Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: The Hateful Eight

My review of Quentin Tarantino's latest, The Hateful Eight, is up at Horrorview.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Listen Up: Rufus Wainwright sings "Hallelujah"

From time to time, readers of The Day After Yesterday have asked me about the music that plays a key role in the novel; specifically, they've asked if the Winter Roses album or a few of the songs exist.

Sadly, they don't. I wish they did—I'd like nothing better than to have a CD accompany print copies or a free download of the songs for ebooks—but I have no songwriting or musical skills.

However, today I ran across a song that captures perfectly the feel of the Winter Roses album (the lyrics aren't applicable, though their overall mood is).

So here for your listening pleasure is Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Today's Mood

Decorating Casa del Cozy for the holidays...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review of A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema

The blog She Treads Softly has a rave review of A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema. Take a read, and browse the extensive archives of book reviews while you're there.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Kelly's Big Score: Christmas Can't Be Far Away Edition

Well, this weekend was time for our annual jaunt up to Solvang for the Julefest parade and a whole lot of shopping and eating. Didn't go too crazy at The Book Loft this year, but did come home with:

  • A Scot Ties the Knot - Tessa Dare
  • Perchance to Dream: Short Stories - Charles Beaumont

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the name Charles Beaumont, but you should recognize his work - he was a writer for The Twilight Zone, for which he adapted a number of his short stories.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Frights: Just Plain Scary

My apologies for missing last week's Friday Frights - had a migraine.

But here we are with the last installment, some stuff I find just really creepy and scary. I watch and and read a lot of horror, but little of it actually scares me. These things did.

The Shining by Stephen King
King's tale of a fragile family isolated in a haunted hotel is somewhat overshadowed these days by Stanley Kubrick's adaptation, which is a shame. There's no denying that Kubrick's film is creepy and beautiful, but it lacks the emotional heart that makes King's book resonate even after the thrill of its terrors has faded. More frightening than the ghosts and hedge animals that prowl the Overlook Hotel's halls are the fact that a flawed, well-intentioned man will have his weaknesses exploited so he can harm the people he loves the most. Now that's scary.

John Carpenter's film set the precedent for dozens, maybe hundreds of horror films, but few if any have ever been able to touch it. The unease of the film sets in long before darkness has fallen and the unstoppable Michael Myers is carving up babysitters. There's a peculiar emptiness to the suburban town where the terror takes place, so we know early on that final girl Laurie is all alone, even though she's ostensibly surrounded by neighbors who could help.

"The October Game" by Ray Bradbury
A man who's trapped in an unloving family plots a most gruesome revenge one Halloween night. Last line: "Then, some idiot turned on the lights." Just go read it, you will not be disappointed. The EC comics adaptation is well worth seeking out as well.

"Hush" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The fourth season of Buffy had its ups and downs, but there's no denying that "Hush" is a highlight not just of the season but of the entire series. Silent, cadaverous demons known as "The Gentlemen" have come to town, and steal everyone's voice so they can start carving out victims' hearts in peace and quiet. Though the episode has a great deal of humor (mostly deriving from characters attempting to communicate without speaking), the horror is present as well, from the ghastly, grinning Gentlemen to victims' frantic attempts to cry for help after their voices have been taken. Essential viewing, even if you don't care for the series.

Hope you've enjoyed the Friday Frights!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Frights: Tales of Ordinary Madness

The worst horrors come not from boogeymen or werewolves or vampires, but from the mind. Yes, our minds are tricky things that can plague us with terrible things, and nowhere is this more clear than in these tales.

It's clear from the opening frames of this influential horror film that something is wrong with Carol (Catherine Deneuve). She appears to be in a fugue-like state as she goes about her job as a beautician, but her beauty and passivity keep others from inquiringly too deeply about what goes on in her head. Slowly we come to realize that Carol is, in fact, deeply disturbed. The clues pile up: her reactions of fear and loathing to anything dealing with men and sex, her fascination with a crack in her apartment's wall, her nightmares/fantasies that hands are coming out of the walls to clutch at her, her withdrawal into catatonia as food rots in the kitchen, and more. We're never directly told the cause of Carol's state of mind (though we can make some educated guesses). It's a fascinating, elliptical film, whose influence in use of sound in particular can be felt in movies to this day.

The Yellow Wallpaper 
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's famous short story takes us into the mind of a woman who is, by her own admission, suffering from "a slight hysterical tendency" (and possibly from postpartum depression). She's more or less confined to a single room and forbidden any reading material or visitors, as her patronizing husband deems these too stimulating and will impede her mental recovery. But the narrator soon becomes fixated on some particularly ugly yellow wallpaper in her room, and the more she ponders it, the further her mind unravels. The ambiguity of the story makes it all the more intriguing and worrisome.

Assorted films by David Lynch
Lynch's films often feature protagonists in considerable mental distress, at the mercy of the horrors their minds foist on them. There's the last days of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, as she free falls through the toll of years of sexual abuse. There's the in-denial split personality of Fred Madison in Lost Highway, who's running from the consequences of his murderous jealousy. There's the consumed-by-guilt actress who conjures a fantasy to avoid facing the fact that she's had her lover murdered. And let's not even get into the psychodramatic horrors of Eraserhead. Despite the surrealist trappings, these stories are very much tales of ordinary madness, and in their own way, horror movies.

Next week: Humor and horror!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Frights: Beautiful Horrors

Horror films don't by necessity have to be ugly-looking. Some excellent movies combine fear and dread with some of the most stunning visuals you'll ever see.

Masque of the Red Death (1964)
One of the many adaptations of Poe stories done in the 1960s, Masque of the Red Death is exceptional for several reasons. It features a nicely evil performance by Vincent Price which, while not rising to the heights of 1968's Witchfinder General, avoids the hamminess that marred some of his genre outings. Price gets good support from Hazel Court and Jane Asher as, respectively, his wife and a young innocent he's bent on corrupting. The screenplay does a good adaptation of the story, combining it with another Poe tale, "Hop Frog." And most of all, it looks gorgeous, thanks mainly to cinematography by Nicolas Roeg. While the plot is (as with all Poe adaptations) slight at best, the use of color is a feast for the eyes, with even such simple things as candles looking lovely in shades of deep green, with the colored rooms and costumes, and, most hauntingly, the various figures of death in all their colors. Watch the trailer.

Suspiria (1977)
Dario Argento's classic is a triumph of style over substance. A young ballerina (the always underrated Jessica Harper) arrives at a German dance academy, and soon discovers that the entire faculty is a coven of witches. Said coven is basically an excuse to show inventive murders, but the film's great triumph is its look. Its use of color (with scenes bathed in gorgeous green, blue, or red light) and use of light (deepest black punctuated by flashes of light both worldly and unworldly) make us believe in the supernatural goings-on even when the screenplay can't. The whole movie has a fever-dream quality that stays with you long afterward.
Watch the trailer.

Les Yeux Sans Visage (1960)
Georges Franju's haunting, melancholy film takes a much quieter approach to horror than the other two films mentioned above. A Parisian doctor kidnaps young women so he can use transplants to restore the beauty of his daughter's face (which was badly scarred in a car accident). The daughter (Edith Scob in an iconic performance) wears a white mask that hides her face except for her eyes, which convey the girl's deep sadness as transplant after transplant fails and her father's attempts become more misguided. The haunting black-and-white cinematography at times gives the film a fairy-tale quality and at other times is coldly clinical in its portrayal of just what the father is doing. Recommended for any horror enthusiast.
Watch the trailer.

Next week: Get out your toys in the attic - it's time for some tales of ordinary madness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Frights: Old-School Spookiness

Hello and welcome to the first of this month's Friday Frights, a weekly celebration of the horror genre.

This week I want to call out some nice, old-fashioned horrors. They're spooky and eerie and a bit genteel, but don't worry — I'll bring on the crazier stuff in future installments.

The Changeling
This sublime ghost story came out in the early 1980s and was buried in a glut of horror films, but it's got a considerable cult following. George C. Scott is John, a composer whose wife and daughter die in a roadside accident. Three months later, the still-grieving John is trying to move on with life; he takes a teaching position at a college and rents a gorgeous old mansion so he'll have the peace and quiet he needs to create. Unfortunately, peace and quiet are in short supply as he is wakened each morning by rhythmic banging noises and experiences other strange phenomenon. It's soon clear that the mansion is haunted by the ghost of a child, and the screenplay cleverly gives John a reason to stay in the haunted house, as he hopes to help the child to ease his grief and assuage his guilt at being unable to save his own child. But John uncovers some nasty, buried secrets and learns why the child's ghost is not at rest.

The Changeling's scares may bore some modern audiences, especially those used to jump cuts and gore shots. There's almost no blood, though there is a fairly upsetting scene of murder. What makes the movie work so well is its melancholy tone and its sympathetic characters, particularly John. Recommended, and it's the sort of movie you can watch with your folks.

The Monkey's Paw
This classic short story by W. W. Jacobs has been imitated countless times, but is premise never gets old. That's because it offers a dark take on the ultimate wish — to bring a loved one back from the dead. A nice old couple obtain the titular monkey's paw, which has the power to grant three wishes. The couple wish for cash, and get it — as an insurance settlement when their son dies in a horrific accident. The grief-stricken mother uses the paw for her second wish — for the son to be alive again. But will this wish be fulfilled in the way she hopes? Read it and let me know what you think.

Carnival of Souls
This low-budget wonder, made by film-makers who usually did educational and training films, opens with a carful of boys challenging a carful of girls to a drag race. The girls' car goes off a bridge and into a river, and a considerable time later, sole survivor Mary is found on the muddy river shore with no clear recollection of how she survive the accident. Mary almost immediately starts driving to a far town to take a job, and along the way finds herself haunted by a mysterious, cadaverous man and drawn to an abandoned lakeside pavilion. While the story of Carnival of Souls is slight and its ending has been stolen so many times that it will no longer be the jaw-dropper it no doubt was back in 1962, it's still remarkable in its use of sound and especially imagery, some of which is still being imitated in movies to this day. It may not surprise you, but it will definitely stay with you.

I hope these works get your October off to a good start!

Next Friday: Beautiful Horrors or, When Scary is Pretty

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rant Alert: I Hate September

I know that T. S. Eliot said that April was the cruelest month, but my least favorite time of the year is September.

For me, the main problem with September is one of geography. In other parts of the country, September is the start of autumn. It's a time when the weather starts cooling and leaves start falling. Whereas in Southern California, September is actually one of the hottest months of the year - certainly hotter than June, which is notorious for its overcast skies known as "June gloom."

This wouldn't be a problem except that my mailbox gets full of foodie catalogs going on and on about roasting and "savor the flavors of fall" and hey look here's our Thanksgiving preview issue. All this while it's still 90 damn degrees here and I'm stuck grilling again when what I really want to do is roast some potatoes or make a big pot of soup.

Even throwing out the catalogs doesn't help, because if you venture out of the house into the 90-degree heat, every Starbucks you pass is selling pumpkin-spiced* drinks, in honor of fall. And those just don't work when you're in your shorts and sweating every time you poke your head out the door.

And part of the problem with September is that it's supposed to be fall but is really still summer - the most overrated of all the seasons. Summer stopped being fun for me when I stopped getting summer vacations (moving to a much less temperate area of California didn't help either). Summer sucks when you're a responsible adult, as you have to deal with erratic family schedules (not to mention having to plan summer camps and whatnot months in advance) and with finding the sweet spot for running the A/C (just enough so everyone isn't constantly hot and uncomfortable, not enough to require declaring bankruptcy).

So that person you see in a house with the thermostat set at 79, looking grumpy and browsing through cookbooks in anticipation of going nuts with roasting when the weather cools? That would be me. I hate September.

*Personally I find anything that is pumpkin-spiced and isn't pie or bread to be disgusting, but that's not the point.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Kelly's Big Score: Cinematic Edition

So a friend was purging his DVD shelves and offering movies for a few bucks. For a mere pittance I got:

  • Marathon Man
  • Thriller: A Cruel Picture
  • Prince of Darkness
  • Theater of Blood
  • The Exorcist
  • Long Weekend
  • They Live
  • Straw Dogs
  • Jackie Brown
  • Grindhouse Trailer Classics

Lots of stuff for me to watch!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Day 4: Thrilling Adventures and Relative Relaxation

We got up at a reasonably civilized hour and packed up for the last day of con. First on the agenda was the Thrilling Adventure Hour over at Nerd HQ. I confess that the Thrilling Adventure Hour is one of those things I haven't found time to get into, even though it seems right up my alley. The panel was fun and laugh-filled, and Amy Acker is just as sweet and charming as she was in Angel and Much Ado About Nothing (seriously, she's like a flower).

After the panel it was time for one last round of shopping, and I also went back to Nerd HQ for a while to sip a cocktail and enjoy the relative peace and quiet. Then it was back to the convention center for the showing of the Buffy musical "Once More With Feeling." This had an added bonus of an appearance by Juliet Landau, talking about her forthcoming documentary on vampires in myth, legend and pop culture. Unfortunately, the showing of the musical itself was plagued by both technical issues and by audience members booing and yelling insults at Dawn's character. (I've encountered Dawn haters before but never this bad, and I just don't get it.)

I left a bit early to swing by the Ralph's and get some food to eat while I waited for the train home. I got to the train station early, as I only had a coach seat and I've seen how nuts it gets for the train leaving San Diego. I boarded the train without incident, and am not writing this blog entry. (Thanks, Amtrak wifi!)

Tomorrow this post will be updated with photos and some final thoughts on the con.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Day 3: No Hate for the Hateful Eight

I got up at a really unpleasant hour of the morning to get in line for Hall H and the panel for Quentin Tarantino's new film, The Hateful Eight. (I refuse to sleep out all night for any panel that doesn't involve a full-body massage administered by Bruce Campbell.) I followed the line past the tents, out past the marina, and onto an area nicknamed "the island" by Hall H line campers. Whilst waiting, I chatted with a nice guy named Henry, and eventually the line compressed as people got out of their sleeping bags. We ended up under the tents and figured that this meant we would get into the hall. Sure enough, we were ushered in with room to spare and settled down for the panels.

The view from the end of the Hall H line, about 6 a.m.

The first was the Warner Brothers panel, which featured previews of (and extremely brief panels for) The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Pan, Suicide Squad, and Batman vs. Superman. All of these movies certainly look well made, but nothing seemed particularly compelling about them. It was nice to see Hugh Jackman at the panel for Pan, though.

After that it was a combo panel for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and for Patient Zero. Of the two, the latter actually seems a bit more interesting primarily because of the cast (two Game of Thrones alumni, Matt Smith doing a credible American accent, and Stanley Tucci being a boss). But nothing that can't wait for Netflix.

Then we finally had what I had come here for: Tarantino introducing his new film, The Hateful Eight. Actually, first off was a filmed intro with Samuel L. Jackson explaining the the movie was filmed in 70mm Panavision and that a limited-engagement "roadshow" release was planned. (Consider my ticket bought.) Then Tarantino was there, being his usual hyper, verbose self; cast members Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern (among others) didn't get to talk much but all seemed very enthusiastic about the film. The capper to the panel was that we all got swag: a lobby-card-style poster for the film.

Kurt Russell at the Hateful Eight panel.

Quentin Tarantino at the Hateful Eight panel.

After the panel I met Scott for lunch (at The Field, a very good Irish pub), and then we did a bit more looking around at the vendor room before heading upstairs to a panel that showed a planned (but never published) 3-D EC comic, complete with a dramatic reading and 3-D glasses. Lots of fun. Dinner was at a mediocre and overpriced BBQ place.

And of course, it wouldn't be Comic-Con without some cosplayers and other oddities.

"Stay on target."

Cosplaying scooter riders.

Nux and Imperator Furiosa out for dinner. WITNESS ME!

Tomorrow: Thrilling Adventure Hour and one last round of shopping.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Day 2: Con Men and Deadites

Had a relatively restful morning, taking our time and getting to the Con before opening time. We loitered outside, waiting for the doors to open so we could hit the exhibitor floor. This wait was made annoying by various SDCC personnel who gave us much conflicting information about when the doors would open and which entrance we should use, but eventual it was all sorted out. The wait was also notable for that elusive phenomenon of spotting a celebrity in the wild (i.e., not as part of a panel or other scheduled appearance), when I saw Nathan Fillion walking outside the con, heading in the general direction of Hall H. This would not be my last encounter with Mr. Fillion this day.

Once we got in, Scott and I spent a good couple hours looking around. I got a Dalek t-shirt for Alex, and a Fantagraphics collection of George Evans's comics work for myself. Scott was given a free poster at Shout Factory for being a punk rock enthusiast. 

After lunch I headed over to Nerd HQ for the Con Man panel. While I was waiting I got myself a Nerd HQ messenger bag, which I like because it's pink (I can incorporate it into my "Let's take pink back from the princesses" campaign). Then it was on to the panel itself, which was lots of fun. The guests were: Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, P.J. Haarsma, Tricia Helfer, Alison Haislip, Michael Trucco, Nolan North, and Casper Van Dien. We got to see the trailer for Con Man and hear about the making of the web series, which looks like it's going to be a hilarious yet respectful look at the con life.

Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion at the Con Man Nerd HQ panel 
(my apologies for crappy photo quality)

I was prepared to immediately leave after the panel was over and hustle back to the convention center, as I wanted to be sure we got into the Ash vs. Evil Dead panel, but the Nerd HQ folks had a surprise for us. The Con Man panel were going to take pictures with all 200 panel attendees. Well, I could hardly pass that up, as you can see.

Nathan Fillion doesn't seem to like my hat very much.

After that bit of fun, I got back to the convention center. Scott and I ended up camping out in the Sense8 panel (which was just its creator talking, no other panelists) and then enjoying the Ash vs. Evil Dead panel. We got to see two versions of the trailer, and then hear from guests that included Sam Raimi, Lucy Lawless (it's very strange to hear her speak in her natural Kiwi accent), and the ever-awesome Bruce Campbell. Bruce was in fine form, being both funny and snarky, and even hosting an impromptu Ash cosplay contest (the winner was the girl whose costume had "groovy" on the butt).

Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi, Lucy Lawless, and Bruce Campbell whet our appetites for Ash vs. Evil Dead

After the panel, we went to Smash Burger for dinner (very tasty but at that point we were so hungry most anything would have tasted good) and then back to the hotel for a soak in the spa.

Tomorrow: Hoping to meet the Hateful Eight!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Day 1: A Little Business, A Little Pleasure

The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that. Due to extenuating circumstances, beyond an (unsuccessful) bid to get autograph tickets for Doctor Who, I didn't get to spend any time at the con until late afternoon. Once there, I headed for the exhibitor floor, where I bought some buttons for my fangirl jacket, and then a plush Serenity from the California Browncoats.

Then it was over to William Wu Books to pass the time and see if anyone had bought my book. When I arrived, no one had, but as I was chatting, someone bought the book and I signed it for him. Thank you, Jason, for buying A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema! I hope you enjoy it!

After that I met up with my husband, who had driven down to the con. We went out for some very good Mexican food at La Fiesta. The margaritas were good too, hence the brevity of this post. I need to get to bed now.

Tomorrow: The Con Man panel at Nerd HQ, and hoping to encounter Bruce Campbell and some Evil Dead!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Comic-Con 2015 Day 0: Up Against the Wall

The trip down to San Diego was pleasant and uneventful. I took the Gold Line down to Union Station, where I caught the Amtrak down to San Diego. We had lucked out in getting the Town and Country hotel, which is right on the trolley, thus saving us considerable time and money. Once at the hotel we got in the first of many lines - the one to check into our hotel.

When we checked in, the clerk said that our room did not have a view, and were we OK with that? We assured her we were, but we weren't quite prepared for what "no view" meant.

The view from our balcony

After Erik and I had a good laugh and sang a rousing chorus of "Is There Anybody Out There" from the Wall album, we caught the trolley back to the convention center to get checked in. Again, we waited in a line (quelle surprise) but emerged victorious with my first ever Comic-Con Creative Professional badge. Check it out.

My badge! 

Usually I have no interest in Preview Night, but we went in briefly so I could visit Booth 5627, William Wu Books, and see my book available for sale. And there it was!

Just $15! What a bargain!

By this time we were very hungry, so we left the center and went in search of food. The Old Spaghetti Factory had no wait (have never seen that before during con) so we took advantage of the situation and ate ourselves silly on pasta and garlic bread. Then we went to Ralph's to get snack supplies for the next few days, and retired to the hotel to jump in the pool for a bit.

Tomorrow: The quest for Hall H and  panels for Doctor Who and Con Man!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Off to San Diego for Comic-Con!

This time tomorrow I should be arriving in San Diego for Comic-Con, where I'll be joining more than 100,000 of my nerdy brethren for four days of geeking out, attending panels, and standing in lines.

I'm particularly excited because my book A Nerd Girl's Guide To Cinema will be on sale at exhibitor booth 5627 (William Wu Books). Stop by, take a look at the book, pick up some free postcards and bookmarks, and who knows, you may see me there too.

I'll also be trying for the Doctor Who, Con Man, Hateful Eight, and Ash vs. Evil Dead panels, and doing my usual shopping.

Look for updates each evening! And lots of this:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thoughts on seeing "Jaws" on the big screen

It's no secret to anyone who knows me well that Jaws is one of my favorite movies. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's pretty much a perfect film. It's got a well-balanced three-act structure, a compelling story, deftly sketched characters, and excellent acting. Plus it's damned entertaining and still scary after all these years.

I got the chance to see it on the big screen for the first time ever, and it was a wonderful experience. Much as I love movies on DVD/Blu-Ray in the privacy of my own home, there's no substitute for seeing a film with an appreciative audience. (The audience at the showing of Jaws was particularly good, applauding at the famous "You're gonna need a bigger boat" line and respectfully awed at the Indianapolis monologue.)

If you're at all a fan of the film, you should seek out one of these 40th Anniversary showings put on by Fathom Events. In the meantime, here is my review of it from my book A Nerd Girl's Guide To Cinema:

I try not to throw around the words “masterpiece” or “perfection” too often, but I really have to use them when I talk about Jaws. Everything about it just works so well. The terror it instills in the audience. The three-act dramatic structure. The performances, especially by the three leads. John Williams’ famous score. I could go on and on. And it’s still being ripped off and paid homage to more than thirty years after its release.Jaws is one of those movies that is so embedded in the American culture that even people who haven’t seen it know the basics, but here goes. A great white shark decides to make the New England island of Amity his lunch buffet, his first victim being an unlucky skinny-dipper. Water-phobic sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider in an underrated performance), a New York City émigré who’s still settling into his role as Amity’s leading lawman, wants to close the beaches but the mayor (odious Murray Hamilton), who’s thinking only of the dollars the summer tourists bring in, won’t have it. More deaths happen, and it’s up to Brody along with ichthyologist Hooper (hyper Richard Dreyfuss) and fisherman/shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) head out to sea to kill the shark.It’s hard to pinpoint what makes Jaws so effective after all these years. Certainly there’s the unease all of us have, consciously or not, at being in the ocean where we are (literally) out of our element. The ocean is big, its motion is out of our control, and most of the time you can’t see what’s around you. There really is no way to know what’s swimming just beyond you or beneath you. And it’s not easy to escape it, as the scene of panicked beach-goers fleeing the water demonstrates: people flounder, get knocked over, and no matter how fast they move they’re no match for the predator that’s after them.
That’s a major factor, but what really makes Jaws work is how real it feels. If the movie was made today, the beaches of Amity would be packed with pretty hardbodies. But the beaches of Jaws are full of ordinary people. Families, people of every age and variety, from the partiers in the opening scene to the wannabe landscape painter who sees the shark in the estuary. They’re people just like us and we identify with them.
Of the shark-hunting trio, it’s Brody we meet first, and though he’s the least entertaining of the three, he’s the one we relate to. He’s a man who’s decent — even honorable. He’s left crime-ridden New York City behind and, despite his deep fear of the water (notice during the second shark attack scene, he runs down to the water but doesn’t get his feet wet) has moved to an island to give his wife and children a better life. He’s “not an Islander” and is still finding his way among the town’s petty politics; it’s not his fault that the beaches aren’t closed and more deaths occur, but as a lawman he feels responsible. And when his own son has a narrow escape from the shark it’s his duty not just as a lawman but as a father to help find and kill the shark. Always an underrated actor, Scheider gives an excellent performance, particularly when the action moves to Quint’s boat and he is completely (and literally of course) in over his head, relegated to “chum duty” because he doesn’t know which rope to pull. Probably his best acting moment is during a night-time attack by the shark when Brody draws his handgun and wears a look of fear as he realizes that the weapon that may have served him in the past will do no good.
Fear and bravery are two themes that come up often during the movie’s third act, from Brody’s last stand against the shark to Hooper’s descent into the shark cage. Throughout the shark hunt scenes we’ve seen Hooper’s boyish enthusiasm over the shark become increasingly manic in response to the “arrr, I don’t need a city boy on me ship” taunts from Quint. (It’s interesting that Quint never taunts Brody but rather treats him with a sort of benign pity.) But all of Hooper’s bluster goes away when he’s ready to go into the shark cage, and is unable to spit into his mask because the fear reaction has dried up his saliva. Likewise, all of Quint’s “here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women” banter goes away, first when he gives his haunting monologue about the USS Indianapolis, then when he realizes that of the hundreds of sharks he’s hunted, this one may be his match.
Today’s blockbusters are so big, so loud, so focused on the next big thrill that they’ve forgotten how to tell stories and get audience members involved. Jaws could be made again. Yes, the shark would look better. But the soul of the movie — ordinary people against the terrors the deep can hold — would be lost. If you need your faith in the power of cinema restored, watch Jaws again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Limited-time offer - Ashes (Ashes #1) ebook is FREE

Yes, that's true. For a limited time, the ebook of Ashes, book 1 in my two-book suspense series, is available for FREE.

You can download it at:

Barnes and Noble

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review: Mad Max - Fury Road

Shiny and chrome! My review of the decidedly NOT MEDIOCRE Mad Max - Fury Road is up at Horrorview.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Editor problems

There is a bus bench I pass every time I take my kid to school. It has an ad on it, for some sort of escrow/property management business.

This ad is so wordy and full of Random Capitalizations and multiple exclamation points!!!! that I'm getting perilously close to bringing a red Sharpie with me next time and marking it up.

I'd get busted for vandalism, but the sign would be grammatically correct.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Today's mood

Interview at To Read Or Not To Read

There's an interview with me over at the To Read Or Not To Read blog, where I talk about Undertow and what my favorite nerdy thing is. Check it out!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book recommendation: If I Go by Diane Molberg

If you enjoy coming-of-age novels with well-written characters, may I recommend If I Go by Diane Molberg?

Here's my review from the book's Amazon page:

Diane Molberg's debut novel is an excellent coming-of-age story, reminiscent of Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show. Young Buck Malone wants to be a writer, an ambition his friends don't understand and his family doesn't support. One night, in the local drugstore, he sees a woman who's been beaten; she is Pauline, and soon she and Buck enter into a relationship that will change both of their lives, and the lives of Buck's friends Lorrie and Ray.

Molberg has a deep understanding of her characters, who are always engaging and sympathetic even when they flounder looking for direction in their lives; she has a deft way with location as well, taking the reader from a small Colorado town that's airy yet stifling to the fog-shrouded hills and smoky jazz clubs of San Francisco.

Highly recommended!

If I Go is available in both print and ebook.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kelly's Big Score: V is for Vintage Edition

Well, today I went to the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show, and I may have bought a few too many books. I know you're all shocked at this turn of events.

I found some excellent treasures as well as some interesting oddities. Probably my biggest coup was finding ten (count 'em, TEN) more books in Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series. This excellent spy series is out of print and books can be fairly difficult to find, so I'm particularly pleased.

The total haul consists of:

Donald Hamilton - The Terminators, The Detanators, The Menacers, The Intriguers, The Betrayers, The Poisoners, The Shadowers, The Devastators, The Ravagers, The Ambushers, Assassins Have Starry Eyes, Murder Twice Told, Line of Fire

Fredric Brown - The Screaming Mimi

Harlan Ellison - Paingod, Ellison Wonderland

Jeffrey Konvitz - The Sentinel

William Goldman - The Temple of Gold, No Way to Treat a Lady

Cornel Woolrich - The Bride Wore Black

Hugh Zachary - Gwen In Green

Gimone Hall - Witch's Suckling

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - Dead and Buried

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Calling all fans of musty old paperbacks...

Do you like vintage paperbacks? I know I do, and that's why on Sunday, March 22 I'll be at the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show.

I somehow did not know about this event until about a month ago. Now I can't wait for it. In addition to vendors of vintage paperbacks, there will be a number of authors and illustrators signing their works (including Joe R. Lansdale and John Skipp). All this, and the cost is only $5 to get in (with free parking).

I will be there with bells on!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema hits the shelves!

I am pleased to announce the release of my first nonfiction book, A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema.
For those of you who know me for my novels, here's some background: I've been in love with movies nearly as long as I've been in love with fiction. And the movies that I enjoy the most are ones that are … how shall I put it … odd. I chalk it up to seeing movies like The Last Wave and Phantom of the Paradise when I was young and impressionable. Those movies tweaked my psyche in ways that could never be undone.
I started writing movie reviews back in the early 2000s for the Horrorview website. And a few years ago, I got the notion to do a book of movie reviews; my inspiration came from reading review books by Joe Bob Briggs and Pauline Kael, and especially Danny Peary's Cult Movies and Guide for the Film Fanatic books.
A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema has reviews of 200 movies in a variety of genres from art house oddities to grind house horrors and everywhere in between. It's available in both ebook and paperback.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A giveaway at The Reading Cafe!

The most excellent book blog The Reading Cafe is celebrating its third anniversary.

I'm joining in the festivities by hosting a giveaway. Enter to win a print or ebook edition of my new novel Undertow (recently reviewed by The Reading Cafe), or some bookmarks featuring all my lovely novel covers.

Enter today! Giveaway lasts til February 28!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema - The List, Revealed!

Calling all film geeks! My movie review book A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema will be out at the end of the month. To whet your appetite, here is the final list of movies that will be covered.

Alice, Sweet Alice
All That Jazz
Altered States
American History X
The Arena
The Bad Seed
Bad Taste
The Beast of Yucca Flats
Beyond the Door
The Big Red One
The Black Dahlia
Black Sheep
The Blob
A Boy and His Dog
Bubba Ho-Tep
Burn After Reading
Cannibal Ferox
Carnival of Souls
The Changeling
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
A Christmas Carol
The Company of Wolves
Conan the Barbarian
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover
Countess Dracula
The Curse of the Cat People
Damien: Omen 2
Day of the Animals
Day Watch (Dnevnoi Dozor)
The Dead Zone
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Death Race 2000
Destroy All Monsters
The Devil's Advocate
The Devils
District B13
Django Unchained
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Edison Force
El Diablo
Event Horizon
The Exorcist III
Fair Game
Fight Club
The Final Conflict
The Fisher King
Fist of the North Star
Flesh + Blood
Flesh Gordon
Four Flies on Grey Velvet
Galaxy of Terror
The Gates of Hell
Glengarry Glen Ross
Godzilla vs. Hedorah
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
The Hand
Hell of the Living Dead
Henry and June
Hercules and the Captive Women
High Anxiety
The Hills Have Eyes
I Spit on Your Grave
Ice Castles
In the Mouth of Madness
The Incredible Hulk
The Island of Dr. Moreau
Jacob's Ladder
Joe Versus the Volcano
Julie and Julia
Kill the Irishman
King Kong (the Peter Jackson version)
King of New York
Kingdom of the Spiders
KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park
L.A. Confidential
Lair of the White Worm
The Last Wave
The Legacy
Long Weekend
Lord of the Rings (the Ralph Bakshi version)
Lost Highway
Mad Monster Party
Marathon Man
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley
Master of the Flying Guillotine
Meet the Feebles
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Miami Connection
Mortal Kombat
The Naked Kiss
The Naked Prey
National Lampoon's Animal House
The Negotiator
Night of the Lepus
Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)
Nightmare Alley
The Ninth Configuration
No Country for Old Men
Nude for Satan
The Omen
The Painted Veil
Pennies From Heaven
Phantom of the Paradise
Phase IV
Pink Floyd: The Wall
Piranha 3D
Rain of Fire
The Reaping
Red Sonja
The Ref
The Reflecting Skin
The Replacement Killers
Requiem for a Vampire
Romeo is Bleeding
The Room
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom
The Sentinel
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Shoot 'Em Up
The Sign of the Cross
The Silent Scream
Silver Bullet
Snakes on a Plane
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Somewhere in Time
Spirits of the Dead
Street Kings
Suddenly, Last Summer
Surviving the Game
Tales From the Crypt
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
The 13th Warrior
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Tron: Legacy
The Truman Show
Turkey Shoot
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Under Siege
Under the Skin
The Unseen
Valhalla Rising
The Valley of Gwangi
The Visitor
War of the Gargantuas
Watership Down
What Have You Done to Solange?
White Noise 2: The Light
Witchfinder General
Yellow Submarine
The Yellow Wallpaper
Zabriskie Point

The guide also includes a list of 200 more movies worth watching, from The Abominable Dr. Phibes to Zodiac. Stay tuned for the official release date!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Undertow review at The Bibliophilic Book Blog

The latest review for Undertow is in. Visit the Bibliophilic Book Blog to learn their thoughts on the book.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cover reveal: A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema

Finally! Here is the cover of my forthcoming movie review book, A Nerd Girl's Guide to Cinema.

The book will be published in late February. Stay tuned for official release date!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Listen up: 24 hours of music

A while back I decided to create a playlist that would take all the good parts of the radio — a variety of music — and leave out all the bad parts of the radio — commercials, songs that suck.  And now I've ended up with a solid 24 hours of music I like.

This list was a departure for me in a few ways. Usually I like my playlists to have themes, but this one had no theme. If a song segued well from its predecessor, it was in; one of the things I hate most about the radio is that there's so little regard for how songs work together. I mean, I like Nine Inch Nails and I like James Taylor — but that doesn't mean I want to hear them back-to-back.

So here, if you care to listen for yourself, is the complete 24-hour playlist. Enjoy!

  • Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones
  • The Infanta - The Decemberists
  • Big Hollow Man - Danielle Dax
  • The Killing Jar - Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Caught a Lite Sneeze - Tori Amos
  • Girl With the Red Balloon - The Civil Wars
  • A Common Disaster - Cowboy Junkies
  • Johnny Feelgood - Liz Phair
  • Nature Boy - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
  • Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums - A Perfect Circle
  • Bones - MS MR
  • Is She Weird - The Pixies
  • Creep - Radiohead
  • Blood and Roses - The Smithereens
  • Wicked Game - Chris Isaak
  • Matte Kudasai - King Crimson
  • Vienna - Ultravox
  • Goin' Out West - Tom Waits
  • Run Through the Jungle - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots
  • When the Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
  • How Soon is Now? - The Smiths
  • Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - Elton John
  • Days and Days - Concrete Blonde
  • Diamonds and Rust - Joan Baez
  • Walk on By - Isaac Hayes
  • Child in Time - Deep Purple
  • Fred's World - Angelo Badalamenti
  • Just Like You Imagined - Nine Inch Nails
  • Lucretia My Reflection - The Sisters of Mercy
  • 2000 Light Years From Home - The Rolling Stones
  • Silent Lucidity - Queensryche
  • No New Tale to Tell - Love and Rockets
  • Everyday is Like Sunday - Morrissey
  • The Boys of Summer - Don Henley
  • The Bed's Too Big Without You - The Police
  • Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
  • Head Like a Hole - Nine Inch Nails
  • A Song From Under the Floorboards - Magazine
  • Add it Up - Violent Femmes
  • Gold Lion - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • 52 Girls - The B-52s
  • Hell - Squirrel Nut Zippers
  • I Wanna Be Like You - Los Lobos
  • Apeman - The Kinks
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants
  • Just Another Day - Oingo Boingo
  • Goodbye Horses - Q Lazzarus
  • Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
  • Tom Sawyer - Rush
  • Transmission - Joy Division
  • Cat House - Danielle Dax
  • Cecilia Ann - The Pixies
  • Cornflake Girl - Tori Amos
  • Watching the Detectives - Elvis Costello
  • Hunter - Dido
  • Where Do the Children Play? - Cat Stevens
  • My Little Town - Paul Simon
  • Joey - Concrete Blonde
  • The Flame - Cheap Trick
  • Kiss From a Rose - Seal
  • Theme from The Valley of the Dolls - k. d. lang
  • La Vie en Rose - Louis Armstrong
  • Coney Island Baby - Tom Waits
  • Pretty Fifties - David Lynch
  • Runaway - Del Shannon
  • 96 Tears - ? and the Mysterians
  • Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress - The Hollies
  • Julie's in the Drug Squad - The Clash
  • Jump Around - House of Pain
  • White Lines - Grandmaster Flash
  • Atomic Dog - George Clinton
  • Genius of Love - The Tom Tom Club
  • Hey Ya! - OutKast
  • Can't Make Love - Wall of Voodoo
  • Tainted Love - Soft Cell
  • Close To Me - The Cure
  • I Melt With You - Modern English
  • Beautiful World - Devo
  • Psycho Killer (Live) - Talking Heads
  • Memo From Turner - The Rolling Stones
  • Rudie Can't Fail - The Clash
  • A Pistol for Paddy Garcia - The Pogues
  • Morricone Theme - Wall of Voodoo
  • Per Qualche Dollaro in Più - Ennio Morricone
  • Battle Without Honor or Humanity - Tomoyasu Hotei
  • 21st Century Digital Boy - Bad Religion
  • Suffragette City - David Bowie
  • Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel
  • Love is a Stranger - Eurythmics
  • All For Love of One - Mediaeval Baebes
  • Summoning of the Muse - Dead Can Dance
  • The World Spins - Julee Cruise
  • La Serenissima - Loreena McKennitt
  • Willow's Song - Faith and the Muse
  • Ghost of Love - David Lynch
  • Incarceration of a Flower Child - Marianne Faithfull
  • Bliss - Tori Amos
  • Cat People (Putting Out Fire) - David Bowie
  • Master and Servant - Depeche Mode
  • Relax - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
  • Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
  • My Baby Does Good Sculptures - The Rezillos
  • T-Town - The Glory Holes
  • Jerry Was a Race Car Driver - Primus
  • Baby I Love You - The Yayhoos
  • The Breakup Song - Greg Kihn Band
  • Buddy Holly - Weezer
  • Baby Blue - Badfinger
  • One - Three Dog Night
  • Sally Go 'Round the Roses - The Jaynetts
  • Dear Prudence - The Beatles
  • Polyester Bride - Liz Phair
  • No Myth - Michael Penn
  • Tempted - Squeeze
  • Found Out About You - The Gin Blossoms
  • Caroline - Concrete Blonde
  • Tear in Your Hand - Tori Amos
  • Someone Saved my Life Tonight - Elton John
  • Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
  • Bad Sneakers - Steely Dan
  • Wake Up - Arcade Fire
  • Sweetest Thing - U2
  • The Love Cats - The Cure
  • Marry Me - Emilie Autumn
  • Dirty Dog - Switchblade Symphony
  • Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
  • Un Amico - Ennio Morricone
  • O Children - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Ball of Confusion - Love and Rockets
  • Big Time - Peter Gabriel
  • Shitloads of Money - Liz Phair
  • Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones
  • Eminence Front - The Who
  • Making Plans for Nigel - XTC
  • Secret Agent Man - Devo
  • Close (To The Edit) - Art of Noise
  • One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
  • Little Girls - Oingo Boingo
  • Too Young to Date - D-Day
  • Busy Child - The Crystal Method
  • Blue Monday - New Order
  • End of Line - Daft Punk
  • Closer - Nine Inch Nails
  • Suspiria - Goblin
  • Tubular Bells (Opening Theme) - Mike Oldfield
  • Magic and Ecstasy - Ennio Morricone
  • Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme) - Tangerine Dream
  • Nicaragua - Jerry Goldsmith
  • Last: The Lonely Shepherd - Zamfir
  • Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
  • Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
  • Alsatian Cousin - Morrissey
  • Come Out and Play - The Offspring
  • Ball and Chain - Social Distortion
  • Anything, Anything - Dramarama
  • Girl U Want - Devo
  • Rock Lobster - The B-52s
  • Saber Dance - The UK Subs
  • Misirlou - Dick Dale
  • Il Giardino Dell Delizie - Ennio Morricone
  • Im Nin'Alu - Ofra Haza
  • Isabella - The Mediaeval Baebes
  • Running Up That Hill - Kate Bush
  • Past the Mission - Tori Amos
  • Big Log - Robert Plant
  • I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
  • Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
  • One Thing Leads to Another - The Fixx
  • Driver Down - Trent Reznor
  • Is That All There Is? - Cristina
  • Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien - Edith Piaf
  • It's a Sin to Tell a Lie - Dolly Dawn
  • My Funny Valentine - Chet Baker
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
  • I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline
  • Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
  • Dad I'm in Jail - Was (Not Was)
  • God's Away on Business - Tom Waits
  • Lucifer Sam - Pink Floyd
  • Spy Vs. Spy - Combustible Edison
  • Incense and Peppermint - The Strawberry Alarm Clock
  • Hold Tight - Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Tick
  • Come and Get Your Love - Redbone
  • Love is Like Oxygen - Sweet
  • Turn to Stone - Electric Light Orchestra
  • Cruel to be Kind - Nick Lowe
  • Help! - The Beatles
  • All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople
  • Come and Get It - Badfinger
  • Stuck in the Middle With You - Stealer's Wheel
  • Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
  • Another Saturday Night - Cat Stevens
  • Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard - Paul Simon
  • Baby Got Going - Liz Phair
  • Favorite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) - Haircut 100
  • Stand and Deliver - Adam and the Ants
  • The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
  • Entertain - Sleater-Kinney
  • Anarchy - KMFDM
  • Dragula - Rob Zombie
  • Hell Broke Luce - Tom Waits
  • FFF - Public Image Ltd.
  • Piggy - Nine Inch Nails
  • Venus in Furs - The Velvet Underground
  • Spark - Tori Amos
  • Night of a Thousand Furry Toys - Rick Wright
  • Mercy Street - Peter Gabriel
  • C'est la Mort - The Civil Wars
  • Don't Let it Bring You Down - Neil Young
  • Twist in my Sobriety - Tanita Tikaram
  • All Dead, All Dead - Queen
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
  • Moving Through Time - Angelo Badalamenti
  • Martha's Dream - Nick Cave
  • Quintet for Glass and String - Garry Eister
  • Rabbia e Tarantella - Ennio Morricone
  • Procession - The Wicker Man Soundtrack
  • Memorial - Michael Nyman
  • Shalott - Emilie Autumn
  • Yes, Anastasia - Tori Amos
  • Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Julia Dream - Pink Floyd
  • I'm Not in Love - 10cc
  • Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles
  • This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - Genesis
  • 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson
  • What God Wants (Part 1) - Roger Waters
  • Happiness in Slavery - Nine Inch Nails
  • Peace Frog - The Doors
  • Grindhouse (Main Theme) - Robert Rodriguez
  • Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones
  • Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
  • Childhood's End - Pink Floyd
  • Barton Hollow - The Civil Wars
  • Freedom - Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton
  • Johnstown - O Susanna
  • Ballad of a Thin Man - Bob Dylan
  • Babe, You Turn Me On - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground
  • Precious Things - Tori Amos
  • Thank God I'm Pretty - Emilie Autumn
  • Cities in Dust - Siouxsie and the Banshees
  • Red Bats With Teeth - Angelo Badalamenti
  • Senza Motivo Apparente - Ennio Morricone
  • Terminal Frost - Pink Floyd
  • Flying - The Beatles
  • Sugar Magnolia - The Grateful Dead
  • Domino - Van Morrison
  • What Makes You Happy - Liz Phair
  • Why Can't I Touch It? - The Buzzcocks
  • New Frontier - Donald Fagen
  • Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel
  • Lookin' Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Like a Soldier - Johnny Cash
  • Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
  • Who Did That to You? - John Legend
  • You Know My Name - Chris Cornell
  • Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
  • Orange Crush - R.E.M.
  • Rock the Casbah - The Clash
  • Party at Ground Zero - Fishbone
  • The Suits are Picking Up the Bill - Squirrel Nut Zippers
  • Balboa Blue - The Marketts
  • Take Five - Dave Brubeck
  • Cadillac - Combustible Edison
  • Pablo Picasso - The Burning Sensations
  • Riders in the Sky - Dick Dale
  • Jackie Chan - The Dollyrots
  • I Say Nothing - Voice of the Beehive
  • Paperback Writer - The Beatles
  • Someday, Someway - Marshall Crenshaw
  • Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
  • You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
  • I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred
  • Got to Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
  • Jungle Love - The Time
  • Kiss - Tom Jones and the Art of Noise
  • Chick Habit - April March
  • Cherry Bomb - The Runaways
  • My Sharona - The Knack
  • Walking in L.A. - Missing Persons
  • Touch Piggy's Eyes - Danielle Dax
  • Thela Hun Ginjeet - King Crimson
  • Oh Look - KMFDM
  • March of the Pigs - Nine Inch Nails
  • Opheliac - Emilie Autumn
  • Liquid Diamonds - Tori Amos
  • Trovommi Amor - The Mediaeval Baebes
  • Until the End of the World - Julee Cruise
  • Carolyn's Fingers - The Cocteau Twins
  • Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
  • Coming Back to Life - Pink Floyd
  • What is Love? - Howard Jones
  • Harmony - Elton John
  • 5:15 - The Who
  • My Old School - Steely Dan
  • Fall On Me - R.E.M.
  • And Your Bird Can Sing - The Beatles
  • Turn Around - They Might Be Giants
  • The Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
  • Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye - Phantom of the Paradise Soundtrack
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
  • Goody Two Shoes - Adam Ant
  • Pump it Up - Elvis Costello
  • Doctorin' the Tardis - The Timelords
  • Brass Monkey - The Beastie Boys
  • Because I Got High - Afroman
  • Just One Fix - Ministry
  • The Perfect Drug - Nine Inch Nails
  • Jeremy - Pearl Jam
  • Midnight Rambler - The Rolling Stones
  • Pills and Soap - Elvis Costello
  • I Don't Mind If You Forget Me - Morrissey
  • Elephant Talk - King Crimson
  • They Might Be Giants - They Might Be Giants
  • Tidal Wave - Dick Dale
  • Faccia a Faccia - Ennio Morricone
  • Dominion/Mother Russia - The Sisters of Mercy
  • Never Gonna Stop - Rob Zombie
  • Clubbed to Death - Rob Dougan
  • Principles of Lust/Sadeness - Enigma
  • Dream Song - Ministry
  • The Mark Has Been Made - Nine Inch Nails
  • All Tomorrow's Parties - The Velvet Underground
  • White Rabbit - The Jefferson Airplane
  • Angel - Jimi Hendrix
  • Gloomy Sunday - The Smithereens
  • Delia's Gone - Johnny Cash
  • Sweet Baby James - James Taylor
  • Cat's in the Cradle - Harry Chapin
  • Life in a Northern Town - The Dream Academy
  • Rockin' Back Inside my Heart - Julee Cruise
  • Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9) - Pink Floyd
  • The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
  • Love, Reign O'er Me - The Who
  • A Day in the Life - The Beatles 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reading recommendations: Underrated or little-known books

It's a new year and I'm sure we're all on the lookout for some good books to read in the coming months. And if you're not sure what should be next on your reading list, may I recommend some books that are underrated or not as well known as they should be? You'll see some familiar author names here, but you may not know the titles.

Boys and Girls Together - William Goldman
Years before he brought us the story of Wesley and Buttercup, and before he made us all a little bit nervous about going to the dentist, William Goldman gave us a fantastic story of five ordinary young people brought to their fates - and in some cases their dooms - by the city of New York. It's sprawling yet intimate, often heartbreaking, and occasionally funny.

Cavedweller - Dorothy Allison
Dorothy Allison's second (and to this date, last) novel hasn't the raw power of her debut Bastard Out of Carolina, and it loses its narrative focus halfway through, but it is still a remarkable tale of sisterhood, family, and healing the heart. When her rock star ex-husband dies in a motorcycle crash, singer Delia Byrd takes her daughter Cissy back to Delia's small hometown in Georgia, to reunite with Delia's two other daughters from her abusive first marriage. Though not without its dark moments, it's a much more optimistic book than Bastard Out of Carolina.

Til We Have Faces - C. S. Lewis
Though not nearly as well known as the Narnia books or The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis' retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth is fascinating. Told from the viewpoint of Psyche's sister Orual, it deftly addresses the question of faith and where the line is between loyalty to the divine and to the earthly.

Fevre Dream - George R. R. Martin
If you're waiting oh so patiently for the next book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, you could do worse than to read this intriguing mix of 19th-century riverboats and vampires. Yes, you read that correctly. Martin not only makes this unlikely combination work, but he does so while skewering the tropes of vampire fiction and ending things in a way you don't quite expect. It doesn't have the sprawl, scope, or grandeur of the Westeros books, but is still a fine read.

The Getaway - Jim Thompson
I'm cheating a bit, as The Getaway isn't really that unknown of a Thompson book. But The Grifters and The Killer Inside Me get all the press, so I want to stump for The Getaway. Married criminals Doc and Carol pull off the proverbial last big score without much of a hitch - it's escaping to safety (a South American town that's a semi-legendary haven for criminals) that's the hard part. Bad luck, miscalculations, and distrust escalate into a grim, almost existential final chapter that's unlike anything else I've read in crime fiction.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

More reviews for Undertow!

This year my Christmas was particularly merry, as bloggers reviewed my new mystery, Undertow.

The Reading Cafe says, "[Kelly Cozy] blew me away again." Read full review.

The Book Bag says, "it kept me on the edge of my seat." Read full review.

Book Bag Lady says, "It was suspenseful and exhilarating all at the same time." Read full review.

Ciska's Book Chest says, "Cozy knows how to create characters and set atmosphere." Read full review.

I am very grateful to all of these bloggers for reading my book and sharing their thoughts on it with their readers.