Hello, everybody. I'm Marie Sexton, and I'm here today to talk about my upcoming release, Winter Oranges. Winter Oranges is about Jason, a child star turned disillusioned B-movie actor who’s fed up with his failing career. Jason is in love with his best friend, tired of Hollywood, and plagued by tabloid photographers, so he buys a secluded house in rural Idaho, hoping to escape from it all. Instead, he encounters a man living in his guesthouse who nobody else can see or hear. Winter Oranges is a whimsical little friends-to-lovers tale with a magical twist, and I’m really excited about the way it turned out.
One of the fun things about writing Winter Oranges was getting to talk a bit about horror movies (including my own little rant over the 'found footage' fad). See, for the last few years, Jason's only roles have been in crappy slasher flicks, and he spends much of the book debating whether or not to reprise his role in a sequel. After all, no genre will run an idea into the ground and beat that dead horse for decades like horror.
I love horror movies. Despite the fact that my delinquent father traumatized me at the tender age of ten by showing me both The Shining and The Exorcist in a single night (I don't think I slept in my own bed for a solid year), I spent my teen years bingeing on fake blood. I especially love monsters, haunted houses, and the good old-fashioned psycho killers. And with the Halloween season just behind us, I thought this might be a good time to talk about some of my favorite horror franchises.
Before I get down to it, let me name a few franchises that aren't on my "best of" list, even though most people will probably argue they should be.
- Friday the 13th – I know. How could I possibly talk about slasher flicks and not include one of the most successful franchises of all time? Admittedly, the first couple were fun, and I think the 2009 remake starring Jason Padalecki was decent, but too many of the original sequels were plain awful. Jason Takes Manahttan? Puh-lease. And Jason X? In space? No. Just… no.
- Alien – Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE both Alien and Aliens. The problem is, that's where the love ends. Movies three and four weren't good, and although those AVP spin-offs are watchable, they don't feel like they belong in the Alien universe. So while the first two movies rank high on my list of favorites, as a franchise, I think it falls short. Plus, being scifi, it doesn't quite feel like horror to me.
- Evil Dead – I know I'll be crucified for admitting this, but I don't love these movies. I've seen the original, and the 2013 remake, and I've seen Evil Dead 2, but the truth is, none of them really did it for me. Maybe it's the juxtaposition from a fairly serious beginning to near-slapstick comedy? Maybe it's because I never got past the scene where a girl gets raped by a tree. Whatever the reason, they aren't among my favorites.
- Jaws – Like Alien, I love the original, and the second one is pretty good too. The problem is, I don't consider Jaws horror. Entertaining, yes. But scary? Not so much. (Then again, how scary can a shark be when the nearest ocean is over a thousand miles away?)
I also thought I'd list a couple of truly worthwhile honorable mentions that are damn good movies but don't qualify as "franchises."
- Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – If you like cheesy horror and you haven't seen this movie yet, go watch it right now. I mean RIGHT NOW! Do not pass go, and do not watch the trailer first (because it gives away all the fun). This movie is comic horror at its best. It's absolutely brilliant.
- The Changeling – No, not the one with Angelina Jolie. This one has George C. Scott, and it's a classic haunted house movie – slow-paced and creepy as hell. Who knew a rubber ball could be so scary?
- Cabin in the Woods – Josh Whedon at his genius best, or ridiculous horror travesty? You decide.
So finally, I'll share my list of my favorite horror franchises ever. They may be cheesy. They may be ridiculous. But if they're on, I'll watch them, every single time. (And we'll count down backward this time, because that seems more dramatic.)
- Nightmare on Elm Street – Okay, these movies haven't aged as well as I would have liked. When I watch them now, I find them downright goofy. But these were the movies that started my love affair with slashers. "One, two, Freddie's come for you…"
3. Scream – You have to love a movie that makes fun of the entire genre while still succeeding in said genre. Also, I get a kick out of the various cameos. My one big complaint about this franchise? The ridiculously long explanation we get whenever the killer is revealed. Good lord, stop talking and stab somebody already!
2. Final Destination – With the exception of the fourth movie, confusingly titled THE Final Destination, this franchise always delivers. I thought the fifth movie was far better than it had any right to be.
1. Halloween – Yes, an oldie-but-goodie takes my #1 spot. The original movie was shot in only twenty-one days on a budget of $300,000 (a shoestring budget, even by 1978 standards). The third movie (which isn't even about Michael Myers) is a joke -- it honestly might be the worst movie ever made -- but the rest of the movies provide solid entertainment. Even the Rob Zombie remakes have their fans (although I greatly prefer the original). And if you're a fan at all (and even if you aren't), you should check out Halloween: The Inside Story, a great made-for-TV documentary on the making of a classic. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it definitely proved true on the set of this movie.
So, there it is! My picks for the greatest horror franchises ever. Let me know your thoughts. Am I crazy for leaving out Saw or Paranormal Activity? Am I a nut for ranking Halloween above Friday the 13th? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
And be sure to check out Winter Oranges, for a bit of non-scary holiday fun. ☺
About the Book
Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.
There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.
But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.
Winter Oranges is one of Riptide's 2015 charity titles.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.
Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/
About the Author
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
Connect with Marie:
- Website: MarieSexton.net
- Twitter: @MarieSexton
- Facebook: facebook.com/MarieSexton.author
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/MarieSexton
To celebrate the release of Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $50 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First, I want to say thank you so much to the author for writing this book, which I could not put down. It's a magical and consuming fairytale for adults (like Disney gone sexy). Winter Oranges is unlike anything that I usually read.
Jason has been in show business since childhood. He had a good run for a long time, but lately everything has been going downhill with his career and personal life. He hasn't gotten a decent script in forever. Everything he does that can possibly be construed in a negative way is caught by the paparazzi. He's been in love with his best friend and fellow actor for years, but his friend plays for both teams all over Hollywood and just considers Jason a friend with benefits.
Ben has been trapped in a snow globe since the Civil War. He can project a ghostly form outside of the globe that allows him to see and hear anything around the room he's in. He can't touch, feel, smell, open, close, taste, etc. anything. For the past 150 years, he has been bound to whoever and wherever the globe is. No one has ever noticed his presence until now.
Jason is a good person, but he’s jaded. Getting to know Ben brings rejuvenation to Jason's soul (and mine). Ben has remained a silent observer of life for so long that actually being included in the goings on blows him away. Ben is such a refreshing, upbeat, happy character, especially given the state he's in, that it's impossible not to love him. He appreciates every minute detail. When the romance between them took off, I fell as much as they did.
This is a tale of the miracle of love and an absolute must read. Winter Oranges is one of my top novels for this year and will also go in my all time favorites.