Archive for December, 2014

Well, now that we have Christmas behind us, it’s full steam ahead with plans for 2015. I’m still in the middle of editing my horror manuscript Blood Visions, have released my short story collection Evil Imminent which is currently on a book tour, and I’m tossing around ideas for my next work.

Early ideas have been around a manuscript that might focus on the lives of four psychically gifted women who attend Thursday night art classes together. They are babes in the woods when it comes to acknowledging, or even using their gifts, until one woman gets stuck between worlds and the other three have to help her return. It gets complicated when the woman is put into a mental hospital because outwardly she looks like she is having a psychotic breakdown.

But back to the present. My horror/paranormal short story collection Evil Imminent is currently on a virtual book tour. As part of this tour, I was asked to delve a bit further into one of the characters Dutton Forrest from ‘Dark Star’ and provide a character interview for readers. Here it is, along with an excerpt from the book for your reading.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Dutton Forrest and I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. I’m what’s known as a ‘Trekkie’ actually, but seriously – I mean we take it seriously – the Great Barrington chapter of the Star Trek Foundation that is. I live on a pig farm with my dad. My mom died when I was three. We don’t talk much, me and my dad, and he definitely doesn’t understand about Star Trek, or my night-time excursions to hunt down aliens. I’m not supposed to talk about that though. Let’s just say I’m into astronomy and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Between you and me, they’re real. The aliens that is…they’re out there. 

What is your role in the story?

I go out searching for the Dark Star. I know my mom is still alive. I’ve seen her, only they have her in that place. It’s like a dark cave and silvery beings come and go from it. It’s deep in the woods but I haven’t told anyone ’cause they wouldn’t believe me if I did. I’m going to rendezvous with the Dark Star soon, and I’ll be able to see my mom then.

What is your favorite hobby? 
Why searching for aliens of course. That, and watching reruns of Star Trek. Captain Kirk is my favourite. Then again, he’s everyone’s favourite isn’t he?

What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story? 

If I can just find my mom, everything will be alright. I’ll fit in better at school and I’ll have more friends too. And I won’t have to be so alone all the time.

If you could make one wish, what would it be? 

To have my mom back.

 

Excerpt:

It glided over rocks and grassy mounds, jumping the small creek, pausing every now and then, as if to call him forward. He followed until the silver light stopped in a small clearing at the front of a cave. Dutton stopped too, hidden by the safety of the tall forest trees. He peered around him, trying to see what was happening. As the silver light paused he saw something drift out of the cave. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on edge. His heart missed a beat. It looked like a woman – with hair the colour of a cornfield.

He choked on his breath. The woman looked identical to the photographs at home. His mother. He squeezed his eyes shut. Was he dreaming? When he opened them again she was still there, walking toward the silvery light. As she reached the light it engulfed her; she became one with the light. The silvery beam spun in his direction, motioning to him. His knees began to shake with excitement. His heart pounded so loudly in his ears, he thought they would explode. The light floated toward him, closer and closer until he could feel it pulsating on his skin. He raised his head and gazed into it. He had hoped to see the kind, gentle face of his mother but, instead, dark eyes blinked from within the silvery cloak. He frowned. This wasn’t his mother. It leant closer to him and hissed, “Look to the skies in three days; look for the dark star and you will find all you seek.” He nodded frantically before he blacked out and slumped to the ground.

Where to get Evil Imminent:

Amazon US: Amazon US

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Amazon Aust: Amazon Aust

Gumroad: https://gumroad.com/l/QkWF

This year really feels like it is winding to a close. Loose ends are being tidied away and, metaphorically at least, I’ll be glad to see that calender tick over to 2015. I’ve learned a lot in 2014, some tough lessons at times, but I think I’ve come out of it a stronger, and perhaps a more authentic person. My goal going forward is to be ‘true’ to myself.

Most days now, I know what I want. I also know what I will or won’t tolerate and, most of all, I know that self-care is perhaps the greatest gift you can give…to yourself.

Part of caring for self means setting boundaries. As the title of this blog suggests, I’m a ‘sensitive’ person…whatever that means. I guess for want of a good definition, I’ll have a go at defining it for myself:

  • Well, firstly, I try and please everyone as much as I can. (I know that’s silly…)
  • Secondly, I am intensely aware of other people’s emotions and moods. I can get sucked into the vortex of their anger or despair, insecurity and even jealousy. Once I’m aware, I feel almost responsible for making them feel better and I get anxious that things aren’t ‘right’.
  • I’m also aware, sometimes inadvertently, of what other’s are thinking. I have an antenna that goes up and sure enough I’ll get a call or a visit and that person will raise the thing I know they’ve called to speak about. Sometimes, the antenna is just a connection and I’ll hear from the person that has come to mind.
  • For better or worse I’m psychologically perceptive (this runs in my family). I know what bothers a person and where and why they are feeling a little vulnerable. Most of the time I say to myself it’s none of my business and manage to stand aside from it. Not everybody wants or needs to be helped and sometimes it really is ‘their business’ not mine.
  • Occasionally, I can get flashes or insight into probable outcomes. I try and keep that to myself unless I’m asked because I’ve found people want to hear what they want to hear and the future is unknowable to them, and perhaps to me, anyway.
  • Sometimes, I will have a prophetic dream and this gives me an insight that may or may not be worrying.

On the flip side of this ‘sensitivity’ is the ability to understand the good stuff, the joy, the humour, the compassion and to really empathise when someone is feeling down or needs help. Being a ‘feeling’ person allows me to experience the full range of emotions myself. At times life is sublime. At other times…well, I’ve learned to cope better in recent years with the other side of the ‘sublime’ coin. Emotions can be a rollercoaster and I’ve had my share of the rides.

Until now, and I’ve hit middle age, I really didn’t know what to do with this ‘sensitivity’ but I’ve been learning a lot this year. Here are some of the lessons I’ve received in 2014:

  • Set boundaries and say ‘no’ if rest is needed or the price is too high. It’s liberating to please yourself, especially when it means you can take care of yourself.
  • Other people’s anger or resentment or vulnerability is their ‘stuff’ not mine.
  • I don’t have to be responsible for everyone, just my kids and partner, family and friends.
  • If people are behaving badly, that’s their lesson not mine. Life is short and I owe it to myself to be surrounded in positivity.
  • There is always going to be tension between people. That’s the way life is; we don’t all get along. I don’t have to solve that or get involved in other people’s dysfunction. I just have to mind my own dysfunction and watch it doesn’t impact on anyone else.
  • It’s ok for me to live my life the way I want to live it, not the way other’s might want me too.
  •  And finally, this is a biggie, I have opinions and a voice and I’ll speak up when it’s important to me. (There’s an old saying that you should choose your fights and I do believe that as much as I believe that we should ‘live and let live’.)

Most of all, I hope 2015 is a positive, happy and trusting year for everyone. One where we all have a little more faith in each other. One where we can ‘live and let live’ and be tolerant of others and what is important to them, and make life good for ourselves and that will, in turn, flow onto others.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you get in lots of ‘self-care’ over the holiday break.

I’ve tried to find the reason why I enjoy writing in the horror genre. I’m still not sure really. It could be a rewind in time when my mother used to scare me with a story about a stranger walking up the garden path. It started with “Mary he’s at the front gate…Mary he’s walking up your garden path…Mary he’s at the front door…” And so it went until the stranger was at the foot of the bed. I’ll leave it to the imagination as to what may or may not occur next.

Of course there was no harm meant in this. She told it with an almost vaudevillian – certainly exaggerated – demeanour and at the end of the story she would grab me for extra affect. I remember oscillating between being wide eyed and holding my breath to absolutely, shrieking terrified. It was much the same as I grew up. I was scared of the dark and, simultaneously, captured by the scary stories my friends used to tell on a sleepover.

In adulthood, I began to read a horror and enjoyed the stories that were laced with mystery. The really good thrillers that left you wondering why something had occurred. I discovered Dean Koontz who writes suspense thrillers a few years back and then began to devour more and more Stephen King, falling in awe of his sheer ability to tell a story. This was also around the time the penny dropped – that the weird and impossible, and the sometimes dark and dysfunctional, do happen. Sometimes there’s a rhyme and reason, and if you’re clever you can pick it up and learn from it; other times difficult situations come seemingly out of the blue and whollup you in the face.Evil Imminent front small

Life is not all serendipitous, but then I guess you already knew that.

The other reason I think I like writing horror fiction is simply because you can take that imagination and let it sore to dark outer reaches. There can be doorways to less than heaven like places, or ghostly apparitions, or less than likeable Mermen. There can be star crossed lovers whose depth of commitment reaches between two worlds and alien beings who are not just ‘beaming’ you up into the Enterprise (the ship on Star Trek the science fiction series for anyone who doesn’t follow).

Other dimensions, twisted by life human beings and purple skies and black sunsets…it’s all within the horror writer’s grasp. It may be a niche market of sorts, but when was the last time you could explain absolutely everything that happened to you in your life? The non-linear is always a challenge don’t you think?

So aside from stories on imagination’s edge that are waiting to be told, the other reason I think I write in the horror and paranormal genre is to take my experiences and explore them, embellish and exaggerate them, and add a touch of the vaudevillian to them to, hopefully, entertain my readers and, in the process, myself.

I have a short story collection Evil Imminent that is due out in the next 24 hours or so. I was determined to have it out before Christmas, and I will have met that challenge even though ‘life’ has gotten in the way for a good part of this year. If you are anything like me, you love nothing better than relaxing with a book over the holidays. So, time to relax and kick back for a break. If you like the horror and paranormal genre and want to find out about my new release, you can visit my Facebook Page for details of when Evil Imminent goes on sale.

Happy holiday reading…