Category Archives: Paul’s thoughts

To catch a ghost: An evening with Southern Utah Paranormal

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Mostly, I’ve been really enjoying a regular gig writing op/ed, features, and even some straight news for The Independent, southern Utah News and Events.

They were kind enough to let me post my “A day in the mind of a horror writer…or…How my brain is different than yours?” which originally appeared here on my blog in a little longer form.

And the following is a feature article I did for them which was originally published at

So without further ado…

To catch a ghost: An evening with Southern Utah Paranormal


People who know I write horror are often surprised at what a scaredy-cat I am. To be an effective horror writer, I think you have to believe in a lot of the things you write about, or at least be willing to concede the possibility of such things. So, even if it’s admittedly irrational on most levels, I get spooked a lot, especially living in the middle of nowhere.

When it comes to ghosts, I put them in the same group as aliens. Or God. I want to believe, but so far, I’m still waiting on solid evidence. Continue reading


One Writer’s Choice Between Freedom and Safety … or … A Fine Mess of Terror and Elation

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Just had a piece of creative nonfiction published here.

Just had a piece of creative nonfiction published here.

The big news is that I finished a round of edits on my second novel and have sent it off to an agent with whom I have some history and who asked for a first look at it.

And yes, I’m pretty sure I correctly used “whom” and “who” there, but feel free to comment below if you disagree 🙂

Otherwise, most of my writing endeavors as of late have been linked to my burgeoning freelance writing career which is actually the topic of this post (for a recent publication  in Elan Magazine about a time when I helped prepare a sweat lodge, click here).

So without further ado…

As you may have read in my previous post (yeah, I know. It’s been awhile), I have left my teaching position to tackle a freelance writing career. This topic is especially poignant currently as I am rapidly approaching the last installment of my contractual teaching salary.

Even though I have already secured some regular freelance income (for which I should apparently thank my lucky stars), this fact is still pretty scary. Continue reading

Taking the Plunge into Full-time Freelance Writing

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Before I get to the big news (and the not-necessarily horror writer news), I’m glad to report that I’m almost finished with revisions for my next novel. Took a little longer than I expected–and I’m sure it’s not the last set of revisions I’ll do–but I’m glad to say I got everything done to this point in just over a year. Considering how long it took me to get The Imaginings out in the world, I’d say that’s a pretty big improvement.

Speaking of The Imaginings (tremendous segue, if I do say so myself), the new trade paperback format is still available for purchase at my bookstore ( as well as major retailers.

But now, without further ado…

Sing it with me! "School's out for EVER!" Image from Flickr Creative Commons. Eduardo Gabriel

Sing it with me! “School’s out for EVER!”
Image from Flickr Creative Commons. Eduardo Gabriel

THE BIG NEWS! After many years of dreaming about this (and actively working toward it the past couple years), next fall I will be going full-time freelance writing.

Well, kind of.

I have only been teaching part-time the past few years, so I’ll only have to replace a part-time teaching salary.

Continue reading

FINALLY! “The Imaginings” in paperback. SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED!

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Dail_Cover_CO2_Finale- cover 500 px

click here for description

Hmm… let’s see… what’s new with me…oh yeah…

The Imaginings is finally in paperback! (and I don’t use exclamation points lightly)

It’s been longer than I care to admit since I started on this project and the ensuing complications (or the fact that I might have gone bass ackwards on more than a few things in regards to the publication of my first novel)…BUT NOW IT’S DONE!


– 5 1/2” x 8 1/2” trade paperback (334 pages)

– It can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but I’m going to make you wait on those links because…

– I’m selling hand signed editions with a personalized message (*optional) at for just $17, which includes standard USPS ground shipping. Continue reading

What Makes a Good Bad Guy? Part 2: Turning the “Shadow” into flesh and blood

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Not much since last week (maybe this is why I don’t post more frequently 🙂 )

I submitted a short story to another market I’m excited about. Deadline is end of March. Send out those good thoughts for me.

And finally got started on edits for my next novel.  It’s slow going, but I’m optimistic.

But now, without further ado…

What Makes a Good Bad Guy? Part 2: Turning the “Shadow” into flesh and blood

Image from Flickr Creative Commons

Image from Flickr Creative Commons

In Part One of this article, I discussed the theory that one possible reason so many writers (and readers/viewers, for that matter) enjoy the character of the “bad guy” is because he/she/it represents what Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called the Shadow archetype, our opposite side of the Self we project to others.

However, while the Shadow may be the opposite of the Self, it is not completely alien. A well-crafted villain has to have something to which we can relate. They can’t be the nefarious, mustache-twisting man in black who does evil (read: eee-vul) just for the sake of evil. Well, they can be that villain, but then there’s less internal conflict in the minds of your readers. If you can create a “bad guy” that people actually like, they’re going to have a harder time doing the easy thing: cheering for the hero. Continue reading

What Makes a Good Bad Guy? Part 1: Hate the sin. Love the sinner.

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

After much longer than I had originally intended, the print copy of The Imaginings is actually a print copy… kind of.  Currently in the proofing stage, but it was pretty cool to be able to hold my first novel in my hands, to be able to flip through the pages.

Click here for a sneak peek at the cover.

Click above for a sneak peek at the cover.

Shouldn’t be long now. I’ll keep you posted.

Still shopping around a couple short stories that I’m pretty excited about.  Now just hoping to find a publisher who will agree.

Also working on the early stages of a couple other stories as well.

And, uh… ahem… yeah… still trying to get started on the edits for my next novel.

But now, without further ado…

The following is a re-print of a piece I wrote a couple years ago for Suite101, a site for informative articles of a myriad nature. This article was under their “creative writing” section, but I tried to make it entertaining to the average reader as well. The result was a two-part piece that reads much like Stephen King’s On Writing.

Not that I consider myself on par with Stephen King or anything.

In fact, I’ll take this moment to officially purport neither to be an expert in this field or a strict follower in my own writing of all of the things I suggest here all of the time. Continue reading

Why I Really Like Kurt Vonnegut… or … Selected excerpts from “Cat’s Cradle”

What’s news with horror writer Paul D. Dail?

I finished my next novel!

Ahem… Okay, so it was just the first draft. And I actually finished it closer to two months ago (whew. Where did last month go?). But hey! The first draft is done!

And I’m superstitious and paranoid enough that, unless we’re talking over a beer, that’s all I can give up at this point. However, I will say that I’m feeling great about the potential, even in its first draft state. And I believe enough distance has passed that I’m ready to start editing. Wish me luck.

I’ve also been editing and submitting some shorts to pro markets. Really wanting to get moving toward my HWA (Horror Writers Association) membership. And hey, a little money would be okay too.

vonnegutBut now, without further ado…

I know Kurt Vonnegut is not for everyone.

Putting aside that it’s most popular these days to hate Orson Scott Card for his beliefs, not that long ago Vonnegut was criticized for being misogynistic throughout his writing career and apparently making some crazy comments toward the end of his life.

Continue reading