Over the summer, I’ve been involved in a writing project called SCHLOCK ZONE spearheaded by author Mel Odom. About a half-dozen or more writers have banded together to write individual horror novellas that will be published in e-reader format.
The first story in the group is now live. It’s called STRIPPER POLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD and was written by Eric Beetner.
My entry will be available soon. It’s called AMERICAN SLAYERS, and I’ve put it under the revived pseudonym of Sean Dalton.
For more information, go to http://schlockzone.blogspot.com/p/now-showing.html
Why, you may ask, am I writing horror?
Why, you may cry, am I writing schlocky horror?
My reply is …why not?
I’ve never written horror before. Oh, sure, I’ve crafted some scenes containing horrific elements, but I’ve never before officially entered the genre.
It’s not a favorite area of mine. As a child, I was terrified of spooky things. As a teen, I shuddered away from films like THE EXORCIST (and have yet to see it to this day). As an adult, I forced myself to sit through one–and only one–episode of WALKING DEAD before I declared, “Never again!”
But schlock isn’t serious, and it’s not supposed to be taken seriously. No one made me write about zombies, and our editorial edict was to fill the pages with action.
I can do that. In fact, action scenes are what I love best. Under the pen name Sean Dalton, I spent some time writing three novels a year–action-adventure space opera tales that moved quickly. When you write three books a year for a few years, you learn to be efficient. I would use one month to outline the plot, which left me three months to write 75,000 words for each of those dozen books. There’s not a lot of room in such stories for deep character development or intense–and lengthy–sequels that explore motivation and internal conflict. It’s … keep moving, and hit the mark the first time. The tight deadline meant next-to-no leeway for cutting and polishing later.
Since the Dalton days, I’ve shifted my focus more to fantasy. For a while, I plowed through immense tomes of traditional fantasy peopled by large casts of characters and epic struggles of good versus evil. I wrote one book a year and filled notebooks with world-building details.
But that gets old, too. And so when I heard about the SCHLOCK ZONE project, I thought it would be fun to bring the old approach down from the attic and see if I could still write “Sean-style.”
So I cooked up a couple of characters who hunt and kill demons for bounty. I call them Slayers. I made them ex-Marines and made them patriotic. They feel it’s their personal mission to hold back the onslaught of paranormals who are taking over America.
The protagonist is John Slade. His grandmother owns an antiques shop, and she’s not only taught Slade what she knows about the business but she’s also passed along her sixth sense when it comes to feeling the presence of a demon. Slade’s best friend is Mike Pick–part Sioux and built like a brick wall. Pick hates paranormals, loves to stake vampires, and enjoys spending his spare time tinkering with the old motorcycles that he and his teenage daughter are restoring.
Their nemesis is a by-the-book Internal Paranormal Service (IPS) agent named Annis Rikker. She hounds them constantly for violating federal protection laws on behalf of paranormals and does her best to foul up the jobs they take on.
All Slade and Pick want to do is earn a living doing what they enjoy most: ridding old buildings and houses of demonic infestation. With ectoplasmic disruptors, silver-plated swords (for beheadings), and demon traps made of alloy and martyr’s blood–they’re up for any challenge.
Who knows? I had fun writing the story. In a small way, I made it a parody-homage to my favorite reality television show, AMERICAN PICKERS. I thought, what if I “cross the lines” by combining elements of GHOSTBUSTERS and AMERICAN PICKERS? This is the result.
If people like it, I’m willing to make a series of it. And if this should prove to be the one and only, it was worth the time and trouble because I had a blast. After all, if you can’t have fun writing, why do it?
Each of the SCHLOCK ZONE stories will be going live about every two-three weeks.