9/1/2017: The Hood and The Heroine Semi-Official Release Date!

I’d gotten word from my cover artist that he’ll most likely have the cover art for The Hood and the Heroine finished around September the first.  At least, that’s how I interpreted the text message he sent me during our last exchange of texts.

The fact I’m not entirely certain is why I have this down as a SEMI-official release date.  It’s subject to change, but barring another fucking power outage, I have a feeling everything on my end will be ready and available for sure.

Indeed, the blackout this past weekend that left me without electricity for two straight days has set me back a bit.  Admittedly, book 3 of this whole series has probably been the most challenging.  According to my original plan, I was hoping to be done with this series a month ago.  Between family emergencies, writer’s block, and the fact I get distracted by shiny things, it wasn’t to be.

I’m not even sure Sept. 1 will be the day you see this book.  However, that seems to be the most likely date for sure.

For sure, the book is done.  I’m in the process of spellchecking it.  A task that, considering the character of CharKendrick parks is one of the narrators, is a real fucking chore.  I should be done with the spellchecking real soon, and I’ll be reading through it for continuity errors I missed the first couple read-throughs just in case.  Rest assured, the hard parts are pretty much done.

If you don’t see The Hood and the Heroine on Amazon.com by Sept. 2, and I don’t say anything, assume that there were complications.  I try my best to meet deadlines, but let’s face it, fate is a fan of Murphy’s Law.  And I don’t mean MILO Murphy’s Law.  Although as far as Disney cartoons go, Milo Murphy isn’t terrible.

Till then, mark your calendars, and tune in again for further news as it becomes available.  Also, whatever other insane babble I have lined up.

The End of Oz: My Thoughts

If you want my opinions on the first three books in the Dorothy Must Die series, click here:

https://tjbauthor.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/dorothy-must-die-my-thoughts/

All caught up?  Okay then.  Let’s proceed on to book 4.

I have to say, book 4…  Was kind of a Letdown.

Part of me thinks it’s because this is where the series ends.  While young adult isn’t a demographic I regularly indulge in on purpose, I’ve actually been enjoying the books for the most part.  The fact this thrillride is over, and now I have nothing to look forward to every April is just kind of a downer.

It could also be that the eventual death of Dorothy that we’ve been waiting for since book 1 was kind of a lame-ass cop out.  I spent four books waiting for this bitch to get hers, and the series ends with the main character “taking the high road” on the death penalty like some sanctimonious, bleeding heart pro-lifer on their soapbox denouncing “the satanic institution of death row”.  Ugh, don’t even get me started: we’ll be here all night, and it’s already 3:00 in the morning as I write this.

All I know is rather than a satisfying final battle that leaves the antagonist dead, we get this bullshit morality ending, and Dorothy basically erases herself from existence using…  I don’t know, bailfire?  Does anybody outside the Wheel of Time fandom even know what I’m even referencing?  I waited three fucking years for this, you know.  I’m KIND OF satisfied The Noamb King got his…  Although The Noamb King was pretty one-dimensional by comparison .

It could also be that the FRIangle that has been a minor inconvenience since book 1 reaches its climax.  They finally boink in this book, and it gets pretty insufferable afterward.  Sue me, I wasn’t much of a hopeless romantic when I was their age.  Hell, I used to MST the shit out of this sort of lovey-dovey stuff.

It could also be that, in my humble opinion, chapter 23 was literally unnecessary.  You really could’ve ended the story on chapter 22, and it would’ve been less tedious.  Instead, we get this long, drawn-out, “where are they now” sort of ending that I was really wishing would just hurry up and be done with.

The End of Oz, like the books before it, is read by Devon Sorvari.  I forgot to mention it in the review of the first three books, but I honestly find listening to Sorvari to be the biggest ordeal of the series.  Even when the books are GOOD, I find her style to be slow and monotonous.  It hasn’t gotten better as the years have gone by, sad to say.  I’d like to think she’s giving it her all, and I can forgive a reader who’s a reader of about two or three voices tops, but I get the feeling Sorvari was getting paid by the hour the rate she was reading.

Hell, maybe I didn’t enjoy this one as much because I’m just not feeling the concept anymore.  It seriously took FOUR books to kill Dorothy, and they didn’t really KILL Dorothy so much as they clicked the delete button on her and undid everything she did as a result.  Did I mention that was very unsatisfying?  Because it is.

I probably shouldn’t be complaining too much in the longrun.  Shit, I’m a thirty-one-year-old man who has to self-publish all of HIS crap complaining about someone’s young adult series that managed to get for-real published.  Still, this book was actually kind of a letdown.  It’s the end of an era.  I just wish it didn’t have to go out with an apathetic shrug, mumbling “Whatever, it’s done.  I’m out of here.”

YES!, My Thoughts

I like professional wrestling.  Pretty sure I established that a few months ago.  I may’ve implied I gave up on it some time ago…  And as much as I would like to, they just keep finding ways of pulling me back in.  Case in point, “The New Era”.  They really need to work on that name (I’d go with “The Second Brand Extention” myself), but despite the fact it feels like every episode of Raw is recycling the same god damn matches every week, it’s actually not half bad.

And no, I’m not saying that because John Cena’s on the B-show now.  Seriously!  Okay fine, it’s PARTLY that.  Still have to put up with Roman Reigns, but even Reigns has his moments.  Also, Reigns doesn’t dress like a fucking six-year-old.  Admittedly, he looks like a taller, muscular, more Samoan version of what I’d look like if my parents let me goth it up beyond the black hoody, but that’s a rant for another day.

Recently, in my quest to find some audio to cram into my earhole to distract me from my perpetual loneliness, ennui, and the fact February 11 can’t just get here already, I picked up Daniel Bryan’s autobiography off of Audible.com: a delightful little memoir known simply as “YES!”.  Keep it simple, stupid.

The book is a joint effort by Daniel Bryan himself, and Craig Tello.  I’ll bet you money Bryan just dictated, and Tello compiled it all into an easy to digest brick of paper.  Or in my case, dozens of hours of audio read by Daniel Bryan himself, and Peter Berkrot.

Peter Berkrot’s portions of the book talk all about the leadup to WrestleMania30: what is so far looking like the last great WrestleMania.  And I’m only partially saying that because D-Bry was involved in the main event.  Seriously, now that Shawn Michaels is retired, The Undertaker’s streak is over, and the fact WWE still isn’t convinced we’re fucking sick of Roman fucking Reigns in the main event, I don’t think we’re going to see another epic.  We’ll probably have some passable Wrestlemanias, but the words PASSABLE, and WRESTLEMANIA aren’t designed to be in the same sentence!

But I’m getting off topic.

Berkrot’s readings are very dramatic.  I can’t tell if he’s going out of his way to do it like that, or if that’s just his default reading style, but it suits the tone just fine.

Daniel Bryan’s portions of the book…  Well…  It’s not the WORST reading I’ve ever heard, but aside from a couple reenactments of conversations with various other people…  Well…  I’d say “don’t quit your day job”, except he had to retire from that last year.

Honestly, Bryan just sounds like he’s rushing through it.  I don’t want to say it feels like he could literally be anywhere else right now, but I do get this feeling like he was on a time table, and wanted to get this all down as quick as possible.  It’s not quite as bad as the now legendary one-take approach in that Elderscrolls game, but it does kind of feel like he’s just rambling it all out.

But I can honestly look past that.  Let’s be honest, guys like Luke Daniels, Steven Fry, and Wayne June among others,  have set the bar pretty high.  It’s the story I’m interested in.  If I can endure Steven Brand trying to put me to fucking sleep despite reading an epic fantasy novel like The Waking Fire, I can endure this.

When it comes to the actual story…  Well, I already knew about most of the WWE stuff he covered, but everything from his childhood, to training, to Ring of Honor, to Japan, and even some of the behind the scenes stuff while he was in WWE was actually pretty fascinating.

He even recommends other books to read within his own.  Largely because he seems to feel he can’t do guys like William Regal justice when he talks about them, but all the same, that’s pretty cool of him.  I just wish Audible.com HAD THEM!  So far, out of the books he’s recommended, the only one I’ve found was that guide to Dao.  And honestly, I’m not even sure it’s the one he was recommending.

While I did watch a lot of the stuff he was talking about in WWE, it was still interesting to hear his take on several of the rivalries, skits, and matches he’s had.  Particularly, the nine months he spent tag teaming with Kane.  A veagan and a libertarian in a demon mask walk into a bar…  And only in the WWE would that NOT sound like the set-up for a bad joke.  Or even a GOOD joke.

As much as I’d love to recommend this book, I realize not everybody’s all that in to pro-wrasslin’.  Shit, I’m genuinely amazed I stuck with it this long.  Still, I recommend it, minor narration problems aside.  Also, you probably have more eye sight than I do, so that’s easily remedied by simply getting the hardcover version.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes: My Thoughts

Five Nights at Freddy’s, for the two or three people who are probably living under a rock, is the indie sensation sweeping the nation.  What started as a STEAM game where in you attempt to survive a week at the most horrifying Chuck E. Cheese’s knockoff ever, has ballooned outward into a tangled mess of a story who’s continuity is all over the god damn place.

For those out of the loop, I’ll tell you right here and right now: nonlinear story telling is one of my greatest pet pieves.  It’s second place on my top five most hated tropes, clichés, and overall storytelling techniques, just inches behind the FRIangle (FRI = forced romantic interest).  Seriously, bro, get over yourself.  You’re not deep, you’re not artistic, and you’re not creative.  At absolute best, you’re fucking annoying.

“Dude,” you’re probably saying, “you totally did the nonlinear thing in Gael, you faggot-ass hypocrite.”

I disagree.  I believe Gael was plenty linear.  True, there were a couple flashbacks, but the story was very straight forward despite it.  I didn’t start at the end, flash back to three weeks earlier, flash forward to a week AFTER the beginning that’s actually the end, flash back to the second point to tell a little more of that part of the story, only to flash back EVEN FUCKING FURTHER…  By which point I’m already lost.  It’s why I fucking hate Pulp Fiction, it’s the most annoying aspect of Highlander 1 (and keep in mind that Highlander 1 is the GOOD Highlander), and it’s why I couldn’t see my way past season 1 of Orange is the New Black.  That, and the fact the whole “I miss the misery, and am legitimately fucking stupid enough to go back to the very person who causes me misery on a consistent basis despite everybody and my fiancé who I’m MARRYING telling me it’s a bad idea” angle they were working with for Chapman fucking pisses me off more than you can possibly imagine.  Nikki was fun, though.  Red was pretty cool too.  Come to think of it, literally every character EXCEPT Chapman was fascinating.

I’m pretty sure I was talking about something else a minute ago.  Stream of conscious is a bitch.

Oh yeah, Five Nights at Freddy’s.

I’m afraid I have to confess that I’ve never played any of the games.  At best, I watched Markiplier play them on YouTube.  Partly due to the fact this looks like the kind of game I’d struggle with due to my crap eye sight, but mostly because I’m a console gamer at heart, and every PC I’ve ever owned has never been able to handle anything more complicated than the You Don’t Know Jack games.  I blame my screen reader software.

After months of hearing about the book, it finally became available on Audible.com.  And considering FNAF: Sister Location just recently came out as of this writing, I can’t help but think that was on purpose.

The book is a joint effort by Scott Cawthon: creater of the games, and Kira Breed-Wrisley.  I have no idea who Breed-Wrisley is, but I’m guessing she did anywhere between fifty and ninety-nine percent of the writing.  I’m not saying for sure Scott Cawthon just gave her permission to publish her fan fiction, then slapped his name on it because he owns the copyright, but really liked the story and wanted to see it get published…  Although I seem to be thinking it pretty loudly.  Whatever the situation may be, it’s a joint effort.

The audio book is read by Suzanne Elise Freeman.  Honestly, I’ve heard worse performances than hers.  She’s a woman of about two or three voices at best, and the worst thing I can say about her performance is that all her voices for the male characters sound exactly the same as each other.  But hey, not everybody can be Luke Daniels, after all.

And as for the story…  Whew boy, this story.

I’ll tell you right now, it’s not the WORST story I’ve ever read.  At the same time, though, it’s a really bad idea to go into this and expect writing on par with Clyve Barker or Stephen King.  Shit, maybe even R.L. Stine might be a bit much.  From a writing perspective, this is definitely one of those books that makes me feel better about my own writing.  Although it’s still better written than Twilight.

Oh yes: four or five years after that series stopped being relevant, I’m still throwing jabs.  Because I’m still super pissed about the fact a talentless hack like Stepheny Meyer can get published, but a talentless hack like ME has to slum around the fucking indies.

But suppose you don’t care.  You already knew going in this wasn’t going to be William Faulkner.  How does the story pan out?  And how does it tie in with the other FNAF material?

Well, first of all, I’m FAR from the person to talk to about theories, and how stuff from a video game series all ties together.  Man, I got too much on my plate as it is with Gael consuming most of my free time.  So yeah, I’ll leave that much up to you.

In terms of just being a story…  It’s okay.  It wasn’t as bad as the internet hyped it up to be, but it really didn’t light my world on fire.  Nor was I expecting it to.  It killed some time, it gave me an FNAF fix (though at this point, I wouldn’t say I’m much of a FNAF addict anymore), and I was content with what I had.  I don’t feel bad about spending money on this book.  At the same time, though, I don’t see myself picking it up and reading through it again anytime soon.

It does go out of its way to accommodate the people who haven’t played the games, or seen let’s players play them on YouTube (more likely the latter), and I’m sure a lot of people appreciate that.  However, I have a hard time recommending it to nonfans.  Hell, even if you LIKE FNAF, I can’t say I’m in a huge hurry to recommend it.  If Matpat is anything to go by, I’m probably one of, like, three people who actually saw the story all the way to the end.

In the longrun, all I can really say is if you’re curious, give it a look.  If not, you can afford to skip it over.  This is pretty much the ultimate definition of a 2.5/5 review I can think of, but that’s pretty much where I stand.

Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors Now Available!

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: My apologies for not getting this out much sooner.

 

I’ve illuded to this project in the past (though not as often as I thought I would when I started this damn blog), but now, it’s here, and it’s available for purchase on Amazon.com.

We all know the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory…  Or so we think.  Willy Wonka’s legendary chocolate factory has stood abandoned for decades, and no one is certain of the truth.  However, when an oompa-loompa escapes, proving the existence of oompa-loompas in the process, interest in the abandoned factory is reignited.  Joe Conner: liberal columnist, Ted Branson: conservative talk radio host, Marcus Frey: libertarian YouTuber, and Yasmin Potter: communist blogger, all travel to the factory in search of answers.  However, what they find there may be more horrifying than anybody could’ve ever possibly imagined.  Zombie oompa-loompas, the true and gruesome fates of the ungrateful kids, and a whole mess of other atrocities await you in this delightfully dark parody of a childhood classic.

INTERESTING FACT: this idea formed in my head in 2014.  I was looking for an excuse to take part in NaNoWriMo, and I had two ideas.  I ended up going with a different idea for the 2014 NaNoWriMo, though: a project I pet named “Upton Sinclair in Space”.  It wasn’t until I’d thoroughly given up on being for-real published, and embraced the world of self-publishing and novellas when I decided to finally pen this story.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the movie…  Maybe even more so the movie, has been a childhood favorite of mine for as long as I can remember.  It was a lot of fun coming up with alternate horrifying endings for the children and their parents, as well as coming up with other possible ideas for horrors to inhabit the factory.  I was initially against the idea of four characters with politically charged ideologies, but after kicking the idea around a little more, I ended up liking it better than just having one guy running away in terror over and over again.  I actually like it better now that I went this route.

I was originally going to hold out for a cover artist, and use this current cover as a sort of place-holder cover.  However, I’ve really grown to like it a lot.  Something about that font.

Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors is now available for download here:

https://www.amazon.com/Charlies-Chocolate-Factory-Unspeakable-Horrors-ebook/dp/B01HQN8BVI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468213562&sr=1-1&keywords=Charlie%27s+Chocolate+Factory+of+Unspeakable+Horrors