Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
As a kid, I read everything from biographies to random instalments of Hank the Cowdog. I didn’t go looking for any particular genre. If the cover was enticing, I’d read it. In middle school I discovered the Goosebumps books and that was my first literary foray into the world of horror. I specify “literary” because I had watched tons of horror movies.
My mom has always been a fan of the old horror flicks, especially Creature from the Black Lagoon. I was pretty much allowed to watch anything, as long as it was the edited for cable version: Night of the Living Dead, Fright Night, The Lost Boys, Silver Bullet. I was watching these movies while reading anything and everything. Inevitably, these parallel interests intersected, and I began to select books with covers that depicted monsters, haunted houses, and graveyards.
I remember standing in line at some bookstore, begging my mom for roughly ten minutes to buy me Knee Deep in the Dead by Dafydd ab Hugh, the first of four novelizations based on the Doom games. The edition I waved frantically in her face that day depicted the iconic image of a man in badass combat/space armor, firing a futuristic weapon into a parade of slavering demons, as they closed in on him. I still love those books shamelessly. And their combination of action and horror still influences my work today.
High school was a reading drought for me. I read a little; Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes and Night Shift stand out, along with some random Poe stories, but I was more interested in drumming for a throwback grunge band and playing video games than reading.
It wasn’t until college that I learned I had a knack for interpreting poetry and fiction, and for writing it, too. I was an uneasy college student, constantly worrying about whether I was “on the right path.” I was always looking for what I was “meant to do.” When my instructors started leaving notes of encouragement on my English papers, I took it as a sign to pursue being a writer.
Around that time, my girlfriend had bought a collection of Lovecraft fiction, and we read The Rats in the Walls together. That was my “I can do that” moment.
I miss the days when I would walk into a bookstore, grab a book that looked good, and read it. These days, my reading is usually more purposeful. If I’m working on one of my Stone stories, I tend to read a lot of noir authors like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, as well as random noir/tech-noir stories I find through Kindle, etc.
If I’m working on a shootout scene, I always go back to Joe Lansdale’s Deadman’s Road. Stone is always up against a roomful of monsters or the like, and I find The Gentleman’s Hotel to be particularly instructional in writing a fight scene with multiple characters/assailants. If I’m writing straightforward Horror, I like to return to the Stephen Jones Mammoth books for atmosphere, and authors like Laymon and Keene for the more visceral moments.
I’m also trying to keep up with the books of my fellow authors at Mirror Matter Press and Sinister Grin Press, as well as other authors I’ve met through social media (and hope to meet in person). My to-read pile currently consists of Mayan Blue by The Sisters of Slaughter (actually just finished), Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski, Empty by Ty Arthur, Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz, and many many others.
In twenty-nine years I will be sixty. I will have given up drinking and bad food long before, which will have allowed me to cultivate the Olympian body I always knew I was meant for. Hey, it’s my imagining, right? Seriously, I hope to have reached a state of ease and balance in my writing. I always feel that I’m not doing enough, and it sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy non-writing times or to accept the necessity of the day job. I have gotten much better at this since taking Lansdale’s wonderful advice, which he offers through his Facebook page. He basically says to set a realistic schedule and writing goal. I set out for three pages a day, writing early in the morning or after work. If I get that, I can relax. I just need to work on consistently getting it or accepting that some days it’s not going to happen.
I have plans for the future of my character, Stone. I have a contract with Mirror Matter Press to do a follow-up novel to Stone Work, and I hope to do many more after. I would also like to write some longer straightforward horror works, as right now most of my horror has been published in short story form. I was recently asked to be on the writing crew for Manor House Productions, writing scripts for their dark audio dramas. I would love to write roughly a million of those by 2045. My Weird Western, Full Moon in the West, is soon to come from Grinning Skull Press, and I am entertaining the idea of turning that concept into a series, as well. I will always write, so, if I’m still alive in 2045, God-willing, that’s what I’ll be doing.
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Dominic Stabile's short fiction has appeared in Fossil Lake III: Unicornado!, Sanitarium Magazine, The Horror Zine, Atticus Review, Far Horizons, and has been adapted as a radio play by Manor House Productions. He has held jobs as a warehouse worker, cashier, bookstore associate, textbook manager, and carpenter. He’s a born southerner, transplanted to Penobscot, Maine by a desperate desire to escape retail work. When not writing or reading, he enjoys horror, sci-fi, and noir films, westerns, and bourbon.
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