Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Madness: 'The Maze': FREE March 30th and 31st

I’m the last person to dispense wisdom about NCAA college basketball; but I’m closing out March with another form of March madness: a novel giveway!


The Maze is a fantasy novel unlike any other.

It begins in an office in Ohio, with three corporate employees who might remind you of yourself, and one or two of your coworkers….

During a sales call to the Lakeview Towers office complex, they step through a portal into The Maze, a parallel world of killer robots, half-human, half-wolf beasts, giant birds, and much, much more…








Sample reader reviews:

“Loved it from the minute I started reading it. Definitely recommend.” Amazon.co.uk reader
  
“Trimnell has created something unique here. The Maze is part dark fantasy, part science fiction, part business novel. It also has very believable characters. This book drew me in from the start.”





Amazon.com book description:

THREE ORDINARY PEOPLE STEP INTO THE WORLD OF THE MAZE, WHERE DEATH WAITS BEHIND EVERY DOORWAY…

Amanda Kearns is a hard-driving executive with a broken heart. Her male subordinates think she is a “machine”; they have no idea of the real, hidden Amanda.

Hugh Jackson is a software salesman with a defective heart—a condition that will kill him in a matter of months or years.

Evan Daley is a young college graduate adrift in a career for which he is ill-suited; he struggles with the scars of a barren, loveless childhood.

Amanda, Hugh, and Evan were expecting another routine day on the job at the Lakeview Towers office complex just outside Columbus, Ohio. But this massive structure hides a secret—a hidden passageway that plunges the unwary into a labyrinthine network of endless, twisting hallways: the Maze.

Trapped inside the Maze, Amanda, Hugh, and Evan must battle their way through perilous corridors filled with half-man, half-wolf beasts called “manwolves”, killer robots, and demonic wraiths known as “watchers”.

But they face their greatest challenge in the snowy, earth-like wilderness on the other side of the Maze. Here a group of ragtag rebels and settlers struggle against a tyrannical demigod known as the Director. The Director is determined to enslave or annihilate everyone within his reach, using a combination of worldly and unworldly weapons.

Amanda, Hugh, and Evan each find love and momentary comfort on the other side of the Maze. But they cannot escape the ultimate battle with the Director. The three Ohioans find themselves forced to choose—between the draw of love and loyalty, and the instinct for self-preservation.

A riveting emotional tale wrapped within a fantasy adventure, THE MAZE is sure to appeal to adult readers who fondly recall childhood “parallel universe” stories like “Through the Looking Glass” and “The Chronicles of Narnia”.





FREE 2 days only! March 30th and 31st!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

James Patterson, and popular fiction as a gateway drug



“People already read James Patterson’s books — and in staggering numbers. Last year, he and his team of writers had 36 books land on the New York Times best-seller list. To date, he has published 156 books that have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide.  
But Mr. Patterson is after an even bigger audience. He wants to sell books to people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media.  
So how do you sell books to somebody who doesn’t normally read? 
Mr. Patterson’s plan: make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available.  
In June, Mr. Patterson will test that idea with BookShots, a new line of short and propulsive novels that cost less than $5 and can be read in a single sitting. Mr. Patterson will write some of the books himself, write some with others, and hand pick the rest. He aims to release two to four books a month through Little, Brown, his publisher. All of the titles will be shorter than 150 pages, the length of a novella.  
Mr. Patterson said the books would be aimed at readers who might not want to invest their time in a 300- or 400-page novel. And he hopes they might even appeal to people who do not normally read at all. If it works, it could open up a big new market: According to a Pew Research Center survey released last fall, 27 percent of American adults said they had not read a book in the past year.”


I know many avid readers, and many writers, who disdain James Patterson.

Even Stephen King has gotten in on the great James Patterson trashing campaign, dismissing Patterson as an author of “dopey thrillers”.

Patterson openly admits that he doesn't write highfalutin literature. Truth be told, his stories tend to be simplistic even when compared to the work of genre writers like Stephen Hunter and Michael Connelly.

But have you seen the latest film starring Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, or Jet Li? Patterson grasps that in a world of short-attention spans driven by video culture, there is a market for novels that mimic the depth and pacing of the film industry.

James Patterson is an astute marketer. His BookShots concept might lure in some folks who’ve already exhausted NetFlix, videogames, and ESPN, and say to themselves, “Hey, remember books…?”

Face it: There are millions of Americans who are never going to read a Jonathan Franzen or Joyce Carol Oates novel. But they might read a fast-moving novella that contains lots of action—just like the movies.

Also, popular fiction often functions as a gateway drug. I was 15 years old when I picked up a tattered copy of ‘Salem’s Lot (Stephen King’s 1975 vampire novel). I had read for pleasure as a child, but as a teenager I was obsessed with sports, rock music, and girls. And girls. 

(Puberty was a particularly tortuous period for me. At 47, though, I do see light at the end of the tunnel. But I digress…)

Guess what happened: ‘Salem’s Lot blew me away, and sparked my adult addiction to reading—and writing.

For a few years I read only Stephen King novels (he had an extensive backlist even then). But I soon moved on to other books, including more sophisticated fiction and nonfiction.

In reading, as in other endeavors, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Some short stories from 2007 you should read

Multi-author short story anthologies tend to be a mixed bag, by definition. However, I've yet to be disappointed by The Best American Short Stories series.

For the 2007 edition, guest editor Stephen King and series editor Heidi Pitlor assembled a solid, diverse (not in the PC-sense of that word, but in its correct, original meaning) collection.

"Toga Party" by John Barth, is an unforgettable story about an older couple contemplating mortality in the midst of a celebration.

The late William Gay's "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" is a story of love gone wrong, with the drug epidemic of the rural American South as a backdrop. This story is worth the price of the entire collection, in my opinion.


And there are many, many more gems here. Highly recommended.


The Best American Short Stories 2007



Monday, March 28, 2016

Horror fans: 'Eleven Miles of Night': a shameless Monday horn-tooting

Hey, I get to do that here once in a while.


Eleven Miles of Night: a novel







Amazon book description:


“Jason Kelley is a young, struggling filmmaker looking for his first big break. When the semi-famous cable television ghost hunter Simon Rose approaches him about a freelance project, Jason is understandably thrilled. 
He isn’t fazed by the fact that his assignment is a walk down the Shaman’s Highway, an eleven-mile stretch of rural Ohio roadway that is reputed to be haunted by malevolent spirits, hellhounds, and demonic forces. Jason is an agnostic in regard to the supernatural. 
He isn’t prepared for the reality that awaits him on his walk through eleven miles of night—nor the more human violence and heartbreak that he will face along the way.”



Hellhounds...a terrifying covered bridge...a spooky rural setting in Ohio that won't quit...

Jason Kelley, a young man who has something to prove (and something to gain) by braving eleven miles of night...

Terrence Coyne, another young man with a vengeful agenda

And, of course, the women who love them...for better or worse...




But honestly, if you do like subtle horror fiction with strong characters, I think you’ll like this one. I actually scared myself as I was writing several scenes. (I integrated some spooky ideas that I'd been kicking around for a long, long time.)

Below are some sample reader reviews. (The current numerical rating on Amazon is 4.5 out of 5 stars.)

And I promise you, none of the reviewers quoted below could be counted among my relatives, Facebook friends, or people whose lives I have saved.




"Scary and Good!!!! I really enjoyed reading this book - it actually had a very good plot and I'm leaving it on my Kindle so I can reread it later on. I do that with books I really like.
 
The book uses the concept of ghost hunting and a haunted road to put a new spin on the horror novel. Trimnell does a good job of exploring the psychological motivation of his characters and brings in threats both supernatural and human. I found some of the scenarios truly creepy. Overall, a fun horror read." 

"This was a well written supernatural horror novel. It pulled me in quickly and kept me riveted the whole time. Believable characters, excellent pacing, nice writing. I am not familiar with Edward Trimnell, but if he is another one of these indie/newbie authors, he is a hundred times better than what is typical for those, and they should all look to him as an example for how to do it."

 "It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had to finish! Excellent writing."

 "This was one of the most gripping horror books I have ever read, and it will be one I keep on hand to re-read again and again. I was literally hooked after the first chapter. The story line was original, the characters believable, and the ending unexpected. For anyone who is looking for a fast-paced story for a dark and rainy night, THIS is the one!" 

 "I really enjoyed this book! A young film student gets a great opportunity to work for a well-know "ghost buster". He's promised $2,000 if he will walk down the Shaman Road alone at night, a road reputed to have excessive paranormal activity, and film what he sees. Jason takes the job and begins his eleven mile walk. Spoiler alert: an encounter on the bridge literally made my scalp crawl! Does Jason make it to the end? You'll have to read the book to find out. If you enjoy horror stories that give you the chills and makes you turn on that extra light at night, you'll like this one!"

'Cost': an interesting family novel

I'm not sure if Roxana Robinson would agree with my characterization of her novel Cost as a "family novel". I'm not sure what else to call it, though.

Julia Lambert is a middle-aged college art instructor who is coping with a plate full of family-related issues. Her eightysomething parents are deteriorating both physically and mentally. Her ex-husband, who was unfaithful, is remarried and moving on without her.

But the ex-husband comes back into her life because of another, even more serious problem: the couple's college-aged son, Jack, is addicted to heroin.

Oh, and Julia is hiding an important secret, one that could impact all their lives. But I'll let you read about that for yourself.

Cost is not a novel with car chases and shootouts. But Robinson, like Stuart O'Nan and a few others, has a knack for making the mundane interesting.


I've also read her novel Sparta. This novel is about the struggles of a young veteran who has just returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is trying to reintegrate into civilian life. I would recommend that one as well. But that's another post for another time.


Cost: A Novel


Saturday, March 26, 2016

'The Magicians': SyFy's dull, disappointing sexfest

I must admit that I'm a bit disappointed with SyFy's new series, The Magicians.

I really wanted to like this series, mind you. The premise is intriguing, and somewhat overdue: Brakebills University is a sort of Hogwarts for young adults, a college (as opposed to a grammar school) where magic is taught to aspiring young magicians.

I don't hold the producers of this show (nor the author of the book on which it is based) in any contempt for their obvious borrowings from the Harry Potter franchise. (By that logic, every vampire tale ever told would be a contemptible ripoff of Bram Stoker.) On the contrary, substituting young adults for children opened the way for numerous mature storylines that simply wouldn't have worked with Harry Potter's adolescents.

The problem is that the screenwriters of The Magicians have only one thing on their minds, really. There are a handful of attractive young actresses in this series (Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, etc.) and the writers seem to let no opportunity pass to portray them in various stages of undress. 

This often comes across as cheesy. For example, Dudley's character, Alice Quinn, is a nerdy, somewhat uptight young woman. The screenwriters, capitalizing on Dudley's physical endowments, have made her uniform consist entirely of plunging necklines and too-short skirts. I like attractive young women as much as the next guy, but it looks a bit contrived, an obvious attempt to capitalize on the adolescent "hot librarian" fantasy. (Oh, Alice Quinn compliments her sexy outfit with thick glasses. Groan.)

I recall a scene in a recent episode which began with Stella Maeve (cast as Julia Wicker) attired in an outfit reminiscent of Princess Leia's slave costume in The Return of the Jedi. In walked Alice Quinn (Dudley) and I said to myself, "I bet they're going to kiss." And sure enough, they did.

The screenwriters have picked up on the fact that magic rituals--both of the pre-Christian "neutral" variety as well as the darker black magic kind--often make use of sex. That's fair game, of course; but The Magicians sometimes involves entire scenes in which the characters do nothing but talk endlessly about the upcoming orgy (yes, really) or debate whether or not two characters can pull off a simultaneous orgasm to make a spell successful.

That would be fine, I suppose, if there were more...if the plots were better. But as Playboy recently discovered, sex has become so ho-hum in the permissive 21st century that it's no longer possible to make sex the sole attraction. You have to bring something more to the table.

A final word on the sex part: There are numerous same-sex encounters, often among characters who are fundamentally heterosexual. Conservative Republican that I am, I'm okay with movies that involve gay characters and themes. I thought that both Brokeback Mountain (2006) and Milk (2008) were decent films. But those two movies also had well-considered plots and strong writing. The sense in The Magicians is that the writers are using a kitchen-sink approach to sex: "Hey, viewers, here's an orgy!" "Now..here's a bisexual ménage à trois!"

This is a shame, because, as I mentioned at the start of this review, The Magicians has a premise with plenty of potential. The young actors all do their best with the scripts they are given. Several of the characters, moreover, the aforementioned Julia Wicker, and Penny (played by Arjun Gupta) in particular, are complex and driven by competing motivations. Both Julia and Penny walk the line between good and bad--just like a lot of real people you probably know.

But the screenwriters of The Magicians won't let these characters test their outer limits with more compelling conflicts and situations. In their attempts to be "edgy" by overdoing the sex, the screenwriters of The Magicians have turned their show into a predictable and sadly mediocre product.




The Magicians Season 1 [Blu-ray]


Friday, March 25, 2016

Read "Lilith" through Kindle Unlimited

Not all of my novels are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, but Lilith is, for at least the next three months...




So if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership, you can read it there for free.

Otherwise, you can read Lilith for a mere $2.99, about what you'd pay for a Cafe Latte at Starbucks.









Description:


With Lilith, the search for love can be deadly.

Someone is murdering Ohio men who use dating websites. The men are found in their homes, killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Such is the work of the serial killer codenamed 'Lilith'. But who is Lilith? Is Lilith a 'she'? A 'he'? Or more than one person?

These are the questions that Alan Grooms must answer. Grooms is a detective in the Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation (ODCI).

Together with his partners, Dave Hennessy and Maribel Flynn, Grooms will enter the anonymous world of Internet dating to set a trap of his own.

This will eventually pit him against a homicidal young couple who kill men for profit, a couple who will kill anyone who stands in their way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

'The Walking Dead': best season yet?

This blog is often critical of post-modern, mass media-driven culture in general, and the television and film industry in particular.

But there are exceptions: The Americans, FX's spy series about Russian undercover agents living and operating in the suburban America of the Reagan era, is the most creative television series I have ever seen.

The Walking Dead (AMC), now in its sixth season, would be this blog's second choice for Best Thing on TV.

Not that every season has been stellar. Yes, one or two past seasons of TWD have been sub-standard. The zombocalypse is actually a constraining field of play for a long-running series. There is the inevitable tendency toward self-repetition, as one revisits the constant themes of survival and the methodical killing the omnipresent zombie.

But most seasons of The Walking Dead have been very good, indeed.

The Walking Dead has worked so well for so long because the focus is on strong characters and ambitious storytelling, according to the best traditions of both film and fiction.

You don't tune in to The Walking Dead every week because you want to see yet one more zombie blasted by an AK-47. You tune in because you are invested in the characters, and you want to see how the latest cliffhanger ends.

The Walking Dead is worth your time; and so far, Season 6 is one of the most interesting seasons yet.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Must-read classical literature


One of you asked me to name the “10 greatest books ever”.

But I’m afraid that I can’t give you a neat “top 10” list.

It’s the apples and oranges thing. The criteria used to evaluate a work of crime fiction, for example, is considerably distinct from the criteria used to evaluate a work of science fiction, or a mainstream literary novel. (Genre fiction, in particular, is often evaluated by standards unique to that particular genre.)

Michael Connelly’s The Closers is a great book; but it’s nothing at all like The Count of Monte Cristo, which is great in an entirely different way. Which one is “better”? Well, that depends: The Closers is a compact, gritty crime novel set in twenty-first century Los Angeles. The Count of Monte Cristo is a vast, sweeping panorama of a tale set in post-Napoleonic France.

These two books are apples and oranges, quite literally. More like apples and cucumbers, in fact.

And then there is the vast world of nonfiction—which requires yet another set of criteria.

So we’re going to stick with examining books by category. For today, I’m going to give you the greatest works of classical literature. These are the books that—in the Dictatorship of Ed—every high school student would be required to read prior to being issued a diploma.

And really, I think that the list below could be fit into a four-year high school curricula plan. But that’s another topic for another day. If you’re currently a freshman in high school, you can breathe easy for now; the Dictatorship of Ed doesn't seem imminent.

This is my personal list. Though there is substantial overlap between my list and the list that an academic would compile, I didn't include anything below that I haven’t actually read, at one time or another. This is why I didn't even consider Middlemarch, Emma, or The Brothers Karamazov for inclusion.

I’ve also omitted a handful of works that I thought—for one reason or another—to be overrated. So you won’t find James Joyce’s Ulysses or Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 below. I didn't like either of these books, so I can’t honestly recommend them to you.

I’ve gone beyond books to include short stories, plays, and poetry. The categories should be self-explanatory.


Modern novels (published after 1800)

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck
Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Dracula, Bram Stoker
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
1984, George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A Separate Peace, John Knowles
The Lord of the Flies, William Golding
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
A New Life, Bernard Malamud
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Pearl, John Steinbeck
White Fang Jack London
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper


Short Fiction:

F. Scott Fitzgerald:
“Winter Dreams”
“Bernice Bobs Her Hair”
“The Ice Palace”
“A Diamond as Big as the Ritz”
“Babylon Revisited”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Ernest Hemingway:
“Hills Like White Elephants”
“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"
“Big Two-Hearted River”
“My Old Man”
“The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

Edgar Allan Poe:
“The Fall of the House of Usher”
“The Black Cat”
“The Masque of Red Death”
“The Tell-Tale Heart”
“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

Miscellaneous:
“To Build a Fire” Jack London
“The Monkey’s Paw” WW Jacobs
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Washington Irving
“Bartleby the Scrivener” Herman Melville
“The Minister's Black Veil” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Veldt” Ray Bradbury
“Young Goodman Brown” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Sorrows of Gin” John Cheever


Plays:

William Shakespeare:
Julius Caesar
Othello
Macbeth
Hamlet
King Lear
Romeo and Juliet
Henry V
The Taming of the Shrew
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Taming of the Shrew

Other:
Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand
Arms and the Man, George Bernard Shaw
The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
Our Town, Thornton Wilder
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller


Poetry

“Kubla Khan” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Annabel Lee” Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven” Edgar Allan Poe
“I Hear America Singing” Walt Whitman
“If” Rudyard Kipling
“The Tyger” William Blake
“Death Be Not Proud” John Donne
“Sonnet 18” William Shakespeare
"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" Emily Dickinson
"Musée des Beaux Arts" WH Auden
“The Road Not Taken” Robert Frost
“Advice to a Prophet” Richard Wilbur

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

'Doctor Sleep': not bad, but not 'The Shining'

I've just finished reading Doctor Sleep (2013). This is Stephen King's sequel to one of his early novels, The Shining (1977).

There is a lifetime between the publication of these two books, although they were penned by the same author. Think about it: An infant born on the date of The Shining's release would have been thirty-six years old, in early middle age, before she was able to read Doctor Sleep (and, incidentally, older than King was when he wrote the former book).

It was therefore, perhaps, unrealistic of me to expect that the two books would be similar. In 1977 I was nine years old, besotted by a new science fiction movie called Star Wars. As I write this review, my fiftieth birthday is not the abstraction that it once was, but a date a little more than two years in the future. I've certainly changed since 1977. Why should I expect Stephen King to remain the same as a writer in the intervening years?

Readers of The Shining will find some familiar characters in Doctor Sleep, of course. Throughout most of the sequel, Danny Torrance ("Dan" in Doctor Sleep) is an adult who struggles with alcoholism. A few of the other characters from The Shining--Dan's mother, Wendy, and the beloved Dick Hallorann--make brief cameo appearances. But Doctor Sleep is primarily about Dan.

The reader learns that Dan Torrance has led an irregular life since his childhood traumas in the Overlook Hotel. Unlike his alcoholic father, Jack, Dan is determined to beat the bottle. But his addiction and lingering emotional issues result in his being underemployed. When the main action of the book takes place, Dan is an hourly wage orderly in a hospice. There he is known as "Doctor Sleep", because he uses the remnants of his childhood psychic powers to help elderly hospice patients make peaceful transitions to the Great Beyond.

Now for the book's main conflict: Dan comes to the gradual realization that he must rise above his troubled past to help a young girl, Abra Stone, overcome an attack by a band of homicidal supernatural humanoids called "The True Knot". Abra also possesses "the shining", and she initially contacts Dan using psychic means. The details of those communications are best left for your reading of the book, but this is where the ball gets rolling.

The True Knot (or simply "the True") spends most of their time riding around the country in recreational vehicles, or RVs. The True are vampires of a sort. Although not exactly immortal, they live much longer than normal humans. They sustain their long lives by murdering children, from whom they extract a spiritual essence called "steam".

First, the positive aspects of Doctor Sleep: After all these years of writing fiction, Stephen King has retained his ability to create lifelike, humanly flawed, and sympathetic characters who come to life on the page. When you finish this book, you will feel that you've taken a journey with a man named Dan Torrance. If you’re old enough to be the parent of an adolescent, you may also wish that Abra Stone was your daughter.

That said, Doctor Sleep is a very different book from The Shining, in terms of plot, pacing, mood, tone, and atmosphere.

I remember reading The Shining as a teenager in the summer of 1984. The Shining was a book that I simply had to finish, so taut was the storyline and so eerie the chills. (For my money, the bathtub scene in The Shining remains one of the most powerful moments in speculative fiction.)

Doctor Sleep, to put it quite frankly, rambles and drifts at times. Doctor Sleep was a book that I certainly wanted to finish, but not in a white-heat anticipation to find out: what happens next? And Doctor Sleep is not a short book: the trade paperback edition that I read is 528 pages in length.

Part of the problem with Doctor Sleep can be found with King's choice of antagonists. The True Knot, as alluded to above, have both human and supernatural aspects. This in itself is not a problem. The problem here is that King dwells so much on the sexual, scatological, and otherwise human aspects of the True, that they cease to be effective as supernatural antagonists.

Stephen King doesn't work from outlines, and he is highly unlikely to ever solicit my advice. But if I had been involved in the planning phases of this novel, I would have argued for making the True Knot plain old human villains.

I remember reading King’s novel It in 1986. Several reviewers suggested at the time that It was the book in which Stephen King began to tire of supernatural antagonists.

I am inclined to agree. Since then, Stephen King has written some memorable short stories and some very good novels. But his book-length works on the supernatural have never achieved the full power of his earliest works in this vein: Salem's Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematary, and Christine. (Yes, I am among that comparative minority of readers who liked Christine.)

Also (and I am far from the first reviewer to mention this) Stephen King seems to have made a conscious effort in recent years to distinguish himself as a literary author, versus a mere genre author. Whether you like the results or not will depend on which side of the Great Schism you happen to stand: The Old Stephen King or the New Stephen King.

Count me solidly in the Old Stephen King camp: For me, 11/22/63 (2011) is an interesting novel, but it's no Salem's Lot, and it's not The Shining.

Nor is Doctor Sleep The Shining. As the preceding paragraphs suggest, I was a bit disappointed in Doctor Sleep. But I'm a diehard fan of the Old Stephen King, and I wasn't thoroughly disappointed. While Doctor Sleep has some problems, the good in it still outweighs the bad.

I should also note that most readers seem to like Doctor Sleep better than I did: The book is highly rated on both Goodreads and Amazon.com.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

5-star horror in Kindle Unlimited

I've entered my Ohio horror novel, Eleven Miles of Night, in Kindle Unlimited, so you can now read it there for free if you are a subscriber to that service. Otherwise, you can obtain the Kindle version the usual way. (It's dirt-cheap.)






I entered the book in Kindle Unlimited for the next three months so, quite frankly, more readers would be exposed to it. 

As one Amazon reviewer wrote:


"This was one of the most gripping horror books I have ever read, and it will be one I keep on hand to re-read again and again. I was literally hooked after the first chapter. The story line was original, the characters believable, and the ending unexpected. For anyone who is looking for a fast-paced story for a dark and rainy night, THIS is the one!"

So...what are you waiting for? There are now multiple ways for you to get Eleven Miles of Night on your Kindle, smart phone or tablet, for less than you would spend on a super-latte-grande at Starbucks. 

And unlike that super-latte-grande, Eleven Miles of Night will thrill you for hours, and remain with you long afterward.