Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Review of Hide-n-Go Coffin

My newest short story, Hide-n-Go Coffin and Other Short Stories was just reviewed by E & K Family Book Reviews. Overall, it was a very nice review. The cool thing is that one of the reviewers is 8 years old, so she's just at beginning reading age for these stories. So, this is the first review I've had from a target reader:
"I really liked these scary stories. They are short and easy to read. I didn't know what was going to happen until it did. It wasn't TOO scary though, so I didn't end up having nightmares. They were more suspenseful then scary. They reminded me of the Goosebumps stories that I really like."
 Her mother enjoyed them as well, though I don't think as much:
"These would definitely be good camp fire stories, short enough to remember- but scary enough to make you uneasy in the dark. My favorite story was probably the first one, I wasn't expecting the outcome.
Overall, whether you are 8 or an adult and like scary stories- These would be a good quick read for you. Maybe even fun to read with your kids!" 
She also mentioned she found a couple grammatical errors in the last story. I did have these shorts both edited and proofread, but I'm sure I slipped an error or two in after editing. So, now I'm off to hunt down these little buggers. A process that will probably take me all day =-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Timeless Wisdom from Buffy, “Books Smell”

Last night, I was watching Buffy, The Vampire Slayer—hey, everyone’s entitled to a guilty pleasure or two. The episode first aired in 1997, but its message is even more relevant today. What is this timeless pearl of Wisdom?

Books Smell.

Here’s the setup: Giles, the high school librarian and Buffy's Watcher (if you aren’t familiar with the show—besides really missing out—you need to know he fills the role of her the older, wiser mentor type) falls for the school's computer lab instructor. Just one problem (besides the fact that there’s a monstrous demon hiding out in the computer system): Giles hates computers. He explains his aversion to reading information on a screen as follows:

Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower or a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences... long forgotten. Books smell. Musty and—and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer, is, uh, it... it has no, no texture, no, no context. It's, it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then, then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um... smelly.”

I think this quote is timely today, as we experience the dawn of the ebook revolution. A time when so many are predicting the death of the printed book.

If I love a book, truly love it (1984, The Martian Chronicles, Danny Champion of the World), then I want to touch its pages, see how the words linger in print, and yes, I want to smell it.

Will we ever stop printing books? Maybe paperbacks. But they’ll always be books, and not just as collector’s items gathering dust in some old eccentric's private library. At least in our lifetime, too many people have a love for the printed word and will be willing to pay a premium to hold their lovers in all her hardbound glory (kinda gives new meaning to the word stacked, doesn't it)?

So, when we talk about the death of books, let's not forget: Books smell.