Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real Pictures of Heaven

The infinite tower of paperback heaven
I spent some time in Heaven today. And I mean capital "H" Heaven. Look at that photo above. It almost looks like the Tower of Babel. But it's really a giant tower of paperback books. And we're talking genre paperbacks. The good stuff. Yeah, you readers know what I'm talking about. From James Patterson to Nora Roberts, Stephen King to Dean Koontz, John Jakes to Jeffrey Archer. S. M. Stirling to Bruce Sterling, Debbie Macomber to Danielle Steel. All in one palatial place:

Escape Fiction in Salem, Oregon
Escape Fiction in Salem, Oregon. And I was there. I am a changed man.

Escape Fiction is a magical place that transcends the boundaries of space and time, much like Doctor Who's TARDIS, in several ways.

First, it is larger on the inside than it appears on the outside. I think this is due to the many science fiction and fantasy novels on hand in the store at all times.

The magic inside such books is likely responsible for the warping of space that allows Escape Fiction to defy the normal laws of physics.

Inside the Book Maze
Second, Escape Fiction is also a genuine Maze of Books. I think this is what Jorge Luis Borges had in mind when he envisioned heaven. For all we know, Jorge's spirit may in fact reside inside the winding halls of Escape Fiction. I guarantee that if you have never been to Escape Fiction before, and you explore it without a map, you are likely to get lost. I certainly did. It's better than any hedge maze I've ever been in, and it's even better than the hedge maze in the climactic scene in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining. The difference is that unlike Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance, we all want to be in Escape Fiction's maze of books. Some of you readers, like myself, would be happy to live there forever and ever.

Maria and Scott, proprietors
I don't know if the owners of Escape Fiction, Maria and Scott, would actually want you to move in, but they certainly want you to enjoy the endless ocean of literary peace and comfort that their store provides, seven days a week.

Thirdly, Escape Fiction is a cathedral to the book. It celebrates the physical book, and it asks that we bow our heads reverently in respect for that which came before the eBook.

I have spent many an afternoon lost in Escape Fiction's wilderness of paperbacks, traveling through time along the spines of books I have seen in used bookstores since I was a kid.

I can't explain why used bookstores have this effect on me; I remember seeing many of the books contained in them previously as new books in chain bookstores over the years.

The Big Kahuna: Stephen King
And yet, when I see those same titles wearing cracked spines, sporting yellowing pages and tattered covers, the books somehow become better. There, I've said it. Used books are better. Maybe it's because you know that another human being has worked their way through the pages before you, as if that previous owner is saying "This book is a safe road to travel, friend. I hope you will enjoy it as have I."

Maybe I'm romanticizing. Maybe I'm not.

But the used book is still alive and well in America.

Kindles, iPads, Nooks and their ilk cannot kill the used book. The used book is fighting back and Escape Fiction leads the charge. So the next time you feel assaulted by the threat of the electronic book, head on down to Escape Fiction. You will be safe from ones and zeroes during your stay inside their Hallowed Halls.

Lastly, Escape Fiction is a magical domain of unprecedented proportion for the simple fact that they now stock my newest novel Night Walk.

Night Walk on sale now at Escape Fiction
You can see a fresh copy of Night Walk in the photo to the left. Maria was kind enough to place it there, in a position of prominence, at the front register. Where else would I, as a new author, find such support for my work? Not in a chain store.

I am very grateful to Maria and Scott for their willingness to support a local author like myself. Thanks guys! And I'm not the only local author with my book in their store.

You will note also that Night Walk is placed next to a fire extinguisher. I believe Maria put it there in case my book bursts spontaneously into flame. Night Walk is, after all, an intense, thrilling book which contains high-octane and extremely volatile story content. So placing Night Walk next to a fire extinguisher makes logical sense. It's the safe thing to do.

Smart move, Maria.

Some of you may be raising your hands now to protest: "But Night Walk is not a used book! How can you even consider selling it through a used bookstore?"

A quiet place to delve into good, old books.

The answer is simple: because Escape Fiction also stocks a good selection of new books. The popular kind: thrillers, science fiction & fantasy. Books with lots of zombies and vampires in them. J.D. Robb, Stephen King, Sandra Brown. The storytellers. Books we all like to read.

Remember, every used book is first born as a new book. It takes a dedicated, loving reader like yourself to properly rear and raise a new book until it is fully used, and ready to go out into the world so that it can enter the hands of another faithful book lover. I want my book to begin life in the hands of this sort of caring, loving reader; the kind of reader who frequents used bookstores, the kind of reader who shops at Escape Fiction.

That's why Escape Fiction is the perfect place from which to send my novel Night Walk out into the world.

The next time you are in Salem, Oregon, and need to go to Book Church, stop by Escape Fiction and pay Maria and Scott a visit. Tell them I sent you.

3240 Triangle Dr. S.E.
Salem, OR 97302

The TARDIS of used bookstores, Escape Fiction. Bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Merchandising Madness!!!

Me and my split personalities.
Good and evil go so well together, don't you think?

There I am, all ready to sell my books: Night Walk, which I wrote and is very evil, and Owie Cadabra's Verbal First Aid, which I illustrated, and is very good.

The print edition of Night Walk was the big seller yesterday. I think in general, people tend to prefer horror over happiness. Just look at the evening news if you don't believe me.

But I did manage to sell Owie Cadabra's Verbal First Aid as well. Some people, it turns out, do have heart.

Note that Mr. Evil Clown was in attendance. He's such a follower, or should I say stalker.

For you writers out there, if I learned one lesson yesterday it was that you can never do too much advertising. I wish I had done more, but it was a balancing act between how much time and money I spent vs. return on investment (ROI for you business-types). In hindsight, a little more "I" would have been a good idea. You sell, you learn. Next time, I'll buy a 30-second Super Bowl commercial spot.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Critiquing the work of fellow writers

Humpty Dumpty always has loads to say about writing
Humpty Dumpty wants to talk today about some ways to effectively critique the work of your fellow writers. As a writer himself, Humpty has learned a few things about being a part of a writer's group.

Humpty Dumpty suggests that the very first thing you as a reader should do when critiquing your fellow writer's work is to ask them the following question:

"What, good sir or madam, was YOUR intention with your piece? Did you intend to frighten or enlighten? Scare or declare?"

What Humpty Dumpty means is that you should ask your fellow writer what sort genre they are attempting to write for. Often times, your fellow writer will be writing for a genre that you are not familiar with, or that you do not like. That's okay. You can still offer useful criticism in these cases.

But it is important to know what your fellow writer intends before you proceed.

If for example, your fellow writer loves Danielle Steel, but you love Tom Clancy, you may be prone to ask of the Danielle Steel fan/writer "Why are there no thermonuclear bombs in the opening pages of your story?"

None of us wants to make such a social gaffe, egads.

But if you ask in advance of your friend the Danielle Steel fan/writer: "What sort of story is this?"

And he/she replies "Why, it's a love story about a heartbroken widow on vacation, attempting to rediscover her zest for life."

Then the Tom Clancy fan knows not to rudely mention thermonuclear missiles, bombs or bullets. And if the Tom Clancy fan is not at all familiar with the works of Danielle Steel, and wants to be of greater service to his/her friend, then the Tom Clancy fan will seek out the works of Danielle Steel and attempt to acquaint himself with them to at least a passing degree before commenting on his/her friends work.

In some cases, your fellow writer will consciously NOT want to write for any pre-existing genre. And that is okay. Then it is your duty to ask the writer to clarify his/her intentions regarding the goals of their piece. Even if NO genre is intended, the writer should still have some clear intentions with their piece, whether it be to entertain, to enlighten, to educate, etc., etc.

Once you have identified the intentions of your fellow writer, you are now ready to begin making observations about whether or not the writer has succeeded in their goals.

Does the Danielle Steel fan/writer manage to evoke a sense of romance, longing for love, healing from emotional wounds, hope for happiness and a better tomorrow?

Does the Tom Clancy fan/writer manage to evoke a sense of action, drama, political intrigue, technological thrills?

Humpty Dumpty suggests that because man is not a machine, but a creature of passion and emotion, that after having fulfilled the first and second steps, that we honor our own personal reactions, no matter how out of line they may be with our fellow writer's piece, and share them. Because this can often times be more useful than the information given above.

Were you bored? Thrilled? Disgusted? Angry? Excited? Repulsed?

Was the piece sad? Funny? Titillating? Dreary? Monotonous? Charming?

This third step is the one that the average reader engages in, and because all writers started out as readers, they can and should make such comments as well.

But only after discovering the intentions of their fellow writer, and making critical observations regarding the success of the writer in accomplishing said intentions.

That is all Humpty Dumpty has to say on this topic today. Please go about your business.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

NIGHT WALK Arriveth!

Another satisfied reader of NIGHT WALK. Now available as a physical book

Everybody knows Gargoyles are Luddites. And that means Gargoyles hate ebooks. They will only read physical books. Something about loyalty to their old pal Gutenberg and his antiquated printing press. So I give them what they want. Who am I to deny a Gargoyle what his or her monstrous self demands? Look how content this particular Book Gargoyle is! He just finished reading a physical copy of my new novel Night Walk. I would say his smile alone was worth the effort of providing the guy with a physical paper book to read.

Night Walk is a scary-as-hell novel about a suburban family terrorized by gang-bangers, with a Twilight Zone twist. Book Gargoyle LOVED it! His review:

"I'm a gargoyle, and I like scary books. Night Walk is very scary. It was SO scary, I would only read it during the daytime. Also, at night, I was busy scaring people at the cathedral were I work. Anyway, I haven't been so scared as I was while reading Night Walk since I was a kid during the Spanish Inquisition. Those were scary times indeed. Night Walk brought back that centuries-old terror as if it was the coming of the 1512 apocalypse! (btw, you guys can stop worrying about the 2012 apocalypse, it's just a hoax). Anyway, read Night Walk if you want to be scared! You'll love it!"
---The Book Gargoyle

Night Walk by David Hudnut
now available as a physical book

Thursday, June 7, 2012

NIGHT WALK now on Kindle!

NIGHT WALK now available on Kindle

Do you like a good scare?

I know I do. Ever since I first read Salem's Lot by Stephen King, I've loved the horror genre above all others.

Night Walk is my first foray into true horror territory. It's an intense, hard-hitting book. If you want to read something that will make your jaw drop, look no further. If you want to read something that you will forget about after a good night's rest, I suggest you move on. Because, after you finish reading Night Walk, you won't be getting a good night's rest for a long, long time.

Night Walk is over 400 pages of high-octane terror.

Only $4.99