Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween - gothic romance style

Happy Halloween to one and all!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not sure why exactly. When I was little I loved dressing up and going from house to house to collect candy. Even in my teens I liked the dressing up part, though I didn't do the candy collection thing.

Maybe it's something about putting on a costume and being someone other than who you really are. On Halloween you can be anyone...or anything. The possibilities are endless for someone with a vivid imagination. Since I joined the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) in the 1990s I usually go with being a "medieval lady" for Halloween. It's a quick and easy costume. But I still love the "be whoever you want to be" aspect of the holiday.

I also enjoy being scared and Halloween provides a safe outlet for feeling and expressing fear. My first brush with feeling safely scared (outside of trick or treating) was reading gothic romance. Those great books where the heroine fell in love with a dark, brooding and compellingly dangerous man.

As a reader you were pretty sure he was the hero and wouldn't kill her, but the heroine wasn't nearly so sure. She was attracted to him but she was frightened by him too. I avidly read Victoria Holt when I was in my teens and she was a master at creating an eerie story where the heroine was in danger and didn't know who to trust.

I loved Jane Eyre for this same reason. There was a mysterious and intense connection between Jane and Rochester. But...there was a nameless evil lurking in the house. A danger that stalked Jane. I loved the fact that Jane was so intrepid. She saved herself and then went back to face her fears.

I think it was gothic romance that fed my love of paranormal romance. Because even more dangerous than a dark brooding lord of the manor is a dark, brooding lord of the manor with fangs. There was something strangely compelling about Dracula - even as over-the-top as Bela Lugosi played him. Dracula seemed to be someone who controlled others yet loved deeply.

This was especially true when I saw the 1979 version of Dracula starring Frank Langella. I was sixteen but even though the movie was rated R, I got in because I looked old enough to go. Frank Langella was nummy and I was ready to open a vein if he asked. Trevor Eve, who played Jonathon Harker, was good looking but really whiney - NOT hero material. Langella rocked the screen.

I was deeply affected by this film because it was one of the first times I remembered Dracula portrayed as a flawed individual who was dangerous but not necessarily inherently evil. He was seductive and strong. He could have had any woman but he was committed to Lucy and protective of her. It made him very appealing.

Another Dracula that made an impression was Gary Oldman's portrayal. He did the creepy aspect of Dracula very well. Licking Keanu Reeves blood off the razor blade while wearing the weird hair, or wig or whatever, was definitely repulsive. But even in that form, he was intriguing. When he traveled to England and began to romance He was suddenly human. A man in love with a woman instead of a vamp in search of his next meal.

I loved the ending of this movie too. To find out what had turned him into a vampire in the first place was both romantic and heartbreaking. This was a great movie.

So do you have favorite gothic or paranormal romances in book or movie form? What do you like best about a gothic or paranormal hero or heroine? What appeals to you about Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gretchen Stull, Waitress (Graveyard Shift)

A professional night owl, Gretchen just couldn’t resist the “Help Wanted – Graveyard Shift” sign hanging in the Otherworld Diner window. After chatting up the regulars (and a bit of begging), she was hired. Now she happily serves up delicious food with a side of witty repartee, keeping a mental record of all her encounters for use as future story fodder.

Usually off in a fantasy world of her own creation, Gretchen prefers tales of the paranormal, especially when those tales involve vampires and zombies. She’s not opposed to a healthy dose of romance or dark humor either. Her stories of paranormal romance follow a general recipe of one part alpha male, one part feisty heroine, and one part supernatural setting, blended together on high with a dollop of sarcasm and fresh suspense to taste. Best served hot!

Why Not SciFi?

I was poking around the Diner in preparation for my first inspection when I ran across this little item buried in a corner: “‘Dollhouse’ swept off the air for sweeps month.”

Dollhouse, of course, is the Joss Whedon TV show about an underground organization that provides its high paying clients with any fantasy they want—in the person of men or women whose brains are repeatedly wiped of all memory and then loaded with whatever personality the client requires. This allows the star, Eliza Dushku, to take on a different character every show.

Which, is a cool idea.

Or would be if someone else was playing the part. But Dushku just doesn’t have the depth or smarts to carry it off. I know she’s a Whedon favorite and that she’s supposedly sexy as all get out, but to me she comes across as “playing” a part rather than inhabiting it. A valley girl out of her depth.

So maybe that explains, in part, why the show has been touted in the media as a “cult-favorite” (translation: beloved by a fanatic few), and characterized as “struggling” for viewers. And why Fox decided to replace the show during November sweeps with reruns of Bones and House.

Or maybe it’s just that this kind of show, which, despite its flaws, is still imminently watchable, can’t find an audience. I have two sisters and a brother and I couldn’t pay either of them to watch Dollhouse or Firefly or Moonlight or any scifi/paranormal series.

Remember Jericho or Invasion? I loved those shows. They were well-written and spectacularly performed and directed, and yet they still bit the dust before their time.

So, I thought this would be an appropriate way to start my stint at the Diner:

What’s the deal?

Why do so many people hate scifi?

If there’s a vampire involved, man you can’t keep them away. Ditto with the kids and wizardry. But take a grown up and put him in a strange, alien world, well, that’s just silly.

Which is why I’m extremely interested to see how the alien-invasion show “V” does next week.

And why I’ll wait with resignation for Dollhouse’s November hiatus to end and the rest of the show to air in December. Fox has decided to broadcast it in 2-hour blocks. Does that sound like a lot of hurry up and finish to you?

Another one bites the dust.


Annie Solomon

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Lesson in Writing from....The Beatles

I love The Beatles. I am old enough to remember playing a board game based on the Fab Four (I was Ringo but always wanted to be Paul) and my very first musical purchase was the single, "The Long and Winding Road." I was young...and it cost me 79 cents. Yup, that was a whole lot of money back in those days.

Anyhow, my excitement at the remastered version of "A Hard Day's Night" scared people. I walked into my local Blockbuster...heard the music and saw the four guys from Liverpool. They were so beautiful-- all crisp and clear.The sound blew me away.

I wept. I wept right there next to their Rockband setup.

It was a beautiful thing.

Of course I purchased it. Watched it and salivated over every extra feature on the disc. I squealed over every tidbit of information about the boys that I had never known. ( I was pretty young back in those days.)

Between jumping up and down screaming, "I love Paul" and hugging my old vinyl albums, I stopped.
George Martin, famed Beatle producer, was saying something...something that thwapped my writer's brain with a Bart Simpson-like "D'oh!"

The original recording of the song, "Can't Buy Me Love" isn't what you know, love and listen to today. The original song started with:

"I'll buy you a diamond ring, my friend...."

Martin liked the song. It was...nice. Good beat, cute lyrics and a catchy melody. But something was missing and he told the boys so. The song just didn't grab grab him right off the bat. He wanted more. So Martin asked them to change it.

Start it off with a a bang....

Start it off with the chorus.

Yup. Think about it.

"Can't buy me love..."

Bammo! You're in the song. Lyrically you want to know the why and how that can't buy me love. Musically, you're up on your feet and dancing before you've even reach the dance floor.

Genius. Total genius.

Now, apply that genius to your manuscript. Does your manuscript start too early? Begin with the "nice" or "meh?" Listen to George Martin. Start it off with a bang! Suck in those readers so that they'll be on chapter two before they realize that they're still standing in the bookstore.

If John, Paul, George and Ringo can do it, so can you.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Writings,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet Annie Solomon

Here at the Diner, staff comes and goes. We miss the ones who move on to bigger and better things but we're always happy to see shiny new faces. Starting this Friday, we'll be welcoming author Annie Solomon ( to our fold. She'll be posting about once a month with reviews of various paranormal television programs and movies that our visitors might like to check out.

So let's learn a little more about Annie!

1) Briefly, who are you as an author and what do you write?

Interesting phraseology. Who am I as an author? That, I have no idea. The latter is easier to answer: I write romantic suspense. Which, to those uninitiated folks, means I write thriller/mystery/suspense type books with a love story. I think of myself as edgy, grittier than most in my genre. Not that my books are set in the alleyways of the Big City and my characters are all drug addicts. But they tend to be kind of on the dark side with a lot of heavy baggage. I’d be curious to know whether readers find me as gritty and dark as I think I am.

2) What do you do (voluntarily) when you're not writing?

I knit, play Sudoku and other games on the computer, meet the gals for mah jongg, watch the ABC soap lineup, and try to clear my brain out by not doing too much of anything.

3) What's your favorite deadline snack?

This may sound a little goody-goody of me, but I try not to do too much snacking while writing because I don’t do a lot of exercising. But if the world was coming to an end (or maybe just Frito-Lay) and I HAD to choose one snack over all the others, it would probably be a fat bag of potato chips.

4) What is it about romantic suspense? How do you feel suspense elements enhance the romance and vice versa?

The reason I think suspense works so well with romance is that it automatically raises the stakes for all parties involved. We’re not just talking about hearts breaking, but lives ending. The choice to fall in love or the reasons not to are greatly intensified.

5) Authors also tend to be devoted readers. What authors do you read for inspiration and/or enjoyment?

Welll—my face is turning red because the truth is, I don’t read a lot anymore. I used to be a voracious reader but that was before I started writing full time. Back then, some of my faves included Diana Gabaldon, Anne Stuart, Mary Stewart, Anya Seton, Laura Kinsale, and Patricia Gaffney.

6) What is your biggest "collection" (besides books)?

Clothes. I love fashion and dressing up. All the women in my family do, and the trend has been passed on to the next generation. My nieces all like to dress, even when everyone else is in jeans.

7) You've signed up to be the Diner's pie inspector and tv/movie reviewer. What are some of your favorite paranormal themed tv series and movies? Do you see any common theme in your favorites beyond their genre?

I think I’ll leave all that to my posts. Don’t want to shoot myself in the foot before I even get started.

8) What paranormal book or movie would you like to be dropped into the middle of, to experience the world if not the entire plot?

The TV show Farscape. No contest. Not even a second of hesitation.

9) If you had to have a lifesize standee of a character in a paranormal tv series, movie or book in your bedroom at all times, who would it be and how would other residents of your household probably feel about it?

It would probably be a lifesize Aeryn and John, the couple from Farscape, and my husband and family would probably mine endless comedy material from it. Before I became ‘scaped, I was a big Highlander fan. Once for my birthday they made me a cardboard sword covered in tin foil…

10) What is some of the most unusual research you've done for your fiction?

The most unusual was talking to the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack the Tappit brothers. That was for my upcoming romantic suspense (October 2010). The most far flung was a weekend in DC where I scouted locations for my RITA-winning book, Blackout. (Sorry about the endless self promotion, but if you got it, flaunt it...)

11) If you were deprived of your computer for a year and had no looming deadline, would you write your next book in longhand anyway or keep notes and wait until you had a computer again to finish it?

Depends on whether or not I had a contract! I’m pretty lazy, so I could definitely see myself slacking off for a year if I could. But then the guilt would probably eat me alive, so I guess I’d have to resort to longhand. How’s that for fence sitting?

12) If you could have a little-known superpower, what one would you pick and why? What one would your friends and loved ones pick FOR you?

For myself, I think I’d be Metabolic Girl. I could eat anything I wanted (including that fat bag of potato chips) and my lightning fast metabolism would always keep me slender and trim. My family and friends would probably want to turn me into Best Case Scenario Woman because I’m a catastrophic thinker and I always go immediately to disaster. I could have a costume with a wide-mouth smile on the front and instead of teeth there’d be BCS. Oh, if only I could draw!

13) Anything else you'd like to share with visitors to the Diner?

Just that I’m looking forward to all my inspections and to letting you know what I’ve found. And to discussing it all with the patrons.


Jody W. *

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well, I'm supposed to post on Sundays, and yesterday was one of those days where I couldn't keep my mind on what it was supposed to be doing, so you may have two posts today!

I just wanted to let you know there's an RWA contest out there that's very low on entries in every category - especially paranormal - and maybe you should think about entering. It's a great chance to get feedback on your stuff before you submit it to an editor. They've got some great judges. The information follows, reprinted:

There's still time to get your submission packet in to the Ohio Valley RWA's
Enchanted Words Contest! All entries will receive detailed feedback from
experienced and trained first-round judges. Finalists will be read by BOTH
an editor AND an agent who are actively looking for work in the subgenres
they're judging. But hurry, the contest deadline is Nov. 1st! For complete
contest rules, details, score sheet and entry form, see
http://www.ovrwa. com/enchanted_ words.

Enter: Query letter, Synopsis of up to 7 pages, first 5 pages of manuscript.

Eligibility: RWA members in good standing, who have not contracted or
published in book-length romantic fiction by an RWA-eligible publisher in
the last three years.

Categories and final judges:
Contemporary (includes category length books)
- Editor judge: Tracy Bernstein, NAL
- Agent judge: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

- Editor judge: Leis Pedersen, Berkley
- Agent judge: Emmanuelle Alspaugh, Judith Erlich Literary Agency

Paranormal/Fantasy/ Sci-fi/Time Travel
- Editor judge: Margo Lipschultz, HQN/Luna
- Agent judge: Alexandra Machinist, Linda Chester and Associates Literary

Let me know if you'd like to hear about other contests and opportunities, as well as market info. I'll also have another great recipe next Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Annie Solomon, Pie Inspector

As a native New Yorker, Annie was raised with strong views, which is what makes her the perfect pie inspector. Whether sniffing out delicate spices or uncovering an overworked crust, she’s always got an opinion about the ingredients that go into the best pastries.

Although her field tends to be dead things—as in her romantic suspense novels ( she has long enjoyed the fare of other worlds, particularly when portrayed on screens large and small. And being the opinionated sort, she shows up at the diner from time to time (mostly last Fridays of the month) to taste and test and, of course, document the worth of these otherworldly creations.

Her website:
Her blog:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Catch a Cold: 13 Proven Suggestions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Good thing we’re meeting via blogs, not face-to-face. I’ve got one of those sloppy colds that has me clinging to my box of tissues and complaining to everybody. What could I have possibly done to deserve this snotty fate?
In fact, how do people catch a cold? I’ve come up with some scenarios – and it didn’t take a lot of effort. Here’s a sampling:

Header by Samulli

1. Volunteer at a daycare and find yourself looking after a sick toddler or two.
2. Run your hands over door knobs and elevator buttons at a local hospital and neglect to wash afterward.
3. Routinely stay up late and get up early. Eventually, it may catch up with you.
4. Decide this is the month you’ll change everything. Quit your job, switch cities, get married, have a child, get divorced, bury a loved one or audition for American Idol. High stress can work wonders!
5. Eat French fries at a restaurant, not knowing that a worker has sneezed on them.
6. Pick up a used tissue littering a mall sidewalk and, as a good citizen, dispose of it.
7. Sit next to a sniffling, coughing passenger on an airplane, train, subway or bus.
8. Share a plastic bottle of Propel or Gatorade with the cross-country team.
9. Politely kiss an ailing friend.
10. Be outdoors as much as possible in a state like Wisconsin where the weather can change by the hour so that you simulate the experience of alternately standing in a walk-in freezer and a sauna.
11. Take the school bus and great your favorite fellow passengers with a handshake or maybe even a hug. And then, of course, forget to wash your hands.
12. Eat only Twinkies, potato chips and chocolate-covered bacon.
13. Borrow a sick cousin’s laptop.

That’s it. My cold has gone to my brain. I’m out of possibilities. Can you help me think of other easy ways to catch a cold?

Author’s note: Obliviously I’m not suggesting you try any of these suggestions. They’re much too potent for us common folk. As you realize, I’m sure, it’s so very easy to get a cold naturally. No need to go out of your way to accomplish it.

Sick of Being Sick? 13 Suggestions to Get You Better, Quick!

Header by Samulli

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of being sick. Weeks ago I caught a doozy of a cold. I shared it with my family and we passed the virus around until I caught it again. After feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use my computer to find ways I could speed my recovery. I found these suggested remedies and ways to stay healthy.
I figured you’d want to know. …

1. Wash your hands. WebMD states, “Amazingly, about 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch.”
2. If you sneeze, don’t cover your nose or mouth with your hands. You can spread germs that way. Use a tissue instead or the crook of your arm.
3. Get fresh air. Inside air may be re-circulated and may actually expose you to even more viruses.
4. Drink water. It’ll help you flush out the virus and keep you hydrated.
5. Don’t touch your face. You don’t want to spread the germs from your hands.
6. Exercise. Being active bolsters your immune system.
7. Get rest. Getting enough sleep is another way to boost your immune system.
8. Eat vegetables. Especially the dark green leafy ones. They contain phytochemicals which build up your body’s immunity.
9. Don’t smoke. You already know that smoking’s hard on your lungs, but did you know smoking dries out your nasal cavities and prevents those little cleaning hairs in your lungs from filtering out viruses?
10. Drink less alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates, which makes it harder for your body to rid itself of the virus.
11. Take cod-liver-oil tablets. They’re loaded with Vitamins A and D, which help the immune system.
12. Take Vitamin C within the first 24 hours that symptoms appear. Again, the idea is to rev up your immune system.
13. Consider herbal remedies such as garlic, ginger, oregano, lemon or even horseradish. For generations people have applied these home cures and many still claim they work.

I’m determined to get over my cold as fast as possible. Do you have any suggestions? What has worked for you?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From Jack-O-Lanterns to Souffle

First, I want to thank the lovely ladies of the diner for giving me the opportunity to come back and dish at the blog on a monthly basis! I'll be posting on the third Tuesday of the month, I hope you'll join's nice to be back!

Since I just took the kids (hubby included) to pick out some pumpkins, and unfortunately we just didn't have the time to get out to one of the local pick-your-own-farms this year, pumkin carving has become a popular theme in my house. Every year we paint faces on smaller ones and carve one big one for the front window. So, have you ever thought about why we have this tradition?

People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice seems to have originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to legend, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink and true to his name, Stingy Jack refused to pay for the drinks, he then tricked the Devil into turning into a coin that could be used to pay for their drinks instead. Once the Devil transformed into the coin, Jack kept the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into another scheme involving him climbing into a tree to pick fruit, and while in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the bark trapping the devil in the tree until the he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years.

When Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow Jack into heaven and the Devil kept his bargain with Jack and would not claim his soul. So Jack was off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.

Whether you carve your own pumpkins and make use of the meaty flesh inside or choose to hop over to your local grocery store and buy a can of pureed pumpkin, here's a recipe for a fall side-dish.

This recipe was taken from "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American"


2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper & ground nutmeg
cayenne pepper to taste
4 egg yolks, lighly beaten
6 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a frying pan, saute the onion in the butter until transparent. Add the flour and cook until the flour and butter begin to turn a very light golden brown. Using a whisk, add the cream and cook until a thick sauce in obtained. Pour this sauce into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the eggs and cream of tartar. Mix well. Then stir in the egg yolks, one at a time.

Whip the egg whites along with the cream of tartar in a separate bowl and gently fold them into the pumpkin mixture. Do not overmix. Place in a buttered 1 1/2 qt souffle dish and back in a preheated oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the souffle begins to expand and brown ever so slightly on top.

Serve right away as a nice sidedish to any fall meal.

Enjoy this pumpkin season!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Haunted Hotel

Since Halloween is drawing near, I thought I'd tell you my own personal -- and very real -- ghost story.

Back in April of 2007, I attended my first WRW Writer's Retreat at Historic Hilltop House in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Built in 1888 it sits on the edge of the mountain overlooking the rushing Potomac River. Character doesn't even begin to describe this place. As we're all sitting around, drinking wine and chatting by the big stone fireplace in the lobby, some of the writers who've been to the retreat each year regailed me with their ghostly experiences of the place. I remarked that it would cool be to meet the ghost. What more could a paranormal writer want than a personal encounter with something supernatural? Little did I know that I was soon to get my wish.

Later that night, as a storm raged outside (talk about atmosphere), I was laying in my lumpy twin bed while my roommate finished up in the bathroom. Over the clap of thunder, I heard someone walking around in the room above us. Back and forth, back and forth, they paced. I was thinking, "Great, I hope they aren't up partying all night. I've got an editor appointment in the morning." As soon as my roomie came to bed and turned out the light, the noise stopped and I thought nothing more of it . . . until the next day.

I was out in the parking lot getting something out of my van when I looked up and located our room with the open window, faded floral curtains fluttering in the breeze. Then I looked up higher and realized that our room was located on the top floor. There was no room above us. But if that was the case, who (or what) was walking over my head the night before? Surely it wasn't a hotel employee doing something out on the roof during a thunderstorm. Could the ghost have overheard my wish and paid me a little visit? Guess I'll never know for sure, but my kids like to think so.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is Paranormal Romance the New Horror?

Recently, I sat on a panel in Las Vegas asking this question. Paranormal romance has blossomed over the last few years, and some are saying it's reaching into the horror markets, as well as romance. What do you think?

Horror often involves ghosts, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural (paranormal) creatures. So does paranormal romance. People like Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan have bridged genres with their paranormal books. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Simon R. Green's Nightside series appeal to lovers of both genres. What is the real difference?

I think it's up to you to decide. What do you think this means for the future of paranormal as a genre? We talk about humorous paranormal more than just about any other kind, but there are so many other kinds. I'm going to check out the movie Paranormal Activity, because I heard it's very haunting and scary in a lot of ways. I have to see for myself. A lot of my friends are the same way - they have to see for themselves.

So I invite you to tell me - is paranormal romance the new horror? Or are we just scaring ourselves?

Oh, and just because this is a diner, here's the hashbrown casserole recipe I used for dinner tonight. Yum.


Large bag frozen hashbrowns
1/2 c. butter/margarine
1/2 c. chopped onions
16 oz. sour cream (I use light)
1 can cheddar soup
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
A dash of Worcestshire sauce

Mix ingredients together. Pour into buttered casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Back to the Books: 13 Favorites from the BBC’s ‘Big Read’

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m always looking for a good book. While trying to ferret out another fine story, I came across the BBC’s “Big Read” Website.
A word of explanation: In 2003, the British Broadcasting Corporation asked people to nominate and then vote for their best-loved novel.

Header by Samulli

Here are 13 favorites.
1.The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

Do you agree with the BBC list? What other book would you recommend for a top place? And why do you like it?
Another question: Which of these books have you read?
I’m eager to get your feedback.


Friday, October 2, 2009

13 Literary Mash-Ups I Would Like To Go On Record As Having Vetoed:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Sense, Sensibility, and Sea Monsters. Little Women and Werewolves. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Wuthering Bites. Mr. Darcy, Vampire. Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim; The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies.

Link to Galley Cat article about the trend:

Literary mash-ups, revisions, rewrites, whatever you want to call them--they're nothing new, but lately they've grown in popularity, especially the spoofs where sections of the original text are interspersed with sections of new text, as opposed to a new version (Emma vs. Clueless); true parody (Lord of the Rings vs. Bored of the Rings) or sequel (Gone With The Wind vs. Scarlett). Here are 13 mash-ups I hereby FORBID anyone to write or publish:

1. Gulliver's Travels with Demon Goats (are there other kinds of goats, tm CJ Redwine?)

2. The Secret Garden of Chulhu (one trip into the garden, and you never come back out of it, much less learn to walk after being bedridden for years)

3. Ulysses and The Flower Fairies (Ulysses himself might have been the walking dead, as evidenced by his erratic thought patterns, but flower fairies?)

4. A Tale of Two Cities: One Vampire, One Lycan (It was the best of times in publishing because more people were reading, it was the worst of times in publishing because the economy was bad anyway, it was the age of vampires, it was the age of werewolves, it was the epoch of Meyer, it was the epoch of Hollywood, it was the season of light and the vampires had to stay out of it, it was the season of darkness which is when the full moon brought out the hairy crazies, it was the spring of I hope I can find something good to read, it was the winter of oh my God not another one of those damned rewrites...)

5. Treasure Island: Now Without Any Pirates! (I mean, what is the POINT?)

6. War and Peace and Godzilla (in its defense the book would be a lot shorter)

7. The Digitally Edited Picture of Dorian Grey (a novel / Photoshop handbook, which has no monsters but it still shouldn't be published)

8. Emma and the Incubus (or has this been done already?)

9. The Scarlet Letter and the Color Blind Ghoul (he didn't care about Hester's social status...he just wanted dinner)

10. Oliver Twist, Ghost Hunter, in 3D (you need special glasses to read the book)

11. Moby Dick Meets The Ant Men from Outer Space (nobody wanted to read MD the first time--are ant men really going to help?)

12. Frankenstein, Porn Star (interchangeable parts)

13. Les Miserables Versus The Editors (I don't think that 823 word sentence would make the revision, do you?)

What literary mash-ups would you like to forbid? Or call dibs on?

Jody W. *