Daniel O’Riordan – Across Town Featured Author

The following is an auto-biography from Across Town: Stories of Columbus contributor Daniel O’Riordan.  Across Town is available here for $9.35.

Daniel’s story “Killer,” a futuristic thriller about a chaos-inducing, euphoric drug is a fantastic contribution to the anthology.

One of the side effects of growing up on a farm is that you lose interest very quickly in anthropomorphizing animals. The day to day realities of dealing with farm animals takes the luster off that shiny little object real fast. For that reason, you won’t find a lot of animals in my stories. Even though Columbus, Ohio has been referred to in the past as Cowtown, there are no cows in my story, “Killer”.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit a love of Watership Down and Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, but you just don’t see any cows gracing those pages either. I suppose someone could argue cows are under served in the realms of fantasy fiction, but I see anything beyond their comedic value in Far Side cartoons as a lost cause.

Not so for ferrets. We have nine of the little weasels, Cassidy, Connor, Culler, Haley, Kaya, Prancer, Shane, Simba, and Vegas. We also have two mink, Loki and Donahue, a different quality of weasel, and three dogs, Quinn, Casey, and Tasha. The dogs, for the record, aren’t the slightest bit weasely, save for a love of day-old chicks.

I haven’t actually used any ferrets in my stories, but I once modeled two alien races after them. The first were the Camodecans. Between one and one-and-a-half meters tall, they were covered with fur ranging from light to dark brown and had long snouts with olfactory organs running down each side. A bulbous point at the end emitted pheromones complex enough to express abstract concepts, and smell was their primary means of communication. It made them great walking lie detectors since they could sense the slightest changes in biochemistry in other races.

The other race was the Chenitans. Similar in height and build to the Camodecans, although without the long snouts, their fur ranged from creamy white to black. They were extremely hyperactive and excellent at multitasking. While other races would go into battle with massive battlecruisers bristling with weapons, the Chenitans preferred individual fighters. Their unbelievably fast reflexes let them zip around erratically to the extent that lock-on by targeting computers was almost impossible, and the small size made it extremely difficult to hit them with manual aiming.

Fun aliens from fun animals. The same can’t be said for cows.

Order Across Town: Stories of Columbus for $9.35 today and support funny, creative local artists like Daniel O’Riordan.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Chad Jones

Music from John Coltrane, Modest Mouse, Atmosphere, Korn, Buddy Guy, and even a
Tony Robins Personal Power motivational program currently occupy the space in Chad Jones’ outdated, six-disc CD changer.

One day, he admits, he’ll break down and buy an iPod, but for now enjoys listening to compact discs—in their entirety—as they were originally written.

Chad moved to Columbus, Ohio at the age of five, where he started his writing career in the third grade. He has written song lyrics, comedy bits, personal essays, poetry, and short stories—some better than others. He currently resides in Marysville, Ohio and is working towards mastering the art of the short story. Then he’ll attempt the arduous task of composing a novel.

Chad’s story, “Driven by Desire,” is featured in the upcoming CCC anthology Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected, which is available now! Click here to order a

In the fall of 2010, Chad’s appetite for knowledge and experience prompted him to walk
away from a six-year broadcasting career at a prominent Columbus radio station (99.7 The Blitz) to devote his energies towards his passion of writing. Shortly after self-imposing unemployment and homelessness upon himself, he drove his 2005 Honda Civic from Columbus to San Francisco and back—stopping along the way in Memphis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Phoenix, San Diego, and Los Angeles to taste the foods Columbus doesn’t offer.

Chad is an avid quote junkie and does his best to model his life after the following
people’s words:
“A mind stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.” – Charles Bukowski
“Golf is a good walk ruined.” – Mark Twain
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected is now available.  Pick up a copy here today to read some of Chad’s published work.  Every book sale supports CCC and helps us continue to publish Central Ohio talent.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Brad Pauquette

Brad lives his life with the philosophy that if you want to write an interesting story, you’ve first got to live an interesting story.

His work is featured in the CCC’s latest anthology, Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected, to order a copy, please click here.

He currently lives in Woodland Park, one of Columbus troubled inner-city neighborhoods where he and his wife Melissa are rehabbing a house and trying to be good neighbors who intentionally demonstrate Jesus’ message of love, joy and peace.

At the very least, they hope that rehabbing a house on a street which is more than 30% vacant will lift the neighborhood, if only slightly. After living in the house for two years, he can attest to the fact that it’s difficult for adults to get up every morning, and it’s hard for children to be inspired and live big dreams, when their neighborhoods are literally falling apart around them.

Rehabbing a house which they purchased for cash and living an intentionally meager, community lifestyle also allows Brad and Melissa to pursue alternative employment. Without a mortgage, car payment and credit cards hanging over their heads, Brad and Melissa are both free to work as freelancers, and thanks to what must be God’s help, they’re both fairly successful. They don’t have the stability of traditional employment, but a bad month just means they eat more spaghetti, no worse for wear.

Brad works as an independent web developer, specializing in helping small businesses and micro-enterprises get started with limited budgets. You can find his work at BradPauquetteDesign.com.

Brad and Melissa are also the founders and directors of The Water Cycle Project, a zero-overhead, all-volunteer organization that raises money to drill fresh water wells for impoverished communities in rural India. The non-profit group organizes cycling events to raise awareness of the cause, and collects donations via their website, www.WaterCycleProject.org. Every dollar donated goes directly to indigenous well-drilling teams in India–there are no paid staff, commissions or middle men.

So far in 2011, the organization has raised enough money to bring clean drinking water to more than 5,000 people! Indian families of all religions, who formerly walked an average of more than 2 miles per day with 35 pound jars on their heads, only to fetch water from mud holes and hand dug wells that were often infected with dangerous bacteria, now have access to clean, bore-well water in their own villages!

As part of living a better story, Brad takes multiple day bike trips, most recently crossing Ohio along Route 40 in 3 days (240 miles), to raise money for the The Water Cycle Project.

The title of the upcoming anthology, Overgrown, was inspired by the neighborhood of Woodland Park. Brad and Melissa sat on their front porch and talked through nouns, verbs and finally adjectives that would be appropriate for this collection of “Tales of the Unexpected”. Finally, staring at the vacant, unkempt houses across the street, “overgrown” just seemed appropriate.

While Brad does his best to live a good story, he doesn’t often find that his actual life makes a very good tale, and seldom writes about his experiences. His primary focus is to write stories that are entertaining and thought-provoking, and routinely employs bizarre coincidences as plot elements.

Overgrown features Brad’s story “Fricandeau Deja Vu” which is the tale of a young couple with a mysterious past. When they invite their new neighbor over for dinner, the narrative teases the reader with the opportunity to piece their story together. He hopes you enjoy it and find it unexpected.

To order Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected and support Columbus Creative Cooperative’s mission of publishing Central Ohio authors, please click here.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Ben Orlando

My name is Ben. Today I went to the bank and met another man named Ben. This other Ben’s appearance was similar to mine (tall Italian with Cro-Magnon brow), and this other Ben also went to the University of Pittsburgh, also grew up only fifteen minutes from my hometown in Pennsylvania.

(Ben is a featured author in the upcoming Columbus Creative Cooperative anthology, Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected to be released on September 8, 2011.  Pre-order the book by Wednesday (9/7/11) to get free shipping.)

As we fell into a casual dialog, I discovered even more similarities between us.  For instance, this man met his wife in El Salvador one year after the devastating earthquakes of 2001. This man worked as a teacher in Manhattan and South Korea and later in life rekindled his love of writing stories.

I was already disturbed by these precise coincidences, but when this other Ben began speaking of a certain lakeside village in Guatemala with such vivid nostalgia, I thought for a moment he was reaching into my mind and stealing my memories. When he asked me if I knew of the village, I grabbed my things, smiled politely, and speed-walked from the building.  Actually, the only factual parts of this story are my presence at the bank and the man’s name, yet I think this is an example of why writing is so great. One minor similarity such as a name shared by two people can spark a creative, interesting, soul-searching story. What if you ran into someone who seemed like you, whose history was eerily similar to yours? What if you found yourself comparing every person you met to one person you’ve lost? What if everyone had the same name, or perhaps, no one had the same name?

Writing is about developing the “what if” in a way that evokes emotion and deep thought, and this what I try to keep in mind when I’m writing.

Sometimes I stop and think, “How can I possibly create something that hasn’t been written?”

Ben certainly has written a story that has never been written before.  It can be found in the CCC anthology Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected to be released September 8, 2011.  Pre-order the book today to get free shipping, offer ends 9/7/11.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Matthew Hance

I first began writing in my mother’s womb.  I remember it as clear as amniotic fluid.  Placing my tiny foot on one of her ribs and saying, “Swallow a pen and some paper or I’ll break it.”  When I popped out, I handed my 150,000 word epic novel Nine Months of Uterusary Confinement to the Doc and told him to start querying.

(Matt Hance’s story “Die In Vogue” is featured in the Columbus Creative Cooperative anthology Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected to be released September 8, 2011.  Click here to order a copy.)

In first grade, at a catholic school, I achieved many honors.  Suspension.  Detention.  Held-back-tion.  Expulsion.  The nuns said I would get as far as the devil did in The Exorcist with my plan of possessing innocent people.  They asked for permission to pull my hair and beat me with stinky shoes and waterboard me until I cracked.  But the words of my epic novel called out to my mother.  They said, “Mom, I just want you to know before I come out there that one day I’m going to be rich and famous, because nobody has ever written what I’ve written, and my ideas are so complex that they’ll blow your mind, and I’m basically sitting on a goldmine, and the Doc, he’s gonna land us that agent soon, just after he delivers some more babies, and I know this is a run-on sentence, but this paragraph is in no way an indication of my writing capabilities, even though it should be…and if you F me over, well, you can probably imagine what will happen.”

My mom never F’ed me over.  Like The Road (a book I never read), we traveled through the wastelands alone.  In this case, I’m referring to Shamokin, Pennsylvania.

I did good in grade school, mainly because of art, but my dream was always to become published.  To get rich and own a Taco Bell inside my mansion.  I knew writing was the fastest way.  Take a few days to write some awesome, non-planned-out book about a serial killer, save the grammar and sentence structure and plot holes and formatting issues for someone who got paid to do that crap, and bam!, I’m driving to my senior prom in a Dodge Viper handing out copies of my first book written outside of the womb.

Things haven’t really gone according to plan.  I’ve written roughly seven novels, and it’s taken the first five to finally become good at my craft.  I have a bunch of short stories being published this year, and I’ve been getting nabs from agents regarding my latest novel about a comedian who tells sick and twisted jokes that end up coming true.

My mother, God bless her soul, found me the perfect father, who is my hero, and together they have transformed me from a little bastard to a semi-responsible adult.  And somehow, with no plan, only unrealistic dreams floating around inside my head of a Dodge Viper and slapping people in the face with my thick, 900-page, New York Times best seller book, I found my soul mate, moved to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, became a dad to the best four-year-old boy ever and am excitedly awaiting the arrival of a second son.

Life is good, and I’m content with writing stories that don’t fit any particular mold.  I like to break rules and surprise the shit out of people.  I’ve come to learn that if I get published along the way, it’s only icing on top of the cake I already have—my family.

But be on the lookout for Nine Months of Uterusary Confinement—a chilling memoir which will leave you stranded on the floor in the fetal position.

Matt Hance’s dark, absurd humor is also featured in the Columbus Creative Cooperative anthology Overgrown, to be released September 8, 2011.  Click here to order a copy and support brilliant Central Ohio writers like Matt.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Josh Browning

I started telling stories when I was a kid with the greatest medium ever: G.I. Joes. My brothers and I would build cities and fortresses with board games and cardboard boxes, bring out the trucks and planes (sold separately), grab our Joes and Cobras, and play all day long. Action, drama, conflict, romance: I learned about all these things, what they were, what they could be, and how to use them to tell the best story possible.

(Josh Browning’s story “Molly’s Condition” is featured in the upcoming anthology, Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected, click here to order a copy.)

Since then, I’ve worked with many other forms of storytelling. At Capital University, I acted in, produced, and directed plays. I also wrote poems, two appeared in CU’s 2006 literary magazine, ‘Dyonisia;’ my poem ‘The Execution of Professor Plum’ won Best Poem that year. After college, I wrote a number of screenplays; one of which was produced into an independent film by a student run organization within The Ohio State University entitled The Works of Darren McGannon.

After reading Stephen King’s On Writing for the third time, I decided to try my hand with short stories. I used what I call ‘The King’s Method’ of writing, putting characters into a vague scene and allowing them to move the story along in a natural way. The scene that came to my mind was one of a man and a doctor arguing about a failed treatment; where they took that scene was exciting and shocking. My first short story, ‘Molly’s Condition,’ is the product of this exercise, written over the course of two months during my lunch hour at work.

I’ve written a few more short stories since then (always it seems like after a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my work cafeteria), expanding upon my storytelling abilities and finding my own voice within the elongated prose. I am working on a second draft of my latest short story, called ‘700 Hours,’ a terrifying look at one man’s journey through Hell and how he came to be there, and hope to send it out to literary magazines in the coming months. After that I am going to take on adapting and expanding one of my favorite original screenplays, ‘A Novel Bedlam,’ a psychological comedy about an author’s stay in an experimental mental health clinic, into the Holy Grail of storytelling mediums: the novel.

My hopes for the future are simple: to tell stories. Whether they be in film, television, plays, poems, short stories, or novels, I want to share with the world the tales I conjure from in the morning when I brush my teeth to the night when I lie in bed and watch the moonlight wash over my sheets. I’ve outgrown the action figures (as far as I’m willing to admit), but I am still in love with telling stories, and I’ll do it anyway that I can.

Josh Browning is one of eight Central Ohio authors featured in the upcoming Columbus Creative Cooperative anthology, Overgrown, to be released September 8, 2011.  Click here to order a copy.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Birney Reed

Birney Reed is a Columbus native, although he has lived in nine different states—not counting the state of confusion.  He attended The Ohio State University but did not graduate.  With two quarters remaining, he decided his double major of English and Theater would not serve him in the “real world” and walked away to pursue other endeavors.

Birney’s story, “Shore Leave,” is featured in the upcoming CCC anthology Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected, to be released September 8, 2011.  Click here to order a copy.

Birney is now retired.  He is a ‘jack of all trades’ and a master of none.  He has worked every possible position from short order cook to president of a successful  advertising firm.

Twelve years ago, Birney decided to start writing when a book he read upset him.  He threw the book at the wall, but it went sailing through the window instead. His wife, who witnessed the incident, asked, “Why would you do such a thing?” Birney ranted about the poor ending of the story, and his wife replied, “If you don’t like it, then write something better.”

As Cecil B. Demille once stated, “And so it began.”

When asked where he gets his ideas from, Birney replied: “I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I’m just grateful I get them.”

Birney would like to thank and recognize the following people their support:

Loretta Reed, his wife of twenty-two years, who deserves a medal for being there through thick and thin.

Brad Pauquette, who saw the ‘voice’ in this story and encouraged Birney to cut its length and pursue it to its conclusion.

Ben Orlando, the ‘greatest editor in the land’ and a superior writer in his own right.

Terry Lonergan, who pulled Birney back from the edge and became his best friend along with John Rose—his son and friend who keeps Birney in line during social situations.

We encourage you to climb inside the mind of Birney Reed and his friend Wet Belly Willie in “Shore Leave,” featured in Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected. Find more information by clicking here.

Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected – Getting to Know the Author – Kim Younkin

Since the mid-80s, Kim Charles Younkin has been dying for a platform where she can imitate B-52s’ lead singer Kate Pierson’s lyrics:  “Hey!  I’m Kate and I am a Taurus!  I love tomatoes, and black-capped chickadees.”  Kim’s a Libra and also loves tomatoes.  She doesn’t discriminate when it comes to chickadees, and would listen to them sing all day long.

Kim’s story “A Wolf In Boy’s Clothing” is featured in the upcoming CCC anthology Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected, to be released September 8, 2011.  Click here to order a copy.

Born in Columbus, Kim came back to raise her family after post-education stints living in Hilton Head, South Carolina and Chicago.  She once thought there was nothing to do here, but things have changed, and now she’s proud to call Columbus home.  She lives in Upper Arlington with her husband and two young sons, who attend the coolest grade school ever and are helping Kim and her husband foster a deep love of reading and writing in their children.

Kim has been writing for a very long time and has found her passions in fiction and humor writing.  Her fiction has appeared in various online publications, and her creative nonfiction story, “Feeling is Believing,” appeared in A Cup of Comfort for Mothers to Be, Adams Media, October 2006.  She’s won some writing contests here and there—the first one in 6th grade for an essay on the history of her grade school, for which she won the Grand Prize of $25.00 (a mint in 1982).  One of her favorite gigs was as a monthly humor columnist for Columbus Parent magazine in 2008-9, where her byline appeared next to Joe Blundo’s father-perspective column for a year.  Unfortunately, she never met Joe but still reads his Columbus Dispatch columns with star-struck yearning.

A lover of film and literature steeped in drama, stupid humor, dry humor, dark humor, and humor (other), Kim finds that she’s always been happy in the escapism and entertainment great writing provides.  She hopes to produce work in her lifetime that gives people the outlet she has always found in the finely-crafted written word.

Kim’s blog is pretty funny, but overgrown with cobwebs and currently under annihilation.  She hopes you’ll check back here in the future for a new blog address.

To read some of Kim’s fantastic work, please consider purchasing Overgrown: Tales of the Unexpected.  You can find more information by click here.