Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Reads to Make you Howl

 Happy Halloween!!!!

This is by far my favorite time of year. The weather has cooled so I can snuggle inside something warm and cozy 24/7, the wind is howling and sweeping rustling leaves past my open windows, homes are transformed into haunted castles, I get to experiment with more pumpkin seed recipes and I have three ghosts blowing in the breeze on my patio. 

The atmosphere is cold and eerie and perfect and life is good.

Typically I turn on The Great Pumpkin and binge watch horror movies, but seeing as how I have a 4 year old, I have been extremely limited in my Halloween marathons and let's be honest, I am not able to stay up as late as I used to.

Which brings us to the next best option for getting a Halloween fix when the kiddies are kid-blocking the holiday scarefest...


Now, not all of these are scary, but they're fun, eerie Halloween reads that will get your blood pumping and your heart aching to light that jack-o-latern and spread a little salt around your property.

First choice in this Halloween line up is: 

Danse Macabre Now, I know I said not all of these books were scary... but this novella is a quick read and creepy as shit.
A very dark and a very satisfying Halloween read.

He wants to play a game.

Crow nods his approval

Snail brings warning.

The bells ring.

Blue plays.

The Man in the Picture Written by the same woman who gave us The Woman in Black, The Man in the Picture is another fun Halloween read-not scary whatsoever-but a fascinating ghost tale.

The painting doesn't imitate life.

It entraps it.

To stare into the painting is to play dangerously with the unseen demons it hides, and become the victim of its macabre beauty.
It's another quick read that'll get you in the mood for some spooky, pumpkin carving fun.

Nightmares & Fairy Tales is a work of fiction inspired by historical events.

There is truth embedded within the layers of fiction that fill this volume. There is a lesson to be learned and a horror to be revealed, lurking there in the shadows of our darkest times in history.

This is a very unique graphic novel, I love the artwork, the story is satisfyingly creepy and as a bonus, it's YA friendly! Definitely a fun holiday read to share with the kids and safe to read while they're in the room. (Yay!)

Courtney Crumrin I don't even know where to begin with Courtney Crumrin, and I do mean literally because I don't know what book comes first...

But I love, love, love, this graphic novel.

Fantastic artwork, intriguing story, creepy creatures, and again, kid friendly!

Courtney is a young girl who is an outcast at school and ignored by her parents. When her parents move in with her Uncle Aloysius she discovers she can do magic. 

And if those aren't enough to satisfy your ghostly needs, there are a couple books I recently reviewed that are worth checking out: Ghosts from our Past and Onyx Webb.

Ghosts from Our Past is the tie in story for the new Ghostbusters movie and regardless of whether you liked the movie, or if you ever plan on even seeing it, this is a great book. Creepy as hell, at times hysterical, kid friendly and a great read. I really enjoyed this one-and that's coming from someone not planning on seeing the new movie.

Onyx Webb is an indie read, a very unique writing style, definitely creepy and a promising series. 

I have only read book one so far, there are ten in all and I believe eight are published. I have to warn, if you don't like the way the story is set up, then you're not going to appreciate the book.

There are several stories going at once and the book switches back and forth between them. I myself liked it, so try a sample and go from there. It's a very interesting story.

And this brings us to the last books I'm going to beg you to read-and I do mean beg. (Someone love these books as much as me so we can geek out over Joe Hill's work together!!!)

I love Joe Hill's books-minus The Fireman, I'm just going to pretend that one didn't happen-and anyone looking for a haunting and lifelong traumatizing read needs to pick up his work.

Wraith is a tie in graphic novel for NOS4R2. The novel isn't necessarily a Halloween read-it's creepy and satisfyingly disturbing-but I'd suggest reading the book around Christmas. 

You'll understand why when you read it.

Wraith, however, is a great way to start the series and to get ready for a lengthy Christmas read (because NOS4R2 is a tome). The artwork is insane, the story bloody and disturbing and it will give you a taste of what NOS4R2 is all about. 

I LOVE this graphic novel. Check it out, because this ride is not over yet and it will only get more gruesome.

Up until now, all these Halloween Reads I've listed have been short, quick stories to get you in the mood, but here's a more substantial novel that is well worth your Halloween TBR pile.

Heart-Shaped Box scared the living shit out of me within the first three chapters. After the initial shock, I couldn't be frightened anymore, but seriously... Terrifying and an absolutely fantastic book.

Get to reading, get to decorating, and get those costumes finished because Halloween is almost here!

Monday, October 17, 2016


 It's Macro Monday again!

Shockingly, I went through my instagram photos and didn't have any macros this week...

So I quickly went and took a shot and uploaded it.

Since I only have one macro today, I went ahead and included a few other shots, so here you go!

Happy Monday :)


Friday, October 14, 2016

Fantasy Writers - What Class Are You?

*Guest Blog Post by the Epic Rob Hayes!*

By now we've all heard of pantsers and planners, architects and gardeners but in the realms of fantasy we authors can be classed into other categories. So today I am asking you all: Are you questers or world builders?

By way of example I will use possibly the two most famous fantasy writers who both have R.R. In their names: J.R.R.Tolkien and George R.R. Martin.

Now good old Tolkien was a quester through and through. In the Hobbit we saw Bilbo Baggins, middle-aged house owner with no job yet obviously independently wealthy, recruited by Gandalf the Grey to join a party of dwarves for fun, frolics, song, and the eventual goal of stealing some big gemstone from a dragon. In The Lord of the Rings we saw Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and a bunch of other hearty warriors escort a bland NPC (with serious path-finding issues) to drop a ring into a volcano.

It's guy love between two guys.

Breaking these two adventures down we have have a very definite quest in each: Steal the Arkenstone / throw the One ring into the fires of Mount Doom. We have a protagonist: Bilbo Baggins / bland NPC. We have a group of warriors/mages/thieves to escort the protagonist along his/her journey. We have a beginning, a middle, and an end... OK, in Lord of the Rings we have an end and then another 50 pages of life in the shire followed by ANOTHER end.

This is the way the quester works and there's nothing wrong with it. Everything in the story is about driving the quest along. We have lore, back story, world building, and character development all along for the ride but the quest is the driving force that everything boils down to. Usually there is something major hinging on the completion of the quest as well and more often than not it's the fate of the world because, let's be fair about this, there's nothing bigger and more important.

There's one more thing to note about questing fantasy stories and that's the antagonist usually takes a very secondary role in things. Big bad is big and bad but very poorly defined other than them being big and bad. This is because they don't really matter, other than adding danger and suspense to the story, as it's pretty much all about the quest. What else do we need to know than the antagonist is going to rule/destroy the world and possibly kill all the puppies along the way (because they're THAT evil).

Sauron likes to watch... and little else.

GRRM is an out and out world builder and they start with an entirely different premise. Their story isn't about some quest to save the world, or some big evil that's being nasty to everyone; it's about the world they've crafted, the characters they've created and how those characters are affecting and changing the world in the current age. I've started explaining it this way instead of specifics because... well see below:

Ned Stark is a champion of justice and defender of the northern realm of the seven kingdoms but is summoned to serve as the right hand man of his best friend, Big Bobby B, King of the seven kingdoms and general sot/lecherous pig. Arbitrarily leaving all of his sons safe up north and taking all of his daughters into the viper's nest of King's Landing, Ned goes about throwing the kingdom (if it's formed of 7 kingdoms shouldn't it be an empire?) into chaos because he's just so damned honourable.

Winter has been coming for so long at this point I think we all have to admit that Neddy is a little premature.

Meanwhile, over the other side of the world, Daenerys Targaryen wants to have a child with her paedophile horse warlord husband, save all the slaves, sail back to the seven kingdoms and overthrow the party in power, protect her dragons, and be an angsty teenage queen all while never actually making a single good decision.

Dany (chase the new shiny thing) Targaryen.

Not exactly clearly defined is it? But that's kind of the point of world building fantasies. The story is about the characters and their journeys and the world they inhabit and how they change it (for good or bad) through their actions. We have lore, more lore, MORE lore, back story, world building on an epic scale, character development but no driving force behind the story. Quite often you find world builders meander off into side plots and get lost in their own history and the story rarely has a defined beginning, middle, and end.

There's one more thing to note about world building fantasy stories and that's there (usually) is no real antagonist. There will undoubtedly be a whole bunch of bastards who could fill the role but they're not specifically the big bad as the story doesn't need a big evil for the characters to rally against. It simply isn't about saving the world but about changing it.

This is a general outline of the 2 classes the way I see them and there's plenty of crossing over between them so these aren't hard and fast rules. So which class are you?

About the Author
Hailing from all over England; north, south, and everything in between, Rob J. Hayes is the author of the dark fantasy series The Ties that Bind and also the steampunk caper series It Takes a Thief... He's also an avid card gamer, reader of books, watcher of things, and player of video games.

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as he was old enough he started playing with swords wooden sticks.

The second book in the It Takes a Thief... series, It Takes a Thief to Start a Fire, is available October 25th from Amazon. You can find out more at

Connect with Rob

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

2016 Moonbeam Award Winner-Kourtney Heintz

"The sequel to The Six Train to Wisconsin is a genre-defying tale of love and consequences. Once again, award-winning author Kourtney Heintz seamlessly weaves suspense and paranormal intrigue into a real world setting, creating characters rich in emotional and psychological complexity."

His secrets almost killed her. Her secrets may destroy them both.

Kai is recovering from a near-death experience when she realizes something isn’t right. Her body is healing, but her mind no longer feels quite like her own. Her telepathic powers are changing, too. She can’t trust herself. The darkness growing inside of her pushes her to use her telepathy as a weapon.

Oliver clings to the hope that he can save their marriage, even though he was the one who put her life in jeopardy. As his wife slips further and further away from him, he becomes increasingly obsessed with bringing the man who ruined his life to justice.

In Highway Thirteen to Manhattan, Kai is dealing with a darkness she can't understand. Her marriage and her family are falling apart and the emotional struggles of pulling a life back together after trauma is too much to bear-and she feels she is facing it all on her own.

Highway Thirteen is an intimate look into the trials of trauma, not only those faced by the victim, but by everyone connected to them.

As yesterday was World Mental Health Day, I have to say this series is a great way to introduce yourself to the real struggles of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and hopefully by reading you can take a way a little understanding and sympathy for those you may know suffering from mental illness.

I read this book at the request of the author and though I  thoroughly enjoyed reading Highway Thirteen to Manhattan, I will say it's important to read The Six Train to Wisconsin before delving into the continuation of Kai and Oliver's story. There's some important information only fully explained in book one, which I have yet to read, and I believe the story will hold so much more meaning if you first see the connection between the couple before their troubles in book two.

The cover art is simply gorgeous and represents the books perfectly, just beautiful work! I requested an interview with Kourtney who was kind enough to grace me with her thoughts for this blog post. Thank you so much for the book Kourtney and congratulations on the shiny, new Moonbeam award!  

Q&A with Award Winning Author Kourtney Heintz

AB: Highway Thirteen to Manhattan is purely fictional, but it's based in a real place. I read that there are certain characters in your story based on real people from the actual town of Butternut! Why did these townspeople stick with you and end up holding a special place in your story?
   KH: People reached out to me before, during, and after my visits. They were generous in sharing their stories and lives with me. When I found places where it worked for the book, I wanted to have the real people and places that make Butternut such a special place in my book. I’m so glad I did. Mike Brennan passed away this year, and when I read the chapter with him in it, it’s like for a short moment he’s here again.

AB: You've said that for your characters, love is a journey, never a destination. In the end, is the journey always worth it?
   KH: That’s a question every person must answer for himself or herself. For me, life is about experiencing as much as I can. Good, bad, beautiful, and ugly—I want it all. No matter how a love story ends, that journey remains with you for the rest of your life.

AB: Kai has trouble turning off her psychic abilities while most of us have trouble turning ours on. What's the most psychic experience you've ever had where you could swear you just read someone's mind?
   KH: I remember a really weird moment where I swear I saw like a minute into the future and knew a kid was going to hurt his face and tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen. Then he did exactly what I saw him doing, and hurt his face. I just shook my head.

AB: Highway Thirteen is full of strong family connections, though the family may not always be as functional as they wish they were. How important is family to you and your writing career?
   KH: I am incredibly close with my parents and their support means everything to me. I think of family not just as DNA, but as the people you choose to have in your life. I have friends that I treasure. Their support is something I can always rely on.

AB: After reading your webpage bio, I am extremely curious about the unpublished book you have hidden away. Can you share the basic premise of the story?  
   KH: It’s a journal-poetry hybrid where I went in search of myself. It’s only interesting reading if you want to know my darkest, deepest secrets. It’s pretty internal and definitely lacks a good plot. But it was an awesome exercise in self-awareness.

AB: Do you have any special events or signings coming up we should be aware of?
   KH: Thanks for asking!

October 17th from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In Danvers, MA, at the New England Library Association Conference in the Sisters in Crime Booth: chatting about author visits and workshops and giving away author freebies and a few copies of my books.
October 30th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Greenwich, CT, at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center (101 Field Point Rd.) at the 3rd Annual Arts and Crafts Show: autographing and selling books.
November 20th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In South Windsor, CT, at Maneeley's (65 Rye St.) at the 2nd Annual Crafts Show: signing and selling books.
December 4th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Mansfield, MA, at the Holiday Inn (31 Hampshire St.) at the 23rd Annual Arts and Crafts Show: selling and signing copies of my novel.

About the Author

Kourtney Heintz is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Six Train to Wisconsin (2013), the first book in The Six Train to Wisconsin series. She also writes bestselling and award-winning young adult novels under the pseudonym K.C. Tansley. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working on Wall Street provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amok at night, envisioning a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.

Connect with Kourtney

Purchase Kourtney's Books
Highway Thirteen to Manhattan

The Six Train to Wisconsin 
*For October and November, The Six Train to Wisconsin ebook is free to download* 
Amazon  Nook  iBooks & Kobo.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Macro Monday!

Ermagerd it's Macro Monday!

I'm short a few macros this week while being cooped up inside for the hurricane, but I still uploaded a couple images.

I'm very excited to start playing around with a new editing app I downloaded-Mextures-it's been interesting so far... I'm posting the before and after image as I did on Instagram as well. I kind of like the crazy look it produces.

To be honest, I would love to write a more interesting post, but my 3G isn't working well enough in my home to upload these photos at home and there are some insane women screaming at each other in this clubhouse and I just can't freaking focus...

So have photos and be happy everyone!

As a side note-Its World Mental Health Day.

Take some time for yourself today, maybe share these photos with some friends as a pick me up.

I know these women arguing here could use a bit of a pick me up at the moment...

I sure as hell know I can after listening to this insanity! (I told you, I could write a better post if I weren't listening to them... so sorry)

 Edited with Instagram

Edited with my new app Mextures

Hurricane Matthew just barely lessened within minutes of hitting us this weekend, very early in the morning. Thankfully my condo and my moms home are both safe and intact.

I did run into a bit more luck with this downed tree out front that just barely missed my parents vehicles and we've been chuckling over our fortune for days. Lucky for them, I begged them to move the cars away from the path of the tree. There's about a foot between the van and the trunk that would have crushed both vehicles if we'd left them in their usual places.

So here are a couple extra images to make up for the lack of macros ;) 
Happy Monday Everyone!!!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Space Sasquatch & Butt Hickies- Halcyon's Wake: Faith

In last Friday's post, during the Q&A with Dyrk Ashton, I may have had a little fun at A. Dale Triplett's expense and it did not go unnoticed by the harassed party... I heard he spit coffee on himself.

(My sincerest apologies for the burns you may have suffered Dale, hopefully this will make up for it...)

Not only did Dale notice my quip putting his editing prowess into question, but he took it a step further and challenged me to read his book, Halcyon's Wake: Faith, and actually dared me to hate it.

Well, that sounded like too much fun, so: Challenge Accepted.

                 *5 Star Read*
I'll admit, even before opening to page 1, I really wanted to hate this book, just so I could mess with Dale a bit more, but I am sad (happy?) to report-I genuinely enjoyed reading Halcyon's Wake!

Amidst juvenile fart jokes, threats of butt hickies, and honest-to-god space sasquatch, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the epic insanity spewing out of Triplett's brain. Halcyon's Wake is clever, entertaining, and a conspiracy theorists wet dream as Major Zack Dalton rides the wake of the world's greatest disaster, giving his life for what's left of his country-and the world.

Halcyon's protagonists are extremely likable, despite Zack's nonchalant humor that had me laughing throughout the book, Beth is my favorite character. And that's saying something when she's up against a semi-purply glowing, mutant, Marine astronaut, samurai...

Yes, there's that much epic in this book.

I am a sucker for a great female lead. Give me a headstrong woman who can hold her booze and out smart a smart-ass and I am one happy reader. I'm convinced Major Beth Hodgson can take on the Drakos single handedly if she's riled up enough to do so. She's not one to let emotions get in her way, she has a duty to perform and she's going to get it done. I am pretty excited to see her let loose and kick some ass in episode II.

This is definitely a series I will be keeping up with. If you're the type of reader who can sit back and allow an author's imagination to just run with it, then you'll really appreciate The Halcyon's Wake Chronicles. Faith is one wild, twisted tale.

I suppose I owe Dale an apology, which he will dutifully receive once I am able to scrub the traumatizing events of Halcyon's Wake from my delicate mind. He is as cruel as he is comical. Bastard...

Death to the Drakos!

About the Author

Arbra Dale Triplett is an author, journalist, copywriter, veteran and editor. He’s been writing fiction, advertising, marketing and UFO-related content for more than a decade. Born in Springfield, Missouri to an Air Force family, he grew up in Texas, Colorado and Illinois before spending thirteen years in Germany. He studied English and History at Oklahoma Christian University, Harding University and Lubbock Christian. He served abroad in the Marine Corps for 4 years, drove semi trucks from coast to coast hauling anything from live bees to oversized freight, and flew in the Air Force as Loadmaster on a C-130 cargo transport.  He’s hung his hat from Alaska to Florida and a lot of places in between. You’ll find him every year at the UFO Congress in Arizona, soaking up conversation at the fire pit with a cold beverage at hand.  He and his wife hang their hat in the west valley of Phoenix, Arizona. 

Purchase Halcyon's Wake: Faith

Monday, October 3, 2016

Macro Monday

It's Macro Monday again! 

Enjoy these shots from this weeks Instagram uploads (and feel free to follow for daily images throughout the week)

I won't waste my time typing up something fancy when the images speak for themselves.

Have a Great Monday!