Buttons, Hallowe’en and Belief…

It’s the 31st October today.

It means different things to different people.

To kids all over the world, Hallowe’en is time to dress up and collect so many sweets they’ll either be sick from eating them all at once ( I have experienced that one… never again) or they’ll be able to eke out all the goodies until Christmas.

To Teenagers, it’s time to dare each other to watch the goriest, scariest horror films that they can. To watch Pinhead torture another victim of the Chinese Puzzle Box or the Puzzle Killer slice another abductee into tiny pieces…

and yes, I have done that one as well… once more, never again.

To the Pagan community, it’s Samhain. This is the end of the Harvest true; but it’s also the night of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and the Dead can visit us from the Spirit World…

…hence why we decorate our houses with ghosts and witches (not every pagan is a witch by the way) and carve pumpkins and turnips into lanterns to scare the evil spirits from our doors…

…then spend the 1st of November (Day of the Dead, All Saints Day) remembering those of our families who have passed on.

It’s also NaNoEve – the day before NaNoWriMo when those writers taking part are preparing themselves for midnight, to write 1677 words and upload their wordcount in celebration of writing without editing…

… I’m doing it again this year – did the change of Web Banner and addition of the NaNoWriMo Word Counter in the sidebar not give it away?

So in the spirit of both NaNo and Hallowe’en, I’m going to Treat you to some words  –

Firstly a couple of reviews of  “The Button Man” by Wayne DePriest

The Button Man takes a button when he takes a victim. And he takes a victim whenever he wants. The authorities don’t know he exists, though he leaves them ample evidence of his existence. They just don’t see it.

As a rookie patrolman, Detective Dan Finney met The Button Man in Maria Kuroshchepova’s apartment. Finney discovered her body, tucked neatly into her bed. A decade later the case is still unsolved and Detective Finney has seen the handiwork of The Button Man again and again without knowing it.

Saddled with a partner who seems hellbent on destroying both their careers and a girlfriend who just might take what sanity he has left, Finney gradually becomes aware of a sinister force loose in the city, a man who has gotten away with murder time and time again. As the picture of The Button Man becomes clearer, Finney comes face to face with his worst nightmare.

I’ll be adding my own review of this book a little later, but until then, here’s a couple of Amazon Reviews, warts’n’all…

* * *

5.0 out of 5 starsSerial Killer, Dedicated Dectective and a final Plot Twist makes for a good read.,March 15, 2014
By J Faye “J Faye”
This review is from: The Button Man (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading The Button Man, not only once, but twice. The characters were well developed, the dialogue was well written and there were even a few pearls of wisdom thrown in here and there. I have enjoyed reading some of Mr DePriest’s other works and expected a lot from this story. I was not disappointed.
If you want to read a story about a wily serial killer and a dedicated detective who match wits and ride a plot twist through to the end, this is your book.

 * * *

3.0 out of 5 starsNice story, but too many tangents., May 28, 2014
By Pelagicus
This review is from: The Button Man (Kindle Edition)
I liked this story, it was very well written, but it was detracted by the fact that it took too many tangents, and too many characters were introduced, that didn’t really add to the story. I wanted to identify with the main character, but it seemed to jump around too much chronologically, so I could never get a handle on who the character really was. His relationships with the many secondary characters attempted to do this, but even these detracted from the main story. The strongest character was the villain, the Button Man, and the one that I could identify with the best, because he was simple, straightforward, motivated by the basest of instincts. if this story was pared down and stripped to its barest, rawest elements, it would be a great story.
* * *
And here is one of my short stories –

A Dieter’s Halloween Nightmare

I have flashes of inspiration sometimes. This story is one that occurred to me during Halloween 2009 and was accepted for publication by House of Horror in December of the same year. It also found its way into their “Best of 2009“ Anthology.

The inspiration came from listening to everyone at my Slimmer’s club complaining about the amount of sweets and chocolate there was in the shops…

* * *

I’m walking down the stairs. It’s midnight on Hallowe’en and there is a noise in the kitchen. Gripping the cat tightly, I creep towards the door. An unearthly green light shines from beneath it and the rustling, crunching noise is getting louder.

I get ready to swing the cat, in best baseball batting fashion and using my foot, I push the door open. It swings away from me, creaking fit to wake the dead and the light blinds me. I tense as the noise stops and then I can see through the light…

A huge bar of dark G & B stands in the centre of the room, googly eyes whirling round and a huge Cheshire cat grin on the dark brown wrapper, “I’ve been waiting for you…” it whispers seductively and the wrapper begins to strip away, revealing the golden foil beneath.

As the eyes and grin float up above the bar, the gold foil rustles and starts to peel away. I can smell the deep chocolately aroma and my mouth begins to water.

“Eat me…” the seductive voice floats down from the grin.

“I can’t, I’m on a healthy eating plan.” I reply, dropping the cat to the floor and taking an involuntary step forward.

“Eat me. It’s Hallowe’en, you can have sweets at Hallowe’en.”

“No, I can’t… I mustn’t…” I struggle against the force pulling me into the kitchen. The gold foil drops to the floor and I can see the huge chunks of chocolate in front of me.

“No! I lost half a stone this week, I have to keep eating healthily!” I cry out weakly.

“Eat me…” the bar floats towards me, breaking apart into delectable pieces. I reach out, my feet stuck to the kitchen tiles

“NO!” I pull my arms in and take a step backwards. It tears the skin from my bare feet and I leave bloody foot prints on the floor as I step backward again.

The chunks of chocolate melt together to form a huge fanged mouth, the googly eyes resting on top of it. It opens and the deep chocolately smell draws me closer. I close my eyes to savour the aroma and I step forward again. I feel a sudden sharp pain in my hands and open my eyes to see the blood fountain from my wrists. The mouth gulps it down and I become weaker.

“If you won’t eat me then… I’ll just have to eat you!” the voice roars.

The tongue inside swipes out and curls around me, dragging me inside. The mouth closes and for an instant I am in chocolate heaven. Warm, melted chocolate pours in around me, down my throat, up my nose… and it’s wonderful.

Then pain explodes all over me and I realise, it’s not Heaven.

It’s Hell.

– Taken from:


The mind is a strange place. Darkness and Light are normally equally balanced within, but when the balance tilts toward the Darkness, dangerous things can happen…

This collection of Short Stories comes to you from A. E. Churchyard’s Darkness. Follow her as she walks the paths less trod within… just make sure you bring a torch… teddy bears optional.

A good assortment of horror (or Variations on a Scream!)., 14 Dec 2012 By Paul T.
This review is from: Darkness in Mind: A Short Story Collection (Kindle Edition)

Mention horror, and I would probably have thought ancient houses, creaky floorboards and unquiet spirits. Until, that is, I came across this collection of horror-themed short stories.

Churchyard does an excellent job of demonstrating that horror can cover a very wide range. There’s techno-horror, comedy horror, food horror, romantic horror – and more besides. There’s even a story involving a tragic death and a restless spirit that isn’t at all horrible, just to turn the genre on its head! And, yes, there are a few ancient houses, some creaky floorboards, and a fair bit of gore splashed around here and there!

All the stories, however, display a vivid imagination and a smooth flow of words that will draw you in to your doom… you have been warned!

 * * *

Well written tales, June 10, 2014 By Shari Rood
This review is from: Darkness in Mind: A Short Story Collection (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book of short stories. Well written and often clever and thought provoking. The only thing I would say is that I didn’t find them at all scary or frightening and the title seemed to suggest that they might be. Still, these are very good and written by a very talented author and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted collection of stories.

* * *

And finally, here’s something I ran across the other day:

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox

The sexual threats against Emma Watson are an attack on every woman – Vox.

I, personally, will not stand for this. I want the world my girls grow up in to not only be safe for them, but safe for my son as well.

My partner and I are bringing him up to be as aware of himself and his effect on people around him as possible and we don’t need the pervasive misogynistic atmosphere that this planet currently has to be confusing him.

We are all Human;
no matter what our gender assignment is;
no matter what our sexual preference is;
no matter what our romantic preferences are;
no matter what our race is;
no matter what our Religion is;
no matter what our Personal Beliefs are.

It is time we recognised that FACT and act as a species to change the world we live in. We are good at changing what stands in our way, it’s what has made us the most successful predator on the planet, so let’s use that ability on our OWN CULTURE and change it for the better.

Wool, Grapefruit and the World…

You do strange things when you’re pregnant.

I just spent three quarters of an hour trying to section a red grapefruit because I was fed up of having to dig the sections out and leaving so much fruit behind… I guess I thought that sectioning it would be easier; peel the fruit, cut out the sections and eat.

Hah!

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was sat eating my hard won grapefruit segments that the actual fruit is made up of all this little bubbles of juice that burst when you bite through them. They’re sweet with a sour after-taste and oddly compelling.

 

Writing is like that. Well actually, Reading is like that, not writing exactly.

I read “Wool” by Hugh Howey yesterday and it is the first SF book that I’ve read that has made me think in terms of the words I was reading. Each word was like a bubble of grapefruit juice, soft and elongated on my tongue and each time I read and understood what he was saying, the taste of grapefruit juice built up; sweet, sour and oddly compelling.

I had “Wait” by Take That playing while I was eating and the song seemed to fit with both what I had observed in the grapefruit and through reading “Wool”.

The lyrics that really stuck were:

 

Free your soul to me,

Words can set us free.

 

It’s true. Words can set us free; we just have to have the courage to say the right ones. They are the ones that hurt, the ones that highlight the problems in our world in such a way that we have to deal with them.

 

Reading “Wool” was a sweet / sour experience. On one hand the story was incredibly compelling and interesting. You wanted to see what happened to the characters next and it was difficult to think about mundane things (like washing up) while you read each chapter.

But about half way through the book something happened. I realise that whether he had intended it or not, Hugh Howey was commenting on what was happening in the world now. And that his vision of what the future could hold was a real possibility.

That’s scary.

Why?

Well think of it this way. It’s 2013. I’ve got two children (one 12, the other 8) and a third one on the way. If I think about what is happening in the world now, there is a very real possibility that their future, the one that I may never see, will be an ugly, regimented world where food and energy are rationed down to what you can afford to buy.
There will be a need to limit the population; whether that’s because of the food shortage, space shortage or whatever, so the joy of being a parent will be limited to those who either can win / buy the right or those who are considered so essential to the running of the world that they have to continue their line.

It will be a world of sacrifices with most people just trying to live in it the best they can with the hope that their children (if they have them) will have a better world in the future.

And that scares me.

It doesn’t matter what the energy companies say, fossil fuels (even shale gas) are finite. They will run out. The population of the world is expanding and instead of helping the Africans to improve their land and grow crops to feed themselves and maybe others, we are helping them to fight each other through the Arms Business.

It’s all so backwards.

 

I don’t care about money. Actually, that’s not quite true… I do care about it, but not in a materialistic way.

I’m forced through circumstance (lack of full time teaching jobs in my area, being unable to drive and a son who needs more than usual maternal attention due to being Aspergers) to remain a stay at home mum. So I write books, publish them myself (as best I can) and volunteer in the community as a Guider.

My partner, having been thrown out of one industry for being Dyslexic and undiagnosed Aspergers, is changing career to one that suits him as a person and looking for work. Unfortunately, it’s one of those careers that (like writing) is very difficult to get into without a lot of experience. Which he doesn’t have, despite being talented at his chosen career.

I care about money because we need it to live; you can’t buy food or energy without it and the prices are getting higher every week as the more materialistic of the human race try to pull as much of the world’s money into their personal accounts.

My writing makes a little bit of money. The rest (because of the aforementioned circumstances) we have to get through the benefits system. Which people higher up the money chain are trying to pull out from under us because they think that we don’t deserve it or that we are taking too much from the country and not giving back at all.

It’s a grapefruit juice bubble existence.

Sooner or later (the latter please!) it is going to be bitten into and who knows what comes next?

 

I’m not sure that I am making any sense at the moment – blame it on Sprog, he/she seems to enjoy making me write oddly – so I will leave you with this:

 

Read “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Enjoy the words as they burst on your mind, revel in the wonderful story, then think about what he is telling us about our world.

 

And when the next chance comes for you to vote in an election of some sort, consider what the party you are going to vote for would do with the country you live in.

Would they make it better for everyone or just for themselves?