Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”


Excerpt from “The Winter Wizard”

By Adam Huddleston

This week, I simply wanted to release a few paragraphs of a fantasy story that I am currently working on. If it were to ever be published, it would actually be the beginning of the second book in a series entitled “The Sea-Wall”.

The wind and snow assaulted the small, wooden cabin. Each gust threatened to separate the old timbers that made up the walls and roof. Ben and his family snuggled deep under their bed covers seeking warmth, but only managing to frustrate their tired bodies. Just as the family patriarch was nearing sleep, a loud rap came from the front door.

Ben slowly cracked one eye open and peered into the darkness. He waited a few seconds, hoping the sound was just a rogue branch blown by the wind, or perhaps a wayward owl, lost in the blur of a night blizzard. He counted to five and was about to drift off to sleep when the knock came again.

Ben covered himself in a giant bear skin and stumbled out of bed. The icy-cold floor bit into his feet and he moaned loudly. The knocking continued, growing in intensity.

“I’m coming!” he growled at the newcomer. “It’s the middle of the night, don’t ya know?”

Ben hobbled through the modest den and grasped the brass knob, wincing as the metal stung his palm, and ripped the door open.

On the narrow stoop, covered in a thick blanket of bright snow, was something that resembled a human figure. After a few moments, a thick walking staff appeared out of the whiteness and pushed an ice-covered hat upwards. A pair of deep-blue eyes, deeper and bluer than the waters of the Sea-Wall (not that Ben had actually ever seen the Wall in person), opened. The eyes belonged to a trouble-worn face, and Ben took a step back as a bushy set of grey eyebrows furrowed over them. The man leaned forward and fixed Ben with a fierce gaze.

“It’s time to repay your debt,” he said.

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Favorite Horror Movies


Favorite Horror Movies

by Adam Huddleston

 

Since this will be my last blog before Halloween is upon us, I thought I’d share some of my favorite horror films. In no particular order:

Night of the Creeps

Night of the Living Dead

The Thing

Silence of the Lambs

Jaws

Coraline

Poltergeist

The Shining

Psycho

Alien

Creepshow 1 and 2

If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving any of these movies a watch. They are entertaining as well as wonderfully written, shot, and acted.

Happy viewing!

“The Nanny” Film Review


“The Nanny” Film Review

by Adam Huddleston

 

The next film up for review is “The Nanny”. Released in 1965 and starring Bette Davis in the titular roll, “The Nanny” is a class in suspense. Unlike many movies that try to create a “slow burn”, this picture begins raising questions very early and spends its 91-minute run time answering them.

The dialogue is perfect and many of the screen shots are very well done. One in particular is an extreme close-up of a character as she crawls along the floor. The effect really draws the viewer into the scene. The acting is superb, not just by Ms. Davis (which is suspected), but also by the two main child actors (William Dix and Pamela Franklin).

“The Nanny” is a perfect example of “hag-horror” and I highly recommend it to any horror or suspense fan.

Happy watching!

Dracula (1931) Film Review


Dracula (1931) Film Review

by Adam Huddleston

 

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted (the craziness of Fall as arrived) but this week I’d like to make a few comments regarding the 1931 film “Dracula”. Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is going to be showing different classic horror movies throughout the month of October, and while my dream would be to watch all of them and review them, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be a possibility. However, I will blog about a few when I can.

I really enjoyed watching “Dracula” last night. Now, realize that it may not be quite as scary now as it was when it was released, but it still stands as a classic of horror. The performances by Bela Lugosi as the Count, Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing, and Dwight Frye as Renfield were engaging and the script was adequate.

In my opinion, the strongest part of the show was the staging. Every scene was dripping with dark, foreboding dreariness. The special effects, though outdated, were still clever enough to portray the on-screen horror of the world’s most famous vampire. Although it may be a little tame by today’s standards, I still recommend watching “Dracula” due to it being a classic of the genre.

Happy viewing

IT Review


IT Review

by Adam Huddleston

 

Ok.

So, knowing how much I like to do movie reviews, and my preference for works by Stephen King, how in the world was I going to get by without blogging about this film?

I saw it at the end of last week with a couple of friends, and I must say, it is a fantastic horror movie! The 1990 mini-series starring Tim Curry will always hold a special place in my heart, but the current iteration, with its new special effects and freedom to explore darker themes, takes the story up a notch. The child actors nail all of their parts as well. The dialogue has a perfect mix of terror and humor. Although jump scares have become quite cliché in horror movies, most of these are done very well, even the ones that the audience could see coming from a mile away.

Now, this year’s version of IT, unlike its predecessor, is rated “R”. It is a fairly hard “R”, tamer than some but more violent than others, so be warned.

If horror is your thing, I highly recommend seeing this film. It didn’t set the opening weekend box office record for a horror picture for nothing!

Navigation Pane in Microsoft Word


Navigation Pane in Microsoft Word

by Adam Huddleston

 

Hello fellow writers! I have a quick recommendation this week. If you are trying to plot your story, and are working with Microsoft Word, you can organize your draft by utilizing “Headings.” It is very simple to use (and I am not that computer savvy).

Depending on the version of Word that you are using, you can click “View”, then click “Navigation Pane”. This pulls up a separate window on the left side of the screen that allows you to quickly move through your document. By assigning different sections of your story separate headings, you can organize it more efficiently. I use “Heading 1” to create a title for each scene. Then I am able to manipulate where I want my scenes in the story.

There are multitudes of ways to arrange your document, this is just what I’ve found to be most beneficial.

Happy writing!

CineFix


CineFix

by Adam Huddleston

 

I firmly believe that most avid readers are also movie fans. In my opinion, there is often something special about seeing the elements of a good story (plot, setting, and characters) on the screen. It can also be quite enjoyable to see a fellow film aficionado, especially one who is knowledgeable about motion pictures, dissecting said pictures in order to illuminate the varied techniques that lend them their greatness.

One of the websites that provides easy access to this expertise is YouTube. After viewing several pages dedicated to film, I have discovered one that in my opinion is hands-down the crème de la crème; Cinefix.

Where other sites simply give their opinions on why certain films make their “Top Ten” lists, Cinefix goes into terrific detail about them. They explain cinematic techniques, ranging from camera angles to color palettes. After viewing one of their videos, I feel as though I’ve taken a course in film school.

Topics include: The 10 Best Uses of Color in Film, Top 10 Best Character Arcs, Top 10 Best Scenes, and 5 Brilliant Moments of Camera Movement. And this is just a small sampling.

I cannot recommend this YouTube site enough.

Kennings


Kennings

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week’s literary term may not be extremely useful to your writing, but I felt it was an interesting device to have in memory. Kennings are the use of words of imagery to substitute the proper name for something. For example, in Beowulf, blood is referred to as “battle-sweat” and the sun as a “sky candle”. I suppose if you were writing dialogue for an ancient civilization, the use of Kennings might be appropriate. I hope this helps you in your craft!

Chiasmus


Chiasmus

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I wanted to bring you another literary term: chiasmus. It is the use of two parallel phrases that are inverted in a sentence. For example: You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. This is not to be confused with an oxymoron, which is the use of two contradictory terms, i.e. pretty ugly.

I know this is a short blog, but hopefully it will help you in your writing!

Somewhere Only We Know


Somewhere Only We Know

by Adam Huddleston

 

Several years ago, a group called Keane released a song entitled “Somewhere Only We Know”. The lyrics, while able to be interpreted many different ways, struck a chord with me (no pun intended). Being a writer, I felt that the song lent itself to a story, possibly in the fantasy genre. This is my attempt at such a story.

Each week, I am going to try to release a bit more of the tale. We’ll see how it goes. Enjoy!

*

Robert savored the cool dampness of the earth under his body. He sat with his arms stretched behind him, hands gently clinching the rich grass covering the hillside. A fragrant breeze played with the sparse tufts of grey hair that still clung to his scalp.

He smiled.

The wind’s scent was familiar; comforting. For some reason it reminded him of breakfast. This got him thinking about Ellen. No one could make coffee like his sweet Ellen.

Coffee.

“You want another cup of coffee?”

Robert blinked. He was sitting in his usual chair at the tiny kitchen table. A plate of half-finished scrambled eggs and toast stared up at him. The only light came from an eastern-facing window.

His wife repeated, “Another cup of coffee, hon?”