Monthly Archives: April 2012
Don’t skip your “Vitamins”—hear the story by T. J. May on this month’s episode of Scary Scribes here any time!
Scary Scribes is over-the-moon excited to present “Vitamins” by horror writer and graphic novelist T.J. May. If you like Poe’s Unreliable Narrator, love “Flowers for Algernon,” and remember Dean Koontz’ Watchers, this story is for you! And afterwards, we talk about scary stuff, graphic novels and why reading is on the rise.
You can listen here:
Or directly from this blog here:
You can also find us on I-Tunes and Stitcher!
Scary Scribes is over-the-moon excited to present “Vitamins” by horror writer and graphic novelist T.J. May. If you like Poe’s Unreliable Narrator, love a little bit of “Flowers for Algernon,” and remember Dean Koontz’ Watchers, this story is for you!
T.J.’s short stories are rich in allusion, creating classic theme and motif mash-ups that are destined to become classics themselves. He’s a writer of dark fiction daylighting as a behavior therapist to children with autism. He is a regular contributor to Shroud Magazine, co-founder of SUMM Publications—which publishes horror and speculative comics and graphic novels—an active member of the HWA and an alternate on the committee for the New England Horror Writers. He and his wife, Brooke, are raising 4 sons deep in the darkest forests of New England.
You can tune in and listen live at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 29 to hear this great story (and if you miss it, don’t worry, you know it’s always downloadable everyplace forever) here! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/paranormaleh/2012/04/29/scary-scribes-episode-4
Want to check out T.J. everyplace else before or after you listen? You can visit our Guest Books and Links Page. Want to know him personally? You can hook up here:
T.J.’s Website: http://www.tjmay.net
T.J. May Author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TJ-May/144709262243261
T.J. May personal: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1620017313
Review of Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck—fanatics will learn something new; curious will get thorough overview
Dr. Michael S. Sweeney’s Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck was advertised in the April 2012 issue of National Geographic, which of course I had to own since it had been well publicized that it would contain new photos of Titanic’s wreck. Although I’ve read more books on the disaster than I can recall, this one looked appealing, and since I had my Kindle on me and could order it and be reading it in under a minute (can we say “impulse buy,” anyone?) I decided to pick it up.
I first visited the NG website so procure my copy, but there it was only available for devices I didn’t own. A few people on that website had noted they found it “disappointing” and felt they had been “ripped off” because of its length, but deciding (like I usually do) that I was going to make up my own mind, I went to Amazon and found it – for a few cents cheaper – on Kindle.
In response to those people who found it disappointing and felt they were ripped off due to its length, I have only to say that if they’d bothered to pay attention, the line of books from which this comes is National Geographic Shorts: Quick Takes on Hot Topics. So right off the bat, I’m rendering those complaints invalid. If they’d wanted a longer work, they shouldn’t have purchased something that very clearly states “SHORTS” on its cover.
That said, I found this little work – which took me only an hour to read – engrossing. In three fact-filled, entertainingly-rendered chapters, the book provides overview of that fateful night, an introduction to a few of its passengers in all three classes, a down-and-dirty explanation of the prevailing theories over the years and where those theories stand now, and a history of even the earliest searches (right after she sank – bet you didn’t know that, right?) for the wreck right up until today.
What makes this book different and a must-own for anyone interested (obsessively or mildly) in the wreck is the section which reveals the contents of some passengers’ recovered suitcases, shedding light on their stories before sharing their fates. I found this portion alone worth my $3.82.
Those who are intimate with the wreck in its stories will undoubtedly learn something new; those who don’t or just want a surface knowledge should find this the only book they need.
You can purchase National Geographic’s Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck for Kindle here: http://amzn.com/B0061BWQEK; it’s also available for Nook and Sony and the other formats where you normally purchase your e-books for those formats.
And if you want to have some REAL fun, play the Titanic Adventure Game over at the National Geographic site here: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/titanic/adventure-on-the-titanic/
T.W. Fendley writes historical fantasy and science fiction with a Mesoamerican twist for adults and young adults. Her debut historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME, was voted Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel in the 2011 P&E Readers Poll. Her short stories took second place in the 2011 Writers’ Digest Horror Competition and won the 9th NASFiC 2007 contest. Teresa belongs to the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, the Missouri Writers’ Guild, SCBWI and Broad Universe.
In Fendley’s book ZERO TIME, Philadelphia science writer Keihla Benton joins an archeological team at Machu Picchu and learns the Andean prophesies about 2012 have special meaning for her—only she can end the cycle of Darkness that endangers Earth at the end of the Mayan calendar.
For many years, I read a lot of horror. I eagerly awaited the next books by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The draw of the macabre and the twist of the unexpected kept me hooked since I first read Edgar Allan Poe in my youth.
So I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me when an agent said the first novel I wrote was horror, not mystery. (Sadly, in the late 1990s, horror wasn’t selling if you weren’t King or Koontz.) My novel, Little Sisters, was about a murderess who telepathically controlled black widow spiders. In one scene, spiders flowed out of a car’s air vents and swept over their victim. I had trouble getting into my car for months!
You see, I don’t turn my imagination off when I log off the computer, and even one spider is frightening to me. At that time, I was still in my “spider-attractor” phase. For whatever reason, I’d wake up and a spider would be on my pillow, or I’d be outside and feel something crawling in my hair–a spider. There are many, many more examples, but you get the picture. It was terrifying for me.
Which brings me to the point of my ramblings. A familiar piece of advice for writers is to “write what you know.” If you write speculative fiction, you can’t take that literally (for instance, I haven’t been to the Pleiades lately like the characters in my novel Zero Time). But when it comes to emotions and sensory details, I think it’s especially good advice. So if you’re scared of spiders, use it!
Another time this technique worked for me (and turned a sci-fi story into horror) involved migraines. I started having them when I was 25, in the days before any of the new drugs were available that can take the edge off the pain. I generally spent six to eight days each month in agony. That very real pain fed into a scene in my story, “Origins of the Species.”
Take what you know and create something different from it. Use it to fuel your imagination. That’s exactly what some of the new horror writers are doing. Yes, in the past year, I’ve started reading horror again. I just finished ARCANE, an anthology edited by Nathan Shumate with “thirty weird and unsettling stories.” Indeed they are! In one of my favorites, “God of the Kiln” by Eric Francis, the god reveals to all who dare pass what a priest’s “humble pride” wrought. Another, “Lady of the Crossroads” by Christine Lucas, shows how only a village woman’s mutterings can spare the men of Samothrace from the ravages of war. I also highly recommend Bram Stoker Award-finalist Fran Friel’s MAMA’S BOY AND OTHER DARK TALES. After reading her creepy collection of fourteen short stories, you’ll never look at dust bunnies and mashed potatoes the same way again.
While I think it’s important for writers to get in touch with their emotions and senses, I’d like to encourage you–as readers–to also be bold. Try a genre you never thought you’d like, and see if there isn’t something that resonates. To get you started, if you’d like to check out a sci-fi story about longevity pioneers, The Fourth Treatment is available free on my website. It’s the prequel to that award-winning horror story I mentioned–“Origins of the Species.”
To celebrate the release of Zero Time, T.W. Fendley is giving away a Maya-Aztec astrology report, a Mayan Winds CD, Zero Time tote bag and fun 184.108.40.206.0. buttons. If you’re interested, you can enter below—deadline is April 30, 2012.
3 ways to enter
1) Leave a comment on any of the PARTY POSTS listed on the book’s Virtual Release Party Page here: http://twfendley.com/?page_id=510
2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the PARTY POSTS (with tag #ZEROTIME2012)
3) Facebook (tag @T.W. Fendley) about the Virtual Party. (NOTE: tag must have periods to work)
You can find ZERO TIME at:
Sometimes inspiration for a story is thrust upon me, but sometimes I have to do the work myself.
Nathan and I are getting married at Howe Caverns in Howes Cave, New York, this coming September. The attraction is a much-beloved place from my childhood, and the reason we chose Howe was because I’d taken him there for the first time a couple of summers ago and it was pure magic: any visit to scenic Howe Caverns is a departure from the real world, important for us since we’re always connected and always working or busy. A whole weekend with nothing to connect with except each other is a rarity to cherish.
What makes Howe so special is its dedicated, friendly staff, its uniqueness, its sense of adventure—and its charm.
But what also makes it special is its isolation.
We’d planned a three-day trip for mid-March to finalize wedding plans with Howe, cake-taste, meet our pastor, and check out some of what the area has to offer. The Howe Caverns Motel, a 21-room one-story garden-style building (which our entire wedding party has reserved for that weekend…wow, I can only imagine…) with incredible views and rooms that feel cleaner than the ones in Walt Disney World (I am not kidding), is open during the off-season, but we knew it was going to be practically deserted during our stay.
Which thrilled me to no end.
Since I’m writing an original ghost story set at Howe Caverns as part of the wedding favor, I was looking forward to some glorious isolation: especially in the middle of winter, when everything is gray and there are few, if any, tourists. I went there hoping for inspiration, and imagine my thrill when we checked in and it felt like there wasn’t a soul around for at least a mile (we know there’s a groundskeeper somewhere on the property who’s always on duty and can be reached by an emergency phone hanging outside the lobby). There were no other guests. Ours was the only car in the lot.
We joked around about being in an abandoned building. Then we joked around about moving shadows outside our window. Then we joked around about the ghost of an ax-murderer or child who’d died from falling down a hole wandering the grounds at night All invented by us, of course. But we managed to spook ourselves, which was exactly what we wanted to do.
Below, a slideshow of our first night, and a video—join us as we wend our way up the pitch-black driveway to the empty Howe Caverns Motel, our imaginations running wild with darkly romantic fantasies.
And remember that if you’re a writer, sometimes you’ve got to kick things a bit of a kick-start.
Titanic’s 100th anniversary has not only brought to light new information about that fateful night and how the ship sank, it’s spawned several Titanic-related events—memorial cruises, balls, and dinners.
If you know me, then you know that for about ten years, I threw theme parties. Lots of them, each inspired by a period or event in history about which I was passionate.
In early 1998, we decided to hold a Titanic dinner; yes, the blockbuster-sparked craze was on and we’d just purchased the book Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold; cooking seven-courses in my normal-sized kitchen, creating atmosphere and figuring out how to do a huge sit-down dinner in our dining room would be a challenge, but we were up for it—given my fascination with Titanic’s tragic story (and any tragic loss of life due to hubris), I couldn’t not do it. All of our guests came in costume and in character, and the evening also included a brief vigil the moment the ship hit the iceberg.
It took five months to prepare for A Night to Remember. Many of the people who were in attendance that night probably haven’t even seen some of these photos.
So, enjoy: A Night to Remember, April 18, 1998.
After Cameron’s Titanic was released in 1997, The J. Peterman Company, a vintage fine clothing and accessories merchandiser, released its own line of Titanic memorabilia, replicating props and costumes from the film (like their famous Heart of the Ocean that now goes for anywhere between $500 and $2,000 on Ebay), as well as pieces from the real ship (like the $25,000 lifeboat).
I happen to be a proud owner of their Heart of the Ocean, but I kept the catalogues, Peterman’s Eye, long after the Titanic craze was over: J. Peterman told a well-written story around each of its products that just made you want to whip out your credit card. I had never seen catalogues employ good story-telling up until then, and I haven’t seen it since. I may have to buy something just so I can get their catalogues again. You can check them out here: http://www.jpeterman.com
To mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking, here’s a look back at most of the Titanic products the J. Peterman catalog offered. In some cases, the pages are split – my scanner can’t accommodate 12×12. Enjoy!
Winners, Week of April 9:
You knoow whaat you neeed to geet yoour girlfrined to the peeak of pelasure? Heere is the asnwer for you! The waay to meen’s happniess liees thorugh his beed! Geet the maap noow! [scary website address] shall return to my duties and obligations on other, better endowed worlds. She had held that scornful smile, subtly goading Baythan to protest
All those extra vowels! These other, better endowed worlds must beee indeeed amaaziing!
Everybody hates Spam—it fills up your Inbox (unless you’ve got G-mail, which does a great job of putting it in an appropriately-labeled folder), clogs your blog (WordPress does a great job filtering, too), and can threaten your computer’s security.
I have to say though, I love my Spam. It cracks me up—it’s poorly spelled, illiterate, and often leaves me wondering who would be dumb enough to click on the link for whatever product/service/lottery winning from mysterious relative in a country you’ve never heard of. So I decided in 2012 I’d go through my Spam each week and pick my favorites to share with the world. I remove the sender and any links that might be damaging (plus, who wants to give them press?).
See you next week! If you get any great Spam, you can post it here, just strip any links and the sender’s e-mail. And be sure to say something in the post to let me know you’re real. Otherwise I might think you’re…well, Spam.