I would like to introduce you to the man who has started my published writing career, at least, as far as in an actual book. He has purchased 4 of my 7 purchased stories and is my biggest professional fan so far. He is also someone I have come to call a friend.
Kevin G. Bufton is a great guy. He and I have shared a laugh or two online. I have never met Kevin; he is from over in Great Britain, I believe. If that’s wrong then it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter much to me; he is someone I have brought into my circle of friends.
Kevin has published a book, “Cake”, which I own and am fairly anxious to read in between writings and all the other things I do. He has said he will, most likely, not be doing any more anthologies. I wish him so much luck, though he won’t need a lot of it; he’s good. There is that small part of me (the selfish part) that hopes he does a bit of anthology publishing down the road. I know I will find other publishers, but, perhaps, not one so great to know.
Without more, here is my guest poster: Kevin G. Bufton…
CALL ME MR. NICE GUY
Hello there, gentle reader.
My name is Kevin G. Bufton, and I pen nightmares. I’ve written around seventy short stories, and pieces of flash fiction, around half of which have found a home in magazines, anthologies and websites around the globe. Next month sees the release of Six of the Best: A Hellish Half-Dozen, the first collection of my solo work. The stories I’ve hand-picked for the book feature a stillborn baby coming back from the dead, a man’s family destroyed by a killer tumbleweed, a village that practises a bloody Yuletide rite, a luchadore who hides a dark secret behind his mask, a hook-handed sea captain fighting the undead aboard his ship, and scenes of carnage and bloodshed in a semi-abandoned hospital.
Yes, six tales of filth and depravity, each culled from my own dark imaginings. Truly, I am a foul and objectionable creature.
Only…I’m not – not really.
You see, when Scott asked if I would do a guest post for his blog, he asked me to discuss the difference between the horror writer, and what he writes, and I feel that I’m the perfect subject for such an essay. You see, I am (I hope) a nice guy. I’m a hard-working family man, with a beautiful wife and two wonderful children, all of whom I adore. I’m a faithful husband, an attentive father, and a loyal friend. I’m as quick to laughter as I am slow to anger, and generally chilled out to the point of narcolepsy.
So where does that darkness come from? Why should I, a fairly genial chap in his mid-thirties, be compelled to sit before his laptop, night after night, and forge such terrors?
Because it’s fun.
That’s the only reason. I’ve been a fan of horror and the macabre for more years than I care to admit, certainly since I was five or six years old, at least. For me, horror is the purest field in which one can hope to write. As an emotional genre (as opposed to situational genres like science fiction, Western or police procedural), it ranks above romance and comedy in its applicability. We all have our own horrors, those buttons in our brain that are connected direct to our spinal cords, that send chills through our body. As a horror writer, it is my job to find out where those buttons are hidden, and press them good and hard.
There’s your answer. I write to provoke a reaction from the reader – whether it be to shudder, to choose to sleep with the lights on, or even to gag a little, doesn’t matter. I’m not proud.
One thing my stories do no do is provide a psychological release for myself. The idea of horror being a cathartic thing is as old as the hills, and I consider it something of an insult. I don’t write these things to exorcise my own personal demons; I’m not one step away from becoming a serial killer, the only barrier between myself and bloodshed being the words on my computer screen. If I was that sort of guy, my writing would be terrible – incoherent rantings and ravings, getting ever more unhinged, as I strive to fend off the darkness.
I have had the very good fortune to interact with hundreds of my fellow horror writers, both online and in person, and, for the most part, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more pleasant and companionable group of ladies and gentlemen. I have no doubt that most of them have off days, where they are snappy towards friends and strangers alike. Likewise, I’m sure some of them have an amusing array of peccadilloes, or low-grade mental illnesses, simply by virtue of being human. I would not be surprised to hear that one of two of them suffer from crippling depression, but these are not the reasons why they write horror. These mental aberrations are as common in any walk of life, any discipline and any vocation, as they are among horror writers.
The difference I would say, is that it is only horror writers who are expected to analyse themselves in this way. All any writer wants to do is craft a well-written tale, that will entertain, and horror writers are no different. It’s just that our form of entertainment is regularly viewed as being unhealthy in some way.
I’m doing something that I fell in love with before I even hit puberty, and it’s a good thing, a wholesome thing. I believe that a decent scare, properly produced, is good for the soul. Dark tendrils, caressing your flesh, sending chills down your spine, are the thing that dreams are made of. When you finish a story that has scared you, that feeling of euphoria you get, when your mind accepts that such things are not possible, is addictive, for sure, but it’s not why you pick up the next book, or the next movie.
The dread itself has an endearing quality – each shambling step towards that final destination begins to give you a little thrill.
And I guess that’s the other part of why I do this. It’s not because I have some dark secret, shaking its chains in the dusty attic of my mind. If anything, it’s the opposite. I don’t write horror in spite of being a nice guy; I write it because I’m a nice guy. If I was a kitten-drowning, puppy-killing, baby-punting, nun-stabbing, demon-raising, darkness-loving bastard, then I can’t imagine taking such pleasure in the penning of terrors, as it would all be so mundane, compared to what passed for my real life.
That’s not who I am. I’m happy-go-lucky; a husband, father and friend, all of which gives me the freedom to plumb the very depths of depravity with utter impunity.
And I love it.