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In this surreal road novel, Anthony searches for the father he’s never met: Andy Kaufman, the legendary song-and-dance man from the ’70s. There’s a few problems here, of course. A) Andy Kaufman died in 1984, and B) Thanks to a recent cancer diagnosis, Anthony doesn’t have much longer to live, either. However, new evidence has come to light that questions whether or not Kaufman is actually dead. Could he be in hiding, after all these years? Anthony is determined to discover the truth before his own clock runs out. During his travels, he will encounter shameless medicine men, grifters, Walmart shoppers, the ghosts of Elvis and Warhol, and the Devil himself.



Monday, October 8, 2012

WRITING HORROR


“Let’s get away from this place, Joe. The ground’s bad here. Too much blood’s fed it. The ground’s thirsty for more.”

--From Last Dance in the Rain by T. Fox Dunham featured in Enter at Your Own Risk: Fire & Phantoms from Firbolg Publishing.

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WRITING HORROR – How I sell everything I write
&
The Fox True Ghost Story Project
&
Author Interview with Scott M. Goriscack, author of 'Horrorism'.


I bid warm summer and warmer fishing farewell. I clung onto every day, getting to all my new fishing spots and pulling some fine ones out of the water. Today, I put away my sandals and embraced the cool night air after my D&D session at Royal Comics. I DM a game on Sundays to the great benefit of my writing, which I will speak about in another post.

I’m always afraid this will be my last summer, and now the days are rotting apples on the ground, not for tasting or juicing. Still, I must have hope.

I’m very excited about my new month long zine, The Fox True Ghost Story Project. This is a zine for people to tell their true ghost story experiences and share their photographs. The site has gotten quite a response, and I’ve gotten a number of stories. Also, Morning Starr has drawn me a beautiful graphic for the title. If you have a true ghost story, please send it to me at foxghost@comcast.net. You need not be a professional author. Write it as if you’re telling a friend about what happened to you. I also love photos. I have just spoken with Steven LaChance, author of The Uninvited, about his experience with a demonic haunting. You can see it on A Haunting. He'll be talking about his experience on the site. I'm so excited. Check the website for submission details.


WRITING HORROR – How I sell everything I write

I’ve contributed a great deal of material to the horror field, and I find this to be my most successful realm of publication, my second being my literary work. I confess, being considered a horror author is a great surprise to me. Many authors call themselves horror authors in the community I’ve found myself welcomed into, but I cannot call myself such. I enjoy writing literary work with speculative dark elements and zombie work, but my first motivation has always been literary. Still, horror makes up the largest share of professional markets currently publishing. If you view Duotrope, you’ll find it’s the biggest genre looking for paid work. I do enjoy writing the darker work, and from my reader and author response, it is popular. Lori Michelle, editor at Dark Moon Books and Perpetual Motion Publishing, told me I have a much greater following than I realized. This is true. I have absolutely no idea who is reading my work. I cast my stories out like bastard children, and I don’t see them make a path in this world. I think that’s true for all of us.

In the previous paragraph is the point I wish to make about my horror writing, one of the secrets to my success. A salient trait in my work is its literary base in style and content. I write it just like I would my literary work. I start with character and give them a conflict, an emotional life and emotional storm they suffer. I write them, see them grow, fight, surrender or succeed and solve the question of their conflict. The horror element comes second, and by creating my character, I can tailor that dark element to the nature of shadow, that element which haunts them. Most new horror authors I speak with—I get inundated with fans or nascent authors seeking review and help (I apologize if I can’t help all of you being so ill)—are focused on the horror element itself, the zombies, the three-eyed monsters trying to sell you soul insurance or serial killer granny killing people with sewing needles in their eyes. Oh. That’s not half bad. Makes a note. Anyway, some of the concepts I hear are really quite good and compelling; however, when the story makes landfall onto a word processor, the author often sails onto desert and beaches in the sand. Or, they finish the story with less attention to the basics of plot or narrative and fail to find a publisher. I understand this. What draws the author to horror is a love of horror, of the monsters they read or the darkness in the human soul; unfortunately, being a horror reader is different from being a horror author. An author pays attention to different elements than a reader would. This is the same for authors in any genre, like scifi. Authors love the time machine, work out all the rules of time travel, about killing your own grandfather, but they fail to consider the character arc, emotional growth, plotting. When I submitted House of Decay to Dangers Untold Anthology, I remember reading Editor Jennifer Brozek's frustration on the anthology website for authors to pay more attention to important writing conventions like point of view. Many of the submissions she received had great substance but failed many of these basic conventions.

You are all amazing and so talented. You have the spirit and the vision to bring such stories of fancy and myth to the world. I say to you that a discipline must be found in the study of the art-form of the narrative story. This is a paradigm that has evolved over thousand of years, though mostly in the last 200 years as literacy has become universal as quality of life has improved in the world. The novel, the written short story is actually quite new. Before then, the major form of storytelling was an oral tradition. In fact, the word ‘novel’ also meaning 'new' evolved because people found the novel itself quite new. The history of the horror novel can be found in The Journal style, one of the earliest being Bram Stoker’s Dracula. From this style, point of view evolved.

I have two other secrets that ensures my writing prospers. The second is my original style and content. I think far outside of the box. I get bored with common ideas that have been written recently and often, and when I fish a new story, either because I want to hit an anthology or I’ve been asked to write something by an editor, I want to see what I can do with the concept, the idea. When I saw the Phobia Anthology from Blackhound Publishing which has recently been published, link below, I played with idea to give them something original. In my story, Fast Measures, I created a character with a literary problem. His wife is going to leave him because he is entirely fearless and is going to get himself killed. He hires a shady doctor to give him a phobia. I took the concept and twisted it, and the story won first placement. Take time with your ideas. Work them through. Change them. Modify them. Sing to them. Bake them. Don’t limit yourself. Blow the roof off. Be original. It’s all you’ve got. All these stories have been told before.

My other secret is the amount of physical and emotional pain in my life. A theme I’m known for is writing about cancer, illness and loss. I draw from these wells of energy in my life and weave them into my various stories. There’s the old writing axiom: Write what you know. It would be better to say: Write what you feel. I have deep emotion about these things, and I splatter them on the page. My novella New World for May-December Books in their Realms of Undead Novella Anthology is about a cancer survivor as he struggles between nihilism and hope as the spiritual meaning of the cosmos. This emotional arc is the heart of the story. The zombies are merely a device, as is the Rainbow Cult.

The High Priest opened his mouth and showed the crowd the gap in the top row of his pearlies.

“I lost control of the bus and nearly crashed through a dirty bookstore. I punched at him, missing, and he looked at me with these empty coffin eyes—all dead. And I listened. For the first time since I crawled out my mother’s womb, a zygote with an overblown sense of self-importance as one of God’s children, I listened. And that’s when he showed me the truth. ‘If we’d died in that crash, would anyone care in a century? Would history remember us?’ When I really chewed on it, I couldn’t figure out any way to argue with him. He ripped open my eyes.”


The crowed clapped and cheered. From their blankets and lawn chairs, they chucked more empty beer bottles.


“Shut the fuck up.”


The crowed silenced.


--From New World, Novella by T. Fox Dunham, featured in the four part novella anthology Realms of Undead published by May-December Publishing.


I hope you find my observations helpful. I sell everything I write, and I’m growing popular. This is how I do it.



AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT M. GORSIACK

Scott is a growing name in the horror community and one of the organizers of the horror society. He's recently released a horror anthology, Horrorism. When I read his work, I see potential for him to become one of the great horror authors of our time. I interview him below.

Tell us a bit about your anthology.
Why should your readers hurry to order your book and pay express shipping because they shouldn’t go another day without reading it?


There are a few reasons for someone to read my new collection “Horrorism.” Reason one is to get away from the status quo. I write to entertain not just the reader but also myself. I never want my work to resemble another author or film-maker. I challenge myself every time I turn on the computer to be original. We live in a world of remakes, prequels and sequels. Yes some of these works are entertaining but I don’t want to my work to be predictable. I want my readers to come back, again and again. My work is original. After reading my book I want the reader to want more I want them to recommend me or pass the book onto a friend. The second reason they should read “Horrorism” is to keep up with my writing. My next collection “Welcome to the Dark Side” is now complete and will be released in October 2012.



What were the sources of inspiration for the stories in the anthology and your work? From what wells do you draw?

My original inspiration for writing came when I was on an overnight canoe trip through the NJ. Pine Barrens with the Boy Scouts. The nightly ghost stories around the campfire at seemed a bit goofy, until the story of The Jersey Devil came up. I don’t know why but it frightened me to my very core. I had many sleepless nights after that. I remember writing the story down as told by the older scouts but I started to twist the details and make it more horrific. To date that story continues to grow into what I hope will be my first novel “American Gargoyle.” Presently it’s at four hundred pages and counting.

Probably the biggest inspiration in my life was meeting Mr. Clive Barker in 1993. Mr. Barker was promoting his new line of comics and was doing a signing at a local comic shop. I had seen his films and read his books so on a whim I went to see if he’d sign a few of his books I owned. I was toward the back of the line and when it was my turn to have him sign my books we started talking. He was kind enough to give me approximately ten minutes of his time. He offered me some great advice and from that moment he turned me and my writing to the dark side.


What advice would you give to other authors who want to produce an anthology?

Write and keep writing. Don’t think, just write. When you think you’re done read it again and again until you’ve exhausted your creativity. Satisfied that you have completed your thoughts reach down one last time into the deepest recesses of your mind and twist the last sentence of the story to keep your reader off balance and eliminate any chance of being predictable. Always trust your editors to do the rest.



What do you like to do to enjoy the Autumnal month of October and the Halloween holiday?

I enjoy this time of year. I love the Haunted attractions, hay rides and the celebration of Halloween. My favorite event to attend was at the Mt. Hope Winery in Pennsylvania. The Winery held a day with Edgar Allan Poe. They brought in an acting company dressed in period attire that interacted and sampled wine with its patrons between Poe readings they performed. Each character portrayed someone from Mr. Poe’s life. At the end of the readings Mr. Poe recited “The Raven.” After dark the winery opened a haunted village of attractions and vendors selling their wares on the grounds. Great day!


Thank you Scott for the interview. He's one of the ones to watch.  
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1 comment:

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