Friday, February 19, 2016

AMONG THE STACKS: Lex Jones


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Lex.  Welcome to The Gal.  It is a pleasure having you here today.
            Let's start this off with an "easy" one: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Lex Jones:
I'm 30 and I'm from Sheffield, North England.  I've been writing as a serious thing for about a decade now, but my first book, Nick & Abe, was published in January 2016.  I love reading as much as I love writing, and I often beta read or proof/edit other authors' work.  I live with my girlfriend, three cats, three chinchillas, and a very fat hamster.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Lex Jones:
I don't like dogs.  Sorry, I just don't.  One attacked me as a child and that was that.

I once got bitten by a bat.  Oddly, I still quite like bats.

I love parties and gigs and nights out, but I'm actually teetotal and always have been.

Most of the books I have written have a subtle reference to one of my other books in them.

As a teenager, I was very interested in stage magic, and to this day know how many tricks are done.  Although I try to stop myself ruining them for people, I couldn't help myself when I was forcibly 'volunteered' by a particularly obnoxious magician at a wedding once.  I think he regretted his choice of 'volunteer' after that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Lex Jones:
A short children's horror anthology called Scary Tales.  It was an illustrated book of ghost/monster stories and I just fell in love with it.  I still have a copy in one of my bookcases.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Lex Jones:
Revival by Stephen King.  It's a good book, not his best, but there is a slow building of dread and discomfort towards the end which is very nicely done.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Lex Jones:
I've always loved writing stories for the fun of it, since being a child really.  Whenever we were given creative writing projects at school, I would always really enjoy those.  The first thing that made me really think about writing seriously was when I was 8 or 9, and a teacher suggested to me that I ought to consider pursuing it as an adult.  I had a few such comments going through adolescence until finally I took it onboard in my early twenties.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Lex Jones:
Somewhere quiet!  I like to be undistracted and really 'get into' the worlds I am trying to create.  So any room in the house where I can do that is fine.  I do it on a laptop, though, so I'm fairly flexible and mobile.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Lex Jones:
I like to get in the right mindset for the type of book I am writing, and I usually do that by listening to music.  Not just any music, but something that really helps set the scene and tone for what I'm trying to put on the page.  This may often involve closing my eyes and picturing scenes from the book at the same time.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Lex Jones:
If I am explaining a complex point in a book, I often find that I explain it far more than I need to.  I think I need to get better at trusting the intelligence of the readers and manage with far less information sometimes.  Otherwise I am at risk of waffling, and I think that's far less forgivable on paper than it is verbally.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Lex Jones:
I think my writing style is my own and I don't feel as though it's inspired by anyone else, really.  And if I'm completely honest, I wasn't inspired to write by other authors.  There's plenty of authors whose work I adore and enjoy and enthuse about, but there wasn't any author who I read that made me go "I want to be a writer, too."  It was just something that I always enjoyed doing and eventually decided to take seriously.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Lex Jones:
For me, it always comes back to characters.  Whatever the story... horror, action, sci fi, romance... I have to find the characters interesting or I can't get into the story.  Conversely, if I DO find them interesting, I don't much care what genre I am reading.  Once I care about what happens to them, I'm invested in the story by proxy.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Lex Jones:
I think the reader needs to appreciate their worldview, what they're about and why.  For me, that's the key to loving a character even if I don't agree with them.  If I am aware of a character's motivations, if I understand them, then that's a big part of it.  This may not be the same for everybody, but for me a character doesn't even have to have that many likable traits for me to love them.  Took at a personal level, characters like Sherlock Holmes, Jack Reacher, or even Batman are basically arseholes, but I still love them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Lex Jones:
That's a tricky one!  I try not to put too much of myself into any of them, really.  In fact, whenever Iv'e had a comment from an early draft of a book that goes along the lines of "I could hear you in that part," then I remove it.  I don't want people seeing/hearing me, I want them seeing/hearing the character.  With all that said, I think the only character of mine who (organically) ended up with some traits I have myself, is a detective named Harkins.  By the very nature of him, Harkins is somebody who doesn't quite fit in.  His outlook, the way he views the world, his reactions to it, are often at odds with the majority, and he finds it much easier to fit in with the other misfits of the world.  That's definitely drawn from me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Lex Jones:
I like to give the basic idea for my cover, and then have an actual artist or designer put it together.  The cover is representative of the story, I don't see how (or why) the writer would refuse to even have any input into it.  That said, unless you also happen to be an amazing designer than you probably shouldn't do the cover yourself, but I'd at least expect the writer to have a defining influence in it.  As for whether I'm put off by bad ones, it depends how bad we're talking.  Lots of books have basic, dull covers, and that doesn't put me off.  But those terrible ones you see on self-published Kindle books, where folks have drawn things on their computer... well, enough said.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Lex Jones:
My books are often focused on the supernatural, so I've had to learn a lot of otherwise useless information about mythologies and beliefs regarding various monsters and deities.  One of my (as yet unpublished) books is set in Victorian London, so I took the time to bolster my existing knowledge of that time and place as well.  With regards to writing itself, I have learned a lot about pacing, about what to reveal when, and the value of getting your books edited.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Lex Jones:
There is a scene in Nick & Abe, which I'm going to struggle to explain without giving spoilers so forgive the vagueness of this answer.  The scene deals with an emotionally charged situation, a conversation between two people that has been building for a very long time.  It was difficult to write because the words spoken between them needed to be clear and get across the right point, but also painted with the right emotion.  I went back and forth with several drafts for that one.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Lex Jones:
I don't know of any other books like Nick & Abe in the current market, that's a start!  For one thing, it's tricky to pinpoint what genre it falls into.  Most 'expert' types have labelled it as literary fiction, but that's obviously a very broad category.  Reviews of the book seem to agree that nobody has ever come at this subject (God and the Devil) from quite the same angle, and I think that gives it a unique feel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Lex Jones:
The book title is simply the names of the two main characters, Nick and Abe.  I played around with various other titles, but that one made the most sense because the book really is the story of the two of them.  Choosing some random Biblical-sounding word seemed a bit too 'on the nose,' and I don't like when authors try and give their a book a title that's more pretentious than it needs to be.  The book is the story of Nick and Abe, so the book is called Nick and Abe.  Nothing else seemed quite right.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?  

Lex Jones:
I have done several short stories before, but I much prefer writing a novel.  It gives me time to explore much deeper plot threads, and more importantly, to focus on and really get to know the characters.  If you've written a whole book about a character, then you've spent a lot of time and words making clear who they are, and because my stories always tend to be character-driven, I much prefer it that way.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Lex Jones:
The only book I have published is Nick & Abe, and the target audience for that is very, very broad.  It's the tale of God and the Devil spending a year on earth as mortal men.  So religious types might like it, but atheists (like me), who merely see these characters as interesting works of fiction, may like it from that angle, too.  I've also written it in such a way that the spiritual aspect of it is played down, so for the most part it seems like a relationship drama between a father and son.  In fact, if readers take anything away from the story, I would like it to be the idea that sometimes it's worth trying to fix things.  That if they have a relationship that could use some patching up, it would be a good idea to pick up the phone before circumstances make it too late.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Lex Jones:
Originally the book was called Ben & Jerry, because the characters saw an ice cream truck and named themselves after it.  But the ice cream company refused to let me use it, so I had to rename the characters.  Beyond that, in the earlier drafts there was a lot more "tongue in cheek" jokes about the fact that Nick was the Devil and Abe was God.  Little "nudge and wink" moments that were played for laughs.  I decided that I didn't like these, so took most of them out.  There are still a very, very small number in there where I thought that they worked for the scene, but I decided that I wanted to play the story as straight as I could, so a lot of them had to go.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Lex Jones:
The very first thing I "properly" wrote and gave people to read was a series of four books, told in episodic fashion, chronicling a particular city four years before the end of the world.  It focused on a dark angel whose job of protecting the city from otherworldly threats grew increasingly difficult as the End of Times approached.  This forces him to find allies in a police officer, a Nephilim, and various other odd characters.  The books were very rough, very sketchy and early early work for me, but beta readers loved them.  The enthusiasm for it lasts to this day; I even have a close friend, a musician, who wrote an album partly inspired by these stories.  The notion to return to that series, to redraft it and make it fit for print, is very strongly in my 'trunk.'  But I have several other books, including another series, that I want to write first.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Lex Jones:
As with any writer, I guess that depends which way the wind blows!  Ideally more books, covering genres such as crime, supernatural fiction, dark fantasy, and apocalyptic worlds.  But all of that relies on finding publishers who like the ideas enough that they'll help me get them out there.  The response to Nick & Abe has been great, though, so I am quietly hopeful, whilst still humble and grateful.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Lex Jones:

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Lex Jones:
Just an enormous thank you to everyone who has bought my book, reviewed it, told people about it, posted about it on social media, messaged me to say what they enjoyed about it, or done anything else that made me feel it was worth all the hard work.  I write books in the hope that they will get out there in the world and find people who enjoy them, so confirmation of that is always amazing.

About the book:
Every once in a while, God and Lucifer visit the earth and make a wager.  Now it's time for the next one; the most daring yet, and quite possibly the last.  "This venture to live as men for a full year has been such a hilarious idea to start with.  Prove Abe wrong... again... then head back to their respective domains and gloat about it forever.  Only it hasn't worked that way.  Things were different now.  Having omniscient sight removed from him actually made Nick see things more clearly than he ever had.  There's harm in getting too close to a picture, but a different sort of harm comes from getting too far away from it."  
            What starts as a simple contest becomes something more as their newfound humanity forces them to reevaluate their relationship not only with the world, but with each other as father and son.  Seen through the eyes of two men, on opposing sides of a family feud of epic proportions, each of them faces trials, heartache, love, and real pain as they learn what it means to be human.  
            Can old wounds ever really be closed?  Can the past truly be forgiven?  And can anyone ever fall so far that it's too late for them to be caught?  "After the fall?  You rise."

About the author:
Lex H. Jones is a British cross-genre author, horror fan, and rock music enthusiast who lives in Sheffield.  He has written articles for The Gingernuts of Horror and Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog websites on various subjects covering books, film, video games, and music.  When not working on his own writing, Lex also contributes to the proofing and editing process for other authors.
            Lex's first published book, Nick & Abe, is available for purchase from Amazon, Waterstones, and various other book sellers.  The book tells the story of God and the Devil spending a year on Earth as mortal men, to see who has the most to learn about the world they created.  Things don't go as planned, however, and their newfound humanity forces them to re-evaluate their relationship with each other and maybe, just maybe, start to repair it.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT + Excerpt: Debt


Debt
By: Rachel Dunning

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release date: 3.30.2016
Pages: 529

The Debt Collector
I pay my debts, and I expect others to.
            I was raised in the slums of London, I knew nothing of privilege.  My father was murdered when I was seventeen.  Morty figured my father's passing meant I would automatically take on dad's debts.  I refused.
            And I paid for that refusal.
            So did my sister.
            So now I fight.  All I know how to do is fight.  The best cash is in the states, so that's where I am now.  A big fish called Vito came along offering me a "favor" when I arrived.
            Another debt.
            I paid for that one too.
            I knew Kyla Hensley would be trouble when I met her.  But I wanted her.  I could see through the falsehood of her wannabe-slutty clothes and her sexy legs.  So I chased her.
            Besides, trouble is my middle name.

Kyla Hensley
I was brought up in privilege, but I lacked everything else.  My father is a business tycoon who buys and sells and doesn't care who gets rolled over in the process.
            I never knew my mother, and all I have of her is a photo with a note scrawled on the back in French saying "I'm sorry."  The only Female Figure I had growing up is my dad's wife who is bleach blond with seven boob jobs.  We never bonded.
            I drink.  I party.  I meet guys.
            But I wasn't always like that.
            I've had a string of lovers in the last few years, the worse and most recent of which was Vince Somerset.  My best friend Vera was dating a guy called Rory Cansoom who is the opposite of Vince in so many ways, and yet so the same.
            She and I hit the road for the summer, getting away from the two college psychos and just trying to have some fun.
            But there's a funny thing about trouble, the more you run from it, the more it finds you.  Which is when I met the Debt Collector.
            It was only supposed to be sex.  He made that clear.  I made that clear.
            That's all it was supposed to be.
            I never expected to fall in love.  I never expected to fall so deeply, madly, uncomfortably in love with a man who is wrong, so wrong for me.
            And yet... so unbelievably right.

CONTENT WARNING: Not intended for readers under the age of seventeen.



Excerpt #1:
~Kyla~
I push my head back against the wall, not sure what's coming, but not fighting it either.
            "Who are you?" he repeats.
            "I... I don't know what you mean."
            "I see you at a bar in Texas, then I look for you all over Nashville.  And suddenly you're at my side in a hospital, following me into this warehouse.  Who are you?"
            "I didn't follow you into the warehouse.  You needed to pick up your truck, and you were stumbling."
            "So?"
            "So I wanted to make sure you were OK."
            "And?"
            And I want you to take my clothes off and I want us to live happily ever after.  "That's it."
            Logan grins, a deadly look for him with his dimples.  "Don't do that," I say.
            "What?"
            "Smile."
            "Why not?"
            Because you're beautiful.  "Just don't."

Excerpts #2:
~Kyla~
He stops.  Lifts his head up again, still smiling.  "You're afraid," he says.
            "Yes."
            "Of me."
            "Yes."
            "And yet, you're here."
            I clear my throat.  "Y-yes."
            "Why?"
            Because I'm an idiot.  And you turn me on.  And I'm an idiot.  And you turn me on.

Excerpt #3:
~Kyla~
My hand slides over to his jeans unwittingly, rubbing his leg.  "I want to kiss you again," I say.  I want to kiss you because you've taken my heart with your words and I need it back.

Excerpt #4:
~Logan~
I have no desire to settle down.
            I have no desire to make Kyla be the last woman I'm ever with.
            But, damn it, I'd like to be given a chance to do those things.  Does she even feel anything for me?
            I know I do.
            I feel something.
            Not love.  Something else.
            Like I need her.
            Like I'd stop breathing without her.
            Like the sun would stop being so bright or the sounds of the world so sweet if she disappeared.

Excerpt #5:
~Logan~
She'll soften me.
She'll break me.
But I don't care.

Excerpt #6:
~Kyla~
"Tell me for real," I say.  "Tell me what I didn't guess about you."
            Logan doesn't answer, and already I'm regretting the question.  I know something hurt him, but who am I to ask him about it so soon?  I'm breaking my rule, I want to know him, I want to know everything about him.
            He shifts his arm so that my head is no longer resting on it, leans forward.
            I did overstep it, but I don't care.  Maybe this is the last time I'll ever see him again, and I want to get everything I can out of it, not only the sex I'll demand later.
            He looks down at his feet, then at me.
            He inhales a deep breath, and then he says something to me that will forever change the way I think about the world.  He tells me a story that puts my own life in perspective, and makes me question what I've held dear, and what's really important in life.
            He tells me about how he lost his father.  And his mother.
            And why he fights.
            And why he continues to fight.  And what he really sees when he's in that cage, the hate, the fury, the pain.
            By the end of it all, my world is shattered, the floor is shaking, I have no stability.
            By the end of it, I know one thing, and I know it to my core, my very fiber.  And I don't care if it's too soon, I believe in intuition, I believe in it more now than ever.
            The thing I know is this:
            I love this man.  I love him irrevocably.  I love him more than I've ever loved anyone.
            And I know I will lose him.
            I know it.  More intuition.
            But I love his very soul.

Excerpt #7:
~Kyla~
I hold on to Logan with all the strength I can muster.
            Somehow, if I let him go, I think I'll drown.

Excerpt #8:
~Logan~
She looks at me with eyes the say something to me.  They're the eyes of someone who's realized something.  Not happy, not excited, not sad.  A bit of all of it.  I think the word they use for that crazy mixture of emotions is Love.


About the author:
Rachel Dunning hit the scene in August 2013 and is the author of the highly praised Naive Mistakes SeriesTruthful Lies TrilogyJohnny Series, and the paranormal romance series, Mind Games.
            A prolific writer, she sticks to stories where Alpha Males aren't pricks and where women have guts.
            She's lived on two different continents, speaks three different languages, and met the love of her life on the internet.  In other words, romance is in her blood.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

REVIEW: The Red Highway


The Red Highway
By: Robert E. Dunn

Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Necro Publications
Publication date: 10.30.2015
Pages: 284

Recommended by: Hook of a Book, Read 2 Review
Date read: 1.20.2016


This book was far from what I expected: Porn stars, junkies, alcoholics, ex-preachers, demons - and a city on the brink of exploding into riot.  Robert Dunn has taken his story straight from the headlines... and added his own unique spin to things.  

Paul Souther, the main character, is one of those anti-heroes that I can't help but love.  As he heads to Los Angeles - a place he is drawn to with this uncontrollable need - he picks up a few stragglers along the way, a few misfits that feel the same way he does.  Once there, his group becomes larger, and it is up to his "family" to save the innocent from the destruction that is upon them.

This book is full of heart-racing adventure, and there is no time, once it all begins, for you to catch your breath.  The characters are what some would consider the dregs of society, and yet they are the heroes in the whole thing, the ones that put their lives on the line.  I would hope that, with such great characters to choose from, Mr. Dunn gives us another book where we can learn more about them and their future.

About the book:
In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war.  At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders.  Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith.  They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.
            Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary's side just as the baby is born.  None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger.  As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires.  He demands Mary's child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning.  It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own  hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

About the author:
Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks.  He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.
            His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist.  When that didn't work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video productions.  Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues.  Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century.  It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.
            He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog.  He tweets sometimes at @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.

REVIEW: Storms


Sharani 2:
Storms
By: Kevin L. Nielsen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Myths & Legends
Publisher: Future House Publishing
Publication date: 12.27.2015
Pages: 335

Recommended by: KindleBookReview, Read 2 Review
Date read: 2.6.2016


I want to point out that I did not read the first book in this series.  I was asked to do a review on this book, and so jumped ahead, which is something I don't usually do.  I do plan on going back to read the first book, though, in order to get the full story, but I feel that this book gave enough information about things that happened before the events in this book, never once leaving me confused.

I enjoyed this book.  The story was intriguing, the history of the Orinai and Rahuli (which they discover throughout this book) was in-depth and compelling, the characters were likable (some a little more so than others, but each drove the story further on, especially as they grew), and I had a good time reading about their adventure.  

There were some editing issues throughout, and I expected more action in their adventure, what with all the talk of what is to come and the feelings/vibes they were getting, but it was a good YA book, and I plan to read the next one in the series when it comes out.  The ending, at one point, seemed a little easy, but it has left me wanting to know what is to come next, and that's always a good thing from a second book.


About the book:
Storms rage across the Sharani desert.  Those clansmen who survived the devastation in the Oasis take refuge in the Roterralar Warren.  But just as they grew to understand in the Oasis, maybe they weren't meant to be together at all.  Change is in the wind.  The Orinai are coming.
            Gavin struggles to find his place within the clans while Beryl begins to recognize that what he did in calling the Orinai will have devastating consequences.  In an effort to atone for that, he sets in motion events that will lead to the end of safety and, possibly, the destruction of the Rahuli people.
            After waking from weeks of troubled slumber, Lhaurel struggles with what she had to do in the Oasis and the burgeoning powers within her.  As everything she holds dear begins to fall apart again she is plagued with the one, most important question.  Can she save her people once again or is she unwilling to pay that price?

About the author:
Kevin L. Nielsen's journey into writing began in the 6th grade when an oft-frustrated librarian told him there simply wasn't enough money in the budget to buy any more books.  She politely suggested he write his own.  His teacher at the time also challenged him to read the Iliad by the end of the year (which he did).  Kevin has been writing ever since (and invading libraries and bookstores everywhere).
            Kevin currently resides in Utah with his amazing wife and two wonderful children.  He's still writing and continuing a lifelong quest to become a dragon rider.

REVIEW: Prince of Nightmares


Prince of Nightmares
By: John McNee

Genre: Horror, Occult
Publisher: Blood Bound Books
Publication date: 1.1.2016
Pages: 189

Recommended by: The Author, Read 2 Review
Date read: January 2016


A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to read John McNee's first book, GrudgePunk.  It was my first Bizarro book and, I must say, that was the day (because that's how long it took me to read it) that I fell in love with him.  Um... I mean... his writing (haha).  It was one of my top FOUR reads in 2013 and a book I have recommended to anyone who likes things... a bit out of the ordinary.

When I received an email from him asking if I would be interested in reading this novel, even though it is a different genre, I could not say yes fast enough. 

And now, having finished the book a little under a month ago, I finally feel like I am able to sit down and write this review.  (Anyone who follows my reviews knows that this is out of the ordinary for me, but I just felt I couldn't do it justice, not until today.)

McNee has a way with words that most authors do not have, and pulls you into his world from the first page.  His characters are different, but also familiar enough that you feel like you see bits and pieces of people you know in each one.  His storylines are creative and intriguing, which makes it very hard to put them down.  And every time you think you have a handle on the whole thing, something happens that quickly changes your mind.  His words stay with you long after you finish reading.  

This is far from a favorite book of 2016 (though it will definitely make the list).  It is a favorite book of my LIFETIME, and I've read a LOT of books.  

And this is where my problem writing the review begins.  I SO want to talk about every little thing that happened in this book - every "WOW!" moment - but I am the last person to give away the story for someone else, especially since I think this is a necessary read for all horror fans.  So I will hit on a few points and leave it at that... 

The setting is amazing - a haunted hotel that feeds you nightmares?!  (and I mean NIGHTMARES) - and the characters themselves made you hate and love them at the same time.  At first things seem very subdued, but as the story builds, and you get more information on each person involved, everything gets a little crazier... and more wonderful.  The final chapters - EPIC!  When the book ended, I sat there for awhile, trying to wrap my brain around everything that happened and get my heart to slow down and beat at a normal pace.

Horror is one of my favorite genres.  And McNee - one of my favorite authors.  I can't wait to see what he gives us next.


About the book:
Welcome to the Ballador Country House Hotel.  Nestled in the highlands of Scotland, it is unlike any other lodging.  Guests can expect wonderful scenery, gourmet food, and horrifying nightmares - guaranteed.  Daring travelers pay thousands to stay within the Ballador's infamous rooms because of the vivid and frightening dreams the accommodations inspire.
            Before Josephine Teverham committed suicide, she made a reservation at the hotel for her husband, Australian magnate Victor Teversham.  Once he arrives at the hotel, Victor finds himself the target of terrifying forces, revealing the nightmares and their purpose to be more strange, personal, and deadly than anyone could have guessed.

About the author:
John McNee is a writer of strange and disturbing horror stories, published in a variety of strange and disturbing anthologies.
            He is also the author of GrudgePunk, probably the only dieselpunk-bizarro-horror-noir anthology around.
            His first novel, Prince of Nightmares, was published on 1 January, 2016, by Blood Bound Books.
            He lives on the west coast of Scotland, where he works "in magazines."