Lessons Learned During the Creation of "Hell Is In Me"

After four years of constant interruptions that included three deaths in my family, two major wildfires, and ongoing health issues, I finally completed this novel! Yay for me!

Yet, the road was still not smooth. In March I finally sent the manuscript plus my chosen image for the book cover to the publisher and thought all was ready to go. Eh... not so fast. The publisher couldn't use my original graphic on the cover (see page called, My Next Novel) due to technical issues, so I had to use another. With that issue solved, I was certain the book was finally on its way. Nah... Another issue came up, this one entirely my fault: I sent them the wrong copy of my manuscript. Thank God I caught it before they began formatting work! However, one more disaster arose, that of the Coronavirus. I expected it would bring another delay to my publication, but thankfully, the publisher's employees were all well-equipped to carry on their work from their homes. (Sigh of relief here.) So, as of this writing, my latest tome is nearing official publication, and should be available sometime in May.

                I find it rather disconcerting that so many problems have delayed publication of my new baby, "Hell Is In Me." I began to wonder if God didn't want me to publish a horror story about a boy dogged by the Dead. Perhaps God viewed this project as averse to all He stands for. Yet, the core of "Hell Is In Me" is God-Affirming and life-affirming. Okay, there's some bad language - but people cuss in real life. Okay, there are some bad characters that have done bad things. There are also more characters that have done and continue to do good things. The main protagonist, Quinn, is a mixture of both. Quinn is what we are as real people - a mixture of good and not so good traits and behaviors. I like Quinn. Quinn and I would be friends because I understand him, and he would like me because he is astute enough to ascertain I, like him, am a product of my upbringing and life experiences. Quinn, like me, is also a Christian who never forgets who is really in charge, and he avoids hitting people over the head with it unless they are in dire need of a mild concussion to bring them to their senses. Considering all this, I have come to the conclusion God might be okay with the plot of this novel after all, and He was not putting obstacles in my path to punish me, but to teach me patience, and to remind me to trust Him.

The Afterlife has always intrigued me. I know I won't know what it is and how it is until I get there. I am in no hurry, having almost died a couple of times during the last four years. I am convinced we go on in another form. I know that because I have seen too much of the paranormal in my lifetime: shadow people, and the invisible but enduring sensation of visitation by a departed loved one (and some who were complete strangers). None have I spoken with, unlike Quinn who can carry on a conversation with a departed soul as if he was conversing with the living in his midst. What would it be like to do that, I wondered. My imagination takes off when I wonder about things like that, so why not write a novel? Call me weird; call me anything you want. Just don't call me crazy.

You may be wondering how I could write a novel about such a subject when I have buried three brothers in four years and I am facing my own mortality. Perhaps I am purging my own latent fears. Perhaps I am embracing the inevitable in a creative way. Whatever it is, this is what writers do. We create something out of our angst. I guess it is a method of self-therapy. Personally, writing this novel has been a joyous outlet in many ways, and even comforting.


These are uncertain times wrought with tragedy. To those of you who have recently lost someone I send my condolence. To those of you who "keep calm and carry on," I say, BRAVO! Despite the thorns and snares in our paths we must keep putting one foot in front of the other. We must be brave. We must be patient. We must have faith that it will all make sense in the end, an end which is a new beginning.

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