Tag Archives: Author

The Horror!

This may be blasphemy to the Horror genre, but I hate what it is anymore. The classical horror of the Victorian era let the imagination of the reader fill in the blanks allowing for more “horror” than bombarding people with gore. Yes, I know, death is a part of the genre, but in recent decades, death and gore isn’t a consequence, but the point of the story instead. In fact, story takes a back seat to gore and death for much of horror. I would like to challenge people to see the beauty in classical horror.

The setting is a rarely traveled part of the world, perhaps the woods, and there is either a killer or monster lurking. Unfortunately, a group of stupid college students go in that region and get picked off one by one in terrible and gruesome ways. This is the sort of thing that passes as horror anymore, with few exceptions. I enjoy tales of werewolves, in fact my upcoming book will include them, but gaining inspiration was pretty challenging because there are very few quality werewolf stories out there.

I enjoy stories that are based around suspense and unknown with supernatural elements. This is what horror used to be. It isn’t just horror that has changed, fantasy has grown darker and grittier. Dark and gritty isn’t inherently, bad but both modern fantasy and horror have grown incredibly cynical in their messages. In horror most of the time everyone dies brutally, life is cheep, and it seems fantasy is adopting that approach as well. Why is that? Storytelling tends to follow cultural trends, have some genre fiction stories gotten darker, horror much earlier than others, due to an increasingly cynical outlook on life? Is it due to changing tastes that accompany an evolving culture? What if storytellers focused on plot and character development over pushing boundaries instead? At this point it is hard to imagine any boundary that hasn’t been pushed anyway, perhaps all of us who craft stories need to examine why we write them and what is their purpose.

Does Anyone Care?

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In case you live in a hole in the ground, you know there was an election.  It was not just an election year, it was a very emotionally charged election year.  I know, every time there is an election there are emotions, but this time things seem much more volatile.  Anyone on social media has seen passionate posts, or maybe you are the one writing them.  We have seen moderates berate both sides, we have seen Trump supporters demonize Hillary, and Hillary supporters insist Trump is the next Hitler.  This post isn’t about my political views, but instead I would like to pose a question.  Does anyone really care about yours or my political views?  Especially when we expound them on social media or in our works as writers?  

Political views stem out of worldviews, and worldviews are how we see everything. The person on the other side of the spectrum sees things very differently (obviously) and most likely will get angry, annoyed, or ignore the post entirely.  Therefore, is there really any point to posting it to begin with?  Yes and no, somethings are worth taking a stand, and there is nothing wrong with sharing one’s thoughts, but things have gotten overboard. There is point in which social media becomes not a place for sharing views but beating down and bullying all who dare think differently.  All sides do this, and now it is saturating our entertainment too.  As a storyteller, I must pull back and analyze just how much sprinkling of my worldview do I need to include in a tale? 

I doubt anyone changed their beliefs based on a Facebook or Twitter post.  This is coming from someone who has done this before as well.  I feel passionate about something, and five years ago I was much more idealistic and even sought out “discussions” with those who believe differently.  You know what that accomplished?  Nothing.  My mind wasn’t changed; the other person’s mind didn’t change.  Ultimately all it did was cause tension, anger, and for both sides to end up grossly misrepresenting our sides due to elevated emotions.  That is the natural conclusion for such things.  Now, I’m not saying politics or religion should never be discussed.  They should be, but I’m specifically addressing the plastering these views all over social media obsessively, or going out of your way to argue with strangers on the internet.

The only ones that care about these posts are the ones who already agree with you.  If you then are speaking to only those who agree with you anyway, why do it?  If you are doing it to convince others that their beliefs are wrong and evil then it may seem noble, but again that isn’t how people come to different conclusions.  The only way to influence another person’s perspective is to empathize with them and their views, and to care about them as people.

It is human nature to get passionate about something and share it with the world, and somethings are worth fighting for and taking a stand.  That is where discernment comes in, something which has been sorely lacking these past couple years.

As a writer, I find this fascinating.  I see people’s true beliefs and worldviews coming through since the election.  It is excellent fuel for characters.  So many people take to the internet to state their views over and over and the only ones who listen are those who already agree.   Personally, I don’t put much faith in any one politician, especially right now.  It is interesting seeing those who are so emotionally invested in ideology that they alienate and even create divides within their own families.  Reality is the greatest inspiration for fiction.  Immense loyalty to ideologies, for good or bad, makes for compelling characterization.  Although, the all-too-common “think like me or you are evil,” thinking that is emerging isn’t helpful for real world relationships.  Even if the person really is right.  Throughout this I can say one thing, at least it is dripping with inspiration.

What I’ve Been Writing


A couple weeks ago I finished a manuscript. It is a story based on a dream my wife had and thought it would make for an interesting novel. It was a fun tale to write and when the time gets closer to publishing it, I will release more details.

After editing the next book in the Goandria series I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write next. I decided I would write the final Goandria installment along side a different book.

I had an idea for a thriller. There is a race of immortals who subjugate the mortals and completely remake the world. That is the basis of the story I have so far. I managed to write 2000 words as a starting point so far, but many of the details need to be worked out to make a compelling story.

Character Actions Are Not an Endorsement of Behavior

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Characters are meant to be living entities in and of themselves.  They can act in ways both better and worse than the writer crafting their stories.

A writer may not be for thievery but may write about a thief, and the same can be said about any sort of immoral or deviant behavior.  The behavior of characters does not necessarily reflect the author’s own morality.  We live in a world where there are evil, careless, and self-centered people, and people simply have bad days and do things they regret.

My books are generally “clean” and family oriented because that is my target audience.  I also don’t believe in having over the top content for the sake of shock and awe.  With that said, I do see adding contented for the sake of being true to the character that might be unsavory.

As a writer and an artist, I don’t believe in censorship and stand firm that the author should be true to the character’s personality.  That may even include things that make the author or audience uncomfortable.  That said, the creator should also place some boundaries, there are certain things that are best left out of entertainment.  If there is a gory death, it is best to left it to the imagination instead, or implying it rather than directly giving an overly detailed description.  I have read scenes in books or movie descriptions out of curiosity that were stomach churning, the author should limit him or herself because there are certain things that are unnecessary.

Now, with that painfully obvious disclaimer out of the way, author’s including immoral behavior in a story doesn’t reflect the writer’s personal beliefs, at least not in a well-crafted storyline. Within the context of being sensitive to our audience, a writer is obligated to be true to the character.

Unknown World

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The orange and green sphere gradually enlarged before the woman’s cockpit.  She pulled down on the throttle, and the whine of the engines subsided to a barely audible din. “There it is, finally,” she breathed, shifting in her seat. “Hopefully the air is breathable, I need to stretch my legs.”  The triangular wing of her craft reflected the nearby star’s light, into her face.  The woman raised her hand to shield her eyes while she arced her vehicle so the light wasn’t as much of a problem.

“That has to be a body of water,” she changed the direction the craft was heading again toward a blue-green stain on the sphere.  The star ship’s pointed nose arced down through the atmosphere, flames licked the black shiny hull of the vehicle, the woman eyed the orange and red tongues, but her face remained unchanged.  “Just a little further,” she whispered as the ship started to rattle violently, fire now filled the view port’s exterior.  The woman pressed a series of small buttons on the left control panel before her and a blue mist sprayed the exterior of the viewport and the flames died down enough for her to loose a short sigh.

The pilot set the ship down at the edge of the lake.  Its green liquid sloshed against dark gray, nearly black sand. She unbuckled the seat harness and depressed a glowing button five feet down from the cockpit, placing a breath mask over her face.  The woman unclipped a white, thin, square, device with a five-inch glass screen.  She pressed a button on the side and the device lit up.  “At least the air isn’t toxic, but it’s barely thick enough to breath,” she said, removing the mask. “But the water isn’t really water, great.”  The woman then pulled out some thick gloves from her pocket and put them on.

Even being on the day side of the planet, three moons were still clearly seen in the sky, one of which was a deep, rust red, giving an eerie glow in the already yellow-tinted atmosphere.  She walked to the edge of the liquid body, holding her instrument in front of her. “Water, methane, and an unknown substance,” she read off the readings that showed up on her device. “That isn’t exactly what I was hoping for, oh well, I guess it’s time to leave.”

There was a ripple in the water, the woman stared, watching, waiting, then as she was about to turn there was another, this time larger than the last. “I’m not sticking around to find out what caused that,” she uttered, running back to the ship.  Before she could arrive at the vessel, a loud growling, howl echoed.  The astronaut spun around, and saw it.  A black mass, with four clawed legs, propelled it out of the water.  The alien creature’s body reminded the astronaut of a slug or worm, it was long and segmented, yet looked like it had armored plates haphazardly stitched to its sides, reminding her of a patchwork amateurish art.  The alien’s face was a canine-like snout with rows of square teeth that looked like hatchets protruding from its gums.  Seven spines awkwardly poked up from its spine and the tips bent slightly before ending in a blunt end.  She withdrew a small laser pistol, knowing the weapon was unlikely to do much to defend herself.  The astronaut fired her weapon, and the bolt struck the creature in the side, it howled in pain, and charged at her.

Realizing shooting the alien beast wasn’t a wise idea, she dove to the side, just before the creature was about to trample over her.  The alien now stood between her and the ship. “Don’t’ step backward and damage my hull, I don’t want to be stranded here,” the woman shouted as if the beast could understand her.

She fired off a few more shots, and the creature lumbered toward her, swiping at a tree-like plant that reminded her a little of celery. The plant crashed down, causing a crevice in the soft ground, but fortunately it missed the astronaut and her craft.  The woman pulled the trigger three more times, aiming for the alien’s head, two missed and the last one hit it in the snout.  The beast stared her down then leapt up and its hook claws tore through her suit, blood dribbled down her arm.  She pulled the trigger on her weapon again, but nothing happened, a soft beep sounded from her weapon noting the charge was low.  She holstered the pistol, eyes darting around, looking for a suitable weapon of some kind.  There was nothing, save for a few rocks which would hardly work to defend herself.  She gritted her teeth together, grabbed the heaviest rock she could find and hurled it at the alien.  The rock thudded into the ground, completely missing the target.  Unsurprised, but grateful the distraction the rock provides, she bolted for the ship, opened the door and quickly sealed herself inside before the thing outside knew what happened.  It screamed and hollered in anger, madly searching for her, but its cries were answered by the roar of the ship’s engines.

She pressed a series of buttons and grabbed the craft’s yolk, blasting off to the safety of space leaving the creature behind confused and upset.

Shadows and Fire


They say a lot of things about this place. Things only the irrational and superstitious would believe. It is a forest, and forests often conjure fear in the uneducated, or so I thought. It is easy to dismiss other people’s experiences with the unknown when you haven’t seen what they have. Until now, I never believed in anything I couldn’t see or touch. I thought everything that exists would one day become knowable, that it was only a matter of time. I used to not believe in true good or evil. They were mere constructs of human cultures, and ultimately the human mind. There is an evil here. The first thing I saw, as many others have reported, was a dark shadowy mass.
Knowing the brain is very capable of conjuring phantoms that aren’t real, I ignored it and continued along the hiking trail. Tall spruce and white pines grew beside me, and the nearly-full moon shone, adding to the eerie, Halloween-like atmosphere. Yet, it was Spring and All Hallows Eve wasn’t even close. Since things were feeling spooky, when I saw the shadow-mass run across the trail, I told myself it wasn’t real. The mood of the evening was playing tricks on my mind, tapping into the primal fear that still remains in all of us.

I decided it was late and probably time to make a fire for warmth, and I hoped to eventually fall asleep next to it. The forest grew colder by the minute, and goosebumps ran down my body. I grabbed some tinder and kindling, along with a few small logs, and piled them up to make a fire. Once the fire was lit, I held my hands over the flames. I felt as if thousands of unfriendly eyes were watching me, but there was nothing there. Again, I told myself I was being paranoid and silly as I stirred the fire some more. The flames started dying down more than I liked, so I got up to gather some more wood. Armed with a hatchet, I set out. My heart raced as I hastily searched the nearby woods for something dry and large enough to keep the hungry flames fed for a while. There were a few big branches on the ground that looked like they would suffice, and after several hits, the wood was in short enough chunks for my fire.

Beside me there was a rush and leaves crushing beneath something. Thinking it was probably a deer or something, I paid it no mind, but then whatever it was let out a terrible gurgling growl. I tripped over my feet, gazing into the wilderness. I didn’t see anything, so I gathered my wood and ran back to my fire. The flames came to life upon receiving the parched logs. I threw in a handful of leaves for fun, but as the fire grew, more shadows began to dash back and forth overhead, no longer bothering to conceal themselves. Terrible screeching and hissing echoed around me. I felt surrounded and unsure of myself. Should I run? Should I stay by the fire? Either decision was really no decision at all, so I stayed and waited, hoping the shadows of fear would pass. Instead they multiplied, blacking out the stars and moon in the sky. Hideous low-pitched laughter came from some, while others vocalized animalistic sounds. It was strange and terrifying at the same time, mostly because I didn’t know what these shadows were or what they wanted.

I kept my head angled upward, huddled as close to the fire as I safely could, watching those things. Then, I saw an army of them amassing before me, taking vague shapes of people while still retaining their black, non-corporeal appearance. I knew that was time to leave. Not bothering to douse the fire, I grabbed my hatchet and flew through the forest as quickly as I could. To my left there was a loud “snap,” and a tree toppled over. Distant laugher echoed, sending chills down my spine. Indescribable sounds were everywhere. I kept running, not even sure where, because I had already lost my way, but that didn’t matter in the moment. Getting away from those things that haunted the woods was the only thing I cared about. It was around the time that I realized I was lost that I also remembered the campfire I made was still burning. I slowed enough to safely check behind me. The faint light in the distance told me the fire was still contained, and for a moment I was torn between putting out the flames and continuing to run. My internal debate didn’t last long. I don’t know how long I ran, but the forest thinned, and I saw a town in the distance: my town. The ghastly beings that tormented me were gone and the forest was still and silent. Then the wind returned, and the soothing chirping of crickets made me wonder if anything I just experienced was real, but I know that it was, despite what I wanted to believe.