#Vampires: Love them or hate them?

Tell me. Leave a comment and let me know.

I generally hate vampires. I find them to be an overplayed theme in genre fiction and one whose mythology has been warped and bastardized over the years.

However, as a long time fan of horror, the vampire has always been there as a key figure that symbolizes the entire genre. And while I hate vampires, I would still list Dracula as one of the greatest films ever made, far better than Stroker’s disjointed novel. I also love Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, an unconventional vampire movie, but they were undead blood suckers that can be killed by sunlight. I would say it qualifies.

The mythology of the vampire is perhaps the best part of it. Do you know why garlic keeps away vampires? Garlic oils on your skin or in your blood will help keep away mosquitoes and ticks, so one would have to assume it would work on other blood sackers. Why a stake through the heart? It was to keep the body pinned down so they wouldn’t rise and walk again.

The real reason I ask is that I started writing a story about goth kids pretending to be vampires. I’m also working on the outline for a novel about non traditional vampires. So what do you think?

Writing Novellas

I just finished writing my first novella. It was not as easy as I had expected. Having pounded my way through one novel and blundered my way through another and having authored hundreds of shorts, I truly thought a novella would be a piece of cake, or at the very least a whole cake. This novella has been occupying my time and thoughts for over a year now. And that is a very long time for a novella, something that will not be an easy sell.

I often thought novellas were a good bridge between the novel and the short story, but I was dreadfully wrong. The novella is not just a short novel. It is a precise and telling of long story. It is a novel with all the fat trimmed off, leaving only a lean story without fluff, without secondary character development, without side stories. It is a show-ready house rather than a lived in home. It is also far more complicated than a short story. While short stories tend to stay within the realm of the immediately important, Novellas can broaden the scope and show the importance of things that might be glossed over in a short. The structure of the novella is also more like a novel in the rising action. Short stories are often more direct to the climax. Novellas sway towards it like a roller coaster.

All and all, a great experience that I’m glad to be done with.

Flashing is fun

Writing flash fiction is great fun. Trying to squeeze all the elements of a story into 500 words is quite a challenge, but it teaches you how to be concise and to the point. Shoot me links to some of your flash pieces, and I’ll read them and share them. Here is one of mine.  http://www.halloweenforevermore.com/horrific-words-articles/scary-fiction/the-body-in-the-river-by-robert-holt/

Writers Write

So, I have decided to be a writer. This is a rather new decision really. I know what you may be thinking: “but Rob, you have a novel due out next month, and you have dozens of short stories out already. What do you mean that you have decided to be a writer?” Well, I have come to a realization that there is a fanciful fiction that persists amongst writers, an ideal of grandiose pomposity. People that have the idea of being a writer view the world in shades of pink and yellow, even us horror writers. We see a world where every action and movement in the stars is a matrix of words on a page waiting for a writer to give life to it. We regurgitate clichés about writing until we begin to believe our own bullshit. But I have decided to shed the cloak of fancy. I have decided to move beyond the bright lights of the runway and get behind the curtain to become a real writer. A writer writes. Does it matter what the writer writes? Does it even matter if the writer gets credit for what they write? I don’t think so, not anymore.

I have come to a realization that being a writer is a job and a job I would enjoy doing more than any other. Supporting my family with words on paper or a screen is the only real thing that matters. So I have taken on other projects. I started the year as a horror writer with a handful of publications under my belt and a few dollars in my pocket for my efforts. Back in February I accepted a position as an editor for Grey Wolfe Publishing, a wonderful company that has brought me on and handed me a few projects, children’s books of all things, to edit and work with the author to fine tune into very solid manuscripts. There will be more about these wonderful books soon. Then, based on the suggestion of a friend, I started blog writing in the SEO sense. I am still learning the ropes with the hows and whys of the art of SEO writing, but it is writing and therefore I enjoy it. I have also accepted a ghost writing job for a novel. Having my name on the cover just didn’t seem as important as the cash flow that it would supply.

So have I sold my writers soul? Perhaps. But I think I have just evolved. I am no longer the hipster kid writing in the corner of the noisy coffee shop. I am a man that writes after his daughter goes to bed. I no longer write with the notion that a story is inside demanding to be free. I write with the hope that food gets put on the table. I think this makes me a better writer too. In the past, I wrote a few stories that I couldn’t even stomach with the belief that anybody that didn’t like the words I put down, well then they just weren’t on my level. It never occurred to me that I didn’t like them and obviously wasn’t on my own level as a reader. Now I write to be enjoyed. This is not to say that I lost my edge. On the contrary, I think now my edge is sharpened to make the stories crisp and lively, and if something doesn’t work, I cut it and rework it.

In many ways, I think of the James Braddock story. James was a fighter that fought for glory and to be the best, yet he never was the best. Then the depression hit, and he worked any job he could find to supply food for his children. Out of the blue, he was offered a fight against the relentless Max Baer. Braddock fought like a demon that night. He was no longer fighting for glory. He was fighting for his meals, for his children, for his very survival. And he won the heavyweight championship. The hunger and desire to make a living from my writing has moved me in the same way. I am ready for my title shot. I am ready to make my living!

With that said, if you have any SEO work you want done, books you want ghost written, or just a good horror book to read, shoot me a message. 😉

A novel 15 years in the making

It is a common thing for people to have a novel that they have worked on for years. Death’s Disciples is that novel for me. I started it shortly after high school, pieced it together over the course of the next eight years, and then allowed it to sit for a while before I started editing. The while it sat stretched into seven years.  But I am doing it now.  It is a grueling process. The problem is that I am not that writer any more. Since I started this book I have travelled the world, earned a wife, fathered a daughter, and really just grown up. However, the challenge is to balance the better writing that I can now produce as compared to the younger version of myself and the piss-and-vinegar attitude that was mine back in my youth compared to the relaxed attitude that I have now in my middle thirties.

The story still calls to me. It is brutal and grotesque, but the basic premise is still good in my eyes and rings of Clive Barker’s early novels, like the Damnation Game. I really have little doubt that I will be able to find a publisher for it when I am done editing it, but finishing this edit will be long and grueling.  I am trying to find ways to keep the aggression in the book without allowing the grammar to run haywire.  All in all, a fun but daunting task.

First

Most of you that read this already know me, so instead of introducing myself or any such thing, I will instead begin with discussing my first and yet to be released novel. Several publishers have shown interest in working with me on it, but the editing has been slow going. I am hoping to have it in a publisher’s hand by late February. The book is brutal. I go WAY over my norm with violence for that 300 pages.