Interview with Richard C. White about his new book Harbinger Of Darkness!

Some of you may remember way back before #Writober  started, I asked What are you planning for #Writober? Back then, a million years ago, I mentioned that I planned to do Readers Imbibing Peril XII’s Peril in the First. I listed the books I planned on reading and half of those have changed, but I also mentioned a surprise. Here is that surprise. I was given a copy of Harbinger of Darkness by Richard C. White in exchange for a review. He also agreed to an interview. Imbibing So Much Peril!

My Review

 

four stars

The cover of Harbinger Of Darkness by Richard C. WhiteThough I’m not usually a kings and princes, guilds and taverns kind of reader, I enjoyed many things about this novel. I especially enjoyed the strong female protagonist. Perrin, by day, working in her father’s bookshop, uses a charm to change her appearance and becomes Raven, by night, master thief who doesn’t play by the rules. I was pulled into her world through visual description and quick-moving action scenes. I also enjoyed the crisp, natural dialogue.

There were some areas of the novel that I felt dragged slightly. Though there was a rich, layered story being told, I sometimes thought it could be told with fewer words. There were a few times I worried the story would turn to fairy tale stereotypes, but the story took a creative turn and rewarded me for my continued reading.

Harbinger of Darkness is a visceral adventure through a world of magic with well-developed characters, dynamic dialogue and a good dose of two-handed sword fights.

Interview with Richard C. White

Reading your bio at the end of Harbinger of Darkness, was fascinating. You have a career with a defense contractor and you write novels? Can you tell us about a day in the life?

Im a technical writer, by trade, so as I like to describe my life as six weeks of boredom followed by two weeks of panic. Most of the projects I work on are what we call eight-week spins, so for six weeks, theres not much for me to do while the developers and programmers work on their projects. However, once the code goes final, I have one week to write the users manual, update the technical manual, review and update the requirements spreadsheet, and write the change sheet. Once thats all done, then I have to get the government lead to review and approve my documents before the end of the second week, so we can release on time.

I try not to let that six-week slack period go to waste though. Most of the time, Ive been able to work on my latest story while Im on the slow part of the spin. Ive been able to sell my project managers that Im getting in typing practice. Generally, theyve been cool about it though – as long as I am at my desk, answer my phone/email, and help out when needed, etc. – its sort of like being on-call.

Most of my writing is done at home though. I try to carve out an hour or two before bed for writing, but that doesnt happen all the time. Getting a chance to spend time with friends and family is pretty darn important for physical and mental health.

One of my favorite writing exercises is going on writing walkabouts on the weekend. Ill take a Saturday or Sunday and go out and do an hour or two of writing at a coffee shop, then walk to the park and write, then hit a restaurant to write/eat, then maybe a local pub or a bookstore and write some more. The object of a walkabout is getting outside of the house to write, but not abusing a businesss hospitality. If I hit a coffee shop, I only stay a while and I order somethingsame for a restaurant, pub, bookstore, etc.. Im not there just to leach their electricity or wi-fi.

So, between working in some writing at work, in the evenings at home and on the weekends, I manage to balance family, work, and my writing. I wish I could say I was one of those who wrote every day, but I do what I can. Maybe after I retire, Ill consider trying to write full-time, but I dont see it happening anytime soon.

I would see the Star Trek and Star Wars book titles on the bookstore shelves and assume they were books that rehashed the scripts. I only learned about the media tie-in genre this past summer, but you’ve lived it. What, to you, is the purpose/joy of media tie-in and what’s it like to write for licensed media?

There are a number of different types of media tie-in stories. Some are novelizations of an existing property, say, Star Wars. There you take the movie and expand on it. A movie script would probably make a long novella, so to get 80-100,000 words for the novel, you get to go into descriptions, what the characters were thinking in certain scenes, what might have been happening right off screen, or how did that character we last saw on this planet manage to get to the other planet in the nick of time? Novelizations are a way to linger over a movie/tv show/game and fill in a few blanks.

Other media tie-ins are original stories set in the established universe. Now the authors get to maybe go back and revisit characters who only appeared in say one episode of Doctor WHO or NCIS and maybe instead of them being just a walk-on, now we get to do an entire story about them. Sometimes, we can tell stories of what happened between two episodes or even two seasons of a show to cover what happened to the characters (provided the season didnt end on a cliff-hanger). Other times, we come up with completely unique stories about charactersperhaps we tell the story of what they did before they came onto the show or if theyve left the show, perhaps we do a reunion story, to catch the fans up on whats happened to this or that person.

However, writing media tie-in stories has its own unique pitfalls. First of all, most people dont get to start off writing media works. You cant just write a Supernatural novel and send it to the publisher and hope theyll pick it up. Most of the authors you see whore writing media tie-in have been approached by an editor and asked to pitch something. Studios are very protective of their properties, so for the editor to sell you as the author, they like to be able to point to something youve already done to prove you have some writing chops.

So, if you get the opportunity to write something, then you get to do the tie-in dance. First off, the editor gives you your right and left boundaries, a.k.a., the licensor is looking for a story about X and Y, but dont go into Z or U. Why? They may or may not tell you, but the licensor is the final approver, so learn to keep them happy. Then the writer comes up with two or three plot pitches, which have to be approved by the editor and then the licensor. Once they decide which they like best, then you do a synopsis or perhaps a chapter breakdown and again the editor and then the licensor have to approve them. Finally, you get to write the short story, novella, or novel. And again, it goes through the editor and the licensor.

At any time in this process, the licensor can go, Nope, thats not working, and thats it. Hopefully, your editor can smooth thing over or help you come up with a way to mollify the licensor, but if they say no, then your story is dead. And I mean dead, since youre using their characters, theres no where else to sell that story. Sure, I guess you could try to file the serial numbers off the story and change it enough to make it your own, but in that case, why not just write a new story?

What inspired you to write Harbinger of Darkness?

Its hard to say what was the initial inspiration for Harbinger, but I can definitely trace some of its literary roots to stories like the Scarlet Pimpernel, Batman, Zorro, and the Green Hornet. However, I wanted to make the main character a bit more human. Perrin isnt necessarily out to right great wrongs or even make the city safer, although, she winds up setting herself against some of the greater criminals in her own citybut for her own personal reasons. Instead, this is about someone who feels trapped by circumstances and she is forced to take what some would call drastic actions to free herself and be able to follow her own dreams in the end.

I also wanted to try and determine for myself if I could write a story about a nocturnal character who a) is not independently wealthy, so they must maintain their secrets while holding down a regular job and b) must keep their secret identity from their own family – no faithful Diegos or Alfreds for Perrin. It was fun to take the trope of the costumed crime-fighter and morph it into what I wanted for this story. Hopefully, Ive succeeded.

Halloween’s coming up, do you have a favorite horror author/novel?

I have to admit, I like dark fantasy, but Im not much into modern horror. That being said, I do enjoy the Saga of Pandora Zwieeck series by Steve Roman. Even if Steve wasnt my publisher, he does write a damn good yarn with this series. Im constantly nagging him to put out the third book so I can find out how this first arc is going to end.

I did enjoy earlier Steven King The Shining, Carrie, Firestarter, and I remember making the classic mistake of trying to read The Exorcist at midnight when I was 12(ish). Not great for sleeping, let me tell you.

What’s your favorite scary movie?

Alien. Far and away, one of the most intense horror movies that I can remember, It was marketed as a Science Fiction movie, but it was a classic locked-house monster movie. Others I really enjoyed over the years were Jaws, Psycho (1960), The Birds, Cat People, An American Werewolf In London, and for a touch of comedy, Young Frankenstein and Abbot and Costello Meet the Wolfman.

What’s your biggest fear? Do you think it’s rational or irrational?

My biggest fear? Spiders, and of course, its irrational. Obviously, Im thousands of times larger than they are, but I dont like them, never have, and suspect I never will.

Which dictionary do you use?

My go-to dictionary is the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, ©1964, that I was given when I was in Kindergarten, and still use to this day.

Any advice for writers who have yet to feel their novel is finished or are yet to be published?

If youre feeling like your novel isnt finished, my advice is to really think about what youre doing. Are you really doing restructuring and introducing new plots or are you simply playing with where do the commas go in other words, are you really making meaningful changers or simply procrastinating? Eventually, youre going to have to take that next step and either start writing those query letters to try and get an agent/publisher to take a look at what youve got or else start down the path to self-publishing.

A number of people I know have worked and reworked and re-reworked their novels to death because they were afraid of what someone might say or think if they read it, but writing to be published is not for the timid. After a while, youre going to have to put it out there, with the understanding that once you release it, you have no more control over your story. People may like it, they may dislike it. Odds are something you write is going to be misinterpreted (dont even get me started on literary criticism here). Some people may even be offended at what you wrote.

Dont let that fear stop you because you have NO control over it unless you never write again. Once its published, the writer part of you has to forget about it, put pen to paper, and start working on your next book. The promoter part of you may have to spend some time with making sure people know your first book exists, but thats another tale for another time. As a writer, once you say, The End, except for making corrections/edits, its on to the next story and dont look back.

Cover of Terra Incognito by Richard C. White

Richard C. White has also shared his writing wisdom in a book for writers – Terra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination.

You can learn more about Richard C. White and his books on his website RichardCWhite.com, his facebook page AuthorRichardCWhite, on Twitter @Nightwolfwriter and at StarWarpConcepts.com

Wanna see Richard and hear his voice? Here’s a video interview on Youtube.

#Writober Day 23: A Path Through The Snow

writober 23

“Nature lends such evil dreams” by V. H. Hammer

This image grabs me with so many possibilities. Of course, the main question is, where’d that blood come from? That’s the story question, right? Or is that blood? What else could it be?

This image makes me think of Fargo. All those people committing heinous crimes in the cold north.

It also makes me think of The Abominable Snowman. A friend of mine recently had me look up the Dyatlov Pass Incident, an unsolved mystery that some believe was a Yeti attack. If you want to learn more about Dyatlov Pass there are many books on the subject.

What made this path in the snow? Is it human, animal, other? Does the main character know what happened here, or see it and respond? That could lead to a fun psychological horror. Ooh.

#vss very short story

After hours of hiking, lost in a sea of white, I was so happy to see a clear path, I didn’t let my wild mind register the possibilities of why it was made in blood-red streaks.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: What is the Message? Based on the story of the mythical messenger Iris and her fraternal twin sister Arke. Iris was the messenger for the Olympians and Arke betrayed the Olympians and became the messenger for the Titans.

poem form: nonet

A Clear Path In The Snow

Cold snow blinding white, something ahead
A message or trail left blood red
Unclear route I choose to tread
I fear where I’ll be led
Could reveal the dead
On which it fed
Or a sled
Paint red
Dread

 

#FlashFicHive

Ooh, Antagonist’s P.O.V. (point of view).

flashfichive day 23

graphic by Anjela Curtis

If I combine this with the image prompt, my antagonist might have some explaining to do. This could also combine well with the OctPoWriMo prompt. Who would be the antagonist of your story, Iris or Arke?

Writing Antagonists

Early on, in my weekly critique group, one of the writers was having a problem with her antagonist. She felt he was too cliche. He reminded her of Ming The Mercilessfrom Flash Gordon. We worked on making a more sympathetic villain by exploring his backstory. What formative events encouraged his current behavior? We also looked at specific affectations, behaviors and speech patterns that make him unique and humanize him.

If you’re interested in learning more about making your antagonist more sympathetic, you may be interested in Teller of Tales: The Sympathetic Villain by Tess Collins.

Another thing to think about when creating your antagonist is the antagonist is not necessarily “the bad guy.” An antagonist may not even be a person. For instance, in movies like The Day After Tomorrow, Sharknado, The Perfect Storm and Twister (1996) the antagonists are “weather events”. The point of the antagonist is to be in opposition of your main character. There may be some more good advice on the subject in The One Hour Guide to Better Antagonists: How to Write Stronger Stories Using the Power of Opposition by Mary Lynn Mercer.
The two characters in Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel are good examples of oppositional antagonists. This fun story is told by each character in first person in alternating chapters. Each one sees himself as the good guy and the other as the bad guy and due to events, neither is under the best behavior.
My NaNoWriMo novel this year is going to have a diverse collection of antagonists, criminals of minor to major crimes who all think the protagonist has found them out. I’ll be exploring every aspect of the antagonist this November.
Want more information on creating great antagonists? Here are some links to what other writers are saying:

Katie Masters did a guest post on Writerly Bookish Stuff : On Creating Well Rounded Antagonists

Deep Antagonist Characterization by Linda W. Yezak

Benjamin T. Collier has written a series of posts on Writing Villains

David Ben-Ami: The Missing Piece – What Most Antagonists Lack over at A Writer’s Path

Looking through Experience Writing’s archives, I found something interesting I wrote about Strange Pleasures that might inspire some attributes for your antagonists.

And Christopher Bailey’s great guest post: Carving through Writer’s Block ends with a tip about antagonists!

Do you have a post about writing antagonists? Or have a link to some good info about writing antagonists? Please share in the comments.

I hope you have an exciting day exploring antagonists!

Happy Writing and Reading!

#Writober Day 22: Let Me Out

writober 22

from weheartit.com

This image makes me think of the TV people in the first Poltergeist. It also makes me think of the powerful, creepy kid from Twilight Zone: The Movie who puts his sister in the television to be eaten by cartoons. The way the lines of the palm are clear against the screen makes me think of palm reading.

For today’s story, is the main character the one trapped, or did he or she wish someone else into that old TV? Was some sort of demon or monster trapped in an old TV and your character accidentally lets it out? Or is the story about the pit-falls of knowing your own future? So many great story ideas from one hand against a screen.

#vss very short story

Donald found out the hard way that the saying “You are what you eat” did not refer to the physical act of eating but the more metaphorical act of perceptual input.

#OctPoWriMo

Theme: Purposeful Passion

I took a look at Shadow Poetry and thought a Kyrielle would fit nicely with the visual prompt and the poetry theme.

Passions Wither

Lines carved by constant movement
Press hard against the doubt
Passion for constant improvement
Let me out

My hand waves to draw your attention
Planting seeds of ideas to sprout
Stroking the glass raises tension
Let me out

Lines left in grease cloud my future
No one can hear when I shout
Wide open screams my new embouchure
Let me out

I wither in stagnant space longing
Creative passions frozen in drought
For now there is nothing worth watching
Let me out!

#FlashFicHive

Today’s theme is a retweet Storm.

The Sunday hashtags and themes on Twitter are:

#SunWIP  – Sweet
#SaidSun – Dialogue only – Power
#WhosYourCharacter – Share bios, insp. pics, etc.
#TurtleWriters – What’s the hook/inciting incident in your WIP

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 21: Invasion of Red Foxes

writober day 21

by Sandy Skoglund

Sandy Skoglund’s images are so creepy because she actually made all of those foxes and created a real scene for her photographs. They look so real and fake at the same time. Her choice of color adds to the surrealism. She’s done many images like this such as green cats and swarming squirrels. If you’re interested in seeing more of her work and work of other great photographers, she’s included in the book Focus: Five Women Photographers: Julia Margaret Cameron/Margaret Bourke-White/Flor Garduño/Sandy Skoglund/Lorna Simpson.
This image makes me think of The Fox And The Hound because the foxes look so playful, but it also makes me think of Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge which has been turned into a TV show Zoo: Season 1. In Zoo, the animals of the earth “change”. They become violent and start to exterminate the humans. I could see these foxes suddenly turning on those diners and having a nice meal of their own.

So what are these foxes up to? Did they change like in Zoo, or are they a new mutant species? They might have recently arrived from another dimension, perhaps a land like Narnia or Oz where animals can talk and the foxes are the bad guys. They might be aliens that arrived from another planet and took the form of the last thing they saw. Maybe they see color differently on their planet and thus can’t replicate color correctly. That could make replicating disguises pretty funny.

#vss very short story

When the first fox ran into the restaurant and jumped on the table, she thought it was fun and extraordinary. When the restaurant was full of red foxes, her soup didn’t sit well.

edited to fit in a tweet: A fox ran in & jumped on the table. She thought it fun and extraordinary. Now the room is full of red foxes. Her soup doesn’t sit well.

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Nothing Remains the Same

I think today’s image goes a lot better with the theme Fox and Foxy from day 19 and since I didn’t get a chance at the form prompt Florette (due to power outage that day), I think I’ll try it now. A Florette has a rhyme scheme and meter rules with a combination of both in the fourth line of each stanza. It should be a good challenge for the story of the invading red foxes.

Bad Date

When fox first approached, he was shy
He crept up close then hopped up, spry
He sniffed the plate then stole a bone
We thought he was a scout alone, but fox was sly

He wouldn’t look me in the eye
Rubbing his tail against my thigh
I bit my lip, began to suck
I swear he winked at and stuck his nose in pie

Then it came, his announcing cry
A thousand responses pitched high
The room flooded with fluffy tails
My date’s pallor sickens and pales, absent any lie

The fox, it stole his favorite tie
Another ate his last steak fry
“If we’re quiet they’ll let us be”
But we are far from being free “We are about to die”

Note: As with all of the poem-form prompts, this was a fun challenge. I did a mind map for Fox and Foxy and found the connections interesting. I also used the rhyme one rhyming dictionary for “sly” and found inspiration there. I love how the #Writober images combined with the #OctPoWriMo prompts have me writing story poems that I wouldn’t usually write.

 

#FlashFicHive

day21

graphic by Anjela Curtis

I have managed to finish a few of my #Writober stories this week which is exciting. So today may be a good day for hashtag games. Let’s see what’s on for Saturdays.

sat hashtags

graphic by Mica Scotti Cole

Themes:

#SciFiSat: No theme, but jfx mcloughlin @SciFiPrompt did put up the #Writober Day 1 image and I finished that story, so that’s convenient.
#SlapDashSAT – Any Lines/ No theme
I looked at a couple more and it looks like Saturday is a themeless free-for-all, so sharing lines entails picking the best lines. Nice.

I found a hashtag not on the list: #storysaturday and the theme is GHOSTS!

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 20: The Darwin Pool

writober day 20

This guy looks like something that crawled out of The Darwin Pool. The Darwin Pool is what my friend and I call a tide pool at the ocean with weird looking sea life in it, like an albino tadpole looking thing or a creepy piranha with legs like our friend in the picture.

So how will this little monster fit into your story? Is it a new species? Are they invading aliens? Is it the latest pet craze? Share your ideas in the comments.

And don’t forget ti head over to #pessimisticmoustache. I bet you can come up with a bunch of isms to describe our little monster.

#vss very short story

When the fish started walking around, they looked like cute Ray Harryhausen creations. But then they got a taste for blood and they weren’t so cute anymore.

#OctPoWriMo

Desires and Remembering

Today’s prompt is a challenge to remember something that you really wanted and remember it with all the senses. I’m pretty sure I’ve never really wanted a fish with legs, but I’ll give it a go.

I haven’t written a haiku yet during #OctPoWriMo and something came to me, so here goes.

Walking On Land

A fish walks on land
It yearns for air without salt
but only knows thirst

#FlashFicHive

Question for your main character:

question for MC

graphic by Anjela Curtis

If my MC ends up being the walking, fanged fish, I’m pretty sure it hopes for world domination.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober Day 19: The Blob

writober day 19

photo by Maria L. Berg 2015

When this thing fist appeared on the ramp, I could not get my head around what it could possibly be. When I walked up to it, I thought it was a horrifying clump of eggs. But then I did some research. It is a colony of pectinatella magnifica. I wrote a post back in 2015 and titled it Inspiration: Stay Ready.

I think that sums up what I’m enjoying about my 2017 #Writober experience. My poems are more challenging and exciting because I’m blending a Halloween image prompt with an #OctPoWriMo prompt. And my flash fiction stories are sometimes being guided by an #OctPoWriMo prompt and a #FlashFicHive prompt. Inspiration is everywhere. Purposeful combinations of inspiration can truly develop creative idea.

That all being said, this image is all about The Blob.

#vss very short story

She poked it with a stick. The stick was consumed. It still didn’t appear to be alive. The blob on her foot grew until it was her size.

#OctPoWriMo

I didn’t have the prompt–fox and foxy–when I wrote my poem due to power-outage, but using my visual prompt, I think I covered part of the prompt; It’s playful, cunning, crafty and creative.

The Blob

All consuming
No discretion
A conjoined entity
Of mouths without minds

Surging, rolling, engulfing
You cannot escape
Growth exponential
of girth; not potential
A colony of wasted life

A sign of health? This monster?
Perhaps of wealth and greed, vile
It rolls over all opposers
Forcing them to join the bile
Dissolved to mindless absorbers in the pile.

The blob, it keeps on growing
Oozing through our towns and burbs
And everyone surrenders
Not a voice left to be heard.
Individuals dissolved as
The mass it wraps them in
To One Big Blob

#FlashFicHive

When it comes to music and writing, it’s weird for me. As a musician, listening to music can sometimes be more of a stressor than a release. Most of my songs were relevant for yesterday’s poem, but today, I think it will be fun to see if I can find the soundtrack for The Blob.

FlashFicHive day 19

Again, I can’t say how great it is to combine all of these inspirations. I just looked up the music for The Blob. First I got the music from the remake and it will probably be a good soundtrack for creepy, but then I looked up the soundtrack for the 1958 Title theme and it is so amazingly wrong, it might go into the theme-song of my life. So I found all this quickly on youtube, so I didn’t do any research, but . . .fun either way.

Sorry this is getting out so late, but again, LIFE. BE CAREFUL OF THE BLOB!

I can’t help myself. I have to add the song from Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes!

 

October Pairings (#OctPairs): Movies & Drinking Games

happy-halloween1

My Halloween card from last year. Please print it out and put it on the fridge as some Halloween love from me! But watch out! The pumpkin bites!

Since we paired books and candy last week, I thought we’d pair movies again. And what’s better than watching scary movies with friends and playing drinking games? (Doing a wooden jigsaw puzzle at the same time? Maybe.)
drinking gamesA while back, a friend of mine gave me the book Drinking Games by Terry Burrows. I thought I’d look at the games and pair them with Halloween movies.
The games in the book are organized into four sections: Words, Actions, Cards and Dice & Coins. Since I’m not into props while watching movies, let’s see if we can’t find pairs for Words and Action games.

I’ve linked the names of the movies to where you can stream them on amazon. It costs around $2.99. So if you get really excited and want to start right now, just click on the link of the movie you want and start playing.

Words

      1. Initial Thoughts: To play this game, one player asks a question. In our emily roseversion, let’s say the question has to be about the movie or Halloween, and each player has to give a two word answer. The two words have to start with their initials. Example: If the question was What will they find in the woods? My answer could be Many Bones where Frank Clark might answer Feral Cats and Earl Thomas might answer Eagle Talons (my first thought was Eager Tyrannosaurs, but I wasn’t planning on pairing with Jurassic Park). If a player can’t answer within five seconds, they have to drink and come up with the next question. This game will most likely go well with any scary movie. Since it’s about the players’ names, I think I’ll pair it with The Exorcism of Emily Rose. You might come up with a new rule like if you can’t think of an answer with your own initials you can use E. R.
      2. rhyme or reason: This looks like another fun one that can be adapted tonightmare on elm our Halloween fun. The first player says a word, for our purposes, let’s say it has to be a word that has to do with the movie. The next person clockwise in the circle must either come up with a word that rhymes or one that describes what it does. Example: I say “axe” then Doug Baldwin says “chops” so then Russell Wilson can say either “cops” or “feeds”.  If a player can’t come up with a word that works, it’s time to drink and come up with the next word. I think I would pair this game with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) because of that creepy nursery rhyme.

PiranhaActions

  1. fish face: Each player selects the name of a fish and lets the other players know their type of fish. No two players can be the same fish. The first player says, “I’m a (says their fish name); you’re a (someone else’s fish name). That player repeats the phrase saying their fish name and then choosing another fish in the group. Players have to talk without showing their teeth. If anyone gives the glimpse of a tooth, they have to drink.

For obvious reasons, I would pair this game with Piranha [Roger Corman’s Cult Classics].  Though if you want to expand the rules to include sharks, you could pair it with Jaws or Sharknado.

2. drinking with the simpsons: Most of the drinking games I found online were like this one. In the book version, you watch an episode of The Simpsons. The rules are simple: you take a drink any time a list of things are said or done. There are games like this for lots of scary movies. You can find one for Halloween at Film Drunkies tumblr and cheezburger.com promises The Ultimate HalloweenHalloween the movie drinking game. And here’s a post that says it’s The Official Drinking Game For Every Horror/Slasher Film. You could try it with every Scream movie or the entire Friday the 13th series.
Another online game with “drink when” rules is for Hocus Pocus. POPHANGOVER.com professes to having The Ultimate Hocus Pocus drinking game.hocus pocus
Drinkwhen.ca has this style of drinking game for a lot of great Halloween movies from classics like The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs to newer greats like Get Out and What We Do in the Shadows. As you can see there is a game for every Halloween movie.
But what if you are trying to get fit and don’t want to drink beverages all night? I even found a game for you. Over at POPSUGAR Fitness they came up with a horror movie game where they linked things that happen in horror movies to exercises. I think I might try this for my workouts the next couple weeks.

I hope you enjoy trying some of these fun October Pairings this Halloween season. If/When you’re on Twitter, please head over to #OctPairs and share some of your favorite October Pairings.

 

*I apologize that this did not get out last night as planned, but my power went out and stayed out for over 16 hours.

#Writober Day 18: The Uni-Pega-Monkey

writober day 18

image by Joan Fontcuberta

Of course, this image makes me think of

The Wizard of Oz, the most horrifying nightmare of them all, pushed on young children as some joyous fantasy. Tornadoes and Kansas are real, you crazy adults!
But this monkey is even worse than what that every-holiday haunting movie professes. This monkey is horned. Is it unique like The Last Unicorn or is it part of an invasion about to swarm?

#vss very short story

Vestsious, the leader of The New Monkey Continuum, perched on an Easter Island statue to admire his kingdom. Soon he would conquer the world.

#OctPoWriMo

Everyone Went On Eating:

I feel like my previous palindrome was my best attempt so I’ll go with the theme. It’s a great theme. I wrote albums of songs about awkward family gatherings. Most of them had to do with Selective Memory. However, none of them had to do with flying monkeys with narwhal horns, so let’s see what happens:

The Horned Flying Monkey In The Room

When it flew into the room
You had just said, “That hurt my feelings”
She said it never happened
He wondered when you would get a real job
He shoved his mouth so full of mashed potatoes
he couldn’t answer any questions
and the baby hit his sister, hard
On purpose

When it flew into the room
You were staring at your empty plate
She was serving pork and steak
He was asking about the bank
He was chiding you for your tastes
And the baby threw his food on the floor
On purpose.

When it flew into the room
You were fighting back tears
She was poking at your fears
He was pushing Roth-IRAs for later years
He put his steak on top of your salad
And the baby was kicking the table
On purpose.

By the time anyone noticed it was in the room
You stared at it curiously
She said she didn’t see it
He threw his plate at it
It swooped down and pierced his neck with its horn
And landed on the baby’s head
On purpose.

 

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 18

graphic by Anjela Curtis

I hope author Diana Rose Wilson answers my request on Twitter. I can’t wait to see what prompt she gives me. I hope it goes well with Uni-Pega-Monkeys.

It does! It does! Diana got back to me right away with the prompt: How did you get that scar? So perfect. Horned flying monkey is a great scar story.

Bonus Inspiration from Wattpad

Wattpad’s Mystery Headquarters is having a Trick-or-Treat story contest. They offer 2 prompts:

  1. Trick or treat! It’s Halloween. You’re home alone. The doorbell rings. You open. What happens next?
  2. Trick or treat! It’s Halloween. You’re out trick-or-treating and you knock on a door. Somebody or something opens. What happens next?trick-or-treat

Stories have to be between 1,000 and 2,000 words and published on Wattpad with the #halloweenmystery by 11:59 GMT on Halloween night.

I started a trick-or-treat story to go with this image from last year’s #Writober. I might take a look at it and finish it for the contest. Of course many of this year’s #Writober images would also work well with these prompts.

So many fun stories to write.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Writober Day 17: The Smell Of Death

bokeh skulls appear to rise from leaves

by Maria L. Berg 2017

I will never forget the smell when I returned to New Orleans after the hurricane. It permeated everything. It’s impossible to describe, but it’s a mix of rot, blood, excretion and this sickly-sweet horror that triggers the gag reflex until it is so stuck in your nostrils and pores that you realize it will always be a part of you–The smell of death.

This image makes me think of Little Shop of Horrors (1986) which I paired with the wooden jigsaw puzzle Artifact Puzzles – Garden of Death in the first October Pairings

Is this a killer plant? Is the plant haunted? Or is Death spending a day off tending the garden?

#vss very short story

They knew they had wandered into Death’s garden when a stray step released spores shaped like skulls, moaning on the wind.

#OctPoWriMo

And The Dragon Chose . . .

Though I do not understand the title of today’s challenge, it sounds inspiring and a bit ominous. Today’s challenge is a Dr. Seuss challenge to only use 50 unique words to write the poem. This is based on the bet that led to Green Eggs and Ham. I found an online rhyming dictionary the other day, so I think I’ll start there, choosing words that rhyme with scent and death.

Botrytis Battle

Brown spotted signs of death
And furry gray mold
Botrytis claims his garden
A battle to unfold

Death enters his garden
His step releases spores
In saprophytic appetite
A germ of many wars

Insects carry conidias
Fellow soldiers in arms
Spotted brown colluders
Carry mold that harms

Wounded cuticle weakens
The infection breaches the sheath
Shaking his head sadly
Death grips his snath and swings

Notes on today’s poem:

That was way harder than I thought it would be. The original poem was 74 words and I figured many of those would not be unique, but I was wrong. That took a ton of creative editing, but it was a great challenge.

These poem prompts paired with the #Writober images are helping me come up with some unique writing. This poem was also inspired by an article on cannagardening.com called Botrytis Cinerea: a highly infectious crop killer. Thank you to everyone for the inspiration.

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 17

graphic by Anjela Curtis

Our #Writober image prompts lend to writing horror, sci-fi and fantasy. What other genre could we add to the mix? Today’s image makes me think Gothic Horror like Edgar Allan Poe or H. P. Lovecraft, or we could try Noir Mystery or a Cozy Mystery (the Death’s day off story). It could end up a Comedy or Satire. What genre do you want to explore today?

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober Day 16: Shiny, Shiny Lure

writober day 16

‘Drowning Salvation’ by Matt Dangler

I love the concept of this image, a creature that evolved to trap its prey by appealing to their impulse to help someone. Kind of like the Ted Bundy of water monsters. This image makes me think of Jaws. It also makes me think of the angler fish in Finding Nemo.

The monster looks like a jolly sort with a nice personality. Maybe he or she wants to tell his or her side of the story.

#vss very short story

The monster was having trouble finding food. No one was willing to help someone drowning in this lake anymore.

#OctPoWriMo

Losing Your Fears and Tears

Today’s prompt is perfect for #Writober and pairs well with the image prompt.

Pick one of your fears and have a conversation with it. I think I’ll contemplate what my sea monster fears, after exploring some of my own fears: like helping a drowning person who turns out to be only a lure for a hungry water monster.

Conditioned Fear

Why do you haunt me in the darkness
Make it impossible for me to sleep
Why do you linger at my pillow
Keeping me from rest that’s sound and deep
Why am I conditioned now to fear you
Images of life enjoyed before
The dreams that always bring me near you
Are a torture that my waking self abhors

Your over-active mind, it calls me
Wanting things to return to before
You hate the pain when you awaken
But in the silence you beg me for more
It is not me that you’re fearing
But whether your soul he will keep
And if your tired eyes that are seering
Will close and get stuck in the deep.

 

#FlashFicHive

flashfichive day 16

graphic by Anjela Curtis

If I do write today’s story from the perspective of the monster, how would I fill in the blanks? Let’s try a few:

Apathy was the main reason I left Lake Eerie. People just turned away from my lure like they didn’t see that hand begging for help.

Nessie was the main reason I left Loch Ness. That girl needed her space. She did not like to share.

Raw sewage was the main reason I left the waters of Victoria, B.C. I mean, who’s going to dive into that, even to save someone. It was gross.

How will you fill in that sentence?

Have a great day of reading and writing!