Final Girls are hot right now. What are FINAL GIRLS? A final girl is a horror trope, which refers to the last girl standing in a horror film (or book) to face the killer and live to tell the story.
I’ve read two new books released last month just in time for the spooky season, and I was lucky enough to meet both authors at special library events. They were both very much inspired by the rise of the horror movie genre in the early 80s. You know, my high school prime, lol. I watched all those movies: Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. for the first time then and remember them being so scary!
After reading Grady Hendrix’s The Final Girl Support Group and Stephen Graham Jones’ My Heart is a Chainsaw last month, I decided I needed a slasher refresher and cued them all up to rewatch. I added Scream as well because somehow I had missed that one. I love all things monsters, but HUMAN monsters I do not love. I think they are way scarier. I won’t watch series like Saw or Hostel, torture porn is not my scene. I don’t need that in my head.
Somehow, slasher movies, especially the old ones that lean toward campy (no Camp Crystal Lake pun intended), are just more fun than scary. I gotta say, the first time around in the early 80s though, I was scared. But this time, I just found myself laughing and marveling at all the young actors who appeared in those shows and went on to big movie careers like Kevin Bacon and Johnny Depp for example.
I’d give both of these books FIVE STARS and definitely recommend them. Grady Hendrix has a very entertaining website as well. He has read and reviewed hundreds of 70s and 80s horror fiction novels. It’s worth your time to read a few of his reviews. 😀 Also, if you ever have a chance to see Grady Hendrix and hear him speak on the history of slashers, it is well worth your time.
This week’s MONSTER SPOTLIGHT is on WEREWOLVES. Werewolf lore is found in almost every culture. Sure, they have different names (loup-garou, wendigo, rugaru, wolven), abilities (change from human to wolf on the full moon–or not, tremendous strength, speed, and aggression), and weaknesses (silver bullets, other silver weapons, wolfsbane), but they are a common staple in myth, legend, and folklore around the globe.
The werewolf is only one incarnation of a variety of human-to-beast shifters in lore to showcase man’s baser instincts in the physical form of a monster.
I love a good werewolf book, and one I’m looking forward to coming out on Nov. 16, 2021 is THE WOLF by J.R. Ward. Ward’s book Dark Lover began my writing obsession back in 2010. I can’t wait to see what those “Brothers” have been up to and continue the story…
You know where else you can get your werewolf fix? Comics, movies, and games!
A new Werewolf by Night is prowling the American Southwest — but all is not as it seems! A young man, a family curse and an unholy experiment prove to be a dangerous combination for a small town in Arizona. All young Jake wants is to protect his people, but who will protect him from the monster within? Jake soon finds himself in way over his head, and the law — and Red Wolf — are closing in! With his entire life in chaos, Jake’s only way out may be to fully embrace the secret history of…the Werewolf by Night! Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and writer Benjamin Jackendoff team up with artist Scot Eaton to tell an epic tale of righteous fury, lycanthropic legacy and incredible transformation in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker, or another, all with special abilities. After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players have just 5 minutes to find a Werewolf. Figure out who’s who in this fun group bluffing game.
David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.
Early in the beginning of the covid apocalypse when the world was just beginning to come apart, VisionCon had a flash fiction writing contest. I participated. The limit was 1000 words, and I had to respond to their prompt: “You don’t know what you do for a living. You get in the car on Monday and black out until you wake up in your driveway on Friday with $10,000”.
Here’s my story…
Starr backed out of her driveway in her dirty blue, beater Honda in the gloomy hours of a winter Monday. Her dark web business card said, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. That covered a lot of ground. She never knew when a job would blink into her inbox, what it would be, or where it would lead her. Today was no different.
Details were sketch. As in none. She was to drive west until she got a text and follow the directions from there. Nothing was off the table. Except hurting kids and animals. That was a hard no. Otherwise, her morals were malleable. Money talked. This job tauntingly whispered $10,000 for a business week’s work. Half paid in advance? The answer was yes. The answer was always yes.
Two hours and eighteen minutes later, somewhere in Oklahoma, her phone chimed with her first text.
She did. Her second text arrived two hours later. McGee State Park. The plot thickened. Was she digging up a body? Burying one? Taking a hike? Having a picnic? Experience told her the first two options were more likely than the latter. Interested parties typically didn’t pay $10K for picnics. But then… the world held all kinds of crazy. Present company included.
In the five years since high school graduation, she’d seen things. Done things. She was a Jill-of-All-Trades. A girl could learn anything on the internet.
She neared the park and pulled into an empty lot. No winter campers. No volunteer in the check-in hut. Her phone chimed.
White panel van. Keys and instructions inside.
Starr scanned the dark lot. No movement. No vehicles. She pulled up and parked on the driver side of the van. The van rocked slightly with movement from inside. Her palm rested on the holstered Glock on her hip as she waited and watched to see what might come out.
When nothing or no one did come out, she sighed. Mystery was one thing. Stupidity was another. And blindly getting into a clearly occupied, windowless creeper van was the epitome of stupid. She went anyway. But around to the back doors first. Her left hand rested on the back latch, tentatively applying pressure. When the latch gave way, she flung open the door, aiming the Glock inside.
“Ahhhh,” the passenger squeaked, turning so quickly he rocked the entire van, threatening to flip it over onto its side.
Starr’s mouth fell open. Uncharacteristic but justified. She knew better than let herself be taken by surprise despite her career choice. Sitting on his haunches, eyes big as black saucers and mouth agape as well was what could only be described as Bigfoot.
They stared at one another in an eye-popping standoff until he spoke.
“Starr?” the creature asked.
Starr blinked, her mouth so dry she couldn’t seem to form a reply. She nodded.
“Oh, thank God. Well, get in. We need to be going. I’ll fill you in on the way.”
Starr’s heart thumped so hard it pulsed in her ears and temples. She took three steps back from the door, gun still focused on the creature. A red dot danced along the beast’s chest. He bent his shaggy head to look down at it.
“Listen. I’m a lot. I know. I get it.” His smooth, dark palms—like dog pads—extended toward her and turned up in supplication. “But time is of the essence. It’s a thirty-four hour drive to the Lummi Reservation. Upstate Washington. Soooo… if you could maybe hop in?”
Starr lowered her weapon, hesitated, then holstered it.
“Great!” The beast leaned forward slowly, reaching for the door and pulled it closed. She would swear to anyone who asked that he smiled as he did it. Not that anyone would ever ask.
Her number one rule of Dirty Deeds was Say Yes to the Job. Rule number two was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
She really wished she could amend Rule #2 right now.
Starr chirped the locks on her Honda. She climbed into the van, adjusted the rearview mirror to keep an eye on her charge, and punched Lummi Reservation into Google Maps on her phone. Yep. Thirty-four hours. She hoped he didn’t need to stop for pee breaks.
Shifting the van into reverse, she glanced into the mirror again. All she saw was dark fur and two bright, shining eyes. And then he did smile. A broad toothy grin spread across his face.
“I’m Carl, by the way. On my way to meet up with my soon-to-be bride!” His excitement was palpable. “I’m sure you have so many questions.”
Starr cut her eyes to the mirror again, that goofy smile plastered across Carl’s face. Oh, she had questions, but referred to Rule #2. Of course, she couldn’t help if Carl was a Chatty Cathy for the next three days.
And boy, was he.
They pulled onto the reservation under the cover of night. She’d only stopped for the occasional gas, bathroom and snacks. Carl took care of his business in the back of the van somehow. Again, Rule #2.
When the back doors opened again, the van was backed down a gravel road that deadened against a lush Pacific Northwest forest. Carl leaned forward between the front seats. She’d gotten used to his musky smell in their time together, but this close his odor was weirdly pleasant. Like a well-loved and cared for dog. That talked.
Carl extended a plate-sized hand covered in brown shag-like hair. She took it into hers, and they shook hands, concluding their transaction. “I can’t thank you enough, Starr. I appreciate your discretion. Head back to the airport in Seattle. You’ll have a ticket back to Oklahoma waiting for you.”
Carl bailed out the back, the doors clicked shut, and she pulled out toward home.
Later, as she pulled into her driveway at home, her phone chimed. A new deposit for $5k in her bank account.
It’s been a minute, but if you’d like to catch my live author chat with my fellow reaper-writer and friend Angela Roquet on Thursday, Oct. 14at 8 p.m. central time …. you can join us here! I’ll be the guest https://fb.me/e/1KcvqBjip
Good news! I decided to put all of my e-books (yep, even the newest one The Monsters of Mayberry) on sale for only 99¢ until further notice. Of course Reap & Repent is always FREE. Get them all on my Amazon author page below.
Here it is… the cover for my new GOODWIN HOLLOW HUNTERS SERIES. The first story is The Monsters of Mayberry. The story features two sisters turned hunters after a monster is unwittingly unleashed in their small Missouri town. After a series of curious animal killings, the mystery deepens when humans become the prey.
I love monsters and with SUPERNATURAL ending this year after 15 seasons, I liked the idea of two sisters out there tracking down urban legends and monsters across the U.S.
Stay tuned… I’ll have a first chapter excerpt for you in the coming weeks. As a subscriber, you’ll get FIRST LOOK and FIRST READ. So signup here:
NEW RELEASE right now! I couldn’t wait. Here it is at long last: REAP & RECKON. I hope you enjoy the series finale. Please leave a review on Amazon if you do. #AmazonExclusive and FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
I’ll be honest. Blurbs are the WORST part of writing a book. I mean, you have to condense down THOUSANDS of words and HUNDREDS of pages into a couple or three paragraphs to try to entice a reader. Like I said, the worst!
BUT, I did it. Take a read and let me know what you think. Suggestions are still welcome. It’s not in stone just yet.
Reap & Reckon releases Sept. 15, 2019.
The end is here.
As Lucifer’s minions attempt to breach the city of Meridian’s weakening portals, The Reaper Authority Force faces its final battle to save humanity. Desperate to find his partner, lost in the last skirmish, RAF member Samkiel recruits an unlikely ally, Officer Victoria Moreno.
Victoria comes across a decapitated body in the chaos of what she is thinking of as her own personal zombie apocalypse, and against her better judgment, she alerts the mysteriously compelling man who asked for help in locating his missing friend.
Their discovery of a hellish new monster released upon the
city, which attacks Samkiel, opens her eyes to the previously unseen
supernatural horrors lurking all around her beloved city. Her faith is tested
at every new and terrifying turn.
Reapers are real. Angels are real. Lucifer is real… and
they’ve all converged on Meridian.
Prepare yourself for the final and most epic battle yet.
June was a big month for me. I began writing again in earnest after a nearly three-year break. I finished the final story of The Reaper Series and began a new episode of the Cosmic Cowboys series.
Here’s Reap & Reckon’s cover again if you’ve somehow missed it. I think it’s my favorite of the series. Reckon will be the series wrap-up. I think I tied up all those loose ends. Whew!
Reap & Reckon has been edited by two very wonderful and capable editors and is off for proofreading. Release date is Monday, Sept. 16. Why so long? Well, I have a couple of vacations coming up. The family and I are finally heading to Glacier National Park for two weeks June 20-Aug. 3.
Then the weekend of August 24th, I’m heading to Rocket City – Huntsville Alabama for Adult Space Academy. Yep, space camp. Fear not. There will be pictures.
Since I started writing again, the reading has suffered. My brain and eyeballs can only do one thing at a time. Probably like yours. I did finally manage to read Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. It was a great non-fiction read about the weird intricacies of space. Things you might not think about like toilets or space dust, and how something so seemingly small can crush the souls of adventurers, even putting their lives in peril. Roach really gave the book the Michael Pollan treatment (which you should totally also read all of his books if you haven’t. They are life altering. You’ll never see food the same again). Roach’s book was thorough and funny investigative journalism. I loved it.
I also finished the final season of Jessica Jones on Netflix. Jessica Jones is my favorite of all of the Netflix Marvel series’. I’m sad to see them all ending. Except for Iron Fist. That’s thirteen hours I’ll never get back. I didn’t bother with season two. Season One of Jessica Jones had the best super villain I’ve ever seen/read. Killgrave was just terrifying and charming and evil. I loved him. Season three’s villain was somehow even worse. Maybe because it was just a human. Humans are horrifying. Or can be. He was. To me at least.
Jessica is one tough and damaged chick. Also, I don’t know how her liver has survived.
If you haven’t seen it. Go. Now. Before it all goes away.