Friday, October 26, 2012

Freaky Friday: Sinister

Whoa. No, really, whoa. Sinister is a prime example of why horror movies should be rated R, instead of PG-13. I'm not an advocate of bumping up the rating to increase the gore factor. Although I'm not opposed to it when done well with movies like the Saw series and to a lesser extent, Hostel (first one only). But horror needs the R rating when it is as creepy as this film. Some images are definitely not for kids' eyes, but it has more to do with how those images are completely and utterly disturbing, more than gore-filled by today's horror standards.
At first, hubs and I planned to pass on this flick, since Ethan Hawke is not our favorite actor. But cousin and Twitterville convinced us it was a must see. So Hawke reservations aside, off we went. And I've got to give the man credit, he did a great job playing Ellison Oswalt--a strung out, megalomaniac and former bestselling author desperate to be in the limelight once more. (Side note: Why are all writers in film shown to be neurotic lunatics with a drinking problem? Wait. Don't answer that.)
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.
Write drunk; edit sober.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Unbeknownst to his wife and two children, Oswalt moves his family into the home previously belonging to murder victims. The former family of four were hung from a tree in the backyard and the youngest daughter was never found. If this isn't cause for divorce, I don't know what is. Now, as a true crime writer, he is pretty high on the local sheriff's do-no-send-holiday-card list. But he befriends an eager young deputy, who he so lovingly calls "Deputy So-and-So" into helping him unlock the mystery of the crime.
Unfortunately for Oswalt, he discovers a box in the attic of old 8mm footage dating back to the 1960s. Turns out the films are the killer's calling card, depicting decades worth of murders. Instead of cluing in old Deputy So-and-So, Oswalt--in what could easily have been a choice that led to the film ending within ten minutes--decides NOT to call the police. Yes, let that rattle around your brain for a second or so. He is so obsessed with his book, he would rather keep the footage to himself and try to solve serial killer murders spanning sixty years, than protect his family and other potential innocent victims. And the world of writers everywhere wept.
Despite the questionable picture of an author painted by Sinister, it is a killer--pun intended--film. SPOILER ALERT: I would have preferred a real life threat to the paranormal Woman in Black style killer, but otherwise, I'm satisfied. From the haunting images that I promise will stick with you for a long time to Oswalt's psychotic obsession and the innocent family caught in the middle, this movie has everything you could want.

Rating: A all the way.

How do you feel about the gore factor in horror flicks? What scares you more, graphic images or a disturbing psychological  atmosphere?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop

Welcome to the Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop! Hosted by the lovely Yelena Casale. We're celebrating a week of fun urban fantasy goodness with giveaways and contests. Blog hop runs October 24th - October 31st. Check out all of the participants on their blogs and enter to win awesome prizes!

First, it's time for some Q&A

1. What do you love about the urban fantasy genre (reading and writing)?
     Urban fantasy takes everything I loved about fantasy as a kid--cool creatures, magical powers and crazy adventures--and puts it into our world. In a UF setting, you could be living next door to a dragon, or possess mystical abilities, or date a vampire, or be destined to the save the planet, or... With almost no restrictions, the possibilities are endless. All you need for UF is a vivid imagination. That's why I love reading and writing this genre.
Who can possibly hate dragons?

2. Who is the sexiest supernatural creature? Who’s the scariest?
     Almost any creature can become sexy or scary, if written well. Although, zombies as sexy still creep me out...too much Walking Dead. But I digress. I'd have to say the sexiest for me are probably shifters, something about all that animal magnetism. Scariest, yeah zombies. Not for the scare factor as much as the gross factor.
Not sexy.
3. If you could make any supernatural creature, what would it look like and what powers would it have?
      The creatures in my current series are my ideal. They have various psychic powers, some have telepathy or telekinesis; others can control the elements; and still more have...well that's a surprise. You'll have to read to find out, but I'm intrigued by the idea of using the mind as a weapon. It delves into so many different areas from a story and character perspective. Plus, the results of that type of power can be awe-inspiring or terrifying, depending on its user.
      For me personally, I'd like teleportation. Imagine the amount of time I'd save not having to sit in traffic! Or maybe telekinesis, but I'd probably become really lazy.

4. Do you have any Halloween rituals?
      Friends have a party every year. However, this year there's been a battle amongst said friends over who will host. I suggested a robot battle to determine the winner. Alas, I was overruled.
Fight like a robot. ;)

5. Walking at midnight in a forest on Halloween – crazy, scary or adventurous?
      AWESOME! Where we meeting?
Hope it's a full moon!

6. What is your worst fear?
      Not so much of a fear as a phobia. I'm ridiculously spooked out by mirrors. Seriously, inverse reality! Think about it.

7. What is one of your character’s worst fear?
      Sera from CODE BLACK is deathly afraid of hurting someone with her abilities. It's happened once before...

8. What is your favorite Urban Fantasy novel?
      Cruel! This question is too hard. I can't possibly pick one. But two of my favorites series are Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series and Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. I also love a ton of books in the Paranormal Romance genre, which shares some similar traits to Urban Fantasy.

 9. Who is your favorite Urban Fantasy hero/heroine?
      Again this is not right. But I've got to go with Bones from Jeanine Frost. He is just too delectable...a yummy vampire. Heroine is a tie between Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews and Cat from Jeaniene Frost.

10. Which hero/heroine would you love to be on Halloween?
      I'm going as Katniss this year. Not Urban Fantasy, but a worthy heroine nonetheless. Pictures to follow in a later post.

Now onto the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last but by no means least, check out all of the participants and join in for a chance to win some prizes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop
Coming Soon!

Want to win awesome prizes? Want to learn about Urban Fantasy from its awesome writers? Then, join my rockin' writing partner,  Yelena Casale, for the Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop from 
October 24th - 31st. Check out the details here.
Halloween Urban Fantasy Blog Hop...Coming to a blog near you.

Are you a fan of Urban Fantasy? If so, what's your favorite series? Who is your favorite author? If not, why the heck not???

Friday, October 12, 2012

Freaky Friday: Dream House

The movie opens with a high-powered editor sitting in an office with floor-to-ceiling windows, inside a swanky NYC skyscraper, which any editor will tell you is fiction. Editor Will, played by Daniel Craig, escapes his job to spend more time with his family and move to his “dream house” outside of the city. He transforms from the fast paced editor life to a suburban writer’s pace aka this is also fiction. His wife Libby, played by Rachel Weisz, is an artist and the two daughters follow in their mother’s footsteps with their painting endeavors. The perfect little domestic scene is set as Will comes home to have a fun snowball fight with his waiting wife, while their children clamor for attention.
At this point, I might have turned the movie off, if not for the scene that plays out next. The neighbors across the street are a divorced couple, fighting for custody of their daughter. The dad is high strung and very angry. He gives Will a nasty look as he picks up his daughter and fights with his ex-wife. An alarm sign is shown on the front lawn with the words “armed response” across it. Love the subtle sign in that shot.
Soon after, Will's youngest daughter sees a man in the window, but he and Libby dismiss it as childish imagination...until Will follows tracks in the snow the next morning. The tracks lead all around his house to various windows. He discovers Gothic teenagers in his basement that night. They claim they didn’t know anyone lived in the house and were there because of the murders - doing a séance or something. Will hasn’t heard anything about it. The kids say “the snowstorm in April” and “the whole family was murdered”, when he asks if they’ve been sneaking around his house, the boy says, “He’s back. He’s back.”
The movie quickly unfolds from its picturesque beginnings to a twisted tale of violence, murder, and psychosis. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the rather lackluster opening and highly fictitious depictions of the editor and writer lifestyle. One to watch.

Rating: B+

PS The movie cover and blurb have very little to do with the actual film. It's more a psychological thriller than a horror flick.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Writer's Cave

When writers get together in a group setting, eventually, someone will bring up "the cave". Sometimes it's the "writing cave". Other times it's the "editing cave". Regardless, it's always the writer's cave. So, what is this elusive cave setting that has all the writers in a dither? Well, a few years ago J. Hubs and I went on a cruise. We came across a mystical cave on one of the beautiful Caribbean islands.
You'll notice the sparkling lake, which we didn't get to swim in - and probably wouldn't have, even if we could have, because it was freezing - but enjoyed nonetheless. The water lit up like stars when we used our flash camera. It held us entranced for a long while as we appreciated the beauty of the cave and its hidden wonders.
The writer's cave is sort of like the above. It has a hypnotic effect on its inhabitants. Those who enter the cave often are not seen for hours, days, and sometimes even weeks or months at a time. They lose touch with reality, social norms, and for the truly dedicated few...hygiene. Hey, have you ever seen a cave dweller? Not the cleanest bunch.
One major problem with the writer's cave - besides the time-lock - is the pitfalls. Like the enchanting Caribbean cave above, it has stalactites. The dangerous limestone deposits, shaped like icicles, can have deadly consequences if they break off. Writers too can encounter untold dangers if they veer off track in the writer's cave - plot holes, character quips, derailed action, stiff dialogue, unbelievable events, and more. Oh the horrors!
So, if you encounter one of these creatures in the wild, leave the hibernating writer in the cave and move on. Eventually, they'll come out of the hole and face the world once more. Until then, beware. Oh, but the good news, unlike animals at the zoo, writers are more than happy when fed - preferably chocolate or cupcakes or chocolate cupcakes!

Have you succumb to the intrigues of the Writer's Cave? Do you know a writer stuck in this place? Are you preparing an intervention?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cover Reveal: Purgatory Reign by LM Preston

For Writer Wednesday, I'm celebrating this week's PURGATORY REIGN cover reveal from YA author, LM Preston. Fortunate enough to have read this as a beta reader, I can tell you that it absolutely rocks! Check out the cover below and discover a bit more about the hero, Peter.
About Purgatory Reign:

Peter Saint's life stinks. But things are about to get much worst. First, his parents are murdered in front of him. Then another victim dies in his arms. Visions plague Peter with warnings that something wants him for a sinister cause. It desires the one thing that Peter refuses to give—his blood. Peter carries within him the one gift or curse that could unlock a secret to destroy the human race. On the run with Angel, a scruffy kid, Peter starts to unravel the mystery. It's the one treasure the heavens sought to hide from the world. Unfortunately, when Peter finds the answer that he hopes will save the girl he loves, he opens the door to a great evil that happens to be salivating to meet him.

Enter the Contest
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Barnes & Noble: coming soon
Indie Bound: coming soon 
Books A Million: coming soon 

Release Dates
eBook (March 2013) 
Print (May 2013)

For more great books my LM Preston check out Phenomenal One Press. You can also find her at:

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Welcome October! To celebrate my favorite month of the year, I'm participating in the The Next Big Thing blog hop. It is a fun event to connect authors with readers and reveal a little bit about the author's work. It is already 15 weeks running! Thanks to C. M. Keller, author of Screwing Up Time for tagging me. Here's a little bit about my latest work-in-progress (okay, technically I'm working on the sequel now: Red Alert, but it wouldn't make much sense to talk to you about it without telling you about the first one :) ) .

What is the working title of your book? Code Black

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I'm a big fan of crime shows like Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds. I wanted to mix that law enforcement element with the paranormal genre. Thus, the investigative unit in the book, the PCD (Paranormal Crime Division), was born.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Adult urban fantasy mixed with elements of paranormal romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

I have specific stock images that I used while creating the characters, so it is hard to imagine a movie version. I'd rather leave that in the hands of creative readers. :)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

I'm  not the best with the one-sentence pitch, so here is the blurb on my website:
Gossip mag reporter Sera Benenati is determined to claw her way to the top and land a spot with a real paper. When she tracks a lead on a string of paranormal murders to the small town of Buckhorn, Arizona, she’s certain she’s landed the perfect scoop. As her investigation grows hot, the killers set their sights on her. Now, with the help of special agent Talon Rede, she’ll need to unmask the murderers before she becomes the next victim.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

The book is represented by my wonderful agents at Literary Counsel.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 
Approximately 10 months writing part time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

It is in great company with Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series or Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I'm fascinated with the hero's journey discussed by Jung and as such always looking for ways that journey might occur when the world is turned upside down.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The heroine, Sera, is unique in that she shares her mind with an unknown supernatural creature named, Guy. The interactions between her and Guy make for some interesting dialogue. Not to mention the "issues" with Sera having a romantic relationship with our hero, Talon. ;)

Thank you for checking out my work. I hope you'll stop on over to read about the other authors in the blog hop. For week 16 have a look at what my writing partner, Yelena Casale, is working on.