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Free read and new reviews up!

Published August 29, 2017 by admin

Geez, I’ve been all over the place in the past week.

 

level up

I’m back at Books by Violet talking about YA graphic novels. This time it’s a title that focuses on gaming, family obligation, and finding your life path (with some questionable supernatural help). Go here to see my thoughts on Gene Luen Yang’s Level Up

 

I’m also starting my new venture over at the I Smell Sheep blog, where twice a month I’ll be forcing my opinions on different manga titles on you! Think of it as manga reviews for the non-manga reader. This month it’s an introduction to what manga actually is, some misconceptions, and basically how I’m going to work things. Check it out here!

 

natsume

Read it and you’ll be as serene as Natsume and Nyanko-sensei 

 

I’m also back with the Ladies of Horror Flash Project, where I’ve got a nice little macabre piece up this month based on this image:

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If you like creepy hotels and short, free fiction, click and read your heart out! (and check out the other awesome ladies who are writing this month, as well!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#FallIntoHorror: Ramblings of a Horror Geek by SH Roddey

Published September 29, 2015 by admin

Oh you know I had to include a post by S.H. Roddey. She’d probably mail me something weird if I didn’t, although with our friendship, we pretty much do that to each other anyway, so who knows with her…

Or maybe I’m safe. She needs me to help kill the zombies, after all….

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Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome S.H. Roddey as they share their thoughts on fall and horror.

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Ramblings of a Horror Geek

I watched Hellraiser last night. The last time I sat down and watched that movie was more than ten years ago. And it was quite a bit longer ago that I read the book. I was a lot younger and a lot more impressionable then, and the Cenobites used to scare the hell out of me. The Chatterer still freaks me out because I used to have nightmares about things that looked like him when I was a kid.

Then I dreamed about killing zombies. It seems whenever these crazy zombie dreams manifest, Selah Janel is always there. Last night she helped me cut down hundreds of zombies while trying to simultaneously rescue someone and get out of a drive-in theater park. Last time we went on an adventure in my dreams, we were looking at buying a house where the groundskeeper was using zombie labor to rebuild an old manor owned by giants.

Don’t ask…I can’t explain any of it.

So at two o’clock this morning I was lying awake in bed, trying to sort out the ramblings of my mind, and this crazy thought appeared in the forefront: I’m a writer. Why not put all these things together and actually make a book out of it? Which meant that at 2:15 this morning, I was sitting in the dark with a notebook and a pen, scribbling down ideas in a vain attempt to create a reasonable plot out of the madness in my head.

By 2:30, I was watching old Peanuts cartoons and wondering exactly where I detoured into left field. I wasn’t always this weird, warped creature. When I was a kid, I was …

Oh hell, who am I kidding? I was never normal.

After the movie last night, my husband and I had an interesting discussion about iconic movie monsters. Nine times out of ten, when I ask someone to name a slasher flick monster, one of six names comes to mind. Let’s review the list, shall we?

Chucky: Okay, so I don’t really consider Chuckie all that “monster”ish. He’s basically Pinocchio on LSD. And a pretty stupid character, in my humble opinion. HOWEVER, when it comes to creeps and chills, he’s definitely up there on the list of horror icons. He’s rude and he’s crass, and there’s not much stopping the director from firing it up with a bit o’ doll-porn in later episodes of the franchise. Not my favorite, but definitely note-worthy.

Michael Myers: He’s not a monster in the sense that the others are, but he’s still scary. When dealing with serial-killing psychos, this name seems to pop to the top quite a bit. I personally enjoy the Rob Zombie remake better than the original even though the story of the original face being a cut-up version of a William Shatner mask makes me giggle with manic glee. Except that the chase scene goes on for about half an hour too long. Plus it was a lot of fun at Fandom Fest a few years ago watching him play pool with Jack Sparrow and the Borg in the bar.

Leatherface: Again with the murderers! Mutated mass murdering psychotic monsters? Yep, you got ’em right here. The movies themselves are a light-plotted bloodbath, yet based on true events. The concept seems to appeal to the masses on a fundamental level, yet I almost find myself pitying Leatherface himself because of his sad, sadistic lot in life. Random yet related: Bob Elmore is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. It’s not every day you turn around to find a real-life movie monster (minus the mask) standing behind you. I’m not a big fan of the gore, but I gained a new respect for the character that day.

Pinhead: See above. Creepy, bizarre, and all around nasty individual. Plus his backstory as a human-turned-monster is interesting. The makeup on this guy is kickass and the character’s personality is one that leaves nothing to the imagination. He’s the ultimate hedonist, presented in a way that you can’t help but love him even as he’s turning you inside out and destroying your soul. Just another reason why I aspire to be Clive Barker when I grow up.

Jason Vorhees: Okay, so he’s one of the big ones that EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD knows and adores, but can I just say that I don’t buy it for a second? The original “Friday the 13th” was a great movie because the crazy person wasn’t Jason. However, the story in the first movie created a wholly unrealistic basis for the character that would become the icon for the franchise. JASON VORHEES DROWNED AS A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD, PEOPLE!!! HE CAN’T COME BACK AS AN ADULT MAN WITH INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF MACHETES! Regardless of what I believe, people love him, and the franchise has, in fact, made a ludicrous amount of money allowing him to run around and hack mostly-naked teenage girls to bits over and over again.

Freddy Kruger: Now we’re talking. When I was a kid, Freddy was my big one. He scared me senseless. I still to this day can’t watch Dream Warriors without a chill crawling up my spine. Yeah, the character itself has a few holes in his realism, but the scariest part of Freddy? You can’t kill what doesn’t actually exist. Which is why I have to call bullshit on Jason Vorhees winning that battle. The writer and director failed miserably on that one. But I’m also a little biased, so it’s all good. Well, at least until you hear the knocking and that creepy little voice. “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”

So in the end what do we take from all of this? Pinhead is freaky and Freddy Kruger is the stuff of which my bad dreams are made. Now tell me, Creeps, who’s your worst nightmare?

HAUNTED

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ABOUT S.H. RODDEY

South Carolina native S.H. Roddey has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the speculative fiction spectrum filled with mystery and intrigue. She brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. She is a voracious reader, wannabe chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative professional and mom to human and furry children alike. She also enjoys being married to her best friend and full-time muse. Stalk her at: http://www.shroddey.com http://creepyauthorgirl.wordpress.com http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSHRoddey http://www.twitter.com/draickinphoenix


Click on the rafflecopter options below for a chance to win the tour prize, a $25 Amazon Gift Card! a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS:

MMP_Logo.jpg

Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

#FallIntoHorror: What Lives in the Darkness? by Tom Olbert

Published September 28, 2015 by admin

It’s baaaaaack! I’m bringing you another autumnal and potentially horrific post today, courtesy of Mocha Memoirs Press author Tom Olbert!

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Welcome to Fall Into Horror with Mocha Memoirs Press!

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome TOM OLBERTas he shares his thoughts on fall and horror.

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WHAT LIVES IN THE DARKNESS?

And fall is here. Only just, but its chill fingers can already be felt creeping up our spines. Before we know it, the leaves will turn, the days will shorten, and the shadow of the equinox will creep in silently in summer’s wake. The time of transition, when, it is said, the veil between this world and the next runs thin, and spirits walk the earth. Time for tales of horror to slip under the wire of our reason and stoke the fires of our nightmares.

Horror takes many forms, both subtle and gross. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves and ghouls. The shadows of arcane superstition that never stop haunting us, even into this digital age. The unknown touching our primal fears from the inky blackness of the dark.

But, there’s another kind of horror, too. The horror of the dark places within the human mind and the dark places buried deep in the human soul, where we fear to look, perhaps even more than we fear the darkness outside. The demons we carry within are the ones we can never escape. Such evil can take many forms. Like the shadowy figure of Jack the Ripper skulking in the shadows of dark, misty, gas lit midnight streets, transcending time and space, a seemingly eternal horror that will always be with us. Because such evil is waiting to be born in the depths of each human soul, and will never die.

In my novella “Black Goddess,” I tried to explore those dark depths we call evil. The evil of the torturer. Of the murderer. The evil of hate and revenge and unimaginable cruelty that defies all reason and devours the soul of both victim and victimizer. Such darkness has been with us from the beginning, in particularly dark chapters of history, taking on forms of evil so pure, so horrific that our darkest dreams pale in comparison.

The eternal question presents itself to a troubled young man who has seen evil up close and intimately: Is evil merely a random perversion of human emotion spawned by violence and chaos, or…is evil a primal force, like a dark infection stealing its way into the human soul, feeding on it from within like a parasite, until nothing beside remains?

The protagonist of “Black Goddess€ becomes obsessed with the nature and essence of the evil that has destroyed his life and his faith. His search for answers evolves into a dark quest that is destroying him, little by little. The closer he draws to the dark, forbidden cosmic truth at the heart of the darkness, the more he hungers for it to the exclusion of all else, like a drug addict endlessly seeking his next fix. He has given his life, and possibly his soul to a dark experiment through which he reaches closer and closer to the center of time and space. What will he find at the center of creation? God, or Satan? When he looks into the mirror of the first moment of time, will he find light or darkness at the core of his own soul?

What can any of us expect to find, when we peel back the layers of sanity we show to the world, and face the darkness we carry inside?

BLACK GODDESS

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ABOUT MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS:

MMP_Logo.jpg

Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

#FallIntoHorror: The Ultimate Test by Carole Ann Moleti

Published September 26, 2015 by admin

I’m back with more Mocha Memoirs Press magnificence! Today’s post comes with an excerpt that I think you’ll find most intriguing…

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Welcome to Fall Into Horror with Mocha Memoirs Press!

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome CAROLE ANN MOLETI as she shares her thoughts on fall and horror.

The Ultimate Test was the first horror story I’ve ever written. My long term critique partner, supernatural horror writer Andrew Richardson, gave me a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. I scared myself by embracing all those dark thoughts. Since then, I’ve dabbled on the dark side with “The Dhampir’s Kiss” in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires. And my novel in progress Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams is a very dark urban fantasy heavily based on Santeria. “Mishmash Magick” in Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and “Dance With the Devil” in Seers: Ten Tales of Clairvoyance are short excerpts of Boulevard adapted to a short story format. I have a great deal of difficulty reading horror, probably because I have to escape from what I see so much of in real life. I’ve ridden ambulances and worked in the ERs of many of hospitals in The Bronx, Harlem, and Washington Heights—some of the most violent places in New York City. I’ve been out on the streets and in the botánicas both working and doing ethnographic research, immersing myself in normal, everyday activities and places to absorb the essence of the experience. I’ll leave you to figure out what’s real in my stories and what’s not. So, now it’s time for you to share your reasons for reading, or not reading horror.

The Ultimate Test

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The sweet, floral essence of magic swirled through the botánica. Candles flickered in front of a riot of statuary.

Muy buenas, mi amor.” A shriveled woman hoisted herself from a chair in the corner and hobbled over.

Hola, Señora.” Aramis handed over a list of the herbs she needed.

“¿Tu eres santera?” The woman’s gnarled finger traced down the list. Her eyes narrowed to read the tight English script.

“No. I study herbology. Las plantas.”

“One who use these do more than study, mi amor.” The lines in the crone’s face deepened with a broad smile. “Una bruja, tu estas.”

“Not only witches use herbs.” If she associated with anyone who practiced The Craft, they would all be subject to discipline. Memories of wise women being brutalized and dragged from their homes tickled her brain.

“No ten miedo, mi amor. I no tell. Las santeras help las brujas. Somos hermanas. Sisters.” She gestured Aramis into a chair and lowered herself into a seat.

Her attention focused on a bowl of cloudy water beneath the icons. She picked up Aramis’ hands rubbed the palms. “Vengeance. You seek vengeance.”

“Yes.” Aramis followed as the woman wandered around the shop collecting several packets and tiny brown bottles.

A pencil scratched as the santera totaled the order on a scrap of paper. “To aid you, burn this candle until it’s done, then return to me so I can finish it and give you further instructions. $75.00.”

Aramis took the black jar. The wax pillar inside swam in murky liquid that bubbled at her touch. She left a $100.00 bill on the counter.

The Ultimate Test Buy Link

ABOUT CAROLE ANN MOLETI

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Carole’s work has appeared in a variety of literary and speculative fiction venues. Short stories set in the world of her novels are featured in several of the Ten Tales anthologies and the Toil, Trouble and Temptation Anthology at Mocha Memoirs Press. The Widow’s Walk, a Cape Cod paranormal romance, was published by Soulmate in 2014. The prequel, Breakwater Beach, is due out in early 2016.

Where you can find Carole: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleAnnMoletiAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMoleti Blog: http://caroleannmoleti.blogspot.com Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Ann-Moleti/e/B007ASNBVK


Click on the rafflecopter options below for a chance to win the tour prize,a $25 Amazon Gift Card! a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS:

MMP_Logo.jpg

Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Guest Post: Inspiration for Losers and the Lazy by Ippick Bonecrusher

Published August 29, 2015 by admin

So, I promised I’d let some people guest post a little bit more on here, and I use the term people loosely. Since we’re talking about creativity and process off and on, I wanted to hear a little bit about how others approached things, so today we’ll be hearing about the role of inspiration.

I’m so sorry. Please think a few hundred times before even considering following his advice.

***

Inspiration for Losers and the Lazy

a guest post by Ippick Bonecrusher

Seems to be a rash of creative types moanin’ an’ whingin’ bout not havin’ the best idea or not gettin’ there ideas right when they go to write ’em down. While I don’ straight make a livin’ off writin’, meself, I do get hit up for advice columns when certain someones is feelin’ a might too lazy t’be doin’ their own work. I don’t get what’s so hard ’bout it all, really. All’s ye need is a decent mechanical quill and some inspiration.

But Ippick, ye ask, what if I’m sufferin’ from writer’s block or just don’t know what to do with an idea or even how to get one?

There’s yer mistake. Yer sittin’ there makin’ up excuses and waitin’ for some made-up muse creature to zap an idea into yer noggin’. I’ve met my share of otherworldly creatures and believe ye me, ye don’t want them crammin’ anything into yer head cuz’ it won’t be anything what you expect. So stop sittin’ round on yer rear like a lump and go out there and get ye an idea! Go fer a walk. Go read or talk to people. Punch someone in the face and see what they do and what colors they turn. Chase some ducks or take someone’s ice cream and really look at it. See how it makes ye feel and what the rest of the realm does when ye do somethin’ unexpected like that. Then go write about it.

People and Folk make writin’ sound like blasted hard work, but it’s all just words, ain’t it? Words strung together to get across an idea. It don’t have to be good – that’s what editors are for. Besides, Fate knows there’s always someone out there who’ll like the dumbest things, Sit ye down with some paper and mechanical quill or a laptop and pound out some words! Even if it’s just t’get ye goin’, at least it’s somethin’! ‘Sides, ye may start a new genre or end up with somethin’ all literary only arrogant smartypants think they understand.

Ye don’t even hafta try hard! Look ‘ere and I’ll show ye:

Once Upon a time there was a right brute of a mutt named Herbert. He lived in a bookmobile and wanted more than anything t’own a bookstore but he couldn’t cuz he was a dog. Since everyone knows faeries have no magic no more, he instead looked up an antique-lookin’ tome filled with mumbo jumbo and did cultic rites to the Olde Ones that no one believed in anymore, even though the smart ones know they’re still kickin’ round. He did this for three months until he was ready to run outta sacrifices and other things needed to do those weird rites like certain herbs, copper dust, bones, ice cream, mead, mutton chops, and turnips but not the rotten ones the market lays out at the end of the week. Then he went to the post office, picked up his dry cleaning, paid his rent, and performed the dark rites all orderly an’ neat, hopin’ against hope he’d finally be listened to.

Now lookit, see? Yer intrigued cuz dogs don’t have wills of their own…or do they, cuz we all know there are some sneaky animals out there. It makes ye wonder what else is goin’ on. Besides that, when I got stuck I just threw in me grocery list and errands I had to run and ye didn’t even notice cuz I did it all sneaky like!

Ye don’t have t’be lazy and wait fer inspiration, is all I’m sayin’. Just lower yer standards and write out some words, an’ it’ll all work out for the best.

ippickIppick Bonecrusher is a mean sonofadragon who resides in Kingdom City, The Land. A real estate agent by trade, he also occupies many odd jobs to make up for his poor people skills. Although this is Ippick’s first attempt at freelance writing, he is very prone to giving unsolicited advice. You can find him in Olde School, book one of The Kingdom City Chronicles, which can be found in Print, Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

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Thankfully, Ippick tends to stay in Kingdom City. Paddlelump Stonemonger likes to travel, though, and he and I both will be at Oldham County Comic Con on Sat, August 29 from 9:30-5! Come visit us at table 116!

Book tour: Death’s Dance by Crymsyn Hart

Published August 21, 2014 by admin

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It’s tour time! I’m stoked to have my pal Crymsyn Hart on my blog with her latest book, Death’s Dance! We’ll hear from her in a moment, but first let’s check out the title – c’mon, you know how things work round these parts by now!

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Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo

Being a psychic, you would think talking to the dead was a walk in the park. However, it’s not always that simple. The hooded specter haunting me is one I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. One day, he appeared in my bedroom mirror. Good. Evil. I don’t know what his true intentions are.

Enter Jackson, ghost hunting show host extraordinaire, and my ex, to save me from the big bad ghost.

From there…well…it’s been a world wind of complications. My house burnt down. I’m being stalked by an ancient evil and gotten myself back into the world of being a ghost hunting psychic. Jackson dragged me, along with a few other psychics, to a ghost town wiped off the map called Death’s Dance.

From there things went from bad to worse.

***

Top Ten Versions of Death

                Death comes in many forms. And it is hard to narrow down the personifications of death into ten different things. Since Death comes in different mediums I’m going to list my top ten in movies, books, and in art. I’ve come across many different paintings and artwork that to me show what death would look like. I don’t view Death as a scary thing, but as a helper even if his visage might be frightening. You’re probably going to think I’m macabre, but I’m not. I just have an affinity for grim reapers.

 

  1. The Golem of Azrael by Leliah Wendell
  2. Azrael by Joseph Vargo
  3. My Soul to Reap posted by Emma
  4. Kiss of Death Statue at the Old Graveyard of Poblenou in Barcelona
  5. Death from the Final Destination movies
  6. The Gift by Leliah Wendell
  7. Shadows by Joseph Vargo
  8. On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony
  9. Azriel – The Angel of Death by Ruth Thompson
  10. Cat Magic by Whitley Strieber

CrymsynHart

Crymsyn is a National Bestselling author of over seventy paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic have given her a lot of material to use in her books. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

 To find out more about Crymsyn:

 Website: http://www.ravynhart.com

Twitter: @crymsynhart

Blog: http://www.crymsynhart.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crymsynhart

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crymsyn-Hart/e/B002BMJ1Z0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405515745&sr=8-1

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TCM Presents: Haunting Blue by RJ Sullivan

Published July 17, 2014 by admin

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Woo, blog tour time! Let’s hear it this week for Mr. RJ Sullivan and his book Haunting Blue!

 

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Kindle     Print

Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

***

And now, a post by RJ that I may have had a facetious hand in <g> Although I admit to nothing that I am implicated in in regards to convention discussions or behavior, heh……

***

Just Don’t Bore Me

 

So Selah and I are friends, storytellers, and writer peers. We’re occasionally found at conventions together cackling over a nerdy joke or dirty joke–usually a dirty nerdy joke. Monday evening she private-message-ed me and asked if she had assigned me a topic. She had not. She replied, in part, “Just don’t bore me.”

Which got me thinking about how those words are the mantra of every audience, and the challenge of every storyteller, since before the invention of the printing press. The only thing that’s changed is how the storyteller meets that challenge.

Boredom is the death of any storyteller. A writer can be provocative, edgy, safe for all ages, retro, whimsical, dark, funny, depressing, ironic, and even get away with being ignorant, offensive, sexist, crude, and politically incorrect (we’ve all read those blogs…yes, you have, too), but the one thing they cannot EVER be is boring.

I have a theory. I doubt it’s just mine, but since I don’t know exactly where I first heard it, I’ll throw it out there without attribution. There’s a simple reason classic literature so often fails to hold a modern reader spellbound, even books that were hugely popular when they came out.

Personally, it took me about eight false starts and most of my life to finally read Bram Stoker’s Dracula from beginning to end. And I consider myself a pretty rabid Dracula guy. I’ve seen all the significant the films (even that painful new TV show already slain with a stake in its heart, and good riddance), know the plays, and own most of the movies. But the original novel was…a chore.

A little research reveals that Dracula, when it was first published in 1897, was thought of as a naughty little book–a phenomenal bestseller whose public reception in modern times would compare more accurately to 50 Shades of Gray rather than a more respectable bestseller such as The Fault in Our Stars.

Many modern readers feel–with some justification–that the material fails to engage them, and they put the book down , frustrated and bored, many unwilling to give the novel a second chance.  By today’s standards, it’s slow, clunky, with lots of historical minutiae, descriptions of mansions, gardens, walls, beaches, and the British seaside, and spends a lot of time with two ditzy women who babble on about their fiancés and knitting and tea and things.

So what happened?

Dracula was first released in England. The 1890s were, to put it frankly, a time when ladylike outward appearances and social ediquette were the law of the land, and Britain was the place that invented those laws and enforced them most strictly in all occasions. It was also the time of the industrial revolution, and new thinking and mores were starting to clash with traditions.

Dracula told the tale of a group of modern people, those who were achieving modern economic prosperity through modern careers, options achievable to many readers and romanticized about. Consider references to Van Helsing and his Victrolla, the earliest form of voice recording device, modern cars are used to chase horses and carriages, ancient magic and sorcery does battle with an early form of psychology.

Dracula included scenes of a vampire lord and his three vampire brides, women who he commanded, who then in turn, seek out a male victim. In a striking scene in which a skeptical reader suspects the man doeth protest too much, the three brides drop to their knees and “penetrate” him with their fangs. Premarital kinky oral with four participants. There’s not much to figure out here. In the meantime, the vampire lord is busy every few chapters arriving uninvited through various women’s bedrooms, where those victims submit to the same “unnatural” attacks, sometimes with only the most surface protest.

To a modern reader and vampire fan who has seen and read every media re-enactment of the vampire orgy in all its graphic glory, these quaint little moments are mostly read over, unnoticed. But in its day, Dracula was the book that “no one was reading” to the tune of millions of copies sold, and “no one” most likely read the novel by candlelight after everyone else in the house had gone to sleep.

Which brings us to today, where the modern reader peruses the latest releases by today’s authors, readers who have seen and read it all. Readers who utter the same mantra as all readers throughout the ages: “Just don’t bore me.”

The next time you’re reading a truly engaging novel, remember to leave a review or an email of thanks to that author. Tell your friends about that author. Tell them you found a storyteller who answered the challenge and answered it well.

Whether it’s Bram Stoker or Arthur Conan Doyle or Edgar Allan Poe or (if I may make a few recommendations) Selah Janel or even little ole’ me, R.J. Sullivan, storytellers have been answering the same call for as long as an audience has longed to hear a story. How they go about it may have changed, but the challenge remains the same. “Just don’t bore me.”

 ***

 I wholeheartedly approve of this post, and I really like what he brings up about Dracula. Thanks, RJ!

RJSullivanPhoto

 

Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.

Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

 

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