Friday, April 26, 2013

Freaky Friday: The Awakening

A British flick set in 1920s London, surrounding an "educated woman" who debunks ghostly encounters. The Awakening opens on a group of people conducting a seance. As a woman amongst the participants claims to see her dead daughter, our heroine, Florence Cathart (played by Rebecca Hall) jumps up and exposes the charlatans. The woman slaps her as a thank you, her need to believe too strong.
Florence has become famous for her book and expertise in using science to show that nothing exists after death. She's implored by Robert Mallory (played by Dominic West) to visit a boy's bordering school in the countryside, where a young student was killed three weeks ago. The children are frightened and seeing ghosts everywhere. Apparently, this is not the first death of a child to occur on the property.
Not quite your neighborhood friendly ghost.
A series of photos show a blurred out boy in each of the yearly school pictures going back over a decade. Florence states it's an old trick where one boy runs behind the rest to create the effect. Robert agrees except for one picture that shows a horrific image of a screaming boy two floors above the class. So far if you're thinking this review is dry as toast, you'd be right, which reflects the movie perfectly.
The toast has more bite.
As Florence arrives at the school, we meet a set of interesting characters, all of which could be possible suspects. Unfortunately, the slow pacing and lackluster scares, bring the viewer sleepily along. By the time we get to a "twist" ending--I'm still trying to figure out if it makes sense--it's too far off course for us to care; if that is, we're still awake.

Rating: C-

Don't forget to wish our Fearless Blogger a Happy Book Birthday! Danielle DeVor's A TAIL OF THE DEVIL releases TODAY! To find out more, have a look at the book trailer and visit her website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time to Pick the Winner...

In February, LynDee Walker shared an extended excerpt from her Mystery novel, Front Page Fatality. She graciously offered a copy of her eBook as prize in the blog contest and...I forgot to pick a winner! So, today, using Rafflecopter to pick the name out of the proverbial hat, the winner is...
Congratulations! I'll be emailing you with the details. 
Now for a reminder of where you can find Front Page Fatality.

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous.Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

LynDee Walker
Publication Date:  January 29, 2013
Publisher: Henery Press
ISBN: 978-1938383120
Pages: 292 Pages
Genre: Mystery

Fountain Bookstore (get a signed copy and support a great indie bookshop!)

If you haven't already snagged your copy of Front Page Fatality, I highly encourage you to pick this one up!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Freaky Friday: Fear Island

Cops chase down a teenage girl, played by Haylie Duff, through the woods. When they finally catch up and take her in, she's put through an interrogation. Unfortunately, she remembers nothing...not even her name.
Fear Island is told through the flashbacks and recollections of the sole survivor. Five friends come to the island to celebrate a last hoorah before they all head off to college. However, someone seems to be set on turning their fun into terror. Could it be boat driver, Keith? Or fifteen year old half-dressed stowaway, Megan? Maybe it's the pet chihuahua, Pierre! My money's on the dog.

I only look sweet and innocent.
The byplay between the cop and the forensic psychologist as they try to piece together Jenna's fractured memories is pointless. The scenes on the actual island with the teens are more interesting. The voiceover questions by the cop, however are especially annoying, but thankfully not too prevalent. Plus, I really don't care what skeletons are in the cop's closet.
Do share your backstory. It is so bloody interesting.
Now, I know horror flicks often depict teens in a...well, not so favorable light. But this group really takes the cake. The choices they make from the beginning are questionable at best. For example, if a killer is loose on the island taking out people and one of your friends turns up dead, are you really going to worry about her body decomposing and stick her in a freezer? Yeah, I'm going to go with NO.
Hey girl. Don't worry, I got your dead head covered.
All that said, I did enjoy the film. Worth catching it on DVR or adding to your Netflix queue, but don't wast money on a rental. The scares are nothing spectacular and the story not so unique, but it's well done for what it is and the ending is...killer!

Rating: B+

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Catching Kindness

With so much ugliness sweeping the news every day, it's important to remember the world is also filled with good people. Not just friends and family, but strangers can often surprise us in the best of ways as evidenced by recent events. A healthy dose of skepticism and wariness are too often needed when we set forth outside our front door. But, today, I invite you to change that, to catch kindness and pass it on. Kindness comes in many forms from a simple smile to a helping hand. So, if you'd like to make a difference, grab the badge below, sign-up, and tell us how you're Catching Kindness.
I'm catching kindness by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund to help those in need after the Boston Marathon bombings. If you are able, I'd encourage you to donate as well. But, remember, not all acts of kindness need be monetary. No Catching Kindness story is too big or too small, so please share yours today!
a Rafflecopter giveaway If you'd like to participate, please sign up. Everyone who enters will be eligible to win a $10 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N. Share Your Catching Kindness story on your blog. Don't have a blog? No problem, leave your story in the comments below.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Freaky Friday: Salem's Lot

Our Fearless Blogger is back today with a review on the classic horror flick, Salem's Lot! I'll admit I'm not the biggest Stephen King fan, but I can recognize talent when I read it (and see it). Many of his books have been turned into films in which both book and film become legendary. After reading Danielle's review on Salem's Lot, it's definitely on my watch (and read) list.
"It's not often that you get to review one of your all-time favorite films. For me, it happens to be a vampire film- specifically the 1979 version of Salem's Lot.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, it is the story of a writer who goes back to a small town he lived in as a child. The reason: he wants to write about the Masten house- the town's haunted house that has scared Ben, the writer, since childhood. Unfortunately, there is more than the evil of the Masten house that has invaded Salem's Lot.
I love this film because it has plot, charm, great acting, and suspense. It is true that the technology is dated and there are a few things that take away from it. [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] Like the fact that most of the killing scenes are cut short per 1970's TV censors. It doesn't matter though. Not all good horror films have to be gory to be scary.
One of the oddest things about this film is the strangeness that is the different make-up designs on the vampires. The master vampire, Kurtz Barlow, is a blue, Nosferatu-type creature. Then, there are a couple of white vampires, a red vampire, and a greenish vampire. I'm not sure why they did this, but it is weird not to have a uniform make-up style.
Also, with this movie being a mini-series, sometime in the 1980's, the film was cut down into a regular movie-length format. When I was a kid, it was shown in this format repeatedly on TV. It wasn't until they released it on DVD that I was able to see the full version.

Now, you may ask me if the mini-series is worth watching and I can only answer yes. The extra scenes help to build the overall suspense.
It is an odd film, for sure, but it is masterfully done, which is probably helped by the fact that it was directed by Tobe Hooper, who is best known for directing the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Each time I watch the movie, I am left with one thing- [Spoiler Alert: Highlight with mouse to see] At the end of the movie, there is nothing left of the head vampire but his fangs. And, I've always wanted those teeth. :)
If you are expecting romantic vampires or something Lost Boy's-esque with the idea that when the master vampire dies, all the other vampire become human again, this is not the vampire movie for you. These are the vampires of nightmares- the scary evil things that lurk in the dark. I love every minute of it.

Rating: A+ (Even though there is that weird make-up thing. Totally kick-ass movie.)"

How do you prefer your vampire? Horrific? Lost Boy, bad boy? Shiny and sparkly? ;)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sharing is Caring: The Liebster Award

Big THANK YOU to Jana Grissom at A Novel Reality 
for this Liebster Award. 
Blogging is about making connections with writers and readers across the blog-o-sphere. For this Writer Wednesday, I'm celebrating with an award! In the spirit of connecting with others, the Liebster Award allows us to give glimpses into our lives and then pass on the honor to others. Today, I'm sharing with you 11 fun facts about me, answering my nominator's questions, and tagging 11 new bloggers for the award.

Eleven Fun Facts About Tina:
1. Mistakes eleven and elven. Tempted to post eleven elven facts today. 
2. Nickname from father-in-law: Mossy. It's a name and an attitude.
3. J. Hubs, the secret identity of her hubby, is also her high school sweetheart. Aww.
4. Chocolate is her lifestyle choice. Don't judge.
5. Suffers from Neurotic Writer Syndrome.
6. Cooking abilities range from non-existent to burns water.
7. Ninja skills are unmatched, except by her writing partner, Yelena Casale.
8. Considers talking about herself in the third person, fun.
9. Freakish phobia of mirrors. Can't look into them without lights on.
10. Collects tofu plushies. Google 'em. They're adorable.
11. Loves corgis. In case, you couldn't tell. ;)

Eleven Questions:
1. Where were you born? New York
2. What is your favorite restaurant? Jose Tejas (amazing Mexican food)
3. Do you believe in angels? Yes
4. Are you a Troglodyte or Celestial? I think I'm Celestial?
 5. How many people are in your family? Lots.
6. When do you find time to blog? Try to blog twice per week.
7. Who do you want to be like when you grow up? Do I have to grow up?
8. What is your best tip for new bloggers? Have fun with it!
9. Is anything better than chocolate? Nope.
10. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say; cheese? Heaven.
11. What is your favorite childhood memory? Reading with my grandmother.

Now for the new nominees:

Your new questions:
1. Who is the author you admire most?
2. Why do you write (in five words or less)?
3. What is your favorite genre to read?
4. Who is your biggest inspiration?
5. What advice would you give to new writers?
6. What is your favorite hobby?
7. Are you a cat or dog person?
8. Where is your ideal vacation spot?
9. What is a place you want to visit, but haven't yet?
10.What is the meaning of life in one word (or number) *wink*?
11. If you're on a desert island, what are three things you must have?

The Liebster Rules:
1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself / herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they’ve been nominated.
7. No tag backs.

If you'd like to participate, feel free to snag the questions and begin your own round of the Liebster Awards!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Freaky Friday: The Caller

The opening setup of The Caller gives us a picture of what would be a stalker-esque horror flick. And in some ways, it is, but not by the stalker you think. A pretty young blonde, Mary (Rachelle Lefevre), moves into an old, worn-down apartment during a messy divorce. Creepy hopefully soon-to-be ex drops off what should be the final divorce papers, but is actually a wedding photo of them...with "Until death to us part" written on the back. Stalker, right? Not quite.
If frustrating divorce and potential serial killer ex isn't bad enough, Mary deals with calls from a crazy lady who insists on speaking to Bobby. Rose aka crazy-phone-lady sucks Mary into a conversation by claiming she's a spurned lover of Bobby. The call turns strange-err when Rose insists Bobby promised to marry her after he got back from Vietnam and the callback number is unavailable. Now, if it were me, I'd change my number--and probably my apartment--pronto. Mary instead decides to take a class in conversational French. Ah, what?
Wee, wee call-argh! LOL. I miss rotary phones.
On the plus side, however, she does meet Prof. John aka Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) from True Blood while stumbling into the wrong classroom. As the movie progresses, I can't decide who is crazier: psycho stalker ex-husband, loopy-killer-caller, would-be-boyfriend-professor or Mary herself. The mystery is intriguing, but I don't believe Prof. John buying into the whole time-changing theory--even if he is a self-proclaimed Trekkie.
The space time continuum is a paradox.
The pacing is painfully slow, but when it picks up...oh my. The premise is so different. The idea of a past person invading and changing the present timeline is super creepy. Could have been done much better with a stronger actress and--I can't believe I'm going to say this--less subtle scares. Usually, I'm all about the subtle, but this film was too quiet. The duel between Mary and Rose kept me watching. It manages to develop into an all out tug-of-war, chess match with no clear winner, even at the end.

Rating: B-

What do you think of a time-bending horror flick? Interesting twist or not-so-scary?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to Keep Moving Forward

All across the social media world, I've seen questions from writers that look like this:
  • What do you do while waiting on submissions or queries?
  • How do you keep going when the rejections pile up?
  • Why is it that writers are always in perpetual purgatory?
  • I can't get past this funk/block/blank page. What do I do?
Question mark
I've asked these questions many times as well. More often than not, the simple--and usually given--answer is to write. Write more. Write through it. Write every day. Write faster. Write better. Write stronger. Write. Write. Write. But, here's the know that already. I know that already. Writers struggling with these issues aren't looking for a simplistic, "well, write."
Help button
If only it were that easy.
We're looking for a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, an understanding companion, a commiserating friend. We know we can't do anything about the wait, so we're reaching out to the people in the waiting room with us. We're searching for our fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms to help us through the sludge. At the end of the day, writing might be a solo endeavor, but it doesn't have to be a lonely one.
Funny girl
Now, you just tell me all about it.
The writing community is rich with people who will happily delve into the pits with you, or bravely cheer you on when you need motivation, or bribe you with chocolate and vodka. Or cookies, big peanut butter and chocolate cookies, like this...
Giant peanut butter cookie
Like Mars' red spot, but chocolate!
While the answer to the above questions might be write--and yeah, okay, that's right--it's also talk with others who are in your shoes or have been there before. It's have a big cookie and be kind to yourself. It's pull up a chair and tell me about it in 140 characters. It's email, text, post a facebook status or chat on the forums. It's close the computer for awhile and come back later. It's read, watch TV, sing, laugh, dance, go for a walk. It's don't let the rejections defeat you, don't let the wait paralyze you, and don't fight these feelings alone.

What do you do when your writing friend is feeling blue? How can we help motivate each other without giving the "write" talk?