Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Mess with Me When I'm Writing

I can get a little snippy when I'm deep into writing (just ask my partner, Bruce), but until a friend (thanks, Anthony!) sent me this clip from The Shining, I didn't realize just how snippy I could be.

My Lord, it was like holding up a mirror!

Now, I must get back to work:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Author Carey Parrish Weighs in on Ten Silly Questions

Parrish met with me outside his local Piggly Wiggly, where we both stocked up on Co' Colas, pork rinds, and Moon Pies. He invited me back to his place for some of his "world famous" possum stew, but I declined.

Here are his responses to my ten silly questions.

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?

Well, since I fancy myself the consummate host, I’d find out – discreetly that is – what my guest liked…and then I’d fix something different if I didn’t care for their choice. As for the guest, my “dead” choice would be Montgomery Clift. “Living” would have to be Anderson Cooper. With either one of them, I don’t think the matter of the menu would be very important.

2. Who do you think you are?

I’ve been trying to figure that out for the last ten years! If you have any idea, let me know…and I’ll let you know if you’re right or not. ;-)

3. What’s your problem?

I never learned to do the Macarena.

4. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?

Are you sure you want to know the answer to that? It includes a pedicure…

5. Where are you at?

Nutbush City Limits (A church house, gin house…). [RR: Ladies and gentlemen: Give it up for Miss Tina Turner!]

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?

The Backstreet Boys. [RR: My answer was close, but it was the backdoor boys]

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?

Grape Nuts. (Can you imagine what the Post people were doing when they came up with this one?) [RR: I'd rather not]

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?

Julia Child

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?

Yes, I learned the difference the hard way. [RR: Just like you learned the difference between shit and shinola]

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?

Yes, my recent short story anthology, The Moving Finger Writes. And for anybody who’s wondering, the title isn’t self explanatory.

Carey Parrish is a native of Northern Georgia. He began writing professionally in his late thirties when he founded the popular e-zine Web Digest Weekly. He’s also the author of the books Into The Light: Experimentations In Poetry & Prose and The Moving Finger Writes. Currently working on a novel, he attributes his success to “taking all the things that were wrong in my life and replacing them with things that are right.” Visit his website.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Birthing House: It's Expecting You

In my column over at Dark Scribe magazine this month, I reviewed Christopher Ransom's wonderful horror novel, The Birthing House, released just a couple of weeks ago by St. Martin's Press. If you need some thought-provoking chills to cool you down this summer, pick up a copy of The Birthing House.

"When I read the synopsis of The Birthing House, and saw its moody cover, my hopes were high for a quality horror story, a ghost story that might rival say, oh, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

"And I was not disappointed. Although Ransom’s book is not a serious contender for iconic contemporary haunted house story (as Jaskson’s was), it is original, extremely well-done from a writing craft standpoint, and, like The Haunting of Hill House, uses the fears and psychological make-up of its characters to bring readers their most terrifying and disturbing thrills..."

Read my complete review here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stud Muffin/Author Eric Arvin and 10 Silly Questions

I met with Eric Arvin in a steam room to ply him with my ten silly questions and to see if I could get him to show me what was under that stupid towel he insisted on wearing around his waist.

I didn't get to see what was under the towel, but I did get my silly questions answered. Damn! That wasn't the option I would have picked, but we take what we can get, eh?

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?

Gerard Butler. I'd have to make him fall in love with me. I know it's not a very literate choice out of everyone in history, but if I had said Alexander the Great I'd be afraid I'd do something to piss him off like last time! Yeah. I'll go with Gerard. I've been salivating over him since Dracula 2000. (Wouldn't it have been hot if he had hooked up with Jonny Lee Miller in that movie instead of...whoever that actress was?)

I'd have wine. He'd have me.

2. Who do you think you are?

I'm not sure. Why? Who do you think I am? [RR: A big tease.]

3. What’s your problem?

You trying to pick a fight? [RR: Maybe a wrestling match.]

4. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?

You ARE trying to pick a fight!

5. Where you at?

About ready to kick your ass!

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?

Honestly, I don't think I have any. Isn't that sad? I don't smoke, do drugs, drink excessively. I'm not a sex addict. God! How depressing. I need a vice. Any suggestions? [RR: I open Eric's plea to the floor. Comments, please.]

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?

Anything with lots of almonds and nuts and clusters.

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?

Scott Wolf...after he's just woke up in the morning.

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?

No. There is absolutely no difference.

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?

Well, hells yeah! But first I'd like to say something about my book, Subsurdity: Vignettes from Jasper Lane from Dreamspinner Press, available on August 20th. It's a reprint in advance of the sequel Suburbilicious, set to come out in September. Now, as for that plugging you mentioned...

Eric Arvin is a writer from a small town in Middle America. He has three published books - THE REST IS ILLUSION, SUBSURDITY, and SLIGHT DETAILS AND RANDOM EVENTS, as well as a comic book and several published short stories. Visit his blog here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Incubus Blends the Paranormal and Romance

Be careful when you tread into the dark waters of Incubus; unseen things swim there, waiting for the unwary, waiting to bite...

Incubus is the story of a newly-married gay couple from Chicago who have taken advantage of Canada's sensible same-sex marriage law. On their way home from their honeymoon, tragedy strikes and one half of the couple is knifed in a parking garage, leaving his new spouse to mourn him.

But when the dead spouse returns, seemingly alive, his widower has to decide if he can put aside the telltale signs that that his returned lover is not quite who--or what--he seems to be.

BUY your copy of Incubus, one of my most haunting--literally--stories to date.

Here is an exclusive excerpt:

The next night Oliver lay sleepless. His eyes had long ago grown accustomed to the darkness and the objects in the room; the furniture and discarded clothing had taken on the shapes of gray hulks, almost alive in the shadows.

Sleep eluded him. He dreaded its coming, even though his eyes cried out for it, even though his muscles ached.

What if Ryan came back as he slept? What assurance would he have Ryan might slip into his dreams? Besides, even if he had such an assurance, Oliver wanted more than this ethereal connection.

In spite of his resolve, he found himself drifting. The confines of their bedroom would dissolve and Oliver would suddenly be searching for footing on slippery outcroppings of granite and limestone, where one misstep would send him plummeting into an abyss so deep and black, the darkness rose up, palpable as stone. One wrong step was all it took for Oliver’ s muscles to retract, hurling him back into wakefulness.

It was during one of these fugues that something else brought him back.


A whispered voice.


Again, the voice…whispery, dry and empty as a husk, the end of his name a growl.

Oliver got up on his elbows, searching the silver/gray darkness.

Was it Ryan?

Nails dug into the sheets, clawing. What if it was him? Oliver needed to show his love and desire, not terror.

“Oliver.” The whisper segued into a dry, throaty chuckle.

Oliver flattened himself against the headboard, one quivering hand reaching out to switch on the lamp on the nightstand.

Light broke into the room, shattering the darkness.


Perhaps under the bed? Nightmare images assaulted him. The closet door stood open a few inches, enough to give the banished darkness a shelter, enough to cause Oliver to wonder what lurked within.

Ryan’s hat rested on the pillow and Oliver snatched it up.

He put his feet to the floor, expecting taloned hands, red and sore, to fly out from underneath the bed. The hands would grab his ankles tightly enough to force the blood out, with bright rings of white appearing above monstrous fingers.

And Oliver would be pulled under the bed and farther down, deeper until he could no longer breathe.

Until he vanished.

Oliver squatted. Under the bed he found nothing more horrifying than clumps of gray dust and pairs of shoes, both his and Ryan’s, continuing to mingle.

He crept to the closet and swung open the door. The darkness disappeared and he faced rows of hangers holding suit coats, pants, shirts.

Yet what lurked in the back, where the light did not penetrate?

Wasn’t that the shape of something? The shape of something crouched, yet human?

Oliver’s heart stopped; his mouth went dry. With the last of his resolve, he pushed aside the hanging clothes and let in the light.

Ryan hid like a child…stooped, arms gripping himself in an attempt to make himself smaller. He stared at the floor, but when he looked up at Oliver, his eyes had an odd clarity, a paleness that almost made them translucent. He chuckled. And then, mocking his whisper of earlier, he whispered, “Oliver.”

The room, for an instant, lost substance, whirling. Oliver felt drunk…dizzy and nauseous. He sat down and placed his head in his hands.

When he looked up, Ryan was squatting beside him, naked. Oliver was shocked to see Ryan was aroused.

“Ryan?” He touched his face. It felt oddly cool, and a light stubble covered his chin. Oliver ran his fingertips over it, marveling in its reality.

“You’re really here, aren’t you?”

Ryan’s response was to lift Oliver from the floor and carry him to the bed. He lowered Oliver to the sheets, which were cold and gritty.

Oliver lay back, staring into the eyes, trying to forget that these eyes were paler than Ryan’s. But they were close enough.

Oliver bit the inside of his cheek as Ryan spread himself out on top of him, a blanket of silken cool, conjuring up images of blue-green water. He gripped Ryan’s back as Ryan entered him, unable to stop the sharp cry of pain at the ice of his penis as it rammed into him, insistent in a way Ryan would never have been.

Oliver tried to accustom himself to the pain and the chill, biting his lip and grasping Ryan so tightly his nails dug into his back, drawing blood.

BUY Incubus.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Son's Big Gay Wedding

Saturday, August 15, 2009 was a day that will go down in my family history as a memorable and joyous one. That was the day my son, Nicholas, married his beloved, Tarik el Babarti. It was a very hot (90s for those of you in the US, 30s for those in Canada), humid day for a garden wedding, but the heat did not dull the happiness that radiated from everyone attending that day. It's a cliche, but it's true, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will not go into a step-by-step description of the day. Aside from the pictures here with this blog, you can get a fuller idea and see lots more photos here.

What really struck me about this day was that it was the first gay marriage I had ever been to. Apart from being the father of the groom and the person who officiated at the couple's ceremony (a great, great honor...a high point in my life!), I was struck by one thing for this "big gay wedding:" and that was not that it was so unusual or so different. No, what struck me was that it was so like every other wedding I've ever been to. Here were two young people, bubbling over with love for one another and who wanted to pledge their lives to one another, who looked forward with great optimism to a shared future. That was pretty much the same as all the weddings I've been to. And here were the happy families and friends, their eyes maybe a little blurred by watching two people they cared about make their commitment public and asking for their support throughout the coming years. There was a wedding cake. Dancing. Champagne (and some wonderful dark rum imported from Cuba--another very sensible thing legal in Canada but not here!). Laughter. Simply, there was a palpable sense of caring, joy, and the feeling that something important had happened that hot August day.

And how could that be any different from any other wedding?

After being a part of this, I wonder even more how there are hordes of people out there who would deny my son his happiness, deny him the same rights that they enjoy and benefit from...and why? Why, when there are so many ills, hatred, crime, and suffering in the world, would large groups of people invest so much time, energy, and resources into ensuring a young couple in love can not make a commitment to one another? A commitment that, indeed, I am forbidden to make to my own partner.

I don't know. I really don't.

In closing, I would like to share with you the words I wrote especially with Nick and Tarick for their wedding.

Back in 2004, Nick and I were invited to submit to an anthology of essays about gay marriage. For our piece, we both wrote letters to one another explaining why we hoped that the far-off possibility of marriage for a same sex couple would one day become a reality.

At the time, I didn’t know if it would ever happen.

And now here we all are.

From I Do/I Don’t Queers on Marriage:

“I’ve since grown used to the fact that you are who you are, just as I am. And now I can look back with a wry smile at my initial reaction. A gay father is the last person one would expect to experience shock when his son comes out to him. But I remember one of my first thoughts was, “Well, there go the dreams of dancing at my son’s wedding.” It’s hokey, I know, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was one of my initial thoughts.

A thought I did NOT have was, “Well, maybe that will change.””

And now here we all are…and a possibility that did not even occur to me as little as a few years ago is now before us. I like to think that we are all gathered here today not as two separate entities: a couple pledging their lives to one another and an audience, but all as one, together to help Nicholas and Tarik celebrate and affirm their love and commitment to each other.

There aren’t many absolutes in this world. But one thing I believe is an absolute is love. Creating a partnership of two people in love is one of the most powerful statements we can make…both to one another and to the community that surrounds and supports us. Nick and Tarik, you are taking a giant step, making a leap of faith, committing yourselves for the long haul. It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be a celebration, as it is today. It will sometimes be just a simple decision to stay together. But I have watched both of you, and I know one thing you share—absolutely—is love. And perhaps when the road gets tougher, or you wish the other would just shut up for five minutes, you’ll remember the love that brought you together and the love you feel today.

I hope what all of us can do here today…as loving family and as friends, is come together to give you the support and caring soil you deserve, so that your love will continue to grow and flourish.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bryl R. Tyne: Almost Too Silly for Words

The enchanting author and bon vivant, Bryl R. Tyne met with me this week for dinner at chez Tyne (where pork chops, Cheez Doodles, and Kool-Aid were on the menu) to give me some of the silliest answers I have yet gotten to my series of silly questions.

Bryl doesn't miss a trick when answering my impertinent queries:

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
Whatever he or she asked me to eat, depending on the offer.

2. Who do you think you are?
Your best friend or your worst nightmare. You decide. [RR: BFF forever, of course!)

3. What’s your problem?
That answer depends on which one of my "friends" you were to ask.

4. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
You're fucking kidding me, right? [RR: I have revised my answer to "worst nightmare"; see above.]

5. Where you at?
My point, exactly.

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
Fruity Pebbles or Frosted Mini-Wheats, I enjoy either.

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
You know that scene from the movie, Michael, where first thing in the morning, Michael the archangel (John Travolta) tromps downstairs in boxers, scratching his stomach, cigarette hanging from his lip and snags a beer from the fridge? Yeah...that's me.

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground?
Not according to some, but who's listening to them? I'm not.

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
Yeah, my books. Most readers and reviewers have loved Ignited and the story of Kendra and Val in If I Were a Lady..., and I think you will too. My short story, "Best Unspoken," is also getting excellent reviews. All three are available from Noble Romance Publishing.

I also have two stories contracted for two separate anthologies this year.

Geeks or nerds, we all love them or have loved them, I'm sure. Maybe you're still loving one. Anyhow, I'm just as sure you'll love the NERDVANA Anthology from STARbooks Press with my story, "Exposed," already available from pre-order from Amazon.

Being a vampire isn't always about the blood But the drive, the penetration, now that's "where it's at." As is my story of a government experiment gone awry and how one lust-ridden VAMMP contends with the object of his desire: his commanding officer. VAMMP: Conquering Dissension is one of many great stories in Ravenous Romance's Gay vampire anthology, Boys of the Bite.

BRYL R. TYNE is a wrangler by nature and a writer by choice. After youth spent trapped at the feet of a brutal, self-absorbed master, Bryl broke free to discover life. Currently, residing in South Carolina with a loving Sugar Daddy, the malcontent wanderer is much tamer. Though the time spent traversing the diversity of paths, encountering as wildly an assortment of lovers, and forever cherishing the shared passions along the way, Bryl has determined one aspect of life that’s proved unchanging—Love Holds no Boundaries.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Latest Additions to the Kindle Store

Bad author! Bad! I haven't been paying close enough attention to which of my e-books have been added to Amazon's Kindle store and discovered just today that there are five new titles that are now there that hadn't been there when I last checked. They include a very silly story about a man waking up to find his outie had been replaced with an innie (and we are not talking belly buttons, my dears!); a poignant coming out story about a married man's painful realization; a young adult horror novel; a highly erotically-charged tale about the levels of consciousness in a dominant/submissive relationship; and a sexy, Twilight Zone type tale that gives a new twist to the old saw: be careful what you wish for.

Can you match the stories above to their blurbs below? If you can, e-mail me at and I will give you a free download of one of the stories above, suitable for your Kindle.

How I Became Sexually Irresistible
The old saw holds true: Be careful what you wish for...

Cliche though the words are, Arthur Bland should have heeded their advice. When he comes across a magic, genie-containing lava lamp in a thrift store, his one wish is to be sexually irresistible. When his wish comes true, it leads at first to a wonderful fulfillment of his most cherished erotic desires. Plain Arthur can now have anyone whom he wants...and at the beginning, the wish granted seems like a blessing.

Until the wish granted turns into a curse.

When he meets the woman of his dreams, Arthur discovers that sometimes being sexually irresistible is not enough. Worse, being sexually irresistible and being lovable can be two very different things...
BUY your copy.

"4.25 STARS! 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?...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."--Jessewave, Reviews By Jessewave
BUY your copy.

Through the Closet Door
"4.5 STARS!...a heartbreakingly emotional story about a man at a crossroads in his incredible story, a powerful look at the difficulty that surrounds coming out of the closet when deeply entrenched in a straight life...Reed has written a phenomenal look at a coming out process that is the definition of emotional. With excellent characters and a tightly woven story, Reed has written a poignant and affecting story that is a must read."--Emily, Rainbow Reviews
BUY your copy

"5 STARS! exceptional story that pulled me in from the very beginning. It is filled with such detail that it sends the reader's senses on a wild ride...This story has stuck with me since I read it, and I look forward to reading it again and again. There is so much hidden under the surface, and each reading will no doubt reveal yet another aspect of its perfection. I also personally loved the fact that the story was set in Chicago, and the details and comments Reed makes along the way will be fun for those familiar with the city. This was the first story I have read from Reed and I will most definitely be reading his other stories. I highly recommend Fugue for readers looking for a story that is unique and intense!"--Emily, Rainbow Reviews
BUY your copy

Dead End Street
"...Reed is able to create just the perfect amount of icy fingers up the reader's spine without the gore of some horror novels or movies. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and the plot and subplots are good and scary. Move over, R. L. Stine. It looks like Rick R. Reed may be the next new horror writer for young readers for this century. (Because I enjoyed this book so much, I'm going to track down his adult horror fiction and dip into some of those.)"--Janie Franz,
BUY your copy

Hurry! I will pick a winner on Sunday, August 9!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

James Buchanan Gets Down & Silly with Me

Handsome, hard-drinkin', cigar-smokin', Harley ridin' James Buchanan sat down with me in the rose garden of her Pasadena home to answer my 10 silly questions over tea and crumpets. The world-renowned m/m erotica and romance writer didn't have to think twice about her answers. And she gives us all an exclusive sneak peak into her latest fictional outing, Inland Empire.


1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?

Steaks…nice thick aged beef. Grilled out back – I prefer rare…but medium rare is good too. Add some of SG's homemade pickles (they will fry the inside of your nose with the peppers), tomatoes and basil from his garden served with fresh mozzarella and drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple, fresh and really, really good.

Or sushi. 'Cause I adore sushi.

Reality check though, it would be whatever SG felt like making. He rarely lets me cook. Not because I'm not good at it (I'm a wonder at "what luck"—what luck, we got cold chicken, a handful of macaroni, three slices of cheese and a frozen block of spinach we got dinner), but because the "rule" in our house is "he who cooks washes dishes." Which I always honor…and then SG always comes back in the middle of the night and re-washes my dishes because I don't do it good enough.

No, we don't have a dishwasher.

2. Who do you think you are?

A hack. In a good way. I would far rather be a "hack" writer who sells books, than some "literati" whose stories are so absolutely incomprehensible that people claim they love them just so they don't look stupid to their friends. It's much better to be on a quarter of the nightstands in the Midwest than discussed in some chi-chi salon in Manhattan.

3. What’s your problem?

Not enough time in a day, week, month, year for all the plots running around my brain. Two spawn who constantly are asking, "can you?" while I'm in the middle of something else. Clients who expect too much. At 42 there's not enough Ibuprophen in the bottle to kick the pain of a hard day of yard work – at least not without developing stomach ulcers. Having a credit score in the 700's and the banks still want to yank my interest rate…okay, I'll stop before we hit pity party.

4. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?

Depends on what you needed it for or how bad you needed it. If you're going to wish for a sausage on the end of some old woman's nose…nope I'm keeping it. But if you came up with a really good solution to AIDS – you know one of those wishes that wouldn't backfire. I'd give it to you. Or if you really needed it, you could have it.

5. Where you at?

Six feet under.

If not that, then smoking cigars while riding the Harley. Nothing beats a stretch of freeway, a set of twin heads and free afternoon. Okay, well maybe sex, but the spawn can't ride bitch for that.

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?

Can I tell you that my eyes bugged out of my head at that one. Really. ONE…only one???? Dear God, I'm dead! No espresso martinis? No yakking with you, and Tim Kelly and Jolie DuPre over craptastic Middle Eastern food? No Rice Crispies Treats? No See's Chocolate? No sex at 3am? No steak smothered in blue-cheese sauce? No riding the Harley around just to piss off the neighbors? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?

The little voice in the back of my brain is whispering to give you something adult and healthy…and I'm ignoring it. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter, which is almost in a dead heat with Captain Crunch Crunchberries. Forget the spoon, forget the milk, heck who needs a bowl. I'll eat that crap right out of the box.

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?

Well, not a celebrity, but a TV character. Do you know Beakman…from Beakman's world? Mr. Wizard on crack. If you're not acquainted with him, here's the site. Geek that I am, I love to sit and watch it on Sundays with the Spawn. (For those who are curious why they are the spawn…it's, for me, a Goth thing. Children of Darkness – there are three stages: darklings – those who are unable to truly ambulate around, Demon Spawn [shortened to Spawn] from around ages 3 to 14 and finally Baby-Bats, those who are out testing their wings but not able to really fly on their own yet.)

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?

Yes. And my very trusted beta reader made me delete the "how you know portions..."

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?

Does SG count? Snort! Okay, okay…more serious.

First my website...and my just released book, Inland Empire, Book 2 of the Taking the Odds series. Ebook from Torquere Press and paperback from MLR Press.

SYNOPSIS: Agent Nick O'Malley and Det. Brandon Carr are back. Nick heads to Riverside, California, center of the Inland Empire and Brandon's home turf. But every minute Nick's in Riverside threatens to out Brandon. When events embroil Nick in one of Brandon's investigations -- gang hits, prostitution, illegal gambling and human trafficking - can they survive both?

EXCERPT: It was always so good to hear Nicky’s laugh, deep and rich and all for Brandon. The cop drowned in the warm tones of it. Then Nicky sat up and twisted to lean over the end of the bed. He fumbled in the carryon for a moment and came up with a black plastic bag. “Look, I bought you something.” From the confines of the shopping bag, Nicky drew a stuffed dog. Carmel fur fluffed between his fingers. The floppy ears were black, matching the spot over its left eye.

A stuffed dog. His lover was presenting him with a toy and not the cool adult kind. It took a few moments for that fact to click into place. “Nicky, I’m almost thirty. I grew out of stuffed animals when I was, like, ten.”

“But it’s a Harley hound.” Nick bounced the stuffed dog on his knee. “Look he’s got the orange and black T-shirt with a bike on it. And little black riding chaps. He’s even got the logo on his little paw.”

Brandon wasn’t sure which was worse; the puppy eyes on the toy or the puppy eyes on Nick. “Okay, that’s just scary Nicky. I don’t know if that makes you too fem or too young to fuck anymore.”

“Jesus, Brandon, you’re always so serious.” Using one black ear as a fulcrum, Nick lobbed the dog. It landed, legs obscenely spread, across Brandon’s chest, head pointing toward his crotch. “Lighten up. Where’s your sense of humor? It’s just a stupid toy I found at this outlet store. I though it was funny. Let it live on your couch or something.” Waving toward the wall and pictures, Nicky continued, his tone sharp. “Shit, you could give it to Shayna as a reminder of her daddy if you wanted. I don’t care.”

Staring down his nose at the dog’ upturned tail, Brandon snorted. “Well at least it’s a gay dog. It’s already assumed the position.”

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Most Excellent Thriller: SHATTER

I write book reviews for the great online horror/suspense website, Dark Scribe. Every month, in my column "Grimoire" (Books that Cast a Spell), I bring readers a new horror/suspense find that they should add to their reading lists.

This month, I review Michael Robotham's SHATTER. In part, here are my thoughts on the book that kept me up way past my bedtime:

It was Stephen King who talked me into reading Shatter. This is what he had to say in Entertainment Weekly:

“Gideon Tyler, the deranged villain of this exceptional suspense novel, is a devil so persuasive he's able to talk his victims into killing themselves. His opposite number, psychologist Joe O'Loughlin, must match wits with Tyler to save his wife and child from deaths almost too horrible to contemplate. Don't get into the second half of this book before that Green Day concert, or you'll end up staying home to see how it all comes out.”

When Stephen King praises a suspense novel, I think I’ll take notice. And I definitely think I will have to pick up more of Michael Robotham’s work. Shatter is a book that offers readers such original and delightful shades of darkness and light that I wondered when I had last been so impressed.

And then I remembered. The last time I was so duly impressed was when I first read Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs...

Read the entire review here.