First, let’s get the gloating out of the way. You’re looking at the first Queen of GoreWars, although I prefer you refer to me as the Queen of Gross. What’s that? Oh, I just won a little online gross-out competition hosted by DarkFuse Magazine.
That’s not the point of this post.
The point is, I’m kind of not bad at this gross, horror, dark fiction thing. I’ve never been as comfortable with my writing as I’ve been since I went back to horror/dark fiction in early 2016. Still, though, I didn’t consciously make the connection with my happier writing time and horror, until someone asked during this tournament (someone who has read more than just my Gore Wars entries) why I haven’t been writing horror all along. The answer is simple and a little embarrassing. I was told, way back in the early days when I was still figuring it all out and before I published anything, that horror was not my forte. I should try a different genre. Horror was a waste of my time, because some people just can’t write it and I’m one of those people.
And I believed it. I stopped writing horror about five years ago. I still kept it dark, as you all know, but I focused on comedy and weird stuff instead. I didn’t try to scare or thrill anyone too much. Now and then I’d try my hand at suspenseful, but I kept the fuck away from horror, because I wasn’t any good at it. Who wants to do something they’re not good at?
I was stupid to let someone else tell me what I should or should not write. Back then, it wasn’t that I sucked at horror. The problem was I sucked at writing in general, because I was learning. I’d have been terrible at whatever genre I chose. Had I stuck to horror, I’d have improved.
Hindsight is so clear, isn’t it?
I think I’ll always struggle with a touch of the “impostor” syndrome. There’s a nagging feeling whenever I write that someone, at some point, is going to realize I don’t belong in this world and they’re going to out me. (I know how ridiculous that sounds) I’m never entirely confident about what I’ve written. There’s always a part of my brain that is a little shocked when someone says they loved what I’ve written. I see this as a good thing. It keeps me motivated to be better and to learn more. Makes me a little more determined to succeed.
Anyway, I know you guys haven’t seen anything from me in a while. You’re used to me publishing something every few months. And technically, I did publish 3 novels (Dragons, Dicks, Sins & Scribes, Mind Fuck, and Muse) and 3 short stories (Flesh & Blood, Hunger, and Stop Crying) in 2016, so there’s no slacking here. I also had three shorts published in DarkFuse Magazine (Antibody, The Friday Special, and Good Vibrations), and two of those are or will be in an anthology. Horror superstar Brian Lumley will be headlining the Erotikos anthology, where you’ll find my erotic horror shorts, Good Vibrations and Invasion. I’m very stoked about that one. And I have a few more shorts scheduled for publication in 2017. I know 2016 has been shitty for a lot of you, but in many ways, it was pretty good to me.
Did I mention how much I LOVE writing erotic horror? God, it’s so much fun. Anyway, when I switched to horror (thanks, Christian Saunders), something clicked in my brain. I’ve been more productive and I’m enjoying what had become a little tedious. So learn from my mistakes. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. Go with your gut. If you are terrible at it, don’t quit. Keep plugging away until you don’t suck.