Chances are if you read haunted histories and tales of ghosts and strange phenomena, you also like horror novels. That's how it is in my case, anyway. So what I want to know is this: Do you have a favorite horror novel? If so, what is it? It's always difficult for me to just pick one favorite, so I picked five. I thought I's share them with you:
_You've heard of the phenomenal play by Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera, but have you read the classic tale from which the play is based? Sorry Webber, but as much as I like your play and its fantastic music, Leroux's novel is still my favorite. In fact, not Webber's version nor any of the movies allegedly based on the classic story even come close to being a true adaptation of Leroux's masterpiece. It's not a perfect book, but I love the atmosphere, characters, scenes and sense of journalistic realism in this tale of love and loss. It's a true classic well worth your time reading it.
_There have been a lot of movies based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, but not any of them are true adaptations of this masterpiece, either. They all have elements, and perhaps Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is closest, but you can't get any better than the novel. It contains some very creepy parts, which are best read before bed but with all the lights turned on in the house.
_Stephen King has been scaring generations of readers with his tales of the macabre, and one of his best is also one of his earliest novels. 'Salem's Lot, another vampires' tale inspired by Stoker's count, was King's second book. Again, the two movies based on the story -- one theatrical, the other TV-based -- do not do the book justice. The first movie made in the 1970s is more in line with the novel than the latter version, but the book is best because of King's character development, atmosphere, and the creepy descriptions of the town known as Jerusalem's Lot. A creepy prequel to the story, which interestingly lacks any mention of vampires, can be found in King's story collection, Night Shift.
_You can't judge a King book by its movie. The books are always better. King makes my list again with a much longer novel called It. Again, it's the author's character development that make his books so worthwhile, even if you are reading a spook story. I found this novel very spooky, but there's also a high level of expert writing in it from a guy who honed his craft over a number of years and numerous books, many of them lengthy tomes. If you're up for a good but long read, you should give It a try.
_Scott Nicholson became one of my favorite thriller writers after I read his first novel, The Red Church, back in the late 1990s. It's an Appalachian tale of great sin, the evil of a small town and, of course, its mysterious Red Church. It's a must-read for horror fans by a journalist-turned-novelist who has written numerous creepy yarns over the past two decades or so. Check out Nicholson at Barnes & Noble and Amazon to learn more about his books. The Red Church will get you hooked.
Now it's your turn? Tell me some of your favorite horror novels.
I had a book signing today at Barnes & Noble in Twin Falls and met some really nice people. I had fun talking with customers and enjoyed signing many copies of my books for readers. Four of the titles were on display and my three Idaho titles sold well.I sold out of Ghosts of Idaho's Magic Valley.
One of the things I enjoy about book signings, besides talking with people in general, is chatting with young people. It always excites me when I learn of young people who like or are interested in my books, and I met a couple of them today. I always wish I had more time to talk about books and the writing process with them, but before you know it it's time to move on to the next customer.
To everyone who came out, old or young, who took the time to stop by and chat with me and for those who purchased copies of my book, whether for yourself or a friend or family member, I appreciate you spending time and money on one of my titles. We live in a world where many things vie for our attention. I'm only one voice in a world of millions, but I hope you feel that the time and expense was worth it.
I also give a huge shout-out to the management team and employees at Barnes & Noble, all of whom I consider good friends. I receive tremendous support from them and appreciate all their efforts on my behalf as an author. I appreciate them so much so that I acknowledged them in my Forgotten Tales of Idaho book.
I hope before too long to be in Utah for some book signings, and hopefully in other areas of Idaho in the coming months.
I recently finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables. It’s a good read and, like most classic novels, develops the story slowly. He spends a lot of time on the principal characters of the book, getting the reader into their psyches. I’ve always liked Hawthorne and have appreciated his style. This novel also made me very much interested in the house on which the book is based.
The house located in Salem, Ma., was built in 1668 by a sea captain and merchant named John Turner, and remained in the Turner family for three generations. Later, a cousin of Hawthorne lived in the house for a time, and Nathaniel's visits to the house inspired him to write the now-classic novel. Today it is a visitor center and museum with plumbing that allegedly has a mind of its own. It has been reported that faucets will turn on and off on their own.
A spirit, assumed to be that of a little boy, also likes to play in the attic, according to some accounts. He has been heard in those nether regions by more than one person. The image of a ghost boy’s face is believed to have been captured in a picture taken at the house. A small boy is at a window looking out into the courtyard and, supposedly, at the photographer. Apparitions and shadow figures also have been reported seen in the more than three-century home. A woman’s spirit, believed to be a former owner, walks its premises, sometimes showing herself as a full apparition to unsuspecting visitors before quickly vanishing back to the spirit realm.
The House of the Seven Gables is definitely on my list of places to visit. To learn more about the house and its interesting history, more about Salem and all that there is to see at this interesting place in the Bay State, check out the 7Gables website.
Before you plan a visit, however, make sure to read Hawthorne’s classic tale of centuries-old sin that, according to the novel, stained the mansion house in a town known for its historic witch trials.
I always appreciate reader feedback, and am happy whenever I find out someone likes what I've written. But I also appreciate the feedback of those who might not have enjoyed my books as others have. Sometimes that feedback is fair, but other times it is not.
I've read some reviews by readers who didn't much like a book of mine and judged it by a standard in which the title clearly fails. For instance, one reader said he thought one of my titles would dive deep into regional history. But that was never the intent or aim of the book. If you want big history, pick up a big history book.
But again, I appreciate any and all feedback, though it's always human nature to enjoy the positives ones more. Luckily, most of the reviews of my work have been positive, and for that I am grateful.
Thanks for reading.
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