Trip Advisor Doesn’t Usually Cover This Stuff …. A Review of Glenn Rolfe’s The Haunted Halls, Vol. 1

The Haunted Halls, Vol. I

 

Trip Advisor Doesn’t Usually Cover This Stuff ….

 

Glenn Rolfe is offering up a serialized novel, two of which are available NOW from Amazon, and the first installment of which I read and am offering a review. Set in Maine, The Haunted Halls is a time-bendy tale that leaps between the 1980s (and earlier) and the present day. Even more than that, the tale twists among realities—those experienced in the cold light of day, the colder dark of night, and in the coldest grip of night terrors. At first, I believed this to be a simple “Woman In White” type of ghost story. Who could blame me? I mean, it starts with, basically, a retelling of a Woman In White story. Well, there was the water twist. And the dripping … no, wait, no spoilers. I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice it to say, there were enough twists to keep me wanting to read.

All kinds, past and present, check in to the hotel of Mr. Rolfe’s imagination. Some have pasts that will make you cringe, some have presents that make you want to hold them out at arm’s length and say to the beasties, “Here you go, honey, have at.” Some of the backstory was a bit too graphic for my taste (remember, this is my taste we’re talking about. It doesn’t take a lot for me to “get it,” and I don’t need detail like some people need, but that is always my clearly-labeled bias when it comes to reviewing).

Rolfe also has some nice turns of phrase. Some of his writing is reminiscent of older-style Gothic horror. I like that in a story. I’m one who lives for a lush description, a wedding of words, and the idea that the person writing for me is in love with the language, too.  Any hack can whack you with an axe. It takes style and grace and wit to curl a hand around that hatchet and make the reader welcome every stroke.  That said, there are also several places in the story where I became confused by the action and who was where and when. I’m chalking this up, however, to this being a serialized novel and not the entire story. I’m looking forward to watching Rolfe draw together what seem like disparate threads as the series progresses.

The dialog is well done and believable. The characters are drawn to life and I found myself wondering if these were people Rolfe encountered in his OWN hotel experiences.  It’s an effective beginning to what promises to be a compelling series. The good news is, Volume 2 is out now as well, so if you decide this is YOUR cup of tea, you can get a refill and keep going!

 

 

Without further ado, I would like to welcome Glenn Rolfe to A Diamond In The Dark!

I’ll say what I do know about Glenn is that he is from Augusta, Maine.  As for his writing? How’s about we let him talk about it.

Amy: Hey! Welcome to the blog! We’ll start with the easy stuff.  Ready? If you had to sum up a description of your book in 40 words or fewer, what would you say?

Glenn: The Haunted Halls is a creepy tale that follows a cast of characters through hell. The entity bringing the trouble is a bad bitch. She is not to be messed with.

Amy: Nice! See that? You’ve got your pitch all together now! Where did you get your idea for the book?

Glenn: I work at a hotel. I walked past the pool room one night doing an overnight shift and imagined seeing someone come up and out from the pool. I imagined them being a ghost and chasing me down the hallway. I went back to my desk after that and wrote the prologue.

Amy: O__O Seriously? I mean … SERIOUSLY? You still work there? You still work there after WRITING THAT? Whoa … I know Volume 2 is out now, but when did Volume 1 hit the streets?

Glenn: Volume 1 was up at the end of January.

Amy: We talked about it being part of a series. How many installments can we look forward to?

Glenn: Six parts that will be released roughly every other month through 2013. Volume 2 came out on April 1st.

Amy: Cool! That will keep people reading through Christmas! We all know how tough it is to reach potential readers, so, in this forum with lots of potential readers looking on, what is the most important thing you’d like to share about your book?

Glenn: I love to read horror, but lately, I’ve been less than thrilled by some of the titles out there. I wanted to write something that encompassed all of my favorite authors and would keep me up all night having to know how it ends.

Amy: I agree with that. And, being a series, your readers will lovingly tell you you SUCK if you leave cliffhangers (those are terms of endearment and are meant to encourage you to write FASTER, by the way). Speaking of writing faster … What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Glenn: Time. I work 40 hours a week, go to school part time, have 3 kids, and play in a punk rock band.

Amy: Wow. You are busy! You have, however, hooked readers with a series and they won’t let you off the hook. In addition (I can’t believe I’m asking this now) to all that, what are you planning for your next writing project?

Glenn: I’m currently finishing up a novel to send to an editor, and hopefully get into the hands of a publisher before year’s end. I also have a new serial started on the Jukepop Serials website (www.jukepopserials.com). That one is called, Becoming. And I’m trying to finish up a novella for a May submission. Plus, I’m always working on short stories.

Amy: Wow. Just. Wow. Good luck to you!

And, just so everyone knows where to find Glenn Rolfe and get all addicted to his Haunted Halls series, check out these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Glenn-J.-Rolfe/e/B00AXYEBTY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/glennrolfehorror

Twitter: https://twitter.com/glennrolfe

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6939496.Glenn_Rolfe

 

The Haunted Halls Volume 1 is available as an eBook from Amazon. To make ordering easy, just click the cover art at the top of the page and it will take you out to Amazon so you can share the terror!

 

The Fishing Widow eBook Release on 6 January 2013!

 

Three years in the making, and it’s nearly here! I’d like to take this opportunity to invite EVERYONE to the eBook Release of The Fishing Widow on Sunday, January 6, 2013. How will this work? Well, there’s a Fishing Widow eBook Release Facebook Event and then there’s also going to be a Google+ Hangout at 1:00pm Alaska Time (that’s 5pm on the East Coast of the US, and 10pm in Ireland and the U.K.). The address to join me, A.K. Marshall, is that there embedded in my user name. I will admit, the whole Google+ Hangout thing is new for me, and we’ll see how the bandwidth at the coffee shop in Craig, Alaska supports it!

If you happen to find yourself in Craig, Alaska on that date, head over to The Waterstreet Café (801 Water Street) for a cup of the good stuff and cake! You’ll also be able to use the WiFi to download the ebook for free. Actually, the codes will all be posted on the Facebook event page and here that day. Download it from Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble.

And, whether you’re here, on Facebook, or in Craig, let me know you’re out there somewhere and interested. Join the Facebook event, hashtag a post on Twitter #thefishingwidow, or leave a comment here. Folks who join the Facebook event and/or post a comment here on January 6th (or are at Waterstreet Café) have a chance to win PRIZES! Alaskan-themed prizes; kinda like The Gift of the Magi, but with a twist. I have Raven’s Brew coffee, Moka (chocolate) Bars, Deadman’s Reach gear (including hoodies), and quintessentially Alaskan things that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Yes, if you’re overseas, you can still win (as long as it’s legal to ship coffee and chocolate and hoodies).

What’s it all about? Check out The Fishing Widow eBook Release Trailer

 

Want more? Check out the NEW The Fishing Widow Book Trailer

Many thanks to Stuart Spencer for his more-than-awesome-and-I’m-not-worthy cover art for both the eBook and the pending hard cover release (Coming March 2013).

Days left …. Let’s get this party started!

 

♫ The Cover Is The Hardest Part ♫

As it turns out, that’s completely and totally true. I should start out by apologizing for any and all redundancies and bursts of enthusiasm in this post. I’m fresh from a NaNoWriMo win, made sweeter by the fact that I didn’t actually start writing until November 15th. Also made sweeter by the fact that I started the process of finding a cover for The Fishing Widow. So, here’s my story, and I’m sticking with it ….

It took three years to write The Fishing Widow. I’m counting from the moment Colin Claybaugh snuck up behind me while I was doing dishes (and I turned and took a swing with a frying pan at this unknown, disembodied voice…it’s a good thing he ducked) saying, “I hear you’re good at writing down stories.” through to the final edit. I’m pretty sure there were no fewer than fifteen edits of the book; along with endings, and alternate endings, and fist-fights about the ending, and, at last, THE ENDing. If you write, you’re nodding sagely at that last statement. Yes. It’s a struggle. It’s a struggle even when you’re dealing with forthcoming characters who want to tell you everything. Not that that’s any good, either, because then you’re staring at a reams-long tome wondering what in the world to cut out. No one needs that much detail….

See? I’ll blame NaNoWriMo because I’m slightly rambling, but only to make a point. Three years of my life and more than two-thirds of my sanity have gone into The Fishing Widow. I’m ready to put it out there. And then, there’s the whole putting it out there. As writers, let’s face it–it doesn’t matter how long we’ve delved into something, it doesn’t matter if we have cracklingly real characters, believable dialog, compelling stories, horror, triumph, a catastrophic bettering of the human condition, and that attainment of catharsis that our high school English teachers told us we had to attain in our writing or Dante would be waiting for us in the bowels of somewhere down there in the hot spot, without a decent, eye-catching, soul-gripping, I-need-to-read-this-lest-I-die cover, your book is not going to stand out on the shelf amid the others vying for attention. To that end, I’ll add this: I know graphic design and I am no graphic designer. So, while trolling Facebook, I came across a publisher (Permuted Press) who was looking for feedback for a book cover design contest at this website called 99 Designs. Really? Book cover contest? I just had to look….

Then, I was hooked. While this isn’t an advertising blitz for 99 Designs, I’ll just say that I put up a contest, 55 designers submitted 180 possible covers based on a detailed design brief that I submitted and I worked with a number of them through a feedback process to whittle it down to 6 designers. Now, there are eight possible designs on the block–each one a bit different, each one with a different feel, but all of them by designers who are wildly talented and even better, responsive to feedback. Huh. I guess this is a bit of an advert for 99 Designs ….

But, back to the contest. There’s this poll. It lives here: https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-h7sika And, I’m using this as a forum to solicit feedback from YOU. When I wrote the original design brief, I asked for a cover that would make people yank the book from the shelf and open it. So, I now ask you, looking at these designs, if you were standing in a bookstore surrounded by more compelling graphic design than one person could bear, which one would stand out? If you were strolling the Lido Deck (they all have “Lido Decks,” right?) of a cruise ship and noticed a book in someone’s hand, what cover would catch your eye and make you think, “Wow, I should so totally read that.” ?? I know, asking a lot, but if it’s not compelling enough to pick up, if it doesn’t draw your eye, you’ll never open it to read the flap (which reminds me, I’ve got to write that bit, too), or thumb through the pages.

And then you’d never meet Ethan.

Or Colin.

Or Brett.

Or St. John.

Or Elizabeth.

And that would make me sad, ’cause trust me. You’d love ’em…..