Losing Robin Williams—The Dark Side of Those Who Make Us Laugh

Amanda Headlee:

Due to the passing of Robin Williams last week, I am reblogging this post because it perfectly captures and describes the feelings that may be hiding behind the laughter.

Depression is a debilitating and ruthless disease. It should never be taken lightly. Many people do not allow their depression to externally manifest and they lock it deep in their hearts.

For those who do not suffer, always remember to spread kindness and show love to everyone. Leave no stone unturned.

In each passing day, tell someone who you may know, or a complete stranger, that you appreciate their presence and place in your life. Let them know that they are not alone nor do they have to hide their suffering.

Never allow anyone to feel so alone. It can take something as small as a smile to save someone’s life.

For those who do suffer, know you are not alone. There is always somebody who has his or her hand out to you, ready to pull you from that dark place to make you safe. Do not hide. Know you are loved.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 3.14.54 PM

Suicide. It’s a topic that’s been on most of our minds as of late. I was BROKEN when I found out about Robin Williams. It’s like this bright shining star just snuffed out, leaving only a black hole of crushing emptiness behind. I feel terrible for taking him for granted, selfishly assuming he’d always be around.

I haven’t yet cried because I’m afraid I might not stop. My fondest childhood memories involve Mork & Mindy. Growing up, I’d watch Williams’ comedic acts over and over and over, studying his timing and how he could do what he did, because to me? It was MAGIC. In fact, I can honestly say he was my earliest mentor. I learned to laugh and make others laugh, and, since home and school were living nightmares, laughter was my lifeline.

I’m no expert aside from having suicide issues in the family. Also, years ago, I…

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Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity is on sale!

I can’t make it to Worldcon and neither can Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, but starting today and running through August 20th there will be a “Can’t Make it to Worldcon” ebook sale in honor of the epic convention.  Many science fiction and fantasy books will be on sale, including Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity.

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity is available via Smashwords for the low price of $.99 USD (regularly $2.99 USD) until August 20th.  Use the coupon HN84Y when checking out

For a listing of all ebook publications that are on sale, visit Steve H. Wilson’s blog.

So tell your friends and purchase these amazing books early!

Categories: Book Launch, Book Sale | Leave a comment

Time keeps on ticking

Time does not seem to be on my side at the moment.  And I apologize because I do not have much of a post today because I am in the midst of traveling across the US.  Though I am having the most amazing time of my life at the moment, my writing is suffering horrible.  I have not been able to abide by Phil Giunta’s time management tips from his guest post on The Sarcastic Muse blog.

The launch of Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity went perfectly last Friday night.  And it was so much more than just a perfect night.  It was the most amazing experience of my life.  I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful it was seeing the interest in people’s faces as they picked up the physical copy of our anthology.  Seeing that was breathtaking.   Also, to spend the entire weekend among writer and talking non-stop about writing.  Pure heaven.

Can I also just point out my surprise in how many Sci-fi / Fantasy lovers are closet Horror junkies?  I was half prepared for people to think that I should be committed for my obsession with the macabre, but it was the exact opposite.  People were enamoured with my love for Horror and expressed their own love for the genre.  There was even this gentleman walking around like a Reaper with the name badge of ‘Evil’.  The man is a genius and I hate that I did not have enough time to talk to him more.  His philosophies on the balance of good and evil are extremely insightful.  Some of Evil’s thoughs will appear in a future post based off of a panel discussion in which I participated, the Villain’s Journey

Finally, as an update for Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, for anyone who has been scouring Amazon, Smashwords, etc. for it… the anthology has unfortunately not yet been posted to any online site for purchase.  Though it officially launched yesterday, apparently a publication takes a few days to appear on online retailers.  The physical books should be available for purchase sometime this week.  I will make another post as soon as that is available.  The electronic copy may be available next week.  So keep tuned in to this blog or The Sarcastic Muse for updates.  My sincere apologies to anyone who spent hours on Amazon yesterday, refreshing their page every 5 minutes in a hopeless search to purchase Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity.

Susanna Reilly and Amanda Headlee at the launch of Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity (c) 2014, Evon Zundel

Susanna Reilly and Amanda Headlee at the launch of Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity (c) 2014, Evon Zundel

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Launch of the Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity Anthology

photo

(c) 2014, Phil Giunta

Well, tonight is the night. Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity launches at the Shore Leave 36 convention. Words almost cannot describe how excited I am – almost. At the moment I am about to bubble over with a thrill that overshadows most events in my life. This has been the one thing that I have wanted more than anything in the world. With over 20 years of work, one of my pieces is published. All those years of labor, countless stories that have maxed out 37 flash drives, hours upon hours of editing, and an unimaginable amount of sleepless nights spent just writing has all come down to this very night.

But, oh how the learning experience has been wrought with despair. For I suffer with an affliction that causes much turmoil in my life. The affliction is perfection. The single reason which has caused the act to hoard my stories, a reason that evokes the feeling that these stories are not yet good enough. The constant thought that there are better ways to perfect the tale: better word choices, room to tighten prose, grammatical errors — these are the thoughts that continually run through my mind. Which is, of course, complete and utter bull shit.  I have yet to pick up a publication that does not have at least one grammatical error or an area where the prose could be more concise.

With this single published story, I have come to realize that I need to let things go in order to become published. I just need to turn a piece over to an editor, say “Sayonara”, and allow the editor to work his or her magic. I must no longer agonize and fear perfection. As Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

Very true words. A story will eternally have room to improve, but perfection will never be reached. In order to allow your story to live, you must let it go.

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity anthology, which contains my short story Parallax, will be available online from all major booksellers on August 4th.

ISBN: 978-0-9773851-6-4

Categories: Horror | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Listening to a World of Lovecraft

This week I am preparing for the Shore Leave convention, the launch of Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, and finishing a few short stories to send off to contests.  Due to time being sucked out of my life and into a vacuum, I will be writing a shorter post today.  A larger post will be coming on Friday (8/1) as a one time event for the Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity book launch!!

However, I can’t have you all be bored until that time.  So without further ado, for those of you who are die hard lovers of old school horror literature, may I present the H.P Lovecraft Literary Podcast at hppodcraft.com

I stumbled across this amusing podcast a few months ago, and have been devouring 2-3 episodes almost every day.  Over this past weekend, I finally caught up to the present podcast.

The hosts of the H.P Lovecraft Literary Podcast, Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer, really know their shit and are extremely entertaining to listen.  The first lot of episodes covers all of Lovecraft’s stories, novels, and essays.  Then the guys move on to other literary tomes in the horror realm.  They dissect each work and input their own opinions to create a literary discussion that is engaging and intellectual.  And I just adore their interaction with the fabulous Andrew Leman of the H.P Lovecraft Historical Society.  Andrew’s voice is sinfully hypnotic (I was entranced with ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ podcast) and you can just hear how much he loves Lovecraft’s work.

As a horror literature aficionado and having read the majority of the works discussed, I can’t help to smile and nod my head in agreement with them – except for when one of them exuded his dislike for Algernon Blackwood’s works.  I am not going to give spoilers to say which of the two hosts does not like Blackwood (mainly ‘The Willows’), but just know that one of the two are on my “List”.  But, to each their own and that does not dissuade me from being a fan.

If you fall in love with the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcasts, make sure you subscribe to Witch House Media so that you can get the premium podcasts that are only available to subscribers.  The subscription is only a phenomenal fee of $6.66 USD per 3 months.

 

Beckoning Cthulhu (c) wintersixfour

Beckoning Cthulhu (c) wintersixfour

Categories: Horror | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Inside the Macabre Mind of the Horror Writer

Within each and every one of us are those dark thoughts that causes our skin to prickle and muscles to shiver in terror, thoughts that horrifically shame us. Deep in the recesses of each human mind is darkness. That darkness is what fuels our terror and nightmares. It is what gives us our conscience, our morality. However, there is a breed of humans that feed off the darkness and wallow in pits of of human fear. Those special, select humans are the ones that dabble in the writing of horror. The key difference between horror writers and others is that those who script the macabre shine a big spotlight on the darkness within their minds, drawing attention to it, where the majority of other writers prefer to not acknowledge that aspect of their being.

Now please, do not begin thinking that horror writers have dead bodies hiding in our basements or goat heads stung up on a shrine within our closets or that we are only driven by the macabre every second of our lives. We are not our characters. We do not live out the scenarios written about in our stories. Our fascination with horror resides only in our heads and when we put pen to paper. For most of us, we get a high off writing dark fiction. These horrible things that run through our minds, we want to share it. To give everyone else the thrill that we experience when we bring the darkness out from our minds and into the light. We love evoking the fight or flight response. And admit it, as a reader, you get a kick off of sitting at the edge of your seat. When you are at that peak during reading one of our ghastly tales, we have done our jobs. When you put our book down and walk away with a trembling feeling that you just survived a near-death experience, we have become the masters of sharing the true terror of our minds.

(c) 2014, Amanda Headlee

(c) 2014, Amanda Headlee

Horror is that shift in perspective away from the ordinary, everyday life. The genre is a path into a new parallel universe that rips the ground out from beneath your feet, casting you a hundred miles per hour to the core of the story while your mind prays you make it out alive. When you do surface from the grave, you feel more alive than ever. You have just survived Hell. That is why we do it. That is why we are so obsessed with the darkness within our minds, and yearn for the satisfaction of sharing it with the world through the written word. We want to bring you that shift in your reality, to knock you off your feet, to make you feel death, to make you fear the darkness, and to make you run like mad back to the pure light of all that is good.   Because what is darkness without light, and light without darkness?

Categories: Horror | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Beta Reads, Book Launches, and Travels – oh my!

There will be no crazy, demented, creepy post this week.  The past few days have been an absolute whirl-wind with beta reads, research, and travels.  Yet, I have a lot of good news to announce!

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity is at the press as I speak and is fully prepared to launch at the Shore Leave convention on April 1st.  16 more days!

Write pals Phil Giunta and Kirsten Blacketer have a lot of short stories and novellas that will be releasing within the next few months.  They have been keeping me a busy beta!

My novel-in-process is causing me a lack of sleep – from nightmares.  That is my rated ‘R’ warning for severe terror and some gore.  I also have a short story that I am working on for an upcoming short fiction sampler.  No spoilers, so keep tuned into this blog and the Sarcastic Muse for more details that will be posting in the coming weeks.

And finally – and quite possibly the best news of the week – Robyn LaRue’s novel, Shadows Wake, launched today!  Congratulations to Robyn.  Shadows Wake is a coming of age story filled with twists and terror that will keep you holding your breath until the last page.  Be sure to check it out!

 

Be prepared for next week’s post as we travel into the mind of a Horror writer…

 

So much to do, so little time, and winter is right around the corner!  (c) jemolesky

So much to do, so little time, and winter is right around the corner! (c) jemolesky

Categories: Horror | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Possession of Horror Art

A little over a week ago, I knocked two places off my bucket list: Visiting Salem, MA and touring the House of the Seven Gables. I felt like I was walking on clouds the entire weekend, it was pure bliss. The entire town is a place where a little macabre soul like myself can easily fit in. Not one person gave me an odd look when I mention that I write in the Horror genre or that I have a neurotic obsession with H.P. Lovecraft. The locals just smile and say, “We are all a bit different here and that is what makes Salem home”. I now secretly dream of living in Salem one day. I cannot say enough about the amazing the trip and the insanely polite Salem locals. This was the first town that I ever visited where no one made you feel like a “tourist”.

One such place that made Salem feel like home was the first shop that my friend and I visited, The Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery.

On our first day in downtown Salem, we wandered around Pickering Warf when out of the corner of my eye; I spied a Varney the Vampire print hanging on a shop wall. Like a hawk that latched its sights on a terrified little rabbit, I made a beeline right into the store and stared face-to-face with the print. It was love at first sight. The print was made to look like a Victorian advertisement publicizing the penny dreadful. I was lost in my thoughts of where I would hang this print in my house for wall space has no vacancy, that I almost did not hear the “Hello” behind me.

I had ran like a mad woman into The Scarlet Letter Press that I did not even notice Rebecca DeVries sitting behind the front desk. In a daze, I turned to her and breathlessly whispered, “This is amazing.” She laughed, thanked me, and explained that most of the art within The Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery were from local artisans. The Scarlet Letter Press is a full printing company that specializes in short-run digital printing. The front portion of the press company houses a gallery full of the macabre and dreadful.

An eclectic collection of prints, paintings, jewelry, and sculptures, the gallery’s theme is of the weird and supernatural. However, what has really captured my attention, aside from the Varney print, is that the works by these local artists have an air of grace and refinement. Not one item in this gallery could even be considered ‘tacky’ or overboard on the gore factor. Every little piece of art is tastefully done and captures the pure essence of the medium. And each piece actually compliments one another, even though many different artists are involved. It is so rare to find a collection such as this, a collection that exhibits the true haunting nature of horror.

I mentioned this to Rebecca and from there we discussed the unbounded talents of her artists and the wonderment of this little town of Salem. Without asking, she provided historic sites not to miss in town as well as two places out of town, where my friend and I took up her suggestion to visit Hammond Castle. The experience of Hammond Castle was breathtaking, but that is a story for another day.

It was at this point in the discussion Rebecca’s husband came into the gallery wearing a shirt that said ‘I love Horror’, where the “love” was actually an anatomically correct picture of a heart. Needless to say, with that T-shirt, I knew that I was among like-minded people. Ones who are avid lovers of the Horror genre and are well versed in its history.

What Rebecca and her husband have built with The Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery is a true homage to the horror genre. They are providing to the community a phantasmal showcase of dark art and terror.

If you are ever in Salem, make sure to visit The Scarlet Letter Press and Gallery. The experience of taking in the aura of the gallery’s art is one that will never be forgotten.

 

Website: http://tslpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheScarletLetterPress

 

 

Categories: Horror | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

The Horror of BS

Last week I posted on The Sarcastic Muse about the importance of research.  I am reposting that post here because I cannot stress enough that the key to a successful story includes having all the correct facts.  Authors cannot make up a load of BS and expect the reader to be accepting (unless that unsettled, distrustful feeling is what you want the reader to have).

Research is what pushes an author’s work that extra mile.  In the end, research saves on the horrifying experience of being called out on made up facts.

 

Don’t Make Me Call BS

We are human, which enables us to inherently perceive bullshit.  Hemingway once said that a writer must develop an internal bullshit detector.  In other words, a writer must be able to look at their work and distinguish that it is not flat out full of mumbo-jumbo.  One small piece of BS could figuratively force a reader to throw out a book.  A reader must feel like they can attribute factual merit to a writer’s work.

A sure fire solution to prevent a piece of writing from being, well, a load of crap is research.

Ah, I see I now have the attention of the fact checkers!

To read the full post, please click here.

 

Silence in the Library (c) Kevin_P

Silence in the Library (c) Kevin_P

 

As a special note, there is less than one month until the Shore Leave convention!  As a special tribute to the release of the Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity anthology, author Phil Giunta will be posting a weekly interview with all of the authors from the anthology.

Last week, Phil posted his interview with yours truly, which can be read here.

This week, he posted an interview with the talented Susanna Reilly, which can be read here.

Keep an eye out on his blog for the weekly interview post with each anthology author.  The posts will occur up until the release of Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity at the Shore Leave convention on August  1st, 2014.

Categories: Writing Process | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Jay Bonansinga on the (recent) history of horror writing

Apologies for the lack of posts in May.  There were several tight deadlines to meet, which forced me to choose spending my free time between writing blog posts, research for a new story, or sleeping.  Sadly, blogging and sleep lost out to research.  Luckily, research is the inspiration for my next post, so keep an eye out for that next week.

In this video, Jay Bonansinga, who is a Walking Dead novelist, gives an interesting overview of Horror writing today versus the genre’s heyday in the 1980’s.

Enjoy!

Categories: Horror | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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