From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Back Story.

So I am at a point in Artificial Light where I am filling in the back story and answering questions left unanswered in The Darkness. A.L. is a way different than The Darkness even though it is a continuation of the same story line.

There is a lot going on in A.L., its almost like trying to tell three different story's at the same time. For one a large part of A.L. foundation takes place in medieval times...with knights and fair ladies and kingdoms and dragons...epic battles, the whole lot.

And another part of the story is written almost parallel to the main but is just as important and it follows the story of a couple of cops and a serial killer investigation.

And both these stories are in genre's that I don't normally read so I am absolutely shooting blinding from the hip.

I am struggling through the medieval part of my story,so a few month ago I wrote to a author who is a big deal in medieval fantasy, actually I sent him a copy of my manuscript and told him what I wanted to do and how I wanted to shape my story especially with the knights and the dragon.

So today I got an email from him and he was totally excited about what I was doing explaining that he was pretty much an authority on dragons and he'd never seen anything like what I'm suggesting in legend or lore and he thought it was a good idea. He explained that the people who read his works and others like it would defiantly read mine.

He changed a few of the things that my knights fair maidens were doing and he also sent me a tons of links explaining what people did in those times which helps ALOT and wished me tons of luck and apologized for the late reply, offering that he was working to beat a deadline...his 34th book (I wish!)

I guess I am a little nervous because though it took five years to write The Darkness (in my defense I wasn't writing every day) but when I was I wasn't struggling compared to Artificial Light The Darkness is a pretty easy read.

A friend a mine is doing the 1st read thru and says she's really enjoying it so I am going to go with that.

Besides maybe a writer should struggle thru their work, otherwise I'd probably just write a bunch a shit that no one would want to read...kinda like this stupid post. Yikes
til next time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Princesses of my Grandmother's Stories.

I remember when I was a little girl and my grandmother would be summering at our home that she wouldn't read bedtime stories to my little sister and I...she would just make them up. (I think I was in the 10th or 11th grade when I read Cinderella for the 1st time) The girls in our night time stories were not these delicate, fair haired, women who were waiting for a guy to come along and save the day.
No, the women in my grandmother’s stories were the women who would walk half way around the globe to gather seeds, roots, and herbs that would soothe, cure or poison. And the images I've posted is the way I would imagine these Princesses, that my grandmother talked so much about, would look like.

The women I imagined while listening to my Grandmothers voice were powerful, treacherous, beautiful, and cunning. (In one of her stories you couldn't even join the army if you were a boy chial)

I had no idea at the time, as a little girl, how the things she told us in stories would shape our perspectives as grown women. It drives me mad that a friend of mime has no idea how to check her oil, or doesn’t carry in her car the tools she needs to change a tire. I almost cried when she called to ask "what in the world is a lug nut?"

These girls from my grandmother's lore would use their sexuality to seduce and kill an enemy chieftain, if He threatened to encroach upon her village. Then return to their village carrying in their womb a child, so that the legacy of the slain man would live on.

Now don't take her stories the wrong way. The men in her her tales were by no means weak and whipped men sitting around and taking orders from bicthy women.

It was the men in my grandmother's stories that were speaking to the Gods. They were training the women how to fight, and casting spells to enshrine those women who were embarking on these long journeys and the ones who went to fight with skill, strength, knowledge, courage & endurance to do what they had to do and make back home.(In another one of her stories a kid who's father had been one of those assassinated kings had the power to shape shift. And he would always be this giant ass bird that flew over battle fields to protect his wife and daughter.)

For the life of me I don’t understand why some women think the whole helpless act is so cute.

Now just because I know how to change out power packs on large medium and slow speed diesel engines on cargo ships weighing a few tons, doesn’t mean you ladies should too.

But can you at least know where your dip stick is located and how to read it. To be truly independent is empowering, and from what I’ve been told it’s super sexy too!
Please believe me when I say I’m not trying to make for feel bad if you don’t know how to check your oil or change your tire. If you don’t know how, you just don’t know how.

But if you don’t want to learn how because you think that’s what a man should do, just be prepared to be broke down somewhere until your prince charming shows up.

Or shell out a couple hundred bucks if your knight and shining armor arrives in the form of a tow truck. My friend, the one who doesn’t know how to check her oil, called me today to help her with her car.

I love her dearly but I find it infuriating that she refuses to learn even the very basics of car maintenance because she says that’s a "man's job". WHAT!?! Yet in a pinch she doesn't call her boyfriend...she calls me -- another woman.

For me, growing up with these types of stories swirling around in my dreams, and with very independent strong women as roles models like my mom and her sisters (it was my auntie that taught me how to change my own oil, after my daddy taught me how to drive) I find it hard to understand her logic.

I guess we just have extremely different views of what a princess is supposed to be doing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The God of Sleep, not that guy from The Matrix.

Today I am so super tired and in a really pissy mood. I worked all day yesturday and basically stayed up all night…and here’s the thing, with cancelled plans I wasn’t doing anything to warrant blanatly disregard my appoinment with the Sandman.

Soooo, by 3 am I wrote two reviews for my DVD Pick of the Week. At 4:30 I gave my self a pedicure and painted my toes a smoking hot sexy red color =D at 6 I was blasting and singing along loudly and off key to Areatha Franklin. R…E…S…P…E…C…T!
I was with a client at 7:15 and by 8:30 I was grocery shopping for the week. At 10(and this was probably a mistake) I went on my 2mile hike.

When my plans where cancelled last nite I was more than a little irratated but after lunch with my crew I was furious and in a murderous mood. Not at anything my employess did, they were is a super good mood and The End of the Shift Reports where fine.

I was angry because not only did they looked bright eyed and refreshed, it seemed like everyone around me was in a sickening good mood and well rested; and here I am tired…my eyes are read and feel like sand paper, my thoughts are blurry and sleep wants to be coy and play hard to get.

Last month I was sent to get a CAT Scan, and they found nothing wrong. My doctor is considering changing my sleeping Rx which I don’t even take because it only allows me to become more sleepy, bringing me so close to the suspension of consciousness, that I can feel breeze of sleep on my face just to be yanked back to the world of the awake.

I guess Papa John’s has a policy about returning the customer’s change or leaving a receipt but the delivery driver that came to my house did neither. My total came to $17.02, I handed the driver $20.02 and as I stood there waiting for my change and receipt, fully prepare to hand the driver a 5 dollar bill as a tip he simply walked away. How portentous to assume that he could just keep the change…and the receipt.

So after thinking about it for a whole minute, I took my pizza back to Papa John’s to return my pizza and demand my money back. They wanted me act like an ass hole and I was more than happy to accommodate …that is the VERY LAST TIME I will order from that pizza company.

So now at hour 36 I’m delirous and starting to hallucinate and I might be hearing voices…oh wait a minute its just my neighbors. I am just waiting for my body to shut down. I refused to be ignored by Morpheus. One way or another I will get some sleep cuz if I don’t there will be hell to pay…and I don’t care who pays it.

DVD Pick of the Week...Two for the price of one!

I can understand film makers wanting to capitalize on the success of the “docu-drama” style film making of The Blair Witch Project, but it’s been ten years, its time for a new idea.

Drew Goodard’s 2008 Cloverfield is set in New York. A group of friends get together to throw a surprise party for a friend who is taking a job in Japan. The idea is to film the party and give it to him as a going away present.

The festivities are interrupted with a loud explosion in downtown Manhattan, still feeling more than a bit jittery from the events of 2001 they immediately suspect a terrorist attack & their fears are confirmed as large projectiles rain down and began destroying the city! …or so they think.

What follows next is shaky footage and bad camera angles as the party goers flee the bldg to flood the streets w/others in their neighborhood to try and understand what is happening. All hell breaks loose when the head of the Statue of Liberty comes flying thru the air smashing bldgs and crushing cars and people before rolling to a stop in the middle of the street. There is a moment of surrealness as those that are not injured gather around to touch it and snap pix of it with their camera phones.

The group starts to wish that in was in fact a terrorist attack when they hear someone whisper “I saw it.” “It’s alive”, and “It’s huge.” The group attempts to leave Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge and while attempting to do so Rob gets a call from the woman he loves who’s pleading for help because she is trapped in her bldg…and then to make matters worse the bridge is smashed in half by the monsters tail sending countless of people plunging to their death! Including one of their own.

After escaping from the collapsing bridge watching their friend fall to his death, and being attacked by a monster the group is undoubtedly in a state of shock and horror but despite all this, Hud the man behind the camcorder, has the presence of mind to keep filming.

Rob follows a group of looters into an electronics store, his friends follow him and while Hud is trying to convince Rob its time to leave when he sees all the looters watching the news, and when he turns his cam to the flats screens streaming live news feeds everyone sees a giant monster being shot at by soldiers.

As if the idea of the city being attacked by a monster wasn’t hideous enough – its not alone, she’s brought her offspring…and they eat people. Rob finally finds the battery for his phone then charges to save Beth. His entourage chases Rob towards the mayhem trying to show him the errors of his ways when we’re treated to footage that could have be captured by a war correspondent embedded with the 2nd Brigade as the military races in guns blazing to fight the monster and her man eating babies.

The group manages to dodge the monster and bullets long enough to escape underground to the subway stations. Feeling relatively safe the group decides to walk the tracks to reach Beth. But just as the groups starts to feel safe…low and behold the creatures offspring escaped to the track tunnels as well. This is by far the best scene in the entire movie.

While running from the creature and her young, members of their group dropping off like flies, being caught in the crosshairs of a gunfight, in the middle of all the chaos and destruction they just keep filming.

These types of “lost footage” films have been done to death, there is nothing new and the endings are predictable.

I'm giving Cloverfield 1/2 a Star out of 5 and if that's not bad enough there are rumors of a sequel.

Ok guys this one threw me for a loop. Glenn McQuaid’s 2008 I Sell the Dead definitely fits within the Horror genre but it fits with the Comedy one too, actually I think it fits better within the Comedy slot much better. When I watch a horror film I expect the end result to have me be shooting at shadows & scared sleepless…so I was surprised to find myself watching an eerie little horror flick that, at times, had me laughing out loud.

With that being said all n all I Sell the Dead is not a bad movie. In the opening scene we see a Mr. William Grimes being put to death by the guillotine. In the next shot we are introduced to young Arthur Blake who is awaiting the same sentence. In his last hours of life Blake in comforted by Father Duffy, to whom he gives his last confession.

What unfolds is the story of how became to be a grave robber, of how Mr. Grimes was his mentor and friend, and how sometimes the dead are not dead.

There’s something for everyone…vampires, zombies and even an alien. The plot is interesting enough to keep you watching but at times they just go over the top with the slapstick.

This is a hard one to rate because I am not into comedy’s…but I liked it, and there where real moments of uncomfortable eeriness and there’s a nice twist to the identity of Father Duffy so I’m going to give it a 3 ¾ Stars out of Five

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ramblings of a lunatic at 3 o’clock in the morning.

I’m all about government cover-ups and conspiracies…until the plot devised is one against me!!!
So I grab my mail today and what do I pull out of my mailbox? A magazine with the cutest little caramel little girl on the cover wearing a yellow dress and holding a baby duck…awwww.

Plastered page after page where kids and babies, kids and dogs, kids and cooking, kids and moms, kids and teething, kids and tantrums, and kids, and kids and more of the cutest kids on the face of the planet.

My mom thought it would be a good idea to buy me a subscription of Parenting Magazine…What?!? Oh my God, this is her way of telling me she is ready for grandkids.

I get so much fucking spam to my business account it doesn’t even make any sense, if I were an evil witch queen I would create a virus to send to every single person who spammed me to ruin their computer.

That way they would spend most of their time trying to retrieve files from their computer instead of wasting my time with shit I don’t need and didn’t ask for.

So I was talking to Yvette today, she’s the one who did the cover art for The Darkness and she says she has some idea for the cover of Artificial.

You have no idea how happy I am that she is still onboard. She is the perfect artist to visualize the things that I write about she hasn’t even read The Darkness but she knocked the cover art outta the park.

Seattle has some pretty amazing artist, the last artist I commissioned, Athena Kirkman is simply amazing and I hope to commission her for a future project but as far as my writing and WordSmith Productions is concerned I was dreading the idea of working with another artist. So when she told me she was kicking around some idea’s it was as if I won the lottery!

Yvette drew a picture of a Futuristic City and she would like for me to write a short story about it, I am so pumped up about that project because the short story is kinda my thing and its nice to return to the familiar =D

I’ve got some really good DVD reviews coming for you guys so stay tuned for that but as for now I gotta try and get some more sleep.

“With my art I just want to survive.”
-H.R. Giger

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DVD pick of the week...Sometimes monsters are men.

Everyone who knows me or anyone who’s surfed around on my blog knows that I am a huge fan of monsters in the traditional sense of the word. But sometimes monsters are men and when these men use and twist religion for their own personal gain these monsters are of the vilest of creatures.

Cyrus & Besty Giffen Nowrasteh’s 2008 The Stoning of Soraya M is based on a true story and extremely difficult to watch. We meet Soraya during a tribal divorce proceedings, her husband requested the divorce after meeting a 14-year girl whose rich father was to be put to death. Soroya’s contested the divorce not for her husband’s love but for child support for her children. Soroya’s aunt tries her best to protect her niece but in the village it’s a man’s world.

Not wanting to pay, her husband trumps up false charges of adultery – a crime punishable by death; by stoning. Her husband and the village spiritual leader force a widower to testify against her by threatening to imprison his mentally ill son.

When the “evidence” is presented to the village mayor he suspects a plot but village law ties his hand. When the village mayor asks God for a sign to show his displeasure of these trumped up charges he receives one…and ignores it. He is given another…and ignores it.

Our director Cyrus Nowrasteh doesn’t give us a break. He makes us watch every single time she is hit but her husband,watch every false accusation,watch every neighbor turn their back, watch her father disown his daughter and watch every…single…stone…thrown.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to stone someone to death?!??

This gets 5 Stars outta 5 but be forewarned this movie is not for the weak and squeamish.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chapter 25: The Reconstructing of Artificial Light

So this is the point where I stop writing to reread the 1st twenty-five chapters that I have written.

This is the part where I correct my spelling, fill in the blanks, rearrange chapters, fill in back stories, remove entire paragraphs or just a few sentences and where the idea’s come from for the next twenty-five chapters.

This is the part of my writing is where I start to teeter on the edge of madness. Because by the time I get to chapter 25 the story is all I think about, it keeps me up at night and distracts me from the real world and robs the time I spent with family, friends & work because I do not want to do anything but write.

I’m gonna try and get a couple of hours of sleep, my thoughts are getting fizzy and my head hurts chapter 25 is not working for me so I have to scrap it and start over. I have an idea for my cover art design but I can’t really call Yvette at 3:30 in the morning.

This is just the beginning because I have do it again at chapter 50.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DVD pick of the week...a Month in review

Are you serious? A horror flick for the sake of horror? Thank God.

Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan’s 2009 The Collector takes us back to the nostalgic time when horror movies were really scary. For those of you who like hack and slash there’s something in it for you, for those of you who like a suspenseful plot twist (like me) there’s something in it for you too! But wait there’s more…for those of you who like it when the bad guy gets away and there is no happy ending this movie is for you!

The opening scene hooks you from the start and if you like kind of movie watcher who screams warnings at the people on the screen you’re in for a treat! The film then drops us off at a house under construction, with contractors from every union crawling around. We learn the homeowner are going away for a weekend holiday, and then we find out one of the workers was there to “case the joint” to commit the perfect cat burglary while the owners are way.

Our thief makes the perfect entry, goes right for the safe…and then discovers he is not the only one whose broken in and the other guy isn’t looking for the family jewels. What follows over the next 95 min. is reminisce of the original Friday the 13th and Halloween with just a squeeze of Saw (the 1st one). This movie is well done and a hell of a ride and scary as hell. I just hope they don’t fuck it up with a sequel!5 stars!

Final a kick ass Science Fiction Movie.

Duncan Jones’ 2009 Moon is a surprisingly refreshing Sci-Fi film that tells a haunting story without all the distractions of unnecessary special affects. From the opening scene we’re introduced to astronaut Sam Bell at the end of his three-year solitary contact on the moon, where he has been working as a contractor to harvest resources to help replenish the ones we’ve used up on earth. The entire movie takes place on the moon and the only characters are Sam and his computer that is more like a robot. Moon has a slow start but a powerful finish and paints an unsettling picture of what could happen if we continue to rape our planets resources and allow corporate greed and science exploration to continue unchecked.
This one earns 5 out of 5 stars!

This movie is fucking gross, creepy and downright terrorizing.=D

Mark A. Lewis created the all time monster movie with his 2009 “The Thaw” it comes out of one of my favorite horror film production houses Ghost House Underground. The Thaw is so effective at being unsettling because it deals with things that are happening right now…global warming; and the geological disaster/monster in this movie is not a hurricane, its not a funnel cloud, its not an earthquake – but a bug. For me this movie was extremely hard to watch because I suffer from acute Entomophobia - Fear of insects.

The 90% of this movie was view from between the cracks of my fingers and from behind my pillow but Lewis tells and interesting tale of how far a person will go to prove a point and the sacrifice others are willing to make to save Mother Earth. I’m giving The Thaw 4 1/2 out of 5 stars…only because its super creepy, and almost too scary to watch (for me anyway)

We’ve seen it all before.

And it began with Alejandro Guillermo Arriaga’s 2000 “Amores perros” (Life’s a Bitch), and then again with Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” in the same year. Greg Marcks gives us 11:14 in 2003, the following year Paul Haggis gives is “Crash” and to make sure the dead horse is thoroughly beaten in 2006 we return to Guillermo Arriaga who completes the cycle by giving us “Babel.”

All and All 11:14 is not a bad film. You’ll be asking WTF from the very 1st scene, and Greg Marcks does a really great job at keeping the characters storyline separated until the very end. And the story line is fast paced and at times witty. It gets 3 ½ out of 5 because this is a copycat idea.