Horror and Comics!

Comic and Horror lovers!!! Listen up!!!

There is this book called IN THE DARK. It’s a comic horror anthology. It’s brilliant and I do not say that lightly. You may notice it’s out through IDW, but it was originally a Kickstarter by the phenomenally talented Rachel Autumn Deering. A rising horror star in the comics community. Rachel put together this magnificent anthology with talent such as Steve Niles, Batman’s Scott Snyder, the brilliant Paul Tobin, Tim Seeley, Ed Brisson, Duane Swierczynski and so many more. This is a massive work of horror art and you’d be ridiculous not to get your hands on it.

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You can buy it online, sure. But you can also contact Rachel and buy directly from her. Which is what I highly recommend. Because this was a Kickstarter, she has a ton of copies. Running a successful Kickstarter campaign is not all fun and flowers. It’s extremely difficult and the cost on the creator is insane. If you’re going to order this book (which, have I mentioned already that you REALLY SHOULD?), order it directly from Rachel (drop her a message on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theironrachel).

Support artists who are taking chances, being bold, thinking outside of the box, and making a difference in the pulling industry.

Check out Bloody Disgusting’s 5 Skull review here! http://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3292704/5-skull-review-dark-horror-anthology/

Hallowe’en Extravaganza!

skeleton-clip-art-15UPDATE!

We only have to wait a week now! Next week I will post the first contest. Get ready for some crazy halloween fun!

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Yea. So what if I start preparing for Hallowe’en in August. I still have a bride and groom skeleton set hanging from my window from last year. In my world, everyday is Hallowe’en.

We won’t start any of the festivities until Oct. 1st (whimper heard around the world). But I wanted everyone to be aware that there WILL be festivities. I had to take last year off, but I’ll more than make up for it this year!

I already have some amazing books from extremely generous publishers like Little, Brown, Walker, Quirk Books, and Abrams, lined up for giveaways. Ghosts, skeletons, murderers, maniacs, and good old spooky fun haunt these pages.

There will be contests to win books. And they are difficult contests. They involve writing, and reminiscing, maybe some old Hallowe’en pictures?! There will be plenty of books, thus plenty of creepy contests.

Get ready…

Set…

Wait a month and a half…

Beautifully Macabre: The Beauty deep within the Macabre

“…only a real artist knows the actual anatomy of the terrible or the physiology of fear – the exact sort of lines and proportions that connect up with latent instincts or hereditary memories of fright, and the proper colour contrasts and lighting effects to stir the dormant sense of strangeness.” -H.P. Lovecraft

I have two very close friends. The macabre and beauty itself. They greet me every day, in my work, in my play, and in my sleep. The closeness we share has created a blissful trifecta. We have become so entangle that no boundaries remain. But often times, I find myself stepping back, observing the creations born out of the bond between macabre and beauty. For a long time, I had a great obsession for these creations, but I did not understand them or my obsession.

I philosophized for years over this matter. What is it about a splatter of blood that interests me? Why do I eat up literature on beheaded queens like it’s candy? Why do I envy ghosts? What is so beautiful about death? All questions I have asked myself for years and had recently given up trying to answer…

My whole life I’ve wished that there was a monster in my closet. I would friend him. Call him Frodile. He’d protect me. He’d read me scary stories and draw me pictures of the ghastly things from his world. Most importantly, he would understand me. Well unfortunately Frodile never came, he won’t exist in this lifetime. But I found his human equivalent. And no one will ever be as lucky as me.

About two years ago, my Frodile stepped out of my closet in the form of artist Rebekah Joy Plett. Rebekah and I became fast friends–I believe on a subconscious level because neither of us knew about our mutual love for the macabre–and today we partners in the dark arts. I am Rebekah’s literary agent, her art representative, and business partner in the macabre children’s literature and art magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. Merging our sensibilities (she brings the macabre, I bring the horror) we’ve opened up a labyrinth that continues to amaze me and continues to answer the questions I’ve pondered for years.

Through conversations with Bex, and possibly even more importantly, through viewing her art, I’ve found my answers.

“I think beauty in horror — or horror in beauty — is such a successful match because beauty itself is not enough; it’s great to look at but eventually the brain becomes bored. It’s with the combination of the two that something truly interesting is created. We want to look, but we don’t; we want to enjoy the piece but something is horribly wrong about it. The beauty tells us ‘It’s okay to look at me’, while the horror says, ‘What is wrong with you?’ I think this is why many people are drawn to the Shakespeare character Ophelia, or Waterhouse’s nymphs, or Girl, Interrupted. When you combine beauty and horror, the result becomes unpredictable and irresistibly desirable.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

I remember the first time Bex showed me this image:

Rebekah has always had a penchant for unique, pop-surrealist, ghastly, and creepy art. If not straight horrifying art (Read: Rebekah’s Human Nature art series that is yet to be completely unveiled but involes a lot of blood and death).

Yet when she showed me the above art, I was stricken with an overwhelming sense of belonging. Rebekah’s previous invisible or obscure monsters were now blatant monsters. Real life monsters. This quickly became a series for Rebekah because the monsters and the beautiful girls did exactly what we had both been dreaming of for years. They married the macabre and beauty… equally.

It was at this point that I described Rebekah and her art as being “Innocent yet sexual, macabre yet beautiful, horrifying yet earthy, and completely organic.”

One of Rebekah’s greatest qualities is that she doesn’t fetter her creativity.

Creativity — like monsters — never sleeps. It only waits.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

And when her creativity is done waiting, it just blooms and blooms and blooms until it’s a wild monster’s tongue reaching out from the painting, trussing you up in its sickly slime, yanking you back into the painting with it. Rebekah is the Lewis Carroll of art, she’ll push you down the rabbit hole.

While discussing the marriage of beauty and the macabre with Rebekah, we both agreed that the majority of adults have lost the ability to still see monsters. They’ve grown too old to think that there may be something underneath their bed. The only thing adults think might be lurking under their covers is a spider or two. Horrifying art like that of Stephen Gammell makes the average adult shrug or say Why would anyone want to look at that?

(Well that’s a subject for another time, because I do love me some Gammell.)

But what Rebekah (and other artists like her: Mark Ryden, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Camilla D’Errico, Elizabeth McGrath, Matthew J. Price) has done is made deeply morbid and disturbing art beautiful and more accessible to those who might have lost their ability to dream darkly.

While Rebakah and I strive to open the imaginations of children with our children’s magazine, Rebekah’s art strives to do the same but for those adults who subconsciously want to feel scared, want to be intrigued, want to feel shock and delight simultaneously.

The girls? Lovely. The monsters? Devilish down to the tips of their tongue and claws. Like Rebekah says, Blood is in the details.” 

Death, monsters, blood, insanity… it’s not always about evil. It can often times be about creativity, love, imagination, and yes… still insanity.

a work in progress by RJP

“Something beautiful alone, or something only macabre doesn’t say much, but once you put them together a conversation is started. Why is there a pretty girl laying in the grass? Why is that bird making off with her entrails? A story has begun.” -Rebekah Joy Plett

I want to thank Rebekah for the interview, the images, and the friendship. She’s the monster in my closet, the darkness that takes over when the candle flame dies.

 

 

Three VERY important things…

One: Princess Prep: Fashion & Words Contest. Ends October 10th. (https://www.facebook.com/princessprep)

Two: Guys Read Thriller Contest. Ends October 13th.

Three: October Issue of Underneath The Juniper Tree!

This is such a fun time of the year, get into the spirit of the season by dressing up princess dolls, writing thrilling tales, and reading spooktacular stories!

July Issue of Underneath The Juniper Tree!

Happy July! The July Issue of Underneath The Juniper Tree online magazine has dropped and it is gruesome!

Go here to download it. Read it. Love it. Share it. And be inspired by it.

Sneak Peek:

 

What Do You Have In Your Pocketses Challenge!

Over at Underneath The Juniper Tree, they are hosting a new weekly challenge. The What Do You Have in You Pocketses Challenge? I thought since I am always encouraging you all to take part in these challenges, I would give it a go. Make sure you challenge yourself with this one. It is such an entertaining writing exercise.

Blood for Ridicule

by Bree Ogden

The ridicule was expected.

I can handle this. Just let me out!

When you talk to the slight opening in your blouse pocket. The ridicule is expected. Expected, yes.

The little voice continues to berate and it’s almost as unbearable as the mockery coming from those around me.

“Sissy Loy has not a friend.

So Sissy Loy talks to her blouse.

Sissy Loy won’t even pretend.

So Sissy Loy isn’t even welcome in her own house!

Sissy Loy has not a friend.

And Sissy Loy won’t even pretend.

The children chant as they follow me, Sissy Loy, around the playground.

I feverishly try to ignore the voice coming from my blouse pocket.

I’ll slither so fast no one will see me. I’ll slice the cords that utter such vile words.

The thought of such an act sent me into a tizzy.

Panicked, I slapped my hand over my blouse pocket with such vehemence that it attracted the scornful looks of those around me who had not yet joined in on the chant.

And it started again.

“Sissy Loy has not a friend.

So Sissy Loy talks to her blouse.

Sissy Loy won’t even pretend.

So Sissy Loy isn’t even welcome in her own house!

Sissy Loy has not a friend.

And Sissy Loy won’t even pretend.

I’ll gladly slip inside their skin and create slits that will make them think twice about whom they scorn.

Lost in the grotesque thought of my schoolmates bleeding from the inside out, choking on their own words, I failed to notice that the contents of my pocket had sneakily disappeared.

So small. There was no way to find him. I could only track him by his damage.

The blood he left in his wake.

“Sissy Loy has not ::cough cough::”

Amelia started to choke as she began the familiar hurtful chant for the third time.

Blood began to slowly ooze out of her mouth and as the dark red liquid reached the tip of her chin, her nose became a peculiar sight.

Under the skin on the bridge of her nose—if one knew what one was looking for—slithered a long, skinny shape, making her nose look like a miniature version of a bed sheet with a snake underneath.

Before I could even check my pocket, Amelia started to bleed from her eye sockets. Her friends cowered in the corner of the playground by a cluster of trees; watching their ringleader come undone.

Amelia tried to scream but with each mouth movement, more blood spurted from her mouth. Showers of blood hit the ground and mixed with the dirty playground floor.

She looked at me in terror. I snapped my fingers and within moments my blouse pocket was again occupied and Amelia was curled up on the bloody, dusty ground with lunch aides running to her assistance.

I quickly spun around, for my blouse pocket was beginning to turn dark red from Amelia’s blood.

I leaned down to whisper into my pocket.

“A bit overboard with the eyes, don’t you think?”

He snuggled into a ball and whispered quietly.

Amelia had no heart with which to pump the blood, I truly did not think the damage would be so dramatic.

And he fell asleep with a smirk on his tiny little face and a snigger escaping out of his dreadful little mouth.

Challenge-a writer’s refiner’s fire

I love a good challenge. Especially as a writer. A writing challenge is such a fantastic way to keep the creative side of your brain vibrating with ideas and your heart pumping alive with innovation and artistry. And love. Because you have to love to write. #laboroflove

I’ve heard that feisty Marjorie and testy little Tex over at Underneath The Juniper Tree (see post below) know just how to challenge a great writer as yourself. Be sure to check out the ridiculously bizarre and fun weekly challenges as well as the larger contest going on right now, the Sinister Summer Stories Contest.

Also remember that this IS NOT JUST FOR WRITERS. Underneath The Juniper Tree wants artists. And everything I said above about challenging yourself goes for an artist as well. And I heard Tex goes a bit easier on artists because he really truly loves to eat words…and toes, but that’s for another conversation.

Challenge Yourself. 

http://underneaththejunipertree.blogspot.com/