Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I've been "Monsterized"!

Artist and scriptwriter Jack Ruttan has come up with a fun way to celebrate Halloween this year, by helping you discover your "inner monster".  (I am apparently hiding a demented vampire beneath my normally cheerful exterior... isn't it gloriously hideous?)  I love it!

Jack can take your Twitter or Facebook photo and do the same for you, but you better move fast, as Halloween is creeping steadily up on us!

Check out Jack's WEBSITE immediately to see what he's done for others, and get on the ghoulish band wagon, already!

Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men (and women)?

Jack knows.  Let him discover yours!  (Or just tell him what you think it is, or what you want it to be, and he'll whip one up for you.)

Cool, huh?  :-)  Check out the before and after photo, and THANKS, JACK!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Horrordays with Author Jeff Strand

Given that it's the spookiest time of the year, I thought we'd take a foray into the world of horror fiction with someone who actually writes it.  I've always been a fan of writers like Stephen King (and now his son, Joe Hill), but they didn't seem to get my repeated emails asking them for interviews, so I had to settle for someone even better: the slightly demented and always entertaining Jeff Strand.

I discovered Jeff's particular blend of comedy and horror when I found his Andrew Mayhem series: GRAVEROBBERS WANTED: NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY, CASKET FOR SALE: ONLY USED ONCE, and of course, the wildly entertaining SINGLE WHITE PSYCHOPATH SEEKS SAME.

"Sure," I thought, "the guy knows how to write dark comedies, but what about something more serious?"  Then I read PRESSURE, a top-notch psychological thriller that was nominated for the coveted Bram Stoker award in 2009 (and has since been optioned by Identity Films).   Excellent book, as was his next, DWELLER, a strangely touching tale about the ill-fated lives of a boy and his monster.

Jeff also writes quite a bit of the darker stuff, some of it too dark for my tastes (as I am a big scaredy-cat weenie who prefers a good spine-tingling to a an actual bloodbath, but if you don't mind a few dismembered bodies or brains on the ceiling, Jeff's your man!) 





A perfect example of this is his recently released collaborative vampire novel DRACULAS, which was co-written with some other guys whose names I can't remember.  (Buy it, so you can proudly say you read him before he became famous.)  As much as I enjoy Jeff's work, I will NOT be reading it, because he's already advised me that it's not safe for scaredy-cat weenies like me to read, but surely you're not afraid of a little bloodsplatter, are you, dear readers? :-)

Anyway, Jeff's a prolific and talented guy whose writing never fails to entertain (bloodstains or no bloodstains) and he's been gracious enough to answer a few questions for me today on the blog, in honor of Halloween:

Hi, Jeff! Thanks for the interview! Have you always been a fan of the horror genre, or was that something that developed gradually? Any particular moment when you decided that horror fiction was the perfect outlet for your clearly twisted imagination?

I've wanted to be a horror fan since I was about six, after I got a book called THINGS YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MONSTERS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK by Tony Tallarico. But I was far too cowardly to actually watch those movies. So I didn't really become a horror fan until high school, at which point my friends and I would watch 4 or 5 horror flicks every weekend instead of engaging in underage drinking or interacting with females.

The moment of truth was after I had four novels out, each of which were in a different genre. And I thought "I really need to focus." The most popular of the four by far was GRAVEROBBERS WANTED (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY), which everybody was calling a horror novel even though I'd planned to write a mystery/thriller, so I decided "Okay, I'm going to write horror!" And then I wrote a bunch of it.

So tell us about DRACULAS—I heard it has both vampires AND scary clowns? Oh, and who are those other guys… you know, those co-authors whose names I can’t remember?

It has lots and lots and lots of vampires and one scary clown. It's basically a really fast-paced, action-packed, gory gory gory novel about a hospital that becomes overrun by vampires, none of which behave like Edward Cullen.

Co-author #1: F. Paul Wilson, the legendary creator of Repairman Jack and author of over 40 novels, including THE KEEP, THE SELECT, and BLACK WIND.

Co-author #2: Jack Kilborn, author of AFRAID, TRAPPED, and ENDURANCE, and the pen name of J.A. Konrath, creator of the Jack Daniels series.

Co-author #3: Blake Crouch, author of such awesome thrillers as LOCKED DOORS, DESERT PLACES, and SNOWBOUND.

So, yeah, I did some coattail riding on this one.

What was your favorite Halloween costume when you were a kid, and why?

Spider-Man, because as a kid I was obsessed with Spider-Man, although it was really more about the Electric Company version where he battled villains who stole letters out of words and stuff. But this wasn't a cool Halloween costume, it was a thin plastic Spider-Man mask, and then a costume that wasn't actually a duplicate of Spider-Man's costume, but rather a costume with Spider-Man's picture on the chest. I grew up in Alaska, so my trick-or-treating costumes had to fit over my snowsuit, which kind of limited my options.

Are you planning on doing anything special this Halloween?

I'm going to a Halloween party where we will watch the premiere of THE WALKING DEAD. People damn well better not talk during it.

I understand you’re an aficionado of horror movies… what movie would you recommend most for those who want to be scared witless while curled up on the couch on Halloween night?

I hate to offer up such a generic choice, but you really can't go wrong with the original HALLOWEEN. (And I mean original version. If the DVD has the words "Rob Zombie" on it, you are watching the wrong one and should immediately put it back where you found it. Back away quickly. Don't make eye contact.)

Another great Halloween movie that's much more recent is TRICK R' TREAT, which is an anthology film that has Anna Paquin from TRUE BLOOD. (Despite her presence, it never got a decent theatrical release, but I wouldn't want to clog up your blog with that particular rant.)

We’ll both be attending Necronomicon in St. Petersburg this weekend, and between the panels, the games, and the costume events it looks like there’s a lot going on. I’ve never been to a Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror convention before—any advice on what to expect?

It's kind of like Romantic Times, except that fewer of the men go around shirtless and the two genders are more equally distributed.

It's a lot of fun. You will, of course, see a lot of very elaborate, cool costumes. The panels are generally pretty informal. There are three different rooms playing movies all day/night, along with special events like DR. HORRIBLE'S SING-ALONG BLOG performed with a shadowcast, ROCKY HORROR-style. Free food in the con suite. A big room of gaming. I've never actually experienced the wonder of "filking," but it's where people perform songs based on SF/Fantasy/Horror media. An art show packed with awesomeness. And Kids and Canines will be there with cute doggies.

C'mon, Terri Garey will be there! How could somebody NOT want to go???

And your final question, worth bonus points and the Immunity Idol:

If all the gummi worms on the planet melted into a huge, globular ball of sugar, with its own intelligence, which then wanted you to call it “Lance”, would you switch to eating chocolate, or become a cannibal?

Chocolate. Even without the intelligence or the name Lance, I'd skip eating the huge globular ball. Gummi products are better in small form. A friend got me a giant gummi bear, which I have displayed on my desk, but I like having it just to say "Whoa! Look at the size of that gummi bear!" I don't actually want to eat it, because I'd get sick.

Also, I don't want to end this interview on a negative note, but why would this make me a cannibal? Are you calling me a gummi worm? YOU'RE the gummi worm, Garey! Ha!

Real mature, Strand.  Real mature.

******
Jeff Strand is the author of numerous novels, novellas, short stories and articles, most involving blood and guts. He was nominated in 2009 by Horror Writers of America for the coveted Bram Stoker award, but Stephen King managed to snatch it from his bloody, broken grasp, even though he wasn't present to win. Visit Jeff on the website, Gleefully Macabre, at http://www.jeffstrand.com/.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Elvira's Movie Macabre: Putting the Boob Back in the Boobtube!

I mentioned Elvira in yesterday's blog post, but didn't give the Queen of Screams her due: I LOVE Elvira! Love her. She's an over-the-top blend of sexual innuendo, morbid humor, campy dialogue and cleavage-centered talent that just leaves me in awe. She's returned to TV in her role as horror movie critic, looking even more fabulous now than she did twenty years ago! (Maybe there's something to those rumors about the dark arts after all...)

I absolutely adore how she pokes fun at herself and the entire horror genre.  I love how she "puts herself out there" (and boy, does she) for a good laugh.  Like good old Dr. Paul Bearer from my childhood, I appreciate how she can unflinchingly deliver some of the most groan-inducing puns you'll ever hear, and make being campy cool.  Actor characterization like Elvira's is a dying art, my friends, so watch her while you can!

Elvira's Movie's Macabre has returned, with 26 all-new episodes, each one showcasing a 2-hour horror film and Elvira's special brand of introduction and commentary. Check your local listings, and check out the trailer for the show:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trailers From Hell: The Brain That Wouldn't Die

I had a late night date with my dear friend Elvira this weekend, as I watched her "ghost host" one of the campiest, low-budget sleaze/horror movie ever made: The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Made in 1962, the film is basically about a scientist whose fiance is killed in a car accident, so he cuts off her head and keeps it alive while he goes out searching for the perfect body to reattach it to. The arrogant, unfeeling jerk is forced to go to strip clubs, cruise the streets for women in skin-tight clothes, and finally kidnap a "figure model" while his fiance's head - fully conscious, angry, and going quietly mad - sits on a tray in his laboratory, plotting her revenge.

Needless to say, it doesn't end well for the scientist, or his craven assistant, or the monster in the closet. (What? Didn't mention the monster in the closet? There's ALWAYS a monster in the closet!)  Even in black and white, with some of the worst special effects and acting known to man, it managed to be appalling creepy. Anyway, here's a great clip with director John Landis, showing some highlights from the film:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Devil Without a Cause - First Review!

I know it's almost Halloween, and I am the last ghoul in the world to want to rush past it, but I find myself already looking forward to summer. Why? Because I have a brand-new series coming out, the Devil's Bargain series, with begins with the release of Devil Without a Cause on May 31st, 2011.  To my surprise (and very great pleasure!), I just got my very first comments about it from an author I really admire:

Devil Without a Cause is a smouldering blend of darkness and sensuality, with a villain so unique, he gave me nightmares AND fantasies. Erotic, alluring and edgy, I couldn't put this book down!"
-- Jeaniene Frost, NYT bestselling author
Pretty cool, huh?  For an avid "Bones" fangirl like me, that's quite an endorsement!  :-)

Those of you who are familiar with my past books might remember the character of Sammy (Satan) Divine.  Oh, that Sammy... he's got a story to tell, that one. And he's determined to tell it his own way, in his own time, with a wicked wink, a killer grin and a bad boy swagger. Once divine, now cast down, forever blamed for the seduction of Eve and the destruction of Paradise, the angel once known as Samael has his own version of mankind's fall from grace, believing he was the one tempted. Earthbound and damned, he's lurked in the shadows for centuries, tormenting the humans he felt were responsible for the loss of his wings.

Now he has a chance to do something about it by taking on the job for which he was originally created -- that of a guardian angel -- but will the lure of Darkness be too strong? John Milton said: 'Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven', and now Sammy has to decide the truth of that for himself.

Having always been fascinated by legends and stories surrounding Satan's Biblical fall from grace, I'm excited to be able to be able to do some of my own worldbuilding around the arrogant fallen angel whose lust for the flesh led him to defy his creator. Where does he go when he's not tempting or tormenting some poor hapless female? *wink* Who (and what) are the creatures that surround him in his Kingdom of Darkness?

Even more intriguing, how do they feel when their Dark Prince is the one being tempted?

The cover art has yet to be finalized, unfortunately, but Devil Without a Cause just went up on Amazon as available for pre-order. (Always a cool moment for an author!)   If you'd like to read more about Sammy Divine, pop over to my website and read an exclusive EXCERPT from Devil Without a Cause.  Stop by my Halloween contest page while you're at it - I'm giving away some awesome stuff this year in honor of the spooky season!  Good luck and Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roses to Die For: A Skull n' Roses Wreath!

Next up in my ghoulishly grand Halloween giveaways is this awesome Skull n' Roses wreath and garland.

(Drawing to be held October 15th, 2010)

(**PLEASE NOTE that this is not the exact same wreath and garland I'm giving away, but it's very, very close.)

I love this wreath! I gave one like this away a couple of years ago, and so many people wanted it that I found another, and decided to do it again!

Blood-red roses, blackened skulls, black foliage, and some glitter.

What's not to love? :-)

Throw in a couple of black candles and you have everything you need for some deliciously Gothic decorating!

Want to win it? Click the link*!:

PLEASE ENTER ME FOR THIS WREATH!

*Entering any of these contests will automatically add you to my quarterly newsletter list, to keep you informed of new releases.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Grover Takes On The Old Spice Guy

Given that it's close to Halloween, and that Grover is a monster, I think this qualifies as a Halloween funny. Made me laugh!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

There's More to Life Than Monster Mash

Ever tried to find Halloween music that someone might actually want to hear?  The Halloween party CDs I see in the stores make me cringe - it's all "Monster Mash", "Werewolves of London", the theme from the Addams Family, or worse yet, exaggerated groaning and creaking from recordings that someone likely made back in the 50's.  Since I like to have music playing while scarfing down handing out candy to the local kidlets, I decided to make my OWN playlist of groovy, somewhat spookily themed music, all of which is easy on the ears (pointed or otherwise).  Here's a sample -- take a second to listen to Lullaby, by the Cure, as you read through the playlist:

video

Lullaby by The Cure
Devils by The 69 Eyes
Lucretia, My Reflection by Sisters of Mercy
Funhouse by P!nk
Put Your Lights On by Santana
Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo
Voodoo by Godsmack
Transylvania by Creature With the Atom Brain
My Last Breath by Evanescence
Creep by Radiohead
Dead Girls Are Easy by The 69 Eyes
She's Only Evil by Alien Ant Farm
She's My Ride Home by Blue October
Night Watch The 69 Eyes

If you haven't heard these songs, I'd urge you to do so. They have ambience that's perfectly suited to the spooky season, without being cliche'. I particularly recommend anything on this list by The 69 Eyes, She's Only Evil by Alien Ant Farm, and Transylvania by Creature With the Atom Brain (spookily trance-like, and very cool).  All available in video form on YouTube, and available for download.

Happy Halloween listening, ghoulfriends!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Happy Halloween from Me to You!

**WINNER ALERT**:  Congratulations to Elizabeth Mize of Raleigh, NC, who won the drawing on October 8th, 2010 for this cool Halloween Basket of Books!

Trick or treat, my pretties!!  My first ghoulish giveaway of the year is this Spooky Basket full of books and music, featuring some awesome paranormal reads and music by The 69 Eyes!  How to win?  Read on!





A Spooky Basket stuffed with books and other goodies!
(Drawing to be held October 8th, 2010)

Includes books:

DARK DAYS AND WICKED NIGHTS
(multi-author sampler)
A PASSION FOR THE PARANORMAL
(multi-author sampler)
DEMON NIGHT by Meljean Brook
DARK HUNGER by Christine Feehan
(anime version!)
THE BECOMING by Jean C. Stein
HEART OF THE WOLF by Terry Spear

Some awesome music:

BACK IN BLOOD by The 69 Eyes,
featuring my favorite song
"DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY"

And special goodies and candies:

Limited Edition beaded bookmark
Bat tombstone
Coffin tin full of mints
Marshmallow Vampire pop
Eyeball lollipop
Halloween Candy sticks
"What's up, ghoulfriend?" pin
"Raise a little hell with Nicki Styx" magnet

PLEASE ENTER ME FOR THIS BASKET!*

*Entering this contest automatically adds you to my mailing list.