Posts Tagged ‘living and life’

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Lately, I’ve been deep into two very different books of horror. The first, which I finished last night, is What One Wouldn’t Do, an anthology of horror stories around the idea of “what wouldn’t you do for…what? Power? Revenge? Love? Etc?” The other is Ghoul by Brian Keene, a coming-of-age horror novel about three boys who discover a ghoul living in the graveyard near their homes. They’re both very good, very different from one another, and both deal in emotional horror.

Emotional horror is horror that relies more on the feelings the story provokes in the reader than a supernatural/paranormal entity or a serial killer or anything like that. And yes, I’m aware that all horror tries to provoke an emotional response in readers. Namely terror and fear. But this is a much more subtle kind of horror. Emotional horror scares you with the situation the characters are in and their responses, particularly their emotional responses, to the situation.

A good example of this is the 2015 movie The Witch. You may have noticed, but the titular witch is actually pretty peripheral to the story. She doesn’t show up except to maybe push events in the story. In total, I think she’s maybe only in the film for three whole minutes, if even that. Rather, the horror of the story is how each character reacts to the witch’s interference in their lives. It starts with the baby being kidnaped, then with the older son disappearing into the woods and then coming back horrifically changed. The kid has an ecstatic vision before dying, which leads to the family to believe they’re being victimized by a witch, who could possibly be one of them. And you’re terrified not by the witch or what could be her supernatural influence on the characters. You’re scared by their paranoia, their heartbreak and distrust, and how quickly things devolve from here, leading to an awful, irreversible decision on the part of the protagonist.

The true horror of this story may not be from the titular monster

This is the kind of horror both What One Wouldn’t Do and Ghoul deal in. Many of the stories in the former deal with supernatural elements, but the horror itself is what drives the characters to commit heinous acts or to make deals with the devil or go through insane challenges, and then seeing the fallout from those decisions. And for the latter, while the titular monster is scary in its way, it’s no Pennywise. Rather, a lot of the horror we experience is through the main characters, twelve-year-old boys who are becoming disillusioned by the world around them through the adults in their lives. It’s honestly heartbreaking to see the adults around them fail them so spectacularly, and one scene in particular was so upsetting, I had to post about it on Facebook and Twitter just to get my emotions out.

So, how do you write these scenes? Honestly, it’s not easy. I’m not sure you can set out to write a story that deliberately tugs at your heartstrings and fills you with the emotions the characters are feeling. It’s kind of like how you can’t write a story around a theme. Instead, you take a story and the theme evolves naturally from your working on it. Only when that theme has revealed itself can you play with it and the story together to bring out the best in both.

That was certainly the case with Cressida, the story I wrote that was published in Into the Deep (click here to check it out if you haven’t yet). While it’s a horror story and a mermaid story, it’s not a horror story about mermaids, though they aren’t the pretty fishtailed supermodels Disney animated, either. Rather, the mermaid is in herself a catalyst for the true horror, which is what the characters do upon encountering a mermaid who shares an uncanny resemblance to a deceased family member of theirs.

But when I set out to write that story, I never intended that the horror would come from the characters’ emotional and psychological reactions. I wrote the story because it sounded like a lot of fun to work on and I made changes to the storyline along the way to better bring out the horror I was discovering. The result is Cressida, which I feel is some of the best work I’ve written yet.

You know, that makes me realize something: in emotional horror, whatever is happening in the plot, be it mermaids, ghouls, necromancy, witches, etc., is often not the main focus of the story (even if it’s in the story’s title). Rather, they’re plot devices, tools to draw out the horror hidden within the characters’ emotional responses.

My story in this anthology didn’t start out as an emotionally-driven horror story. It just ended up that way.

I guess that makes emotional horror a kind of psychological horror.

Anyway, that’s what’s going through my mind at this time. The fact that I was getting into all these stories with similar kinds of horror at the same time got my brain working, so I decided to write it out. I’d love to hear what your thoughts on this subject are. Let’s talk in the comments below.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I leave for my trip tomorrow, so I likely won’t be around as much as I would otherwise be. However, I’ll be around on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so check there for updates if you start to miss me.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night, pleasant nightmares, and there’s only a week till Halloween. Prepare to give yourselves to the dance of terror and to raise the old gods so we can all enjoy their infernal gifts. If you do not, I suggest you run.

Bye!

From now on, this blog will be an art criticism blog. Expect me to go to a lot of art galleries, praise or criticize local artists, and talk about the history of Impressionist art.

Kidding. I know very little about art, except for my own preferences, that is.

Okay, real talk. The thing is, life is getting busier. The amount of time I spend sleeping and the amount of time I work at my day job aren’t changing, and for all the obvious reasons, I can’t exactly decrease either. Add in the usual obligations of adulthood and finding time to eat, and it leaves only a little time to write.

And unfortunately, the time I spend writing is increasingly being taken up with administrative and marketing work. Plus I’ve got projects to edit and whatnot. It takes up time and means very little actual writing happens. This past week, I maybe found time to write for two nights out of six or seven.

Not good for a guy who considers writing his raison d’etre. Especially one who’s doing particularly well these days and trying to keep that going for as long as possible.

So, I’m trying to manage my time better. Can’t be a writer unless you can find time to write, and I’m a big believer in carving out the time to write. With that, some things will be sacrificed. And one of those sacrifices will likely be less time spent blogging here.

Look, I love this blog. I love sharing my thoughts here, and I love interacting with all the cool Followers of Fear I’ve met through this blog. But I get full of stress when I can’t create (or attempt to create) terrifying stories and I haven’t been able to do that. So, one way I’m finding time to write is to spend less time on this blog.

That being said, I’ll keep posting regularly. Probably once a week rather than once every four or five days. And I’ll likely be cutting back on reviews. Again, I like reviews, but they take up time. I’ll probably instead do just book reviews and only put those out when I finish a book worth reviewing.* You know, instead of like how I review every new horror movie.

Oh, but I promise I won’t turn this blog into just a constant stream of updates on what events I’m going to or what stories are releasing when. I’ll still be putting out posts with musings on writing and horror, as well as any big news or anything I feel like sharing. Maybe the occasional rant or ghost-hunting expedition. You know, more of what you love with this blog and why you probably followed me for.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. I’m not sure what other changes I’ll be making in my life to maximize writing time. All I know is, I will be doing most of them after my vacation. And hopefully, out of those changes, comes some great stories worth reading.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m hitting the hay so I can get my full eight hours and be productive tomorrow. Maybe after I run an errand, I’ll finish this story I’m working on. We’ll see what happens.

Good night, pleasant nightmares, and the latest Halloween movie was okay. Yeah, that’s the review. It’s okay. The bloody kills are good, but the filmmakers spend so much time on building the myth and fear of Michael Myers in Haddonfield that they neglect actually showing Michael Myers and why we should be afraid of him. And the final scene just did not sit right with me. 3 out of 5. It’s not awful, but it could have better.

Not bad for my last film review for the immediate future, is it?

*That’s another thing. Finding time to read has become scarce. Audio books help, but getting through the ones that aren’t on audio book is taking longer than it should. It’s a drag.

Wow, we have a lot of announcements to make on this blog lately, don’t we? It’s a wonder I have any time to do any writing after the day job!

As you might remember, at the beginning of the month my story “Natural Predators” was accepted into the anthology Dark Nature from Macabre Ladies Publishing. The anthology revolves around the idea of Mother Earth getting her revenge for all the awfulness humanity has perpetrated on her surface. My own story, one of only thirteen accepted, is about a new virus that quickly spreads into a pandemic, threatening a summer camp as cases pop up among the campers.

Yes, I wrote a pandemic story, and it somehow got accepted! Who would have thought there’s still a market for pandemic fiction?

Anyway, Dark Nature will be releasing this Halloween and the e-book is currently available for preorder (the paperback will be available a few days prior). If you are interested, please preorder. And when you read it, please leave a review. Not only will your reviews let people know what you think, they’ll help the publisher in the long run.

Here’s the link for the ebook. I’ll post the link for the paperback when it’s available.

And speaking of anthologies releasing on Halloween, The Jewish Book of Horror will be coming out the same day. That anthology includes my story “The Divorce from God,” as well as other Jewish horror stories. I’ll include the links to preorder that below.

The Jewish Book of Horror: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

And as I said before, there’s still time to register for A Night of Horror with the Ohio Horror Writers Association. Me and my fellow writers Lucy Snyder, Anton Cancre, and Krista Canterbury Adams will be at the Bexley Public Library tomorrow, Wednesday evening from 7-8 PM. We’ll do some readings, answer some questions, and maybe share our books with some people. And you can attend virtually if you don’t live nearby, so why not register? Hope to see you there. Here’s the link.

And finally, I’ll be at the Licking County Library Local Author Festival this Saturday. If you’re in the area, stop by the downtown library in Newark, Ohio from 10 AM – 2:30 PM. I’ll be there selling books and hopefully making some new friends and fond memories, so why not stop by and support local authors?

We’ll that’s all for now. I’m going to try to do some writing before bed. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Well, this has been a nice surprise. I found out a little while ago that The Jewish Book of Horror is being released early!

Originally this anthology of Jewish horror, which features my story “The Divorce from God” among other terrifying tales, was supposed to come out around Hanukkah. However, the Denver Horror Collective, who is publishing the anthology, decided to move it up to Halloween. Not sure why, but I’m guessing that since there’s already been a bit of Bram Stoker buzz around this collection, it might have something to do with it. Either way, I’m not complaining. I’m looking forward to all of you reading this book as soon as it comes out.

And guess what else? The book is already available for preorder from sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble! I’ll put the links below in case you want to check it out. Also look at other websites and ask your local libraries to order copies.

The Jewish Book of Horror: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

There are also a bunch of other publications coming out soon with my work in them, so I’ll make sure to post the links for those as soon as I have them.

In the meantime…

As I said the other day, there are a few events in the near future that I’m hoping to get a huge attendance at. Obviously, this Wednesday I’ll be at the Bexley Library with some of my fellow horror writers Lucy Snyder, Krysta Canterbury Adams and Anton Cancre for a A Night of Horror! Even better, you can attend virtually, but you have to register first.

Remember, this event is on Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 from 7-8 PM. I hope you can attend.

Registration link here!

Also, on Saturday I’ll be at the Licking County Library Local Author Fair from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. There’s going to be a lot of awesome authors of all stripes there, including plenty of my colleagues in the horror genre. It’s at the downtown library in Newark, Ohio, so why not take a trip over and say hi? I’ll be waiting with books and skulls and maybe a bit of mood music.

And finally…

I’ve been hinting that I’m going on vacation soon. And while I’m not giving away the dates (I’m worried about burglars and stalkers), I am giving away the locations. I’ll be gone for two weeks visiting St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Why those cities? Well, I was born in St. Louis, but I left when I was two and have only been back maybe once. I honestly don’t remember anything from either time, I was that little. So, I’m heading to my birthplace to make some memories.

As for Vegas and New Orleans…well, I’ve always wanted to visit, so why not? And since I’m going outside of tourist season, I’ll probably avoid crowds while still having some fun.

And in all three cities, I’ll likely pick up some great ideas for stories.

Well, that’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m going to have a busy week, but I’ll hopefully get some writing done while I’m at it and have a blast too. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Hey all. This is kind of last-minute, but I am attending a couple of events in the central Ohio area and I wanted to make sure you all knew about it. Especially since one of them, people outside of the Columbus area will actually be able to attend this one.

A Night of Horror with the Ohio Horror Writers Association

Some of you may remember that two years ago, before the pandemic, me and my fellow members in the Ohio chapter of the Horror Writers Association had an event at the Bexley Public Library. We couldn’t do anything with them last year, but this year is entirely different. And this Wednesday, October 13th, 2021, we will be having another event with them from 7-8 PM. We’ll do some reading, answer some questions, maybe sell some books while we’re at it.

And guess what? You can now attend it remotely through Zoom. You’ll need to register and sign up to attend, whether you’re in person or not, but that means anyone who wants to can attend. I hope a few of you reading this will show.

In order to sign up for the event, you can register on the Bexley Library website here.

Licking County Local Author Festival

On October 16th, I’ll be attending a local author festival at the Licking County Library at their downtown Newark location. From what I hear, they’re going to be having a ton of authors of all stripes and stories across two floors. And I also hear that the horror authors may be getting their own area. I’m going to have to wear a great costume. And I don’t mean my human form.

Anyway, hope you can stop by. It’s at 101 W. Main Street in Newark, Ohio and the festival is from 10:30 AM – 2 PM. Please stop by and support your local authors!


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. Lots of exciting stuff on the horizon, so I’ll keep you updated. Even when I’m on vacation and can’t blog as freely. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Let’s face it, every creative out there (especially those who weave stories together) has put themselves into their work. Often, they do it more than once, and the resemblance to themselves, accurate or in their own heads, varies from self-insert to self-insert.* HP Lovecraft loved to put himself through cosmic horror and dreamlike ordeals as Randolph Carter (does that count as masochism?), and Stephen King’s The Dark Half is obviously him having fun with a fictional version of himself and his pen name Richard Bachman.

And don’t forget, Dante Alighieri made himself the star of The Divine Comedy, where the poet Virgil and later Beatrice, the dead girl he crept on when she was alive, led him through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.

You know, now that I’m typing this, I realize that a lot of self-insert characters get to go on the biggest, most grandiose adventures. I mean, Dante traversed the afterlife and recorded it in detail! And remember Lani Sarem, the lady who conned her way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list? Her novel’s protagonist, who from the cover art is basically her under a different name, was a witch who basically became the delight of the Las Vegas entertainment scene using her abilities.

There’s an article to be found in this, I’m just not in the mood to research and write it right now.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Self-inserts. I’m no exception to the rule. Throughout my writing career, I’ve included different versions of myself in my stories. One or two have even been included in published stories (I’ll let you guess which ones those are). And once more, I’m inserting myself into the story I’m currently working on. Only this time, this might be the most obvious and blatant self-insert since Dante!

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it feels like it! My character is basically what I hope will be me in a few years: a full-time writer with his own home, hosting costume parties in his living room and able to focus on creepy tales as a living. His last name is an anagram of my own and his first name also begins with an “R.” So yeah, pretty obvious self-insert.

Still, I’m having fun with it. The story’s focus isn’t on my character, he’s just a good way to get this story going. And since I can focus on telling the story and not making my self-insert seem like the bee’s knees to readers, I can get a little ridiculous and have a ton of fun with it. Whether that will lead to a decent ghost story (because of course I would put myself into a ghost story!) remains to be seen. But perhaps with some edits…well, we’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll get back to this story soon. And I’ll likely have a post or two for you all very soon, so keep an eye out. And in the meantime, check out this book trailer for The Jewish Book of Horror that was uploaded to YouTube last night. It’s really cool, and you can even see my name listed beside my story, “The Divorce from God,” at one point. Give it a watch and consider getting a copy of the book when it releases.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

*That’s the preferred term, as I understand it.

You know, I meant to get this out earlier, but a lot has happened today. My apologies on that.

So, as you can tell from the above title, I had two acceptances for publication! And get this, the confirmation emails came this morning after I woke up! How about that? Nice thing to wake up to, all told. And it gave me something to tell people when I was out seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while earlier today.

Anyway, the first acceptance is from House of Stitched magazine, the same magazine that published my article on the character trope of the broken child (links below). It’s another article with them, but this time it’s a review of Stephen King’s first Richard Bachman novel, Rage. Yeah, it’s an old novel, but it’s out of print nowadays and as far as I’m aware, no one from the millennial generation, my generation, has ever written a review of it. Thus I read the book and wrote one. I’m interested to hear what people think of my thoughts of the one book King let fall out of print.

The second acceptance is from the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative. No, not Dublin, Ireland, though that would be cool. Dublin, Ohio (you may recognize it as having been mentioned in my novel Rose). Anyway, last year I co-wrote a short story with my fellow author and Member of the Tribe Richard Gerlach called “The Hanukkah Massacre.” The story follows a pair of feuding Jewish families whose rivalry suddenly escalates one Hanukkah. The anthology we wrote it for originally passed on it, but we kept looking, and now it’s being published in the anthology Dead of Winter from the Dublin Creative Writers Cooperative. We’re both very excited for everyone to read the story.

Man, what a year it’s been. I still can’t believe how many of my stories and articles have been accepted for publication. And there’s always a chance that more stories will get accepted.

It’s funny, but just the other day, I decided to make my writing goal for the rest of the year to ensure I get a few more acceptances before 2022. And now I have two. That was fast! I didn’t even have time to agonize how close the end of the year was coming and how little progress I’d made! I’m sure the brooding would have been epic.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m probably going to watch and review a horror movie soon, so keep an eye out for it. And, of course, I’ll be working on new stories and letting you know if there are any pieces of big news to share. Or random thoughts. Plenty of that, too.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares!

House of Stitched magazine: Blurb.com , Amazon

September has gone by so fast, but I’m having a lot of trouble believing that it’s only been a month since The Pure World Comes has been released. That’s right, an entire month! And man, it’s been doing well. Not only that, but there have been other updates on my projects and upcoming publications. Let me tell you about it.

The Pure World Comes

The cover for “The Pure World Comes” on the Readict app.

So, if you’re new here, The Pure World Comes was a novel I wrote last year and which was published, as I mentioned at the beginning, exactly a month ago on the Readict literature app. The novel was a love letter to the Victorian era and to Gothic literature from that era, which I’ve been obsessed with for quite some time now. Here’s the summary:

Shirley Dobbins wants nothing more than to live a quiet life and become a head housekeeper at a prestigious house. So when she is invited to come work for the mysterious baronet Sir Joseph Hunting at his estate, she thinks it is the chance of a lifetime. However, from the moment she arrives things are not what they seem. As she becomes wrapped up in more of the baronet’s radical science, she realizes something dark and otherworldly is loose within the estate. And if left unchecked, it’ll claim the lives of all she holds dear.

The app records how many people have been reading the novel and aggregating their ratings of the chapters, as well as the novel in general. When I was writing this post, 728 were reading or have read the novel and rated it a 4.7 out of 5 stars! I don’t think any of my published works have ever scored so high before.

But the best feedback was from my sister. She actually doesn’t read much of my work, as she’s both got a busy life and is not a big fan of horror (I can’t even remember if she’s read Rose). But because it was on her phone, she was able to read it more easily than other books, and she tried to read at least a chapter every night. As of last night, she actually finished it and said she loved it. She especially loved the characters and the mystery hanging around the story.

Considering she doesn’t have much time to read, let alone read all my work, I’m happy to hear that.

And if this is how the first month is going, I can’t wait to see how the next year goes. In fact, I hope to get an ebook and paperback out some time next year. I’ll start working to that end after the new year. I look forward to hearing what people say when they can own a physical copy.

In the meantime, you can find it on the Readict app. It’s free with ads, so why not check it out before Halloween? I’d love to hear what you say.

The Jewish Book of Horror

As you may remember, I submitted a story to The Jewish Book of Horror, an anthology all about what scares my people (besides cholesterol and allergies, of course). I’m happy to say that The Jewish Book of Horror will be released this Hanukkah (so December-ish) and will feature my story, “The Divorce from God.”

And the cover is already being circulated around the internet. You can see it on the left, and isn’t it terrifying/sexy? I love it! I’m so honored to have a story in there. I can’t wait for people to read it and the other stories in the anthology and to let me know what they think.

Anyway, it’s only a couple of months till Hanukkah, so I’ll be sure to let you know when the book is available for preorder and purchase. I hope you’ll support it. As I’ve mentioned before, I think it would be cool to have more Jewish portrayals in fiction, especially from Jews. And the Denver Horror Collective, which is putting out the anthology, has hinted that if it does well, they may pursue doing a sequel anthology. I would love to see that (and maybe submit to them again).

Other Stories

I mentioned in a recent post that I had settled on a new novel to write and was working on an outline. The outline for that novel, Crawler, is finished and I should be ready to work on it after my vacation (more on that later). I’m not sure if the novel will be any good, but I think it’s going to be at least fun to write. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Also, the next part of “Blood and Paper Skin” will be published in Issue 9 of The Dark Sire, which should be out at the tail end of October. I’ll post links when they’re available.

And I’m shopping around several more stories, looking for homes for them. I’m even waiting to hear back from publishers regarding a novel and a collection of short stories. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you some great news very soon. I’m trying to get a few more stories accepted for publication before the end of the year, so I won’t let up on writing and editing and submitting.

And I have more stuff I can’t wait to tell you about. I’m just waiting for the right time to tell you.

In the meantime, I’m hoping you’ll check out some of my work that’s available, including The Pure World Comes. Except for that novel, all my stories are sold wherever great stories are sold. I look forward to hearing what you think.


That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to enjoy the weekend and relax after a rough week. I’ll be starting with a Phantom of the Opera movie starring Robert Englund. Yeah, that apparently exists. And it’s apparently really bad. Still, it sounds like something you gotta see to believe. I can’t wait!

Until next time, my Followers of Fear, good night and pleasant nightmares.

Okay, I’m not ready to start work on a new novel. I’m ready to start researching and outlining a novel. As well as working on some new short stories, novelettes and novellas now that I’ve finished editing a bunch of stories. But that’s not going to make a catchy title, will it?

Anyway, I’ve been itching to write another novel for a while now. But I had three novels I was either editing or trying to find a publisher for, so I held off. But The Pure World Comes is published (and hopefully will be in paperback and ebook next year), River of Wrath is being shopped around (I hope to have news on that someday soon), and Toyland will likely get another draft in the near future. So, I think I can do another novel now.

And I know what novel I’m going to work on. But first, let me tell you a short story:

Back in 2017, my sister took me to see a movie for my birthday. Which movie, you might ask? Why, it was the latest Mummy reboot! The one Universal desperately hoped would launch their own horror-themed cinematic universe after 2014’s Dracula Untold was, while a moderate success, not as big as they wanted. Ironically, The Mummy ended up being terrible and failing at the box office, killing the Dark Universe franchise before it could get off the ground.

While I appreciated my sister going to the movies with me, I couldn’t help but think of ways that the film could have been better. And eventually, all that thinking led to this idea of a story. A novel. One that I thought would be a lot of fun to write.

This is the novel I’m going to write. A mummy story I’m going to call Crawler. And that’s all I’m going to say about the story now. But let me just say, after growing and mutating in my brain for four years, it’s looking to be one hell of a scary story.

I probably won’t start writing it until after my vacation (more on that in another post). However, I will be working on an outline, and I already bought the one reference book I’ll need for research (the rest I can probably get from a Google search). And prior to my vacation, I’ll be working on some shorter stuff that I’ve been dying to work on lately. Hopefully one or two of them will not only be scary, but worth reading.

Who doesn’t love a mummy story?

But yeah, this is happening. And I really hope I can eventually share it with you. I’ll let you know how it goes. And in the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read for the Halloween season, or if you’d like to support me, I’ll include links to my published works below. There’s plenty of scary stories there, so check them out. And if you read them, let me know what you think. Your reviews can help not just me, but all sorts of readers.

Now if you need me, I’m going to start work on an outline and character sheet before I go to bed. Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

The Pure World Comes: Readict app (free with ads)

The Dark Sire Issue 8: Amazon

Into the Deep: Paperback, Ebook

The Quiet Game: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo.

Rose: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Audible

Snake: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, iBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Agoraphobia: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Mother of the King: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I did one of these! No kidding, the last one was December 4th, 2020. What a gap. Thanks to my friend and fellow writer Iseult Murphy for reminding me this is a thing and to do it again.

So, if you’re unfamiliar with #FirstLineFriday, this was a meme I used to do quite often as a way to get people’s opinions of opening lines for stories (opening lines can be the hardest part of writing fiction sometimes). Here are the rules I usually went with:

  1. Create a post on your blog called #FirstLineFriday, hashtag and all.
  2. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  3. Post the first line or two of a potential story, a story-in-progress, or a completed/published story.
  4. Ask your readers for feedback and try to get them to try #FirstLineFriday themselves on their blogs. Tagging is encouraged but not necessary.

This time, however, I’m doing it with a twist. I’ve been lucky enough to have a bunch of publications recently, including two novelettes and a novel. So, I’m going to give you the first three openings of each of these works! Triple Publication Edition! Woo-hoo!

First, we have “Cressida,” my mermaid horror story, which was released in Into the Deep, from Jazz House Publications. I’m really proud of this story and think it’s some of my best work. And my dad, who just read it recently, agrees. Enjoy:

Mark Honig drove the rental car towards his uncle’s beach home. On the driver’s side was a great cliff face dappled with green moss, while on the other side the ocean lapped against the cliff face dappled with barnacles and mollusks.

“Cressida,” Into the Deep, July 2021.

It’s a quiet opening, but at least it paints an image in your head. Enough to make you keep reading and get to the good stuff, I hope.

Our next story is “Blood and Paper Skin,” which is being serialized in Issues 8-10 of The Dark Sire. The story is about a bunch of teens that end up trapped in a jail-like room in someone’s basement for a dark purpose. I’m looking forward to how people react to the conclusion. For now, though, here’s the opening:

Grey held onto the side of Mark’s Chevy Tahoe for dear life, cursing his supposed best friend for making him endure the chilly winds whipping around the car. How the hell did I end up in this situation? he wondered for the millionth time.

“Blood and Paper Skin,” The Dark Sire Issue 8, July 31, 2021.

A guy hanging onto the side of a car. What a way to open a story. I had fun with that. And guess what? It was inspired by something I saw last year on my birthday.

And last but definitely not least, the opening of my novel The Pure World Comes. This was published on the Readict app, run by VitaleTek Inc. The novel follows a maid in Victorian England who goes to work for a mad scientist. It’s my love letter to Victorian England and to Gothic literature.

A stream of shit and piss fell from the second floor of the Avondale house to the street below, where it mixed with the piss, shit and mud that already littered the avenue. From the second-floor window of Mr. Avondale’s dressing room, Shirley Dobbins put down the chamber pot belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Avondale and picked up the one belonging to their daughter, Miss Lucinda.

The Pure World Comes Ch. 1, August 2021

How many novels start with piss and shit? I don’t know, but this one does! And it sums up Victorian living in many ways.

But what do you think of these openings? Did anything catch your eyes and make you want to read more? Let me know in the comments below. And if you want to read the rest of the stories, I’ll leave the links for them below.

And as for who should do this next, I’m going to tag Priscilla Bettis, Allen Huntsman, and Brian B Baker. You don’t have to, but it would tickle me if you did. And I hope you’ll tag back here if you do the challenge.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. It’s past midnight, so I’ll see all your comments in the morning. Until next time (which should be soon, believe it or not), pleasant nightmares!

The Pure World Comes: Readict app (free with ads)

The Dark Sire Issue 8: Amazon

Into the Deep: Paperback, Ebook