"Swamp Vengeance" was a new type of story for me and very fun to write specifically for this anthology. All the stories by some of the best horror writers today are dark and twisted ghost stories in the tradition of EC comic books like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror and Stephen King's Creepshow.
When I got the opportunity to write a short story with this comic-book-style ghost-story theme, I was traveling around Florida and staying in many towns up and down the coasts. While driving from Fort Meyers to Miami, I stopped off for a swamp tour at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and got up close and personal with some interesting swamp life and big alligators.
Alligator with my thumb in the shot.
Those last 2 gator photos were taken at Alachua Sink near Gainesville. I also drove across the southern tip of Florida through the Everglades, observing gators swimming in the channels along the road. A friend and I went on an airboat tour through the Glades. This inspired the setting for "Swamp Vengeance" and the creation of my lead character Merle Pritchett, a gator hunter who knows these water channels through the high sawgrass better than he knows his own wife. He also foolishly ignores the legends about the ghosts that inhabit the deeper part of the swamps.
This Miccosukee village and totem pole, nestled on an island in the Everglades, along with a true legend of a lost Seminole city inspired the folklore in my story.
Aside from having a heck of a lot fun touring the Florida wetlands and writing this creepy story, it's an honor to see it included among so many great authors, including one of my literary heroes, Robert McCammon, whose paperback horror novels and short stories I devoured during my years of learning to be a writer. You can now read "Swamp Vengeance" and over 20 other spooky ghost stories in MIDNIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD, available at Amazon.