Readersforum's Blog

November 20, 2012

Storyville: Ten Awesome Authors You’ve Never Heard Of Before

By Richard Thomas

For this column, I thought I’d try something a little different as we get towards the end of the year. There will be all kinds of “top ten” lists coming out in November and December, so I’m going to cobble together some of my favorite authors, the ones that I’m betting most of you have never heard of before. If you were over at The Cult when we were busy with the workshop, and if you’ve taken any classes here, you’ve probably heard of Stephen Graham Jones, Craig Clevenger and Will Christopher Baer, so I won’t list them here. If somehow you haven’t heard of them, pick up All the Beautiful Sinners and The Ones That Got Away (SGJ), The Contortionist’s Handbook and Dermaphoria (CC), and the entire Baer trilogy, Kiss Me Judas, Penny Dreadful, and Hell’s Half Acre. These are mandatory titles. I’ll also assume you know who Paul Tremblay is, since he has also taught here, so pick up In the Mean Time if you haven’t yet. These are authors and titles that I assume you know.

My top ten list will certainly not surprise all of you, and I don’t expect that every name on this list will be new to you all, since you’re intelligent readers with an appetite for compelling fiction, but I do hope that I can turn you on to a few voices in this week’s column. Many of these authors are voices that I reviewed at The Nervous Breakdown, so be sure to head over there if you want more information.

In no particular order, here are ten voices that I think are some of the most powerful, unique and captivating storytellers out there. Enjoy.

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August 1, 2012

Look Like A Genius Without Actually Being One: Eight Formatting Tips And Tricks

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:12 pm

  By Dave Reuss

Imagine watching a great TV show, and at the most dramatic, perfect moment of the lead character’s heart-wrenching soliloquy, the boom mic dangles, just barely, into the corner of the frame. No matter how good the show has been up to this point, the spell is broken—you’re painfully wrenched from the tale, immediately aware that you are not IN a story, only WATCHING a story. Bad formatting can do exactly this to your fiction. To be fair, technical errors might not ruin things, and the drunks and commoners might still be engaged, but the ones that matter—the intellectuals, the critics, the discerning readers, the ones who’ll sign your potential checks—won’t be impressed.

I’m a magazine editor, and my inbox is constantly crowded with submissions. My mag is big enough to receive articles from accomplished writers, but small enough not to scare off every Joe Blow that’s ever opened up Microsoft Word and pounded the keyboard with his fat fists. If you want even a Fudgesicle’s chance in Hell at making it in the writing world, apply some of these insider tricks to give your piece that extra something. They won’t salvage a complete mess of a story, but in our über-competitive world of writing, every little bit helps.

There are plenty of great resources on this site that discuss the “heart” of writing great prose, but this piece will discuss the “brains”—so unless you’re F. Scott Fitzgerald (who was notorious for sloppy writing), listen up.

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June 28, 2012

Passing Strange: 15 Of The Most Bizarre Author Deaths On Record

By Joshua Chaplinsky

Why go gently into that good night like a sucker when you can go out in a Bon Jovian blaze of glory and be remembered forever? If you’re a 16th century poet or an obscure opera critic, it might be your only chance at leaving a lasting legacy. And if you’re already a canonical author, it doesn’t hurt your street cred if you die in a fiery car wreck and people blame the KGB.

The authors on this list share a common bond; death was their final indignity. Many of these accounts already exist online, but I humbly submit that none are as colorful as my own. I made a conscious choice not to include any of the famous suicides- Virginia Woolf putting rocks in her pockets, Sylvia Plath putting her head in the oven, Hemingway putting buckshot in his brain- so no need to point out their absence. I was more interested in the accidental, the grotesque, the downright kooky. And I think these 15 deaths more than fit those criteria.

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April 28, 2012

Bangs, Whimpers, and Apes: The Top 10 World-Ending Events In Science Fiction

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:04 am

 By Jon Korn

The world ends all the time in science fiction. And, depending on which conspiracy sites you’ve been reading, it might be Doomsday for real this year. After all, it’s not often that the Mayans and Roland Emmerich agree on something.

So, in honor of 2012 possibly (probably?) being the last year of history, it only seems right to count down my top ten favorite world-ending events in sci-fi. So go grab some dehydrated water and a grip of shotgun shells. I’ll meet you in the storm cellar.

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March 4, 2012

Top 10 YA Books That Adults Will Love

By Meredith Borders

Even as a young adult, I never read much Young Adult fiction. But a few years ago my friends started Forever Young Adult, a hilarious site aimed at grown-ups who love YA. Being friends with YA experts means that I always have someone to weed through the dross and recommend (and loan me) the best the genre has to offer. I’m here today to pass on their expertise to you. I’ll leave out the classics (Wrinkle in TimeThe Outsiders, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, etc) because most of us read those back when we were little lit-fiends. Today, I’m going to stick with more recent YA success stories.

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February 28, 2012

10 Graphic Novels for the Literary Minded

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:44 am

By Kelly Thompson

As graphic novels continue to become more widely accepted by the general public, I encounter more and more people unsure about where to start reading.  There’s a lot of product out there, which can make it difficult to find the right entry point.  Additionally, many pick the wrong entry point and tend to run screaming from the medium. But when you read a bad book, you don’t swear off books, you just swear off that author, or perhaps that genre.  The same should be true for Graphic Novels.  And so with that in mind, I offer you 10 graphic novels for the literary minded, broken down by genre to give you a fighting chance at picking something you might enjoy.  I’ve avoided the usual suspects – Maus, Watchmen, and the like, which are both excellent of course, but have also been recommended a million times before – in favor of some more recent offerings that you may or may not have heard about.

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February 15, 2012

LURID: My Top 10 Bloody Valentines

LURID: vivid in shocking detail; sensational, horrible in savagery or violence, or, a twice-monthly guide to the merits of the kind of Bad Books you never want your co-workers to know you're reading.

By Karina Wilson

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you currently count yourself as a lover, or not, today’s thoughts naturally turn to that biggest of Big Questions: what is Love, anyway?

A friend once told me that his version of Love was watching his girlfriend drink coffee in the morning and thinking “everything is going to be alright”.  That’s cute, but… really?  I’d say Love is the polar opposite; it’s glimpsing your loved one doing something innocuous (like sucking on a latte) and experiencing a stomach-churning mix of terror, vulnerability, pain, ecstasy and the discomfiture of your blood leaving your brain and flooding your nether regions.  It should make you stumble. It should make you weep. It should make you painfully aware that everything is not “alright”, and it never will be again so long as both of you exist on this planet — and in some cases, thereafter, and down the generations of your luckless descendants.

In my book(s),  Love is… dangerous, insane, complicated, dirty, vicious, inconvenient, overwhelming, destructive, humiliating and often fatal.  Bad Books are not driven by healthy relationships.  Au contraire, the dynamism comes from couplings that are twisted, unnatural, shocking and just downright wrong. The flame of passion blazes even brighter because there’s nothing safe, stable or sensible about the connection between two individuals. Does anyone really want to read about “happily ever after”?

If you want genuine fireworks this Valentine’s Day, instead of the sappy, Hallmarked, cute-coffee-drinker variety, then let these Lurid couples illuminate how Love truly burns.

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