Book Review: Three Men on Tour

Book Review: Three Men on Tour by Richard Mapes ★★★★★

Three Men on Tour is a lighthearted novella about one man’s decision to outright avoid making a decision about whether or not to marry his girlfriend. It was well-written, so much so that it was only after I’d finished reading it that I realized I had just read what was basically a romantic comedy -though much heavier on the comedy than the romance. The humor is mostly dry, as British humor tends to be, but quite entertaining. At under 30,000 words, this one is a rather quick read, but well worth the time. This story also bears the distinction of having the shortest note to the author I have yet written for a Reader’s Favorite review. The only notes were that it needed a proofread to catch a couple of typos and I felt that one of the characters was kind of left hanging -both very minor points. Continue reading Book Review: Three Men on Tour

The Bus Ride -an anecdote

As any author will tell you, the task of editing your own work is very difficult. Using the cursor to highlight several thousand words which perfectly capture a scene, then hitting the delete key, pains me deeply. I have already had to do that a number of time in the Brian’s Secret storyline, and continue having to do so. There is a wealth of information about the characters, various subplots, events, and locations which I simply have to delete. It went far too long and reads too slowly. While I’m in the process of doing that, I thought I’d drop in an anecdote about the time I rode a Greyhound from Oregon to Missouri. I’ve posted this elsewhere before, but it may be brand new to some of you. It’s only 4,000 words or so, recounted from my -then 14 or 15 year old- memories. Are you thinking of sending your kids on a Greyhound bus? Read on to see why you need to send them with more than twenty bucks. Continue reading The Bus Ride -an anecdote

New look for In the Shadow of Angels

After much deliberation, a tremendous amount of input from friends and family, and countless hours, I’ve come up with a new look for In the Shadow of Angels (pictured here is the print version of said cover):


However. this cover came about slowly and evolved much over time. Just for fun, I’ve penned up a bit of a retrospective on the cover design. Click through if you’re interested to see it Continue reading New look for In the Shadow of Angels

In the Shadow of Angels?

I’ve been communicating with a number of people about In the Shadow of Angels, and, more specifically, how the cover and title are not appropriate for the story. It was appropriate to the story when I initially wrote it -a very dark story of a schizophrenic woman- but that was many, many drafts ago. Even then, the original art smacked of plastic vampire teeth, which was all my fault, since I thought (and still think) that cover looks cool as all get out. But it’s not right for the story.

In these recent conversations about the book, a number of words keep coming up to describe what the story is now. ‘Noir’ seems to be the most common. When I think ‘noir’, I think black and white films of Sam Spade and other such ‘hard-boiled’ detective stories. It turns out that ‘hard-boiled’ and ‘noir’ are/were frequently used together, but they they are not synonymous. ‘Noir’ actually means ‘a genre of crime fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.’ Holy shit, that’s my story! Though I still believe it blends some dark comedy in there (at least I intended it to, so I hope it does).

Suggestions were that I should try to capture the essence of the old pulp fiction novels to get the tone across -hopefully getting it into the hands of the correct audience. I’m not particularly familiar with pulp fiction (except the movie), but an image search returns a lot of books that all look very similar:


My first few attempts were pretty rough, but with a bit of guidance, I ultimately ended up with what you see here (this is, obviously, the flat rendering of the full book jacket):


I wanted to remove the girl with the dead-eyed stare from the bottom of the front cover, but I met a lot of resistance. Everyone seems to love the visual of that girl. The jury is still out on whether this will be the cover (or title) that I ultimately use to replace the current gothic angels. One thing is certain though: I will be taking In the Shadow of Angels permanently out of print by the end of this week in preparation for the new cover/title (the task of getting the cover/title changed requires taking a number of steps in a very specific order. Well, to do it with a minimum of hassle). If you love the old gothic look of the original cover and don’t yet have a copy, you need to act fast!

New cover art for Good Intentions

I finally got around to updating the cover art for Good Intentions. If you happened to get a copy of the book with the old art, who knows, maybe one day it will be worth something. The new cover fits the tone and story a lot better (though the artist took a bit of liberty with it; it’s not nearly this thick in person):