Attention Creepy Kids: Only Two Months Till Halloween!

Fall is almost here. I’ve noticed a couple trees already losing their leaves, and when it gets chilly at night it just feels like Fall.

I get so excited and happy at this time of year. It’s time to start fantasizing about homemade bread. And cider. And warm cozy sweaters.

And, the best holiday of the year: Halloween.

Soon AMC and TCM start airing classic horror. Closer to October, you can flip on the tv and find an old horror any night of the week. Yes, I know you can get all-horror channels now, but it’s just not the same.

I’ll wait until probably mid-September to get into full Halloween mode, but just knowing it’s coming makes this little horror nerd very happy indeed.

This is the Bride of Frankenstein candle holder from Bath & Body Works. I picked her up during a shopping trip with my mom WHO IS A VERY BAD INFLUENCE, by the way…
“I don’t need this. I won’t burn a candle in it.”
“You can…use it to hold your pencils!”

…she really is cute though. She will hold my pencils nicely, all year round.

Books: Sacred or Mundane?

If you look on my bookshelves, you can tell which books I’ve bought new, and which were used.

The used books are in all stages of wear: some are underlined in someone else’s pen, some are dogeared, almost all have cracked spines. The books I bought new, by comparison, are all pristine. No bends mar their covers. Their spines are unblemished. A coworker of mine likes to tease that I must barely open my books, pantomiming what she thinks I must look like: wrists bent unnaturally, thumbs barely breaching the pages.

It’s not like that. Honest. There’s just some part of me, ever since childhood, that respects the Book. Books are just…different than other media. Cassettes, and now CDs, become outdated. I know only a couple people with a VHS. But books are timeless; if treated well, they last for what seems like forever.

The funny thing is that I don’t mind at all if a book comes to me already damaged. In fact, I love the soft flexibility of a well-read novel. But I can’t bring myself to be the one defacing them. (I’ve actually had my husband “break” a couple books for me while I look away, a task which he takes on gleefully and which makes me shudder.)

I’m fully aware of the hypocrisy here: I’m an eBook author. I publish digitally. I’ve been in a couple “dead tree” books, but haven’t yet offered any of my own. I publish this way because I love the new world that eBooks have opened up to indies like me: they’ve leveled the field and let us writers represent ourselves. They’ve allowed those of us who want more control over our work a way to get it out there with minimal interference. I can carry thousands of books with me everywhere. And the convenience factor can’t be beat; see a book, want a book, have it within seconds, even at three a.m. on a Sunday. I love my Kindle for these reasons and more.

But I can’t deny: physical books have me in a trance. The smell of the paper. The heft of a good thick book in your hands. Seeing your progress through the story as the pages read overtake the pages remaining.

I’m planning to try paper publishing once I get this effing novel finished. I’d like to see my own work alongside the work of so many others on my shelves. You guys will be the first to know when I make that leap.

In the meantime, though, I’d like to hear your views. Do you flip your books inside-out and fold down corners to mark your place? Or do you treat them as “more” than just words, reverently and carefully?

Article: Creativity Linked to Mental Health

“New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia.”

“Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box,” says Dr Ullén about his new findings.

Read the rest of the article here.

I’m not schizophrenic, but I do have my fair share of nutty, and I’m pretty gosh-darned creative. I’ve never thought of the two being associated.
What do you think?

(via my pal Chainsaw, who is presently blogless)

Writing Essentials: Death Wish Coffee

“Billed as the world’s strongest coffee…One cup will have you flying and killing it during your company’s next brainstorming session (also, it may make your heart explode).”

Coffee. Beloved friend. Portal to the Muses. Eraser of brain fog. And now, apparently, exploder of hearts.

I need.

(via Cool Material)

I Haven’t Done a Damned Thing Today

I helped my brother- and sister-in-law move house yesterday. It wasn’t a big move, in the grand scheme of things: they only moved about ten minutes away from where they had been living. But even then the heat, my lack of sleep the night before, and the general chaos that comes from moving added together until all I wanted was my own home and my own bed.

I stayed up until about 11, trying valiantly to at least read before bed, but I crashed. Tomorrow, I reasoned, I will get caught up on life.

Cue tomorrow, which was today, and I did…nothing.

I slept until two by mistake; I meant to get up at nine. I think my body was playing catch-up. I woke with a bitch of a headache. I stared at the internet for a while, I stared at the tv. I wanted to work on my sweater, on my writing. I meant to polish a new story today. It didn’t happen. Nothing happened. I spent the day in a sleep-hangover(sleepover?)-induced fog.

I guess it’s not a bad thing to waste a day here and there. But I’m not that person. I’m not happy unless I’m creating, or making, or learning. So today was a write-off, and now I’m grumpy.

I think I’ve forgotten how to relax.

Excerpt: “Needles & Pins”, Horror by Stefanie N Snider

The phone is ringing, ringing, and in my current state it’s hard to find. I grope blindly along the couch cushions, which are soaked in my own blood. The song I downloaded for my ringtone used to be funny, but as the last song I’ll ever hear, it’s not up to snuff.
My blood-slick fingers brush against it, wedged down between the cushions, and I jab at the touch screen. The phone stops blaring, and I think at first I’ve hung up on her. (I know it’s her, has to be her.)
Then, barely audible behind the thudding of my heart, I hear, “Help me.”

She brought it on herself.

She made me so happy, at first. We met just off campus, at a pub, and right at that moment I knew she was it. The One. She was all I could think about, and all I wanted to do was make her as happy as she made me.
I’d write her soppy little poems, because that’s what dapper gentlemen in old movies did. I brought her flowers every time we went out, even though sometimes it was a choice between flowers for her and groceries for me.

I’d bring her back to my little shithole apartment, and she’d sit beside me on the couch while I showed her my favourite black and white horror films. I loved the smell of her hair. It was auburn, and glowed like fire in the beams of light that snuck around the blankets on the window.

She didn’t like me to touch her, much, but that was okay too: she was my first girlfriend, and I wouldn’t have known what to do with her anyway. Just being close to her, there in my tiny little home, brought me such joy.

One time she sat there, rubbing her head and squinting. “Why don’t you ever turn the lights on in here?”

I shrugged. “I just like candlelight, that’s all.” I looked around. Every available surface in the room had at least one candle burning. Secretly I thought it made me seem mysterious.

“Well, it’s giving me a headache.” She got off the couch and went to the light switch. Nothing happened; I’d taken the bulbs out long ago. She scowled at me; it was adorable.
“I need an aspirin.” She went off down the tiny hall toward the tinier bathroom. She moved like a dancer. I loved that about her.

I watched the flickering screen of the tv for a while before it occurred to me she’d been gone for quite some time. I felt my pulse speed up. She wouldn’t…

I jumped up and bolted down the hall.

The bathroom door was open.

My bedroom door was not.

There’s no love as desperate as the first. Find out where that desperation leads in Needles & Pins, available on Amazon for $0.99USD.

Short Film: Suckablood

One of my favourite things about blogging is finding new content. Most of it is as new to me as (I hope) it is to you, which means I get to discover new things all the time.

Sometimes I find brilliant little gems. Like Suckablood.

I don’t remember the last time I saw a film so flawless. I loved EVERYTHING about this: the casting, the makeup, the set, and of course the story. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

(note: the film has been entered in the Driven Creativity Competition. If you enjoyed it, please vote; I’d love to see more from these folks! I am not in any way affiliated with this movie, other than being an instant fan.)

Real Life Horror: Spider Babies

I’m not really an arachnophobe: spiders are generally fine as long as they’re not on me or above me. And I’m not a big fan of those little jumping bastards, because I’m afraid they’ll fly at my face.

But this. Oh God. Not only the multitudes of tiny spiders climbing all over the Mama spider, but the jagged little hairs on Mama’s legs. Blech. Why, Nature, why?

(gif from Regretful Morning; site has NSFW content)