Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Feel free to read this in the form of any action movie promo you’ve ever seen or heard:

COMING SOON TO A DIGITAL DEVICE IN YOUR HAND:

All We See is the End

runfortheflame_cover_feb19_2017From the minds of A.J. Brown and M.F. Wahl comes two horrific tales of struggle and loss you won’t soon forget.

Run For the Flame takes us into a world where an ice age has engulfed everything, driving life underground. The Sanctuary holds the last vestiges of humanity, but its walls are cracking and the ice is slowly encroaching. In their last grasp at survival, the community is forced to send their boys on an all important run for the flame … none have ever returned.

In Purple Haze, a crash landing on an uninhabited planet strands Adira and the surviving members of her crew. Surrounded by a quiet world of blue grass and purple skies, danger lurks within the beauty. Without contact to Earth and light years from home, they encounter a treacherous enemy that threatens to destroy them from the inside out.

Wahl, a #1 Wattpad featured author, and Brown whose stories have appeared in over 200 publications, use their easy styles to draw you in and hold you close. Welcome to their nightmares.

Available soon on Amazon, but you can get it free by subscribing to my newsletter at:  http://eepurl.com/cDEh9v

As always, until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.

Welcome to The Pinch. What’s The Pinch? Oh, it’s simple. You know when you go to the doctor and end up getting a shot? You know how that nurse (who just loves her job so much she could be a serial killer in any psychotic movie) who smiles at you and says, ‘We’re going to give you a little shot. It won’t hurt much…’ I always wonder who the ‘we’ is here?

The nurse then goes on to say, ‘It’ll only be a little pinch.’

First off, she’s lying. Don’t believe her. I’ve never been given a shot that felt like any pinch I’ve ever had. Second off, she’s enjoying herself. While you’re sucking in all the oxygen in the room, she’s smiling away. Little evil serial killer wanna-be.

Okay, I’ve gotten a little sidetracked. The Pinch is an interview series. They are four or five short, quick questions (though the interviewee doesn’t have to give short answers), just enough to tease you folks out in Reader Land. It’s also my way of introducing you to writers you (may or) may not know.

Our first Pinch is a young lady by the name of Claire C. Riley. I just recently found out about her through a Facebook group (yes, a trusty Facebook group—isn’t that how everyone meets these days?). Without going into further unpleasantries, why don’t we just get started?

Limerence, The Obsession Series, is along the lines of a romantic horror involving vampires. This is something we’ve seen before in another series that shall go unnamed within these dark halls. For those readers who have been ruined on vampires because of that other series, how does Limerence differ from it?

Limerence was my debut novel and the second in the series came out in October, with the third and final installment set for release in 2015. How does it vary from the film that shall not be named? Pretty much everything about it is different, haha. I tried to take vampires back to the more old school route of Bram Stoker where vampires were dark and dangerous. I also tried to turn things on their head. In most books and film adaptations the woman wants to be a vampire, however in Limerence it’s the very opposite. So, there’s blood, and lust and danger and crazy-assed vampires!

You write about zombies as well. Why?

– I love reading about apocalyptic worlds, and some twisted part of me actually believes that zombies could possibly come about one day. Or something similar anyway. Plus for that reason, zombies are a big fear of mine, and I think it’s good to write about things that scare you. Facing your fears head on so to speak.

Tell us a little about Odium The Dead Saga.

Odium is set several years after the outbreak, and our main protagonist, Nina, lives in a walled city protected from the Deaders out in the world. However, the city has become less than a happy place and people are forced to either starve or sell themselves to survive. Nina has had enough, and when a young girl is being kicked out of the city for stealing, she decides to go with her.

Nina, however, is not a fighter. She can’t use a gun or a sword; she has no survival skills whatsoever. She’s just an everyday woman determined to survive in a world overrun by the dead.

She’s feisty and snarky, she’s inappropriate and says what she thinks. Some say bitch, but I say that it’s just her defense mechanism. It’s better to have no friends so she can’t lose any one. Along their road for survival, they meet other survivors that are surviving the best way they can.

I also have out – Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella part One and Two. These are accompaniments to the Odium novels and tell the back-story on some of the more important characters from each book. I LOVE writing these books and letting the readers know the TRUE story behind each character. And let me tell you, they are not what you expect them to be.

I love this line from your website: She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy. Do you sometimes have a hard time killing off a character you love or do you really kill them without mercy?

– I genuinely kill them without mercy! Haha, I’m cruel like that. However, do I regret killing some of them off afterwards? Yes, a lot of the time. In fact, some of them still haunt me

Another blurb from your website that I like is the description of your writing: Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. Is there an old-school classic that you haven’t tackled that you would like to?

– There’s a lot that I want to tackle in the future to be honest, it’s finding the time that I have the problem with. My fans are greedy voracious, and I love them for it, but it’s hard to keep them fed all the time with new tales! I have quite a few anthology contributions under my belt namely, Let’s Scare Cancer to Death (a charity anthology) State of Horror: Illinois and Fading Hope: Humanity Unbound.

I love them all, but the Fading Hope anthology is one of my very favourites because it talks about a subject that I haven’t covered before – monsters! Like, real old school monsters. And in this anthology there is no hope whatsoever. It was a great collaboration of authors such as Jack Wallen, Rebecca Besser, Eli Constant, and several more, and each of us wrote completely unique and hopeless stories. It’s brilliant and really goes out of everyone’s comfort zones.

Thank you, Claire, for your time and answers. Keep the band-aid on for at least 24 hours to prevent any bacteria and infection. Or risk getting infected and becoming a zombie.

The following are excerpts from two of Claire’s books. Enjoy:

From Limerence II

The dining room is quiet at this time of the day. It is neither lunch nor teatime; however, I know that there will be food prepared. There is always food prepared. I take my glass from the stand and move along the counter until I reach Mad Donny, the chef here. He smiles warmly at me, as he always smiles.

“Mia, how are you today?”

“I’m good.” I mirror his smile as I look at the selection. “Hungry.”

“Of course—aren’t you always? What would you like? Something sweet? Something spicy, perhaps?” He licks his lips greedily and rubs his hands together. Donny is always hungry, though he should have learnt to control his thirst by now. He is far older than Evan, and me, and even older than most of the other vampires around here. His eyes gleam at me with an insanity that he does not try to control; it’s what makes Donny Donny. I don’t know how he does this every day; the smell alone would send me over the edge, but he seems to relish in it. Perhaps his pleasure from it is because of his constant overindulgence.

“Sweet, please, Donny,” I say and hand him my glass. Sweet is always my preference, especially after an unfortunate April Fool’s Donny played on everyone, which involved hot chillies and blood. The poor human never tasted the same afterwards.

He turns to the selection of humans behind him and, reaching for a youngish man, he pulls the seal from his wrist and holds it over my glass. The man’s eyes are glassy and hollow as he stares ahead of him at nothing. His lips are bluish and dry, and his skin pasty.

My stomach grumbles as the glass begins to fill, and I urge him to hurry, my fangs unsheathing in expectancy.

Down, boys. Not this time.

Donny reseals the wound and turns back to me with my now full glass of sweet B negative.

“Thanks.” I smile wider this time and hurry to a table by the window. I want to sit and enjoy the sun on my face whilst I drink. It’s cold out, but the sun still rises each day in retaliation of the coming winter.

The first sip is always the best. That first millisecond when the blood touches your taste buds is as if every one of my senses are being caressed by the hand of God. Every stroke, every touch awakens my very soul, devouring my body from the inside out—though without doubt, not by any God I know of.

© Copyright Claire C. Riley

From Odium The Dead Saga

“Let’s go.” JD moves off round the corner, and we follow him as one and without argument.

There are stains smeared along the walls, handprints and the words help us written in dried blood. I shudder and look at Duncan. He lowers his gaze away from me and away from the words, knowing only too well that he caused this. He could have saved some of these people if he wouldn’t have been such a coward. Instead he locked them all inside and sentenced them to death.

There are the remains of a body or two on the floor, but not enough of either of them remain to be reanimated, and so JD kicks the bloody bones to the side and out of our way. We can hear more growling coming from behind a closed door; we seemed to have riled them all up, by the sounds of it.

“That’s the medic’s room,” Duncan whispers.

I want to shout out no shit, Sherlock! since there’s a big red cross on the door, but JD turns the handle before I can get my words out. I swallow them down and ready myself as the door opens inwards and reveals to us the five zombies within.

They head straight for us with long, hungry growls, as if mamma didn’t give them their last meal before bedtime. Sludge hangs from their jaws and a cold blankness fills their eyes. Their lips peel back to reveal blackened and broken teeth and they push and shove to get past each other and to their meal. Us. I shiver and swallow down the stomach acid that has worked its way up my esophagus and into my mouth.

“I got this.” Crunch steps forward, and with her two knives, she decapitates the first two zombies with relative ease (if there can be such a thing when killing the living dead). JD follows her in, and when a zombie lunges for him, he deals with it with a quick swoop of his scythe down its middle. From skull to stomach it splits, and everything left inside tumbles into a pile on the floor along with its body.

Crunch laughs as she circles another, kicking it away with her foot until it falls on its back. She stands above it, placing a foot on its chest, and drives her blade through its face slowly and with a maniacal glee that sends shivers down my spine. There is something like contentment in her expression as she pulls the blade back out, gunk spewing out of the hole left by her knife.

The last deader has reached the doorway, and Duncan takes aim with his gun.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers as he pulls the trigger and the zombie hits the floor.

©Copyright Claire C. Riley

Intrigued? Good. You can follow the links below to her website, Facebook, twitter, Google+ and Amazon author pages. Check her out, and thanks for stopping by.

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Back in 2008 I wrote a story as a prompt to a Halloween contest. My friend, S. Copperstone, created an interesting character for another story in the same contest. I was aggravated with myself. Why didn’t I come up with that name? I didn’t know—I still don’t—but I do know I liked it. She and I talked about this character, a Mr. Cade Aver, and I eventually asked her if I could write a story using the name. She was cool with it.

When I was finished, I sent her a copy of it and asked for permission to submit it somewhere. It got picked up by Estronomicon for Halloween of that year.

Today I present you with a rewritten version of Treats at the Aver Residence. Again, I contacted my friend, S. Copperstone, for permission to put this up. What, you ask? Why ask when it was my story? Why ask when she granted permission before? It’s simple: out of respect for my friend and the character name. I could simply change the name, but I don’t want to do that. I want Cade Aver and my friend to get the credit they deserve, because, honestly, if not for her, I would have never written the story.

So, please, enjoy, Treats at the Aver Residence, and if you wouldn’t mind, leave a comment. I would appreciate it.

***

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.

***

“They’re going to love this year’s treat,” Cade said, giddily. He moved around the large steel table with a carving knife in hand. His milky eyes dazzled in the yellow glow of the overhead lights. He began to sing a tune, changing the lyrics slightly. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The children are sneaking, and candy they’re seeking with great cheer. Oh yes it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

On the table lay the body covered by a sheet up to its head. The man squirmed, arms and legs pulling on the restraints that held him down. His eyes were wide orbs, glassy and full with fear.

“All those years of being a surgeon come in handy at this time of year, don’t you think, Mr. Mason.”

Cade looked down into Mason’s green eyes, red veins prominent on their whites. The man blinked, and a stray tear fell down the side of his face. He let out a groan, not one of pain, but fear. Cade was certain if the white cloth shoved into his mouth wasn’t there, Mason would scream for all he was worth—and at that moment, he was worth quite a lot to Cade.

“Don’t worry—you will only feel a moderate amount of pain, and that for only a few seconds, maybe a minute, and then you’ll pass out.” He stroked Mason’s sweaty cheek. “Then you won’t feel anything at all. At least until the children arrive.”

Mason shook his head, his eyes filling with tears.

“Oh yes,” Cade almost sung, and then patted Mason’s face. “It’s going to be a wonderful Halloween.”

***

In their homes, the children sang and danced as their mothers painted their off colored skin whatever shade of pale, brown or black that they chose. Halloween shows—It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy were their favorites—played on the television and those who were finished with their dinners sat and watched until the sun began to set.

The anticipation made some of them bounce in their seats. Toes tapped. Fingers drummed. Teeth even chattered. Betsy Wallabanger’s teeth fell out twice, and each time she put them back in, she had to adjust her lipstick. Excitement hung in the air.

***

“Would you like a smiley face or a frown? Or maybe a really scary face?”

Mason shook his head and moaned again.

“Hmm . . . none of those, huh? I have templates this year—got them cheap at the WalGreens in town. They practically gave them to me.” Cade rubbed the blade of his knife against the side of his head. A flap of skin peeled back and a few strands of dirty brittle hair flaked to the floor. “Wow, that’s sharp—I guess I should be careful where I put that.”

Cade pulled the sheet away like a magician putting on a show, and looked at Mason’s body. A pair of red underwear covered his privates but other than that Mason was nude. His belly was plump, the signs of a man who likes to eat, and eat well at that.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I shaved your body while you were asleep. You had a lot of hair and you know how kids are—most of them just don’t like hair on their treats. But I didn’t shave your head. Some of them like to keep scalps for souvenirs these days.”

Mason shook his head hard and let out a yell that was muffled by the cloth. He chewed on the rag as if trying to eat it so he could cry for help.

“Well, I’m sorry, but you needed the shave. What’s done is done—you just have to get over that now.”

Cade set the knife on a counter behind him and rifled through the templates. “Frankenstein? Oh, how about Shrek—he’s popular with the kiddies.” After going through all of the patterns, he set them down, and picked up a black marker. “None of those will do. Not for you, Mr. Mason. I’ll just have to come up with something on my own.”

He stood over Mason’s ample belly and drew an odd looking oval just below the ribs. He drew a second oval and then a triangle around Mason’s belly button. Cade tapped his temple with the marker and looked up at the ceiling. Many images ran through his head until the right one came to mind. A smile creased his face.

“Oh, you are going to love this.”

He drew the large squiggly line below the triangle and then brought it down close to his underwear line. Cade picked up the knife and looked at Mason. “Are you ready for this?”

Mason’s screams were muffled as Cade plunged the knife into his stomach.

***

“Come on, let’s get changed into your costumes.”

The children squealed with joy when the mothers beckoned them to get ready for the festivities. They hurried to their rooms and donned their different outfits. They were vampires and werewolves, neither of which sparkled or walked around shirtless. They were witches with warts on their noses and brooms by their sides. They were zombies—oh so many of them were zombies. Betsy Wallabanger dressed up as a corpse bride, her hair jutting this way and that way, her outfit a natural dirty shade, complete with stains across the front. Her mother had worn that very costume when she was Betsy’s age. There were no princesses or Batmans or video game stars. There were no cute little lions, tigers or bears, oh my. There was an Alice and she carried a bucket shaped like the tardy rabbit’s head. Every few steps it dripped blood—not too much, just enough to make it appear real.

They practiced the chants they learned from Halloweens past. Their voices rang up to the ceilings and none were off key.

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.”

Some of the kids added extra verses, having learned them from the older kids. “If you don’t I won’t cry. I’ll slit your throat and then you’ll die.”

Mothers gave approving looks and fathers ruffled the enthusiastic heads of the extra verse singers.

There were few idle threats of ‘behave or else.’ Those were reserved for parents in towns where Halloween was more of a burden than a rite of passage. Besides, the kids in Dreads Hollow knew the parents would never stick to their threats of no haunting the neighborhood—it was just as much fun for the adults as it was for the children. Then there was always the one house at the end of Corpse Avenue that did something different each year. If anything, the parents wanted to see how Mr. Aver had decorated. If there were no haunts for the kids, there was no visiting the Aver residence for the adults.

***

Cade pulled part of the flesh of Mason’s stomach away. He bit down on a piece of it, chewed and nodded. “Very tasty.”

He looked inside Mason’s stomach. He had deadened the nerves and cauterized the flesh around where he had carved away the precious meat. Blood still flowed from the chest cavity and Mason still breathed, though shallow as it was.

The carved face appeared gruesome but Cade wasn’t finished. He had left a long slit by the reamed out mouth. A mesh was in place, holding Mason’s intestines in.

Cade carefully moved Mason’s body onto a gurney he had procured from one of the medical catalogues he still received, though he hadn’t been a practicing surgeon in well over twenty years. Mason moaned and opened his eyes. A few seconds later, his eyes closed again and he was unconscious to the world around him. Cade pushed the gurney through the house and onto the front porch.

Out in the fresh autumn air, Cade took a deep breath. The coolness filled his throat, but burned his ancient lungs. “Ah, I love this time of year.” He worked like a cautious burglar, careful not to set any alarms off and give himself away. In Cade’s case, careful not to jar Mason’s body and have his efforts ruined by an act of clumsiness. He slid his arms under Mason’s legs and back and carried him down the steps. Cade sat him on a sturdy lawn chair, not bothering to brush off the leaves that had fallen on it or the spider web that hung between one armrest and the seat. Back inside, Cade grabbed the accessories, chip wrappers and empty beer cans. He littered the area around Mason with the garbage and placed one of the cans in the man’s hand.

Cade looked at his creation. The backdrop of his old house with its creaky steps, shuttered windows and flaking paint would give anyone from outside of Dreads Hollow the creeps. He smiled and shook with something akin to lust.

***

They walked the streets of the neighborhood, clothed in their homemade outfits and masks. Each child’s eyes beamed with excitement as they went from door to door. The welcome lights shone brightly at each house, luring the kids to knock and speak their chants. Neighbors opened doors, smiled and played along. They oohhed and ahhed at the costumes; they told the children how scary and terrifying and even how sickening they were; they gave them treats of lady fingers and animal eyes, of hair necklaces and cooked tongues.

“I got a rock,” one kid said when he left each house. The other children laughed the first couple of times, but eventually grew tired of it and begged him to stop.

Tunes of Trick or Treat rang throughout the night until they reached the Aver residence. It sat at the end of Corpse Avenue, the front yard lit by a dim bulb that cast shadows that looked like pointy fingers stretching across the ground. Cade stood on the porch, his face covered by a mask made of Mason’s skin.

Several of the children approached the house. Their bodies hummed with anticipation and their eyes darted about the yard. Mason sat in the shadows near the porch, one hand wrapped around the beer can. He moaned and the children stopped. Some of the parents leaned into get a better look.

“I call this Drunk Man,” Cade said and flipped a switch that lit up the yard.

A loud gasps echoed through the night as parents and children alike took in Cade’s work. Mason’s stomach had been carved out into a normal pumpkin face, the lining burned black. A trickle of blood still washed down into the man’s briefs. Mason’s eyes had been stapled open and crusted blood clung to his face. His intestines, which had been held in by the mesh, now dangled on Mason’s lap. It appeared as if they had been vomited out of the wide mouth in his belly. The cloth in his mouth from earlier was gone and his bottom lip trembled.

Betsy Wallabanger—six past a hundred years of age—approached the creation, cautiously. “He’s still alive,” she said and looked up at Cade.

“Go ahead. It’s okay, he can’t move,” Cade said with a grisly smile.

Betsy set her pillowcase bag on the ground and leaned down. She sunk her teeth into one of Mason’s thighs. He screamed as she worked her jaw from side to side. She ripped off a piece of muscle, her teeth coming out slightly. She shoved them back in place and chewed. After she swallowed, she smiled. “Delicious.”

“Come, little ones,” Cade waved. “Enjoy this year’s treat from the Aver residence.”

Children squealed as they lit in on Mason. His screams filled the night, much to Cade’s satisfaction. The parents looked on—and some of them even joined them—with a happiness that is reserved for their ilk as they watched them partake of the fresh treat Cade had provided.

“You really outdid yourself this year, Aver,” one of the fathers said before he walked away with his little boy. The front of the boy’s costume was soaked red and he licked his fingers clean of the blood that had been on them.

***

Cade sat on the porch in an ancient rocker that squealed like a wounded rat as it went back and forth. The sounds of singing, happy children had long since faded. What remained of Mason lay scattered on the lawn. There were bones here and there, a clump of hair by the sidewalk—the scalp had not been taken this year. One of the kids had bit off his privates. Or was it one of the moms? Cade didn’t know.

On his lap sat a skull. Part of it was still pink from blood and meat. He pulled a piece of flesh off of the cheekbone and plopped it in his mouth. He chewed, swallowed and then sang his favorite tune as he rocked back and forth.

“Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

What makes a horror story?

Yeah, I’m just coming out and asking. Just get right into the thick of it, as some editors say.

What constitutes a horror story? Why are certain stories considered horror as opposed to thriller or drama or any other genre/sub genre?

Are monsters needed, such as Frankenstein, Dracula, zombies, werewolves, the blob and so many others?

Does there need to be an abundance of gore and dismemberment, as seen in movies like Saw, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street?

Does everyone need to die, as in all the movies I just listed? Not that everyone dies in those movies, but a lot do. Is it necessary?

Or could it involve the everyday events of life? A kid beating another kid to death with a baseball bat? A man beating his wife and children to show them who’s the boss (and worse yet, killing them if he so felt inclined)? An act of terrorism, such as what happened on 9/11?

Or maybe, could it be the subtleness of death alone? Someone dying of Cancer or the debilitating Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)? Or what about dementia or any other mental disease?

What is horror to you, the readers as well as you, the writers?

I think horror doesn’t necessarily have to be scary, but it can have horrific elements to it. Those elements often bring about that tremendous emotion of dread, something we horror writers shoot for.

Take Stephen King, the most well known horror writer of the last forty years. Sure, he has stories like It, Needful Things, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, Cell, The Dome, and many, many others. But isn’t he the same guy who wrote stories like Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Rose Madder, Apt Pupil, Cujo, and Big Driver among others? None of the stories in this last list are supernatural or have monsters in them (that is, monsters per say. As to what monsters are, there are very real monsters in all of those stories).

In my collection, Along the Splintered Path, there are three stories, only one of which is truly horror for what horror is. The other two could be considered not necessarily horror. Both stories have horrific elements to them, but I’m not totally positive I would say they were ‘horror.’ Yes, I used that word or a variation of it several times in this last paragraph.

If you ask me (and I know you aren’t, but…) the elements of horror are in every day life. Even literary writers are getting in on it, though they would never admit it. Boy meets girl, falls in love, but girl doesn’t love boy so boy kills girl, stuffs her in a footlocker and tosses her in the lake. That, my friends, is horror at its core.

If you turn on the television or read the newspaper, there’s something horrific happening every day.

Tornadoes ripped through Alabama last year, killing 239. We’ve seen the images and from what we’ve heard and read, we can piece together the last moments of many lives. There may not have been any monsters or murderers involved, but the horror was there.

How about the massacre in Norway on July 22nd of 2011 where 77 people were killed? Again, we’ve seen the videos of teenagers running for their lives, some of them bloodied. We’ve seen the images of bodies on the ground and the portraits of those who died. What if that had been a book instead of real life? Would it be considered a horror story or just another literary work?

What about the Tri State Crematory incident from 2002 where, instead of cremating the bodies of the deceased, they dumped over three hundred corpses in woods or stacked in sheds and the families were given nothing more than concrete dust instead of the remains of loved ones? Surely, finding the bodies would have been unnerving for anyone.

I could go on and on all day, citing examples of things that I would consider horrific, even in its subtleness. Amelia Earhart’s disappearance as an example. Wouldn’t her story–the actual disappearance–and what happened to her be both fascinating and chilling? Not to beat a dead horse, but what about the sinking of the Titanic? Or the San Francisco earthquake and fires of April 18th, 1906? Over 3000 people died that morning.

I’m a writer. And as I’ve perused over my stories through recent years, I’ve noticed more and more that I’ve pulled away from the monsters and more toward the realistic horrors of this world. Of the last 100 stories I’ve written, including two novels and several novellas, 39 or them had zero monsters, ghosts or supernatural elements to them. Those stories all are rooted in the real world we live in, yet even they, for the most part, have horrific elements to them. I call those RLHs, or Real Life Horrors.

So… what do you think? What constitutes horror for you? I hope for some reader participation here and I look forward to seeing what everyone thinks on this.

As always, thank you for reading.

Until we meet again, my friends…

I was going to sit and write about my book, about my thoughts on Along the Splintered Path and where I see my writing going. I may still write about some of that here and I guess part of this will be about my writing. But I would like to start with something else.

I will try to keep this short.

I want to state, quite clearly, with the revelations of last week and the mindset that I have, the way my heart feels deep inside, I will not preach to anyone. It is not who I am. It is not who I wish to be.

I think opportunities present themselves to the willing Christians out there who genuinely want to share their faith. I don’t, however, believe that I can approach anyone (especially folks I don’t know) with one agenda: to witness and witness alone. I think (mind you, I think) that witnessing is an important thing, but I also think there is a time and a place and the right circumstances have to be in place in order to do so.

I want to say something that may offend a few folks and if it does, I’m sorry. This is how I feel. This is how my heart feels. There are far too many Christians out there doing nothing to help better the world. Flip that coin over and look at the other side: There are far too many Christians forcing themselves onto people and running people off from the Lord. Neither of these approaches gets the message out there. Neither passiveness nor aggressiveness works.

The Bible says: By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

To paraphrase here: They will know us by our love for one another.

A heavy handed approach rarely ever works these days. Compassion and love and gentleness and understanding do. Yes, I said understanding. Our world is such a diverse place to live in and people are so different in many aspects. We shouldn’t try to change them, but accept people for who they are. Trying to change people is a personal agenda. There are no two ways around it. However, Jesus commands us to love one another and it is that love that leads to understanding.

There is a lot of bitterness toward Christians and rightfully so. Too many Christians either do nothing or are too heavy handed in their approach. There has to be a balance and when there is balance there is opportunity. Find that balance and the journey, I believe, will be that much more rewarding for you.

One more thing and I will move onto something else: If you are a Christian, then your actions will speak louder than your words unless your words are spoken with an angry spirit. Just something to chew on.

***

The world is a vampire
–The Smashing Pumpkins
Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Welcome to my nightmare
–Alice Cooper
Welcome To My Nightmare

It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God, I know I’m one

–The Animals
House of the Rising Sun

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facin’ up when your whole world is black.

–The Rolling Stones
Paint it Black

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day.
Tried to run
Tried to Hide
Break on through to the other side…

–The Doors
Break on Through

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
Focused on the pain
The only thing that’s real

–Nine Inch Nails
Hurt

Obviously, these are lyrics to songs, all of which I love. I think lyrics are some of the most powerful words written. Regardless of what the song is, someone (and it may only be one person) will get something from it. That makes song lyrics so powerful.

The lyrics above could be considered dark by many. For me, they are beautifully rendered truths that someone felt as they wrote them.

I said that to echo something a friend of mine said recently when trying to figure out the next step in my writing career and whether to continue writing at all. That friend would be Steve Lowe, my sick-o bizarro writer friend.

AJ – I would have to think that everything you have written reflects a period of your life and what you were experiencing, something that you felt compelled to document and seen through the lens you were looking through at that time. I see nothing to be ashamed about with that.

Several others chimed in with their thoughts, all of them uplifting and giving me some reassurance in, not my stories or my abilities, but what I’ve chosen to write.

I’m proud of my work. I’m proud of the stories I’ve managed to get published over the years. I’m especially proud of Along the Splintered Path, my three story e-book collection. They reflect me during a period of my life and that life, as I’ve said before, is an open book for anyone who wishes to know about it.

Admittedly, I’m heading into a new phase of writing, but let me say this: Horror and Faith can coexist. They have since before the serpent first tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

I’m a horror writer. That’s the bottom line. I’m a horror writer, and for the last week or so I’ve debated, prayed, and discussed with folks the very idea of writing what I love to write and balancing it with my faith.

I’d like to think my stories are told honestly, that there is truth in the words and actions of the characters. It’s that truth that I enjoy writing about.

It takes a special person to write horror. No, I’m not talking about monsters here. I’m talking about the horrors of the world; the way the world is today. True horror is all about good and evil. Not just good. Not just evil. Both of them and the battle that takes place between them.

There is a lot of redemption in horror stories. The good ones rely on the spiritual warfare going on inside a person’s heart and mind. Good horror reflects on life and the decisions people make. Good horror is truth and it is that truth I wish to continue to bring you. I hope I continue to succeed at that.

Thank you for visiting Type AJ Negative and for reading. There is no greater sadness for a writer than to have no readers.

Until we meet again, my friends…

As a writer, I like when someone comments about one of my stories. I also like when I make someone wonder about me.

One day last week, a young lady that works for the same firm I do was getting on the elevator with her friend. I got on behind them. Normally (like there is really anything normal about anything I do anymore) I would joke around with them and tell some tale about elevator etiquette. Before I could do so, the young lady–we’ll call her V–said to me:

“Can I ask you a question?”

In my experience when a female ask that question, I am either a) in trouble or b) about to be in trouble.

“Sure. I may not have an answer, but I’ll try.”

She scrunched up her nose and her upper lip curled up on one side. It was a really good Rocky impersonation. “Where did that dark side come from?”

I knew what she was talking about, but I tried to play dumb, which for me isn’t that hard and it’s really not an act.

“What are you talking about?”

She shook her head. “Come on. The book.”

“Ohhhhhhh… yeah, I’ve always been like that.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve always liked the darker things.”

And that’s the thing: I work with people every day. Most of them have no clue I’m a writer. For the most part, I keep the two separated, simply because I write horror and a lot of people view horror writers as twisted, demented people who should be locked up in cages in someone’s basement. Oh wait. That’s not right, but they do think we’re twisted and demented–how else could we come up with the subjects we write about?

The answer to that last question is… ummm… real life gives us most of our subject matter, but that’s for another day.

The point is: most of the people I work with know me as a nice, helpful person (for the most part. Sometimes the niceness goes right out the window and I revert to my normal persona). So, when they read something I’ve written, it opens their eyes… or maybe it scares them a little. A few even view me differently now.

I’m okay with that.

V said, “I was reading and saying, oh… oh my…”

What V was referring to is my short story collection, Along the Splintered Path, three stories about splintered lives. She mentioned the second story in the book, ‘Round These Bones. She said it was disturbing.

There you go. I succeeded at my job. The story was intended to be disturbing and if I managed to make one person feel that way, then it was a job well done.

As writers, that’s what we want. We want to hear from people. We want to know that something we wrote did what it was supposed to do. We want to know that the readers enjoy the stories and we want to know when it made them cry or if it made them angry or sick to their stomach or even made them smile.

I’m happy with V’s feelings on the book. It did what it was meant to do.

If you would like to check out Along the Splintered Path, just go here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Pick it up. Leave a review. Writers really do want to hear from the readers. It helps us figure out what we are doing right and it helps us to know what needs to be fixed.

If you pick up the book, maybe you’ll look like this person (her name is Gina and yes, this was used with permission) while you’re reading it.

Photobucket

I thank you, now, for reading, not only Along the Splintered Path, but also Type AJ Negative.

Read on and your thoughts are always welcome.

Until we meet again, my friends…