Friday Free For All – October!

Yes, I know, not yet. But soon. Very, very soon.

October is going to be a busy month for me.

Writing-wise:

  • I’ve promised to finally finish up the edit on Luck for Hire.
  • Model Species will be sent off to Harper Voyager and my fingers will be firmly crossed.
  • I have a handful of short stories that need to be kicked back out the door.
  • The Best of Friday Flash, Vol. 2 is coming out (I have a piece included!)
  • I’ll be gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I’m pretty stoked about.

Reading-wise:

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril continues. Pop over to the review site to read some great book and movie recommendations for all your October celebration needs.

FrightFall Readathon, October 1-7, hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre. Sign up, spend the week reading scary books, follow the fun on Twitter (#FrightFall). (A “starting line” post should be up Monday.)

October 13th is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. The spring version was a bit of a bust for me. No Easter candy was left in the store; a good friend was in town the night before and I stayed up late and drank too much. I’m looking forward to redeeming myself. 😉

Lasting all month long and co-hosted by one of my favorite book bloggers is Bloggers Dressed in Blood! It promises to be an extravaganza of seasonal festivities including challenges, reviews, and give-aways.

So, that’s what I have planned. Plus some football-related activities, ultimate frisbee, and at least one pumpkin will be carved. If you still don’t have enough Halloween in your life, check out Dinosaur Dracula. Matt experiences and reviews Halloween products (and other holiday and nostalgia oriented stuff) with wild abandon.

Advertisements

Throwback Thursday (09/27/12)

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

Noting that book blogging onften focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:

  1. Pick a book released more than 5 years ago.
  2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
  3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
  4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

The Midnight Tour by Richard Laymon

“The Beast House – legendary site of ghastly murder! See with your own eyes where the bloody butchery took place! Witness authentic reproductions of the Beast’s ravaged victims in their actual death garments! Listen to the true story of the only known survivor of the Beast!”

The sales pitch hasn’t changed much over the years – except now you can listen to it on earphones as you take the audio tour of the house. But the taped tour only gives you a sanitized version of the horrific events that made the Beast House infamous. If you want the full story, you’ll have to take the Midnight Tour. Saturday nights only. Limited to thirteen unlucky tourists. It begins on the stroke of midnight.

Tonight the guide will show you every nook and cranny of the house. She’ll tell you everything – including details too ghastly and perverse to be mentioned in daylight. But she might not be able to save you. Because this Saturday night, those on the Midnight Tour will be joined by an unexpected visitor.

They’ll be lucky to get out alive… (Summary via Goodreads)

This is the third in a loose series of Beast House books written by Richard Laymon, but it’s the first Laymon book I ever read, so it’s getting the nod. Richard Laymon is not for everyone. His books have lots of sex, violence, and skeevy characters. They are a guilty pleasure for me because it’s fun to be scared and grossed out sometimes. The Midnight Tour is a pretty fat book, but it’s a bag-of-potato-chip read. Once you get started, you’ll consume the whole thing quickly and feel a little greasy afterward. Somehow, I think this is a good thing…

Book #30

The Right Way to Do Wrong: An Exposé of Successful Criminals by Harry Houdini

In our modern world, filled with fiction about profiling and forensics, The Right Way to Do Wrong is pretty tame. It’s filled with wink-nudge morality. Over and over, Houdini emphasizes the “crime doesn’t pay” line, while never really delving into why criminals do what they do. That’s not the purview of this book.

As for “expose,” it’s not really that either. The details of various crimes are shallow and aimed at what the common citizen might do to protect themselves, which isn’t much. In fact, I really got the feeling that Houdini enjoyed pointing out what hapless victims we all can be, criminals as well as patsies. There’s a certain glee in the writing as he points out that the guy that might bump into you while waiting you’re for the train is probably a pickpocket and that the shutters on your windows are pretty much useless. The best anecdote in the book involved a thief that goes to great measures to break into a jewelry store, overcoming every lock and barrier, only to be thwarted by no merchandise being on the premises. And then he’s caught while escaping! As I said, we’re all hapless.

The Right Way to Do Wrong isn’t without charm, is a quick read, and provides a glimpse into the world of crime, circa 1905.

Check out the R.I.P. VII Review site for great recommendations.

Format: Google Book (scanned, poorly)
Procurement: Google Books

R.I.P. VII – Progress Post #4

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.

” ‘Hello,’ Said the Gun” by Jay Lake – recommended by Jim Black at Science Fiction Times. I totally would have commented to Jim about this story, but I was plagued by OpenID/captcha problems. None-the-less, check out the story; check out Jim’s blog.

“Nell” by Karen Heese – from the Tor blog. A beautiful, speculative fiction take on one of the most depressing Hans Christen Andersen tales.

While they might not quite fit R.I.P., I’ve been reading some pieces on early 20th century magician and debunker David Abbott. I’m certainly intrigued the detective work that goes into exposing these fraudulent mediums.

“David P. Abbott and the Notorious Bangs Sisters” by Todd Karr

“Mr. David P. Abbott’s New Illusions of the Spirit World” by Paul Carus, an editorial presumably from The Open Court.

“Fraudulent Spiritualism Unveiled” by David Abbott from The Lock and Key Library of Classic Mystery and Detective Stories. ed. Julian Hawthorn

Again, this might be in kinda-sorta land for this challenge but I’ve been watching Penn & Teller: Fool Us. This is a reality TV magic “competition” that aired in the UK in 2011. Top stage and close-up magicians came on the show to perform in front of Penn Jillette and Teller. If they fooled the duo, the were given the opportunity to play a date at the Rio in Las Vegas where Penn & Teller have their act. Of course, most episodes end with Penn & Teller doing a trick, often in their grand guignol style.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (09/24/12)

On Wednesday of last week, during a conversation about our respective current writing projects, my husband semi-off-handedly mentioned that maybe a historical fiction based around magician and debunker David P. Abbott might be interesting. But of course it would! Why hadn’t I thought of it?! Am I procrastinating the rewrites I should be finishing up on Luck for Hire? But of course I am!

Thus, a plan has been born. I will finish up Luck for Hire rewrites by the end of October. In November, I’ll do the NaNoWriMo thing and generate some prose on the Abbott book. In the meantime, I’m going to do research on turn of the 20th century magicians and Omaha during that time period.

This Week I’m Reading:

The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards by Jim Steinmeyer

Here is the seminal biography of the magician’s magician, Howard Thurston, a man who surpassed Houdini in the eyes of showmen and fans and set the standard fro how stage magic is performed today.

Everyone knows Houdini-but who was Thurston? In this rich, vivid biography of the “greatest magician in the world,” celebrated historian of stage magic Jim Steinmeyer captures the career and controversies of the wonder-worker extraordinaire, Howard Thurston.
(Goodreads)

Found this available through the Greater Phoenix Digital Library. Not about Abbot, but about two of the major personages of his day.

Fall Into Reading 2012

Fall into Reading 2012Katrina at Callapidder Days is once again hosting Fall Into Reading – a totally low-stress reading challenge that takes place between September 22nd and December 21st. The only requirement is:

  • Create a list of books you’d like to read or finish this fall.

I’ve got a couple other reading events going on in September and October—R.I.P. VII (Sept & Oct), FrightFall Readathon (Oct. 1-7), Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon (Oct. 13th)— so some of these books will be doing double duty.

Galleys (with publication dates):

  • Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores, edited by Greg Ketter (Oct. 3) – Pg. 71/306 Finished
  • Two and Twenty Dark Tales,  Georgia McBride (editor), Michelle Zink (editor) This book’s format (in the eGalley) put me off.
  • Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear (Oct. 31) – Was archived before I could get to it.
  • What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Jan. 8)

For R.I.P:

Research for next novel (all of which could count for R.I.P. too):

  • Behind the Scenes With the Mediums by David P. Abbott
  • The Right Way to Do Wrong by Harry Houdini – pg. 15/96 Finished
  • Hiding the Elephant : How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear by Jim Steinmeyer

Plus, keeping up with my weeklies: a short story, a poem, a section of Poetic Edda, and keeping up with Tor’s Fire & Ice read-along.

This list of books is greater then my reading speed, but lists are more of a general guideline than an actual reading list. And undoubtedly, I’m going to get distracted by some other shiny book* that happens along. (And maybe if I finish rewrites on Luck for Hire by the end of October, I might start work on the next novel for NaNoWriMo. Which would cut into my reading time.  But that’s just crazy talk…)

But, yay! It’s fall! (Even if it is 101+F outside.) Enjoy it while it lasts!

Other Shiny Books

  • The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards by Jim Steinmeyer – added on 9/24 – a shiny book that happened to be available through the library online.
  • Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold – added on 9/25 – loaned to me by Ken after he saw my post on the Jim Steinmeyer book.
  • Every House is Haunted by Ian Rogers – I have a chance to read the ARC of this book; publication date is Oct. 15th. Finished

Throwback Thursday (09/20/12)

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

Noting that book blogging onften focuses on new releases, here’s how Throwback Thursday works:

  1. Pick a book released more than 5 years ago.
  2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it.
  3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
  4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Ring by by Koji Suzuki, Robert B. Rohmer (Translator), Glynne Walley (Translator)

I cannot lie, The Ring (2002, dir. Gore Verbinski) messed me up. For a while, it made me nervous around television screens, telephones, and bodies of water. (I’ve never cared for the last two very much anyway.) Which is of course why I decided to read the book when I came across it in the library.

I don’t have much from my original journal about it, other than I read it in June of 2005. Since it is a translation from Japanese, occasionally phrases come across a bit awkwardly, but Suzuki does a great job creating a claustrophobic atmosphere as Asakawa investigates the death of his niece. The word thriller could definitely be used to describe Ring because it is a race against time to unravel the mystery. The book does provide an extra layer to what occurred in the past to bring about the tale’s frightening revenant.

Good, creepy read for the season. I have Koji Suzuki’s short story anthology Dark Water waiting for me.