Monday, March 25, 2013

Horror, Sci-Fi, & Fantasy, March 2013 Edition

I took a trip down memory lane with another horror fan this week. We discussed the movies that gave us nightmares, the movies that made us say, "Meh," and our favorite guilty-pleasure, deliciously cheesy horror movies.

Two horror movies in the cheesy category are:

Undead, which has a great scene where a guy fights zombie fish;
Brain Damage, which is a ridiculous movie, but inexplicably made me want to wear a turtleneck to bed for years afterwards;

And one movie that we both loved (and is probably cheesy, but neither of us could remember because we haven't seen it in years) is:

Damnation Alley (which is technically sci-fi, but it has some pretty horrific post-apocalyptic action).

I STILL remember scenes from Damnation Alley, and I only watched it once. After our little trip down memory lane, I bought the movie from Amazon . . . but I'm afraid to watch it, afraid its magical spell will be broken, especially with the outdated special effects. There's nothing worse than ruining a movie you've loved your whole life by watching it again and finding out it really isn't that great by today's standards.

Okay, enough nostalgia. On to this week's links!

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This season of The Walking Dead is almost over, so we'll have to get our zombie-fix elsewhere for a few months:

via @fearnet: Gift Guide: Chocolate skulls with edible brains!

via @fearnet: Gift Guide: Zombie Cookie Cutters!

via @horrorfreaknews: George Romero is Penning a Horror Comic for Marvel?!

via @io9: First Hints About How Zombieland Will Become a Weekly TV Show

‘Zombieland’ TV Series Coming to Amazon; Original Writers Returning as Showrunners

from Zombie Zone News: Upcoming Zombie movies (they also have lists of zombie movies, sorted by year).

from A List of New Zombie Movies Worth Watching

from Flickchart: The Top 100 Zombie Films of All Time

Zombie Books to munch on. A Listmania! list by Patrick S. Dorazio

from 15 Essential Zombie Reads

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See you next week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

For Writers, March 2013 Edition

On tap today: an improved editing tool, an inspirational book, and some bad news about the Amazon Associates program.

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Pro Writing Aid now has a handy-dandy plug-in that works in Microsoft Word! No more pasting your text into the web editor, checking the report, and then going back to your original file to make corrections. You can now do it all right in Microsoft Word. The plug-in requires a paid subscription, but I find it's well worth the $35 yearly fee for the convenience. There is a 14-day free trial available so you can try it out and see for yourself just how handy it is. Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with Pro Writing Aid in any way; I just really hate editing and love any tool that makes it easier for me, lol.

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I am affiliated with the next product I think you should check out: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers is now available for pre-order! It includes my story, "Putting Together the Pieces."


I tweeted a link to this great article: "When The Romance Is Dying," by Joss Alexander. Although it's about falling out of love with your WIP, we can fall out of love with writing in general, too.

Writing is tough: fighting tooth and nail for a little time to write, the guilt over tasks left undone and family ignored, constant rejection, constant criticism from friends/family/or co-workers about your "silly little hobby." And if you're a genre writer, you even get looked down on by other writers: "This conference is only for literary fiction authors . . . you know, serious writing," or "You write romance?" followed by derisive laughter. No wonder we suffer from writer's block! 

You are not alone. Other writers are going through the same struggles, every single day. And you'll be inspired to hear the stories of how they made it through the struggles and prevailed.

If you are falling out of love with your WIP, or falling out of love with writing, then this book is the perfect "date night" to rekindle the romance!

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You may have already heard about this, but it bears repeating to ensure that everyone is aware of it: Amazon now penalizes members of their Amazon Associates Program for free ebook downloads. You can be penalized and lose your commissions even with only a few free downloads, if 80% of the downloads attributed to your account are "sales" of free ebooks. So if you have links to free ebooks on your site, plus links to other ebooks you are selling, the free downloads can erase the commission on the books you've sold. This is bad news for authors giving away free ebooks to promote other books in a series, and bad news for readers because some sites are electing to no longer list free ebooks. You can read more about it here: Daily Cheap Reads.

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See you next week!

Monday, March 11, 2013

March Update & After Hours Combo

Whip me with a stack of rejection slips, I missed another blog post (and almost missed this one)! I promise I'll get the hang of this . . . someday.

It actually worked out for the best, because I have two pieces of great news to share:

My short story, "Alecsander's Empire" will appear in the May/June issue of 69 Flavors of Paranoia. This humorous urban fantasy story originally appeared in the anthology, Loving the Undead, and I'm excited that 69FoP has decided to resurrect it!

My inspirational essay, "Putting Together the Pieces," will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers, available May 21st.

See? I don't blow-off my blog posts for just any old reason! Exciting stuff has been happening!

I've also been working on one new horror story and an older orphan story that needs to be finished.

Now, on to the regularly scheduled "After Hours" post:

1) If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?

A Russian olive, because I think they are beautiful. They have thin, silvery-green leaves and thorns. Unfortunately, they are classified as an invasive species in some places.

 2) Describe your favorite pair of shoes.
In general, I'm not much of a girly-girl . . . except when it comes to shoes! My favorite pair is a wedge with an extra-high heel (five inches) covered in silver glitter. My family calls them my "drag queen" shoes. Sadly, I don't get to wear them as much as I'd like. There are surprisingly few places/occasions to wear them in North Dakota (the farm and home show? across a parking lot covered in a foot of snow? I think not).

3) What is your favorite quote?

I have two:

"You must stay drunk  on writing so reality cannot destroy you."--Ray Bradbury

"In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." --Albert Camus
4) Did you wear hand-me-downs as a kid?

No. I didn't have any siblings until four days before my twenty-first birthday, and my father was in the military, so all the rest of my family (cousins, etc.) always lived far away from wherever we were stationed.

5) What was the most unintentionally stupid thing that someone has said to you this week?

I was complaining about something and my husband of twenty-three years turned to me, shrugged, and said, "Not my problem."

REALLY!?! I'm pretty sure it's right there on the marriage license, in the fine print: "Any problem your wife may have, no matter how small or irrelevant, most certainly IS your problem, or else she will make it so!"

See you next week!