Today’s featured author is a familiar face in the blogosphere. Many of us drop by his blog several times a week to read his top ten lists, see pictures of his community, read his Wednesday story updates, and visit with Lucy, Bailey, and Twiggy, his adorable fur babies. Below, he’s listed the top ten things not to do in a horror movie. Take note, friends – you never know when Jason, Freddie, or Michael Myers might come calling. Welcome John W. Howell!
You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?
In a horror movie, I am the comic relief. I’m the one who seems to know what the audience is thinking about what is going on. I say out loud the top ten things not to do in a horror movie. When the characters do them in the movie, the audience can say “See he told them so.” Here they are:
10 Do not go through a doorway while looking back.
9 Do not go into the cellar alone
8 Do not call “Who’s there?” at the first noise.
7 Do not suggest a beer blast in a cemetery
6 Do not go to a creepy cabin in the woods.
5 Do not tell someone you know what they did last summer.
4 Do not lure your boy or girlfriend outside to make out.
3 Do not suggest telling ghost stories.
2 Do not play with an Ouija board
1 Do not pick up and examine the massive blood covered knife on the kitchen table.
Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or zombies – which would you least want to meet in a dark alley?
In a dark alley, I would hate to meet a zombie. The reason is pretty apparent. I don’t want my brains eaten. Everything I have heard zombies are tough to kill as well. So, if I met one, I wouldn’t know how to defend myself, and I would face the possibility of being rendered brainless. The actuality of that would not be so sad if it were not for all the story ideas I have floating in my brain. This would beg the question, “Like marijuana baked into a brownie continues to provide the benefit, can stories continue to survive if a zombie eats the brain in which they are stored?” A corollary question could be, “Will the said zombie be able to tell the stories or importantly write them down?” Nope. Don’t want to meet a zombie in a dark alley.
You’re home alone, but you hear footsteps in your house–what do you do?
The first thing I don’t do is yell, “Who’s there?” That is just asking for it. No, I would lay low and try to find an object that can be used as a weapon. The last time this happened I was stuck with a Swiffer. I figured I could do some real damage with the dusty end. After all who would want that in their face? The next thing I would do is try to find whoever is making the noise. I know it might be smarter to stay hidden but if it turns out like last time and is the dog’s plastic ball being pushed along the floor by the ceiling fan, remaining hidden for a long time might be a problem. If it turned out to be a stranger in my house, I would probably scream hoping the person will realize it might be easier to go somewhere else. Of course, as I think about it, I could explain I’m a writer, and the person will go somewhere else.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I have a basic story idea which is in my head. The character development takes place as the story unfolds. The plot is pretty much character driven, so it too tends to follow the leads of the characters. The one thing I do to help myself is to write down the last three lines of the story. This gives me some overall direction for the destination of the journey.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
The tools I consider must-haves for a writer are simple really. The first is a dedicated workspace. I find it very hard to do a sustained quality job without a place to work. I think it is also essential to have the area be single purpose and not part of the family use space. The second is a long and varied playlist of songs that can serve as background noise. I find music to be an effective way to stay focused on the writing. The music tends to fade into white noise while the creative process is underway. I use Spotify for this purpose. The third is an excellent grammar and spelling checker. No matter how many English courses we take, an author needs to have a program that is partial and thorough. I have to say there is not a program available that can take the place of an editor to buy a good spell checker and grammar program will go a long way in your relationship with your editor.
What are you working on now?
Gwen Plano and I are working on the sequel to The Contract. It is a story that continues where The Contract left off. Some questions were raised in The Contract around just how significant was the threat to the world? Who was ultimately behind the plot was another piece of the puzzle. Gwen and I are working to answer these and other questions. The book should be ready by the first quarter.
The earth is under the threat of a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.
Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits of the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.
If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.
John W. Howell began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the story, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book, Circumstances of Childhood, is a fictionalized memoir and published in October 2017. The latest, THE CONTRACT, is written in collaboration with award-winning author Gwen M. Plano. It launched in June 2018. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
Gwendolyn M. Plano, aka Gwen M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest, where she enjoys writing and travel with her husband. Gwen’s first book is an award-winning memoir. Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a powerful story of triumph over adversity. Gwen’s second book, THE CONTRACT between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by acclaimed writer John W. Howell.
Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/
Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell