David’s Haunted Library: Writers On Writing Volumes 1-4

David's Haunted Library

writers-on-writing-omnibus-193x3002xHave you ever thought about being a writer? There are lots of places where you can go to get advice on writing. You could take classes, buy books on the subject or find websites dedicated to the craft of writing. With all the different places to go for information, it may be hard to find what works best. That being said, the best place to go for advice is to authors that have already been published. Writers on Writing Volume 1 – 4 Omnibus: An Author’s Guide from Crystal Lake Publishing is a great resource for newbie writers.

Some of the subjects covered in this book include how you can learn from rejection, making time for writing, character building, finding your voice, how to network, what to expect from writing your first novel and much more. In Brian Hodge’s article, The Infrastructure Of The Gods he gives tips on getting started. Such as getting rid of distractions like turning off your wi-fi and remembering that instant gratification is not something you get from writing a novel. Brian also gives good advice on never giving up because new authors are always breaking through into the mainstream.

Another one I liked was What Right Do I Have To Write by Jasper Bark. Jasper talks about how the circumstances are never right for writing. There are always excuses not to do it but the only thing you can do is make the time and let nothing get in your way. I also like how he shoots down the fantasy that writing is a dream job. He says its fun sometimes but you are working under nightmare conditions, you may spend up to a year completing your first work and even the pros laugh at the idea that writing is a dream job.

One beneficial article in this collection is Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker. I would  have thought that finding your voice would come natural but in reality it takes awhile. Lynda mentions that it took a long time for her to create a voice that wasn’t an imitation of another author’s voice. She then states that finding your voice is the same as finding your identity. The way to find it is by realizing you have something to say and what you think is important. One thing I learned here is that there are several important aspects to writing.

Even if you’re not a writer and read this book you can get a lot out of it, such as a whole new respect for writing as an art form . My favorite part of this book was entitled A First-Time Novelist’s Odyssey by William Gorman. William takes you all through his five-year journey in writing his novel from doing research, living with the characters in your head, and getting their story just right. He talks about the struggle to find his voice and the massive amounts of revisions before the book was finally published. Writing maybe the most complex art form there is and Writers On Writing is a book that can help you on the path to being a better writer and possibly getting published too.

http://www.crystallakepub.com/

 

You Have To Make Up Your Mind

SerialScribbler

As a publisher, I see this every day. People making excuses for not writing.

“I’m very busy.”
“I have kids.”
“I have a full-time job and go to school.

Stop.

No, seriously. Stop. If you have time to post status updates, and catch up on DVR’ed shows and/or movies, you have time to write. I challenge you today to find out how many minutes you spend posting, typing statuses and how many words you’ve typed in the Facebook (or other social media) vortex.

Is that number over ten? You have time.

Are you watching at least one show a night? You have time to write.

Are you vegging out doing nothing for thirty minutes a night? You have time to write.

The real question is, “Is writing a priority to you?”  That’s where you need to make up your mind. Writing takes hard work, dedication, and commitment. There’s no boss over your head most of the time making sure you’re not slacking off. You have to be in it, every spare moment that you have. If you can DVR a show and catch up with it at night or for a few hours on the weekend, you have time to commit, you just aren’t doing so.

If you sit down to write and someone can talk you out of it, you’re not committed to it. They don’t believe it’s a priority because you haven’t set the standard or the boundaries.

Writers that are serious about their craft do not allow interruptions. Friends and family will learn that it’s “Do Not Disturb” time and eventually, you will have time to write.

Recently, with my publishing company we held a meeting and discussed what our slogan for the month would be. We chose, “Are you all in?”

Well, are you?

KIDNAPPED BLOG: Released by Selah Janel

halogokidnappednotdateby Selah Janel

For me, a horror story begins as a what if. I like to suspend belief when I plunge my characters into a situation, and this also tends to keep me from uber-focusing on only one style or subgenre in horror and dark fiction. I’m just as open to writing evil invisible friends that can end the world as I am vampires, zombies, fairy tale eldergods, or naïve serial killers looking for love.

As you can imagine, my family is very proud.

However, sometime’s it’s hard to jump start an idea, or even find the right way to portray it to get it started on paper.

Flash fiction has always been a challenge for me, but I love writing prompts because they tend to immediately activate the what if portion of my brain. If I have a couple words or a phrase, I’m much more likely to start jotting down something than I am if you tell me “write something scary!”

You do that, you’ll probably get something sarcastic about bunnies, just sayin’.

At any rate, once I have a direction, the rest tends to just…pour out.

This is a classic example. I was taking part in a blogging campaign right when I first started my blog, and there were flash fiction contests every so often. I think the prompt for this was “wall” and I had like five hundred words or so to tell a tale. I love little moments like this, and I still really like this piece. It’s amazing what can come out of a person’s brain in five hundred words one you’re given a direction.

Released

Shadows crept along the wall as velvet grey fingers seared right through the mortar between crumbling bricks. The longer Morgana stared, the more her suspicions were reinforced. The crawling, skittering veins and puddles of effervescent nightmares were not attacking the wall, but were coming from it.

“I stared too long,” she murmured, as if to convince her terrified logic that she was still alive. “I looked too closely and saw into The Wall. Somehow it saw me.” Past scrawled orange graffiti, under the brick, Morgana had seen it. And it had been trapped safely away, because it was evil.

She’d been warned to ignore the Cobbington Village Wall. No one remembered when or why it had been built across Shepherd’s Field, but the entire village population was content to let the whole place fall to neglect if it meant they could ignore The Wall.

“I just had to go for a walk,” Morgana whimpered, unable to move or even blink away from the skulking, oozing touches of the vile nothing that leaked out. “I just had to listen to the talk shows and change things up a bit. I couldn’t just be content watching a movie, eating dinner on my own, and falling asleep on the couch.” What had seemed a horrible prison sentence even thirty minutes ago was suddenly heaven; why had she been so stupid as to long for more than her humdrum, cashier, sweat-suit life?

The black entity that The Wall had held captive for so long oozed and splatted onto the grass. It sucked the life and color away as it claimed the good and simple of everyday life into its clutches. Morgana watched numbly as the ground, the air, the ants at her feet screamed and shriveled into grey nothing. “All I wanted was something different!” she stammered as the tendrils crept towards her toes. “Why did I have to go outside today?”

The rippling darkness chuckled and slowly flowed over her feet like spilled porridge, devouring her beat-up sneakers in its cold, blank grasp. She choked back a cry when the slimy ice feeling gripped her ankles.

“This is better,” the living tar streaming over her feet burbled into her mind. “They tried to hold me back for so long…now I’ll use you to return to Cobbington. We’ll both break free from the village, you and I.” Morgana tried to scream, but the horrible realization that at least her life would finally be interesting actually made her smile as her thoughts stopped becoming her own. For its part, the darkness growled its thanks before everything Morgana knew faded.

***

Selah Janel writes in many genres and wrecks them all. When she’s not writing, she’s making trolls and other costumes. Check her out at the following places:

Blog: http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

KIDNAPPED BLOG: Echoes in Purgatory by Alex S. Johnson

halogokidnappednotdate

Echoes in Purgatory

by Alex S. Johnson

Her face swims in front of him. Curly red hair, green eyes, a concerned expression. In the next second she will touch his hand and it will all come back.

Every scarlet detail.

He wonders if she’s actually there with him, or just a projection of his subconscious. Whatever that might refer to here, in this unstable realm.

Shane knows what the priest would have called it, in Catechism classes. Purgatory. Limbo. The place in between.

Or just some extremely fucked up remake of Groundhog Day.

It amazes him that he’s held on to his sense of humor. But Shane’s ability to laugh at things that should, by all accounts, pin him to his mattress in the iron grip of depression, or catatonic shock, continues into the afterlife. This hinterland, where the only constants are frustration and despair.

She touches him. He glances up, looks into her eyes. She’s about to ask him what’s on his mind.

Honey,  you have no idea.

They’ve been friends since the previous semester, when she rescued him from an awkward moment with his Psychology professor. Which was around the same time he’d seen the flyer on a bulletin board at the Student Union.

Test Subjects Wanted For Clinical Trial.

And there was money attached, not a lot, but sufficient to cover his tuition. They hadn’t renewed his scholarship after his grades slipped at the end of Freshman year. Too much partying and not enough diligence in the library. Since then it had been touch and go, living off credit cards and dreading the prospect of spending the remainder of his professional life paying off the interest. Never mind the principal.

“What’s wrong, Shane?”

“Nothing.”

“Look, we’ve known each other for a while now, and something’s bothering you. Is it the money? Because I can always…”

He headed that one off at the pass. “I can’t, I just can’t. Just be my friend.”

“Of course. That’s a given. But honestly, I can afford it. And it would just be a loan. You can pay me back when you’re able to. I know you will. I trust you.”

The way he’d trusted the men and women in sterile whites. At first he’d been given to understand that the trials were for some kind of new drug, an anti-anxiety medication. But as the weeks passed, the little white paper cups with the tiny red pills gave way to tests. Tests that strained his nerves to the breaking point, induced anxiety rather than dialing it down. They assured him that everything was proper, in order, that they were following strict scientific protocols. But he left the lab feeling like a toy that had been hammered to bits. Or a lab rat that had pressed the wrong lever one too many times. The smell of scorched flesh in his nostrils. His own.

Shane never remembered the sequence of slaughter until he’d been engaged. That was one of the terms they’d used, one of the words that floated around in his head like a dead leaf in a pond. Engaged, or cut into the narrative.

They might just as well have called it being possessed, like the film he’d seen in Cultural Anthropology of the Voodoo Priestess ridden by the Loa. That was what it felt like, a dark imp pressing against his back and shoulders. Razor sharp claws scratching at his skin.

After waving goodbye to Lara he’d dashed across the quad, total tunnel vision, focused on breaking out the weapons cache in the utility cabinet in back of the gym.

Even now he wasn’t sure what the weapons were, just that they fit his hand and he knew how to fire them.

“I trust you too.” He trusted that she would never fully understand why he’d snapped. Neither did he. All he knew was that he’d slung the machine gun around his neck and started in with the pump-action rifle, picking off members of the varsity basketball team before charging into the cafeteria. Then he’d opened up with the machine gun. Shane was just as shocked as the onlookers as the bodies slammed to the floor. As he looked down at his hands, which had never handled anything more dangerous than a slingshot as a kid, briskly slamming off rounds like a professional mercenary.

It was like watching a silent movie after awhile. Deadly quiet, only the noise of his breathing and his thundering heart. Scraps of dialog fluttering by him, around him. The pools of blood spreading on the yellow tile. Sirens. His own voice breaking through, ordering them face-down on the ground. Knowing they would never rise again.

The warmth of her fingers cut him out. He started.

“I’m really worried about you,” Lara said. “You look absolutely exhausted. You really need to start taking better care of yourself.”

In a moment he would jump to his feet and plead some inane excuse. He picked up a single French fry and dabbed it in the ketchup cup. Feeling the surge come on him, fighting it back, hoping somehow that with all his prayers, this moment would be different. With God’s help, he might cut himself out of the narrative entirely. All a bad dream. Waking up in his student apartment with the Bowie posters on the ceiling and the metallic balloons, half-deflated, that bumped about the ten foot square space as a reminder of his drunken homage to Andy Warhol.

“I’ve got to get to my tutorial,” he burst out, looking at his watch as though it were a prop. He slicked his fingers through coal-black hair and regarded Lara with warm brown eyes that now looked black.

“I thought your tutorial was Friday,” she said.

“They changed it around. Look, I’m an absolute idiot at math and I really need to pass this course.”

As he ran across the quad, he looked back and saw her gazing at him through the cafeteria window. Her last sight of him alive.

And he was cut back in. Game on. Behind the walls he saw the green gridlines as they’d flashed to him through the Google glasses, over and over, until they haunted his dreams. Yet until some internal switch clicked, and the clock was running, the grid existed only as a faint flicker at the corners of his eyes, detached from the physical environment of the school, from the trials, from the before and after of his tenure as a lab rat.

Because there was a before and this was definitely an after. It started like a sickness, with Lara’s look of concern, her offer of financial help, wiping off the grease of the meal with a napkin, wadding up the napkin and pushing it into the cup of ketchup, dumping out the red plastic baskets into the trash, Lara half getting up, then sitting back down again, his forcing a smile and a wave as if everything was actually going to be ok, this time.

Shane’s glasses have misted up, but they’re another prop. That morning he’d put on contacts, automatic pilot, as though he wore them every day.

He sheds his t-shirt and dons the bullet-proof vest, puts on the black trenchcoat, slams shut the cabinet door and heads for the gym. His progress is inexorable, his will not his own.

And thus it runs until it stops and begins again, like a tape loop, a film, a memory of the future that slips relentlessly into the past as the past melts into the present.

There would always be echoes in Purgatory.

Always.

HorrorAddicts.net 112, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

ha-tagHorror Addicts Episode# 112

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

writer’s workshop winner | lacuna coil | frankenstein: the true story

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

201 days till halloween

malcolm stewart, jesse orr, kathy bates, misery, stephen king, american horror story, hotel,  addict on the street, the walking dead, talking dead, salem, izombie, dan shaurette, lady gaga, poltergeist, jurassic world, mad max, fury road, unfriended, kbatz, kristin battestella, frankenstein: the true story, horror addicts guide to life, baycon, once upon a scream, laurel anne hill, j malcolm stewart, sumiko saulson, heather roulo, david watson, the undying, ethan reid, zombie, plague, top five, mimielle, makeup, vids, dj pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, werewolves, wisconsin, morbid meals, dan shaurette, berry fool, april fools, free fiction friday, emerian rich, dark soul, dawn wood, music corner, lacuna coil, swamped, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, dead mail, nadine, writing, james, how to get on the show, sandra, zombie movies, scared of the dark, marc vale, advice, horror writer, inspiration, murderer, victim, jesse orr, genesis

 

 

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

Baycon.org

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Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

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Kbatz: Vampires versus…Vampires?

Vampire versus…Vampire?

by Kristin Battestella

book3 200x300So often vampires and werewolves are pitted against each other in the battle of the genre beasties.  However, more often then not, these terror titans work in tandem in fiction and media, creating a broader, richer tug and pull sharing in the horror medium.  My 2008 Eternal Press novel The Vampire Family has a family of vampires that can shape shift and transform into wolves and scary weres- and scary werecats, too.  My follow up series Fate and Fangs: Tales from the Vampire Family serves up vampires who prefer their wolf shapes in Book 3 Struggle. 

While it is easy to have books and ebooks either have all the monster magic together or for readers to find literature specific to vampires and werewolves and all the mixes in the spectrum, films have also scored on the presumed animosity.  The Underworld franchise tells of ancient vampire and werewolf wars- but fans of either creature can get their fill in these features.  Likewise Twilight has made the Team Edward and Team Jacob themes top sellers.  Vampires versus werewolves ideologies are good for business, simply put.  Whether for or against, reluctantly working together or struggling to love or hate one or the other, in the end, vampires and werewolves are good for each other.

Unfortunately, the current subdivision of the vampire genre is getting too divergent for its own good.  The watered down, lovely dovey, youth and glitter love vampire movement spurred by the Twilight craze has helped the vampire literature and media culture just as much as it may have damaged the genre.  Book, television, and movie markets are now flooded with vampire material- all in the same youth, teen romance driven trends.  As knock off begat knock offs, the quality pool has dropped considerably.  People are tired of vampires.  They think horror has been played, and all the sudden the same editors, publishers, and powers that be are now turning on the massive overdrive they helped to create.  Backlash is inevitable.drac_1513745c1

Soon people even forget what came before the glitter vampire.  Readers are afraid to take on another vampire story because ‘they all suck now’.  (No pun intended) The quality vampiric horror gets lumped into the problematic downward glitter spiral.  And when you the writer submits your hard worked, scary horror, medieval furthest thing from contemporary teenage vampire vampire manuscript, what does the publisher tell you?  The worst thing a writer can possibly hear:

No.

And it isn’t just the ‘no’ that is the worst part.  It wasn’t that your story wasn’t well written or not just good enough.  It might be damn decent perfection and fit in just perfectly with what this publisher’s interests are.  But no, it is the fact that the marketing, timing, and overblown played mayhem of that other vampire type has just ruined your publication chances.  Well, doesn’t that just suck? (Pun intended)

So then, you see, the vampires versus werewolves theory is not what hurt your novel’s chances.  Rarely does a publisher say, ‘we already have a werewolf book, so we can’t take your vampire story.’ In fact it is quite the opposite, editors often look for both together to balance out  their catalogue and reader varieties.  They might even prefer books or series dealing with both monsters so they can cross reference all their categories.  How many times have you clicked on a publisher’s store links for both ‘vampire’ and ‘werewolves’ and seen the same books? Quite a bit I suspect.

Now, have you ever seen separate links for ‘vampire horror’ and ‘vampire romance’? The breakdown between the vampire medium is almost nonexistent in appearance, even if those readers and writers and vampires lovers in the know immediately know there is a difference.  How many times have you been in conversation with a fellow vampire lover and they say either ‘oh, that was too scary for me!’ or ‘This vamp was too lovey dovey for me.’  What’s sad is how many times has a reader passed on your book because they like one or the other and dismissed your book as being the wrong vampire type for them.

What then, must a vampire author do to remain relevant in a subgenre at war with itself?  Keep writing damn good copy!  Whichever side of vamps your on- either pure horror or paranormal romance- keep it good.  Keep your universe, characters, and tales true to what the manuscript needs to be its best.  Don’t give in to the mislabeling and trends.  Vampires rise and fall, go underground and subculture or rise up from the dead and reign supreme over media. Not too long ago, everyone wanted exclusively paranormal light and vampire romance, now call outs are returning to pure horror and uniqueness.  Make your creatures of the night stand out from the pack.  Keep them worthy of the hand in hand werewolf antagonism.  Good competition is healthy in fiction, writing, selling books, and reader’s choice.  Write crap copy and no creature wins!

To read more about Kbatz’ vampires, read her contribution to The Great Vampire Dispute.

Mimi A. Williams on Horror Writing

by Mimi A. Williams

Beautiful Monster, the story of a serial killer and his stalking of one of his victims, came about as a way to take a break from other writing projects. I had been mentoring a student of mine, Jared Anderson (Alistair Cross) who’d become a good friend, and we’d spent the better part of six months crafting his first novel. During the same time, I’d been working on two different novels of my own. The idea of working on a book together seemed like a nice way to take a break and share the load.

My initial idea was the story of a medieval priest possessed by a demon and the young girl who falls in love with him. Jared liked the idea of the girl falling in love with the demon, but he wasn’t too keen on writing the historical aspect. We let the idea float around for a bit, brainstorming on other alternatives that kept the same storyline at the core. He had been doing a lot of research on serial killers, a subject that I had a great deal of interest in as well, and we started looking at possible storylines using a young girl who somehow falls for a very evil guy.

We both liked the idea, but we wanted to make absolutely sure the characters were believable. We asked a lot of questions, bouncing back and forth in almost a Socratic method. How does this guy hide openly in society? What does he do that makes him a successful killer? Why would a normal, healthy young woman fall for this guy? What makes her appealing to him as a victim? How will she survive – IF she survives? We would work together to identify character traits, to talk through interactions, and to develop the storyline that looks at each character individually  before bringing them inevitably closer to their fates.

Our process became a comfortable pattern: Jared wrote the first chapter, sent it to me for comments, and then I sent it back and started on chapter two. I’d finish my chapter, send it off for Jared’s comments, and then he would start on chapter three. It took us less than six months to write the book this way. At times, I’d have to stop midway through a chapter to run lines of dialog past Jared that involved his character, and he would do the same with mine.  The day I finished writing the last chapter, I was also helping Jared pack his house to move three states away! As we drove, I read the chapters out loud, and we made corrections as we went along. All the revisions were done living three states away from each other.  We sent copies off to a few trusted beta readers, and with their feedback, we would coordinate on Skype to make the necessary changes. I was in charge of sending out the queries, but it was Jared who came across Damnation Books, the publisher who ultimately accepted our manuscript.

I’ve coauthored one other book, an adult nonfiction that is now out of print, and Jared has coauthored a few others with Tamara Thorne (under the name Alistair Cross). There are some very important considerations when choosing whether or not to collaborate with another writer. First, you’d better have a strong foundation to your friendship and a really good sense of humor, because it’s guaranteed to get stressful as you go along. Another consideration is being able to compromise. If you want your book to be your way, then do it by yourself. Jared brought some exceptionally good ideas to the table. He wrote an amazing character who is two parts evil, one part charm, one part utter psychopath. He put some aspects of the book in place that I would never have considered, and it is stronger as a result. If I hadn’t been willing to listen to his suggestions and apply them, the book wouldn’t have been as powerful as it is. I become a stronger, more diverse writer as a result of this process, and I’m proud to this day of the result.

Will I ever collaborate again? I don’t know. It would take the right person, the right situation, and the right story for me to consider it. It was the perfect storm for Beautiful Monster, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get that lucky again. But, stranger things have been known to happen!

****************

YumMimi A. Williams is the coauthor of Beautiful Monster, a novel about a charming serial killer and his innocent victim. She has also had a variety of short stories published, including “Rita” in the Axes of Evil 1 anthology, “The Groupie” in the Axes of Evil 2 anthology, and “The Lamb on the Tombstone” in the Old Scratch and Owl Hoots anthology (coming in 2015). Mimi holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and she has taught college English and Creative Writing for 18 years. When it comes to horror, Mimi loves old school: Edgar Allen Poe, the original “Halloween” movie, and the classics with Bella Lugosi, Lon Cheney, and Boris Karloff. Despite her love of horror and all things dark and scary, she is actually a very sweet person who loves her pets (three kitties and a dog) and her adorable grandson. https://www.facebook.com/m.a.williams.1214