Thanks Alex, for giving us the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
You can still sign-up for MonsterFest 2011 here.
Thanks Alex, for giving us the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
You can still sign-up for MonsterFest 2011 here.
You can check out the full schedule here, but I will have the day’s monsters listed at the bottom of every post I make for the month of October.
Remember, it’s not to late to sign up. Sign up pretty much ends October 31st since that’s when we run out of posting days. Get your sign-ups in! Grab a button!
And yes, I haven’t signed up yet. I’m having trouble picking a monster. I’ll sign up for my own blogfest sometime this week
Monstrologist Medeia Sharif who will be teaching us about Demons.
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1. He was celibate.
2. He was afraid of round things.
3. Tesla died broke and the American government confiscated all of his work and research, none of which was ever seen again.
4. Yeah, he claimed to have invented a death ray. A DEATH RAY. Which apparently explains why the government took his research, declared it top secret, and ferreted it away so it couldn’t be used to explode the moon or something.
5. Tesla was obsessed with the number 3. He died in a hotel on the 33rd floor in room #3327.
*Yes, yes, I know. He also contributed to science in historic ways that launched us forward in our technological evolution. He gave us the radio, wireless transmissions (thank you Nikola for indirectly giving me text messaging), and the whole AC electricity thing WHATEVER. The man was afraid of things that were round. He possessed an unnatural disgust for human hair. He thought not having sex would make him a better scientist. He was totally loony toons – a MAD-FREAKING-SCIENTIST. Guys! The man was the original Sheldon Cooper!
Quick Note: MonsterFest 2011 information can be found at the MonsterFest page (click on the tab in the menu or click here). Updates will also be posted on the page. If you link from your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please link to the page, not to this post.
There’s a lot more info on the actual Page. This is just to get you excited. Are you excited? I AM EXCITED. There will be some giveaways and contests that will be, of course, horror inspired or monster inspired. I’m working on a giveaway that is inspired by these: monster hunting kits.
Yes. That’s right. I’m just trying to get some of the details down before I build them. If it all works out, I think I’m going to be giving away 3 of them in October. I’m trying to put them together so they look authentic without me actually having to ship any actual weapons which I’m not sure I could ever explain to the post office or the police or your parents when it turns out you’re totally underage and your mom wants to know why I mailed you silver bullets and wooden stakes. So we’ll see how this turns out.
There are some cool buttons for joining, and a linky tool. I am REALLY excited to be introduced to monsters I had not previously known much or anything about. I’m excited for you all to teach me. You’re all so inspiring and brilliant, this is going to be wonderful, I think!
During the month of October, my League of Monstrologists will take on the task of compiling an informal Field Guide of the Weird on their favorite monsters.
We all have at least one fictional other that haunts our closets and underbed spaces. The reason we avoid basements, attics, and graveyards. Everybody’s got their favorite – zombies, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, Bigfoot, Nessie, Cthulhu, demons, Martians, ghosts, goblins, gremlins, the clown from IT…
The monster world is full of the interesting, the weird, and the really scary. And it’s finally time to celebrate all that they bring to the dark corners of our imaginations.
Anyone who studies, writes about, reads about, hunts, loves, and/or is scared of monsters. There’s no formal education or training, no credentials needed. If monsters stalk your dreams, your waking curiosities, your writing, then you’ve been a Monstrologist all this time!
Sign-up begins Sept 12 and you can continue signing up throughout October, but the sooner you sign-up the more time you have to prepare.
MonsterFest begins October 1st and ends October 31st. Instead of having everyone involved post on the same day, participants will pick the date(s) they will post on ahead of time and a schedule will be given out to all participants and posted on the main festival page.
Monstrologists are welcome to pick as many dates and monsters and they’d like.
Click on the tab in the menu under the header marked “MonsterFest 2011″ or click here. The “How” section has the form there. There’s the official form and a linky tool. You have to fill out the form, and you’re encouraged to fill out the linky tool.
Anything you want about the monster of your choice! There are no rules, but here are some ideas:
- Beyond the norm and everyday
- What makes them tick
- How to fall in love with their aspect of sci-fi, fantasy, and/or horror
- How to hunt them
- Where they come from, the mythology
- Who started it all
- Where we can find out more
- What most people don’t know
- The best of, the worst of
Check out the official page for more information.
Dude, do you have any idea how much work goes into maintaining a serious book blog? The book reading and review writing alone is a full time job. I am in awe of some of these really fantastic book bloggers and I’m so proud to know some of them. They are obviously passionate about what they do and I know I appreciate them. I’ve found some of my favorite books because of recommendations from book bloggers I respect and admire.
This week (after today) I’m going to showcase book bloggers who have made a difference in my life as well as general writing/book bloggers who have touched me in some way. I think this is a good time to show a little love to my favorite book lovers. I want them all to know how much I appreciate and adore them.
Please consider participating, at least a little. Book Bloggers need our support! Also, check out the winners of the book blogger awards.
There are some awesome giveaways being done all over the blogosphere. I’ll keep you update on what I know.
Please come back on Monday for the full scoop and to sign-up! I’ve got to tell you guys, I am so excited about this I could scream (and I have) and jump around (which I’ve done) and dance around my livingroom in my socks (that too). I hope you are as excited as I am!
I’ve created a newsletter mailing list for anyone interested in being kept up to date on this blogfest since sign-up begins mid September and the Festival last the entire month of October. Once MonsterFest is over, the newsletter list will be deleted. You will *never* be spammed.
The newsletter, for some stupid coding reason, isn’t working. I will have it fixed before the signup for the blogfest goes up monday. I apologize everyone!!! If you signed up, or want to sign up for the MonsterFest newsletter, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you when I have it up and running.
I talked about why I write spec-fic here, so today I wanted to talk about my favorite spec-fic stories. These are stories I love more than anything else, that I can watch/read over and over, with writing that absolutely blows me away. I’d give anything for half the talent of the writers responsible for these great stories.
1. Pan’s Labyrinth
I could just as easily have said “Anything Guillermo Del Toro is involved in” for all the talent and gorgeous storytelling this man has, but Pan’s Labyrinth is my favorite. The atmosphere, the characters, the sometimes frightening and also dreamy beauty of the Other World. It is a classic fairy tale and there is no Disneyfication here. Pan’s Labyrinth is a fairy tale that scars as much as it teaches.
2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
I could also have said anything by Scott Westerfeld, but the Leviathan series is my favorite. I like that I get to choose this one because it is an interesting bit of spec-fic – historical and rife with believability but also spun with the unbelievable, monstrous aberrations that have never existed but feel like they once had. It will be tough to see this series end this summer.
You either love or hate this series or it scared you too much to ever start watching in the first place, but me? I loved it. I followed it from day one, big-eyed, scared, hungry for every morsel that would lead me down the path to guess at all the secrets. I followed the websites, the games, and the off-season teasers. For a long time I could recite the whole Lost multi-verse history. I don’t think most causal viewers understood how complex this storytelling was, how random details from early seasons return meaningfully later, how the colors the characters wear change subtly as they go from good guys, to bad guys, to something in between, or how great speculative-fiction works of art are tied up in the larger narrative, referencing and honoring the best that came before. When Jacob shows up to touch Locke in his flashback and we see him sitting on a park bench reading Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor, I fell out of my chair in shock. You have no idea how much this one book clearly influences the mythology of the LOST world, and while you don’t HAVE to know that, that I had read the book and understood five seasons of referential material made the whole story that much sweeter, that much more important.
LOST did things with storytelling that no other show, movie, or book has ever been able to do before or since. No other show will be able to cash in on the expansiveness, the hold-your-breath suspense that LOST created because it is so one of a kind. It’s kind of like the first season of most reality shows are better than later seasons because the contestants on Season 2-8 already know how to game the system, but everyone on Season 1 is experiencing it for the first time just like the audience.
And while LOST lost something with the ending that felt tacked on and a little bit anti-climatic, the experience of the rest of the body of work will go down in history as one of the greatest storytelling achievements of our generation.
Click Here to Win a Secret Box of Mystery!
Participate in the Something Wicked blogfest by signing up below!
I have two big events and a blogfest to tell you about:
My husband’s high school is hosting an event Wednesday, June 8th, called YA Authors Night. Five really awesome authors are coming to town to spend three hours talking to kids about their books, about writing, and why reading is so important. It’s open to the community, free books and free food will be provided. My husband and I are, of course, going and not just because I’m about to go all fangirly over these authors. I was honored to be asked by the school’s librarian to create a flyer for the event. (I even got to name the event!) I was so nervous about this task, but I think it turned out pretty cool. I’m really proud of the librarian and the school for putting this together.
The five authors are:
OMG I AM GOING TO MEET ELLEN HOPKINS YOU GUYS WHAT.
Lisa McMann’s book Wake was one of the first YA books I read when I started getting into reading YA. I am also interested in reading her book Cryer’s Cross. I’ve read Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King and Please Ignore Vera Dietz is very high on my MUST READ list. I have not read Matt de la Pena or Coe Booth but they are now on my radar. They are a little outside my usual reading (I am not their intended demographic) but I’ve read nothing but awesome things about them.
This is going to be one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended. These sort of events – talking with students in an open dialogue with several of my fellow writers – is one of the things I look forward to most about publishing. I can’t wait.
It is con season again and I’m floored.
CONTAGION OUTBREAK POP CULTURE EXPO, is this Friday-Sunday June 10-12th.The last two years I’ve done a play by play update from Osfest (Omaha Sci-fi Festival) throughout the weekend, and I may be doing that for Contagion – I’m not sure yet. We’re waffling about getting a hotel room, but because there is a zombie walk on Saturday (we’re raising money for three local charities by dressing up like zombies and moaning our way through downtown streets. HELLS YEAH) and I’m not going to want to walk around the convention all day in zombie gore and having a hotel room would better facilitate a shower. Of course I live 20 minutes away from the expo so it feels weird to get a hotel room. We’ll see!
Some of the highlights of the convention that I am most looking forward to:
Another rockin’ blogfest by my favorite Alex J. Cavanaugh:
It’s All Fun & Games Blogfest, June 6, 2011 – list your three most favorite games and why. Board games, card games, RPG, video games, physical games, drinking games - even mind games! If it’s a game you enjoy playing, it’s worth sharing.
1. Cheating (only a little) but my favorite video games are by video game company Bioware: Mass Effect (1 and 2), DragonAge (all of them), and Jade Empire. I love them because they are fantastic stories, intriguing mysterious, and AWESOME character development. I know that’s weird for video games, but Bioware gets an A+ for character development. Also dialogue:
Alistair: Were you really locked up in that cage for twenty days?
Sten: It may have been more like thirty. I stopped counting after a while.
Alistair: What did you do? Twenty days is a long time.
Sten: On good days, I posed riddles to passers-by, offering treasures for the correct answers.
Leliana: “You aren’t all stone, Shale. There is a person inside of you.”
Shale: “If so, it is because I ate him.”
2. Betrayal at the House on the Hill – a board game that throws all the horror movies and books youv’e ever seen and watched into one game. For the first half of the game you explore a house on the hill, a haunted house, turning over rooms and dealing with whatever is inside. At some point a character triggers the betrayal and one character (usually the one triggering the betrayal) becomes the betrayer. He leaves the room with a set of rules while the rest of the group get their own. The betrayer has a purpose for the second half of the game and it is usually to do terrible things to the rest of the players. The rest of the players try to survive. There are 50 different scenarios and the same scenario could be played 50 times without the exact same results. It is a wonderful game for replay value.
There are twelve potential characters to play, though only 6 at a time. They are all stereotypes of horror stories: the mad scientist, the priest, the professor, the creepy little girl from New Orleans, the sweet little blond pigtailed girl, the naughty little boy, the apple pie little boy, the busty co-ed, the nerdy college girl, the Lara Croft girl, the big stupid strong guy, the gypsy woman, etc.
3. We Didn’t Play Test This At All- a card game where the cards change the rules as you play the game. Sometimes the game ends in minutes, other times much longer. It is great game to play while you pass some time with a group of friends or makes a great drinking game for the 21+ players. Infections and ridiculous, it is a lot of fun to play.
From the publisher’s website:
“The most aptly named game ever!
In this exceptionally silly and awesome game, your objective is to win! Simple enough. Sadly, all of your opponents have the same simple goal, and they’re trying to make you lose. Between Rock Paper Scissors battles, being eaten by a random Dragon, or saved by a Kitten Ambush, there are many hazards to avoid.”
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up. We weren’t homeless and starving or anything, but I wore clothes three seasons out of style, a little frayed, and usually didn’t fit right. Most of them came from the Goodwill, which was fine. It never occurred to me that there was anything wrong with this. My poodle-perm was way more embarrassing than my hand-me-down pink California Raisin sweatshirt. It helped that I went to school with kids in the same socio-economic bracket. We were all shopping at the same places.
Anyway, every Thursday was the night I spent at my dad’s and so every Thursday after he picked me up from my mom’s we would stop at the 30th Street Thrift Store so I could shop for books. I had about $5 to spend, but since the books were around .5, .10, .25, it wasn’t unusual for me to walk out with armloads of paperbacks. Every Thursday was like Christmas Redux.
It was here that I fed my R.L. Stine and Babysitter’s Club obsession (which really shouldn’t be read together, FYI. It’ll just mess you up.) It is also where I picked up my first research books where I learned about bizarre medical procedures and the persecution of Jews in WWII. Once I hit the jackpot when someone dropped off at least a dozen YA romance titles that taught me that the only interesting things in the world happened to au pairs. THANKS YA WRITERS FOR THAT LITTLE DELUSION.
I still have a notebook from high school with this scribbled on the cover.
Up until my sophomore year of high school I worshipped the ground English teachers walked on. As far as I was concerned, they could do no wrong and they knew everything there was to know about everything in the whole world in the history of the universe.
Everything changed with the witch who was my sophomore year English teacher. While alone I will never forgive her for handing back a paper I’d written and whispering in my ear while gripping my arm that I would never become a published author, she also managed to singlehandedly squash my idol-worship by insisting that loving Charles Dickens was a universal absolute and anyone who didn’t was not smart enough to read and understand good books anyway. She threw me out of class when I insisted I thought his books were crap and though I would read them for my grade no one would force me to like them against my will.
(We also argued over Hemingway. She insisted you could only enjoy The Old Man and the Sea by investigating its multi-layered symbolism. I insisted I could enjoy it regardless. That was the second time she threw me out of class.)
(And for the record, I still hate reading Charles Dickens.)
V.C. Andrews taught me about sex. Not my friends. Not television or movies. V.C. Andrews. And to make matters worse, she taught me about creepy sex. I was in 7th grade when I read Flowers in the Attic, and that book is pretty tame compared to the others which I read like candy as I traded them with my other little 7th grade girlfriends because one of them had an older sister who was into V.C. Andrews and supplied our little book addled brains with what most certainly would be contraband if our parents took half a second to go from “OH THANK GOD OUR KIDS ARE SMART AND READING” to ask “WAIT DON’T THE BROTHER AND SISTER HAVE SEX IN THIS MOVIE????”
Stephen King taught me to be afraid of everything and everyone. I was in third grade when I read Misery. I picked it up in a gas station along with a juice box and cheap red rimmed plastic sunglasses. We stopped to fill up on the way to Okaboji, Iowa where my family had a summer cabin. In high school I read Rose Madder, Eye of the Dragon, Cujo, Carrie, IT, Pet Cemetery, and others.
He warped my mind and while I’d like to say I turned out just fine, I should point out that as an adult I write scary stories to mess with people’s minds and in any other profession my imagination would have me profiled as a potential serial killer.
YA horror defined my entire high school experience. While I was reading Stephen King, I was also devouring every Fear Street book R.L. Stine put out. I stalked my mall’s Waldenbooks and B.Daltons for new releases. By the time I stopped collecting Fear Street books, I had something along the lines of 108 of them. I still have most of them in a box in my basement. I was also reading Christopher Pike, Lois Lowery, Caroline B. Cooney, and Richie Tankersley Cusick. My junior year I was introduced to The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith, who everyone has heard of now thanks to the television show which I have not seen. Of all L.J.’s series, the Vampire Diaries were my least favorite because I didn’t like the main character and I hated how I related more to her sidekick best friend who totally got screwed in pretty much everything and was treated pretty abysmally by all the cool-kid main characters. Still, it was the first time paranormal YA felt extraordinary and sexy. I was obsessed with The Secret Circle and Dark Powers, but my favorite of all of her series is still The Forbidden Game. Julian was one of the first villains I fell totally in love with and would have chosen over the heroes in a heartbeat.
This is also about the time in my history that I started writing YA, though I didn’t know it had an official classification at the time. I knew, somehow, that books for my age were more fun than books for other ages. They just felt like they had more limitless possibilities than my adult books.
*cue twilight zone music*
What were your defining book moments as a teenager? Got any good stories? Tell us about them for the SCHOOL’S OUT 4EVER Blogfest!