What I’m Reading Now – The Passage by Justin Cronin

I’m reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I picked the book up because while watching an interview with Cronin on one of the morning shows, I witnessed something remarkable.  Stephen King called in to give a compliment to Cronin and take a cheap shot at Stephenie Meyer at the same time.  He praised The Passage and then said, “Thanks for making vampires scary again.”  HA!  Without mention the teen vampire queen’s name, he figuratively delivered a roundhouse left to her chin.  Ouch!

Needless to say, I had to have Cronin’s book, and King wasn’t lying.  The book is amazing.  It’s not just  a good read.  It’s a great time.  I’m loving it.  Cronin has infused character into an apocalyptic vampire novel that makes the book a genre buster.  It’s good writing, good storytelling, incredible reading.

Love the book, and love King’s inexplicable need to criticize Meyer every chance he gets.

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Taking a break after lifting Stephen King’s latest book, Under the Dome!

under the dome

Skull-boy included for purposes of scale

While I just got Stephen King’s newest book, Under the Dome, and I haven’t had a chance to read it, I am ready to give my early review.  It’s gigantic!  My arms are sore from lifting it.   I think you should be required to register it as a lethal weapon because if I could muster up the strength to throw it at someone, it would kill them instantly.  Are you hearing me?  I’m saying it’s big.  It has it’s own gravitational pull.  Ginormous.

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Swine Flu – Color me concerned!

Oh, my God!  The Swine Flu apparently makes you breakout in denim!

Oh, my God! The Swine Flu apparently makes you breakout in denim!

Picture this – I’m going through my normal routine this morning; relaxing, drinking some coffee, getting the trash together for trash day, making sure the dog empties her bladder out in the yard and not in the kitchen.  It’s business as usual.  One of the morning shows is on, but I’m not really paying much attention.  It’s just noise.  Suddenly I hear Kathleen Sebelius’, Secretary of Health and Human Services, voice coming from the TV.  I turn and hear her say, “We are concerned that American’s aren’t taking the H1N1 Flu seriously enough.”  I swallow my coffee with a loud, almost painful gulp.  She said it in a calm, even tone that did not connote any kind emergency situation, but in my head I heard her telling me to panic, to get on my knees and pray to my God for ever-loving mercy, that the Swine Flu is going to kill us all.  She’s the person who’s been put in charge of our nation’s health, and she basically just said we need to call the priest to administer Last Rites.  I’m concerned that she is concerned that we are not concerned enough.  It’s Stephen King’s The Stand coming to life.  Things did not go well in that book, people.  I am a student of apocalyptic situations, and I have to tell you that the viral apocalypse scenario is the worst.  People turn on each other.  The military kills civilians with impunity.  The chance for a zombie uprising is at its absolute highest.  And I’m pretty sure the virus will bring Hitler, Stalin, and Carrot Top back to life…. Wait, I’ve just been informed Carrot Top is alive!  It’s begun!  This is not good.  Run, run as fast as you can!

You got what you wanted, Madam Secretary.  I’m scared out of my mind!  Thank you!

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Stephenie Meyer and Stephen King actually agree on something!

Stephen King, a vocal critic of Stephenie Meyer, has actually found common ground with the woman who didn’t write a series of vampire books (C’mon, those were not vampires. Vampires can’t go out in the sun. They have fangs. They can’t get near garlic… I digress) The two mega-author-gazillionaires agree that Catching Fire (the Hunger Games sequel) by Suzanne Collins is an excellent book. I was actually at BEA where Collins was doing a signing and giving out free Advanced Reader Copies (ARC), but I couldn’t make it to the signing. I could have thrown my blogger weight around with the publisher, but they would have laughed at me. They may have even held me down and given me a red belly. Who needs that? I’m sure I can find a copy somewhere. I smart. I can do things…Anyway, the book trailer has been released, and it is cool!

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Stephen King Gives Out the Rare Reverse Blurb

One can’t help but feel bad for Twilight author Stephenie Meyer this morning. Stephen King is not a fan of her pretty-boy vampire tales, and he’s not afraid to say it. In fact, he said in an USA Weekend interview that Ms. Meyer isn’t a very good writer. True, she has millions of devalued dollars to placate her wounded writer’s soul, but still it’s got to sting when the master doesn’t approve. I am not a fan of the Meyer’s books myself. It has nothing to do with the author’s talents. I just like my vampires to be… scary. The notion of metrosexual vampires is lost on me. I don’t like reading “sex in the city” moments in my creepy monster stories. And make no mistake about it, vampires are monsters. They are not out-of-work fashion models more concerned about hair gel than getting their next blood-lust freak on.

Still, I’m a bit baffled by Mr. King’s comments. They seem unnecessary. I am a Stephen King fan. I count “Bag of Bones,” as one of my favorite books, and granted, he’s not known for withholding his opinion when asked, but I have to admit this one has me scratching my head. I know reporters take things out of context, and tend toward the sensational, but I can’t for the life me find a positive way to spin the quote, “Stephanie Meyer can’t write worth a darn.” I’m thinking maybe someone cut him off in traffic or left his donut a few sprinkles short the morning of the interview, and he was just feeling grumpy.

You can read the story here: Smackdown of the Week: Stephen King vs. Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer

The Deal – A Reality Show for Writers

This week on the deal writers read prose at a nudist colony.

"This week on The Deal writers pitch their books to 4th graders."

I am floating this idea out on the interweb ether knowing full well that someone will take it and run with it. Writers are made for reality TV shows. We’re quirky, defensive, insecure, opinionated, and flat out weird in most cases. The airwaves are just begging for a show featuring 12 writers living in a house vying for a lucrative publishing deal. Can you imagine the number of train wreck moments that will be captured on tape? I know it’s sadistic, and I should be flogged for suggesting such a thing. Writers are my people after all, but I can’t help myself. It would be immensely watchable.

Writers would be chosen for their writing samples, their interview, and their marketability. Take that last qualification, and apply whatever meaning you wish; looks, personality, sense of style etc. The tasks would include completing edits on deadline, building a social network, readings, making pitches, how they handle themselves doing interviews, getting blurbs from well-known authors, typing pages on an actual typewriter etc. The winner will be chosen by the online community and a panel of three judges. At the end of the process, a six-figure contract with one of the major publishers awaits the winner. The Judges? They would be as follows:

Judith Regan

Stephen King

John Ridley (No relation to me)

Your host would be anyone but Ryan Seacrest. The guy’s got like four jobs and he’s annoying on all of them. Personally, I think the perfect choice would be Ira Glass. He’s smart, funny, and people would take the show seriously if he were involved.

Why do I think people would watch it? Well besides the reasons I gave in the first paragraph, the NEA did a study recently that revealed a whopping 81% of Americans think they have a book inside of them. They all think they can do it, and I’m betting they would watch a group of writers be put through the wringer, living vicariously through the contestants, all the while thinking, “I could do better than them.” It’s perfect reality show fodder.

Forbes Names Highest Paid Authors – I didn’t Make the List

Forbes (the magazine voted most-likely to make me feel like a complete failure by highlighting everyone else’s success – Gee, thanks a lot Forbes!) has released their list of highest paid authors last year.  The names on the list aren’t as surprising as the enormous amounts of money they made.  Someone needs to tell these people that New York Magazine has declared the publishing industry dead and buried.  How dare they make money!  Here’s the top five (Note: these are earnings in single year):

J.K. Rowling – $300 million

James Patterson – $50 Million

Stephen King – $45 Million

Tom Clancy – $35 Million

Danielle Steel – $30 Million

Okay, people, you notice whose name is missing from that last?  Mine.  I’m never going to make it at the rate you are buying my books.  What do I have to do to get you in one of my books today?  I’ll throw in the undercoating and trailer hitch at no extra cost.  C’mon let’s do this thing.  Let’s get you behind the pages of my books.  With a little luck and lot of elbow grease, I’ll make that Forbes list next year.    

Stephen King’s “N.” – A New Medium

Stephen King has jumped into the world of online storytelling in a big way. He has teamed up with Marvel Comics and Simon & Schuster to create a 25 part comic book video. It’s ingenious. It’s risky. It could be a launching pad to a whole new medium. And it’s a great place for really lazy animators to look for work. There’s very little movement in the frame. Time will only tell if this will work or not, but I wouldn’t bet against King. It’s great promotion for the upcoming release of Stephen King’s newest collection of short stories, Just After Sunset. Here’s the publisher’s description of the project:

Master storyteller Stephen King presents a revolutionary new form of entertainment: his short story “N.” brought to vibrant life through a series of 25 graphic video episodes. The original series tells the story of a psychiatrist who falls victim to the same deadly obsession as his patient—an obsession that just might save the world!

Drawn by award-wining comic book artist Alex Maleev, and colored by famed comic book colorist José Villarrubia, the episodes were adapted by Marc Guggenheim, co-creator of the ABC-TV series “Eli Stone” with creative oversight from Stephen King.

Here’s the first episode of the story titled “N.”