What a Year

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endof-year

What a year. 2016 had ups and downs, losses and gains, twists and turns. I don’t know about you, but I feel a little sea-sick! I’m hoping 2017 is a little less crazy. A girl can dream, can’t she?

It’s been a good writing year. I finished writing and revising DREAD and published! I’ve sold some copies, and not just to my family, LOL! Some of those readers even left five-star reviews. Weirdly, I miss my characters a little bit. I spent almost every day with them for over two years, after all. I’m sure they don’t miss me but are enjoying new life every time they spring to life in a reader’s imagination. I *heart* you Nate, Garrett, Sophia, and Lindsey!

I stretched out of my writing comfort zone and wrote a short story in the Dystopian Horror genre. Dystopia always felt overwhelming to me. Seriously, how in the world do you create a whole new world…out of your words? I spent a large part of my summer working on Code Yankee Sierra 7 so I could enter it in the  Pandora’s Box of Horrors Challenge. Guess what? It tied for the win. Pretty exciting!

I’ve made amazing writing friends and connections this year. Their stories captivated, spooked, entangled, and encouraged me. Thanks, guys!

I wrote three other short stories. One was originally posted as a Thanksgiving story, but I revised it to a Christmas story (All Through the Night) and popped it up on WattPad for fun. Another one is also a Christmas story (The Kalli-Who) that was published on this blog as a playful holiday share with you, the readers! Lastly, just for grins, I reworked a story I wrote a very long time ago (Best Night Ever) and also shared that on WattPad.

My current WIP Shiver is coming along. I’m still getting to know the characters, and so far, I like them. Too bad I’ll have to terrorize, burden, and maybe knock some of them off *evil giggle*. What?  I’m a writer, it’s what I do.

A writer. You’d think I’d feel perfectly fine calling myself a writer by now, wouldn’t you? But it still feels awkward. When I think writer, I think of Anne Rice, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and the like. When I say I am a writer, it seems arrogant and like a big overblown fishy tale. Despite the list of accomplishments above, it feels like I am the biggest poser in history, play acting a childhood fantasy and hoping the world buys it. I wonder if the people I mentioned before ever feel that way.

For 2017 my resolution is to own it. To boldly submit works and laugh in the face of rejection letters! To shout, I AM A WRITER! Well, maybe just say it in an inside voice.

Here’s wishing you an adventurous, thrilling, spooky, joyous, own-your-truth new year. I hope you get some of that through reading something I wrote for you.

Until next year, Never Turn Off the Lights!

I <3 Horror, Deal With It

I have a problem. Like many writers, I feel uncomfortable telling people that I write when I first meet them, let alone that I write Horror. You have to know me a little better first, or at least, buy me dinner. My neighbor of four years didn’t know until she stumbled on my Facebook profile and she told me she was shocked.

Shocked? I asked her why.

She stuttered and hemmed and hawed, but eventually she said that I just didn’t seem like the type of person who liked that kind of thing. I had to laugh. What type of person is the kind of person that likes that kind of  thing?

My dear cousin sent me this meme on Facebook because she knows. I commented that I would crack up because things just got FUN! It made me think about an experience I shared with one of my daughters, she definitely knows.12744564_660596094078920_6204107145974811045_n

It was the night after my favorite holiday, Halloween. I picked up said daughter from a late practice at her high school and we were driving home.

At that time we lived in the western suburbs of Denver, butting up to the Rocky Mountain foothills. Our streets were wide, the houses spaced nicely apart, and the street lights were of the decorative variety, pretty but not efficient in their job. That left the roads alarmingly dark at night.

The street we were driving on was the long straight backbone of the neighborhood, the other streets shot off from it like teeth on a comb. As we drove through the dark we saw a lone figure in the distance standing in the weak pool of light cast by the street light at the only stop sign.

It was slowly formulating in my mind that someone had left a Halloween decoration too close to the road. A dark lower portion made the white top appear to levitate. As we approached, I could see that it was a person. A person wearing dark coveralls and a white Micheal Myers mask.

We slowed down as we got right next to him because of the stop sign. He moved towards our car, reaching his hand out as if to grasp the passenger side door handle.

“Mom, go!”

I pulled away from the stop sign and looked in my rearview mirror. I saw him standing in the road behind us, his white face glowing red in my taillights. He stood motionless, watching us drive away. I thought he looked dejected.halloween-4-03

“Holy crap! What was that?” my daughter said.

“I don’t know, but let’s go back! That was awesome!” I said, glee overfilling my heart.

“No way!”

I looked at her sweet face. She really was freaked out.

“Come on. It’s just a Halloween prank. We’ll just drive back around one time, ok?”

“It. Is. Not. Halloween. What if they want to carjack us! Or he just killed all the neighbors and needs a get away car?”

I love her dearly, so we drove on home. She relieved, me disappointed. I was sorry to miss out on that glorious feeling of terror, that thrill that I love so much.

It took the sensible voice of my husband to keep me from getting in my truck and driving back over there by myself. The girl was right, it probably wasn’t safe. You never know about people these days. He joked that if we don’t hear about neighbors being slashed tomorrow, we would know it was a late Halloween prank.

I never told them that I looked in my mirror one last time before turning off on our street. I saw him cross the road and go in between two houses, as if headed to one or other backyard. There was still hope that Michael Myers was creeping around the neighborhood. I peered out into my own heavily wooded and dark backyard hoping for a jolt.

My heart sank a little deeper to see that no one was there.

My current neighbor would probably rethink every interaction we ever had if she knew that story about me.

There you have it. Just like a book, you can’t judge a horror fan by their cover. It could be anyone. Even the people you least expect. Take Guillermo Del Toro, R.L. Stine, or Stephen King. They all look perfectly normal. My neighbor thinks I’m a normal, upstanding, kindly, law-abiding citizen who listens to NPR. While I am all those things, I am a creator and fan of horror. Even little Mikey Myers appeared normal, at first.

My husband was right. You just never know about people these days.

Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!