15 lessons a fantasy author learned from reading horror

This is not a review of “The Rats” by James Herbert and it contains a lot of spoilers. But if you’re ever in a horror novel these lessons might save your life.

At the behest of my friend and critique partner, Anna Kaling, who is also a talented romance author, I recently read “The Rats” by James Herbert.

It was partly my fault. I did agree to read a book from her favourite genre, horror, and in exchange she read a fantasy novel I chose. Check out how that turned out.

Don’t ask me why a romance author prefers to read horror, but I’ve read some of Anna’s books, and you can barely tell that the author gets her jollies from reading about people being eaten alive by giant rats.

Yes, this post is going to be one huge spoiler for “The Rats”, but it’s really old so if you haven’t read it yet you were probably never going to.

Also, saying that people get eaten alive by giant rats in a horror book called “The Rats” can hardly be classed as a spoiler. Come on.

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A depressing book and a jelly bean book

Just when I believed all books were out to depress me, along came a beautiful jelly bean book that restored my faith in the ridiculous.

I’ve been perpetually overwhelmed recently, which I expect relates to my inability to say no to pretty much anything. Except seafood. I’m quite happy to say no to seafood.

This has had several consequences. First, my brain has decided 4am is the appropriate time to wake up on the weekend. I’ve spoken sternly to it, but it insists. Hence I get to read for an hour or two in bed before I get up on Saturdays. I also get to spend the whole day exhausted.

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A dragon, a castle, and an audiobook

It’s always exciting to get packages in the mail, and the best way to ensure this is to buy yourself presents.

Recently I bought myself a present that (I fondly imagine) is currently winging its way across the ocean. I’m not sure I could have waited for it to get here, so fortunately I arranged a sneak preview.

Dragon and castle

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Five reasons I stopped reading

Library

Today is book-hunting day! That wasn’t a thing until today, but now it is.

Book-hunting day means I go to Amazon and search for fantasy books with key words like “chosen one” or “elemental magic” (just, because). When a book entices me, I’ll start reading the preview until I either decide it sucks (ahem, I mean, decide it’s not for me) or buy it.

Of course, I’ll give you a commentary as I go. It’s mean to make fun of people in public, so I won’t name names and I’ll disguise some of the details. (I’ll use * to indicate the detail has been changed.)

Shall we head into the jungle?

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Things that died beside my bed

Cat in a suitcase
You left what beside the bed?

I can never stop things accumulating beside my bed. Tubes of lip balm, hair ties, and half-read books have a habit of piling up.

Going through them is a geological exploration. The deeper you get, the longer ago the sediment (or book) was deposited.

It seems like time to clear out the book pile, and I thought I’d document what I found.

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