Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Very Germy Contest

Germs Are Fun!
Well, at least THESE germs are fun. They're GIANTmicrobes. I first saw these cuddly "bugs" after RavenCon. The lovely and talented, Mr. Mark Rainey, posted a photo of The Plague, a gift from a friend at the Con. What a great idea!

I never asked who was selling Germs at the Con, I just assumed they were the genius idea of a horror writer or artist, but it seems their roots are in education. I went hunting for them online today and discovered that their roots are actually in the field of education at Educational Innovations and

Very clever teaching tool, if you ask me. Being a very visual person who also likes to touch things (silk, rose petals, satin, velvet...ahhh...), I'd never forget a plush germ once I met one. Take the lovely red locks of the Typhoid Microbe, or the long white tubular Heartworm. Or how about that cute little Flesh Eating Virus, or our pal, Salmonella. And of course, we must not forget the Bookwork, but my personal favorite is Mad Cow (can't help but think of William Shatner...for you Boston Legal fans).

So, there you have it kids. See, germs can indeed be fun. Which one is your favorite? Maybe if you're a very good boy or girl, or perhaps even better, very bad, you'll get your very own cuddly microbes to share with us all. *wink*

The Germy Contest Details
Now for the contest, and you know how I love contests. It's VERY easy to play:

Post a comment to this blog with the name of your favorite GIANTmicrobe and why you like it. Make your choice from the Educational Innovations catalog.

PRIZE: One person will be randomly chosen from my blogs (since I'm a cross-poster, this includes the HL Blogs and my personal blogs - I'd do one germ for each blog, but I'm on a budget because of our house buying adventures). The winner will be announced on June 10th in my Sunday blog.

Now, get germ pickin'!

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"You Are What You Read"

Have You Read Your Storytellers Unplugged Today?

Well, if you haven't, you should...right now! Weston Ochse gave me chills when I read his essay, "You Are What You Read." So go have a read, then slide on down the list and you'll find Deborah Leblanc discussing distractions in, "Now!", and Bev Vincent talking about traveling in his article, "Take a Trip and Never Leave the Farm."

And while you're there, don't miss Thomas "Sully" Sullivan's, "Choose, Use and Never Refuse the Muse," and as always, the hit parade goes on. That's how it is EVERYDAY at Storytellers Unplugged, something new and wonderful from some of dark fiction's best writers.

I know I've mentioned SU before, but if you're anything like me, you need a good reminder every now and then to treat yourself to the finer things in life. And when you get your fill of the marvelous Storytellers wisdom, if you have a little extra time, stop by and read my latest review. Australian author, Christopher Elston reviews Mama's Boy at Dark Animus and Monsters In My Closet. Yup, they're still reviewing Mama's Boy. Am I a lucky chick or what? *wink*

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Horror in the Heart

Bodhisattva, What?
Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a softy, especially for animals. Frankly, I think my dog is a Bodhisattva, and could teach humanity a lot about love, patience and balance. I grew-up with animals (besides my brothers) and when I was a child, I was terribly frustrated that I couldn't get close to the local wild life like deer, squirrels, rabbits and scores of birds . I wanted to touch them, but they didn't trust humans. Rightly so, for it wasn't long that I discovered what I was eating at the dinner table.

My parents read all the wonderful children's book to me with friendly cows, pigs and chickens. I loved those animals in the pictures; Henny-Penny, The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, and the cheery list goes on. So imagine my horror when my brother informed me at the dinner one night that the beef I was eating was really a cow. Then he elaborated on the pig and chicken issue. He brought me to tears, and my little heart was broken. I'd been eating my friends. Of course, my very practical parents thought I was being ridiculous and told me to shut-up and eat my dinner. No getting up from the table in my house until our plates were "clean."

Still Eating My Friends
So, much like many little children who discover this dilemma, I eventually obeyed my parents and ate my dinner, tears streaming. I'm still eating my animal friends to this day, but less and less so. It's a crappy addiction to meat my body seems to have, but I'm working on it. I honestly feel immense guilt for eating beings that I know have feelings and families, and because I know most supermarket meat comes from intensive agribusiness farming where these poor animals often suffer horribly in life and death.

Most of us just ignore these facts. What are we going to do? Gotta eat. And of course there ARE things we can do, but let's face it, most of us don't take the plunge to buy organic humanely raised animal products because of the cost. And most of us don't demand that animals be treated humanely on ALL farms, but David Agranoff isn't like most of us.

David has written a wonderful collection of stories, Screams From A Dying World, with the proceeds going to Animal Acres, an amazing farmed animal sanctuary in California. This fifty-two page chapbook is a great read by any standard. Even if you didn't know David's vegan lifestyle and his support of the environment and species survival (including our own), you'd likely find his collection of stories dark, imaginative and disturbing. Personally, I love this eclectic collection, and the cover art by Rick Clarke rocks! These are stories that not only entertain, but they stick with you and may even challenge your thinking.

Rather than try to describe Screams From A Dying World for you, I'll share David's own words:
My first short story collection (as a solo act) includes Buffalo Trace, Grandpy’s Spirit that Never Was, Fertility, Normal, Coast to Coast and Self Killing Self. There will be a haunted slaughterhouse, union strikes, eco-terrorism, buffalo ghosts, rednecks terrorizing punk rockers, suicide during a global warming apocalypse and even a twenty-fourth century sexual oddity-obsessed genetic engineer. The stories run range from heart warming to totally disgusting. Proceeds will be donated to Animal Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary.

George and Henry Know
You can read more about David Agranoff's, Screams From A Dying World, at his publisher's website, Punk Horror and you'll find more information about Animal Acres HERE. Now, with all that said, you can't beat the $6 price tag on this collection, especially knowing that proceeds will be helping some seriously lucky animal friends, so BUY A COPY!

And if you think I'm just a schmuck on this subject, here are a few words from a couple of writers with far more clout then I:

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
George Bernard Shaw

I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals.
Henry David Thoreau

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel

Note: The animal photos on this blog are from the wonderful gallery at

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Of Homes and Sewers

New homes
New homes are heavy on my mind today. We're in the process of selling our home and buying a new one. Of course, we've found the perfect "new" home before the old one is sold. Now you're talking horror...mortgages, bridge loans, points, blah, blah, blah. It's enough to make a good clown go bad...or a bad clown go worse. Which brings me to another home--the HL Blog-O-Rama's new mirror home at MySpace.

In the Sewer
Yeah, a lot of folks consider our beloved MySpace one nasty place. But what better place for a horror blog? Seriously though, I've found MySpace to be a little home away from home with a lot of great folks from all around the world, and now the HL Blog has it's second home there, as well. We're already sporting a list of 428 of our closest "friends" and we hope you'll join us, too.

Stop by our profile at to see our list of regular Blog Masters, and our fabulous guest blogger scheduled for the month of May--Author, Simon Wood. You can also sign-up as a subscriber to our blog, Here at

Cheesy Ads
And keep a look-out for our series of Cheesy Ads. I hope you like them. I'm thinking a cheesy ad contest may be in order soon! Hint...


Well, it's a short and sweet blog tonight folks. As I said, in addition to my writing schedule, I'm thick in the bowels of house selling/buying hell, so this will be my last blog until sometime next week, but the lovely and talented John Peters will be doing my Sunday blog at the HL Blog-O-Rama, so please stop in this weekend to support his maiden voyage!

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel

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