Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clean Hands Now Available!

My short story, Clean Hands, which is a prequel to The Darkness of the Womb, is now available on Kobo, Nook, and Kindle.

This standalone story centers around the Archetype, Instinct. His mission is to journey inside the mind of a dreamer in order to influence them to make a crucial decision that will affect the rest of history. But dreams are unpredictable, and Instinct finds himself on shaky ground once he enters the dream world. Will he survive his mission, or will he find that even he, the embodiment of mankind's Instinct, can't even handle the world of the subconscious?

You can currently purchase it for 99 cents! Pick it up today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Jude The Obscure

Jude the ObscureJude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You can't get more tragic than Jude the Obscure, which, upon reading the introduction, is purposeful, as the title is meant to inspire you to think of Greek tragedies like Oedipis the King. Jude is an ordinary man who has great ambitions at a young age and aspires to be a scholar. But unlike Jay-Z, Jude doesn't have 99 problems. He only has one. And, if you know the song, I'm guessing you could figure out what it is. This one problem ruins his entire life and sets him off on an existence heavy with grief and a loss of happiness. One of the tragedies of this brilliant novel is that Jude was born either too early or too late, as his views throughout the novel are both extremely conservative, and yet, wildly Liberal for the time period.

I'm not surprised what a maligned book this was for its release, as it contains aspects that I'm certain were shocking and even blasphemous for the time period. I'm surprised there wasn't a public burning of the book. In the end, Jude the Obscure is a novel YEARS before its time, which is why it is such a classic. If you haven't already done so, read this book.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: The Naked Sun

The Naked Sun (Robot, #2)The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in Asimov's celebrated Robot series (It's sandwiched between The Caves of Steel and The Robots of Dawn), and I think it suffers a bit with the transition from Earth to another planet, in this case, the Earth-like Solara. In the first book, the actual caves presented were fascinating. Mankind had journeyed underground and set up cities, which in itself was interesting. I also found the case more engaging, too, as it centered squarely on R. Daneel, which is the central robot of the series. That book featured a world distrustful of robots, while this book features a planet that relies on them. It's a nice change of pace and I applaud Asimov for trying something different, but it's just missing something with its absence of crowds and city life. Plus, R. Daneel plays a lot less heavily in this story than he did in the last one (Though, I do see the correlation between robots and slavery--the protagonist frequently calls them "boy"--more so in this one, which presents an intriguing new element to these stories that wasn't present in the first).

The case this time is also much less interesting than it was in Caves, as it feels more like something you would find in a cozy mystery rather than a sci-fi novel. Other than the aspect of "viewing" and "seeing" in this book, and the robots, of course, this doesn't seem like the adventurous exploration of sci-fi mystery like the first one. And that's probably because we're stuck with the more human elements in this story than the last book. I'm interested to see how the final novel in the series fits it altogether, given that ending, but I'm also a little less intrigued after this book. Oh, well.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: Sophie's Choice

Sophies ChoiceSophies Choice by William Styron
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A book so annoying, I couldn't even finish it (I got to page 200). The main problem with this novel is its narrator and the pedantic prose he spits out. He's so wordy and full of himself that you want to grab him by the nape and stuff his head underwater. It's so aggrivating (it doesn't help that the book has such long paragraphs and very little dialogue). Stingo, the protagonist, is a sex - starved loser, and in turn, it makes the other two lead characters, Nathan and Sophie, seem all the more pathetic for hanging out with him. I read how the books ends on Wikipedia, so I don't feel too bad about not finishing it. But here's the funny thing- this book is about 560 pages long, and the synopsis on Wikipedia is only about three paragraphs. So this douche of a writer wasted all that time on a plot that can be explained in three puny paragraphs. What this guy needed was a good editor. What a waste of paper! Don't waste your time

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Finishing A Book-What's Next?

The Interdimensional Subwoofer is the third novel I've written, and I think, my very best yet. I've sent it to my editor and I'm just waiting to get it back so I can make the corrections and then send it off to agents. So I guess I should get started on my fourth book, right?

Well...I don't know about that.

Here's the thing. As an indie author who hasn't really gotten as much love for my first two titles as I would have liked, I still have that nagging feeling that I need to go back and rectify that. Now, I know, I should move forward, not backward. Those two books didn't sell for a reason, right? Well, I'm not so sure about that. A part of the problem of being an indie author is the fact that you are competing with so many other indie authors who all believe the same thing--there's just too much competition out there. With that belief, we constantly believe that it's not the writing or the cover that's the problem, but rather, the fact that it's too difficult to get your story known when hundreds of other trying to do the same thing every day. Whether it's true or not (That the writing isn't the issue), is up in the air, but the fact that we try so hard to promote ourselves is a constant issue that I think I've found a solution to, and it's in the form of "DLC".

What's DLC, you ask? (And if you ask it, then you're obviously not a gamer). DLC stands for Downloadable Content, and I'm going to implement it for my two previous books, The Darkness of the Womb, and A Boy and His Corpse. What they will be is short (Very short, 25 pages) stories that connect the books, but are also standalone titles. The first short story, "Clean Hands," will be about events prior to The Darkness of the Womb, but will have no true connection to it, so you wouldn't have had to read the book to know what's going on. It will be free and introduce the world to people who have never read my first book (Which seems to be the entire world itself).

My second short story, also 25 pages, will be about events AFTER A Boy and His Corpse. It will be titled, "Q: Are We Not Human? A: We Are Corpses!" which is a send-up of one of the most famous Devo albums. This title will only be free if you sign up for my mailing list, which is something I've (stupidly) neglected to set up for a long time.

(Image taken from:

So, you might be wondering why I'm doing this. Wouldn't it be wiser of me to invest in marketing campaigns and other things that other authors are already doing? Well, probably, but I think this is a way to get readers who otherwise wouldn't pick up my previous work to perhaps give it a gander if they like "Clean Hands" or "Are We Not Human?" Maybe then, if I get at least some kind of audience, I can move on with my life. But until then, I'll just keep pushing to get my first two books noticed. It's an uphill battle and one that I'll continue endlessly to climb. Whatever it takes.

Review: Pauline Kael on The best Film Ever Made

The Best Film Ever MadeThe Best Film Ever Made by Pauline Kael
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For such a short book, this was a real towering achievement. Written when Orson Welles was still alive (!), this book talks about how Welles was probably the biggest loser in the history of Hollywood after directing and starring in what is still arguably (and this book was written in 1971) considered the greatest movie of all time, and not getting famous off of it. His is truly a tragic story that actually sort of mimics that of the character he portrayed in the movie, which, I found out because of this book, wasn't totally a coincidence.

What's interesting about this title and what separates it from other film criticism is that the author actually points out many of the problems with the film. Now, this wouldn't be all that strange if it were any other movie, but to say anything but utter praise for Citizen Kane has always seemed like heresy. But Ms. Kael did it, and proves that despite all of its flaws, it's still quite the masterpiece, and she gives her own personal reasons for why that's so. It's really quite refreshing.

It's also a fantastic history lesson. I never even heard of Herman J. Mankiewicz before reading this book and always just assumed that Orson Welles wrote the movie since his imprint is everywhere else on the film. But I learned just what a character the screenwriter was, and how instrumental he was to the creation of the movie, which was originally simply titled, American. In fact, Mankiewicz is more prominent in this book than Welles himself, which makes for a somewhat distanced reading of it until you realize just how important a role he actually played. It really is quite something. I learned a great deal about Hearst as well, who, as everybody knows, was the inspiration for Charles Foster Kane in the first place.

In summary, this is just a great book. The author had a very strong voice and opinion, and it made for a fun, complex read. I loved it.

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Review: The Chosen

The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Chosen is part of a trend of older books that are now retroactively considered YA, just because the protagonist himself is a young adult. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Like Lord of the Flies and Ender's Game, I think calling The Chosen YA is quite a stretch since it deals with very adult themes-like friendship over faith, and vice versa-that teenagers today might not find interest in. And it's not that I'm not giving today's generation of teenagers enough credit. I definitely think they can handle and absorb the material. It's just that I think you have to be a bit older to even find interest in something like this. I definitely wouldn't give one of my students this book after they just read something like The Hunger Games or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It represents a different time that they probably couldn't even relate to. Quite frankly, they'd be bored silly.

There, now that I got THAT out of the way. The Chosen, as a whole, is a relatively slow and lopsided book. There are times, namely in the first and last 50 pages of this book, that I was absolutely in love with. Especially the ending, which is a great payoff and a beautiful conclusion. But there is a great deal in the middle that feels very methodical, and it's mainly since the conflict isn't really much of a conflict. Sure, it feels that way to the characters in the book, who are both Jewish (one is more hardcore than the other) but to the reader, I kind of just sat there waiting for everything to blow up or come to a head. And it never does! I can now understand why this was a best-seller when it initially came out but has since lost quite a bit of its reputation. I never even heard of it before my dad lent it to me.

Overall, The Chosen a decent book with some moments of sheer beauty. But in the end, I don't think I'd recommend it to many people. It definitely has a particular audience, though.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Goodreads Review: When I First Held You

When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transfo rmative Experience of FatherhoodWhen I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transfo rmative Experience of Fatherhood by Brian Gresko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having never read a collection of essays from different authors before (I know. What have I been doing all my life?), I have to admit that it was a welcome experience and one I would like to embark on again. That is, of course, if I ever have the time to read since my daughter is coming very, very soon. Like, within five weeks soon. So I'm trying to get as much reading in as possible before the due date. Thankfully, I'm happy I took the time with this book, which speaks about the "Transformative experience of Fatherhood," as it's good. Really good.

Initially, I thought this book would be pretty lame (It was recommended to me at a book store when I asked if they had any books on parenting) because I was certain every piece from the 22 authors here would sound pretty much the same. Fatherhood is hard but rewarding, yada yada yada, that sort of thing. But I was surprised to see the honesty and variety in this book. There are passages about being surrogate fathers, being divorced fathers, being broken fathers, being sick fathers, etc, and in doing so, it provides a very diverse and interesting viewpoint on fatherhood. Like children, no two fathers are alike. For that reason, I took great enjoyment out of reading this book.

That said, some of the writers seemed much better than others. Benjamin Percy, who I now want to read every book he's ever written, has, in my mind, the best piece in this book, and mostly because it's about himself. I think what a lot of what was missing in this book is just how much the father themselves is affected as a human being, and his piece, "Your Own Worst Enemy," felt the realest to me. I may just be saying that since I'm not technically a father yet, and I still cling to the notion that being a father doesn't mean you lose being an individual, but the writing for that piece felt the cleanest and the best-written, while some other pieces in this book didn't feel as interesting or honest.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for any man who is about to become a father. There is much to learn here, as well as to enjoy.

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