Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

I'm in the process of reading Remember Me? for a second time. It's unusual for me to reread anything, especially light reads like this one. But the book was fun, so I recommended it to my book club. It will be the subject of our discussion at the November meeting. I'm rereading it with enough time to give some thought to what I want to say about it. I'm thinking of leading with the question "What event would be significant enough in your life to cause you to completely change your personality?" That should get the talk rolling.

Here's my review from the first time I read it:

This is the third Sophie Kinsella book I've read and the one I enjoyed the most. Kinsella creates strong female characters that seem to come off a bit flaky at first. But, as her books move along, the strengths and talents of these young women become evident. Remember Me? does not differ from that pattern.

Lexi Smart is out clubbing with her pals on a rainy night. When she tries to run to catch a cab, she slips and falls down a flight of stairs. She wakes up in a hospital thinking it is the following day, but soon learns that three years have gone by. The stairs are ancient history. This time it was a car accident that caused her to hurt her head.

Lexi has become a different person than she was on what still feels like the previous day. She needs to find out about her relationships with men, including the husband she doesn't remember. She also needs to discover what happened with her career and why her mother, sister, and friends all treat her differently than they had before. It is as if she's inhabited a stranger's body.

The book is a light read and quite funny at times. A few of the supporting characters are one dimensional, but all the mains ones are fully developed and believable. The plot catches the reader and at times it is a hard book to put down.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

God's Vacation by Michael Davis

Michael Davis is a retired special educator. His book, God's Vacation, has been accepted by All Things That Matter Press and is coming out soon. I enjoyed reading his blog - - and learned that he and I have a lot in common, especially regarding his concern for environmental causes. Here are some of his answers to the ATTMP interview questions.

Why should I read God’s Vacation?

Everyone should read God’s Vacation which will be available soon at All Things That Matter Press, because it will rock your boat and stimulate your mind and soul. Don’t forget to wear a seat belt; it’s a wild ride.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

God’s Vacation is my primal scream. It’s my message in a bottle to a world hell-bent on destroying itself. Although the message is hard hitting, it is also hopeful.

A lifetime of spiritual, philosophical, political and psychological awareness is contained in this action packed novel.

Do you listen to music while you write, or do you require total and utter silence?

It depends. If I’m writing a vividly emotional spiritual scene like when Gabrielle first realizes she is God, I don’t want music to clutter up my mind. On the other hand, if I’m describing a confrontation between insurgents and the government brownshirts in God’s Vacation, I’ll turn on Jimmy Hendrix’s Machine Gun or the Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man.

What do you like about writing?

I love creating my own world. It’s like having God-power, but really, I’m at the mercy of my muse and he’s the one creating God’s Vacation. Every time I think I’m in control John sets me straight.

What does your muse look like?

That’s a tricky question. If I describe how John looks somebody is going to call the men with the straightjacket to come get me. On the other hand people might want to know what he looks like.

John is a short and slender old man with thick orange plastic framed glasses, who wears a baseball cap and a 49ers jacket. He’s usually in my dreamscape, but he can show up anywhere. He never says much, but I know what he means.

That’s it for John.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a book titled, The Spiral Vortex. It’s about a man who has an extraordinary experience and unlocks the secret of the “tree of life.”

I also keep up a blog called God’s Vacation and write poetry whenever the muse moves me.

Mr. Davis can be reached by e-mail at, or you can check out his blog:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford is often called a comedy. There are humorous parts of the book, but it certainly is not funny throughout. And some of the humor might come from readers who do not respect the type of women portrayed in the book.

It was first published in 1851, so it gives a good feel for that time. It is the story of a handful of aging women who live in Cranford, England. Today Cranford is part of Greater London. Back then there was more separation.

Some of the women in the story have never married, some have lost their husbands, and one marries while the story progresses. This isn't important. Cranford is about the women, not the men. It is about their interest in class, in propriety, and in fashion. But mostly it is about their interest in each other. This is a book about friendship. I loved it for that.

When one of the women dies, her sister always remembers her and talks about her with respect and love. When that same sister loses her fortune, her friends secretly devise a method to provide her with money without embarrassing her. And her servant works out a way to offer her a place to live. It was a wonderful statement about humanity and what is most important in the nineteenth century as well as the twenty-first century.

I recommend this book for people who want a break from actions thrillers or stories about vampires and just want a chance to get to know some sweet people.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dave Hoing - coauthor of Hammon Falls

Dave Hoing wrote Hammon Falls in collaboration with his long time friend Roger Hileman. Their book, as with all good stories, is about strong characters and their relationships. Most of the story takes place during World War II. It is a novel inspired by a real life story of a sickly child born to an unmarried couple. This interview is a chance to learn a little more about Dave Hoing.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
My friend Roger Hileman (and later co-author on Hammon Falls) wrote a screenplay called Rainbow several years ago. I thought the story was interesting, but then went on to my own projects. A few years later when I read Louise Erdrich’s The Master Butchers Singing Club, I was reminded of Roger’s screenplay and realized what a cool novel it would make. So I contacted him and asked if I could write a novelized version of it. He responded with an enthusiastic yes, but asked if we could collaborate. So we did.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I’m a professional member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), and that’s the field in which I’ve published the majority of my short stories. However, I find myself moving away from speculative fiction and rarely write it anymore. My first love is literary and historical fiction, although mysteries are a guilty pleasure (which I don’t actually feel guilty about ).

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc.come from?Being born. Seriously, I’ve always loved books—so much so that not only have I worked in a university library for the past 32 years, but I collect antiquarian books in my spare time. (I’m trying to get at least one book from every year since the beginning of printing. At one point I had every year since 1577, and a number of nonconsecutive years older than that, including my pride and joy, a Latin book on oratory printed in 1474. Hard times forced me to sell the best part of my collection, but I still have every year since 1690, plus a few older.)

How long have you been writing?
The dinosaurs have died out since I started writing.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?
I’m primarily a short story writer, although I have greatly enjoyed writing our novel Hammon Falls. I also write music, but other than the occasional wedding song for friends, most of my compositions have been for my own amusement.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
It’s how we learn to know ourselves, “ourselves” being the entire community of humanity.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
I’m a spiritual person only in an intellectual sense. I’m fascinated by the study of all religions, philosophies, psychologies, and spiritual pursuits, but as for personal beliefs, I just haven’t found anything that seems even remotely plausible. But sometimes the search itself provides the meaning.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
Well, just first to finish the damn thing. I have a bad habit of starting novels but then losing interest. So simply putting that final period to Hammon Falls was a victory in itself. Finding a great publisher for it was a nice bonus. The most important goal, though, was to pay homage to Roger’s ancestors, whose lives inspired the characters and storylines in our novel.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Roger was the primary research guy on this. However, I used the names of my friends and student employees at the library for some of the minor characters. That was great fun for me and for them (and hey, they got a free, signed copy of the book out of the deal).

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
See previous answer—although working in a university library as I do, I did make many forays into our Archives for information about local history.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?
Free-form preciseness, I hope, or perhaps controlled anarchy. I write without an outline, having in mind only a beginning, ending, and theme when I start to write. In the first draft I let the characters indulge themselves and take over the writing for me (and I’m sure my fellow writers can relate to this), but then I go back and rein them in, making sure everything is consistent, from plot to setting to the actual prose itself, and every little detail in between. In other words, once my characters have had their fun, I put their lives into literary order. And I’m an obsessive reviser. Nothing is ever, ever, ever, good enough. (Ask Deb—she was very patient with me even as I made changes even after ATTMP accepted Hammon Falls.)

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The time it took—over a year, plus another year and a half of revising. But, unlike my short stories, where writer’s block is too frequently an unwelcome visitor, I never once bogged down with Hammon Falls.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Everything, especially working with Roger and learning his family history. I also came to know and like (most of) the characters, as if they were real people. Roger’s creation Aubrey is the kind of person I would love to know in real life, and my own character Lewis is quite appealing, too.

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.
Not really. Hammon Falls has a somewhat unusual structure, in that it doesn’t unfold in a linear, chronological way, but so far no one has had any trouble following it.

Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
One of the characters in the book is a middle-aged African American gentleman in 1912 Iowa (the character Lewis, mentioned two answers ago). He’s a secondary character, but he steals the show whenever he’s “on stage.”

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.
That it’s self-published. Man, I hate that! I don’t begrudge any writer who wants to go that route, but I will not pay to publish my work. Not ever.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?
Well, not subject or genre so much as setting. Go to either coast and say the word “Iowa.” Note what kind of amusing (read that: infuriating) stereotypes they give you.

What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?
My job is to tell a story. People can think/believe/know anything they want. I’m more interested in moving them emotionally than intellectually. In other words, I don’t want to try to make them know anything. I want make them feel. There are no difficult concepts in Hammon Falls, but if we teach readers anything, we hope it’s knowledge gained through an accumulation of small emotional scenes.

What inspires you?
I never know until it happens, but anything is fair game. I’ve even written two short stories solely around short Latin phrases I thought were cool. BTW, one of these, “By This Sign”—original title “Ad Te Omnis Caro Veniet” (unto thee all flesh shall come)—will be published in the upcoming ATTM anthology. The other, “Ne Cadant In Obscurum” (lest they fall into darkness) will be out anytime now in the British anthology PostScripts 22/23: The Company He Keeps.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
Serendipity and survival.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Oddly enough, it was two authors I can barely stand to read anymore. Like most young writers, I tried to emulate the big name authors. Hence, in my fantasy phase, one might have noticed a (badly done) Tolkienesque flavor to my writing, especially the dialogue. I also liked Vonnegut’s “bounce around” style in novels like Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five. As I matured, I tried to move away from stylistic imitation to perceptual imitation. Now, if I could just once, in some tiny way, capture just a fraction of Shakespeare’s insights into human nature, I would be ecstatic. So, after all these centuries, it’s back to the master for me. I haven’t come close yet (who has?), but it’s a worthy goal, eh? (Of course, I wouldn’t mind having J.K. Rowling’s bank account, either!)

What did you find most useful in learning to write?
Writing workshops.

What was least useful or most destructive?
Writing workshops.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Both. I write fiction part-time, but my real-life job involves writing training manuals and policies, etc. (And for this fiction writer, that’s like dying and going to hell!)

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
I’ve been a clerk in both grocery and convenience stores, a security guard—from which I got exactly one short story—and, several times, a fiction editor for various small magazines. Throughout it all, I’ve worked in the University of Northern Iowa Library, where my title is Library Associate. (And no, I’m not a librarian. Contrary to popular perception, not everyone who works in a library is a librarian. In fact, in academic libraries like mine, it’s fair to say that most are not.)

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
The old-school guy inside me would say, naturally, the library. But the Internet works, as long as the sources are reputable. There are also the county hall of records, museums, diaries and, perhaps best of all, conversations with older people who lived during that era. Those memories are priceless, and deserve to be preserved!

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Ebooks are the way or the future, but as an antiquarian book collector, I will never lose my love of the printed book. Conventional publishing is great, but difficult to achieve. POD has proved to be a very pleasant surprise to me.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Same as it’s always been, only in different venues.

What process did you go through to get your book published?
We spent better than a year looking for an agent, without luck. Happily, I came upon ATTMP, and it has been a wonderful experience.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Read it, and find out. ;)

How do you find or make time to write?
As the Nike ad says, Just do it. Lose the excuses for not writing, and write.

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
Both. As I explained before, intuition first, then logic. I start with a premise, know the ending, give the characters a lot of latitude in the middle, then revise, revise, revise! Did I mention revise? Free-wheeling is great and gives the piece a spontaneous, unexpected feel, but that’s not enough. If you have any hope of making it stand out, then revising is essential. If you do it right, you can make it controlled and spontaneous.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?This is a learning process, and I’m still on the low end of the curve. We’ve used newspaper articles, radio interviews, our website, and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc., to market. But we’re still learning the ropes. Hopefully we’ll get better at this. As for adding or detracting to my writing, honestly, marketing is a pain in the ass. But it has to be done—and if it has to be done, then it might as well be done right.

What is your role in the writing community?I write. I submit my work. I sometimes edit. I offer critiques if asked for.

What do you like to read in your free time?I’m interested in virtually everything except internal combustion engines, so I read about virtually everything except internal combustion engines.

What projects are you working on at the present?
Well, I just finished editing a book for Deb & Phil, and I’m about to begin an oral history project with a professor at the university where we both work. That will be fun.

What do your plans for future projects include?
I desperately want to write another novel, but I haven’t found the right subject yet. Perhaps a mystery set in early nineteenth-century America (because that is my weakest area of history, and a novel would force me to research it).

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Question: Where can I buy your book?

Answer: ATTMP website,,,,, and probably others. It’s out there. Avoid the rush and get your copy now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Interview of Ken Weene - author of Widow's Walk and Memoirs from the Asylum

Widow's Walk was one of the first books I read from All Things That Matter Press, other than my own. I felt it was a wonderful, thoughtful story that said a great deal about the role religion plays in people's lives. It made me pleased that I had chosen ATTMP as my publisher. Now I'm thrilled to be presenting an interview of the author, Ken Weene.


1) Why should I read your book?

Since your children or grandchildren will undoubtedly be reading Memoirs From the Asylum in school in years to come, don’t you want to be ahead of the curve? How can you pass on the chance to read a book that has repeatedly been called one of the best books of the year – and not just by the author and his relatives?

2) Are you a cat or a dog person?
Although we had many dogs when we were younger, I have never thought of myself as a dog person. My totem animal has always been the moose, but my friends and family usually refer to me as a friendly bear – except when around salmon, when I can get quite greedy.

3) Do you listen to music while you write, or do you require total and utter silence?

It truly varies. When I listen to music, I like classical, country-western, and some cross-cultural music – interestingly much of it from India and Pakistan. Sometimes I like to have the TV in the background; it’s the equivalent of white noise – totally meaningless.

4) How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
Memoirs From the Asylum is at one level about mental health, which has been my life’s work. At another level it is about fear, freedom and existential choice: that is some of the basic substance of my life. My previous novel, Widow’s Walk, is about faith and the conflict between religion and spirituality and between love and responsibility: again basic strata of my and most readers’ lives.

5) What do you think most characterizes your writing?
I am passionate about my characters. I want to understand them, to listen to them, and to recreate their voices with fidelity. Most of them I like, and I become quite upset when bad things happen to them. Of course there are others whom I dislike and wish had never come into the lovely worlds of my books.

6) What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I had a difficult time getting the denouement of Memoirs From the Asylum underway. I knew how the book ended, but I needed an event to make things change., a tipping point. Then a friend of mine, playwright Jon Tuttle, mentioned an event about which he wanted to write a play. A circus elephant had gone berserk and killed somebody. The town in which this happened tried and executed the elephant. The image of the berserk elephant was what I needed.

7) What projects are you working on at the present?
I have one book ready to go – written and first edit done. It is a conspiracy novel that takes place in New York just before 9/11. It is also a book about life goals.

Currently I’m writing a novel that is very different. It is primarily a simple story written in a poetic voice; however it is also partly a work of science fiction. At the bigger level that book is about sex, procreation, and the worth of life.

8) List the three questions you'd ask your favorite author over lunch.

I’d ask Kurt Vonnegut: What does writing mean to you? Do you care if people read your books? Who’s paying for lunch?

My answers if I were asked those questions:

I write to make people think and feel; therefore I need them to read what I have written. Let’s split the bill.

9) What's your most memorable (not necessarily your favorite) childhood memory?

Read Memoirs From the Asylum and you will find some of my childhood projected onto the narrator. His mother is modeled on mine. I would particularly direct the reader to the dance classes; they are right out of my childhood.

10) Here is a really weird, but fun one...what trash item did you see that inspired you to write a story. In one of my stories I found a whole character when I saw a manikin head on a dumpster.

Did you create this question just for me? Memoirs From the Asylum is about life in a dumpster. What is a psychiatric hospital, especially a state hospital, but a giant human trash heap? One goal of this novel is to get readers to see the flotsam and jetsam of society as human and meaningful instead of seeing them as some kind of subhuman creatures or even worse as caricatures.

You can learn more about me and my work at

I have trailers for both Widow’s Walk and for Memoirs From the Asylum.

The Memoirs trailer is:

The Widow’s Walk trailer is:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

This book and the movie based on it have been hyped a lot, so I had to see what all the talk was about. I felt the novel was well written and very intriguing in places.

There are two main plots in the book. The one, a quest to discover what happened to a woman who had disappeared forty years earlier, is wonderful, with twists that keep surprising and revealing strange facts about the woman's family. I was caught up in that story and couldn't put the book down at times.

The other, the battle between the journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the billionaire Hans-Erik Wennerström, was not as interesting. I thought this plot went on too long.

The book has both graphic sex and graphic violence. Most of the time those are one and the same in a way that is disturbing. But given the subject matter I felt the scenes were necessary.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the title character, Lisbeth Salander. She is an extremely intelligent woman with a photographic memory. But her antisocial behavior leads others to think of her as slow and to treat her poorly for that reason. Following her relationship with Mikael Blomkvist was fascinating.

I intend to read the other two books in the trilogy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Human Trial and Human Trial II - Timothy N. Stelly, Sr.

Timothy Stelly books are exciting predictions of what the world would be like in the aftermath of a thermal war. Daron Turner leads a small resistance fighting the intergalactic aliens who have attacked the Earth. Here's this week's interview and a gimpse of the man who gave us this adventure.


Why should I read your book?

TS: Because HUMAN TRIAL and its sequel, HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR are stories about people whom we all know, will root for and whom we can compare our sense of values to. They are a cross-section of America. The book asks the reader to ponder what they would do in a similar situation. While the book is of the sci-fi genre, it focus more on human behavior and group dynamics.

Are you a cat or a dog person?

TS: Cats. Outside of cartoons, or the movies The Uncanny and Sleepwalkers, when have you known felines to turn on their owners or maul someone?

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

TS: Actually, it chose me. My usual genre is social and political satire, and crime or family dramas. However, HUMAN TRIAL was inspired by a dream: An optical one and my desire to write a book about good v. evil and the group dynamics involved. The next two parts of the trilogy were inspired by T.C. Matthews who informed me that today’s better-known sci-fi works are trilogies. Also most of the people who read the initial draft were not sci-fi readers, but critiqued the manuscript anyway. Since then, I have banged out another sci-fi tome (A Junkie’s Paradise) and an anthology of Stephen King-esque stories (Strange Pictures.)

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

TS: I wanted to present two enemies: The earth’s assailants (and I kept them unseen as long as possible), and then the proverbial “enemy within,” portrayed as mankind’s tribal instinct and personal prejudices. I tried to juxtapose the two to let the reader determine in his mind what is the biggest threat to man’s survival. I also wanted to have an impact on how the reader looks at the things around him or her: and I get e-mails all the time from readers who state that every time it gets hot for any length of time, they think of HUMAN TRIAL.

Second, many of the people who read HT are reading the sequel, HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR, and have told me that the sequel is even better than its predecessor.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

TS: Brutal honesty interwoven with humor. My work allows the reader to think, because it raises the question, “What would I (the reader) do in this situation?”

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?

TS: That science fiction has to place the emphasis on “science.” Not true. I try to create an ever-so-slight exaggeration of reality or what is possible. From there I add the human variable and let them work out how the dilemma is overcome. Luke Rhinehart’s Long Voyage Home is an excellent example of this.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

TS: My parents shaped my future. They filled out home with books and all the other tools needed to be creative: Paper, pens, crayons, staplers, jigsaw and crossword puzzles, art paper, scissors, glue, scotch tape, a reel-to-reel tape deck, typewriters and even a mimeograph machine. I have ten siblings and we also collaborated on creative projects—even making our own board games.

I have relatives who have written scholarly tomes, a script fot the TV series Good Times, and others in my family who oil paint (portraits and landscapes), and who are excellent singers. When people visited us and we were all at hoime, it was like watching a talent show. And as Walter Brennan might say, “Dat’s not brag, brudda…that’s fact.”

I also had wonderful teachers who actually took an interest in my writing and intellectual development.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

TS: My literary influences are an eclectic lot: Rene Guy De Maupassant, Richard Wright, Donald Goines and Stephen King. The latter is big oin character development, which I think drives a story; Goines was not afraid to “tell it like it is,” nor was Wright, who wrote about many intriguing but flawed characters; and Maupassant’s short stories (The piece of String; the Cake; Old Toine, et al) showed us the “complex simplicity” of life.

King has definitely influenced the writing I’ve done over the past three years—from three sci-fi novels, a horror novel and an anthology of unusual short stories.,

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

TS: The printed book might not be dead yet, but it is comatose and has undergone an amputation. I like the print model is something you can keep on the shelf at home and literally pass down; whereas e-publishing has an impersonal quality. However, ebooks are the future, and the first hint of that truth was when the hyphen between e and book was eliminated.

As for self-publishing, I don’t really think that’s for me. I was elated to be published the “traditional” way, and I have enough rejection letters to prove it.

What do your plans for future projects include?

TS: I have my two “babies”: A semi-autobiographical coming of age novel, People Darker Than Blue, which interweaves the stories of two cliques—one black and one white—at a desegregated high school in the 1970’s. The second is a crime-drama titled Under Color Of Authority, about a desperate small-town police chief who hires soldiers of fortune to clean up the streets, where two competing gangs have not only endangered the citizenry, but have bought off some of the towns law enforcement officers.

As for sci-fi, I am getting ready to shop A Junkie’s Paradise, the story of a viral pandemic that wipes out half the earth’s population until it is discovered that those with immunity are the dregs of society. Also I have my sci-fi anthology, a compilation of 18 stories that address everything from a man who wakens to find himself as the lone remaining human being to a septuagenarian serial killer to drunken women who conduct a lynching. I just recently finished a “zombies in the hood” tale titled, The Undead.

I have a number of screenplays, and have developed two ideas for television shows: Of the latter, one a comedy centered around movie critics and the other, a family comedy that I call a cross between “What’s Happening!” and “Married…With Children.”

Will the "mechanical" standards of writing hold? Grammar, sentence structure, etc.? Does it matter? Why or why not?

TS: God no. We now live in a world of texting where kids are encouraged to spell words incorrectly! Who’d have thought that being a bad speller might someday be a good thing? Okay, jokes aside—no, grammar and punctuation are a dying art. They don’t teach it in school (at least, not very well), and the poor quality of writing (particularly in urban fiction) is creating a new generation of authors antagonistic toward acumen and accuracy.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

Q: “When will we see your work on the big screen?” The answer is simple: When the public no longer accepts Hollywood’s regurgitation—sequels and passing off TV shows from the past as “new blockbusters.” Today there is a dearth of creativity in Hollywood. The scripts are formulaic and pigeon-holed and too damn expensive to make. For example, Judd Apatow is doing is what Adam Sandler was doing ten years ago, and Sandler is doing what John Hughes and John Waters did--although with more crudity.

Black cinema is deemed “unsaleable” unless it starts a rapper, or brothers posing as ne’er-do-wells who live by the gun. (The exception being Tyler Perry., but his work is geared toward black women, a demographic all its own.) Occasionally we’ll see a reworking of the blaxploitation genre, but few real meat and potatoes dramas; another Shaft rather than Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored.

Personally, I’d match my story, The Undead against Twilight or Zombieland and let moviegoers decided which is the fresher tale. I’d pit Human Trial I or II against Independence Day any day; or either of my TV shows against the schlock that today passes as “comedy.” The art of joke writing has been replaced by crudity and men being portrayed as buffoons. Okay, let me jump off my soap box….I have some rewriting to do.

Mr. Stelly can be reached by e-mail at, or you can check out his blog: or you can go to, click on BOOKS and type in “stelly human trial” and read the reviews.My essays can be found at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

NC Book Tour for Motherless Soul

Here's the video I'm calling my North Carolina Book Tour for Motherless Soul.