The Roads Less Traveled

 

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There’s an odd feeling of memory when you walk the trails and backwoods of the Ozarks. It’s a feeling as old as the mountains, themselves. A profound richness to the tapestry that enfolds us. Each tree and rock, a different story to tell. There’s a certain peace to the stillness there…but a deep melancholy, as well. You can hear it in the whispering of the wind through the trees and the soft murmuring of a stream.

These Ozark Mountains were old, long before the first human walked through them. They were here long before us and they’ll be around long after. There is magic here, if you know what to look for. Not the grandiose magic you see in movies and read about in books. It’s more of an unfathomable current of energy that flows through the Ozarks, bringing with it all things in nature.  It’s as subtle as a gentle breeze but as immutable as the mountains themselves.

Man has certainly left his mark on the Ozarks, and also the rest of the natural world. However, man’s reach extends only so far. After all, this earth survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. Humans are just another species; no more, no less. With the right circumstances, we too can vanish in the blink of an eye. The Earth will start again, without us.

For as long as there has been life on this planet, there have been the things that inspired fear in it. Fear of the dark, fear of the unknown or of the known. Unknowable fears that haunted the dreams of every living creature since life began on this planet. The delicate dance of predator and prey. Each of them fearing something along the food chain. Even the top predators feared other predators, or at least what the represent. Competition for the limited food sources.

When humans decided that they were the very top of the food chain, they pushed that fear back into the darkness. Into the myriad depths of our collective psyche. Unfortunately, that isn’t where it stayed. Our fears come back to us at the most unreasonable times. Now there is fear of failure, fear of losing one’s home or job and fear of the consequences of our actions. It has been a long time since modern man felt the fear of being hunted, confident in our position atop the food chain. But occasionally, that ancient memory comes back, and the safety of our modern world is shaken to its core.

That primal fear that runs through you when you know that something is watching you in the darkness. That primitive instinct that tells you that you’re in danger. The absolute feeling of dread just before something truly horrifying happens. It comes from that primitive part of our brains that still experiences things on an instinctual level, no matter how hard we’ve fought to repress it.

That, in and of itself, is the essence of true horror. Something causes the primitive part of our brain to scream a warning. The fight or flight response is triggered and instincts kick in. You feel your pulse quicken and the adrenalin flowing through your veins. You can taste it at the back of your throat…. that sour and sickening taste of fear.

As horror authors, that is the part of the brain we hope to access. To inspire that primal fear that makes you turn on an extra light or double check the locks on the doors before you go to bed. It has always been my deepest hope that my writing will bring you along on that dark journey, running the gamut of fears and emotions until the story leaves you drained and not certain you caught it all. Leaving you wanting to take that dark pathway again, just to see if you saw it all the first time through.

I’ve received many messages from people who have read my books over the last few years. Some on Facebook, some emails and some direct messages. I am humbled beyond words when I hear someone say that they are reading my books for the second, third or more time through. One guy has read them six times. Now, I might not be selling books on the level of a Stephen King, but when I hear that people have read my books over and over…well…that’s the absolute best complement I can get.

I didn’t set out on this journey seeking to be a bestseller or a celebrity. In fact, I have absolutely ZERO desire to be a celebrity. What I want you to remember are the stories. It has been and always will be about the stories, for me. I want to know that something I wrote affected my readers deeply enough that they had to read them again to relive the experience. I want to open my email and see letters from people that love my writing. Those are the best accolades I could possibly hope for.

Those of you who know me, know that I’ve been in Law Enforcement for many years. That has helped to shape both the man I became as well as the writing I love. It’s part of who I am, down to my very core. But my true passion is my writing. I would love to be able to hang up the body armor and be a writer. Just a writer. After all, I still have so many stories yet to tell.

This summer has been tough for me, as both a writer and an officer. I’ve been working a lot of overtime for my “day” job (which ironically are overnights). We’re short-staffed and it’s made for some very long weeks (60 to 70 hours on average). That hasn’t left me much time to write. I’m hoping that by the end of August, that will be changing. More staffing has been hired and should be through training by then. Things should go back to what passes for normal for me.

In the meantime, I will try to keep my social media pages updated as often as I can and toss out a blog post here and there. I apologize that it has been far too infrequent. I’ll try to make it up to you this fall. I’m planning more entries, videos, social media posts and book releases.

If you have any questions or would like to contact me about my work, you can reach me through my Author Page on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/DARobertsAuthor/

Or email me at: DARobertsAuthor@gmail.com

Thanks,

DA

 

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