Don’t fear her, get away from her.

There is something about this post that resonates with me…sometimes the thing we should fear lies within…madness would scare me and make me run more than any other monster…what about you?

Futzing About

Many fear that Madness’ presence breaks things we take for granted. Things like the meaning of ‘Up’.

Broken Seams

Can the walls crawl on the floor
and the ceiling ride their backs?
Can the peeling paint
slowly taint
the food you lovingly bring back?
Can the world turn topsy-turvy
and drip bile from your mouth?
The swirling sickness,
flowing thickness,
that threatens to climb back out.

Would you fear a doorway
that hadn’t any door?
Would you fear that doorway
if it hadn’t any floor?
Would you fear that doorway
if it opened on the sky?
And if you stepped through,
let’s just hope
that you had said ‘good bye’.

Can you smell the fear, now?
The sights and sounds around?
The confusing illusions
dripping up
when Madness touches down.

Fear the smell with no scent
and the sight that blinds the mole
the longer you remain near
the deeper…

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Shivers down my spine…

We all have had those moments of spine-chilling fear…when the shivers of chill make their way slowly down our spine, every hair on our body rises, our bones seem to turn to water and the back of our necks prickles. Our bodies surge with adrenalin and we fight the instinctive response to flee or fight. Fear is one of the core base emotions. We all know what it is. We all know when it has struck…

Sleep, those little slices of death, how I loathe them. – Edgar Allen Poe

I am a part of a stellar group of authors called TESSpecFic ** We are “The Emissaries of Strange: A Speculative Fiction Writer’s Collective” is a group of writers whose fiction fits under the speculative fiction umbrella. Our captain, the lovely Marie Loughin set us a question that stirred in each of our hearts this week: What is Horror?

This is a question that I faced at the end of 2011 when I was getting ready to pitch my WIP to an agent. Genre can be a tricky question. Especially these days when there are so many variations on the classic genres and so many sub genres to further muddy the genre waters. When I set out to write my WIP, I was not thinking in terms of genre. I was thinking STORY and CHARACTER. I wrote the story that poured forth and decided to leave the question of genre until it was absolutely necessary to come up with an answer.

Right up until the moment that I sat before the agent, I was second-guessing how to genre-alise* (Yes, it is a term I made up.) my story. The days before my pitch I researched other stories similar to mine to see how those authors had genre-alised their stories. One term kept on cropping up: Horror.

There is a quake that rips the soul asunder. . . it is the pain of remembering. – Nrb

The day of my pitch arrived and as I sat before the agent and she asked me what genre the WIP was, out came the word: Horror. She allowed me to continue with my allotted 10 minute pitch and then kept me talking because she was intrigued and wanted to know more. After I had basically given her the synopsis, she sat back, clicked her pen on the table-top between us and told me that though she could see how I genre-alised the plot into HORROR, she thought it would sound better as a Paranormal Historical. She was concerned that the term HORROR would limit the marketability of what she thought was a very marketable story.

We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. – Stephen King

Mmmh I wonder what Stephen King  would have said if someone had told him HORROR would make his market limited? Seriously, who has not heard of a Stephen King story  whether in books or movies. I think the HORROR genre has served Stephen King very well and he has done more than ok with finding a market for his work.

So what is HORROR and why are so many people afraid of that term? Pun intended*

I think Hollywood and B-Horror movies have given us a vision of blood, gore, guts and general grossness. But that is just one variation of HORROR. Below is the Dictionary.com definition of HORROR…

horror |ˈhôrər, ˈhär-|noun1 an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust: children screamed in horror.• a thing causing such a feeling: photographs showed the horror of the tragedy | the horrors of civil war.• a literary or film genre concerned with arousing such feelings: [ as modifier ] : a horror movie.• intense dismay: to her horror she found that a thief had stolen the machine.• [ as exclamation ] (horrors) chiefly humorous used to express dismay: horrors, two buttons were missing!• [ in sing. ] intense dislike: many have a horror of consulting a dictionary.• (the horrors) an attack of extreme nervousness or anxiety: the mere thought of it gives me the horrors.2 informal a bad or mischievous person, esp. a child: that little horror Zach was around.ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’ (see horrid) .

I think the very origin of the word answers the question: What is Horror? Horror is an involuntary trembling and shuddering from sheer terror. For me however, true horror is those scenes that play with your mind. Psychological fear is far more intense and horrific than mere physical fear. The mind is a scary place. It’s capacity for imagining the worst and the darkest is scary. Think of your favourite horror movie, the imagined monster behind the shadow at the foot of the door that is ajar is far scarier than the monster that is seen and can be fought. What is unknown is far scarier than the known? For me, that is true HORROR.

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe. – Johann von Goethe

So I take the stand on my trilogy. It is HORROR Paranormal Historical. It deals with death, ghosts and revenge. There are scenes that gave me the creeps as I was writing them. There are scenes that I still don’t like reading after midnight because they literally have me seeing the ghosts I have written become real.

It is dark. You cannot see. Only the hint of stars out the broken window. And a voice as old as the Snake from the Garden whispers, ‘I will hold your hand. – John Wick

Horror is the difference between the UNKNOWN vs the KNOWN and the UNTHINKABLE vs the IMAGINED. Horror is those shivers down my spine, that prickling on my skull and the bone-deep chill that makes my heart want to stop.

This is how Stephen King defines Horror:

“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”

What is Horror to you? Is it a misunderstood and misaligned genre-alisation of a core human instinct? Is HORROR just a label or is it more a style of story-telling?

Join my fellow TESSpecFic members on their blogs below as they delve into: What is Horror?

Schedule for blog tour: What is Horror?

Marie Loughin – Wednesday, 9th May

Jaye Manus – Thursday, 10th May

Paul D. Dail – Friday, 11th May

Aniko Carmean – Sunday, 13th May

Jonathan D. Allen – Monday, 14th May

Penelope Crowe – Tuesday, 15th May

What lies beneath the surface?

You are pulled from a deep sleep, your heart racing. What woke you? The night is dead with silence. Your eyes glance at the bedside clock: 3:oo am flashes at you in neon green. They call it the Witching Hour. I call it my hour of secret dread. Every tale ever heard about bogeymen, ghosts, poltergeists, knife wielding masked burglars rushes through my brain. What was that? Did I see a shadow or did my eyes just make that up? Why is the curtain moving when the windows are closed? That door is opening…

You are visiting a new friend. Something tugs at your thoughts as you knock on the front door. You wonder where this sense of memory stirs from. The door is answered. You know what she is going to say before she says it. You know what the entrance hallway is going to look like. You have been in this house. Before. The whole visit spins out before you echoing your memory. But this is the first time you have walked into this house. Isn’t it? De’ja`vu. Hindsight or foresight?

Footsteps in an empty house. Inexplicable sounds and smells. Shadows in doorways. Objects being moved. Someone watches you. You turn around, there is nobody there. Someone follows you. You feel a breath on the back of your neck that raises all the hairs on your neck. A terrible foreboding of danger.

What lies beneath the surface of your 5 senses?

Whether you are superstitious or cynical, we all have a 6th sense. This is the sense that warns you of dangers you cannot expect. This is the sense that makes sense of the impossible, the illogical, the supernatural. This is the sense on high alert at those eerie hours when the night is the most silent and it is the darkest and coldest hours before dawn. This is the sense that makes you turn around and look for the watcher, the stalker, the hunter when you know you are alone but someone or something is following you. This is the sense that you experience when “someone walks over your grave” and a shiver down the spine shakes the bones in your body. This is the sense that you tap into when something strange is suddenly inexplicably familiar. This is the sense you tap into when you walk into a house and know within your bones that though you are alone, you are not the only person in the house.

This is why I write the stories I write. I have always had a strong 6th sense. Those closest to me have been known to be freaked out by my 6th sense. I have seen ghosts. I have spoken to ghosts. I have warned ghosts away. I have dreams of future events that always spell danger or threats with an uncanny way of coming true. It has got to the point that loved ones do not want me to tell them if I dream of them. I have innumerable events of de’ja`vu. I can see through social masks of strangers and judge their characters accurately within minutes of meeting them. This strong 6th sense is something I have alternately loved and hated all my life. It saved a friend and I from the clutches of a serial paedophile/killer. It saved my father from being strangled by a vengeful ghost. When it comes now, I listen. It has never been wrong. But now I accept it as part of me. These are not stories. They are inexplicable events that have happened.

But this 6th sense, this sense of the eerie supernatural and inexplicable paranormal has always fascinated me. Whether one believes in ghosts or other supernatural/paranormal beings, there are many things in life that seem to lie “beneath the surface” of what we know or can explain. You may believe a house is just a house. But sometimes there are things left over, a sense of people and emotions that your rational brain just cannot explain. There are too many things/events that happen that overwhelm the rational brain but the evidence is too strong to be in complete denial.

I love exploring what “lies beneath the surface”. It is about digging beneath the layers of the inexplicable and allowing your 6th sense to guide your other 5 senses. These are the questions that fill my stories: What is the sense of de’ja`vu really? What is that 6th sense of danger, of knowing/feeling someone’s eyes on you even when you are alone? What is the meaning behind dreams? How can you tell whether a person has good or evil intentions with no known proof except a “feeling”?

As children this 6th sense is undisputed and accepted. But when people (usually adults we trust) start telling us we are just “imagining” it, we doubt ourselves. We start doubting the innate ability that we all have that taps into our survival skills. We start “growing up” and decide it was all just child’s play. But was it? Even the most cynical adults do get glimpses of this 6th sense throughout our lives and more often than not, this usually is re-activated by events/people/objects that put us in danger and we tap into our base survival skills. This is why I write the stories I do and even read the stories I do. Stories where someone’s life is put in danger through natural and/or supernatural means have a heightened sense of this 6th sense.

Adults have a lot to answer for. We tell a child they can do anything but they cannot think or feel what they think or feel if it does not fit into a rational acceptable explanation. Are we helping them grow up or are we stunting their innate abilities and gifts not to mention imagination?

What is imagination after all? What is so childish or illogical about imagination?

If a man had not imagined flying there would be no aeroplanes – something we now take for granted to get around this global community. If a man had not imagined there was land beyond the seas he could see in all direction, most of this planet would be undiscovered.

Talking to the cynic in those of us over the age of five…

  • Are you willing to suspend your rational beliefs when faced with something you can’t explain? 
  • Are you willing to admit that life is full of inexplicable matter “beneath the surface”? 
  • Does everything have to be tied up in a tight, neat box of explanation wrapped in a tidy bow of rationality? 
  • Are you willing to ask: What if? 
  • Are you willing to admit you cannot explain everything? 
  • Should you want to explain everything? 
  • Isn’t that the beauty of life: it’s mystery and unpredictability?

Trust that 6th sense. Explore the de’ja`vu. Trust yourself. Open your mind and open your eyes. Unleash the childlike belief you were born with. Life is full of inexplicable mystery.

The joy is not in having all the right answers but in discovering the right questions.

 

#CoffinHop | Something creeps across the floor boards….

the gory details:

1) HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME!
2) INVITE YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, October 24, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, October 31, 2011 at Midnight (PST)
Winners will be drawn and posted November 1, 2011
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY SITE’S CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN!
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL SITES IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. THE MORE SITES YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES.
6) DID I MENTION TO HAVE A SPOOKY FUN TIME?
***Authors have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this tour is subject to these rules***
________________________________________________________________

My Contest – Prize Time

My next WIP is a psychological thriller and it involves psychological twists and a cold-blooded killer. This killer curdles my blood. Already the killer haunts my dreams. But the worst thing about this character is that I am struggling to name him. He does have a moniker that he will be known by in the story but he does need a name.

Let me tell you a little bit about him. He is a psychopath. He is exceptionally cruel and sadistic. He is also a perfectionist who never leaves any trace of himself at the crime scene. He is fastidiously clean, almost surgically I would say. He preys on people that he feels are “fallen”. He is incredibly alluring and seductive. He is hard to say “no” to. By the time his victims realise he is the final person they will see, it is too late and they are taken by surprise. This man could be anyone. He might be your friend, your brother, your father, your lover, your husband or your colleague. He stalks you like a silent lioness. Do you know his name?

So…this is where you blog-hoppers come in. I need you to put your creative hats on and spin me a first name and surname for my sadistic killer.

The best name will win three ebooks by three phenomenal authors. (I will be announcing the names of the authors and their books closer to Halloween but believe me you will want these ebooks.) 

The best name will also become the name of my sadistic killer.

You need to be subscribed to this blog to enter (so join up if you are not already) as well as leave your best answer (along with your email address for winner notification) in the comments on any of this week’s posts on this blog. You also need to have visited and commented on at least 5 of the CoffinHop bloggers.

The winner will be announced on this blog on 5th November. Multiple entries are welcome.

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Thursday = Terrifying Fears

Even the bravest of us have strong, irrational fears that are almost instinctive in nature. These are fears that literally petrify us to paralysis. They say facing you fears will conquer them but not these fears. These fears, however irrational, are the exception to that proverb. So I thought this hop was the perfect opportunity to explore those crazy phobias that paralyze us: Why are we scared of them? Is it a common fear? Where does the fear originate from in society? I am going to share my phobias with you – but only if you promise to not use them to paralyze me or cause me to have a heart attack. So this blog post is very much a trust issue. I trust you to go gently with my phobia and you trust me to not hit you with something if you do try to use these phobias against me. I am also going to share some common phobias and some very odd phobias. 

Firstly, here are a couple of my irrational fears:

My #1 Phobia = Scelerophibia

I battle this fear every night of my life. It is the fear of burglars or bad men.

This fear may be rational in some cases but in most cases it is irrational. But this fear can spin out not just from being scared at night but by being scared to be in a house by yourself during the day. I battle with both night and day.

My phobia stems from numerous brushes with armed house burglaries from the age of eight. I grew up in a country where burglary and armed break-ins are commonplace and barely feature as news. But that first attempted armed break-in when I was eight is the one that has stayed with me the longest. This phobia is so scary for me that I will not go into the details of the armed break-in. I am just thankful that nobody in my family was harmed in any of the armed break-ins we have endured. Now I live in a much safer country but I will still obsessively shut all windows and lock/double lock all doors. I will also check on those windows and doors at least three times in a short succession just to make absolutely sure they are locked. It has led me to years of insomnia. I am a very light sleeper and have a very acute sense of hearing so every noise at night makes me jump. I have called family members to drive in the middle of the night to my house because I heard what I thought was someone on the roof. This phobia is paralyzing and yes it is life altering. I never feel 100% safe in a house at night and never feel 100% in a house during the day if I am alone.

My #2 Phobia = Chiroptophobia

No, I am not afraid of Batman. I am terrified of Bats. That is why I put this image up. There are hundreds of images of bats to be found on google but I seriously want to throw up from fear if I see them. It was difficult enough to get this one. Luckily for me it was at the top of the gallery so I only caught glimpses of the horrid creatures….I actually just had all the hairs on the back of my neck raise at that.

The roots of this fear dates back centuries and they are fueled by the Dracula stories, Halloween and Hades. Which brings us of course to the legend of the Vampires. Undead men who are able to change into bats and feed on the blood of humans – usually beautiful young people.

As for my fear. It’s roots are from when I was six years old and my cousin and I were playing in our farm barn. She was a little older than me and a terrible tease. We were playing hide and seek amongst the hay bales. She was hiding and I was the seeker. I had been searching for her for close to half an hour – which for a little kid is like half a day – and was getting a little nervous as it was nearing dusk which made shadows creep across the floor and walls of the barn. I told her I had enough and was giving up. Still no answer. I was a little worried at this point. So I decided to leave the barn and walk back up to my house. As I left, I heard a sound that I could not quite place. Then just as I was hesitating on the threshold of the doorway, pebbles started flying in my direction. I thought it was my cousin until she came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. The pebbles now came at both of us. We were tripping over each other to get out of there and I fell. The next thing I knew I heard another sound, turned and it slammed into my face. A bat. It clung to my face. I was looking into its face and I thought it was looking into mine. I could not even scream. I was that petrified. I had never seen anything so horrendous in my worst imaginings at that point. (Nor since then, looking back in hindsight.) My cousin ran back and was screaming and trying to pull this bat off my face. It took her about ten minutes before the creature finally let go. Then she had to drag me up to the house as I was completely incapacitated from fear.

Ever since then I cannot even look at a picture of a bat. I hate going into caves and dark places where they may be resting. But now if I do come across a bat, I run like hell and do not look back until I am safe. That was actually horrible to write about. I can still see that bat. Now, I will probably have nightmares about bats tonight.

My #3 Phobia = Selachophobia

I am afraid of sharks in the dark patches of a swimming pool. This is one of the reasons I do not like aquariums. Strangely enough I am not afraid of sharks in the sea.

The roots of this phobia are psychological and are either linked to a fear of darkness or linked to a buried childhood trauma.

The roots of my fear is that a girl I knew drowned in a swimming pool when we were both three. For years I blocked all memory of her until years later when I was about sixteen I was talking to my parents about phobias. They had always known I was scared of swimming in a pool by myself. Although I loved swimming in the ocean I had never really enjoyed swimming in pools and would never swim by myself. I told them that for some reason my mind told me that sharks were in the dark patches in the pool and if I was swimming underwater, I would fear the same thing that there were sharks behind me just waiting to attack. Then they told me about my little friend and it all made sense where that fear came from.

So those are my top three phobias. I am sure if I went through a list of phobias I would find others but these are the three that I have had for most of my life stemming from roots in childhood.

So what petrifies you to a stand-still? What makes your hairs stand on end and your heart thunder in your chest? What is your irrational fear? What is your phobia and do you know the roots? 

Some fears seem funny to others and some seem downright strange but at the end of the day to the person who suffers from this phobia, there is nothing funny about it. As horror, thriller and suspense writers we often play on common phobias that are our own or those of people we know. But phobias are real fears. Who are we to judge a person’s bravery when we may suffer at least one phobia. Does that make a scared person a coward. To quote the great Mark Twain:

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.  Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave.  ~ Mark Twain,Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar, 1894

Here is a list of well-known phobias:

Arachnophobia = The fear of spiders.

Achluophobia = Fear of darkness.

Acrophobia- Fear of heights.

Aichmophobia- Fear of needles or pointed objects.

Agoraphobia – Fear of open or crowded spaces and fear of leaving a safe place.

 Aquaphobia – Fear of water or drowning.

Astraphobia or Astrapophobia- Fear of thunder and lightning.(Ceraunophobia, Keraunophobia)

Aviophobia or Aviatophobia- Fear of flying.

Claustrophobia- Fear of confined spaces.

Coulrophobia- Fear of clowns.

Dentophobia- Fear of dentists.

Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia- Fear of blood.

Misophobia or Mysophobia- Fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs.

Ophidiophobia- Fear of snakes.

These are some fears that would make what we as writers do very difficult:

Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions.

Atychiphobia- Fear of failure.

Bibliophobia- Fear of books.

Doxophobia- Fear of expressing opinions or of receiving praise.

Epistemophobia- Fear of knowledge.

Graphophobia- Fear of writing or handwriting.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words.

Ideophobia- Fear of ideas.

Logizomechanophobia- Fear of computers.

Logophobia- Fear of words.

Metrophobia- Fear or hatred of poetry.

Mythophobia- Fear of myths or stories or false statements.

Onomatophobia- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.

Phronemophobia- Fear of thinking.

Verbophobia- Fear of words.

Lastly here are a few odd phobias:

Autodysomophobia- Fear of one that has a vile odor.

Basophobia or Basiphobia- Inability to stand. Fear of walking or falling.

Chromophobia or Chromatophobia- Fear of colors.

Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers.

Genuphobia- Fear of knees.

Koinoniphobia- Fear of rooms.

Lachanophobia- Fear of vegetables.

Linonophobia- Fear of string.

Octophobia – Fear of the figure 8.

Omphalophobia- Fear of belly buttons.

Panophobia or Pantophobia- Fear of everything.

For more on phobias, click on the Phobia List

Related posts in my hop

Thrill me | Chill me | Don’t kill the MC

Thrills / Chills / Kills

The Boogeyman…The ghosts around a campfire…Vampires….Hansel & Gretel’s witch…The evil step-mother…Monsters

Our childhoods are filled with tales that thrill us with adrenaline and chill us with fear. We grow up being told fairy tales of witches, evil killer step-mothers, red shoed witches and monsters of every shape and ilk. Our teen years are filled with ghost stories told around a camp-fire, scaring each other in the dark, continuing the tales of terror, visiting horror shows in fair grounds and roller coaster rides.

What is it about our morbid fascination with all things scary? Why are thrillers and horrors the biggest box-office hits in cinemas world-wide? Why are the scariest rides the most popular at fairgrounds?

When we are faced with things that terrify us we get a giant kick of adrenaline that surges through our bodies and electrifies every single nerve fibre in our body. Adrenaline pushes us to action. Whether we decide to run for the hills or stand our ground and fight the terror, we are forced to act. Our emotions are kicked into hyper-drive and we feel more alive than ever. So there is no great mystery why things that scare us draw us in time and time again. We crave that adrenaline hit. We crave that singing feeling that sends our nerve ends buzzing with an irresistible energy.

Throughout life we dare ourselves and each other to face our fears. In every culture there is a facing of fear task that needs to be overcome to get to certain stages of maturity. Facing our fears and overcoming them turn us from children into adults.

Whether it is ghosts, the dark, different phobias – we all understand fear and its features. But human beings are the only creature that seeks out the things it fears. Perhaps it is our search for adventure that is an antidote to the mundane and normal. But unlike animals, reptiles and birds; we run after things that scare us.

It is more than just the adrenaline. It is also a need to feel connected and feel raw emotion. Fear is one of the most basic and instinctual of all emotions. But fear is not necessarily always a bad emotion. Fear can help us reach the strongest parts of ourselves and resort to acts of courage that we would ordinarily not find. Fear can push us to act rather than just react. Fear also makes us feel completely alive and gives us a rich appreciation for our own survival. Fear casts a harsh light on the fragility of the human condition but it is also forces us to count every second as precious. 

What makes a story scary? 

The setting can be a huge part of setting your reader / viewer up for fear. It could be a graveyard on a misty night, a darkened alleyway, an abandoned house, an office building at night, a creaking floor and opening door…all of these would immediately put you in the seat of fear.

Characters can be another set up for fear. Creepy old people, a child that seems to look into your soul, a menacing individual or the guy/girl who seems just too good to be true…

But for me the scariest scenes are those that could happen and that might happen. When we read something and watch something and believe that it could happen. When the normal suddenly degenerates into the bizarre and twisted. These are the ideas and stories that really scare me. Monsters don’t scare me but vengeful spirits/ghosts do. Vampires don’t scare me but sharks and snakes do. 

Watching or reading something scary makes me appreciate safety and security. It makes me feel alive and immeasurably grateful to be alive. There is a lot of things and people in this world that are truly scary but to know the light we sometimes need to confront the darkness. Another reason why I love reading and watching thrillers is that the good guys always triumph, it may be by the skin of their teeth, but they do triumph. The bad guys always end up on the worse end of the tale, either being killed, destroyed or caught. 

A great thriller walks a close line between the bizarre and normal. It brings out the flaws and fears in the characters and forces them to new levels of strength, fortitude, courage, survival and the most basic levels of humanity. 

I am often asked why I not only read and watch thrillers but write them too. I am drawn to the ultimate fight between good and evil and in every good thriller – book or movie – good trumps evil. I write dark fiction because it helps me balance emotions. I also love pushing characters into terrible spots that they have to get out of to survive. I love writing that is filled with conflict and tension. There is no way that one can hide from darkness in this world but we can teach ourselves that light can triumph over that darkness. After all, it takes only one small match that when lit can light up a whole room. Darkness flees from light. That is the natural order of things. The night can be long, dark, cold and threatening but eventually the sun rises with dawn and the warmth of a new day brings hope. 

This is why I write dark fiction. I write it to remind myself that there is darkness in the world and there are dangerous things, people and situations. But there is also light and goodness. There is also courage and human compassion. Writing dark fiction allows me to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and courage over fear. Writing a believable antagonist that fills me with fear and foreboding makes me write a believable protagonist that fills me with hope and courage. Writing dark fiction allows me to acknowledge darkness and fear but more importantly it allows me to celebrate light and courage.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon