Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Strange Man" Commentary (Part II)

Thanks for coming back! In case you missed it, click here to read Part 1 of the exclusive commentary.

Like before, this commentary comes with a HEAVY SPOILER WARNING. Read no further if you like surprises.

Page 59--So, this is probably THE most controversial and debated scene in the book among readers and even my editors. Lindsey cries out for Jesus to save her from the bogeyman. All fine and good, except...she dies. This has raised some questions: “If she genuinely called on the name of the Lord, why did He not rescue her? Why did she die? Did God abandon her?” One review even went so far as to say I was condemning her for what I, the author, viewed as a sinful lifestyle. In a Christian book where demons are involved, it’s awfully easy to just have the hero “rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus” and then, wham, instant relief from danger. But I don’t think it works quite like that in real life and it definitely doesn’t work like that in The Coming Evil Trilogy. People die. Sometimes good people, who call on the name of the Lord. I think of the story of Job. The Lord forbade the devil from killing Job, but said no such thing about all of Job’s kids. They all died in one horrible afternoon. Now, most Christians want to cast themselves in the role of Job--believing that the devil can never harm them. But maybe, sometimes, we’re Job’s kids. But, even in the death of Job’s children, God was given the glory and it eventually strengthened Job’s faith. That’s a victory of a kind. I love Lindsey and certainly was not stepping in as Author and condemning her or passing judgment on her. In fact, I think there was a line that was eventually cut that said the spilling of her “innocent” blood is what affects the lake at the end of the book. Nor was I suggesting that God abandoned Lindsey or that He didn’t forgive her or save her soul.

What was most important about this scene to me is to show that the “rules” of The Strange Man are different than, perhaps, what people might expect from a “Christian book”. Evil will not be banished from the world by a simple “I cast you out, Satan!” You’re gonna have to dig in and fight harder. And sometimes, you’re just going to lose. No one is safe.

Page 65--Chapter Five. I guess there are always things that you read back over and think “Aw, man, I wish I could do that differently.” Well, folks, welcome to Chapter Five. This was another really old scene and no matter how many times I edited it over the years, it just doesn’t ring right to me. Aw, well. Sometimes you just gotta let it go.

Page 67--Jeff’s sermon went through many rewrites in the past decade. I have dissected his sermon more than, probably, any other thing in this book, save for Dras’ last conversation with Rosalyn at the end of the book. It’s hard because this is a preaching scene, but I didn’t want it to feel like the Author was preaching to the Reader. That was never my intention. Jeff changed a lot as a person through this scene, too. When I first wrote it, he was this really loud televangelist mega-church kinda preacher. All shouting and with the weird affectations that seminaries teach preachers to use so they don’t sound boring. Yet, when we saw Jeff in his “off-time”, he didn’t talk like that, so the character just seemed two-faced. I stripped a lot of those pulpit theatrics and made him real. He’s a good (though definitely flawed) guy with good ideas and he’s trying to tell people who really don’t care. I also trimmed down his speech here. He used to go on and on in some of the earlier drafts, pretty much laying down the foundation of the Garden of Eden and Original Sin and all of that. It was bad. Really bad. I focused it in more on Greensboro and what they’re going through as a people. I’m actually at peace with where this scene’s at now.

Page 70--With the bike ride through Greensboro, I wanted to capture youthful innocence. This is like a Spielberg movie right now, with the kid on his bicycle looking at his picturesque town. Except it’s not so picturesque anymore. Everything that Dras holds dear is gone, which I can relate to. Originally “Greensboro” was “Greensburg”. I changed it to “Greensboro” once I realized that the old country backroads I spent many an afternoon driving down while working through the story in my head was “Greensboro Road”. Incidentally, there was a field by that road with an abandoned shack, hedged by tall grass and a mysterious age-scarred wooden sign that read “Old Greenesboro”, with the odd “e” and everything. Some have mistakenly assumed that this story is set in Greensboro, North Carolina, but no. Just named after a scenic drive in northeast Arkansas.

Page 75--Chapter Six and Franklin Whitaker. Another later addition. I actually wrote this a long time ago, then cut it, lost the file, and had to rewrite it from scratch.

Page 79--Chapter Seven. A lot of things going on here, a lot of mixing of old and new. Dras and Jeff’s argument has been in the story since the beginning. The ladies gossiping about Rosalyn was fun because it’s a great character moment for Rosalyn. By now, we’ve seen Rosalyn, we (hopefully) like Rosalyn. To hear what the town thinks of her and says behind her back should make us mad. That it’s coming from church ladies should be even worse. Look, I know there’s going to be people reading this book who think that churches are full of hypocrites and judgmental types. I get it, okay? And you know what? Yeah, those people are there, and I wanted to be honest about that.

Page 83--But then I introduce Leonard Fergus, ideally played by the great character actor Bill Cobbs! I love Fergus, and having him chastise these “good sisters” in his playful manner hopefully breaks some stereotypes about church folk.

Page 89--Enter Sheriff Hank Berkley. Originally, he had very little to do in this book, but I found myself writing more and more scenes for him because I just love him. This is also where we meet Deputy Dane Adams.

The real Dane Adams is a salesman who has worked on and off with my dad in the screenprinting business for twenty some-odd years. Way back in the day when I told people I wanted to write a novel about monsters, the real Dane Adams said he wanted me to put him in the book and kill him off. Done! The fictional Dane and the real Dane share little in common. Also, Dane’s another character who had very few scenes (other than dying), but I found myself putting him in more and more. He and Hank make a good pair.

Page 93--Chapter Nine. This chapter has been through a lot of rewrites. I always loved this chapter, but I had a nasty habit of bouncing around between Dras’ POV and Rosalyn’s. I probably still didn’t catch all of it, but I tried. It’s only been recently that I’ve had to discipline myself into sticking with one character in a scene. I come from a screenwriting background, which has a very detached eye. In a room full of people, I’ve got to be able to move freely and zero in on each thing a character does. Despite my best efforts, I've carried that over into my fiction writing, so when I get a couple characters in a scene that both have things going on in their heads, I really have to restrain myself from ping-ponging between the different POVs. I’m trying to do better at trusting the characters to communicate what they’re going through internally by how they act.

Page 100--The kiss! I’m a sap for the whole “guy didn’t know his true love was beside him the whole time” stories. I just re-watched the tail end of Some Kind of Wonderful (a boyhood favorite of mine) last night and was nodding and all, “Yeah, man. Yeah, that’s good stuff.” A sap I tell you! A sap!

Page 101--Groundhog Day Part XII is going to leave a few people scratching their heads (including my editor). No, don’t bother Googling to see about that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. This fictional movie is a nod to The Monster Squad, a major inspiration to me as a young lad and to this series. Groundhog Day Part XII is the slasher movie that the main character in The Monster Squad--Sean Crenshaw--wanted to see at the drive-in.

Page 105--Chapter Ten. New scene created for the Realms version. All of these deputies play a role (some big, some small) throughout the trilogy, so I decided to introduce them all here. I love their banter and had a great time coming up with these different variations on the Strange Man legend. Plus, I really love writing “good ole boys”, for some reason.

Page 108--Earl is one of my new favorite characters. I don’t think he even appears in the Xulon Edition, but he’ll be a major player in Book Two, so I wanted to introduce him here. While he’s an antagonist, I totally see where he’s coming from. With the Realms Edition, I wanted to mature the overall story--I wanted to include characters whose struggles with God’s justice and sovereignty are complicated, and maybe even justified. Looking back, the Xulon Edition was very clean cut. Very “trust in God and everything is okay”. While I do believe that, you’ve got to sometimes alter your definition of “okay”.

Page 113--Chapter Eleven. Our introduction to Deputy Ryan Stevenson. This guy is a bad guy. There are very few human villains in The Coming Evil Trilogy. Most of them are just hurting people lashing out, but Stevenson is a thug, through and through. Some people just like being mean. More “good ole boy” exchange between Hank and Dane.

Page 127--Dave at the video store. This was a Realms Edition addition. Dave is also featured in the short story “The Coming Evil: Clown Time...The Remake!” available to read for free on this very blog.

Page 127--Garden Tool Massacre is the name of the fictional movie playing at the theater in the 1988 remake of The Blob--another favorite of mine and an inspiration for the kind of tone I wanted this book to have.

Page 132--She-Vampires From Mars is actually an original title, as opposed to a nod to another film. I have plans of writing a real script for She-Vampires From Mars one day and trying to get it made as a direct-to-video “gem” :p

Page 135--Chapter Thirteen. A new scene for the Realms Edition. I really played Jeff as a foil for this book. He’s a jerk. But, because he plays such a huge role in the rest of the series, I wanted to write a scene that, hopefully, warmed audiences up to him a bit. Also, this is another red herring as we think maybe Jeff is about to step in and become the hero. But, no. Our hero is busy nodding off while watching She-Vampires From Mars. We have some mention of Everett Greene and the fate of Old Greenesboro. Oooh, mysterious. You’ll have to stick around for the whole trilogy to find out what happened.

I’ve also considered writing the story of Old Greenesboro one day. Hm...

Head over to Part III of our commentary where we explore the dangers of "preaching" in Christian fiction and other theological musings!

Monday, March 28, 2011

EPIC FAIL: My first 1-star review

A big day for me.

I’ve just read my very first 1-star review for The Strange Man. It comes courtesy of Catie from Goodreads.

So how does one deal with a bad review--rather, a scathing review? I suppose some would say “Ah, blow it off,” which is a valid option. But, I think writers should take note of all the reviews-- the good, the bad, the fair, the unfair--and pull what they can from it. Author Mike Duran recently posted about having a thin skin--about receiving criticism and asking yourself the tough questions about your writing. Good thoughts and I totally agree with that.

I’m actually very touched by this review. Her passion--granted she hates the book in no uncertain terms--but her passion for it moves me. She felt something (in this case, revulsion). Also, I’m very thankful to Catie that she was a grown-up about the review. At no point does she attack me personally and I really appreciate that. I also like how detailed her review is. She’s put a lot of thought into this--though she admittedly doesn’t want to think about the book anymore or ever again.

There’s actually one line from the review that I’m really proud of:

"So, just for the sake of brevity, imagine a 1980’s slasher film with right-wing Christian overtones."

Well "right wing" aside, I actually sort of take that as a compliment :p

Having said these positives, I don't want to make light of her complaints. It’s an overt Christian thing and she doesn’t like that. I won’t fault her for that and I wouldn’t dare whip out the whole “It’s a persecution conspiracy!” because I think that demeans her opinion. The things I do take great issue with are her accusations that the book is "racist" and "demeans women". This was certainly never my intention and I’m not sure where she’s deriving this perception, but that’s her opinion and she’s entitled to it. Also, I think she completely misunderstands my motive as an author for killing off the girl she mentions in the review. The character didn't die as some sort of author commentary on her behavior, but rather I was (trying to) point out that she wasn’t a "bad girl"-—but is going to die anyway. I was trying to break the 1980s slasher trope and show that no one is safe. So, that confounds me and, as a writer, makes me feel like I missed the mark in explaining that.

Though, that raises a point. Do I have to spell out everything for the reader within the novel? Wouldn't that be considered "telling", and bad form? But, this is what happens when you don’t spell it out--people read into it different things, sometimes things you never ever intended or even thought yourself.

The only thing that grieves me is that Catie’s soul feels "bruised" after reading the book. Ouch. I see her profile pic and she seems like a nice young lady with a great family and to think that I’ve hurt her—however marginally—really makes me want to buy her a fruit basket or a dozen roses or something.

Sorry, Catie :(

At any rate, it's done, it's out there, and I've brought it all full circle by blogging about it (how lame). Please do not misunderstand this as a ploy to get sympathy. While I'm feeling pretty blue today, I'm processing those feelings and trying to learn what I might from Catie for the future.

But, as I leave you, I bring to you my favorite line (no, I’m serious) from the review:

"There's no reason for anyone to read this book."

Wow! If you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly.

"The Strange Man" Commentary (Part I)

Welcome to Part 1 (of 4) of the commentary for The Strange Man. I warn you now: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! If you haven’t read The Strange Man...what are you reading the commentary for? You won’t have any idea what I’m talking about. Go buy the book then come back. I’ll still be here.

As you open the book, you’ll see a bunch of nice comments made by my fellow writers. I did not pay for any of these, so that’s nice. :p

Copyright page. My birth year is listed as 1979. It's actually 1978. That’ll be changed for reprints and for the sequel.

Title page. I was pretty anal in the beginning about keeping the font for “The Coming Evil” the same sort of “typewriter” effect as when I originally wrote this (see Xulon Edition cover). But, as it turns out, I like the Realms’ interpretation of it better. I especially like the design to The Strange Man logo. It reminds me of the I Know What You Did Last Summer movie titles and that brings me endless happiness. I came up with the title “The Coming Evil” after many days/weeks of indecision in 1999. I finally broke it down to the main point of the story: Dras is trying to warn Rosalyn of something. I looked up “warn” in the dictionary and it said something about “to tell someone of a coming evil”. Then, as Doc Brown from Back to the Future would say, I was struck by a revelation. A vision. I knew “The Coming Evil” was my title.

Page 1--This prologue is one of my proudest things that I’ve written. It was not originally in the Xulon Edition of the book, so you who have read that version are already treated to something new. There’s a lot of inspirations for this scene, but one that really sticks out is the beginning of The Fog, where John Houseman is telling a spooky story to a bunch of kids. I really love that scene--I thought it set a great mood and it also served as a fun twist on what is, essentially, a boring old exposition scene. The Eldon Granger stuff is fun, to me, because I set up the entire mythology of The Coming Evil Trilogy in this one scene, but I feel (re: hope) it’s in an atmospheric and engaging way.

Page 3--The story of Joe Hallerin. My wife and I drive up to the Ozarks every now and again to get away from things. A lot of the small shoppes carry small press/self-published books--local authors--and a lot of those books are about Ozark ghost stories and legends. One book in particular--Favorite Scary Stories of American Children by Richard and Judy Dockrey Young--was a huge influence. It spoke at great lengths about the oral traditions of those stories and the proper way to tell them. After reading, I came away with a lot of respect for oral storytellers and had a desire to write a story in the “Ozark oral tradition”. I wrote Joe Hallerin’s tale with the original intent of just putting it up on the blog or in an anthology one day, but I loved it so much that I worked it into the story. I love the language that Eldon Granger uses as he tells the story--and that’s all authentic Ozark flavor. “Lit a shuck outta there” and “practice moans and groans”. Of course, now, Eldon sounds like a hillbilly :p

Page 14--The prologue ends with violence. It was important for me to establish the threat of the monsters right up front, especially since we pull back and get involved in Dras’ day-to-day life and there’s nary a monster to be seen for awhile. I felt I needed something dramatic right out of the gate to let you know what kind of book this is going to be. What’s ironic is that, after I sent this in to Realms, I read some interview with agents and editors about their biggest pet peeves. One of them was killing a character in the prologue. Oh well.

Page 15--Chapter One. Another new scene, exclusive to this edition. Now we pull way, way back and cut to a domestic, quaint family dinner. So much of this story--the whole trilogy, in fact--is putting the Weldon family through as much hell as I can muster. In the original Xulon Edition, we begin the book with “it was a dark and stormy night” and the Strange Man is already making his move on Greensboro. It moved too fast. I wanted to turn the clock back and show how normal things were just hours before the storm blows through. I wanted an opportunity to show these characters as a family--together--before I spent the next three books tearing them apart.

It’s no coincidence that Jeff is the first of our main cast to be introduced. He was the first to be introduced in the Xulon Edition, too, albeit under different circumstances. Jeff is a “hero type”. He’s good-looking, he’s a man of convictions, he’s all about duty and responsibility--he’s even a preacher. A preacher in a Christian book! Of course he’s the hero! Only, he’s not. This book is about God choosing the unlikely to become heroes. So, while Jeff certainly has the pedigree, he’s not God’s man for the job. Not this time.

Note: Yes, I have a brother named Jeff. No, this Jeff is not based on or is anything like the other Jeff. It was sheer coincidence that the two share the same name.

Jeff and Isabella really suffered in the Xulon Edition--Isabella especially. They were always sort of background characters, but starting with Book Two (Enemies of the Cross, due out February 2012), they will become just as important to the trilogy as Dras and Rosalyn, so this dinner scene was a chance to show them off, to let them have the spotlight for a bit before Dras comes in and steals the show with his cheese puff shenanigans.

Page 19--Dras' introduction. If you don’t know who this guy is after this intro and the bit at the dinner scene, then I’ve failed as a writer and he’s failed as a character. This is the point where people always ask me “Where in the world did you come up with a name like Dras?” Honestly, I can’t remember. That was over ten years ago and I don’t know. I remember watching a movie on TV around that time--PCU with Jeremy Piven. He was named “Droz” in that movie and was a laid back, silly kind of guy, so who knows. Maybe that’s where it comes from. I recall liking that movie and it fits around the same timeframe, so there. Maybe it’s all Jeremy Piven’s fault. As for the spelling, it just looked natural to me to spell it the way I did, though now I deal with everyone calling him “Drass” as in rhymes with “grass”. It’s supposed to rhyme with “Oz”. I ended up just making the mispronunciation something that Dras has had to live with all his life :p As for the in-universe story about where Dras got his name, this was a last minute addition. I had never thought about it, really, until my editor was finally like “Look. It’s a weird name. You need an explanation.” My wife Meghan and I cooked up the origins of Dras’ name late one night as my deadline loomed closer. I really liked the idea of Jeff naming him. Among many things, this is a story about brothers and, given what these brothers go through, I thought it was a touching foundation to their relationship.

Page 25--The family scene with Rosalyn and Dras. I’ve been writing this story for ten years, and I’ve worked hard to understand who these people are and how they relate to each other. They’ve grown a lot and I’ve grown a lot. Having written this scene pretty late in the process, I feel like I had ten years of getting to know these guys to play off of. Also, having written this scene after the trilogy was more or less complete, it was kind of a way of traveling back in time with them and enjoying the calm before the storm.

Page 26--“The same thing we do every night, Pinky,” is a reference to the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. Probably just zipped right over a lot of people’s heads, but there you have it.

Page 27--Jeff’s nightmare becomes a major plot point of Book Two. I decided to plant a little seed here. New to the Realms Edition.

Page 27--The storm. This is actually where the Xulon Edition began! See how much you would have missed? I’m thankful for the changes. These scenes here, with Jeff and the storm, Millie and the window, and Dras and Rosalyn at the Rave Scene are among the oldest written material in this book. I literally wrote this stuff back in 1999. I’ve edited it a lot--added a lot to it--but some of it is the very same sentences I wrote when I was but a young lad, clacking away at my story in my parent’s house. It probably shows. I still cringe when I read these passages and I never entirely feel like I pulled it up to the standard of the newest material. But, at the same time, I’ve come to accept it. It’s a snapshot of who I was when I started the journey. Humble beginnings.

Page 32--“Mommy?” For everything in me I wanted this to be the opening line of the book. In a book about monsters and bogeymen and frightened children (or, more accurately in Dras’ case, a man-child) finding their voice, this seemed so powerful to me. A little girl, looking for motherly protection. But, no matter how hard I tried, it just wasn’t feasible for this to be the opening scene. I think Eldon’s scene is a better opening scene, but this moment with Millie and the man at her window is an iconic image. I’m petrified of people looking in on me through my bedroom window (had it happen to me as a child once while I was undressing for bed, and it traumatized me), so this scene is extra-creepy for me.

The Millie bedroom scene is probably the most iconic scene in this book for me. It’s also the scene that gets the most scares out of readers. Most people tell me that, as they’re reading this scene, they swear they hear someone scratching on their window. Little do they know, they do. It’s actually me. I come to all of your houses and wait for you to get to this part, then I scratch on your window.

Page 39--Dras and Rosalyn at the Rave Scene. This scene benefits from the Realms Edition expansions. This used to be a pretty wordy scene as this was, originally, your introduction to our duo. I really crammed a lot of exposition in the Xulon version, so afraid you wouldn’t “get” these guys. But, once I was able to back the truck up a bit and introduce them in a more natural way at the dinner scene, this scene lost the exposition and just became free. This is THE oldest written material in the whole book.

Funny story on how I came up with the name “The Rave Scene”: As you may or may not know, this story started out as a small independent movie I wanted to get produced. Well, yeah, that didn’t work so I decided to adapt it to a novel. In the script, for the scene headers, I always described these dance hall scenes as “The Rave Scene”. You know, like, “the scene at the rave”. When writing the novel, I tried out a couple more legitimate names (I think “The Golden Viper” was one--yikes), but finally decided that the Rave Scene just sounded kinda cool. So I made that the club’s name. The exact same thing happened with the Good Church of the Faithful.

Page 45--I added more motivation to the Strange Man during this introduction. In the Xulon Edish, it was all vague and he was “just nasty”. I’ve always had all kinds of motivations and depth to him lined up for the sequels, and when I started adding to this for the Realms version, I thought “Why hold back?” Some stuff, for plot’s sake, you can’t know about yet, but I let down the guard a little and showed more of what makes him tick. He really is attracted to Rosalyn. She arouses him and that makes him hate her all the more. He’s really messed up. I wonder what made him that way. Hm...

Head over to Part II of our exclusive commentary for The Strange Man as we get into one of the more controversial aspects of the story!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New "Review" Trailer Now Live!

So, what happens when you give me some video editing equipment, about an hour of free time, a few good reviews, and the desire to pimp my debut novel The Strange Man? Why, you get this fun, little video!

Special thanks, as always, to Dan Schulte for the music, and extra thanks to the reviewers who had such nice things to say about my little book about monsters :)

In related news, filming began this morning for the feature trailer for Book Two of The Coming Evil Trilogy--Enemies of the Cross! The publisher will want to debut that trailer early next year, but I'm hoping to cut a very small "teaser" for your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bigfoot War: The Review!

I believe I first heard of Bigfoot War upon its release while reading one of the horror sites I frequent (Dread Central, perhaps?). I was instantly struck by the cover and thought the concept sounded like Assault on Precinct 13 by way of Harry and the Hendersons.

Needless to say, my kind of story.

I've had my own love affair with Bigfoot from childhood. Living in Arkansas, I've been told that The Legend of Boggy Creek was based on a true story in my own state, and when I was eleven or twelve, I recall a "Bigfoot sighting" that had the whole town (or at least my neighborhood, with all my friends) riled up in excited whispers. I remember reading all the books about Bigfoot I could find in my middle school library. I knew all about footprint casts, and the Yeti, and had seen "The Bigfoot Photo"--you know which one I mean--countless times. As a fan of monsters, Bigfoot (and Nessie, though I was never much of a water guy) was always extra exciting to me because it just might be real.

Seeing the cover to Eric S. Brown's Sasquatchploitation thrill ride Bigfoot War brought my childhood rushing back. After many moons, I finally got hip to the Bigfoot War craze (at the moment it's got 44 5-star reviews on Amazon) and picked up a copy. I was glad I did. I've seen it repeated in Eric's interviews and Facebook posts that his mantra is "bringing fun back to horror"--a message I subscribe to wholeheartedly. I recognize there's a place, and certainly a fanbase, for the gritty, realistic, thriller type horror stories like Saw or Silence of the Lambs, but I've always preferred a healthy dose of unrealism in my horror. A sense of magic, of the fantastic, and of the, well, fun.

On that front, Bigfoot War delivers in spades. The story progresses at a breakneck speed--reading more like a screenplay than a novel. It's very much a Saturday night SyFy Channel "original", and I mean that in the best possible way. It was violent, exciting, at times very dark, and makes no excuses for its "take no prisoners" approach. This is popcorn entertainment in its purest form.

Having said that, I think the novel's strengths also prove to be its greatest weakness. It's short. And when I say it's short, I mean it's short.My first thought upon unboxing my Amazon package was "Where's the rest of it?" It clocks in at a 113 pages. Perhaps because of its slimmed down narrative, the characters sometimes become lost in the action. What we learn on the back cover about Jeff, the hero of our Bigfoot War--that his family was killed by a Bigfoot when he was a boy, he grows up, joins the military, fights in Iraq, and returns to Babble Creek looking for payback--is all you'll ever know about him. The same can be said for nearly every character--While not "caricatures", they are painted in very broad strokes with little time to really get to know them before the fur starts flying (literally). While this might play out a little better in a movie, where the focus is on the visual dynamics of the piece, for a novel, this stripped-down approach can be problematic. But my own novel The Strange Man (What? It's my blog, I can plug) has also been described as very fast, very cinematic, and not very long, so I guess I'm the pot calling the kettle black over here, but there you have it.

However, with all of that being said about the characters, I did find myself rooting for the heroes and was quite moved when certain ones fell to the savagery of the Bigfoot, so I'd say Mr. Brown wasn't entirely unsuccessful at creating his cast of hundreds. There are a lot of folks to keep track of and I had to flip back a few pages more than once to refresh my memory who was who, who had a crush on who, etc.

I found the final battle sequence, where the tribes of angry Bigfoot fall on this town in a storm of blood and carnage, really engaging, and it was every bit as explosive as the reviews touted it to be. I felt a little letdown by the epilogue, where we're introduced to a new group of characters that I assume is build-up to the sequel Bigfoot War: Dead in the Woods, because I felt it detracted, just a bit, from the emotional conclusion of Babble Creek's desperate last stand against Nature's best kept secret weapon.

Despite my minor issues with the book, I still came away from it with a grin, and ready to dig into the sequel when it comes out. I can only imagine that things will get bigger from this point--that the mythology will escalate to crazier heights. This first installment certainly began the series with a bang, and made me a fan in the process.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Signing March 19th

Mark your calendars!

On March 19th, 2011, I'll be selling and signing copies of The Strange Man at Books-A-Million in Jonesboro, Arkansas from 1-3 (or until they run me off) in the PM. Stop in, say hello, and leave with the gift of Christian horror in your hands.

The Books-A-Million folks have been real enthusiastic and supportive, so I'm hoping to get a good turnout and show some support to local book retailers! Amazon's great, don't get me wrong, but there's still something special about walking into a brick and mortar store and finding the book you're after on the shelf.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Interviews

The Strange Man is in stores! Have you bought your copy?

I'm having a blast promoting the book and have had some great opportunities to do interviews and talk about my inspirations, my thoughts on writing and the Christian publishing industry, and whatever else comes to the mind of my interviewers. Here are the three most recent.

Special thanks to Jeff, Alice, and Dona for giving me the chance to talk up the book!

Interview at The Writing Life For Me.

Interview with Jeff Gerke at Where The Map Ends.

BRAND-NEW Interview at Fantasy and Faith.