Friday, 21 June 2013

Happiness & CAKE & Horror, OH MY!

Today I'm pleased to let my writing friend KEVIN BUFTON take the reins on the SPARKLY HAPPINESS PROJECT. Kevin's horror novella CAKE (yep, I said HORROR) was released earlier this  week and he's kindly agreed to blogpost for me.

It wasn't easy. He writes scary, squishy stuff, and well, you know what we're all about on my blog. Happiness. Positivity. 

So I gave him a bit of a challenge, you could say!

Links to the book are below, get one and have a read. You'll be glad you did. Or scared.
Which is just as good.


Hello, and welcome to the fourth stop on my Piece of Cake Blog Tour. I’d like to thank Joanna, for allowing me space on her blog to promote my debut novella, Cake, which was released on Monday.
At each stop along this tour, I have asked my respective hosts to provide me with a theme, on which to pen a few words, my reasoning being that coming up with half a dozen disparate topics, whilst also attempting to whore my book for all it’s worth, was too much like hard work. So, host’s prerogative, I thought.
Which is why I am sat here, in front of my laptop, writing about happiness. That’s right. I’m a horror fan, and horror writer, weaned on Hammer and Universal films since I was four years old, lover of all things macabre and gothic, blood-soaked and terror-filled, and yet I find myself having to give serious consideration to that emotion that is the very antithesis of all that dark goodness…
…or is it?
You see, when I stop to consider what makes me happy – by which I mean that which truly make me happy, not something that staves off the boredom for an hour or so – it becomes increasingly easy to understand why I have made a home for myself in the horror genre.
My wife and our kids are my main source of happiness, and I don’t care if that sounds like a stock response. Individually and as a team they have driven me up the wall, but I love them so much, and the very thought of them makes me smile. As I write these words, they follow a beautiful day spent walking along the Wirral seafront for two and a half hours, just the four of us. My wife, our son and I pointing out the shapes we could see in the clouds overhead, my little daughter dozing contentedly in her pram – what more could a man ask for? Indeed, it occurred to me that if neither of us needed to work for a living, there could be few existences more sublime than being able to do this every day.
That was when it struck me. Once you make your way past the shuffling undead, the eldritch abominations, the flesh-tearing cryptids and the unspeakable sociopaths that fill a great many of my stories, I'm really writing about families. Whether it is the need to protect them, the agony of losing them, or the fear of never seeing them again, family plays a huge part in my writing. They are my greatest joy, and the thought that they might come to harm is the fuel that powers all those dark thoughts that I put down on paper.
On a practical level, they are also what inspire me to write in the first place. The possibility that one day, in the not too distant future, I might be able to support my wife and kids solely through the nightmares I produce for other people is a wonderful incentive, and by far the greatest remedy for writer’s block that I have ever come across.
My other source of happiness is the act of writing itself – creating a world from scratch, where forgotten evils lurk in dark corners, where unspeakable fiends rend flesh and crush bone, and where the dead walk. It is an incomparable feeling. I've never taken hard drugs, but I can’t imagine anything matching the buzz that comes when, halfway through a piece, something just clicks and you realise that – YES – this story is actually going to work!
At the moment, I am writing around my family and my day job; tapping away at my trusty laptop into the wee hours most nights, but it’s not a chore. I don’t find myself dreading the blank page, or fretting over finding the right word for the scene I am attempting to convey. On the contrary, I normally only stop writing because I'm conscious that I have to go to work in the morning. I'm wide awake, and a bundle of creativity, until I close the lid on my computer, and only then will my mind and body take the hint that maybe a few hours’ sleep are in order.
Horror makes me happy. That might seem an odd thing to say, but it’s true. Whether I'm writing it, reading it or watching it, a good horror tale will make me smile, even as it makes me shudder. Horror is a powerful emotion, and, though it’s easy to get it wrong, when you get it right, it can affect you in ways that no other emotion can. Fear is what makes us keep the light on, because we don’t know what’s waiting for us in the dark; terror is what makes us look over our shoulder if we’re walking home alone and notice a sound on the very edge of hearing. It may seem, to some, to be a rather base emotion, and an unsavoury thing from which to derive pleasure, but it is universal to us all.
So, I am happy with my family, I’m happy when I write, and I am happy whilst being horrified. To tie all of this together, I'm happy when something I have written gets read by someone else. It is what makes writers become writers in the first place – telling a story, and having somebody take something from it, is one of the greatest pleasures known to man. Seeing someone reading a copy of your book; reading a review by someone who has enjoyed it (or not – bad reviews are fine too, so long as you learn something from them); having someone e-mail you, or Tweet you to let you know they appreciate what you've done – these are truly life-affirming experiences. After all, a story that sits there with nobody to read it, might as well be used as kindling. Stories are vibrant things that yearn to be read, to be told, and to be passed on to the next willing recipient.
So go ahead – pick up a copy of Cake. Read it, enjoy it, and tell me what you think of it – good or bad. If you like it, let somebody else know either by word of mouth, or by leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

These are the things that make me happy, and it is my honest wish that my writing will become one of yours.

CAKE is available here:

Paperback (UK):

Paperback (US):

Kindle (UK):

Kindle (US):

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