This new horror story came out of a productive and challenging time when I put myself through short story boot camp and taught myself to write fiction on demand. The original version was about 2,500 words, much less explicit, and I titled it “In the Garden of Secrets.” Returning to the story after a year, I saw how to expand and complete it, so I did.
As of today, Secret Forest is ranking as #5 on Amazon’s list of bestselling LGBT Horror ebooks, one line down from three of Anne Rice’s novels. I studied with her husband, the poet and painter Stan Rice at San Francisco State in the MFA program. I met her at one of his readings and I’ve read most of her books — not only the vampire ones. So, even though it’s a small thing, I’m getting a major kick being on the same page as The Queen of the Damned, The Vampire Lestat and The Vampire Armand.
If you look at this list while my book is new enough and popular enough to rank, you’ll see it on the right sidebar on the top row. There’s a link to the bestseller list below, above my book cover.
Back to the Beginning
Years of copywriting and other unsuitable gigs have often eclipsed my fiction, which I have to write. It never leaves me alone, even when it’s harmful to other work that covers expenses. It’s my most expensive and time-consuming habit but I’m unable to stop.
I read Peter Straub’s anthology Poe’s Children last April and wrote a new story nearly every day that month. It was the most short fiction I’d written in years. I ended up with 28 stories ranging from flash to full length. Many of them were horror and a few were science fiction or fantasy. The original version of this new ebook was in that batch.
For awhile it seemed like all those stories and the novels from those rocky years would stay on my computers, knocking around with me from place to place, but I decided to take another shot at the self-publishing adventure. Although having my story featured on the Amazon gay horror list wasn’t the result of a great number of sales, it was encouraging.
The Lure of Horror — or, I’m Addicted
One type of horror that compels me the most as a reader is firmly grounded in reality with supernatural elements creeping in. I’m also partial to the kind of horror that comes from a character’s mind. And to tales where it’s difficult to tell whether the evil is an outside force or the edge of madness.
No matter how many other things I have to do in life to survive, I always come back to horror. Fine editors including Straub and Ellen Datlow give me hope for the genre’s future.
I flinched while writing this post’s headline. The self-promotion aspect of being a writer doesn’t come easily. Yet seeing Secret Forest live was a happy thing, and seeing it featured as an Amazon hot new release in gay horror made my day. Who am I going to tell, if not for you?
At the center of the charred structures, the timbers held strong on a massive piece that reached into the trees. Rungs mounted it to a platform with a trapdoor hanging open at its center. A noose swayed above it.
Please Note: Secret Forest is rated 18+ for language, sexual content and mature themes.