Exploration of Insanity, i.e. my week

TODAY’S BREW: Cinnamon Hazelnut New England Coffee, courtesy of Walmart.

By Julie 

For retrospective humor and gaping mouths I shall recount my week in bullet points:

TUESDAY

  • am offered two jobs through Freelancer that sounded completely legit, complete with interviews, offer letters, no info requested that I felt uncomfortable with, job duties listed, details of equipment allocation discussed, legitimate websites linked of actual companies with history, zero scams detected through multiple searches, start dates determined, solving all of our money problems to find out that both of them were elaborate scams that I still cannot see the reason for since neither one of them got anything out of me and never even asked for anything. But Freelancer is very grateful that I brought it to their attention. So there’s that.
  • help clean Mom’s basement and the American Pickerness of it brings about these books I had to bring home from my childhood:books from moms
  • husband brings child twenty minutes away for doctor’s appointment that apparently never existed.
  • Husband returns and plays four square with my husband, kids, elementary school kids and another awesome mom for hours. Was delightful. New rules include Spearing: when one person stands on the outside of the square and just throws sharp shit through it.

WEDNESDAY

  • awesome four square mom friend feels bad about my fake jobs. Brings me lemon soap I will not buy for myself as consolation prize as I wait for Sam outside school after play practice. Beautiful thing.

THURSDAY

  • WINDSTORM OUT OF NOWHERE. Lose power. I may or may not have told you that we lost power overnight last month too. We spent half the night sleeping on the porch in a tent because it was so hot in the house–until the rain began. This is another story for another time. See also: cops are called on me by the crossing guard about my inspection sticker. Vicious fever. Week of book fair. THIS TIME it was cold. I carry lizards in all my pockets and against my body for warmth.

FRIDAY

  • Power will apparently be out until SATURDAY NIGHT AT 8:00. I cannot even. Get kids off to school and go to a friend’s house a few streets over. Carrying with me: 1 laptop, 1 Jango Fett costume for Sam later that night for school Halloween Howl which I will be setting up, unshowered and disoriented from lack of routine, 1 chuckwalla lizard, 1 heat lamp.
  • driving to said friend’s house (a fellow Hedge school  mom), my car’s brakes go. I roll up in front of ANOTHER Hedge school mom’s house and text her that my car is there but I am not.
  • THAT Hedge mom comes to the first mom’s house to help determine my next course of action because Hedge moms be like that. I go to her house with her down the street to meet AAA and have them tow the car to my house .3 miles away. (note: as soon as I stepped out the door a moth flew INTO my mouth. Hilarity ensues. Just not for me.)
  • While Pete Davidson the tow truck driver is with me, first mom texts me that Gila has gotten out of his cage:gila at cory's
  • Gila is returned to cage. Displeasure occurs. gila imprisoned at cory's
  • Almost time to pick up all of our kids, and stay at school to set up for the Halloween Howl. Put together a bunch of bags of treats with second mom for bake sale within.
  • Set up tons of decorations with a bunch of kids for this killer party at the school along with a bake sale and craft room and I am still unshowered and disoriented. Get ride home for about 20 minutes to eat cold pizza in impending darkness but SURPRISE! WE HAVE POWER! It was only almost 2 days.
  • Because why stop now, back to Halloween Howl for all the fun ever. Dance party with Jango Fett and a bunch of hilarious children and with pizza and cake. Unfiltered, unshowered proof: howl
  • Get home, cannot find the car key from the tow truck driver. Must call because at one point I said to Pete Davidson in face and demeanor to “leave it in the igniton” and he thought I said “throw it in the ocean” which is literally on the way to my house at the end of my street. True fear. But alas, it was under the seat.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I Can Have As Many Halloween Posts As I Want

TODAY’S BREW: less than I’d like because apparently my blood pressure rises with caffeine. Like the sun does.

By Julie 

HALLOWEEN APPROACHES and I couldn’t very well call myself Pretty Scary Author if I wasn’t totally immersed in it. Obvs it evolved from running short story showcases every October and wanting to celebrate Women In Horror month but never getting around to it to all the kiddo fun–but god I am still such a creep, and I try to PG-13 myself down so I don’t become a total freak in my kids’ eyes. Though, my kids are pretty weird too. LOOK, Samuel as Eleven last year and Benny as Dustin in the Ghostbusters costume!

Halloween 2018

For now I still get to trick or treat and go to all the family Halloween things and pumpkin picking–which I’ll probably always do. LOOK, WE FOUND A CONJOINED TWIN PUMPKIN:

Though I really want to call it a bubble-blowing double baby reminiscent of SpongeBob.

The place I’m super dying to go to for Halloween as a dream date (hope you’re paying attention, Tim), that I just discovered yesterday is Ravenwood Haunted Farm.

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It’s everything my heart desires. It’s worthy of wearing my orange tutu…to.

My scary read right now is the SHADOW HOUSE series by Dan Poblocki. Fun on their own, not to mention with covers that I adore, but the app makes it soooooo worth it. Haunted house plus scary orphans and pictures a la MISS PEREGRINE books, like this:

There’s a sigil on these photos that you link to the app:

See the source image

 

and you get to do a choose-your-own-adventure horror story. SUPER FUN. Buy these books. Shadow House

My favorite Halloween decorations this year:

halloween 2019

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Show me some of your favorite decorations, because I know you guys are dying to. Now if you’ll excuse me I have back to back Halloween baking shows to watch.

JUST FUN STUFF with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: HARD CIDER OUT OF THE SKULL OF A THESTRAL. It’s time to go to the Pumpkin Spectacular!

By Julie 

You’re like, WHAT. This is a thestral, if you aren’t a Potter nerd. A black skeleton-bat-horse that only people who have seen death can see:

Pretty sure that’s my patronus.

And the Pumpkin Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo is a tradition we have every year and it is the most Halloweeny thing a person can do. If you’re in the Northeast, I highly recommend you meet me there and we can drink pumpkin beer as we wait in line and look at the elephants in the dark and finish it off with hundreds of incredibly carved pumpkins and creepy music and there’s swan boats and a foggy pond and it’s just the best. I’ll take pictures. *gasps for breath*

In Other Fun news, I had a bitchen book signing this weekend, coincidentally on my 17th wedding anniversary, at Dirty Water Distillery, the first-ever Spooks and Spirits horror author whoop-de-doo and liquor event hosted by Inebri-Art.

(I did a podcast interview with Andy Driscoll over there, and here it is if you want MY VOICE.  Julie’s Inebri-Art podcast).

 

Here I am with badass Steve Van Samson, author of  The Bone Eater King, post-apocalyptic vampires with African mythology (I KNOW, RIGHT?), Marcia  Lynch (prettiest) and Mark Lynch of BAM! SMACK! POW! . It was as much fun as it looks.

Image may contain: Maria Lynch, Oldman Wade Sho, Julie Bennett-Hutchings and Steve V. Krikorian, people smiling, people standing

And whatever, you missed out on freshly-ripped-from-chests heart chocolates that I actually MADE, like in the cooking part of the house.

spooks tablespooks table 2

They’re blurry but hey, I write books and look good, I’m not a photographer.

ANYWAY, go check out all those little clicky links, and enjoy the final days of the Halloween season! I’m having too much fun to write anymore. Love you guys and HARPY HALLOWEEN oh my god, how much do you hate me now.

 

 

 

 

THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS & Julie’s Loud Mouth

TODAY’S BREW: Cider! It’s Halloween weekend and New England Wildlife Center’s Night of a Thousand Faces.

By Julie 

HI EVERYBODY. I promise I won’t get over-emotional. *bursts into tears, kicks a pumpkin down the street, climbs a tree*

THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS is finally out in the world, and it’s everything I dreamed it would be. LOOK.

Sixteen-year-old Celeste is the Witch of Stars and leader of her coven, the Five Poisons. But Celeste feels her greatest powers are in chewing anxiety pills and stress-eating. Uniting the vicious witches who share nothing but their unique forms of magic and a list of family dysfunctions is fruitless. The Poisons see only weakness in Celeste, for stifling her magic upon her mommy’s request. Using magic drains their mothers, the Elementals, but Celeste is the only one of the Poisons who doesn’t want her mother dead.
When a demon breaks through The Chains, the magical veil into the human world, Celeste tries proving herself to her coven by confronting him on her own. Through his eyes she discovers that the Elementals have been feeding the Poisons lies about demons, magic, their heritage, and the coven’s purpose. Worse yet, the abuse, manipulation and oppression Celeste’s coven has suffered at their mothers’ hands was more than tough love; it was to strengthen the girls’ powers for a Halloween harvest, to weave their souls into The Chains that they serve.
Celeste will do anything to save the Poisons, from traversing the wicked realm of The Gone, following the demon who’s shown her the truth, to waging war upon the Elementals. But to end the grisly cycle the Elementals have created means the Witch of Stars must either show her mother mercy and live in the false world she knows, or sacrifice herself in ways no magic can reverse.

A deadly concoction for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Maggie Stiefvater, with ingredients of American Horror Story: Coven, and The Craft.

This book was my first venture into young adult writing, and it was the most natural thing in the world to me. Funny thing is it’s edgier than RUNNING HOME and the whole Shinigami series. Teenagers get a bad rap for having little depth I think, and it’s simply not true. The Five Poisons live with different varieties of abuse, drugs, drinking, slut-shaming, emotional blackmail, anxiety, stress-eating even…. And yes, they swear, and there’s sex, and guess what? This is real life.

And on Amazon, I listed it as a book suitable for 7th grade and above.

Yes, I’m a dedicated and very involved mother of two young boys, and I protect them and nurture them to possibly an overbearing degree, but it would be foolish of me to assume they don’t see the growing-up coming, even at their tender ages. Angst isn’t the only thing they know. Teenagers and pre-teens should be acknowledged as children capable of making decisions and living their lives under guidance beyond whether their homework gets done on time. We’d be fools to assume they aren’t far more advanced and exposed to and curious about much more than their parents were at their ages. I was an….adventurous…young lady, and I’m pretty scared about what kids these days are in the path of. Technology has made all the rebellion we lived as kids into something far more dangerous. (There’s hardly any technology-based stuff in this book, because of the nature of what it’s really about, which has nothing to do with social interaction in that way.) Do we seriously think swearing is beyond them at say, even age 10? Not to mention that we let them play video games, watch YouTube, see endless violence (in a world full of it, naturally), and yet we change the channel when there’s a sex scene on TV. Who are we really shielding?

This went far more on a tangent than I thought it would. Which should show you how much I FELT this book, this series to come (one of which is finished already), and how important I think it is for kids to read.  While it isn’t an “IMPORTANT” book, immersed in any one of a hundred thousand million causes, it’s important. I stand by that. It puts important feelings, issues, experiences in a book that’s FUN. Because this book is fun, as emotional as I find it to be, and as imaginative as it needs to be.

Reading is as much an expression as writing is. It helps us identify with our own feelings, helps shape us throughout our entire lives. And kids should read what the hell they want.

I say this knowing that more adults read YA than teenagers probably do, and are looked down upon for it.

*stands on soapbox, throws air punches*

READ WHAT THE HELL YOU LIKE. READ BIOGRAPHIES OF CATTLE FARMERS, LORD OF THE RINGS MEETS GODZILLA, FIFTY SHADES OF CRAY CRAY, WHATEVER YOU WANT.

Reading inspires imagination, and without imagination, you cannot do a goddamn thing worthwhile. I don’t give a crap if you’re an accountant–if you can’t think outside the box, and don’t actively do so, your life is not what it could be. And if you’re an adult who reads a lot of young adult novels, I ask the world this:

WHAT IS ADULT LITERATURE LACKING FOR THESE READERS?

For me, imagination. Optimism. Reality. Freshness.

If adults had had more young adult available to them in this more mature strain as kids, rather than pretty exclusively SWEET VALLEY HIGH, what maturity level would we have had? What about those of us who read those books but also read Dracula and VC Andrews, and horror, and Jackie Collins, and Mary Higgins Clark?

Just me then? Oh.

There’s more than one level of emotional need at every age, and we’re capable of holding ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. And we should.

I’m super super super proud that a 10 year old boy at my kids’ school came up to me on the playground a couple of weeks ago. “I read your book, and it was awesome,” he said, about RUNNING HOME, a book about a 26 year old woman. Kids can read above grade level. As a matter of fact, the way they get there is by READING ABOVE GRADE LEVEL. That’s a whole other post.

Anyhoo, I’m incredibly passionate about this book, and I hope one or more of these characters will resonate with readers, and that they all walk away thinking a little differently because of them. So do yourself a favor, buy a book, and make it this one because the Poisons were all born on Halloween and it leads up to Halloween and IT’S HALLOWEEN.

For some visuals, go through the hundred Pinterest boards about the book and the witches and demons in it. Pinterest

THE DARK CARNIVAL Has the Goodest Day!

TODAY’S BREW: Eggnog with a sideshot of Folger’s. I LIKE FOLGER’S NOW, FIGHT ME.

By Julie 

A few years ago I submitted a story to THE DARK CARNIVAL Halloween anthology, and I loved this story. Then this week, Bustle.Com put it in a killer list of Halloween books to read! https://www.bustle.com/p/8-books-like-it-to-read-if-youre-looking-for-more-terrifying-thrills-2355287

Not sure what god we sacrificed evil clowns to that made us worthy of this list, but on a list of 8 books, we’re alongside Dan Simmons, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Dean Koontz. So. So. So. Where am I I cannot breathe stop looking at me.

So hey! Grab this cool collection of short stories from some great authors and good friends for less than a buck! And considering the average family spends more than $75 a year on Halloween candy, I think you can handle it. BUY BOOKS, SUPPORT ART, EAT HALLOWEEN CANDY!