Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Little Break to Savor the Season

To all my friends who regularly visit this, my humble e-bode, I feel an enormous gratitude to you for being here, for reading and offering advice, for helping me grow as a writer and blogger, for offering your friendship. I know the past few days I fell off the radar unexpectedly but I have a house full of family visiting from Mexico. It has been loads of fun but there's little time to write, thus the radio silence. I will be back full force come January 3rd, but in the mean time I just want to wish you a joyous season. I hope you are having a great time surrounded by those closest to your hearts and may next year bring all kinds of blessings to us all.

Never forget to laugh for laughter is the key to the soul.

Best wishes!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Five Horror/Scary Animated Shorts

I love the feeling of being scared, of having my heart missing a bit, of holding my breath and covering my eyes in complete and unashamed cowardice. Not in the real world, of course, but in the fantastical world of my imagination--You may doubt it but I'm not that crazy.--Whenever I want to kick back, relax, and have a fun time, my mind inevitably drifts to the genre. Books, TV shows, movies, short movies, anything and everything good enough to cause any of the things I told you before brings me joy. So, it is no wonder that many of my Friday Fun posts relate to the genre and I hope you enjoy them as much as me.

Today I want to share with you more awesome animated shorts. Most of them were made by small independent filmmakers just trying to reach viewers. In that aspect we, writers, are no different than the hordes of artists fighting to make a living off their art.--Not that I can call what I do "art" but you get my drift.--In an effort to bring what little recognition I can to those unknown artists, I highlight today five of the horror/scary/suspenseful animated shorts that have given me the most joy to watch. Hope they do the same for you and you decide to share their work with someone else.

5. IN SICKNESS - This short has been critically acclaimed for the message of love it conveys. Though not strictly horror, it has a preternatural element and it is indeed scary and sad--being that it talks about sickness and death.

4. THE LADY AND THE RIPPER - Another short that's not really horror but that deals with the theme of death, this time in lighthearted manner that will get more than a chuckle out of you.

3. THE GIRL WHO WAS FORGOTTEN - This one is more into the gothic spectrum and hauntingly beautiful. Not horrific at all and even a little sad.

2. THE PASSENGER - This short is scary and hilarious all at the same time. It made me jump a couple of times and what fun I had!

1. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS - In this case the subject matter gets darker dealing with domestic abuse and monsters--both, imaginary and real.-- It gave me the creeps and I hope it does the same for you. =)

Bonus. THE BLACKWATER GOSPEL - This short is not only scary and disturbing, but gruesome. The pacing is phenomenal, the writing amazing, and the animation a treat, so I couldn't pass it. I think it has a deeper message that is worth repeating but I do have to say it gets bloody towards the end. Totally worth it, still: Viewer be warned.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Black Death of Babylon, A Review

The Black Death of Babylon starts with two death bodies, darkened and decayed a few hours after their deaths by an invisible killer that hasn't seen the light of day in over 5000 years. That's where Don Oberbier fits. He's a seasoned investigator of anomalies, none as frightening as The Black Death of Babylon, now he must run against time to find the person who set free this bacteria before fear runs rampant at Babylon University and the real killer finishes up his horrific work.

A dark mystery/suspense, The Black Death of Babylon is atmospheric, enigmatic, and a thrill. Imagine the lovechild of Fringe, The X-Files, The Masque of the Red Death, and Indiana Jones. Weird? You'll be surprised at how well McFadden manages to pull this one out.

The characters are interesting and the reader is treated not only with the mystery behind the killings, but with the many secrets every character seems to be holding up. However, I must say the main character, Don Oberbier, is a hard sale for the reader. He is rude, arrogant, and a jerk who puts people through hell just for the kicks. Now, this is the guy we will follow through the ordeal and the one for which the reader must I said, a tough sell. The supporting characters are better rounded, though, and they are in fact the ones with whom I connected and for which I rooted, so I still enjoyed the ride.

As much as a mystery, The Black Death of Babylon is a Science Fiction that uses the world of Scientific Investigation to propel us into the fear of technology and knowledge without moral boundaries. The science behind the story is pretty sound and allows the reader a rare insight into the dog-eat-dog world of scientific discovery. A nice treat that will also let you wonder just how scary it is to know that a handful of people are in absolute control of the deathliest viruses/bacterias known to mankind. True story kids. Ask the CDC.

My regular readers know I review horror mostly and when I dare out of the genre the results are a gamble. With McFadden's work I was pleasantly surprised and I'm happy to say to my non-horror-readers that this is a great book for everyone. If you enjoy Fringe, this is a book for you, its mysteries will have you all guessing to the very last page. 

If you are interested in Edward McFadden or wish to buy the book, just follow the links back there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And That's a Wrap on 2012 IWSG

I can't believe how fast the year went by. It's already December, the holidays are almost here, and the last of this year's ISWG post is knocking on our doors. Where did the eleven previous months go?

Given the time of year, I guess the most appropriate thing for this post is to analyze how far I went on my endeavors this year, what did I learn, but most of all, where did I fail. It's not that I want to brood but it is only through an honest appraisal of our mistakes that we will grow. So here I go...

I'm happy with the way I'm writing now. I've found my groove through organization of what little time I have to write and now I'm moving faster with my current novel. I wrote down a schedule for the whole week and then broke it down for each day and when I actually follow it, I go to bed feeling like I accomplished something; like it was a happy, productive day. It is a great feeling that inspires me to keep writing every day.

What I learned was that even small, tiny progress needs to be put on a schedule. Because I have few hours to write I thought it wasn't important to actually organize my time into slots. "It's so little, anyway"I kept repeating. That only made me feel like I was failing everyday. So organization is key for my spirits and now that I know, I will carry this lesson into next year.

Where did I fail... Well, I kept excusing myself for my lack of progress in the complicated schedule that I have. I repeated to myself that I was doing everything I could but in my heart I knew I could do better. The thing that paralyzes me is fear. Fear to not meet my own standards. What if I raise the bar only to fall flat on my face? That prevented me from asking myself to do more. And sadly, that fear is something I haven't conquered. I know it's there, I know it cripples me, and I know sometimes it wins. What I want to work on for next year is in winning more than it does.

And talking about fear, I would greatly appreciate your ideas and opinions in another matter that has been troubling me for some time now. A few months ago I was talking to my husband about how I wanted to be of more help in the financial aspect of the house, maybe not a big thing but just to buy my books and stuff, you know? He then suggested me to look for a job as a writer, either writing reviews or articles in general for a magazine. The idea to work as a freelance writer implies in my mind a lot of work. It is not something you do in your odd hours, I think. But writing for a specific magazine with an expected number of articles/reviews per month might be doable. I mean, I've been reviewing for free all this time, right? Thing is, I don't have ample experience--only half a year with Dark River Press and a year and a half in this blog--and my only credentials are my published works (only two, so far). My university background is not related to the field AT ALL, not even a Creative Writing curse... so should I do it? Will it take too much out of my time? Will someone give me work? And are there even magazines that pay its reviewers? I don't know... This one is giving me cramps. Any help, please?

I hope your year was, all in all, good and productive. That you learned a lot and are looking forward for more. I wish your holidays are full of love and great memories, and that next year will be even better, grander, and happier for all of us. Cheers IWSG!