Deadly Ever After

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FearNet reviews RUNNING HOME! Holy Hell!

By Julie
I’m a confusing sonofabitch. Known well enough for my horror flash fiction, and running with a lot of horror writers, not to mention being published by horror publisher, Books of the Dead Press, horror readers open up Running Home, and get…….not horror.
So when Fear Net, yeah THAT Fear Net reviewed Running Home, I died a little inside, but was overjoyed to see the reaction considering it is absolutely not the reviewer’s cup of tea. Excellent points, great insight into the themes of the book, and a wonderful compliment to me. I am ever grateful.

Book Review: ‘Running Home’ by Julie Hutchings

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 – 8:00pm
Full disclosure, right off the bat: I am so not the target audience for this book.
I like a lot of grit in my stories. Anything that’s too smooth, too polished – whether it’s the subject matter or the prose itself – tends to shut me down. I don’t want to read something that feels like it was written – I want to read something that feels like it was survived. 
I’m not big on vampires, I don’t read romance novels, and when I worked at a bookstore I leafed through a few pages of the then-all-the-rage series Twilight and quickly gathered that it was not for me.
Julie Hutchings’ Running Home is a polished piece of prose, a re-imagining of the vampire mythos with a heaping helping of romance thrown in. In other words, it’s everything I do not look for in a book. Kudos, then, to author Julie Hutchings, who was able to make me put aside my prejudices and finish a book I normally never would have picked up.
If that sounds like I’m damning the book with faint praise, that’s not my intent. For the right reader, Running Home is going to be a very good experience. It’s well-written, has interesting characters and an intriguing premise. Hutchings has a lot of new ideas about vampires, and it’s always refreshing to see someone take an old genre staple and push it in new directions. Her vampires need blood, yes, but there’s more at work than simple hunger; fate is the main theme running through the book, and it has as much to do with the victims as the vampires themselves.
Hutchings reveals her vampire rules slowly and deliberately, and I’m not going to steal her thunder here. What I can say is that you have a man, Nicholas, and a woman, Eliza, and it’s clear from the start that their futures are irrevocably entangled. What’s not immediately clear is the type of relationship they’re heading for: is it vampire and victim? Eternal lovers? Mortal enemies? Hutchings takes great delight in keeping readers guessing.
As I said from the top, this type of book is not normally in my wheelhouse, but the choices I perceive to be flaws may be welcome by other readers. I’m sure others will be fine with the overall slick, glossy feel to the book – it’s just a little too clean and tame for my taste. I’m sure there are readers who will enjoy the romantic overtones, and the seemingly endless references to Nicholas’s eyes (which are described at various points as being like caramel and/or mocha) and his scent (vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel again). These are mostly matters of taste and not technical issues (although maybe a couple of references to the mocha and caramel eyes could have been edited out), and as such won’t get a lot of criticism from me.
One thing I will be a bit critical of, however, is the pace of the book. There are big reveals, events and consequences discussed in this book, and discussed often. This is a book of many conversations, often held in the cozy confines of Nicholas’ cabin, which is bathed in warm light from within and dusted with gently falling snow outside. It’s a cozy book that keeps hinting at horror, but never quite gets there. The big events the book leads up to are all crammed into the final couple of chapters, giving that portion of the book a rushed feel. If Hutchings can work on her pace a bit, space out those dramatic moments and maybe ease off the cozy just a tiny bit, the result will be tighter stories in the future.
So, to recap: this is not my thing, but for younger readers looking for an entry into horror, or readers caught in that inexplicable Twilight spell, Running Home might be the perfect book. Hutchings is a solid writer with a bright future, an author with real raw talent, and I look forward to watching that talent take shape in the years to come.
Blu Gilliand is a freelance writer of fiction and nonfiction. He covers horror fiction at his blog, October Country, and contributes interviews to the Horror World website. Follow him on Twitter at @BluGilliand
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Riding The Waves Of Feedback…And Nausea.

Today’s Brew: Caramel Apple Something or other.

by Kristen

The first advance copies of Because The Night are in the hands of my street team and reviewers.  Many people have read this book before, but having it out there, almost for real, is nothing short of terrifying.  Every time someone says they’re reading it, my stomach twists up and I forget to breathe for a second.  It’s like that dream when you show up to high school without your clothes on.


This isn’t just any book I’ve asked for an opinion and a review on, it’s mine.  They are the characters I created and nurtured.  It’s the story I wrote.  In short, they’re judging my imagination. Kind of what makes me, well, me.

Next month, I’m the featured author in Opening Line. Unless they decide my book is an unpromotable piece of slop and rescind their offer.  They’re reading it now.  And live tweeting it. A literary magazine.  Nothing to see here, move along.

A street team member tweeted that he loaded his kindle with “Kristen Strassel and Stephen King.” IN THE SAME SENTENCE. He said that.  How can I compare to the God forsaken master?

Most of the feedback I’ve had so far has been very positive, and I love everyone who has enjoyed it.  The thing that’s the most surprising is how strongly people feel about the male lead characters.

Some are very strongly into Blade.

Blade (Christopher Brown)


And others enjoy Tristan.

Totally Tristan.


I always worry when someone expresses a strong preference in one of the other, because I know how the story turns out and I wonder how each camp will feel about the ending.  At first, I was upset if someone really liked one of the guys and disliked the other, but then I realized that the party lines were splitting kind of evenly. That’s cool!  You guys are good!  Now we have something to talk about.

There’s nothing that can prepare you for this.  It’s strange and scary and the coolest thing ever.

I should buy stock in antacid before release day.

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