The best of – 2018

Like most people who write, I read a lot. I mean, a crazy amount. There’s rarely a moment in my day when I’m not reading something. I also listen to audio books, which means I “read” almost twice as much as I ever have before, driving, cooking, walking, shopping, getting ready for work and everything in between. These days I’ll read one book in the traditional way, while listening to a different book throughout the day. Depending on the book, I’ll switch back and forth between the two versions. Since the audio version can often feel like watching a movie or play, I’ve also been known to read the entire book then listen to the audio version. Taking in a story in two different ways always reveals something new. Since audio books can be crazy expensive, I borrow them from the library which helps satisfy my endless craving for more.

Bottom line is, my consumption has risen this year, which makes choosing the best more difficult. I’m going to list ten, but they are in no particular order. Continue reading

At least the books were good

2-at-least-books-2016As the year winds down and I look back on 2016, all I want to do is tell the entire year to go f&*k itself and the horse it rode in on. From the many great losses of artists like Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and a childhood favorite Patty Duke, to Brexit, the floods and other natural disasters, one horrific mass killing after another, wars that never seem to end, Aleppo, and the most divisive, disturbing and dysfunctional US election cycle of modern history, and it’s clear that 2016 sucked monkey butt.

If I search for the positives from the past year, about the only good thing I can lean on is that I was able to find good things to read. I think I may have read close to a hundred books this year, so picking only a couple as favorites is near impossible. Then again, calling something impossible only makes me want to try harder. Continue reading

An interview with R. R. Haywood – Author of The Undead

undead-day-oneWhen R. R. Haywood agreed to an interview for my blog, I did one of those crazy dances they say you’re supposed to do as if no one is watching.  The cats flew out of the room like cartoon replicas of themselves. I’d scared the crap out of them since dancing is not an everyday thing for me. And there might have been some fist pumping.

The point is, it’s rare to get Haywood to do one of these and I’m gob smacked (an expression I’m using since he is very British which you will see clearly in his responses) that he agreed to comply with my wishes.

So, here’s a guy, who, four years ago, without much writing experience at all, sat down and wrote The Undead Day One. Then he wrote another book and then another one, and on and on. A couple months ago, he released The Undead Day Twenty. Mind you, there are more than twenty books, some days were broken into two parts and there are a couple of not-to-be-missed standalone books in the series, as well as other books that aren’t part of the series, short stories, some mystery … point is, from the time he started four years ago, he’s written a boat load of words. Not only has he written book after book, he’s also built a massive audience in the UK and a growing U.S. audience. That’s because the work is brilliant. It truly is.

Now listen. And this is the important part. The Undead series is in the much maligned, much ignored zombie apocalypse genre, BUT IF YOU DON’T GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE AND TRY A ZOMBIE BOOK ONE OF THESE DAYS, YOU’LL BE MISSING OUT ON SOME AMAZING WRITING!

Yes. That was shouting.

The Undead books are some of the best in the genre, not just because of the charming Britishness of it, but because the characters are amazingly realized and the suspense and tension are sustained throughout. The best part is that these books are hilarious. There are horrible moments. Of course. It’s about brain eating zombies and people die and it can be heartbreakingly sad. But when this group of people get a minute to relax, they will have you laughing out loud.

I made the mistake of starting this series when I was home sick with pneumonia. When you laugh and you have pneumonia, you break into massive, painful coughing fits.

Don’t read The Undead when you have pneumonia.

I’ll stop blathering on now. Here’s the interview… Continue reading