Tag Archive: novel



REVIEW BY HELEN KRUMMENACKER

Away With the Fairies

This is one of the Phryne Fisher novels, a mystery set in Australia. These deal not only with solving crimes– in this case, looking into the suspicious death of an eccentric writer of fairy stories– but also the social structures of the times they are set in. It’s 1928, and the aftermath of the Great War is still felt in everything from the growth of women’s career options to international politics. For Miss Fisher, the international politics has turned her personal life on end, because her Chinese boyfriend is in danger just trying to handle his family’s import business while China is in crisis. As for the mystery, most of the suspects living as neighbors to the deceased were also her co-workers through a women’s magazine. And what a women’s magazine it is! While there are columns on child-raising and fashion, the magazine is full of how-to information on building your own radio and fixing your car, as well as health and gardening advice.

The editor is a feminist and sees her magazine as a means of changing the world, by making it so that people see achievement as not merely for extraordinary women, but every woman. I found this an important take because in the history of feminism, there was a split after winning the vote between women who wanted to focus on opening opportunities for extraordinary women (what I think led to the idea of “white feminism” being about leadership and opportunity for women of the privileged classes) and women who wanted to focus on helping the most vulnerable women (immigrants, working class, etc.). By making a magazine that intended to lift up women regardless of background, giving them skills that would save money and show them as competent and capable, the editor was, in essence, trying for a middle ground that would move all women forward.

Phryne is sympathetic and joins in with the magazine, filling in for their fashion writer who is away. While Miss Fisher is wealthy now, her background was quite different and she has a refreshingly practical approach to get maximum wear and versatility with minimal outlay, with a bonus column on remaking vintage clothing into couture to get a special occasion look at thrift store pricing. While her work on the articles is mostly a way to gain access to the suspects and a minor part of a plot involving assassination attempts, pirates, and the search for a motive, it tells us about Phryne’s character– how she can turn a chance encounter with a friend into an opportunity to create a win-win scenario; how a cover ‘job’ is attended to with the diligence appropriate for someone seeking a career; and how her respect for Dot gives her even more insight into the needs of the everywoman than her own life experience can.

True to the concept expressed in the magazine, the writer uses the novel to give us not merely the extraordinary Miss Fisher, Bunty, and other seekers of adventure, but the quiet strength and leadership of the magazine editor and the matriarch of the Lin family, the single-mindedness of a passionate photographer who will spend hours to get the perfect shot and work for plates, and the wholesome determination of Dot, or a widowed mother, or prodigal niece who combine their labor with principle. There is something to admire in most of the women, and while there are a few who are more notable for folly in the end, there is hope (except in the case of the deceased) that they will learn from their mistakes and come out better and happier for it.

This is the first I have read of the Miss Fisher books, although I’ve enjoyed the TV series. As usual, books give so much more wealth of detail and the opportunity for greater depth. Kerry Greenwood takes the time to delve into history and social themes, grounding them in reality (piracy is organized crime, not merry mischief) and weaving them together from separate plot strands, as when she links post-trauma reaction to mutilation and betrayal in different circumstances. While the novels can be enjoyed on a superficial level of escape into a distant time with a flamboyant heroine pursuing justice, I think most readers will find satisfaction in the sense that they have learned a little, thought a little, and been given an opportunity to see ways to live well.


Waverly

REVIEW BY ALLAN KRUMMENACKER

5 – STARS “What price for sanity?”

    Waverly Hills Sanatorium is an actual place in Louisville Kentucky that the author visited as part of a paranormal investigative team. By the author’s own admission their paranormal experiences where ‘minimal’, I feel the setting and strangeness of exploring an abandoned place with so much history lent a great deal to the creation of this novel.

     Ben Clausen has landed a job teaching English over at the U of L, and is now searching for a place to live. His search has brought him to the most unlikely place to find an apartment, one half of the old Waverly Hills Sanatorium a place famous for its tragedies and ghostly legends. Only one half of the place has been converted into apartments, while the remaining half is still in severe disrepair and is kept off-limits, perhaps for very good reasons.

    But beggars can’t be choosers, and with the rent priced just right Ben moves in and soon begins meeting his fellow residents, but are all of them truly real? There’s the down to earth Kayla, who seems to know a lot about the place and the residents, the disconcerting Mort Shackelford who meets an untimely end by a strange visitor, and the fascinatingly exotic Scarlet Snow who seems to weave a spell over Ben in more ways than one.

    Before long Ben finds himself caught up in a series of strange encounters, and not all of them are purely of this world, all of which could be leading to his own destruction/damnation…

    But beggars can’t be choosers, and with the rent priced just right Ben moves in and soon begins meeting his fellow residents, but are all of them truly real?

    The author weaves an intricate and tantalizing tale, often leaving the protagonist with the questions of “Did that really happen?” carefully blended with intrigue from human sources, that keeps the reader wanting to know more.

     A good page-turner. A perfect read for the Halloween season. Hope to see more.

AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CRB4VGV/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2


gospall

REVIEW BY ALLAN KRUMMENACKER

4 – STARS “An Eerie Blend To Satisfy Horror Enthusiasts…”

Mix one part voodoo, one part devil worship, three parts darker side of human nature and you get “The Haunting of Gospall”.

The author does a wondrous job of blending these three elements into a intricate yarn that transcends the high seas. He starts us off with a brilliant opening scene upon the SS Gospall in the 1800’s, showing a keen insight of what sailors and captains faced on the open waters during one of the more contentious periods between England and France.  We’re introduced to characters we come to admire and care deeply for, both in the 1800’s and the present, as the tale unfolds and a mystery that links the two time periods slowly unfolds.

We meet Sean, who is blessed unwillingly with psychic talents that has led him down a dark path once before.  The author also introduces us to his beloved Sophie who not only listens to him when he starts telling her about strange events that led not only to his mother’s death, but also the strange visions and encounters he has been experiencing.  Led by Sophie, they start digging deeper into the mysteries which leads them to a meeting Seamus Mallom, a former exorcist, with demons of his own that led to his hanging up his white collar… so to speak.

Soon the trio find that all that is happening around them and the world seems linked to the final fate of the Gospall, the villainous pirate Santia that had usurpsed command of the vessel, and an island where the darkest of magics were being performed.

Sins of the past and a final battle for salvation hang in the balance, but is it already too late for the world?

A ripping good yarn, especially for the Halloween season.

AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Gospall-Solomon-Strange-ebook/dp/B07FW33WW5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539195210&sr=8-1&keywords=solomon+strange


And I’m back, sort of.

minion-coffee

Okay, I’m still a bit unwell, but finally on the mend. In the meantime let’s continue with that discussion about some of the things I learned putting together our first anthology.

First off it was somewhat easier than creating an entire novel. With a novel you have to keep track of so many things like character development, interactions, subplots, pace of the story, etc.  Now with an anthology, you still have a lot of stories to contend with but each one is self-contained and has its own beginning and end. You don’t have to be worried about how they fit into the main tale. Plus you can have a greater variety of characters and give each tale a flavor all its own. Sounds pretty easy so far right? Well, here’s where things started to get a little more complicated for me.

oops

Like a novel, an anthology does need to have a certain feeling of cohesiveness to it. There must be some facet or factor that makes the reader feel like the stories all belong together in that one volume. This is of course fairly easy to do when you’re dealing with a bunch of stories by various authors dealing with the same subject matter. “The Penguin Book of Vampires” is a great example. It contains dozens of authors within its pages with each one using an actual vampire character or a variation on that theme.

Another simple method of dealing with this cohesive problem is to do an anthology that contains works by the same author. One of my favorite authors is the legendary Isaac Asimov, a prolific writer beyond compare.

Asimov

Throwing a collection of his works together should be easy right? Wrong! While known for his volume of work in the field of science-fiction, Mr. Asimov also wrote mysteries, as well a huge body of non-fiction. So here you have to ask yourself what kind of anthology would you want? Do you want to have a sampling from different areas of his works to showcase just how versatile he was? Or would you rather want to focus on just one genre of his work at a time? Considering the volume of work the man left behind, most anthology creators have chosen the latter. This was especially true when he was still with us.

Tales_of_the_Black_Widowers_cover

In the case of his mystery sleuths “The Black Widowers”, the publishers gathered all his published tales with these characters who solve puzzles and mysteries while sitting in a restaurant. The publishers also got Mr. Asimov to create an introduction to each collection (there were 5 all together), as well, but they didn’t stop there. Mr. Asimov provided some brand new tales that had never been published to make each collection more special. Furthermore, he add afterthoughts to every story giving the readers new insights to his characters as well as how he came up with the puzzles.

From there I started looking through the other anthologies by various authors (HP Lovecraft, sci-fi and horror collections) in our personal library to see what was done in those cases. And guess what I discovered, each collection had an Introduction/Preface depending on if the works were all the same author or by various authors. Furthermore, just about every tale in each anthology also had some thoughts at the beginning or end of it talking about the author, or thoughts they’d had on the work. Quite different than just having an “About the Author” at the end of your novel. Naturally we had hour work cut out for us, but there was still the issue of a feeling of connection between the stories.  Did we have one or not?

ponder-iii

To answer this question I found myself going back to the original source for many of the stories in our anthology, our online blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 


      Today we have the pleasure of welcoming Author Sheryl R. Hayes as our guest blogger who shares her insights about writing and tells us about her exciting debut book “Chaos Wolf”.  Take it away Sheryl…  

Sheryl R Hayes Author Photo

Stringing Words Together To Create A Yarn

    Aside from using tools that are stick-shaped, you wouldnt think that theres much similarity between writing and knitting. Believe it or not, there are a lot of parallels.

      I have been a knitter and crocheter for about ten years, and creating costumes for the last six. I have been writing in some form or another for over twenty years, but started my novel about six years ago. My processes for writing a book and creating a costume are strikingly similar.

    I start by deciding on what I am going to make. Be it a Cruella De Vil or an urban fantasy novel about werewolves and vampires, I need that seed idea to nurture.

Cruella De Vil

    Next I figure out how I am going to do this. I study other costumes similar to what I want to do. I choose my yarn and pick out patterns to modify. I read other novels in my genre. I make up my characters and write my outline.

     You would assume this is where I dive in, but Im not quite there yet. If Im not sure if this will work, I make a few samples. Ill make what is called a swatch by knitting a four by four inch square. From that I will get an idea of how the finished project will look and can estimate how much yarn it will take. I will write a short story or a few scenes to get the feel for my characters. Once I feel comfortable, I begin the actual creation.

     Now begins the hard part. I begin the fabrication, which takes up the bulk of the work. At first its cheery because I am MAKING SOMETHING AWESOME. (Yes, I think about it in capital letters.) But as my fingers start to get sore and my brain stops providing the words, I start to wonder WHY DECIDED TO DO THIS and WILL I EVER FINISH???

     Then, I start noticing the errors. Plot holes appear in my beautiful prose. I discover on row ten that I knit row seven twice, or worse yet, dropped a stitch. Sometimes they are small holes that you can fix easily with a few stitches or a few words. Occasionally they are large holes that require you to rip parts out and, in a bad situation, start over. I pull the yarn off my needles, open a new file, and begin again. Lather, rinse, repeat until to my surprise, I have all the parts made. No more holes to fill. Now it is time to put it all together.

     Once I have all my pieces in place and all my prose written, I work on assembling the finished product. I start sewing pieces together to create the base of the costume. I pick any accessories that I need to add that finishing polish. I send my writing out to editors and beta readers to find out what needs to be rewritten to make the prose sing. Ill hire a cover artist and write the bits and pieces that will be used to promote the book.

     And when Im done with all the knitting and the typing, I have something I am proud to show off to the world.

Bio:

     Sheryl R. Hayes can be found untangling plot threads or the yarn her cats have been playing with. In addition to writing, she is a cosplayer focusing on knit and crochet costumes and works full time at a Bay Area water company. You can follow her at her blog http://www.sherylrhayes.com, on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/sherylrhayes, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sherylreneehayes

Chaos Wolf:

Bitten by a werewolf. Taught by a vampire. At this rate, shes going to start a war.

     Literature major Jordan Abbey ordered a double mocha latte, but it wasn’t supposed to come with a side order bite by a love-sick werewolf. When a vampire comes to her rescue, gut instinct tells her he has questionable motives. But hes the only one she can trust to help get in touch with her inner animal.

     Within a week, her smart mouth lands her in trouble with the hostile alpha of the local pack and the stiff-necked vampire elder. She now has less than a moon cycle to master shape changing… or else. And the besotted werewolf who started this whole mess is stalking Jordan and killing her friends. He won’t take no for an answer.

     In the Northern California town of Rancho Robles where the children of the Wolf and the Bat share an uneasy coexistence, one woman makes an epic mess of the status quo.

ChaosWolfFinal-FJM_High_Res_1800x2700

Chaos Wolf Excerpt:

     He gestured toward the couch. “Would you like tea, coffee, or soda?”

    “Soda, please.” Although she wasn’t thirsty, accepting what he offered seemed the polite thing to do. She sat down on the leather couch and rested her elbows on her knees. “Don’t you only drink… um

     “Blood?” Montgomery finished the question for her. “No.” He stepped into the kitchenette. “I can and do drink and eat other things. It’s kind of like eating junk food. There’s no nutritional value. I enjoy the flavors and textures. I don’t like to do it too often, though.”

     Jordan tilted her head to one side. “Why not?”

    His lip curled into a half smile. “I can’t digest matter like when I was mortal,” he explained. “I have to purge it in a different way.”

    She blinked, puzzling it out. Understanding dawned on her face. “Oh… Oh!”

    One red-and-silver can in hand, Montgomery stepped out of the kitchenette. “When I last saw you, you were hightailing it out of here, never to return.” He gave her the soda and took a seat in the chair sitting at a right angle to the couch. “What happened?”

    Jordan stared down at the soda and rubbed her thumb over the frosty top. “After I left, I went home. I didn’t tell anyone about you.” She gestured in Montgomery’s direction. “I went out to try to forget what happened. When I came back, I found out my roommate’s boyfriend had been mauled to death.”

    Montgomery stiffened. “Did you see the werewolf?”

    “No,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even think he was real until” She paused and shivered, sloshing the soda in the can. “All I could think about was finding you.”

     Montgomery’s lips moved to form a curse. “Did you come directly here?” He stood up and crossed the small space separating the chair and the couch. “Focus. It’s important. Do you think you were followed?”

     “No. The police took me and Molly to the station. We’re not allowed to go back to our apartment until sometime tomorrow after the super gets someone in to” Jordan’s voice broke. She swallowed. “Clean up. I spent two hours getting on and off buses to make sure I wasn’t followed.”

     Montgomery sat down on the couch. “Good thinking. If the werewolf was following you by scent, that should have thrown him off your trail. If he was tracking you by sight, you would have spotted him. Or he would have broken in here by now. You’ve been lucky.”

    “Lucky?” Jordan’s shoulders tightened and her fist clenched, denting the can inward. “I’m being stalked by something out of a horror film and you think I’m lucky?”

     “Yes,” Montgomery countered. “If you had been there instead of your friend, the werewolf would have finished what he started.”

     “Finished what he started?” Jordan put the soda on the table unopened. “You make it sound like he let me live.”

     “He did,” Montgomery stated, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

     She stared at him with an open mouth. All the movies and books she had seen taught that a werewolf would rip out her throat as soon as look at her. The female victim never survived the attack. “But why?”

     “You haven’t figured it out yet?” Montgomery appeared nonplussed by her reaction. “He wasn’t trying to make a meal out of you, Jordan. He was claiming you as his mate.”

Universal Book Link: https://www.books2read.com/chaos-wolf

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B2RTFCV/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1


body snatchers
NOTE: This review contains spoilers, so read only if you choose to.
Ever since the 1956 black and white classic movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was released certain phrases became part of everyday life for most folks.  I’ve heard things like:  Pod person?  Have you checked his/her basement for any giant seed pods?  So-and-so is acting weird, you think he/she might’ve been switched by a seed pod?  Dunno, if they did it’s an improvement… (this one was directed at me more than once, fyi).

But before the movie came the novel, a brilliant piece of fiction by Jack Finney (who also authored other great works such as “Time and Again”, “The Night People” and many others which I hope to read and review down the road).  However, it was “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” that captured the minds of readers.  Released in 1955, it was subsequently snatched up by Hollywood to be made into a movie in 1956.

Interestingly, despite the time of the book’s release Mr. Finney seems to have had no intention of making his book about McCarthyism or the “Red Menace” (referring to Russia and socialism during the Cold War).  Instead, it seemed to hint at the loss of individuality and personal freedom, as well as (from my point of view) the overuse of the planet’s resources.

Those who’ve seen the original 1956 movie already know the basic plot, a small town doctor in California begins encountering patients who swear their nearest and dearest are not who they appear.  Each of these people swear that somehow their mother/father/uncle/teacher you name it… has been somehow replaced by a doppleganger who intends some kind of menace.  The patients admit that the individual in question looks, sounds and acts like the person they’ve known all their lives, but SOMETHING is missing and that’s how they know the person they’ve loved has been replaced.  Naturally, the good doctor talks to some of these ‘replaced’ individuals and finds nothing amiss, at least nothing he can really put his finger on.  And being a man of science and medicine he chalks it up to mass hysteria, especially after referring some of the patients to a psychiatrist friend of his (unknowing of course that his friend was replaced some time back).

The doctor then meets an old flame who’s come back to town and they start dating only to notice there are some differences going on in their little home town.  Restaurants that were normally busy as can be are practically empty, some of the homes/businesses seem to be slacking off on work and even basic maintenance, etc.  Then some of the good doctor’s patients who had complained that someone close to them had ‘changed’ begin telling him (with exaggerated embarrassment) about how silly they had been acting and that all is well, etc.

Of course we the readers are fully aware that something is up and follow the doctor and company slowly catching on as well.  The final proof for our protagonists comes when a close friend summons him late at night to check on a ‘dead’ body found in his basement.  As one can surmise, the body is one of the invading pods that is slowly replicating the doctor’s friend, little by little in an attempt to replace him.  This is where the action really kicks into high gear as the pieces start coming together for our heroes and heroines.  The clock begins to tick and the horror begins to dawn on them as they discover hidden pods making these duplicates and now they must alert the town only to learn to their growing horror that they may be the last 4 normal humans who are not being targeted for replacement.

All of this can be seen in the movie, which was shot on a shoe-string budget to great effect.  However, there are certain scenes which were left out which shows that the pods were not as intelligent as many think.  The doctor speaks with a botanist who tells him about a farmer summoning him to his barn where a some strange large pods showed up amidst his trashcans.  The botanist tells the doctor that aside from the unusual pods (“…which over time I probably could have identified, but not right then…”) he saw nothing unusual except two empty tin cans of tomato sauce that looked remarkably similar, along with 2 axes with identical broken handles amidst the rubbish.

Another part that is left out of the original movie is the revelation that the pods travel through space and purposely land on various planets or astral bodies in search of things to duplicate and replace.  “The moon was quite lush at one time…” it’s revealed, “Mars too…” For me, these passages raised the threat and terror levels to all time highs.  Furthermore, the pod-people reveal that they only have a 5 year existence, and that they cannot reproduce themselves, thus they must help grow more pods to keep their ‘race’ alive.

At this point the idea of not McCarthyism or Communism being the implied threat went out the door for me.  The good doctor gets the pod people to reveal that they can duplicate anything that is/was alive and that the originals simply crumble to grey fluff after being duplicated and replaced.  Meaning grass, trees, animals, etc.  In 5-10 years time everything on Earth would be duplicated and then the duplicates would themselves perish, leaving a dead planet behind while the newest pods would float up back into outer space and find another world to drain of its resources.  At one point the pod speaker says, “How is it any different than the way your kind are using up what your planet offers?”

Again for the most part, the movie closely follows the book remarkably well.  However, the climactic finish differs wildly… and I’m NOT about to share it with you.  This is a cracking good read so I suggest you get your own novel, Kindle/Nook, or audio version of the story and let it capture your imagination.

As Stan Lee would say, “Nuff said…”


the-vampyre-blogs-coming-home-cover-5

The third installment of my Para-Earth Series, “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” will be released on October 28th!

That’s right folks, Halloween will start a couple of days early, so get ready to grab your copy of the next installment of the Para-Earth Series. The book will be available in Trade Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple and all other e-readers.

Within these pages of this novel you’ll meet a whole new breed of vampire who drinks blood, needs to sleep in the ground, avoids sunlight (because he’ll start to sparkle as in slowly spontaneously combusting), and cannot eat garlic. He’s also one of the best people you’d ever want to have on your side in a bad situation.

“My name is Nathaniel Eoghan Stewart, in the Spring of 1862 I joined the Union army to help end slavery and preserve our country. As I left, I promised my family I wouldn’t let the war change me… but I was wrong, so very wrong…”

Keep watching this page for more entries from some of the other characters you’ll be meeting in this the first novel co-written with my wife Helen, who has been an integral part of the science side of the Para-Earth Series since it all began.

If you’d like to learn more about the characters, we have a collection of short stories over on our blog titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (note: None of the short stories appear in the book itself. What you will be getting in the book is a brand new full-length adventure).

Below is the link to the first blog entry, where you will meet Nathan. From there, you can read the rest in order by clicking the word “Newer” at the bottom of the page or check out the Archives section located to the right of the entry.

I hope you enjoy what you find there, and look forward to the novel itself which contains the occasional reference to some of these short stories.

http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/2014/01/first-blog-entry-of-nathanial-steward.html


After a prolonged absence, I’m pleased to announce that book 1 in my Para-Earth Series is back online at Amazon. Newly re-edited, my first venture into the world of writing is back and better than ever.

Those who purchased a copy in the past should be receiving the updated version automatically through Amazon. Give it a few days and check to see if the words “Re-edited 3rd Edition” appears on the second page. If by week’s end that hasn’t happened, check “Manage Your Content and Devices” under your Amazon account and make sure the “Device Sychronization” (WhisperSync settings” is ON.

Amazon has told me there might be a few days delay in getting the new edition to those who already have the book in their collection.

And for those who haven’t gotten a copy yet, now’s your chance to see where the mystery and wonder began. Click on the link below and get your copy now, before book 3 in the Para-Earth Series arrives next month…

https://www.amazon.com/Bridge-Something-waits-Para-Earth-Book-ebook/dp/B00B86DR9G/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=ZYQ9Y12832F2PRH58EC2

8f201-thebridgebookcoverpressreleasekit


In spite of all the excitement of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” being released this October, I keep hearing people ask “Whatever happened to “The Door”?  Are you going to finish that storyline with Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra?”  Of course I’m pleased to tell you all the answer is a resounding YES!  I am working on it as we speak in fact.  In fact I’ve been working on it for quite a while… a really long while… like over two years…. (groan)
SMLXL

“What happened?” I hear you ask.  Well it’s quite simple.  I’ve spent the last 24 months with a serious case of too many ideas.  What does that look like you ask?  Here, let me show you.
SMXLL

I keep getting new scenes going that help move the story along but after a while these new ideas wind up derailing the main plot of the story and I have to pull them out again.  And when that happens I end up hitting the infamous “Writer’s Block” and find myself unable to move the story forward.  This has happened a number of times.  Of course, some people will suggest that you have an outline to follow and stick to it.  This is a great idea, but unfortunately in my case, a number of my characters wind up with ideas of their own that are often way better than what I had planned in my outline and things end up going in a completely different direction.  And quite often those new directions are way better than what I had originally had in mind.  So I mainly work with a ‘loose’ outline.  There are some scenes and ideas that I have nailed down for sure, and then areas where I’m still finding a direction to head in.
However, in the case of “The Door” I had a number of scenes that were so solid there was nothing that could make me budge from using them…  and I wound up hitting wall after wall.  I’d go as far as to introduce new characters such as my vampyre Nathan, who makes his debut in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, at one point.  By adding him I created a bunch of new scenes that really helped the plot along, but also wound up sending the word count skyrocketing.  How did this happen?  By adding Nathan I had to introduce him to the audience, then the other characters, blah-blah-blah… too many words.  But by keeping certain scenes he inspired and giving those scenes to existing characters, I moved the story along much quicker and made those characters more interesting.
Furthermore, when I write a story keeps evolving.  I have a good idea where it begins and ends, but the in between stuff gets fuzzy sometimes.  As I mentioned earlier, my characters sometimes go off in better directions than what I had planned which leads to other problems.  Remember how I mentioned I had certain scenes planned for the story that I was going to use no matter what?  Well, some of those became stumbling blocks and it took me the longest time to come to terms with the fact that they no longer fit the story as it was developing and I had to edit them out…
SLXLM

For me this was hard, because I really fell in love with those planned scenes.  However, as I’ve told many other writers, those scenes will not go to waste.  Instead, I saved them in another file folder on my computer where they will one day see the light of day in another book, where they will fit in just perfectly.
So what shape is “The Door” in now?  Much trimmer and faster-paced than in its previous incarnations.  The story is tense, exciting, full of mystery, with a growing sense of menace that I hope will keep you all on the edge of your seats to the very end.  Certain friends you’ve met before are starting to have an air of menace about them, and will make you wonder if they can still be trusted.  While newer characters will keep you guessing about their allegiances until the very end.
At this point the story is sitting at 50,000 words, and will probably wind up at about 110,000 or less by the time I’m finished.  Many unanswered questions from the first two books “The Bridge” and “The Ship” will be answered.  Furthermore, the fallout from the battle scene with the police at the end of “The Bridge” will be playing a key part in this novel.  I hope to have a completed first draft before the end of the year.
Finally, I’m also working on two collaborations as well.  One is with my wife Helen who co-authored “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  The other is “The Pass” with one of my best friends from high school Richard Caminiti.   He and I hope to have a completed first draft by the end of this year or early next year.
I’m also hoping to have each of them do some blog entries here so you can find out their thoughts on writing and having to put up with me.
Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.

Rosemary's Baby

I’ve waited to get my hands on this novel for some time and it was certainly worth the wait.

Keeping in mind that this book was written and set in 1967, this novel is tame in some respects compared to the gore and horror many authors and movies unleash on today’s readers. But they are able to do so thanks to the efforts of Mr. Levin and other authors who broke ground and explored these mysteries and possibilities.

Rosemary Wodehouse and her husband Guy find themselves searching for a new home in New York City, so Guy can pursue his acting career on the stage, and soon find themselves with the opportunity to rent an apartment in the old Victorian building called “The Bramford” which has seen its share of notorious characters including a Devil worshipper who claimed to have summoned Satan himself some decades ago.

But now, considered a respectable/historic structure, Guy and Rosemary take a chance after seeing the apartment who’s last elderly tenant who slipped into a coma and never recovered. The young couple soon get to meet other residents of the Bramford, including their odd next door neighbors the Castavets, an elderly and rather eccentric couple who take an unusual shine to them.

Shortly afterwards, things begin to happen. Guy is getting more roles and his star begins to rise in the theater world as well as drawing attention from Hollywood. Shortly after that, Rosemary finds herself pregnant after a very unusual dream where most of the other residents of the Bramford, including her new doctor, are wearing dark robes and chanting while Guy makes love to her… or was it him?

Most folks know the full story so I won’t go any farther, but I will say Mr. Levin does a very good job of creating an atmosphere of suspicion and isolation, while still surrounded by the city of New York.

The ending actually took me by surprise because of the ray of hope that still burned in spite of the darkness that Rosemary finds herself surrounded by.

I look forward to finding the sequel “Son of Rosemary” to see what he did with it.

I also highly recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing fancy regarding the supernatural and black magic. Even though it may not hold a lot of surprises, the story does have a lot to keep the reader busy.

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