I like Jeff Strand. Our friendship-relationship?-acquaintanceship?-hardship?-battleship???-began on stormy seas. Things were rough, and we both got seasick here and there. I think Jeff threw up a time or two, but we came through the maelstrom and landed on hospitable shores.

I have a lot of respect for the way Jeff Strand has handled his career. I don't think he respects my career, because he knows nothing of my work for the Navy. I like to believe Jeff approves of me, my tastes, and my writing. Even if I am only a hobby author.

Jeff can be hard to get to know. He's as socially awkward as I am. We see each other at conventions and stammer and mutter. I understand this sort of behavior. I think he does, too.

Again, I like Jeff Strand. He has a nice droll sense of humor, and he conducts himself in honorable ways. He had the good sense to marry one of the most well-liked and talented individuals in the horror fiction community.

Like his work or not (I mostly do), no one can dispute his energy and his prolificity. Jeff cranks out the books, and they are well-written, they are edited in a professional manner, and I think, by and large, they are the books he has in mind when he conceives his ideas.

I've had Jeff Stand's nonfiction book on writing for some time now, but I didn't read it for a year or two. No special reason why I haven't until now. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

The Writing Life is a window into the mind of Jeff Strand, and a cautionary tale on the ins and the outs of the writing trade. It isn't a manual on formatting or plot construction. It's more of a guided tour through his pratfalls and humiliations.

This is a very funny book. My writing career is mostly a lark, but I can relate to a lot of it. I've had people ask for a personally inscribed book, and for the life of me couldn't remember their names. I've over and under promoted my books. I've opened my big mouth and regretted my words.

Plus, I've been around the community for a long time. Every word of The Writing Life rings true. Jeff Strand stumbled his way to a successful life as an author and horror fiction raconteur. If you want to be a horror writer, this book is invaluable.

I think the biggest lesson in The Writing Life is the necessity of a sense of humor. Jeff has maintained his humility and his sense of absurdity through a couple of decades of struggle.

Most important of all, I got to know Jeff Strand better by reading The Writing Life. That alone is worth the cover price.

Finally, Jeff, if you are reading this, WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING?

Written by Mark Sieber

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry