Deborah Batterman, Unmasked. And a Mother’s Day Giveaway!


Today’s masked writer,Deborah Batterman, just wows me with her picture.  It was taken here in Las Vegas, nonetheless!  Deborah is the author of SHOES HAIR NAILS, which I reviewed here.  As you can tell, I totally dug this short story collection. It was full of wit and heartbreak.  I know that you want to get your paws on it. And now you can!

Deborah has graciously offered to give away 4 copies of this collection for Mother’s Day!  Two lucky winners will win two copies each.  That’s right: one winner will win two print copies, and the second winner will win two digital copies.  One for you and one to share with your mother or somebody else of significance.  Does it get any cooler than that?

Entering is simple. Just leave a comment and you’re entered.  End of story. If you want to make it super fun, tell me a secret that you haven’t told your mother.  For example, I am eternally grateful that I have my mother’s eyes, but I’ve never mentioned that to her.  Let’s make this fun, shall we?  😀

This contest will run through Mother’s Day, which is Sunday, May 8th.  I’ll stop taking comments at midnight Eastern Standard Time, and I’ll use to determine both winners.  The winners will go up on Monday, May 9th.

Enjoy! I hope you all get a chance to read Deborah’s collection.  It was truly beautiful.  Let the comments begin!


“Be Mysterious: Writers In Masks” Features Sophie Playle


Okay, I may have cheated, sending in two photos. I deliberated for a while – which one should I send? They both said different things. But that’s the purpose of masks, isn’t it? We wear so many. They all show a different face.
Part of my heart is in Venice. I don’t know why. I’ve always been drawn to the city – the architecture, the history, the mystery. Perhaps it is the way it is so ragged, the skinny buildings with peeling paint, connected by washing lines. The grand churches, the gondolas, the winding cannels… and the masks. There’s something exotic about masks, but also something frightening. Distorting. Menacing.
I love that. I love that in writing, too. Elegant, duplicitous prose that both seduces and terrifies. It is a tone I strive for in my own writing. But what does it mean to be a writer? Is it just another mask we wear? Or is it an essence beneath the mask? Can we shed our masks without shedding layers of ourselves?
There are two sides to a mask. The face that is displayed and the face that is concealed. The external and the internal. In writing, these sides meet.
Of course, the fear is that once we remove all our masks, we find only an empty space where a face ought to be.
SOPHIE PLAYLE is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway University of London. In her spare time she runs Inkspill Magazine ( Her work has appeared in a variety of small press publications and she is currently working on her first novel in the steampunk/horror genre. You can follow her MA adventures and explorations of the craft on her website:


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“Be Mysterious: Writers In Masks” Features Steven Gordon

Steven Gordon writes stories that take place anywhere but here. He loves world building and unusual settings, and thinks dialog is just the best thing ever. He is currently writing and producing a serial radioplay, Across the Sands, which can be found at . You can find him on twitter at .


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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Damien Walters Grintalis

During the week, Damien Walters Grintalis is a typical writer slouched in front of a laptop with a cup of coffee handy. Her favorite attire consists of yoga pants, a tank top, and flip flops, although the flip-flops often end up kicked off and discarded under her desk. On the weekends, however, she puts on a mask of waterproof mascara, heavy eyeliner, sequins, and chiffon and steps into the persona of Damiena, a professional belly dancer, who performs publicly at several local restaurants and privately at weddings and birthday parties.

Damiena is outgoing and bubbly with a smile always at the ready, a far cry from the writer of grim little tales whose expression often consists of a furrowed brow or a lower lip caught between her teeth as she loses herself in a paper world of her own making. Until she starts doing terrible things to her characters, that is. At that point, her expression is best left to your imagination.

Damiena loves when her art form makes people smile and laugh and yes, dance. Damien prefers to give people nightmares. You can visit her blog to find links to some of her published short fiction,, or follow her on Twitter,

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Jamal W. Hankins

When I’m not working, spending time with my family, or gaming, I’m obsessing over the stories in my head. Writing is one of the few things that I can talk about/think about daily, without end. And those times that I’m not thinking of my stories I’m rooting someone else on to get theirs done.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, East New York, the youngest of three.  The flame of creativity was sparked early in my life, most in part due to my parents. They both were avid readers and film enthusiasts. My  father read Isaac Asimov science fiction, and my mother took to thrilling books of crime, horror, suspense, and mystery. In addition to the many stories they stored on their bookshelves, they amassed a vast collection of films ranging from The Bad Seed, Rear Window, Sybil, and The Omen, to Star Wars, Carrie, Friday the 13th, and Poltergeist.
Aside from my parents, the other great influences in my life were video games,  X-Men comic books, D&D books of fantasy, and cartoons like G.I. Joe and The Transformers. As I grew older, I gravitated towards Japanese animation, martial arts films, independent film, and Asian horror. I spent many hours sampling, enjoying, and studying all these great things that influenced me and set my imagination into a creative frenzy. I was lucky enough to find myself surrounded by a group of great friends who were equally enraptured by these same mediums, and together, we developed our own characters and stories to tell. To this day, I am honored to be apart of a continuous cycle of evolving creative energy.
Now, combining elements from all of my influences, I write dark tales of drama, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I find myself pulled to shed light on the darker side of human nature, and to expose those feelings that we all harbor inside of us but were taught to keep hidden. My characters are birthed into deceptive  and unforgiving worlds to fight for survival, because it is within the instinct to survive,  that we all can find ourselves transformed, at any moment and for any reason, into a liar, a manipulator, a conspirator, a savior, and even a killer.

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Jay Faulkner

Jay Faulkner would like to tell you a couple things about himself.  The
first is that the mask in the picture was made by his awesome, 3 year old
son, Mackenzie and it is definitely, most assuredly, the best mask in the
whole wide world.  If anyone wants to argue that fact please refer to the
seventh paragraph and the amount of black belts he holds.  The second is
that while he really doesn’t like talking … erm, typing … about himself in
the third person it is a very hard habit to break and, so, he is going to
keep doing it.

Jay resides in Northern Ireland though says home is simply wherever his
loved ones are – his wife, best-friend and soul mate, Carole, and their
two wonderful baby boys – Mackenzie and Nathaniel.

He says that while he’s a writer, martial artist, sketcher, and dreamer
he’s mostly just a husband and father.

Seriously, Jay honestly and truly believes that there is nothing more
important than his family; he just wishes his family thought the same way
but, recently, he has found out about something Carole (he wonderful and
beautiful wife) calls the pecking order.  It is based on the relative
importance of the people in the family, in order of meeting their needs.
It goes like this:

Mackenzie and Nathaniel in joint first place.
Izzy, their 10 week old border collie puppy.*
Everyone else.

Jay is not sure how much of this is a joke, but he has started to keep a
close eye on proceedings just in case.

Anyway, as it says up there, in the third paragraph, Jay has a
schizophrenic outlook on just what he ‘is’.  Educationally he is an artist
(at least that is what his degree says), professionally he is an IT and
Information Security professional, his passion is martial arts which he
has been practising for over twenty years and holds multiple black belts,
and his dream is to be a professional writer (for now he just does it
unprofessionally 😉 ) but, like he said, the bottom line for him will
always be that he is a family man.

… but you are here to find out about Jay, the writer.  Ok:

He’s been lucky enough to have had work published in Offshoot Magazine,
Apollo’s Lyre, Campfire Tales, Nanoism, Long Story Short, Every Day
Fiction, Static Movement, Twisted Tales and Trapeze Magazine to name a

He has two short stories – ‘Blind Faith’ and ‘Bloom’ in Pill Hill Press’s
anthology, ‘Daily Flash 2011’; ‘Mary’ in the ‘Caught by Darkness’
anthology; ‘Eyes Wide Open’ in the ‘Dusted’ anthology; and a novella
entitled ‘The Crimson Blade’ published in Static Movement’s ‘By Mind or
Metal’ anthology coming out in 2010.

He is currently working on his first novel, ‘Wednesday’s Child’, and even
though that isn’t finished a sequel (of sorts) is already percolating in
his head – then again many tings percolate in there, so who knows what
will happen?

Jay doesn’t, that’s for sure.

Jay founded, and edits, ‘With Painted Words’ – -a
monthly, online literary magazine that takes inspiration from monthly
image prompts; it is thanks to that site that he got to know the great
writer and all-round great person, Mercedes**

If you want to know more about Jay, then you can visit here:

*When the puppy was first seen Jay was given an ultimatum, there and then:
puppy or third child.  Easy decision, really.

**Mercedes didn’t force Jay to write that glowing reference, oh no, really
she didn’t …

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Barbara G. Tarn

Grand Rapids, MI, Halloween 1998. My first Halloween ever (and the last as well, because I’m Italian! ;-)). The dress I bought in Amsterdam – a little too gothic for my tastes, but that was the closest to a medieval dress I could find at the time. The hair is a 6$ witch wig – I had just cut my hair very short because a bad perm had ruined it. The mask was borrowed from my friend Renee, my host.

Thus the Mighty Sorceress Known as The Lady Of The Unicorn was born. You guessed it by now, I’m a fantasy writer. I wore that dress at a couple of comic-cons (without the wig) and did a graphic novel of “Lady Unicorn”, but it’s not available in English. Yet. Needs redrawing and rewriting to fit into my world called Silvery Earth, for which I have both novels&graphic novels ready to go out… but I won’t look THAT gothic ever again, might give a wrong impression of my writing (not gothic at all!)! 🙂
Barbara G.Tarn is a writer, artist and world-creator. She hopes to reveal the might of her world, Silvery Earth, as soon as technology allows her. In the meantime she writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs at

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Prue Batten


I’ve always been attracted by the idea of painting a persona, be it via cosmetics in the morning, dressing for the day, creating a fantasy world and characters.  Or even a masquerade.  And this last year has been the year of the masque for me.

My first novel, The Stumpwork Robe, was published by peer review site You (UK) in 2008 in their first ever sortie into POD publishing.  For me it was a successful escapade, teaching me such a prodigious amount about the world of book promotion and publicity.  Rather like a masked ball, I met people whose faces I shall probably never see and we danced to a tune of our own making.

The sequel, The Last Stitch, was published in 2009 and the crisis point of that novel is a masked ball taking in place in the fantasy city of Veniche, in the eldritch world of Eirie.  Early this year, as part of the promotion of the books and celebrating my tentative steps into blogland, I invited two close ‘e-friends’ to join me in hosting a virtual masked ball on my blog.

It was such an exercise!  One lives in California, one is in Maryland and I’m in Tasmania (Australia).  We took on personas for the ball (I was one Signora Lucia Brabante) and built back-stories, and those who attended created their own back-stories as well.  The two hour virtual ball became a three hour event, during which time we cavorted and gossiped and never once took off our virtual masks.  It was breathtaking!

We wrote a flash/fan fiction story called Masquerade in the three months prior to the ball and now we’re editing it (I’m a writer, one of the ladies is an editor and one is an illustrator, miniature book maker and former costume designer) and running it through Lulu.  In addition, the miniature bookmaker created a miniature book to celebrate the event and called it The Masked Ball. (

After it was all over, the masks had to come off and like Cinderella, I had to return to my workplace, sweating on revising the latest manuscript ready to start querying in the next couple of months.  But I can honestly say that the masquerades in which I indulged this year were the highlight of this ingenue’s writing life!

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Jameson T. Caine

Jameson T. Caine first dabbled in writing fiction in elementary school, when in the fourth grade he went beyond the 100 word limit in creative writing, crafting a tale of otherworldly goofiness that involved possessed books, ghostly voices and TV show theme music. The teacher, unaware of the consequences of her actions, encouraged him to keep at it. Ensuing years would see stories about Bigfoot, alien invasions and an epic undersea adventure starring his friends.
Long years passed, during which he traveled the nation and had all sorts of strange experiences, including being “attacked” by sharks, shot at by drug dealers, nearly driving off a cliff in a moment of drunken stupidity, accidentally camping on a nude beach, being assaulted by 500 pounds of cheese, taking shelter from a tornado under a bridge and getting lost in the wrong parts of many big cities. Once he got married and realized that life was rapidly going by, he finally got off his rear and rather than talk about being a writer, actually sat down and did it. These days he writes horror fiction with a slant towards the monstrous and avoids reality as much as possible, living in the made up worlds of books, movies, TV shows and games.

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“Be Mysterious: Writers in Masks” Features Shirley Meier

I’ve been writing professionally since the ’80’s and have just made the leap to writing online at and
Eclipse Court is about a young ‘Spark of the Sun’s Ray’ the Heir to the Imperatorship of Arko, struggling to learn how to be a good man and a good Imperator, when his dad, the ruler of the biggest Empire on this part of the planet, is a psychotic murderer.
Kyrus Talain is about a Lainz boy making his own way in the world, the unacknowledged bastard son of a famous champion.  He goes to the Warmaster of the Milari, who killed his father and says, in effect, ‘you killed my father, the man who would have taught me’ you owe me the teaching that will give me a better life.  Meanwhile, the Lainz Emperor is discovering that someone has been killing his Heirs and he is forced to turn to a secret bastard line of his family… Talain.

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