Friday, February 25, 2011

PAGES OF PROMISES by Stephen James Price

Pages of Promises is the first of Stephen James Price’s work that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Price is also the author of 2:27 A.M. He publishes other independent authors' work through his publishing company, Generation Next Publications.

Pages of Promises is a collection of short stories that cover a wide range of subjects. The title story is about the pull and attraction of a unique book—one that requires blood. There is a story about a grandmother who has issues controlling her rage. Ever wonder about some of the seedy restaurants you see along lonely stretches of highways when you’re travelling? Price has that covered too. Stephen King’s influence, a pet cat you wouldn’t want to hold, psychotic killers, angels, and even Santa and his reindeer—it’s all in here. There is little that Price doesn’t touch on in this collection.

To say I was impressed by this collection would be an understatement. It doesn’t take long for the reader to discover that Stephen James Price is a natural storyteller. There wasn’t a single story that I just didn’t like in this collection. A couple of them left me scratching my head a bit, but the overwhelming majority of them had me wanting more. A few of my favorites are the title story (about the pull of a malevolent book), “Family Obligations” (about a grandmother gone wild), “Damn, I Hate Stephen King” (where King’s influence goes a little too far), “The Final Chapter” (about an artist who uses a macabre medium), “Pretty Kitty” (ever wonder what to get that special someone in your life?), “One Man’s Angel” (explores the bad side of someone’s good luck), and “Man’s Best Friend” (about a dog that just won’t die).

If you take Stephen King’s engaging storytelling and Bentley Little’s ability to create something terrifying from the mundane and mix them together, you’d have Stephen James Price. I don’t like to make comparisons to other authors, but while I was reading this collection I couldn’t help but think of King and Little. If you want to read something that will have you turning the pages late into the night and will cause you to never look at your pet cat the same again, make sure you check out this collection of twisted tales from the mind of Price. It's a steal, priced at only $0.99 right now.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Take on Our Local Borders' Closing

A number of months ago the only Books-A-Million in Raleigh, NC closed. It was a rather sudden thing and occurred without much fanfare. Today signaled the demise of yet another of the big booksellers here in Raleigh, as one of the two Borders here started its closing sale today. Unlike the BAM closing, there was much fanfare surrounding this closing.

I stopped by there earlier today to take a look around and see what sort of sale they were having. I was amazed to see the crowd that was there and the lines for checkout. I literally have never seen that many people in a bookstore at one time. And the most surprising thing to me was the sale wasn’t really that good; at only twenty percent off, you could have saved more with the coupons Borders sent to Rewards members or find the books you wanted cheaper online.

When I was at the store today, I didn’t buy a single book for myself. It didn’t make sense to me when I could find what I wanted elsewhere for cheaper. Besides, I’d done my part to help the big chain bookstores—just ask my wife. The biggest thing I learned by stopping by the closing sale today was how much I’ve changed over the last year. It used to be nothing for me to go on a book-buying spree and drop $40 or $50 at a time. I used to love to go to the stores and browse the shelves and spend time there to relax. But when I was standing in Borders today, the only sorrow I felt was for the employees losing their jobs; I had no pangs of sorrow about the fact that the store itself is closing. I no longer have an attachment to the physical stores themselves; heck, I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to one in the last few months.

I’ve seen comments out there tonight that folks regretted buying an e-reader and should have supported their local bookstore more. But you know what? I don’t regret buying a Kindle. Not for one second. Why should I? I didn’t regret getting a CD player or Blu-Ray player when they came along. What’s so different about this?

Bottom line is times are changing. They seem to be changing faster than I expected them to, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. Sure, you are going to have folks that are nostalgic and are upset that they’re losing an outlet to buy paper books. But the fate of Borders is the same fate of corporations that fail to adapt to change and are content to sit on their laurels. They won’t survive. They can’t survive. It’s just not possible. If you’re trying to execute a business model that people don’t want, you won’t be in business long.

I think I’ve said about enough on this topic for one night. I think I’m going to go browse some titles for my Kindle now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hit the Pause Button

I know I haven’t posted much here in the past few weeks. I’m a bit frustrated with my lack of output because I worked hard on this blog the last few months and tried to be consistent each week. However, recently consistency has been a major challenge. I want to let you know what I’m working on right now and ask for your patience as I continue to try to find a happy balance for this site.

There will be reviews coming from me in the not-too-distant future. I’m currently reading The Ascent by Ronald Malfi for review at The Crow’s Caw. I also have some very exciting books in my review queue that I’ll be getting to shortly: Pages of Promises by Stephen James Price, Ravenmarked by Amy Rose Davis, and Choke on Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith. There are others in line after these and I’m excited about the books I have to read for review. Also, there are some guest blog posts from authors scheduled for March.

My proofreading service is doing well and I’m keeping fairly busy with it. I plan on adding a page here with more information for those who may be interested in my service. This is exciting because this is also something I’ve been working hard at the past few months.

This is just a little insight into what’s going on with me. Due to the number of books I have in my review queue and the number of works I’m proofing, I am going to temporarily halt the acceptance of any new review books. I hate to do this so soon after I really got this blog going, but the response has been far better than I expected for both reviews and proofing. Proofing gigs come first because they are paid, and my review queue is longer than my arm at the moment. Please know that I’m still open to new proofing jobs, so if you are interested you can still contact me via e-mail for more info.

Bottom line, I’m pretty busy at the moment. Which is a good thing. I believe suspending acceptance of new review books for a time will help me to not stretch myself so thin that I go past the point of no return. I’m truly grateful for everyone that’s stopped by here to check out one of my reviews. Please know that more are coming but they may be a little more sporadic for the next little while. But make sure you stop by to check out my recommended reads that you will find on that fun carousel on the left side of my page that I’ll update weekly. I’ll include the books that I’m currently reading and throw in a few others that I recommend.

Thanks for your patience and support!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I had a notion again the other night for a quick, fun read, and somehow I again ended up with one of William Meikle’s novelettes on my Kindle. The Haunting of Esther Cox sounded intriguing and exactly what I was in the mood for. So, like I did with Meikle’s Abominable, I downloaded it and read it in one sitting.

Esther Cox isn’t a bad girl. Really, she’s not. However, after a day with her suitor goes terribly wrong, things begin to take a turn for the worse for her. Her suitor disappears, she can’t sleep, and she begins to sense things are just not right in her home. Soon, things escalate from Esther feeling that something is wrong to Esther experiencing things, such as the sound of walking and voices. When the malevolent force that’s oppressing Esther starts to affect the lives of those around her, they seek help for her. But the more help offered to Esther, the worse the results.

I enjoyed reading The Haunting of Esther Cox. Meikle’s writing is smooth and I was quickly pulled into the story. It’s fast paced and spans over a year’s time (in the late 1800s) in just a novelette-length work. Was it groundbreaking? No. But I became lost in the story and I forgot about everything else around me for about an hour. That’s exactly what I wanted at the time I read this, and to me that’s what a good story is all about. If you like ghost/poltergeist stories and are looking for a quick read with some creepy moments, this one’s for you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

KILLERCON by William Ollie

William Ollie is an author that’s been on my “Authors To Read” list (yes, I literally keep a list) for a long time. So when the opportunity to read his upcoming book, Killercon, for review arose, I naturally said “Yes.” William Ollie’s works include The Damned, Sideshow, and the recently released Lord of the Mountain.

Horrorcon is THE convention for horror aficionados; it’s literally a who’s who of the horror industry. With Horrorcon quickly approaching, all of the heavy hitters of horror writing are getting ready for it. However, half the battle is making it to Horrorcon alive. Those attending this year’s Horrorcon include Bryan Kenney, the up-and-coming author who can’t seem to avoid trouble. Also coming is Graham Greystone, the accomplished author who’s trying to reclaim his life after health problems. Rick Greaton is a talented author who can’t seem to catch a break. Damien Crabtree is a young author breathing new life into the genre. And Red33 is a wannabe writer who has an ax to grind with all of the above. If Red33 has it his way, heads will roll at Horrorcon—literally.

This book grabbed me from the opening scene and didn’t let up until the last word. There’s a psycho killer, a bar fight, and a car chase—in the first twenty percent of the book! The story focuses on a real-life situation that happens regularly—an Internet message board flame war. Except one of the parties involved in this flame war doesn’t stop at insulting others anonymously via an Internet message board.

Ollie’s prose is solid and the dialogue throughout the book flows naturally. Full of balls-to-the-wall action, this book is a must-read for horror fans; especially those of Richard Laymon. I’m not sure if Ollie meant Killercon as an homage to the late, great Mr. Laymon, but to me that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

This book is going to be a limited edition put out by Thunderstorm Books. For the real-life inspiration for this book, check out Ollie’s blog post about it. To order the book, go here.