The Horror, the Horror

Horror has been a major component of my writing career. Of the sixteen tabletop role-playing projects I’ve worked on that have been published so far, at least ten are overtly horror-themed. Both of my published short stories are horror or dark fantasy. While I have concerns about being pigeonholed, the horror genre has been good to me so far.

Not everyone likes horror. Friends have approached me, apologetic that they haven’t read my fiction because they don’t like horror. I’ve been deeply touched by this: they are apologizing for not buying a book they won’t like just to show their support for me.

Ever since I discovered ghost stories and Lovecraft back in my teens, horror has held me in its spell. I like science fiction; I enjoy classic fantasy; I LOVE a good ghost story, and it doesn’t need to have a happy ending to work well. Perhaps, in the times in which we live, real-life horror is too close to us, and so horror as entertainment loses some of it’s appeal for many people. I can certainly understand that. At the same time the supernatural is one of my many obsessions, and since supernatural entities don’t always share the same sense of morality that humans do, we often find horror and the supernatural hand-in-hand in fiction.

In trying to move my writing career to the next level, I’ve discovered that, while I’m well connected in the gaming world, my networking in the world of fiction is sorely lacking. The number of times I’ve seen anthologies go by — on Kickstarter, or just in general promotion or in bookstores — that I would’ve given my left arm for a chance to submit a story to, has made this conclusion all too clear. That’s why I’ve committed myself to attend World Horror convention — StokerCon — in Lansing, MI in May of 2019. Not only will it be a chance to make those all-important networking connections, but also an excellent opportunity to participate in workshops and panels to learn more about honing my skills as an author. I had been thinking of attending this year, but logistics grew complicated, and I had to bail out beofre I could really commit to anything.

Being more like a professional convention or trade show, the price to attend is steep to discourage casually interested parties from clogging up the hallways. I’ve already ponied up my $130 to pre-register — yes, that’s the cost of a membership more than 13 months out from the event — and am waiting with baited breath for the hotel link to go live so I can lock in my reservation.

Horror isn’t for everyone. No one should feel bad that they don’t like something that their friend enjoys, so if you’re not a horror fan, don’t sweat it. I do intend to write other fiction in the very near future (I’m working on edits for a non-horror short story right now, in fact, that — fingers crossed — sees print before year’s end) and I hope when that work comes out, my readers who are non-horror fans will have something they can read and (hopefully!) enjoy of my writing.

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