Tag Archives: YA

Sportsmanship……Books!

Tomorrow, I will be at Walker Stalker in Chicago! Tomorrow.

And this time, I am also planning on showing how my book cover parodies have become far more plentiful than they used to be. In the beginning, it was just Danger Crumples transforming Christopher Pike’s 1990s YA output, as seen here –

I do think with Danger Crumples I may actually have parodied these covers into being more coherent stories. Oops.

However, now that most of these are only available as postcards and I had more plays on piggie names in mind – more pigs have gotten their own book series and three of the paintings will be on display for the first time and also possibly the last time, I tend to make new things for every show that I do because I have a lot of ideas and very inspiring piglets.

Peregrine, crime boss and queen of my herd, finally got her own book series – Prey Street. And once again she meets with her most frightening enemy – the phone. This time she let Merricat pick it up, as if that would help.

 

Finny got a series too! Finnybumps, it’s very specific and allows him to intimidate Salem, just as he tries to from across the room every day.

 

This is my favorite new book cover parody. Ozma’s 80s horror paperback. There’s always been something ominous and yet flashy about how cute she is, which could only be expressed by painting her while drinking a lot of Tab.

 

Walker Stalker! Tomorrow! I know I’m no Jerry, who I won’t be able to see because I’ll be at my table, and I’m clearly not King Ezekiel, who I won’t be able to mention Hellraiser: Hellworld to (um, that movie has Khary Payton, future apparent (I haven’t seen it) downer Superman Henry Cavill, and the best but somewhat -to put it lightly – misused person on Vikings, Katheryn Winnick all in it, what a strange world we live in), but I hope someone comes and sees me anyway because I have a very wide range of stickers this time.

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I haven’t quite seen the movie yet, even though Eva Green is usually awesome.

55. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

More design than book, this is a story that I did not expect to be the start of a series. It’s good looking, but it wasn’t particularly emotionally engaging for me. I do like the design, the photos, the odd afflictions of the children and their caretaker’s powers; but it all just really stayed on the surface for me. It was a bit drafty, not unlike the landscape described in the book. I recently acquired the second book in the series cheaply, so, I’ll give it a shot, see if it gets better. It could always get better.

Long ago, I chose Twiglet to be the chosen pig pictured with this book. She was a peculiar and endlessly lovable pig.

 

Later, I acquired my own Miss Peregrine, so named for her slightly falcon-like appearance and she has acquired her own Miss Peregrine Funko figure with its own falcon. Perhaps a peculiar choice. She also has Sam the Eagle.

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“The maiden’s waiting for her knight in shining corduroy.” – Creepshow

74. There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins

This little slice and dice of teenagers has some interesting elements. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of high school in the Midwest, especially if you are different from the normies in any capacity. The inclusivity is a change of pace from most of what I’ve seen in YA that’s supposed to be horror even though this book isn’t really scary or thrilling. There is a lot of blood, so that’s interesting considering that it’s not particularly suspenseful. The best part of the whole thing really is the reasoning behind the killings. It’s also very small-town Midwest but deployed in a totally new way.

Whoever’s in the house woke up Murderface. They better watch out or she’ll cute them to death.

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“There’s been a murder almost everywhere in this house.”

75. Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake

It took me a bit to realize the head I was in was male. I’m so used to YA books with supernatural elements being told from female perspectives that it was a bit of a shock to figure out this was a young guy’s head. Also, he didn’t constantly think about boobs and changing his clothes, so how was I supposed to know? Anyway, the head belongs to Cas (Theseus Cassio) and his father was killed by a ghost. Now he and his mom follow other ghosts and kill them, along with their cat, Tybalt. Somebody likes Shakespeare. The titular ghost is up in Thunder Bay, Canada, and she is a doozy. She’s sixteen and she’s killed a lot of people. A lot. Pretty much anyone who comes in her house.

I didn’t expect this to be as good as it was. It was very teen and yet involved pop culture references that would probably work better for people in their 30s, so that worked for me; but it was just better than it seemed like it should be. The characters seemed natural, the gory parts were gory, and one of the characters attempted to stop library vandalism – good. The one thing that was pretty off-putting was the design choice of printing the book in dried-blood-brown ink. It makes sense, but it hurt my eyes a little to read it all the same. And it really wasn’t necessary for such a compelling narrative to have that kind of gimmick.

Salem’s ready for some in your face ghost hunting too.

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“THE CATSsssssss” seven extra s’s in the blurb preface. Yep. Now I’m scared.

24. The Cats – Nick Sharman

I must begin with a note about the cautiousness of our publishing times, well, 2013 and probably still today. When pitching editors in ye olde New York City about the first book in my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy, I was told to market it as middle grade instead of YA even though to me it was gory and funny enough to just be aimed at nerdy 30+ year olds who grew up watching Gremlins and Ghostbusters. YA was my genre compromise because it takes place at a boarding high school. The editorial argument was that the premise of a rising plague of person-devouring squirrels was for middle school kids. Far too ridiculous for anyone else. Not entirely. I think maybe it would’ve been more disturbing if I let diseased rodents rip the flesh off of middle schoolers. If I did that I’d have to seriously consider Splatterpunk as my defunct genre of choice and I’ve already got enough “too many dudes in here” genre issues in Horror Comedy. Anyway, all of that happened way before I read my copy of The Cats.

The Cats is about a plague of diseased cats (and one naked middle schooler) trying to kill off London when they get too hot. The cat-madness infection responds to temperature and that poor young boy was feeding them when the a/c broke and got swept up into the highjinks. It was marketed to adults because it’s not silly to let diseased cats try to take over London. Nope. Nick Sharman was published in an age of opportunity for letting small animals rage in print.

Ozymandias and Danger Crumples demonstrate small animals about to rage. Well, sort of, I separated them shortly after this photo. They were fighting about how maybe my writing would’ve been more acceptable in the 80s. Danger thought 90s. That’s what guinea pigs fight about. Literary problems.

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“Don’t these creeps take ‘no’ for an answer?”

24. Summer’s End – Robert Hawks

Weirdos on an island! They have onion breath and the ability to wipe memories. The police are in on it. The pharmacy is in on it. The popular girl who throws beach parties is in on it. Spoiler alert – Your dad is in on it. And yet, the main character managed to find a boyfriend possibility. One thing never changes (and the ancient vampire dude in charge should really be aware of this by now) – summer romance is going to happen. It will end the world someday.

Peregrine’s first summer romance was with Ozymandias. It was cute enough to kill an ancient vampire.

Mixtape:

1. “Indoctrination (A Design for Living)” – Dead Can Dance
2. “Night Chill” – Samhain
3. “Rain Grey, Dark Sky” – Brass Hearse
4. “Dead End City” – Espectrostatic
5. “Vampire Circus” – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
6. “Jaktens Tid” – Finntroll
7. “Climb Safely” – Restavrant
8. “Ancestors, The Ancients” – Chelsea Wolfe
9. “To Walk the Night” – Samhain
10. “The Invisible Guests” – King Diamond
11. “Necromania” – Electric Wizard
12. “The Birthing” – Samhain
13. “Jugular Infection” – Terrortron
14. “The Village Idiot” – Wolfmen of Mars
15. “Dead Wrong” – Hanni El Khatib

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“Do you cry over a guinea pig? This boy is a free police case. “

29. Blood and Chocolate – Annette Curtis Klause

Werewolves have more weaknesses than silver. The teenage werewolf at the center of this novel goes weak in the knees for poetry. One hippie kid writes a wolfy poem and she’s gone. Trying to fit in. Trying to out-flirt the human girls. Trying to prove herself through the overconfidence of being a supernatural beast creature. It doesn’t really work out how she wanted. They’re never ready to know the truth, the ones who say they are lied. Vivian finds out the hard way (the “Did I murder someone last night?” way) that she has to stay with her own kind and marry some older dude with a motorcycle that also almost dated her mom.

“One’s place in the hierarchy of any group is earned, and not through messing around with humans.” Pammy was queen of my herd for quite a while, she accepted her place with dignity and didn’t rebel…but she was like three years old at that time, an age of certain wisdom for a guinea pig. Also, we cry over all the guinea pigs if we need to in this house.

Mixtape:

1. “Until the Night Is Over” – Timber Timbre
2. “Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird” – All Them Witches
3. “Dog Inside Your Body” – Butthole Surfers
4. “Under Tva Runor (Under Two Runes)” – Finntroll
5. “Offering” – Chelsea Wolfe
6. “Birthed into a Grave They Made for You” – MAKE
7. “Bottomless Pit” – King Dude
8. “Girl” – Suicide
9. “Past Lives” – BORNS
10. “Four Teeth” – True Widow
11. “Kiss of Steel” – Samhain
12. “Hallucinatoria” – Wolfmen of Mars
13. “Midnattens Widunder” – Finntroll
14. “Ghost Dance” – The Bright Light Social Hour
15. “Killer Wolf” – Danzig

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“She eats unmarried young girls.”

4. Call Waiting – R.L. Stine

It used to be much easier to make intimidating phone calls. Just ask the Golden State Killer. Or Karen in this book. Of course, when you’re intimidating yourself to guilt your boyfriend into staying you don’t even have to make the phone calls; you can just wail and act scared and say you’ve been getting them and your boyfriend will reluctantly stay for a while. Get your shit together, Karen. You’ll never be good enough for a Deadly Women segment at this rate. You’ve got to be patient or maybe just let those hard to reach chips that don’t want to date you anymore go.

Finny is looking for hard to reach chips that fell behind the couch. Chips help with unexpected breakups. Especially freeze dried banana chips.

 

Mixtape:
1. “I’ll Be in Touch” – Electric Six
2. “Nightcall” – Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx
3. “Johnny” – Suicide
4. “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” – Queens of the Stone Age
5. “Unholy Passion” – Samhain
6. “Sad Transmission” – Raveonettes
7. “Find Another Girl” – The Hives
8. “I Know Where You’re Hiding” – Terrortron
9. “Speed Sick” – Icarus Line
10. “Cheap and Cheerful” – The Kills
11. “Little Thing Gone Wild” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
12. “You Would Know” – Queens of the Stone Age
13. “Mesmerism” – Dead Can Dance
14. “All Are Lost” – Brass Hearse
15. “They Don’t Want Me” – Wall of Voodoo
16. “You Hit Me (I’m Down)” – Raveonettes
17. “(Who the Hell Just) Call My Phone” – Electric Six

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“Kind of an extreme reaction to not being invited to the party. Don’t you think?”

6. The Cemetery – D.E. Athkins

Oh, Deathkins. Your characters are some doozies, especially in this one where there were so many of them I can’t even remember who is who and I totally read this in this, the year of my herd 2018. Recently I was re-watching the He Man and She Ra movie while painting (Classy. Artist. Me.) and I noticed that everyone kept repeating their relationships to each other – “This is Angella, she’s my mother.” “Let’s save Glimmer’s mother, Queen Angella.” “I wonder what my former pupil, Skeletor, is up to.” “Hello, Skeletor, my former pupil.” “Suck it, Hordak, the teacher who abandoned me.” I may be paraphrasing in that last one, but it was annoying there and would be useful here. There are way too many people in The Cemetery. And Cyndi, the most memorable one, likes “to push people.” She’s rich and bitchy. Her name is perfect. She planned a Hallowe’en party in a cemetery – The cemetery – and then some dude makes the mistake of dying during it. So you could say Cyndi pushed him – put on sunglasses – to death. YEEEAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Okay, maybe it’s not really CSI: Miami quality, but, there’s a possibility that it is. Anyway, so, death, then some more death, and some supernatural stuff and I really thought that it was just going to be a murderous groundskeeper who is tired of those damn kids stomping around in his eroding hilltop cemetery during their oh-so-spooky parties but…it wasn’t.

Finny never gets invited to Ozma’s parties in the cemetery. She doesn’t think he’s serious enough for hide and seek. Someday he will have his revenge.

Mixtape:

1. “Within the Wall of Tress” – Wolfmen of Mars
2. “Aldhissla” – Finntroll
3. “Lady Velvet” – Devil Electric
4. “Loss of Feeling of Loss” – Pinkish Black
5. “It’s Not Cranberry Sauce” – All of Them Witches
6. “Prisoners” – King Dude
7. “The Doom that Came to Marble Town” – Espectrostatic
8. “Kiss of the Broken Bottle” – Wolfmen of Mars
9. “The Number of the Beast” – Electric Six
10. “Archangel (Samhain cover)” – Beastmaker
11. “Bloody Revenge” – Terrortron
12. “Nocturnal Me” – Echo & the Bunnymen
13. “Living for the Grave” – Brass Hearse
14. “The Delirium of Negation” – Espectrostatic
15. “Once-Over” – Terrortron

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“Yeah because no offense there’s absolutely no zazz to be found, not here anyway, not in these parts.”

33. 13 Again – A. Finnis, ed.

We have reached the last of the Point Horror 13-based short story collections. This one felt way longer to me, perhaps because there are a bunch of the same authors in the second one and this one and none of the multi-title whizzbang Point authors I’m used to are represented. Not even Diane Hoh. The stories were longer than in the other two collections, they needed a big dose of the old razzle-dazzle and honestly, I got pissed that I was bored. I don’t want to be bored by short stories. For one thing, they’re short so it seems like that shouldn’t happen. For two, most of the time when I dive in to a Horror anthology, I find weird things and gross things and surprising things and zazz. Not so much here. So, with that very inspiring introduction, let’s get on with it.

Ozymandias was the smarter one, so he was always waiting for Danger Crumples to realize that there was less zazz present than necessary.

“Anjelica’s Room” – Laurence Staig – It did have a promising start. A couple arguing about painting, well, never heard that before… I meant that “promising” thing, anyway, a couple who don’t really like each other that much are trying to paint a small cottage and one of the rooms has really ugly brown wallpaper all over the walls. The lying-by-omission male half of the couple leaves the female half and her giant amount of anxiety alone and the room pulls her in and it gets worse from there in a good and gory way. Phew.

“Foxgloves” – Susan Price – This entry was not as interesting as “The Cat-Dogs” from the last collection. It’s hard for me to envision a hetero teenage boy that wouldn’t just follow some ghostly seductive chick into wherever. Especially if he’d just had a bit of a break up with his girlfriend…that’s the most likely time they just wander off the path with ghostly seductive chicks. I mean, geez.

Danger and Ozy basically followed the ladypigs whenever they could. Whenever. It took them forever to calm down around the ladypigs and that’s one more reason I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for “Foxgloves.”

“The Ultimate Assassin” – Malcolm Rose – This just didn’t pack enough punch for me. There’s mild tension, a downer ending, a dog named Chips (I used to know someone named Chips. He was fun but only knew me as “Hey Girl”), and the titular assassin but…it was just okay.

“The Rattan Collar” – Garry Kilworth – Garry with two “r”s has put in some effort here and it’s one of the more interesting stories in the collection. Is the potbellied pig evil? Do I just like this better because there’s some kind of pig in it? The answer to both is no, but, you haven’t read this yet. Uh oh, spoilers.

“Boomerang” – David Belbin – In 1995, this story was prophetic. It seemed so wrong that anyone would go to college, get a solid degree with good marks, and then fail miserably at getting a job and have to move back in with their parents. In the U.S. though, only five years later, it would start getting next to impossible not to become a boomerang. And some of those graduates didn’t try to murder their parents- a tradition that lives on to this day.

Danger and Ozy never tried to murder me while we lived in my mom’s attic. They did order me out of my own bedroom while they were exploring though. It was very insulting, but also funny.

“The Delinquent” – Maresa Morgan – In my current job I am sometimes looked at as though I have just walked in from juvie and am smoking in the corner. I’m not a fan of it and this is the only place I’ve been looked at that way so consistently, but at least I know I’m not as awful as the delinquent in this story. She gets what she deserves; I know I deserve to be recognized for who I actually am, not just the differences between me and the rest of the office. I’m quite good at what I do and have the personalized messages from patrons to prove it.

“The Ghost Trap” – Lisa Tuttle – The girl in this story goes to a haunted house she heard of because of a story. The author of the story is totally living in the house and using some Scooby Doo methods to entrap victims. I have to say, if anyone came to my house (which is not haunted) specifically because of my work I still wouldn’t answer the door because that’s intimidating and it’s possible to see me in public and accost me that way instead. Or don’t accost me. It’s better if no one gets accosted. I’m usually selling something or hunting books down if you see me in public, feel free to distract me, I promise I won’t murder you or pull off my mask to reveal that I own the old boarded up amusement park.

“Close Cut” – Philip Gross – Uh oh, we have a situation here that involves World War II and slivovic. World War II angst and the question of what one is to do when one finds a Nazi (a real, time appropriate one, not just the insecure emulating jackasses from the now time) living near them.

“Grandma” – Colin Greenland – I know that it can be very complicated trying to assist the elderly, especially if they have memory issues or habitually set things on fire. If this household just had some decent books, I bet everybody would’ve gotten along much better and maybe Grandma wouldn’t have minded being locked in her room so much. What am I saying? There’s no way that keeps anyone with any of their faculties remotely happy. But books would help.

Ozy and Danger certainly liked their excursions outside their houses. They wanted to explore and be finicky and demanding and super cute and their grandma totally let them.

“Vampire in Venice” – John Gordon – Here we are in Venice again. Ah, Venice. A place where British girls can argue about who is more attractive and/or stupid to be mooning over vampires. Hint – your friendship isn’t strong if the one the vampire likes more chooses you as her first meal.

“Picking Up the Tab” – Stan Nicholls – Money horror. This just doesn’t have that much impact after you’ve been through the nonsensical labyrinth of trying to afford what you need without making enough and that’s kind of the norm for my generation. Being messed with monetarily is never a surprise. Being valued and paid accordingly is.

“Evidence of Angels” – Graham Masterton – Here he goes again with the sentimental and not particularly horrific. It’s a bit familiar here, after all, having an annoying baby brother named Toby is familiar to everyone who saw Labyrinth. The unfortunate aspect here is that angels do not resemble David Bowie. Believers have nothing to look forward to.

In lieu of David Bowie, I’ll accept Danger Crumples and Ozymandias leading me to an eternal rest in Pighalla, which I made up but also happens to be where I belong after death.

“Hospital Trust” – Dennis Hamley – Again, what happens in this story is kind of normal now in the United States. A doctor that several patients haven’t liked (in the U.S. this part would be played by the insurance company, the ones who get to determine how much care you really get) sending them somewhere they shouldn’t be for substandard care and/or murder. Healthcare really is a right and not a privilege. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise.

Mixtape:
1. “Mud” – Legendary Shack Shakers
2. “Beautiful Gardens” – The Cramps
3. “Phantom of the Motorway” – The Mangled Dead
4. “Comanche Moon” – The Black Angels
5. “Several Sins” – The Birthday Party
6. “Let Me” – Widowspeak
7. “Garbage City” – Hanni El Khatib
8. “Feet Don’t Fail Me” – Queens of the Stone Age
9. “We’ve Seen the Blood” – The Mangled Dead
10. “Rats in Paradise” – The Birthday Party
11. “Kill!” – Raveonettes
12. “Flesh without Blood” – Grimes
13. “The Number of the Beast” – Electric Six
14. “At the Barn” – Wolfmen of Mars
15. “Be Free” – King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe
16. “Cut Me Loose” – UNKLE

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