“Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order.”
When I was thinking of a defining quote for my website blog, I considered a number of quotes from my favorite horror and fantasy authors. My favorite quote of all time is Gandalf the Grey saying, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” What else can you say after that one? It perfectly sums up life in a nutshell. Then I thought, “It’s my blog; it should be my quote.” I knew I had to find a way to combine my two passions: horror and fantasy. I read horror and fantasy in equal measures. When asked what my favorite genre is, sometimes I say horror and sometimes I say fantasy. So the quote I thought of for my blog incorporates the fact that I love horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order. It depends on the day of the week. I go on binges of reading horror, but there’s nothing like diving deep into an epic fantasy. A bona fide Dungeons and Dragons nerd in the late ’70s into the ’80s, I grew up on the fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Stephen R. Donaldson, David Eddings, and Raymond Feist. But I fell in love with horror, too, thanks to the movies. The original Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street scared and thrilled me at the same time.
While I don’t plan to earn a living at writing (I went max on the 401k at my real job), I do have a burning desire to write. I know I’ll write until I die. Writing makes me happy. I can’t say it any plainer than that. The feeling I get from writing a horror or fantasy story is like nothing else for me. It satisfies a mysterious urge inside me to tell a story that not only entertains but stirs an emotion or two in someone else. It’s close but not quite as powerful as the feeling I get from reading a good book.
Ahhhh, the good book. I’m a writer but I’m a fan of authors, too, and I get inspiration from my favorites. Luckily, there are plenty of horror and fantasy authors today publishing incredible fiction. There are too many to name without leaving someone out. I can say without hesitation that Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon is my favorite book of all time, and I’m here to tell you nobody’s going to write a book that I’ll love more than that one. Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man captivated me like no other short story collection. Jeff Strand’s Dweller tapped into my Bigfoot obsession in a surprisingly emotional way and influences my writing. John Everson’s The 13th also influences my writing with its gory B movie plot direct from the 1980s, which was written so masterfully it showed me how to elevate a story above the horror stereotypes (because I love the horror stereotypes). Other horror influences of mine include Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, and Bryan Smith.
On the fantasy front, of course, George R. R. Martin’s The Game of Thrones receives most of the attention, and it influences my fantasy writing, no doubt. Other modern fantasy influences of mine include Joe Abercrombie, David Farland, Scott Lynch, James A. Moore, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. If you love epic fantasy, you’re in luck because there’s a wealth of it in 2018.
Personally, I’ve had eight short stories published since October 2014 (including a fifteen-word story), and two more have been accepted for future publications. As I write this blog, I have another ten stories submitted to various other anthologies and magazines, and six more completed that I haven’t found a market for yet. A quick check in my “Working” folder shows I have twenty more (short stories, novellas, novels) in various stages of development. My published works are mostly on my Amazon Author Page.
The highlight of my writing life so far is actually getting one of my short stories, a sweet Halloween tale titled “Skeleton Boy,” on the shelves of Boaz Public Library. The awesome librarian there ordered a copy of Tales from the Grave, an anthology that featured “Skeleton Boy.” To have a story in my favorite library is a dream come true. Oddly enough, I didn’t even realize it was a dream until it happened. But when it did happen, I said, “Yes, that is a dream come true.” Thank you, Mrs. Burgess.
I guess that makes my blog quote somewhat incomplete. Maybe it should read:
“Life is fantasy and horror … and dreams, not necessarily in that order.”
That sounds about right, doesn’t it? I hope your dreams come true in 2018.