glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
This is not my usual format for a "Film of the Book" review, because there's just one aspect of this story I want to get into today.

One thing you probably know about me by now is I watch a lot of horror movies. So this is a fun time of year for me. Among my more recent traditions is the 31 Days of Halloween Movie Marathon wherein I try to watch a movie a day for a solid month--all horror, all stuff I haven't seen before--and see how far I get before the blessed day itself.

One thing you might also know is that October, in addition to being the month of candy, costumes and creepy things, is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Which makes it the month of pink ribbons. There was a time when this really annoyed me, because when I'm marathoning scary movies, I don't really want to be surrounded by pink everywhere I go. My relationship with the color is . . . complicated. For a long time, I hated it on principle because it was "girly" and therefore "stupid" and "bad." More recently, I started to question why exactly I associated it with those latter two. Why does "girly" equal "stupid" and "bad," I wondered?

Carrie1
(Image property of MGM)


This year, the first movie in my marathon queue was the 2013 version of Carrie directed by Kimberly Pierce and starring Chloe Grace Moretz. Counting the TV movie with Angela Bettis that came out in 2002, it's the third on-screen adaptation I've seen of Stephen King's novel, but also the first I've seen since I actually read the book. All three movies are very similar--nothing marks this one as different except a posting-horrible-things-on-the-internet side plot that I was expecting to go way further than it did. I think this is a good thing since the story is so universal, so timeless, yet so particular to the unique hell that is life as a teenage girl, that it wouldn't be the same if you shifted it too much in another direction.

What jumped out at me this time, however, was the use of color. I'm not talking about the blood-drenched finale or the harrowing shower scene in the beginning--red is an obvious go-to in stories like this. I'm talking about Carrie's prom dress. If you're only superficially familiar with the story, then there are two things you need to know about that dress: 1) Carrie makes it herself. 2) It's pink.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (emma)
Credit for this blog idea is due to fellow AW member Cyia, who made the following post last week: "Just an observation, but looking at the differences in the ages of the characters in the books [of A Song of Ice and Fire] compared to their portrayals on screen, all of the main favored characters, with the possible exception of Tyrion [. . .] would have made this one of, if not the most popular YA series ever written. The POV would just have to shift a bit. Even the biggest baddie, in the form of a psycho boy king, would have been YA territory."

Have to say, I've never thought of it that way before. But she makes a fascinating point: A Song of Ice and Fire is more densely populated with teen characters--properly defined, developed, plot-driving characters, not just stereotypes and fillers--than most of the actual category YA books I've read. Seriously.

It's hard to remember this if you come to the series through the show, because so many of the characters were aged up; HBO has fewer limitations than network television about what it can and can't show, but there are Rules about minor actors and the sorts of scenes they can legally participate in. In the books, an overwhelming majority of the POV characters--Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Theon Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, Arya, Bran and Sansa Stark--are all under 18. That's not even counting secondary characters who don't have POV chapters but still play major roles, like Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Ygritte, the Reeds, and Margaery Tyrell, who are all teenagers. Hell, even Jaime Lannister, who is technically an adult when we meet him, spends a big chunk of his narrations in flashbacks from when he first became a knight, at age fifteen.

As it happens, roughly the same time Cyia brought this up, an article started making the rounds from Slate about how grown-ups who read YA should be ashamed of themselves because: "There’s room for pleasure, escapism, juicy plots, and satisfying endings on the shelves of the serious reader. [. . . ] But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something." (Full article here.)

tumblr_mallcxSKHE1r6th1ro1_500

Back to this again, are we?

So, every few months or so an article like this surfaces to scold the general populace for enjoying things that someone's decided are unworthy of being enjoyed. I still don't know why this is important. Since the Slate article has already been roundly debunked by a number of bloggers much more prolific than me, I don't even have to go there.

What I do want to ask is this: What is YA? The trouble with this question is, when you start trying to work out what YA is, you find it's a lot easier to dig up false assumptions about what YA isn't. There seem to be a lot of rules and expectations that actual YA books pretty much ignore, such as whether or not you can have gruesome violence, detailed sex scenes, foul language, etc., etc., etc. Look, either a given story calls for that kind of thing, or it doesn't, and all you need to do is pick up a handful of real live books in any category to discount any of those elements as qualifiers. Still, there are a few elements some say are required in YA that I find more compelling. But not entirely convincing.

Read more. . . )

*Let's leave Battle Royale out of this for now--it's a great piece of work, but reached a much narrower audience, and didn't spark the global phenomenon that The Hunger Games did.

(Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] rhoda_rants.)
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Let's get this out of the way first: her name is Moon Child. If you're asking "Who?" right now, then quit reading this review immediately and go watch The Neverending Story because this is going to be one of my main talking points. Okay, everybody on the same page? Good. Moving on!

The Neverending Story was a children's epic fantasy written by Michael Ende in 1979, translated from the German in 1983, and adapted to film by Wolfgang Petersen in 1984. The movie, of course, is what most people remember--and for good reason. It's fantastic, and one of my favorite movies of all time. Here, I'll be focusing on the first movie and how it lines up to the book, because like most fans, I prefer to pretend the two sequels don't exist. (Although the Nostalgia Critic does a pretty good throttling of them here and here, if you're curious--links Not Safe For Work, by the way.)

As I mentioned in the Ring review, this was my first exposure to the breaking of the fourth wall. And it BLEW MY MIND. Imagine you're four years old, creative, and more comfortable around books than people. Suddenly a movie arrives that tells you not only that books are real, but that the characters inside them need you to believe in them to keep them alive. I ran with that hard, and wound up with a vast menagerie of imaginary friends. (These days, I call them "characters" and write them into my own books.) There's a lot that I could gush about in this particular review, but I'll try to confine it to a few major points so this doesn't get too unwieldy.

Warning: We'll be talking about depression and suicide extensively in this review, so if anyone has triggers for that sort of thing, be aware.

In the beginning, it is always dark. )
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Just to get this out of the way: I'm not gonna talk about Ringu 2, The Ring 2, Rasen, Ring 0: Birthday, or any of the other films that came out of the Ring world after the original Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata, and the American remake starring Naomi Watts. Partly because I haven't seen any of those; partly because, with the exception of Rasen, the other films follow the movie-verse set up by Nakata and aren't true adaptations of Koji Suzuki's books. (In the same vein, I won't be addressing the books beyond Ring.)

That said, let's explore the now infamous story of a girl, a well, and a videotape. . .

Seven days. )
glitter_n_gore: (clockwork orange)
So, as I mentioned way, way back in the Jane Austen vs Romance post, I've put together a reading list for myself based on books that have been adapted to film. At first I was focusing on movies I had seen, plus books I hadn't read yet--exploring the original source material, because I'm cultured and literary and stuff.

Then, I had an idea: over the years, Iv'e become less critical of movies purely on the basis of whether they adapt the work faithfully. Most of the time, I do prefer the book, but film is a very different medium and ought to be judged on its own terms, inside its own time constraints and limitations. A poor adaptation doesn't automatically make a bad movie, and likewise a faithful adaptation doesn't always make a good one.

With that in mind, I decided to do a Film of the Book blog series reviewing both written works of fiction and their respective cinematic adaptations, detailing the differences between them, which version I personally prefer, and which version I encountered first.

Because I'm me, we'll be starting with Stephen King. . .

Children of the Corn )
glitter_n_gore: (midori sours)
So, in order to expand my literary horizons and give myself a list to cross things off of (I do like my lists), I've created a new reading list entitled, You've Seen the Movie, Now Read the Book! That's actually the file name, and yes, I saved it as a Word doc.

One of the books on this list is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version is the movie I've seen). I'm about halfway through it right now, and keep putting it away and coming back to it in smallish bits. I haven't been able to go through it all at once for two reasons: 1) The ebook I got is a horribly formatted free download (Most of the classics are free downloads, but OH GOD, please break your paragraphs! Break them! Have some mercy!); 2) I just don't like Jane Austen, despite giving her the ol' college try, whatever the hell that means.

But I'm not here to talk about that. It's fine for what it is, just not my thing. What I want to talk about is the assertion of so many Jane Austen fans I've met that insist her work--and this book--isn't "romance." Now, in fairness, I've never been a fan of romance, so I'm not an expert on the subject by any stretch of the imagination. However, I have a working knowledge of genre conventions in general, and the way category romance is perceived by the general public. (Read: not favorably.) The widespread idea is that category romance is poorly written, sex-heavy, full of one-dimensional characters, and just overall not that good. Jane Austen, on the other hand, is mostly regarded as a fine author of classic literature. She had her detractors (just ask Charlotte Bronte), but her work has stood the test of time and is widely read and appreciated all over the world.

The truth is that modern romance is often dismissed by some folks before they ever read a word. Yes, there's a lot of crap in the genre as a whole, and yes there's a formula that most romance writers adhere to, but the same can be said for any genre, in any time period. The only factors that truly categorize a work of fiction as "romance" are these: characters meet, sparks fly, circumstances keep them apart, eventually said circumstances are overcome, and then characters achieve Happily Ever After. That's it. And as far as I can tell, Pride and Prejudice follows that to the letter. There's some family drama going on as well, and it's got plenty of humor, but the main plot thread follows Lizzy Bennett and Mr. Darcy untangling various misunderstandings and getting to their Happily Ever After. To be fair, I haven't finished it yet, but that's where this is going, right?

So here's what I wonder: Are Austen's fans decrying the label of "romance" in her defense? Is this really about the book, and Austen herself, being mis-categorized, or do people just want to jam a crowbar of separation between Austen and the painted maypole that is the modern category Romance with a Capital R? Seriously. Tell me. Because if we're breaking down the elements of romance into their most basic parts, I don't see the difference. And even though I still don't care for Big R Romance, I've read enough of it to know that there is some quality fiction out there. (For example: Tell Me Lies by Jennifer Crusie; or Ilfayne's Bane by Julia Knight.)

Just something to think about.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
The lovely and talented Lydia Netzer sat in on our workshop this week, and had a number of informative and cool things to say about writing one's first novel.

She also recently posted a number of those same things at the Book Pregnant blog here:
Five Good Reasons You Won't Finish Your Novel.

This is somewhat related to my last post, but in the other direction: some ironic encouragement to keep going on that writing project, rather than permission to let it go.

Enjoy! :)
glitter_n_gore: (clockwork orange)
This post is somewhat spoilery--consider yourselves warned.

First and for the record: yes, I'm a Battle Royale enthusiast and dedicated Asia Extreme fangirl, but we aren't here to talk about which futuristic dystopia about a totalitarian government annually pitting its children against each other in a last-man-standing duel to the death came first or did it better. I do have a preference, but they are very different stories, and I happen to believe Suzanne Collins' claim that she hadn't read or even heard of Koushoun Takami's novel before writing hers.

So, what are we here to talk about? Well, first let me direct you to this excellent post by [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire: Some thoughts about gender and literature. The Internet is no stranger to gender wars, especially the really nasty ones, and somehow they seem to be getting worse. In the literary quadrant of said wars we have YA paranormal romance in one corner, with their pretty dresses and broody Type A alpha love interests; in the other, we have so-called "boy books" about action and adventure and coming-of-age. The biggest point of contention being, not the actual content of the sub-genres, but the gender of the main characters and, by extension, their assumed target audiences.

Let me put it another way: certain readers who prefer not to read books with female protagonists say they avoid them on the off-chance that a romance will happen. As someone who isn't fond of romance on the whole, I get this . . . kind of. It has a twisted logic to it. Twisted, because, well, not all books with female protagonists are about romance. Just as not all books with male protagonists are without it. Using gender as an excuse to make assumptions about a book's content is perfectly ridiculous.

Now, about The Hunger Games... )
glitter_n_gore: (chiaki)
Egads! February's almost over already. How'd that happen??

But it's not quite over yet, and my fellow Women in Horror have been quite busy. Here's what the rest of my Hounds have been up to:

Diane Dooley posted this interview with Nicole J. LeBoeuf, author of several short stories, including "My First Breath," which appears in the Ellen Datlow anthology, Blood and Other Cravings. If I haven't mentioned this here before, Ellen Datlow is my favorite horror anthologist, and deserves a mention on her own.

Ms. Dooley also put together this helpful index of some of the other bloggers and participants in this year's festivities--including yours truly!

Sara Jayne Townsend has two blog entries to commemorate the month: Part 1 discusses the traditionally male focus of the genre, and the perception that women just don't do the horror thing; Part 2 is a roundup of some of her favorite horror writers.

Lastly, horror writer Foinah Jameson talks about the difference between fear and viscera, and the importance of gallows humor here.

As for myself, I have submitted "The Candelabrum" to the first magazine on my list. (Help! Help!) That's the most exciting writerly thing I've been up to lately, but I will keep y'all posted on any further developments.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
First, check out this interview with Luke Walker about his new ebook, The Red Girl.

Second, in the continuing spirit of Women in Horror Month, fellow Houndie Night Flyer has posted on a spotlight on author Sarah Langon on her shiny new blog. Check that out as well.

In other news, I have now read two--count 'em, two--of the books in my TBR pile: L. A. Banks's Minion and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Crossing 'em off the list now.

Anyways, since I haven't done one of these in far too long, here's a progress report on what I'm actually working on writing-wise:


Novels:

Fire Worker--previously known as "Demigeists," so obviously the first piece of news on this one is I changed the title. The reason being that "demigeists," these neat little fun-sized ghosties I made up that travel through mirrors and steal souls very, very gradually, while still worth a shot eventually I think, just aren't going to work in the context I worked out. The total wordcount so far is 28,000. I'm about at the halfway mark.

Early Risers--Currently standing at 13,000 words, and passing the Plot Twist. Which, this being a zombie story, means the outbreak is getting worse. Another issue is I realized I haven't described what my protagonist looks like yet. I tend to be lax with physical descriptions for some reason, particularly for POV characters. I don't know why. I'll figure something out, I hope.

Shorts:

Doppelganger--four rejections so far, all form, no takers. I took another look at it and decided the beginning was weak, so I'm putting it back into the editing stage before sending it anywhere else.

The Candelabrum--3,000 after the second round of edits, and now I'm scouring my lists for where to send it. Wish me luck!
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
First, Mira Grant, author of Deadline, Book Two in the Newsflesh trilogy, has been nominated for a Philip K. Dick award--yay to her! I'm excited on her behalf, because her books are among the best I read last year, and easily my favorite books in the zombie genre. Read more here.

Second, I seem to be nominated for something also: The Versatile Bloggers Award, courtesy of Ann Elise Monte. (Thanks again!) I've never been nominated as blogger before, so I'm very excited about this. The rules say I'm supposed to nominate some other folks too, which I'll do in a future blog. Need to think about that for a bit.

Third, Luke Walker, fellow Horror Hound and one of the finest writers I know, has his novel, The Red Girl out as an ebook as of this past weekend. Yay to him as well! He's been working on this for quite some time, so I'm very happy for him for getting it out to the public. More info here.

Which brings me to my broken resolution: I did it. I went and bought some books, including Luke's, before getting through my TBR pile. Almost made it through January. Damn. I will get through the pile before the year's out though. I'm . . . revising the resolution, let's say. But I will do it.
glitter_n_gore: (chiaki)


Firstly, no, I'm not cheating on my resolution (yet). I checked out Alison Goodman's Eon from the library late in December, and got around to finishing it only a week ago. (I am a slow reader.)

Secondly, the January pick for the YA Floating Diversity Book Club is up: I'm doing Libyrinth. And I'll be reviewing that, and the December pick sometime later. (Yes, a very slow reader.)

So, Eon is the story of the Dragoneyes--young men trained from an early age to commune with the spirit dragons of an alternate universe Asia, and thus control things like weather, the health of the emperor, crops prospering, and all kinds of good things. There's one dragon for each of the animals in the Chinese zodiac (although it's not called that in this universe), except one, the Mirror dragon (associated with the dragon zodiac), which has disappeared for centuries. And then Eon, a young apprentice Dragoneye with a lame hip and the unprecedented ability to see all twelve dragons without any prior training, comes to the ceremony that selects the Rat Dragoneye for that season, and the Mirror Dragon resurfaces and chooses Eon as its Dragoneye.

The catch is that Eon is actually Eona, not a young boy but a girl, and women are forbidden from using dragon magic--not only forbidden, but it's assumed that women have no power, so her training as a Dragoneye is not only prohibited but laughable.

This setup is pretty basic, actually, and I was expecting a good swashbuckling adventure with some high-minded preaching maybe about gender roles. However, what's amazing about this book is that it captures perfectly what it feels like to go through life closeted, to stifle your true identity so completely that you forget who you are and how to reconcile your role in life with what might happen to you if your secrets are discovered.

It's remarkably well-written to start with, so I knew by the first page that I was in for something more interesting and original than what I expected. Eon/Eona is an active protagonist, forced to grow up quickly make her own choices early on, and her growth and maturity were both believable and painful to witness.

She also has a close friend and ally in a character named Lady Dela, a transgendered female, who is described as having "the body of a man, but the spirit of a woman"--perhaps the most poetic and elegant description of a transgendered person I've ever seen. Goodman doesn't shy away from the malicious hazing this character has to endure either--Lady Dela has scars from where someone carved the character for "demon" into her skin, and she travels with a bodyguard to keep from being attacked. Also, Lady Dela is consistently referred to as "she," never casting any doubt on her feminine nature.

There is plenty of adventure here--mystery and hidden conspiracies, political intrigue handled in a way that stays interesting and holds the reader captivated, and Eona's budding friendship with the Prince which may turn into something more in the sequel, I'm not sure, but even if that's the case it's, again, handled in such a way that it comes off beautifully. But it's also a coming-of-age story about gender identity and knowing one's true self. Eona goes through an internal struggle on how "female" she really is, whether this masquerade is becoming part of her identity or whether she is just denying the female part of her nature for her own safety. The author brings up with deft subtlety the difference between conforming to prescribed gender roles in whatever society you're in, and claiming whatever gender you are as part of your being.

I don't know that this is really a metaphor for the closeted teenager, but boy does it have a lot of the same feeling behind it. That itch to confide in someone is there, coupled with fear that she might be exiled or even killed just for being what she is, and also the doubt about whether her friends will ever trust her again once they know she's kept such a big secret from them.

My looming TBR pile is the only thing stopping me from reading the sequel right now, but I highly recommend this book regardless.
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Greetings! Just so I have something to link back to and cross things off of, here is my projected reading list for this year.

The TBR Pile )
glitter_n_gore: (midori sours)
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I sure did. Better than last year, anyway, and I have a new job that I actually really like, which is quite exciting.

On the writing front, I haven't stopped working on any of my various projects, but I'm thwarted by technology and its failings. (Translation: The lappy is D-E-A-D, and I'm borrowing my stepdad's mini to work on my manuscripts until I can get a new one.) This has been an issue since mid-October, and has been in a state of flux until recently, when it became a state of D-E-A-D.

Anyway, I finished the first draft for "The Candelabrum" and have had two beta readers look it over.

Got another rejection back on "Doppelganger," and I'm holding back on any more submissions until we actually hit January, because that's when all the magazines open up for new material again.

For the novels, I'm 17k into "Demigeists" and getting a slightly better handle on the plot. (Yay!) I also have a plot bunny I've decided to feed--taking my 2010 NaNo, "The Time Ghost," in a different direction, and that one has about 4000 words on it already. Lastly, "Early Risers" is at a standstill, but I've passed the 10k mark so it feels like a real manuscript now. Something about hitting that fifth digit is encouraging.

Nothing further in the works right now, but I think that's plenty.

I do have resolutions for the New Year. Let me show you them:

1) Hone my synopsis writing skills.

2) Whiddle down my TBR pile. This means no buying any more NEW books until I read all the ones currently stacked up in various piles around my room at this very moment. It's 54 books. I know I can do it. I will post my reading list here shortly after the new year so I have something to cross stuff off of.

Speaking of lists, the final count for Books Read in 2011 stands at 78. Coming in last is John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids--the heartwarming story of a world being slowly taken over by seven-foot-tall man-eating space plants. To tell the truth, the narrative tone is wretchedly sexist and ablist, but the concept and execution is brilliant. It's one of those pulpy, sci-fi classics that people like me simply must read at some point their lifetimes.

I'll do a blog with my top ten books I read this year some time later.

Anyone else have resolutions they'd like to share? I'd love to hear 'em.
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
Here is my first entry for the Permanent Floating YA Diversity Book Club proposed by [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija: Witch Eyes, by Scott Tracey. This is the October/November pick for the book club, so I'm a bit late in the game, but still playing.



The protagonist, Braden, is gifted with the unusual ability to detect and dismantle any spell simply by looking at it. No stranger to the supernatural, Braden was raised by his Uncle John to be a witch. Unfortunately, he's stubborn, and his power is WAY out of control. Then one day, while Braden is at the grocery, he gets knocked over by a vision so overwhelming he feels he has no choice but to follow it to the town of Belle Dam, where loyalties are split and tensions are high, and both sides want Braden's so-called "witch eyes" for their own purposes. The problem? One of the sides is led by Braden's estranged father. The other one is led by the mother of his new boyfriend.

More thoughts and minor spoilers below... )
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)
Remember Wicked Pretty Things? Well, buckle your seatbelts, because someone's thrown more fuel on this fire.

The basic story is this: Authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith wrote this article for Publishers Weekly, detailing their decision to walk after a certain agency asked them to A) marginalize, B) de-gay, or C) entirely remove a pivotal character from their YA novel.

Agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe (although not the agent in question, at least not as far as sources can tell so far) caught wind of this and put out a response to the internet, saying that the conversation about the character, and what should be done about him, was taken out of context, misconstrued, and these authors are taking things the wrong way and making the agency look bad. Her full rebuttal is here.

It got complicated as more authors, editors, and agency reps hopped onto the comment train, and added their tweets to the conversation.

As usual, the magnificent Cleo has all the details.

The real issue is not truly who said what to whom and for what reasons in this particular incident. Oh, no. The issue is what place queer characters currently occupy in the YA market, and how that needs to change.

Particularly telling is this anonymous comment on Brown and Smith's original article:

"I'm so tired of the reactionary nature of the internet. This is a case in point of that.

As a reader, I don't want to be force-fed something I'm not comfortable with reading or dealing with. This goes for anything, not just homosexual content.

Do homosexuals exist? Do rapists exist? Do drug addicts and drug dealers exist? Do dark and scary things exist?

Yes. But that doesn't mean I want to read about it. I read to escape and if a book leaves me feeling enraged or depressed or anything that isn't a feeling I want to have hanging over my day or week, it's not a book for me.

It has nothing to do with homophobia or bigotry of any kind."
(Source)

Take a moment and let that sink in. I want you to note how this person equates rape and drug-dealing with homosexuality. This right here is why we call it homophobia--it all comes down to fear. And it's a fear that, unlike that of rapists and drug-dealers, is completely baseless. I really wonder where these people get their information, and how they draw their conclusions about what makes non-straight people so "dark and scary."

So what do we do about it?

If you're a reader, you can follow the suggestion to vote with your dollars--prove to the marketplace that the readership for queer characters and their stories is out there, especially in YA where all the really important changes seem to be happening these days. That is the best and most impactful way to make something happen.

But what about me? What should I, as a writer, do about this?

Read on. )
glitter_n_gore: (cheryl)
First, I want to give a shout-out to my friend Jenna Pittman, whose story "The Language of Bones" is currently appearing in Blood Bound Books' Rock and Roll is Dead anthology, which was released this summer. I know I mentioned this before, but I bring it up again because the current issue of Rue Morgue Magazine--the one with the original Fright Night poster on the cover--has reviewed the anthology and spoke very highly of Jenna's story in particular. So, good job, Jen! Go check out the issue--there's always lots to savor in Rue Morgue.

Second, we have a situation.

In the space of less than a week, the East Coast--the ENTIRE East Coast, just about--experienced a seismic event unlike any most of us can remember; and then we found Irene getting cozy down south and preparing to crash this weekend. Keep in mind as well that the Dismal Swamp is still on fire.

Now, I'm not saying we're in for a zombie apocalypse or anything, but the plot bunnies are having a field day. And you have to admit, the timing is a bit odd.

Diane Dooley and Luke Walker have put together a top ten list of the best zombie movies ever made here: Here There Be Zombies! It's always great to see how the rules differ from one story to the next, and how they're similar is well.

Batten down the hatches, get your duct tape, bottled water, plywood, and hand-crank flashlights, but it couldn't hurt to sharpen a machete or two also. No harm in being prepared, is all I'm saying.

And speaking of being prepared, I myself am hammering out some finishing touches to "Doppelganger," which I'm hoping to submit to an anthology later this week. Well, the deadline is later this week, but I'm trying to put it in the queue a little earlier just in case we lose power.

More on that later. Stay tuned!
glitter_n_gore: (samara)
Let's hear it for fellow horror hound, Diane Dooley, who has not just one, but two stories out as of this past month: "A Womb of One's Own", her first print publication which is out in this summer's issue of Golden Visions Magazine--read more about it here; and "Served", a short, nasty piece about waiting tables (kind of) which you can read here. (Scroll down to the end, but be warned--it is NOT for the faint of heart. Mature audiences ONLY.)

Also there's a great conversation/interview up on her blog with Fiona Dodwell, on the perceptions and difficulties of being not just a horror writer, but a female horror writer: "Most people who find I enjoy horror are shocked – they usually respond by saying, “But you’re such a girly, feminine woman!”, as if being into horror means I have to grow horns and wear black all day! Really, I’m a happy, contented woman, but I like to explore darkness from a safe place – and for me that is through the medium of writing." Read the rest of the interview here.


As for myself, progress is slow but steady on my various projects. I am four pages and one last edit away from finished with "Doppelganger," the horror short I've been working on with the writer's group here, and have signed up to do a reading with them in September. It's a first-come, first-served sign up list, so hopefully I'll be able to get in there. Even if it's full, there's usually at least one person who can't show up due to some emergency or other, so I'm hopeful. Stay tuned--I will tell you when and where for anyone who wants to come.

The rest of my projects are, as usual, getting eaten by plot bunnies. I got one more rejection back for "Hoppers," which I hate to admit probably needs another rewrite--or at least a fresh beta reader to tell me what needs fixing. I'm torn between the voice that says "Put it away and deal with it later, when you stop hating it," which is probably the best; and the one that says, "But it's YA dystopia--if we don't find a buyer now, people are going to be sick of them! It'll be vampires all over again!" although I know, I know, that's my impatience talking. The market is unpredictable--dystopias will come back around, or not, and there's nothing I can do about it, so there's no use worrying about that.

"Dusty" has a mind of its own and won't do what I tell it, although I think the first chapter is pretty good. A first chapter does not a good novel make, but it's a start, and it's better than what I had before. I think I might just be taking this project too seriously, because--apart from the vampires--it's about a topic that's very close to home for me, and that's making it exceedingly difficult to write.

I have several more on the backburner, but right now my focus is mostly on "Doppelganger." Having a critique group to report to makes things go so much more smoothly.

As for the plot bunnies, I'm just going to throw a dart and see where it lands.

Last book read: Spindle's End by Robin McKinley.

Yearly total: 38
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)


Another long post about one of the bigger-name paranormal YA titles out right now: Lauren Kate's Fallen. I actually like this series a lot, but I want to talk about some disturbing buzz I saw in the Amazon reviews, particularly for the second book. I don't put but so much stock in those things, because they are incredibly biased to start with, but I do like checking out the two and three star reviews every once in a while because I think they're the most useful. The five and four stars are mostly gushy and brimming with fangirl squee; and the one stars are hateful and non-specific. Mostly. Not all the time, but mostly. Thus, I like to see what the middle-of-the-road folks tend to think.

Before I get into what happened with the comments, let me give you a brief rundown of both books and my take on them, because you'll need the context to understand why I was so disturbed:

Warning: Rambling, Spoilers, and Twilight Comparisons Follow )
glitter_n_gore: (frank)
Like monsters? Read this article by self-described "icky bug" fan and author Fred Hayworth.

Like zombies? Check out this book trailer for Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy--the second of which, Deadline I bought just last week.

As for myself, I haven't accomplished as much word-count wise lately as I'd like to. However, I am progressing in a slightly different way, and pleased so far: I finished my "final" edits for my YA dystopia, which I wasn't expecting to happen as quickly or easily as it did, so I'm starting the query/synopsis/submission process again. YA dystopias are reportedly "hot" right now, and I just happen to have one, and this manuscript is decidedly more polished than the last one I sent out, so I'm hopeful.

Also, I joined a sci-fi/fantasy/horror workshop last week with a focus on short story format. I haven't successfully written a short story before, so I'm taking a stab at getting the form and pacing figured out. It's a good group, and I've workshopped with them before, so I'm excited. Wish me luck!

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