Moray Paul is a musician seduced by all things surreal and often writes dark poems and stories based on twisted visions. She enjoys braiding murky music and mystery with the mundane to create barbed-wire pigtails and other forms of deviant whimsy.

Writing a first draft can be a lot of fun and when we compose something decent we get excited about it, but a first draft is rarely your best work. Moray Paul

Leodegraunce: We'd love to learn about your background, Moray.

Moray Paul: I'm a music teacher from North Carolina. My primary instrument is clarinet, but I tend to do most of my gigs on saxophone. I've been submitting poetry and fiction to literary magazines for a couple of years and have had work published in numerous online zines and print mags such as elimae, Word Riot, and Bards and Sages Quarterly.

Leodegraunce:  When did you take an interest in flash fiction?

Moray Paul: In the fall of 2008, I discovered flash fiction through a website called Show Me Your Lits. Weekly flash contests are held on this site. They post a prompt and you have to compose a work and submit it in ninety minutes or less. Works are posted anonymously on a password protected forum, and you comment on all the other stories and anonymously vote on the best for various categories such as dialogue, setting, narrator's voice, etc. Before I stumbled across Show Me Your Lits, I was writing poetry only. The people who frequent this site introduced me to Duotrope.com and encouraged me to submit my work to literary zines. Over the past two years, I've learned to merge my poetry roots with flash fiction and my writer's voice is beginning to become more clear. I think that blurry line between flash fiction and prose poetry is why I find myself returning to flash fiction again and again.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

Moray Paul: Some of my most recent works fall into the speculative fiction category and tend to be somewhat dark and surreal. An example of this dark surreal style is my story, Diorama of an Unforgettable Girl, published in Bards and Sages Quarterly. I've also had recent work published under my maiden name in Weirdyear and Litsnack.

Leodegraunce: What are your writing plans for 2011?

Moray Paul: Leodegraunce is my first appearance under my new pen name and I'm hoping to define my voice and publish a poetry collection and publish more speculative fiction, possibly even work on a short story collection.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Moray Paul: Get in a writing critique group of some type, whether it's a local group or an online group and develop your editor's eye. Writing a first draft can be a lot of fun and when we compose something decent we get excited about it, but a first draft is rarely your best work.

 
 
Peter Baltensperger is a Canadian writer of Swiss origin and the author of ten books of various genres. His erotic poems, short stories, and flash fictions have appeared in several hundred publications around the world, including in print in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Sex in the City - Paris, and The International Journal of Erotica, and on-line in Clean Sheets, The Erotic Woman, Oysters and Chocolate, and Every Night Erotica, among others. He makes his home in London, Canada with his wife Viki and their two cats and a tortoise.

The most important thing is to keep writing, no matter what, and to be oneself, no matter what; everything else will fall into place. Peter Baltensperger

Leodegraunce: Tell us about you, Peter.

Peter Baltensperger: I've always known that I wanted to be a writer, already growing up in Switzerland, and that's what I've been doing all my life, aside from such more mundane things as teaching high school English and being a publisher to pay the bills and raise my family.

Leodegraunce: "Mirror Mirror" is one of my favorite erotica flashers.  How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?

Peter Baltensperger: I've always been interested in reducing things to basics (the scientist and mathematician in me). It started with poetry, when I spent considerable time and effort to construct a poem that only consisted of a title and one single word, and then one that only consisted of a title and a period under it. Flash fiction developed out of this urge for minimalism, and I've been writing it for years.

Leodegraunce: You're a prolific author.  What are some of your recent works?

Peter Baltensperger: I have several erotic flash fictions in Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly by Pill Hill Press, a surrealistic erotic story in Surreal Smut by Medulla Publishing, an erotic horror story forthcoming in Sinisterotica by Pill Hill Press, and an erotic story in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica edited by Maxim Jakubowski.

Leodegraunce:  What's in store for 2011?

Peter Baltensperger: More experimentating with forms and styles, more writing on the edge, more cross-genre writing, creating more compelling stories and poems in an effort to expand my writing and my soul. I consider writing one of the main factors in my self-development and spiritual growth.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Peter Baltensperger: The most important thing is to keep writing, no matter what, and to be oneself, no matter what; everything else will fall into place.
 
 
Doug Harrison's erotic ruminations, which offset his PhD in optical engineering, appear in zines and more than twenty anthologies. Doug was active in San Francisco's leather scene, the Modern Primitives Movement, and appears in videos, photo shoots, and an AIDS Emergency Fund's Bare Chest Calendar. He is the father of two children, a grandfather, and has a firm but gregarious leather partner. Doug lives in Hawaii.

The ending of a short story, particularly when I’m answering a call for submissions, usually makes itself known soon after I begin writing. Then I stretch out on the bed and observe where the characters go and what they do, often with surprising results; sometimes they even introduce new players! Doug Harrison

Leodegraunce: Doug, what can you tell us about your background?

Doug Harrison: I’m the father of two children, a daughter and a son, and have a granddaughter, with a grandson on the way (ain’t modern technology great!). I’m proud to have a gregarious but firm leather partner. Finally, I’m the slave of two delightfully entertaining tomcats.

I was active in San Francisco’s leather scene and the Modern Primitives movement, and appear in videos, photo shoots, and an AIDS Emergency Fund’s Bare Chest Calendar.

I’ve authored or coauthored technical articles and patents. My erotic ruminations, which complement my opera fairydom and offset my PhD in optical engineering, appear in zines and approximately twenty anthologies of dubious propriety.

I’m a certified scuba diver and a non-certified long-distance hiker and marathon runner.

Leodegraunce: How long have you written flash fiction and what drew you to the genre?

Doug Harrison: I’ve written flash fiction for three months. Dare I say I was drawn to the genre "because it was there?" It presents a tremendous challenge. I feel that my Teutonic PhD thesis advisor, who wouldn’t tolerate an unnecessary word, was a terrific lead-in to succinctness, not my strong point. However, I don’t take three pages to describe a door knob, as does a very well known author.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

Doug Harrison: My most recent work was a carefully worded letter to various officials at the bank holding my home mortgage, and to highly placed government officials. My initial request to have my mortgage rate reduced was ignored and prompted my spending a week on this document.

Unfortunately, I have practice in this venue. It took me several years of letter writing to Medicare to obtain prescribed medical supplies—I won two cases, and, so I’m told, "Set a Federal precedent." Not my intent, but I did want to stay alive. So, persistence in the face of bureaucracy does pay.

A short story, Lonely Boy, appeared in Best Gay Romance 2010.

I have a short story in press, and finally found venues to which I’ve submitted two lengthy stories.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?

Doug Harrison:

- Finish a collection of my selected short stories.

- Flash Fiction

- A short story or two, if a call entices me.

- Dare I say to continue work on the proverbial first novel? It’s about half done, methinks.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Doug Harrison: I can only report what works for me. The ending of a short story, particularly when I’m answering a call for submissions, usually makes itself known soon after I begin writing. Then I stretch out on the bed and observe where the characters go and what they do, often with surprising results; sometimes they even introduce new players!

 
 
Tamara McRill is a freelance journalist based in central Illinois. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her first novel and developing a local newspaper platform online.

Don't just study humanity, pay particular attention to the motives and actions of individuals. Do it without judgment, towards a goal of understanding. Tamara McRill

Leodegraunce:Tamara, what drew you to flash fiction?

Tamara McRill: I've been writing flash fiction, to some degree, since grade school--with intent since college. Strangely enough, I was inspired by reading a Hunter S. Thompson piece in Rolling Stone. There was something special, exciting, about the way he held my attention when the story within the story happened. I had a compulsive sense of urgency to finish, to have it in my head to mull over. As a writer, I translated this into shorter pieces that relied on the implicit, rather than the explicit.

Leodegraunce: What have you written when it comes to fiction?

Tamara McRill: Other than a few poetry anthologies, Leodegraunce is home to my first published fiction piece. I've always been enamored with the thought that the pieces of my writing should total the whole of who I am--even the non-fiction. But I've neglected the creative writer within and that felt dishonest. So I when I came upon the call for March submissions I immediately wrote and submitted. And it felt right.

Leodegraunce: I'm pleased that Leodegraunce is the first place where a number of our authors have been published.  What are some of your writing plans for 2011?

Tamara McRill: I have almost finished my first novel, which has the working title Angelous vs. Daemon. Perhaps too similarly titled to Dan Brown's work for comfort, so I may change that. The concept for the book actually stems from a flash fiction piece I wrote in 2009. I'm also in the beginning stages of developing an online media company that will provide individual daily newspapers for certain small towns--locations that do not already have free news outlets.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

Tamara McRill: Don't just study humanity, pay particular attention to the motives and actions of individuals. Do it without judgment, towards a goal of understanding. That will get you beyond the cliche and into a realm of complex 'realness' that is far more interesting.