“On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft” Review

On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent, if unconventional, guide for writers looking to improve their craft.

I’d been recommended this book by multiple friends and other authors, especially since my work leans into the horror genre. I’m a big fan of King’s style, and I approached “On Writing” with an open mind knowing this wasn’t a conventional “How To” guide. King’s easy manner and tone is what makes this book a winner. It feels more like you’re reading a letter from a friend than having sets of rules dictated at you. Some might find it a bit frustrating picking out the technique tips amidst the storytelling, but fair warning that it has the word “memoir” right in the title.

While I didn’t agree 100% with all of his advice (part of me thinks his style works for him due to his gifted abilities as a writer) there are lots of gems to unearth in this book. For example, the pre/post-edit work in the back gives great insight on being concise.

I’d recommend this to beginning writers or those brushing up on their chops who have the time to read an entertaining (and admittedly biased) tome of advice. If you’re looking for a technique guide that you can easily navigate using a glossary, this isn’t that book.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Detroit 2020 FREE this week 5/23-5/27

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I’m pleased to announce we’re offering DETROIT 2020 for FREE this week.

Download it here for FREE on Amazon.

We’ve been humbled by the great feedback and reviews the book has been receiving, and are looking to spread the word to a wider audience. If you’re a fan of B-Movies and over-the-top action, DETROIT 2020 might just be your cup of tea.

If you love exploding mutants, put it on your Kindle and tell a friend!

You may see us later this week in a promotion on http://www.readfree.ly

On Self-Censorship

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I had an interesting conversation with a fellow author last week that got me thinking about self-censorship.

She was debating re-writing a manuscript because she felt some of the content might offend her target audience. I cautioned her against censoring her own work even at the cost of alienating certain readers. My argument was that it would make the book less genuine and she’d ultimately run the risk of being unhappy with the final product.

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Street Trash – A Movie Review

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Editor’s Note – This review was originally posted over at the horror media blog Terrorphoria.com

It’s difficult to make a great movie with absolutely no redeeming qualities. That’s why Street Trash is such a rare gem. Director Jim Muro, who would later go on to be the Steadicam operator for every movie EVER helmed this filthy masterpiece in 1987. It’s vile, offensive, hilarious, and one of my favorite genre flicks ever.

Lets rewind to the year 1998. MP3’s had just been created, George Michael was arrested at a truck stop, and I was working at the local mom&pop video store. In the dankest reaches of the “Cult Cinema” section, there was a VHS tape labelled Street Trash. I unassumingly brought this movie over to my friends place for our weekly friday night video marathon, not realizing what would ensue. After a single showing, Street Trash was instantly catapulted to the top of our “Dude, holy SH*T you need to watch this!” list. It was so gross, ludicrous, and downright awful that it immediately stole our crappy teenage hearts.

Street Trash really isn’t about anything. Anything…except LIQUOR THAT MELTS HOBOS. Booze shop owner Frank finds an old sealed box containing “Tenefly Viper”, some hooch he begins selling for a buck a pop. Turns out it has the nasty side-effect of melting anyone who drinks it from the inside out in a technicolor acid explosion. Scrapyard kid Freddy steals a bottle of the stuff, and unwittingly gets himself and his little brother wrapped up in a war against Bronson, a psychotic war veteran who is king of the bums and also a cannibal. What follows is total insanity, and multiple elaborate death scenes featuring eye-scorching rainbow goo.

Seriously, the special effects in this movie are just awesome. The fact that they went with insanely bright neon gore fluids instead of blood is genius, and it’s a testament to the zeitgeist of sleazy 1980’s shock cinema. Keep in mind this movie is also a snapshot of “Pre-Giulianni” New York City, where murderous vagrants and CHUD’s hung out near the peep show booths.

Gratuitous slime Muppet FX aside, Street Trash really sets the bar high (or low?) as an equal opportunity offender. It sets back every race, religion, and minority social group back roughly 3 decades. However, it delivers everything in a wash of ridiculous slapstick comedy that actually makes it endearing in a terrible way. So many of today’s “shock films” come off as mean-spirited; pushing boundaries of good taste just for the sake of it. Street Trash approaches everything with the mentality of a 3rd grader. Besides the notorious “severed penis football game”, there is a scene where an obese man has sex with a corpse, and it’s scored by humorous xylophone music. Street Trash treats necrophilia like a knock knock joke.

If you’re at all interested in exploitation cinema from the 1980’s, or like movies that make you feel like an awful person for enjoying them, then you really owe it to yourself to watch Street Trash at least once. It’s fantastic, and oddly overlooked even in today’s internet landscape where the most obscure films find a following. I’d personally recommend the “Meltdown Edition” DVD or Blu-ray that includes a great documentary and some stickers. Everybody loves stickers!