Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top of the Heap Reviews Where the Dead Fear to Tread

"Action sequences were well written, there was gore and violence in all the right places, and there is even some scenes that kind of pull on the heart strings.  The beginning was nothing sort of brilliant.  M.R. Gott sets this book up nicely, and really gives you that sense of grit and grime that noire gives you.  He draws you in very very quickly."
Click the image for the full review.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

June Short Fiction Competition - Win a £50 Amazon Gift Card At the Cult of Me

Check out Michael Brookes new writing contest at the Cult of Me.  

The winner's stories will be available here (and promoted across Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Stumbleupon and anywhere else I can) and you'll also have a link to your blog or website displayed alongside your story if you win. The winners will also receive an Amazon gift card:
  1. First Prize is a £50 gift card
  2. Second prize is a £20 gift card
  3. Third prize is a £10 gift card
For more details on how you can enter click the image above.  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Top 10 Alien Franchise Moments

Check out my favorite moments from the Alien Franchise, and no, Prometheus does not count.  Click either link to jump over to Ravenous Monster for the list.

Bad Ass Throw Down(s)

I was curious about Fast and the Furious Five, due to the throw down between Diesel and The Rock

as well as the surprisingly strong reviews.  I enjoyed the flick quite a bit and know I will end up renting (or discount theater) seeing the new one for the Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano beat down.  If you haven't seen Haywire, you should Carano will win you over in it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz

House of Skin is a fully developed haunted house story, with a full and well developed cast.  Janz wrings tension from each chapter creating a world that grows tenser with each chapter.  I can’t think of a better haunted house story to recommend.  Click Either image for a full review.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013

When I originally signed up to participate in this year’s hop against homophobia I was initially thinking of creating a piece similar to what I did last year.  A simple fact based empirical piece about how homophobic action leads to indisputable harm to society.  This however I believe is the wrong venue for such a piece.  The people following this hop are already well aware of these inequities, and I see no point in reinforcing pre-existing understanding. 

Instead I have based the following on the old story of the watermelon monster and the land of fools.  This is a story about regardless of how correct or accurate you are, in order to get a person’s thought process to change, they must be allowed to arrive at the conclusion on their own. 
I have had much success in getting people to re-evalute their homophobic thoughts and actions by helping them to arrive at a conclusion on their own, rather than tell them where they should end up.  In order to do this, I must bite my tongue and listen, I need to hear and understand how the person evaluates other concepts and ideas.  And lastly I never tell, I ask questions, loaded questions but ones that I know they don’t want to answer.  And if they refuse to answer I ask them why the clear answer makes them uncomfortable?

What follows are some of my go to lines;
At what age did you choose to be straight?  Was it a difficult decision? 
How are gay couples marrying in need of more regulation and government interference than fire arms purchases?
How many gay marriage related fatalities are there compared to fire arm deaths? 
Why are you more comfortable with depictions of two men killing each other than kissing each other?
How have the traditional marriages in X state changed since y date of same sex marriage legislation?
Are homosexuals marrying and forming monogamous long term relationships truly more damaging to the sanctity of marriage than the bachelor or any of the other such programs?  If this was truly about the sanctity of marriage wouldn’t as much effort be put in shutting down the marriage chapels all over Vegas?
If you are basing your true objection to marriage equality on biblical scripture, isn’t then stating it is based upon other issues against the lying commandment?
How do you justify not treating thou shalt not kill as strictly in interpretation as the Leviticus verse against men lying together? 
Note when using the bible I find it accomplishes more not to throw out other Leviticus verses.  I rely heavily on the 10 commandments. 

Finally I have spoken to a few people that object to being called homophobic because they are not scared of gay people.  I welcome this statement, because it allows you agree with them and say they are in fact straight superior.  They believe straight people are better than gay people, which is why discriminatory laws such as those that allow homosexuals to be fired for their sexuality are fine.
The key to finding success with these questions is to allow the person you are speaking to a chance to  answer.  Don’t rush them, don’t be abrasive.  I know this is incredibly difficult, but I am tired of an unending talking point battle.  If a person wants to speak let them answer a few simple questions.  Even when they refuse to answer, they are still thinking about it and I have to believe they are searching for an answer that will allow them to maintain their previous mindset.

Click here for a chance to win my newest short story.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Awakening review at Ravenous Monster

The film is anchored by Rebecca Hall’s amazing performance as Florence Cathcart.  Hall creates a layered character than is always strong, yet perpetually vulnerable.  The rest of the supporting cast is strong with other standout performances from Imelda Staunton(Harry Potter’s Professor Umbride) and Dominic West.  The characters are fleshed out people, so that they are not merely elements for the plot to move around.  The film is about more than the mysteries in the building, but the broken souls who inhabit it as they cope with the destruction of The First Great War.  Full review at Ravenous Monster, click either image for the link

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I just re-watched Kick Ass, the first time since seeing it in theaters  and I enjoyed it a great deal more. Originally I had a hard time reconciling the tone, and was expecting a funnier less serious film.   It was recently pointed out to me my taste is for cult films, and this is what makes a solid one, a movie so bizarre the first time you see it, that you learn to appreciate it more with each viewing.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti


The undead have been defeated in Redwood Grove, CA, but reports of similar outbreaks are coming in. What seemed to be an isolated event is turning into a pandemic.  The last thing Ashley Parker wanted when she went to college was to join the military, but she is one of a select few who are immune to the virus. Gifted with enhanced speed, strength, and senses, she’s recruited by a shadowy international organization that’s existed for centuries, its sole purpose to combat the zombie threat.

Dark secrets begin to emerge, and when an unknown enemy strikes, Ashley and the other zombie hunters—known as “wild cards”—embark on a desperate mission to reach San Francisco. If they fail, the plague will sweep the nation unchecked. And the person she cares for most may die. Or worse.

I was a tad leery to begin Plague Nation, Dana Fredsti’s follow up to Plague Town.  I enjoyed Plague Town but have been burned by series with promising starts before, especially a horror series when I know there is a third book and thus Ashley will live.  All these worries ended up being incredibly unfounded.
This is a straight up kick ass sequel.  Picking up shortly after the events of the first book Fredsti throws readers right back into the action.  She also shows us that no one aside from Ashley is safe.  And this is where she brilliantly creates the necessary tension for a zombie thriller.  Ashley is most concerned with protecting and saving her team, and in this Ashley can still fail.  Her physical life is safe, but who she is, is always at risk.
This brings me to my favorite point of Plague Nation.  Fredsti acknowledges that chopping up the living dead will take its toll on the human psyche.  Ashley is forced to better define herself and what she stands for due to the extreme situations she finds herself in. 
Just as Ashley cares about her team, so does the reader.  Fredsti seem to know here core audience well the team is perfectly described as early on as, “”ROTC’s answer to the Big Bang Theory.”
 This brings me to one of my earlier complaints from Plague Town, I found the horror references to be distracting.  While they continue in this follow up I enjoyed them more.  Fredsti no longer explains each reference so each reader will get it.  If you do its awesome, if not the story keeps moving and the odd characters just seem odd.  They are also much broader than just horror references.  Some of us speak in an almost entire second language of nerdy references and Fredsti captures this essence with near perfection.  (I am sensing some serious nerd on her now)
One complaint that is more a pet peeve, there is a cut away sex scene.  I don’t need every moan and thrust described, however it feels awkward especially after the first book never cut away. 
More is also revealed about Walker’s disease (the zombie virus).  Here again is the potential for cheesy misstep, that Fredsti walks perfectly.  She creates a detailed mythology with involved teasing mysteries.  In this success Ashley’s world becomes richer and more vibrant. 

In the end;
Ashley Parker is still both tough and funny, yet ultimately human.  Dana Fredsti’s creation is a well needed and welcome female protagonist for the horror genre(and fiction in general, you all know the serious offender here).   The action is still fierce and well written, an especially difficult feet with fights involving multiple zombies.  The story gets deeper and more involved without ever feeling forced.  This is a rare sequel that trumps the original.  While I normally reserve five stars for novels that eerily scare the shit out of me, Plague Nation earns every star.  The most fun you are likely to have with zombies in book form. 

Click Image for Review of Plague Town.