Strange Weird News (The Back Story)
From the time I was teenager I knew I wanted to be a writer. I had grandiose dreams of being the next Clive Barker, as he was my favorite writer as a teen. I grew up in the 90's, a time when there used to be these ridiculous tabloids, with the most preposterous headlines. I'm not talking about the "National Enquirer," I'm talking about tabloids like "The Weekly World News." What was the story behind them?
"The Weekly World News" would have headlines about UFO's, vampires, and bigfoot. One of the headlines that I remember, had a picture of a kid that looked like he was half bat, half child. Bold letters for a bold statement. "Bat Boy Found in Cave!" I would wonder who bought these magazines. They were at every checkout, in every grocery store. Someone was buying them, but did they buy the story? Were there actual people that even entertained the idea that these absurd stories could be true?
I thought to myself, that it would make for a great fictional novel and one day I would write a book based on one these nonsensical tabloids. I would make my own spin on them, and make them true in an altered universe that I would create. I would call the mag "Strange Weird News." The main characters would be the investigator and the editor, but I didn't have much of a plot, so as a teenager I sat on it, and promised myself I would write it eventually.
After highschool I joined The Marines. I had signed up for the Reserves, with the intention of having the military pay for my college, and I would become a writer. Things didn't end up going that way though. I was a stubborn young man, I thought if I wanted to become a great writer, I was better off experiencing life than going to college. I had some great experiences in the military too. I went in 1993, and got out in 2000, missing both the Gulf War, and the War on Terror, but I had scored fairly well on my ASVAB, and had joined a pretty cool unit. The unit I was in deployed every year to various spots in the world. So I trained and was eventually able to go on a humanitarian deployment. I got travel to Thailand and work there for about three months. In 2001, I was honorably discharged.
At age 24, I was out of the Corps, and had started a family, working a regular nine to five job. I tried to do the writing thing, writing mostly short stories and and query letters, but nothing ever got accepted, so I ended up writing for myself and friends, and life went on.
The year 2016, was the year I turned 40, and it ended up being the worst year of my life. I was diagnosed with a rare cancer that left me disabled and had almost killed me. My wife of 12 years left me, as she was no longer romantically interested in me. I felt like I had lost everything. I was alone, impoverished and in a deep depression that I thought I would never escape. I thought my life was over. I had accepted that as my truth. I had a good run.
2019 came, as three years had come and gone. I was still in that depression. I thought about that novel, how I'd said I would one day write it. Thought, what if I don't have much longer. I wasn't doing anything else. Give it a shot. Write it. I still had the basic outline, but no plot. So I pansterd, and just wrote.
It ended up being a short novel titled, "The Essence." Short but sweet. Beginning, middle, climax, and ending. I already had the plot for the sequel written in my head. If this is it, at least I could say I got it done. The story took place in the 90's as it always had, because that's where it came from. Writing it really helped me break out of my depression. I had released all of my dark thoughts down on paper. Felt good to get it out, felt good to have some sort of purpose again. Now what?
"Should I publish it, just have it for me, or at least let friends read it?" I did a google search for "Strange Weird News" just to make sure the name had not been taken, and if it had, I would change it in the book. I didn't want to be copying anyone. I was surprised to see that the domain name had not been taken, and it was for sell for $15. At the time I wasn't sure what I would do with it, but I'd thought at that price, I'd better buy it. Then I would own it, and if things went a certain way it would already be mine.
After buying it, I thought I might as well use it, so I started a blog. I was still sitting on "The Essence," not knowing what I was going to do with it. Maybe I would shop it, maybe I would self publish. I wasn't really concerned about making money, I just wanted it out there, so I could feel a sense of completion. Once I owned "Strange Weird News" which the novel was about, I thought, why not just publish it myself as web novel?
I have since started writing a second book, hoping to make a series out of it. The second book is a much longer tale, so it's taking a bit longer to write. I hope to have the first draft ready before the year ends. That's the deadline I've given myself.
As always thanks for reading. With COVID, and everything else going on, these are truly strange weird times we are living in. I should have plenty to write about.