not okay,” I said, extending my arm, ready to catch her if she fell off of the bench.

Was she having a seizure?

Malena muttered something. Saliva ran down her mouth and dripped down her chalky white face.

“Are you having a allergic reaction?” I glanced to my right, then left. “Maybe I should get the ship’s doctor.”

Her body started to convulse and she dropped the dog’s leash on the deck’s floor. She moaned, curling up into a ball on the bench.

“Okay—okay—okay, I’m going to get help,” I said, taking a quick step toward the stairs. “But, uh, shoot, I don’t want to leave you alone.”

A sign directly above her read nightwalker deck maze; another, near the elevator lifts, pointed to the bathrooms. Someone had to be coming by, any second. Another gurgling noise came from the blind woman. She coughed and blood spurted out of her mouth. I shielded my eyes with the back of my hand and something wet splattered on my forearm.

“Oh, my God, Malena! You’re, you’re hemorrhaging.”

I wiped her blood off my arms, onto the side of my top and pulled out my iPhone to call 911. No reception.

“Somebody, help. Call 911!”

I heard someone giggling and saw shadows approaching me through the fog. Two Asian girls, maybe in their late teens, dressed in shredded jeans and pink tee shirts passed behind me.

I gestured to them. “Can I use either one of your phones to call 911? This lady is totally sick!”

“Nice try,” one of them said, revealing the braces on her teeth. “But you only try to scare us.”

“No, please, really. Are you getting reception out here? I’m not getting reception.”

They laughed and pointed at the bench. “Maybe she pull your leg,” the same girl said.

I turned around and glared at an empty bench.

Where did she go?

The girls giggled and walked toward the bathroom, shaking their heads.

“What a moron,” the other one said.

“Miss? Miss, where are you?” I called out, a little irritated by those stupid girls who didn’t believe me. I looked toward the bridge then back at the girls. “Where did she go?” They ignored me and went into the bathroom. Seriously?

“Maybe I am a moron,” I said, under my breath. There were a few droplets of blood on the bench, but I couldn’t find a trail showing me which way she went. She could’ve only gone but so many places—the elevator lift, the stairs, across the bridge (which she didn’t because I would have seen her), overboard, or into the Nightwalker Deck Maze.

If that old, blind lady thought I was going to play her game and follow her into the maze, she had another thing coming. Whatever. Time to do this raising and then try to have some fun for a change.

I took one step and the thought of Malena sent a chill creeping down the nape of my neck. Where did she go? Aw, Who cares? I shook it off, folded my arms, again, and walked toward a bridge that led to the highest deck on the ship.

Someone screamed. I turned quickly, and blew out a long breath as a wolf man in tattered clothes chased a screaming girl across the bridge and through a door. Music blared from out of the place and I knew that Emily and Flip would be in there. That must be the bar, Lipstick Zombies.

I walked over the bridge, glancing back every few seconds for Malena. The instant I crossed halfway over, I heard the music thumping behind the bar’s door. When I saw the neon sign, I got a little excited. Maybe with a little partying, I thought, I’d feel better and forget about everything that sucked in my life—for a while.



About the Author:

Ace Antonio Hall is an actor, former music producer, and ‘retired’ educator with accolades as a Director of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center and nearly fifteen years experience as an award-winning NYC English teacher. He has a BFA degree with a concentration in screenwriting and has published poetry, short stories and fiction in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and novels.

Inspired by his father, Chris Acemandese Hall, who penned the lyrics to the Miles Davis jazz classic, “So What”, sung by Eddie Jefferson, and his sister, Carol Lynn Brown, who guest starred in the 1970’s film, “Velvet Smooth”, Ace spawned his creativity into developing the beloved but flawed teen character, Sylva Slasher.

Ace was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and continues to head the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (ScHoFan) Critique Group as Co-Director of critique groups within the society. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.

On April 14, 2013, Montag Press published his YA zombie novel Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His next release, Skateboard Xombies, is coming out later this year, and he has already begun working on Skateboard Xamurai for the third installment in his Sylva Slasher series.


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