Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Finds: Horror Block – July 2015

My Horror Block for July arrived yesterday.

I wasn't expecting it this early, or maybe I just lost track of time because of working on this story for the October anthology and another for class this term.

For those that don't know, Horror Block is a monthly subscription box from Nerd Block and it's geared towards horror fans. Each month you'll get a box filled with an exclusive T shirt, a Rue Morgue Magazine and 4 or 5 other items to fuel your nightmares for only $19.99 + S&H.

This is my second Horror Block and so far I've loved everything in both of them. I'm going to try and stick with them as long as I can. What really drew me to picking this block instead of one of the other geek related monthly subscription boxes is because it comes with an exclusive T shirt every month. Also because it just seemed like it would have more items geared towards my tastes. I adore geeky items and video stuff but the truth is that I'm really just not THAT geeky, no matter how much I pretend to be :p

I was really excited for this months box because I saw a post on their Facebook page that there would be a Buffy The Vampire Slayer item in it. YAY!

The July 2015 Horror Block contained the following items.

Titan vinyl figure of Spike from Buffy.

I love this. I'm new to collecting geeky items, or anything aside from coffee cups and books, so I think this is a great way to start. I subscribed to Loot Crate a few times and ended up with a really cool Funko Pop vinyl Joker-Batman figure too, So that was my first introduction to the world of vinyl figures, and I can't say that I was disappointed.

My next favorite item was the T shirt that came this month. If you don't know I'm a huge werewolf fan and they're often the main creature feature in my stories. So to say that this “American Werewolf” shirt was perfect for me might be an understatement!

There was also a Walking Dead car window decal. I don't drive so I'll have to figure out somewhere else to put this, unless I give it to my mom to put on the back window of her VW beetle, hahaha.

There was an interesting looking DVD in the box this month. It allows you to choose which way the characters will die in the film. This has the potential to be really awesome or just really bad. Either way I'm going to have to check it out soon. I read somewhere else that it's from the 1980's, so on one hand that makes it a lot cooler because it's retro and you know it's going to be cheesy.

Every month with your subscription you also get a subscription to Rue Morgue Magazine, which is one of the go to sources for everything related to pop culture news about horror flicks, books and TV shows. I apologize for the crappy quality of the pics. I was in a hurry & having to take them from my phone. I'll do better next time, I promise!

The last thing that came in this July block was a second T shirt from the Nerd Block box as a way of trying to show you what you've been missing by not signing up for the other boxes. Mine was a Dr. Who shirt. It's nifty looking but... I'm just a Whovian, sorry. I'm going to end up giving it to one of my friends, I think.

Overall though I was stoked about this month's box. I think the Spike figure and the werewolf shirt were totally worth it on their own.

Adora's favorite thing this month was the box! :-)

Author ~ Whiskey Black

Listening to “Ain't Misbehavin'” from 1920's Jazz Favorites

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Promptly Thursday: Anthology Progress

The first draft for our anthology is due this Saturday. Mine is finished but still need a little polishing and tweaking. I'm scared to death. Scared that people will like it, scared they won't. 

Because of this insane writer's curse that most of us seem to have I've managed to skillfully avoid doing any work on it tonight. Instead, I stayed up until 5:42 AM binge watching NCIS on Netflix. I can't help it, I have the hots for both Gibbs and Abby :)

The story will get finished and it will appear, in print, in the Scribes Halloween Anthology. No matter how fearful I am, I will do this. I'll grab the bull by the horns and wrestle him to the ground. After all, the only way to get over fear is to face it...or to die trying.

~ Whiskey

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Whiskey Wednesday: Entering The Void

My sleep schedule has been screwed up for awhile now. I'm not really sure why and part of me doesn't care. I currently have no responsibilities except to myself and as long as I'm meeting those them in a timely manner it shouldn't matter if I wake up at 3:37am or 2:13pm...should it?

I hope not.

But, it is stressful.

When I can't sleep and my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode from too much reading, or writing, or facebooking, I turn to Netflix or Hulu for some entertainment.

Recently I watched Enter The Void because of one such night.

If you want a classically weird IFC drama, watch Enter The Void. If you want a beautiful, trippy, psychedelic mind-fuck, watch Enter The Void. If you want something totally different from anything you've ever experienced in a film, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film about drugs, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film set in Tokyo, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film that has a truly unusual and unique plot, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film with a touch of strange, spiritual elements, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film that's like a car wreck in slow motion that you simply can't look away from, watch Enter The Void.

If you want a film with all of these elements, with characters that you'll love, relate to and sympathize with, don't watch Enter The Void.

Everything about this movie was amazing, if not painful to watch. But the fact that I didn't give a rats ass about any of the characters really cost it major points. Why? Because there was no character development. Not really. Not even in the flashbacks. This made it excruciating to watch. The slight character development that was there was...well, let's just say creepy, which made it hard to care about the characters even more and made you question their motives. Not in a good way, I assure you. Sometimes it also made me question my own sanity over watching it.

I thought character development was something that every writer learned in whatever “Writing 101” class they took? Well, I guess not. Maybe it's different for screenwriters, I'm not sure. Perhaps because they have the chance to show, and don't have to describe everything like we do, they get a pass on that shit? Well, they shouldn't. This movie could have been amazing if only the writer would have taken a little more time to show us about Oscar, his friends and his sister before things got crazy.

Flashbacks are all well and good, they help us to understand vital information related to the story, but I don't feel that this was done well at all.

Everything I've ever read on the craft of writing tells you to “start the story as close to the ending as possible.” This is exactly what the movie did. So, freaking kudos for that! But, I'm not sure that applies when you've pretty much gotta tell 75% of the story in flashbacks.

Then again, I'm a fiction writer, not a screenwriter, so what the hell do I know?

As far as I'm concerned, despite feeling like I wasted two and half hours of my life on this film, I've used it as a learning tool for my writing. Stick to developing characters that draw in the reader. Do start the story as close to the ending as possible, but not when you have to tell most of it in flashbacks that are, confusing, repetitive and shady at best.

The goal of character development is to make people feel something for these people that you're reading about, or watching on screen. Enter The Void didn't do that at all. It left me feeling like I was in a void.

So writer's, once again take the time to flesh out your characters and to make sure that someone other than you gives a shit about them.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Muse-ic Monday: Love Is Love

I recall the day I first heard this song. It wasn't on the radio, it was sent to me over Facebook from one of my best friends, my sister in Law. I broke down in tears and sobbed. I still cry evetytime I hear it. I can't help it.

The second time that I heard it was when a friend and I were helping my ex-husband move out. I burst into tears on the drive away from our home. My friend said he wanted to change it because he doesn't like rap. My ex, a notorious metal-head, quickly jumped to my defense and said it wasn't exactly rap or hip hop, but it was simply an important fucking song. I still love him so much for defending me in that momeent.

I love my ex, with my whole heart, he's still my best friend. It doesn't matter that we realized that we were better as just friends. What matters is that we realized we needed to change for our daughter and for each other, even if that meant being without each other in the romantic sense.

He's known for years that I've wanted to be with a female. Not that I didn't enjoy being with him, I absolutly did. It was just a little more complex than that. My family isn't exacltly accepting of...people like me, Goth/Freakiness aside. It's not something that they seem to tolerate that well.

Most of my closest friends know, and a few of my family members know, but I think they choose to try an deney it. Which is ok, that's their choice.

Anyway, I'm sort of just rambling, music makes me do that sometimes. I hear a song and pour my heart out over it. I can't help it.

In doing a little soul searching lastnight I came to realize that not only do I not want to be labeld in life (Goth, Punk, Hippy, etc...) I don't want to be labeled for my sexual preferences. More importantly, I don't want to be judged by them. If you want to date me then date me, don't worry about who I used to date or if I still like guys or girls.

That speaks more about your own insecurities if you're judging me based on the fact that I like people. Seriously, do you think it really matters if I still like guys (or girls) ? I could just as easily fall out of love with you and in love with a tree...

I mean, C'mon. It's like that saying "A mind that has expanded can never go back to it's old dimensions" I just can't and I don't want to. So, if people choose to judge me, or you, because you fall for hearts instead of parts then screw them.

So yes, this song hits me hard everytime. To me it's not just about liking the same sex, it's about the entire LGBT community as a whole. It doesn't matter who you love, as long as you love truly and with your whole heart.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Promptly Thursday: Talking to Appliances

     Whiskey and I are both focusing heavily on writing our stories for the Halloween Anthology, so we decided to post work from a past prompt we did. Last winter or so we had a unique prompt from our writing group. I'll be honest, I don't know precisely how it was worded. I believe there were two options, one being to write a letter of apology to an appliance. The other variation is what I can't recall, and I think that is the one that I went with. So here are our unedited prompts from that evening.

Dear kitchen appliances, utensils and cookware,

I would like to apologize. I realize that I don't always use you in the proper manner to which your directions state. You see, some of you are greater than you think and are capable of functioning for more than only a single purpose.

Coffee Grinder, I am aware that your function is to shatter and break apart those beautiful, dark, aromatic beans, which give my brain the fuel it needs to cope with life. However, what you may not be aware of is that you can also mince fresh rosemary, thyme and sage to perfection. This makes you multi-talented. Be proud of that fact.

Chef's Knife, you are my love, my one and only, my partner in crime, as well as, my partner in perfection. To you I say thank you. You have never let me down. Thank you for standing by my side and being my go to guy who is able to cope with any task that I throw your way, whether it be cutting through carrots or cutting through bone. Thanks for always being up to the task and staying sharp. I have nothing to apologize to you for.

Cast Iron Skillet, you are another wonderful multi-tasker. The things you can do make my heart sing. The way your perfectly seasoned pan glistens with oil and the way you cause the cornmeal mixture to jump and bubble is nothing short of godliness. I also love your heft. The weight of you in my hands lends me your godliness. That muted thunk and then the crunch of his skull was music to my ears. Thank you for lending me your strength.

Stock Pot, I realize that you are meant for making stocks, but now I will use you for a batch of stew. I know you always hated how he hurt you, scratching your beautiful bottom with that rough scrubber sponge. So tonight I shall feast and you will taste his brains long before I do.

Thank you my darlings, for being so kind to me. I sincerely apologize for his mistreatment of you. But it's all over now.

Chef J

 Author ~ Whiskey Black

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Whiskey Wednesday: The Spastic Writer

How many of you have ever had a great idea and then five minutes later forgot what it was?

Yeah, me too. I do this all of the time. Like, not even joking. I'm a total freaking spazz. It doesn't seem to discriminate between simple thoughts or really impressive, mind blowing ideas. Nothing is immune to the scatteredness of my brain.

This is where carrying a notebook and pen with you at all times comes in handy. Fleeting thoughts, random snippets of an overheard conversation, names of people or places, write down anything and everything you find even the slightest bit interesting.

Aside from random inspiration inspired by your surroundings it also comes in handy dandy for jotting down those little bits of storyline ideas or blog posts that you think you might remember, but you end up forgetting anyway.

Yup. My lesson has been learned.

Never shall I leave my notebook at home again.

Author ~ Whiskey Black
Listening to "Valley Of The Dolls" by Marina & The Diamonds

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Finds:Horror Block

Today's post is going to horrifically short and sweet.

Last month I subscribed to six months of "Horror Block".  What's that, you don't have a clue what the hell I'm talking about? Well allow me to tell you.

All throughout the Internet there are these wonderful things called monthly subscription boxes.  You pick what type of things you enjoy, food, booze, beauty products or geeky toys, then you pay the price and every month you've got a new surprise in your mailbox.

I choose the horror block because you get an exclusive, limited edition  t-shirt every month, plus the Rue Morgue Magazine. You also get tons of other stuff related to your favorite horror movies, books, comics and video games.
Next month will feature an item from the "Buffy" tv series and I couldn't be more excited. Buffy Summers is my hero.

For my first black I was pleasantly surprised with its contents. I got a Cthulu stuffed toy, a Ghost Face figure from Wes Craven's "Scream", an "Aliens" silicone ice tray, and really creepy blood splattered shirt from the movie "The Purge". I haven't watched it yet but getting the nifty ass shirt certainly makes me want to.

So if you're a horror fan be sure to check it out!

P.S. That last picture is Adora...I think she like Cthulu 

~ Whiskey

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Promptly Thursday: Halloween Anthology

Summer and I were invited to write a short story for a Halloween anthology that will be coming out the first of October. All proceeds will go to benefit a charity. The theme? Well, Halloween, duh! We're supposed to write scary stories of psycho killers, monsters, ghosts or the darkness of the human psyche. I feel like this should be an easy project for me, even though I don't write horror, yet. But it's not. i'm having one hello f a time coming up with any ideas. When I think about Halloween and ghosts and scary stories I think seriously scary, or at least somewhat creepy. You know, something that'll keep you awake at night, or have you making sure all of your doors are locked. My current genre of expertise is Urban Fantasy. Lots of werewolves (don't judge me! it's not the typical, crappy cliche riddled stories, I swear!) Mine are filled with drama, action and lots of violence, but with great plots. Now don't get me wrong, my wolves are scary as hell in their own right. I'd hate to meet one in a back alley on one of their bad days... But they're not really nightmare inducing scary. So i'm having a bit of a challenge in trying to write this story. In fact, I haven't gotten a single word out thus far.
I will write something though, oh yes. Even if it doesn't end up in the anthology. Perhaps I'll post it on here! Summer says she's putting a lot of pressure on herself too. We both think it's because this could really turn into something, you know? Pressure, so much pressure.

~ Whiskey

  Yup, like Whiskey said, pressure has been the undercurrent of this piece. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I embrace darkness, so why has it been tough? Well, like Whiskey, I have never written horror. But, more than that, it is simply the knowledge that the story is for something real - something big. This is not just a grade in a fiction class, and not something that I'm creating just for me in the beginning (even if I do intend to submit for publication later), this is starting out as something that is for publication. 
Having learned that everything happens for a reason, being committed to my own growth both spiritually and as a writer, and analyzing everything, I have decided that this anthology invitation was dropped in my lap just when I needed it most. In addition to the fact that I am completely humbled and grateful that I was invited, this will potentially be my first publication (I have a few other things floating around out there awaiting an answer). As big as that is, its even more than that. You can look at pressure in two ways - in fact, this has come to be the way I approach nearly everything - if you see it as negative, it will be, but if you see it as positive, it will be that too.
     I literally want nothing more than to make a living as a writer, and this will mean deadlines and editing and rejections. I have met deadlines before, I mean I am a professional student, and I have reluctantly been in the professional work force in the past, but turning my passion into a career means that I will have to shape it to fit the very real pressures that are ahead of me as a professional writer. Though when I have sat down to write my Halloween story, I have second-guessed myself, felt blank, questioned what really constitutes a thriller or horror story, and overanalyzed every word that came out, I realize that this is nothing I am not choosing. I am choosing this pressure. It’s just a taste of what is to come in my future, so I am being put right where I need to be – at the gateway to professional writing.

~ Summer
Photo Credit: Photo taken from creative commons site. Artist: Alun Salt

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Whiskey Wednesday: Strong Women...And A Poem

I like strong women, I always have. I think it's because I've never felt strong myself. So, when I read about them, or watch them on TV or in a movie it provides me a spark of joy and a bonfire of excitement deep down in my soul.

Strong women in all of their glorious forms are great. However, pair a strong woman with the ability to kick major ass and I'm in love!

One of my all time favorite ass kicking women is Milla Jovovich as "Alice" in the Resident Evil film series.

She's my favorite actress and I've never seen a film of hers where she didn't portray a strong woman, granted, most aren't filled with her battling the wretched Umbrella Corp, but I can forgive that.

Most of my writing involves strong women who are emotionally wreaked, and deep down horrible people, but who are able to kick butt. That's the way I like it for now. Perhaps someday I'll change that, we'll see.

For now here's a poem inspired by Milla, the Resident Evil films and video games.

Ode To Evil
By whiskey black

Creeping in the darkness
beneath the Umbrella of corruption,
chaos, insanity, global destruction

Shotguns, big fun
blood everywhere
gun shots, head shots
you'll find yourself there

Cerberus, T-virus, Nemesis, Las Plagas
violent tendencies, fantastic sleaze
strain of decay and utter loss

Delve into the darkness, don't be afraid
psychotic, sick, slick, hypnotic
painful, blistering, beautiful, demonic
unleash your rage and revel in the crusade

Here's a bonus for all of you lovely readers!...
Did you know that Milla is also a singer? If not check out the awesome collaboration between her and Maynard James Keenan!

Puscifer and Milla Jovovich - "The Mission"