Monday, September 26, 2011

Things That Come Out At Night


“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms, and the autumn moon is bright.” Wolfman ~1941

No matter your age or where you are from, chances are, at some point you were frightened by a creature that comes out at night. Some had fangs and drank blood, others were walking corpses that feasted on the brains of the living, but some looked no different than you and I. They could roam the world as everyday humans and go unnoticed until...the next full moon would find them sprouting thick coats of fur and preying on the throats of unsuspecting travelers in the night. Some werewolves were even graced with the ability to transform at will, making them an even more frightening creature of the night.

The very first werewolf movie that I cut my teeth on as a child was An American Werewolf In London. Even today, it is the standard by which I judge all werewolf books or movies. I was 8 years old and it was absolutely brilliant. Considering the date and the technology available then, it is still one of the greatest transformation scenes I have ever watched and very few can hold a candle to it.

Werewolves hold a unique place in our hearts and minds, but where did this concept of half man, half wolf emerge from and how has it changed throughout the years? Let us quickly find out before the full moon's glow shines brightly and some of us are no longer the same.
As children our first taste of werewolves probably came from the childhood fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, but in history, werewolf folklore dates back thousands of years. In 8 A.D., Ovid wrote the Latin narrative poem Metamorphosis which follows a man cursed to roam the earth as a werewolf because of the heinous crimes he has committed against a child. Other great poets of the same era would dip into the werewolf tale. Virgil, Pliny The Elder and Gaius Petronius Arbiter, were just a few. Some of Arbiter's works on the subject date back as far as 60 B.C.

The origins of the werewolf tale stem from a primitive time when forests covered most of the landscape and animals were quick to steal a bite to eat from the sparse populations of humans that inhabited their lands. Europeans were some who turned terror and misunderstanding into legend and are credited with some of the very first werewolf tales.

In a time where medicine was confined to medicinal herbs, hocus pocus remedies and cures, mental illness was not something that anyone had ever heard of. As such, a person who was suffering from lycanthropy was not mentally unstable and in need of medication, sedation and observation, but was someone who was indeed cursed to be a werewolf and needed to be exterminated in order to save their soul. Sounds crazy to us, but to those living in these wilderness times when humanity was just finding its way, it made perfect sense. Today we understand lycanthropy to be the mental illness associated with schizophrenia where a person becomes convinced they are or have already, transformed into various animals, including wolves.

In European folklore it was said that even in human form, signs existed to distinguish a werewolf from other humans. If you had curved fingernails or low set ears, you could easily have been mistaken for a werewolf. For those poor folks who had the misfortune of having eyebrows that grew together, in a time before tweezers had been invented, they too were thought to be werewolves.

The means by which a person could be become a werewolf, were almost as plentiful as the stories themselves. A person could be bitten or scratched by a werewolf, the most popular means, but there are some more obscure methods that are a lot more fun. There was rubbing your body with magic salve, drinking from an enchanted stream and even sleeping under the full moon on a Wednesday or Friday with the moon's glow shining on your face. My personal favorite has to be, drinking rainwater from the footprints of the beasts that were found in the forest!
As the years passed and we, as humans, became more sophisticated & educated, our take on werewolves changed drastically, but our desire to carry their tale with us through history did not.

Literature has adapted a plethora of these iconic tales into short stories, novels and later on, into the movies we have grown to love over the years. The nineteenth century would see a host of very famous writers tackle the werewolf story from the likes of G.W.M. Reynolds, Sutherland Menzies and even Alexander Dumas.

The twentieth century would usher in the true emergence of the werewolf as a staple in horror fiction and an explosion of stories and movies based on the tale would come blazing onto the scene. In 1933, American author Guy Endore wrote The Werewolf of Paris which has since come to be known as the Dracula of werewolf literature.

The very first feature film to use the werewolf premise was Werewolf of London in 1935. It would however be Lon Cheney Jr.'s portrayal of the tragic character Larry Talbot in 1941's The Wolf Man that would set the standard for all movies in the genre. The movie catapulted werewolves into the public eye and from this one film two very crucial werewolf staples were established...werewolves always kill those they love the most and they can be quickly dispatched from this world by a silver bullet.

Other movies and books would come along and werewolves would be further rooted into the horror genre until the introduction of the paranormal romance and young adult books that embrace the these creatures.

J.K. Rowlings gave a new take to werewolves in her Harry Potter series in which she creates them as dangerous, but also as misunderstood and widely discriminated against. Other authors in the young adult genre would give new life to werewolves with books such as Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Dark Guardian by Rachel Hawthorne and Night Shade by Andrea Cremer.
Movies have been plentiful and werewolves have graced the big screen hundreds of times. From feature length cartoons like 2005's Wallace And Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, to the 2010 remake of the classic The Wolf Man and even the new adaptation of the childhood tale in 2011's Red Riding Hood, werewolves have found for themselves, a home within our books, our films and our minds.

Even music has grabbed up a portion of this iconic creature that comes out in the night with songs like Monster by Skillet, Wolf Moon by Type O Negative and Of Wolf And Man by Metallica. These are barely scraping the barrel. You can literally find dozens of songs about werewolves and some you may never have even suspected were about them.

Though werewolves have a deeply rooted place in the media of our world, one thing has not changed much in the thousands of years since the very first tales were told. Werewolves were then and are almost always now, portrayed in a negative light. They are the thing to fear, they are the curse from which no one can ever return and they are the stuff of nightmares. I am happy to have them there in our songs, in our books and films in our very history. The alternative is, they walk amongst us, beside us and they are there waiting... waiting for the lights to go out, waiting for that next full moon, wanting to show us what really comes out in the night.

CK Webb

Friday, September 16, 2011


A big congrats to Lisa Faye Coombs & Nona Matherne on winning a copy of Jim Bernheimer's book, CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPER VILLAIN!! Lisa will receive a signed copy of Jim's book and Nona will receive an e-copy of the book. Thank you ladies for being loyal readers of Twisted Webb & WebbWeaver. Please use the contact page to send me your addresses and e-mails. Enjoy your books!!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Post & Signed Book Giveaway from Jim Bernheimer

The Necessary Evils of Marketing

It has probably been said before, but if not, I’ll say it. The beauty and the curse of being a small press or independent writer (Indy) is that you are responsible for making everything happen. That includes all the nuts and bolts of getting the book into publication, which is to be expected. Heck, portions of that can even be fun like cover selection (editing not so much), but then the author is hit with a nasty little shock - they have to successfully market their new shiny novel.
This isn’t Field of Dreams. Just writing a novel is no guarantee that “They will come.” It takes a lot of hard work that has absolutely nothing to do with writing a good story.
The first thing I recommend is to see what successful independent authors in your genre are doing and make a list. I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Some things I do won’t do squat for a romance or humor author, so examine the people in your genre and decide what person’s career you’d like to emulate.
Once you’ve come up with a list of possible strategies, you now have to face the likelihood that you won’t be able to do all of these things. You can look no further than the numerous social media choices available to connect with your potential readers like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, MySpace, Kindleboards, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the review blogs out there. It’s an endless buffet and you’ve only got so much room in your stomach.
Yes, just because you can go make a video trailer for your book doesn’t mean you should. This is just an example and I’m not slamming book trailers, but I haven’t seen any real evidence that they sell more books than a good description will. In my case, I don’t see the ROI (Return on Investment) because most of my sales come from Amazon and as an “Indy,” I haven’t come across a way to get a video trailer up without paying a large fee to their Createspace business unit. Yes, you can put it on your Author Central page, but the reality is only a small percentage of people who arrive on your book’s page will click over to your author page. It makes a nice addition to your website or blog, but now you need a reason for a person to come to your website or blog, and that goes back to making a large investment of time and effort into hosting a successful blog. As with all my advice, your mileage may vary, but the time spent creating that video trailer is time you could have been writing or blogging.
In my own case, I have a wife, two feisty daughters, and a full time job to occupy most of my waking hours. This limits the amount of time that I can spend on the computer for both writing and marketing. So, I pick and choose where I maintain an online presence, because doing three things well is better than doing a dozen things poorly. There is something to be said about not biting off more than you can chew!
Generally, I stick to Facebook, my webpage (, my Amazon Author Page, and make an occasional appearance on Kindleboards. Give readers a place where they can contact you, but you don’t have to scramble like a crazy person trying to be everywhere at once. Take a deep breath and remember that this is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun, try and figure out why it isn’t and fix it.
Guest blogging, reviews, and sponsoring giveaways are my bread and butter when it comes to marketing. Many authors also run their own blog. I haven’t gone that route because (once again), I don’t think I could add another ball to my juggling routine and do it properly. Instead, I spend my time contacting all the folks who have taken the route of posting regular content and attracting followers. For me this makes the most sense. Guest posting introduces my novels to this blogs followers and maybe a few are intrigued enough to give one of my books a try. The nice folks who run the book review blogs know that content is king and more interesting content keeps the readers coming back for more. Having authors come in and do guest posts is a mutually beneficial relationship for the author and the book blogger.
With the advent of “Blog Tours,” it seems lots of other authors and the publishing houses as well have figured it out too, but keep in mind that being late to the party still means you’re at the party, so don’t get discouraged if this blog turns you down because they have a large to be read pile. When deciding whether or not to contact a blog, look at how often they update. The quantity and quality of their postings will tell you a whole bunch about the person or persons you are dealing with. I rank it just as important as the number of followers/networked blogs a review site has.
One big thing to remember, the majority of book bloggers are doing it because they love reading. They are volunteering their time. Things do come up in their lives that may interfere with reviewing your novel. One of the mistakes I made about six months ago was contacting a blog and accepting an offer to do giveaways for three of my novels. I sent them two copies of each book for a grand total of six, which ended up being about seventy-five dollars after shipping and handling. You can probably already see where this is going, but yeah, none of my books have been reviewed or given away.
Lesson learned - wait for the review and then coordinate the giveaway.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank CK and DJ for having me and offer encouragement to any author out there trying to get his or her stories published. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to marketing, I say, “Keep it simple,” and find things you can do and do them to the best of your abilities. Jim

Jim has graciously agreed to give away a signed copy of his book to one US resident and an e-copy to one international winner!!! For an opportunty to win a copy of CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPER VILLAIN please leave a comment below or at WebbWeaver Reviews and the winner will be chosen from those entries!! Best of luck folks.