Month: May 2021

The Oeuvre—As It Stands

Here’s a rundown of my published works so far:

Honeymoon Phase. Supernatural romantic comedy about two romantic burnouts who agree to one-month love affair, figuring a built-in break-up date will make the inevitable parting less painful. But they discover there is already a connection between them.

This is more adult-oriented fare than what I’ll be doing as I go forward. It started as a film script I worked on while attending Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting Colony. I entered it into the Nicholl Fellowship script contest (run by the Oscars). It didn’t advance, but it got the attention of someone running the contest, because I received a phone call from a Hollywood producer affiliated with the former president of MGM. They agreed to look at the script. That was the last I heard from them. So it goes.

The Vessel. The sheriff of a desolate Nebraska county battles a cult that worships a fallen angel and is working to open a dimensional portal to bring the fallen one to our reality so it can bring about an apocalypse.

Another novel that started as a script and lands in R-rated territory. I had a script optioned some years ago, and the director attached to that project became a good friend of mine. When our original film didn’t pan out, we decided to collaborate on a horror film. This was the story I offered. Sadly, he passed away from leukemia before the film could become a reality.

I took a page from William Peter Blatty and tried to show a spiritual battle as the gutter brawl it really is. Had some fun with extremes. I have an idea for two more books to make it a trilogy. We’ll see.

October Nights series. These are slim volumes of short stories that I (try to) put out every Halloween. Horror, sci-fi, fantasy, nostalgia, and a dash of sentimentalism. Weird Tales. Outer Limits. Twilight Zone. That kind of stuff.

October Nights. My first collection leads off with “The Cradle,” a novella about a group of women who wake up in a laboratory with no memory of who they are or how they got there. It’s obvious they’re part of an experiment.

October Nights 2. This one went to other historical settings, and leaned more toward aliens and fantasy. You might enjoy “Silver Hollow,” a story that came about when I got to wondering what it would be like if John Wayne encountered something really weird.

October Nights 3. In this collection, the story “Defenders of Earth,” came about after looking at spider webs across my back yard in the summertime and thought about how funny it would be if spiders were Earth’s only defense against alien invasion.

Seventhrone. No link, because it doesn’t exist yet. This is the work in progress. A work of fantasy situated somewhere in the nexus of John Carter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. I’ll have more to say about this as we go along.

There’s enough here to keep you busy while I get the new works completed. Dive in and get caught up. As Stephen King says, “there are always more tales.”

 

Print vs. E-Reader

Since books and reading are going to be the main focus here, let’s lead off talking about how I read.

I love my Kindle. Print books are the obvious first love. I don’t lean toward one or the other as a whole. However, I’ve developed a curious habit in the years since the Kindle became a regular part of my reading experience. Print copies and e-readers each have a special job to do.

The Kindle is for traveling and on-the-go reading. I have nearly 4,000 books at hand. It’s light and easy to hold. I’ve upgraded to the 10″ model, so it’s a hardcover-sized screen. It’s completely customizable—font, font size, line spacing, margins, brightness. Perfectly suited to my eyes. I read faster without sacrificing comprehension. Reading in the dark is an option if Mrs. Christensen is trying to sleep. The books are cheaper.

Print books are for classics and reading on the deck with a Heineken. Since the Kindle became a habit, my manner of selecting print books has changed. I never used to discriminate, but now, I prefer a good used copy. Used enough to look used, but not in crappy condition. Some creases, fading, and scuffs are not only forgivable, but necessary. The cover has to be just so, with the perfect art. The print and brightness of the paper have to be just so. When all of these variables converge, I’ve found the perfect edition. Cult fiction, classics, and certain non-fiction are my preferred print reads.

Older books should be read in print. Newer books are fine in digital editions. I’ve noticed a similar habit with music. I enjoy listening to LPs once in a while, but it’s odd to me to buy LPs of newer releases. I prefer LPs that were LPs when the only listening option was LPs–Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, The Beatles, etc. Most titles work best when matched to the technology of its era.

If I’m caught somewhere without either, I’ll use the Kindle app on my phone. Certain people—you know the type—like to complain about people and their screens. But you never know, and it’s nobody’s business anyway. Once in a doctor’s waiting room, a curmudgeon grumbled about everyone being on their phones. “I’m reading Hawthorne,” I told him. So there.

If you’re wondering about the third option, I don’t do audiobooks. Not yet. My mind wanders when someone reads to me. That, and it’s just too damn slow to listen to someone. I know people who do a lot of reading that way, but when it’s time to wear headphones, I’m listening to music.

Perhaps it’s not print vs e-reader so much as right tool for the right job.

Anyway, it’s as good a time as any to love reading. If you want to add me to your reading list, head on over to my books page, and you can get whichever format suits your fancy.

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