It's October when thoughts turn to falling leaves and pumpkin pies. As the adorable Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." But October also brings us Halloween and while the kiddies are collecting candy we can raise goosebumps by reading or rereading some of the more frightening novels ever written. I'm sure you have favorites that kept you up late and lingered in your dreams. Here are my top five in a list of the scariest novels I've read:
5. Rosemary's Baby, Ira Levin — you've seen the movie, but read the book for the real deal.
4. The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty — another classic film, but the book is even better.
3. The Rats, James Herbert — mutated giant rats. Need I say more?
2. The Ruins, Scott Smith — carefree travelers in Mexico stumble across an ancient evil. Will leave you shaken, not stirred.
1. Pet Sematary
, Stephen King — many of King's horror tales could make this list, including The Shining
and Salem's Lot,
but I found Pet Sematary
to be the most unsettling of them all.
Runners up in the horror category include Hell House by Richard Matheson, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. What's on your list?
Take some time away from your reading and writing to visit one or more of these writing groups this month:
- The River City Writers go virtual this month with a Zoom meeting on editing with an actual editor. Marcie Bridges, a freelance editor with Elk Lake Publishing, presents "How to Chop Down a Redwood: Tools for Editing and Writing." Marcie will share with you how to work with an editor and different tools you can use to make sure your writing is the best it can be. Join group leader Kathy Bain and Marcie Bridges on Tuesday, October 12 at 6:30 p.m. through this link and passcode: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77462028675?pwd=dTBudXZsVERFK21SVU1Hd3U2eDQ4QT09 Passcode: h5FqkB
- The Ancient City Writers group meets on Saturday, October 16 at St. Augustine Main Library. The doors open at 10:00 a.m. to all who want to add a little humor to their writing. Author and poet Sandra Dempsey Madden presents "Lighten Up! Getting Serious About Humor." She will show how humor can be incorporated into most novels, from romantic comedy to mysteries, historicals - almost any genre. She will explain how, when, and why humor can be/should be used. Also the changes in humor through the years.
- The Amelia Island Writers next meeting is on Tuesday, November 30. More information in next month's blog post.
- Clay County Writers group leader Melanie Pronia has taken this scary month seriously by moving the meeting venue (just for this month) to the Old Jail in Green Cove Springs on Friday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. They will be discussing the horror genre and how history affects our writing. Set your GPS for 915 Walnut Street, Green Cove Springs 32043 to find the Old Jail.
- The Ponte Vedra Writers group welcomes Nancy Quatrano to the Ponte Vedra Branch Library on Saturday, October 23 at 10:00 a.m. Nancy, one of the region's better speakers, will tell us how we can increase our fan base and improve our sales through public speaking. In her presentation, "Transforming Writers into Speakers," Nancy will show us how to how to pitch, prepare, and run a winning book signing event or develop topics that we can present to groups regarding something other than your book. Nancy is a multi-award-winning fiction author, columnist, developmental editor, speaker, and business owner. She's operated On-Target Words since 2009, offering writing services such as content editing, press releases, and basic marketing plan assistance. For more information go to www.NLQuatrano.com
And in other news ...
- FWA is preparing for the RPLA Virtual Ceremony on Saturday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m. Chris Coward and Chris Hamilton will do the honors and you can enjoy all the action by clicking on this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83818117892. And here's a video of the finalists to put you in the mood. Are you in there?
- Even if you're not part of Collection #13, "Footpriints," you may pre-order copies now for a member price of $12 per book, which includes shipping. Contact Chrissy Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order and enjoy the many varieties of stories, essays and poetry members wrote on the Footprints theme.
- Pam-Jam Jax continues throughout the month, moving to San Marco's TAC Gallery this Sunday for poetry and art. Click here for details.
- For more poetry and details about the meetings of A Gathering of Poets, please contact Sharon Scholl at email@example.com.
- If you wish to participate in February's Amelia Island Book Festival as part of the Authors/Expo/Reader's Extravaganza you need to get your application and payment in by the end of the month to reserve a table. Click here for the application.
- In the mood to combine traveling to a few exciting cities like New York City, Nashville (actually in nearby Franklin, TN), and Minneapolis to meet and hear top brand authors? Here's your chance. The International Thriller Writers presents ThrillerFest XVII May 31 - June 4 at the Sheraton Times Square. Featured authors in attendance include Diana Gabaldon, Alistair Burke, Joseph Finder, Frederick Forsyth, and more. Killer Nashville, which moved outside the city to Franklin this year, is scheduled for August 18-21, 2022, and spotlights Guest of Honor authors Lisa Black, Walter Mosley, and J. T. Ellison. And in Minneapolis this year you'll find Bouchercon 2022, September 8-11. If you're not familiar with Bouchercon it's billed as the annual World Mystery Convention for both crime writers and fans. It also moves from city to city each year and pulls in more than a thousand attendees. It's huge and they give away books. Lots of them. Future Bouchercons, which was named after mystery writer of the 40s, Anthony Boucher, will be in San Diego, Nashville, and New Orleans.
- Edward Mickolus is at it again. He's recently published The Creativity Sourcebook: The Daily Guide to Increasing Your Creativity. Now available on Amazon. Seriously, someone has to stop this man before he uses up the entire world's supply of ink.
- Kudos also to T. L. Williams on the publication of Book 5 in his Logan Alexander thriller series. Supreme Threat pits the CIA protagonist against North Korean agents determined to inflict major damage to our homeland.
That will do it for this month. Happy October and keep frighting. Oops, I mean writing.
FWA Regional Director