Saturday, December 8, 2012

Long Lost Song

Long Lost Song  by Stephen Ormsby

Book Description

A virus is decimating America today and Michael Decker is the culprit. Or is he?
Is it the work of a curse recorded into a song by 1930's blues musician Ricky Jensen?
Long Lost Song tells the story of Ricky and Michael as they battle their personal and real demons while the world reaches end times of biblical proportions.
One question remains. How do you stop a devil of a song made to break a crossroads deal?

My Review

     Where to begin?  The Long Lost Song by Stephen Ormsby was only 242 pages, and yet the author made it seem like it was much longer. There was so much going on in the pages that not a word was lost or added for cushion.  And I love that!
     From the get go the author sets an ominous picture. A young man, Ricky Jensen, on his way to the cross-roads to make a deal with the Black Man.  A deal to sell his soul to the Devil for the talent to play his guitar like no other man alive.  Then we are off to Australia, on the other side of the earth, meeting Michael, who we find in turmoil.  Michael is a middle aged man trying to find himself through meditation. He is distraught at how little success he is having, and completely and utterly unaware of the shit-storm that is about to fall in his lap. (Some would call it destiny) At first read, one wonders, besides the man selling his soul to the Devil, where’s the horror? But it comes and it comes swiftly.
     Our ‘social’ world that we live in makes it possible for one song or video on YouTube to be shared millions of times within one month.  Here is a shocking example of the power the social media has and the shocking rate at which it, we, can ‘share’ a music video. The particular video I searched originates from South Korea and for whatever reason gained immense popularity all over the world, Gangnam Style by PSY.  It was released 4 months ago and as of the moment I copied and pasted this from YouTube, the video had 911,511,020 views!  And ladies and gentlemen this was only one of the dozens upon dozens of videos and spoofs that share this particular tune. Imagine now that the Devil himself has found a way to touch you and your children through the listening of a song. An infected song that has the power to turn you into a slave, a drone that does the Devil’s bidding.
     The Devil himself has managed to harness the power of music.
     That is where the horror begins to creep into the crevices of the brain.  It’s frightening because everyone has a song that moves them and can make them happy, sad, or nostalgic. Music itself is very powerful, not to mention a primal part of human nature. Where would we be without music? Without any music?  Without the ability to hum, whistle or drum? Just take a second to soak that thought in.  More than likely you can’t, because while you sit in silence your heart is drumming away inside your body making a beat of its own. That’s what makes this book so absolutely terrifying.
     There is only one man, who with the help of his love, has the strength and courage to stand up to the Black Man and maybe put an end to the destruction and mayhem that the world is swiftly becoming and save whatever innocence is left.  But at what cost? Read and find out.

Interview with the Author

Lost in Thought: There are so many things I want to touch on, but first I would like to thank you for giving me the time and honor to interview you!

Stephen Ormsby: Thanks for having me.  It's great sharing my work with others but more importantly it's incredible meeting so many great people.

LIT: I agree, but enough of the chit-chat let's get to business! The Devil using our technology against us, remarkable idea! I mean freakin’ glorious!

SO: Thanks.  I had the idea for LLS (Long Lost Song) for many years, but never had the catch for it.  It was as if the technology needed to catch up with me. I mean downloading was not really a thing 15 years ago.

LIT: I think that it is very interesting that you used the song as a weapon.

SO: The idea of the song fitted with Ricky.  It was one of those things that stayed with me and why the idea never went away.  What would happen if you could get out of a crossroads deal as a musician?  What could you offer?  The obvious answer was always a song.

LIT: Was there any prior research you had to do?

SO: I had to look at downloading for purposes of the book and understand why it becomes such an addictive thing to do.  So easy, to find so much, so quickly.

LIT: Quick question, I just find this interesting so I feel the need to ask. I have heard about militaries wanting to use sound guns, that once fired make you nauseated, immediately.  So, it is plausible that some sound waves could make one a drone as well, it’s not that far-fetched  Did you do any research on noise as a weapon?

SO: Funnily enough, I didn't, but have always understood the impact of noise on me, whether it be music to drown out my mood or to drown out other people.

LIT: Music really is a powerful tool but that isn't all your book is about.  I had to limit myself in the review or I might not have ever stopped!  I found your leading character, Michael, very interesting.  He is a dirty hero.   Or better said a human hero.  Is there a reason you chose a more tarnished character as opposed to a preacher or strong man of God?

SO: I always saw Michael as an anti-hero really.  A man dragged through this shit because other people had designs on him.  He was forcibly wasting himself away.  There was something about that and how Ricky went through the same thing that appealed to me.  Both men lost the music within them.
It is only when he has to stand up that he does.  Many people go through life this way, only taking chances when it is forced upon them.  That's Michael.

LIT: You know who I thought was an interesting character and I wish would have gotten more play?

SO: Please tell.

LIT: The preacher of the ‘freaks’. I thought that whole group could have been actually a book of its own.

SO: Brother Paul?

LIT: Yes, sorry, Brother Paul! 
SO: Another man with a second chance at life - who was not in the final write of the 1st draft.  In fact, a lot of the ending was not in the 1st draft.

LIT: I thought the whole idea of the freaks having immunity.  The ones not hooked into the grid, was also very ingenious.

SO: The freaks?  You mean the normal people, really.  They are the ones that had not given themselves to all the false gods we surround ourselves in.  I like the idea that people have not been consumed by consumerism and that was can live a more simple life.  I like to think that I do now.  I listen to music that moves me.  I buy things only when I need to.  I cook food for the family.  All because I can.  I know money is necessary but I do not get consumed by the fact that I need to chase it.  I'd like to think that I would be unaffected by the song for these reasons.  Does that make me a freak?

LIT: Yea, you are definitely a freak, but so am I, so I guess we are in good company!

SO: See, being a freak is not that hard.  It is better than being a sheep and lost to the god of money.

LIT: I agree. Your book made me think a lot about people in general. A lot of us are already drones, buying into trends just to fit in, afraid to be the 'freak, the outsider'.  A lot of the people that became drones in your book were already dispossed anyway.  And I truly hope that people read your book and realize that it is a horror story, but also an inspiration to become a better person.

SO: So do I, really.  So much of the world is lost.  Lost to finding that next job, the next car, that next expensive item that they do not really need.  I would love people to think, just for a second, hey who am I in all of this? Do I even know that anymore?  I know who I am, and writing this book helped me find that.  It is a horror story if you are the ones that would be first in line to be swallowed up by it.  If you think you are different and do not fall into the normal trappings of a monetary life, then you just may survive.

LIT: Well, I am not 100% I wouldn't be a little bit affected...

SO: Now, a couple of things from me. I am not a Christian and I do not want to be seen as a bible basher.  A lot of the end of the book just came about from where the story was going.  I wanted to show how easy it would be for the world to collapse and the bible has shown that there is a history of it happening.  That is what I wanted to tap into.  The fall of Babylon does not need to mean a physical city, it could be something as simple as the internet, which has completely taken over our lives.  I will admit to being that way.  As an author, I feel we need to be.  If it collapsed, I would notice it as much as the heaviest user of it.  That scares me.   Here I am thinking that I am a freak, but still so hooked into everything.  It could disappear just like that.  Where would we be the day after?

LIT: You make an excellent point and an amazing analogy. Where would we be without the internet, the tower that has brought the whole world together, all speaking in the same tongue of 1’s and 0’s?  It’s a scary thought.  And after reading your book you are forced to ponder over these insanely scary things. Music, internet, it’s all at our finger tips but what if it was all gone tomorrow? That would be a sad, scary world to live in.

LIT: There was just one more thing I wanted to discuss I know I am going into overtime with this one, but I felt like there should have been more of a love story between Michael and Roberta.

SO: I wanted the love between them to feel heightened by the world collapsing. A grab on to the one nearest you sort of thing.

LIT: No it was, but I wanted just a little more. I understood it was the end of the world and love at first sight? Do you believe in love at first sight?

SO: The love was based on someone I will admit. Someone I fell for at first sight.
Ok, imagine this. My life was a mess. I had separated from my first wife who hated me writing. Then this woman came along and when she asked what I did (which was computers) she said no, what do you really do?  I said write. I was in love from that moment.
She TOLD me I needed to publish LLS. She felt as though it could happen any time i.e. being infected by the song

LIT: That’s awesome! It's so hard to find someone who supports what we do.   You caught a good one!

SO: I did indeed!

LIT: That is very rare so be grateful!

SO: I am. For her and for great friends.

LIT: Me too! Always be thankful for great company! Thank you so much for your time, and whatever novel you release next I will surely read, you have a fan in me!

 Where to find the Long Lost Song


Amazon Kindle:

Other Works By Stephen Ormsby

All Good Socks Go To Heaven

Leftovers from the (Writing) Table

The Gift


Last Words

     If I had to rate the book, I would give it 4 stars. There are some typos and I really wanted more from Brother Paul and Roberta, so that is why I personally cannot give 5 stars.  I have also read the shorts and I do recommend you read them if you like this author's work.  I really had a great time doing this blog and interview and I feel like this is the best one yet!  Also, little known fact, Stephen Ormsby’s wife created the cover of his book.  That’s just awesome! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Draculata Nest

    “Must read!”        “Surprisingly wonderful read” 

“a fantastic addition to this much loved and well-read vampire/werewolf genre by Kristy Berridge”

The Draculata Nest: A Red Wolf Novel  by. John Hundley

Book Description

Clifford Crane has led a tough life – failed marriages, bankruptcy, drug addiction, and a mind-numbing dead-end job. But he’s made it through, and now he’s nearing retirement. He’s looking forward to his golden years, until he meets an ancient Uwharrie Indian shaman, who turns him into a werewolf. She believes Clifford is the red wolf foretold in prophecy, the one who will unite the wolf packs and lead them to victory over the vampires for once and all time. Too bad she doesn’t tell him that before she dies. Now, rescuing beautiful young women from the clutches of the undead has its rewards, but will it pay the rent for the next thousand years? The Draculata Nest is the first in a series of Red Wolf novels, depicting a world where vampires are mere generations away from realizing mankind’s destruction, the ultimate goal of the undead and the mysterious beings that created them. In book one, Clifford finds himself a lone wolf, still grieving the loss of Claire Deerfoot, the one who brought out the beast that lay dormant inside him most of his life. Without the pack bond that keeps a wolf sane, he struggles with his dual nature and the strange compulsions that urge him to prowl the night. When he rescues a beautiful young coed from a visiting vampire, one hunting illegally in the territory of the local nest, he suddenly finds himself a target of revenge. The visiting Draculata Nest still thirsts for the blood of young Danielle, and now they want to spill Clifford’s blood as well. But an unlikely ally surfaces in Roland Trudeau, a high-ranking vampire in the local nest, whose welcome aid seems too good to be true. Soon Clifford finds himself in the middle of a vicious game of vampire politics, a game where the losers die.

My Review

As is my custom these days, I did not read the book description before reading.  I think I am going to start doing this more often, it’s like a little surprise every time!
There are a lot of books in this genre and it was nice to read a book did its own thing. I loved that it was a vampire-werewolf theme that kept it classic.  The alluring and seductive vampires came out at night to play and when they grow angry they become monstrous creatures.  And the werewolves didn’t just poof into fluffy big dogs, their bones cracked and the transformation was bone crackling and painful.
I think the book is not only full of action and adventure but also grief, pain, love and lust and at times it’s comedic.  One thing I can truly say is that it is never boring!
Clifford Crane is a loveable older gentleman who is trying to start a new life in college. He’s in his 60, but looks more like 30, because of the werewolf within. I thought this book was unique, in that it was the first one that I have read thus far where the werewolf is clueless about werewolves or werewolf etiquette. I mean he is so green behind the ears that his best friend is a vampire!
I think that John Hudley had an amazing intro. From the very first page I was intrigued. I was thrown into a dark parking lot, and shown that there are three different types of beings, the human, whatever Clifford was and whatever was lurking in the shadows.  At first, it was somewhat unclear and then you get a personal glimpse into Clifford’s journal. The beginning pages were perfectly executed. You as a reader go on discover that Clifford knows very little about who he is and about the supernatural world in general.  I think that John Hundley attacked this popular genre with a very unique touch, a little bit of  old school mythology mixed with new school fight scenes.
I give the story 4 stars because even though the book is almost 400 pages I wanted more.*  Also, I felt that the romance scenes weren’t necessary. That is not to say that they were not tastefully done. They were very well written, it’s just a preference of mine. (I guess because I write knowing my younger brothers and sisters will read my work.)  I feel like without the romance scenes I could have given the book 5 stars and been able to recommend it to everyone.

*I would have liked to know more about how his friend (Kent) became a vampire and how they managed to keep their friendship intact, also about Claire…   and, and, and!  But wanting more from a novel also tells how good it was!

Interview with the Author

Lost in Thought:  First I would like to that you for allowing me to pry into your mind for a bit!
John Hudley:  My pleasure.
LIT:  So, was this your first published book?
JH:  Yes, it was.
LIT:  I find that surprising, it was written very well. 
I've been doing an experiment lately where I don't read the book description and I just dive right in.  You instantly hooked me in.
You wasted no time and I liked that!
JH:  Good to hear. But, I have to admit, the pace of the start was a result of a re-write.
LIT:   Well, a re-write that was well worth it! The pace of your entire book was great. You go from one action scene to the next. 
In a world full of vamps and wolves, what made you write this book?
JH:  Well, I'm a big fan of werewolves. (Can't really get enough, myself.) So, I wasn't really thinking of the saturation of the current market. I just wanted to tell a story. And I have to credit the pace to my know-it-all-friend, David, who is the anchor of my editing team. He really coached me on that while I was writing that first book.
LIT:  That is the perfect answer!
 When I first realized that it was a were/vamp book, I have to admit I took a deep breath.  But luckily, I didn't have to hold it for long. Like I said, I was sold from the very beginning.  I love that Clifford was so clueless and I give you major kudos for keeping it ‘old school’.  You know, no shimmering in the sun, but real monsters.
JH:  As it SHOULD be.
LIT:  As it should be, indeed! You did a lot of things exceptionally well, for example, the seducing of certain characters.   One of the moments that really grabbed my attention, was that you took something so small and mundane as breathing and made it this special wonderful miracle, through the words of Roland. One thing I do want to know is will there ever be a prequel?  One of the thing that I wanted more of was Claire.
Will we ever know her story?
JH:  Well, you are not the only one who has asked about Claire Deerfoot. It so happens, in the third book, I am interweaving the back story of Clifford and Claire into the present day story of what's happening as the Red Wolf and the Dragon rise to... whoops. I don't want to spoil anything here.
LIT:  YEY! And thanks for not spoiling! SPOIL-FREE ZONE!
JH:  But, yes, there is a lot left unsaid about Cliff's background that will be further explored in the next book.
LIT: Another aspect of the book I loved is that, like I have already mentioned, you kept your characters old school.  A vampire can be alluring and sexy and then scary as hell!  And a werewolf doesn't just poof from a man to a wolf, there is an amount of pain and agony involved.
JH:   I didn't want my characters to be too pretty. Although, they of course need to be attractive enough to be interesting. But the thing I like about paranormal and supernatural, is that you can place human characters in a supernatural setting and see how their humanity emerges under extraordinary circumstances. In the end, Clifford’s story is about someone whose life unexpectantly does a giant turn-around and how he deals with it as a person.  Even though on some level he is a monster.
LIT:  Yes and you did a great job displaying that.  All in all, when it comes to this genre your book is up on top!  And I am looking forward to the second one, which is already waiting in my Kindle.  But alas there is a list, which I try to abide by.
Maybe we can chat again after I read The Dragon in Doughton Park?
JH:  I would love that.
LIT:  Me too, it's a date!  Take care and write on!
JH:  Thank you, Jessica. And I might say the same to you!

                         Last Thoughts

John Hudley did an excellent job keeping the suspense high as the story unfolded. By displaying  the motives of the characters in a timely manner he managed to give the reader foresight without spoiling the ending.  I just loved it!

Where to find The Draculata Nest

To follow John Hudley

Red Wolf Blogs:

Other works

The Dragon of Doughton Park: A Red Wolf Novel (Volume 2) 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Sneak Peak!  The Dragon of Doughton Park by John Hundley

I have just read The Draculata Nest, book on of this series and I must say I’m definatly looking forward to book two! I am confident in promoting John Hundley’s  The Dragon of Doughton Park, but I do recommend you read book one first! (Review coming soon!)   

An excerpt from The Dragon of Doughton Park:

     Two and a half hours later, he pulled into the gravel driveway of the little getaway cabin he maintained off Highway 81, twelve miles north of North Wilkesboro. He cut the engine of the Porsche and sat for a moment, letting the quiet wrap him like a security blanket.
It wasn’t the quiet of the old days. There were far too few places on the earth far enough from humanity for that kind of quiet; but, this was far enough from the truly populous areas to where the sounds of nature often drowned out the sounds of those that walked on two legs. Or drove on four wheels.
     Humanity was intended to evolve beyond this, given the chance, he told himself for the zillionth time. After most of the others of his kind had left long ago, it had become his raison d’ĂȘtre to insure that humanity reclaimed that chance.
     A few minutes passed before he climbed out of the car, popped the trunk to remove his luggage, and carried his things into the cabin. He threw his belongings on the little cot that sat, forever unused, in the corner of the room. His bags would remain there, still packed, for the duration of his time away from the university. He removed his clothes and hung them in a small closet. He would wear them on the way home. Naked, he made himself a cup of coffee and sipped it in a chair by the window until darkness settled in. Then he left the cabin and walked out into the night.
     The moon was rising. He looked at it, wondering what the red wolf was doing at this moment. Perhaps Sethmus would have an update when he reached the lair. Of course, he could probably check the wolf’s location himself once he was in the air.
     He found a patch of moonlight in a grassy area behind the cabin and stood in it. He spread his legs and arms wide and allowed the light to caress his naked skin. Soon, the magic began to be absorbed into his pores and a haze of water vapor enveloped him as sweat escaped the furnace of heat building within. The soft human hairs began to elongate and flatten into scales until he was soon covered in a thick impenetrable armor. The fingers of his hands stretched to two, then three, then twenty times their length, and the skin retracted and webbed, until huge wings formed a forty foot span. His spine stretched until his head sat at the end of a long neck and his tail curled in a full circle around his feet, which themselves had become huge talons. A forked tongue flicked out of a long snout in a reflex action to test the night air. Finding it rich with oxygen, the dragon’s chest expanded like a giant bellows, pulling the air in to fuel the fire inside him. When he exhaled, tongues of flame shot into the night sky, illuminating the trees around the clearing.
     The firelight reflected off the trees and into jeweled eyes under dark green brows. Dr. Nigel Petros reveled in the freedom of his true form. The Dragon launched himself into the air, the wind from the strokes of his huge wings momentarily flattening the branches of the pines. He rose in an ever-widening circle until the cabin was a dark, moonlit speck far below. He cast his senses out in all directions, checking for the genetic signatures of the omega wolves. He counted seventeen in this quadrant. He was pleased that the number had grown and concerned that the number was so few. One, however, was male, and vibrating with power.
      Finding no obstacles in his flight path, he turned northeast, towards the lair.

Meet John Hundley

     I dodge this irritating necessity as much as I can. Here’s what appears on the back inside cover of my books:

     John Hundley lives, works, and writes in Charlotte, North Carolina.

     However, having dodged the question quite a bit in the last few weeks, I blogged about it in my last post on Sunday. Here’s an alternative. It’s a bit more creative and actually sums up my life pretty well although, as usual, it is a bit long.

    I was born on the first day of October in 1950, the first son of John and Patricia, in Baltimore, MD.  I got a brother a year-and-a-half later. We moved around a lot. We moved to Charlotte, NC. I started school. I barely learned to read the boring crap they taught me. We moved to Asheville, and my Mom taught me to read real books.
    I fell in love with L. Frank Baum, John Fox, Jr., Edward Ormondroyd, Robert Heinlein, and Marilyn. We moved to Greenville, SC. I fell in love with Kathy, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
    I went to Junior High School. I fell in love with Cecelia, Isaac Asimov, and Jackie (sigh).
    I went to High School. I fell in love with Donna, Kathy, Jane, Merrill, Jackie (again), and alcohol. I decided to become a writer.
    I went to Presbyterian College. I fell in love with Cynthia, Ann, marijuana, LSD, what’s-her-name, Harlan Ellison, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, and Joni Mitchell. I left Presbyterian College and went to the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!). I fell in love with Karyn (sigh), J.R.R Tolkein, Robert Heinlein (again), cocaine, and The Allman Brothers. I tried to write.
   I graduated college. I fell in love with Pat, Barbara, Dale, Carol, what’s-her-name, James Tiptree Jr., Frank Herbert, Ursula K LeGuin, Connie (OMG), Stephen King, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Kathy. I tried to write.
   I married Kathy. I fell out of love with cocaine and LSD. I gave up on writing. I moved to Charlotte, NC. I moved to Salisbury, NC. I got divorced. I fell out of love with alcohol and marijuana. I fell in love with Amanda, Susan, Pam, Gerrie (sigh), Michael Crichton, Robert R. McCammon, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Janine, and Cheri.
  I moved back to Charlotte, NC. I fell in love with Caren and got married again. We had a kid. I got un-married. I fell in love with Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, Patricia Briggs, Richelle Mead, and Taylor Swift.
  Oh, and along the way, I made a lot of wonderful friends and observed first-hand the never-ending, enigmatic, inexplicable miracle of life. And, I started to write again…
   …and I haven’t stopped.

Last thought

After reading that bio, I want to read his biography! I will be doing a book blog on his first book, so I don’t want to say too much.  However, it would not be a waste of your time.  I am eager to read The Dragon of Doughton Park and as for my blog, there will most certainly be more of John Hundley to come!  So stay tuned! 

A few places you can get the new book:


Check out his blog:
Red Wolf Blogs

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Book of Paul

“A wild ride”          “WOW!”          “gripping to the end”   
“Prepare yourself reader, for having your mind blown is just the beginning.” –James Garcia Jr

The Book of Paul  by Richard Long

Book Description

“Never alive…and never dead.”

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”—an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the authentic alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When a lusty, East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with a battle-hardened loner, they are overwhelmed by the intensity of their feelings. Rose and Martin soon discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy. 

The action is relentless as Martin and Rose fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe—the Maelstrom.

My Review

When I bought the book I had no idea what I was getting into. As I do with most books, I didn’t read the description. It didn’t matter, my friend said I should read it so I did. After all, this is the year of reading outside of my genre. But enough about me!

Richard Long is a master of suspense, thrills and chills. The book is fast paced with chapters that cut straight to the bone. He had gore and religious lore, love and lust, and psycho crazy killers who once you get to know them, maybe aren’t so psycho anymore.  The story is captivating, and vivid; at times horrid and scary but with equally beautiful parts sprinkled in.  This book is the true definition of a thriller.

There were a few times where I found myself fumbling over the some of the concepts and cult names. Mr. Long seems to have infinite knowledge on the occult, religion, history and physics. And at times he seems to forget that the reader might not be as versed in these areas.  With that said, I still give the book 5 stars. Because that’s how good it was! Never have I read a book with so many aspects. Prophecies, treasure, blood, and power, hate, and love all sewn into a beautiful masterpiece called The Book of Paul.

Interview with Richard Long

LIT: So before I jump into the darkness, I would like to get the formalities out of the way. Thank you very much for taking the time to do an interview with me.

Richard Long: Thanks so much for asking me, Jessica.

LIT: Seriously, I was afraid you would say no! After reading your book, I place you up there with Steven King and Dan Brown. Your book is so damn good, great, excellent!
Are you one of those people that walks around knowing everything about everything? Or do you just know everything about religions, occult, folklore, Celtic tradition, physics, and The Singularity.

Richard Long: When I was a kid, I got teased for knowing about a lot of different subjects. They called me "encyclopedia.” The truth was, I actually used to read encyclopedias all day long, cover to cover, alphabetically. I had a near-photographic memory back then, so I probably would have been good on Jeopardy. That ability is gone now, but my thirst for knowledge has always remained. I read about 20-30 books at any given time on the topics I'm researching for my writing.

LIT: One can tell you really did your homework, and the way you stitched everything together, mind blowing! 
The Book of Paul is so dark yet tender at times and dirty it's like a tug of war between the good and the bad. What do you like writing more: the mythological side or the dark sadistic stuff?              

RL: I like both, but in different ways. I like the visceral material because I feel so present when writing it. I really want to feel the emotions of the characters, so that's really exciting. The historical material is more challenging because a lot of it is expository, so I have to reveal the information in such a way that it’s as entertaining and compelling as the action taking place.

LIT:  Did you ever have any challenges? I mean, you wrote 500 pages, filled with suspense, secrets and grandiose plans, feeding the reader little bites at a time and managed not to spoil the end. I guess what I am asking is, did you ever have problems putting the puzzle together?

RL: I don't know if I'd call it trouble, but I don't outline when I write. I like the information to be revealed to me as I go along, but I'm always conscious of how the sequencing needs to work in order for the parallel storylines to properly mesh and keep those pages turning. I want to maximize the mystery, and the thrill of discovery, so with 6 to 7 different timelines being addressed, it becomes a little like conducting an orchestra.

LIT: My favorite character is Paul. Do you have a favorite?

RL: Yes, Paul is my favorite too.

LIT: He is just a wonderful madman, never met a character quite like him. Where does Paul come from? When Paul is on the page, sometimes I have this feeling that I have a bit of Paul in me. Did you do that on purpose or am I just crazy?

RL: That's interesting. I wonder how Paul got under your skin like that! Well, yes it's intentional, but true of all the characters, probably most so with William and Paul. I shift back and forth from every character's viewpoint, so if I'm doing that well you should feel like you're inside them or they're inside you as the case may be. I also keep narrative scene description to a minimum intentionally so the reader is more actively engaged in projecting their own vision into the scenes and most importantly, their own feelings.

LIT: Yes, but where does Paul come from? Is he an extension of your mind, or a moment in your past. Or an experiment that went, terrifyingly well?

RL: As to where Paul "came from" I would say that it’s a very, very dark place. I started with the character Martin, who had been so traumatized that he could no longer feel emotions like most people. So then the next question became: Who traumatized him? Paul emerged from that darkness. I wanted to create the most evil and yet most entertaining villain of all time!

LIT: I think you achieved your goal, definitely in the top 10.  Is this your first published book?

RL: Yes, this is the first volume in a seven volume series, tracing the mythology of Hermetic and Gnostic traditions and the Celtic druids of Ireland.

LIT: Wow, so you have your work cut out for you! You are working on a YA book now, The Dream Palace. Could you tell us a little bit about that? And how different is it going from a mature audience to a younger one.

RL: The YA book is like the sunlight vs. the darkness of Paul. It's very exciting and mysterious and also addresses some of the BIG questions I like to ponder such as: What is this thing we call reality? Are dreams real too? It has a lot of sci-fi elements and a steam-punky historical back story. I wrote it so my kids could actually read something I’ve written- as well as older people. It’s very different from Paul.

LIT: When is your YA book coming out?

RL: I’m hoping to finish it very soon. Then it goes into the publishing cycle, so we’ll see when it’s actually available, though I am going to be looking for some beta readers. Maybe some of your readers might enjoy that.

LIT: I’m sure they will, I know I'm looking forward to it! I really want to delve into The Singularity which is a topic that I love, being a sci-fi chick myself, but sadly we will have to save that for a different interview. It has been a lot of fun doing this interview with you and I hope that one day I can address all these other questions I have about your writing and your style and your amazingly, mad, evil character I have come to love! (Love in a hate way, of course.)

RL: Paul certainly is a charmer isn't he? Thanks so much again Jessica, it was a pleasure talking with you.

A small tease from The Book of Paul

 Saint Patrick’s

Paul bumped his shoulders into as many of the hustle-bustlers choking the aircraft- carrier width of Fifth Avenue in front of St. Paddy’s as he possibly could. Bump. Wump. It was morning rush hour on the sidewalk, and some of the more pissed-off jostled pedestrians gave him the old “ fists clenched like they’re really going do something” look. A few of the ballsier women gave him the old “Hey, watch where you’re going!” shout of indignation. Once they got a load of Paul, they kept on walking.
     Paul looks even scarier than he is, if that’s possible. He has that longshoreman, teamster, biker, ’Nam-Vet, might-be-homeless, might-be-crazy, definitely-dangerous look down to such a T that the entire crowd would have collectively walked across the street to avoid him if they had seen him coming. Wump. Bump. Too late.
     Paul walked up the cathedral stairs in his big clunky boots, making as much noise as he could with each thudding step. Whomp. Clomp. He went out of his way to thud into two more tourists on their way out the massive bronze doors, quickly erasing their “Wow, what a great big fancy place!” grins with twin shakes of their heads that said, “See, it is true what they say about these goddamn New Yorkers!”
     Paul sneered with equal contempt. People. Can’t live with ’em…can’t kill all of ’em.
     He paused in the vestibule to soak in the candlelit, incense drenched air and gulped down as much of the musky scent as he could manage. He stuck his bald fingertips into the Holy Water and half-expected to hear it hiss and bubble. It was crowded today, as he expected. The altar was draped in purple. There were flowers everywhere. He made the sign of the cross, gave an inch-deep genuflection and clomped down the center aisle to his regular seat, a pew three rows from the front on the left-hand side.
     Someone was sitting there. Paul took a deep breath and stared down at the small gray-haired lady, with her white lace shawl and black shiny rosary beads. She didn’t seem to notice. Her tightly combed bun and happy-sad, creamy-puffy cheeks were bobbing rhythmically in deep prayer, her lips moving in a whispery quiver, mouthing out the time-honored blur of sound that passes for The Hail Mary in marathon rosary specialists: “HailMaryfullagracetheLordiswitheeblessdrthouamongwomenanblessdis­thafruitathywombJesusHolyMaryMothaGodprayforusinnersnowanat­thehourofourdeathamen.” Pause. Repeat.
     Paul was having none of it. “That’s my seat,” he rumbled in a low, raspy grunt that only a gawking T-shirt-clad couple walking down the aisle took any notice of. They quickly rolled their eyes and waddled away, but the little old lady, her eyes seemingly welded shut, showed no sign of acknowledgment whatsoever and wheezed in enough wind to motor her way through another black bead.
     Paul stuck a chisel-hard finger in the square of her hunched back and pressed it in like a fleshy harpoon. “Ow!” she said, her eyes fluttering open in fear and dumb surprise.
    “That’s my seat,” Paul repeated.
     The poor sweet frightened lady was torn between feelings of fear, rage, shock and disbelief. She felt like running, but her fear and proud anger kept her rooted on the spot. “No sir, this is my seat,” she finally managed to croak with all the courage she could muster, her voice trembling like a butterfly’s wings.
     “Darlin’, you can move now or I’ll wait here all day and then follow you home.”
     She moved. But only enough so Paul could sit next to her.
     “Hhmmph!” Paul hmphed with more admiration than he cared to admit. He scrunched his beefy bulk up snug against the still-trembling saint and gave her a shy smile and sidelong glance as he humbly lowered his head, knelt down and clasped his hands in pious prayer.
     “Dear God,” he began, muttering in a barely audible voice. Barely audible that is, to anyone except the shrunken figure next to him, who twitched with fear at the sound of it.
     “Dear Gawd,” he repeated, louder this time, his brogue more exaggerated than ever, hoping to get another rise out of her. She was steadier this time as he continued:
     “Bless da little bunnies in the forest and all da hungry children wit doze great big bellies over dere in Africa dat doan have all dis yummy good food we have over here like da Ray’s pizza and da Slim Jims and da tater chips and da big tick juicy steaks you can cook up in your nice warm oven by da fridge. And bless all da kiddies here too dat be suckin’ on da crack pipes all day long. And damn deir dirty feckin’ parents all to hell dat send ’em out to live on da streets and fend for demselves while dey sit at home and suck on deir own crack pipes and watch da telly an’ tink up more nasty ways dat dey can get more money to neglect dere little babies wit. And bless all da poor Mick cops dat have to put up with all dis stinkin’ filth and shit and hopelessness so dat it’s no wonder dat dey doan just go out and gun down every last stinkin’ one of dem. And most of all…bless poor dear Martin who’s gone and turned away from his lovin’ Da for the sake of a dwarf harlot dat’s got him all mixed up in da head so dat now wit da hour of reckonin’ near, it seems I’ve but one last chance to convince him of da error of his ways, else I’ll be left with no other choice dan to take him out behind da shed and put him down like a dirty mongrel dog, amen.”
     Paul let out a deep, long sigh and slowly opened his eyes, still keeping his head bowed and his hands folded. He looked at the cross and the poor sad Christ with all the beautiful red dripping holes in his hands and feet.
     “Tsk. Tsk. Such a shame about that,” he sighed, shaking his head. “If only you’d listened, we could have spared you all that misery. And you ours.”
     He slumped back into his pew and gave his murmuring partner a warm crinkly smile as he listened to her mumbled prayers that were faster and more urgent than ever. He watched her pray for a long time, sitting motionless, smiling while her eyelids fluttered open from time to time to make sure he was still there with her.
     “You’re a good ole bitch, grandma,” Paul said, nudging the old lady in the ribs with an elbow of genuine kinship.
     Her eyes snapped open, filled with a little less fear this time. She was about to speak when Paul held a thick fat finger to her old wrinkled lips and said, “Shhhhh…don’t tax your sweet breath, my darlin’, you’ll be needin’ it for that next round of Hail Marys.”
     She opened her mouth to speak again, but then her face froze in place when she saw the nail was missing from Paul’s still poised fingertip. “Say a little prayer for me, sweetie,” he whispered in his perfect Irish lilt, “and say a great big one for Martin.”
     Then he pinched her cheek, made the sign of the cross, stood up and walked away.

Last Thoughts

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