Movie Review: The Pet Sematary

4 out of 5 Stars

brown tabby cat

Movie review provided by our mom, Nancy:

With much anticipation, I went with three of my family members, Grandpa and two of the grandsons, to see Stephen King’s new movie, “Pet Sematary”. I had read the book and watched the first movie. The boys came along because they just wanted to be scared. I have to say, everyone was slightly disappointed.

Per the movie description:

Louis Creed, his wife Rachel, and their two children, Gage and Ellie, move to a rural home where they are welcomed and enlightened about the eerie ‘Pet Sematary’ located nearby. After the tragedy of their cat being killed by a truck, Louis resorts to burying it in the mysterious pet cemetery, which is definitely not as it seems, as it proves to the Creeds that sometimes, dead is better.

Although it was high on creepiness and extremely well done, it really didn’t measure up to King’s movie, “It”. Now that movie was terrifying. Don’t get us wrong, there were a few decidedly scary “jump” moments and, if you aren’t a jaded horror movie buff, you would probably be properly scared. However, the youngest grandson to go, 15 years old, had never seen a horror movie before. Even he was disappointed in the total fear factor. He fully expected to terrorized.

Overall, the movie was excellently and skillfully produced and is still well worth the time and money to go see. You can’t ever go totally wrong with a Stephen King creation, which is why I gave it four stars.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Book Review: The Witchy Eye books by DJ Butler

Witchy Eye Cover

3 1/2 out of 5 Stars

This is the first book review by Anne since moving the reviews over from her Tea and Trifles blog. We’ll be sharing out the book review duties in the future but she will kick it off with her double review of DJ Butler’s fantasy books, Witchy Eye and Witchy Winter.

I’ll start by saying that I think DJ Butler’s brain must be a very interesting and convoluted place, as that is how I think of his Witchy books. The sheer scope of world-building, number of characters, and obscure references to events that have occurred in his world make for an enjoyable but sometimes confusing read. Just when I felt like I had a handle on the major players, he throws another one or four into the mix. I did enjoy reading his books, but often I was pulled out of the story by my own confusion. He sprinkles in foreign language phrases but provides no translation (French, Greek, Latin, German, for example). Sometimes I understood from the context, but not always, and that was frustrating as a reader. He briefly mentions a historical event, such as, “It was believed Franklin had personally invited Talleyrand to come to the New World after the Caliph’s Grapeshot Massacres.”  Who was massacred and why? I have so many questions from little tidbits such as this. These books left me scratching my head while simultaneously wanting more.

From the book jacket description of Witchy Eye:

Sarah Calhoun is the fifteen-year-old daughter of the Elector Andrew Calhoun, one of Appalachee’s military heroes and one of the electors who gets to decide who will next ascend as the Emperor of the New World. None of that matters to Sarah. She has a natural talent for hexing and one bad eye, and all she wants is to be left alone—especially by outsiders.

But Sarah’s world gets turned on its head at the Nashville Tobacco Fair when a Yankee wizard-priest tries to kidnap her. Sarah fights back with the aid of a mysterious monk named Thalanes, who is one of the not-quite-human Firstborn, the Moundbuilders of the Ohio. It is Thalanes who reveals to Sarah a secret heritage she never dreamed could be hers.

Now on a desperate quest with Thalanes to claim this heritage, she is hunted by the Emperor’s bodyguard of elite dragoons, as well as by darker things—shapeshifting Mockers and undead Lazars, and behind them a power more sinister still. If Sarah cannot claim her heritage, it may mean the end to her, her family—and to the world where she is just beginning to find her place.

And the description of Witchy Winter, the second book:

Sarah Calhoun paid a hard price for her entry onto the stage of the Empire’s politics, but she survived. Now she rides north into the Ohio and her father’s kingdom, Cahokia. To win the Serpent Throne, she’ll have to defeat seven other candidates, win over the kingdom’s regent, and learn the will of a hidden goddess—while mastering her people’s inscrutable ways and watching her own back.

In New Orleans, a new and unorthodox priest arises to plague the chevalier and embody the curse of the murdered Bishop Ukwu. He battles the chevalier’s ordinary forces as well as a troop of Old World mamelukes for control of the city and the mouth of the great Mississippi River. Dodging between these rival titans, a crew of Catalan pirates—whose captain was once a close associate of Mad Hannah Penn—grapples with the chevalier over the fate of one of their mates.

Meanwhile, a failed ceremony and a sick infant send the Anishinaabe hunter Ma’iingan on a journey across the Empire to Cavalier Johnsland, to a troubled foster child named Nathaniel. Ma’iingan is promised that Nathaniel is a mighty healer and can save his imperiled baby, but first Nathaniel—a pale young man with a twisted ear who hears the voices of unseen beings—must himself be rescued, from oppression, imprisonment, and madness.

I enjoyed these books enough to finish the pair but I keep thinking that someone a bit smarter than I am would have probably got more out of them. DJ Butler unleashes his world-building with a firehose and I wasn’t able to fully soak it in. That’s why I gave this book only 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Happy reading, everyone!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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A Spring Reawakening!

 

Nate at Horror Museum

At the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle for Spring Break

We lost March, like, the entire month. Poof! Gone! Where did the time go? Needless to say,  we didn’t get a lot of writing done this month. We did, however, spend time with extended family, get out into the rare Oregon spring sunshine the last few weeks, and took care of a family member. We also did a lot of talking, some of it about the Litzos and our plans for this summer.

So, what’s in the works for us? Starting in June, we hope to have a book table at our local, weekly music festival. It’s time we got out into the public and hawked physical copies of our books. Also, we are looking into offering one-time self-publishing packages (cover, formatting, and editing services) locally, to help offset our own operating costs. If there is interest, we may eventually offer the service outside of our local area. Eric is very interested in putting together a podcast. He’s talked about it in the past but due to his previous work schedule, we could never make it work. Now that he has an actual set work schedule, we think we have a good chance to make the podcast happen. Finally, we need to get back to writing. We finished The Oculars, and then we rested on our laurels for a few months. It’s time to get to work.

We will try to be better about regularly posting to the blog. This wasn’t the only blog we neglected. Anne has shut down her Tea and Trifles blog because she didn’t give it enough attention. One blog is enough. We will, however, be adding more book reviews to this blog. We are not only writers, we are voracious readers and we love giving recommendations. Look for the first review soon.

We hope you are enjoying the sunshine, wherever you are. We are back to our normal, rainy, Pacific Northwest April showers tomorrow. It’s as good an excuse as any to work on our writing. Happy Spring!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

 

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The Damnation Revival Giveaway

 

Today is Sunday, February 24th,  and it is the last day to pick up a free eBook of our newly renamed horror novel, The Damnation Revival. We’ve been running giveaways the last two weeks in the (apparently futile) attempt to pick up a few reviews for both The Oculars and The Damnation Revival. With over fifty downloads so far, you would think at least one kind soul would let us know what they think, because when it comes to Amazon, reviews are what get your works bumped up in its search engines.

Other than the giveaways, not much progress was made this week. We are currently struggling with our business taxes, a job made far too difficult by Ye Olde Government. We are a simple partnership, with miniscule sales, and no employees. You’d think it would be a piece of cake to get our taxes finished but that is not the case. There is no 1040EZ for a small business. We purchased the small business tax software from HR Block and it is no better than downloading the actual forms from the IRS. It provides no explanations and no shortcuts. In short, it was a waste of money. Today, Anne and Nancy will put there heads together and try to sort out what’s what. If we can’t, then we might need to break and shell out a bit more money for some professional help. Wish us luck.

We hope your week is going smoothly. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are in for a miserable week weather-wise, wet and cold throughout. We appreciate your support. Drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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New title, new look for Holly Virginia

 

We finally did what we’ve been talking about doing for a while now, we renamed our horror novel, Holly Virginia, and gave it a new cover. It is now called, The Damnation Revival. You can see our creepy new cover above in the Amazon buy link. Holly Virginia, in its original form, never really took off like our other titles. We think, that in large part, that is due to a misleading title and cover image. This impression was only reinforced when we had several very nice older ladies ask us if it was Christian fiction. Slightly embarrassed, we had to explain to them that no, it was not an uplifting spiritual story but rather a tale of horror. We hope that the new look and new title will give our readers a better idea of what’s inside and they can make a fully informed choice to read it or not.

We still have plans to also make changes to Cold Prairie, which will include a new title, new cover image, and a new and improved ending. We’ll let you know when we get that done and uploaded to Amazon.

As for current works, we are working on our serial killer story, working title Enoch, and the third installment in our science fiction series, tentatively titled Servants of Gaia. We’ll also be filing our business taxes for 2018. And finally, we’ll be running a eBook giveaway of the newly renamed Damnation Revival sometime in the next two weeks. We’ll let you know when that’s going to happen.

We hope you all are staying warm and dry this February. As always, thanks for sticking with us!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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E-Book giveaway of The Oculars!

 

Now through Sunday, February 10th, 2019, we’re giving away copies of our e-book, The Oculars, on Amazon. The Oculars is a paranormal thriller/horror novel, set in the Pacific Northwest.

What Ethan Owenby wants is a normal life. Years earlier, a misguided and alcohol-fueled decision to take his Uncle Jonno’s place as the driver in a car crash had terrible repercussions. Unbeknownst to Ethan, an innocent young woman lost her life in that same instant.

Now, Ethan has served his time and come home to Riverside Oregon, but his newly discovered peace is shattered when he receives a mysterious package containing research and designs for a radical new optical technology. Amongst the nearly incomprehensible information is a rambling and confusing video from his reclusive yet brilliant, Uncle Wilson warning him – tell no one about the Oculars.

Little does Ethan know that there are dark forces that will stop at nothing, even murder, to get their hands on the Oculars. The Oculars allow the wearer to see the denizens and landscapes of the Dark Spectrum, the abode of spirits and ghosts, but not without a price. As old secrets are uncovered and strange enemies roam the small town of Riverside, Ethan must find a way to protect his friends, old and new, from those who will stop at nothing to possess the Oculars.

Take advantage of the giveaway to score yourself a free book to read this weekend during the Great Oregon Snowpocalypse. And if you do get a chance to read it, please leave us a review. We love to get feedback, even if it’s just so we can fix our boo-boos.

Stay warm and download a free book this weekend!

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

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Five Stars for The Oculars!

 

We’ve got our first official review in on The Oculars and it did not disappoint!

Five Stars

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite:

The Oculars is a work of graphic horror and paranormal fiction penned by author Renna Olsen. Written for adults, the tale centers on hero Ethan Owenby, who returns from prison after a drunken driving incident caused dreadful consequences in his family and beyond. Though Ethan doesn’t know the full extent of the damage in his past, his future is about to change everything. Ethan comes into possession of the Oculars of the book’s title, an enlightening new technology that allows human beings to look into the world of ghosts. Ethan’s Uncle Wilson warns him to tell no-one of this incredible device, but these things have a way of getting out there.

I found Renna Olsen’s writing really engaging, which made Ethan’s whole journey a fast-paced read with plenty of shocks and thrills. The prose is direct with many sharp sentences cutting through the description to keep the action moving. The concept of the Dark Spectrum – the world of the ghosts – was convincingly done and suitably scary to read about. As a misguided hero, Ethan is well developed and endearingly flawed, whilst his uncle fills that creepy elder horror trope perfectly. If you’re looking for a classic horror tale that ticks every box and provides an intriguing and exciting plot, then this could be the book for you. I found it to be reminiscent of both the works of Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Oculars to fans of supernatural horror everywhere for its pacey prose and chilling concept.

It’s always a bit of a nail-biter waiting for feedback on a new book (that is not coming from friends or family), and knowing that it is not always going to be good. This review, however, was a positive one and we can take that and incorporate it into our promotional activities over the next few weeks.

Kindle Unlimited members can always read our books for free, and for those of you strapped for cash, we’ll be running a giveaway sometime in the next two weeks. If you do happen to read one of our books, please be so kind as to leave a review…any review! It all helps.

Kind regards,

Anne, Nancy, and Eric

 

 

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