Sunday, March 25, 2012

I had a Thursday night midnight ticket to The Hunger Games. And yes, I read the series first!

Warning.....spoiler alert.

For a few years now, fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (the first book in the three book series, published in 2008), have eagerly anticipated the film adaptation. Well, the time has come and with Gary Ross’ direction, The Hunger Games is now thrust welcomingly upon the world.

In a futuristic world known as Panem, implied to be very similar to the United States, there had previously been an uprising against the government. This uprising was quashed and the country was broken into twelve heavily controlled districts. Each district is required to do their part to support the country, from agriculture to energy. Mining coal is District 12’s required forte, but hunger is constantly rampant and simply a stale loaf of bread is cause for rejoice.

With her long gone father having perished in a mine explosion causing her mother to become withdrawn, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) must take on the role of family provider and caretaker of her little sister Primrose, a role she strongly and lovingly embraces.

Surrounded by an electric fence, out of necessity both Katniss, using her precise archery skills and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) are survivalists well adept at sneaking out of the district’s confines to hunt game. Typically, they meet up and together view the area as a sanctuary, at least until the government’s patrolling flying saucer-like contraption scares them off.

And, as if living in the district isn’t harsh enough, the time has come for the country’s annual must see televised event, an event dictated by the government as a way of showing sacrifice, control and discipline. It is time for The Hunger Games, a brutal fight to the death spectacle requiring each district to lottery select one boy and one girl to send to The Capitol as their representatives, or tributes as they’re referred to.

Primrose has little chance of being selected since this is both, her first year being included in the lottery and thus, her name is only entered once, unlike the other children who have seen their entries grow due to both age, as well as trading entries for meager, but extra, government supplied food. Regardless, she is selected. Katniss is heartbroken and can’t believe it, volunteering to take her place as tribute, a first-time for the district.

Accompanied by trainer Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), District 12’s prior lone winner and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), an extremely excited public relations rep, both Katniss and boy selected Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are taken into custody and whisked away toward an unfortunate journey to the over-privileged Capital where over-the-top pageantry style interviewing talk shows, as well as the games await.

Upon arrival at The Capital, each tribute is assigned an entourage of designers and make-up artists, in charge of presenting each tribute in their best light, hoping to impress and obtain sponsors (wealthy viewers who will send them useful or needed, but costly items throughout the gameplay). Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), a compassionate designer secretly harboring the same animosity toward The Capital as Katniss does, is assigned to her. Through a fantastic design utilizing fire flying off her skin tight, coal black outfit, she woos the crowd from their chariot driven introduction and becomes known as the girl on fire (more on that in Collins’ second book Catching Fire, and certain to be portrayed by Lion’s Gate’s second franchise installment due out November 2013). And, it is during his live interview that Peeta professes a deep love for Katniss, something she knew nothing about. Suddenly, the two are immediately promoted, to the joy of The Capital, as tragic lovebirds.

Besides the televised events leading up to the competition, each tribute has the opportunity to show a personal skill to the judges, to be ranked for betting purposes and to also aid in obtaining sponsors. Katniss, being from District 12, is near the end of the display line when her turn finally comes up. By this time, the judges have grown bored and are now much more interested in personally conversing than viewing a tribute’s skill. This angers Katniss and she fires a precision placed arrow between the unaware judges and into a roasted pig’s mouth stuffed apple on a table at the center of them. This obviously surprises and horrifies the judges. However, it has been for the best as she is given a very good ranking score of 11 and may very well attract sponsors with such.

The day of the games arrives and each tribute stands ready on a round platform before a cornucopia of weapons and such, awaiting the starting countdown. Katniss has been warned by Haymitch to avoid seeking the scattered various implements - that it is a deathtrap constructed by the gamemaker to start the games off with a bloodbath - and to simply seek shelter instead. Katniss takes his advice, managing to snatch a bag of items along the way, and heads to more familiar ground…the wooded area. Before long, she is far enough away to stop and explore what the bag holds. Besides an empty canteen, the bag contains a rope, which she uses to tie herself off on a high branch in a large tree. Before sleep invades, cannons are heard, each boom indicating a tributes death and she views the projection on the transparent dome showing the unfortunate ones. Peeta is not one of them.

The next day she awakes, but is too close to the arena boundaries. The ever invisible gamemaker, constantly overseeing an electronic game board representation of the arena, decides to turn her back, creating a massive wildfire that, in her frantic escape, burns her leg.

She ascends another tree, but her rest is short lived as a group of rogue tributes, including Peeta, have banded together and now hunt down the others. They spot her in the tree. After several unsuccessful attempts at getting her (shooting arrows and an especially aggressive tribute falling while attempting to climb the tree), the group settles below to wait her out.

Near dawn, with the rogues still asleep, Katniss is contacted by Rue (Amandla Stenberg), a tiny lithe female tribute from District 11 who happens to have been hiding unseen in an adjacent tree. Rue points to something in the tree Katniss is in. It is a large nest of tracker jackers, genetically engineered and vicious hornet-like bees whose sting can cause everything from hallucinations to death. Katniss climbs up to the nest and, receiving stings herself, uses a knife from the bag to saw off the branch holding the nest. The nest crashes to the ground, breaking open and sending a swarm after the rogues, chasing them away and killing Glimmer (District 1) in the process.

Katniss gets down and scurries away, taking a bow and arrows from alongside the stung to death Glimmer. But, having been stung a number of times herself, she is starting to feel the hallucinogenic effects and, deeply under its throes, is unsure of what she is seeing or has seen, which happens to be Peeta fighting other tributes and aiding her escape.

When she finally revives, two days later, she quickly notices the tracker jacker poison battling leaves placed on her hand stings. It soon becomes apparent that Rue has protected and watched over her, changing the leaves throughout the course and saving her life. The two bond and embark upon tricking the gang, using smoke to coax the rogue tributes to seek them instead of lingering at the remaining cornucopia supplies they had collected, stockpiled and protected with buried mines. Katniss, assuming this would occur, takes the opportunity to shoot arrows, cutting open an apple bag and letting the apples far onto and trigger the mines, destroying the supplies. Now everyone is more equal, at least those with survival skills, two of which obviously happen to be Rue and Katniss.

So, gathering the do until Rue becomes entangled in a net (a trap set by Marvel (Jack Quaid) from District 1 and cries out for Katniss’ aid. Katniss finds and releases her, only to see her speared by nearby Marvel. Katniss quickly takes aim and pierces Marvel’s heart, killing him before taking dying Rue into her arms. In a rare showing of emotion, Katniss breaks down and covers Rue’s body with beautiful flowers. Respectfully, she stands and flashes a three finger sign to the unseen but constantly following television cameras in an act of defiance. Thus, the uprising begins again. (Much more on this in installments two and three).

She then begins a quest to find Peeta and does. However, he has been injured and now sports a potentially life threatening sword wound to his leg. Together the two take refuge in a cave, where they are relished, after a quick kiss, with a sponsor’s soup offering. The gamemaker announces that at the cornucopia there is an item that each tribute desperately needs. Katniss knows it is medicine for Peeta’s wound and readies to go get it. But, Peeta sways her into staying and she does, for the night. The following dawn, with Peeta still asleep, she slips away with intent.

At the cornucopia, she watches closely as Foxface, (Jacqueline Emerson) a tribute from District 5 snatches her item before making her attempt. Katniss makes it to the number 12 bag, grabs it and hurriedly turns back towards the woods. But, her route is blocked by a knife throwing Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman), a ruthless female tribute from the arrogant District 2 (known for specifically training tributes and having the most winners). Katniss ducks and avoids a direct hit, but obtains a large slice on her forehead. Clove attacks and wrestles Katniss to the ground, holding a knife to her throat and declaring, out of spite, that it was her partner who killed Rue. Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi - Rue’s District 11 partner) overhears and pushes Clove off Katniss. Clove, now fearful for her life, pleads that it wasn’t true, but Thresh doesn’t believe her and smashes a rock into her head killing her. Looking at Katniss, he gives Katniss one chance to escape, “for Rue.”

Back at the cave, Katniss applies medicine to Peeta’s wounds, and he to hers, before collapsing in each other’s arms. The following morning their wounds are amazingly healed and they are now capable of maneuvering. While out gathering, Katniss finds Foxface dead from eating poisonous berries and after seeing a pile of the same on Peeta’s jacket, franticly searches for him. She finds him, hand stained but safe, not having eaten any, and is tremendously relieved.

Another boom goes off and then there were only three. Along with the boom is an announcement stating that for the very first time ever, if the two surviving tributes are from the same district, they will be declared co-winners. This gives Katniss and Peeta hope.

But, it’s not as simple as taking out the third tribute, Cato (Alexander Ludwig) from District 2. For the gamemaker has another deception in mind, and tosses in three vicious snarling massive and maybe prehistoric looking wolf-like creatures that proceed to chase Katniss and Peeta to the cornucopia, where the two climb safely out of harm’s way, only to find Cato awaiting them. A fight ensues with Peeta eventually tossing Cato off and into the creatures grasp. Katniss, out of compassion, fires her last arrow, killing Cato and saving him from the horror of being ripped to shreds alive. The two stand triumphant, thinking they have survived.

However, another announcement is made, this one the cruelest of all…that the previous announcement no longer stands and that there can only be one winner. Dejected, Katniss pulls poisonous berries she had tucked in her pocket, intent on taking her own life. Peeta will not hear of it and suggests that they jointly succumb.

Just as they are about to toss the berries into their mouths, the gamemaker yells “stop!” The tables have been turned and it is no longer The Capital dictating, having been forced to accept either two winners or none.

The two are declared winners and after time to mend, they return to District 12 and great televised fanfare. President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the ruler of Panem, watches closely, obviously unhappy with the outcome. As he descends a shadowed staircase, the credits begin to roll.

Fast paced and intriguing from scene one, The Hunger Games never loses momentum. It is a film that will appeal to both readers and nonreaders of the wildly popular novel series, which coincidently sticks closely to its roots. It is a film worthy of viewing more than once and certainly seems destined, at least according to opening weekend indications, to become one of the year’s best. Therefore, watch out Bella, there is a new heroine in town. Her name is Katniss and her tale is far from over.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Death of...??? A rather macabre concept

Does the idea of your personal fictional death tale hold a macabre appeal? Would you be interested in me writing that death tale?

With the success of The Daily Death, I’m seriously considering commissioning personal death tales. Each tale would be indigenous to the commissioner, making each tale specific and a one of a kind. Of course, I hold the right to kill you the way I see fit, as well as word count, and can only promise that you will die…probably unpleasantly. Of course, I suspect the commissionee will fill out a form similar to those for personalized books in order to give me an idea who you are and to make the tale very personable. This could also make a great gag gift for those fearful of death. Sound interesting? Read on…

Along with the tale would be a signed letter and photo (Wee Willie Wicked) and postage is included. And, although I would be the writer, signing the tale as such, I’ll relinquish any rights. After all, it is your death and you get to keep it. Yes…I will kill you for the low, low price of ??

However, like I mentioned, at this time I’m only in the consideration stage and would simply like to know what you think?  Send your thoughts concerning this probably outlandish, but gruesome idea to

Well, the Goodreads contest where I was giving away 5 signed copies of The Daily Death – How I Killed My Co-Workers In 30 days is over and a macabre congratulations goes out to Heidi of VA, Sherry of GA, Kayla of FL, Amanda of PA & Ashley of IL. If you folks are reading this, your copies are in the mail. Otherwise, to the 606 folks who weren’t fortunate enough to win, but are interested in obtaining a copy, they are available on Amazon. Here’s the links:



By the way, I’m also planning to give away five copies of Twitch very soon too. I’ll let you know when.

Twitch is also available at Amazon

Picture compliments of Author Carole Gill. Visit her blog here

So, until next week ghouls, let the creepy crawlies run rampant...even if their climbing on you!

Stay Scared,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just clowning around a bit...with a piece of gory flash

The clown felt demented pride as he looked down and noticed the red splatter across the front of the gaudy and loud colorful outfit. A large red droplet fell from the multicolored wig’s saturated hair tips and landed on his cheekbone. As it ran down his face, it resembled a tear and become shades lighter intermingling with the kabuki type white makeup before stickily nesting against the base side of his nose below the glued on red foam ball.

He turned slightly and pressed hard against the rustic and worn water stained wooden door with his shoulder and it creaked widely open. He stepped over the threshold and into the silent room, the woman’s limp body still over his shoulder. Using the sole of an immensely over sized blue colored shoe that was gradually turning green as red blended, he kicked the door closed behind him, leaving a glistening smudged bloody footprint on the moldy brown peeling paint.

Glancing about the room he sought a suitable spot among the others to toss the body, most of which had previously been mutilated and now lay in scattered parts among brackish puddles. Breathing deep, he took in the reek of death. It was the sweetest perfume and he grinned from ear to ear. The droplet broke free and rolled down over his lips and dripped off his chin. His tongue flicked and lapped at the streak it left. Wild brightened eyes conveyed savored taste, and he reached up and excitedly tossed the body down in the center of the room. It flopped heavily, contorting haphazardly over a severed arm and leg, the owner of which still propped up in the far corner, and came to rest with listless wide open terrified eyes peering, but unseeing, at the holes in the partially collapsed ceiling. The clown wickedly giggled loudly and drew out a moistly stained meat cleaver from inside his baggy pants.

Since I've picked all the meat off of this one, its probably time to catch a new mouse.

The way The Wizard of Oz should have ended! heh heh!

All this gore makes me hungry!

Like gore, death and the macabre? Check out The Daily Death - How I Killed My-Co-Workers In 30 Days. 24 tales & death always wins...heh heh. By the way, only a few days left to sign up for one of five signed copies I'm giving away on Goodreads. (See the ad on the top left of this page.)

Only a couple of episodes left....

I'd have to say that I still have a thing for dolls

It won't be long now...snowman

Well ghouls, this week I'm extremely short on time, and besides seriously penning on my book A Lawnly Existence, writing a couple reviews for Horror News, and jotting down a quick flash piece, I've resorted to re posting a few things. Hopefully the gruesomeness will tide you over.

Stay Scared,


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Something Scary This Way Came

This past week, with regards to writing, I tried something completely different. Normally, I'll simply plop down in my office with a basic premise in mind and write with no actual direction. I may jot down the something at the beginning or the middle or the end or even just a small idea, and just let it flow from there. Usually, this means the tale, as it should be, will need to be rewritten a number of times, adding this and pulling that, until I'm completely satisfied and finished with it.

However, with A Lawnly Existence, a new tale I'm working on, I changed. Originally I planned on it simply being a short story. But, then I finished with chapter 1 and with it having almost 4000 words and barely scratching the story’s surface, I knew it was much more than that. Suddenly, I found myself entertaining excited thoughts realizing that this will most likely become my very first full-length novel.

It was during one evening last week, Thursday I think, when while sitting in front of the television, I created a haphazard outline of the tale. Never before had I ever used an outline. This was a first for me, an interesting, exciting and welcomed first I might add.

Now, I've read numerous books on writing, many discussing the need for an outline. Of course, there are those who argue that some authors simply prefer to write freely too, and I guess I always considered myself to be the latter type. That was before I created this outline. Since, I have refined that outline and I now find myself wondering why I had never used one in the first place.

As mentioned in previous blogs, I typically rise at 5 AM, write for an hour and a half, drinking coffee the whole time, and then get ready and head to work. What I wrote varied from day to day and could be anything from a submission letter to one of the various tales I’m working on to a blog idea, or any number of things. Point being, I was always writing without any direction. Regardless, for the past couple of weeks, that variable just happened to be A Lawnly Existence, and although I had put down numerous bits and pieces, I didn’t have an actual direction. Oh, I knew the how’s, when’s, where’s, and why’s of the tale, but didn’t work on it with any certain structure. Then the evening came when the idea to create an outline struck and productivity grew tenfold.

Immediately, with the exception of adding a quick note here or an idea there, this outline fast become if you will, my story bible. I now find myself much more focused with knowing which direction to take and what part of the tale comes next. And, I can’t deny always get more accomplished.

So, I now have direction, something I sorely needed, but didn’t realize it until that piece of paper with I’s and II’s and 1,2,3’s and abc’s showed me. Things flow much more quickly now, knowing exactly what I’ll be working on each morn. I’ve even found myself pondering the following sections while at work, and that aids in fleshing out the tale.

How or why I never worked with an outline before amazes me…it’s not like its rocket science or anything. I just never had. Maybe it was my lack of writing experience or maybe it simply didn’t dawn on me. Whatever it was, from this point on, whether it be a short or long tale, I always start with an outline.

Wow! Did you happen to catch this week’s episode of The Walking Dead? Who would've thought? While I'm not going to give away spoilers, I will say that a major player was involved in a horrendous act that cost them their life. And, it wasn't entirely their fault. With only a couple of episodes left this season, I can say that I'm both looking forward to, as well as not looking forward to the season finale. It is the one single thing I don't like about the show. Like a typical sporting season, the show runs for a couple months and then forces you to wait until the new season begins for a new episode. Maybe they should take NASCAR's lead and have a nine-month season.

Willie got a new batch of movies to review from Horror News, and already he’s itching to get viewing and writing. They include the Omen trilogy, Demons, Dust Devil and The Deadly Spawn. He also wants to get busy taking a bloody stab at those old Hammer vampire flicks starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee too. Oh! He'll probably get one of them out of the way today, so be on the lookout for his future reviews here.

Have you happened to see all The Hunger Games items flooding into the market? I’m guilty of picking up a District 12 tee shirt for Paula and the new People magazine special edition. Suzanne Collins has a bonifide masterpiece on her hands. From what I’ve read, they are staying true to the books and if this is correct, it will be a great movie. So, if you haven't read the books yet, I highly suggest it. But, I’ll also warn that once you do, it will be extremely hard to stop. While this series has been compared to the Twilight series, I suspect The Hunger Games will become even larger. See the trailer here

Which reminds me, when did vampires learn to love?

Vampires are supposed to be, at least according to Stoker and everything I’ve always learned about them, night prowling bloodsucking creatures that sleep in a coffin located in the basement of a castle and only come out at night to seek nourishment from the living. They are capable of transforming into various shapes and creatures, such as a bat or a wolf; do not cast a reflection; crosses keep them at bay and a wooden stake becomes your best friend. At least that is the very basic definition of the vampire I know.

But then, all of a sudden, here comes Stephenie Meyer with her book series beginning with Twilight, a series that tells the story of a mortal female and an immortal vampire male in love. Now God bless you Stephanie and all your fans, but to me, something doesn't sit well with this overall picture. I mean c’mon, after all, a vampire’s heart doesn’t beat and they certainly aren’t emotionally bound. Vampires seek one thing only…and that is blood. They do not go to dances and high school and certainly do not play a sporting event by the light of the moon in a field out in the middle of nowhere. And, another thing, if a vampire is completely dead, how is it that Bella could get pregnant? What, does this vampire Edward just happen to have one single living part?

While I have not read the series, I have seen the movies and in all honesty, they are somewhat entertaining…even if they aren’t believable. But, then again, this is fiction, something I can certainly appreciate and to fans of it, I say to each his or hers own.

None-the-less, they are not the vampires I grew up with. You know, the ones that rise out of a coffin hunting the countryside biting the neck of the first victim they find. That's what I grew up with and it's quite difficult for me to accept anything different. I suppose today’s teens, having grown up with Bella and Edward, will probably feel the way I do when the new vampire generation comes out…you know, the robotic ones controlled by Martians from Venus.

Received two magazines this week, the March issue of Suspense Magazine, and a back issue of Cemetery Dance # 62, with a William Blatty interview and the lost scenes from The Exorcist and Legion. The chilling cover is what compelled me to order it and I certainly wasn’t let down…simply terrifying. You can get it hereif there are any left!

I must say I'm exceptionally happy with The Daily Death’s consistency in sales. This is probably attributed to the fantastic reviews it has received. I've sent a few more copies off for review, one in particular to Cemetery Dance, a magazine that takes its horror very serious. Hopefully they'll consider reviewing it. Fingers are crossed. 

By the way, my very first novella, Twitch, about a deformed carnival sideshow attraction who takes abuse and harbors a dark secret is also available…get it here for only 99 cents.

And, there are only 7 days left to sign up at Goodreads to win one of five signed copies of my sophomore novella, The Daily Death - How I Killed My Co-Workers In 30 Days, a collection of 24 macabre tales of demise. (see ad at top left of this page) or, to sign up, click here.

Well, have a gruesome week ghouls and I'll leave you with a little food for thought!

Stay Scared,