Sunday, February 6, 2011

Heather's Journey: The Sound Of her MASTER'S VOICE Published On For Kindle!

Cover Of Heather's Journey: The Sound Of her MASTER'S VOICE
After weeks of editing and years of dreaming My journey from being writer to published author has come to an end as My first BDSM Erotic novel Heather's Journey: The Sound Of her MASTER'S VOICE was published today by for purchase through their Kindle.  Yes I know it has been a strange trip from being plagiarized and put for sale through the same device, but it was the ends to a mean when it came to fulfilling a dream.  I have to say it's great to end My vacation on an extremely happy note.

Here are the links on Amazon.


Amazon.Com UK

Master Vyle

Siesta Key Beach State Park

The lady vyle And Myself Spend A Few Hours At Siesta Key Beach State Park, Florida
This past Thursday the lady vyle had a check-up at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, so we decided that after it was over that we would go and spend the day at Siesta Key State Park which was a little further on down the road.  It was a two hour drive we  had made once before a couple of summers ago with the kids, of course when it was peak season.  It has been quite a while since the two of us have went so far without anyone else along.  It was good to have a chance to talk and enjoy the beginning of her four day weekend as she joined Me on vacation.

This Looks Familiar For Some Reason
Thursday morning was cloudy and overcast, which I am sure sounds nice compared to a majority of the rest of the country, which is covered with snow.  Maybe not exactly beach weather, but at least it wasn't raining.  We made our way to the park, a nice area where access to the beach is free.  The sand is a fine white powder which gets everywhere.  I had made the suggestion that we pull a From Here To Eternity if the beach was empty, but the lady vyle said there was no way she was getting that sand down in there.  If you have never been you have to add it to your list of places to go in Florida, but I would suggest you go in the off season.  Near the entrance is a strange and twisted tree which I think is actually two trees growing into each other.  I asked the lady vyle if she thought it looked familiar.  I have reason to suspect that it is a Vagina Tree.

The Lifeguard Station That We Sat Up Beside
We got out of the car and stripped to our suits, and then hauled out meager equipment which consisted of a small table, two beach chairs and a snack bag down to the beach.  There were seagulls everywhere, and not your little Wal-Mart parking lot or Central Florida landfill variety either.  I'm talking fat seagulls, and a few pigeons, that could pass as chicken when dressed out just right at your local butcher.  Of course the first order of business was to test the water.  Feets in for three seconds was enough of that.  It may be Florida but it was still fucking freezing.  Then after that we both needed to trek back to the entrance to use to the facilities, and that was when I first noticed the Vagina Tree.

Off Season At Siesta Key The Seagulls Outnumber Humans On The Beach

Pigeons (Foreground) Get Nice And Plump From Beach Living Too
Before having to head to the rest room the lady vyle and Myself combed the beach for sea shells.  She had hoped that since it was the off season things would not be as picked over as they were in the summer, but unfortunately this was not the case.  We were able to add some oyster clusters, black scallops and a few unique pieces of coral and barnacle encrusted shells to our collection.  Each of us had a collection of shells from here and there when we first met, and I was doing projects (filling shadow boxes and making plaques with shells) around that time as well.  So not long after we started dating she wanted to come up with a way to put our shell collections together.  The idea she hit upon to do so was with a fillable lamp, and we found one at International Market World in My hometown of Auburndale.  It was a slow  go in the beginning as the lamp was huge, huge enough to make out collective shell collections look small.  Now, however, as the years have went on it is nearly full and now contains shells we both had from childhood, a few store bought remnants of My art projects, fossil shells from My parent's yard, shells from Vero Beach, Castaway Cay, Royal Carribean's private island, Fairfield Beach and of course our previous trip to Siesta Key.

A Small Collection Of New Shells For Our Shell Lamp
Then it was time to take a seat and relax.  Aside from our trip to Castaway Cay on the Disney Wonder this was the first time that we had been to the beach without kids, and for Me it is the only time I have ever been to the beach without family (her parents were with us on that first cruise to the Bahamas).  I did forget to mention My first announcement when we claimed our spot was, "Okay, all you old farts need to avert your eyes, because we're about to get our freak on!"  Yeah, that got a laugh from the lady vyle, and unfortunately it did not happen.

In lieu of sex on the beach we decided to take sexy pictures of each other.  (YEAH RIGHT).  Well at least she looks sexy in all her pictures.

The lady vyle As Soon As She Had A Chance To Sit
Yeah That's Me Sucking It In And Trying To Look Buff, But I Still Look Like I'm In My Second Trimester
A Slight View Of The Perkies And Nips!
The lady vyle And "Friends"
After sitting for a little bit it was snack time.  The lady vyle had made sandwiches, and we brought along chips and crackers.  She had a Diet A&W Root Beer and I had a Sun Drop, which was second one of those I ever had, only having tested one out the night before.  Eating was a challenge.  The truth is the reason the seagulls at the beach are as big as chickens is that they make sure they get fed.  Eating under towels only helped some and did not keep one from taking a big whack out of My roast beef sandwich.  So if you do go to Siesta Key in the off season remember not to eat on the beach as there are not enough other people doing the same, so every bird on the beach is going to come right at you Hitchcock Style as soon as they hear the rattling of plastic.  We even had one persistent fucker who squawked at us almost the whole time we ate, although I am fairly certain for all his noise he didn't end up with a single scrap.

Snack Time!
This Mouthy Mother Fucker Got Nothing For All His Squawking And Cawing
Alas all things do come to an end.  We had a drive to be back at home in time for the end of the school day.  The sun did manage to come out a few times here and there and make it feel like summer, but most of the time we spent there was both overcast and foggy.  We actually ended up getting a little more sun on Saturday after spending most of the day at Typhoon Lagoon.

The Lovely lady vyle (Note Fog In The Background)
Me Beginning To Look Old Farty With My Seven 'O Clock Shadow At The Beach
Farewell Siesta Key Beach
And as we left and began our two hour trek back home I of course was left with one burning question...

Is This A Vagina Tree?

Master Vyle

Godzilla - The Greatest Of All Time!!!!

When It Comes To Giant Monsters And Tokusatsu Films Godzilla (Gojira) Is Called The King Of The Monsters For A Reason!
As many of you may or may not know by now I am a rabid fan of tokusatsu, which is the term for Japanese movies and television shows which feature special effects that center around men dressed as monster in rubber suits.  In particular I love the daikaiju sub genre, which daikaiju means "giant monster".  It probably began with the granddaddy them all, a 1933 American film by the name of King Kong.  I saw the original in 1976, around the same time that the first remake came out.  I was hooked by all the hype from the DEG surrounding the release of the film, and even though I saw it in the theaters more times than I ever saw any other movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan coming a close second, My ravenous fandom turned more towards Japan's answer to Kong and later Kong rival Godzilla.

Living in Central Florida I grew up on Dr. Paul Bearer's Creature Feature, which was broadcast from the time I was probably two until the death of host Dick "Dr. Paul Bearer" Bennick in the mid-1990's.  Up until the time I was in middle school they ran two "horrible old" movies a week, and sometime before I can remember they used to run four.  I credit Creature Feature for influencing Me to write a great deal.  I was exposed to every horror genre there was, and Creature Feature most often showed foreign horror and science fiction movies from Europe and Asia as well as American classics from the 50's and 60's.  It was sometime in the 70's that I saw My first tokusatsu films including: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, Mothra, Gamera Vs. Gaos, The Mysterians, Return of Daimajin, The "Starman" serials, and admittedly My favorite movie of all time Mothra.  As soon as I discovered them, until the time I moved to Missouri in 1994, I checked the listings every week hoping for a Japanese giant monster movie on Creature Feature.  When I first experimented with writing  I wrote updated versions of Godzilla and Mothra, trying to get the feel for characters outside of what came across on My television screen.

Late 1980's Station Identification Card For Dr. Paul Bearer's Creature Feature
I am not sure which Godzilla film I saw first.  I am quite sure was not the U.S. version of Gojira, Godzilla: King of The Monsters with Raymond Burr, because I remember being so excited when I knew it was coming up for the first time.  The one I remember looking forward to coming out was Godzilla Vs. Megalon.  That film, third to the last made in the Showa Godzilla Series, was advertised heavily on television and there were several ads and articles leading up to the U.S. release in Famous Monsters Of Filmland.  The U.S. poster of  course had the somewhat drab and yellow Japanese poster beat because some marketing genius came up with the idea of showing the film's titular monsters fighting each other on top of the World Trade Center.  I have to say that the bait  and switch idea of making the poster look more exciting than the special effects in the film is a very Japanese concept that actually dates back to at least the first Godzilla film in 1954.  The campaign obviously worked, because I just had to see the movie, and drew the poster over and over.  You can imagine My disappointment when I saw the movie and there was no battle on top of the Twin Towers.

U.S. Poster For Godzilla Vs. Megalon: Brilliant Marketing Leads To Huge Disappointment.
 Of course as a child I forgave the deceptive marketing, much to my parents chagrin.  Close on the heels of Godzilla Vs. Megalon come the re-release of Godzilla On Monster Island (Godzilla Vs. Gigan) and Godzilla Vs. The Cosmic Monster (Godzilla Vs. MechaGodzilla), both of which I begged them to take Me to see at the various drive-ins that were still kind of vogue in the late 70's.  Plus there was My diligent waiting for Saturday to roll around and bring Me a new Japanese giant monster movie, or at least a repeat.  Then of course there was the merchandise, which you have to bare in mind the late 70's is also the time when Star Wars first hit the screen, another of My loves that came with a hefty merchandise toll.

Before I ever had any kind of Godzilla figure I had The Godzilla Game.  It remember it the most because I later came to realize that the concept for the game was loosely based on events from the movie Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero (Invasion Of Astro Monster).  There was a playing field that you had to move around according to the number of times on a spinner.  On that field were different colored space ships, each based of the Gemini capsule design influenced space ship from the movie.  If you were unlucky a Godzilla would roar and pop out of the moon to snatch up your ship in his jaws as you went around.

The Godzilla Game: Hours Of Entertainment

Then I had a slew of Godzilla figures, beginning with that so much coveted 14 inch figure from Matel's Shogun Warriors collection, which had a fire tongue and a launching fist.  Of course it was My favorite toy, and despite the fact that it only had small and triangular back spines, to this day I think it was the greatest Godzilla toy ever made.  Of course it was toys such as him and others of the Shogun Warrior line which caused the first panic over toys with spring loaded weapons, and believe Me it was those flying fist and not the rockets a child could possibly swallow and choke on that were the most dangerous.  It was thanks to that recall I never got a Colonial Viper or Cylon Raider when the Battlestar Galactica toys came out.

Marvel Comics got into the act with a Godzilla King Of The Monsters comic book that was actually set in the Marvel Universe.  In the series he spent most of his time being chased by Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.  But he also had some run ins with Devil Dinosaur, The Champions Of Los Angeles (though somehow Ghost Rider was absent from the battle), The Avengers and The Fantastic Four.  In hindsight I would have to say that I would have never taken in interest in the Marvel Universe had in not been for that brief Godzilla series coupled with its equally brief Shogun Warrior title.  Other epic events of Marvel Comics' Godzilla King Of The Monsters included Godzilla facing Doctor Demonicus, cowboys, a New York sewer rat (he had been shrunk by Mr. Fantastic), a giant Bigfoot monster, and a slew of space monsters that seemed more in step with creatures he would face in the Heisei and Millennium Era films, some of which became established events and characters of the Silver Age Marvel Universe.

I Still Want It Back: Marvel Comics' Godzilla King Of The Monsters #2 Featured The Big G Attacking Seattle
The cover art of Godzilla King Of The Monsters #1 also became a marketing tool, as it was reused to get kids like Me to ask My parents for stuff I really didn't need.  One item the cover was used on, and I still have it, was for a story album which featured a Godzilla audio story on each side: Godzilla Vs. The Flying Saucers and Godzilla Vs. Amphibian.  The stories seemed to go well with Marvel's concept of Godzilla stalking across the Untied States, however the audio does not tie in with the series, and they only have the cover art in common as well as the logo.

The Godzilla Story Album Actually Come In Second Out Of My Favorite Audio Stories Just Behind Disney's The Sounds Of Outer Space
Godzilla King Of The Monsters #1 also lent it cover are to a set of ViewMaster reels.  They were another must have, and went along nicely with My ViewMaster Reel Projector.  Of course the only place I could watch them with the projector was at My grandparent's house, as they had white walls and we did not.  So you can imagine My grandparents enjoyed hours on end of watching the Godzilla reels with My narration.

Godzilla's Rampage ViewMaster Reels Featuring A Cover Swipe Of Godzilla King Of The Monsters #1
Of course Godzilla would dominate My television watching in the late 70's.  Hanna-Barbara produced a Godzilla cartoon series.  I liked it well enough, despite the fact that it was dumbed down 1970's Saturday Morning Cartoon fodder which featured a token black character and a cousin mascot, Godzookie, who had more screen time than the big G Himself.  I also was disappointed even then that the series did not feature any of his established foes, a plasmatic earthworm creature the closest thing to a Mothra homage, nor did he have the signature Godzilla roar from the movies.

It was around that time I began to be exposed to some more of the classic Godzilla films from the 60's on Creature Feature.  In fact I became aware of Mothra through the film Godzilla Vs. The Thing (Mothra Vs. Godzilla).  Of course I never understood then why they did not call Mothra Mothra in the U.S. release at the time.  Later on I learned it was another of those brilliant marketing strategies.  In the pre-release hype Mothra's identity was totally disguised as it was something so horrible it could not be revealed.  Imagine the horror of the first group who went in to the theaters and realized they had been ripped off to discover that Godzilla was fighting a giant and kindly moth who's own film had been released in the U.S. a year or two before.

U.S. Poster For Mothra Vs. Godzilla, Another Example Of Bait And Switch Marketing
Of course as a kid I didn't know or mind that, since at the time I didn't realize it.  I also forgave some slick marketers for this teaser poster for King Kong Vs. Godzilla which I had first seen in a book The King Kong Story.  Of course had I been old enough to read the book instead of just looking at the pictures and the captions I would have known how reviled the film was among the hardcore King Kong fans who contributed to the book.  Again I liked the movie because I was not at all jaded by the CGI world of today as My son is, and was, when he gave his opinion on King Kong Vs. Godzilla after seeing it for the first time a few weeks ago.  Of course had I been 12 when I first saw it it probably would not have been as endearing to Me, however I did grow up on bad European and Asian horror films on Creature Feature, and as with all Godzilla films I would have still liked it to a certain degree.  The teaser poster in the book featured a picture of King Kong lifted from a 1930's still as it was far superior to the tokusatsu Kong used in the movie, standing behind the Japaneses Diet Building as Godzilla marches toward him (yet another scene that never actually plays out in film).  It is interesting to note that for the 35 Anniversary VHS and DVD release that both a Godzilla and King Kong image from the late 70's was used instead of the 60's versions that actually appeared in the film.

King Kong Vs. Godzilla Teaser Poster/Lobby Card That Appeared In The Book The King Kong Story

Now of course any G-Fan or tokusatsu lover is going to tell you that 99% of the time it does not matter how much the effects suck that it is usually the story and characters combined with some sort of inventive plot is what really drives a toku and garners it it's fans, and I hardly disagree.  I consider Godzilla to be not only the king, but also the greatest of all times, due to the fact that it is something that I never have, and now at nearly 40 am likely never to grow out of.  I was in middle school when My family bought their first VCR, and it was around that time that Godzilla came back.  And believe Me I waited with baited breath for the video release of Godzilla 1985 (The Return Of Godzilla).  And as usual with great hype comes great disappointment.  Don't get Me wrong, again I loved it because it was a Godzilla movie, but was surprised as he was solo for the first time since the original film.  Of course like the U.S. release of Gojira it featured inserted scenes of Raymond Burr.  To date I have yet to see the Japanese version of The Return Of Godzilla, but I have seen, after many years of waiting and hoping, the original and uncut version of Gojira,
sans Burr, and found it to be a far superior film in every possible sense.

The coming of My own personal video age of course helped Me catch up and sometimes see for the second time movies that had never made it to Creature Feature such as Terror Of MechaGodzilla (Terror Of Godzilla) and Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster (Ebriah: Horror Of The Deep).  Creature Feature at last presented a movie I had read about when I was in seventh grade, Destroy All Monsters, when I was a sophomore in high school, and which became My favorite Godzilla movie of all time.  It also gave Me a chance to build My first video collection which would include Ghidora: The Three Headed Monster and Gigantis The Fire Monster (Godzilla's Counter Attack).  Much later on I would add nearly all the films of the Heisei Series to My video collection.

Not Only The Greatest Godzilla Movie Ever Made, But The Greatest Tokusatsu Movie Ever Made Destroy All Monsters!
When I moved to Missouri I went into a Godzilla dry spell for a long time.  I did catch the rare movie marathon on TBS.  I was also continually teased by the TV Guide from which I learned there was a movie by the name of Godzilla Vs. Biolante, the follow up to The Return Of Godzilla, but I could never see it because it was always shown on a premium channel.  Then at last came what everyone had always dreamed of, a CGI remake of Godzilla from the minds that brought us Stargate and Independence Day.  I was jacked, and like all those big monster films at the end of the 70's it came highly hyped.  Surprisingly I was not as disappointed as many people were with Devlin and Emmeric's vision of Godzilla, although the last 30 minutes were absolute crap and tripe they were entertaining crap and tripe.  In fact My main problem with the film was that it seemed to be mainly created as a way to poke fun at Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert for thumbs downing their previous blockbusters, and that to Me was what really devalued it as a film, gave Siskel and Ebert a justified reason to trash the film, and kept its sequel Godzilla 2 from making it out of the development phase.

Japanese Teaser Poster For Godzilla The Only Godzilla Film Officially Named Godzilla.  (Note Godzilla Does Not Step Near The Statue Of Liberty...Marketing Misdirection Again!)
Of course the film generated enough interest that I was able to have My own personal Godzilla Renaissance while living in Missouri.  I got a copy of The Complete Godzilla Compendium which I was able to use as a guide to know what films had never been released in the U.S.  Then slowly thereafter I began to build My collection of Heisei Era films on VHS as they were finally released, as well as My first copies of Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero on VHS, among others.  It was then I familiarized Myself with the Japanese "Reset To Zero" concept and understood the The Return Of Godzilla was the start of a film series set in a different Universe from the classic movies of the past.  A majority of the Heisei films were remakes and re-imaginings, and out of all of them My favorite was Godzilla And Mothra: The Battle For Earth (Godzilla Vs. Mothra).

Godzilla Vs. Mothra Is My Favorite Heisei Era Film
I moved back to Florida shortly before the release of Godzilla 2000 (Godzilla 2000 Millennium) which was the first film of the Millennium Era.  Like most of the Millennium itself this film series tends to be confusing, as only the final three films follow a consistent story line and the first three all have their own starting points.  Of course I have things I love and dislike about all of them.  Again with the reset comes several re-imaginings of what Godzilla is and how he relates to the world.  Godzilla: Final Wars is a monster and effects driven pseudo-remake of Destroy All Monsters, though alas the movie should have been another hour or two longer to really showcase the monster battle scenes in My opinion.  My favorite film from this era is GMK: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah (GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), which features the most radical re-imagination of all, not only of Godzilla but of King Ghidora as well.

GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack Is The Best Godzilla Film Of The Millennium Era
Like the rest of the world I am on a Godzilla dry spell.  The Big G is officially on hiatus from Toho Films, and is scheduled to remain there for several more years.  Of course there are still rumors of projects in the works.  The possibility of Columbia-TriStar green lighting Godzilla 2 is dangled out there every few years.  Then there are the continued rumors of the U.S. produced Godzilla 3-D, but those seem as almost true as the rumors of the Chinese made Star-Godzilla to Me the more time goes on and the less is said about any production actually taking place on the project.  Toho itself is being rumored to be in production of a true remake of Gojira despite their claim that the franchise is on hiatus.  Really what it boils down to is that the fans are really wanting a new movie and we're really wanting it now.

The Greatest Of All Time
What is it really that makes Godzilla the greatest of all time?  Certainly staying power.  The Big G is over 50, has been in over 30 feature films, 2 animated series, guest starred on several tokusatsu series either as himself or redressed as another monster, and has more merchandise that any other tokusatsu daikaiju creature or mecha.  If you have never seen the Japanese version of Gojira, the one that started it all, it is on My list of highly recommended films, because if you've only seen Godzilla: King Of The Monsters with Raymond Burr then you've never seen the real story.  Godzilla made Me not only a G-Fan for life but also turned Me on to tokusatsu.  So whenever I sit and watch a poorly plotted episode of a Super Sentai or Kamen Rider series I know I owe it all the Godzilla, who made Me a lifelong fan of the genre (something not likely to ever stop).

Master Vyle

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

80's Horror: Ruby Jean Jensen, Mistress Of Dolls

A Selection Of Ruby Jean Jensen Books I Have Been Reading Since Last Summer
Once upon a time, there was this magical time, from the late 1980's through the early 1990's, when it seemed horror novels were everywhere, and horror movies were king, whether Stephen King had a hand in making them or not.  In those glory days of pre-CGI horror films the movies were full of  latex monsters and excessive violence that was always brutal and never implied.  The books on the market for the most part, from authors like William W. Johnstone, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Andrew Neiderman, Joe R. Lansdale and Rick Hautala....well, most of them would not meet the guidelines to be posted on "respectable" story sites today; Horror, Erotic or otherwise.

In the midst of all these hardcore horror authors was one who stands out in My memory fondly, despite the fact that a majority of her works were barely movie of the week worthy, she still had a way of presenting the disturbing, the uncomfortable and sometimes even the gross to the page with a home grown flair all her own.  That author is Ruby Jean Jensen, one of the unsung heroines of 80's horror, a cornerstone of the old Zebra Horror line from the Kensington Publishing Corporation, and pretty much all but forgotten today.  Her stories almost always centered around young children to pre-teens, and she was putting them in some of the most horrible situations you could imagine long before J.K. Rowling picked up her pen and her first napkin to begin writing of Harry Potter's magic and fantasy adventure life.  Sometimes her books were cookie cutter, and the characters were so unlikeable you couldn't wait for them to meet horrible deaths, and her writing from novel to novel and sometimes chapter to chapter was uneven. but yet it was all that delicious 1980's garbage you just couldn't put down once you started reading it.  Half her books always seemed to revolve around cursed dolls, and the other half seemed to revolve around cursed artifacts, so I have given her the affectionate title of The Mistress of Dolls.

Ruby Jean Jensen, Mistress Of Dolls & Friend
So who was Ruby Jean Jensen, and where is she now?

Well I hate to say it but it seems nobody knows, or even cares.  She does not have a single decent fan site that I can find, nor does she have a Wikipedia page.  My favorite radio personality (M.J.) Todd Shcnitt, says that once you've made it to Wikipedia you're somebody, and unfortunately that makes the Mistress of Dolls an apparent nobody in the information age of the 21st Century.  I only found one biography on her, posted to multiple websites, and that was apparently copied verbatim from one of her later books.  What I do know of her personal life is that she spent most of it in southeastern Missouri and northern Arkansas.  Her much pasted bio states that she was a pet lover (dogs one assumes from the only picture I have ever seen from her, posted above).  She was born in 1930, but as yet I have seen not date of death (though one assumes it was in the later mid to late 1990's as that is the time her books ceased to be published.).  She began having her novels published in the mid to late 1970's, Gothic novels which I have yet to have ever obtained or read any copies of.  Then in the 80's she switched to more Horror oriented stories.

I think the first Ruby Jean Jensen book I ever bought was one of her longest, Baby Dolly, which I bought at the old used book store in downtown Winter Haven I used to frequent at least every other week when I was in high school and until around the time that I Myself moved to Missouri, in the opposite corner from where she lived.  Like many books I, and later on My first wife, bought it joined a continually growing "To Read" selection on an overstuffed bookshelf.  It was in My junior or senior year of high school before I got around to actually reading any of the Jensen books I had bought.  I ended up reading Chain Letter and then Smoke back-to-back.  And from there I was a hooked, though perhaps not a diligent reader.  Over the years from bookstores and book traders I amassed quite a collection, probably a majority, of Jensen's horror novels.  My ex read them while we were together, and somehow I ended up getting them all after the divorce, and for years after that they were shifted around in 15 to 20 year old banana boxes from one storage area to another, for the past five years sitting in the corner of the storage shed attached to the house I now share with the lady vyle.

Bad Girls Don't Die, The First Novel From Katie Alender (Pretender To The Throne?)
So what made me pick up old Ruby Jean after so many years and begin reading her again?  Well it happened kind of out of the blue.  The lady vyle and Myself were on vacation in Connecticut when I decided to look and see what books they had at the local Stop-N-Shop.  We were staying with her family for their annual reunion at a beach house on Fairfield Beach, and I needed something other to do than to take notes and make a slight outline for a story the location seemed to be inspiring Me to write, It Beacons (yes one of the many projects I hope to devote some more time to this year).  Anyway, I went to the aisle and the only book which caught My attention was one by a new author by the name of Katie Alender.  The name of the book was Bad Girls Don't Die, and despite the fact that it was a photo cover and not one of those old glossy black Zebra Horror covers from the 80's with a spooky skeleton or toy motif  it vaguely reminded Me of all those Jensen covers.

Needless to say I bought the book and it was horrible.  It was so horrible in fact that I decided to make mention of it in It Beacons, with one of the main characters trashing the book and basically saying that ..."Katie Alender ain't no Ruby Jean"... before putting the book away and then digging a worn copy of Chain Letter to read instead.

So once we returned from vacation, and before I became bogged down with stories I wanted to get done for posting during Halloween season, I went to the shed and dug out the stored books, pulling out most of My Jensen collection and bringing them into the house.  Unfortunately I found that the two I loved from the beginning, Chain Letter and Smoke were not there.  I ended up finding them online, along with a couple of others I did not have anymore, and one, Jump Rope, that I had never heard of.  From September on I rotated Ruby Jean into My reading, partly for research for It Beacons and partly out of nostalgia.

The first of the Jensen books I read once My interest was revived in her was Mama.  It is the story of a little girl who discovers cursed toys in the attic of the house she moves into with her mother and older siblings after the death of her father.  The toys in the attic come to life after she gives them her breath, and soon her cursed little friends are taking more and more.  Not much happens other than the toys prowling around the attic and growing sharp little teeth.  It's a slim book with a wan body count of two, but I couldn't put it down.  My favorite line from this book is, "Live dolly, live!", that the little girl utters whenever she brings her favorite doll to life, and I damn sure hope to reference that line somewhere and someday.  In the end the girl who brings the toys to life destroys the cursed toys after they kill her older brother, however she does not get them all and the survivors await the next family to move into the house.

Best Friends
The second book I read was Best Friends, which I had read at some point when I lived in Missouri.  I remember when I first saw the book when it first came out.  At the time I was not into reading, but I still thought the picture of the purple cat creature on the cover was totally cool.

The story revolves a young boy named Barry and his imaginary friends Reid and Juno (the cat monster).  In the beginning it seems that Barry is the victim of day care center sexual abuse, but later we learn that the nature of the abuse was Satanic in origin, and in the process two evil creatures were created it seems alternately do his bidding and to take on a life of their own as they gain more power.  Barry and his two older siblings go to stay at a summer house in the care of a recently hired nanny while their father works in the city, their mother has passed away sometime prior to the beginning of the story.  (Yes, you see a common theme already). 

In the end it seems that Barry and his family escape from his demonic "friends", until his brother realizes they are in the car with them as they are driving back home.

Notable in this story is the subtext of puppy love and adolescent lust and thoughts of incest between two underage characters, Barry's sister, Becky, and their cousin.  (Told you some of these tales wouldn't fly on a "respectable" erotic site).

Chain Letter
Chain Letter is probably My favorite out of all of Jensen's books.  It is perhaps the best written out of all the ones that I have read so far.  It of course revolves around the titular chain letter, or at least a part of it.  It falls into the hands of a trio of children who enter an abandoned insane asylum in search of a wayward dog.  Once they have the letter bad things happen and they are persued by a dark figure who stalked them through the asylum.  In order to prevent further misfortune they decide to perpetuate the chain, filling in a good fortune for passing on the letter.  However the curse is much stronger than their good intentions.

Jump Rope
On the other side of the coin Jump Rope is perhaps the worst Jensen novel I have ever read.  It has death and gore galore, but it makes Dark Night Of The Scarecrow look like James Cameron's Avatar.  It has to be some of the most uneven story telling I ever saw, storyline development at TNA Wrestling has nothing on this one.  Each time the story seems to have a focal character they get killed off.  The nanny character is introduced, runs for the hills and then just comes back when she thinks the mother of the children in the story really needs her help.  The story had the highest body count out of all her stories, and mainly composed of young children.  This novel is truly in the category of you have to read it to understand how truly terrible it is.

Home Sweet Home
Yes, I'll admit that My first though every time I look at the title on the book cover is of Motley Crue, and the song was actually pretty big at the time that Home Sweet Home was published.  This book has the distinction of not having any cursed dolls/toys or artifacts.  The premise of course is laughably ridiculous in the modern world of the 21st Century.  When his wife has major surgery a man sends his son to stay with Uncle Dan, a man who he knows from work but barely knows anything about, to go camping in the woods in the middle of nowhere for three weeks.  Of course it does not come as much of a shock that Uncle Dan is a little bit crazy, and when Timmy arrives at Uncle Dan's cabin he finds he is not the only child there.

There's so much subtext in this one.  The early going is uncomfortable and the reader feels they're getting into pedophile territory.  However it turns out that Uncle Dan has no sexual interest in the children.  He just wants to make them into the perfect family, along with the corpse of his wife that he calls Little Mother and keeps in the bedroom a'la Normon Bates,  If you don't fit in to the family?  Well there are always unwanted orphans, and any ingrates must die.

House Of Illusions
House Of Illusions could have easily been titled House Of Dumbasses.  The story revolves around two sisters who are sent to live with their father for the summer.  The father ran out on the family when the oldest girl was three, and their mother just wants them out of her hair.  Yeah, I wished deadbeat dad and unseen mom would die through the whole thing and they didn't.  The youngest girl finds, and is made to throw away, a talisman that she finds in the House Of Mirrors which is part of the traveling carnival their "father" works for.  Then the older sister retrieves the artifact because it is too pretty to be thrown away, evoking the curse of demonic killer clowns who are searching for the talisman to revive their creator, a demented magician trapped within the House Of Mirrors.  Younger sister Jodi and carnival co-owner Zulu are the only likable characters in the story, and the rest you hope will just die.  Unfortunately though Jodi meets her death at the end of the story.

One unique thing about House Of Illusions is it had a 3/4 3-D hologram cover, which I now understand was an attempt to disguise the novel's shitty contents.

I did take a month off of reading Jensen after reading House Of Illusions.  I think it pretty much gave Me a needed break and prepared Me to read Pendulum with an open mind.  Indeed it is another of Jensen's superior works, yet it relies on ideas she has used in the past.  In the beginning Heather is given a fortune telling pendulum by an old gypsy man.  The fortunes it tells are almost all bad, so Heather's cousin rewrites new and good fortunes a'la Chain Letter before Heather uses it for her fortune telling booth at the Halloween Carnival.  Unfortunately it is the old gypsy's wish that the pendulum predict horrific fortunes of Death and Unspeakable Horrors for the group of kids who walked away and did not try and get help after watching his grandson drown,

Perhaps the thing this novel does suffer from are barely explored and contrived subplots.  When it comes to movie of the week material Pendulum is definitely it.  It has at least one unique death, bitten by hundreds of rattlesnakes, and one character is inexplicably turned into a werewolf so he can stalk several other characters.  Plus the demonic ghost of an aborted fetus out to kill its mother is perhaps one of the most unique, if not gross out and 80's timely, plot devices ever.

As with House Of Illusions the parents in the story are so unlikeable and selfish you're just hoping that they're going to die, and unlike House Of Illusions you get the reward of seeing them get theirs by the conclusion of the novel.

Death Stone
The other day I began Death Stone.  I have not gotten into the story very far, but so far so good.  It seems that this is one of Jensen's better novels, if it does not turn out to be the best in the end.  It is full of rich characters and already has enough twist to keep Me guessing at what is really going on.  So far a cursed ring has been fished out of an old well, and also in the well is the dead body of a girl murdered 35 years before, a Jane Doe no one in the area claims to know of.  I will keep on reading and let you know how it turns out.  However, so far, aside from the girl in the well, the body count only includes one canary.

Although still missing from My collection I just have to mention Smoke again.  Even though it has been over 20 years since I read it I have to say it made an impression on Me enough to be remembered as one of My favorite Ruby Jean Jensen books.  It falls in the cursed artifact category: Prepubescent girl buys Middle Eastern lamp at a garage sale and unleashes the precursor to the Smoke Monster from Lost.  One of the things that stands out in My mind is the Smoke Demon on human woman rape scene, which at that time I found pretty shocking considering the author was female and born in the 30's.

Of course I am far from done as I still have a stack of Ruby Jean Jensen books waiting to be read in the spare bedroom, and this time I am determined to get through them instead of letting them sit for 15 or 20 years.  I do hope to hear back from at least someone else who has heard of Ruby Jean, because I get "huhs" when I mention her to people I know and zero response on forums about writing and inquiring tweets.  So if you're some die hard Jensen fan wanting to share the love please comment or send Me an e-mail.

Master Vyle