You Don’t Scare Me! Back to Blog

First up, thanks so much to Cynthia for inviting me to stop by!

When I was very young, I saw a book at the library called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The whole concept scared me so badly that not only didn’t I read the silly thing, I was completely freaked out for weeks. Eventually when I read it, years later, gathering my courage like a blanket around my shoulders, I was heartily disappointed. Whether or not it would’ve scared my younger self was no longer an issue. All I knew was that the build-up of fear hadn’t been worth it.

Years later I became somewhat of a daredevil when it came to scary things. Roller coasters, monster movies, bad boys on motorcycles… Yeah, that was me. I even up and moved to England for a year, all alone, and dragged home a husband. The immortality of youth made it easy.

But all that changed when I had my first daughter in late October of 2002. My fears morphed into very concrete, very pinpoint terrors that focused on her well-being. Suddenly movies like 21 Grams, in which Naomi Watts loses two young daughters to a car crash, became my A-No-1 horror scenario. Unlike deciding one day that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark isn’t so scary after all, I don’t think this particular child-based fear is going anywhere. Add to it a second daughter the following year, and you have the key to breaking me into cold sweats.

The crazy reality of life is terrifying enough, which is probably why I don’t go for scary movies that are possible. Saw, Hostel, and other “kidnapped by random crazy dude” tales just leave me frozen. It could happen. No thanks. I have enough horror show possibilities in my head without heaping on newer, more grisly images.

Instead I much prefer the good old fashioned monster movies that used to scare me as a child. Give me Aliens or Pitch Black any day, where people blow up mindless creatures. Sure favorite characters might be lost, but that’s the glory of well-crafted, suspenseful storytelling. It makes me feel something real even in an outrageous scenario. That little safety cushion of knowing it could never happen to me and mine that keeps it from being too scary to endure.

So bring on 28 Days Later and The Descent. Give me Dawn of the Dead and The Ring. They don’t bug me. But if you want to watch a gross-fest like The Hills Have Eyes or a family rip-your-hear-out tearjerker like Reservation Road or The Ice Storm, I’m afraid I’ll have other plans!

And all of this leads me to a little discussion about the nature of personal fear. I’ve identified mine. All the rest? Like going for what I want with regard to my career, or putting myself out there professionally? How is that scary? It’s certainly not harm coming to my family. Maybe that realization–the difference between real and imagined fears–helped me finally make a concerted effort toward publication. I started seriously in 2006, about three years after my second daughter was born.

Because compared to any of that, what do I have to lose? Another rejection…poor sales…a professional setback… None of it phases me anymore. I guess in the end, any reservations I had about those terrors became as harmless as the book I couldn’t read as a child. I grew up, got some perspective, and conquered those fears.

What about you? Anything terrify you now that didn’t before? Or fears you used to harbor that have since moved on? I’d love to know what makes you hide your eyes! I’ll draw a random commenter to win a copy of my latest, SONG OF SEDUCTION, available as a digital download from Carina Press. It’s all about people who face their biggest fears…and no monsters or crazy killers in sight.

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22 responses to “You Don’t Scare Me!”

  1. Cynthia Eden says:

    Hi, Carrie! Thanks so much for blogging today! And–I remember that book. SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK was one of my first scary reads. :-) What can I say? The title drew me in!! And, like you, I also love movies like Pitch Black. Vin being in the flick really helped me.

  2. Lynn Rush says:

    Okay, I LOVE that picture of VIN from Pitch Black. That is a great movie. Hadn’t thought of that one in a while. I really liked it. And yeah, after that, for a while, anyway, the dark really freaked me out. Oh….that screech…it haunted my dreams for days. . .


    Great post.

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      Hi Lynn,

      I think the best part about PITCH BLACK is that the humans were enemies as much as the monsters. Love that dynamic! Thanks for stopping by today :)

  3. Jillian says:

    I am with you on the biggest fear being that something could happen to one of my kids. Even though my oldest is now 23, I still fret about him and his 16 year old brother. I don’t believe the fear ever goes away. The nature of the fear may change, but not the fear itself (think driving, etc as they get older).

    Your book cover looks awesome!

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      Thanks, Jillian. I *love* my cover (but can claim no part of creating it, obviously–just lucky). And yeah, I think the nature of the fear changes but not the root of it. At least my kids aren’t old enough to be driving yet!

  4. Desiree says:

    I love Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark. My fav was ‘the warms crawl in the warms crawl the warms play pinnacle on your snout’ lol
    My fear since my kids have been born is something happening to them something that I can’t fix.

  5. Viki says:

    My biggest fear is also the safety of my boys. The 31 yr old I don’t worry about as much as the 21 and 18 yr olds. Being away at college (I remember what happens there!) scares me like crazy. I am constantly praying that they stay safe and use good judgment. It’s a very difficult thing to do when you’re young and out on your own.

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      Ugh. College. Such a remarkable time to experience new things–with all the dangers that come with that freedom! I don’t even want to think about that yet! Thanks for stopping by today, Viki.

  6. Valerie says:

    I have to cover my eyes when I see violence on TV. If it’s a fantasy movie it doesn’t bother me, but if it’s a real life story….ugh!!! I also can’t watch stuff with that involves anything bad happening to children….shudder!!!

    in Germany

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      That seems to be a line in the sand for a lot of people, Valerie. Who wants the heartache of that much fake pain? But then, I love romance because so much of that isn’t an issue. Bring me my happy endings! :)

  7. Kelly Thrash says:

    I’m with you Valerie. I love the series CSI but they had this episode once of someone taking kids form theme party places and killing them. I cried and cried the whole hour of the show. I can’t take that kind of stuff. Having a child did change the way I think about things. I not only worry for his saftey but mine. I want to be here for him and I want to see him grow into a man (though I’m fine if he wants to do it slowly-he’s already growing too fast!).

    kittykelly28 at

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      Good point, Kelly, about our own safety too. I can’t think about things like what my family would do without me. Ugh. Let’s not go there, ok? Pretty cover! :)

  8. Pam P says:

    I don’t like blood and gore, cover my eyes, even on a medical drama. Won’t watch movies like Saw. I never used to be afraid of heights when younger, but then started having vertigo problems from inner ear infections and now I’m very leery of heights as I feel as if I’m going to start to fall. Can’t even look down going down a store escalator, have to loop up or to the side.

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      My husband never used to be scared of heights, but not he can’t stand them. Part of it, we think, has to do with the girls. He can go on a ski lift by himself, for example, but he can’t stand being in skyscrapers with the kids with us. I think it’s cute :)

  9. Colleen says:

    I have a fear of falling/heights… love rollercoasters, but can not stand the ferris wheel… have a hard time with ladders… also can not watch gory movies… I know they are fake, but they get to me…

    • Carrie Lofty says:

      My brother is an amateur filmmaker and likes to point out how horror directors did their tricks. But sometimes even knowing those behind-the-scenes things aren’t enough to dissolve the bad images. Thanks for stopping by, Colleen!

  10. I’m claustrophobic. I didn’t realize how bad until they tried to give me a closed MRI. I made them get me out immediately! Other than that, heights bother me.

  11. Edie Ramer says:

    Great blog, Carrie! I used to be afraid of speaking in public, but I’ve done it lately a few times and it’s not so bad. I think I have something to say that people want to hear, that will help them. That’s the difference.

    Heights bother me, but that’s because I have an inner ear imbalance, not because of fear.

  12. sue brandes says:

    I guess ghosts or anything unseen even though I love reading about it or seeing it on tv. UFO’s really creep me out. Pretty book cover.

  13. Carrie Lofty says:

    Kelly Thrash is our winner! Kelly, email me at contact AT carrielofty DOT com to claim your copy of SONG OF SEDUCTION. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by!