Archive for March, 2008

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Hell in the Heartland, the anthology I co-edited with Roger Dale Trexler of Annihilation Press officially debuted last night at Twilight Tales. We had a great turnout. Many of the authors were able to attend and read their stories.

HITH had been a dream of Roger’s for more than 20 years. After reading 300 submissions, fighting over which ones to accept, and enduring some personal tragedies along the way, I’m happy to report that we finally made it. I am proud to have been a part of bringing Roger’s dream to fruition.

HITH features stories by a host of great Illinois authors. Featured authors include: Wayne Allen Sallee, Henry Perez, Lawrence Santoro, Richard Chwedyk, Michael Penkas, Nikki M. Pill, Edward DeGeorge, Craig D.B. Patton, Harold Holt, C.T. Thieme, W.S. Cwik, C.S.E. Cooney, and Bryan Buschemi. Stop by Annihilation Press and order your copy today.

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

When I started reviewing books for Dark Scribe Magazine, I thought the gig would be “win-win” all the time. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to read books, right? That was before I encountered my first “bad” book. The benefit of reading for pleasure is that if a book isn’t “good,” you can just quit reading it. Reviewers don’t have that option.

My goal is to write reviews that are fair regardless of the quality of the writing. My approach to reviewing is two-fold. First, I evaluate the story as a reader. Does the author make me care about the characters? Is the plot interesting? Was I entertained? Then, I evaluate the story as a writer. If I had written this story, would I have made the same choices as the author? If not, what would I have done differently?

The reviewing process helped me hone my craft. Having to analyze what works and what doesn’t in other authors’ stories has made it easier for me to find various plot/pacing problems in my own. I’m not always reading for pleasure anymore, but at least I am always learning what works and how to do things better.