Shadows and Teeth Volume Two–a new horror anthology

Bryan Cassiday’s horror story “Boxed” is included in the new anthology Shadows and Teeth Volume Two.  Don’t miss it.

Prepare for extreme horror. This unique collection of ten stories features a range of international talent: award-winning authors, masters of horror, rising stars, and fresh new voices in the genre. Take care as you reach into these dark places, for the things here bite, and you may withdraw a hand short of a few fingers.

In “Boxed,” a group of strangers trapped in an elevator run short of time and bullets as they attempt to discover who among them is infected with a deadly plague.

Buy it now at Amazon.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 12 Recap

Chuck may have destroyed Axe, but in the end he has also destroyed himself, though he doesn’t seem to have realized it yet. He threw away $27 million of his and his father’s money just to take down his mortal enemy Axe. Not only has he sacrificed his money, but now his father won’t even speak to him anymore. And Chuck’s lawyer can’t stand the sight of him for throwing away his money to boot, which the lawyer may never recover even if Chuck wins his case against Axe in the courts where litigation will drag on for years. Chuck’s endless scheming against Axe stems from the depths of the blue blood Chuck’s visceral abhorrence of the nouveaux riches embodied by Axe, the billionaire upstart. If Chuck doesn’t wipe Axe off the map, he’ll wipe himself off in the attempt.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 11 Recap

The plotting in this episode was flawless. It unfolds like a three-dimensional chess game. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the screenwriters pull the rug out from under you with expertly utilized flashback scenes. This is easily the best script yet for this season, not just of “Billions” but of any hour-long show on TV. I don’t see how it can be topped. I’ve seen a lot of TV shows and the vast majority are predictable, but I did not see the end of this one coming–and it was a beautiful thing to behold. It cements my opinion that this is the best series on TV, not just because of the expert plotting but because of the bevy of interesting characters involved in the machinations.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 8 Recap

This is an interesting episode in which Axe goes up against the local political power structure, represented by Chuck’s father and friends, the clubby Eastern Establishment blue bloods who despise Axe because he is nouveau riche. These Philips Exeter types don’t ever want to allow the piratical upstart Axe to join their exclusive ranks.

Axe is flabbergasted by them when he goes to their club to confront them. They sit there in their clubroom in green leather chairs and smirk at him through clouds of cigar smoke as he bursts into the room, fit to be tied. He wants to know why they’re trying to ruin him. They just sit there smirking, thinking, “You’re not one of us and you’ll never be one of us no matter how many billions you have.” Axe stands there, spitting and simmering, shaking with rage, unable to comprehend why they hate him so much.

Axe doesn’t realize that he has come up against the clubby WASP power structure that hates him for being an outsider. It’s not just about how much money you have, but it’s about your breeding. And according to the blue blood power brokers, Axe has the breeding of a plowhorse compared to theirs of thoroughbreds. The only thing blue about Axe is his collar.

In this scene Axe realizes he’ll never be a member of the club, and the realization infuriates him. This episode cuts to the heart of the problem, the source of the conflict between Chuck and Axe that drives the series.

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Personal Shopper review

This movie doesn’t work for me.  It is a cross between a ghost story and a mystery thriller. The mystery is too easy to solve.  The villain is so obvious a seven-year-old could figure out who it is.  This part of the movie ends abruptly.  The ghost story drags on to the less-than-horrifying ending.  The best part of the movie is the main character, who seems alienated and works for a movie actress as a “personal shopper.”  Her life is not fulfilled.  She says she is waiting for something.  What is she waiting for?  What she ultimately is waiting for is a sign that her life has some meaning.  She is full of existential angst.  But she is lost in a plot that doesn’t deliver.  Does she find meaning in the end?  I’m not going to tell you.

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Shades of Blue, Season 2

I thought this show would fall apart after Woz found out that Harlee was the mole for the FBI in season 1, but I was mistaken.  This season is starting off with a bang, with the battle between Woz and the FBI agent taking center stage and Harlee caught in the middle.  The writers are keeping this show interesting, and Ray Liotta and J. Lo don’t hurt matters either.  All the actors are quite good.  I think Drea de Mateo is especially good and should be used more often.  Good show.

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Thought for the day

I don’t pay attention to the naysayers.  I pay attention to my craft.  A writer should be his own harshest critic.

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Billions season 2, episode 3 recap

At the end of the first season, Chuck and Axe were continuing their mano a mano with Chuck tearing down the walls of Axe’s company in his search for a bug.  Full of bravado, Chuck tells Axe that he’s the only man that can take on Axe, a guy with unlimited resources, because he has nothing to lose.  It turns out this season that Chuck has a lot to lose, indeed.  He is now separated from his wife, and his hands are full fending off the attorney general, who is out to torpedo his career.

To rub salt in the wound, Axe plans to buy every single copy of Winston Churchill’s first-edition autographed Second World War, a book that Chuck would give his eyeteeth to own.  It’s not that Axe wants the book.  He doesn’t.  What he wants is to humiliate and break the beleaguered Chuck, screwing up Chuck’s career and his personal life as well.

Axe has already driven a wedge between Chuck and his wife by causing them to separate. Chuck can’t even have S&M with his wife anymore.  No more black-leather masochistic sessions for Chuck.  He is having a bad time of it, but he takes heart from what Churchill said:  that you should never give up.  Churchill’s words give him the strength to go on. Which is why he wants Churchill’s book so bad.  Axe knows this and will do anything to keep Chuck from owning an autographed first edition of Second World War, no matter how much money it costs to buy every single existing copy.  When his secretary tells him that’s going to be expensive, he boasts, “Then it’s a good thing I have a lot of money.”

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Writing

I write the types of books I want to read.

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Win an e-book of the psychological thriller Dying to Breathe

Did the S&M just go too far, or was it murder in the first?

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Dying to Breathe (Ethan Carr Thrillers Book 2) (Kindle Edition).  At Amazon. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Mar 11, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

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