When I first started writing, I heard a lot of talk about pushing boundaries. Writing about topics and themes outside of your comfort zone to make your work stronger. I never really bought into this idea until I hit a long phase of writer’s block about two years into my career. The inability to create started to eat me up, and I had to figure out a way to hurdle the giant wall that was blocking my path to writing again.
After complaining about it for weeks, one of my buddies suggested I start writing a short story. Outside of an assignment for a college class, I had never written a short. My ideas always seemed too complex, and I thought there was no way I could express myself in short form. But I was desperate, so I went for it. And when I say went for it, I mean it. I started to write in a male POV (which I never do) and I chose to write a sci-fi story about an alien invasion. If you know me, then you know this is WAAAAY outside my comfort zone. What turned out to be an attempt to combat writer’s block turned into a story that I loved and eventually was published (which I NEVER expected).
So last year when that little fiend called writer’s block appeared again, I decided to go back to short story writing, and this time I had a plan. Write in a genre that scared the pants off of me – horror. Now I don’t always write sunshine and roses, but demons, blood, terror, and a haunted carnival, well those are completely out of my realm of creativity, but I was going to give it a shot. A SEAT FOR EVERY SOUL went from a small idea of a carnival prank into a full-blown story of possession. The words flowed out of me, and by the time I stroked the last keys, typing “The End,” I knew my horrible weeks of being blocked was over.
I’ll be honest, horror is not my forte. Odds are I’ll never write it again. But moving outside of my “zone” lit a creative fire within me that had been missing for too long.
A SEAT FOR EVERY SOUL was only supposed to be published as part of a blog project called “Dark Carnival” thought up by the wonderful ladies at PEN and MUSE, Jolene Haley and Kristen Jett. The positive response to the collection encouraged them to turn the stories into an anthology which I am proud to be a part of.
As an exciting part of the journey, I’m pleased today to share the cover for this incredible collection of stories. If you enjoy horror of all kinds from the likes of authors such as Kristen Strassel, Julie Hutchings, and Kat Daemon, I encourage you to pick up a copy when it becomes available. What better way to celebrate Halloween, right?
In this anthology, several authors and illustrators explore the dark and hidden dangers that lie within a carnival that has come to town. But it is no ordinary carnival. It’s The Dark Carnival.
And when The Dark Carnival comes to town, there’s no promise that anyone can leave…alive.