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The wonderful Jolene Haley has delighted horror fans with her fall author/illustrator showcase for years. It began six years ago with the dark carnival, then each year she has hosted hosted stories and art for themes of haunted house, harvest festival, haunted hotel, summer of screams (summer camp stories), dark seas, and this year urban legends! I found and started participating in the second year with the haunted house theme and had so much fun that I join in each year.

So today, my story is up on her blog for the…

Go read EXPOSED here!

I’ll wait, then we can talk about the fight that was writing this story.

Okay…so…when you sign up to participate in the #SpookyShowcase, there is no fear of rejection. Everyone gets to have their story posted. All the authors and illustrators are super nice and supportive. It is truly a wonderful time. Which is why I continue to add my words. No pressure, right?

Except there is.

I can’t just write a story and send it. I have to let it sit, revise it, let people read it, revise it…let more people read it! Because only after I am truly happy with it, will I send it.

The theme of urban legends made my choice pretty easy, I knew immediately what legend to pull inspiration from. Just miles from me, sits Bruick Road, and there are lights that appear, strange lights with no explanation. I’ve never seen them, but my creative brain began to ask questions. WHAT ARE THEY?

But…my stories need a theme. I need a main character, one who is struggling with something, who wants something…something that will link to these odd lights.

After a lot of pondering, I had a thread to hold onto, one that I could take and knit and weave and grow into a story, one about a past that won’t be forgotten, about how a victim can become a monster.

About how light will expose the truth.

And I had a title. Exposed.

Some stories write themselves. Some take a minute. This story haunted me forever.

The hints had to be subtle, but present. The reveal had to be easy, not dumped on one’s head like a ton of bricks. I wanted everything there, enough information so the reader could figure it out, so it could all come together in the end without a huge awful explanation.

Since finishing and beginning the query process for my MG earlier this year, I hadn’t written anything. Not a thing. My brain refused. Doing the showcase would certainly nudge my brain back into writing! It was tough. I struggled. It was too long. It didn’t make sense. Too many characters. Characters who weren’t all the way realized. Characters who needed to connect to the story.

After very helpful feedback (and a lot of me questioning whether I could untangle this complicated knot), I got the story to a place where I was happy.

And I sent it.

Today, Exposed is out for all to read.

If you read…THANK YOU! I hope you enjoy it. Please leave me a comment if you wish.