The Reading Room | 5 #Books to Binge-Read After Binge-Watching #StrangerThings

Fill your ‘Stranger Things’ void with books!

Did you watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix?  Did you tear through it? Were you left wanting more? Then check out one of these books, sure to leave you riveted. Filled with the supernatural and extraterrestrial, normal people in bizarre circumstances, and a tinge of nostalgia, these books are must reads for anyone looking for stranger things…

I answered yes to all three of The Reading Room‘s questions above, but I’ve only heard of two of these titles–the King novel The Tommyknockers, for one–but I had no idea that John Dies at the End was a book. Whether it started that way or this is a novelization of the film matters not; it looks like I need to be making a trip to the library!

Have you guys seen Stranger Things yet? Did you like it? Do you think this Reading Room list does your feels from the series justice?

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The Top 10 Horror Novels of 2014

And I trust that Matt Molgaard would know! Please, direct any comments to the original post!

Horror Novel Reviews

Written by: Matt Molgaard

What novels scored big with readers this year? Truth is, that’s a tough question to answer, as we all seem to be looking for something a little different. However, we can definitely let you in on the books that really won us over. The following are the 10 best novels released in 2014, as voted on by myself and a number of our contributors!

butterfly-skin

10 Sergey Kuznetsov – Butterfly Skin

Verdict: Butterfly Skin reads, at times, like a vintage giallo picture… mixed with a little Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. It’s wonderfully written and about as addictive as I imagine crack being. A stunning story that delivers tons of chills, the novel is about as disturbing as they come. Reviews of the novel seem to be a bit mixed, but lovers of the extreme are going to dig this one quite a bit.

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09 Benedict…

View original post 679 more words

Writer’s Digest | The 10 #Books That Never Left Me

NaNoWriMo Banner 11.1.14

If you follow my other blog, then you know that I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month this month. That may also explain why posts here have been far fewer than normal. However, in an effort to celebrate NaNoWriMo across all of my social media arenas, I’m listing here another meme of sorts. At “The Writer’s Dig”, the regular blogging site of the Writer’s Digest Online Editor, Brian A. Klems, he’s asked his readers to make a list of the 10 Books That Never Left You. Those 10 stories that left an indelible mark on you. I’m going to do my best to get all 10 in this post–so that tomorrow I can get back to bringing you the funny!

Again, these are in no particular order except for that in which I remembered them, which may say something more about them than an intentional ordered list would:

1) IT, Stephen King

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This was the first adult book I ever read, and at the age of 12 it certainly left its mark. Especially since I would probably go on to re-read this about 10-20 more times in the time I spent waiting for high school to happen.  Back then, it was the character of Beverly who intrigued me. Being the only girl among a circle of boys, creating “The Loser’s Club”, I felt like I could relate to her more than the other characters–even though Ben and I shared weight issues and bullies who insisted on pointing it out. Even if it meant my fighting Pennywise along with them, I desperately wanted a Loser’s Club branch at my high school. It’s still one of my favorite novels of all time, and the story of perseverance and facing your demons is relatable for anyone who picks it up.

2) Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk

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The first Palahniuk characters I was introduced to were those from the film Fight Club. No, I haven’t read that yet, and I know I should–because I loved the movie. However, I was kind of hoping that one day dear old Chuck would write a similar story about a female character. Though Invisible Monsters is no Fight Club, for me, it was even better. It looked at issues of beauty and identity. Living up to the expectations of others while trying to pursue your own ideals. And what it really means to live the life you choose, even if that means totally forgetting where you came from. Brandy Alexander and Shannon McFarland make us look at what it means to be a woman in today’s world–biologically or constructed.

3) The Gunslinger, Stephen King

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The first in his iconic 8-part series (with the introduction of Wind Through the Keyhole) easily made me hungry for the rest. The compelling chase and familial discord is yet another arena for a head-strong and developed character to face his own demons. The Man in Black proves to be a worth adversary, causing havoc in more stories than just The Dark Tower series, but no matter what he sends out Roland doesn’t stop. Time is merely a face on the water; the wheel of ka turns, and you have your place along the beam if you’d like to take it up. Doing so will alter your imagination in ways you never imagined.

4) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

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The story of a young woman making her own way in the world after basically growing up an orphan. This classic love story does so much more than present a stage where boy meets girl. Jane is complicated, as are her feelings for the men in her life. Even when she’s at her lowest point, sleeping in a field under a tree when she has nowhere else to go, she finds solace in her connection to the world. But, she is the epitome of unconditional love. Though Rochester does little to garner her affections–especially considering how he’s handled treatment of his current wife–Jane does not give up on her man–caring most for him when he cannot seem to care about himself. Her determined loyalty and unconditional affections reflect my own actions in a romantic arrangement, even to my own detriment. Even though the overall theme of the book is to criticize the social situation of women, I feel like it is truly about a woman’s ability to overcome all those expectations and achieve the happiness she truly wants, even from the heart of a boorish brute of an employer.

5) White Oleander, Janet Fitch

White Oleander Janet Fitch Book Cover
FansShare.com

Exploring the vital intricacies of the mother/daughter relationship, I felt like this book called to me. Though my relationship with my own mother wasn’t nearly as toxic, I felt like I could understand Astrid’s loyalty and desire to connect to others when her mother was locked up. My mother could only provide me with so much in life, and trying to make up for that is where Astrid and I cross paths. We are both overcompensating for a maternal connection that simply didn’t provide a strong enough foundation of self-esteem, functionality, and capability to connect to others and seek out what we need. We try our best not to need the affections of others, but we quickly realize that though isolation may keep our hearts intact, it does not a happy life make.

6) The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath

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Exploring one woman’s psyche from the 1950s resonated more with me than I thought I would. I didn’t get the chance to read this book until later on in my college career, and it left a mark on me that could never be wiped away. Esther is a very talented girl, but that doesn’t seem enough to keep her happy. She questions, she wonders at her purpose, she squirrels herself away in a vain attempt to hide the fact that she just can’t get happy. Even with a New York City opportunity, even with the potential for love, poor Esther just can’t find her joy. When she begins seeking treatment after a particularly awful breakdown where she hides herself in the family basement, I sobbed for her first attempts at shock treatment, and my heart broke for her when it seemed like no one would listen. Sylvia’s words of discovery upon interrogating Esther’s issues will forever speak to me in a way no other book ever has.

7) Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel

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That is, until I read Prozac Nation. However, the funny thing is, is that I read PN first. Just a year before I read The Bell Jar. Though Elizabeth’s version of depression recalled more of my own life than The Bell Jar did, I wasn’t as self-destructive as Elizabeth. Even though I always wanted to be. I longed for the downward spiral, for all of its confusion, for all of its glamour, because then I might have a reason for feeling as badly as I did. Speaking more to my own generation’s issues than The Bell Jar could, PN would not be here without Plath’s path to come before it. Wurtzel’s depression felt like my depression, but Plath’s breakdown for Esther was more of an emotional journey for me.

8) Hatchet, Gary Paulsen

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A novel I read in middle school, Hatchet made me realize that I had power of my own. Even though I was viewed as a child by the rest of the world, Gary Paulsen made me feel like with the right tools in hand I could conquer the world which underestimated me. Though hanging out in the wilderness isn’t exactly my idea of a good time, connecting with nature can call up a kind of clarity and strength within us that we might not have been aware we had before. Brian’s adventure was one that I wouldn’t wish on myself in a literal sense, but the discoveries Brian made about himself on that journey are goal-worthy, post-adventure or not. And I just learned recently that there are four other novels in this series. After NaNo and finishing the books I’m in the middle of now, I may just have to visit my local library and check them out for myself. I would love to see what else Mother Nature brought out of my old friend Brian on his return treks into the wild.

9) My Favorite Book, Good Will, Inc.

My-Favorite-Book-Good-Will-Inc-1980-Hardback
1delabar eBay Seller

This is the very first book I ever remember reading, and that was sometime before kindergarten–easily between the ages of 2 and 4 (and I say that because I don’t remember learning how to read at all, but I remember my baby sister being born just before I turned 4). It talks about gratitude, positivity, and being generally kind and thoughtful. It talks about appreciating the sunrise and bedtime. Apparently, there was an earlier edition (this is from 1980) that had religious/Christian references in it. And, I have to say that I’m glad I didn’t get that one. My grandmother went a long way to putting Jesus in my head, but this book taught me to appreciate good things for their own sake, on their own merit. Appreciate the good because it is good–not necessarily because it came from a good God. That is a trait I carry to this day, along with having mad respect for Jesus (while some of his followers worry me). I believe in being good for the sake of putting good things out in the world, not necessarily because an omnipotent father-figure thinks I should. I think I can have this book to thank for that.

10) The Dancing Man, Ruth Bornstein

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I freaking love this story, and I can’t believe it wasn’t the first one I thought of. (P.S. I had a chance to re-read this just this morning; so it’s very fresh in mind.) Though, whenever I think of my favorite novel IT  is the first one that always comes to mind. But, when it comes to pure story, Ruth Bornstein brought it back in 1978. The Dancing Man may appear to be about a dancing man on the surface (the very cover, no less!), it is really about the passing along and sharing of dreams. Every writer should read this story, because dreams are made real only after they are shared. That is the moral of this beautiful, simple story. Is time glossed over? Yes. Do we ever find out what happens to Joseph’s village (*SPOILER ALERT*)? No. Are we ever told how Joseph is always able to fit in the same outfit for the entirety of his life (*SPOILER ALERT*)? No. But does it matter what you wear when you share dreams? No. Does it matter how we got to the southernmost sea? No. What matters is that a new reader, a new author, a new book fiend could be there at the end of our road, with new dreams of their own, just waiting to carry on the torch your dreams ignited.

#HappyHalloween: Favorite Horror Movie Villains

(From HorrorFourEver)

Some ultra-creepy, retro horror movie music. Enjoy!

So, I left this post for the end of the week because I thought it was going to be the easiest post. I’ve watched (and re-watched) so many different horror movies that I thought at least 5 or 10 would just come rolling off the tip of my tongue. But proverbials aside, I found myself stumped this morning. I mean, you already know that I pretty much adore the character of Freddy Krueger, and because of my feelings for the remake…before it even got to theaters. I don’t really want to retread a known rut in the road. But, I don’t want to drop a bunch of names because they’re expected  names. Of course, Jason, Michael, and, hell, even Chucky  are classics, but they are not the end-all, be-all of the horror world.

Source: Fright Rags
Source: Fright Rags

I mean, this t-shirt image from Fright Rags (click the link for image source) even includes Leatherface, who is an intimidating and frightful villain! But, when I say Leatherface, you know immediately who I’m talking about.

What about the villains who get almost no mention at all? Not because they weren’t scary, but because there may not have been as many movies made. Or maybe they only reach a niche market. It’s possible that I’m merely a sheltered child (even in the shadow of the Internet), and I just don’t realize how popular or widely known these figures really are.

*Shrug*

All I know, is that I won’t be mentioning the villains that I assume people will expect to see here. Granted, I know what assuming can do, but in this case, I’m willing to take a risk and talk about movie villains that I rarely think of, though have enjoyed watching in the past.

So, where do I start? I’ve finally got a couple names boiling up in the old gray matter… I’ve got two pair and three queens. No, I’m not cheating at poker…

Tall Man (Phantasm Series) and Reverend Kane (Poltergeist Sequels)

Source: Last Road Reviews [modified for size]
Source: Last Road Reviews
[modified for size]
Source: Tim Pratt Blogspot
Source: Tim Pratt Blogspot
Source: MovieHole.net [modified for size]
Source: MovieHole.net
[modified for size]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angus Scrimm does little work at being ultra-creepy in the series of films that follow this dark mortician and his hunt for the young man, Mike, who mistakenly uncovers his dark tendencies toward the small town they live in. Mike’s brother and best friend, Reggie, work and try to survive at uncovering Tall Man’s tools for destruction.

I coupled these two characters, because they remind me of each other. Reverend Kane could easily be Carol Anne’s Tall Man. Towering over her, casting her in his shadow every time he arrives — he might as well be dragging a team of dagger-sharp silver balls around with him. Though, that wide-brimmed black hat and skeletal scowl does quite enough for rendering Kane creepy as Hell!

Julian Beck and Nathan Davis, in Poltergeist II and III, respectively, frighten poor little Carol Anne Freeling and haunt her supportive family members as the demons try their best to get the little bulb of heavenly light to guide them to the other side. She’s just so pure, so blonde — they simply cannot help themselves. Though the sequels catch plenty of flack for not being up to snuff in comparison to the first, I cannot deny that Reverend Kane gave me nightmares for a week!

Frank and Julia Cotton (Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II)

Source: Examiner.com
Source: Examiner.com

Now, you might think I have this backwards. Because you’re seeing the movie name, but the villain listed is a set of human beings — not Cenobites. Well, in the first two movies, I don’t think the Cenobites are the villains. Frank and Julia are more villainous in this case, because it is their thoughtless and selfish actions which bring about the Cenobites anyway. Kirsty certainly didn’t call them (not until later, anyway) and Larry couldn’t have had a clue. He certainly didn’t seem to notice when his wife and brother started knocking boots. Though, for the sequel, it’s Julia and the good doctor who rescues her. That evil seductress!

Source: Signal Bleed
Source: Signal Bleed

Annie Wilkes (Misery)

 

Source: Fountain of Randomness
Source: Fountain of Randomness

Annie Wilkes, on the other hand, was no seductress. Though, she did fall in love with her favorite writer of all time, Paul Sheldon. The source of the image is a wonderful detailing of not only the movie (with book comparisons), but the character of Ms. Wilkes herself. She is certainly unstable, monstrous, and dedicated to the man who provides her with the stories she loves. A number one fan, of course, and a nurse, she takes care of Paul after a major car accident. Then, Annie finds out that Paul killed off her heroine — that’s when the story truly takes off. Though I’ve always wanted a number one fan, Annie makes me kind of wonder why.

Joanie (Cursed)

Source: HotFlick.net
Source: HotFlick.net

If it is a Spoiler Alert for you, have my humblest apologies. But it has been almost 10 years since it was released, maybe it’s about time you knew.

Judy Greer really brought this character to life for me; I don’t know another actress who could have pulled this off the way she did. Joanie, a Type-A publicist, was so bright, bubbly, and blonde, that to reveal the bleak hairy beast beneath felt really defamiliar to me. I wish it could have been played up more monstrously, like the werewolf movies of the ’50s, but she definitely gives good gore and generous bite marks! (Plus, counter-pointing her with Scott Baio — which just kind of made me chuckle — was brilliant.) I assumed Jake from the beginning, but never did I see Joanie coming, which is what made her transformation and methodical killing scary. Though, this is another movie that is laughed at as often as watched (only 4.9/10 on IMDB), I loved that surprise element, that unexpected reveal, and it really redeemed the movie for me. On top of all of that, it’s got great atmosphere, and, you know, because Joshua Jackson and Christina Ricci and Wes Craven. C’mon, what was I supposed to do?

Last but not least…

Pamela Voorhees (Friday the 13th)

Source: Diablito 666 via Tumblr
Source: Diablito 666 via Tumblr

Betsy Palmer is damn creepy, and I don’t care who knows it. She really breathed some dark life into the mother of all villains. Her son, driven by the demons of vengeance and negligence, is eternally resurrected to take the lives of those who “were supposed to be watching.” And it is clearly her drive to avenge him that provides him the otherworldly power. But, there is truly no fury like the wrath of a mother scorned, and Pamela Voorhees is no exception to the rule. Taking the initiative, she begins offing her “old friends” and the counselors they hired because they had the audacity to start the camp back up where her son so tragically perished. I mean, who wouldn’t get pissed off about that?

Well, this is my list of favorite horror movie villains. I’ve seen each of these movies numerous times, but they aren’t always the names that pop up when I first think of horror movies. And I hope that maybe I inspired you to watch something other than the standard fare on this All Hallow’s Eve.

Favorite Horror Merchandise: Fright Rags

(From Projecticeman365)

I hope the mood music lasts the life of the read, or hit repeat. It’s what I would do.

So, I’ve spent the majority of my life as a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I know I’ve mentioned this here before, and it probably won’t be the last time I mention it–because I wholeheartedly believe that people could trade stocks and run businesses in jeans if they wanted to, they just don’t. However, I think they should. What’s wrong with a little bit of comfort in the workplace, after all; but I digress… I’m telling you (again!) that I would live in a tee and jeans in order to introduce you to my favorite Halloween and horror merchandise web retailer: Fright Rags.

They bank on the tee-and-jeans crew who love horror movies, because their main fare is the silk-screened horror-representin’ t-shirt! [They also have girls’ tees, baseball tees, and zippered hoodie sweatshirts!]

Source: Found on Imgur
Source: Found on Imgur

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These are just a sample of the good works this company is doing, and they are all available for pre-order right now! There is also the option of voting to resurrect old designs, from the Graveyard. So, if it’s a first-time visit for you, make sure you stop by the Graveyard and vote on the designs you never even got a chance to shop for! They send regular emails detailing their plans for future (and past!) designs, and they love to hear how their fans feel about their designs, often taking fan suggestions and ideas. I love that they’ve incorporated baseball tees and zippered sweatshirts.

main-halloween-baseball_MEDmain-kill-destroyers_MED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are willing to represent every age and genre within the horror realm, and the designs are bright, clear, and educated for being so dark and demented. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase a t-shirt, but I love getting their regular emails and seeing all the beautiful items of attire that would fill my closet in a paradise of my own making. I would wear nothing but horror tees if I could–imagine that in an interview!–and I could be the happiest girl in the world. Because fashion was not made for me unless it features my favorite villains!

main-misery_MED
From the Graveyard
From the Graveyard
From the Graveyard

Favorite Slasher Series: Nightmare on Elm Street

I think I’m going to start each of these off with a little bit of mood music…

Freddy Krueger has been a constant in my life from a very young age. One of the first scary movie images I recall seeing as a child was Joey Crusel thrashing around in a waterbed. But I didn’t know why until much, much later…

(From The Scare)

That was the only scene I managed to see of the Nightmare series for a long time. It wasn’t until early middle school when I saw the original Nightmare on Elm Street for the very first time. It would have come after I saw Edward Scissorhands for the first time, because I recognized Johnny Depp’s name in the credits. Not even the credits of the movie; no, I purchased a novelization of the first three films and noticed his name there, then went to find the movie. Which, wasn’t too hard considering I lived within walking distance of two places that rented videos at the time.

At this stage in the game, I’ve seen each and every movie with Freddy Krueger’s name on it at least 1000 times. With exception to the 2010 remake, because well, Jackie Earle Haley just didn’t do it for me the way Robert Englund does.

Source Unknown
Source Unknown

This movie series has everything: revenge, love, lust, blood, and laughter. If anything, Freddy can make you laugh. He’s got great one-liners and whip-crack wit. Wouldn’t the Devil need to be charming? Considering he’s basically the embodiment of the concept that the sins of the fathers will be paid by the sons–and, in this case, the daughters. Every child on Elm Street is paying the price for the vigilante justice performed against one child killer extraordinaire, Mr. Krueger. They set him on fire (please, with the “spoiler alert” crap, it’s been 30 years! There’s an entire Wikipedia network established for NOES, for Pete’s sake!) and he becomes an even bigger problem: a dream demon. Still killing kids (there’s a lesson for adults, vigilante justice only exacerbates the problem!), now the parents just don’t believe it’s happening anymore. They’ve solved the problem, after all, right?

Wrong. And for seven total movies, plus face-off and remake films, Freddy gets to keep telling those adults they’re wrong, eventually moving out into the greater world, “Every town has an Elm Street!” So much so, even the potential of reconnecting to his own child only made the blood lust stronger. Coming out into the “real world” only made him loom that much larger above us. (Happy 20th Anniversary, New Nightmare, as of October 14th, by the way!!)

Source: BasementRejects.com
Source: BasementRejects.com

Freddy’s presence has become a mainstay and a constant, not only at Halloween. For all of his evil, disgusting ways, he’s charismatic, dynamic, and nigh unstoppable. I see images of Freddy’s mug with “RIP” next to it, and I always have to wonder. Could a personality like Freddy’s, seated so deep, made so tragic, and of the darkest bile found in the human condition, ever really be dead? Good thing there are Dream Warriors, just in case he isn’t.

(From John TTherror)

Ideas | Book Reviews from My Corner of the Blogosphere

While I am a person who thoroughly enjoys reading mountains of books, writing a review of one or another is not an art I feel like I’ve ever mastered. Though I’ve written plenty of my own — because that’s what happens when you study English and Communications; heck, even Psychology — these were always the assignments that came back with the most notations on them. Either because I hadn’t quite caught the larger picture of the book or because I felt compelled to summarize the events of the book rather than reflect upon them. So, to this day, I struggle; in the face of that struggle, I read book reviews to help me get an idea of what they’re supposed to sound like.

Collected here for your own reflection is a short list of the book reviewers I read on a regular basis, mostly and mainly because they each cover a genre of book that I enjoy writing, reading, or working with professionally. Let’s start with the first and foremost:

Horror Novel Reviews, From self-proclaimed, professional horror junkie, Matt Molgaard, comes a daily dose of opinion and new horror fiction. I don’t like getting email to check or read, but I love getting this email every day. Matt and his crew of reviewers are passionate, knowledgeable, and articulate in all the things that horror fiction can be. It keeps me updated on the newest names in the genre, and reviews aren’t the only things Matt has proffered. There are Top 100 lists, author interviews, and pop culture references aplenty! If you love horror fiction, but only have time for an informative (and informed!) rundown, stop by HNR.

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HorrorNovelReviews.com

GayList Book Reviews, I have not come across a more fair and all-encompassing LGBT fiction review site. All of the reviewers are avid readers, passionate, and thoughtful. They are open-minded and excited about new fiction exploring uncharted territory, and even more excited to share it with fellow readers. That’s right, fellow readers. These aren’t authors toting their own work, they are readers with an unbridled passion for gay fiction!

GayList Book Review Rating Guide
GayList Book Review Rating Guide

Hardcovers and Heroines, Alison Doherty reviews Young Adult fiction and writes some herself. She’s fun, sunny, and excited about the books she’s read, written, and those still on the horizon. Alongside reviews, Alison offers funny posts like “Marry, Date, or Dump” different groups of characters from various literary worlds; some of my favorite posts under that banner include Victorian Authors, The Weasley Brothers, and Disney Princesses! There are also great weekly posts every Wednesday — Wordless Wednesday — where she posts images relating to literary figures, characters, or the books themselves.

Hardcovers and Heroines Banner Image
Hardcovers and Heroines Banner Image

The Bookshelf of Emily J., What a lovely discovery this blog has turned out to be. A member of the Literary Wives virtual book club, Emily reviews plenty of books but the group focuses on books with ‘wife’ in the title or a reference to a wife in the title. Book reviews aren’t the only things Emily has to offer, but strong opinions and questions she isn’t afraid to explore or share. She welcomes deeper reflection and lighter conversation for it. This is another email I receive regularly and enjoy its arrival in my inbox. Emily is always entertaining, informative, and enlightening.

The Bookself of Emily J. Banner Image
The Bookself of Emily J. Banner Image

The Smutty Kitty, Of course reviews new literary releases… Oh, wait, that isn’t right… The Smutty Kitty actually reviews traditional adult fiction and erotica, featuring men and women in various situations, lifestyles, and environments getting it on and getting dirty with it. The content shared here is 18+ only, and it’s noted on the site. Her reviews are witty, clear cut, and to the point. The Kitty doesn’t mess around with her erotica. She knows how to talk to and engage her audience, also listing other authors a reader might enjoy or when favorite erotica books/series go on sale.

The Smutty Kitty Banner Image
The Smutty Kitty Banner Image

These are just a few of the reviewers I read regularly, and if there are any I should check out (especially of the non-fiction or memoir persuasion) send them my way! I’d love to expand my list of go-to book reviewers.

 

Pop | Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

Happy 67th Birthday, Stephen King!

Source: DenOfGeek.us
Source: DenOfGeek.us

To a fellow Virgo, child of a single working mother, and compassionate worldly thinker I send you the best birthday wishes! Without your words, your campfire tales, I would have had a much sadder, more bleak childhood and adolescence. Your words were then and are now a comfort to me, whether I’m reading them in your latest novel, short story, or Tweet, they all feel like they started out in my head. There are an elite few I feel this connection to, and your words were the first.

The first adult book I ever read was IT; I was 12 years old, and I’ve read it about a hundred times since then. It’s still one of my favorites. “Survivor Type” from Skeleton Crew was chilling, and The Dark Tower series is a sprawling, compelling epic that I hold near and dear to my heart. You’re still holding us by the amygdala, and I hope you never let go.

You don’t want to consider yourself a rock star (though you’re in a band!!!), but in my little world, my little life, you are a global rock star filling stadiums and arenas every night! Thank you for listening to Tabitha and publishing Carrie. Thank you for keeping at the good fight and sending your words, your thoughts, and your ideas out into the world. You’re reaching people, making real, emotional and mental connections, and that makes you more of a rock star than simple fame or notoriety ever could.

Film | Stephen King’s Top 5 Big, Bad Mamas

There is a rumor that Stephen King is a misogynist: Google Search, Google Scholar Search. Probably the one time when the civil and scholarly worlds almost match. But I am not here to perpetuate that rumor; I really don’t agree with it. Especially as a man who was raised by a single mother, I don’t think he could hate women after he acknowledges how hard his mother worked to keep him and his brother alive. I think he gives women a backbone–an unapologetic one.

…sometimes a woman had to be a high-ridin’ bitch. “Sometimes,” she told me, “being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto.” [Dolores Claiborne (1993 Signet paperback, 358)].

People take to task women who are too “bossy” or “forward” and it pisses me off. I’m willing to bet it pissed off Mrs. King, too, when her husband walked out one day and left her with her two boys. I’m willing to bet lots of women get pissed off, and Stephen King has captured just a few them–getting mad as Hell and not taking it anymore.

Here, in no particular order, are my Top 5 Stephen King Big, Bad Mamas:

Probably the most notorious, Margaret White.

Overtly religious in “godless times”, Margaret White comes off as a little bit cuckoo. Especially since her girl just wants to fit in and go to prom. Pitched as evil and off her rocker from the get-go, Margaret does little to change this. She’s consistent, determined, and certain–how many of you can say that? She doesn’t change to fit her environment, feeling complete control and confidence in the opinions she pursues. Not only that, she ends up right–not even saying “I told you so!” when Carrie comes home just a little worse for wear after the prom. I mean, almost all of them laughed at her by the end of the movie.

From the book quoted above, Dolores Claiborne.

A hardworking maid and housekeeper for Vera Donovan, Dolores discovers her husband is molesting their only daughter. With advice from Vera and her own anger-fueled strength to guide her, Dolores seeks recompense for the invasion against her daughter’s security and her bank account. After working long, hard, physically crippling months and years for Vera Donovan, Dolores thought she’d earned a path to freedom for her and her daughter. No one, not even her drunken, abusive husband, could stop her.

A mother against her will, Nadine Cross.

Source: "The Stand" Comic Images on ComicVine.com
Source: “The Stand” Comic Images on ComicVine.com

Nadine Cross was promised to The Walking Man. It might appear that she promised herself to him, based on the way she acts. However, in the film, Nadine Cross’s death takes on a different form from the novel, even though the intent is still the same. In the film, Laura San Giacomo is taken into the arms of Randall Flagg–at the last minute she wants to refuse him (similar to the book)–and becomes pregnant with his child. Running was no option, when you’re running from the Devil. She’s taken back to Las Vegas to be introduced to the crew there, when shortly after a conversation with Randall’s right-hand man, Nadine picks herself up from the couch, threatens Randall as the image above portrays and tosses herself off the balcony. In the novel, she taunts Randall into tossing her. Quite the message to send to the baby-daddy, wouldn’t you say?

The unholy maternal spirit, Ellen Rimbauer.

Ellen Rimbauer only wanted the dream of a Victorian life, marriage, and family. Giving  two children, the happiness of her youth, and her very soul in order to seek out the joy she wanted. Her carousing, cheating husband kept her from it. Ellen and her maid, Sukeena, would make him pay. Dedicating her very life to the process of building her mansion, Rose Red, Sukeena assists Ellen in attempting to woo her grandson, Steven, into helping them build. Protecting home and hearth, Ellen and Sukeena are a force to be reckoned with when Lois Reardon and her crew attempt to waken the sleeping mansion.

The trapped protector, Donna Trenton.

Donna is simply trying to live her life, take care of her boy, and get her tired car fixed. Dropping her car off with a trusted friend becomes a fight for survival as she’s attacked by a rabid St. Bernard in front of his home. Doing all that she can with what she has is an understatement as Donna surveys her surroundings and tries to fight through the environment as she’s found it. She’s done nothing to create this trauma, aside from not being prepared to meet a rabid dog, and can do almost nothing–save risking contracting the disease herself–to take herself out of it. Watching Donna fight to survive the world as she’s had it presented to her is a metaphor for maneuvering the minefield that women often call life.

Sometimes the characters authors write don’t get the gripe for being assholes–the authors do. Accusing an author of being an asshole for writing asshole characters is kind of like calling God an asshole for creating assholes on Earth, isn’t it? And, of course, in order to understand an asshole, one might have to be one. That doesn’t necessarily mean the author and his character are the same kind of asshole. King has written some pretty shady characters; he’s also written some pretty honorable characters. The rub is that both are human, and King is merely attempting to show us how life can sometimes be–real or in our most vivid nightmares.

Revisions

I’ve taken the last 24 or 30 hours – not in a row mind you – to revise the final chapters of my novel. I’m feeling more and more confident about this endeavor every minute. Of course, there’s always that nagging in the back of my mind that no one will ever want to read it. That no one will ever want to buy it – but it’s the former that bugs me most.

I write to communicate. I write to relate. I write to understand and I hope that the readers I come across someday will be able to communicate with, relate to, and understand my writing as well as I do. I write to share myself. I don’t do that freely, especially not with just anyone. But I have to write, I have to express the ideas and emotions in my head.

Anyway, I’ve offered my baby to my first reader in all her “completed” glory. Now I just wait…
EDIT: I didn’t get the library position. A woman who used to (or currently still does, I’m not sure) work at the high school I graduated from got it. Honestly, I believe my age had something to do with it. There is not a person affiliated with that library (employee or board member) who is under the age of 30. Anyway, I didn’t get the job and I’m all the more determined that I am not supposed to stay in this town the rest of my life…. Ugh… Just, what do I do now?

8 Chapters…

8 chapters is all I have left to revise of my novel. It doesn’t sound like that much, but one chapter alone could take an hour. Which all depends on what kind of writing I was doing at the time that I wrote it. But I’m going to hibernate today (and tomorrow if necessary) and bust it out. I want it to be done, not because I don’t enjoy working on it. But because I have so many other projects I want to work on. Having my novel done and up on Lulu will leave me open to begin my second novel, my gay/les series, and my mob story.

Gah! Gotta get to it.