The place on the east coast which the reader is asked to consider is Scaburgh. It is not very different now from what I remember it to have been when I was a child. Marshes intersected by dykes to the south, recalling the early chapters of Great Expectations; flat fields to the north, merging into heath; heath, fir woods, and, above all, gorse, inland. A long sea-front and a street: behind that a spacious church of flint, with a broad, solid western tower and a peal of six bells. How well I remember their sound on a hot Sunday in August, as our party went slowly up the white, dusty slope of road towards them, for the church stands at the top of a short, steep incline. They rang with a flat clacking sort of sound on those hot days, but when the air was softer they were mellower too. The railway ran down to its little terminus farther along the same road. There was a gay white windmill just before you came to the station, and another down near the shingle at the south end the town, and yet others on higher ground to the north. There were cottages of bright red brick with slate roofs… but why do I encumber you with these commonplace details? The fact is that they come crowding to the point of the pencil when it begins to write of Seaburgh. I should like to be sure that I had allowed the right ones to get on to the paper. But I forgot. I have not quite done with the word-painting business yet.
Henry Saylor, who was killed in Covington, in a quarrel with Antonio Finch, was a reporter on the Cincinnati Commercial. In the year 1859 a vacant dwelling in Vine street, in Cincinnati, became the center of a local excitement because of the strange sights and sounds said to be observed in it nightly. According to the testimony of many reputable residents of the vicinity these were inconsistent with any other hypothesis than that the house was haunted. Figures with something singularly unfamiliar about them were seen by crowds on the sidewalk to pass in and out. No one could say just where they appeared upon the open lawn on their way to the front door by which they entered, nor at exactly what point they vanished as they came out; or, rather, while each spectator was positive enough about these matters, no two agreed. They were all similarly at variance in their descriptions of the figures themselves. Some of the bolder of the curious throng ventured on several evenings to stand upon the doorsteps to intercept them, or failing in this, get a nearer look at them. These courageous men, it was said, were unable to force the door by their united strength, and always were hurled from the steps by some invisible agency and severely injured; the door immediately afterward opening, apparently of its own volition, to admit or free some ghostly guest. The dwelling was known as the Roscoe house, a family of that name having lived there for some years, and then, one by one, disappeared, the last to leave being an old woman. Stories of foul play and successive murders had always been rife, but never were authenticated.
WITHOUT, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.
I’m a massive fan of horror. Books, movies, TV shows — you name it. One series that has made an indelible mark on me is Hellraiser. Clive Barker is an artistic genius whose talent has transcended a myriad of mediums, including literature and film. His horror novella The Hellbound Heart was adapted for cinema in 1987. This film, Hellraiser, is a classic that is comprised of numerous spellbinding performances. However, the one that people remember most of all is that of Doug Bradley as the lead cenobite whom society named Pinhead. Bradley’s background in stage acting and his deep knowledge of literature — not to mention the man’s unmistakably wonderful voice — makes his Spinechillers series from Renegade Arts Entertainment a joyful listening experience.
This July I’m attending my first ThrillerFest, and I can’t wait! What is ThrillerFest, you ask? According to the website, it’s “a four-day celebration of thriller books, the authors who write them, and the fans who read them.” This year’s event features an endless list of bestselling authors, including Anne Rice, Michael Connelly, R.L. Stine, Lee Child, and, Andrew Gross, just to name a few.
The conference is broken into different parts. The first day-and-a-half is CraftFest, which is essentially a writing school featuring top authors, agents and editors. These individuals lead educational panels and workshops about almost any topic a writer could be interested in when it comes to writing fiction. Whether you’re looking to learn about blogging as a novelist or what point of view you should write from, CraftFest has you covered. Since I’m working on a novel of my own, I’m looking forward to soaking up all sorts of good information during CraftFest.
Starting Thursday afternoon (July 11), AgentFest begins, which is best described as speed dating for agents and authors looking for representation. While my novel is nowhere near being finished, I still look forward to observing these interactions and speaking with a few agents and authors about their experiences during this event.
Thursday night, once AgentFest has come to a close, the ThrillerFest opening reception takes place. Then the following two days (July 12 and 13) are filled with panels from bestselling authors about a variety of interesting subjects. Last year some of the topics covered included:
Writing Opposite Sex Characters
Is Indie Publishing For You?
How Do You Build A Thriller Brand?
What Makes Them Scream?
Is It Really That Hard To Be Funny?
I’ll also be attending the first-ever FanFest on Friday, July 12. It’s a two-hour portion of the conference where fans can drink and chat with a roomful of bestselling authors. I look forward to speaking with many authors whom I’ll be meeting for the first time, including Andrew Gross, who I recently interviewed for my blog.
ThrillerFest is bound to be a terrific experience that will yield fascinating stories, photos and advice. Stay tuned to my blog for extensive coverage of the event. It’s going to be something special.
10 years ago Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, took the world by storm. When it came out, I remember passing by numerous book stores and seeing it prominently displayed as a bestseller for months. Then people I knew started reading it, including my Dad. Once he was done, I read it and thought it was pretty good, but not mind blowing. When the film came out, I went with my Dad and his friends and felt the same way: It was good, but not great.
Now that 10 years have passed, I decided to revisit Dan Brown’s most popular book, which went on to sell more than 80 million copies. During these past 10 years, I’ve read hundreds of books, so I was afraid I would think even less of The Da Vinci Code. To my surprise, I enjoyed the book even more than I did the first time. To be fair, I listened to the audiobook version instead of reading the free e-book I downloaded. I opted for the audiobook for two reasons: I love audiobooks and it’s a much faster way to consume books – especially when you work two jobs and go to school, like I do. As an added bonus, the audiobook featured an interview with the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, who was tasked with adapting the novel to film, as well as a 2005 Dan Brown speech at the University of New Hampshire. Both special features were interesting and insightful.
All in all, it was an excellent book that magnificently blended fact and fiction. If you’re not one of the millions who has already read it, I highly recommend you check it out right away. It’ll keep you turning pages late into the night wondering what’s going to happen next.
I also decided to revisit the film, which came out in 2006, and I’m glad I did. I watched the extended version and it was beautifully done. While it wasn’t a line-for-line or scene-for-scene reenactment of the book, Ron Howard did a wonderful job of bringing the novel to life through film. The cast was excellent across the board, especially Sir Ian McKellan as Leigh Teabing. The score by Hanz Zimmer was well done and suited the movie perfectly. Overall, it was a thrilling experience that kept my attention from start to finish.
If you’ve read the book, you’ll notice that certain changes were made in the film, but, in my opinion, some of them helped move the plot along at a faster pace while staying true to the story in the novel. But don’t take my word for it, check out the film, for free, below.