Book Excerpt: “Baby Teeth” from Midnight in the Pentagram

“I had to do it,” I say. “I had no choice.” I pick at a hangnail, watch the blood pool beneath my thumb and press it against my mouth to suck on the blood. The taste of copper comforts me as I try to ignore an itch at the center of my palm. I adjust myself on the seat, although the handcuff on my right-hand keeps me tethered to the chair.

“I know you’ve said this before, Melissa. But I’m finding it difficult to understand.” The prison psychiatrist stares at me over her black rim glasses. Her dark hair is pulled back in a tight bun at the base of her neck. She sighs, tapping the pencil against her notebook, reading over the arresting officer’s scribbled notes about me. “It says here that you killed your daughter.”

“You’re not listening to me. I had to do it.” My voice is cold, unfeeling. Ana wasn’t my daughter. At least, not anymore. Something had taken possession of her. Something evil.

***

Excerpt of my short story, “Baby Teeth” out today in Midnight in the Pentagram, out NOW!

The other amazing authors:
Brian Keene
Graham Masterton
Jason Parent
Catherine Cavendish
James Newman
Tim Curran
Allan Leverone
PD Cacek
Todd Keisling
William Meikle
Chad Lutzke
Laurel Hightower
Owl Goingback
Tony Tremblay
Tim Meyer
Shannon Felton
Brian Moreland
Kenneth W. Cain
Armand Rosamilia
Charlotte Platt
Wesley Southard
JG Faherty
John Quick
Edward M Erdelac
Cameron Ulam
Kenneth McKinley
Michael Patrick Hicks
Bob Ford
Mark Towse
Mark Steensland
Amanda Niehaus-Hard

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Review: Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream

What It Is: A next generation water cream that envelopes skin in hydration to reveal a brighter, more supple appearance.

Active Ingredients:
– Alaska Glacier Water: Protects skin from free radicals while promoting optimal absorption of moisture.
– XPERTMOIST: Shields skin from dehydration while supporting skin vitality.
– Iceland Moss: Calms and reduces visible redness while hydrating.

Verdict: Since I have oily skin, I tend to gravitate towards lighter moisturizers, since the heavier ones usually lead to breaktouts. However, sometimes the water based moisturizers have been a letdown because they’ve been too watery and not provided the moisture I crave. But this moisturizer is different, in that excels at being both light and bouncy but packs a serious moisturizing punch. I love that it feels lightweight but also incredibly soft. It’s pretty much scentless which I prefer since many creams tend to veer towards scents I don’t wish to be sleeping in all night. I recommend this moisturizer if you’re in need of hydration but want to keep it light.

Price: $39

Where To Buy It: Sephora and https://saturdayskin.com/

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5 Horror Movies To Get In The Mood For Halloween

Spooky month is upon us and as always I’m looking forward to viewing a ton of horror movies (especially this year since I’ve finally caved in and decided to subscribe to Shudder). Usually this time last year I would’ve been at Shriekfest, Comic-Con LA, visiting haunts, costume parties, and such, but since none of those things are happening this year (due to the still-raging global pandemic), I’ll take comfort in getting to view some seriously awesome horrors. Below are five of my current faves:

HAUNT

On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an extreme haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.

Why It’s Cool: No CGI and all the effects are practical effects.

HOST

Six friends accidentally invite the attention of a demonic presence during an online séance and begin noticing strange occurrences in their homes.

Why It’s Cool: Found footage in Pandemic times.

THE BEACH HOUSE

College sweethearts on a romantic getaway struggle for survival when unexpected guests exhibit signs of a mysterious infection.

Why It’s Cool: Sci-fi horror blend, The Mist meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

SPRING

An aimless young man (Lou Taylor Pucci) takes an impromptu trip to Italy and becomes involved with an alluring genetics student (Nadia Hilker) who harbors a transformative secret.

Why It’s Cool: Body horror meets love story.

STILL/BORN

When a woman gives birth to twins, only one child survives. She begins to suspect that something supernatural has chosen her remaining child, and it will stop at nothing to take it from her.

Why It’s Cool: Demonic possession or post-partum depression?

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Poetry: Supernova

Summers spent with sticky fingers

And cotton candy kisses

The Luna Park was our campground

Of our young love

Dancing to terrible music on repeat

Drinking rum and coke

You were the patron saint of vice

Blowing smoke rings and

Your hand in my hair

Whenever I’d suck your cock

Trying to be edgy

Wearing a torn I Love LA top

My lipstick smeared like Harley Quinn

Flying in the night on your motorcycle

The wind in my hair

Feeling free

Stars flowing from our wrists

Instead of blood

We were magical

We were invincible

We were one.

***

Did you enjoy this poem? You can find this poem and many others in Lost Girls Go Everywhere: Poetry & Prose on Amazon!

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Book Review: Loner by Georgina Young

What’s the difference between loneliness and being alone?

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Release Date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: Text Publishing

Price: $11.95 (paperback)

Plot Summary:

Lona has dropped out of art school and no one is quite sure why, least of all Lona. It’s just that nothing in her life seems to make sense anymore, including art. She spends her days sneaking into the darkroom at her old school to develop photographs and her nights DJ-ing at the local roller disco.

Her aimlessness terrifies her, but everyone else appears oblivious to her fears: her parents are bewildered by her sudden lack of ambition, her brother is preoccupied with his new girlfriend, and her best friend Tab seems to be drifting away. Even a budding relationship with a bass-playing, cello-shredding med student isn’t enough to shake her existential angst.
Lona knows it’s up to her to figure out what she wants to do with her life: the problem is, she has absolutely no idea where to start.

Grade: A-

Review:

Despite not being written in the first person POV, the short chapters and short sentences in Loner read how one would imagine its protagonist Lona thinks. The book begins with Lona having left uni because she feels like she doesn’t have to be in art school to be an artist. Throughout the book, she’s pretty aimless, but it captures the feelings that many people at her age (early twenties) feel. I liked how the book explored the sense of liking to be alone with the feeling of loneliness. Lona enjoys her own company best, and that of her best friend Tab. But like most introverts (especially the not so sociable kind) she struggles with being herself but also compromising with being who people wish she were for social interactions. Although I’m not as introverted as Lona is in the book, there are moments that were relatable to me, especially when she has to prep herself to be excited about an outing and how exhausting an afternoon out with strangers can feel whilst trying to pretend that you’re having fun cause that is more socially acceptable than showing fits of malaise in public. The novel explores friends, art, and love.

Not a lot happens in the novel but if you’re into literary novels that put existential crisis under a microscope then you may enjoy this one.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Text Publishing for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Teen Killers Club by Lily Sparks

One goal, get out alive.

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Release Date: November 10, 2020

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

Plot Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Signal Deere has raised eyebrows for years as an unhappy Goth misfit from the trailer park. When she’s convicted of her best friend Rose’s brutal murder, she’s designated a Class A–the most dangerous and manipulative criminal profile.

To avoid prison, Signal signs on for a secret program for 18-and-under Class As and is whisked off to an abandoned sleep-away camp, where she and seven bunkmates will train as assassins. Yet even in the Teen Killers Club, Signal doesn’t fit in. She’s squeamish around blood. She’s kind and empathetic. And her optimistic attitude is threatening to turn a group of ragtag maniacs into a team of close-knit friends.

Maybe that’s because Signal’s not really a killer. She was framed for Rose’s murder and only joined the program to escape, track down Rose’s real killer, and clear her name. But Signal never planned on the sinister technologies that keep the campers confined. She never planned on the mysterious man in the woods determined to pick them off one by one. And she certainly never planned on falling in love.

Signal’s strategy is coming apart at the seams as the true killer prepares to strike again in Teen Killers Club.

Grade: A-

Review:

This YA was unique, as it was about a group of teen killers that are training to become assassins. The only caveat? Our protagonist Signal Deere didn’t kill her best friend, although she was framed for her murder. She’s innocent. The group is taken to a camp where they must train to take out other murderers, and the cast of characters we get are all uniquely different from one another. I really enjoyed the fast neck break pace, there was never a dull moment! Yes, the book is a little campy but once I found out that the author had penned the script for the new Heathers TV show (that sadly never aired) it all made sense. If you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride, then you’ll find this book entertaining, if you happen to nit-pick about how credible it could all be, then you Downer Debbie are gonna be sourly disappointed! The murder mystery was fun and the twist was something I didn’t suspect and it actually worked (I despise twists that just come out of the left-wing with no context). And for being someone that always complains about how books end, this one actually ended with a bang!

I couldn’t recommend this book enough if you love thrillers with a satirical spin.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Film Review: Host





I’m not a fan of the found-footage sub-genre in horror. In fact, I didn’t like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity (two films famous for being ground breaking for the sub-genre). So I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy Host, since it’s a found footage movie directed solely via zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. I’ll have to admit that Rob Savage managed to create a very suspenseful and scary movie with the limited resources he had available.

The whole premise of the movie is that a group of friends decide to engage in a séance guided by a medium through zoom. But this being a horror movie, things obviously go wrong. The first fifteen minutes you’re wondering if anything is going to happen and when, but soon strange things begin to happen and the chill-factor rises exponentially.

This film was best made to be viewed using your phone or tablet (although I used my notebook), it won’t have the same claustrophobic chilling effect on a large screen TV. I really enjoyed Host, and at only 56 minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome by trying to hit the 90-minute mark, which is something many horrors should do instead of trying to fill the last 30-minutes with filler.

Host managed to make me reconsider the found-footage subgenre, and I am curious what Rob Savage will come up next now that he has scored a three-movie deal with Blumhouse. The scariest is yet to come.

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Review: Murad Essential-C Cleanser

What It Is: Energizing cleanser

What It Does: Washes away dirt and impurities without over-drying skin.

Active Ingredients: Vitamins A, C, & E and Allantoin and panthenol (to help soften skin)

Verdict: I’m not someone who is exclusively married to one skin cleanser, so I’m always switching mine up depending on what I receive or am gifted. This particular skin cleanser was part of a Fab Fit Fun subscription box. What I love about this cleanser is that it feels luxuriously silky and it has an incredible scent. I feel as though my skin is getting fully cleansed but at the same time it doesn’t feel stripped of its natural oils. I’m really enjoying this cleanser a lot and will definitely purchase it when I’m done.

Price: $40

Where To Buy It: https://www.murad.com/

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3 Tips That Will Make You A Better Writer

There are many books that explore the craft of writing but these tips are what will really change the way you work and write.

ONE. WRITE EVERY DAY.

By this, I don’t mean that you have to write a specific word count every day, because many people will feel a sense of failure if they don’t accomplish what most professional writers do. But since many of us that are writing have day jobs, trying to crank out 1,200 words daily is almost impossible. The secret is, there is no magic number. Write every day, even if all you can write for that day is ONE SENTENCE. But slowly, if you continue, in a year you’ll finally have a rough draft of a novel.

TWO. COMPLETE ONE PROJECT.

The problem I see with many writers is that they never complete a short story or novel. Instead, they begin a project, and once they struggle they let go and begin another. In the end, many of them end up having ten unfinished projects, and no single finished project to show for their efforts. Focus on completing ONE project so that you can then have something to edit once you’re done. You’ll never see your writing career launch if you’re always in the phase of starting new projects and never completing any of them.

THREE. READ BOOKS IN THE GENRE YOU WRITE.

Publishing is a business, which means that in order to see what is selling in your given genre, you have to read books from that genre. I don’t mean just one or two. I mean, A LOT. You should aim to read at least one book a month. Reading should be seen as a way to study the craft of writing. This will be way more helpful to you than dishing out hundreds of dollars for a writing workshop that lasts three days where you accomplish nothing.

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Review: Colourpop Candyland Candy Castle Eyeshadow Palette

Colourpop always releases very exciting collabs, but like any makeup junkie there is, trying to collect them all would mean that we’d be drowning in eyeshadow palettes. As a kid, I loved the whimsical magical world that the Hasboro game Candyland provided. It wasn’t a board game that required much skill, but rather relied more on the luck of the draw. But it was a board game that even my mum who hates board games was agreeable to want to play with me.

So when Colourpop decided to collab with Hasboro for Candyland inspired makeup, I was totally onboard! I decided to snag the eyeshadow palette and Queen Frostine Highlighter (unfortunately, I was later informed that I would be reimbursed for that product as they sold out before they could fulfill all their orders).

Now, I’ve used Colourpop products before, and my personal experience with their products is so-so. There are some products that they certainly nail, and then there are some that aren’t as remarkable, but for the cheap price tag, one can’t really complain. My biggest issue with Colourpop eyeshadows is that the matte shadows always tend to result in a patchy application, the final result isn’t always universally pigmented. Of course, this can only be noticed if you’re looking with a close-up mirror in good lighting. Most people on the street won’t notice this inconsistency just by looking at you.

The colours for this palette are very reminiscent of the whimsical magic that Candyland represented, so for tht it gets a thumbs up from me. All the colours are very pretty. Now, my only complaint is the application for the matte ones. Like previous matte shadows from Colourpop, these too result in a patchy application even using eyeshadow primer beforehand. Meanwhile, the top-performing eyeshadows tend to be the glittery or frosty ones.

If you love pastel colours, I definitely recommend checking this palette out, or if like me, you’re nostalgic for the whimsical carefree days of your childhood, then that’s also a good reason to pick this palette up, or anything from the Candyland collab, as they’ll whisk you back to a time when makeup meant you wanted to be Princess Lollipop or Queen Frostine.

Price: $18

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