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THE DARKEST PART OF THE WOODS
by Ramsey Campbell
Tor, August 2011

So, I’ve had a couple of books from my editor sitting on my desk for a while now. I keep getting super excited about some other new book I get to start reading, and just forget why I asked for specific books in the first place. Well, this one I didn’t forget. I knew it would be creepy and I was just waiting for that moment to feel the need to be creeped out. The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell certainly didn’t disappoint.

First Impressions

Oh. My. Gosh. The cover on this one had me creeped to no end. The bugs, the face, the implications…just wooww. The artist managed to nail the cover (and it fit perfectly with the book itself, as I soon found out). Between the description of the book and the cover…

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Top Ten Tuesday 17 July 12

Yeah, I know, I’m running behind today. But, HEY! I forgot it was Tuesday. And I had an eventful weekend. And stuffs. Excuses. Things.

Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Book

10. If you like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you should read “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. It’s the first of its kind in mystery, and it’s a quick read!

9. If you like Ella Enchanted, you should read The Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The original collected tales are, well, enchanting!

8. If you like The Lovely Bones, you should read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The bad guy isn’t as apparent, but it’s really quite wonderful in a similar sense as Bones. Oh, but the movie adaptation is probably one of the worst. Avoid it at all costs.

7. It’s a gimme but if you like Game of Thrones, you should read both The Lord of the Rings and The Riftwar Saga.

6. If you like The Diary of Anne Frank, you should read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. The novel is set in a diary-like form alternating between current events and flashbacks and features a strong center of religious persecution.

5. If you like Daughter of the Forest, you should read Juliet Marillier’s other novels…specifically The Dark Mirror.

4. If you like Dracula, you should read Interview with a Vampire or any of the other vampire novels by Anne Rice.

3. If you like Interview with a Vampire or any of the other novels by Anne Rice, you should read The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt (Anne Rice’s sister).

2. If you like 1984, you should read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Hello dystopia!

1. If you like anything horrific and suspenseful (such as works by H.P. Lovecraft), you should read The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell. I’ve got a review in the works over at SciFi4Me, so stay tuned!

Yup, I feel like I’ve phone this bad boy in, but voila! What do ya think?

 

Middle Names

So I didn’t get to choose my dog’s name. Amoretta fits her perfectly, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t choose it. I also didn’t choose her last name. The vet’s office puts her down as with my last name. So, guess what? I need to choose a middle name for her!

So I set myself some rules…

  • Don’t start or end it with an “A” or “A” sound
  • It shouldn’t be more than 2 syllables
  • It should be at least somewhat girly
  • It needs to have some reference or meaning

I racked my brain last night for some ideas and I’ve come up with a few…but I still need some ideas. I’ve not really crossed much into the comic book or video game train of thought yet, but I’ve had to rule out a LOT of good names (let’s face it, a lot of female names in SciFi and fantasy either start or end with an “A”).

  • Amoretta Jo (Eureka)
  • Amoretta River (Firefly)
  • Amoretta Dawn (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Amoretta Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Amoretta Rose (Doctor Who, The Lord of the Rings in a sense)
  • Amoretta Peach (Mario)

Any other suggestions? Opinions? Thoughts?

Top Ten Tuesday 10 July 2012

Holy crud…I’m managing to post two in a row!

Today’s TTT is a Freebie, so I went with a fun older one…

Bookish Pet Peeves

I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to books (both in the physical aspect as well as what the writer does), but I think I’ve narrowed it down…

10. Improperly Researched Facts– Okay, so I’m not going to notice the difference if you’re talking nuclear physics and get it wrong but there’s a reason the creators of The Big Bang Theory have scientists and mathematicians on staff…someone will. I know I have issues when there’s a bottle of wine described incorrectly. It’s a simple process and it should always be done…just research your facts! If you don’t know something, find someone that does and double check! Your book is worth it!

9. Authors Who Claim Writers Such as Tolkien as Inspiration, but Have the Vocabulary of a Third Grader– Tolkien was a PROFESSOR of LANGUAGE. George R.R. Martin has a degree in JOURNALISM. Implying that such prolific authors are your inspiration, you should at least throw a few SAT words into your work. When you have the vocabulary of a 3rd grader, you imply you’ve never actually read the books- watching movies and TV shows are not good inspiration for novels unless you want to be a copycat.

8. “Kreatyve” Fantasy Spellings– Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. While I’m guilty of enjoying a few odd spellings of fairly common names, I’m getting really sick of all of the extra “y”s when writers don’t get as creative as they’d like to imply on names. (My current favorite name doesn’t have a single y- Valea.)

7. Predictable Endings (especially in books that take themselves seriously)– It happens all the time. You pick up a highly recommended book and expect to enjoy the mystery or twists you love of certain genres…and then you guess the ending within the first two chapters. It’s one thing if it’s a cheesy romance book you’ve picked up just to kill some time or let your brain take a break, but I’m sick of it happening in mystery and “epic” novels.

6. Boring Sentence Structure– I can’t stand it when an author refuses to vary their sentence structure. If you’ve got simple sentences over a large period of time, it ends up reading like a first grade primer. If your sentences are constantly run-ons, the flow is broken. Vary your style. Vary your length. Your readers will thank you for it.

5. Plot Holes– Okay, who doesn’t hate plot holes? When something doesn’t get resolved and leaves open huge questions it detracts from enjoyment of the novel. One of the last books I read and disliked was riddled with question-inducing plot holes (and not the good kind of questions, either).

4. Inconsistent Timelines– Even worse than plot holes (and perhaps more specifically) are inconsistent timelines. I hate reading a book which gives you clues to the main character being born in the 70s, but yet young enough to be pregnant in a dystopian future. There is a limit to human fertility, and there is a limit to how much wiggle room you have when time is linear. Write out yourself a timeline and stick to it.

3. Grammatical Errors– There’s a reason you have an editor. I realize that, many times, when I get a book to read that’s an uncorrected proof, I’m going to see errors. That’s fine. I can’t deal with it when the book is in its final state and the editor has clearly not done their job. I’ve even seen a “your”/”you’re” mixup. What on Earth?

2. Dog Ears– There’s two reasons grammatical errors are not at the top of my list. Both of them are physical pet peeves. The first of the sins with books is when you dog ear. It’s not that hard to find something to mark your place. Scraps of paper, tissue paper, pieces of string, specialty bookmarks, scraps of cloth, come on! Of course, there’s one thing you really shouldn’t do aside from folding the paper of the book and that is…

1. Breaking the Spine– You and I were not meant to be friends if you are willing to break the spine on a precious book. It’s one thing to fold back a work book, but hardcovers were NOT MEANT TO BEND THAT WAY. Do book collectors of the future a favor and be nice to your books.

What is anyone else’s big pet peeve?

Also, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, I’ve got a special giveaway going on over at SciFi4Me.com in celebration of my one year anniversary of The Geekly with a Twist (as well as my 100th post). You should check it out…the prize pack is awesome sauce!

SciFi4Me.com

Hey everyone! Today marks a HUGE milestone for me here on The Geeky and I’m super excited to announce July 8th marks my one year anniversary of this column and this very post marks my 100th post! So you know what I’m going to do? Celebrate of course! Stick around for the end of the post for some news on a giveaway but, until then, onward with the history!

July 6th, 1951: A man known to younger audiences as the villainous Captain Barbossa (and so much more for older audiences), Geoffrey Rush is born in Toowoomba, Queensland (Australia, in case you were thinking something else).

July 8th, 1978: Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, the beautiful Eve Myles is born in Ystradgynlais. (No, I don’t want to try pronounce it…it’s Welsh. The language is confusing.)

July 8th, 2011: The Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from the Kennedy Space Center on the final…

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Originally posted at SciFi4Me.com

SciFi4Me.com

I’ll preface this by saying this is the not my first trip to the Mazzanoble rodeo, so to speak…nor am I a novice at D&D (as a matter of fact, you could call me a Champion…okay, no more Weird Al references in this article, I promise). As a matter of fact, I’ve been playing since high school and I was definitely not oblivious about it when I picked up her first novel (Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the Dungeons and Dragons Game). Honestly, I picked up to play the same game I did with the first run of The Lord of the Rings for Dummies: what’s wrong with this book? Let me say this…when I realized she had a followup novel, I was rushing to go see my editor to pick it up. If you like D&D or gaming at all…you NEED this book. No. No…

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Things

This past week has been crazy. Actually, no, that’s a lie, my whole life has been crazy…but especially the past week and a half or so.

ANYWAYS! Here’s some things that have made me happy over the last little bit (hopefully they make you happy as well)!

First off: AWESOMENESS! My latest article over at SciFi4Me focused on why being a geek is awesome. Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Tuesday 2 July 2012

So, I know I’m a slacker. It was a long weekend. More fun on the week later, but for now…

Top Ten Books For People Who Liked X Author”

(In no particular order)…

If you like F Scott Fitzgerald, you should read Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez. The cultural differences are obvious, but the beauty of magic and the complex puzzles of life mirror between The Great Gatsbyand Chronicle.

Of course, if you like Gabriel García Márquez, you should read The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Magic, symbolism, and family, oh my!

If you like J.R.R. Tolkien, you should read The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist. Fantasy, magic, and a healthy dose of interesting and well-rounded characters make the books hardcore page-turners.

If you like Joseph Campbell (though not strictly an author so much as a philosopher), you should read The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. The book was unfinished when the Great Professor left this world, but his son Christopher finished compiling the beautiful back story and mythos of Middle Earth.

If you like Laurell K Hamilton, you should read Jeanine Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. It’s the first in a series of stories about a half-blooded vampire huntress and it does well for the vampire genre.

Speaking of vampire genre, if you like Stephanie Meyer, you should man up and read some amazing vampire fiction. My favorites are Dracula(the original novel by Bram Stoker) and Pandora (one of the two “New Tales of the Vampires” books by Anne Rice).

If you like Homer (think back to high school English class…no? The Illiad and the Odyssey ring a bell?), you should readBeowulf. It’s a bit tough as it’s an epic translated from the Old English, but it’s really moving.

If you like H.G. Wells, you should be reading both H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury…so quit slackin’!

If you like Ray Bradbury, you should read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs- the source material for the Disney movie John Carter.

And, lastly, if you like to think at all, you NEED to read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley.

You know…this list really makes me feel like I need to branch out more, but I’m attached to my magic, magic realism, classics, and history. Heh. Oh well, at least there’s still plenty to read!

Anticipation

I can’t wait for Saturday. Or next week. Or the end of August. Or the entire month of October for that matter!

Anticipation is something amazing…the range of emotions you can experience from one simple descriptor is infinite and infinitely awesome (in the original sense of the word). It often strikes me how crazy it can be that the amount of anticipation can actually affect one’s reaction to the event.

Take for instance Dark Shadows. A lot of people were extremely worked up over the movie, expecting Barnabas Collins to be the next big Johnny Depp character. Our buddy, we’ll call him Turtle, went to go see the movie with such anticipation and had a negative reaction to the movie. He passed this reaction along to my boyfriend who then did not hold as much anticipation for the movie and was able to enjoy it when we watched it at the drive-in. It seems to happen all the time.

Of course, right now I’m looking at several awesome things (in the less original sense of the word) and I’m hoping to not lose the favor in my anticipation. Saturday, I should be getting some belated birthday/holiday presents from the boyfriend. I know he spent time on ThinkGeek for these, so I’m thrilled and I can’t wait. I’m pretty positive the time being so short will help so that I don’t get overinflated. Regardless, it’s ThinkGeek. It should be amazing.

Next week? Well, I went a little crazy. In spite of my lack of time to sleep, I’ve decided to apply for a part time “fun” job at a local wine boutique. My callback might come next week. Fingers crossed. I know if I don’t get the job, I won’t be looking for another one, but I still would love to have a little bit more to do back in the industry.

End of August? VACATION! The boyfriend and I are going to be spending a week in Moab, Utah with some friends. I’m so excited to see Barsoom (yup, they filmed much ofJohn Carterout there) and I can’t wait to go hiking. I just wish the weather around here would let up a bit so that I can get my body in a little bit of better shape. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re still 2 months out on that one….

October? Well, a lot of that’s up in the air. But we’re looking at moving, perhaps miss Molly and I will go to a concert, another friend is getting married, and another is having her baby shower (the same one that brought Amoretta into my life).

In anticipation of everything, I really do need to start getting prepared. I’m already trying to save up some money for either the vacation or moving (I’m hoping to win a contest at work for the vacation to free up that savings). I’m also supposed to have my bridesmaids dress already (shhhh…don’t tell). I’m holding up on that because I really want to be in better shape before the vacation (and, as such, the wedding) so I’m being such a slacker (as per usual). I also need to get some boots for both me and the boyfriend and find something that would be good for luggage for a 19 seater plane.

I know, I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Contemplations

Well, I managed to survive the weekend. I’m still not 100% sure how, especially since the earliest I got to be was about 1:30am. I must be some sort of magic. Or something.

Blondie’s moved in, I got to see my Molly, and I got to hang out drinking and sharing my love of wine with those adventurous enough to take on the Delaware Wine Walk (okay, well, those who really felt like just showing up, but…hey…it sounded cooler to make it seem daring). I also got to ride my first roller coaster in years (it really just makes me sad that I’ve not been on one in so long…). But the main theme of the weekend? Thinking.

Yeah, it’s surprising considering all that was going on, but I guess I pulled out the multitasking. My biggest thought was pretty simple: I wish I didn’t have to work. I realize many people have that same thought, but I don’t just mean for the sleep in until noon and lounge around in my underwear aspect. I mean I really want to be able to just write for a living. I’m sick of the paycheck to paycheck grind. While my day job isn’t exactly difficult, nor is it a bad one (on the contrary, I actually work for an amazing company doing something I’m pretty darn good at), it’s just not what I want to do.

I spent three hours talking about wine basically nonstop on Saturday. It felt like five minutes, really. I could do that all day! The inspiration hit me again that I need to be writing more seriously about this stuff, that I need to restart The Lush…Certified, or something…just do something at the very least! Then reality kicked in. I’m already trying to balance my time with SciFi4Me (a job I love even more than my day job) and personal writing, as well as maintaining my apartment and bills along with attempting fiction writing (oh, and a nonfiction project that’s not really gone anywhere yet). With all of that and helping out with anything else (such as the Delaware Wine Walk), I just don’t have time to do it. Especially considering the amount of work that goes into a lot of those articles, I’d be stretching myself pretty thin. It’s harsh reality, but, with my current needs, I just don’t see myself pulling it off…at least in the sense of doing the topic any justice. Would anyone like to just pay me to write? 🙂

Thoughts? Suggestions? Should I restart The Lush…Certified, or at least something in that sense?