The Nightmare Engine Podcast

Mastering the Craft of Horror - Conversations with Jay Bower

November 15, 2021 David Viergutz Season 1 Episode 1
Mastering the Craft of Horror - Conversations with Jay Bower
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
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The Nightmare Engine Podcast
Mastering the Craft of Horror - Conversations with Jay Bower
Nov 15, 2021 Season 1 Episode 1
David Viergutz

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๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Join us as we venture into the spine-chilling world of horror literature with acclaimed author Jay Bower. In what promises to be an intriguing conversation, we dissect the various writing styles that Jay employs; from tales of the supernatural and demonic, to the grim narratives of serial killers and gory scenes. What's more interesting is how Jay's readership leans towards the paranormal, finding an inexplicable connection to it over the raw brutality of extreme horror.

We also cast our sights to the larger canvas of horror in the mainstream market, dipping our toes into everything from the darkest depths of horror to the lighter, suspenseful paranormal narratives. Switching gears, our discussion takes us into the realm of indie publishing and its potential for the horror genre. Are we living in the 'golden age of horror'? Jay and I mull over this thought-provoking question, addressing the need for the genre to receive more mainstream attention.

We wrap up our chat with a look at Jay's ambitious writing goals for 2022, underscoring the significance of consistency in crafting gripping horror tales. Jay also gives us a sneak peek into his current projects, including a three-book deal with Raven Tail Publishing and a riveting five-book series centered around the infamous 1925 Tri-State Tornado. As we bid adieu, Jay teases his plans for the upcoming year; an exhilarating amalgamation of new horror projects and an epic fantasy series. Don't miss out as we navigate the labyrinth of horror writing with Jay Bower!

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast,

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

โญ๏ธEnjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;)

๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Join us as we venture into the spine-chilling world of horror literature with acclaimed author Jay Bower. In what promises to be an intriguing conversation, we dissect the various writing styles that Jay employs; from tales of the supernatural and demonic, to the grim narratives of serial killers and gory scenes. What's more interesting is how Jay's readership leans towards the paranormal, finding an inexplicable connection to it over the raw brutality of extreme horror.

We also cast our sights to the larger canvas of horror in the mainstream market, dipping our toes into everything from the darkest depths of horror to the lighter, suspenseful paranormal narratives. Switching gears, our discussion takes us into the realm of indie publishing and its potential for the horror genre. Are we living in the 'golden age of horror'? Jay and I mull over this thought-provoking question, addressing the need for the genre to receive more mainstream attention.

We wrap up our chat with a look at Jay's ambitious writing goals for 2022, underscoring the significance of consistency in crafting gripping horror tales. Jay also gives us a sneak peek into his current projects, including a three-book deal with Raven Tail Publishing and a riveting five-book series centered around the infamous 1925 Tri-State Tornado. As we bid adieu, Jay teases his plans for the upcoming year; an exhilarating amalgamation of new horror projects and an epic fantasy series. Don't miss out as we navigate the labyrinth of horror writing with Jay Bower!

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast,

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Nightmare Engine Podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where they discuss all things horror, books, movies, stories. Nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Speaker 2:

Well, good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first ever episode of the Nightmare Engine Podcast. My name is David Virgoots, one of the co-hosts, and I'm here with my other co-host, jay Bauer. Jay, what are we doing here, man?

Speaker 3:

We're riding this train to the very bitter end.

Speaker 2:

And I will say it's looking more so like that every day. Yeah, but luckily that's not what we're here to talk about. We're not gonna talk about politics or you know, real horror. We're gonna talk about fictional horror. We're gonna talk about craft, maybe some movies and stuff, you know, maybe just what's going on for us. That's kind of spooky. I mean, even just me. A couple minutes ago I got something funky with the audio on this and demons roaring in the background.

Speaker 3:

I mean, that's what a way to kick off the show, right Demons?

Speaker 2:

in the head. Yeah, right in my ear. High definition audio really put me in the moon. There's no better way to do it. Yeah, well, this is cool. I like being here, I like starting with these things, I like talking, just having casual conversation. But, jay, I want to kind of focus on you a little bit tonight. You know, tell me a little bit, man, what kind of stuff do you write?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, right on man. Well, so I write. I've got my different. My novels are all kind of a little different, you know. I go from the demonic to serial killer to just brutal blood, guts and gore, you know. And then I got short stories that kind of run the gamut of things as well, from ghosts and demons again. You know, I like, apparently I like that that kind of a supernatural side of things, you know, but just kind of whatever I'm feeling at the moment. But I'm kind of all over the place. My readers don't always like it. They, they, they prefer the paranormal stuff, the supernatural. They like that, the demons and things like that. They're not so much on the blood, blood and gore, but you know it is what it is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I mean, would you do you think your writing is more paranormal, supernatural stuff versus, you know, hardcore, extreme horror, as some people might talk about? You know the needless violence, the blood and guts, that sort of thing, all for sure Like.

Speaker 3:

I've tried it. You know it's like it was cathartic. I had to get that out of my system, you know, and I've got that a novel or two that are definitely more focused on the blood and guts and you know it was fun to write. I had a blast doing it, man it was. It was just the coolest thing. But in the end my, my particular readers, they're just not the fans of it and I don't write a lot of it in general, you know. So I do lean more toward ghosts and those are demons. You know, those things that go bump in the night kind of stuff. You know I kind of like writing that and I think I can get pretty effective writing that for my readers and they kind of enjoy that too so Do you think people can relate to that type of horror a little bit better than the extreme stuff, maybe?

Speaker 3:

but it's not like we all see ghosts every day. You know, it's not like we're all visiting with demons and stuff, but I think they like it. I don't know, the reality of a serial killer might be a little too much for a lot of us because they're out there. You know, we see it on the news, we see the horrors that they're committing and it might be just a touch too real for some people and they you know a lot of people, myself included. You know, when you read it's a lot of escapism and sometimes you don't want to escape to something that really could be happening. You know, you know, I don't know.

Speaker 3:

It depends on what you're, what your feeling is on demons and ghosts and that type of thing, because some people won't refuse to believe that they exist, others will, but I do think they just have a better grasp of that or the better acceptance of that and and enjoy reading that better than some of the other stuff. But that's not everybody. There are some people that absolutely love the really brutal stuff and it's got place and time and you know I like reading it once in a while, but I don't think I could do a steady diet of it. It's just just not for me and it's not for a lot of people and but it is for some.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, I'm taking a look at the, the current mainstream market. I'm kind of seeing two different positions on the map. You see a lot of the extreme guys. You see a lot of the kind of light horror you know, heading towards like paranormal suspense, that sort of thing. You know we got kind of got some spooky elements. I mean, we see this a lot with. You know like haunted houses, which are very much on the. You see a lot of the haunted house stories, even from people like Darcy Codes and Lee Moundford. They're kind of what I would consider a horror of light. You know that. Or I'm just a desensitized asshole and it's spooky and I just don't realize it. I mean but but yeah, I do believe that you have a confession to make about haunted houses. That, I think is really curious, coming from a horror writer. So I'm gonna call you out. What's your deal with haunted houses?

Speaker 3:

oh man, I'm a spot. Episode one so yeah, the haunted houses not like the you know, actual houses that people consider haunted, but those, the Halloween style ones where you it's all made up and you know people are there to scare the hell out of you. I am scared of those things. I won't go in. A man won't do it. My, my wife's trying to get me going. I've gone to a couple of them and it's like nope, I don't want to do. I don't know, maybe I've seen too many movies, read too many books, but those scared the hell out of me and I won't go with. I won't do it, man, just just won't.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and there's, there's, I think there's a few movies that are on that premise, where it's a haunted house that turns out to actually just be a nightmare in itself. You know the mass murders inside, or it's possessed or whatever, there's always. The haunted house itself becomes the the haunted thing to be afraid of, when it's supposed to be just a playful thing we do in October, I guess.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you know I'll write about it, but I won't. I won't walk in them, right, I think? Which is a little. I do think it's funny.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, jay, you ever written something in your own books that scared the hell out of you yeah, you're right, not why you're right, you know yeah yeah, there's a couple things I've written.

Speaker 3:

It was a short story called a tiny piece of soul, which the same premise I kind of used for my novel so lies, and it really it bothered me because and it's more body horror more you know, I don't like things to touch my eyes. I just, you know, I don't like anything near him. I wear glasses. I won't get contacts here. That means touching my eyes, so I'm not gonna do that. But in the short story there's a, the character. He's so disturbed and so just just distraught about things and he cut out his own eyeball and is a way of trying to get rid of this, the sin that was creeping out of his eyes, and it just it made me, just I had to stop several times writing it because it just freaked me out. And then with soul eyes, the killer in the book they take out the eyes of their victims and so it's not self-inflicted, but still several times writing that I had to stop to that just it really bothered me.

Speaker 2:

I mean, so that I mean, you seem pretty normal.

Speaker 3:

I mean, that's even well, I like to.

Speaker 2:

I like to meet a lot of horror writers and and the reason I do that is because I myself found this tribe of horror writers on accident and in fact thanks to you, but we can talk about that later. But Horror writers there are some of the most normal writers you'll meet, which is kind of interesting. I think they're pretty in tune with their natural fears and inspirations for those fears, and so they're very Good at communicating that and then transferring it to a page so that somebody else can relate to it. And I think that's where real horror is, is where you relate with the characters, not so much the scenario they're seen, but you can relate to the feelings that the characters are having.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, no, I agree with you on that. I think it's funny because you Most horror authors, they're not walking around wearing a t-shirt or something that says like I write horror, or you know, they're not dressed head to toe in black, or some of them are some, you know that's just because that's who they are At, personality wise, I don't. You know, you buy me and jeans and a t-shirt, or shorts and a t-shirt pretty much most of it, most of the year, or sweatshirt or something, nothing, nothing too crazy. And you know I'm just, that's just me, you know, and I think a lot of horror authors are just super chill. They're, they're pretty laid-back, you know, they're well adjusted human beings.

Speaker 3:

And it's so funny because, you know, my wife asked me all the time about that stuff. She's like, should I be worried? You know, because I write this kind of thing? And no, not at all. You know, it's it's art, it's not the artist, it's the art, you know, and there's a big separation between those two and I think for most authors, regardless of genre, I think there is that separation in it. But and it can be really surprising if the most normal, normal people, you know they can write some of the darker stuff, but you know I yeah, it's just normal, I think.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that's um, I think it's a revelation for a lot of people when we tell them that we're horror authors and they look at us and they talk to us for a little bit and we're not Doing gloom all the time. We're not, you know, carrying around a black Bible or something like that and, and you know, covered in horrible scars, marks and tattoos.

Speaker 3:

We're just normal people and there are some that are, and that's cool Because that's sure they're. They're true to who they are, you know they're true to themselves, and I got, I have no problem with that, that's just not me, you know. That's yeah, and and I know you as well, and it's kind of not your, your style, and so there's room for all of us really.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you and I and I'm gonna speak in a weird tense here, but you and I just came back from 20 books Vegas and I think a lot of our listeners, I think a lot of people that we're gonna attract to this, to this podcast, just for the down down to earth conversation, especially from a horror perspective from a couple of authors who are I mean, we're probably Low tier and on our way up to mid tier. I think. I think with our output that we'll be heading into mid tier, off of them pretty soon. We've got some lofty goals that came from that, from that convention. So, jay, what's your word count like every day, what are you shooting for and what's what's the goal with it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So, coming back from 20 bucks Vegas, I kind of did a real quick Recap of what I wanted to do from this point to the end of 22, 2022, and it's a ridiculous amount of books and breaking it down as a daily word count, it's about About 900,000 words was my estimate of all the books that I was gonna wanting to do and the word counts for the books and things. It's almost a million words, you know, and so I broke it down to it 2,500 words per day every day from now until the end of 2022. I I started off really strong. The last couple days I haven't done that, yeah, but I've also finished one of the projects I was working on and doing some revisions on it, while I'm also outlining For a new project. So I'm kind of still involved in it and I'll hit those word counts up again as soon as I get the outlining done, which will help me keep that production in the speed and and the quality of it Pretty strong, moving forward.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think the consistency here is where Leeworth's gonna, is where the output is important, because my output for this year, my goal, was 5000 words a day and I've kind of got a little bit of a different working situation Now than I did earlier in the year, where that's a little bit more possible now but I really found myself being burnt out at 5000. 5000 was pushing it. I've dropped my word count down to about 3000, but I've been putting a massive emphasis on consistency and I found it has helped, you know, tremendously. I really do enjoy sitting down to write 3000 words, which, for anybody who wants to know 3000 words, you know, divided by 500 words a page or 250 words a page.

Speaker 2:

I really not talking about big chunks of of, of time here we're talking about three, four hours, you know, and to me that's a worthy investment and for something that's going to be, you know, building us a future, building us a career I mean intellectual property, that sort of thing that's going to be here for a long time. You know, books are really curious, curious things, and in fact the author world itself is very curious. There were two things that I noticed in Vegas, and that was number one you could not find the horror authors. We couldn't find them. Yeah, they were hiding, and then there were almost no horror authors on any kind of panel. And so I mean, what? What's your take on the horror market as it is? Is it, is it a dwindling market, or is it just kind of a smaller one that needs more attention? You know, some more mainstream stuff, some faster releases.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I've seen this conversation recently in some of the Facebook groups and social media about the question going around is are we in the golden age of horror? You know, and Some said yes, some said no. I think we're in an opportunity now where there are more different kinds of horror that's able to hit the market because of indie publishing. You know they don't have to kind of hit the main things that that some of the big trad houses want to publish, and so you have a huge variety of different kinds of horror, of different flavors, different shades of the gray. You know, you name it, it's, it's out there, it's available, and I think that's an amazing thing. And you know what scares one person is not going to scare another person, or what one person is going to scare another person, what one person finds kind of creepy and dark, others won't see that, and so there's room for all of that at the table.

Speaker 3:

With that said, I think a lot of horror authors and and I have a little bit of this in me too is, you know, we have, we want to look at it as a literary thing, is as my art, you know, and I get that. I absolutely get that. You know I'd love to be nominated as first stoker and win a stoker award. I you know that would be a really cool thing. But I think a lot of horror authors in particular kind of they have the opportunity to make money off of it. But I don't know if they see it. You know, I don't know if they kind of recognize it of making it a marketable genre for them. But I think it's possible. I really do. But you just got to look at it in a slightly different way, I think.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think, I think there's something that's really tough and horror and that there's not always a happy ending.

Speaker 2:

You know, even in things like dark fantasy or grim dark fantasy, often you'll still have the sense that the hero has won something, even though you know Something bad has happened along the way. Even though you know all hell is broken loose and it's it's just terrible, you still feel like there's a chance for the hero, the chance for the story to continue with. With horror it's very tough. You find a lot of one-off, a lot of one-offs. You know a lot of standalone novels, because Writing a horror series is tough when everybody keeps dying Right. So I mean, I I think we as horror authors need to Kind of adopt other mindsets that other genres of current using.

Speaker 2:

You know, trying to figure out how to write in a series while Still not being so emotionally taxing on our readers that they can't read the second and third book without a break. Because we want them to read. You know, we want them to go on to read the next book and the next book from the next book and, and I think you and I we've kind of got A couple of test things that we're doing this following year. You know they're they're lofty tests. It might be they could completely flop, right, but but I mean to let's talk about your two current projects. You got, I think, the one that was talking about your, your series of shorts, a shorter novellas that you're talking about, and then let's talk about your three Book deal that you have signed your way into.

Speaker 2:

Let's talk about that, because I think that's important too, to know that. You know we, as horror authors, we we can still get book deals. You know we can still get, especially for this one, because this is, you know, just like we talked about, it's a series and that's important.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'll start with that one first, because that's the one I'm currently working on. But there's a new imprint that started off with Westerns and they shifted focus into adding a horror branch to their catalog and it's called Raven Tail publishing and I had an idea for a story again came off of a short story I wrote and I submitted a three chapter sample and a synopsis and that's all I had Anything else written and I told them that when I had a conversation with them. But so I ended up getting a three book deal from them and it's gonna be Basically the easy short answer or easy short hand to it is a vampire in a zombie apocalypse. Pretty cool, cuz. Yeah, you know, vampires need blood and what do you do when all the blood is ruined because they're zombies? You know how does he survive and how does that Dynamic work with, with the zombies and with humans, and, like you know, what do you do with humans? Do you want to eat him? Do you want to save him? What do you? Yeah, there's a lot of choices you have to make.

Speaker 3:

So it's it's been pretty fun and I've knocked out first one already, the first draft ever. I got to do some revisions and outlining the second one. So that's kind of the first project. But then the next one. I'm gonna do a five book series and I haven't really talked to you much about it since I kind of Drift a little closer to where I think I'm gonna finally do with this Sure. So we'll just share it already here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I called you out on this and now you did no that's awesome.

Speaker 3:

So it's.

Speaker 3:

I'm looking at doing kind of like a hundred house style of books, five books In my fictional town of Brownsville, illinois, but it's gonna follow.

Speaker 3:

So there was a tornado that came through this area back in 1925 and it's called the tri-state tornado deadliest tornado on record and it it went through and it wiped out this school that was like a couple blocks from where I used to live and Now it's just a park, but there was a school there and I think I Can't remember how many kids died at this school and even through that the town there's still about 20 people that were never accounted for, they could never find them, and there was several hundred people died through this tornado.

Speaker 3:

So the plan was to do this series of five books following these houses built on this site where the school was, and each book followed one of the Kids, one of the ghost victims, as they're Making life terrible for the people that are living in this house. So it was that's kind of what I'm leaning toward for the project. I want to do shorter books, novellas, and kind of do a rapid release with them, try to kind of test the market and end, see if that's going to be a viable option. See if I can do a series that way and see how readers respond to that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's um and so, and I'm going to chime in only because I know a little bit about the strategy. We've talked about this, the rapid release, and you said testing the market, your Five book series at about 30,000 a piece. You're looking at 150k. I mean that's basically 32 books, 30,000 words. Yeah, yeah, 30,000 words a piece. You're looking at the investment of, you know, time value, investment of about two books. But you're gonna give these shorter, complete you know complete stories of part of a larger universe Over the course of X number of months or or weeks. Well, still, you know, having that time value, investment of, you know, just basically, two books. You know, because average, you know we write a horror book it could be anywhere between, you know, 50,000 to 100,000, it just depends, right? So so, yeah, I mean I I think you and I talked about that too is that starting to see a greater shift towards shorter books, shorter, more intense books and especially in the indie market, where there is when our focus is on e-books of, people are not really too concerned about the page count. If you've got a compelling story, a compelling blurb and a and an awesome cover, I think people want to read it. They're not really too concerned about the word count. But that is something that you kind of risk in your reviews, I think, is when people start commenting on a shorter book and they wish they had more right. But also, at the same time, I think you're kind of fulfilling some promises by releasing, you know, another one, and another one, and another, back to back. So I think there's, I think there's a place where I think the people will forgive you for not giving them, you know, super, super lengthy, verbose books, full of flowery prose, and I think that's great.

Speaker 2:

I think, because I think that's where we, as you know, indie horror authors, that's where we need to step in. That's where we need to start putting out some, some content, some books, and nobody says it has to be bad or nobody says it has to just be okay. These can be good books. Well, put them out with the intent to write more. Put them out with the intent to try and bring people into a series, you know, have them invested in our characters. I think that's where my major shift has been, when I, when I switched over, when I was originally writing. So I started off in kind of dark fantasy, thinking that's where I wanted to be, but I grew up reading epic fantasy. I grew up reading Brandon Sanderson and and lower the rings. I remember I read lower the rings twice, which I didn't probably understand half the words in it when I was reading it back then. And you know middle school and high school, but I read it twice.

Speaker 3:

So then, what was your shift? Why? Why go from that to horror then?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think it became. I think I was teetering on the edge of horror almost the entire time. My dark fantasy was very, very dark, but I missed a lot of the tropes. It's a good book, it's a good series. I'm finishing it up this year, you know I'm pretty motivated to to see it through and and it's it's kind of interesting because the books get better, I can tell, the writing gets better, the tropes get better through the series. But I think my shift came when I realized I was that man. I said I've been teetering on the edge of horror and you even told me that, I think when, in a discussion we had, he said man, you probably need to give horror a look, and so I even put it off. I put it off even further. So when you told me I should have looked into horror, I went and wrote a zombie apocalypse series. Well, yeah, talk about that.

Speaker 3:

How'd that go for you?

Speaker 2:

That was great. So that was a big science experiment for me. So I love business. I love the business of writing Ads and marketing.

Speaker 2:

I love it almost as more than writing I think I love running my business and so I did a rapid release right to market. I took in a trope that had been overdone and blown up, you know, for you know hundred years people have been writing about zombies. So I took that trope that I knew very, very well and wrote shorter books in a fast and a shorter amount of time, over a little fifty thousand word books. I made a very episodic. You know, big deal in the last couple years has been the walking dead. So I tried to imagine how would I put the walking dead, you know, into a, into a series, and then I threw something, a, through a wild card in there that made it just completely different than everything else. And I guarantee it's not a zombie book out there right now where your main character is a powerful telekinetic Guarantee it. And it sounds weird when you talk about it and sounds weird to say it with the zombie apocalypse man. But it works and it's a blast to write. I wrote three books and it's set up for more in the future if I decide to come back to it.

Speaker 2:

But I think right now my real, my real love, my real pride and joy is in horror. I took that first reader magnet Peel that I offer on my website. I took that. That was actually a dark fantasy, horror story that I wrote, the first story I ever wrote. I rewrote that thing and it's a beast. It's a 15,000 word romp through suburbia. I mean, grab you by the back of the neck and and make you watch something terrible. It is an awesome little story and that's where my love of horror really set in, said yeah, this is this is where you need to be.

Speaker 2:

You know I've been watching horror movies all my life, man. I've been reading Stephen King and to since I was 10 years old.

Speaker 3:

You know I probably probably explains a lot, to be honest, I mean I wasn't gonna say, but you know, no, that's cool. You know, I think I think you discount the zombies from horror a little too quickly. I mean, they are a part of horror, you know they, they belong, you know they. There's also post apocalyptic fiction and they belong there too. But I think, you know, I definitely think it's in the horror thing. So with that, so I know how that's gone for you, I know you're the quality of that. So Again, going back to our Vegas trip, coming back from it, now I know both of us have just been really psyched about what the future holds for us and what we want to do. You know I talked about the three book series I'm doing for the publisher and talked about the five book shorter book series that I'm doing. So what are your plans coming up for this year?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I'd like to finish off Of that epic fantasy series that I started writing. I'm gonna finish that. That's just kind of something that I owed to a couple loyal fans who have followed me over from From dark fantasy and and now into horror. I've actually converted a lot of my newsletter. They came from dark fantasy and just fell in love with horror and I think it's probably my particular horror that they were okay with because it was, you know, it was me, it was my writing and they were okay with that.

Speaker 2:

My plan's moving forward. After that, I've got a pretty lofty project I have in mind. It's inspired by one of the things that that I'm actually afraid of. So now we get to talk about my my my fears that make no sense. Yes, so I don't like trains, locomotives and this one I can completely blame on Stephen King. So I don't like the big trains, the big locomotives, the steam powered ones, the coal powered ones. I don't like them and I love those things All right, cool, cool.

Speaker 2:

Uh, they scare the piss out of me. I don't know why and I can't explain it, but I won't get on one. And uh, I remember reading the dark tower series by Stephen King and that's kind of a weird post-apocalyptic, kind of a weird dystopian, but also horror it's. It's weird. Yeah, I remember reading one up until Eddie the train. I don't remember what book that is, so somebody please let me know what book that is so I can make sure never to read it. But that was the one where the train I think it was like a flying locomotive and then it had like a glass floor or something crazy. If I could be completely wrong on that one, but but that scared the piss out of me and so I stopped reading that series at that at Eddie the train.

Speaker 3:

So, thomas, the Tank Engine was a no-go for you. No, no.

Speaker 2:

In fact the animation on that is horrifying. If you go watch the, I think it's claymation if you just actually watch it for a minute that's nightmare fuel.

Speaker 3:

No wait, I love that stuff. It goes to what I said earlier, like what scares one person does not scare another. There's so many variables involved in that.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, anyway. So I'm waltzing a little bit, but, yeah, my future book series coming out. I had this idea first. It started as a casino, but that's only because you and I gambled and we sucked at it. So I wanted to at least use that experience for something.

Speaker 2:

So I figured, might as well turn it into a book and have it pay itself off. But no, I came up with this idea. I said train station would be kind of cool. And then I said what if the train station is bringing souls and these souls are just trying to figure things out? But in the meantime we're kind of meeting each character one by one, so it's not quite a viewpoint shift per book inside the book. It's a viewpoint shift per book, so we get a different character per book Right, and so I imagine it in two phases, probably five or six characters as they arriving at the train station and we're learning about them, and then five or six characters the same ones later as we get either more of their back story or about how they're trying to work together to escape, or whatever.

Speaker 2:

But the focus is going to be on this station and bringing these characters together. So it's going to be highly character driven, but that's going to be a 10 book rapid release series.

Speaker 1:

Glutton yes.

Speaker 2:

But once I'm committed, I'm committed. So I think it'll be great because I can test out the first five books, just like you're doing, before I commit to the other five, based on the reception, because I can. By the time I'm ready to release the five, I'll have plenty of time to write more if the reception is good enough.

Speaker 2:

So, that's kind of where I can make a shift. If I need to say, hey, this didn't do what I was supposed to do, I missed something here, I missed some tropes or something. It's not getting the traction I need, I can back off and kind of abandon the project at the midway point but still have a complete series of something interesting.

Speaker 3:

And I'm looking just to kind of interject a little bit. I'm doing five, but I'm leaving it somewhat open where I can continue to add to it Again. Just like you said, if readers are really digging it, if it's got a lot of traction, it'll be a complete arc within those five. But it'll be left open enough that I can keep going with it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think the important thing is with this type of books, we are writing what we want to write, but at the same time we're making sure we're hitting those tropes. We're making sure that we're delivering the product to the market that the reader wants. So we have to kind of look at what the overall story type is. Do we have a hero's journey? Do we have the underdog story? Do we have what type of themes do we see present? So we have to be really cognizant of those and I think if we do that, actually let me back to it. I think a lot of authors they write what they want to write and instead of keeping in mind this is tough love here, but they don't write necessarily what the audience wants to read.

Speaker 1:

I think that's a sticky point.

Speaker 2:

We need to make sure we're delivering what they want, but trying to find the happy medium where we're happy, where we can write what we want, because nobody wants to write stuff they don't want to write, right yeah.

Speaker 3:

And I agree with you on that. I think a lot of authors they look at it for art's sake and that's cool. If that's what your goal is, then have at it, do it the best you can and enjoy it and have fun with it. But if your goal is a little different, if your goal is to replace your job with your writing, if your goal is to pay the bills with your writing, if your goal is to get out of debt with your writing, then you do have to make a little bit of different choices. And it's not compromising you as an artist, but it's you making more informed decisions before you go into a project. So that I've seen the Venn diagram of the things that you like to write, the things that readers like to read, and then it's that section in the middle where they combine and that's where you want to meet them at.

Speaker 3:

And I've had a lot of tough talks with myself about what I'm doing and one of the things that I have to keep considering is the stuff I write meant to be read, right? Not by me. I'm writing it. It's not meant to be read by me, it's meant to be read by somebody else. That's the whole point of writing is you want somebody else to read it, and I don't care how closely I'm invested in it, how much I absolutely love it. A couple of my books I absolutely love them. My readers don't have that same feeling towards it, which means I miss the mark for the reader. I nail it for me. That's cool, but I'm not buying my books. I'm not the one that's going to do that, and so I've had this talk with myself a lot lately of what am I doing it for? I'm doing it because I love doing it. I love crafting stories, but craft stories for other people to read them, and if they're not reading them, it means I'm missing the mark on something.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that type of forethought is investing in our business and I think that's important. I mean, none of us want to put our heart and soul into a book and then sit there and say, man, I wrote a really good book for myself, I put a nice cover on it, and then sit back and wonder, man, this didn't sell. What the heck? The readers must be screwed up and I don't think this is the business, where you can stand up and say the reader is wrong.

Speaker 1:

I don't think the reader can be wrong.

Speaker 2:

It's just like any other business that the customer is always right and that's just good practice. That's just good practice. If you're looking at making this, do this now. And the same thing goes for any kind of literary stuff. If you want to write literary horror, I mean I can't guarantee that it's gonna end up being a long, lucrative career of writing literary horror. You know, one book, two books a year I think that's a kind of a struggle and there are authors who are doing very, very well making, you know, writing one book a year.

Speaker 2:

We're spending, you know, a lot of their lifeblood and putting, you know, putting the effort into a single book and and just and Hoping and praying when it's time to release it. But I think you'll find there are more authors who are putting out more content we're putting out more books and and they have a little bit easier time getting traction than those who put out you know we put out less books. So I think we have to find a happy medium. Just like you said, we have to have a have a happy medium on the literary versus kind of mainstream horror topics. We have to have the happy medium versus the the market, that what they want versus what we want to write, and I think we have to find a balance and I think just taking the couple extra you know minutes to read up on a few of the books that you might want to emulate, you know, for their market, to find out where you might be able to slip in, to be able to analyze the charts, I think taking those few extra minutes or something that you and I both kind of lack Last year we were in kind of a mad word count dash to put out books and we really didn't think about the market.

Speaker 2:

And I think that's really where things are going to change this year for you and I both, because we are Reading more in the genre. That's important. We are Analyzing the books that are doing very well and wondering why they're doing well, and then we're looking at things that readers are Expecting and how to deliver that thing, but in our own voice. And so I think that your haunted house story is going to be Excellent against me, great, because you know what goes into a haunted house story and you're expecting to give that thing with your own flair. If you go off a different direction on it, then it's a risky take.

Speaker 3:

You know it's very risky right, and you know I Do. You want to keep reiterating like I agree with what you're saying about Do that research and getting ahead of time, because that you know, you and I both have similar goals of what we want our writing to be Right. There's still a lot of other authors that that's not their goal. They want to write what they want to write and they want to be. You know, they want to craft these Super original, very different types of stories and that's awesome, that's great. We need that.

Speaker 3:

But you also have to go to that with the expectation that it may not sell. You know, readers just might not pick it up because it's it's just a little too different for them. Sometimes that little different is exactly what they want and it just catches fire and you know it's the next big hit and that's cool. But I don't think for me, that's that those odds don't work for me. I want to set those odds a little better in my favor for success, so that I can deliver better books to my readers by keeping it in mind that they're the customer. I mean you got to look at it that way because they're gonna consume these books.

Speaker 3:

I'm not reading like that's that they're going to and it's just you know we hear it all the time in our you know in 20 books about you know what's your mountain? You know, and if your mountain is just a right, really weird off off the kind of stuff, cool, I'll read it. But if it's you want to make a living with her or you want to do you catch the market with what you're doing, or whatever it is, you know like that's awesome, you know, go for it. There's just so many different opportunities in different ways to To be successful and whatever your definition of success is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and this is the. This is by far one of the nicest communities that we could possibly be in, I think, unij, we're both just thankful to be a part of these groups, so I'm gonna leave. I'm gonna leave off this episode. With this next year, jay and I are happy to be Spearheading an anthology from the horror writers genre meetup from the 2021 Vegas trip. So we've got I think our sign up right now is we had 12 Horror authors or authors that want to be horror writers that we are going to be sponsoring into our anthology. They'll be paid for their work and we're gonna hold their hand each step of the way. Some of them have a few stories out, but most of them are pretty, pretty new. So we're happy to spearhead that and really start bringing some more Light to the horror genre, moving forward in 20 books and moving forward in the indie publishing world. So my name is David for goods. You can find me at David very goods comm and search my name on Amazon for any of my books. Jay, working people find you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so my name is Jay bower. My website's Jay bower author comm. Again, you can look up Jay bower on Amazon, but be careful of Jay bowers with an S. There are some books about eating paleo or something like that, and that that's not me, that those aren't mine.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Well, jay, thanks for joining me today. Thank you everybody for listening. Please, like, subscribe, whatever the hell you do a podcast and until next week we're signing off. This is the nightmare engine.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the nightmare engine podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay bower, where nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Exploring Horror and Writing Styles
Horror Authors and Word Count Goals
Horror Authors and the Market Potential
Book Projects and Writing for Readers' Expectations