October Nights (2017) Review

October Nights: 31 Tales of Hauntings and HalloweenOctober Nights: 31 Tales of Hauntings and Halloween by DeAnna Knippling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This year I really did not get a chance to participate in any Halloween writing. Though not my favorite genre, I do enjoy writing a scary story. Still wanting to get my fix, I decided to try out Deanna Knippling’s October Nights: 31 Tales of Hauntings and Halloween. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed.
Initially not sure what to expect with a collection of flash stories (any author knows they are hard to write), I found her style and presentation of these world snippets fascinating. They hover between just an idea for a future book to a quick peek at worlds and what they could become.

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Postcard online? Who knew that was possible?

Me...with a online printed post card!When it comes to advertising, I’m not someone who really says anything unless I really like it. I stumbled upon something really interesting that I had to try. Did you know you can actually send a postcard online? I had no clue!

The first time I realized that you could do things online that was originally regulated to the waking world was pizza hut. I remember sitting in my dorm room when I was the military hungry but too lazy to go out. Randomly going through google to see what there was, I stumbled upon their online order page. I was shocked! You could actually just type in the pizza you wanted and they automatically delivered it? Was this some sort of magic? It actually worked!

Since then I have just been amazed with the things you can do and sending postcards online was one of them. I was looking about for novelty ways to announce my new novella Star Traveler: Atlas Gambit and stumbled upon MyPostcard.com. I tried and I actually loved the quality of the product that I got (as you can see from the pictures). Honestly, let me show you in a bit more detail:

As I explained in the video, this card was really impressive and felt like a high quality print you would get from a tourist site.

One thing that really tickled my fancy is that you don’t actually need to go to the website to place an order. You can download their app from either the Google Play Store or the Apple Store and do it right from your phone!

I mean, how snazzy to just take a picture and get it sent as a postcard online? I know, I know. I’m very excited for a card but for anyone that knows me, I’m not the type to recommend something unless I actually like it and I love knick knacks! Just ask my beautiful wife who has to swim through all my weird collectables I got while single. So, take a moment to look at the website and see if can help you create your own mementos!

Did you like the postcard? Do you have another advertising way for authors? Why not comment and let me know or subscribe to my newsletter to keep up with all the other fun, author things I find!

Picture of the Postcard

 

Yes, Fan-fiction is Real Writing

I think one area of the writing world that gets a lot of flak is the fan fiction world. If you were like me (before my scolded me), I felt that Fan fiction was the dregs of the writing world. I not only found out that was unfair but rather cruel to the hard-working writers who live and thrive in that world. I’ll admit, I was one of those “writing snobs” until my beautiful wife put me in my place.

Fan Fiction is Real Writing

Writing is writing. I never thought fan fiction was more than self-gratification  until my wife began to tell me some of the stories that she had read. I could not believe how much detail and dedication that fan fiction writers have put in to their works. There was even a story that was over a million words! I’ve never broken fifty thousand, let alone a million.

There is a lot of dedication to the fan fiction world, more than maybe some of freelance writers have ever put in to our own work. Even though it’s not an original world, many of the stories bear the blood, sweat, and tears of a dedicated writer.

It’s No Different than a Professional or Aspiring Author

When in terms of dedication and being a writer, fan fiction writers are exactly the same as a professional or aspiring author. Many writers, including myself, got started in other people’s worlds and pour the same amount of dedication and heart in to their works. Many times they do not have the ability to get an editor or professionally proof read their works.

Independent publishing can suffer the same amount of editorial error and proof reading mistakes since a lot of us are in the same boat as a fan fiction writer. Unless we’re established with a decent fan base, many of us cannot afford hiring an editor.

They have feelings too

Fan fiction writers are people just like you and me and the horrible amount of critique I have seen from other authors is saddening. There are people behind the story no matter how bad or good it is. To attack a writer’s work is never acceptable. That is why critique is important and should be taken seriously. They deserve the same amount of feedback as we do.

Fan Fiction Writers are a strong knit community

And I am glad of that. My wife has given me a tour of the fan fiction world and they care for each other a lot. They have the advantage of not only having the bonds of being a creator of fan fiction, they also have the love for the world they are writing in.

So the next time you see a fan fiction story, why not give it a shot and if you find issues, give feedback like you would any writer of any story.

The Ivory Child (1916) Review

The Ivory ChildThe Ivory Child by H. Rider Haggard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I take all the H. Rider Haggard books that I have read, The Ivory child stands out to me as one that almost unseats Allan Quatermain as my favorite of his works. The Ivory child was an amazingly told story about two ancient religions and their symbols fighting each other and Allan was only there with a friend to try and save the man’s wife.

It had everything you had come to expect from a Haggard novel, but this book had even more including references to previous books of him, and they came together in a beautiful finale.

As with many of Haggard’s books, there can be a lot of monologuing, but I found it sparse and easy to get through in this novel. It is especially fun if you have already read Allan and the Holy Flower as there are discussions and re-occurring characters from that story.

I am giving this book five stars because I feel that it is a five-star book and I look forward to reliving that adventure again one day.

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She (1887) Review

She (She, #1)She by H. Rider Haggard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of H. Rider Haggard’s work for quite a number of years though my reading of his works have been limited. For a time, I absolutely loved his King Solomon’s Mines and the sequel Allan Quartermain. When I discovered that the books were available in audiobook from from librivox.org, I had to download the other ones and read through them.

This book, She, has been on my list for quite sometime knowing that it has influenced many other writers like C.S. Lewis’ Queen Jadis and “She who must be obeyed” has been a line used in a few movies.

I found this book to be a rip-roar adventure just like H. Rider Haggard’s other works but found the story weaker than his other works. Ayesha was characterized very well and I thought the character was very fascinating. The problem I had the most was the ending. Though I won’t go into detail, it felt like the writer had accidentally designed a too powerful character and had to use a dues ex machina to solve the story beat.

This book is fascinating to read in the collection of imperial Victorian literature of the time and though our modern perceptions have changed and can consider this book racist, I found that H. Rider Haggard had kept it to a minimum focusing more on a story in Africa than anything else. If you can look past these, I think you will find a very interesting story.

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The Castle of Otranto (1764) Review

The Castle of OtrantoThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first stumbled on to this title while perusing the Librivox archive and the title caught my eye. I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into, and it turned out to be one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read.

I’m not sure if the writer intended for all the hi-jinks and it could simply be the way modern, twenty-first-century eyes look at the novel. Walpole wrote the book in the 1700s, and the melodrama could have been the standard of the time. I found the way that everything seemed to tie into each other and invariably hit a snag gave meaning to the phrase plot twist.

Only later did I find out when I did a bit of research that the book is considered the grandfather of Victorian Gothic romance and I can see why. Almost every trope and stereotype is featured.

Once you get past the old English, the book became quite enjoyable, and it held my attention through to the end.

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The Thing From the Lake (1921) Review

The Thing From the LakeThe Thing From the Lake by Eleanor Marie Ingram
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first picked up this title, I did it only because the title sounded interesting and unusual for books from the 1920s. I have a personal like for the older literature as it gives you an interesting look into our past.

The Thing From the Lake was a book that caught me off guard. I found the story to be very intriguing once you have gotten to the 20s style of flowery words and digressions in thought that would typically be cut out of books today.

I found that this book read to me like one of the first types of supernatural/science fiction type stories where what you would expect doesn’t turn out the way you thought. I was completely caught off by the (good) ending.

The book has some things that could be considered issues nowadays. As it was written in the 1920s, the opinion and way women are portrayed my strike a wrong chord with the modern reader. Though Ms. Ingram does well of giving her female leads personality, they do conform more of the cute, need-to-be-rescued type damsels though they do have action of their own and aren’t “sexy lamps” that could be easily replaced.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to rereading it one day.

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