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Ranking Social Media

Posted on October 18, 2017 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Unless we are completely tuned out all of us are on some form of social media. Most people are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but which ranks best? Which form of social media is where you should be? Some people and advice will tell you you need to be everywhere..yes but in a sense. You don’t need to be on every single social media because some sites are simply not for everyone. Below is my list of social media and how I think they rank up to one another, why they are popular and whether or not they are beneficial to you or worth your consideration.

 

1. Facebook

Yes Facebook is hit a bit of a snag recently but don’t let that nonsense and small talk fool you as Facebook is what most people have, what most people use and where they are at. Of course the one thing you’ll need to remember is as an author or blogger that you eed your own Author/Brand Page. Giving people your personal page is a big no no so don’t do that. SO why is Facebook so popular? Well for one most people have one, you can join groups, find readers and bloggers, create events and your brand page is stacked with a ton of things you can do to interact with people. Also Facebook Ads are still the best bet in order to gain an audience or get sales. Facebook may not work for you however even so it’s at the very least a good social media site you need to be on so people know you exist.

 

2. Twitter

Some don’t get Twitter but to me it’s very easy once you get the hang of it and it can be quite interactive once you know your way around. With Twitter you can carve out your small bio to let people know what you are and what you do. You can use hashtags which is the best way to gain a following, show people you know your stuff and it’s a great way to interact with people. You can use many Twitter tools, images and while it’s not the caliber that Facebook is, it can be a great way to get notoriety for you and your brand. Like Facebook, I believe Twitter is a place you need to be. Some find it boring or difficult but it’s something that works better than it looks and if you spend a little time on it each day you’ll find yourself liking it and making the most of it in no time.

 

3. Instagram

All the buzz seems to be on instagram as the place you need to be. I just recently joined instagram but have heard many things about it and have had numerous people tell me to join so I finally did. Instagram is good because it’s an image based site, using images to capture your attention and the best part is unlike a limit on Twitter you can go hashtag crazy on here usually 20-30. The key to instagram is getting likes on what you post and to make sure what you post is quality content and stuff you want people to see. For authors you want to sort of give them an inside look at your daily writing life, behind the scenes stuff or even teasers. Between the popularity, hashtags and content you want to get the right people to see your stuff. Instagram is where it’s at right now, I just joined so I can’t give the best advice but It’s definitely where you should be or at least give a try on.

 

4. Youtube

Youtube could technically be in the Top 2 but I don’t think of it as a true social media site but more as a video sharing and viewing site. If you go by the number of people on there then it falls as 2nd but when it comes to using it as social media well..hence the reason it’s 4th on my list. Youtube is great for making videos, sharing content and getting the most content you can to learn on to expand your brand. Most people have a Youtube account but I imagine not many use it to their advantage or use it from a social media standpoint. For those who do use it as such it can be a great tool as video is one of the hottest things right now so if you can carve out a solid niche on Youtube then your doing pretty well for yourself.

 

5. Pinterest

I know what your thinking, really? Pinterest? Well again this is my personal preference but in all honesty I could put two other sites here and give you the same type of results and you’d have the same reaction. Pinterest is the most underrated out of the five hands down. However Pinterest is also probably the most under utilized and unique social media site of them all. Pinterest allows you to great boards and you place images within those boards. Think of it as Instagram but organized and you can create categories, and you love Instagram don’t you? Pinterest is rather difficult to gain a following but again like Instagram once you get the hang of it, post great quality content and establish your brand and reach your audience you’ll find it is a spot you’ll not only need to be but you’ll have fun and want to be there as well.

Simple and Easy Ways to Improve Your Pinterest

Posted on October 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Simple and Easy Ways to Improve Your Pinterest

 

When it comes to social media we all tend to want the same thing, to know how to make the most of it and to cash in so to speak. One social media outlet I’ve come to enjoy is Pinterest. Like many people it took me a while to get the hang of and even more so after I figured out how it worked I still needed to know how to make it work for me. So while I am by no means an expert on Pinterest and how to make the most of it I do have some simple tips on how you can improve your experience on the site.

 

-Pick Your Topics Wisely-

If you’re an author or blogger what are the 3-4 main topics you write about, know a lot about and are passionate about? Start off by making boards for these topics as it will show potential followers who you are and what you’re all about. It shows them you not only enjoy and care about these topics but you have a great deal of knowledge on them as well. Another helpful tip here is if you have a sub-topic that is a bit broad as in too broad to just talk about in one of your main four you can always make a board for that too. I have an Unknown, Unexplained and Conspiracies Board and I found myself posting a lot of UFO stuff in there so rather than keep posting all of them there I created a UFO board, see? Be diverse and expand if needed. After a while between people you follow and stuff you post you’ll find other ideas to make boards for.

 

-Re-Pin YouButt Off!

This is a little unconventional but I haven’t seen it as a bad thing. Go to your homepage and load up by re-pinning any image that fits your boards. Just keep scrolling down and re-pin, re-pin and re-pin. I don’t believe there is a limit but then again you don’t wanna go too nuts. Try pinning ten to twenty images to a board. I personally like to re-pin a ton before bed so that way when I wake up I see how many people liked, re-pinned my stuff or followed me or my boards. Pinerest is more about re-pinning others content than it is about what you bring into the site. You can bring in as many outside images as you want but the site is more based off re-pinning others so make the most of it.

 

-Upgrade to a Business Page

If you’re an author ro blogger you should change your account to a business page. With a business page you can use analytics to see whose following you, your most popular images, which topics are being re-pinned the most and which categories are getting the most traffic. This helps you know your audience or at least gives you a general idea of who you’re appealing to. Another cool thing about using a business page is it gives you slideshows. You can put up to 5 slideshows and what it does is it shows your boards at the top of your page. This helps showcase your Top boards to other users and interests them into following you and gives them an idea of what you’re about. A good tip, use the 4 topics your into as I mentioned earlier and make them a part of your slideshow.

 

-Follow How You Wish

Some people follow a ton of people in hopes in getting followed back and others are casual about it and follow a few here and there and do the ole follow back. I personally am casual about who I follow as I don’t want to go nuts especially since Pinterest took away showing when the last time someone was on. So follow people on Pinterest with what makes you most comfortable, either go nuts and follow a ton or be casual about it, the choice is yours. A site that helps you with Pinterest, Traffic Wonker suggests doing a mass following and that you follow 100-150 people a day, this is a good thing to go by if you want followers but again with Pinterest no longer showing you when people have been on last it may mean you follow people but don’t get that follow back. Again the choice is yours and always remember to follow people or boards that appeal to you and are about topics that you have or are interested in seeing.

 

-Make Your Descriptions Pop

It’s been said that boards that have descriptions that are up to 400 characters or a small paragraph long tend to be more noticed then boards that have less or no descriptions at all. The reason for this is people want to know what your board is about and reading the description will help them do that. Also the long descriptions show people you are dedicated to your board and you clearly must know your stuff if you wrote a lot about it. Traffic Wonker again goes into detail about this. Start off by writing long descriptions for your top boards and see how the progress goes. Then start with your mid range popular boards then do your least ones last.

 

-Check Out TrafficWonker

TrafficWonker is a site that helps you improve and gain a bigger following on Pinterest. You start off with a free 30 day trial then you can pay a small fee afterwards if you enjoy it. What you can do it schedule what boards are shown and it shuffles your pins to your followers and to people who may follow you. It also automatically does it doe you so all you have to do is schedule and watch the results. I tried it and I was impressed with it, it’s worth checking out if you want an easy and unique way to improve your Pinterest experience.

So I Watched Carrie (1976) and (2013)

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Zahra Akbar is my latest guest who wrote an article on her watching of one of Stephen King's classic films, Carrie. She watched both versions and gives her thoughts on both of the films. 

So I Watched Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

Margaret: Red. I might have known it would be red.

Carrie: It's pink, Mama.

Carrie: Look what Tommy gave me, Mama. Aren't they beautiful?

Margaret: I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.

Carrie: Breasts, Mama. They're called breasts, and every woman has them.

Carrie is a quite popular novel by Stephen King and though, it had been on my reading list, I happened to come across its 2013 movie adaptation first. And then, I couldn’t help but watch the 1976 adaptation as well. If you’re into horror, you’ll probably love Carrie. If you’re into high school movies, like Mean Girls, you should give Carrie a chance, though Stephen King’s mean girls receive more than just a lesson.

I haven’t read the book yet, so I’ll be comparing both the movie adaptations with each other. It’s hard to say which version I liked the most, as both have added their own flavor to King’s original plot. For those who haven’t read the book [SPOILER ALERT], it revolves around a teenager protagonist, Carrie White, who lives with her mother. And Mama has issues – serious issues.

Carrie’s mother Margaret White is the most interesting character in the story. Piper Laurie played Margaret in 1976 version, and in 2013, we see none other than the gorgeous Julianne Moore playing the sociopath and religious fanatic mother of poor Carrie. Both these women portrayed the character amazingly – my favorite, however, was Moore. She added so much intensity to the character. Laurie looks kind of innocent for some part of the movie. I love how King has developed this character. She gives you nightmares – she gives you this sense of having an untold story behind her behavior and actions.

In the 2013 movie, Chloe Grace Mortez plays Carrie. I don’t know why, but I got a sense of gloom and darkness from her even from the first scene she appeared in. She’s definitely pretty – prettier than Carrie White is actually supposed to be. And you can’t help but feel bad for her for having to live with a crazy mother, but you also kind of know even more insanity is about to be unleashed. Sissy Spacek from 1976 adaptation looks more of a regular girl. Innocent and victimized, yes, but not completely unhappy. She seemed like a person who excitement and happiness. Though, Carrie is a tragic character – but I got the vibes of tragedy more from Chloe than Sissy Spacek.

Another important character than I feel the need to talk about is the mean girl, Chris Hargensen. I don’t need to think twice here – my favorite version of Chris is Nancy Allen from the 1976 adaptation. Portia Doubleday (from the 2013 movie) is also as mean as it gets as Chris Hargensen, but she looks like just another mean girl from just another high school drama.

As far as the story is concerned, the 2013 version uses technology to torment Carrie, this just makes the whole scenario more sinister, and we’re also reminded of the cyber bullying in real world.

Author: Zahra Akbar

Intro: Zahra Akbar is a blogger and writer from Pakistan. She blogs at dragonjournal.com


Remembering Hitchcock

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

For this latest piece I once again have a guest. Christine Valentor. She wrote a piece on Alfred Hitchcock that I found very interesting. Here's a little more on her and her article on the great Alfred Hitchcock.

Christine Valentor lives in Chicago and is a Horror/ Fantasy writer. Her blog Witchlike can be found at https://witchlike.wordpress.com/ One of her short stories about Jack the Ripper has recently been featured in the anthology A Box Under The Bed, due for Amazon release on Oct. 1. Link: https://www.amazon.com/Box-Under-Bed-anthology-stories-ebook/dp/B075C9D7L1

She love Anne Rice, Daphne Du Maurier, all things creepy, and of course Hitchcock!


If you have ever watched the original Psycho, or The Birds, or Rebecca (preferably alone on a stormy night, with all your doors bolted) you know what it is to experience Alfred Hitchcock at his best. The Master of Suspense, the Sorcerer of Shock, and the King of Comeuppance Hitchcock is by far one of the best film directors of the 20th century.

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899 in Leytonstone England. His father was a greengrocer, his mother a homemaker. He was the youngest of three children, an average student and a bit of loner.

But yawn. That story is far too mundane! In researching Hitch, I suspected something must have happened in his formative years. Some weird event must have helped create this creative and twisted genius, who would later alarm the world with his disturbing psychological horror.

It turns out a few things did happen.

When he was five years old, Hitchcock's father wanted to punish him for behaving badly. Little Alfred was sent to the local police station with a note asking the officer to ock him up in jail for five minutes. This incident left a lifelong scar on Hitchcock, possibly influencing his frequent themes of harsh punishments, wrongful accusations and sly retributions for evil doers. He had a permanent fear of the police.

He also had a permanent fear of Jesuits.

Hitchcock was raised Roman Catholic and attended Jesuit Grammar School at Saint Ignatius College. Years later, when asked in an interview how he an ostensibly polite gentleman managed to create such malevolent stories, Hitchcock replied: spent three years studying with the Jesuits. They used to terrify me to death with everything they did, and now I'm getting my own back by terrifying other people.

Hitch incorporated dark aspects of religion in his 1953 film I Confess. It starred Montgomery Clift as a Catholic priest who is wrongly accused of murder, but also hears the confession of the true murderer and is sworn to secrecy by his priestly vows.

Hitchcock's first job was as a draftsman for an electric cable company called Henley's. Even then, as a teenager, he was already writing scary tales. Some of these were published in the company's newsletter, The Henley Telegraph. Hitchcock's first piece, Gas, tells the story of a young woman who imagines that she is being assaulted one night in London but the twist at the end reveals it was all just a hallucination in the dentist's chair induced by the anesthetic.

Interestingly, one of the episodes featured on his television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents seems reminiscent of this tale. In the newer version, the woman's hallucination involves a futuristic society in which all men have been eradicated through a medicine originally intended to kill rats. There are no more men in the world! Babies are born through test tubes and they are always females! The woman wakes up from her dream to find that in reality, a famous scientist is currently experimenting with a medicine which will rid the world of rats! The woman takes a shotgun, attempts to kill the scientist and Well, you will just have to watch the episode to find out what happens.

His other early stories also indicate Hitchcockian creepiness and weird sexual overtones. One short story called And There Was No Rainbow (which some folk thought should have been banned) tells of a young man who goes out looking for a brothel, but instead stumbles into the house of a girl who is dating his best friend. Needless to say, psychological trauma ensues. Hitch also wrote a piece called Fedora which reportedly gave a strikingly accurate description of his future wife Alma Reville, although he had not yet met her! Was Alfred a secret psychic?

At the tender age of twenty, Alfred got a job at Paramount Studios as a title card designer for silent films. Within five years he was directing those films. His first commercial success was a thriller called The Lodger about London's notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.

Around this time Alma Reville became Hitch's assistant director. The two were married on December 2, 1926. Alma became Hitchcock's closest collaborator. He rarely discussed her contributions to his films, although some were credited on screen. Alma was clearly the woman behind the great man but she avoided public attention.

Hitchcock had the unique experience of working in the film industry as it evolved through all its massive changes of the 20th century. In 1929, his production company began experimentation with sound, producing the first Talkies. Hitchcock's contributions included Blackmail, The Man Who Knew Too Much and his highly acclaimed The 39 Steps, which made him a star in the United States.

The 39 Steps established two unique Hitchcockian traditions: the Hitchcock Blonde and The MacGuffin.

The Hitchcock Blonde was the beautiful, ice-cool leading lady who started out picture perfect, but always became the disheveled victim of violent and twisted circumstances.

First personified in The 39 Steps by actress Madeleine Carroll, his other blondes included Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Janet Leigh. Hitch believed that these flawless, classy women left much to the sexual imagination they were ladylike in public but potential whores in the bedroom. He described this archetype as follows:

I think the most interesting women, sexually, are the English women. I feel that the English women, the Swedes, the northern Germans and Scandinavians are a great deal more exciting than the Latin, the Italian and the French women. Sex should not be advertised. An English girl, looking like a schoolteacher, is apt to get into a cab with you and, to your surprise, she'll probably pull a man's pants open. Without the element of surprise, the scenes become meaningless. There's no possibility to discover sex

The MacGuffin is a plot device an object thrown in for the purpose of intriguing the audience, but which will have little consequence in the overall story.

In a lecture at Columbia University, Hitchcock explained The MacGuffin as follows:

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, What's that package up there in the baggage rack? And the other answers, Oh, that's a MacGuffin. The first one asks, What's a MacGuffin? Well, the other man says, its an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands. The first man says, But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,and the other one answers, Well then, that's no MacGuffin! So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.

The MacGuffin took on a life of its own in filmmaking. It is the Holy Grail of Arthurian legends. Some modern examples include: the Maltese Falcon in the film of the same name; the meaning of Rosebud in Citizen Kane; the Rabbit's Foot in Mission Impossible III, and the Heart of the Ocean necklace in Titanic.

Hitchcock's recognition and fame continued to grow. In 1939, he received The New York Film Critics Circle Award for his film The Lady Vanishes. Picturegoer Magazine called him Alfred the Great. The New York Times called him the greatest director of screen melodramas in the world, and compared him to other English treasures such as the Magna Carta and the Tower of London.

In 1940 Hitch directed Rebecca, based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. (If you have not read this masterpiece, you must do so immediately!) The film won an Academy Award for best picture, with a best director nomination.

Hitch and horror novelist Daphne Du Maurier formed a natural collaboration. His film The Birds a story of rebellious birds that slowly and creepily take over a California town was also based on a story written by Du Maurier.

A few years ago my local movie theater ran a big screen production of The Birds. Tippi Hedren, an iconic Hitchcock Blonde who stars in the film, came in as a guest speaker. I swear to god she looked EXACTLY the same as she did in the film! Over forty years had passed and the woman had not aged, not one day. You will find pictures of Tippi Hedren on the internet where she looks older, but these (I swear!) are not real. I believe the lady must have a Dorian Gray arrangement The internet pictures are aging as she herself stays young. (Anything would be possible in Hitch's world!)

Hitchcock's career peaked in the 1950's and 60's when he directed gems such as Rear Window, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train, and of course his mega-hit Psycho. This movie was the creepiest creep-fest of all, about a young woman (Janet Leigh) who goes to stay at a hotel run by a taxidermy obsessed man (Tony Perkins) who has a strange relationship with his dead mother!

Hitch's television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents had a ten year run from 1955 to 1965. The fascinating thing about these segments is that, by today's standards, they are very plain. No bells or whistles, no special effects just simple black and white cinematography, flat lighting, and mostly unknown actors yet the brilliant storytelling spoke for itself. Equally entertaining was Hitch's deadpan delivery of introductions. He always began with Good Evening and went on to speak of hauntings, poisonings, burials, demonic possession and the like, all the while never batting an eyelash.

Hitchcock moved to California and became an American citizen in 1955, although still retaining his English citizenship. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1980, a few months before his death. Film critic Roger Ebert considered it something of a snub that the Queen hesitated to give Hitch his knighthood, writing: Other British directors like Sir Carol Reed and Sir Charlie Chaplin were knighted years ago, while Hitchcock one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, was passed over. What took the Queen so long? Perhaps she was a bit spooked by him, or reluctant to invite him to the palace...

On April 29th, 1980, Sir Alfred Hitchcock died of renal failure in his home in Bel Air California. Despite his professed fears of the Jesuits, two priests came in his closing hours, giving a final mass at Hitchcock's home and hearing his last confession.

Gone but not forgotten, we will never ditch the Hitch! He shall always be alive in legacy, legend and the ominous voice that bids us "Good evening", yet warns to lock the doors and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Guest Post- Why is Horror Popular Now?

Posted on September 4, 2017 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing I decided it was time to start doing is featuring guests here on my blog. Since I write horror and it is an interest and topic I have knowledge in the guests you see on here will be contributing horror pieces. My first guest to my blog is Loretta H. Campbell. Loretta is a freelance writer an English/ESL teacher from New York. With an interest in horror she wrote this piece on why is horror so popular in today's society. Her most recent short story Doughnuts can be found on Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine an online zine.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us! Scottish prayer

Why are we as Americans so obsessed with the things that go bump in the night such as the boogeyman? Do we really want to be delivered? Do we want to be delivered now?

The quick answer to all three questions is yes if we go by the figures given in the online zine The Numbers: Where Data and The Movie Business Meet. Horror films grossed approximately $500 million dollars in 2016. In the same source, the 2017 gross profits for horror are slightly higher already. We might assume that the revenue will double in the next six months compared to last year. It seems that we really want things to go bump in the night. The question is why?

First, we need a working definition of what we like being afraid of.. horror. The noun is an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear: to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror according to dictionary.com.

None of this sounds enjoyable. Yet, in his article Psychology of Fear: Why do we love watching horror movies? published in the online zine ZNews, Ritu Singh says it is. Singh makes nine points about the attraction of horror. Three of them in particular can be seen in any audience at any gore fest in this country.

The first is the Adrenaline rush: When we watch scary movies, we can face our fears, but since we know that it's just a movie we don't have to face anything in reality. For the time being, it tickles certain fight or flight responses.

In other words, we get a high when our endorphin’s go into overdrive while we are watching a horror movie. The euphoria happens when the horror is close enough to see, but it can’t hurt you. It’s a combination of voyeurism and vicariousness. Think of bungie jumping. A long, strong rope keeps us from any real harm even as we sail off a high bridge.

The mega buzz gives us the pleasure without the pain. The operative word here is pleasure. It’s the coping mechanism especially during stressful times.

That is another reason horror is popular, stress reduction. During national crises, Americans flock to horror movies. In the 1950s, arguably a heyday for horror flicks, many of the films Hollywood produced became classics of the genre, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956),

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRVfGMjdGh8,

The Thing from Another World (1951), The Fly (1958).

At the time, the nation was stricken with an epidemic of terror. The reason for it was one man as Shaila K. Dewan outlines in her (2000) New York Times article Do Horror Films Filter the Horror of History?

The idea that horror films reflect, or even caricature, society's collective anxieties is nothing new. Invasion of the Body Snatchers'' is frequently read as a critique of McCarthy-era pod people.

Senator Joseph McCarthy introduced a home-grown trauma that afflicted the entire country and cut across all barriers of class, race, gender, education level, and politics. Using his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), as a bullwhip, McCarthy accused hundreds of Americans of being Russian spies. Because of his basically false accusations, thousands of people lost their jobs, their families, even their lives.

In the film, aliens from outer space take over the minds and bodies of earthlings/white American humans in an attempt to annihilate the human race. Because the aliens have replicated their earthling hosts, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the aliens and the humans. The earthlings who succumb lose everything. They die in droves.

The film was a box office marvel, grossing $1 million dollars in a month, according to wikipedia. Debate continues about whether the film is denouncing McCarthy’s despotism or the threat of invasion by our nemesis Russia.

Michael Dodd of The Missing Slate has said the movie may be the clearest window into the American psyche that horror cinema has ever provided.

That is a statement as terrifying as any American movie yet made. It also begs another question. Why do we have a dual nature when it comes to horror movies? The answer may be that while they are deeply disturbing, they are modern-day allegory. The monsters represent various aspects of our lives, our world. Unlike our real lives, the monsters are always defeated or at least contained. That victory produces something else that horror supplies hope. We feel that things will turn out right, and that is cathartic.

Should we assume that whenever, we as a nation, feel threatened we’ll turn to horror as one means of release? Maybe. I would argue that there is a parallel in the rhetoric espoused by our current president Donald S. Trump and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both seek to destroy the other in our society. That is persons who don’t fit the mold of the heterosexual, white American male. Both have built political careers on innuendo. Both build platforms on xenophobia.

We are living in a time when, once again, our nation’s relationship to Russia is frightening. For the first time in our history, we as a people, question Russian involvement with our presidential election and our government.

There is also a kind of parallel in the kinds of horror movies that grossed big in the 1950s and now.

The movie The Purge Election Year (2016) seems to be the perfect film for a nation in which mass violence is being encouraged by the national leader.

Get Out (2017) is a movie that starts off as a film about a progressive family and reveals a kind of pathological bigotry inside an entire community. Perhaps the community is a symbol for our society.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVIqOhPqf4w

From its inception, America has represented itself as the land of the free and the home of equality. Everything looks fine until you live here. The need to pull back the curtain that too many of us like to ignore is another reason horror is so popular now. It is an ugly vehicle for an ugly truth.

Horror now, and maybe always, is a direct line to our innermost fears, the ones that we want to expel from our lives. It is one way we can collectively look at the ghoulies and ghosties and say boo right in their faces.


Have Zombies Saturated the Market?

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Zombies, Zombies and Zombies. Everywhere you look there they are. It seems like no matter where you look there’s a new book, show or movie coming out with them. It can easily be said that zombies are hot and they are the thing right now..but is that a good thing? Yes zombies are popular, some of us can’t get enough and the market for cashing in on zombies is a smart idea..but isn’t it enough? In some ways zombies have completely saturated the horror market. They are still entertaining but it seems a solid storyline involving them can no longer be zone. They’ve become a cliche and to me it just seems that there’s not much that can be done with zombies that hasn’t already been done. It can however also be said that like most things this is just a phase and soon it will die down so why it’s hot and the genre to be in perhaps an author should consider getting in on the zombie craze.

 

The Walking Dead has become a worldwide phenomenon. People are watching it, recording it or when they aren’t watching it they are talking about it. Want to tell someone about something that happened in the latest episode they haven’t seen yet? Nope, no spoilers your going to have to wait till they see it. The Walking Dead is probably the biggest zombie hit to come around in a long time. It’s got drama, action, gore, suspense and of course plenty of zombies. It has everything a good horror fan can enjoy. So because a show like the Walking Dead is big what do you suppose other people want to do? They want in too. They see the popularity of the show and think well if they can make zombies popular then maybe people will love their book or show about zombies too. We see this constantly but the problem is like all things they are seen everywhere and an idea too overdone saturates the market. It becomes a bit dull, we grow tired of seeing it and most of all while some maybe be able to capitalize on it while it’s hot like most things it won’t last even if it’s quality content. A good horror fan or fan of anything however never grows tired of something so maybe it’s not so much a bad idea for an overdone idea but then again maybe it is.

 

Have Zombies saturated the horror market? I say yes. They’ve put a bit of a damper on how much of a certain topic and how much we can tolerate it. If we can accept this zombie craze and let it be then perhaps there’s nothing to worry about but if it becomes even more crazy and out of control then perhaps something will need to be done but I’m guessing it will likely stop. The bigger question is why is it that zombies are so hot right now? Why is the Walking Dead so huge right now? Well some of us have become a bit too into the whole zombie apocalypse becoming a real thing. Since that will likely not happen anytime soon or never people have decided to do the next best thing, get lost in the fictional world of zombies. They have looked into and eat up all the written zombie fiction they can and watch all the zombie movies and shows they can so they can dream about what they might one day wish they could do during a real zombie apocalypse. Is that so wrong? No and it’s only a theory but it’s a good one at that. People who wish for such an odd idea do the next best thing and because of it zombies have become big and those who write and produce them are hitting it big right now. Zombies maybe saturating the market but right now they are having the last laugh.

Horror: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to horror whether reading or watching we tend to love all of it. We can't get enough and we find ourselves looking for and wanting more. to get as scared or as grossed out as possible.

 

But as writers it may be a bit different. You can read and watch it but can you create it? When it comes to writing horror where do you draw the line? Do you even have a line? Is there a certain topic or idea in horror that you simply won't go near? I know there are many controversial topics or simply just thing we don't feel comfortable in writing. Personally I haven't really drawn a line as to how dark and disturbing I'd go when writing horror but only because I'm comfortable in writing where I'm at. However despite not having drawn a line that isn’t to say I don’t have one because like everyone I do. Before I tell you where I draw the line let’s first explain why we all have a stop point when it comes to horror. First note that not everyone does, some can read or write it with no issue or stopping point whatsoever. These are what we call true no filter horror fans and god bless them for being so. Why do some of us draw the line and stop at a certain point when it comes to horror? It’s simple, we feel. We have emotions and we are human and sometimes we can only take so much. I will explain where I and where most likely draw the line when it comes to the horror genre.

 

Extreme violence can sometimes be too much and just too overwhelming for some of us and rightfully so. It’s not everyday that we see such intense scenes and situations and not everyone has the stomach for it. Violence in itself is unnecessary so when we see an abundant amount of it in extreme doses we tend to try and look away and not be any part of it. While I will write about extreme horror it depends on the nature to which I will read and write. Rape is a topic that most tend to stay far far away from when it comes to writing and I myself am the same way. It’s just one of those topics where even if you write it to the best of your ability there will be someone to be critical of it and again rightfully so. This is why I and most like me tend to stay away from it. Is there a place for it in literature? Eh, that remains to be seen. The killing of children and animals is another topic that’s just too much. I feel like you have to be a really dark person but also someone who can truly write if your going to take on this or any of the other topics. No one likes to hear about dead children or animals being slaughtered so it doesn’t need to be said that if people don’t like reading about it then it’s just as hard to write it as well. I could list a few more but I think you get the idea.

 

So where do you pump the breaks when it comes to horror? Is it one of the topics I listed in the previous paragraph? Perhaps you have another? Either way it’s not wrong and doesn’t make you weak or strict it makes you human. There’s just certain topics we can only take so much of or topics we simply can’t take hearing or reading about at all. The idea is to stay with what we know we can take, know our limits and be comfortable reading what we enjoy. It’s also worth noting that those who so have the stomachs for it and can write it or a lot more prone to enjoying horror then we are. This doesn’t make us weak and doesn’t make them weird it’s just that we are all different and have different views and can write in a certain way.

Do Werewolves and Zombies Exist?

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Do Werewolves Exist?

 

Reasons Werewolves don’t exist: Contrary to the belif that Native Americans have that a man can change into an animal, people cannot turn into animals, it’s just not humanly possible. Therefore there’s no way possible for a man to turn into a rabid wolf and start going around killing people. Also the moon has no effect on how people act despite what some may say.

 

Reasons they could exist: Like a suggested in the vampires part again we go back to the evolution chart. In a way early pre-humans were more animal like so in a way a werewolf was more possible. Also there could be a genetic effect in man to which he grow a tremendous amount of hair, so much that he looks like a werewolf. Yes this seems ridiculous but again these are just two theories as to how werewolves could exist.

 


Do Zombies Exist?

 

Reasons Zombies exist: Well first off Zombies do exist just not in the way we think they do. Zombies are real and it’s a practice in Africa and of voodoo in which a person is controlled and sometimes even buried to believe they are dead. For a more thorough and better analysis check out a piece called Voodoo Zombies vs Flesh eating Zombies on https://monstersofmidian.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/31-days-of-halloween-day-13-voodoo-zombies-vs-flesh-eating-zombies/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Monsters of Midian’s website. She gives a great breakdown of the difference and how real one is from the other. 

 

Reasons Zombies don’t exist: If you read the link I sent you then you’ll know why and what kind of zombies exist. So the bigger question is do the zombies we perceive in movies and television exist? Yes and no. The truth is they exist except they aren’t called zombies, they’re simply called “cannibals”. People who eat flesh are not zombies they are just cannibals and either psychopaths or people from an ancient tribe in other countries who believe in eating other humans. “Zombie” has no relevance to flesh eaters in the real world but somewhere down the road perhaps George Romero himself decided to create a new type of zombie who is dead and eat’s flesh and brains. The only way such a zombie could exist is if the voodoo sorcerer who made the zombie told him to eat human flesh and brains so by that standard...they could exist although I don’t think they believe in doing that.

How Creatures of Horror Relate to Aliens

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

-Documented Accounts on sightings

Horror Relation: creatures of horror are just like UFO’s and aliens we don’t know if they exist but there’s plenty of accounts that they do.

 

For centuries our idea and thoughts of whether or not aliens exist has always sparked questions and debates. Like aliens many throughout the years have also claimed to have seen creatures of horror such as vampires, zombies, werewolves and other monsters. Do they exist? Well that’s where evidence comes in. There is tons of evidence and countless documents on people who have sightings on aliens and monsters for years. Some have been just kids playing pranks and others people telling wild stories but then there are those accounts that are to be taken seriously. Many people throughout different areas and countries claim to have seen strange beasts and when these people are all from the same area, chances are authorities and us as a society start to put some thought that there may be something there. With aliens we all know about the endless accounts and sightings but with horror creatures there’s also claims of sightings..only people tend to be looked at as though their off their rockers or not all there in the head. However with every nut job claiming to see a creature there is a legitimate person making a serious claim and sighting. There have been countless vampire, werewolf, zombies, man-made monsters and other beastly sightings of creatures but these most well known four that people don’t think are fiction after all.


 

Would you know if you saw a vampire? It seems silly but there’s more into the possibility then you may think. Have you ever seen a beast you couldn’t place? A person who seemed a little out of it and lazier than normal? A person that looked so disfigured that you’d swear they were man made? Yes this all seems foolish and ridiculous but people have claimed to have seen them and not all of them are nutty or looking for 15 minutes of fame. After all, when you say to the public that you’ve seen an alien your life as you know it changes and you’ll never get the government off your back. So if that’s the case with aliens then why is it so hard to believe that people claim to see these creatures? What it really all comes down to is that aliens and creatures are the same..they aren’t human and yet millions of people claim to see them. Whether or not they exist is up for debate but then again ask yourself this, if so many people are making claims don’t they account for something? This can be said about bigfoot and personally I think bigfoot is a species of gorilla/human hybrid so the claims that there is only one are fetched. Remember though, horror creatures could be just as real as aliens, bigfoot or the loch ness monster and with so many people claiming such sightings there should be a bit of looking into to see if they truly exist because documents and sightings are still coming out today and they’re only going to become bigger.

 

-They cause discussions and opinions

Horror Relation: The creatures like aliens are always a topic of discussion. They get people to talk about their opinions on the matter of whether or not they exist and reasons supporting both sides.

 

Sort of similar to what I stated in the first reason but whether or not you believe in aliens or horror monsters the fact is that they get people to talk and discuss. With aliens of course there is vast opinions where the subject matter is usually back and forth debating on whether or not they’re real. With horror creatures it’s usually whose the best one and not whether or not they exist or which one most likely exists but nevertheless such a vast range of epic monster talk gets people talking just like alien talk does. While people debate the existence of aliens they tend to be more open to the idea of if horror creatures existed and what they would do. Why is this? Well perhaps because horror is a more enjoyed genre whereas not everyone is into aliens and Ufology. Also people grow up watching horror films and see the creatures and while they are supposed to be feared there’s like ability there, with UFO’s and aliens there’s a big unknown factor as well as the possibility they may take over the world. So if I had to guess I’d say people would be more open to the idea of there being horror monsters over ufo’s and aliens but it’s worth knowing that both bring thorough and valid discussions.

 

-There’s Plenty of Info on Them

Horror Relation: Like Ufology, there’s plenty of information on the topic to go over and look at throughout the years. Whether it’s old info or current and modern information the fact is that there’s enough to work with.

 

Obviously there is tons of info on everything but from a theoretical, hypothetical and debating standpoint they both have a substantial amounts of information for ideas to which we can only speculate as to whether or not existence is true. Also the info on them is similar in the sense that they are entities and there’s no solid conclusive and definitive evidence that states they they are on this earth and they exist.

 

The Horror of Politics

Posted on October 18, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Politics, a topic that you either like and enjoy making an opinion about or have no interest in whatsoever and couldn’t care less. If your like me you fall under the second category but given that we have a presidential election this year lots of people such as myself who have no business talking politics are talking about it and rightfully so. This year more than any other year there is clear evidence that there’s horror in politics. Now I could sit here and slam both parties running for president but that’s not the point of this article. The point is to show that the overall basis of their simple being, their tactics and the whole running for president in itself has become downright horrific. Politics have always been like this, it doesn’t take a follower of it to see that but when you have two people running for president whose wild views and opinions are out there, it makes you wonder how it’s come to this and really makes you say “oh the horror!”. Go down the line and you’ll see countless dirty politicians doing whatever they can to win a seat or become president but it just feels that this year is the worst and it makes me as the biggest question of all...what is our country in for with either party becoming president?


 

While you think about that question let me ask you another, is a certain presidential candidate becoming president just as scary as a horror villain killing people or a gross gory scene? Before you think they have nothing to do with each other just remember this..the presidential candidate is real which means that yes there is most definitely a connection here. I’m sure many would rather be in a world of horror slashers than have to listen to the ignorant rambling of both parties especially the most outspoken one. What I’m really getting at though is the reality of horror. True and real horror exists and I’m not talking about ghosts and paranormal I’m talking about bad decision making along with economical and social decline that our country faces with the next president. It’s real horror, it’s real horror there’s no other way for me to put it. It’s like asking if you want Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees for president and yes you have to vote for one. Sure there’s the green party and libertarian party but let’s say that would be the equivalent of voting for a lesser evil that we know nothing about and we actually put our faith in Myers or Voorhees because at least we have an idea of what they are whereas voting for the lesser evils is a greater risk because not much is known about them.

 


Now I bet your asking two things, lesser of the two evils? And whose who between Myers and Voorhees? First off, what I mean by the lesser of two evils is that regardless of what we know the known villains are capable of we’d be more prone to vote for one of them because the other two are virtually unknown and therefore can’t be trusted because it could be worse..worse than the two main ones? Okay, okay, I’m sure you get the idea. As for whose who? It’s not important it was merely an example. Bottom line, I think people would rather vote for one of the movie slashers than one of the actual presidential candidates. Politics are evil, they bring out the worst in people and if you’re already deemed a bad person it just shows the world just how bad you truly are in the public eye. To me there are not winners in politics or in the becoming the next president because so much slander and nonsense gets brought up that the two candidates have become so eager to obtain the seat of power that they forget what they are running for...the people. When one of the candidates is clearly not a people person and degrades others what does it really say? It shows that there is true evil in this world and that there is real horror and most of it happens in the misconstrued lines that we call politics.

My Experience on Pinterest

Posted on August 29, 2016 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

So I've tried to use Pinterest more as a social media outlet and connect with readers and gain potential customers. I feel as though Pinterest is clearly different from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the sense that you can't just post what you want on there because on Pinterest there's boards and unless you have a board for what your posting you can't pin it. Here's what I've been doing on there lately:

 

I've created a board for all my articles and blog posts from my website and used https://pablo.buffer.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Pablo For Buffer to create images for the posts to which I then pinned to the board. This will hopefully let more people see my blog posts on my website as I have always had a lack of views on that section of my site. Also using Pablo For Buffer is fun and made it easy to create simple related images of the posts themselves. This was also how I managed to get Pinterest on my Buffer which I would otherwise have to pay for by getting a premium account.

 

I created boards for stuff I'm interested in. I saw someone ask once on Twitter if you should create a separate business account on Twitter separate from your personal account and I say no. Given that you can create as many boards as you want you can easily make business/author related boards and boards of things that interest you and have them all on the same account. Any person who follows you or wants to check out your stuff and takes an interest in you can simply follow the boards they want and un-follow the ones they don't. For example I like Frank Sinatra but yet he has nothing to do with my writing, horror or poetry boards but yet I still have a board for him because he interests me. Anyone else who likes him can follow the board and anyone who doesn't can look elsewhere on my account for a board they do like,

 

I've found that you should make a board secret until you have at least 25 pins within it. This way you can build on it and it's easier to manage when your looking for things to put into it. I've done this with several of my boards as I like to build them up before I make them publicly available to view.

 

I've even made a board for something I thought I wouldn't but actually decided to based off another board. So upon finding pins of guns for my https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/weird-westernwestern-horror/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Western Horror board I found that I kept posting and seeing unique guns so rather than keep seeing them and overloading them into a board they don't fit in I created a https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/unique-guns/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Unique Guns board. Did I plan to? No, but seeing that I kept seeing them eventually I gained an interest in them and found that other do too so it makes for a good way to create boards by seeing if you have a certain amount in one and can make it into another.

 

Finally, I'd still like to establish my Pinterest more so that I can not only gain readers but connect to my potential audience there. I feel because Pinterest is used for so many things that how I can use it is being outweighed by my lack of really understanding how the site can truly work. I will take it slow and hope the process will eventually make sense and maybe then I will see a positive increase on there.

 

Funniest Advice I've Ever Received

Posted on December 19, 2015 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Advice. According to a Webster’s dictionary the definition of advice reads, “suggestion or recommendation regarding a course of action or decision”. Regardless on whether or not the advice is taken it’s is still considered advice, as helping someone out by giving them a pointer. However is it still advice if it’s not serious? For example someone’s advice to another could be to jump off a bridge, this is clearly an old silly saying but what if was meant to be serious? There is quite a difference between serious and joking but then again perhaps it all depends on the individual. Whether or not it’s serious or jokingly the content to which it’s being said and given at the time, it’s considered it to be advice and once again whether or not we take it is our own choice.

 

Before I get to the funniest piece of advice I’ve ever received I shall tell of one of the funniest places to which I have ever received advice...fortune cookies. First of all, who eats those things? You ever trying eating a fortune cookie? If you have god bless you but I am more interested in the wisdom to which it contains. While I don’t remember all fortunes I’ve received I remember one timeless one which read “A penny saved is a penny earned”, now that’s what I call good ole fashioned advice!

 

One of the funniest pieces of advice I have ever heard or read came from the late actor Robert Mitchum. He once said, “If your gonna do something do your best at it, if your gonna be a bum be the best bum there is”, I have come to love this quote and it’s not only one of my favorites but I think very good advice to which I myself have used in life.

 

The funniest piece of advice I have ever received came in 7th grade from one of my teachers. We were talking about something along the lines of endurance and how much pain a person can withstand. This topic brought up the sport of boxing to which the teacher told all of us and mind you we are children, “Boxing is good for people with ADHD and ADD so if any of you have ADHD or ADD I think you’d be good at boxing”. Now while I don’t remember my exact reaction and I never had either, I do know I was quite shocked at such a statement. Why would a teacher tell her students this?! While some may find this totally inappropriate and wild which I totally agree it is, I must say I find it to be one of the funniest pieces of advice I have ever received.

This post is a part of the Festive Spirit Blog Hop:

http://francishpowellauthor.weebly.com/festive-spirit-blog-hop.html

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundred Year Old Horror

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Back in 2013 I created a thread on Goodreads entitled, "Hundred Year Old Horror". At first it started off as a way in which I analyzed classic hundred year old works of famous authors by figuring out their rating on the site and comparing them against one another. After a while my posts expanded into more than just rating and comparing works. I now analyze works and take a deeper look into them and then write about what the work is, what it means and give my own personal take on it. There are quite a bit of posts written and I have started expanding on it more and intend to keep it going. I have also created a Hundred Year Old Horror Board on Pinterest. Here you can check out the books I analyze, rate and talk about.


If you enjoy works of the past and enjoy classic horror then please feel free to check out the thread and board. Also feel free to share and give feedback on your thoughts about the works of classic hundred year old horror.


https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1396111-hundred-year-old-horror" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hundred Year Old Horror on Goodreads 


https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/hundred-year-old-horror/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Books of HYOH on Pinterest


The Bird Cage Theatre

Posted on February 23, 2015 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Everyone familiar with the place? Located in Tombstone, AZ, It opened in December of 1881 and was one of the most wild and hot spots during the Wild West. It's said that 26 people were killed inside during the 1880's. It's also said that there's over 120 bullet holes still imbedded within the walls throughout the building. Men used to gamble inside and ladies used to work within as saloon girls and entertain their clients. A fire in 1882 devastated the town however this place as well as Big Nose Kate's Saloon are the only two remaining buildings standing to having survived the fire.These are the only two places still standing today that really tell of Wild West history and even before stepping inside I would imagine one could just feel the essence and take in the Western nostalgia.

 

Today the Bird Cage Theatre is a museum and tourist attraction for ghost tours. From an interest standpoint I'd love to visit the museum and enjoy the western history, as an author whose written a Western Horror I'd love to go on a ghost tour to get more inspired. This partly because many vistiors and employees have claimed to have witnessed seeing spirits of former prostitutes and men in cowboy hats. Sounds are heard during the night as if parties are going on. Also many claim to hear people walking on the floor boards even though there's only one person within the place. Two ghost hunting teams have invesitgated the place and both experience some serious activity. Apparenty not only were there wild parties and commotion back in the day but there some still carry on and continue to party late into the night years later. While I don't think there's any zombies there I definitely think there's ghosts and paranormal objects of cowboys and outlaws still roaming within and along the grounds of the place.

 

I love things like this and this is definitely on my list of places to visit. The town alone is wild west history and so is the outside of the building itself of the Bird Cage Threatre. One step inside must bring a person back in time on a very enjoyable and at times creepy ride. There are many artifacts and objects within the place that are worth looking at and it will really make you appreciate the Wild West. Anytime I see something on television on this place I immediately stop what I'm doing and watch it. I just think it's one of the most fascinating and under appreciated historical places in the united states that more people should know about. Perhaps it's become a bit of an amusement to some but I would still love to go sometime and check the place out as a museum or go on a ghost tour. To take it all in and hear the stories and experiences of what took place there and what still takes place there would be quite exciting to hear.

 

You can learn out more on the Bird Cage Theatre on their website @

http://tombstonebirdcage.com/



The Wonderful World of Poetry

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 A way of writing, a way of expression, a style in which words come about on a paper in such a way that they create a visual image or flow of feelings. Poetry is rhythm without a beat, music without a note, emotion in every sense shape and form. For some it is either a way of expressing ones feelings or to tell a story but no matter how it is written or what is being said it is what it is because the writer makes it so.

 

Poetry is like art, some see beyond what’s really shown, what’s behind the surface of being told. They see the inner meaning and sometimes take the outer meaning as a silhouette or shell of what the real point is that’s trying to be made. One does not need to be creative or imaginative but there needs to be a sense of emotion and sense of drive to write but it is because of all these things that truly make poetry a whole. Own feelings and experiences make up for more then half of all poems, that’s an estimate but needs to not be proven because of the simple fact that it is irrelevant as to whether or not the writer truly put something of their own into it because if the words speak to the reader then it does not matter if the poet lived it or not.


Poetry is inspiration, interpretation and representation. One can feel inspired and write about what they see, however, like mentioned prior to what the poet writes about and what the reader takes can be two completely different ideas, and neither are wrong because the poem in itself is being represented. Poetry has stood the test of time because there will always be people who have something to say and there will always be people who are willing to read and listen. Whether it be seven syllables in a three sentence structure, a fourteen line sonnet or non rhyme free verse there are so many different ways in which poetry can be written. 


Poetry doesn’t seem as popular as it once was in the sense as it’s not out there in your face. Back in the days of Shakespeare; poets were well known and loved by many and poetry was almost a way of life ,a culture if you will. It was an era in which people relied and yearned for it, it wasn’t just about expression but something to be looked forward to and appreciated in every way. It was a movement and generated many followers and inspired many poets alike to come together and just express themselves.

These were the days when the minute the ink feathered pens hit the paper something truly remarkable was going to be written to be enjoyed by so many people. After Shakespeare there was still famous poets coming about and writing. Keats, Longfellow, Frost, Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson just to name a few. These poets all stand the test of time because of what they felt and what they wrote but now it somehow seems as though we have lost touch with that.


Today it’s like poetry has become an underground society or if it is there it’s shy and not as popular and renowned as it once was. It’s not that poetry isn’t being written cause it is but it just seems like there aren’t anymore famous or popular poets like back in the day making it so well respected. It’s like its become a small group of only certain people who know its there and truly appreciate it. I once said “If poetry is dead then I wish to bring it back” I said this because I felt as though a part of poetry has died and it needs someone to come out and make it alive again.

It could be taken many ways or be as simple as this, poetry like many things has always been here but just doesn’t have the drive that it once did. However, I don't believe it will become extinct, not by any means. I just think it needs a little push, a spark to ignite it and get it going again. Overall though one thing should be taken about the last statement, poetry will never die as long as there are writers who pour their hearts out to write it and as long as there is an audience.