Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
My first birthday present this year was from my friend and amazing horror writer, Robert Ropars. He sent me his book, "Dark Bites." I absolutely love it. The book consists of four detailed horror stories with a female as the lead characters which I thought this was so cool. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves horror collections.
Here is Robert's amazing thought process how he comes up with his work plus how he became the writer he is today. He is a very intelligent man which I respect a lot:
FROM THE MOUTH OF ROBER ROPARS: (Background)
I have a B of A in English-Writing, and while at school often would be
lost for hours in the library's computer lab writing away. Short
stories and poems would pour from me as I sat there almost in
automatic writing style like I was a conduit and the words just passed
through me. When I graduated college I was fully intending to write
full time (next great American author), do photography and movies.
Flash forward-ok didn't quite go exactly down that path. I had been
working part-time while in college and quickly sought/got a full-time
job. That pretty much led to several jobs over the years taking up
most of my time and energy as well as various relationships along the
way. I learned much from both, but was losing my artistic connection.
In 2008, I decided to get my ass in gear (partially inspired by the
ongoing success of my aunt a successful romance and crime novelist)
and pulled together my favorite poems and self-published them via
Amazon's print-on-demand service CreateSpace.com. I sold only a few,
but was proud of my work and the cover which added to the achievement
as it was a photo of my current hometown's downtown area by railroad
track's aged to look like an old photo. I was/am very proud of how
the cover turned out.
Further inspired, I started writing poetry again and in 2009 published
"Romantic Confessions" combining poetry and haiku. I was extremely
happy with the results and feedback, but soon learned poetry isn't
really a money making venture for authors-it's a work of passion.
Along the way for many years my father was fighting cancer and in 2009
he took a turn for the worse. After about 7 years fighting against
all odds, surviving far beyond any doctor's extreme best case scenario
he started down the road to the end. It was a horrendously awful time
for all involved and from July to December we did our best to be
present and cope with someone we loved very much slipping away.
Towards the end the horror of it and the living death we witnessed got
worse and worse draining our strength and breaking our hearts. He
moved on mid-December and we were relieved that his suffering had
ended but grieved the loss of an integral part of our family. I began
to write fiction again mid-2010 as a venting/therapy process. I had a
variety of ideas, but the recent events were heavy in my mind and that
horror inspired me to try the horror genre first.
I had researched ebooks and realized ereaders/apps were the future. I
converted my poetry books to ebooks and found out all I could on
ebooks. I read somewhere that a great way for indie authors to engage
readers and get sales was serial publication much like early authors
having their works appear in daily newspapers in small parts to keep
the reader coming back. I had several stories bouncing around and so
that focused me.
I picked four classic horror themes and worked on them feverishly
every night/weekend for months. I wrote them in the order seen today
and I followed the outline I had read of publishing them about a month
apart. The goal was to give 1-2 away for free and make parts 3 and 4
cost something. At the same time, put out a collection of all 4 with
a bonus story that was cheaper than parts 3 and 4 combined. It made a
lot of sense and seems to be working based on the download/sales data
I've accumulated since July 2010.
As for the stories, I wanted to get back to the heart of and in some
ways "reboot" zombies, werewolves, vampires and ghosts. The stories
are all separate, but interconnected so it's a full world and
characters and places reappear at various times. I love movies with
strong female leads who think fast, are smart and don't need a man to
save them. So it was key to me that I create four women I would want
to see on screen kicking ass.
The zombie story was first and most clearly reflects my dad's cancer
spreading, the impact on him and such as seen as the zombie outbreak
spreading through Chicago. The werewolf story I wanted to introduce
other were creatures intelligently and expand this world. For the
vampire story I wanted something completely different. Set far in the
future it's a bit of scifi combined with horror and tried to get into
what would happen if you became a vampire and why are people so
attracted to them? For the final story, it was to be a ghost story
with a twist. I wanted to explore what would cause a ghost to exist
and what would happen if someone died in such a way that no one knew
it and their ghost haunted a place and people just wrote it off as
weird things. In fact the fourth story (despite my love of all of
them, the zombie one in particular) is special to me. There is a
monster, but it's not what you'd think-it's a man. A sexual predator.
To me that was the scariest monster of all and I tried hard to create
a sense of chilling, twisted dread against the backdrop of what was
one of the worst blizzards of all time.
In terms of writing, I start with the title. Probably superstition,
but I have to have the title before I start writing. I scope a bit
out, but mainly I just write. Let it pour out. Print it, read it,
edit it, repeat. Stories go through many updates before I have my
trusted hardcore editor (my lovely girlfriend) tear into it (and boy
does she-but with precision and reason). What you read is mostly what
I wrote with a few exceptions ("Windy City of the Dead" was originally
called "Eating Crow" but it just didn't work for me at the time and
"848" ended up changing after my girlfriend noted my original ending
didn't physically make logical sense in the real world. She forced me
to step back, do some research and get it right and the story is
stronger as a result.
Research is something I insist on doing before I write once I know the
topic/storyline in my head. The internet (in addition to just Google,
Google Books and Wikipedia in particular) allows writers virtually
limitless access to the world's knowledge. There's really no excuse
when it comes to facts. I just want to be sure that if I write
something medically-related and someone in that field reads it-they
don't get hung up and realize someone didn't dig into the facts.
ROBERT'S CREATIVE PROCESS:
>Have an idea-usually inspired by real life events, experiences or news stories
from around the world (but generally the former)
>Hand write some overview thoughts/notes in sort of free form manner as it comes
>If I'm writing poetry, I almost always hand write that. If I'm writing
fiction, only brainstorming and outlining is handwritten generally. I much
prefer to type fiction as I'm MUCH faster at typing than writing and don't tire
as quickly. My hand couldn't keep up with my writing and when you type both
hands share the burden.
>Let it stew in my subconscious
>If necessary do some online research (Google, Google Books, Wikipedia, etc.)
>Work out a potential title, hard to explain but it's like a series of titles
filters through like a slot machine until one locks and suddenly the bells go
off and the story starts to shape from it.
>Start poking around iStockphoto for cover ideas
>When ready, typically at night I usually have coffee (no creamer, two Splenda)
and listen to anything from blues to jazz to Gaga to Rihanna to Mumford & Sons
to streaming New Age/Celtic (sometimes depends on what the theme is).
>I get the document set up formatwise using the last story for the "shell"
gutting all but the opening/closing, rename/save and then after a deep breath
sort of trance out. The story opens in my head and fortunately I can type very
fast because when I plug in it comes fast. The words pour through me like
energy or fuel to my fingers. I try very hard to not edit as I go, but there
are times where I back up and revise as I'm going. I write until it stops and
then I save and back away.
>Later I re-read it, usually can't help doing some editing-in particular if
there's an issue/stumbling block. In some cases, more research is needed.
>I keep going until the story ends itself. I save and leave it for a day or so.
>I print it out, read it to myself, read it out loud and start making edit
notes. I make the edits and repeat this a few times until I feel it's solid.
>Then my girlfriend gets it to cut into it. I can NOT emphasize more strongly
how critical it is that as a writer you have an outside voice/reader you trust
review your work. You can't take it personally and know that some things are
subjective and you won't do. But if you have a trusted editor and they're stuck
on something-other readers could as well.
>In terms of inspiration, it's all over the map. In terms of writing guidance,
Stephen King, Robert Ludlum and Neil Gaiman are probably the three authors who
most influence me in terms of their success, attention to details, ability to
create realistic alternate worlds and act as general role models for me. There
are many, many more, but if I had to pick three....
To check out more of Robert's work or to buy Dark Bites, which you must, you can find it at the links below including his contact info. I hope you all enjoy this collection as much as I did.
View samples of my ebooks on Smashwords.com (free 50% preview) and
order (for any e-reader):
Order Kindle versions of my ebooks or the print version of "Dark
Bites: Four Tales of Horror" on Amazon:
Follow me on Twitter:
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Not too long ago, I was given a story by a new and awesome friend who goes by @XanderGrimm on twitter. Immediately when I read the story, I was in love.
The story is titled, "The Mind," and is an erotic, psychological thriller which definitely gets your blood flowing. Xander was sweet enough to let me post his amazing work up here and is currently working on a new hot thriller which may just have Moi as one of the characters. Here's his first masterpiece plus the process behind the genius. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
By Xander Grimm
The shrink stares at me from across the room, a look of frustration on his face as he glances first at me, then at his watch, and then back to me again. His right leg is crossed over his left, his right foot slowly tapping the air in what would appear to be boredom. Finally, with a sigh, he speaks, his voice heavy with irritation.
“Monica, our session started fifteen minutes ago. Now, I can’t help you with these problems that you’ve been having if you don’t talk to me about them.”
I let out a sigh of my own and run my hands down my face. “Well I’m sorry doctor, but this my first time ever talking to a ‘mental health professional’, I’m kind of in uncharted territory here.”
The doctor nods and places his foot back flat on the carpet. He takes a pen and notepad from the end table next to his chair and opens the pad to the first available page. “Why don’t we just start from the beginning?”
I nod and lay my hands flat on my stomach, breathing out slowly as I begin to recall the events that led me to this little office in the middle of downtown. “I guess it started happening about six months ago. I was lying in bed one night when I thought I heard a noise in my kitchen. I went out to investigate and as soon as I stepped into the room I felt a sharp pain in my neck. Although , I suppose ‘felt’ isn’t exactly the correct word as I blacked out about ten seconds later. When I came to, it was a week later.”
The doctor raised his hand in protest and shot me a look of concern. “You blacked out for a week?! Did you notify the authorities?”
I glanced over at him and shook my head. “I thought about it, but my apartment had no evidence of a break in, everything I owned was still there, hell it didn’t even look like I had eaten any of the food I had in my refrigerator. I guess it would have been a good idea to call the police, but it just kind of seemed pointless at the time.”
He finished scribbling a couple of notes into the pad and took another look at me. “So this blackout, this is what brings you to my office today? On the phone it seemed like there were other issues at hand.”
I nodded. “There are, this was just the beginning. Ever since the original blackout I’ve been having dreams, but sometimes they feel more like memories, like I actually participated in some of the things I’m seeing. And there’s more. I’ve been having more blackouts. After the first one they only happened every couple of weeks, but lately they’ve been happening on a weekly basis, sometimes maybe two or three times a week, but those are rare occasions. And every time, I wake up in a different outfit than the one I was wearing before the blackout occurred. Sometimes I wake up naked. And I never remember anything that may have happened during that lapse in time. ”
The doctor shook his head as he continued scribbling into his notepad. “Monica I have to say, this is all very concerning. Blackouts can be signs of heart problems, lack of oxygen to the brain, and other severe health problems. But they can also be caused by other factors. If I might ask, have you ever had any issues with alcohol consumption?”
I scoff and stare at him. “I’m not a drunk, if that’s what you’re asking. I might have a glass or two of wine every once in a while, but nothing hardcore. And there’s more; lately I’ve been getting mysterious phone calls late at night. They’re not from any numbers that I know, and they always leave messages for some woman named ‘Michelle’. When they first started they were sporadic, like the blackouts, but lately they’ve become more numerous. And the other night, I answered the phone when of the numbers called, and the girl on the other line was adamant that I was this ‘Michelle’ woman! It’s driving me crazy!”
The doctor sighed softly to himself and looked up at me from his notepad. “Monica, these ‘dreams’ that you’ve been having, what are they about?”
I smile softly and stare back up at the ceiling. “They’re actually probably the weirdest part of this whole mess, aside from the blackouts of course. As I told you, they come to me as dreams, but sometimes they feel more like memories. Flashes of violent attacks, biting and scratching, blood gushing everywhere. And other times, it’s visions of sex, stuff I’ve never even thought of, much less experienced, writhing and moaning in strange beds with men and women, sometimes with just one partner, sometimes with several. And with everything, both the violence and the sex, they’re all involving people I’ve never seen before. I don’t even know what to do about them.”
The doctor nods again and sets his notepad and pen down on the end table. “Well Monica, one’s subconscious is a bizarre place, full of its own thoughts and ideas, many of which have no real connection to the real world and just pop up out of nowhere. I’m going to write you a couple of prescriptions, and I’d also like to see you again. It also might be a good idea to see your physician, if only to confirm a bill of perfect physical health. Other than that, we’re done here for today, my secretary will assist in setting up the next appointment.” He stands and extends his hand.
I smile and stand from the couch before shaking his hand. “Thank you doctor, sorry I was a little uncooperative earlier, but it felt good to vent. I’ll see you at the next visit.” I release his hand and walk towards the door to his office, stopping briefly to adjust my hair in the full-length mirror next to it, when I hear a soft gasp from behind me. I turn to see the doctor pointing at the mirror, a look of horror across his face, his body shaking. “Doctor, what’s wrong?” A dark pool appears in the middle of the shrink’s pants, he begins to scream, and I blackout.
When I wake, I am naked, and still standing in front of the doctor’s mirror, my unshielded flesh staring back at me from the polished glass. A metallic smell is heavy in the air. A speck of red at the top of my breast winks at me from the mirror, I glance down and scoop it from my skin and place it in my mouth. It’s metallic and sweet, like copper pennies mixed with sangria. And all at once, I remember. The memories of the last six months flood back into my brain like a fucking dam burst. The people I’d feasted on, but even better, the ‘people’ that I had fucked. Recalling every experience was like experiencing a lifetime of sex in one bliss-filled second. And it’s too much, even for my enhanced bodily strength. I drop to my knees in the throes of orgasm as waves of pleasure rock through my body. Finally, the orgasms break and I bend over panting, my own scent wafting up from a small puddle between my legs. My fangs slide down over my bottom lip and a huge grin breaks across my face as I turn back to look at the doctor’s corpse, laying in a pool of his own blood, his throat ripped open. “Well doc, it seems our session together helped me out more than we both thought.” I turn my gaze back to the mirror, now providing a view of nothing but the office furniture behind me. Even though I can’t see my face anymore, I can still tell that I’m grinning. And for the first time in many years, not only am I happy, but I know exactly who I am…
I love this story a lot. Here's a little background of his creative process. It's very fascinating and intriguing to me.
XANDER'S CREATIVE PROCESS:
Hello my freaky darlings, Xander Grimm here, and hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to read my short story “The Mind”, which was posted up recently here on the Horror Lovers Spot. Our lovely site mistress Ruby Violence has asked me to write a little bit of background on my thought process for the story, so here we go.
Vampire fiction has been a favorite of mine for many years and as such I have wanted to write my own, but procrastinated for some time as I could not think of anything original to really add to the genre. And then I saw an episode of Law and Order: SVU involving a woman apparently dealing with a split personality disorder. And then it hit me: what would happen if someone afflicted with a multiple personality disorder was turned into a vampire? Would the other personalities be aware of the change? Would they display the strengths and weaknesses that accompany the transformation if they weren’t aware one had occurred? Well like most of my other ponderings the idea percolated for a while before, thanks to additional information and ideas picked up from show like United States of Tara and NCIS, the plot for “The Mind” finally came to fruition.
As the first idea of mine to actually make it into a physical medium, I am naturally very excited to have it published here on the blog. Originally the story was meant to be a one-shot, just a simple short story with a curious premise, and that was it. However, the initial response from the few people that have already read it prior to its posting was so positive that I have decided to make “The Mind” part one in a trilogy of short stories starring my vampy vixen. The next installment will be titled “The Body”, and will deal with our anti-heroine attempting to track down her vampiric sire. I hope to have a sample up for you folks very soon, with the full story out by the end of the year. Well that’s about it for me at the moment, so until next time darlings, keep it dark and keep it bloody!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Sometimes Killers can be so sexy! This is a hot image of Christian Bale from the 2000 movie, "American Psycho." I definitely recommend this flick. It gives a good idea about what the "yuppies" in the 1980's were secretly like. This is definitely a bloody movie but Christian Bale has his comedic moments. It's a mix between horror and a dark black comedy.
One of the most memorable and funny lines in the film, "I need to return some videotapes." Everyone must check out this dark horror comedy