‘I Am Inspired by All Authors’

The author says that his previous short story collection, Dark Journeys, was his first experience with self-publishing. ‘It is mostly original fiction, except for two stories that were previously published in magazines. It also contains one of my favourite stories, Sunwalker,’ he tells us. Making it clear that he was initially hesitant to publish Dark Journeys because he wasn’t sure how it would be received, he states that while some of the stories in the book are straightforward sci-fi and horror, he also included some speculative fiction. ‘These were writing experiments, attempts to try something new and different. Luckily, I have received some nice reviews on it, and it has sold well,’ he lets us know, adding that prior to Dark Journeys, his fiction was published in a variety of magazines and anthologies throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.

The Trouble With Having an Open Mind

The men who dwell on land theirs state they have an open mind;
No trouble may happen upon they feel; ‘We are always kind!’
Some biding with those men but sense there is something amiss;
They say they’re having a tough time; ‘A thing or two we miss.’

The Urban Legend

I stood in the middle of the room, looking at the open door, at the chipped tile. The memories of that horrifying night flooded my mind. All that blood, all that pain. Tears welled in my eyes. It wasn’t deserved, it wasn’t right what they did. But what was right was what came to them. All of them.

A Balladic Ode to Every Mother

What makes a woman a mother?
Oh, pain and patience will I say;
She sure knows not how to other
or to keep care and warmth away.
Oh! A mother hits not the hay
when her kids are hungry or sad;
Embodies love, for kids does pray.
A mother’s selfless, with love clad.

‘Little LGBTQA+ Portrayal in Fantasy Books’

Indie author Jamie Sonnier, a trans male and a vehement advocate of LGBTQA+ rights, avers he is a plotter. As a matter of fact, before putting pen to paper, he has everything figured out. Speaking to the Literary Express in an exclusive interaction, the author says he is quite wont to take extensive notes before setting about writing a book. ‘Occasionally an idea might come to me while I am writing the story, but typically, if I sit down to begin writing, the entire story is already thought out,’ he tells us with a smile.

The Mysterious Mirror

Hangs a mirror on the wall of the abode seen
with a demeanour mystic, queer, fine, indiscreet.
Shows it to each who sits in front a stolen sheet,
telling truths revealed to none, a shaming scene.
Oh! The past returns to haunt those who there have been.

The Festival of Navratri

So these nights we try hard to conquer
the evils that make us go astray;
We worship all deities to prosper,
to live lives with joy, to win each fray.

‘My Goal Is to Write Something That Outlives Me in a Big Way’

On the question of what he would like to tell budding authors who lose motivation if their works don’t do well, Mr Merkel, who works tirelessly for thirteen hours each day, pronounces he would want them to know that doing well is relative. ‘Write what you want to read and do it with passion and pride, and you cannot go wrong,’ he suggests.

Five Pairs of Homographs You Ought to Know

Homographs, homonyms and homophones might make the English language funny and intriguing, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, they give a tough time to learners who don’t have English as their native language. Even native speakers, at times, tend to struggle with them, but being native, they are naturally inclined to understand them without having to get into the nitty-gritties. However, when they face challenges, they do try to seek help from reliable sources.

Many Minds, Many Kinds

Minds there are so many,
and views they have their own.
Seem some strange, some funny,
All here to die alone.