This book's title comes from the reality that - like a moth to the flame - we're all just one event, mishap, or decision away from t...

Author Spotlight || Jeff Parsons, Author of The Captivating Flames of Madness

This book's title comes from the reality that - like a moth to the flame - we're all just one event, mishap, or decision away from things that could change our lives forever.

What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?
If you dare, why not find out?

Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book - but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares...

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

Loved horror comics as a child

What part of writing do you consider a chore?

Reading my own hand scribbled notes and typing the min

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"

At work. Day dreaming.

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Oh yeah. I'm not the same person.

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  

Someone was very angry with me because my story gave them nightmares. Well, it was a horror story, but I felt bad...

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?

Plot first. It's better for me if I have a story line before I insert characters.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

Don't write about things that are too real. We all deal with sad things in our lives. I'd like for people to escape from that, even if it's only for a little while.

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?

Said. But I minimize its use whenever I can (not by substituting alternatives if I can - using too many of those can be a distraction to reading, he quipped).  

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?

Two Steps From Hell by Epic World - quite uplifting and mysterious

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

'For the new NASA spokesperson, Mr. Argyle Goldtoe, is a sock puppet.' A comedy story about how NASA is taking a new approach to PR. Irreverent yet relevant. 

What is something about the genre that annoys you?

How some people perceive it to only be about gruesome subjects, not real life happening to take an unusual turn. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write like no one is reading. :)

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

You have value. Never forget that. Write your story. Not someone elses.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

New sci-fi/ horror novel. I'm thinking about the bigger plot now. When I get better structure, I'll frame out the chapters.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

I wrote a story about a submariner. He led a simple basic life in a horrible war, only wishing to go home and be with his loved one.

Would you and your main character get along?

I think so. We're both very easy going.

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?

Without a purpose - nope, throw the book across the room time. For a noble cause or sacrifice, it could work, but it must be relatable to the reader.

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?

They're often quite bossy, telling me what to do.

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?

Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was a movie theatre usher. Saw it 4 times a day when I worked for over a year.

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?

No idea. Probably a common dog because I'm very simple minded at times when it comes to relationships.   

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

My parent's house in Maine seemed to have haunted aspects. I don't know what to think about that, but it was scary at times. Let's go with fairy tale creatures as long as they're the nice ones.

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?

I look at regular life and see stories waiting to be written. 

Using only emojis, sum up your book.


You've just gone Trick or Treating. What do you hope is in your bag? 

Zero bars. I love them - white fudge and crunchy stuff. 

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?

Can't say - the police will read your blog. Okay, yesterday I looked up Grey Aliens. 

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?

Showing up to school naked. Yeah, it's been awhile...

What cliched tattoo would your main character have?


What movie completely scarred you as a child?

I'm ancient, so it's the Wizard of Oz.

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?

Nuke em til they glow, then shoot em in the dark.

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

Cats. They can be quite sarcastic.

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?

A survival knife.

If you were bitten and changed, would you want it to be by a vampire or a werewolf?

Werewolf. You get to keep your day job. 

Which of the Golden Girls is your personality most like?

Dorothy. IRL, she was once a marine. I wasn't, but I relate.

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 

I'm not sure what Sado Masochism links are available but you can find me on Facebook.

You're riding through the desert on a horse with no name. What are you going to call it?

GoogleMaps please.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

I can only aspire to write better. My inspiration, from the 1987 Bulwer-Lytton Contest: “The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically pedaling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by cruel Nature’s maxim, ‘Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work,’ and at last I knew Pittsburgh.”

Jeff has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. In addition to his two short story books, The Captivating Flames of Madness and Algorithm of Nightmares, he is published in The Horror Zine, The Best of The Horror Zine: The Middle Years, The Horror Zine’s Book of Werewolves, The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories, Aphelion Webzine, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, Thinking Through Our Fingers, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words, The Voices Within, Fireburst: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group, Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, SNM Horror Magazine, and Bonded by Blood IV/ V. He is currently seeking a publisher for his first novel titled Tomorrow Will End, a sci-fi/ horror adventure. For more propaganda, visit his Facebook Author Page [].