Saturday, March 31, 2012

The A to Z Challenge's Here. A...

I can't believe how fast the years is going, already April!! And what a month it will be. My first A to Z Challenge ever. So, my plan is simple, I write mostly horror and I love the genre so I'll share with you a movie and a book based on the letter of the day. Now, I'll try to stay away from the classic movies and books that show up on every list. The idea is to help those of you interested in the genre to find a few new pieces you might haven't come across before. Please, do share your own favorites as I'm always looking for things to read and watch.


Here. We. Go. (drum roll, please)...


LETTER A


Movie.


The Abandoned (2006)
Director: Nacho Cerda
Country: Spain/UK/Bulgaria



Blurb: An American woman searching for her birth parents learns she has inherited a house in the middle of a forest in a remote area of Russia. It is the house where she was born. Abandoned and uninhabited for 40 years, it stands in total disrepair and neglect. What she finds is more than an old house. She meets a mysterious man who claims to be her brother, a twin she never knew. Together they find the house holds secrets to a past they don't remember. Soon they are haunted by ghastly apparitions as they're forced to confront a tragic family secret and a destiny they cannot escape.


Review: This movie is beautifully filmed, the photograph is amazing and eerie in such a way that I couldn't turn my head away from the TV even though I was thoroughly confused through most of the movie. The story is not linear, hence very confusing when watching it for the first time, however, mystery surrounds everything, the ghosts are so disturbing and incredibly scary, and then there's the pay off of a very intelligent ending. I promise you will be flabbergasted with the final twist. On second view, the story is clearly a lot more logic, though there are a few gaps that I couldn't really explain. But who cares, right? This is a movie completely off the traditional path, haunting, super creepy, intelligent, and well done. Definitively a must see for all horror lovers.


Book.


American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
Published: 1991 by Vintage Books.


Blurb: Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.


Review: Though I haven't read this book, it has been highly recommended to me by several well trusted friends and connoisseurs of the genre. This book is, by all means, a modern classic that scares us because we have actually seen this kind of violence-for-no-reason type of people really exist. They are well adapted and can very well live in that pretty blue house next to yours. You'd never know it until he's killed you or the police knocks on your door to ask for what you might have seen over the past decade. What can be scarier than that?


Well, there you go. I hope you liked this recommendations, can't wait to read your thoughts. And remember to keep hopping!



Friday, March 30, 2012

About My Good Luck

Today I won't write about me or my latest projects or ideas. Today I want to tell you all about the great place that gave me my first chance. Post Mortem Press.

PMP is a small press under the great direction of Eric Beebe who took a leap of faith in himself, left behind corporate America, and invested in his own dream. Barely in its infancy with only two years under its belt, it has achieved huge success in its short life. First, there were the anthologies, SHADOWPLAY, UNCANNY ALLEGORIES, ISOLATION (with my first short story ever, FRANCIS). The beginning was promising and the next step was obvious, novels. I'm somewhat proud to say that the first novel on PMP's catalogue was my own PERPETUAL NIGHT (also my first novel. How karmic!), soon followed by incredibly talented authors like Jessica McHugh, Kenneth Cain, Brad Carter, Chris Curry... the list has now grown so much, it is impossible for me to name all of them, but rest assured, their time to shine will come when I tell you about PMP's Featured Author.

Like every independent small press a heck of a lot of effort has gone into putting PMP in the winning path it is on. A lot of touring and visiting conventions, mingling with the best, and having more than a little faith. I'm also sure Eric has signed some kind of a pact with a horned creature... if only for PR at a convention. You can follow the detail soap opera of learning the ropes of editor and head of a small press in Eric's blog, here. But lets just say it wasn't easy.

Now, we've came to present day where this amazing company is now fully in black numbers and growing. A new tour around the best conventions and even more exciting news with a few of the most prominent names in the industry like Jack Ketchum (Dark Doorways), Jonathan Maberry (Dead Souls), and Clive Barker (Torn Realities) now being part of the family. There's another big name that has me particularly excited, but I can't still give you the details...


As you can see, I've been very fortunate to have landed in the mist of such talent. I'm also very fortunate because Post Mortem Press is genuinely interested in helping us, the less than famous names, grow. One of the ways to do so is this new 'Featured Author' thing. Let me explain. Through the course of two or three weeks PMP's web page has a whole page dedicated to one of its authors, his/hers works (even if published by someone else) and a few interesting details about him/her. Then , of course, enters Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and every other social media where the rest of the family tries to turn the lime light to shine on the Featured Author in turn.

Now you know. I have this incredible group of friends and colleagues that I very much wish to see being successful and it is because of that that I ask for your help. Take a few minutes to check PMP's page, check the feature author in turn, and if you feel like it, share it with your friends. You'll make someone happy and good karma is a great thing to have with you.

Without further ado, the featured Author:


Jessica McHugh


"Writing doesn't make me who I am.
It just makes me have to drone on and on about myself at parties."
"I am not a voice of my generation.
I am the twisted mental whisper that precedes the 'right' thing to say."


Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A prolific writer, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, novellas, and even playwriting. She has had ten books published in three years, including "Song of Eidolons", "The Sky: The World", "Rabbits in the Garden", and the first three installments in her "Tales of Dominhydor" series.
 For a short time get this great book for only .99 cents!! Click Here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ringu, My Review

The story is quite famous. I mean, who can forget the image of the creepy girl crawling out of the TV coming to get you? Back in 1998 The Ring, and the Japanese Ringu, broke every kind of record and won the status as the most horrifying film to date. It spawned two sequels and then died a not so peaceful dead. Everyone knows the movie and most people is fascinated by it. The Japanese version, that is. The American one caught all the buzz in the western world but paled in comparison to the original. Hollywood messed with greatness and got one big hot mess with awesome visual effects, as always.

Now, you might even have watched Ringu 2 and Ringu 0, and though they are good, they're not as great as the first one and didn't answer all the questions the original left. You know why that is? Because the following two movies were not adapted from the original books! After Ringu's huge success, the studio was in a hurry to put something out there with the label so fans would flock to the movie theater. At the time, the book sequels weren't even finished and that's why some airhead studio executive decided to concoct a story that featured the same characters and was freaky enough.


There are four books in the Ringu series, Ringu, Spiral, Loop, and Birthday. The first one pretty much follows the story you all know and love with a few key changes that will blow. your. mind. But I'll get to that in a few.

Spiral, the second in the series, manages to turn the whole story upside down without sounding completely ridiculous and steers the series into the sci-fi ground but still scaring the bejeezus out of you.

Then comes Loop. Here the saga has clearly become a sic-fi fest with a few scares. Imagine The Stand meets Tron. The third book is slow, confusing, and close to the end the premise was too far fetched for me to go with it.

I haven't read Birthday, mainly because of my dislike for Loop, but I'll get my copy soon enough and I'll let you know what I think of it.

For the sake of being thorough I'll review each book separately and you can make your own conclusions. But lets go back to the beginning...

RINGU by Koji Zuzuki


  • Blurb: A mysterious videotape warns that the viewer will die in one week unless a certain, unspecified act is performed. Exactly one week after watching the tape, four teenagers die one after another of heart failure. Asakawa, a hardworking journalist, is intrigued by his niece's inexplicable death. His investigation leads him from a metropolitan Tokyo teeming with modern society's fears to a rural Japan--a mountain resort, a volcanic island, and a countryside clinic--haunted by the past. His attempt to solve the tape's mystery before it's too late for everyone assumes an increasingly deadly urgency. Ring is a chillingly told horror story, a masterfully suspenseful mystery, and post-modern trip.


As you can see, there are a few changes right off the bat. First, the reporter is a divorced man, not a woman, thus taking out the 'bad mother' taint the movies had. Zuziki makes clear emphasis on the striking difference between the metropolitan live where every modern idea thrives and superstition seems to have no place, against the countryside Japan, where every possible horror or ghost can lurk behind you. Details as such make the narrative easy to rely on and the suspense much more plausible. Little by little the reader steps into Zuzuki's web and soon you are devoured by the monster in the pages without questioning the chances for it to be real.

Asakawa is a very interesting character and most of the story is told through his eyes. Then he teams up with a Dr. who is supposedly one of the most brilliant minds in Tokyo, but has more than a few flaws. These two characters complement each other and Zuzuki uses the professor masterfully to hide information from the reader or to reveal the exact amount of truth in any given moment, perpetuating the sense of mystery and allowing his main character to be more human, as opposed to omnipotent, since he doesn't have all the answers and most of the time, is the last one to get it.

The central part of the book is, of course, the tape. Here the movie also took a few liberties that directly impacted on the final resolution of the story. Not only it is scarier in your mind's eye, but there's a reason for the tape to exist. And there was a saving-clause but someone erased it!

There will be a heck of a lot of surprises for those who saw the movie, as the second half of the story is completely different (and so much better). Of course, I won't ruin the final twist. I'll just say it is clever and gives resolution to every question the book raised, unlike the movie.

I recommend Ringu completely. It is smart, original, and spooky in a way that would cause Clive Barker to have nightmares. If you enjoyed the movie, you have to read the book. And if you didn't, I guarantee this time you'll get your money's worth.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Stephen King Complication

Another friday has come our way and I promised I'll go with fun and entertaining stuff on these days. First off, I'm dedicating this post to my idol and inspiration, Stephen King (not that he'll read this or even cares, but nonetheless). I'll share with you a list of my top five most favorite books/stories of his and then I'll let you in on a secret letter I wrote for him but haven't gotten the nerve to send it. I know, I'm such a disgraceful coward...

5 Best Stephen King Books/Stories Ever

  • Pet Cemetery. I mean, really, this book made cry like a baby. So scary and tragic! And I wasn't even a mom back then. I do not dare read it again until my kids have reached a ripe-old age.
  • The Shining. This one is a classic and we all know the movie version which is up there with the greatest ever. The book, however, explores many human themes besides the obvious supernatural ones and that gives it a deeper, more frightening sense. I had nightmares for weeks!
  • Jerusalem's Lot. A short story from SK's anthology, NIGHT SHIFT. This story is sort of a prequel to Salem's Lot. It takes place decades (possibly even centuries, but the details are foggy since I read it such a long time ago) before the novel, it goes to show the reader how evil the land itself was, way before vampires got there.
  • Salem's Lot. This is one of my favorite books because it is the only novel-length story SK has entirely dedicated to the vampire myth. It is so effective and human that, again, it goes beyond the paranormal scares and into our own inner monsters.
  • The Boogeyman. Another short story from NIGHT SHIFT. I own my paralyzing fear to open closets at night to this one. Not only that, I cannot let my feet hang out the side of my bed and into the fangs of whatever thing might lurk under it. Seriously.

Of course, it is always hard to choose among so many great stories and books and these ones are the ones that spoke to me, personally. I'd love to hear all about your favorite five!

Now, changing lanes entirely. I want to share with you my own story with SK. We go waaay back and it has been a very unilateral friendship, as you can imagine, but not for lack of effort on my side! After many set backs on my tireless intent to meet one of the most important figures of my life, or hold even his signature, I fell into desperation, then anger, and finally submission. My last attempt? I wrote him a letter. I haven't send it yet, but I'm feeling more and more convinced that this could work. Who knows? I might gain a pen-friend and fulfill a long cherished dream at the same time...

I'll let you know how it goes. In the mean time, enjoy.


My Letter To Stephen King


Hi Mr. King,

That's how well bred mexicans always greet someone they don't know. It's very hard for us to call someone by his first name when there's no previous relationship. My husband, however, keeps lecturing me about how stiff that sounds to Americans. Well, I was also taught that wherever you go, you do as they do. So Stephen, it is.

Hi Stephen, my name is Georgina and I'm your fan. Yeah, I know. Me and the whole horde chanting your name outside your window. I guess I'm no different to all your other fans, except for the fact that destiny has been preventing us to meet.

Ok, preventing me from meeting you. Or getting close to even your autograph. Whatever the case, I'll explain myself so you don't think I'm a nutcase and will pull an Annie Wilkies' stunt on you.

This mess started a long, long time ago, when I was a kid. I grew up in Mexico City to a very regular, run-of-the-mill middle class family. I grew surrounded by books because my mother is a reader, but more of a romance-fantasy-mystery kinda reader. However, my father's oldest brother was an avid reader, too. His bedroom in my grandma's house, and where we slept when we stayed, was covered with horror, suspense, and thrillers. I still remember staring at those covers for hours. I was too young to read, but I dreamed of the stories those pages conveyed. Nightmares, that is. Sweet, scary, incredible nightmares. And so I realized my innate love of the genre.

I don't have to say many of your books filled those walls, that's how I knew your name for the first time. I was only elated when I found Carrie among my mom's own bookcases. I stole it from there and hid it under my pillow. I know, not the best place to hide anything when you don't make your own bed. Anyhoo, I guess my mom didn't think I could do much with it because she let me keep it there. The pages became gray in the corners where I turned them incessantly, even though I could read nothing that had more than four letters.

Time passed and with my goal in sight, I became a proficient reader. Soon I took the book and started reading it. Except I didn't understand half of what you said. You see, reading and understanding are two completely different things, I learned. The many euphemisms and metaphors were too complex for me, and I got the feeling that I was being left out of the joke. After the fiftieth time I asked my mother"what does he mean when he says she felt tired like if she had prayed a whole rosary on her knees?" she advised me, as gentle as a yell can be, not to read something if I couldn't understand it. I was barely on page twenty or so, and I stopped.

Years later I watched the movie version and loved it, but by then my social life was getting more hectic and I'd forgotten my old grudge with Carrie, the book. It was then that my mom now decided she had to do something to instill the love of reading in me. Now that I had no interest in it anymore. It figures. She then, decided that an adventure book would do the trick and bought me The Treasure Island.

I hated it. She kept telling me how exciting the story would get, and I kept struggling to move forward even one page. I finished it after many months and two attempts to throw it away --Respect the book, mom told me, never leave a book mid-way. And I've never done.-- I made me a party and drank myself all the root beer my body could handle. Even to this date, fantasy and adventure are the genres I least enjoy. Thanks mom.

Of course, the next day I ran and took Carrie down from that bookshelf and finished it in two weeks. Two weeks!! After seven months with the previous one. It was clear this was my path.

I don't know if you ever toured in Mexico or did some kind of promotional appearance, but I never heard of it, so I grew up thinking authors were these semi-gods living up in the clouds where no one can find them, much less meet them.

I read a lot of your books, decided becoming a writer was not a viable option if I ever wanted to be able to sustain myself, and studied a 'real' profession. Then got married, got a child, and moved to the US. It was attending a spinning class at the local YMCA that a lady there saw me carrying the hefty book that was my read of the moment.

"Ah, Stephen King. He writes big books, but they're so good," this lady said. I smiled and was about to agree with her when she added, "I remember seeing him once in a conference talking about his books. A very nice guy, indeed."

It stopped me on my tracks. I could almost hear the angelic chant from the sky that always accompanies a great revelation. I could meet you in person! It was possible! All I had to do was find the place of your next appearance and kill if needed to be there.

I got home and looked on the internet (is there any other place?). I discovered you had an official website and subscribed, but the good news stopped there. You are not doing personal appearances anymore. Life had gotten in our way.

Do you remember that time a couple of years ago in New York City? Yeah, a personal appearance! Well, I bought my ticket, got super excited, and told everyone within an earshot that I was going to meet Stephen King. Then my husband got transferred to Montreal. Whatever. We looked for a nanny and were planning our drive back to attend when we got news that our tickets had gotten lost on the way. We asked for them to re-issue them, but those, too, got lost.

Goddammit! There was nothing else that could be done. So I cried that day and blamed the universe for keeping us apart.

Finally, through the website, I got wind of the special edition of IT. I logged in to buy my signed copy and there were none left. Fine! I, then, tried with the signed copy of 11/22/63. This time I logged in at eight o'clock and payed for my copy. Yoo-hoo! I did my happy dance all morning... until Simon & Schuster called to say there had been a blip in the system and my order hadn't passed. The copies were now sold out and they were sending me a free copy of the book. Sans signing. Are you f$%&^ kidding me?!

Ok, you know what? Fine. Life doesn't want me to know my favorite author and inspiration? I don't care. I have a theory. Now that I'm a published horror writer, albeit an unknown one, destiny is keeping us apart until we meet each other on the hallways of one of the 'big six' as colleagues.

Sorry, I was choking from laughing and eating luch at the same time. Were was I? Oh, yes. I was daydreaming.

Anyway, Mr. King, Stephen. I just want to thank you for all those nightmares, for providing me with such a great and disturbing imagination, for being my goal for so many years. I truly hope one day our books can meet each other on a shelf somewhere, if it is not for ourselves to meet.

Keep being awesome and just know how many lives you have touched and changed.

Thanks again,

Georgina Morales.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Satan Carol, My Review

Just last week I wrote all about my plans for the future and how I was sticking to my guns and blogging two times a week for sure. The first deadline came and went and I didn't even notice until last night when I realized I hadn't written my review as promised. Well, I'll be damned if I don't follow through and post it even if it's a day later. So, to my patient and adoring fans (I have a lot of family, what can I say?) and to you my lovely friends, here it is. My review of A Satan Carol By Alan S. Kessler.


This book was given to me by Robert Leyland, the great mind behind Dark River Press and its awesome magazine where I'm a proud staff reviewer. At first sight and after reading the synopsis, I wasn’t so sure this would be a nice fit for me, nor a proper horror book. Boy, was I wrong. Let’s start by saying that A Satan Carol is a very original story and Alan Kessler may very well be the next big thing. I loved this book with its twisted characters and offbeat pace. It’s been a while since a book has kept me guessing until the very end. But it’s not only the story that’s original, the way in which the author tells it added much to my sense of not really knowing what was happening, that I needed to get my bearings somehow. Delightful indeed.

The book starts in 1848 Ireland and tells the story of a mother desperate to find food to save her very special son from the famine sweeping the whole country, except for the rich landowners and the British aristocracy. The tone is very bleak and though there is no monster hiding in the dark, I felt the impending doom, fear, and desperation. The story then jumps a hundred and forty years into the future to a series of characters with highly varied backgrounds. Kessler keeps jumping from one time to another, from character to character without revealing too much about their connection or where he’s going. He relies on his mesmerizing narrative to keep pulling the reader further into the actions of what seems like a bunch of crazy, dysfunctional people.

The pace is slow but always interesting, very dark and atmospheric; so much so, that after a few pages, a truly disturbing feeling got under my skin and stayed there. As the book advances, the pace picks up and the tone becomes lighter; as if the more the reader understands, the more we can peek under Kessler's dark veil. Then the story turns even stranger and the characters more twisted. More than a few times I found myself flinching away from the pages or closing my eyes and rubbing my forehead in a fruitless attempt to erase from my mind the horrible image Kessler invoked.

A Satan Carol is a piece with so many qualities that it's a must for anyone craving an intelligent story that will make them think, cringe, and sweat. It is very well thought through, extremely original with a great mix of religious ideas and horror traits. And let’s not forget the powerful narrative that never releases you from its grip. Remember The Devil’s Advocate? Well, if you enjoyed that movie –and who didn’t?-- this book is right up your alley.

I have a couple of minor complains, though. First, there were a few problems with punctuation. Usually, of all possible editorial mistakes, punctuation would be the thing that bothered me the least, but because the author chooses to be so cryptic, and his style is very dark and hardly traditional, these small mistakes can make for a very confusing paragraph. My second complaint? The book’s ending. Now, is there ever a truly satisfying ending? I don’t know. We all think we can do better than what was done, so it is all very subjective. In my humble opinion, the book is three chapters too long. Right at the end of chapter eighteen there’s resolution for each of the issues raised throughout the story. The need to go on, I think, is merely that need deep inside every author to be the one who dictates the fate of each of his characters. The thing is, sometimes the openness of an ending suits a story better. 

Now, with that out of the way, I cannot emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this book and how much I recommend you to read it. You’re really missing out if you don't read this book. 



For purchase information, click on this link. Don't forget to leave a comment for me in the blog or at my Author Facebook page, I always love to hear from you. Now, if you're intrigued enough about the book or if you simply want to hang out and share your thoughts with us, I'm planning to run a discussion group on Dark River Press Facebook page next week, so get ready! More details soon to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moving Forward

I'm sure you can remember from all my whining that the last few months my life has been out of whack. Well, now finally I'm building a rhythm and I can't foresee great disturbances that will cause a new pandemonium around here. So what to do now? Develop a plan.

I don't know about you, but I always work best when I feel organized. Feel being the operative word here. What I mean is, I'm not necessarily achieving more or following my scheduled as programed, but the closer I get to it, the greater my sense of completion. So, here it is:

I, hereby pledge to blog two days a week.

  • Tuesdays I'll go back to my reviews, haven't done that in a while and I miss them, for one. It can be movies or books, maybe even a theatrical piece if one good enough crosses my path. No genre exclusivity this time around. 
  • I'll also be blogging every friday. Fridays are fun for most everyone and we want to start the weekend with a nice, entertaining thought. For this reason I'll do lists on this day. It can be best movies, best books, places to go, vacations to take, and occasionally, I'll just share with you a picture that's made me laugh.
I also will blog a few extra times a month, like the first wednesday of each month for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, or when I have some exciting news to share. And I'll take a break from this schedule during the month of april, when I'll be blogging everyday about horror books and movies going down the alphabet, courtesy of the A to Z challenge.

About my book writing, I currently have two short stories being considered for two different anthologies. They've been rejected before, so I don't want to have high hopes; however, my spirits are kind of high. I also have another short that needs work but could be perfect for the new Dark Moon Anthology only for ladies. And I'm working on my new novel, Deliverance.

The plan there is to work on the ms until about chapter five or six, then let it breath while working on that short for Dark Moon. When that one's ready to go, go back to Deliverance and keep working.

I have plenty of stories that I can edit or expand and I think I'll do one at a time whenever I hit a roadblock with the novel. It has proven to work for me before, taking some weeks off the ms releases my anxiety and allows me to work better and fluently.

By the end of the year I should have a complete first draft of the novel and at least two more short stories... may I say published?? I sure hope so. But it's the level of production that I'm aiming to increase this year, so that's where my mind should concentrate. I have no control over the other stuff and I'll do my best not to fret over it.

So what do you think? It might not be too much for many, but keeping up with my girls and traveling with the family is something I wouldn't want to miss. Not even for the love of writing. In the mean time, have fun. Go read something exciting!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To blog hop or not to blog hop...

The month of march has come and found me, as always, up to my nose in plans. I'm very good at those. It is getting to complete them that gets me.

Between being a mom, having a personal life, trying to organize everything in our new house, writing, cooking, promoting my book, reviewing novels, and keeping my blog... it seems I barely have any energy to see at least one project through the end. Which is all kinds of depressing, but then I remind myself that the most important for me is not missing a thing of my girls childhood. Then, of course, I tell myself those are all pretexts. I sermon myself and I promise to be better organized... then I run to do a hundred more things and end up going to bed without having accomplished A THING.

Ahg. But that wasn't really what I wanted to share with you. (It is a blessing to have a trapped audience to free your soul). Assuming you're still reading this (please, don't go. I promise I'll get to the point now), I'll talk about blog hopping as a mean to promote your blog and, thus, yourself. Is it really worth it?

This humble place I call my blog has existed for a little over a year. Now, there is a difference between existing and being active. No, I'm not trying to go all Nietzsche-esque on you. What I mean is, it requires a certain amount of work to be noticed in the sea of blogs out there and it took me a long time to realize that.

From the rant up there you can see I have a lot on my plate and I'm not very organized. I've always been like that and that was the way I started this blog. I wasn't sure I had any 'talent' to write a real novel and I didn't want to invest the time to write one only to discover I sucked. Cue my wonderful husband. He convinced me to take up a blog as a mean to explore the possibilities. I did and my life changed forever.

Everything happened very fast for me and soon I saw my first novella published. With that came the realization that my blog had but a single follower, a good friend of mine. That was it. But my blog was important now; I needed it to get to know more people and to get others to know me. I started writing more frequently and the first blog hop opportunity came to me. I jumped in without having any idea of what it was or how it worked. Oh, the surprise I got. It is hard work! I failed miserably, only getting like five extra followers.

Since then, I've participated in at least five more hops with varying degrees of success. For me, the hops have become a way to challenge myself to write more, to find interesting subjects and to run original contests. In that sense, I've learned quite a lot and I can say that most of the short stories I'm currently working on, started as flash fiction I posted on my blog.

At the moment, I stand at a hundred and some followers, as you can see =D; I'm happy of where I stand and what I have accomplished but I'm still looking for a way to increase the traffic without becoming a slave.

About a month ago, I got wind of the very famous A to Z blog hop in april. The challenge is to blog about something related to the letter of the day (I know. This is NOT Sesame Street, though) every day of the month. Feeling like a slave already? Fine, sundays are free. What. A. Relief.

I hesitated a lot about getting in but I finally decided to do it. There are more than a thousand participating blogs and previous participants promise you'll see the traffic go through the roof. I had to try it! I'm going with a simple idea: feature a horror book and movie that begins with the corresponding letter. Nothing complicated or I won't make it but it has to be enticing enough that people will come back for more after the hop ends.

I'm already selecting the movies, that's easy, but the books are proving to be hard and I want to run a simple contest but I still don't know what to do. It is a lot of preparation, but I'm really excited to see how this goes. If nothing better, comes may I'll know I can get to my goal no matter how hard it seems to be. And that is a pick-me-up I really need.

I'll let you know how the experiment went. If you're interested, here's a link to the A to Z Challenge; it'd be neat to find some of you there. I also ask for your help. Any ideas of book titles or contests to run will be greatly appreciated.

Well, guys. I'll see you next month for our fond Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting. In the mean time, don't forget to visit all the other awesome blogs to get more tips, stories, or simply make friends.

Just a small note. I love to visit the blogs of those who comment on my blog; not that I don't visit other blogs of the hop as well, but these are my first clicks, so please leave a link to your place. See ya there!

This is a Blog Hop!

24.
41.
45.
50.
53.
103.
104.
111.
112.
120.
121.
128.
165.
177.
181.
186.
193.
219.
220.
239.
253.
258.
264.
265.