Or sometimes it can just be the way the mop flops…
There is an empyreal quality in life called happenstance. Some call it kismet. Nietzsche called it amor fati. I’m from the South. If something awful happens and we can’t do anything about it, we just say, ‘that’s the way the mop flops.’ If something good happens, we say, ‘Praise the Lord’ or ‘Hallelujah!’
Years ago, I was often asked to critique an aspiring author’s manuscript. I sometimes did. I’m literal. If what was written worked, I said so. If it didn’t, I said that, too. I just came across a blog mentioning a critique I did twenty-five years ago. The writer still despises me. Hey! You didn’t ask me to look into your soul or your psyche—just words on a page. Get out the mop! Since the indie phenomenon there are no more aspiring authors. They self-publish! And get their Facebook pals to click ‘unhelpful’ on all of the negative reviews.
Wait! This isn’t a rant. This is all about a hallelujah moment. Twenty odd years ago I met a young man at a small writer’s conference in Florida. He aspired to write horror. It’s a small world in a way. Billie Sue Mosiman was at the conference, too. Billie Sue is the doyenne of horror. She and I go way back–to Texas, actually. We’re both from Mobile, Alabama. Thirty years ago Billie Sue showed me a short story she was submitting to a fanzine. The Moley Man. Wicked moles grew all over him. It’s a measure of that woman’s talent that I’ve never forgotten the story. Moreover, reading it cost me four-hundred dollars. I went straight to a dermatologist and had every mole on my body removed.
Billie Sue wandered into the conference and I introduced her to the young man, Franklin E. Wales. I write plain vanilla romance novels. I don’t know how to write horror, where to submit it, or even how to critique it. I was autographing books, so I gave the kid a book. I went my way, Billie Sue went hers; the young man went his.
Writing careers take different paths. My path led to a detour—mostly to small obscure islands off the coast of Costa Rica and miniscule Panamanian jungle villages. In 2012, I was gifted with a Kindle. Boy! Was that a Eureka moment! I revived my career, and stumbled into the digital universe. I came across a blog about mentors. It began with a tribute to the author’s college professor. Next, he mentioned Billie Sue Mosiman. Then: My second mentor in writing never even knew of her impact on my work…Jackie Weger.
… I do now. Hallelujah! Franklin E. Wales. Here’s what happened to that young man. He grew up to be a fabulous writer. He grew a beard and long hair. He shaved, got married, had a family, grew another beard. He wrote books and short stories. He’s written movie scripts and produced them. He’s an actor. See him in Alien Agenda: Endangered Species. Catch it on NetFlix.
Franklin and I are connected again. He’s hooked up with Billie Sue. He’s mentoring other horror writers. One is a really funny guy. Jeffrey Kosh. Go over to Book Summit and say hello. If you read, or write horror, mystery, intrigue—or even romance. It’s the place to be. And don’t fail to click on all of the links. They will take you to a magnificent underworld of mystery, intrigue and horror. Did I mention that I like these people?