Monday, November 29, 2010

Walking Dead and Eaters

Don't you hate when you plan to do something, then completely 'space it out'? Last night, I was so busy cleaning up after the holiday weekend, I could not--even for one hour--remember to watch The Walking Dead. Apparently, dishes and laundry were so fascinating, I missed both the 8pm and 9pm show. So, in my stubbornness, I decided to stay up for the 11pm show. It was a tear jerker, but it was worth it. This episode ran the entire gamut of difficult human emotions. There was fear (of course), jealousy, anger, sadness, desperation, hoplessness, and resignation--not necessarily in that order. Then, thankfully, it ended on a note of hope. And you thought this show was about zombies! It's really not. The zombies could be a stand in for any sort of apocalyptic threat such as a pandemic or nuclear holocaust. It's not the source of the threat that matters, it's how people react to it. The Walking Dead realistically portrays how the best and worst is brought out in people by the challenge of survival. I've been partially lured along this ride by the promise of a big shiny happy ending. But, I don't think that's going to happen. This is a horror story, and horror doesn't end with 'and they lived happily ever after'. And, I just read that the series has been so successful, it has been picked up for a second season. So...the saga of survival in the world of the 'Walkers' will continue next year.

I have a number of writing projects in limbo, but the one I'm anxious to finish is Eaters. Ironically, I started this short zombie novella a few months ago before I had ever heard of The Walking Dead. Zombies aren't my usual fare, but I've had a fascination with them this year for some reason. I watched Zombieland (fun stuff!) and Dawn of the Dead. I even found myself searching online for the 'perfect zombie t-shirt' (I don't think it exists). With my nose to the grindstone next month, Eaters will be finished and published online before the end of the year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Walking Dead

My jury is still out on AMC's The Walking Dead. I saw the first two episodes and missed the third. Since I've actually remembered tonight that it's on...I'll give it a look again. (I'm all about multi-tasking. Zombies and laundry folding go nicely together!) There are episode summaries on the AMC website, so I'm caught up now on last week's show. I'm impressed that AMC has stepped outside the box with this character-driven horror series. The New York Post recently said that this series could do for AMC what The Sopranos did for HBO. Last week's episode reeled in 5.1 million viewers. In high school, I was on make up crew for Arsenic & Old Lace. It was a lot of fun drawing in wrinkles and applying the thick pancake makeup to my fellow teenage actors. What a hoot it would be to be on the makeup crew for The Walking Dead! Corn syrup, red food coloring, and prosthesis galore. Check out these photos from the show--they give a good idea of the dark plot.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Like Paranormal Romance? Check out Lauralynn Elliott

A big shout out to my guardian angel indie writer, Lauralynn Elliott. To date, she has four books available on Smashwords, Indie Urban Fantasy, and Amazon: I recently checked out Club Blood, and it was a fun read. She has been nose to the grindstone with NaNoWriMo this month. I can't wait to find out what she's been working on.

Club Blood   Starfane

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Gardener is Now on Amazon

Cartwheels! The Gardener is live on Amazon.

Here is an excerpt:

   Something changed in the air around them. Gooseflesh raised the silvery hair on her forearms and the back of her neck. A tingling sensation started at the top of her head and tickled down to her toes. It reminded her of the time that lightning had struck one of the trees near her house.
   She ignored the strange sensations as she continued to call Henry’s name. She implored him sweetly and firmly, trying to coax him to pay attention to her summons. She repeated the ancient chant again.
   But, she paused when the shadow returned, and she felt it punching and ripping, trying to tear through the cloth that separated this world from the other. Though, she couldn’t see who or what it was, it radiated a dark aura of greed and violence as it kept up its offensive push.
   Terror altered the timber of her voice as she decided to abort the communication. “I end this--“
   She opened her eyes, but saw nothing. It was as if the shadow had covered them with dark fingers, preventing her from seeing anything more in this life or the other.
   “Virginia,” she whispered, hoping the dear lady was all right.
   Their hands slipped apart for a second. Opal grabbed them back, holding her fingers tightly as she heard a whimper. There was an uncomfortable silence. She could only hear the hum of the refrigerator, Virginia’s labored breaths, and her own pounding heart.
   As the seconds passed, her eyes began to adjust to the dim light from the kitchen window. Enough sanguine moonlight leaked through the patterned holes in the curtains to allow her to see Virginia’s motionless form. The electrified air in the room was now bitterly cold, making her shiver.
   “Madame--” Virginia whispered.
   “Shhh!” Opal said, as she flicked her lighter again and again, trying to spark some life into it.
   “Madame Opal...please. What’s happened?” Virginia asked, her voice as thin and tight as a piano string.
   Suddenly, the lighter’s blue and orange flame sprang to life. With her rings clattering, she re-lit the candle. Then, she glanced across the table and saw Virginia’s mouth gaping open in a perfect circle. She followed her gaze into the parlor behind them.’s not possible.
   She stared at the outline of a tall figure, barely discernable in the darkness. She could make out the form of a man wearing strange clothing and a lofty hat. Then, a cloud moved across the sky allowing a moonbeam to splay across his face. He had a chocolate brown goatee gracing the chiseled features of his pale olive skin, and there was a wide smile across his face as he looked back at them.
   “Henry?” Virginia whispered as if she hoped that somehow he had come back to her in the guise of this handsome young man with radiant green eyes.
“No...” Opal said as she put a finger to her lips. “That’s not your Henry--”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Day at a Time--Christmas Book Wish List

The Gardener should have been live on Amazon by now. Actually, it was...for one day this week. Then, I went in to fix an administrative error, which took it offline and back in the review queue for two days. As Murphy's Law would have it, I missed another error, so it is in queue again. It seems to take two business days to go through the process. So, tomorrow (fingers crossed) it will be online at both Smashwords and Amazon. When it goes live, I'll do a few happy cartwheels and post an excerpt here.

I have a very practical family. We all have limited budgets and don't believe that we should just guess what each other would like to have for Christmas. This eliminates receiving presents like purple polka-dotted polyester shirts off the clearance rack at Kmart or jumbo sized jars of deep fried black licorice. "You shouldn't have--really!" So, we exchange wish lists each year. This doesn't totally eliminate the well-intended gifts like books on gardening (that aren't for my climate) or yet another book on cats to add to my burgeoning feline library. (Thanks, Mom...luv ya!). I've found that it pays to be REALLY SPECIFIC. I always want books. That's a given each year. But, I've started putting titles on the list, instead of just genres.
To keep things simple, I've put three on my wish list for Christmas 2010:
  • The Passage by Justin Cronen - This is a must-read 'vampocalypse' that I can't wait to seek my teeth into. Check it out here:
  • Horns by Joe Hill - What's a guy to do when he suddenly sprouts real horns on top of his head? (Joe Hill is code for 'Stephen King's son--sorry, man...had to throw that in there. You'll never escape it.) I read his last book, Heart Shaped Box...and it was a good ride. See a YouTube clip from him here:
  • Holy Ghosts: Or How a (Not-So) Good Catholic Boy Becomes a Believer in Things that Go Bump in the Night by Gary Jansen. I can never turn down a good ghost story, especially one that purports to be true.
If anyone has read any of these, I'd love to hear comments...but no spoilers please!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Lovers Day

Happy November's Book Lovers Day!

You did spend the whole day reading, didn't you? ( neither. There were leaves to rake,
and lots of other chores to do.) But, tonight, especially since we have an extra hour with the time change, I'm going have my nose back inside Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass (who is actually a duo writing team of Dr. Bill Bass, a world renowned forensic anthropologist and founder of The Body Farm at the University of Tennessee, and Jon Jefferson, a journalist, writer,and documentary filmmaker). So far, it looks like an interesting murder mystery, starting as you might expect, with the discovery of an unidentified corpse.

I rarely go anywhere without a book. Books are like candy. There's so much candy...and so little time! I tend to go for dark chocolate...and dark writing. When I'm ready to start reading a new novel, I only have to go as far as one of my bookshelves to go "shopping". I collect books like some women collect shoes (okay, I have a lot of shoes too), so it's always fun to peruse my shelves to see what I'm in the mood for. I have lot of books in the horror genre, but my collection is pretty eclectic. I wish that I had time to read a new book every couple of days, but two or three a month is more practical, especially since I'm trying to schedule writing time as well. I joked with a friend that it would be nice to multitask in the mornings and read in the shower. She didn't think that was too absurd, since she's mastered the art of reading and brushing her teeth. Hmmm...that might work. I'll 'give it a go' tonight.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Whew! It was Halloween week this year...not just one night. Despite a busy schedule, it's my favorite holiday--no one seems to mind the witchy decor, the black crows, and sparkly gourds at this time of year. Can't I have them up until Christmas? October 31st is the only night that some of us brave opening the door to six foot tall boys with ghoulish masks begging for sweets. (Give them chocolate and they go away.) After turning off the porch light and calling it a night, I woke sometime after midnight, looked at the clock and realized that I'd wakened during the witching hour. If there are any ghosts in my house, I figured I might bump into one on the way back from the bathroom. Actually, at that time of night, I'm too tired to have my paranormal fantasies confirmed! I don't want to hear, see, or smell anything out of the ordinary when my pillow is calling me back to bed. I woke again around 3:30 a.m. and saw a strange blue glow emanating from the main floor. As it turned out, the computer was left on all night, and a cat must have stepped on the keyboard returning it to a blue screen. It was good for a chuckle in the morning.

My novel, The Gardener, should be available on Amazon soon. It's time to get cracking on Eaters again, so I can get it posted online as well. It's a sidestep out of my normal paranormal palette. Zombies, anyone?