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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Dead Roam the Earth by Alasdair Wickham giveaway

Captivating true accounts of the paranormal from all over the world

Do you believe in ghosts? From incubi in Sumatra to exorcism in Sudan to spirits in our own backyard, The Dead Roam the Earth explores the fascinating variety—and uncanny similarity—of supernatural encounters in every corner of the planet, providing chilling accounts of real-life ghost sightings, haunted places, poltergeists, possessions, Mothmen, demons, witchcraft, ritualistic killings, and much more.

Could so many people in so many places just be imagining things? In addition to its wealth of testimonials from ordinary people witnessing extraordinary things, this engrossing book presents the latest scientific attempts to make sense of the supernatural—including how electronic equipment has revolutionized spiritual communication—and finds the devil in the details.

I skimmed through this book and my 16 year old daughter (lover of all things horror) read it. It has a lot of interesting stories about what people believe, but to someone the least bit skeptical these stories come across as a little silly. It is hard to believe people actually think this stuff is real and were able to draw the the conclusions they did. Even my teenager kept rolling her eyes at it. How can you conclude a movie is haunted because two of the actors died years apart? Did you know Anna Nicole Smith reported having sex with a ghost right before she became famous? 

If you look at it as a study in what people believe in different cultures then you will appreciate this book. I am skeptical and I would have to witness an event before I could believe it. The author experienced an event when he was younger and has been studying the paranormal for the last 35 years. He says in the intro that this book isn't about proving the supernatural exists, but how people react to it.

This is the perfect book for a Halloween giveaway! 

My copy is VERY used (remember the teenage daughter read it and it was transported in a backpack) but I am giving it away to someone who comments (INT)

To enter:
1. contact info
2. have you experienced any spooky or paranormal activity?
*followers get double entery
contest ends 11/7

Happy Halloween to the Flock!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Comic Review: Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, #1

Writer: David Lapham, Guillero del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Cover Artist: Mike Huddleston
Genre: Horror
Publication Date:December 14, 2011
Format:FC, 32 pages
Dark Horse Comics
Check out a preview at Dark Horse

When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event-an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness

“They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone, In one month, the world. In two months—the world.”

With these words splashed across the second artwork of what looks like a Nosferatu with something fleshy and creepy coming out of its mouth, we get a sense of doom. That the vampires in this first issue of the comic version of Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s first novel in their vampire trilogy won’t be sparkling in the daylight or making mad passionate love with beautiful women. No, you will feel the vampires have returned to their Dracula roots. I have read the first two books in the trilogy. I also understand how it is for readers of books when they see the characters from the printed pages on movie and television screens or as artwork in comic books for the first time. Everyone has their own imaging of how the characters look like. So sometimes, when directors and comic artists give us their vision, it does not always jive to what we see in our mind’s eye. But I admit that the characters in this first issue of the beginning of the book got pretty darn close to what I imagined in my head when I read the novel.

The comic begins with the younger version of Abraham Setrakian, as his grandmother tells the tragic and alternately horrifying tale of one Jusef Sardu, when the boy refuses to eat his meal. A nobleman who was a giant, Sardu also had problems walking and used a wolf-head cane. His father went hunting for a wolf, believing its meat would cure his son’s affliction. Something would, just not the kind of predator his father thought. All of the hunting party dies. Sardu enters a cave where he found the bodies. Much later, Sardu returns to his family’s castle—with strength now matching his size. After that, children begin to disappear.
Next, the comic goes to the twenty-first century, where we meet Dr. Ephrain Goodweather and his young son, Zack. Abraham is now an old man, living in New York. A plane has landed at JFK, and is suspected that all within are dead. The comic leaves us there, a foreshadowing of issues to come. 

The artwork was great. The colors were muted enough to give us the perfect atmosphere needed for horror comic. I love when they used red, either as splotches outside of the plane which put me in mind of blood cells, or one could say maybe they might be lights from the emergency vehicles, but still, they were a foreshadowing of  issue #2 of the comic. Even when they find the cabinet/coffin in the hold, the page and it are colored red.

I enjoyed it, but if you rather imagine your vampires and the horror, read the novel. It is also available on Kindle for only $1.99. But if you love reading comics, this is a good, scary beginning to a series.

Guest Review by: Author Pamela K. Kinney 

Awesome Calenders for 2013

Here are some cool calenders you can get through 
I like the fold your own zombie, robots and unicorn ones myself <G>

Now I know what you are thinking... why are you posting links to cool ass calenders from Well, we are an affiliate of Amazon and anytime someone buys something from them through a link on our site...we get a small percentage thru advertising for them. We use this to pay for shipping contest winners items and swag for the flock. 

This time of the year a lot of people mail order from Amazon, so if you are going to order something anyway, why not use the link on our blog and help a sheep out? I will be occasionally posting all sorts of cool stuff I find that might make great gifts for our readers. Am I hoping you will click and make an impulsive buy? um..yeah! <G> Even if you don't see something you want, pass the link to this post to someone who might.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Alpha Male Diner: Carolyn Crane cooks up Mr. Real (giveaway)

Thanks so much for letting me come to your fabulous diner, home of many delicious dishes. And, welcome, diners! I’m Carolyn and I’ll be your server and your cook. My goodness, what is that gleam in your eye? You look hungry…excellent! Because I have someone very dishy back in the kitchen, just waiting to satisfy your every craving. He’s Paul Reinhardt, the hero from Mr. Real. What’s that? You want to know the recipe? It’s very simple. 

Paul “Puma” Reinhardt (MMA fighter) 
Recipe by: Carolyn Crane
Mr. Real (Code of Shadows: book #1)

1 dark secret 
1 dash of sexy angst 
One fabulous set of blazing blue eyes 
Sexy dark hair 
One fighter’s physique, pounded and molded over many angst-filled years in a gym 
Overpowering need to protect the people he cares about 
1 sense of humor in spite of it all 

Find the worst possible circumstances you can think of, created by the heroine, and shake and stir as much as possible.

Taste Test 

in this scene, the heroine is helping him put salve on his fight wounds: 

“Don’t go to him tonight,” he bit out.


“I mean it.” He squeezed his eyes shut. “I know I don’t have a right to ask that.”

“You don’t.”

“I’m trying to respect that.”

“Yet not doing a very good job of it.” She grabbed a washcloth, rinsed it in cool water, and handed it to him. “Blot.”

He took it and looked up at her. Waiting.

“Don’t worry. I wasn’t going to go to him. That part of us is over.” She was surprised he couldn’t tell.

Paul’s face softened. He blotted.

“But I’m still helping him. He’s still my responsibility. No matter how this ointment experiment comes out.”

“You’re over? Why?” He slung the washcloth over his shoulder, watching her face, trying to look serious, it seemed, but soon a wolfish grin took over his face. He knew. She wanted him all night, and here he was. Everything was between them now. Everything.

Go for it! Yay! Fuck him! A little voice inside her yelled. But that voice was old Alix, all about thrill fucks, comfort fucks, using men like pints of ice cream. Ordering them like take-out.

“Alix.” He settled his hands on her hips, looking up at her. Even the way he said her name, it was like a call for truth, for her to admit how she wanted him. “Come here.” 

The woman of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the hot martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class a few years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is super spy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Available October 30th. More here
*because this is self-published pre-orders are not available

About the Author:
Carolyn Crane is the author of the Disillusionists trilogy, assorted novellas, and the upcoming Mr. Real. She lives in Minneapolis (U.S.) with her husband and two cats.

Carolyn is giving away an ecopy of Mr. Real! too bad she can't actually give Mr. Real away, cause that would be awesome!
contest ends Nov. 5, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Guest Post: author Dodge Winston

Why I Use Fiction to Mirror Reality

Being an information junky and a writer too, I enjoy looking at things in a “big picture” perspective. Instead of being divided by multiple, micro-issues, I tend to look at how groupings of trends will effect mankind down the road when it comes to worldwide topics, such as globalization.

Today there are so many books, journals, and written resources, mired down in facts (depending upon who’s stats you believe), about issues that are extremely important to civilization, that there is little need to go out and research and write another bland report for sociologists, psychologists, and statisticians to pore over. The information studied can be fascinating but, unfortunately, it can also be quite dry and tiresome. Not only that, the points can be argued, the resources will be challenged, and the overall intent of the information often gets lost in partisan discussions morphing the data into a political soapbox. This is where the beauty of fiction comes in.

Fiction is an entirely different animal when it comes to getting a message across. I have said that intuition is often more reliable than media-branded fact. I am an intuitive person with perspectives of my own. Being an information junky along with the gift of intuition lends me the ability to see what I define as the “big picture” when it comes to the future of society. Am I futurist? I don’t call myself that. I’m more of a intuitive who sees challenges ahead. It is fiction that allows me to take data, mix it in my gut, and project a forecast if you will.

Fiction cannot be challenged. A thesis can and is, often. Fiction allows me to write from a purely creative side, seasoned with both personal experiences, the experiences of others, and hard data. With such ingredients at my fingertips, I can weave not just a tale, but a living world that mirrors our own. It is this weaving together that lends to not just some inherent truths but a powerful, visual foundation allowing readers to see how those truths of fiction apply to our current world and future generations.

I wrote the Drake Eldorado series. It is three novels that begin with the awakening of Drake’s consciousness, challenging his perspective on life and his role in it. The story traverses his internal struggles (terrifying, personal experiences) as he observes particular choices people make that are acceptable by large swaths of our population. Are they the right choices? What are the ramifications to society as a whole if this particular path is continued? These are the struggles that rock Drake’s world – the tugging of one side of the psyche from the other which can have disastrous effects. Is he strong enough to deal with not just his own “demons” but those that plague mankind? Here is the power of fiction at its finest in my opinion. To take a reader into a world where the spin is actually him or herself looking into their own reflection and making a change in their reality because they were able to identify with the road Drake traveled.

Clearly the Drake Eldorado series is much more than how one man may or may not overcome his own shortcomings. It is that piecing together of a world, its characters, raw emotions and consequences, and having it ride a story that reflects us and society as a whole that stokes my fire to create and write. Fiction is the written word that can be man’s best friend or his worst enemy depending on why it is utilized. It is that powerful. Not only do we see it in classic novels but we also see the abuse of it in commercialism. Authors often use fiction to convey a message within a story. Marketers and copy writers will use fiction to sell a product. Political ideologues and activists will use fiction to steer society in a particular direction. There is no limit on the uses of fiction. And it is that unlimited potential that also mirrors the unlimited potential of humanity.

Fiction comes from the self (and the world surrounding the self) as projected onto paper. This is why fiction novels sell so much. Readers often identify with aspects of the characters they read about. It is that connection, that cohesive intuition of knowing the truth within those characters that ultimately mirrors the reader, making him or her turn to the next page (when done right).

I relish the use of fiction to not only pass on a similar world but to incite curiosity, wonder, fear, and questions for the self. To make the reader think outside the box and then look back inside, armed with a different perspective, is like having a good friend tell you something that you don’t want to hear but something that you need to hear. That is glorious! That is using fiction to mirror reality!

Published by Red Castle Press
New Release Date: September 2012

Buy Links Autographed Copies @ $14.95

Amazon Paperback @ $11.66

eBooks will be available very soon! Check my site or email dodgewinston[at]yahoo[dot]com

About the author:

Dodge Winston was born in Oakland, CA in 1970. He attended Napa Valley College and Solano Community College accumulating 70 units then the desire to write full-time struck. Placing the pursuit of a higher education on the back burner, he wrote voraciously, knocking out screenplays, teleplays, treatments, news articles, and other works.

Some of the things he enjoys are anime, graphic novels, mixed martial arts (MMA), well-made movies (Sin City, 300, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars saga), unique authors (Robert E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, James Patterson), topics related to globalization (Jeremy Rifkin, Jagdish Bhagwati) and anti-globalization too. He is a creator at heart, an information junky and someone who thoroughly enjoys fiction and how it can mirror reality.

Dodge is married, has two children, is considering getting a dog for the family, and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Dodge in one of three places – rehabbing the family house (room by room), supervising at the water quality control plant or taking advantage of slivers of writing time when all is quiet.
Connect with him:
Blog: Dodge Winston’s Blotter –

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall (spoiler free)

Skyfall (12a)
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory and Javier Bardem
Running time: 143mins

In an attempt to avoid any spoilers, all that we’ll mention of the movie’s plot is that it involves MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) as he attempts to recover a stolen hard drive containing the identities of undercover NATO. With M (Judi Dench) facing judicial review and potential forced retirement by intelligence committee chairman Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) over the screw up, the pressure is on for Bond to recover the drive from Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), who has made MI6 his target in a terror campaign.

Without spoiling the plot, I’ll start by saying that Skyfall is a vast improvement over the disastrously bad Quantum of Solace, with it’s heights being as good as Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007, Casino Royale. Craig’s performance is his best in the role, this time given more of a struggle with himself to portray than a struggle with his job which is what Casino Royale focused on. Bond allows people to be killed throughout the movie, when in previous movies he may have maybe stepped in before their being killed, here he doesn’t, and it makes the point that Bond isn’t out there to be the good guy, Bond is a spy, and a damned good one, who is focused on the mission – and if people die to obtain that goal of the mission, then so be it. There’s also an ongoing question of outliving one’s usefulness which applies not only to the character of Bond but also that of Judi Dench’s M, facing the threat of having to step down and make way for someone else.

An attempt has been made with the movie’s script to simplify the story, which leads to each step of Bond’s investigation being less complex than they were in Casino Royale, and the whole thing of gadgets being essentially dropped. A rather odd decision considering this is Craig’s first Bond movie to feature a Quartermaster, with the character of Q played excellently by Ben Whishaw, if a little too stereotypically (in a kind of young sweater wearing Cambridge graduate who, just to make the point of how British he is, loves to drink tea).

The movie is darker and more mature in tone than the previous ones, with the subject of terrorism and a political undertone taking a more central role in the story, with the characters being serious for a great deal but with subtle attempts at humour throughout, including a reference to Live And Let Die which made me laugh. It does add to the characters more, with the interplay between M and Bond gaining greatly from both. Javier Bardem is an interesting Bond Villain, if a little too much over the top even for this type of role. His motives come across successfully, but at times I felt as if he were trying to out-do Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, though this may be down to the writing, which at one point has the character make a statement with the use of The Animals cover of song Boom Boom.

Product placement is, as always, an issue – Early on Bond is lying in a bed drinking a Heineken rather than his trademark Vodka Martini, there’s a lingering shot of Bond’s hands as he does something which makes it clear that he’s wearing an Omega Seamaster watch – which you know is a Seamaster because of the numerous adverts shown before the movie. It’s not as in-your-face as the product placement in Casino Royale, but it’s to an extent that is certainly noticeable enough to be a distraction from the movie.

At 2 hours and 23 minutes in length, the movie does have a slight issue with being too long. There is action and there is drama, with an equal focus on both and an intentional decision made to not hit the viewer on the head repeatedly with action sequence after action sequence. But that does mean that early in the second act of the movie there is a slight lull to the pace, and the movie would have perhaps gained from some trimming of the fat. That said, it is an enjoyable 2 hours and 23 minutes, that is most certainly not a disappointing experience.

Skyfall certainly helps to cement Craig as the best Bond since Sean Connery, and Sam Mendes has done a far better job than expected for a director who has rarely tackled a movie featuring this level of action, but should not have been given quite as much free reign with the movie’s length. Overall though, you would be missing out on a great addition to the Bond series if you missed this at the cinemas, especially as it’s the first Bond movie to be given an Imax release. Fans will not be disappointed.

4.5 Sheep out of 5

guest reviewer: from Following the Nerd
Co-host of the Monday Movie Show, Andrew is a huge movie fan who is into all sorts of things movie related, as well as a fan of all things nerd. In his spare time he likes to work at script writing, that is when he's not spending it on something movie or nerd related!
gratuitous Daniel Craig photo

Comic Review: Dark Horse reboot: Ghost #0, #1

Ghost was a popular title for Dark Horse that debuted in 1993 and had a ten year run that featured crossovers with Hellboy, X, The Mask, and Barb Wire. Like so many other comics, Ghost is finally getting a reboot. This will be a different take on the character so you don’t need to know anything about the original comics to enjoy this one.

Dark Horse introduced the new Ghost comic with Dark Horse Presents #13-15 in the summer of 2012. Then Issue #0 released in Sept 2012 that collected the stories from Dark Horse Presents. Issue #1 is set to release Oct. 24 and subsequent issues will be released monthly.

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick 
Artist: Phil Noto 
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison 
Genre: Superhero, Science-Fiction, Crime, Action/Adventure 
Publication Date: September 19, 2012 
Format: FC, 32 pages 

Former journalist Vaughn Barnes has been reduced to moonlighting as cameraman for the shoddy paranormal-investigation cable TV show Phantom Finders. But when a curious device summons the specter of a beautiful, translucent woman, Vaughn is plunged into a mystery of criminal intrigue that spans two worlds! Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto launch their exciting new take on one of Dark Horse’s most popular characters ever!

* Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) brings a keen new eye to the spectral heroine.
* Renowned artist Phil Noto (Angel & Faith, X-23) perfectly captures the wraithlike elegance of the enigma known as Ghost! 
* Collects Ghost stories from DHP #13 - 15 

Ghost is back! 

GHOST #1 (PHIL NOTO COVER) Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick Artist: Phil Noto 
Colorist: Phil Noto 
Cover Artist: Phil Noto 
Genre: SuperheroScience-FictionCrimeAction/Adventure 
Publication Date: October 24, 2012 
Format: FC, 32 pages 

The enigmatic Ghost, along with paranormal investigators Tommy and Vaughn, takes to the streets of Chicago in search of the crystal-powered machine that first conjured her, hoping to find clues to her mysterious past life. But the machine’s original owners have a deadly agenda of their own. Picking up right where Ghost #0 left off, Ghost #1 continues Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) and Phil Noto’s (Angel & Faith) reimagining of Dark Horse’s greatest heroine! 
* Variant cover by Alex Ross!

A hero resurrected!

Issue #0
I knew nothing about the previous series when I picked up Issue #0, and I was intrigued immediately with the cover. The ghost woman is beautiful and creepy at the same time. This issue gives the reader the back story of the main players. Vaughn is a down on his luck ex-journalist with an ex-wife. He is working as a camera man for Tommy who has a paranormal reality TV show, a chip on his shoulder, and not a lot of respect. Tommy "obtains" a crystal box that somehow pulls the spirit of a woman into our world. Everything about her is a mystery, and even the ghost isn't sure who she is.

I was a little confused because this issue felt like they snatched little bits from the full story and strung them together. It felt like I was watching those quick previews before a TV show to catch you up on what has happened up to this point, but not an actual episode. I understand that is what it is meant to do, but I had to read through the story a couple of times to understand it. I did decide I liked the characters and the art work. The Ghost (cause we don’t know who she is yet) is a kick ass woman and what’s not to like about that? Some of the panels looked like she was superimposed onto the page as if she wasn’t really part of the original drawing and there were to many panels where the emphasis was on her eyes. I get it, she is creepy.

variant cover by Alex Ross
Issue #1 Again, another great cover, but it doesn't really reflect the appearance of the character in the comic. This issue is narrated by the Ghost for the most part and gives us an idea of what she thinks of her situation. She doesn't know anything about herself, but she does have bits and pieces of information she just knows, like the story of Athena. Ghost feels a connection to Athena's story that she can't explain. In this issue we get to meet the protagonist…not a nice guy. Don’t want to spoil. The Ghost is in a corporeal form for most of this issue as opposed to her scantily draped ghost form. I like the direction the story is taking and looking forward to the next installment.

3 1/3 "kick-ass creepy" Sheep

Sharon Stogner (edit BAK)

Book Review: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (anthology)

The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity
Edited by Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Penguin Group (USA)

What if the fae were still here, living among us? Perhaps living in secret, doing their best to pass for human? Or perhaps their existence is acknowledged, but they're still struggling to fit in. How have they survived? Are they outcasts clinging to the edges of society, or do their powers ensure success in the mortal realm? Here are fourteen fabulous tales-ranging from humor to dark fantasy-that explore how the creatures of fae are fitting into the modern world.

Introduction by editors Patricia Bray and Joshua Palmatier
“We Will Not Be Undersold” by Seanan McGuire
“Changeling” by Susan Jett
“Water-Called” by Kari Sperring
“The Roots of Aston Quercus” by Juliet E. McKenna
“To Scratch an Itch” by Avery Shade
“Continuing Education” by Kristine Smith
“How To Be Human™” by Barbara Ashford
“How Much Salt” by April Steenburgh
“Hooked” by Anton Strout
“Crash” by S. C. Butler
“Fixed” by Jean Marie Ward
“A People Who Always Know” by Shannon Page & Jay Lake
“The Slaughtered Lamb” by Elizabeth Bear
“Corrupted” by Jim C. Hines

I should start by telling you I love urban fantasy and the Fae, who are my favorite supernatural subject matter. Okay, now that it is out there it will be no surprise that I enjoyed this anthology of Fae short stories, the only question is how much. What made these stories such a treat for me was the quality as well as the subject matter. Kudos to the editors Bray and Palmatier for their selection of authors. I am not too surprised, since this editing duo put together an anthology last year called After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar. It was also the first review I ever wrote for I Smell Sheep! 
Check it out here.

Now back to this anthology; I won’t review each story since there are 14 of them, but I would give all the stories between 3.5 and 5 sheep. So now you are thinking… “why did you give the book 5 Sheep? Are you mathematically challenged?” No, I am not… well, maybe a little (Kalpar: That would explain the problems with that pay you owe me.) but I couldn't love each story the same so those ratings are relative to the collection. These are top quality stories, each one having its own unique style ranging from humorous to dark and melancholy while sticking to the general theme of how the Fae might be coexisting with humans.

This is a great book to have if you spend time in a carpool line, or waiting at a doctor’s office, or any time you have about 30 minutes to read. You will be entertained and maybe find a new author as well.

5 “Fae loving” Sheep

Sharon Stogner (editing and snark by Kalpar)