Remaking a Classic

I’m probably the only person who has never read any Stephen King novel and has never seen one of the adaptations from his books all the way through. I’ve seen bits and pieces, but I’ve never sat down and watched from start to finish.

Now It is happening again. Not having seen the original movie or read the book I’ve gathered that there’s a clown terrorizing kids. I think. I’m not sure why or how or what exactly is going on. I do know it’s horror. Right?

I recently watched the trailer for the new movie. To me it looks like any other horror story that involves a single person or thing. Like Chucky. I know he was a killer and usually those single characters are, but I have no idea if this clown is too. I’d assume so. Otherwise what is there to be scared of?

Have I been missing out on It? The book was published thirty years ago. The movie came out shortly thereafter. I know nothing about either. 

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2016 Reading Challenge: The Strain

Guys, I’ve held off with my reading challenge update because it’s going to come down to the wire! I know no one really cares if I complete it or not, but I came up with it. I want to finish! So I won’t tell you how close I am just yet.

My latest read was The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story is eerily similar to that of I Am Legend. A virus tears across NYC and causes people to morph into vampires. Only in this story they are all controlled and connected to one another via The Master. A vampire hundreds of years old who can move from one host body to another whenever the need arises. An old pawnbroker, two epidemiologists, an exterminator, and a not-so-hardened criminal lead the fight against the vampire outbreak. But their most difficult opponent may very well be a wealthy businessman who has assisted The Master in exchange for eternal life.

First, I’m a big fan of the TV show based on this trilogy of books. So I did not go into this blind like I imagine readers before me did. But I still had some problems with it. The difference between this book and the other two vampire novels I’ve read (Dracula and I Am Legend) is that it goes from unbelievable to acceptance very quickly. The basis of the spread of the virus is a plane that arrives in NYC full of dead people. All but four people on board appear dead, except they’ve only been turned and not actually killed for good. It was only a night or two after this that the main characters of the story accepted that vampires were overrunning the city.

While reading this book I never felt invested in any of the characters. Which is saying something because it took me nearly 11 hours to finish! I didn’t like how chapters jumped from one perspective to another without any warning. I usually don’t mind if it’s done in different chapters rather than the same one. There was at least one 75 page chapter that I found ridiculous. 75 pages!

You’re reading this thinking I hated the book. I didn’t. I enjoyed it. The vampires are different from just about any I’ve ever imagined, which I already knew from the TV show. They had to be my favorite part of the book. Their brutality and gruesomeness is awesome, but so is the manner in which they’re killed. You have this old guy who walks around with a cane that isn’t really a cane. It’s a sword he uses to decapitate the vampires. He has an armory of weapons and devices he’s put together over the years as he waited for the war to begin.

I applaud the authors for their modern take on the vampire, but it did feel more like a copy than an original. The Count is still the greatest evil I’ve ever read in any book and Robert Neville fought the good fight ON HIS OWN. Those two books are simply on a different level from this one. This book wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great. Maybe the other two books in the trilogy will be improvements. Overall I’d rate it about a 3.8 or 3.9 out of 5.

This book satisfied the requirement to read a book that’s your favorite color of my 2016 reading challenge.

What’s your favorite vampire novel!?

2016 Reading Challenge Book #6: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

*Contains spoilers*

I also read this book weeks ago and failed to write a post or make a video about it.

I’m sure you know the basic premise of the story by now. The book is decades old. There’s an outbreak of a virus that turns people into what appear to be vampires. Dr. Robert Neville essentially makes it his life’s work to find a cure.

First, the book is NOT like the movie starring Will Smith. The stories are actually quite different and should be evaluated on their own individual merits.

The movie has a relatively happy ending. Dr. Neville sacrifices himself for the cure he finally finds. The book does not. There is no cure. Dr. Neville is taken from his home after he refuses to leave everything behind when a mysterious woman warns him of what’s to come. Then it becomes apparent that he’s now become an outsider to this new group of people. He’s different because he’s not infected. And he must be killed.

The book is exceptional. There’s no other way to say it. And it’s short, so you don’t have dozens of pages of filler. The writing is superb and Dr. Neville is a character you can easily relate to. Each night the loneliness he feels is nearly unbearable.

When I finished the book I immediately thought of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He gave birth to the modern vampire. And his classic is nothing short of a masterpiece. But I Am Legend is nearly as brilliant.

I haven’t read too many vampire stories, but I imagine the two I’ve mentioned today are many steps above just about everything else out there.

Have you read either of these classic vampire tales?

This book satisfied the requirement from my reading challenge to read a book with a movie tie-in cover.

Books Aren’t Scary

Books aren’t scary. Fact. I know some of the top authors today are horror writers. But that doesn’t mean the work is actually scary.

Watching a movie is rarely a frightening experience. Which means reading a book is less so, in my opinion. You’re lying in bed or you’re sitting on the couch reading. What’s scary about that? I’ve cried reading books. And I’ve been on the edge of my seat. But I’ve never been frightened. That’s just weird. It’s a book. There’s no one lurking in your closet. Unless there is, then oh well.

I think horror stories could easily be described as something besides scary. But what do I know? Have you ever been frightened while reading a book?

Stay Away Genres

Don’t confuse this with me asking you to tell me which genres you think are “worse” than others. Because I don’t believe that to be the case with any two genres. Think of this as genres that you simply don’t read.

I have many to choose from. Literary fiction. Sci-fi. Fantasy. YA. Horror. And probably a bunch I can’t think of. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of these. I just don’t have any interest in reading them. I mean, I’ve read from all of those at least once. And I’m sure I’ve read good books in each one, but my reading heart and soul will likely always lie in crime fiction. There are so many crime shows on TV that do absolutely no justice to the genre. They always have the right answer. They catch on to things that no one else would. They solve EVERY case. One of my favorite things about crime fiction is that it’s much more realistic even though it is also fiction. The detectives are constantly torn about what to do. They don’t solve every case. They don’t have every answer.

Crime shows are always going to be on the air. And I’m sure they make their networks plenty of money. But crime fiction is simply better, and I don’t think any other genre is going to be taking my top spot any time soon. Probably not ever.

Do you have any genres that you just have no interest in reading?


On this day in 2014 I published Everyone has That one Novel in Them…Or do They?.

 

Suggested Reading for the Week of Halloween

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Photo Credit

I’m sure you’re well aware of the fact that Halloween is this week. Well what better time to read a horror story or something that might keep you awake at night than this week, right? But no, I’m not going to be doing the suggesting here…you are! Y’all know I never recommend books or take recommendations because my taste in reading is my taste and yours is yours. But I’m making an exception. I don’t read horror stories or anything remotely scary at all. I’ve just never really been interested, so I have no idea where to even begin. But I’m hoping some of you have a better idea than I do, and you can pass along your knowledge.

So tell me, what are some books that are sure to get me in the Halloween spirit?

Officially Entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

Photo Credit: goodereader.com

I knew quite some time ago that I wanted to enter my book, Divided Within, into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. As I’ve stated in at least one previous post, this is easily the most lucrative writing contest there is. And a great opportunity for new writers. Most of the other major writing contests strictly prohibit previously self published books, but this one has no such limitation. Now, a little about the contest.

The Contest

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is a free to enter annual writing contest that allows for unpublished and self published entries. Entries must fall within one of the five genre categories which are: General Fiction, Mystery/ Thriller, Science Fiction/ Fantasy/ Horror, Romance, and Young Adult. Entries must also fall within the word count limits of 50,000-125,000. And the contest is judged from now until the winners are announced in July. The contest is limited to 10,000 entries, which no other contest would even come close to reaching. For instance, I’ve been told by an author who won the Best Private Eye Novel competition that is sponsored by Minotaur Books and Private Eye Writers of America several years ago that in a recent contest there were only a couple hundred entries. And this contest regularly goes years without awarding a winner.

Expectations

In anticipation of submitting my entry I read my book all the way through for a fourth time. I had many things I went back in and corrected. There were no major rewrites or chapters eliminated but there were plenty of individual words changed or taken out, and some small details altered as a result of what I’ve been told by some of my readers. With that being said, I don’t think I’m actually going to beat out 9,999 other writers to win the top prize, or even to be crowned the winner of my category. I’ve said over and over how much I love my book and the characters I created, but 9,999 other writers is a lot. I’d be happy making it to the second round of judging, in which the excerpts of 2,000 entries will be evaluated. Then it’s down to 500. Then it’s down to just 25. Then it’s down to the top five, who will all receive a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing, one of which will be awarded the $50,000 grand prize.

In about two weeks the top 400 from each category will be announced.

If you’d like to wish me luck, then feel free. If not, that’s okay too.