Welcome back, everyone. It's the original Myth Master once again, and we have a special treat for you today—an interview with the new President and Editor in Chief of Dark Myth Production Studio, and the returning Editor in Chief of The World of Myth. He is also the author of “Dreams of Darkness, Dreams of Night,” and an upcoming book “The Dragon Hunters and other Fantasy Tails.” Everyone welcome back Terry D. Scheerer!
MM:First, Mr. Scheerer, I want to thank you for allowing me to do this interview with you.
TDS:Sure, no problem—a bit of déjà-vu, isn’t it? And it’s not like I have anywhere to go or anything. I’m too old and sick to do much more than just sit here and occasionally wet myself, so shoot.
MM:Uh, okay. It’s no secret that you have been battling health issues for some time, but perhaps for our new readers you could tell us what has been going on with you since 2005?
TDS:There’s not enough time or room to go into everything I’ve been through the past five years. Suffice it to say I was diagnosed with cancer in early 2005 and since then I have undergone three separate procedures and/or operations to eliminate that cancer—all of which have apparently failed, much to my chagrin. That’s a cool word, isn’t it? Chagrin…yeah.
MM:So how is your health at the moment, Mr. Scheerer?
TDS:At the moment I am right on the edge of oblivion Myth Master dude. Every day I walk a sharp-edged tightrope, wondering if I might slip, fall, and accidentally slice off something important. Not to mention that I turned sixty years old last year, which in my mind is pretty freaking amazing, especially when my own doctor said just last year that I was a “Walking time bomb.” Chagrin.
MM:Really. Wasn’t it extremely difficult to work with all that going on?
TDS:I don’t work, I’m a writer. (Laughs out loud, then coughs severely and clutches chest). Ack! But…seriously, sometimes, yes, it was very hard. Sometimes I simply do not work at all for long periods of time. Depression over my continuing cancer battle holds me back on occasion, and I also have been experiencing trouble with my Diabetes, since whenever I’m depressed I don’t eat properly or even at all.
MM:I see. Well, changing up direction a bit, I wanted to ask you about Dark Myth. You were named President of the company at the beginning of this year, how has that been?
TDS:Pretty much the same as it was before I was named President, since I still haven’t been paid anything in this position. I do have decision-making ability now, however, and some dramatic changes have been made to the company in recent months.
MM:You have been with Dark Myth for almost seven years, perhaps the longest anyone has stuck around. My question to you is what has made you want to stay with the company for so long?
TDS:In point of fact, I have actually quit working for the company on at least two occasions over the years, but not because of anything I had against Dark Myth. My leaving was due to my own problems which were caused by stress and depression—not related to the business at all. But, back to your question about why I have stayed with and have even gone back to Dark Myth after leaving them.
Since it’s obviously not for financial gain, it must be because I enjoy writing and editing stories for TWOM and books for Dark Myth. Even though I am a cynical old grouch (some might even say a bastard—but most of those would be ex-wives), I do enjoy helping fledgling writers achieve their goals of seeing their work published. A number of now published writers got their start within the pages of The World of Myth, and that makes my slightly damaged heart feel quite a bit better. And to be candid, TWOM has helped me reach a large number of readers that I might not have otherwise been able to reach with my own stories. So…um, what was the question, again?
MM:That’s okay, we’ll just move on to something else. In your own words, what do you think caused the company to pull back and eventually restructure how they did business?
TDS:At one point, Dark Myth simply became overextended. Lots of good ideas were proposed and then implemented, but too many were started at the same time and the company coffers were not quite ready for so many projects all at once. The staff of Dark Myth also became oversized and was eating into the profits of the company—of course none of that money saw its way into my pockets, but that is neither here nor there.
Part of the restructuring of the company occurred as a condition of my being named President of Dark Myth. We cut back staff to the point that we are now working with just a skeleton crew, and we also cut back on the projects Dark Myth has planned for the immediate future. If and when we once again become solvent, we should be able to expand our project plans.
MM:And how are things now?
TDS:Well, in my opinion things are much better than they were just a few months ago. Dark Myth has published two books recently and will publish a third in another few months, and The World of Myth has been reborn. That’s a fair, if somewhat slow start.
MM:I heard that one of your acts as President was telling Dark Myth they could no longer purchase other properties, such as on-line magazines and other businesses. Is that true?
TDS:Hmm, well, while I don’t remember actually saying that, it does sound like something I might have said during one of my rants. After all, if the company can’t seem to pay their skeleton staff, why should it be able to spend money on new web domains? We need to focus on what is important and possibly profitable for us right now, and not get in over our heads again.
MM:Staying on the subject of business, I wanted to talk to you about The World of Myth. You are known as a co-founder of the magazine and you were our Editor in Chief for some thirty-plus issues. Was it hard to leave when you did?
TDS:Yes, it was hard, especially after putting so much time and effort into the magazine for so many issues, but at the time I felt I might do more damage to the magazine if I stayed, due to my personal problems, so I bowed out for the good of the company.
MM:After your departure, the magazine took on a new look and feel, with lots of new faces. What were your thoughts on those issues?
TDS:Few people know this, but at that time I was still Vice-President of Dark Myth, but it was a token title, as I had no real say in the day-to-day workings of the company. Originally, The World of Myth had a very small staff of people who worked on the magazine—all of them being non-paid employees, by the way. After I left, the staff seemed to expand quite a bit and I feel the personal touch was somewhat diminished as a result. We have returned to the original format with this issue of TWOM and plan to keep it that way.
MM:So, the big question is, how does it feel to be back home at The World of Myth?
TDS:Since the format is the same as when I left, it doesn’t feel as if I have been gone for any great length of time. Besides, most of the past year is a blur to me anyway, and I can’t even remember what day it is most of the time. But, it does feel good to be back putting the magazine together once again.
MM:The magazine has a nostalgic feel to it, but there is something different from the previous issues. Would you agree with that assessment?
TDS:Very much so. The World of Myth is back, but it has been expanded into something bigger and better with some new additions this issue, and will hopefully continue to grow with each new issue.
MM: And what are some of those additions?
TDS:In The World of Myth itself we have added a Music section. That doesn’t mean readers will be able to hear their favorite bands on the site, but we will have musicians giving opinions about music, as well as interviews and shared blogs. We will also have commentaries and opinions from me and other people whose opinions may be important or pertinent to our readers. We will also try to make TWOM somewhat darker, and we hope to reach a more mature audience by doing so.
MM:If you would, tell us about the thoughts and plans that went into bringing The World of Myth back?
TDS:It was actually David K. Montoya’s idea to being TWOM back—I think he was bored or something. Due to my ongoing health issues, I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the Editor in Chief position at that time, so I offered some stipulations which would make it easier and perhaps more fun for me to work on the magazine again. The magazine will be a quarterly publication, and we have added some new sections as well as revamped part of the old magazine.
MM:Another question I wanted to talk about was “Horrotica.” Why was it incorporated into The World of Myth?”
TDS:That is one of the ‘revamped’ parts of TWOM. Horrotica as a separate magazine was fun to work on, but it became too stressful for me—the deadlines, editing everything, searching out new contributors for each issue—not to mention everything else I had going on in my life. Even so, I didn’t want to completely give up Horrotica, and when we decided to revise The World of Myth it seemed a good idea to incorporate Horrotica into the new magazine.
New to the Realm of Horrotica will also be a music section, as well as a new section, “Stuff Guys Like.” Adding Horrotica to TWOM is also part of our effort to make the site a bit darker.
MM:Do you see Horrotica getting its own site ever again?
TDS:Maybe—you never know in this business. Putting out a magazine is like having a real job, and putting out two at once is like a having a full-time job. And that’s tough when you don’t get paid for any of your work, ya know?
MM:Yes, I suppose. Well, I hope one day it does come back on its own. Okay, veering off track, I want to talk to you about your writing. Through on-line posts and blogging, you talked several months ago about your Zombie novella titled, “A Coming Madness.” Where does that stand as far as going to publication?
TDS:What are you, my mother? Do I suddenly have an agent I didn’t know about? I’ll have you know that during the past eight months I have undergone surgery to rid myself of cancer, and then just this month was informed that the freaking cancer is apparently still inside me. I also edited a book of short stories for Dark Myth, along with three galleys before it went to print, wrote four short stories of my own along with several articles, started work on putting together another book of my short stories, and have been moderately to severely depressed over my many health and personal issues.
So, as I was working on “A Coming Madness” I decided to start work on the book of short stories, and “Madness” got pushed aside. Then we decided to bring back TWOM, so both my book and “Madness” got pushed aside.
Now that TWOM has launched, I plan to return to putting my book of short stories together for publication. Then, I will hopefully be able to return to working on “A Coming Madness,” in between putting the next issue of TWOM together. Happy, now?
MM:Um…well, your epic story “Queen of the Westerlands” debuted in December 2005 in issue sixteen of TWOM. Are you going to finish it here in the WebPages of the magazine or are there plans to have it printed as a novel?
TDS:I do have plans to publish “Queen” as a novel—probably the first of at least two novels. The chapters which have appeared in TWOM over the past few years are basically rough drafts of the story. I will have to edit and rewrite the entire story for publication, but I will have to finish the damn book before I worry too much about that.
MM:According to your twitter account, you are having a new book published this year. Would you tell us a little about that?
TDS:That would be my book of short fantasy stories, “The Dragon Hunters and other Fantasy Tails.” Again, I am working on putting that book together now and it should see publication by hopefully late April or early May. The book will contain some fifteen stories of both contemporary fantasy and fantasy tales of Yore—as in Sword and Sorcery. Many of them have previously seen publication in different magazines, including The World of Myth, but at least two of the stories have never been published before.
MM:So, it’s a fantasy version of “Dreams of Darkness, Dreams of Night?”
TDS:Have you even read any of my work? “Dreams of Darkness, Dreams of Night” was a book of Dark poetry and Horror stories. “The Dragon Hunters” is a book of Fantasy stories—most of them are light-hearted and even humorous, while some are of a more serious nature, but they all revolve around Fantasy.
MM:Okay. As a writer, where do you find inspiration for your stories?
TDS:Again, have you ever read any of my work? I explained where story ideas come from—not just for me, but for other writers as well—in a story in my “Dreams of Darkness” book called, “The Very Idea.” Aside from that, inspiration comes from almost anywhere.
I have always been interested in Medieval History and court intrigue, so “Queen of the Westerlands” came from an idea about what would happen if a young queen was practically on her own, with only a handful of faithful followers to protect her from numerous enemies, all of whom wanted her dead.
‘What if’ is always a good way to start a story idea. What if someone was locked in a huge mausoleum overnight? That thought helped produce my story “To Dance with the Dead.” What if two inept young friends attempted to track a dragon and thus steal the beast’s treasure? That thought led to “The Dragon Hunters.”
MM:Who, if anyone, do you base your characters on?
TDS:Most of my characters are made up on the spot, as needed for any given story. Occasionally I will use characteristics of someone I have known in the past—usually someone I didn’t like very much. These would be villains or some kind of idiot. Even more rarely I will use myself as a character—as in “To Dance with the Dead”—but much of what took place in that story really happened to me, so I felt I should be in that one.
MM:What would you say is your best work?
TDS:Probably whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. I have been writing, off and on, for over thirty-five years. True, my first publication didn’t come until ten years ago, but everything before that first story saw print was training to be a writer, and everything since that first publication has been to improve my writing. So, hopefully, every time I write something new I am using years and years of trial and error experience, plus all of the knowledge I have gleaned over the years.
That being said, every time I write something new it should be better than anything I’ve written before. I would feel rather inept if my new work wasn’t as good as the stuff I had written previously. Our goal in life should be to learn something new every day, and a writer should implement that new knowledge in every new story or book they write. Otherwise, what’s the point of writing anything new?
MM:Do you have a "Dream Project?"
TDS:Oh, aside from writing an award winning screenplay, something I have always wanted to write is a historical novel based on the Norman conquest of England in 1066. That, however, will have to wait until I am a little more well known and quite a bit richer.
MM:If you could work with one person, who would it be?
TDS:Living or dead?
MM: Um, living, I guess.
TDS:Well, I can’t really decide between Terry Pratchett and Terry Brooks for fantasy, and maybe Robert R. McCameron for horror. For dead writers, it would have to be Poe and Lovecraft for horror and H.G. Wells for everything else.
MM:Okay, next question. What was the very first story you wrote, and do you remember anything about it?
TDS: My first story? That was written when I was eleven years old for a school project. I can’t remember my high school years anymore, let alone the elementary school years. The answer I guess is no, I don’t remember it at all. Good question—I told I was over sixty years old, didn’t I?
MM:Right. Almost finished. What can fans expect to hear from you in the near future?
TDS:It depends on how things go over the next few months. They might hear high pitched screams of frustration and despair, or cries of delight if my new book sells well.
Cursing is a common occurrence if anyone hangs around me for any length of time, so they might hear some of that.
MM: Well, I really was talking more along the lines of your writing.
TDS:Ah. I thought we already discussed that. Beside my new book of fantasy shorts, “The Dragon Hunters,” “A Coming Madness” will come out eventually, and I would still like to do something with “Hardcore Harry”—if not the comic, perhaps in book form. And there’s always “Queen of the Westerlands,” as well as “The Soul of Magic,” another fantasy novel I started but have never finished. That stuff alone should keep me busy for a few years.
MM: And where can fans reach you if they wish to know more about you?
TDS:I have sites on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter—just search Terry D. Scheerer—and I also have a personal web site now. www.terrydscheerer.ning.com I post blogs there, as well as updates on my projects and stories. Stop by anytime.
MM:Okay. Well, I really want to thank you for taking the time to visit with us, today. Before we go, is there anything we didn't cover that you would like to share with our readers?
TDS:Absolutely. You know how when you’re going to bake a potato in the microwave, you wash it off and then stab it with a knife to put vent holes in it? Yeah, well don’t do that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that very thing and stabbed myself in the hand by shoving the knife right through the damn potato.
Also, always wear sunscreen, you know, when you’re outside. And what’s the deal with the ‘former’ ninth planet Pluto? So it’s smaller than our own moon, and why doesn’t our moon have a freaking name, anyway? Every other moon in the solar system has a name—even Pluto’s moon has a name. So, what’s the deal? Luna. Know what that means? It means Moon!
MM: Finished, then?
TDS:Uh…sure, I guess. Thanks.
MM:Okay. Well, I know that you're busy, Terry, so I'll end this here and thank you again for taking the time to talk with us. For all our readers out there, this is the Myth Master saying, 'See you all next time. Peace and Love.'
TDS:Bring back Pluto!
TDS:Did you know that ‘Jeep’ named its vehicle after a character in the 1940s Popeye cartoon series?
TDS:Crap, it’s late. I gotta go.