I talk with Roland about the recent ALLI income survey and we discuss A.I. and ChatGPT.

Ben Monroe is on to talk about his horror book, the Seething. Ben’s got to be a great guy because he likes Weird Al and writes horror. Ben takes a simple thing – family vacation – and turns it on it’s head to create his horror novel.

Then we delve into the roots of horror and classic horror. We share a love of The Shining, but there are plenty of horror authors besides King. This include movies which are its own form of story and way of telling the horror.





Dark Carnival


Alli author income survey

AI and ChatGPT



today on Discovered Wordsmith, I want to welcome Ben Monroe. Ben, how are you doing today? I’m doing good, Steven. How are you? Good. Nice and sunny getting ready for springtime. A little chilly, but still sunny.

Ben: It’s about the same out here actually.

Stephen: Okay.

And where is out here? Tell us a little bit about you where you live and some of the things you like to do besides writing. There you go.

Ben: So I live in the San Francisco Bay area specifically the East Bay area. I’m just south of Oakland. We’ve been having rains and storms and all kinds of craziness for the last few days.

Last week we got snow up in the hills, which probably isn’t a big deal for you, but for us it’s wow. Snow, right? Yeah. Yeah. We don’t know how to dr. We don’t know how to drive on that, so we just stay outta the mountains. The hills even. Yeah I’m a East Bay nato pretty much. My folks moved to the Bay Area when I was about three years old in the early seventies.

Things I like to do when I’m not writing, regular stuff, hang out with my family. Watch movies, a huge movie buff. I love, in fact, that’s one of the great things about the East Bay here is we have, I think, hundred 80,000 acres of usable open space. So there’s plenty of hiking trails and stuff to, to do, to get outside.

Never hurting for things to do around here.

Stephen: And we beforehand, we were chatting, we found out we both like weird Al. So yes, that’s a good thing. I’m sure somebody doesn’t, but Oh yeah, I, who cares

Ben: what they think,

Stephen: right? Yeah. There, there’s some TV show or something I saw where the one character mentioned Weird Al no one goes, how old are you?

It’s oh, that shouldn’t be loud. That’s just wrong. So what’s I agree. What’s one of the favorite movies you’ve seen recently? Oh, gosh. What

Ben: Neil, I actually haven’t seen a lot in the last few weeks. I saw, oh, you know what? Watched recently? The Quick and the Dead Sam Ramey Western from the early nineties, which I hadn’t seen in years.

And it was great. It was so much fun. Sharon Stone plays the, I’m sorry, the that tough bitten gunslinger who comes back to town to take revenge on, all the wrongs done to her. She was awesome and. It was funny because I was thinking at the time that was like Sam’s first mainstream movie.

I think he had just done the Dark Man movies or something, and then all the Evil Dead and stuff before that, and so this. While as nuts as it was very toned down from your usual Sam Ramey stuff, but you could still see those Sam Ramey trademarks, closing in on a bullet and watching it, tracking as it’s shooting out the gun through Gene Hackman’s head and

Stephen: Nice.


Ben: haven’t actually, I

Stephen: think it’s on Amazon Prime now. Okay. Yeah. I haven’t actually seen that one though. I do a lot of the modern westerns. My father was a big Western guy. Nice. Okay. So your book wanna talk a little bit about that? It’s called the Seething. Tell us a little bit about your book and why you wanted to write it.

Ben: So the seating it’s a story about family having a pretty bad vacation. They go to the mountains, they’re sorting some stuff out, they’re one of those familiar transitionary places that a lot of families go through and they’re trying to figure out what they wanna do next and what direction they’re going.

And they go back to stay in the childhood home of Gay Barnes, who’s the dad of the family. His father had passed away mysteriously three years earlier. And while they’re there, over the course of a week, they start coming into contact with the reason why the dad disappeared mysteriously a few years earlier.

So there’s a lake monsters and stuff, and, it’s pretty creepy and scary. Hopefully.

Stephen: It’s not a romance. No,

Ben: no, not at all.

Stephen: Okay. And why’d you wanna write this particular book? So

Ben: go back to the East Bay Hills for a moment. Cause that was actually the genesis of the story. I was hiking around lake Chabot, which is right on the edge of Oakland, Castro Valley, that kinda area a few years ago.

In the middle of one of our big droughts. And. I was hiking around this lake and these little pontoons, where the people can park a boat and get out and fish and do stuff. The boats go up and down as the

drought was noticing. I was enjoying hiking and running around for years. These floats were getting lower and lower and lower until they were basically resting on dry land. The lake had receded so much that they were just sitting there. They weren’t floating, they were sitting, and maybe this is a writer brain thing.

I like to think it’s a writer brain thing. It’s definitely a my brain thing. I started looking at it thing going, wow. And I don’t know why this popped into my head. I read a lot of horror. So I started thinking, wow. If there was a monster in that lake, it’s a lot closer to the surface now as the surface was coming down.

So it, it’d be a lot easier for a monster to get you. And then that kind of started a train of thought of if, let’s say you are a monster, a thing, right? And your habitat, your ecosystem was being eliminated. What would you do to get out? How would you try to survive? And that’s one of the central points of this book is how the thing in the lake is trying to get outta the habitat that it’s been trapped in years.

As things are going And so then it was just an idea that stuck in my head at the time. I was writing a lot of short stories and I kept thinking about that lake and that monster and just kept coming back, see, you have a cat too. Yeah, I do. I kept coming back to that idea and then I started writing it and it just took off from

Stephen: there.

Nice. And we’re gonna talk some more horror later. Do you read a lot of horror? Is that your favorite genre to read? That’s my

Ben: favorite genre. That’s actually, it’s primarily what I read. A little bit of non-fiction here and there, but I have I don’t know, I just, I always fall into it.

Aside from that, I’ve got a few fantasy authors that I enjoy. Most of them are sadly, old dead white guys Tolkin and people like that. CS Lewis I love. And I think those intersections between fantasy and horror, which meant we can talk about later. But mostly for fiction.

I read

Stephen: horror. Are there any books or authors that you can think of that are very similar to the seething?

Ben: When I was pitching the thing a lot of the comparisons that were making were to things like the Shining Stephen King’s, the Shining these jaws just for the sort of the ominous way.

He, although honestly, I read the book a million years ago. I’m more familiar with the film, the way. The water attacks were shot so sinister and strange. While I was writing it it’s actually funny you mentioned how much of a fan your dad was in westerns While I was writing it, I was getting into, Louis was reading his stuff and reading a bunch of John Steinbeck as well, which doesn’t seem.

Really connected, but I was really getting into the way Steinbeck and Lamore describe a setting especially a rural setting. My book is set up in the Sierra Nevadas, like it’s a imaginary version of the area around like Tahoe, Donner Pass, those kind of areas. So up in the mountains.

And so I was really interested in the way they described a setting and made it feel so real in the natural sense. Those things. And honestly lovecraft’s the color outta space was a big influence

Stephen: on it as well. Yeah. No, that was just recently a film that, eh, it was okay. I don’t know if you saw it with Nicholas Cage.

I didn’t.

Ben: It’s, I hate to say it’s on my list to make it sound like I’m gonna see it next week, cuz my list is years long at this point. But it’s right. It’s one of those ones I’ll see, one of these days.

Stephen: Yeah, I, it was all right. They really tried to do something a little better and different than some past Lovecraft movie in interpretations.


Ben: And the color has been made into a film a few times too, so I’m curious to see what they did with this version.

Stephen: Yeah, it’s got a definitely higher budget than most of the others yeah. So what’s reader feedback been like for this book?

Ben: The book actually doesn’t come out until March 23rd, but there has been some advanced reviews up.

There are, I think there are five reviews on Good Reads at this point from some people that the publisher sent it off to. And it’s all five star reviews, and the reviews are pretty complimentary. Everyone who’s read it seems to like it. I’ve heard back from a few h I’m sorry, horror Writers Association colleagues that I sent early versions to.

And they all really enjoy it. I think an answer to that question and the people who have read it have told me they like it, and I’m hoping they’re telling the truth,

Stephen: so Good. Great. Do you, if you had a choice, we’ve talked movies a little bit movie fans, TV fans nowadays also, if you had a choice would you like to see this turned into a movie or a TV show?

A movie or a TV

Ben: show? If I had my choice I would love a limited event series is what they call ’em now, right? I think it’s the thing, like a three to six episode long show of just that story. I like to think that there’s too much material in there to make one movie out of, that’s because I’m in love with every word that I put in there, right?

And I’m sure a com a competent, screenwriter, and director could, get right to the really important points and get most of the points across, but, I think it would do well as a limited run show. And it has an ensemble cast. There are enough different characters in it, but I think it could be interesting.

It’s, and it’s told from a few different perspectives as the book goes along. So I think it would be interesting, nice to play in that format

Stephen: a little bit. Nice. Now, typically horror, our standalone is this a standalone and if so, what’s your plans for your next book?

Ben: As written, it’s intended to be a standalone.

Yes. What I’ve been doing though with this book and just about every other short story and honestly the book that I’m working on right now I’m creating sort of my own little setting much like love crafted with arkham and dunwich King’s main Dairy castle Rock area. The settings in my stories the main city is Acosta, California.

Which is, Acosta is a Spanish word, meanings on the coast. It’s down on the coast about halfway between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara is my imagining. And so there are connections between these stories. While none of them are really specifically, sequels to each other or part of a series, any one of ’em could be read in any order.

Stephen: Okay, good. And so we were talking about authors and books. Oh, before I ask that, do you have a website that people could go to and check out all your books? I

Ben: do, yeah, definitely do. Check that out. Really complicated name. It’s ben monroe.com. Got it. Good. And it’ll come right up. Just make sure you spell it right.

If you don’t, who knows where you’ll end up.

Stephen: But you can somebody else trying to swipe your name

Ben: exactly. Some with Monroe with a U. And yeah, you can find links. So I post links to places to buy. All the anthologies that my stories have appeared in, I’ve got about a dozen short stories out over the last couple years.

You’ll have links to, there’ll be link to this webcast probably in, in the next week or so as well. Every appearance I make gets up on media page. If you ever wanted to know, you know a lot about me and watch me ramble on about monsters for hours and hours. That’s the one stop shopping

Stephen: for you.

Got it. Cool. So you mentioned some good horror authors and like The Shining Witches, one of my top three books of all time. So who, what are some of your favorite all-time books, all-time authors.

Ben: Oh gosh so many, so I always, I had to throw out Lovecraft cuz, Lovecraft was really my real introduction to real horror.

As a kid I had watched all the universal monster classics. I was in the Wolfman and, Godzilla not universal, all that stuff. And then I stumbled across a Lovecraft story when I was about, I think eight or nine years old the outsider, which is great.

And that sort of blew my mind. So Lovecraft were, he’s, you’ve seen this kind of problematic today, but he’s still, seminal to me big fan of Stephen King. Love his work. Some other authors more recent oh gosh I guess not really recent. Peter Stra I was getting into a few years ago poppy, is he bright?

Pen name of Billy Martin. I was really read a lot of their stuff back in the early nineties in college. I was obsessed with lost souls Kathy Coachs, the Cipher is great. Recently oh gosh. Grotesque Monster Stories by Lee Murray. It’s a collection of really great short stories, is good.

And not out yet, but they hide by Francesca Maria, another great collection of Monster Stories is coming out in April. I got a chance to read the sneak peek of that, and that’s nice. That’s a lot

Stephen: of fun. Nice. You mentioned king Straub. Did you read what was the book they wrote together?

With Jack The Talisman. Talisman. Talisman,

Ben: yeah. Black House.

Stephen: Oh yeah. Have you read Black House? I haven’t got to that one

Ben: I did a couple years ago. Yeah, it was good. It was good. Interesting. I, it’s fun when those guys, king did it in The Shining and Dr. Sleep and then they did it in Talisman and Black House when they come back to those stories after so many years.

And see how this character has literally, grown up, interesting character

Stephen: studies. Yeah. So that’s cool to hear. It’s on my list. Ha. It’s, that list. Yeah, exactly right. And I mentioned before we started about bookstores. Do you have a local bookstore you like to go to?

Ben: Sadly, no. Okay. I wish I did. There’s there’s Dark Carnival in Berkeley, which is a great story, famous science fiction. Imagine a fiction bookstore which is just far enough out of the way that I don’t get there very often. Sadly, I live in a town that really doesn’t have any bookstores. I’ve gotta go about 20 to 30 minutes out my way in either direction to go.

Got couple half price books in those directions, which I love. It’s a treasure hunt when you go there. Dangerous

Stephen: floor.

Ben: Yeah. And actually I shouldn’t say when I say I don’t have any in town, that I’m like, that’s only because a new bookstore just opened a couple months ago. I think it’s called Books Inc.

And I haven’t had a chance to go there yet. So that’s on my list. My list, we’re gonna use that word. A lot of things to do in the near future is swing by there and check ’em out. Cause it looks like a great bookstore. Nice. I just haven’t had a chance to visit

Stephen: yet. If you stop shoot me an email.

I’d love to hear about it. I can put a link in for it as long as I’ll let you know. As long as they’re good. Which, it’s hard to ruin a good bookstore.

Ben: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Unless it smells weird. I’m pretty much happy at any bookstore, you

Stephen: know, and even then sometimes there’s some charm to that.

There can be. I wanna talk about a few other things. We’re gonna talk about some classic horror and how the storytelling that goes with classic horror. Before we run into that though, if somebody came up to you on the street and said, Hey, Ben, I heard you wrote a book. Why should I get your book and read it?

What would you tell ’em? Because you

Ben: feel sorry for me? No. I it’s a good story. It’s relatable. The characters in this story are pretty much every everyday Joes. They’re just regular people with regular jobs. And then, and this, my, this is actually my favorite kind horror and this is what I think king really does well.

And, go back to Lost Soul, is that book that I love. I think that was really good as well. Regular people. When suddenly they’re confronted by something so out of the ordinary, they just dunno what to do. You’re having a regular life and then you know, a monster shows up. What do you do? And that’s really what the seating is at its core.

It’s regular people having regular problems, and then the monster shows up.

Stephen: Nice. Good. All right. The seating and you mentioned some future books. What have you learned from when you first started writing and the short stories and the anthologies to the book you’re working on now?

What have you learned and what are you doing different?

Ben: The main thing I’ve learned I’ve come back to there’s a couple things, but the main thing is really the difference between a short story and a novel. And obviously one’s short and one’s long, but when when I first started writing a novel seemed overwhelming.

It seemed, oh my God, how do you write a novel? Cause you read a novel. This takes a few days or maybe a week or two, depending on your schedule. And. The idea of writing a novel, I don’t have time to write a novel in a few days. Of course nobody does that, right? But yeah, gotta get yourself in that mindset.

And what really helped me shift a few years ago, I was just outta sorts and I needed to do something to get some exercise, get out, get outside and do something. And so I took up trail running. And, which was a lot of fun, of its own sort of thing. Like I said, I love being outside.

I love being in the mountains and the hills. And so that was fun. And I started thinking a lot about the difference between basically sprints and long distance running. I could go for a short run around the block. That felt pretty good. If I was gonna go for a 5K trail run, that was something I had to build myself up to.

And so that became a metaphor for my writing process as well. Do the little short things. They’re fun, they’re good, they make you feel good, but then focus on that longer goal as well. So the novel became something that I could come back to over time. And when I wrote this evening, that was really how I did it.

I wrote, I think probably. A dozen or more short stories in that same period, and I would just keep coming back to the seething. I follow a lot of open call groups on Facebook and keep an eye out for people who are looking for stories for anthologies, and I’d have an idea if an idea struck me and I couldn’t get it outta my head, I would write that, send it in, go for it, and then go back to the seething and let the seething kind of bubbled along as I was working on these other things.

Okay. Yeah.

Stephen: Nice. So for authors one of the genres I’ve interviewed only a few people in is horror. And there’s probably reasons for that, but it’s one of my favorite genres. And you suggested, Hey, let’s chat a little bit about Classic horror storytelling. Which I was like, yes, please, because partly because I love horror.

I watch horror movies for two months. Around Halloween, I read horrors novels, a friend, and I do a mo a horror movie review podcast. That’s something else I do on the side. So I’m like, yes, let’s talk about classic story time. I’m always, Bringing that up in the podcast about what I see in the right, the movies.

You mentioned all the old Universal and Hammer films and Godzilla and all of that which I’ve read or I’ve watched also, and a lot of classic horror Dracula from over a hundred years ago and some of the classic sci-fi horror from the twenties and thirties. I love that era and stuff.

So what. First of all, why did you choose that as a topic, which I, again, I thought was wonderful. And what have you learned from classic horror novels and stories that you’re bringing in yours, like Lovecraft?

Ben: It’s interesting because if I asked you, I’m gonna interview you for a second.

If I asked you what’s the earliest, what’s the earliest horror story you can think of?

Stephen: There’s Frankenstein and Sure. And recently I’ve been reading vampire from Pari, Uhhuh and Camilla, I read those when I was doing a lot of vampire stuff. But you go all the way back and you got Giles, which is a horse.

There you go. Okay. Yeah,

Ben: See that’s where I’m going. People think Frankenstein, people think Dracula. People don’t think, if I say, what about the Odyssey? The guy curses the gods and the gods curse him back. And it’s not, and you think of the honesty. You think of, oh, there’s, Ady on the boat with this guys and they’re sailing around and having adventures.

They’re sailing around, they’re having an adventures. They land on the island of Cersi who curses again with the cursing, curses his men turn them into pigs and feeds them to the other sailors. That’s whore, yeah. They go a little further. And they end up on the aisle of poly fema, right? This giant who traps them in the cave, gets drunk, eats them live, right?

Eats them. There’s a description of the story where he gets so drunk, he starts vomiting up parts of guys, right? And then to get, then they get ’em back by sharpening this stick, sticking right in the face with it, papa’s eyeball. And then, and that’s gross and sad. And then, and you shoot forward a few, a few hundred or maybe a couple thousand years further, you got things like Beowulf, which again is seen as Yes.

An epic adventure story. The first couple of chapters or stanza or whatever you call ’em in that kind of poem are about who’s essentially Jason Voorhis, in, in another timeline, storming into the hall of Hero. And tearing these vikings limb from limb, and ba finally, Baal finally fights, like rips his arm outta the socket, beats the monster over the head with it.

I think there was actually a scene in one of the Friday 13th movies where a guy is beaten to death with his own arm. And this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and is actually very much an influence on the next book that I’m writing the one that I’m working on now, which when I’ve gotten further into it, I’m happy to talk more about that.

Is that, the horror story is at the roots of so much fiction. Going back to, I even think, we don’t have records of the old. Story is told around the campfire by the Village Wiseman, back in the Neolithic times. But I guarantee you most of those stories were nobody go outside the circle of light or the demons will get you.

Yes. Now we know those demons are bears and wolves and mountain lions, stone Age people didn’t know what they were. It was that horrible, hairy monster with the fangs that would tear you li from limb if you wandered outside the village. Yeah. Another a great example I’ve.

I think it’s great cause I came up with it. But an example I’ve used, fairly frequently to explain this a little deeper is Look at the story of Red Riding Hood, right? The girl who goes into the woods to visit, her grandmother gets there and her grandmother is basically, been eaten by the monster and the monster’s put on her clothing to trick people into, come on here, I’m a nice old lady and let’s have tea and then, kill you and eat you too.

And that’s essentially the story of the Texas Chainsaw Massa. True, almost down to the identical monster. That’s just, it’s interesting to me how, for a genre that is seen as, ooh, horror why do you wanna read horror? It’s we’ve doing this for thousands of years.

As long as we’ve been people, as long as we’ve been able to tell each other’s stories, we were warning each other not to do

Stephen: certain things. And I just read, oh, and I wish I could remember where I read it a while back that the best that, that the difference between horror and Supernatural is horror happens as a buildup, whereas then the I may have this wrong, but then the supernatural happens afterwards and it’s the horror that really gets us, because it’s those internal fears, those parts of us that we’re afraid of the dark, we’re afraid of what’s hiding under the bed and all that.

And like you said, it’s been going on for centuries. And when people say, Things like that. Oh, why would you wanna read horror? My buddy Reese says, horror is one of the only genres where there’s something for everybody. If you have a romance, you know what romance is? If you have a sci-fi, you pretty much know what sci-fi is, but horror can be.

There can be a romance horror, there can be a romance sci-fi absolutely. Or a horror sci-fi and horror has so many, some people like I don’t really like the slasher movies. I don’t think they’re interesting. But some people think that’s horror and that’s all horror is, but then you get something like Crimson Peak with a lot of rich details and atmosphere, and that’s much more gothic horror i, I think you’re right that we all have that little secret. Fear inside us. And it, we want, why do people ride roller coasters?

Ben: And I think it’s interesting that horror side start for a moment. I like to think horror. I know it’s a genre. It’s a book category, so it’s clearly a genre.

I always like to think of it more as a tone, than a specific genre. If I told you it’s a horror story, that doesn’t tell me anything. If I tell you it’s like again about the seething or Stephen King stuff, it’s a story about everyday people having everyday lives, and then there’s horror added onto that, that’s a little more descriptive.

And so to me, Horror. I like to think of it more like I, I repeating myself as a tone rather than specifically always a genre. And I also think in that regard, it’s really interesting that horror, we call it a genre for now, is the only genre that’s named after an emotion, right? Can you think of, I always dance around romance cause maybe they call ’em love stories too sometimes, and that’s, an emotion as well, but you don’t feel action.

You don’t feel science fiction. You feel horror gets you.

Stephen: Very true. And different people are horrified by different things which is another great. A reason to read it. Cuz again, you can find something, goosebumps will scare some eight to 10 year olds. Really. They gotta keep the lights on, but when we read it, it’s corny and tongue in cheek.

But I know when my kids were little and red goosebumps, man, some of those freaked the kids out, but I w I was different. I read The Shining when I was like 10 but most 10 year olds aren’t reading The Shining because Yeah, exactly. It’s total, but it’s also. Told in a different way.

So horror and then the Walking Dead is completely different from either one of those. So what are some of the classic tropes in horror that you think help, help or hurt horror?

Ben: Oh gosh. I, I think. I think an overreliance on splatter and gore and the really, the in your face stuff doesn’t help.

Everything’s got a moment for it, but I think a good buildup and then something shocking is more effective than just shock. Shock. I’m trying to think off the top of my head. Go back to King for a minute. He had a thing, I think it was in on writing, where he described the, what he calls the three types of horror.

One is horror, which is the existential weirdness going on. He, his example was, it’s when you walk into your house and realize that everything in it has been replaced with an exact duplicate. That’s whoa. What? That’s unsettling. Terror is feeling that clammy hand on your shoulder while you’re looking at your house and.

And then he says, and the third type is gore, which is the eyeballs exploding. It’s the monster behind you biting your head off and squish going everywhere. And I love that, that he says he’ll always try for horror, but if he can’t get there, he’ll shoot for terror. And if that’s not working, he’ll go for gore.

He says, I’m not proud, I just wanna get to the effect. And I think he does tend to hover between horror and terror more often than not. But when he does Gore it’s great. And yeah, that’s the answer to your question. Yeah I think and stuff that works, I love a slow buildup.

Anything I like to describe some horror stories as a chili pepper story. And I, I hope theThing is one of those where, you take a bite of something spicy and it’s ooh. It’s spicy, but by the time you’re like the fifth or sixth bite, you’re like, I can’t take this anymore.

It’s too hot. Put it away. It’s too much. That’s what I really like that buildup that just keeps getting worse and worse until you I can’t take this anymore, but there’s still five chapters left in the book.

Stephen: I can’t put it down.

Ben: Exactly. I gotta finish it. It’s so good, but it’s too hot and right.

Stephen: I had that definite experience when I was younger. I was reading the Amityville Horror. My parents had gone out and I was in the middle of the book and realized it was like 10 o’clock at night pitch black, except for the one light above where I was. Everything else was dark. I did not move until the, my parents came home.

And Oh man, I shouldn’t have said that cuz now I lost my train of thought. What we were talking about. I’m sure it was a good idea. It was a great one. I it would’ve made everything, it would’ve been monumental. You would’ve

Ben: gotten the Pulitzer Prize for tubing and everything, right?


Stephen: Man, know the opportunities pass. Oh, in another world. I got it. So I agree with you on the slow burn Totally. And good horror needs that you can’t. It’s what I said earlier, horror and terror. You said it not horror and supernatural. Yes. It good scary stuff. Needs that horror. It needs that slow buildup.

It can’t exist. When it just starts off jumping out at you. I’ve been in a critique group where somebody was reading their horror, the first couple pages, chapter or whatever of their horror story, and there’s these two guys in there that immediately jump on ’em like no one’s ever go by this it’s horrible because you don’t tell us anything about what’s going on.

You don’t give us that. This character we’ve been following is actually a ghost and blah, blah. And I’m like, hold on. You’re totally wrong. You guys write mystery and action thriller. Totally different than horror. If you start, if you cut out the first two chapters that this guy read and just start with this ghost, nobody will care in the horror genre.

It’ll be horrible. I, in fact, I would tell him he. Said the ghost a little too early, that you should have let it build a more and given us some hints and stuff like the movie, the others with Nicole Kidman, slowly dawns on you that, oh my God, they’re the ghosts. Or 6 cents or something like that.

Spoiler. Yeah, spoil. Hey, if you haven’t seen the others or sixth sense it’s about time. They’re old enough.

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. I was just gonna point out, anybody watch this who hasn’t seen the others? Of course, now, you know the spoiler. Definitely go see it. It was completely eclipsed. It came out the same, almost within months of the sixth sense.

And it just, everyone saw the sixth sense. Nobody saw the others. I don’t, you’re actually the first person I’ve met in years who’s just randomly brought it up. So kudos on you.

Stephen: Me absolutely worth watching. Me and my buddy Reese reviewed the others on our podcast. Oh, nice. And it was fantastic because you’re, go, it’s.

It was done very well that you’re picking up on what’s happening in slow increments. If you’re really paying attention, if you’re not, it’s a total surprise at the end. But you

Ben: asked him earlier what good horror movies I’d seen lately and that comment actually just made me remember one I think it was the Shutter original.

It came out right before Christmas called The Apology. Which was great. It’s not a supernatural horror story. It’s more of a thriller kind of thing. It gets really squishy toward the end. And it’s one of those things where you’re watching it. This is this is basically two people having a conversation for a couple hours.

It’s getting weirder and darker until you figure out what the point, what one character’s point in having this entire conversation is. And then you’re like, oh crap, this is terrible. This is horrible. And then everything just, escalates or deescalate. Goes to hell on a hand basket from there.

That’s, so the apology probably at least on a shutter, if not elsewhere it’s

Stephen: definitely worth watching. Yeah. We, it sounds a little bit like the autopsy of Jane Doe. Yes. Yeah. That’s a slow burn, which is great. And it’s learning things and yeah. And I.

Ben: I think that’s something, going back to your comment about the writers group earlier, I think at least for me, I can’t speak for all horror writers and readers, but that’s something I really like as aficionado is.

Getting into a story, I’m just like, I’m just gonna trust the storytellers and see where this goes. And Jane Doe, autopsy of Jane Doe is a great example of that. It’s just sinister and ominous and things weirder and weirder. And you’re then, when you starting out, what’s actually going on and the supernatural elements come up, it’s really exciting.

It’s thrilling cause it’s just, Okay, here we go. This is where it’s starting to get

Stephen: really cool, right? Yep. All right. Ben it’s been a wonderful conversation. I love talking horror. I don’t get that very often on here. Before we go though, again, your books to the seething, I’ll put links in the show notes to your website.

Do you have any last minute advice you would give to new authors? Oh

Ben: gosh. New authors, so I’ve really only been writing fiction for about four or five years now. My first novel in the Belly of the Beast and other Tales of Catula Wars, actually a collection and novel came out about five years ago, and I had so much fun.

I just kept going and that, to me, that was a log jam breaking moment. I had been wanting to write fiction for so long. I had a lot of stuff in my head that was keeping me from doing it. And so the quick version of all of that distilled into answering your question is don’t sweat rejections.

People are going to not like what you’re writing and you can’t let that, you can’t let that get the best of you. Just keep writing, do it. You’re gonna find your audience if you’re enthusiastic about what you’re writing. You’re gonna find other people who are as well, and the people that reject your stories are just the people that aren’t interested in what you’re specifically saying at that time.

And that might just be, it primarily is based on their own preconceptions. They like something that you, it’s different from what you like. Think about every time you’ve had a conversation with a friend about a movie you really enjoyed and they didn’t like, doesn’t mean that your opinion’s bad. Just means that you like something they didn’t.

Art is the same way, and so just write it just. Sit your ass in the chair and

Stephen: start writing a and there’s so many avenues nowadays to reach people and different audiences and people are wanting more specific things and they enjoy the stuff, not the necessarily big names on the shelves.

The same old. There’s lots of people wanting different. So yeah, I agree. That’s a it’s a new world out there.

Ben: Small press. Andy Horror is thriving right now, so this is a great time to get started.

Stephen: Nice. Great. All right. Ben, wonderful talk and I’ll make sure and let you know when it’s live and I wish you luck on theThing.


Ben: thanks Steven. It was great talk to you.

Stephen: Yeah, it was.