Wednesday, October 30, 2013

B-Movie Coolness

So Halloween is finally here and, as every year, I'm torn. I'm happy because I love going trick or treat, I also love the amount of movies I can watch on TV, but I'm sad that it has gone so fast! So, to go with a bang, the prize today will be a digital copy of the Coffin Hop anthology: DEATH BY DRIVE-IN. It is fantastic, and I'm sure who ever the lucky winner is, he/she will enjoy it. I'll announce the winner on Monday, so there's a chance for more people to participate.

But first, though, I must announce tuesday's winner. Drum roll, please... The winner of a 1st edition, signed PERPETUAL NIGHT paperback copy is:


Now, todays theme is: B-Horror movies, of course!

Tell me which was the B-horror movie that scared you the most. Does it still scare you? 

In 1986, I was a young kid--and admittedly a bit of a wuss--when my father's younger brother brought home a movie to watch. It's called The Creeps, and it gave me plenty sleepless nights. In fact, this was the flick that started my love/hate relationship with zombies. Don't ask. It's complicated. For one, they are a bit self-involved, but they are soooo driven!

Anyway, here you have the trailer for this jewel of the 80s. Now, tell me it doesn't sound awful-ly good?


Monday, October 28, 2013

History and Symbols in Dreams

Well, thank you all for your comments and interesting thoughts on our different places in history and how certain things can redefine our perception of what is truly important. Now, as I promised, I'll reveal the winner. The person who will take a digital copy of the GOTHIC BLUE BOOK III: THE GRAVEYARD EDITION is... *cue drumroll*

Lori Parker !!!!

I'll be contacting you within 24 hours to get you your prize. Congrats!

Now, back to our scheduled post. Today I'm also being hosted on M.C.V. Egan's A Day in the Spotlight where an excerpt from PERPETUAL NIGHT will be highlighted; so go ahead, check it out. I'll wait for you here.

Ready and spooked? Great!

In the spirit of that excerpt, I've decided to delve into the world of dreams. What do dreams mean? It is a question that has stump humanity for centuries. As far back as 7000 years ago, the Mesopotamians wrote the first compilation of dream symbols and their meanings. They viewed dreams as signs from their Gods and would go to "Dream Priests" to foretell the dreamer's future.

Later on Egyptians wrote their own Dream Book. This ancient culture celebrated rituals, gave sacrifices, and recited prayers in hopes that their dreams would reveal what was to come.

Dreams had a big influence directing the most important decisions of public Greek life, through the Oracle of Delphi, and sometimes even in the military. And even more influential, Hippocrates was the first man of science to associate dreams to physical and mental health.

In Rome, Julius Cesar promulgated an edict that required every citizen who had a dream about the empire to talk about it in the market of their town.

Freud, Jung, Faraday, they all defined in one way or another our present understanding of nighttime visitations. And yet, the definitive answer remains elusive. When you dream of a serial killer that's stalking you, is it caused by watching Halloween one too many times? Or perhaps it is your more deathly side, fighting to be acknowledged?

For a chance to win a signed paperback copy of PERPETUAL NIGHT's first edition, tell me about your most scary dream. If you have ever experienced a prophetic kind of vision, do share! As usual, the winner will be selected randomly and announced in my next post.

Don't forget to visit the rest of the participating Coffin Hop bloggers for more chances to win. Enjoy!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Manhattan: The Algonquin Hotel. Coffin Hop 2013

Manhattan has its fair share of old, scary buildings; yet, in this town being old and scary doesn't mean  a place can't be glamorous. The Algonquin Hotel sits in the heart of the city, surrounded by Broadway, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center. Designated as a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust of Historic Preservation, from its earliest days in 1902, The Algonquin has been the preferred meeting site for celebrities and literary masters alike.

By the 1920s a group of literary luminaries met daily for lunch at The Algonquin's Round Table, among them Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Franklin Pierce, Robert Sherwood, Harpo Marx, Alexander Woollcott, Harold Ross, George S. Kauffman, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, and Edna Ferber. This group, known as "The Vicious Circle", cemented the hotel's fame for centuries to come.

As the country sank into the difficult years of the Great Depression, the hotel owner, who'd always had a soft spot for celebrities, let struggling writers eat for free. The rumor got around, and soon big names like William Faulkner were adding to the place's mystique. It is said that Faulkner wrote the first draft of his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech while at the Algonquin.

And so, it is only logical that after so many fates where directed from the tables of the Hotel's restaurant, and so many golden days were spent within its wall, that some of its former visitors decided to stay. Forever.

Reports range from paranormal singing in the elevator, noises of furniture being dragged across the recently renovated room on the 13th floor, sightings of Dorothy Parker in the bar, and ghostly steps on the staircase.

So, what happened to me?

Well, nothing, besides a lovely lunch with my husband. We went there during the summer, enjoying of a rare change to go out by ourselves since the girls were in Mexico with my parents. I insisted on eating at the famous Round Table, asked the waiter about the story of the place, and snooped around.

The Algonquin Hotel is a place steeped in history and I felt a special connection to it since I'm myself a struggling writer. And even though no preternatural figures visited us, we couldn't avoid to feel under the shadow of some of the greatest minds ever.

For a chance to win a copy of DEATH BY DRIVE-IN, the Coffin Hop anthology, tell me about an experience that made you re-evaluate your position in history. The winner will be selected randomly from the comments, and announced here on my next post.

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the participating blogs!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Coffin Hop 2013

So here we are again, time for a new Coffin Hop! For those who haven't been here before, this is an amazing even with more than 70 blogs celebrating the spookiest season. On previous years I've gone with real personal ghost stories and a series of themed posts. This year, however, I'm going to take a minimalist approach.

On Halloween day, Burial Day Books will release the GOTHIC BLUE BOOK III: The Graveyard Edition. My story A DIARY OF MADNESS is included, among AUNTIE GRAVE by best-seller author Jessica McHugh, SINS OF OUR MOTHER by Edward J. McFadden, and many more awesome authors.

On top of this radtacular release, the Coffin Hop will also be releasing their own anthology. DEATH BY DRIVE-IN is a collection with 21 of the best and brightest coffin hopers tapping on their scariest B-movie memories. And what's even better: All proceeds will go to to support literature around the globe.

As you see I have plenty of reason to be happy this All Hallows Eve, besides the candy and horror flicks. So, the deal is this: I'll write three posts for the hop, each one will prompt you to comment on the specific theme of the day. One visitors will be selected randomly and announced on the following post. The prizes are a copy of my novel PERPETUAL NIGHT, a copy of the Coffin Hop's anthology, and a surprise book that I'll announce later on (One book for each post/winner).

So boys and girls, drop by as frequently as you can during the next week, enjoy, comment, and maybe win a book!!

Now, remember there are several contests running through out the week, so you might want to visit the rest of the participating blogs. I assure you, you will not leave with empty hands.

Let the fun begin!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Haunted Manhattan: Washington Square Park

This time in the Haunted Manhattan series, we'll talk about a very non-creepy place and I'll do my best to ruin it forever for you. So, I'll considered a job well done if the next time you wander into a tranquil park considering where to have your picnic, you settle for a bench.

Washington Square Park came into existence in the 1820s; but before that, the land was used to entomb the yellow fever victims of the 1700s outbreak. Yep, more than 20,000 corpses still lie under the lush lawn where visitors gather to catch the sun. Digest that.

And now that you have decided to sit on the benches from now on, let me proceed with the story.

The area where the famed parked is now located has always been well liked, and 19th century New Yorkers came to watch people die. Oh yes, you read that right. Back in the 1820s, today's hot spot in popular Greenwich Village was a public gallows and execution site. And you can never be sure which trees they used...

And just because there is no better place to build a gathering site for the well-to-do than a Potter's field-turned-public-gallows, in 1826 the city leveled the ground and laid the square, turning it into the Washington Military Parade Ground. Only four years later, the streets surrounding the square became some of the most desirable areas to live (How could they not!), and the rest is history...

So, yeah, I'd think twice before telling my friends I just want to "hang" in the park.

Sweet dreams, my friends!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Can Bad Writers Get Better?

Like so many fellow writers, I strive to become better at my trade all the time. I'm always reading things and surrounding myself with people that will teach me new tricks. At this stage of my career, this is easy. Almost anyone knows more than I do and that's why it is so much fun to read other's blogs, participate in critique groups, attend Creative Writing classes, and simply hang out with people. Of course reading is one the most important tools to teach us the do's and don't's of writing.

In our never-ending quest, thousands of writers around the world have read Stephen King's On Writing. It is an excellent book that isn't scholarly but above the Writing for Dummy kind of books. However, there is a section in it that truly disturbed me. Mr. King classifies writers in the following range:

Bad Writers
Competent Writers
Good Writers
Great Writers
Genius Freaks

The classification is pretty easy to understand. We all know we are no Shakespeare or Faulkner, and we'll never be. Geniuses are born, never made. However, he contents that Bad Writers can never grow to become Competent Writers, and Good writers will never achieve Great Writer status. It is only possible, with huge amounts of work, dedication, and timely help, to make a Good Writer out of a merely Competent one.

Well, then I guess we know now why most kids in the King household are writers. When they came home from school saying math was just too difficult, their father must've said "Oh, foggedabouit!"

I say bullshit.

I believe that with determination and hard work, we can always improve. No matter how bad a writer, mathematician, or coroner you are. If you bust your ass off, you'll improve. I get that bad will hardly ever turn into great, but why discourage people? No, I refuse.

To all my IWSG inky cohorts, I tell you that to become a Better Writer, first you have to acknowledge your flaws. Do not let nay sayers change your path (including your self doubts), and charge ahead to make the changes. Remember that everything worth it takes time and effort. So,

Go for it!