My first interview!!!
Tim Long, Horror and Fantasy Writer Extraordinaire, was kind enough to include me in a interview he did with several different up and coming writers who are getting published in various Library of the Living Dead Press works.
It was a blast to do. There is plenty of other good stuff in his podcast for the horror fan, so check it out!
“Zombonauts” An anthology by Library of the Living Dead Press
Zombonauts goes where no anthology has gone before. Okay, so I am not 100% sure of that, but I personally haven’t see an entire anthology dedicated to stories about the undead in space. Vince Churchill’s “The Dead Shall Inherit the Earth” was my first exposure to zombies in space, and “Barren Earth” by Eric Brown and Stephen North is a more recent offering, but this jams 30 stories into one book about the undead buggers doing it in zero G.
We get a wide assortment of the undead here and while many are of the traditional Romero variety, there are some very interesting slants on what you would expect when it comes to a zombie story, with voodoo zombies, non-zombies that have zombie-like characteristics, and a few mysteries tossed in that simply make you wonder. The novelty here is not only that all of these stories occur in space, but that we get some very unique tales of apocalypse and even a few bitingly satirical stories as well(pardon the pun).
Given the volume of stories here, there was bound to be a bit of overlap as far as plot and progression with some of them, but there are ample tales that stand up as unique and intriguing in this volume. A true test, in my mind, of a short story is that it leaves me craving for more from that author and more of the particular story I just read. There are several of those here, which makes this anthology not only a unique read but also a very entertaining one.
Zombonauts can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Zombonauts-Undead-Universe-Dr-Pus/dp/1449916147/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274810857&sr=1-1
Review for Derek J. Goodman’s Machina
Derek J. Goodman has crafted four very different and very intriguing fantastical stories about machines that seem to spring straight from his imagination onto the page.
The first, Dea Ex Machina, mixes the grim metallic future of a world filled with humans that are essentially factory slaves, working on machines as if they too are machines, but it also has magic in it as well that goes beyond the simple metal and zombie slave mentality that shackles the workers in place.
The second, a novella, Twister Sisters, was the story I enjoyed the most, more than likely because I have not been exposed to much steam punk and this was a rousing introduction to the genre. The depth of the society the author developed was exceptional. Here we are thrust not only into a world where steam and machines allow humans to take flight in massive contraptions, but also is a place where women, for the most part, rule and men play a secondary role due to their penchant towards violence and machismo. I enjoyed this swashbuckling tale of high adventure and would not mind re-entering that world once again.
Those Were The Days, the third story, was something I, as a kid who grew up on 80s teen and sci fi stories could appreciate. The author’s notes confirmed that he shares similar sentiments with me about movies such as War Games, amongst others. Revisiting and updating a lost tale from the 80s allowed me to grow nostalgic for a story that never actually existed, though it seemed quite familiar to me.
As Wide As The Sky, And Twice as Explosive was the shortest and in some ways, the most interesting of the four stories found in this book. A boy who finds the sky dwelling and warring giant robots far more fascinating and intoxicating than his earth-bound human counterparts is not all that different than things we have seen before, but the extent to which he takes that fascination definitely new. We are given a taste of something that perhaps might leave you wondering where a story like this could lead to if it was expanded, and wondering whether you would be interested in taking such a journey.
Overall, I enjoyed the diversity of machine related stories the author has lined up in this book. I could really get into a larger volume of steam punk either in the world of Twister Sisters or a brand new one from Derek Goodman. I also have a feeling the author has many other worlds he could show us with machines in them that are just as fascinating as the ones he has shown us here.
Machina can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Machina-Derek-J-Goodman/dp/145155351X/ref=cm_cr-mr-title
Update on my writing journey for April, 2010
Well, its been a while since I posted something. I’m not really sure I am feeling guilty about that, because I have been spending a great deal of my free time writing, which is really the point of all this, so at least I feel productive. I think this blog is an extension of that desire to write, but is also a way to help promote both what I have written as well as some other people out there whose books I’ve read and really enjoyed. So I need to do a better job of keeping up with things, but for now, I will report when there is something to report on.
But hey, I just ordered some book through the Amazon Vine’s program that is supposed to tell me five steps to becoming a better blogger. So watch out world! Patrick D’Orazio’s blog is going to knock yer socks off…once I get the chance to read that book. I think.
The challenge, at this time, is that nothing I’ve written is out there yet for you to pick up and buy. I have five short stories that have been accepted for different anthologies thus far, along with my trilogy of novels. I have several other stories out there going through the submission process and I will hopefully hear back on them over the next few months, but as I wait, I will continue to write. You just wait, in a few months, I will have plenty to talk about that is actually out on the market…and hopefully a lot more to come. Then again, I think this is a good and humbling experience. I am getting rejections along with acceptances, which makes me want to work harder at being a better writer. Every day, that is my goal.
I think I have made up my mind that writing my next novel is a process that will begin after the editing of my current novel begins, which is actually ongoing, but I am hoping for the first book of my trilogy to be completely edited before I begin to focus on writing the first draft of an entirely new story. I know this is a random thought, but I swear there is a method to my madness. Or at least I think there is. The madness does sometimes get in the way, but honestly, that is the fun part.
Up until that time, I have plenty to keep me busy with the various short story anthologies asking for submissions that are out there. I actually submitted something for the first non-Library of the Living Dead/Library of Horror/Library of Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology last night, so I am spreading my wings a bit. My next effort, the one I am working on right now, is a time traveling anthology for Permuted Press. Two non-Library submissions in a row is great. But two non-Library acceptances would be far better.
The majority of the stories I have written and submitted so far have had zombies in them. Some more traditional stories than others (when you start talking zombies and politics, zombies and cowboys, and zombies being used as a April Fools’ joke, you are not sticking to the beaten path, that is for sure). In the mix of what I’ve written have been a story about phobias, one about terrorism and spies, and one that is science fiction comedy. Some of the anthologies I am targeting past my current efforts involve horror comedy, super heros, and serial killers, thought not all at the same time. Although, that might be interesting. But no zombies in my short term future (just sent a zombie story off, so I got my fix). Beyond that, I am going to start searching beyond the anthology sources I am familiar withrequesting short stories and find some other ideas that may challenge me into writing beyond my comfort zone. I know of two anthos involving Steam Punk and Bizarro respectively, but I am not sure I am ready to dip my toes into either of those pools quite yet. I think I need to read more of those genres before I presume I can write in them.
I did do my first interview over Skype recently, which will hopefully be appearing on Tim Long’s blog (a great horror/comedy/bizarro/fantasy writer) very soon. It was a round table interview with some of the newer writers in the Library of Living Dead stable. It was a lot of fun and really gave me a chance to interact with some other folks who are just as excited about the writing process and the concept of seeing our words in print as I am. I probably blabbed way too much during the hour plus interview, but it was pretty loose and I was glad I wasn’t on my own. My first solo interview is definitely going to be a trippy experience.
Once a couple of my stories are actually in print, I will probably be able to start promoting myself more effectively. Getting a fan page on Facebook sounds like an plan (although it sounds weird…asking someone to be my fan, or more specifically, a fan of my books, just feels a bit surreal). Having an author’s page on Amazon would also be a step in the right direction to getting myself out there.
So there it is. I am at the starting gate, and have been preparing for my journey of pimping my wares, but have only just begun. Wish me luck. I might have spent most of my career in sales, and everyone in sales will tell you that selling yourself is the key to being successful, but it is still a bit strange to me that I actually will be selling myself during this process.
Crazy stuff. But a lot of fun as well.
Review of Tonia Brown’s ‘The Blooming’
The Blooming is a story of a group of documentary film producers who take a trip with a botanist to a remote island in the Pacific so that he can record his search for a very rare bloom that he has been searching for most of his professional life. The scientist only reveals that myths indicate that those who touch these blooms will assume the power of the gods. What he does not reveal, but becomes apparent to the crew very rapidly, is that those exposed to the golden, shimmering pollen of these blooms are gripped by a lust like nothing they have ever felt before. Where this lust turns to is revealed in this erotic tale of lust and violence that hits fast and leaves you gasping for air (or gasping for more, dependent on your mood as you read this story).
As a fan of zombie fiction but someone has admittedly not read much in the erotica genre, I have to say that this story definitely titillates as you flip the pages, dreadfully waiting for what you know is coming: the all consuming lust turning into an all consuming need to feed. This combination is potent and left me as a reader feeling vulnerable in a way that other zombie stories haven’t made me feel, because of the potency of the mix. Zombies are very freaky monsters to begin with, but combining our carnal passions with cannibalism almost seems a very disturbing combination. We speak of our desire for flesh as it relates to lust and say we want to eat someone up. We nibble, we bite, we are consumed with passion for both our partners as well as our food. Tonia Brown has made the figurative literal with this story, and if the idea of being cannibalized by zombies had you feeling disturbed before, the idea of being devoured, both literally and figuratively, by your lover should have you pretty much freaked out (or turned on…once again, if that is your thing).
The only complaints I could come up with here is that there were a few typos, which were minor and didn’t distract from the story, and the fact that this story was short. The latter isn’t really a complaint, but I have to say that I wasn’t ready to let go so quickly with this story that I read so quickly and enjoyed quite a bit.
The Blooming can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blooming-Tonia-Brown/dp/0615362281/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274810423&sr=1-1
Review of Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’
Stephen King’s Under the Dome is a epic sized novel that has a definite apocalyptic flavor to it, much like other tales of his, including The Stand and Cell, though in this world, only a single town gets to face its apocalypse. Chester Mills has been sealed off from the rest of the world by an impregnable force field that quite simply turns the inside of this barrier into an island, a world of its own.
We are introduced to a very large array of the townsfolk and while there is communication with the outside world, the narration almost exclusively remains with those inside the dome for the entire 1072 pages of this book. I don’t want to get into a list of characters, but suffice it to say that Stephen King does an excellent job, as usual, in really giving us a depth of understanding of each of them. The most intriguing character has to be Big Jim Rennie, used car salesman and Chester Mill’s Second Selectman. He is the man in charge, the man who has played dirty politics his entire career and the man who knows where all the bodies are buried. For a man like Jim, the dome is an opportunity. With no say so, the outside world has little power to stop him as he creates a police state and works to give himself complete control over everything under the dome. There are those who would try to stop him, led by a man the town considers a drifter and a short order cook but who is ex-military and the man appointed by the President of the United States to be the liaison to the people of Chester Mills. But given that the United States no longer has any real authority inside the dome, things don’t really go as the outside world might expect.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way King shows how depraved human beings can become, while still showing that some will remain honest, kind, and good. When all is lost, most people will crave leadership, even if it is of the most deplorable kind. Group think and the mob mentality plays a big part in the way things go under the dome and I was intrigued by a story that takes place over a relatively short period of time and moves rapidly despite the size of the tale. Things crumble fast and it is truly scary to think how easy this could happen.
If there is a gripe I have with this book, and a reason I didn’t think it pitch perfect, it is because the ending seemed rather rushed. I know it may sound ludicrous, but I believe there could been a great deal more to this story than what there was, even at 1072 pages. My desire to see how this experiment in human nature might have ended had circumstances been altered and allowed to carry on a bit further makes it tough for me to say I was completely satisfied by this still compelling story. I do love how detailed King gets with his characters and the environment he puts them in and that will always bring me back for more with him. Under the Dome is still an excellent story despite my misgivings about the ending, which did tie things up nicely and tidily, but left me with a sense that thinks still could have gotten more dirty, more disturbing, had the slow burn that leads up to the ending had been allowed to play itself out instead of having things come to an abrupt halt. Still, this is an epic Stephen King tale and one I definitely enjoyed a great deal.
Under the Dome can be found at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Under-Dome-Novel-Stephen-King/dp/1439148503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274810329&sr=1-1