The Official Page of Justin Bienvenue

Author . Poet . Horror Writer . Authorpreneur 


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Poetry 101: The Basics

Posted on April 19, 2021 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Poetry is not basic and if you think it is then chances are it's just not your thing or you haven't really given it a shot. However, I'm not talking about poetry being or feeling basic I'm talking about the basics of it, the fundamentals if you will. How do you write a poem and what makes a good poem? Well, I'm not an English teacher nor am I a 100-year-old poet but what I am is an experienced writer and poet who knows the basics of how to construct a poem. I also know what goes into it so that's what I'm going to be going over, the basics of poetry 101. Whether you write poetry for fun, as a passion, or because you're required to do so, it doesn't matter, I am going to give you a basic rundown on what poetry consists of.

Topic: One thing you absolutely need is a topic for your poetry or a reason to write it. If you read my previous post," target="_blank">Poetry 101: What To Write About, I cover this in length. A topic can be anything from what you're feeling at the time or an animal you saw at the zoo, as long as you felt emotion after you experienced it or you can just cook something up from the top of your head. I cook up poems out of thin air from time to time but I make sure I map it out before I get it started but that brings me to the next part of the basics in poetry.

Structure: Not everyone can just think of a topic right out of nowhere and they also can't figure out how they want it to be while they write. This is where structure comes in. By structure, I don't just mean the type of poem you want to write whether it's prose, rhyme, sonnet, etc I mean you have to let it stir around in your head a bit as if you're letting what you want to say manifest in your head before you write them down. This is considered structuring because your planning out words and your poetry before you just attempt to write it. Another part of a structure is the foundation and type of poem you wish to write.

Type: Do you like to rhyme? If so, then chances are you like rhyming poetry. Rhyming poetry is my usual go-to type but I have been known to write some prose as well. After you've structured the poem in your head you then need to figure out if you wish for it to rhyme, for it to not rhyme and if you want the lines and syllables to coincide with one another. It can be a bit of a process at first but after you've done it for a while it comes quite naturally. It may even seem like a chore or extra work the first few times but then you'll realize it's not only a part of writing a poem but will make it so much better if you just wing it.

Length: Do you think a poem needs to be a certain length? It doesn't. Poetry can be a sentence, a few lines, a dozen or even 100 lines, it doesn't matter, it depends on how much you want to tell and how you wish to tell it. Haiku and poet Langston Hughes are in my opinion the best examples of writing short poems. They are short but the words use have an impact and make you really think after reading. My poems are usually 12–14 lines long although I do on occasion write long ones. My longest poem to date is 64 lines long while my shortest not counting a haiku is about 6. My point is, don't think you need to write a certain amount of words or that you need to stop if it's too long, you'll know as you read it when you go along.

So what have we learned today? We learned that the basics of poetry are simple and easy to remember. You need a topic and reason to write. You need solid structure before and after you get started. You need to figure out the type of poetry you want to write. Finally, you need to realize that length is not important when it comes to poetry because you are the one in control and your words will tell you when they have said enough.

If you enjoyed this post then please feel free to check out my others on poetry or others on various topics I'm passionate about.

Also, feel free to check out" target="_blank">my books of poetry

Poetry 101: What to Write About

Posted on April 19, 2021 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Poetry is an art. Poetry is a way of expression. Poetry is a way of life. Poetry is many things but while some people find no problem in writing it some have trouble coming up with what to write about. This may not make sense to some because they believe that poetry comes from within you and you write from the heart which is true but not all poetry comes from the heart or brain. Poetry and inspiration for it can come from literally anywhere. If your writing about emotion then words usually flow out of you but if you’re looking to write poetry about a particular thing then you may need to look elsewhere which is what we are talking about today.


If you’re like me you can write a poem about just about anything. Sure you don’t need to write a poem about bread and chances are not too many people if any would want to read it but if you have the ability to make bread sound good in a poem then you don’t need to worry about not having anything to write about...or maybe you do. When writing poetry what exactly do you write about if not emotion or your feelings? Well, start with your interests, look around you, or think long and hard about a topic that you’ve had in your head for a while that may make for a great poem. Is not knowing what to write about for a poem considered writer’s block? Yes and no. If you don’t know what to write about then no it’s not writer’s block but if you’ve been thinking for days and nothing is sticking or popping out at you then chances are it is indeed writer’s block.


So what can you write about? Well, the best thing about poetry like I said earlier is that you can write a poem about pretty much anything. A good percentage of poems are about emotions and feelings. The second amount of poems are written about a tale, a story or something epic. Finally, there’s everything else afterwards which can be odes to particular object, a fun upbeat poem about kindness or a theme poem about candy or a whale...not exactly together but you get the idea, you can write a poem about anything if you really think hard enough. Poetry doesn’t need a fuse to get started it only needs a spark(an idea) and once you have that spark you can create a wonderful poem that will hold till the end of time and others can enjoy it forever.


In the end, it’s simple. Poetry writes itself if you think of a good enough topic or if you have a lot of emotions inside you. The best thing about poetry is you can’t make a mistake if the creativity isn’t good enough. Chances are you’ll know if the poem is good enough or not and if it isn’t then you can just try writing about something else. Don’t sweat it. When it comes to poetry what can you write about? Just about anything and everything because if you stop and think about it or smell the flowers you’ll realize that there’s poetry all around you.

The Wax Factory Workshop: A First Look Into The Wax Menagerie

Posted on February 14, 2020 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (5)

You’re writing another book about Wax?


Yes. I had mentioned in the first workshop that The Wax Factory will be my first true book series. The Wax Menagerie is the second book in the series and not only continues from where the first leaves off but will have a lot more action and supernatural elements. Given the events of what took place in the first book(you have read The Wax Factory right?) this book will answer all unanswered questions, will ask new questions but most of all will be direct and to the point rather then have build up all the time. We all love suspense but I understand that sometimes crazy stuff just needs to manifest rather then having it boil for a while. Oh! And there will of course be more to learn about wax and plenty of strange things with it as well.


What is The Wax Menagerie?


The Wax Menagerie will be my seventh published novel and even crazier than The Wax Factory if that’s even possible. Spoiler free, The Wax Menagerie is about Dmitri and his group of friends who are still in the factory only now they can’t leave for unforeseen circumstances. Just when they think they’ll be able to go they are thrown into the tunnels below the factory basement. With god knows what down there, Dmitri and his friends must find a way out. They find their way out but then find themselves in the middle of the woods behind the factory. I’ll leave it at that but I hope I’ve given you enough to peak your interest. There’s plenty more that will take place in this book so get ready for an all out insane waxfest.


Who Are The New Characters and Where Did They Come From?


There are a few new characters I would like to introduce and welcome to The Wax Factory. I know you are all familiar with Dmitri and his friends as well as Gustav Vandaldrake so here are some new people to become acquainted with.


Jade Cascada is a friend of Melina and Tasha. She heads to the factory after not hearing back from Tasha for a while. Like her friends, Jade is into fashion and guys but is also into modeling. Her personality is a cross between Melina and Tasha which means she’s shy but not afraid to break out of her shell. She’s one of the friends that both girls are close with.


I like the name Jade so I thought I would use it for this book. Cascada is just thought of off the top of my head and thought it sounded good with Jade. She’s not based off anyone but I wanted to add more female characters to the book just because in horror books you don’t usually see so many women so I thought I’d change that but adding one more to my book.


Sheriff Corwin Harrison is the law in the city of Craven Hollow. He’s the type of guy that acts all tough one minute but after you get to know him within five minutes he’s talking to you as if he’s known you for years. He does his job well although not much crazy stuff happens in the city. He comes across the factory and see’s a few cars in front of it so he decides to investigate.


Corwin Harrison is based off all those small town sheriff’s we see in shows and movies. This head honcho guy who is too friendly and kind to be taken serious with his power and badge. His name was just thought off so no roots for his name just a random idea for a name I had.


Obadiah Obsidian is a historian who comes to the factory. Not much is known on him other then he is fascinated by the factory and wants to learn more about it. He is a slightly hefty and jolly man who seems like he’s a nice guy but again it’s hard to tell.


I got the name Obadiah from the book The Gift of Obadiah’s Ghost by Richard M. Wainwright which I remembered reading as a kid. I remember thinking of the name but I could not place where I had heard it from it was only recently that I looked it up and found out what the name of the book was. As for Obsidian well I thought alliterative name would be good and having Obsidian as a last name is an intriguing idea so I decided to combine it with Obadiah to create another unique name.


Does Wax Still Have An Impact In The Book and If So Is It More or Less Than Before?


Wax definitely still has an impact in the book and not just because it’s a sequel or because it’s called The Wax Menagerie. The impact of wax is still very much a key part of the book and will be mentioned in the same ways and in many more elaborate ways throughout the book. In some instances I will be going off a previous scenario with wax and expanding off it and also creating new situations where wax comes in and plays a roll. This is the final workshop in the Wax Factory Workshops so I hope you enjoyed this one as well as the others. If you didn’t get to see the others then please feel free to do so as the first one is right below this one, the second is on Youtube, the third isn’t available as it was a live video on IG but I will try to get it up somewhere. Finally the fourth video is available on Twitter/Periscope. Also be sure to grab yourself a copy of The Wax Factory and be on the look out for The Wax Menagerie.


The Wax Factory Workshop: An Introduction to Wax

Posted on February 10, 2020 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

What is The Wax Factory?

The Wax Factory is more than just my sixth published novel it's my first true book series and an idea that came to me spontaneously out of nowhere. One day I was in the car in the back seat and looked out the window to see a factory that I had seen countless times. I had always wanted to use the name of the factory, The Foundry for something but it just never came to be. My brain working in mysterious ways decided to make sure I remembered the factory and stored it in my head. I don't recall the length of time but it couldn't have been more than a few days when I watched the movie House of Wax with Vincent Price and as I went into the kitchen to get a drink it hit me.

My brain went back to the factory and then connected the factory to wax and then The Wax Factory was in my head and I knew I had to make it a title for my next book. At first, I had no idea what the book would be about and if it would be similar to House of Wax(which it is not). Eventually, over time I began piecing together ideas one by one, one after another until I not only had a plot and characters but I had a solid story and one I knew I wanted to continue past one book. This just goes to show you that yes my brain keeps track of random things and for whatever reason pieces them together to create not only catchy sounding titles but compelling story ideas as well.

Where Did the Characters Come From?

I usually think of the antagonist before I think of the protagonist aka the main character. Not because I'm evil(because I'm not ;)) but I guess the idea for them just comes easier to me. In this sense, I wanted to intentionally create the antagonist first because he would be the owner and curator of the factory. So starting with the antagonist here's a list of the characters in the book, who they are and how they came to be.

Gustav Vandaldrake is the curator of The Wax Factory. He is a wise and sometimes jubilant but also strange and odd old man who loves talking about the factory to the group. He is knowledgeable but also very forgetful of even the simplest things. He is also old fashioned and at times he seems odd and acts and says strange things that make no sense. I wanted to give him a name that would stand out so going with a normal name just wasn't going to cut it. I felt Gustav was both old fashioned and it wasn't English and while it's not really established where he's from Gustav was a good choice.

As for Vandaldrake, again I wanted to think of a unique name and that just popped into my head(I know my brain is a strange place isn't it?) I combined the two names and Gustav Vandaldrake was created. He's not really based on anyone I just sort of pictured an old man who loves what he does and yet also doesn't quite seem to fit in. In some ways he's sort of like Henry Jarrod, the character played by Vincent Price in House of Wax but only loosely.

Dmitri Townsend is the main character of the book. He's a young college student who isn't afraid to speak his mind. He's a football fanatic, gamer, and urban explorer. He's your typical young guy that I feel readers can relate to which is rather different for me because I usually don't create characters so relatable at least not as relatable as Dmitri. He's the type of guy that men want to be and women want to be with to put it lightly. He's the best friend of Derek and the boyfriend of Melina, both of whom you will read more about later. Even though Dmitri is the protagonist he does have a backbone and isn't afraid to do what must be done. He tends to act as the leader amongst his group of friends.

I have always liked the name Dmitri and I figured since I don't plan on having a kid anytime soon that I could put the name to use. Townsend just sort of came to me as I read last names off a sheet of paper. I put them together and thought it had a nice ring to it. Dmitri is sort of based on me but by no means am I a guy that every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with(I wish!). Dmitri has some of my qualities but he's not truly based on me which is probably a good thing.

Melina Saffron is Dmitri's girlfriend. She's beautiful, smart and very driven. She enjoys shopping, hanging out with Dmitri and her best friend Tasha. She is knowledgeable on the paranormal because her mom is really into it. Like the rest of the gang, her major hasn't been identified but she wants to spend her life with Dmitri. She's fun and friendly and is the type of person that likes to help others. Like the name Dmitri, I like the name Melina and again since I don't plan on having kids anytime soon I thought I would use the name, Melina. Not sure where Saffron came from to be honest just thought of it thought it was unique and made it Melina's last name. Melina isn't based on anyone but as I like to say she's the girlfriend I wish I had. A beautiful, fun, caring and loving girl who stands up for what she believes in.

Derek Redmond is Dmitri's best friend. He's a jock and jokester whose jokes tend to fall flat and he cracks them at inappropriate times so as you can imagine there's a lot to look forward to in this book with Derek. He plays for the football team having been able to attend college because of a football scholarship. Derek is also a gamer and urban explorer and he's the one who got Dmitri into exploring abandoned places. He claims to not scare easily and thinks he's a hit with the ladies but gets shot down way too many times. I went with a more laid back approach with naming him as I decided to keep it simple so there's not really any meaning behind it. Derek isn't based on one person but rather an idea of a person. He's that one friend we can all relate to having in our lives in the sense that we understand him but others not so much. Also, bare with me now, imagine Shaggy from Scooby-Doo but if he were a jock and was way more built.

Tasha Moats is Melina's best friend. Tasha is a black haired beauty and she knows it too. She's got a bit of a reputation of being snobby and slutty. Despite these flaws, she's actually a nice and sweet girl once you get to know her and only if she lets you get to know her. She enjoys shopping, hanging out with guys and hanging out with Melina. Tasha has insecurities which could explain why she is the way she is. She gets along with Dmitri but doesn't get along with Derek because he constantly hits on her. I like the name Tasha so I thought it would make a nice name for a character and I just thought of Moats. Tasha is sort of based on the snobby college girl who just wants to have fun but isn't based on any one person.

What is The Wax Factory about?

Well, this question is one that can be summed up in my elevator pitch and by reading the description on Amazon which you can find here. Below is what the book is about summed up in a few sentences.

The Wax Factory is about a group of college students who get a tour of a creepy old factory as part of a school project. As the tour goes on and the deeper into the factory they go strange things begin to happen and soon the group begins to wonder if this project is worth their lives being in danger.

Why Did You Go With Wax and What Impact Does it Have in the Book?

I thought I'd save the best or perhaps the biggest question for last. Why did I go with wax? Well as you may remember at the beginning of this post I said how I had just watched House of Wax and then the factory popped into my head. But why did I just go with the idea? Well, for one I really enjoy that film so perhaps I wanted to tell a similar story but most of all the way wax was used in that film was as an evil device to showcase death and if that isn't enough to inspire the horror in you then I don't know what would! I wanted to do the same but in a different way so The Wax Factory was born.

Now, how it's used in the book and the impact it has in the book is a bit tricky to understand but then again that's why I'm doing this so I'll break it down. First off, let me just explain what wax is in simple terms. Wax is a sticky yellowish moldable substance secreted by honeybees as the material of honeycomb; beeswax. It is also the material of what a candle is made of. The book focuses on a factory that at one point in time manufactured wax but not in a standard or traditional sense. I imagine when most people think of a wax factory they think of a place that makes candles but since this is a book of fiction I decided to change it up a bit. In The Wax Factory, everyday items and appliances such as chairs, ottoman's, pens, tables, chandeliers, and other things are made out of wax. People would come to the factory and ask Gustav's great grandfather Ghyslain and his partner Edward Langston to construct something for them from wax.

Aside from making items themselves, they had a staff of over a dozen employees who were also skilled in the crafting of making items from wax. Sometimes they worked on projects not for clients but as experiments. In most cases, Ghyslain, Edward and one of their top tenured employees would be the ones working on a side project. In the present, the factory has just been reopened and Gustav treats it as a museum where he can show the group around and tell them about everything he knows about his great grandfather and the wax business. Finally, not to give anything else away but at some point in the book, he has the group use wax on their own so they can get a better sense of what it is and how it works.

So that's the first workshop on The Wax Factory. I hope you're entertained, intrigued and a bit more educated on wax and the book. Stay tuned because the next workshop is called Wax 101 and it will be a video on Youtube. I will go into a bit more detail about why it's so important to the antagonist Gustav and give you other small examples of where wax is used in the book but don't worry I'm not going to give anything away because after all if you want to truly know how wax is used in the book then you'll have to grab a copy and find out for yourself.

The Wax Factory Workshop

Posted on February 3, 2020 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A series of 5 workshops I will be hosting on my website as well as Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. The workshop will be on my book The Wax Factory, my upcoming novel The Wax Menagerie and I will even talk about wax and how it's used in real life and in the books. The workshops will take place between Feb 10th and 14th. 


-An Introduction to Wax(Website)

A brief rundown and small blog post on The Wax Factory. An introduction to the characters, a general idea of the plot as well as what wax is and how its used and some of the items made from wax in the first chapter of the book.


-Wax 101(Youtube Video)

A video in which I will explain how wax is featured throughout the book and why its so important to the curator Gustav Vandaldrake.


-The Fundamentals of Waxology(Twitter Periscope Video)

A video in which I will explain how you can apply and polish with wax in both reality and from a fictional standpoint in the book.


-Principles of Candle Making(Instagram Video)

A video in which I will be making and creating candles.


-A First Look Into The Wax Menagerie(Website)

A brief rundown, small blog post and exclusive look into The Wax Menagerie, the second book in The Wax Factory series. I will explain the idea of the plot and introduce some new characters without giving away any spoilers.

The Haunted History of Demonic Possession

Posted on January 24, 2020 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (2)

When we think of possession we naturally tend to think of the horror movie The Exorcist. A movie about a young girl who becomes possessed by a demonic spirit and the church is brought in to perform an exorcism on her to get rid of the malevolent being. This while dramatically fictitious is an example of demonic possession. Demonic possession is defined as the belief that a person's actions are controlled by an alien spirit, demon, or entity. It also happens to be a controversial topic in the sense that some people believe it can happen while others believe it can't create a controversial topic that divides people on their thoughts on it. So why do I want to talk about possession? Well for one, horror is one of my specialties and possession is a bit horror topic, two I'm trying to write more posts on the paranormal and three, I think it's a decent topic to discuss and talk about.

The first thing to know about demonic possession is that it is connected to religion in the sense that each religion has its own theories, thoughts, and ways to address it. I won't be getting into the details of each religion's ways of dealing with possession but rather I'll talk about the dark sides and effects of it that they all share. Many believe possession to be a disorder and possibly a psychological disorder with several other traits to go with it. While possession could easily be diagnosed under many disorders and symptoms one must look past a medical diagnosis and try to believe that it is a supernatural happening and force. Possession is not a common occurrence which is why it should not quickly be attributed to a normal disorder or illness. Possession is a demon, an actual being from another world, possibly hell or someone who was bad in life that has become a demonic spirit. After characterizing what possession is the next step is identifying what it wants and why it's attached itself to a particular person.

In most cases, a demon who possesses a person's body wants one thing, to control them. They want to live in this world and use the person's body and essence as a way to live amongst the living and cause harm to the person as well. Now while I have never seen or heard of a real case of possession I imagine it's truly horrific and probably quite painful to the person being possessed. While fiction does do a good job of showing how possession maybe it dramatically shows the things we all expect possession to be and usually cuts out the small symptoms and things that make the ordeal truly worse. In movies and shows all we usually see is a demon talking in a voice nowhere close to the actual person's voice, the person talking inappropriately, vomiting, inflicting harm to the person's body and writing strange symbols on walls. Is this what real demonic possession is? I'm sure parts of this are true to what really happens but I can't help but feel like Hollywood dramatizes these particular effects because they know they will shock people.

Possession is a serious supernatural condition and while I have stated above that it's controversial its also the reason Hollywood and horror make it a perfect cause and effect as a tool and vice. What's scarier than a person being taken over by a demon and acting totally different, threatening people and doing strange and abnormal things? Exactly, not much. A demon itself is scary enough but when a demon tries to or successfully takes over a human body and still does demonic things? That's bound to scare the daylights out of people and put the scare and fear factor at a 10 out of 10. Should we enjoy seeing possession in fiction? Sure, as long as we remember that it's just that, fiction. Seeing it for real is probably fifty times worse and something no person wants to see or experience for themselves. Possession is many things but one thing it isn't is a horror tool used to scare people. It is a vicious and dark part of life that in rare cases does happen and sometimes we forget that.

The Top 10 Best Ghost Stories

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Ghost Stories. Chances are we’ve all heard some over a campfire, or have read them at some point. Ghost stories are meant to scare us, to give us chills and to make us look over our shoulders. Some stories are urban legends, told for years and passed down without any true knowledge of whether or not it’s true. Other stories are the ones that will be listed here, the best of the best. These are some of the best ghost story books of all time and how they have shaped not only the ghost story genre but also transcend the paranormal genre as well.


In no particular order but descriptions only on the first six:


The Shining by Stephen King: The tale of Jack Torrance who takes his wife Wendy and son Danny up to the mountains of Colorado so he can take care of the Overlook Hotel during the winter months. Jack soon begins hearing and seeing spirits and they tell him his son has a special gift.


Many would suggest The Shining isn’t truly a ghost story but I say it is but not in the traditional

sense. It does have a lot that goes on and the ghosts take a while to appear but the fact tat they are there, exist and are centered to the plot of the book means that it’s definitely a ghost story, and one of the best at that.



The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Four people stay at a house, all their for different reasons. They stay within the house to see that it is haunted and if the ghosts are welcome to their visitors but underneath the surface as the house livens up, it makes it’s presence known.


A great ghost story that takes on the ole group of people adventuring into a haunted place in hopes of finding something. It’s told in such a way that you get a good sense of what each character feels and experiences and some more than others. This is first novel that started the ole group ghost adventure story.



A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Ebenezer Scrooge is a cold, vile and beyond bitter old man who doesn’t believe in Christmas and doesn’t really care for people or appreciate life as most do. His recently deceased partner Jacob Marley visits him and tells him three ghosts will visit him to try and get him to change his ways.


A beloved fun and famous Christmas tale but also a brilliant and eerie ghost story. It’s been told in remakes so many times over the years but usually in most cases keeps the same version and overall ghost story presence.



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving:


Ichabod Crane is a whimpy school teacher who is gullible and bullied by local Brom Bones. As he walks homes through the woods everyday he soon begins to hear things, ghosts perhaps? Even more so he begins seeing things and one thing in particular, a horseman, a headless horseman.


While Crane himself gets scared of locals telling him ghost stories the story’s main focus of ghosts is on the headless horsemen, who may or may not be a ghost at all but either someone in town playing a trick on Crane or simply a figure of his imagination.


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James: A young woman gets a job taking care of two children who are strange, silent and shy. The woman begins to hear things in the house and sees phantoms but while she is starting to get scared and feel the terror the kids aren’t scared in the slightest which could be the scariest thing of all..


Another classic story that has been told many different times although there are different variations on how it’s told. A chilling yet enthralling ghost story nonetheless, The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story that slowly develops and only gets more creepy the more into it you get.



Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe: The story of a man whose wife, Ligeia dies and he finds another woman to marry and she too dies. The man stays with his dead wife only to see her rise from the dead but now as his beloved first wife Ligeia.


Considered one of the best short stories of all time, it was one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous works. It’s a ghost story in the sense of it’s deep interpretations and hidden inner meanings which means while it doesn’t seem to be a straight up ghost story on the outside it can be considered one as such from it’s inner meanings.


Ghost Story by Peter Straub


The Woman in Black by Susan Hill


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold


Dark Matter by Michelle Pavor



Thankful for Tradition(A Thanksgiving Story)

Posted on November 27, 2019 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (2)

Thanksgiving has come once again and no one appreciates it more than the Morton family…well, the adult Morton’s that is. Every year Dave and Sherrie Morton hold a big thanksgiving dinner for their entire family and every year their two kids, Eric and Samantha could care less. It’s not that they don’t like Thanksgiving it’s just they don’t get why everyone gets together to stuff themselves silly with food they only eat once a year and to reminisce about the good ole days.

Their mom and aunt have once again gone all out with the food. Food that looks weird and they can’t ever imagine liking. They, of course, like the turkey, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and maybe one veggie but that’s about it. They leave the cranberry sauce, stuffing, any green vegetable, carrots, and whatever else to the adults.

“Kids, get down hear thanksgiving dinner is ready!”, they hear their mom from downstairs.

“Ugh, here we go. The annual feasting on gross food once a year.”, Eric says.

“Yeah, I know. Blah!”, Samantha replies.

“Let me just get something from my closet”, Eric says as he goes and opens his closet door.

As the door opens Eric is shocked to see an orange vortex before him. Before he can do anything the vortex sucks him in. His sister hears him yell for her as she watches the vortex suck him into the unknown. Not wanting to lose her brother Samantha jumps into the vortex as well. Both kids get up from the ground and notice a giant table filled with people sitting at it along with food.

“Hello, young ones! Welcome to our lovely thanksgiving!”, a man dressed as a pilgrim says.

“Uh…thanks. Where are we?”, Eric asks confused.

“Why, you're in Thanksgivingland!”

“I’m sorry…did you just say Thanksgivingland?”

“Yes! We celebrate Thanksgiving everyday or once every month..whichever we are in the mood for.”

“Oh dear god no!”, Samantha yells upon hearing this.

“Thanksgiving everyday?”

“Why yes, why be thankful once a year when you should be thankful every day!”, the man says.

“We are thankful every day but celebrating it every day seems a bit excessive.”

“Nonsense, celebrate! Eat! Live!”

“Uh yeah well I don’t know how we got here but we need to go home.”, Eric says.

“Ah, first you must feast then you may go home. Please, join us!”, the man says.

“This is all really weird, one minute I’m in my room then I’m in a field about to eat thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of strangers.”, Eric says.

“Why not big brother? I’m sure they’re food is better than what mom always serves.”, Samantha says to her brother.

“We could be dreaming or whatever but you’re right, let’s eat!”, Eric says.

“Wonderful. Come! Come and enjoy our feast.”

Eric and Samantha are lead to the table by the man. As he leads them to the giant table they can’t get over how enormous it is. There must be at least sixty people sitting at it. As they are seated they look at the food but don’t see the turkey or any food they like.

“Where’s the turkey?”, Eric asks.

“Turkey? We don’t eat turkey on thanksgiving we have a giant meatloaf!”

“Meatloaf? Seriously? That seems so wrong..”, Eric says.

“How about mashed potatoes and corn?”, Samantha asks.

“Mashed..potatoes? Heavens no! We have cauliflower and berries!”

“Eww gross! White broccoli!”

“What about dinner rolls?”

“Dinner? Rolls?”, the man asks.

“Yeah, you know, bread?”, Eric asks.

“We have strips of fig with the richest jams spread on them.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me..”,Eric says.

“Do you have stuffing? Green beans? Carrots?”, Samantha asks.

“We have radishes, beat stew, yucca root, rolled up grains and minerals in a leaf, fresh dry tomato croissants, jermsickle bread with honeysuckle and rosemary.”

“Do you have pumpkin or apple pie for dessert?”

“No, we have figgy pudding and grape and orange pie”, the man says.

“All those things sound disgusting! Figgy pudding is that Christmas Carol stuff! And what on earth are tomato dry croissants and jermsmicke bread? Grape and orange pie?”

“Why the feast traditions of course along with all this food including the main course of meatloaf!”

“Meatloaf for thanksgiving? 24/7? Sam, let’s get out of here I think I’m gonna be sick”, Eric says as he and Samantha leave the table.

“Where are you going? Won’t you feast with us?”, the man asks.

“Uh, yeah sorry we just remembered we need to have Thanksgiving with our family and have real food that actually tastes good.”, Samantha says.

The man simply smiles and bows at them. Eric and Samantha look weirded out and the man puts his hand out and makes a strange motion as the orange vortex opens up behind them. Eric and Samantha look at one another and then jump back into the vortex. As they come out the other side they are thrown out of Eric’s closet and onto the floor.

“That was weird!”, Eric says.

“Tell me about it!”, Samantha says.

“Kids, get down here thanksgiving dinner is ready!”, their mom says from downstairs.

The kids shrug at one another and head downstairs for thanksgiving dinner. As they get to the table they see all the usual foods they love but mostly hate. The turkey, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, carrots, green veggies, stuffing, the works. They smile at one another and get a plate and then begin getting the food they want.

“Don’t you kids complain now like you do every year. We know you don’t like veggies but at least eat something.”, their mother says.

Both Eric and Samantha shock both their parents as they put some cranberry sauce, a good helping of veggies and even stuffing on their plate along with their turkey, mash potatoes, corn, and dinner rolls.

“Since when do you kids eat all that stuff? Thought you didn’t like them?”, their father asks.

“Well dad, let’s just say I’m thankful for tradition”, Eric says.

Their parents just smile happy to see their kids finally eating stuff they normally don’t like. As everyone begins eating their aunt sets the desserts down on another table.

“If you have room later I made grape and orange pie!”

Eric and Samantha just look at once another and begin laughing.

“Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”, Eric says out loud.

Everyone says the same thing and they begin eating.

Novels That Are Set Solely In One Place

Posted on October 24, 2019 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (2)

People will tell you that the setting of a book is one of the most important details to have and they would be right. Authors want to make sure the setting is just right, the perfect place to tell their story. Readers want to experience a setting that is so vivid and extraordinary it's as though they are there themselves. However, one thing we don't really think much about are books that are set in one place and one place only. I'm not talking about one city, state, country, or world I'm talking about one sole building, house, warehouse, factory, etc.

Have you ever considered it? Have you ever thought that your favorite book may be set in one spot for the entire book? Don't worry I have plenty of examples but I'm sure you're wondering why. Why does it matter? Well, it does and it doesn't. It doesn't really matter if a book is set in one spot until it does. Before we go over the examples and reason why this matters lets state the obvious, if an author can write a great book solely in one place then they are not only talented but settings aren't an issue for them.

So why does it matter if a book is set in one spot? Well, have you ever noticed? If a book is truly mind-blowing and gripping then chances are you didn't even notice that it's set in one place. The truth is it doesn't matter because in all seriousness who cares? It doesn't matter if a book is set in one spot but the simple fact that there are many just shows you the dimensions of writing that the author took and setting while important was so great that it didn't need to be all over the place. Several of Stephen King's books are set in one place such as The Shining, The Green Mile, and Cujo just to name a few. Some other books set in one place are The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Last Night At The Lobster, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Mezzanine by Nicholas Baker again just to name a few. I'm sure there are countless books with a lone setting but it just demonstrates that a great story can take place in either five, ten or just one as it doesn't matter.

From a horror and crime standpoint, I believe books set in one place are important and necessary. This is usually because a person or group of people are either trapped in a haunted building of some sort with the goal of trying to get out or they have been kidnapped or held against their will in a spot and must survive to escape. As readers, we love these books and it just goes to show you that one spot doesn't matter because what's happening inside that one spot is what truly matters. Horror books countlessly are written with people trapped in haunted houses, factories, cemeteries, asylums, hospitals, hotels, prisons, among many more. Crime books usually have people kidnapped, trapped or held up in small dirty basements, motel rooms, banks, houses again just to name a few. While these places are typical settings and lone settings it's the details around the place and what's set inside them that truly make the book great or not.

As an author, I too have set books in one sole place. My western horror was set in a town so that doesn't count but my crime thriller Opium Warfare was set in Shanghai and more particularly one specific district(doing research really helps!). Finally, The Wax Factory is solely based in the factory with only a flashback set in a college and the things the characters go through in the factory are pretty crazy. When I write about setting I don't think of how many places my book is set I just think of what I want it to be about, who I want in it to experience everything and sure I have a where but if I want to put branches off of that "where" then I will.

So what do I want you to take from this post? Well for one I'm sure you'll be a lot more observant of how many places a book is set in but in all honesty, I want you to just consider that if it's five or just one that a book will be great regardless. The setting will likely not be the reason if you don't like a book and if it is well...I don't know I guess maybe it does matter to some or that the author needs to work on their setting game.

The Depressing and Massive Decline of Stores and Shops

Posted on October 24, 2019 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (1)

We are living in an age of decline. Places we go to shop and buy things are moving and even worse declaring bankruptcy and closing. All over the country shops are one day whistling dixie with sales and happy customers only to be closing up because they can't meet demands. Why is this? Just why exactly are our favorite places to shop and places we visit frequently closing so abruptly? There are several reasons for this but perhaps the worst part is when the place not only closes but doesn't become something new but stays empty and abandoned forever showing the sad decline of our businesses. If it were up to us as customers, as frequent buyers or even just as people we would have all our favorite shops stay open so we could go to them forever but unfortunately, this is not how the world works and more importantly not how business and growth works.

So why is there such a decline in stores and shops? The big one is adapting and reaching goals. Sure, it was easy to meet your goals financially ten years ago but when the cost and demands go up so do the prices and before you know it the stores have to close because they cannot meet these goals. Then there's the sad but true "out with the old and in with the new", where a place that was once flourishing in sales and people suddenly had to close up shop because a bigger and better place put it out of business. The biggest example of this is Wal-Mart which has seen a rapid increase in openings only to see small shops that have been around for 100 years forced to close because they can't compete with Wal-Mart.

Then, of course, there's the internet. These days people think to themselves all too often, "why would I go out and get something for that price when I can stay home and order it for half the price and have it on my doorstep in 5 days?" This has become the normal where Amazon is the retail and shopping king while places like Sears, K-Mart, Circuit City, and Toys R' Us don't meet expectations and are forced to close.

Call me old fashioned but I like walking into stores, walking and window shopping around malls and buying things. Sure I also shop online but I don't make it a priority I make it an option when I see fit. Not just stores and shops but also factories and businesses that have been around for years have closed because the demand for that product is no longer in need or even worse another type of product or material has made the other obsolete or no longer necessary.

To me, the worst reason a place goes under is that the technology/product has become old and there's a new type that is just way better than the original that has become expendable and sometimes useless. However, there is a solution to this that I believe many of these places don't do which is adapt. Sure, many of them don't see the end coming but for those that do, they should have or should adapt and make changes so they survive.

Yes, we like abandoned places but we love what we rely on more and if stores and shops do everything they can and keep up with current trends, styles, ways, adaptations and the latest way to make sales then there's no reason for them to fall under and close. I know this seems either too easy or easy for me to say as someone who doesn't own a multi-billion dollar business but these are the basic and true facts. If a company wants to avoid becoming an afterthought they need to keep up and adapt.

Finally, another way a place can prevent decline and closure and become left in the dust is to reinvent themselves. If there's a way or shred of a chance a place can still do what they do but reinvent themselves and make a profit then maybe there would be less abandoned stores and shops. In the novel, The Wax Factory, the place fell under because industrialism wiped the place need for wax out of existence. Yes, the place was abandoned for over a hundred years but when people remembered what it was and realized that wax was in use in more ways than it ever was back then the place re-opened, reemerged and reinvented least that's the goal and idea the new curator has for the place.

Stores and shops will continue to decline because we as consumers are changing the way we buy and places are changing the way they buy. If old businesses or businesses that don't want to accept change don't get with it then they may become the latest Sears, Toys R' Us, and Circuit City, on the brink of decline and doom.