Burning Willow Press Announces ‘CROSSROADS IN THE DARK III’ For Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Charity

Burning Willow Press (BWP) created the Crossroads in the Dark horror anthologies as a showcase for its authors.

BWP Vice President, Edd Sowder, describes the series:

“Typically, Crossroads in the Dark anthologies are themed and this one is no different. Exploring monsters, real or imagined, typical, or on the news, was a concept dreamed up by our staff. The authors involved enjoy the process and it shows in the way they write their stories. This is a primarily horror related subject matter, so faint of heart please do not read it.”

For the 2017 anthology, the company principals approached the staff and authors and announced that they were going to produce the third book of short stories for a charitable donation to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) research.

A former member of the BWP creative team suffers from EDS, and the disease process has left her unable to continue working.

Burning Willow’s authors reacted almost immediately and began submitting stories for inclusion in the compilation.

“What this means is that we are involved. We want our friend to feel 100 percent again. She has been supporting us since we started our business and when was unable to work, our hearts were left with a hole in them. So, we dedicated the book to her and the proceeds to research in her name,” Mr. Sowder related.

About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is an often misdiagnosed disease that affects connective tissues. Symptoms may include loose joints, stretchy skin, and abnormal scar formation. These can be noticed at birth or in early childhood. Complications may include; aortic dissection, joint-dislocations, scoliosis, chronic pain, or early osteoarthritis.

For more information about EDS symptoms and diagnosis, visit https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/what-is-eds/.

About Burning Willow Press

Founded in 2014, Burning Willow Press has been a much sought-after independent publishing company to work with for many authors of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, accepting blended genres as well. BWP has placed or been nominated for multiple awards in different indie circuits for cover art, best author lists, editors and publisher since its inception. Burning Willow Press distinguishes itself from other small publishers by maximizing engagement with their authors, as is exemplified by the Crossroads in the Dark III project.

Book Blast – Temple of Ghosts by J. H. Moncrieff – Win $100 Amazon gift card!

To celebrate the release of my new supernatural suspense book, Temple of Ghoststhe third book in the GhostWriters series, I want to give you a $100 Amazon gift card.

Because of the delay in its releaseTemple of Ghosts has no reviews. So, here’s the deal: the first fifty people to read the book and review it will be entered into a draw for the gift card. The raffle will run until there are fifty reviews for the book on Amazon, so please share this post and tell your reader friends.

*Once you’ve left a review, leave a comment here:- http://www.jhmoncrieff.com/win-100-amazon-gift-card/ – letting me know your Amazon handle so I can make sure you’re entered into the draw.*

While of course I’d prefer you purchase the book to review it–writers gotta eat, you know–it’s not required. You can send me a pm at jh (at) jhmoncrieff (dot) com, telling me about the scariest thing that ever happened to you in five-hundred words or less, and I’ll send you the ebook to review for free.

One in fifty is pretty good odds! Here’s more about the book:

In the shadow of the jackal…

Medium Kate Carlsson has returned from Poveglia with Jackson, but there’s no time for domestic bliss. Something strange is happening in her sleepy Vermont town—water turns to blood, frogs fall from the sky, and an unlikely stowaway lurks in her kitchen. Even worse, Kate’s friend Eden, a noted Egyptologist, has gone missing.

Darkness surrounds Kate’s protégé, twelve-year-old Lily Walkins, and Lily’s uncle, a soldier who died in Egypt while working on a top-secret government project. Kate suspects the soldier’s untimely death holds the key to the disasters befalling Nightridge.

To solve the mystery and save Lily, Kate and Jackson journey to an ancient temple where the line between god and monster is blurred. With the help of an enigmatic Egyptian psychic, they must face their greatest foe yet.

***

To write Temple of Ghosts, I traveled to Egypt in January, and I drew on a lot of my experiences there when writing the third Kate and Jackson adventure. While this book picks up where The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts left off, there is no need to read the other books in the series first.

Temple of Ghosts is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Overdrive, Playster, Tolino, 24symbols, and Chapters.

***

Raised in the far north, amid Jack London’s world of dog sleds and endless winters, J.H. Moncrieff has been obsessed with psychological suspense, mysteries, and true crime for as long as she can remember. She’s endlessly fascinated by what makes people tick and has visited many of the world’s most haunted places.

Inhumans – Season 1 Episode 1 review

Inhumans Cast picture

This may be ‘controversial’, or at least goes against the flow, but I quite liked Marvel’s Inhumans …or at least I didn’t hate it 🙂

 
As an introductory episode the story was better than average and introduced the concept and characters well, and left the story lines because – yes – there were more than one hanging nicely, with jeopardy and intrigue galore.
 
Acting was definitely a little more choppy with some characters having the better actors and some – at the moment at least – seemingly having the ‘not so great’ ones, or at least writing/acting combined that were shaky (Crystal, especially, seemed wasted).
 
CGI was all over the place, I actually wondered if they violated Medusa and chopped off her hair simply so that they wouldn’t have to deal with her powers; did they not really use Crystals powerset (which is varied and probably second in power to Black Bolt) just because it was too difficult & expensive? Why did Gorgon wear boots on Earth? To hide his feet, or so that the make-up and costume department didn’t have to work so hard, at least until he stupidly went swimming and then met some great islanders (who actually really were wonderful! 🙂 ). Karnak was actually one of the better parts but his power set was among the easier to portray but why wasn’t it explained that he didn’t actually HAVE any powers …the way it was shown viewers will assume he’s as powered as everyone else!
 
I adored – ADORED- Black Bolt’s use of Sign Language, and how it was an integral part of his life; it would have been better (and more natural) if everyone else that was around him – especially his brother – had been able to understand him too, and not just Medusa, but at least this representation of the disabled/deaf community as just a normal part of him was handled really well. Bolt’s isolation and brooding nature was also done well and I hope this is picked up all the way through – it must be TERRIBLE to be able to speak but have to hold back like this, and I thought the facial expressions, and eye action was done well.
 
So, was Inhumans episode 1 excellent? No, nowhere near. Was it as awful as the early reviews made out? No, again nowhere near. It was somewhere in the middle. It was the first episode of a new show, finding its feet and, hopefully, able to improve. I hope it gets the chance to do so because it had flashes of promise, that’s for sure.

Northern Ireland politics – language or life?

Northern Ireland politics and ‘democracy’ is a laughing stock thanks to the DUP and Sinn Féin behaving like toddlers bickering over broken toys in the playground; it has been 10 months since the last election here where they were voted as the two largest parties (primarily because of tribal & sectarian voting rather than based on sensible policies …and also because a large proportion of people here just don’t vote) but they have wasted that time in ‘discussions’ about coming back to devolved Government – but not actually doing it – leaving Northern Ireland without ANY steer or voice around Brexit, education, health, infrastructure of ANYTHING of importance at all.

The demand by Sinn Féin for legislation to give official status to the Irish language viewed as the last/major stumbling block in the negotiations – as all other so called ‘red lines’ seemed to have fallen away; now I am not saying that respect for our cultural heritage isn’t important because I think that it honestly is but when the language is being used to hold the whole of Northern Ireland to ransom in this way so that schools – ALL OF THEM – are running out of money, and hospitals and GPS – ALL OF THEM – are running out of money, and our infrastructure – ALL OF IT – is running to a halt because of lack of money, and our construction industry is faltering because of lack of investment because their is no Minister then there is a MAJOR issue that can only be fixed by a stable devolved Government actually doing its job …and part of its job would be to sort out an Irish Language Act, either stand alone or as part of a joined up ‘Cultural Act’ as the DUP seem to have suggested that includes other aspects of Ireland/Northern Ireland too, I actually don’t really care.

You see the Irish Language, or the Ulster Scots language, as important as they are, really doesn’t mater when stacked up against people lives/health, their education, their jobs, and their ability to actually live a healthy and happy lifestyle which, at the moment, they can’t because their elected representatives are failing them.
According to the 2011 UK Census, in Northern Ireland 184,898 (10.65%) claim to have some knowledge of Irish, of whom 104,943 (6.05%) can speak the language to varying degrees. Some 4,130 people (0.2%) use Irish as their main home language.
Is that really more important than a cancer center in the City Hospital in Belfast not having enough funds? Or schools all across Northern Ireland worrying where they are getting the money to pay their teachers?

…no. No, it isn’t.

MLAs need – NEED – to get back to Stormont and do their jobs and get their priorities straight and when they are their they need – NEED – to ensure that, obviously, equality and respect for all is a given so that LGBT rights are respected, equal marriage is put in place, abortion (even if – at first, because Northern Ireland may need to take small steps – it is just in cases of rape, incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities) is legalised, that the money is in place for all of the urgent first line health, education, jobs, and infrastructure roles that are lacking and then – only then – they can sit down like adults – not petulant children – and put in place a language act that works for all instead of using it like a hammer that does more harm than good.

2021 Commonwealth Youth Games – slipping away?

Northern Ireland is meant to be hosting the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games. This would be a WONDERFUL opportunity for all of the young athletes who have trained to compete on the world stage on their home grounds but, also, for the economy as it would definitely boost tourism, retail, and food industry businesses.

However, thanks to the ineptitude and pettiness of the politicians (if you can call them that) here in Northern Ireland, who can’t put the sake of the people and the Country before their own little egos and selfish wants, we don’t have a functioning Government, so the business case has not been signed off by the Northern Ireland Executive.

…in other words we may miss out on hosting a worldwide headline sporting event because of political stupidity.

Or, to put it simply, just another Thursday here in Northern Ireland.

Is Theresa May’s best good enough for Grenfell?

Theresa May is so very ‘generous’ isn’t she?

She has guaranteed to give the survivors of the Grenfell fire disaster an ‘amazing’ £5,500 each to those who lost their homes.

Each household will receive at least £500 in cash and £5,000 paid into an account as part of a £5m emergency fund.

I mean I can’t believe how generous this Government is being …not when compared with the up to £33,000 redundancy package her ousted MPs get after losing their seats at the recent election, plus the up to £50,000 in ‘winding up’ expenses for their constituency offices – which she doesn’t think is enough and is going to set up a hardship fund for THEM!!!

Just think about that.

The people of Grenfell lived in one of the poorest ares in the UK, nestled in one of the most affluent, and the Prime Minister is giving them each just over £5k while at the same time paying off MPs (who earned £67,060 to £74,000 a year plus exorbitant expenses) with a massive send-off.

Most of the £5m fund is to do the necessary things the Government should already be doing like rehousing the people and looking after their physical and mental states but the press are trying to twist it as some magnanimous gesture on her behalf …NO, it is almost an insult considering that these people have lost relatives, friends, and EVERYTHING in their lives and have to start again and you are giving then £5000 when you can give 4 and 5 times that amount to politicians who don’t need it and STILL think that’s not enough for them you pompous, inhuman woman!!!

I would ask you, beseech you, to do better but I am now convinced that you are incapable of doing any more than this and we are seeing you at your ‘best’ already; and what we are seeing – at times of adversity for so many people – is appalling.

Sexism and double standards in Canadian school

Seemingly a Canadian school principal agrees that that girls’ clothing and bodies is ‘putting boys at risk of having a distracting working environment’ and that the school would ‘continue to enforce the dress code, which bans short skirts and states that “cleavage”, “navels” and “bra straps” must be covered’.
 
I just wonder if she will enforce a similar dress code for boys, making sure that THEIR bodies are covered, so that they can’t show their lovely muscular legs in shorts, or show their uncovered chests, belly buttons/navels, or the top of the boxer shorts over their trouser waist bands because, you know, we have to ensure that the girls have a distraction-free learning environment too and the poor females can’t keep their lust free gaze away from those male bodies, or control themselves either, can they?!? /sarcasm
 
#sexism #doublestandards
 

Theresa May – Enough is enough!

The UK’s ‘glorious and much vaunted leader’, Theresa May, says that despite cutting the the Police force by 20,000 and slashing their budget, she has ‘really’ increased the number of firearms officers, protected the counter-terrorism policing budgets, and made them, as a whole, much more able to protect us all from the rising level of threat from extremists and terrorists.
 
However Government figures show the number of police officers has fallen from 146,030 officers in 2010 to 126,766 in 2016 – the number of armed officers has dropped from 6,976 to 5,639 in the same time. The figures don’t lie so maybe May does?
 
And the Former Prime Minister, David Cameron’s, own aide, Steve Hilton, actually thinks that the cuts that May forced upon the Police was responsible for the security failures that led to the terror attacks at London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge and thinks that May should resign.
 
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said London was getting half the funding for policing that it should be getting for a capital city and that policing in the capital was facing a £400m cut over the next four years.
 
He said that while the Met Police did a brilliant job despite the cuts, they needed more resources.
 
You can’t cut Police numbers and budgets and expect them, no matter how hard they work and how hard they try, to expect them to do the same job for less and less …well actually I suppose the Tories CAN expect that, it’s pretty much what they expect of everyone except for themselves. This time, though, it is costing lives and putting more at risk.
 
When May said, in her press conference outside number 10 after the terror attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market, that enough was enough, she was right …enough IS enough, it is time to get rid of her and her cronies and June 8th is the time to do it. If you vote Conservatives you are voting for more cuts to the Police, more cuts to the NHS, more cuts to welfare for the disabled, and the sick, and the vulnerable.
 
Enough is enough.
 
Time to change.

First archery competition achieved.

So this happened! 🙂

First competition, first-time at that range, first-time using the new 26lb bow (yes I decided to use it all day, and yes I’m already paying for it, and tomorrow will be worse), and got my first medal for gent’s barebow Bristol 🙂

For the stats curious: total shots were 144 and I made 126 or 87.5% on target (missed most at the start finding the range and my way with the bow – not meant as an excuse though!); hit gold 24 times (3 were 10xs but as the scoring was imperial they only counted as 9s …made my heart soar though! :D) so 19% of my shots were gold); best round was a 999975 with nice grouping, so I’m told. My favourite shot was my last one …it was one of the 10xs, can’t ask for a better end to the day 🙂

The thing for me is that I proved to myself that I CAN do this; maybe not as well as proper archers yet but I lasted the whole day, shot the whole 144 competition (though I couldn’t pull my own arrows out of the boss about 3/4s of the way through but a lovely chap called Des in the Bristol with me very kindly helped out for the last hour or so). The walking to score & fetch arrows is definitely the hardest part, harder than hitting 50 yards consistently (though I think my ‘comfort zone’ is going to be 30 or 40 yards at the moment) and half way through I was the last one back to the shooting line, slower then the archers coming from double the distance …will have to ponder how best to handle this.

Anyhoo – major fun was had, competition was accomplished and completed, medal was unexpectedly achieved, kudos on form was given by some VERY talented archers, invite to another competition in a couple of weeks received, burgeoning friendships made …and body broken 😀 Jaw, neck, left arm, and left arm are wrecked. Lower back and legs ache but bearable. Headache simmering. Breathing surprisingly ok! All worth it.

To sum up: archery – I CAN do this! 🙂

Wonder Woman – what came before

You know I love Wonder Woman; I have been reading the character for pretty much as long as I have been reading comics and have been watching her on TV since I was a kid (I may even still have some of the Lynda Carter episodes on VHS from when they were originally recorded back in the 80s when we were living in Holland 🙂 ) …I am VERY invested in this movie being good because I not only want it to be good for me but for my boys, who also love the character – from the comics, but also from DC animation like the Justice League cartoons and the DC Superhero Girls (which is awesome, check it out!) – and this will be their introduction to her on the big screen as I haven’t let them watch the Batman vs Superman movie as I personally feel it isn’t suitable for kids their age (your mileage may vary, I am NOT going to argue about that!).
 
The thing is though that if I hear one more reporter – male or female, I don’t care – self-congratulatory – explain to their audience (or themselves) how this is the ‘first female led superhero movie’ I am going to reach into the TV or radio and throttle them! 🙂
 
Let’s just list a few of the easy ones that have come before Wonder Woman: Elektra, Catwoman (it had the name of the DC character but was really only ‘inspired by’ rather than was her), Witchblade, Tank Girl, Tomb Raider (ok this was a game first but also had comics), Sheena, and, Red Sonja …and one other: Supergirl.
 
I left that one until last because it’s quite important as it shows that Wonder Woman isn’t the ‘first female led superhero movie’ featuring a major DC character, and with the ‘S’ creast on her chest you’ve got to admit that Supergirl is pretty major.
 
…and with Tank Girl being directed by Rachel Talalay, Wonder Woman isn’t even the first ‘first female led superhero movie’ directed by a female director.
 
Anyway, those characters and movies are history, we are talking now about the present and future: Wonder Woman! 🙂
 
What Wonder Woman is easily going to be is the ‘first female led superhero movie’ directed by a female director to be a major financial success and (hopefully) a major critical one too.
 
It gets referred to as a ‘risk’ with a relatively paltry budget of $149 million – obviously because Patty Jenkins is a ‘mere’ female director (she didn’t turn a $8 million budget for Monster into $60 million box office ey? /sarcasm) – so I hope Wonder Woman blows the takings for Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman out of the water (SS box office is over $740m and BvsS is over $850m) and PROVES what a good female character, story, and director can do with the fans behind them.
 
So get behind them …go watch this movie.
Be Wonder Woman! 🙂