So you can read my books

Thursday, October 31, 2019

HALLOWEEN: Why Are We Drawn to the Dark?

Why are we drawn to horror? Why are good girls drawn to bad boys?

1.) The allure of the forbidden.

That is one of the reasons horror beckons to us from out of the shadows.

Why is that boy, that deserted mansion, forbidden?

It is as old as the blood which pulsed cold and tingling through Eve's veins as she reached for that forbidden fruit on that hauntingly lovely tree.


2.) Curiosity.

It is human nature to want to know what lies over the horizon. It's what drove the pioneers across wild, hostile lands.

What does that locked door conceal? That chained chest. Why those heavy links, that rusted lock?

Is this all there is? Or is there more beyond mere line of sight? We know there is more.

Science tells of us of dark matter piercing the cosmos with light-years long strands of matter invisible to the human eye. 

We are likewise blind to the world of germs. What other worlds are we blind to?

Give a nugget of uranium, a tiny stone really, to an aborigine. Tell him it is a good luck charm. Tell him to drop it in the village well.

What harm could one tiny stone do? 

Visit his village two months later. View the many corpses laying strewn like dead dreams all across the ground.

3.) Identification.

We watch and imagine what we would do in like situations. 

The world dissolves into chaos as random individuals descend slowly into madness.

You are picked up by the local sheriff as you are doing your morning walk with your dog. 

He orders you and your dog into the back of the car. 

He presses his gun to your dog's head and rambles on about brains looking like wet oysters. Do you want to see?

What would you do? What could you do?

Life is frightening: 

Global warming. Diseases that eat the very flesh of your body. 

We watch horor on the screen to encapsulate the horror of real life. It is not us up there.

We would be smarter, faster, more in control of our emotions.

We like the adrenaline rush sudden scares give us. 

Safer than driving fast, dating inappropriate guys or gals, and with the thrill of saying mentally, "It's not real; I'm still safe."


4.) The Darkness Within.

Terror versus Horror. 

Is one more physical; the other more mental? 

Does revulsion and squriming terror pierce through our mental barriers to stab deep into our unconscious fears ... and desires?

(Take the public fascination with the trilogy of the girl with the dragon tattoo:

she is repeatedly brutalized, raped, shot, and beaten. 

The books and movies are bestsellers. 

Is there a darkness in us that wants to roll around in sadism like a cat does catnip?)

You are horrified by the news of the floods in Pakistan. 

You are terrorized when you wake up one New Orleans morning to the news that the dams have burst, 

and you look out your front door to see rushing waters swallow your neighbor's home ... then your very own.    

Horror is realizing the monsters are real and are out there to get you. 

Terror is looking into the mirror, seeing yourself becoming one -- but still enough you to scream silently at the sight.

Stephen King said horror literature is a means for us to take out the monster, play with it for a while, and put it back.

But who is the monster?

Is he some squirming presence waiting on the other side of the dimensional wall waiting for a crack to appear? 

Is he the beloved president whose wife is slowly going insane at the awful reality of who he truly is?

Or does his/her eyes stare back at you from the mirror?

Carl Jung:
"Everyone carries a shadow, 

and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. 

At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions."

Why do you think we read horror? 

Why are we so drawn to dressing up as monsters or as our secret identities? 

Why do you write the genres you do? 

And what role does "control" or "lack of control" play in horror/scary movies and literature?

Monday, October 28, 2019


Many writers might say they would
want a chauffeur 
in a luxury limousine!

 But not C. Lee McKenzie


In her blog tour for her latest,
She and I talked about motivation.

So without further delay 
here are Lee's thoughts ...

My biggest motivation to write is my love of language and my desire to tell a good story. 
 For me, it’s a game to see how I can express what’s in my head so that it’s understandable 
And --I hope-- enjoyable for others to read.
When it comes to language, my drafts are wretched things with lots of compound sentences--one damned “and” after another!
 The “justs” abound, and I can’t use
“so” enough it seems. 
Then after something similar to water torture, the prose starts to look and sound more like the melody I want. 
However, I’m never satisfied, so I suppose I’m doomed to repeat the torturous process.
And don’t even ask about plot. I’m terrible at getting that right. 
If I could lay out a plot instead of write the story by the seat of my pants, I know I’d have better luck
with what happens first and next and last, 
but I’ve tried, and any motivation I had
to create a story vanishes in a flash. 
I’m doomed to re-write a lot, to move
sections around, and delete, delete, delete. 
If I used a real wastebasket instead of a virtual one, 
I’d be emptying it hourly some days.
I’m a reader and have read a lot longer than I’ve written stories. 
Good writers intrigue me, and I think I’m motivated to keep writing so one day I can be in their
That would please me no end.
I have to also admit that it’s fun playing goddess. I love to decide who the good guy is, 
what he looks like, and just how much trouble I can drop him into. 
It’s a very powerful feeling to choose the character who winds up with the gold ring and which one loses out. 
But my most favorite part of writing and often what
keeps me going is 
when I can re-write scenes from my real life, so they turn out much better in my stories than they did when they actually happened. 
I love it when a character comes up with the perfect retorts or the best solutions, 
the ones I didn’t have the presence of mind to use when I had the chance once upon a time.
Thanks for asking me about my motivation, Roland. 
I liked this question.

Be sure to enter Lee’s giveaway featured below.

* Not Guilty
* by C. Lee McKenzie
* Publication Date: October 25, 2019
* Genre: Young Adult

          A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
          The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. 

In the judge’s rap of a gavel, Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life.
          Angry? Hell, yes.
          He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
But can he prove it?

For those who aren’t familiar with Lee, here’s a bit of background on her.

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. 

She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent one.

          Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.

          When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

The author’s other young adult books include: Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las PulgasDouble NegativeSudden Secrets


With Halloween celebrated this week, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter link below

Thanks for stopping by today during Lee’s visit. Do you enjoy stories where the underdog becomes the champion? 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway.