Horror Block Unboxing and Review for October 2014

Nothing like getting a Horror Block right before Halloween! I unboxed this a few days ago, but I thought I’d save this post for Halloween day. Check it out!

Not too shabby, am I right? Let’s check out the breakdown!

Build Your Own Zombie kit: This cute little kit of colored dough goes for about $6 or so, on the sites where I found it.
“Cereal Killers” stickers: Based on the cost of a whole box of these silly stickers, I got about $4 worth.
Jason Voorhees shirt: As per usual, I’m assigning this shirt a set value of about $15, though it’s probably “worth” a bit more since my husband really likes it. :)
Jason Voorhees ReAction figure: Similarly to many of the “ReAction” toy line, this little Jason goes for $10.
Puppet Master on Bluray: The price probably varies a little depending on where you look for it, but I found it on Amazon for $13.
Fangoria magazine: Though not a price that I personally think is reasonable, this Fangoria magazine retails at $10.

Total approximate value of box: $58
Total cost to me: $33

So as far as “value” goes, this Horror Block was on par with the other ones I’ve received so far. What makes this particular box great is that it has more of the kind of stuff that my husband and I enjoy. Getting a bluray movie in the box is awesome, and since my husband loves Jason Voorhees the shirt and figure are a big win with him. All in all, it was a great little treat to get right before Halloween. Keep at it, Horror Block!

Blood-curdling Books

Movies, television shows, and video games are all awesome, but for me there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book, and that goes double for a good horror book. I love a book that can give me the chills, which is how I got into writing about monsters myself. Some of my favorites, which may have even influenced my writing style and preferences? So glad you asked.

When I was a kid I loved spooky stories, especially the ones about ghosts. I had a number of scary books for kids, but as many kids from my generation would tell you, it was all about Goosebumps. If you never read a Goosebumps book as a child, you’ve definitely missed out. The series by R.L. Stine featured short novels about every kind of ghoul, goblin, monster, and creature a kid could imagine. Some of my favorites included the killer ventriloquist dummy, and the Halloween masks that came to life and took over kids’ bodies. And then there were always the “choose your story” editions in which you got to choose how the story progressed by jumping back and forth between the pages (I usually died four or five times before finding the correct path). Those were the bomb.

Every kid I grew up with has read this book.

Every kid I grew up with has read this book.

But if you want to get a little bit creepier – while still maintaining the illusion of reading a “kid” book – you should take a look at Coraline. The short Neil Gaiman book appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a book for tween-aged kids, but it’s a lot creepier than you might imagine. Maybe it’s just the subject matter of a young girl traveling to an “Other” world and being essentially kidnapped by a creature with her mother’s face. Or maybe it’s the creep-factor of all the “Other” people having buttons for eyes. Or maybe it has something to do with that childhood pain of having something awful happen and no one believes you. Either way, the story is actually a lot deeper, darker, and more disturbing than you would ever assume by simply looking at the book cover. Trust me; it’s worth giving it a try.

Honestly, I really did think it was a kid's book...@_@

Honestly, I really did think it was a kid’s book…@_@

Of course, you knew that eventually I was going to bring up Stephen King, since you can’t really talk about horror books without mentioning him. Well, the whole and honest truth is that yes, I do think King is an amazing writer, and some of his books have seriously scared the pants off of me. But the thing is, how do you pick just one? King currently has published something like 55 novels, plus nearly 200 short stories (which are compiled into book collections). Of those some-255 stories, over 20 of them have been made into horror movies. So yeah, clearly he’s got something going on, right? Well I haven’t read all of his books by a long shot, but if I’ve got to pick one today I think I’ll go with Cell. I know that it’s not a lot of people’s favorites, and I’m definitely not saying that it’s King’s best book or anything, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a different take on zombies, and I really liked the not-quite-concluded ending of the story. In fact, Cell is what I was reading when it suddenly occurred to me that, “Hey…I could totally write a zombie novel!”

Yep. This was the face of my inspiration.

Yep. This was the face of my inspiration.

And, of course, you know where I’m going with this. (I’m the master of the segue, admit it.) Maybe it makes me sound a little full of myself, but how can I honestly not talk about my own horror novel in a post specifically talking about horror novels? There were times when I wanted to throw the manuscript for Nowhere to Hide out the window, but I can honestly say that I do love the story and I’m very proud of it. I tried to work in as many creepy, gross, and disturbing moments as I could while still focusing on the whole point of the piece…survival. And because I love the book so much, and because I love all of you so much, for Halloween day only the digital copy of Nowhere to Hide is going to be free! So even if you aren’t sure you’d like it, why not try it out anyway? It’s free! So click the link and check it out quick, because by the time all the trick-or-treaters are in bed tonight the promotion may be over!

Freeeeeeeeeeee!

Freeeeeeeeeeee!

Do you enjoy scary books? Why or why not? What’s your favorite horror book? Favorite horror author? Have you ever had a book genuinely scare you? Please share!

FREE E-BOOK! “Nowhere to Hide” TODAY ONLY!

Happy Halloween, everybody! It’s the spookiest time of the year, and so I thought it was time for an awesome spooky deal! Today until approximately midnight PST, “Nowhere to Hide” e-book version will be totally FREE! Even if you already have a physical copy, it can’t hurt to pick up a free e-book copy as well, right? Right! So hurry on over to Amazon RIGHT away! Click on the image below to go directly to the sale!

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Ipsy Glam Bag Unbagging and Review for October 2014

I’ve been a subscriber to Ipsy’s Glam Bag service for three months now, and I have to say that I haven’t been disappointed yet. Let’s take a look at this month’s video, shall we?

As you can see, this month’s bag was just as value-packed as the last two months. Let’s check out the breakdown:

Ayres “Patagonia” Body Butter: Normally you would purchase a 6.75 oz tub of this body butter at a cost of $28. That makes my 1 oz sample worth a little more than $4.
Epice’s Purifying Exfoliant: This pricy cleanser goes for the price of $32 for 3.3 oz. My sample is 1 oz, making it worth almost $10.
“Nicole by O.P.I” nail lacquer: I was able to find this full-sized product on sale on several sites, but the regular price is about $7.
“Big Bold Curl” mascara by New York Color: I was actually surprised that this full-sized product isn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it was. It goes for $5.
Star Looks lipgloss: A full-sized lip gloss is $12. Unfortunately the website doesn’t seem to show the size, but I estimate that the sample I received is about a third of the full-size, so we’ll say it’s worth about $4.

Total approximate value of bag: $33 (estimating the makeup bag to be worth about $3)
Total cost to me: $15

So, as with the first two bags I received, the value is more than twice the cost to me, which is pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  I haven’t had a chance to really try out anything yet (except for the mascara, which, by the way, is great), but all in all it was a pretty great bag. So far every bag I’ve gotten has had at least two full-sized products, which alone make the bag worth buying, and so far there haven’t been very many items that I genuinely disliked. So, as always, I highly recommend this service! And if you’re going to check it out, please click on my referral link to be one of my favorite people ever! :D

Macabre Movies

It doesn’t always work out so well (especially when I’m working out West), but my husband and I have a bit of a Halloween tradition. We try – to the best of our ability – to watch a horror movie every night for the entire month of October. Sometimes it can be very difficult to work one in at the end of a busy day, but it’s never difficult to find a movie to watch, because we own well over 400 of them.

What's REALLY scary is that this is an old picture, and we've had six years since to add to it.

What’s REALLY scary is that this is an old picture, and we’ve had six years since to add to it.

Yes, we’ve seen our share of scary movies, so today I’m going to share a few of my favorites.

Depending on your personal disposition you might not think of the original Evil Dead as being a particularly scary movie, especially since it’s a little older and doesn’t exactly scream “realism!” But it’s one of my favorites because once you know the story behind it’s production you realize that the cost and crew did an amazing job with very limited resources. Evil Dead tells the story of a group of young people who drive out into an old cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release an ancient evil that will never let them go. All of the special effects are done the old fashioned (*cough*fun*cough*) way, and the way that the “evil” is portrayed is both extremely simplistic and totally creepy. It may not scare you half to death, but if you’re a fan of horror movies and you haven’t seen this one, you really should.

Evil_Dead_poster

Come on…doesn’t that just look like something you gotta watch?

I’m a big believer that Americans should pretty much stay away from the impulse to redo Asian horror films, and the reason is that Asians are way better at the genre (when they’re actually, genuinely trying to be scary). An excellent example of this is a spine-tingling ghost story called Shutter. It’s the tale of a photographer and his girlfriend who get into a car accident and thereafter begin seeing strange shadows and faces in all their photographs. But of course, it doesn’t end there. It is creepy as hell, and there were more than a few moments that made me literally yelp out loud. It’s the kind of movie that, once it’s over, you’re scared to get out of bed because you’re imagining all the things that are going to reach out and grab your feet. But if you’re going to watch, make sure you’re looking for the 2004 original, because the 2008 American remake does not do justice to the ghostly eerieness.

Sh*t like this never ends well.

Sh*t like this never ends well.

Okay, I have to admit right off the bat that this one isn’t exactly scary, but I have to mention it in this post because it’s been one of my favorites since I was about ten years old. Hocus Pocus tells the story of three evil witches who are accidentally brought back to life by an idiotic teenage boy in an attempt to impress a girl. The witches have been brought into the future by the spell and must drink the life from a child before sunrise in order to stay alive and young. Honestly, it’s more of a comedy than a horror, but it has crazy evil witches, a zombie, and a talking cat, and that is plenty enough for me. I watched this movie dozens of times as a kid and continue to watch it every Halloween as an adult. It’s a great one to share as a family!

No, really, they're evil...honest.

No, really, they’re evil…honest.

Now if you want something that’s Halloween-y and can give you a couple of chills, I definitely suggest Trick ‘r Treat. This film is a kind of anthology that moves from story to story as it reveals the Halloween hyjinx of a variety of characters. Each of the stories is delightfully creepy, and the movie has one of the straight-up freakiest little characters of all time. ‘Sam’ looks like a trick-or-treater with a dirty sac over his head as a mask…but oh, he is so much more. I’m not that easily frightened these days, but I’d be lying if I said that I’d never had a creepy dream or two about Sam. Want to experience the wiggins (or, alternatively, let me know that I’m a total wuss)? Check it out! It’s a great Halloween flick to watch during the holiday.

Tell me you wouldn't run the other way if you saw that coming up the street.

Tell me you wouldn’t run the other way if you saw that coming up the street.

Do you enjoy super-scary movies, or do you prefer the tamer ones? What are your favorite horror movies? Have you ever had a horror scare you so badly that you couldn’t sleep afterward, and how old were you when that happened? ;) Please share!

Loot Crate Unboxing and Review for October 2014

Of the subscription boxes I’ve been trying (Nerd Block Jr not-withstanding), Loot Crate has definitely been my favorite thus far. Regardless, I expected that this month’s box wouldn’t be all that great for me, because this month’s theme was “Fear”. That said, the box was still half-decent and included two items that I rather enjoy. First, check out the vid:

Now, for a breakdown!

Dead Rising 3 Custom Weapon collectible: This is an exclusive item and, as such, is difficult to put a value to. I didn’t realize it at first, but it’s actually a pen if you pull the saw end off. Personally I don’t think it’s worth a whole lot since it’s just a small plastic thing, but I’m going to give it a value of about $5 since I can imagine a game store charging about that much for it.
“Death by Kitten” t-shirt: At first I was a little taken aback by this shirt, but I quickly decided that it’s actually pretty cool. It’s different, kinda cute, and kinda scary all at the same time. And as an exclusive, I’m assigning it my go-to value of about $15.
“Fear” Collectible Pin: What do I usually assign to these Loot Crate buttons? About $1? I think that’s it.
Toxic Waste candy: Since you only get one piece and you can normally buy a pack of 40 for about $6, the value of this item is pretty much negligible.
Loot Crate Membership Card:
I guess they hand these out after you’ve hung on to your membership for a few months? I dunno. I guess it’s worth about $1
“How to Survive a Sharknado” book: Now this is what I’m talking about. As both a reader and a loser, this book really appeals to me. Two thumbs up, and also it’s worth about $13
“Walking Dead” artwork: It turns out that this is an exclusive “Super Emo Friends” print by JSalvador, which is pretty awesome if you’re into that stuff. Now, I looked into it, and JSalvador charges about $17 for his prints, so that’s what I’m going to assign to this Walking Dead drawing, but I just want it on record that I would never pay that much for a postcard-sized print.
“Slashes and Bites” temporary tattoos: I believe these tattoos are a Loot Crate exclusive as well, so I’m assigning them about $2, since that’s probably what you’d pay for something similar in stores.
“Smite” costume download code: Smite is a free-to-play game, and to be honest, I’m not willing to put in the time into figuring out what these costume downloads are worth. I’m assuming it’s like similar games where you have to pay real money to unlock certain things. That said, I don’t believe in those kinds of games, and I’m giving the code away, so I’m giving it a value of $1 just for the sake of giving it a value.
Loot Crate “Fear” Magazine plus 3D glasses: I usually don’t mention these magazines, but it occurs to me that I probably should because they put a good bit of effort into them. This month’s magazine was printed in 3D and comes with the glasses to view it with, and I’m going to assign the pair a value of about $3.
Walking Dead comic #132: This comic has a variant cover especially for Loot Crate, which is pretty neat. The cover price for the original version of the comic is $3, so I’m going to make it $4 for the fact that it’s a variant cover.

Total approximate value of box: $62
Total cost to me: $30

So as you can see, there was quite a bit in this month’s box (even though a few of those things were really small), and the value is there. The only real comment that I have about the box’s value is that I would never in a million years pay $17 for that little art print. No offense to JSalvador, because his stuff is really cute, but it just seems like a godawful amount of money for something so small. On the other side of things, the t-shirt and the Sharknado book really made the box for me, so everything else is really just fluff. In conclusion, it was a good box, but previous Loot Crates were better, in my opinion.

Accountability Wednesdays: Week 43

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My friends, my friends, it has been a busy week. I don’t know how I always do this to myself, but it seems like I spend every two weeks at home doing even more work than I do during my two weeks at work. >.>

So, in honor of the fact that I’ve still got a ton of stuff to do, let’s make this a quick one, okay?

Goal #1: Lose ten pounds and become healthier overall.

Okay, so about the weight-loss thing. Technically, I’ve lost about 6 pounds. But more technically, I gained 10 pounds before I lost those 6. So, in a very real sense, I’m 4 pounds in the hole. On the plus-side of things, I don’t really understand how it works, but I’ve been significantly more confident in my appearance lately. Despite actually weighing more than when I started this goal, I’ve been finding that I look thinner. Hey…whatever works right?

On the health side of things, I’ve been a little frustrated. I mentioned last week that I was going to see my doctor again because my guts have been on a rampage. Well, as it turns out my general practitioner completely agrees with the assessment the gastroenterologist made, which is basically that this is just the way my guts are and I’m going to have to learn to deal with it. He sent me out of his office with an order to start using psyllium fiber daily (basically, Metamucil), to avoid coffee at all costs, and he was “kind” enough to give me a prescription for something that is basically meant to stop stomach spasms, but has to be taken an hour before you expect the spasms to start, and causes drowsiness, so it can’t be taken all the time. Yay. I feel so much better now.

Goal #2: Be more active on social media and work hard on my author platform.

I have to admit that I’ve been slacking on this one lately, but there are a few things to report. For one thing, I’ve joined up with the Self-Publisher’s Showcase, an awesome service to help self-published authors promote themselves. They help to promote self-published books, the authors themselves, and also do fun things like interviews and book reviews and the like. So far we have my author page, but there will be more upcoming in the future, so keep your eyes out!

In addition to that, I’ve been focusing some of my energy on my current BzzAgent campaign, for which there will be a YouTube video posted in the near future. I want to do well on this campaign because BzzAgent is an awesome site that sends you free stuff in return for talking about the product on social media, and who doesn’t love free stuff?

Goal #3: COMPLETE my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

I never get sick of letting you guys know that this goal is complete! I’m so happy with myself, you have no idea. lol

Also, for those of you who are kind enough to be reading this post, this is an advanced notice: on Halloween Day, all day, the e-book version of Nowhere to Hide will be FREE. Yeah, you heard it right…FREE! So check it out on Amazon or Kindle…even if you already have the physical book it can’t hurt to grab a FREE e-copy as well! And a reminder too: if you download the book (or if you already have it), please return to Amazon and write a review! It really helps a ton! <3

Goal #4: Write 500,000 words.

This goal slowed down again this week as I’ve been sewing my daughter’s Halloween costume, preparing for her birthday party, taking her skating/to school/to playgroup/etc, doing random chores and the like, trying to get my house clean, and so on and so on. But I did still manage to work in 1655 words, so that’s something at least. The good news is that come this weekend it will be officially NaNoWriMo time, so I expect to have something much more significant to report next week.

Now, if you don’t mind, I have one more of Raven’s boots to sew up before my daughter can wear her costume to playgroup tomorrow. Ciao!