A few years ago, while resting on the rooftop of a hotel in New Orleans, I had a vision of a hideous, unholy realm.
I’ve never told too many people about this, but sometimes I have strange visions. I’ve been having them off and on since I was six.
Are these just daydreams? Well...sort of. But they feel more intense and immersive than daydreams. Are they hallucinations? Well, kind of. But I know these are imaginative experiences and I understand they’re not real.
It’s difficult to describe them, but I’ll try.
They usually happen when I’m resting. For example, when I’m traveling as a passenger in a car or when I’m sitting out in the sun. I space out (or, if you want to phrase it more technically, I dissociate). I slip into an altered state of consciousness, and I see strange metaphysical entities. Such experiences have inspired stories. (“The Orchard of Hanging Trees”, “The Choir of Beasts”, and “The Squatters” were constructed around powerful images that I encountered during these visions.)
Am I crazy?
No, because I understand these halluci-daydreams aren’t real.
Do I think the visions are genuine experiences with the supernatural?
No. I think I was exposed to death at such a young age that my processing of grief was more imaginative than reality-based. I also think I had a hyper-religious upbringing which exposed me to dozens of grisly, bizarre, and apocalyptic images. I’m no longer ensnared in the belief system that created those images, but I can’t unsee them. Those images still have emotional weight to them. Not only are they still in my brain, they are--in a sense--reproducing. Hence, the visions.
Are they drug and/or alcohol related?
Definitely not. It’s been years since I drank or used drugs.
Does this happen everyday?
Nope. The halluci-daydreams only happen two or three times a year.
Oh, and I should mention that I have vivid nightmares, too. (Also focused on metaphysical subjects.) These occur more often than the halluci-daydreams (maybe around five or six times a year). Nightmares inspired my stories “The Suffering Clown”, “The Peculiar Salesgirl”, and “The Mirrors”.
I don’t mind such nightmares. Nightmares are research. Now, to be clear, nightmares lack the narrative structure of a story and they typically lack well-developed characters, too. So there’s still a lot of work to do after I wake from them. (It isn’t just a matter of getting zapped with the right nightmare and writing it all down. As with the halluci-daydreams, I have to work hard to build a story around the visceral images.)
You may be wondering why I’m telling you something this personal.
It’s because I want to explain why my fiction is different from the kind of horror fiction most other folks write. I’m not completely isolated from pop culture, but I am (by choice) mostly isolated from it. The pop culture aesthetic has oozed into every nook and cranny of the publishing industry, but I’m incapable of incorporating it into my work. I’m much more in tune with these dissociative experiences and the work of writers from the past who seem to have been similarly influenced. I’m using my visions and nightmares as fuel for fiction, with the goal of inducing a waking nightmare for the reader. (In my opinion, that’s one of the things good horror fiction does.)
I’m also talking about this because it directly relates to my new novella The Sadist’s Bible. A few years ago, while resting on the rooftop of a hotel in New Orleans, I had a vision of a hideous, unholy realm. I don’t want to spoil the book by offering too many details about this realm. Suffice to say that it was one of the most disturbing visions I’ve ever had, and it inspired The Sadist’s Bible.
But The Sadist’s Bible isn’t just about disturbing imagery. My intent is for the imagery to simply serve as seasoning. Characterization is the meat. Plot is the bone. This is a story about two women, their lust for one another, and their suicidal urges. It’s about God, suffering, and the animalistic aspects of sex and spirituality.
You can get it for $1.99 at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk , the Kobo store, or directly from the fine folks at 01Publishing. If you’ve never checked out my work before, this is a good opportunity to do so at a very affordable price.
How well do you know the people you chat with on a social network?
Thirty-seven year old Ellie Blake is about to find out. Her Bible Belt community wouldn't dare accept her if she came out as a lesbian. Her husband, her pastor, and her neighbors would be scandalized by such a disclosure. But Ellie's desire for another woman's intimate touch grows stronger with each passing day, as does her desire to be dominant – to tell another woman just how to please her, to tie up another woman so that she'll never, ever leave.
Ashamed of these feelings and hopeless of ever satisfying them, Ellie goes to a secret group on the social network and seeks out a partner for a suicide pact. There, she finds twenty-four year old Lori Morris--a woman who also claims devotion to death and lust. She agrees to meet Ellie in a hotel for an intense night of decadent sex and torture before suicide. But Lori has another agenda, too: to escape an oppressive force that might be God or might be the Devil. A force that even suicide may not allow her to escape. A force that wants Lori, Ellie, and all of humanity broken and brought to its knees.