Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Blood-Tainted Winter by T.L. Greylock

Title: The Blood-Tainted Winter
Author: T.L. Greylock
Genre: Mythological Fantasy

Raef Skallagrim wants to take the sea road. His ship is fast and sleek, his crew skilled and eager, and they will seek out new lands and win fame in the eyes of the gods. But Raef’s father refuses to allow the journey and when a stranger brings word that the king is dead and a gathering has been called to choose a successor, Raef must set aside his dream for his duty to his ancestral lands and his father.

When factions split at the gathering to choose a successor, Raef finds himself mired in bloodshed and treachery. Forced to make an uneasy alliance with a man he does not trust, Raef must navigate the tides of a war among three kings while seeking revenge for cold-blooded murder.

But winter has come early to Midgard, and even the gods will feel the cold.

The eBook will be free on Amazon from December 18 to December 22 – just in time for Christmas!

The Palesword had removed his leather armor, but the firelight, dancing across his face, cloaked him with a different sort of shield and he was no less imposing. The wound on his arm had been tied up with black cloth and the blood of his enemies had been washed from his hands and face. He held his hands over the fire.

“You must be hungry.” 

Raef did not answer. The Palesword had not yet earned any trust.

 “We have meat for plenty. I will see that you get some.” Torrulf fingered something around his neck. “What am I to do with you, Skallagrim? I have here before me the lord of Vannheim, promised to the Hammerling, but not in his heart, I think. Fengar threatened death, I am sure. The Hammerling?” Torrulf cocked his head and looked hard at Raef. “Perhaps the same.” 

When Raef kept silent, the Palesword shrugged. “No matter. Death is too easy and I am in the middle of a war. I do not intend to throw away lives lightly. Not if I see use in them.” 

“What use do you see in me?”

Now it was the Palesword’s turn to evade. “You keep odd friends, Raef.” 

“They are here of their own free will.”

The Palesword laughed. “I never said you coerced them. I only wonder what drives them.” Raef felt an echo of the Deepminded ripple through his head. He pushed that thought away. “Perhaps because I did not threaten them.” The laugh came again, this time with mockery. “A nice belief. The world revolves around threats and counter threats, Raef.”

“When we fled the gathering, you could have put a blade to my neck and demanded Vannheim’s spears. But you did not.” 

“Only because I was in no position to do so.” The Palesword turned and looked at Vakre, Siv, and Eira. “You see, Skallagrim, it is not your neck that matters.” He drew his sword. The firelight made the pale blade flicker with orange. “I could lay this on your skin and give you a final choice, but the blade’s kiss will not influence you. But if I do this?” The sword was up against Eira’s neck in an instant, so gracefully and so quickly done that it seemed not to have happened at all. But it was deadly all the same and Raef’s breath caught in his throat and his pulse quickened. 

“You sacrificed men today and it did not bring you Fengar. Perhaps you even had him within your grasp. This eats at you. Do not take your frustration out on me,” Raef said, coming to his feet.

The Palesword gestured to Vakre, Eira, and Siv with his other hand. “Will you sacrifice them out of loyalty for the Hammerling, a man you do not trust?”

“You know I will not.”

“You are right. I do know.” Torrulf sheathed his sword. “I do not ask for your shields and spears, Skallagrim. But there is something you will do for me. I do not need to tell you what happens to them if you refuse.”

T L Greylock is the author of The Blood-Tainted Winter, the first installment in a new Norse saga, The Song of the Ash Tree. She drinks tea (English breakfast with milk), wears neon colored socks, and once held an epic pigeon racing tournament in the gardens of The Tuileries.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Son of Light Book 1: Rebirth by Chris Parker

Title: The Son of Light Book 1: Rebirth
Author: Chris Parker
Genre: Fantasy

Nickolas Suzuki was not like your usual sixteen year old. First off, he has nine trillion dollars at his disposal. Secondly, he has superpowers. But while celebrating a birthday party, his loved ones are attacked by an old family enemy, which forces him to go into hiding. Ten years later, he is now a miserable twenty-six year old who has to raise and protect his younger foster brother.

Joshua Suzuki was not like most sixteen year old either. He doesn’t have friends or even attends high school. He lives all alone in his big house in Porter Ranch, California, with his older foster brother, Nick. He’s lived with his brother for ten years without any contact with the outside world and he’s sick of it. Josh begins to resent Nick, which sparks many heated fights between them.

But when Nick suddenly goes missing, Josh is forced to travel through the outside world filled with lakes of dead bodies, mysterious pink orbs, and demons the size of mountains, just to rescue his brother. Can Josh survive long enough to find his brother?

Chris Parker started writing during his community college years until he transferred to a film school, Columbia College Hollywood, after losing his house in 2008. There he came up with many stories such as, The Son of Light. However, he went to school to become an editor. After earning his BA, Chris went back to his first love, writing.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Should Authors Pay To Get Reviews?

This year, like last year, has been all about getting reviews the simpler way-- by shelling out a few dollars. Between graduate school, writing and marketing, I don't have time to find book bloggers and query them. I'm going into my last semester. I don't even know how I'll find time to write. I've given a lot of books away for free. That only led to bad reviews.

I have mixed feelings about paying for reviews.

The article Should Indie Authors Pay for Book Reviews? was vehemently against it. The author seems to view it as unethical and it can be. But, not always. Most articles I read say don't do it. The authors mention Kirkus but not Netgalley which leaves me wondering what they mean by paying for reviews. I define it as paying a reputable service to either get your book in front of thousands of reviewers or have one of their reviewers read your book. I don't mean paying an individual to review your book.

Kirkus Review
Getting a positive review from Kirkus is gold. However, I could never get them to look at my small press book without paying. They charge about $500 dollars. At that price, you're paying for the name. The review they gave The Sciell was maybe two paragraphs longs. I did get one good quote from it which I've been milking. However, it wasn't worth the price tag. It would've been effective to take that money and spend it on an ad.

Netgalley, like Kirkus Review, is something the big five publishers just love. They make sure it's in their marketing plan. Since publishers are raving about it, I wanted to get my book put on the site. Unfortunately, like Kirkus Review, NetGalley isn't small press friendly. It cost about $400 to list your book on the site for six months. I could not see myself investing that much money in Netgalley when there's no guarantee people will request my book.

If you go through Patchwork Press, you can list your book on Netgalley for a month for only $50. I jumped on that. I put books on the site and...nothing came of it. Many people requested my books for review. Only two reviewed them. One wasn't my audience because they didn't like gore- they gave the book a one star review. The other was underwhelmed. I didn't get a return on my investment.

Story Cartel
Like Netgalley, Story Cartel puts your book on the site so readers/reviewers can download it. They get entered into a contest if they review the book. You list your book on the site through tokens which cost about $25. Not bad. I got most of my reviews from Story Cartel. The problem with Story Cartel, like Netgalley is that there's a risk of people who aren't your target audience grabbing your book and reviewing it, which happened to me. Often. However, Story Cartel gives you the email address of everyone who downloaded your book so you can add them to your mailing list. At the time I used the site, I didn't have a mailing list.

Review/Book Tours: Goddess Fish
I found this route effective. When you sign up and pay for a Book Tour, you can make your book available for review. Chains of the Sciell received a great review during the book tour. Got some helpful quotes to use. The tour through Goddess Fish was $90 for two weeks and it was money well spent. My story got some serious exposure. It didn't lead to any sales though. I consider the tour a success because of the review, exposure and connections. I discovered bloggers who are interested in my book. Some of them review books.

Goddess Fish is author friendly. They encourage reviewers not to leave a bad review during the tour. If they didn't like the book, they do a promo post instead. Either way, a win for me. I'm a tour host now for Goddess Fish and I like them even more. They also encourage authors to comment on their posts. Goddess Fish does some serious social sharing.

I signed up to have The Sciell go on a review tour Jan. 6-27. It cost $60, which is nothing compared to what I spent on reviews and Facebook ads in the past. I've already used Goddess Fish so I know it'plan be money well spent. Even if it doesn't help sales of The Sciell, this tour will be good advertisement for Book 3 The Lost Sciell (World title) coming in June.

It's all about what's good for your book. Kirkus Review and Netgalley aren't bad. They simply aren't good for my book. More than likely, as an author from a small press publishers, I shouldn't have focused on those giants right out the gate. My publisher and I learned that about BEA. It's really not for little known independent authors and small press publishers. Goddess Fish is friendly to the just starting out authors and publishers. Patchwork Press' Netgalley Co-op is specifically to help independent authors get on Netgalley. They also said certain books do better on Netgalley.
"The YA reviewer community is massive, and that’s reflected on NetGalley, with romance reviewers being the second most prevalent group. Since a lot of New Adult titles straddle both of these genres, it’s easy to see why New Adult is our most requested genre right now. Erotica titles are also getting consistent responses from reviewers, but we’ve had runaway hits in most genres." (Patchwork Press)
The quote was take from a Patchwork Press' NetGalley analysis. It was published in 2013 though so I don't know how accurate the findings still are. I've done enough tests to know readers like my book cover and least for The Sciell and Chains of the Sciell. Since my books are often said they could appeal to a YA audience, I may have done better on Netgalley if I tweaked my description a bit.

Don't know exactly what happened with StoryCartel. I'm thinking too many people who aren't my target audience read and reviewed my books.

You need to be aware of not only your audience but the review sites audience. Do your research. I went to Kirkus Review and Netgalley simply because other publishing professionals like them. I didn't do any research to see if giving those sites money was good for my books or how I should present my book on Netgalley.

Should authors pay for reviews? There's really no easy answer for that. It depends.

What do you think? Would you pay to get reviews?

The Book Designer: Should Authors Pay for Book Reviews?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Have a safe and Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Guest Post | Writing a Vampire Novel by G.W. Lwin

Being able to create my children, or my vampires was a dream come true. I was always drawn into the old and the ancient history of our evolution. Many times I will read and ponder on the many different subjects and philosophies of attaining immortality. And it all in a way or another comes down to the practices of purity of the body and the mind (or consciousness).

I also wanted my story to evolve from an actual drop of blood as our very first existence. And I wanted blood to be the sacred subject in my novel. The plot revolves around the qualities of the blood one carries. Qualities of the blood in the form of light or darkness. The quality of "light" being love, compassion, kindness, empathy, etc. And the quality of "darkness" being rage, anger, greed, desires, etc. They are both strong and powerful qualities trying to gain the supremacy, and I wanted to connect these with our day to day reality, our way of life and spirituality.

So I created another race. A race that possesses the pure quality of light — The Samsarics. They are near immortal-like beings, formed out of light or pureness, in an attempt to save the mortals, who are a fusion between light and darkness. This dates back to around 8000 B.C when the Samsarics came out of their pure blood 'form' and imparting their superior knowledge to the mortals who were still in the evolution phase to cultivate their skills to live, survive and learn to live in groups. From this, the mortals developed and honed their skills, and their numbers grew, powerful enough to build their first civilisation and cities from Mesopotamia and Ancient India.

The Samsarics, due to their pureness that flows in their veins and their near immortal-like status, attracts other beings; both mortals, and vampires seeking true immortality. The blood they drink from the Samsarics enhance their lives and provides them with superhuman strength and abilities. However in my novel, this drinking of blood from the Samsarics is not yet the true form of attaining immortality.

According to the Sumerian mythology, Ereshkigal is the goddess of the underworld or the "Queen of the Night". In my novel, she is portrayed as the mother of all vampires. She is the first of her kind, and she believes that true immortality can only be attained from absorbing the immortal-soul of Inanna.

Inanna, as in the Sumerian mythology, is the goddess of love, war, and fertility. In my novel, she is portrayed as one of the three elders of the Samsarics, formed out of light and to have the purest soul.

I love anything that comprises the old and the ancient full of rich history and spirituality. For me, reading and learning from our ancient past is truly a beautiful, unique and intriguing journey.

From a young age, I have felt that there were two versions of me: the old spiritual one and a young soul who still lives in his fantasy world.

However, both of these versions share one commonality - my interest in vampires from the ancient mythology and beliefs. I was mesmerized by their folklore since young.

The need to express is very strong within me. Writing, for me, provides this gateway and helps me to grow as a person. It is a life-long learning path that I gladly embark.

As a writer, I would like to improve each and every stage of writing, to possess the art of crafting words to communicate the emotions that arise from within to the readers ... a vision shared by many authors.

Title: The Samsaric
Author: G.W. Lwin
Genre: Fantasy Horror

The plague of 1918 A.D:

The mortal world is in a state of devastation.

A woman wakes up in an abandoned temple of Kali, the goddess of darkness, in an ancient city of Gaya.

She does not know where she is.

She does not remember the events leading to this.

She only hears a familiar voice of a tormented man who has haunted her dreams.

He tells her a story – of a time of souls and suffering, of immortality and gods, of life and death.

This, he says, is Mesopotamia.

THE SAMSARIC is a fantasy-horror novel based on ancient vampirism, history and mythology. Set in an era widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, it is a story of once-powerful mortal races and ancient gods and goddesses to excite and inspire.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Top 5 Short Horror Films

It's been hard to find a good horror movie, at least one that scares me. I've switched to watching short horror films on YouTube. For some reason, those things get under my skin. I think the "at home" feel they have makes the stories seem real. Now, when I want to veg out, I go to YouTube and binge watch horror shorts. Here are some of my favorites:

5. The Whistler
I don't jump easily but this one got me. Usually in these short films, the scares are awesome but the acting is bad. With this one, the acting and the scares were good. The monster was unsettling. 

4. Bedtime is at 10
What an awful, awful babysitter. She left this child alone in the apartment to talk on the phone. Anyway, the music was awesome and I really liked the twitchy ghost...we actually don't know what that things was. We know it wasn't supposed to be there. That's what's great about this short.

3. Knock
I was surprised how must Knock freaked me out. I dreaded the moment the video revealed who was stalking this female. It knows how to built the suspense. Side rant: this female hears someone knock in the middle of the night and opens the door. That's what peepholes are for. If you don't see anyone, that mean there's no one there or that person is up to no good.

2. Operator
Sci-fi horror, I love you. Give me a creepy alien any day. The creature wasn't the only thing off about this setting. I would not want to live in that world. Where does this guy work that he's locked in his station until his shift is over?! That ending was messed up.

1. Lights Out

Lights Out is the first horror short I watched. It's still terrifying. I'm still trying to figure out why that female kept turning her light on and off when she saw that shadow. Well played on duck-tapping the light switch. The ending though. That creature's face is hard to handle. 

Honorable Mention 

It started off a bit slow but man when it got going... chills.

Last Train Home
Last Train Home sticks with you. Got me thinking what I'd do in that situation. That acting though. Meh. The female's friend was a bit annoying. 

Do you agree? Disagree? What's your favorite short horror film?

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Week in Links 12/18/15 Star Wars, The Conjuring 2, Marketing 2016

Book Marketing and Branding
7 Instagram Tips for Self-published Writers
7 Marketing Trends We’re Excited For In 2016
5 Things You Should Be Doing In Social Media Marketing In 2016
How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Posts: A Game Plan for the Top Social Networks

Independence Day: Resurgence Has an Excuse for Its Lack of Will Smith
Will ‘The Conjuring 2’ Open With the ‘Amityville Horror’ Case?!
Watch the First Trailer for Star Trek: Beyond!
Did you read any memorable articles this week?

This is the last Week in Links of 2015. Doesn't feel like I've been doing this series for almost a year. I started in February. Time flies. Christmas and New Year falls on a Friday. There won't be a Week in Links on those days. Let's end The Week in Links 2015 on a epic note. I play this awesome score in the background when I'm writing. Gets me pumped!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Immurement by Norma Hinkens

Title: Immurement: The Undergrounders Series Book One
Author: Norma Hinkens
Genre: YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi

The earth’s core overheats. The sovereign leader vanishes. A young girl is the survivors’ only hope.

What little land is habitable is patrolled by cutthroat gangs of escaped subversives, but that’s not the greatest threat facing sixteen-year-old Derry Connelly, her brother Owen, and a ragged band of Preppers holed up in a bunker in the Sawtooth Mountains. Mysterious hoverships operated by clones are targeting adolescents for extraction.

Owen, is one of the first to disappear. To save him, Derry must strike a deal with the murderous subversives, and risk a daring raid to infiltrate the heart of the extraction operation.

But will the rookie leader falter when forced to choose between her brother and a clone who ignites something inside her she didn’t know was possible?

Norma Hinkens is an author who takes a fiendish delight in pushing reluctant characters over cliffs to find out what they're made of. Epic odds, seemingly impossible missions, pasts that haunt, intrigue and misadventure. She’s happiest when wrangling provocative big picture ideas that are never black and white when you turn them inside out. It's all about the tension in the journey.

Norma grew up among rich storytelling traditions in her native Ireland. A Celtic bard at heart, she's happiest wielding her wordsmithing sword with as much wit and eloquence as a bard can muster. She currently resides in California with her husband, three children and Chihuahua extraordinaire. She is the author of the YA Undergrounders Series: Immurement, Embattlement and Adjudgement.

“What do you think he meant about saving Owen?” Trout looks at me curiously. “I thought he was dead.”

“He is,” I say, too sharply.

The room falls silent. My brain screams a million thoughts at me. I clench my trembling fingers into fists. It all seems unreal—the kind of heart-stopping nightmare you wake up from, gasping for air, soaked in sweat.

After what Won said, I’m questioning everything. What if I’ve made a terrible mistake? What if Owen's still breathing when Lyong finds him? What if they take him to Sektor Sieben and hardwire some kind of circuit board into his brain? I jam my hands into my hair and blow a few listless puffs of air over my face. I’m suddenly burning up in the bunker. I turn around and walk unevenly back to my seat, legs bending like reeds.

Big Ed scratches the back of his neck, throws me an uneasy look. The Council members look at me expectantly, but I avert my gaze and sink back in my chair, undone and disconnecting. I have nothing to offer them. All I ever wanted was the chance to step up and be somebody, but that dream’s become my burden. Do they think I can just take over where Owen left off? Lead a teenage flash mob to take on the Schutz Clones.

And now that the Sweepers know we have some kind of resistance movement going, they’ll be ready for us when we go back. I groan and bury my face in my hands. When we go back. It’s like I have a subliminal death wish.

I save your brother. Won’s words sear my brain. Even more agonizing because the lie preys on my tattered emotions. There’s nothing Won can do that will bring Owen back, but I can’t stop speculating about what he meant. I know what Won’s idea of saving brain-dead participants entails, and the thought of Owen being subjected to anything like that makes me want to put Won’s head on a spike.

I rub my hands vigorously over my face as if to scrub the grisly images of Sektor Sieben from my mind. It may be too late to save Owen, but there are others. I owe it to Mason to try and free the rest of the clones. And then there’s the deviations—I felt their silent pleas. The Sweepers have to be stopped.

But how?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Horror Inspiration in Photos

I'm that person that'll walk through a cemetery with my camera hoping to find some extra creepy shots to inspire a horror or dark story. I'll be scaring myself imagining all types of abominations jumping out at me as I raise my camera. Or worse, imagining some figure appearing in my shot but not in the actual scene.

Here are pics from my fav cemetery Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Yes, I have a favorite cemetery. I usually share photos unedited but I had some fun with these in Photoshop. Can you spot the ghosts?

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Week in Links 12/11/15 SE Asian Steampunk, NOS4A2, X-Men

Book Marketing and Branding
Pinterest is Changing The Social Media Game
5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Results

The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Characters We Couldn’t Stop Talking About in 2015
Southeast Asian Steampunk: An Interview with Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng
Going Global. Self Publishing Tips From Dan Wood From Draft2Digital

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart

Title: The Beast of Barcroft
Author: Bill Schweigart
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Horror

Fans of Stephen King and Bentley Little will devour The Beast of Barcroft, Bill Schweigart’s brilliant new vision of dark suburban horror. Ben thought he had the neighbor from hell. He didn’t know how right he was. . . .

Ben McKelvie believes he’s moving up in the world when he and his fiancée buy a house in the cushy Washington, D.C., suburb of Barcroft. Instead, he’s moving down—way down—thanks to Madeleine Roux, the crazy neighbor whose vermin-infested property is a permanent eyesore and looming hazard to public health.

First, Ben’s fiancée leaves him; then, his dog dies, apparently killed by a predator drawn into Barcroft by Madeleine’s noxious menagerie. But the worst is yet to come for Ben, for he’s not dealing with any ordinary wild animal. This killer is something much, much worse. Something that couldn’t possibly exist—in this world.

Now, as a devilish creature stalks the locals, Ben resolves to take action. With some grudging assistance from a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the crackpot theories of a self-styled cryptozoologist, he discovers the sinister truth behind the attacks, but knowing the Beast of Barcroft and stopping it are two different animals.

The sun had set and all that remained of the crimson sky was a thin red line over the trees to the west. It was November, just after the dreary end of Daylight Savings Time, which had freshly sliced an hour of sunshine from his day. Too dark too early, he thought. He turned his back to the trail and was on the short path back to the road when he heard it again.

A baby crying.

He brought his hand to his mouth and called out. The crying continued at the same volume, as if the child had not heard him. It was difficult to get a bearing on it. It sounded like it came from inside a well but it also seemed to drift down from the branches overhead. A trick of the autumn wind, he told himself. For a moment, he thought of La Llorona, the Crying Lady, who drowned her children in the Rio Grande to impress a suitor. When the man was understandably not impressed, she had killed herself, but her spirit roamed the riverbanks, wailing and taking children after nightfall ever since. It was just a bit offolklore his father told him to keep him from falling into the river, but he shivered. He called out again and closed his eyes to listen harder. The crying floated around him. He had started for his truck to get a flashlight when he cursed himself.

The stream. He had not checked Four Mile Run.

He sprinted back down the path and crossed the trail to the edge of the valley. The stream was thirty, maybe forty feet below, and the steep face was choked with vines and roots, rock outcroppings jutting out and obscuring the bank directly below him. Stream my ass, he thought. It looked like a river. Water, from a week of heavy rains up north, roared over the rocks. It was so loud you could barely hear yourself think, even at this height. In the valley, it was darker and harder to see, and a corner of his mind nagged at him to get the flashlight, but the crying was clearer now, pinpointed. And insistent.

“Hang on!” he yelled. “I’m coming!”

He clambered down as quickly as he could. Halfway down, clinging to the undergrowth, he wiped the sweat from his eyes. He peered over the lip and spied a figure below. “I’m coming.”

The figure turned and sniffed the air between them.

Manny swiped his eyes again and blinked. What he saw should not be here in Arlington.

He moved faster scrambling up than climbing down, using every limb and muscle to get back to the trail, to his truck that would take him away. Promises and prayers jumbled his thoughts. If I make it, Madre Mía, I’ll exercise, he thought. His heart burned, but he shot up the tangle as fast as his body would allow. He got his head over the edge and raked at the valley wall with his feet to clear it, but the thing caught his ankle and pulled. For a moment, he could see the trail, just feet in front ofhim. Beyond that, the small beaten path that led to the guardrail, the border between the woods and Barcroft, between this nightmare and the real world. Then came a sharp, wrenching pain. Manny hollered, but in a split second his leg was blessedly free again.

He pumped it but found no purchase. He looked down and saw his foot was gone.

With the little air left in his lungs, Manny threw back his head and screamed. Maybe someone on the trail would hear and come running, but it was November now and too dark too early. There was no one to flag down, and the rushing water drowned out his screams just the same. He wasn’t going to make it to the truck or the trail or out of this valley. It had him by the knee now. The trail slid from his view. Overhead he saw the stars beginning to reveal themselves on a clear night, framed now by the walls of the valley. Then the beast pulled him down into the stream and he saw nothing. The last thing he thought before losing consciousness was his inability to distinguish the icy sting of Four Mile Run from the teeth.

Bill Schweigart is a former Coast Guard officer who has drawn from his experiences at sea to write the taut nautical thriller, Slipping The Cable. Schweigart's debut is a modern entry to the rich tradition of the sea novel: everyone is confined aboard ship, tensions run high, and the setting itself is deadly, but not nearly as deadly as his characters. If you have ever suffered an impossible boss, ever wanted to fall off the grid and start over fresh, or just wanted to lose yourself in a high seas and high stakes adventure, Slipping The Cable is a must read. Schweigart lives in Arlington, VA, where he is currently finishing his second novel, a supernatural thriller set in the shadow of Washington, DC.

Buy Links

Monday, December 7, 2015

Movie Review: Krampus

It's been awhile since I've done a movie review. The first time I saw the trailer for Krampus, I was like Oh...Wait What?!...What!...Oh, I am seeing this!!! It's a Christmas horror movie. We rarely get one of those and they're usually slasher flicks. Krampus is supernatural. My kind of movie. I wasn't disappointed.
"A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home."
Let's take a moment and enjoy that fact that there is a Christmas demon. The move didn't make it up. Krampus, in mythology, punishes bad children during Christmas. It's the anti-Claus.

The movie is silly and not in a bad way. It's one you don't take seriously. Just enjoy the ride and don't think too much about it. Krampus totally twisted the Christmas theme. All the monsters were holiday related.
Even Krampus (the Christmas demon) was dressed like Santa Claus carrying a big red bag full of badness.

I have to hand it to the movie. The monsters were...wrong on so many levels. They even had killer gingerbread cookies. That's messed up. I wouldn't say they were scary. At least I didn't find them terrifying. As a horror fan, I enjoyed them. The movies wasn't all that scary. More twisted. It was gore free, which I like.

It even had some funny moments. I generally don't like mixing comedy in my horror. Krampus did it in a way that didn't take too much from the horror.

Since it's a horror movie surrounding a family at Christmas, I expected it to be horror-lite. You know, the family would be terrorized but nothing really bad would happen to them. I was so wrong. No spoilers. Anyway, that family was a mess. Reminded me of Christmas Vacation- the well-off family having their not-so-rich side stay with them for Christmas. They were total stereotypes.
They were memorable for some of the things they did. Though, I admit, I can't remember many of their names. They didn't have any depth. But, that was fine for this type of movie.

The most interesting characters were Max played by Emjay Anthony
And Omi (Krista Stadler). They had the most depth. And Omi was a badass. 
Max looked sweet and adorable but he'd beat someone up for bad mouthing Christmas. Same with Omi. She looks like this sweet grandma but she's got some steel in her.

I was impressed with how they portrayed Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen). She didn't get much screen time. She's the cliched hot older sister. They're usually mean and intolerable. She wasn't. I wish they did more with her.
Then there's Tom (Adam Scott). I haven't seen any of his other movies. I liked him in Krampus. His character was another surprise. The movie tried to play him of as this weak city boy until he started shooting monsters, then he became extra awesome.
That ending though, no spoilers, but I was about to be real angry at that ending. It fixed itself. Overall, Krampus isn't a blockbuster but it's not a disappointment either. I don't feel like it was a waste of money. I'd watch it again.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Week in Links 12/4/15 Book Marketing, Black Panther, Samurai Jack, Afrofuturism

Book Marketing and Branding
Successful Blogging Tips, Authenticity And Longevity With Yaro Starak
Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Pricing Plan? Part One
Missing Facebook Pages: What to Do When Facebook Takes Your Page Away
How to Post Curated Content Across Multiple Social Platforms
5 Tips for Selling Products on Instagram

New Netflix Horror Movies Update for December 1, 2015
J.J. Abrams Has a Great Message for Everyone in Making The Force Awakens Appeal to Young Girls
Madeleine L'Engle, The YA Author For The Oddball In Everyone
Utopian and Dystopian Visions of Afrofuturism

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Book Marketing: Stories on Twitter and Instagram

New month means new headers all around! Check out my Twitter and Facebook headers, too!

I usually feature a book or guest post on Wednesday but I made a mistake with my schedule. Lesson learned. We'll be back to our regular schedule next week!

You've probably heard about this-- authors are using Twitter and Instagram to distribute stories. They also use it to write books one tiny piece at a time. This speaks to the trend of readers wanting to get behind the curtain in the making of a book. It's like "Writing, Uncut."

Authors are turning Twitter into a literary genre, 140 characters at a time
Telling a Strange Love Story, Post by Post on Instagram
R.L. Stine Writes An Entire Short Story On Twitter Called 'What's In My Sandwich?'

It's a fascinating concept. It's interesting watching other authors make social media work for them in a new way. I've started writing short shorts for Twitter and Instagram and I'm seeing mixed results. When I share my nature photos on Twitter and Instagram, I add a mini story.

I usually do a short version on Twitter and a longer version on Instagram.

I made up these stories on the spot. They aren't related to any book I'm writing--though that would be a good idea. As you can see, I get more interaction on Instagram than Twitter, probably because Instagram is best for my pictures. Posts on Instagram have a longer life and more hashtags.

I haven't seen the huge interaction as talked about in the above articles but these stories are fun to write and they get consistent engagement on Instagram. They're a good way to exercise your writing muscles. They add something different to my Twitter activity besides sharing links. I might get more interaction if I do a series. I'll need to plan that out.

Have you written any stories on Twitter and/or Instagram?
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