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The Joys of Mainstream Pretension

Can I read real horror, daddy?
Believe it or not, in addition to writing I also have a full-time job. I know? Bizarre eh? My role involves a hell of a lot of travel on the road, so I have taken to listening to audiobooks and podcasts to get the daily required dose of fiction to inspire and to keep my own shitty writing relevant. Moreover, It’s pretty hard to read hardback Stephen King whilst doing 80mph.
Some of the pro and semi-pro markets have their very own podcasts these days, and honestly it is a fairly useful tool to get an idea of what type of story they have in mind before submitting to them.
There is one specific publication (which will remain nameless), that famously gets back to reject you in record time. I swear to God that I am telling the honest truth when I say that I was once rejected ten minutes after submitting a piece of fiction to them. That takes pain and degradation to a whole new level. How did they even read it in ten minutes?
Anyway, I digress- they also have their very own podcast and a couple of times a month they’ll get a top notch voice actor to read their latest wares and then whack it up on iTunes. By the time I discovered this I had probably had around ten stories rejected by them (top tip: keep a spreadsheet of your submissions.) I thought to myself, “Maybe if I listen to a handful of their stories I’ll unlock the secret behind their 0.001% acceptance ratio?”
Fat chance.
I was taking a shower, with my smartphone sat in the dry safety of a disused soap dish, listening to the third or fourth episode of this podcast when the realisation dawned on me (or it might have just been shampoo in my eye.) These guys like pretentious bollocks! The horror that isn’t really horror; safe mainstream stuff that mummy and daddy would just love to sit and listen to by the fire whilst thumbing through an issue of the Financial Times. A metaphor within a simile within a metaphor.
I’m sorry, but that just isn’t horror to me. It is well written and in some cases quite entertaining, it might be too clever for its own good, but it isn’t horror. Not in my humble opinion.
Horror is all about empathy. Identifying with their fears and concerns at a human level that haunts you for just a little while after you’ve finished. It is really hard to empathise when you barely understand what the writer is trying to convey because they’re using the story as a vehicle to show how tremendously smart they are.
I haven’t submitted to that particular outlet since. It feels like I’m letting myself down trying to write in that way. Like I’m not being truthful to myself. That’s why I feel so at home amongst the awesome authors at DT- no pretentiousness just good old fashioned horror, and long may it stay that way.
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[Review] Mister White by John C. Foster


If your novel can’t captivate a reader with in the first three chapters, then the wonderful idea you spent months on will sure as Hell never sell to any respectful publisher. John C. Foster’s Mister White, published by Grey Matter Press, not only knows of this golden rule of publishing, it proudly passes the test.

Mister Whiter delivers a compelling story that will grip readers from the first chapter. John C. Foster does not waste time with clutter and sluggish prose. No. Mr. Foster presents engaging adrenaline pumping scenes after the other, while fully aware of how to manipulate the tension and suspense.

Who is Mister White?  An entity that lurks behind the scenes in the gritty profession of international espionage where only the ruthless and cutthroat survive. An manevolent entity inadvertnaely released by a group of rogue black operatives. Readers will learn to fear Mister White right from the very first chapter when a gruesome crucifixion is discovered. Readers will learn to abhor him when Mister White inflicts terrifying physical and psychological torture on its victims. And, if for some reason readers doubt Mister White’s efficacy, chapter three will seal the deal for sure.

John C. Foster’s Mister White combines the suspense of mystery and bizarre of the supernatural to create a inricate plot that delivers an unrelenting thriller.

Not just recommended. Highly recommended.



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The Master’s Torment


With a title that sounds like it was pulled from an adult novel, this novelette combines the story telling of folklore with dark and morbid nature of horror. Follow a young prince plagued with a so unfortunate and Freudian affliction he goes from a spoiled angsty prince to a wandering spirit that haunts the halls of an abandoned castle.

Master’s Torment on Amazon