Flying pink dragons and other fancy stuff

For a while now I’ve been thinking that I should say something about the many thought-provoking novels I’ve been reading on WordPress, authored by my talented fellow bloggers.  I was almost beaten to the post by Carrie Rubin, who’s planning to do a similar expose, but am hoping that Carrie has read DIFFERENT books to mine.  Carrie, when your book is published (15 September?), expect a BIG fanfare from this site, ok?

So here goes:

The Stream (Discovery, Awakening and a third which I can’t find), by Bill Jones Jr of This Blog Intentionally Blank (just a note: NOBODY gets called Junior or Senior in Australia, and hardly anyone gets called Taylor, Ford or Campbell.  Our loss.).  The novels are about a kid called Charlie, who moves between the ‘real’ world and a dream world inhabited by pink, cutesie-pie dragons, psychopathic firebirds, and a mysteriously evil lord figure who may or may not be responsible for the dark side of this chaotic universe.  Charlie and his beautiful friend Robyn discover that something is enslaving people’s minds, leaving them – in the real world – demented and soulless.  I haven’t yet read the second in the series, but the first is imaginative and whimsical and full of the kind of muddled, sometimes nightmarish quality that dreams often have.  Suppose our dreams ARE an alternate universe – a life within a life.  Who knows! (but lucid dreaming’s on my bucket list)

The Bellman Chronicles, by Robert Hookey (the hugely popular Hook) is what it sounds, a chronicle of the amusing, frustrating, weird and touching experiences of a bellman at a major Canadian hotel.  Whatever bellmen are, I wish WE had them – they seem to do everything except wipe your bum. The Chronicles are full of invaluable tips on living – for instance, just HOW do you tell a hooker from an ordinary common or garden slut? How SHOULDN’T you bring up children? and the immortal job hunting line, in answer to ‘Why did you choose us?’.

Starvation doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.

Nor mine. Let’s face it, being a Bellman is a perfect job for a keen observer of humanity – which writers ought to be.  That said, Hook is much nicer to and about his customers than I would be!

One Night in Bridgeport, by Mark Paxton (aka King Midget).  Ok, suppose you go on a business trip.  Suppose you meet a gorgeous woman at the motel bar, and one thing leads to another and you sleep together.  You go back home to your fiance, swearing to yourself never again to do such a foolish and impulsive thing. And then suppose – the police come round to your door and charge you with RAPE.  You get thrown in jail.  Your fiance dumps you. You lose everything.  This book’s about how a single unwise decision can change the course of a life.  I won’t say how it ends, except to say that it’s interesting and unpredictable.  Makes you think (SHOULD I sleep with that hot writer? oh what the hell!).

Some guy I used to know had a saying ‘If you don’t like my opinions…I have others?’.  Well, I’ve downloaded quite a few books, but I haven’t read all of them yet.  When I do, I WILL review them (short of an injunction from the author).  Anyway, here is one book that WASN’T (as far as I know) written by a WordPress blogger but it IS nevertheless worth reading.  It’s called:


Mass Casualties: a Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor, by SPC Michael Anthony.  Michael Anthony can’t be too popular in the US military at the moment, because this is a story about how our hero goes to Iraq, buoyed by ideals of helping the put-upon Iraqis experience the joys of peace and civilisation, and fighting for his country in a just cause.  Needless to say, it all falls rather flat in a Green Zone beset by little kids with suicide bombs, recklessly fornicating sergeants and officers who wouldn’t know a medical emergency if it bit them on the arse. What comes through in this book most is honesty and disillusion.  (And I have to admit, I’m not even one of those who thought the Iraq war was a particularly bad idea, to begin with).


      1. Hearing that it was unpredictable is pretty much the best thing you could say. When you spend as much time with a story over as many years as I did with Bridgeport, it’s pretty easy to convince yourself it is the most predictable story ever.

      2. Well, that’s good. Funny how long it takes to write a book sometimes. Mine was about 11 years, on and off. Other ones (less autobiographical) have been much quicker to write.

      3. I’ve written a lot in the ten years since I wrote my first draft of Bridgeport. Most of it can be found in my two short stories collections and in the next novel I publish. The reality is that these things take time. I downloaded your book and look forward to reading it and posting about it in King Midget’s World. I think you’ve started something we writer bloggers need to carry on. I want to do my part.

      4. Actually I was wondering about that. For instance, I was wondering, what was it made you write Bridgeport? Rather than another story. As for reviewing, it takes me ages to do it. i wish I could be more organised with my blogging. You know Kingmidget, your site doesn’t appear in your comments, at least, not on my site.

      5. It’s been long enough that I’m no longer exactly sure what the motivation was, but I think it was the Kobe Bryant rape trial. Famous, wealthy, married NBA player had sex with a young woman in a Colorado hotel room and then was accused of rape. It gave me the idea of what would happen if it was your average Jack in a small town where everybody knew everybody. Up until that idea popped into my head, I had always wanted to write, but could come up with nothing more than an opening line or opening scene. I had no idea how to proceed beyond the opening. One night on my drive home from work, I outlined Bridgeport in my head and started writing that night. And the floodgates opened. As for my website on comments, I’ll have to figure out how to fix that.

      6. I see. To me, it’s all about the consequences of impulsivity. He sort of makes his decision, I think, when he goes and has dinner with her. Maybe it’s something about ‘if you do something wrong, wrong things will come of it’. Which is certainly my personal experience, unfortunately – I’ve never managed to completely get away with anything.

      7. You’re right… but I also wanted to have a series of events from his past that are like what a lot of people do come back and bite him in the butt. But, yes, it’s also about the risks of acting impulsively.

  1. Thanks so much for the mention of my blog and for your support of my novel! What a nice surprise to find when I clicked open this post. The book will be released Sept. 1st or the 15th. I’m not sure which yet. That’s the one thing about going with a publisher rather than self-publishing–the author can be a little out of the loop sometimes. 🙂

    I actually already posted my entry on books by my blogging buddies. Did it a couple weeks ago. But we did not mention the same books, so it was nice to see some of the novels you have read. 🙂

    1. Oh well, I’m glad it was different books. I’ll look back at your blog and find the post, then! I’m looking forward to your novel, Carrie – you write so well, and I imagine are very knowledgeable about things medical, so it should be splendiferous!

      1. Thank you for your kind words. On the other hand, I wrote the novel years ago when I hadn’t had much practice, so it’s by no means a literary feat. 🙂

  2. Great reviews…. I have a copy of The Hook’s ‘The Bellman Chronicles’, which I treasure… It is still sitting on my desk; I haven’t been able to put it in the bookshelf yet…! I can’t even explain why however; this man is such an incredible personality with a love for humanity that is seldom seen. Yes, he has a sharp wit and a keen eye; he also has an incredibly warm heart which sees all that humanity is capable of, and yet the wisdom and maturity to allow man his foibles… There, I think I’ve just explained why I think so highly of him….
    As for the other reviews; I’ve yet to read (life is so busy) however; if inspired I’ll certainly do so….
    Great post….!

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