Welcome Today's Featured Author
A brush with death brings Leah closer to the ghosts she longs to find and throws her into the arms of the troubled scuba instructor who saves her.
Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, is haunted by his own restless spirits. He's on a hunt for forgiveness, and the Caribbean Sea is his hunting ground.
The peace they search for lies in the bond they never suspected they shared.
He breathes with me, using his pace to slow mine. It feels like too much. The stillness. Our breath as one. His touch against my face and unyielding gaze locked onto mine. I want to escape up to safety, but he won’t let me.
All I can do is trust him.
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About Jessica Bayliss:
They say write what you know, so Jessica Bayliss did. Her story, BREATHLESS, was inspired by her own experience running out of air on a scuba dive—except without all the steamy romance and eerie paranormal happenings. Alas, real life. Obviously, she survived. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers—a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto: there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young.
Look for her upcoming releases: TEN PAST CLOSING, a YA contemporary thriller (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018), and BROKEN CHORDS, a YA horror novella (Leap Books, October 2017). You can find her story “Care of the Undead Dog” in ZOMBIE CHUNKS, which came out earlier this year. Read about all of Jessica’s books and stories here.
Connect with Jessica online:
Interview With Jessica Bayliss:
1. Can you tell us a little about your books?
I’ve written ten—which is actually really hard to believe—and nine short stories. I tend toward concepts that involve horror, something paranormal (sometimes subtle, sometimes right in your face), or thrills. I stick to contemporary worlds, though I like to mix in a little fantasy too, especially creepy fantasy. Right now I’m focusing on YA, which is the audience I wrote my debut novel, for. It’s a contemporary thriller called TEN PAST CLOSING (tentatively scheduled for release in Spring, 2018). I also wrote a YA horror novella for a small press. That book is called BROKEN CHORDS, and it’s due out in early October this year.
2. What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by so much. Whenever I read something incredible, I can’t wait to jump back into my current work in progress. I’m also inspired by books that don’t work for me. Sometimes a book or film sounds like it’s going to be perfect for our taste, but it doesn’t quite land. It’s a little different than we thought it would be (those book jackets can only convey so much). When that happens, I’m super-excited to take the concept and write it the way I wanted it to be. I’m also inspired by the uncanny all around us all the time. For example, there’s this one stretch of highway not far from where I live, and abandoned cars are always parked on the shoulder there. Of course my brain goes to the creepy, and I start coming up with stories as to why that is. (My bet is on some evil, demonic entity that lives in the woods who lures motorists into his lair so it can eat their faces off.)
3. How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write the kinds of stories I love to read. I’ve been a horror fan ever since I was a kid reading SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. I grew up on Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick, R.L. Stine, and even Stephen King. Several of my projects literally started with the question: What would I have wanted to read when I was a YA reader?
4. Do you have a favorite spot to write?
I don’t. While having one spot where you condition yourself to work (and only work) is great, I also think writers need to be able to write no matter where they are; once we get into a good groove in one spot, it’s important to generalize and start writing in other places too. So, I write in my “writing chair,” outside on the deck, in the living room, sometimes in the dining room (especially in the afternoon when the light is right), and upstairs in the spare room. Panera is also a great spot. That all said, where I sit is usually dictated by my dog. If I don’t sit where he wants me to sit, I’m in trouble. That usually means the living room sofa or the deck outside. He’s a Havanese; they’re Velcro dogs, and he hates my writing chair because he can’t sit next to me. Sigh.
5. Do you listen to music while you write?
Usually. I have a Pandora station set up with a ton of Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boys, Imagine Dragons, The Kongos, Halsey, Ellie Goulding, and a bunch of others. (Although, as I type this, I’m listening to dance cardio, which I admit, is another of my favorite channels. A little Flo Rida. A little Kesha. A bunch of Pitbull.)
6. What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?
I usually start with any small tasks I need to take care of (e.g., blog posts, website updates, emails to send, tweets to set up, etc.) then I dig into my WIP. I try to avoid the internet at ALL COSTS once I get started, but I admit, I’m often lured to the darkside. So, I’ll really start working mid-morning, then take a break to work out, have lunch, shower, then jump back in again in the afternoon until dinner time. I also get up an hour early before work so I can write on the weekdays. You’ll often find me tweeting under the #5AMWritersClub hashtag.
7. For a reader who hasn't read your books yet, which book do you suggest they start with?
Probably the book that comes out today, BREATHLESS. It’s a short story, actually, and it has a little bit of everything I love in it. OR, my short, CARE OF THE UNDEAD DOG, which appears in the anthology, ZOMBIE CHUNKS. That story is one of my favorite genres: horror plus dark humor (now that I think of it, that story may be my favorite thing I ever wrote). But, when my novella comes out in October and my debut next spring, I hope they’ll read those too. LOL!
8. If you could spend 24 hours as a fictional character, who would you chose?
It’s a toss-up between Alice and a day in Wonderland or one of the secondary characters in Harry Potter. Maybe one of the Patil twins… They get to do magic and have a great time but are less likely to be killed by some evil wizard than the main characters. I’d rather not die during my 24 hours.
9. What are writing projects are you currently working on?
I’m revising a YA detective thriller with magical realism. It’s called BITS AND PIECES, and it’s about a girl who feeds flocks of wild crows. They bring her shiny little things in exchange for the food, but one day they leave her a human bone. I’m in LOVE with this book, and I’m doing some changes for my agent. Hopefully we’ll get to shop this one around next (and soon!).