Nine books that messed with my head

Hi.

Welcome back.

This week I want to talk about some of my favorite horror books.

You know, those books that do things to your head or your heart or your soul and make you want to read them over and over again?

Yeah, those.

Incidentally, if you like horror, there shouldn’t be any surprises here. These are the classics everyone should be cutting their teeth on. So to speak. So here, in no particular order are my choices:

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. 1962. This is a dark fantasy about two 13-year-old best friends, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, and the nightmarish travelling carnival that arrives in their small town a week before Halloween.

  • Hell House, by Richard Matheson. 1971. Not sure if this was the first real haunted house novel, but it was certainly the scariest. A physicist and two mediums — one mental and one physical — are offered $100,000 each to spend the night in a haunted mansion so terrifying that it’s been abandoned and sealed since the last psychic expedition in 1949.  But don’t take my word for it.  “Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.” — Stephen King 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty.  1971. Based on the true story of a child’s exorcism in St. Louis in 1949, it has been called the most controversial novel ever written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Shining, by Stephen King. 1977. A disgraced prep school teacher accepts the job of seasonal caretaker at a haunted resort in Colorado with a long history of murder and debauchery.  Oh, and he brings his wife and young son along for the ride. All the characters are top-notch here with one of my favs being the Overlook’s chef, Dick Hallorann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • ‘Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King. 1975. A writer returns to the small Maine town where he grew up and discovers the residents are gradually turning into vampires. With a bit of Bram Stoker’s Dracula mixed in there for flavor, this book took vampires out of Transylvania and plopped them right in the middle of rural America. And made a convincing argument for why it could really happen, too.

  • Night Shift, by Stephen King. 1978. King’s first short story collection.  There are some heart-racing gems in here. Favs — “The Graveyard Shift,” “The Mangler,” and “I am the Doorway.” Shudder.

 

 

 

 

  • The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe. My first introduction to horror. Don’t be afraid you won’t like it because it’s written in a kind of old-fashioned style — it’s Poe, goddammit! He’s the original tortured artist.  Just suck it up and read them. Favs — “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

  • The Ruins, by Scott Smith. 2006. A horror thriller set in the Yucatan Peninsula, a group of young American, German, and Greek college students/tourists head into the Mexican jungle searching for a missing girl. What they find is literally the stuff of nightmares. This one had me sweating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Books of Blood, by Clive Barker. 1984-1985.  Six volumes of dark, bloody horror stories. Favs include “The Book of Blood,” “The Midnight Meat Train,” “The Yattering and Jack,” “In the Hills, the Cities,” “Son of Celluloid,” and “Rawhead Rex.”

There are SO many more, but this post has to end somewhere. There is a butt-ton of books I haven’t listed here, and others I know are out there waiting for me to discover them.  Ugh. Why can’t we live forever?

Anyway, thanks for reading and let me know some of your favorites in the Comments section.

Thanks. See you later!

 

 

 

Binge-watching Netflix — It’s strictly research, I swear.

Well, here we are living out all our old “if I only didn’t have to work” fantasies.  (Except maybe for the one where you get naked and belly flop into a pool of lime jello.)

 

 

 

So, in between taking naps and trying not to eat everything in the house, my husband and I have been binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. But unlike the rest of America we are doing it for a higher purpose — we’re both writers so we’re calling it “research”. 

Yeah, I said what I said.

Right now we’re researching the hell out of “Supernatural” — already on Season 3. Woo-hoo! Great cast, great writing, and according to Dean in Season 2, Episode 18 — great craft services.

 

 

 

Also, sadly, we’re finishing up “The Magicians” later tonight. LOVE this show, especially Quentin, Eliot, and Margo the Destroyer. Maybe we can get a GoFundMe site started to finance another season (or 10) just to frigging bring back Quentin (and, by extension, one of the hottest ships on TV — Queliot!). C’mon, you guys — it’s a magical world. Anything can happen!

And, last but not least — “Lucifer.” He is my favorite drama queen. My husband and I are both loving Lucy’s character arc, but it’s hard waiting for the most recent season to make it onto Netflix. Ugh. I want it nooooooowwwww!

So, how dare we call what appears to be a hedonistic waste of time “research”? Hey, when you write everything is research.

Three week trips to exotic places just to get “local flavor” for your next book  ? Research.

 

 

 

 

Eavesdropping on people in public places (ah, the good old days) simply to hear authentic idiot conversations? Research.

eavesdropping

Watching 72 hours of shoe fetish porn just to give one of your characters a “secret obsession”? Research.

Let me know what you’re binge-watching in the Comments.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Hello? Is anybody out there?

Hi everyone.

Today as we sleepwalk through the “social distancing” nightmare that is our lives right now, I thought it would be good time to share some of my “emergency contacts” with y’all.

You know, those people you go to for advice, encouragement, and the perfect keto peanut butter cookie recipe…

Next stop — writing vlogs, because, duh – writer.

While there are many, many fine authors online right now, I highly recommend the following authortubers for any of your writing needs or questions.

These are the people (in alphabetical order) I check in with on a daily basis:

Abbie Emmons of #WritersLifeWednesdays

blog: https://bit.ly/2Kl21m8

facebook: https://bit.ly/2FS2Ikh

instagram: http://bit.ly/2Xr5hUI

patreon: https://www.patreon.com/abbieemmons

Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings

BLOG — https://heartbreathings.com/blog

INSTAGRAM — https://www.instagram.com/heartbreath…

FACEBOOK — https://www.facebook.com/heartbreathings

TWITTER — https://www.twitter.com/heartbblog

Kristin Lamb (not on YouTube unfortunately)- blog http://www.authorkristinlamb.com

Jenna Moreci of Writing with Jenna

WEBSITE: http://jennamoreci.com

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/jennamoreci

INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/jennamoreci

TUMBLR: http://jennamoreci.tumblr.com

FACEBOOK: http://facebook.com/authorjennamoreci

PINTEREST: http://pinterest.com/jennamoreci

And finally, for editing advice (you know you need it), please check out Ellen Brock for Novel Writing Advice — it’s always good, and when she covers a complex topic she includes notes and timestamps so you can skip to the good stuff if you want.

Please note — NONE of the people listed here paid me or asked me to mention them. In fact, none of them even know me. These are simply the people who have helped me figure out so much when it comes to writing (and I’ve been to grad school for creative writing, sis!) that I felt like sharing them with you. (Aww. I feel a Deadpool moment coming on… Oh yeah, there it is.)

And now, for the perfect keto peanut butter cookie recipe check out:

Joe Duff – The Diet Chef 

If you don’t know Joe, he likes to rock tank tops and fluffy slippers while he cooks.

My Cookbook: https://gumroad.com/l/bestketocookbook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejoeduff

If you have any favs you’d like to recommend, please tell me in the comments below!

Love and Gravity. Bitches be crazy. (Part 3)

For the past few weeks I’ve been comparing the nature and effects of love with those of another universal force – gravity.

Gravity represents classical physics here since it acts on the BIG stuff, like  planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and even the universe.

 

 

 

Love, in this analogy, stands in for quantum mechanics — that branch of physics dealing with the motion and interactions of subatomic particles — you know, the small stuff. Or, the human stuff. 

 

 

 

I know what you’re thinking — Why the hell did I click on this f!$%ing blog?!  Where’s the SMUT??

Patience, grasshopper.

Just like some of the early scientific theories humanity has come up with (spontaneous regeneration, the plum pudding model of the atom, and phrenology, anyone?), we have been getting it wrong for a long, long time. 

Because instead of viewing love as the force of nature it is, people have decided that there are kinds of love (as if there were kinds of gravity, too). Furthermore, there’s the idea that some kinds of love are better than others, and that the folks who give into the undesirable kinds of love are weak, degenerate, or just plain WRONG.

 

 

 

 

Now imagine giving voice to the idea that some kinds of gravity are better than others, and that the people who give into the wrong kind of gravity are somehow bad and inferior? And yet, here we are in the bright and shining 21st goddamn century still judging people on the kind of gravity they allow themselves to give in to!

Ridiculous, right?

 

So let’s sum up.

Gravity is an indiscriminate force of nature. Depending on the situation — for example, someone falling off a building — it can get messy. Gravity does not give a rat’s ass about what religion, society, or the various governments think about it. It just is.

Love is also an indiscriminate force of nature. Depending on the situation — for example,  someone falls in love with another someone and they have sex — it can also get messy. (Unless you use a condom.) Love doesn’t give a rat’s ass (possibly the same rat’s ass) about what religion, society, or government thinks about it either. It just is.

So if you  if you ever find yourself agreeing with the nitwits who think everyone who falls into the wrong kind of love should be punished and marginalized (I’m looking at you, all 73 countries in the world who criminalize LGBTQ people), for something they had no control over, then be my guest.

But just don’t get too close to that ledge, sweetie. Because you never know when some perverse force of nature will have its way with you.

 

Love. Resistance is futile. (Part 2)

Last week I talked a bit about my thoughts on the nature of love. I’d been thinking about it because I’d somehow found myself writing a novel with a love story in it.  (If you write, you already know — these things just happen.)

 

 

 

So… Love.

Ok, it’s like a force of nature — like gravity — that only affects living beings. 

Well, maybe.

Because what about quantum inseparability?  Is that just another form of love?  Like the raw, basic essence of it, the universal idea of love, sort of like Plato’s Ideal Forms? Is love intricately woven into the fabric of the universe? Of all universes?

And if so, what chance do we puny humans down here on Earth have? What chance do we have against such a powerful phenomenon? It’s like trying to fight against gravity. Sure, some people have done it (astronauts, astro- dogs, probably some astro-rats), but they’ve always  come back down  afterwards. Because … well, they can’t stay up there forever, right? Gravity is always tugging at them, dragging them back to Earth.

Continuing this idea that love, like gravity, is a force of nature, I say that love acts on us whether we want it to or not. (Kinda like the aforementioned gravity.) But unlike gravity, which is a huge, but weak, force in the universe, love is simultaneously huge and intimate. And unbelievably strong.

Love draws people together. It draws animals together (theories of biological determinism be damned), and it draws people and animals  together. And it may be what draws subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, planets, and galaxies together!

 

Let’s just agree on this for now: Gravity doesn’t discriminate and neither does love. Both do what they do with no regard for who they do it to.

Love is patient. Love is kind. (Wtf?) Part 1

A lot of people know that quote from Corinthians in the Bible. It’s a popular, and comfortable, way of looking at love. As such, it’s often recited at weddings where everyone smiles and nods. Every time I hear this definition of love it makes me think of a soft, cozy shawl.

However …

I’ve been working on my protagonist’s character profile this week, and it’s gotten me to thinking about love; because even though my novel is a sci-fi horror adventure in an urban setting, it’s also a love story.

Believe me, I was just as surprised as you are. I’ve never been interested in love stories, or romance (because, Duh, I mostly write horror. See my short story “Mercy Street” elsewhere on this blog), but there you are. This story wants to be told, and for some unknown reason, it’s picked me to tell it.

Consequently, I had to do some hard thinking on the subject of love. Like, what is it, where does it come from, and is there a cream available to get rid of it?

So the first thing that popped into my head is the idea that we have absolutely no control over love. It chooses you. You are love’s bitch. You don’t get to decide who to love, or when you’re going to fall in love, or where you’re going to be when it happens, or even when it will happen.

Love is basically a cosmic clown car careening around the corner just as you step off the curb. Wham!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that regard, love remind me a lot of death. Or life.

At the same time, though, love often seems like a weapon wielded by some divine, hilarious prankster god, right? Because once love sets its sights on you it’s just like having one of those hellish Covenant plasma grenades attached to your body — no amount of running around and screaming will fix it. You are fucked.

That’s it for today.

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on love — please tell me in the comments down below. Thanks!

How I’m Going to Make 2020 My Bitch

I realize that making a public declaration like this is one of the stupidest things you can do. Everyone knows that as soon as you make a grand pronouncement like this you are essentially cursing yourself in a very public manner.  (This is probably why nearly every great undertaking starts off with very little fanfare. In secret. If it fails, who cares? Nobody, because no one knew about it.)

Well, where’s the fun in that?

I believe in the Accountability Model of Achievement (aka The Public Shaming Model)– the more people whom I tell, the more likely I am to actually do what I said I was going to do. Because if I don’t then everyone and their mother will be guaranteed to ask me “Whatever happened to that thing you said you were going to do…?” for the next freaking year. Or two.

So, the more people who are invested in something, the less likely I am to let it die a quiet, unnoticed death.

That’s the plan anyway.

So, here goes.

In 2020 I plan on finishing my novel (… that I initially started about 4 years ago in grad school. Don’t ask. I did actually, technically finish it, it just sucked so bad I couldn’t bear it. Hence, third draft’s the charm, eh?) and  publishing it.

 

 

 

I am working on getting the movie  I made a few years ago — Gameheads — broken up into bite-sized videos and put on YouTube as a serial.

I am revamping my old student blog into a new author blog. (You’re looking at it right now, babe.)

I am starting a podcast, which will be about writing plus whatever-the- hell-I-feel-like-talking-about.

I’m going to do more book reviews — both fiction and non-fiction — along with some movie and TV reviews.

As God is my witness, I am going to learn how to play the guitar even if it KILLS me!

 

 

 

And finally, I want to start

attending some writing or sci-fi/fantasy  conventions as a guest again.

 

Whew! That’s enough for one year.

How about you? What are your plans for 2020? Don’t be afraid — just spit it out! Believe me, not only is it therapeutic, but the prospect of some good, old-fashioned public shaming might be just the kick in the ass you need to get things done.