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.

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.