Monday, December 19, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Thoughts and Spoileramas!

Spoiler Alert

Here thar be spoilers!

Don't look!

Turn away now!

Or go rogue and read on!

On December 15, 2016 at 10:40 pm, one of my sons and me checked out Rogue One!

We were pretty excited! Well, okay, I was. Dorian is a good sport!

Oh, what a day it had been. Toronto had been slammed with a blizzard. I was supposed to work at the college for evening exams and they were canceled. They should have kept the school open since the snow stopped pretty much when I was nearing the college and most people had already arrived anyway. It's a difficult call for sure. I'm glad I didn't have to make the decision. But it was another hour and a half home in icy blizzard rush hour hell. I kept pretending I was in a Tie or X-wing fighter so I wouldn't have to worry about black ice. Since I'd pre-bought the ticket, there was no escape. I got my nerves calmed for an hour or so and then it was time to go see the movie. I picked up Dorian and we drove the hair-raising ice rink bridge (used in many big budget pictures that film around town) to the theater that wasn't very far or we wouldn't have gone. It's just that hell-bridge over the Gardner. Yikes.

Spoilers a-coming!

If you've not seen the movie yet, don't read on. I'm not giving a blow-by-blow by any means, but I will reveal plot points that will spoil the movie for you.

I enjoyed the hell out of the movie, yes. I'm a bit loathe to really review it as I need to see it another time to catch more of the story and dialogue. When I see movies in 3D with AVX sound, I am lost in the spectacle and sensation. We were near the D-box chairs and sometimes, especially near the end, we enjoyed the vibrations of ships hurtling around and bombs dropping. When I'm enjoying an amusement park ride, I lose track of the details required to share in review until I see it again with more focus.

The visuals of this movie were stunning. They were all I hoped it would be. Of course, the odd scene had flaws, like the 3D or CGI didn't quite work, but holy shit, who cares?! I remember Star Wars when it was Star Wars, no 3D, and THX was invented for it. The experience was amazing, that crawl for the first time was overwhelming. Of course, you've heard that a zillion times from those of us who were teens when it came out.

Rogue One captured a lot of that awe, or at least, my own fifteen-year-old awe and I'm sure that's what a lot of the reshooting was about over the summer. I don't doubt they added tons more fighting stuff, amazing special effects, as it's a spectacle where every inch of frame is used and things happen quickly, most of the time.

Expectations Checklist
My head space when I entered the theater was that this was the story of how the plans for the Death Star made their way to Princess Leia, that Darth Vader was in some of it, there was a new robot, that it would be really fucking cool. I wondered if Jyn was related to Leia or what her role was besides the one leading the gang of whoever to get the plans. Would we get to see Leia as the Princess of Alderaan and a bit of what she did and how she put the message into R2D2 for ObiWan? So many questions. There were a couple of scenes from the trailers that I was really looking forward to seeing.

I didn't expect any familiar characters except for a couple of cameos. I had heard that John Williams did NOT write the score so wasn't expecting to hear the iconic music.

I was jarred when the familiar "A long..." line came on screen in the old-fashioned way. Of course, we're all trained for the blast of the iconic Star Wars theme to follow. But it doesn't come. It's like an irritating itch because it never comes. Those of us who have been fans since the seventies have associated those words with that sound for forty years!

I guess I'm saying, it was jarring to have the words and not the music. I wasn't expecting the words so wouldn't have missed them as I knew this was a different story. But they had the words and then a totally different score which I had been expecting but now was startled because of the "A long time..." title card. There was no crawl and that was fine.

The score was fine. There were moments that our familiar themes were heard but they were more of a tease and I'm not sure they worked. Williams was a master at putting specific themes in to tell the story and as foreshadowing etc. when you pay attention. I'll have to get more familiar with this score but like I said, it was fine.

Planet Hopping
In the first few minutes of the movies, there is planet hopping all over the place. I still don't know what was what, and like I said, I'll have to see it again to get it all straight.

However, it disturbed me. I didn't like all that hopping around. It felt like going through the shuffle of a video game menu deciding which level to play. It didn't engage me into a story.

I'm not sure what happened to Jyn. I mean, I get what we saw in the movie. Her life story was choppily revealed. I'm not sure we needed it. After all, we didn't need Rey's and we bonded with her fine. However, I'm not sure what I didn't get about Jyn. Felicity Jones was great. She looks great and acts well but her character was horribly flat. I know she's a depressed goth girl with a murdered mom and kidnapped dad but she was still very flat. Part of it was the script. I suspect that she had a much larger role before the reshoot. I suspect the story was altered in a few ways as the new special effects were inserted. I know for a fact that some of the scenes I had looked forward to in the long ago trailers were not in the movie because I was waiting for them.

Sadly, I couldn't connect to Jyn, so once again I was hanging in to see how they would handle Leis and if Jyn and Leia would meet and who would play Leia? I hoped it would be Billie Lourd, But it never happened.

We briefly see Leia at the very end. This wasn't the story I was looking for. It was weird, cool,  and jarring to see fresh-faced CARRIE FISHER for a couple of seconds.

Darth Vader
I wanted even more Darth but he kicked some great ass at the end! I was angry they gave him a "punch line" before he killed someone, a la Freddy Krueger. Darth is not a wise-cracking villain. He's evil and scary. He doesn't do jokes.

I really liked the new robot. Of course, he was just filling the comic relief C3P0 role. Our buddies, R2D2 and C3P0 were only in for a second. I thought they would have more as their roles are kind of different in a New Hope. I wanted to see more about getting the plans into R2 and Tatooine etc. But it wasn't the story I thought it would be.

The Trailers Lied
I saw some of the early trailers. I tried not to see the trailers but I think I saw them all. It was because of some shots and lines in the trailer that I was excited for the movie and expected it to be a bit different of a story than it was. I guess that was partly because of the reshoots and rewriting they did at the last minute. Too bad.

Star Wars Isn't For Kids
I was a teenager when I saw the first Star Wars. It was dark and scary and had moments of fun and funny. Darth Vader was terrifying. Obi Wan Kenobi dies early in the movie and it's very traumatic for the audience and Luke. Han shot Greedo, not first, he just plain out shot him.

I've bitched on this blog before about how I'm not sure how I feel about children celebrating Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Mass murderers who will take you out with a saber. Darth tried to kill his own children repeatedly and amputated his son's hand. Kylo stuck a saber through his dad for no real reason except to prove he's a bad ass when he likely isn't.

So, with all those horrors in mind, Rogue One is right up there with dark, scary, depressing war reality.

I wouldn't take the kids to Rogue One. In my head, before I went, I wondered if the new characters would all die. And as you know, yes, yes they did. And it was very sad.

When the movie was over, I sat in the theater, stunned by the last fifteen minutes of insane action. And then I cried for the heroes who were never recognized, ever. Just like many real life war heroes.

Rogue One
Great movie! Don't take your sensitive children! The characters were forgettable. I liked the blind Force user, I thought that was a great part. Even though there were many interesting characters, somehow we never really bond with them or care too much. It's too bad. I'm not sure what happened with regard to that but that's how I felt when the credits rolled and that's what I see a lot of other reviewers saying as well!

I'll see it again at some point and write more thoughts.

What did YOU think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Luke and Kylo enjoyed Rogue One!

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Birds and the Bees, Mistress of the Dark, Borrowed Flesh, House of Pain

Over the past few months, I've moved all of my backlist over to Crossroads Press. I hope you'll download some of these ebooks and check out my very first works. Over the next couple of years, I'll be publishing more books!

Eternal Sunset is my first published novel.
It was originally published in paperback by Darktales Books in 2000.
This is the first time it's available in ebook (where I'll actually get the royalties). 

House of Pain was my first mass market paperback. It was published by Leisure in 2001. It was published in ebook and print by Necon eBooks. Now the ebook version is published by Crossroads Press.

The Birds and the Bees was first published by Leisure Books in 2003. It was released from Necon eBooks for a few years. Now it's with Crossroads  Press.

You can help me write my new books faster sponsoring me on Patreon!

This  is a platform where people can sponsor artists and also get first look at their art.

I have been writing a couple of novels and some short stories on Patreon. You can get first look at them behind the wall.

I'm working on:

SORAN: a space opera adventure novel that will be a trilogy. I'm up to eight chapters!

TAURUS: The next book in the Witch Upon a Star series.

SEX |DOLL A-GO-GO : working title for a new erotic horror story.

GHOST: working title for a new story.

I also have been blogging there about my acting adventures and have been sharing exclusive videos and photos.



You can join for as little as $1 a month. You can quit any time. I've had many people come and go through the platform with varying levels of sponsorship. I'd love for you to be next!  I find it really motivating knowing I have to answer to my patrons!

Check me out on Patreon TODAY!

Thank you!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Group Hex, Kylo Ren, and Fan Days

Group Hex is  HERE!

Andrew Robertson is the editor and brainchild behind Group Hex Vol. 1. He always forgets how scary those stories are!
Cover design by Denis Freitas.

Our brand new anthology hatched today! The Great Lakes Horror Podcast is the publisher for this collection of horror stories by members of the Horror Writers Association Ontario Chapter.

Here are some real live horror authors holding a book that contains their stories!

This book contains real artwork by real artists! Here is a real live horror artist!

Fan Days was fun!

This was a very amazing BB8 ballgown!

Christine Whitlock entices the readers!

Sometimes, ahem, most of the time, camera phones take sucky pictures. This is actually a tall and very well put together Kylo Ren. He was a real sweetie under the mask as well. I would have talked longer to him but my parking was expiring and I had to get all the Horror Writers Association booth crap to the car before it turned over another ten bucks. I didn't even show him my Kylo Ren watch or the little Kylo I keep in my purse.

There were no Kylo Rens coming through the dealer's room. There were a couple of people who I thought might be Kylo Ren but also could have been any number of black hooded characters with a saber. I know a lot of video game and comic book characters but certainly not all of them. There were a couple of lady Kylos but they never came by my actual booth. One was really cool and I should have taken her picture. She had black Rey hair, black Rey outfit, Kylo scar across face, and red saber. I liked that interpretation of characters. I also thought I saw, before the show began, the lady Kylo Ren who is in a picture on another post in this blog but she never came into the dealer's room. I began to realize that a lot of cosplayers weren't going into the dealer's room around two or three o'clock but it was a very long hike to go watch them all posing for photos and playing on the different floor levels, looking for my Kylo Ren and I needed to be near the booth! Surely there was a tall, adult Kylo Ren cosplayer who would like to play with me somewhere at this entire convention of cosplayers?!

I had given up hope of getting a Kylo Ren picture this time, and I have gotten some good ones ever since The Force Awakens came out only one year ago. But alas, there would be none today and it made me sad. Then I saw this young man on another floor when I was on the way out and back in my street clothes and just flat out asked him if he'd pose with me.

It was nice of this young man to pose with me. I wished there had been someone to take our picture properly and I would have done way more poses. However, random stranger that I nabbed to click didn't seem too enthusiastic so that was that though I'm very appreciative of his effort. I'm very grateful to  both random strangers for indulging my Kylo fetish. Anyway, this Kylo Ren in the picture is going to Rogue One on Thursday so have a good time, "Kylo" if you see this! I'm going to Rogue One on Thursday as well, but not at the same theatre. I'm sure he's relieved about that! ha!

I don't know if this Kylo Ren is the one who posed with me as this picture was taken a few hours earlier!
I guess once Rogue One comes out, there will be more Darth Vaders and even less Kylo Rens plus lots of new characters at next year's events. But in the meantime, I'm happy I got some Kylo pics!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

American Horror Story: Roanoke Thoughts and Spoilers

Image result for american horror story roanoke finn wittrock
Finn Wittrock as "Dandy Mott" in American Horror Story:Freakshow (picture from





Like most American Horror Story fans, I was eagerly anticipating Chapter Six in this crazy series. My anticipation was doubly ramped from spending four days at Fan Expo staring at the booths of several cast members from AHS including Denis O'Hare. I watched a panel about Freakshow where Naomi Grossman spilled the beans about AHS being renewed for a few more seasons. It was fun to read about it later and knowing I was there when it was announced (or slipped, judging by the looks her fellow castmates gave her). I also briefly met Denis O'Hare when he was walking around and he even let me take a picture with him. I was shaking like a little fangirl! I never did talk to the other cast members as I was too afraid to approach them. But I could see them from my own booth and watched their fans line up for them.

Sephera Giron and Denis O'Hare at Fan Expo Canada 3016

But I digress...


I didn't like the first few episodes very much. It likely has more to do with how I was watching them  than the material, but then again, the story just didn't compel me. I had to watch a couple of episodes on my little ancient old-fashioned TV in the bedroom because for some reason it wasn't coming in on the big screen TV in the living room. The cable box wasn't working right and I didn't notice it didn't get FX properly until I went to watch the show. Luckily, the small analog TV got the channel by some miracle! However, it was very difficult to see. The show is dark as it is and that TV is dark because it's old so I couldn't really see what was going on in the re-enactments. I didn't like the reality TV framework. Maybe once I see how it all ties together, I'll go back and binge watch it. AHS is great to binge watch.

I was hoping for a real twist for episode six but they did exactly what I thought they were going to do. Have them all return and shoot another show.

And so, they did and here we are.

The Premise Doesn't Work
The premise that some of them would actually return is not believable. I don't believe for a minute that Shelby and Matt would ever return to that unexplainable nightmare. No. Nothing would get anyone there and the thin idea of a reconciliation is not believable either.

And for God's Sake, please, everyone, stop with the accents. For all that is horror, please stop!

I have a lot of work to do so I can't spend as much time as I'd like talking about actors and storylines and such but I'll touch on a couple of ideas as they come to me before I get back to work.

Finn Wittrock 
Yes, I did indeed spot him the previous week. However, it was only after the episode was over and I was wondering if he had shown up at all. Yay for the Googles! I discovered he was the hillbilly so I caught the scenes again on the rerun and saw him. 

This week his character was featured more prominently. Perhaps I'm jaded from years of horror-watching. Perhaps I'm jaded from last week's head smashing and disembowelments. However, what he was doing to Lee was nothing compared to what Ray Liotta once had done to him! They could have cranked up the gross factor more than they did. And well, though Finn did a great job, again, his talents were massively underused. 

Even if he appears again in the next twist as he did in Hotel, we won't get to know him as we got to know Dandy. We enjoyed Dandy because we got to watch him evolve throughout the show and see a range of talent however with Jether Polk, we see a bit of potential, and a whole plotline I conceived in my head but there's no way it would happen. There was talk that this character would be his most disgusting or whatever yet. I didn't think there would be a way to top his perfect portrayal of Dandy and I was correct. Of course, the issue is with the roles he's getting. I understand he has contracts for other work and so now only wants to do a couple of episodes instead of long stretches. It's too bad because he's a good actor and fun to watch as a demonic psychopath. Like I said, maybe I'm jaded but this character though creepy and disgusting wasn't a showstopper as Dandy was. I'm not sure any of the characters besides Agnes are big standouts or memorable in this round of AHS.

My Theory about Jether Polk
When his character first appeared for the first time in Episode 7, I thought he might be somehow in league with Sidney. Since the Polk house is obviously fitted with cameras as well, (how else are we watching "found footage?") Sidney and his crew had to get in there to do it and either the Polks know they are there or they don't. Sidney might have given Jether a camera and phone to record events as he did with the others. When Episode 8 chugged along, I thought even more that Jether was in league with Sidney about shooting the show. Maybe Jether wasn't even "slow" since he'd say oddly intelligent things now and again. 

However, his demise seemed very real and kind of hard to fake so even if he was in league with Sidney, he's not now.

Finn had one of the best lines in the episode, as his characters often do. "We live in the United States. We have TV."  

Yup. Even cocaine-snorting pot-growing cannibals like to chill in front of the telly!

Cameras in the Polk House
I've noticed I'm not the only one who's realized there have to be cameras in the Polk house or we wouldn't be seeing all these grizzly scenes. People are questioning it all over social media. So who put the cameras there and do the Polks know?

Lee's Confession
I didn't see kill her husband if she did so I don't know if it's a real confession or if she's covering something up. I didn't see a lot of the first few episodes between crappy TV and half-watching when I had the good one because I was working on something else so she could have killed him in front of us and I missed it. Maybe someone else killed the husband like Flora and Lee figures she's dying anyway so she might as well give a fake confession to let the real killer off the hook. When she realizes she's still alive, she wants to retrieve the tape from Jethel's camera, not knowing the whole Polk house is rigged as well (I don't think. I can't remember if she ever screamed at a camera.)

Pig Man at the End
Of course, we all knew the minute the door opened that it wasn't the real Pigman. I had to hop on the internet to confirm the actor, Wes Bentley who played The Butcher's son in the re-enactment. I think we all agree he'd been hired by Sidney in advance and happened to show up late for some reason, likely his schedule. We were running out of bodies...

How High Are You?
Lee has half a thigh, part of a shoulder, and no ear, Audrey had a tooth ripped out with pliers yet both seem pretty chipper and good to go come morning. I know they are on and had some drugs but do they have an endless supply? What are these magical drugs that let you run from monsters and ease the pain? 

Humans Kill Humans
Notice almost everyone is dying because they turn on themselves, in every sense of the word. Sure they are running through the haunted house but in the end, Shelby was the one responsible for a few deaths, not the ghosts or even the hillbillies.

Reality TV
I think most of us suspect this is a show within a show within a show within a... Obviously, this found footage was edited and such. It drives me nuts when they use camera angles that aren't the planted cameras or a cell phone. I think next week, we'll find many of the dead characters alive because they were acting. Perhaps Sidney had set it up and most of the deaths weren't real at all. I'm not sure I believe Shelby is dead at all. It seems too convenient. I don't believe for a minute Sidney is dead. Don't forget, this is a show within a show and the footage CAN be edited to take out stunt people, special effects, and so on since everyone lies and nothing is real and there were gimmicks planted everywhere.

Big Finale
The last episode will likely be Sidney and Agnes and Jethel on Sara Paulson's medium's show from the other seasons. Or maybe everyone is dead when she comes to do a show on the house and she gets haunted and of course, has more evidence for future shows.

As to who is "final girl?" I lean towards Lee, who gets immediately arrested when the cameras stop as this was some kind of set up to extract her confession. I hope it's not Sara Paulson but it likely is since she is always the winner. They said one person survives. We're supposedly down to three with the arrival of Dylan.

Or it might be Sidney. Or Shelby who faked her own death. 

It's AHS, who knows?

I have many more thoughts but I must stop now!

What thoughts and theories do you have about American Horror Story: Roanoke?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Horror-Rama and October Tarotscopes

Here are the Tarotscopes for the week of October 14, 2016.

This weekend you can find me at Horror-Rama reading tarot. I'm right beside the Horror Writers Association booth.

Horror-Rama takes place this weekend at the Hyatt Hotel (370 King Street West) in Toronto.

This is the third year for Horror-Rama! I've been a vendor at all of them and always have a great time. There are great vendors, movies, and panels. It's two days of all horror, all the time!

Come on down and check it out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Is Self-Publishing Still Lucrative?

Many authors wrestle with the choice between publishing traditionally or to self-publish.

Observing this struggle often amuses me because it was only a few years ago that being self-published was not something that one admitted to doing or being involved with in any form. Authors who self-published were considered egomaniacs and anyone involved with the process of helping an author self-publish was a crook taking advantage of a misguided fool. The word “self-published” was whispered in low voices in hallways and at parties. People who worked in the self-published world moved through the rest of the publishing industry as ghosts who dared not say, "boo" in order not to be revealed.

Now, almost everyone is a writer and everyone wants to self-publish. With new technology, anyone can publish a book and enjoy free distribution for very little cost. Of course, there are those who realize self-publishing is a business like any other and invest thousands accordingly into editors, cover artists, a publicist, ads, entry fees to awards, and so on.  Any self-publishing route can be paved with success or  fraught with failure or something in-between.

Just Tell Me the Secret, Dammit!
Now, of course, human nature and all, everyone wants the new secret of success, the keys to the golden kingdom of fat bank accounts and working in pajamas.

There will always be those who learn how to crack the nut first and get the best meat.

Then there are those late to the party who get the rotting inner shell of what was once a golden opportunity.

If you're just dragging yourself out of hibernation and learning how to embrace that new-fangled technology that all the kids have, well, you may have missed the nut.

Does Self-Publishing Currently Offer the Same Opportunities?
Is the self-publishing trend slowing down? Is the market glutted? Is it going to crash? Can even “the mighty few” still earn a living just self-publishing?

I personally have edited self-published authors for over a decade. I’ve only come “out of the closet” as it were, about it all, a couple of years ago. Now I advertise my services for helping self-published authors achieve success. My how the worm turns. There are now armies of editorial services geared for self-published authors when before, there were hardly any, and those of us who did it kept it pretty quiet.

Buyer Beware!
Of course, like being an author, anyone can declare him or herself an editor and voila! They can go out into the world and do what they want. Most editors are fantastic and rates vary widely. In my own case, some people tell me I’m too expensive while others say I don’t charge enough. However, some editors charge very little and I wonder if they have other sources of income because if they put the time required into editing that they should, they couldn’t exist on a dollar an hour or whatever. Some really should charge way more. Others shouldn’t be allowed near other peoples’ words.

Editors Aren't Magicians!
An editor can only work with what is on the page. We can’t rewrite your work for you, nor should we. There are people who will write your work for you, they are called ghostwriters, and they do a great job as well. A work will stand on its own as it is. An editor can sometimes make a huge difference, but usually, it’s like going into a house. You can tell that the facade is all nice and pretty but underneath there is rot and decay.

An editor can’t help find talent or make a story make sense if it truly doesn’t make sense. However, an editor can do the best he or she can to make it all better. No matter how harsh you think your editor might be, he or she just wants you to look your best. Sometimes it hurts to disembowel your baby, but often, it's not a baby at all, but a big puss filled cyst. A good editor knows what the current market wants and how to make your book fit. It's often painful but you're paying for professional advice, listen to it. 

Be Honest with Yourself
It is up to you, the author, to decide if your book is ready for the world. A traditional publishing house’s editor’s opinion can be a good benchmark. Even a rejection can often show that the book is good if the return note says something like there are not enough slots for everyone. That’s a good sign you can self-publish. However, if you get suggestions for writing classes, then maybe some revisions are in order before self-publishing. Don’t go on the praise from friends or mom who are surprised that you finished anything at all and likely don’t know for sure if it’s any good or has grammar issues.

Self-Publishing Is a Valuable Tool
Self-publishing is a great boon for authors such as myself who have had stories published in small press, obscure magazines, or just plain long time ago. We can pull out those old stories and release them one at a time or in a collection. My Weird Tales of Terror collection is the example of what a great tool self-publishing can be for an author with a backlist.

In that collection, there are a couple of stories that were previously published. There are stories that were accepted for anthologies but then the anthology died for whatever reason. There is a complete novel that never fit a slot for horror, fantasy, or occult so it was unmarketable. Self-publishing allows that book to be born when in could have died in a box like some of my other books that are lost forever, and thank goodness for all of that!

Self-publishing has given me a great tool to release these stories. They already had professional stamps of approval which I personally need for my own self-validation issues so I felt confident trying to make them look presentable as I taught myself how to self-publish. The book is chugging along. I often buy a dozen paperbacks and sell them when I’m at local conventions and libraries.
However, if I were a brand new author attempting to self-publish without any previous traditional track record, it would be even harder than it is to build recognition and create a brand.

There Are No Short Cuts to a Writing Career
Self-publishing is a lot of work but so is traditional publishing. If you self-publish, you can save thousands of dollars a year by not having to go to writers conventions to meet editors and publishers. You sell to yourself so you don’t need to schmooze. You never have to face rejection or the hacking sword of an editor.

Of course, if you have the money, you can hire a cover designer and a couple of editors.

Follow the Hybrid Road
I personally think being a hybrid author is the way to go. There are many pros and cons for each manner of publishing. I’m in the position that I’m playing in both sandboxes.

Of course, I really just want a six-figure advance for a contract to write a trilogy! Haha

Anyway, I’ll be at the North York Public Library on Saturday October 8 for the Indie Author Day.

I’m on a panel from 1 - 2 p.m. about self-publishing and then I’ll be at a table selling copies of Weird Tales of Terror and signing any book you might bring in until around 4. So come to the library and meet about fifteen authors and learn the secrets about the self-publishing industry and its rapid growth. Is it still the best way to control a career?

Get Advice from Working Pros
The landscape has changed dramatically over the past five years. Learn all the new tips and trick from the pros working in the trenches right now at the panels and workshops. Everyone at the tables will have a story to share and wisdom on how best to navigate in the tricky mazes of the self-publishing world.

At any rate, there’s an Indie Author Market on Saturday, October 8, 2016 where you can listen to a few panels and talk to real live authors who can offer you some free advice.

Later on in the month, you can find me at the Albert Campbell Library on Wednesday, October 19.

I'm at a Horror Festival at Chapters in Guelph on October 22.

If you come by, say hello and pick up a copy of Weird Tales of Terror or bring something you already have from home for me to sign!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sephera Cancels Eeriecon Appearance

Well, after a lot of news watching and frantic writing, I'm going to have to cancel my trip tomorrow to Eeriecon. They are calling for storms and my car needs new brakes and has bald tires so crossing those three scary bridges to get to Grand Island isn't looking appealing to me as the wind blows the trees around outside of my window right now.

I have a couple of huge deadlines so I really should just stay home and keep working.

I'm afraid of driving across bridges on a good day and in rain storms and wind, it won't be a fun experience at all.

So I'm sorry I won't be at Eericon on Saturday.
However, you can find me at several library and bookstore events in October and of course, I'll be at Horror-Rama here in Toronto.

Have a fantastic time, everyone!

In the meantime, I'm still hard at work on my Ouija board story which is due today!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sephera Giron at Word on the Street in Toronto

Come see Sèphera at Word on the Street in Toronto on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

Sèphera will be at the Horror Writers Association booth in Writers Block.  WB7

Pick up a copy of Weird Tales of Terror.

Learn about the Great Lakes Horror Podcast.

Learn about Stokercon.

Learn about opportunities with the Ontario Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

Autographs are FREE!

Photos are FREE!

Come by and say hi!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Upcoming Appearances for Horror Author Sephera Giron

I'm still smiling from seeing Mark Hamill. Yes, you are all sick of  hearing about it all by now!

One more round of thanks to Lance and the gang at Fan Expo for inviting me to be a Horror guest!

Heat Wave
Toronto is still having an insane End Times heat wave.

Although it's September, my apartment is 91 degrees F this morning although it's much cooler outside.

I've been working hard on Horror Writers Association Ontario chapter upcoming events.

I've been working on Chapter Seven of my space opera romance adventure novel. You can read it as I write it. I also show my notes and have a couple of give-aways. When you join, you can go back and see all that you missed. You can also leave comments and tell me how you like or hate what I'm doing as I show you my drafts.

Kelly is a worker at an Edustation on a distant planet. He has a crush on his co-worker, Anita, who has been researching a secret project. When Anita is captured by a Dark Lord from another galaxy, Kelly is devastated. He also knows that it's up to him to find Anita before something bad happens. 

Public Appearances
You can check my public appearances on that appearances tab on my Blog.

The Word on the Street, Horror Writers Association, Booth WB-7, September 25, Toronto

Eriecon, Grand Island, New York, One Day Only: Saturday, October 1

Horror-Rama, Toronto, October 15, 16

Albert Campbell Branch Library, Horror Reading, October 19, 6:30 - 8:30

Chapters Guelph, October 22, Afternoon, Reading and Signing

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fan Expo, Mark Hamill, and Small Fish

Now that I've had a couple of days to try to get my head together, I have a couple of thoughts.

I'm exhausted from working all weekend; reading tarot for hundreds of people, giving three lectures, being on several panels, doing many media interviews, and in-between, not wanting to miss out on my only chance to ever see Mark Hamill in real life so running half a mile to his booth to look at him before running back to my own lines. It's a happy exhaustion!
I still get excited to see my name so close to Mark Hamill's in the program!

I Have No Gift to Bring
By Sunday, it occurred to me to give Mark Hamill one of my books. I wanted to do something to show him I'm a huge fan but I'm far too poor to get an autograph or photo. I had to borrow money just to buy the additional $15 ticket to see one of his live shows. And in fact, someone else had to buy me that ticket as I have no credit cards, and I paid back that person.

So, to give him $50 for an autograph or $200 for a photo was way out of my orbit. Again, I had to choose between groceries and buying The Force Awakens when it came out so I have zero luxury right now for autographs and such. I've been going through a really hard time for about six years now and I'm hopeful it will get better, but it wasn't in time for Fan Expo.

I figured if I gave him one of my books, he'd at least know "I care" even if he doesn't know who the hell I am or why someone would give him an erotic horror book when he's a comic book nerd. I have no idea if the handler gave him the book. I wasn't allowed to give it to him myself at that time. The handler told me to return at the end of the day but I had lineups for tarot readings and autographs of my own!!! And when I thought I might sprint over to check, yet another TV crew came by to  interview me, and it was one I'd been expecting so I couldn't exactly leave my own interview to go see if Mark Hamill might look at me. Then I had to choose between "Do I try to see if I can actually talk to him though I already gave the book to the handler so what the hell would I say anyway?" or "Do I run to where he's going to be giving his presentation to get a good seat?"  I chose the second and got the front row but then changed it to the second row since I felt too much like a stalker.

Rebel Pond Scum
As a small little fish in the horror pond, I have small privileges such as being able to grab a second row seat because I went half an hour early and was allowed in. At horror conventions, I can easily approach anyone from Peter Straub, Jonathan Maberry, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, and more, who I also count as my friends. I've met all kinds of famous people by walking up and saying hi. I met Daniel Knauf this year, the creator of Carnivale, and nearly had a heart attack, but I walked up to him in the hall in Las Vegas at Stokercon, shook his hand and took his picture and we joked and laughed and such. Later on, I sat at his table right across from him, for many hours of drinking while he shared Hollywood stories and his new wife/gf was there as well as many of us who also work in the horror field. But those horror writer conventions, they aren't Fan Expo.

At Fan Expo and other Comicons, you can't just walk up and talk to your peers as peers because the Hollywood "stars" are animals in a circus and you have to pay admission. And you know what, I say we're peers when we all work in the entertainment business with our goal to entertain other people. Some of us had massive good luck, some of us are still climbing the ladder and reaching for the star, some of us were  halfway up the ladder, fell down and are climbing back up...on it goes. I consider my peers as those of us who are working hard to entertain our fans. Again, I'm just a little fish but I'm still a fish.I'm also not slamming the cons, just observing the differences between the horror conventions I go to several times a year and how I am spoiled that if I go to a con, I can speak to and party with famous people and my idols as if we're all normal human beings. But the way the comic book/mass media conventions have evolved, there is no interaction except through lineups.

If there was a special room or BAR or party for guests like me to talk to Mark Hamill, Stan Lee, George Takei and so many others who were there this year, I was never told about it. So I can only observe what I experienced as a small fish "special guest." Which is basically, I did my work, and was left completely to my own devices to figure out whether I mattered or whether I could do anything extra like talk to Mark Hamill. The answer is "no."

We're Not Going to Take It
I saw a lot of backlash before Fan Expo and after about Hamill's prices. I think his were the highest ever in the history of Fan Expo. All the prices of the stars are insane these days. I remember we all used to think it was crass to charge $10 for an autographed photo. Now, $200 for a Mark Hamill picture and for the average working person that's a week's salary at a shitty job.  For Joe Average to get a momento for someone whom you've supported by buying their work for years or even decades, that is too much money. And it's so sad.

Fan Expo and other Comic/Cosplay Conventions ALWAYS reminds me of Tommy. Long before Mark Hamill. I've been a guest at Fan Expo many times over the years so I've had lots of time to observe. I'm not singling out Fan Expo. I mean, any of these comic conventions. They charge huge amounts of money to get in, more money for the big stars' presentations, and more money again for photos and autographs. The average person, especially these days, doesn't have a lot of disposable income. Many REAL fans can't even afford to get in the door, let alone pay the prices on top of the prices. Comic book conventions are for rich people. And that makes me sad sometimes. I myself am so grateful that I get to go as a special guest and get to see and do as much as I can while I'm working. I love these shows but they have certainly spiraled into a major expense beyond the grasp of many true hardcore fans. I am NOT slamming Fan Expo. I love Fan Expo. Thank you again for having me as a special guest. A very big thank you to Lance for bringing me back and having me do multiple presentations as myself, as Mistress Ariana, and for supporting my Horror Writers Association Ontario Chapter.

I say that I would never charge for photos and autographs. That I'm happy that people recognize me in movies or buy my books. But of course, I'm not at that level where people would pay for me (or I could afford to pay Mark Hamill!) so I don't honestly know the truth. When you've been starving and then hit stardom, I guess the lure is great to make as much money as possible while you're hot until the star fades again. Hollywood, fans, entertainment business is fickle.

Fan Girl
But I am not a fickle fan. When I become a fan, I'm one for life. My hardcore fan hit list has been the same my whole life. I've recently added two to the list, Adam and Finn.

Shirley Temple
Judy Blume
Roger Daltrey
The Who
Mark Hamill
Stephen King
Clive Barker
Adam Driver
Finn Wittrock

Teenage Wasteland
I was a Mark Hamill fan from the beginning when I saw Star Wars opening day when I was fifteen and never stopped being one. I had his pictures on my bedroom wall for years along with Roger Daltrey. I had my Daltrey wall, my Who wall, my Mark Hamill (note: not Star Wars but Mark Hamill) wall. I had a collection of news clippings and photos. I likely still have all of it, I'm not sure. I lost some of my boxes when I was trying to escape my second marriage. I've still not looked through all the boxes I still have to see what I have or not. I saw I had that Luke and C-3PO T-shirt from when I was fifteen. I remember when Hamill had his car crash and lost his starring role on Eight is Enough. He was always a huge comic book nerd and always talked about his favourite comic books. I read Howard the Duck and watched the movie when it was finally made because it was his favourite comic at the time in the seventies. I read many of his favourite comics that he'd mention in interviews. Let me tell you, hunting down some of his favourite comics wasn't terribly easy back in the seventies. He'd be in a magazine, so the news is already old, then to find comic books in square old London, Ontario was not easy at all and sometimes I'd have to travel to Toronto or send away or just not get to read them at all. And being a teenaged girl who liked Star Wars, comic books, horror comics, horror books, Logan's Run, and Stephen King, I was not popular at all. In those days, girls didn't like that stuff. So I kept a lot of my old nerd self hidden but I could play a lot of Star Wars music on my violin.

Modern Nerd Girls
This is one thing I totally embrace about modern times; girls can be nerds too! As we see on this blog and especially on my Instagram, I'm having huge fun embracing my inner child that I never got to embrace growing up and then being a mom and going through two broken marriages. Now I'm just playing because there's no reason I can see at all to be an "adult" and "serious" because it sure as hell didn't work for me when I gave it a shot. Now that I'm all alone, likely for the rest of my life since no one wants an old lady Star Wars loving horror writer nerd, why can't I play with toys and write more books and dream about the people who brought joy into my life?

Luke is My Home Boy
As I've said many times, I only went to see The Force Awakens to see what happened to "Luke," to see my Mark Hamill as "Luke" again. Which is why I was so fucked up when he wasn't in it. I'm still angry though it's great story-telling. I'll continue to be upset for the rest of my life that I waited decades to see Luke/Hamill and then still have to wait two years if I live that long. Well, one year has now passed and we're almost into Rogue One territory, but Mark Hamill won't be in it.

Anyway, all weekend, I tried to think about what I would actually say to him if I had a chance to talk to him.

What would I say that he hasn't heard a zillion times before?

Nothing new to say. Absolutely nothing original and unique.

So I don't feel like I missed any opportunities to stand at his table and cry.

Convention Connections
However, if Fan Expo was like a normal convention, I'd have a lot to say to him. Beginning with, "Let me buy you a drink," which would lead to us going to a bar and actually having a real conversation about real things and THAT would be cool.

THAT would be MYdream.

Not lining up at the circus to see the caged beast.

But to have conversation with a real man, not an icon, not a star, not a fictional intergalactic war hero, though perhaps we would touch on the forty year journey we shared as strangers.

I could thank him for the joy he has brought me as Luke and for all the recommendations for geeky reading. I'm really excited about his new nerd collections show and I could tell him that as well. In fact, on a show that I'm involved with, that is still under secret wraps, we too are having a nerd collection segment! I also play "Luke" in a small film homage we shot in the spring but it's not finished yet. But that's a story for another time.

I'm a Greedy Little Duck
I'm still thrilled about literally seeing Mark Hamill. I'm seriously content that I got to cross that off my bucket list. But being a greedy little duck, I just wish there was an opportunity to interact with him as a real person one day before I die! But that's not a bucket list wish, just a wish. And only because in real life, he actually seems like a really nice guy. Truly.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Another One Off the Bucket List! Fan Expo 2016

We all have our bucket lists. Some items are secret. Some are obvious. I got to strike off a bucket list item this weekend. After nearly forty years, I saw Mark Hamill in real life. Thank you very much, Fan Expo!

I'm still in outer space and likely will be for another day from being star struck and from reading tarot for so many people! I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it means I'm not recognizing people or making sense so we'll see how this blog goes!

Fan Expo 2016
When I arrived on Thursday, I set up my booth on the last row of the Horror aisle. I was across from Troma and a Walking Dead photo op display. I was happy. I need a better umbrella but this one worked. I hung some banners from it, circus style, as I was going for a freakshow feel to match my presentations.

Many people came by for tarot readings. It was non-stop every time I came back to the booth, which was fantastic. I enjoy being busy.

On Friday, I had three presentations so I wasn't at my booth much at all. Dorian, Brandon, and Kish held down the fort for me all weekend. They were great at helping people wait their turn.

Denis O'Hare
I was returning from the bathroom when I spotted Denis O'Hare chatting to Nancy Kilpatrick at her booth, which was back to back to mine. Of course, I yakked with them as well and took some pictures. I returned to my booth and read much tarot.

Cast of AHS: FreakShow
I was able to look at the cast of AHS all day from my booth. It was pretty cool. I went to their panel even though I should have been at my booth. How often do I see people from one of my all-time favourite seasons of favourite shows? I never did go over to speak with them, I was so very busy running between buildings.

Mark Hamill
Well, I am very happy with how the weekend went with regard to my inner fangirl. I was able to get up close to him and watch him like he was a caged animal at the circus for a few minutes every couple of hours. I hope I didn't creep him out but he's used to black-clad figures lurking a few feet away. I just was in awe to see him in real life. Yes, I meet tons of celebrities and shouldn't be starstruck, but I am. 

I attended both of his presentations. One was on Friday and one was Sunday. He must have been exhausted all weekend, likely from shooting schedule then into these tours.He was in Salt Lake City on Thursday for ten thousand fans. I think we had about three thousand at each presentation.

He's a great speaker, and the time went way too fast.

I'd take a peek at him when I'd hit the rest room as he was on the other side of the building from me. It was so cool knowing he was there.

The daily ritual reminded me of the week I stayed in Culver City to oversee the photo shoot for one of my books and walked past Tara every day. Gone with the Wind was one of my fave movies and books when I was a teen and to walk past Tara every day was so cool. I'd never been to Culver City before or since.

Walking past Mark Hamill every day gave me that same sense of, "How cool is this?" This whole resurrection of Star Wars over the past year has given me a re-connection to parts of my teenage self that I'd lost for many years because of life stuff, like everyone else. The Force Awakens awakened my interest in all kinds of stuff and of course, launched my new obsession with Kylo Ren's character.

Kylo Ren at Fan Expo 2016
I was reading tarot when a Kylo came by and told me to take his picture. Of course, I asked Kish to do it and I felt so bad for the client waiting for a reading but heck look at this young man. He's a great Kylo Ren. And hey, if you're this Kylo Ren, please let me know who you are so I can tag you on FB or tag yourself!

Then another Kylo Ren in a cool corset came by so three of us posed. However, I wasn't done with poses I wanted with the first Kylo Ren I had spotted days before. I needed to get a grip though and get back to my client. I hoped he'd come back on Sunday so we could take a couple more posed pictures but he never did, not that I blame him. haha

Someone has to keep these Knights of Ren in Order!
I had two panels on Sunday so was away from the booth a lot for a chunk of time. I also had several media interviews over the course of the weekend, which was great!

It was an amazing weekend. Thank you to Fan Expo staff, all the staff on every level, especially Lance. Everything went smoothly for me from set-up to my programming and so on. The celebrities were all nice from all accounts. Venders rocked as always.  And I got to see one of my teenage crushes. What's not to like?

The Horror Writers Association also had a booth and it rocked as well. There were also three panels. I was on one and the rest were with other members of the Horror Writers Association.

One thing about living so long is that I get to knock things off my bucket list. Some things I did years ago but others I'm still trying to get done. And of course, like everyone else, I add a few items to my bucket list as life chugs along.

Here Are a Couple of Items I've Crossed Off My Bucket List Over the Years
See Mark Hamill in Real Life (he's been married forever so that's as far as that wish goes! lol but...there's always A New Hope according to my inner fifteen year old)
Stay at Stanley Hotel (finally did it Oct. 2015)
Be in a movie that premieres in NYC (Slime City Massacre)
Be reviewed in Fangoria
Be interviewed in Fangoria
Be published by Leisure
Meet Peter Straub
See Stephen King speak in Real Life
Meet Shirley Temple (and I got her autograph on her autobiography)
Meet Judy Blume (I got to see her speak and got her autograph in 2015)
Go to England and see Shepherd's Bush ( 1976)