Thrifty Books

My wife and I frequently shop at thrift stores. Well, her mostly. On one of the times I went in with her, I was checking out a rack with a bunch of bagged books hanging from it. Each bag had a number of miscellaneous books stuffed in them, some full of adult books, some full of young readers books. Every bag seemed to have a basic theme. I saw two with books I wanted and when I discovered the bags were only forty-four cents each I grabbed them up.

double-whammy-book-coverThe first bag came with the Robert Tine novel, “Eraser” which I’ve always wanted to read. It also had the Carl Hiaasen book “Double Whammy” which I’ve never heard of but looks good (and it apparently has something to do with fishing, which I love to do). And lastly the reason I got the bag, “Needful Things” by Stephen King.

“Needful Things” was the first novel I ever read of that length. A real book! I was a young teen and decided to venture outside of what my school was making me read every year. I think I checked it out of the high school library. Not only was it my first novel, but it was my first Stephen King book as well, which jump started the long happy relationship I’ve had with him. It has had its ups and downs of course, but all good relationships do.

The second bag contained books for the younger readers. Those can be fun no matter what age you are. For instance, I’m a huge fan of the young adults series “Turbo Cowboys” by Tony Phillips. I’m sure many of you, like me, are fans of the Harry Potter series. So I saw a couple of books in this bag that I had to have in my collection.

Not my picture. Thanks, somebody on ebay.

Not my picture. Thanks, somebody on ebay.

First, I got “Iglook’s Seal” written and illustrated by Bernard Wiseman. Before I donate it back to the thrift store, I’m going to read it. “Little Witch” by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. That looks like it might be fun as well, and will get a read before I donate it. And then there was the book adaptation of “The Pagemaster” which I’ll definitely give a read.

That brings me to the two reasons I got this bag, and these will stay in my collection. “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” was an awesome find, especially since I had just purchased the first book. I couldn’t find a decent enough print copy to buy on Amazon, so I settled with e-pub. But finding “Great Glass Elevator” in print, this gets me excited to find the first. My wife never knew there was a “Great Glass Elevator” book and I was just telling her how great it was, so I thought it was cool that she could finally read it.

henry-sugar-book-coverThe last book was a great companion book to have with “Charlie…” It was another book by Roald Dahl called, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.” I’m going to have fun reading both of those because of course, Roald Dahl is amazing.

That’s it. Some awesome reading material for just $.88 and I got to help out the thrift store a little bit. Plus I’m donating back a couple of those books so that they can sell them again and make more money off of them.

So, have you ever found any good reading material at your local thrift shop? Or in a yard sale?

How about these books. Have you read any of them? I’ve never heard of “Double Whammy,” is that any good?

Book Review: Blood Moon

Alexandra Sokoloff is, of course, one of my favorite authors. And even though Huffington Post has a “Women You Should Be Reading” list and Alex is on it, I think you should read her work because she’s a great author and story teller. That should be true with any author. Their sex should have nothing to do with it, and if you’re reading authors based on whether they’re male or female, you’re missing out. It’s time to expand your horizons.

blood-moon-coverRegardless, her second book in the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI series, “Blood Moon” is a great follow up to the first, amazing novel “Huntress Moon” which blew me away.

It continues the story of Special Agent Matthew Roarke hunting down a female serial killer who is also the only possible way to stop other killings from happening. As with the first novel in the series, this one had me hooked from beginning to end and the pages couldn’t turn fast enough.

I have only two problems with the books… they end, and the new ones aren’t coming out fast enough. Seriously, no book series has ever had me hooked like these do, and I don’t think I can beg Alexandra enough to get the next book out any faster.

If you’re a fan of detective/crime novels, this series would definitely be right up your alley. Give them a read and you’ll see why they’ve won awards.

It should also be noted that when originally published they’re on e-book only, but the first book “Huntress Moon” has been released on paperback. I can only imagine “Blood Moon” will be as well after the third book is released, which again, can’t happen fast enough for my liking.

I give this book 9 of 10 stars (5 of 5 on Goodreads).

Book Review: Gerald’s Game

And just where the hell have I been?! Well, I’ve been around. Dealing with life. In between those life moments that nobody can afford to ignore, I’ve found a little bit of time here and there to read and write. Mostly read, which is just as important as writing. I’ve read a couple of good books and plan to write reviews for them, but for some reason I wanted to write one for this one first.

I’m going to skip a synopsis and go straight to the review, because I’m sure you’ve read this before. And if you haven’t, I’m sure you can find a synopsis somewhere before reading this. I’ll probably have spoilers too.

geralds-game-cover

I had passed by this book in the book store multiple times and always wondered about it. Finally one of my friends made up some list that was going around on Facebook and in her list she said Gerald’s Game was one of her favorite books (or something like that). I asked about it and she said it was one of the most terrifying books she had ever read. Another friend told me the same thing. Excited, I planned it as the next book to read. My wife got it for me for my birthday and away I went.

I actually knew nothing about it going into it and was surprised to find out what it’s about, which you find out right in the beginning of the book. Stephen King jumps right into it. After Gerald’s death, which I found shocking, I then found the rest of the book shocking. Not because of what it was about, but because an entire novel was written based around this idea.

Basically, Gerald’s Game is about one small incident that was stretched out big enough to make a novel.

What intrigued me about that was, I have plenty of small ideas that I would love to turn into novels but didn’t think it would be possible. I even spoke with Alexandra Sokoloff once about it, and how my ideas for stories are typically short story ideas and if I’m lucky I’ll get a novel out of them. She was surprised, saying how all of her ideas are novel ideas and how she’d have a hard time writing a short story. To each their own, right?

Well honestly, I didn’t think it was possible to take an idea that on the surface had very little going on with it, and stretch it to make it something bigger. Stephen King, in all of his glory, showed me otherwise. There’s always plenty of places you can go with even the smallest of ideas. Use that imagination!

That was the biggest thing I took from Gerald’s Game, which was enlightening. As for the story itself, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t a huge terror to me, but I understand why it was to those ladies I spoke to about it. For me it was just another good King story. There were a few parts I grew tired of, such as the tall skeletal man in the corner she kept seeing. That was, until the end of the book, when I found out… well, you can find out for yourself.

Ultimately, it was a book that I couldn’t put down, such is the case with most all of King’s novels. It got me excited to read another book, which is good because I’m backed up!

I also discovered this is a sister story to Dolores Claiborne, so I might have to read it as well. Especially since a movie was made out of that.

I give this 7 of 10 stars (4 of 5 on Goodreads).

13 Stories Has Begun

Halloween has officially begun! If you haven’t yet, head on over to 13 Stories Til Halloween and get caught up. It shouldn’t take long, it started yesterday with “A Warm Welcome” and was followed by today’s story “The Block” by Joey Payne. The Mistresses of the Dark who run things there, Jordan and Beth, are keeping lock and key on the posting order of the stories to keep things extra interesting. So the only way to make sure you catch my contribution is to check in every day over there to read the next story! They’re posted at midnight (EST I think) every night until Halloween! Make sure to head over now and check out Joey Payne’s story, it’s a good one!

Happy October!

Hey gang, it’s that time of year again! IT’S OCTOBER!!!

Man oh man, do I love Fall! And what comes with it? The greatest holiday all year, Halloween! And what leads up to Halloween? Thirteen Stories!

Of course you know I have a tale in this year’s 13 Stories ‘Til Halloween, and it turned out nice and creepy! Once they told me what the theme was for this year I immediately thought of the classic tale of an evil family member out for revenge. More specifically, the short story “Father’s Day” on the cult classic movie “Creepshow.” I spun my tale around that premise and got something that I think might give you some shivers this Halloween!

To get you in the spirit, the fine folks over at 13 Stories made up this sweet trailer for the upcoming event!

In other news, I have decided to not do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve finally fallen back into reading again and because of 13 Stories and Halloween itself coming up I’ve been in a creative mood and I foresee working on things that I’ve neglected for almost a year now happening very soon, hopefully. Which will inevitably lead to more writing and hopefully another project done and ready for print! We shall see though, I’m not holding my breath.

One thing at a time and right now Fall is upon us and 13 Stories will be here before we know it! Mark your calendar for October 19th and spread the word, it’ll be a lot of fun!

Hand One Is Dealt On Sale Now!

Hey folks, check this out. I was just cruising around Amazon when I stopped by the page for Hand One Is Dealt when I discovered a book store from California has a couple copies of the book, brand new, on sale! Also, Amazon has the book on sale as well for a whopping 40 cents off! Either way, now would be a great time to get your hands on a paper copy of the book if you’ve been wanting one!

I also noticed Krista Gossett posted a lovely review of Skinner on Amazon as well! If her name sounds familiar, she’s the amazing artist who hand painted the cover of Hand One Is Dealt for me!

HOID-epub-cover

Planning For Halloween

Are you planning for Halloween yet? Well, I am. I got an email this morning telling me that I have been selected as one of thirteen individuals to write for 13 Stories Til Halloween this year!

I’m so totally stoked. They’ve only been around a couple of years but they always entertain. And now I’ll be a part of their family, which makes me happy. The coolest thing about this year is, they’re going to have a theme and every writer will be contributing to one big story (from what I understand, I could be wrong). So I don’t actually have to think of a story just yet. I’ll get a prompt and then I’ll be let loose to run with it.

The closer we get to Halloween the more excited I’ll be (I am every year anyway around that time)! I hope you will join me over there this year in reading some creepy camp fire style stories to give you the chills! Do you hear the cheesy ghost moans yet?

The Abandoned Factory

Hey there folks, I recently passed by a place that I wanted to share with you. Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the place but I will soon hopefully. If I don’t get arrested for trespassing in the process.

You see, I take my wife to work and pick her up when she’s done. Even on the highway it’s a half hour drive in either direction. And quite frankly, I’m not a highway kinda guy. I enjoy driving and seeing things as I drive. People on the highway are in too much of a hurry (except that one person in the fast lane doing 20). I can’t enjoy myself on the highway and in recent years I’ve spent too much time on highways and have ruined my love of driving. Gas prices don’t help.

So when I take my wife to work and have to turn right around and come home, I get bored with the drive. So I’ve taken to finding new ways to come home. I basically know the area and all of the areas from point A to point B so finding new ways to come home means little more than “taking the long way.”

That was fun for a while but then that got to be a bore. I knew those areas and driving through them was no fun. I longed for the days of old when I used to get together with a friend or two and drive around, sometimes all night long, coming home just as the sun started to come up on the horizon. Those were the best days of my life. Not a care in the world, no destination… just driving around trying to get lost so we could not only find our way back to civilization, but to discover new things. And the country was always a hot spot for our driving adventures.

Well, a few years ago when I had to pick my wife up from work I had made my way to the main highway I always seem to take and found it to be horribly backed up with traffic. Never mind getting to my wife on time, I didn’t want to deal with sitting on the highway. There are no stop signs or red lights on the highway, so why is the traffic always stopped? I never understood it, and I don’t like it. If I’m spending $4 on a gallon of gas, I don’t want to waste it by sitting motionless.

So that day I decided to go on a little adventure and try to get to my wife’s work by going a way I had never gone before. The main road I had to take I knew just barely, to a point, but once I passed that point I was in undiscovered territory. The road followed the highway all the way up to her job but at some point I lost sight of the highway and had no idea when I should turn to get to her work.

After I had traveled far enough on it I decided I should probably find a road and turn, so I did. I discovered even more awesomeness, but I was lost, which for me wasn’t a problem. I had enough gas and at that point I still had time to find her.

Eventually that day I found my wife’s work, made it on time, and I had a nice little adventure. That was a few years ago.

Well recently I decided it was time to go on another adventure to break up the monotony of my daily drives. I decided I was going to find the path I took that day, only the opposite way, and go home that way. The only problem was, I couldn’t remember it. At all.

Instead I went the way I THOUGHT I had gone and I found a new way to go home. And these last couple of nights I have gone that way only to find variations of it and I have discovered some really cool places, most of them in the country. My love for driving around at night, in the country, lost, has come back.

The coolest thing I discovered, which is why I brought all of this up, is a really cool, old factory. Leaving from my wife’s work I made my way down this road through the little town that sits next to her work and once you get through that you go down this very curvy road. At one point you literally have to stop so that you can stay in your lane as you turn. It’s awesome. And the road on either side is surrounded by woods and the unknown. At night it makes for a wonderful scene.

As you get through the curves you come to a straightened part of the road and in the dark, just up ahead, you can see jutting out from the top of the tree line two old towers. They look out of place in this vast forest of darkness.

The road, in this straightened out part, is a bridge that goes over a river that cuts its way through the woods that surround you. In the dark you can only imagine it’s there because you can’t see it, even with a full moon overhead. The darkness takes control of everything here.

Those towers are just a silhouette in the darkness, against a night sky. You can make out their shape but you can’t see their color or the physical shape they’re in. I can only imagine they’re showing their age just as the buildings are that they belong to.

As you drive over the bridge you find yourself at another sharp turn and then there you are, in the middle of the woods with just one street light illuminating the area, and poorly. It definitely sets the mood, as if that was its intended purpose.

The buildings are old and dilapidated. At one time they housed a mill, or a plant of some kind where maybe a hundred workers would come to do their jobs and put in their overtime. As you drive by you see no main entry way, no “front door” area, just a place to drive back into the center of the buildings where the loading docks might be.

Overall, the building, or buildings, isn’t big and doesn’t take up a lot of space. They’re completely surrounded by the woods and on one side the river that flows past. There’s nothing else around except for a small gravel parking area across the street. And that one street light.

No signs show the former name of the building or business. There aren’t even any “stay out” signs hanging anywhere that I could see. All of the windows, if there are any, are boarded up. Yet tonight as I drove past for the third time I noticed back in the center of the complex a big box truck that looked newer, as if it were there waiting on a load to fill it so it could go on a delivery. I wondered if someone decided to park there for the night to sleep undisturbed so that tomorrow they could continue their journey, or if the place actually is still in operation on some level.

I can’t help but feel as I pass by that I am being watched by someone or something inside the building. But each time I drive by, I do so slowly so that I can take as much of it in as I pass by before it’s gone. And it’s always gone in a hurry, as there isn’t much to the building that sits right alongside the road.

One day, maybe tomorrow, I plan on stopping and taking some pictures. It’s a really cool place and its location in the woods makes it seem like a perfect find, a perfect treasure just for me. Even though that road is actually a well traveled road, I feel as if that place was left there for only me to find. I love it, and I can’t wait to see it in the day light.

EDIT: Before I even got to post this I decided to do a Google Street View of the place and I was in luck. I have all of my questions answered, and some pictures to show you! This place is amazing to me. And I don’t have to take my own pictures and risk being arrested or deported (because it’s that serious obviously).

I discovered cars in the parking areas, so maybe it is still in operation to some degree. Of course the Street View is from a few years ago so maybe that’s changed. I also discovered a bike trail that rides right alongside the place, and also a guy named Mark had gone by and taken some of his own pictures of the place and they turned out nicely, but they are basically what I’m showing you, so I didn’t use his. I also discovered the windows are not boarded up, but broken in true old abandoned building fashion. I’d like to thank Google for the pictures I took from their Street View. You can click the pictures to enlarge them.

Crossing the river you can see the two towers sticking up through the trees. This looks awesome at night.

Crossing the river you can see the two towers sticking up through the trees. This looks awesome at night.

The bike trail is to the right.

The bike trail is to the right.

The small gravel parking area across the street.

The small gravel parking area across the street.

This is where I saw the box truck parked, back in that area.

This is where I saw the box truck parked, back in that area.

The place is for lease? I might have to look into that.

The place is for lease? I might have to look into that.

This is the spot where I feel watched.

This is the spot where I feel watched.

What an awesome place. The location of it is what makes this place so cool. I’ve seen plenty of buildings just like this one all over my city, but none are sitting in the middle of the woods next to a river away from everything else. I’d love to walk through this place and see the inside.

Anyway, just thought I’d share this with all of you! I hope you find this as cool as I did. Are there any awesome places like this near you that creep you out?

2 AM Photo: The Ending

Originally when I wrote 2 AM Photo, I had left off the ending and asked you, the readers, to give me the details as to what happened next. I got a few good ideas (not nearly as many as I was hoping for, cough cough) but ultimately had to write down what it was that I thought happened at the end. I then promised at the end of that story that I would eventually give you the ending.

My original idea was to include the story in a book of short stories I’m working on, and make you get that to find out what happened at the end. But there’s no telling when, or if, that’s ever going to come out and still to this day I’m being asked what happened at the end. So I figured I made you wait long enough.

Go to the story and reread it if you like, or just scroll to the bottom and read the end! And of course, let me know what you think!

[Interview] Alexandra Sokoloff Discusses Misogyny, Screenwriting, Theater and More!

Alexandra Sokoloff has been working to leave readers breathless for years now. The woman has released some high quality work and shows absolutely zero sign of slowing. Rather, if anything, Sokoloff has really hit her stride as of late. With some heavy industry nods already under her belt, and a growing fan base in tow, Sokoloff marches through the marshes of fiction delivering clean, straight forward stories that most genre fans are likely to gravitate to. She’s a damn fine writer (check out our coverage of Unseen here and Book of Shadows right here), plain and simple. She also happens to be one those rare good people as well. She’s warm, friendly and easy to talk to. Fortunately for us, she had the time to make a theoretical discussion a reality.

Our very own Drake Morgan managed to track Sokoloff down, and she was kind enough to isolate a few minutes of her day in order to tackle some questions. Check put the interview below, in which Alexandra discusses everything from misogyny, to screenwriting, to theater and more!

[Interview] Alexandra Sokoloff Discusses Misogyny, Screenwriting, Theater and More!

Cool interview with one of my favorite authors! Check it out!