Thanks to this odd little thing called the Internet, I have had the opportunity to make friends with other writers. When I speak of them to my local friends, I call them my “writer pals” to clarify that they are rarely able to mix with my tangible sphere. I am quite attached to some of them, and they are better friends to me than people I’ve known since nearly birth. But I’m not here to discuss friendships, per se, I’m delving in details of writing. When you get close to people who write…non-fiction, fiction, horror, romance, thriller, westerns…the genre is unimportant, you familiarize yourself with how they speak, how they write, how the communicate with the world. As writers, they do a lot of that. I’ve had the benefit of being in contact with some of the most talented people. And when reading their work, having read their correspondence as well, I gather a little additional pleasure than perhaps a normal reader would. Maybe I’m wrong…and maybe this quirk of the trade is how obsessive fans are born. I don’t know. Anyway, while reading a story written by a very dear friend, I found myself smiling. The story itself is horrific, disturbing, cringeworthy (as good horror should be). But there I was, smiling like a loon. Not at the spewing blood or the ominous music that plays in my head when I read such things, but at the word choice and the familiar voice. Writers, some without realizing, throw more of themselves into their work than they know. Perhaps not in the stories themselves (not many really want to live through having their stairs demonized by several thousand carnivorous spiders while battling a tentacled bigfoot with nothing but a pair of pajamas and a bottle of Sprite) but in the telling of those stories, in the words they use and the phrases they turn. Sometimes I’ll see an idea I’ve seen in a long ago email blossom into a novel. Other times, I’ll see their core beliefs plastered across pages. And then, there are the little things, the ones hiding in the prose, bits of conversations about nothing that filter through and pepper the pages and make the fiction more real. Each one of these friends owns an individual style. When I read a work by a “writer pal,” no matter how creepy, I still feel like I’ve been hugged because part of those friendly people is in there…cringing along with me…and giggling when I scream. Thanks, guys, for the entertainment and the friendships.