Monthly Archives: January 2022

Three Good Flicks for Haunted House Junkies

AFTERMATH (2021) - Jan

It’s stating the obvious: haunted house movies—even not so good ones—are scary, because, on a metaphorical level, what they’re really about is what happens when someplace we deem safe isn’t really safe at all. The house is the stand-in for that secure thing—an actual home, a family structure, a romantic relationship, a job, our physical health—and the “haunting” is the stand-in for anything that threatens it: fire, foreclosure, death, infidelity, unfair treatment, terminal illness. In the end, why haunted house movies are effective—and popular—is because they prey on our fear of destabilization.

This is probably why so many of them have the same tropes—but if you’re a junkie like me, who’ll give any haunted house movie a fair shot until it proves otherwise—you’re used to that; in fact, you expect it.

That said, here’s a couple of recent ones on Netflix Read the rest of this entry

Betty White and the 8 of Cups

It’s everywhere that Betty White died a couple of weeks before her centennial. Although she was special to me for so many reasons, this isn’t a tribute post—it’s really just something I found interesting.

On what would’ve been her 100th birthday on January 17, I was working with my Golden Girls Tarot Deck and the image on the 8 of Cups struck me: Rose is walking away.

Betty White Golden Girls Tarot 8 of Cups

Tarot cards have a myriad of meanings, depending on which cards they’re surrounded by in the spread and their provenience. But what struck me about the 8 of Cups is that, while the most dire of its meanings is abandonment, it’s also simply walking away from something that no longer serves you for something new.

This image made me sad, but it was also a comfort. Goodbye, Betty. I hope there’s a whole lot of better cheesecake in the heavenly kitchen.

Adventures in the Inbox …

34 Orchard all four issues

34 Orchard, the dark literary magazine I founded in 2019, is my baby, and while it has faced its challenges, it does well and brings me a lot of joy.

The past three days were a little bit rough, but it also reminded me that I have a lot of great people in my life, that everything happens for a reason—and that sometimes, you need things to burn to the ground so you can rise from the ashes. I don’t even know why I’m sharing this here, exactly–it’s not customary, or a good idea, for editors to talk about their negative experiences publicly. It might even be considered unprofessional. But I just have this feeling someone out there needs to hear this today, so whatever. I’m human.

The short version: 34O was listed Read the rest of this entry

Ruminations on Romero’s THE AMUSEMENT PARK

Romero's THE AMUSEMENT PARK Poster Art

I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not even close to knowing much about the late George Romero’s films, and in fact, I’m not even a fan of his work—mostly (I know, understand, and can appreciate its brilliance, and I think he was a genius. Zombies are just not my thing). He has, however, thanks to Night of the Living Dead, become synonymous with a specific brand of horror, so fan expectations are set.

I just watched George Romero’s gorgeously restored lost gem, 1975’s The Amusement Park, which has been available as a Shudder exclusive for a while now. In my opinion, this is one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen; if you enjoy the work my magazine, 34 Orchard, publishes, then you will definitely be into this—this is profound, visceral, disturbing, real-world, inevitable horror.

I will keep this all spoiler-free, Read the rest of this entry

GEN-XER? Show your pride with SWAG ahead of the release of GENERATION X-ED!

GENXED T-SHIRT

Me, rockin’ my GenX-ed T-shirt!

The release date of Dark Ink Books’ Generation X-ed —which contains my short story “Nothing to See Here”—is almost here! Hardcover, paperback, Kindle and Audiobook will be available January 26, and if you want to pre-order the print editions, you can do that here: https://bit.ly/GetGenXed

Since it’s the first (and I think, only) anthology featuring GenX horror stories written by real GenX-ers, if you’re a GenX-er (or even if you’re not and you want to know what it was really like?), then this is a must-own for your shelf (yes, even if you’re not a big reader). It’s chock full of references to all things GenX: from rotary phones to the Challenger, from Satanic Panic to leg warmers, it’s all here.

However—here’s something even cooler: show your GenX pride and get some swag! Beer and shot glasses, coffee mugs, stickers and T’s—fun for you or the GenX-er in your life (because they make great gifts). Check it out on the anthology’s official store here.

CROP GEN-X MUG BLOG ART

You can get a mug with all the writers’ names on it, or you can get a mug with just the logo.

Know a GenX-er hitting 50 this year? What’s better than the book, some swag, and maybe one of those great old snacks we used to have that are still around, like (Jeno’s, now Totino’s) Pizza Rolls, Cool Ranch Doritos, or microwave popcorn? Just a thought!

You can also visit the official Generation X-ed page, which has all sorts of treats like advanced reviews, way-back memories from the writers, links for purchase in several countries, trailers, and other goodies. Check that out here: https://rowlandbooks.com/generation-xed

PetersenSchoonover_slasher_gen_promo

“Wish Bones” accepted for Timber Ghost Press’ DEAD STARS AND STONE ARCHES: A UTAH HORROR ANTHOLOGY

Wish Bones Accepted Art - Trilobite Fossil

The beloved trilobite fossil that my husband, Nathan, gave to me the night before we got married. He made special arrangements with the Howe Caverns gift shop to have it ready for me in my Howe Caverns Motel room. There’s actually a whole story behind why this is important, but I’ll save that for another day. Pen and notepad in photo for scale.

I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my short story, “Wish Bones”—a cosmic horror piece set in 1873 Utah—has found a home in Timber Ghost PressDead Stars and Stone Arches: A Collection of Utah Horror!

 I don’t want to give any spoilers, so the only thing I’ll say beyond this right now is that this is an anthology you won’t want to miss—especially if you enjoy the burgeoning subgenre that is Old West Horror. I will tell you that this was my very first attempt at writing in this genre, and since TGP specializes in this, I was quite surprised and honored that the story was accepted.

I’m also really happy with how I smashed the state’s early religious history and well-known paleontological discoveries together to create something even I wasn’t expecting. And a very special shout-out goes to my friend Bruce Shillinglaw–my very helpful dinosaur expert, without whom I wouldn’t have had my facts straight.

I will keep you posted on the release date!

This writing chick’s got fingers crossed for an even more fabulous year …

I'm a Writer I Might Kill You in a Story Mug

Another year has passed … for me, it’s “Already?” Well, they say time flies when you’re having fun, and quite honestly, my 2021 was pretty awesome. I went to or held a few really fun virtual parties (including my 50th birthday!), and got to visit some favorite and new places: twice to Mystic, a few times to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, to a retreat on Cape Cod, and to Salem for the first time. I attended two virtual Cons–StokerCon and the HP Lovecraft Film Festival–and, with my co-chair David Griffith, got the Horror Writers Association’s Connecticut Chapter off the ground. Horrorfest with my cousin returned. I read some amazing books, both issues of 34 Orchard were successful, and I was honored to participate in two online readings as well as be a guest at a few online high school and college classes. And me and Nathan got to spend many an evening watching movies in the comfort of our living room–something we have always enjoyed, but never seemed to have much time to do pre-pandemic.

But it was the Read the rest of this entry

How to Make New Year’s Eve Popper Wishes—and How Mine Came True!

Poppers for 2018

A close-up of the poppers for 2018. Traditionally, these are called “crackers.” I grew up in a small community in Connecticut, and we always called them “poppers,” so when I’m talking about them to others, I have to stop and check myself, because otherwise people won’t know what I’m talking about.

Every year, one of the big events at my New Year’s Eve party is the opening of the poppers, which comes with my special wish for each person to be granted in the new year—happiness, good fortune, fruition, peace, et cetera.

What’s interesting about this is that not only does my wish come true every year, others have told me theirs do, too. Whether it’s really a bit of magic—or simply just people “making it so” through positive thought—it’s still pretty amazing.

Here’s a run-down of how all of mine have manifested so far—and at the end, directions on how to make them Read the rest of this entry

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