Monstrous Monday

Welcome to the first ever Monstrous Monday, which is hosted by The Other Side.  It is a day for all of us who love/hate monsters to blog about ’em.  For Monstrous Monday, I decided to share a little bit about a monster in my novel.  This is not a Christian novel, despite the religious undertones.  This is horror/paranormal.

The Demon

According to Merriam-Webster, a demon is

  1. an evil spirit
  2. a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin

Although many of us in America consider the demon part of the Christian religion, there are demonic-like beings in Islam (jinns), Hinduism, Judaism, and several ancient religions.  There are many demons in Christian demonology, many of which were added because some Christian theologians concluded that all pagan deities were demons.  In Christian tradition, demons are like angels: spiritual, immutable, and immortal. 

Magical Abilities

Demonic supernatural powers are believed to include psychokinesis, levitation, divination, possession, ESP, telepathy, witchcraft, and curses, as well as superhuman strength, controlling the classical elements, animal control, and provocation. Demons use variants and combinations of these powers to harass, demoralize, confuse, and disorient the victim, or the willing subject of demonic interest. All of these attacks, as well as their effect or scope, can be nulled by God.

Demons are believed to have the power to physically or mentally hurt people, but only within the boundaries of what God will allow. Demons can destroy any material on the earth; these supernatural powers are always inferior to the power of God. God may use His will to cancel or destroy any effect the demon chooses to invoke. According to the gospels, Jesus also had full power over demons, and they always obeyed his commands when he told them what to do, as opposed to a more general sense in which demons only do that which God tells them to.  Often Demons are said to create negative emotions, wreaking havoc, ensuing chaos, and disrupting peace. (Source:  Christian Demonology Wiki)

Questions

These are questions that sparked the idea behind my work in progress.

  1. Does the child born to a woman impregnated by an incubus (sexual demon) have a soul?
  2. Would that child be permitted to enter Heaven with the heavy weight of Original sin (gained from the mother) and the sinful nature of the demon?
  3. If that woman was to end the life of a half-demon (the baby), would that be considered a sin or an exorcism?

In my book, the baby is not allowed to enter Heaven because she is not baptized.  When Death comes for the baby, the demon father stops Death from sending the baby to Hell.  The demon father decides that he will keep her on Earth.  I don’t want to spoil the book, so I won’t say how.  She learns about her powers far before she learns “what” she is.  And when she does, the question is still…is there a chance that she could go to Heaven or is she destined to spend her afterlife in Hell?

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By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop

AW October Blog Chain: Otherworldly

This month’s prompt: Otherworldly

Ghouls, ghost and things that go bump in the night. Old Hallows Eve, Dia de los Muertos and Halloween. October is the month where the veil between our world and the Other thins. So this month is about those things beyond our world, be they scary, funny or anything in between. Write wherever the prompt inspires you, fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry. Do try and keep things at a PG-13 level, though.  Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible. 

In honor of Halloween and to get my creative juices flowing for NaNoWritMo, which starts in a few weeks, I decided to do a flash fiction piece for the prompt.  Please keep in mind that it hasn’t be professionally edited and I apologize if there are any stupid grammatical mistakes.  

It’s dark…the way I like it.  You have been warned.


Moisture by Lizzy Lessard

A moist breath wets the heavy lids of my eyes.  The room is dark, so dark that is only when a silver gleam catches my attention that I know my eyes have opened at all.  Oblong metal with writing embossed – a dog tag.  As my eyes focus, I notice its twin brother hanging an inch beneath from another ball chain.  My fingers itch for confirmation that the sight is real and I tell them to capture the dog tags from around his neck.  But, a tight rope or cloth halts their path only inches later.  I jerk my body back and forth, suddenly aware of the binds locking my limbs in place.

I cry out – a hand rushes to my lips.

The thumb, calloused and thick, catches my the underside of my chin and digs into my throat.  His hand tastes like soil and one finger slides between my teeth.

I suppress the urge to bite, aware that at anytime his thumb might press further into my windpipe and suffocate me.  My compliance must please him, as his hand drops from my lips moments later.  The fingertips, as reluctant to depart as lovers in an airport, hover over my lips.  It tingles, stirring the wrong emotions from my body.

He is in front of me no longer; the dog tags have disappeared.  My cheeks flush with heat.  I’m relieved that he cannot see my desires through the darkness.  But neither can I see him.  I feel my eyes open and close as my lashes tickle my skin with each blink.

A pinch in my neck makes me gasp.  It’s like a hundred mosquitoes drill into my skin on a brutal quest to strike blood.  My hands twitch, eager to smack the life from the bloodsuckers.  I bend my head down to the left and smack into something hard and hairy.  I hear a groan; his head is against my neck!  The pinching stops as his head moves away.  A wetness slithers into the folds of skin around my neck and down between my breasts.  I fear that it’s perspiration, but the smell is sweeter and my skin strangely cool.

A tickle in my throat causes me to cough.   It feels like a layer of dust has settled in my windpipe and I lick my cracked lips as I imagine a clear glass of liquid washing away the debris and quenching my thirst.

“Thirsty?”

The question erupts goose-bumps on my skin from head to toe in a domino fashion.  A mind reader?  The thought disturbs me, but the only alternative is that he sees me.  I think I much rather the mind invasion than for his vision to be like an owl’s.   I haven’t felt an inch of cloth rub against my skin since waking – minus what binds my hands and feet.

A drop of liquid hits my lips and I extend my tongue.  All care vanishes while I focus on this gift.  The liquid is tangy and foreign but my body quivers in excitement like it’s Happy Hour.  I feel something slimy touch my gums and bile threatens to up heave what little my stomach contains.  I move my tongue to discover what this invader is and I strike a tooth.  It is pointed but I deduce from its normal neighbors that it certainly is a tooth.  And that slimy thick object next to it must be a tongue.

I twist away in disgust.  I spit out every drop he has planted in my mouth.  Disgust fuels my courage and a dumb question slips out my lips.  “Who are you?”  Not a ‘who’ though.  I remember the strange tooth and the stinging on my neck.  The way he slips in and out of the darkness without a sound.  “What are you?”

“Master,” answers the man…the creature.  “Call me master.”


Please check out the other blogs participating:

Bumped:

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Fall into Fantasy Blog Hop: Guest Post/Giveaway of Arcadian Genesis


I know that many of the other blogs on this hop are giving away teenage Cinderella stories, where a young girl meets a prince (or vampire), they save the world, and then live happily ever after.  Not here.  I have a special dark fantasy (science fiction) novella by Greig Beck.  Arcadian Genesis is currently number one on the iTunes bookstore and top 20 on Amazon’s action/adventure, but two lucky people can win a free ebook copy here!  This is the prequel to the Alex Hunter series.  So it you’re a new fan or old fan of Greig Beck, this book is for you.

In the spirit of Halloween, we also have a guest post by Greig Beck.  Read it and then leave a comment with your email to enter the giveaway.  There are TWO winners and this is an international giveaway (October 16th – 21st).  No need to follow for this giveaway, but I’d love for you to read my review of Arcadian Genesis HERE and check out the official page for this book on the publisher’s website.

DARKNESS

Guest Post by Greig Beck

Darkness.

Not the kind in that back alley with the busted street lamp at midnight, or the night-black forest when the moon has set and just before the sun rises. Something more stygian, mysterious and more impenetrable to even the most dark-adapted eye.

That type of darkness.

When I was just eight years old, my parents took our family to visit the Jenolan caves in the Blue Mountains. They’re one of the largest, deepest and at three hundred and forty million years, oldest limestone cave systems in the world.

After travelling for thirty minutes down and then further down into the wonderful caverns, artificially lit by gothicly placed lighting to best show off the angel wing columns, coral coloured stalagmites dyed blues, greens and reds from different minerals leaking down one small drip at a time for countless millennia, we finally came to a large cathedral like cavern.

Our guide stopped, smiled, and then asked is to spread out so we weren’t touching each other, and then to stand stock-still. He turned out the lights. The darkness was complete – nothing, not a glimmer, glow, or particle of light anywhere.

He spoke softly: ‘now feel the darkness.’

And we did.

It was cold, oppressive, all around us, everywhere, and wrapping itself so sightly it squeezed the chest, and blanketed the senses.

He spoke once again. ‘Listen.’

Almost imperceptibly at first, we could hear it – a slow drip from far away, its echo, plinking ever softer as it bounced softly onwards. Then, a scuttle, something like a low moan, and a stealthy sliding sound – way too close by.

It was unsettling, creepy, and claustrophobic. Even though the logical part of our brains told us we were still in a huge open space, our senses refused to support it.

This was real darkness. This was its world; this sunless place where legends and myths were born and grew strong.  There were things living in it. Things that had found sight redundant a million years before. However, these things still ‘saw’ us and knew we were there.

Even after the lights came back on, I remembered those feelings and sensations – on the way home, weeks afterwards, and still today, decades later.

Many of my stories contain scenes of travelling in that type of darkness – and there are things that lurk in that world that see us clearly even though we are blind. Things that are sentient, hungry, waiting, and not like us at all. That world does not belong to us – never did.

This Halloween, remember that dark when you turn into the street without the light, remember that someone or something sees you, far better than you see it.

A final thought; over two thousand people go missing a day – mostly in that kind of darkness. Look over your shoulder, and remember…

Happy Halloween!


No strings attached for this giveaway.  Enter a comment below with your email address and you’re automatically in.  Giveaway is open internationally and winners have 48 hours to respond by email before another one is chosen.  The fall into fantasy hop is hosted by The Write Path and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.  You can visit the other stops on the hop by clicking HERE.

Book Blogger Hop: Banned Books

Book Blogger Hop

Blogging Question: Banned Books Week ends on the 6th. How do you feel about books being challenged to be banned from libraries or schools? Have you read any banned books?

Its amazing how many GOOD books are on the Banned Book List.  I think it should almost be viewed as a compliment for someone to want to ban your book.  It means that your book is both popular and making a statement.  I also feel that people should have the freedom to WANT to ban a book.  I think that privately owned libraries or ones owned by religious entities shouldn’t hesitate to remove a book if they don’t agree with its contents.  However, government owned schools and libraries should NOT be banned from shelving certain books.  I don’t care how evil or wrong the contents.  This is America and we have the freedom to express ourselves through language without fear of being oppressed.

I am not against age-restricting materials.  Just like kids can’t purchase rated R movies or buy Playboy magazine, I wouldn’t be against kids not being able to purchase erotica or gory horror without parental permission.  That said, I probably would let my kid read whatever he wanted like my mom let me read whatever I wanted.

Banned books I’ve read on this list of 100 Most Challenged Books:

  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  4. Forever by Judy Blume
  5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  6. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  7. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  8. Blubber by Judy Blume
  9. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  11. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  12. Cujo by Stephen King
  13. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  14. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  15. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  16. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  17. Carrie by Stephen King
  18. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  19. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  20. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  21. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  22. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  23. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop, meme

AW Blog Post Chain: Seven

The Seven Deadly Sins of Reviewers

The Number Seven

September used to be the seventh month of the old Roman calendar and its name literally means seventh “month,” so this month is brought to you by 7. Write wherever the prompt inspires you, fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry. Do try and keep things at a PG-13 level, though.

Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible. Read and comment on other participants’ posts if you possibly can–they’ll be doing the same for you!  Visit the AW blog post link.


I haven’t had the time to visit the other blogs participating this month – I know, bad me.  Please check out the full list of participants at the bottom of this post.  I’m sure there’s some gems linked up.  My fellow AW bloggers never disappoint.  I plan on hitting each one before the end of the month and there’s still 12 days to go, so don’t hate me yet.

For this month, I chose to go with a twist on the Seven Deadly Sins.  Here are the Seven Deadly Sins for Reviewers.  There has been much discussion in the blogging community about the faults of authors in regards to the reviewer.  Today, we talk about the dark side of the book reviewers.

Lust – Thou shall not sell out.

funny gifs

I’m talking about selling reviews.  I promise to give you a review (most likely positive) in exchange for x amount of cash.  This man reportedly made $28,000 a month writing fake reviews for authors.  Author Michelle Gorman was told by a book review blog that a favorable review would cost her $95.  If this doesn’t bother you ethically, remember that the FTC will fine you if you don’t disclose if you received monetary compensation or just free book in exchange for a review.

And just so you know – I don’t charge for reviews.  I don’t take donations.  I do accept free books and will list on my review where I received my copy.

Gluttony – Thou shall not collect more books than can feasibly review.

I know some bloggers don’t guarantee reviews when authors/publishers send them a free copy, but that review copy SHOULD eventually make its way to someone who will read that book.  Common solutions are to pass it along to another blogger, use it in a giveaway, or donate it to the local library.  Personally, I also notify the author or publisher if I decline to review and give a reason why.

There was a lot of backlash after a pair of reviewers youtubed themselves with a bedfull of ARCs received from the ALA, which is primarily meant for for librarians not book bloggers.  They’ve taken the video down since and I noticed the review site itself is inactive too – last post was July 9th.  I hope that those books eventually make their way into the hands of people who will read and share their opinions of the books – as the publishers intended to happen with these copies.

It’s fairly easy for people to get carried away by the lure of free books.  I’ve downloaded 3-6 books a day from the Pixel of Ink daily freebie list.  Some of which I probably won’t ever read past the first chapter, but there’s also a few gems that I’ve downloaded on a whim, read, and LOVED.  On the other hand, I’ve stopped requesting books on Netgalley and Goodreads until I catch up with my backlog…well, mostly stopped.  Consider my “stop” a “California roll”.

Greed –  Thou shall not put profit over function.

Don’t get into the book review business expecting to ever see a profit.  Bloggers do this for the love of books.  Most of us never even break even with hosting costs/giveaways/etc (which is why I am currently using the free version of WordPress).  I don’t mind visiting blogs with affiliated links to Amazon or the Book Depository, but don’t have more advertisements than a NASCAR driver.  And whatever you do, don’t have pop-up ads.  I won’t revisit a site that does.  Pop up ads are annoying enough on a computer but when I internet browse on my smart phone a single popup advertisement forces me to close the browser and start from scratch.  One word for those sites:  unfollow.

 Sloth – Thou shall keep commitments.

This one has two parts.  Firstly, don’t post a review of a book you haven’t read.  It’s not fair to the author to review something that you skimmed.  This isn’t high school – can’t read the first and last chapter and expect people not to notice.  I want to know the reviewer’s reaction to the entire events of the story.  I want to know how the book makes you feel.  I don’t want a summary.  I want to know what clicked and what didn’t.

Of course, if you decide that the book is so crappy that you can’t possibly read the whole thing – say it in the review.  I respect DNFs.  I don’t respect fake reviews.

The second part is if you tell an author, tour host, or publisher that you will post or review by a certain date – you better do it.  I know that my extreme night-time posting makes it seem like I live in Hawaii rather than the West Coast, but I still do my best to try to uphold promises.  I’ve gotten a few emails lately from tour hosts that are having problems with late/missed tour dates and it’s unfortunate.  Real life does get in the way sometimes (like my delay with this post caused by a kid that refused to sleep last night), but chronic laziness will only cause you to lose readers and opportunities.

Wrath – Thou shall not egg on the author.

It’s okay to post negative reviews.  It’s not appropriate or professional to insult the author in your review.

If you don’t like the book – tell people what was wrong with the BOOK.

If you don’t like the author – don’t read the book.

Envy – Thou shall not mark thy neighbor’s reviews unhelpful.

I know it might be frustrating for your 4 or 5 paragraph well-thought out review have 0 out of 3 helpful votes, especially if you’re after the elusive Amazon Vine membership (or trying to keep it).  It might be tempting to mark all the other reviews unhelpful just to bump up your own.  Don’t.  You don’t want someone doing that to you.  Help out your fellow reviewer instead of trying to compete and you may be lucky enough to get a helpful vote in return.

+1 the people who have put thought into their reviews and -1 those that look like fakes.

Karma baby.

Pride – Thou shall not exaggerate thy stats.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have 1,000 followers or 10k page views a day.  I list my stats for everyone to see – and I’m honest.  But because of my low stats, I can’t get some of the most coveted ARC books.  Entangled Publishing requires a minimum of 1k followers and daily blogging for an entire year.  Some publishing companies have requirements on monthly unique visitors.  It would be difficult for these publishing companies to prove that I’m lying on my stats – but if they did, your blogging reputation is ruined.  If you lie about stats, what else have you lied about?

Thank you for reading!

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
wonderactivist – http://luciesmoker.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
meowzbark – https://erlessard.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AFord – http://writeword.blog.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Kricket – http://kricketwrites.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)

By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop

Book Blogger Hop: Movie

Book Blogger Hop

What is the one book or series you are dying to see turned into a movie or tv series?

My choice is actually a little odd, as it isn’t a well-known book.  I’d love to see this self-published horror gem turned into a movie.  It’s Nocturna by Mark Diehl.  It is a story about a woman who makes horrible decision after horrible decision and enters a world of vampires and drug addiction.  I think that it’s so different from any other movie on the market.  I love the use of flashbacks of Sara as a child dealing with horrible parents.  I think that this story would translate well on the big screen without a big budget and still make a huge emotional impact on the audience.  It reminds me of the impact I felt watching the movie Precious (originally Push by Sapphire), only this story has even less of a happy ending.  Read my review of Nocturna HERE.

By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop, meme

Book Blogger Hop: Blogging

Book Blogger Hop

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

There are way too many things.  Blogging is my way of keeping busy and being productive.  I might not be able to have a career until my baby is older, but I can still be involved in the field of my dreams.  I want to either get into publishing or be published.  At least in my “off years” I have something productive to show to people.  How many people can say that they’ve read and reviewed over 40 books in 2012?  That is something to be proud of.  And I’ve learned so much about the art of writing from reading other people’s work.  I think I learned more from reading that I ever did in my English college course.

Not to mention that nothing makes me happier than to find an absolute gem of a book written by a self-publisher or indie author and to help that author get sales.  Not every great book is published by the Big 6.  There are amazing books that have never seen The New York Times Bestseller List.

Blogging began as something to do in my downtime.  I never expected to get such joy from a hobby.  You can’t imagine how I felt when I received my first “free” book in the mail.  Every time I get a signed book, I feel more ecstatic than if I got a CD signed by Katy Perry or Nickleback.  I love books.  I’ve always loved reading.  I’m so happy to have found a way to get more connected with my favorite authors and to discover new ones.  Today, I actually got an email from Amazon saying that someone marked my review helpful before purchasing the book.  OMG!  Actual proof that I helped someone decide whether or not to purchase a book.  That’s crazy!

By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop, meme

Book Blogger Hop: Genre question

Book Blogger Hop

What is the one genre you will NEVER read?

Call me a rebel, but there isn’t one.  If you stick me in a room with a book and nothing else to do, I will read it.  I don’t care if it is erotic, The Bible, The Koran, or even some book in Spanish.  I remember spending my Sundays stuck in church reading the psalms from the song book or the passages from previous weeks because I was bored.  I used to read ahead in my textbooks at school when I was bored of listening to the teacher.  Growing up my dad made me re-read some book about manners and morals every week (I’m not sure I learned anything however) and I did because he gave me a quarter every time I did.  My husband made me read Artie Lang’s autobiography (the comic from The Howard Stern Show) before he gave me free reign on Amazon (bad decision on his part) and by the end of that book I decided that if he ever made a sequel, I’ll help him attempt suicide next time.  Most whiny person EVER.

I had a security job where I had to open four gates and there was nothing but cheap romance novels in the room.  So I read them.  Every single James Patterson and John Grisham novel I’ve read has been as a result of some coworker leaving a book at work and I got bored.  I’ve even read erotic novels at work.  I made sure to wash my hands after handling it second hand, but…hey, it passed the time.

Now, there are many genres I won’t pay to read.  But free?  Hey, I love cheap entertainment.

By Lizzy's Dark Fiction Posted in hop