Friday, February 24, 2017

31 – A Review

I'm a huge Rob Zombie fan, and I have been since he was White Zombie. I’ve loved his music for a very long time, so I was thrilled when he decided to get into movies. It was even better that his genre would be horror.

Not all of his films are spectacular. There were a few that I thought were meh (The Lords of Salem), but I get what he is doing. Zombie is a huge fan of the horror genre and often pays homage to it in his music. In his films, he attempts to recreate the feeling from the “old” films and give them some modernity. This is especially evident in his remake of Halloween (which I enjoyed, not so much the second one, but it wasn’t horrible) and in The Lords of Salem (I got a lot of Suspiria vibes from this one. If you haven’t seen Suspiria, it made a huge impact on the horror industry when it first came out—I have no idea why. I did not enjoy it).

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch 31, his most recent film. It’s an homage to the slasher genre, and it is gory! Of course, House of 1000 Corpses was also an homage to this genre, and both of them take the weird vibes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and run with ‘em.

As I was watching the film, I Googled horror films from the 1970s (which is the time frame this movie is based in), and it fits in well with the types of films that were coming out at the time. Zombie does his research, and he is very meticulous about making sure it is reflected in his films. Even the actors he picks to play the roles reflect this desire.

I won’t dive too deeply into what Zombie may or may not actually be doing in his films, but I find his approach fascinating. I really enjoy what he does—or attempts to do—with the horror genre. But not everyone does. For example, my husband didn’t like the film. He thought the camera work was shaky and that it was done to hide the fact that the special effects were terrible. And that might be totally true. Personally, I didn’t notice. There was enough blood and guts to keep me satisfied. However, if Zombie is trying to recreate films from the 70s, that is exactly the type of problems they would have been dealing with.

It’s no secret that slasher films were made on tiny budgets and had to leave a lot to the audiences’ imagination because they didn’t have great special effects. There’s still a lot of blood in 31, and a lot of dismemberment. I had no problems with the camera work or the special effects, but keep in mind, I love old school horror films. And, in my spouse’s defense, so does he. He’s a huge Friday the 13th fan, so he’s not usually bothered by shaky camera work or shoddy special effects.

The story line was bizarre. In essence, a group of people are kidnapped on Halloween and put into a warehouse where they must survive 12 hours of sadistic clowns who are trying to kill them—all for the entertainment of rich weirdos who want to bet on their deaths. What I found so fascinating about the movie was the fact that none of the hunted had any problems with immediately turning on the killers. They were afraid, for sure, but they weren’t afraid of maiming and murdering.

Why that is so fascinating is because in the slasher film context, the Final Girl won’t turn and fight until after she finds the bodies of her friends and is backed into a corner. She’ll run and attempt to hide for as long as she can, but once that fails, she’s all about using the killer’s techniques to protect herself. Zombie shows a little of this in his film (the hiding and being cornered), but it does not last for long.

I don’t want to give too much away. 31 is a film that needs to be experienced. Personally, I enjoyed it, but I might have enjoyed it on a different level than the typical movie watcher. After writing this post, I want to watch it again and pick out even more details and compare and contrast it to other slasher films and other horror films. That sounds like fun!

Have any of you seen it? What did you think?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

#WIH Women in Horror: Evil Women in Pop Culture

Today I welcome author Zrinka Jelic for Women in Horror Month!
Visit the Facebook event page!

Evil Women in Pop Culture

In many mythologies, Death is personified in male form, while in others, Death is perceived as female (for instance, Marzanna in Slavic mythology).

In Poland, Death, or Śmierć, has an appearance similar to the traditional Grim Reaper, but instead of a black robe, Death has a white robe. Also, due to grammar, Death is a female (the word śmierć is of feminine gender), mostly seen as an old skeletal woman, as depicted in 16th century dialogue "Rozmowa Mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią" (Latin: "Dialogus inter Mortem et Magistrum Polikarpum").

Our Lady of the Holy Death (Santa Muerte) is a female deity of Mexican folk religion, whose cult has been spreading in Mexico and the United States.

DRAWING: Leave a comment during the hop and be entered for a paperback copy of my books. The more comments you leave, the more chances to win.


* See all Zrinka Jelic's books at her Amazon author page.

Rose of Crimson - a tale of two lifetimes. 
Kate Rokov’s grades are plummeting. She needs to get the voice out of her head, or she will flunk her finals. Matthias Zrin, a three centuries old immortal, born into an aristocratic family as Miles Rusinic, is enthralled with Kate. It is his voice preventing her from sleeping and her ignorance is testing his limits. He wants her to write down his story to settle his late wife’s Earthbound spirit.

Bonded by CrimsonLove isn’t in the cards for her…
    After her short failed marriage, Kate tries to rebuild her life and takes a position as a nanny to three small boys. She quickly grows to love them, but their father terrifies her, while igniting a passion she didn’t know she possessed. Disturbed by his distant manner with his sons, Kate struggles to make him more involved in the boys’ daily lives. Her efforts are mysteriously supported by an entity that cannot really exist. Or can she? And if she does exist, is she really trying to help Kate, or just take over her body? 

About the Author:

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors. She writes contemporary fiction, which leans toward the paranormal and adds a pinch of history. Given Jelic's love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that's about the only break they get.

Monday, February 20, 2017

#WIHM8 Women in Horror: Weapons - Lizzie's Axe.

I'm up today at Wendy J. Howard's blog talking weapons. (Tons of interesting choices to read!)

And my choice for deadliest weapon? What else, but Lizzie Borden's axe! See blog post on The Deadliest Weapon... Weigh in: guilty or innocent?

#Mystery Thriller Week - Author Jacqueline Seewald

It's Mystery Thriller Week Sun., Feb. 12 - Weds. Feb. 22!

Today for MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK - Sign up for prizes, etc! * Join the Facebook page. * Check out the events and author blog posts  at the event website.

Today, I welcome Jacqueline Seewald, author of The Inheritance 
(Also see my post at her blog! - and sign up for my giveaway here.)

 * Be sure to read my post at Jacqueline's blog. - I also have a post on Lizzie Borden today at  The Truth About Books

10 Questions with Jacqueline Seewald

What is the title and genre of your latest novel?  Why did you select them?
   My new novel is entitled THE INHERITANCE. It’s a contemporary romantic mystery set in the Midwest. Choosing a title is never easy and there are a number of books with the same title, but the mystery does center around an inheritance and so it seemed appropriate.

Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?
   My published books are varied: children’s picture books, YA novels, adult mysteries and romances. Hundreds of my short stories, nonfiction articles and poems have also been published. My novels are varied in style and subject matter but almost all have a romantic element. For example, my novel DARK MOON RISING is an adult Gothic romance with lots of paranormal elements. My YA novels THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER and STACY’S SONG are both “clean reads” suitable for teens while my historical Western romantic suspense novel THE KILLING LAND is an adult novel.

What are you working on now…what’s it about?
   At the moment I’m working on a romantic suspense thriller entitled DEATH PROMISE. It’s a sequel to DEATH LEGACY which received excellent reviews. Many readers asked for a sequel and I finally decided to write one.

What’s your favorite genre to write in and why?
   I really don’t have a favorite. I write in many styles and types. My short stories vary considerably from literary to just about every genre.

What is the hardest/easiest part in your book to write and why?
   The hardest part of writing a book for me is the beginning. Readers these days have short attention spans. In most instances, if the writer doesn’t seize the reader’s interest from the first, then all is lost. The book won’t be read no matter how good it might be. So I write and rewrite the beginning many times.

What is your favorite setting description?
   I loved writing the Kim Reynolds mystery series set in Central New Jersey in a fictional town similar to the one I lived in for forty years. THE BAD WIFE is the fourth novel in the series. I haven’t decided whether to continue the series or not. But I do think the area provides a great setting for a mystery series.

Describe a typical writing day.
   I get up ridiculously early and start writing before breakfast. I like working when it’s quiet and there are no interruptions. I usually work again for an hour or so after dinner in the evening depending on how tired I am.

How do you approach plotting a novel? Chapter outline? Rough idea? Fly by the seat of your pants?
   Characters and plot tend to live in my mind for a long time before I try writing a rough, flexible outline.

What is your favorite mystery character from books or movies…and why?
   I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an amazing writing and the original creator of forensic science investigations.

Where and when will readers be able to obtain THE INHERITANCE?
* See Amazon 
Twitter: JacquelineSeewald@JacquelineSeewa


Jennifer Stoddard, a thirty-five-year-old widow with an eight-year-old son, receives a surprising letter which will change her life. Jennifer’s grandmother has passed away and named Jen as sole heir to her estate. To claim her inheritance she must return to Bloomingvale, the town in the Midwest where she grew up. Jen is informed by her grandmother’s attorney that to inherit she must meet the condition of living in her grandmother’s house for two years. Since the estate is substantial, she agrees. However, there are those who will stop at nothing to make certain that Jennifer does not inherit. Jennifer is forced to call on old flame Police Chief Grant Coleman for help and protection.


 Late that afternoon as Jen left the house and started to drive away, a strange sound whizzed across the open front car windows from the driver’s side through the passenger side. She was startled by the sound. Her heart began to pound. Jen glanced over at the thicket of overgrown shrubs and trees to the side of the grounds that led back into woodlands. Had the sound been a bullet? If so, it had nearly hit her. Her hands shook on the driver’s wheel as she took off at high speed.
One block away she heard the police siren and saw the flashing lights. She groaned. Not again! He signaled with his hand, pointing his index finger for her to pull over. It was all she could do not to burst into tears.
Grant Coleman approached the car like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western. “I thought you learned something the first time,” he said. “Guess I was wrong. License and registration.” He held out his hand with a bored, impatient gesture.
“I have a very good reason for speeding.”
The smile was more of a smirk. The man was infuriating! “I’ve heard them all, but you can try.”
“As I left my grandmother’s house, a bullet passed through my car. I had the windows rolled down. So they weren’t broken, but it just missed hitting me.”
He stared at her. “Maybe it was a kid with a Beebe gun. Are you certain it was a bullet breezing by you? How familiar are you with weapons?”
“Not familiar at all, but I know what I heard.” Jen swallowed hard. “I think someone might have intended to shoot me.”
He let out a loud laugh. “In Bloomingvale? I doubt that very much.”
“So you’re not taking this seriously?” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Admit it. You’re just looking for an excuse to keep me from writing you another ticket.” His intense gray eyes bore into her like the steel blade of a dagger.
Jen raised her chin and stiffened her spine. “You are so wrong. Why don’t you check the area near the house, just to see if you can find anything.”
“Waste of time.” He leaned toward her and she felt his breath on her cheek which caused her to shiver. “Tell you what I will do though. I won’t write you a ticket this time because that’s the most creative excuse I’ve ever heard.”
“So glad I managed to amuse you,” she said.
Jen watched him drive off. He was probably still laughing, the sexy jerk. Several people had come out of their houses and were staring at her. Jen managed to restart her car and drove off before others gathered. She certainly didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself. Letting out a shaky breath, Jen wasn’t certain now if she’d really heard what she thought she had. A professional law enforcement officer didn’t think anything of it. She supposed it might have been nothing at all. Maybe it was a child with a Beebe gun as he suggested. But try as hard as she might, Jen couldn’t convince herself.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cover Reveal for Humanity's Hope

The day has finally come for me to reveal the cover for Humanity's Hope!  I'm super excited with how it turned out.  There's still no official date when it will be released, but now you know what it will look like.

Caleb, a 17-year-old boy, survived the zombie uprising, but he didn’t come out of the ordeal unscathed. He’s been scarred—both mentally and physically. The rest of humanity is trying to rebuild, to make the world normal again. Caleb is trying to return to a normal life also, but after all he’s seen, after the loss of his family and friends, the transition is difficult. The darkness that led him down a path of self-doubt and self-harm keeps trying to creep back into his mind.

Things only become worse when he discovers he’s immune to whatever makes a zombie a zombie. Fighting zombies was predictable. He knew what to expect. Fighting humans is volatile. They are malicious and treacherous. They won’t stop to get what they want, and Caleb has to figure out exactly what that is.

*Trigger warning: attempted suicide

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#Mystery Thriller Week: Author Jean Rabe

It's Mystery Thriller Week Sun., Feb. 12 - Weds. Feb. 22!

Today, meet USA Today Bestselling Author Jean Rabe
Author of the The Dead of Winter, A Piper Blackwell Mystery

** Today also go to Jean's blog and read about my mystery-horror-tinged book,
Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter! (Sign up for giveaway here to 2/22)

10 Questions with Author Jean Rabe

You’re working on a novel right now…what’s it about?
I’ve got two in progress, but the one I’m focusing on is The Dead of Night, the second Piper Blackwell book. It’s a cold case and later I add an “old” case. Having fun with it, especially the research into what forensic anthropologists do.

Do you have any more Piper novels planned?
I hope so! There are a few ideas I’m mulling over, but I got to get The Dead of Night finished first. I want to have one with lots of bullets flying.

Piper was well received. If you could go back and add a chapter, what would that chapter cover?
I would do a flashback to one of her downrange assignments in Iraq. In fact, since I really want to do one—and purchased a DVD about the 101st in Iraq for reference—I’ll probably have such a chapter in the third Piper book.

What is your favorite setting description from The Dead of Winter?
The Christmas Store. When I took a trip through the county for research, I stopped at the store, bought a couple of ornaments and a couple of pieces of fudge. I think anyone who steps into the store must be compelled to buy something.

“Nothing,” she said. “It’s nothing. Nothing.” She pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a small strip mall but was basically one long cheerful-looking store, turned off the engine, stuck her gloves in her jacket pocket, and got out. Softer: “Nothing.”
A banner read: Cheeriest Store in the World—Every Day is a Very Merry Christmas.
The air felt brittle, cold, and clean, the breeze nonexistent and the sky cloudless and bright baby blue. A big contrast to last night’s snow, which had kept plowing crews busy until the early-morning hours. The snow along the edges of the sidewalk and on the roof, coupled with the splashes of red on the exterior made the store seem too happy. Piper thought that most of Santa Claus looked too happy. It was one of Spencer County’s biggest towns, with a population chasing twenty-five hundred.
“Merry Christmas,” her dad said, his gaze sweeping across the long building. “Gotta love a town called Santa Claus. And gotta love a store devoted to Christmas.”
Piper didn’t have to love it.

Describe a typical writing day for you.
Wake up.. Let the dogs out. Feed the dogs. Fix a pot of tea and toast a bagel. Start writing. Let the dogs out. Go back to writing. Fix some lunch. Give the dogs a little lunch. Let the dogs out. Play with the dogs. Go back to writing. Let the dogs out. Go back to writing. Let the dogs out…

In the evenings I watch a little TV and jot ideas for future stories in a notebook…oh, and toss tennis balls and tug on dog toys. On the weekends I like to indulge in role-playing and board games, keeping a notebook with me for ideas when it’s not my “turn.”

How do you approach plotting a novel? Chapter outline? Rough idea? Fly by the seat of your pants?
Usually I make detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines. The lone time I wrote a book without an outline…took me three times as long to write. With The Dead of Night I’m trying something different. There are all these scenes I want to put it. I’m outlining the scenes on 3 x 5 cards, then putting the cards in the order I want stuff to happen. It’s working fine, but the book after this I’m going back to my detailed chapter-by-chapter outlines. That’s what works best for me.

How do you build your main character?
Because I love character-driven fiction, I build the main characters before I outline the book. For example, when I decided I wanted to write a mystery, I mulled over who the lead should be. I settled on a young woman, fresh from the military, who lands a sheriff position because of her last name. Then I worked to make the character plausible. I visited the county to learn about its politics and under what circumstances she could have won the election. I called Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and the public affairs officer crafted her military background so she would feel real.

What about other characters?
Next, I built Piper’s “second,” a chief deputy old enough to be her grandfather, Jewish, and not pleased she bested him in the election.

THEN I started ladling in the plot elements, alternating some chapters from these characters’ points of view.

I really like these characters. I’m glad I’m putting them in another book.

What is your favorite mystery character from books or movies…and why?
Harry Bosch is my favorite character. Because he is Harry Bosch.

What lured you to writing mysteries? What’s attractive about the genre?
All the while I was writing fantasy and science fiction I read mystery novels. I didn’t want to read in the genre I was writing; didn’t want to be influenced. Problem was…I was being influenced. I was being drawn deeper and deeper into cozies, suspense, hardboiled, and all the other taglines for mysteries. I was reading these books and wanting to write those books. And I started attending mystery conventions.

Writing a mystery is attractive to me because they’re more difficult—for me, anyway—to write. I have to use the real world, not one of my own sculpting. I have to obey real-world laws and follow roadmaps and weather patterns. I am loving the challenge and the research, though.

 * Learn more at Jean's blogvisit her website or her Amazon author page. You can subscribe to her fun newsletter here

* Don't forget to check out the Mystery Thriller Week website   for other events, blogs, contests and more!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Bloody #Valentine's Day! #Horror fiction

To celebrate Valentine's Day, stop by the Bloody Valentine's Day party on the Facebook page for author posts, free fiction and more! The theme is Love Gone Bad... See more below.

(* Also = sign up for my giveaway here to 2/22)

Participating authors include:

Heidi Angell
James McDonald
McCallum Morgan (** see excerpts below)
Steve Vernon
Debbie Christiana
Zrinka Jelic
W. J. Howard
C. A. Verstraete
John Linwood Grant
Juli D. Revezzo
A. F. Stewart

For a little blood-curdling reading, here are some Bloody Valentine lines to whet your appetite! Be sure to pop into the party

And thanks for stopping by. Love ya to death! heh-heh.

Nothing like historical zombies.... 

About Ambulatory Cadavers; A Regency Zombie Novel, McCallum J. Morgan - 

(Definitely Love Gone Bad:) Two cousins. One on the verge of a great discovery... and excessive power, wealth, and infamy, the other on the verge of an odious marriage. 

A zombie soared through the glittering glass and flopped in a heap on top of the harpsichord. “Braiiiiiins!” it shrieked, and chomped into the harpsichordist’s forehead. Blood sprayed across the violist’s sheet music and the whole room screamed as one.

Alice clutched Clara as everyone started to run in all directions, screaming and falling and trampling one another. Viols and violas flew through the air as the musicians scrambled and the zombie polished off the harpsichordist’s nerve center.
 * * * 
(Alice) touched the painted face and fear surged through her. She was doomed. Marriage on one hand and this… this feeling that made her cling to paintings and dresses on the other. She threw the painting across the room.

      “No,” she whispered. “I can’t. I can’t. I’ll be engaged tonight…” she trailed off and tears stung her eyes.

  About LizzieBorden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete:

In a twist on the real Lizzie Borden's life, John is a fictional character I added into the story that a lot of people don't care for. He helps her, introduces her to the underground zombie fighting society, then appears to use her and drop her. He then goes his merry way, fitting, I'd say since he'd served his purpose and reveals his true character: a cad. Who's to say Lizzie Borden never was jilted? Definitely love gone bad.
Every family has its secrets…
   One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?
   Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.

Excerpt: As the attorneys began an animated discussion in front of the judge's bench, Lizzie turned back to look at John again only to find hiintently listening to the 
whispers of a most attractive woman seated next to him. Inwardly Lizzie fumed a bit, unable to stop the sudden stab of jealouswhilshe watched the twothem talking together. His companion's neatly coifed hair and lovely features, along with the   fashionable cut of her soft mauve gown, only made Lizzie feel worse. She stared at the drab charcoal of her plain gown, feeling ugly and much older than her years.
 * * *
To her (Lizzie's) surprise, the conversation went better than expected. John seemed genuinely happy to hear from her, or else he should have pursued a livelihood on the stage. 
   Ten minutes later, a knock on the door interrupted her musing. Emma grabbed the knob first and opened the door ahead of her. 
   “John! How good tsee you. I’ll leave you to Liz.”
   With thatto Lizzies chagrin, Emma walked out ahead of her and climbed into John's carriage to wait. Lizzie waited for John to say or do something.
   He smiled igreeting. “Liz, you’re looking well.”
   Hes being so standoffish, Lizzie thought, though she supposed it
shouldnt surprise herSo be itWell, I can act the samway.