Archive for July, 2010



Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell

Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell

By Marian Allen


The best word to describe Marian Allen’s short story collection, Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell, is extraordinary. Extraordinary in the most literal sense, for starters, because there isn’t a single story among these ten that could be described anywise as “ordinary.” Here is a partial summing up of their themes: In trying to negotiate a deal with the devil, a man believes he’s summoned up instead the devil’s own dog. Two tiny mice come to the rescue of a terrorized little girl. Hmm—over here, we’ve got zombies and man-eating wolves. Not to mention Wicca and dueling sorceresses fighting over a horse and a sort of fish. Plus an extra-terrestrial dog. Vampires fixing horse races. Metaphoric (I think) crocodiles, and a gay cat who outwits more aliens to save his boyfriend. So, mostly animal tales, but definitely not your run of the mill animal tales.

 They are all of them extraordinary as well in the quality of the writing, which is brilliant indeed. To be sure, there are chills and thrills here and some mystery, at least in the sense of the mysterious, and even romance (if you can think of a gay Persian in romantic terms) but what strikes me as the most salient element in all these stories is a razor sharp and often wry wit.

 Well, if all this sounds a little outré to you, be assured that the author makes it all not only believable but quite accessible—I suspect there’s a little witchcraft at work there, frankly. My advice is, just get the e-book for yourself, especially if you like animals – priced at  $1.49  on Smashwords it’s a true bargain. Just don’t expect to read Dick and Jane and Spot. These are not those kinds of creatures.

Oh, you can read excerpts from the stories at

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blog tour


Thank you for visiting my stop on the one year anniversary blog tour. This is Stop # 20. Your last stop should have been Elisa Rolle’s blog, stop # 19. If you missed it, here is the link:

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When I was very young I had it in my head that I would be a race car driver when I grew up (in those days I still thought that there was some point in life when you were finally and actually “grown up;” I know better now). One day I read an article by the legendary racer, Wilbur Shaw, in which he opined that no one should consider racing until he had at least 50,000 miles under his belt.

50,000 miles? I think I was about fourteen at the time and just beginning to drive. Why, I would be an old man—twenty-four, surely, maybe even twenty-five—before I accumulated that sort of driving experience.

I gave up my racing ambition. Somewhere in racing Heaven I am sure a choir of angels breathed sighs of relief. I turned to writing, blissfully unaware of the hundreds of thousands of words I would need under my belt before I drove that right.

When you start to drive a car, you have to think about each of the things that you must do: shifting gears, turn signals, clutch and brake. The day comes, however, when you do all that automatically, at a subconscious level.

So it is with writing. You need to practice those fundamentals – plot skeleton, of course, and all you can learn about characterization (which will never be enough), and all of the elements of grammar –  until you no longer have to think about them, until they are absorbed utterly into your unconsciousness. It is not until the singer stops consciously singing that the music takes over.

And there really does come a day when you stop writing the book and the book starts writing itself. I have found myself in the middle of a scene, intending the character to step out a door and turn right, only to have her turn left instead and go off in some direction quite unanticipated by me. Oh, what a chase it is then, keeping the fingers flying while you wait to see what it is that she is up to. Yes, she will let you know—if you let her.

The book, you see, is already written somewhere inside you. Virginia Woolf likens writing a novel to walking through a dark room with a lantern; the lantern illuminates those things that were always there but which you did not see before the light.

Of course, if you are blocking the light you can’t see what is hidden there in the corner. In my opinion your most difficult task is not so much to find the book as to get yourself out of the way so that it can reveal itself. You can’t do that if you are consciously struggling with the rules of plot development or English grammar. Learn them and then learn them some more, until you can forget all about them.

That is when you begin to become a writer.

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Now, as part of the anniversary celebration, I’m giving away an e-book copy of my novel, Deadly Nightshade.  Please leave a comment to enter to win. The more comments you leave on the tour, the better your chances of winning the Grand Prize – a Sony E-reader !

But, please understand, you need to REGISTER  to win prizes. Simply leaving a comment on my blog will not make you eligible to win. If you have not already done so, go back to 1RE’s website at: and follow the instructions for registering, including receiving a participant number, which is a number you will use in every
comment. This is how they will track all of the participants and tell you who the winners are.

The next stop on the anniversary tour is J.P. Bowie’s blog, # 21. Here is the link:

 Have fun !

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