Author Archives: kristipetersenschoonover
Jurassic Park celebrates 25 this year. Where were you? I saw it at the Opera House on Washington Square in Newport, RI, with a couple of friends, and I’ll never forget it.
I’d never seen such realistic, majestic, terrifying dinosaurs—I burst into tears of joy when the Brachiosaurus lumbered onto the scene, and the raptors scared me so badly I slept with the lights on. I’ve been a dinosaur lover since I was a little girl, but nothing…I mean nothing…has blown my mind like that since.
Until the opportunity to visit Jurassic World: The Exhibition presented itself last year. Everyone in the whole world thinks that all the cool stuff comes to the Northeast, but the reality is, it’s rare when limited engagements show up within reasonable driving distance from my home. When we found out it was going to be in Philadelphia—just under four hours from me—we were in (with the full VIP ticket package, which included souvenir photos and books and all kinds of extra perks) and we were taking our friend Bruce Shillinglaw—a thirty-year volunteer at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk—with us. We knew there was going to be nothing quite like visiting Jurassic World with a dinosaur expert (he’s a really humble guy and would probably argue that statement, but I’m sorry, no one I know knows more about dinosaurs than he does)…and we were right! In honor of this weekend’s release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, you can tag along on our super-science field trip to the Franklin Institute in the video below.
Ahhh, if there were only another exhibition to go to! But there isn’t this year, so the three of us (along with a few friends) will be seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in IMAX 3D tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. (and yes, I’m wearing my official Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Jurassic World dress I just picked up at Torrid).
Want a more full experience of what the exhibit was like? Below my video, there is a link to a FABULOUS, clear, high-def complete walk-through put together by the guys at the Jurassic Park Podcast.
In a special episode of Dark Discussions, the crew talks with lead actor Dan Lench (“Sariel”) about inner demons, angels of death and 2017’s dark morality tale The Lurking Man.
The Lurking Man, based on one in a series of novels by Keith Rommel, played the 2017 festival circuit and won many awards. It was an Official Selection at the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Long Island International Film Expo, Miami Epic Festival, Love International Film Festival and GenCon Film Festival. It was a finalist at the Los Angeles Cinefest, won four awards at the Indie Fest Film Awards, and took home 13 awards, including Best Leading Actor (our friend Dan Lench) and Best Original Song.
You can listen to our review on Stitcher, Itunes and here: Dark Discussions – Episode 339 – The Lurking Man (2018)
I’m pleased to announce that my short story, “All Dolled Up,” has been accepted for publication in a future issue of Jitter Press.
“All Dolled Up” was inspired by an article I’d read in The New Yorker about the “haunted” dolls that can be purchased on Ebay, and the culture that surrounds them (you can read that article here: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/ebay-fantastical-earnest-world-haunted-dolls .“All Dolled Up” accepted for publication in JITTER PRESS. Nathan has a “haunted” doll—Jessica—although I’ve seen little evidence, nor do I get the sense, that she really is haunted.
I’ll keep you posted on when the issue of Jitter Press will be available.
*I was working on this post when a tornado hit my house. So here it is, about a month later than expected, but just in case anyone was wondering…
The results of our Global Big Day–when we try to see as many species of birds in one day as we can as part of an international effort–are in!
We started the day (May 5, 2018) in our yard at 6 a.m. Our neighbor, Steve, joined us for coffee and birdwatching until 8:30. We got 23 species, so it was a great kick-off to the day.
I’d jokingly set my goal at 50, and really didn’t think we’d come anywhere near that. But we headed out to a preserve in Newtown, where in under 40 minutes we bagged seven species–the most exciting for me Read the rest of this entry
Four deadlines, a trip to Austin (and a trip to Disney after that). How did I get any writing done? Watch and find out in This Writing Life Episode 13: How to Write on Vacation.
If you know me personally, then you probably know that a rash of freak storms tore through western Connecticut on May 15, spawning tornados and microbursts. My house got hit. We are not as bad off as some in our communities, but we sustained heavy damage—my bedroom’s not safe so we’re sleeping in the living room, our back porch was destroyed and what’s left of it is unstable, my husband’s car was flattened by falling trees, and all of our bird feeders and porch furniture were hurled everywhere like so many pick-up sticks. All of this, coupled with the estimated 30 trees on our property that are either downed or contorted in dangerous positions that may not last long, has made my life utter chaos.
Everyone I love is safe, and everything that got broken is all just stuff. And, as more and more people chimed in on Facebook and reminded me that this was a good thing—“it’s just stuff, no one died”—yes, that’s true, but there was something about it that was bothering me. It made me realize that people who lose everything in devastating events like the Kilauea eruption and Hurricane Harvey aren’t just losing stuff. They are losing memories, stability, and their concept of home and what it means, even if only temporarily. It is also struggling to accept a state of chaos that may last for a long time—others not affected move on, while those that were will still be dealing with upheaval and a lack of normalcy months, if not years, afterward. It’s incredibly isolating.
If there is one thing I’m going to walk away from this with, it’s a new compassion for people who are left with nothing but wreckage. I understand the deep emotional impact now in a way I didn’t before. It’s probably going to change my life in many ways in terms of how I respond to natural disasters and how I can physically help. The first thing I wanted to do was go volunteer at the shelter that was set up here in Brookfield (there were people who suffered total, I mean total losses and we weren’t one of them, by far)—but once I got home, the roads were blocked, so I couldn’t leave.
Sadly, there will be a next time, and I will make sure I get there.
Below, the most important things rescued from my bedroom—I only needed to save them because of what they meant, not because of the items themselves.
Build-A-Bear Mumble, Pua the Pig, and the Penguin Dreamlite—These were all stuffed animals my husband Nathan bought me. Mumble, who is the featured character in the 2006 movie Happy Feet, was the hottest item that Christmas. My husband busted his ass to get that thing for me…I heard the horror story on Christmas Eve of how he conned the lady at the counter to call him the second the shipment arrived. He got me the Penguin Dreamlite when he started working at the movie theatre in 2012—he would often work overnight and he got that to keep me company (I am afraid of the dark sometimes). Pua the Pig was my favorite character in Moana, so he got it for me for my birthday a couple of years ago. I like to cuddle with it…I may be 47, but I’m very in touch with my inner child.
For Kaye Who Sees Everything—this painting was a Christmas gift to me from my friend Judith Nagib, who was in the Pencils! Writing Workshop I ran down in Norwalk from 2003-2009.
Uranus, by dear friend and mentor Do’An. It was the first piece of “real” art I ever owned, and when I look at it, I think of our great times together at Burlington College and how much he taught me about writing—and life.
This painting, by artist Heather Gleason, is untitled, but has an uncanny story. She was painting it at around the same time I was writing my novelette This Poisoned Ground, and it’s incredible how the painting describes what’s happening in the story. Talk about a fine example of the collective unconscious at work (no, we didn’t know each other at the time). You can check out Heather Gleason’s artwork here: http://myeclecticmind.com/
The crew from Dark Discussions gets in touch with the 2018 indie Pyewacket, which focuses on a teenager full of angst who probably should’ve been more careful about what she wished for when she got angry at her mom.
Tune in to our episode #337 on Stitcher, I-tunes, or go for the easy download/listen here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_337.html
Want some great summer chillers to enjoy at the beach? Now’s your chance to get nine great novellas and pay less…and scroll down to get a peek at the private Three on a Match Release Party!
Books & Boos Press is offering the first two books in The Terror Project series—Triplicity, which contains stories by Stacey Longo, Rob Smales and Tony Tremblay—and Three on a Match, which contains my J-horror inspired piece “Splendid Chyna” and tales by G. Elmer Munson and Melissa Crandall—for a special sale price TODAY (June 4) through June 10 (next Sunday).
Triplicity and Three on a Match will be $9.99 (30% off) for the paperback and $1.99 for the ebook (50% off).
In addition, the third volume, Three A.M. Wake-Up Call, hits Amazon on Tuesday, June 5 (tomorrow) and is available for pre-order today. This third installment showcases novellas by Nick Cato, David Daniel, and Rob Watts.
Here’s where you can get your copies (click on the titles):
“Brando and Bad Choices” by Stacey Longo
“Steel” by Tony Tremblay
“The Christmas Spirit” by Rob Smales
“Splendid Chyna” by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
“All’s Well That Ends” by G. Elmer Munson
“Thicker Than Water” by Melissa Crandall
“Chew Toys” by Nick Cato
“Clinton Road” by Rob Watts
“Roons” by David Daniel
Want them on audio? Guess what? Audio books are on their way! I’ll post on this blog when those are available.
Below, get a peek at the private Three on a Match Release Party, which was held at my house in September. Don’t miss out, and happy reading!
Today, I’m helping out my sister, who runs an online support group as well as the website https://escapinginsanity.org/ for victims of those who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder…I’m coming out as a former victim, and by doing so I hope to spread awareness.
What is a narcissist, you ask? The Mayo Clinic definition reads “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” It then goes on to say this is due to their low self-esteem or some other heart-tugging thing that almost makes you feel bad for them.
I’m going to apologize right now—for me, there’s no way to put a pretty face on this disorder. I’ve had experience with several narcs in my life (two of them romantic relationships), and I can tell you they are nothing more than abusers. I’ve gone through it, I’ve seen my friends go through it, I’ve seen my family go through it. Part of why I’m sharing this is to open people’s eyes. I know enough that if I even smell narc behavior I run, so there hasn’t been a narc–friend, romantic interest, boyfriend of a friend or otherwise–that’s been able to get a foothold in my life in sixteen years.
I want to give others that same opportunity.
If someone in your life does these nine patterns of behavior Read the rest of this entry
If citizen science appeals to you and you love birds or have always wanted to have an excuse to start birdwatching, this Saturday, May 5, is a golden opportunity!
Global Bird Day is a “virtual” event in which participants take as little as 10 minutes in their favorite spots—even in their backyards—and count the number of birds and species. Participants then log what they’ve seen in Ebird. This effort is important, because it shows the ornithologists at Cornell a real-time snapshot of which birds are where—especially now, when we are in spring migration, which got off to a late start due to the colder-than-normal weather patterns.
Participating is easy; you can do as little or as much as you want, and a free Ebird account takes just a couple of minutes to set up. You can download an app, too, if you prefer—but you don’t have to. You can do it the old fashioned way, like I do: take a notebook and a pen and record it later.
Nathan and I are hitting up four locations; the first one will be easy, because it’s our back yard (thanks to 18 feeders, we get 14 species on a slow day). We’ll head up to hike a few miles through Audubon Bent of the River in Southbury, visit the nature preserve behind our favorite cemetery in Bridgewater (we’re hoping for lots of water species), and spend the remainder of the day at another preserve in Brookfield.
If you’d like more information on how to participate, visit https://ebird.org/news/global-big-day-5-may-2018.
If you’ve got Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo invites (we do), those are probably at the end of the day, so you can still do both! Don’t miss out!