Nine books that messed with my head

Hi.

Welcome back.

This week I want to talk about some of my favorite horror books.

You know, those books that do things to your head or your heart or your soul and make you want to read them over and over again?

Yeah, those.

Incidentally, if you like horror, there shouldn’t be any surprises here. These are the classics everyone should be cutting their teeth on. So to speak. So here, in no particular order are my choices:

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. 1962. This is a dark fantasy about two 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, and the nightmarish travelling carnival that arrives in their small town a week before Halloween.

  • Hell House, by Richard Matheson. 1971. Not sure if this was the first real haunted house novel, but it was certainly the scariest. A physicist and two mediums — one mental and one physical — are offered $100,000 each to spend the night in a haunted mansion so terrifying that it’s been abandoned and sealed since the last psychic expedition in 1949.  But don’t take my word for it.  “Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.” — Stephen King 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty.  1971. Based on the true story of a child’s exorcism in St. Louis in 1949, it has been called the most controversial novel ever written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Shining, by Stephen King. 1977. A disgraced prep school teacher accepts the job of seasonal caretaker at a haunted resort in Colorado with a long history of murder and debauchery.  Oh, and he brings his wife and young son along for the ride. All the characters are top-notch here with one of my favs being the Overlook’s chef, Dick Hallorann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King. 1975. A writer returns to the small Maine town where he grew up and discovers the residents are gradually turning into vampires. With a bit of Bram Stoker’s Dracula mixed in there for flavor, this book took vampires out of Transylvania and plopped them right in the middle of rural America. And made a convincing argument for why it could really happen, too.

  • Night Shift, by Stephen King. 1978. King’s first short story collection.  There are some heart-racing gems in here. Favs — “The Graveyard Shift,” “The Mangler,” and “I am the Doorway.” Shudder.

 

 

 

 

  • The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe. My first introduction to horror. Don’t be afraid you won’t like it because it’s written in a kind of old-fashioned style — it’s Poe, goddammit! He’s the original tortured artist.  Just suck it up and read them. Favs — “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

  • The Ruins, by Scott Smith. 2006. A horror thriller set in the Yucatan Peninsula, a group of young American, German, and Greek college students/tourists head into the Mexican jungle searching for a missing girl. What they find is literally the stuff of nightmares. This one had me sweating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Books of Blood, by Clive Barker. 1984-1985.  Six volumes of dark, bloody horror stories. Favs include “The Book of Blood,” “The Midnight Meat Train,” “The Yattering and Jack,” “In the Hills, the Cities,” “Son of Celluloid,” and “Rawhead Rex.”

There are SO many more, but this post has to end somewhere. There is a butt-ton of books I haven’t listed here, and others I know are out there waiting for me to discover them.  Ugh. Why can’t we live forever?

Anyway, thanks for reading and let me know some of your favorites in the Comments section.

Thanks. See you later!

 

 

 

How I’m Going to Make 2020 My Bitch

I realize that making a public declaration like this is one of the stupidest things you can do. Everyone knows that as soon as you make a grand pronouncement like this you are essentially cursing yourself in a very public manner.  (This is probably why nearly every great undertaking starts off with very little fanfare. In secret. If it fails, who cares? Nobody, because no one knew about it.)

Well, where’s the fun in that?

I believe in the Accountability Model of Achievement (aka The Public Shaming Model)– the more people whom I tell, the more likely I am to actually do what I said I was going to do. Because if I don’t then everyone and their mother will be guaranteed to ask me “Whatever happened to that thing you said you were going to do…?” for the next freaking year. Or two.

So, the more people who are invested in something, the less likely I am to let it die a quiet, unnoticed death.

That’s the plan anyway.

So, here goes.

In 2020 I plan on finishing my novel (… that I initially started about 4 years ago in grad school. Don’t ask. I did actually, technically finish it, it just sucked so bad I couldn’t bear it. Hence, third draft’s the charm, eh?) and  publishing it.

 

 

 

I am working on getting the movie  I made a few years ago — Gameheads — broken up into bite-sized videos and put on YouTube as a serial.

I am revamping my old student blog into a new author blog. (You’re looking at it right now, babe.)

I am starting a podcast, which will be about writing plus whatever-the- hell-I-feel-like-talking-about.

I’m going to do more book reviews — both fiction and non-fiction — along with some movie and TV reviews.

As God is my witness, I am going to learn how to play the guitar even if it KILLS me!

 

 

 

And finally, I want to start

attending some writing or sci-fi/fantasy  conventions as a guest again.

 

Whew! That’s enough for one year.

How about you? What are your plans for 2020? Don’t be afraid — just spit it out! Believe me, not only is it therapeutic, but the prospect of some good, old-fashioned public shaming might be just the kick in the ass you need to get things done.