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Today, we have a very special guest. Carole Gill, horror and gothic romance novelist with Creativa Publishing, is here to give us some incite into her life and process. I won't take up to much space, instead enjoy her words and advice.
Click any image to find out more about the book!
Hi all and thanks, Casey for this invitation to post on your blog!
I’ve been writing it seems for so long, published for seven years. I’ve learned much in that time.
The point of this post is my perception about how writing changes as you go along. It is not a static thing. The writer changes. My values and how I see the world, have changed.
Two years ago, I suffered a life-changing event. The sudden and unexpected death of my husband, my number one cheerleader and best friend.
It’s been so difficult, beyond words--but I started a book recently that I am happy with. I’m committed to writing a chapter a day. So far, so good, fingers crossed. It helps to keep me focused and feeling purposeful once again, and in turn, helps me to live.
Whatever we write, we’re affected by the world around us, our families, bosses, children, births, deaths—we change and grow or fall back depending on what’s occurred and how it affected us.
I’ve found writing to be everything I never expected it to be. I met people, struck up friendships, and discovered aspects about getting published and writing that I found surprising, some of it positive and some of it not positive but heck, every experience is a lesson.
The most important lesson any writer can learn is to keep writing. Sending in work, whether it’s a short story or a novel, is stressful until you hear back. So, start writing another work! Don’t wait around, we’ve all been there. I had my first book rejected and I immediately wrote a short story for a horror anthology that was accepted. Twilight had just come out and my story was kind of a darkly humorous, vengeful, sassy answer to that sort of fiction. I had at the center of it, an author that finds out much too late how unromantic vampires really are. That story appears in Carole Gill’s House of Horrors.
I went on to write six vampire novels, one a series about them. And though I have them love and lust after one another, it’s dark and scary because vampires are not trying out for the high school football team as I see them. They drink blood and are demonic. No two ways about it.
I am not without humor, I’ve written about zombies in self-help groups, vampiric child stars, spoiled by Hollywood agents, an author that flipped out and made a monstrous Frankenstein creation out of body parts from agents and publishers, had fun with that!
My vampire series and the two vampire novels that followed are historically based. The what if scenario always appealed to me as in what if an all-powerful, human monster like Countess Bathory became a vampire and lived forever? Bathory believed bathing in blood would stave off aging. That’s my most recently published novel.
In it, she’s having a great time, making the first snuff films, cruising for girls to kill, and shock horror, she realizes she’s just another serial killer.
The book is so dark it comes with a warning. It was suggested to me by my editor to put it in so people didn’t get sick I guess. More than fair.
Bathory thinks she’ll be less of a monster when she’s created but…well, she isn’t.
The vampires in my series, The Blackstone Vampires, four novel series include: The House on Blackstone Moor, Unholy Testament – The Beginning, Unholy Testament – Full Circle, The Fourth Bride and Justine: Into the Blood, as well, all depict the guillotine in heavy usage. I thought that begged the question, ‘what if children from poor districts of Paris were being snatched off the streets to be given to wealthy aristocratic vampires?’ All those heads being cut off, what a convenient way to kill vampires!
A major point in my fiction is, I never underestimate human evil. No one should, how can we? What version of Dracula was ever as horrific as the Manson killings?
The world has a lot of evil in it and it’s there waiting to inspire horror authors.
One short story I wrote for an anthology was called Evil, it is a story of World War 2 and a town and how it changes when evil builds a nest there. It’s my favorite short story I think and happens to be in Carole Gill’s House of Horrors.
My circus book, Circus of Horrors, is different, I have clowns at the core of it, they are monstrous cannibals but they are also deeply flawed human beings that became what they became because of severe abuse. A reviewer said it was not just another ‘carnival scary’ and it isn’t. I had people say that while they were scared and repulsed, they felt sorry for the clowns. I was thrilled to hear that because that was my intention.
Motive gives me the story it always has, and characters are integral to that process.
Part of what I learned, was how to write a story. I didn’t outline much when I first started. Well, that changed. I outline like mad now, concentrating on my characters. I don’t know what they ate for breakfast but I know them. I never write until I can hear them speaking and I know what they look like, how they think, react—respond in a crisis and so on. When they become as real as possible, I know I can begin. Having said that, I won’t always be thrilled with how something is going and I’ll rethink the whole work in progress sometimes.
I’ve had writer’s block, but I’ve also found that it’s nothing major. It’s a reminder from your inner self, the writer inside you, to think about what you wanted to write. If it’s not flowing, there might be a reason like the story must be different, perhaps a rethink is in order.
I do happen to love flash fiction because the essentials of a good story are present in a scaled down version. It’s a great method to experiment with. I have written flash and have gotten short stories and then novels out of them. And really, in my opinion a good flash fiction story is a short story!
So, go for it. Polish up that story you’ve been working on and send it off! Don’t worry if it’s not for payment or not for much payment. The sending off is the first big step I found. Whatever happens, it’s your first step on the journey. And it is a journey, full of wonder, expectations and challenges, but remember, it needs a first step!
Thanks so much Carole!
For more on Carole Gill and her work, please visit these links.
I finally finished the first draft of Behind the Red Curtain, and I don’t really know how to feel. As soon as I typed the last words, I got depressed, and still haven’t recovered from that. I feel more pressure with this book than the first, mostly due to it being real now. The first time was an accomplishment, now it’s my job. If I don’t impress, will I have to fire myself?
I really don’t have a clue if the story is any good. I am sending it out to alpha readers, so I guess I’ll get some good feedback, but right now it’s a complete and total mystery. There are definitely some strong elements in there, but whether they come together as a whole – who knows.
I want to feel that elation again. The bright glow of accomplishment that makes me walk on my toes, but instead I feel a sense of dread. Impending doom. Like at any moment, I am going to find out that I am a hack. Lindsay is great obviously, and she seems to like it, but what about the rest of the world – or the itsy bitsy piece that I claim?
I doubt this feeling is going to subside until I get some feedback, which means I’ll have a couple more weeks of it. On top of that, I am going to have to tell someone who was very nicely coming up with cover designs for me, that I am going to go with my own. I hate telling people that all the work they did for my benefit was for nothing. Fucking guilt man.
My IndieGoGo campaign finished up, and people are generous, beautiful, and wonderful. When the funds come in, I have a whole plan of marketing and such to execute. I will also be completely overhauling this website. It’s gonna be puuurty.
I’m out. Things to do. Stay gold pony boy.
So, you may have guessed that the issue lies in that none of these aspects play out well; or I should say – to my own satisfaction. The “ghost story” ends up being a few pages of nothing spooky. The serial killer is just – whatever. Nothing is really resolved with the family, and what little closure is given seems pointless.
Now, Spoilers: The ghost, Lucy, is the daughter of a serial killer from long ago, who was the cousin of Mark’s mother. When the ghost shows up, all she wants to do is fuck Mark, and bring him into her world. Mark says ok. The End. And, unless I got confused – and I don’t think this is really said in the book – but Mark is banging his own ghost cousin – once removed, of course.
His mother kills herself, and that is one of the two main mysteries. The explanation of that seems to be that she couldn’t face knowing what she knew about what happened in the house, and that didn’t seem – real. So, in the end, the ghost story has no scares, and the serial killer story just kind of, ends. We have a pretty decent backstory on what happened in the house before, and that was undoubtedly the most satisfying part of the book. Then, we have an ending of two young people banging throughout time and space, sending poorly written emails, and badly shot videos to an uncle that I was never convinced was necessary to the story.
Still, the book gets three stars based off of Straub’s writing alone. He is one of the best, there is no doubt about that, and in the hands of a lesser writer, I would never have finished this book. I feel like there is some underlying level of clarity here that I just didn’t find. After doing a bit of research, I discovered that In the Night Room is actually a direct sequel, so maybe that adds something, and I will probably give it a whirl at some point. Also, Timothy Underhill, the writer uncle, is in some of Straub’s other books (that I also haven’t read), So maybe that justifies his placement in this book somehow.
[A] wonderful webwork of a book…It’s funny, and heartwarming, and genuinely scary.”
Sorry Mr. Gaiman, I love everything that you and your wife do, but none of that is true.