Saturday June 8 @ 6-8pm, Golden, Colorado (RSVP for directions)
The Denver Horror Collective Book Society–a book club for horror writers at any level–will be celebrating over thirty-five years of PET SEMATARY by Stephen King. Let your horror fiction flag fly, and be prepared to share your fave PS stories (when you first read/saw it, any PS folklore you’re fascinated by, and of course, what you love about it).
Have your writer’s cap on along with your party hat and spade. Directions will be PM’d to ya. Please RSVP to facilitate planning for this soiree, and thanks in advance.
1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they help you become a better writer?
Peter Straub. Straub helps me become a better writer because of his beautiful use of language blended with professional execution of creating dread and scenes of absolute terror. His work is un-commercial in the best possible way, yet utterly accessible in readability and makes my imagination’s flesh crawl like no other writer. It helps me become a better writer in knowing that I can aim for the story first, and cut the commercial crap right out. His novel Shadowland is probably my favorite book I’ve ever read, and I read it at least once a year.
2. What author did you dislike at first but grew into?
H.P. Lovecraft. I think I associated his name too much with gaming and protracted paragraphs (that sounds like a swipe at gaming culture when it really isn’t; at one time I just felt like Lovecraft’s world was over-appropriated in it), but when I revisited his work a few years ago I came to appreciate it on my own terms and made my own discoveries in his work. He’s a controversial figure, but—at this point, at least—I’ve decided to appreciate the artist. Chew on the meat and spit out the bones, to use a blunt horror metaphor.
In this second episode of the Jeamus After Midnight Podcast, Jeamus interviews author and journalist Josh Schlossberg, a damned fine writer who mixes it up with the macabre. Later in the episode we have a brief discussion about the very big subject of American Folk Horror.
In this pilot episode of Jeamus After Midnight (sponsored by Denver Horror Collective), artist and author Jeamus Wilkes flies solo in a fifteen minute monologue about creative brains, the origins of stuff, sobriquets, what meaneth “horror”, and the road ahead for the podcast… all with a delightfully creepy, blizzardy soundtrack.
Playing with your fears is the sure way to make them your friends, in my highly-valued opinion, that is. But before I explain… I’ll just show you an example of how I like to play. This prose poem below is how I turned one of my fears into who I now call Big D.
Photo: Ryan Eldon Holmbeck
A Tribute to Big D
I am well acquainted with Big D; we are beyond a first name basis, Death and I. A few times a year he drops by to see me, just to say hello—although sometimes I really wish he’d call first. I always like to clean up a little before guests come over. You know, shove everything in the closet and under the bed, vacuum, wash a few dishes, fill the rooms with sweet fragrance, and buy a bottle of tequila.
People often act surprised when I tell them I’m both a journalist and a horror fiction writer.
I mean, I get it: In many ways the two fields don’t even occupy the same landscape. In one, shameless hacks make up fake stories to exploit the most depraved aspects of the human experience, while the other is a celebrated genre of literature popularized by respected writers such as Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King.
Seriously, though, while quality journalism presents a spectrum of viewpoints all at once, horror fiction is typically about seeing the world through the biased (even warped) lens of one character at a time.
The mechanics of the writing itself also tend to differ, where spare and simple prose best conveys the facts essential to newswriting, while in fiction colorful word choice and stylistic phrasing amplify a writer’s unique voice.
But the lines can—and often do—blur. Whether it’s an article delving into the gun control debate or a story about swimmers devoured by a lake monster, both crafts are driven by our inborn attraction to conflict.