Monday, November 17, 2014

Do You Want To Win A TARDIS?

TeeFury is giving a way a life-sized TARDIS.
You heard me, Whovians. You can have your own phone box. Now, it probably won't travel through time and space, BUT you can totally put it in your backyard and sit in it making vworp vworp noises and wearing a fez. And if I win, that's where I'll be.

How cool is that?  And if you don't know, TeeFury is also a really cool place to get t-shirts year-round. And right now they are having a sale on their Whovian tees, to accompany the big giveaway. So check them out: TeeFury

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Terror by Night

This month’s reminiscence departs from my usual focus on fiction: The first nonfiction book on vampires I ever read was TERROR BY NIGHT, by Bernhardt J. Hurwood (1963; reissued in 1969 as THE MONSTROUS UNDEAD). As an avid vampire fan with limited access to my favorite reading material (in the mid-1960s, vampires were a long way from ubiquitous in popular culture, as they have become since the explosion of the 1970s), I was wildly excited to stumble upon this paperback. Hurwood devotes about half of the book to vampirism and related phenomena, the other half to lycanthropy and necrophilia. Regarding both vampires and were-creatures, he surveys superstitions and legends from all over the world, then zeroes in on European traditions for closer, more extended discussion. Along the way he deals with a wide variety of material, from vampires and werewolves of the supernatural type to real-life perpetrators of cannibalism, necrophilia, and blood-drinking. The chapter titled “Vampires and Werewolves Today” wanders into metaphorical realms, such as equating international communism with vampirism. Psychosexual interpretations of the legends abound, naturally, especially in the final chapter, “The Psychological Origins.”

This is blatantly a book for a popular audience, not a scholarly work, although it does contain a bibliography of about two and a half pages. Hurwood retells many of the best-known legends and true-crime incidents, with the obvious purpose of intriguing and horrifying the reader. His later book VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND GHOULS (1968) goes into more detail on legends, superstitions, and the historical origins of those beliefs. It also explores real-life monsters to a greater extent than TERROR BY NIGHT. The entire second half of the later book, “The Monsters Among Us,” deals with criminals guilty of vampire-like, bestial, or ghoulish acts, including Jack the Ripper. Without bibliography or footnotes, we have to take the author’s word for the accuracy of his retellings. For younger readers, Hurwood wrote VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND OTHER DEMONS (1972). He’s also the author of many other works on the monstrous and occult, which occupy multiple pages on Amazon, including the edition of TERROR BY NIGHT I have on my shelf (whose cover I’ve copied here).

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Death in Heaven


This finale, you guys. This finale.
What a roller-coaster of emotions. 

Missy, of course, was delightfully wicked. What a great villain! She's crazy and chaotic and evil and also just a little bit sympathetic. In short, she's a perfect Master,, Mistress.
And I expect her to try and destroy humanity, sure. What villain wouldn't? But she also did some things that hit me right in the feels.

For one, she killed Osgood. I am not ok with this. I loved her character from the 50th anniversary episode, and it was exciting to have her return- this time sporting a bowtie, ala the Eleventh Doctor- and help with the mission to save the world. And she gets a thrill when Capaldi hints that he might just take her for a spin on the TARDIS when this is all over, and you're thinking, "Osgood? Possible next companion? Oooh! Yes please!" And then, only moments later, she is tricked by Missy and disintegrated. Nooooooo! My feels are hurt. Osgood was a great character. She was us- the fans. She was the nerd who knows who the Doctor is, and gets all of the timey-wimey nonsense and would love nothing more than to flit off into time and space with him. She even cosplays, for Pete's sake! Killing her is like killing my dream, Moffat! Darn you.

 And then, there's Danny. Yes, as I feared, he does get "upgraded" into a Cyberman. But because he never actually deleted his emotions before the download, he is the sole Cyber with his feelings still intact. And it is a torment. Danny is dead, and he knows that, and now he's marching around, clutching his own pink death notice, and before he reveals himself, he has to hear Clara give him a speech about how the Doctor is the one person she would never lie to. And of course, it is true. She never really treated Danny well. She gave him half of her attention, at best, and now it is too late. Danny needs Clara to shut off his emotions so that he doesn't have to march around, undead, with all of this pain in his heart as well. The Doctor advises her not to, of course, because once Danny is turned off, he should, in theory, become a complete Cyberman and try to kill her, but Clara refuses to listen. She has not done what she should for Danny in life, and now she can at least do this one thing for him and give him peace. 

Which leads to one of the more uplifting things- Danny becomes a hero. (Again.) 
What Missy didn't count on was a Cyberman being able to overcome his programming- and that's exactly what Danny manages to do. He promises before his emotions are shut off, that he will never harm Clara. And as the Doctor and Missy learn, love is a promise that not even death can destroy. When the other Cybermen obey orders, Danny alone remains by Clara's side. And when the Doctor gets the "control bracelet" from Missy, he gives it to the Danny so that he can save us all. Danny gives a moving speech, and sacrifices himself to destroy all of the Cybermen, and protect the world and the woman that he loves. Does any soldier ever do less? The promise that they make- the vow to protect us all if it comes to that- that is the promise of a soldier, and Danny upholds his oath.

As for the Doctor- this conflict with Missy and the sacrifice of Danny seems to be the catalyst for 12 to change his hardened heart. He has a new-found respect for soldiers, and we see this evidenced when the Doctor gives the Brigadier the salute he always wanted. That was a change I wanted to see. And then the Doctor kills Missy...or did the Brigadier do it? OR...did Missy actually teleport somewhere in the nick of time? I wouldn't count out the Mistress just yet. She/he has a way of popping back up for nefarious fun.

And the ending. Oh my God. Danny still had the bracelet when he destroyed the Cybermen. Apparently, there was enough energy left to send one person back from the Nethersphere. But, Danny is too noble to selfishly save himself- instead he sends back the young boy that he had killed accidentally in the war. He charges Clara with looking after him, and that is the end of Danny Pink, very probably forever. So what of their children? Or at least child? They established that Danny and Clara have a "future together" because Clara met Orson Pink, who was clearly a descendant of Danny, by his looks and by the fact that he carried the toy soldier that a young Danny has in the episode,  Listen. And Orson says that one of his great-grandparents was a time-traveler- presumably Clara. The boy sent back from the dead is not Danny's biological son, so he can't really fulfill this role as the ancestor of Orson Pink. Orson looks like Danny. So, is Clara pregnant then? She would almost have to be, unless they are going to throw away all of that information and chalk it up to altering your own timeline and blah, blah, blah. So we possibly have Clara raising a boy who came back from the dead and about to have her own child when she meets the Doctor at the very end of the episode. 

We see Clara trying to tell the Doctor some bad news- presumably that Danny didn't come back. (And maybe more...) And the Doctor, assumes that all is well with Clara, and blurts out that he's found Gallifrey- a lie- and that he'll be going home now, and so go have a happy life, you deserve it, and all that. Clara, thinking the Doctor will be happy now, so no need to burst his bubble, lies back and agrees that she and Danny will be happy. So, both of them lonely and miserable, hug goodbye and go their separate ways- each thinking they are doing the other a favor by hiding their own pain. 

And that's it, and it is all- Oh my God this is so sad I don't think I can bear it!!!

And then, Santa shows up, and it's Nick Frost, and he is saying that "She's not ok, and we have to set things right." so we assume that the Doctor is going to go with Santa to fix things with Clara properly before they part ways for good. So, that was at least one bit of positive we got at the end of a very emotional episode.


What a ride.

Here's the trailer for the Christmas special. It looks totally weird, you guys.:

Aliens? A Ghostbusters reference? Santa at the North Pole? Sure, why not? It's Doctor Who- I'm surprised there aren't cowboys riding dinosaurs as well. Maybe there will be. 

Until then, VampChix!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Convention just for Supernatural Fans

Coming to Phoenix in February!

The "Salute to Supernatural" is a Creation Entertainment Convention,  which looks a bit different from your typical comicon. They focus on one fandom for each event, and your ticket guarantees you a seat in the hall when your guest is speaking. This is unlike Phoenix Comicon, where your ticket gets you in the door, but you need to get in line or make sure to be in a ballroom early if you want to hear a particular guest speak. That of course, can lead to disappointment for people who really wanted to hear one specific guest, but didn't show up fast enough to get in the door. So, that is the big upside here, it seems.

One downside that I can see is that right now, their website only sells "Gold" memberships which cost $699. That is crazy. They say more levels will be opening up soon so stay tuned, but at the moment, I have no idea what to expect for general admission pricing. It could be affordable, could not be. We'll have to wait and see. I have never been to a Creation event, so I can't give you any "past experience tips." 

But it looks like a lot of fun and because it is just focused on Supernatural, you know you will get exactly what you came to see. That's kind of nifty. Oh and by the way, there are other Creation cons in the country, and one is a Vampire Diaries event! 

The Phoenix Supernatural Event is February 20th-22nd, 2015
at the Sheraton Phoenix Hotel 240 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ

Not going to be in the Phoenix area? Or want to go to one of the other themed cons?
Here's a list of Creation Conventions throughout the country:
Mar. 6-8, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

Boston, MA
Oct. 2-4, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

Chicago, IL
Apr. 17-19, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention
Jun. 12-14, 2015 - Creation's Star Trek Convention
Aug. 14-16, 2015 - Official STARGATE Convention
Oct. 23-25, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Houston, TX
Jan. 23-25, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural
Mar. 20-22, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention
Jacksonville, FL
Jan. 15-17, 2016 - Salute to Supernatural
Dallas, TX
Aug. 14-16, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention
Sep. 11-13, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Denver, CO
Nov. 6-8, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Las Vegas, NV
Mar. 12-15, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural
Aug. 6-9, 2015 - Creation's Star Trek Convention
Sep. 18-20, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 14-16, 2014 - Salute to Supernatural
Feb. 20-22, 2015 - The Official Xena Convention
Mar. 7-8, 2015 - Days of the Wolf

Minneapolis, MN
Aug. 21-23, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Orlando, FL
Dec. 12-14, 2014 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

Parsippany, NJ
Jul. 17-19, 2015 - The Vampire Diaries Official Convention

Phoenix, AZ
Feb. 20-22, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

San Francisco, CA
Dec. 12-14, 2014 - Official Star Trek Convention
Jan. 16-18, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Seattle, WA
Dec. 12-14, 2014 - Official Star Trek Convention
Mar. 27-29, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Secaucus, NJ
Sep. 25-27, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Toronto, ON
Oct. 9-11, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Vancouver, BC
Aug. 28-30, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural
Washington, DC
Jul. 24-26, 2015 - Salute to Supernatural

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tucson Comicon

Today and tomorrow! If you are in the Tucson area, come on out! Cool vendors, panels, cosplay contest, and much nerdery!

Find out all the details at:
Saturday and Sunday, November 8th (10:00 am – 7:00 pm) and 9th (10:00 am-5:00 pm), 2014
Tucson Convention Center
260 South Church Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Phone: 1-800-745-3000

Some of the cool cosplay from last year:

Friday, November 7, 2014

So Freaky!

American Horror Story recap time!


I enjoyed the two-part Edward Mordrake Halloween episodes. And if you didn't know- the character is based on a real person who actually had two faces and believed that the one on the back of his head said evil things to him. CREEPY!

And the big shocker for me, was that they killed off Twisty! I assumed he and Dandy would be killing and tormenting like an insane little clown posse for at least a bit longer, but nope. Mordrake claimed the crazed Twisty after we saw his origin story, and it was revealed that he was truly twisted. But, in yet another turn, we learn that Ryan Murphy intends to have the clown return later in the series. Hmm. As a ghost? A flashback? I guess we will wait and see.

 We learn that Ethel Darling is dying, and that Dell is Jimmy's dad, and that Elsa got her legs cut off in some horrifying German porn den.
Then we have Stanley and Maggie Esmerelda show up and they are looking for a freak to kill and pickle for the very unethical collector of the macabre and bizarre, Lillian Hemmings. Looks like they have their sites set on Bette and Dot, and that was confirmed in the latest episode, Pink Cupcakes.

Speaking of the new episode- what the heck is going on? It starts off with the Tattler sisters and Paul the Seal dead, and on display in Hemmings' gallery. And then they flash back and show you how the sisters died- by eating poisoned cupcakes that Stanley gave them. Except then- oh wait, no they didn't. WHAT? Was that all just Stanley's imagination? Next thing you know, the twins are alive again, and Elsa is getting jealous and dropping them off at Dandy's house. Um..ok. Whatever, I guess. Is Paul dead then? Was it all just a fantasy? So confused!

And Dandy...oh my god, that boy is 100% Grade A Psychopath. He murders Dora, and he is convinced that he is some kind of pure American specimen of awesomeness or something, and now he is going on the prowl for fresh victims by picking up guys at gay bars and taking them to Twisty's old pad for some murder-y fun. Except the first guy he nabs just won't die. In a gruesome turn of events, Dandy seems to have chosen a different sort of freak for his target- one that has regenerative abilities. Oh man. Even Dandy is turned off by sawing limbs off a dude who just won't stay dead.

And in other news, Desiree is really a woman, Dell is a closeted homosexual, (Although considering that he had relationships with a bearded lady and a hermaphrodite, that is maybe not such a big revelation. Should have seen that one coming.) Desiree is leaving Dell, which is just as well, because now he knows that she is a woman, maybe he won't be into her anymore. Oh, and Desiree was pregnant, but she miscarried. Bummer.

And finally, we saw just how complicit Gloria Mott is in her son's crimes. She covers up Dora's murder, and recalls how she foisted all of his upbringing onto a series of nannies who didn't stay around long. She makes excuses for his violent appetites saying that it is simply an affliction of the rich. She seems somewhat remorseful, but I don't think she is going to stand up to her son any time soon. And guess who shows up trying to find out where her mother is- Dora's daughter, played by AHS Coven cast member, Gabourey Sidibe ("Queenie"). So, will Gloria be willing to kill her to keep Dandy's crimes secret? I would put money on her suggesting that Dandy "clean up after himself" by going after Dora's daughter.

So, I think that brings us up to date. But, have you heard the news? Ryan Murphy has revealed that the seasons of AHS are actually connected. Oh my god. Mind blown. Pepper, we knew was a cross-over character, so there was clearly a connection between Seasons 2 and 4, but now he says they are ALL in the same universe. Que the OCD re-watching of past seasons to look for clues. I am sure somebody will have some insane fan-theories posted already. I just can't even right now. I'm still trying to figure out if Paul and the twins are dead.

Anyone have any thought about the season so far, or fan theories of their own that they want to share? Leave us some comments!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Maplecroft Review

Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches, by Cherie Priest

Book Description:

"Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....
The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

Angie's review:

This is exactly what it sounds like: Lizzie Borden meets Lovecraft.

But if you think that sounds campy or silly, you would be dead wrong.

The book follows not only Lizzie, but her sister, Emma, Lizzie's lover, Nance, and a Doctor Seabury, Professor Zollicoffer and an Inspector Wolf as each of them try to make sense of the insanity that has become the town of Fall River.

Lizzie and Emma were first to experience it, when their parents were inexplicably turned into monsters. Lizzie did what had to be done, but how can you make anyone believe the truth? She stood trial and was found innocent, but for years, she has been tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion, leaving her and her invalid sister virtual pariahs on the edges of town.

But that is just as well, because it allows the sisters to focus on their new calling- understanding and destroying this foe. Only with great reluctance will they allow anyone else into their circle. But events are escalating, and the two women are going to have to let others in, because there is an evil coming for them that even they had never imagined.

Maplecroft pulled me in immediately. It feels so Lovecraftian, and yet, it is not just a re-hashing of his ideas. It pulls from his themes, and as you follow the characters in their own discoveries, the sense of horror builds and builds. It has such a familiar feel- the blending of science and myth, the ancient evil waiting to be re-awakened... this is stuff I know and love. And yet, this is also something entirely new and refreshing. 

I am excited to learn that there is a second book in the Borden Dispatches, due out next year. Priest says it will be called Chapelwood, and will be set 30 years after the events of Maplecroft. 
Yea! I will be looking for that.

Maplecroft on:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A visit from author Jenn Lyons to discuss conspiracy

Today we have author Jenn Lyons in the house for a quick visit as she makes the rounds for her latest book, Blood Sin. Welcome to our little corner of the web, Jenn, and thanks for visiting. ~Anna

Oh Conspiracy! 

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Reptile Illuminati 

So let’s get this out of the way first thing: I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I personally tend to believe that most of the time, conspiracies are unnecessary to explain the general stupidity that humans are capable of achieving motivated solely by greed, ignorance, and superstition. I also think that, as humans, we’ve done a very good job of developing pattern recognition skills to such a fine degree that we can expertly pick out patterns where none exist. From shapes in the clouds to patterns of societal manipulation, we can pull meaning from the chaos of existence. 

That means we’re very good at assigning malice to acts of chance. 

Clearly there’s some comfort to be had to doing this. If some other force in the universe is hard at work mucking up our lives, keeping us down, manipulating events, then it’s very easy to shift to blame to that phantom. That means it’s not our fault, right? So yeah, I’m not a fan of doing that. 

However, when I sat down the write down the first Blood Chimera book, and later it’s sequel, Blood Sin, I realized that the world I created pretty much did require these things to exist. An ancient race of saurian brood parasites does not hide in the shadows of humanity since its earliest days without manipulating societies and secretly controlling governments. So regardless of how I felt of such things in the real world, in my book various secret societies and conspiracies most definitely exist and battle each other while they try to play puppet masters to humanity. 

I just didn’t expect that the real world had beaten me to the punch. 

I had just finished the first book in the series when a friend pointed me towards a conspiracy theorist named David Icke, who was filling theaters all over England to lecture about the shape-changing reptilian vampires who secretly control society. 

I honestly had a moment where I wondered if he’d somehow managed to read a copy of my book.

 Except he isn’t presenting this as fiction: he really seems to believe this is what’s going on, describing an ancient saurian race reaching back to Babylonian times. His global conspiracy isn’t exactly identical to mine (I don’t think I could have handled it if every detail had been the same) but I have to admit the similarities are a bit unsettling. 

 You see, his reptiles are alien blood-drinking saurian shape shifters from another dimension, whereas mine are blood-drinking saurian shape shifters who evolved here on Earth.

 Completely different. 

A part of me hoped that his theories would join the ranks of forgotten conspiracies (Stephen King shot John Lennon, anyone?) but it turns out that I’m not the only person out there who thinks the idea of a secret society of reptilian shape changers working at the highest levels of world government is inherently awesome. The reptile illuminati is now an official internet meme, with t-shirts, countless mentions on youtube, and long discussions on how they control every strata of government, but most especially the City of London. 

 (Which is true in my books too. I mean, obviously they would control the City of London. Have you seen that coat of arms? So obviously maran.) 

They’re marvelously the butt of a lot of jokes, and people quite logically dismiss the entire idea as so much delightful idiocy. (It makes for a great t-shirt.) Which is, naturally, exactly the way the reptile illuminati would want it.

Book description:

Everything is permitted… and everyone has their price. Zander Sin is the bad boy of rock-n-roll, known for his wealth, his temper tantrums, and his love of hedonism, but to K&R expert and newly born maran vampire Jackson Pastor, Zander Sin is something else: murderer, monster, and kidnapper. After Zander’s Whore of Babylon tour comes to Los Angeles, Jackson also learns that
Zander Sin has a grudge with Jackson’s family that goes way beyond money or power, and stretches all the way back to ancient Rome.

Zander may be on everyone’s hit list, human and supernatural alike, but when Jackson learns that Zander’s keeping his younger sister Monika prisoner, he finds himself face-to-face with the most objectionable of outcomes: being forced to help Zander Sin get what he wants. Even if it means Jackson may have to betray everyone he loves to do it.

 Blood Sin will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, WorldWeaverPress, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also find more about book 1,  Blood Chimeraat the WorldWeaver page. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas is coming early

I started reading Sandra Hill back when she wrote about Vikings, no paranormal elements involved, just good 'ol Alpha male Vikings, with plenty of bodice ripper romance, and I loved it. Then my tastes shifted towards vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts...enter the Vangels! 

The name sounded silly to me at first, a few giggles and eyerolls might have been involved, but after reading Kiss of Wrath it was obvious that Sandra Hill had created a lore that was inventive and original. The men in these books are about as Alpha as you can get and the women they meet are dynamic and strong, not a simpering miss in sight, which is so great because when reading a romance I want it to be something that doesn't make me embarrassed to be a girl. 

If you want sexy guys and kickass chicks, then give this series a try. ~Anna

Christmas in Transylvania
A Deadly Angels Novella
By Sandra Hill

On-Sale 10/28/2014  

ISBN: 9780062117557

Book Description:

For the first time ever the leader of the Viking Vampire Angels, Vikar Sigurdsson, has been talked into celebrating a traditional Christmas! The tree has been decorated, the gifts have been wrapped and the stockings have been hung. And that’s mistletoe, not cobwebs hanging from the ceiling of the creepy castle full of vangels…really! 

The icing on the vampire cookie comes when vangel Karl Mortensen rescues Faith Larson, a battered young waitress, from her abusive boyfriend and hides her in the castle amidst the Christmas chaos. But what Karl thought was a frail young teenager is actually a very tempting woman. And she thinks his fangs are sexy! 

But a strange “Christmas visitor” at the castle and demon vampires up to their old tricks could threaten the budding romance between Karl and Faith. It’s an impossible match: a human and a vangel, but Christmas is a time for magic. 

Karl and Faith don’t stand a chance…

Check it out over at Amazon

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