Monday, October 28, 2013

The Hot Cauldron Presents: Risen by Christine James

Witness the beginning:


           A fun night in a small town carnival will change Erin’s life forever with a simple visit to a bizarre and mysterious fortune teller. Scared to death by what the haggard woman reveals, Erin quickly
flees and quite literally collides with Angelo, a mysterious and captivating carnival worker. Later
that night, he appears in her dreams but he’s not the only one visiting her slumber. Evil is
lurking on the edge of the shadows and it's coming for her. Angelo is not what he
seems, but then again no one ever is. Not even Erin.
            Loyalties are tested and the lines of friendship begin to blur as long hidden truths
come to light and fate bears down upon them all. Everyone has secrets but when
some turn out to be more than heart wrenching, Erin has to decide who she can
trust.
            Can Erin deal with the harsh past that Angelo has been harboring or will it prevent her from doing what she's been chosen to do? 

And introducing Christine James

Christine and her husband coach a little league baseball team. Loves all things baseball and enjoys the out doors; camping, swimming, fishing, the whole nine yards.  While she writes a lot of romance in her books, romance movies aren't really her thing. She likes to watch the action thrillers, scary movies, and anything suspense. She loves to read a good historical romance! Also, she is completely fascinated by all things pirate.
             Her husband has been her cheerleader as she strives to achieve her writing goals; he's helped pick her up and dusted her off when she went through rejections; he laughs with her, and more times than not he laughs AT her.  But more importantly he's there to lend her a shoulder for her to cry on. He's her rock but more importantly she considers him her best friend.  Together they have two beautiful son's ages 8 and 2.  She considers them her angels and by becoming an author she wants to show them that their dreams can come true.
The thing Christine loves the most, outside of writing and her family, is making people laugh. People come and go from our lives, influencing and changing us in all kinds of ways.  Sometimes the influences are positive, but then again, some are negative.  If we use the negative as a tool for learning, we could very well change or even save someone's life down the road.  She strives to be the type of person that touches someone’s life in a positive way, even if it is by writing a book. She believes that if only a quarter of the people in the world would loosen up and smile, it would be a better place.
If she could share one message with the world, it would be that nothing is impossible and you should never stop following your dreams.

Excerpt:

Erin could see him standing across the street, looking dashing in a tuxedo and a broad smile. He held out his hand, beckoning her. She stepped down off the curb but something caught her eye. Looking down, she saw she was wearing a beautiful red satin gown that shimmered beautifully in the pale street light. The strapless bodice fit snugly, pushing up her ample chest, while the bottom fanned out gracefully in waves. On her feet was a pair of matching red heels with thin straps and sparkling rhinestones. Never before had she felt so beautiful.

She went into his arms with ease and he swept her along the street, dancing and twirling around to softly lilting music. He held her close, her body fitting to his easily. She could feel his heart beating steadily against hers. The same smell from earlier seemed so much stronger than before. His eyes were such a light shade of gray, they were almost transparent. Dense fog swirled around their legs as they twirled and moved as one.

Then something changed and they were no longer dancing. She was standing in the middle of the street alone, wearing her pajamas. Somewhere a streetlight began to flicker eerily. The light made the fog appear bluish white and very sinister. Erin looked around, frantically searching for Angelo. She found him standing at the entrance of the fairgrounds. He no longer wore the tux. Even in the darkness she could see his eyes were no longer shimmering silver but dark gray bordering on black. His hair was pulled back tightly and his once beautiful face had turned stone cold and dangerous. He wore a black t-shirt tucked neatly into a pair of black cargo pants. The pants resembled the style that she’d seen paramedics wearing. The bottoms of the pants were tucked tightly into a pair of snugly laced, slightly worn, combat boots. Something glistened in his hand. It appeared to be a long blade that glistened in the dim light. Erin began to slowly back away but he moved toward her. She could see he was saying something but couldn’t make out the words.

When she blinked they were no longer standing in the middle of the street but in the center of a meadow surrounded by trees. The loud sound of beating wings came from somewhere behind her.  Briefly she thought of a horror movie where everything was in slow motion. She tried to run but her feet felt as if they were encased in concrete. Slowly she turned. The sound of beating wings stirred the cold night air around her. When she looked up, huge black wings angled toward her. She tried to scream but the smell of sulfur was suffocating. Angry red eyes glared down at her and pain suddenly sliced through her body.

She tried frantically to get away, silently willing her feet to move. She had to get away from the wings and the blinding pain but the pain only intensified with each movement. Erin could smell something foul over the stinging scent of sulfur and she realized it was the unmistakable smell of burning flesh. She looked down and realized it was her flesh that was burning. She screamed as her sweats began to melt to her legs.

Someone, help me!” she screeched and the answer she received was an angry hiss.
Erin sagged to the ground in pain as the flames raged over her lower body; she could hear the harsh sound of metal clanging against metal. Another shrill hiss and screech sliced through the night and soon the flapping noise was gone. Everything was cast into silence.

Review quotes:
The premise of this story captures the reader's attention from the get-go. I've read quite a good many stories about angels/fallen angels, but nothing like what Christine has put together for us.
~~~~~  Lissette from www.simplistik.org
Wow, what can I say, I loved this book, has a great story, about fallen angels, and a chosen one. It’s quite different than any other fallen angel books I had read. Its fast paced and easy to read. There is a great story here, so it’s got the romance too, but it’s not just about the romance, which I found refreshing.   ~~~ Michelle from  http://concisebookreviewsbymichelle.blogspot.com/
This story is told in just the right way, with just the right amount of clues being given out so the story can build slowly.   I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. ~~~~ Celeste from The Book Hookup
 
 
 
Sell Links....

http://www.amazon.com/Risen-Chosen-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00DX6XLWM/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1382665868&sr=8-1&keywords=Christine+James

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Risen%2FChristine-James/1115409306?ean=2940148580881

 

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

More Horror Favorites



What do you get when you mix teenage sexuality and the curse of the wolf? Ginger Snaps, and notice it isn't like the cookie cause Ginger truly snaps in this film.

Two sisters Ginger and Brigitte are obsessed with death and not conforming to the usual girl standards. They are outcasts of the school and freaks of the community. Then one night while their parents are gone to counseling, Ginger is attacked by a wild animal. From there, her journey from outcast to sexually driven, blood lusting monster begins. Her sister, desperate to save her from a deadly destiny, enlists the help of local teen drug dealer. All this, while Ginger begins to sprout hairs, a tail and a taste for the neighborhood pooch.

Check out this classic followed by two sequels, that are just as strange, and have a snappy Halloween.



It was about time for a creepy, sub-humanoid, chick horror flick to surface. In Descent, a group of friends are joined together by their love for cave climbing. Sarah is going through a tough time as she has recently lost her entire family in a tragic car accident. The journey through this new cave is one to bring her back to life and hopefully start putting the tragedy behind her. However, the competitive, Juno, has plans for the team that they had no idea. The cave that she has chosen is not the one the ladies thought they were exploring. In addition, there are carnivorous, cannibal, sub-humans deep in the bowels of the labyrinth. Oh and did I mention that Juno's affair with Sarah's husband surfaces as well.

For a bloody good time, check out The Descent, and its sequel.



Dracula meets the Bible and you get Dracula 2000. An interesting take on the one creature that has remained a mystery and obsession with horror fans everywhere, Dracula delivers.

In this reboot, a misguided group of thieves is under the impression that Van Helsing has buried treasure in a vault beneath London. Of course, when they break in, they find a silver coffin. The alarms are triggered and the professor's assistant rushes to the scene. However, the criminals manage to get the coffin on a plain headed for the states, but before they get there, things go wrong.

To make a long story short, Dracula, played by Gerard Butler, ends up in New Orleans and in search of Van Helsing's daughter, Mary. It turns out that they share the same blood as Van Helsing used Dracula's blood to prolong his life and in the midst, father a child.

What makes this film different? The team races to find out who Dracula is and why he is damned. In the end, the biblical implications are more than enough to have you on the edge of your seat.


Pitch Black was a great success in rebooting the monster movie. In this film, a band of earthlings are on their way to a new planet in one of the many systems now available for traveling. While in flight, the passengers are in a sleep mode, kinda like Alien, and they enter an asteroid belt and crash land on an foreign planet. While surveying their situation, they discover that there was a team there at one time taking samples and getting the lay of the area, however, everyone is gone. In addition, they become aware of an everlasting eclipse that will cover the planet in darkness and that's not all. There are boney, blood thirsty creatures that come out at night and prey on anything they can pick up using their sonar. Did I mention there is also a murdering prisoner on board that the crew must befriend in order to survive.

Blood, deception and a slew of awkward choices makes this nail biter worth seeing again and again. In addition, let's not forget a very muscular and bald Vin Diesel. 



From the mind of H.P. Lovecraft comes the tale of a young man who discovers that his dreams are the stuff of nightmares and are rooted in reality.

A shipwrecked group of friends soon find themselves in the grips of a mysterious little seaside town and its even stranger beings. Not quite human and somewhat marine like, this place is crawling with death, isolation and a ritual that promises to bring one of the party goers to grips with where his true destiny lies.

This was my introduction to Lovecraft and it was a tentacle infused obsession. I watch this movie whenever it is on and remain glued to the spot. 




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Horror Evolves

Ok the first blog was dedicated to the 80s and the movies that made us sleep with the lights on. Now join me as I move along to the 90s.

You can't have horror without the King, Stephen King of course. Although I did miss mentioning my favorite, Silver Bullet, with the last post, there is no way I could miss The Dark Half. This movie is one of my favorites because it is well acted and the idea is down right devilish.

Horror author Thad Beaumont is ending his successful George Stark series due to a sudden blackmail scheme. The only problem is that George doesn't want to die. After coming to life amid unusual circumstances, the character lets loose on a killing spree and leaves Thad's DNA all over the place. This cat and mouse kinda antic will keep you wondering just how the author will handle it and who will save the day.

I loved the storyline and even read the book. Very close adaptation this time and well done on the big screen.





Another King success, The Night Flier sends you on a trail of a legendary creature. Richard Deese is a reporter searching for answers in a string of brutal murders. He has been on the trail of the killer and knows that where ever the being goes, he flies his own plane and upon landing, people start dying. As the trail gets hotter, Deese is offered an out and told to turn back, but the eager over zealous reporter doesn't quit and finds himself in a situation where he comes face to face with death and destiny. The blood and gore factor in this movie is high so prepare yourself for The Night Flier.





I loved, loved, loved this film. Jeff Goldblum and
Alicia Silverstone are part of cast that is in the grips of the murderous rampage of a teen killer, played by Jeremy Sisto. This young man turns out to have a deadly secret that once revealed turns this movie into a downright nail biter. 

Dr. Nyebern is the physician who performs a life saving technique that brings Goldblum's character, Hatch, back to life after being dead for some time. However, soon after, Hatch discovers that something is very wrong. He begins to have visions of horrible things and is soon on the same frequency as a murderous madman. In addition, the evil that has infested his mind also wants his daughter and that's when Hideaway really gets interesting.

Based on a Koontz book, this is must see during the Halloween season.



Beware the stare of Mary Shaw
She had no children only dolls
And if you see her in your dreams
You should never ever scream

Ok, dolls are just scary. Add a old dead ventriloquist and a creepy nursery rhyme and you have your self one hell of a horror story.

In this movie, a young man is forced to deal with the sudden and strange death of his wife. The only clue is a ventriloquist's doll that was delivered to their doorstep. Jamie Ashen, played by Ryan Kwanten, returns home to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, he is being followed by a kooky cop character played the less popular Wahlberg brother, but he does an excellent job. He is convinced that Jamie murdered his wife and is on the run. However, they both soon realize that there is more than one murder at hand. Soon the curse of Mary Shaw infests both their lives leaving them in a fight for survival.




Ok even with the comedic element thrown in like grapes in a chicken salad, this movie delivers horror on the high seas. A group of high paid pirates takes on a job that involves them in a high priced sabotage scheme. However, they are soon in the midst of a terror cruise that no one paid for. The owner of large cruise ship has planned to sink the massive vessel for profit. But what he doesn't plan on are the ravenously hungry creatures that live in the darkest depths of the ocean. Soon the ship is overcome with these slithering, fang filled, mucous oozing, man eating eel like creatures and everyone is on the menu.

Staring Treat Williams and Famke Jensen this is a must see during the Halloween season.















Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Hot Cauldron Salutes Halloween

Well my favorite month is here.  Yep, October. I am a huge fan of the Halloween season and of course that means scary movies. For my post, I have decided to recap a few of my favorites. Hope you enjoy.


I will kick this series off with a classic. I remember watching this movie as a child and squirming non stop. With the tag line, "The night he came home," Halloween etched its way into our culture and quickly became a cult classic. Produced on a $300,00 budget, John Carpenter and Debra Hill brought a chilling tale to life of babysitters being stalked by a murderous madman.

I watched the backstory of the film and the creative talent behind making this film is awesome. They bagged leaves and use them over and over to make the season appear to be more fall like. Different people actually wore the Michael Myers costume in because there were issues with the main actor where he couldn't always be there. In addition, Jamie Lee Curtis didn't think she was any good after day 1 and was afraid of being fired. That was 1978 and here we are in 2013 and this movie is still a leader in terror and mass murder.




Another Carpenter classic, The Fog, and I do mean the original, was a thrill and a ghost story. The tiny town of Antonio Bay has a wicked secret. It seems the founding fathers of the prosperous seaside city murdered a crew of men, women and children 100 years ago in order to secure their gold and other riches. So, as the town prepares it's celebration of the men's "sacrifice," the spirits are awakened and hell comes to collect. The townspeople are unaware of the deadly pact that has doomed them to death and when Blake and his band of dead crew members arrive, it is far too late for apologies.

Once again, a great movie and terrific story. I enjoyed seeing Carpenter use characters that were flawed and not the hot and beautiful teens that the remake turned into. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with a beautiful cast. For its time, the original hosted the belle's of the day. But there is just something about Jamie Lee and Adrienne Barbeau that make this film a must see.



Ok, as you can tell, this is going to be the old school horror section of the blog. Don't worry, I will get around the newer stuff, but proper tribute must be paid to the original slashers.

Jason Vorhees drowned at Camp Crystal Lake and his mother sought revenge in his death. That was the first tale in a series that will never die. In the first movie, Jason's mom is hacking up a group of horny, teen campers that are just out to drink beer and get laid. We get a brief introduction to a young Kevin Bacon who also falls victim to her anger.

Slashing through a screaming, half dressed cast of 80s hair flips and basketball shorts, this movie does not disappoint. The blood and gore even for its time are both realistic and well crafted. Yes, there is a remake for the younger crowd, but as usual, I am an old school horror gal.





Save a horse, ride a Vampire. Yep, for Frank Langella I am hot in the ass anyday. I remember watching this film as a young girl and feeling terribly wicked. In this loose adaption of Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula arrives by sea and is the only survivor aboard a ship wrecked cargo vessel. He is discovered by a sickly Mina Van Helsing and from there death ensues. Charming, charismatic and oh too gorgeous, Dracula seeps his way in and lays claim to Ms. Lucy, who is engaged to Jonathan Harker. See I told you a loose adaptation. Even though this story is quite backwards from the original novel, it is poetry watching Frank work the room and the cape. He is slick and cat like and just oozes, "bite me." Even now as a grey older man, I still see my first Dracula and still love it just as if it were yesterday.







A young woman, Jane Hardy, inherits her devil worshipping aunt's home in the small town of Blackford. When Jane arrives, she learns more than what she bargained for and is being haunted by the hearse that her late aunt was in during her final travels.

I listed this film because it is so rare to find and such a good tale. The actress, not really known to me, was quite convincing and the storyline kept me wondering. You are on this quest with this woman to renew her life and suddenly she is being sucked into a world of strangers, ghosts and a car that won't let her be.

If you find this classic, give it a try. I don't think you will be disappointed.




Friday, October 4, 2013

The History of Halloween


Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win").
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.


The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween has evolved. The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the "trick" element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal "tricks" and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general.

In Ohio, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the night designated for Trick-or-treating is often referred to as Beggars Night.

Part of the history of Halloween is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering, whining], like a beggar at Hallowmas."

Yet there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in America, and trick-or-treating may have developed in America independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary Halloween history documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween — in Ireland, the UK, or America — before 1900. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street guising (see below) on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs. Another isolated reference appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe'en, makes no mention of such a custom in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America." It does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the earliest known uses in print of the term "trick or treat" appearing in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939. Thus, although a quarter million Scots-Irish immigrated to America between 1717 and 1770, the Irish Potato Famine brought almost a million immigrants in 1845–1849, and British and Irish immigration to America peaked in the 1880s, ritualized begging on Halloween was virtually unknown in America until generations later.






Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.
Jack O'Lantern

Trick-or-treating on the prairie. Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to re-channel Halloween activities away from vandalism, nothing in the historical record supports this theory. To the contrary, adults, as reported in newspapers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, typically saw it as a form of extortion, with reactions ranging from bemused indulgence to anger. Likewise, as portrayed on radio shows, children would have to explain what trick-or-treating was to puzzled adults, and not the other way around. Sometimes even the children protested: for Halloween 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read "American Boys Don't Beg."

Taken from Halloweenhistory.org