Writing Nine Mile Road

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The struggle is real! Nine Mile Road is based, in part, on characters, places, and events that take place in my short story, “The Witching Glass” (first published in HellBound Books’ anthology, The Devil’s Hour), now available in my short story collection, Shadows in the Witching Glass. While borrowing from a shorter work to compose a novel seemed like a good plan from the beginning, I assure you, it has not proved to be so. The process has been problematic.

I am not (yet) a novelist in any way, shape, or form. I am a short story writer. Any success I’ve garnered–tasted–has been hard won by submitting one dark and deranged tale after another. My work has been published in several anthologies from various Indie publishing houses.  Like most writers, I began writing when I was a kid. In fact, a few of the stories included in my collection were written some twenty years ago. I’m a late bloomer, you might say. Truth is, it took me decades to get serious about being published. But I was always writing, nonetheless.  I dabbled in everything from satire, poetry, essays, science fiction and fantasy. I have stacks and stacks of folders filled with unfinished work. Much of it is scribbled in my illegible handwriting, and will probably rot as the years go by, forever undecipherable.  But one story, one that I had actually tried banging out on the keys of a cheap Uniroyal manual typewriter my mother had given me as a birthday present, showed some promise. It was not only an early attempt at writing a novel. It was also one of my first attempts at writing horror.

To this day, that first effort has only ever been entitled, Ghost Car. The docx file for Nine Mile Road bears the same heading. Not a very exciting title, Ghost Car, I admit. Nor does it sound, I also admit, like a very provocative premise. It’s been done a hundred times, just like every other story. There is nothing new under the sun. But Ghost Car was only ever meant as a working title. And while I can’t promise my spin on the subject will be that much different from other stories like it, I do promise I was inspired (originally) by two well known cinematic interpretations.

Like most guys, I love cars. I also love horror. I am a horror writer. And I love horror movies.  Two of those movies revolve around cars: one is demonic, and the other is haunted. The first movie, The Car , starring James Brolin and Kathleen Lloyd, was released in 1977. While the critics may have hated this flick, horror lovers such as myself embraced it. The demon car is loud, powerful, and ugly, and nothing short of a miracle can stop it! Death and destruction is what it does!  The other, Christine , released in 1983, was based on a novel written by Stephen King, and is still considered one of director John Carpenter’s masterpieces. Both movies had a profound impact on my own ideas  for a horror story  involving  a supernatural automobile.

It’s going to be a while before Nine Mile Road is printed. Progress recently came to a grinding halt, for various reasons. Some of it stems from my personal life, but the majority of it arises from a plethora of typical mental crises experienced by all writers. Trying to combine the elements, characters, and what-have-yous from a short story with such-and-suches from an unfinished manuscript pummeled onto paper by the hacking keystrokes of my bloody fingertips years ago is difficult in itself. Combine that with the need to tell two stories–past and present–simultaneously, and I’m ready to rip my hair out! I want everything to fit together seamlessly, and I want the story to flow. This is my first novel. I want it to sell. I want to impress the reader. I want the reader to hail the story as I have hailed the aforementioned movies.  It is my intention to do this by capturing some of the elements that made these stories so enthralling, so horrific.

Nine Mile Road is coming, I promise, despite the writing process drawbacks. It’s taking me longer than I envisioned, but it’s coming together piece by piece. In the meantime, please consider my short story collection. There’s plenty to keep any reader entertained for some time, and the observant reader may scare up a few clues about the upcoming novel.  And news of the novel’s further progress is likely. Until then, good reading, and keep an eye out and ears open for creepy cars with roaring engines and erratic, threatening behavior! Hallowed ground–run!

 

Shadows in the Witching Glass

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February eighth is the official release date of my first collection of short stories entitled, Shadows in the Witching Glass. The title derives its name from “The Witching Glass,” which first appeared in HellBound Books’ The Devil’s Hour (June 2019).

Of the eighteen stories included in this collection, “The Witching Glass” is easily the scariest if I were asked to pick one. It has gotten some good feedback. I know Clark Roberts enjoyed it, anyway. Another story, “A Little Respect,” first published in Death’s Head Press’ Dig Two Graves, Volume 1, garnered some surprising attention. In a review published in Sci-Fi Scary, Sci-Fi & Horror Reviews, News and More, (November 23, 2019), “A Little Respect” was chosen by Suz Jay as one of six favorites out of the anthology’s twenty-two stories. That blew me away, as “A Little Respect” is  one of the very first horror stories I’ve ever written. I had not expected it to do so well.

True, seven of these stories have been previously published elsewhere. Four of them were only ever available in the murky swamps of Smashwords (where your stories and your soul go to die). One is actually available here on this website (for how long, I don’t know). But, five of these tales have never been published anywhere–these are exclusive to this Terror Tract publication. Most of them are older stories, though one, King of the Brownies, was written specifically for this collection, and I’m dying for somebody to read it.

Pre-orders for Shadows in the Witching Glass on Kindle are available right now on Amazon. Becky Narron assures me a paperback version  will be available on the eighth. I crave feedback–like any writer worth his salt–and I’m looking forward to some thorough, if not good reviews. I believe anyone picking up a copy will find one or two stories in my collection they absolutely love, three or four rather fun, and the remaining stories worth their hard-earned money. A jumble of older and newer stories, some ludicrous, some frightening, and some frighteningly ludicrous, this is a novel length-collection at almost 90k words. Give it a look-see, and I hope you enjoy it.

Sincerely,

Thomas S. Gunther