Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Anyone else out there drive themselves nuts…?

So I have submitted two short stories to two different anthologies this weekend and already I am driving myself crazy wondering what the editors will think of them, and if they will be accepted!

It’s ridiculous to check my email every half an hour, hoping they will already have read them and replied, yet I just can’t seem to stop myself! Now, instead of checking, I am writing this blog post in order to distract myself.

What I really should be doing is editing. I am now down to the last fifty or so pages of my latest book, but I am struggling to concentrate and stay focused. Of course it doesn’t help that I’ve only had about five hours sleep (grrrr) and my hubbie is away for work. I don’t want to edit when I feel like this because I know I will not be doing my best work and I want it to be perfect (or as close to perfect as I can get it.)

I also know the house needs cleaning, the laundry needs to be done, and I am in the middle of furiously blending vegetables and freezing them in ice-cube trays for the baby’s dinner! I think today I should just accept that maybe I need to focus on the home, as opposed to the writing.

Maybe actually turning the computer off will help! But I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it…

Best ever ghost images caught on tape!

Check out this link on MSN.

It has some seriously spooky images of real life filming of ghosts and the stories behind them. Seriously spooky stuff…

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Motherhood (2009) and a post dedicated to all those writing mothers out there!

Motherhood Motherhood is about a woman struggling with the realities of motherhood, coping with her children growing up, and still wanting to realise her dreams as a writer.

While this movie flopped at the box office, I suspect that is simply because the picture house wasn’t filled with writing mothers (all too busy either writing or taking care of kids to get to the cinema!). Uma Thurman plays a character completely unlike her usual glam self. She is trying to organise her daughter’s sixth birthday party while trying to meet a deadline. She is struggling with the feeling of having lost ‘herself’ when she became a mother, and is trying to fit in writing time between all of the other challenges (an incontinent dog, a husband who has the unfortunate habit of going missing whenever he is needed to most, and a car that needs to be moved every other minute to make way for LA film crews).

The movie follows her day, including her obsessive blogging. She is described as an ‘over-sharer’ and even accidently reveals some intimate secrets of her best friend (played by Minnie Driver) on her blog (haven’t we all upset someone at some point, with something we have said!!!).

Then a minor dalliance with a delivery boy makes her wonder if she should even be with her husband and she freaks out, running away from her family.  Will she make it back in time to pull off her daughter’s party?!

It’s a simple, heart-warming movie I think all writing mothers will appreciate. So much of it resonated with me. As a mother to two girls, I know what it is like to desperately try to fit as many writing hours in between all of the other challenges life throws at us.  It’s hard, but, (and I am sure I am speaking for the majority of other writing mothers out there), we do it because it is what keeps us sane.  Even though I haven’t had a full nights sleep in five months, the cleaning never ends, and I’ve not had a night out without the children in forever, I am kept sane by the knowledge that at the end of the day I can sit down in front of my laptop and lose myself in my other, imaginary worlds for a while.

So this post is dedicated to all the other writing mothers out there. And may there always be enough junk food and Nick Jnr to keep the kids happy while we write!!!!

Friday, 27 August 2010

The Crazies (2010) review!

craz As a toxin begins to turn the residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa into violent psychopaths, sheriff David Dutton tries to make sense of the situation while his newly pregnant wife, Judy, and two other unaffected townspeople band together in a fight for survival.

There wasn’t anything terribly original about this movie – okay, I know it was a remake anyway, so maybe the original was original at the time, but I did just feel as though I had seen it all before.

The best part of the movie was where the army came in and started to separate people according to their body temperatures; a raised body temperature indicating the person was sick.  Here the wife is taken, as she is pregnant and so has a slightly higher temperature.  This part felt far more realistic to me and therefore more scary. The fear people felt at being separatedcrazi from their children and partners immediately had me thinking about how I would feel if I were in their place – always a good sign to me that I am getting into the film!

Here the movie stepped up a notch. Some of the parts where Judy is strapped down in the hospital and there is a crazy guy running around impaling people with a pitchfork, literally had me hiding behind my fingers!

The movie was definitely improved by looking into the way the government handle the disaster and not just what happens to the people. In a way it was the government’s treatment of the people that was the crazy thing – not just that the infected went mad. 

crazies I thought it was a bit too lucky that the sheriff and his wife (a doctor) just happened to be among the very few people not infected. I don’t know if I missed something (maybe where their house was meant the water source reached them last – I don’t know), but it did seem like a bit of a lucky coincidence.  There were also some parts, particularly towards the end, that were a little unbelievable.  At one point the couple sit in the huge glass window of a diner, drinking coffee as though it were a regular Sunday morning.  The lights are on and they are in full view of everyone, even though they know the army and the ‘crazies’ are out there – and they wonder why they get found? Duh?

However, overall the movie was fast-paced, violent, and, most importantly, scary!  If you’re looking for a decent weekend movie to rent that will be a good watch, but you won’t need to expend too much brainpower over, then you could do a lot worse than The Crazies!  A decent remake, for once.

Something Wicked 7/10.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Domination...one Pumpkin Seed at a time.

Hello, I'm James Garcia Jr. If you do not know me yet, that is okay. You will. I am here to assist our friends Marissa and Nicole as they do their little part to orchestrate Vamplit Publishing's master plan of ruling the publishing world. It is early, but very soon words such as "Vamplit", "Bestseller" and "Empire" will be universally appearing in the same sentences...

[The sounds of crickets can be heard]

Okay, we're working on it, though!

(In a nearly inaudible whisper) Really, we are.

What do you say we start again? I'm James. As you get to know me, feel free to call me Jimmy. My novel, Dance on Fire, was published by Vamplit Publishing. It's the same house that brought you Alone and Release. Just like Marissa's and Nicole's e-books, my novel is about to become a paperback, too. We're all terribly excited about this, so you should be hearing more as the days begin to grow cooler and summer finds itself driven away for another year. Dance on Fire is a crossover Christian/Horror novel about vampires, but I didn't post today to discuss my novel. I posted to talk about the novel of yet another Vamplit Author, Timothy Hobbs.

In a day and age when many vampire novels are romanticized, comes a book that seems to want to strike a blow right into the very heart of the topic.

"...will no longer attempt to date these entries. There is no point. I am dying, of that I have no doubt. I feel I have no connection with the physical world and that I am floating. An animal's corpse lies in the middle of the room. It has a wretched marvelous stink. It is difficult to concentrate. My brain is on fire and all light is painful. My throat is aching and parched but the thought of water is dreadful. The sound of scraping feet resonates in the darkness. Groans of hunger are joined with my own. Vairaja appears through the blackness. His face is strained and pale. His touch icy. We kiss each other on the neck and taste the saltiness of our blood. I must drink for two. My belly swells.

"...I no longer see the day. Only shadows bring comfort. The dead walk around me, their howls of hunger are ghastly. My child's wails are silent in the womb."

Very often readers proclaim that they simply could not put a novel down. Well, I will tell you that I work 10.5 hours a day in my day-job, write for three blogs and finally a local on-line magazine; however, whenever all of those were done, and the family was happily doing their own things, I was back in that bedroom with the Kindle, wondering what in the world might happen next. If it weren't for the fact that I had deadlines to meet, I would have skipped a few of them in order to read this book. It's that good.

Part of the reason why I am so excited about this novel is due to the fact that just when I thought that I might have seen it all, came a tale from somewhere otherworldly. Told entirely through diary entries and over the course of centuries, we glimpse the people that were, and the changes that occurred when they became the creatures that they will forever be. Another thing that is refreshing about Mr. Hobb's effort is we get to see the lineage of multiple generations of these. Without revealing their names and thus spoiling the story, we get to see one of these vampires create a second, who much later creates one of his own, and so on.

These Vampires do not have meet/cutes, but bond only for security and feed to survive. The characters are as multi-dimensional as I have ever seen in print. The vampires are not simple monsters. They are beings that used to be people; people who used to believe certain things and rationalize and love, and we watch with horror as everything that they ever were, changes.

I must note that this novel is not for the faint of heart. It gave me cause to cringe more than once. I was almost in disbelief a time or two, contemplating what might happen, but not actually thinking that the author would go there. He went there. That's not to say that the novel is objectionable or graphic for the sake of attempting to be shocking. For me, personally, I liked the idea of this novel getting us back to the basics, and that is horror.

If you like a good horror novel that is intelligent and ground-breaking...I offer you The Pumpkin Seed.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

And Someone New!

Dance

Hi everyone!  Nicole and I are thrilled to announce that James Garcia Jr has agreed to join the Something Wicked team!  As author of the brilliant ‘Dance on Fire’, we are thrilled to have him on board.  Because he is a fellow Vamplit author, we also feel that we are ‘keeping it in the family’, with him helping out with reviews while Nicole is away (and hoping he’ll hang around long after she comes back!).

While I am here, has anyone got any opinions about the new look of the blog?  I liked it, but my husband simply said, ‘why have you got birds flying over it?’ (He is not a horror fan and the significance of birds went completely over his head!)

Any feedback would be much appreciated – good or bad!

Movies I’ve watched this week that I would recommend…

The Game The Game (1997).  Michael Douglas plays a man who has been given the gift of a real life game for his birthday, but then finds the game is a con set out to destroy him… or is it?

Its an oldie (when I say ‘oldie’ I am thinking back more than ten years!), but a goodie. I was actually amazed that I hadn’t come across it before.  There are lots of twists and turns, and for once, the twists are actually believable!

I Love You, Man. (2009).  A funny spin on a dating movie beI love youcause it is  essentially about a guy going on ‘man-dates’ to find a friend, and Best Man for his wedding.  When he finds such friend it starts putting strains on his relationship with his fiancĂ©.  This one has some laugh-out-loud moments!

Adventure Adventureland (2009).  A quality ‘coming of age’ film about a geeky undergrad who has to take a nowhere job at a theme park.  Funny, with some really sweet moments.  Good acting really makes the movie!

So there you have it.  If you’re looking for something decent to watch then you can’t go wrong with any of these three.  Happy watching!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Someone missing…?

 

Hi all, Marissa here. I just wanted to give everyone an update about why the other half of the Something Wicked crew is missing. 

Sadly Nicole has some personal stuff going on at the moment so she is taking a little time out from the blogging world.  She is greatly missed, but will be back with a vengeance when she has everything sorted. 

In the meantime I will still be posting all my supernatural movie and book reviews, and I am hoping that a couple of fledgling Vamplit authors will stop by to introduce themselves and guest post while Nicole is away.

I’m also hoping to share some news with you about the release of my new novel, The Dark Road, very soon!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Curse of the ‘mummy-tummy’!

preg It’s now been five months since my youngest was born and I am still plagued by my bulging belly which still looks as though I am at least six months gone.

I swear nothing is as bad as fighting a post-baby body (yeah, okay, I know – world famine, flooding, rare and untreatable illnesses – but just humour me for a moment.)  I hate dieting – just hate it.  I get so much pleasure from food.  I love everything about it – shopping for food, cooking food, and of course eating it!  Then comes the alcohol consumption.  I know there is no way I will be slim and gorgeous if I keep drinking beer and consuming a couple of good sized glasses of wine in the evening.

So I am trying to diet, but bugger-all is happening.  Every time I step on the much hated scales I just want to open the fridge and eat everything inside it.  It sucks.  I know I am going to have to start running (which I also hate), but as I don’t have either the time or the money for a gym membership, it is my only option.

Of course I love my daughter more than anything and I would never swap one of my children for my pre-baby body, but it would still be nice to have the pert body of an eighteen year-old Swedish girl (not that I ever had that to start with!).  My husband drives me insane by complaining that he has put on a few pounds, and I have to do everything in my power to stop myself from grabbing him and screaming in his face like a maniac, ‘You think you’ve got problems!  Try growing another person and then get back to me!’

In the future, when I can afford it, I will be calling in the surgeons (probably will even have them on speed-dial), but until that time comes I am either going to have to suck it up (literally) and stick with the diet, or else accept I am going to be a good stone over-weight, eat and drink what I like, and embrace the baby-belly.

So today I am sending much love out there to all the other women battle body issues (and I am sure there are many).  We will probably never be happy with our bodies and will spend the rest of our lives fighting them! 

Sunday, 15 August 2010

True Blood Interview

stephen_moyer_220x147 There’s a really cool interview with Stephen Moyer, who plays Bill in True Blood, over at the NZ Herald.  (I come across such things because my husband is a Kiwi).

It’s an entertaining read, with him talking about his engagement to Anna Paquin (who is a kiwi) and going down under to meet her family.

He says about doing the sex scenes; "the naked aspect is part and parcel of the show. And honestly, when I'm doing a sex scene, all I think about is the food I'm going to eat after the scene is finished.

"Everybody has to starve themselves so if they put the sex scene after lunch, it's a f***ing nightmare. Believe me, there's nothing exciting about doing those scenes."

He pauses. "Actually, I nearly came in naked today, with a cock sock on, just to make your day." Moyer is nothing if not entertaining!

Can’t wait for Season three to come to the UK!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Today blogging over at…

I am blogging over at Write in the Shadows today about where I think the paranormal genre will be in five years time.

I have also posted a movie review of The Lovely Bones over at Something Wicked if you want to check it out!

Phew! All blogged out for today!  Need sugar…diet not going so well…

The Lovely Bones (movie) review!

lovelybones It is always difficult to watch the movie of a book you have loved.  Invariably they never meet up to the imaginary world you have created in your head while reading. The characters never look as you have imagined them, and then normally what happens is that some big-wig executive in Hollywood has decided to change the ending!

Susie Salmon, fourteen years-old, takes her usual shortcut home lovely through a cornfield when she is trapped, raped, and murdered by her neighbour George Harvey.  Harvey lives alone and builds doll houses.  After Susie’s disappearance the police question him, but have no reason to take it further.

Susie’s family do not want to accept her death.  Her father continues to search for her killer, her mother runs away, and her sister is left to deal with things.  To help out her drinking, smoking, ‘tough-love’ Grandma, played by Susan Sarandon, moves in to help.

lovelybo While all of this is happening Suzie is watching from a place between heaven and earth.  It is a type of Dali landscape, both beautiful and strange, which morphs around her.  She watched her family try to get on with their lives, but when Harvey starts to pay too much attention to her sister, she is able to affect things in the real world, trying to point her father in the right direction.

It was hard watching the part where Suzie is trapped in a underground bunker built beneath the cornfield and then murdered.  I really wanted her to escape, but of course that would be impossible as it is the whole premise to the story!

Stanley Tucci, played George Harvey did some great acting.  It must always be difficult for actors to play those kind of roles, but he really did it justice.  And I loved the grandma, played by Susan Sarandon (exactly the type I grow up to be!)

I loved the novel of the same name, by Alice Seabold, so I was sceptical when my husband brought home the movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised.  There were some parts in it where I thought, no stop doing that – namely the parts where Suzie was in the world in-between heaven and earth.  Also, I didn’t really believe in Ray, the boyfriend Suzie had before she died.  He was supposed to be English and his performance was stilted, and he had a really bad dress sense which was off putting!  But generally it was an entertaining movie and certainly not as bad as I had thought it was going to be.

Something Wicked 6/10.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Busy, busy, busy…

writing With a lot of hard work from both my self and my publisher, I am hoping that my second novel (in publication, not in actually writing) will be out by the end of September.  Hurrah!

As well as getting the novel publication-ready, I am also working on a short story which I plan to submit to a Vampire Anthology.  I don’t write many short stories, but this one is lots of fun, and I am hoping it will be accepted.

One thing I am really enjoying at the moment is helping to design my book covers. It’s one of the great things about working with a smaller publisher.  You get so much more control and input over what actually happens to your work.  I’ve always been quite an ‘arty’ person, so getting involved with that side of things is great fun.  Also, it’s always fantastic to see your name on the cover.  It’s like seeing all your hard work finally completed.

On top of that there are all the normal things in life that fill our days.  Our dog from Spain has finally arrived after spending five-and-a-half months in a Spanish kennel, waiting for her pet passport to come through.  It’s great having her back again, though she is a complete lunatic (think Marley and Me, but without the cuteness), and the house we are in is half the size of the Spanish villa.  Not too good for four people and a big dog.  Still, after a bit of adjusting, we are enjoying having an animal in the house again.  I just can’t wait to add a couple of cats to the mix (though that won’t be for a while yet).  I miss having a little ball of fur to curl up with on the couch or to keep your feet warm in bed!

So between juggling the kids, the husband, the dog, the novels, the short stories, and the blogging, life is pretty full! Just how I like it!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Flashback -- Dead of Winter

So, Marissa's fond of teasing me that I need to update my viewing list with items that are dated like, past 2000 (what?  They actually bothered to make movies after 1989?!).  I'm working on it, but in the meantime, I had the pleasure of viewing one of my old favorites, Dead of Winter.

Seriously, I hadn't seen this movie in like, 20 years, and I'd just been thinking about it, so it was a treat when it was on a few weekends ago.  AND Roddy McDowall is in it (Peter Vincent), and he does a stellar job being the creepy toadie.

The premise is this:  Mary Steenburgen is an actress who is offered a part in a movie, because the lead actress has taken off due to a mental breakdown.  Or so she's told.  She needs to audition out at the director's house, conveniently located in the Middle of Nowhere, where you cannot run or scream for help.

And it's cold and snowy.

Whilst at this house, Katie (Steenburgen), starts noticing that the Director, Dr. Lewis (played by Jan Rubes), might not have been completely honest with her.  Like how the actresses' mental breakdown really ended in a suicide, (Katie finds pictures of the corpse).  Unfortunately, by this point, Katie is held as a prisoner in the house because she bears a remarkable resemblance to the dead actress, as well as her sister (Evelyn, also played by Steenburgen).

It appears as though Evelyn had her sister killed for some reason, and Dr. Lewis and his oh-so-lovable toadie, Mr. Murray (McDowall), want to play games with Evelyn and make her think Julie (dead actress sister) is still alive.  Hence the need for Katie to film 'screen tests' which are actually then sent to Evelyn as 'proof' that Julie is still alive, and would she please send along some cash for their silence?

Unfortunately, Evelyn doesn't like to be toyed with, and Katie gets severe cabin-fever, especially after she wakes up one morning to find her hand bandaged.  Way.  There's even a mirror in Katie's room that's actually a doorway to a secret passage through the house (I just LOVE those!). 

I won't spoil the plot any further -- see it for yourself!  It's a very good flick that I think holds up today, with good old-fashioned suspense and acting to flesh out a decent, classic plot.

Something Wicked -- 4/5!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Gareth Edward’s Monster

Ever since I saw this movie reviewed on Sky news this weekend, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  I think it looks great, and the fact it was made on a fifteen thousand dollar budget amazes me.  Basically Gareth Edwards just took off backpacking with his friends around South America, recorded scenes, and then each night downloaded the stuff to his computer and Voila! a movie was made. And apparently the computer he did the special effects on was bought from a shop (not specialist), but was more powerful than the one they used to make Jurassic Park!

Synopsis: Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"...... A US journalist agrees to escort a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

It’s due to be released on the 12th November 2010 (UK). Visually it looks fantastic, and certainly not like it was made on a fifteen-thousand dollar budget.  A lot of people are saying that it is just a Cloverfield rip-off, but I have a feeling it will be much better.

Here is the trailer:

 

These successful, low-budget movies mark an exciting time in film-making.  Of course it does mean that every nerd out there will be picking up their video camera in the hope of creating a blockbuster.  But on the other side of things it also means that film studio’s will take more chances with relatively unknown, and low budget, film-makers and writers. 

Rather than throw millions at one big (hopeful) hit, they are spreading their bets on these low budget films and hoping one sticks.

I’m currently putting together the bare-bones of a screen-play which I have been playing with in my head for some time, so the idea of more studios taking chances sounds like a good idea to me!

In the meantime I will look forward to Monsters release!