Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
My past was full of books. My parents encouraged me to read but it didn’t take much pushing. I loved reading. I was one of those kids that would stay up late in the night with a flashlight under the covers reading way past bedtime. My parents let this slide if I didn’t stay awake too long, but eventually they came in and shut it down so I could get enough sleep for school the next day. They usually let it go during the summer or weekends.
Back then we had the Bookmobile drive in our neighborhood, at our schools, and churches. Between that, my school library, and the public library, I could easily reach my maximum reading. Then the schools got Scholastic booklets where we could buy books to keep! That was better than Barbie dolls! I don’t think I ever let a single edition (came to us monthly at school I believe) go by without a single purchase. When my son went to school I was happy to see Scholastic still thriving! Now I was in elementary school in the early 70’s so it’s been around a long time.
The first book that really stuck with me and became my favorite was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Here was a girl, not unlike me, going through this horrible ordeal and surviving; on her own! I know this is where my love of post-apocalyptic stories/books came from. Even if I didn’t realize it yet then.
As I got a little older I got into Nancy Drew books and my love of mystery surfaced. I had the entire collection of the second series (where she was a red-head, not a blond – haha). I had dreams of being a detective or a cop from reading all these. But these dreams aren’t always meant to happen. All it took was getting held up at gunpoint at fifteen to realize this was not for me.
Around this time, I was introduced to Stephen King by my mother, who is also a huge reader. The Stand was the first of his books I ever read and I think I was overwhelmed at first. I went on to Carrie and Salem’s Lot and eventually re-read The Stand and learned to love it. But I pretty much stayed with King for years.
Then I read Swan Song by Robert McCammon and found a new type of post apoc to love. There was so much more out there. I gobbled up Dean Koontz and Peter Straub and others like them.
I’d read a few indie books but still bought a lot of mainstream – J.D. Robb, Kevin J. Anderson, Brien Herbert, etc. Then a friend at work told me about Adrian’s Undead Diary by Chris Philbrook. It had been out for almost a year and he posted weekly entries. So, I had a lot to binge read. Then I was caught up and I had to wait each week for the next entry. I thought I would die each week waiting.
But that brought about my love of zombies and I found that my first love of post apoc was a huge part of this. I had discovered extreme horror like Richard Laymon a few years before this and my tastes in horror tended to go darker than they used to. I found Wrath James White’s Succulent Prey and found a new home.
My tastes in horror/post apoc tend to be broad now. I’ve realized that post apoc is my ultimate favorite. That survival thing brought about originally by a little girl shipwrecked on an island. Although I love and buy just about any kind of zombie book, and in fact have written quite a bit on zombies myself, I prefer the post apoc of natural settings. Some unknown EMP or weather phenomenon get my skin tingling. I also tend to buy almost indie exclusively. I prefer to support them, even before I had anything of my own published. I also post reviews and encourage others to do the same.
I’ve learned a lot from the indie community and made so many friends. I’ve learned there’s drama, which I stay out of and hang out on the side-lines, and outright hatred at times. But most of all, we are all there for each other. I’ve been part of many charity anthologies, auctions, and fundraisers to help each other or even those we don’t know. I’ve also learned that even though I think what I write is great, and others may agree, there are always some who don’t like my work and I accept that. Although my first one-star review (and it was harsh – haha) was hard to take I used it as a learning experience. I’ve also learned that no matter how many times a story has been rejected, never give up. I’ve had some stories rejected as many as four or five times. And on the sixth time it is accepted. I truly believe that everything written has a home and it sometimes just takes a while to find it.
Nev asked if I still think I’d be writing in 2045. I just hope I’m still alive in 2045! Haha. I’d be 80 years old then but if I’m able, I will still be writing. I love writing and I know it will never become my day job. I have a day job to cover the bills. I write because I love it. I think writing will get more techie as times change and our technology runs the world. I’d like to continue to write the same genre as now: post apoc (although it may be different then), extreme horror, and psychological horror.
Everyone wants to have their book or story to make it in the top ten or have a movie made about it. I wouldn’t turn it down that’s for sure, but I don’t see it happening. Too many good books and stories out there to choose from, and I’m talking from the indie community. I’ve probably spent more trying to sell my books than I’ve actually made from them. But I will never change. I’ll keep writing until the time comes that I can’t. Which will probably be once my ashes are inside that urn.
I’m just starting my first Young Adult book (unnamed still at this early junction). It’s being made from a short story that I had published in Bite Sized Offerings. Mysti has been bugging me to turn this short into a novel so that’s what I’m going to do. But I also decided, not an hour ago in fact, to make our dear friend Joyce Stukley, a main character in this book. I’m sure its’s not the first time she’s been in a book and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
So that is my future. I hope that my book gets finished and is read as favorable. You know – that top ten book thing – haha.
You can buy any of Veronica’s books here.
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Veronica Smith lives in Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. Her first full length novel, Salvation, was just published in December 2016. She self-published a short story, Last One in the Chamber for You, My Love to Amazon.
Her first novella, Chalk Outline, was originally self-published but is the process of being re-released. She also has several short stories published in anthologies and e-Zines. In addition to writing, she’s a co-editor for two anthologies.
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