It’s been a while since my first zombie novel, Loving Among the Dead was released through Loose Id. However, no matter how long ago I’ve written a book, the characters stay with me for quite a while. It takes a lot to get into a characters personality- how he or she walks, talks, behaves and reacts in certain situations, and this doesn’t go away very quickly.
With that in mind, I started looking through my Google playlists and found a list of songs I used to evoke moods with my two characters, Jude and Sky.
A little about the book: Jude is my female lead. When the zombie outbreak happened, she endured a scary journey from Philadelphia, where she was going to graduate school, back to Princeton (or thereabouts) where her parents’ lived. She’s a bit spoiled and a lot privileged, however, her parents were survivalists/hoarders, what have you, and they stocked their home with provisions and food, “just in case”. Though her parents are dead when she finally a makes it back home, she stays in her old boarded up home, the only person left alive in her neighborhood. It’s a lonely, scary existence, to be sure.
Then along comes Sky, traveling through solo on his way out of New Jersey to his home state of Tennessee. Before the apocalypse, he’d been a teacher in an urban district, having gone to college on a baseball scholarship.
The two meet in the stock room of a drugstore and Jude ends up allowing him to come stay with her. And as one would imagine, having been starved for human contact for many weeks, they cling together.
That’s the basic premise. The book continues with the push/pull of the relationship, where Sky wants to keep moving South, whereas Jude believes it’s safer to stay in one place.
All that being said, here’s a taste of their soundtrack. Some songs are hers, some are his, and some belong to them both. I’ve included a link to the playlist on YouTube, if you want a listen.
|Counting Cars – Snow Patrol||Faster – Matt Nathanson||Don’t You Forget about Me – Simple Minds|
|Time after Time – Cyndi Lauper||Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House||Follow you, Follow Me – Genesis|
|Invincible – Pat Benatar||Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones||Perhaps Love – John Denver|
|Like a Prayer – Madonna||Melt with You – Modern English||Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd|
|Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon||The Flame – Cheap Trick||Never Surrender – Corey Hart|
|Head over Heels – Tears for Fears||Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby||Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen|
|A Matter of Trust – Billy Joel||Hey, Jude – The Beatles||Anthem for the Already Defeated – Rock Plaza Central|
Horror is different for everyone. I don’t think the “experts” can agree on what horror is and thus there are tons of movies and books that represent the horror
genre, as it should be.
I also believe that horror is different depending on where you are in your life. What’s represents horror for a twenty-year-old might be old-hat to a forty year old. Books that resounded for me in my twenties are just “eh” now that I’m a lovely seasoned woman of a certain age.
But Stephen King’s Pet Semetary broke that mold. It’s just as frightening now as when I first read it many years ago.
Here’s the blurb
“Sometimes dead is better….”When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.
But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.
SPOILERS SPOILERS sort of SPOILERS sort of SPOILERS SPOILERS
My goodness, what a story. It runs the gamut from the “real-life” horror of the death of a child and the grief that follows, to the otherworldly horror that awaits when the family tries to alleviate the grief that follows the death of a family pet.
The first time I read the story the scene on the hill wasn’t so horrifying. You know why? Because I didn’t have children of my own. I think I was more touched by the death of the pet than I was by the other. However, when I read it now, that scene on the hill makes my gut twinge and jump. After reading it, I had to go “check on the children”. Having children of my own makes the following scenes more poignant and so much more touching.
Sympathy turning to empathy.
SPOILERS END (they were half-assed anyway)
My theory of horror if you’re “just watching” it makes it a lot less scary. “This could never happen to me because blah blah”. When an ordinary situation turns into a “horror” situation, something that could happen to anyone, something that is plausible (with a little “what if” thrown in) that’s when the true terror begins.
Pet Sematary is about grief, loss and at its core, the horror of not letting go and where it can get you.
We all know ’em, don’t we? The friend of a friend of my cousin who….they all start out that way and always end badly for that sort-of person we kinda know. They even made a movie (or three) about it, then there was that television series that acted them out (badly) for you.
Let’s talk about a few of these, shall we? And remember to leave the light on….
The story of the clown statue murderer is an urban legend. It is not a true story but can spark fear in anyone who reads it. It has been passed around as a chain letter online since 2004.
Here is the story:
“A girl in her teens is babysitting for a family in Newport Beach, Ca. The family is wealthy and has a very large house – you know the sort, with a ridiculous amount of rooms. Anyways, the parents are going out for a late dinner/movie. The father tells the babysitter that once the children are in bed she should go into this specific room (he doesn’t really want her wandering around the house) and watch TV there.
The parents take off and soon she gets the kids into bed and goes to the room to watch TV. She tries watching TV, but she is disturbed by a clown statue in the corner of the room. She tries to ignore it for as long as possible, but it starts freaking her out so much that she can’t handle it.
She resorts to calling the father and asks, “Hey, the kids are in bed, but is it okay if I switch rooms? This clown statue is really creeping me out.”
The father says seriously, “Get the kids, go next door and call 911.”
She asks, “What’s going on?”
He responds, “Just go next door and once you call the police, call me back.”
She gets the kids, goes next door, and calls the police. When the police are on the way, she calls the father back and asks, “So, really, what’s going on?”
He responds, “We don’t HAVE a clown statue.” He then further explains that the children have been complaining about a clown watching them as they sleep. He and his wife had just blown it off, assuming that they were having nightmares.
The police arrive and apprehend the “clown,” who turns out to be a midget. A midget clown! I guess he was some homeless person dressed as a clown, who somehow got into the house and had been living there for several weeks. He would come into the kids’ rooms at nights and watch them while they slept. As the house was so large, he was able to avoid detection, surviving off their food, etc. He had been in the TV room right before the babysitter right came in there. When she entered he didn’t have enough time to hide, so he just froze in place and pretended to be a statue.
Yeah. As I said earlier on a discussion group, between IT and John Wayne Gacy, I don’t have any time for clowns.
And another to make your hair stand on end. This is an oldie but a still a goodie:
The Killer in the Backseat….
One night a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. After a few minutes she noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on — the car was going to pass — when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and the brights flashed.
Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.
Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her — and he screamed, “Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!”
When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the silhouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down.
The moral of the story: Always check the back seat!
Yes, they’re (mostly) not true, but don’t they give you a shiver?
As a fun part of Blogtoberfest, I asked my artist friends to send me their top five scary movies or top five scary books. The results were varied and interesting.
According to Lori Titus:
My top five scary books are:
5) Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz
4) The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
3) Fledgling by Octavia Butler
2) The Shining By Stephen King
1) My Soul to Keep by Tananrive Due
Lori Titus is a Californian with a craving for all things dark and scary. She sleeps most days and powers through her nights with the help of caffeine and waking dreams. When not working on or plotting out her novels, she is a voracious reader and pet lover. Catch up with her latest work on her blog, The Darkest of Lore (firstname.lastname@example.org) catch her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram as Loribeth215. Her latest novel, The Art of Shadows, will be released in November 2016.