Good evening, folks! Tonight is my chance to be a part of the magical, mystery Blog Tour begun by Michael Cieslak of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. When Peggy Christie contacted me to be a part of it, how could I refuse? So, relax, pull up a chair and take a ride with me. . .
What am I working on?
I am currently playing around with two different short story ideas and an idea for a poem. I was inspired by the poet, Linda Addison, at World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, and the incredible things she is able to accomplish within the poetry medium. I want to take a stab at it! Ha. Ha.
One of the short stories I am working on is for the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writer’s 7th annual anthology, based on myths/legends/fairy tales. I am excited about this one and am focusing my plot around the French folk tale of Bluebeard. Of course, my story will have some sick, little twist to it. I try to write stories that I would like to read, and this is the type I would be attracted to in a short story collection.
The second short story is for an anthology that should be out by the end of the year. This story is based on a flash fiction piece I created in 2012 at Killer Con. It’s about a humanoid robot who is purchased by a full blown sadist. As his property, he is able to do all manner of horrible thing to her…that is until she becomes sentient! I bring up questions like what makes us human, or inhuman? Who are the real monsters? This story has been fun, weird, and bloody! But I hope it also makes people think about the ethics behind creating human-like androids to do our bidding and where they might fit into the scheme of life as we know it. Perhaps I watch too much horror/sci-fi, but what happens when these beings become aware? We need to really question whether or not we are ready to go down that path. As a horror writer, it is up to me to ask these hard questions for all of us.
How does my writing differ from others?
I think one thing I have going for me is my willingness to push boundaries. To not limit myself by saying, “Oh come now, Nicole, that’s taking it a bit far!” I don’t think there really is “too far”. I don’t care what people might think about me. It’s a story. It’s the story I needed to tell. Come along for the ride or get the hell off! My young adult years were spent reading Splatterpunk, Clive Barker, and Georges Bataille. There is no way I cannot take my story into taboo-rich, disturbing landscapes. If someone gets to the end of a story I’ve written, and has a stomachache and a headache because they can’t get it out of their minds, then I’ve accomplished something remarkable.
Why do I write what I do?
I was always attracted to monsters. They fascinated me, and I thought they were a lot of fun! From my earliest beginnings, I can remember looking at my mother’s horror paperbacks from the 70’and especially the 80’s, with their over-the-top, garish, grotesque covers. The bloody, deformed hand reaching out of the sewer grate appealed to me and sparked my imagination. Jaws came out in 1975, and I remember it being the first horror movie I went to in my young life—I was only 4. It made a heavy impact. I was hooked. My step-mother would often mention how I would be obviously shaken by a scary movie, but I would beg to see more. As an only child, I got what I wanted most times so my parents complied. Luckily for me, they also enjoyed horror and fantasy. Then at the age of 12, my grandmother bought me a series of books called Dark Forces. They were published by Bantam Books, and had such wondrous titles as Devil Wind, The Doll, Unnatural Talent, Beat the Devil, The Ashton Horror, Eyes of the Tarot, The Companion, Swamp Witch, The Bargain, and many more! I often wonder if my grandma really knew what can of worms she had opened with exposing me to these books. I was in love! The first short story I remember composing in 2nd grade was about a ghost. As I matured, my love of the occult deepened. I appreciate mythology and like to work those supernatural elements into my writing as well. It has never occurred to me to write anything but horror. It’s hardwired into me.
What is my writing process?
Process? Hmm? According to dictionary.com, process means “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” When I think about my own writing, I am not sure if there is a set process I follow. Sometimes ideas come hurling out of nowhere. Sometimes I play act the “story” in my mind, and then write it down when I get the chance. Oddly, and maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but in the shower is when I come up with some cool story ideas! Is it the heat, the steam? Yet, it seems my mind overflows with ideas. I don’t set aside a certain time each day to write and that is problematic. As writer and friend, Brian Keene, author of The Rising, once said, “You gotta sit your ass down and WRITE! EVERY SINGLE DAY!” I need to take that advice seriously, but it seems that my stories come when they decide to come. My Muse is a jerkwad most of the time.
**The next bloggers on this tour will be David C. Hayes; Shad Kelly; and Cheri L.R.Taylor. Look for their posts starting Monday, June 23!
David C. Hayes is a writer of things. Icky things. Visit him online at www.davidchayes.com on June 23.
Cheri L.R. Taylor has four chapbooks of poetry and has been published in Ellipsis, Awakenings Review, The Café Review, Reintigration Today, Clean Sheets, Current Magazine, Rattle, Third Wednesday, Strange Michigan, Jezebel, Love Notes: An Anthology, and others. Her book of poems, Wolf Maiden Moon was released from Pudding House Press in 2010. She is the recipient of a 2007 RARE Foundation Everyday Heroes Award for her work in dedication to the healing potential of expressive writing community settings and was awarded a 2009 Ragdale Foundation Artist’s Residency. Director of Blushing Sky Writers, an organization dedicated to all things creative, she established the Projection of Soul Poetry Workshop Program for Boysville in Clinton Township, Michigan, and was the founder and Director of the Blushing Sky Poetry Performance Troupe. Her new novel, Leaving Walloon, is out now. Contact Cheri at firstname.lastname@example.org! Find her blog at https://www.facebook.com/BlushingSkyWritingServices?ref=br_tf on Monday, 6/30.
Shad Kelly is an engineer whose love of horror began with early 80’s slasher movies and the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Clive Barker. He is a current member of GLAHW and lives in the metro Detroit area with his writerly wife and two hairless rats. Check out his blog at the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers site at www.glahw.com on July 7, 2014.