Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Zombies" on the loose

My short story "Everyone is Zombies" is now available over at Demonic Tome.

It's not exactly a traditional zombie story, so even if you're not a fan of zombies you still might like it. No brain eating, I promise.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

No. 39 - Don Pendleton's The Executioner #357: Extreme Justice

by Mike Newton

Started: August 22
Finished: August 30

Notes: The Executioner series of men's action/adventure novels has been around for 40 years, originally penned by Don Pendleton. Pendleton passed away a while back, but the series has continued, written by a multitude of writers. I read a ton of these short novels as a teen, and from time to time I go through a spell where I delve back into them again. The series' overall plot concerns one Mack Bolan, a former U.S. soldier who fought in Vietnam. Mack returns home to find out his family has been killed because of the mafia, and he decides to go to war against the mob. After years of that, Mack turned his attentions to fighting terrorism and other evils throughout the world. This particular novel has Mack looking for a prosecution's witness in a trial against the mob in hopes of bringing the witness to trial before the mafia can kill the guy. I'm reading this one for fun, but also for a little research; I find the Executioner novels usually show how to write action scenes really well.

Mini review: The action started well and ended very strong, but the middle was pretty slow. It was nice to get back to reading some Mack Bolan again. I'll have to do it soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

No. 38 - Rage of the Behemoth

edited by Jason M. Waltz

Started: August 21
Finished: September 7

Notes: It's with more than a little glee that I get to read this collection of Sword and Sorcery short stories featuring gigantic monsters. I like Sword and Sorcery. I like big monsters. And most importantly, I like the editor, who I've had the pleasure to work with on a few occassions, including when he published my story "Deep in the Land of the Ice and Snow" in the Return of the Sword anthology last year. Another nice thing about short story collections is I don't feel the need to read the whole thing all at once; I can read a story or two, then go read a novel or something else, then get back to the collection. Also, I'm familiar with the works of a good number of the writers in this anthology. So, what's there not to like?

Mini review: Fans of sword-slinging action need to read this, especially if they're also fans of big monsters. There are all different kinds of beasties to be found in these 21 tales. Of the stories here, three were my favorites, "Beyond the Reach of his Gods" by Brian Ruckley, "The Rotten Bones Rattle" by C. L. Werner and "Nothing Left of the Man" by Jeff Stewart. But those were just my favorite three. There are plenty of other tales of all kinds here, and each is great in its own way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For Writers, Reading Sometimes Can Lose Its Luster

Writers like to read. Or, if they don't, they should. I mean, it's their bread and butter. It's what makes them what they are. If they don't like reading, they probably shouldn't be writing.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that writers like to read.

Or, at least much of the time they do. See, writers don't always get to read for fun. Sometimes writers have to read a book or story or article because they have to review it. Or they have to edit it. Or they are doing another writer friend a favor and are reading something so they can offer their advice about it.

And sometimes a writer reads just to see how another writer performs the craft of writing.

Which can sound like fun. But often it's not.

Even if there's a particular writer who has works you really, really enjoy, sometimes it can become a bit numbing pouring over their material. Sounds impossible? It's not. What often happens is the reader who also happens to be a writer sometimes becomes caught up in the craft and can't experience writing for the sheer enjoyment factor. Sure, this person would like to sit back and laugh or cry or scream with a book, but they're caught up in how the author puts together his or her scenes, or they're caught up in the fine use of adjectives, or they're caught up in something seemingly simple and silly like how many times an author uses the word "said" on a given page. Or there could be a thousand other things.

Also, sometimes a reader can become too familiar with a particular genre. If your really like mysteries and have read a few hundred of them by a variety of different authors, you can probably often see what's coming. This is even worse for the writer who has written a few mystery novels, maybe some short stories, too, and who has also read tons and tons of mystery books.

The writing has become all craft for this reader who is also a writer. But there is hope. Sometimes this unfortunate reader can break away and enjoy reading just for reading all over again.

How is this done?

My suggestion is to try reading works of an author with whom you've never read, maybe even in a genre of which you're not familiar. If you read mysteries all the time, try out a fantasy novel or two. If you read romance novels a lot, pick up a few thrillers. If you do this, you can find yourself pleasantly surprised. You will find new ways to tell your own tales, and you could find yourself enjoying your writing and reading more than you have in years.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Road to Wrath novel now available

The adventures of Kron Darkbow continue!

Road to Wrath, Book II of the Kobalos trilogy of epic fantasy, is now available in two places online and the price is only $1.

The Road to Wrath ebook is available at the above link in multiple formats. Just pick which one you want, then read it on screen or download it. Of course you can still find City of Rogues, Book I of the Kobalos Trilogy, on Smashwords, too.

If you own a Kindle, you can download Road to Wrath directly from Amazon. Of course you can also find City of Rogues, Book I of the Kobalos Trilogy, for the Kindle as well.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

No. 37 - Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Started: July 31
Finished: August 6

Notes: This is a book, and an author, that's drawn tons of attention the last few years in science fiction literary circles. Thought it was time I checked out the book and the writer.

Mini review: I think my expectations were too high for this book. It was a decent book, but I felt like I was supposed to become caught up in some kind of anti-government, rebellious attitude. At for the most part, I wasn't. But the mantra of the young characters in the book is "Never trust anyone over 25." And I'm quite a bit past 25. So maybe I just didn't get it. Still, this was an okay read, but not a great read, in my opinion. To me, it felt as if the messages in this novel hit a little too hard. But maybe I would have felt differently a few years ago when this book would have seemed a little more relevant (not that it's not relevant today).