Monday, December 28, 2015

What I'm Reading Next: #Horror #Paranormal #History

Besides the many, many books I've started reading or have waiting on the Kindle, here are some new and used books I picked up or received that I started or hope to read next. The pile never gets smaller! 

I love finding new authors or different books to read, that's why I'm sharing these. You never what catches someone's interest. So share: what are you reading??

Print books I received:

The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson - Collection dedicated to prolific writer CJ Henderson, who died from cancer. An assortment of fantasy, Sci Fi and horror stories by various authors, including friend Jean Rabe.

 Soothe the Savage Beast - collection of monster stories. Friend Jean Rabe has a story in it...  Started reading this one. Great first story by Carrie Ryan (Forest of Hands and Teeth.)

 Haunted Kenosha (WI): Ghosts, Legends and Bizarre Tales (Haunted America) - Local history and supposed hauntings I got from my friend, Gigi for Christmas. Love a good ghost story or two or more!

  The Dollhouse Murders -  Also in the haunting vein.... what's better than a haunted dollhouse? Middle-grade murder mystery... (The cover I have is different since it's an older printing...)

** And... a  couple books I recently picked up:

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy, Book 1) - a centuries old vampire, a witch and a centuries-old manuscript that brings them together.

  Vixen (The Flappers Book 1)  - Journey about a 17-year-old who wants the Flapper lifestyle and more... The cover got me and I love the Twenties....

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

A wonderful and blessed Christmas to all. Hope you found some great books to read in your Christmas stocking or for Boxing Day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Free #Horror Literary Hatchet

  The latest issue #13 of the aptly named Literary Hatchet is now up online. Download the pdf or order a print copy - 300+ pages of horror! There are also links to download the previous issues. Lizzie Borden approved!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Top 10 Writing Pitfalls

As a writer, there are things you can't seem to get away from, no matter how hard you try. (Or at least I can't. ha!)

Photo: goldy,

1. Even after X rewrites and re-reads, you'll still find a mistake you didn't see the first 10 times.

2. You'll see that mistake, clunky sentence, oft-repeated word etc. only after you're ready to send it out again.

3. Better yet, you won't see that mistake (see above) until after you hit Send.

4. That sentence you changed still sounds better the first time instead of the 10th or 15th time you rewrote it.

5. If you keep reading something long enough, you won't know if it's used right or wrong.

6. Even when you use a grammar check online, you still won't know if it sounds or looks right.

7.  The longer you read something, the more the whole thing sounds wrong.

8. That sentence is bad.

9. So is that one.

10. Arggh! This project stinks. The whole thing is terrible.  I'm terrible. I suck. 

So it goes. Happy Writing!!  
--Christine Verstraete

Oh, the joys of being a writer!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

#Christmas Shopping - Like a #Zombie!

If you're out and about, fighting the Christmas shopping crowds, hopefully not fighting over the last piece of whatever on the shelf... you may need this:

Haaa! Couldn't resist. I'll be out  and about in a couple stores tomorrow. 
Hopefully I'll make it back out alive. Stay safe (and sane) out there!!! 

Borrowed the pic - and some handy survival tips - from 
Crazy, but who knows when you might need it fighting the mobs out there, right? 

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Final Girls – A Review

I love slasher movies. LOVE THEM! I love them so much, I devoted an entire book to my study of them. As you can imagine, when I saw the trailer for this movie, I couldn’t wait for it to come out.

Film description: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom's most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film's maniacal killer.
Yes, it’s was just as awesome as the trailer makes it look. It was humorous and heartfelt and fun. It had horrifically cheesy lines. It had references to drug use and sex. However, unlike the slasher films it’s making fun of, it didn’t have nudity or gory deaths. Teens died in the film, but not in graphic detail. But that didn’t detract from the film. It was still entertaining and amazing.

There wasn’t anything surprising about the film. It was pretty formulaic, but that’s what I expected. I’m looking forward to watching it again and figuring out how it fits in with the slasher genre.

If you like slasher films—or even if you don’t—I think you’ll like this movie. It has enough slasher elements to keep even the biggest slasher fan entertained, but it is also different enough that non-slasher fans will find something to laugh about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cool New #Zombie Story Review!

Cool new review for  Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers & Swashbucklers, which contains an assortment of adventure stories, including my new Becca short mystery story.  (Becca, as you may know or not, is the part-zombie girl in my book, Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie.) See below.

Reviewer Maria Snyder on Goodreads said about the stories, "A few stood out for me: Piney Power, by F. Paul Wilson was fun because I use to camp and ride ATVs in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey so I was very familiar with the setting!

"Puppy Love and Zombies," by C. A. Verstraete had a cool premise - the main character, Becca has been infected by the zombie virus, but survived so she's half zombie. That's not the story, but rather her efforts to find out who's been dog-napping the local pups. I love this line, "Call it love at first lick.” (Read the full review!) 

I loved writing it, too!  Be sure to check both books out! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

More #Zombie #Christmas Gifts

Lacking ideas? Need a gift for that hard-to-shop-for person? Well, here are a few strange, er, different, gift suggestions to put under that Christmas tree! Don't say I didn't warn ya! ha! 

* Act like a zombie…  Slurrrp! Zombie Pops ($29)

* No comment… Shower, anyone? ($5)

* How about a personalized Christmas zombie stocking to hang over the fireplace?  ($23)

* Funny! Walking dead T-shirt ($20) and other shirts... 

* Neat stocking stuffer - zombie decal ($4.95 now on sale $3.96)

* Brainnnss... Well, one.  Interesting looking anatomical brain pendant ($18)

* Kind of cute.... Set of Zombie Paper Dolls Family - comes with 2 sets of raggedy clothes ($10, said only one in stock)

* Wow, this is really striking. Sugar Skull Necklace ($48) 

** BONUS!! Don't forget a book for that stocking or ebook for that Kindle! How about some teen stories with adventure, mystery, spies, and one with zombies, too? 

* Or how about a lighthearted zombie book with a touch of humor?  
Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie

I'm one of the contributors to a fun little Halloween - Horror anthology Zen of the Dead assembled by Lester Smith at Popcorn Press. It' s the seventh annual edition with creepy little poems and strange fiction including my story, "Today's Special." Print  or Kindle.  

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas! I'll list more as I find them! 
This is fun finding odd stuff! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas Horror Story - A Review

My husband and I watched this movie last weekend, and I didn’t have high hopes. I was pretty sure it was going to be awful but fun. I was actually pretty surprised.

My first inclination when I watched the film was that it lacked focus. Basically, it is four different stories that occur in one place. The significance of that place is that terrible murders happened the year before, so there’s this evil that hangs around. From the cover, you would assume that evil is Krampus, and it kind of is, but there are other creatures that also make an appearance.

The film also incorporates various horror film tropes from found footage to possession to hauntings to creature features to zombies to psychological. As I said, when I first started watching the movie, it felt like it was all over the place with no real mission.

Surprisingly, there was even a scare that made both my husband and I jump. This is pretty rare, and we were expecting it, but it still got us. That made me pretty happy.

By the end of the film, I couldn’t figure out what in the hell I had just watched. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t excellent either—it just was. For the next several days, I couldn’t get the film out of my mind. I kept replaying what I had seen and tried to figure out what it meant. Finally, I think I figured it out. I think I know what the film was trying to accomplish, and it inspired me to write an essay.

While I don’t think A Christmas Horror Story will become a classic, it probably will find a cult following. The special effects were done well and parts of it were creepy. It inspired me to look deeper and write about it, so it wasn’t all bad.

Has anyone else seen the film? What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 7, 2015

A #Christmas Story

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!  Yup it's my birthday today!

Oh, and since it's that time of year, I'd be remiss not to mention my fun little Christmas short story. Nope no zombies, but some elves in this one...

It's Christmas at the North Pole Compound

But it's not all Fa-la-la at the North Pole when someone steals the Christmas gifts. Now it's up to Chief Elf Inspector Finius Flaherty to see who's going on Santa's Naughty List! See website  -Amazon (click title above) - or Smashwords. 

Happy Holidays early!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

10 Unique #Zombie #Christmas Gifts

Every year I try to find some odd and different gifts you might want to add to your Christmas shopping list. So here are 10 interesting items and a couple bonus books to start:

* Everyone needs zombies on their computers, right? Walking Dead Zombie Undead See Hear Speak No Evil Set of Shelf Sitters Computer Top Statue Figurines

* Looks like zombies have hit the coloring book craze. There are several to choose from - so far: (Look up coloring books and there's a wide selection for horror, witches, etc. also. ) 

 Zombie Coloring Book 1 (Volume 1) ($9.95, 84 pages)

* Ha! What's Christmas without the Walking Ginger Dead Undead Zombie Gingerbread Cookie Kit?

* Not sure about this one.... Looks like ordinary plants and someone's trying to pull a fast one... Rather high-priced for a gag gift, but you decide.... ($18.99)

ZOMBIE PLANT GROW KIT- (Touch It and It PLAYS DEAD!) Unique Nature Kit- Grow a Fun Interactive House Plant that Plays DEAD when Touched & Comes back to life in Minutes! Amazing Christmas Gift!

* Kind of a neat idea for that writer friend or budding poet... Magnetic Poetry - Zombie Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on the Fridge ($11.99)

*  Ok forget prices... ($18.95) This is pretty different  - 


* These are cool! Great little polyester gift bags for book giveaways! (6 x 6", $9.45 for 12) 
Zombie Totes - 12 per pack

*  Okay, even the dog can show your preference in reading tastes...  ($11.94)
Walking Dead "Fight the Dead, Fear the Living" Adjustable Nylon Dog Collar (Large)

** BONUS!! Don't forget a book for that stocking or ebook for that Kindle! How about some teen stories with adventure, mystery, spies, and one with zombies, too? 

* Or how about a lighthearted zombie book with a touch of humor?  
Girl Z: My Life As A Teenage Zombie

Happy Shopping!! I'll list more products as I find them!