Out of the Horizon

Out of the Horizon

2 Dec 2016 01:20

The holidays are here - time for a game!

With all the hustle and bustle, here are some fun ways to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Yes, as an author, there's nothing I'd like more than to see people reading books at any time of year. On the other hand, the holiday season is a great opportunity to sit down with those in your life and enjoy the simple, social pleasure of a quick game. So, on that note, let's take a look at three games. Not only are they great to play, they also make very reasonable gifts, with a great entertainment to cost ratio.
If it's books you're looking for, I've written reviews for quite a few titles, and, well, I've published a few books of my own. You can see my reviews and titles on my Goodreads page.
On to the game reviews....
The Car Wars Card Game is a vastly simplified version of the classic board game dating back to the 1980's. The card game version was originally available in the late 1980's and is now back in print with new graphics, new battle cards, and a few new rules. Don't worry - the entire rule sheet can be read and learned in about fifteen minutes. 
The idea of the game is simple enough. Players select their cars, draw a hand of battle cards, and throw down on each other. The rules allow for different ways to score a winner, but last driver standing always seems the best way to go. Depending on the number of players a round of combat can take anywhere between ten minutes and an hour. Dynamic cards also allow for other players to intervene in exchanges of gunfire, so that no one feels left out.
Holiday shopping creates its fair share of road rage. With the Car Wars Card Game, you can vent that rage in a fun (and non-criminal) way with your fellow vehicle arena combatants. The game is available at Amazon for $25.
    With Settlers of Catan, players embark on an adventure of trading and building to colonize the fictional land of Catan. This innovative, award-winning game features a modular playing map, so that every game is conducted on a unique landscape. This one brilliant feature translates to the reality that the game never gets old; indeed, every game is its own experience.
The game mechanics are quite simple, with only a few pages of rules, an excellent print tutorial to walk new players through the rules, and even a quick setup guide to get a first-time game rolling in a hurry. Game play ensues as players roll dice to generate commodities, trade commodity cards to build roads and settlements for increased commodities, and take efforts to both help and hinder each other as the situation demands. There is no combat. Even so, trading sessions can be cut-throat as commodity pressure increases and the map fills with construction. The winner is decided by a point system based on what players build on the map.
A typical game with four players runs about ninety minutes; a three player game is possible, but the four player trade dynamic ads greater competitive dimension. Given the simplicity of the game system it's suitable for younger players (but not children) so that it can make for a great family game night.
Settlers of Catan is available at Amazon for $35. There are numerous expansions and add-ons, although my feeling is to avoid the add-ons to preserve the original simplicity of the game. There is an extra player expansion which stretches the map and allows for 5-6 players - highly recommended so that more can play.
  Last, but certainly not least, is the infamous Cards Against Humanity. If you're not familiar with this game, be on notice that this is R-rated fun, so put the kids (and your sensitivities) to bed.
This game is essentially a no-holds barred, politically incorrect, rude and crude version of the popular Apples to Apples card game. Though the two are not connected in any way, the rules are basically the same, wherein one player draws a prompt card and then selects a reply card from those offered by other players. As the game's name suggests, nothing is sacred, and if it seems that a bunch of drunken college dorm residents put this game together, well, that's probably not far from the truth. If you have an open sense of humor, this game can provide a night of hilarious entertainment. You might even look at people a little differently when you see the kinds of cards they play or choose for replies.
As with most successful games there are numerous versions and add-ons, yet the original version has never failed to entertain. 
Cards Against Humanity is available at Amazon for $25.
So there you go...great ways to enjoy this time of year, and potentially great gifts. I for one am a fan of anything that gets people away from electronics and compels direct social interaction. No matter which of these three games you choose to play, there will be a fun night for all involved.
And when you're done, then you can read a book...just saying.
Happy Holidays!

26 Sep 2016 20:02

Oddities & Entities 2: Vessels - Available now!

I'm very happy to announce my latest book publication: 'Oddities & Entities 2: Vessels'.
For this, my sixth book, I returned to the anthology format to weave a brand new set of stories into a fourth collection. Though it follows the original 'Oddities & Entities' in mood, 'Vessels' follows its characters into even stranger places, and treads more into surrealism and horror than its predecessor - making it a great fit for this upcoming Halloween! 
From the back cover:
"Sometimes you need to be broken to be made whole."
With 'Oddities & Entities 2: Vessels,' multi-award winning author Roland Allnach returns to the strange and surreal path forged by his critically acclaimed 'Oddities & Entities.' Consisting of nine new tales spiced with elements of horror and speculative fiction, Vessels explores the communion of spirit, substance, and the eccentricities of flesh between those conjoined realms.
'Vessels' is available now at Amazon in print, with Kindle to follow soon.
To get a deeper look into 'Vessels', visit the dedicated page at my website,
Happy reading...and enjoy your nightmares...

Movie Reviews: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' and 'Experimenter'

4 Jul 2016 12:52

For fans of indie films, let's take a look at two recent titles: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' and 'Experimenter'

As an author, I get to explore the nature of humanity through the creation of different characters. And, like most authors, it's safe to say that I'm a student of human behavior. Without such observation it would be difficult, if not impossible, to summon the different personality constructs necessary to provide a reader with characters that seem to live beyond the page.
To that end (and perhaps somewhat telling of my own personality) I enjoy stories, real or fictional, that explore the human psyche. I've had the pleasure to see two films straight to this point: The Stanford Prison Experiment and Experimenter.
Product DetailsThe Stanford Prison Experiment is a rendition of the actual controversial experiment conducted at Stanford University in 1971, following the account by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who oversaw the experiment. Fort those not familiar with the experiment, it involved the creation of a simulated prison environment with student volunteers playing the roles of guards and inmates. This movie is not dry by any means, even though it deals with what may be considered the rather intellectual pursuit of sociological effects on individuals.
As with the actual experiment, the movie leads the viewer down a very dark and twisted descent into what may be considered some very primal human reactions to unquestioned authority. What provides the real sense of dread in the Stanford Experiment was that the men involved were screened to rule out those with apparent negative inclinations. On the surface, the participants - both guards and prisoners - were normal, healthy young men who were only separated from the role of guard or prisoner by the flip of a coin.
While the increasing abuse exercised by the guards is disturbing, what is perhaps of equal or greater disturbance is the subjugation of the prisoners. It's hard to remember during the progression (or devolvement) of the experiment that all the participants were knowing volunteers acting out a simulation. Within the first day of the experiment things became all too real and consumed not only the volunteers but the researchers themselves.
Horrifying yet fascinating, this riveting portrayal of an experiment that continues to be a source of much debate is an experience that transcends the screen.
Product Details Whereas The Stanford Prison Experiment plays out cinematically with the tension of a psychological thriller/horror movie, Experimenter is a much more subdued but no less cerebral adventure into the human psyche.
The movie follows Dr. Stanley Milgram, the real-life Yale professor responsible for the Shock-box Experiment, in which subjects were instructed to deliver electric shocks to another test subject for failing to answer questions. The shocks were simulated, as were the cries of pain of the recipients, but what the study uncovered was the unerring tendency for the administrators to go ahead and deliver higher voltages of shock. As with the Stanford Experiment, the Shock-box Experiment continues to be a source of debate to this day, nearly fifty years later.
The movie continues past this one experiment to represent the ongoing work of Milgram and his exploration of some of the quirkier aspects of human nature and behavior. In particular, Milgram's work has the overall focus to reveal and understand how individuals excuse or distance themselves of responsibility in institutional situations. In short, the behavior is summarized in the moral black hole of the "just following orders" mentality. In the end, though, it is the Shock-box Experiment that serves most as his legacy, perhaps for the disturbing things it reveals about human nature.
For those interested in two pivotal moments exploring the darker side of the human mind, these movies provide an intriguing one-two punch of introspection. While The Stanford Prison Experiment involves a very different dynamic than Experimenter, both movies are anchored around solid performances that ground rather than orbit the unnerving implications of their subject matter. In the end, both movies remind us not to judge the actions of others quite so quickly. As viewers taken through the twisting journey of these films, we are taught that how people behave is a complex interaction of the individual, the situational context, and the exercise of authority.
Of course, being an author, I would be remiss not to mention the books that go along with these movies:
Product DetailsProduct Details
For those interested in the Stanford Experiment, Dr. Zimbardo himself has written an account of the experiment he conducted. Entitled TheLucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil, it also explores other breaches of morality in the real world over recent years, namely, the violations committed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  For more on the Shock-box Experiment, Dr. Milgram's own Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View is available. Interestingly enough, the forward for Dr. Milgram's book is written by...yes, you guessed it, Dr. Zimbardo.

'The Writer's Primer' earns 5 stars at Readers' Favorite!

8 Mar 2016 15:35

'The Writer's Primer: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Authors Seeking Publication' has been greeted by three great reviews from Readers' Favorite. I firmly believe in giving back to the writing world, and I'm very happy that my first foray into non-fiction has hit the mark.

"A very informative and interesting presentation of the creative art of writing."

"Roland Allnach gives you a 360-degree view of the publishing will find this book a worthy read."
"A deep, in depth explanation of the complicated publishing world...a much needed book."
Read the full reviews at Readers' Favorite!

Us Girls & A Book: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach WITH Review

10 Feb 2016 14:49

Us Girls & A Book: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach WITH Review: Science Fiction
Week 2 of the digital tour starts off with this review from 'Us Girls & A Book':
"This story takes place in the future.  It is not all that unbelievable that this situation could exist.  Earth has been destroyed by taking and not replacing natural resources.  The humans remaining on earth have been implanted with chips at a young age. At that time, they are harvested of any reproductive abilities. These "parts" are then used to create new humans with the proper abilities to survive.  The babies are then placed with the appropriate parents to grow up.  At each stage of development - children, teens, adults - they are trained and their minds wiped clean of any memories of a personal nature.

But what happens when something causes someone to start remembering their past?  Can they evade the authorities and avoid a mind sweep?
"I took away a half of a star because the beginning of the book left more questions than answers.  Yes, later in the book you get an explanation but it takes away the beginning of the story if you don't know what things are or what is meant.  This can deter many readers because of the confusion.  The story seems slow to start.  I did read the entire story because I have a hard time giving up on a book.  It did take me longer than usual to read because the story didn't really "grip" me.  I know some people will really like this book.
"If you like stories of the future after the destruction of earth you will like this one. If you like books of programming and controlling the population by a select few, this will be right up your alley."
The tour continues at Reading Addiction Book Tours...

The Indie Express: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach with ...

5 Feb 2016 23:12

The Indie Express: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach with ...: Science Fiction
The blog tour rolls on with two stops today. First up: 'The Indie Express':
"Roland Allnach has created a wonderful new world for us to dive into. He did a great job of giving us backstory and having us learn about what kind of environment the characters were dealing with.

Wonderfully paced and Multi Dimensional characters really set this novel up for success."
Second stop: 'The Steamy Side':
"As always when first diving into a new world created by an author, there are many questions and catching up to do. I think Roland Allnach did a good job of explaining his world and characters, but could have done with a bit more detail in certain aspects. 

"That was really the only downfall of the novel though and it wasn't even really that huge of a deal. Other than that the pacing and plot of the novel was very well done. There was plenty of action and it really kept my attention throughout!"
That brings week one to a close; stay tuned for week 2!  Follow along at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours.

My Reading Addiction: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach #revi...

3 Feb 2016 22:41

My Reading Addiction: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach #revi...: Science Fiction..

Two blog stops today. The second drops by with another review:

"Carly is a character that while is lovable, is kind of frustrating at times. I think she is a solid character and shows that while characters have flaws, they are still fun to read about.

"The plot is full of exciting twists along the way and quite easy to follow.

"The world that Roland Allnach has created is vivid and fun to become absorbed in."

Carly is a complex character going through some very difficult situations. Her story functions on several levels, and balancing all these elements was an enjoyable challenge. Given her perspective and the conditions under which she lives, there are times where she's pushed into a corner, and her frustration lashes out. Such is life and, as they saying goes, you don't really learn who you are until you're put to the test.

Stay tuned for the rest of the tour dates at Reading Addiction...

Texas Book Nook: Blog tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach #revi...

3 Feb 2016 22:35

Texas Book Nook: Blog tour: The Digital Now by Roland Allnach #revi...: Science Fiction

Tour stop number two, and another great review:

"I really enjoyed the pacing and how it was steady throughout. It is fast paced and doesn't let up and didn't have moments that dragged. It made for a fast and furious read.

"It really shined light on the characters and world in general.

"I liked that this was sci-fi but also had many other qualities that made it lovable to readers of suspense, humor, and fiction in general."

Continue to follow along at Reading Addiction...

A Life Through Books: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Rolan Allnach #revie...

1 Feb 2016 20:18

A Life Through Books: Blog Tour: The Digital Now by Rolan Allnach #revie...: Science Fiction Date Published:   December 2015

On this first stop of my two week virtual book tour, 'The Digital Now' is greeted with a great review:

"I'm a huge sci-fi fan and this novel
Carly is a strong main character who had a lot of great qualities to her and made her easy to connect to.

Great, Sci Fi novel and writing from Roland Allnach. The world he has created is so vivid and really helps the reader feel like they are there with the characters.
A strong and fast paced plot will keep you invested the entire way through."

My thanks to 'A Life Through Books' for providing this review.

The Digital Now debuts to rave reviews!

31 Jan 2016 20:34

The Digital Now debuts to rave reviews!
I'm very happy to share the news that my novel, The Digital Now, has opened to some great reviews, receiving five-star status from both Pacific Book Review and Readers' Favorite.
"I found The Digital Now to be completely enthralling, terrifying and unique."  Pacific Book Review
Read the full review at Pacific Book Review....
And, to delve a little deeper, read an interview I did with Pacific Book Review.

"The Digital Now is a well written story about violence and the lust for incredible journey into the dark, dangerous world that Allnach created." Janelle Fila, Readers' Favorite
"The Digital Now by Roland Allnach is a futuristic novel about a dystopian fits the genre perfectly and is a wild and entertaining ride." Ryan Jordan, Readers' Favorite

"The Digital Now is an intriguing read with an imaginative premise and plot." Lit Amri, Readers' Favorite
Read the full reviews at:  Readers' Favorite
Following in the first two weeks of February....I will be on virtual book tour. Stay tuned!

28 Dec 2015 21:16

'The Digital Now' and 'The Writer's Primer' now available!

I'm very happy to announce the publication of my latest books, the sci-fi thriller 'The Digital Now' and the non-fiction 'The Writer's Primer: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Authors Seeking Publication'. 
Yes, I published two books at once, and although it's been a labor intensive process the last few months, I'm very excited to see two more titles through to publication. For those more familiar with my writing, I'll try to stoke your future interest with a little morsel...while working on 'The Digital Now' and 'The Writer's Primer', I also finished a sequel to 'Oddities & Entities'. Subtitled 'Vessels', it contains a new menu of stories to stretch the limits of imagination. Stay tuned for that later in 2016.
'The Digital Now' is my first published full length novel. From the back cover:
Just another day...
In the dystopian urban grime of The Digital Now, Patrolman Carly Westing is jarred from her rough life to discover her reality is built on lies and veiled secrets. When the authority she once protected turns on her, her life is catapulted into a violent cat and mouse game of shifting perceptions. Will she remain a tool of the forces at work around her, or become their master and change the future?
Available now at Amazon in print and Kindle!
'The Writer's Primer: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Authors Seeking Publication' is my first foray into non-fiction, and grew from a page on my website to help authors who, like me, may be coming into publication far afield of traditional pathways. From the back cover:
"You know, I have a great idea for a story..."
Rapid changes in the publishing world have opened the doors to many writers who wish to pursue the adventure of publishing. With The Writer's Primer, multi-award winning author Roland Allnach shares his knowledge and experience and offers a cohesive, pragmatic guide to those new to writing and publishing. For both new and experienced writers, The Writer's Primer illustrates the spectrum of possibilities in today's publishing world.
Available now at Amazon in print and KIndle!
Happy New Year, and happy reading!

'Prism' book launch at Long Island Writers House

12 Nov 2014 01:08

I recently had the pleasure of launching my third book, 'Prism', at Long Island Writers House.  For those who could not attend, you can view this part of the presentation wherein I discuss my writing, my books, and more.  Thanks again to LIWH for hosting!

Virtual Book Tour for 'Prism'

20 Oct 2014 13:06

Short Fiction, Tragedy, Epic poetry - find it all with the virtual book tour for 'Prism'

It's October, the temperature is dropping, the leaves transform to all their hidden colors, and the days are getting shorter...sounds like a good time for a virtual book tour for my latest book, 'Prism'.  Follow the links below for tour sites.
"Prism presents the best of Roland Allnach’s newest stories together with his most acclaimed published short fiction. These selected stories fracture the reader’s perceptions among a dazzling array of genres and styles to illuminate the mysterious aspects of the human experience. Roland Allnach has been described as a ‘star on the rise’ (ForeWord Clarion), ‘a master storyteller with a powerful pen’ (Cynthia Brian, NY Times Bestselling author), with writing that is ‘smart, elegant, and addicting’ (San Francisco Review).
"Prism collects seventeen stories into one volume, following a trail of diverse genres and narrative forms. From literary fiction to speculative fiction, from humor to horror, from tragedy to mythical poetry, Prism represents a wide ranging journey united by contemplations on the human condition. Including Allnach’s award winning published fiction (“Conquest’s End” and “The City of Never”), a Pushcart Prize nominated story (“Creep”), Prism also consists of the previously unpublished pieces “Titalis” (a tragedy along the lines of Shakespeare and Greek theatre), “Of Typhon and Aerina” (a tribute to epic verse), “Tumbleweed” (a humorous ditty), and “Dissociated”, a surreal short to cap off the collection."
Praise for Prism
5 Stars – “Roland Allnach delivers a wonderful collection of stories in ‘Prism’…I would recommend this book to all.  It brings an air of mystery along with witty and wonderfully delivered tales.”  Lisa Jones, Readers’ Favorite
5 Stars – “Roland Allnach has a great talent for creating worlds, building an atmosphere and painting for the reader a believable setting for each story.  His power of description is considerable.  The whole collection of stories is interesting and intriguing and sometimes even moving.”  Ioana Marza, Readers’ Favorite
On and on this collection goes, with tales for literally everyone’s tastes. Each genre is spoken for – from the Technicolor world of sci-fi to humor to horror to fantasy, and beyond. Allnach has a voice that speaks so loud readers lose themselves in the stories, making this a whole lot of fun…A dazzling collection.” – Amy Lignor, Feathered Quill Reviews
Tour stop dates:
Monday, October 20th: The Reader’s Hollow .... Review: 4/5 stars
Tuesday, October 21st: Becca Rowan .... "the collection demonstrates a deep breadth of imagination and perception"
Thursday, October 23rd: Spiced Latte Reads .... "From horror to humor, ('Prism') keeps you entertained through the whole book."
Monday, October 27th: BoundbyWords .... "There is something so disturbingly refreshing about Allnach's writing, something so unabashedly addicting."
Tuesday, October 28th: Necromancy Never Pays .... "Each story is a bit unsettling - always for the reader, sometimes for the teller, and often for the characters who are being examined closely from one side of the lens or the other."
Wednesday, October 29th: Rooftop Reading .... "I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of short stories or likes any of the multiple genres in this book."
Thursday, October 30th: A Bookish Way of Life .... "(Allnach) is keen on showcasing the dark side of human nature through his writing...I would definitely read more of Allnach's works."
Wednesday, November 5th: Dwell in Possibility .... "Reading 'Prism' just have to let go and allow Allnach to carry you along.  He's in control, and he's a master of jarring perception without pushing readers too far.  In short, this book is a blast."
Monday, November 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller .... "'Prism' is a nice showcase of Allnach's abilities."
Tuesday, November 11th: Book Binder’s Daughter .... "'Prism' is a delightful selection of stories and there is a story that every reader will find that he or she likes and can connect with."
Wednesday, November 12th: The Discerning Readers .... "A fantastic collection...very original in presentation.  A wonderful variety providing endless entertainment."
Thursday, November 13th: Rockin’ Book Reviews .... "The author's writing style was notable and the book was cleanly written."
Thursday, November 20th: Kahakai Kitchen .... "'Prism' is...a diversity of stories, dipping into horror, tragedy, dark humor, science fiction, mythology, and even poetry, and it is impressive to see an author so talented in the different genres."
Thursday, November 20th: she treads softly .... "'Prism' by Roland Allnach is a highly recommended collection of 17 short stories that display the author's incredible talent and ability to write in a wide variety of styles."
Monday, December 22: Ageless Pages Reviews .... "('Prism') remains a starkly unique reading experience...I liked that the author isn't afraid to explore negative emotions and perspectives in unexpected ways."

Prism receives its first reviews

11 Aug 2014 16:45

Prism:  First reviews are in!
I'm very happy to share the first reviews that have come in for my third book, Prism.  Every book is a great investment of an author's energy and time, and it's always a great source of satisfaction when readers can connect to that effort.  For Prism, I took care in refreshing my previously published short fiction and combining it with new, unpublished stories to produce a varied landscape of genres and narrative styles.
Enough from me; I'll let the reviews speak for themselves.  (Full review text available via the source links.)
“Allnach delivers a wonderful collection of stories in ‘Prism’.  It brings an air of mystery along with witty and wonderfully delivered tales.”  Lisa Jones, Readers’ Favorite
Allnach has a great talent for creating worlds, building an atmosphere and painting for the reader a believable setting for each story.  The whole collection of stories is interesting and intriguing and sometimes even moving.”Ioana Marza, Readers’ Favorite
 “A timeless, exquisite collection of short stories that’s bound to leave you mesmerized and awestruck.  The collection is a masterpiece, besides being lifelike in many ways.  The selection of stories indicates a true literary master at work.”  Rattan Whig, Reader’sFavorite

“On and on this collection goes, with tales for literally everyone’s tastes.  Allnach has a voice that speaks so loud readers lose themselves in the stories… A dazzling collection.”  Amy Lignor, Feathered QuillReviews

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 8: An Afterword

13 Nov 2013 22:50

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this final post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll share some hindsight on the book as a whole.
The following excerpts are available in total on my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
But first...

I've been participating in a voter-driven contest sponsored by 'The Authors Show', entitled '50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading'.  I'm very happy to say that I've entered the finalist round for the 2013 listing.  

As this contest is driven by on-line voting, I would like to ask your support by voting for me at
On to 'Oddities & Entities'...

A hindsight view of Oddities & Entities (SPOILER ALERT!)
  Ah, where to begin?  I think the best place to start with a writer's hindsight perspective for 'Oddities & Entities' is to talk about the sense of location throughout the book.
  The stories cover some varied ground.  From the lazy summer evenings of Florida in 'Boneview', to the frigid northern territory of 'Elmer Phelps', to the Pacific shore in 'Gray', to a nightmarish morgue in 'Shift/Change', to a college campus in 'My Other Me' and last to an exotic jungle and globe-hopping memories of 'Appendage', the wide scope of settings was done by design.  I at once wanted to portray experiences in the world that were somewhat different in some of the philosophical interactions of the characters of the distinct stories, and yet present a cohesive message that no matter the locale, other-worldly phenomena are right around the corner.  This also drove the unifying, summary scope of global settings reflected in 'Appendage'.
  I believe environment has a profound yet subtle effect on the way we perceive the world around us.  The conditions of our locale can effect our outlook, and perhaps our disposition as well.  Excessive states of climate tend to keep people indoors, and so they have more time to reflect on their station in life.  Likewise, expansive beauty such as the coastal scenery alluded to in 'Gray' and the dismal, depressing dungeon of a decrepit hospital morgue in 'Shift/Change' cause the characters to ponder things beyond themselves. 

  A sense of locale is also a sense of comfort and security.  It's a common facet of human psychology to think we are who we are because of where we come from, or currently live.  Part of what I wanted to do with the stories of 'Oddities & Entities' was pry into that comfort zone of the characters by jarring their innate security with the introduction of outlandish events.  For example, in 'Elmer Phelps' I wove several symbolic elements of the wintry setting into the story, and let them evolve over the course of the narrative.  The barren cold at first is meant to represent Elmer's isolation, yet in its second phase it fosters the cozy warmth and tender security he finds with Samantha in contrast to the looming threat embodied in Casey's evolving role in the 'agency'.  Likewise - or perhaps in contrast - in 'Boneview' the Curmudgeon is with Allison from her first living breaths, but how she understands its presence in her life changes the way in which she views some of the stranger aspects of the Curmudgeon's existence among the shadows.
  Digging a little deeper, I also wanted to portray a simultaneous yet divergent view of the sanctity of the human body itself.  As the stories progress there is at once an increasing disregard for the violence that can mar the living form, and at the same time an increasing appreciation that the vessels in which we live possibly operate under rules we don't understand.  It starts with the apathy of Allison in 'Boneview', demonstrates its first dichotomy in alternate perspectives in 'Shift/Change' and 'My Other Me', and takes a much more pointed - if not graphic - turn in the dark comic gore of 'Gray' and the cannibalistic brain ingestion of 'Elmer Phelps', ultimately culminating in the shape-shifting transcendence in 'Appendage' of Randal from a terminal cancer patient, to mutant arborial hybrid, to a towering tree.
  These explorations of how we not only interact and view our physical selves inevitably involved some of the sexual aspects of the stories.  The sexual aspect of the human psyche is a powerful force, yet it can be twisted by life experience.  I didn't want to write stories about deviance.  That may sound ridiculous given the relationship between Elmer and his sister Casey in 'Elmer Phelps', but with this story in particular what I wanted to do was use something very jarring - their taboo relationship - to show the insidious way in which moral standards could be derailed and redefined by the intrusion of a new perception of reality.  I felt it was an effective way to demonstrate how far astray standards can drift.  More to the point, I wanted to craft a thought model for Casey in which her taboo relationship with her brother Elmer is not only forgivable but inevitable.  To make the story work in the way I envisioned it, that relationship was at the core of Elmer's motivations.  It drove his isolation, it drove his inspiration to do something with himself, it fueled his desire for a 'normal' relationship with Samantha and, in the end, in light of Casey's self sacrifice, showed that love itself can indeed be a murky concept. 
  So, in closing, I'd like to summarize by saying that I didn't write 'Oddities & Entities' with the purpose of waging war on morality.  Rather, I wanted to portray situations that inspire reflection on concepts of right and wrong, just and unjust, and what it means to even have a moral compass.  One of the whispering themes of the book is that morality is both subjective and absolute.  It's not only the challenge of the characters of the various stories, but also a challenge to us as living people, to find a place somewhere between our private morality and a greater, perhaps cosmic, set of principles. 
  I won't claim these words to be the last things I might say about 'Oddities & Entities'.  In fact, I hope the opposite is the case.  The wonderful thing about being an author is that readers can point out perspectives I as the writer did not see myself.  When that happens, it just opens up another round of thought and discussion.  That, to me, is part of what makes literature so fascinating: words have a life of their own.  
Thank you all for following the tour!

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 7: Creative aspects of "Appendage"

31 Oct 2013 14:40

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll discuss the sixth and last story, "Appendage".
I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.

 This story, as with several others, started with a singular image in my head.  It consisted of some type of creature, blackened and crusty, chained down in some type of research lab.  The creature was at one point a man, a man who had been exposed to something to cause his horrible transformation.  The story would then continue past this disturbing precept to follow the man/monster through some type of exploit.

  And as the saying goes, therein lies the rub.  I had no idea what kind of 'exploit' this 'creature' might follow and, as I've said with "Boneview", I wasn't interested in writing a straightforward 'monster' story.  No, I wanted something more complex and, at the time I started to consider this idea, I was already committed to bundling a supernatural/paranormal anthology.  And so the more I thought about this initial idea, the more it grew within me, and I felt it would provide a great opportunity to introduce a speculative element to the anthology that could also serve as a philosophical exploration to tie the whole thing together.
  With that, "Appendage" evolved to its final form.  It's probably obvious by now from some of my other fiction that I'm a bit of a tree hugger, and certainly that shows in "Appendage".  I happen to find a great deal of solace in staring at trees.  Often, when I'm writing, I find a spot to sit where I can see some trees, whether I'm indoors or outdoors, and when I look up I find a meditative quality to watching the leaves shift and sway in the air.  There are some lessons to learn from watching trees, without getting too far into my Naturalist inclinations.  Just consider that while we run and hide from rain, winds, storms, and cold nights, the trees are out there.  It's not just part of the old idea 'to bend with the breeze' but the idea of being part of something, rather than weaving around things.
  This is part of what I wanted to convey with the character of Randal.  A mercenary, a failed father, a failed husband, a man who took the world by its collar and slapped it around in his contempt, he has yet to understand the mess of his life is as much a product of circumstance as it is his own outlook.  Hence the small disdainful references to transcendentalism and 'New Age' thought trains.  As much as his cynicism shrugs off such notions, he is at the same time very much given to follow their lead in his search for not only a sense of peace but a sense of reason to the anarchic existence that has surrounded him.  It is both his shield against the stranger events of the story and his key to unlock his place within those events, and that's what I really enjoyed in writing "Appendage": nothing can be picked apart.  Randal's life is a complicated mosaic, and without any of those elements in place his outcome in the story would have been much different.
  I won't give anything away, but it is for all these reasons that "Appendage" found its place as the closing story in 'Oddities & Entities'.  It dovetails quite well with "Elmer Phelps", and in terms of fulfilling the thematic arc of the anthology, I believe (that is, hope) it serves quite well.
Stay tuned.  I will excerpt one more post from my website, containing some afterthoughts on 'Oddities & Entities'.  Spoiler alert!

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 6: Creative aspects of "Elmer Phelps"

28 Oct 2013 14:11

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll discuss the fifth story, "Elmer Phelps".
I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
"Elmer Phelps"

  As a single story, "Elmer Phelps" nevertheless is the longest piece in 'Oddities & Entities', perhaps because of the tricky ground that it traverses.
  What can I say about this story?  Oh, Elmer, Elmer, Elmer. . .where do I 
begin?  It's difficult to discuss this story without giving too much away, as so much of what happens that might be considered strange, disgusting, and gruesome all find their subjective justifications and explanations.  And that, if nothing else, is what lies at the heart of "Elmer Phelps", and was touched upon for a moment in "Boneview": the idea that once one crosses over the boundaries of everyday life, the common rules of morality we know might not apply in the ways in which they are accustomed.  The challenge of "Elmer Phelps" was not only to portray such a situation, but at the same time maintain an awareness that some things, regardless of how they might attain understanding and even moral equivocation, are still to be rejected to maintain a basic sense of humanity.
  "Elmer Phelps" had its origins in something much more ordinary than the story it came to be.  I've always been interested in writing a zombie story, not just for my private enjoyment of almost all things zombie, but for the challenge of writing a different kind of zombie tale.  I still like the idea I developed, so I won't discuss it here in case I do flesh it out (no pun intended) to a full length book, but in its original conception as a novel entitled "Elmer Phelps" I found there to be some deep problems in the basic logic structure of the story.  Despite that I typed up a short two page story treatment, as I often do for a book, containing some basic plot points, character profiles/motivations, and some of the underlying themes.
  After that, it collected dust for a year, though it never left the back of my mind.  In the meantime I took up another book project, a yet unpublished piece of main stream fiction by the title of 'Snowflake', and started hammering away at that.  As the title might suggest, it takes place in a wintry climate.  To make this seeming tangent relevant, I mention all this because while I was toying with the ideas of a wintry setting and what type of symbolic and aesthetic elements such a setting could lend to a story, the ideas for "Elmer Phelps" welled up once more, to the point where I put 'Snowflake' aside and dove into Elmer's story.  I backed off from the zombie idea, and went for something more subtle, and perhaps more penetrating, as subtle things tend to be.
  All that aside, "Elmer Phelps" was meant to do what I like to often do with my writing, and that is present the reader with a set of circumstances that on their surface defy explanation but at the same time challenge the innate compulsion to condemn such things.  In this gray area there lurks not only a creeping chill for the story but the the anchor point of what I was trying to map out with 'Oddities & Entities'.  Life does not always present itself to us in black and white and, as Elmer realizes, it's up to the human mind to make sense of things - "the human mind, with all its three pounds of eternity."
  Although Elmer appears as the second to last story of 'Oddities & Entities', it was the last piece I wrote for the anthology, and I wrote it with the direct understanding that it was to lead into the final story, which was already completed, a story by the title "Appendage".
Stay tuned for the last installment...

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 5: Creative aspects of "Gray"

25 Oct 2013 20:48

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this fourth post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll discuss the fourth story, "Gray".
I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
Before getting into the story discussion, though, I am compelled to share an excerpt from one of the reviews of 'Oddities & Entities' on this tour.  This one comes courtesy of 'Bound by Words':
"Honestly, the sheer amount of TALENT that exists within the world of indie publishing is ASTOUNDING. I can't, for the life of me, understand why so many great titles, and authors, aren't being picked up by larger publishing houses. Right now, at this moment, I feel the need to stand atop my roof, in this 5 degree weather, and shout to the world about the words that I just consumed, about the absolute certainty, and exactness of Roland Allnach's narrative. What a damn great book to read in the month of October, I do not regret being given the pleasure. WELL DONE SIR. WELL..DONE."
(Excerpt from 'Bound by Words', posted 10/24/2013.  Full post here.)

Now, regarding "Gray":

  "Gray" follows a strange circumstance: a rather type-A class of person is straining to hold on to his sanity is jarred from his perception of reality when a little gray man pops out of his nose.  Well, isn't that a strange thing to happen on a Friday night?

  With "Gray" I wanted to take the lead established by "Boneview" and "My Other Me" and extend it in a different direction.  It wasn't just about taking a somewhat humorous turn with some darkly comical moments, but rather to use a bit of a satirical/cynical tone toward the order of the reality we share.  In the previous stories of 'Oddities & Entities' leading up to "Gray" the characters are given little choice but to accept the other-worldly aspects of their tales, whereas in "Gray" the protagonist, Dave, seems just an ordinary guy until something very strange happens in his life.  It is then up to him to come to accept that his perception of life around him is in fact quite flawed, and the madness of his life is in large part due to that flawed perception.  He must learn to adjust his perception not only of his past but of both his present and future to find his way among this new understanding of things around him.  As this understanding grows, he sees more and more that it was waiting for him in every facet of his life and, through this, he is able to come to peace with the transition of his existence: his new terms of life are not bizarre, but rather the long awaited norm he sought.  In hindsight, he learns that it was his old life that was in fact bizarre and motivated by the blind rage of pointless futility.
  I made an effort to invest "Gray" with a number of contrasting set changes.  There is the ocean, vast and mysterious, right down the street from Dave's house, but he pays it little heed until after his life changes.  On the other hand, there are the mountains and open space of Montana, and its tracts of woodland, vast and mysterious in their own right.  The townhouse in which he lives undergoes its own transformation, from its implied luxury to the gutted Spartan austerity of Dave's later transformation.  Then there's Kim, the hostile underworld parasite who wants to work both sides of a precarious equation to his own benefit, with the casual contempt of an anarchist.  Underlying all of this, of course, is the strained relationship between Dave, his cousin Peter, and the seeming aloof presence of Pixie, Peter's companion.  But Pixie as well has multiple roles, one as the object of Dave's desire, but beneath her surface the true source of her allure, the hidden awareness she carries as to the world and its unseen order.
  And then there's the little man that popped out of Dave's head, Gray.  Over the years I had numerous ideas for stories involving little gray men wandering around, either as figments of a character's imagination, elusive but benign creatures living in machines, or perhaps in their strangest form subconscious thoughts transformed to tangible form to speak with the person who was their source.  None of these story ideas ever gained enough momentum to compel me to craft a story around them, and I think the main reason for that might have been the fact that none of those ideas left much space for what the 'grays' would be, in terms of their own character development.  With "Gray" that problem was solved, and so I had a story to tell.

Stay tuned for more...

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 4: Creative aspects of "My Other Me"

22 Oct 2013 23:29

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this fourth post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll discuss the third story, "My Other Me".
I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
"My Other Me"

  As the third tale of 'Oddities & Entities', "My Other Me" is meant to take a bit more of a philosophical look at things, and, as such, is perhaps one of the more difficult stories to describe.  Whereas "Boneview" and "Shift/Change" work around ordinary people caught up with things beyond their understanding, "My Other Me" follows the main character, Noel, straight into the storm.
  The basic vision for "My Other Me" came to me one night while walking across a parking lot.  As I went between the light poles I noticed how my shadow, split into four images around me, shifted, stretched, and spun.  It seemed an odd thing, and I started to wonder what it would be like if one of those shadows had an awareness of its own, and how it might perceive reality.  From there the idea refined to the somewhat more traditional concept of peering through a looking glass, or looking over a fence.  Given the train of thought I opened with "Boneview", I decided to take that precept into a darker, perhaps more twisted interpretation.  What came next seemed a natural evolution of ideas.  I recalled a few experiences from my college days, when I had the opportunity to visit ICON, a large sci-fi convention that still makes annual appearances at my alma mater.  The convention drew an interesting crowd, and I remember seeing some interesting artwork, which was quite a contrast to the realms of math and science that formed the core of my classes.  That contrast seemed a fitting background for the elements that would erupt in "My Other Me".  With all the groundwork in place, the story came into being.
  The finished product that is "My Other Me" presented a bit of a problem, at least in terms of how to explain or market the story.  I purposely wrote the story to be a bit of a head-scratcher but, when I made a few attempts to have it published, I found myself at a loss for words as to how to sum it up in a few sentences.  I love stories that are somewhat open in the tradition of the great anime stories such as Akira but, as I said, they can be difficult to describe.  Yet, when I thought of where I was going after writing both "Boneview" and "My Other Me", I was even more convinced that these stories worked better as parts of a greater whole than independent pieces.
  That said, I think the surface plot of "My Other Me" serves up a nice disturbing dose of fiction, and while not perhaps something that can summon a shriek, I think it serves more in the realm of summoning a chill the next time one walks alone.  After all, when it comes to horror, I for one find the insidious chill of a story more lasting than a shock-scare.  Shock-scares are like the candle that burns brightest, having an immediate but short lived effect.  Insidious creeps, the psychological disturbance that finds its way into one's thoughts, is more lasting, and in the end I think leaves the story with a deeper resonance.
  But, if nothing else, "My Other Me" left me hungry to write more along this growing theme of people colliding with unseen orders of nature.  And as is typical with my writing, after going in one direction I like to rebound and write my next piece in a different direction.  So as much as "My Other Me" was written to embrace psychological horror, I wanted to go in the opposite direction, and try my hand at a bit of comic-horror.
  And so came the fourth tale of 'Oddities & Entities', a story by the name of "Gray."  Stay tuned for the next post for the background on this trip into the surreal.

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour, Part 3: Creative aspects of "Shift/Change"

18 Oct 2013 23:28

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  In this third post regarding the creative aspects of the book, I'll discuss the second story, "Shift/Change".
I've excerpted the following essay from the page of my website, devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.

 "Shift/Change" was originally published in Aphelion webzine, but I decided to include it in Oddities &Entities for two reasons.  First, I thought it dovetailed rather nicely with "Boneview", as it shows a rather dark and dingy interaction between something 'more than flesh and bone'.  And while it was nice to use that quote for the back cover of the book, as it opens so much of what the theme of O&E explores, the story - for all its darkness - does hint that even at the darkest interactions between the world outside our normal existence and our mundane world harmony can be established, or at least a semblance of balance.  The second reason I included "Shift/Change" is a bit more self serving. For marketing and promotion purposes, I figured it couldn't hurt including a story that some readers might already know, and so entice them to take a dive into O&E.

  Without giving too much of the story away, I'll discuss some of the story's elements.  I wanted a creepy, Gothic style to the setting of the story, so even though much of the story takes place in a hospital morgue, a plain old morgue would not suffice.  There is an abandoned state mental hospital near my childhood home and, over the years as I grew up, the state closed the hospital in stages as care moved away from massive, centralized, multi-building facilities to more suburban, less intimidating settings.  Nevertheless, I remember how those old buildings looked at night. They were creepy, and they've grown more so over the years as they decay.  Built in stages in the early 1900's, the buildings were interconnected by underground tunnels so staff could move about during winter without having to brave cold howling winds blowing across the open fields between the buildings.
  While not a direct inspiration for the setting of "Shift/Change", this impression of hidden places and tunnels to abandoned places set a seed in my head.  Being underground can be a surreal experience, once you are severed from references such as the sun and sky.  The hollow places beneath us are their own world, a world which is crafted by those who fill its space, which leads to the cast of rather decrepit characters inhabiting the underworld of "Shift/Change".
  It is a tale of redemption, though, so set against the less savory characters are the two leads, neither of whom seem too promising as human beings in their first appearance.  In the original draft of the story the supernatural aspects of John Smith had little mystery to them, and his place in the realm of existence outside of our physical world was rather traditional.  Despite his crime and punishment - which compose the underlying drive of the story - I came to feel the spiritual nature of his existence was laid out in too much detail, so much so that there was little mystery left to him.  This, combined with interludes of his own thoughts upon his crime and punishment, defused the suspense of his inevitable unveiling before the fallen woman he is trying to save.  In successive revisions I had to gut several parts of the story.  Out went those interludes, out went his exhaustive, thinly veiled accounts of his true identity, and out went some clumsy dialogue that even in a story with supernatural elements was simply unrealistic. 
  With that done, and the story stripped to its core, I rebuilt it around the notion quoted on the back cover of O&E: there is more to this world than flesh and bone.  Though other realities exist with us, it's not necessarily a good thing when they intersect with us. Using that as a guiding point, the story took on a new life, and with John's hidden nature left somewhat vague and open for interpretation, his other-worldly nature not only gained force, but gained some menace as well.  Where he was an agent of good that had taken a bad turn in the original version of the story, he was now somewhat ambiguous, and even though he has learned the lesson of his crime, there is a threatening edge that remains to his intellect: he may be acting to redeem himself but, at the same time, he is not a being to be crossed.  With all the elements in place and in the focus I wanted, the title itself gained the deeper meaning I always hoped it could possess: the 'shift/change' phrase is not meant to be strictly temporal (the end of the night shift), but meta-physical as well (the transition of John's character, and the effect on those he victimized with his crime).
More to follow...

'Oddities & Entities' Virtual Book Tour: Creative aspects of "Boneview"

14 Oct 2013 17:50

'Oddities & Entities' consists of six stories combining different elements of the horror, supernatural, and paranormal genres.  As the leading story in the anthology, "Boneview" has the challenge of not only hinting at the various themes in the book but setting the stage for readers to enter its surreal situations.
I've excerpted the following essay from the page of my website, devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'.  Check it out at
For the full book tour, visit my previous post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.

  "Boneview" started with a singular image in my head, that of a young girl at peace in her moonlit bedroom as she was visited by some otherworldly creature.  This creepy critter, the ‘Curmudgeon’, as the underlying supernatural aspect of the story, consumed a fair amount of consideration in the crafting of the story.  I didn’t want to write a straightforward run-from-the-scary-creature type story.  In degrees of varying subtlety the Curmudgeon is the foil of the lead character, Allison, who is for most of the story amused by what she considers her strange ethereal friend.  The Curmudgeon has a plan, though – a plan for Allison – and as such, I knew I had to invest it with the same depth of any other character I try to portray.  Characters with plans are characters with motivations, and so there needs to be some dimension to their personality, no matter how other-worldly they may be.  Without such dimension their actions would hold no gravity, and so leave half the conflict of a story flat. 
 Once I had the idea of the Curmudgeon set in my head, everything else seemed to fall into place.  I wanted the story to have a bit of the Southern Gothic feel, and so came the Florida setting.  That also allowed some descriptive space to portray things that not only solidified the sense of place within the story, but added to that eerie feel as well.  There is something timeless about southern oaks and their dangling lengths of Spanish moss, which seemed to fit well with the apparent timeless age of the Curmudgeon, and the brightness of the Florida sun serves as a fitting symbolic contrast to the darker aspects brewing in Allison’s life.
  Of course, along with the Curmudgeon is that other menace that enters Allison's life, a man known as Sam Culp.  Culp's role serves more than one purpose in the story, however, and it is the shift in his role in Allison's life that put him and the Curmudgeon on opposite trajectories.  There is a phase where Culp the 'man' seems the greatest danger to Allison, while the Curmudgeon appears as an ally.  But this is an exercise of Allison's ignorance, and once she learns the truth, the roles of Culp and the Curmudgeon reverse, though in ways that defy classical interpretations of friend and foe.  The idea for the story, and for the greater whole of 'Oddities & Entities', was to weave in the idea that the realities which intersect our common world follow a morality and rational that might escape traditional understanding.  By the end of the story, while the realities of Culp and the Curmudgeon have undergone their own twisted evolutions, they may seem more as question marks than absolutes, which is what I wanted.  Either character can be judged on their interventions in Allison's life, and for every judgment against, there is yet a redeeming judgment.  As Culp tells Allison, there's a different set of rules out there, and they're not for us to understand.
  With these little twists and turns in place, I then let the story play out on its own.  In terms of the anthology, I always knew "Boneview" would be the opening story.  Not only does it help set up much of the following tone of the anthology, but it bridges many of the thoughts and conflicts, and the concurrent theme of a person grappling with an unexpected brush of life against something far beyond common experience.  "Boneview" was also responsible for opening the creative paths in me that fostered the rest of the stories in the anthology, so in that regard as well it seemed only proper to give it the opening slot.
Stay tuned for more...

October: Virtual book tour with 'Oddities & Entities'

10 Oct 2013 15:55

For fans of the supernatural, paranormal, and horror genres, during the month of October I'm once again touring the blogosphere in support of my second book, 'Oddities & Entities'.  For those who prefer perusing blogs rather than websites, I'll be posting excerpts from the creative essays I've posted to my website regarding 'Oddities & Entities'.  Today's post is an overall treatment of the book, but following posts will contain background on each individual story within the book.
If you can't wait to read everything, see it all at the 'Oddities & Entities' page on my website.  
To follow along the blog tour, the full list of dates are on my tour page at TLC Book Tours.  I also have the current list of dates and stop links at the bottom of this post.

Oddities & Entities, an anthology of six stories, marks my second stand-alone publication.  For this adventure I went down the road of the paranormal and supernatural, so it’s a bit of a departure from my first anthology, Remnant, in terms of subject matter.  But, as I’ve said in several places, I enjoy the challenge of going in different directions and trying something at least a little bit different as I move from story to story.
 Oddities & Entities explores the conflicts that arise when our everyday world brushes up against states of nature normally hidden from common perception.  Through trial comes truth and, for the characters of Oddities & Entities, it is the inner truth of their varied states of existence.  As the old wisdom goes, it's difficult to perceive ourselves in full until we are somewhat displaced from our inner perceptions of the world.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  Hence the symbolic context of the cover: the turbulence of water meeting land, the darkness of light broken by the glow of the moon rather than the sun, reality illuminated by blue twilight rather than golden sunlight.  States of nature coexist, even as they are at odds with each other.
 O&E, and the stories encompassed therein, came together in roughly two years’ time.  Unlike the stories of my first book, Remnant, which found their way together over a rather protracted period of time, and without any forethought to link them in an anthology, I wrote the stories of O&E with a steadily increasing clarity as to thematic context.  Starting with "Boneview", my interest in pursuing the strange world around us from different perspectives stoked the fires of my imagination and afforded a fresh wave of ideas.  Once "Boneview", "My Other Me", and "Gray" were all in hand, I then began to consciously consider the notion of a second anthology.  I knew I needed two, perhaps three, more novellas to flesh out such an anthology, and fortunately there was no shortage of ideas to work with.  "Appendage" was next to reach completion.  With its more philosophical aspects, it seemed most appropriate as the closing tale of the anthology’s arc.  So last but not least came "Elmer Phelps" and, with that in place, I felt the anthology was complete.  I never had any doubt as to the title I would choose: I felt that not only is "Oddities & Entities" a bit of a catchy title, but that it suitably describes the landscape in which much of the book dwells.
TLC Book Tour schedule:
Tuesday, October 1st: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, October 2nd: Wordsmithonia
Tuesday, October 8th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, October 9th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, October 10th: The Reader’s Hollow
Friday, October 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, October 14th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, October 15th: Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, October 16th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom 
Thursday, October 17th: Bibliophilia, Please!
Monday, October 21st: Pingwing’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, October 22nd: October Country
Thursday, October 24th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, October 28th: Luxury Reading
Tuesday, October 29th: Sara’s Organized Chaos

March-ing Onward

15 Mar 2013 21:03

So, here we are in March.
Time has zipped by once again, but that's okay.  Things have been busy, busy, with all my writing efforts, which in the last few weeks have consisted of a number of guest blog posts and a few upcoming guest blog posts.  So, rather than posting some of my little essays as the months move forward, I will be bringing those guest posts home.
In the meantime, I have good news to share.
First off, the Spring literary awards season is under way, and I'm thrilled that I've received one honor right out of the gate.  Oddities & Entities has placed as a Finalist in the Horror category of the prestigious ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Awards.  Final award placement will be announced in the coming months (I'll have to hold my breath until then).  
ForeWord Reviews 2012 Awards
Second, I received a very nice review for Oddities & Entities from 'The Paranoid Gamer', a blog which gave O&E a feature spot.  Comprehensive, and a proper blend and balance of subjective and objective critique, Mr. Flatt's review should be a model for writing reviews.  Check it out here:
The Paranoid Gamer/'Oddities & Entities' Spotlight

Third, I'm almost done with my manuscript prep for my third book, Prism.  For this outing I want to show some of my narrative range through different expressions in genre and written word.  Say what?  Well, it's a fancy way of saying that half the book will consist of my published short fiction, and the other half will be all new fiction.  I think it should make a nice follow up for readers who are discovering my writing through my various publicity efforts.  
And, with that said, here's a book tour link update:
I've updated the link list on an earlier post, but I simply haven't had time to keep both my website and this blog current.  So, to even the field, here's the current book tour rundown.  All the links for 'posted' events are specific to the blog pages with my event content.

Monday, February 4 – Interview at Examiner (POSTED)
Tuesday, February 5 – Interview at The Writer’s Life (POSTED)
Wednesday, February 6 – Interview at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (POSTED)
Thursday, February 7 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner (POSTED)
Friday, February 8 – Interview at Books Books the Magical Fruit (POSTED)

Tuesday, February 12 – Guest Blogging at Delphina Reads Too Much (POSTED)
Thursday, February 14 – Interview at Blogcritics (POSTED)
Friday, February 15 – Interview at Book Marketing Buzz (POSTED)
Monday, February 18 – Guest Blogging at Precious Monsters (POSTED)
Tuesday, February 19 – First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn (POSTED)
Tuesday, February 19 – Interview at Literarily Speaking (POSTED)

Wednesday, February 20 – Interview at As the Pages Turn (POSTED)
Thursday, February 21 – First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books (POSTED)
Friday, February 22 – Interview at Review From Here (POSTED)
Monday, February 25 – Interview at Pump Up Your Book (POSTED)
Monday, March 4 – Book Review at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Review forthcoming)
Tuesday, March 5 – Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book (POSTED)
Wednesday, March 6 – Interview at Between the Covers (POSTED)
Thursday, March 7 – Book Review & Book Giveaway at Urban Girl Reader (POSTED)
Friday,  March 8 – Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt (POSTED)
Monday, March 11 – Book Review at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks (POSTED)
Tuesday, March 12 – Interview at Beyond the Books (POSTED)
Wednesday, March 13 – Guest Blogging at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem (POSTED)
Thursday, March 14 - Guest Blogging at The Paperback Pursuer (POSTED)
Friday, March 15 - Excerpt Reveal at Waiting on Sunday to Drown (POSTED)
Monday, March 18 – Guest Blogging at Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, March 19 – Book Review at Beauty in Ruins
Tuesday, March 19 -- Guest Blogging at Fantasy Pages

Wednesday, March 20 – Book Review at My Cozy Corner
Thursday, March 21 -- Book Review at Emeraldfire's Bookmark
Thursday, March 21 -- Interview at The Writer's Life

Friday, March 22 – Guest Blogging at Literal Exposure

Monday, March 25 – Interview at Broowaha

Monday, March 25 -- Review at Must Read Faster
Tuesday, March 26 -- Guest blogging at Emeraldfire's Bookmark
Friday, March 28 – Interview at American Chronicle
Friday, March 28 -- Guest Blogging at The Top Shelf

Precious Monsters: Roland Allnach: Oddities and Entities, Guest Post

18 Feb 2013 14:17

Precious Monsters: Roland Allnach: Oddities and Entities, Guest Post: Putting Some Groove in the Ghouls: One Author’s Perspective by Roland Allnach Any story that involves a sense of mystery revolves aro...
And, as a recap, here are specific links for my virtual book tour stops through today:

The blog tour continues

6 Feb 2013 14:41

The blog tour continues...the bus has rolled over to two more blogs:
Check out my interview over at 'The Writer's Life'
Check out another interview over at 'Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews'
On a related note, I will be appearing on Senior Voice America's radio show, 'Health, Wealth, & Wellness' this Wednesday, 2/6 at 5:10pm.  The show has been archived at the Senior Voice website (here); my segment starts on the streaming player at minute 65 and runs through minute 78.

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