My Writer’s Book Bag

Blathering on about my own writing may get a bit monotonous for folks at times. For a change of pace, I’m going to blather on about what I’m reading instead.

I’d never given a lot of thought to keeping track of what I’m reading until joining Goodreads.  Now, I seem rather obsessed with not only keeping track of the titles, but where I am in the book by updating my progress on a nearly daily basis and meeting an annual goal of so many books read. I set my goal at twelve for 2017. One book a month seems pretty reasonable.

What other authors, especially horror writers, read interests me, too.  If they liked it, maybe I’d like it as well. Other than two books about Ann Radcliffe and a third bought on a whim, the bulk of my TBR pile is based purely on what my writer friends have recommended in their blogs or Tweets. On the downside of that, I don’t read eBooks so I fear I’m missing out on a lot of great stories out there. Sorry about that all you people who only have work in an eBook form. It’s just too difficult a format for me to focus on and enjoy beyond the occasional short story.

For the latter part of 2015 and into the summer of 2016, I nearly choked to death on Stephen King in an attempt to get somewhat caught up on his work. I fear I shall never get caught up as I spent far too many years away. However, I now have the entire Dark Tower series under my belt along with Doctor Sleep, which is the sequel to The Shining.

It took me six months to make my way through The Mysteries of Udolpho that began the whole Ann Radcliffe tangent. Last weekend I started Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe. I can already tell it’s going to be a tough, very academic, read. I’d much rather be reading other things, but as someone interested in genealogy, I believe learning about where and from whom we have sprung is important. As Radcliffe is considered to be one of, if not THE, mother of Gothic Horror\Romance, I consider her an ancestor in the Horror writer sense of the word. Who knows, maybe I’ll become obsessed with writing a more traditional gothic horror and/or romance one of these days!

Currently, I’m plowing my way slowly but surely through Hunter Shea’s collection of cryptid mayhem and paranormal horrors. I just finished Sinister Entity a couple nights ago. It’s one of his older books, from 2013. The first Shea novel I read was Island of the Forbidden. I’ve been Hooked-On-Hunter ever since. Not only is he a great writer, but from our various online chats and email exchanges, I know for a fact he’s an all-around awesome guy and a bit of a mentor, too. I hope he doesn’t mind my saying that.

So, there you have it, what I’m reading here in the middle of April. I’d like to believe I have the discipline to make this a monthly feature, but pft. Who am I kidding?

Until next time, kiddies – READ ON!

Year To Date:

January 

Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

February 

Maledicus by Charles F. French

March    

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe,

The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

April

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea

 

Featured Image: A Good Book by Paul Gustav Fisher

Author Interview – Isaac Thorne

For the month of April, I’m pleased to bring you an interview with ‘Dark Comic Horror” author Isaac Thorne.

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to reach out to more of my fellow authors and stop being such a hermit, I will be presenting you with a monthly author interview. The majority are of the horror genre, but I’ll slip in at least one YA and one Sci-Fi author just to mix it up a little bit.

I found Isaac’s work through the wonderful world of Twitter and now it’s time to share all that with you! Take it away, Isaac!

  1. Tell me a little bit about how you became interested in writing. Have you known since an early age or is this something new you’ve recently started to get involved in?

I’ve known since I could read that I wanted to write. The very first thing I ever remember writing of any depth was an essay about overalls and why everyone should wear them. I think I was just a 6-year-old at the time. I went to a small rural elementary school where “Overall Day” was once a thing. Naturally, I didn’t write often or well in those days, but it was the spark that I attribute to this flame.

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Author, Isaac Thorne

  1. You define your work as ‘dark comic horror’. Could you explain more about what that means and maybe what inspired you to go in that direction with your writing?

I came up with the tagline of “Short Tales of Dark Comic Horror” because I thought it was the best way to describe what I do in the shortest amount of space. First thing’s first: I primarily write short tales. I like novels. I read novels. But I love short stories, especially horror shorts. Stephen King once described novels as a long love affair and short stories more like a kiss in the dark from a stranger. I think that’s what I like about them. There’s more exposition that the reader will fill in with his or her imagination in a well-told short tale than a novel.

The last three words of my tagline are “Dark Comic Horror” because I always try to mix an element of comedy into my work. Let’s face it, Freddy Krueger probably wouldn’t have had sequel after sequel after sequel if he hadn’t become such a master of one-liners. Scary is great. Horrific is even better. But if you don’t bring some comedy into your tale, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways for your story to connect with other people. The dark comedy is also my way of letting the reader know that I’m in on the absurdity of some of what I write. I’m not typically writing some kind of inside political rant or trying to convey a message with my stories. I just want to make you laugh a little, shudder some, glance over your shoulder a bit, and scream. Hopefully.

The horror element of what I do is my favorite part, though. It’s the genre I fell in love with a long, long time ago while I was listening to my grandmother’s old Alfred Hitchcock “Ghost Stories For Young People” album.

  1. Congratulations on the iHorror Award nomination for “Diggum”. Tell me a bit about it and the process of taking it from the original short story to a screenplay? Your book trailers are great, too. Are you an aspiring film maker as well?

Thank you! I found out just recently that not only is “Diggum” the screenplay an iHorror nominee, but that it also won the honor of the 2017 BEST VIOLENCE award from Chemical Film Festival. I’m happy about that. It’s nice to have your blood, sweat, and tears recognized on occasion.

As you mentioned, “Diggum” was originally a short story that I released in ebook and audio book form back in October of last year. It’s about a cemetery caretaker who feels that his innocent wife and son were at the end of a raw deal with God after their corpses were burned up in an accidental fire. According to Diggum’s religion, their bodies can’t be resurrected for Judgment, and they are therefore lost forever. Diggum doesn’t think that’s fair, so he sets about a plan to get even with God for the slight. I wrote the story and then recorded an audio book version of it myself.

The reception to the audio book was surprisingly strong, so I started then to wonder whether I might be able to translate it into a screenplay. Specifically, I was thinking about what I call a “semi-animated” short. The way I envisioned it was a series of line drawings in the Robert Kirkman “Walking Dead” style. Those stills would have frames of minor movement in them to illustrate what was happening, but the story would mostly be in Diggum’s telling of it.

As tried to set that down, I discovered that what I was really doing was painting a slightly different visual perspective on the story. It’s hard to describe, but adapting a narrative work into a screenplay is, to me, more like painting than writing. Sure, you use active verbs and descriptive powers in a narrative, but when you’re describing a scene in a screenplay, you tend to get more specific about it. The actions and visuals in the screenplay tell as much of the story as Diggum’s narration. The visuals in my head while I was writing the screenplay were entirely different than the sketches in my head while I was writing the narrative.

As much fun as I had adapting “Diggum” and as much fun as it is to use iMovie to make my book trailers, I don’t really have any aspirations to become a filmmaker. I’ll leave that to people who know more about what they’re doing. As a matter of fact, three of my stories have already been adapted into screenplays by My Little Rascal Film Productions. They hope to begin production on those shorts this year. I think the one screenplay and the trailers are enough for me now. The trailers are relatively easy to make because I use iMovie, clips, and music that is either licensed creative commons for commercial use or in the public domain. My role with iMovie then is stitching all that together and coming up with the text.

  1. I recently listened to ‘Because Reasons’ over on Carmen Online Theater Group’s Chronicles of Terror. Very cool! Can we look forward to more of your stories being presented there?

That’s always a possibility. An abridged version of the “Diggum” audio book was actually presented at Carmen Online as well. Liane Moonraven is probably the reason I even attempted to adapt Diggum into a screenplay in the first place. She introduced me to scriptwriting for audio theater. The platform we used for “Because Reasons” also allows you to write screenplays and teleplays, so I just took what she taught me and ran with it as best I could.

  1. The question never seems to be ‘Are you writing?’ Writers are always writing something, or should be, I’m told. What can we expect from you in the future? Any plans for a full-length novel?

Although I don’t do outlines when I’m writing short tales, I actually do have an outline created for a full-length novel. Novels aren’t really where my interests lie, though, so I’m sitting on it for a bit. If I’m going to write a novel, I want it to be the best novel I can possibly write at this point in my life. Therefore, I’m probably not going to go headlong into it until my heart and head tell me they need to do so.

All of my short tales are stories that I felt like I needed to write. There was no waiting for inspiration or ideas; no making an effort to make something up. I just had the idea for a scene and set about trying to craft a story around that scene. I find that allowing myself to be ready to sit down and write a story works better for me than trying to force myself to do it.

  1. Where can readers find out more about you and where can your work be found?
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Latest Release : Decision Paralysis

I’ve just released a new short tale of dark horror titled “Decision Paralysis”, which is available from most ebook retailers and as an audio book. In the fall of 2017, I’ll be releasing a collection of short tales in ebook and paperback formats. The collection will include most of the stories I’ve already released plus a few that  no one has ever seen before.

Readers can find me on Twitter and Facebook under the handle @isaacrthorne. Those and my other social media links are also available from my web site: www.isaacthorne.com. My ebooks can be found for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, and Smashwords. Audio versions of most of them are also available at Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com.

 

Thanks so much for the interview, Isaac! I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

 

Into The Mansion

Somewhere, once upon a time, I learned an interesting theory about dreams. That theory stated that certain rooms represented certain aspects of the dreamer’s psyche. If you dream of a bedroom, for instance, that’s believed to have something to do with sexuality and intimacy. If you dream of a kitchen, that’s your domestic side, a living room was considered your social, public self … and so on. That, in part is what Into The Mansion is about.

Not long ago in Facebook Land, I shared that I was working on something somewhat different than my usual Horror novel fare. Oh, it’s still about a big, creepy, old house, but instead of prose – it’s poetry. It’s not a new poem. It was written in 1995, though parts of it existed long before that in the world of my dreams.

Instead of just posting it here and forcing you all to read, I’ve created a 7-minute video of the poem that I narrate. It took more times than I care to mention to get a recording I was happy with and though it’s still not perfection – it will do.

And so, without further delay – I extend a hand and say, “Come with me …

INTO THE MANSION