Book Review: “Night Vision” by Augie Peterson

*I was contacted by the author and asked for an honest review*
“Night Vision,” a creative and engaging first offering from sort fiction author Augie Peterson, reminds fans of the horror genre that, sometimes, the swift hand packs the best punch. Although the prose does, at times, contain the rough edges often found in self-published fare, Peterson’s gift for compact, focused story-telling shines through, bringing with it a delightful accent of the unexpected.

Peterson’s compact collection draws inspiration from a variety of horror sub-genres, with an imagination and style that puts faith in the reader’s ability to follow her into the shadows and use their wits to find their way around. Peterson gives the reader just enough to draw us in close, before pulling the rug out from under our feet with delightfully startling “last act” twists. Breif, compact, and effective, the visions of the unexplained and expected in “Night Vision” will leave fellow horror junkies looking forward to more from Peterson’s pen.

You can find a copy here:https://www.amazon.com/Night-Vision-Collection-Horror-Stories/dp/1978136390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511822113&sr=8-1&keywords=augie+peterson

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#TheReadingQuest TBR

#ReadingQuest TBR

August 13th -September 10th, 2017

    Alright, my bookish comrades, it’s that time again: time for me to embark on a read-a-thon that I, in all likelihood, will only partially complete by the communally agreed upon deadline. Past failures seem to be a poor deterrent for me, though, since I’ve participated in three “read-a-thons” this summer without completing my TBR piles for any of them…and here I am, starting a fourth. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I’m just an optimist. Yeah, optimist–let’s go with that.

    This time, various members of the wider bookish internet community will be embarking on a little project known as “The Reading Quest,” created by the lovely Aentee of the blog “Read at Midnight.”  The gifted CW of “ Read, Think, Ponder”, provided the art for the “Quest Board” that guides the read-a-thon. (You can get all of the details in the link below). There a four potential “paths” along the board:

 

Knight

Mage

Bard

Rouge

   Here is the link to the full info post on “Read at Midnight”https://readatmidnight.com/2017/07/29/thereadingquest-sign-up/ 

My Chosen Path: The Bard

My TBR for “The Bard Path”:

 

A Book with A TV/Movie Adaptation: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

A Fairytale Retelling: Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue (A collection of short stories re-imagining various fairy tales as LGBTQ narratives).

A Book Cover with Striking Typography: Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (Publisher: Fall River Press).

A Book Translated from Another Language: Sappho’s Poetry (Translated from Greek)

A Banned Book:  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The inherent homophobia of the Harry Potter series

This makes me miss my days as a Lit Theory student. This is for any Potter fan that enjoys reading critically, with depth and thoughtfulness. I love the Potter series, but I enjoy a critical approach when it’s well expressed, and this is a great example of that.

No es un verbo

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I feel like every time I talk about Harry Potter I have to start the conversation with, “I love Harry Potter, but…” in the way that one talks about a relative who used to get us good birthday gifts but now we realize are a bigoted piece of shit. It’s a too accurate comparison, since I’ve always felt that this series played as big of a part in my childhood as my family did. And, just like with many of my relatives, my relationship with the Harry Potter series is strained by the fact that I’m a woman who likes women, and JKR, like these subtly and not so subtly homophobic family members, doesn’t seem to like queer people very much.

To be fair, Joanne K Rowling doesn’t seem to like abuse victims, fat people, people of color or the mentally ill very much either…

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Why Is Everyone So Emotional About Trump’s Election?

I notice that many Trump supporters are confused as to why so many people are frightened, after the results of the election. Please read this post from a friend of mine, a half Mexican woman working in the mental health field. It may help you understand why so many people are so upset right now–and it’s better to hear it from the POV of real Americans, and not just from the media:
“Today is difficult day to be a mental health counselor. One of the most important things we do in the room is bring hope to others, and right now I don’t know how I’m going to push through just how devastated I am in order to do that. Those of you who know me know that I’m a pretty optimistic and sunshiny person, and I just don’t have access to that part of myself right now. I am Mexican, and a woman, and it’s a hard reality to face to know that half the country does not believe that I am worth as much as they are.

The thing that keeps me getting through this day is seeing all of your support and love for each other during this troubled time and to see you declare your solidarity with individuals who might be going through a more difficult time than yourself. I’m so proud of your response, and so proud to count myself among your friends.

As a favor to me, if you are able to and you see someone who is having a hard time today please let them know that you see them both as a person and someone who has value in this world. If you aren’t able to, please allow yourself to be comforted by others, and take the space you need today to care for yourself. It might not feel like it, but you matter. Despite what the outcome of this election was and how you feel the world sees you and your worth, you matter to everyone around you, and you have value.”

“Born to Sweep the Light”: A Short Fiction Moment

Author’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a novel in progress, that I thought would work well as a short story.  Hope you enjoy!

Voices hummed in the warm den behind her, and somewhere in the background, the porch grumbled under the weight of footsteps. Rose wasn’t exactly sure how much time had passed; how long before Willa would come out to make sure that she hadn’t passed out in a bush somewhere? She drew in one more breath of cold air, letting it burn her lungs, savoring the sting of vitality. She had just decided to go in and pull Willa away from the vicinity of the kitchen when she felt the tug on the hem of her skirt. For just a moment, her conscious mind went blank. Something in her sub-conscious told her body not to move. Another low moan from the floorboards somewhere on the opposite end of the porch served to push her surface thoughts back into high gear. Don’t let the dark and the alcohol play with you–that could have been anything. “Don’t jump to conclusions.”

Rose gripped the porch beam as a sudden hard tug on the edge of her hair forced her head backward. she reached up to massage the whiplash induced knot at the base of her neck with her finger tips. “Ok…so maybe that one wasn’t my imagination.” Rose The voice was delicate –and small–most likely the developing vocal chords of a child. But more than that, it was clear; the kind of non-electronic, intelligent voice phenomenon that would have Tara and Brittany groping for their cameras and popping the Champaign, and it was inches from Rose’s side. Rose. Listen. Not there. Not there Stay. Stay Lana Mama– Rose–don’t… The air seemed to grow warm and close. Rose’s throat tightened and her body went still as their voices closed in around her. They tugged at the edges of her understanding, demanding their audiences, bleeding their confessions all over her. Not here…in back… Andrew. Stop Andrew.

The longer she stood there, the more clearly their voices pieced together. She wasn’t sure if her presence was making them bold, or if she was just tuning in to them; if some dormant inner ear was stirring awake against her will. The louder they became, the more Rose felt like a deer trapped in a hunter’s crosshairs. They all had their piece to say: so many voices competing for her ear that her mind began to fill with static, each new appeal grabbing for a piece of her psyche. But only one of them, besides the bold little girl who had started the mess, was brave enough to touch her.

Rose felt something brush the fingers of her right hand. Whoever it was, she could feel it–them–right in front of her. It was an odd, unwelcome extra sense that she had hoped she had left behind her in high school, the way some girls leave behind their awkward shyness and unwanted birth noses. What–no, technically, who–whoever had touched her was still very close, probably still standing on the other side of the porch rail divide. rose lifted her gaze from the floorboards and stared straight ahead into the dark. The shape wasn’t as well defined as some she had seen.

When Rose had been younger–around seven, or maybe ten–she had seen them as full bodied manifestations. This one wasn’t quite that well defined: just as shape that was just detailed enough to look human. But Rose could feel the long, soft fingers on hers, just as surely as if she were staring down at them. Rose The voice was definitely female, and firm, insistent. Rose, please, you have to tell Anna…

“No,” Rose slammed her eyes shut, raising her hands, palms out, on either side of her, like a shield against their pleas. “NO. I won’t tell Anna or Andrew or Lana anything. I can’t. I–I’m so sorry. Please, stop. I can’t help you.” Rose could feel most of them step back. The air around her became more even in temperature, and strangely clearer. More breathable. The beehive in her mind began to quiet a little. She could feel the tide of their sorrow swell over her, sticking in her throat and tearing at her heart, and then recede. She felt a familiar stab of insane guilt as the little girl in the red dress let go of her skirt. The only one who didn’t step back was the one who had touched her hand. If anything, she felt closer, pushing into the boundary between them. Rose, please–please tell Anna– The soft creak of a floorboard just to Rose’s left seemed to pull her body back into the warm light of the house behind her. The voice was as clear as any of the others had been, but the air that fell on her cheek was warm.

“You can feel them, too, can’t you?” Rose looked to her left into a pair of warm grey eyes. “And hear them,” she answered, more softly than she meant to, “and sometimes see them. But you know that.” Rose realized with an inward jolt that the insistent presence in front of her had abruptly pulled away. The young man with grey eyes offered Rose a hesitant smile.

“Yeah. I guess it’s our fault for being so close to their territory, hu?” Rose slid her hands up the length of her arms, pressing the impression of her fingers into her flesh.

“Maybe,” she answered finally. She angled her gaze back toward the night, suddenly unwilling to look him in his boyish face. “Not that I can exactly blame them. I’d probably do the same thing in their position.” Rose swallowed as her stomach threated to roll, then receded. “Although, the entire damn world kind of feels like their ‘territory’, sometimes.” Rose heard the soft chuckle to her left, but she didn’t turn to look.

“To us, yeah–I guess it would.” She let the ensuing silence grow long and uncomfortable enough that he felt compelled to fill it. “It really is nice to see you again, Rose.” The gentle sincerity in his voice surprised her enough to make her meet his eyes.

“Yeah…nice to see you, too, Owen. Really.” She felt an odd jolt in her stomach as she realized that she meant it. Owen took a side step toward the railing and slid his hands into the pockets of his slacks.

“Even better to see you back in the game. You always did have a great ear for this stuff. Has Ella recruited you for her investigation into the cemetery yet?” Owen watched Rose’s face become a careful, cold mask, and took an instinctive step back.

“…And you just had to ruin it, didn’t you, O?” Owen blinked. “What? What did I say?” Rose rested a slightly shaky hand on the cold railing and turned to claim his eyes. “It’s not a game, Owen. It never has been. And I’m certainly not back in it.”

Owen sighed. “You’re still on that kick. Rose, I know what happened was a big deal, but I still think you’re wasting–”

“I really should go find my date. I have kept her waiting too long, already.”

Owen was still forming his next thought when Rose turned and pushed her way back into the house, losing herself in the crowd and the light.

 

Method: A Flash Fiction Story

We all have our own ways of patching up the holes in the world. Seth and I have slightly different approaches to this kind of thing. I don’t think he’ll approve of my approach today, but I tell myself it doesn’t matter as I speed up to take the ramp off of the freeway. Sometimes, being a good sister is its own kind of twisted hell.

I kind of knew this was coming the day that I saw the first headline drift across the Wayland Post’s Daily Top Five. I skimmed it, and let the ugly details secure their hooks in me: “unnamed illness increases sensitivity to light…third degree burns result from normally innocuous exposure…exposed flesh begins to break down and take on infection within hours…five Wayland residents hospitalized…ICU.”

The first name that came to me was Seth’s. I knew he would have seen it by then; would have already pulled out stacks of Mom’s old medical journals and his own books about Black Plague physicians who were just a little too committed to their study of the disease. He would be mapping out his next bright idea. My phone rang before I could pick it up to call, and I sat and listened to Seth on the other end of line. Seth, breathless with the force of his Plan. Seth, telling me all about how he would save the world. How he would help stop this new Plague before it started.

Nothing I said after that could change his feverish mind.

()

Seth leaves the map tucked into the crack on the lower edge of my doorframe: a ripped section of California Highway One, with a faded red line running through it. I tape the scrap of map to my dashboard, securing it just within line of vision, and spend the day following that red line until it reaches beyond the end of the freeway. It runs ahead of me off the pavement, through a wide, worn stretch of dirt road. I brush the map with my fingertips like a blessing bauble over a doorway, and I follow the red line onto the road between two endless sheets of barley.

 

It takes me longer than it should to find the little motel on the side of the dirt road. I guess maps can only do so much; especially when you don’t really want to go where they’re taking you. It’s full dark by the time I make it to the door of Room 10. Inside, everything is a faded blue, glowing in a dusty -feeling yellow light. The air in the room smells synthetically clean, like standard hotel air conditioning has just been running.

Seth is lying on the bed. He turns toward me at the squeal of the opening door.

“Ivy,” I can feel the effort it takes him to speak. I can see the hot, dark red of the flesh beneath his skin. Uneven borders of skin retreat from islands of exposed flesh on his face, his hands, his arms. I wonder how long I have until I will be watching the infection set in. He swallows, and I can see the effort of it in the muscles of his neck. “You shouldn’t be here. It’s dangerous.”

I step inside and shut the door. No need to scare the other guests. If we’re quiet, I might be able to get him out of here without anyone seeing.

“It’s been seven hours since I last heard from you. This is why you left me the map, wasn’t it?” Seven hours since he stole a sample vile from Mom’s lab, and drove it out here. The camera capturing the progress of his “experiment” is still set up in one corner of the room. “I’m taking you to a hospital.”

“No—not yet.”

“We’ll get there quick. I drive like the dead, when I have to.”

He tries to push himself up by the heels of his hands. A sharp gasp of pain pushes him onto his back.

“No hospital.” He takes a deep breath. “It’s too soon–”

“No one’s going to find the vile,” I snap. Acidic bile rises into my mouth. “I’ll get rid of it.” He blinks at me for a long, agonizing minute, and then looks back at the camera.

“That’s coming with us.” I speak before he can argue. I won’t waste any more time arguing about his precious research. “But we’re going.”

“It’s not enough,” his throat sounds dry. “This is only the beginning of the process. The next stage–“

“–won’t be on camera.” My voice is cold, clinical. I realize all at once that I spent the drive convincing myself that this stupid plan wouldn’t work. I had expected to find him pacing the room, frustrated about the failed experiment, but fine. Safe. I realize now that I had been feeding myself fairytales. Of course it worked. Of course he would succeed in doing harm, while he was trying to do good.

He opens his mouth to argue–probably to tell me that I’ll waste his research if we leave now, that he needs just fifteen minutes more, just thirty minutes, and then he’ll go –and I pull a narrow glass bottle from my jacket pocket.

“You can come with me willingly, leaning on my shoulder, or I can carry you out in my arms. Either way, you’re coming with me, right now.”

He starts to say something–something about contributions to history, and helping mankind, and being worth the risk–but I’m getting the Latex gloves out of my inside pocket. Taking a napkin from the side table and adding a line of homemade chloroform to its center (Seth isn’t the only one who can do research). I slip one hand behind his head. I kneel there and pray that he doesn’t breathe too deep, that my proportions were right, that I’m doing this right, as my will wraps itself around his.

 

“Tome Topple” Approacheth: A Foray into Epic Fantasy

Between the dates of June 5th and June 19th, 2016, the lovely and engaging Samantha of the YouTube channel “Thoughts on Tomes,” will be hosting (hostess-ing?) a two-week, “read-a-thon.” “Tome Topple,” is intended to encourage those with brick-sized books on their TBR piles to tackle the ink-and-paper beasts, and emerge triumphant (or, at least, with a TBR pile that is a book or two lighter). I have never participated in a “BookTube” read-a-thon, but I’m gearing up for this one. I am looking forward to the opportunity to dig into the plump, juicy books that have been patiently waiting on my shelves for longer than I like to think about; most notably, Gorge R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, series. It took me over a month to read, A Game of Thrones, mainly due to the fact that: A. Epic Fantasy is not my go-to genre, and it has a particular type of “flow” that takes a little getting-used-to; and B. the trade paperback edition of A Game of Thrones, has about four times the page count of a typical book on my shelves. So, we’ll see what kind of a dent I can leave in A Clash of Kings (or what kind of dent it leaves in me) in the span of  that two weeks.

As is tradition with Booktube read-a-thons, “Tome Topple” will involve a few mini-reading challenges over the course of the event. The guidelines of a regular read- a -thon might discourage “doubling up” (i.e. selecting one title to “cover” two or more challenges), but, since this one is focused on larger books, a bit of “double dipping” is understandable, and even encouraged. With that in mind, I am currently trying to settle on three books to cover a total of five challenges: two “tomes” of at least 500 pages, and one shorter book, just in case I need a rest between the bug -killer volumes. The current itinerary looks something like this:

“Tome Topple” Challenges:

  1. Read more than one, “big book” (500 pages or more):
    1. “A Clash of Kings,” by Gorge R.R. Martin
    2. “The Woman in White,” by Willkie Collins
  2. Take a graphic novel brake:
    1. “Blue is the Warmest Color,” by Julie Maroh
  3. Read a big book that is part of a series:
    1. “A Clash of Kings,” by Gorge R.R. Martin
  4. Read over 500 pages in one week
  5. Read an adult novel
    1. “This Present Darkness,” by Frank Peretti

If you have any doorstopper books that you’ve been meaning to get around to, and you would like to join the fun, Sam of “Thoughts on Tomes”, and her associates will be hosting reading sprints via social media during the read-a-thon. Check out Sam’s announcement video below for the lowdown: