Am I haunted? Or just going crazy?

AM I HAUNTED? OR JUST GOING CRAZY?
Guest Post by Lacy Sereduk

darkness
“The evil is coming…” says a voice in the darkness.

Something woke me up, last night.  Not the usual creepiness that comes at night.  Not my kids.  I don’t really know what it was; it was like a night terror experience but it wasn’t terrifying — almost calming.  This was a whole new way to wake up for me.  But, being who I am, I laid there and tried to go back to sleep until my brain made it clear that it wouldn’t let me.  My brain likes to think about food pretty much all the time.  So, not being able to vanquish the visions of a late-night snack, I got up.

My room and the house was quiet and dark because it was just after midnight.  I quietly opened my bedroom door; slowly so as not to bump anything behind it.  Just as I’ve got it three quarters of the way open, a voice, on the other side of the door, whispers, “Damnit.”  I’ll admit it: I jumped.  I turned away from the voice, toward the switch, and flipped the lights on, expecting to find one of my kids had just been caught (and now this is serious because of the language).

Turning back to the room, there’s no one around.  Just the quiet stillness of our house at night.  Experiences like this aren’t very new to me so I just furrow my brow and search out a treat.  However, this got me thinking back down a path that I’ve thought a few times before.  Am I haunted?

A few weeks ago, I had come home and saw an old man in my driveway.  I was driving my husband’s truck, so, pulling into his parking spot, I watched the old man walk in front of my own truck.  I waited, expecting the man to come around the other side.  He looked like he was dressed for church: black suit, black tie, white dress shirt.  He was very thin, old, and had a good amount of short white hair on his head.  Maybe he’s going to the front door of the house?

I waited.  I reached forward and shut the truck off and still I waited.  I waited until it was completely clear that the man had just *poofed* into non-existence and would not be rejoining reality on the other side of my truck.  For hours, I wracked my brain, trying to figure out where he could have gone, where he could have come from, why I would have thought I even saw a man.  This wasn’t the first time that I’ve seen someone that shouldn’t be there and most likely won’t be the last.

I wrote my first novel, Discernment, because of what I see at night, under the cover of darkness.  The things that come into my room (or wherever I’m sleeping), the shadow people that haunt me, and the monsters under the bed.  Having the night terror disorder, in and of itself, is enough to drive someone to crazy way faster than they’d have arrived on their own, BUT, I don’t think I’m crazy.  So, if I didn’t accidentally fall off the planet for a minute, while sitting in my driveway, that leaves me to wonder: other than being haunted, what else is there?  A strange link to a parallel universe?  My brain showing me a memory, out of the blue, and accidentally getting it crossed with my optic sensors?  I don’t know.  If you do, I’m all ears.

I love hearing feedback from readers about their own experiences and their own stories.  Have you ever seen someone that you were positive was standing right there and then they disappeared?  Have you ever walked into a room and heard a voice without a body that belonged to it?  Ever woken up because you had an eery feeling that someone was watching you?  Trust me, there’s no judgement here if bumps in the night freak you out just a little.

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lacy_sereduk

LACY SEREDUK is an Idaho native and enjoys long walks on the beach, reading, coffee, and video games. Her hope for her book, Discernment, was, originally cathartic, as a way to ‘get out’ some of the demons that have haunted her from childhood. With her published novel, she now hopes to help other sufferers know that they are not wholly alone in their fight toward the light.

Lacy Sereduk Online: BlogAmazon | Goodreads | Discernment I | Discernment II

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by Lacy Sereduk

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Why Yawatta Hosby Loves Writing Thrillers

WHY I LOVE WRITING THRILLERS
Guest Post by Yawatta Hosby

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Image: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Here’s a secret: I love horror movies. I’m talking Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Wrong Turn, basically anything that’s gory and disturbing. I also love suspense movies that have betrayal and mind games, like Mindhunters, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Straw Dogs. I’m not going to lie—I have to watch during the daytime. Even so, I end up getting nightmares for two weeks straight.

Being interested in those types of movies naturally led me to wanting to write those types of books. At first, I was too terrified of reading horror or thriller books until a few years ago. In movies, you’re warned that something morbid is popping up by the creepy music in the background. In books, not so much.

That’s what I admire about the thriller genre. There are no warnings when a scene or image will make readers jump out of their seats. It’s fun creating scenarios that will give readers goosebumps. In thrillers, you’re allowed to make characters unlikeable. For me, the villains are very fascinating to write. It’s a good feeling when readers send you messages of how much they despised a person in your story and was looking forward to their karma. Or to receive messages that they fell in love with a person in your story and wept about the outcome. That means readers felt passion for your book, and you can never go wrong with that.

I write books in different genres, without using a pen name, but I’m confident that I’ll always find my way back to creating thrillers. In fact, I have a couple of books I’m hoping to publish by the end of this year:

  • Plenty of Fish is a short story. A stranger approaches a local celebrity. It’s definitely not a love story. Is he crazy? Lonely? Dangerous?
  • My novella is about an obsessive man willing to do anything to get the family he deserves.

I’m hoping these two stories will be published next year:

  • The sequel to One By One, revolving around Detective Brown’s daughter. (Some people have hinted that they’d like to see the story continue, so I’m up for the challenge). :)
  • A story about a crazed ballerina who terrorizes her younger sister because she feels that her sister is responsible for their brother’s death.

For all the writers out there, why do you create thrillers? For all the readers out there, why do you love scaring yourself?

Keep smiling,
Yawatta Hosby

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With a desire to escape every day life, YAWATTA HOSBY creates stories. She’s always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner-struggles within her characters. Her short story “Room For Two” is published in the online literary magazine The Write Place At the Write Time (Spring/Summer 2013 edition).

Yawatta Hosby Online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Interview

Interview: Yawatta Hosby

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I am pleased to present an interview with Yawatta Hosby, who writes because it’s all about the mind games…

Describe yourself in 5 words:

YH: Quirky, INTJ, Laidback, Creative, Mysterious.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your latest book:

EXCERPT: “Where do you think they are?” Logan asked.

Kenan sat on top of a rotted tree stump. He rubbed his forehead. “I have no idea. If I did, we’d already be there.”

Logan sighed. He had no choice but to follow Kenan’s lead because he knew the area more than Logan did.

He wanted to ask Kenan a more personal question, like did he think something awful happened to them? Kenan was quiet during their search and had calmly taken over this morning that Logan couldn’t tell if his friend was freaking out.

If a tragedy happened ten years ago, it could occur again.

BLURB: Alone in the woods, the weekend turns into a deadly game when a killer hunts Rae and her friends. They struggle to stay alive and discover the truth. Is someone stalking them, or is there a killer among the group?

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

YH: I’m sharing Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. My novel was inspired by this book:

What was the name? The signature was rather difficult to read. Emily Brent thought patiently: “So many people write their signatures quite illegibly.”

She let her mind run back over the people at Belhaven. She had been there two summers running.

What do you enjoy about the genre in which you write?:

YH: It’s all about the mind games for me. Who’s mentally stronger to win in the end? The fear is entertaining as well. I love creating situations that have readers afraid. That have them jump out of their seat or force them to sleep with the light on.

I love creating the bad guys and the good guys. And the twists and turns will always be my favorite part of a book. I want readers to think they know the outcome, only to be surprised by the ending. My biggest fear—being boring.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

YH: Good writing focuses on description in a scene. Readers should be able to vividly see, hear, taste, and feel everything as though they’re taking the journey with your characters, not just reading about them.

Good writing consists of understanding the genre you write for and applying the formula. Don’t mislead readers and tell them it’s a horror story when it’s really a paranormal love story. Don’t tell them it’s a contemporary drama when it keeps them laughing instead of crying.

Please share your #1 tip for writers in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre:

YH: Stephen King says it best: “Don’t write in fear.” Don’t be afraid to make your story go there. Don’t be afraid of controversy or edgy topics. I think readers will respect you for it. Write the story that speaks to you, not the one you’re unmotivated to write but think it’ll be a bestseller. If you’re not really feeling the story, the readers will be able to tell.

* * *

With a desire to escape every day life, YAWATTA HOSBY creates stories. She’s always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner-struggles within her characters. Her short story “Room For Two” is published in the online literary magazine The Write Place At the Write Time (Spring/Summer 2013 edition).

Yawatta Hosby Online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Guest Post

My Take on Horror

* Note from Jess: The Horror Writers Association has a great page that seeks to define horror fiction. In this post, author Michael Robertson Jr. — who writes horror and suspense novels — shares his thoughts on what the genre means to him.

MY TAKE ON HORROR
Guest Post by Michael Robertson Jr.

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Image from eBooks @ Adelaide

Let’s examine some things I’ve written about. Ready? Here goes: Grief-driven Serial Killer alter egos, snow monsters, lost identity, dueling spirits deep in the mountains, alien-possessed children, phones that ring to the past and expose gruesome murders, playing poker for your life, carnival games that’ll make you lose your lunch—these are just a few.

Now, think hard. What do all these things have in common? Anybody?

Hint: Nothing at all.

That’s just it: I don’t have regular central themes, I don’t have a formulaic approach to my new projects.

My catalog is a mosaic of ideas, a splattering of genre-crossing plots that all have been derived from one simple thought: What if?

That’s where nearly every story I’ve started (and not always finished) begins. I see something, hear something, read something, and then think to myself “What if X happened instead?” or “What’s the most unexpected thing that could happen now?”—and if the resulting idea would be a worst-case scenario for most anybody, something that might make somebody’s skin crawl or make them pray it never happens to them, I start to build on it, see If I can get a full story out of it.

This can be as simple as an argument between spouses resulting in death, or as random as bringing your kid home from day care and an hour later he eats the cat.

What if you went to the dentist and when the hygienist accidentally nicks you with the sharp thing she bends over and sucks the blood out of your mouth with her own two lips?

I just thought of that. Hmm, might have something there…

Face it. What-If’s are the root of all of YOUR fears. Think about it. What if you lose your job? What if your burglar alarm goes off in the middle of the night? What if there’s a strange person hanging out by your car in the parking lot when you get off work late? What if you fail that big test? What if the plane crashes? What if the doctor calls to discuss your test results? What if your credit card gets declined?

See? All what-if’s.

Now, I write fiction, so yes, my what-if’s are a little far-fetched, a little (okay, often times a lot) exaggerated and ridiculous. I thrive off the uncertain and unpredictable, but the opening question is still there, the basis for the horrific events I write down.

What If?

What if I never get another story idea? That scares the hell out of me.

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MICHAEL ROBERTSON JR.’s books have been downloaded over 80,000 times on Amazon.com. Rough Draft, a horror novel and newest release, has been in the Top 100 horror rankings. He lives in Virginia where he’s currently working on a new novel and trying to keep himself from thinking his next idea is a better one.

Michael Robertson Jr. Online: Website | Blog | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads