Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ghostly Giveaway

Have you entered my Ghostly Giveaway yet? Closes on Halloween night.

Book prizes
Tim Burton prizes
Fun cool stuff all pictured to right of blog posts.

Check out my original post and comment to win!!

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell your kids teachers!!! You could win free stuff too!

Thank you and happy haunting (and reading/writing).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Twisting and Turning Suspense – A Review of Jennifer Hillier’s CREEP

When I was about half way through CREEP I felt like I’d been watching CSI and taking an advanced psychology course all at the same time. Some serious research had to go into writing this novel and I was impressed with the detail and how it slowly unraveled for the reader.

I, being an avid long time fan of Law and Order, could feel a twist coming in the air. It was just the feel of the writing that made me know something would happen, there was something under the surface of these characters. Try as I might though, I would not be able to predict what that would be until the characters themselves began guessing at it.

The twists and turns which came at the end all played in perfectly. They were unexpected, yet made complete sense. I for one was glad at who was left standing and who wasn’t, plus the extra one standing left that little bit of room for a follow up book… when can we expect that Jennifer, because we know it’s not over?

The style of writing was easy to read while at the same time delivering a lot of information. It was explicit where it needed to be, but never for mere effect, I liked that. What begins as simple, average people, making usual mistakes and misjudgments, quickly turns into something that is multilayered and complex.

Oh, by the way, creep is a total understatement! In fact, the mere thought of the existence of such characters makes one’s skin crawl. An ‘innocent’ affair is never really innocent, but after reading CREEP you just may think of affairs as the riskiest business one can possibly consider.

Thank you Jennifer for a great read! I look forward to more and know you’re busy at work weaving more tales for us.

Interested in CREEP? There’s a link at the bottom of the page, I suggest you get your copy today!

Zombies? No, no, no, It’s Death and Love and Eternity: A Review of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s HANDLING THE UNDEAD

Loved this book.

I think calling it a 'horror' book is a bit misleading. It is more of a look at how society handles the subject of death, its fear and intolerance that can lead to its own destruction. There is very little that is graphic or typical 'horror'.

That said, it is an amazing book which deals with the subject of mortality and afterlife in a unique and multi-faceted way. The way we love, the way we grieve, the way we die, is all interwoven in letting go or holding on, squelching or freeing the soul.

The view of a mindless innocence that can turn into unremorseful destruction in the presence of hatred is also a powerful subject in the book, and one that might not be anticipated.

We all see death in our own way, some might see it as a moving on to something more, a release and relief from the turmoil of life, but most see it as a frightening unknown. I love how he represents death that way, seen differently by all, not just a ‘fear’, but an image of its meaning.

I would recommend this read to almost anyone, just don't be expecting horror movie zombies or fast paced killing at every turn. It'll make you think, not scream.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ghostly Giveaway

My most recent projects have been centered around one theme… GHOSTS

I have a novel in the works and a short story, plus my MG novel has some ghostly elements to it as well. This is new territory for me and one that I am really enjoying writing.

Therefore, since my mind is on ghosts and All Hallow’s Eve is approaching, I think a Ghostly Giveaway is in order.

The items up for grabs are…

            Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (book)

            Bone Chillers ice cube tray

            Tip Burton playing cards

            Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (and other short novels)

The links to these items can be found to the right so you can take a closer look, or order them if you just can’t wait to win.

Now, what do YOU have to do to win?

Pretty easy really…

You have from now until Halloween Night, that’s right, October 31st, 2011, at one minute to midnight (otherwise Halloween will be over, you know) to leave a comment on this post sharing with us your favorite GHOST story or movie. (you can tell us why you like it too)

If you follow this blog or follow me on twitter you can have a second chance to win. Just mention how you follow me and don’t forget to leave a way to contact you with your comment.

Winners will be chosen by random org and announced on this blog by November 1st.

Thank you for sharing your favorite GHOSTS with us and good luck guys and ghouls!

There are Excuses and Then There’s Life

I am a writer.

I am also a wife, mother, volunteer, daughter, chef, maid, chauffer, landscaper, nurse…

I’m sure there are a lot of writers who find that time is the least plentiful writing tool which they have. It’s also the most difficult one to procure more of.

Time is the main reason I’ve almost given up on writing several times recently. But as most of you know, declaring ‘I’m quitting’ and actually stopping the stories from flowing through your brain are two different things.

I can’t quit, even if I stop, I still can’t quit.

I don’t want to quit either. I love writing stories and in my completely overwhelming real life, it is the one outlet I crave endlessly.

I just feel better when I’m writing, therefore I come back from writing being a better, stress relieved me.

The problem is, I have one child in grade school (including homework, soccer games, practices, productions, field trips, reading…) and one at home (nearing that no-nap point which happens two years before school is a possibility.) My kids are my priority. They are my job. My job is leaving me less and less free time of any sort.

This will change in the next few years and I’ll potentially have some school hours free to do my ‘other job’ of writing. But those hours aren’t available at this time.

So now I’m left with after-bedtime hours… oh wait, I have a husband. I was actually making stellar progress on my latest WIP when I realized that my husband was getting about zero percent of my time. This is a less than ideal situation. Perhaps if I had actually been published I could justify this at least a certain percent of the time, but as is, it was just not working well.

What I’m left with is about two hours a day to divide amongst house, shopping, blogging, writing, reading, volunteering, and any other projects I take on.

This is the point at which I almost declare I’m quitting. But I can’t, you know.

I stop and say to myself, this time will pass, the schedules will change, and if I’ve learned anything from life, it will happen far more quickly than I can believe. So… relax!

Maybe two hours isn’t a lot, but it’s something. Maybe between everything else, I can only write once a week, but it’s something. These stories in my head aren’t going anywhere, unless I get senile, which is a possibility but I don’t think I’ll remember to be upset about it at that point.

Relax! I have to be content to write what I can, when I can. Savor the moments I have and remind myself these are not excuses, they are life. I have to live every part of my life, otherwise what will I have to inspire me to write anyway?

There will be times I can afford to power through a book in a month, but if it’s not this month or this year, that’s ok. I’m dedicated to this writing stuff and I’ll find the time to get these stories out of my head. I need to trust myself and not make it all or nothing.

I will write. Maybe it will be a little at a time, but I will write.

On a side note… If I’m reading your book and you wonder, two months later, why I haven’t mentioned it, it’s probably because that two hours a day thing has left me with little reading time. I did however just go from three books on my ‘reading right now’ pile, to only two! Which ones are they? Deadworld by J.N.Duncan and Creep by Jennifer Hillier. Don’t worry… I’m reading, and so far I’m really impressed by both these books! In fact, if you follow the links at the bottom of this blog you can get them for yourselves! I’ll review each as soon as finish.

Thanks to all the writers and readers I know who keep the support network strong come rain or come shine!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Chrysalis - Thoughts on Handling the Undead

We had two caterpillars we found within days of each other. They ate strawberry leaves and flowers and crawled around contentedly for days.

Then they began to slow down a little, the time of change was steadily approaching.

One caterpillar began to violently contort itself, twisting and turning, writhing in seeming agony. While the other quietly crawled under a piece of bark with little fanfare.

I watched the caterpillar that fought and contorted itself for days. It's apparent pain made me ache inside. "I'm glad I don't have to metamorphosis, it appears to be painful!" I remarked on several occasions as I waited to see the skin split open and a chrysalis take the place of the old caterpillar skin. It never happened though. After days of twisting and turning it slowly came to rest and then dried up, never changing into what it was always destined to become.

Meanwhile, the other caterpillar which had quietly disappeared, never came back out. Fearing the worst, I peeked under the bark. There, attached secure and out of sight, is a chrysalis, inside of which a huge and life altering change is happening.

I was still thinking I was glad I wasn't a caterpillar when I finished reading Handling the Undead. All of the sudden I realized, I am that caterpillar. Crawling around I gather everything I need to complete this life, enter my chrysalis and become what I was always intended to be. So, when I reach that point where the outer must be released, shed away, will I be the caterpillar who twists and writhes in the agony of the unknown, or the one that accepts its condition and embraces the change it has prepared for in every physical sense?

The first one nullifies its own existence. What, after all, was the point of the eating, the crawling, and the pain of change, if in the end you fight it and die, giving up all claim to the future you might have had?

The second one, however, takes upon itself a new life, a rebirth. While that new life is as yet not understood, it is the purpose and fulfillment of the first, giving meaning to every struggle, hope, need, that was encountered in that first stage.

The pain we perceive in the ending of a phase and stepping out into the unknown is just that, perceived. If we let the pain overwhelm us with fear and turn away at the last moment in fear then we risk giving up the very thing for which we were made.

Even I have always seen death as a stepping away from the known and into the darkness of a new light. This isn't exactly what I feel now. I feel the place inside of me where the new is contained within the old. It has always been there, waiting quietly, preparing. The thing which I am, the thing which I will become and have always been, is alive in me now. I must nourish that, preparing to shed the old flesh in which it is growing more and more confined every moment. The pain of time grows tight within the flesh and it is then that the flesh must give way and free the spirit to be that which it was made to be.

(by the way, I'll post a review of Handling the Undead soon... How can I not after that read)