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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Takeover Post - My Reading addiction

As our beloved author is busy this weekend, I have been invited to invade the blog again.  So here I am.

When I spoke to Ayden about a theme for this post, she suggested a favourite book.  So I went away and thought about it but truth is, I can't name just one. 

I have many favourite books.  You know, the ones you read over and over again.  The ones that are in a very sorry condition, falling apart, pages loose, spines bent beyond repair. 

But they are the ones you pull out on a rainy day, like a pair of comfortable old slippers. Because no matter how many times you have read them, no matter how you know the text almost by heart and everything that happens in the story, you can still get lost in them.  Or is it just me?

You see, my name is Jen and I am a reading addict.  So I thought I would share some of these statements with you and see if you agree.  If you do, you could be as far gone as I am.

Signs of a reading addict

  • Have you ever lost an entire day to a book?
  • When you get a new book, do you read it not once but two, three, maybe more times before you put it aside?
  • Have you ever skipped meals, drinks, not budged from your sofa for a whole day as you can't put a book down?
  • Have you ever stayed up way, way into the wee small hours despite having to be up at the crack of dawn the next day, because you just have, have to find out what happens next?
  • Have you ever read at the dining table, in front of guests, in the bath, or anywhere else you just shouldn't have?
  • Have you ever read a book over the head of a feeding baby, or sleeping child on your lap?
  • Are books taking over your house?  Are they stacked two deep on the bookcase and on the floor?
  • Is your Kindle or phone with reading app (see I can move with the times) almost surgically attached to you?
  • Have you ever read a book in the dark whilst others were sleeping?  Or under the covers with a torch (we all did at least once, right?)
  • Have you woken up in the small hours, light still on, face down in your book?

So are you a reading addict like me?  And if so, what's your favourite book?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meet My Daughter: Miss Tate

The road to failure is paved with good intentions. I've bombed miserably at the A to Z Challenge, but not without reason. You may remember me mentioning big changes in the Morgen household this month. Well, I'm very happy to introduce all of you to our newest addition, our fourteen year old cousin daughter, Miss Tate.

Miss Tate

Miss Tate joined our little family on April 9th, and we are absolutely thrilled to have her with us. She loves Hello Kitty, Futurama and the Labyrinth, could live off of hot cheetos, ramen noodles, and Sprite, and once wanted to marry Jesse McCartney or David Bowie. She's a breath of fresh air, and makes me laugh constantly with the off the wall comments she makes. She's also a very willing partner-in-crime when it comes to making The Husbinator's life as humorously difficult as possible.

With our little family growing, we moved into a new house this weekend. It's downright terrifying amazing how much crap two people accumulate over three years. We've spent the weekend painting, sorting, hauling, throwing crap away, and otherwise settling into the new neighborhood. We're not quite put to rights just yet, but we're getting there!

And as soon as we get all settled in again, I will be back to annoying you blogging as often as humanly possible.

smooches and smooshes,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here comes "Kalki"

Kalki and his steed
 According to Hindu teachings, humanity moves in cycles. When humanity is at its most morally degraded state, the Kali Yuga (or the Age of Darkness), the Kalki Avatar will be reborn to destroy the wicked and return humanity to a state of virtue.

As the fourth discourse of the Bhadavad Gita (Krishna) says, "Whenever there is decay of righteousness... and there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth... for the destruction of evil-doers, for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age."

When the Kalki Avatar comes, he comes in a rain of fire and flame. At that point, things get really unpleasant. Millions will die in a battle and an eventual massacre, followed by wars and a lot of other unpleasant things.
The good news is that once all of that is over, if you've survived, the cycle of humanity begins again, and the world is returned to a state of peace, puppies, and rainbows. Yay, right?!

Not so fast. Apparently there are quite a few people who believe this is going to happen this year sometime. Personally, I prefer the Mayan end of the calendar scenario to the Hindu coming of the Kalki Avatar for preferable doomsday of 2012! But that's just me.

"L"ook for me tomorrow,

Hoppy Easter: Memorable Moments Winner

Hi all,

I failed horribly on getting this posted on the 9th. For what it's worth, my 14 year old cousin moved in with us on Monday, so things have been a little crazy. Never fear though! I have let the magical randomizer do it's thing, and we have a contest winner!

Lea Barrymire has won an ebook copy of Fade upon release. Yay! :) Lea, please email me to claim your prize!

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop contest! I loved reading all of the memories you submitted. :) If you didn't win, don't fret. There will be plenty of opportunities later. I love giving stuff away!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Jörmungandr" #atozchallenge

In an ocean that surrounds the earth lives a snake so big that it encircles the world. The serpent is named Jörmungandr, and he holds his tail in his mouth. Like Fenrir, this snake has his own role to play in Ragnarök, at least according to Norse mythology. 

When Jörmungandr releases his tail, the end will come. As he begins to surface from the sea, great waves will shake the world, and his venom will poison the skies. Thor will eventually slay this giant snake, but not before he is poisoned. Soon after Jörmungandr falls, Thor will follow.

I've always loved Norse mythology (in case I haven't said that enough yet), especially the Ragnarök tales. They're a little like an ancient soap opera. The god Loki mates with a Giant, and gives birth to the abominations, Fenrir, Jörmungandr, and Hel. The other gods aren't too happy about this, so Jörmungandr is eventually dropped into the ocean, Hel is given dominion over, well, Hell, and Fenrir is bound deep inside the bowels of the Earth by a magical ribbon placed upon him by Odin and his brethren. Eventually, according to the myths, Fenrir will break free, and the apocalypse will begin. Fenrir will kill Odin, and will then be killed by Odin's son. Thor will Jörmungandr before falling over dead himself.

See? It's Days of Our Lives, Norse style!

Seriously though, if a giant snake happens to climb out of the ocean and we start inhaling venom instead of oxygen, you'd better run! Far, and fast. Or be lucky enough to be the last male (or female) standing. Everyone else is going to perish in a giant battle. Or drown. Or be consumed by fire.  


"K"ome back tomorrow!

Want more A to Z Challenge? You can read other Letter J posts here

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "Invasion" #atozchallenge

In 1898, Earth was over-run by aliens from Mars. These aliens were secretly vampires from another planet who killed the curate with post-traumatic stress by draining him of blood before we, in turn, killed them with an infection. They weren't quite done with us yet though. They came back in 1938, and ticked off a lot of people. They've not really left since.

I'm talking, of course, about War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, the subsequent radio broadcast of the book, and the crap-load of novels and movies that have come our way in the years since. Alien invasion is a pretty popular apocalypse theory. As Sam once said on Supernatural (in regard to alien abduction), people "will not stop writing books about it."

If you're one of the millions (or billions) who believe that we're not the only intelligent life-form out there, it has a certain appeal. As with demons, the only comparison for an actual invasion we have is our imagination, or those crap-load of novels and books about the subject... none of which really agree on what aliens look like, what they can do, or how they're going to kill us. About all we can agree on is that they drive flying saucers, like to kill us, and things have a tendency to explode when they're around.

To the rescue!
But the apocalypse-by-invasion theory isn't necessarily as crazy as it sounds. There may or may not be any Decepticons headed our way, but we've seen more than our fair share of invasions over the years.

Locusts are often the enemy of mankind, at least when they swarm and devour every crop in sight. They've done that often over the years, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Stink bugs caused millions of dollars in agriculture loss in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2010. And have you ever walked into the woods in Arkansas in the summer?

Ticks, ticks everwhere! They're the devil. Or possibly his spawn, I've not yet decided. Either way... if an invasion is going to kill us all, please let it be aliens. At least they're big, and explode. Bugs? I saw the spider cave in Harry Potter. I know what's waiting for us!

Apparently we need bugs though. Which I'd like to lodge an official complaint about, by the way. We can make genetically engineered food, but we haven't made a synthetic bug, thus eliminating the need for the real deal yet?! That's just wrong on so many levels.

"J"oin us tomorrow for more A to Z fun,

Want more A to Z Challenge? You can read other Letter I posts here.

I'm behind on just about everything, y'all, so please be patient with me. I haven't forgotten you! There've been big changes in the Morgen household over the last few days with our newest addition to the family, and preparing to move. Eek!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rock You Like a "Hurricane" #atozchallenge

I have a confession to make. See that video down there? I love that song. Love it! I have no clue what it's about, but it's fun to sing loudly and repeatedly when you're stuck in the car for long periods of time. It also came out the year I was born. That makes it extra special.

The possibility of a real hurricane killing us all is probably moot, but I've seen The Day After Tomorrow, y'all! An ice hurricane? Titantic in the middle of NYC? Burning books? Not even the apocalypse is an acceptable excuse for that!

Incredibly destructive hurricanes, while they probably won't kill us all, aren't unheard of. In 1970, Cyclone Bhoa killed an estimated half a million people when it hit Bangladesh. Five years later, Super Typhoon Nina hit China and killed over 100,000 people. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, and killed 138,000 people. And I'm sure we all remember Katrina and Rita. While not as deadly, they were both devastating.

The good news is, unless The Day After Tomorrow really happens, those of us that live inland are more or less safe. Typically by the time a hurricane reaches us, it's already dissipated. On rare occasions, as happened with Tropical Storm Hermine, that doesn't work out so well. When Hermine hit in 2010, it swept back out to the Gulf of Mexico before moving inland. When it made it to my area, it just kind of hung out for a few days. We had widespread flooding as a result, and, sadly, are still trying to repair the damage in some areas of the state.

I'd rather Mother Nature not decide to prove me wrong on this anytime soon though! I don't know how to build an Ark. Worms (aka: fish food) are probably aliens from another planet (or so I say). And I get sea-sick. In other words:

Me. Please Send Cookies.
Did you listen to the song? Are you singing it yet?

"I"'ll be back tomorrow,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Shattered - #sixsunday

Hoppy Easter, y'all!

I hope you're all having an amazing morning, and the E. Bunny has brought you plenty of Peeps and jelly beans! I've got another six for you from Shattered this week. It picks up with our mystery girl where we left off last week.


"Good luck on your exam," Ainsley said to him, her voice carrying through the quiet quad and right to the girl’s ears. 

"Thanks, hermosa." Xander’s voice was soft and silky as the endearment rolled off his tongue. It made the girl’s stomach turn.

"We'll tell Mya this week, and everything will be fine."

The girl had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing out loud at his confident statement.

Methinks she's up to no good! And what are these two keeping from Mya?!

Don't forget the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop Contest! Share your favorite childhood memory in the comments here by 11:59pm CT tonight, and you could a copy of Fade when it's released! :)

Happy Easter, all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Germs" are not for sharing #atozchallenge

Why I'm paranoid.
 One of my favorite miniseries movies is Stephen King's The Stand. The military has an accident with a highly contagious virus they're playing with, and it gets loose. Before all is said and done, the superflu kills millions. Those left are divided into two camps: The sweet old lady camp, and the crazy demon cowboy camp. I won't tell you what happens during the course of the movie in case you've never read the book or seen it, but I just love the movie.

Germs and viruses and flus, I don't love. My nephew, Aloshua (Losh) is on a ventilator and gets sick very easily, so germs are the enemy. We Lysol the heck out of everything, and then we do it again for good measure. Wipes, spray... we've got it all, and nothing is safe. We get strange looks for carrying Lysol spray around in our purses and using it on shopping carts before putting him in, but the reality is that people are gross, and we'd rather be looked at oddly than risk his health.

This is the enemy. Spray at will.

One of my biggest fears is that we're all gonna die in some catastrophe similar to that in The Stand. There may even be demon cowboys involved then, too. Inevitably, it will be entirely our faults because, as mentioned above, we're gross. We don't stay home when we're sick, or keep our kids home when they're sick. We don't wash our hands enough. And we think antibiotics is the cure all for everything.  People  use the bathroom (or sneeze/cough) without washing their hands, and then they touch stuff. And by stuff, I mean every freaking thing in sight, thus ensuring that whatever virus they're carrying around will inevitably be passed along to someone else.

That's going to bite us in the ass some day! And it wouldn't be the first time. During the 500s, the Plague of Justinian killed an estimated 40% of the population of Constantinople .When the Black Death swept across half the world in the 14th century, it killed as many as 100 million people. We've come a long way since those days cleanliness and hygenically speaking, but we're still our own worst enemies.

Earlier this year, the WHO released research on a man-made strain of H5N1 that has the potential, if ever released, to kill millions. That's in addition to the billion or so germs already floating around out there that, given the right conditions or however this stuff works, could mutate and infect humans. Not to mention any other germs we may or may not be playing with in labs.

I may be paranoid, but we've been crippled by these itty bitty germs several times before (see above). If anything causes armageddon in the future, why not a germ? My Lysol probably won't make much of a difference, but hey, at least I'll have died trying, right?!

This is me.

No A to Z'ing on Sundays, so I will be back on Monday with "H"!
Hoppy Easter to those who celebrate!

Want more A to Z Challenge? You can read other Letter G posts here.
Don't forget the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop contest here this weekend! You could win a copy of Fade, my debut novel (you know, the one that sparked this whole Armageddon Alphabet idea)!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hoppy Easter: Memorable Moments Contest #bloghop

It's time for the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop, and we're talking memories!

One of my earliest memories is of Easter morning. I was maybe three or four, and we lived in a little house near North Edwards Airforce Base in California. The desert spread out around the house for miles. Our front yard was desert, our backyard was desert, the neighbor lived two desert lots over, and right across the street from the house was nothing but desert. In my mind, that meant we lived in the middle of a never-ending desert.

I remember thinking it was completely awesome that the Easter Bunny really visited us that far out. For some reason, I thought he was like Santa Claus and lived in some cold place where he hibernated every day except Easter. Don't judge me. I was a little kid!

When we went out that morning to hunt eggs, we found one in a cactus across the street from the house. I have no clue which of us girls even found it, but I remember thinking the Easter Bunny was magical because he got that egg in the cactus and we didn't even hear him cry, so he must have done it without hurting himself. That egg was the holy grail of eggs for that reason alone.

We all stood around eagerly as my older sister and dad tried to wrestle it out without impaling their fingers on cactus barbs. It didn't work out so well, naturally, and the scene ended with tears and recriminations, not to mention a few nasty cactus barbs to the fingers. I didn't care though. I still had a basket full of Easter eggs because the Easter bunny had come all the way out to the middle of the desert to hide them just for us.

To my way of thinking back then, that made me a VIP. I was totally the E. Bunny's favorite. And I was totally bummed when I finally realized the Easter Bunny wasn't real. But I still remember how excited I was about the Easter Bunny putting that egg in the middle of a cactus, without hurting himself, just for us. I think about that every time I see an Easter egg, and I can't help but smile.

There's nothing like viewing the world through the eyes of a child. Unless you're Dace Matthews. Thinking about my childhood over the last couple of weeks made me realize that Dace doesn't have many happy memories of his childhood. His parents died when he was young, and he was on his own. That makes me sad. Everyone needs a happy memory from those long ago days when magical bunnies came out of hibernation just to bring you eggs in the middle of the desert.

So, I've decided we're going to spend Easter on memories! Who knows, maybe it'll shake a few loose for our wayward TA and Fade's hero. I think he could use one or two. :) And there's a prize involved for helping get him in the magical bunny mindset of happy days gone by.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of my debut YA novel, Fade, upon release from Noble Young Adult this spring!

The cover of Fade.
Here's how it works: 
  • Share one of your childhood memories in the comment section of this post between now and 11:59pm (Central) on April 8th.
  • On April 9th, I will put all of your names into the magical randomizing machine over at
  • The magical machine will then pop out a list of names for me.
  • The name at the top of the list wins the ebook.
  • If you share your Peeps with me, you also win my eternal gratitude.
That's easy enough, right? 

I thought so. Want other chances to win great prizes from all across the blogsphere? Check out the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop here. Want to know more about Fade, or read an excerpt? You can do that here!

So... what's your favorite childhood memory?

Hoppy Easter, all, and don't forget the Peeps!

Who by "Fire" #atozchallenge

Way back when cavemen were trying to figure out how to make the mammoth they'd just killed edible, they probably didn't think, "Fire bad". But if there is one thing most apocalypse scenarios have in common, it's fire!

Volcano? Fire. Lightning storm? Fire. Asteroid collision? Fire. Bombing? Fire? Plague? Fire. Human-killing plants? Fire.

Now, I'm not an expert on fire or anything, but I do know that:

1. It's hot.
2. It burns.
3. It makes awesome s'mores.
4. People like it.
5. People like to sing about it.

If you've ever seen a riot (or been to a redneck party), you've probably noticed that something is always on fire. The same can be said of any apocalypse book, movie, dream, etc. If the world is ending, chances are there will be a fire at some point.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that it's such a popular theme because:

1. Fire is quickly and easily made - which is why you don't throw cigarettes out the window of the car.
2. It's destructive (see 1 and 2, and 3 if your marshmallow falls off the stick).
3. It's scary (trust me, I know. I accidentally set my balcony on fire once).
4. It's also free (if you know how to rub two sticks together, otherwise, you'll need a match or a lighter, or a stove, or... you get the picture)
5. And can rage, unchecked, for days (or weeks) in the right environment.

175 million acres of forests and grasslands are lost to fire every year. As are countless homes, livelihoods, and lives. In 1923, a large earthquake hit Japan, and an estimated 30,000 people were incinerated in the resultant fires almost instantly. That's heartbreaking, not to mention downright frightening!

Those kind of numbers, coupled with our love of fire, makes it relatively easy to understand why fire is such a popular end-of-the-world item. The scene of a fire is notoriously chaotic. It's hot, it's big, it's smoky, and we all associate large fires with death and destruction so we're naturally trying to be anywhere but in the line of, well, fire. That's a pretty good reason, in and of itself, for fire to be associated with armageddon or the apocalypse.

The other reason is because people are idiots. I say that with love, but it's true. People are idiots. When bad things are happening, we're stealing TV from appliance stores, beating people up in the streets, throwing molotov cocktails at buildings, or tipping cars over and then dancing on them. Zombies? Fire. Demons? Fire. Volcano? Fire. Superflu? Fire. Robot cop from the future? Fire.

That about sums it up.

I could give you a list of reasons as to why people grab the nearest fire making item when things get rough, but I'm just going to say this: Fire bad. Planet good.

Have you ever read an apocalypse book (seen an apocalypse movie/show) that didn't have a fire?

Have a "G"ood Friday, and I will see you Saturday!

Want more A to Z Challenge? You can read other Letter F posts here.

Don't forget to check back here later today for my Hoppy Easter Blog Hop post! You could win a copy of Fade, my debut novel (you know, the one that sparked this whole Armageddon Alphabet idea)!

*Title Reference: Leonard Cohen's Who by Fire.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Earthquake on my mind #atozchallenge

I grew up in California, and we were always practicing earthquake drills in school. It was no big thing to feel a little rumble every now and then. It was California, after all. We were young, but my sisters and I never panicked about it. We thought we were completely awesome.

Five days before my tenth birthday, the Northridge quake hit, and let's just say it wasn't so awesome. My little sister and I had fallen asleep in the living room while watching movies, and when the shaking started we both thought our dad was in the kitchen shaking the fridge. Weird, right? But that was exactly the kind of thing he'd do to scare the crap out of us.

Damage from the Northridge Quake

At any rate, when the shaking started, we both yelled at him to stop shaking the fridge and let us sleep. When he yelled from the top of the stairs that it was an earthquake, it finally dawned on us that, hey, the entire house is shaking.

Ever seen Transformers? You know the scene I'm talking about!

Yeah, that was us. I've had little love for earthquakes ever since!

When we moved to Arkansas I remember thinking, "Woohoo! No more earthquakes!"

Pfft, yeah. I was an idiot. We in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and we get them here.

In high school, we were forced to watch one of those "what could happen" documentaries where scientists all get together to talk about doomsday scenarios should a large earthquake ever strike the fault-line. Suffice to say, we should've stayed in California. At least the buildings were more or less earthquake ready there. Here? Not so much so.

Last year, my wifey experienced it for herself when a 5.6 hit near where she lives. It was a relief to know I'm not the only one with a little inner voice screaming, "We're all gonna die!" when the ground starts shaking.

It reinforced the reality that nowhere is safe. Fault-lines run all throughout the world, and an earthquake can hit any one at any time. As we've seen, the effects can be devastating. Infrastructure and buildings buckle, the ground can rupture, if one hits in the ocean, tsunamis can spring up and bring an entirely new level of devastation to coastal communities. It's all kinds of unpleasant, and the bigger the earthquake, the more unpleasant it is! In 1811-1812, three large earthquakes struck the New Madrid fault, followed by over 200 5.0 or larger quakes throughout the United States.

And according to the experts, we're overdue for another large quake here. The 9.0 that hit Japan last year, and the resultant tsunami, devastated much of the nation. It's scary to think about something equally as strong hitting the United States! Remember this scene from 2012?

Let's all just pray that never happens. Because, seriously y'all, No. Thank. You!

Do you panic when the ground starts shaking?

See you "F"riday,

You can read other Letter E posts from all across the blogosphere here.

Don't forget: The Hoppy Easter Blog Hop starts tomorrow. Hop on over here from the 6th to the 8th for your chance to win prizes! :)

*Title reference: Earthquake by The Used

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Facing Down "Demons" #atozchallenge

The half moon shone through the shattered window, glinting off the few glass shards that still littered the floor and casting odd beams of light upward. They danced in shadowed prisms along the baseboards, little distortions of light in pitch black. It wasn't enough to make anything visible, but then again, Kaden had no need of the light anyway. He could see his prey slinking across the decaying, musty room as well as if it had been midday.

The demon’s yellow eyes were closed to slits, his upper lip curled in a soundless snarl as saliva dripped from yellowed fangs. Gray fur nearly stood on end along his back, and the white, matted fur of his chest seemed to shine in the darkness. His claws clicked quietly on the rotted wood of the floor as he backed away from his pursuers, his head swinging side to side in search of an escape route.

There wasn't one, of course.

So begins a story I wrote several years ago about a war from an alternate dimension spilling over to threaten our reality. In the course of the story, our heroine, Anya, learns that such a war deciminated our world once before, and threatens to do so again. Demons are loose in the streets, and for reasons she can't even begin to understand, they're gunning for her. With Kaden's help, she discovers who she is, and they're able to close the gates and save our reality in the nick of time.

The story has changed dramatically from that first version, and has since become about a lethal virus and facing down proverbial demons instead of the real deal. It was for the best, but the idea itself is one I've revisited a lot over the last few years, and put off time and again.

The truth is... there are about a thousand novels, shows and movies out there that deal with demons. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series pits Clary and Jace against demonic hordes sent by Clary's father. Supernatural pits Sam and Dean Winchester against demons, Satan, and a host of heavenly angels intent on bringing about the apocalypse. Every week on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the spin-off, Angel, there is some new "big bad" demon to battle. In The Exorcist, the girl is possessed by a demon. In C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series, the Fae must fend off demons sent by mages they thought defeated long before. The list goes on.

Demons are a fascinating subject for us as readers, as writers, and as viewers. They're those monsters lurking under the bed that we've never seen, but are still afraid of. And who wouldn't be afraid? If popular culture is to be believed, demons are our worst nightmare with gaping jaws, wicked claws, and a chasm brimming with evil where their hearts should be. Demonology from a religious context paints an equally as frightening picture. These creatures command legions in hell, have abilities we've only ever heard of, and take on forms that we can only imagine.

According to Christian beliefs, the Four Horsemen - Conquest, War, Famine and Death - are harbingers of the apocalypse. When they come riding in on their colored steeds, things get unpleasant pretty darn quick. On the heels of Death comes hell. When a star plumets to Earth, the demonic forces are loose, and, well, things continue getting unpleasant at an alarming rate.

It all sounds particularly uncomfortable, and probably ends with us getting eating alive, turned into demon stew, or something equally as horrible that, quite frankly, we probably don't wanna see firsthand. And that's what makes demons so fascinating, I think. They're that train wreck we can't look away from. The horrible, terrifying thing we've never seen, but have heard about time and again. And, for a lot of us, the thing we really hope we never see.

I mean, let's face it... any apocalyptic scenario is preferable to your worst nightmares chasing you through the streets with their four, scaly, horned heads to nom on your bones, right?

Right. Because we know the devastation and fear a volcano or plague can bring, but the only point of reference we have for demons is what our imagination dreams up. And that, y'all, can be downright scary!

What's your favorite novel (or movie/show) that deals with demons?

b"E" back with more tomorrow,
 You can read other Letter D posts from all across the blogosphere here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Chaos" - The Score upon which Reality is Written #atozchallenge

From Chaos we came and to Chaos we return... or so says mythology from around the world.

In ancient Egypt, Chaos was a vast and endless ocean that predated everything in existence. Chaos was not intangible, but was rather a formless, physical material that gave birth to all of creation when ordered. Those who did not believe as the Egyptians did were the agents of Chaos, and were viewed by ancient Egyptians as a threat to life as they knew it.

Ancient Mesopotamian, Chinese, Babylonian and Greek mythology had their own beliefs that centered around Chaos. The Greek creation myth goes a little like this:

In the beginning, there was nothing but the void of Chaos. From this endless chasm came Night and Death (Erebus), and from them, Love. From Love came Light and Day, which gave birth to Gaia (the Earth).

Gaia gave birth to Uranus, and from their union was born the three Cyclopes, the Titans, and the Hecatoncheires. When Gaia became angered at Uranus, she convinced their son, Cronus, to overthrow him. As his blood spilled, the Giants, the Nymphs, and Furies were born.

Meanwhile, Cronus set up shop as the ruler, and birthed yet other children, including Zeus. Zeus, of course, eventually defeated Cronus, and took his place as supreme ruler. Zeus is eventually overthrown by another God, and so on and so forth. As each new God takes the place as supreme ruler, a new age begins.

This, of course, is not an uncommon theme in mythology and religion. The eternal struggle between order and chaos, good and evil, or light and dark is a staple in religious belief from around the world. When the scale tips too far in favor of one, a battle or apocalyptic event occurs to rebalance the scale, or to tip it in the other direction.

In Christianity, for instance, when chaos begins to gain a great foothold in the world in the form of the Antichrist, a great battle will be fought between good (God) and evil (Satan). God is expected to win this battle, and tip the scales back in the direction of good, or order. Nonbelievers are cast into hell, and the faithful will be granted eternity in a peaceful paradise.

The tale is the same in most apocalyptic tales or prophesies of the end times. They deal not with the end of the world, but with the end of a given age or time. The Mayan calendar, for instance ends on December 21, 2012. The world does not end at that point. A new age starts. In Norse mythology, when Ragnarok comes, one man and one woman survive and the world is reborn from them. In the Hindu faith, when man reaches a point of abject depravity (a time referred to as the Kali Yuga), the Kalki Avatar comes to destroy the wicked. Order is then restored and a golden age comes. The list of similar beliefs and myths goes on.

The true end, then, comes only when Order gives way completely to Chaos once again. What was made through the ages is unmade, and we return to that formless void, or that endless ocean. As the ancient Egyptians believed, the Serpent returns and creation sinks once again into that vast, endless ocean. Life as we know it doesn't end, but life itself ends then.

How (or if) that happens is anyone's guess, of course. Maybe it's a blackhole that swallows everything. Or a giant snake that opens his jaws and devours us. Or, if one wanted to take a religious viewpoint, perhaps that time comes when/if good (God, etc) is overthrown by evil (Satan, etc).

After all, if anything is capable of destroying life itself, why not evil? Personally, I prefer that such an event never happen and we keep on keeping on through each new age from here to... well, eternity. That's much more pleasant than Chaos, don't you think?

Do you have a favorite creation myth?

"D"on't miss me too much!

You can read other Letter C posts from all across the blogosphere here. 
*The title of this post comes from a quote by Henry Miller.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bombs Away! #atozchallenge

One of my favorite shows of all time is the short-lived Jericho, in which the citizens of Jericho, KS try to survive after half of the United States is taken out in massive nuclear bombings. For most of the show, no one has a clue whodunit or why they done it, and the town must deal with everything from an all out war with a neighboring town, to lawless contractor companies, to a bomb hidden inside the town, to a new government with questionable motives, to a lack of resources.  

There are about a million novels and movies with similar themes out there. When we think apocalypse, bombs tend to rank pretty high on our list of possible causes. And why not? I mean, we've seen just how catastrophic these suckers can be. When Little Boy was dropped from Enola Gay on Hiroshima during WWII, the city was devastated. Thirty percent of the population died immediately, and thousands of others have died in the years since from medical issues related to the bombing. The story is the same in Nagasaki, also bombed during World War II.  

Enola Gay by OMD (about the bombing of Hiroshima)

If we're all going to die in some horrible kind of way, nuclear bombs would certainly do it! You've got the immediate death from, you know, being bombed by kilotons of TNT, and then the horrible radiation sickness, cancer, burns, injuries, the crazies that survive and find other unpleasant ways to kill you in a post-apocalyptic world... It's rather horrible to think about!  

About a year ago, The Husbinator started reading The Atomic Bazaar by William Langewiesche. The book is an investigative journalist's report on nuclear weapon production, specifically by nations and groups who we don't necessarily want having such capabilities. Langewiesche basically traveled around the world, trying to ascertain how difficult it would be for just such a nation or group to obtain the materials needed to make a nuclear weapon. His conclusions are pretty grim. (You can read an interview with him and an excerpt from the first chapter here.)

aka How I Became Paranoid in 179 pages.

For some reason I've yet to understand, I picked up the book when The Husbinator was finished, and bombs have since become the number one way I don't wanna die. I was paranoid for weeks that we were all going to die any minute in explosions to rival those in Jericho. I may be a wee bit overdramatic in my paranoia, but seriously... explosions should be contained to abandoned buildings, fields of cocaine, the MythBusters, or action movies. Cities, people, the entire planet? Not such a good thing! With so many nations and groups attempting to get their hands on nuclear weapons, it's not as crazy an armageddon scenario as we'd like to think.

And what really creeps me out is the fact that cockroaches could potentially survive, thus proving, once and for all, that the suckers really are protected by evil forces. I mean seriously. How crazy is it that those itty bitty, demonic bugs are fifteen times more resistent to radiation than oh, I don't know, the humans they already torment? Plain cruel and unusual if you ask me.

Things that make you go Hmm.

That said, since reading the book, I've come to the conclusion that the only sane thing to be in a post-apocalyptic world is the girl in charge of toilet paper distribution. Only a madman would kill the girl standing between him and a handful of butt-chaffing, unsanitary leaves. Or possibly the girl in charge of the Raid. From the looks of things, we just might need it!

What about you? What's your post-apocalyptic career plan?

"C" you tomorrow,

You can read other Letter B posts from all across the blogosphere here. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's that time again! #sixsentencesunday

It's been a while since I've done Six Sentence Sunday. Sorry for that, y'all. Real life and all of that, but I'm back, and I have something new for you. Yay! This has no official title just yet. I'm calling it Shattered at the moment, but that'll change eventually. It's just a little drabble I've been playing with here and there.  

Enjoy it! :)
The girl huddled over the coffee cup in her hands, straining to hear every word being exchanged at the table behind her. She was obscured from view by the huge oak between her and the picnic table, but it's not like Xander or Ainsley would have noticed her anyway. They'd forgotten all about her, if they'd even spared her a second thought at all since the last time she'd seen them.
That set her blood to boiling.
Did the stupid boy really think he could do what he had and just get away with it? Did Ainsley?
Someone is not a happy camper! I wonder what that's all about, don't you? ;)

You can check out other SSS posts here. Remember: not all are appropriate for younger readers!

Happy Sunday,

Don't forget that we're doing the Armageddon Alphabet all month-long for the A to Z Challenge here at the blog! And the 6th through the 8th we'll be doing the Hoppy Easter Blog Hop, and one lucky commenter will win an ebook copy of Fade upon release!

Kiss your "Asteroid" goodbye! #atozchallenge

What's that up in the sky? It's a bird. It's a plane. Holy crap! It's Steve Buscemi riding a nuclear warhead!

You probably saw that one coming, right? We are talking asteroids, after all! And I don't know about you, but when I think about asteroids, comets, or any other space rock-caused apocalypse scenarios, that's the image that immediately jumps to mind. 

Forget snot-sobbing while Bruce Willis tells Liv Tyler goodbye. Just give me Steve Buscemi riding that bomb like it's a mechanical bull, and I'm a happy camper.

In all seriousness, there's just something about a giant space-rock on a crash course with Earth that has the action-movie fangirl inside dashing off to find popcorn and a good seat. I figure if we’re going to have an extinction event and zombies can’t be involved, we should at least go for broke! And an asteroid promises to make a big splash, no pun intended.

Scientists are pretty much in agreement that just such a rock crash landed on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula 65 million or so years ago. The force of impact triggered everything from massive earthquakes to landslides to giant tsunamis, each of which has featured in its own end-of-the-world scenario a time or two. When all was said and done, the planet was covered in a nasty cloud of junk that thrust it into a catastrophic winter and eventually killed off the dinosaurs.

Who’s to say it won’t happen again?

It’s certainly a popular apocalypse theme in Sci-Fi movies and novels, with everyone from Michael Bay to Jack McDevitt getting in on the asteroid action. You have to admit, it certainly makes for some great action sequences and tense moments. Sadly though, I’ve not come across many current YA novels featuring asteroid-y goodness.

Maybe some of my fellow writers can remedy that shortage for me, yes? ;)

What about you? When you think asteroid apocalypses (or just plain asteroids), what novel or movie scene comes to mind for you?

Behave and I’ll Be Back with B tomorrow (har har),

*Useless factoid side-note: Steve Buscemi is talking about Slim Pickens taking a bomb ride in the movie, Dr. Strangelove   

**Remember to check out other Letter A posts for the A to Z challenge here.

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