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
If you’ve read my novel Bad Apple and enjoyed it, then don’t miss out on Karen Runge’s Doll Crimes.
This is a gorgeously written, terrifying examination of the complicated mother-daughter relationship; how they love and respect each other despite flaws; how they can damage each other no matter the depth of that love. This is real-life horror that reaches into the very bones of any woman who has loved her mother or daughter despite emotional crimes, big or small. Rife with sharp, stunning details and strong internal narrative, it’s possibly one of the most moving, visually beautiful–and yet accessible–books I’ve ever read, fraught with tension, sadness–and a strange kind of joy, because no matter where we are in our relationships with our mothers or daughters, their men, and the people who have done them wrong, we know that we are not alone. If you love dark fiction and are a mother, daughter, or both; or, if you have struggled with that emotionally fragile, yet seemingly unbreakable, bond between you, then this book is for you. High recommend.
Doll Crimes is published by Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s available everywhere, but here’s the Amazon link for ease: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1646693140/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_aRO5DbJF27VPK
Still haven’t read my book Bad Apple? You can get it here: http://bit.ly/BadAppleKPS
Every once in a while you find out something that just makes your day. Recently, I discovered my novel Bad Apple was listed on a couple of Favorites/Best Of Lists (and in all the wedding planning and post-wedding clean-up chaos I missed it). So it was a nice surprise to find out that
Literary Mayhem’s Peter Schwotzer, who reviewed the book last year, named it to his My Favorite Books for 2013 List here and science fiction writer Brady Allen recommended it on his Way Out There blog as 8 Books You Might Like here.
In addition, Elissa Malcohn recommended it in connection with caregiving, as Bad Apple is the story of my experience with youth caregiving told through the lens of fiction. Read her interview over at The Genius Salon here.
Sci-Fi Saturday Night’s The Dome and Zombrarian gave Bad Apple rave reviews! Zombrarian noted “You know a book is really good horror when it leaves you feeling set adrift and raw—and Bad Apple did that for me,” and Dome wrote “The characters are real and that reality is stark, bitter, and at the same time maddeningly beautiful.” To read both reviews, visit SFSN’s site at http://www.scifisaturdaynight.com/?p=6592.
Recently discovering an organization like the American Association of Caregiving Youth and pledging to support it (see here) has opened up some interesting doors. First, I learned about a website called Caregiving.com when someone on my Broad Universe list who is a member there posted about her reading the book Bad Apple (http://www.caregiving.com/2012/10my-next-leisure-read/). That website, which is a wonderful resource and online community for caregivers (those who care for loved ones), has a podcast called Your Caregiving Journey, onto which I was invited to talk about my experiences as a youth caregiver.
Interestingly enough, discussing some of these issues on the air has not only allowed me to really think about how I have learned from my youth caregiving experiences (and how they have affected me as a person and as a writer), but has also allowed me to come to grips with the fact that there are so many youth and adults out there today putting their lives on hold for others. That there are, essentially, still people in the world out there now doing what I was then. And I think that’s one of the most difficult things to overcome about being a caregiver, whether you are doing it as a youth or as an adult: it can be isolating. Websites/Online Communities like Caregiving.com and podcasts like Your Caregiving Journey help to decrease that sense of isolation and create an environment in which caregivers can share their sorrows—and their joys. While I am hopeful that I will never be in that situation again as an adult, I am very grateful to know that in case I ever am, there are places to go for support.
If you know someone who is a caregiver as a youth or adult, help guide them to some of these great resources. Or reach out. You might just change the course of a life.
Below are some resource links, followed by the two episodes of Your Caregiving Journey on which I’ve appeared so far. I will be appearing on Your Caregiving Journey again on December 10 to talk about Identity and Choice.
Caregiving.com is a community of family caregivers sharing their stories, support and solutions.
Your Caregiving Journey (Podcast)
Hosted by Denise Brown, the podcast of Caregiving.com which touches upon various caregiving-related issues—everything from managing your anger and Holiday stress to being productive, daily living and beyond. http://www.caregiving.com/articles/your-caregiving-journey-talk-show/
National Alliance for Caregiving
Family Caregiving 101
FamilyCaregiving101.org: If you’re caring for another person who is ill or disabled, this site is a place to find assistance and answers.
The American Association of Caregiving Youth
Interviews on Your Caregiving Journey
November 7, 2012: “The Story Always Gets Out”
November 7, 2012 (Podcast): “Helping Our Youngest Family Caregivers”
November 19, 2012: “What’s Your Choice?”
November 19, 2012 (Podcast): “Where’s the Choice?”
With the first nine months of 2012 consumed by our wedding and honeymoon, everyone said I was crazy to do it: hold a signing and release party for my emerging dark YA novel Bad Apple, which was published by Vagabondage Press Books on September 25 (the day we happened to be flying home from Walt Disney World). Still, I love a good celebration, and I love to throw good celebrations. And with so much to be thankful for, the opportunity to hold a release and signing party—as well as a benefit for the American Association of Caregiving Youth, which I’d only just discovered—was a thing to be taken.
So, on November 17—the only day I could really do it (I’d have only about six weeks to plan and get the house ready, and any later would railroad into the Holidays)—forty or so friends and supporters gathered at my house to toast to Bad Apple and raise a few dollars for a cause close to my heart. The party alone generated close to one hundred dollars for the AACY: not bad with the biggest spending season of the year about to descend and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which I know has cut into many of my friends’ wallets, not just with their own repairs but with reaching out to others who didn’t fare the storm as well.
Here are photos. Enjoy!
We have a miniature cemetery we set up every year just outside our front stoop (it has been called “The Cemetery of Dismembered Dolls” in prior entries: http://kristipetersenschoonover.com/2010/10/21/the-cemetery-of-dismembered-dolls/). It is normally on display between September 15 until just after Halloween, but with the wedding and everything, it only got set up sometime in late October. Because Bad Apple is, after all, a horror novel, I thought it might be fun to leave it up for the party. Each year we add more pieces, but the candles are always present. It looks really neat after dark.
We’d been promising an exclusive taste of the first few pages of my novel, Bad Apple, to Scary Scribes listeners for awhile. We got to do that on Episode 8: Paranormal Eh? Meets Scary Scribes…from a haunted cemetery.
The show went as planned, but after the episode went to archive, downloaders contacted Terry, noting they were hearing static followed by a woman’s voice (a woman’s voice that wasn’t mine). Could this be an EVP [electronic voice phenomena—an unexplained voice, attributed to a ghostly presence, heard on a recording which wasn’t audible when the recording was made]? Or is it simply an errant cell phone transmission? You’ll hear it toward the end of the podcast. To me, it sounds like it could be the latter, but either way, it’s eerie, so I’m not so sure I’ll be reading in any haunted cemeteries again anytime soon.
Here’s the link to listen to the episode:
Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
If you’ve not seen the trailer for Bad Apple, my dark emerging YA thriller coming from Vagabondage Press Books this September 25, here it is.
Believe it or not, people have been asking me how I did it, so here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it was made.
My initial concept was to use video of a teddy bear being crushed under the items of adulthood: originally, I had a cookbook as one item, a dish as another, and was going to make a fake “brochure” for the glitzy resort at which Scree arrives and toss that down, too. Then, believe it or not, I was going to douse it all with water or fire (crazy, right)? Somehow, the original concept morphed: it changed to a shower of kids’ toys and a barrage of apples.
One thing that never changed was that I wanted a music box as the soundtrack. Something normal, though, nothing in a minor key that would be too obviously creepy. It needed to be creepy in a very subtle way. If it was normal, it’d be creepier than if I deliberately tried to use something made to sound creepy. It also needed to be something ultra-familiar, that everyone would recognize. I figured I could purchase Brahms’ “Lullaby” legally royalty-free, and I was right (I know from my years in theatre that the key is to look for sound effect albums).
Next, I created all the title cards and the text (although that was tightened again and again as the process moved forward).
Then I went into the garage and got the teddy bear I had in mind: my Nana had made it (she loved to crochet and made us everything from stuffed toys to pocketbooks to clothes). I used the teddy bear to shoot some test footage to see if I could get the falling bear effect to work the way I had envisioned, and also to figure out how many seconds would work best: I was really insistent on keeping it to as close to one minute as possible (after all, film and television trailers are kept at 30 seconds to one minute for a reason. Anything longer than that, you might lose your viewer). I built the trailer around the false footage, so that all I had to do once the final was shot was insert, clip to the right timing and add titling. Here’s that test footage.
The falling bear effect was going to work exactly as I’d imagined. However, I couldn’t film and be the one throwing the items. I needed help, so I asked my friend Michele, who was going to furnish some of her daughter’s old toys. What was hilarious is that a couple of these toys I had when I was a kid—and are described in Bad Apple.
The night of the shoot I went to buy apples. I swear I’d never seen Shop Rite have so many varieties—and they looked so pretty I was instantly disappointed I didn’t have my camera in my bag. I bought three of each. What was hilarious was that I didn’t keep the varieties separated, and as they were all different prices, the kid at the check-out was overwhelmed having to do them all one at a time.
I went to the car – and I did have my camera, after all. So I went back into the store and shot these photos.
Then I realized I’d missed a couple of varieties. I was also suddenly inspired to make a documentary of the development, writing of and execution of Bad Apple, so I started filming myself. Yeah, I know, dumb. I did it anyway. Here’s what I shot in the store.
Michele arrived with the bag of toys, and first we had to get all the stickers off the apples.
What was also fun was that, since she didn’t have one in her daughter’s toys, she’d bought a child’s ball (I’d specifically asked her for one—I was going to attempt to recreate a special effect I had done for Woman in Black back in 1998). I couldn’t remember how to do it. She figured it out.
We were ready. Here are some false attempts (we shot it four times, although it might have been more).
Here’s the final footage—shoot number 5—that was later edited and manipulated to create the final product.
Some notes on the final: I chose a washed-out black and white footage for two reasons: I wanted something “ghostly,” that suggested something deep in the past, but also something light enough that the text could be read easily. Fitting the text into blocks that were readable against the background footage was the most difficult part of the process.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the trailer for Bad Apple!