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Inkshares 2017 Horror Contest: Local author currently in first place of world-wide competition for book publishing

Local author, Michael Welch currently holds first place in the world-wide 2017 Inkshares Horror Contest. Inkshares, based in Oakland, California, is a “reader-driven publisher and producer.” Published books are selected not by a group of editors, but by readers worldwide. According to their website, past authors have received starred reviews and been featured on the front page of The New York Times, on the front tables of Barnes & Noble and hundreds of independents nationwide, and have authors’ whose works are currently being adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriters at the biggest studios and networks. The top three books are guaranteed to be published. Winning authors may also have opportunities to “develop their work into other media such as movies, television, and digital productions.”

Michael, a WNY native currently residing in Newfane, reached out to Buffalo Rising to offer our readers an exclusive look at his new work, “The Vampire and the Dragon (PrOOF vol. 1)” which is  part of a planned trilogy.  The novel is for adults (18+) and readers should be warned that it includes coarse language, light sexuality, and bloody violence. Plot points throughout the book take place in WNY.

Q&A with Author, Michael Welch:

J: When did you start writing? What interested you in becoming an author? 

M: I’ve been writing nearly non-stop since I was 12 or 13 years old. I was a voracious book and comic reader as a kid. I started out with short stories, then moved to poetry through my 20’s and 30’s. I finally landed the ambition to try a novel around 40. I tend to cast myself, or facets of myself, as my main character, since that’s the thing I relate the most to. So most of my work is going to feature a middle-aged, sarcastic every-man who has to sort of punch his way out of a situation that he may or may not have gotten himself into. That’s pretty much my personal narrative right there, and most things I come up with are variations on that theme.

J: I’m a big fan of the horror and mystery genre. What draws you to the horror narrative? 

M: Poe in particular drew me into the Horror genre, followed by Stephen King, and a pair of wonderful 80’s authors John Skipp and Craig Spector. I was more of a Godzilla fan than Dracula when it came to horror movies, but when putting pen to paper, you realize as a writer that nobody really wants to know the motivations and inner monologue of a building sized rampaging monster. Although doing just that might be a great story, I suppose. But we can all relate to monsters since they touch on multiple levels of our consciousness; Zombies – brainless, sheep-like populaces, Vampires – emotionally draining relationships, Werewolves – unleashing the pent up anger we have, etc. That’s what keeps Horror popular, so long as there are writers who come up with compelling characters to either fight against or actually *be* these creatures.

J: Why did you choose to use publishing site like Inkshares?

M: Felicia Day, of whom I’m a huge fan, sent an email to her fan base about a book there – I want to say it was Dracula vs Hitler, and the rest is history. The best way to describe the model is ‘crowdfunding for authors’, but it’s really more like a support group – authors helping authors – because the most supportive folks I’ve found through this process (outside of relatives/family) have been my fellow authors there. When I think about it – you’re there to get your project published, so these other people are competing directly against you. But you all share this dream of being published authors, so more often than not, empathy and altruism rule the day. The trick is attracting the folks who don’t have their own project sitting on the site.


The Vampire and the Dragon – PrOOF vol. 1

What is PrOOF? As our Vampire hero finds out early in the story, PrOOF is the Government agency for the Preservation Of Occult Figures. They track, study and ostensibly protect Occult beings; Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Psychics, etc.

Stephen Duncan is a regular working-class Vampire. He wants nothing more than to eke out a living so he can make his rent and pay butchers to keep him in pig’s blood. Stephen hasn’t attacked a human for decades, but his visit from agents of PrOOF has him starting to reconsider his peaceful ways once they coerce him into undertaking their mission: to electronically tag a dragon in Canadian province of Nunavut.

Moving from the bustle of New York City to the cold, unforgiving Arctic and finally to the shores of Lake Ontario in Western NY, Stephen’s journey will force him to run the gamut from victim to killer, from patsy to potential hero, and to finally confront his true nature as a Vampire.

Plus…there’s a dragon! Seriously!

Click here for an exclusive look.
The novel is for adults (18+) and readers should be warned that it includes coarse language, light sexuality, and bloody violence.

The 2017 Horror Contest is open now through October 31st, 2017.

To pre-order a copy of the book, click here. To learn more about the 2017 Horror Contest, click here.

Cover art designed and executed by Sarah Humphrey of Champion Graphics in Wilson, NY (

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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