Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Movie List

I've been watching Cinemassacre's Monster Madness of late, and reminded of how many awesome horror movies are out there, the majority I haven't even seen.

PC game: The Cat Lady

Here's my pick of movies that I hope to watch before the month is over. Though no shame if the movie-watching spilleth over into November. And the best thing? All these movies are available on Netflix!

From Beyond - From the same director as Re-Animator--which I've seen, so I already know this is going to be a gory masterpiece. Also another loose adaptation of Lovecraft's work.

Brain Damage - Drugs addiction, parasitic turd-looking worm alien, and nom-nom brains--what's not to love?

Rodger Cormen's Poe films - I've seen many of these before as a youngster and loved them all. Then I'd go read the original stories to compare and contrast. Also you don't need a better reason than Vincent Price.

The Body Snatcher - Title says it all. Another film with an iconic horror star Boris Karloff (aka Universal's Frankenstein).

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Obviously a classic. Boyfriend hasn't seen it--this needs to be corrected.

Nightbreed - Meant to watch this last year for Halloween but never got to it. I enjoyed Clive Barker's Hellraiser, and even listened to the audio version (as told by Barker himself) of the novella it's based on, The Hellbound Heart.  

The Cat Lady - This isn't a movie, but rather a point 'n click adventure game, which are very story-driven, so might as well be a movie (sic). I had downloaded this some summer ago when it was on sale and kinda forgot. The premise: A lonely cat lady commits suicide and in the afterlife, meets the Queen of Maggots. The Cat Lady is denied an end to her suffering unless she eliminate several "parasites" in the living in world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages

Seeing as it's Spooky Month--or at least ten more days of it--why not get in the Halloween spirit with a classic documentary? And by classic, I mean 1921, black and white silent film, Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages.

I enjoy documentaries and this one in particular is neat, partly do to its age, but also some great imagery. It's definitely not your typical documentary--think of it as more of a prototype.

The documentary starts off with informative bits, setting up the time and place when witchcraft was widely believed to be real. I'm not sure how historically accurate this part are, but the director does cite his sources, although I don't know if you can find those sources anymore. There's still images straight from books to help illustrate the information. This part feels more like a lecture, even has a pointer!

Next parts are the best, with live action skits reliving the Dark Ages and the supernatural beliefs that existed back then. Often the belief in the supernatural was enough to make it real, with poeple claiming to have seen the devil. Oh, and the devil in this, played by the director, is awesome, always wagging his forked-tongue. One of my favorite depictions. Seemed like the director had a hell of a time playing the devil.

The Black Sabbath scenes are great too. Phantom witches flying through the air, devils cuddling with their witch-mates, kissing the ass of Satan, throwing rubber babies into cauldrons, spreading ointment on a witch's back while the skeleton of a horse walks past, and a devil furiously churning butter. It's pure awesomeness. 

Despite the fun, there is a serious tone. An old beggar woman is accused of witchcraft and is totured until she confesses to what the Inquisition wants to hear. The old beggar woman goes on to blame others of witchcraft, and it just snowballs from there.The old and poor were often targeted, likely because they were easy scapegoats.

The final segment links witchcraft to modern day (aka 1921); odd behaviors that were considered signs of witchcraft, now are symptoms of mental illness. Though back in that day, they committed people to asylums, which may not have been much better than torture.

The director poses some interesting questions at the end, how despite taking better care of the old and poor, and better notice of the mentally ill, society still hasn't done enough.

And the little woman whom we call hysterical, alone and unhappy, isn't she still a riddle for us? 

Sadly, I think even in today's society, she would still be a riddle for us.

Check it out. it's free on Youtube. I recommend the silent version over the narrated one, due to the narrated version adding jazz music, which is extremely inappropriate when there are scenes of torture. And honestly, it's not that much to read.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BEYOND: A Space Opera Collection

Do you like space? Do you like opera? Do you like the two combined? Well you're in luck! Speculative fictioneer Milo James Fowler has rounded up some awesome space opera tales in BEYOND: Space Opera.

In the vein of Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and Guardians of the Galaxy, this space opera collection includes humorous action and adventure alongside stories with heart. These tales won’t leave you in the pits of despair. Instead, they’ll lift your spirits, taking you to places unknown.

You’ll travel the stars to far-flung planets, meeting heroic humans and aliens alike — even a mech and a clone. There may be lions and jet packs, to boot. No pigs in this space, but otherwise, all bets are off.

Included in this collection:

"Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Kolarii Kidnappers on Zeta Colony 6" Milo James Fowler
"The Ungreat Escape" by Siobhan Gallagher 
"All Comms Down" by Anne E. Johnson 
"Remembrance Day" by Simon Kewin 
"The Lion's Den" by Devin Miller
"Captain Clone" by Deborah Walker

BEYOND: Space Opera is available from Amazon, Smashword, and Barnes & Noble for free! And if you like the feel of paper between your fingers, there's a print edition too! 

If you want to know more, BEYOND: Space Opera has its own website to check out.

Advertising aside, I'm glad to see "The Ungreat Escape" out there again. I was disappointed when Cosmos removed all their short stories from their website, and considering that I didn't have an easy time placing this story... well, yeah, it's nice to see some appreciation for it. As I've said before, I like Lorelei--she's a twit, but she's my twit.

I also said I'd write an eventual sequel ... which never materialized. Humor is such a hard sell, to the point where it's near impossible. And it sucks. As a writer, you want to write more humor, but you also want to sell stories.

Though the future is bright, even if the short story market is not, so maybe they'll yet be another Lorelei misadventure.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Short Story: Froggers

Again, I'm behind on announcing short story pubs. I do absolutely want to announce this one since the editor, Sam Bellotto Jr., is an awesome dude and probably deserves more credit than the likes of Lois Tilton give him. (She wants Hard Stuff, huh? I get ya. *wink wink*)

"Froggers" is my latest story from Perihelion Science Fiction, and is actually one of my oldest stories too; as in, it's seen A LOT of rejections. Despite what some silly editor said, thinking this was about current events, it's not. This pre-dates current events by a few years. Though I do have this crystal ball...

What are Froggers? So glad you asked...

And step up they did. One frogger—maybe male, but then again, they all looked the same—faced me on the terminal, its beady obsidian eyes on either side of its head stared at me. Always gave me the shivers. The scanner materialized a 3D form of the frogger’s body: bipedal humanoid with massive gut, thick neck, and wide flat head. The scan revealed active cultures churning in the frogger’s bowels, crawling on its slick skin. Froggers were best buds with these microorganisms, couldn’t live without them. Just watching those yellow dots dance all over the 3D form made me want to toss up lunch. 

So we follow cynical Joen as his day only gets worse--snot rockets, anyone? Eck! Then from worse to weird.

Funny thing: this story, like Neither Heaven Nor Hell, was originally written in 3rd-person, but once again, an editor of another magazine didn't "get" my 3rd-person style (which is written very close to the character's perspective) and asked for a change. That editor of course never got back to me. Go figure.

In other news, "The Ungreat Escape" will be in Milo James Fowler's upcoming space opera collection, called BEYOND. More about that on its release date of August 15th!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

You're a Writer, Not a Funder, Goddammit!

Okay, rant time. (Oh c'mon, don't groan like that.)

I saw a post that read:

Hey, short story fans. (snip) has announced that they have until Wednesday to raise the funds needed to keep publishing for another year. As folks who write and submit short stories, we all have a vested interest in helping keep good markets who pay writers fair prices (12.5c per word) afloat. If you've ever thought of submitting to them or enjoyed any of the stories they post for free online, now's a good time to show your support and subscribe to the next issue or donate via the link above. [/soapbox]

There's a lot wrong here. First off, it is not--I repeat NOT--the job of writers to help keep these online zines afloat. The job of the writer is to, well, write.

Secondly, if a magazine isn't making the moolah to keep the lights on, that means one thing and one thing only: no one is reading them.

And if no one is reading them, why would you, the writer, want to fund them so that they can continue to not be read?

This is all so backassward. Did you know there was a time when magazines paid writers, and not the other way around? It's true!

I think we just need to face the music and admit that the short story market is degrading at a rapid rate, because again, no one is reading these magazines--and yes, there are more than a few who have repeatedly asked for funds, not to mention all the anthologies with Kickstarters. If people were reading these magazines, the magazines wouldn't be asking for money. And don't say it's because the magazine offers their stuff for free, and readers today are cheap bastards. People pay for what they like, that's what makes things like Patreon feasible. Frex, that's what makes businesses blossom or fall: if people like your product, they'll pay for it, even if it's outrageously overpriced, like Starbucks' coffee.

Now that's not to say writers can't fund if they really enjoy the magazine. But don't do it if you just want another magazine to submit to. I still think the whole thing is off, much like paying magazines for personal critiques of your story, or paying to get atop of the submission pile. Better to let the magazine die, as it's nature's way of saying that what they publish isn't worth reading in the first place.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


*dusts off blog*

Wow, it's been awhile, huh? So on top of moving to LA, we also got two rat terrier brothers from Clearbrook Kennel. They turned 13 weeks old on the 4th of July, and they've been a joy, though A LOT of work, particularly in the potty training area. Their names are Django (yes, from Django Unchained) and Arkham (because boyfriend loves Lovecraft). Django is the one with pointy Batman ears, and Arkham has the white snout and huge puppy eyes.

Earlier pic, prolly 12 weeks old.
Yep, he insists on chewing his bone on top of the shoes.
Anyone order a box of cuteness? (9-10 weeks old)

I wanna say they're mostly housebroken, but they do have their accidents. Django in particular because he's stubborn as all hell; he doesn't like to listen. Arkham's a good boy, much more people-oriented; he listens and communicates by looking at you, looking at the door, then looking at you again, and whining. Arkahm is also the vocal one; besides whining, he can howl--not in a wolf way, just a cute lil' high-pitched howl. He also has a cheerful growly-bark which we've interpreted as his "Let's play!" bark. Both pups have a bit of guard dog in them and will notify us if the paper towels are in the wrong place, or if a bottle has fallen down. My favorite one is when they warned me about the watermelon I had purchased.

Hopefully I'll do some more blogging this month, assuming the puppies will let me.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


 Due to boyfriend's new job, I recently moved to Los Angeles (or as I like to call it, the Forever City) and we're still adjusting to the place. As you can imagine, LA is vastly different to south Texas. Currently, writing is on hiatus. I'm also behind on a bit of publication news.

A couple things I've learned since being in LA:

If you see an apartment you like and it's a decent price--jump on it! We found this out the hard way when a missed out on a nice roomy apartment that didn't cost too much more than the usual one-bedroom apartment, plus it was in a very nice area.

Walk to work. Because traffic is a bitch here.

Nice weather but... Don't forget the sunscreen! You kind of forget that and wind up spending most of the day outside, only to return looking red (or in boyfriend's case, browner). 

Is that clouds or smog in the sky? I figure it's a bit of each.

People--everywhere!!!! I still miss the open deserts of Tucson. LA does feel very much like Phoenix, though I think Phoenix was cleaner.

LA hates dogs. Okay, so maybe not hate, but it's assumed that everyone is a bad dog owner and must be regulated. This means spay/neutering a dog at four months old. (That's just a puppy!) My friend Rez, who has over 40 years in dog breeding experience, says it's better to wait two years before snipping your ole boy; best is to never do it at all, but that means having to enter your pooch in dog shows/competitions. There's also a lot of pit bull hate (most apartments will not allow you to have one), even though pit bulls are very people-friendly dogs.

The Church of Whole Foods. Gluten-free, GMO-free, chemical-free... the list goes on. Fact is, if it's grown, it's organic. We haven't reached the age of synthesized foods yet. The belief that GMO-free foods are better is just that, a belief. Bill Nye did a pretty good piece on GMO foods (and how they are not the evil of evils). I highly recommend watching it.