Hello everyone. I hope you are doing well. I have been keeping busy, as I tend to do. I am still actively working on the sequel to Trinity of the Broken, and I have submitted a query to ACX to see if I can get Trinity produced into an audio book. The process is much easier than I ever imagined it would be. With a little luck, I will be reviewing auditions soon and hopefully get the ball rolling on that project. On the personal entertainment side of my life, the little there is, I am looking forward to my weekly D&D session. We have been playing a single campaign for the last two years. I play a high elf fighter 6 / wizard 5. We recently completed the Doom Vault, and have now arrived at a mountain fortress overrun by Hill and Fire Giants that are working together. This campaign was one of the few times I did not DM and I am enjoying being on the player side of things, however, once we reach level 20 and our story comes to an end, I have been working on a new campaign that is set in the ancient history of Trinity of the Broken. It will be a story of the first Summoning War, the rise of humanity as the dominate race on the planet and the fall of the gods. I am hoping to use the sessions as a template for a new series, in the same fashion as the Dragonlance series. This is a very distant project idea, but the groundwork for it is being laid.
This week I had the joy to finally see the Black Widow movie. I was unable to catch it in the theater, but I was glad that it made it to Disney+ so quickly. If you have not had the pleasure of seeing this film, I highly recommend it. Black Widow is set just after the events of Civil War, but before Infinity War. The main story is that Natasha discovers that the Red Room program is still up and running, with an entire new group of Widows, with the Taskmaster being the apex villain. The highlight of the movie, besides Scarlett Johansson, was David Harbour as Red Guardian. I was already a big fan of Harbour from Stranger Things, but he was amazing in this role. The character itself was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek. A Soviet super soldier, thrown into prison and forgotten, only to remanence about his glory days. His interactions with Yelena (Florence Plugh) were fantastic, and brought a level of reality to the characters that, I feel, the MCU is so good at. Overall, it is an action packed story that was long overdue. I did appreciate that they tied in a few elements of phase 4 MCU throughout the movie, like Red Guardian's insistence that he fought Captain America, giving the implication that Rodgers was not idol after returning to Agent Carter in the past. I will certainly be watching it again.
With it being October, I wanted to take a few minutes to throw around my thoughts on the horror genera in the modern era. When I wrote Trinity, I did not believe I was writing a horror novel. It was my readers that had insisted that it was horror and that I should tag it as such. It has had me thinking about what "horror" actually means. For me, horror was something that caused fear in the person experiencing the media. It was a blending of suspense, shock, and most importantly, some sort of monster as the antagonist. Now, I will admit, under that extremely broad definition, Trinity does count as a horror novel, but to me it does not cause true fear. It is in the same sense that I do not consider the movie Alien as a horror film.
To me, it is a scifi thriller, yet many people consider it a horror film, and it does meet the same criteria. I suppose, at the end of it all, I was never afraid that a Xenomorph was going to be hiding in a nearby duct, waiting to get me. It just did not cause that lasting fear that I associate with horror. Growing up, movies like Child's Play and Nightmare on Elm Street were horror films. Despite the resolution of the story at the end, there was that little extra part at the end to let you know the monster had lost the battle, but they were not done by any measure. Also, I could relate to the supernatural danger. Toys that come to life to attack you is something that keeps you on your toes. In the movie, most toys are harmless, almost all of them. All of them, but this one. What if I was the one to pick out that toy? Freddy attacks children in their sleep. I have to sleep, the movies make a point to emphasis that we have no choice but to sleep at some point, and then you are at his mercy. The fear is in the idea that the monster in question is able to cause harm to anyone at random. You did not have to be traveling through space, or walking through a grave yard at night, this could get you at home, where you feel the safest.
Even when I consider some of the classic horror stories and novels I have read in the past, they all had that same idea that the terrible things that occurred in the story could happen to anyone if they were in the wrong place. Lovecraft, who I consider to be an top tier horror writer, created an amazing formula for horror. It always starts with the average and ordinary. Then there is some sort of mystery, something to look into. It is not necessary, but curiosity or emotion drives the protagonist forward to find answers. They are confronted with the monster, and what befalls them may vary, but once the monster became aware of them, it became a life or death struggle, with the threat never actually going away. For a more recent example, Rachel Harrison's The Return follows four college friends, when one of them goes missing for two years. When she comes back, she has no memory of what happened to her, but her friends know that something is wrong. While some horror stories have short arcs of mundane to mystery to encounter, Harrison has a constant build up to the reveal. It is not a slaughter fest, but it is still horror. Why? Because, it leaves you with that "what if" long after you have finished. What if an old friend disappeared and came back as a different person. That could happen, it happens all the time. What if they aren't really your friend, or if they are they are not in full control of their actions. These are things that, despite not actually believing in the Boogey Man, unnerve you just enough to allow your irrational mind to do what it does.
Personally, I like the newer trends of horror. The psychological and supernatural merged into something that is far more terrifying than Frankenstein or The Man-wolf. At one time horror was defined by its violence and gore, but I think today's society has been too desensitized to those aspects that they no longer hold the same weight. Sure they can be intense and gruesome, but they no longer bring on that feeling of dread and panic like they used to. When you can find people being beheaded on YouTube, it is hard to scare someone by describing a person being cut open. My story certainly takes elements from the horror playbook, but they are moments, not the story. I did not try to leave the reader with the idea that there is a Karen waiting for them in the dark alley way, Instead, I tried to make a word that was close to our own, but clearly not. Horror is something that might just be nearby if you are unlucky enough to stumble across it.
I want to thank you for giving me your time, it is invaluable and I am honored that you have shared it with me. I hope you feel it was time well spent. May your days be fulfilling and your path be clear of trouble. All the best, and speak to you soon.