A place where moments take your breath away




One evening, a couple of months ago, when I fell asleep in my cozy warm bed, I had an amazing dream. I woke in the morning, quickly sat up in bed and announced to my sleeping fiancé that I just dreamt my next book.

Scared out of a sound sleep, Matt sat up, looked at me and then laid back down, turned on his side and went back to sleep. I think I even HEARD him roll his eyes. Damn him for being unsupportive! Trust me, when I land a million dollar movie deal he won’t be so quick to roll over and go back to sleep. I’m guessing he will jump out of bed and waltz around the room with me in his arms, begging me to tell him what my dream was about. (Okay, yes, I am a dreamer while sleeping and when awake.)

So, this week I had an epiphanic moment. I wondered why my books had to have a happy ending. Although there is turmoil with my characters, I like when things work out. So in a personal challenge to seek clarity I compared myself to another author. Listen, when I compare, I compare big and so I chose Nicholas Sparks. Most his books end with his protagonist dying at the end of the story which provokes an emotional bond with our own mortality. Well, according to “Nicholas Sparks on Nicholas Sparks” he has loved and lost.

Taking a closer look at my life, I have experienced very little tragedy. My parents are still happily married after 42 years, my sisters are my best friends, I have children whom have given me very little heartache and I’ve known  stability in working for the same company for 20+ years. I’ve lost my grandparents to old age and although difficult, it’s acceptable because that’s life. And in taking a closer look, I find it hard to write out of my comfort zone.

However, at one time in my life I was put to that challenge. I was co-writing a book in the genre of horror. I know, I know, I paid to see Titanic 17 times in the theatre. I’m a romantic at heart and my experience with horror consisted of Jaws. So my Co-writer sat me down and spread out in front of me Hostel 1 and 2, Crazy Eights, 28 weeks and 28 weeks later, land of the dead, Unrest and The deaths of Ian Stone and he said watch closely, this is research!!

I was completely horrified in the beginning, watching the movie from the inside of my hands and by the last one; I laughed at the script and admired the creativity. I was ready to step out of my element of Happy and walk down the path of Horror. The book went something like this:


 (Scene from chapter five)
Unedited version


With each footstep, Jay’s heart beat louder. His eyes worked hard to see past the darkness surrounding him while he pushed his body against the bathroom door waiting out the next move. In the darkened room the shimmering silver of his own blade flashed in front of his eyes.

Then with a quickness he did not see, the blade sliced across his face. He felt the sharp metal force its way through one cheek and then out the other. His right hand flew up to his face and cupped under his jaw trying to deaden the pain. His other hand reached for the door hoping to find a way out.  This time the door was unlocked; he threw it open and slammed it shut behind him as he ran into the living room.

Jay placed his fingertips along the cut from one side of his cheek to the other. He was in utter shock and desperately scrambled to understand what had just happened, how such a thing could be possible. The pain throbbed as he tried to think of a way to fix his jaw.

He looked down toward the bathroom for the culprit that sliced his face but the hallway was surrounded in complete darkness. Instead of risk his life in search of medical supplies in the bathroom cabinet he walked over to a small desk by the front door.  

Jay rummaged through papers in the desk looking for anything to fix his disfigured jaw. In the very corner of the drawer he felt something hard and cold. When he pulled it out of the drawer he realized he held a stapler.

He hesitated a moment trying to anticipate the pain that would be associated with using such a tool on his now swollen face. He took a deep breath, grabbed the skin from his upper and lower cheek, squeezed it between his fingers and pressed down feeling the staple thrust the metal through the thick piece of meat.

 Jay heard the click of the stapler before he felt the surging pain. He yelled out from his closed mouth and roughly grabbed the next piece of flesh and slammed the next staple into the severed wound. He refused to give himself enough time to wince at the pain so he continued to put in the next staple and then the next.

He could taste the tart blood spurt into his mouth and he felt it drizzle down his fingers and the side of his face. After he slammed the last staple into his wound he took the staple gun and hurled it across the room toward the window, watching it bounce off as if thrown against rubber. Gripping his face while the pain pulsated through his veins, he made his way to the couch to sit down. With each beat of his heart he tried to endure the throbbing pain.


(Scene from chapter eight)
Unedited version


     Jay removed his jacket and shirt and neatly laid it across the couch. He brought his sharp knife to his arm and without contemplation he punctured the skin at his forearm dragging the knife down to the end of his wrist. A trail of blood followed the sharp tip. Pain no longer existed in his world. He was trapped in the house of the family he slaughtered and being held against his will by something haunting him. He knew no other way out than to try to die.

He put the knife in the hand of his wounded arm and before his muscles gave out he slit the other wrist, letting the knife fall to the ground. Both his arms lay lifeless next to him as he stared up at the ceiling and waited for death to take him; waited for his life to drain from his body.

 Warm blood gushed from his wounds and formed a puddle around him. He smiled as his vision began to fade and darkness engulfed his senses.  He was ready to die but today would not be that day. Hours later, Jay woke in the same room, to the same music, wearing the same clothes and when he gazed down at his arms, only scars remained. In that moment, he realized, he couldn’t die and with a new form of bravado he decided to challenge the very force that had kept him locked behind his personal hell.

     He heard a noise coming from the bedroom where he slaughtered the unsuspecting family. This time bravely he stomped his way toward the back room throwing open the door. The transparent figure of a boy sitting alone playing with his toys gave Jay an eerie feeling. With all his strength he ran toward the apparition.

“I killed you once; doesn’t anyone stay dead around here?” In his attempt to tackle the ghostly child, a large boom blast through the room and threw him against the wall.

A single bullet hit the back of his neck and passed through is chin. Jay fell hard to the ground, grabbing his throat and gasping for air.  He reached out to the child but quickly pulled his hand away when he realized the child was playing with an illusion of his severed head…. 

I put that book down three years ago and although 3/4 of the way done, I never brought it out again. I know it is possible to step outside ones element of creativity, but I decided to leave horror to Stephen King and continue to write what makes my pulse rise and my heart beat.




April 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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