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.

 

 

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.

 

August 9, 2012

THE DEMON BAQASH CHAPTER 1 BY THOM REESE

Filed under: books,horror,Thriller — Thom Reese @ 4:12 am
Tags: , ,

Here’s a little treat for you. I thought you might enjoy reading the first chapter of my supernatural thriller, THE DEMON BAQASH. I hope you enjoy!

THE DEMON BAQASH

CHAPTER ONE

                       

Kim Troxel’s sleep was restless, punctuated with bizarre half-dreams and images. There was a dark figure, not a man, something different, with wings – six of them – moving independently, like tentacles slithering, reaching, grabbing. The creature had four faces, each directed to a different point. One laughed, while another cried. One ranted, the last smirked. Even through the mist of dream, Kim felt tense, felt her stomach twist, her skin go cold. The faces were not right. A hollow moldy cheek opposite a chubby infantile counterpart. A large uneven eye adjacent a torn and empty socket. The man-thing was somewhere else, someplace far away.

So very close.

A fire crackled and glowed. The smell of burning flesh assailed Kim’s nostrils. The non-man was before her now, grinning, though, in truth, Kim could make out none of the features. But they were familiar, so familiar. Yet… faded, incomplete. The man, the thing, entity – whatever! – it was holding a phone – handing it to her.

Kim’s eyes fluttered as she rolled over to face the annoyance. “Alright, alright. I’m coming.” She stretched, extending her arm as if she could will it to be longer. Why did the phone have to be onTrent’s side of the bed when he was never home from work untilthree A.M.? “Uhuggh, hello,” she managed in a drymidnightgrowl.

“Good morning, Kim.”

“Trent?”

“I’ve got a surprise for you.”

Kim squinted at the blurry alarm clock. Why did it seem the numerals faded as if fleeing some unseen menace?

“Trent, what time is it?”

“Late, Kim. Terribly late. But, someone is coming to see you.”

#

The deliveryman was tall. Taller even than the six-foot sixTrent. Pro basketball tall. Wide-shouldered and statuesque. Kim fumbled to wipe the sleep from her eyes, attempting to bring the face into focus. Somehow it seemed the man had multiple features, each fading and then reemerging in subtle parody of itself. He seemed so inconsequential, as if he might simply evaporate on the cool evening breeze. Kim blinked again and then again. The man was solid. Of course he was solid. How could he be otherwise? Strangely, at the sight of him, Kim felt a warm rush, a kind of electric hum or vibration, both comforting and unnerving, familiar yet alien. It was almost sexual but simultaneously horrifying. Strange. Why should she feel anything at all?

Something in this man’s face was familiar. Intimately so. But how? She’d never seen him before. One would remember a six-foot eight-inch deliveryman with deep multi-colored eyes.

“Mrs. Troxel?”

The strangely accented voice brought Kim back around. “Yes. I’m sorry. I’m still half asleep.”

“Undoubtedly,” he agreed. “I assume your husband informed you of this delivery.”

“He did,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “It’s just late.” Then, pausing, she ventured, “And since when are deliveries made at this hour?”

The man smiled. It was somehow inviting, beckoning her to come to him, to wrap her arms about him, to engulf him and…

What was she thinking?

“Distributions of the highest priority can be delivered around the clock, ma’am.” He extended the clipboard for her to sign. Those strange eyes – so knowing, as if he knew her every impulse.

Kim’s mind was fuzzy, unclear, still flirting with those horrible dreams. How was it that this man’s face seemed so ill-defined? She closed her eyes tight, and then opened them wide. She was simply tired. His face was fine. Wacky dreams.

“Would you care to come in?” she asked.

#

“Reggie,” said Kim to her live-in brother-in-law. “What’s that?”

The sound of someone shaking the front door flooded the tiny home. Kim and Reggie were seated at a table in the small, sparsely decorated kitchen, sipping a sweet herbal tea as Kim jotted ideas for a new poem. Writing poetry normally comforted her, separated her from the day-to-day drudge. But tonight her thoughts were scattered, her lines lacked meter, her meaning remained unclear. The deliveryman had left only fifteen minutes prior –three A.M.– and Kim had decided against climbing back into the oh-so-inviting bed. Now, she felt this might have been a mistake.

Reggie brushed his dark matted bangs from his eyes. “It’sTrent, I think. The door must be stuck again. He sounds kinda excited. Maybe he needs to use the bathroom.” Turning toward the door Reggie hollered, “I’m coming,Trent. I’m coming.” He rose gracelessly from the chair, his pear-like form sluggish as he hiked his lagging pajama bottoms with his left hand. “That door needs a new handle. It needs a new handle.”

Kim took another sip of tea. Reggie was probably right. It most likely wasTrent, but Kim doubted his urgency had anything to do with bodily functions. The pounding and shaking of the door sounded like someone panicked.

Four faces.

Panicked.

Six wings.

Themidnightfog cleared from Kim’s brain like the lingering sound of a marching band. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong.

“HeyTrent,” said Reggie as he pulled the door open with a forceful twist and a sharp tug. “We’ve got some tea. I can fix you some tea. It’s good. You can go to the bathroom first. I’ll just start…”

“Kimmie,” saidTrentas he brushed roughly past his brother causing the smaller man to shuffle backward, nearly tripping over a nearby crate.

Four faces.

“Trent?” Kim nearly screamed at the sight of him. His sandy red hair was disheveled, his face flushed and sweaty, his right hand was wrapped in something red, and his eyes.Trenthad strange eyes to begin with, one green, one blue. But this. There was something inTrent’s dual-colored eyes. Something she’d never seen, not when he was dismissed from the church in disgrace, not even when he’d watched Ashley emerge red and slimy from her body. It was fear. Real fear. Deep down in the soul fear. The kind one expected to find in the eyes of a man who’d just learned that the cancer had spread, that he had five weeks to live. “Trent, what happened?”

Six wings.

“Extraordinary,” he muttered, then paused as if somewhere between bewildered and flustered. “No, horrifying,” he added, wiping a hand on his corduroy leg. “Yes, horrifying is better. Did he come here?”

Kim stared up into her husband’s face and saw tears. “Trent, what happened?”

“Was he here, Goober?” asked Trent, using the pet name he’d given Kim when she’d been pregnant and craving peanuts. “I tried to call. Couldn’t get through. He was here. Of course, he was here.”

“Who, Trent? What’s this about?”

It was then thatTrentnoticed the boxes, twenty-seven of them, coarse wooden crates crowded into each corner, behind and under the not-quite-antique furniture, in the open closet, besideTrent’s upright bass. HowTrenthad missed them was beyond her. But undoubtedly he had. There he stood, jaw prepped to catch flies, golf ball eyes, and his head cocked like a cocker spaniel. If it hadn’t been so tragic, it would have been hysterical.

Kim stepped forward, embraced her husband in a fierce hug, brushed her lips wistfully across his, and then buried her head in his chest. The strangest, most horrifying thought came to her then.

Four faces.

Six wings.

Kim Troxel began to cry.

To purchase THE DEMON BAQASH, go to

http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Baqash-ebook/dp/B004J4X3NO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1344513555&sr=1-1&keywords=the+demon+baqash

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 my new thriller, 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

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.

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.

December 23, 2011

An Interview with Horror Author James Dorr

 IN THIS POST:

Thom’s Happening – Announcements, Specials, etc.

Thom Interviews Author James Dorr

Before we jump into our feature interview with author James Dorr, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed on some happenings. I’m very excited to announce that my next novel, THE EMPTY, is due out within the month. This deals with a race who have no genetic matrix of their own and must infuse DNA from others, both human and animal. Some are civilized and live among us, others are beastly and horrific. This one is very special to me.

I’m putting the final touches on CHASING KELVIN, the second in my Marc Huntington series. The first, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, was released this fall, and follows recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington as they track a missing scientist through the Amazon. Lots of action and twists.

And, for the holiday season, the eBook versions of my books, THE DEMON BAQASH, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS are on sale for only $4.99. http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-ebook/dp/B005L4I8TK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1323524905&sr=8-13

For autographed copies of the print version, contact me a thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for ordering and pricing information.

 And now, an  Interview with author James Dorr

 James Dorr is a short story writer and poet with two collections, Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, published by Dark Regions Press in 2001 and 2007, while his all-poetry Vamps (A Retrospective) has just come out in 2011 from Sam’s Dot Publishing.  Dorr is an active member of SFWA and HWA along with the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an Anthony (mystery) and Darrell (fiction set in the US Mid-South) finalist, and a multi-time honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror with nearly four hundred individual publications from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia.  Also a sometime semi-professional musician and the keeper of a large rambunctious cat named Wednesday (for Wednesday Addams of The Addams Family) who plays with spiders, Dorr invites readers to visit his site at http://jamesdorrwriter.wordpress.com for up-to-date information and news.

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

That would be Vamps (A Retrospective), an 84-page collection of poetry on vampires and things vampiric.  In all there are 75 poems, roughly a third of which are new to the volume, on vampires past, present, and future with illustrations by artist and poet in her own right Marge Simon.  As for the subject, vampirism is powerful stuff, representing the nexus of sex and death, birth and rebirth, eros and thanatos, spreading in one form or another to almost every nation and culture on Earth, although, to  be sure, the ones in Vamps tend mostly to European models and their American transplants.  Vamps is available as a trade paperback from Sam’s Dot (www.samsdotpublishing.com) for about the price of a modest pizza –- with blood sausage topping, of course. 

Vamps (A Retrospective) was published in August 2011 and I should mention I have another book, Vanitas, that came out the same month as an electronic chapboook from Untreed Reads Publishing (www.untreedreads.com).  This is a longish short story that was initially published in Alfred Hitchcock’s in January 1996 and is also reprinted in print form in my Strange Mistresses collection. 

What is your writing routine?

This is a hard one to answer because basically I’m an undisciplined person.  I also tend toward procrastination so I like to do actual writing when I have a reasonably large block of time I can set aside, often on weekends, since once I actually get myself started I’m usually reluctant to stop until physical tiredness starts to enter in.  That said, I’m not idle at other times though, often spending evenings researching a story in progress or searching for ideas for the next.  Then there’s reading email which brings in the business side of the racket, submitting stories and poems, writing cover letters, proofreading galleys when things are accepted, and otherwise keeping the process moving.   

Do you begin with plot or characters?

This is also hard to say because some stories come out one way, some another.  In the past I probably would have said plot –- and I think, when we start out most writers do well to actually outline events in a story, however informally -– but nowadays it gets more complicated.  Usually I’ll start out with an idea, an image perhaps, or a phrase, or lately sometimes a poem that I might have written some months back.  Then I’m likely to get a notion of the character(s) the idea might work with, but at the same time I’m also exploring where and how the story might end –- where the idea is taking me toward.  And then I try to find the beginning point, after which I look for that block of time I mentioned above, power up the computer, and sit down and write.   

Tell us about the characters in your most recent work.

Characters in a poetry book?  Why, yes.  The vampiress Annchuck — who made her debut in my very first stand-alone book, a poetry chapbook called Towers of Darkness that came out in Nocturnal Publications’ “Night Visions” series in 1990 — joins with Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi, “Guillemette” (née Mina Murray), Nadja, Nikki (who flies), a modern Medusa, a tourist who meets “Cape Man” in France (“…he had a tendency to change the subject when I asked him what he did.  Eurotrash, I suppose”), a competitive runner who races the sun, a woman who dreams of someday winning the Galactic Lottery, several survivors (more or less) of unusual dates, a baseball fan who dotes on night games, a modern Carmilla who also loves jazz, and a future version of Kipling’s vampire (“a rag and a bone and a hank of hair”), these are some of the beings who populate Vamps (A Retrospective).  And might I mention again that Marge Simon even provides pictures of some of these –- including one who’s not specifically mentioned in the book, the cover portrait based on the early twentieth century movie “vamp” Theda Bara.   

Then in Vanitas there’s Caleb Rushton, a one-time sailor who came to the New England town of Vanitas and became its church sexton, choirmaster Petro Mezzoni whose dream was to construct a steam-powered organ, the Reverend Hawkings, church elders, the members of a doomed traveling circus, and, lest one forget, the female-formed wraith some townspeople saw on the roof of the church. 

What are you currently writing?

It’s kind of funny, but one thing I write almost every year at about this time is a Christmas story.  It’s often not a very nice one –- I do write horror — but Christmas is a source of ideas in that it’s the largest holiday of the year and, especially for a horror writer, suggests an instant contrast with the joy we’re supposed to show on the outside and whatever our innermost, real feelings may be.  However the market is limited to a narrow time period and lots of people write holiday tales so it’s understood they’ll be a hard sale, and I count myself lucky if I sell one in a given year -– many years they won’t sell at all.  Last year, for instance, I did place one, “The Christmas Vulture,” in issue 3 of Untied Shoelaces of the Mind.  But then came 2011 and I have at least three either just published or about to come out this December (depending on when exactly this interview appears), “Naughty or Nice” in  Daily Science Fiction, I’m Dreaming Of A… as an electronic chapbook from Untreed Reads (that is, the same outfit that published Vanitas last August), and “Mr. Claus” in the print anthology WTF?! by Pink Narcissus Press, plus a Christmas poem, “Expanded Mission,” in a special issue of Abyss & Apex.  So I don’t know if it’s the economy or what, but go figure. 

That said, I’ve also been writing an ongoing series of stories set in the “Tombs,” a far future necropolis set on a dying Earth.  Thirteen of these have already been published, one incidentally in my Strange Mistresses collection and three in Darker Loves, while others are being looked at in various places.  More exciting, I’m also negotiating with a publisher for a possible “Tombs” novel composed of stand alone segments, much like Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles or Christopher Barzak’s The Love We Share Without Knowing.

Then finally while I’ve been writing a number of shorter pieces, taking advantage of flash markets as well as some internet publications’ preferences in general for briefer work, I’ve also been working to get some older, previously published stories back into print.  Current examples would be stories out or coming out in Future Lovecraft, In Poe’s Shadow, America the Horrific, The Spirit of Poe (poetry), Lore: A Quaint and Curious Volume of Selected Stories, and Candle in The Attic Window.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers?

The major one is persistence. It usually takes a long time to become published and, while it’s good to market stories starting with the best publications and working down, don’t be disappointed if your first sales are to low paying, low circulation markets.  I usually want to get at least some pay myself, though, as well as a copy of whatever book or magazine my work appears in -– beware anyone who wants you to pay them to be published -– though I’ll make exceptions for reprints, especially for publications that sound particularly interesting to me, or occasional charity anthologies, etc.  

Join a writers group if you can –- you’ll find you learn more sometimes from critiquing others’ work than from the critiques they do of yours -– and try to remember that you’re an artist.  Try not to sell out, or at least hold out for a decent price.  And if editors suggest changes to you, by all means give what they say a try, but if it doesn’t seem to work for you don’t be afraid to write them back explaining why. 

Also, don’t wait for the muse to come to you.  Go out in the world and wrestle her for ideas.

What do you most like to write? Why?

I write mostly dark fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction, mystery.  It’s not so much that I’m a nasty person myself (though I remember a colleague defending her writing horror, explaining with a lilt in her voice, “You get to say such hateful things”), but that I have a fascination with people’s beliefs and how they might hold up, or not, when a character is subjected to stress.  Beyond that, the whole spectrum of speculative fiction allows me to experiment with ideas, even goofy ones sometimes –- what if, say, snow ate people? (which is the premise of one of the Christmas stories mentioned above).  Or what kind of gift might be appropriate for a newlywed vampire? (see “Honeymoon Magic” in Vamps). 

What do you read?

I read much more nonfiction than fiction, something I think many writers may tell you.  I read for ideas, for research, for details for settings, to understand how things work if I’m going to use them in my own stories.  In fiction and poetry I read, of course, the publications my stuff is in (and not just for pleasure –- it gives me a better insight into what an editor likes when the time comes to try to sell something else to that publication), but I also read outside of my genre, especially more literary works.  Of those that have especially influenced me, I’ll cite Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury, but also The Complete Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, along with the poetry of Allen Ginsburg and the plays of Bertolt Brecht. 

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

I actually did more illustration than writing in college but that had me working on publications and, occasionally, having to write to fill in as needed.  So I don’t know.  By graduate school I was writing a science/humor column for that college’s student underground newspaper, later migrated to its literary newspaper (by this time writing various things, stories, essays, columns, reviews, often under pseudonyms), from there got a job as a technical writer –- and later editor –- for an academic computing center.  Ultimately I was freelancing real estate and business and consumer topics (good training for world building in science fiction and fantasy –- I’m not kidding, you need to know a society’s economy, how your characters make their livings) until some of my markets started to dry up, then got a “regular job” part time (this was during the Reagan recession) and got back into fiction and poetry. 

My first full size book came about when an editor heard me read poetry at (as I recall) World Fantasy Convention some years back.  He bought the poem as a reprint on the spot for a “Year’s Best” anthology he was planning, then suggested I pitch a combined fiction and poetry collection to him.  That one fell through, but a year or two later I made another proposal, sent him some stories that he liked better, and the result was Strange Mistresses.

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?

eBooks have blossomed at a good time in that we’re still in an all-but-recession and, for people who don’t have much money, eBooks are at least cheap.  Better eBook readers have added other advantages too, such as changing type sizes for people with vision problems or storing a whole summer’s reading and more on a device that takes up only the space of a single book in your luggage.  On the other hand, I don’t recommend reading eBooks in the bathtub. 

I think the rise of eBooks can be exaggerated, though, and their ultimate impact will be similar to that of mass market paperbacks coming out of the Great Depression.  Their cheapness allowed more people to buy them, but hardbacks were still preferred by libraries, more well-to-do people, collectors, and even by poorer people for giving as gifts or for themselves in the case of titles they expected they’d keep on rereading (a Complete Works of Shakespeare would be an obvious example).  Then by the 1960s trade paperbacks came along too, for cheaper editions of the books you’d like to save, while mass market was still king for books you’d read and, if not literally throw away, at least not really expect to come back to even if they were still on a bookshelf somewhere.  All that said, mass market paperbacks still took over a lion’s share of the market — but added to the book market as well, in part by being affordable to people who might previously have relied on libraries.  But, just as hardbacks, libraries never disappeared either.  And now, with eBooks, I see the greatest “threat” they bring being to mass market paperbacks themselves, as a sort of even cheaper version (although internet/mail order used book markets like eBay and Amazon had been changing the landscape already, as have changes in taxing unsold inventories), but not necessarily replacing print in other forms, at least for a long time.   

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.

December 10, 2011

Thom Interviews Author Claire Applewhite

IN THIS POST:

Thom’s Happening – Announcements, Specials, etc.

Thom Interviews Author Claire Applewhite

 

Thom’s Happening – Announcements, Specials, etc.

Before we jump into our feature interview with author Claire Applewhite, I’ll take a moment to bring you up to speed on some happenings. DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first in my Marc Huntington adventure series was released this fall. It follows recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington as the track a missing scientist through the Amazon. Lots of action and twists.

I’m nearly done writing the second in the series, CHASING KELVIN, and this should be out spring of 2012.

My next novel, THE EMPTY, is due out within the month. I’m very excited about this one. Here’s the back cover synopsis:

The reyaqc, a people who have no inherent characteristics of their own, but survive by infusing genetic information from humans and animals alike, often leaving the donors hollow, vacant shells. They’ve been with us for centuries. Many live in isolated communities on the fringes of society. Others walk the cities of the world, unable to reveal their true natures for risk of discovery. Donald Baker is a reyaqc and he fears for his people. For with the rising human population and technological advances, the reyaqc can no longer live undetected. His life-long desire is to bring his race into the mainstream of society. But now a lone rogue terrorizing the city of Las Vegas threatens to expose the reyaqc prematurely. As the death toll rises, Donald must battle not only the rogue, but his own savage nature.

And, for the holiday season, the eBook versions of my books, THE DEMON BAQASH, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS are on sale for only $4.99. http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-ebook/dp/B005L4I8TK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1323524905&sr=8-13

For autographed copies of the print version, contact me a thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for ordering and pricing information.

 

And now, an  Interview with author Claire Applewhite

Claire Applewhite, the author of The Wrong Side of Memphis, Moonlight Becomes You So (2009), Crazy For You (2010), St. Louis Hustle, Candy Cadillac (2011) is a graduate of St. Louis University, (AB, Communications, MBA), Mercantile Leadership Program for Women. A participant in the Writers Institute at Washington University, and freelance writer—Healthy Cells magazine, House of Style magazine : Www.HouseOfStyleSTL.coM, reporter for Patch.com. For more on Claire, visit her website: www.Claireapplewhite.com

Other distinctions include:

Immediate Past President,MissouriWriters Guild

Board member of Midwest Chapter, Mystery Writers of America. Member andSt. LouisMetropolitan Press Club

Active member of St. Louis Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, Ozark Writers League and Active Status member, Mystery Writers of America.

Claire, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Why don’t you start by telling us about your most recent release? Candy Cadillac is the third in the ‘nam Noir series, featuringVietnam vets Elvin Suggs and Di Redding. Set insouth St. Louis, it presents an intriguing time in the late 1980’s when car bombings and organized crime were active concerns.

What is your writing routine? I generally write in the early morning, the earlier the better, and go for around four or five hours. Sometimes, it’s 4:30 am, and sometimes it’s as late as six o’clock a.m., but the point is, I get it done first, before anything else has a chance to insinuate itself into the time designated for writing.  Then, I stop, preferably in the middle of a chapter or scene, so that when I return, I will readily recognize the conflict and carry on from the stopping point. I don’t look at it again that day, because I believe a writer has to allow some time to pass to better judge the quality of the writing and to recharge psychologically after spending emotional energy on characters.

Do you begin with plot or characters? I begin with plot because I believe the plot will tell you what kind of characters live in the story. For example, the story of Cinderella dictates the cast of characters, and even the setting.                                                                                                           

Tell us about the characters in Candy Cadillac. The characters in Candy Cadillac are the series characters from the ‘nam Noir series. Elvin Suggs and Di Redding, along with Cobra, the sniper, areVietnam vets turned St. Louis PI. Their creepy next door neighbors, the omnipresent black limo, the physician without a license to practice atCityHospital, Barbara Lacey, a mysterious blonde, and three women who assume her identity after her death, complete the cast.

What are you currently writing? The fourth in the series, Tennessee Plates, and a stand alone novel about a real life case that occurred at St. LouisCityHospital.

What tips do you have for other aspiring writers? Consider that writing is a lifetime vocation. It’s not about money, or fame, or even bestseller lists. If you’re not growing and changing on some level with each book/screenplay/piece you write, or if you’re expecting a lot of money in a very short time period, writing may disappointment you.   As soon as you have polished a piece of your writing, start to send it out for consideration. Even if it is rejected, read the critiques. And then, rewrite and resend. Don’t let anything that isn’t your absolute best leave your desk. Ever.

What type of story do you most like to write? Why? I like to write a story in which a major transformation has occurred in the life or lives of the main characters. This could be a major disillusionment, a discovery of the truth, or a love that saves.  I write fiction because anything is possible. For me it is about creating a world where things may happen in a haphazard way, BUT in the end, order and justice prevail.

What do you read? I like to read a story in which I learn something I didn’t know (it could be anything), and where the writer does something extraordinary with ordinary characters or circumstances.

How did you get your start in writing? I’ve always written, from the time I was seven. But, it wasn’t until 1999 that I decided to get serious about getting published. My first book was published in 2009.

How did you land your first book contract? Actually, I submitted a short story to an anthology at the request of a friend, and after it was accepted, I decided to send a novel that I had been writing and revising for almost seven years. I had not sent it to anyone for fear of rejection. That initial success gave me the courage to submit the novel that became The Wrong Side of Memphis.                                                                                                                  

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? I have heard that the advantage of ebooks is that they do not have a shelf life, compared to print books. In other words, an ebook might enter the market later in the book’s sales cycle, but it never leaves the shelf, virtually speaking. After six months, physical books are removed from shelves and returned. An ebook can be downloaded in thirty seconds. That said, there is something about holding an actual book in your hands, or buying a book that is personally signed by the author and/or given as a gift on a special occasion. Also, books can be handed down from generation to generation. As with most things, there are tradeoffs.

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.

 

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.

 

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.