Tag Archives: Irregular Creatures

Acknowledgements

Some of you may know that I recently released a book.

For those of you who don’t, just so you know: I recently released a book.

My book has most of the normal book things in it. It has a title page, and a copyright page and a Dedication to My Totally Wonderful Wife page. Also there’s a story in there as well.

But one thing I did not include in my book was an Acknowledgements page.

Why? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found those Acknowledgement sections to be dry and boring litanies of people I don’t know doing things I don’t care about. When I see “Acknowledgements” I read “Skip This Section.” (The exception to this rule is Chuck Wendig’s Acknowledgements page for Irregular Creatures which was an absolute screaming hoot.)

But now that I’ve gone through the process of getting something ready to toss out into the cold and crowded world of ebooks I know why all those other authors wanted to include those lists of people who I didn’t know. The dirty secret is this: writing is a social process.

We think we can do it alone, but we can’t. We need support and advice and all kinds of prodding and poking to make our stories the best they can be.

So without further ado, I’m going to give you my Acknowledgements. These are people who helped to make this book what it is.

Ashley Berg

Is thanking your spouse a cliche? Well, yes, but for very good reason. In my dedication I said she would have loved me just as much if I had never written a word. And that’s the truth. Sometimes you need someone at your back screaming at you to go farther and do better. But sometimes you need someone by your side to tell you that it’s all gonna be okay. Every day I tell her how my writing went and no matter whether it was great or terrible she’s always there to encourage me. Every writer should be as lucky.

Ellie Anne Soderstrom

I’ve mentioned Ellie’s contribution here before, but it bears repeating. Ellie did a fantastic job of cleaning up the snaggling loose ends of my prose and making it all flow like it should. She also served as the projects head cheerleader. Knowing how much she liked the story really helped boost my self confidence about my writing and motivated me to make this release as good as possible.

Piper Bayard

If Ellie was the head cheerleader, Piper was the head coach. She was the one screaming at me in the locker room to get out there and clean up my act. Well, that may be a bit harsh. But she did give me a great critique that helped me clean up the ending of my story. She pitched in and helped to take it to the next level. She’s an awesome lady and a great writer.

Hoover

Because it’s really his story when you get right down to it. For those of you who don’t know, Hoover is my dog. I never had a dog before I had Hoover. My family has had dogs and my wife had a dog when I married her, but Hoover is the first dog that I really felt I could call my own. His pure joy and enthusiasm inspired much of the character of the dog in the book, and it was him getting tangled up out in the hot Florida sun for hours when we were gone that first inspired me to write this story. He’s fine now by the way, chasing a squeaky toy as I’m writing this a generally being his awesome doggy self.

I could probably go on. In one way or another many many people in my life have helped to shape me into the writer I am today. But these are the major players for this particular work. These are the ones who made this book what it is today. If you read it and like it, they’re probably the reason why. If you hate it…well there’s obviously something wrong with you. I mean it’s a story about a dog who fights zombies. How can you not like that?

So again, thanks to all who helped to make this story what it is. And thanks to you dear reader. Without you this would all be in vain.

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Bizzaro Book Review: Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig

Once upon a time I went to a local bookstore and the guy behind the counter asked me what kind of books I liked to read.

I said, “Weird ones, mostly.”

He got the strangest look on his face.  I’m sure he’d been expecting me to say, Mystery or Horror or some other easily defined genre.  At last he said, “Well we’ve got some Steven King stuff over there.”

I’m not sure why “weird” isn’t a genre by now.  If I was running a book store it would have a section labeled “Weird Stuff,” You’d go over there and find books like Three Bags Full, House of Leaves, The Beasts of New York, and the Thursday Next Series.  And if you went a further down the row, nestled somewhere between Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede and When Graveyards Yawn you’d find a little book by Chuck Wendig called Irregular Creatures.

Reading this book was a strange experience for me.  See, when I was a kid we used to go to the creek and swim. I remember dipping my toe into the freezing water, and then my feet, and then my legs.  Finally, I’d take the plunge and sink my whole body into the water.  After a minute or two I was wondering why I had been so freaked out by a little cold water.

Getting into this book was a lot like getting into that creek.  It took me a while to acclimatize to the style of prose Wendig employs to deliver his stories.  At first it struck me as overly simplistic and far too direct.  But gradually as that first story slowly unfolded I began to understand.  From that point on there was no turning back.  I plowed forward through each increasingly weird tale and loved every minute of it.

There are books that you will read for the sheer beauty of the sentences, the perfect poetry of the prose.  This isn’t one of those books.  This book takes every hint of artificial adornment and crushes it beneath its hobnailed boot; it spits upon subtlety, and gleefully defenestrates that worn out old saw that the writer must show and not tell.

If Chuck Wendig wants us to know that he hates Mondays he does not muck about with an entire paragraph describing the process of waking from a fitful dream only to realize that the cat has peed on the floor and the alarm clock reset itself in the night culminating with a final horrified glance at the calendar.

When Chuck Wendig wants us to know that he hates Mondays he writes, “I [bleep]ing hate Mondays,” and moves on with the story.

And I for one am fine with that.  In fact that’s part of the beauty of this book.  Because what Wendig has to say is far too important to let it be overshadowed by how he says it.  It is clear from the get-go that the stories are the stars of the show in this book and they are amazing.

I will not do you the disservice of summarizing the tales, but I will say they’re probably unlike anything you’ve ever read.  The best of the bunch is a tiny tale called “Beware of Owner.”  Reading this story is like having someone slide a rusty machete into your belly and then twist it hard.  And I mean that in a good way.

The other stories are good too, though some better than others.  One in particular, “The Auction” had a fantastically well-developed setting that felt as if it could contain an entire novel’s worth of action, but the story itself didn’t quite live up to the incredible world that had been created for it.  Also when reading “Lethe and Mnemosyne” I got slightly confused.  Even after looking up the mythological characters of the title I still didn’t get what any of it had to do with a giant killer chicken.  If any of you know I would love to be enlightened.

But anything critical I can say would be insignificant compared to the wonder and the awe contained in this oddly charming menagerie of monstrosities.  Irregular Creatures is a fantastic book, fully worth the pittance of a price its author is asking.  So slap your three dollars down on the digital barrelhead and prepare to be amazed.

Irregular Creatures will take you on a journey you will never forget.

***

Still don’t believe me?  Seriously?  I’m hurt.  Okay, well if you need extra incentive, you can check out some of the stories from this book including my favourite, “Beware of Owner,” here.

Once you’ve gotten the cat feathers out of your brain you can buy the Kindle version of the book from Amazon.com here or the PDF direct from the author’s website here.