Strange spells, curses, crafty things that don’t fit anywhere else.

10 Modern Gothic Movies for a Dark and Stormy Night

As Halloween approaches and the veil thins, it seems appropriate to dig up something from last winter. So here is a list of some of my favorite spooky movies in a post from last February.

But first, the News

  1. I’m on the road this week with a guest post on Compelling Beasts Blog. Read all about Scottish Vampires HERE.
  2. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones goes on Sale Oct. 20 through Nov. 3. If you have a Facebook or Twitter or Tumbler account, you can help me get the word out by supporting my Thunderclap campaign HERE.
  3. WHAT!! You haven’t read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones? Well, now’s the time. Not only is she on sale, but book 2 in the series will soon follow. Pick up your own copy of this award-winning book at the reduced price HERE.

 

Winter is coming and no better time to binge on scary Gothic movies. Below, you’ll find a starter list guaranteed to chill you, thrill you, and send you screaming for a bracer of good Scotch whisky.

The 21st century, young as it is, has already produced a plethora of good old fashioned Gothic movies. Expect creepy locations, twisty plots, scary effects, and British accents. Some are gory and some are just delightfully disturbing. If these whet your appetite, stay tuned for next week’s post about classic Gothic movies.

 

Crimson Peak

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds – and remembers.

Rated R for bloody violence, Crimson Peak is a throwback to the glory days of Gothic Romance. Lots of blood, lots of gore, lots or weirdness in a creepy old house. Their trailer is a great way to get your Gothic juices boiling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oquZifON8Eg

 

The Others

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

And that’s all I can say about this until you watch it. Nicole Kidman is crazy good.

The Awakening

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves.

This one has everything!  My favorite on this list. If you don’t enjoy the bloody carnage of Crimson Peak, The Awakening may be the movie for you. No gore, but lots of running around screaming—at least that’s what I do when I watch it.

The Raven

When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.

While I don’t usually go along with rewritten history, this one is fun. John Cusack makes a great Poe.

From Hell

In 1888, a ruthless and cold-blooded killer begins hunting prostitutes in East London, and while the murderer’s work is savage, the mutilation of his victims suggests the fiend has an extensive medical background. Amidst a background of political unrest and barely contained scandal among the royal family, the murderer’s grisly exploits shock and frighten all of England, and one of Scotland Yard’s top inspectors, Fred Abberline (Johnny Depp), is put on the case, along with his partner, Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane).

Any Jack the Ripper movie is fine with me. (I still think the Prince did it.) and I’ll watch Johnny Depp do opium all day long. But that may be just me.

1408

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in a scary story that still makes me double check hotel room numbers. Hint that you probably don’t need: 1 + 4 + 8 = 13

Sweeney Todd

Unjustly sent to prison, a man vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, he becomes Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, who “shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again.” Sweeney’s amorous accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, creates diabolical meat pies.

Incredibly freaky. On the Freakometer, this one scores ten skulls.

The Woman in Black

A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Nice and freaky and bleak with the added feature of little Harry Potter all grown up and acting.

Corpse Bride

When a shy groom practices his wedding vows in the inadvertent presence of a deceased young woman, she rises from the grave assuming he has married her.

Tim Burton’s best in my humble opinion.

Darkness Falls

A vengeful spirit takes the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the one child, now grown up, who survived her before.

Yes, yes, there are plot holes, but the intense action is lots of fun.

 

Did I miss your favorite? Post it in the comments.

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Join Sorchia’s Universe

Times the Universe Yelled at Me

Friday the 13th’s post is about those little jolts of synchronicity from Nature. The messages the natural world sends our way in the weirdest manners.

But first, I have a non-natural sign to share with you. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones will go on sale on October 20 and stay that way until November 3. What can this mean, you ask. What does this portend?

Well, I’ll tell you. It means the release of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is getting closer. No firm date yet, but the process is begun.

To get the word out about the sale, I’m running a Thunderclap campaign. I’d appreciate your support. Click HERE to lend your voice to the tumult! 

Portents and Omens

So many people are genuinely suffering in our world today. Echoes of their pain filter into my safe, warm home. A subtle dis-ease keeps me awake at night and disturbs my morning tea. Something prickles the hair on my neck, and I text my kids to make sure they are okay. Of course, they are. But the feeling that something just isn’t right persists.

I can’t explain it.

In difficult times, we humans look for patterns—shapes in the clouds, faces etched on our breakfast toast, order from chaos. Soothsayers and fortunetellers cast the bones or lay out cards or divine meaning from patterns in entrails or bumps on the head.

Who can say if they’re wasting their time or not? Who can say the old ways are dead?

If you live close to the land, you’ve heard the voices of birds and beasts, of soil and wind and rain, of trees and grass, herbs and flowers. You’ve sensed the wariness of a doe and her fawns long before the flick of a white tail in the undergrowth draws your eye. You’ve felt the intrusion of another person on an abandoned road long before they came into view.

It’s this connection with the natural world that brings order for me and it’s here where I look for signs and symbols, omens and portents. Am I wasting my time? Who can say? I sleep better when I see the orderly progression of stars and planets across the night sky. My day is more peaceful when a squirrel or woodpecker peeks in my window to say hello—to remind me the world still works.

Most of the time, that’s all it is. Just a greeting, an acknowledgement, a cautious connection with the strange noisy creature who lives in their woods. Maybe they’re as curious about me as I am about them. Maybe, to them, I’m a sign of disaster.

Every culture on the planet includes a collection of animal lore, superstitions, traditions explaining odd encounters. A black cat may mean bad luck or good luck. A turtle signals rain; a dog’s howl  death. Most of these bits of folklore are general and easily dismissed. But sometimes the event is so persistent or so odd, you wonder.

Below, you can read about some of my encounters with nature signs, but tell me—What messages has the Universe sent to you? Or do you think all of this sounds crazy? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!!

 

Times the Universe yelled at me

A black snake crawled down a tree outside my window. Not unusual, until he or his brother crawled onto my porch—three times. Not only that, but as I sat typing (coincidentally about a character who sometimes turns into a snake) there he/she was again—slithering across the tin roof outside my second-story window.

  • Snakes signal transformation, life and rebirth, healing. He also suggests grounding—focusing intention on the basic. But this guy was in midair nearly every time I found him so there’s that. Also, black is a color of protection.

I headed to town on a grocery (liquor) run but had to stop when a huge walking stick slide down the windshield. She scampered under the hood. A thorough search of my car’s private parts yielded no walking stick and I feared the worst. My shopping finished, I pulled into the gas station and what did I find crawling across the top of the car, but my walking stick. This time I secured her and got her home where I released her into the wild. As I put her on a tree, another walking stick ran up as if to say “Thanks the gods, you’re safe. We heard you’d been abducted by aliens.” For the next several days, walking sticks took every opportunity to make their presence known. They crawled up my legs, they dropped on me from trees, they appeared in the most unlikely places. And then they went back to being nearly invisible.

  • Walking sticks, stick bugs, Devil’s darning needle—their real name is phasmid. While they don’t sting people, they do spit caustic liquid into the eyes of their prey to blind them. Nifty. They suggest patience and again focus. Why are you yelling at me, Nature?  They are also experts at camouflage and indicate a need for serious reflection before taking action.

In the course of one full moon night, my house was assaulted by a band of marauding raccoons who crept in the cat door. Mom and two fuzzy nuggets of disaster made a complete tour of the house before they waddled out. At the same time, a cat caught a flying squirrel took the wee beastie upstairs where the squirrel escaped. I chased it into the sun room where it found a hiding place. I secured the doors, opened the window and took off the screen, hoping he would find his way out during the night. He did not. The next morning he did a flying leap from wherever he had been hiding, ricocheted off my leg and nearly came to a bad end before I got him safely stowed in a wide-mouth mason jar I keep for just such chores. I took him into the woods far from prying feline eyes and the last I saw of him, he was climbing a pine tree with a certain amount of alacrity.

  • Raccoons are curious and clever. Their presence may be about leaving no stone unturned in a quest but Raccoon is a trickster, too. They like to knock things out of balance and you can either go with that and enjoy the ride or you can resist which makes you frustrated and annoyed.
  • Squirrels advise to take yourself less seriously and have more fun.  Again with the yelling! To really relax, though, they remind that you have to take care of practical matters first. Squirrels encourage you to get rid of clutter and leave unimportant things behind.

 

via GIPHY

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and/or weird sign you’ve gotten. Or feel free to add your interpretation of mine. I can use all the help I can get.

Book News, Virus College, and Healing Magic

Here we are at the Autumnal Equinox and I have to marvel at how quickly the summer flashed by. And what a summer it was! Let’s hope Mother Earth calms down a bit—but sometimes you just have to scream and throw things before anybody pays attention. Who can blame her?

Things are brewing in Sorchia’s Universe—as they always do at this time of year.

  • Look for a bunch of guest posts on Halloweenie topics from now through October AND a sale on Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones at the end of October.
  • I’m teaming up with several outstanding authors to present a newsletter. This month, my contribution is a recipe from the Scotch and Salad Diet. You’ll also find freebies and giveaways galore. Sign up the newsletter HERE.
  • Witchling, An Anthology of Zoraida Grey Short Stories is nearing completion and will be available to subscribers to this blog for free for a limited time. I hope this is available by Halloween, but I’m not totally in control of that. Fireworks will explode right here when it happens.
  • Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is in the pipeline. More news soon on release date, cover reveal, and all the other bits and pieces that go with it.
  • Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes is in progress. I’m about 20 K in and you’ll be seeing snippets and tales from research in the coming months. My goal is to get the manuscript to my editor by the end of the year but we’ll see how that goes.
  • I didn’t do a fantastic job of getting the word out about my Novel Magic guests, so here are links to some excellent books for Autumn Reading.

Why Be Normal When You can be PARANormal? by Debra Doggett

New Release in Casi McLean’s Lake Lanier Mystery Series

Some Whisper, Some Shout by K.K. Weil

Paranormal Elements to Boost Mainstream Stories by Connie Johnson Hambley

Now, I have to apologize for being AWOL for August and most of September. I’ve had some sort of brain-zapping, energy-sucking mutant virus which infiltrated my personal biosphere sometime in July and not only made itself comfortable but built a duplex and invited its college buddies over for the summer.

Yes, my virus went to Virus College.

DLGNCE body sick cold GIF

Mercifully, I don’t remember most of it since I self-medicated myself to the edge of a coma. I’m afraid I lost a few brain cells. Unfortunately, I did not lose any appreciable weight. This is how illness works for me—all the suffering and none of the benefits. Nobody felt sorry for me (I did quite a lot of this all by myself, but it would have been nice). Nobody took care of me. And I still don’t fit into my skinny jeans.

Now that I’m on the road to recovery, it’s time to make good on those fever-induced promises I made to the Universe.

As far as I can recall, one of them was to cut down on the drinking—only on holidays. Fortunately, we pagans have a holiday of one kind or another at least twice a month—so there’s a little wiggle room with this one.

Another promise was to lose weight—which means getting back to the exercise and healthy diet which resulted in a loss of about thirty pounds a few years ago. Unfortunately, many of those pounds have crept back when I wasn’t looking. So back to square one.

And all that got me thinking about those little gems of healing magic I’ve come across as I researched.

I did a whole series on healing crystals. Here is one post which will lead you to the others. OR you can select the Category Crystal Fix from the category list on the right.

Crystal Fix: Beryl

 

Stones, Gems, Minerals, Crystal

Book Cover Conversation PLUS an Exclusive Peek at ZG #2

I’m a guest on the blog of my friend and fellow Wild Rose Author Alicia Dean this week. 

Check out the post which includes an exclusive excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen HERE.

I’m also asking for your help as I get ready to design a cover for ZG and the VQ which is in the hands of my editor right now.

If you’d like to help, here is a link to a quick survey where you can tell me what you like and hate in a book cover.

Sorchia’s Book Cover Survey

I’m nearly 10 K into Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes and the story is shaping up nicely.

Halloween is coming!!

Look for news and a prize for subscribers to Sorchia’s Universe about then!