100 Followers

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My blog reached 100 followers last night, and I want to celebrate that. Hooray!

I’m always particularly excited when I hit a milestone here, since everyone that follows me is always so engaged. The conversations I have with people on WordPress about writing, publishing, and books are always more insightful than on other social media platforms.

Here’s to you all, because you rock!

 

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On Anonymous Blogging

This post really nails it. Made me seek out my old Livejournal archive and dredge up some long lost writing.

Tiny Rubies

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It’s the mid-noughties. I’m at university, London is blowing my mind, and I’m tapping away on my LiveJournal like my life depends on it. I’m documenting all of my experiences, preserving them through writing, and reading the blog posts of strangers around the world doing the same. I’m reading (and writing) about breakups, sex, mixtapes, road trips, family drama, and beautiful vignettes about places visited, or wild nights out, or a feeling.

I treated my LiveJournal as a kind of late night confessional, a place to process and unpick and get things off my chest. There was no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snapchat back then. Facebook was just taking off, the wifi connection in our halls of residence was patchy at best, and everyone still spent hours creating MySpace layouts. People didn’t think about ‘managing’ their online presence. Anonymity still had value on the internet, in fact it was the…

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The Benefits of Writing in the Morning

I wanted to share this insightful post by Amy Walters of Blissful Scribbles with you. I’m definitely a morning writer as well, since my brain and schedule are too full during the evenings. When it comes to getting words down on paper, are you an early bird or a night owl?

Blissful Scribbles

Most writers don’t have the luxury (yet) to write as their day jobs, and some, like me, wouldn’t want to. As an extrovert, I need to see and speak to people for most of the day, so a full-time writer’s life would kill me. Part-time writing comes with its challenges, namely, finding the time to write!

One solution to this problem is to either wake up early or go to bed late. As someone who starts falling asleep on the sofa at 10 pm, I am not a good candidate for late nights. Early mornings, however, I can handle.

Here are the top reasons I love to write before my day begins – 

Peace and Quiet – Does anyone else love the sense of peace that morning holds? I live by the sea and it’s a wonderful place to be in the morning. The fresh sea breeze and seagulls are somehow different in…

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Book Review: “Good As Gone” by Amy Gentry

Thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night, witnessed only by her younger sister. Her family was shattered, but managed to stick together, hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then one night: the doorbell rings. A young woman who appears to be Julie is finally, miraculously, home safe. The family is ecstatic—but Anna, Julie’s mother, has whispers of doubts.  She hates to face them. She cannot avoid them. When she is contacted by a former detective turned private eye, she begins a torturous search for the truth about the woman she desperately hopes is her daughter. 

51r-+GWWHmLGood As Gone showed up under “New and Notable” in my Kindle Prime Reading, and I downloaded it since I occasionally branch out into other genres to mix things up. I don’t normally read suspense thrillers, but I enjoyed this one all the way through, despite a few flaws.

The story is well written, and moves between the protagonist, Anna Whitaker, and a few other characters. This is broken up between chapters, so it doesn’t get confusing, although toward the end of the story there is a lot of jumping around and “perspective shifts” which I won’t go into more detail on since it borders on spoilers. Suffice to say, I had to re-read a few pages to make sure I knew what was going on.

Gentry’s writing is solid, and she crafts a dark, believable tale that should satisfy fans of the genre and anyone looking for a gritty suspense story. It’s a quick read with very little filler, and only lagged briefly in a few spots. It was also refreshing that this appears to be a standalone novel, since so many thrillers are huge series.

What I Liked:

  • Strong story pacing, excellent characterization
  • Interesting perspective shifts
  • Complete story arc. No cliffhangers

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Perspective shifts became confusing at some points late in the story
  • A key subplot dragged a bit midway through
  • This piece of the publisher blurb that I initially spared you from. “Propulsive and suspenseful, Good as Gone will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, and keep readers guessing until the final pages.” Makes me speculate they pressured the author into that title due to its similarity

50 Followers!

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Just a quick note.

This afternoon WordPress notified me that this blog has reached 50 followers. I am super excited about that.

When I started this blog a few months ago, I didn’t even know WordPress COULD have followers, let alone people who would actually read the stuff I put on here, and comment + share it to others.

THANK YOU to all my readers and followers!

In celebration of this milestone, I found the most ostentatious public domain balloon art I could. It kind of reminds me of those Lisa Frank stickers from the 1990’s. What with the butterfly and all…

Writing Tip – Using Story Beats — Joanna’s Story

Today’s post comes from author and blogger B.L. Daniels. You can check out his blog here. He has great content and advice, so I encourage you to check his page out! You can also follow him on Twitter @aggrokragg Authors tend to fall into two categories. “Plotters” and “Pansters”. Plotters attempt to formulate and outline their entire story or novel […]

via Writing Tip – Using Story Beats — Joanna’s Story

“The Walking Dead” Comic vs. TV

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I consider myself of a fan of “The Walking Dead”.

I was introduced to the franchise through the TV series, and around the beginning of Season 3, I was given “The Walking Dead Compendium 1” as a (fantastic!) Christmas present. Once I cracked that book open, there was no turning back, and I’ve found myself becoming increasingly critical of the television show as time goes by.

I know it’s somewhat unfair to compare the two and create an “apples and oranges” argument, but I’m going to anyway since many people have been vocally disappointed with the entire Season 6 finale / Season 7 premiere debacle. I think some of those fans could easily transition to the books and still enjoy “The Walking Dead” story without any of the nonsense that AMC has been putting its viewers through lately.

Here are some reasons I feel “The Walking Dead” comics are superior to the show at this point.

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Halloween Horror & Writing

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If April is the cruelest month, October is the spookiest.

I certainly believe that, and (yard work notwithstanding) it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

As a horror writer, October is my apex of creativity. “Halloween” unofficially begins for me on October 1st, and runs through the entire month, on a slow burn leading up the the main event on the final night. This month is when horror fans feel the most validated, as people who wouldn’t normally pay much interest to the genre either begin giving it passing glances, or get forcibly roped into scary movie marathons by their friends and AMC commercials.

I use it as an excuse to binge on all things horror-related beyond my normal quotas. I crack open all the DVD and Blu-Ray cases that may have gotten lonesome on the shelf through the summertime, and immediately begin sifting through all the trashiest horror flicks I can add to my Netflix queue. That, and anything in my XBox gets a temporary hiatus as survival horror games rule the roost.

My writing output ramps up in October as well. I’d like to think it’s due an unnameable muse, but it’s probably the pumpkin coffee, or the Reese’s peanut butter cups (especially those new ones with the Reese’s Pieces inside!) Either way, I output many more work as the days go by and we get closer to a night when Dracula’s and Mummies jockey for position against famous Star Wars characters in a race for Twizzlers.

Does October inspire you as a writer? Does watching horror movies or throwing “Monster Mash” on a Spotify playlist get words on the page? Or is it just a preamble to NanoWriMo and turkey in November?

Share your thoughts and super spooky Halloween stories/memories in the comments!

 

Street Trash – A Movie Review

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Editor’s Note – This review was originally posted over at the horror media blog Terrorphoria.com

It’s difficult to make a great movie with absolutely no redeeming qualities. That’s why Street Trash is such a rare gem. Director Jim Muro, who would later go on to be the Steadicam operator for every movie EVER helmed this filthy masterpiece in 1987. It’s vile, offensive, hilarious, and one of my favorite genre flicks ever.

Lets rewind to the year 1998. MP3’s had just been created, George Michael was arrested at a truck stop, and I was working at the local mom&pop video store. In the dankest reaches of the “Cult Cinema” section, there was a VHS tape labelled Street Trash. I unassumingly brought this movie over to my friends place for our weekly friday night video marathon, not realizing what would ensue. After a single showing, Street Trash was instantly catapulted to the top of our “Dude, holy SH*T you need to watch this!” list. It was so gross, ludicrous, and downright awful that it immediately stole our crappy teenage hearts.

Street Trash really isn’t about anything. Anything…except LIQUOR THAT MELTS HOBOS. Booze shop owner Frank finds an old sealed box containing “Tenefly Viper”, some hooch he begins selling for a buck a pop. Turns out it has the nasty side-effect of melting anyone who drinks it from the inside out in a technicolor acid explosion. Scrapyard kid Freddy steals a bottle of the stuff, and unwittingly gets himself and his little brother wrapped up in a war against Bronson, a psychotic war veteran who is king of the bums and also a cannibal. What follows is total insanity, and multiple elaborate death scenes featuring eye-scorching rainbow goo.

Seriously, the special effects in this movie are just awesome. The fact that they went with insanely bright neon gore fluids instead of blood is genius, and it’s a testament to the zeitgeist of sleazy 1980’s shock cinema. Keep in mind this movie is also a snapshot of “Pre-Giulianni” New York City, where murderous vagrants and CHUD’s hung out near the peep show booths.

Gratuitous slime Muppet FX aside, Street Trash really sets the bar high (or low?) as an equal opportunity offender. It sets back every race, religion, and minority social group back roughly 3 decades. However, it delivers everything in a wash of ridiculous slapstick comedy that actually makes it endearing in a terrible way. So many of today’s “shock films” come off as mean-spirited; pushing boundaries of good taste just for the sake of it. Street Trash approaches everything with the mentality of a 3rd grader. Besides the notorious “severed penis football game”, there is a scene where an obese man has sex with a corpse, and it’s scored by humorous xylophone music. Street Trash treats necrophilia like a knock knock joke.

If you’re at all interested in exploitation cinema from the 1980’s, or like movies that make you feel like an awful person for enjoying them, then you really owe it to yourself to watch Street Trash at least once. It’s fantastic, and oddly overlooked even in today’s internet landscape where the most obscure films find a following. I’d personally recommend the “Meltdown Edition” DVD or Blu-ray that includes a great documentary and some stickers. Everybody loves stickers!

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (A Retrospective)

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Editor’s Note – This post originally appeared on the horror media blog Terrorphoria.com

I fired up my Wii Virtual Console yesterday and sat down to reacquaint myself with one of my favorite games from the 16-bit era. Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a classic, and if you haven’t played it, you don’t know what you’re missing! I have fond memories of renting this from my local video store and having no clue what it was about, but thinking it had to be great because of the zombies on the box art. I miss the “pre-internet” days of gaming when you could still be surprised by something.

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