Saturday, December 26, 2009

Updates and Reviews

Lana is improving steadily but my stepfather is still in the hospital and is struggling. Please continue to send him good thoughts. Our steak dinner with Josh and his girlfriend Heidi went off very well, though, and we had a great day.

I ended up cutting the preface for the anthology down by about 50 words and I think it’s a lot better. I also rearranged the story order in the book a bit because by putting the six Thal Kyrin stories in chronological order I would have had a relatively weaker story up first. I know you don’t want that in an anthology. I’m on the final read through now.

I just finished reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Often, I find King’s endings relatively weak and the rest of his stories pretty compelling. This was the reverse. The ending was quite strong but the path to get there was slow, slow, slow. This was one of King’s shorter books, only 254 pages in paperback, but I felt he really had ideas for a novella at most. I think cutting out a hundred pages toward the front and middle would have made this one sing. I haven’t much enjoyed the last couple of books I’ve read by King, but I so loved works like Misery, The Mist, and The Cell that I keep giving him chances. I know he can do it. That’s the thing.

I also finished Voices from the Dark by Gary William Crawford. This is a poetry collection. Most of the poetry is pretty dark, but I’m not sure I’d call this a “genre” collection. The cover certainly suggests that, but isn’t totally accurate. Crawford’s work really crosses all genres and ventures well into the mainstream. The book is subtitled “Selected Poems: 1979-2009” and is kind of a “best of.” I’ve read a fair number of the poems from the collection before, and have reviewed other collections by Crawford here on the blog; his works are regularly nominated for the Stoker Awards. Gary’s poetry is the kind that demands rereading anyway, though, so I didn’t mind revisiting some old favorites. There’s a lot going on in these pieces. If you haven’t tried any Crawford before, this would be a great introduction to his work. Highly recommended.


David Cranmer said...

I actually liked the slow build up of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. One of my favorite King Stories.

And my thoughts continue to be with your family.

laughingwolf said...

hope pops gets well soon, charles

glad dinner went great with josh and co., and lana keeps improving

will try to find crawford's book

Steve Malley said...

I'm having quite a bit of fun with Under the Dome right now. Also wondering how Josh and Heidi aren't all star-struck by *the* Charles Gramlich. But then, I guess to them you're just Dad and 'boyfriend's-parents-eek!'...

Glad you had a good holiday and Lana continues to mend. Hope your stepdad gets well soon.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm still keeping the best thoughts for your stepdad, hon. I'm sure everything will be okay. Love you.
Thanks for your continued help. I hope to become less of a pain in the butt as the healing progresses.

ArtSparker said...

Part of reading Stephen King has little to do with good prose - he just enjoys writing so much, as if it were a physical release (that's as graphic as I want to get) that I, as a reader, end up sharing some of the joy in his sometimes ungainly creations.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Best to you and yours.

Charles Gramlich said...

David Cranmer, I got very bored. It was almost 100 pages in before anything very weird happened. Of course, I don't much care for baseball so that might have been part of my problem.

laughingwolf, thankee. Crawford has several things on Amazon, I think.

Steve Malley, Under the Dome sounds interesting. I may have to try it. First I'll try to read his Dreams and Nightmares collection. Yes, I'm afraid my friends and family continue to be "underwhelmed" by my accomplishments. Except for Lana who is truly my biggest fan. :)

Lana Gramlich, thank you sweetness. You continue to be cute.

ArtSparker, I think that's a good way to describe King. I hadn't really thought of it that way.

pattinase, thanks, and to you as well.

Laurie Powers said...

glad lana is getting better day by day. I'll keep good thoughts about your stepdad.

jodi said...

Charles, stay strong for your family--sounds like they need you in various ways! I just might try out that Stephen King-when it hits the resale of course! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Best of thoughts going out to your stepfather, Charles ...

Lisa said...

You are fast. I am rather ashame but I have not been reading. I feel slow.

I hope your stepdad will recover and be well soon.

the walking man said...

Haven't read any King in years...odd because at one time I devoured him. *shrug* I think you will find the right mix for the anthology Charles and it will be just "r8ght* because you will know it.

Like the others I am praying best possible outcome for your dad and it is good that you and the kid had a good time. surprisingly I did too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laurie, thanks, I appreciate that.

jodi, it's good to have family for support.

Kraxpelax, hum, dude. That's a lot of languages.

Don, thanks!

Ocean Girl, I read faster when I'm on vacation. Just more time to read.

Mark, yes, the order will come. The last really good book I read by King was "Cell," which I much enjoyed. And thanks.

Merisi said...

My very best wishes to Lana
and your stepfather!

Akasha Savage. said...

I've just finished reading King's latest novel and found it a bit slow to get going, the middle was fine, the ending a little weak - but, like you - I'm always giving him another chance. Some of his books are excellent. Misery, Duma Key and IT are among my favourites, and I love his lengthy short story The Long Walk.
You can read my reveiw of Under The Dome at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to your family and may 2010 be a good year for you.

Stephen King? seriously scary!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that Lana is doing better. I'm afraid that I've been out of touch for little while and just heard about the operation. I wish her the best and I send out good wishes to your stepfather.

I like the way you keep giving Stephen King a chance. I liked Misery too. You never know when he might hit another one out of the park.

j said...

I'm glad to hear that Lana continues to feel better. Prayers for her and your stepfather.

I haven't picked up a Stephen King book in a while (the last was a re-read of The Stand) but I've thought about reading one of his newer works.

ivan said...

I have not had the satifaction of reading the poems of Gary William Crawford, but I am intrigued by the title, “Selected Poems: 1979-2009”. Oh lord, so much has happened in the last 20 years and I wish I had had the poems to act as road markers. There were few poems.

Rick said...

I hope all of your family health problems are behind you soon, Charles. Then, you need a vacation! But hurry up on that anthology, will you? I'm itching to buy it and settle down with something good to read.

Randy Johnson said...

Our thoughts are with your family. Glad Lana doing well. Your step-father will get there.

Under The Dome is a long book, but it was the most satisfying King novel since Cell, which was one of the best in years. He still sparkles though in his short story collections.

Bernita said...

So GLAD about Lana. Good thoughts for your step-father.

Charles Gramlich said...

Merisi, thank youi.

Akasha Savage, I've heard good things about Duma Key. I will have to try it. I don't think I was aware of the "Long walk." Thanks for visiting.

Cinnamon, Some good things I know are on tap for 2010. I hope we can keep the lows to a minimum.

Jack, that's true. When King is on, he's really on.

jennifer, my favorite among King's newer stuff is "Cell."

ivan, Yes, I think I've been at it a while but he's been going at least 10 years longer than I.

Rick, I'm going to submit the anthology today or tomorrow! And thanks.

Randy Johnson, I will have to give Dome a try. I have often really enjoyed his shorts, for sure.

Bernita, thanks. I appreciate that.

Voidwalker said...

I wish I could read as fast as some of you guys. LOL. I'm still working on a novel I bought about 1 month ago ;P

As for Lana, glad to hear. As for your stepfather, will send more thoughts of uber-goodness.

SzélsőFa said...

I'm also sending some good and healthy thoughts to your beloved ones Charles.
CoOngratulations on the writing front in 2009, and have a prosperous, happy and healthy 2010.

ivan said...


Foo the wuck r u?

We got it, but you probably won't.

sage said...

I've only read two of King's books--one of which was his book on writing. Prayers for your family...

BernardL said...

I agree with your take on 'Tom Gordon'. I'm glad the recovery is going smoothly. Winter is a tough time to recover from anything.

Charles Gramlich said...

Voidwalker, depending on how much I have going on, it sometimes takes me quite a while to finish a book.

SzélsőFa, thanks, I appreciate that. Especially the health wishes.

ivan, no, I don't think I got it! ;)

sage, if you want to read a good King I'd suggest Misery.

BernardL, yes, a lot of folks around here aren't feeling too good at the moment.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I'm sorry to hear your Christmas was filled with such challenges. My best to Lana and your SF.

The anthology sounds like it's really coming along. I can't imagine going from 700 words to 50 for the preface, but I'm sure it's tight, tight, tight.

Happy New Year, Charles :)

Charles Gramlich said...

L. A., lol. no, I cut out 50 to go to 650. But I hope it's still pretty tight. Hope your holidays are going well.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Well wishes always Charles.

Soft love,

Charles Gramlich said...

Tara, thanks.