May 28, 2023
I want to talk about something I have dubbed “artistic toxicity.” This is not a term I can find on Google, so I may have just made it up (patent pending). Now what I mean by artistic toxicity is when a writer finds themself surrounded by toxic people who have zeroed in on the artist and what they condescendingly call their little hobby. Now I will focus on writers, but this goes for anyone with a drive to put their creative foot forward.
If you are an adult author, chances are you loved writing as a child. Creating new worlds and characters and telling these really cool stories was so much fun. And I’m sure along the way, you had detractors. People who said your stories were no good, or that it’s a waste of time … or they gave you backhanded compliments (what a neat little thing to do when you’re bored; or, it’s great that you have time for your hobbies). I’ve certainly had my share. I wrote virtually nothing for the better part of two decades because everywhere I went, negative feedback was regurgitated toward me as it related to writing. I live in an area of the world where original creativity is not exactly encouraged.
But when someone sets out to bring you down, or tries to tell you what you should be doing with your time instead of wasting it on any artistic endeavor, those are the toxic people you should cut from your life, or at least limit the time you spend around them.
Never let the detractors bring you down. Yes, you should embrace constructive criticism, especially when you ask for it. We all want others to see our work the way we do, and let’s face it, we are all too close to our own creations, and it is easy to miss even the simplest of mistakes. So yes, find those who will give you honest feedback on your creation in order to better your story. But never let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t be following this passion for writing.
I have found that the #writingcommunity is one of the greatest groups of which I have ever become a part. In the years since I finally became a published author, I have met some of the most wonderfully supportive authors. These are people who don’t see each other as competition. We are supportive and build each other up. While I primarily write in the scarier categories, I am one hundred percent in support of writers from all genres. I will continue to read indie authors who write drama, historical, romance, comedies, poetry, etc., because I admire anyone with the courage to put themselves out there for the world to read (and judge). It is not easy to write a book. In fact, it’s not easy to write a poem or a short story. It’s a challenge that takes quite a bit of work. But for those of us who spend hours and hours in these alternate worlds, we have a passion and welcome this challenge. And nobody has the right to tell us otherwise.
Have fun like you did when you were a kid.
Write your stories.
Reject artistic toxicity.
DREAMS & WRITING
May 1, 2023
How many writers have taken a vivid dream (or dreams) and immediately written them down, believing they have one hell of a story if they can figure out the missing details? For me, a dream back in the early part of the 2000s would linger for nearly two decades before I put together the basis for Welcome to Oblivion, a novel I released during the middle of the pandemic in September of 2020. The dream involved me walking through a dark, creepy castle with an unknown companion while being followed by shadows. We couldn’t find our way out and felt like we were going in circles. Eventually, I was all alone, except for the shadows that would pop in and out of view. That is all I remember from that dream, and soon after I began writing a stage play named after my favorite line from a Hellraiser movie. Unfortunately, the vision I had for this project was not possible on the stage. Not to mention, getting original stage plays accepted and produced were extremely difficult, especially where I live. So, the project was scrapped for roughly 17 years. It was around the time I wrote my first horror novel, Dragon’s Blood, when I began looking for a new horror idea. I had never forgotten about Oblivion, and so I pulled up what I had written (character sketches, plot details, and several scenes) and began to outline what would become my third novel overall.
Then, only a few years ago, I had another dream. In this one, I was a reporter covering a serial killer, but the killer knew I was trying to uncover his identity, so he was looking for me. I remember hopping from rooftop to rooftop trying to avoid the killer who I could see on the ground below trying to find me. With this dream, I would write the nontraditionally structured novel Clippings in 2021. The story is told in the form of media communications, such as newspaper articles, blog posts, e-mails, press releases, and TV news transcripts.
Now, As I prepare to publish my sixth novel, I am again using dreams to put out something terrifying. This Is How He Collects Them is loosely based on three different dreams I had in 2022. Without giving too much away, the story is darker than anything else I have written, but I feel the story (while complex) is strong, and now I am at the stage where the beta readers will give me their feedback in which I can correct any flaws before it goes to the editor.
This Is How He Collects Them releases on Friday, October 13th, 2023 in hardback, paperback, and eBook.