Escape Trilogy

The Secret Life of a Publishing House Editor

For Escaping Exile, book one in The Escape Trilogy from NineStar Press, I had the pleasure of working with editor Jason Bradley. Working with a new editor is sorta like trying on a new pair of jeans because you’re pretty sure everything looks right but you won’t know until you’ve worn them around a couple times.

Not that Jason is a pair of jeans BUT there are always questions with a new editor: Will we work well together? Will we argue? Will there be banter? I got lucky. While working on Escaping Exile, the banter was brilliant, and Jason helped make my sexy novella better than ever.

As someone who usually works behind the scenes, Jason was a little nervous about a blog interview … but I made him do it anyway. Meet editor Jason Bradley.

What’s your background? In other words, how did you become an editor?

Oh boy, um… when I was laid off from my job in an attorney’s office, I enrolled online to finish my psych degree. While doing that, I took on some side jobs proofing and editing. I liked it so much, I signed contracts with several publishers and ended up as an editor-in-chief for one of them. That publisher is no longer in existence, but I have continued to edit with multiple publishers as my career.

As an editor, are you a writer, too? If so, what do you write? (And can we buy your work anywhere?)

I am a writer. My author name is Jason Huffman-Black, and I have a few free shorts, a short in the anthology Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open, and one novel entitled Snakes Among Sweet Flowers. I also have a bunch of half-finished manuscripts because I really don’t have time to write.

(Sara side note: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers is FANTASTIC, and I want to make out with Cam. Just saying. Buy your copy HERE.)

What made you want to work on The Escape Trilogy?

Well, I’m a sucker for vampire historicals, so there’s that. I’m also a sucker for a good story and smooth writing style. Between those three points, you won me over.

What’s your favorite thing about The Escape Trilogy?

That’s a hard one. I think I like how deep and three-dimensional your characters are. There are layers and faults that make them compelling and keep the reader engaged.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I hate these kinds of questions! Mostly because my life revolves around reading amazing stories and I couldn’t possibly name all the authors I want to mention. I will admit that one of my guilty pleasures is a not-top-tier author who I still cannot stop reading: JR Ward. But yeah, big hunky vampires…

Mary Renault is a personal favorite. Her Alexander the Great series made me feel all the emotions. Another is Storm Constantine. Her Wraeththu series is amazing.

I based my characters on Alexander Skarsgard and Timothee Chalamet. Who are your Hollywood crushes?

I’m not a big fanboy, although I have to say Alexander is very nice. Jason Momoa is another I really find sexy. I stopped watching Game of Thrones when his character died and have never gone back to it. But I must add that I’m not much of a TV watcher so that’s not a big shocker for those that know me. One of my unfinished manuscripts has a character that is partially based on Jason.

Most of my “crushes” are more eclectic and a little weird. Wolverine and Cable (before they were movie characters, back when they were just comic characters), the Predator in the last movie, the Wookie with dreds, umm…Garnet from Steven Universe… I’m sure there are more. ~shrugs~

What’s the best part about being an editor? The worst part?

The best part is getting paid to do my favorite thing… read! The worst part? Hmmm… not getting paid insane amounts of money?

Any advice for newbie authors?

Sure! Lots! Write! Don’t stop. Get beta readers you trust to give feedback and don’t be afraid to change your story if need be.  Don’t be afraid to submit, even if you are rejected at first.

Your editor should be your friend, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to say things you don’t want to hear about your baby (your story). Ask questions, debate a change, but don’t get all bent over it. If you can’t handle what the editor is saying, how are you ever going to handle reviews?

Learn from your edits. If your editor goes to the trouble to explain why something should be a certain way, try to incorporate that into your writing. But don’t worry if it’s a rule you can’t grasp. Job security for me.


I really want to thank Jason for not only accepting my interview invite (which, trust me, scared the crap out of him) but also for being so kind to my lover boys, Andrew and Edmund, in Escaping Exile. This book (most books) would not be the same without editors. WE WRITERS NEED YOU! Have you hugged an editor today?

In other news, have you bought your copy of Escaping Exile yet? Book two, Escaping Solitude, comes out October 8, so get reading, my lovelies!

Buy Escaping Exile right now >>

Escape Trilogy

Happy Book Birthday to Escaping Exile!

It’s been a long time coming … but my sexy new novella is finally here. Thanks to publisher Raevyn McCann, editor Jason Bradley, and the team at NineStar Press, my bit of angsty, dark LGBTQ romance has now been set free upon the world, biting people far and wide. Here’s all you need to know, including “about the book,” theme song, and fantasy movie cast.

ABOUT ESCAPING EXILE

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

ADVANCE PRAISE

“This book harkens back to Anne Rice in her prime, where Andrew and Edmund are just as memorable as Lestat and Louis.” – Quin Perin, author of Obsessed

“This is not a love story I ever expected to read, and even though ‘ancient vampire + madcap human’ feels like it should be quite a trope, Andrew and Edmund are a whirlwind pair who challenge and delight each other.” – JL Gribble, author of the Steel Empires Series

“If you like a little twist to your vampires, a jagged edge to your British aristocracy, and want a master class in developing complex characters over a minimal number of pages, you’ll really dig this story.” – J. Leigh Bailey, author of Guyliner

THEME SONG (Go ahead; stare at Hozier and Alexander Skarsgard.)

FANTASY MOVIE CAST

Alexander Skarsgard as “Andrew,” my bad boy vampire.

Timothee Chalamet as “Edmund,” the sexy shipwrecked sailor.

Tilda Swinton as “Michelle,” cruel coven leader.

Stuart Townsend as “Felipe,” that murdering son of a …


I’ve been shocked and honored by all the amazing advance praise and support Escaping Exile has already received … and it was only born this morning! Pick up your copy today, and start reading part one of The Escape Trilogy.

You better get reading because part two of the trilogy, Escaping Solitude, will be here in October. Until then, enjoy the blossoming love story of Andrew and Edmund, but watch out for those cannibals.

 

Escape Trilogy

Escaping Exile fan art by the brilliant Nikita Ryan

Twitter isn’t all bad. Sometimes, Twitter introduces me to amazing new artists I never would have found anywhere else … which is how I stumbled upon the work of Nikita Ryan. She is a master of gay erotic art, and since Escaping Exile is pretty dang erotic, I really, really wanted her take on my characters.

Her art focuses on the male form, and according to her website:

“I believe that love is love and that the attraction between two men (and two women for that matter) is beautiful, valid, and perfectly acceptable. People should be able to be with who they want to be with, without judgement. I just want to celebrate that fact.”

(It’s a shame she lives across an ocean, because I would really love to buy this lady a drink.)

Nikita got the chance to read the Escaping Exile manuscript way before it saw an editor or proofreader, and she delivered this outstanding vision of dark-haired Edmund and his blond vampire Andrew:

(Doesn’t it just make your eyes happy?!?)

Honored that she spent time drawing my lovely boys, I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her work, her influences, and (of course) what she thought of Escaping Exile.

What’s your artistic background?

I’ve always drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. My mum is also an artist so I guess it is in my genes! I went to art college and eventually got a degree in Web and Graphic Design. More recently I also completed another degree in Interior Design, but have ended up not working in either field!

What inspired you to draw M/M subjects?

I also write my own M/M romance/fantasy stories and have several projects on the go (as per normal!) and it was a way of bringing my own characters to life. And what’s not to like about the male body? I have always loved life drawing, but now I am more interested in trying to capture emotions, and two men together does it for me.

I am also hoping to “normalise” the love between two guys through my art and to help that be accepted in society, as I am a firm believer that Love is Love.

You perfectly captured Andrew and Edmund in this drawing. What was the most challenging part about bringing these boys to life? Most satisfying part?

The most challenging part was having to bring someone else’s vision to life. When you write, you have an idea in your head of what your characters look like, and I was worried that my interpretation wouldn’t be what was in Sara’s head.

The most satisfying part was hearing that I had got it right! And that my drawing was well received.

Can you tell me a bit about your process when drawing something like this?

The process involves research, and lots of it! Luckily I had been given an idea of what Sara could see her characters looking like, so this was a helpful starting point. Although this can sometimes add to the pressure! I wanted a pose to capture their emotions and something that would show both of their faces. Other than that it was just a case of drawing them and seeing how it turned out.

Who are your main artistic influences?

I love abstract art and the cubism style, and have always loved the art of Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Braques, and the abstracts of Picasso. One of my artistic influences is Tamara de Lempicka. l love her angular style of painting, and more recently I have discovered the art of Steve Walker, Oliver Frey, Huang Tao, and Steven Clayton Corry, to name but a few. These are artists that paint and draw with a gay theme, and I especially love the way that Steve Walker’s paintings capture emotion and make you think about what is going on in them.

What did you enjoy best about Escaping Exile?

I loved the characters in Escaping Exile and can’t wait to see what happens next. I don’t suppose I can say too much because I don’t want to give away the story! But I loved it.


To learn more about Nikita Ryan (or to buy some of her amazing work), follow her online!

Website

Twitter

Instagram

Did you pre-order your copy of Escaping Exile yet? Have it delivered to your Kindle immediately Monday, August 13, by buying it today. CLICK HERE.

Escape Trilogy · Modeling

Fun at the Beach: The ESCAPING EXILE Photo Shoot

I don’t get to do “pretty shoots” very often. Or beach shoots, for that matter. To celebrate the upcoming release of my sexy novella, Escaping Exile, I did both. My usual crew (Bill, Steph, and Megan) went to Headlands Beach on Lake Erie and had fun in the sun … and the wind … and the wild, wild waves.

Escaping Exile is the story of bad boy vampire Andrew, exiled to a tropical island, and his shipwrecked sailor Edmund. Together, they find love, lust, and danger, so for this photo shoot, we brought a bit of drama to the water and enjoyed a fantastic sunset.

Scroll down for all the pretties and pre-order Escaping Exile today!

All hair and styling by Megan Lacy Does Hair.

Photos by Steph Gentry:

Photos by Bill Thornhill:

Film

Hot Summer Nights: A flashy film with loads of darkness

Full disclosure: I’ll watch Timothee Chalamet in anything. I will watch him drink coffee while reading the newspaper and be enthralled. When his newest film, Hot Summer Nights (out in limited release today), got mixed reviews, did I care? Nope. I was going to see this movie, even if it was filmed before Call Me By Your Name, so the guy looks about twelve.

Hot Summer Nights is the directorial debut of Elijah Bynum. He wrote the screenplay, too, and even based it on two guys he knew from college. Well, the guys he knew were more like legends—as are the characters in Hot Summer Nights. Narrated by a thirteen-year-old observer, it’s the story of Daniel and Hunter: two mismatched teenage boys who pretty much rule a drug empire in Cape Cod for a single summer before things go totally to shit.

From the first fast-paced opening minutes, rife with over-the-top dialogue and rapid scene changes, I was hooked. Hot Summer Nights takes place in ’91, so all that music, those clothes, that hair? Oh, I remember. It was like time traveling in my chair.

As Daniel, Timothee is the perfect ambitious nerd, while Hunter (played by yum-yum Alex Roe) is his brutal, cool-guy foil. The love story between Daniel and local sex goddess McKayla is a thing of little boy fantasies, especially a certain scene involving a lollipop.

About halfway through, with Hurricane Bob inching ever closer to Cape Cod, you feel the literal and metaphorical storm coming. The shift in tone is jarring, to be frank. Bynum goes from playful bathroom make out scenes to a sense of impending doom—but, in his defense, he set it up from the beginning, all via the character of Daniel.

Bynum said he cast a very, very young Timothee Chalamet as this character because he has a boyish quality but also a certain amount of darkness. Yeah, dude, spot on.

There’s a scene pretty early in Hot Summer Nights where Hunter beats the crap out of a dude in front of Daniel, and Daniel sort of smiles about it. He’s set up as a bit of a psychopath from the get go, so when the movie takes a twisted turn, it’s not surprising if you’ve been paying attention.

loli

Honestly? Daniel is not a good guy. He selfishly lies to the two people he loves the most and makes horrible life choices—not for money or fame but for the thrill. When everything goes haywire with a literal hurricane in the background, it is not a shock. It’s sad, sure, because lives are ruined, but maybe Daniel and Hunter had this coming?

I understand why some reviewers are tearing the movie apart, because it is strange and almost a little silly. But when you consider the whole thing is told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy, watching from the sidelines, every moment should feel epic and ridiculous. Yet there’s this huge amount of horror that creeps up like a monster in the night, especially a scene involving cocaine and Timothee in a trucker hat (an unexpected new fetish of mine).

Hot Summer Nights is and isn’t what you expect. It is a fast-paced summer movie about drugs, sex, and parties, but it’s also a violent drama about the end of innocence and youth. The lead players—both the boys and romantic interest Maika Monroe—are strong young actors, and there are definite glimpses of “Academy Award Nominee Timothee Chalamet.”

My advice? Get high and watch it. I mean, it’s a movie about weed. Smoke a little reefer and laugh at Daniel’s early shenanigans. Here’s hoping you mellow out by the time the storm arrives, because hell, by the end of the movie, it seriously arrives.

party

Escape Trilogy

TODAY: Escaping Exile Cover Reveal

I always joked that I would never have a half-naked hot guy on the cover of one of my books, and now, I don’t remember why. I mean, I love hot guys, especially when they’re half-naked.

While writing Escaping Exile for NineStar Press, I got to create some super hot fictional dudes. When it came time for cover design, I said SCREW IT. Give me that hot guy! Designer Natasha Snow did not disappoint …


About Escaping Exile (available from NineStar Press August 13):

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?


Add this beauty to your Goodreads shelf today and start reading August 13!

I’m so excited for you to meet Andrew and Edmund. You get three novellas with them (totaling almost 90K words!!!), but Escaping Exile is the first with Escaping Solitude and Escaping Mortality to follow in the coming months.

Which means, yes, I get two MORE covers from the amazing Natasha. Mind=blown.

Uncategorized

The Chicken Incident, Ohio, or why raccoons are evil

At 2 AM last night, I woke to the sound of chickens screaming. I’m pretty sure my husband could sleep through an atomic bomb, so of course, he heard nothing. Because I apparently have not seen enough horror movies, I ran outside in my pajamas (no bra) with a flashlight, deserving to be killed by Leatherface.

As I neared our chicken coop, I at first saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then, I got closer. I saw what appeared to be a bloody stump of a chicken leg hanging halfway out the closed door. Yes, the chicken coop was still closed. Yes, half a chicken was sticking out of it. Yes, some fanged monster had tried to drag a large chicken through a tiny hole, and oh, dear God, what is life?

About five seconds later, a pair of glowing eyes crept into my yard. Ah-ha, the culprit: a skinny raccoon. I wasn’t sure how to proceed since wildlife should be scared of humans because we’re awful, but this raccoon just stood there like he wanted to shoot the shit.

How is your night, human?

Oh, fine, Mr. Raccoon. I just sort of wish you wouldn’t do scary stuff like disembowel my chickens at 2 AM.

Noted, human. I shall now depart.

Except he didn’t depart. He stood there staring at me until I made the rash decision to run directly at the raccoon. Well, he didn’t like that, so he left. The chickens continued screaming … Well, one in particular. You guessed it: the one with half a body torn off and hanging from the chicken coop door. Yeah, that guy? He was still alive.

We had now entered Jake territory.

I calmly cleared my throat and went back to the house. By the way, I was barefoot, so not only was I chasing a raccoon barefoot but I was also trying to avoid dog poop in the dark.

I got back to the bedroom and announced, “Jake. Wake up,” in the calmest voice possible, images of silver eyes and bloody stumps just ricocheting around my brain like ping pong balls.

Jake isn’t a good waker-upper. He startled and made a confused noise before I was like, “Dude, the chickens are being murdered.” Whelp, that got his attention.

I don’t know why I joined him outside. The chickens are my husband’s project, and although, yes, I was the earlier hero, they’re his babies. Jake was understandably not pleased at the state of things. I stayed there with him, holding the flashlight, until he tugged the half-eaten still alive chicken out into the open and said something about “sorry, buddy” and … Yeah, I fled inside at that point.

It took forever to fall back to sleep. I’m sore everywhere today and have a dozen times realized I’m staring at walls and not working.

I’m not upset about the chickens, not really. It sucks that we lost four last night to a hungry fanged beast, and I feel bad that my hubby puts so much work into raising these birds—for us—and then, they go and get their dumb asses killed. (Chickens are really dumb; trust me on this.)

Instead of being upset, I’m entertained today because, before I met my husband, I don’t think I’d ever met a chicken outside of a plate and yet, last night I wielded a massive flashlight and chased a monster from my yard. Most days, I write about monsters, but I don’t often stare one down and have an imaginary conversation at 2 AM.

Life is awkward and weird and sometimes horrible, and yeah, we rush around all the time. Days go so fast, and we’re like, “How did I get here?” But, man, sometimes life is just so dang funny with its metaphorical blood and guts hanging out for all to see. It’s a mess. Enjoy the mess. Now, go about your day and try not to hear the sound of screaming chickens.

(If you want to read about The Chicken Incident, Arizona, feel free, but it’s equally as alarming as what you just read. Cheers!)

Film

Dear Mr. Chalamet: When I was 22 …

I wasn’t going to say anything, but … I’ve been cheating on Benedict Cumberbatch with a 22-year-old since January. THE SHAME! And, seriously, I wasn’t going to say anything, but there’s been an abundance of irrationality surrounding said 22-year-old recently, and I can’t keep my mouth shut.

If you’ve seen Call Me By Your Name (or paid attention at all to the previous award season), you know the name Timothee Chalamet. No? Well, here he is:

He’s freaking beautiful, okay? And intelligent and endearingly awkward in interviews and extremely talented. He speaks FRENCH, for Christ’s sake. He was at the Oscars for Best Actor, the youngest nominee in that category in almost eighty years. Ever since watching him play precocious Elio in Call Me By Your Name, I’ve been a fan, which is easy considering he’s active on social media: a universe where Benedict is noticeably absent.

Due to Timothee’s social media activity, we fans know things. Since we’re all obsessed—men and women of all ages alike—we play detective and figure things out. The paparazzi have been annoyingly helpful, too. Thanks to them (and Timothee’s Instagram), we know the following:

  1. He partied hard at Coachella.
  2. He’s been hanging out with rock stars like The Weeknd and Nicki Minaj.
  3. He was recently spotted making out with a blonde chick in France.

I applaud the guy. I mean, shit, he just lived through award season, winning thirty-three big trophies for his role as Elio. He wore designer suits and walked every red carpet and smiled and smiled and shook hands and … I’m exhausted just thinking about it. He deserves to take a few months off to party, because—lest we forget—Chalamet is twenty-two.

Instagram capture of Timothee from The Weeknd’s party palace at Coachella.

Some fans have responded harshly, worrying about what drugs he might be doing, the sex he might be having. Worrying that he’s going to trip and hurt himself. People are screaming, “He must be protected!” Right. Okay. Time travel with me, would you?

When I was twenty-two, I was still in college. I was consistently getting drunk and dancing with strangers in bars. I didn’t have a job lined up after graduation. I slept until I literally had to go to class and did laundry once a month maybe. I lived on pizza and beer. One night, my girlfriends and I even had a contest to see who could kiss the most dudes in one night. I won with seven.

Some fans have seemingly forgotten what it was like to be a freaking kid. Granted, Timothee is an Oscar-nominated kid who might get another nod this year for his role in Beautiful Boy, but he’s still a child. (A sexy adult child, but you know what I mean.)

People—media included—need to cut him some slack. We’ve seen it happen a million times before: young actors getting all messed up and ending up in rehab by thirty. Do I want this sob story for Timothee? No. But maybe part of the reason young stars end up screwy is because they never get a chance to be kids and just have fun. They don’t deserve the pressure of being held to a higher standard. They’re just growing up, going through the same motions as all of us.

As Timothee has said in interviews, the male brain doesn’t fully develop until twenty-five, but young stars are under intense scrutiny, which I imagine is terrifying. God, I shudder to think what my life would be like if I’d had cameras pointed at me in college! I’d probably be in jail.

Should young stars be expected to hide in their homes, spending their nights reading philosophy while avidly not enjoying a cocktail? Hell, no. My advice to Timothee Chalamet: have fun, man! When you’re not working, party with cool people and experience life. Get laid! Get drunk! Post ridiculous dancing videos on Instagram. You might be alarmingly successful right now, but work hard, play hard.

I feel so blessed for the life I’ve led, experiencing fully every age. When I was twenty-two, I lived it up. (I still live it up.) I hate to see anyone forced to grow up too fast. It’s important to enjoy being young. Enjoy being thirty. Enjoy being forty! You get the idea. So everyone just chill and let Tim be Tim. (I still love you, Benedict.)

Uncategorized

Am I a slut?

One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes is “Are We Sluts?” In it, heroine Carrie Bradshaw (and her three crazy friends) come to question their own sexual prowess based on strange bedfellows, a burglary, and an STD. I’m not getting into the details here, because you should really just watch the episode. It’s fabulous. I’m more addressing this question to myself: am I a slut?

Now, I realize that sounds sort of crazy. One, I’m married, so if anything, I’m a monogamous slut—which, in my opinion, is the cornerstone of a strong marriage. I’m more concerned with certain recent developments in my wardrobe. Last night is a good example.

With Jake out of town, I went barhopping with some of his twenty-something coworkers. Before leaving the house, I put on something “comfortable.” For me, “comfortable” was skin-tight Express jeans and a midriff halter-top. While curling my hair and staring at my own thirty-five-year-old reflection, I had the first tiny inkling … Sara, do you dress like a—gulp—slut?

I dress young for my age. I know this. Some days, I wear see-through shirts and six-inch heels to the  freaking grocery store. Ridiculous. Then, last night, I had a ten-minute internal battle with myself before I suddenly, coherently decided I’m not a slut; I’m just happy.

Hear me out. Currently, I’m yoga-obsessed. I don’t eat much meat anymore, and I’ve given up the majority of dairy and gluten. (Do I still drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes? Duh. I’m not a nun.) I recently went to buy the above-mentioned Express jeans, and I chose a size six. The sales boy actually glared at me—a visual “Bitch, please”—before handing me a size two. I can’t freaking believe I now wear a size two.

All my life—no matter my weight—I have felt like an awkward, chubby girl. Don’t roll your eyes; I realize this is all in my head, but my head is a very important part of my body. For months at my yoga studio, for instance, I was nervous to talk to my teachers because I thought I wasn’t worthy. I was the clumsy, thick girl, since for most of my life, that is how I’ve identified in my personal perception.

Now, I’m thirty-five and in the best shape of my life. With the help of exercise, healthy eating, my perfect husband, and maturity, I’m happy and confident in my body—which brings us back to the slut thing.

Do my clothes sometimes cling a little tightly? Do my tits sometimes loom a little large? Do I show my tummy and shake my ass in bars? Well, yeah. Because finally (finally), I’m happy with the way I look and comfortable—chuffed even—with who I am, and I don’t care who sees. My style has changed so much over the years, but I think my clothes are finally me—the me I have always wanted to be.

This isn’t political. I’m not reclaiming the word “slut” and making it into a pride statement. Honestly, this isn’t even about you. This is about me, damn it, comfortable in my skin after thirty-five years of worrying that I look bloated. With thirty-six looming in June, it’s prime time to say I’m not a slut; I’m just me.

Film · Mental Health · writers life · Writing

I watch horror movies when I’m sad

There’s something so soothing about cannibalism. While recently watching the brilliant French film Raw, I totally spaced out on bloody images of a nice girl chewing on human flesh. With the addition of a well-mixed Cosmopolitan (it’s not a during-dinner movie), I put my kicks up and relaxed. Something I’ve done very little of lately.

As a writer, we all have bad days. I’ve had a bad month. Granted, I have so far spent much of 2018 creating. By end of March, I was burnt out. I thought going to Florida for the annual Bite Somebody Pilgrimage might help. A week spent doing nothing while sitting on the beach only made things worse because it made me notice how happy I felt not producing.

Currently, I stew in a state of discontent. Life feels slightly off, like a glitch in the matrix. I’ve even had trouble reading, comparing myself to every author and feeling like I’ll never stack up. I have yet to bang my head against a desk, but I’m close. At least if I’m unconscious, I won’t obsess over all the work I’m not doing.

Jake was out of town two weekends ago. Our empty, old house reminded me how much I love scary things—which was when I remembered a friend had suggested Raw. I paid a visit to old favorites, too, like Woman in Black, Neon Demon, and Poltergeist. I turned my back on my usual genres and started reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. (True, I took a fluffy break to watch Alexander Skarsgard play Tarzan, but well, who doesn’t want to watch that?)

As close friends know, I watch Rocky Horror Picture Show when I’m really depressed. Something about being trapped in a spooky castle surrounded by spooky people during a champagne sex party really brightens my mood. When I speak about mental illness, I often mention my love of horror films: “No matter how bad things are, at least I’m not being chased by an ax murderer.” True—and probably why I’ve been fully immersed in the horror genre for weeks.

I’m struggling. I’m semi-drowning. A perpetual state of discontent is not a good state. My mom calls my writing a “gift.” My devotional this morning pretty much said the same. I am happiest when I’m writing, so why am I avoiding my favorite thing at all costs?

True, the “business” gets exhausting. The constant promoting and selling and pitching and rewriting and … ARG! I gave a presentation recently about “The Write Life,” and I explained to my audience that actually sitting down and writing—creating—is a surprisingly small part of the writer’s job. The birth of something, its initial inception (that blessed first draft) is the best part of the gig and, arguably, the smallest.

Which makes me want to watch every Halloween movie ever made and drink a dozen martinis.

I’m tired. I’m disgustingly discontented—and yet blessed because I have so many new releases in the coming year that are going to be amazing. Despite all the good stuff, it’s human nature to gravitate toward how messed up we’re feeling. Which I think is okay, really, as long as we don’t fixate on how messed up we’re feeling.

Dunno, guys. If I don’t feel the itch to create something new soon, I’m going to go right mad. I relate most to Mary Shaw in Dead Silence. I don’t like kids, and I already have the dolls.