The way the human mind processes pain, suffering and stress is different for different people. What some find easier to comprehend making life easier to tolerate results in a desperate cry for help from others. “Desperation” is the reaction of an individual who has reached their threshold of tolerance and feels incapable of processing any further pain or additional stress.
Hanging my head in my hands,
Lost in thoughts I can’t explain,
Hearing noise in my head like a rock band,
Feeling an overflowing well of pain
Physical pain that makes me cry
Always given a new diagnosis why
Begging for a response to make the pain go away,
Sleeping is all that gets you through the day
It has me standing up on top of a chair
Without a real answer
Who? What? When? Where?
I kick it out real fast
Now, I know, for sure,
This cruel cycle won’t last.
Written on April 15, 2019
To all of you who have worked so hard through increasing gas and food prices, rising inflation, shorthanded workplaces, COVID 19 and its half dozen variants, a failed Southern border, and rising crime statistics across the country, I salute you for continuing to work and hold down your jobs that keep this country going. Today honors your dedication, commitment, and integrity. Hope you have had a happy labor day!
So, about which do I prefer to write? Well, my horror trilogy answers that question for me. Vampires, of course! Historically, vampires have been portrayed as romantic lovers on one hand, yet fierce and terrifying killers on another. That range offers authors a wide array of options to present a vampire character to readers. From Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Tracy Wolff’s Crave, vampires experience the spectrum of human emotions, making them so relatable to the audience. In Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, we see a wide range of vampire characters presented to us. Some who are fierce and ruthless like the Volturis, and some who are kind and good like the Cullens. The Vampire MCs are mostly driven by their emotions, usually revenge, love or hate, or a combination of all three. Selene in the Underworld series had reasons to feel all three emotions in her battle with her own kind, vampires, and the Lycans, werewolves. Her family was killed by the vampire who changed her and this fuels her hatred and sets her on a path of revenge when she discovers it. Her half-Lycan, half-vampire lover, Michael, becomes her only trusted partner. Ultimately, I think the real reason I choose vampires over werewolves is that thrilling feeling you get from the passion that leads up to that bite out of someone’s neck. I just haven’t seen that kind of passion built up over a werewolf bite, nor have I seen the range of emotions and activity in werewolf scenes like I have in vampire scenes. I must confess, though, I read more about vampires than werewolves, so I guess I am a little biased. Are there any great werewolf books out there that might change my mind? If so, leave them in a comment for me.
My goals when writing for my audience are simple on one level, yet strategic and complex on another. One goal is to provide the audience with a scare, that creepy feeling that brings about a chill that runs down the spine. A second goal is to make the reader feel comfortable and familiar with the characters and setting so they can relate to them, especially on an emotional level. A third goal is to offer them a taste of something different than they may have experienced before, and a final goal is to build suspense that keeps the reader wanting to read more.
The first goal of generating a creepy feeling that scares the reader seems simple on the surface, but not all readers are afraid of the same things. The author has to weave multiple elements of fear together to create that “chill down the spine” effect. Those elements of fear include common phobias, the unknown, the painful, the supernaturally powerful, and things that are unpleasant to the eyes, ears, nose and touch. Combining these elements into a scene creates the ultimate scare.
Making the reader comfortable with the characters so they can relate to them is another one of my writing goals. Characters who are somewhat predictable, only in that they are relatable to each other and the reader, are important to a storyline. Characters who are dynamic and by their nature, unpredictable, can be what makes the difference between what is mediocre writing and what sets the bar. A dynamic character is an ever-changing, ever-learning, ever-responding figure in the various situations in which he/she faces in the storyline. The way they change, what they learn and how they respond should make sense and be believable to the reader. This connection to the character draws-in the reader, making his/her experience relatable and thus, more enjoyable.
In addition to creating characters that make the reading experience more enjoyable, one of my goals is to give the reader a taste of what they haven’t experienced before. This is adding “flavor” to your writing. You strive to deliver something that tastes fresh to your readers. You can combine things that have not been combined in a creative manner before, or you can change what is a common theme by simply manipulating a single factor, adding flavor to your writing. Making your writing fresh is difficult to do, but there is no doubt that flavor makes your writing more interesting and appealing to your readers.
And finally, a great horror novel must build suspense. Readers must feel they are just a page away from absolute death, disaster, or dismemberment. As a writer, one must layer several attributes that cause the suspense to build over pages, and ultimately, throughout the novel. For example, you may start with a description of the setting, and then, you focus on the description and actions of the person or people. You might finish with a description of the actions of the evil entity or central antagonist. At each step, you must make the reader feel your words. Each layer builds on top of each other to create the suspense one would expect from a chiller, supernatural thriller, or horror novel.
Click on the link below for a quick summary of the It That Has No Name trilogy by a fabulous fan and author, Danny Raye, who shared this video with us. https://twitter.com/RayeDanny/status/1431388388356079619?s=20
If I had a chance to speak to my younger self or leave behind a written note for a younger me to find, I would have so much I would want to say. Leaving aside all of the winning lottery numbers, best stock investments, and greatest new invention, I would want to tell myself to write down all of those great writing ideas I had that would just stew in that melting pot between my ears before being lost forever. Ideas for writing came so easily to me back then. My imagination ran wild, and my ideas were just about as wild as my imagination. Still, they were great ideas. At least, I remember them to be. I just don’t remember many of them anymore. So, to my younger self, get a book and write down those brilliant ideas. They will come in handy later in your life!
I can’t really stop there, though. There is one more thing I would want to tell my younger self. Pay closer attention in English class! You really will use that stuff one day! I was an A and B student throughout English in high school and college, but I should have applied more of what I was learning to get a more thorough knowledge base for editing and proofreading. I would love to be able to rely solely on my own edits. As of right now, though, oh, hell no! Editor, please! Better to be safe than sorry is my motto when it comes to editing.
So, younger self, write down your ideas, especially the ones that came to you in the middle of the night. Those were the best ones, and still are! And, write more so you can practice the use of your editing and proofreading skills. Your older self will thank you.
When I first wrote book one of the trilogy, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to write the book as a YA or adult book. Originally, the first book contained a very detailed, passion-filled sex scene between Robbie and Gloria when they go up those stairs and away from the rest of the group. After reading the scene several times and considering my potential YA audience, I toned it down quite a bit and made it much more appropriate for a younger audience. I call these books YA+. I think the novels appeal to ages 15 and up because they can relate to the age of the characters so well. I must still caution young readers that there is still a lot of gore and violence in the book. If you think about it though, there is no more gore and violence in this series of books than there is in the video games being played by the same group of young people. If mild, sensual scenes, gore, and fear-inspired action appeal to you, you are going to enjoy reading the It That Has No Name book series.
I have been asked what makes me so passionate about my It That Has No Name trilogy. I have always had a passion for horror and romance, so incorporating both into a story was my destiny. My love for vampires, demons, witches, and warlocks and all of the horror and chaos that ensues when you combine them into a storyline was my heart’s dream plot. Weave in a little of my faith in a higher power and the It That Has No Name trilogy was complete.
I loved the eighties and nineties horror structure where the plot centered around a group of young people battling evil, so I went with that structure in my novels. There is just something so interesting about characters’ relationships and interactions while facing near certain death.
The books in the trilogy were written before I was forty years old even though I did not publish them until I was much older. They have had a lot of shelf time so I just have to hope that people still enjoy the dynamics of the supernatural world and the young mind of this ole middle aged mom.
Growing up in the 1980s meant that I experienced the greatest time for horror in this century, in my opinion of course. My first exposure to horror was watching Jaws, The Exorcist and The Omen. Those are the earliest memories I have of horror films. They definitely left a lasting impression, and although I was young to have been watching these movies, I don’t believe I was negatively impacted by them. In fact, they are the foundation for my love for horror today, and I think that makes me a fabulous and interesting person.
I would say that my writing is more influenced by the horror of the eighties where groups of young people congregate in one place and face off against an antagonist of phenomenal strength and ability and evil to the core. Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween, and almost all of their sequels fell into this category. To this degree, It That Has No Name and its sequels follow suit. From Jason, Freddy, and Michael to It, audiences and readers can be assured they are getting a great story focused around a formidable foe.