Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Second annual Tales Of Terror

I was given the link to the second Tales Of Terror by an anonymous commenter...Thanks! Take credit where credit is due. Lovely, horrifying tales by talented story tellers. Check it out and enjoy! What makes it even better is that the writer reads the tales. Sit back and listen, like before, in a dark room with nothing but the dim glow from your monitor. Better yet, cue up the audio and click off your monitor just long enough to listen.
The title reminds me of the old 1962 Vincent Price movie of the same name. The synopsis from the movie database: Three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe. A man and his daughter are reunited, but the blame for the death of his wife hangs over them, unresolved. A derelict challenges the local wine-tasting champion to a competition, but finds the man's attention to his wife worthy of more dramatic action. A man dying and in great pain agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, with unexpected consequences.
Halloween is riddled with fun, fear and scary stories. Now is the time to dive right into all the old horror movies. The problem I have with some of the newer horror films is that they rely too much on gore and not enough fear. A scary film or story should be able to scare you with implied doom rather than blood and guts. When I dole out good money for a Halloween haunted house, I want fear, not cheesy red paint splattered everywhere. Who doesn't scream when someone jumps unexpectedly out of the darkness and screams boo! Rubber bones with read paint are fine props but they don't scare me. I'm not much for gore but prefer good old fashioned scare tactics. A good set is fine but the plot within the set, well, that makes the scary tale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

National Book Festival: Authors

While I was at my own book festival, here is a nice video of what was going on in Washington DC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shrunken Heads

How to make Srunken Heads: You make shrunken apple heads then float them in warm apple cider. Half the apple or keep whole if you prefer, use a melon-baller to take the core out, peel the apple, use a melon-baller to make eye sockets, use a knife for nose slits and mouth, then bake in oven for two hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve apple cider in mug with shrunken head. Have all the shrunken heads floating in the pot of warm apple cider.
Other options include, leaving them out of the cider and decorate the dried, baked apple heads for props and not for eating. You can stitch the eyes and mouth with thread afterward. You can add hair from a craft shop. You're imagination is the only limit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writer's tributes to Scary Tales

Last year the Weekend America site decided to honor Halloween by soliciting professional authors to write a short, very short, tale of terror. I am revisiting this since Halloween is just around the corner. The audio of the stories may not be available but you can still read them.
30 Second Tales of Terror (by famous writers no less)

Only someone with an over active imagination can tell a 30 second scary story. So, for Halloween, read the petite tales in a darkened room with only the monitor's light for comfort.

Here's my contribution to really short scary stories:
It was a dark and stormy night as Mr. Collinsworth signed and concluded his will. He thought he heard the floor squeak but decided it was his over active imagination. Suddenly a quick and decisive blow to the head ended
Mr. Collinsworth's life prematurely.
When I arrived at the Estate the next morning I felt a cold chill run down my spine. This was the room my unsuspecting Uncle had drew his last breath. There were still spots of blood on his desk. The butler was being interrogated by the police as I walked about the gloomy study. Just then a blood curdling scream came from the kitchen where the maid was found lying in a pool of blood. I ran back to the study only to find the, now murdered, butler lying limply across a divan. Being terrified by the sudden deaths, I began to panic. The detective told me, as I stood shaking in my shoes, that the maid and butler had been listed in the will my Uncle had just completed. The only other names listed were me and a long lost cousin! I had been studying my shoes in order to avoid the detective's insinuating glare. To my shock, when I looked up, no one was there. Where had the detective gone? For that matter where is everyone else? They had just been here. I could hear the floor squeak behind me and I ran to the now locked front door. I turned in a panic only to see the crazed face of my long lost cousin, Broderick!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coraline the movie

Another one of Neil Gaiman's books is well on its way to being a movie. It's dark and mysterious with a splash of "Tim Burton", other worldly flair to it. There are some good websites out now which introduce you to the whole Coraline concept. The official site has intense flash animations which may bog down an older computer, but it does take you on a cyber/fantasy journey into the imaginative world that is Mr. Gaiman's mind. I'm glad to see they are making it as a stop animation feature rather than computer animation. Computer animation has its merits, to be sure, but it lacks in the whole "parallel world" realism. Its hard to explain really. Some people just don't get "Nightmare Before Christmas" or "Corpse Bride", but those who do...well, they understand. I was raised during the time the Addams Family and Munsters were on television. I always fancied myself growing up in a wonderful Victorian home full of interesting nooks and crannies. Sure, I watched the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family shows, but I related to the lovable misfits who didn't know they were monsters living in a "normal" world. They could be funny, like Alf who came later, or just plain weird. I live in one of the few homes in my neighborhood which is nicely adorned with Halloween lights and decorations. Halloween has always been a big deal in my family. When my mother was still alive, she hosted a Halloween party which even made the newspaper because her home was decorated up so well. I've always felt I lived in a little bit of both worlds. Which one do I live in more? I'll never tell.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Follow your dream NOW! While you still can.

Writer, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last December. He has written books for adults, young adults and children. His fantasy novels, collaborations and art work combined make up a very impressive library. His UK interview reveals a poignant and bittersweet look into his world of forgetfulness and diminishing creativity. It is unimaginable to understand how it feels to see your, once brilliant mind, slowly slipping into the abyss of dementia. This website covers all of the books and art in which he has contributed over his lifetime.
Pratchett said in his interview,
"Regrettably one of the best swords for killing demons like this is made of gold - lots of gold.
These days we call it funding. I believe the D-day battle on Alzheimer’s will be engaged shortly and a lot of things I’ve heard from experts, not always formally, strengthen that belief."
Let's hope he is right. Alzheimer's research doesn't just rescue old farts from being lost in their own mind. There are highly creative, contributing adults who are being diagnosed daily. Is it in your future? I certainly hope not. However, it could be in your loved ones future. Who knows? Support the Alzheimer walks and charities as well as the Alzheimer sufferers.
I had a great aunt who had been diagnosed with it. She was an articulate, intelligent woman who watched her mind slowly degrade. In one of her lucid moments, she stated emphatically that she did not want to live out her last days in a nursing home oblivious to the world. Little did we know that she and her husband, who was suffering from advanced heart disease actually intended to avoid such a fate. One chilly fall morning we received a call that they had both passed away. Her husband, in his own words, "mercifully" took her life and then his own. It seemed such a sad way to go, but then again, the only other options they had was slow and painful. I'm not one to judge what is right. I'm just making the observation. So, learn about the disease and support the sufferers.
Do, create, write, read, travel, talk and live!....Who knows what tomorrow brings. Learn from the past and live for today. Today is what you dreamed about yesterday. So, live the dream you envisioned long ago.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's amazing what a group of former kids can do.

The city where the birth of the genius, Jules Vernes was Nantes, France. Let us not talk of literature now, but mechanics.
When you go downtown, near the river Loire, there is a very particular island in which dwell many strange creatures, half steel, half wood. The Machines de L’île is an artistic project situated in the former warehouses of the Nantes shipyard.
Part Vernes, part Vinci and definitely part Dr Moreau, you cannot miss the gallery of the Machines, the Heron Tree and the Great Elephant.
They have also created other giant mechanical creatures. Three new Machines of the Marine Worlds are in the Gallery : the Giant Crab, the Abyssal Bus and the Storm Boat. What a great way to make a living.
Oh to be able to travel the world on a whim. I would definitely stay busy seeking out the unique, unusual and wonderful nooks and crannies all over this beautiful globe.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Neil Gaiman's latest book

Chapter one is read by the author, just click play. (More details and offers.) What a nice way to discover a book. Audio books are a great alternative in literature. I need to check into this. I remember going to sleep, when I was younger, to audio books and recorded old radio programs my father had. It had a profound effect on me. My imagination began its full time journey into the world of storytelling.