It's rare you find such a thoughtful reviewer of books, someone who has really taken the time to not only read a book and report on its contents, comment on pacing, plot, and characterization, but goes the extra mile and really considers what's between the lines.
Such is the case with reviewer Jay Hartman and his insightful, and positive, review of my reincarnation love story, Orientation. Jay said:
"Absolutely a don’t-miss read. Fans of films such as Crash and other stories where characters are drawn together under seemingly unlikely circumstances will gobble this story up. The incredibly well-written prose is coupled with dynamic characters who are three-dimensional, vivid, engaging and interesting...an amazing snapshot of pain, love, fall from grace and redemption among a small group of people doing their best to survive the sadness and terrors of everyday living. This is not so much a ghost story or horror story as a love story with a sense of mysticism about it. A thoroughly enjoyable read."
Read the rest of the review here.
For an excerpt and e-book and trade paperback purchasing options, go here.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Just wanted to share a bit of the great review my young adult horror novel, DEAD END STREET, got today at Dark Diva Reviews (reviewed by AJ Llewellyn). AJ said:
"Petrified at the thought of the baseball bat wielding bad guy - move over Freddy Krueger, there's an even badder ass in town - I will never forget the scene in the kitchen. Ever. Reed, the horror maestro with a penchant for grabbing you by the throat and not letting go until you've turned the last page and grown a few more gray hairs, has done it again. He's penned a chilling tale made all the more real by the deadly menace lurking inside the Tuttle house..."
Read the rest of the review here.
Read an excerpt and purchase here.
The old house at the end of a dead-end street is more of a dead end than anyone realizes...
They are five misfit kids who have banded together in their small Ohio River town. Over the years, they had organized various clubs, and now they've formed the Halloween Horror Club. The premise is simple: each week, each teen spins a horrifying tale, and at the end of five weeks, the scariest story wins a prize. The twist: the stories have to be told in the infamous and abandoned Tuttle house, where, fifteen years earlier, nearly an entire family had been murdered in their beds.
The idea of the club seems like a good one, until the kids begin to realize they may not be alone in the Tuttle house, which backs up against the woods. There seems to be someone--or somethin--watching them. Is it Paul Tuttle, the son who, while still in his teens, disappeared the night his parents and sister were killed? Or is it someone even more sinister?
With each story (each a completed short, original horror tale that stands on its own), the tension mounts...and so does the anger of the house's mysterious inhabitant. He is enraged at having his space violated, and his rage could mean a real dead end for those who dare to invade his home...
Monday, February 16, 2009
Unlike the main character in my new story, MAN-amorphosis, I awoke from uneasy dreams this morning not with a vagina...but with a good review. Having gotten to know my penis rather well lo these many years (and survived its ups and downs), I was rather glad not to wake up to find I had my own love taco, but a little literary love.
The main character of my short ebook (only $3 and a mere 27 pages), MAN-amorphosis had a much more transforming experience than I did, though, because as "Rick" begins "his" story:
I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find my penis had transformed itself into a vagina...
I go on from there (with a big nod to Franz Kafka). MAN-amorphosis is one of the oddest stories I've ever written. It's horror of a different sort, one that should make you all squirmy and giggly (you may even release a little pee).
I'm glad my reviewer, Reviews by Jessewave, got the story. Here's a little of what Wave had to say:
"Man-Amorphosis is without a doubt one of the funniest books I have ever read. Who knew horror writer Rick R. Reed had such a delicious, wonderful, side splitting sense of humor? Did he write this book to escape the gross things he normally writes...? Is this another type of "horror" for a gay man...? Did he write this book because he wondered what it would be like to have a va jay jay? We'll probably never know because he's not telling (I asked)*g* but whatever the reason, this is a must read."
She really did have the nerve, before posting her review, to ask if it was in any way autobiographical. The nerve! I told her I never morph and tell.
Wave also said:
"This is one of the most unusual, imaginative and refreshing books that I have read in a long time. Rick Reed is a master story teller and he doesn't spare the details in this romp in the park as he recounts Rickie's adventure on the other side of the sheets. Man-Amorphosis is going to rock your socks and maybe other articles of clothing because this author does not skimp on the fun. Buy this book ... it will more than tickle your funny bone."
Read her whole review here.
And I hope you'll give my story about what happens to a gay man who wakes up with an innie instead of an outie between his legs a chance. It's funny. It's bizarre. And it's easy-to-read, even on a computer screen. And, like me, it's cheap: three measly bucks. Pick it up here.
And if you're still unsure, here's a little sample:
...I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find my penis had transformed itself into a vagina.
I was lying on my back and, as is my custom, reached down to give myself a good morning grope. It was my perky way of welcoming in the day. Usually, what awaited my wandering hand was a large column of flesh, with the tension of a steel girder, and the approximate length and width of professional wrestler “The Rock’s” forearm.
My blood ran cold when the hand felt nothing. Imagine how stressed you feel when your wallet or keys have suddenly vanished. Multiply that to the nth degree and you’ll maybe get a hint of the alarm I felt when I discovered my penis had disappeared.
Hoping for a different outcome, I reached down again. Yes, the pubic hair was there, in all its curly, silky glory. The cock, however, had flown the roost. But as I groped, I discovered that, in its place, was not nothing, but something new, different…and damp. Although much of my sexual experience had of late been with the male gender, I had, in my misspent youth, explored the other side of the sexual coin to a ridiculous, self-denying extent (and if you’ve ever met my little daughter, you know it’s true), so I recognized the contours and texture of the feminine apparatus referred to by doctors as a vagina. Everyone else calls it a pussy, box, hair pie, beaver, muff, bush, twat, cunt, quim, red snapper, bearded clam, and God only knows what else.
But what was one of these things doing between my legs? How had it managed to get there? Where had what doctors referred to as a penis gone (you probably call it a dick, cock, wee wee, prostate poker, Johnson, prick, sausage, rod)? Albeit a moustache of sweat had formed on my upper lip, I couldn’t restrain myself from beginning to explore my lower lips. They had a silky smoothness, a not unpleasant bumpiness, an unevenness that appealed to my sense of aesthetic asymmetry. As I gently massaged them, I felt them unfold, like a small, fleshy flower. They sort of puffed up, which made me think how much money people like Melanie Griffith and Barbara Hershey could have saved on collagen if they could have mastered this trick on their upper lips. But I couldn’t be distracted by thoughts of movie star snatches when I suddenly found I had my own...
Monday, February 9, 2009
And phew! They liked 'em, they really liked 'em!
VGL MALE SEEKS SAME
"...a superbly written tale, focusing on the classic idea of finding a partner and the tricks and turns we trap ourselves with. The characterization of both men are incredibly well done in such an honest, open voice that it was easy to picture Ethan and Brian and furthermore, to empathize with them both. The ending...is so beautifully done, humanizing both and showing that even through honesty, your flaws never disappear but you can be loved because of them. For anyone who has less than perfect confidence in dating, you’ll be sure to identify and enjoy this book. It’ll be a keeper for a very long time."
Full review here.
THROUGH THE CLOSET DOOR
"Despite its short length, the pacing and writing of Through the Closet Door was very well done. Reed has an ability to elicit complex emotions with poignant characters. The ending was clearly meant to be left hanging as the character was, on the cusp of a painful but necessary journey. It demonstrates the true strength and conflict that are involved as a gay man comes to terms with his sexuality, his desires and needs, making that scary and painful step out of the closet."
Full review here.
AMBROSE & THE WAIF
"...a dark tale of passion and love, chilling in its icy beauty and gripping in its appeal. With each letter offering an alternate reality, you are left reeling from one moment to the next, uncertain of what and whom to believe...an incredibly well written psychological drama but is not for anyone faint of heart. It’s gripping, dramatic and unpredictable; all in the space of 47 incredibly short pages. As soon as I finished the last sentence, I started at the beginning again and re-read the entire story...a masterpiece with...with love, cunning, passion, guile and need. Stunning to the last word..."
Full review here.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Even a jaded old fart like myself gets all excited when I make a bestseller list, so I just about peed my pants with joy when I saw that my latest story, Through the Closet Door had made number seven on the January bestsellers for Amber Allure.
Part of my excitement (well, most of it, actually...who am I tryin' to kid?) comes from the fact that the story is reaching readers. But honestly, the other part is thrilled that there's such a positive response to such a personal story. Although Through the Closet Door is not autobiographical, the emotions and situation are. I went through what Gregory did: falling in love with and marrying a lovely woman at a young age and then coming to terms with my homosexuality. In a perfect world, I would have done the second thing first and then maybe I wouldn't have hurt other people. But hindsight, as they say, is 20/20...and another part of me is very grateful I had those seven good years of marriage and the wonderful son those years produced.
In Through the Closet Door, Gregory is just realizing he has to be who he is...and I know what a painful journey that can be. His journey isn't finished yet, though. I am planning at least one more part--and a couple of surprises--for these characters.
Here's the synopsis for Through the Closet Door:
Gregory has all the pieces in place: youth, good looks, a beautiful wife, a job he loves as an elementary school teacher, a quiet house on the beach...
So why is Gregory so miserable? Why is he unable to control his lingering gaze on his neighbor, Jake, the handsome truck driver who lives just down the way from him? Why does Gregory spend his private time keeping a secret journal that details fantasies and memories of him locked in embraces with other men?
It's summer, and the peaceful lake belies the turmoil in Gregory's heart. His wife wants to start a family, while Gregory wants to start something with Jake, but doesn't dare.
Rick R. Reed's heartbreaking new story brings to painful life the consequences of coming out of the closet when you're married and no one in the world but you knows the secrets you harbor. Gregory's mask is slipping, pulled down by the allure of a handsome neighbor and the demands of a desire that gets only louder the more he tries to quiet it.
Climbing out of the closet is never easy...but it's even more difficult when doing so might shatter the lives of those around you...
Now, won't you help a poor writer out and keep it on the bestseller list for February too? Is that asking too much?
Buy Through the Closet Door.