Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dark: Nightmare Maker?

When you’re a new author, especially an independent one, one thing you really want to be careful about is getting your hopes up.  Even great authors usually start slow and have a tough slog of it; some quite famous ones have impressive stacks of rejection slips from earlier in their careers. 

But even so, I have to admit that I’m starting to get excited about some of the feedback I’m receiving for my third novel, The Dark.  Never before have I received progress reports from readers who haven’t finished the book yet, but felt compelled to send me an email or post on my Facebook page to say that they’re really enjoying the novel and can’t put it down.  This is a new experience for me.

John Armand posted:  “So, Forrest, 70% in to your latest novel, The Dark, and ALL I can say is Holy Crap!!! You are scaring the bajeezus out of me!!!!! Tell me you've sold the screenplay rights!?!!??!?! So far it's the scariest novel I've read in decades!!!!!”

Wow.  John posted on my page again when he finished it with more glowing praise, writing:  “The Dark is one of THE most mind-bending SciFi novels I have read in years!!! Love the way you tackled science, loyalty, friendship and belief systems!!! Cannot wait for your 4th novel!!!!!”

Some people have told me that the prologue to the novel hooked them in right away.  Jenny Thomas posted this on my Facebook page when she was only a few pages in:  “I am currently on page 16.
I have accepted that there will be nothing else accomplished this weekend, my family and friends will not see or hear from me.  Laundry and housework will still be there when I get back....”

Jacqueline Van Arsdall posted this:  “I am halfway through your Dark odyssey and am amazed and stupefied by the writing. Good LORD, man!!  .... It’s intriguing, original, a bit over my head and I LOVE IT!!! Stopping now, because ‘THAR BE DRAGONS’ is just where I should read in bed. In the dark. LOVING THIS!!!”

One of the things I do regularly is to post excerpts and review quotes on various sci-fi and writing Facebook forums that I belong to.  Brian Holland was kind enough to post a progress report in reply to one of those saying that he was “loving it.”  And then when he finished reading the novel, he posted again:  “I just finished your book 3 minutes ago. The best science fiction horror that I have read since 1997....”

Brian went on to write and post a fabulous review for me.

Reader Cheryl Lea Inman Hough posted this comment on my timeline:  “Forrest the night I finished this book I had a nightmare about it!  Woke up screaming.  The Dark is an awesome read!”

Wow.  The purpose of horror writing is, of course, to horrify.  But never in my wildest imagination would I have thought my writing would make someone wake up screaming from a nightmare!  But remember, it’s all in good fun.  Cheryl obviously took it in that spirit, because she went on to write a wonderful 5-star review for me, which was much appreciated.

It makes my month to know that my writing is affecting some people this way—and as those of you who’ve been following my medical issues know, my month needed making. 

The Dark is important to me because it asks questions I’ve been finding myself asking a lot lately about the nature of God and the universe.  The issue central to this novel’s plot device is this:  Would it be possible to fly so far out into space that you leave God behind?  If so, how would you know it?  What would change?  Would people act any differently?  Would everyone be affected, and to the same degree?  What happens next forms the “horror” part of the horror/sci-fi genre.  But I believe I’m on to something here about what would happen in the absence of God—and that this explains why the book is giving some people the heebie jeebies.

I urge you to check it out for yourself if you haven’t already.  You don’t have to be religious in nature to enjoy it, any more than you have to be a regular church-goer to appreciate the religious themes in The Exorcist.  And there’s also some meticulously researched hard science in there for die-hard sci-fi fans.  Mixed right in with the zombies.  :-)  And oh, by the way, as you might glean from the cover:  Arachnophobes, you might want to give this one a pass.

If you do read and enjoy the novel, may I ask you a favor?  No matter how good an author’s work is, if he or she doesn’t get known, no one sees it.  The absolute best way to get known in today’s publishing world is via those product reviews on the page.   If you enjoyed the book, then two lines saying so as a product posting would be very, very helpful.  Here is a link to my review page, the button for adding your comments is at the top right.  Help a struggling writer get known!  Such reviews don’t just command attention from potential readers.  A certain amount of them is necessary before authors can purchase advertising on the most reputable of the publishing newsletters.

To those of you who’ve already reached out to me with feedback and support over the past few weeks, many, many thanks.


Find out more about The Dark and read that prologue for free here.

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