Magpie Monday

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ All Hallow’s Read.

This week’s spooky reading suggestion is pretty much any graphic novel by Richard Sala. Really, you can’t go wrong—everything I’ve read by him is fantastic and creepy. You might consider anything still in print, like The Hidden, his most recent book; or Cat Burglar Black; or The Chuckling Whatsit and its follow-up, Mad Night; or Peculia; or The Ghastly Ones and Other Fiendish Frolics. Sala’s style has often been compared to Edward Gorey’s, and the two share a love of the mysterious and suspenseful (Sala is a little more noir-ish). In Sala’s world, murder is the order of the day, and he often employs intrepid heroines to solve the crimes, like Judy Drood or Peculia. Highly recommended!

The Monster Mash.

Check out 11 legendary monsters of Africa. Thrill to the terror of the Bell Witch of Tennessee!

Mmmm, Brains: Everything you wanted to know about cannibalism but were afraid to ask.

Also, 10 things you didn’t know about vampires (though chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you might know) and 7 historic werewolves (via).

Something horrifying: Put a Poe On It. Via.

Need some novel pumpkin ideas? Check out these bookish specimens.

Need a creepy Halloween costume? Wear a 3D-printed mask of your own face.

Need some inspiration for your seasonal nuptials? Check out 18 pictures from Halloween-themed weddings.

by Mike Walton

♦ The Reading Spot.

This past week AlphaBooks, an alphabetical tumblr exploration of fictional characters curated by Ben Towle, moved to the V’s (I can’t believe we’re almost to the end!). Below is Vortigern from History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, rendered by Marc Basile. You might also enjoy Violet Beauregarde out of the pages of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and brought to life by Leah Palmer Preiss, or the Velveteen Rabbit as envisioned by Christian Sager.

V is for Vortigern by Marc Basile

Enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch reading “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats:

Get your reading on:

Blue Sand by Caroline M. Yoachim at Daily Science Fiction

Caput Mortuum by Andrew Kaye at Daily Science Fiction

Lost and Found by Jamie Todd Rubin at Daily Science Fiction

The Emperor’s Soul (excerpt) by Brandon Sanderson at

Shimmer by Amanda C. Davis at Daily Science Fiction

Flax-Golden Tales: Brain by Erin Morgenstern

Scenting the Dark by Mary Robinette Kowal

Twitter fiction: 21 authors try their hand at 140-character novels. Via. (Cameron, I thought you would find these of particular interest.)

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Coraline, a different person is reading each chapter of the novel. Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, and Natasha Hawley read the first three chapters.

The latest issue of Goblin Fruit:

♦ Viewers’ Paradise.

Wondering horror movies to watch this scary season? Cameron Cook has the answers for you with his Month of Horror reviews: Sinister, Event Horizon, Rosemary’s Baby, Psycho (1998), Dead Alive (aka Braindead), The Ring (2002),and Halloween (2007).

The trailer for Wreck-It Ralph looks fun (I liked seeing so many of the video-game characters from my youth).

Neil Gaiman posted an essay about The Bride of Frankenstein and why he loves the Bride. While I love Whale’s Frankenstein, I am fonder of The Bride of Frankenstein, and, I confess, inordinately fond of the 1985 remake The Bride. Many think The Bride is a terrible film, but I love it rather desperately. How can you resist this line from Eva?

You can do what you like! You can take apart the body you put together, you can take away the life you gave me, but you cannot have me. Not ever. Not even if you murder me and raise me up a thousand, thousand times, you cannot have me!

You can’t, you just can’t.

Elsa Lanchester as The Bride of Frankenstein

♦ She Blinded Me … with Science!

Biology: Why our voices sound different to us than to other people; Could mammal bladders lead to amphibian-like organ regeneration in humans?; How tongue twisters twist the tongue; Why is cranberry juice good for UTIs?; Woman with eye infection had an entire microbial ecosystem in her contact lens solution; Heterochromia is a very groovy mutation—maybe

Neuroscience: Why do some traumatized people get PTSD while others don’t?; A new tool that could help measure awareness in comatose patients; You may never be able to prove that you’re smart; Two ways to forget bad memories, according to a new scientific study.

Anatomy: Creepy wax anatomy models from the 1700-1800s.

Psychology: Can the Macdonald Triad actually predict whether you’ll become a serial killer?; The Baskerville Effect.

Oneirology: How to stop nightmares from destroying your sleep.

Astronomy: Amateur astronomers discover a planet with four suns.

Physics: The best duck experiment ever conducted by physicists.

Forensics: Why forensic science is failing us—and why last Wednesday’s NOVA documentary didn’t quite cut it.

Entomology: How ladybugs fly.

♦ Live Long and Proper.

I saw this mash-up of two things I love (proper etiquette and a logical Vulcan) at Gail Carriger’s blog and thought it too cute not to share:

♦ The Book Nook.

According to Book Mania!, “Many villages in the UK have transformed read telephone boxes into mini book exchanges, just take a book and leave one behind.” I’m down with that.

I sigh and die:

♦ The Banshee, or Bean Sidhe, by Forest Rogers.

Her work makes me so happy—such incredible detail. I would love to have one of her pieces.

♦ The Ninth Art.

Here are two very cool covers for upcoming comic books (both via):

Hawkeye #7 cover by David Aja

Captain Marvel #9 cover by Jamie McKelvie and Jordie Bellaire

Super-Team Family wants me to love them. How do I know this? Another mash-up cover featuring Doctor Strange (plus, “Sactum Sanctorum of Solitude” is a hoot):

Tansy Rayner Roberts continues her Where the Wonder Women Are series with The Invisible Woman.

I feel you, sister:

Mike Bell mashes The Nightmare Before Christmas with the Day of the Dead! Via.

♦ Writers’ Corner.

Farmer’s Daughter by Brian Luong

Ivan Ewert on writing horror (when you didn’t think you could).

Elizabeth Spann Craig offers some good advice about helping readers suspend disbelief (and avoiding plot holes), about chapter breaks and cliffhangers, and about production plans.

Can you tattoo a corpse? And four other fascinating facts about death.

50 prison slang words to make you (or your character) sound like a tough guy. I do have to wonder if “Buck Rogers Time” is still in use, though. How many people know who ol’ Buck is?

A primer of medieval weapons and armor. Via.

Chuck Wendig gives us 25 things writers should know about conferences and conventions. He also conducted a great interview with Margaret Atwood.

The Awl reveals 21 lies writers tell themselves (and how they can stop lying to themselves and become awesome!). Via.

15 postcards from famous authors (I love Rilke’s handwriting).

You’ve got the write stuff, baby: quotations about writing.

Marie Brennan on folklore from the inside and out.

Rachelle Gardner tells us what a book edit looks like. She also writes about RescueTime, a productivity-tracking tool (NaNoWriMo folks might find RescueTime of particular interest).

LitReactor on creating your literary foundation.

What Freud said about writing fiction. Via.

Theodora Goss on managing depression (I need to remember these suggestions).

♦ Two very fine book-themed videos for you. The first is The Book Sculptures of Su Blackwell, which captures several of her pieces and is definitely worth your time. The second is Organizing the Bookcase, a fun video to close out today’s Magpie Monday! Both via.

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