The Writer's View: Barbara Custer

This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish PromotionsBarbara will award one randomly drawn commenter at every stop a backlist eBook – it could be City of Brotherly Death, Twilight Healer, or one of her Night to Dawn magazines, and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $15.00 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks, winner's choice. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Balloon Author’s View: Inside / Outside
Most people envision my interior world filled with zombies, revenants, and other monsters. When I’m not working my day job, people assume, I’m kicking zombie ass the way Alexis does in Steel Rose. Well, I haven’t met any zombies lately, but I live near a cemetery with a setting much like the kind I use in Steel Rose and other tales. Skeletal trees, leavings from the dead of winter, and snow-crusted grass surround each tombstone. The dusky sky whispers rumors of another snowstorm. For months, I’ve made it my business to avoid the cemetery, especially after the storm Sandy. The heavy rain from Sandy washed up a bunch of caskets, as you can see in the illustration below. I kept thinking that the lids would open and spill out their contents. People looking many days dead had unfinished business to settle. Brrrrr. No wonder I hate winter.

The lids never opened, and the officers reburied all the caskets, but the imagination can be an overwhelming tool. Thankfully, the brightly colored Mylar balloons in my home offer a sanctuary from such ugliness. In my office, a Mylar monkey stands over me as I type, supervising me and making sure I don’t lose focus. A bouquet of colorful balloons perches on the bookcase, minding their business. The bookcase has handy dandy reference books, though I do most of my research online. My desk is messy. I mean downright cluttered, so much that I didn’t feel comfortable including a picture. I can’t explain why, but sometimes I can make better sense out of the disorder.  

Moving right along to the living room, where I work off my laptop, a rose balloon shape reclines on my sofa, smiling at me as she pleases. A balloon tree marks the entrance to the bathroom. Another Mylar bouquet with butterflies stands on the bookcase behind me. Standing and watching, ready to bop me on the head if I daydream or fall asleep on the job (yes, this has really happened!)

How many balloons does that make? I’d say fifty.

I’ve got two more bookcases in the living room, filled with novels. Writers like Stephen King and Jonathan Maberry dominate my shelves. Why? They’re masters at horror, and it behooves any writer to read fiction by other authors to get a sense of the craft before trying it themselves. My floral footstool serves as a prop for the Night to Dawn magazines slated to go out in the mail. I’ve mailed out quite a few NTD issue 23 magazines, and I hope to have them finished by the time my blog goes live. The reviews are looking good for NTD.

Does Steel Rose have cemeteries with zombies and rooms filled with Mylar balloons? Well let’s put it this way. Does God make little green apples? Does it snow in Pennsylvania during the winter time? So what is your view from your author’s desk? Do you shade your book to the setting of your office the way I did? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

About the Author: Barbara lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works full time as a respiratory therapist. When she’s not working with her patients, she’s enjoying a fright flick or working on horror and science fiction tales. Her short stories have appeared in numerous small press magazines. She’s published Night to Dawn magazine since 2004.

Other books by Barbara include Twilight Healer and City of Brotherly Death. She’s also coauthored Alien Worlds and Starship Invasions with Tom Johnson. She enjoys bringing her medical background to the printed page, and then blending it with supernatural horror. She maintains a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and The Writers Coffeehouse forum. Look for the photos with the Mylar balloons, and you’ll find her.

To contact her, e-mail her at

Visit her at:

Sometimes they come back. At least the Kryszka aliens do. Their leader injects captured humans with a drug, turning them into zombies. Yeron escapes the Kryszka colony, hoping to practice medicine on the humans that fear him. Alexis, a patient, is afraid, too, until his seductive attentions arouse her. Despite his experimental drug, severe arthritis leaves her too weak to handle most guns. The Kryszka troops and zombies who break into the hospital are hungry. Very hungry. How will she fight them?


Thank you for hosting
Popple said…
Thank you for posting my blog. The showcasing was great. However I have a small confession. I'd underestimated the number of balloons I had. As of the last count, I've got 68 Mylar balloons.
Andra Lyn said…
It's cool that you've incorporated so much of your actual life into your story. I can't believe you have so many balloons!!! I think I would go crazy! You could get lost in all that lol

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com
Emily said…
Wow, that's crazy. I can't imagine having that many balloons. I love the description of your writing space, it sounds very creative and unique, important qualities that go in to writing. Thanks for sharing!