The Utter Heartbreak of Defeat

DISCLAIMER: SAD RAW POST. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Well, it’s official. We lost the battle against CANCER. My dad, the best dad in the world, died on Monday, March 11th, at 6:30 in the morning.

We (my mom and I) tried all he would allow. Cannabis oil, made the Rick Simpson way, was the alternative treatment of choice, and we had so much hope, but my dad was too afraid to opt-out of chemotherapy as an option. He believed it would save him, even though the doctor told him it would not! That it would only prolong his life (which it most certainly did NOT). We tried to explain to Dad that in his case, stage 4 lung cancer, chemo was the worst choice! He was just too afraid and believed in Doctors-as-God too much.

I feel strongly that the chemo not only sped up his demise by growing the tumors at an alarming rate, but it built a toxic wall against the hemp. The hemp plant may be strong and all-powerful, but it doesn’t stand a chance against chemotherapy. Chemo is just too strong, too toxic, and too poisonous to compete with. I urge people who wish to try this alternative to ONLY do it without chemo if you hope to cure yourself of the disease. Do it FIRST, while there might be time to try it as a successful cure before ever infusing yourself with the poison the pharmaceutical companies make so much money on. That is all it is. It killed my father. He is dead because of cancer, sure, but he died FAST and HARD, and he SUFFERED IMMENSELY because of the chemo-therapy that was supposed to extend his life. It made him sick, it spread and grew the cancer, and it killed him.

I know this is true for a few reasons:

1) We started him on hemp oil four days after his first chemo infusion. He went on to have a second infusion (while remaining on 1 grams/day of the oil) and had a scan to check progress. The tumors had all shrunk by 30% across the board. AMAZING findings. Not typical or possible after only two chemo infusions. Chemo is cumulative… that’s the point. That’s why you have so many infusions, then stop because your body can’t handle any more.

2) Since chemo is cumulative, and everyone will tell you that, by the third infusion, the wall was too thick and strong, and the hemp only worked to quell side effects of the poison. It could no longer fight for him. It could no longer take those tumors down. Chemo took over and accelerated his demise, grew the tumors three-fold, and made him suffer worse. 100%. No doubt.

3) I feel that our trip to Europe (part of my dad’s bucket list) also played a role in this. He seemed MUCH WORSE once over there. And even worse than that when we returned. I feel the air travel did something wrong, (the altitude, maybe?) accelerated something already looming… Tumor size increased more after that. Now he was in constant, excruciating pain, that nothing helped. No amount of opiates, no amount of hemp oil, NOTHING. ='(

4) He had surgery to cut out some of the large tumor on his spine (C3-C7). It seemed like when they cut into him, the floodgates broke loose completely and he never recovered from a surgery that was supposed to relieve his intense pain. He died in 9 days. We barely got him home in time. My mom and I were with him the last 9 hours of his life, and those were the most traumatic for all of us. He suffered incredibly while we stood helpless at his bedside.

My heart is broken. We lost the fight. If only he’d not been afraid to try the hemp on its own. I believe the 7-in-10-cured-with-hemp-oil statistics. It was working for him based on the initial shrinkage and I will never forget that. If I get cancer, it’s the thing I will try first and foremost. But I couldn’t convince Dad. And I am so broken about it. Why didn’t he try? Why was he so afraid to believe? Why did he think it was the chemo that shrunk the tumors in the beginning? No way! It absolutely was not.

But I did the best I could… I hope this information / experience will help someone else find the best therapy option if a loved one gets the dreaded diagnosis. When the cancer is first detected, immediately get on the hemp oil, radically change your diet and look for community resources to do so (we had one called The Ceres Community Project, but even that my Dad wasn’t wiling to do because he didn’t like the food). Oh, Dad… how I miss you.

With the heaviest heart I’ve ever known,

Gianna

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Cancer vs. Cannabis Oil – Part 2

Quick update:

Amazing news!!! My dad had his PET scan done just before his third chemo infusion.  At the point it was done, he had undergone two treatments of chemo and one full month (+ a few days) on hemp oil.

His tumors have shrunk more than 30%!!!

The oncologist even dared to say, “Could be closer to 40% because we did not get a midway scan and I’m sure the tumors had grown in between scan one in July and this scan two in October.”

We are very optimistic.  We also enrolled my father in something called “The Castle Study,” where they took his biopsied cancer tissue and sent it to a lab to follow my dad’s progress with the chemo they are giving him.  After two treatments, the tissues show no response while my dad’s tumors have shrunk!  What’s that say?  😉  Thank you, cannabis oil!

More to follow…

 

Cancer vs. Cannabis Oil – Part 1

It’s been a long while since I posted. The reason is quite simple: life. Mine has been bombarded with ill-fortune. And instead of remaining silent, because I’m not the silent type, I’m going to document it here for all to see.

I’ve decided to weave in real-life, non-fiction posts of life according to Gianna Perada, along with my regular writing-related posts. It’ll make my blog much more interesting, don’t you think? 😉

So what’s been keeping me away? My dad. My parents and I are very close. They are still married (shocker, I know, in this day and age) and very much in love. Dad has been diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCLC (non-small-cell lung cancer) which is metastatic (spread to) his cervical lymph node and brain. Not a good scene at all. He’s only 63 and was NOT sick, really, before all this happened.

How’d they find it then, you ask? Well, his general practitioner was a quack. Seriously. That man kept throwing pills at my dad like candy, and finally there were issues and counteractions that landed my dad in the hospital for an emergency MRI to try to figure out why he was seeing double and walking/feeling funny. In that scan they discovered “lesions” on his chest and brain.

After what seemed like FOREVER and a million tests and doctor visits and consultations with said doctors later (a full month plus passed during this waiting period), a diagnosis was made. It would be a couple of weeks STILL before they ever started treatment. What was with all the waiting? They did TWO CT scans on my dad (a man with cancer) in about 10 days. They opted to do a third when my mother stepped in and forbade it. Okay, fine, they said, we’ll do an MRI instead. Thank you. Ugh. Keep your radiation to an only-if-absolutely needed minimum, please.

In all this waiting and stressing and freaking out (for all of us), I turned to my own research in alternative medicines. I’ve always been one to try alternative or natural remedies first, but I’m not stupid; I KNOW that cancer is the real deal and can be fatal (and is a death sentence more often than not). But there was something I heard about in my earlier research: Hemp (Cannabis) Oil. Not to be confused with HempSEED oil in stores. 😉

There is a man named Rick Simpson who started an organization called Phoenix Tears. He (re)discovered this medicine, treated his own melanoma skin cancers successfully (in four days, mind you), and grew, produced, and shared this oil FOR FREE to Canadian residents who came to him seeking help with their serious illnesses (including cancer). After being treated like a criminal for never charging a dime to try and save lives, Rick took to Europe where he is currently living out of a suitcase and fighting the good fight: trying to get this medicine proper recognition so it can be used in the medical field to save 7 in 10 cancer patients, etc. He is doing it for all of us and I think that is just amazing. You can read more about Rick HERE. Produced properly, this oil can cure just about anything, and this is not a new concept. It’s been around for so many years and was used, up until pretty recently, in many medications for various ailments.

Back to my dad. Feeling immense hope with the 70% success rate seen with properly produced cannabis oil, I set out to find my dad the Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). I live in California, which made this a bit easier, and I also carry a MMJ card (as does my dad), so we’re legal to do so (in case you’re wondering). 😉 The first batch I found was through some friends. There was a verbal agreement that since my dad was sick, and this was to be used as medicine and a possible cure for his condition, we would get a reduced “patient” rate. Well, we were given a completely different story when we went to get our second round and the price was going to be jacked way up.

Frustrated beyond belief that anyone would do this to a cancer patient, let alone MY FATHER (I’m a lioness when it comes to protecting the people I love), I was forced to dig really deep for what I needed to continue the path to a potential cure. Luckily, since I am very good at being honest and articulate with my words, I found exactly what I was looking for and some amazing people came out of the woodwork wanting to help us in our fight against cancer!

We purchased a little bit for a patient rate (very reduced) and we also received some free oil. We now have a way to get enough as needed to complete first round, then have another person in Oregon who will help us with a medical card. He will let us make our own there (where it is legal to do so), and dad will always have the medicine he needs to live! I am beyond grateful for the work Rick Simpson has done and the information he has put out there, and also for the medical cannabis community as a whole (not the drug dealers, but the real people that are making the medicine and fighting to get it out there in the public arena). Some people truly care and are not out to make a buck off the sick. NOTHING like what we’re finding at the hospitals where you are infused with poison and your bank accounts emptied by co-pays… and often times, you’re made sicker. Not always, but alarmingly so.

We found that first batch of oil to be pretty weak in comparison to the new oil we got (the real RSO). I hope we didn’t lose too much time on the weaker “street” stuff. Though I also believe it helped build up his tolerance to ingesting it. He is on a gram a day no problem, really, except for sleepiness, which is good for the healing process.

Rick recommends getting a patient slowly up to the tolerance of 1 gram a day as fast as possible, and continuing to take that amount until consuming 60 grams… that’s without any damage from chemo (poison!). Since my dad is a hard-headed, full-blooded, stubborn Sicilian, and believes he should only do what the doctors say, he is going through chemo as well. Ugh. I say “ugh” because at his stage, there is no hope for remission. Our oncologist flat out told us that. The chemo can only extend his life. But at what cost? He feels like SHIT. But, still wants to proceed for a total of four treatments. As much as that kills me, at LEAST he’s open to taking hemp oil as well (and we told his doctor at UCSF and he was totally interested and okay with it — gave us a clear GREEN light, which was a good thing!).

I plan to have my dad take at least 120 grams total over that many days, and then maintenance doses for the rest of his life (just a rice-grain size or so at bedtime). He is up to a gram a day, and we did acquire much stronger, actual RSO, and the difference is apparent. My dad no longer has any neck pain or headaches… and he is no longer spitting blood. (!) He’d been on the weaker oil two weeks, and now the real deal oil for two weeks. He had a PET scan today. I’m very anxious to see if there is any good news yet. My fingers are crossed. I’ll post an update after Friday when we get the results of the scan.

This is a race for a true cure for my dad so that he can remain in our lives in the flesh. Nothing more and nothing less. This is not about “drugs” or getting high (though that is an added benefit for him since it helps him not feel as sick from the horrible chemo!). It is about an old medicine that has been around forever, put on this planet for a reason. A beautiful, miraculous, cure-all plant… I want it with all my heart to save my father’s life.

Stay tuned…

Do you believe in ghosts? Story #2

Another paranormal encounter unveiled. This was a guest post I wrote for Mother/Gamer/Writer during my recent BLOOD LIFE book tour.

I love the idea that we are not alone. And I don’t mean aliens, although aliens are cool, too. I mean ghosts, spirits, beings, guardian angels, apparitions, entities, orbs, whatever you want to call them; I love them. And I completely believe because I’ve had experiences throughout my life that have proven to me that they exist, and if we allow ourselves to see them, we just might.

So, I thought it’d be fun to share one of my encounters with you. Hopefully it will open you up to do the same here and not be afraid to comment on what I’ve shared.

When I was 10-going-on-20, my parents left my brother in charge of me while they went out on the town for a date night. My brother was kind of a rebellious brat and took off with some friends instead, leaving me home alone! But, honestly, I didn’t mind. I just locked myself in tight and decided to take a bath, listening to the TV in the background.

While I was in the bathtub, the TV volume shot all the way up. The really eerie thing was that this was back in the early 80’s. We didn’t have a remote control. You had to physically turn a knob on the TV to turn it up, and that particular knob made a lot of static-y noise while it was being turned up—which it did! I sat up wide-eyed for a moment, deciding what to do. I slowly stood up, gathered my robe, and ventured out to investigate. I was a pretty brave little kid. There I stood defiantly in my parents’ bedroom in front of the TV, just staring at it, feeling the baby hairs on the nape of my neck rising and the skin on my back crawling. It was not a welcoming feeling, and the room seemed to close in on me a little. I realized I was scared, truly scared because I could feel something in the room with me, and it didn’t seem friendly or welcoming.

I backed away from the TV and onto my parent’s bed. That’s when my brother came home. I was so glad to see him. I told him what happened and he tried to convince me I was imagining things. I explained the knob and the volume and all that, but he shrugged it off and went to bed. I promptly followed him.

As I lie in my own bed, with the sheets up to my nose, still feeling uneasy, I looked at the open doorway to find beautiful, Victorian-looking men and women waltzing by my bedroom door! It was incredible. And soothing. I must have watched this go on for an hour before I heard keys in the front door. My parents had returned, and the beautiful “friendly” ghosts ceased to dance down our hallway.

To this day, I’m not sure what that was all about. The dancing figures were beautiful and warm and left me with a sense of serenity. They were not threatening at all; however, the force that turned up the TV was, because my intuition reacted very differently. What do you think? Was my house truly being haunted that night by two sets of entities, or was it just a girl alone at home with a vivid imagination . . . and mild telekinesis? 😉

Tour Stop #1: Sassy Book Lovers Interview

I’ll re-post any interviews that happen along the way for my Dark Minds Book Tour, just in case you missed them. But you should really visit the site if you’d like the full experience.  =) They all have giveaways to offer, and some give their review of the book as well.

This interview courtesy of Sassy Book Lovers.  Enjoy!  I’m always quite the candid one. 😉

Q1. What or who inspired you to become a writer?

Early on, I was drawn to paranormal stories and dark twisty movies. My family is full of creative genius; I guess it was always in my blood and there wasn’t one single trigger to get me going on the thought. Although, Blood Life was inspired by a paper I wrote on vampires in junior college. The professor hated my topic and gave me a D, even though it was a great paper. So, I left her class after telling her off and went home to start writing the first draft. 😉

Q2. Who is your favourite Author & what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have many favorite authors. I guess the author that truly inspired me to write about vampires was Anne Rice. Her intricate, romantic, and dark alluring worlds intrigued me. Her way with words really spoke to me and resembled mine (at least I thought so).

Q3. What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Letting it be finished. I couldn’t let it go. I kept revising and reediting it. That’s why it took me 15 years from start to finish. That won’t happen with the next book. The first born is always a little special.

Q4. Has the paranormal been something that has always interested you?

Always! Ever since I can remember; even as a little tiny girl.

Q5. What was your favourite chapter to write and why?

I’d say my favorite was the first sex scene between Roman and Alexandria. I am a very passionate person, so writing erotica like that came so naturally and exciting. I’ve toned it way down since the first draft, let me tell you… only because I felt what is there now is enough for that story. Had it been a straight erotica story, I would have left it as it was originally.

Q6. What was the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your book?

That I can really tell a story from beginning to end! It was such a trip to piece it together, and this particular book, since it was written over the span of 15 years, has undertones that tell the story of my life and growth as a writer and a person. It’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Q7. Do you ever experience writers block?

Yes! Usually when I’m stressed out in my daily life. Stress really affects my writing.

Q8. What is the last book you read?

“Inside the Outside” by Martin Lastrapes. Excellent book!

Q9. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?

My inner witch, Devendra. She’s the bomb. I love everything about her.

Q10. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Exercise. Watch movies. Have coffee/tea with good company. Watch live music. Read. Cuddle.

Q11. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

The first thing I wanted to be was a nun (I went to catholic school). That quickly turned into a bus driver (WTF?) and then a veterinarian. Writer came next and stuck. =)

Q12. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Me… Or Madeline Stowe. Or Sherilyn Fenn. Or Monica Bellucci.

Q13. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, always remain true to yourself. Don’t write for others; write for you. And write with all your heart.

Q14. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Thanks for giving my debut a chance and for your amazing support! More to come, even stronger than the first, so stay tuned! =)

Some quick questions…

Q15. Light or Dark chocolate?

Dark

Q16. Sunrise or Sunset?

Sunset

Q17. Dogs or Cats?

Cats

Q18. Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Q19. Favorite Colour?

Purple

Q20. Favourite Disney movie?

Old Yeller

Paranormal Encounters: Do You Believe? Story #1

I think the main reason I write about the paranormal at all is due to unexplained life experiences. I am drawn to the supernatural. I believe in ghosts because I’ve seen them, felt them nearby, been touched by them, and even saved by one.

That last one, “saved” by one, refers to the time I was hit by a car at 16 years old. There I was riding my bike IN THE BIKE LANE (apparently silly me?) when a car swerved and crashed into me from behind at about 35 mph. I only heard this happening behind me, along with a cry from my boyfriend at the time to “look out!” I had no time to react as the car hit me, but in the seconds between impact and consequence of impact, I literally felt hands under my arms, at the arm pits, lifting me up and tossing me to the side. My bike was tangled up in the vehicle, and sent with gravity up and backward into the windshield, making a nice spiderweb crack, and then moving up and over the top, landing in the rear of the vehicle, a bit mangled. Wrecked, actually, beyond repair.

I, on the other hand, landed off to the right side with only a broken wrist (which protected my face from the pavement on instinct) and a banged-up hip that pops to this day. Officers at the scene were amazed, perplexed even, as to how I ended up where I did. They were quoted saying, “Judging by the impact, you should have been lifted up with the bike and taken for a much worse ride. You’re one lucky girl!” I didn’t tell them what I felt happen.

The interesting thing: my grandfather, whom I was very close to, had died only a week or so earlier, and his hospice nurse happened to drive by at the precise moment to witness this accident. She saw the whole thing and, as she comforted me while we waited for transport to the hospital, asked me what happened; how I ended up where I did? I felt compelled to tell her exactly what I’d experienced, and to my relief, she attributed it to my grandfather’s spirit watching over me. I completely agreed. That was a nice experience. My heart was warmed and I felt safe.

However, that’s not always the case. Another noteworthy experience happened just a couple of years later. My group of friends at the time developed a fondness of going to the graveyard at night, saying it was a very active graveyard and if you went enough, you might actually see something. They’d gone countless times before I ever joined them. And when I finally agreed to go, an active night it was!

This was one of my more haunting encounters, one that followed me around for years. There we were in the heart of the Petaluma graveyard at around 11:30 p.m. Out of nowhere, all of us pointed at the exact same time to a group of headstones where we witnessed several “people” running and crouching between them. Only, there were pebbles and dead leaves all along where they were moving and not a sound produced. Then these “people” seemed to notice us, and responded by moving straight toward us (still producing no sound on the leaves). In fact, they seemed to float.

We ran like crazy. For some reason, I was trailing behind (like the typical female in a horror movie). Except I didn’t trip over anything. I was doing just fine until all of the sudden I felt something tug fiercely at my shirt, which knocked me back a few steps. I turned around to see where they were, kind of a dumb move, but purely out of instinct, and right there in front of me was what I want to call a shadow of an adult male form. I felt a tug at my wrist, and then a slight push that knocked me off balance and into a tree behind me. I wiggled away and continued to run, not looking back until I reached the group. My friends had seen this happen to me, but didn’t make a move to help. They were all too scared! I guess I would have been, too, but thanks guys!

After that night, they begged me to go every time they went. Those crazies continued to go! But never saw anything except for the night that I went with them, so they were convinced that I was some sort of “key.” Great. Not the kind of key I’d like to be. Those spirits were mean. No thanks! Not something to mess around with.

For years I would see these shadowy figures from the corner of my eye, but when I turned to look closer, they’d be gone. I thought, “Okay, this is just my nerves. I’ve been traumatized. I’ll get over it.” One night I was driving down the 101 freeway with my best friend at the time and right there in the center of the lane was a “shadow man.” Thinking I wasn’t really seeing anything at all, my friend yells, “Look out!!” I drove right through it and she freaked out, looking at me in disbelief. I pulled off the freeway and explained everything to her. She believed me, thank goodness, and talked me into attending a free “healing” at the Berkeley Psychic Institute (Santa Rosa location). That she’d been wanting to go try it out for a while and what a perfect reason to go.

We showed up at the door on one of their free community nights. A woman by the name of Jane greeted us. She was so warm and inviting. It was myself and two girlfriends. They went in first, but I was blocked by Jane immediately. She looked at me wide-eyed and said, “Oh, no, not you! You need to be cleared first.”

What?!

After “clearing” me, she allowed me inside, pulled me right over to her area, and proceeded to tell me that I had beings all around my space. Some good and some bad. She was going to clear away the bad. I then told her of my recent experience and she nodded as if she knew the whole story already. She also said I had been a powerful witch in a past life, and that the spirits around me were quite attached to me. They couldn’t let me go, so I might have “bouts” of experiences with them for the rest of my life, but she also made the point to say that I was strong enough to keep them at bay myself. If they ever overwhelmed me, like they had been of late, I was to look her up for a true cleansing.

Wow. What do you say to that? Sounds a little hokey, and if I hadn’t experienced it all first-hand, I might have agreed with that. But I’d had many paranormal experiences since I was a child. And now it all made sense to me. Sorta. Apparently, I was sensitive to energy. At least that’s what Jane believed, but I never found her again. Which was also strange to me. Then  again, I only knew her as “Jane.” No last name, so that didn’t help.

There have been more experiences, but those were the biggest, most noteworthy to blog about. Do you believe in spirits or beings? Have you ever been haunted or saved by one? Share your experiences with me! I’d love to hear them, and I am a believer, so you won’t have any flaming here.  At least not by me.  😉

My First Author Interview

I am so excited this morning.

I woke up to an email from Martin Lastrapes, award-winning author of Inside the Outside, letting me know that he had posted my first-ever author interview. That’s right. I’ve now been officially de-virginized and you can “read all about it” on his blog.

He asked me 10 questions which I answered with raw honesty, added links and pictures, and truly made me feel like a star. I can’t thank him enough for being a great new friend, an amazingly talented author, and a generally super cool person.

So if you have a few minutes this morning (or afternoon or evening), please check out my interview and let me know your thoughts. Ask me anything and I will answer honestly. ❤

Growing Pains (of life and writing)

By now, if you are following my blog at all, you’ve learned that I am a writer. Duh, I say it constantly (haha!). Also that I wrote and self-published my first full-length, horror fiction novel, Blood Life. In case this is your first visit, the book is about vampires, witches, magic, violence, and sex. It is set in a fictional world (which was designed to be forgiving of language style and surroundings). It is much different than Twilight, and there is no sparkling Edward Cullen. There are, however, weak protagonists, like Bella Swan, but mine become much stronger with time, aging like fine wine.

Character interactions are vast and intriguing, maybe even infuriating at times. There is Roman and Devendra, Roman and Alexandria, Roman and Alethea (he sounds a little slutty at this point, but when you read it, you’ll see how that works). There’s also Lokee and Lorien. Seth and Lorien. Lillith and Silas.  Just throwing names out there because I love these characters and their crazy relationships.  My point being, there’s a lot to this book. It is a deep, multi-faceted thriller adventure in disguise. It’s magical and unique for a debut, but also true to form, there are some issues with the plot and I’m not too proud to admit that or to point them out.  It’s part of becoming a better writer, after all!

Although I pull everything together nicely in the end, I’m prepared for heavy critiquing from some readers, and just plain love of the story from others who are just reading and getting hooked (and not reviewing, per se). I let the book out there knowing this full well. I had to release it, because I had been writing it for such a long time, and until I finally let it go, I could not focus on anything else.  It was almost therapeutic to do so. And if you read it closely, you might see the 15-year span of growth in me as a writer peppered throughout in rewrites.  If I’d tried to revise any more of it, I may have just scrapped it, and it was too good of story to do that.  😉

Why am I saying all this? Well, because the prequel, Devendra, is coming out so well! It is written completely in my present frame of mind. And I don’t think it would have been channeled from brain to fingers quite as deliciously had I actually written it first.  As I write it now, I’m moved in a way I cannot describe, and moving yourself is key (moving others is the ultimate goal, but you catch my drift). And I have so much more to come: two more vampire/witch books, a female serial killer by the name of Z (you’re gonna love her), and a phantom ghost lover of a girl living in a place much like hell on earth.

So as the reviews are rolling in for Blood Life, I’m feeling motivated and fulfilled. I’ve heard things from “It reads like a movie!” to “I don’t read this genre normally, but the story really hooked me!” to “I love your mind!” to “Please keep writing!” All of those bits of feedback have really satisfied my ego. And not in a conceited way, but in a pleasing, humble way. I’m very proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. And most of all, I thank you, the reader, for reading my story and giving it a chance! Whether you love it, like it, or hate it, I appreciate you for taking the time to look at it and consider it. Hats off to you. ❤

5 of my favorite lesser-known freaky films.

Happy Friday and first day of June! I’m doing another Top 5 list because… well, just because.

I love horror movies. 

Always have, always will. I wish I had a friend that liked horror as much so I could make a regular movie night with them. Instead, I end up watching a lot of them alone because I seem to be the only one in my inner circle that enjoys it. And I’m the weird one. At least that makes for a creepier experience?

I think the first horror film I saw was David Lynch’s Eraserhead. I realize that isn’t necessary categorized as horror, per se, but to a 5- or 6-year-old mind, it’s definitely scary movie quality. I was entirely engrossed by the dancing cornish gamehens that oozed in their hot pan of death. Never ate one again (ever, come to think of it, since I don’t believe I had one prior to turning 5). Although I loved this movie, and it planted a rare seed in my dark little mind, it’s not on this list. I’m sticking to true horror, and my definition of it in this day and age of gore. Gore is cool and fun, but really not all my thing. Don’t misunderstand me, I like it, it’s a natural element of horror, and some of the movies below will have a fair share of gore, but I get annoyed when that’s all the movie focuses on. I’m into TERROR and being terrorized. It’s almost like a good porno. One with a plot that you can get into. Yes, I like good porn, like Behind the Green Door with Marilyn Chambers (also in Rabid, a horror film). But that would be another post entirely. 😉

Maybe I’m just old (not really that old) so my brain is wired differently. For instance, Ichi the Killer was fun, but just way over the I-want-to-get-as-bloody-spurty-good-as-I-can scale. And it didn’t scare me at all. Not one bit. It actually kinda irritated me because I watched it thinking I’d be freaked out. I wasn’t. That said, I like a lot of foreign horror. But my personal favorite all-time American horror movie is The Exorcist. Not surprising. That movie is truly frightening, engaging, and nightmare-inducing for me to this day. I’ve seen it a million times. Even in the womb, as my mother went to see it in the theater with my dad when she was pregnant with me and had to leave half-way through because she was afraid I’d come out possessed. hehe

So here’s my obscure list. Maybe not to all, but to some, I’m sure these will be new and I consider them should-definitely-see’s. And none of them got very good reviews. They’re all in the mid-range. Watch and see what YOU think of them!

#5: Session 9, 2001. Written and directed by Brad Anderson. CREEPY insane asylum ruins where the spirits of the mistreated patients are restless. I don’t think I need to say any more! So very creepy. I loved this movie! Got it for like $3 at a Blockbuster clearance event and so happy I picked it up. The deep scary voice from this movie – actually from the perpetrator – lives in my nightmares now (along with Candyman’s – but he’s not on this list).

#4: Wolf Creek, 2005. Written and directed by Greg Mclean. I’m really into horror films with scenarios of things that really could happen. Slashers are fun, I adore them, but these are the types I really love. Wolf Creek is one of those movies. A group of friends are stranded in the Australian outback. There is no escape! Crazy family catches their scent, makes their “friendly” move to help, and the rest is a fight for survival with little to no means of possible escape. And the killers are brutal and unforgiving. And I’ve heard the outback is a scary place to be stranded as it is. After seeing Wolf Creek, I doubt I’ll ever feel the itch to find out myself. EEK!

#3: The Strangers, 2008. Written and directed by Bryan Bertino. I want more from this director! I loved the pace and talk about feeling like you’re there in the film with them! It was absolutely spine-tingling, the feeling of Liv’s apprehension and terror. Also, the being home alone and terrorized by a senseless violence so deep it stays with you. Example: “Kristen: Why are you doing this to us? Pin-Up Girl: [pause] Because you were home.” That’s the most frightening to me. You never see the killers’ faces, all the more alluring. And one more memorable interaction from the film: “Dollface: [referring to Christian Living pamphlet] Can I have one? Mormon Boy #1: Are you a sinner? Dollface: [after long pause] Sometimes.” Really? Sometimes?! After just slaughtering a couple in their home for no other reason than because they were home. C-H-I-L-L-I-N-G!

#2: The Collector, 2009. Directed by Marcus Dunstan. In the style of an intense torture fest, The Collector does it with… dare I say a fresh, exciting, hooking tone. Yes, I said hooking. Unknown, masked killer enters and successfully boobie traps the home of a family that a construction worker/ex-con has come to rob to help his own family out of a terrible crisis. There are two story lines going on and it is done without confusion. The traps are great. The terror of being held captive emanates through the screen; you really feel like you’re in it. GREAT movie.  And the soundtrack rocks, too. Bonus.

#1: A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003. Written and directed by South Korean director, Jee-woon Kim. This movie is FABULOUS! I can’t rave about it enough. I’m telling you, it is a must-see if nothing else on this list is. It is truly a beautiful, frightening film. The Americans remade it and called it The Uninvited. If I hadn’t loved and seen A Tale of Two Sisters a few times, I may not have realized that was a remake at all.  I don’t believe they make any mention of it as such? Unless I just missed it. But it is undoubtedly the same story with only a few subtle changes. It was okay, but nothing near as good as the original. A true foreign masterpiece. Creepy and chilling to the core. And that is all I’ll say about that one. 😉 And don’t forget to set your subtitles. Dubbing doesn’t do it any justice at all…. and unless you speak Korean, you’ll really miss things without subs. I say this because I gave it to my mom to watch and she didn’t know how to set her DVD player up and thereby watched it in Korean. Then called me to say how scary it was but too bad she couldn’t understand what was happening.  ?!  hehe (Another Honorable Mention by this director is I Saw the Devil.)

Need I say more? If you haven’t seen any of those movies, and you love horror, you really should! Go out and get them. If you have seen them and loved them, can we be horror movie buddies, please? 😉

ENJOY! And please let me know your thoughts / feelings on my choices.  Also feel free to recommend any to me.  I LOVE discovering new, great, otherwise-unknown horror-esque films.

OH, and today is the very last day (for real this time) to get a digital copy of BLOOD LIFE for free for the kindle or kindle app: http://amzn.com/B007OGFR60

The Inner Muse(s)

Last night I got to thinking: How crazy must I sound to people when I try to explain that Devendra, the heroine of my vampire / witch series, kept chattering away at me (picture my arms up next to my face mimicking chattering mouths with my hands and a crazy look on my face), keeping me up at night, until I agreed to write her story? CARRAAZZZYYYYY?! Seriously, when I say it, I feel a little nuts, especially in the moment of silence it produces to the unknowing and understanding person. There’s a look in their eye, a faint glimmer of a question, but it never comes. That action, or lack thereof, causes this curiosity for me.

Do I really care? No, not really. I mean in all honesty, as a writer, I know this is normal behavior. I realize that without Devendra’s constant chattering, I’d have no story. Doesn’t matter how creative I think I am or can be, without her as an inner voice, a character to channel, I’d more likely be a dry well.  I have everything to thank her and the other characters for. They help my stories come to life. I do not write outlines; I sit at my computer, wait for them to make an appearance, and my fingers move to their rhythm. Period.

Also yesterday it occurred to me – aside from a few glorious hours spent with an old friend I rarely get to see – that Z is trying to fight her way into the forefront. She’s resurfacing too soon, as Devendra is at center stage in my mind just now. Z is another character from another world in a completely different story. She is not a vampire or a witch. She is psychic, in fact a psychic profiler for the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide division (specializing in serial killings)… but she is YET TO COME! Her story is only in the infant stages, a whisper in my mind’s eye, sitting in the to-write filing cabinet. And although extremely important and close to my heart, Z needs to wait her turn! What to do, though? She’s being very demanding. She threw out some great ideas yesterday as I was having my eyebrows threaded (nice timing!) and I did not write them down if nothing else but to tell her NOT NOW. And as I sit here thinking about it, refusing to give her that moment to write down her musings only hurt me. I wonder if she will repeat herself? Poo. I still have two vampire books to write before I can get to her story. Unless I take a break after Devendra and piss off my readers by making them wait an extra year before Book 3 comes out. Dare I chance it?

While patience is a virtue, I don’t believe my characters care, much less abide by the thought of patience or virtue. They want out, all at once, caring not for my time or my lifestyle or the money-making priorities. They say, “Eff all that. It’s time to write all the time.” Nice. Thanks, guys. Love you, too. ❤