Through Thom Tinted Lenses

October 28, 2013

RED RIDER EXCERPT

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 7:32 pm
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IN THIS POST:

A Quick Introduction

Red Rider Excerpt

What’s Happening with Thom?

 

A quick introduction:

Today, I’m featuring an excerpt from THE RED RIDER by Randall Allen Dunn. Randall is a dear friend and fellow author. We spent many hours together reading each other’s manuscripts, offering feedback and encouragement. This, before either of us managed to get much of anything published. He read some of my early – mostly dreadful – attempts, and gave me feedback on the initial draft of what was to become my first published novel, THE DEMON BAQASH. As you’ll see, Randall loves the action genre. A fan of James Bond, Batman, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones, he’s always looking to instill his work with adventure and infinite possibilities. You can see his work at his website, www.CharacterEnt.com, or contact him atRandall@CharacterEnt.com.  And now, an excerpt from, THE RED RIDER.

 

 

THE RED RIDER

by

Randall Allen Dunn

Copyright 2013 by Randall Allen Dunn

 

EXCERPT:

MY DISCOVERY

CHAPTER 23.

 

I flicked out one of Pierre’s blades and sliced into the side of a pig standing in front of me. It squealed in pain and ran to the other side of the pen.

The wolves jerked their heads toward the commotion as the pigs started to rush back and forth, thumping and sliding against one another. I cut into another one, encouraging their panic. Two wolves sniffed the air, perhaps smelling the flow of animal blood.

I rose, my cloak billowing up from my shoulders as I raised the crossbow. The wolves gaped along with Favreau and his daughter, as I rushed between the pigs to the gate. I kicked up at the top bar, flinging rainwater from it as it flipped open. The pigs spilled out of the pen and darted back and forth across the clearing, slipping and stumbling in terror and confusion.

The wolves continued to stare as I marched out of the pen and fired my crossbow at the nearest brown beast. It fell to the ground hard.

The others snarled and charged, struggling for traction.

“Get inside,” I ordered Favreau.

“Who are you?”

“Get inside!” I stepped sideways, angling to face the next approaching wolf. The others closed in, eyeing me warily. I pulled back twice on the crossbow’s lever, firing one bolt into the first animal’s gut, the other into its paw. My racing pulse had thrown off my aim, but at least I wounded it.

I moved in a curving path between the pigs as they skidded through the muddy grass. The other wolves circled around me, arching their necks to peer over the pigs as they tried to get at me. Between the misty haze and the wild flurry of pigs, I couldn’t tell whether there were three wolves or two. My heart was racing too fast and the pigs were rushing too quickly for me to tell. The wolves ignored Favreau and his daughter, focusing on me as he scuttled her into the house and shut the door. That was all that mattered.

The wolves bared their teeth, dripping with saliva. I registered three of them surrounding me, a gray one to my left, brown to my right, and black behind me. The rain had played tricks on my eyes. What seemed like a perfect hit on the second wolf must have only grazed him.

Two of them charged from either side. I whirled to fire a bolt into the gray one’s stomach as it leaped at me. It spun and rolled aside, howling, while I dropped backward to the ground and planted my elbows in the mud. Then I kicked at a squealing pig as it scurried in front of me and thrust it at the attacking brown wolf.

The startled pig knocked it a short distance away, stopping him for a second. Long enough for me to roll to one side and fire a bolt behind me, into his companion. Then to fire two more into the brown wolf as it bore down on me, dropping it to the puddle-soaked field. I scrambled to my feet. Three bolts left.

The gray wolf struggled to its feet and turned to lunge. I fired once, keeping my final bolts in reserve. It spun to the ground as the black wolf struggled to rise and sprang at me. Another bolt finished it as the gray wolf reared back to lunge again. I tugged back on the lever, sinking my last bolt into its heart.

It fell in a heap and lay still.

I stood in the quiet. Chest heaving in the drizzling rain. Waiting for my pulse and heartbeat to slow, while the remaining pigs squealed and ran in circles through the clearing. My hands shook. I took deep breaths, ordering my arms and shoulders to relax. I reached into my pouch for another round of bolts and started loading them into the top slot, one by one, in case there were more of them.

More of them …

I turned back to the clearing, where the first gray wolf had fallen. The grass there was matted down a little, where the wolf had lain. But it was now gone.

The rain wasn’t playing tricks on my eyes. Four wolves came from the forest, but after I struck down the first one, four wolves remained. Only one of the wolves was gray. The first wolf, the one Favreau shot with his musket. It had risen to join the others and attack me again.

The wolf nearest to me – the one I shot four times – groaned and rolled to its side. Then it rose and shook its head to recover. I watched, crossbow ready, as it studied its wounded paw, from which a bolt still protruded. Two similar bolts remained embedded in its stomach. It lifted the paw to its teeth, bit hard on the bolt, and tugged, nearly dislodging it.

Then the creature set its paw down and reached for the bolt with its other paw. I gaped as it wrapped its claws around the bolt to seize a firm hold, the way a human would – and pulled it out.

It dropped the bloody bolt to the ground and turned to me as I tried to comprehend its impossible feat.

Crimson whinnied from his hiding place in the stable behind me and burst into the clearing. He pounded toward me at full gallop. I grabbed onto his saddle as the wolf’s jaws opened to chomp at my legs. Crimson whisked me away and raced into the woods, as I hung on with one foot in the stirrup. Behind me, three other wolves rose in similar fashion, grinning and showing little signs of the battle.

Crimson knew when to run.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THOM?

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update here so I suppose now would be as good a time as any. It’s been a busy year for me in terms of audio dramas. As some of you may know, my wife, Kathy, and I used to produce a weekly audio drama radio program titled, 21st Century Audio Theatre. Two CD sets of audio dramas from the show were released this year and are available in travel centers (such as Travel America) throughout the country. As well, our publisher asked for a three CD set of all-new audio dramas to be released in December. We’re currently in the final week of post production. These are filled with quirky, slightly creepy, stories from me, and fantastic music from my very talented wife, Kathy. They sound awesome!

As well, I’ve just finished work on an expanded version of my novel, THE EMPTY. I’m very excited about this as I’d been forced to subtract material from the book to meet the original publisher’s word count maximum. The new version will be released in spring 2014 and is the story I’d originally intended to tell.

For those of you waiting on the next Huntington novel, it is coming. My progress was slowed due to other projects, but the a new Huntington novel, A SAVAGE DISTANCE, will be released by mid 2014  and, I believe, will prove to be the best of the series – thus far.

 I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpt from  THE RED RIDER. I’ll be back soon!!

 

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, along with three audio drama Cd sets, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, MARC HUNTINGTON ADVENTURES, and, DANTE’S WIR & OTHER STRANGE TALES. 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 2013 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

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October 9, 2012

THE EMPTY BY THOM REESE CHAPTERS 1 & 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 4:21 am

Part One

The Molts

One

 

1897

Dolnaraq was only eight winters into existence, but knew the

smell of prey. Oh, and he loved prey. Loved the hunt. Loved the

kill. But this prey would be different. This prey would not warm

his belly. His teeth wouldn’t penetrate this flesh. The animal’s

blood would not dribble down his chin and onto his chest. No,

this one was reserved for quite a different purpose, something

nearly divine in scope and meaning. “Do you smell him?” whispered

Dolnaraq as he drew in a long, sweet breath.

Tresset nodded, though the young male wore a curious expression.

“Yes. To the east. Maybe over that next rise.”

“We must be quiet,” whispered Dolnaraq as he moved in the

direction of the scent.

“Dolnaraq,” whispered Tresset. “Are you sure?”

Only two winters Dolnaraq’s senior, Tresset liked to assume

superiority over his younger friend, over any who would let him,

really. He would organize hunting parties with the young of the

pack and direct their movements, deciding who should flank a

beast and who should charge, which of them should scout ahead

and which should ideally strike the killing blow. But this hunt

belonged to Dolnaraq. He’d contemplated it for many weeks, determining

which type of creature to seek, imagining what that

animal might add to him. He’d thought of how proud his father

would be when he first saw Dolnaraq anew. For Dolnaraq would

have done what even his father feared to do. Oh yes, father would

be proud. He also knew his mother would squeal like a baby pig.

But that was what mothers did. She would adjust. She would one

day approve. She would be forced to concede that Dolnaraq was

no longer a pup, but had entered a state of maturity, which deserved

respect and maybe even awe.

Dolnaraq paused, gazing at Tresset. “Am I sure?” he asked

in response to the question posed him.

“It is a major step. One best come to with the counsel of your

father.”

Dolnaraq scoffed. “You never get counsel.” He lifted his head

again, sniffing at the air. “The scent grows weak. We must hunt

before the creature finds its hole.” Dolnaraq moved slowly toward

the small snow-covered rise, and then glanced back at Tresset.

“Do you come or stay? Either way, I go.”

Tresset hesitated for only a moment, then nodded and went

to march past Dolnaraq as if to take the lead.

“No,” said Dolnaraq, holding out his arm to block Tresset’s

way. “This one is mine. I’ll lead.”

Tresset paused, narrowed his eyes, and looked to contemplate

the request. Like all reyaqc, the youth’s eyes were as mother’s

milk, devoid of all color except for the tiny black dot of a pupil

at the center. Even so, this one had a dark intensity in his gaze

that sometimes caused even adult members of the pack to pause.

It went beyond the physical appearance of the eyes to whatever

lay within. Unremarkable, yet anything but, Tresset Bremu was

a strange one. But for all that, in this instance he gave a slow deliberate

nod, allowing his younger companion to pass, taking the

lead in this most precarious hunt.

Dolnaraq sighed within. He was glad the older youth accompanied

him. For all his bluster, this was a frightening thing

he meant to do, and having a companion beside him would bolster

his resolve.

Both youth were accomplished hunters. Their pack was nomadic,

living beyond the confines of the civilized world—of the

human world. Like the prey they fed upon, they moved with the

seasons, for the most part staying well hidden within forested areas.

The land they inhabited was known by humans as Siberia, it

was late in the nineteenth century, though Dolnaraq knew none

of this, nor did he care. He often wondered though, why the pack

did not move further and further south until they’d left this bitter

cold land behind. But Dolnaraq’s father insisted the more

comfortable climes were fully inhabited by humans and that

the reyaqc

should fear unnecessary contact with these similar

but very dangerous people. Humans are a superstitious breed,

and could never understand the needs and drives of the reyaqc.

Dolnaraq did not care for humans. There was a need for

them, yes. The reyaqc would always need to dwell within hunting

distance of their towns and villages. But, nothing more than

that. Just within hunting distance. Dolnaraq despised those reyaqc

who called themselves gypsies, wearing human clothing,

singing human songs, living in traveling caravans that skirted

the borders of human civilizations. Most humans thought these

gypsies strange, often believing them to have occult powers. But

they believed them to be human. The majority of gypsies were

human to be sure, but they often traveled in the same caravans

as their reyaqc cousins. Dolnaraq couldn’t understand why a reyaqc

would feign humanity, no matter how similar in appearance.

Dolnaraq was reyaqc, and he was about to become even more so.

They were over the rise now, gazing down into a small icy

field. Dolnaraq saw it—the fox. His prey. Oh, how that shiny red

coat gleamed. He could imagine that fur covering his own skin.

How silky it must feel. Those eyes, so bright, so intelligent. And

the teeth. Dolnaraq wanted the teeth as his own.

The two young reyaqc were silent, communicating now only

through hand signals. Dolnaraq indicated that Tresset should circle

around to his left. He saw his companion’s expression tighten

at the instruction—Tresset liked giving the orders—but still he

moved accordingly.

Dolnaraq proceeded slowly, never allowing his quarry to

leave his direct line of sight. He was upwind of the fox. The sly

creature would not smell him. All he needed was to remain silent

and invisible. He wondered if the fox would hear his heart beating.

It seemed to be pounding so hard that surly every creature in

the forest would hear its thump. He needed to calm himself. He

knew that. But Dolnaraq had been dreaming of this moment for

so many weeks now. How could he possibly hope to remain calm?

And frightened.

Dolnaraq would never admit this to Tresset, but he was terrified.

Yes, he wanted this—more than anything—but if something

were to happen, if Tresset stepped on a brittle stick and scared

the thing away, well, Dolnaraq would be relieved. He would feel

cheated and relieved at the same time. He’d be angry at Tresset,

but thankful too. This was a huge step, and Dolnaraq wasn’t yet

all that huge.

Stop it, he thought. If he remained this distracted he’d scare

the fox away himself and then Tresset would accuse him of doing

it on purpose.

He was almost there now.

Just a little closer.

Just a little closer.

As Dolnaraq was about to lunge, the fox sensed him and

bolted to the left. But, Tresset was there. It scurried right, but

found Dolnaraq. It slipped under a fallen branch and then into

some low brush, but both of the young reyaqc appeared, cornering

it, driving it into their grasps. Dolnaraq lunged but lost his

footing on a small patch of ice. Still, he caught a fleeting grasp

of the tail, slowing the fox enough for Tresset to snatch it in mid

leap. The creature struggled and snapped, piercing Tresset’s right

earlobe and drawing a surprising amount of blood. It wriggled

and wormed, its sleek legs pumping frantically against Tresset’s

bare thighs, leaving scarlet ribbons across his legs. But still the

young reyaqc pressed the thing close to his chest, using his forearm

and elbow to trap it against his body, while squeezing its

jaws shut with both hands.

“Dolnaraq, hurry! I’ve got him!”

Dolnaraq moved forward, but slowly. Did he really want this?

There was still time. He hadn’t done anything yet.

“Dolnaraq! I can’t hold him forever!”

He had to do this. He had come too far. What would Tresset

say if he backed out now? He would be an outcast. The others

would never respect one who boasted of great things and fled the

very same when opportunity appeared. This was his hunt. His

time. There might be no other.

Dolnaraq moved on instinct alone. Almost mechanically, he

scooted forward on the cold uneven ground, extending his right

hand as if to pet the fox. The frightened creature enhanced its

struggles, bobbing forward and back, whimpering, pedaling its

feet as if running, though Tresset had adjusted so that the paws

now found only air.

“Slowly,” cautioned Tresset. “Not too much. Not too fast.

Once you begin, there’s no need to rush.”

The fox’s hair was slick to the touch, and cold, much colder

than Dolnaraq would have assumed. But his skin was cold too.

The Siberian climate was not a gentle one for any of its many inhabitants.

Dolnaraq’s palm now held the back of the creature’s

neck. The time was at hand yet still Dolnaraq hesitated. Maybe

this wasn’t right for him. Maybe he was too young. Maybe…

The fox broke free of Tresset’s grasp. Dolnaraq’s reaction

was immediate. The bed of tiny pin-like spines emerged from

his palm, penetrating the fox’s neck at the base of the skull. The

connection was made. The world stood still.

Dolnaraq did not feel himself tumbling over as he drew the

fox close to his breast. He didn’t feel the jagged branch slice him

just above his left elbow. He didn’t hear Tresset’s continued warnings

to be slow, to only take a small amount during this first connection.

No, all Dolnaraq knew was the essence of the fox as it

coursed through his shivering form. He felt fire in his veins and

knew that certainly his limbs must be about to burst open. He

heard the echoing chime in his head, bouncing from one side to

10 The Empty

the other behind his eyes, muddling his thoughts, obstructing all

else. He felt his muscles twitch and cramp and felt his stomach

wretch, emptying its sparse contents onto the whimpering and

terrified fox. He felt every fabric of his person stretch and separate

and then pull together, before stretching yet again and again.

He seemed to be twirling around, around, and yet he was certain

that he remained still. He felt Tresset’s pull as his friend sought

to disengage him from the beast, but he clung closer. The fox was

his. The fox was him. He felt the creature swoon, its heartbeat

slow. He felt its breath grow shallow. He knew what this meant.

He knew he had taken too much. He also knew he would never

stop. The fox was him. The fox was him.

Then Dolnaraq knew nothing at all. Only cold, dark nothing.

Two

Dolnaraq awoke two days later, feeling strange—not himself.

His arms jerked when he tried to wipe his eyes, causing him to

strike the side of his own face. Every muscle seemed bound up

in balls. His legs did not want to extend, his stomach was tight

and gurgling. And his vision was strange—somehow the colors

had become less vibrant, the images less true.

“So, you’ve decided to become a molt.” It was his father’s

voice, from somewhere just behind him. The voice was as it always

had been, but the tone was unfamiliar. Dolnaraq couldn’t

tell if it was anger, sorrow, or maybe even disbelief.

A molt? His father had called him a molt. The term referred

to reyaqc who, in addition to drawing essence from humans, drew

from animals as well, shedding some of their more human-like

characteristics in favor of those of the animal. A molt. Yes. The

fox. Dolnaraq vaguely remembered the hunt, the chase, the experience.

Had he done it? Had he been successful? Had he truly

drawn from the fox? He lifted his quivering arm to before his eyes.

Where was the fur? Where was the sleek coat he’d envisioned?

He rolled his head in the direction of his father’s voice. “The

fox?”

His father moved forward. His skin and hair were darker than

Dolnaraq was accustomed to seeing on him. A band of gypsies

had recently settled in the area and many of the pack had drawn

essence from these dark strangers, causing their own tones to

gradually darken as well. “Yes, the fox,” said his father. “It is dead.”

Dead! No. He’d taken too much. When first drawing from

a creature one must proceed slowly, taking small amounts of

essence over several days. If too much is taken and the animal

perishes, then another must be found—another of quite similar

essence. Otherwise the reyaqc may become ill, the two essences

not complementing one another, but rather battling for primacy.

Dolnaraq sought to find his voice. It came in a harsh whisper.

“Dead. But, have I…?”

“Changed? Yes, boy, you’ve changed.” Dolnaraq’s father closed

his eyes, drew a long breath. “Why?”

“To be strong, Father. To be a great hunter.” And then, after

a pause. “To make you proud.”

“Make me proud! How could you imagine this would make

me proud?”

Dolnaraq had no words, no response. His young mind could

not fathom the reasoning behind his father’s question. Of course

the elder reyaqc should be proud. Dolnaraq had shown courage.

He’d taken risk in order to better himself. Why would a father

not be proud?

Dolnaraq watched through unfamiliar eyes as his father drew

closer yet. “Boy, have you never wondered why I have not become

a molt, why so few of our pack have done so?”

Dolnaraq had assumed it was because his father and the others

were too afraid to take such a bold step, but not feeling comfortable

with this response, he remained silent.

“The reasons are many,” began his father when Dolnaraq

failed to respond. “There are risks in the way of the molt.”

“Then, you were afraid,” said Dolnaraq before he could stop

himself from doing so.

“No,” sighed his father. “Not afraid as you see it. The advantages

of animal essence can be either great or minimal. Yes, you

may acquire the hunting skills or the superior sense of hearing

or smell. But you also may degrade your intellect, or you may become

more rash and violent or more skittish and fearful. Your

appearance will change making it more difficult for you to blend

with humans.”

“Why would I want to blend with humans? They stink.”

Dolnaraq’s father offered a momentary grin. “Yes, their odor

can be off-putting. But we need their essence. We need to hunt

among them. Like it or not, we depend on the humans for our

survival.”

“You’re a human lover!” screamed Dolnaraq. He had expected

his father to praise him, to tell him how brave he had been, to say

that he wished he had the same courage as his young son. But,

all he had done was to belittle Dolnaraq, making him feel foolish.

“You’re a human lover and a coward.” Dolnaraq attempted

to rise from the cave floor, but found he was unable to lift himself

from his bed of straw.

His father watched his pathetic struggle for a few moments,

and then said. “No boy, I am neither. The humans are not so despicable

as you might think. And I am neither enthralled by them

nor a coward, as you claim. But neither am I your father. Not any

longer. You may rest here until you’ve regained your strength,

and then you must find dwelling of your own.”

This was the last conversation the two would have, though the

young reyaqc did hear his father weeping in long, guttural sobs

from beyond the cave entrance and long into the night.

 

Dolnaraq found his feet. He was now able to hobble unsteadily

about the cave. His head still ached and his stomach would not yet

tolerate food, but at least he was able to move about. Though, why

he’d want to, he didn’t know. His father had an old, palm-sized

mirror he’d acquired from a human some years prior. Dolnaraq

had taken this and viewed his image. He had changed, yes. But

not as he had hoped. His nose was now dark, but still shaped

as before with no other fox-like characteristic. His left ear was

somewhat elongated and random shoots of red fur protruded

from it. His left eye—though still milky white—had widened in

comparison to his right. And, within his mouth, one long canine

tooth had grown—again, on the left—and protruded stupidly

from between his lips making it impossible for him to shut his

mouth completely. This also caused some difficulty in speech.

The fingers

on his left hand were shortened and clumsy, and his

left leg felt twitchy and uncontrollable. He had no sleek beautiful

coat as he had imagined. His senses of smell and hearing had not

been enhanced. All in all, he’d become a useless freak. As such,

he’d determined never to exit this cave again. What possible use

could there be for one such as he?

His father had ordered him to leave, but his mother would

care for him, he was sure. And if not his own mother; if she fell

sway to the same repulsion as his father, then one of the other

females father kept, one of the childless ones would certainly

show pity on this freak.

Pity. That was all he was worth—someone’s pity.

Dolnaraq rolled over in the hay weeping. It was not supposed

to be like this. He was supposed to be stronger, more able. He was

supposed to be admired not pitied. Maybe he should die. Maybe

he should refuse all food, take no essence whether human or animal,

and allow himself to waste away. It would be painful, yes,

but not so long lasting. He was already weakened, in need of essence.

The process of becoming a molt had drained his system.

In many ways he was already depleted. Surly, it would be a simple

thing to die. Then his father would truly weep. He would realize

what his rejection had done and he would fall to his knees in anguish.

Perhaps he’d even take his own life. This thought heartened

Dolnaraq. He only wished he could be alive to witness it. Maybe

he could hold his breath, pretend to be dead, make his father realize

how wrong he’d been, then Dolnaraq could “awaken.” His

father would be so thankful Dolnaraq was alive that he would

hug him and care for him.

Or maybe he would curse him. Maybe he would rather that

Dolnaraq did perish. Then he wouldn’t have the embarrassment

of a freakish pup.

Nothing made sense. Nothing was right.

But then came the raid. And everything changed.

The pack from the north attacked on the night of the small

est moon. The minimal light granted them cover as they swept in

from three different points of attack. Reyaqc packs attack one another

for various reasons—food stores, supplies, better positioning

relative to humans and prey, sometimes to replenish their stock

of females and youth, or other times simply out of pure savagery.

The commotion began well after sundown. Shouts and footfalls

as reyaqc raced back and forth about the clearing, growls and

shrieks, the sounds of struggle, the gasps of the dying. Dolnaraq

knew the sound of a raid. There had been many in his short lifetime.

This was part of the reyaqc life. He also knew that even a

pup such as he was expected to defend the pack. If he was old

enough to hunt, he was old enough to fight.

Dolnaraq closed his eyes. It would be an easy thing to simply

lay here and allow one of the raiders to come by and kill him.

There would be no prolonged starvation, no pleas from his mother

to reconsider. What of the others? What of his mother? Already

he could see the females gathering armfuls of food and supplies

and carrying them further back into the depths of the cave. The

females were doing their part. Dolnaraq should do his. Perhaps he

would die in battle. Then his father would be forced to be proud.

Yes. Die in battle. Die a hero. Maybe even a freak could be a hero.

It was not an easy task to rise from his bed as his muscles

curled into tight balls of pain. But Dolnaraq used the cave wall

for support and gradually attained an upright position. The first

steps were particularly painful, but with each his muscles seemed

to loosen. He hobbled some, his left leg remaining numb and

twitchy, but he found he could move about in a slow uneven gait.

The scene beyond the cave was a mass of confusion. The

northern pack had seemingly swept in from all sides, catching

Dolnaraq’s clan off guard. Already, bodies littered the cold snowy

ground, many slashed open with entrails leaving streaks of red

upon the pristine white. To his left a young female was thrown

harshly against an ancient oak. Her head made a sharp cracking

sound with each of three successive strikes. When she finally fell

limp, the northern reyaqc bent to clutch her right ankle and then

dragged her into the darkness. Directly ahead, two northern reyaqc—

both molts—descended upon Mynig, the pack chieftain.

These reyaqc had the sharp claws of mountain cats. Mynig did

not cry out, nor attempt to flee. Rather, he bit and clawed until

finally succumbing in a heap on the bloodied snow.

Most of the northern reyaqc were molts. But not molts such as

Dolnaraq had become. These were fierce creatures, many with full

long canines and razor-sharp claws. How had they done this? Why

had they become amazing while Dolnaraq had become foolish?

He knew the answer to this.

In these more savage packs, those who did not achieve some

level of strength or usefulness were simply slain and then consumed

by the pack. In this way, at least, they contributed something

to the well-being of the many. If Dolnaraq were found by

these, he would be murdered. He’d be devoured. Dolnaraq now

realized he didn’t want to die, that whatever he had become, he

still had reason to go on. But could he? Could he go on? The pack

was under siege and Dolnaraq was still weak and uncoordinated

from his ordeal.

Two reyaqc fell before Dolnaraq, scraping and clawing, causing

the young pup to scurry to his right. All about him were

scenes of carnage—limbs severed, throats bitten and ripped.

Dolnaraq’s pack was not large, only comprising some forty members.

Dolnaraq knew each corpse by name. He had spent hours

with each dying soul. An older reyaqc, Narmon, called out from

where he lay on the icy ground. There was a gash in his side,

and he was trying to force his innards back to within his body.

“Dolnaraq!” he cried in a raspy croak. “Help me to put myself

back together! Help me put these in!”

Dolnaraq stood horrified. What was he to do? Narmon was

obviously beyond repair. How could he possibly expect young

Dolnaraq to fix him?

“Dolnaraq, please!” croaked Narmon one last time. But

Dolnaraq fled with a quick hobble. Still, he seemed unable to outdistance

the carnage. Everywhere, he saw those he’d known for

the entirety of his existence falling to this superior force. There

was nothing he could do, no direction he could turn.

“Amazing.”

The voice came from behind Dolnaraq. He spun around.

Tresset stood before two males who were breathing their final

breaths.

“Amazing,” repeated Tresset, a broad grin on his pale round

face, a look of shear awe in his milky eyes. “Can you see the strategy,

Dolnaraq? Can you see how they swept in from the east,

forcing our pack to retreat west? Then waves two and three, from

the west and north, encircled us, cornered us against the caves.

We were pathetic, with no plan, no countermeasures. But, these!

These were magnificent. Our entire pack will have fallen within

thirty minutes. It’s amazing.”

The youth was enthralled, hypnotized by the battle. But

he was also correct in his assessment. Dolnaraq could see that

now. His own pack was doomed. Even now, they were down to

less than half the number of the invaders. The only hope was retreat.

It was not brave to die for dying’s sake, for this would only

bring a greater victory to one’s opponent. No. It was time to flee.

Dolnaraq didn’t know if this was logic speaking, or shear cowardice.

But he knew it was right, that it was necessary.

“Tresset,” he called. “Tresset, come. We must flee. Our pack

has fallen. Come. Now.”

“Do you see the discipline?” asked his friend. “Do you see it?

Even those few who have fallen do so with grace, with superiority.”

“Tresset, please. We need to go.”

It was then that a large bear-like reyaqc fell upon Tresset.

The youth went down with a panicked yelp, but no serious injury

had yet been inflicted. Dolnaraq had no time to think, which was

well, because had he had that opportunity he surely wouldn’t have

leapt upon the brute, sinking his one long canine into the thing’s

neck, clamping it there, pressing it deeper, deeper. Dolnaraq felt

the things talons as it dug into his side. He released his hold, but

the brute of a molt did no such thing. Now Dolnaraq was on the

ground. Those claws raking at him. His own blood splayed across

his foe’s gnarled face.

Another joined the fray. At first Dolnaraq thought it might be

Tresset, but the other youth was still on the ground, having scooted

to the side after Dolnaraq had fallen upon the molt. Whoever

it was, he’d somehow pressed himself between Dolnaraq and the

other, and was now grappling with the larger reyaqc. Despite the

molt’s injury to the neck, it was still a lopsided battle, and the

outcome predetermined. The molt would be the victor.

Dolnaraq moved to renew his attack but the other shouted

at him. “Dolnaraq! No! Flee into the forest! Flee!”

It was his father’s voice. And it was soon forever silenced.

PURCHASE THE EMPTY TODAY AT http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Thom-Reese/dp/1603183620/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1346163124&sr=1-1&keywords=the+empty+by+thom+reese

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

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

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.

 

August 9, 2011

A SEEDY DIVE AND DISQUIETING FLIGHT by Thom Reese

I’ve just returned from the Chicago area after attending a family reunion for my wife’s clan. (It truly is a clan both in size and spirit.) I won’t talk about the event itself – I’ll keep their secrets if they’ll keep mine – but there were a couple of travel-related events that I find quite entertaining or at least a little  intriguing.

Let’s start with the motel:

Arriving at Midway Airport late into the wee hours of the morning, our rental car would not be available till eight o’clock AM. As such, my wife had used an online travel site to book us into a nearby motel, the idea being that without our rental we would be required to take a taxi both to and from our lodgings. We wanted something close so that we could simply zip back to the airport, get our car, and be off to fun and frivolity.

Something we should have considered: Midway is not in the best of neighborhoods.

The cabbie dropped us off, gazed at me, my wife, my teenage daughter, and warned us not to wander the streets – day or night. He then sped off, wide eyed and trembling. Upon entering the – shall we use the term motel? – we were confronted with our first clue as to the nature of the establishment, a sign declaring, “ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS AFTER 5 MINUTES IN THE ROOM.”

We would soon learn why such a sign was required.

The desk clerk, a young woman, offered us a knowing smile and welcomed us. My wife joked about the sign. The woman simply shrugged. There was no elevator and so we lugged our luggage up one flight of stairs and turned left at the top. We were immediately assaulted with several odors, including, but not limited to: mildew, dead animal, and marijuana.

Now, at this point one might wonder why we didn’t flee. Was it a sense of adventure, a death wish, perhaps a dash of insanity? No. It was simply a combination of exhaustion and circumstance. It was after two AM. To leave, we would need to call a cab, find another – hopefully better and thus further distant from the airport – motel, and likely spend another hour or so in our present semi-conscience state. And so, with bleary eyes and sleep-deprived brains, we decided, “How bad can it be?” and continued down the hallway.

Locating our room, we found the door slightly ajar. Not open. It was locked. But it could slide a good inch or so forward or back. I pushed on it, jiggled it, gave it a thump or two. Yes, it was locked. Someone couldn’t break in without quite an effort or at least an average set of muscles.

The odor was stronger in the room. We’re quite certain that some rodent or another had met its end within the walls. The curtains, which covered the entire back wall, were attached with only four hooks, causing them to droop and billow. Everything had a sticky not-quite-clean quality about it. There were only two towels. One had what appeared to be a small bloodstain on it. We were fairly certain that, no, this was not The Four Seasons.

But, the decision had been made. We weren’t cowards. Or, at least, we were too exhausted to behave in any cowardly and/or rational manner. We were staying. That was that.

Feeling uncomfortable about the quality of the door lock, we piled our luggage in front of the door, and then, not liking the disposition of the sheets, all three of us slept atop the bedcovers, covering the pillows with clothing as to not have direct contact with the fabric. None of us so much as took off our socks.

Nor did we sleep, but rather laid awake for those few hours, alert to every sound, wondering when the door would be pushed open by some evil motel goblin in search of our money, our socks, and maybe even our lives.

A few hours later, as I descended the stairs, I overheard the two desk clerks chatting. One said to the other, “So, did that white family stay?”

Two days later we realized that the place had double charged us for the room.

Nice.

Fast forward four days to the return flight.

My flight was delayed due to weather. I sat in the terminal alone as my wife and daughter were staying in the Midwest for a few more days than I. No one in the terminal was in a good mood. There were sighs and complaints, a few curses. It was a redeye flight that was now over an hour past our stated departure time.

When finally we boarded, I took my seat relatively close to the front of the plane, pulled out the book I’m currently reading (George R. R. Martin’s A DANCE WITH DRAGONS), and settled in. A few minutes later, just when I was thinking that we might actually be nearing departure, two police officers boarded the craft, marching down the aisle toward the back of the plane. From my vantage, I really couldn’t see what was going on, but there was obviously some rather pointed dialogue, a bit of shuffling, and more than a dollop of commotion. Soon a middle-aged woman, obviously not in the best of moods, was led up the way and through the hatch.

Okay. Interesting. But, assuming the drama was at an end, I went back to my reading. But only for a minute. Now, three EMTs marched through the hatch and down the way. Again, I couldn’t see what was going on, but there was significant commotion, quite a bit of dialogue on walky-talkies, a couple of trips off the plane by medical personnel to fetch equipment, and a general hubbub.

This all went on for about fifteen minutes. Now, mind you, never once was there any announcement official or otherwise from the crew. We passengers were left to our own fertile imaginings to fill in the missing pieces: Was this a terrorist plot foiled? Had the person ejected from the craft been a stowaway? If so, how had she made it past security? Was someone dying back there? And, I think most prominent in everyone’s mind, was an alien abduction somehow involved?

Finally, two passengers were led – on foot, not on stretchers – from the plane. Two minutes later a perky young flight attendant announced that, “It seems some seats have opened up and so we’ll be boarding some standbys.”

No mention was ever made as to what had occurred, but I’m sticking with my initial theory of a failed alien abduction.

ON THE HORIZON:

Just a couple of quick notes on what’s coming up. DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first novel in my Marc Huntington series, is due out later this month from Speaking Volumes. 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 CURRENT NOVEL, 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 THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, 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.

July 21, 2011

BORDERS IS GONE: WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BOOK INDUSTRY? by Thom Reese

It’s official. After a long struggle, bankruptcy protection, and restructuring, Borders has announced that they are closing all 399 of their remaining stores. The problem: the industry changed and Borders failed to change along with it. We are living in a time of fast-paced transformation. Never in our history have so many advances come so rapidly. Where the 20th century brought dramatic change over the course of decades, the 21st reconstitutes almost yearly. Think about it. Five years ago how many of us had ever sent a text message? The first smart phone (the iPhone) was introduced only four years ago. Now, nearly every phone on the market has “smart” capabilities. Even three years ago, Blockbuster was the king of the video rentals hill. Now, between Redbox and Netflicks they’re about as dated as a T Rex in a speakeasy. And eBooks. Three years ago electronic books were barely a blip on the radar with sales of about $30 million. Now they outsell print copies in most segments (sometimes by a ratio as high as 5 to 1) with estimated 2011 sales topping $300 million. Add to this the fact that even most print books are purchased online and one must wonder do any traditional brick and mortar booksellers stand a chance.

The answer: yes. I believe they do.

The complication: dramatic changes must be made – and soon.

In such a rapidly-changing environment every business must be willing to reinvent itself over and over in order to remain viable. With more and more commerce flooding to the internet, brick and mortar outlets must find ways to keep customers coming back. Let’s face it, it’s much easier to sit at ones computer in gym shorts and a T-shirt while ordering merchandise than it is to get dressed, hop in the car, fight traffic, go into a retail outlet, and then stand in line to make a purchase.

That said, shopping malls still exist. When almost anything can be bought online, why are malls still flooded with shoppers?

Because many people still enjoy the act of shopping.

Now, take the mall concept and apply it to the bookseller. I, for one, love perusing the bookshelves at a book store. It’s a great way to find new authors that I otherwise might have missed. I’ve not yet found a way to match this experience online. There’s also a sense of community in a bookstore. It’s fun to be amongst other book enthusiasts, to discuss books read and favorite authors. But, these things alone will not keep customers coming back. So, what can booksellers, both national chains and independent locations, do to keep customers coming back during this digital age? There are no easy answers, no guarantees, but here are my personal thoughts on the subject:

LOOK AT WHAT’S COME BEFORE: Both the music and home video industries have already gone through the same changes. Nearly all music and video content is now available online. Tower Records is a fossil, Hollywood video extinct, with Blockbuster teetering. And yet people still buy CDs, DVDs, and Blue Ray. There are still plenty of people who like to hold a product, to own it, to look at the cover. Booklovers love the smell of books and the feel of them. They like a full bookshelf in their homes. I know many people who will buy an e-copy of a book and then, if they really love it, buy a print copy just to have or to share with fellow book enthusiasts. Today’s booksellers should gain hope from these other markets and look to the survivors of the music and video revolutions for clues. What did the survivors do that kept them afloat? Do booksellers need the equivalent of Redbox or Netflix? What could booksellers learn from these industries that would help to keep them in the game?

LOOK FORWARD NOT BACK: Any industry wanting to be competitive in the 21st century needs to keep an eye on developing technology not with fear but with the mindset of utilizing the advancements to bolster their sales. The book industry has done this by making eBook readers available on iPads and smart phones, by bringing the prices down on eBook readers. But technology continues to move forward. A large segment of video content is streamed right now from sites like Netflicks and Hulu. Could books be streamed? Is there a market for that? What new technologies are on the horizon? How can these be embraced and utilized at the bookseller level? Could booksellers, large or small, develop apps that would allow loyal customers to purchase books directly from their phones? I’m not talking Amazon here. I’m talking Joe’s Book and Lube. One of the great things about new technology is that it often levels the playing field. The small independent bookseller has access to the same technology as Barnes & Noble. Recognizing emerging trends and technology and utilizing these first could give both small retailers and publishers an advantage. Think of an app that targets a loyal customers interests. Local bookstores could alert customers of upcoming releases or specials that fit their past purchase patterns and allow them to buy electronic or print copies FROM THE LOCAL STORE directly from this app. I’m sure there are dozens of such ideas floating around out there.

Now, the question could be posed, “Isn’t this putting more business online rather than bolstering brick and mortar booksellers?” Quite possibly, yes. But, one needs to think big, not small. In today’s environment even a ma and pop bookshop needs to have a national or even international mindset. Allow me to site an example from another industry: Pawnshops. Yes, pawnshops, about as far removed from the book industry as any retail establishment might be. But I think there’s something to learn from them. One normally thinks of a pawnshop as a relatively isolated storefront. Customers come in to pawn, sell, or purchase items. Let’s look at the purchasing customers as they’re our parallel. Time was when all goods sold through a pawnshop were purchased on site. Customers came in, perused the shop, and either bought something or left. Now, most successful pawnbrokers not only offer their merchandise in house but online as well. They sell on their own websites, on eBay, Craig’s list, etc. They’ve embraced current trends and enhanced their profitability. Booksellers have these same opportunities.

HOW ELSE CAN TRADITIONAL BOOKSELLERS INCORPORATE NEW TRENDS? Selling eBook readers and offering download stations are a great start, but don’t go quite far enough. Electronic readers and eBooks can be purchased online. The customer needs a reason to make the effort to come to the store. Price is an obvious factor. If book stores offered eBooks and readers at discounted rates below those offered online, this could draw customers. But prices can always be undercut and Amazon’s discounts make them difficult to beat. Major chains might be able to purchase the rights to eBooks not available anywhere else and even independent stores might offer a catalog of niche offerings (both print and electronic) that are rare or difficult to find. Chain booksellers or coalitions of independent booksellers might be able to enter into exclusivity agreements with smaller publishing houses, gaining exclusive rights to certain titles and/or authors.

MIX THE OLD WITH THE NEW: Many people still love the feel and smell of a print book. They like having something tangible to hold and to own. Retail outlets can offer this while still catering to the eBook trend. How about a package deal? Buy the print copy and get the eBook for free (or at a drastically reduced rate).

EMPHASIZE THE EXPERIENCE: Online buying is quick and easy, but there is no ambiance, no atmosphere. Traditional bookstores have the opportunity to offer the customer much more than can a website. Helpful booksellers can guide shoppers to new authors they might enjoy. Reading areas and coffee shops within stores are still popular and can be emphasized all the more. Author signings and readings offer an additional dynamic and even if authors aren’t often available onsite, carrying autographed copies in stock is a great selling point. People like holding a book that the author held in his/her own hands.

DON’T ROLL OVER AND PLAY DEAD: Change can be scary. The future is vague. Things look much different out there. But, with such times come new opportunities. And those who look forward, who embrace new ideas and technologies will be the ones to prosper. Future bookstores may not look the same as they did in the past, but I really don’t believe they don’t need to go the way of the dinosaur either.

 

Thom Reese is the author of THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, 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 MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, 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.

 

August 15, 2010

STAND-UP & MAKE THEM RUN AWAY By Thom Reese

As some of you may or may not know, I used to do some stand-up comedy. It’s been a few years, but every once in a while a get the bug. (Some might call it the flu.) Well, I don’t have the bug right now. Or, at least, I didn’t. But, then it was suggested that I throw together a routine for an upcoming event. Ah, the thoughts began racing through my head like a tortoise with the parking break on. Which bits did I remember? Were any of these still relevant? Could I be ready in time? Well, I worked the whole thing up, practiced, revised, etcetera, etcetera. And then got bumped due to time restraints. Sigh. Life takes such weird little twists. Anyway, as I had my material worked up, I thought I’d share the routine with you, my dear readers.

NOTE: I did cull certain segments of this material from some of my previous blogs, so there may be some familiar bits and pieces. Familiarity aside, I hope you have some fun with it.

 So, without further delay, here’s my not-yet-performed stand-up-and-make-them-all-run-away routine:

So, we’re away from home, sleeping in new and different places. It always takes a little time to get used to the sounds of a new locale. You know, the way a house creeks and groans with the wind. The way it settles at night. There was this sound last night, I dunno. Creepy. It kept me up. Kinda sounded something like, “Help. Let me out of here. Please! For the love of all that’s holy – help!!” Personally, I think our host needs to call an exterminator.

Now, most of you probably don’t know much about me. I come from a dual heritage. Both paranoid and schizophrenic. But don’t worry about me. I’m okay. All of my personalities get along just fine together. In fact, I’m pretty sure two of them our dating.

I had an uncle who always had crazy schemes. He decided to open his own business. Yep! As a professional dinosaur hunter. His motto: “The only good dinosaur is a dead dinosaur!” I told him, I said “Um, Uncle Lester, you do know, dinosaurs are extinct – they’re all dead.” He says, “What? Already? I is good, ain’t I?”

Now, I think all parents are wacky people. Myself included. Something about having a child just flips a switch in the brain. “Go directly to insane. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.” Remember the first time you realized your parents had lied to you? You know, outright bold faced lie. Like the whole Santa Claus thing. That was a lie, right? Santa Claus? You know, when your parents told you that he’d only give toys to kids who play in traffic!

The only time I ever saw my mother drunk was the day she decided to tell me the facts of life. Yeah, that was helpful: “Shtay away frommm easy girrlzz. Yew don’ know wha’ they’ll give yew.” I’m eight years-old. I don’t know anything. Why is it I’m supposed to stay away from the girls that want to give me something? It seems those must be the nice ones!

Now, my parents were big on proper language. I was raised not to use cuss words. “There’s 500 thousand words in the English language. I’m sure you can get by without using six of them.” Fair enough. But, I still needed a way to express myself when I was ticked off. So, I decided that if couldn’t cuss, I’d find some suitable substitutes. So I use song titles. You know, like “What the Do-wah-ditty-ditty-dum-ditty do do ya think your doin’?” Or, “Get the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B away from me!” Or, Hey you. Your full of “The Best of My Love!”

But if dealing with parents is nuts, romantic relationships can be outright certifiable. I heard recently of an engaged couple going their separate ways. No big deal. Happens all the time. But, apparently, this guy had bought for his fiancé certain silicon-based enhancements.

Now he wants them back.

Okay, I’ve heard of guys asking for the ring back. But…

Can you imagine the conversation?

“Aw come on, honey, you’re the one who broke up with me. I really should get those back. You know those were my mother’s breasts. In fact, those implants have been in my family for six generations.”

Now, like anyone else, I have my failings. It’s only through Kathy’s sheer endurance and will power that we’re still together. But, I do have a few nuggets of wisdom for those of you who don’t want to spend too many nights on the couch. So here’s Thom’s list of matrimonial no-nos:

When you promise your spouse a romantic getaway, you might want to inform her if it’s a one way ticket and you’re not attending.

Never say, “Really, you’re going to wear that?!”

As well, don’t say, “Remember back when you were pretty?”

Avoid the phrase, “Satan called. He wants his evil back.”

Never refer to your spouse as “My first wife.”

Of course if you’re having trouble with your relationship, you can always find good advice at the book store. Tons of books on relationships. There’s “Romance for Dummies,” “Dating for Dummies,” “Killing Your Spouse with an Ax for Dummies.” Oh, and here’s a good one: “Sex for Dummies.” Yes, this is a real book. “Sex for Dummies.”

Who buys this book? How secure does a guy have to be in his masculinity to walk up to that little check-out girl and buy “Sex for Dummies?”

And they’ve got a sequel!

“Pregnancy for Dummies.” Which I see as a cleverly devised marketing ploy geared at insuring that there’ll be future generations of dummies to by these books. I hear they’re running a special. Buy two Dummies books, get the third full price.

Now, it’s difficult enough dealing with my own relationship. But, as a parent, I need to worry about my teenaged daughter’s romantic life. Yes, she’s discovered boys. Now, I recognize that this is a common phenomenon. Young girls have been noticing their male counterparts for at least a decade now. Still, this is a more recent development for this particular young lady. And as her father, I am frightened to glassy-eyed, near-comatose, hysteria by the prospect.

There are, shall we say, DANGERS!!!! Boys have a WMR. You’ve heard of WMDs – Weapons of mass destruction. Well, this is a WMR – Weapon of Mass Reproduction.

Okay, enough of that. I’m not sure if I’ll ever use any of that material in a stand-up setting, but it was fun getting into that mental mode again. Thank you all for coming along for the ride!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am very excited to announce that my series of audio dramas are now available for download by SPEAKING VOLUMES QUALITY AUDIO BOOKS at the fantastic price of only $3.00 each. Check them out at www.speakingvolumes.us. Enter my name, Thom Reese, in the search box. As of this writing, two have been released. There should be one added per week for the near future.

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas are being released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

 

Check out Thom’s other blog, THE SPECULATIVE SPECTATOR, at http://speculativespectator.wordpress.com

 

 

July 3, 2010

MODERN LOVE by Thom Reese

Relationships are tricky little devils. As soon as it appears that all there is to know is known about a person, the rules change. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the “What in the smack-me-across-the-face-and-spin-my-head-till-I’m-purple was that?!”. I suppose it’s because all relationships involve humans, and we’re a species that has enough trouble keeping up with our own inner thoughts, goals, and motivations, much less understanding those of another, no matter how close or beloved.

I heard recently of an engaged couple going their separate ways. Now, this is nothing new. Plenty of people get cold feet, leap at another opportunity, or freak out upon learning that a proposed spouse is the last in a long line of cannibalistic matrimonial practitioners. But apparently this particular young stud had bought for his fiancé certain silicone-based enhancements.

Now he wants them back.

Okay, I’ve heard of guys asking for the ring back. It might even be appropriate to request a Lexus be returned, or ownership in BP stock. But this?

I can imagine the conversation:

“Aw come on, honey, you’re the one who broke up with me. I really should get those back. You know those were my mother’s. In fact, those implants have been in my family for six generations.”

I read of another man arrested for inserting 19 mice through his ex-wife’s letter box. This he did because the woman suffered from an unreasonable fear of rodents. I’m thinking he wasn’t intending this as a means of rekindling the flame.

Now, we all do get frustrated, angry, and outright furious at our loved ones. Fact is, love is an extreme emotion, and as such prompts us toward other extreme emotions (such as murderous rage and/or suicidal fantasies). That said, here’s Thom’s list of relationship no-nos. If you’re hoping to stay sufficiently hooked up, you may want to avoid these, regardless of any compelling temptation to do otherwise.

Here we go:

When you promise your spouse a romantic getaway to Tahiti, you might want to inform him/her if it’s a one way ticket and you’re not attending.

Never say, “Really, you’re going to wear that?!”

If you send flowers, avoid black roses.

If you woo her by saying, “I’m sure there must be something I love about you,” duck.

As well, don’t say, “Remember back when you were pretty?”

Never but never wake a loved one by screaming “You’re on fire!” and then splashing ice water across his/her face. Strangely, most people do not find this amusing.

Avoid the phrase, “Satan called. He wants his evil back.”

Never refer to your spouse as “My first wife.”

Best relationship advice:

You’re both imperfect. Deal with it.

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

Check out Thom’s other blog, THE SPECULATIVE SPECTATOR, at http://speculativespectator.wordpress.com

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