Sunday, December 20, 2015

When the Devil Climbs

Escape. Almost every horror tale revolves around this single concept. Inching closer and closer to that fiendish evil lurking in the shadows until escape, or the lack of it, drives the characters into action. Fight or flight. The basest of all animal instincts, yet so far-reaching in scope and complexity. The monsters are refashioned from ax-wielding madmen, to chomping aliens, to prowling ghosts, to misbehaving dolls, or the present favorite, the reborn undead.

But what if the most gruesome monster isn’t stalking somewhere outside? What if it’s lodged deep in your past, waiting for that right moment to slither free? What if the monster is inescapable because it creeps within you?

Such is the case with Russ Grote, the protagonist in my novel, When the Devil Climbs. After a lost decade due to addiction and criminality, Russ is given a chance to reconnect with his estranged son, but the day before his scheduled reunion, a horde of savage pigs infected with a mysterious virus attack him and his coworkers, forcing them to take refuge atop a billboard. As the pigs trap this group of ex-convicts, the true terror comes from what they are willing to do in order to survive. No matter what they’ve done to reform, there is no escape from their past.

Of course, no horror novel would be complete without some gore-filled chomping action, and the horde of pigs work as the typical blood-gashing monsters. Fans of carnage and non-stop action will not be disappointed, however, the characters along with their odious histories propel the tale into unforeseen directions. Everyone has a past, but some are best left in the rearview mirror.

Told from a first-person narration, the novel dives into Russ’ psyche, uprooting what he calls his “evil hankerings.” As he struggles to reform and reunite with his son, escape from his past appears as hopeless as breaking free from the pigs and his billboard prison. Not to mention, a few of his fellow ex-cons aren’t so keen on seeing him go. Hours pass, turning into days, and the more they struggle, the greater the chance the only survivor to escape will be their creeping insanity.

Similar to Russ’ own journey, the path to publication for When the Devil Climbs was fraught with numerous obstacles. The biggest was I had no ending. Sure, getting a monster to corner the characters was easy, but that final escape, or lack of one, kept eluding me. With assistance from some kind beta-readers on Fictionpress along with notes from a pair of professionals from the writer’s workshop at the World Horror Convention, I retooled the story, zeroing in on the relationship between Russ and his son, but still, no ending.

When hitting a wall while writing, I’ve found it best to avoid trying to climb over. Instead, I dig the biggest hole and dive right in. As soon as I did that, the ending just appeared. It came as a total shock, which I hope will translate to my readers.

After some rewrites, I found an agent, and it was all history after that. I hope readers will likewise enjoy When the Devil Climbs and never fear getting a little too close the jagged edge, as that door leading out swings closed. There’s always an escape. Even in the dark. Even from the most unspeakable monsters. Even from those demons rattling inside. Isn’t there?


Drake Vaughn's "crinkled fiction" is a blend of horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction with a heavy psychological bent. His tales appear deceptively simple, but transform into a wild spree of suspense, madness, and trauma. He lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife and a black cat named Shadow (who he is certain has come back from the dead on a number of occasions).

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Go Set a Watchman

I'm curious to know how many of you have read Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman".  I have the audio book version, read by Reese Witherspoon.  (She does an excellent job.)  You know, by Chapter 5 I still don't have a clue what the book is about, only that Scout comes home to visit.  And you know what?  I don't care what it's about.  I'm just lost in the wonderful words!  It's music to my ears.  It's cotton candy, candy apples and chocolate bars rolled up into one big sugar lump and it is wonderful.  I know there are some that say that Ms. Lee didn't want the book to be published and I think I believe that more than the other people saying she did.  But I sure am glad whomever got it published did.  It would be a crime to keep the book locked away from others.  If you haven't read it, then go buy it.  Sit down and just enjoy the words, words from long ago, spoken in this colorful language from a time long gone.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I Dream of Dragons

I have officially gotten on board the technology train.  I have tried to get a children's book published for a while and decided to start a you tube channel to promote my books.  Here is the link.  It's my very first video so be kind on your reviews!   I am currently working on my next you tube book video/video book...whatever you would call it.

I Dream of Dragons

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who's Writing?

Who is participating this year?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dream Work

    Another dream, another idea.  It happens every once in a while.  I wake up from an epic dream and run to my computer to write down the details before they fade out of my memory.   Just how many ideas do I have now?  A lot. 

    I have a notebook full of ideas and detailed story notes but now that I look over it, ready to start writing, I can't decide which of these ideas to even get started on. 

How do you decide?!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Querry Letters

Do you have questions about query letters like I do?  I think they are harder to write than the book.  Here is a great site with FAQs about query letters.  While you are there, take a look around the site.  Does anyone else have some advice on query letters to share?
Writers Unboxed

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Do you outline?

These famous writers do.  Go check out this website and look at their images to see all the outlines from familiar authors.   Here is one example from J.K. Rowling from the website Flavorwire.

If you are a writer that does outline it is interesting to see the different ways other writers outline.  I usually use the standard Roman Numeral way or I write it down on index cards and put things in order.  Which way do you outline?