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Master of Macabre, Wicked Women Writers, and “Homecoming” by Scott Langrel

homecoming

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s that time of year again, open season for the HorrorAddicts.net Master of Macabre and Wicked Women Writers writing contests.  Just like in past years, the contestants are given three elements, which they must include in their story.  Last year was the introduction of turning the story into an audio drama with no less than two people voicing characters, which carries over to this year.  The 2016 theme is Twisted Urban Legends.  You will be given an urban legend, a setting, and an obscure item.  After taking a year off from the contest last year, I intend to enter, but there is also the possibility of having one or two of my sons also competing for the prize of Master of Macabre.  For more details on these contests, check out Master of Macabre or Wicked Women Writers.  You can also check out HorrorAddicts.net for more announcements and horror themed nuggets of information, including details on a recently announced anthology that is accepting submissions.

In returning to my book reviewing roots, this week I thought I’d share “Homecoming” by Scott Langrel.  This is the first book in the Finn McCoy Paranormal Thrillers.  Finn is a paranormal handler, someone who deals with, and sometimes cleans up after, members of the fae and other mythical creatures.  He is often called in to situations normal paranormal investigators are unable to handle, and he sets things back into balance.  The first book finds our hero being called back to his old hometown of Shallow Springs, VA, which he left fifteen years prior, to help deal with a series of murders.  In the past, the town’s sheriff maintained a balance with the mystical elements of the forest.  The creatures were permitted to take and kill a limited amount of people they found in the woods in exchange for them not entering the town itself.  A new leader has emerged within one of the magical races, and they don’t like abiding by the truce.  Finn’s job is to keep the people of the town safe, while re-establishing the balance of things between magical and non-magical.

I thought this was a pretty fun read that didn’t try to be something larger than it needed to be.  There was just enough hinting at prior events with the characters, while not having that overshadow the current story taking place.  If the rest of the series is like this one, I think I’ll be reading the rest in short order.  That being said, there were a few things that did defy some level of logic, but none that I can mention because they delve to closely into spoiler territory.  I can say that none of them take you out of the story or take you out of the story.  My rating is a 4 out of 5.

You can find “Homecoming” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or order it through your local book store.

Check out the latest season of HorrorAddicts.net to catch my contribution, Nightmare Fuel.  It is a different topic every week about something horror, paranormal, and creepy, most of which with a basis or legend in real life.  For the season premier, I touch on black-eyed children, with an assist from my youngest three sons.  The episode will be ready for download or listening on the HorrorAddicts.net website this weekend.

Until next time…

D.J.Pitsiladis

Updates

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s been about a month since we last talked, and I just wanted to give you an update on things.   Baby and mother are still doing well, especially since they have now entered the second trimester.  We are so far still set for the arrival in less than six months.  We are very excited and are looking forward to meeting it and introducing him/her to the world.  (There is a story about why this pregnancy is especially poignant, but I’ll save that for another time).

I have been busy in the past month, between getting some house projects done in preparation for some renovations being done this summer, to writing and the day job.  I am currently working on three new novel/novella length projects as well as a re-write of the first novel I ever finished writing.  Add to the mix resuming blogging duties with HorrorAddicts.net, audiobook auditioning and a full-time day job, you can see why time has been a bit tight.  I want you to know that I have not forgotten about any of you, and I am working updating this blog back into my regular schedule again with more reviews of books, movies, and (possibly) television shows.

With all that being said, next week I will return with another book review and the start of what I hope will be a return to a regular schedule again.  Also,check out the season premiere of HorrorAddicts.net on 04/23 because the latest edition of Nightmare Fuel will include the podcast debuts of my three youngest (so far) sons.  It’s something they are excited for.  I hope you like it.

Well, I need to go for now and get ready for the day job and some writing.  Until next week…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Busy times ahead

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I apologize for my absence the past couple of weeks, but I was busy between work at the day job, work on writing projects, and recovering from a war between hay fever and a cold.  Now that I’m better adjusted to my new work schedule, it is time to return my focus to wordsmithing and voice acting work.  I am already lining up ideas for my portion of the HorrorAddicts.net blog and podcast as well as audition pieces for Audible.com and some other podcasts.  I am also busy working on two novel rough drafts and editing a short story or two.  Things are busy, but it is some of the happiest times of my life.

Work isn’t the only reason why I’m so happy this year.  I’ve been married to my wife for six months now, with a lifetime ahead of us.  I am spend a lot of quality time with my children, with plans of taking my two oldest to our first Con next month.  I’m also ecstatic because a real blessing has been bestowed upon us. My wife and I found out last month that she is pregnant, and that another little Pitsiladis will be scampering about by the end of the year.  We still have a long road ahead of us before the finish line, but the payout at the end is worth it.

My friends at HorrorAddicts.net have also announced the themes of this year’s Wicked Women Writers and Master of Macabre writing contests.  This year’s theme is “Twisted Urban Legends”.  I think this year’s contest will be something to look at for not just myself, but possibly my two oldest children as that is but one of their interests.  For more details, check out Wicked Women Writers (https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/www/), or Master of Macabre (https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/master-of-macabre-contest/).

And with that, I must bid you adieu.  The day job is beckoning, and with a baby on the way… you get the picture.  I will be back next Wednesday with another book review.  Until then, dear patrons…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Politics, positivety, and “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke

Childhood's End

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

We are now one month into the new year, and I’m already wondering where the time is gone.  Here in the states, we have already finished the first of many caucuses to help determine who we will get to vote for in the Presidential election at the end of the year.  While many of us may think that the candidate we are backing throughout this process is the best choice, there are plenty of people who will politely or militantly disagree with that choice.  We all have our reasons for feeling one way or the other, but that is part of the beauty of our freedom to choose.  I haven’t made up my mind about who to support in this year’s election, but I have decided who doesn’t deserve my vote.  Now, I won’t share any names, because that is not what me as the creative artist wants to do.  I don’t intentionally focus on negativity here unless it is in a horror story.

What has me thinking in such a positive way, you may ask?  Aside from my resolutions for the year, I read a book recently that had an ending completely opposite of what I expected to find.  That book was “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke.  Imagine a world where humanity, on the verge of taking the first steps into space exploration, discovers that we are truly not alone in the universe.  Silver ships appear in the sky and the Overlords, as the alien race is referred to by Earthlings, communicate that they are on a mission to help us.  Within a short time, war, poverty and cruelty become things of the past and Earth enters a golden age.  The price of such a change is culture and creativity stagnation.  By the time the true reason for the Overlords arrival comes to light, will it be too late for humankind?

When I began this story, I expected it to be much like other science fiction stories I’ve read.  The aliens lull us humans into a false sense of security before springing the trap we unexpectedly walked into.  Without giving away spoilers, this story didn’t fall into this category of extraterrestrial visitation.  Even so, I found this story to be very fascinating and had a hard time putting it down.  If you are looking for science fiction story with a change of pace, or want to get an idea on what the upcoming television adaptation of this book is about, definitely check it out.  I rate this a 4 out of 5.

Until next time…

D.J. Pitsiladis

P.S. — I’m always looking for ways to improve the blog and your enjoyment of it.  If you have any ideas, or podcasts and books you’ve enjoyed, please feel free to send me those suggestions as well.

Playoffs, resolution update, and “Rough Draft” by Michael Robertson Jr.

rough draft

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Well, another season is done for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  As I’m writing this, they were defeated by the Denver Broncos in a very conservatively played game.  A lot of people were ready to write the team off earlier in the season when they lost key players and had difficulties stringing wins together.   Although they didn’t advance to the next round, I am very proud to call myself a Steeler’s fan, and look forward to the next season.   Go Steelers!

Since my last post, I’ve been doing really well in my resolutions.  Although I haven’t submitted any stories yet, I have been able to brainstorm a zombie series I had written a year or two ago, and have a much clearer picture of how I want that world to be.  I have also made further progress in what started as a short story about an old, abandoned house with a story, but it is now approaching novella length with the potential to become a full novel by the time I’m done with it.  I am also editing a short story I hope to have submitted by the end of the week.  On top of that, I have recorded some audio book auditions that I hope to have edited and submitted by the time you read this.  All in all, I am making progress on my plans, and I’m only just getting started.

With how busy I’ve been keeping myself, I’m still making it a point to read as much and as often as possible.  One of the more recent books I’ve finished is “Rough Draft” by Michael Robertson Jr.  The story follows three popular and bestselling authors who are blackmailed into going to a cabin just outside of Pike, CO.  The town is a ghost town, its residents having long ago vanished without a trace or explanation.  Their blackmailer wants just one thing from them in exchange for their freedom… write a novel about what may have happened to the people of Pike.  This mystery person provides them with everything they need to write the story, even down to the little details of their individual writing processes.  What they discover may end up costing them their lives.

This story was an interesting one.  The individual authors in the story all have very unique personalities that seem to mesh well.  At times, there is a definite Dean R. Koontz feel to the story, and it definitely captured my imagination.  There were a few spots where things felt a little too convenient or cookie cutter, but, with that aside, it was a very good read until the very end.  I give it 3.5 out of 5.

Until next time…

D.J. Pitsiladis

New Year’s Resolutions and “Wayward Pines Book 1: Pines”

Pines

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Happy new year one an all.  I hope that all of your holidays were festive, relaxing, and, most of all, fun.  Ours had a few hiccups, but we survived the dawning of a new year.  As with the beginning of a new year, resolutions are the order of the day, so I thought I’d share some of mine with you.

  1.  Blog regularly — This one I’ll admit I had a difficulty doing in past years, but it is still one I’m hoping to improve on this year.
  2. Finish writing more stories — I have some that I have started and stopped before finishing for one reason or another
  3. Submit more stories for publication — In 2014 I had two stories accepted for publication, but this past year I only submitted a couple of times without any success.  I plan on changing both in 2016
  4. Start a podcast — This one I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  I think this year will be the year I finally get that off the ground with stories I hope to draw you in and entrap your imagination.
  5. Audition for and record more audio books for other authors to diversify my creativity
  6. And, finally, perform in a theatrical production for the first time in almost three years — My youngest three have been wanting to see their dear old dad performing on stage, which I think is pretty darn cool.

With any luck, much perseverance, and a lot of hard work, I will be able to meet all of these.  I hope that sharing this with all of you it will help to give me accountability if I find myself lagging behind.  Wish me luck and stay tuned for future news.

To start the year off review wise, I thought I’d provide a review of the first novel in the Wayward Pines Trilogy, “Pines” by Blake Crouch.  For those of you who have not read the novel or seen the television series this past summer, the story is about a man who wakes beside a river with no real memory of who or where he is.  As the story unfolds, he remembers his name is Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent sent to Wayward Pines, CO, to search for two of his fellow agents.  As he struggles to find the missing agents and contact his wife and boss, he finds only unanswered phone calls and unanswered questions.  The story starts out much like Twin Peaks or a Twilight Zone episode, but the ending is one that you definitely don’t see coming.  I definitely recommend this book for those of you looking for a book you can’t, or don’t, want to put down until the final page.  I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Until next time…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Happy holidays and 2015 in review

Dimensional Abcesses

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa!  Merry Festivus!  And for the other holidays I may be missing, Happy and Merry to you all!  This of course means that another calendar year is coming to a close.  This year has been a mixed bag of good and bad.  As one of my 2016 New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to focus on the positive aspects.  This past year, I’ve had stories appear in two anthologies, Forgotten Places and Dimensional Abscesses.  Until recently, you could only find the latter in eBook format, but I’m proud to say that a paperback format has just been released on Amazon.  The links to this, as well as my other works, will be at the end of this post.

Another venture that I’ve started this past year was recording audio books for other authors.  I have two so far, and have plans for more in the coming year.  I’m hoping to make this a regular thing, for both other authors and my own work.  As everything comes out, I’ll be sure to let you know so you can check them out and spread the word.

This past year also saw me become a regular contributor to the Horror Addicts podcast with Nightmare Fuel.  I offer stories and lore based on real events, cryptids, and some other scary fare.  It has been a welcomed addition to the podcast and the blog, and I look forward to bring more legends and lore to your eyes and ears.

Speaking of spreading the word, please feel free to check out, leave a review, and share with as many others as possible.  I’m hoping to make next year a bigger year, and, with your help, I’m hoping it will.  Until next year…

D.J. Pitsiladis

HorrorAddicts.net

Dimensional Abscesses — Book and eBook formats

Forgotten PlacesBook and eBook formats

Fresh BloodBook and eBook formats

Tasteful MurderseBook format

Bump Off Your Enemies — eBook format

Darwin Murders — eBook format

Once the BestAudiobook format

EvolutionAudiobook format

 

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