I hearby solemnly swear to never make anything up.

My husband’s first question to me today, after he read On the trail of the cryptid known as the Linwood Woolly Beast, was: “So. Did you make that one up?”

No. I actually found references to the creature on a couple of websites when I Googled Minnesota paranormal. (Though I must admit I was several pages deep into the results by the time it came up.) Despite sounding so irked last night, it turns out that I’m glad I learned of the legend. My boy and I had a lovely time looking for the thing as we drove into town.

As long as the question came up, I want to promise you I will never confuse my personal fiction with my paranormal studies. Even if I could craft a better story. Which I could.

(That’s a clumsy segue into the subject of my fiction.)

My book is in review at a critiquing community. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to boast about nice things people say, but I’m making an exception for the critique I found in my email tonight. Because it literally made me tear up. Because I’ve been hoping to hear something like this for a long time:

While reading it, I was thinking that your writing style is much more similar to literary fiction than to a typical horror/mystery genre novel. … So, people have probably been saying “go faster! go faster!” but now I am not sure how much faster you really need to go. There are definitely areas that can be trimmed, but this is going to be a slower-pace, more internalized novel. And it is really working. Such an interesting combination…the pretty words slowly telling this intriguing ghost story. I like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I WANT to be a genre writer. I read and love horror. (Albeit old-school horror like King and Rice and McCammon and Simmons.) I know I have to ruthlessly cut what I’ve written. But it was awfully good to read that someone, somewhere gets what I’m trying to do.

I didn’t intend to post of any of that. I came downstairs to satisfy my quota for NaBloPoMo by simply sharing my thoughts about the movie I watched tonight: Carnival of Souls (1962)

Director Herk Harvey plays the "Man"...

Carnival of Souls

This movie was shot in 3 weeks, on a tight budget, and it shows. (Not always in a bad way.) The editing leaves something to be desired, and the soundtrack started to give me a headache after a while, but I’m glad I stuck with it. In the latter half of the film, there are some wonderfully creepy, surreal images which I fear I will see again in future nightmares. Even the makeup, which looks too thick in stills from the movie, is effective in the context of the story. (The smeary-lipped, rictus grins will stay with me for a long time.) It’s a contender for the 13 Creepiest Horror Films list that I’m still working on.