About Me

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I write and live with my beautiful wife, Sandra, and sons (Solstice, Finnegan and Brahms) in a little-big house on a dirt road in a valley in the hills. My secret identity struggles through the grind of teaching high school English to the denizens of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dark Doorways on Kindle for free!

Act quickly, this is only available for free download until Midnight Jan 1st. 2012. The Best of Post-Mortem Press anthology, has Ketchum, Maberry, and many others (including one by me!). Go to the following link, and let me know what you thought of: "The Reservoir".


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Test of a Prince giveaway at Goodreads.com

If you are feeling lucky, go to the following link to try your hand at winning one of two free copies of my first published novel, Test of a Prince:


If you are not feeling lucky, but feel like reading some great fantasy, head over to Amazon.com, where you can order a copy for a much reduced price!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A novel experience!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Yesterday, I had a novel experience (every pun intended). My beautiful wife and I went to Littleton, NH (just across the Connecticut River) to do some last minute shopping yesterday. When we went into the Village Book Store, I found two copies of my first novel on the shelf. It was really something. It is a place I frequented as a child, and to see my books there really was a magical moment. As I signed the books, a nice young woman who had gone to school with my brother, Trace, approached and talked to me about the book and my lovely acting brother. I couldn't have had a better Christmas present!

They say you reap what you sow. Little would I know that the seed of a story that was planted when I was dating my wife in 1998 be harvested at Christmas time in 2011. I guess good times do come to those that wait (and work!).

So, I hope you and yours are doing well, and that good will follows you throughout your days.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review of The Shattergrave Knights

If you have a kindle, The Shattergrave Knights, by David M. Haendler, is a real fantasy triumph. It is about twin brother and sister who find out that they are heir to a very dark and mystical legacy. The only problem is that they live in a religious dystopia where "witchfinder's" prowl the realm. I have to say that I was really intrigued by this story. The takes on the last dragon, goblins (they pick their nose for good reason!) and magic are really original and wonderful. The plot was fun and it read quickly. The only reason I wouldn't give it five stars, because in the end, I wanted more. There are so many things to capitalize in this fantastic place. I understand a first time writer's hesitation to get bogged down in the details, but hopefully, Mr. Haendler will be as inspired to write more of this story as I am to read them.

This is 99 cents on Amazon right now. It is worth much more. If you don't have a kindle yet, I can't think of a better reason to get one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Test of a Prince is on Amazon!

You can purchase a thrilling read about gruff heroes beset by ancient evil by going to Amazon. com. I'll post the link to the right.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Test of a Prince

My dark fantasy epic begins with: Test of a Prince.

From the back cover: "After Ragnarok, the realm of Jotunheim suffers under a terrible curse. Out of the darkness, a prince wearing the face of a demon gathers a handful of old and troubled heroes: a one handed fisherman, a drug addled swordsman, an embittered holy man and a cross-dressing satyr. In the hope of salvation and with the help of some diminuative Mindans and a young woman, the heroes embark on the darkest of quests. Test of a Prince is the first volume in a dark fantasy epic about a land increasingly filled with those that can no longer be ranked among the file of men."

The book is available now on CreateSpace at: http://www.createspace.com/3689914

The book will also be available on Amazon.com in the next week. I will update when it is. It should be available for the Kindle and the Nook soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I have the proof!

Double-entendre intended! I just recieved the proof of my first published novel, Test of a Prince! It is proof that all my hard work is starting to show real results. In fact, the book is beautiful beyond my preconceptions. The cover art by Deedee Davies is wonderful, and the whole thing is just... fantastic. This dark fantasy epic, I have on good account, is accesible and enjoyable to even the non-fantasy reader. So, it will be with great pleasure in a short while when I unveil the cover and post the links to where the work can be purchased (in beautiful print or in wonderful e-book format).

I want to thank my wonderful wife for being there and being just as excited as me when I opened it and read the new prologue to her for the first time.

Life is good.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

So Long, and Thanks for all the Brains!

I have two stories in this terrific zombie anthology. Check it out! There's plenty of brains to go around!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dark Doorways

Post-Mortem Press has released its best of anthology: Dark Doorways. The work will feature Jack Ketchum and other famous folks as well as a slew of soon-to-be famous writers. I'm one of them! My story: "The Reservoir" was selected to appear amongst these pillars of the horror-writing community. I am very honored. The other writers had some nice things to say about my little yarn about a haunted reservoir, a church picnic gone bad, and a very brave boy. My co-worker says she thinks about it every time she drives by the Moore Dam reservoir (which inspired the story). I am very excited about this turn of events.

Eric Beebe, the force behind Post-Mortem, is most certainly the man.

Check it out at Amazon.com in print and as an e-book.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I have been gone, but I'm still here


Yeah, I'm still here. I have had a dickens of a time writing. School started and every appliance, vehicle and entertainment device I own seemed to go on the fritz. But, now I'm back in the swing of things and writing up a storm. I should crank out a couple more chapters of Wardmaster today. I am just about to reach the half way mark of the novel. My goal is to be done by Christmas. We'll see.

I bought a kindle (before everything needed to be fixed). I'm impressed with my new found ability to read what I want, when I want. I also like the fact that I've bought one book since I got it a month ago. The opportunity to read free stuff, and thereby for author's to get noticed is pretty impressive.

My boys and are reading Skullduggery Pleasant series. What a treat! I downloaded the first book for free, and you can bet we'll be buying the rest, and my boys will be encouraging their friends to read them, too. I will remember this as my fantasy series begin to come out.

Well, I will write more when I hit the half way mark. I've decided to quit writing my book reviews here, and keep it on Goodreads (a great site!). I have read recently:

The Tale of the Vampire Bride- Great book! A worthy prequel to Dracula!

Bob Moore: No Hero- A great superhero novel, free on kindle

Check in later,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review of Stephen King's Rose Madder

All right, I didn't have anything to read new from Stephen King, so I went back and picked up one of the only books I haven't read from him: Rose Madder.

Rose Madder is essentially a domestic abuse escape story with a little magic and a whole lot of Mr. King's magic thrown in. The reason I never read this thing before is that the concept seemed pretty banal to me. I have to say after getting to know Rosie McClendon and the other folks who cross her path, I began to root for her and really became invested in her plight.

The magic realism, surrealism, and 'art is the gateway to archetypal exploration' part of it was all right, but I found in this regard it was perhaps too crucial to the climax of the story. I wanted Rosie to win because she could. I love Stephen King's writing, his villain was, as usual, psychologically complex, but there just wasn't enough of the story to stretch all that wonderful writing across. I can't say I didn't enjoy it, but I can say this was one of my least favorite Stephen King Novels.

A moving, and literate, story of suspense and recovery. Well worth the read, but maybe not for every Stephen King fan.

Summer's ending

Well, the crickets are sounding loud and clear outside my house. Sure its hot and humid, but I know what that song means. My kids have started to talk about going back to school, which means I will have to, as well. Not that I'm so lazy, I can't stand the fact that my entire life's not a vacation, but hey, Summer is the one time I get to really swim in the outdoors, canoe, and write.

Have I accomplished all I wanted so far this summer in lieu of writing. Not by a long shot. But, that's okay. I wrote a couple of okay stories, and a couple of good ones. I wrote the first third of a novel so far, and that will be a thread I can pick back up on the occasional night or on weekends. As usual, life got in the way. Children, long romantic canoe rides with the Mrs. You name it. I love writing, but my little guys are going to be little for a little while, I have the ghosts of childhood's summer's past lurking occasionally through my house (my step-children are all teenagers). So, I have embraced summer. I have swum under waterfalls and played games with my boys, had adventures with my lovely wife and continued to dream.

Then, hopefully, someday, when I can't find anyone who wants to play a game with me, and the house is quiet and I don't even have the grudging adolescent ghosts to keep me company, those dreams will return, and when I turn them over I'll find the threads that will lead me on, and more stories will be born. But, I guess that's what it's all about, we live, we hope, and most importantly, we enjoy ourselves.

As Bill Hicks said, Life is just a ride, people. Enjoy it. I hope you are well, and stay well.

Oh, and I heard from my editor: Test of a Prince is almost ready! Yay! I will tell you more when I know more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review of Legend by David Gemmell

All right, I confess, I have an addiction to David Gemmell's fantasies. I also don't understand how more people in the U.S. don't know about him. In some ways he should be the standard of how fantasy is written. He never dissapoints, he includes action, characterization, drama, and romance in lovely doses. (yes, I just said lovely doses). I wish he had lived longer and written more. Still, thirty books are a lot, and I've only read 6, but Legend, his first work (and perhaps most adored) is a gem.

Legend details the defense of Dros Delnoch a walled keep and city on the edge of Drenai lands. The barbarian forces of the Nadir have been marshaled together by the genius of Warlord Ulric and the entire Drenai civilization is threatened. To this defense comes Druss the Deathwalker, a grizzled, axe-wielding veteran who has never been defeated. Is his legend and the help of a new Earl and his love, along with thirty mystic priest-knights be enough to inspire the people of Dros Delnoch to hold back the invasion? I guess you will have to read it to find out.

Druss is a marvel, as well as all the other secondary characters that are tested in this vicious crucible of death and slaughter. The work is the battle of Helm's Deep on steroids and it is insane that a movie has not been done of this story. If you read this and love it, be at peace knowing the author was kind enough to tell many more stories about the Drenai and of Druss himself.

May the Source be with you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review of Ghoul by Brian Keene

In Ghoul by Brian Keene three 12 year-olds struggle to enjoy another endless summer despite their abusive and misunderstanding parents and the incursion of a newly awakened Ghoul in their summer haunt, the local cemetery. The year is 1984 and Timmy Graco and his two best friends contend with sexual abuse, physical abuse, death, oncoming puberty, mean local dogs, and one very creepy supernatural menace. This tightly wound thriller is the perfect summer read, especially for those who remember what it was like to be young in the 1980's.

In Ghoul, the real monsters are the parents, at their worst they are domineering, alcoholic and insensibly vicious. At their best, their ineptly destructive and deaf to the warnings of the desperate children that have begun to unravel the horrific mystery of why the graveyard has so many sink holes and why people keep disappearing.

More than anything, this is an ode to youth, innocence, friendship, and the 1980's. I loved Ghoul, from its understandably wretched antagonist to its brave and wonderful protagonist. Timmy's love of comic collecting/reading mirrored my own at that age, and his turning to these and his monster manual for help was faithful to the imaginative boys of my generation. If you like horror mixed with the sweetly sad nostalgia for things unrecoverable, like innocence and child hood friendship, then you will love it, too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The writing binge is about to commence...

Hey, true believers,

I am about done my official week of "vacation". I did manage to sneak in a bit of writing and began my novel Wardmaster. It is the first book in a series of two trilogies in which each should be able to be read alone and enjoyed that way. I'll write more later...

Also, here is the link to the official shout out about Hairy Bromance in the Library of Horror Forums:


Now, to the writing!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Big News!

About a week ago, I found out that my monster, buddy road-trip epic, Hairy Bromance, a novel of 86,000 words was accepted for publication at The Twisted Library of Horror. I am still walking on air. I will write more when I know more...


Review of Sword in the Storm by David Gemmell

This is the fifth book I've read of David Gemmell, and in case you haven't guessed, I'm hooked. He is by far the most consistently enjoyable fantasy writer I've ever read.

Sword in the Storm is about Connovar, a young man growing up in a fantasy version of Scotland among his fellow Rigante (Scottish Celts). He is faced with a destiny to defend his people from the coming of the Stone people (Romans) and fight off the Sea Raiders (Norse?). The Seidhe, ancient Fey spirits have taken a shine to him, and test him while giving him blessings, one being the demonblade, for which he is known.

I didn't think I'd like this book as much as I did. It is like a fantasy biography and their is no immediacy to the plot, which I usually find tedious. Gemmell's writing however kept me reading and wondering what next tragedy would strike the young Keltoi and his people. It is for this reason that I would not give this book five stars. Gemmell's heroes are always flawed and human, which is great, except, the flaws in Connovar made me a little frustrated with the man who would lead his people. As usual, the plot twists are dramatic and the characterizations are compelling. I won't forget this read, and I can't wait to read the next Gemmell book waiting on my shelf.

Summer vacation is here!

I've been living the easy life for a week and a half now. Well, that's the easy life of a father of five children (most with their own special chronic health condition). I have been busy at work writing before I go on vacation within my vacation (yeah, I know a teacher's life in the summer is hard). So far I've cranked out one novelet and three short stories. I feel good about all of them, and I hope they all find a home. These are the yarns I've managed to pull from my subconscious:

1. "The Enigma Brothers" - A mild mannered guy finds out his mild-mannered brother is a costumed vigilante. Turns out it all depends on these two to save their city and maybe the world from Count Nefari and his nefarious schemes.

2. "The Freemans' Flying Fish"- A heart-warming tale about twin boys who make a wish while fishing and end up with the catch of a life time.

3. "The Ghost-eater" - A teen realizes he's dead just in time to run from the spirit of a murderous occultist.

4. "3 Months During the Lycanthropy Epidemic" - Speculates on whether an inoculation for Lycanthropy might be worse then the disease.

Well, in July I plan to write my next novel, tentatively titled: Wardmaster. It's a dark fantasy epic with lots of creatures, sword play and danger. I'll get back to you when I know more.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"The Way of Nature" is going to hell!

Bill Tucker, over at the Library of Horror has just accepted my short story, "The Way of Nature" for one of the 13 evil stories in Hellology! I am very excited!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review of Dark Hollow by Brian Keene

This is the second novel of Mr. Keene's that I've read, and I surely wasn't disappointed. Dark Hollow is about a Pennsylvanian Mystery Writer, his wife, his dog, and his drinking buddies who have to deal with a haunted woods near their home where strange piping music has been heard and into which women have been disappearing. This horror novel deals with the sylvanian horror of malevolent trees and the always creepy Great God Pan with punch and gusto. Although the novel comes into the danger zone of becoming a supernatural mystery story where the erstwhile townsfolk have to bone up on lore that will enable them to combat the darkness that abounds, Dark Hollow manages to avoid this in spectacular fashion by giving us a wicked climax, believable characters and chilling moments. The work capitalizes on the male fear of inadequacy and being cuckolded with power adding that to the allegory of the horrors of miscarriage and the slow dissolve of matrimonial bliss. Brian Keene has quickly become my second favorite horror writer of all time. Dark Hollow is a fun and spooky read.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

I confess, I have been a speculative fan since I was a little boy, and I only found time to read the granddaddy of all science-fiction novels until I was thirty-seven years old. I am glad I did. This work of genius is in an exclusive category in my mind of novels that have marked me and my imagination for all time. The mixture of apocalyptic images, frightening first encounters, and genteel, suburban, Late Victorian London, is a real treat. Time has not dulled the horrors as well as the truly appropriate exploration of human beings under real threat. The allegories set up by the endearingly reasonable narrator with the mad curate, the artillerymen and his own tortured soul will haunt me as a mirror of my own experience in this mad world.

I hope, if you haven't yet had the chance, you'll download a copy of this public domain work and get ready to receive some chills, journeying back to a more innocent time, so that you can truly understand the power of this work that has inspired so much of our own popular culture.

Take care


Keep watching the skies!

Review of Dark Moon by David Gemmell

I cannot overstate the immense respect I have for David Gemmell's writing. Dark Moon carried me away to a fantastic world of peril and romance and desperate hope. The promise of wonder I experienced reading the Jon Shannow series is fully realized in this stand-alone fantasy epic.

Because of the greed of a Duke, the Daroth, a uniquely horrific fantasy race, or pale immortal monsters have awoken. These immortals devour all they see, including the very spirit of the land. Swept up in the hasty defense of one mortal city are Tarantio, the greatest swordsman with two spirits sharing one body, Karis, a haunted warrior-woman (and a stellar character study of a strong, but tortured woman), and Duvodas, a healer who had been raised by the gentle Eldarin. Of course, with all of David Gemmell's books, the side characters are well executed and take on an emotional life of their own. All are round and fluid characters, fully realized, fully human.

It is hard to leave behind this world and these characters. More pathos and action are in this four hundred + sized novel then in many-volumed fantasy epics by other writers. I cannot think of a more poetically satisfying read for a fantasy lover, nor can I think of a more frightening and fully realized villain as the Daroth. My only wish is that some day these fantasies will be discovered by someone as talented as Peter Jackson and given life on the big screen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"The Voice from the Tree" speaks!

You can read my short fantasy story: "The Voice from the Tree" which has just been printed in the first issue of Brain Soup Magazine. The story retells the story of Adam and Eve, with Eve being the heroic hominid this time. Of course, the tale will challenge some peoples' religious sensibilities, but I think the wonder the story conveys is worth it. You can purchase a print or electronic copy of this issue at:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review of The Reach by Nate Kenyon

Nate Kenyon is a relatively new horror writer. This is my first book of his I have read (his second novel). There is much to be admired about this writer's style, and there was nothing about the writing that seemed overwritten or awkward, but the plot, the characters and the suspense all seemed pretty tired.

Ten years after the strange birth of a girl and the subsequent burning of the hospital, Jess Chambers, a psychology grad student, is asked to visit with the ten year old Sarah, who is being kept in the basement of a ward for disturbed youth. As Jess gets closer to Sarah she also gets closer to a conspiracy and Sarah's own deadly powers.

First off, I will say that I wanted to finish the novel, which is more than I can say for a lot of writing I have read. This, however, did not seem like a horror novel, so much as a science-fiction, medical mystery. The characters weren't very memorable, nor was the action. I predicted the outcome of this way in advance. I don't think that's a good sign when you walk away feeling more psychic than the main characters. In any case, I would be interested in reading something else by Mr. Kenyon, and I can see how some people would enjoy this novel, it has intrigue, psychic powers and an apocalyptic climax.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review of Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

If you want to follow (and grow to love) a group of misfit aero-pirates as they face off against a conspiracy in 453 pages of action-soaked and amusing hi-jinx, then this is the very book you are looking for.

Frey is a down and out smuggler and part-time pirate in a fantasy world where the common mode of transportation is air ships filled with aerium. He has manned his ship, The Ketty Jay, with a motley crew of refugees and misfits. When, the crew of The Ketty Jay is set up to take the fall in a deadly conspiracy, the members will be tested at every turn and find out if they have the mettle to survive as well as the ability to put up with each other. This book is so full of harrowing moments and vivid characters that anyone looking for a good escape should jump aboard this ship.

The book starts out wonderfully, and Chris Wooding's deft characterization draws you in, as well as his ability to throw you into the middle of the action. After muddling through the first hundred or pages or so, you will find yourself hooked and rooting for the oddest group of misfits to ever take to the air. By the end, if you are like me, you will be touched by the story of the crew of the Ketty Jay and want more. Thankfully, I see that Mr. Wooding has given us at least one more volume, with a promise toward the end of at least a trilogy. I for one will gleefully jump on board the Ketty Jay and say hello again to the characters that by the end of the book, will feel like old lost chums.

If you loved Firefly and Serenity and appreciated Pirates of the Caribbean, if you loved the atmosphere of Stevenson's Treasure Island, but desire a dash of steampunk and helping of gothic fantasy, you will love Retribution Falls. I did.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Number Seven was Empty" is now online!

Read my modern fantasy short story at Sideshowfables.com. If you like it, please tell me. If you don't... well, we'll see who disappears on a carnival ride in my next story... bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Seriously, read my story. It's free:


Thursday, April 21, 2011

I just finished my novel!

That's right, I haven't had a lot of writing news lately, because I've been furiously working away on my latest novel. I just finished it a few minutes ago and I feel very good about it. I will put it away for a couple of weeks, but I'm sure that people are going to love the adventures of Barry, the werewolf, and Glen, the sasquatch. I'm tentatively titling the book, Hairy Bromance. My wife thinks it has a catchy ring to it.

Speaking of which I want to thank my wife for giving me so much time to write. It is Thursday of a week long vacation and she has let me write more than the last third this week. She is a beautiful woman who inspires me with her laugh. She was nice enough to do so for every chapter I read to her.

The book is just over 85,000 words (with this first complete draft), which I think is a perfect length for this funny road trip story.

Well, now what shall I write about?

What a wonderful dilemma!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review of Bloodstone by David Gemmell

I have just finished the final chapter in David Gemmell's Jon Shannow trilogy, and what a ride it was. I couldn't imagine a more satisfying conclusion to this thrilling series. Any fan of westerns, fantasy, post-apocalypse, or suspenseful action will love this series about a post-apocalyptic gunslinger that is known as the Jerusalem Man for his early quest for the lost fabled city.

This book has everything great about the other two volumes and more. It is the only book in the series that could not be read alone as it is dependent on so much of what happens in both of the previous books.

Here are some highlights about this particular novel:

1. This book has some very frightening moments with mutated, man-eating "wolvers" and the return of the deadly hellborn armies. This horror factor just capitalizes the heroic nature of those who survive and stand strong against the evil forces of the bloodstone.

2. All of the Jon Shannow books are philosophical. This one is doubly so, mixed with heaps of pathos and a more than a touch of melancholy, this book proves to be as thoughtful as it is exciting: a nice balance.

3. The character of Jon Shannow is shown as his most complex (and, thus, most human). His sacrifices are poignant.

4. Characters that were introduced in all three of the volumes really come to life here. Gemmell devoted a lot of pages for their development and personal tests and tragedies. When everything comes together for a real standoff with the surviving characters the reader is absolutely invested.

5. The Bloodstone is a villain that is truly fantastic and horrific. Gemmell has given us a devil that is believable and horrific in his conception.

Mr. Gemmell, like the Jon Shannow has moved on. I know I will not get the chance to read about Jon Shannow again. Except, you can bet that I won't be forgetting about his excellent adventures. In any case, if I do, I will be reading these novels again, I am sure. I can't recommend these books more to the true fantasy lover.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review of Horns by Joe Hill

I understand that all reading is subjective, but let me tell you, Joe Hill has become compulsive reading for me. His first book, Heart-Shaped Box was totally frightening (so much so that I had to put it down for a while) and engrossing in its rich characterization. Joe doesn't just describe characters, he brings them to life in all their complexity (including moral). Although Horns is not as frightening as a book, it spends all the more time creating a situation that is fascinating, characters that are memorable and some interesting moral philosophy to boot.

I think Horns just may be one of my favorite books of all time. The story of Iggy Perrish and his friends and family is one of tragedy, love, and spiritual justice. Iggy wakes up from a night of drinking and mourning the love of his life that had been raped and murdered a year before (making him the most likely suspect) with horns growing from his head. When he tries to get help he finds that people's reactions to his presence is very revealing.

I could not stop reading this book. Beautifully written, it is a thoroughly engrossing dark fantasy novel that will leave you breathless. Stephen King has given us lots of wonderful gifts to the literary world through the years, but I think he'd agree with me, none of them compare to that of his son. I look forward with great anticipation for what comes out of this fellow New Englander next.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Review of Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

I have to admit that I am an unabashed fan of Stephen King. His work has inspired and informed my own writing. I firmly believe that someday he will be hailed as the literary genius of his time. Beyond that, he is a heck of a good tale-spinner, and I sure am glad that he has survived his brushes with death and continued to crank out quality fiction for the rest of us to admire and enjoy.

I did not want to love Full Dark, No Stars. Each story seemed too gruesome and bleak to love. In each case, I was left breathless in the face of his amazing characterization and plotting. I can't say I have loved every one of Mr. King's books (The Regulators, The Colorado Kid and The Wizard and The Glass complete that very short list), but I have come close.

Beyond the usual study of the darkness and, by contrast, the noble and enduring light in mankind, this collection of long stories almost completely follows a thread of destructive and murderous men and the women that make them pay. I've read reviews that have said that Stephen King is obsessed with breasts and doesn't know how to write women. I'm not sure that these people have really read Stephen King, otherwise they would understand how far off the mark these criticisms are.

I will now go through the works to discuss each:

1. 1922: A haunting tale in the vein of Edgar Allen Poe, about a farmer who kills his wife to maintain his way of life. A classic haunting psychological portrait of evil and madness.

2. Big Driver: Perhaps my favorite, this one stars a mystery writer and her ultimate payback against the man who rapes her and leaves her for dead.

3. Fair Extension: A deal with the devil story that is as wicked as it is unprecedented. Like much of the rest, I didn't think I would love this story, but left very satisfying chills.

4. A Good Marriage: A haunting and emotionally compelling story about a woman who, after 27 years of contented marriage, discovers that her loving husband has some very dark secrets.

I love this work. It served up a heady dose of catharsis for a guy who needed it at the end of a very long winter. I look forward with anticipation for Uncle Stevie's next publication.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review of The Last Guardian by David Gemmell

This is the second novel of David Gemmell's that I have read, and the second book in the Jon Shannow trilogy. I have to say, I am amazed that David Gemmell is not a more common name in the fantasy world. I also hope that some day his works get translated into different mediums. Comic books would be great, but so would films or TV shows.

The Last Guardian picks up immediately after Wolf in Shadow, where Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man is continuing his search for the holy city, and being tragically accosted by villains and surrounded by death. He is a noble madman, who goes through a very satisfying arc in this second installment. David Gemmell is good at introducing lost of disparate elements into his novels until you wonder what the heck he could be thinking. He weaves these together in a most satisfying manner. He melds mythology, religion, and good old post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure in a great story. I can't wait to read the final installment, but I am hesitant, because I have truly fallen in love with this story and don't want it to end.

The story has action, and lots of despicable characters, and noble ones, too. Even the despicable ones, however, manage to find redemption. There is also a lot of weird events and historical/biblical events that are explained in an amazing way in a novel just under 300 pages. The story can be read on many levels simultaneously. It is one part pulp action, one part mythical western, and one part philosophical fantasy. If you used to enjoy the brain candy of Thundarr the barbarian, you will love losing yourself in the world of Gemmell's creation while being pleasantly surprised as an adult reader at the same time.

Perhaps, this isn't for every one, but if you're anything like me, a thoughtful lover of fantasy who get fed up with cliche and political dramas, you will love Jon Shannow and The Last Guardian.

Also, if you can't get your hands on The Wolf in Shadow, you can read this story as a stand alone novel.

Rating: five stars out of five.

Still here, plugging along


I'm still here. I've even been writing when I can. I'm waiting on news of Test of a Prince. I am also writing my novel: The Hairy Monster Book. It is going well, and I'm having a great time. I hope to have this finished by the end of May. I am well over half way done the novel at this time. It isn't easy having to work, raise five children and the like and start a writing career, but I will do it. I'm having too much fun writing.

If you haven't seen the movie, Paul, go do so immediately. It is very funny, heart warming, and wonderful. It is irreverent without being cynical. I left the theater like a kid again. I can't recommend this movie too much. Even my mother left the theater laughing.

I've been reading some real good books lately. Next on the docket: Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars. Well, I wrote another 5,000 words today. Going to hit the hay. First, I'll post a review of my latest read.

Take care,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review of Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene

This is the first fiction I have read by Brian Keene, but I can say that Mr. Keene has a brand new fan. Darkness on the Edge of Town is a 264 page brutal study of a small American town in the the twenty-first century that becomes surrounded by a supernatural darkness and consumed by the darkness that already resided within.

Being told from the first person perspective allows the story to remain mysterious, immediate and brutal. I particularly liked the fact that the novel succeeds in creating a reality that speaks to the experience of people of Generation X and younger. We no longer know our neighbors, we no longer enjoy a sense of community, however claustrophobic an experience that was for the baby boom generation and those of earlier generations. In this way, Keene's story is a bit more persuasive in its horror than such works as Under the Dome, that are still inevitably told from the narrative perspective of those who experienced a different America.

I did not want to like this book, as it is visceral, haunting, and deeply explored the edge of madness we all skirt at times. I did like this book, however, and for anyone who is sick of torture porn or stories where evil is so easily categorized and made mundane by Vampire detectives and the like, you will here find a story that will not fail to tickle your terror bone.

The book, in its veiled references and the characters' mad hypothesizing, alludes to a lot of historical horror, it also hints at the terror of existing in the black prison of a gnostic universe. I will read more of Keene's work, intrigued to see if he explores this vision in the rest of his body of work.

I will rate this book five stars out of five. I do this because I kept reading, despite the despair and terror I experienced. It is an apocalyptic vision that I will not soon forget. Now, I will wait for the sun to come out of the late winter sky and savor every last bit of its light.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Review of Suicide Kings, edited by George R. R. Martin

On the first Sunday of April vacation in 1987 I put down my comic book and went out for a bike ride. My mind on the four color adventures of my favorite heroes, I did not pay attention to where I was headed. I took my bike off a ten foot ledge and came centimeters away from dying or paralyzing myself. Stunned and with a broken collar bone, I was rushed to the hospital by my parents. Afterward, tired of sitting around in a sling, I followed my mother into the drug store where she was getting my much needed codeine. There my eyes fell on a new shared-world novel of superhero history, called Wild Cards. That week, recovering, I basked in narrative that explored a world of superheroics with much of the bombast and pathos of my comic books, but with so much more depth and intricacy. This was for what I had been craving. Each month running off the school bus, I had run to the mailbox to see if twenty-four pages of story had come. Here I had hundreds of pages of character development and intrigue. I knew that someday I would want to write fiction like this.

Finally, twenty four years later, I have had my first superhero story published (in Static Movement's Powers anthology) and a second accepted at Thousandfaces.com. I also just finished reading the latest installment in this series: Suicide Kings.

In the world of Wildcards, an alien virus was released over New York City in 1946. 90% of all those who contracted the virus died in horrible ways. of the survivors, 90% became hideously mutated due to a psychic reaction, their bodies twisted into parodies of the human shape. These were called Jokers. The lucky 1%, became aces, gifted with marvelous powers.

Suicide Kings is the third novel in a trilogy, that mostly details the aces (and some Jokers) who work for the UN sanctioned Committee. This novel can be read alone, of course, as each of the characters featured (each written by a different writer) follow complete character arcs, and the story, although following the events of the past two novels, is self-contained. If you are new to the WildCards universe, I would suggest going back and reading the first couple of volumes, recently reissued.

This book may be my favorite in the series so far. It may also feature my favorite character of the series so far: Rustbelt. Wally "Rusty" Gunderson is a Joker/Ace, who has indominatable strength, a skin of Iron, and the ability to rust any metal he touches. What makes him my favorite is his indomitable spirit and his heart of gold. He and the other main characters largely become involved with the People's Paradise of Africa, a burgeoning nation led by a sinister brother and sister, and supported by the insane and possibly most powerful Ace on the planet, The Radical. This story has so much intense drama, action, and suspense, I could not put it down. The bad guys are well developed and horrifically interesting. The good guys are fallible, often bumbling, and eminently admirable.

I won't give too much away, except to say that if you read the original novels back in the eighties and nineties, you won't be disappointed. Many of the old characters appear or are referred to by this next generation of heroes.

If you are new to the WildCards universe, I hope that you will pick this volume up and give it a try. The writer's have outdone themselves with creating a story that resonates with excitement and pathos.

Five Stars out of Five

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hairy again...

On Monday, I finished editing my fantasy epic, The Jotunheim saga. The first volume, Test of a Prince, should be published during this first half of the year (if all goes well). The second volume, The Vale of Shade, will come out about six months later. The inspiration for this story hit me like a bolt of lightning after a date with my wife-to-be in the spring of 1999. That was almost twelve years ago. Since then I've been married, fathered twin sons, help raise three other children, survived house fires, house searches, renovations, and more living than I had in twice the time before. Well, through this journey I managed to type out this other one. Rewriting the thing made me realize how much of a young man's perspective is woven into the saga.

Now, I am back at writing the great road trip epic of The Hairy Monster Book: a Hirsute Bromance. I am amazed at how I write. I have the destination in mind, but am often surprised by the way the characters manage to get there. I look forward to laughing out loud as I type as the sun continues to melt away this accursed ice and brings about the relative paradise of another Vermont spring and summer.

Review of A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor by Robert G. Pielke

I haven't read a science fiction book in years. I don't care for alternate history stories. I am definitely not someone who feels like they spent another life fighting the awful war between the states. I only start this review by saying that to emphasize the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Pielke's book features the arrival of a time-traveller from the future (historian, Edwin Blair) in the American Civil War on the eve of Gettysburg. He receives an audience with Abraham Lincoln only to struggle to convince him and his advisers that he really does come from the future. He is desperate to do so, as something else is about to arrive from the future. Unless Blair can successfully convince the two sides to work together the results will be apocalyptic.

The most fascinating aspect of this novel is the integration of real researched history which comes to life on the page. I prefer to learn about things through travel and adventure, and as I accompanied Blair in his discussions and walks about the streets of Washington and the fields of Gettysburg, I felt like I was learning about history first hand. The detail Pielke gives, without bogging down the plot, is astounding and convincing.

This novel needs to be optioned for a movie. Many times I thought this as I read, so dramatic were the descriptions of situation and character. The moments before, during and after the arrival of the aliens in this book are so intense I did not want to stop reading.

If you like science fiction, you will like this book. If you like alternate history, you will like this book. If you like stories about time travel, history, or the civil war, you will like this book. If you don't, you will still like this book.

4 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review of Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

How do people get away with all the horrible things they do? Why do some people seem to have an insane amount of gravity around them, causing others to follow them beyond reason and safety? Why is there so many tragedies where man inexplicably turns himself on his fellow man? Dan Simmons's epic horror novel, Carrion Comfort, provides some disturbing answers to these questions in a suspenseful and twisted fashion.

Set in 1980-81 (and published in 1989), Carrion Comfort features a world where some men (and a couple women) were born with the innate ability to control other people's minds and then feed off the psychic energy released when they kill or commit suicide. If that isn't disturbing enough, they gather together in tense conspiracies and play games with human lives as their chess pieces. Caught in the middle of these games between politicians, billionaires, Hollywood producers and television evangelists (all "mind-vampires") are a holocaust survivor, a southern sheriff and a beautiful young African-American woman.

I was fully enthralled by this masterwork of twisting plot lines, scheming villains and hapless, yet stouthearted heroes, with only one real complaint: the length. I am not saying this book is not worth the read, nor am I saying Dan Simmons doesn't know how to keep his reader's interests (just the opposite), but Carrion Comfort is an 884 page book. Around page 600 the reader begins to feel it, like a track and field runner about to hit his or her "wall". I believe I know why this happens and I believe that it happens because of quite positive and complimentary reasons.

1. Dan Simmons really knows how to create characters that are believable. When it comes to the protagonists, they are flawed, yet plucky folks who are faced with unremitting horror. We begin to feel the bleak existential malaise for them, as they struggle through one horrible situation after another. In this novel, Dan Simmons, did well in choosing a holocaust survivor as a central protagonist. If you have read Dan Simmons's Summer of Night (or just about any other book he has written), then you know just how brutal Mr. Simmons can be to his characters. He is perhaps one of the few real horror writers out there who can deliver no promises to you, the reader that your favorite character will survive even to the second half of the novel. Just warning you...

2. Dan Simmons is a master at shifting perspective, and I for one enjoy this kind of writing: writing that allows you many perspectives on the epic events unfolding before us. In this novel a great deal (perhaps the majority) of the time is spent in the perspective of these mind vampires. We begin to see so clearly from their perspective that we are drawn into their fiendish ambitions and morality begins to fade to gray, when we are carried along in the minds of the most vicious minds imaginable. How often have you wondered, what could be going through the heads of the some of the most powerful and dangerous people on the planet? Dan Simmons answers this question in adept fashion. As the answer begins to settle in, prepare yourself for a twisting ride of terror.

4 star rating out of 5.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

my birthday

Well, today I turn 37 years old. I am almost finished the second volume of the Jotunheim saga, and am looking forward to writing some new material. The other day I was feeling down, and wondering what was wrong. My wife reminded me that I hadn't actually written anything new in two months. This was because the laborious process of practically rewriting a 240,000 words epic. I guess writing is my vice, my drug of choice.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Still Editing...

Well, I'm more than half way done the second volume of the Jotunheim saga: The Vale of Shade.

The process of editing is an interesting one. You go back to a manuscript and see all the mistakes, the awkward structuring, and somewhere in there find the story, the shining gem, that you once dreamed up. I have been dutifully moving along sentence to sentence as the snow and the freezing cold assaults my little study window.

I'm very excited for the prospect of people getting a chance to journey along with my motley crew of heroes. This process is not my least favorite of the writing world, however. The worst is shopping around for places that wants to take a chance with my writing. I am very thankful to Dr. Pus for liking my work enough to publish this fantasy epic.

And when I finish, and the wonderful spring sun begins to shine, I'll go back to writing my funny little road trip book about Barry, the werewolf, and Glen, the sasquatch.

I will keep you updated.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Test of a Prince is complete.

I've had to set all my writing aside as I edit my first fantasy novel: Test of a Prince. The novel is actually the first volume in a fantasy epic about Jotunheim. I am just starting to edit the second volume: The Vale of Shade. The second volume is a bit longer, but I'm determined to wade through this so that I can use February break to get back to Glen and Barry's adventures.

I think people are going to enjoy this epic. So far the people who have read Test of a Prince aren't fantasy fans, but they say they love the characters and have gotten lost in the story. That's what any writer hopes for. Heck, I guess that's the mark of any book that is worth writing.

I am looking forward to seeing what the cover will look like. I am very excited!

I'll update when I know more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review of Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell

Perusing a used book store (one of my favorite places on Earth) I stumbled upon a series of books by David Gemmell. I had seen his name before, but as I do not have any personal friends that are fantasy readers I had no idea who he was. I purchased this first in the series about Jon Shannow, and I have to tell you, I experienced that magical euphoria you get when you discover a brilliant writer for the first time. Looking him up on wikipedia, I was downcast to learn he passed away while writing in 2006. Then I got really excited when I learned that in twenty years he turned out thirty novels.

I know I'll be scanning the G section of all the bookstores I frequent from now on.

I loved, loved, loved Wolf in Shadow. This novel will haunt my imagination now for the rest of my life. What a mix of western action, post-apocalyptic fantasy, and thoughtful philosophy! Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem man, is a lonely and somewhat insane drifter who stumbles across bandits, Atlantis, secret societies, love, and a nation of blood thirsty Satan worshippers. There are so many twists that I cannot begin to spoil the action or suspense for you (nor would I want to). At first I was worried that this would be a cheap and strange imitation of the Dark Tower series. As much as I love Stephen King, I loved Jon Shannow's character for its complexity and confused nobility much more than I did Roland, the Gunslinger.

This novel is perfect. I feel like an explorer who has just set his feet in a wondrously strange and entertaining land. I so look forward to reading the many series and novels from this man who I guess to be the ultimate master of late-twentieth century fantasy.

Review of Zombie Chunks by Chris Jacobsmeyer

This chapbook is appetizer for the zombie aficionado.

I have had the opportunity to read Chris Jacobsmeyer's Zombie Chunks. If you are a lover of all things zombie then you should not miss this little collection of undead gems. If you, like me have found the genre rotting, you need only treat yourself to this little buffet of stories.

My particular favorites were the first and last of the collection. The first, "Surrounded" details a post-zombie-apocalypse vampire and his struggles to keep order in a world where the few human survivors must be kept as cattle so that the vampires will have something to eat. The story sweeps you into a world. Like the anthology itself, the story will leave you hungry for more.

The final piece, co-written by Kody Boye, takes a page from Poe and details a couple of frat boys who are sequestered in a box store. I found myself finishing the chapbook with this one and groaning for more... brains!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ninja Blade can be read in Hit Men

You are hereby contracted to purchase this volume!

Isolation is available at amazon

Buy this one! I'm telling you, it will be worth it!