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#BookReview “The Hero of Lost Causes” by Phillip Frey

slowthepace450 From the  Slow the Pace anthology: “The Hero of Lost Causes”  is about “Robert Emmet was born in Ireland in 1778. Upon his twenty-third year he became angry over British rule. It then took him two years to recruit an army of farmers, shepherds and friends. When the moment of rebellion finally came, there was a miscue and a lot of confusion. As a result, the British captured Robert Emmet and executed him in 1803. Robert Emmet quickly became a romantic figure to the Irish people; to this day referred to as “The Hero of Lost Causes.”

Review:

A historical fiction by description, this short tale is actually set at a modern seaside, of a father claiming connection to the failed yet still heroic rebel. Having bought a forty-footer upon retirement as a fireman, Kevin Michael Emett (2 T’s) feels his own time has passed, but maybe his adult son Robert, who helps him out on the boat, might somehow make good on the claim…and a sudden event may just provide achievement of ancestral vindication. Add in a beautiful green-eyed young woman named Eileen and a few gentle comedic twists, and you have “The Hero of Lost Causes”, a pleasant, easy story, the last but not least in this anthology.

About the author:
Phillip Frey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed as a child actor at The Cleveland Playhouse. He later moved to New York, where he performed with Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. This was followed by performing for one season as a member of The Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center.
With a change of interest Phillip wrote, directed and edited three short films, all of which had international showings, including the New York Film Festival. With yet another change of interest, Phillip moved to Los Angeles where he became a produced screenwriter. Now more recently, he has turned to prose with the books “Dangerous Times” and “Hym and Hur.” To see more about these books, please visit http://www.phillipfrey.com. “The Hero of Lost Causes” is Phillip Frey’s first publication of a short story. He wholeheartedly
thanks Scribes Valley for this distinction.

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Filed under Anthologies, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Reviews, Short Story Collections

Review and Free Read: “Hym and Hur” by Phillip Frey

Added bonus? This work is currently free during Smashwords Annual Summer/Winter Sale, July 1-31, 2012! Use code SSWIN at check-out to get your free read.

Review: “As others have noted, this author has the ability to switch genres and always be interesting and intriguing in some way. In current markets this can be chancy, or certainly ratings can suffer if an author associated primarily in one genre crosses over and previous readers sometimes cannot seem to make the distinction that some authors do have such ability. They choose to not change their name but instead present themselves as a “Renaissance” writer of sorts. I admire that and as a cross over author myself, I appreciate how hard acceptance can be, also.

Whimsy with a wicked slash of mischief; seemingly light in tone yet with a dark humor that makes you nod slowly and say, A-ha!” Hym and Hur read something like a screenplay: mostly dialogue interspersed with pertinent descriptions. Certainly some might call for fleshing the story out, but in what is presented one can understand well enough the story and its meaning, its little twists and idiosyncrasies without superfluous additions that might have detracted from the overall view. It’s fast moving. It has a point. I found it a thought-provoking short read that has meaning yet lacked pretentiousness in the delivery of its message. Not everyone’s proverbial cup of tea, but I found it was a nice surprise.”

Description: Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess an array of magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at the same time is now what gets them into trouble, especially since it’s the unruly character of Death they must deal with to bring their plans to fruition.

The prank Hym and Hur have come up with must first be agreed upon by Death, who happens to be a rambunctious, difficult character. Once agreed upon, the prank is set in motion. Hym and Hur soon discover Death had tricked them into a contract with dire consequences for all of us.

During their attempt to break the contract, Hym and Hur try to save the relationship of an earthbound couple, knowing they are truly meant for each other. A good deed that will bring Hym and Hur even more trouble.

  • Published: January 14, 2012
  • Publisher: Phillip Frey
  • Available at Amazon, Smashwords and other online distributors
  • Source: Author

Other work by Phillip Frey I’ve reviewed, Dangerous Times, and my inteview with the author.

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Filed under Dark Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews, Short Story

Interview with Phillip Frey: Author of “Dangerous Times”

This week’s interview is with author, Phillip Frey, whose novel “Dangerous Times” was previously reviewed here at Flying With Red Haircrow.

 

Author Bio:

Phillip Frey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed as a child actor at The Cleveland Playhouse. The day after he graduated high school he moved to Los Angeles and attended Los Angeles City College. Enrolled in their Theatre Arts Department, Phillip performed in many of their plays while also performing in local theater. He then moved to New York, where he performed with The New York Shakespeare Festival, followed by The Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. With a change of interest Phillip wrote, directed, and edited 3 short films, all of which had international showings, including The New York Film Festival. With yet another change of interest he returned to Los Angeles to become a produced screenwriter. “Dangerous Times” is Phillip Frey’s first novel.

Website: http://phillipkafka.blogspot.com/

 

The Interview:

 

What genres do you write?  Why do you write the stories that you write?

I enjoy writing dark-humored and light-humored short stories.  Dark or light, I do it so readers can have a good time.  When it comes to novels, I would rather write about the more serious side of our nature, like crime and murder.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

     When I was around 8-years-old I read Edgar Allen Poe’s poems and short stories.  It was then I decided to become a fiction writer.  No doubt Poe has been an inspiration to many other authors.

But then life took me on a different course.  I somehow ended up as a screenwriter, still always wanting to write a book.  After years of being under the thumbs of producers, working for them on treatments, rewriting and doctoring scripts, and having sole screen credit on one film, I had an idea for a book.  For some reason I had never been ready to work on a novel, not until “Dangerous Times” began to swim around in my sudsy mind.  It developed into my first completed book, and I’ve recently started another.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Sitting back at the end of the day and watching a film on DVD, or watching one that I’ve recorded.  Other than that I like to satisfy my curiosity; look things up and try to understand their meaning.  Mostly things that have to do with the sciences.  My curiosity also includes taking something apart when it needs fixing, see if I can fix it myself, especially if it’s a small item.  Ever have the spring of a wristwatch fly up into a nostril?

 

What books are currently on your nightstand?

On top of the nightstand, alongside the radio, is what I’m currently reading: Swedish author Henning Mankell’s “The Dogs of Riga,” translated into English.  The main character is a detective.

On the lower shelf of the nightstand are the books I’ll be reading next: Henning Mankell’s “Side-Tracked,” followed by a rereading of Raymond Chandler’s “Farewell, My Lovey,” then the rereading of James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

When done with those, I’ll be reading an English translation of Norwegian author Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman.”

 

Why do you write?

     Probably because my mother was a writer.  She wrote freelance for newspapers and magazines.  She had always wanted to write a novel but never did.  Maybe by writing a novel myself I was trying to fulfill her desire.  But to get off this mysterious psychological road, one thing is for sure: she got me to appreciate literature.

 

What excites you about writing?

     The challenge.  It’s a long way from the mind to paper, trying to put down exactly what you mean, to make sure you have found the right word.  As Mark Twain said, “Writing is easy, all you have to do is get rid of the wrong words.”

When I write I want the results to be simple because the simpler it is, the clearer it is; a difficult task to be sure,  though one that I enjoy.

I don’t want to be referred to as a sesquipedalian (a wonderful long word because it means someone who is given to using long words).

 

What is your work schedule?

A long time ago I took the advice of Tennessee Williams and it has worked for me.  Set a daily start time, then sit there, same time each and every day for a chosen number of hours.  For Tennessee it was 4.  If nothing happens on paper, it doesn’t matter.  Just stare at the blank page, daydream about hot fudge sundaes, maybe even daydream about what you’re trying to say on paper.  The important thing is not to run from it.  Whether or not a single word is written, the mind is still working.  The writing hours are never wasted.

Once you have a first sentence down, more will follow.

 

How long does it take for you to finish a book?

A long time.  The plot simmers for a while and the characters grow in mind.  Then once I start the first chapter I do a lot of over-writing because I’m trying to discover what it is I’m actually after.  I also over-write the characters to find out who they really are.  It’s the characters who will show me the way through the book.  That’s why I don’t write outlines.  I want the chapters to be unpredictable for me, resulting in the same for the reader.

Trust is the name of the game.  Start something, keep at it, and everything will follow.  And then comes the rewriting, over and over and over.  That’s why I’m not a fast writer.  I need to continually hone.  A 10-page chapter might end up being a 5-page chapter.

I rework each chapter as I move forward.  There usually comes a time when there’s a turn I hadn’t expected, then I’ll have to go back and rework some of the previous chapters.

It’s a lot of work for me, but the reward of completion makes it all worthwhile.  It’s much harder than writing a screenplay, and that’s the way I like it.  I enjoy the struggle.

 

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?

Oh, yes.  As I mentioned before I begin a project without knowing exactly what is going to happen.  In “Dangerous Times” for example, I would get stuck, not knowing the next chapter.  During these periods I could see the characters where I had left them, saying to me, “C’mon already, let’s get moving, we’re tired of just sitting around doing nothing!”

One thing that would help me out of the mess would be to go back a few chapters and rewrite them, even if there were only very minor changes to make.  Then when I’d get to the stuck-for-the-next-chapter part, it would just come to me out of the flow of having rewritten the previous chapters.

 

Are there any characters from any of your stories that resonate deeply with you?  

The antagonist in “Dangerous Times.”  Frank Moore is the evil part of our human nature.  Frank gave me the opportunity to sink into a hellish place, one in which I could call up the malevolence we all keep secret and harbor from others.

In a short story of mine, HYM and HUR, it’s the character of the grim reaper, simply named Death, who resonates with me — now wait a minute, I should say that the story is a fun story, humorous and entertaining with a little message or two.  The Death character is not at all like Frank Moore of “Dangerous Times.”

 

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

     Cheesecake.

 

Links to book:

 

Apple iBookstore:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781452475943.

Barnes & Noble Nookbook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dangerous-times…/1027646910.

Smashwords:

www.smashwords.com/books/view/25453.

Sony eBook Store:

http://ebookstore.sony.com/search?keyword=dangerous+times.

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Dangerous Times by Phillip Frey

Review: The descriptions of the character’s driving, streets, turns and buildings, or the settings in which he finds himself helps set the tone and mood of the story. Frank Moore is direct and brutal, yet I found him believable and even sympathetic to a degree because he does some of the acts that might cross our minds to do: kill the unrepentant druggie and rid the world of one more useless drain on society. Sometimes the detachment left me drifting, or the seeming randomness of thought, but it was all of a piece. It was as if the story itself was a character with clear personality, a certain style of movement and purpose. Frank Moore, his wife, the other players were puppets on a stage.

I found “Dangerous Times” to be both intriguing, for it’s straightforward and direct style of narration that fit the story to a tee; and terrific in it’s intangible build of suspense. I confess I was dismayed a bit by the length, which was 350 pages in .pdf format, but this was accounted for by the 1.5 spacing and Courier font. Not an easy one for eyes, but again, it did seem to fit the “Dangerous Times,” making for outstanding perspective.

For lovers of crime thrillers and suspense novels written in a solid, purposeful voice, “Dangerous Times” is a winner. It’s dark and gritty, yet still touched by flashes of brillance told in a unique voice. Once it grabs you, it doesn’t let you go. As it’s short description states: “this book is not for the squeamish. It begins as a creepy slow burner that leads to sex, violence, murder, and betrayal.”

Description: Frank Moore is a misanthrope with a hellish plan, a malevolent antagonist so compelling that the reader will want Frank to succeed, until the unexpected occurs. After a frustrating search he has found his look-alike, a close-enough double: John Kirk. Auto mechanic John Kirk leads a troublesome life in San Pedro, common troubles that escalate to the dreadful when Frank Moore comes to town.

Published: September 28, 2010

Published by: Phillip Frey

ISBN13: 294001111792

Source: Author

Buy Link: Smashwords

Author Bio:

Phillip Frey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed as a child actor at The Cleveland Playhouse. The day after he graduated high school he moved to Los Angeles and attended Los Angeles City College. Enrolled in their Theatre Arts Department, Phillip performed in many of their plays while also performing in local theater. He then moved to New York, where he performed with The New York Shakespeare Festival, followed by The Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. With a change of interest Phillip wrote, directed, and edited 3 short films, all of which had international showings, including The New York Film Festival. With yet another change of interest he returned to Los Angeles to become a produced screenwriter. “Dangerous Times” is Phillip Frey’s first novel.

Website: http://phillipkafka.blogspot.com/

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Filed under Reviews, Suspense/Mystery