Friday, December 27, 2013

The Second Time Around

Those of you who are my regular readers are aware that I already have one published book "The Forsaken" under my belt. If you're new to this blog, this is news to you. But I have other news. My second book "The Offspring" is coming out in April 2014. Both books are part of a six part series called The Children of Cain. This is an epic Urban Fantasy series that rolls biblical and mythical tales together into a modern world with characters as realistic as you and me. It's dark, deep, and meaningful, set in real life situations with a dash of magic thrown in for good measure. If you'd like to learn more check out my website  

If you're an aspiring author or know one whose thinking of self-publishing here is a quick tale of my own self publishing journey for you to read or share with anyone who might benefit from it. I've written my whole life but only gained the confidence to pursue it as a career a couple years ago. I submitted my manuscript to publishers for a year and a half. I did receive an offer but the company didn't have a solid reputation so I declined. With the support of my husband I decided to self-publish my first book "The Forsaken". However, I was taking a blind leap of faith and really didn't grasp what I was getting into. I only started blogging and building my online presence a few months before the book was released. When it was launched there was very little hype so it didn't get the launch it deserved. I also hadn't taken enough time with the editing process and had rushed the book to print. When I received my first shipment of the book I could tell from page one that having just one editor had been a big mistake. We did, however, hire another editor (a more experienced one) and a few months later released a second--and much improved--edition of the book. One up side to self-publishing I found is that I got to design the whole book myself. For most people I wouldn't recommend doing this. However, I am an artist as well and studied animation, media arts, and graphic design in college. Actually, the idea of having no say in my own cover art drove me crazy so it was the best solution for me. It was a lot of work, but well worth it in the end. I probably won't do it for another series but for this one it made since to do it myself. Overall it's been a great experience. Like I said before my second book "The Offspring" comes out in April and the process is definitely smoother the second time around. I would advise anyone thinking of self-publishing to read blogs like this and do a lot of research about the business before they make up their minds. It's not for everyone but self-publishing can be very fulfilling. 

Anyway, that's all for now. Make sure to check out my new and improved website for details and updates about The Children of Cain series. Now go forth, read, write and share. Enjoy the video below of one of my favorite CAKE songs (The video is a little silly but the song is awesome) Come on back to visit the blog next weekend. 

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lookie, Lookie! I've gone Nookie!

The time has come to branch out a little bit. Up till now I've only had my book available in print and on kindle. Mainly because I published through Amazon, but also because most everyone I know has a kindle not a nook. However, over the last couple months I kept getting requests for it in the Nook format. So I went a head and did it. Yep, that's right, I finally converted my book "The Forsaken" into a nook book. You can get it here. Also, I've lowered my price for the eBook in both kindle and Nook. Instead of $5.99, "The Forsaken" eBook is now $2.99! My print book is currently being sold in select stores as well! Exciting stuff going on.

In other news, book two "The Offspring" is in the beta reader phase. The design of book two including cover art and interior illustrations is nearly finished. I'm about four chapters in to book three "The Coven" So things are plugging along. It looks like I'm right on schedule. It isn't easy meeting deadlines when you're your own boss you know. The temptation to procrastinate is too strong. Yet somehow despite being a stay at home mom to three crazy little boys I've still managed to stay on task. Here's hoping I keep this up!

Meanwhile, I'm working on building my audience and getting more reviews. So if you haven't read "The Forsaken" (Children of Cain series book one) by R.J. Craddock you can check it out here. If you have read "The Forsaken" please fell free to leave your honest review on these sites: Barnes and Noble, Amazongoodreads. Below is one of my book trailers to entice you with:

Now go forth, read, review and have a great Thanksgiving!

R.J. Craddock

Friday, November 15, 2013

Watty You Talkin' About?

Don't know if you've heard but the Watty Awards are back! What are the Watty Awards, 
you ask? The Wattys are awarded, based on votes from the Wattpad community to the most
loved stories in PopFic, FanFic, and Original Fiction for young readers. The more people 
love a story, the better its chance of winning! So, yeah… it's a Wattpad popularity contest, 
but still I thought it would be fun to enter and see how I do. However, to enter I had to 
upload the entire book onto Wattpad, which means that "The Forsaken" is now available in 
its entirety to read for free on Wattpad! Originally I was only planning on adding one 
chapter a month from the book until it was complete and leave the whole book up on 
wattpad for just a couple of weeks. It seemed worth it to push the whole thing six months 
ahead of schedule for the chance to enter the contest. The Voting Period: Jan 6 - 31, 2014 
Winners Announced: February 2014 I'll make sure to remind everyone when voting starts. 
But until then here is some more info on the contest:

What the Winner Gets:

The Top Popular and On the Rise story in each subcategory of Original Fiction, PopFic, and 
FanFic, will be recognized with a Watty Award. We will cement your bragging rights as a 
Watty-award-winning writer by featuring your winning story in the Wattys Winner’s 
Showcase in the Discover section of our mobile app, on our blog, and on the Wattys 
Winner’s reading list.
All 16 winners in the Original Fiction category will each receive a $200 cash prize. 
Additionally, one lucky finalist in the Original Fiction category will win the chance to work 
with a Sourcebooks editor to develop his or her work for possible publication!

Anyway, I just wanted to share the news and get you all excited for the awards, too. Until 
the voting period starts you can still go and read my story as much as you like, but don't 
vote yet! To read it, go to this link:
In the meantime I'm also participating in NaNo Wrimo this year Feel free to buddy me on the website, my username is 
rjcraddock. I'm looking forward to writing at least fifty thousand words in book three "The 
Coven" this month. I'll keep you all updated on its progress as well.
Now go forth and read "The Forsaken" on Wattpad and share it with all your friends and 
family. If you do, make sure to review it on goodreads, amazon, and Barnes and Noble, 
too. Thanks!

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blog Block

If you follow my blog regularly you might have noticed that I've gotten a little lazy as of late with posting my 

weekend blog. The reason for this is that I'm having blog writer's block. When I first started blogging it felt like I 

had endless things to write about, and my energy level was high. Seven months later I'm starting to loose my 

steam. I try to keep this blog focused on my books, books I like, movies, and things related to the genera I write - 

Urban Fantasy. It feels as though I can only say so much about these things before I start repeating myself. So, I'm 

open to suggestions here, my readers. Is there something in particular you'd like to hear more about? Something 

related to my novel "The Forsaken" or book two "The Offspring"? Or perhaps you're curious about my writing 

process, or interested to hear about the other books I'm developing? How about a Q and A session? Anything at all, 

I'm open to new ideas here. Just leave me a comment on this blog or on my facebook page.

As far as book two is concerned, I'm right on schedule. I'm about to head into the first round of beta readers. I'm 

looking forward to hearing all that they have to say and using their feedback to improve my novel. Anyway, before 

I go I'd like to remind you all that Monday the 29th (today) marks the beginning of my facebook event: "Barnes 

and Noble take over!" Just read the previous blog for more details about that.

Below I've added the link to my book trailer for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. Well, that's all for now. Now go forth, 

read, drink hot coco, and watch movies for tomorrow we'll just do it all over again!

R.J. Craddock

The Forsaken Reel

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Magic Formula

Takes Over

If you've visited my facebook page recently you might have noticed I've created a new event called "Barnes and Noble take over!" I promised to share details of this event, so here it is.

Recently a good friend of mine and fellow author told me The Magic Formula to getting an indie book on the bookshelf of a big chain like Barnes and Noble. She explained it to me as it was told to her by her publisher, a small local press. However, after she was done telling me, I still didn't quite understand it, so I had her detail it to me again. When I tried to explain this to my husband he was completely confused. So being a visual person I decided to make a little diagram.

The Magic Formula

Phase One: Three different people have to request/order the same book (The Forsaken) from the same Barnes and Noble store in the same week, in three different locations in the country. This gets that book stalked in the Barnes and Noble warehouse.

Phase Two: Three different people have to request/ order the same book (The Forsaken) from the same Barnes and Noble store in the same week, in three different locations in the country. This gets the book stalked on Barnes and Noble bookshelves nation wide!

I thought it might be a fun experiment to give this Magic Formula a try myself. So the point of my Barnes and Noble take over event, is to try and orchestrate Phase One the next week. If anyone who hasn't bought the book yet would like to be apart of this please leave a personal message on my Facebook fan page We'll be launching into Phase One starting Oct, 21st. Let's see if we can make this thing work, shall we?!!!

I'll keep you all up to date with the events' progress, and let you know when Phase Two starts. That's all for now, so go forth and share this post with everyone you know, lets get this baby viral! Thanks. :) Until next week.

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Drawing Inspiration

So it seems like I'm getting overwhelmed these days. With the editing of book two and the first draft writing of book three, not to mention a backyard renovation nightmare, I'm totally swamped. So, I apologize for not posting last weekend. But I have good news. I have finished all the drawings for book two! I've got a lot of work to do on the cover still but I'm half way to finishing the book and having it ready to publish by May 2014! "And the villagers rejoiced! Yay."

Now your probably wondering, if you've read "The Forsaken", why every chapter has a sketch above the title? Where does this idea come from and what is the significance? Well, part of it comes from my childhood, being raised by a former art teacher, and from my own experiences in art school. My father always told us, "If you want to draw well you have to keep a sketch book journal, and draw at least one thing a day." This was reiterated at the Art Institute of Phoenix where I studied animation and media arts. Every truly aspiring artist keeps a sketch book journal. I have gone through many in my time. When I was developing the character Gwenevere, I decided to make her an artist and a singer. After all, Gwen and her story is in many ways strongly based off of myself and my own experiences. I have always expressed myself through art, and writing, or course, so it made sense to give the very troubled and lonely Gwen the same outlet. Through her art work I chose to show her perspective of the world and to help give the sense of her personal growth throughout her journey. Also, I have to admit it gave me the excuse to marry two of my great loves together, art and literature. I, myself, have grown as an artist from this experience, as you'll notice in book two. If you liked the sketches in "The Forsaken" you're going to love the art work in "The Offspring." Gwen, as a character and an artist, grows leaps and bounds in book two and the artwork really reflects that.

It's been really exciting to see the "Children of Cain" series take shape. My original goal for October was to write four chapters, but I'm realizing now that that might not be do-able. So I'm modifying that to two chapters, that seems more reasonable with all the havoc going on in my life. I have the whole series written in my imagination so all I need to do is find enough time to write it all down! Hopefully I'll be able to keep on track with my deadlines and have book two ready by May. Wish me Luck :)

Here are some of the new sketches for your viewing pleasure. Now go forth and feast your eyes, and then like and share all over cyberspace if you feel so inclined.

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Twilight VS City of Bones - Books/movies review

I have to start this review by asking a question: "What would've happened had the 'Mortal Instruments' come before 'The Twilight Saga'?" Well, let's start with the books and then move on to the movies, shall we? To answer this question (spoiler alert) if you're a "Twihard" you might not want to read this post, your bible of teenage romantic fantasy is about to get trashed!

"Twilight" written by: Stephanie Meyers, published October 5th 2005: I only read the first book because my sister wouldn't stop going on and on about it and she let me read her copy. What did I think of the book? It was badly written with some good characters, not including the lead lady Bella, who lacked personality, gumption and any real appeal. Despite this somehow Edward, one of the more interesting characters, still found her irresistible. The only thing remarkable that Stephanie Meyers did was write a story where an exceptional man falls in love with a non- consequential woman. The kind of thing that only happens in a cheesy romance. Also, she watered down Vampires till they were barely recognizable of their Dracula ancestry so she could sell them to a YA audience which isn't remarkable in the least. Not to mention that Meyers can't write an ending to save her life. Every single one of the books ended with an anti-climax. That's bad writing, people, not worthy of world-wide aclaime.

Mortal Instruments, "City of Bones" written by: Cassandra Clare, published March 27th 2007: I wish I had read this book a long time ago. Why? Because it's unbelievably good! Cassandra Clare is an exceptional writer. She develops three dimensional characters, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Builds worlds of fantasy that are so detailed and rich they seem almost real. Also, she can write a great plot, and a fantastic ending! Obviously I loved this book. Grant it, I was a little angry with the author for how she ended book one, but not enough not to keep reading the series. I loved Clary Fray who was realistic and worth cheering for. Also, I found her relationship with the two male love interests believable, and her allure wasn't written or forced  but deserved. Honestly, I couldn't say more good things about this book and its author!

The Movies:

Twilight: bad, bad, bad. I remember seeing a preview for "Twilight" before it came out and it looked like a really lame music video from the 80's. Sadly when I actually watched the movie it wasn't much better than the preview. Bella who was terrible in print was even worse on film because of the stale performance of Kristen Stewart. Not to mention that the script was cheesy and the plot paper thin to begin with. Robert Patterson's not bad, but even he had some awful moments in the film. I've enjoyed him in other movies since, so I'm glad this catapulted his career and all, but his portrayal of Edward was stiff in the first movie and only got slightly better throughout the series (books and movies). This movie tried too hard to be hip and just comes off as comical. Bad, very bad!

City of Bones: I had just started reading this book when I heard they were making it into a movie. I was really excited for this film. Naturally I was really sad to hear it was getting such bad reviews when it finally came out. Then I saw the movie last night. Yes, the first half of the movie is a little slow, despite the script's aggressive attempt to condense a complex plot and making it work for a film. The second half, however, was very entertaining. They did some very clever things with the book, and adapted it into something of their own. So even if you've read the book, the ending will pleasantly surprise you. The actors were all fantastic. I'll admit I had my doubts about Jamie Campbell Bower who portrayed "Jace Wayland" but by the end of the film I was sold on him. I thought he and Lilly Collins (Clary Fray) had great on-screen chemistry. Simon, Clary's best friend, was just as good in the movie as he was in the books. I came out of the movie wondering what on earth all those critics were thinking. I thought it was terrific. A great adaptation of a fantastic book!

So now that I've shared my thoughts on the books and the movies, let's answer that question now. "What would've happened had 'Mortal Instruments' come before 'Twilight'?" The world of Urban Fantasy as we know it would be a better place! Vampires wouldn't have become watered down, poorly-written characters like Bella who fall in love with a guy whose basically a stalker, wouldn't be idealized by teenage girls everywhere (honestly what message is that sending to young girls?). None of the terrible "Twilight" fan fiction would be out there to plague the world such as "Fifty Shades of Grey". Instead, young girls would be idealizing Clary, a strong, independent, clever, and sweet teenage heroine who fights for a greater cause and doesn't just fall all over the first guy to show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night.

In conclusion: "Twilight" didn't invent the Vampire, it didn't invent star-crossed lovers. I'm saying that just because "Twilight" came first doesn't mean it's superior, in fact, it isn't. Cassandra Clare is an original and she borrowed nothing from Stephanie Meyers. "City of Bones" stands on its own and needs not be compared to "Twilight" or any other.  I'm saying that everyone ought to give the movie "City of Bones" a chance. Forget what the critics say. If you loved the books chances are you'll enjoy the movie. But hey, don't take my word for it. Go forth, read the books and see the movies, make up your own mind and share your thoughts here with us.

Some say that Vampires and magic has all been over done. For the die hard Fantasy/Paranormal enthusiast the genre never dies or gets old, it just takes on new shapes and new faces. Until next time...

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Writing Techniques

I just got back from another successful Writer's Retreat. One of the members of my critique group has a fancy-schmancy cabin in her family that she's been so kind to share with us. There's something about being in a cabin up in the mountains away from your everyday life that seems to spark creativity and open the mind to new possibilities. The last Writer's Retreat was in June. During that weekend I finished writing book two "The Offspring". This time around I started my first draft of book three "The Coven".

I got the prologue and the first two chapters of the book written, as well as a book outline done. I was there with three other talented ladies, Adrienne Monson, Rebecca Rode, and Karren Pellette. When we weren't writing, we talked about writing, went for walks to the lake, watched a movie, and played "Just Dance 3" on the Wii. I know it sounds like we just goofed off, but that's far from the truth. Each one of us got at least one of our writing goals accomplished this weekend. We started talking about outline writing verses discovery writing.

When I really thought about it, I realized that I am a little bit of column A and column B. No, I don't really outline my books, I daydream them. I live them out in my head till I know them backward and forward. Then I sit down and write them. So if ever I couldn't finish my series for any reason, there'd be no way for another to come along and finish it for me. I don't keep enough physical notes for anyone to even know where to start. When I do start writing though, new things always come to light as I try to translate my mental vision into words. So, in that way, I am a discovery writer. But I know details about the plot, and how every book will intertwine in ways that most discovery authors can't even fathom. Yet, I write in a way that is unlimited, organic, and creative in a style that most outline, rule-driven authors couldn't imitate. It's fascinating to talk to other authors and hear about their writing process. What works and what doesn't work for them and where they get their inspiration. Most of all, I love how unique and different we all are. No two people are alike and that is most diffidently true of authors, too.

Anyhow, I'd love to hear about all your writing process. Feel free to share. Now go forth, write, create, or just read and celebrate the written word.

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New and Blue

I have to apologize for completely spacing last weekend and not writing my blog. Sorry, patient readers. Let me try and make it up to you. A lot is going on right now in regards to the "The Children of Cain" series. Book two, "The Offspring", is complete and awaiting first edits. I'm almost done with all the interior illustrations, and am halfway done with the cover/art design. Next weekend I'm off to another writers' retreat to start the first draft of book three, "The Coven". To celebrate the completion of book two I painted my desk navy blue! It was looking run down and I'm not a fan of the brown or wood grain. Here are some pictures of the finished product: 

I'm hoping the new sophisticated look of my desk will help inspire me and I'll get book three written in no time.

In other news I was recently contacted by a publisher who was interested in reading my manuscript. Apparently they found my name and my book listed in the library of congress. I looked up this company and found out this is how they get their leads for suckers. They're one of those vanity presses that charges through the roof to publish your book. I say no thank you. I have done everything they can do for my book. The only thing I can't do is advertise the heck out of it. I just don't have the cash for that, but I'm working hard to get the word out about my book, and I'm doing just fine on my own. I love getting to draw all my illustrations and designing my own covers. Self publishing has been a very rewarding experience for me. I love it!

Anyhow, I'm off to work on "The Offspring". I know you're all dying to read it, so while you wait for it's release you can enjoy one of the illustrations. 

Now go forth read, laugh, cry and enjoy life and all it's little wonders!

R.J. Craddock

Friday, August 30, 2013

What's In a Name?

I for one have always been fascinated by the meanings and origins of names. For instance Ruth (that's my first name by the way) means mercy, merciful or friend to all. As a writer I put a lot of thought into what I name my characters, using a baby name books with meanings and origins as a writer's tool. Sometimes I like a name until I read the definition. Other times I can't think of anything and just start flipping through the pages of names until something grabs my attention. When naming my main character in "The Forsaken" I knew right a way her name had to be Gwenevere. When I checked the meaning: Fair One, I thought it fit perfectly.  However, Gwen can't speak English at the beginning of the book and is given the name Marianne by the orphanage. Marianne means sorrow or Bitterness, which also seems fitting as she isn't  very happy at the orphanage or when people call her by that name.
As Gwen delves deeper into the mystery of her past she'll go from the human world into the other worldly in book two of the Children of Cain series "The Offspring". Naming characters from another era, world, culture, or species is quite challenging. When my series went into the Fantasy realm I needed to get more creative, but I didn't want to get too complex. We've all read books (Fantasy in particular) where the names are so outlandish and unusual that you can barely figure out the pronunciation let alone agree with other fans how it's supposed to be said. I didn't want to have that headache in my series. Below is a list of some characters from book two "The Offspring"

Emon---------------------------Elf (scholar)
Angelo--------------------------Vampire (Italian)
Vinita---------------------------Elf (female)
Legion--------------------------Vampire Lord (French)
Ivan-----------------------------Vampire (English)
Lucca---------------------------Vampire (black)

As you can see... nothing too fancy. None the less they're still interesting and unique to the characters, their personalities or species. Well, that's how I do the naming game. How about you? I'd love to hear from my fellow authors out there. How do you get the inspiration for the names of your characters? Now go forth and leave a comment below and enjoy "Open Book" by Cake!

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, August 24, 2013

We've Got It Covered

We live in a time when the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" just isn't true anymore. When a reader is searching for a book online the first thing they judge is the cover. If that interest them than they'll read the description, summary and reviews. If the cover doesn't grab their attention right away the book gets past by as they scroll on down the never-ending list of titles available.

 For those of you who don't know the cover design and all illustrations for my book "The Forsaken", were done by yours truly. It's been a life long dream to find a way to marry my two great passions: writing and art. Having studied at the Art Institute of Phoenix, I decided to take that experience and do my own Cover for my debut novel. However, I soon found that this is easier said than done! I wanted to make a cover that conveyed the genre and feel of my book, that caught the eye but wasn't too similar to other popular covers. As it is part of a six part series, I also felt I needed to come up with a style that would be easy to carry through each subsequent cover, something that made it recognizable on sight as a part of the same series. I started researching books in my genre, Urban Fantasy. What I noticed is that they all looked eerily the same. Then I started looking st some of my favorite book covers from every genre and sat down to examine what it was about them that caught my eye. One of these books is "The Dragon and the Unicorn." by A.A. Attanasio.

I have to admit that I bought this book entirely for its cover and have had it for years but have still never read it. However, I do intend to start it next week. One reason I love this cover is because of the use of negative and positive space, and the contrast with the black and white. It's simple yet dramatic and some what mysterious. I'm a big fan of negative and positive, black and white imagery and use it often in my own art. It seemed only natural that I would use the same concept for my cover.

The black and white background represents the good and evil existing within my main character, Gwenevere, and her struggle to figure out her own identity and her true nature. The stars and snow textures represent the many struggles and trails she encounters in the book. The silhouettes of the girl's face, showing the two sides of her personality, were meant to look like a ying and yang sign. The locket in the middle is an iconic item from the book. Green and red are used as accents, signifying her magical gifts. The fiery font of the title representing the refining fires she'll go through to become the person she was destined to be. I made sixteen different versions of the cover before arriving at this one. I have to say that all the work was worth it and I am very satisfied with it.

Book two of the series "The offspring" is nearly complete and I'm currently working on the cover art and illustrations. I can't reveal the new cover yet but can tell you that the black and white (negative and positive space) and fire fonts are all incorporated in it. One fun difference I've made is to change the color of the spine. Book two will have a white spine, everything else changed to contrast. I plan to switch the color of the spines throughout the series, so that, should they be siting together on a shelf they would be black, white, black, white, black, and white. Needless to say the complete collection will look rather sharp together on your book shelf or mantle.

I've received many compliments on "The Forsaken" cover, and hopefully I can make book two's cover as effective as the first. I've enjoyed the process--although grueling--of creating them both and look forward to doing it again for the rest of the series. If you like what you see you can check out my book on my website, Barnes n' Noble and Amazon. Now that I've covered the cover art of my books, you may now go forth and have a fabulous weekend full of leisurely reading.

R.J. Craddock

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - Movie Review

I love the idea of re-vamping a classic child's tale and taking it a step further. What happens after they kill the Witch in the gingerbread house? What would Hansel and Gretel be like when they grew up? What would they do for a living? What adventures would they have? These questions and more are answered in the film "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters".

The movie starts by re-telling the story we all know, with their father leading the children into the woods and leaving them. Then they wander the forest finding a house made--rather unlikely--of Gingerbread and candy. When they enter they find that the innocent-looking home is inhabited by a Witch. Capturing the siblings, the Witch forces Hansel to eat candy to fatten him up, and Gretel to heat the fire for the stove in which she'll bake them. When the children fight back trying to escape, the Witch tries to use magic on them but they are immune to it. They shove the evil Witch into the stove and burn her alive. Thus, she becomes their first kill as Witch Hunters, a profession they carry on into adulthood.

Fast forward to present day; Hansel and Gretel (played by  and come to the aid of a village plagued by children-stealing Witches. But not everyone in town is confident of the legendary Witch Hunters' abilities. The town sheriff assembles his own Witch hunting party, and both groups attempted to solve the mystery. But time is running out, it appears that the children might be taken for a specific spell, one that will make Witches impervious to fire. They need one more child and the heart of a White Witch before the blood moon is past to cast their spell. If they succeed they the Witches will be unstoppable.

Although they attempted to put some modern twists into the story, I still felt it was believable in the era and style it was told. They gave Hansel and Gretel some rather advanced weaponry for the times, but I was able to look passed that and still enjoy the action scenes.  (Jean Gray in the x-men movies) was fantastic as the Grand Witch, a dark yet sexy villain. The performances from the two leads were at times a little weak, but overall I enjoyed this movie. It's not the greatest Fantasy film of all time, however, it did had some clever twists in the plot that made it enjoyable. 

I Give "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" three out of four stars. It was well done, fun, and original.

Now go forth and see it for yourself, or if you have already, share your thoughts on the film with us here. Also, below I added for your viewing pleasure the wicked opening titles for the movie. Enjoy.

R.J. Craddock

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Poet's Tale

I've always enjoyed poetry. When I undertook writing poetry myself, I wrote in a style all my own. I'm not 

so much symbolic as I am straight forward. I write with emotion, and try to rhyme in unique ways. Mostly my

poetry is rather autobiographical. When I was a poor struggling art student I spent an enormous amount of 

time writing what I call "Napkin Poetry". I kept a sketch book journal as well. Most artists do. It was my 

goal to someday compile these scraps of paper and my collection of drawings into a book. Now, after 

having published my first novel, "The Forsaken" (The Children of Cain - book one) which includes my own 

illustrations; I feel confident to make that collegian dream a reality. So be on the lookout for my poetry/art 

book "Disenchantment" sometime next year. Until then you can enjoy a sample poem.

To read more of my work you can find me on Wattpad. Also, you can visit my website for more updates on The Children of Cain series and my other projects. You can 

follow me on Facebook or Twitter linked at the top of the blog. Now go forth and enjoy your weekend and

what have you. Till next time. 

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Excerpts are for Perverts

So I'm getting really bad at posting my blog on Fridays. This is supposed to be a weekend blog so just as long as I get it posted before Monday I figure I'm good. Anyhow, you're probably wondering about the salacious title of this post. Well, I had to get your attention somehow! 

Okay, I'll get serious now. This weekend post is an excerpt from my urban fantasy novel "The Forsaken" (Children of Cain Series - book one). I've been adding a new chapter from the book to Wattpad each month. Currently we're on chapter five "The Boy in the Tower" 

What is Wattpad you ask? Here's the Wikipedia definition to explain it:  Wattpad is an online community for writers (and readers) Users are able to post articles, stories, and poems. The content includes work by undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website. Around five in ten users are U.S. based; traffic also comes from the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and more. The most frequently voted stories (every day) appear on the "What's Hot List". These stats change daily, due to reads and votes by other users. Wattpad also has a Featured Story list, which promotes content reviewed and approved by Staff and an editorial review board. Many of these featured stories are written by self-published and professional writers from different genres.

If you're on Wattpad, here's the link to read "The Forsaken" on my profile: Chapter Five - The Boy in the Tower For those of you who aren't involved in Wattpad, here's an excerpt from chapter five of "The Forsaken". Enjoy! 

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t jump,” he demands, staring Gwen down, determined to scare the little girl away.
            “Because she needs you as much as you need her,” Gwen replies calmly, not the least bit intimidated by Douglas’s cold manner.
            “What’re you talking about?!” Douglas shouts, exasperated and surprised by her strange response. “Just leave me alone!” he yells at her, turning his back on her, determined that this time he would  jump even if he has to do it with Gwen watching. He doesn’t care anymore. He’s had it.
“Soon a couple will come. She’ll see you and she’ll love you right away. You’ll remind her of her little brother Thomas; he died when he was your age. They won’t care where you come from, or what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you. They’ll adopt you just as you are,” Gwen prophecies.
Douglas stops dead in his tracks, his back still turned away from her, he looks out of the bell tower at the Orphanage and the courtyard below.
“I’m not sure what will happen after, but she seems really nice, like someone who’d be a really good mom. I think you’re going to be happy
with them,” Gwen replies, feeling suddenly jealous of the glorious future Douglas has before him, something Gwen knows she will never have. She has been adopted and returned so many times now that, after two years, the Nuns had finally given up and no longer even show Gwen to prospective parents. It hasn’t bothered her before, but just now, she feels utterly unwanted and alone in the world. But now isn’t the time to feel sorry for herself. She still hasn’t fulfilled her obligation to save Douglas; this is her top priority at the moment.
“That’s a good enough reason, isn’t it?”
            Slowly, Douglas looks over his shoulder at Gwen.
            “How can you…?” Douglas begins to ask but Gwen cuts him off.
“I told you, just trust me. I just know things sometimes. It doesn’t matter how or why!” Gwen shouts at him, losing her patience.
            Douglas doesn’t know how to react, so he just stands there, stunned and speechless. 


There you go. I hope that little tid bit peeked your curiosity. If you want to read more either login/join Wattpad to read the book for free (but make sure you vote for me and share it like crazy)! Or, you can buy "The Forsaken" in print or kindle form at It's also available online at Amazon and Barnes  N' Noble. Now go forth and have a superb weekend!

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Some like it DARK

Most fiction writers put a lot of themselves into their hero/heroine. They either draw from their own life experiences when the character faces trials, or they endow the lead with some of their own characteristics. You have to invest a lot of time into your protagonist, to make them likable, interesting, and readable. Then you have to make the plot thicken so here comes the conflicts, the antagonist/villain, or natural disaster to liven things up a bit. So as a writer one has to do some pretty terrible things to their beloved characters. Which in itself is a little twisted if you think about it. It's like tormenting yourself, tearing out your own heart and soul and punishing one you love for the enjoyment of others. Yep, we authors are a sick twisted bunch.
In my series the "Children of Cain" my heroine, Gwenevere, goes through quite a lot to put it mildly. But for me, the dark nature of her reality is what gives the series a sense of realism. I, like many before me, have drawn heavily from my own life when creating my literary fantasy land. And although my childhood was not an easy one, I attribute the person I am today to my ability to overcome and learn from past mistakes and trials. To me a story such as mine wouldn't be realistic without the darkness. Her strength of character wouldn't shine forth without the obstacles to push her to find greatness within herself. So, although I love and worship my little sarcastic green-eyed Witch (Gwen) I have to push her to the breaking point time and time again.

Before publishing the first book ("The Forsaken") in the series, I had a group of beta readers give me some notes. However, a few felt that there was too much darkness in the subject matter. Some objected to certain "bad" characters in the book not understanding why they had to be a part of the story or why Gwen had to go through these terrible things.

Something all writers understand, but not all readers do, is that every obstacle, every plot turn along the journey is carefully orchestrated to develop the character or to move the story along. There is a reason Gwen has to go through these things, it's all to turn her into the person she needs to be by the end of the series when she has to make some pretty hard choices.

One of my favorite dark tales is "The Black Jewels" series by Anne Bishop. A great read if you like Fantasy, dark magi,c and amazing world building. I've noticed that the books that I truly enjoy are the ones that aren't afraid to go into dark places and expose the weaknesses of their world. However, they often end with a message of hope that seems to reiterate the saying, "There can be no light without the dark."

But what do you think? Do you like things on the dark side or do you prefer to keep the mood light? What are your favorite books? Whether dark or light, share them in the comments. Now go forth and read, love, and enjoy life. Till next weekend.

R.J. Craddock

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Favorite Movie Quotes - Horror

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. So far I've done one for comedy and classics this time around  the genera is Horror!  A quick disclaimer, I have to admit that I'm not a huge horror fan so my favorite horror movie quotes and the movies they come from are not typical. 

1) Psycho (1960)  Based on the novel by Robert Bloch, screenplay by Joseph Stefano. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Staring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Janet Leigh (Jamie Lee Curtis' mom) - "I think I must have one of those faces you can't help believing." (Norman Bates: Anthony Perkins) 
Norman Bates' mother has been dead and buried in Greenlawn Cenetery for the past ten years! (Sheriff Al Chambers: John McIntire)


2) Wait Until Dark (1967)  Based of the play by Frederick Knott, screenplay by Robert Carrington & Jane Howard Carrington. Directed by Terrence Young. Staring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Creena. 
"I cannot negotiate in an atmosphere of mistrust." (Roat: Alan Arkin)
"Oh you must be so bored with me, everytime you come in here, I'm in absolute panic." (Susy Hendrix: Audrey Hepburn)


3) Scream (1996) :Screenplay by Kevin Williamson. Directed by Wes Craven. Staring Neve CampbellSkeet UlrichCourteney Cox, David Arquette. - "Now Sid, don't you blame the movies. Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative!" (Billy: Skeet Ulrich) 
"If you were the only suspect in a senseless bloodbath - would you be standing in the horror section?" (Randy: Jamie Kennedy)


4) Saw (2004) Screenplay by Leigh WhannellJames Wan. Directed by James Wan. Staring Leigh WhannellCary Elwes, and Danny Glover. - "He doesn't want us to cut through our chains. He wants us to cut through our feet!" (Dr. Lawrence Gordon: Cary Elwes)


5) Carrie (1976) Based on the novel by Stephen King. Screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen. Directed by Brian De Palma. Staring Sissy SpacekPiper Laurie, and Amy Irving. 
"They're all gonna laugh at you." (Margaret White: Piper Laurie)
"It has nothing to do with Satan, Mama. It's me. Me. If I concentrate hard enough, I can move things." (Carrie White: Sissy Spacek) 


So there you go. Some of my favorite horror movie quotes. Now go forth and watch some Horror flicks on your own, and share your favorite quotes from them here! Till next time have a horrifically awesome weekend. 

R.J. Craddock