January 13, 2013

House of the Dead

I've been receiving a tremendous amount of emails asking when the sequel to Master of the Realm will be out. I thought it would be easier to post the info here for those who are interested in its release.

First, for anyone who's not up to snuff about my books: Master of the Realm is my true account of how I connected with the other side. After its release in 2007, I've received over one-thousand emails asking if I'd write the sequel. It seems people were fascinated with how I made the connection.

If you're hoping for your own connection, as many of you have stated in your emails, and want to get a deeper understanding of what really happens when spirits inhabit a home, read it. House of the Dead delves into the details of what was going on with my life; the thoughts that consumed me, and how they trickled into attracting help from the spirit world. Some pretty scary stuff. You want a real ghost story? I got one. Stick around. Hopefully out this March or April 2013.

January 9, 2013

Opinions Are Like Buttholes

Disclaimer: What you're about to read is true, but certain content of a disclosed review has been altered to protect the identity of this famous author and is only stated to emphasize his point of view.

Opinions are like buttholes: everyone's got one. But it's what we do with our opinions that can make or break a friendship or destroy someone's feelings of self worth.

My friend who is a NYTimes Bestselling author, who doesn't want me to name-drop, called me late last night to complain. He said, "The nerve of this f$$#ing pig to write that review. Why are people so gung-ho on tearing authors apart?"

I forced my still-closed eyes to open and looked up at the clock on my TV. It was midnight, but 9 p.m. where he lives on the westcoast. "You do know that I'm sleeping, right?"

"I'm sorry, Val. I need you to read the review on my latest book. It got a one-star."

I bolted into an upright position and shook my head to clear it. No way this big NYTimes author, of many books, got a one-star review. "No way. Really? How bad was it?"

He let out a huff. "It was bad. And I don't read reviews anymore. You know that. Because people can be so f'd up and cruel. But I just got off the phone with my editor who happened to see it and she had to tell me, the bitch."

"Well, can you read it to me, cause I'm in my warm, cozy bed. And my laptop is off."

"Yeah, listen to this. 'Of all his mega hits, ####$$$$$ wrote the worst piece of garbage that I've ever read. I can't believe I spent my hard earned money on this unrealistic trash. I think ####$$$$$ must be hanging with too young a crowd because this book is out of his element. To think people buy his books and made him rich. Ta-ta. I'll never buy another one of his crappy books again.'"

By now, I was out of my bed firing up my laptop. I could not believe that someone would put this on the internet, on a review, for the entire world to read. I could not believe that someone was so miserable with their life that they felt the need to destroy my friend's credibility.

"Holy s$$t," I said through my oozing breath. "So like, what did your editor say?"

"My editor said to ignore it."

"That's it? She felt the need to tell you about it then told you to ignore it?"

"I know, right? I said the same thing to her," he barked. "Why? Why call me to tell me that and then tell me to ignore it? I know everyone is entitled to their opinion. I know this. That's why I stopped reading reviews years ago. But why bring it to my attention? I didn't think a review could affect me like this but it does, and I don't know why?"

I felt myself getting upset for him because I understood his reasoning. Here is this very successful author practically crying over his feelings being hurt and I knew his pain. I've gotten some bad reviews and had felt that pang of disappointment. But then I shrugged it off and got over it. Everyone has an opinion. But hearing my friend's heart being broken made me realize that no matter how good you are at your craft, or how genius you are, there are always going to be mean-spirited, miserable people who take pleasure in their attempts to bring you down.

"God, ####, I feel terrible. You're an amazing writer. You're an enigma. But people are screwed-up. They have unhappy lives. They're miserable. They want attention and don't know how to get it so they write horrible reviews in an effort for the world to hear their voice. We can't please everyone in this existence. We simply can't. Impossible. It's a big world, filled with opinions, and what's beautiful to some are ugly to others. This is how life is. Right?"

A moment passed. Then he said, "I know, Val. I've been on this planet more years than I care to admit. I know the game. But for some reason it just really got to me."

"I know," I said very softly. "And it's okay. No one is immune to feeling the effects of criticism. But just keep in mind this one thing."

"And what's that?" he said.

"Can that person write a book? All the reviews that authors receive are written by people who feel the need to voice their opinion. But can any of them write a damn book? I'd like to see inside their lives. I'd like to see how freakin' successful they are. I'd like to see if they're handsome or pretty or how talented they are in their crafts. In other words, they will be judged one day, and rest assure, someone will tell them that they suck at what they do. What goes around, babes. What goes around."

He let out a chuckle and then a long sigh. "Yep. You're right, sweety. Very true. What goes around always comes around. And that f$$king a$$hole is probably so unhappy that they don't know what to do about it. I should feel sorry for them."

"I know this bothers you. And it bothers me. And I have a friend who stopped writing because of it. And what about all the big names in Hollywood who are constantly in the media? Their names are being schmeared all day long and I can bet none of the hype is true. It's the nature of the beast to attempt to bring another down when the beast is unhappy. Screw them."

He laughed. "Screw them is right. And you're right, Val. If they're so great, let's read what they write. Let's see how great they are."

"Yeah, exactly."

"Val? Know what?"

"What, ####?"

"Think I'm going to get started on the next book . . . tonight. Yep. F$$k the haters."

"Yep. F$$k-em," I said. "Hey, can I blog this?"

"No! You cannot blog this. Did you lose your mind?"

"I won't mention your name."

He let out a breath. "Yeah, sure. I'm not the only author who gets horrible reviews. And people need to know that they can leave an honest opinion but they can say it with compassion and not cruelty. How would they like it if someone did this to them?"

"Exactly. And that's what I'll tell them when I write the blog."

"Thanks, sweety for letting me sound-off. Talk to you later. Go back to bed."

"Ok, ####. Night."

Everyone has an opinion. And everyone has the right to voice it. But can't we say what we feel without the need to show hatred? What makes people so miserable; to the point where they feel the need to lash out at others?

My friend is very well-known. You all know him. And I have the priveledge of being his closest friend. He's older than me but we've known each other since our earlier days in New York. In my opinion, there's no greater writer. Just sayin' . . .

I know he's going to read this. So this is for you, ####. You're the best. Better than all the rest. Love you!