Genre Month: Horror, Part Two

By Cammi Woodall

It was a dark and stormy night. It automatically sets the mood, doesn’t it? Horror as a literary theme continued into the 1900’s and gained  in popularity.

The late 19th and early 20th century saw the rise of the Penny Dreadful, mass produced periodicals that made popular fiction available to a much larger section of the population than books. Lurid tales of werewolves, vampires, and ghouls helped spur sales. Due to their low cost, sales of the magazines skyrocketed. After purchase, the magazines could then be passed around for many to enjoy, escaping the uncertainty and fear of the Depression and the World Wars.  

During the 1960’s and 70’s, elements of horror in literature became more visceral. Supernatural and creepy overtones were no longer enough for the reading public. Intense moral situations, vivid descriptions of gore, and stories based on real-life tragedies flooded the best sellers list. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, The Amityville Horror by Jan Anson, Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, and Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby contained graphic accounts of adult situations more extreme than previously depicted in mainstream literature. The public responded favorably, with several horror novels reaching epic sales during this time.

Click to tweet: What do you think is the bestselling modern horror novel of all time? Names like Stephen King or Clive Barker may come to mind, but that title goes to a book published in 1979. V. C. Andrews wrote Flowers in Attic. #horror #amreading

Due to intense moral dilemmas, the book was banned from many schools and reading fairs. The shocking tale follows the Dollanganger children. The unexpected death of their father is only the first of many calamities that follows the siblings through the five book series.

No article about horror fiction would be complete without mentioning Stephen King. He is the master of horror with over 50 best selling novels. Just a few of his titles include The Shining, Cujo, Carrie, Misery, Needful Things, Thinner, Salem’s Lot, It, and The Running Man. His tales range from a rabid dog terrorizing a town (a real-life horror we could all encounter) to a post apocalyptic America fighting a maniacal evil (something I hope we never face). Often knocked by critics, especially for his earlier work, King’s stories resonate with the reading public. People who do not typically read horror will read Stephen King.

Even kids want to get scared. R. L. Stine published his first scary teen novel, Blind Date, in 1986. (Tagline – It wasn’t a date! It was a nightmare!) It was an instant success. He went on to write the Fear Street series and the Goosebumps series. Both series spawned movies, television shows, and merchandise that were extremely popular. The Fear Street series remains one of the best selling Young Adult series of all time.

This article only touches on a few writes of horror literature, but I am running out of room! There are countless other authors to explore – H.P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Frank E. Peretti, Shirley Jackson, Peter Straub, RAy Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill, Seth Grahame-Smith… Well, you get the idea. There are horror novels for whatever ‘fear level’ you want. Your public library is a great way to check out a new author and see if you like their style.

So, after this history lesson, you may be wondering. Why do we read or write horror stories? Isn’t real life filled with enough despair, mistrust, uncertainty, and cruelty to fill dozens of horror novels? Yes, unfortunately. I hope none of us will face a killer clown crawling out of the sewer, or have a family member converse with skeleton parts, or conduct cadaver experiments in our creepy lab. These are abstract horrors because they are not liable to happen.

But we will experience grief as we lose a loved one, terror if we are attacked, loneliness, despair, regret, anxiety, betrayal… By reading horror, you escape the everyday fears we face. Writing horror allows the author to exorcise demons they hold within. When you hold a book or an unfinished manuscript in your hand, your are the master of that tiny little section of your universe. The story can allow you to escape for minutes or hours; the heroes and heroines may save the day and defeat the horror. If it gets to be too much? Simply close the book. Stop writing or reading. You control the horror.

All this research has made me want to re-visit some old favorites. I think I will curl up with my dog-eared copy of It. Wait, do I hear a tapping at my chamber door? It is a dark and stormy night, after all.

Writing Prompt: The pounding on the door stopped. The sudden silence was more unsettling than the rattling door.

3 Questions Wednesday with Jason C. Joyner

Happy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Jason C. Joyner. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Jason:  Intelligent. Romantic. Curious.

Great traits for an author. 🙂 Now about travel…

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Jason:   There’s so many places! It’s a hard choice, but right now I’d say Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. It is the site of Catatumbo lightning, the most lightning in the world, with it happening an average of 150 days a year. I’ve got a story idea for it, so to see it in real life would be amazing. 

 Wow. That would certainly make a great story setting. Last question:

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Jason:  The theme song for my movie would be “Dare You to Move,” by Switchfoot. It’s a song that calls us to live a bold, brave life. I don’t always live up to it, but when I have, some awesome things have happened.

I LOVE that song too. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: YA author Jason C. Joyner talks about writing and a giveaway. #StarWars #YA #amreading

Make sure to ask a question or say “howdy” in the comments below. Winning commenter will receive a PDF version of Launch: Rise of the Anointed.  


Launch

Sixteen-year-olds Demarcus Bartlett and Lily Beausoliel are among a select group of youth invited to an exclusive, all-expenses-paid conference at social media giant Alturas’ California headquarters. Led by charismatic founder Simon Mazor, the world’s youngest billionaire, this isn’t the typical honors society. It seems that everyone here has some secret, untapped potential, some power that may not be entirely of this world. An ancient prophecy suggests that if these teens combine their abilities, they could change the course of history. The only question is: Will it be for better or for worse?


Jason C. Joyner is a physician assistant, a writer, a Jesus-lover, and a Star Wars geek. He’s traveled from the jungles of Thailand to the cities of Australia and the Bavarian Alps of Germany. He lives in Idaho with his lovely wife, three boys, and daughter managing the chaos of sports and superheroes in his own home. Launch, a YA superhero story, is his first published novel.

Website: www.jasoncjoyner.com

Genre Month: True Southern Fiction

By Jennifer Hallmark

The woods are full of regional writers, and it is the great horror of every serious Southern writer that he will become one of them.” Flannery O’Connor

The Deep South: South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and of course, Alabama. That’s the definition I found online. Some added in Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida—but everyone knows Florida isn’t too Southern since its population is from everywhere.

Why is this information important on a genre-based post? Look at Flannery O’Connor’s quote again. Anyone can write a book and throw some Southern lingo and sweet tea into it and call the work Southern fiction. To me, fiction of that sort is more of what O’Connor calls a regional book.

True Southern fiction has to be lived. One must mingle with the people of the Deep South, taste black-eyed peas, embrace the aroma of jambalaya, the texture of freshly picked cotton, the humidity, the Bible belt, and the redneck. Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character.

You must be able to write in such a way where it’s not like reading about a foreign country, for those who’ve never set a foot below Kentucky. It must have its own flavor but be relatable. One must be able to feel the emotions and live the story as if it could happen to them. Readers need to feel the sweat, swat the mosquitos, and relish the fried okra right along with the characters.


Only then do you have a story that is immersed in the culture. That’s the kind of Southern fiction I read.

 

New to Southern fiction? Classic writers include:

And some of my favorites are authors I call friends:

Check out any and all of these to put an overall face and voice to the South. And don’t miss my debut Southern fiction release, Jessie’s Hope, releasing on June 15, 2019, published by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Click to Tweet:  Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character. #South #amreading

Writing prompt: Dixie grabbed a red solo cup and filled it with sweet tea. She made her way through the church fellowship hall toward…

3 Questions Wednesday with Ginger Solomon

Ginger 6 - brightened smallIt is my sincere pleasure to welcome author, blogger, and mother of 7, Ginger Solomon to 3 Questions Wednesday. Let’s get started!  First question–

 Can you describe yourself in three words?

Ginger:  Introvert, Mother, Writer

As a mother of 7 children, I would bet you have lots of patience also! Next question–

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Ginger:  Scotland, hands down. I would love to spend the time researching and visiting the castles. 😊 I’ve done my ancestry, and I’m not in any way Scottish (I am mostly Irish and English), but I have had a love for that country for a long time. I love their accents. I love castles. I have to say, though, that I will not be trying haggis. LOL

haggis-3094697__340Haggis is a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep’s or calf’s offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach.

I had to look that up…ewwww!!  Now–

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Ginger:  It’s a newer song, but I’ve related to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.

I have often felt like I’m not enough, that I will never measure up to other’s expectations. But one line keeps running through my head. It says, “The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me, in You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.”

I have to remember, daily, WHOSE I am. As another song says, “I am a child of God.” He is my father. He loves me. And even when I fail, He is there to pick me up, wipe away the grime, fix my boo-boos, and encourage me to try again. And again. And again.

Those are lovely songs with such beautiful messages.

Thanks, Ginger, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions and help your readers get to know you better.

Readers, Ginger will be giving away The Heart of Christmas collection to one commenter. So, leave her a comment, or ask her a question, and your name will go into the drawing for the book.

Click to Tweet: Author Ginger Solomon is our guest today at 3 Questions Wednesday. #InspiredPrompt #Interview #Christmasgiveaway


The Heart of Christmas: A Romantic Christmas Novella Collection

Announcing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.

On Angels’ Wings by Ginger Solomon
Bakery owner, Jenna Wing prepares to spend Thanksgiving alone—her first without her family. When her former neighbor, Thomas Hayes, invites her to dinner, she finds that she can’t say no. Their previous friendship turns to something more, but Thomas’s family issues threatens their new-found relationship.

No Room in His Heart by Bonita McCoy
What happens when Evie’s car breaks down on the highway and her only hope is the handsome, sure of himself inn owner who can’t find his phone and lives off pizza?
A sweet Christmas romance … with lots of zing that will have you laughing.

Born for You by Leah Fornier
Ryder has never set foot in a church. But when his best friend, Kenna, begs him to direct a church Christmas play, he can’t refuse. As he and Kenna work through a series of mishaps, Ryder finds himself drawn to the One born for him. And also to Kenna.

Finding Wisdom in Noel by Janie Winsell
Travel photographer Billie accepts an assignment in Noel, Montana, to escape her ex-fiance’s wedding. Aiden takes custody of his nephew Kris and embarks on a journey of parenthood. When a luggage mishap brings Billie and Aiden together, they must find healing and wisdom in order for their love to flourish.

Season of Forgiveness by Darcy Fornier
Ruby Larson adopted Ivy Carlyle as her granddaughter when Ivy helped her arrange her funeral. When Ruby’s estranged grandson, Denver Reese, appears, Ivy is reluctant to share Ruby’s attention. As the two plan Ruby’s Christmas, unexpected attraction draws them closer. But Ivy’s painful past challenges their friendship.

Introductory poems by Betty Boyd


Ginger 6 - brightened smallGinger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

You can connect with Ginger at:

Website

Inspy Romance Blog

Facebook Author Page.

Twitter @GingerS219

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

More Winners in November

Happy holidays! Christmas will be here before you know it.  Have you finished your decorating, baking and shopping? Me either.  But  I’ll get to it as soon as I tell you about our November winners…

Anne Baxter Campbell will give away a print or Kindle copy of Blessed by Time to Marilyn RCongrats!

Jean Peterson would love to give a gift card to her personal website to Katie Clark. Yay!

Judythe Morgan is gifting either a print or a Kindle copy of her book, When Love Blooms, to Ginger Solomon. Woo hoo!

Donna Schlachter is offering a free print copy of MissAdventure Brides Collection to Linda Matchett .

Our faithful readers mean so much to us. We appreciate each and every one of you. THANK YOU!