Tentacles!!

23 04 2013

I love ‘em.

It sounds awkward, but I do.

Now while that might make me sound like a professional hentai artist or, at the very least, a huge fan of profoundly strange Japanese animation, I just really like tentacles.

There is something about the appearance that screams alien, unknown, archaic mysticism. I’m a big reader of the Lovecraftian and other forms of horror. While engaging in activity that scares oneself for entertainment seems counter intuitive, it’s really just another way of achieving catharsis, and learning more about one’s self.

In college I took a course from an incredibly short Canadian woman entitled “The rise of the Nazis”.

While your immediate reaction may be to connect the two things (Tentacles and Nazis) in a scary-history-channel-occult sort of way, that’s not quiet what I’m going for. Part of the course was an examination of German film in the 20’s and 30’s. A lot of horror and other expressionist films were being made in Germany at the time, a direct result of the upheaval the country had experienced both during and post WWI. (That’s World War One, not Waffle World International.)

The argument here is that horrible times leads to horror films.

One of the most famous:  Nosferatu

Courtesy of Wikipedia

But I think I’m on a tangent here. Actually, I KNOW I’m on a tangent and it seems to have run off with me farther than is usual.

Tentacles.

I like tentacles.

I also like books.

What happens when you combine two things that I love deeply? You get lovely tentacle bookends from Knob Creek Metal Arts on Etsy!

RAWR!!

Knob Creek also features a pile of other book ends. Steel with a hammered black finish.

GO TO THE STORE AND GET YOURSELF SOME!





The Ones You Don’t Talk About

27 08 2012

I’ve been prepping some books for review this past month. I have to tell you though that these aren’t what you might call mainstream choices. I must concede that perhaps one of these made the New York Times best sellers list. However, that certainly does not make it the sort of piece you’re going to see everyone reading. So what are they? Why should you care?

Because they’re off the beaten path dear friend. These aren’t the books you bring to book club. Unless, possibly  if Ted Kaczynski is a member. Maybe. I can’t say for sure since I didn’t really know the guy personally. Regardless, they aren’t going to be winning any of those fancy Oprah’s book club ribbons or what have you.

You may be asking yourself right now for some examples. That’s fair.

 

A Bit of Scifi

 

25 For 25 (eBook)

A collection of 25 short stories all set in the fictional universe that serves as the backdrop to a popular table top war game. Yeah. War game. As in fancy toy soldiers. DON’T JUDGE ME! Slams the door to parent’s basement.

SERIOUSLY though. I got into these because I do actually play this game. It was only a matter of time before I started to explore the background materials. In all honesty the team of writers employed by the developer, Games Workshop, actually create some pretty good stuff. It’s an unexpected mix of science fiction and early religion.

Not two things that would have immediately demanded to be paired together in my mind but it works splendidly.

 

A Bit of Crazy 

 

Survivors-FrontCover36DPI.jpg

Great paranoid conspiracy writer, Batman! That’s survival fiction!

I’ve mentioned at some point on the blog that I do believe in a certain measure of preparedness. But I come from a country that experiences many earthquakes a year. These things are so strong that they have leveled large chunks of urban real estate!

I don’t own a bunker. I don’t have a food stockpile. I don’t own a wilderness retreat in the midwest complete with livestock and a garden that feeds 50. (I just don’t have the money right now.)

Say what you will about expecting disasters but the author, James Wesley Rawles, knows what he’s doing. This novel, at the time of posting, was third on the NY Times best sellers list for hardcover books.

 

Braaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnns.

 

Zombies vs. Unicorns. Do I even need to say more? Seriously? Do I?

I don’t think so.

Each one a different beast with one common theme. Good books that perhaps not everyone would see on a bookshelf and think “Hey, I might pick that up today.”

Each one will be getting a bit of lovin’.





Bondage,Serial Killers, and the Swiss.

11 08 2012

I can’t even describe to you how happy I am at this particular point in time. Not quite a hit-the-lotto euphoria. More like the adult toy store down the street just got a new shipment of Sesame Street inspired lotions in and the bullwhips are two for a dollar. (Which isn’t really the case. The adult toy store is in another town.)

The couple-days-shy-of-a-month-long-hiatus that I meant to tell all of you in the deep, dark and sweaty recesses of the internet about but FAILED, is over! (Blog post was written on phone but saved as a draft instead of posted. WordPress app FAIL.) That means we, here at the press, which is really just a fancy way of saying me and whatever other ridiculousness comes along with this disorder, are back!

I’ve got a healthy new mountain of curious animal bits in the ol’ mailbox for the next Spam installment, which, I have browsed a bit and am very excited to work with. I’m planning on assaulting you all with a TON of new short fiction entries in an attempt to address all of the Picture it and Write! entries over at Ermiliablog. And even have a new, crazy and random individual that pops up in my life from time to time to tell you about.

It’s going to be a good time this month folks. A good time. *Wink*

But what about today? Well I’ll tell you. You better grab your nearest umbrella and or poncho because I’m about to subject you to another stream of random neuron-firings!

INCOMING.

I have a friend who recently suffered a concussion. Again. This makes number six I believe. I was told once that if you suffer five you run a great chance of experiencing brain damage. I don’t know if that’s true or not but it’s a bit frightening all the same. I get books from this girl. I would hate for her to one day start recommending things to me that are predominately picture-based.

I have nothing against books with pictures. I like the others ones better though.

Craziest thing I’ve seen lately? A girl throwing her legs apart while driving past a Church of Immaculate Conception screaming, “Give it to me God!” Listen. I understand that pregnancy is something you’re into. It seems to be a goal. I just think there are better ways to go about it. What kind of message would God be sending if he got you pregnant while you were driving? That’s just not safe driving.

On a similar note, how can you stand pregnancy? I couldn’t do that. No way. It would be nine months of non-stop nightmares featuring Sigourney Weaver and a lot of drool. Now that sounds like it could be a good thing but I’m talking about aliens. From the movies. Aliens. That’s some crazy, chest-bursting, swiss surrealism right there.

And has anyone ever seen a picture of H.R Giger? Talk about your horror movie characters. That guy looks like he just might flay his interns and wear their skin like coats and Halloween masks. Maybe its part of his process. I don’t know, I never worked for the guy. If he ever offers you a coat, JUST. SAY.NO.

And why are they called serial killers? To someone new to the English language that could be a little confusing. Or comical. Maybe a bit of both. But running into a grocery store and storming toward the breakfast foods isle announcing, jokingly in broken english, that you are a “cereal killer” is more likely to get you tased then fed.

It’s a complicated language. You must fear it and respect it. One word can mean the difference between Cheerios and the electric chair.

Stay Tuned.





Reviewing Blind Sight Part II

7 03 2012

I have to preface my brief thoughts on this book by saying the pair of them worked. They just worked. Not only that, but my reading experience while I made my way through the pages of this angle, was only bolstered by the knowledge I had gained from the first.I felt as though I was constantly saying ah-HA! And that was a lot of fun. Yet at the same time the author manages to make things feel new.

Aniela’s book was a much more magical beast. She had grown up knowing of the existence of powers on the island and that colored not only her interpretation of certain key events with Odette’s story line, but also the way she approached her relationship with Leocardo.

 

Conversely he doesn’t respond well to the ‘supernatural’ things going on around him. Upon first entering their apartment he launches into a scene reminiscent of Mel Gibson in conspiracy theory. I’m surprised his first move isn’t to sink half his money into pad locks for his tapioca pudding.Leocardo isn’t already established on the island. He’s the ‘just got finished talking to Mr. Roarke and Tattoo sort of guy.’ New arrival. And right from the get go, you can see that this fellow is a man of action. It’s reflected well in the overall pacing of the book which moves at a quicker rate then Aniela’s side.

Not a bad thing. After having met Leocardo in Aniela’s perspective, it fits. 100%. And the idea that I had of him, based on other characters interacting with him in the other book, was confirmed. He is painted rather exactly like I imagined.

This book is written in a way that is unique from its sibling novel. The writer most certainly has her own voice and uses it well to relay Leocardo’s side of things. The pacing is spot on and it just oozes tension.

Could you read one of these books and not the other and still be fulfilled? Yes. But why in the world would you? These novels are done in such a manner that they are far more than rehashing the same story from a different perspective. The characters are individual enough and bold enough to make you feel like you might just be reading two entirely different stories.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t pass this up.

PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you’re entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) and Nook (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) Don’t have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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Reviewing Blind Sight

3 03 2012

 

Holy massive graphic Batman!

Yes, yes, yes it is the third of March campers which means I must fulfill the obligations I have to the demons in my basement it’s time to throw another book review your way. I’ve been waiting, for months now with a ready blog post and I’m happy to be getting this thing out there.

I was fortunate enough you see, to get to participate in an advanced reading of a book just released this month, entitled Blind Sight. It’s been a great time reading and getting to know the devoted penmonkeys behind the pages. Waaaaaaayyy at the bottom of tonight’s bloggery is a bit of a blurb about them.

Now the story is split into two volumes. Each volume is essentially the same story but told from the perspective of a different main character. Which makes it a totally different story. Really. There are a few things that I look for when I read a novel that I consider to be mandatory and this book, much like Companion Cube, really came through for me. I’m going to touch on two of the biggest ones.

Casting

The first is character development. I’ll be honest, if this is weak, I’m hard pressed to stick with it. I’ll give it a chance but if I don’t start caring about these people who live in your head then its time for you to find a new psychiatrist. Oh, right. I’m not going to read your book either.

It’s true, the character’s are well enough developed to make it easy for you to invest your time in reading about them. Take Alaya. I look at her and imagine my mother with a higher midichlorian count. Because sometimes I think she wishes she could throw anything nearby at me through SHEER FORCE OF WILL. (If that’s a little obscure, go ahead and google ‘midichlorians’. It’s okay, I’ll wait.)

Back? Alright.

Go too dry on a character and reading the book becomes more like a trudge across the arctic circle wearing nothing but a pair of rubber boots and a speedo. Not something anyone wants to do. I’m reading to enjoy myself. Take a break. I don’t want your story to be work. That makes me cranky.

Even the supporting characters are fleshy enough to avoid the label of partially decomposed (and therefore boring/unneccessary/rubbish) bits of fluff. I care about them too.

The Flashy Bits

It’s about magic. It’s there but not. And THAT is the beauty of it. Explanation…go!

Magic is present in the world. Understood.

It helps to shape the characters and further emphasize major personality traits. Is it any wonder that the most selfless of all the major cast can form shields? What about the most hot-tempered woman in the book? She uses her powers as a weapon essentially. (Want to know what that means? READ THE BOOK)

Magic also serves as an engine of conflict concerning Odette’s plot line. However, at no point did I feel overwhelmed by it. Not once did I find myself saying “Dear Tolkien in Heaven, there’s more magic in this plot than Gandalf’s undergarments. I can’t see the story through all the fireballs!” (Again, if you’ve lived under a rock for the past several decades I invite you to google.)

Coming back to the review. It serves its purpose in helping to define the characters and deliver a fantastic setting that hints rather subtly that things are much different from what they appear. Yes, characters used magic but I was way more concerned with the people and their relationships. The setting is crafted deftly  and presented in a manner well suited to keep me focused on what’s important: The people in the writer’s head.

All in all? It’s a great addition to the realm of Young Adult. Don’t let the category deter you though, it fits on just about any bookshelf.

It’s been a long time since I read a story cover to cover in one sitting. Blind Sight had what it took to spot weld my butt to my chair and keep me locked firmly to the pages. Bravo.

Oh and to the author:

Write more books. I insist.

PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you’re entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are “volume one” you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won’t see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) and Nook (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.) Don’t have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela’s vol. / Leocardo’s vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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The Ringleader Needs a Suggestion

12 12 2011

What has two thumbs, a keen sense of fashion sense as it pertains to vests and nothing to read?

This guy!

Too strange? Yeah, I thought so too. And yet for some reason I decided to do it anyways. But hey, its ok because I’m in charge of this little circus. I’m that guy standing on the crate labeled “Toxic Ferrets” in the center ring with a beaten up top hat and dusty, red leather coat. In one hand a diamond tip cane, in the other a giant microphone – old boxing style, hanging from the ceiling.

Now, without further interruptions or postponement, allow me to direct your attention to the far ring to the left of the flaming elephant trolley where you will find my point.

I recently finished the book I was devoting my reading time to and I’m in the market for a new one. Not necessarily a new book mind you but new to me. My reading conquests span a great length of time: Sci Fi from the 60’s, fantasy from the 80’s, literary fiction from the 00’s. It doesn’t matter.

I’ve started a list. The top of it is a book I’ve already been harassed about. The Vixen has nudged me toward The Scarlet Pimpernel on more than one occasion. Though, I’ll be honest, I’m not too keen on checking out a classic right at this point in time.

What else? There is a rather engaging (from what I’ve been told) book that Bert from work turned me on to. It’s what you might call a self-help manual. If you consider formal instruction on the finer points of wielding a tomahawk in close combat self-help. Which I do. Unfortunately, right now, I’m not overly excited about it.

That brings me to my third choice thus far. Ringworld by Larry Niven. I’ve been perusing the internet lately reading about Niven. The “Known Space” series he wrote sounds like something right up my alley. I’m a child of Science Fiction and it doesn’t hurt that the setting for these novels bears a striking resemblance to a game franchise I’m rather fond of.

And as a final offering to the ever bloating to-read list I submit Shotgun Gravy, a novella penned by the most tipsy penmonkey, Chuck Wendig. And yes, I said novella. They are just as delicious as any novel length work. They simply stand on different merits. Learn it, appreciate it and it will treat you well.

Now the problem is making a decision. I don’t like to do that, choices make me sad. It’s why I get the same thing whenever we order Chinese, without fail. Singapore Mei Fun, extra red peppers. What of it?

Anyway, point is, I decided to reach out. I’m up to 22 followers here, yup – 22 people who posses a high enough tolerance to read the electronic ink stains that I drag across the screen on a periodic basis. So drop me a line – what do you think? Any item on that list stand out from the rest? Or is there something not on there that you think I just can’t go without reading?

Plenty of comment space. Do it. I want to hear from you. Seriously, DO IT.





This Ain’t Your Little Sister’s Vampire Book

7 12 2011

I read. A ton. It’s important for a lot of reasons. One, it makes you think a little more than just watching the idiot box. Not that I have anything against the box itself, its robbed me of my fair share of hours. Really its the garbage that pops up rather regularly on the bloody thing that zaps your brain cells into little piles of gray goo. Excercise your brain, stretch those mental faculties. Hell, stretch the students and maintainance guys while you’re at it.

Oh, and the other reason? I’m trying to be a professional here. Want to write? Have to read. Point A, meet B. It’s not rocket science.

Anyways, I mentioned in the not too distant past that I grabbed some new reading material in November. Did it really help me accomplish my NaNoWriMo task? Not a bit. Did I spend much time thinking about how reading the new stuff would benefit my desired career choice? Not even close.

I was too distracted by the cannibals.

I’ll give you a moment for that to sink in.

And no, it’s not the sort of “Hey stop chewing on me so I can read my book!” sort of distraction either. I don’t read with cannibals. It’s a personal choice. I’m talking about content. Yeah, cannibals in the book. Right.

Double Dead by Chuck Wendig.

This post’s title, not misleading at all. And yeah, I did use ‘ain’t’. Not because I like it, but it made sense right? It just felt good to use. Less refined, more appropriate to the subject matter. Forget it.

In all seriousness however, this isn’t the same sort of vampire you’ve been seeing in the movies and big print these days. Wendig has made a complete turn, or is it total half turn? He’s taking a different direction. (Yeah, smooth)

If you haven’t had any exposure to Wendig, be warned. His writing is not for the easily offended. If you get a bit squeamish when profanity pops up in your novel, (and not just from a characters mouth) than Coburn, and his snarky half-cocked creator, may just be a bit too bad ass for you.

Right from the get go Wendig hits you. He hits you with a lead pipe made of viscera and adrenaline. And lead. And he doesn’t stop, you don’t have time to lay there and bleed out, you’ve got places to go: New York, Texas, California. It’s a coast to coast thrill ride through Undead America. The United States of Who the Hell Can Tell Anymore?

I’ve read plenty of zombie stories and a great good smattering of post apocalyptic settings and Wendig’s picture of a broken, flesh-eating America is truly original and stands out for me as one of the better ones.

And as for the cast, there isn’t a better bunch of odd pairings for a drunk-on-power vampire to herd about. The characters feel and that’s the thing. They’re people you could get behind. People you may know. People you could invest your time in.

So that gives us:

1 part flesh-eating super zombies

1 part Walmart lording cannibals

1 part RV tour of America

1 part vampire

and probably a fifth of Jack

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Enjoy