Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Club Ideas for "Shutter" {by Courtney Almeda}

We were honored to have Courtney Alameda, the author of Shutter, come as a special guest to our Book Club meeting!

 I met Courtney at the Provo Library some years ago. Courtney use to coordinate all the events and author signings at the library so we saw each other frequently and I quickly came to love her and her vibrant personality. Courtney was usually dressed up in a head to toe costume for events and hosting over the top author signings. I knew right when I first saw her dressed as a Grisha (Shadow & Bone reference), that we were kindred book party spirits.

When Courtney told me she was working on publishing her first book I told her,
"...When you get published, I'm throwing you a book party and that's that."

I was true to my word.

Read on to see how I totally freaked out all my members during our meeting!

{Meeting Decor}
Creepy pictures, scary pictures

I wanted to create a dark room with the same type of lighting and atmosphere for our meeting. I bought red lights and had them pointed down at these photos hanging up as if they were drying after being processed by Micheline from one of her reaping outings.

*These are NOT my images. I found these images on the internet from differing sources

Once again my husbands morbid collection of elk teeth came in handy!
"The ghost extended a flickering fist toward me, opened its fingers, and dropped a handful of teeth to the ground. They tracked blood on the floor and rebounded off my boot, making pings on the linoleum that rattled in the roots of my molars."
"Hand for a hand and tooth for a tooth,
Chain down the souls of Abrahams youth."

One of the major elements in Shutter is something Courtney called an Antimirror.
"Antimirrors are a sort of portal to the space between life and death, a place called Obsecura. Once mirror panes have been treated by tetrachromats, they no longer reflect the living world, but allow reapers  to peer into places stained with twilight and shadow, beaten down by ruin and rot, and full of ghosts chained by whatever fears or regrets are keeping them from moving on into death."

To exorcise a ghost with an antimirror, reapers can hook up a power inverter with clamps (similar to jumper cables) to the mirror to open a portal to the Obscura. 
(Courtney explains it how it works in much more detail in the book)

I lined my antimirror with THESE awesome LED lights that lit up the entire house.

Dr. Montgomery turned on the flashlight and pointed it into the mirror.
"What's that for?" Jude asked.
"Consider this a dial tone," Dr. Montgomery said, continuing the flashlights off/on pattern.
"Light draws the ghosts in, as they can absorb my flash's specially ionized light."


Antique cameras play a BIG part in Shutter so I knew I wanted to use them in our decoration but I didn't own any so I asked book club member HIKARI if she might know where I could find some.

Hikari styles our monthly book club photos and runs an AMAZING instagram account where she styles book photos that will blow your mind!
Thankfully Hikari's friend had a collection of family heirloom cameras she barely allowed us to borrow as long as we guarded them with our lives! (Which we did!)
Her camera collection made the perfect backdrop to our meeting and I'm so grateful she allowed us to use them!

Antique cameras

antique camera

I created these simple dark room developing basins and used scanned photos from the book that I quickly photoshopped to look like them were developing.
(see further below for full effect)

create your own dark room

dark room

dark room

dark room

{Tattoos and Soul Chains}

helsing tattoo

We printed the Helsing tattoo which meant reaper, an insignia every Helsing Corps member wore, regardless of function or rank. We printed them on tattoo printing paper  used this JPG below.  I printed it twice and just flipped the paper upside down to get more tattoos on one page.

{Soul Chains}

ghostl ight, soul chain

"Soul Chains" are another wicked creation from Courtney in the book that occur when the reapers ingest a ghosts "miasma" (smoky demonic substance) which gives them only 7 days to live.

Ghost light, soul chain

Only a tetromat can see the violet-blue "ghostlight" without the use assistance of special chromoglasses glasses.

I had members use THESE "ghostlight" pens which use invisible ink with a black light to draw our own souls chains in our veins.
For being pretty cheap, I thought they worked great and everyone seemed to have fun drawing their versions of soul chains!

soul chain, ghost light

Ghost light, Soul chain

{Courtney's KILLER Outfit}

Nevermore necklace

Courtney did not disappoint in dressing perfectly for our event with her own horror flair!

monster heels, glow in the dark heels

{Our Own Personal Fears}


I asked members to write down one of their biggest fears, no matter how rational or irrational, and share it with the group. 


Some peoples fears were a little funny...




....some peoples fears were more realistic.



We all have fears but it's good to remember,
"Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another's fear."-Umberto Eco

{Necros Game}

I had this lose idea reading Shutter that I wanted us to somehow play being Helsing reapers and capture a ghost for ourselves but wasn't sure how to do until ROBIN gave me the genius idea of playing a variation on the game, WEREWOLVES!
I've played this game with friends for years and it's always a great time! I simplified the game down to the basic characters and we did our best to kill the "necros" before they killed us, the Helsing cadets, off!

Black light,necros

In the beginning of the game everyone has to close their eyes (except for the narrator of the game which I played) while I read off what happened during the night.
I wanted to have at least ONE GOOD SCARE during our book club meeting and I set it up for this precise moment!!
Everyone's eyes were closed, it was dark, there wasn't any sound when suddenly a deep, demonic, creepy voice came on chanting the poem told to Micheline by the ghost at the beginning of the book.

 The girls all screamed and many began to nervously giggled as the voice spoke. I noticed that many of the girls began clutching at their waists for comfort, mission accomplished, it freaked them out!

(Deep & Demonic)
(Ancient & Disturbing)

..Werewolf Game

The cards we used for the game

werewolf game

The winner...JEN! 
Jen turned out to be better at deceiving all of us than anyone was expecting!! Way to play us Jen! Too bad the necros ended up killing all the Helsing cadets!

Werewolves game

{Thank You Gift for the Courtney}

Do you like the "deathstalker" scorpion sucker I attached? 
(Do people actually EAT those?!)

Obvious State, the black cat, Edger Allen poe

I contacted a shop called OBVIOUS STATE because I'm love their modern and playful literary products and asked if they had a unique card I could use for Courtneys thank you gift. I knew Courtney had a strong admiration for Edger Allen Poe. when they told me they had THIS card, which also includes the Poe short story "The Black Cat," I knew it would be perfect!
And Courtney LOVED it!

Courtney has mentioned that she considers Bram Stoker to be one of the great "Horror Godfathers" and that Dracula was one of the first books to really creep her out. Knowing that bit of information I wanted to get her a really special edition of Dracula so I searched the internet and finally came across this gorgeously gruesome Roads edition of DRACULA. 

Roads Edition of Dracula

Roads edition of Dracula


After our discussion we decided to get some group shots with Courtney.
We started off all smiles...

...then things took a horrifying turn lol!

THANK YOU COURTNEY for writing such a spectacularly creepy book that we had a blast reading and discussing! SHUTTER should be on everyone's October reads list but be prepared to shut your eyes tight in terror after each chapter!

(Deep & Demonic)
(Ancient & Disturbing)



-Obvious State "The Black Cat" Card

Hope this post gives you some great ideas for your next book club!
XoXo, Kellie and Kelly

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