Through Thom Tinted Lenses

February 19, 2013

UNDER THE DOME: THE BOOK & THE SERIES by Thom Reese

CBS has announced Under the Dome, a new television series based on the Stephen King book of the same title. I’m very excited – and a little worried – about this one. At roughly eleven hundred pages, and with a hefty cast of characters, the book offers enough source material to fuel at least three televised seasons, perhaps more if CBS holds to the thirteen episode season utilized in season one. But, before I get into the series, let’s take a quick look at the book itself.

THE BOOK: I’ll be blunt; this novel is easily one of King’s best. Not an easy task thirty odd years into a career. As a writer, and as an avid reader, I find it fascinating that at nearly eleven hundred pages Under the Dome never slows down, never becomes dull, there’s no filler or long sections of description devoid of plot or tension. This is all forward momentum. Every page belongs in the book. True, that is not always the case with King. He’s been known to meander in the midst of a tale. Not here. And despite any minor missteps along his lengthy career, Stephen King is one of the most talented writers of this generation. He would have succeeded no matter what his chosen genre.

THE PLOT: A small town in Maine – Who knew?! – is suddenly and completely isolated from the outside world by an invisible dome. Nothing can get in or out, not even aircraft from above. Bombs explode upon impacting the dome, cars crash into it, the townspeople are trapped. What follows can best be described as Lord of the Flies meets The Stand. Lord of the Flies because we now have an isolated microcosm of society where all of the old rules quickly fall away and anarchy rises. The Stand, because, well, it has that epic King feel. That apocalyptic flavor, those unforgettable and well fleshed out characters. And, as with most of King’s work, it’s the characters that bring the story to realization. King is a master at breathing life into his cast, making them more than just plot devices, but allowing them to breathe, to love, to hurt, to hope. He brings us, the readers, into their souls and then sends us away screaming as the characters encounter horrors beyond any known in the natural world.

THE TELEVISION SERIES: This is an ambitious project. Originally slated for cable network, Showtime, CBS snatched it up as their own. (CBS owns Showtime.) Word is that with the success of cable dramas such as The Walking Dead and Homeland, CBS wanted to get in the game of outside-of-the-box programming. Stephen King is involved as an executive producer, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is at the helm. Brian K. Vaughn (Lost) will also serve as an executive producer.  Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) is slated to direct the first episode. It seems a solid cast is being collected, no household names, but familiar faces with solid track records. (Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) as “Big Jim” Rennie, Mike Vogel (Cloverfield) as Dale Barbara, Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle) as Angie McCain)

The show will launch June 24 on CBS with a thirteen episode season but CBS has already committed to additional seasons – expect a cliffhanger ending in episode thirteen. This is a great opportunity for CBS which is known primarily for crime dramas. My only hope is that the network will give the creative team the latitude needed to make this the spectacular series that it can be. How do they do that? Here are a few thoughts:

Stick to the Book: Yes. I understand that in different mediums there are different rules. Ideas that work on the printed page don’t always translate well on the screen. That said, take a page from the Game of Thrones playbook. The HBO series Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire book series. The cast is huge, the scope enormous. Everything that happens in the books can in no way be put to screen. Budgetary and practical matters simply make it impossible. That said, Game of Thrones stays true to the source material. Season one was very close to the book, season two a little less so, but, and this is important, it stayed true to the spirit of the books. Some minor changes were made, some characters combined, some plot threads deleted, some added. But in the end, it all came together to tell essentially the same story. There were no major deviations, nothing that would make a diehard fan fret or curse. Under the Dome has fantastic source material, and, far fewer challenges than Game of Thrones which films on three different continents and has a cast as large as some graduating classes. There’s no reason to stray too far.

Do not make it episodic: Broadcast networks have a long history of episodic television. At its core this is fine. This is the structure on which TV was built. It’s what we’ve all known since childhood. Though there might be some longstanding story arches, each episode tells a complete story, with a clear ending right before the credits role. This model has been broken by shows such as Breaking Bad, Homeland, Dexter, The Walking Dead. In these, each episode is more akin to a chapter in a greater work. It allows for much more depth both in plotting and characterization, and is the direction in which quality television is headed. Under the Dome is based on a novel.  It has a wonderful weave of subplots and rich characters. In this, the producers have been handed a gift. I hope they treat it as such.

Keep the seasons short: Broadcast networks usually order about twenty-six episodes per season while cable networks cut that in half. Most of the best dramas on television have twelve or thirteen episode seasons. Stick with what works. I believe the shorter season allows for more attention to be given to each episode. The overall burden is less, the schedule a bit more forgiving. Season one will have only thirteen episodes, my vote is that they stay with this formula.

Keep Stephen King involved: It’s his original work. It’s his original vision. He’s one of the bestselling authors of our time. Keep him close, follow his lead.

As for me, I’ll be watching on June 24. Hopeful, but cautious. This series has great potential. I sincerely hope it attains this.

What’s happening with Thom?

A quick update on my recent activities: I’m writing furiously on my third Huntington novel, tentatively titled, A SAVAGE DISTANCE. It picks up soon after the events of CHASING KELVIN and will be released later this year.

My primary publisher, Speaking Volumes, has announced the release of two CD sets of my audio dramas, one within the next few weeks and the other this summer. These are full-cast, fully produced, modern-day audio dramas with sound effects, original music, and contemporary themes. I wrote and directed each while my talented wife, Kathy, wrote and performed the scores for each episode as well as engineered the project. We co-produced. The first CD set will contain six stand-alone stories, the second will be Marc Huntington Adventures. (The stand-alone stories are found in short story format in my book, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER & MADNESS. The Huntington dramas are streamlined versions of  DEAD MAN’S FIRE and CHASING KELVIN.) These are a lot of fun, I’m very proud of them, and I think you’ll enjoy them. (Okay, yes, I am a bit biased, but I stand by my statement none-the-less!)

Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes and two  CD collections of these are set for release in 2012. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Purchase Thom Reese novels at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=thom+reese&sprefix=thom+reese%2Caps%2C464

CHECK OUT THE NEW AUDIO DRAMA RELEASES AT:  http://speakingvolumes.us/detail.asp?pid=837

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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December 11, 2012

THE WALKING DEAD PHENOMENON: What broadcast networks Can Learn from Cable Dramas by Thom Reese

Filed under: entertainment,horror,media,television — Thom Reese @ 9:52 am
Tags: , ,

Most of you know me as an author and a book lover. Which I am. But, at the heart of this is the fact that I’m a lover of stories. I love fiction. I love tales. Drama, whether grounded in worlds real or imagined enthrall me. All this to say that in addition to books, I love stories told on the screen as well. And as such, I’m very excited about some changes in the television landscape.

I love it when something defies all conventions and expectations. Four years ago when I first learned that The Walking Dead – a comic book series about zombies – was to be launched by AMC as a weekly series, I was excited that something this far outside of the box would make it onto the schedule. Everything went against conventional wisdom. Genre television shows as a rule tend to struggle. There have been exceptions through the years. Star Trek the Next Generation was a huge success, though the original Star Trek series struggled through its entire run and was cancelled after three seasons. Dark Shadows was a hit back in the sixties, but it wasn’t until recently with True Blood that another horror television show has truly succeeded. And True Blood’s numbers, while good, are not earth-shattering.

Enter The Walking Dead. A weekly zombie gore-fest based on a comic book series. It’s not just a hit. It’s a phenomenon. The Walking Dead has done something that no cable television show has ever done before. Not The Sopranos. Not Dexter, Breaking Bad, none of them. The Walking Dead is beating its broadcast competition. There’s a common misconception that, as a rule, cable television is beating broadcast television. After all, cable has most of the cool, trendy shows, the water cooler shows that everyone talks about the next day at work. But, in reality, cable numbers are usually well below broadcast numbers. A cable hit such as Dexter or Homeland might land two million viewers where a broadcast episode of NCIS reaches 12-14 million. Part of this stems from the simple fact that nearly every household in the country has access to broadcast TV while only about 70% of households get cable or satellite.

All the more amazing, that The Walking Dead can now boast 15.2 million viewers.

Look at that number again: 15.2 million.

The Walking Dead has done what no other show has done before by becoming the first ever cable television show to beat every other show in the prime 18-49 age demographic.

A zombie show.

Based on a comic book series.

Why?

I believe the answer is quite simple. It’s a quality show.

As are many other cable dramas. The most talked about dramas on television are all aired on cable networks: Breaking Bad, Homeland, Game of Thrones, Dexter, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy.

What do these shows all have in common?

Many people will jump to the obvious differences between broadcast and cable. On cable television there can be more violence. Profanity is allowed as is nudity. But while these things may appeal to many viewers, in truth, they’re only icing. Very few people return to a show week after week just so they can hear profanity, or catch a glimpse of a breast, or see blood and gore. People don’t watch The Walking Dead because of the gore. In fact, many people watch it in spite of the gore. Viewers don’t tune in to Dexter to see dismemberment, or to game of Thrones simply to see the occasional breast.

They come back because these are quality dramas.

So, what’s different about these shows? What separates them from their broadcast counterparts?

First, let’s look at the broadcast drama paradigm. With only a handful of exceptions, broadcast dramas fall into three categories: crime, medical, and legal. Most series are episodic in nature. As in, the story is introduced and brought to conclusion all in the space of a single episode. There might be some lingering plot arcs that carry through a season, but the primary plot line of each episode is closed in forty-two minutes of actual story.

Not so in these quality cable dramas. There is no set paradigm.  These hits are not traditional in nature. These are not variations on CSI or Law and Order. The Mentalist would never be considered by Showtime or HBO. HBO’s Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin’s amazing book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, is a fantasy series – and quite possibly the best series currently on television. Dexter and Breaking Bad both have criminals as their lead characters. Homeland is about terrorism. Mad Men about  an advertising agency.  Sons of Anarchy about bikers.

At common among these programs: Well-developed characters, complex plotting that spreads a single story arc over an entire season or more, and quality acting and production. Game of Thrones is shot on three different continents using real castles and scenery. It looks more like a movie than it does a television show. The Walking Dead has makeup and effects every bit as good as those seen in many horror films. The characters in these shows live and breathe. We, the viewers, want to know what happens to them, how and if they’ll survive.

This brings me back to The Walking Dead. It really isn’t a show about zombies. It’s a show about people. Zombies are the backdrop. It could have just as easily been a post nuclear war setting, an alien invasion, Nazis – anything. The show is about the people. The characters ring true. The viewers come back each week to see if their favorite character survives. And yes, in these quality dramas, central characters can die. It’s not like the broadcast model where everything essentially remains static throughout an entire season with only the season finale to eliminate characters for the next season – the elimination usually having more to do with contract issues than with anything truly plot related. The people in these shows, whether human, alien, hero or villain, are well developed. Characters die or change drastically as a result of events. The scripts are strong, allowing characters to grow and change.

The broadcast networks need to look seriously at the cable drama world. I’m sure there’s quite a bit of head scratching going on in network conference rooms right now. How could a cable zombie show beat us? We’re the major leagues. Who are these upstarts and who do they think they are? But what they need to realize is that now that the viewing public has been exposed to high quality stories in a televised format, they won’t be satisfied with the standard fare. My prediction is that we’ll soon see other cable shows beating their broadcast counterparts. And as this becomes more common, the big four will be forced to adapt. And as they adapt, we’ll see a higher caliber of drama coming to the broadcast airwaves. I look forward to it.

A side note: CBS has announced that it will be producing a television series based on Stephen King’s novel, Under the Dome. Showtime was originally slated to carry the project but CBS snatched it up. (CBS owns Showtime.) My understanding is that the move was made in response to the success of shows such as The Walking Dead. Maybe they’re starting to get the hint. My only hope is that they do the series justice. I loved the book and feel much more comfortable with it in the hands of Showtime than CBS. I hope CBS proves my concern to be unnecessary.

 

Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Purchase Thom Reese novels at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_10?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=thom+reese&sprefix=thom+reese%2Caps%2C464

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

July 22, 2012

LAUNDRY LIST OF BAD BEHAVIOR BY THOM REESE

Filed under: books,culture,entertainment — Thom Reese @ 4:29 am
Tags: , , ,

We are proud. We are strong. We overcome. We give to charity, help the poor, and stand up for the rights of the downtrodden. And then in our spare time we act like the same dumb beasts we’ve been since time eternal. Do you doubt me? If so, I invite you to scan this list of poor behavior and count how many you’ve encountered – or performed – this past week. No condemnation. Just fun. Let’s have a look.

Ignoring the person one’s with in favor of the much more interesting smart phone: How many times have you sat with someone – completely ignored – as they stare fixedly at their phone, texting, facebooking, tweeting, Googling, or any other number of ings?

Riding a 25 MPH scooter on a 45 MPH street: Honestly, stay to the side where you belong. That thing is not a Harley and you’re going to cause an accident as everyone tries to maneuver around you.

Pants hanging down to south of the equator: I’ve thought of this phenomenon for some time now and have determined that the only possible explanation is some sort of severe brain damage early in life. Really, does anyone actually think it’s cool to flash soiled boxers at the world? Besides, it makes these fools walk like penguins.

Ridiculous public displays of affection: We get it, you’re in love. Many of us are as well. But please, keep your tongue in your own mouth until you get home.

Texting while driving: Ah yes, back to our buddy the smart phone. This decade’s number one BFF. Trust me, the phone will not be offended if you set it down while you’re driving. In fact, the Surgeon General has determined that slamming into the back of an eighteen wheeler while texting can be hazardous to your health.

…And texting in a movie theater: No, this isn’t potentially lethal, but that constant glow is very annoying to the people sitting close by and likely to cause disruption of your service as the guy sitting behind you grinds your phone into the floor with his heel.

Racism: Really. If you’re still basing your impressions of a person on skin color, go back to where you belong and tell the 1950s I said hello when you get there. Time to move on, people. Expand your thinking. Finally pursue that GED. Join the human race. Buy a smart phone. That way some aspect of you will display intelligence.

Public smoking (cigar, cigarette, etc.): Let’s be honest. These things smell like burning, sweaty, fungus-laden gym socks. Even short exposure will cause the repugnant odor to stick to hair, clothes, everything in the room, and linger for hours. If you’re so unconcerned about your own health as to cling to this harmful and outdated habit, at least have the decency to keep it to yourself.

Companies that hire telephone customer service reps with English as a twenty-second language: “Hello! Hello! I can’t understand a word you’re saying. What? Sway the bull? Oh! Pay in full. Yes, yes, I will sway the bull.” Really? Give me that smart phone. I’ll pay online while navigating the freeway.

Overly aggressive drivers: I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how rude I was by activating my turn signal with the expectation that someone – anyone! – would allow me to merge. My fault. Next time I’ll make the entire twenty mile trip in the right lane just so I don’t inconvenience my fellow drivers.

The sock gremlin: I don’t know who this guy is, but he really gets on my nerves.

People with bad breath that insist on standing two inches from ones face: Unless you’re my wife, take a couple of steps back. I’ll hear you just fine.

Automated answering systems that initiate a fifteen minute gauntlet before a person can connect with a live customer service representative to ask a simple question: Whoever sets these things up should be forced to utilize the system for every call they make. Yes, including personal calls. “If you’d like to speak with your mother, press one. To reimburse your mother for years of frustration and financial difficulty, press two, to leave a belated Mother’s Day greeting press…”

Drunk drivers: If you want to have a good time, fine, that’s your right. Just don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Having an extended conversation with the grocery checker while a line of seventeen people waits: Step aside. Have a conversation with your smart phone. It’s lonely.

People who have nothing to say but just won’t shut up: No offence, but no one cares how you treat your laundry, where you bought your pants, or how you organize your closet. Buy a dog. Give it a smart phone.

People who write obnoxious blogs: Um… Oops!

 

AND NOW AN ANNOUNCEMENT!!

I’M VERY PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF MY NEW THRILLER, CHASING KELVIN!

Marc and Dana Huntington are back in an adventure that that will forever change their lives and rock them to the very core.

Government officials assassinated all about the globe. Seemingly unconnected terrorist attacks shake four continents. Former Delta Force commander Marc (Hunt) Huntington and his wife, ex British intelligence officer Dana, are thrust into the fray when they uncover a terrorist plot onboard a speeding train – a plot that might originate at the highest levels of U.S. government. Savagely attacked, Dana is caught in a web of conspiracy as an unwilling pawn. Hunt races against time to find the elusive cure to a deadly militarized bacterium before tens of thousands perish. What is the connection to the dozens of comatose forms secreted away in a concealed Swiss retreat? Is there a link to the Huntington’s bizarre find in the Amazon Jungle some months before? Will Dana escape nearly certain death?

Filled with breathtaking suspense and nonstop danger, this is a thriller you won’t put down until you’ve turned the final shocking page.

Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Kelvin-ebook/dp/B008FRA2YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341060846&sr=1-1&keywords=chasing+kelvin

Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Check out the first Huntington adventure, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335623524&sr=1-1

LEARN THE SECRET of a strange race known as THE EMPTY at http://www.amazon.com/The-Empty-ebook/dp/B006UN0LJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342274358&sr=1-1&keywords=the+empty+by+thom+reese

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

July 4, 2012

AN INTERVIEW WITH MARC & DANA HUNTINGTON

Filed under: Adventure,books,entertainment,Thriller — Thom Reese @ 5:26 am
Tags: , , ,

To celebrate the release of my new thriller, CHASING KELVIN, I’m featuring an interview with Marc and Dana Huntington, the stars of my novels, CHASING KELVIN and DEAD MAN’S FIRE.

THOM: Welcome Marc and Dana. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules for this interview. I know you’re in the midst of the events chronicled in CHASING KELVIN.

DANA: Yes, we are. Things have not gone too terribly well to this point.

THOM: Well, I hope things all work out in the end.

HUNT: You wrote the book, you should know.

THOM: Very true. And I’m not telling.  So, Hunt, why don’t you begin by telling our readers a little about yourselves?

HUNT: Yeah. I guess the first thing they need to know is that Dana and I are recovery specialists.

THOM: And what exactly is a recovery specialist?

DANA: We make our living by recovering people and things that have gone missing.

HUNT: We get paid with reward money. Say, someone’s kidnapped a senator’s daughter…

DANA: Or a sheik’s wife.

HUNT: We locate and recover that person and collect the reward.

DANA: Or perhaps an ancient artifact or a famous painting is stolen. We recover those valuable items. Our adventures take us all about the globe. Quite fascinating, really. There’s always plenty of danger, twists and turns, intrigue.

THOM: So, what are your backgrounds? How did you come to be recovery specialists?

DANA: I’m former MI-6.

HUNT: That’s like the British CIA. Think of Dana as computer genius meets James Bond. Talented woman – and beautiful.

THOM: And, Dana, why did you leave MI-6?

DANA: That bit’s rather dodgy. I made the mistake of falling in love with and marrying an international criminal I’d been assigned to monitor. Things didn’t go well for me at MI-6 after that.

THOM: I’m sure we’ll learn more about that at a later date. Hunt, what’s your background?

HUNT: Delta Force. Special Ops. Things went sideways during what was to be my last mission in Iraq. Some of my men died. So did a child. An explosion damaged the left side of my face and caused memory loss. It all came down on me. My poor choices, my irresponsibility. I wound up with a dishonorable discharge. Thanks for asking, by the way.

THOM: Your exploits have been recorded in two books so far, DEAD MAN’S FIRE and CHASING KELVIN. Tell us about those adventures.

HUNT: Well, we were awesome.

DANA: I believe he’d like more specifics, dear.

HUNT: Right, right. DEAD MAN’S FIRE is set in the Amazon Rainforest. Very cool place. But it rains a lot.

DANA: A young paleontologist went missing after a major discovery.

HUNT: It seems there were multiple factions, all interested in this discovery. Some were willing to do just about anything to get their hands on it.

DANA: It was quite a romp. Mysterious ancient writings, dozens of comatose bodies hidden in a cave, gun fights, chases, deceptions, it was all quite thrilling really.

HUNT: And, who was it in the middle of it all? Oh, yeah, your ex-husband.

DANA: Well, I think that’s enough about DEAD MAN’S FIRE.

THOM: Fair enough. Would one of you like to tell us about CHASING KELVIN?

DANA: Certainly. We were on a cross country train, tracking a jewel thief named Kelvin Donnelley. He’d stolen a valuable diamond. We were about to recover it when Hunt discovered a terrorist plot onboard. Things went very poorly after that.

HUNT: The terrorist made their play. Dana was…

DANA: Don’t give too much away, dear.

HUNT: Okay. Well, something serious happened concerning Dana. It sent me chasing across the country as coordinated terrorist attacks took place around the globe. The death toll is still mounting and every discovery leads me to another mystery. Government officials are compromised; the situation continues to get worse. And Dana’s caught in the middle of this… situation.

THOM: I think you’ve told us plenty. Thank you both for sharing with us. I appreciate your candor.

Check out CHASING KELVIN at http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Kelvin-ebook/dp/B008FRA2YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341060846&sr=1-1&keywords=chasing+kelvin

And DEAD MAN’S FIRE AT  http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335623524&sr=1-1

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, CHASING KELVIN, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

March 8, 2012

DEAD MAN’S FIRE Chapter 1

Filed under: Book Reviews,books,entertainment,publishing — Thom Reese @ 5:44 am
Tags: , ,

In today’s blog I’ve posted Chapter 1 of my first Marc Huntington thriller, Dead Man’s Fire, which is now available. I hope you enjoy.

 

DEAD MAN’S FIRE

 

Chapter 1

 

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Boarding the yacht wasn’t the problem. Boarding without detection, sneaking below deck, stealing the priceless Cobra of Cyrus, then fleeing undetected, that was the problem. Recovery specialist, Marc Huntington – Hunt, to those who knew him well – rose quietly out of the cool, dark water and ascended three steps up the dive ladder located at the aft of the seventy-six foot motor yacht named The Lady of the Cape. Dana, his wife and partner, would remain in their rented, much smaller, craft unless needed. I.e., unless Hunt was discovered. Hunt was hoping Dana could stay off of the yacht for this particular operation.

“Do be careful,” she’d said in that irresistible British lilt of hers. “I don’t fancy a ruckus. We do have dinner reservations at ten.”

Hunt had chuckled. “No ruckus. I promise. Heaven help me if I ruin our dinner plans.”

“It’s at De Kelder!” laughed Dana with mock indignation. “The waiting list is a week at best.”

“I’m a Midwest boy. You sure we can’t just catch a burger?”

“Oh, you are horrible,” she’d laughed, smacking him lightly on the rump as he’d prepared to enter the water.

“I do what I can,” smiled Hunt.

“Love you,” she’d said with a peck to his cheek.

“Love you too,” he’d said before finding her lips with his own.

Baruti and Abri Lekota, the owners of this floating Shangri-La, were attending a dinner engagement on another yacht docked roughly a quarter of a mile distant in another birth at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club. They were not due back for at least two hours. Unfortunately, this did not mean that the craft was unattended. Based on his research, Hunt knew that two guards were to be stationed, one fore and one aft. He also knew that they were rarely at their appointed stations. Often the two simply lounged on the forward deck, playing poker, and scoping out bikinis on neighboring vessels. Fortunately, this was the case as Hunt peered onto the bare deck, illuminated now only by the sliver of a moon. Even so, Hunt needed to act with care. The guards, seemingly lackluster or not, were former military and heavily armed. Being spotted could have deadly consequences.

Though the Lekota’s were quite wealthy, and the yacht well stocked with fineries, until now, it had not housed a rare artifact worth millions. Hunt had been surprised that they’d not increased security all the more since taking hold of the piece. Surprised, but not disappointed. From what Hunt had read Baruti Lekota was a man whose ego was so large as to dismiss any thought that someone could possibly have the gall to come aboard and take his property.

Hunt was fine with taking the man down a notch or two.

Besides, the cobra wasn’t even his property. It had been stolen some six weeks prior from Sir Edmond Graham Foliar of Cheshire England. The authorities had been unsuccessful in locating the relic, and so Sir Foliar had offered a generous reward. Hunt wanted the reward money, and had subsequently tracked the cobra to this yacht. Nice and neat, the way he liked it. Now all he needed to do was secure the prize and slip off the boat without being detected.

The plan was for Dana to motor over to the yacht and chat up the guards with nonsense about being a tourist on holiday in Port Elizabeth. Her rather colorful east London accent and bubbly personality would likely entertain them while Hunt slipped aboard and made off with the treasure undetected.

That was the theory at least.

Dana considered the plan simplistic and droll. This, thought Hunt, was how Dana saw most of his plans. But, simplicity, he had learned, was a considerable weapon. An overly complicated plan made improvisation difficult when everything went deep south. And, in truth, that was where most plans went. Anyone with field experience knew that a plan was merely a starting point; ingenuity, decisiveness, and quick action brought you home alive.

It was mid-evening, eight pm local time, and Hunt’s body clock had still not clicked over from Pacific Time U.S. But the water was cool, the breeze refreshing, and he was counting on an adrenaline kick to see him through. Truly, it wasn’t so much the jetlag that got him as it was the idiot medication he took to stave the ferocious migraine headaches that had plagued him since the explosion on that final day in Iraq.

Hunt’s gut tightened as he heard the single outboard engine approaching from the east, and then the subtle swish of water against fiberglass as Dana cut the engine and coasted lazily toward The Lady of the Cape. It was show time and that meant nearly anything could happen. “Hallo! Do either of you gentle-men speak English?” he heard Dana say. They both did. Hunt and Dana had done their research. Though, IsiXhosa was the most common language, English was used in international trade, and most of the wealthy – and their hired help – knew the language fairly well.

“I speak English,” shouted one of the guards. It was the guard on the star-board side, the heavier and, most likely, less agile of the two.

“I’m a bit befuddled,” said Dana. “Just in from out of town and all that.” Hunt smiled. She was playing up her cockney accent, drawing on her east London roots in an attempt to entertain the two. Her colorful vernacular was a treat, and it was one of the things Hunt loved about her, but, having attended Cambridge University on scholarship and then going through intense language and speech training with MI6, Dana could turn it on and off at will, often times distancing herself from her working class upbringing with precise and delicate verbiage. Queen’s English, she called it.

This was not one of those times.

“Blimey!” she said with ludicrous verve. “Do you blokes ‘ave a zoo in Port Elizabeth? I just love a good zoo. An‟ fish „n chips! All this water, you’d think there’d be bleedin’ fish „n chips on every corner.”

Liza Doolittle, eat your heart out.

Suppressing a chuckle, Hunt crept up the ladder and onto the deck.

“Bugger this! The wind’s kicking up,” chimed Dana. “Does the wind al-ways knock you about so?”

Five quick steps across the gently rolling deck and Hunt made the descending stairwell. Having memorized the floor plan and casually interviewed several close friends of the couple, Hunt knew exactly where to go. Once below, there was a small foyer-like area, followed by a hatch leading to the engine room. Hunt marched through this and to yet another hatch leading into the lush cabin, which could also be accessed from the forward side via a winding staircase. The room was spacious enough as far as cabins went: wood paneled walls, lush red carpeting, a Monet hanging above the headboard of the bed. But, like all offshore accommodations, it felt tight and ill-fitted to the unaccustomed. There was a queen sized bed directly before him now, a sink and a three sided closet to his right. Hunt made his way to the closet, opened it, and then knelt before the gunmetal gray safe on the floor.

Quickly, he removed a small leather case from his watertight backpack and, laying it on the carpeted floor, withdrew an E500XT electric lock pick, two picking needles, three tension tools, and a hex wrench. He could hear the two guards laughing at Dana from above – probably ogling her as well; the daughter of a British father and Vietnamese mother, her stunning Euro-Asian features, clear blue-violet eyes, silky black hair, and athletic physique, made her quite appealing to behold.

As a former Delta Force operative, Hunt had been a master lock pick, able to breach nearly any lock in under a minute, but his frequent headaches brought about by the bomb blast now made it difficult for him to concentrate on some-thing so detailed. In truth, with his considerable combat experience, Hunt would likely have been the better choice for taking out the guards should there be the need, leaving the lock picking in Dana’s expert hands, but he’d been bullheaded about it and so here he was.

Taking a long cleansing breath, Hunt narrowed his gaze, attempting to maintain focus. He nearly had it. Just a little twist and…

No.

Even with electronic equipment, he had trouble with the task. This wouldn’t have happened before Iraq.

Virtually nothing was the same as before Iraq.

Hunt angled his head so that his right ear – his only functioning ear – was toward the hatch. He could still hear the voices from above and forward, but had he just heard something aft, a subtle thump perhaps? He paused, listened, waited another moment longer. No. Nothing. Not at the moment at least.

Returning his attention to the safe, he adjusted the E500XT, and then paused. There it was again. Someone was approaching from the engine room. It was then that the figure appeared in the hatchway.

“Oh, bloody hell,” whispered the man, who, like Hunt, was wearing a drip-ping wetsuit. “This is just brilliant.”

No obvious weapon, casual stance, an easy grin, Hunt’s gut told him this man was not an immediate threat. Still, he rose to meet the man face-to-face, legs spread wide, slightly crouched at the waist, ready to spring. Gut instinct or no, he had to be prepared for the unexpected.

“Who are you?” asked Hunt, whispering as well. “You’re not on Lekota’s staff.” Still he scanned the man for sign of a weapon, while keeping a close watch on the intruder’s hands and eyes, the two most obvious tells of an impending attack.

The intruder chuckled. “Great. A yank. Well, genius, it appears that I – like you – am here for the Cobra of Cyrus. Dated 500 BCE, or so I’m told. Worth more than a shilling or two as well.”

Though tensed, and prepared for action, Hunt had to smile. “Perfect,” he said. “A thief.”

The man shrugged. “I prefer to think of myself as a liberator of fine property.” His sharp devilish eyebrows furrowed just then. It seemed he’d just had his first good look at Hunt. “My God, man. What happened to your face?”

Hunt shrugged. “Suicide bomber. Iraq. Things could have gone better that day.”

“Bloody well right they could have,” said the man, who, unlike Hunt, had not the slightest hint of disfigurement. He was perhaps thirty-five, lean, not as muscular as Hunt, but firm none-the-less. He had deep-set chocolate brown eyes positioned below two expressive black brows. His still-wet hair was jet black. Not a silver streak to be found. His mouth was broad, and seemed to seek occasion to offer a perpetual grin. “So, how are we going to handle this?” he asked, inclining his head toward the safe. “Mind if I have a crack. Seems the lock’s giving you a bit of a hitch.”

Hunt smiled. “Not a chance, buddy. I’m here first.”

“Well, yes, of course you were. But, you see, this isn’t grammar school. You can’t call dibs.”

It was then that both men heard running footsteps from above. “Great! You alerted the guards,” hissed Hunt.

“Me? I could hear you clattering about in here all the way from Wilshire.”

“Sounds like they split up. One coming from the fore, the other aft.”

“I’ll deal with the fore,” smiled the intruder. “As it seems you’re the bigger aft!”

Hunt groaned. The man’s humor was worse than his own. He might find he liked this guy. Without another word, Hunt moved to beside the engine room hatch. Yes, there was definitely someone coming. The guard had slowed some, apparently now deciding that stealth would serve him well. Hiding just within a small alcove adjacent the spiral stairs, the Brit had flattened himself against the wood paneled bulkhead, tensed and ready to spring. Hunt made eye contact. Both men nodded, grinned, and then it began.

Hunt had drawn the heavier of the guards – the one he’d assumed to be rather out of shape and less the threat for it. A quick roundhouse kick to the gut, an uppercut to the jaw, and the man dropped his weapon, a 9 mm Heckler & Koch MP5, a rather nasty weapon for routine security, thought Hunt. But, before Hunt could land another blow, two massive fists hammered down on the back of his neck. The man was much faster – much stronger – than anticipated.

Hunt fell to his knees, and continued directly into a roll, not allowing his opponent to land another blow. The weapon was only perhaps four feet distant, lying on the carpeting at the foot of the bed. But before Hunt could wrap his fingers about it, the guard’s booted right foot connected squarely just below his left ribcage.

Hunt tumbled to his right, arms instinctively cradling his belly as his face struck a bedpost.

Just then, the other guard careened into Hunt’s opponent, apparently tossed by the British thief. Impressive. It seemed the man had skills.

Still cradling his side with his right arm, Hunt rose unsteadily to his feet, ducked a rather vicious blow from the smaller guard, and was grabbed from behind by the larger man.

Hunt slammed an elbow into the man’s gut, twisted, pulled, and flipped the burly man over his right shoulder, sending him somersaulting onto the corner of the bed, where he bounced once and then tumbled sideways onto the floor with a prolonged grunt. Before he could lift his head or gain his bearings, the man was zapped with a Taser. Hunt glanced quickly around for the second guard only to find that he was already down, apparently tased as well.

Grinning, Hunt nodded at his wife – who still held the Taser – just as the thief said, “Dana?”

Dana’s eyes went wide. “Jonathan?”

“Wait,” said Hunt. “You know her?”

“Of course, I know her,” said the other. “Do you?”

“Yes!”

“Who are you?” asked both men simultaneously.

“I’m her husband,” answered both.

Hunt’s gaze slid from Dana to the thief and back again. “I think I’m missing something here.”

“I’m her husband,” repeated the man. “Who the bleeding hell are you?”

One of the guards quivered, jerked, and shuddered at Hunt’s feet. He ignored the man. “Dana?”

“Well, Jonathan’s an ex-husband, really,” she said with a bit of a huff.

“No, not exactly,” said the man called Jonathan as he gently ran his finger-tips across a rather large lump developing on his left temple.

“Fine points,” shrugged Dana.

“Okay, wait a minute,” said Hunt as he stepped squarely between the two. “This guy…”

“Jonathan,” said the man. “Jonathan Thorpe. Pleased to meet you.” Thorpe extended his hand, a gesture Hunt ignored.

“Okay, Thorpe here. You’re married to him?”

“Not any longer.”

“Again,” said Thorpe. “That’s not entirely…”

“We’re done, Jonathan. Bloody well deal with it,” snapped Dana. Thorpe held up his hands in a sign of surrender and backed up a step as Hunt faced Dana directly.

“So are you divorced or aren’t you?” asked Hunt.

“I’m legally married to you,” was her rather evasive response.

Hunt glared at her, a piercing pain developing in his gut. “And, yet you felt no compulsion to tell me that you’d been married before, that you may or may not be divorced?”

“It’s complicated.”

“That’s the best you can do – complicated?”

“Blimey, Hunt, what do you expect me to say?”

“Well, the truth comes to mind.”

The larger of the two guards groaned, shifted a bit, and made a feeble move toward his Heckler & Koch. Annoyed, Hunt gave him a swift kick to the gut and tossed the gun onto the bed.

“It happened while I was with MI6,” said Dana. “There are security issues, classified events and whatnot.”

“Security issues about your marriage? Dana, I’ve rolled with your cloak and dagger MI6 baggage until now, but do you really expect me to believe that you were forbidden to tell me about a previous marriage?”

“Hunt, can we please…” But, Dana never finished the sentence, for it was then that her eyes went wide. The argument had lasted less than a minute, but that was all the distraction Thorpe had needed to open the safe and retrieve the prize. Now he stood, the guard’s Heckler & Koch in his right hand, and the magnificent Cobra of Cyrus cradled under his left arm, its stunning ruby eyes glinting in the subtle artificial light and its silver coils seemingly wrapped around Thorpe’s forearm.

“Really, Jonathan? A gun? We both know you won’t shoot,” said Dana with a rather dramatic roll of the eyes.

“Oh, no. You, my dearest, I would never harm. But my replacement… Well, sorry chap. You seem like a good enough sort, but all’s fair and all that rot. Nothing personal.”

“Oh, it’s personal,” groused Hunt. “It doesn’t get much more personal.”

“Hmph,” shrugged Thorpe with a cheeky grin. “Well, yes, I suppose you’re right. But, as for now, I bid you adieu. And as for Frankenstein here, really, she is out of your league, man. You’ve got to know that.”

With that, he slowly crossed to the spiral staircase, being careful to keep the gun trained on Hunt even as he backed up the rounded stairs and out of sight.

When Hunt finally made the deck, he was just in time to see Thorpe pulling away in a dual engine speedboat. With a broad grin and an affable wave, the thief shouted, “Call me, dearest. We’ve loads of catching up.”

Hunt kicked a nearby torpedo buoy as he stared grimly at the retreating boat. Jonathan Thorpe had stolen the Cobra of Cyrus right from before his eyes. If only that had been the worst event of the day.

TO ORDER DEAD MAN’S FIRE CLICK http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331211836&sr=8-4

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. The second Marc Huntington novel, CHASING KELVIN, is due for release this spring. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

January 8, 2012

Thom Interviews Author T.W. Fendley


IN THIS POST:

 

Thom’s Happenings

Thom Interviews Author T.W. Fendley

Thom’s Happenings

Today’s blog features an interview with fantasy/science fiction writer T.W. Fendley, but before we move into our feature article I’d like to bring you up to speed on my current projects and releases. I’ve just completed work on my second Marc Huntington novel, CHASING KELVIN, which should be released late spring. The publisher of this series, Speaking Volumes, has asked me to continue with the series so there will be a third Huntington novel in 2013, and likely each year to come for the foreseeable future.

BIG NEWS! My first novel with publisher L & L Dreamspell, THE EMPTY, is due for release this month. The eBook version is now accessible at http://www.amazon.com/The-Empty-ebook/dp/B006UN0LJ6/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1325947161&sr=8-9  while print versions should be on sale within 1-2 weeks. I’m very excited about this book and am already plotting a sequel. THE EMPTY focuses on a people who have a faulty and incomplete genetic matrix and must infuse DNA from others – mostly from human sources, but sometimes animal as well. Some live among us, others on the outskirts of humanity in animal-like packs. This one is very special to me, and I hope you check it out.

And now…

 

An Interview with T.W. Fendley

T.W. Fendley writes historical fantasy and science fiction. While researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, she fell in love with ancient American cultures. Her debut historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME, was released in October 2011. She won the 9th NASFiC 2007 short story contest, and has a story in the Dreamspell Sci Fi Vol. 1 anthology. Fendley belongs to the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Broad Universe and the Historical Novel Society.

Why don’t you start by telling me about your most recent release?

To put things in perspective, the title–Zero Time–refers to Dec. 21, 2012, when the Earth comes into alignment with the galaxy’s dark rift for the first time in 26,000 years. It’s also considered the end of the Mayan calendar cycle that began in August 3114 BCE. Here’s the book blurb: As Zero Time nears, only Keihla Benton can save two worlds from the powers of Darkness. But first she must unlock the secrets of Machu Picchu and her own past. 

You write historical fantasy. What genre(s) do you like to read?

Fantasy is currently my favorite, and I love books with a strong historical or scientific element. I’ve also enjoyed a lot of young adult books lately, and I’m a sucker for quirky. I used to read (and write) horror and traditional mysteries, but not so much anymore.

What draws you to historical fantasy?

I write historical fantasy and sci fi for the same reason I studied journalism and art in college–I wanted to be able to continue to learn and to express my creativity on a daily basis. Speculative fiction lets me do the research that I love, as well as follow where my imagination leads me.

What is your writing routine?

Truthfully, right now I’m out of my routine since I’m trying to get a handle on marketing. Generally, the first thing I do when I wake up is grab a cup of decaf coffee and write. I’m definitely a morning person.

Do you begin with plot or characters?

A concept or setting usually gets me started, then I figure out how to tell a story around it. That’s what happened when I read about the sex-chromosome drive in Matt Ridley’s book, GENOME. I thought, What if people had this disorder that causes 97 percent of the offspring to be female? That became the motivation for the characters in my book, ZERO TIME, to travel to Earth to try and save their race from extinction.  

Tell us about the characters in your most recent work.

Their names tell a lot about each of my characters, who are inspired by their mythic namesakes. For instance, Xmucane, the leader of the expedition to Earth in ZERO TIME, is the divine grandmother and daykeeper in Maya mythology. Keihla Benton is named after Quilla, the Inca moon goddess. As a modern woman, Keihla finds she must get in touch with her innate powers as a Daughter of Light.   

What are you currently writing?

My next project will be the sequel to ZERO TIME, which I actually started in 2010 during NanoWrimo. Additionally, Beta readers are reviewing my young adult fantasy, also set in Peru, called THE LABYRINTH OF TIME. It’s about two teenagers who telepathically receive messages left by an ancient race on engraved stones. Oh, and a hairless Peruvian dog named Boss Lady helps them on their quest.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

Sit down and write. I tell myself that, too, when I get distracted. Join a writing group to help you stay focused and keep you striving for excellence.

What type of story do you most like to write? Why?

I like the juxtaposition of the imaginative with scientific, metaphysical or historical elements. If I’m going to spend from a month to a year working on a story, I want it to be something that fascinates me.

How did you get your start in writing? How did you land your first book contract?

I won my first writing awards in grade school from the Audubon Society for an essay on owls and from the TB Association for a story that featured a character I created named Timothy B. Mouse. For 25 years, I earned my living as a journalist and in corporate communications. I owe my first book contract to the 2010 Missouri Writers’ Guild conference. After pitching to agents and publishers there, I signed with L&L Dreamspell.

With the rise in eBook popularity, the publishing industry is in a state of change. What do you see as positives and negatives in this reformation?

Here are three of the reasons I like ebooks: First, they weigh less. Before ebooks, I lined the bottom of my suitcase with books when I traveled. Now I take my iPad. Second, since my iPad’s backlit, I’m less of a bother to my husband when I read in bed (every night). Third, authors earn about the same on ebooks as they do on print books, and readers pay a lot less–what’s not to like about that?! The negatives–I simply love my books! Most of the print books I buy are nonfiction because I don’t find ebooks as research-friendly, and I don’t want to rely solely on Google.

For more info, check out T.W.’s  website, www.twfendley.com or her blog at www.thewriterslens.com

www.twfendley.com
Zero Time, $4.99 in Kindle store!
Solar Lullaby, Dreamspell SciFi e-anthology – $2.99 in Kindle store!

 

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Purchase THE EMPTY at http://www.amazon.com/The-Empty-ebook/dp/B006UN0LJ6/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1326026205&sr=8-9

Purchase DEAD MAN’S FIRE: A MARC HUNTINGTON ADVENTURE at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-ebook/dp/B005L4I8TK/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1326030583&sr=8-12

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

October 18, 2011

Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing

In This Post:

Thom’s happenings – Announcements etc.

Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing

 

Thom’s Happenings: Before we move on to the Joe Lansdale interview, I have just a couple of quick announcements. We’ll be having a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for my new thriller, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, October 22 3-6 pm at Avatar Comics 881 S. Rainbow, Las Vegas NV 89145 (702)795-8700. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, please stop by and say hi. Also, in the spirit of Halloween, my publisher has put my supernatural thriller, THE DEMON BAQASH (Kindle & Nook versions), on sale for only 99 cents! This offer is for October only so time is running short. http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Baqash-ebook/dp/B004J4X3NO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1318952553&sr=1-1

I’ll be doing additional book signings for DEAD MAN’S FIRE throughout the next few months and my sci-fi/horror thriller, THE EMPTY, is due for release before Christmas. Check back here for updates and specials.

And now, an interview with Joe R. Lansdale.

 

Award Winning Author Joe R. Lansdale Discusses the Future of Publishing

With more than thirty books to his credit, Lansdale has been called “an immense talent” by Booklist; “a born storyteller” by Robert Bloch; and The New York Times Book Review declares he has “a folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace.” He’s won umpty-ump awards, including sixteen Bram Stoker Awards, the Grand Master Award from the World Horror Convention, a British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, the “Shot in the Dark” International Crime Writer’s Award, the Golden Lion Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award, the Critic’s Choice Award, and a New York Times Notable Book Award. He’s got the most decorated mantle in all of Nacogdoches!

Lansdale lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife, Karen, writer and editor.

Joe, thank you very much for taking time for this interview. Let’s start with the proliferation of eBooks. With the eBook revolution, what do you see as the future of publishing? What will it look like five years from now?

I think e books are the new paperback, and it will impact the industry, but I think print books will survive, if as a more luxury item, which is too bad. But the e books are the revolution that paperbacks were in early days.

How will your approach to the business end of writing change based on the shifting publishing paradigm?

Some of that is still in motion. I’ll have a better idea of my business model, once I know more about how it shakes out. Right now I have some of my backlist on ebooks both from established publishers and pure ebook publishers. If I make more from established publishers, even though they pay a smaller return, then I have to say they still have the machine. If I do not, I have to feel differently about that.

How has your writing process evolved since you were first published?

I am more confident. I work less pages, and have for many years now, and just try and show up every day, or at least five days a week, though I have also learned to take vacations and holidays and occasionally just take a day off. I learned that a while back as well, and it works well for me. I usually write mornings, three to five  pages a day, but now and again I write afternoons or evenings if I’ve fallen behind, or something new and interesting pops up.

In the current publishing climate, there’s a sharp rise in self-published material. What do you see as the pros and cons of this?

More bad stuff gets published is the con. The pro is some good stuff that didn’t fit the marketing strategy of the established publishers gets a chance.

In regard to self published material, do you believe there is a need for some sort of gatekeeper to help minimize the proliferation of poorly written material or do you see this heightened freedom as an opportunity for talented writers to showcase their material?

It helps if there are editors who choose for quality. They can be wrong, and often are, but it makes a writer work harder to write well. The con to that is the gate keepers are running an established show and are only looking for certain types of material. I know, however, that I’m a better writer for having to fight the system to do what I want, but to do it better.

What, if any, parallels do you see between the changes occurring today’s publishing industry and those of the music industry a decade ago?

A number of similarities. It’s still, like music, shaking out, trying to find its sea legs. I think it will, and more of it will be on line. I do think one of the great things is that short story collections will have a better chance than before, and of course the good thing is you’re cutting out a lot of the middle man. But a number of writers I know who thought they were going to rush out and make a fortune with ebooks, eliminating agents, editors, publishers, etc., haven’t found that to be true. Some have, but they are so far the exception that  proves the rule. However, as ebook publishing changes, so will the rules. Another good thing about ebooks is you can arrange for monthly responses to your sales if you like, which can provide a more steady income.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Put your ass in a chair and write, and when you’re not writing, read, and when you’re not doing those two things live life.

What project(s) are you working on now?

A young adult novel for Delacorte titled FENDER LIZARDS. I have a new Young Adult out now titled ALL THE EARTH THROWN TO THE SKY.

What do you like to read?

All manner of things. I don’t put a limit on it. I just let my enthusiasm and excitement guide me.

Are there any new authors that excite you?

Plenty. But I’m going to pass on naming them right now, because there are so many and I fear I might leave someone out. On another day I might be braver, but just got back from Italy and I’m brain numb, or more numb than usual.

 

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CHECK OUT DEAD MAN’S FIRE AT: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318952956&sr=1-1

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2011

AN INTERVIEW WITH BRAM STOKER NOMINATED AUTHOR JEREMY C. SHIPP

 

IN THIS POST:

October Special

Thom Interviews Jeremy C. Shipp

A Review of Jeremy’s Bram Stoker Award nominated novel, CURSED

Thom’s Happening – Announcements etc.

 

OCTOBER SPECIAL: THE DEMON BAQASH, by Thom Reese, eBook edition on sale for only 99 Cents!! Limited time only!! Check it out! http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Baqash-ebook/dp/B004J4X3NO/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1317901493&sr=1-2

 

An Interview with Jeremy C. Shipp

Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Withersin, and Shroud Magazine. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with his wife, Lisa, a couple of pygmy tigers, and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic–not so much.

I’ve never met Jeremy face-to-face, but have had an online friendship with him for the past two or three years. He’s a talented writer with a quick wit, quirky sense of reality, and a good heart. If you haven’t read his work you’re missing a treat. A big thanks to Jeremy for taking the time to do this interview!

 

Jeremy, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Why don’t you start by telling me about your current projects?

My newest books ALWAYS REMEMBER TO TIP YOUR NINJA and ABERRATIONS were recently published. I’m currently editing a horror/fantasy anthology called ATTIC TOYS. Some other projects in the works include CLOWNS VS. GNOMES and ATTIC CLOWNS.

What is your writing routine?

I try to write at least a little bit every day. I usually write at my desk, surrounded by weird figures and toys. I don’t do outlines, although I do keep a notebook filled with notes.

At one point you were working on a screenplay for CURSED. Is that something you’re still pursuing and if so, where are you in the process?

Cursed the Movie is a project near and dear to my heart, and it’s definitely something I’m pursuing. I’m currently talking with some directors. We’ll see what happens.

I loved the flavor of CURSED. Very unique and quirky. How did that particular feel come about? What was your thought process?

Thank you! When writing a story or a novel, I like to make the narrative style reflect the psyche of the point of view character. And so, Cursed is quirky, because the main character is a strange human being. He thinks and dreams and experiences the world in lists.

You’re prolific in terms of short stories. When can we expect your next novel?

I’m currently working on a couple novels and a novella. All of these should be released in 2012.

Ok, what’s with the yard gnomes and attic clowns?

I wish I knew! The Attic Clowns appeared in my attic a few years ago (I think they oozed out of an old mirror that I purchased at a yard sale), and they won’t leave. The yard gnomes live in my yard, which I seems appropriate somehow. The gnomic shamans help me out whenever the Attic Clowns transform me into a rubber chicken.

You seem very adept at marketing yourself. What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

Write a blog, host giveaways, stay active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, etc. But my best advice would be not to send a lot of time on these sites promoting your work. Spend most of your time entertaining people.

As well as writing your own work, you teach creative writing courses. Tell me about that.

I love helping writers, especially new writers, and so the Fiction Writing Bootcamp (http://jeremycshipp.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/jeremy-c-shipps-fiction-writing-bootcamp/) is very satisfying for me. In the course, I help authors to hone their craft and polish their work for publication.

What type of story do you most like to write? Why?

I love writing stories with some speculative element. I think this is because I enjoy creating new myths, new creatures, new realities. And of course, I like writing stories about characters that I feel a deep connection with. I always need to care about my characters, because otherwise, the story wouldn’t be worth writing.

What do you read?

A little of everything. Literary fiction, historical fiction, horror, fantasy, graphic novels. Some of my favorite writers include: Arundhati Roy, Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Amy Tan, Lois Lowry.

How did you get your start in writing? How did you land your first book contract?

I wrote my first novel when I was 13, but I always enjoyed storytelling. As a kid, I would often tell stories to my brothers and cousins. Their favorites were my Barbie horror stories. In high school, my creative writing teacher encouraged me to start sending out my stories to publishers, and so I sold my first short story when I was 18. Then, in my 20s, I shopped around my novel Vacation, and it ended up with Raw Dog Screaming Press.

For more on Jeremy, check out these links:

http://www.jeremycshipp.com

http://www.twitter.com/jeremycshipp

http://www.amazon.com/Always-Remember-Your-Ninja-ebook/dp/B005MTB7VU/

http://www.amazon.com/Aberrations-ebook/dp/B005ITNKC8/

 

Thom’s review of CURSED:

Book Review – Cursed by Jeremy Shipp: This book is bold. A finalist for the 2009 Bram Stoker award, Cursed defies convention. It’s at once sparse, thought provoking, creepy, ridiculous, and compelling. The protagonist, Nick, is a compulsive list writer, and thus Shipp populates the prose with lists. It seems an odd choice at first, but works as an effective device in drawing the reader into Nick’s bizarre and, yes, cursed world. Each of the primary characters has a unique depth and quirkiness specific to that individual. I particularly liked the character of Cicely and her seemingly endless substitutions for the word water. Snowman blood or Yeti tears anyone? Very clever. The supernatural aspects of the book build gradually, drawing the reader in page-by-page. Soon I was wondering just what was happening to these people. Were they truly cursed? Were they simply insane? And what was the deal with this strange antagonist, Pete? Is he just some random guy, the devil, God? Very well crafted. This is one of those rare and precious books that ended far too soon. I will read it again.

 

Thom’s Happening – Announcements and specials

The last few weeks have been very busy. My latest novel, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, was RELEASED Sept 2nd. http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315921547&sr=8-1

I unveiled DEAD MAN’S FIRE at KillerCon Las Vegas, signing books and meeting readers. Had a great time with fellow authors, Jonathan Maberry, Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Gabrielle Faust, Ray Garton and many others.

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for DEAD MAN’S FIRE October 22 3-6 pm at Avatar Comics 881 S. Rainbow, Las Vegas NV 89145 (702)795-8700

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

 

September 22, 2011

EXCERPTS FROM THOM’S UNDER-A-BRIDGE DICTIONARY

Alcohol abuse: Self induced flu symptoms. Because for some people there’s just never enough vomit.

Alternate reality:  a phenomenon experienced by any male forced by the female of the species to visit a shopping mall. Also see purgatory.

Ambiguous: something which is more or less, kind of , in a way, sort of, rather not quite entirely clear in any comprehensible fashion… sort of. See also politician

Autobiography: It’s all about MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Cardiac arrest: a common condition often experienced upon learning the nature of an offspring’s  unsupervised activities. See also Gun Laws

Civilized: A culture which settles disputes by slaying opponents with sophisticated weaponry such as missiles and bombs as opposed to more barbaric tools like spears and swords.

College: A costly institution where hundreds of adolescents who have previously lived under the direct guidance of their parents are brought together with minimal supervision and expected to conduct themselves as mature individuals. See also Alcohol poisoning.

Depression: a mental state which often follows unrealistic expectations and/or the realization that, “Wow, this really sucks.”

Domesticated:  a creature which, contrary to its natural instincts, has been tamed and/or trained in order to exist in a civilized environment. See also husband

Fiction: That special place where truth may be expressed freely, in most cases without fear of reprisal.

Fiscal responsibility: a mythological state in which those charged with the distribution of funds have a workable plan and maybe even a clue.

Foreign Aid: Stealing money from hardworking Americans and depositing it in the coffers of unscrupulous foreign leaders.

Funeral: An event in which one’s enemies proclaim a person’s attributes as one’s family squabbles over his/her possessions.

Good old days: A time period idealized despite its many flaws, injustices, and insufficiencies. See also selective memory and/or delusion

Justice: Just as much as the cost of a good lawyer.

Man: A person inherently incapable of fathoming the desires, motivations, or actions of women.

Opponent: Someone put in one’s life as a growth opportunity. See also, spouse

Tampon: an embarrassing purchase made by a male in an effort to prove undying love for a spouse. Often accompanied by a cashier’s sentiment, “Oh, man, I’m sorry.”

Tobacco: A substance unique in that it is a legal product which, according to the CDC, is responsible for over 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. each year. See also Soulless Washington lobbyists.

NEW RELEASE!!!

DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first novel in my Marc Huntington series HAS BEEN RELEASED in both print and eBook formats. Check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315921547&sr=8-1

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Amazon Rainforest.

A paleontological expedition, every scientist murdered or missing.

A vast cavern peopled with comatose bodies from all over the world.

A human skull, fossilized, with ancient writing carved on its interior.

A young scientist, missing, and at the heart of it all.

Recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington make their living recovering missing persons, stolen items, and rare treasures.  Now they are thrust into chaos and intrigue as they search for a missing paleontologist, the son of Marc’s former Delta Force commander. Arriving at the expedition site deep within the Amazon Rainforest they find the jungle ablaze and dozens of bodies littering the area. Soon they learn that a fossilized skull is at the heart of the deadly mystery. Multiple factions seek the skull. Local superstition surrounds the relic, Deadly attacks, explosions, cave ins, a chamber filled with peculiar, unnaturally preserved bodies: every discovery leads to another mystery and the Huntingtons must locate the missing scientist and uncover the secret of the Amazon skull or dozens more will die.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

September 20, 2011

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS REVIEW by Thom Reese

 George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE saga continues with the much-anticipated fifth in the series, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. For those not familiar with the series, these are the books on which HBO’s Emmy award winning television series, GAME OF THRONES, is based. (The first book in the series is titled, A GAME OF THRONES.)

The first thing about this book: If you have not read the previous four books, please do not try to start reading with this one. Not only will you be entirely lost, but you will miss the fantastic story lines and characters that fill the earlier volumes. Martin’s series is peopled with what I consider to be some of the best characters in modern literature. These are multidimensional personalities with genuine emotions. The villains are not evil through and through, and no hero is without blemish. This, along with the fact that Martin is utterly vicious to his characters, leaving the reader with the feeling that no one is safe within these pages, makes these volumes a must read for anyone even remotely interested in the fantasy genre.

That said, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is not flawless. Even for the initiated the first two hundred pages can be quite confusing. Martin doesn’t give us any reminders as to where any of these characters left off in previous volumes. Many of the most loved characters were not in book four, A FEAST FOR CROWS, and so their plot threads date all the way back to A STORM OF SWORDS, released in 2000. My memory just isn’t that good. I would have enjoyed the story much more if there had either been a recap prior to the beginning of the story, or at least some explanatory dialogue to help refresh the reader’s mind. Even after completing the book, I’m still not sure what Tyrion’s goal was at the onset of the story.

All this to say that once I got into the flow of the story I couldn’t pull myself away from it. Martin is masterful when it comes to interweaving plot lines, deceptions, betrayals, lost loves, and fantastic action and suspense. Much of the focus for nearly all of the characters falls on Daenerys Targaryen, the would-be queen of the seven kingdoms who is now the “Mother of Dragons.” Everyone either wants to manipulate, use, or defeat the young woman with a will of fire. And though she is the focal point for so many, she is unaware of the scheming and infighting across the sea to the lands which she may one day rule.

Reader beware, there are some significant shocks in the second half of this tomb, and they are very well worth the wait. If you’ve read the previous four volumes, your wait will be well rewarded. If you’ve never read this series, I encourage you to get started with  A GAME OF THRONES and. You won’t regret it.

NEW RELEASE!!!

DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first novel in my Marc Huntington series HAS BEEN RELEASED in both print and eBook formats. Check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315921547&sr=8-1

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Amazon Rainforest.

A paleontological expedition, every scientist murdered or missing.

A vast cavern peopled with comatose bodies from all over the world.

A human skull, fossilized, with ancient writing carved on its interior.

A young scientist, missing, and at the heart of it all.

Recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington make their living recovering missing persons, stolen items, and rare treasures.  Now they are thrust into chaos and intrigue as they search for a missing paleontologist, the son of Marc’s former Delta Force commander. Arriving at the expedition site deep within the Amazon Rainforest they find the jungle ablaze and dozens of bodies littering the area. Soon they learn that a fossilized skull is at the heart of the deadly mystery. Multiple factions seek the skull. Local superstition surrounds the relic, Deadly attacks, explosions, cave ins, a chamber filled with peculiar, unnaturally preserved bodies: every discovery leads to another mystery and the Huntingtons must locate the missing scientist and uncover the secret of the Amazon skull or dozens more will die.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

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