Saturday, May 30, 2009

True Blood Has Me "Glamored"

So this week when I wasn't writing, complaining about Amazon, buying from Amazon, or blubbering into my whiskey about being 50 and having not yet attained the fame and fortune I dreamed of in my youth, I was watching DVDs of the HBO miniseries, True Blood.

True Blood is based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, which I have read about six of (there are nine or ten in the series so far, I believe). I am completely nuts about these books and find them perfect escapist fiction, filled as they are with a mind-reading bar maid, shapeshifters, werewolves, witches...and lots and lots of vampires. And it's all set in a charming little Louisiana backwater town called Bon Temps. The books are really cool...and way better than those Twilight books.

Anyway, I was really excited to see the DVD of the first season of True Blood since it was based on these books I can't get enough of, but also because the series had Alan Ball behind it, the creator of another of my all-time entertainment favorites, Six Feet Under. I (gulp) pre-ordered my DVD set from Amazon months before it was even out because we no longer subscribe to HBO and I was too impatient to wait for the series to come piecemeal via Netflix.

So, this week the boyfriend and I hunkered down in front of the HD TV every night and devoured the series in about four sittings, much like a hungry vampire at a hemophiliac's convention.

Did it live up to my expectations? Oh yes, and in some ways, even surpassed them. From its opening credits (some of the best I've ever seen), True Blood is a true masterpiece of television. It has just the right southern goth vibe, perfect casting, and a storyline that will keep you guessing right up to the end, provided you haven't read the books. And if you have read the books, you'll enjoy it even more. Ball takes some liberties with Harris's literary territory, but his changes only serve to expand and improve on what Harris wrote.

My only dilemma? How can I wait now for Season Two on DVD when it's just begun its HBO run?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Amazon Calls "Gay" "Inappropriate"

I'm steamed this morning.

The letter I just sent off to Charles Flowers, president of the Lambda Literary Foundation, explains what has me so up in arms:

Hi Charles,

I was just writing to call your attention to a situation at Amazon that potentially affects authors of GLBT literature.

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from Amazon announcing their new "author profiles." If you have a book on Amazon, you're eligible. I went in to do mine and was stopped short when I tried to post it because I got an error message saying that a term in my bio was "potentially inappropriate" and needed to be addressed before I could proceed. That word? GAY...of course. I removed the word because I could not post until I did, but found this to be extremely disturbing, especially in light of the recent fiasco at Amazon with sales rankings.

I have written the following message to Amazon, but have not heard back yet. I have also since learned that there are other authors who are having the same problem with the word "gay" in their bios (even when it's part of a title).

Here's what I wrote to Amazon:

When I tried to update my bio, the system flagged the word "gay" as potentially inappropriate and would not let me post the bio until I removed it. Since I write award-winning GLBT fiction, I feel a bit censored by this and do not appreciate it. Since when is the word "gay" inappropriate? I would think you would have learned from your recent "glitch"! I removed "gay" from my bio, even though it's important. I hope you will look into this discriminatory policy. Also, only two of my books (I have ten in print) show up and when I tried to add the others, it said they were already added...but they didn't show. Curiously, the only two books that showed up are "straight" titles.
Rick R. Reed (the writer UNZIPPED magazine called "the Stephen King of gay horror")

UPDATE: Amazon has since resolved the "glitch" and, as of yesterday afternoon, I was able to add the word "gay" in my author profile. Customer Service sent me a response to my query, which I am pasting below. It was interesting to see how fast they corrected this. But I still wonder how the word "gay" got flagged as "inappropriate" in the first place.

Thank you for contacting Amazon Author Central.

We appreciate your feedback on the beta version of Author Central. We have fixed the issue and you can now upload all the content you want.

With respect to the books you tried to add, the changes will be reflected on Author Central within 3 days and on your Author Page within 7 days.

If you have further questions don't hesitate to contact us again.

Best regards,


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Talk About Being Scared Sh%@less!

Hey, I'm a big fan of Japanese horror, and especially of THE RING trilogy by Koji Suzuki. The movies, both Japanese and American versions, were pretty cool, but you really must experience the books to get the full effect of Suzuki's horror genius. He's been called the "Stephen King of Japan." Hmmm...

Anyway, I just about crapped in my pants when I saw the brilliant idea Suzuki and his publisher have just come up with for his latest novel, The Drop. The book is printed on a roll of toilet paper to expedite bathroom reading, to come in handy at particularly gruesome moments, and to complement the story, which is set in a public restroom.

I searched in vain for a copy of The Drop (which retails in Japan for around $2.20) because, man, I was ready to buy. But it appears American retailers have yet to embrace this brilliant concept.

But I won't give up. I have long held that people who read while on the toilet are crass and disrespectful, but The Drop just might change my mind.

From Yahoo News:
"TOKYO – In a country where ghosts are traditionally believed to hide in the loo, a Japanese company is advertising a new literary experience — a horror story printed on toilet paper.

Each roll carries several copies of a new nine-chapter novella written by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese author of the horror story “Ring,” which has been made into movies in both Japan and Hollywood.

“Drop,” set in a public restroom, takes up about three feet (90 centimeters) of a roll and can be read in just a few minutes, according to the manufacturer, Hayashi Paper.

The company promotes the toilet paper, which will sell for 210 yen ($2.20) a roll, as “a horror experience in the toilet.”

Toilets in Japan were traditionally tucked away in a dark corner of the house due to religious beliefs. Parents would tease children that a hairy hand might pull them down into the dark pool below."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

10 Silly Questions with Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk

Anyone who writes a short story entitled, "My Father's Semen" (due out in next month as part of the anthology, Cruising for Bad Boys), is bound to be up to the task of responding to my silly questions with some memorable silly answers, right? Let's see how Mick Dementiuk copes with the following questions:

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

Joseph Stalin, I'd be scared shitless to eat.

2. Who do you think you are?

I've been laughed at many times and asked just that as I'd go off knowing that I was misunderstood once again.

3. What’s your problem?

Inflated ego; you have to have that if you write of so many characters and making each one true and alive.

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

Hah! And what do I get for it? A shrug and a handshake? Fat chance!

5. Where you at?

Belford, NJ, near NYC.

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

I don't have to choose it, it chose me decades ago. I'm a victim of my own vices.

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?

Kellogg's with fruit, I love it yum yummmm.

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

Harvey Fierstein though I feel I look like Brad Pitt hahaha!

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

Your ass you have to wipe while a hole in the ground can be left as is.

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

My new novel Holy Communion. It was actually the first book I wrote, back in 1989. It's taken 20 years to see it published, whew! For my time off in 1989 I went to Berlin where the Wall had just fallen. First historical event I had witnessed and looks like it was the last one I will see.

BONUS! Mick will give away a FREE, signed copy of his novel Holy Communion to one lucky person. To win, all you need to do is:

1. Become a follower of this blog (see link at right)
2. Leave a comment, preferably saying something in response to one of Mick's deeply silly answers.

Mykola Dementiuk was born in 1949 of Ukrainian parents in a West German DP camp, immigrating to America when he was two. After Catholic grade school and public high school in New York City, he graduated from Columbia University in 1984.

A writer with varied employment, from gyro seller at Lollapalooza to roustabout at the Big Apple Circus, Mykola helped create the magic of the Cirque du Soleil performances of “Alegria” in Santa Monica, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, and New York with his electrical work. After suffering a massive debilitating stroke in 1997, Mykola eventually returned to writing, using one finger to execute the fantasies and psycho-sexual stories of his mind.

His books include Times Queer, Vienna Dolorosa, and Holy Communion. His novel, Dee Dee Day, about an elderly transvestite with a young man will be out next year. Read more about Mick at his website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

10 Silly Questions with Elle Parker

This week, we continue our trek into silliness with Elle Parker, author of erotic mysteries and romances. She sat down with me over a cheeseburger at Seattle's Dick's restaurant (I loves me some Dicks!) and graciously answered the following:

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
We’d eat crab legs and lobster. Fine wine. Maybe something gooey and chocolatey for dessert. Some kind of fourteen course extravaganza that would take hours and hours to eat, with breaks for various kinds of liquors and a palate cleansing cheese. Because, if I’m going to get to have a meal with the famous person of my choice, I want it to last.

2. Who do you think you are?
I think I am a beer drinkin’, smut writin’, early onset wizened crone, with a penchant for humor, vice, and colorful language. Give me a running start, and I sometimes achieve full goddesshood.

3. What’s your problem?
Too many things I want to do, and never enough time to do them in. What I really need is to be disgustingly wealthy so I could hire a cook and a housekeeper. I die a little inside every time I hear someone say they wouldn’t want to retire because they don’t know how they’d keep themselves busy. (Hint: Do MY job! I know how to entertain myself)

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

5. Where you at?
The brink of middle-age and the very best part of my life, I just know it. My kids are teens, and will be out of the house in a few years, I’m well set at work and I have a spouse I love to be with. I have more confidence than I have ever had before and the freedom to enjoy it.

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
I would choose to be a lush. I already know I’m good at it, and drinking is such a versatile and interesting vice. It can be social and festive, or very intimate, or even snobbishly highbrow…and yet, you’re not out of place in alleys and gutters, either. And there’s so much to choose from! You can spend your weekends swilling beer, then tart it up on weeknights and special occasions with fancy wines and mixed cocktails. Spending a week on the beach? Boat drinks! Fruity AND refreshing.

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
Frosted Mini-Wheats. Sweet, yummy, fairly healthy. What more could you ask? (I used to really like this cereal called “Dinersaurs” that was like Fruity Pebbles, but dino shaped. It didn’t last long as I recall.)

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
Kind of a cross between Roseanne Barr and an Ent. (RR: I don't know what an Ent is...anyone help me out here?)

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?
On a good day? Oh hell yes. My ass is the cute one, runnin’ around. On a bad day, maybe not so much.

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
This sounds like a trick question. In fact, I have a feeling there’s really no way to answer this that’s not going to get me into trouble somehow, so I’ll go with the most advantageous interpretation: I have a new novel! LIKE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS. This is an M/M erotic romance/mystery featuring Florida private eye, Dino Martini, and his best friend and mechanic, Seth Donnelly. Read about it here.

RR: and doughnuts.

Elle Parker writes erotic romances with mystery and humor, and likes her heroes down to earth. She can be found in the wilds of Wisconsin, camping or brewing beer when she isn’t working on her latest novel. Visit her online.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hardest Part of Writing

I can tell you the hardest part of writing in two words: getting started. Whether it's an initial getting started as in the beginning of a novel or story, or the daily getting started of beginning to toil on a current work in progress, this is the hardest part. Actually getting started on a new project is actually easier for me, and less daunting, than starting work on something that I've been writing for a while.

Take this morning, for example. I am more than 80,000 words into my latest book. Yesterday, I wrote four pages of notes about the remainder of the novel, mapping out details of what will happen and how we will arrive at the ending and, I hope, closure. I am all set to go. And I do not have the bar set high: 1,000 words is all I ask of myself.

Yet here I sit, writing a blog. Did you notice I am NOT writing a novel? Yet here I sit, updating Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, answering e-mails, playing solitaire (just ONE game!), taking care of loading the dishwasher, throwing recyclables into the bin outside, walking the Boston Terrier, marinating chicken for tonight's dinner, taking a picture of myself to accompany this blog (see above). Should I wash my hair? Blow my nose? Sometimes, I think I'd do just about anything to avoid the kind of writing I profess to love the most.

Why is that? I wonder. Is it performance anxiety? Good Lord, I think I wrote my first story when I was all of six years old. I have written innumerable short stories, poems, essays, plays, novels...some published, some not, some good, some "what was I thinking?" bad. The point is: could performance anxiety be what's causing me to drag my heels? It shouldn't be, but there it is. One never knows the precise time or date when the magic well will run dry.

Or is it because I fear the slipping under that accompanies writing fiction? See, I do go into a kind of "state" when I write (I met a professional hypnotist once who told me that creative people actually may self-hypnotize when they're working, and this made a lot of sense to me). And maybe I'm afraid that slipping under will further reduce my already tenuous hold on reality. Perhaps one day I will disappear into my imaginary world, never to return. And if you know some of the things I write, that prospect is downright terrifying.

Or is it just because I am lazy? Maybe avoiding work, rather than working, is what I do best?

Who knows? I only wrote this to avoid working on my current novel a few minutes more and now I am really out of things to say on the topic. So, now the manuscript looms before me and I am about to plunge in.

Oh, wait, I see by the tab above I have seven new e-mails in my Gmail. I better check those first. Then I'll get started. I promise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

10 Silly Questions with Victor J. Banis

Today, I start a new series on the blog, Ten Silly Questions. I posed ten silly questions to authors you should know in the firm belief that the answers to these questions would be more illuminating than the more serious ones we usually see, like "tell me about your process" "what inspires you?" "who influenced you?". They may be silly, but each week you'll learn a lot about a different author and, hopefully, be inspired to read more of his or her work.

This week, we have gay icon Victor J. Banis. I am letting Victor run roughshod over my careful interview format. But, as I always say, age before beauty...

Here's how Victor responded. Be sure to check out his bio at the conclusion of our very silly--and very revealing--interview.

1. If you could invite any famous person DANIEL CRAIG, dead or alive, I'M PRETTY SURE HE'S ALIVE for dinner, what would you eat? DANIEL CRAIG
3. What’s your problem? HE'LL NEVER RECOVER
7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal? VODKA
8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble? BROOM HILDA - BUT ON ONE OF HER GOOD DAYS
9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference? INTERESTING QUESTION - I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS OF BOTH ON MY DESK AND I STUDY THEM PERIODICALLY SO IF THIS ISSUE EVER COMES UP I WILL BE PREPARED.

Writing instructor, lecturer and early rabble rouser for gay rights, civil rights and women's rights, Victor J. Banis is the critically acclaimed author ("The master's touch in storytelling" Publishers Weekly) of more than 160 published books and numerous shorter pieces in a career spanning nearly a half century. Native of Ohio and longtime Californian, he lives and writes now in West Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why I Yawned Through the New STAR TREK Movie

I admit it. Unlike the fawning hordes who are praising this new version of Star Trek, I was bored and couldn't wait for it to be over. I was the only one in our group of six who felt this way when seeing it at a matinee on Sunday.

Why, Ricky, why? Can't you appreciate awesome special effects? Much sexier leads? A somewhat inspired prequel? Um, yes, I can appreciate those things. I'm not dead.

So I thought about why I wasn't thrilled with Star Trek and why, throughout the movie, I was thinking, "Beam me up, Scotty."

But see, I was similarly nonplussed by such flicks as the Harry Potter movies...and The Lord of the Rings movies...and well, just about anything set completely in some fantastical/future/space environment. Maybe it's because I live so much in my imagination that when I get out for some escapist entertainment, I want there to be real people and real places in it. That's what interests me. When the whole world is made up, I just can't find a point of entry and simply can't get into it (and all you dirty minds can have fun with the double entendre of that last sentence). If you want me to be interested in science fiction and/or fantasy, you have to put some real people in it and real I can boldly go with them to new places (like in some of Neil Gaiman's stuff, or in sci-fi movies where Earth is under siege).

So while I'm not saying the new Star Trek is bad (for that, go here), I'm just saying it wasn't for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Release and What the Heck does "NEG UB2" Mean?

So yes, I was online, on one of those hook-up sites. And lest you think I was on there cruising, get your mind out of the gutter. I don’t really know if I’m ready to admit why I was on there, either to myself or to you, but let’s just call it a little social experiment.

One thing that will let you know I wasn’t online for naughty purposes was the dispassion I felt as paged through the site with its come-ons, its cries for help, its attempts at wit, and its leave-nothing-to-the-imagination photographs (or pics, I guess you would say…I really must get with the times one of these days!). Like the hopeful in A Chorus Line, I felt nothing. But this allowed me to view the site somewhat objectively and what stuck out to me and what really caught my eye—over and over again—was a little shorthand that many guys had chosen to include in their ads. This shorthand made this newly diagnosed HIV positive man feel excluded, hurt, and alone.

The term? NEG UB2.

So short, so to-the-point. So cutting. So cruel. It’s equally as bad as a few other key phrases designed to keep the “unworthy” at bay, phrases like “No fats” or “No fems”. But it’s NEG UB2 that really got to me.

Do the people who put that in their “what I’m looking for” realize how casually hurtful that phrase can be? Do they stop for a moment to consider that someone—or even many someones—out there reading this hateful little phrase may be newly diagnosed and struggling? Or maybe they’re not new to HIV or AIDS itself and came to this online community looking for a little love, a little companionship, and maybe a feeling of being included? Do they stop to think how very STUPID the phrase is? Not just in its cruelty, but also in the fact that if they think it’s some kind of magic phrase to screen out all potential suitors who are HIV positive, they’re using something that’s probably as effective as a condom full of holes? Just saying you’re negative and asking someone else to be the same way does not make it so.

Trust me, I know.

I also know that maybe, in their misguided, unthinking way, these guys are just looking to protect themselves from contracting a disease that may seriously impact the rest of their lives. Even though my doctor tells me that an HIV diagnosis no longer has to be viewed as a death sentence, it still is a life-changing illness, albeit one that’s not quite as life-threatening as it once was. If you don’t have it, you don’t want to get it.

Trust me, I know.

But even if you put that phrase in your profile as a means of self-protection, consider what you’re doing and how it might affect someone else online. Someone, like me, who already feels singled out and, in his worst moments, like damaged goods that no one will ever want again. That phrase makes my lowest moments plunge lower.

Whatever your intentions, ignorant, self-preservative, or just plain callous, consider this: you can make the same message without making someone feel so bad. By simply stating what you believe is your own status—healthy negative and would like to stay that way—is a gentler way of getting across the point: “I’d rather not get involved with someone who is HIV+ because of the risk.” And it’s certainly kinder than saying NEG UB2.

Or maybe—and here’s a radical notion—maybe you should just do away with phrases like NEG UB2 or a gentler variation and say nothing at all. Take your chances. Make your connections based on things other than someone’s medical history. There are ways to protect yourself. There are couples out there who are one half poz, one half neg…and they make it work.

And besides, if you’re looking for sex online, isn’t it wise to simply assume everyone is POZ? And then you can really protect yourself…rationally and thoughtfully.

The above excerpt is from main character, Ethan Schwartz's, blog, OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD OF POZ, which figures prominently in NEG UB2. I happen to agree with him.

What do you think?

Get your own copy of NEG UB2 here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coming May 10! Excited...UB2

I'm very excited to once again step away from the darkness of horror and suspense into the light of happily-ever-after romantic comedy with my May 10 release, the novella, NEG UB2.

To whet your appetite, here's a little taste of what the new book is about:

The sequel to the bestselling VGL Male Seeks Same!

Poor Ethan Schwartz. He’s just had the most shocking news a gay man can get: he’s been diagnosed HIV positive. Up until today, he thought his life was on a perfect course: he had a job he loved and something else he thought he’d never have: a new man, one whom Ethan thought of as “the one.” The one who would complete him, who would take his life from a lonely existence to a place filled with laughter, hot sex, and romance.

But along with the fateful diagnosis comes another shock: who is this new love? Had Ethan ever really known him? And did he infect him? As Ethan says, his love history had been more of a haiku than an epic and Brian, his new love, seems to the likely culprit is his newfound diagnosis.

The course of true love never runs smoothly, right? And for Ethan and Brian, their new love, once so bright and shining, now appears tinged with darkness and deceit. Can they face this hurdle together with honesty and forgiveness? Or will this revelation tear them apart?

Ethan turns to creating a blog, Off to See the Wizard of Poz to help him deal with his diagnosis and love troubles. And finds there just may be more hope and support in the world than he once believed. And one of his blog readers just might have the key to Ethan’s happily ever after.

And here's what HIV+ writer, activist, and educator Shawn Decker has to say about NEG UB2:

“There’s no protection from Reed’s quick wit and and ability to craft a winning and thoroughly enthralling love story.”

And here's a little sample:

It’s only been a couple of days since my doctor broke the news and told me I was HIV positive. After the initial shock wore off, I wanted to jump up and point an accusing finger at the Doc, shouting, “Hey buddy, you got the wrong guy!”

I couldn’t be HIV positive. Not me. Not a gay man whose sexual history read more like a haiku than an epic.

Not me. Not a gay guy in his forties, pathetically involved in his first real love affair. Not me. This love affair that I talk about had seemed like more than “an affair.” No, this relationship had more the ring of future on it.

I thought I had found my soul mate.

I thought we were in a monogamous relationship.

It’s tough enough getting the news that you’re poz. Tougher still to suddenly realize that this news points a very accusing finger at the man you thought you might wind up spending the rest of your life with.

He doesn’t know what I know. Not yet. And maybe he doesn’t even know he’s infected. I’ve thought through the scenarios and he could still be in that “window period” you’ve heard tell about. That still doesn’t make me feel any better.

Why? Because he either knowingly infected me or unwittingly did so, with the very likely possibility that he was fucking other guys behind my back.

Neither of these possibilities is pretty to contemplate.

I can’t talk to him right now. I can’t trust myself not to A) break down into a snotty-nosed, sobbing mess or B) kill him.

Neither of those would solve much. So, for now, I keep my own counsel. It’s just you and me. Are you listening?

Before I decide what I will do about him, I have to take care of me first. And that means drawing this first blog to a close, and heading out to pay a visit to my friendly neighborhood pharmacist. He’s got a gift bag for me: two expensive drugs called Viramune and Truvada.

Yes, folks, the guy who never smoked, never did drugs, and whose throat is still only on an acquaintance basis with hooch is about to become a habitual drug user.

God save us all.

I hope you'll check out NEG UB2 when it debuts next weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

5-star Amazon Review of BASHED

Woke up this morning to this Amazon review of BASHED and my head, like the Grinch's heart, has swollen to three times its normal size. I don't know if I will be able to pull a shirt over it today. I don't know if I'm worthy of such effusive praise, but was so tickled I just had to share it with you guys:

Abashed by Bashed, April 30, 2009
By Jeffrey Erno (Oxford, MI USA) - See all my reviews

I treated myself to Rick Reed this weekend, and truly I was not disappointed. In all honesty his book Bashed was one of the best-written stories that I've ever seen within this genre, and it is also perhaps one of the best stories I've read in my lifetime. Certainly I'm not qualified to offer a critique of his work, but due to the fact that I have only positive feedback to offer, I will go ahead and do it anyway.

Reed possess an expansive vocabulary and uses it expertly. His sentence structure is varied and flows like a river, carrying the reader effortlessly through the pages. In spite of his advanced intellect, his writing does not convey an air of condescension and pretentiousness as does that of many prolific authors. In other words, I do not get the sense that he's merely trying to impress people by using big words. His inclusion of minute, seemingly insignificant detail within his descriptions paints very graphic mental images that connect the reader to the setting and to his characters. Each character is fully fleshed out and is presented realistically in a manner that helps the reader develop an intimacy with them, regardless if they are the protagonist or the nemesis.

Can you tell I am in awe of his talent?

As for the story itself, what can I say? WOW! I was blown away. It is timely and poignant. It is deep. It is interesting and captivating and seductive. It is fresh and original. It is clever. (No, I'm not just trying to make use of every adjective I know--they're all true!) The story drew me into itself. The opening chapter snagged me and then once I was hooked it just kept reeling me in. I bought it. I believed it. I felt it.

The most deeply moving scene within the story involves the confession of one of the gay-bashing attackers. I gasped and sobbed as I forced myself to continue reading through my tears. It truly surprised me that I felt as much sympathy for the assailant as I did. This is due to how craftily Reed delved into the psyche of each character,be they good or bad.

And of course I loved the relationship of the central characters Donald and Mark. This relationship was the foundation of the story. It WAS the story. Oh don't we all long for such a relationship that transcends the limitations of life and death? How utterly beautiful.

Well, what do I know? I'm just a reader, and I know an author such as Reed surely receives an enormous amount of feedback. Take mine for what it's worth--not much. But I had to share what an impact his story had upon my soul. It was magnificent, to say the least.

Thank you Mr. Reed for sharing your talent. You're amazing.