And my top ridiculous source of procrastination this week is…

Drumroll please.

80s POWER BALLADS!

Betcha didn’t see that one coming.

Oh yes, the power ballad is a dangerous time suck. It all started when I went of Facebook (I realize that therein lies the problem, but anyway), and I clicked on a post of Sarah McLachlan and Pink singing In The Arms of the Angel – not a 80s power ballad, I know, but stay with me. (On a side note, I have come across an alarming number of men from my generation who have professed that they would like Sarah to have their respective babies. This always makes my forehead crinkle into its pondering state.) While I was listening, I, of course, made the mistake of looking at that right column of suggestions, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Total Eclipse of The Heart. Well, it was all downhill from there. Here’s how I spent the half hour that follow. (You have to imagine my clenched fist in the air and a very pained expression on my face as you read the list).

1) Total Eclipse of the Heart

Bonnie Tyler

*warning the video might give you nightmares* WTF was that?

….which lead to…

2) I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore

REO Speedwagon

…which lead to…

3) I Want to Know What Love Is

Foreigner

…which almost led to Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting for You, but, come on, I’m not that desperate…

4) Joey

Concrete Blonde

Okay, so Joey isn’t really a power ballad and it was released in 1990, but it makes me want to cry, so it’s on the list!

…next came…

5) Love Bites

Def Leppard

Oh my God! Suddenly I’ve been transported back to Grade Eight! I’m in my grade school gym! I can smell the pre-pubescent sweat that comes with dancing to Banarama. I’m desperately in love. Will he ask me to dance? Oh the sweet, sweet pain. Too…much…emotion.

…and finally…

6) Alone

Heart

I consider it the great tragedy of my life that I can’t sing like Ann Wilson. I would even tease my hair to sing like Ann Wilson.

 

There you have it. I’m spent. Maybe I can get some work done now…or maybe I’ll pull out a yearbook or two.

Still Loving Fall

moody

Photo: Barry Wallace

Sometimes I wish I could be a different kind of writer – the moody/broody kind. Then I could write a ghost story to go with this picture. It would have to be something dark…that most likely ended with a woman in white drowning in a nearby lake. Alas, I am not that kind of writer. If I tried, I think we all know it would devolve into a Scooby Doo episode. That being said, if you know any good ghost stories a la The Woman in Black, please let me know. I’m definitely in the mood.

Who’s a pretty pumpkin?

pumpkin

Photo Credit: Barry Wallace aka my Dad http://cameraonking.blogspot.ca/2014/10/pumpkins-at-marylake.html

That’s right. You’re a pretty pumpkin.

I am not a fan of winter, but there is something about the fall that just gets my juices flowing. I love blustery days with moody skies. They make me want to read something Victorian, preferably with a murder. My head also fills up with a thousand stories I’ll probably never write. This picture, for example, makes me want to write about pumpkins, but Cinderella had to go and corner that market.

Anyone else feel more creative in the fall? And please comment if you have any book suggestions to go with howling winds. The forecast looks threatening…

Five Signs I’m Getting Old

1. I find Dougal more attractive than Jamie. I do. Maybe it’s the power. Maybe it’s that Scottish burr. Maybe it’s that beard with the jaunty tam. Or maybe I just like to say the name Dougal with a Scottish accent. Whatever the reason, I just can’t help but think he’d be so much more interesting than Jamie, who, despite his fantastic physical appeal, reminds me a little of a puppy.

Dougal

 

(Now, before you say it, I know, I know, Dougal is at times creepy/criminal, but I’ve got the fanfic rewrite covered in my head where I take the creepy bits outs. I know her Ladyship Gabaldon doesn’t like Fanfic, but to that I say, “You can’t police my head lady!” There. I feel better.

2. I bruise very easily these days. I’ve played soccer my entire life, and never before have I had bruises like these:

bruises

My father noticed these bruises and asked, “Are you taking pain relievers before the game?” To which I replied, “Of course. Doesn’t everybody?” His reply, “It’s the blood-thinners Auralee.” He then added, “Man, you’re getting old.”

Yeah, well, not as old as you, Dad.

3. I can no longer easily picture a menage a trois with me and the Winchester brothers.

Winchester brothers

I don’t know what it is. I’m about the same age as Jensen. Maybe it’s the fact that the age of the women they date on the show never seems to change. Maybe all their “damage” is getting to be a little bit of turnoff (more on this later). Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m now folding the laundry of three children while I’m watching them, and really they would just be another thing to do.

Don’t worry though. Just because I can’t easily picture it, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ll redouble my efforts.

4. I don’t remember what four was! Seriously. I don’t. And I can’t be bothered to try to remember. On the plus side, my reaction to most unpleasant things these days is Meh. Such a relief from the drama of my twenties.

5. NA fiction turns me into Archie Bunker.

Archie Bunker

 

This may sound strange given that my stuff could be considered NA, and I do believe it can be done well, but when it isn’t…man, the addiction/glorification to dysfunction makes me want to ralph (I thought I throw in the eighties euphemism there just to reinforce the point that I’m getting old). When it comes to NA, I often find myself thinking, Get a job. Get a haircut. Your incessant navel gazing makes me want to slap you.

Hmm, I think my approach to this stage of life may need to soften before my kids become teenagers.

 

SO there you have it. I’m getting old. And yet, I would hate to leave the impression that I’m upset by this. I do find aging process fascinating, and, besides, if I went back to being 20, well, then I’d want to slap myself…and then I’d become just another NA heroine who hates herself!  *shudders* (What do the asterisks mean anyway? Just kidding. I understand The Twitter.)

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet

 

P pic

A Love Story, 250 Million Years In The Making Seven astronauts en route to Mars encounter a time warp in space that disables their ship. Crash landing on Earth, they discover an alien planet sixty million years before the dinosaurs. Pangaea, the super continent, is filled with danger and terror, as they must survive against fierce reptiles that ruled the Earth 250 million years in the past! 

 

I recently wrote a post entitled, A Discourse on B-movies, Comic Books, Pulp…and Swamp Thing. That post was in part inspired by Tom Johnson. You may recall I have blogged about Tom Johnson’s kindness and expertise in the past (found here), but today I want to write about one of his latest works, PANGAEA: EDEN’S PLANET.

Let me say, I have long been fascinated by Pulp, but it wasn’t until I picked up this book that I realized I hadn’t ever really read Pulp….unless you consider Sherlock Holmes early pulp fiction, but that is an argument for another time. I’ve read a lot of comic books, I’ve watched a lot of B-movies, and I’ve seen a lot of parodies of Pulp fiction on TV – all of which overlap – but I can’t recall a single book, so delving into Tom Johnson’s work was a treat for me. What’s not to love about ray guns and spears, spaceships and jungles, volcanoes and monsters… beautiful, beautiful prehistoric monsters? I don’t know about you, but they leave me with tingles all over.

In Tom’s words,

Pangaea: Eden’s Planet is a character-driven novel and focuses on seven astronauts on a mission to Mars to begin a terra-farming project after a nuclear war on Earth. But problems arise when they enter a space anomaly that disables their ship, sending them back in time. The planet’s gravity pulls them back to Earth, where they crash land on an alien world 250 million years in the past. Their mission now turns into a survival situation, as fierce reptiles of the Permian Period, as well as explosive nature, endangers their very lives.

What I love about Tom’s work is that when you immerse yourself in it, you feel like you are reading something authentic, written by an expert. I took so much pleasure in the security that the language, setting, and characters were being handled exactly as they should. I never once felt jarred by a term that felt disingenuous or a plot device misused. Plus, there were so many instances where I thought I should have seen something coming, but I just didn’t…I was too lost in the story. Take this small snippet from when the ship first finds itself in danger…

Lightning bolts of pure energy sparked and criss-crossed the tornado-like funnel in a spider-web of violent beauty, at the far end appeared to be a gaping monster’s mouth. But the plasma would not let them go, tossing them around like the prey of some monstrous space creature. 

Oh, how I love this kind of prose.

And not to go off on a tangent, but I just had to share this beauty from another one of Tom’s works, a short story entitled, The Black Cat.

The room erupted in gunfire as those .38s spewed deadly lead towards four murderers. Rapiers of red flame lanced the air in the apartment, bringing swift death on hornets’ wings.

 

So if you are looking for a fun, fast-paced action-adventure check out PANGAEA: Eden’s Planet.

If you’re looking to delve into the world of Pulp, I highly recommend you check out Tom’s blog, PULP DEN.

And finally to find more of Tom’s work check out his Amazon Page.

 

 

Image of Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson was a voracious reader from childhood beginning with the Golden Age comic books to classic literature. Exciting adventure stories entertained him until he discovered science fiction and hardboiled detective mysteries. By his early twenties, he discovered The Shadow and Doc Savage pulp reprints in paperbacks, and was hooked on the fast-paced action novel. This led to collecting and research, which eventually interested him in writing. Today, he still loves an exciting action novel over movies and television. Tom and his wife, Ginger have received numerous awards in the field for their work in keeping the old stories in the spotlight for new readers seeking escape in a thrilling adventure novel.

 

 

A Discourse on B-movies, Comic Books, Pulp…and Swamp Thing.

If you’ve read my bio, you know that I am a lover of B-movies, comic books, and Pulp. I still remember very clearly coming to my parents one day at the age of maybe 13 or 14 and announcing, “I’ve just watched the best movie ever.” Of course they inquired as to what this cinematic gem might be, and I replied, “Swamp Thing”.

Needless to say, they were not overly impressed with my choice, and I think, if I’m remembering correctly, I got a lecture on the representation of women in film. But that didn’t stop my love for classic B-movies…or comic books, or Pulp  in general.

You see, the thing I love about these art forms is that they probe the deeper, darker, scary reaches of our minds (Freud’s id, Stephen King’s primitive alligator brain, etc.). Furthermore, they provide a snapshot, not just of an individual’s demented thoughts, but, to misuse another psychological term, a kind of collective unconscious of different sectors of society at particular times. These forms of entertainment like to theorize about what is bubbling just beneath the surface of polite society. They luridly fictionalize the anxieties people harbor (whether they be gender, racial, financial, or technological, to name just a few)…or worse, the fears they fear other people harbor (I think this is what makes zombie apocalypse stories so compelling. I consider myself civilized, but if society breaks down, will others stay civilized? Will I have to become a monster to survive? I don’t even own a gun…I’m Canadian! It’s a bit of a paranoid loop that ends in mass destruction.) I should also mention that part of the appeal of these art forms is not just the thrill/fascination that comes with fear, but the psychological reassurance they provide. I also clearly remember reading Stephen King as a teenager and thinking, Oh thank God, I’m not the only one who has these thoughts. In fact, this guy may be worse than I am. And he is a bestseller! So lots of people must think in less than civilized ways…at least some of the time. Essentially, the message I received was I’m not alone, and I’m not bad.

zombie hug

Now, herein lies the danger. Critics of these movies, magazines, books rightly argue that consumers shouldn’t consume these deviant messages, feel the reassurance, and take that to mean that it’s not only okay to have these thoughts, but it’s okay to act on them. I agree. I did love Swamp Thing, but when I try to recall the actual movie all I can really remember is Adrienne Barbeau running in a tight fatigue top while screaming. Not a great aspiration for a young lady (although to be fair, I think she was a running, screaming scientist). So perhaps impressionable children shouldn’t be allowed to have at these forms of entertainment…at least, not without their critical thinking caps on. But I also believe that art is the perfect forum to express anxieties, to theorize about the make-up of society, and to put a thought out there to be torn apart. And I will continue to consume, deconstruct, and enjoy these genres with great vigor.

Hmm, I wonder where I can get a copy of Swamp Thing?

Thanks for reading!

Auralee