Guest blog by S.C. Mendes
By the beginning of 2019, I came to the conclusion that I would never write fiction again. When The City was published, I had every intention of continuing the series. Unfortunately, life has a way of derailing the best-laid plans. Social media stressors, keeping up at my day job while carving out time to write, and finding positive people in the industry to work with have all been difficult for me. The best path seemed to be ending my writing endeavors and fading away as quietly as possible. If nobody reads my book, then I can’t let anybody down.
Through a series of fortunate events (as she would say), I was able to lend support to an aspiring writer, Nikki Noir. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I enjoyed working with her on the craft of writing and marketing. Nikki is ambitious, and since she is new to the industry, she is not hindered by the obstacles or faulty mindset of many other writers. To Nikki, mistakes seem to be opportunities for her to learn, and when you combine that with what she gives back to the industry and genre, I know she has a bright future in dark fiction. This type of growth mindset will put anyone, in any field, on the fast-track to success. While I’m happy sharing my ideas with her, helping with story arcs and dialogue, I still did not believe I had another book in me, or even a short story.
The apprehension to take out the keyboard was more than just my time constraints. The joy of horror itself was becoming alien to me. My connection to the genre had been slipping away over the last two years. There were even days when I felt a twinge of sadness and regret for the extreme content I'd published. I see so much apathy around me every day and my stories seem like more fuel on the fire of violence and despair that is already raging in our world. It took a while, but I realized this was a very negative perspective of the genre, and perhaps I had thrown in the towel too soon.
As I said earlier, life has a way of derailing our plans. Sometimes though, life is just giving us a detour, not a derailment. The path may change, but the destination remains the same. Problem is we can’t always see that from our perspective. We only see the new obstacles, the mounting problems, and we think our dreams have been snatched away from us even though they haven't. After much reflection, it was clear that I had fallen into this trap. I'd had hit a road closure, yes, but the destination was still waiting patiently for me. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and when I searched more closely, I discovered a new passageway.
After more talks with Nikki and Blood Bound Books, I know my path now and I can reconcile myself with the horror. Things are about to get crazier in the world of S.C. Mendes and Nikki Noir, but through our dark works, we’re going to make a bright future for our communities.
To kick things off, all profits from The City will be donated to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, as of Sept. 1st. The donation will be annual and you can find more about the program at here. By December, I will dust off the rough draft of The City Part II (still untitled) and get back to work on Max Elliot’s future. It feels good to say that officially.
I once read a Cherokee story about an elder telling his grandson that there is a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
One wolf is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson asked, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
I always liked this story. And while I see a lot of truth to it, I no longer believe you can starve the black wolf forever. The black wolf has some very crucial qualities. It can be a driving force in your life, spurring you forward to become more, achieve more. The black wolf can catapult you to victory. But you must be his master. If left unchecked, the black wolf will devour you and burn you out. If you learn how to feed him correctly though, he will serve you well.
I think I understand the horror in me now and my place in that industry. I am proud to be a part of a coalition with Blood Bound Books and Redrum Reviews. Join us!