Blog Series: Triple Movie Mini-Reviews #1 - Fade to Black / Angst / Forbidden World

I'm very pleased to bring you another new blog series: Triple Movie Mini-Reviews! As is with everything else I do, this is a trial run to see how it goes. I realize there are about a zillion places you can go to get reviews of various films, but I thought it would be fun to do mini-reviews of films I am currently watching, or have just watched, or revisited. Needless to say the majority of these will be Horror based, previously unearthed gems that I've come across, or well-known titles that I have somehow missed. Why triple? Well I watch a lot of movies and I like the idea of mixing up genres to give you a well-rounded flavor. Let us begin...


FADE TO BLACK - 1980 


I don't know HOW this one managed to escape me for so long. I remember when it came out. I remember when it was running on the newly-established cable, and I remember being enthralled at the cover art of the VHS box at the video store. Alas, somehow it still managed to escape my eyes for 38 years. Well no more.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable character study of an accidental killer, set in the cusp between Punk, New Wave and Disco. Those with an appreciation of the barely-there 80's will rejoice at the look and tone of the film, and make no mistake, everyone is dead serious. I couldn't help being reminded of the original Willard (1971), with the similarly boyish Bruce Davison. Dennis Christopher (highly underrated) plays our resident film geek with as much authenticity and honesty as DeNiro in Taxi Driver. OK, so it's not an award-winning film, but a highly respectable little flick from my beloved era.

Ooh, and be on the lookout for a very fresh faced Mickey Rourke, decades before the loss of his magnetically handsome visage. R.I.P. Still a great actor, and a pleasure to find him here in the early part of his career.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, AMAZON PRIME


ANGST - 1983 (AUSTRIAN - SUBTITLED)


Wow. Ok, what can I say about this? Batshit insanity comes to mind...but like any good train wreck, you cannot look away. Googly-eyed Erwin Leder just happens to fall into my sick & twisted infatuation box, and he hardly says a word...

You'll want to pay attention to the beginning which is a series of text, photos, quick shots and narration. It is our demented hero's backstory, and you will do well to remember it as the film moves along. After the lead character begins his journey, the outstanding soundtrack becomes a character unto itself. Tangerine Dream's Klaus Schulz is the master behind the music, and definitely hooked me right in to the film. If you're a fellow synth fan, (or a Tangerine Dream fan) you'll love this. The soundtrack is available on Vinyl and CD and is worth the price of admission alone for the track 'Silent Survivor' which clocks in at over 30 minutes! Sooooo gooooood.

Not for the weak of heart or stomach, but a really interesting POV look through a serial killer's eyes and mind.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, BLU-RAY, SHUDDER


FORBIDDEN WORLD - 1982


Ok so I love Roger Corman films just as much as the next horror fan, but wowie was this a stinker. Basically an Alien ripoff, but you know, with more sex and nudity. Which is fine, it just didn't translate very well, and the acting is pretty bad. But there are three reasons to watch it if you haven't seen it yet;
1. Our leading sexpot is June Chadwick, whom I adore in Spinal Tap as Jeanine.
2. A brief part for Michael Bowen, our beloved bad boy in Valley Girl, Jackie Brown and countless other favorites.
3. The soundtrack/score. Albeit brief, it's a delicious synthy romp and worth a listen on it's own merit. As I'm sure you know, the soundtrack is available on Vinyl, CD and digital download.
Perhaps if the creature looked anything like what is in the wonderful cover art, this would be a better Sci-Fi/Horror flick.

WHERE TO WATCH: DVD, BLU-RAY, AMAZON PRIME

I hope you've enjoyed the first installment of this new blog series. If so, lemme know! Got a film suggestion? Get in touch! Stay tuned for another installment coming soon...

Interview Series: 5 Questions with Christian James Hand - DJ / Producer / Music Excavator

Christian James Hand Photo Courtesy thesessiononair.com

Ok I can't even begin to contain my excitement about this interview. Christian graciously agreed to being questioned by a complete stranger, and one gushing like a fangirl at that. See, what Christian does with individual songs, is something I have been doing in my head with only the music and a pair of headphones (and a healthy rewind button) since I was a small child. This may come as something of a surprise to some of you, being that my brief foray into podcasting was so short-lived. Well, that's because I lack the technical knowledge and equipment to produce such things, but I digress....

Back in the late 90's, I went to school to become a media producer. I was the only female in a sea of male audio nerds, and I didn't possess the coconut sized balls I felt I needed to continue with the classes. Besides, I'm not a traditional musician. My ear is my instrument, and that didn't get you very far back then. Perhaps it still doesn't.

Anywho. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I listened to the ShockWaves Podcast featuring Christian James Hand. He was dissecting Tubular Bells (which most know to be the theme from The Exorcist) and I thought it would be really interesting...



Well interesting doesn't even begin to cover it. I was GLUED to my phone the entire length of the podcast because I SPEAK HIS LANGUAGE. What does that mean? Well the best way to describe it is, he focuses on sometimes the slightest nuance of a part of a song, which makes you hear it completely differently than ever before. And I'm saying that you can have played a song 1000 times, and I guarantee you will never hear it the same way after you've heard Christian piece it out for you.

See? I'm gushing again. I can't help it. I've just never heard another human being do what I have done most all my life and I am THRILLED to, even in some small way, bring any amount of awareness to the magic he creates. So let's hear Christian's part, it's infinitely more interesting than mine....


1. First off, I have to know the history behind what you do. How did you come to this particular place in your career, and more specifically, how did you come to dissect songs? Please correct my verbiage "dissect" if you have a better term for what it is you do, I'm sure that you do.

HA! No, that's as good a word for it as any. The whole thing started when I was on Sirius/XM. I would routinely go in and simply do vocal tracks. One day I tried a full song and my co-host couldn't handle it. Which was fine. Upon leaving SXM I started with Mark Thompson in the mornings on The Sound doing a complete song as is heard today. That was also the launch-pad for the live show. I started by just inviting listeners but after about 3 months, I could sell tickets and now the shows sell-out months in advance, which is pretty friggin' awesome!

2. You are jokingly open and honest about your Asperger's (Didja know Gary Numan has it too?) and OCD diagnoses. Do you feel these afflictions help or hinder your process?

I did know about Gary's diagnosis. Weirdly enough when I was a kid in the U.K. he was one of the first artists that resonated with me deeply. "Are Friends Electric?" was a song that "spoke to me" in a way music hadn't before. He was the first musician that I felt I could "claim" as my own. Kindred spirits perhaps?

Does Asperger's help me? I'm not sure. I'm confident that it has something to do with it. The process of doing a 2 hour long live show that is entirely made-up on the spot is one that has convinced me that my mind works VERY fast and I think that that, along with the OCD of SO much useless music trivia, definitely puts me at an advantage when it comes to "performing" The Sessions and is something that can be pinned on the Asperger's. The places where I really feel the "hindrance" of it, and its liabilities, are in the area of inter-personal relationships and navigating the complexities of a World that appears to run entirely on entropy. THAT shit will wear you the funk out!


Tracks Breakdown Photo Courtesy of sessiononair.com

3. DYING to know your favorite part of your process.

My fave part of the "process"? Two-fold. I love discovering the secrets. Whether it be the cellos in "Jeremy" or the acoustic guitar in "Take On Me", when the little nuances that make such a HUGE difference reveal themselves to me in the quiet of my studio it is entirely thrilling. But, without a doubt, the live show is my fave part. Getting to make people laugh, cry, rejoice, all the while showing them the magic in these songs is an experience unlike any other I have ever had as a music fan OR music creator. It's a beautiful, rewarding, humbling, thing to be allowed to do for a living. I am VERY grateful.

4. What motivates you as an artist? Sub question:  I know that you focus on your own personal favorite songs, but how do you choose which songs you will do?

My motivation as an "artist"? Well, I find it difficult to use that term for what I do. I prefer to consider myself a "teacher", in a way. The motivation is to try and get people to remember that music IS ART!! It has value. It is magic. And spells. And friendship. I want people to re-engage in these incredible songs that have been devalued and forgotten about or, sometimes, with something like "Take On Me", never truly valued to begin with.

I would like the audience to see INTO the songs and feel the process as it reveals itself to them. To get them to fall in love again, or for the first time, with songs and artists that they've stopped LISTENING to because they only now HEAR them. The songs are entirely chosen randomly and on a whim. Unless we are paying our respects to someone who has passed, obviously. And those are VERY difficult. After the Tom Petty one I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried. I feel an immense responsibility to "do right" by those artists, and hope to not let them, their bandmates, family, and/or fans, down.


5. Assuming you have to get clearance for the "stems" (I think you called it) for each song. Is that the most challenging part of the dissection process? ALSO: You've said that after doing 'Rio' by Duran Duran, the band invited you to a performance they were doing. Um, just HOW FREAKING AMAZING WAS THAT???!!

I'll leave this one for the lawyers. And, yeah, it was AWESOME to have John Taylor of DD reach out to us and invite us to the show. They were so very flattered by the attention. And he was STOKED to be highlighted as the friggin' GENIUS bass-player that he is. My hope is that all bands will eventually be wondering why I haven't done a Session with them. And consider it an honour to be chosen for one.

Special Extra Credit Question: What magical piece of machinery is it that you bring into the studios when you do the radio show and/or podcast?

The "magical piece of machinery" in question is a 2011 Mac Book Pro using an ancient version of Pro Tools and covered in stickers. Not that fucking sexy...is it?


Merch Stickers Photo Courtesy of thesessiononair.com

Please tell the readers where they can find/follow you:

@kingtrut on IG

The Session On Air on FB


www.thesessiononair.com

Christian James Hand on FB


Finally, I just have to tell you THANK YOU for not only agreeing to this "interview", but for doing what you do. Music lovers everywhere need to know about the magic that you create, because they will be the better for it. And I for one, will scream it from the rooftops.

I hope you've enjoyed this personal favorite interview, please listen to any of the shows Christian has available, I promise you will be amazed, fascinated and thoroughly HOOKED. Stay tuned for my next victim next week!

Interview Series: 5 Questions With Adam Padilla - Horror & Pop Culture Artist

Photo Courtesy of Adam Padilla
It's been a looooong time comin' for me to sing the praises of my friend Adam Padilla; Horror and Pop Culture artist extraordinaire. Adam not only creates incredibly accurate likenesses of all our favorite Horror Film and Pop Culture characters, he also embellishes vintage Playboy centerfolds, advertisement pages and even VHS boxes with his incredible art. Let's delve into the mind of Adam shall we?

1. Horror and Pop Culture so clearly inspires you and your work, but what motivates you as an artist?

I have been an artist since around 6 years old, and have always loved to create art in several forms. My motivation is in a direct line with my inspirations. It may be as simple as a vintage object, or song that places a picture in my mind. I can instantly set up the composition, and color scheme in seconds. This happens 24/7. Halfway into a painting, and I'm thinking about the next project(s).


"Suffer" by Adam Padilla

2. You were previously a tattoo artist for decades, then got fed up with that world and went into creating art on your own terms. Was that a difficult decision for you to come to, and how was the transition?

I tattooed off and on for nearly 20 years. I always felt like I was in a glass room. You can see where you want to go, but limited by the client's vision. I needed to push forward for my creative sanity. I have never stopped illustrating since childhood. No matter what job I had, I was always making art for myself, businesses, musicians etc. etc. so stepping out of tattooing was just one less thing to do that day! Now I can really focus my visions, my subject matter. No Regrets.

3. You and I frequently commiserate on the Instagram algorithm and sudden drop off of engagement on our posts. What do you think the future of small business-and particularly artists-getting their work out there to be seen will entail?

It's like the suit & tie guys at Instagram don't even use their own product. If they did, they'd clearly see that they are killing small businesses! Giant corporations don't understand the struggle of being seen, and getting their product out. They see dollar signs in advertising. They are disconnected from our reality. All we can do is ride their wave, and hope that our followers old, and new, continue to Search, Seek and Support!


"Frankenstein's Monsters"
by Adam Padilla

4. What is your favorite part of your process?

My favorite part of the process is two fold: The inspiration, and layout of what will become media, colors, composition etc. Then the final touches when the piece is completed. Then I step back and remember all the great scenes, dialogue, or music from what is staring back at me. What started as an idea built in my mind, is now a physical reality. A literal view of my dreams.

5. Any big plans and/or goals for Adam Padilla Art in the works or near future?

More painting videos, with a YouTube Channel. Possibly deal with social anxiety, and selling product from a booth at horror conventions etc. I have placed thousands (hopefully thousands more to come) of art pieces in homes across the globe. That's an amazing feeling, and I have left my mark on this silly world. I'm humble, focused, and content. Next painting coming right up!


"Creature" by Adam Padilla

Please tell the readers where they can find/follow you and purchase your works:

Website: www.adampadilla.bigcartel.com

Instagram: adampadilla13

Email: horrorshow1313@yahoo.com

A thousand thanks to Adam for allowing me to grill him about his business and life. I hope you've enjoyed this interview, and will stay tuned for my next victim in one week!

Book Review: The Story of The Ramones by Everett True ...and More!

  Hey, ho...let's go! Ok now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about The Ramones...
Believe it or not, I never knew much about The Ramones, aside from their music, of course. And I have heard all the rumors about the band, but wanted to find out "the truth" for myself. Well this book does a great job of it...

This book is mostly compiled of the author's interviews with the band (and surrounding friends, family and business partners) directly--so straight from their mouths--with small bits of opinion and reaction sprinkled in. That's exactly what I wanted, to read about the band as close to factual as I could, and I think this book accomplishes that. Of course, we'll never really know now...

There's not really much I could say that would be a "spoiler" for this book, but what I was most surprised to learn about The Ramones--the band as a whole--was how dedicated they were to the business of being a band. I never realized how incessantly they toured, and ultimately, how much they are revered after the fact, instead of while they were all still alive and doing what they did best. Sad, really. But they never let that deter their mission, which is a huge testament to their character and resolve to be true rock-n-roll stars.

I highly recommend this book if you wanna "get to know" The Ramones. It's an enjoyable, fairly quick read, and never dull, I can promise you that much.

So then I found this on the cheap, because I wanted to learn even more about Joey. It's written by his brother Mickey Leigh, and even though I've heard not-great things about it, I want to judge for myself. It's next on the TBR (to be read) list, and I'll update this post when I've finished it.


And finally, there's this hilariousness. DeeDee Ramone, was definitely the most diverse of all the "bruddahs" writing several books, trying RAP on for size, making art, painting and generally being the rebel of the group. I have only read a little of this so far, and it's supposed to be fictional, but so far it doesn't sound like it's too terribly different from the truth...albeit a drug-infused truth.

UPDATE: OK, I've just finished this...insanity. What started off as a mildly amusing/interesting Creative Non-Fiction tale, quickly became a spiraling descent into madness. And at that point, I pretty much lost interest, because he gets really brutal and rather incoherent. Some might say the ending was a foreshadowing of his own death, which was something I wasn't really expecting, nor keen to witness. Proceed at your own discretion.


Oh and P.S. The title below is violently rare, but supposed to be another good account of the past. I'm a little bit skeptical because it's written by their tour manager, who endlessly got the shit end of the stick from the band. But if I'm able to get my grubby mitts on a copy, I will update this post to reflect my thoughts on it. Gabba Gabba Hey!

UPDATE: As I've been unabashedly corrected, On The Road with The Ramones wasn't specifically written by their tour manager, but rather compiled by him, and includes exclusive interviews and over 250 photos. I'll be back when I read it for myself.


Interview Series: 5 Questions with Miranda from SpookyLittleHalloween Blog

Welcome to the first in a new series beginning here on the blog called 5 Questions with... This will be an ongoing series of "interviews" with people I admire in the world. From traditional artists to bloggers, writers, actors and creatives of all types. This series was originally planned for the podcast, but since I have moved on from that, I'm excited to bring it to you here, because I really think you'll enjoy it. So let's get crackin!

Photo Courtesy of Miranda at SpookyLittleHalloween.com

My first guest is Miranda from the delightful blog www.spookylittlehalloween.com who celebrates all-things-Halloween all year long. I first found Miranda on Instagram (@spookylittlehalloween) and have been happily following her Halloween shenanigans for a couple of years now. So let's find out a little more about Miranda...

1. Writing is clearly only one of your many talents, but what motivates you as an artist?

There are a lot of things that motivate me, but I think what it all boils down to is sharing something I love with other people who love it too. I’m an old millennial, but I’m part of this first generation who has learned to share their passions online. I kind of have this sense of childlike wonder about it, but I think it is SO cool we have the ability to connect with people all over the world who share a love for anything, whether it books, music or Halloween through the Internet.


Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

2. You so obviously love what you do. What is your favorite part of the process?

I love being in the thick of the creation process. I am in my happy place when I have my Halloween tunes going, I’ve decorated a corner of the Spooky Little Apartment for the backdrop of a blog post and I’m making things happen, whether it’s making a recipe or writing about my favorite Halloween Instagrammers. It automatically makes me feel like it’s Halloween season even if it’s January and I’ve got months to go until October.

I also enjoy brainstorming. I carry my blog notebook with me everywhere I go so I can jot down ideas as I think of them. I think the most fun part of running a year-round Halloween blog is seeing how ingrained in the rest of the year I can get. Nothing makes me happier than, for example, wondering if there’s a Halloween workout playlist (there wasn’t so I made one) or what kind of Halloween school supplies is out there (lots if you know where to look!).


3. We share not only a love of Halloween, but also of writing, literature and music. Your Halloween beginnings and love of the holiday are scarily similar to my own! But what was it that made you decide to do a year-round Halloween blog after previously writing a music blog?

I had fun writing my music blog, but it didn’t excite me. I didn’t rush home from my full-time job every day to work on it. I totally do that now!

Spooky Little Halloween was started on a total whim and was the culmination of a lot of moments that pointed me towards a Halloween blog. About two years before I started it, I became obsessed with building the perfect Halloween playlist for the music blog, but my readers’ reaction was underwhelming. They weren’t obsessed with Halloween like me, and that was okay. I’d also been hosting my annual party for five years, and I kept thinking it would be fun to have a creative outlet to explore party themes and share my own parties since I was getting more serious about them.

The real-life moment that made me pull the trigger, though, was one night when I was organizing my Halloween board on Pinterest. I had hundreds of pins and was trying to sort them by topic – recipes, costume, parties. When I got to the point of having 12 separate boards just for Halloween I realized I had a problem…and that I was probably crazy enough to start a Halloween blog. Three weeks after that moment, I launched Spooky Little Halloween and never looked back.



Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

4. Having recently passed 10,000 followers on Instagram (congratulations!) What are your plans for SpookyLittleHalloween? Do you have any big goals for the future?

Thank you! I am still baffled by that number – 10,000 is a LOT of people! Halloween season is just around the corner, and I will be reopening my Killer Halloween Party e-course where I teach my students how to plan an amazing Halloween party by following just a few simple guidelines. I’m also teaching my course in person at Halloween & HauntFest Show in Dallas Aug. 18-19 which I’m excited about.

My Halloween season will include a lot of the same features my readers have come to love – my Halloween card exchange will be back, and I’ll be doing my 31 Days of Halloween emails again where I send one way to celebrate Halloween every day in October. And, of course, there will be some other surprises in there too!

I’m also hoping to release at least one Halloween party guide in time for Halloween. More of those will be coming in 2019, and I’m also hoping to start offering a print version of my quarterly Halloween zine next year.


5. The Halloween/Horror community is crazily welcoming and supportive, has there been a specific incident that most surprised you after embarking on this journey?

There have been so many things that have shocked and surprised me along this journey, but my favorite has to be the moment I realized this exact thing – how welcoming and supportive the Halloween and horror community is towards everyone.

When I was writing the music blog, I felt like I was in a rat race competing with a ton of people for the title of cool. That will discourage you and burn you out faster than anything. I have never once felt that with the online Halloween/horror community. Everyone is just unbelievably cool and kind and cheers everyone else on. It is truly incredible, and I’m honored to be a tiny part of that.



Photo Courtesy of SpookyLittleHalloween.com

Extra credit bonus question!
Being the introvert that I am, I am insanely inspired by your Instagram Stories, and how you are so natural, confident and engaging in front of the camera. How the bloody hell do you do it??

You just jump in and go for it! It gets easier, and no matter how stellar your brand is…people are always going to connect with other people better than a product. I think there is a LOT of value in showing your followers the person behind the account.

Growing up I was totally that girl who hated having to give presentations. I’d get up in front of the class and shake like a leaf because I’d have so much anxiety about not being perfect. I’d listen to my voice quiver as I spoke, and on the inside, I’d be SO mad at myself for feeling nervous. I’ve also been plagued by my fair share of self-esteem issues over the years which led to me getting hung up on things like how I looked or how I said certain things. I was always SO worried about being judged unfairly or not being understood.

But then I had a therapist who asked me, “So what?” and those two words changed my life. She challenged me to think about the worst-case scenario in situations where my anxiety got the better of me, and bit by bit I realized it wasn’t going to be the end of the world if I didn’t do things perfectly on the first try.

If I’m honest, I still feel like I’m terrible on camera. I rush through what I’m saying. I forget to breathe (esp. in person!). I say “um” a lot. I’m naturally soft spoken, and being “live” takes a LOT out of this fellow introvert. But…I also get a little better every time I do it, and it genuinely feels like I’m hanging out with my friends when I go live. And if I don’t get it perfect or someone judges me…what’s the worst that will actually happen? I stumble and show I’m human or I lose a couple followers – I can live with both of those things.
😃


Please let my readers know where they can find/follow you:

Find the blog at spookylittlehalloween.com

Instagram: @spookylittlehalloween

Facebook: facebook.com/spookylittlehalloween

Twitter: @spkyhalloween

Pinterest: pinterest.com/spkyhalloween


Thanks so much to Miranda for being my first "interview". Stay tuned in two weeks for my next guest...who will it be?!


Real Talk: Social Media Monsters Part Two and the New IGTV App

First off, I have to say how overwhelmed I was at the response of Real Talk: Social Media Monsters Part One. It has received the most engagement on any blog related IG post, EVER. Wow. I was not expecting that, at all. Now that I've had some time to think about what I wanted to say for part two of this social media rant, I feel I have to address one of the most common themes of said engagement...

I should have prefaced the previous rant by saying that it really pertains to fellow sellers who use IG as a marketing tool. Many people said to just "keep it fun" and rather made light of it. Well when 75% of your income depends on IG, you can't make light of it. It's frightfully important, which is why it's easy to get so emotional over the stupidity of it all. Now many of my followers are sellers as well, and struggle with the same issues, although maybe not as dramatically.

Maybe that's part of my problem, maybe I have "put the pussy on a pedestal" and given it too much power over my business. But that's the thing see, IG used to bring in SO MUCH traffic=sales=income that it was easy to rely on. And I know (boy, how do I know) that things change, and to stay in the game you must be flexible. I would not still be here after 15 years if I hadn't learned the fine art of flexibility, I assure you. But this was back before social media was even invented and before it was an essential element to any online (or standard) business that needed to be seen.

Now Instagram has a new app; IGTV. and it's meant to be in direct competition with You Tube (pssht, good luck with that). It's where "creators" (read; semi professionals) can upload videos up to 10 minutes in length (remember the old days of YouTube video limits?) and get access to new followers they may not find on IG proper. Oh boy...

If you've followed me for any length of time, you'll notice my face is virtually nowhere to be seen. That's by design, and for two very staunch reasons:

1. I hate, absolutely hate having my picture taken, video or otherwise--always have, always will. Simple as that.

2. My business is not my face. It is not about me other than my curating skills, customer service standards and interests--which may sound like a lot. But you know I'm not a robot, I know I'm not a robot, why the hell should it be a requirement to slap my face all over my business in order to generate sales?

Yeah, ok, maybe it's old school and I need to get over it. But my work ethic should be enough, and that's a majority of the problem; these days it isn't enough. It simply isn't enough to be good at something, you've got to shout it from the rooftops and generate enticing content to acquire that almighty click.

I watch accounts soar ever higher who use themselves as (basically) their marketing campaign, and can't help getting pissed off. How is the quality of their product? Do they have great customer service? Do they ship on time, and not overcharge on shipping costs? Some do and some don't. Yet they seem to gain more and more popularity, and their businesses skyrocket, and I'm down here feeling like what the fuck am I doing wrong?

After 4 years, my business is beginning to stagnate, and I'm at a loss as to why or what to do about it. Hence the poll on my IG account where I asked if a video channel for LaCreeperie is something people wanted to see. This is how it turned out:



Well. I am not an actress. Nor am I young, thin or traditionally pretty. So I fail to see how video of me yammering on about gawd-knows-what is going to generate more sales. Am I missing something? Tell me! Other friends said not to engage in something if it makes me uncomfortable for the sake of capitalization, but um hello, I gotta keep the lights on and food on the table. I mean at the end of the day, I started this business to make money, not just for something to do.

So I ask you, my dear 5 readers, what would you do? I am still in the process of finding other work to supplement my income, and perhaps get me out of this occupation altogether. But if I'm honest, (and that is the real point here, of my new blogging style, to be brutally honest) entrepreneurship is truly in my blood. Almost my entire family on both sides have always had their own businesses. Some more successful than others, but I'd like to think that I've got enough smarts to keep things going until I win the lottery or someone pays me to write a book. There, I said it.

I am opening up the comments section for this post, so those compelled to do so can add their two cents. Any and all thoughts are welcome, but keep the nasty comments to yourselves. Constructive criticism is fine, but if you cannot offer something in a positive way, please don't respond at all. Rant over, peace out.

Real Talk: Social Media Monsters Part One

Photo: syn.org.au
 Since all of five people are reading this blog, I've come to some decisions. I'm gonna start saying whatever the hell I want, no holding back, no being polite for "business' sake, I'm about to get real. Really real. Because I'm tired of playing nice, sticking by the rules and keeping my mouth shut for fear of offending anyone. It hasn't gotten me very far. Fuck that shit.

The thing I wanna rant about today is social media. Instagram in particular. It used to be the one channel I enjoyed "having" to utilize, cuz it sure as hell wasn't gonna be Facebook. Anymore, Instagram feels like just a place where people try to one-up each other on things they have, how they look, or who they're with. And frankly, I'm sick up to my eyeballs of it. In fact, if my livelihood didn't depend on it, I would delete the whole freakin lot.

Is this really where we're at? Is this what we have come so far to become? It's not enough that people try to 'keep up with the Joneses' within their social circles and neighborhoods, now we gotta do it with basically complete strangers too? Why? This is something I'll never understand, nor frankly, do I want to.

Friends and acquaintances think I'm strange for being a hermit, rarely leaving the house and never showing up to social functions. But what they don't realize is that I've made my home my sanctuary, exactly to the way it pleases me, not anyone else. So I can go days without leaving the house and not miss a thing. It seems more and more these days, people irritate me so much that I don't enjoy being out anyway. I guess I'm just grumpy in my old age..

But can you blame me? The world is really fucked up right now, and you know what, we've all been saying that for years. Only now, I believe it's more of a disaster than it's ever been. Because even though we've been through wars and devastation, poverty and loss as a nation, the real difference is how people treat each other now, and how little we help each other.

I'm not really here to offer up answers, this "new" way of blogging for me is going to be about things that have bothered me for quite awhile, that no amount of journaling has seemed to help resolve. Maybe the sheer idea of putting these words out there for all (5 of you) to read, helps make me feel a little better, and helps me cope with the batshit insanity of this current state of the world. We'll see.

But let's talk about that 'necessity' of Instagram. When I don't post items for sale, I make ZERO dollars. But even when I post stuff for sale, I'm in a constant battle of too much vs. not enough self promotion. I know what the so-called ratio is, and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether I follow it or not. I can't even begin to express how utterly fed up I am with this tedious ritual, and am looking for a way out. As I've already mentioned, I'm working on getting out of this business altogether, 15 years was a pretty good run. But making a living selling things online has become an increasingly impossible task, and the things that I have to do just to keep a steady flow of traffic to my website just doesn't seem worth it.

There will come a time when I desist from any and all social media as a whole, and I long for that day. But until I find other work to replace what little income I do make from selling online, it's a necessary evil. And it is evil. Maybe I'll have to resort to scheduling all of my Instagram posts so that I never really have to look at it, as much as I steer clear of any automated activity aside from auto-posting to Facebook, which you will NEVER find me lurking on.

End of part one.


An Update On The Eventual Closing of LaCreeperie Website and New Categories

I thought I'd address this issue on a wider scale here, simply because I've had a lot of questions and shocked responses about my potentially closing the Etsy Shop and Website. First off, please know that this is not a decision I've come to lightly. Also, this has been a long time coming. I am in no way trying to be overly dramatic, or looking for sympathy sales, or other such nonsense. I have been in this volatile business for 15 years, and it has always been a bumpy road, with many, many extreme highs and extreme lows.

The fact is, the last couple of years have been mostly extreme lows, which I believe are in direct response to the current socio-political climate of pretty much the whole planet. Small businesses struggle from time to time, that's a given. And this was a chance I was prepared to take on back when I started this whole venture in 2003, when I had 3 jobs. Yes, THREE separate jobs. No one can ever accuse me of being lazy, that's for sure. But I digress....

Yes, I am a bit burned out. Yes, I am very, very tired of struggling financially, especially at my advancing age. So these are two very real reasons why I'm looking to close up the shops and move into other areas.

However...

In a last-ditch effort to keep the shops open for at least a few months yet, I will be opening up three new non-book-related categories on the website in the immediate future. These will be:

The Witch's Jewels - Fun, witchy, gothy type jewelry for glamour ghouls of all kinds.

The Magickal Toolbox - Tools and accessories for spellcraft, altars and adorning your magickal space.

The Apothecary - Potions, herbs and oils for multiple uses.

'Isn't this counter-intuitive to your closing the shops?' you ask? Well, many of you have responded positively toward the occult section of the shop, and have asked if I would ever expand upon it. This is my response to that, and we'll see how it goes. But I wanted to post this to keep you up to date on what I have planned, all while I try to find lucrative work on the side.

Stay tuned!


A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 13: The Lost Episode - Remix Rebellion

If there were ever a time that I would beg you to read this blog, it would be NOW so that you can listen to the "lost episode" of the podcast which was never aired. This episode is vastly different from the previous 12 in that THERE'S NO TALKING!

This is a continuous play collection of some of my very favorite remixes, so prepare yourselves for some seriously synthy, seriously sexy, seriously bootyshakin tunes without the interruption of voice.

This beauty took 2.5 hours to record, and it's the very first time I've ever created a continuous play track, so I'm rather proud of it. You should also know that every track was recorded from vinyl, I've been dying to put my 12" singles collection to good use! I really hope you enjoy it.




LaCreeperie Around The Web: You Tube Channel

Being in the age of viral video, it's almost unheard of for a business not to have a YouTube channel, or at least be uploading tutorials or video of some kind pertaining to said business. As I've said before I'm a bit of a late bloomer, but I also like to do things my own way.

I thought it was time for LaCreeperie to have a YouTube Channel, and I'd figure out what to put on it later. Well I've put a few things up, and will be actively adding more videos on a regular basis. There will be an ever-growing list of themed playlists, and perhaps one day I'll get brave enough to make some videos of my own. But if you happen to follow me on Instagram, you know I'm not in the habit of being in front of the camera.

Featured below is a fun playlist of spooky spoken word videos by the likes of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. This was a fun one to put together, and I'll definitely be adding more to it soon. Hope you enjoy it and subscribe to the channel, because you never know what will c-r-e-e-e-p in.



Be sure to check out the newly installed Dungeon Synth list of favorites. I'm continuously adding to it, so there will often be new sounds to check out. You'll be glad you did!

Dungeon Synth Delights - An Ongoing List of Favorites

  A while back, I briefly mentioned how Tony of The Damn Fine Network got me hooked on a subgenre of synth music called Dungeon Synth. This includes nomikers like Dark Ambient, Medieval Synth, Neo classical Darkwave, and several others, but you get the idea. Over the last year, I have been dipping a toe into the moats, as it were, but there is SO MUCH of it out there, it's mind blowing! More recently, I have really gotten into a few specific bands (are they bands? One-man-bands? I don't really know) and I wanted to share them with you here, in case this is something you might like.

Because I have recently given up the podcast, I have more time to write, and read, and Dungeon Synth is the perfect accompaniment, especially when reading medieval fantasy, historical fiction or anything with magic and sorcery in it. Also fantastic to fall asleep to, particularly if you have insomnia, or are a chronic night owl, like me. Hoot! Pull out your favorite audio apparatus and have a listen:

By far, Lord Lovidicus (how great is that name?!) is one of my very favorites. Every single playlist or album I have listened to is truly magical stuff.

Then there's equally mystical Thangorodrim, found on The Dungeon Synth Archives Channel which specializes in "old school" Dungeon Synth. I haven't quite figured out the differences of old school vs new, but it just doesn't matter. Every track is a winner, I tell ya.

Finally, (for now) there's Witches Moon, in particular, the Tear Off Your Wings - Meditations  really caught my attention. I swear, the titles alone of these things will make you want to listen to them all. Honestly, I haven't really heard anything I didn't like from any artist, band, or whoever it is that makes these wonderful, ambient tunes. I'm just really glad they do.

I will be adding to this list as I happen upon more favorites, but you can also visit my Dungeon Synth Playlist via my YouTube Channel, which is where I put all of my favorites. Enjoy, and keep checking back!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 12: All Around The World

Well kids, this is it. This is the FINAL episode of the podcast. Rather sudden, some of you may think, but I've actually been waffling about whether or not to continue almost from episode 1. Only because this little experiment was so out of my comfort zone, and I am woefully self-conscious when it comes to new endeavors I know next-to-nothing about.



I have also made the life-altering decision to close the bookshops, as time she is a tickin', and I am nowhere near publishing anything. But more importantly, these disastrous times we are living in have taken their toll on the online retailing world, at least for me, and it's become increasingly more difficult to keep my head above water. Besides all of this, I have been in this game in various forms for the last 14 years (think before Facebook!), and I'm getting mighty tired of begging for sales, the constant self-promotion, and many other facets of this incredibly volatile business. It's never been dull or predictable, I can say that much.

Anywho, I'm not here to whinge and complain, just giving you all a few reasons why I decided to end the podcast, and the shops. As for closing the shops, this will take some time, as I have a lot to liquidate, and I need to find another line of work before I can move on. So I'll still be around hocking my wares, at least for the next few months. I will, however, be keeping the blog going, as there are a few things cooking in the Bermuda Triangle that I will want to share here. But when the time is right, the Fakebook, Twitter, Tumblr,  Etsy Shop and most likely the website will all be closed. We'll see how I feel about things when the time comes as to whether I'll give Instagram the boot as well, or not. Stay tuned!

Author Spotlight: Florence Stevenson

 This cover is one of the best I've seen of late 80's, lurid horror covers. And I don't even care that it's rather misleading. Despite having not yet finished reading this gem, I'm fairly certain the horror element will not quite reach the heights that this coverart suggests. I care not.

See, Florence Stevenson was mostly a Gothic Romance writer, and a playwright even proceeding that. What I especially love, is that most all of her books have an element of the Occult, witchcraft, black magic, devil worship and the like. Sounds like fun, huh? It is! She writes with, at times, the tone of a man, but with the slightly softer touch of a woman, particularly when describing the most provocative scenes. Which makes for a very enjoyable read, in my opinion. I have had the good luck of featuring several of her books in the shop, only now I wish I had kept a few of them. For example, her Kitty Telefair Gothic Series, which includes 6 titles, are the most desirable--and difficult--to find. Below are the two that have previously been in the shop:

This is the first in the series, of course the most rare of the bunch...


And this is the third volume in the series...


And #4!



And most recently, this beauty, which is (as of this writing) still available here!


Told ya, most all of her writings involve witchy shenanigans of some sort or other, great stuff! 

This is the latest title of her collection that I just finished. Don't let the 80's infused theme fool ya, Florence still manages to get vampirism, black magic, clairvoyance and many other dark themes into this one!



I highly recommend searching out any of her books in your book hunting travels, and I will continue to carry her titles whenever I can. Happy reading!

Big Changes Afoot: Reaching Up & Taking Chances


If I've learned anything in the last 14 years of online retailing (a fancy term for selling things on the internet) it's that being flexible to change is absolutely imperative if you want to stay in the game.  So it's time for yet another change...

I am in the process of adding several facets to the blog, and will eventually be offering sponsorship to artists, authors and more who would like to advertise here. You will soon be seeing promotions of some of my favorite artists, authors and fellow online retailers to get things going.

This will be an ever-changing, on-going process, so I hope you'll check in often to see what's new. In the last six months, it seems the blog has only been a deposit for podcast episodes, which is not what I had ever intended. I wanted the blog to be a place where all facets of my brand were featured, but that has yet to happen. With all the demands of an online business and social media practices, some things just get lost in the busy shuffle. (That and I'm a one-woman show here, with only so many hours in the day.)

So you will begin to see these changes almost immediately, as I attempt to get a real blogging schedule in place. This is something I have made many attempts at over the years, but I'm not ready to give up just yet. Maybe this time it will stick. I hope you'll come along for the ride, I promise it won't be boring. Stay tuned!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 11: Dark Carnival

Here we are at episode 11! This time I wanted to take you on a ride to the Dark Carnival. Complete with scary clowns, fortune tellers, roller coasters and more. Come along, won't you?



As usual, there is a lot of my favorite music in this episode, and maybe there is for you too. My goal for every episode is to bring awareness of at least one new song to at least one person. I suppose I'll never really know if that job is accomplished, but luckily I have more than one goal for this podcast.

This episode's theme was changed at the very last minute, due to a computer meltdown. If you're following me on Instagram, you have seen my shameless self-promotion to afford a new computer. See, I don't use credit cards anymore, so I can't simply go out and buy a new one. However, miracles do sometimes happen, and I managed to resurrect the old computer from the dead. This is no way reflects on my computer skills, I just got lucky.

Anywho, I hope you enjoy this week's episode. As always, feel free to ask any questions or comments on my Instagram, or via the contact link within this blog. Happy listening!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 10: The Monster Club

Awww yeah...thrilled to be discussing such a rare film, soundtrack and rather unknown book of the film The Monster Club on the latest episode of the podcast. This episode was really fun to put together, and if you're not familiar with the film, I think you're in for a real treat. Without further ado, here's The Monster Club...




So as promised, below is a shot of a few of  R. Chetwynd-Hayes titles. There are several more in my collection, but since I didn't talk about them, I thought I'd save the rest for a spotlight on the author, to come at a later date. If you're looking for a new horror author to get into, you could do far worse than R.Chetwynd-Hayes, and he was very prolific, so there's loads out there to choose from.


I also promised that I would show a clip of the animated "stripper" scene from the film, because it's hilarious and awesome, so here it is...


I hope you enjoyed this Monster Club episode, and I hope it inspires you to watch it whether you've seen it before or not. Stay tuned for Episode 11 coming up on March 14. Thanks for listening!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 9: The LOVE Episode

I knew this episode was going to air on Valentine's Day proper, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into the show somehow, but I wasn't gonna play a bunch of crappy love songs. So I took a stroll through my vinyl collection, and began to find a common theme within my soundtrack section. Easily, I found nine completely different soundtracks that all had one obvious similarity; they were all love stories. And within them, every single one had a song with the word "love" in it. I had so much fun discovering this, and a blast putting everything together for this episode, I hope you enjoy it.



This episode is a little different from the previous 8 in that it's alllll about the music. That's no surprise, as music is and always has been my first love, and I wanted to showcase it within this episode all about love.

Below is a shot of all the soundtracks featured in this episode, and I couldn't recommend each and every one of them highly enough. Feel the love, yo!


Stay tuned for episode TEN (holy crap, already??) where I hopefully, finally, will premiere my first guest episode. Thanks as always for listening!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 8: Ghost World

This film appeals to many different people on many different levels, I think. Whether you're a punk-spirited youth or a cranky, middle aged record collector, there's something to connect to in this dark comedy. Enter into episode 8 and Ghost World...



As I mention in the podcast, this film resonates with me in a lot of ways, and judging by the amount of interaction my Instagram pic got when I posted about the film, it resonates with A LOT of people, and I really like that. It's what prompted me to feature the film in its own episode. And if it prompts someone out there to watch the film if they haven't previously seen it, then my job is done.

Below is a shot of the books I talk about in the episode. I confess I'm not really a comic book or graphic novel reader, but I pulled out a few gems that might keep me from getting kicked out of the cool kids club.


I hope you enjoy this episode, I had great fun pulling the audio clips of my favorite parts (sorry for the less than stellar audio on them, I did my best!) and playing a few songs from the soundtrack. I only wish the soundtrack had gotten a vinyl release in time for this episode, but I'll let you in on a little secret...it's coming!

Episode 9 has an air date of VALENTINE'S DAY and I have something really special planned for it, so I hope you'll tune in. Thanks for listening!

Book Review: The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

  If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know how much I love (and talk about) Neil Gaiman; writer, dreamer, human. He inspires the writer in me unlike anyone else--although Stephen King is a close second. Which is why I am unabashedly dedicating yet another blog post to him and his most recent of books (for me, anyway) with The View from the Cheap Seats.

Now full disclosure, I only received this book yesterday, and yet with the dozen or so entries I have read thus far, I know like I know like I know this is most definitely going to be my most favorite book I've read of his to date. I have said before in previous posts and in the podcast that although I am more a fan of the man Neil Gaiman than I am of his works, this in no way means I don't enjoy his writing because I most certainly do. I am enamored of his generosity as a gifted writer in the way that he offers help and insight to us fellow writers, but also the generosity of his truth in his non-fiction works--which by the way, The View from the Cheap Seats is a collection of non-fiction by way of essays, book introductions he was asked to write, personal observations and articles written for various and sundry magazines, newspapers and such. It is absolutely enthralling.

So far, I've only read one essay that didn't resonate with me, and I'm sure there will be others, but that's simply a matter of taste (i.e; I'm not a comic book reader or a Tori Amos fan), however I suspect I will still find lines of interest within these brief essays/articles/intros. And not that I want to sway your opinion on the pieces I have read, but I have found the following especially poignant and touching: (note that I am currently reading this book in no particular order)

The Dresden Dolls: Halloween 2010
The View from the Cheap Seats (about his evening at the Oscars)
Make Good Art (which I previously bought when it was published as a standalone piece)
Harlan Ellison: The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World
Banging the Drum for Harlan Ellison
On Stephen King for The Sunday Times
and many more...

Normally I would not write a book review about a book I had not finished reading, but I promise you now, if you are any level of a Neil Gaiman fan, you will greatly enjoy this wonderful collection. It came out over a year ago, but I always have to wait for a softcover edition, which I prefer. The above links will take you to the softcover edition, but the hardback is available there too. Hell, buy 'em both. Enjoy.

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 7: New Year, New To Me aka EARGASM

My goodness, a New Year is here. Time for renewal, reassessing and reevaluation. And I think we could all agree that the entire planet is in great need of all of these things. So while we work on all of that, I hope you'll enjoy an hour's worth of new-to-me tunes and books that maybe, just maybe you haven't heard of yet.



This episode solidified my desire to enter the production world, in whatever way I can make it happen. Be it another podcast, editing someone else's podcast, voice-over work etc. This is actually something I've had a secret desire to do for going on 25 years now, maybe even longer, but never knowing just how to get into this line of work, or having the guts to pursue it. So I'm trying to embrace the fact that it's never too late to change your career, and you're never too old to try something new. We'll see how it goes.

I'm excited to say that with episode 8, I will have my first guest! Guest episodes will alternate with regular episodes, and I hope it will bring a vastly more intriguing tone to the podcast. Also, as I say in this episode, there has been a small change to the schedule and A Shadowed Path will air every other Wednesday, with episode 8 airing on Wednesday, Jan. 31st. I hope you'll tune in!

A Shadowed Path Podcast Episode 6: A Magickal Holiday

The Holidays and New Year are upon us, and with it comes episode 6 of A Shadowed Path. In this episode, I show a bit more of my witchy side, but not to worry, it's not scary...



Beginning with this post, I am no longer going to do a visual of all the content included in each episode. Frankly, it's far too time-consuming, and not many of you are actually reading these posts (sorry to disappoint all 5 of you) for me to carry on. I will, however, still be writing posts for each episode, for those who prefer to listen this way.

Each New Year, I think of a motto that encompasses the changes I want to make. My motto of this New Year is "Work smarter, not harder." Meaning many things in my daily routine will need to change if I'm to accomplish the necessary leaps forward I desperately want to complete.

One of the "presents" to myself this holiday season, was to switch things up within my own household. So after 14 years in one very tiny, cramped room, my office is now twice the size it's ever been, and comfortably located in our basement studio alongside hubby's monster-making workshop. And my bedroom is now not only mere steps away from the bathroom (what a concept!) but also on the same floor as the rest of our living space, instead of in the upper story which has no air ducts for heating and cooling. Needless to say, it was a brilliant switch, but no small feat. My entire inventory had to be moved down a flight of stairs, bookcases and all. Along with my very sturdy solid wood desk, shipping station, and much more.

Moving forward, I feel like I know how "working smarter, not harder" can be done, and am excited to begin on a couple of new projects I have in the works. Stay tuned to see which ones see the light of day, and which ones get kicked to the curb. Only time will tell!

I hope you enjoy Episode 6 of the podcast, Episode 7 (and the first of 2018!) will air on Jan. 15th, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Thanks for listening, and Happy New Year everyone!