During last year’s NaNoWriMo, I write the first (messy) draft of a Gothic Horror Fantasy novel. I am still working on it (and I might be for some time – it is quite a beast). This story came to me amid a torrent of dark ideas and subplots. Naturally, if I hope to make Reverie (the aforesaid novel) work, I needed to cut down on the…digressions.
I don’t know of any writer who enjoys cutting their work. I certainly don’t. There were ideas that still felt too good to consign to the waste paper basket. So, I put them aside. Much like that chair with the not-dirty clothes in your bedroom, these set-aside stories took on a monstrous shape in the darkness. Themes and characters that were entirely unsuitable for my big project, took on a new significance on their own.
Things would have to be changed and some of the stranger elements peculiar to the world of Reverie (much more on this later) had to be removed. As I started doing this, a whole new world emerged. One with secrets and monsters and a whole new cast of characters. The cursed town of Balar was born!
Mystery and Horror
I like scary stories. Sure, my active imagination keeps the monsters well-fed and irrationally real during the nighttime, but I am no less intrigued. Perhaps the real world horrors that I’ve faced in the last few years have given me the courage to attempt my own scares. Then again, perhaps courage is not the best word. Maybe I just wanted control.
Something that makes the horror genre intriguing to me is how it employs mystery. This might be a byproduct of our collective fear of the unknown.
Thing We Cannot Explain = Scary
Maybe it is nothing more than that, but for me, a quest for answers/curiosity will always keep me reading. Yes, this creature or ghost might scare me, but I will keep going because I want to understand it.
With this in mind, I set out to create something that combines mystery and horror.
Balar, A Horrible Town
This is where Balar came from. It is a place that alludes to horror classics like Dracula, for it is set in Romania with the Carpathian Mountains serving as a backdrop. It is remote and isolated (great ingredients for terror). There are strange traditions and even stranger entities in the misty woods. The entire town and its inhabitants are all built upon a mystery or two. The less I reveal here the better, but suffice to say that there is much to discover.
Through several short stories, I will explore various concepts that I find frightening. Different perspectives and (sometimes) different styles will (hopefully) illustrate a living, breathing place where horrible things occur. The stories do not happen in isolation. Rather, one effects the other and so forth.
The plan is to write three anthology collections that culminate in a fourth, novel length, entry. These are currently 90% or so planned out. This means that I am writing towards a particular goal or end-point. Hopefully, this will give you the opportunity to uncover the Secrets of Balar for yourself. There will be plenty of horrific breadcrumbs, don’t you worry.
The first installment, The Curse of Balar, has just been made available for pre-order right now! Note that the pre-order is currently for the eBook version only, but there will be a paperback and hardcover version on release. In the meantime, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf.
The book will be available on the 31st of August 2023 and will contain thirteen horror short stories.
My Non-Horror Work
I know that this might be a slight departure from my other published works, but I hope to be a multi-genre author. A.K.A. an author without an audience. We’ll see how it goes, I guess.
If horror is not your thing, I have other things to offer. The Bright Report is a series of lighthearted (some might say, comedy) short stories. They are available in all formats (with more installments on the way). There is also a FREE introductory story of this series which you can download right now!
However, if you are looking for something heftier, might I suggest The Silent Symphony. This is a novel that is still close to my heart. It is dystopian thriller about a world in which art and music become outlawed. I guess there is a kind of horror in that. Thank you for the amazing comments and review from those who have finished it – that gives me the energy to keep writing. There is a follow up to this one on the horizon.
Horror for You?
So, what do you think? Is the Curse of Balar something you might consider? Please let me know in the comments below.
There will be more info and previews closer to release time.