Tag Archives: horror

You’re Writing What? by Katherine Sanger

College Students

I’m one of those people who feels like I can never learn enough or get enough education. Whenever I can, I attend any workshops or events that are local. I get to as many conventions as possible. And I have gone to school for far too long now.

My last degree was an MFA in Creative Writing.

I selected the program carefully, making sure that it didn’t have dismissive language or didn’t specify that it only wanted ‘literary’ fiction. From research, I knew that many programs looked down on genre writing, and I saw no reason to make myself suffer for two years by writing things I had no interest in.

I’d heard, many times over, that “good writing is good writing.” That genre shouldn’t count in determining if something is good or bad. Writing should stand on its own, regardless of what type of writing it is.

Yet still, during my MFA, when we had a presentation on genre work one day, the “literary” authors giving the talk trashed genre work and mocked it. But then, ten minutes later, they used examples from “Carrie” by Stephen King to show us how passive voice can be used successfully in fiction writing.

Something was clearly wrong.

Later that day, I was in a student-led workshop, and talk turned to the third-term papers that we had to write. They had to be serious research papers, ones that could potentially get published. I brought up the fact that I intended to write one about horror. Another student told me that I couldn’t possibly do that – horror was not “academic enough.” Apparently, the fact that I had actually taken classes in horror, science fiction, fantasy, and gothic fiction while working on a previous Master’s degree didn’t count. Clearly, to him, there was no value to anything that fell into a “genre.”

My frustration level was high during that residency period. High enough that I eventually talked to the director of the program. I asked him flat out if genre fiction was considered “not good enough” for the program, and I told him of the discouragement that I’d encountered so far. He was not happy. He assured me – and re-assured me – that what I had always heard was right: good writing was good writing. He saw no reason why my paper on the use of humor in horror would be rejected by a faculty member, and he wondered if I had misunderstood the presentation. I hadn’t, but it was encouraging that he thought that way.

Throughout my MFA, I ran into the same problem again and again. However, I finally figured it out. The biggest problem was that the people who felt that genre fiction was a lesser form were just not familiar with it. It sold well, and so, in their minds, it was “commercial” fiction and had no value from a literature standpoint. Of course, these same people were all trying to write the next great American novel which, as far as I could tell, would also have to sell well. Didn’t that count as a commercial writing project?

I got lucky during my final semester. My mentor, who happened to be completely unfamiliar with anything genre, was extremely open to learning. When I told her my intent was to write a short story collection of stories that centered around Cthulhu eating people who were staying in a basement apartment over time, she asked me to send her reading material so that she could learn about Lovecraft and Cthulhu. She may not be able to pronounce Cthulhu, but she could read it, and she happily (it seemed to me, anyway), critiqued my stories. She would note where she was unsure if something I had included would be known by my intended audience, but otherwise, she focused on writing. Because good writing is, after all, good writing.

Katherine SangerKatherine Sanger was a Jersey Girl before getting smart and moving to Texas. She’s been published in various e-zines and print, including Baen’s Universe, Black Chaos, Wandering Weeds, Spacesports & Spidersilk, Black Petals, Star*Line, Anotherealm, Lost in the Dark, Bewildering Stories, Aphelion, and RevolutionSF, edited From the Asylum, an e-zine of fiction and poetry, and is the current editor of “Serial Flasher,” a flash fiction e-zine. She’s a member of HWA and SFWA. She taught English for over 10 years at various online and local community and technical colleges. You can check out links to her many, many blogs at or find her at Facebook or twitter.

Wendy Van Camp published in Far Horizons Magazine (Feb 2015)

Far Horizons Magazine Cover February 2015

I’m pleased to announce that a book review and three of my Scifaiku poems have published in the February 2015 issue of Far Horizons. The magazine is free to readers. I hope you’ll stop by and read not only my work, but the other fine stories to be found there.

Far Horizons: Tales of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

Book Review: Dracula

Book Name: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
First Published: 1897

Bram Stoker was born on November 8, 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. He was a sickly boy but he fully recovered when he was seven. He had no other major health problems and even became an athlete at Trinity College, Dublin when he studied there from 1864-1870. He graduated with honors with a degree in Mathematics and became auditor of the College Historical Society and President of the University Philosophical Society.

While he was a student, he became interested in the theater and later became a theater critic. He became known because of his good reviews even though theater critics were not highly respected those days. He gave a positive review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet, which resulted to Irving inviting him for dinner and the two becoming friends.

In 1878, Bram Stoker and Florence Balcombe married. The couple moved to London and had a son in 1879. Stoker worked as manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theater for 27 years. By working for Irving, the position gave Stoker the opportunity to meet famous personalities and travel. It was during this time in his life that began writing his novels.

In 1890, Stoker went to the English town of Whitby, where it is said he got some of his inspiration for the novel Dracula. He also met the Hungarian writer Armin Vámbéry, who told him scary stories about the Carpathian mountains. Stoker then studied European folklore and vampire stories for several years. It was not until 1897 that he published Dracula. Other inspirations for the novel include the Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla.

Stoker had several strokes and died on April 20, 1912. His cause of death is not definite – some say he died from tertiary syphilis while others claim it was due to overwork. He was cremated and his ashes were placed in an urn. When his son Irving Noel Stoker died in 1961, his ashes were also placed in the same urn. The ashes of Bram Stoker and Florence Stoker were supposed to be put together but when Florence died, her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest.

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” -Bram Stoker, Dracula

In the late nineteenth century, a young British lawyer named Jonathan Harker goes to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to finalize a real estate transaction involving Count Dracula. On the way, he encounters superstitious villagers who become fearful upon hearing his destination. He continues despite their fears and is driven to the castle by a mysterious man.

His accommodations are suitable, but he finds his host Count Dracula to be a strange thin and pale man. He discovers that the Count drinks human blood in order to survive but the latter escapes to England along with fifty boxes of earth. Harker is left at the castle sick and weak.

In England, Jonathan’s fiancée Mina Murray is with her friend Lucy Westenra. Lucy has three suitors who have offered her marriage – Arthur Holmwood, Dr. John Seward, and Quincey Morris – and has begun to sleepwalk. Mina is worried about her friend and because she has not heard from Jonathan for a long time.

A damaged ship carrying Count Dracula’s fifty boxes of earth arrives, but the ship’s crew is missing. Mina finds the sleepwalking Lucy near the graveyard, with a tall, thin figure nearby. The figure vanishes and Lucy does not remember anything when she awakens. Lucy is cold and has two tiny puncture wounds on her neck, but Mina thinks she has just accidentally pricked her friend with a pin. Over the next several weeks, Lucy’s health deteriorates but her former suitor Dr. Seward cannot determine what is making her sick.

When Mina receives word about Jonathan, she goes to help him. Lucy’s condition worsens so Dr. Seward asks the help of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing notices the spots on the girl’s neck and her blood loss. They give Lucy several blood transfusions, but the girl improves only temporarily. Van Helsing suspects that Lucy is being victimized by a vampire and puts garlic in her room and around her neck to protect her. However, the vampire is able to attack the girl again and Lucy dies.

After her death, a beautiful lady begins attacking the children in the village. Disturbed, Van Helsing asks Dr. Seward to help him open Lucy’s coffin. He also gets to read Mina’s transcription of Jonathan’s diary about his trip to Transylvania. He gathers Lucy’s previous suitors and explains to them that Lucy has become a vampire and how they can save her soul and kill Count Dracula.

Dracula Book CoverDracula is not a novel, that is a single tale woven as a movie might be, instead it is in epistolary form as a collection of journals, letters and papers. The many viewpoints through each journal entry serve to create the suspense which sets the tone of the novel. I will confess that Dracula is not my favorite book of all time. I have never been into horror novels and this one is the granddaddy of the horror genre. Still, it is a classic that has been a part of our literary history and part of our pop culture. It is well worth the time to go back and see the original tale by its creator.

Author Interview: Lindsay Leggett

I met Lindsay via twitter where I chat with many fellow writers and authors. I am pleased to introduce her to you here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Lindsey LeggettMy name is Lindsay Leggett and I currently reside outside of Toronto but originate from Northern Ontario. Beyond writing, I am also an editor, marketer, and hobby collector. Some of these hobbies include learning languages and many instruments. It can be a problem.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I can remember. I think my first ‘novel’ was about thieves who stole my cat. It was ten pages and included (horrendous) illustrations. From then on, writing became as big in my life as breathing. Poetry, short stories, epic novels; you name it, and I was working on it. I’ve since learned how to rein in my imagination (sort of).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I began seriously writing my first novel when I was around twelve years old. All of my teachers were very supportive in this endeavour, and even though that book was never finished, I still use pieces of it in current writing.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Flight is the story of an Ace Harpy Hunter (kind of like a super FBI agent to fight genetically mutated monsters) who is on the run from the oppressive Elder Corporation. After she’s discovered and asked to return to help the threat, she begins to uncover a great secret both within the Corporation, and within herself. It’s an action dystopian with a healthy dose of forbidden love and sci-fi badassery.

What inspired you to write this book?

The original first scribblings of Flight were actually based around vampires (before the new-age vampire craze), but I chanced upon some art with Harpy characters—beautiful creatures with wings and no emotions. This developed into the story of a Hunter with a hatred toward the government and her discovery of a Harpy who’s been living among humans in secret. That’s all I can reveal.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think my writing is fairly visual, with a lot of focus on inner turmoil and the contrast between what we believe is happening with what is actually happening. Add some sarcasm, action, and blood, and you’ve got Lindsay Leggett.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Flight had some truly horrendous first titles. One day, I rode a friend’s horse named Flight, and a lightbulb flicked on. So, my title was actually stolen from a horse.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Flight is very much about realizing who you are and finding what is right for you, even if it might not seem right to your society.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There is a theme of loss which is related to my life. Flight’s protagonist Piper has lost her brother, which plays a big role in the novel. I lost my father when I was a child, so much of this aspect of the book plays on my own experiences and emotions.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Margaret Atwood has always been a big influence for my writing, as well as Ray Bradbury and Chuck Palahniuk. I think that they are all pioneers in dystopian, Sci-Fi, and experimenting with their work, which has always appealed to me.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

So many writers have been a great support and inspiration through me over the last few years. Meredyth Wood read early incarnations of the book. Maggie Stiefvater has also been a role model for me since her first book came out.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I ended up creating my own cover. I’ve worked with some covers in the past, and I just couldn’t resist when I found this particular photo. It was a lot of work creating my character in the cover, but I loved every minute of it. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to be proud of something you designed yourself 🙂

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up, inform yourself about the industry and the craft of writing, and don’t push too soon.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope my readers love the world of Flight as much as I do, and find themselves in any of the characters. I also hope they love Piper and Asher, and want to see the rest of their story. Also, any of my readers are automatically awesome, so I’d love to say that above all. You are awesome.

Lindsey Leggett - Flight Book CoverLindsay Leggett
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

AMAZON
BOOK TRAILER
LIVEJOURNAL

Author Interview: Patrick C. Greene

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was seeped in the legends of Bigfoot, or the Sasquatch as the Native Americans in the area call them. Naturally, I found myself interested in a fictional story based around these old legends. I want to welcome Patrick C. Greene and his novel Progeny to No Wasted Ink.

Author Patrick C GreeneI’m Patrick C. Greene; actor, martial artist, horror geek, comicbook nerd, metalhead, cineaste, father, husband, philosopher and…oh yeah; author.

When and why did you begin writing?

My father was a journalist and novelist so I had a good bit of exposure to the business as a child. I was writing, in a sense, before I knew how via drawings and telling nonsensical stories, even if nobody was around.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In about the seventh grade, I decided I would be a writer. I was small for my age, and easy target for bullies, and of course the “weird kid”, so at some point, I decided to learn how to defend myself and quickly became obsessed with martial arts, setting my interest in writing aside to train and learn all I could about fighting. I didn’t start writing again seriously until right after high school, when I was pursuing a career as an actor and decided to write my own screenplay to star in, as Stallone did with Rocky. I started knocking out short stories as well, just for fun. Ultimately, coming to a place of calling myself a writer was a gradual process that took many years.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

In PROGENY, Owen Sterling is a successful author who has just bought a large tract of forest land from a Native tribe. Soon after moving into his new house, he experiences a series of strange events that lead him to believe a family of sasquatches lives close by, and further, that they are potentially quite dangerous. He refuses to let local hunters come anywhere near the property, coming off like an aloof, wealthy outsider. Zane Carver, the alpha male of the locals, decides to ignore Owen’s directive, and takes a group of hunters, including his increasingly rebellious fifteen-year-old son Byron along. Pretty soon, the inevitable happens-hunters and monsters cross paths in a tragic manner, and the result is a game of cat-and-mouse that favors the creatures, forcing Zane and company to seek shelter with their old nemesis Owen.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been intrigued by Bigfoot, and I was always trying to come up with a way to write something about the phenomenon, without resorting to the usual band of teens being offed with Bigfoot as a stand-in for a slasher figure. The idea of a three-way struggle appealed to me, as it blurs the lines between “good” and “bad” and makes potential outcome less predictable.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m tempted to say “neo-splatterpunk” because I read a lot of stuff from that era. I’m not one of those writers that finds no value in gore (though it can be overdone). I think literal viscera can be used to underscore figurative viscera, and a visceral experience is definitely what I hope to achieve. I am an emotional guy so I write about people in highly emotional states. I believe readers want to care about their protagonists, beyond even whether they will come out all right by the end, but also what it would mean if they didn’t–what that protagonist might potentially leave behind.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

PROGENY relates to the three father/son relationships that are highlighted in the story, especially Owen and Zane. Owen, the writer and Zane the hunter both have boys with whom their relationships are not ideal. Both are struggling, in different ways, to bridge that gap, to build some foundation for a long-term relationship as the boys grow, and the night of the siege is the crucible for that.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

As a father, it was important to me to address for myself what that means. It’s dedicated to my oldest son Deklan, an exceptional writer in his own right. His mother and I broke up when he was still very young so I haven’t had as much time with him over the years as I would like. The message, I suppose, would be to treasure every moment with your child.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not so much the horror elements, but some of the clumsy efforts by Owen and Zane to maintain good relationships with their own sons are very much influenced by my own experiences, not just as a father but also as a son. All the characters have pieces of people I know.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I think Poe suffered from depression, as I have from time to time, so the way he used it and created from it is inspiring.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Definitely Vincent Hobbes, because he has bent over backwards to make sure PROGENY and the short stories I’ve submitted for THE ENDLANDS have been top notch. He always has time to help other authors and offer encouragement and I’m very grateful.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Jordan Benoit is the cover artist, and I couldn’t be happier! His work on this and THE ENDLANDS is intriguing, mysterious and captivating. I wish I could take credit for choosing him but he was hired through PROGENY’S publishers, Hobbes End.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes, and it’s nothing you haven’t heard before: if you’re driven to write, you should be doing it. If the ideas are pounding at your brain seeking release, then release them, dammit! If you love your man or woman then write about it. If you’re afraid that the words just won’t come when you try to write, then write about that. The more you write, the better you’ll be at it, and the more you’ll want to write. So go! NOW! Do it!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I want to hear from you guys! Love my work or hate it, or find it pointless-let me know. And thanks for the time you set aside to read PROGENY or my short stories or even just this interview. I love having the opportunity to tell you a story!

Progeny Book CoverPatrick C. Greene
Asheville, North Carolina

FACEBOOK
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
AMAZON KINDLE

Progeny was published by Hobbes End Publishing, LLC