The Next Great Horror Writer Contest

As of yesterday, I have been chosen as 1 of the lucky 14 contestants in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest! This will be a competition that lasts through October ’17. It will be a system where contestants are assigned a topic, theme, ect, to write about, and upon submitting their piece, will be awarded x amount of points from the handful of judges. At the end of the competition, the one with the highest score, wins.

I’m thankful and pretty excited to be a part of this. There’s only one way to win – by being the Next Great Horror Writer.

I’ll give it my best, and let my stories speak for themselves. At the end, only the judges can judge me (and you too, Reader ^_^).

The first assignment will be March 20th. My piece must be submitted two weeks after that. Time to write my ass off!

While you’re waiting for the first pieces to come in, head on over to their website at horroraddicts.net

They have plenty of treats for all your Horror Addict needs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Mt. Rushmore had 4 Horror author faces…

To say one author is better than another is merely about what YOU like better. You could make an argument that one author is better than another. Let’s say author x lacks in one field (may it be a simplified vocabulary or tends to be too wordy), where as author y’s story’s tend to flow better with straight to the point sentence structure. Author x is not necessarily a better author due to those things. It’s all merely a matter of opinion. If I were to replace the four presidential faces with my four favorite authors of the macabre, weird, and horror-filled worlds, I know exactly who I’d choose: Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. I will keep my reasons very short and to the point. 1) Edgar Allen Poe – he is indisputably the godfather of horror. Sure there were great authors, some of notoriety, in that genre, but Poe did it like no other before his time. His body of work consisted of poetry and tales that dove into the darker side of the human mind. Many times, dealing with a lost lover. Had Poe not been a contributor in his art, who knows where horror would be today. Forget about the mystery genre…that is of another discussion on its own! 2) H.P. Lovecraft – A man who is the Nikola Tesla of the horror and weird tales world. Lovecraft was a man who too possessed a great mind for his art. Lovecraft, the creator of the Cthulhu mythos, amongst many other notable tales, created something that went beyond this world…literally. Lovecraft painted pictures that went beyond what his peers were writing about. Lovecraft wrote about other worldly demons, lords of other dimensions. He has inspired many of our modern day greats, such as Stephen King. Lovecraft is relevant to this day, and like Shakespeare, I am quite certain he and the others I am mentioning in this blog, will remain popular as long as people are interested in reading good stories. 3) Stephen King – You MAY not like King (I do not understand how anyone could ever say that, even if you are not fond of what his is most known for, horror), but, you cannot dispute that Stephen King is amongst one of the living legends. I think it’s easy to say why he’s one of my favorites, but here are 3 reasons: 1) His stories are original and always exciting from start to end. 2) He has inspired not only god only knows how many authors, but film makers, and artists in other areas of the creative world, and 3) His collection of stories from novella’s to novels, to epic series…it is truly unprecedented. 4) Clive Barker – Clive Barker, when he was in his prime at least, was a writer who tackled his genre in a new light. A dark light. Clive Barker’s stories dive into a philological-depth. What I mean by that is, when I watch his movies, or read his books, I feel that if I were in the protagonists shoes, I’d be wetting my shorts the entire time. I find his work to be something that is unmatched by most. He is simply, a master of his craft. There’s dozens of reasons why I like these artists, but this is just meant to be a blog. Not a chapter in a book. I’d like to know if you agree, or if you’d take away one or two or all of my choices and replace them with someone else? And why?

Flash Horror

This story was initially supposed to be published on a website the beginning of this month, March 5th. Due to reasons unknown to me (the story was confirmed to go up on the aforementioned date), it never saw light. I felt I had no reasons to wait from it being seen. I simply want it to be seen.

The following story is a flash story about monsters. It was kindly edited by the very talented Duncan Ralston – again, I thank you sir, you certainly have a gift for bettering another writer’s story.

Enjoy…

Monsters in the closet

“Can I tell you something?”

“Sure.”

“I saw it, again last night.”

“You mean…” the second Young One began, but was unable to finish his question.

“Yes.”

“Wow. Did it say anything?”

“No, it just sort of…watched me from my closet again.”

“I think you should tell the Older Ones about this.”

“I can’t. They’d never believe me.”

“Sure they would!” the second Young One said, a little bit too loudly. The first Young One looked around, afraid that others may have overheard any part of their conversation.

“Keep it down would ya?”

“Sorry,” the second Young One said, looking around himself.

They were in the clear. Nobody seemed to be paying any attention.

“I’m scared.”

“Well,” the second Young One said as he gulped, “maybe I can stay over tonight. To make sure they leave you alone, for good.”

The first Young One nodded nervously.

* * * *

It was time to sleep. The two Young Ones were in the first’s sleeping area—which consisted of a resting bed, a closet, and a desk. The second Young One asked when it was going to show up.

“Just wait,” the first Young One said as he looked at a clock, hung by his resting bed. The clock nearly struck on the hour of ten o’clock. “Here, grab onto the blanket,” the first Young One said, as he held it out toward his friend.

“Why?”

“Because, once that thing sees me, I’ve always hid under my blanket. It’s always disappeared after I do that.”

“Oh…ok,” the second Young One replied. He grabbed onto a section of the blanket, and stared at the closed closet with his friend.

They waited in that position for a few moments. Through the threshold of the closet, they saw a quick flash of light. “It’s here,” whispered the first Young One.

Sure enough, he was correct. The door slowly opened. The two Young One’s gripped the blanket tightly. Fear rushed through their bodies.

They saw one set of eyes…then another. There were two of them. One head was underneath the other, like a very short totem pole. The first monster’s head was circular, with hair on the top. Or was it fur? It had two circular eyes, a nose…perhaps that’s what it was, in the middle of its face, a mouth under that. The two Young One’s weren’t quite sure what the heck was on the sides of its head. The second monster had similar features, only its skin was so dark that all that the two Young One’s could make were the large whites in its eyes.

The monsters in the closet whispered to one another. Through the half-way opened door, they peered into the sleeping area. The two Young Ones were in a state of paralysis.

One of the flesh-ridden monsters (the dark fleshed one with long hair) began to walk out of the closet. It was wearing a long white nightgown. On the nightgown was a fat man in a red suit.

The long haired monster was within a few feet of the resting bed, as the other stayed in the closet, watching. The two Young Ones entire rock-like bodies, covered in slime and spikes, began to shake uncontrollably.

The brown skinned monster spoke in an alien language. The language and voice didn’t sound sweet or innocent by any stretch. It sounded scary.

The two Young One’s paralysis was broken by the second Young One. He screamed at the top of his lungs. To the long haired monster and the one watching from the closet, the scream was terrifying. So terrifying that it ran back into the closet, screaming, then slammed the door shut behind it.

As the second Young One screamed, they pulled the blanket over their heads. Eventually they lifted the blanket. They saw an empty room with a closed closet, waiting for the two monsters to return.

For those that aren’t aware of this great horror author

I am by no means a book reviewer. However, due to this book not being as well known as a Stephen King, Clive Barker, or other mainstream book, I feel it is somewhat of an honor and pleasure of mine to help spread the word of Duncan Ralston’s Gristle and Bone.

This is his debut collection of 7 short stories. Below is my review, which sums up exactly how I feel:

To stumble across a new author is always something fun. But to stumble across a new author and fall in love with their work is quite simply an adventure! That being said, I randomly came across Duncan Ralston and saw the cover for this book – leading me to want to read it. With a price that wasn’t overly priced, it was a no brainer, not an impulsive buy, but a SMART buy. I was very satisfied with the book, from the first short story Baby Teeth, all the way to a small section (1 page after the last story) where Ralston shares a few words with the reader. I find that breaking a review down story-by-story is something that can easily spoil things for the reader. Instead, I want to wrap up how I felt about this book in it’s entirety, because I found that no story was lacking in the following: entertainment, pace, creativity, and the ability to give me, the reader, the ability to imagine everything that was happening. I love horror (that’s an understatement) and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre. The beauty of this collection is like any great collection of stories, each story doesn’t feel like a repeat of the story prior. I THOUGHT I knew what was going to happen at the end of each story, before I actually reached the end, but I was wrong every time (which I was perfectly fine with!). Ralston is a true storyteller. I compare his style of writing, diverse vocabulary, creativity, and delivery to that of H.P. Lovecraft, without the repetitiveness and over-sophisticated and forced vocabulary (not to knock Lovecraft, he is one of my favorites). Can’t wait to see what the next installment in Ralston’s bibliography is!

Check it out at the link below! Feedback is more than welcomed.

http://www.amazon.com/Gristle-Bone-Duncan-Ralston/dp/1499776764/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426707707&sr=8-1&keywords=gristle+and+bone

The Written Word is the Key

The Written Word is the Key…what exactly do I mean by that? Well let’s see. To me, actions certainly speak volumes to what someone says they will or will not do.

With that being said, applicable to literature, text messages, orally, social media, and so on…what you SAY shapes images in other peoples heads, even your own. What you say one day could be regrettable the next. Maybe you are in a very bitter mood and you want to write a status about it. Well, whether you delete that status or not, surely a few people will see it. Which will result in people forming images in there head about you and your character.

Perhaps I am incorrect and this sounds ludicrous to you. I don’t think that is the case. But my point to all of this is people DO remember what they read. Often, people will remember more times than not unique, odd, or things that touch hot-button issues.

This all leads me into my segment on the written word in literature. Words are what make up stories. They are the puzzle pieces, the pigment, the atoms, of stories.

Always remember, you can change your words to form a better story. Treat those pieces to your “big picture” with respect and thoughtfulness. Without doing so, chances are you are bound to have a story that many people won’t care to read. Never mind read through its entirety.

Isn’t that the goal when you write a story? You want to share it.

Of course it is! As humans, we want to share stories with others. Thanks to modern technology, we are able and allowed to share our stories to most places on this planet.

Use the technology, the pieces of a story, and your creativity to its fullest potential. Maybe you will touch someone in a positive way, who knows. But you’ll never find out unless you follow through!

5 Ingredients for Writing a Novel

I’d say above all, what you need isn’t necessarily an exact idea as to where your story and characters are headed. Actually, I would suggest to not go in with the mind-set of having everything down to the last detail outlined.

Outlines are great, I use them myself, as do many others (J.K. Rowling outlines the main points in her stories).

But to me, the best thing a writer gets to witness, is to see where the characters go as they happen in real-time – to observe them, as the reader would. A story is like a relationship. You may have an idea how something will go during a certain situation, but you can’t force that situation to occur if it doesn’t feel right, just for the sake of fitting your initial idea of its ending. That’s just selfish, which nine times out of ten, leaves everyone unsatisfied and upset.

Here are 5 key ingredients, that I believe in, when it comes to writing a novel. Let me be clear here, these are what I feel makes a novel successful. My definition of a novel succeeding is undoubtedly different than others. My definition is once a novel is completely finished, after all the edits and read-throughs and possible first-reader’s feedback, the author is still happy and satisfied with their work. The following ingredients DO NOT dictate if your novel will become a top seller in whatever market it ends up in.

1) Love/Dedication: Kind of a two-for-one deal, for me anyways. If you don’t love your story, then why bother writing a single letter, never mind the story, in the first place? Sure, there will come a time when you’ve been writing your ass off and weeks maybe months have passed where you’re on the second draft (maybe still on the first draft) and the ideas aren’t flowing as well anymore. That’s ok. Just remember why you started writing it, for the love of the story. Stay dedicated to the thing you love and it will pay off.

2) Storytelling: This one is pretty obvious, but you need to have a story that captures audiences. Theres only so many original story-cores, but there are an endless amount of ways to twist and bend the edges around those said cores to create a new shape.

3) Character-development: Who wants to read a story about some shlub who nobody cares about? Your main character could be the biggest asshole in the world, but you need to have something that captures the audience in having a constant interest in where he or she will be going next. I am by no means saying your character must be a good person, or have a lovable trait. Just look at any good Slasher movie or The Devil’s Rejects (yes, I know they are not books, those are just the few characters who popped in my mind. However, the concept is the same with literature).

4) Know when to stop writing: Often writers have diarrhera-of-the-word-processor. It’s the case with me, I can confess to that. But that’s what first drafts are for. The first draft is where you write everything (try writing without thinking – don’t worry about errors, just write!) is spewed onto the word processor. That being said, when you get to the 2nd draft – start shaping your story. Then perhaps a 3rd draft is when you make sure from start to end it flows well. It begins with capturing the audience into your story. Then the ending, leaves the audience with wanting more.

More of what?

Well, more of what happens next with the characters you’ve focused on in that story, or more stories that you’ve written!

5) Get an editor: Sounds kind of silly, right? Some of you might be thinking, duh! Well, I wouldn’t suggest going cheap with an editor, however if you really can’t afford dishing out the dough, then obviously don’t. You’re bills or children’s lunch money is far more important than this future book. It’s always great to have people read your book over, I’m sure they’ll find grammatical and or continuity errors, however, unless THEY ARE an editor, get an editor. I would not suggest self-publishing or publishing a product without it, at the very least, going through an edit. Would you want to really spend all that time, effort, and energy on something that you only go almost all the way for? I know I don’t. With that being said, you really should do as much research on the potential editor as you can! Don’t just say yes to the first editor you come across either. Find out if they fit your style of writing and vice versa.

I hope these five ingredients help create a great product for all of you who read this and try using all or some of these! Just remember, as the old saying goes: Write, write, write! Read, read, read! 

Love & Fear

Love & Fear

Each word alone can invoke so many thoughts. Add them together and what do you get?

Even more thoughts and stories running through your mind.

LOVE – For me it brings to mind thoughts of those closest to me – family, my girlfriend, my friends, my dog. Then I think about THINGS I love. Writing, music, art, New England and all that inhabits it, nature. If I were to sit down and write a list of EVERYTHING I loved (whether it be materialistic things, or intangible things), it would be a long, possibly boring list.

FEAR – As far as that word goes and what it brings to mind is – the unknowing, hate, darkness, coldness, fruit (sorry fruit, I just don’t like you!) The list of things in this category could be just as long and possibly boring to list off in some cases.

The reason I bring these two words up and why they are so powerful is due to the written word and the stories they create. You can’t weave a new tale from any kind of fabric that has not been tampered with before. However, you can weave a new pattern.

However, with that being said, I find that one of the most powerful stories you can ever create is with FEAR and or with LOVE. However, it’s hard to have one without the other. Love within itself is terrifying. Let me explain what I mean by that. Love is the greatest emotion and arguable the strongest emotion (which can conquer all others if it is a strong enough love), which would make it scary. Actually, now that I think about it…Love and Fear are kind of the same thing. Right? ha-ha. Anyways, when you first come across Love you aren’t sure if it’ll stay or go. Sometimes it seems to good to be true. Unfortunately, sometimes it is. When you obtain that Love, whether it be with your other-half, guardian, mentor, friend, pet, and so on, you never want to leave it when you FINALLY have that strong love for another being.

FEAR on the other hand – in its purest form is terrifying when it is the unknowing. I’m not sure about any of you, but the scariest thing to me is darkness. Me and my girlfriend took a trip to Niagara/Ontario this past summer and went in this haunted house. Only it wasn’t exactly like ANY other haunted house either of us had ever experienced. The ENTIRE attraction was in pitch darkness. With the exception of a red dot that you follow.

There’s things that you experience in traditional haunted houses, such as monsters, and things that compress the walls (in one instance we had to literally crawl on the ground for a I’d say five feet? I couldn’t tell to be truthful). The monsters in the haunted house could’ve and were more than likely, people who weren’t dressed in anything besides their casual walking-clothes. They made noises, which invoked images of the walking dead. A terribly scary dog who was going to bite me and other damned creatures.

Now the reason why this was so scary, is because once I can’t see what kind of THINGS that were making those noises, and in some cases, things that weren’t making noises…off the bat, all sorts of things popped in my head. It makes the audience (in this case) think of more terrifying Fearful things than I probably would have envisioned if I saw what they could’ve been wearing.

I got a little off track there! My point to all of this is great stories Romeo and Juliet being a prime example, have both Love and Fear in it. It’s a story that has lasted a long enough time to be considered a story that won’t go away. It’s something that, as human beings, we want to root for the young teen lovers. They are in love like nobody has ever been in love before. Yet they are so fearful that they can never be together in this life, that they take their own lives to be together in the afterlife.