Guest Blog by Marlon S. Hayes
Updated: Apr 5
When Darkness Beckons
All stories start from the same place within my brain, a nice, safe well-lit room with comfortable
chairs and cool music. However, somewhere after the initial thought, some of those tales sneak
out as if they’re looking for another atmosphere, a much darker one with creaking hinges, chilly
accommodations, and a leering host imploring them to come just a little further… into the
My name is Marlon S. Hayes and I’m a writer with no genre boundaries. I did not plan it that
way because I envy those whose minds stay in familiar, sunny surroundings with ‘Happy-ever-after’ stories which leave the reader warm and satisfied. I’ve written those, but I’ve often let my mind drift into spinning yarns which leave goosebumps and the firm decision to sleep with the lights on for a while. At first it horrified me that my brain could conjure those thoughts and my writing could make them into such tales. Now, I grin and rub my hands together in glee, because it’s exhilarating to navigate the dark places.
The ideas spring from everyday things and occurrences, and then they take on a sinister quality and become something else. One night, while I was driving on the Interstate, I stopped at a rest area to take a break. I pushed open the doors to a air-conditioned, well-lit room, and the thought hit me then, the ‘what if’ factor. What if the power were off? What if I were on a two-lane highway? What if I exited the wrong door and found myself in another time and place? I wrote a short story titled ‘The Rest Area’ where I explored the darker possibilities, and I put it away, because at that time, horror stories were an anomaly amongst the tales I create.
Or so I thought. I was in negotiations with a publisher (who-shall-not-be-named) and I was asked if I had any short story collections in my vault of unpublished tales. I assured them I had plenty and I unlocked the door and started counting the ones I had finished. I stopped when I got to fifty, mad at myself for not sending more out to anthologies or magazines. Then I attempted to separate them by genre. Romance, Westerns, etc. Out of the ones I’d selected, there were about fifteen which could be considered horror. That took me by surprise because I had not realized how many times I’d ventured into dark areas. I went back inside to see if there were more, while at the same time my mind was creating new stories about haunted restaurants, werewolves, and what could happen when a person inherits a house in the Atchafalaya region of Louisiana.
Every writer has personal goals for each year, and I am no exception. I wanted to release a novel and a collection every year without fail. Of course, those goals have changed as I’ve evolved and learned more about the business part of the job, not just the creative stuff. Now, I release an e-story every month, a novel and a collection yearly. That’ll probably change again. Once I had separated the dark tales from the others, I wrote a few more and considered the project complete. I sent it off to my editor and when I got it back, I released it. ‘In the Pale Moonlight’ is a collection of hauntings, voodoo, werewolves, vampires, and I’m quite proud of it. I should have waited though. Who could have predicted there would be real-life stories which were way more terrible?
I try to write something every day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs. I read every day, and just like my writing, I’m a fan of all genres. Just as life gives me ideas, so do the words of other authors. I would never copy someone else, but sometimes, a sentence of someone else’s sparks an entire story to bloom into being. Sometimes, the new idea is dark and dripping with blood. I grin in those moments, because those forays into the darkness are welcome respites where I can let my imagination run rampant. This past weekend I wrote two shorts, one of which centered around the weirdness of February 29th . That sparked other ideas and maybe Leap Year Day becomes a central theme around which I can create an entirely new collection of dark tales. I relish the thought. We’ll see what happens.
Marlon S. Hayes is a writer, blogger, and author from Chicago, Illinois. His latest novel ‘11:59’is available on Amazon, as are his other works. He can be followed at Marlon’s Writings on Facebook and Instagram, and at his website marlonhayes.wixsite.com/author