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Finding enjoyment in the writing process, “White Zombie” review

white zombie

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I’ve been busy in the last two weeks that I spoke with you last.  I have started writing a new thriller novel since the earlier stories I’ve tried to tell have fallen beyond flat in my excitement of writing them.  I will be re-visiting them in the near future, but I felt a need to cleanse my palate so to speak of the writing processes I tried with them.  As writers sometimes we need to test out different ways to work on our prose to see if possibly a different method to getting the story down will work.  I tried plotting stories, focusing on the events of the story, even rotating into stories a chapter at  a time.  While the last one did seem to work kind of okay, the first two really didn’t click for me.  When I started my current project, I decided to try focusing on writing by the seat of my pants and putting the focus of my narrative on the characters.  I’m letting them progress the story instead of reacting to it.  So far, it is all working.  The story is progressing well, I have a better feel for the characters, and, most of all, I’m having fun in writing a novel again.  I can’t wait to finish it and see what other people think of it.

To any of you new writers out there, feeling things out and figuring out the best way for you to work, I do have one piece of advice.  You will have plenty of writers and creative type people making suggestions on the best way to create.  I’ve heard many anecdotes from people about how their one way is the best and only way to put out good art (and yes, story telling is an art).  They are all wrong, and yet they are right too.  The best and only way to put out good art is to sit down and create it, and different methods will work for different people.  My advice is to try the different ways, at least once.  You may find that it doesn’t work, but, then again, you may find that it brings out even better creations than before.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  In fact, it’s that kind of thinking to brings me to this week’s book review, “White Zombie, Volume 1″ created by Richard Evans and edited by Andrew Ardizzi.

I’m sure by now, everyone is familiar with zombie stories.  It’s everywhere you look.  What it there were people who were immune to the virus, and this immunity was based on your race?  That is the premise behind the short stories in “White Zombie, Volume 1″  There is a flu-like virus spreading across the globe.  Once you get it, you have 24 hours before it kills and re-animates you.  The only people directly unaffected by the virus are people of African decent.  The stories chronicle the immune and what they must experience to survive.

I’m almost as white as they come, and I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect when I read the book.  I almost expected a very heavy racial overtones, and, since I do this mostly for fun, wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into something so heavy.  After reading the stories, I’m glad I dove in with both feet.  The stories by themselves were wonderful and, aside from the person’s ethnicity affecting whether they became infected after a zombie bite, I really didn’t think anything about the color of the characters’ skin.  That’s not to say there weren’t some racial undertones to the stories, but they fit into them in a natural way.  I for one am looking forward to the next volumes in the series.  My rating is a 4 out of 5.

You can find “White Zombie, Volume 1″ at Amazon, Smashwords, and the Itunes book stores in e-book format.

Well, I’m afraid I must bid you adieu for the week.  I feel another part of a balance life calling me… a nice soft bed and a good night’s sleep cuddled up with my fiancee.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

A post is coming

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Casa!

I just wanted to drop a quick note before work to let you know that a post is coming today.  I’ll be reviewing the zombie anthology “White Zombie”.  See you later today.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Murder is on the menu in “Pasta, Passion, and Pistols”

Do you love a good murder mystery?  Do you get excited when you read or watch a well done whodunit?  Maybe you strive to figure out who the killer is before such great detectives as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, or Sam Spade can?  If you enjoy matching wits with a murderer in a fun and safe atmosphere, then the Minot Area Theatrical Society has just the show for you, “Pasta, Passion, and Pistols”

The play takes place in La Speranza, New York City’s most popular Italian restaurant.  It is the wake for the late owner, Pepi Roni, who was shot in the back by his own gun.  In attendance are his wife Mama Rosa, his children Marco and Angel, his tough talking twin brother Rocco Scarfazzi, Rocco’s fiancée Tira Misu, the brothers’ cousin Bo Jalais, Sister Al Fredo, and the mystical astrologist Clair Voyant.   One of these people is guilty of murder, and it is up to you to figure out who committed the crime and why.

This interactive dinner theater, directed by Nicolette Eisenzimmer and Cassie Rech, stars Tyler Reimche, Stephen and Kit Young, Brandon Shafer, Kristin Nelson, Monica Anderson, and Christine Staley.  Performances will take place in the Stardust Ballroom at the Vegas Hotel October 9-11 at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $22, which includes the meal, and reservations are suggested.  For more details or to reserve your tickets, call 701-441-9340 or e-mail minotareatheatricalsociety@yahoo.com.  Help find Pepi Roni’s killer and have fun while doing it.

See you at the show…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Another Story in Print and a Review of “Dead Stop” by D. Nathan Hilliard

Tasteful Murders

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the Casa!

It has been a month since I’ve been able to chat with you all, and I hope that this finds you all well. Since you last heard from me, the e-book anthology “Tasteful Murders”, which includes my flash story “Dinner Party”, was released on Amazon. It contains 43 nuggets of murder and mayhem that can appease even the most finickiest of palates, and all for the low price of $0.99. Pick up your copy today by clicking here.

In keeping with the theme of horror and eateries, this week’s book review is “Dead Stop” by D. Nathan Hilliard. The dead rise from their graves and head to the nearest sign of life, a well-lit truck stop. Their movements are slow and weak at first, but the more people they consume, the stronger and more formidable they become. The best way to describe the book is Zac Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” remake meets “Maximum Overdrive”.Dead Stop

I found it very difficult to put this book down. The pacing of the story felt just right and it was interesting to see a zombie story where, not only is the cause discovered, it isn’t due to a virus or something artificial like technology. I also found it interesting that the author decided to not have a zombie bite or scratch be an automatic death sentence. If there were any faults in this story, it was in some of the character development. There were some character’s in the story who I thought needed to have some more of their story brought out more. I also thought that there seemed to be a spot or two in the story where something was built up, only for it to never materialize. It was for those reasons I give this book a 3.25 out of 5.  You can find it on Amazon by clicking here.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I must bid you adieu for the week.  There is a story just begging  to be written.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Saying goodbye to an author who inspired me… P.G. Holyfield

PG-and-Kim-July-2014-300x199

Hello ladies and gentlemen!  Welcome to the Casa!

I had an idea for this week’s blog post, but that changed this morning when I checked out Facebook.  P.G. Holyfield, an author who inspired me to begin writing stories again after many years, is dying.

When I got my first IPod and started listening to podcast and audiobooks, his was probably the only fantasy story I was willing to try.  I’ve never been a big fan of high fantasy stories, but “Murder at Avedon Hill” wasn’t your typical fantasy story.  It was a murder mystery that took more twists and turns than a roller coaster, and yet every swerve felt natural in delivery.  For those who don’t know it, “Murder at Avedon Hill” is about the murder of a woman named Greta Platt, Headmistress of Avedon Manor.  A retired Aaronic priest named Aramis Kragen is in need of passage through Avedon Pass, but Lord Avedon will not allow it until he finds the murderer.  How does one find a murderer in a town with more secrets than townsfolk?  It was known as the podcast that would not end, but that isn’t why I remember it so well.  It was the writing and the excellent voice acting work that really made the full cast audiobook come to life.  His stint as a co-host on the Dead Robot’s Society writing podcast, among other voice acting work.

I want to close with a link to a blog post which provides more details on what is going on with P.G., as well as information on a fund-raiser for his medical bills and his daughters.  Please, take the moment to check it out and, if you can, possibly donate a little money to help out a family in need.  The link is http://specficmedia.com/2014/08/17/pg-holyfield-announcement/

I want to close this with something that was a bit of a joke from when Murder at Avedon Hill, and I say this with a lot of respect and a wry grin…

DAMN YOU HOLYFIELD!!!!!

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

 

Publishing news and Master of Macabre 2014

2014 MMM

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the Casa!

Apologies for the delay in this week’s blog post. I have my sons for the full week and was having lots of fun with them. Now that they are asleep for the night, it’s time to bring you up to speed on the latest news. A little over a month ago, I submitted two stories to the Horror Society for their Best of 2014 and found out on the Fourth of July that one of them was selected for inclusion. I don’t know which one because it is also in contention for the Best Story in the Anthology,so it’s best to wait and find out which one they will use. I can say that the editor liked both stories, so that has a smile on my face. Add to that another flash story submitted and accepted for publication in the “A Tasteful Murder” anthology. Lastly, I also submitted a science fiction story for another anthology consideration and wait anxiously for word on whether it was accepted or not. While these may not pay financially, the confidence build up they gave me is huge, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Another publication I’ve received this past weekend was my fourth attempt at the title of HorrorAddicts.net Master of Macabre. This is a contest I’ve participated in since it’s inception in 2011 and my writing has only improved with time from it. For those unfamiliar with the contest, it is open to male writers and the idea is to write a short story that contains certain elements and is scary. This year, the theme was “Creature Features” and we were given a location for the story, an item, and an origination place for the monster. I don’t want to give out details of my story, “The Samaritan”, but I would greatly appreciate it if you can go listen to it and the other contestants’ stories and vote for your favorite and share the link with everyone else who you know enjoys a good story. You can find the audio and the text version of the stories at http://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/horroraddicts-net-105-masters-of-macabre-contest/.

And now it’s time for me to say goodnight. I will see you again next Monday when I offer a review of “Lumps” by Ian Woodhead. Until then… why so serious?

P.S. — look for additional book reviews on the Horror Addicts blog, appearing soon.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Balancing act and “Help Wanted: Tales of On-the-Job Terror”

help wanted

Hello ladies and gentlemen!  Welcome to the Casa!

This past week I got a lesson in finding some sort of balance in life.  For most of this year, I’ve felt like for everything I’ve done and wanted to do has been more wheel spinning than anything.   I’ve heard about possible ways to keep from everything running through your mind and then getting anxious and frustrated when you can’t focus on one thing long enough to get accomplished.  I decided to fill out a white board with a list of everything I want to accomplish this week and will wipe off everything I finished.  So far it has helped considerably, but I found something lacking in those planned tasks (outside of my day job that is).  I found that there was no counterbalance of time with my fiancee, my children (when I’m able to have them), and with my pets.  Getting things completed and accomplished in pursuit of a carrier in acting, writing, directing, etc. is empty if you don’t spend time with some of the very folks you are doing all that for.  That is one of the things I learned from my recent divorce, and it isn’t a mistake I intend to repeat.  So when you are busy working for your dream, please remember that you need a balance in your life to keep you from overworking, burning out, or losing sight of who you are and want to be.

I felt that this week’s review should be about the anthology, “Help Wanted:  Tales of On-the-Job Terror” released by Evil Jester Press, and edited by Peter Giglio.  Have you ever had a job that was a complete nightmare, working with co-workers from Hell, and feeling like your soul is being sucked away?  This collection of stories explores some of these very professions, and then some.  It begins with a mortician asked to perform extra modifications to a recently deceased woman’s body, a demanding company head who replaces you in every part of your life, a baker of the best beignets in New Orleans, and border patrol officers who find more than they bargained for.

I thought all of these stories were very fun and entertaining, especially “The Best Beignets in New Orleans”.  They were a great escape from the doldrums of my day job and a fun distraction during my divorce.  I found the collection well written stories that made me glad I have the job that I have.  My rating of this book is a four out of five, and you can find this book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I must bid you adieu for the week.  I feel another part of a balance life calling me… a nice soft bed and a good night’s sleep.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

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