The virus infects stories, too.

I was reading a scholarly article about the use of addiction/ drug abuse as metaphor for the vampire films of the 1980s. As someone who came of age in that decade, it was understandable to turn the usual sex-addicted vampire of the (seemingly) sexually repressed 1950-60s, into the addict, blood field of the 1980s. In the Western world, at least, vampires tend to be the avatar for whatever suburban America fears the most – or what they’re supposed to fear the most. This is also the rise of the “Satanic panic” and “Stranger Danger” – two hammers that came crashing down on the “free-range” parenting of much of the 1970s.

Seriously, it was a strange and confusing time to be a kid.

While I don’t have all of Wound plotted out (usually an episode or three in advance) I often think about the underlying theme of the story – why has this plague resulted in a vampiric evolution of humanity? The methods of transmission are from the usual zombie/vampire tropes – the bite – but the variety of infection plays to a different idea. My original thought was a straight-up zombie story, but then Paul showed up, and he demanded something more. Something about him had to change, but more and more I have to think about what he’s losing, not just what he gains.

I’ve rounded the mid-point of Season 2 and am starting to develop where we’ll end at episode #50. What revelation comes to our small group? What questions will be answered? I’m not sure, at least right now. But this idea of disease as evolution is interesting to me – I think I’ll follow it a bit further.

On a completely unrelated note: should we call 2022 – Plague Year 2? I wonder.

Beverly Avery: Manager

Bev Avery

WOUND: The Characters

When we first meet Bev she’s decided how to deal with the fact that her husband is slowly turning into a vampire, or a zombie, they’re not clear on what’s following them yet. The first vamps are ragged, rotting things, but Paul is clearly not decaying in the back of Bev’s Jeep. Quite the opposite.

She’s the manager of the group, if not the leader. A good manager shifts the power and responsibility around to allow people’s talent to shine. When medical attention is needed, Bev defers to Armond and Darlene, the two nurturers of the group. Scouting belongs to Marla. Philosophizing about their situation, when appropriate, fell into Paul’s qualified lap. And Bev leaves most of the killing to Carol and her boys.

Bev Avery, former accountant, horse-back riding enthusiast, crossword puzzler, and one-time state champion swimmer, facilitates. She makes the decisions when no one else wants to. She decides what comes next and then lets people act. She’s slight, only about five foot three, but strong, with wide swimmer shoulders and, what her brother used to call, “good wheels.” She could have been a champion sprinter, if she’d ever get out of the pool.

Now, fuck-hundred miles into the ass of Wyoming and Bev has left the water behind.

You can read more about Bev in Wound exclusively in Kindle Vella.

Introducing Phone, Keys, Claws, Teeth

If you’ve been to my home page, you can see that I currently have three Kindle Vella stories running. Wound has been going since this summer and is in the middle of Season 2: Slake. The other, Art History, I’ll introduce in another post. Here, I want to talk about Phone, Keys, Claws, Teeth and the worst prom night ever.

I wanted to write something in the first-person present, which has always been a challenge for me. When I first started, it was difficult (still is at times) because my brain seems to revert to third-person as a default. Perhaps there something scary about completely inhabiting a character’s mind, though I would argue I am as close to Amanda as I am to my point-of-view characters in my other stories. Maybe the trouble is in being so obvious about that inhabitation, closing the distance by using “I”?

As I write, I feel like I’m finding Amanda’s voice and developing little quirks and turns of phrase. Her parent, Harold and Lilly, seem real to me as well, but Kevin, well, he’s a bit of a puzzler. Jarrod, on the other hand, is a complete mystery. I can’t wait to see what his surprise it.

Feel free to check out the first three episodes for free on Kindle Vella and let me know what you think. I hope the story sinks its teeth into you.

Tapping out of NaNo, but still writing

I started strong, really strong. While I got behind early in Pedigree, I maintained par in my second story and eventually got caught up here. Alas, life had different plans.

I say life, but I was unable to balance my attention between family business and writing. I don’t talk about my writing with family. I don’t want them involved. But my attention and energy went elsewhere and without having good boundaries established, I fell behind.

Basically, every free moment I found, I filled with nothing. They call that “self-care” now. And while my brain probably needed that break, I would have liked to have kept pace with my writing.

I’ve never won NaNo, for various reasons, so I’m not really disappointed. I’m going to write at least 1K a day in each project (it’s now four with my two Vella stories – Wound, and another starting soon (I think I see my problem)) and I will be publishing early next year once book 3 in Pedigree’s series is written.

Thanks for reading this far, and if you’d like to sample my writing, you can read the first three episodes of Wound for free on Kindle Vella. I’d love your feedback.