Category Archives: marie gilbert

Has The Walking Dead Lost Its Edge?

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is currently experiencing its highest ratings surge ever, beating even the NFL in some demographics, so why are some hardcore fans not happy? There are a lot of big fans who are still watching, but vocal about their dissatisfaction and disenchantment. What s going on?

Things certainly did heat up last night. Lots of zombie killing, characters’ lives at risk, Rick being a man for the first time in a long time, Carl being even more so, and of course, the return of The Governor. Will that be enough to realign old fans? Maybe, maybe not. I think the problem goes just a bit deeper.

I think the problem is Rick Grimes, played by Brit Andrew Lincoln. He’s become not just a farmer, but a huge wuss. I think the powers that be may have forgotten that he is the protagonist of the show, he’s the point of view character. One very big reason we don’t really know how the zombie apocalypse happened is because he was in a coma when it happened. Rick Grimes is our guy. And when he was a badass, shooting zombies, and insisting he was still the law – we loved him. Now, not so much.

This may also be why so many people have become attracted to Daryl Dixon, played by the offscreen sexy Norman Reedus. It not just the ladies and gentlemen digging his down home sex appeal, it’s because he’s a badass, in Rick’s absence. If you have zombies, someone’s gotta be killing ’em, and Daryl is doing more than his share. But still, he is a flawed hero. Not because of his racist brother, or his emotional distance either – it’s because he’s not our point of view protagonist. We’ve never been in his head, never suffered or triumphed through him.

This dynamic is also why it was okay for Carl to shoot an innocent. As viewers we were happy someone in the family was showing some stones, standing up for himself and the others – even if he was wrong. Carol has stood up for herself in recent episodes, and Rick banished her. Not a good move.

Rick did it for himself, not the group. It is a small distinction, but an important one. Had he done it for the group, it would have been a step back toward being the leader, being a man, being the bad ass hero that we want back. Doing it for himself is selfish and whiny. And getting rid of Carol is not a wise move to begin with. Here is a character who has evolved from whiny battered wife herself to a strong leader. Is Rick sending her away because he fears that reverse evolution in himself? Is he sending himself away?

Let’s hope Carol isn’t gone for good, and let’s hope that Rick straightens out. Rick can be the embattled tragic hero, sure, but he’s gotta strap his gun back on and raise hell with the walkers. It’s the law. And yeah, maybe the return of The Governor might spice things up a bit, but let’s be real, it ain’t his show either.

And don’t forget to check out the weekly “The Walking Dead” recaps of fellow writer Marie Gilbert at Biff Bam Pop!.

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Halloween at Biff Bam Pop!

All through October, Biff Bam Pop! has been celebrating 31 Days of Horror, special articles and reviews in the genre of horror.

Go on over to the Biff Bam Pop! website, your online home for comics, movies, music, television, video games, and more, and check it out. This month, you can check out articles about Carrie both old and new, John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, Nothing Left to Fear, Metallica: Through the Never, and even The Human Centipede.

This month there is also an interview with Slash, terrific guest blogs by Alyssa Lobit, Liisa Ladouceur, Robin Renee, Justin McConnell, Jim Knipp, and great horror themed comics reviews from JP Fallavollita and Jason Shayer. And don’t forget the television reviews from Marie Gilbert of “American Horror Story: Coven,” “Sleepy Hollow,” NBC’s new “Dracula,” and “The Walking Dead.”

Some guy named Glenn Walker even wrote a few things over there, like stuff about The Monsters of Doctor Who, The Atlas Comics Monsters, Solomon Kane, and The Bride of Frankenstein

Please check it out, and Happy Halloween!

The Robin Renee Blog Tour – Wrap-Up

Wrapping things up here on the Robin Renee Blog Tour, and I want to thank everyone involved. Special thanks goes out to all the folks who participated and helped with to tour, including, and not limited to, Shelley Szajner, Marie Gilbert, Becca Butcher, Patti O’Brien, Fran Metzman, Ray Cornwall, Andy Burns, the South Jersey Writers, the GAR! Podcast, Biff Bam Pop!, and especially to Robin Renee herself. You all rock, very hard! Thank you!

Here is a breakdown of the stops on the Blog Tour.

Robin Renee is interviewed by Shelley Szajner here about inspiration, Kirtan, and This..

Marie Gilbert runs down some of the places where Robin can be found on the internet here.

Becca Butcher gives her thoughts on the This. release here.

Here, I give a song by song review of This., along with Robin adding her thoughts and observations as well.

Patti O’Brien talks about Robin’s music, and then interviews her about her travels here.

We return to Welcome to Hell, where guest blogger Fran Metzman interviews Robin about her influences, inspirations, and creative process. See it here.

Over on the South Jersey Writers blog, Marie Gilbert returns to interview Robin about encouragement, inspiration, and the ups and downs of a music career.

Robin was a guest on The GAR! Podcast where discussion included DEVO, David Bowie, Saturday Night Live music moments, and the creative process. You can listen to the episode here.

And finally, you can go here for the Biff Bam Pop! interview with Robin Renee, with a few edits for space considerations showing up here.

Robin can be found at her website, and on her blog, and check out her music at CD Baby, and at iTunes. Follow her on Twitter here, and Like her Facebook page here.

And don’t forget about Robin’s terrific new single “All I Am,” now available at CD Baby, with 20% of the proceeds going to the You Will Rise Project.

Thank you, everyone!

The Robin Renee Blog Tour, Stop Eight and Beyond

Just a reminder, today’s stop on the Robin Renee Blog Tour is at the South Jersey Writers blog, Tall Tales and Short Stories, you can check out regular site blogger Marie Gilbert‘s interview with Robin there.

Probably as you read this tonight, my partner Ray Cornwall and I will be interviewing Robin on The GAR! Podcast, and that will be posted tomorrow morning as Stop Nine on the Tour.

On Friday, be sure to check out the Robin Renee interview at Biff Bam Pop!, then come back here on Saturday for the close of the tour.

Robin can be found at her website, on her blog, at CD Baby, and at iTunes. Follow her on Twitter here, and Like her Facebook page here.

Bad Blood

Regular readers know how much I love HBO’s “True Blood.” I even reviewed every episode of season three here on the blog. Now, in its sixth season it has started to go sour for not just myself, but for a lot of fans. Here are just a few reasons why, and not just because Sookie and Bill and/or Eric are not still together.

From the beginning, within the show’s credit sequence, and with references like “God hates fangs” and “coming out of the coffin,” the vampires of “True Blood” have always been a metaphor for the gay rights movement. At times the analogy has become quite uncomfortable, while happily when homosexuality has been shown in the world of the show, it’s been normal and accepted.

This makes “True Blood” a welcome fence post in modern television, but this season has been different. It’s cutting too close to the bone. The in-story escalation of anti-vampire protests has produced some frightening parallels, the most horrifying being the dragging to death behind a car of a young vampire in Texas.

We all know this happened to a young man a few years back, spurring on murders against race and gender minorities. I, like most viewers, turn to TV fantasy to get away from the cold darkness of the real world. I not only don’t want to be reminded, I don’t want to see such things trivialized in what has become a supernatural comedy drama. And with recent events in Russia these last few weeks, the vampire concentration camp subplot is even worse by comparison. There may just be such places for gays soon.

Those issues aside, the stepping down of show creator Alan Ball as writer and showrunner seems to have had a serious negative effect on the show. In my mind “True Blood” seems to have lost its way. The show this season feels more disjointed and less real.

The characters feel more like cookie cutter templates being moved about a chessboard than real people. They have been broken down to their basics and show very little else in the way of depth. Sookie, Jason, and Tara, for instance, might as well just be ‘slut for supes,’ ‘dumbass,’ and ‘clever curser’ for the lack of depth they have shown of late.

This just might be the end for me as far as “True Blood” goes. But for those still on the bandwagon, be sure to catch my friend and colleague Marie Gilbert‘s recaps/reviews of the current season of “True Blood” at Biff Bam Pop!.

The Robin Renee Blog Tour Continues

Today’s stop on the Robin Renee Blog Tour is at Gilbert Curiosities, where Marie Gilbert lists some of the artist’s various links where she and her work can be found online. You can check that out here.

Besides her music, Robin is also a poet, an artist, a blogger, and a journalist. She has done some great work, like these remembrances of Richie Havens and Stompin’ Tom Connors.

But then, yeah, there’s the music. Here’s one of my favorite original tunes from Robin Renee, the acoustic version of “The Other End of the Line,” from her spirit.rocks.sexy collection.

Earlier this month, Robin released a terrific pop/rock single “All I Am” with proceeds going to the You Will Rise Project. I am showing my true colors here and being non-objective, but I have to say I really love this song. You can obtain it through CD Baby here.

Tomorrow the Blog Tour continues at Becca Butcher’s Blog, and then on Sunday returns here for my thoughts on Robin’s latest full release, This.. I’ll see you then.

The Robin Renee Blog Tour

Today marks the start of the Robin Renee Blog Tour. For the next week or so, we’ll be guiding you through a journey of the work singer/songwriter/poet/activist/journalist, Robin Renee.

Who is Robin Renee? Besides, my talented and creative friend of several decades of course, Robin Renee is Mantra-Pop! – accessible, lyric-driven alt-folk rock with a spiritual twist. Conscious and melodic with an edge, think of blending the voices of Chrissie Hynde and Joan Armatrading with the wordsmith intelligence of Elvis Costello and the mystical passion of kirtan chanting.

Her CDs include In Progress, All Six Senses (produced by the world renowned Scott Mathews who has worked with George Harrison, Elvis Costello, Barbra Streisand, and many more), Live Devotion (East-meets-West chanting), and spirit.rocks.sexy – mantra-pop headlines from the clairaudient dreams of the evocative Robin Renée.

She has shared the stage with some of the West’s best-loved kirtan singers including Krishna Das, Dave Stringer, and Girish. Also a poet, artist, and writer, Robin’s work has appeared in PanGaia, Big Hammer #12, Curve Magazine, Songwriter’s Market, Blessed Bi Spirit – Bisexual People of Faith (Continuum Press), That Takes Ovaries – Bold Females and their Brazen Acts (Random House), and many other publications.

Her newest recording, This. (chant and sacred song), will be followed by ..and Everything Else (songs and spoken word) in 2014.

Here’s the schedule for the Blog Tour:

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 18th, Shelley Szajner will be interviewing Robin at her blog.

Friday, July 19th, Marie Gilbert will be hosting at her blog, Gilbert Curiosities.

Saturday, July 20th, Becca Butcher will be hosting at her blog.

Sunday, July 21st, we return here to Welcome to Hell, where I’ll be reviewing Robin’s “This.” Album.

Monday, July 22nd Patti O’Brien will be hosting at her blog, A Broad Abroad.

Tuesday, July 23rd, Fran Metzman will be guest blogging an interview with Robin here at my blog, Welcome to Hell.

Wednesday, July 24th Marie Gilbert will be hosting an interview with Robin at the South Jersey Writers Blog, Tall Tales and Short Stories.

Thursday, July 25th Robin Renee will be a guest on The GAR! Podcast, with Ray Cornwall and myself.

Friday, July 26th I will be conducting an interview with Robin Renee at Biff Bam Pop!.

Saturday, July 27th I will be closing out the blog tour here at Welcome to Hell.

And don’t forget to check out Robin Renee’s new single “All I Am” at CD Baby, with proceeds going to the anti-bullying organization, the You Will Rise Project.

See you tomorrow, at Shelley Szajner’s blog!

The South Jersey Writers’ Group 2014 Anthology

Welcome to the South Jersey Writers’ Group!

About the Group

The South Jersey Writers’ Group, founded in 2006, provides networking and development opportunities for local writers in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. The group meets regularly several times during the month for topic-based discussion about the craft of writing and the publishing industry.

The group welcomes writers of all ages, backgrounds, genres, and experience levels. Among the events offered by the group are Write-Ins, Topic Discussions, Critique Sessions, Book Signings, Author Appearances, and Blogfests. For more information on the group, visit the website, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.

The Next Big Adventure

In December 2012, the group published their first short story anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey, which is available in paperback on Amazon, select local coffee shops, and other vendors. The book was a labor of love, but it’s highly entertaining and showcases the diversity of our writers. It turned out to be a neat little book, and for being such a hyper-local focus, sales are still going really well, and it has generated a lot of interest in the literary community of South Jersey.

Now we’re planning the next one, taking the lessons learned and building on success. The 2014 Anthology will feature longer, more intricate stories, aligned along a theme or within a genre. With the support of our backers, we’ll be able to pay the authors and designers for their talents and skills.

We are doing this through Kickstarter, a terrific way to raise money for creative projects and also offer great incentives to those who donate. We are trying to raise $3000 by June 23. The details are here, along with the many incentives available depending on the amount of your donation.

Upcoming Book Signings

  • July 13 at Book Asylum in Blackwood NJ, 12-3 PM
  • September 14 at Authors on the Greene in Smithville NJ 11 AM – 5 PM
  • October 5 at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, look for our table.
  • November 2 at Bogart’s Books & Cafe in Millville NJ 10:30 AM – 2 PM
  • Please see our schedule for added events and details.

    Now Accepting New Members

    The South Jersey Writers’ Group is accepting new members through the end of June. The special discounted fee for half-year membership is $15, and then will be closed until October. Act now!

    Contact Info

  • Amy Hollinger
  • Marie Gilbert
  • southjerseywriters@gmail.com
  • www.southjerseywriters.com
  • Arrow: Unfinished Business

    We begin with a girl dancing and dying in traffic, drugged up on a new version of Vertigo. This results in visits to see The Count in the asylum, by both The Hood and Detective Lance. For the second episode in a row, the Joker parallels are there. The Count is obsessed with Arrow, and more focused in his presence. While Starling City is under siege from this new Vertigo, yeah, you guessed it, The Count escapes.

    While Arrow pursues The Count, Diggle is still looking for Deadshot, the villain who killed his brother way back when. He gives all info that Felicity found on him to an old friend named Lyla, who now runs with an outfit called Argus. Comic readers will recognize the name. A.R.G.U.S. is the organization that manages the Justice League, and does all their gruntwork, as well as their PR.

    Tommy has problems of his own. Lance thinks there’s a connection between Verdant and the dead girl who died from Vertigo, and starts to investigate the club. He finds a suspicious $10,000 missing in its records. At first I’m thinking, wait, the ‘Arrowcave’ only cost ten grand??

    It turns out however that the cash was used to pay off a corrupt building inspector. Lance wants to see the sub-level to the club now, and has brought a search warrant. In what should have been some clever switch, we merely get some rearranged furniture and crates. It’s still not clear who packed up the Arrowcave – Oliver, because he inexplicably knew Lance was coming, or Tommy because he was afraid of what Oliver might do. This best friends one minute, assailant/victim thing the next is getting old.

    Speaking of supporting cast, Felicity is not as much fun now that she is in on the secret. Rather than an actual player in the show, she’s become simply an errand girl. Find this, do this, she may as well have “Yes, sir, no, sir.” as her only lines. I want the old Felicity back. And as long as we’re talking about the women in Oliver’s life, on the island, Shado starts training him finally.

    In the end, the Vertigo is tracked back to the asylum. Another Joker reference emerges. How many years did the Joker operate out of Arkham, his own headquarters beneath the mental hospital itself? But it’s not The Count doing the dirty work, but his doctor and intern. Once they have been dispatched, Oliver mercifully does not take out the apparently insane Count.

    This is just like the Carl moment in this past week’s season finale of “The Walking Dead.” Carl kills a surrendering kid, not for what he had done, but for what he might do in the future. Will Oliver live to regret not killing The Count, or should he have Carl-ed him?

    Orphan Black – Don’t Believe the Hype

    BBC America has been pushing this at us for quite some time now. The impression is that this is the next big thing, and you better get on board right away. There has been little description of what is actually was about until very recently. It finally premiered this past Saturday night, right after the much anticipated debut of the second half of the seventh season of “Doctor Who.” My first impression – don’t believe the hype.

    It sounds like it might be fun. A woman finds out she may have been cloned and has multiple clones of herself walking around living different lives. The actress Tatiana Maslany is certainly charismatic, and versatile to be playing various characters against herself. And it’s shot in Toronto, a city I share somewhat of a kinship with as Biff Bam Pop! is based there. These are good things, but there’s really little here that kept me interested. It’s predictable, and that is something that the next big thing really shouldn’t be.

    One episode, filled with violence and sex, and the usual scifi trappings, and it just didn’t grab me. I’ll look forward to “Doctor Who” next week, and “Copper” later in the year until BBC America can give me something to really get excited about.

    But that’s me. For another view, you can hop on over to the aforementioned Biff Bam Pop! and check out my friend’s Marie Gilbert‘s review.