Monday, September 25, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: VAULT OF HORROR

I'm going to let the trailer do a lot of the talking here.

Yes! It's one of these! A classic anthology. (I LOVE anthologies!)

As I mentioned in a previous post, horror movies have circled back around to using short formats. Personally, I feel that this kind of storytelling is horror at its best, and not only with films. Short stories are punchy, like quick scares as you move through a haunted house.

The tales in Vault of Horror aren't necessarily scary, more like macabre and twisty. They're more about developing atmosphere than seeking out a Boo! moment.

Bottom Line: This is Halloween to me--Hammer-style horror, a night with the lights off and the TV on, and creepy organ music and English accents!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: INTRUDER

In the shadows he waits...

Don't ask me why I constantly gravitate toward these kinds of movies in which creepy creeps crawl through houses, spying on the heroines and gaslighting them into thinking they're going crazy. Halloween is approaching, and I need no excuses.

I'm going to give you a super quick run down on this one:
- Single girl
- Multiple yucky men who fondle her with their eyes (AKA, suspects)
- Landlady who goes away for the weekend
- Friend brings cat over (AKA, "Hi--I'm here to dole out some jump scares!")
- Uckie, faceless dude in hoodie hiding under beds and in closets while heroine remains oblivious

Bottom Line: Have a drink every time the heroine narrowly misses catching the creeper. Maybe then you won't mind so much when the lead actress goes from an American accent to a Scottish one, sometimes even in the same scene. Strange!

Stay tuned for: Vault of Horror

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I do love me some found footage movies, and although it seems that THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT is a bit polarizing, I thought it had a lot going for it.

We follow a group who is out to make a documentary about all the haunted houses that pop up around every Halloween. But here's the conceit of the film and the big question the documentarians come across: How can you be sure that some of the people who are trying to scare the poo out of you behind those masks aren't serious psychos?

There were some great jump scares and truly tense scenes as the group tries to track down a shady underground extreme haunted house that relocates every year. As you can see from the movie poster, some of the costumes are fah-ree-kay! I might be in the minority here, but I actually liked the main characters and that means I actually cared about the dangers that awaited them.

Bottom line: This isn't as fun as going to those real houses that October build, but it's still a creepy good time.

Stay tuned for INTRUDER!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: TALES OF HALLOWEEN

Another scary movie down!

I couldn't be happier that horror movie anthologies have experienced a rebound. As you'll soon see, I'm a sucker for the old Hammer-style flicks that contain short stories that are held together by one framing device. In recent years, The ABCs of Death and V/H/S have whet some bloody appetites with their anthology structures. Talking about these movies with friends are extra fun because you can compare your favorite entries (and not so favorites) with others.

Tales of Halloween offers 10 little scares that are threaded together by a very simple framing device--the Fog-like voice of Adrienne Barbeau, coming at you on one Halloween night. Barbeau's presence is only the first of many tributes to horror fans as more genre directors, actors, and creators appear in every tale. I dare not ruin the surprises here, but there are also a couple of homages to higher-profile movies that are pure fun.

Favorite entries include:
1. "Sweet Tooth": urban legend meets Exorcist 3 homage (which, BTW, is one of the scariest things I've ever seen).
3. "Trick": Ooo, a nasty, nasty little tale. Watch very closely...
5. "Grim Grinning Ghost": I love this for its atmosphere as well as the creepy creep factor. If this were a candy, it would be Pop Rocks.
8. "Friday the 31st": You cannot dislike this one if you're a slasher fan. Throw in some Evil Dead for good measure.
9. "The Ransom of Rusty Rex": Just desserts. That's all I'm gonna say.

Bottom line? As with every anthology, there are some stinkers among the good stuff. This flick isn't heavy on scares but on atmosphere, and it's a fun Halloween selection.

Stay tuned for: The Houses October Built

Friday, September 08, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: The Boy

I haven't done this in a while, but here I go again...

I used to blog quite a bit about pop culture (movies, TV show recaps and live blogs, books, and nerd experiences). Then life got a little tough for a while. I backed away from sharing a lot of my private stuff with the public, and I found that I didn't have it in me to write about anything that wasn't a sales proposal. Also, there were so many other people who started to blog about pop culture, and who cared about what I said anymore?

But you know what? I'm going to give this another go, just for the Halloween fun of it. I need fun. You need fun.

Let's have Halloween fun!

Those of you who have known me for a while have it on good authority that I am a horror movie freak, and I'm going to do some serious scary flick watching since Halloween is my favorite time of year. The following is the shortest review I can manage to do without repeating to death every other review out there.

Shall we begin?

So here's the short version: we have an inexperienced American nanny who is running from something in her past. (Evil Laugh of Dark Secrets!) She ends up in a beautiful yet eerie gothic house on the outskirts of an English village. Then she meets the boy she has been hired to take care of. Since this is in the previews, it is not a spoiler: the boy is a freaking doll.

I'm going to tell you only one more thing about this movie: it's a psychological thriller, so we see most of what happens from the nanny's point of view. We don't know if she's kind of losing her mind or if maybe...just maybe...that doll is alive in some weird way.

It is so awesome.

The Boy has a lot of good old-fashioned scares, and the atmosphere is enough to give you the creepy crawlies on your skin. The creaky hallways of this house are filled with dread. Every shadow on the wall is enough to make you hold your breath. If you're watching for blood and gore, this won't be your thing, but if you're like me and you love to turn the lights out and listen to a good scary tale from the storyteller whose face is lit up by the flashlight under his chin, score for you!

Coming Soon: Tales of Halloween

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Excerpt for HOT FOR A BITE--Out Today!

It's out!

Hot for a Bite is the first book in my two-book Vampire Rogues series. (Bound for a Bite is available for pre-order [click here!] and will be released September 20.) For a limited time, you can buy Hot for a Bite for only .99--but only through Friday, 9/9/17!

These are steamy reads on iBooks, Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play, and for a sexy taste, read on!

His voice came out of the near-blackness again, his body still hidden. His words swept around her like lethal feathers in the night.

You wandered out here to find me.

“And you were waiting.” She leaned back against a pole to help her stay standing. She shielded the phone behind her leg.

Yes, I was waiting.” Now his voice was inside of her. “For you.”

It was as if the words were stroking her, getting her excited. He had remembered their first bite.

In the back of her mind, she told herself that vampires were dangerous, that this wasn’t a game.

She lazily scanned the area, trying to find the vampire, then tightened her grip on her hidden crucifix and phone that was recording this encounter so she could prove her vampire existed.

A flash of movement snagged her attention from above. She sucked in a breath, recognizing the vampire’s outline as he crouched on some overhead beams, watching her, his hair haloed in the dim light. Gradually, the green of his gaze clarified, as if acknowledging her discovery. Burning green.

What is your name, luv?” he asked, his foreign tone buzzing through every one of her awakened cells.

“Kimberly. Kim.” It seemed as if he’d asked before, but it’d been an entire year, and she couldn’t quite remember. This time, though, she had the presence of mind to ask right back. “And yours?”

He hesitated, and she thought she heard him laugh. Then he murmured, “Rafe.”

She sunk against the pole a bit. Finally, she knew who haunted her. Rafe.

So tell me, Kimberly. Why is it that there is a crucifix in your pocket?

Startled out of her haze, Kim straightened, sliding up the pole. She grasped the silver object tighter, still keeping it hidden. “A crucifix?”

“Yes. I discerned a flash of silver as you came outside. Prepared, aren’t you?” For some reason, his voice seemed clearer now. It was as if she’d gotten a hold of herself and a veil had lifted.

“I’m a very devout girl, Rafe.”

Even in the dark, she could feel, more than see, his gaze brush over her. A sigh caught in her lungs.

“Devout in what way?” he asked, his voice low and knowing.

A sudden spike of fear—a very human, stupid, why-am-I-doing-this-again? sort of fear—thrust into her. But before she could react, he was using that voice on her again, his eyes burning bright, tiger, tiger, in the night….

Tell me, Kimberly. Why the crucifix?

In spite of herself, she was manipulated into talking. “The League.” She slowly blinked. “We chase vampire rumors around Vegas. This place is a paradise for creatures of the night. Twenty-four-hour, everything-is-always-open opportunity. What happens here stays here, and that makes for a bunch of willing victims who find themselves doing what they normally wouldn’t do at home.”

You are a…hunter?” He didn’t sound panicked by that at all. Well, maybe a touch concerned, but that’s it.

“More of an enthusiast.”

When he shifted, the light did, too. It brought Kim that much closer to reality, even though she still felt the need to spill everything to Rafe.


Why,” he asked, “do you find this…investigation…necessary in life?

Oh, his voice. It ran over her like massage oil, aromatic and soothing.

“After my first bite,” she said, smiling, knowing he knew what she was talking about, “I… Well, sometimes I wondered if I’d imagined it.”

Your first bite,” he said, as if weighing the words.

Hearing him acknowledge it sent a splinter of crazed yearning through her. “There were nights when I thought I was out of my mind, that it couldn’t have happened. But I knew I was wrong because I could feel the neck wound where you bit me, even after it healed.” Healed too quickly, within a couple of days. “It was a reminder that it did happen.”

And when the injury disappeared?

“That’s when I started doubting myself for real. I didn’t know who to tell, who’d understand what happened and accept it. There wasn’t anybody.” Not her parents, her friends, and she didn’t really have coworkers seeing as she was a freelancer.

“You are pained,” Rafe said and, suddenly, his voice wasn’t as hypnotic. There was a sense of sympathy there instead, as if he knew just what agony was because he could feel it flowing through her.

“I got over it.” Her lie echoed against the bleachers.

She clutched the hidden phone, wondering if she should lift it in front of her so she could visually record just a glimpse of this vampire. So she could keep him solid instead of a figment of her restless imagination and longing.

Then Rafe dropped down from the beams, arcing smoothly to the ground, where he crouched in the darkness. Now the only hint of him were those green eyes.

Tell me more about why you joined this League, Kimberly.”

“I…” She shut her mouth. She shouldn’t tell him everything, even if he was persuading her to do so.

Tell me, Kimberly,” he said, the power of his suggestive voice overwhelming.

She couldn’t resist him anymore. “That first bite—that’s why I joined the Van Helsing League…  Because I needed people who would understand.”

Van Helsing, named after the most famed hunter in literature.” He sounded amused. “Is this League a dangerous lot?

“We’ve had limited luck.”

With deliberate ease, Rafe stood, so tall she could feel him hovering over her, his broad shoulders coming to block the light. “But your luck is not so limited tonight, Kimberly.”

To have him calling her by name was almost too much. A deep tremble nested in her belly, spreading heat.

This proof you seek of vampires,” he said, stepping nearer, soundless in his movements. “Do you realize that it could erase my existence?

She tilted her head at him. Actually, it’d never occurred to her that a group like the League would have that sort of pull. They were a bunch of amateurs, that’s all. “We’re not out to kill you.”

Perhaps that is not your intention.” Closer. “But this is where the persecution starts, with a few cries in the night. Then the real hunters come. That is why we do not flaunt ourselves in society, that is why we remain discreet.

“Discreet? Someone’s sending women to the ER with a lot less blood than they started with.”

Another pause. “And I am here to put a stop to that. There is another…”

Again, his voice wasn’t as hypnotic. Was it starting to wear off of her for some reason?

There was also something about what he said that poked at her. She opened her mouth to pursue it, but he moved toward her with such speed that her words caught in her throat.

His dark proximity rattled Kim, shook her until she couldn’t even gasp. She slumped back against the pole, the tremble consuming her entire body now. He loomed, bending nearer, his aroma a mélange of leafy scents masking a predator in the night.

This was it—another bite….

He sniffed at her hair, then nestled lower, leaving a path of tingling heat. Kim parted her lips, drinking in the seduction, her eyelids going as heavy and thick as the blood dragging down her limbs.

“A sweet drug,” he whispered clearly, as if remembering her scent. “That is what you are…”

Then he paused, honing in on something that she couldn’t sense. He slipped his hand down, his skin brushing hers as he slid her phone out of her grip. He felt cool to the touch.

He ran his thumb over the device, then crushed it in his hand, casually allowing the pieces to sift to the ground.

She opened her mouth to protest but his low growl stopped her.

“What else do you have?” he asked.

At the change in his tone—from charming to downright scary—Kim’s survival instinct took over. Her pulse raged to fight-or-flight speed, and she brought the crucifix out of her pocket, forcing him to freeze as she backed out of the bleachers and into the moonlight.

What had she been thinking? This was a vampire, not some random hot guy…​

Happy Hunting!