"Scratching" My Horror Itch

As a reader and a writer, it is the greatest joy of my life to discover new and amazing authors that rock my universe. It doesn’t happen often enough, but when it does, I’m flying like Aladdin on his magic carpet. By “new”, I mean “new to me”, so sometimes my ravings may elicit the response of, “Oh, jeez, know THAT writer, been reading them for YEARS, where the hell have you been?” Still, sometimes we need to be reminded of Golden Oldies, but sometimes we’re lucky enough to catch a rising star, and that’s really exciting to me.

I don’t confine myself to one genre — as a matter of fact, although I recognize the need for labels (marketing purposes, don’t you know) I don’t like them. I love finding material that either crosses the boundaries of genres, or blurs them so they’re not so sharp or delineating. Like a chalk hopscotch, doused in a misty spring rain. I’ve always been of the opinion that although good writers will do well in any genre — a word is a word is a word, and if you know how to wrangle them, it doesn’t matter what the task is — I further believe that writers do their best work if they are in love with their genre of choice. In other words, especially in this profession, you have to love what you do or it’s gonna suck.


So, there I was, twittering on Twitter, when in the twitter-stream a very nice young man, who is planning to release a book this fall, was letting it be known he would participate in an interview to anyone who was interested. Of course, I’m interested, I’m always interested. Are you kidding? That’s like throwing a shiny thing in front of a magpie.

I traveled to his blog to check out his work — the first story I read was Scratch .

It was nothing like I expected. Oh, I’ve read horror, lots and lots of horror, and most of the time, especially in shorter works, I’ve found horror rather — unsatisfying. You know, too much gore for the message, or too little. Something that looks on the surface to be horror is really comedy dressed up in a shroud, and it’s often empty, like a zombie’s eyes. Nothing in there, can you dig it, just shock value and if there even is a message it’s lost in the horror of a good story gone bad rather than standing on its own torn up, blistered feet. Good horror is really difficult to write in a way that doesn’t come across as parody.

Not so in this case. This story blew me away. Actually, it made me cry. It made me cry because there is such truth embedded within, it burned my eyes. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Vacation, and next up will be my review. All I’ll tell you right now is, I wasn’t disappointed.

Even if horror isn’t your “thing”, I encourage you to give this guy a turn on the dance floor, even if horror is not your favorite genre. Because underneath the horror aspect, there’s a story, can you dig it — an awesome, mind-blowing, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining story. You can’t get better than that.

Definitely check it out, and keep your eye on Jeremy C. Shipp. I know I will.

ALL my eyes, because he’s tricksy.


6 thoughts on “"Scratching" My Horror Itch

  1. Try “Scratch”, Brian. It’s horror, but it’s not like Candyman (which scared the bejesus out of me, to be honest. I’m not saying it three times!) You won’t be sorry.

    Thanks for popping by 🙂

  2. I would recommend “Metal the Rebel” and “Parsnip the Artist” for non-horror stories that make you think.

    And “Camp” was the first story of his I read. As I said to him, giving feedback on his site, I don’t read or watch horror. The images get into my brain, and I’ll be dreaming about the horror in one to three weeks. I started reading “Camp” not aware that it was horror.

    By the time I realized what it was, I was so invested in the plot and charectors that I had to keep reading and find out how it ended, even knowing it would mean nightmares.

    To me, that epitomises a good author: one who can take a person who doesn’t like or can’t tolorate a genre for whatever reason, and get them so invested in the story, they’ll keep reading it.

    Bronwens last blog post..Friday Series – Dreaming the Impossible

  3. I know what you mean about the joy of discovering a new awesome author. I think the last time that happened to me was when I looked up Naomi Novik. “Oh dear, another dragon story – HOLY CRAP, this girl can write!!” It’s my favorite kind of drug :grins:

    Also, I just wandered this way from meilinmiranda.com (I use the same handle there), in case you were curious.

  4. I love it. It’s my drug of choice, too. I’ll have to check out Naomi Novik. I love dragon stories, if they’re done well.

    I recognized the name — thanks for coming to visit 🙂

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