Close to home…

Wow. In a recent post about Stephen King’s work, someone mentioned The Dark Half, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t read that in a very long time.

It also occurred to me that, now that I’ve begun writing, it might be a good idea to read it again. I didn’t get very far into the book before coming across a couple quotes that resonated with me:

“The idea of a pseudonym had this funny draw for me. It felt free, somehow—like a secret escape hatch, if you see what I mean. “But there was something else, too. Something that’s very hard to explain.”

“Thinking about writing under a pseudonym was like thinking about being invisible,” he finally says almost hesitantly. “The more I played with the idea, the more I felt that I would be . . . well . . . reinventing myself.”

Is it exactly the same? No, not quite…there’s more to it, at least for me, but there’s enough that I can agree with there, that’s for damned sure.

One thing I can anticipate now…when I see a lot of birds on phone lines, roofs, whatever, I’ve always thought of Hitchcock, and The Birds.

Now? Well, I might just think the sparrows are flying again.

The-sparrows-are-flying-again

Truth is stranger then fiction…

OK, let’s be honest here…it’s critical to what happened, after all.

We fart. We have bodies that produce gas, based on what we eat, and that gas makes its way out. It sometimes just makes noise, and it sometimes carries a revolting payload, causing all around us to react. It is what it is.

My wife and I joke all the time about how the little “poof” (hereafter referred to as “a little bloob”) carries a far more potent payload than the loud, tearing leather sound varieties do.

One day, the “What If?” engine kicked in, and I wrote a short story titled “Just A Little Bloob” as a lark, and I found it to be pretty funny. I was browsing the Horror Tree site one day, and they were soliciting stories as a means of paying it back for the helpful leads and calls for submissions they provide.

What the hell…I just finished this story, let’s send it along as “dark humor”. They’re never going to want to post it.

Well, turns out they do…I just signed the contract and returned it to Stuart and Stephanie, the Horror Tree editors for inclusion in the Trembling With Fear section of the web site, and possible inclusion later on in an anthology.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction…so be careful with those tacos!

Belly up to the Buffet!

October. The air is crisp and dry, the leaves changing to rich, vibrant color, the aroma of baking riding the cool breezes…

And Halloween. No, we can’t forget Halloween.

TV stations are broadcasting classic horror films all month long, new releases in print and film are arriving weekly, and the kiddies are getting excited in anticipation of all that candy.

To a horror writer, October is a virtual buffet of horror, a time to feed the Muse, to allow the Muse to gorge itself on endless helpings of fright, terror, and despair. This is the fuel from which our new ideas will come moving forward, and it’s in our best interests to keep that Muse well fed.

Belly up….

buffet

One picture…

is worth a thousand words, they say. Well, maybe not always.

For example, I came across this photo the other day. I don’t even recall where or how I came across it, but I found it so perfectly repulsive and grotesque…well, see what you think:

tumor eye

And, the ideas came so fast, I had to rush to keep up with them. As it turns out, “Tumor” weighs in at 1,650 lean words, and it is (in my admittedly biased opinion) a compelling fast drop through a portal to Hell on Earth…

Sleep well…

Inspiring…

Last night, my wife and I attended the Boston area stop on Stephen and Owen King’s book tour for their new novel, “Sleeping Beauties”.

I’ve been a Constant Reader for some 41 years now, and seeing him live was a rare treat, but listening to him speak was inspiring, especially when he spoke about writing. I generally spend half of any event with my camera in front of my face, but not last night.

I sat transfixed, paying rapt attention to what he and Owen had to say, realizing I was learning valuable, hard earned advice from them, and intend to make good use of it in my own work.

Well, that is, after I finish reading “Sleeping Beauties”…

DSC02434

Follow the leader…

When the ideas come, I don’t evaluate them, overthink them, or put them aside. No, I get my ass in gear and capture them as soon as I can, before they fade back into the mist.

Example. This idea just popped into my head:

“Have you ever noticed the foul, almost rancid odor of money? Not so much fresh from the mint, but once it’s been in circulation through all those hands…”

“Shut up, and open the damned safe,” the voice behind him growled, pressing the barrel of the gun against the back of his head, “or the next thing you smell will be your fucking brains on their way out.”

Now, if I’d have judged this idea, I’d likely have discarded it, because it’s not a “horror idea”. That would have been a bad choice…as I began typing the part that follows, I found that the safe has a secret compartment, containing a…well, trust me. The non horror idea is migrating comfortably into classic horror.

All I have to do is follow the story to see where it takes me…

Edit, three days later…

So, not a horror idea, eh? Let’s see who this is progressing…

Edward pressed the side of what appeared to be a shelf support, and the bottom of the safe popped up in front, revealing a compartment in the false bottom. He lifted it up and sighed deeply as he saw the manuscript safely in place.

He ran his fingers lightly, almost reverently across the obscene cover, purported to be human flesh. The money can be replaced, but this…he’d spent more than half a lifetime seeking the actual print, and had this safe made specifically to protect it. He pressed the bottom back down, the reassuring clicks confirming the cover had locked back in place.

Unlike Lovecraft’s fictional Necronomicon, this tome had no title, and the few in the world that knew of its existence referred to it as Divinitatem Tenebris, Latin for Dark Divinity. As far as he’d been able to learn, this manuscript was the only one ever produced, handwritten in blood, bound in flesh, and older than man.

Yeah…when the ideas come in, you never ignore them. “Dark Divinity” is the new tale spawned from this “non horror”idea…

Out of the blue…

While sipping coffee and reading this morning, a simple three word phrase came up, and the idea sparked immediately. I began typing right away, to capture the gist of it, and then worked it this afternoon.

Imagine watching someone die of fright, right before your eyes, after muttering “scarydeadthings“… and then seeing moving shadows in the empty room behind you, reflected in his open, unseeing eyes.

“Scary Dead Things”. New addition to the fold.

dead eye 2

Sleep well…

Location, location, location…

I’ve been re-reading “IT” again, now that I’ve seen the new movie, and my new perspective as one who writes fiction brought a hard truth to light…I can’t use drains or sewers in any of my work now.

I mean, think about it. What can be said about a sewer or a drain that Stephen King hasn’t already said with far greater skill than I can bring to the party?

Well…at least I still have a workbench and hand tools…

“Catherine was unable to feel the hard wooden workbench that William roughly dropped her on in the basement, unable to see him pick up the hacksaw, but when he began sawing through her shoulder to remove her arm, the pain flared brightly, despite her inability to do anything but lie still.”

Yeah…I still have those…(but a sewer would be nice too)

Positively Impressed…

I was very impressed with “IT”, so much so that it led me to re-read the novel again.

Not so much to validate the film’s accuracy (which it handled faithfully), but rather to speculate at how they might handle Chapter 2, when the adult Losers return to Derry and face IT again.

And, let’s be honest…to be drawn so completely into a novel that the real word fades like a decades old Instamatic photo is so enjoyable and immersive that a novel capable of that deserves a revisit.

No spoilers here, just my sincere encouragement to anyone who reads this blog to GO and SEE this film. It’s well worth the big screen experience, even if you do plan to get the Blu-Ray once it becomes available…yes, like me.

Now, go and float…

New Penny