Jess Haines's Blog, page 7
February 14, 2014
January 29, 2014
I was sick as a dog for a few days. Since I was bed-ridden and couldn’t do anything involving cogent thought, I took the time to catch up on a bunch of TV shows that I had intended to watch for a while. I’ll give a brief recap of what I thought of each one. I included the IMDB links for each show if you want to check them out or the Amazon links if you want to buy them. They’re also available on Netflix and/or Hulu.
Cancelled before its time. My God, this show was brilliantly funny. My mother and I both did the Vader “Noooooooooooo!” when we checked online to see when Hulu would get the next episode–only to discover there were no more to be had.
Supernatural (Season 1 & [part of] 2)
WHERE HAS THIS SHOW BEEN ALL MY LIFE.
This Is Me Right Now
A mild touch of horror with a dash of wry humor and a sprinkle of pop culture. Plus Dean (). I think I’m in love.
American Horror Story (Season 1 & 2)
If you are a sick puppy like me, you will love this. Dark, twisted, surreal, psychological horror at its finest. Not to say that it doesn’t have gory moments–but the show excels in making you face the dark side of humanity. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
And I have to give kudos to (you might recognize him as Spock from the Star Trek reboot), and for stellar performances on that show.
The Walking Dead (Season 2 & 3)
The Governor is an asshole. Anyone else watch this and feel the same? Also, while it’s a good show, it didn’t successfully hit me in the feels until…
…Andrea () died. I may have shed one or two tears.
So, have you seen any of these shows? What did you think of them?
January 28, 2014
Back Cover Copy:
Vampires, werewolves, magi and worse–the Others have joined the mortal world, and there’s no turning back now…
As a New York P.I. and Other specialist, Shiarra Waynest has been in plenty of trouble before. But waking up in a windowless room the prisoner of a vampire slave trader is a shock for anyone. Shia has her wits, her bravado, and a couple of used staples, so maybe she can take on a mansion full of serious evil.
But although she’s desperate to escape, Shia needs some answers too. Her friends are in danger. There are betrayers and spies among them. And even if she can figure out what’s going on and somehow get a message out, she’s still a captive of the worst kind…
Pre-Order Your Copy Now!
Don’t wait! Order now to ensure you get your copy as soon as it releases (July 1, 2014):
Amazon / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble
January 13, 2014
I have to tell you, I am pleased as punch. After moving across the country, you didn’t hear from me much because I was busy with a second move into our new house. I’m finally settling in and everything is looking great!
Here are some before pics of the inside:
The Shiny New Kitchen That Has Weird Cabinets — Seriously, Where Are The Handles?
The Shiny New Living Room Complete With Fireplace Which, What The Hell, Man, Didn’t The People Who Built This House Realize They Were in Florida?
Our Crazypants Pirate-Themed Storage Area (Yes, The House Did Come Like This, Why Do You Think We Chose It?)
I Know, You Just Couldn’t Wait to See My Room
You Know What Sold Me On This House, Right? You Know That Door Leads to My Room…
I won’t terrify you with the mess that is the rest of the house right now, but this is how my room is coming along. Don’t mind the boxes and clothes and whatnot. I just moved, cut me some slack.
Welcome To My Humble Abode
You Know I Unpacked These First
Of course, I also have to share some pics of the many critters I’ve saved from the pool since I got here:
Cricket Frog Chillin’
Baby Female Brown Anole Bein’ Teeny
Yes, The Baby Anole and Cricket Frog Really Are That Tiny
Smiley Face Orbweaver – Yes, That Is A Spider, But Look, He’s Smiling At You!
And that’s just a little of what’s going on in my life at the moment. Hope you enjoyed this little taste of my new abode and Florida’s wacky wildlife!
December 23, 2013
Yup, today is my birthday. I’m celebrating with Danielle from Consuming Worlds. Want to see what a few of my favorite things are, and maybe win a book? Come swing by!
On a different note, I’m in the process of moving to a bigger house (yes, I am moving again). I’ll be back to a regular blogging schedule after the new year.
Happy Holidays, everybody!
December 6, 2013
I’ve been having a blast. Here are just a few pics highlighting the crazysauce adventure–my move across the country from Los Angeles, California to the Tampa Bay area in Florida. My mom drove the U-Haul, and I drove my own car with my four crazy birds and a couple of cranky lizards in the back.
My U-Haul truck. Fitting, isn’t it?
I’m hiding the rest of the post behind a break because–hold onto your britches, people–there are a ton of pics in this post.
We had a late start, so we stopped for the night in Needles, California. I got up early enough to catch the sunrise.
Sunrise in Needles, CA
The morning started out with a wildlife safari. Wild bunnies abound in the hotel parking lot. I also fed a bunch of birds, then we packed up and went to get some gas.
Before We Hit the Road, We Decided Against Filling Up
We hit the road around 8:30AM and I was immediately thrown off by the time zone change as we crossed the state line into Arizona.
Welcome to Arizona: Home to Lots of Rocks
Arizona is beautiful. Particularly as you hit the eastern side of the state where all the local Navajo and Hopi Indians are trying to sell you their blankets, pottery, jewelry, and petrified wood. The kitschy stores are everywhere. Some have giant plaster dinosaurs or other strange things out front.
Arizona, I Just Don’t Get You
We passed washes. Padre Wash. Diablo Wash. Rattler Wash. There were also canyons we drove over. My favorite was Crazy Canyon. I didn’t get any pics of the canyons or washes, but I did get a few decent shots of some of the local scenery as we passed by.
We also passed an alpaca farm (“Ride the alpaca tour!”) around mile 67 on the 40 eastbound. We ate at the Road Kill Cafe for lunch. Mom and I both had the buffalo burgers, which were delicious.
So This Happened
The Road Kill Cafe: Inside – Possibly What the Buffalo Burger Was Made Out Of
The Road Kill Cafe: Inside – Wait, Maybe This Was the Buffalo Meat
The Road Kill Cafe: Inside – It Doesn’t Look Like Buffalo…
The Road Kill Cafe: Inside – Oh, Wait…
The Road Kill Cafe: The Bathroom Is Just As Classy As the Rest Of The Joint
We spotted this gem from the freeway and decided to stop in to take a look around.
Knife City: This Is My Graceland
Knife City: Behold the Glory
Knife City: Behold the Glory
Knife City: Behold the Glory
Knife City: I See Some Stuff I Want For Christmas
Knife City: I See More Stuff I Want For Christmas
Our stop for the night was at the El Rancho Hotel, Motel and Restaurant in Gallup, New Mexico. The restaurant dishes are all named for the famous people who stayed or filmed a movie here at one time (“The Lucille Ball,” “The Ronald Reagan,” “The Humphrey Bogart,” “The Doris Day,” and “The Katharine Hepburn” are all burgers). Considering my mom got locked inside her room and someone had to climb in through the window to let her out, I can’t recommend staying the night, but the food was decent. If you end up visiting the area, pack warm clothes. It was 28 degrees outside during the night. My car windows were covered in frost.
The El Rancho: Don’t Let Looks Deceive You
New Mexico was really pretty, too.
After our stay at El Rancho, we decided we’d had enough of New Mexico and would spend the night in Texas.
We stopped for lunch at the Flying C Ranch. It had a huge store full of guns, fireworks, stuffed buffalo ($20,000), stuffed bears (no price tag I saw), jewelry, blankets, garden decorations, and tchotchkes.
After that, we drove until we hit Amarillo, Texas (home of the free 72 oZ. steak and Cadillac Ranch–10 Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground). Eastern New Mexico was pretty boring country, but Texas was unbelievably beautiful. And stinky. Lots of cattle ranches along the 40.
Goodbye, New Mexico
Hello, Texas: I’m Pretty Sure Those Windmills in the Distance Were Put There To Fan the Scent of Cattle Dung In Our Direction
We passed a lot of abandoned buildings starting in Arizona, and they kept popping up even when we reached Texas. There were almost as many abandoned as occupied. I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of them. One of the ones in New Mexico looked like the trees were dragging it into the earth.
The Baymont Hotel in Amarillo was excellent, and I strongly recommend it if you need a pet-friendly place to stay for the night.
The Baymont Inn & Suites in Amarillo, TX Really IS Pet-Friendly! That’s My Green Ringneck Parrot, Booger
The next day, we left Amarillo, Texas behind. I am convinced the deer of Texas must be stupider than the deer anywhere else, because between Amarillo and Oklahoma, we must have seen 7 or 8 of them pancaked on the road–and that was just on our side of the freeway. I only spotted 2 in the entirety of our trip through Oklahoma (though some stains on the road suggest there were more).
Goodbye, Lone Star State
As for Oklahoma… How can so much “nothing” look so beautiful? Oklahoma was lovely. Some of the leaves on the trees that weren’t bare for winter still had reds and yellows and oranges of autumn, though I didn’t catch many pictures of that. Trust me, it was gorgeous.
Welcome to Oklahoma
We did stop at an Indian trading post. I got a great shot glass, my mom bought some pretty earrings, and the lady at the counter fooled me with a practical joke. There were bags of rattlesnake eggs. Something about that seemed off to me. Mostly because I didn’t remember until after I opened the bag to look inside and the metal and rubber-band contraption inside rattled at me that rattlesnakes give birth to live young. So much for my dreams of someday becoming a herpetologist…
Cherokee Trading Post
Cherokee Trading Post
Anyway. We continued on, and I got a few more decent pictures on the way.
Yes, That Is A Giant Longhorn Cattle Face Made of Barrels on the Side of the Road
Tinker AFB: Ze Plane, Ze Plane!
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
We crossed most of the state and stopped in a little town called Sallisaw. First we went to the Sleepy Traveler Motel in Warner, but between the condition of the room and the lady at the front desk telling us, “I’ll just go ahead and put you ladies up front since there are some menfolk off in the back. You know how they are.” (Wat.) we decided to push on the additional 30 miles to a bigger town. The next place we stopped wasn’t a contender for the Bates Motel lookalike contest, so we parked there for the night.
The next day, it was shitting down rain starting around 11AM and continued to rain across the entire state of Arkansas and into Tennessee. I didn’t take many pictures since the weather was so bad, but you can still get an idea of just how pretty the landscape is out there.
Ignore That Escaped Cockatoo In Your Rearview Mirror (Dammit, Chico!)
Welcome to Arkansas
Arkansas: The Colors, Man! The Colors!
Oh, Arkansas. Y U look liek Hallmark card?
Arkansas, Stop Showing Off
Arkansas, That’s Enough. You’re Just Too Pretty for This Blog Post.
Let’s Move On To Tennessee, Shall We?
Tennessee: Is That Civilization I Spy?
Tennessee: Don’t Ask Me, I’m Just Driving Here
We didn’t take any breaks except for gas (not even for lunch) and stopped for the night in Jackson. There was far too much construction, traffic and bad weather for us to push on to Nashville like we’d planned.
Mom found a place called Mac’s BBQ on Yelp. $23 got us the best goddamned smoked ribs, brisket, and chocolate pie I have ever tasted. The place had one big table with lots of chairs and a bar to sit at. Mac was a darling. Same with Chris, the local who was there for dinner.
Mac’s BBQ: The Smoker
Mac’s BBQ: It’s Not As Scary As It Looks
Mac’s BBQ: The Inside
Chris reminded me of Dale (the big guy in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil). Chris was telling me all about the hunting in the area, how the game wardens catch you, how one of his friends told him about a giant pile of corn dumped in the woods to lure deer had one guy lose his gun and his hunting license, the proper way to age venison, etc. The pair were super friendly, and both said, “God bless you, and safe travels” on our way out.
There was nothing much else to report from that leg of the journey. We made about 400 miles instead of the 500+ we were hoping for, but that’s still not bad.
The next day, we started our morning at Bobby’s Grub House. I ate until my stomach was distended and still tried to shovel more food in my mouth because that shiz was delicious.
When we arrived in Nashville, my friend Kristin met with me and my mom for lunch. She showed us around town–the Parthenon, Music Row, some of the local colleges, BB King’s, Coyote Ugly, Margaritaville, etc.
Nashville, TN Replica Parthenon
We had lunch in the Wild Horse Saloon.
Nashville, TN Wild Horse Saloon
Nashville, TN Wild Horse Saloon — Complete With Wild Horses on the Ceiling
Nashville, TN Wild Horse Saloon: The Fried Pickles Were Surprisingly Tasty
We said goodbye to Nashville and spent the night in Manchester, Tennessee.
The next day, we pushed on through the rest of Tennessee, down into Georgia, and then to Florida. There weren’t many pictures in Georgia or Florida since the rain, traffic, winding roads in Tennessee and being tired from the trip had me too wiped to manage many good ones from behind the wheel. Though I will admit I was not too tired (or maybe I was just tired enough) to be tickled about driving through Butts County, Georgia.
Despite any setbacks, I did get a few good parting shots, if I may say so.
Once I finally arrived, it was nice to kick back and relax with Nike.
Me and Nike
Goliath thought so, too.
Goliath Sacked Out on the Couch. Looka dat faaaace!
And that’s all she wrote, folks. It’s been a long trip, but I’m glad to be settled in my new home.
November 8, 2013
That’s right, folks. You read that blog post title correctly. This is not a Friday Funny. Call me crazy, but in about a week I’ll be leaving Los Angeles behind for Florida.
This has been in the works for quite a while, but the stars have finally aligned. I love my friends and the life I’ve built here in LA, but I miss my family far more.
If you’ve been trying to reach me lately, there’s a good chance that you haven’t received a reply because I’ve been working my ass off to meet the deadline for book 6, sort a lifetime of accumulated clutter, and pack as much of my stuff as possible before moving day. I am horribly behind, and I am very sorry if anyone has been trying to get in touch with me and/or has wondered why I kept disappearing from Twitter and Facebook and/or felt ignored. It’s not because I don’t love you guys, but it is because I need about ten of me to handle all the stuff on my plate right now.
I expect I’ll be able to catch up with my backlogs after the Thanksgiving holiday. I plan on taking tons of pictures during my road trip across the country. Expect some hilarity since I’m U-Hauling it up with my mom, my leopard gecko, and four neurotic birds.
Wish me luck. I have the feeling I’m going to need it…
October 30, 2013
It’s entirely possible that I am the worst friend in the world. I make my friends do the damnedest things, including go to parties at the homes of strangers out in the middle of BF nowhere based on the recommendation of that one guy I talked to that one time at a friend of a friend’s house.
Long ago, I used to play a weekly D&D game at a friend’s house. His roommate would swing by during the games every now and then. Sometimes the game wouldn’t happen for whatever reason, or we’d do a movie night instead, and so the roommate would come hang out with us and chit-chat.
After knowing said roommate from maybe half a dozen brief encounters, he invited me to come to his friend’s house for a Halloween party and to bring along my friends. Since I didn’t have any other plans at the time and he seemed like a nice enough guy, I took him up on the offer. The few emails I exchanged with the party host were warm, thoughtful, and from the sound of things, it looked like it would be a good time.
Never having been to the city where this party was taking place, I didn’t realize until the day of this shindig that it was going to take us at least an hour to drive there. Undeterred, my friends and I sallied forth, braving the godawful traffic.
At first blush, once we arrived, things seemed pretty legit to me. I didn’t know anybody there. The hostess found us milling around awkwardly in the living room wondering to ourselves why that King Tut and Cleopatra were wearing bondage collars with their costumes, and whether that one girl in the black pleather dress considered herself costumed or not. We followed the hostess out to the back where there were chips, drinks, and a few more people milling around–ones who were a little more sociable and didn’t look at us like outcasts for not having bondage gear as part of our costumes.
It might be worth noting at this point that the guy who asked me to come to the party never showed up.
Outside, everyone was super friendly and no one was afraid to come strike up a conversation. I ended up separated from my friends for a while.
That separation was strike two, and segues beautifully into strike three for reasons I’ll get to in a moment.
I ended up in a deep, philosophical discussion mostly centered around fantasy novels with a couple of guys who were fascinating conversational partners. I completely lost track of the time. After a while, one of them mentioned that the building to one side of the yard was a studio where the host sketched fantasy-themed comics, and would I like to see the artwork?
Being a huge fantasy nerd, that sounded awesome to me. I liked cartoons, and occasionally dabbled in reading comics, so it seemed like a great idea at the time. Just before I went in, my friends clutched at me and told me they thought we should go RIGHTNOWPLEASE.
Yeah, I’m not very good at taking hints, even when bonked over the head with all the finesse of a sledgehammer.
I figured they were just uncomfortable with the girl who was eyeing them very suggestively while slapping a little heart-shaped switch against her palm. I figured they could survive a couple more minutes of her company and told them I just wanted to check out the art and we could leave right after. Related: See note above about me RE: being a terrible friend.
So I went inside the studio. I’m just going to throw out there that if you haven’t met someone before, introducing them to your furry porn collection within hours of meeting is a bit of a strain on the social niceties.
I could be totally off base here, but I think a reasonable rule of revealing one’s furry porn collection to one’s guests might go something like this:
First meeting: It’s safe to talk about mainstream books and movies. Not porn.
Second meeting: Perhaps discuss the deeper messages in the media you consume for entertainment. Feel free to get enthusiastic about one’s fondness of anthropomorphic animals in cartoons and comics. Note that it is not yet time for porn.
Third meeting: Gently break the ice that one enjoys dressing up in animal costumes on days other than Halloween and likes to visit conventions with others who feel the same. At that point, or at some point in the future, if the other person has mutual feelings about said costuming, perhaps share some non-porny art with your new friend and/or see if they might like to join you at one of these conventions.
Once the other person has admitted to pantsfeelings involving said costumes: Bring on the freak, yo.
Just a thought. Now, to get back to the matter at hand…
Eyes glazed from temporary blindness, I staggered out of the studio, doing my best not to look like I was having a meltdown inside. As these were friends of a friend, I didn’t want to be hollering stuff like, “HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I JUST SAW” and disrupting the whole party. However, it was clear from the unspoken condemnation of my life choices burning in their eyes that my friends knew. Oh, yes.
Not wanting to be the rudest person on the planet despite having just had larger than life pictures of manimal dongs up in my face, I inched an agonizing path around the cheerful furries inviting me to come along to some convention with them while doing my best to avoid spouting out something horrible. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I do know the sounds that I made were civil. Which was goddamn Christmas miracle, if you know me and my mouth.
I’m all for people letting their freak flag fly, but if said flag involves introducing me to dick pics–even sketches of such–on the first date, I’m out.
Eventually, I got out of there, and my friends were almost not my friends anymore. Failing to take the hint was strike three.
And that’s why I’m not allowed to pick the stops on the Halloween party circuit anymore.
October 21, 2013
Yesterday I went to the local meeting of the LA chapter of the Horror Writers Association.
I’m sold on these guys. If you’re a horror writer (published or not), this is a good group to be a part of. Everyone was super friendly, the conversations we had were fascinating, and they shared a lot of useful information for both published and unpublished writers. They shared information on upcoming horror events, promo that worked, open calls for short stories, etc, plus they allowed everyone a little floor time to introduce themselves and contribute to the conversation. Aside from talking about the professional end of things, we also talked research, movies, etc.
It was great, very relaxed and open, and I really liked what I saw. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I strongly suggest checking them out. They’ve got a couple of interesting scholarships for members, as well as the Bram Stoker Awards. I’m sure there are other active chapters, too.
If you’re looking to be part of a professional writing organization with an emphasis on horror, whether you write for an adult or YA audience, they might be for you.
October 14, 2013
One thing I’ve enjoyed about writing the H&W Investigations series is Shiarra’s growth as a person. She’s become so much more than what she was when she started out. In the beginning she was scared of Others, afraid of accepting those who weren’t like her, and too quick to jump to (the wrong) conclusions.
She’s gone through some hard knocks in this latest book. It’s been a challenge to make my frightened little mouse into a strong, brave person who learns to accept others. More than that, learns to accept herself–warts and all.
Much as I love writing it, I also love reading that kind of character growth. Someone who starts out as a very stalwart “there-is-only-black-and-white-no-shades-of-whatever-in-between” growing to learn how to bend and break around those assumptions is among my favorite tropes in fiction. Mostly, I love seeing a character either A) get knocked off their high horse or B) grow the fuck up.
This realization struck me especially hard considering I recently read three books in a row that featured heroines I wanted to throttle. Don’t ask, because I will not be naming and shaming these DNFs.
To me, it’s boring to read about a character who continually makes the same stupid mistakes, doesn’t learn from them, and/or doesn’t go through any kind of emotional hardship. That, or they fail to change as a person when the circumstances they’ve been through demanded it. A character who can solve all of their problems with the snap of a finger or the wave of a hand is not one I want to read about. The ones who yawn off the apocalypse or express feelings because they’re supposed to–not because they’ve done anything to merit feeling that way about the situation or other person–or who go through a checklist of “should act like this because the textbook says so” aren’t my cup of tea. Even worse are the ones who act completely contrary to how you would expect them to react because the author needs them to do something to serve the narrative.
There are times for bravery, but nothing will piss me off faster than when that bravery is a thin veil to cover a stupid action. Not if it’s not acknowledged as such. Sometimes not even then. The risk must be worth the reward, and they better suffer for their stupidity, damn it.
If the only way to reach their goal is to make the character do something uncomfortable for them on an emotional–not physical or magical–scale, I will eat that up with a spoon. There are few things I love more than reading about a character coming out the other side of a hardship, maybe still a bit raw, but tempered into a different shape and viewing the world through new eyes. Better if they come to realize that they were wrong about something and let go of their false assumptions without clinging to them like a limpet for no good reason other than to drag out the conflict a few more pages.
Make me see that new point of view. Make me believe the character has changed or grown or seen who they really are under the mask they show the world, and I’m your fangirl forever.
What do you think? Agree or disagree?