I’m honored to be a contributor to a new fun, informative and very cool book, HORROR ADDICTS GUIDE TO LIFE. My piece is about how La Llorona scared and inspired me.
Do you love the horror genre?
Do you look at horror as a lifestyle?
Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?
Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.
Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette, Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris Ringler, Jessica Robinson, Eden Royce, Sumiko Saulson, Patricia Santos Marcantonio, J. Malcolm Stewart, Stoneslide Corrective, Mimi A. Williams, and Ron Vitale.
With art by Carmen Masloski and Lnoir.
Edited by David Watson
Cover artist Carmen Masloski
Now available at: HorrorAddicts.net
I had lunch with a woman who is also a writer and throughout I was struck by her love of what she was doing. She had no bloodthirsty goal to be on the New York Times Bestseller list or climb the lofty heights of the Amazon ranks. She wasn’t out to make sure that her writing was on all the Nooks and Kindles in the universe.
She just loved what she was doing. She was happy, and her happiness was comforting.
I will admit to you I’ve fallen into that unhappy underworld when I begin to wonder why the heck I’m not selling millions, okay maybe thousands, of books on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble, or why Hollywood hasn’t optioned any of my stories for big screen or little one, for that matter. These are times when my ego takes hold like a rope. But as I’ve grown older I have learned that pinning happiness on those two things alone will lead straight to unhappiness. It’s like high school when you wish the cutest guy would ask you out or that you make the cheerleader squad. When those two things don’t happen, you are in high school hell. Thankfully, high school is over.
And please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not knocking ambition. If your only goal is to sell lots of books, then I wish you all the happiness. Damn, if my books do hit no. 1, I certainly won’t be sad or turn down the royalty checks.
But I’m not going to be holding my breath either.
I’m just going to keep on writing and learning how to become a better writer because that’s why I began all this in the first place. I love to tell stories and create characters. I love to have someone read my writing and feel a bit of the emotions I felt when writing the words. Or have them say, ‘Hey, I know what that’s like.’ I like to make them laugh, cry, feel scared, or rewarded. I like them to think. Mostly, I pursue awhat Harper Lee wrote in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
That gives me the greatest joy–giving people another point of view through my writing.
I’ve had my share of successes and I am grateful and lucky, but as in life, I have to realize there will always be people with more success and less success. People with more money and less. At times, I still have to work to keep myself out of that hades of unhappy writers, but it is getting easier and isn’t that something to be happy about?
Following is the link to the best list I’ve read about how to be a happy writer by novelist, screenwriter and game designer Chuck Wendig. Enjoy!
Make a list of all the tools you need to be a writer.
Let’s see, computer, paper, ideas, dictionary, and yes, dedication.
Those who challenged themselves in National Novel Writing Month in November, that is writing a 50,000 word novel in a month, have already learned this simple rule, philosophy or whatever you choose to call it. Namely, you must write everyday to make the goal. You must be dedicated.
But dedication is something you need year round as a writer, not just in November or for New Year’s resolutions.
You must be dedicated to finish your projects. Sure, you may have a few projects going, but be dedicated to completing one. Your novel, essay, poem or memoir–whatever you are writing–demands your dedication.
Be dedicated to writing something most every day, even if you go back and erase it the next day.
Be dedicated to becoming a better writer either by taking a class, going to a conference or getting involved with a critque group.
Dedication is tough because we sometimes must sacrifice other things, but a love of what you are doing makes dedication just another writer’s tool, just like your computer, paper and dictionary.
This is a known fact in the universe, most writers are self-doubting humans who work their asses off hoping to get it right. I am very much among them.
On top of that, at the end of every year, I’d ask myself “what the hell have I been doing for the past 12 months?”
Well, I’ve learned how to answer that question.
I have been doing a lot.
I sat down and wrote, not every day, but most days. I may not have turned out as many books as James Patterson, but dammit, I did finish projects. I completed a novel, short stories and a screenplay, and started two more novels. I researched and outlined.
As we prepare to welcome the new year, it is time to remember what we have accomplished as writers in 2014 and not beat up ourselves for what we did not do.
Maybe we didn’t get as much done as we wanted, but we kept writing.
Maybe we didn’t get as much published as we wanted or hit the best seller list, but we kept writing.
The year 2015 is only a few days away. Don’t look back with regret. Instead, celebrate that you are a writer and look forward to what you will accomplish in the year ahead.
That is the sound of my champagne glass saluting you.
I can’t complain.
I recently signed a contract with a publisher for my new book and an agent is shopping another manuscript. My writing partner and I published a new children’s book of which we are proud and which won an award. Another publisher also released my YA paranormal novel a few months ago.
It has been a good writing year.
So after taking a few weeks off after finishing those books, I outlined my next one. Such excitement. Such promise. Such hope. But outlined is all I did for months.
Was it the usual writer’s block we all suffer that prevented me from charging on? Not at all. It was plain fear and dread.
What stopped me from moving forward was thinking about the time it would take to finish the manuscript. The sore hands and aching back. The hours in my office when I could be doing something else. The doubts I could write something worth reading. Just the thought of the number of months I would devote to such a work.
Sorry, now that sounded like complaining.
Then as I always do, I beat down the fear and dread long enough to start the book. I remember how much I love to write and tell stories, and when I don’t, I feel like a part of me has been voided out like a figure in a snow storm. That sounds corny, but any writer will tell you it’s damn true.
Once I am into the book, of course, I still worry whether I can carry it off and finish, and whether the result will be a good story and well written and say something about the human condition, as well as entertain. But it is the process and love of writing and the excitement of creating that make me keep typing away.
Yeah, writing is hard work and will leave you crazy and frustrated, but I hope, I will be proud of what I put on the page. That my characters and story will live, and as a writer, that I’ll feel alive, too.
I’m more than 17,000 words into my new book. It is a start.
Check out the book giveaway at GOODREADS of THE GHOST SISTERS AND THE GIRL IN HALLWAY B, my new YA paranormal novel.
Giveaway ends October 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details
Enter to win
I am a peace loving woman, but I do have a sworn enemy – clichés.
When I judged writing contests and edited copy for a newspaper, I cringed whenever I saw a cliché. I cringed a lot.
Sometimes, I would even be reading a first draft of my writing, and what do you know? I found a few clichés.
The definition of cliché says it all. A word or phrase that’s lost its power because of overuse.
Clichés are around for a reason. They are so easy to use and so available. But when you use them that means you’re taking it easy in your writing. You’re not pushing yourself creatively.
It is funny that they have changed over the years. When I taught a creative writing class to young people and gave them a list of clichés, they didn’t recognize them because we have developed some newer clichés like these.
Really? (as in you see something dumb or incredulous and your response is ‘really?’)
Clive Whichelow and Hugh Murray have even written a book about the modern ones called “It’s Not Rocket Science: And Other Irritating Modern Cliches.”
However, there are still a lot of the old ones hanging around and finding their way into your writing.
Think about it this way. Clichés were written or said by someone else. You don’t want anybody else’s writing in yours, do you? Writing is about originality and if we want ours to be original, we must declare war on those pesty clichés.
First locate and eradicate them in the editing process. In addition, have your critique partners read your writing because they may find ones that you don’t.
A fun way to work your brain is to break clichés and turn them into something new and in your own voice. Start with what I have dubbed the Cliché Challenge.
Come up with a list of clichés and then rework them to make them new and yours. For instance take the cliché “All that glitters is not gold.”
My take on it–Her golden life had the glitter of a brick.
You get the idea.
Lists of clichés are all over the Internet. Here is a good one.
Do a few each time. It will be hard and your brain will be sweating.
Good luck and happy cliché hunting.