20 October 2011

I love monsters. The giant ones like Godzilla, King Kong, and the pterodactyl Rhodan. The people-sized ones like Dracula and the Werewolf. And of course the miniature ones like the Gremlins and the strange little creatures in Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

When I was a little boy, I’d while away lazy sunday afternoons at my father’s house watching Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein or Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man. At my mother’s house, I remember a night when I begged her to let me stay up past my bedtime to watch the rest of The Creature From the Black Lagoon with our neighbor Fred. Over the course of a summer, I wore down my grandmother’s resolve and finally convinced her to buy me a massive Rhodan toy that had working wings. One of my prized possessions was an MGM Monsters playset with Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Phantom of the Opera. The playset included a sarcophagus (for either the mummy or Dracula), a cage for the Wolfman, and a laboratory table to strap Frankenstein’s Monster to. And they all had phosphorescent paint, so they glowed in the dark. It was a pretty sweet set.

But my favorite toy was Krusher. He was a large green rubber reptile monster with fangs, claws, and a wicked looking tail. He had a plug in his waist. You could squeeze all the air out of him and seal up the plug and he looked all flat and weak. But when you unplugged him, he expanded back into his normal, vicious, muscle-bound state. I loved Krusher and I frequently took him to bed with me. Because, I reasoned, he would protect me from the scary people.

Throughout my childhood I was a frightened little boy. Not of monsters (obviously), but of real bad guys. Burglars, kidnappers, child molesters, strangers of all sorts. I’m not sure why I was so timid. Most likely a combination of my overactive imagination and a series of traumatic events that took place early on in my childhood. By the age of six, I knew bad things happened because I had experienced them first hand. The world was a violent and capricious place, full of unanticipated dangers that no parent or adult could protect you from. The world did not need monsters to be scary.

I would lay in bed at night with the covers tucked up to my nose. The darkness would press in all around me and I would squeeze Krusher as tight as I could, feeling like I was the one made flat and weak. Both of my parents lived in crumbling old houses and the night sounds they made were ominous. Many times I was certain that someone had broken into the house and was slowly creeping up the stairs to get me. On the really bad nights, when the dread was almost unbearable, I would also bring my MGM monsters to bed with me. I would line them up on either side, their little glowing faces peaking out from under the covers. Won’t that kidnapper be surprised to find a pack of monsters waiting for him! I would think grimly as I watched the doorway for hours until I finally drifted off to sleep.

One of the best ways to combat the darkness is to embrace it. I know I’m not alone in this impulse. Everything from Batman to Twlight is, in a sense, a longing to befriend the darkness so that it turns its gaze elsewhere and passes you by. And that is what we do every Halloween. On All Hallows Eve, when the veil between our world and the next is at its thinnest, we take on the guise of the dark and macabre to appease it so that it will pass on without mischief…

But of course, that’s all nonsense. Because the real bad guys don’t care. The terrorist, the rapists, the dictators, the murders, the diseases, and the poverty do not limit themselves to a single night. They can come at any time and in any guise. And they will not be diverted by our play-acting. There is nothing we can do to stave off the howling darkness that waits for each of us.

They asked me for a scary story. I can think of nothing more frightening.

Okay, you know I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that, all gloomy and hopeless. So seriously, what can we do to stave off the darkness? Well, we can not let it ruin our lives, for one thing. And that’s really what Halloween and Horror and roller coasters, and everything else we do to scare ourselves silly are about. You can’t change what the bad guys will do, but you can change how you react to them. You can understand your fear, you can address it on your terms and in your own way. You can abstract it into a monster or a supervillain so that it’s not this nameless, formless dread, but something knowable, something perhaps even understandable. And little by little, you put the fear its place. You master it. And sometimes you hug it so tight that all the green paint flakes off and it doesn’t expand back into its muscle-bound state very fast anymore. And that’s okay, too.

Just remember, courage is not a lack of fear. Only fools lack fear. Courage is acknowledging the fear, and then doing it anyway.

Misfit is currently available from Amulet Books!

Synopsis: Jael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.

Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose.

Order Misful Online:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository

Find Jon Online:

Website | Twitter

Enter to win a SIGNED Copy of MISFIT!

Rules and now to enter:

You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
To enter, please fill out the form provided below.
Giveaway open INTERNATIONAL!!
Giveaway ends: November 3rd, 2011

Don't forget to stop by and check out who Jessica is featuring today for Haunted Halloween!

REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
Please ready full entry rules >>>HERE<<<

I can't say thank you enough to Jon, for his guest post and for donating the copy of Misfit for today's giveaway.

*I am not compensated at all for any of the links within this page.

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  1. Love this post, especially the sentiment at the end - so true!! But seriously, I was the same way when I was young. I was terrified of a fire or a burglar or murderer coming into my house. I really have no idea why, but it terrified me. I didn't have action figures, but I did have dolls. I would always make sure I went to sleep holding the hands of the dolls so that if I had to run out of the house at least they would be with me. It's funny the things we do and feel as kids and what we remember from back then...

  2. OOh heard of this one but haven't seen the reviews yet. Sounds interesting!!


  3. Loved the post! Jon is hilarious :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. Mary DeBorde
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

    Truth, cross my heart & hope to die, - stick a bookmark in my eye
    lol ... I have been wanting to read Misfit so badly for Eh-ver!!!
    *Squee* thanks for all these beyond fantastic giveaways :D

  5. Great post and thanks for the giveaway!


  6. Great post I loved watching Abbott and Costello on Sunday mornings.....where did all the good ones go? I really haven't ever been afraid of the dark...I actually find it comforting, I guess I am the oddball.
    Thanks for the chance at a great giveaway.

  7. All of that is so true. I'm practically speechless. It adds a new meaning to Halloween for me. Thanks for sharing that. It was quite powerful.


  8. My husband had a fear of monsters..don't tell him I said that! Lol :)


  9. Wonderful post. I agree that the scariest monsters are not the ones found in fiction.


  10. I used to have a big problem with the dark. I can't really remember why anymore but I always had to sleep with some type of light, hall light, night light. Somewhere along the way I got over that fear. Great Post!


  11. What a great post, Jon. As a mom, my heart breaks at the thought of you as a small scared child but I love how you can take something awful and make it into something hopeful.

    AmethystDaydreams at zoho dot com

  12. Thank you so much for all of the amazing giveaways!!! You guys do so much for all of us and I just wanted you to know that it's appreciated!

  13. Great post!


  14. Thank you! All these amazing giveaways! The guest post was funny :)

    Email: osnapitzAngiex3(AT)aol(DOT)com

  15. My anxiety is something I battle with daily so in a sense it's my personal "monster" lol being that it scares the beejesus out of me! This part really stood out to me "You can understand your fear, you can address it on your terms and in your own way. "

    I tell myself that almost everyday!

    Ty for the excellent post!


  16. What a fun post. This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  17. I have been wanting to read Misfit for a while and has definitely been on my wishlist. Thank you so much for sharing this poignant post with us today and the reminder to keep our fears in perspective, as well as for the wonderful giveaway opportunity.


  18. Thank you for sharing this post, Jon, and for leaving us with some great words of wisdom. Halloween is great when we want to scare ourselves, and it's an unfortunate truth that there are real terrors out there that don't come in the form of vampires or demons or werewolves and zombies.

    For real, I loved this post.


  19. I love the simplicity of this cover
    Pabkins @ Mission to Read

  20. This is so true and I can agree with every word. It gives a different way to look at Halloween from this moment forward. Thank you, for sharing this with your simple words. And thank you, for the chance to win this book. :)

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

  21. Another awesome post!

    ashleysbookshelf at gmail dot com

  22. Tank you for making this giveaway International!



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