Tag Archives: YA

“Oh! Fuck the fuchsia it’s Friday!”

13. The Mall – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Trish is working in the mall at Muffin Mania, it’s very Fast Times as she’s flirting across the food court (you can call it “The Eatery” all you want, we all know what it really is) with Storm at Pizza Park. Storm Reynolds isn’t who he says he is. He’s not a porn star as his name would imply, but he’s not who he seems and for some reason he continually clamps Trish’s arms and steers her places. Very controlling behavior-preview, Storm. He also drives too fast.

Trish has two friends, which keeps the focus on a few characters – her, Nita her shoppin’ friend that works in a clothing store, and Nita’s twin Imogene who works in the bookstore and wears…Glasses!…clearly she will never die. She also has a total bitch for a boss, Bethany, who sucks at communication and controlling the bustling atmosphere of Muffin Mania.

The other male characters are both weird and/or quirky. Wyatt, who speaks in riddles and wears a jean jacket with the sleeves cut off, totally sparks Imogene’s interest and therefore Nita’s, so she goes all 80s movie villain girl and tries to get his attention. He actually reminds me a little bit of the only person named Wyatt I know, except for the jean jacket thing.

The real villain of the piece goes a little bit more 70s giallo in his approach to stalking teenage girls – I couldn’t help but picture him with black gloves at all times. He hides in the mall and wears a series of disguises to keep his eyes on Trish at all times. His introduction is asking her for a honey muffin, later telling her boss he hit her car and she needs to come look at it, then when she gets outside and finds nothing happened to her car he calls on the payphone next to it and when Trish picks up he tells her the honey muffin tasted like her – Ew. – and ratchets up the creepery, staring, and random disguises from there. Ratchets up to kidnapping and ice pick murder, even.

If Trish would’ve just stayed in Kyle Kinane’s joke and never left that birthday party at Benihana, none of this would’ve happened. She would’ve had a choo-choo train made of onions instead.

Sure that hairy-armed guy in the gloves seems to be just nicely walking his fingers around, Ozma, but don’t take him up on his offer to pay your ballet school tuition.

Mixtape:

1. “Silently Stalking” – All of Them Witches
2. “Shadowman” – Devil Electric
3. “You Are the One” – A Place to Bury Strangers
4. “Don’t Let It In” – Wolfmen of Mars
5. “Bounce House Demons” – Chelsea Wolfe
6. “X” – Brass Hearse
7. “The Fear” – Pulp
8. “Venus in Furs” – Electric Wizard
9. “In Death (I’ll Love You More)” – Brass Hearse
10. “When I Was Bleedin'” – Dax Riggs
11. “If the Coffin’s Rockin’, Don’t Come Knockin'” – Terrortron
12. “Jam It in the Hole” – Electric Six
13. “Unflattering Lights” – Wolfmen of Mars
14. “Ur Djupet (Out of the Depths)” – Finntroll
15. “1985” – Kvelertak

Art Intrusion #485 – I have a Threadless store now!! It’s in progress, but it exists! The images are relatively large!
Threadless

Art Intrusion #486 – The newest item on both my New Threadless store and my Forever Redbubble store where you can totally buy stickers (!) is a Bi Pride flag I designed for a friend of mine who needed a Pride flag to reflect her love of red (and I, as a printmaker, recognized that process red aka magenta is actually already part of the bi flag so I whipped this idea up and printed it post haste because I love printing in process red and doing special images for my friends). It turned out pretty cute and I totally made her a tea towel so she can have this little binicorn in her kitchen reminding her what month it is now and to always be proud. Then I printed a more-magenta version to share with anyone who wants one to add to their own lovely flag collection. Happy Pride!

Bi Pride - RachelESmith

The Binicorn, waving proudly in the breeze.

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“Please explain to me the scientific nature of the ‘whammy’.”

28. The Dreamstalker – Barbara Steiner

Twins. There’s always an evil one and one just trying to live her life and have a boyfriend who isn’t her brother, the dream-murderer. Sorry. Spoiler there, but this book is from 1992 and I guessed the killer within the first dream sequence. He’s no Freddy, let’s just be clear on that. Kerr the evil twin is pretty overdramatic and keeps trying to force his sister to ice skate. And not go to college. And never leave him.

Thaddeus never wanted Pammy to leave him either, but thankfully they weren’t twins so he didn’t have to haunt her dreams or make her think she was a murderer in an elaborately petty plan to make her stay. She never left him out of mutual respect and the confines of guinea pig housing instead.

Mixtape:

1. “Black Mass” – UNKLE
2. “Anger” – Catalogue
3. “Black Dream” – Samhain
4. “Ghost of Me” – Electric Citizen
5. “Soul on Fire” – Danzig
6. “This Modern Curse” – Espectrostatic
7. “Cruising for Mortals” – Terrortron
8. “Keep Your Dreams” – Suicide
9. “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” – Dead Can Dance
10. “They’ll Clap When You’re Gone” – Chelsea Wolfe
11. “Things You Wouldn’t Like” – Wolfmen of Mars
12. “Drive-In Moonlight” – Terrortron
13. “We Use the Same Products” – Electric Six
14. “The Weeping Willows” – Espectrostatic
15. “Calling Them All Away” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
16. “With You in My Head” – UNKLE

 

Art Intrusion #172:

This silkscreen is a Pickles parody of an artist whose work I very much enjoy – Steven Rhodes. He parodies 1970s children’s book covers and often brings in some evilly hilarious subversion, my kind of thing exactly. His version, the original, non-guinea pig parody version, called Pyrokinesis is available in many forms but I got my pin of it from the Creepy Co. of Chicago (love them so very dearly as well). I am not selling any of this silkscreen online, it will only ever be available from me in person and so there are two opportunities coming up to get a white version (very limited)…or…

A blinding purple version that didn’t scan very well! There’s also a Freddy Krueger-looking green one and some various blues. The ink really glows in person and it hurts my eyes. Come attempt to barter for one at SUPERCON in Fort Lauderdale or at the GeekCraft Expo in St. Louis both during July!

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“Doritos, No Doz, bennies, crystal meth.”

25. Thirteen – T. Pines, ed.

While we wait for climate change enhanced hurricanes or nukes to kill us all, I’m keeping in theme with short stories – for the summer! It’s YA Megamix Summer V: The Revenge, now featuring short story collections and a lot more art promos because I’m taking to the other states this summer and bringing my guinea pig art and generally melancholic demeanor to SUPERCON in Fort Lauderdale, July 12-15th and the Geekcraft Expo St. Louis July 28-29. If you want to come tell me how little you enjoy my longer posts in person, be sure to buy a postcard or threeve while you’re at it. Yay!

So, Point Horror, best imprint ever, did three short story collections of thirteen stories each and the first one is called Thirteen…yep. It features such Point luminaries as Lael Littke, D.E. Athkins (to me, it will always be Deathkins), A. Bates, and, um, some dude who wrote about a painting called Jay Bennett. Yes, Jay, paintings can be terrifying but the process of painting is the true source of horror.

We begin with the first in a set of bookend stories by Christopher Pike which may be the best work of his I’ve read. It weirds me out when short stories are better than novels; even though it shouldn’t *cough* Stephen King. In this case, it might have to do with the phone being involved so much. I’m very nostalgic for a time when we didn’t have the ability to constantly get a hold of each other and I like handset and answering machine-based intrigue. Yes, I’ve seen Bells, apparently known in the U.S. as Murder by Phone, a way too obvious title. I think there could’ve been a happy medium between “Bells” which says nothing and “Murder by Phone” which says too much.

Pike did a great job of making the annoying girls competing over some greaser-dressing new dude with his own mixtape both fun and really bitchy, so I was all for “Collect Call.”

Most of Christopher Pike’s novels don’t make “the sense,” at least, they’re just as sound in my Danger parodies as they are in book form. Danger might even be a bit more serious. Here he is with Horace at a rollicking party for two on my couch. They’re both pretty serious about partying and my couch.

The second story in the collection is by author of Prom Dress, The Watcher, and like nothing else, Lael Littke. “Lucinda” involves a sunken town, some graduation day regrets, and a love triangle. It was decent and a little murky.

“The Guiccioli Miniature” by the aforementioned Jay Bennett reminded me a lot of the movie version of Don’t Look Now. It’s set in Venice and involves some weird dude accosting the main character on the street, so that might be why. It is an extremely short entry, and was just, well, not very much in the usual vein of Point Horror, also like Don’t Look Now. I didn’t manage to get mad about the mention of painting theft, which tells you a lot about how engaging this was. As a painter, if someone stole any of my paintings, I’d consult some psychic sisters staying nearby, put on a red hooded coat, and stalk through all those canals until I got it back…

Horace and Danger Crumples are in quite a few of my paintings, so they fully support me going Don’t Look Now on hypothetical painting thieves.

“Blood Kiss” – Deathkins! – Well, sometimes people give vampires bad names. This one’s name is Ken. This story was fun and I know Deathkins could’ve done better than to name a vampire Ken. The immortal Ken. Yeesh.

“A Little Taste of Death” – Patricia Windsor – Bizarre little tale about a bad girl staying with her grandmother. When I stayed with my grandmother during many summers, I did not take candy that would seal my fate from strangers. Granted, on a farm the strangers are mostly cows, so it was easy to accomplish this. We also played the Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines game. And Smess.

“The Doll” – Carol Ellis – Little hands killing people in your dreams…that’s exactly what I’d expect if a doll just randomly showed up in my house. Especially one of those porcelain numbers with the blank facial expressions. Give me Ginny with her gorgeous pout or give me her pony! Or death, I think that’s how that was supposed to go, but I love my Ginny pony and now my secret is out. It’s really cute.

“House of Horrors” – J.B. Stamper – Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to not have friends at work. Especially if your “friends” are really just locking you in a horror house overnight to be dicks. If your making friends story seems like it might have any chance of ending with “and they were never seen again after hanging out with wax figures,” avoid that. Friends who just want to scare you are not real friends, they’re insecure jackasses.

Horace and Danger, real friends to the end.

“Where the Deer Are” – Caroline B. Cooney – A trippy kind of subdivision horror.

“The Spell” – R.L. Stine – “I hypnotized all three of you that day at the Pizza Palace.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

“Dedicated to the One I Love” – Diane Hoh – Another thing that used to cause so much heart fluttering – having a song dedicated to you on the radio. While your friends were totally listening. So they knew. And then like, the whole school would know. Because everyone who was anyone listened to certain shows on the radio. But like with anything that can cause heart fluttering or public humiliation, watch out for when the dead start doing it.

“Hacker” – Sinclair Smith – Sometimes I feel like Sinclair Smith is a bit of a hack, so, I wasn’t surprised by anything in this story other than the ingenious use of plants. My problem is that once the villain is found out, they tend to get really loud and crazy, like they’ were holding back until this teenager found them and they have no clue about being arrested or not admitting how obvious your evil plan was even though you were all covert and smart throughout the rest of the story… The typing in all caps is really the kicker here, though. Quit yelling at everyone. Quit.

Danger and Horace make ingenious use of the back of my couch. They never type in all caps. There is no preferred typing scheme for whistles, wheeks, rumbly purring, and little chuckles.

“Deathflash” – A. Bates – I like A. Bates. I feel like when I’m reading an A. Bates story, some level of control is being exercised over the concept. Even in this weirdo entry about an amorphous thing. I’m glad the main character was concerned for the cats, and it is unfortunately realistic to name them “Sunshine” and “Sparkle.” My guinea pigs are lucky my disposition is not so light. Danger Crumples totally would’ve ended up being “Star Beast.”

“They Boy Next Door” – Ellen Emerson White – This was a pretty kickass story and I liked it a lot. I’ve been around the kind of guy who thinks taking out their insecurities on you is a good idea and as I told one of them, “Don’t powertrip at me, I’m not going to do anything you tell me to and you chose the wrong lady to be insecure at.” It did not go over well, but then again it didn’t go over well to me when he tried to tell me I’m supposed to tell him when I’m going to desensitize a book. Not even, son. I will do what I have to when I need to. Don’t take your shit out on other people. Especially women.

And the other bookend, “Collect Call II: The Black Walker” (slash missed opportunity for a way better subtitle). Quit trying to get girls to tell you you’re such a great musician! Let them come to you and tell you. If you’re good, they will. I never directly lie about what I think about someone’s music. If I don’t like it, I’ll say it’s interesting and not explain why. I had to do that once when a song without words or anything resembling musical form was played for me by my drunk boyfriend and he told me it was “for me.” I wish that hadn’t been for me. But I said it was “interesting” because it was interesting to me that he would make something “for me” that involved nothing about music I actually enjoyed. I should’ve taken it as a bigger omen.

Mixtape:

1. “The Otherworld” – All of Them Witches
2. “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” – Queens of the Stone Age
3. “Tales of Mystery & Isolation” – Wolfmen of Mars
4. “Electric” – Boris
5. “Diabolos ’88” – Samhain
6. “Ghosts of Victims Past” – Terrortron
7. “You Don’t Own Me” – Lesley Gore
8. “Wind up Toys” – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
9. “Destruction Makes the World Burn Brighter” – Chelsea Wolfe
10. “Holy Christos” – King Dude
11. “Hamlet Pow Pow Pow” – The Birthday Party
12. “Age of Oil & Wax” – Live Skull
13. “Kiva” – Burning Tapes
14. “Dance with Dark Forces” – Electric Six
15. “Killer in the Streets” – The Raveonettes
16. “The Trouble with Being Born” – The Great Tyrant
17. “All Murder, All Guts, All Fun” – Samhain

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Cult cookies.

7. Waking the Witch – Kelley Armstrong

I read the Otherworld series in a very random order, and this was the first witch-focused book I read. I didn’t know Savannah’s back-story from Stolen and I definitely recommend reading that before reading this one. It would’ve been nice to have some frame of reference for how Armstrong deals with witchcraft before reading Waking the Witch. Armstrong has a lot of characters in her Otherworld series, so even the minimal summaries left me a little lost because I hadn’t at least read Stolen. I can also tell you that my “review” of Stolen will not help you. No it won’t.

Savannah is a likeable protagonist and she’s headstrong but manages to be fun to follow along with as she tries to solve some witchcraft-adjacent murders in a small town. She has good investigative skills (and now I know how she learned them, now, so much later) but still acts like the twenty-one-year-old she’s supposed to be and that was an improvement over Armstrong’s YA work for me, where it felt like she was consistently talking down to the audience. So now I know she can represent slightly-above-youth youths without being patronizing.

Ozma: Plucky, ready for action. Peregrine: Sleepy, ready to send Ozma into the fray.

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“When you grow up, your heart dies.”

44. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

The design of the movie version of this book is excellent; especially the color choices for the marketing materials and the soundtrack. It’s very process red and neon green and that’s great for what it is – a so deep it’s shallow friends and vampires story with some sex and violence.

It’s easy to tell that Mead did some significant mythological research and I feel like maybe she researched traits for sassy heroines as well… The connections in teen novels are often built on life or death overdramatics, and in Vampire Academy they didn’t feel earned to me. I still don’t entirely buy Rose’s devotion to Lissa, in part because Lissa felt like a total cipher of vampire royalty to me and also because I don’t buy Rose. Maybe all vampire royalty are total ciphers. Maybe all sassy teenagers who are full of themselves just don’t work for me, even though I did enjoy Holden Caulfield when I read Catcher in the Rye (which might have a lot to do with the writing and angst being palpable instead of told…). In the film I didn’t buy Rose and Lissa’s relationship either, even with emotional facial expressions. In the book, I felt like I was being told a lot of emotionally significant to the narrative things by a narrator who wasn’t actually capable of accessing their vulnerability (even without knowing it, like so many good narrating characters), so it just didn’t ring true- which is one of the problems with the YA boom. Don’t write down to teenagers.

Danger Crumples, guinea pig royalty with excellent, nay, immaculate design.

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“I love my answering machine”

54. My Secret Admirer – Carol Ellis

Isolated teen sparks the interest of local maniac, rejects common sense, lives to tell the tale. It’s hard when you move to a new town and your parents immediately abandon you to fend for yourself in your extremely isolated home. Perhaps, if you were a teenage girl who had never seen a single news report or experienced other humans, you might think that suddenly having a secret admirer leave you gifts when you are completely alone in an unfamiliar place would be fun, perhaps cute, and it wouldn’t set off every internal personal safety alarm you have even though you keep acting like you have those on your trips to town. The ominous rocks aren’t calling you, Jenny, and they certainly aren’t leaving you presents. Yeesh.

Mixtape –
1. Burden in My Hand – Soundgarden
2. What’s a Girl to Do? – Bat for Lashes
3. Comanche Moon – The Black Angels
4. Get Found – Bass Drum of Death
5. Too Real – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6. Crazy Love – Chelsea Wolfe
7. Deep Blue – Arcade Fire
8. A Brief History of Love – The Big Pink
9. Behind the Wheel – Depeche Mode
10. No Direction – Logan 5
11. Length of Love – Interpol
12. Kalopsia – Queens of the Stone Age
13. With My Eyes Closed – The Raveonettes
14. Something I Can Never Have – Vitamin String Quartet

Merricat asks, “Really? Listen to the dog, Jenny. Peaches knows what’s up.”

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Late 1800s newspaper front pages are like: murder, murder, accident, murder, Druids, somebody’s running for office, fire, a boat sank, murder.

7. One Evil Summer – R.L. Stine

A long time ago, in a land about one hundred miles away from the land I am currently occupying, I settled in to a long afternoon of playing while sort of watching TV and stumbled upon a movie where this weird lady took a baby into the woods and gave the baby to a tree. It seemed interesting and so I watched the rest of it -and this was before the internet, before the little guide on the television, and we had no subscription to TV Guide, and so it took me a REALLY long time to figure out that it was The Guardian. Bastard film of William Friedkin who would scare me half to death by creating a relatable situation in The Exorcist – he took his name off The Guardian for cable, not that I saw the beginning where it also explained that Druids worshipped trees (but- but- when were they building henges in danger of being crushed?). I saw some wolves, I got confused, and I am now never surprised by evil nanny stories. One Evil Summer is an evil nanny/babysitter story and it needed more wolves. And a creepy tree.

Mixtape –
1. I Am the Sun – Swans
2. Black God Forest – Those Poor Bastards
3. Are You Okay? – Dum Dum Girls
4. Anything, Anything – Dramarama
5. Jinx – Snakefinger
6. Lady Shoes – Jesus Lizard
7. 1985 – Kvelertak
8. Cat Claw – The Kills
9. Vacation – Absolutely Not
10. The Serpent & The Pig – Zebras
11. Two Hearted Woman – Electric Citizen
12. Drawing Down the Moon – Blood Ceremony
13. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
14. Charmer – Kings of Leon
15. Superstition – The Kills
16. Wide At Midnight – The Wytches

When they film Ozymandias’ story, which might involve creepy trees prior to my having acquired him, it’s likely that Sam Raimi will sign on to direct initially, but then we’ll have to settle for William Friedkin.

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“How do you do, fellow kids?”

19. The Other Side of Dark – Joan Lowery Nixon

Oh, Stacy, you’re such a narc. This novel centers around young Stacy waking up from a coma to find out it’s been four years and her mother’s dead – but she’s not going to dwell on that, there’s make up to learn about and uncomfortable drinking parties to attend. She’s trying to remember her mother’s killer/her attacker’s face and everyone is a suspect, even her “love” interest… a twenty-three year old narcotics officer posing as a high school student. Seriously, how often did that happen? And, boundaries, people, boundaries. Getting statutory with a seventeen year old who thinks like a thirteen year old is, to say the least, unprofessional.

Mixtape:
1. Johnny Hit and Run Paulene – X
2. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
3. Bedazzled Fingernails – Mastodon
4. Sinful Nature – Bear In Heaven
5. Days Are Forgotten – Kasabian
6. Eighties – Killing Joke
7. Stop, I’m Already Dead – Deadboy & the Elephantmen
8. Patrolling Days – The Hives
9. Friend or Foe – Adam & the Ants
10. I Still Believe – Tim Cappello
11. Military Man – Evil Cowards
12. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
13. Eez-Eh – Kasabian
14. Square Life – Catalogue
15. Ambulances – Ladytron
16. Suspicious Minds – Elvis

Mortemer wants to be on the other side of the laundry basket. Escaping will not dry you off faster than the towel, Morty!

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All this could’ve been avoided if the B&B had been set up on the Island of Misfit Mascots.

51. The Drifter – Richie Tankersley Cusick

Mrs. Baxter could have used a nice visit with the Sexual Harassment Panda from South Park before starting on her business plan. When your daughter says the man you hired as a live-in handyman after he just showed up one day at your door in your new town and has been giving her the creeper eyes and you imply that she should stop asking for it -that makes for a saaaaaad panda. Just a reminder, Mrs. Baxter, you should be glad your daughter told you about it BEFORE anything criminally prosecutable happened.

Mixtape –
1. Sinking with the Sun – The Raveonettes
2. Shallow Water – Electric Citizen
3. She Cried – Rowland S. Howard
4. Wild Charms – The Kills
5. Goodbye Gemini – Blood Ceremony
6. The Deserters – Rachel Zeffira
7. Constellations – Black Mountain
8. Nothin’ – Rowland S. Howard
9. Headed Nowhere – Those Poor Bastards
10. Big Dark Love – Murder By Death
11. Hollow Earth – Zebras
12. Four Teeth – True Widow
13. Black Eyed Dog – Swans
14. Lonely Sunday – Reignwolf
15. Calla – Russian Circles

Belvedere doesn’t take kindly to age based power imbalances being used to the advantage of walking jean jackets.

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Camp isn’t just a row of tents.

62. Lights Out – R.L. Stine

Stine getting epistolary up in here. Yes, villain of the piece, it is amazing that you think turning “Camp Nightwing” to “Camp Nightmare” is a clever bit of wordplay. I don’t know how anyone overlooked your genius. I know main character Holly was too busy being scared shitless by virtually every outside-based beast that could be at a summer camp. Suck it up, Holly, solving the mystery is going to require more than startled screams. Or…maybe not.

I went to two summer camps in my time as a youth. At the first one, my cabin was awoken in the night by mating wild turkeys – that was loud and also confusingly terrifying. Plus we had to walk danceably to “Tears in Heaven” and put up the flag. When we were voting on songs I had not heard “Tears in Heaven” and if I had I would have vetoed that so hard. At the second one, I was awoken by a mouse running sideways up the plywood between bunks (not my bunk, I was in the middle, terrified) and into, then back out of one camper’s sleeping bag – it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen. My fellow witness and I never told her.

Mixtape –
1. Young Men Dead – The Black Angels
2. We’re All Swine – Those Poor Bastards
3. Sin Is In 10 – Bass Drum of Death
4. Hallucinations – The Raveonettes
5. Deep in the Woods – The Birthday Party
6. I Remember – Suicide
7. Houses in Motion – Talking Heads
8. In Your Wildest Dreams – Reverend Horton Heat
9. Girl Afraid – The Smiths
10. Treat Her Like a Lady – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
11. Suffer No Fools – The Sword
12. Been a Son – Nirvana
13. Running Joke – Queens of the Stone Age
14. Moonlight – Lonesome Wyatt & the Holy Spooks
15. Angelfuck – The Misfits
16. My Buried Child – Swans
17. Bad Blood – Ministry

It’s not her fault she can’t hold a flashlight to tell spooky stories.

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