Happy Halloween! or The Zombie King Cometh

Happy Halloween to all my lovely readers out there in the aethernet.  Have you got your spooky on?

Today I have a super special guest for ya’ll: The Zombie King himself, Mr. Jack Wallen!  He’s here to talk about the Smexiest Horror films.  (Horror films can be sexy.  Who knew!)

But before I let Jack take over, I post this important Public Service Announcement:

This could save your life, people.  Seriously.

And now, over to you Jack!Jack Wallen - Zombie King

Ten Smexiest Horror Films of All Time

As you might expect, the Zombie King loves him some horror. Even better, he likes him some sexy horror. That’s why I decided to list out my top ten sexiest horror films of all, and I mean ALL, time. Of course, before I dig into smexy, I figure it would be wise to define just what it means for a horror film to be smexy. Seriously? Horror?

Of course! Why not? To be scared means the heart races, the blood pumps, adrenaline is pushed into the system — you know, the same kind of responses one has when, well, makin’ the smexy. And horror can achieve this in many ways. Fear, costuming, sex, the thrusting of knives, the drinking of blood, the eating of souls, cannibalism…oh wait…maybe not that last bit. But you get the idea.

So, without further adieu, let’s get down to some dirty business.

1 Hellraiser. I realize I include this in so many of my favorites lists. But Clive Barker’s brainchild — the film that catapulted my idol to success, oozes sex. Not only in the costuming, but the very idea of the Cenobites asking the solver of the puzzle “What is your pleasure?” The answer, of course, is pain. It’s smexy…it’s seriously smexy.

2 Return of the Living Dead 3. This one surprises most, but a hot female, in a short skirt, fishnet, and combat boots going all zombie and wanting to eat the flesh of others — need I say more? And besides that, it’s not a bad entry in the Return of the Living Dead series. Give it a try…you’ll warm up to it (if you know what I mean).

3 Zombie Strippers. Really? Seriously? It stars Robert England and ex-porn queen Jenna Jameson. You have hot stripper women in pole dancing in outfits I’d love to have hanging in my closet. What more can you ask for? You can’t. Period.

4 Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Gary Oldman as the Count really doesn’t get my smexier. Not only is his performance about the best to ever get fanged up, he makes your heart weep and your loins burn. Name me one vampire film smexier? Well? Well? You can’t, can you?

5 Candyman. I have one thing to say about this one — Tony Todd. The man’s voice is the closest thing to Barry White Hollywood has ever had. Slap a hook on his hand, have Virginia Madeson acting against him, and you have the makings for not only a ridiculously scary movie, but one hell of a smexy ride.

6 Skinwalkers. Rhona Mitra. Rhona Mitra. Say it with me. Now, turn Rhona Mitra into a wearwolf and say it with your eyes closed. This movie is one of the best werewolf films you will ever see. But the single most important aspect of this film is, well, Rhona Mitra. If she doesn’t make you purr, nothing will.

7 Underworld. This film is all about the vinyl and the color blue. The film is beautiful to watch and not just because of seeing Kate Beckensale in PVC vinyl. The rage, the power, the friggin’ vampires at war with the lycans! Wow, what a mixture. Oh, and the soundtrack…sexy sells and this film sold like k-razy!

8 Resident Evil. Milla Jovavitch stole my heart when I first saw her in one of my favorite films The Fifth Element. She is not only a thing of beauty, the woman can act like mad. Slap her in a seriously sexy dress, give her a gun, and make her fight the undead (be still my heart) and BAM! We have a winner.

9 The Hunger. David Bowie. Vampires. I need not say one thing more.

10 True Blood. It’s not a film, it’s a TV series, but it’s the sexiest damned TV series to ever grace the screen. More curves, more abs, more sex, more sex, and more sex. Vampers are just mad hot in this one. Eric Northman? Yeah, I’d go gay for him for one night. Sookie? I’d go back to straight for her. It’s all crazy smexy all the time. If you can watch this show and not get yummy, you crazy bitch!

Well? was I wrong? Look me in the eye and tell me I was wrong. Watch one of the above films and remain a cold, lifeless, undead corpse and I’ll eat my…well…let’s leave it at that.

;-)

Thank you, Jack, for that kick-ass post!  I can tell I’ve been woefully remiss in my smexy horror watching.

Ladies and Gents, you can find the Zombie King over at his blog as well as his weekly podcast Zombie Radio.

Don’t forget, Jack’s I Zombie I is still absolutely FREE until the end of October.  So, hop over and get it before the zombies nom your brains.

And once you’re done there, get the sequel: My Zombie My. Trust me, you’re gonna want to read this bad boy.

Zombies not your thing?  Check out his edgy murder mystery/thriller A Blade Away. Or the fabulous superhero action novel, Shero.
And that’s all she wrote folks.  Have a fabulous fun-filled weekend and I’ll catch you on the flipside.

…beware the jaws that bite, the claws that snatch…

Indie Chicks: Is Your Life Whispering To You?

A couple of months ago I got an email from indie author Cheryl Shireman asking if I would take part in a new project.  The project?  Inspirational stories from 25 inspirational women.

I was beyond honored to participate and am very proud of my story, as well as the stories of the other women involved in the project.

That project, Indie Chicks, is now live.  Below, Cheryl talks about the project.

Is Your Life Whispering to You?

 By Cheryl Shireman

I believe life whispers to you and provides direction. I call that life force God. You can call it whatever you want, but there is no escaping it. If we are open, and brave enough to say yes, life will take us in directions we never expected, and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams.

Those whisperings often come in the form of a “crazy” idea or a nudge to move into a certain direction that seems odd or silly or daring. Then there is that moment when you think, Well, that’s weird. Where in the world did that come from?

And then there’s the second moment, when you have to make a choice. You can dismiss the crazy notion, and probably even come up with a dozen reasons why it’s a bad idea. You don’t have the time, the money, or the resources. Besides, who are you to do such a thing? What in the world were you thinking? So, you dismiss the idea. We always have that option – to say No.

But it comes back – that whisper. Sometimes again and again. But if we are practical, and safe, we can squash the notion until it is almost forgotten. Almost.

Such a notion came to me a couple of months ago. I began to think of an anthology composed of women writers. An anthology that would be published before the rapidly approaching holiday season. The title came to me almost immediately – Indie Chicks. It was a crazy notion. I was working with an editor who was editing my first two novels, and was also in the middle of writing a third novel. Working on three books seemed to be a pretty full plate. Adding a fourth was insane.

But the crazy notion kept coming back to me. It simply refused to be dismissed. So I sent out a “feeler” email to another writer, Michelle Muto. She loved the idea. I sent out another email to my writing buddy, J. Carson Black. She loved the idea, too, but couldn’t make the time commitment. She had just signed with Thomas & Mercer and was knee deep in writing. I took it as a sign. I didn’t have the time for the project either. Perhaps after the first of the year, when final edits were done on my own novels. I dismissed it, at least for the present time. I’d think about it again in another couple of months, when the timing made more sense.

A week later I surrendered, started developing a marketing plan for Indie Chicks, and began sending out emails to various indie writers – some I knew, but most were strangers. I contacted a little over thirty women. Every one of them responded with enthusiasm. Most said yes immediately, and those who could not, due to time commitments, wished us well and asked me to let them know when the book when the book was published so they could be part of promoting it.

One of the first writers I contacted was Heather Marie Adkins. Earlier this year, while I was browsing the internet, I came across an interview with Heather. The interviewer (oddly enough, Michelle Muto) asked Heather, When did you decide to become an indie author? Heather’s answer was:  About a month ago. My dad had been trying to talk me into self-publishing for some time, but I was hesitant. One night, I sat down and ran a Google search. I discovered Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath, Victorine Lieski; but it was Cheryl Shireman that convinced me. This is the field to be in. I was shocked (Astonished! Flabbergasted!). I had no idea that I had ever inspired anyone! To be honest, it was a bit humbling. And,okay, yes – it made me cry. So, of course, I had to invite Heather to be a part of the anthology. Heather not only said yes, but she also volunteered to format the project – a task I was dreading.

As Heather and I exchanged emails, I told her about how I had been similarly inspired to become an indie writer by Karen McQuestion. My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas of 2010. Honestly, the present angered me. I didn’t want a Kindle. I wanted nothing to do with reading a book on an electronic device! I love books; the feel of them, the smell of them. But, very quickly, I started filling up that Kindle with novels.

One day, while looking for a new book on Amazon, I came across a title by Karen McQuestion. I learned that McQuestion had published her novels through Amazon straight to Kindle. Immediately, I began doing research on her and how to publish through Kindle. I had just completed a novel and was ready to submit it through traditional routes. Within 48 hours of first reading about McQuestion, I submitted my novel, Life Is But A Dream: On The Lake. Twenty four hours later, it was published as an eBook on Amazon. Within another couple of weeks it was available as a paperback and through Nook. Did I jump into this venture fearlessly? No! I was scared to death, and I almost talked myself out of it. Almost. The novel went on to sell over 10,000 copies within the first seven months of release.

As I shared that story with Heather, another crazy notion whispered in my ear – Ask Karen McQuestion to write the foreword for Indie Chicks. Of course, I dismissed it. We had exchanged a couple of tweets on Twitter, but other than that, I had never corresponded with McQuestion. It was nonsense to think she would write the foreword. I was embarrassed to even ask her. Surely, she would think I was some sort of nut. But, the idea kept whispering to me and, with great trepidation, I emailed her. She said yes! Kindly, enthusiastically, and whole-heartedly, she said yes. Karen McQuestion had inspired me to try indie publishing. I had inspired Heather Adkins. And now the three of us were participating in Indie Chicks, that crazy whisper I had been unable to dismiss.

The book began to develop, and as it did, a theme began to form. This was to be a book full of personal stories from women. As women, one of our most powerful gifts is our ability to encourage one another. This book became our effort to encourage women across the world. Twenty-five women sharing stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. We began to dream that these stories would inspire other women to live the life they were meant to live.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted the proceeds of this charity to go to some sort of charity that would benefit other women. While we were in the process of compiling the anthology, the mother of one of the women was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost immediately upon learning that, Michelle Muto sent me an email. Hey, in light of *****’s mother having an aggressive form of breast cancer, can I nominate The Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer? I mean, one of our own is affected here, and other than heart disease (which took my own mother’s life), I can’t think of anything more worthy than to honor our sister in words and what she’s going through. A daughter’s love knows no bounds for her mother. Trust me. I know it’s a charity that already gets attention on its own. But, that’s not the point, is it? The point is there are 25 ‘sisters’ sticking together and supporting each other for this anthology. I say we put the money where the heart is. We had our inspiration. All proceeds would go to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research.

The stories started coming in. Some were light hearted and fun to read. But others were gut-wrenching and inspiring – stories of how women dealt with physical abuse, overwhelming grief, and a host of bad choices. It was clear; these women were not just sharing a story, but a piece of their heart. I felt as if I were no longer “organizing” this anthology, but just getting out of the way so that it could morph and evolve into its truest form.

Fast forward to just a few days before publication. Heather was almost done with the enormous task of formatting a book with twenty-five authors. We were very close to publishing and were on the homestretch. That’s when I received an email. An unlikely email from someone I didn’t really know. Beth Elisa Harris and I were involved in another indie project and Beth sent an email to all of the authors in that project, including me. She attached a journal to that email. For whatever reason, Beth had been inspired to share a journal she wrote a few years ago. She cautioned us to keep her confidence and not share the journal with anyone else. I tend toward privacy and don’t tend to trust easily. This is a HUGE step for me. I’ve only read it once since I wrote it. Intrigued, I opened the journal and began reading. It dealt with her diagnosis, a few years back, with breast cancer! Before I was even one third of the way through the journal, I felt I should ask Beth to include this journal in the Indie Chicks anthology. It was a crazy notion, especially when considering her words about privacy and trust. We didn’t even know each other, how could I ask her to go public with something so personal? I tried to dismiss the notion (are you noticing a pattern here?), but could not. I wrote the email, took a deep breath, and hit send. She answered immediately. Yes. Most definitely, yes.

Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories, with foreword by Karen McQuestion and afterword by Beth Elise Harris, is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The book includes personal stories from each of the women, as well as excerpts from our novels. And it began as a whisper. A whisper I did my best to ignore.

What whisper are you ignoring? What crazy notion haunts you? What dream merely awaits your response? I urge you, say Yes. Live the life you were meant to live. Say yes today.

 

Stories included in Indie Chicks:

Foreword by Karen McQuestion

Knight in Shining Armor by Shea MacLeod

Latchkey Kid by Heather Marie Adkins

Write or Die by Danielle Blanchard

The Phoenix and The Darkness by Lizzy Ford

Never Too Late by Linda Welch

Stepping Into the Light by Donna Fasano

One Fictionista’s Literary Bliss by Katherine Owen

I Burned My Bra For This? by Cheryl Shireman

Mrs. So Got It Wrong Agent by Prue Battten

Holes by Suzanne Tyrpak

Turning Medieval by Sarah Woodbury

A Kinky Adventure in Anglophilia by Anne R. Allen

Writing From a Flour Sack by Dani Amore

Just Me and James Dean by Cheryl Bradshaw

How a Big Yellow Truck Changed My Life by Christine DeMaio-Rice

From 200 Rejections to Amazon Top 200! by Sibel Hodge

Have You Ever Lost a Hat? by Barbara Silkstone

French Fancies! by Mel Comley

Life’s Little Gifts by Melissa Foster

Never Give Up On Your Dream by Christine Kersey

Self-taught Late Bloomer by Carol Davis Luce

Moving to The Middle East by Julia Crane

Paper, Pen, and Chocolate by Talia Jager

The Magic Within and The Little Book That Could by Michelle Muto

Write Out of Grief by Melissa Smith

Afterword by Beth Elisa Harris

 

Indie Chicks is available for your Kindle on Amazon and your Nook on Barnes and Noble. You may also read it on your computer or most mobile devices by downloading a free reader from those sites.

Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1107017601?ean=2940013212725&itm=1&usri=indie%2bchicks

Amazon -

http://www.amazon.com/Indie-Chicks-Personal-Stories-ebook/dp/B0060ZTM62/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319971831&sr=1-2

Stop by our Facebook page –  http://www.facebook.com/IndieChicksAnthology

Follow our Indie Chicks hash tag on Twitter!  #IndieChicksAnthology

 

Fantastical Friday: Vampires, Smurfs, and Really Old Cats

Halloween is just around the corner, so I think this is the perfect time for a little Beat Freakz:

Amusing?  Yes.  Disturbing?  Oh, yeah.  Do we love it?  Yes, yes we do.

Righty then, on to what’s fantastical around the interwebs.

Linky Goodness:

I’ve put in a few appearances this week.  First is the cheeky How’s That Working Out For You? over on M. Edward McNally’s blog in which I get grilled about important, writerly things.  Like Gloria Gaynor.  And milking goats.  Next I’m over at Steven Montano’s Blood Skies talking Gerard Butler and the Sunwalker Saga.  

Needs some funny?  I gots some funny! Heather Marie Adkins shares her funniest Halloween memory over at Anna’s Book Blog.  Click over and share your funniest story by 31st October 2011 and you can win one of Heather’s books.  SQUEE!

As if that weren’t enough the Zombie King himself, Jack Wallen, is talking Goths over on his new Misfit Monday blog installment.  I’m afraid to wear khakis now.

And, in one of the funniest faceoffs in history, we’ve got Vampires vs. Smurfs thanks to the Queen of Parody – PJ Jones.  (Hmmm… wonder who’s gonna win that one?)

Friday Book Club:

I just finished up My Zombie My by the aforementioned Jack Wallen.  It’s the second book in his I Zombie series, and let me tell you, people, it’s freaking fantastic.  And because I love you, let me tell you the first in the series (I Zombie I) is totally FREE on Amazon and Smashwords until the end of the month.  So, do NOT pass go, do NOT collect two hundred bucks, just go get the darn thing.  Mmmmkay?  Perfect Halloween reading, if you ask me.

Also, Heather Marie Adkin’s deliciously dark paranormal Underneath is finally FREE on Amazon!  (Also available on Smashwords.)  It’s even got a smexy new cover.  Ancient cities, psychic powers, alien races.  What’s not to love?

Just in time to spook you silly: He’s angry, he’s frightened, he’s hungry, and he’s 12,000 years from home.  Here, kitty, kitty!  Alan Nayes’s much awaited Smilodon is available on Amazon for just $2.99. 

And don’t forget, the Indie Eclective’s Halloween Collection is still absolutely FREE!

Fantastical Dance Number:

Because it’s nearly Halloween and because it’s Friday, here’s one last treat to send you on your way.  Until Monday!

Writer Wednesday: Dancing Naked In The Moonlight

I’m all kinds of excited today!

As you know, Halloween is just around the corner.  And we all know what Halloween’s about, right?  That’s right: CANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh, sorry, is my inner child showing?

This is not why I’m excited.  I’m excited because today I have one super special guest.  My friend and fellow Indie Eclective member, Heather Marie Adkins, is not only a brilliantly talented writer, she also happens to be a practicing Witch.  So rather than the usual Halloween hocus pocus (heh), I thought I’d get the low-down on one of my favorite holidays from the sexiest Witch around.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you HEATHER!

A Witch’s Sabbat

Or, Dancing Naked in the Moonlight

We’re mere days from Halloween.  Are you excited?  I certainly am.  But it’s probably for different reasons.  You may not know anything about my reasons.  You got a moment?  ‘Cuz I’d love to tell you.

I’m a Witch.  The dancing-naked-in-the-moonlight kind of witch.  My skin isn’t green and the only wart I ever had was on my big toe.  I only cackle if you make me laugh and I can’t hex you because it’s against my religion.  Literally.

Do you know anything about real witchcraft?  It’s okay—most people don’t.  I suppose that’s why the goddess saw fit to put outspoken Witchy ladies such as myself on her fertile earth.

Allow me to enlighten you.

  Today’s modern witchcraft is based on the folkloric earth practices of ancient times.  Thousands of years ago, tribal nomadic communities began practicing what archaeologists today believe to be sympathetic magic.  These communities left cave art everywhere depicting (among other things) successful hunts.  It’s believed these people thought by drawing the pictures on the cave walls, they were making the images a reality.  At its basest form, thus began witchcraft.

It melted in later years to fertility rituals.  Folk peasants would send young virgins flitting through the veggie patches astride brooms to ensure a healthy crop.  Did you know the idea of a husband carrying his new bride over the threshold is a pagan ritual?  Yep.  It’s supposed to ensure a happy marriage.  Women hundreds of years ago would put a mandrake doll beneath their birthing pallet to help with pain.  In some cultures today, people still perform certain gestures to protect themselves from the evil eye—an “X” on their forehead or even… wait for it… the sign of the cross.  Yep, that’s magic too.

All of the above instances mark the roots of modern witchcraft.  It’s more showy now—incense, candles, cauldrons, activated charcoal.  Times change and therefore so do the practices.  What I do in ritual today may seem archaic a hundred years from now.

I can hear you thinking, “When is this witch going to get to the point about Halloween?”

Te he.

Modern witches celebrate what we call “Sabbats”: holidays in which there are themes of celebration.  We do ritual, throw parties, and dance nekked (some of us more than others and certainly depending on the amount of ritual wine involved).  There are eight Sabbats during a calendar year.

Feb 2 – Imbolc

Spring Equinox

May 1 – Beltane

Summer Solstice

Aug 1 – Lughnassadh

Autumnal Equinox

Oct 31 – Samhain

Winter Solstice

Oh, you saw Halloween on the list?  But it’s got some weird name?

That’s right.  Halloween has not always been “Halloween”.

Samhain marks the New Year on the ancient Celtic calendar (you know, the one with the trees).  In Celtic tradition, the year was split into only two seasons, instead of four: Summer and Winter. Samhain celebrates the end of summer and beginning of winter.  We may venerate the modern New Year with balls dropping and champagne popping, but for witches at Samhain, it is a time for reflection and remembrance.

In ancient times, the end of October marked the harvest of meat.  Days were growing shorter, colder.  There was no such thing as a furnace back then and winters were brutal.  Farmers without the money to build a shelter for their livestock were forced to butcher what they could eat or put down what they couldn’t—the sick and weakly wouldn’t make it through the winter anyway.  They would often save one or two healthy specimens who would live inside with them for the winter months.

Because of this, the October full moon is called the Blood Moon.  At Samhain, we celebrate our ancestors, who braved the weather and the odds to survive and bequeath us our legacy.  We remember them.  We revere them.  And we are thankful for the gifts and blessings with which we are bestowed.

Not only reflection and ancestor remembrance, but witches also celebrate the dead at Samhain.  The veil between this world and the next is thinnest on this evening—the Tarot is spread and the Runes are cast as people try to divine what is in store for the coming year.  Letters to those we have lost are read out loud in the hopes they may hear; stories about our dearly departed are shared.  The bravest of witches may even try to contact their deceased relatives one last time.

In it’s incarnation as the Celtic New Year, Samhain is a time to shed the inhibitions and negativity of the past year and purify oneself for the next.  It is a time of Pagan New Years resolutions; of setting goals and putting the power of one’s own magick behind keeping those goals.  A witch may empower a black candle with all the things she wants to release—a job lay-off, the death of a loved one, losing a house, gaining an excess of debt.  Push it all into the candle, light it, and let it burn down, seeing those things disappear into the universe and out of one’s life.

There are several ways in which Samhain may be celebrated each year.

  • A lighted black candle (called a Spirit Candle) in the living room window—to guide the dead to the Otherworld
  • A Dumb Supper—“Dumb” refers to the fact the supper is held entirely in silence, in the hopes that the loved one(s) in which you are attempting to contact will come sit with you. It is most often performed as close tomidnight as possible on Samhain night.
  • Carve pumpkins in a variety of Pagan-y symbols (instead of the typical Pumpkin face), then charm them to frighten away evil, negativity, or bad luck and spirits.
  • “Sacrifice” a loaf of bread in honor of the ancestors
  • Visit and tend to loved ones’ graves.  Erect an altar in their honor at home, to hold pictures and candles; maybe even an item that once belonged to them.

Samhain is a holiday of many names: Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Hallow E’en, Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos), All Saints Day, Hallowmas…while the festivals themselves vary, the main point is clear. At this time of year, we all honor (remember, dress-up as, etc.) the dead and the Divine.

So the next time you think of Halloween and all it stands for: ghosts, ghoulies, witches, and the dead… now you know why :)

I wrote this newsletter on Samhain last October if you want to check it out for more information!

Heather Marie Adkins is an independent fiction novelist and avid bibliophile with the library to prove it.  She writes across genres and began self-publishing her work in June of 2011—much to the chagrin of her mother.  Heather has five published books and two more coming out this year.  She loves to garden, cook, and travel, and would give anything to live in a cottage inIreland.  She currently resides inKentuckywith the love of her life and 15 pets.

Find me online!

http://heather.bishoffs.com

http://www.facebook.com/heathermarieadkinsauthor

http://www.twitter.com/hmarieadkins

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2564411-heather

Check out my paranormal romance novels:

The Temple (ebook)


A girl with supernatural powers against a supernatural foe she doesn’t believe exists.

Abigail (ebook)

A half-fairy, half-human girl who must unite with the fairies she has long denied to save the humans she loves.

Thanks so much, Heather, for that truly fantastic post!

Mythos Monday: Déjà Vu All Over Again

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of reincarnation.  The idea of one soul being born into many bodies over the centuries.  Passing from one life to another.  All those experiences.

Granted, this is not a new concept.  In fact, it dates back to at least the Iron Age when it was first recorded in both Greek and Hindu texts.  For thousands of years it has been an accepted part of many societies and religions.

Julius Caesar wrote of the Druids of ancient Britain:


“The principal point of their doctrine is that the soul does not die
 and that after death it passes from one body into another….. the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.”

Like I said, fascinating stuff.

Most religions believe the soul is indestructible.  Indeed, if you believe in the soul, it makes sense.   For what is the soul but pure energy which can neither be created nor destroyed.

But why, if reincarnation is real, can’t we remember our past lives?

Some say it’s because we would be too busy trying to recapture the past.  Find our lost loves.  We would waste new opportunities, obsessed with the old.  We would be paralysed by old fears, blinded by old hates, battered by old failures, forever trying to regain that which we lost.  Forgetting allows us to live each life to the fullest and we only remember when we return to the All.  Each life is a chance to start fresh and experience a new and different way of life.

And that leaves for a lot of interesting possibilities.

Put aside for a moment your own personal belief system and imagine with me that reincarnation is a fact.  It is real.  When a person dies, he or she will be born into a new body, a new life.

Now imagine something goes wrong.  Something leaks through and that person retains some of their past lives.  Not as a true memory, but on a visceral level.

A young woman has an irriational and paralyzing fear of choking to death.  So much so that even eating can at times be difficult.  She has no idea why and the doctors tell her it’s in her mind and she should seek the help of a psychologist.  Nothing helps until the day a psychic tells her that in another life she was hanged as a witch.

A man prefers to dress as a woman.  He doesn’t dare let anyone know as they would mock him.  Or worse.  What he doesn’t realize is there’s nothing wrong with him, with what he’s feeling.  He doesn’t know that in his last life he was a woman and he still remembers and longs for who he was.  She is still a part of him.

Eyes meet across a crowded room.  They both laugh at how cheesy it is.  Love at first sight?  Such a ridiculous and impossible concept.  Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time. Life after life, no matter the skin they wear or the battles they must fight or the sacrifices they have to make, the two seek each other out, never finding happiness save with each other.  Gives a whole new meaning to the term “soul mates”.

Now let’s take a darker path …
Imagine, if you will, a serial killer as dark and as twisted as they come.  The state puts him to death and at last his victims’ families feel safe.

What they don’t know is that he’s about to be reborn into a new body.  With all his memories intact …

So, tell, me.  What are your thoughts on reincarnation?  What interesting stories have you read about it?  And what kind of tales could you imagine telling?

Fantastical Friday: Rednecks, Hijinx, and Bringing Sexy Back

Today is a very special Fantastical Friday.  A couple of my Indie Eclective peeps have new books out, so we are celebrating!  And what better way to celebrate the new redneck comedy by the fabulous PJ Jones than with a classic Ray Stevens UFO tribute!

If only all UFO abductions were so much fun.

And talking about fun, check out the new release by PJ Jones, Driving Me Nuts.  While PJ is normally known for her parodies, this one is a deeply moving and yet hilariously funny tale of loss, love and discovery.

Three mental patients, two loaded guns, one stolen car, and a whole lot of trouble. 

Check it out over on The Zon.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzy Ford’s latest paranormal romance novella is live on Smashwords!  

Emma crossed paths with a black witch in an ill-fated love triangle that ended in Emma fleeing and the death of the man they both loved. Two years later, the witch is seeking revenge and strikes against Emma’s family. Emma turns to the only person who can help her: a man rumored to be half-demon with the power to control the shadows. Tristan agrees to help her lift the curse on her family but isn’t prepared for what he finds hidden in Emma’s secrets.

And now I thought I’d do something a wee bit special for ya’ll.

I think most writers like to imagine who they’d cast in the film version of their books.  (You know, just in case.)  Just me?  Well, all right then.

In my case, the cast of the Sunwalker Saga was actually pretty much predetermined as each character was, as least in looks, inspired by an actor.  So, I present to you the cast of Kissed by Darkness and Kissed by Fire!

Morgan Bailey:

Morgan is our main character.  She’s a Hunter and as such spends most of her time kicking bad-guy ass.  She’s about the only character for whom I didn’t have an actress in mind.  

Until now.

Me the divinely delicious Christina Hendricks.  The minute I saw her in THAT dress, I knew.

With Morgan’s dangerous curves and pixie face (not to mention the RED hair – though we’re going to have to darken it), she’s the PERFECT choice.  There’s even a pic of her in a green dress not unlike the one Morgan wore to her disastrous blind date.  Minus the train, of course.  Can’t kick vampire butt with a train trailing along behind you.

And while Christina is generally scene in fabulous vintage-inspired dresses (so not Morgan’s style), she can also rock a wicked steampunky Gothic look, which is definitely Morgan’s style.

I can see her beheading a demon in this outfit.  Can’t you?

Yep, I think I’ve found the perfect Morgan Bailey.

What do you think?  Does she fit your vision of Morgan?

Kabita Jones

Yes, Virginia.  There really is a Kabita.  Her surname isn’t Jones, but she is a real person and she definitely inspired the personality of Kabita Jones.  But there’s someone else who inspired the physicality and that would be the fabulous Claudia Black.

Sci-Fi fans will recognize Claudia from Farscape, Pitch Black, and Stargate: SG1.  She’s brilliantly talented and has proven she can play both tough and vulnerable with a huge side of sexy.

She’s what I see in my head when I think “Kabita Jones”.  What do you think?

Jackson “Jack” Keel:

There is only ever going to be one man for me who embodies everything that is our resident Sunwalker, Jackson Keel.  And that man would be the seriously tasty Mr. Gerard Butler!

In fact, it was this picture of him that sparked the idea of Jack having been a Templar Knight.  Seriously, could there be anything more yummy?

I love the sort of juxtaposition of the “ancient” garb and his usual modern look.  And, oh, baby those eyes!

I really focus a lot on those eyes, especially in KbD.  Who wouldn’t?

Oh, and also he looks ridiculously good in a kilt.  Granted this has NOTHING to do with the series.  I just wanted to post a picture of him in a kilt.  BWAHAHAHA!  Frankly, I think more men should wear kilts.  They are seriously sexy!

What’s your take?  Gerard Butler as the Sunwalker?  Gerard Butler in a kilt?

Inigo Jones:

Inigo Jones is, in a way, the exact opposite of Jack.  Where Jack is a warrior, hardened and rugged and oozing with sex appeal, Inigo is young and pretty and sexy in a totally different way.

He’s sunny and happy-go-lucky.  Or is he?

Readers of Kissed by Fire will know there’s a darker side to Inigo Jones and that things are not always as they appear.

This is why I love Kyle Schmid for Inigo.  He was that wonderfully sunshiny smile, yet (as he proved in Blood Ties) he can definitely channel the Dark Side.

So, is Kyle Schmid the perfect Inigo?  Or is he just too damn pretty?

 “We’re not gonna die. We can’t die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so…very…pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.” – Mal on Firefly

Trevor Daly:

Trevor is the newcomer to the group.  He doesn’t put in his appearance until the very end of Kissed by Darkness.  Thing is, he’ll become integral to Morgan’s life as the series progresses.

The seriously tasty Shemar Moore was my inspiration for this gun-toting government agent.  So far I haven’t really gotten into Trevor’s sex appeal (and Shemar is all about sex appeal), but trust me, it will come up later in the series.

And if you’ve any doubt as to why I was inspired by Mr. Moore, well, here’s your answer.

Any questions?

So, there you go.  My Fantastical Friday line-up.

Next week I’m going to have lots of Halloween/Samhain themed posts.  There will be lots of sexy special guests and maybe even cake!  So stop by and say hey and join in the fun.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, how about some of this!

AVAILABLE NOW!

Dragon Warrior

Dragon Wars Book One

A man without a past.
A woman without a future.
A world destroyed by monsters.
All that’s left is hope.

In Rain Mauri’s post-apocalyptic world there are no shades of gray to survival. Until she meets a Dragon Warrior and discovers nothing is as simple as it seems.
Together, Rain and the Dragon Warrior must uncover the truth behind the nightmare their world has become. Their quest will put them in the crosshairs of a ruthless enemy, but with her determination and his skill, they might just save their race from destruction. If they can save each other first.

(Contains a sneak peek at Jack Wallen’s zombie apocalypse tale, I Zombie I.)

AVAILABLE IN ALL FORMATS ON SMASHWORDS

Have a fabulous, fun-filled weekend.

Writer Wednesday: Farscape, Polynesian History, and Tillamook Cheese

Shéa: Welcome once again loyal readers to my interrogation room.  Er, parlor?  Yeah, whatever.

Ed: Said the spider to the what now?

Shéa:Today I have another one of my fabulous Indie Eclective peeps, M. Edward McNally (I just call him Ed.  Or McNally.  Or sometimes “hey, you.”), under the lights. Ready Ed?  I promise I’ll be gentle.  Well, ish.

Ed: Please, I’m just a simple country boy. :-)

Shéa: Uh huh.  Right.  Now, you are a writer of epic fantasy.  Why fantasy?

Ed: That should be an easy answer, right?  I mean, I loved Tolkien-Eddings-Leiber et al growing up, so I guess I should have moved into that genre naturally. And I suppose I did come to think of it, though it really wasn’t intentional. I write first and only worry about genre later, as I view it as an aspect of marketing, not writing.

Shéa: Makes sense.  In a weird way (Why must you always be difficult?).  I understand that you got your inspiration for the Norothian Cycle from Polynesian mythology.  I find this fascinating.  Can you expand on that?

Ed: A bit of Hawaiian/Polynesian mythology, though more directly, it was history. The Miilark Islands, from which my MC Tilda Lanai (yes, she knows her last name means “porch,” and she’s not thrilled about it) hails is kind of my answer to an historical what-if: What if the HMS Bounty had not landed on Pitcairn Island, but instead in Hawaii at a time when there was a strong, ordered culture in existence. A culture that took one look at the tall ship on the beach and thought “Hey, we could build those ourselves.”

Shéa:  I love alternate histories.  Sigh. I also understand you are obsessed with world building.  What do you enjoy most about creating new life forms and new civilizations?

Ed: Stardate, um, Tuesday. “Obsessed” is a very strong word, maybe a qualifier would be better: “Pathologically obsessed.” ;-) Yeah, I do love that “world-building” as for me it’s less about building a static world for the stories to take place against, but a moving world in which the characters can “live.” A place where things are always changing – the politics, the maps, institutions and technology. Characters are supposed to have “arcs” in stories, but why should they have all the fun? Setting doesn’t have to just sit there.

Shéa:  Ain’t that the truth! And speaking of new life forms and new civilizations, you’re a bit of a sci-fi geek like me.  Come on, you can admit it.  We’re all friends here.  What are some of your favorite sci-fi shows and why?

Ed: I see a couple of them down the page, Farscape and Firefly. :-)  Thought the Battlestar re-load started strong and petered out, I hear it rallied at the end but I haven’t gone back to it yet to watch the last couple seasons. Someday, when there is time.

Shéa:  Yeah, I thought the same about the new BSG (Please don’t throw rotten vegetation.)  I gave up after season 2, I think. If the Doctor (or Q) suddenly showed up on your doorstep and offered to take you to any point in the space/time continuum, what time would you choose and why?

Ed: I am way too accustomed to my creature comforts to say anything cool that would be pre-AC, refrigeration, e-books. If the human race ever gets it shiz-nit together and stops acting like a bunch of territorial monkeys, I’d like to go forward to that time.

Shéa: Personally, I’d like to see how it all turns out. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Ed: Wars. Changed my life as a kid, one of my first memories is coming out of a theatre from the original and running around the parking lot like an X-wing fighter. :-)  

Shéa:  Han Solo.  Sigh. Farscape or Firefly?


Ed: Now you’re talkin’! I could do a thesis on this, but I will try to keep it short and say as much as I love the genre-bending of Firefly, and the theme song, I have to go Farscape. I think the mixed US-UK-Australian production of that show gave it an aesthetic that can absolutely not be recreated, which made it something totally unique. And like Scorpi told John Crichton, “Unique is always valuable.” That should be a mantra for writers. :-)

Shéa:  Word to that! Chocolate or Cheese?

Ed: Cheese. Chocolate is good on top of other sweet stuff, cheese is good on top of everything else.

Shéa:  Sacrilege!  I don’t think I can speak to you any more. Then again, it’s been ages since I had any Tillamook … Beer or Wine?

Ed: There’s a moment in The Sable City when a character has been shot through the elbow with a musket, he’s lying there bleeding and the shooter is standing over him. The wounded guy utters the only words he knows in the shooter’s language: “Biera ephso vus tatte. Ven otre.” (Beer, if you have it. Wine otherwise.)

Shéa:  LOL!  Good one. How do you feel about dragons?

Ed: Without showing my hole card, they are…let’s just say important to my books. But hopefully not just in the way fantasy fans might expect. Without going too “info-dumpy,” there are (or were) fifteen Great Dragons in the world of the Norothian Cycle (five each of the Earth, Waters, and Sky), from which all others are descended, and they have been integral to the course of human history. Some raised nations in their own names, some just sort of hung out and tried to give people a nudge to help them along, and some looked at their vast hordes and thought, “I really should invest some of this money. Maybe in transoceanic shipping…”

Shéa:  Dragons investing in transoceanic shipping, now there’s a thought. Now back to the aforementioned Norothian Cycle.  So far you have 3 books out.  Any more in the works?

Ed: Oh yeah. Three books in, and I just wrapped Act I. :-)

Shéa:  Do I dare ask how many acts? lol Any other projects planned?

Ed: As I’ve got sort of long backlist of short stories that were written back in the 1990’s, I continue to put those out as “Free pairs of my old shorts.” There are three volumes of “Eddie’s Shorts” out there now. I’ll be doing more, and may actually write some new ones if the muses insist (though that muse named Tilda tries to keep me on the straight and narrow).

Shéa:  Thanks for stopping by.  Next time bring some Tillamook cheese.  We don’t get that on my planet.  Er, in London.

Ed:  Extra sharp cheddar and pepper jack, both. :-)

Shéa: Seriously, man, you rock the casbah.

You can stalker (er, I mean VISIT) Ed over on his blog Sable City.

His books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Mythos Monday: The Queen of Fire and Darkness Meets the Scorpion King

My friend and fellow author PJ Jones is just a little too fond of photo shop.  So while my feet were safely ensconced in my flat in London, Mr. Scorpion was prowling the streets of Texas.  Thanks to PJ’s twisted sense of humor, they now appear to be on all too friendly terms.

That got me thinking.  (Yeah, I know.  It’s weird.  But this is me we’re talking about.)

Were there any scorpion goddesses out there in the world?  Because if so, that would be kind of cool.  In a creepy, eight-legged kind of way.

Let’s start with Selket, the Egyptian goddess of magic.  She was most often depicted as a beautiful woman with a scorpion on her head.  There’s a message in that somewhere, I’ll bet.

Despite ruling over venomous creatures (scorpions, snakes, and spiders – oh, my!), she was considered a beneficial goddess.  She carried not only the venom of her creatures, but also the antidote.  She helped in childbirth and nursing, and was the protector of women and children.  (We could use a goddess like her around.)

Malinalxochitl (Do NOT ask me how to pronounce that.) was the Aztec goddess of such biting and stinging creatures as vipers and scorpions.  She was also an accomplished sorceress.  She was, from what I can tell, not quite so nice as Selket.

Apparently her powers allowed her to drive people insane, control a person’s vision, or strike an entire army dead with just a glance.  Wouldn’t want to get on her bad side.

Chelamma is a Hindu scorpion goddess whose followers believe that prayers to her will keep them safe from scorpion stings.  

And then, of course, there is the Scorpion King.  Yeah, yeah, it’s a movie, but he was also a real person.

It is believed that he was the first true King of Upper Egypt.  Little is known about him, but you can read some interesting stuff over at National Geographic.  Apparently, he liked his wine spiked with medicinal herbs.  Go Scorpy!

So, tell me, do scorpions freak you out?  Or do you think they’re kind of cool?

And what tales could you dream up when a goddess of scorpions is involved …

 

 

 

Fantastical Friday: Terra Nova, Zombie Apocalypse, and Captain Kirk vs. Columbus!

Video Goodness:

For today’s entry in the video log, I’ve got something REALLY special.  Hold onto your tricorders boys and girls!

I think it’s pretty obvious who won there.  But what do you think?

Okay, onwards!

On-Screen Goodness:

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere in the Andromeda Galaxy, you’ve probably heard of the new show stamped with the Spielberg mark of approval: Terra Nova.  Seriously, this is my new favorite show.  Time travel, futuristic weapons, dinosaurs, mystery, adventure, romance … what’s not to like?  It’s like the Swiss Family Robinson goes Twilight Zone.  It totally rocks my casbah. 

Of course, that may have something to do with the divinely delicious Jason O’Mara.  Nom, nom.  What can I say?  I’ve got a weakness for men of the Irish persuasion.

He also takes his shirt off.  A lot.  I am not opposed to this.  In fact, I think it should be a requirement.

If you watch one new show this season, check out Terra Nova.  You can thank me later.

Linky Goodness:

Now, ya’ll know I love Gene Lempp’s Designing from Bones series.  Well, this week he’s talking about ancient Greece and our theatrical roots.  It’s some fascinating stuff.

I get quoted for a post over on PJ Jones’s site.  Very exciting.

And just in time for Halloween, Jack Wallen talks Top Ten Horror Films and Ten Favorite Gore-Tastic Flims.

And finally, just in case you missed it, you want porn? I has porn!  Check out Piper Bayard’s hysterically funny post Invisible Art? That’s Nothing! We’ve Got Invisible Porn. 

Reading Goodness:

I’m reading some seriously good stuff this week.

First off, there’s the second installment of Jack Wallen’s I Zombie series: My Zombie My.  I have been looking forward to this book every since I read I Zombie I and so far, it hasn’t disappointed.

You can find MZM on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.  And at only $2.99, it’s a steal!

Next, I’m nearly through reading Nalini Singh’s Play of Passion from her Psy-Changeling series.  Let me just say Nalini is one of my all-time favorite writers.  The woman does urban fantasy and paranormal romance like Emeril does chicken.

And last, but by no means least, is M. Edward McNally’s epic fantasy The Sable City.  I used to read quite a lot of epic fantasy, but have kind of gotten out of it the last few years.  However, I’ve been hearing loads of good things about this book and the fact that it was inspired by Hawaiian/Polynesian history piqued my interest as it’s a bit of an usual inspiration for epic fantasy.  There are also DRAGONS!  So far, I’ve been really impressed.

The Sable City is also available on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

And that’s all she wrote.  Until next time.  Happy Friday!

Writer Wednesday: Butterfingers, Fairies, and Demon Cats

Today on the grill, I’ve got an extra special guest.  Not only is fantasy author Julia Crane one of my Indie Eclective peeps, but she’s also (like me) an American ex-pat AND we were both born in the very same Year of the Tiger.  (Don’t ask which Year of the Tiger.  But trust me, we are both extremely young.)

Shea, thanks for having me and not spilling the beans on our age.

The woman who tells her age is either too young to have anything to lose or too old to have anything to gain. – Chinese Proverb

Julia, we’re both ex-pats.  I’m originally from the West Coast, you’re from the East Coast.  While I now live in London and practically need a rowboat to go shopping, you’ve got camels roaming in your backyard.  Tell me, what’s the best thing about living in a foreign country.?

The best thing is the opportunity to travel and visit places I would have never imagined. I’ve been snorkeling in Oman, hiking in Katmandu, biking in Croatia, and I’ve pigged out in Italy just to name a few. Travel is SO cheap from Dubai, as long as you are not heading back to the States.

I agree!  I love the fact I can hop on a plane and be in Rome or Madrid or Lisbon in a couple hours.

What one thing do you miss most about the good old USA?

I have to name more than one Butterfingers, Folgers coffee, and Homestyle PopSecret popcorn. I’m currently in the US visiting family, and I have a suitcase packed with all my favorites.  I have to admit seeing greenery and the turning of the leaves is a nice change from the desert.

Butterfingers.  Sigh.  Have I mentioned those are my favorite candy bar?

How do you find that living abroad has changed your writing?  Or has it?

I didn’t start writing seriously until I moved overseas. I think the opportunity to see different cultures is definitely a good thing. Dubai is mostly ex-pats so it’s a great place for people watching, and getting ideas for stories.

While roaming the desert around Dubai, have you run into any supernatural creatures?  You know, djinn and whatnot?

I’ve made eye contact with some feral cats that could be supernatural creatures…

I’m very glad I haven’t come across a Ghoul:

A desert-dwelling, shape-shifting demon that can assume the guise of an animal, especially a hyena. It lures unwary travellers into the desert wastes to slay and devour them. The creature also preys on young children, robs graves, drinks blood, and eats the dead to take on their form. (Wikipedia) Whenever I visit a place, one of the first things I do is research their mythology. It’s all so very interesting.

Speaking of fantasy and the supernatural, your current series (Keegan’s Chronicles) consists of two books so far: Coexist and Conflicted.  Will we be seeing more of Keegan and her magical world?

I’m almost finished with the third in the series, “Consumed,” and I’m still not sure if there will be a fourth or not. We will see how this one gets wrapped up. I do plan on making at least two spinoffs from the series. I want to expand more on a couple of the characters.

Any other projects in the works?

My next book will deal with Anna, who is a witch from Keegan’s Chronicles. I’m anxious to get working on it. After that I plan on writing a Young Adult witch series distinct from the Chronicles. I’m also going to be co-writing two other books, one with Talia Jager, and another with Nolia McCarty.

Tell me, Julia, how do you feel about fairies (Keep in mind the Queen of the Fairies has spies EVERYWHERE)?

I do believe! I love fairies. Although, the housecleaning fairy I’ve heard so much about has never stopped by to visit.

You know, I had an appointment with her once and she never showed.  Do you suppose they have a Housecleaning Fairy Customer Service Department?

Dragons?  (This is important, so answer carefully.)

I am a huge fan of dragons. I’m a believer in Feng Shui and the dragon is a very powerful creature that can bring security and success. What’s not to love?

“Everything is better with dragons.”–Shea MacLeod

I got quoted!  I have arrived.

Chocolate?

I could eat a pan of brownies in one setting. I seriously lack self-control. I can’t have chocolate in the house, it has to be a treat I get when I’m out. I’m actually glad they don’t do trick-or-treating in Dubai, because I usually eat most of the candy before the kids show up.

And finally, it’s the apocalypse!  And not just any apocalypse, a MAGICAL apocalypse!  The laws of physics no longer apply and all the supernatural creatures we only dream of are now real.  What’s your plan of action?

I think I would hunt down your dragon warrior, and try to get him on my side. If nothing else there would be some good eye candy before the end.

Ain’t that the truth!  Nothing wrong with a little eye candy. ;-)

Julia, thanks for stopping by my blog to play! 

You can find out more about Julia and her books over on her website.

You can buy Julia’s books on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.