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A Supernatural Review – COLD BLOODED CHILLERS RETURNS!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In a previous edition of “Graphic Tales from the Road” I reviewed the first two issues of the trilogy. Admittedly, I am still not an avid comic reader. However, after enjoying the first two issues because of their Tales from the Crypt style, I was curious to see how it would end. Supernatural did not disappoint. I enjoyed every juicy bite as I devoured this chilling conclusion!

Written by Robert M. Heske, each story line continues to lead us farther down the dark, gory paths, through “tales of suburban murder and malice,” to the very twisted end. The culmination of final reunions seems quite a fitting theme that flows between the covers. The wonderfully worrisome front cover art was created by the evocative Jay Fife. The inside cover art was done by Mark Chilcott.

The first strip, “Shadow,” was illustrated and lettered by Adam Swiecki. The cold, clean, heavily inked images perfectly balance the dirty secret hidden in the story. The tale makes reference to the fact that cats are instinctual, humans are cruel. Indeed, humans are cruel and that shadowy cruelty was well depicted. So well, in fact, that it made me angry for justice! But, as it was so eloquently stated, Justice ain’t always what you expect it to be. True to form, in the end, it wasn’t the type of justice you expect.

The next tale, “Transcendence,” with art and lettering by Reno Maniquis, beautifully portrays a lonely evening on the job as a night watchman at the aquarium. Such a peaceful place for a peaceful family reunion. Just try explaining it to the boss!

“Synchronicity,” illustrated by Dirk Shearer, and lettered by David Paul, amazingly paints the elaborate and detailed final story in this thrilling trilogy. This tale hit me hard on several synchronistic levels: street lights going out as you walk past, the familiar and repetitious sequence of numbers that have a hidden meaning , awareness of the Others. Everything comes full circle. “Synchronicity” is a superbly crafted story.

The ending gives me a glimmer of hope that perhaps, just maybe, Cold Blooded Chillers series will birth a fourth edition and continue on, producing amazingly wonderful and incredibly creepy comics!

As with the first two issues, the art work and story lines in Supernatual flowed flawlessly together and kept me riveted from start to finish. But heed my warning, don’t leave these comics laying around the house unless everyone is over 17. These publications are by their nature and theme adult comics. These are not intended for young readers, or those that are faint of heart.

Robert Heske did an excellent job of putting another talented team together. The images are hard to forget…especially when it’s dark and you are trying to get to sleep!

Screenwriter Robert M. Heske has multiple short and feature options, IMDB credits, and a co-creation agreement with Studio 407 to turn his horror script THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST into a 4-part comic book series and graphic novel. He also has his own comic book entity — Heske Horror. It is through Heske Horror that Robert has an outlet for several of his dark, short film scripts that had previously been collecting dust. After gaining a deep appreciation of the comic book art form, Robert realized it was easier and cheaper to retool the film scripts into comics. This change of format from film to comics paid off with great reviews for COLD BLOODED CHILLERS on several sites including USA Today Online and Reuters!

All three issues of “Cold Blooded Chillers: Tales of Suburban Murder and Malice” kept me on the edge of my seat, turning page after page and keeping on all the lights. These collectible issues are sure to thrill you and can be purchased at coldbloodedchillers.com!

Cold Blooded Chillers issues 1, 2, and 3 are now available as 99-cent downloads as PDFs at www.DriveThruComics.com.

The “best of” anthology called BONE CHILLER is also available for $2.99 for a PDF download (as well as for $12 plus S&H on IndyPlanet).
BONE CHILLER and COLD BLOODED CHILLERS 01 have been featured as a “Staff Favorite” pick on Drive Thru Comics!

Enjoy the BONE CHILLER trailer below. Get a taste of what’s in store for you!

Sullengrey: Sacrifice #1 – Reviewed

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 

A Look at Sullengrey: Sacrifice #1

This creepy comic found it’s way to my desk where it sat until late one night I had a few minutes to open it up and have a good look at it. Perhaps I should have waited and read it during the day! I was a twisted, gory tale of zombies, goths, spooky nightclubs, revenge, murder and more…Yes, I should have not read it in the dark!

Written by Jocelyn Gajeway with art by Drew Rausch (penciler), Chandra Free (colorist), Cover by Drew Rausch & Drew Berry. Sullengrey is published by Ape Entertainment and released in stores September 16th.

The first thing that caught my attention was admittedly the art work! I thought it was well done and had an enjoyable style and the coloring was spot on. I couldn’t help myself and jumped ahead through the comic just looking at all the images before I could settle down and read any of the words. Of course, that could have been because it was dark, and the pictures were riveting and I was trying to avoid taking in all the wicked details of the crazy under-current swirling through the pages so I could sleep later…Didn’t work!

For those familiar with Sullengrey, this bloody, critically-acclaimed coming of age zombie tale continues with an intriguing cast of characters!

Daevyn Allister, the promoter of the spookiest club in Autumn’s Grove discovers that living in a town that ignores it’s fears is always a dangerous proposition!

Daevyn tries to stay a step ahead of all his love struck followers and other creatures of the night, when things take a turn for the worse while waiting for his romantic rendezvous. He’s set the perfect stage for a gothic romance, but even the best laid plans can get laid to waste when contending with unwanted intruders and zombies. Those pesky creatures!

Salam Jones comes home to find her boyfriend seriously paying for his little indiscretion. While she is of course pissed off, Salam remains entirely too calm about the whole situation. Which lead me to think she had understandably doled out this visceral punishment. But, one should not jump to conclusions too quickly as we discover.

I couldn’t help but think that it would be helpful to know the history of these characters. I find myself wanting to go back and read all the previous issues of Sullengrey. I think it would give me a deeper sense of appreciation for where these people find themselves now. As Salam said, “Fear is our best defense mechanism. It is also our worst ENEMY!”

There are also other characters to consider. Others with a hidden agenda and needs of their own to fill. These needs lull a little girl trying to find her missing dog to end up being on the wrong end of the search. Then comes the search for an answer of what madness is to come next to Autumn Grove?

This edition is the first part in a 2 issue mini-series and left me wondering what is to come of this decidedly sick situation. The good news is that Sullengrey: Sacrafice #2 just went on sale in stores October 7! Now I can find out what happened.

One thing is for sure, no good can come of this. But, then again, “good” is a subjective term. If you enjoy dark, morbid and twistedly funny stories, then you may well consider Sullengrey as bloody good entertainment!

As an end note, I do enjoy dark, irreverent humor. I had a particularly good giggle at the cookie selling scenes.

Goes to show that just about everyone loves these annual cookies, even though there may never enough in the box!

Just beware! People that don’t pay up properly for the pleasure of eating those cookies may be faced with unexpected consequences. Those little girls can be extremely relentless in their pursuit of fairness and justice. And you will…PAY!!

Graphic Tales: Reviews “2012: Final Prayer”

Monday, February 22, 2010

I have had the gorious honors of reviewing two other collective tales produced by Robert Heske including: “Cold Blooded Chillers” and “Supernatural”. Considering how much we all enjoyed the previous works, I knew I had to share the dreadful delights hidden between the pages of 2012: Final Prayer – An End Times Anthology.

In my youth I was not a connoisseur of comics, particularly not horror comics. However, after starting this web site, attending the Nashville Comic and Horror Convention and Dragon*Con, and reading several exceptional graphic tales, I have developed quite a taste for this darker art form. I was fortunate to cross paths with some very talented individuals who shared their excitement and passion about this genre. I was drawn into their dark world…and I liked it.

Combine my newly developed appetite for horror comics with my fascination with Egyptians, Mayans, Nostradamus and end times prophecies, there was no way I could resist reviewing 2012: Final Prayer. I thoroughly enjoyed each twisted tale. But after reading 2012: Final Prayer I kept putting off posting the review. I realized that I was stalling, trying to do my part to make sure the “end” wouldn’t come. But, time marches on and 2012 will surely come, in what ever way it presents itself. And so now, the review of “2012: Final Prayer” presents itself as well.

It is the wondering of “what will come” that sparked the imaginations and apocalyptic visions for each of the stories contained in this “End Times Anthology”. Robert Heske has once again assembled a very talented tribe of artists, writers and letterists who each, in their turn, takes the stage between the pages of this provocative book and performs their interpretation of “the end”.

With introduction by R.M. Heske, forward by Jim Harold, host of the Paranormal Podcast, and 2012 Foreboding by Marshall Masters the stage is clearly set into three distinct scenes; Before, During and After 12.21.12.

There are some familiar names from Heske Horror productions that I noticed, including:
Monty Borror
Adam Swiecki
Dirk Shearer
David Paul
Eliseu “ZEU” Gouveia

There are also many names that were new to me that contributed to the content of this creative collective, including:
Chris McJunkin
Ollie Masters
Andy Fish
Shawn Gabborin
Mario Cau
Jim Alexander
Andrew Dodd
Shamere Borg
Xander Bennett
Melanie Cook
Arno Hurter
David Edwards
Christopher Barker
Marc Jameson
Craig Gilmore
Stephen Downey
Rita Gorgoni
Stefano Cardoselli
Adam Grose
Tony Suleri
Dino Caruso
Sami Kivela
Don E. Smith Jr.
Jason Dube
Duncan Eagleson
Martin Hayes
Stephen Broome
Jason Light
Reno Maniquis
Marie D. Jones
Angela Di Re Heske
Myebook – 2012: Final Prayer e-preview – click here to open my ebook

2012: Final Prayer is a diverse, multi-layered mixture of many different interpretations of “the end”. If you want to see an intriguing collection of individual glimpses into the future 2012: Final Prayer is a must read. 2012: Final Prayer is truly a twisted, prophetic treasure!

You can get a sneak peak at Mybook.com using the link at the right.

Robert has this to say: Whenever people are put off by my writing about the macabre, I’m reminded of a Stephen King quote: “I’m not evil, I have the heart of a little boy… It’s in a jar on my desk.”

I began “Heske Horror” as a way to self-publish my dark horror short scripts in 2008. After completing 3 indie comic “floppies”, an award-winning anthology, and an “end times” tome with contributions from leading comic creators, this little one-man shop is poised for big things in 2010. First, my vampire OGN, The Night Projectionist, will be released in comic shops and book stores by mid-year by Studio 407 via Diamond. I have also written the screenplay which has been optioned by Myriad Pictures. In other news, I co-wrote a dark comedy called LOVE STUPID that will be filmed in early 2010 and I am embarking on a Giallo series with co-conspirator Monty Borror (stay tuned!).

Robert Heske is a frequent guest on podcasts, radio shows, conventions, and author events and pens a bi-weekly column on InvestComics and (coming soon) on CosmicBookNews called IndieCreator. Be sure to check in with him often!

Graphic Tales Reviews Vampire Free Style

With those big pleading eyes on the front cover of Issue #1, I couldn’t resist seeing what was hidden inside. There is a delightful mix of mystery and mirth in each edition. After reading Issues 1-5 the mystery began to unfold and each one left us eager for the next. I say “us” because our 13 year old daughter discovered them hiding under my chair and absolutely fell in love with them, too!

We both adore Vampire Free Style, just as if it were little lost kitten that had found us and we can’t wait to see what will happen next. It was enjoyable in spite of the fact that English is not the author’s native language. There are a few references that US readers may find obscure or bit confusing. But, this actually added to the charm and the settings of the stories.

If you like a mixture of anime, magic, romance and mystery, then check out Vampire Free Style!

I asked author Jenika Ioffreda what inspired these comics and here’s what she had to say:

About what inspired me for the comic series, the main character, Micia, was inspired by a joke between me and my boyfriend years ago.

We are both from Italy and in Italian language “Micia” it means “female cat” and it’s quite common name for female cats.

He was calling me Micia as a joke and I started to draw myself in a shape of cat whenever I needed to leave him a note.

Slowly the cat that I was drawing more and more started to take a life of her own… and there Micia was born. In 2003 I moved from Italy to United Kingdom and while I was on the train going from the airport to central London, I saw the roofs of some houses and I started to think I wanted draw a new comic book about characters very familiar with roofs.

The idea of a witch who was learning to fly come out and slowly all the other characters come out too. All the characters and situation are inspired by people I really met and situation I really lived and also by dreams I had while sleeping.

(Click on the thumbnails to see larger images)
Previews from Issue 1:
VAMPIRE FREE STYLE #1

Previews from Issue 2:
VAMPIRE FREE STYLE #2

Previews from Issue 3:
VAMPIRE FREE STYLE #3

Previews from Issue 4:
VAMPIRE FREE STYLE 4

Previews from Issue 5:

Work in progress for Vampire Free Style Issue 6

After reading the comics I wanted to know the creative spirit behind these whymsical books. Here’s what I found about artist Jenika Ioffreda, who is behind Vampire Free Style and the Factory of Dreams…

Birthday: “…The third day of the lunar year plus the second month of the Neptune century… “

What you like: The Moon, the Stars, the Sea and the Night

Recommended animation movies: All Studio Ghibli animation movies, Akira (Katsuiro Otomo), The Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton), Corpse Bride (Tim Burton), Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud) and a lot more…

Recommended comic books: Barefoot Gen, (shocking and delicate autobiographical comic book story by Keiji Nakazawa about what Japanese people suffered after Hiroshima atomic bomb…), Persepolis (moving, funny and beautifully told autobiographical story by Marjane Satrapi about her growing up in Iran), Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi (terribly funny!), Dylan Dog (Italian comic book about a detective who investigates nightmares), Kimi wa petto by Yayoi Ogawa (unusual love story between 2 people completely different and meant to be together), Safety Pins (Uk independent comic book by Roger Wade about Stitch, a funny, punk, sweet and naive version of a modern Frankenstein), Rat-Man (Italian comic book by Leo Ortolani about a kind of anti-hero with a mouse-rat mask on. Be prepared for a lot of fun)

Favorite Bands: Die Kur, System of a Down, Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, Octavia Sperati, Guano Apes, Theatre of Tragedy, Sirenia, Sepultura, Machine Head, Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot, Maxdmyz, Captain DaFeira, Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Emilie Autumn, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Tori Amos and a lot more…
Hobby: Everything that can be interesting for me

DIY: My life

Studio tools: Pencils, pens, inks, papers, hands, fingers, watercolors, acrylics, brushes, toothbrushes, lightbox, eMac with Photoshop CS2 and other graphic software and every other kind of tool where I can put my hands on…

A drawing that express yourself: you have it on the left of this page! 🙂

Oh yes, Jenika is “one of us”! I’m so glad she stumbled upon our humble site and shared her creative visions with with Gothic Blend!

Masks Releases Mini-Series

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 

MASKS is a photographic poem and exploration into the nature of identity. The story takes place inside the psyche of a girl named Sara. Sara sees pieces of the past lives of others and memories of her own as she follows a phantom killer and his victims through a distorted reality.

MASKS #1 was one of the most downloaded and popular indie comics on Wowio. Since then MASKS has built a cult following and has garnered some spectacular reviews such as:

“MASKS is very much a feast for the eyes…you’ll kick yourself if you miss this one.” –Ain’t It Cool News

“This is by far one of the most breathtaking graphic novels I have seen.” –Gothic Blend

“Masks is visually entrancing and the story reads like a poem.” –Herospy.com

“For fans of Dave McKean or film-maker Guillermo Del Toro, writer/artist Aaron Rintoul’s debut effort is a class act.” –Comic Book Jesus

“The images are at once beautiful, evocative and haunting.” –Comics And…Other Imaginary Tales

MASKS creator Aaron Rintoul says, “my intention with MASKS was to make something highly original that I had never seen done in comics before and a book the reader would want to open up more than just once. Hope you enjoy it!”

Masks Comic Trailer from Septagon Studios Inc on Vimeo.

MASKS also has one of the most unique and creative comic trailers the industry has to offer. It is a combination of live action, animation and comic art woven together seamlessly with an original soundtrack to capture the tone and mood of MASKS. The trailer was produced by Philip Carrer with Bleeding Apple film collective.

“It’s been a pleasure collaborating with talented artists like Aaron and Philip and we are excited to share the full series of Masks with comic fans,” said Nick Defina, president of Septagon Studios.

MASKS is available digitally for your computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. GET THE FULL FIRST DIGITAL ISSUE OF MASKS FREE! Visit www.MasksComic.com for details. MASKS digital issues #2 and #3 are only $0.99 available at Graphic.ly, Wowio and MyDigitalComics. They also come with 5 Bonuses. The MASKS Hardcover Graphic Novel can be purchased at www.Amazon.com through the ISBN 978-0986885303.

Visit www.MasksComic.com for previews, art and info.

Join the Masks Facebook Fan Page for updates and exclusive Masks art.

Septagon Studios is a company focused on imaginative, innovative properties and concepts. We stand for creator freedom and artistic integrity. We embrace diversity with a major focus on art and inspirational storytelling.

Septagon Studios Inc
For readers. For creators. For everyone.

Blood Feud, The Sage of Pandora Zwieback

Monday, October 10, 2011

It has been theorized that people with mental illness may not be really “crazy”, they just may be seeing more clearly through the “veil” between the worlds. In the case of sixteen-year-old Pandora Zweiback, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and not taking her medication, this theory rings true. The problem is, who will believe she is actually seeing the monsters among us?! And what can she do about those monsters even if people did believe her?

Well written by Best Selling Author, Steven A. Roman, this story made me feel right at home with it’s pop-culture references to some of the haunts I frequent such at Deviant Art and Hot Topic. Steven made it easy to identify with Pan as she wrestles with her grasp on reality. It was refreshing to read a story where the parents are genuinely supportive of their teen, in spite of the incredible claims Pan makes and the situations they find themselves thrust into.

Blood Feud, The Saga of Pandora Zweiback is a fast moving story that is appropriate for teens and adults. It does have some violence, as would be expected when monsters are included Free Pandora Zwieback Comic Downloadand “Blood” is in the title.

I was quickly lured into the plot. However, the ending was a cruel cliff-hanger that made me curse the author (You know who you are and what you did 😉 for not having Book 2 available – NOW! I wait with bated breath for Book 2.

For more information on Blood Feud, The Saga of Pandora Zweiback and Pandora herself, please visit:
www.starwarpconcepts.com
www.pandorazwieback.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Pandora-Zwieback/122630931125833
www.facebook.com/pages/Starwarp-Concepts/208723995806264
www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=sroman
http://steveroman.deviantart.com/

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion book review by Dee Marie

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Warm Bodies Sticks To You Like Zombie Goo!,
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion ~ book review by Dee Marie

When it comes to devouring novels, I have a very eclectic palette. Even so, I was never a huge fan of the supernatural (aside from hobbits, fairies, and wizards). That is until I stumbled into the fairytale-world of novelist Martin Millar. His fetish for Buffy the Vampire Slayer spread through me like a virus. Once infected with stories of vampires and werewolves, I was hopelessly cursed with no cure in sight.

Yet, there was still a part of me that resisted the urge to delve into the dark waters of any media (books, television, movies) dealing with zombies. My prejudice dissolved after watching the movie, Warm Bodies. Instead of being repulsed, I found myself laughing one moment, moved to tears the next (not tears brought on by terror … but instead heart-tugging teardrops, the kind that seeps out unexpectedly).

Movies that are based on novels, especially good movies, always pique my curiosity. Yet, exiting the theater left me with a yearning that I had not expected. On my drive home, I found myself missing the characters. Maybe it was just the journalist (or perhaps the romantic) in me; but I had to fill the plot holes; mend the unhealed zombie lesions the movie adaptation left gaping within my imagination.

Although I downloaded the book version of Warm Bodies that evening, life (as it often does) got in the way of my reading schedule. Soon the answers that I so urgently craved became a distant memory …only to be reignited last night, as I idly thumbed through my Kindle library. Turning the first page of Warm Bodies, I became hopelessly transported into author Isaac Marion’s post-apocalyptic world. It wasn’t until the first rays of daylight seeped through my bedroom curtains, that I realized I had spent a sleepless night nested in a hive of zombies.

If pressed to describe Warm Bodies, in a single word, it would have to be … thought-provoking! Yes, I know technically that’s two words hyphenated … perhaps: brilliant or innovative would do? Thankfully this is not a Twitter book-review, because when an author tugs at my emotions, my reviews tend to be loquacious. Isaac Marion shredded my essence. His words shattered my heart with despair; gently gluing the pieces back together with a glimmer of hope.

At first glance, Warm Bodies is an expected tale of horror. Mindless zombies, driven by an insatiable hunger, seek the only food source that can sustain them: living humans. The author juxtaposes graphic details with the reader’s imagination, as he describes the carnage of flesh being torn from screaming victims, brains suckled, and limbs ripped from the not yet dead. At the same time he skillfully implies, that it’s not malice within a zombie’s heart that drives them to feed … after all, zombies don’t have hearts … at least not beating ones. They are simply doing what comes naturally, they eat to survive.

In the middle of the feasting frenzy, one zombie, whose name is simply R, suddenly resists the overpowering urge to devour the source that spawned his kind. Like a knee bone is connected to a thigh bone; R has a vision that is connected to a name. In turn, the name is connected to a female survivor. A spark of humanity is ignited within the zombie by a single word … Julie.

From that moment, Warm Bodies transformed from a typical horror story into an uncategorized genre. The novel teeters on the cusp of romance, interwoven with political intrigue, splattered with unanswerable spiritual queries. It is a study of utopia versus dystopia. It is a story that not only entertains, but dares readers to explore what motivates their political, environmental, and religious beliefs … to reflect upon both immortality, as well as modern morality.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion book review by Dee Marie

Told from R’s point-of-view, the anti-hero explores the three distinct levels of his universe: The Living (humans), The Fleshies (zombies), and the Boneys (beyond-zombies). In disturbingly parallel scenes, R explores the differences, as well as the similarities, between humans and zombies. In a non-preachy manner, Warm Bodies, cautions readers to question the direction our society is headed: warning of the ramifications of our current path, at the same time giving an optimistic outcome for a better tomorrow.

The author scatters the storyline about like newly unboxed puzzle pieces, allowing readers to decide which society is truly uncivilized. At the same time, he prods readers to ponder what makes a civilized society civil; does a perfect formula exist that combines right-versus-might? Within the serious undertones of the subplots, dashes of humor are smattered about, with the cunning perfection of a novelist who knows his craft and understands his readers.

Like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Isaac Marion’s provocative novel is destined to become a classic, not because of the monsters, but despite them … love, after all is the epicenter to both stories. Warm Bodies is not just a tale of young forbidden lovers; but a love-story of humanity; a love-story of life with hope for the future. Like the movie, the novel moved me to tears and laughter; it tugged at my heart and soul. Unlike the movie, the novel made me ponder and question the world I live in.

Long after you have read the last page; Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion, is a novel that will stick to you like zombie goo … … which is surprisingly … A Good Thing!

[Be sure to check out Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies prequel: The New Hunger]

Gothic Blend Talks to Belinda Hicks

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gothic Blend is especially privileged to be joined by Belinda Hicks. Thank you for taking the time to sit down and visit with us.

Tell us a little bit about who Belinda Hicks is.
Hmmm…good question! How would I sum up about myself? Well first thing would be that I am a mother of four amazing children, I’ve lived in Morgantown West Virginia basically my whole life. I like to think I am funny…never a dull moment when it comes to me….lol….But basically I am just as normal as everyone one is. I like to think there is more out there in the world than what we think there is. I am not a skeptic..I believe there is things out there that will come to play before the end of time….and if not than I guess the universe is a big let down. But that’s me and my opinion.

Your books deal with Vampires and other supernatural beings, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from other authors, movies, music, pictures I see on Facebook. Pictures are a big thing to me. When I see a Gothic picture that strikes me the words to flow in my head…and I have to get them down.

Do you find that your ideas to write new material come at specific times of the day?
When I began to write I can get stuck in anyway like most writings. But mostly right when I go to bed and lay my head down is when the best stuff usually comes to me. Then I have to get up write it down before I forget. It can be a nuisance some times.

Can you give us some insight on your writing process?
Insight on writing…hmmm not sure how I would put insight on writing. I just write what is in my head or how I am feeling. I have music playing all the time and just let it relax me to where ideas come or thoughts on a topic.

How long does it take you to write a new book?
My poetry books didn’t take as long as I thought it would…I write all the time. It’s just picking and proof reading your work and getting it together. My first book took me a little over a couple of months and my second about a month. Now the trilogy I’m working on I have been working on it for about five years now.

Belinda Hicks Talks with Gothic BlendWho are your main influences?
My main influences belong to the life I have lived, plus I give prop’s to three authors. If it was for William Shakespeare, I may have never loved plays and the tragedy he always writes, Edgar Allan Poe is another he is the reason I love dark poetry and I wish I can follow his steps and then there is the lovely Anne Rice. She has made me fall more in love with Vampires. The way she writes gives me chills…I remember the first book I read of her’s it was The Vampire Armand. I loved that book and had to read the rest. I wish to be like these three authors.

You currently have two books published, Dancing In The Mist Of Shadows and Peeking Through The Veil Of Shadows. Are you working on a third book?
Yes, I do have two books out now, Peeking Through The Veil Of Shadows and Dancing In The Mist Of Shadows and yes I am working on a third as we speak, it’s called Crying In The Cloak Of Shadows. I want to make a series of poetry books all with a shadow theme to them.

The cover art on both books is beautiful. Who was the artist and how did you come in contact with them?
The cover to my books start off with a picture from Google stock image and I send it to my publisher Barry Mowles and he designs them for me. He is great, I really like how they turn out.

What has been the biggest surprise along the way?
The biggest surprise was when I actually got to hold my first book in my hands. It was the greatest feeling in the world to finally see my book and my words out there in a book.

What have been some of your biggest challenges along the way?
My biggest challenge was actually getting the courage to have others read what I wrote. I never thought my writings were good. But A friend of mine added me to two poetry groups on Facebook and I was shocked at the comments I would get on my stuff. I had people telling me that they are my life long fan now, after the first month of slowly showing my work I have got the courage I never thought I had in me. I am now in about 15 poetry groups and I help people run two of them, plus I help a friend run a poetry page on Facebook along with my own page. If you would like to check them out they are Poetry and Friends and mine is Shadows.

What words of encouragement would you give to other aspiring authors?
Words of encouragement, I would say never give up. Even if you think you’re writing is not that good you would be surprised how others would like them. Yes, there will always be someone who criticism stuff but you have to take a step back and look at the positive comments you get, because writings, write because that is what we love to do. So, I say keep doing what you love and don’t let anyone tell you, you are wrong. It’s a sided coin in life some will like and some won’t but it matters what you feel.

Belinda Hicks Talks with Gothic BlendI really enjoyed this and I hope everyone got an idea of who I am. I am honored for this chance to let you into my head and my world as a writer. Just remember never let anyone say you can’t do anything you want. Show them you can be who you want in life.

Gothic Blend Talks to Static White’s Stitchery

Thursday, November 07, 2013 – 04:02 PM

Gothic Blend is especially privileged to be joined by Maya Bowen owner of Static White’s Stitchery. Thank you for taking the time to sit down and visit with us.

When was Static White’s Stitchery born?
Static White Stitchery was born in a corner of a tiny NYC apartment, just down hill of a huge Victorian era graveyard (seriously), on a cool September day in 2006.

Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
A bit of both. I do have some formal training, thanks to a short stint at Fashion Institute of Tech (NYC), but I began my stitchy adventures when I was a kid –thanks, Grandma!– and am forever looking to learn new things.

Where do you find inspiration for your cute and dark creations?
Books, movies, the interwebs… everywhere!

Do you find yourself being more creative during the day or at night?
I am most definitely more creative at night into the early morning. When the sun comes up it is time for bed. Usually.
Static White’s Stitchery Talks with Gothic Blend

Are all of your creations handmade and one of a kind?
All my creations are made with my own two hands and my various tools. Also, everything I create is either one of a kind or limited edition. Even when items are similar no two are exactly alike! I love adding special little details whenever possible. The only exception to that at the moment would be my headbands, which are limited edition since the fabrics I use are vintage/discontinued. There’s nothing wrong with mass producing items, but for me it’s boring.

Can you tell us a little bit about the creation process for a new product?
When an idea is spawning I usually sketch it out first but sometimes I’ll just jump right into the pattern. Once that’s sorted out, if I know 100% that it will work out, I dive right into the fabric. If not, then I’ll do a mock up in muslin to test it out first.

What has been the biggest surprise along the way?
The advertising and the online fans and friends. The amount of advertising needed just for a few views was a shocker at first but I got used to it and it got a little easier as time went on. As for the latter, it still amazes me how many awesome people I have met online through various groups and social networking.

What have been some of your biggest challenges along the way?
Getting seen in the great big ocean that is the interwebs. Also trying to make enough to pay the bills can be a challenge because the demand for awesome handmade goods can be fickle, as with anything else.

What words of encouragement would you give to other aspiring artist/seamstresses?
Aspiring to be any type of artist isn’t easy. Be prepared for the possibility of not “making it big”. Do it because you love it and don’t ever stop creating!

Graphic Tales Encounters Deborah Harkness

Monday, August 06, 2012 – 05:26 AM

On Monday, July 23rd we found ourselves on a special mission to meet a author Deborah Harkness, the best-selling author just released Shadow of Night, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches.

We weren’t really sure what to expect as we pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall that is home to Parnassus by Green Hills Mall in Nashville. This assuming store seemed an unlikely place to find such a renowned author. But, once inside the doors of Parnassus we discovered a standing room only eclectic crowd and fantastic staff of people at the store. It was welcoming and had a delightful selection of books and events.

Deborah came out and introduced herself. She is a professor at the University of Southern California and teaches European history and the history of science. Deborah is very intelligent, warm and funny. It is her inquiring mind that led to her career in fiction back in September 2008 when she wondered “if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?”. Her first book, A Discovery of Witches was the unexpected answer to that question. Her first book debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a bestseller in the UK, France, and Germany.

Deborah Harkness Hears Story of The Sons of AvalonAs she read an excerpt from Shadow of Night you could feel her enthusiasm build and it quickly became clear why her books are so popular. But, it was during the question and answer session where her personality and ironic sense of humor really began to shine through.

We discovered there really is a mysterious, missing manuscript known as Ashmole 782. What it contains…we don’t know…IT’S MISSING! But, Deborah’s real-life quest to find the missing manuscript weaved it’s self into the fabric of her stories. As did her desire for a home that would be less needy and more helpful. She had found her own home to constantly be in need of repairs and always needing something to be done. Her dream house found it’s place in her writing as well.

We wrapped up the evening with signatures and pictures. Deborah’s radiant energy and warmth was kindly shared with all that waited, including us. She reminded me of another special author, who is also a historian and a wonderfully warm woman.

We got our books signed and were honored to hand deliver a special gift to Deborah. Dee-Marie had mailed a signed copy of her Sons of Avalon: Merlin’s Prophecy along with a personal note…one historical and majical author to another.

Deborah Harkness is an extraordinarily gracious lady, as is Dee-Marie. Both are gifted and talented authors and we were honored to make the connection for the two of them. The only thing that would have made it better would have been for Dee-Marie to have also been there in person so we could all have shared some wine together.

Deborah Harkness Receives The Sons of Avalon

We look forward to reading Deborah’s books and hope Deborah enjoys Sons of Avalon: Merlin’s Prophecy as much as we did.

Now, for a Sons of Avalon inside scoop: If you look closely at the image in my hand in the last picture, you will see a sneak peak of the book cover for the sequel to Merlin’s Prophecy. We’ll keep you posted on the publishing progress of Dee-Marie’s next book!