And for my third blog post of the day…
I spent some time the past few days rooting out some errors in my books and fixing some of the formatting. There is now an updated text of House of Cabal Volume One: Eden up on Smashwords and Amazon and an updated “The Ovum Horror” on Smashwords. The updated version of The Forgiving should go live on Amazon in a day or two.
I was able to track down quite a few errors, which is, of course, good and bad. It’s great that those errors are fixed now, but the fact that these errors were in books that I sold is sort of embarrassing. I’m still learning and getting better at this whole self-publishing thing, so I guess it’s to be expected that things aren’t perfect from the get go. I thought hiring a copy-editor would be enough, but I have to be extra diligent going into the future.
I will continue to try to make sure my releases are at the highest quality I can make them. Thank you for your understanding.
A recurring dream, as vivid as life, portended the horror.
In the dream, I fly, a city of belonging laid out below me. Though remembered in my waking life, it is only vague fragments: a turquoise spire, a distant snow-capped mountain, ginkgo trees.
I explore each time for three days. (Or live with the denizens; I can’t really remember.) And then on the fourth day in the east, an onyx disk, as big as the sky and as deep as the sea, blots out the sun and its light.
The disk’s arrival is a foretold apocalypse. Awesome. Petrifying. The dark is like the sky ripped away. The only remaining light dimly emanates from a sentient mist that searches the streets for life.
When I realize everyone in the city is already dead, I wake, gasping, often in tears and soaked in sweat.
I’ve lived this dream life in tandem with my waking life, forgetting one while living out the other, thinking the two could never meet.
This night the onyx disk, that phantasmal termination to all things living, has infected, has bled through, fouling the real world with its wet, putrid mist. It has brought with it an emissary: a yellow thing, now outside my bedroom door.
Download “The Ovum Horror” FREE here.
I plan on rewarding myself for writing by going to see The Witch this weekend. I love horror, but great horror movies are few and far between. I hear The Witch might be the next great one.
On that note, here are Self Write’s Horror Awards:
Best recent horror finds: the graphic novel Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and the Australian film The Babadook.
Best deconstructions of horror: Scream (movie, not the TV show obviously) and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods.
Speaking of Drew Goddard, best found footage and best PG-13 horror: Cloverfield
Best 80’s horror: Hellraiser and Nightmare on Elm Street
Favorite horror movie you haven’t seen: Inside (2007) À l’intérieur (original title). Runner-up: Martyrs (2008) and Taxidermia (2006)
Scariest horror: Alien and The Descent
Best Zombie Movies: For me Night of the Living Dead (1968) was the beginning of zombie movies and Dead Alive (Braindead) was the climax. There were some cool zombie movies later like Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland, but you can’t beat Dead Alive. It’s insane.
Favorite horror manga: Uzumaki. In addition to stunning art, the climax of the three book set is very satisfying.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is one of the most influential ghost stories of all time, and it probably had the most influence on The Forgiving. If you ever want to write a modern ghost story, this book is required reading.
The Haunting of Hill House has inspired more than one movie, the 1963 version being the most faithful and effective, though I recommend sticking with the creeping psychological terror of the novel.
The horror that had the most influence on my impressionable young mind when I was growing up was Clive Barker. I started with his children’s book The Thief of Always and then the very adult Weaveword and then read the first volume of Books of Blood. His dark fantasy work influenced my House of Cabal series, but his Books of Blood were a main touchstone for The Forgiving.
Books of Blood works its way through extreme gore toward more existential horror, all the while exhibiting endless creativity and an authoritative narrative voice. It’s the best horror collection I have yet found.
His writing was also one of the first I had read with gay characters and queer sexual themes.
The film that influenced The Forgiving the most would be Rosemary’s Baby. I love the happy tone through the beginning of the film, then the mounting paranoia that creeps into her perfect life.
The final influence on The Forgiving is the endless stream of slasher films from the 80s and 90s and onward that I never had a taste for.
My main goal with The Forgiving was to not have any disposable characters that you hoped got killed. That’s why I had the three main characters in a loving romantic relationship. I’m not a fan of horror that is written to punish sin. I think horror works better when it is transgressive, unexpected, and challenges social norms and the status quo.
Buy The Forgiving HERE.
I have less than eighteen days to finish House of Cabal Volume Two: Estate. On March 5th, I need to send it to my copy editor. She will get it back to me around the 11th and then I’ll look through her edits, finalize the text, and publish on Smashwords and Amazon.
I’ve been working on the final draft all day. Earlier in the week, I was using the Find function to search through the text and look at sentences and word use in isolation, but today I’m reading through the whole book, seeing everything in context, and making corrections as necessary. I’ll have a better idea about if I have any weak sections after this pass.
Time is running short, so I’m also searching for any plot holes or logical inconsistencies.
Example: I describe large cedar trees on the House of Cabal estate. The estate was supposedly constructed fifteen years ago. Were the trees on the site before the construction, which is highly unlikely, or is there another explanation for their rapid growth? I hadn’t thought of this before today. I could address the cedar trees in the plot or remove them from the description.
I need to consider every detail before it goes to the copy editor. If I try to fix these types of problems after I get it back, I’ll introduce new errors I hired my copy editor to catch.
In other news, my horror novel The Forgiving is on sale for $0.99 at Amazon HERE.