Friday, December 30, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Dec. 30th

All zombie toys are great, in my book.
10 Incredibly Great Zombie Toys

I guess I'm a cross between "book geek" and "Star Trek geek."
Infographic of the Day: what type of geek are you?

Everything you ever wanted to know about zombie fiction:
Let's Talk Zombies (Part 1)

This is amazing!
Alien Banana
I wonder how many bananas the artist had to go through before this one. If it's real, then the artist is my new favorite hero.

Free eBook:
John W. Campbell, Collected Editorials from Analog, selected by Harry Harrison

This time of year is ripe for "Top 10 of the year" and "Best of the year" lists.

Top 10 Sci-Fi Epic Fails Of 2011

NPR's List of The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Top Ten Books of 2011, by Brian Keene

Best of 2011: Non-Genre TV Gets Scary

This is just crazy enough to make me want to see it.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Axes Questions In Two New One-Sheets

Have a great weekend (and wonderful new year)!

Monday, December 26, 2011

No rest for the wicked (writer)

November and December have been crazy-busy. Along with my husband's heart attack (and my requisite "helicoptering" over him, watching everything he eats and does like some kind of "anti-fat Nazi"), I've written and finished/polished six short stories that are now out in the world, looking for a home. It's a new personal record and I'm quite proud of it . . . but I sure am tired.

The stories I've worked on these last two months are:

"Alecsander's Empire" (a vampire in the throes a mid-life crisis);
"Spring Fever" (water isn't always the healthy choice);
"Optilin" (what price happiness?);
"Amazing! Incredible! Sea Mongrels" (nostalgia can be deadly);
"Sal's Choice Cuts" (a ne'er-do-well son makes something of himself);
"Sympathy for the Devil" (Satan hires a publicist).

Whew! Talk about a weird mix.

Never one to rest for long, I'm hard at work on a new short story already.

Next Monday's post will be about my plans for 2012 and the projects I'm hoping to tackle in the new year. 2011 has been a bit of a tough; I'm ready to say goodbye to it and ring in an bright, shiny new year full of promise.

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Logo" is awfully close to "loco"

I’ve been going crazy trying to create a logo for my writing.

The high school I went to in New York required students to choose an area of study (like a major), and mine was graphic arts. So although it’s been a long time and my art abilities are rusty, I decided to have a go at making the logo myself.

My first idea was to do something with a crow. Crows are great horror icons, plus I have a special affinity for them because I used to have a pet crow (named Edgar Allen Crow). But I’ve seen many other writers use crows in their logos (including Stephen King), so I was afraid they were an overdone symbol.

My next idea was to do a logo with a zombie. Better, but I write about more than just zombies.

Then I thought about doing something with a skeleton, but all the drafts I did came across to Halloween-ish. But I still liked the idea of bones.

A skull and crossbones is the generic logo for my test run of business cards, but I quickly saw the error of my ways with that decision. A skull and crossbones looks terrific on the business card next to the words, “Dark Fiction Author,” it doesn’t look quite so terrific on the address labels where there’s no explanation: just a skull and crossbones beside my name and address . . . talk about sending up red flags for the US Postal Service! Besides, I’m a horror writer, not a pirate.

Then I had a brainstorm: my old business cards had a hand holding a quill, an excellent visual representation for writer; my new business cards have a skull; what if I combine the two ideas and have a hand dipping a quill into a skull as if the skull were the ink pot? Bingo!

First I tried all-black, just like the logo on my business cards. But that didn’t really do it for me.

Then I tried a little more detail, but didn’t like that, either. I decided maybe the problem with this one was the lack of a lower jaw.

I finally settled on this one: 

I think it's a perfect fit.

The quill represents writing.
The skull represent horror and mysticism, so that covers my horror and fantasy.
And the skull looks as if he might be smiling a little, fitting since some of my work is comedic.


And if you look in the address bar, I even made my first favicon. It, however, needs a little more work. Can you tell it's a skull? Like I said, it needs work.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Dec. 16th

Looking to try a new writer?
Discover your next favorite author using Literature Map
(Want a direct link to the tool? Here it is:

Rats. Didn't see this until AFTER my birthday. Oh well, there's always next year. I wonder what the folks at "Berry Sunshine Bakery" would say if I came in and asked them to make me one of these? (insert evil laughter here)
The Evil Dead Necronomicon Birthday Cake

Top 10 Alien Films

That Riddick movie's finally on again after cash flow problems

18 riveting reads that'll make perfect holiday gifts
(and don't forget Zombidays: Festivities of the Flesheaters. It makes a great stocking stuffer, too).

82 Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Books Available in December

If I ever win the lottery, my house is going to end up FILLED with things like this:
Build Your Own Bates Mansion Kit
You thought houses decorated with velvet paintings were the definition of tacky? Try a house that's decorated in movie-prop-house-must-have-exploded-in-here: a life-size Alien Queen in the corner, a giant cube from the Hellraiser movies as a glass-topped coffee table, the full collection of The Walking Dead action figures on the shelf . . . home, sweet, home.

The sets look good!
Prometheus: Official Photos Released

Who needs Tony Robbins when we've got Yoda?
10 Pieces of Advice from Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies That Can Transform Your Life

What's the Best Book They Ever Got for Christmas? Famous Authors Share with USA Today

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My New Google+ Author Fan Page

I am not one of those people that has to have the latest gadget or gizmo. I hate software upgrades (new and improved, my white butt). I resist change in any form. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

As an example . . .

The laptop I do most of my writing on is eight years old. The first Windows computer I ever owned (a lovely Packard Bell circa 1995) still sits on the desk in my daughter's room (hey! It's got some simple-but-addicting games on it that you can't get anymore)!

I reluctantly gave up my old flip phone a few months ago, only because of the massive rebates they gave me, including a "throw money at her if you can pry the old garbage phone out of her hands" rebate. By the time all the rebates were added up, they actually paid me to take a new smart-phone. Otherwise, I'd still be using my old flip phone.

Until I dived back into the writing life last year, I'd never visited Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, MySpace, or any of the other social networking sites. Just more new-fangled software, I figured.

And some of them I really could have lived my whole without ever signing up for (let's face it: MySpace is dead, at least for my demographic). Some of them have proved very useful and I can't imagine living without them (much like my smart phone; they knew once I started using it, I'd be hooked). And others I neglect but wish I used more. Like Facebook. It seems like it could really come in handy, but every time I learn to do something, they change things. So every time I sign on, I end up spending half an hour wandering, lost, trying to figure out where they put everything after the last upgrade.

Google, however, is a whole different story. I love Google's broad reach (they're into everything) and I think it's creepy at the same time. But mostly I love it. So when they came out with Google+ (a Google version of Facebook, squee!), I was ready to jump on board.

But they wouldn't let me. Invite only? What the hell!?! So I waited. And waited. And waited. Pretty soon I started feeling like the fat kid during team-picking for dodgeball.

Eventually, I did get my invite (and a few days later, they seemed to open it to the general public, go figure). And I like it, but I'm still learning my way around.

And now, gasp and surprise, I just found out that Google+ does fan pages, just like Facebook! Happy, happy, joy, joy.

If you are like me, and had no idea this was possible, check out this awesome article and instructions (plus links to other instructions) on how to set up your Google+ author fan page:

Inkygirl: How to Set Up an Author or Book Fan Page on Google+

I set up my Google+ fan page and added a badge for it on this blog and my web page. You can visit my author page by clicking the Google+ badge below:

on Google+

Of course, just because I set it up doesn't mean I know what I'm doing . . . it's another site where I spend most of my time wandering around, lost. But I'm excited about being lost, so I guess attitude makes all the difference, lol.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Dec. 9th

First, let me apologize for Monday's missing post . . . or make excuses about it, anyway: the whole household has been down with a particularly nasty strain of the flu this week. Tis the season, I guess.

Okay. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Dec. 9th

1st look at the Prometheus cast channels Ridley Scott's Aliens vibe

Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Books that Make Perfect Gifts

Gift Ideas For 10 Major Species Of Science Fiction Fan

As much as I love zombies (and you know I love me some zombies), there has to be more to a story. You can only watch characters run from zombies for so long, and that's how I was starting to feel about The Walking Dead toward the end of season one. It was becoming the same old: "Oh no! It's a zombie, run!" thing over and over again.

I'm enjoying season two more because now we are getting into the characters. Here's my summary of the two seasons:
Season 1: "The Walking Dead" (and the monsters) are the zombies;
Season 2: "The Walking Dead" actually refers to Rick and his group of survivors, and they can be just as monstrous as the zombies.
It's a much deeper and more enjoyable story in season two, and there are still plenty of close calls with zombies (the zombie-in-the-well scene was AWESOME, even though it was illogical)!

As the blog-writer says, the show is far from perfect, and they have to be careful that they don't spend so much time slowing down the story and focusing on characters that we swing the other way (not enough action), but I think they're at least on the right track. Maybe season three will have them hitting that perfect balance of action and character.
The Walking Dead Season 2: Stop and Smell the Dessicated Roses

3 new titles in speculative fiction

Cowboys & Aliens has inspired a bizarre new UFO theory

Aliens on Ice!

Tis the season for giving!
Gift Guide: Shark Attack Mug

15 geekwear gifts as much fun to give as to receive

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi: Spec-Fic Friday, Dec. 2nd

Bibliophile Stalker: Short Story Collections for the Aspiring Speculative Fiction Writer

No prison could ever hope to hold Riddick. He's like the Chuck Norris of outer space.
10 Great Prison Breaks from Science Fiction and Fantasy

I saw this movie as a kid and loved it back then. I don't remember much about it except the sky was super-cool (not only cool in color-effects; I think the radio-active sky made noise, too), the vehicles were awesome, and the cockroaches freaked me out. I seem to remember doing a lot of research on hissing cockroaches back then, just to make sure they weren't really man-eaters (cut me some slack, I would have been nine or ten at the time). I'm afraid to watch it again now, especially after the review below. Maybe I'll never watch it again and let it just remain a golden movie in my memories.
Review: Damnation Alley

21 must-have sci-fi Blu-rays and DVDs that'll make perfect holiday gifts

My personal recommendations (excellent collections of short stories): Stephen King's Skeleton Crew and Book of the Dead, edited by Skipp & Spector (these collections are so good I own two copies of each).
BLOGBUSTERS Best SF, Fantasy & Horror Short Stories

Guess what's going on MY Christmas list!
Velvet Painting: The Alien Queen

A Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Publishing Blog Hosted by Publishers Weekly

The Zombies that Ate the World: Book 1 Review:
“In Los Angeles in the year 2064, the dead have risen..."

Looking for something new to read?
SF Signal's list of free fiction

My two favs (aside from Close Encounters, of course) are Body Snatchers and Alien.
Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies of the 1970s
These are the movies whose scenes are burned into your mind forever: Donald Sutherland doing the point-and-roar, sculpting mashed potatoes into Devils tower, that baby alien taking its first breath on the dinner table . . . great stuff.

Have a great weekend!