Friday, December 21, 2012

The Horror Semester

Has finally come to the end.

This Fall semester has been a battle. It's affected how I write, think, feel, and act. From the start of the whole semester, my positive energy has drained and I would cry at least once a week. Little pieces of bad luck just kept piling on one another, snow-balling me with one wave after another. Classes that should be fun and easy were facing a terrible negative mental block. Despite working out daily and eating right I gained weight. Little fun things like running a club was stressing me out. Even if I worked on assignments early I could never seem to get them done or get an acceptable grade (and for me a B is borderline on unacceptable). I was getting Cs, Ds, and Fs no matter how hard I tried. All I wanted to do was write but when I tried to write I would feel guilty about doing this over all the needed academic work that needed to be done (especially when I was struggling so bad). Working on my novel, the blog, or even just reviewing other blogs was out of the question. And even if I made an attempt the negatives took the joy away. I had made a goal to do the NANO but couldn't even get 500 words in.

Goals fell apart. I lost a scholarship and the Dean's List. For the first time about three or four years I made more Cs and Bs than As. It was so hard to smile any more and I hated school and all my classes, despite some great teachers.

So in simple terms, I got depressed and a horrible case of senioritist.

But, even though this semester beat me down and turned me more negative than I ever would want to be, I won't let it get me down. It is time to let the horror semester go and fall back into the wave of positive thoughts and looking forward to the future.

I'm going to apply to publishing internships up in New York. I'm getting a mentorship with an awesome professor I had this past semester. I will start getting certificates for teaching both high school and workouts. Start studying for GED and send out applications to grad-school. Finally get my driver's license. And the big thing is I will be graduating in May.

I don't like simply venting about myself on this blog. It doesn't feel like I am using this to its full potential. If I am going to complain, I should share something else about it.

Just give life the opportunity to get better. Work hard with it to make it change for the better. It takes time and it is a challenge. Facing constant bad things for a while can tear down anyone. And when you can't seem to vent it out or defend yourself against it, sometimes you just need to learn from it. Humans are resilient and when facing adversity or hardship, we can start to learn from it and gain strength.

Whenever you are facing a horribly rough patch in your life, just try to hold on to some form of hope or faith or strength that things can get better. Just keep trying and moving forward. Take in the positives that you can find and use it to give you more power to keep going on.


To all the Sandy Hook victims and families. What you are going through is something no one should ever face. You all are in our thoughts and prayers and motivations to do more for the world than we have ever done before. We are more understanding and more grateful for what we have and what we face. May comfort and happiness find you all again soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: Split Second

Books are a huge passion of mine. They are an inspiration, a joy, and just plain wonderful. Since they are so important to my life, and to many others who have a passion for writing (and yes, reading), I thought it would be a great thing to give a try reading, reviewing, and critiquing books.

I have found that it is much harder than it looks. Those who are able to tantalize another reader to trying out a book or warn others of flaws without giving much away is difficult. Much like any form of writing, it takes time and a lot of practice and editing to get it right. But, hopefully this first try will provoke some of you to pick up the following series!

Split Second
An FBI Thriller
By Catherine Coulter

The Cove
Now, this might be an awkward place to start. This is actually a book  part of a series, the "FBI Thriller" series. However, Ms. Coulter's books can be read out of order. While many of the crimes and characters and plots can connect to each other and/or reappear, each book is very stand alone.You can start from the middle of the series and be able to understand what is going on with total ease. However, there is a chance that you might be mildly spoiled of previous books if you do so.

I'll start with the series over all.

Each book is following a very serious case. Typically a killer/killers or missing persons. The crimes can be incredibly dark, twisted, and powerful. These are more adult books and deal with crimes that some might not enjoy reading about. The cover to your left is the very first of the series and deals with a gruesome murder, stalking, betrayal, and paranoia. These dark themes are in most every book and though the details aren't typically overwhelming, these are not light-hearted stories. 

The series reminds me a lot of Criminal Minds. It typically focuses around a small group of FBI agents who will be sent across the nation to solve heinous or government-threat crimes. After the first book, it usually follows Detective Dillion Savich, an agent that specializes with computers and computer databases. He has even created a specialized computer system that helps in solving cases (MAX). He is the lead of the team and is highly respected and very intelligent. The team will always have Lacey Sherlock (her actual former-last name, SPOILER: She and Dillion are married right after Book 2: The Maze) and a few members that might weave in and out of the series.

There are usually at least two mysteries per book. Sometimes they are separate and sometimes they are connected together. And sometimes you're not even aware there is a second one till later in the story. But they usually meet up and the resolution can be a wild and spectacular twist or a soft, tense release. But the different mysteries don't take away or buttheads with each other.

Within each book there is always romance. In most all, it is between someone who has become involved in the case (as a victim, by chance, etc.) and another agent (one who, mentioned before, weaves in and out of the series). This most always has sexual tension and, yes, eventually sex. However, the main focus remains on the story and the crime. These moments do not typically take away from the plot nor the characters. The relationships are built up on and, while a bit fast, follow well with the story and how each character is set up. The relationships also have a lot of mystery and tension to it as well and intertwine great with the dark-plot of the story.

But the story does not just have intense drama and sexual tension. Sarcastic and witty humor are blended in on top of the adult romance and the dark crime. Ms. Coulter brings in some other genres and balance them nicely to make what is happening feel realistic. It does not all follow one genre and one genre alone. Because the content can be very heavy, adding in humor or some sweet flirty moments between characters adds a very nice contrast that gives the reader a moment to breathe.

Now, despite the content, the writing style is very easy to read and understand. Ms. Coulter does not have her sentences drag out. They are usually short and sweet and make the story flow. Her writing style for this particular series is very much action-based, but it is not all dialogue. This is something I find impressive because in so many advice articles, classes, and books that dialogue and movement is usually key for action stories. But I find that she brings in far more movement and tense slow silences rather that fast pace action. Of course, she has plenty of explosions, pop in your face moments that take you aback as well.

Ms. Coulter works very well with simplicity. Simplicity is her weapon of choice with her writing style and she uses it very well. This is not, typically, a series that will require a whole lot of thought even as you are working with the detectives to solve the crime. Though you are immerse in the story, you're still part of the audience, watching all of this happen.

Now, there Ms. Coulter is one of my favorite thriller-writers. I really have loved each of her FBI stories and get a lot of amusement and excitement from them. However, to be fair there are some negatives.

Warning, there might be some general spoilers following:

1) While the crimes themselves are very different, emotional, tense, and scary...the subplots are typically predictable. Now, some might like this. I don't have a problem with it, but others might not enjoy the fact that they can predict a lot about the romance or the characters.

2) She'll kill off people, she'll make you feel worry for each character because you really grow to love and care for them. However, she very rarely has a very sad/bad ending. I have not read every book in the series as of yet, but I have read most. And though I LOVE happy endings, there might be some of you who would appreciate a bit more dark realism and sad endings. You more than likely won't get a hardcore one in her books. But, I must say, while the endings will typically be happy, the middle content typically will not be.

3) This is a negative I find with a few different series and it is more of a lack of research and is mainly the book covers. I don't like it when the covers do not have the number the book in the series. True, it just takes a few minutes of research, but it is just a pet-peeve of mine and her books don't have it either. So if you are starting right from the middle, you might not realize it till you start to read the other of the books.

4) This is another thing some people might be split upon, but she will give you a nice background on characters that might or might not have a huge part in the story as a whole. I happen to like this. In real life, the people who might just be a witness to something still have a life and a story. Ms. Coulter likes to tell you about them for a paragraph or two. Some might not like this, maybe finding it pointless to the story and the characters were created just to see the car drive off or something like that. Some might be thrown off, expecting to have another character that would have a lot more to do with that story than they turn out to have.

5) Although it is in not in every book, Ms. Coulter can bring in the occult or something dealing with magic or religion that some might not consider real. If this is ever brought into a book, some might find it a bit confusing and takes away from the story over all that deals with something so serious. Dealing a serial killer that really can give you goosebumps and then be reminded of something almost fairy-tale-like become a negative. I will say, sometimes she works with these themes very well and sometimes it feels to fall a little short.

But overall, I would highly recommend trying her FBI Thriller series. If you enjoy thrillers, crime, drama, and not very complicated pieces of literature these are great entertaining books. Perfect for any day.

Split SecondNow onto Split Second.

Summary from book flap: "The FBI's Savich and Sherlock are not comforted by the fact that the vicious serial killer they're hunting shares DNA with the notorious Ted Bundy. Meanwhile, Special Agent Lucy Carlisle learns her family tree may also be tainted. At least, that's how it appears when Lucy finds a skeleton in her grandmother's attack. Could it be her long-lost grandfather? This discovery of a ring sewn into the body's trouser cuff leads to revelations about her grandmother's obsession with the ornament and a mysterious group called The Protectors. While all this makes little sense to Lucy, she inuits that her discovery is tied to the killer who has Savich and Sherlock in his crosshairs. And only she can save them...."

Snippet of 1st Chapter by Catherine Coulter:

"Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday night

Nonfat milk, Fritos, and bananas, Savich repeated to himself as he pulled into the parking lot of Mr. Patil's Shop 'n Go. It was after eight o'clock, and Savich was on his way home from a hard workout at the gym. He felt good, his muscles relaxed and warm, and he looked forward to playing with Sean, maybe with his new video game, Wonky Wizards. He breathed in deeply, enjoying the bite of fall in the air. He looked up at the low-lying clouds that promised to bring showers in the next couple of hours. Nonfat milk and Fritos and--what else?

There was only one car in the parking lot, which wasn't unusual at this time of the evening. A strange play of rapid movement behind the store's large glass window caught his eye. He pulled the Porsche to the far side of the parking lot, out of the line of sight, got out, quietly closed the door, and walked to the edge of the window. he could see a man inside, his face flattened in a leg of pantyhose, standing in front of the counter, pointing a Saturday night special at Mr. Patil's chest. Mr. Patil, who wasn't more than five five with lifts in his shoes and was at least seventy-five years old, looked petrified. He could hear the man yelling at him, but couldn't make out what he was saying. Then he saw a customer. At the end of the counter stood a man about his own age, wearing a bright red Redskins sweatshirt, jeans, and glasses.

Savich felt his heart seize.

Pressed against the man's legs were two small children, a boy and a girl. His hands were wrapped around their shoulders, hugging them tightly against him. Each child held an ice- cream bar, now forgotten.

Keep it together. He couldn't call 911, and take the chance of sirens freaking the guy out, not with kids still in the line of fire. He quickly ran around to the back of the Shop 'n Go and heard the engine running before he saw the Chevy Impala, tucked in the shadows off the parking asphalt. He saw a woman in the driver's seat, leaning in toward the passenger's side to get a partial view inside the store. Since she wasn't wearing panty hose on her head, she obviously wasn't slated to join the actual robbery; she was just there to drive the man in the store out of here. Savich couldn't see the license plate. No matter. She hadn't seen him. Good.

Forget her, let her get away. He crouched down and ran back around to the front of the store. He held his SIG at his side and began whistling. He opened the door and called out, "Good evening, Mr. Patil," and the man in the panty hose whirled around, his gun leading, as the little girl yelled," He'll hurt you!"
The man froze for the longest instant of time in Savich's memory. Savich saw the father grab the children and hurl them to the floor, and then he fell over them while Mr. Patil hefted a six-pack of beer the man had brought to the counter. Then Savich's SIG was up, and he fired. The rule was always to fire only when you intended to kill, but the bullet didn't go into the man's chest, it went into his shoulder. The man screamed, fell hard to his knees, clutching his shoulder, and the .22 went flying."
As you read, the story starts off rolling fast. You're (re-)introduced to Agent Savich who is thrown into one of the first mysteries of the book. But the main focus is this serial killer who is murdering woman and has a connection to an infamous killer Ted Bundy. Now, this man is NOT from a previous book nor is he fiction. Ms. Coulter uses an actual serial killer. You do not need to read up on him to understand anything in the book, a general snypopis of his crimes is explained. The serial killer is a sort of copy-cat killer of Ted Bundy and is very twisted in their reasons for the killings.

The FBI unit led by Dillion Savich is on the case to find this killer and put a stop to him. Within his team is his wife Lacey Sherlock, Lucy Carlisle, and Cooper McKnight. But before they are able to get a proper start to the investigation, Lucy get's the shocking phone call that her father has suffered a heart-attack.

For a few chapters it is about her life after losing him and the agents concern for her and their investigation. Things are growing slow and worrisome until Lucy discovers a shocking secret and the agents get DNA from their killer. Twists and turns abound for this book!

There are four to five mysteries in total for Split Second. It feels like it has much more than Ms. Coulter's typical books. Usually there are two to three.

The serial killer is the main focus of the book. Interestingly enough it starts off on the second chapter with this investigation. And what a terrifying start it is. You're placed within the mind of the first victim and are instantly involved in the capture of this twisted individual. The serial killer mystery is heart pounding and heart wrenching and keeps throwing so many surprising twists you won't be sure which way to look.

Lucy discovers her grandfather's remains in the attic of her grandmother's house. You, and Lucy, know from chapter three who the killer was (again in a heart wrenching way) but not the why. But the discovery of the body isn't until towards the early-middle of the book. A body is known about but unable to be found.

A mysterious ring found on the grandfather's body. This is the key to the many troubles that start to follow Lucy around and has a special ability that most are prepared to kill for.

How the whole book starts off is the next biggest mystery. An attempted robbery gone wrong or something else? You will watch as Detective Savich solves this attempted murder while balancing having another killer after his life.

Now onto the main things I really enjoyed about this particular book.

Positives (minor SPOILERS ahead)

1) The killer in this book is great. The twists and turns and frustrations are played out great. You're built up to really, really just loathe them and their insanity then right towards then end you start to feel pity! It was done very well and their crimes and actions were sickening and horrible. It made for a good mystery story. You keep reading to make sure they meet their justice and you feel terror and want to scream at the pages when they approach their victims. (btw: just because I say they don't assume it is more than one or less than one.)

2) The background mysteries are really fun. While they might not be the best side-mysteries of hers overall, they are tantizling enough that you just want to know what is going on. What I really liked, and what just made me keep reading in a frustrating 'gah! gotta know!' manner, was how she would bring it in then go back to the main mystery for chapters and chapters then BAM you're reminded about it. And you are reminded in a way that makes you want to forget the other mysteries and then BAM you're back in another. It was fabulously horrible. It really forced me to keep reading it, but in an enjoyable way. I think being "fabulously horrible" should be exactly how a mystery/crime thriller should be.

3) This goes a bit with the 2 point but the build up of tension is done well. It is something I don't think I have ever been disappointed with Ms. Coulter's work. She knows just how long to draw something out before turning your attention to another thing, bringing it back to the focus again, and then resolving it. Now, I will admit sometimes the finish off isn't as good as it feels like it could've been, but typically they are done really well and always so much fun to read about. They also provide a break between the main typically heavier crime.

This will be a good time to transition into the negatives the book posed. While I enjoyed the crimes and the main villain greatly. I found that there were plenty of aspects in the book that was lacking.

Negatives (minor SPOILERS ahead)

1) Remember how I mentioned above about a magic or occult theme may be introduced into the story? Well it is in this book and it falls a little short for me. What the magic is is really fun and how it is connected to one of the different crimes (won't say which one) is very cool. However, something feels lacking in how this "magic" is used throughout the book.

2) The summary is very misleading this time. Typically it isn't, but the summary makes something feels like a big point but I honestly can't even remember it being mentioned.

3) I had issues with the main female of this book, Lucy Carlisle. I found she was a bit flat and was overshadowed by the rest of the characters in the book. She was almost too normal in the sea of some pretty interesting people (like Savich and Sherlock). And the outstanding quirk/flaw she had was more frustrating than interesting. She has trust issues with those around her and keeps lying despite the fact she understands it would be better in the long run to tell the truth. However, she seems to keep things going in a circle or dragging on because she simply does not want to tell those who care about her what she is going through. This could've been a fun quirk, however, I feel like I didn't get a positive impact from it and it hindered me in connecting with Lucy.

4) I was a bit thrown off by Savich's character in this one. Or at least a bit what was happening around him. It might be hard to put into words, but for some reason it felt like there were just constant opportunities for him to cheat on his wife. It is not in his character too, but it felt like more woman were hitting on him and something about the wording in his reaction felt like he was tempted to. I didn't like this since this is really not Dillion Savich that I've known for about...I think this might be the 16th book. So that was a turn off.

Overall, this might be my least favorite of the series so far. It is not a bad book by any means, but it doesn't seem to match some of the great ones like The Maze or Riptide. I feel like with one of the main characters lacking and the magic-theme not reaching its full potential it left a lot to be desired. But it is certainly not something to be passed over if one was to start the series. There were plenty of positives about it that would give a people a lot of enjoyment.

I would rate this book about 2.5 out of 5 stars, but the series over all would have to at least be a 4 out of 5.

I recommend this book and the series to older teens (maybe 17) and above. There are some very dark themes and some sexual tones that would not be appropriate for anyone much younger than the given age.

If you just want a laid back and entertaining book too read, I would recommend this book and series. It is easy to get into, easy to follow, and easy to read. This is not a dramatic-headache book and feels like it could easily be turned into a movie. You want a book you could read probably within less than a week and a good escape? You like mystery and crime? You enjoy some pretty believable and fun romances? Go for the FBI Thriller series!

If you are interested in any of Catherine Coulter's work along with getting some snippets of the first chapters, please check out her website:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finding the Good Enough

Insecure Writer's Support Group--November Edition

Better later than never, right? Just been a hard few weeks so I am a bit behind.

A little bit ago, my teacher for Technical Editing mentioned a good, professional writer can see when something is good enough. And that sounds pretty spot on, in my opinion.

Writers can go through so many editions, rewrites, editing, double-checking, and overall suffering from the lack of perfection. But I don't think a work in process can ever really reach the level of perfection. I'm not sure that level exists for anything in the world. If one was to constantly aim for that they will never be ready to let go of their project.

17, 50, 98 editions and years later and it's still not to the level you's because one hasn't been able to see the 'good enough' and move on. Can anything really ever be perfection? As covered in a previous post, I just don't think it can. An author will just need to know when the project is good enough to submit.

And just because you send it off doesn't mean that it is gone out of twitchy fingers forever. We all know it takes an astronomical amount of luck to get accepted by agents/publishers instantly. You will probably have time to keep learning and to edit a little. But during Spring, I listened to a short-story author speak at the school and he said that there are works that have been published that he could've gone over multiple times, forever perhaps. But he had sent it in and it was published and it was very well received.

OK, I think we can all agree that there needs to be a time where you say "alright, that's good enough" but how on earth do you get to that? If anyone knows an actual answer, please share! I can only assume it is just about training and just pushing the project away.

Perhaps it is just about getting excited or impatient and sending the work in? Though that sounds a bit risky, it does give you a chance to branch out and try to get it read. But if you're rejected, you just started the learning process early and maybe you will be lucky enough to be told what is wrong.

But what if you don't want to send something in before you know that you have reached that good enough? Well, there is the pickle. It could be very personal and whenever you feel that you are ready, however that moment might not hit everyone.

I would say, you probably should rewrite the story more than three or four times and shouldn't re-edit more than MAYBE seven (overall). Once you start reaching those numbers, you might want to step back and start sending them in. In general, if these numbers make you uncomfortable, I would keep it all under the number 10. UNLESS you really do need to completely change up your story, you shouldn't be going overboard like that.

Now is this the right now? More than likely not. This is just my personal opinion.

In truth, I think you must set up a personal limit. Tell yourself you will NOT go over 10, 12, 15 editions or rewrites. Once you reach that number, you will let it go. Maybe you will come back to it, maybe it will be accepted and publishing, or just maybe you need to step back from it for a while and move on to another project.

Now, just to let you know, I am not saying be lazy or not try. Work hard on your project. Give it the love and attention that it deserves. If this is your dream, work hard to make sure that you reach that dream.

Just don't let the haunting thought of perfection control you from ever sending out your work. Just take a deep breath and take the plunge into sending things out once you think you have reached "it's good enough".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Starved Ones

The Starved Ones

The home on Riverspring Drive was infamous throughout the neighborhood. It never had to be described, everyone knew which ‘House’ was spoken of in all the horror stories gossiped amongst the teens. All the homes in the old district looked they could have a ghoul or two prepared to peek through lace curtains, but this one had something especially frightening about it.

It was a two-story parlor house, with basement and attic, it looked like it stepped right out of the Louisiana territory where sophisticated southern ladies were preparing tea while men with impressive handlebar mustaches chatted about business on the large open front-porch. Give it a new coat of pristine white paint, replace the roof, and do some serious gardening and it would look like a spectacular house that anyone would love to purchase.

But that history drove even the best of house-flippers away from its financial prospect.

It was one thing for a house to be haunted (that could actually add value for some), it was another thing to have a tortured history and the intense stench of decay forever engraved in the very structure.

The old house had been a doctor’s office. Patients were tended to on the first floor, family lived on the top, and medical supplies were stashed in the basement. But of course, that is not all the basement held. It would not be a good neighborhood ghost tale if that was the case.

No, it seems there was something else there, and extra space that had been placed in when it was built—or at least when the doctor moved in. Deep in the corner, probably hidden underneath the stairs to block out any traces of light, was a little room with metal bars and a secure padlock.

At first it was said it was a protected storage system for the medical drugs. But it was just a cover up for something more sinister and juicy for a midnight story.

The starved ones lived in that little cell. The human experiment the good neighborhood doctor was compelled to complete and what consumed the house in a curse of madness, death, and demonic torture.


The house had the stereotypical smell of must and rotten wood. Rebecca was impressed that every ghost story and haunted house had it. It must’ve been a required trait. Not haunted if it wasn’t smelly.

She stopped at the grand entrance, her flashlight trailing around the darkness. Ghosts? All she was catching was dust particles she was kicking up with her feet.

Risking a sneezing fit she took a strong whiff of the air. There was no stench of decaying flesh or festering feces. All she got was a small choking fit from dust-bunnies.

Once she could breathe she snorted in disappointment.

This was the infamous haunted house of Riverspring? She should’ve known it was just a ridiculous urban legend. More than likely it had too many foundation problems and that was why no one wanted to purchase the stupid thing. Given the economy it was no wonder no one wanted to take on the expensive project.

Give it another year or two and she was confident a family would be living here and this ridiculous horror story would jump to a house a few streets over.

Still, it was a bit haunting how the inside was left almost untouched. It was as if the original family from 19-something (to her there was nothing remotely interesting that could be considered life before 2001) had simply left the house and all their belongings.

‘Probably was a bootlegger.’ She thought, moving around some cobwebs. ‘Probably was discovered this haunted starving cell was actually a place for, like, moonshine or something like that.’

So disappointing.

What sort of dare was this? This was the only way she could join the dance squad? Walk through a gross old house? Really, hazing these days was getting downright pathetic. At her old school they would have something far more interesting involved.

Rebecca looked over her shoulder briefly, expecting some members from the squad hiding behind curtains ready to jump and with a “GOTCHA”. She should be very careful when going down to the basement. The hazing might come in the form of locking her inside once she was down a few steps.

Even though this place clearly wasn’t haunted she did not want to spend the night in a place that would fill her hair with spiders and have her on allergy medication for the next two weeks.

Coming up to where the basement door was, really how untouched was this place if the location of the door was known, and looked at it with a little apprehension.

“Alright girls.” She called out, looking around. “I’m going down. Don’t lock me in. You do that and not only will I NOT join this squad I will call the cops,” She took out her cellphone, jiggling the lit screen around, “and give them your names. Wouldn’t look pretty on a college resume to Yale if you have a night in jail, would it Kara?”

There was no word from the squad leader or any of the others.

She smirked and stuffed it back into her pocket. Even if the downstairs had no bars there was no way the girls would want to risk it. Kara, with a K not a C, was about to graduate and there was no way she was going to ever risk something like that.

Rebecca shrugged. This whole town seemed a little too goody-goody to do something like that anyway. Yet another bit of evidence to mark on the “This place isn’t haunted” bit.

She turned the old brass knob, it had a floral design engraved in it, and tugged the door open. It creaked and groaned but didn’t put up much of a fight. Her flashlight shined down the wooden stairs and into the dark abyss of the basement.

The sight of the stairs did make her gulp. They looked ready to cave in with just one step. Years of termites gnawing on them left them with holes and cracks. The basement itself, at least from what she could see, appeared as normal and as creepy as any other basement in existence.

True, there were some factors that made it a bit creepier than normal…

Her flashlight made old beakers and equipment gleam. She could see a glass case, a more traditional location for medicine than a cell, with tinted windows and old fashion medical tools lay askew.

She gripped on tightly to the frame of the door and tried to peer over the staircase to see if there really was a cell underneath. But the angle was too awkward. She simply could not see straight underneath unless she wanted to risk making a face-plant with the concrete flooring.

Grumbling she got on her knees and used her trust light to try and peer down between the many holes and cracks. Maybe if she can just take a peek into this cell it would be enough and she could go home and watch some Gossip Girl on Netflix.

She frowned, rubbing her eyes. She thought she saw a flash of white somewhere in that empty space but that was probably just another speck of irritable dust. It was ridiculous; there was so much of it everywhere.

Muttering a few unlady like words she picked herself back up, dusting off her knees and took another look at the empty space down below. She flinched. It was now starting to get unsettling. The stories and the loneliness were starting to sink in.

Rebecca shook it off.

‘Don’t be ridiculous now.’ She fought off the chill wanting to go down her spine. ‘You’re almost done. You go down, shine the light in the cell, and come back out. Super simple.’

And a challenge she was not willing to hide from.

Gripping her phone tightly in her hand she took the first step down the rickety stairs. Each one groaned and creaked, but luckily for her held up. Whoever had made this house really did it well.

The concrete was under her feet in no time and Rebecca felt foolish for being so weird before hand. It was just another creepy old basement, nothing to be afraid of except for earning herself some tetanus if she wasn’t careful of what she touched.

Looking back at where she came from she was very pleased to see the door was still wide open and there was still some light from the outside world peering in.

So far, so good. Just a few more steps, she shines the light inside, and she can go home.

Excited to be free of this she moved over under the stairs.

Shinning her light up she was surprised at what she found. What do you know? There actually was a cell! It fit right underneath the stairs, shaped in an awkward triangle. There were rusted bars raising from the ground and touching the sturdy wood above and there was a padlock. A heavy-duty old fashion padlock at that, with the keyhole in front of the lock rather than underneath.

She tilted her head, her heart skipped a beat, she didn’t actually think there was truth to the rumor. Who would have a cell in their basement?

‘Maybe monkeys. They did a lot of sick animal experiments in that time.’ But it seemed awfully big to hold monkeys. And there weren’t ropes or bars inside so they could hang or swing off of. It made no sense those things would be taken while every piece of furniture and painting, even a tea set, was left upstairs.

Her stomach twisted a little.

One step closer. Another. And a last one.

She was finally at the bars and could see inside. And there was nothing.

Rebecca let loose a breath of air she had no idea she had been holding. Nothing appeared, as she had gotten closer. It really was nothing more than a creepy cell in a creepy basement in a creepy house.

Rubbing her hand over her face, she groaned. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid. This whole mess was so ridiculous and stupid.’

Now done, she turned away. She was going to march back up those stairs and out of this place with dignity and show those bimbos not to challenge a city girl.

Then the putrid smell filled her nostrils.

Rebecca gagged and her hand went over her mouth and nose to keep herself from breathing it in.

“What on earth?” She wheezed. “Did an air vent open up?” If this was the smell that was so infamous she really could understand why no one would want the home. It reeked!

A wheeze from behind made her fingers twitch.

‘Just the vent. Just the vent.’ She chanted to herself. Turning around, feeling like she was trapped in a horror movie, she shone the light back into the cell and discovered it was not as empty as she had left it just seconds before.

Something was hunched in the corner. The body looked somewhat human but with how crooked it was sitting she wasn’t so sure.

Her hand began to shake as she cleared her throat. “K-Kara? You know this is pretty crappy of you to do, right?”

It paused a moment, making sure it heard her voice. Then with weak movements began to turn to face her.

Rebecca nearly dropped the flashlight in horror at the thing.

Whatever it was it was not human. It couldn’t be. Not anymore.

The creature looked white in the light. Not Caucasian but the actual color of snow. If she wanted she could count each and every bone it had inside. Some of the bones were even protruding from the dried and crack surface that was once called skin.

Up along its arms and legs had chunks of flesh missing. And its face, its horrid face, had no lips; just gums, broken teeth, and a black void of a mouth. The creature clearly had them at one point in its unfortunate life but like the chunks from the arms and legs…

Bile was making its way up her throat. Any moment the sausage chili she had for dinner would be all over her clothes and the ground. She quickly covered her mouth taking a step back, her whole body shaking.

The head tilted back and forth slowly. Good god, she could hear things popping as it did the movement.

With a disturbing gargle, or perhaps it was a wheeze; it slowly began to turn towards her fully. The head kept tilting and the neck bones kept popping.

It twisted and groaned, the bones snapping as it maneuvered out between the bars like a disfigured cat. It awkwardly crawled out, dragging its body behind it. There were no eyes, just black sockets—void of a bottom.

She prayed it couldn’t see her.

The creature stopped and began to sniff. It was a raspy breath and she could picture the dried skin flapping around inside of it.

The tears couldn’t even fall and her legs were shaking so bad. There was a feeling of dampness and in the back of her mind she was aware she had just let control of her bladder.

It sniffed again and she felt her legs start to lose all of their strength.

It could smell her.

How could it be real? How could the stories be real? The story of a twisted doctor keeping people starving under his stairs for sick experiments and how they had become so hungry they ate each other and parts of their own body. How their hatred and hunger became so great they became trapped in a sort of madness. And need for food. They always needed to eat something.

Rebecca shook her head.

No, no, no. People simply did not conjoin to become a revenge seeking demon or devil or whatever this thing was. Nor was it possible for them to then become so hungry they feasted the doctor’s family for days only to not be sated.

Impossible. It was impossible.

This thing was not real. It was a sick joke. It was a sick joke played by the girls. They were just better at hazing than she thought.

Another sniff. It was starting to drag itself towards her.

A whimper escaped her mouth as she stared upon the starved one’s horrific face. That was no mask. This was not some cheap silicon and fabric.

Then it let out a roar, it was silent and raspy but she could feel it vibrating through her whole form. And with strength and speed it should never possess crawled towards her, grabbing on to her leg and dug its teeth into it.

Rebecca let out a howl of pain and kicked it away from her. It didn’t do much good it ripped some of her skin with it. Blood was pouring from her right calf, but the adrenalin that came with it pushed the pain out and got her moving.

She was at the staircase in a second and was rushing up towards it. A cry came out as bony hands grabbed on to her bleeding leg and teeth were back into the skin, pulling her back.

Rebecca tried to pull herself out but the hold was painfully tight and each pull just made the teeth sink in worse. Turning around, sobbing, she kept trying to kick it. But it was too desperate, it had tasted her flesh and now wanted more.

She couldn’t hold it back. As she screamed in horror again all her dinner erupted from her mouth and on herself and the creature.

It stopped trying to consume her flesh and sniffed again. It leaned down to it’s own hand that had the vomit over it, taking in a long whiff before it licked it. Again it licked its own hand before it began to greedily sink its teeth into its cracked flesh and feed.

As it feasted on her upchuck she clawed her way out of the door and pushed herself up. She pumped her legs faster than ever in her life. She couldn’t even feel the damage the creature did to her right leg.

She ran out of the house, past all the old homes of Riverspring Drive, and never looked back.

Back in the basement, the starved one kept licking at the mess, hungry for more who will venture in.


This is my first attempt at writing a horror-ghost tale. As you can see, not my strong suit. It takes a lot of skills and talent to tell a haunting spook. The pace, the grip, and the punchline. It is certainly a lot of difficulty. My hats to all who manage to do such a thing and those who are able to do things that spark an uproar of interest (those on CreepyPasta).

Hope this gave some a bit of entertainment!

Happy Halloween to all!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Am I Crazy?

I think so.

You know, I notice (and have been told multiple times) that I don't vent. I tend to keep things to myself. In truth I hate venting. I always feel, sorta, worse afterwards. But I don't seem to express my own fears, doubts, and insecurities and it seems a bit unfair that I seem to talk about how to fix problems when I don't have the courage enough to stand up and say "I, personally, have this problem".

Anywho, my problem is school and lack of time. I no longer have that depression, but I am taking on a lot of things this semester that is really overwhelming at times. It is good to have a lot of things for a Senior; bulk up the CV, make connections, make friends, and have life-long experiences. So, I'm not necessarily regretting my choices so far, but man I am wondering a bit if I am biting off more than I can chew.

Just to give you an idea of my semester:

I am taking six classes: French 3, Old English, Romantic Literature, Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Technical Editing. And let me tell you, French 3 is horrible. I struggle with languages terribly, so being required to take a class where the teaching doesn't fit everyone's needs is pretty difficult. And in all honesty, we think this class was a main cause of my depression fit earlier this semester.

And this opens up to another thing: I am trying for a 4.0. It doesn't look possible because of French (curse you foreign language requirement) which was pretty upsetting to myself (this also ties back to trying to let go of being perfect). But everything else I am aiming for an A in, which takes a lot of time.

Then, there is my huge health/weight goal. I am trying to lose about 40 pounds before May. I'll just come right out and say I have high cholesterol (thank you genetics....and cheese. curse you cheese). And have been overweight for the majority of my life. I made it a goal to get my degree as healthy as I can be and this also takes time. I try to work out multiple times daily, training to start running, eating takes time and studying to be healthy! I also got a work-out addiction from my dad, we don't seem to function, sleep, or feel refreshed and happy without sweating sometime during the day.

And then there are the extracurricular activities. I am the historian for Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) and the president of the Creative Writing Club. And the club is sort of restarting so I am working together with some people to make it really organized and strong, trying out a lot of new ideas, and forming up new procedures and forms. I'm also a tutor for philosophy and english (though so far, I'm only being used for Logic) and working with a career counselor to put together presentations for students who are interested in going into the publishing field.

Also, working on making career connections. Trying to land an internship/mentorships with a teacher for next semester. Applying to all sorts of places for careers. Looking to apply to publishing companies for internships or doing teaching programs. I have been going to many meetings and dinners to get information and make connections. I seem to have one twice a week!

And I am doing all of this while trying to get my second edition of my WIP done, have two blogs (this and a cooking one), get myself and my writing noticed, and have somewhat of a social life with my family....while resisting buying loads of fall boots (curse you gorgeous boots).

It is a frantic semester with something new every week. But, I guess that is life, right? When writing, we're going to have to learn to do it while balancing so many other things. Guess this really could be seen as a great training. I'm getting a lot of experience for jobs and what an adult needs to face.

I suppose there is no real topic or theme or discussion for this one. Just thought I would try something new and see about venting? I'm not sure. I'm still not too good at this! But, I'll keep trying if it works out positively for me.

To survive in laugh, gotta remain positive and think that everything, or most everything, that I do now can really help and affect my future. Trying my hardest now might mean great things for me really soon. So I will keep trying hard, keep a smile on my face, and think of what this will mean to me later on.

Little hard work won't kill anyone after all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Depression & Writing

Insecure Writer's Support Group--October Edition

The new semester started a month ago and it has greatly affected my writing and my life. It was a hard start. For some reason, I just became overwhelmed with all the work that needed to be done and being so close to the end of my BA (next semester, whoot!). I couldn't concentrate and couldn't seem to function positively. I actually felt more inspired to goof off and write rather than study or do any work.

I was crying and stressing out daily. I'm so close to the end! I have a scholarship and am on the Dean's List! How could I possibly be quitting when I'm so close to finishing everything off with such a good note?

Well, after going to discuss this with a counselor and chatting with my parents, it seems I was so overwhelmed (particularly with my language course). I had the idea that I wasn't good enough if I got anything less than an A, lose the scholarship, and not just be perfect on everything. It was just hitting me hard and with six classes, it can get really stressful really fast.

After the talks, and realizing I am, indeed, a perfectionist, I just had to step back and come to a realization that no one is perfect and being perfect does not mean it I become a failure. I was just viewing everything in such a black-&-white way. Getting a C in French would not ruin me for the rest of my life nor would it be a devastating loss to not have the scholarship for my final semester. I couldn't let these little details overwhelm me and have everything else be totally ruined.

Though hard, I had to let it all go. Stop worrying so much over everything. It is still hard today. I am so far behind because I was in a sort of...depressive neutral state for about four of the six weeks of my classes. I have to try and control those feelings, catch up on all the classes, run a club, and try to find some time to write.

But things are better now, at least emotionally and working with a more positive and strong attitude.

Now, I don't want to just sit here and talk about the depression (especially since it concerned more about school than writing). Instead, I would like to talk about how this can help with writing and life.

Simple. As said before, no one is perfect and not being perfect doesn't instantly mean failure. Don't go by the quote "If you're not first, you're last!" (Ricky Bobby, lol). The world isn't made up of all winners and failures.

Don't let the pressure of being the "perfect" writer overwhelm you. Stop fretting over the details. Yes, those details are vital and important, but they are not worth losing everything for. Especially your health and sanity.

Take some time and give yourself a pep-talk. Don't let the one class, one assignment, one chapter, or one character tear everything down. Remember perspective! And always go to someone when you start to lose that perspective. Never be afraid to go to someone for help. You never have to go through any of these things alone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Don't Compare, Be Inspired

Insecure Writer's Support Group--September Edition

This past week, my good friend and myself started to talk about writing. We're both working hard on our series and trying to get them complete and out into the world. She is quite a bit further than myself and is progressing at a level I wish I could accomplish now.

But, I was surprised when she said she didn't feel like she was doing near enough. This is a girl who is working full-time, about to get started her semester, dealing with crazy family adventures, and life in general. And she STILL has a work in progress that is being written with great care, emotion, and time. Yet she still felt like it was not enough.

She was comparing herself to another author who would lock himself up for weeks and do nothing but write, hours a day, non-stop.

It didn't seem right to me. She is such a talented, incredible writer who is writing on a full-time schedule and she still doesn't feel like it is enough.

Being a writer, new to the field, is very hard to see the greatness you have in your hands. I think most everyone compares themselves to someone else. I know I have! Back to Christopher Paolini--the guy got his story out when he was younger than myself. How can I not compare myself to that? How can I not feel lazy when he got a best-selling, movie inspiring book so young? Or the fact that my friend is so far ahead when we started at around the same time?

You can't do this. It pressures you in a way I don't think is healthy. You're comparing yourself to someone different, with a different life, from a different time and it is not fair to you or your work.

If you have a life outside of writing, don't sacrifice it (job, family, health, school, etc.). By doing that you will probably hurt yourself and, in turn, your writing.

If you feel too pressured you're going to rush, you're going to lose your writing style, and you will add even more time to your schedule because you will have to go back and rewrite AGAIN.

You need to be who you are as you write. You also need to be fair to yourself. Not everyone works the exact same. Some work great on a tight schedule and under pressure. Some don't. Some are able to get hours in of writing during a full life-schedule and some can only get in thirty minutes. Some authors had nothing to do but write and the majority of people today have everything to do except write.

Don't let your confidence be shaken in who you are as a writer because others write more. Instead, you need to be inspired from their accomplishments. That author get published younger than you? Take it as a healthy challenge to get just a bit more time set aside for writing.

There is a difference between feeling pressured by comparing yourself to an author and being inspired by them. I need to stop thinking I'm not a hard-worker because I am not finished with my first book. My friend needs to stop thinking she isn't one because she doesn't lock herself up to write. And others need to stop thinking that they are less of a writer if they don't get something accomplished by a certain time.

We all have our own personal beat. Don't try to copy someone else's if it really doesn't work for you.

Another little advice to go with this: Don't be afraid to go to someone on occasion to get an ego-boost! You certainly don't want to make a habit of it, because as writers we need critiques to progress and evolve. However, it is because we are writers that we need to get some compliments about something that we are doing.

Writing is a difficult task, even if you're doing it just for fun. This is something that takes hard-work and  a lot of emotion. It is very easy to get lost and down because of how long it is taking to write something to the fact the work is getting rejected. Go to a friend, family, or fellow writer and ask if they can just tell you the good things about your work for that day.

Sometimes, the critiques and things that need to change or what we need to do to get better overwhelms us and overshadows what we're doing great on. So go out there and take in some positive feedback. You deserve it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Writing History

(new template! Feels a bit more fitting.)

Like most, I have had a dream to be a published novelist. Writing has been one of the only talents I have been aware and proud of since I was little. 

I remember, back when I was in about the third grade I was a shy girl (shyer than I am now) and didn't have much passion for anything. Then our class (of about 15) had a little writing competition. Just write about something in your life and I wrote about my puppy at the time, Hannah. I had no faith in myself, though I really wanted to win the trophy (a stuffed beaver doll). The time came and the teacher began to read out the winning story. I was so insecure about it that I didn't even recognize it was my own story!

That was the first sign to me that I might have something I am actually good at. Of course, at that age it didn't really click that I could do this for a living. At that age, you're mostly introduced into the world of being a doctor or a teacher. But so many things throughout my life kept bringing me back to writing.

When I was about eleven I discovered anime and then at about twelve or thirteen I discovered the world of fanfiction (through At first I wanted to write cause I was a typical fangirl with a Mary-Sue/Self Insertion character I wanted to have claim a bishie. But after really starting with my anime love YuGiOh and my fan-crush Tea (except for my one anime love (HIEI), I've always loved the female characters in animes) I noticed I was actually getting a fan base. 

Soon, I started taking it real serious. I covered different genres; romance, action, and slapstick humor. I went from different worlds (Naruto, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, Danny Phantom, Harry Potter), created new worlds (the AUs) and kept getting popularity.

I was actually writing something that a lot of people were reading and enjoying.

But it still wasn't fully clicking that this was something I wanted to do. The thought was there, but for some reason it just wasn't obvious that I could try and do this for a living. There was talk about it, thoughts about it, but I don't think I ever proclaimed out loud, "I want to be an author."

Perhaps it was still insecurity. Perhaps I felt like I shouldn't be an author, it's not a "real" job. I do remember mom and dad speaking to me about it, that they felt like this was something I love. I think I might've even said I wanted to write a book. But I don't think I ever said "author".

Whatever it was, it just wasn't something that was ready to click.

Until I saw Eragon. 

I remember I had really enjoyed that first book. I remember that the author was so young and was already writing and doing something he really loved, and profiting from it.

And I remember how utterly disappointed I was in the movie. 

I complained the whole way back home. "If it was my book I wouldn't let Hollywood do that." or "It was such a good story, why didn't it get on the screen right?" of course, it probably had more of a whiny high-schooler tone to it. But moving on...

And mom asked me, "Well, why don't you make one yourself? You seem to like it. You talk about stories and writing a lot."

And I finally answered, "I will!" 

That was the for sure moment I made up my mind to try and be like Christopher Paolini. It has taken years, still far behind the man that actually got me to start doing something seriously, but I am on a more serious road in doing something that I hadn't realized been my dream for years.

Still moving slower than I would like, but I am obtaining so many years of experience. I am learning something new about myself, strengthening my writing, and meeting so many new people who are helping me succeed in this.

What about you? When and what got you to realize "this is what I want to do. I want to be an author"?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Write...

...when you simply don't want to.


Cause man, there are times I just DON’T want to write. I don’t mean a writer’s block, there are ideas there…but no drive to write them down. And it’s not just about my novel. I just feel lazy to do useful stuff. I won’t go and read and review blogs, write my fanfiction, write updates for my own blog, etc.

There is just simply a sense of laziness where I just feel like I don’t even want to pick up a pencil. The things on TV or YouTube just sound so much more intriguing. Even things that would typically inspire me to write just don’t shine like they would typically.

It’s like a whiny pre-teen saying “the world doesn’t want me to!”. Thank goodness, I realized instantly it was my own fault, but even that didn’t get me to writing anything.

So what to do when there is no drive to attempt to do any writing?

In truth, I’m not a 100% sure myself.

This round, I had to just let it pass on its own. Forcing myself to get into a writing mood, to think of a new post for the blog, even going and reading & reviewing….it didn’t work out. It certainly made me feel pretty bad about not doing anything, but even that didn’t move me enough.

It just had to happen when it was meant to happen.

But first a question; is it a real bad thing to not want to write?

At first, I would say “OMG YES” because it is emotionally taxing to not do your passion. I feel like I am missing out on opportunities. Deadlines and goals I had made for myself are slipping away. I’m being far too lazy for it to be beneficial.

However, there is another side to this.

Let’s look at it from a physical stance. Anyone who works out and does sports probably knows you gotta have at least one day of rest so you don’t damage your body. And your body can give you signs that it needs to stop. Perhaps this was my mind telling me it needed a break.

After all, you can’t look at the same thing every day and catch something new. A break just might be needed to find the things you were missing.

After this “lazy break”, I am finding new sides to my story, finding awkward things I had missed over, inspired to write about it in this post…and it is possible all of this is coming through because of stopping.

But, I will be the first to admit I don’t think I went about it the best way. I think I went a few weeks without any type of progression with my writing. If it was a Writer’s Block, yes it would stink, but it would feel more like I was sick. This, as a mentioned before, feels like I was just lazy and didn’t even try to become inspired.

Taking a break is one thing. Letting it work itself out isn’t that bad either. But I’m not sure if I made enough of an attempt to get over this lazy hump. I was simply too lazy to try.

So, in simple terms I always think it never hurts to try…even when you really don’t want too. Even just a sentence or two that you might scrap later, it is still something you did and tried for. If that is all you can manage that one day, well, you had a good shot!

I think it should be done, not because I am anti-lazy or having a pity-fest about my lack of writing, but because you never know what will be the thing to re-ignite the writing spark.

I’ll leave off with a quote from Writer’s Digest;

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or ten pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off.” -- Lawrence Block (June 1981)

Always try. I don’t think there is ever a loss to trying, but there can be great loss in not.