Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Hootenanny Black Coffin Bracelet Contest.

I decided to try a bracelet using all black beads.  
I made this using ceramic coffin beads, Swarovski black crystals, and black spacer beads.  This has been strung on Stretch Magic and just slides on your wrist.

~Leave your name (use what I can announce on the blog if you win) and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite Fall food.    
~That's it! No need to follow, tweet, or like unless you want extra entries.

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on October 29, 2014 at 12:01am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.

Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Tangled Roots of Urban Fantasy and Horror (Guest post by Jamie Schultz).

Sometimes I think it’s kind of funny that “Horror” gets its own section at the bookstore. I mean, you don’t see a “Sadness” section in the bookstore or an “Unbridled Joy” section. Horror is more of a mood or an effect than anything, and it can be found in such a broad range of genres (serial killer horror, supernatural horror, alien horror or existential horror in some kinds of science fiction—I could go on and on) that trying to wrangle all that stuff and corral it in one place seems like a strange exercise. I mean, I’m glad it does get corralled, to some extent, because sometimes that’s just the thing I’m looking for. I just think it’s odd, and maybe a little futile, given how that mood creeps out to other genres.

Take urban fantasy, for example, since that’s the field I’m currently tilling. Urban fantasy might be considered one of the more bizarre, wayward offshoots of the horror-as-a-genre family tree. It’s not hard to see where some of the genre’s horror DNA comes from. Long before vampires and werewolves came to be regarded as odd classes of deviant superhero (I can fly! Hypnotize people! I’m super strong and ultra-hawt! Of course, sunlight is kryptonite and I have an odd dietary requirement that we shouldn’t look at too closely, but every superhero has a weakness or two—see what I mean?), they were monsters pulled straight from horror, personifications of humanity’s sexual neuroses, fear of our more unruly passions, and, hell, the straight-up visceral fear of getting fucking eaten.

(Here at the top of the food chain, we don’t think too much about getting fucking eaten anymore, but devote a few moments thought to it, and I bet you’ll be hard pressed not to shudder.)

The amazing thing about urban fantasy is that it has taken its branch of the horror tree and fanned it out into an impressively wide array of moods using, in many cases, the same raw material. At one extreme, you have what amounts to heroic fantasy wearing a horror scarf and gloves as a bare nod to its forebears—adventure stories that happen to share some of the same monsters. Even in the cases where the monsters of old have not become superhero protagonists, they are less objects of dread than straight-up foes to be vanquished on the battlefield. The Dresden Files books are a pretty good example of this.

At the other extreme, you have what amounts to straight-up horror wearing a fantasy hat and sunglasses as a nod to the other part of its parentage. My favorite example of the kind is the John Constantine: Hellblazer comic. It’s fairly bleak and frequently gruesome, populated with damaged characters put in horrible, impossible circumstances. It achieves its effect using a setting steeped in magic and sorcery, but it’s hard to mistake its aim as anything but horror. Another great example is Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series, where the monsters are Lovecraftian horrors from beyond, and they are explicitly treated as such.

There’s a lot of middle ground between the two extremes, but rather than a tidy spectrum, it’s more of a big ambiguous swamp. Occupying some acreage in the middle is T.V.’s Supernatural. On the one hand, it uses a lot of urban fantasy tropes—magic, demons, angels—but it treats its monsters as genuinely scary. Maybe more to the point, while each overall plot arc is heroic in tone, the show doesn’t shy away from showing that exposure to constant awfulness leaves the characters psychologically damaged to the point where they are often barely able to function. If that’s not horrifying, I don’t know what is.

As for me, I tend to wallow in the end of the swamp closer to Castle Dracula, in both my reading and writing habits. As much as I enjoy a good adventure story, I find the pull of those darker elements impossible to resist.

Jamie Schultz has worked as a rocket test engineer, an environmental consultant, a technical writer, and a construction worker, among other things. He lives in Dallas, Texas. His first novel, Premonitions, received a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “a sterling urban fantasy debut with a great cast of characters.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ghost Story by Peter Straub - Guest Review by Kimberly Griffin.

A group of four elderly men who refer to themselves as “The Chowder Society”, in a small town called Milburn, have a secret they’ve kept to themselves for the past fifty years.  They fear this secret may be coming back to haunt them.  There were five of them, but Edward Wanderley died at a party a year ago.  The four that are left have been different since that night.  Now when they get together for their Chowder Society meetings, they all feel compelled to tell each other ghost stories.  It started when one of them asked the other, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” and the other answered, “I won’t tell you that, but I’ll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me” and proceeded to tell a ghost story.  Now they take turns, each week they meet and one tells a ghost story to the others.  They all have had nightmares since the death of their friend, Edward, and they now are feeling apprehensive and fearful that something really bad is going to happen to them and to the town. 

I first read Ghost Story when I was in college.  Late at night, alone in my single dorm room, it scared the daylights out of me.  I remember reading it one night, on the train that would take me from my college town to the town my dad lived in, on my way home for a visit.  It was dark outside, and before too long, I was half expecting to see some specter suddenly appear in the window beside my seat.  I have good memories of reading this book.  I enjoyed the re-read too, though it did not scare me as much as the first time around.
Ghost Story is, in my opinion, a timeless classic.  It scares you in a subtle kind of way.  It draws you along at a comfortable pace and then everything starts to fit together in a very disturbing way.  There is no man with a saw going after everybody, no ghost children popping up here and there in a haunted house; this ghost story is more eerie than that.  You can have the children exorcised, the saw man set on fire or blown up.  Ghost Story is more about an ancient and powerful evil.  That’s what scared me the most about it, and what stays with me after I’ve read the book.  Can that kind of evil really be defeated if it exists?  The ending leaves you with just a little question in your mind.
Ghost Story is one of my favorite horror books.  It does have a few weaknesses though.  It moves pretty slowly for the first half of the book, but after that it picks up speed.  The characters can get confusing sometimes.  The townspeople are brought in sometimes with little or no introduction and it would leave me confused for a while.  Usually it turned out to not be important; they didn’t usually stick around long anyway.  Still, it was somewhat annoying.  Despite these weaknesses, I still think it’s a great read, just don’t give up on it until you’ve at least made it halfway.  The best is yet to come, and it’s worth it.

Kim Griffin is a lover of all things book related, whose favorite holiday is not Christmas, but Halloween! Oh, how she loves Halloween! Of course, October is her favorite month; the smell of burning leaves in the air, the colors on the trees, the cooler air…it all means Halloween is coming. She spends all of October reading nothing but horror books and watching scary movies that she wishes were even scarier. If she doesn’t feel frightened to go to the bathroom by herself, then it just wasn’t good enough. You can visit her blog to find book reviews of mostly YA and PNR type books (though some horror, fantasy, sci-fi and mystery are mixed in too), as well as reviews of movies that were based on books, and other book-related features at Bookworm Book Reviews.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

House of Night

Barnes & Noble:

Excerpt #1
…Neferet beamed a smile at her Dark minions that was both exquisitely beautiful and terrifying. “I have an answer to our dilemma, children! The cage we created to hold Redbird was a weak, pathetic attempt at imprisonment. I have learned so much since that night. I have gained so much power—we have gained so much power. We will not cage people, as if I am a gaoler instead of a goddess. My children, we are going to blanket the very walls of my Temple with your magickal, unbreachable threads so that my new supplicants will be able to worship me unhindered. And that will only be the beginning. As I absorb more and more power, why not encase the entire city? I know it now—I know my destiny. I begin my reign as Goddess of Darkness by making Tulsa my Olympus! Only this is not a weak myth passed down as trite stories from schoolchildren to schoolchildren. This will be reality—a Dark Otherworld come to earth! And in my Dark Otherworld, there will be no innocents being abused by predators. All will be under my protection. I hold their fates in my hands—they have only to look to my welfare to be fulfilled. Ah, how they will worship me!”
Around her, the tendrils writhed in response to her excitement. She smiled and stroked those nearest to her. “Yes, yes, I know. It will be glorious!”

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Meme #3 (10/17/2014.)

 photo wwbook-4withwords2.jpg

Welcome to my Halloween Meme! Each Friday in October I will be asking a Halloween or Horror related question.

Feel free to simply answer the question in the comments below OR grab the button to create a post on your blog and don't forget to come back and leave your name/url in the linky.

Check out other blogs for their posts as well.

Question: In your opinion, what makes a scary story effective?

1. Investments.  Being attached to a character, then not knowing if they will live or die.
2. A surprise or twist.  Having something turned on it's head.  Like an innocent clown turning out to be a killer.  Or, not knowing who the killer is.
3. Tension.  When you know something terrible is going to happen, but you don't know exactly what and you don't know exactly when.

These are just a few things that I find make a scary story especially scary.  What is on your list?

Summer Chiller Signing at Books of Wonder and Contest!

Where: Books of Wonder
When: August, 2014.
Who: Kat Rosenfeld (Inland), Anna Schumaker (End Times), Laurie Faria Stolarz (Welcome to the Dark House) and Danielle Vega (The Merciless).

Although I went to this event in August, I thought it would be a perfect post for Halloween Hootenanny.  During the summer I find that bookstores, signings and publishers focus on beach reads and summer romances so I was very happy to see this event on the Books of Wonder calendar.   Summer Chiller spotlighted 4 books that are scary, thrilling and creepy.

The authors talked a little about their books and then read a section from them.  (I have a theory about the secret behind Inland).   Then a Q&A followed by the actual signing and chatting.  All the authors were very articulate and friendly.  I enjoyed this so much, because I love any discussion of Horror and spooky stories in general.

About The Books:

End Times is the first in a series and Anna has gotten angry e-mails because people don't realize this. She is now careful to tell readers this.

Welcome to the Dark House is Laurie's 14th creepy book.  She doesn't have nightmares, but had one a few years ago and it was the inspiration for this book.

Danielle's book is not part of a series yet when people read the end they get mad and want to know what happens.  She got the idea from a news story that told about teens performing exorcisms with one of the girl's father.  Usually people who believe in exorcisms are religious and Danielle had to think of a way to make teen girls religious yet a bit bad.  

About the Covers:

Danielle loves the cover for her book and thinks it takes guts to have a pink cover for a scary book.

Kat loves her cover too.  It was done by the photographer actually building a corner and taking it into the ocean.

About their Research:

If you went on the authors Google history you may find the following topics: Murder, burn victims, dead rats, uses for chloroform. 

Laurie alway looks for a new level of creepy and takes things from headlines.  She also eavesdrops a lot. 

About Drawing the Line:

Danielle does not have a lot of "lines."  She feels that books like hers are basically treating teens like adults.  "It's okay if you push boundaries and it's okay if it's not for everyone.  If I can come up with it, I think others will too." 

Anna likes to go really dark.  She states that teens have a lot of darkness they have to face and adolescense is a good time to explore it because you're not an innocent child yet not an adult. 

The appetite for dark, disturbing literature is out there.

Laurie says she *does* get grossed out and confessed that she's a big scaredy cat. She feels her work is not "slashery" but more pyschological.

Kat doesn't think about it.  She just writes her story and does not write to an audience.  She understands that some people may be upset.

About Fear and Horror:

Anna would not classify her book as horror. She stated, "It's definitely creepy, but there is no guy coming after you." She always likes to research something she knows nothing about. For this book she looked into a lot of Motocross, life and work on an oil rig. 

Kate feels her book is more of a pyschological thriller. She googled different myths about people who live in the water, like Selkies and Mermaid. She then paused and informed us that it's not a mermaid book.  She enjoys being scared, although regrets it later. " I think people like the sensation but know they're safe."

Laurie explained that fear is very relatable.  It's a thrill ride and the reader is rooting for the character. There is enjoyment for audience to relate to that fear.

Anna stated that everyone has a little bit of darkness in them.  They don't want to act on it, but you can be in the darkness for a little while by reading something scary.

Danielle doesn't really get scared. Her mom used to read Stephen King to her as bedtime stories.
Her challenge is that she has to describe fear and figure out what scares people. Her editor wanted her to push it so it became a challenge.  "The first stories were tales of caution.  It speaks to people.  We need the stories."


I am giving away four different books to four different winners. 
-End Times by Ana Schumacher
-Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
-Inland by Kat Rosenfeld
-Merciless by Danielle Vega

~First prize winner will win their first choice, second winner will get the next choice, etc.
~Leave your name (use what I can announce on the blog if you win) and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~That's it! No need to follow unless you want extra entries.

~Winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~Sorry, this contest is US only!
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on October 27, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.  
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Hootenanny skull bracelet giveaway!

Not just for Halloween, this bracelet can be worn anytime...

I made this using Swarovski crystals, silver metal tube beads, black ceramic beads and fimo skull beads. This has been strung on Stretch Magic and just slides on your wrist. The skulls are so subtle they can be worn anywhere!  The shape looks square-ish because of the tube beads, but it is a flexible.  

~Leave your name (use what I can announce on the blog if you win) and e-mail address on the Rafflecopter form.
~Leave a comment below and tell me the best costume you've ever worn.   
~That's it! No need to follow, tweet, or like unless you want extra entries.

~Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.
~This contest is international!
~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~This contest ends on October 22, 2014 at 12:01am.
~If winner does not contact me within 72 hours (3 days) of my first e-mail, unfortunately another winner will be chosen.

Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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