R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI

Banner by Abigail Larson

Banner by Abigail Larson

09/01/16, Tempe, AZ – I just turned on the AC, but nevermind. I’ve already been eating chocolate-covered orange marshmallow pumpkins for a couple weeks now and the Spirit Halloween store is open at the mall. It’s September and it’s time for September things.

One of my favorite autumn traditions  is R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril. Hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, it is a blogging celebration of mystery, suspense, thrillers, the gothic, horror and dark fantasy.

Participation involves enjoying stories of every type (novels, short stories, TV, movies, even gaming) and sharing your experiences with others. Imbibe a little peril or a lot.



Continue reading

#ROW80 ~ Sunday Update, 10/23


Add 3125 words per week on Wicked Witch, Retired.

Update Round 4, Week 3

I’d like to say I was motivated by wanting Saturday off for the readathon, but really I hit a couple of scenes on Mon-Thurs that came together well. Most of that writing occurred in the morning. Friday was rough. I’ll probably rewrite what I wrote on Friday.

Monday: 772
Tuesday: 761
Wednesday: 764
Thursday: 1,050
Friday: 757

Total added to the manuscript this week: 4,104 words

Research Link of the Week

Usage of the word geas. (Usage over time isn’t really notable to my story. I just found it interesting.)


Didn’t have anything going on other than the quiet of morning (which means traffic, the light rail, birds, and the graffiti team painting over walls) and the usual TV shows.

ROW80LogocopyA Round of Words in 80 Days on Facebook

Dewey’s 24-hour #Readathon ~ October 2016


All the Dewey’s Details


  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I felt good going into hour 21…and then I tanked. By 01:30, I couldn’t keep my eyes open for anything. Oh well!
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Revenge by Yoko Ogawa worked really well for readathon. It’s a series of connected short stories, all bite-sized. It made it very easy to put the book down and do a little social media stuff, but it was interesting enough that I didn’t want to stay away too long.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? One tiny thing, since you asked: On the lists for cheering, maybe a index/number column. I would have liked to throw a dice and visited every person with that number as a ones digit. Just to be able to spread my rambly comments around. (Don’t worry, I have 10-sided dice.)
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything was so smooth! Hugh THANKS to Andi, Heather, and everyone who volunteered!
  5. How many books did you read?  I ended up reading 525 pages and listen to an hour and a quarter of audio book. I finished a book I had been working on pre-readathon, read through two others, and started on three others.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Finished The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian (the last 1/4th of it), Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, and Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? I haven’t finished the books I enjoy the most: Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Was a little disappointed by The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian.
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely to participate again! Honestly, I’m going to stay a reader. I’m way too socailly inconsistant to be much else. ;)

Updates & Challenges

Time: 00:21

  • What I’m Reading: Listened to 01:14:30 of The Seer of Shadows by Avi, which was refreshing! Now, I’m switching to The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist!
  • Total Pages So Far: 481, 1hr 14min.
  • Snacks: Iced coffee & Irish cream. A cookie. Water.
  • Other Activities: Minecraft while listening to audio book.

Time: 22:39

  • What I’m Reading: Been working on Holmes on the Range, but I think it’s time to switch it up. Let’s go audio!
  • Total Pages So Far: 481
  • Other Activities: Walk around the neighborhood with my husband.
  • Snacks: After our walk, my husband shared his Lime Freeze Rockstar with me. He’s tops! Also, a cookie.

Time: 20:36

  • What I’m Reading: Read Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe while eating dinner. Still working on Holmes on the Range.
  • Total Pages So Far: 448
  • Snacks: Water, diet Mtn. Dew, leftover fajitas for dinner.
  • Other Activities: Dozed on the couch a little. Also been listeing to a Halloween playlist.


Frightful Reads

Time: 16:14

  • What I’m Reading: Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith
  • Total Pages So Far: 290
  • Snacks: Pizza rolls! Plus a chocolate-covered chocolate marshmallow pumpkin, a cookie, a Diet Dr. Pepper, and…wait for it…water.
  • Other Activities: Watched the Nebraska/Purdue game—but I had my book with me the whole time!

Mid-Event Survey:

  1. What are you reading right now? Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith. So far, it’s excellent.
  2. How many books have you read so far? 1.25. I’m slow. Also, a Nebraska fan (see Other Activities above).
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I still have The Escapist waiting for me.
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Most of my “interruptions” have been self-inflicted. I’m just going to go with them.
  5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I haven’t felt like taking a nap yet!

Time: 12:34

  • What I’m Reading: Decided to finish The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian. I had about a 1/4 left pre-readathon.
  • Total Pages So Far: 253
  • Snacks: Lunch (see below), another cookie, water.
  • Other Activities: A vigorous bout of stretching while reading. Followed the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin/Iowa game online.

Continue reading

#RIPXI ~ Pits, Pendulums, and Extraordinary Tales

season-of-the-witch-button-2016Season of the Witch

“The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe

“The Pit and the Pendulum” was another of the Troll Communications adaptations stocked in my grade-school library. The Haunted Closet has a great bunch of scans from it.

While “Masque of the Red Death” has some clear allegorical content, “The Pit and the Pendulum” is a pretty straight-forward tale. Our first-person narrator is a heretic (of some sort) and sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition. Except, since an auto da fé has recently taken place, his punishment is actually to be tortured until he dies or until the next scheduled “sacrifice” by fire. Our narrator is put in a very dark room with a pit in the center. When he fails to fall in, he’s tied down with a gradually lowering razor sharp pendulum. When he manages to escape, the walls of his cell become glowing hot and begin to move inward, forcing him toward the pit. Each torture is more phantasmagorical than the last, each requiring more complex machines and architecture. Our narrator is then rescued at the last moment by a General Lasalle, placing this Spanish Inquisition in the early 1800s.

Really, “The Pit and the Pendulum” is more like the “torture porn” movies of the the early 2000s. Now, I have nothing against those kind of movies, I even enjoy them on a certain level. Indeed, I enjoy “The Pit and the Pendulum” as well. There is a certain satisfaction to characters attempting to use ingenuity to extricate themselves from hopeless situations.

RIPXI Info | Reviews

Extraordinary Tales (2013)
Directed by Raul Garcia
Narrations by Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Julian Sands, Guillermo del Toro, Roger Corman, Stephen Hughes, and Cornelia Funke.

Extraordinary Tales is an animated anthology of five Poe stories, each animated in a different style with different narrators. The wrap-around involves the spirit of Poe still on earth as a raven as Death tries to woo him.

Some of the adaptations are more successful than others.

The first tale is “The Fall of the House of Usher” narrated by Christopher Lee. This was one of Lee’s last pieces of work and I can’t think of too many people more up to the task. The angular animated caricatures and rich, dark colors are pretty wonderful.

My personal favorite is the mostly black and white animation of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” visually inspired by the art of Alberto Breccia. The slick animation is a great contrast to the hiss-and-pop recording of Bela Lugosi as our narrator.

Being a fan of Julian Sands, I wanted to like “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” more than I did. The narration was fine. The animation style is evocative of EC horror comics, but the color palate seemed off to me. Plus, there’s not too much story to “M. Valdemar.” It is a curious choice for adaptation.

I didn’t care for the animation style of “The Pit and the Pendulum” at all. While shooting for realism, the presumably computer generated characters felt unsubstantial and somewhat fell into uncanny valley.  The being said, Guillermo del Toro was a great selection for narrator.

I’m sort of torn by “The Masque of the Red Death.” The animation is like vivid water color paintings brought to life, but it actually lacked narration. Other than a couple words spoken by Prince Prospero (voiced by Roger Corman), the story is told in images and music only. “Masque” is an incredibly visual story and is well-“told” in this format, but I did miss the beauty of Poe’s language.

Through out this anthology is music written by Sergio de la Puente. It’s a soundtrack worthy of any Halloween or writing playlist.

#RIPIX – A Perilous Trio of Short Stories

RIPXI Info | Reviews

I’ve been really enjoying the October Reading Club‘s esoteric picks:

“The Chromatic Ghosts of Thomas” by Ellis Parker Butler (1907) – Thomas is a cat. But how many stories have asked, if a cat has nine lives, does a cat have nine…ghosts?

Our cat Thomas was very sensitive. I never knew such a sensitive cat as Thomas was. The slightest harsh word seemed to hurt his feelings and put him into a fit of the dumps.

“A Ghost of the Sierras” by Bret Harte (1878) – A Western ghost story, written during the era.

…he continued for some moments to dwell on the terrible possibility of a state of affairs in which a gentleman could no longer settle a dispute with an enemy without being subjected to succeeding spiritual embarrassment.

But not forgetting contemporary stories away from the Club:

“Cruel Sistah” by Nisi Shawl (2005) – Remember the “The Ensouled Violin”? Nisi Shawl’s “Cruel Sistah” is a great take on that tradition.

His thing now was gimbris, elegant North African ancestors of the cigar-box banjos he’d built two years ago when he was just beginning, just a kid. … The basic structure looked good, but it was kind of plain. It needed some sort of decoration. An inlay, ivory or mother of pearl or something.

What Am I Reading This Week? Hopefully, Lots!

This Saturday is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! It is one of my favorite blogging/bookernet events because, well, reading!


What I’m Reading Pre-Readathon

The Accidental Alchemist (An Accidental Alchemist Mystery) The Pit and the Pendulum Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway

I should be able to finish The Accidental Alchemist by Saturday. I also have “The Pit and the Pendulum” to read for Season of the Witch and the last story in Joyce Carol Oates’ Wild Nights! for Deal Me In. Ideally, I’d like to blog about the last two before Saturday, but we’ll see. My blogging schedule and I are only passingly familiar lately.

My Readathon Stack

I took books back to the library last week, which means, despite my #readMyOwnDamnBooks efforts, I also checked out books from the library…

Revenge The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist: Volume 1 Barnum!: In Secret Service to the USA

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation Holmes on the Range

Julianne at Outlandish Lit reminded me that Revenge has been a book on my TBR list for ages. Between it and Holmes on the Range, I should be set for fiction. For graphic novel breaks, I checked out The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist: Volume 1 and Barnum!: In Secret Service to the USA. And lastly, I checked out an audio book, Bill Nye’s Undeniable, just in case my eyes need a break.

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Date!

#ROW80 ~ Sunday Update, 10/16


Add 3125 words per week on Wicked Witch, Retired.

Update Round 4, Week 2

Between PMS and election stress fatigue, I pretty much checked out during the latter part of the week. While I like to keep to a six day work week, I wrote this morning in order to hit my goal. Yesterday and today involved a little rewriting too.

Monday: 759
Tuesday: 758
Wednesday: 552
Thursday: 203
Friday: 20
Saturday: 433
Sunday: 404

Total added this week: 3129 words.

Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon is next Saturday so I’m shooting for my usual goal in one day less. I also really need to get some writing done in the mornings. It doesn’t work too well if I start writing at 10pm.

Research Links of the Week

Wikipedia: Gyroscope
YouTube: The Mighty Cheese


With sample tracks!

Poe, Haunted (2000), track
Type O Negative, Bloody Kisses (1993), October Rust (1996), track
Jane’s Addiction,  The Great Escape Artist (2011), track
Machines of Loving Grace, Gilt (1995),  Concentration (1993), track
Godsmack, Godsmack (1998), track

ROW80LogocopyA Round of Words in 80 Days on Facebook

Catch-Up: Deal Me A Witchy Horror

season-of-the-witch-button-2016Season of the Witch

“The Dunwich Horror” by H.P. Lovecraft

I’m still not a fan of the cosmicism of Cthulhu mythos, but I’m slowly gaining some appreciation for Lovecraft. Partly, this might be because I’ve been reading some of Lovecraft’s influences. His tales make more sense to me in the context of Ambrose Bierce and Arthur Machen—I just read The Great God Pan not too long ago!

The tale is slowly told, but less dry than some of Lovecraft’s stories. It’s told from an aspect of history. Within the story the events are the Dunwich Horror of 1928, as though a few years past…and seemingly leaving room for the Dunwich Horror of 1929…1930… And indeed the horror lives on. The horror genre is filled with mystical books, tentacled beasts, and backwater towns filled with inbred families. But the Horror also brought to mind a scene from one of my favorite science fiction movies:

Even the odd sound track evokes Lovecraft’s whippoorwills.


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What is Deal Me In?

“The Ghost to His Ladye Love” by W.S. Gilbert

Card picked: Three of Spades
From: Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown, edited by Marvin Kaye

Not a story this week, but a poem. W.S. is the Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame. Published in 1869, this poem is full of Halloween trappings:

Fair Phantom, come! The moon’s awake.
The owl hoots gaily from its brake.
The blithesome bat’s a-wing.
Come, soar to yonder silent clouds;
The ether teems with peoples shrouds:
We’ll fly the lightsome spectre crowds,
Thou cloudy, clammy thing!

It’s a fun, rather sweet poem; the type of thing I would expect Gomez Addams to send to Morticia as a Valentine.*

As with many poems written by Gilbert, “The Ghost to His Ladye Love” found a second life in one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s musicals:

* Fun fact: My first date with Eric was on Halloween. We’ll be celebrating our 19th anniversary this year!

RIPXI Info | Reviews