Let’s Talk Women in Horror Month 2015

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It’s the 6th annual Women in Horror Month this February. Here’s how you can get involved.

Women in Horror Month coverage, although crucial to the genre, is often a one note affair. Women writers hear most of the same kinds of questions–what do they think the state of the horror genre is today, what changes would they like to see going forward, how do they think women are perceived in the genre, etc.

Don’t get me wrong–these are important questions and they need to keep being discussed, but this time around, I wanted to shake things up a bit in presenting my WiHM coverage.

I’m doing fun and informal Q&As featuring a handful of female dark scribes whose works I think are underrepresented. I think each of them has something unique to bring to the table and they go beyond what you’ll find in the lists and round-ups of “the usual suspects” when it comes to women in horror.

That said, since its inception, Women in Horror Month has led to some fantastic coverage of women in the genre, so with that in mind I present to you a further reading of links for those interested:

  • A few years back, I wrote a list called Top 25 Women Horror Writers You Probably Haven’t Heard of (But Should Know) for Hellnotes.
  • I also profiled 20 of the women in horror I thought everyone should be more familiar with if they weren’t already, which appeared on my former blog.
  • A couple of years ago, Gef at Wag the Fox did a list of 50 MORE Kindle titles you can check out from female horror and dark fantasy writers
  • Little Miss Zombie did a list a few years back of kindle titles to check out from female dark scribes, as well
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The Vampire Diaries Mid-Season 6 Return

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vampire diaries title card
(c) The Vampire Diaries Wikia, http://vampirediaries.wikia.com/wiki/The_Vampire_Diaries_Wiki

What I Like So Far In Season 6:

  • Bonnie is done with the angsty “Oh no, where am I powers? Without my magic I am nothing!” emo thing she had going on for a while in the previous season
  • The Travellers are gone. Yay! Most. Annoying. “Big Bad”. Ever.
  • Caroline continues to be one of my favourite characters, telling Stefan in no uncertain terms that he acted like a douchenozzle when she needed him most. Not cool, Stefan.
  • Katherine Pierce is no more. Fiiiiiinallly. Sheesh! And Alaric is back. Score!
  • Enzo. I know he’s got mixed fan reactions, but he’s got some of the best dialogue and you’re never quite sure what he’s up to. Bonus points.

What I’m Not So Crazy About:

  • So…Damon. Yeah. I like that he’s been trying to “do the right thing” these past few seasons, especially since being with Elena, but he’s definitely lost his edge and his obsession with “getting Elena back” is, well, something I could do with less of.
  • Elena. Granted, vampire Elena is far less annoying than human Elena that we endured for a few seasons, but she’s a bit obsessed with herself.
  • Kai. Someone has to be the villain, and he plays his part well enough, but there’s just something super irritating about how he tries so hard to be funny and sarcastic as if he’s trying to make up for Damon or something.
  • I really hope that Jeremy gets his hunter groove back, because he’s been pretty irritating this season so far.
  • Liv, aka the Queen of Angst and hurt feelings. I’ve never really been a fan.

What I Thought of the First Episode Back, Woke Up With a Monster (Season 6, Episode 11):
If you haven’t watched Season 6 yet or haven’t watched this episode yet, there are some mild spoiler-ish comments below.

  • Bummer that we didn’t get to see Bonnie yet.
  • I reallllly can’t wait for someone to kill off Kai for good. He gets more and more irritating. He’s like an annoying fly that you swat.
  • However, Kai torturing Elena won her some sympathy points from me.
  • Caroline’s struggle with her mom’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis is admirable and adds to the tension of her plotline this season because it’s not another easy fix.
  • Luke, Liv’s twin, wins some brownie points for not just blindly submitting to the will of Elena and the gang.

What did you think of this first episode back? What did you want to see more of or less of? Sound off below!

Why The #BellLetsTalk Campaign Is So Important

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On social media today, particularly Twitter, you’re going to see the #BellLetsTalk hashtag. Every time that you use this, Bell Media will donate 5¢ to Mental Health initiatives in Canada.

Why is this so important? Although Western society has come a long way in terms of accepting that disorders like depression, anxiety and related mental health issues affect millions of people and psychotherapy doesn’t have the stigma that it once did, we still have a long way to go and there are still many, many people who don’t believe in asking for help, think that a mental health issue will just “go away on its own,” or the worst, “it’s all in your head.”

Just because you can’t see a physical symptom or a person doesn’t “look sick,” it doesn’t mean that the person isn’t suffering in pain on the inside. We need to stop making these assumptions just by looking at people. Many so-called “invisible” diseases and disorders include arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and many more.

But another, far more pernicious “invisible” affliction that affects millions of people worldwide every single day is depression.

Everyone has a different comfort level talking about their personal experiences publicly or even among friends. I know many brave friends who have spoken about their individual experiences with mental health issues, including people who, on the surface, look like they’re as happy as can be, but the truth is? They’re very good at hiding what’s bothering them.

And so am I. Now, I’m not quite ready to speak publicly about my issues, but I do want to draw attention to the Bell Let’s Talk campaign going on today. Making the decision to get help for my own issues and my personal demons has been one of the most positive steps that I have taken in my life. People with similar issues often hope that this type of thing will “go away” or that it will resolve itself on its own or that they just need a few years to go by and then they’ll feel “okay” or “normal.”

It won’t. Not if you don’t do anything. Not if you just sit there asking yourself repeatedly what’s wrong with you and why can’t you just buck up and cheer up like everyone tells you to do. Not if you continue to hide your pain and expect it not to do long-lasting damage to you.

Let’s end the stigma around mental health issues and be mindful of the fact that mental health has a huge impact on a person’s well being. Please don’t assume you have any idea what’s going on in a person’s head. I know I used to make this mistake, and I have called myself out on it to stop, because it adds to the problem.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the past few years is that sometimes, we make the huge mistake of assuming we know what a person is thinking or what must be going through their head. The truth? In most cases, you could not be more wrong, and you have no idea what’s going on with that person.

We love to psychoanalyze others and pretend we know what exactly is “wrong” with them, and we’re so confident that we’re right. We’ll say, “Oh, well, she (or he) was acting rudely because she or he is insecure,” or any number of other theories that we come up with to explain to ourselves why we have had a not-so-positive interaction with another human being. I see people do this all the time at grocery stores or shopping lines in general, thinking the worst of a “difficult customer,” or someone who is taking “too long.”

We’ll say things about them like, “Oh, this woman (or man) must be unhappy in her or his personal life so she or he is taking it out on the store employee,” or we’ll look at a “difficult” employee who is perhaps being not-so-nice and assume, “Oh, she (or he) must hate his or her job and his or her life, so it’s no wonder why he or she is being so rude to me.”

Let’s stop the negative assumptions, realize that there are millions of people out there who need help dealing with their mental health issues, remove the stigma of having these issues, and hope that this campaign and similar ones will encourage people to get the help they need and deserve.

Find out more about the Bell Let’s Talk Campaign

Supernatural Mid-Season 10 Return

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Supernatural Season 10 title card
(c) Supernatural Season 10, from http://supernatural.wikia.com/wiki/Season_10

What I Like So Far In Season 10:

  • Demon Dean–you knew the show was going to have to “go there” at some point, so it was great to see how it unfolded
  • That the Mark of Cain is still a persistent problem for Dean
  • No unnecessary romantic subplots/romantic entanglement/romantic complications for Dean or Sam. Yay!
  • Less Metatron and less annoying, diabolical angels.
  • The show proved that it’s still a good sport when it comes to poking fun at itself while also being very aware of feedback from the fans, which is nice to see

What I’m Not So Crazy About:

  • I think that Demon Dean went away a bit too quickly–I know the fans were anxious and eager to see him regain his humanity, but I would have liked to have seen this drawn out more. It’s the most interesting Dean has been in a while.
  • This whole Crowley and his mom having a dysfunctional family reunion–it got old, fast. She’s very campy and over-the-top.
  • The Castiel/Hannah romantic entanglement thing–yeah, I wasn’t too crazy about this even though I knew that’s where they were going with it for some time.
  • Castiel–this season it seems like the writers aren’t quite sure what to do with him, and I’m not too crazy about the subplot with his daughter.
  • I’m starting to wonder–where are they going to go after this? Who is the “Big Bad” this season? What’s at stake beyond what we already know?

What I Thought of the First Episode Back, The Hunter Games (Episode 10):

  • The epic intro scene with Crowley’s nightmare about a demon mutiny–must be tough having such an evil bitch for a mother 😉
  • Metatron: “But I’m your dickwad!”
  • Castiel likes texting–who knew? 😉
  • Dean is scary and he’s getting scarier. As he should be.

This piece on io9 (warning: spoilers ahead in this article) aptly summarizes my problems with Season 10 thus far, but we’ll see what happens as the plot progresses. What did you think of this first episode back? Sound off below!