Horror Movies and What they’ve taught me.

*No images used have been created by me

Horror movies are one of my favorite genres.  This is a genre that is widely feared and criticized.  The problem with horror movies is that they generally follow a formula that most people have figured out; at least the people who watch horror. Unfortunately, since I’ve watched a lot of horror it is very rare that I find one I like anymore.  However, I’ve discovered that horror movies have definitely taught me survival skills.

A Little Side History

I suffered from severe nightmares through most of my childhood.  My mom let me watch one scary movie when I was younger and it gave me such bad nightmares that she absolutely didn’t let me watch any “modern” horror movies. This magical movie, that I loved and scared the crap out of me, was Poltergeist. One of the BEST HORROR movies ever made; but it ruined my chances of watching scary movies again.

However, my step-dad felt there were classic horror and Sci-Fi movies that I had to watch and these in general were monster movies (one of my favorite branches of horror movies) and one of these included Jaws. I wouldn’t say it gave me nightmares but let’s say I never looked at the ocean the same again. Actually it still makes me sweat a little and I still feel that they really did need a bigger boat. There were many more but that one stands out in my head the strongest. Well, okay so did Alien which I LOVED so much. Still a huge fan of the Alien and Predator universe. The ultimate Monster Movies!

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Even though my parents put an impenetrable band on horror movies it didn’t stop me from finding away to watch them.  When we had Cinemax, Showtime or HBO my sister and I found ways to watch these movies.  I remember my sister and I watching the fun little movie movie called The Believers (1987 with Martin Sheen.)  If you don’t know what this movie is about:

A New York psychiatrist finds that a brujería-inspired cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.

Our parents were not home and we had to go down some stairs to go to the bathroom. My sister grabbed a broom and lovingly pushed me to go first.  I don’t think we ever peed so fast in our lives so we could run up the stairs to hide under blankets.

I watched it all, through the years, I mean the 70’s-80’s were ripe with all kinds of gory slasher horror movies. These movies are so infamous today that they have become pop culture icons. Jason, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and let’s not forget Chucky.

Horror is one of the few genres that people have extremely staunch feelings about. They either hate them or are die hard fans. Horror movies cause us to face our fears and travel down a dark twisty path.  It has the ultimate gross out factor and makes the bravest jump out of their seats.  Within horror movies there are weird life lessons.

What Horror Movies Have Taught Me:

  1. Always have your keys ready.  How many times have you seen the character (generally a woman) fumble around in her purse as she’s running to get her keys. Now, there is always a chance to drop your keys even if you have them tightly clutched in your hands but I never go out at night without my keys firmly in my hands. You will never see me in a parking lot, at night, digging through my purse for my keys.  I know that not having my keys increases my odds of having the boogeyman get me.
  2. Running upstairs only leaves you hiding in the bathroom or in a closet. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t run UP but down and out.  Really what are your options once you are trapped upstairs? If you’re the character from Scream then you have that nifty closet door that prevents your door from opening but in most cases there is nothing upstairs to save you.  Now, some cases they do not have a choice but in most cases they do. I really don’t have any amazing survival skills once you’ve run up the stairs but I recommend keeping a bat by your bed just in case a mask murderer is chasing you. Just be sure to hit a home run and then run down those stairs to outside.
  3. Always check on the kids and check all your locks when you are home alone. There was a classic horror movie called When A Stranger Calls (1979 with Carol Kane.) This movie forever changed my babysitting world.  I always checked the locks on the doors and I checked on the kids frequently. Babysitting at night can be great since the kids are asleep but that means you hear all of the creaks of the house.When a Stranger Calls (1979)Here are a few more worldly advice from Horror movies:
  4. Look in the back seat of your car
  5. Keep running and don’t look behind you because “it” is still chasing you. Looking behind you increases the odds of you tripping and falling to your doom.
  6. That forests at night is frickin’ scary! I don’t care what anyone says but part of the reason Blair Witch was so scary was due to the fact it takes place in a forest.  This is part of the reason I do not enjoy camping.
  7. Admit when you do something wrong/evil otherwise it will come back to get you. Always. 

Well, those are some of the worldly advice I have learned in my many years of watching spooky stores.  Anyone want to add some more?

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I’m going back to college! My future is going to full with reading and writing papers (Psychology major.)  I’m beyond rusty when it comes to writing coherent essays. So, to prepare myself I’m going to be writing book reviews.  They’re going to be rough but be patient with me.

Here is my first review:

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

 

Last night I started I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid and today I finished the story.  This book was recommended by a fellow co-worker who said it was a spooky story. A group of us decided to purchase the book and pass it around amongst ourselves. While waiting for my turn I tried not to build any expectations about how spooky this story may be. I’ve watched a lot of scary stories which has made me have a fairly high tolerance towards being scared.

This is my review and thoughts of the story.

This is a fairly cerebral scary story that takes you on a contemplative journey. There are moments when it feels like it is trying too hard and other times it is interesting. The first half of the story is pretty much the boyfriend and girlfriend conversing on perception, life and what defines our world view. Throw in some more philosophical ideas and that is the beginning of the journey. What lays predominately in this conversation is the girl’s recurring thought of ending the relationship and why she wants to do this. Even though, It appears that there were many positive aspects of this relationship she has a persistent feeling of ending things with him.

*******I may unintentionally give aspects of the story away so SPOILER ALERT******

Amid these thoughts, of the girls since she is the narrator, that she has a stalker. This stalker calls her but never speaks. The man only leaves voice mails which contain the same message. This she has kept from her boyfriend and lies every time the phone rings. There is no real reason she doesn’t tell him but there is a reluctance to do so. There are clues within clues during her reflection of this stalker which become clearer later in the story.

There are moments of intense desire from the girl and yet a nagging sense that she prefers to be alone. That being lonely isn’t that bad if you were content with the rest of your life. Yet, here she is driving to his parent’s house. Which she wonders about since she kept thinking that she should end things.

In between the chapters, there is a conversation between two people that are talking about a horrific event that lead to someone dying. There are clues in this conversation that are to help lead you to what is actually going on. Little bread crumbs to mix into the already weird pacing of the story.

Then they get to the parent’s house and things get strange; maybe a bit creepy. I think?

“Where is this going?”  is what I kept thinking and though there were moments of unease I can’t say I was ever truly frightened. I wonder if I was more uneased because I was processing too much information. Trying to fit the pieces together and wondering how much-hidden meaning was within each conversation. At some point, before things got really weird, I pieced it together then told myself, “No it couldn’t be that.” Then well it was and I was a bit disappointed.

There were too many pieces and I felt the writer was trying too hard to be cerebral about something that has been done before. Was it horrible? No, it is a very well written story and it did put you on an interesting journey. It just felt, well, contrived. The DQ scene was a big part of my confusion. This section was so contrived that I thought perhaps this was a supernatural story; it is not. Then it ended and if you’re like me you sat there putting the final pieces together then going, “Huh, okay then.”

I’ve given it 3 stars because it is very well written and it held my interest. I do not know if that interest was because I was completely caught up in the story; or that I was trying to stop scratching my head. Yes, I figured it out but there was little satisfaction to this. It really isn’t a “solve it” story even though it was written that way. Honestly, this was one long philosophical journey into madness and the acceptance of loneliness within oneself.

Scary: Perhaps
Predictability: Middle, if you’re into the same things I am then you will put it together fairly quickly.
Overall: It was a well-written story but the main idea kind of got lost in its attempts to be artistic.

The Journey of Art Journals

I think I’ve been trying to hard to come up with things to write. There is this weird need, in myself, to be excessively clever or witty.  I have 2 half written entries that I’ve been struggling to write.  Then while I was doing my Art Journaling I realized that this was something I could honestly share that I don’t think many people know about.  During the times I’m in a dark space I try to do something creative. 

Discovery of Mix Media/Art Journaling

About 10 years ago I discovered the world of Mix Media/Art journaling.  The book/cards that introduced me to this type of art was Wide Open by Randi Feuerhelm-Watts. Finding this book/cards made a huge impact in my life.

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Doing Mix/Media/Journaling allows me to be creative in away that I didn’t realize that I longed for. I didn’t want to always draw a person or do things in a structural way.  These cards told me to gather weird items and put them together in a journal or canvas. I’ve been art journaling for about ten years.

What the Hell is an Art Journal?

“An art journal is the same as a written journal, except that it incorporates colors, images, patterns, and other materials. Some art journals have a lot of writing, while others are purely filled with images. It’s a form of creative self-care.” – Mindful Art Studio

I’m going to touch upon some techniques I use, what supplies I generally use, and creative ideas.  This post is going to be more about the supplies and why I use them.  Remember that this is a JOURNAL so it may not be something you want to show to everyone. I have a lot of pages that I do not show because they are very personal.   One, more thing before I get started your art journal can also be the place to practice techniques and ideas for bigger projects.

Let’s Get this Started:

  1. YOU DO NOT have to be an artist to have an art journal.  This is your space to do whatever you want. Art journals are aways to break from the traditional formats and explore your creativity in a different way.
  2. Journals:  What makes these pads of paper special is they have thick pages.  In your art journal you will want the pages to be thick since they will hold up to whatever you want to do.  I first started with a regular journal and it was okay; but once I moved to thicker papers I was able to do a whole lot more with paint and wax.  Sizes vary but I have two journals that are different sizes.   Here is one that I liked very much: the pages were nice and thick. It also comes in two sizes so you can have a small or large size.

This is the one I’m using nowMixed Media Pad, Roughit was less expensive than the Strathmore Journal but the pages are a little bit thinner. They are still holding up but I’ve had a little more tearing than I did with the Visual Journal.

This is an area where it doesn’t hurt to spend a little more money.  Most of the supplies can be inexpensive but there are a few that I say spend a bit more to get better quality.

3. Pens and Pencils: I usually spend more on pens and pencils than I do on other supplies. I like wood pencils over mechanical. My favorite are Dixon Ticonderoga and I use that most of the time.  A lot of people prefer mechanical but there is something about the smell of a good pencils that I love.  Ink is also very important because you maybe doing fancy lettering or drawings.  Some people write in traditional ink/gel pens and draw with an art pen.  Art pens are not cheap! But they last a very long time and they are what you want to ink your art with.  There are a ton of brands and you will have to find your preference. I rarely use Sharpie other than to write with. Just a side note, if you plan on using a lot of dark colors in your journal then I recommend a white ink/gel pen it has any awesome effect *see below the magazine picture*

**Check out Dick Blicks to see their different art pens. Their prices are good and they have an amazing selection. You can also get wonderful colored pencils, crayons, pastels and journals there.**

Let’s Get to the Fun Stuff here is thesupplies that I recommend:

  1. Crayons: I think these are so under appreciated. People seem to think that once you get out of elementary school you have to leave crayons behind. Even with the new fad of coloring people still tend to go to color pencils. I love colored pencils but with crayons I can color and I can melt them. Yep, that’s right I use crayons mostly for melting onto paper. Pictured below is a piece I did with melted crayons.  What you need to be able to do this is a heat gun or hair dyer. I prefer heat guns (which you can get at most craft stores) because they tend to do more heat than blowing. It is up to you. I, also, bought a Cookie Sheet (At the Dollar Tree) to place my pieces on while I’m melting the crayons. Trust me you want something to do this one otherwise you will get wax everywhere and the paper does get hot. No automatic alt text available.
  2. Paint: You’re not doing fine art so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on paint. I use the craft paint that you can get for super cheap. NOT THE KIDS PAINTS those are for children and will leave you very unhappy with the results.
  3. Mod Podge: I like Modge podge for a few reasons. It seals your art so it won’t smear. I’ve heated it up to make amazing patterns. Now, the glossy Mod Podge can make writing difficult and once it is on you can’t make any changes. It should be the last thing you do unless you’re layering and need to have the layers sealed.
  4. Paper/Washi Tape: I like to use Dollar Trees Paper Tape because it can be painted on.  This tape is fun to manipulate and I use it often. If you want some pretty edges then go get yourself some WASHI Tape.  I find a lot of mine from Wish.com, AliExpress.com and Ebay.  You can also get them at Hobby Lobby, Joanne’s or Michaels. Stamps and Stickers, can also be, fun for this type of journaling.
  5. Magazines, Newspapers and Book: You can get these fairly cheap at any thrift store.  I think it is pretty self explanatory of how you can use magazines, newspapers, and book pages.  I will cover more of that later on. Below, I cut out an image from the magazine then Zentangled (I will cover different techniques later) around the image.  This is just one example of many that I have used with magazines. I, also, like to dismantle really torn up books and use the pages.Image may contain: 1 person
  6. Colored Pencils: Yes, I still recommend colored pencils if you want to do a lot of coloring. I just recently started to use Water Color Pencils and I’m having a blast working with that medium.
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  7. Misc Supplies: I use a mash up of jewelry and scrapbook supplies. I use thin wire, die cuts, decorative paper, stencils and anything that makes a texture.  I will later on show you how to do an image transfers (LOVE LOVE LOVE.) 

In the future I will show you how to use most of these supplies. Explain what I did with a pieces and hopefully answer any questions you may have. Get to it!

“Art is Why I get Up in the Morning.”–Ani Difranco

My Journey with Depression (Part 1)

Hi, my name is *beep* and I live with Bi-polar II and Chronic Anxiety.  A lot of people can say they’ve been depressed but then there are the rest of us who are prisoners within our brains.  We live with an illness that most people don’t believe in or understand.  Imagine having cancer and people telling you to “suck it up” and that you only have to use mind over matter to get over it.  That depression is just “feeling sad” so if you think happy thoughts then you can conquer depression.  I’ve had people send me motivational stories to show me how happiness is just around the corner.

I’ve answered numerous questions and have had my inner demons exposed in the attempts to find peace.  I answer people’s questions about what it is like to live with depression and I do this to help spread awareness.  To show other people that they are not alone in their battle for mental peace.  Yet, there are times when I’m answering these questions that I feel resentment and anger.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m describing colors to a blind person. There are other times when I’m just plain tired.  So very tired.

I share enough to make people feel like they understand.  Yet, I don’t really share what I go through on a regular basis.  I keep a lot hidden and tucked away; because it is scary within my brain.  My brain is sneaky and manipulative.  It has way too much to say about who I am as a person.  It always puts its two cents in and rarely knows when to shut up.  It is like a gnat in my ear that is buzzing around constantly.  It is my monster under the bed and it is always trying to pull me down.

My Dad 

My dad was an artist, soldier, great friend, brother, husband, son, father and he suffered from depression.  He lost his battle in 1976 when I was only 8 months old.  It wasn’t until years later that men started to see therapist and get help. My Dad had no  way of knowing that he suffered from an illness.  Mental Illness was 100 times more misunderstood then it is now.  Men didn’t go to some therapist to share their “feelings.” So, my Dad suffered with something he did not understand and in the end it caused him to end his life.  No matter how much love he was given his brain would not let him FEEL it and so he was alone with a brain that was  constantly tormenting him.

I use to have a lot of anger and hurt feelings about my Dad.  “If he really loved us he would have never committed suicide” or “What a selfish person to put everyone through his death.”  I felt this way for years and years. Yet, I was desperate to know everything about him.  I drank up every story and held on to every piece of him.  He grew into epic portions until I really couldn’t understand why he committed suicide. How can someone who was so amazing do something so selfish?

I love my Dad even though I never really knew him.  I love him and now I get why he killed himself.  I get it Dad.  I really do.  I understand hearing,”I love you” and not able to feel that love.  I understand the sleepless nights where your brain continuously replays all of your failures over and over again.  I understand that all you see is grey and you’re so numb that you literally are incapable of feeling.  The feelings you do feel are razor sharp and leave you bleeding.  So, at some point I threw out to the cosmos that,”I forgive you and I understand.”  I hope he can hear me.

Yet, with understanding comes determination. Though there are way too many times I ask myself,”What is the point of living?” Even the times when I just want to die I become even more determined to live. Having lived with the aftermath of my father’s suicide I promised myself that I would never do that to my family. Yes, it hasn’t always been easy to keep that promise but I refuse to fail.

So, here I am sharing a part of myself that most people don’t want to see or read about. Most people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that the human mind is not perfect. We can be riddled with illness through our whole body but not the brain! If something is wrong with the brain that makes us weaker and we can’t be weak. There are so many types of mental illness that people do not understand.  There are so many opinions on Depression and anxiety yet there is little understanding.  I cannot talk about the other illness but I know their struggles are just as painful.

Depression is insidious and it lives deeply within our brains. It can make you feel completely abandoned and lonely even if you’re showered with love.  It isn’t about being “sad” but being tormented by a brain that never stops.  There is no peace within depression. Medications help.  Therapy helps. Having a support system helps. Yet, you are never 100% and that can be its own painful journey.

My journey has been a long one.  I have learned so much from my journey and I want to share. I want to spread awareness. I will be doing another post about my journey and where I’m at now.  My hope is that I can share a different perspective, a new light and perhaps some inappropriate humor.

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As always there is help and though your brain is telling you that you are alone just remember it lies.

https://save.org/

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

1-800-273-8255

 

 

You’re Never Too F@cking Old

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For some reason we feel that it is our right to tell people what they can or cannot do with their bodies.  I once read an article, clearly written by someone in their 20’s, that was about what you can’t wear once you turn 40 years old.  If you google search it there is a lot of opinions of what a 40+ year old have to STOP wearing.

When I read things like that I feel like they’re saying that you can’t wear trendy clothes because your old as hell.  Let me tell you something, I’m 42 years old, and I will die before I let someone 20 years younger tell me what I can or cannot do with my body and life. The assumption is that if you wear or have these items that you are not acting your age.  That you have to behave what the ideal 40+ year old should behave. What is the ideal 40+ behavior? It appears that you can no longer have fun.  That you cannot wear the following things:

  1. Hoop Earrings  (They would have to pry them from my cold dead fingers.  I love hoops.  If I wear earrings 75% of the time it is hoops.)
  2. Band, Movie or Any other graphic t-shirt  (Seriously? We are no longer allowed to wear anything that is considered cool because we’re too old for such things.  I feel that it is because the younger generations wears those items and heaven forbidden if an “old” person should like to wear the same thing. I have a ton of graphic t-shirts because I love them.)
  3. Ripped up pants (I’ve been wearing ripped up pants most of my life.  I love my boyfriend capri’s. I’m confused am I only allowed to wear denim that goes up to my boobs and is the typical denim color?  Am I even allowed to wear jeans?)
  4.  Headbands are the beauty equivalent of Mary Jane-style shoes: A little fussy and very, very girly. You’re better off pulling your hair back into a clean, simple ponytail—unless your hair is short, in which case, employ bobby pins to keep your hair out of your face.” -Bestlifeonline.com (I guess looking girly or cute is also out)
  5.  Oh one more quote from that website: “If you’re going to wear leggings, they should be reserved for exercise only. And if you’re going to break that rule (since we can all agree that they make for excellent loungewear) at least make sure they’re black, which looks more chic and flattering than bright, loud colors.” ( I like Leggings I think they’re fun, they can be cool in hot weather and comfortable. I will say I have my own rules for leggings that the shirt has to be long.  But that is MY rule for myself. I guess people who sell  LuLaRoe Leggings better get this memo and make a strict no one over 40 can wear their leggings.)

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This website goes on and on about what you can’t wear or own.  I would like to see how they feel when someone younger tells them the same things they’re telling us. My 12 year old daughter has told me to wear what makes me happy.  That you’re never too old to wear fun clothes. She gets it because now that she is 12 years old people feel that SHE IS TOO OLD to love Unicorns.  That only little girls wear Unicorn clothing or own anything unicorn.  Does that stop her? Hell no, she tells them that you are never too old to love unicorns and she went on to have a Unicorn Birthday Party. “Unicorns are life!” She proudly shouts at them.

Yes, there are times I think I’m too old for something.  Or that I feel too old to understand certain trends. Those are my feelings about myself and I remind myself that once you stop enjoying life then you stop living. I believe that once you behave like you’re “old” then you become old.   I was once told that I look younger than I am because I don’t dress like someone my age dresses. I asked,”What is someone my age suppose to wear?” Obviously not hoop earrings, graphic t-shirts and ripped up jeans.

Do I dress like I did when I was 20, not really, but has that stopped me from wearing the things that I liked in my 20’s? Nope. I’m no longer into short skirts and crop tops.  I don’t wear super revealing clothes since I’ve gained weight (but I’m definitely not wearing a MuMu)  but I have found other things to wear that are fun and make me feel beautiful.

Society does a lot to push out people who are older.  They tell them what they can do and we find older people’s opinions to be outdated. Perhaps they are. Yet, they also hold a lot of wisdom. Older people know a lot of shit about life.  They’ve been there and done that. So, why not listen to how they survived the very thing you’re going through.  Take what you need and you can leave the rest behind.  I don’t expect people to do what I say simply because I’m older but don’t tell me “I don’t understand because I’m old.” Let me tell you something, technology and fashion may change, but the growing pains remain the same.  Trying to survive, in essence, stays the same.  Was it easier for the older generation? Maybe.  Yet, I bet they had their struggles. Remember there are still generations who experienced the depression as children or the ripple effect that definitely influence how they grew up.

Remember that video about the former Playboy model who made a video ridiculing a 70 year old woman naked at the gym locker room? As she was taking the video she said, “If I can’t unseen this then you can’t either.”  The older lady has stated that she’s Humiliated and wants to remain anonymous. When she sued she just asked for $60.00 so she could “Buy a backpack so no one will know she’s the woman in the video.”  Yes, the model was punished and there was a general outcry; but I know there was enough people who agreed with her.  Old bodies should be hidden as well as anyone who is over-weight.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Free will and all the jazz. However, I wish that people would stop and think before they impose those opinions on other people.  That they would realize that it is none of their damn business how I choose to live my life. Am I hurting anyone with my headbands, leggings or my super awesome Wonder Woman t-shirt? No.  Do I still get crap done? Do I pay my bills, make sure we’re fed, and that there is a roof over my head? Hell yes. So, where do you get off on telling me how I can enjoy my life?

My point in all of this?  You are never too Fucking Old to live your life.  That no one has the right to place “rules” on how you live or dress.  Live your life to the fullest! I hope that one of these days young “whipper snappers” will understand that growing old does not mean giving up happiness. That we are still people who want to experience LIFE in all of its glory and stages.  Getting old ain’t easy so you might as well have fun doing it.

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*Once again these images are not my own and were found on google images*

What I’ve been watching:

  1. Scorpion on CBS
  2. Encounters with Evil on Netflix (About Serial Killers which can get a bit graphic but I like how they focus on the psychology.)

Reading:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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My friend and fellow blogger did any amazing review of this book which motivated me to read it. Here is the link to the review:

http://givencontext.com/the-hate-u-give/

 

See you on the Flip Side

Anita Blake Series ( Vampires Part 2)

I’m sitting here with a big ass mug of Chai Tea, there is gnat flying around my face and I’m trying to figure out how to write this entry.  How do I write a review that is interesting to read and explores the areas I want to discuss? Because right now it feels like a 5 paragraph essay that I have to get done for school.  Staring at the screen is causing me to go blank. But I will keep on typing until this entry unfolds itself.

I want to do a quick synopsis of Anita Blake and her universe. The most important part for me is discussing my history with the series and how I feel about the path it has followed.  I think a review should be more than I liked it or I hated it.  There should be some meat to it like any good book discussion contains.

Okay enough stalling….

Anita Blake

*These images were not created by me and I hope I don’t get busted for using them*

In the year 2000 (or around that time) I stumbled upon the genre (Now called Urban Fantasy) that finally embraced what I had been looking for. Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies (oh my!) and other supernaturals existing during modern times.  I honestly felt I had found my genre of books.  This feeling of joy was like when I read Harry Potter for the first time. HOLY crap witches and wizards truly existing and that they lived right next to us.

Laurell K. Hamilton‘s Anita Blake series—which follows the investigations of a supernatural Federal Marshal during paranormal cases—has been called a substantial and influential work of the genre” -Wikipedia

The series that first hooked me in was Guilty Pleasure by Laurell K. Hamilton.  The whole concept of a bad-ass character that killed vampires, raised zombies and also works with the Spook Squad to solve cases; was simply amazing.  I loved the no nonsense independent character of Anita Blake.

Then you add to the story that all supernaturals are now known to human kind. I truly wished that this world Laurell K. Hamilton existed. I wanted to know Jean-Claude (Vampire Master of the City), Richard (The Boy Scout Werewolf) and Edward (the man that supernatural creatures called “Death”)  Laurell K. Hamilton wove an action packed series with definite sex appeal.

I ate up the series like a crazed woman and oddly fell in love with the story Obsidian Butterfly (#9) which didn’t have the sexy love interests.  I remember thinking that this series just keeps getting better and better. Then Narcissist in Chains happened (#10) and there was a little voice in my head that was starting to think that Laurell K. Hamilton was kind of losing her grip on the series.  I really liked the 10th book, so why would I start worrying?  There were two things (at first.)

  1. Anita Blake keeps getting more and more powerful
  2. Similar arguments and discussions

 

When the 12th book came out, Incubus Dreams,  I  became convinced that Laurell K. Hamilton didn’t have any direction in her series.  It started to feel like she was just pounding out these books and just adding more and more sex. I stopped reading by book by book 17. Yes, folks she is still writing the series and is on book 26.

I’ve read some of Laurell K. Hamilton’s blog there is definite ego in her writing.  She posts about her political views, her sex life (which is poly-amorous which has definitely played a role in her series. I seriously don’t care about her sex life but it appears that it has effected her series), and religious views.  I heard, through the grapevine, that she responded to the negative reviews by writing a “Fuck Off” blog.  I have yet to find it but I have no doubt it is there.

I digress…

It has been years since I’ve touched her books and I’ve gotten rid of all the books that came after 10.  The books became a bundle of sexual drama and the conversations almost felt cut and pasted together.  How many people can Anita bang? And how much more powerful can she get by banging these people?

Then I started to think about writing and what I loved about that series.  So, I’ve been listening to the audio books for the last few weeks.  It has been a very interesting journey.  I have learned a lot about myself and how my reading taste have matured.  Here are the things I learned:

  1. Anita Blake is a controlling bitch.  She literally picks fights just to show how much of a bad-ass she is.  Everything has to be her way; period. She is a judgmental prude in the beginning and is now a judgmental sex machine.
  2. Anita Blake pretty much decides how people should act and feel.  If you step out line once then she’s done with you.  She has vampires, werewolves and were-leopards dancing to her tune because how could they not love her? She has so many supernatural creatures whipped that they have become 1 dimensional co-dependent pathetic characters.
  3. That there has to be a point that you can’t keep making your characters more powerful.  Seriously, let your characters get their asses handed to them and let people die.  Quit making Anita this source of power that can save anyone she feels like.
  4. Plot is more important than sex.  Yes, folks I said it.  Let me clarify.  I love erotica but that is its own genre.  There is a style and plot line that differs greatly from other genres.  I loved, at first, reading the naughty sex scenes in the series. Ahem, remember when I said I loved vampires?  But there comes a point where you have lost direction and fall upon the one thing that worked before. Sex.  Originally, the Anita series was about fighting evil while chewing bubble gum.  Then Laurell K. Hamilton finally gave us the sex scenes, we the fans wanted, it was magical; until it wasn’t.  Now sex is all the series has become; which I learned by reading many reviews of the books  that I didn’t read. What was once a guilty pleasure has become formulaic writing.  There is no story line.  I really have no interest to read hundreds of pages about Anita’s orgasms.
  5. All series should have an end.  This is purely my opinion but let me back it up a bit.  If you listen or read interviews with some of the great series writers they tend to talk about writing the final scene first.  This gave them the goal to reach and to complete a series.  Now, sometimes it may take them longer than expected or they lose there way here or there; but in the end they fight to reach that ending.    I completely understand that there are series that have stand alone books that resolve with those pages. However, I feel that the Anita Blake series really should have some direction because it has become lost in the dark.
  6. Being a bad-ass woman does not equal a strong female character. I am finding that in Urban Literature that there is two formula’s of writing female characters. 1) They are bad-ass, sarcastic and have a grand canyon sized chip on their shoulders. 2) The world of twilight/romance has taken the genre and turned it into a twisty love stories.  Now, once again I read romance and I love naughtiness in my stories but I don’t want it in every Urban Fantasy that I read.  Now the Twilight syndrome of writing has taken place where the woman becomes dependent on a male character; but at the same time claims to be an independent woman.  It is confusing and depressing to read.  Why can’t a character be strong and not be a bitch?  Why can’t they kick ass and still be a sensitive character?  I know they have to be out there but most of the ones I’ve found have this style of writing.
  7. Re-listening to the series has taught me that conversation planning is very important in writing.  Yes, we all have sayings that we tend to use over again but when all conversations end with the person basically saying the same thing you lose interest in the conversation.  Anita’s basic nature in any conversation is distrusting and borderline bullying.  When she speaks it sounds the same because it feels like the author didn’t really have any direction to the story. Anita’s general speaking style can be summed up with 1)  I don’t wanna and you can’t make me. 2) Why do I have to do anything since I’m such an independent bad-ass. 3) Or you better tell me in great detail what is going on before I will do a damn thing even if the house is burning around us.  Conversations are what helps a story develop and unfold. It is the meaty center to the bones of the story; without a well thought out conversation you are basically spinning the wheels of your story.

In essences my taste or requirements have greatly changed in the last 20 years. I know it is shocking that I’m not the same person I was in my 20’s! I’m disappointed in how many writers are creating their female characters as these sarcastic, kick ass, no man can open doors for me, and a general F-you personality. Strength comes in many different forms but it seems that being closer to a “male” personality seems to equate “strength”. I also see a lot of male characters suffer from the same fate.  What I once felt was a vast new world has become a stereotypical story lines.  Yes, this is a generalization because there are some that are still kicking-ass because the authors care about the story line of their books.

I feel like Laurell K. Hamilton cares little for her fans and is incapable of taking criticism.  She has created two series and they both center around emotional dribble and plenty of sex. Once she was one of the founding creators of a genre now she is just another mass market writer.

Whew, I finally got through writing this piece.  It took me days and I’m still not sure if I covered all that I wanted to cover.  I will definitely be writing more book reviews but I may drift away from that to talk about…um…not sure yet.  It will happen and if I remember anything else I want to mention I will do Edit Blogs.  Until then here is a little recommendation:

My Favorite New Place to purchase used books:

https://www.thriftbooks.com/

Favorite Musicians and songs currently:

WhiteHorse:

Image result for whitehorse leave no bridge unburned

  1. Sweet Disaster
  2. Baby What’s Wrong
  3. These Walls have Ears

 

I’ll be back!

I vant to suck your blood!

 

I love Vampires.

I could basically end this with that statement.

However, there is a reason I bring this all up.  It is about a journey starting from childhood until now.  I’ve pretty much loved vampires since I was a little girl.  I honestly can’t explain this obsession but if it is a vampire movie or book I’m drawn to it instantly; or I used to be.

When I was younger my parents let me watch any classic vampire story. From Bela Lugoski to Christopher Lee.  Some may even remember such classics as The Night Stalker (made for TV movie) and Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter (which my parents taped on VHS and I watched it more times then I could count.)

In 1985 I tricked a babysitter in letting me watch Fright Night.  I wasn’t allowed to watch Horror at a young age due to nightmares.  Yet, I had to see this movie.  I loved it so much.  Evil was truly a demented character and I think he freaked me out more than the main vampire. Nightmare central that movie gave me but till this day I love it.  I even loved the remake!

Then in 1987, Lost Boys came out and literally rocked my little 11 year old mind!   It was the first time where the vampires were so cool, sexy and definitely on the bad boy side. The kind of bad that makes a 11 year olds drool because who doesn’t like a little bad in their boys? It was a story about teenagers who were totally angst at the world and they lived in Santa Cruz, CA! Holy cow batman it was so awesome and yes I had the tape.   It was everything I secretly was looking for in a vampire movie. -“Death by Stereo”

I wanted to find a Lost Boys in books desperately.  There were some vampire books published in the 80’s but they were all these creepy evil creatures that came to kill you at night. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King was one of those brilliantly written stories that pretty much lead to many sleepless nights.

Still no luck in finding a “cool” vampire story.

Then a writer who specialized in books for Teens; which, in the early 90’s was not called YA, wrote a vampire story. This series was Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. I don’t know if she was the first person to start in the Urban Fantasy Genre but I know she has to be one of the founders.  Yes, they later turned it into a Teen-Early Twenties show but in the early 90’s it gave a whole new perspective to the vampire genre.  It was a perfect book for a teenager who had been looking for a new spin on the genre. With vampires able to walk in the day, witches, werewolves and of course the forbidden brothers. I pretty much swooned through the whole series.

However, It would be many years before I discovered the world of Urban Fantasy but once I did I was hooked.

In the early 2000’s is when I discovered this little unknown writer Laurell K. Hamilton.  This was about the year 2000 and I guess Guilty Pleasure was written in 1994 but it was around this time that her books really became popular.  Later I would discover Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Tanya Huff, Faith Hunter, and much later Larry Correia.

I will be writing reviews on most of these series but my next post will be about Laurell K. Hamilton and how an author can completely destroy a series while still being one of the founders of the genre.  Furthermore, how one can create a formula of writing (ahem Twilight) that will cause a genre to completely lose its creative mind.

Until then I leave  you with some great (and perhaps not so great) films for those who love vampire movies: (I didn’t do a lot of classic vampire movies but you can look those up easy enough)

  1. Lost Boys (duh)
  2. Fright Night (“You’re so Cool Brewster” another quotable vampire movie.)
  3. Salem’s Lot (Dark and creepy. I liked the originally mini series on TV around 1980 but the one with Rob Lowe was pretty decent.)
  4. Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter 1974 (so very outdated)
  5. 30 Days of Night (If you want a true horror vampire story)
  6. Blade (Action meets vamps)
  7. Let the Right One In (kind of artsy abstract vamp story)
  8. From Dusk till Dawn
  9. The Strain (TV Show and book)
  10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Movie and TV Show)
  11. Angel (TV Show)
  12. Vampires (movie and book)
  13. Dracula (The many different versions)
  14. Dracula 2000
  15. Van Helsing (The ending ruined this movie for me but it can be a fun ride)
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (sounds so stupid but I think the writer did an excellent job in making it sound historically accurate. Movie and Book)
  17. Underworld (which mashed werewolves into the mix)
  18. Stake Land (more apocalyptic feel which made it kind of feel like a zombie movie)
  19. I am Legend (Movie and Book. Honestly, read the book it is a true master piece and puts the movie to shame.)
  20. Near Dark (a total cheese fest but fun to watch nonetheless.)

PS. I never cared for the Anne Rice movies so I didn’t add them to the list. I find Louis to be a sniveling wimp; however, Vampire Lestat’s book to be a far more superior story than Interview with a vampire.

Playlist Song/Artist of the Day:

  1. River
  2. Wild Horses
  3. White Flag

See you on the dark side.