Monday, April 30, 2012

April Shower of Teen Reads

Where: The Voracious Reader, Larchmont, NY.
When: Friday, April 20, 2012.
Who: Jennifer Castle (The Beginning of After), Amalie Howard, (Spellbound), Kristi Cook (Haven, Mirage), Kim Purcell (Trafficked).

This was a wonderful event that I attended with Maria of The Serpentine Library. Pizza and drinks were served and the authors were extremely friendly. They all read something from their book. Kristi read a sneak peek of Mirage, which is not out yet. The authors discussed how they began writing their novels. Kim was writing a different book when she learned about modern slavery in the US. Fear is the theme of this book, specifically what it takes for anyone to get through a fear. Jennifer was volunteering in a cat rescue facility when she met a very young woman who had lost her entire family, but managed to still be able to find herself and give of herself. I also really appreciate Jennifer's comments on standalones being beautiful in themselves. Amalie has been writing since she was nine years old but took a hiatus from it. She wasn't satisfied staying away from it so she began again and came up with a heroine who needed help. Kristi was writing historical romance when she started to read YA. She then started to write for fun and it consumed her. She likes paranormal YA because it pushes the story further.

There was then a discussion on contemporary versus paranormal and other trends. The authors feel that in YA Dystopian has peaked and the new trend will be Sci-Fi and Thrillers. No one thinks that Paranormal is going anywhere. Good news for me!

(l-r) Kristi Cook, Kim Purcell, Jennifer Castle & Amalie Howard.

~Four winners will each get one (1) book.
~The first winner will get their first choice and we'll go down the line from there.

To Enter:
~Fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
~Extra entries are optional.
~If you are choosing to do extra entries, please read the questions/instructions CAREFULLY! If you do not follow the instructions, I reserve the right to disqualify that entry.

~Please see my contest policy HERE.
~Contest ends Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.
~Winner(s) must contact me with 36 hours of my first e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

2012 World Horror Convention - Sunday Seminars

RESIDUAL HAUNTINGS:  Wasatch Paranormal Tom Carr, Russ Cook and Jess Rice.

I'm a skeptic.  Even a cynic at times.  So why do I watch ghost huntings shows?  Well for one thing, they're fun.  I admit that I would also love to be proven wrong.  I've tiptoed through the Winchester Mystery House at night, stayed in the "most haunted room" in Kinnity Castle, Ireland and in The Stanley Hotel, Colorado and have traipsed through cemeteries with only a flashlight to guide me.  I've never seen anything, heard anything or felt anything.

When the Wasatch Paranormal team presented some of their findings and I heard what was on the audio, my first thought was "Whoa."  Now, I'm not saying that they convinced me in one hour, I'm always playing Devil's advocate, but it is the one piece of evidence that I've ever come across that has made me think, "Things that make you go hmmm."

Points brought up:
-Their purpose is to assist a client, living or dead.
-Jess love people and history and wants to hear a ghosts "story."
-Tom started at age 16.  (Very few people were doing it.)
-Tom feels that ghost hunters do this because they are also thrill seekers.
-A ghost doesn't know they have died and has not moved on.  A spirit has moved on  and has come back for a visit.
-Tom said that ghost hunting is a lot like golf.  It's just as expensive and just as 

Cool quotes:
"I'm not here to prove the paranormal.  It's not a science." ~Tom
"I'm dead." ~voice on recording

My favorite part: Hearing a piece of evidence that was pretty darn cool and also when Russ said that he would love to go the Shanley Hotel in NY, because that is only a few hours from me.

Visit Wasatch Paranormal for more info!

Tom Carr. 
Jess Rice and Tom Carr. 
Russ Cook.


Points brought up:
-Ten years ago there wasn't a lot of zombie fiction.
-Zombie literature won three Stoker Awards this year (2012).
-Zombies bring up modern fears about war, hardship and infection.
-The Walking Dead is a commentary on the post-apocalyptic social structure and how to
-The Walking Dead is about humans with zombies in the background.
-Even thought it was about vampires, I Am Legend introduced zombie "tropes."
-The Walking Dead and tv shows and zombie literature about a zombie apocalypse can  
 be considered a "...narcissistic survival fantasy."
-There is a difference between a monster and being monstrous.  In The Walking Dead 
 the zombies are just animals (monsters), who have no choice.  How do the humans 
-Zombies are a more applicable allegory in our world than vampires.
-Zombie fiction explores how people deal with extreme circumstances.
-The Walking Dead shows good people doing bad things.
-Whether it's invading a country or killing someone, does it get easier each time?

Cool quotes:
"Humans can do more damage than a zombie." ~Kyle
"Whoever battles monsters, better make sure he doesn't turn into one." ~Kyle
"Once you've gone "monster" can you go back?" ~Kyle

My favorite part:  Realizing the social implications in zombie fiction.

Kyle Bishop.

WRITING GROUPS: Henry Snider, Hollie Snider, Jennifer Caress and Marie Green from The Colorado Springs Fiction Writing Group.

Points brought up:
-People get used to each other's work.  To avoid a group getting stale, bring others in.
-Remember to focus on the work, NOT the individual.
-Do other activities together. (Workshops, dinner, etc.)
-Remember your story is still yours.  Be careful of changing your voice because of trying
 to please others.
-Charge a fee to join and require new members to critique other people's work first 
 before they are allowed to submit their own.  This will make people take your group 
 more seriously and discourage people from submitting only to get their work critiqued
 and not participating further.
-If you do charge a fee, make sure people are getting more than they put in.
-Avoid having your group in people's homes.  Others may be hesitant to be truthful for 
 fear of offending their host.
-It's important to have someone in charge to keep people on task.  Also someone may 
 want to act as an officer to act as a mediator when needed.
-Look for and/or advertise a writing group on community boards, libraries, grocery 
 stores, etc.
-There are three types of writing groups and it is recommended you join all three at
 some point. 1. Fluff group - those that boosts your ego. 2. Literary group - those that 
 that tells you what author you write like. 3. Destructive - I don't think Henry meant this 
 as to be as harsh as it sounds.  If  you're serious about being published you may want
 to try this type of group.  From what I understood, this kind will help you find mistakes,
 be clear about continuity and other issues.  In other words, they can help you make
 your manuscript the best that it can be.

My favorite part: I walked away with a lot of great information.

Henry Snider
(l-r) Hollie Snider, Jennifer Caress, Marie Green.

CLASSIC HORROR: P.N. Elrod, Scott Allie, Joe McKinney, Eric Swedin-moderator

Points brought up:
-The Monkey's Paw should be an obligatory read if you are into classic horror.
-Authors can get a lot of mileage by NOT saying what is going on.
-How long does it take to become a classic?  Sometimes you have to wait and see but
 some movies are so revolutionary they change the face of movies. (ex: The Matrix.)
-It is harder to become a classic today because everything is so quick and instantly
-Kids don't have a lot of time to look back. Today's culture is always staying current.
-Some classics don't age well.
-In the Victorian Era, the hero was a scholar. 
-Most classic books are in the passive voice.  Today books are more active. 

Cool quotes: "The joy is in the discovery."

My favorite part: Being reminded that there is a rich vein to be tapped by looking into the past for scary material.

Classic Horror panelists.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 World Horror Convention - Gross Out Contest

Gross Out Contest!  (Hosted by Rain Graves)

The Gross Out Contest is a time honored tradition at World Horror  Convention.  Entrants read a very short story for audience approval that has to include a beginning, middle and end.  If you don't finish your story in the alloted time you get disqualified.  Unless!  Unless the audience gives you a thumbs up to continue.

The stories were...well gross.  There was the story of a father's revenge on the criminal that killed his daughter, one I think if my memory serves me correctly, about a toilet bowl seat and one regarding having carnal relations with a corpse. Who was his mother.  Yeah gross.  Not for everyone.  However, unless you were offended you were laughing. Laughing in the midst of inhumane readings, because the material was just so unreal it was funny, because the "bouncers" made it even more entertaining with their intimidating saunters ready to pluck the participants from center stage, and because you wondered just how far the author would take his story. 

This was my first gross out contest, and honestly, it might not be my last!

Unfortunately, I didn't catch everyone's name, but here are some pictures.  If you can identify any of the names, please let me know and I will add them.

This author also provided some visuals. 

The audience gives a thumbs up!

Joe Lansdale. 

The lineup.  

The audience votes for a reader to continue. 

The bouncers made some entrants do push ups. 

The winner!
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