As an adolescent, I watched a show called Creature Features every Friday night. Hosted by Bob Wilkins, it featured classic B films in the sci-fi and horror genres. (Nothing higher than a PG-13 rating). Often times Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, or Bela Lagosi starred in the films, but just as often the star was a ghost or monster--think Mothra and Godzilla. I preferred the ghost movies--and there were a lot of them--most notably, The House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts, The Uninvited, and The Haunting. Thanks to services like Netflix, I can still view these favorites, and guess what? They all stand the test of time. (If you check them out, be sure to get the originals, not the gory remakes).
Add to this the fact that I'm of Mexican descent; and I affirm that folklore, Day of the Dead, and superstitions are already a part of my DNA. Naturally, I grew up believing in ghosts and spirits but it wasn't until I lost dear ones that I became riveted by the afterlife. I wondered not only where have my loved ones gone, but also, what are they doing and who are they with? As I posed my interest in the afterlife to poets and writers they told me that they, too, were intrigued by the subject and had addressed these questions in their poetry and writings. Before I knew it, I was compiling an anthology.
I assembled an impressive team. RenéeM. Schell was a brilliant editor, taking the anthology deeper than I would have. Barbara Froman and Marta Svea Wallien were excellent assistant editors. They combed through hundreds of submissions and made the difficult decisions of which pieces to accept and which to reject. I served as the production manager and page designer. It was a lot of work. Several prize-winning poets and writers submitted their poetry and flash fiction. Submissions came from all over the country and many international locations. It seemed authors were eager to share their thoughts about the dead.
Ultimately, 38 amazing authors take readers into their hearts, minds, and imaginations as they visualize and express how the dead communicate with others, how the living connect to those no longer here, and much more. These writings reveal deep emotions, take us to interesting places, and explore surprising possibilities. The title is (AFTER)life: Poems and Stories of the Dead. Take a peek inside. It's certainly the season to read this anthology.
So, after my creative experience and reading the completed anthology you may ask, does Victoria still believe in ghosts? My answer: Oh, yes! How about you? Is there a film, story, or poem that piqued your curiosity in ghosts or the afterlife?
Victoria M. Johnson knew by the time she was ten that she wanted to be a writer. She loves telling stories and she's happiest when creating new characters and new plots. Avalon Books and Montlake Romance published Victoria's fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). Her other fiction book is a collection of romance short stories titled, The Substitute Bride and a novella, Hot Hawaiian Christmas. She is also the writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. Visit Victoria's website at http://VictoriaMJohnson.com for inspiration and tips and find her Amazon author page or connect with her on Pinterest and Twitter.