Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Special Halloween Post!!

Happy Samhain everyone.

Halloween happens to be one of my favourite holidays, although its not as wide spread here in the UK. It's the only reason I ever flirted with the idea of moving to live in the states - to have Halloween's like I saw on TV, with costumes and candy. Unfortunately, as I was recently diagnosed as a diabetic the candies out but I can still enjoy some of the traditions.

Like making a jack o lantern, by carving a pumpkin.

No one knows for sure how the carving jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween came about. However, it is thought to have originally come from here in the UK. But did you know that they used to use Turnips? Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on the festival of Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.Samhain is a time when fairies and spirits were said to be active.The purpose of these lanterns may have been threefold. They may have been used to light one's way while outside on Samhain night; to represent the spirits and otherworldly beings; and/or to protect oneself and one's home from them, they were sometimes set on windowsills to barr them from one's home.However, others suggestions include that they originated with All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day (1st & 2nd of November) and that they represented Christian souls in purgatory.




The term jack-o'-lantern is in origin a term for an ignis fatuus or will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore, used especially in East Anglia, its earliest known use dating to the 1660s. The application of the term to carved pumpkins in American English is first attested in 1834, and the carved pumpkin lantern association with Halloween is recorded in 1866.

Immigrants from Britain and Ireland brought the tradition to North America. There, the pumpkin replaced the turnip as pumpkins were more readily available, bigger, and easier to carve.Typically you cut the off, and scoop out the flesh; then carve an image, usually a monstrous face and the lid replaced.Some place a lit candle inside and some don't. Personally I favour the candle, I love to see them lit up from the inside. I also love the new spate of untraditional pumpkins, that host movie references or cute cartoon characters.


Imagine how hard it had to be to carve the Twilight: New Moon one out! I envy those who have the time and patience to painstakingly carve out such intricate designs. My pumpkins have always been a lot simpler.
Here's my one from last year.


This year I am going to attempt a more intricate design.






Should be interesting. But after the pumpkin is all carved, lit up and barring the evil spirits and the annoying neighbour kids from my door. What do you do with the insides? Well you could throw it away I suppose or you could use it to make a delicious autumnal recipe. I've dug out two from the BBC website that I think look so tasty.


 http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pumpkincheesecake_8826


http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pumpkinsoup_89904

Have a great Halloween everyone. Trick or Treat!


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Salem's Sunday Review





Dark Shadows




Meow! Salem back again for another review of another movie. This week its Dark Shadows. Tim Burton's attempt at a vampire movie. Now don't get me wrong I usually adore Tim Burton. I'd rub against his legs and purr up a storm if I met him but although I enjoyed the film, its re-watch value is limited. The story is very a typical with Burton's wry humour thrown in. Of course, where ever Tim Burton goes, Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham-Carter follows. Both are great character actors and play their parts to purr-fection as always. Its a dynamite trio that usually works out well. Michelle Pfeiffer is well Michelle Pfeiffer.

Dark Shadows is classed as a comedy film. It is a bit like the Adams family, as it is very gothic and vampire influenced. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It is entertaining and worth seeing if you like to have a good laugh, but I would not say it is totally light hearted.It starts with the young Barnabas Collins (Depp) back in 1752 leaving Liverpool with his parents to start a newer more prosperous life in America. Later it proves that a dalliance with a serving girl (who also happens to be a witch) can be deadly when you spurn her. He looses his parents. His true love and then is cursed to be a vampire and buried in a chain wrapped coffin out in the woods. For 200 years. When he returns its the 70's and the his decendants, the Collins are suffering through hard times. He pledges to restore their glory only to discover the self same witch that cursed him is still hanging around throwing a spanner into the works and still trying to capture his heart for herself.

Watch it, You won't regret it after, you might even leave the experience with a smile on your face, then tuck the DVD away in your stash where you probably won't think about it again for a decade or two. Meow!

Dark Shadows gets:

 

I'm off to prowl the night for my own victim. ~Purr~

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Alcatraz - Why did it have to end?




In 1963, Alcatraz prison shut down, all the prisoners were transferred due to unsafe conditions, but thats not what happened, that's not what happened at all...

Isn't that a great opening line to a TV series. It was one of the reasons I wanted to watch this show. That and it came from the producer of Lost, Super 8 and Alias. J J Abrams. Here's the story:


On March 21, 1963, the inmates and guards at Alcatraz prison mysteriously disappear. To cover up the problem, the government reports to the public that the prison has been closed because of unsafe conditions. A secret government unit was set-up to find the prisoners. Now, in the present-day, the inmates begin returning - unaged and unaware of where they have spent the missing decades - and continue their criminal ways. They are acting out of character and appear to be searching for specific objects. A federal agent employs a police officer and a conspiracy theory novelist to help track them down.

The only thing is, and I don't know why I do this to myself, but I knew when I picked up the DVD that it was going to be the only series of it. That it had been cancelled by Fox some time before the DVD release even came about and still I bought it, watched it and got hooked. I loved the story. I wanted to know what really happened on Alcatraz, why the 63's disappeared and why they were coming back now. These things will never be answered and I did it all to myself, by picking up a series that would never ever answer any of the questions that rose from it. I also got attached to the characters, and as most series do, it ended on a cliff hanger that I will never know the conclusion of.

This isn't the first time I've done this to myself. I did it with Firefly. I picked up the DVD and got totally hooked and screamed and ranted for days about why didn't they ever finish it. How could they cancel such a good show? I don't think the people at FOX and other networks like them really know their audience as well as they think they do. If they did, they wouldn't get targeted by so many campaigns to bring back shows they cancel after one season. It's happened a lot - Ringer, Secret Circle, Eastwick, Alcatraz, Firefly - just to name a few. But shows like Lost, Prison Break and Weeds (I define theses as inferior shows) can run on and on. I always think that they don't give it enough time. They are so concerned with initial ratings. I've always maintained that you can not judge something rating and there for total profit/value until after the first set of reruns has finished. People miss things the first time around. Reruns reach more people. Ratings improve and this window is what I think make or breaks a show. But the big companies these days don't wait for that, they demand instant successes.

Almost makes me want to boycott TV together. Except for the fact I have Sky+ episodes of Grimm to watch. :)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Meet A Writer Wednesday Presents...

...T C Archer










1. Tell me about your book Chain Reaction and where you got your inspiration for it?

Shawn: Chain Reaction is the first in our Phenom League series. These stories are alternate history/paranormal romance set during WWII. We knew the time period we wanted and the fact that we wanted paranormal super-characters. Evan drafted the first chapters. When I read them, I fell in love with the story. 

Evan: I’d been thinking about how lucky the allies were to have won critical battles, how they developed game changing technology, and forced the axis powers to make mistakes. This triggered a ‘what if’ scenario in my thinking: What if a few phenomenal people placed themselves in the right place and the right time to nudge the execution of the war in the favor of one side (or the other).

2. Where do you gain your inspiration/ideas from in general?

Shawn: Life!

Evan: Something will happen that will cause a story to blossom in my mind. Often it's an image or someone will say something. After that, I get inspired by places I've been that become settings, people I know who become parts of a characters, or events I've witnessed that become elements of a plot.

3. When did you first become interested in writing?

Shawn: I didn’t get the bug to write fiction until I was in my 30s. Then it was all over for me.

Evan: I wrote my first short story in junior high. but I didn't get serious until after college and I got my own computer.

4. What was the first thing you wrote?

Evan and Shawn: The first thing we wrote together was a short story entitled The Pickle My Little Friend. This story is set just post WWII and is written in film noir, hard boiled detective style. A hint of paranormal crept into this story.

5. Was there ever a time when you nearly gave up on becoming an author?

Evan: I have something wrong that makes me unable to spell. I would use all short words that I thought I could spell and I dreaded reading my own writing because it sounded juvenile. I didn't write for fun until computers came along that would help with my spelling thing.

6. Have you ever based a character on a friend or family member?

Evan: Of course. Who hasn't? (I hope my family and friends don't read this.)

7. If you could hang out with one of your characters, what would you do together?

Evan: We'd go scuba diving. I think scuba diving is a good activity for guys. You don't (can't) talk, you spend time together, and your lives depend on each other.

8. Is there anything you particularly like to write about? Is there anything you don’t?

Shawn: I like to write historical, and suspense. Together, Evan and I combine our respective genres. It’s loads of fun. 

Evan: I like to write science fiction and suspense.

9. Have you ever had a dream that to you would make a great book or short story?

Evan: Yes, several times, then I forget what it was. I now have a pad and pencil on my bed stand.

10. As an author, who and what do you recommend reading?

Evan: Philip Roth and Steven King.

11. What was your favourite book as a child?

Shawn: That’s a toughie. I read a lot. I loved Nancy Drew. In my teens, I read all of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, starting with Tarzan.

Evan: It has to the seven book series, Chronicles of Narnia. I started with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and could not stop.

12. What’s your next project? What do you look forward to in the future?

Evan and Shawn: We’re working on the next book in The Phenom League Desert Fox. This book takes place in Egypt during the battle of El Alamein. Our hero is a five thousand year old mummy who’s been guarding his pharaoh. Desert Fox is a poignant love story.

13. If there was a fictional zombie apocalypse, which fictional character would you choose to be your wing man?

Evan: Chuck Norris. :)

14. What was the last book you read?

Evan: I'd Tell You I Love You, But then I'd Have to Kill You, by Alley Carter. (heh heh)

15. If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

Evan: I would want the secret to zero-point energy and hope I could make it work with our technology. Had Edison asked to learn the secret of miniature electronics, he would not be able to make a single circuit. The technology would be out of his reach, but he would at least be able to invent the transistor instead of the electron tube. I speculate the same would happen in my case, but i could make something good come out of it and put us on the road to free, limitless energy.

16. If you were having a dinner party and could invite four guests, dead or alive, real or fictional, who would you have?

Shawn: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, Charles Dickens Emily Bronte, and James Patterson—oops, that’s five. I can’t leave anyone out!

17. If I came to your home and looked inside your refrigerator what would I find?

Evan: Bottles of various buffalo wing sauces. I make my own, but I can resist trying someone else's and I end up with bottle that have only been opened once.

18. What was the last movie you went to see?

Evan: War Horse. The damn thing just about made me cry.

19. If McDonalds sold hotdogs, could you order a McWeiner and ask them to supersize it with a straight face?

Shawn: Piece of cake. Heh heh. 

Evan: Not if the girl taking the order was real cute.

20. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Shawn :  OMG! Overload. How can I choose?

Evan: Star Trek for sure.

21. If you were offered a free ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Shawn:  China. I would love to see the far east.

Evan: India. I think Indian women are so attractive.


__________________________________________________




For love of country and a woman, Jordan Pierce must sacrifice his humanity. CP1 was where scientists observed the first nuclear chain reaction, where the Nazis sent their most dangerous spy... and where Jordan learns how a vampire protects his country.

Former Chicago Detective Jordan Pierce put his life on hold in order to protect America's secret weapon against the Nazis; The Manhattan Project. But he can't protect himself against the disease eating away at his humanity. Jordan discovers how much of his soul this infection has devoured when he falls in love with the woman who could destroy America. Choosing her means choosing the monster he's becoming, making him the most powerful man he's ever known.

BUY

About T C Archer

T. C. Archer is comprised of award winning authors Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey. They live in the Northeast where long, cold winter nights require a roaring fire and a companion of the hot blooded persuasion.
Evan puts his Ph.D. to good use by writing about alternate realities, and Shawn channels the mythology and philosophy she studied during her wasted youth into writing about exotic places and times.
Space travel, time travel, past or present, love (and lust,) transcend place and time. And Evan and Shawn will go where no man—or woman—has dared go before. 

T C Archer's website
http://www.tcarcher.com/
 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Meet A Writer Wednesday Presents...

...Dan Curry








1.      Tell me about your book Kung-Fu Lesbian and where you got your inspiration for it? 

I wanted to play around with genres and what writers do with character. I don’t think a lot of Tom Clancy or John Grisham “man of action” type books spend much time explaining why the lead character is white, heterosexual, male and Christian. I wanted to extend the same courtesy to a character who is none of those things, save for her being a (wo)man of action. Just light the fuse in the first sentence and see what happens.

2.      What was the first thing you wrote? 

I wrote a detailed treatment for the next three Star Wars movies when I was seven and sent them to George Lucas. They were never made, which is a good thing. As an adult, I really don’t care for Star Wars and wouldn’t want to be associated with it–but I bet the money would have been sweet.

3.      How do your family feel about you being a writer/author? 

My wife is cool with it. She’s a writer too with a memoir coming out next year. I have a kid on the way, I’m sure the kid is cool with it, but it might not really care what I do, as long as I’m cool. My parents probably don’t feel too great about it. I haven’t asked them, but I see the kind of books they read and there’s no Kung-fu Lesbian-type joints on their shelf.

4.      Have you ever based a character on a friend or family member? 

Not anymore, not for Kung-Fu Lesbian, anyway. Sometimes I like to think back to Junior High School and use people’s last names. People in my Junior High had the dopest last names, for real.

5.      Who is your favourite character/s you’ve created? 

I have a character named Rolo duPont in this book. He’s cool. He was supposed to die in the one chapter he’s in, but then I kept him alive because he’s totally awesome. If I ever write anything again in the KFL universe, you bet your ass that Rolo duPont is going to be all up in that.

6.      Is there anything you particularly like to write about? Is there anything you don’t? 

I don’t really like writing about myself, though there always a lot about me in my writing, I just put it on other people. I have this theory that I have to turn 40 before I have the perspective to write about myself. Maybe 45, fuck it.

7.      Have you ever had a dream that to you would make a great book or short story? 

I had a dream I was playing guitar with Guns n’ Roses, not the classic lineup, but the mess of 70 guys that are the now Guns n’ Roses. I don’t know how to play guitar, nor do I know anything they’ve put out since 1991, but nobody in the band seemed to notice my ineptitude after the concert. At the end of the dream, I was waiting for Axl Rose to pay me, but he was being coy about the whole thing. “Where’s the money, Axl?” would be the name of that short story. 

8.      What do you enjoy doing outside of writing? 

I’m running a marathon in October in Long Beach. Before that, I used to enjoy smoking cigarettes.

9.      As an author, who and what do you recommend reading? 

I’m into George Pelecanos and Richard Price right now.

10.  What was your favourite book as a child? 

I always thought Superfudge was dope. Judy Blume really sang to me. Then as a teenager, I really got into Breakfast of Champions. I once smoked a cigarette with Kurt Vonnegut after a book signing.

11.  If one day you are world famous what would you entitle your auto-biography? And would you tell the whole truth? 

I would call my book “A Man for Some Seasons” I would tell the truth, but probably not the whole truth. That’s a bit much!

12.  If there was a fictional zombie apocalypse, which fictional character would you choose to be your wing man? 

Foxy Brown. (Pam Grier)

13.  What was the last book you read

 Marathon, by Hal Higdon and Agorafabulous by Sara Benincasa

14.  If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? 

A base jumper, but a quality base jumper who doesn’t die base jumping. I’d like to see how that felt, but I can’t handle heights.

15.  If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want? 

Good abs, lower cholesterol, the ability to travel to distant universes.

16.  If you could be a superhero what kind of super powers would you have? 

Teleporting. Didn’t even have to think about one.

17.  Where would you like to go if you had a time machine? 

Not World War II. That’s the main thing. The future.

18.  If you could speak to one kind of animal what would it be? 

Dogs

19.  Your about to walk the green mile, what do you have for your last meal

 Sushi. But if we were inland, something fried with panko

20.  If McDonalds sold hotdogs, could you order a McWeiner and ask them to supersize it with a straight face? 

No way. They probably hear that joke all the time, and they’d resent me for it.

21.  Star Trek or Star Wars? 

Oh shit, Star Trek. I like the reboot. I’m a fan of the classic Kirk/Spock shit.

22.  If you could secretly observe one person for a day who would it be? 

Vladimir Putin. I feel like he has a dungeon of fight slaves that he beats up to stay sharp. There is only one way to prove this theory.

23.  If you were offered a free ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Japan seems cool, but only if I had unlimited capital. Cool, and expensive it seems.

________________________________________________




 Holly is 1,000 miles from Mexico with a million dollar briefcase and a trigger happy lover subsiding on corn chips and peyote buttons. A ruthless killer is hot on their tail, leaving nothing behind but scorched earth and dead bodies. Holly’s trained her whole life for this quest…but will her quick fists and sharp wits be enough to keep them alive?

Excerpt:
 
Holly climbed in through the window, kicked on the hazard lights, and addressed the bus. “Alright, listen up you damn dirty harlots! I’m only going to ask you this once. Who threw the goddamn bottle at my girl?”

E. Howard Cunt stepped up and jabbed a finger at Holly’s face. “Are you seriously trying to dip into our Kool-Aid, bitch? We the O.C. Nixons! You have no idea who you’re fucking wi–”

Like a machine gun, Holly connected four punches to E. Howard’s stomach before sending her flying back three seats with a killer upper cut. Checkers threw a sloppy right hook from the side that Holly ducked before rising up and driving a brutal elbow into her temple, knocking her face against the window. G. Gordon Titties charged at her full steam from the aisle, and Holly gracefully jump kicked her in the face. Titties flew back like a punted football, scattering the rest of her teammates around like bowling pins.

Coolly rocking side to side in her variation of the Renoji-dachi stance, she again addressed the bus. “I don’t know about you sluts, but I can do this Enter the Dragon bullshit all night. If you’re not feeling it, one of you can always own up to this irresponsible, uncool bullshit.”

 

 About Dan

Dan Curry is a writer and family man who occasionally moonlights as a stand-up comedian. He has been seen on the Onion News Network, heard on NPR’s This American Life, and both seen and heard on Last Comic Standing. In 2011, he won a brand new Prius on Let’s Make a Deal by choosing Door #2. Dan has written on Adult Swim's “The Eric Andre Show,” and is currently working on his second novel, Payback’s a Bastard. He was born in 1976, the year of the dragon!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Salems Sunday Review






Snow White and The Huntsman

 
Meow! Sunday reviews mean movies. I was just lounging on the couch when mistress put on this film. Kristen Stewart stars in this retelling of Snow White (seen her before in the Twilight Saga) and I have to say enjoyed her performance in this movie a lot more, mainly because she doesn't actually talk that much. Also, now we cats are not very good when it comes to human beauty but isn't snow white supposed to be the "fairest" of them all. Couldn't they find anyone else? Isn't it wrong that the queen (although evil) was far prettier than her. Apart from that I overall liked this darker retelling of the classic fairy tale. Chris Hemsworth we thought was purr-fect in his role as the huntsman. But mistress already liked him having watched him in Thor. -licks his paw and cleans his whiskers- But I'm just as handsome. The portrayal of the Dwarves was interesting, as we saw some famous faces, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winston and Nick Frost and we wonder how they made them so short when they are full grown men.




Snow White and the Huntsman Gets:

 

I'm off to defend my own kingdom against an great evil, that cat from next door. Meow!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Meet A Writer Wednesday Presents...

... Tarah Scott










1. Tell me about your book Lord Keeper and where you got your inspiration for it?

Lord Keeper is a Scottish historical set in the early sixteenth century. My inspiration came from Julie Garwood’s The Bride. The hero, Alex Kincaid, had a right hand man who had a thing for the heroine’s sister. He and Alex visited them at the monastery where the heroine had fled, and he was hoping the sister would step off holy ground so that he could kidnap her. I always wondered what would have happened had she obliged. So, many years later, Lord Keeper was born.

2.  What was the first thing you wrote?

The first thing I wrote is the book to be released this September from Silver Publishing, My Highland Love. Like Lord Keeper, My Highland Love is a Scottish historical, but set in the nineteenth century.

3. Was there ever a time when you nearly gave up on becoming an author?

Oh yes! I have considered on more than one occasion giving up. Writing is a tough business. One must really want to write in order to survive.

4. What advice would you give to someone still trying to become an author?

Read a lot. Write even more. Find other writers you can trust to read your work. Then write a lot more.

5. Who is your favourite character/s you’ve created?

This is a very tough question. My answer is pretty cliché; my favourite character is always the one I’m currently writing.

6. What do you enjoy doing outside of writing?

I read a lot! I love to bake—something my daughter appreciates.

7. As an author, who and what do you recommend reading?

I recommend making a point to read outside the genre you write in. This helps to keep from falling into cliché plots and styles. As for specific books, definitely read some of the classics; Poe, Austen, Twain, Dickens and the like. Read some best selling authors and try to understand why they’re best sellers.

8. What was your favourite book as a child?

Hands down, Jane Eyre. I’d read that book a dozen times by the time I was twelve.

9. What’s your next project? What do you look forward to in the future?

I’m currently working on another Scottish historical set in the late nineteenth century. My heroine is a con artist. Her final caper takes an unexpected turn when her uncle, a famous jewel thief, can’t resist one last heist and steals jewels that belong to the viscountess hosting the house party their attending. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that one of the heroine’s ‘investors’ is with Scotland Yard’s CID.

10. If one day you are world famous what would you entitle your auto-biography? And would you tell the whole truth?

ROFL. I would entitle my auto-biography Truth Really is Stranger than Fiction. And if I told the truth, I would then have to kill the readers.


11. If there was a fictional zombie apocalypse, which fictional character would you choose to be your wing man?

Hellboy.

12. If you could speak to one kind of animal what would it be?

Chimpanzees. I know, that’s almost redundant, but I think they are the coolest animals.

13. If I came to your home and looked inside your refrigerator what would I find?

A little of everything. I have a teenage daughter who eats like a horse. I do keep lots of baby carrots and Greek yogurt on hand. I love them both.

14. If you were stranded on a desert island, what five things would you have with you?

Chocolate.
Brandy
A hen to lay eggs. (I love eggs.)
A comfort sleep bed
Sean Connery (I think Sean counts as a thing, as he’s a darn fine thing.) 

_____________________________________________________






No man bargains for war when he chooses a bride, but when he steals her from holy ground, he can expect nothing less.

Iain MacPherson swore he was nothing like his father, but his kidnapping of Victoria Hockley, the Countess of Lansbury is the first step toward the same obsessive jealousy that fueled his father’s life-long feud against the chief Iain’s mother loved.

A kiss, a midnight race for freedom, and a royal missive force Victoria into her captor’s arms. Hallowed ground can’t save her from the devil that followed her from England. Yet the Scottish lord who swears to protect her is far more dangerous.