Have a chilly, scary, rationally-explained Halloween!

Please welcome JJ Dare, friend and fellow Second Wind author. JJ writes thrillers (False Positive and False World), and is one of the collaborators on the Rubicon Ranch serial. Her Rubicon Ranch characters amuse me because they are so unrepentently manipulative and unabashedly malevolent. (How can they not be with such a father as Morris Sinclair?)

Personally, I don’t like to be scared — it’s too . . .  scary — so I invited JJ  to talk what scares us and why we like to be scared:

Along with countless others, I love a good scare and this time of the year is perfect for terror and thrills. Halloween is right around the corner. Ghosts, goblins and zombies reign over the land. Witches, warlocks and evil fairies lurk around sharp corners. That bump-in-the-night sound makes your heart beat faster. The skittering across the floor in a dark room gets the blood pumping. What is that shadow outside flitting across the top of the window?

Why do we love to be scared? It’s a rhetorical question because the answer for one person is probably different for another. For myself, I like the rush of the initial terror followed by a reasonable explanation for the scare. That bump-in-the-night was a cat jumping on a chair that lightly hit the wall. The skittering noise was the dog’s nails clicking on the tile floow when she trotted down the hallway. The shadow was a low-flying owl, circling the window as the two animals took turns taunting him from their inside safety.

It’s a full moon every night for Weredog

Blame the inside animals. That’s what I did the other night. While I like the scares while I’m awake, I’m not so crazy about being abruptly ripped from a deep sleep by noises at night. I don’t like lying in bed for minutes that seem like hours, waiting for that thing under my bed to slowly crawl out and grab me. I don’t dare step onto the floor else I’ll be pulled into the under-the-bed void of my childhood.

As sanity and focus slowly descend, we can laugh at ourselves for our fright. A carryover from childhood, I occasionally have a dream of the purple monster rising in my bedroom window. The fright it gave me at six years old is remarkably the same at my current older age. As it slowly rises up, the malevolence it emanated decades ago is just as strong today. In my nightmares, I know it’s no good but I’m as powerless to stop it now as I was in my single-digit years.

The stories I create in my mind from the scary things happening at night become the roux for some of my written works. While I don’t always keep the story line tight with the dream, I can trace a few of my stories and books to their chilly beginnings from the bumps-in-the-night I experience.

I like to be scared. I love scary movies, thrillers, zombies, flying monkeys, and the like. Shadowy things at night give me delicious chills. The supernatural is delightful – as long as I can explain it away, rationally, in the light of day.

Have a chilly, scary, rationally-explained Halloween!


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and triple digit works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Don’t Buy My Books

With millions of people out there urging you to buy their books, I’m going to do the opposite and tell you not to by mine. Considering the books that make it big in this anything-goes book world, chances are you won’t like my novels, anyway. Here’s the truth of it — don’t buy my books if:

You are looking for vampire, ghouls, zombies. There are no such beings in my novels, though there is a brief mention of zombies in A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and there are plenty of sub-humans, such as unscrupulous scientists and bureaucrats, but they bleed and eat the same as any human.

You are a romance junkie. Love is a theme in each of my books, but the conflicts are never romantic ones. The characters gradually fall in love as they band together against a greater villain than their own feelings could ever be.

You are a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey. There is no eroticism in my books, no women who want to be subjugated by men, no kinky sex. In fact, the only graphic sex scene is in More Deaths Than One. Each of my books had less sex in it than the previous one, so my last novel, Light Bringer, had no sex. The story did not call for it, and it never occurred to me to add a few gratuitous sex scenes to help the books sell. (Also, unlike FSofG, my books are well-written.)

You only read thrillers. Although my books all have thrilling moments, and although people often stay up late to finish reading one of my books, they are not thrillers as such. In thrillers, the reader knows who did it from the beginning and learns why from the villain since part of the book is told from the villain’s point of view. In my books, the villain’s identity is not revealed until the end, except in Light Bringer, where the villain turned out to be maybe not so villainous after all.

You want books that are the same as all the rest, only different. My books aren’t the same as all the rest. I’ve read over 15,000 works of fiction, and I made sure my books weren’t like any of them. The endings are not predictable. If by chance you do guess the ending, there will still be a bonus surprise for you.

You like stories with flawed heroes. Not one of my characters was purposely flawed to make them more interesting. They are real in their own right, struggling to survive as best as they can, learning the truth of themselves and their world, growing into who they need to become.

You like raunchy humor. There is much humor in my books, particularly Daughter Am I, but the humor comes from character interaction without a single tinge of raunch, or it comes from a sly sense of irony.

You like a particular genre. My books have no particular genre. When I was growing up, the libraries had small sections for genres such as mystery, science fiction, romance, westerns, but the rest of the books were all shelves alphabetically. That’s where my books belong — with the rest. When I have to pick a genre, I usually say the books are conspiracy fiction since they are all based on various so-called conspiracies. Some readers call Light Bringer science fiction , but to be honest, it was written as myth fiction — based on modern conspiracy myths and ancient cosmological myths.

You only “buy” free books. My books are not free, and except for rare promotions, they never will be free. You can, however, download 20-30% free at Smashwords to give you a sense of what my books are like. (You can find my Smashword’s profile here: Pat Bertram. Scroll down below the book trailers to find my books. Click on the one you’d like to download.)