I was sent an e-mail today with pictures of Wal-Mart shoppers that are funny. I know some people will say it is bad to make fun of them. These people also say it is terrible to belittle and make fun of other people in varied situations. I think this...if people didn't put themselves out there in such silly situations (or outfits or looks) then we would not laugh. I don't laugh at fat people for being fat. I laugh if one wears short shorts and has on a halter because that is such a silly display. It's the display that is so funny!
I am a horror writer. So...let's say I drive by a car wreck and see a person decapitated and the head lands atop a post. If some one yells "Heads up", yes, I would laugh. If I knew the person who was killed and saw it happen, I would not laugh and be horrified. It is when the situation is personal that it is no longer humourous and does that not depend on individuals? That's my point.Also, some in some jobs (morticians, cops, doctors, etc.) we have to laugh and find the humour or it drives us crazy to see the horror that man enacts. As a horror writer, death and weirdness is very real to me and yes, I have to find humour or have a pretty strong gut for it. But it is my choice to write what I write as it is a cop's choice to do what he does...so why do it? Demand. There is a demand for what we deliver.
I am to the point in my life that there are many things I have to laugh at.
I find it funny how people use religion or politics or anything to further their cause. When students wrote papers for the college class in Literature I taught, I warned them to not use the Bible as a reference to "prove" anything as it is interpretation and not scientifically based. The Bible does have some good life lessons and helpful advice and it it aligns with some scientific history, but to say it says "XYZ" is interpretation. Also, as written, each word may have a deeper meaning. In other words, people use it to further their own ideals but it doesn't make them FACT.
There is a part that is about loving thy neighbor. Well, I can be nice to my neighbor, but if they are a child molester, you can bet I don't love them, will laugh if they do funny things, and if they come near my child, I will let them meet Mr. .38 Special! See how I can take this and make it my own personal take? I say I can do that BUT _____________. Isn't that how we all are? We try to be one way but when things are about us, they change. No matter what the event or situation, we personalize it OR we remove ourselves.
I am beginning to theorize that people who are so about themselves and being such "great people who do no wrong or are forgiven" are really psychologically inept. It just isn't healthy at all and leads to unconscious or conscious acts of very evil deeds. If we think we are "saved" after certain requirements then are we free to act poorly? Some think so and I feel these are the ones behaving the worst. On the other hand, when we act badly based on our own personal evaluations, at least we are honest and acting in a psychologically beneficially manner.
I might giggle at the Wal-Mart people and laugh at people who show themselves as victims (etc) and I do it aside, not where they could see it and be hurt, but I don't hurt children. I don't destroy marriages, covet, steal, lie, cheat or murder. I am sarcastic, a horror writer, profane in speech, selfish, and vindictive at times. Judge me. I would rather be how I am than be the former, and when anyone says the Bible doesn't distinguish, I say..."use a reference that is accepted and not interpreted" and base your judgement on MY personal mind set.
Until then, I will find the humour in a car wreck or a tree falling on a house or a cannibal. It's how I survive the world....finding the funny parts in horrific tales.
I saw that I had a very nice review for my favorite book (of mine). When people give detailed comments, I get to see the book as others see it and trust me, that helps a lot. The reviewer mentioned this is a coming of age book which eluded me. It really is one and I may have missed that because it is told in first person MALE point of view, was very difficult to write, but is my all time favorite because of the fun I had with some real history. To be compared along side of Stephen King and Robert McCammon on this one was a delight. It's not always easy to be noticed in the horror-writer market and I have used the zombie series to get my brand noticed and to pay me to do this full time, but this is who I am...mainstream horror....a little supernatural, a lot psychological...and strong characters, I like to immerse myself in whole other worlds when I write true horror fiction and for someone known for gore and violence, I feel that most readers are surprised at how subtle my writing is. despite my writing, I am most influenced by the horror writers of the 50s-70s when dread and unease was more fearful than blood and gore (Think Psycho movie) and my favorite writers are Thomas Tyron and Ira Levin. I will read anything frightening and nothing scares me like those two because of the subtle styles they used. Richard Laymon is my other big influence and is very differrent than the other two, but isn't that what horror should be? Scary, unpredictable, and stylized for whatever theme is being written about? George Romero probably got it most correct when he did NOTLD because so much of the movie was subtle and suggested and other parts were pretty grahpic for that time period. It was balanced. Absolute discomfort and changing tempos are what seem to work best. (IT by Stephen King) This is just my late night rambling as I think about the reviews and letters people send me...what people say about my writing. It isn't easy to be a writer. Yes, E-books have done a big business based on people who someone said could write but who really need to stop pumping out very bad prose. But it is hard to be a good writer over the course of many books. I know I don't always get a hit out of the park or even score with a few books, but I am trying to entertain people. That's all. I want to amuse people or scare them, make them think, or make someone uneasy...that's my job. Getting a great review that tells me I am hitting the points I want to hit...that makes the job enjoyable, Cheers and when you love a book, let the author know; it does make a difference!
I am not, normally a "zombie writer" as I am more about characters and crazed humans. Little did I know that these elements are what work best for a zombie thriller. There are so many zombies books out there and I see the same mistakes over and over where a young man gets a hot girlfriend and hides in Wally World and gets to run things and go around shooting and screaming bad words. It's like the writer is trying to write his dream fiction every time. BORING. The other thing I see is "everyday Joe" doing all these great things. I don't see any of the above surviving and they are so bland. I know I use zombies as a vehicle that is carrying politics, human ethics, morality, and glances into insanity. And why not? Do we think the usual would just vanish and we'd all go hide in Wal-Mart and have cute partners and never think again about what matters? I don't know. I do know I have developed some interesting characters who can be weak, strong, funny, cruel and good all in a day's time...like most people. Those following can see a character, Hannah, as she develops and she is probably the most like my usual interests. She is an odd one, but there are no excuses for who she is. Hannah is modern culture at it's most honest, like it or hate it. Take Hannah as you wish but be aware it is all about those who interact with her....that's the fun part.
Number six of the series is out and yes, there is a number 7 for sure. Bet on a number 8 as well...and a 9, because there is more to the story and I have still only scratched a few surfaces.
Why read my writing? Yes, the story is there and it is strong. The descriptions are there. But read my writing for the characters who will make the reader think and rethink a few things. I seldom pull a punch. For fans, my one pull was that issue of Kimball and Juan. Sadly, one had to be let go and it was a tough choice. We know that no one is safe...ever....and at anytime, someone may die. Such is my world.
http://zisforzombie.wikia.com/wiki/Z_is_for_Zombie_Wiki is the super Wiki out for fans...yes, there are spoilers so be careful! There is also trivia and a time line of who has done what.
I know some writers write for fans, some write for themselves; I write for the story that wants to be told. It isn't always easy as I have a full, regular life with a husband, child, and pets, home, and family....they keep me going and encourage me to tell my stories. In the next year, the series will be done and I will writing the stories that have waited impatiently to be told...about some wicked people, some strange events...all horror, all the time. Why? Because that chill of dread, the shiver when we see a clown (Pennywise), the unknown is just fun!
I like all areas of horror. Now, some of my books are very, very violent and gory. They are splatterpunk. "Jump scares". And yes, violence has sold extremely well for me. However, that said, the violence is another vehicle I use to juxtapose it with beauty and loyalty in situations. I show that even in violent situations, we can find amazing people and that nothing in the physical realm is as horrible as what may lie in our own minds via bad experiences, chemical issues, etc.
Horror can be subtle or in-your-face and I can relate to deciding which to use with supernatural fiction...Violence can be a very real controversy when we must decide how to use it, if to do so, when, in what way...
I can imagine having written a story about a nut dressing like the Joker and attacking a movie crowd. That would be a great story and it could go into the reason he does it and the people there who are heroic and who are cowardly....it would be a good vehicle to tell a story. HOWEVER...my God, it happened! The writer, if he had written such, would feel terrible and be raked over the coals and probably threatened, It is very possible and very controversial as we can all understand.
I think we, as horror writers, don't design or invent the violence, but we simply delve into the human mind and see the possibilities of some terrible things.
A man tells his friend he wants to be on an airplane that is hijacked but that lands safely in the end and the bad guys are caught and no one is harmed.
"How horrible! You would be terrified." The friends says.
"Yes, but it ends ok and then I won't be afraid of that anymore because what are the chances of me ever being on 2 hijacked planes?"
Horror sells because once you have seen or read it, what are the chances you will ever be in that spot again? You have seen the demons and escaped. In some ways, when we read about violence, we are carrying a rabbit's foot after that...a talisman of protection because....what are the odds?
The survivors of the end of the world finally face off with the zombies, the rebellious army trying to control what remains of the United States, and a hybrid experiment that has left some people half human/half zombie. With both sides using ancient good and evil, a little bit of forgotten magic, and a handful of C4, the showdown explodes with action. One side is forcing people into slavery and crucifying all who stand against them while the other side is balancing justice with vengeance and mercy. Written in the style of Swan Song and The Stand, this is the final book of the series, answers some questions, and provides gory fun while appraising human nature. Will the zombies inherit the world or will someone worse win the battle? No are holds barred as the survivors fight back with pure rage... rage has been released
Z is for....
The fourth book is being edited now and I thought this would be the end, but there are so many more stories to tell, that I feel as if I have only scratched the surface. The characters have done some things I never expected and I learned a deadly secret about the infection...(Yes, they have their own agendas and I just type it...like many writers. The characters do as they please and shock me quite often.) Now, I have no idea how many books this series may run, but have said ten is my absolute limit.
My sweet husband got me a kitten because we certainly didn't have enough pets (sigh). However, this kitten is the replica of my cat, Limmerfer, who died a few years ago after being with me 16 years. Limmerfer was a Norweigan Forest Cat and Weggies are a fluffy, big boned breed similar to Maine Coons. In lands far away and time distant, these giant cats pulled the sleds on the snow for gods and godesses in Norway. They have furry, big feet! Limmerfer 2 or Limmy as we call him, is like a normal kitty who is full of energy and he is in the biting and running stage which explains why we call him Morning Star and Sonic Boom at times. (sigh again). He has his own little picture book which is more for cat people than zombie people, but what can I say? He looks cute in GI Joe clothing.
I was thinking about public figures today. When are writers considered to be one? I know I never want to be well-known or famous since I am a terribly private person. I would never want to be a role model or to be quoted or anything. As it is, I avoid interviews like the zombie plague and have done very few; the newspaper and a radio spot almost stressed me to my limit. I feel my husband and child do much better than I do with publicity; they don't mind the limelight. It reminds me when I coached threatre. I didn't mind directing and producing...but acting almost killed me. I am perfectly willing to do public speaking, but acting and interviews are cruel things to me. I admire many fellow writers as they are so very gracious and I want to be, but I am just not good with explaining my craft. I don't know why I write what I do since I had a slightly normal (kind of , sort of) childhood and didn't chase zombies or vampires, but I know the draw was there when I was young because I loved watching Quincy and wanted at one time to be a a pathologist. I feel everyone has a story...all people...dead people....monster people...everyone....and I really love getting those stories. I think I write what I do because it's a medium for just telling stories that I collect in my head.
I suppose people ask me where my ideas come from and why I write what I do because they feel there is a good story there. There probably is a good one...but I'm not telling. ;) Sometimes, it's best to imagine the why and what of a haunted house, because if you go inside, you may sorely regret it when the demons get you! That's me...the haunted house it's best not to go into. Let me find the stories and trust that if you knew mine, you'd never sleep again.
Cheers until next time we meet in the ark.
The Unwanted: Tales of the Abandoned is available at Amazon.com with Snipe Hunting (short stories) and Time of Grace (full novel) to come in March. Kindle Fire, Baby! Time of Grace (TOG) taking place in Texarkana, Texas, is set in 1957 for the first part and is a creepy tale of obsession laced with local legends and the true story of Texarkana's seriel killer. That was 1946, and he was known as the Phantom Killer (yes, there is a movie HERE). I should release TOG within a few days. I uploaded part of a short story and it's HERE.
Catt Dahman lives in Texas with her Husband, son, 4 cats (Ollie, T.S. Eliot, and Procol, and a dog named Levi. Catt writes horror, thrillers, spooky stories, and westerns.