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MOODBOARD: “When It Happens”

November 5, 2020 in Motherhood, Writing
Moodboard for "When It Happens" by Rebecca Jones-Howe

I have exciting news! A new story is coming. But this time it’s not a Patreon thing. This time, you get to head over to a wonderful small press to buy a copy of a wonderful horror magazine to read my new published work, “When It Happens”, which I greatly enjoyed making a moodboard for. Because it’s fall, and it’s almost Halloween!

It’s also 2020, a year that really made me think that this story would never see the light of day.

The Backstory (When It Happen(ed)!)

Several years back, a writer friend had this idea to put together an anthology of stories about the conspiracy theory wherein people believe that the moon is a hologram.

So that sparked something. I wrote the story. I had fun with it. During that time I was hardcore into videos making fun of Alex Jones, and much of that obsession found its way into my piece. That and werewolves. And period blood. Because I don’t think enough fiction revolves around period blood. Or periods in general. And what good story about the moon doesn’t revolve around a women’s menstrual cycle, honestly?

Anyway, the concept of the anthology never took form and thus, I had a story to publish. But uh, the story takes place in an alternate reality where werewolves exist and are universally recognized and there’s essentially a pandemic of werewolf activity going down. Which sounds kind of familiar, right?

About “When It Happens”

The story follows Kate and Michael, a married couple of 5 years. She’s a public health nurse. He’s a manager at an electronics store who kind of had to work retail out of necessity after the government shut down the nearby pipeline project. During their anniversary hike, Michael gets bitten and taken to hospital, but outright refuses to get the lycanthropy vaccine. Why? Because werewolves aren’t real. The moon isn’t real. How can there be werewolves without the the moon?

As with all werewolf stories, the change inevitable happens. But in a world of sheep, will Kate just become another member of the flock?


As with all moodboard posts, I know that I need to delve deep into what inspired me here.

Conspiracy Theories

When it happens is about people who become susceptable to conspiracy theories. Back when I watched ?????, the flat earther documentary, to me it became pretty obvious that people who buy into these theories desire to feel special. TO feel like they’re leaders. Visionaries. They want credentials.

I think we’re all bound to buy into this to some degree. Me, I enjoy being skeptical and I can also be a major asshole when it comes to cringing at MLM’s, for instance.

Alex Jones

Considering that I wrote the first version of this story a few years back, Alex Jones definitely provided a lot of story fodder. I watched a lot of his famous rants and obviously parodied InfoWars. I just find conspiracy theories both fun and interesting. Not just the theories, but the people who believe them.

I don’t want to speculate too much about why people believe what they do, but I do feel that it has to do with the obsession for fame, recognition and individuality. I’ve always been a bit of a hipster myself so I feel like I can identify with that aspect of things. I want to be the person who knows the good music or television or books before everyone else. Conspiracy theorists are just a ridiculous extension, honestly.

They think they know the truth about things. They did all the work. So much research. They compiled it all and they can’t wait to tell you and blow your mind.

Toxic Relationships

As I wrote in my moodboard post for my story, “The Red House”, I very much enjoy writing breakup stories. “When It Happens” is a breakup story, and rightfully so, considering that it’s about how relationships dissolve when one partner adopts a new persona as a result of what I already mentioned above.

Relationship breakdowns have proven to be great fodder for my work, maybe because I’ve hit the rough patches of our marriage: Kids. Career. Life changes. Personal changes.

We’ve worked through the rough stuff and continue to enjoy a good relationship, but every one of my personal experiences does inspire me to write a bit of a “What If?” version that finds its way into my fiction.

In this case, the question is: “What if I chose not to have kids, my husband lost his job and turned into a right wing conspiracy theorist?”

The first rendition of “When It Happens” was about a middle-aged couple. The husband believed in a myriad of conspiracies. The wife was cheating on him. Some of the story focused on the affair, but ultimately distracted from the “conspiracy theories changing a person and relationship for the worse” theme, and so I decided to change things up by making the couple younger, five years into their marriage (which Gone Girl says is when things get ROUGH).


Write what you know, right?

I know about being wary about having kids. Through friends, I know about the doubt one might have about having kids with the person they’re currently in a relationship with, which is a scary situation.

The having kids aspect heavily took over this story when I rewrote it earlier this year. It added a lot of depth and gave the story something that kept Michael and Kate somewhat connected. That mirage of an idea.

When It (As in COVID!) Happens

So yeah, I started submitting this story in March of 2020, which was when the pandemic started getting crazy. Which was when politics started getting crazy. Which is kind of what this story is all about.

Nevertheless, I narrowed down a few magazines to potentially submit to. I submitted the story and basically gave up hope that anyone would want to publish a hyper-chaotic story about insane people in a public health crisis. But it had one perk: It was a werewolf story! And a non-cheesy one!

And a very great horror magazine picked it up in early October! Hopefully I can share with you soon which one it is, but they haven’t announced the lineup yet and I don’t want to jump the gun.

When It Happens…

The story will be coming soon. I’ve got no release date for the issue as of yet, but I will let you know once I have word of when you can buy a copy.

I’m excited. I’m ready to have new work in the world again.

Like this post? With your support, I will have the opportunity to write more fiction, plus more creative blogs like this one. Support my work on Patreon and get yourself some nifty perks.

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at

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  • Emily Slaney November 6, 2020 at 1:45 am


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