Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#Vampires...Do They Ever Get Old? With @WendiZwaduk

I'm snickering. As I wrote the title to the post, I realized vampires really don't get old. They don't age, but they live forever. 

What I was really referring to was the genre of writing vampires. Does the genre ever get old? Do readers want something fresh? I'm not sure. 

So what did I do? I wrote a vampire series. Well, really, the series features many different paranormal creatures. The Battle Scars series has to do with a war. Supernatural beings versus the forces that want them extinguished. 

Sound intriguing?

The Battle Scars series also features emotionally scarred characters. They dabble in BDSM and have had rough pasts. Oh, and they are also vampires, shifters and more hanging out. 

Are you interested in learning more about the series? Here's book one, You Have Me. :-) Enjoy!

You Have Me by WendI Zwaduk  

Battle Scars Book 1

Turquoise Morning Press

Contemporary, Paranormal



M/F, BDSM, Anal Sex, Spanking, Toys

When the rest of the world crumbles and fails, you have me. 

Kynan Laing gave up his mortal soul to the will of the Sources, the ancient beings in charge of the universe. With the sensual grace and speed in his vampire form, he serves in his role as a Protector for the Supernatural world. But the impending war between the Supers and Hunters is heating up. The woman he’s charged to protect is all grown up and everything he wants. Can he keep his heart under wraps while keeping her safe? 

Alexa Mercury doesn’t know why she’s supposed to trust the vampire, but she does. Even when she pushed him away, Kynan watches over her. She craves him like no other, even if he is a Supernatural creature of the night. When circumstances beyond her control force them together, Lexa will have to decide whether to offer her heart to the vampire or risk her very soul. 
Available Here:

©Wendi Zwaduk, 2014, all rights reserved

He tipped his head, listening to Alexa’s thoughts. Her boyfriend was coming over. He growled. The jackass she dated deserved a fate worse than death. He treated Lexa like garbage, but until she called Kynan, he had no right to step in. Christ, he wanted to free her from the asshole’s grip. No woman deserved to be hit.
Still, she hadn’t called for him to save her.
Kynan sniffed the air. Her perfume twisted on the wind. Screw it. He’d waited ten years for the woman he loved. No more standing by. He assumed invisibility once more and made his way across town to her apartment. Light glowed in her bedroom window and her voice drifted to where he hid in the tree.
Each day he spent away from her, he died a tiny death. Sure, he was one of the undead, but he still craved her. If he didn’t fulfill the will of the Sources, he’d meet his final death.
Alexa crossed her bedroom once more, a huge dildo in hand. Kynan bit back a curse. He knew her so well and wished it were him using the toys on her. She waved the dong at her roommate.
“Have you ever realized you’re in a bad situation, but you don’t know how to get out?” Lexa plopped on her bed and held the toy in both hands. “V, I don’t love him.”
Vanessa leaned on the doorframe. “I think he’s dirt. What about your high school sweetheart? Isn’t he still around? In a band or something?”
Kynan gripped the branch of the tree. Her high school sweetheart? He knew who she dated in school and none of them were first love status.
“I can’t.” Lexa shook her head. “I’m ashamed. He’d see what I’ve become wouldn’t work.”
“Why?” Vanessa strode into the bedroom. She picked up the dildo. “You do what you want with this, but this sucker is freaking huge.” She giggled then sobered when Lexa didn’t laugh with her. “Hey, I’ve got a kinky side, too.  I know how you feel about the bondage. It’s freeing, even if you’re all tied up. But this jerk parades you around. He doesn’t respect you. Dump him already. Being alone has got to be better than being treated like dirt.”
“Or call my name,” Kynan whispered. He knew what she did with her boyfriend, Dante. Nothing turned him on more than seeing Lexa’s naked body on display, but the moment the boyfriend walked into the frame, Kynan’s desire turned to rage. He recognized the man she’d taken up with. Dante, otherwise known as Brad Bowman, vampire hunter.
“Fuck,” Kynan grunted. Brad, or Dante as she knew him, didn’t date anyone. The bastard picked his partners based on what they could give him.
Did Lexa know the truth about the socialite-slash-hunter? Probably not. She didn’t strike Kynan as the blissfully ignorant type. Despite his better judgment, he peered into her mind. The more Brad touched her, the more she visualized…Kynan?
Holy shit.
Kynan gripped the tree branch tighter. He shouldn’t play the role of a voyeur, but he’d been charged with protecting her. His heart—his emotional one, not the true one he’d lost years before—ached for her. He wanted to the be the one holding and caressing her, the one who tied her up and made her scream his name. He’d bide his time for now. Once Alexa called to him, he’d step out of the shadows and take what he wanted.

* * * * *
Wendi Zwaduk - White Hot Second Chance Romance

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Interview: Author Pippa Jay and HALLOW'S EVE

I'm happy to host Author Pippa Jay as our guest today, talking about her very timely new release HALLOW'S EVE. Isn't this a gorgeous cover???

Here's a bit about Pippa:
After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Veronica:What prompted you to start writing? 
PJ: I've always written, but I remember as a kid having a burning need to be able to write out my rather long and complicated name by myself. So I badgered my dad into writing it out for me so I could copy and practice until I mastered it. I guess I was hooked on the actual satisfaction of shaping letters and spelling things out.

Veronica: Which character was the most challenging to write and why? 
PJ: From Hallow's Eve, it was Angelica. I didn't want to make her a stereotypical old hag, but convey the idea enough so there was no doubt what she was. I had a very clear image of her in my mind.

Veronica: Which word or phrase do you most overuse in a manuscript? (I confess to “that” being my worst word LOL).
PJ: 'that' is definitely one. 'But' and 'and' are also up there.

Quickfire Questions:
Must watch TV Show: Doctor Who
Music on repeat: Linkin Park
Favorite Movie: Warm Bodies
Cats or Dogs? Cats
Favorite Flower: Stargazer Lily
Tea or coffee: Coffee
Sweet or spicy: sweet
Favorite Perfume: Lust (jasmine and honey by Lush)
Book or books I reread most often (up to 3, any genre): Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan (Star Trek), The Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey and The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

Veronica: How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
PJ: I update my word count meter and spreadsheets for tracking my WIPs, and bask in the numbers. :P

Veronica: Very practical! What are you working on next? 
PJ: I've just contracted the first story of a YA dystopian romance trilogy--Zombie Girl: Dead Awakened--so I need to finish 2 and start 3. I'm also planning to do a sequel to my November release--a superhero romance called When Dark Falls--as my main project for NaNoWriMo.

Here's a bit more about the book itself:
Hallow’s Eve - when love comes home.
Twelve months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk...
An Excerpt:
The thud and chink of beer bottles and glasses on the bar announced Dan’s return.
Hal shook his head. “Not tonight.”
“Oh, c’mon, man. Just one beer.”
Hal dropped his gaze to the glass he was still drying with a vehemence it didn’t deserve, avoiding his friend’s pleading stare. “Thanks, but I’m not in the mood.”
Dan made an exasperated sound. “Look, I know it’s nearly a year—”
Pain lanced into his chest. “Stop.” He looked up.
A frown creasing his tanned face, Dan glared back, but he shut up.
Hal sucked in a breath. He didn’t want to fight with Dan over this. The guy had stopped Hal’s life completely falling apart after last Halloween. “I know what you’re trying to do,” he murmured, and relief flickered in Dan’s brown eyes. “But I’m not ready to let it go.”
“I’m not saying you should, man. But how about getting back into some social interaction? You can’t spend the rest of your life as a recluse.”
“I won’t.” Hal smiled. Dan had no idea.
“Then come out for a beer.”
“Another time.”
“Tomorrow then. I know you’ve got the Halloween shift off.”
Hal put down the glass he’d abused. “I’m busy.”
“Oh, yeah? Doing what? Trick or treating?” Dan scoffed. “What is it with you and Halloween? You never struck me as religious enough to find it offensive, but you don’t go out and have any fun either. So how come you always take the night off?”
Hal looked around the bar at all the tawdry holiday decorations, and debated how to answer. Maybe Dan thought he was a closet Christian or something. The truth would shock the hell out of him. Especially with what Hal had planned this year. “ don’t see it as something to joke about.”
“Oh. Strict Catholic or something?”
“Something like that.” Hal smiled at the thought of his parents taking Holy Communion. But let Dan interpret it any way he liked.

Where can your Readers find you online?
Website    Blog   Twitter   Facebook    Wattpad  
Pinterest    Amazon    Goodreads 

Buy Links for book:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pictures worth a 1,000 words!

The fun part about doing a book release is all the goodies that go along with it – like blog tours. I love to get a little lagniappe – that something extra you didn’t expect. One of my favorites is a book trailer, that visual and audio tease of what you can expect between the pages of the book. Getting it juuuuust right is always a challenge. Finding the right music to set the tone, the text that packs enough impact in six words or less per flip. And the images to tie everything together.

I’ve done several trailers for my earlier “By Moonlight” books. For the first, I only supplied the text and crossed my fingers (It turned out great!). For the second, I picked the music clip as well, and offered suggestions. For the third, I got in on finding graphics (Who would have thought paging through hundreds of ‘Sexy Male Torso’ pictures could be such a chore!) and found a very cool film intro. But REMEMBERED BY MOONLIGHT was special – my first self-published book as well as the return of my favorite main couple, and I wanted (in my very OCD way!) to have my finger prints on everything. Finding my Max Savoie took hours upon hours – but I recognized MY Max the second I saw him. My cover artist and I scoured the image sights and I picked out graphics that represented the setting, the mood, several scenes, and the characters and she did her magic with them. I played match-up between text and images, found an old collection of music clips from earlier trailers, and sent the package off to my awesome virtual assistant, My Girl Friday (I draw the line somewhere. I don’t do tech!). A couple of tweaks later . . . Well, see for yourself. I think it captures my new release perfectly. How about you?


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Once more into the fray, dear friends... NaNoWriMo tips!

It's once again that time of year - when writers tear their hair out and twist their guts into knots over the challenge that is NaNoWriMo... but first, a refresher for those poor souls who don't know what this is!

National Novel Writing Month is exactly that - a writing challenge for anyone who wishes to take it up. All you need to do is write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 31st and you win... well, nothing but bragging rights but it's a wonderful way to jumpstart that novel you've been wanting to write. It's an exercise that thousands have joined in over the years and has its own website where you can meet others in your area and be inspired and encouraged to Get It Done.

I've done this challenge and won twice - this year I'll be passing because it doesn't fall into the right time for my writing. I've got one book in edits (Tales from the Edge, book 3!) and waiting to hear on another big project and can't dedicate myself to a whole new book but I do encourage those of you who can to give it a try.

Why? Because it's a great way to teach yourself to get that Butt In Chair and get writing! 50K words is approximately 1613 words a day... ah, but don't get all smug thinking that it's an easy goal to meet! Let me toss some issues out there before you settle down for what you think is going to be an easy run...

First that's SEVEN days a week. No days off for church, work, shopping... did you notice that Thanksgiving is in there? AND Black Friday? Hmm... so you're still going to slam down 1600 words a day while stuffing that turkey or waiting in line for that great sale?

Suddenly that 1600 words seems a bit more daunting, yes?

The worst thing about NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is that there's a major holiday smack dab in the middle of it - and if you don't plan for it this speed bump can send you right off the road and into the bushes no matter how much planning you do to complete your novel.

First - OVERWRITE every day! Don't settle for just 1613 words and walk away from your keyboard feeling smug about it. Write, overwrite, keep writing until you don't have any time left. Don't forget this is a first draft and the important thing is to get the words down on the page - there's no restriction here on good grammar, spelling or anything else other than what you make it. Get ahead of the count so that when you DO have those bad days where you end up spending the entire day working on fixing the oven so you can make that pumpkin pie or waiting at the airport for a late flight or trying to grab that great deal for Black Friday and not end up floundering in your wordcount. Get ahead at the start and you'll be prepared for those stumbles that are going to happen no matter what you do.

Don't fret over the phrasing too much - as I said above, this is a First Draft and IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE LOUSY WRITING. Any author who claims their first draft is ready for market is a wee bit loopy to start with. The important thing about NaNoWriMo is for you to get the words down on the page, not prepare it for submission. It's fine for you to go back over the previous day's work and give it a bit of a polish but don't get obsessed with making it perfect out of the gate - that's what December and all of 2015 is for. Get your fingers on the keyboard and get writing and don't fret too much about the spelling or the grammar. It can all be fixed later on.

The only thing you have to worry about and I've gotten trapped in this, is bad planning. Don't wait until after you start the book to have some idea of where your plot is going or what your ending is. You may not know all the bits and details about what happens but know where your characters are going to end up and what's going to happen at the end of the book. Free range writing is fine on your own but when you're committed to 50K words within a single month you don't have time to have your story wander off track.

Finally, and this is important - on November 1st pat yourself on the back no matter whether you've finished your work or not and walk away for a week or two to recover. You can go back and either finish your book or start editing it later on - give yourself that break to recharge the batteries and get a fresh look at your work.

If you intend to pursue publication you need to get that bit of space to go back to your work with a keen eye toward editing - and don't even think about sending it out to agents and publishers until 2015 and months after finishing (and hopefully winning) NaNoWriMo. Your work needs to breathe and you need to refresh your mind and body before beginning the next stage of editing and rewriting to prepare it for submission. Please give yourself that break to recharge your writing batteries and you'll find your work benefits from it.

Me? I've sold two NaNoWriMo books. Blood of the Pride and Blaze of Glory were NaNo novels that I sold after months of rewriting and editing so yes, it can be done. But even if you never sell your book NaNoWriMo is an excellent mental exercise to get your writing skills honed and test your endurance and organizational skills. If you're serious about writing I encourage you to consider this great way to join a huge writing community and have a good time doing it!

And plan for that turkey coma!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To the Stars

Maybe it is my love for the Big Bang Theory that got me thinking about writing sci-fi. After all, those loveable geeks are all about maybe I developed a new love through an established love....or maybe I was just in the mood to hum a song about twinkling stars while I wrote. Who knows?

What I do know--the cover of Starlight Cowboy is gorgeous.

See? Beautiful!

I also know that it has two of my very favorite characters. Here's a little bit about them.

From the storybook of the stars.
A groundbreaking mission to the moons of Jupiter should have been Annalina's big ticket for advancement, but instead of captaining her own ship, she's second fiddle to Shields Albright.

Playboy, adventurer, immature.
Shields has been called it all, but really, he just wants to fly and hasn’t spent a lot of time on his social skills. Mutual attraction grows as the walls of the space ship close in, and they come to an arrangement that satisfies them both, while allowing them professional distance. The distance doesn’t last, not as they grow to understand themselves…and each other as someone who just fits.

Not all is as it should be among the stars.
Their ship is attacked, and the moons of Jupiter are not exactly untouched when they finally arrive. The little world they’ve built high above terra firma is about to smack down in the middle of a dangerous, maybe even deadly, reality. If Shields didn't attract trouble like fireflies on a bug zapper, the two might have an actual shot at true love.

See what I mean? They are so fantastic and I just love them.

You can fall in love with them too. Starlight Cowboy is available now!


Barnes and Noble:


Happy Reading!!
Stephanie Beck

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Veronica Scott, with thanks

This is going to be short, because the first part of it's a little hard to talk about.

About a year ago, I received some bad news. I took it badly.

I broke down, just about completely.

Since then I've mostly been mailing it in. Going through the motions, hoping no one notices.

Except here. Veronica poked me every time it was time for my post here, gave me ideas about what to write, and generally kept me from sinking into my self-imposed hole.

Over the past year, I've written more here than every place else combined.

I'm finally coming back out of that long slump, and the one of the few reasons I'm still in any shape to write are the monthly posts I've put up here.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Voodoo Has Taught Me

In my second necromancer book, The Necromancer’s Betrayal, I explored a little bit of voodoo albeit a more fictional/fantastical approach. I debated whether to include voodoo in my books because my representation of necromancers and their power over the dead is very different than that of a fictional voodoo practitioner, but once I started writing about my voodoo priest or Bokor, I realized the interaction between Ruby, the necromancer, and the Bokor created some interesting fodder for comparing how the different supernatural characters manipulate and control the dead.

But real voodoo or Vodun isn’t about raising the dead and is often misrepresented in movies and literature. Sure I loved The Skeleton Key, Serpent and the Rainbow and a multitude of books, including a great read, Darkfall, by Dean Koontz. Yet, how did voodoo become so maligned? Partly, the U.S. feared that the effects of the Haitian revolution of 1791 would spill over to the U.S. (According to legend, the Haitians beat the French using voodoo.) In addition, an unfortunate book was published and widely disseminated in 1886 called Haiti or the Black Republic. The book described voodoo as evil and influenced some of the beliefs held today.

In reality, voodoo is a complex cultural practice, a religion. Most of the voodoo in Haiti and New Orleans are syncretic religions that evolved from the West and Central African Vodun traditions. The slaves brought to the new world had to hide their beliefs and used the Catholic and Christian religions to disguise their practices and their deities.

When I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa, my fellow volunteer and I took a whirlwind trip on cramped mini-vans from the Ivory Coast, through Ghana and Togo to Benin. While wandering around Ouidah, the spiritual center of voodoo, we stumbled upon a Vodun dance. While unsure exactly the nature of the ceremony, we likened it to some of the mask dances we’d become familiar with in the Ivory Coast. A brilliant, colorful, somewhat chaotic experience driven by percussion. We also walked the slave route previously tread by captured Africans to the beach where they were imprisoned on slave ships. Called La Porte du Non Retour, or the path or door of no return, the four mile stretch is lined with amazing statues, Vodun symbols, like the one pictured below.

My picture of a Vodun statue along
the Long Walk in Ouidah, Benin.
Besides Haiti, African Vodun left its mark in Brazil. My parents are Brazilian and I lived in Salvador, Brazil for a few years. Salvador is a beautiful coastal city heavily influenced by the Portuguese settlers and African slaves they brought over. The slaves and their ancestors developed their own versions of Vodun called Candomblé and Umbanda. The slaves came from different parts of Africa, including Benin, Togo and Angola, and blended their different gods to create the polytheistic Candomblé. You see a lot of reference to the Orishas (or Orixas), the dieties, in Brazilian music and art. In December, in Salvador, people gather at the beaches and make offerings to Yemaya or Yemanja or Iemanjá, the Orisha, or diety representing the essence of the ocean. Iemanjá was born from a syncretic blend of the Catholic patron saint Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes (Our Lady of Seafarers) and West African Vodun and is often represented in Salvador as a mermaid. I was fortunate to observe the December ceremony as people loaded boats with flowers and candles and set them afloat in the ocean.

Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies and heavily influence Brazilian Carnival. I experienced three carnivals during my time in Brazil and unlike the parade spectacle in Rio, Carnival in the Northeastern cities are more like huge streets parties. Sure in many instances you feel like a human sardine, but the energy, the music and food and drink…there’s nothing quite like it. One important Carnival troupe is the afoxe, a group that draws upon Candomblé percussion rhythms and song. One famous afoxe, The Filhos de Ghandhy or Sons of Ghandhy, formed in 1949 in Salvador to promote peace and fight discrimination. They appear during Carnaval dressed in white flowing robes and sing songs with multiple references to the Orishas, sometimes in in the Yoruban language.
My picture  of two Carnaval performers in
Candomble inspired costumes. Recife, Brazil.
So while I can still enjoy my zombie scares and draw upon the rich voodoo mythology for stories, I can appreciate the beauty of voodoo and its influence across cultures without worrying about said zombie rising from the grave. Have a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cloud Atlas - How Genre is Ultimately Irrelevant

I'm utterly thrilled beyond belief that RT Book Reviews gave the second book in my Twelve Kingdoms series, The Tears of the Rose, their highest possible review rating of a Top Pick GOLD.

Still in shock, frankly.

Especially since the first book, The Mark of the Tala, received their Seal of Excellence earlier this year for a compelling book that pushes genre boundaries. It's a neurotic writer thing, but when great things like that happen, we always figure the next book will fail to measure up. Alas.

The question of genre has long interested me, not only because my books "push genre boundaries" - a nice way of saying people are sometimes unsure how to categorize them- but because genre categories have such a profound influence on writers, readers, booksellers, librarians and so on.

Quite remarkable for what is essentially a false construct.

Something ably demonstrated by the movie Cloud Atlas. I finally got around to streaming this movie the other night and found it utterly brilliant. It's a complex movie requiring close attention, that tells six interweaving stories from different time periods. The spoiler-filled full synopsis is here. The shorter, vaguer one is:

Everything is connected: an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific; letters from a composer to his lover; a thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant; a farce about a publisher in a nursing home; a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea; and the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future.

What's fascinating is to break these six stories into genre categories. I checked the genre classifications for the movies each story thread most reminded me of. They'd come out as:

1. an 1849 diary of an ocean voyage across the Pacific - Action, Adventure
2. letters from a composer to his lover - Historical, Romance
3. thriller about a murder at a nuclear power plant - Thriller, Mystery
4. a farce about a publisher in a nursing home - Comedy, Drama
5. a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea - Science Fiction, Action
6. the tale of a tribe living in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, far in the future - Post-Apocalyptic, Adventure

So what genre is this movie? Well, they settled on the very neutral "Drama" and threw in a "Science Fiction" secondary genre. Likely as a warning. The book is categorized on Amazon as Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction and Fantasy. Quite the hodgepodge.

Of course, not every story is this complex or difficult to define. However, I think it provides an interesting case study that shows genre really is a semi-arbitrary classification system. I'm particularly fascinated that the genre drifted so much from book to movie.

Any other examples you can think of where that's happened?

Monday, October 13, 2014

The October Sky by Diane Burton

I’m not usually a skywatcher, but October will probably convert me. So much goes on in the sky this month. We can see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which reminds me of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider when all the planets aligned.

Last week, we had a total eclipse of the moon—and a blood moon at that. Isn’t this a fantastic sight? 

Next Sunday, Comet Siding Spring will barely miss Mars. Although we won’t be able to see that “close encounter” in the sky, we will on our computers, thanks to all the probes in area. Can you imagine what that will look like from Mars? The robots will get quite a view.

As if that isn’t enough, the Orionid meteor shower is coming next Monday/Tuesday. If the sky isn’t cloudy, I might just take a blanket to the Lake Michigan beach around midnight. I’ll have to convince Hubs to go with me. Sounds like a romantic evening, if we can stay awake.

Then on the 23rd, we’ll have a partial solar eclipse. Protect your eyes, folks.

Now for a fun factoid. The gang from “Firefly” are going to reunite to provide the voices for an online interactive game that will be released next year. Now I’m not a gamer, but I might be convinced to play this one and indulge my fantasy of crewing for Captain Mal. For more info on the game, see

I’ll bet I could come up with several stories based on an October sky. How about you?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What's haunting my TiVo and my Nook

It’s October, and that means one thing and one thing only: SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween. (Okay, two things: it also means Pumpkin Spice Lattes.) Oh my goodness, how I love stupid (and not-so-stupid) horror movies. I can’t resist watching them all.

Last week, I watched Children of the Corn and all four of the Omen movies. Then I had a sudden yen for the original Fright Night, so I streamed that one on Netflix this past weekend—ah, Chris Sarandon’s over-the-top vampire mugging; is there anything better? And yesterday (on mute, peering over my monitor while writing at the standing desk), I watched bits of Stephen King’s Rose Red mini-series and glimpses of some awesomely bad slasher films. (Wonder how that’s going to affect my MC's disintegration into madness scenes?) I’ll watch just about any and every horror and paranormal movie there is, except torture porn.

But there is one thing I really hate in this genre, and that’s zombie movies. I appreciated the classic Romero movies and enjoyed some of the remakes, and loved Shaun of the Dead, but I am so over the zombie fetish that seems to have overtaken the world. The Zombie Apocalypse isn’t coming, it’s already here, come to bore you to death with endless iterations of shambling-and-yet-fast-moving, face-eating, rotting bodies, and heads being blown off. Ugh. Why is this a thing?

I know. It’s not fashionable to hate zombies. I’m not a fan of The Walking Dead, for which I am clearly going straight to hell. (Where there will probably be zombies.) But I just don’t get it. I prefer magical monsters, ghost stories, superhuman lunatics, and improbable beasts. I want a little sexy in my scary. (But do not even think of recommending any zombie love stories to me. Do. Not. It’s not happening.)

Tomorrow, unfortunately, appears to be “All Zombies, All the Time” day in the 31 Days lineup, so I’ll be skipping that one. But Wednesday? A full day of Ghosthunters! I’m a sucker for ghost hunting. I can’t say I believe in ghosts—but I want to believe. I eat up every dubious EVP track, every REM Pod and EMF monitor beep and scree, and every blurry shadow that moves across the IR camera’s field. So along with the return of some of my favorite SFF shows—Doctor Who, Sleepy Hollow, and Haven, to name a few—it looks like my TiVo has its hands full for the month.

Yet somehow, I do still find time to write (Idol of Blood is about 85% finished), and even to read. On the literary front, I recently started reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I want to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein before Halloween. I’ve seen these classics of horror filmed a million ways (and I am SO stoked—no pun intended—to see the new Dracula Untold coming out this weekend!), but never got around to reading them. I’d heard Dracula was horribly flawed, but so far, I’m pleasantly surprised. I love the very proper and flowery Victorian wording, and Stoker weaves the dark mood in every physical setting and detail. It’s long, of course. Books used to be. It’s also refreshing not to read a book riddled with the infuriating grammatical errors of confusing “lay” with “lie” and “led” with “lead” that seem to plague all modern fiction. So, yeah, maybe Stoker’s no Dostoevsky, but I’m enjoying the read. ;) And even if it turns out to be a dud, it’s October, and it’s horror, so I win either way.

So what's haunting your devices this month? What are your favorites to watch and read during the season of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins? Will you be lining up early with me to see Dracula Untold?