I’m Gerald. I write stuff. Like the novel The Ghost Toucher. I’ve also written several short stories and I’m a bit of a poet too.
I’ve lived a significant portion of my life in my own head. I was born in 1976 to a 911 operator and a line worker at Chrysler. I’m sure they weren’t doing that when I was born, but that was my earliest memory of what my parents did for a living. I was named after my grandmother, Geraldine Hill, and I’ve been fighting not to get saddled with her nickname ever since.
I've been writing for years. Mostly unoriginal, sucky stuff at first. I think it was in 2nd grade when everyone in class wrote their own book and we hand bound them with yarn or something. Mine was about two witches named Yvonne & Yvette, though I don’t remember what they did other than live in the woods and use big sticks to stir things in a cauldron. I would say writing really started for me in tenth grade with short stories and a comic book story my best friend and I collaborated on when we were Juniors in high school, but I wasn’t doing anything that really was going to go anywhere. By Senior year I’d given up and forgotten about writing, save for really, really bad poetry I wrote for my now wife.
After graduating high school in 1995, I went to GMI Engineering and Management Institute in Flint and took 2 semesters to learn I hated engineering. I dropped out and flirted with the idea of going back to college until after my wife graduated in 2000 when I enrolled at Mott Community College. It was somewhere around then I wrote a story called Night of the Loving Dead, pt. 2 (I never finished the first one) and submitted it to Cemetery Dance. After 6 months of anticipation I was greeted by my very first rejection letter.
I took a creative poetry class with Joseph Bommarito and wrote some okay stuff. Got a poem in a teacher's journal out of Ann Arbor and won or came in 2nd place in the short story and poetry competitions for both years I was there and got my Associate of Arts in English in 2002.
In 2002 I had the pleasure to make a few acquaintances on the on-line forum of one of my favorite authors as they were gearing up to write a kind of fan fiction sort of anthology. Two of the guys let me join and I came up with the idea for the story, The 5000 Fingers of Bob, about a group of guys in the 1930s deciding to kill a mentally handicapped manboy. It was kind of in honor of Stephen King's The Green Mile, though my John Coffey was the bad guy. But I have my copy still on my bookshelf. I'm immensely proud of what we did together.
The Ghost Toucher isn't the first time I've attempted to write a novel, but the first time I've succeeded. I started The Beauty, a story about an artifact that's supposed to go to a museum but people keep stealing it, but it's actually the head of an ancient Egyptian princess whose body is tracking it down and kills anyone in her way. I even did research for that, going to the Grand Blanc Township police to find out the size of their building, how many officers there were and what kind of dogs they used. They looked like German Shepherds, but they’re not. I started The Edge and had an awesome opening paragraph. But every time I open the Word file I have no clue where I was going with it. Maybe someday I'll think of something.
There have been a few others, but I've forgotten. I had another minor break through in my writing in 2003, I think it was. I was driving to school at U of M Flint, I think, when I was stopped at a light and saw a little old lady in my rearview mirror. At first I thought she was alone in her car until I saw a pink coat sleeve with a mitten reach up in the backseat to touch the ceiling of the car and then drag down the window. It disturbed me for some reason and a little while later the word 'marmon' popped into my head. I looked it up and found it was a type of old car. The two ideas melded: old woman, old car and I wrote the story of a crazy little old woman in an old car who gets into a minor fender bender with a guy who'd been in a terrible car accident years before who eventually opens her trunk and finds... well, her baby. You'd have to read it; I don't want to blow the ending.
I shopped it around and eventually found a home with the now defunct Nocturnal Ooze webzine. That's the sister website to Alien Skin Magazine. I’ve had several short stories and poems published in both. I won't bore with the details of every place I've submitted to, but I really turned the corner in '08 when Graveside Tales accepted my story Mona into the Harvest Hill anthology. I'd written two stories, not realizing they only wanted one and they liked that one better. I recently found a home for The Best Night of the Year, the other short I’d written for the Harvest Hill antho, due out in Shadow Fire Press' 31 Days of Halloween later this year.
But my last novel attempt was actually the springboard for The Ghost Toucher. It was called Born Dead and has a few of the same themes. I borrowed some from it as in my mind the main character was the same guy. But it was a half-inspired, rudderless effort. In truth, I didn't know how to plot. I got 40 pages into it before realizing I was completely lost. There are some good ideas in there and I'll probably merge some of that stuff into a future effort with some of the characters from this series (yes, The Ghost Toucher is the first book of a series).
The Ghost Toucher is actually an amalgam of a bunch of things that have been floating around in my head for years. Some of it is social commentary, like my dislike of personalized plates, and some of it is stuff that's just plain old funny to me. I have an odd sense of humor, but I'm okay with that.
My wife has been the best when it comes to no excuses. Every time I've offered one up, she's taken it away and she was right. If I wanted it, I would find a way. I found a way and got this novel done in 2009, starting in January and finishing it a couple days before my birthday at the end of the year. So now I'm working on the sequel. Hopefully, you'll love the first. Hopefully, I'll piss you off with the first few pages of the second. It's okay, I did it on purpose.
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