Review copies!  Get your review copies here!

Hi friends!

My first three Tulpa Books titles are almost ready, and I’m sure you know what that means.

Advance review copies!

To get your advance review copies of Dragonfly, Feral, or Broken Angel, simply email me at with ‘ARC List’ in the subject line, and I’ll add you to the advance review copy list.  The ARC list will not be a news list.  I will only use it to make advance review copies available to those who ask to be on the list.

All ARCs on offer will be free of charge and available in Kindle, Epub, and PDF formats.  All I ask is that you leave a review on the book’s Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble page, whichever you usually buy your books from.

There are only a few days left to vote for my next release.  The choices are mostly from my backlist.  The exception is a new short story collection which consists of mostly previously published work.  So far the collection, Dangerous Toys, is in the lead.  If you have a preference, now is the time to vote.

*Poll expired*

Introducing Tulpa Books!

I’d like to begin by thanking a few people who convinced me that my work was worth bringing back, who encouraged me to release them myself, and who have helped me learn how to do it.  I’ve since immersed myself in the Indie Publishing world, but quietly, as a lurker.  Mouth shut, ears open, and hopefully learning.

Douglas Clegg.
Lisa Lee.
H Michael Casper.
Kelli Owen.
KH Koehler.
Mark Allan Gunnells.
Lisa Vasquez.
David M. Wilson.
Monica J. O’Rourke.
Joe Mulak.
Susan Woods.
Julie Sparkman.

There are others.  I know I missed some of you.  My brain is not yet working at peak efficiency, so please forgive me.

Now, to the meat of this announcement.  Two of Tulpa Books first three titles are going up for pre-order now and will be available on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and maybe Ibooks (if I can get through the rat maze that is their vender account setup) on January 9, 2018.  I plan to bring them back in print too, but have not yet decided when.  Hopefully soon after the digital release.

The third will also release on January 9, 2018, but will be available only on KDP Select for the first three months.  It may go wide afterward depending on sales, or demand from readers from different storefronts.

Shannon Pitcher was trying to forget the brutal murder of her ex-husband and the loss of her only daughter, when fate brought her to a lost, scared little girl named Charity at the gate of an abandoned and haunted place called Feral Park.

Gordon Chambers has searched for his daughter for six years. Even when his estranged wife is found slaughtered and his daughter, Charity, disappears, hope remains in the form of strange dreams.

After years of living as prisoner of the fairytale monster that killed her mother, Charity has escaped, but the Bogeyman wants her back, and he will not stop until he has her. There is only one safe place for her now, but the price of safety will be more than her innocence, it will be her soul.

List price: $3.99.  On sale for 99 cents until January 18, 2018.

Grim knows there’s something wrong with his new foster-sister, Angel, but he also knows what it’s like to be an outsider in the small insular town.  Michele feels the danger surrounding her new friend, Angel inspires violence with her mere presence, terror with a simple touch, but she’s also sweet, damaged, and all but alone.

As Angel’s health improves and her memories return, the hot Clearwater summer becomes increasingly strange and violent.  Insanity infects the small town, a shadowy figure lurking in the woods at night deals death, and no one is safe.

List price: $3.99.  On sale for 99 cents until January 18, 2018.

Vengeful revenants, ghost children, woodland zombies, and lustful, demonic toys are among the menagerie of small horrors showcased in Brian Knight’s first collection, Dragonfly.

Gripping, touching, and sometimes humorous, Dragonfly deals a powerful range of emotions from love to hate, hope and loss. Reviewers and readers alike have praised Dragonfly, which received four honorable mentions in The Years Best Fantasy & Horror.

Douglas Clegg (The Nightmare Chronicles & Bad Karma) says: “Brian Knight’s writing shines with a dark brilliance. Dragonfly is a chilling collection of terror.”

List price: $2.99.  Available only on KDP Select.

I will put pre-order links on once all three books are available for preorder.

Future Tulpa Books from my backlist include a Monster Double Feature of Reservoir Gods and They Call Us Monsters, solo releases of Reservoir Gods and They Call Us Monsters, Hacks, and my neo-noir crime novel Sex, Death, and Honey.  You can help decide which I release first by participating in the poll at the bottom of the page.

Future original Tulpa Books include a new collection called Dangerous Toys, the sequel to Sex, Death, and Honey tentatively titled Cut to the Quick, a new horror novel tentatively titled The Girl Has Guts, and a horror novel called Hog Island.  Some of these may come out as limited edition hardcovers before Tulpa Books releases them.  I’ll let you know which, if any, and how to get them.

You can receive advance review copies of Tulpa Books titles by joining my Knightmares newsletter and responding in the affirmative when I make them available.

Thanks for joining me in this new adventure.

Brian Knight

*Poll expired*

What’s next?  You decide!

Some of you know I’m launching my own publishing imprint to bring back my out of print books (announcement to come), and if you didn’t, you do now.  Dragonfly, Feral, and Broken Angel will be available again January 9, 2018 as digital books, and later as paperbacks.  I’m also working on new stuff, which may or may not be released as limited hardcovers before I release them in digital and paperback formats.  I have at least one limited hardcover publisher interested in publishing my new work, and it’s a publisher I’ve wanted to work with for a long time.  They have a great reputation, and produce excellent titles.

Between the release of Dragonfly, Feral, and Broken Angel, and the release of my new works, there are many out of print backlist titles to bring back into print.  I’ll bring them back one at a time rather than all at once, but not necessarily in the order they were originally published.

This is where you come in.  You can help me decide what to bring back first.

For updates, free fiction, and first cover reveals, please join my Knightmares newsletter.

*Poll expired*

Where I’ve Been … Where I Am Now

I rediscovered my twitter account a few months ago and tweeted for the first time in a couple of years.

 “Wow, I still have a twitter account?”

I was surprised by the reply that came almost immediately.  It was from a man who I respect, whose career I always followed with great interest, and who I was surprised even remembered me.

 “We thought you’d joined the merchant marines or got abducted by aliens.”

No merchant marines or aliens, but I have been gone for a while, absent at least from the horror genre, where I was, once upon a time, considered an up-and-comer.

Where have I been?

On the outside, lurking on the fringes, watching all the writers I used to know either succeed or disappear themselves.


When I published my novel Feral in 2003, I considered myself a writer who drove truck to pay the bills, but only until I made enough money with my fiction to write full time.  Now I know I’m just a truck driver who likes to write, though there have been a few empty years where I wrote next to nothing.  This transition took a dozen years and a lot of disappointments to achieve.

I had a plan back then, you see, a plan that had worked well for others.  My plan was, now that I had a hardcover release from a respected publisher, to sell the paperback rights to Leisure.  I had every confidence that this plan would work, especially after a friend in the business, one of Leisure’s most notable authors at the time, arranged a one on one pitch between Don D’Auria and me at a party at WHC in Phoenix.

Don liked my pitch and invited me to send him the manuscript, which I did immediately upon returning home from Phoenix.  I thought things were going well.  I was young and optimistic.  The publishing business cured me of that.

I did eventually receive a reply from Leisure regarding Feral.  In 2011.  I’ll come back around to that.

Between 2004, when Don D’Auria requested Feral, and 2010, when it became clear that all of those Leisure authors I envied were being thoroughly screwed, I was invited by Leisure’s senior editor to send two more novels.  I never heard back about either, although sending those novels led to perhaps the most devastating conversation of my writing career.

Another dear friend of mine who worked at Leisure for a time (I think she read slush, edited, or both) phoned me up to ask when I was going to make the big announcement.  I asked her what the hell she was talking about, and she said she’d seen a copy of my novel Broken Angel on the senior editor’s desk with a sticky note on the cover that said, simply, “Yes.”

I held out hope for a while, even though it had been years since I sent Broken Angel, and had received no replies to my follow-ups.  I had since placed the paperback rights for Broken Angel with the original hardcover publisher, Delirium Books, but maybe Leisure would instigate some kind of constructive contact.  I never did hear back about Broken Angel, and it has since gone out of print.  I’ve considering submitting it to Don D’Auria at Samhain Publishing, but I probably won’t.

I began my own personal boycott of Leisure books long before 2010 (for the full story of the decline and eventual crash of Leisure Books, including the boycott that helped sink them for good, read Brian Keene’s Trigger Warnings – a fun and informative look into the life of one of the most influential authors of our time that happens to include a long section on the Dorchester War).  My personal boycott had nothing to do with passive-aggressively withholding my meager couple of bucks for every book I didn’t buy from them, and everything to do with the fact that I could not look at the Leisure logo on the spine of a book without seeing red.  Leisure published a lot of writers I liked personally, respected, and whose work I loved, and I could no longer bring myself to buy their books.  When Leisure finally contacted me in 2011 about Feral, after the editor who requested it had moved on and Leisure itself was in the process of moving on, my goddamn brain almost exploded.

A short but necessary digression here.  Although I didn’t appreciate being ignored for close to a decade by Leisure regarding material they requested, Don was by most accounts a fantastic editor, well loved by most of his authors.  The debacle that led to Leisure’s decline was not his doing, and from what I’ve heard he did everything within his power to do right by his authors before Leisure let him go.  The few times I chatted with him at conventions, quick and casual chats that had noting to do with me trying to pitch him, I found that I liked him a lot.  I would have liked to work with him.

I continued to write, though not as enthusiastically as before, but I read virtually nothing.  There was no longer any joy for me in cracking the spine of a book and immersing myself in the stories that had once been the most important things in my life.  In those years I published very little horror, and usually with publishers who have no real distribution or promotion.  At that point I didn’t give much of a shit if anybody bought them or not.  I enjoyed writing those stories, but I no longer had any expectations that my publisher’s could actually sell them.

There were a few non-horror novels I had very high hopes for.  The first, a novel about a repo-man / bounty hunter, perhaps the funnest thing I’ve ever written, was called Sex, Death, & Honey.  This was supposed to be the first in a series of three or four (the second remains half written on my hard drive), but it didn’t work out.  I don’t want to disparage the publisher, a man I like a great deal, but the editor who convinced me to sign had plans to promote the book that were never realized once he parted ways with the publisher.  The production values were fantastic, and the cover phenomenal, but promotion for Sex, Death, & Honey never amounted to more than a few tweets and Facebook posts. The book is now out of print, and will probably never see print again.  It’s a shame, because I am very proud of it.  I think Sex, Death, & Honey has great, unrealized potential.

I also wrote a YA / Midgrade fantasy trilogy, The Phoenix Girls.  I finished the final book this past summer and hope to see it released some time next year.  The first two books, The Conjuring Glass and The Crimson Brand, were favorably reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, but haven’t sold as well as the publisher or I would have liked.  I have not regretted writing them though, or working with JournalStone.  The Phoenix Girls Trilogy is one of my proudest achievements, and I think book three is probably the best story I’ve ever written.

When I finished PG3, my last contracted book, I had expected to quit writing entirely and get out of the business while I still had a little of my sanity left, but a funny thing happened.

I got new ideas.  Horror ideas.

I got excited.

I also started reading for pleasure again.

I have a new plan now, and this time I have some experience and a few hard lessons to inform me.  I also have thicker skin.  That’s important.

I’ve started work on a new novel, and few short stories just to help me get back into the swing of writing horror.  This next novel is going to be very nasty, very brutal, and more intense than anything I’ve written before.

My name is Brian Knight.  I’m a truck driver who likes to write.  If some day my writing allows me to quit my day job, that would be great, but I’m no longer taking it as a given.

I was gone for a while, but now I’m back.

I’ve come to scare people, and have some fun doing it.

My interview with Mark Allan Gunnells – A Summer of Winters

I first met Mark on some message board or other a few years back and was first impressed by his enthusiasm for fiction … specifically mine. What can I say? I’m a sucker for flattery, and Mark was a very vocal supporter of my work.

Later I was impressed by his ability to spin a good scary yarn, very impressed. Of all his work to date I am most impressed by The Summer of Winters.

I found aspects of the story, the alienation and loneliness of some children and the cruelty of others, especially poignant. The disturbing sense of dark nostalgia that the story held for me, a resonance that genre fiction all too often fails to achieve drew me in almost immediately. Mark’s excellent storytelling kept me there, and I finished the story in a single sitting.

Q: Mark, A Summer of Winters feels like a very personal story. How much of it sprang from your own childhood, your friendships and relationships?

A: Well, the main plot is completely fictitious, and while some of the characters were modeled after people I knew, no one character represents a living person. That said, I threw in so much of my childhood into this story that I feel in some ways I was using it as a means to preserve my memories. The setting is real, my hometown, and I utilized as many of the places that were important to me as a kid as would fit in the story. The main characters house is a house I lived in as a kid, and the bamboo forest and the thick bushes with the tunnels running through them were all read. And several events in the story—the younger brother slamming the door on his finger and needing stitches, the teacher who snatched away the candy for not saying thank you, etc.—actually happened to me. So while the book is a piece of fiction, there is much truth of my past in it.

Q: How hard was this story to write?

A: Well, the plot goes to some very dark places, and that made it somewhat painful to deal with. Also, some of the more unpleasant aspects of my childhood made it in. That said, I did enjoy the process of writing the story.

Q: When I started reading, I expected a supernatural story, probably a ghost story. I was pleasantly surprised at the way you instilled such a creepy atmosphere into what is essentially a mystery/thriller. Is this the type of story we can expect from you in the future?

A: It is true that previous to this book, most of my published work was horror and supernatural in nature, but I don’t want to be a one trick pony kind of writer. My latest published book is a love story (with a sci-fi angle), and the book I’m currently working on deals with witchcraft and ghosts. So, I hope to explore many different genres in my career.

Q: A Summer of Winters is also a really great coming of age story on par with James Newman’s Midnight Rain (and trust me, that is a high compliment coming from me). Are you planning something similar in novel length?

A: I’ve always loved the coming of age genre, and the Newman you mentioned is one of my favorites. Along with works by Lansdale, McCammon, King. I’ve always wanted to write one but could never really hit on an idea that worked for me until The Summer of Winters. Would I be open to working in the genre again? You betcha. But I’d have to hit on an idea that I was really passionate about. I revere the genre so much, I wouldn’t want to half-ass it.

Q: What do you have in the works? What’s coming soon?

A: Well, I co-authored a novella with Benjamin Kane Ethridge entitled Locked Room Misery that is due out from Gallow’s Press sometime this year, but I’m not certain of any specifics. I’m also working on a novel for JournalStone, and eventually plan to do a sequel to my novel The Quarry. Also fingers crossed I’ll be doing a new collection with Evil Jester Press.

Q: Anything I missed that you’d like to talk about? I’m all ears.

A: I think you about covered it. Just want to thank you for your time, and thank everybody out there who has ever taken a chance on one of my works and everyone who may in the future.

Thank you very much for your time today, Mark. As always, you’re a real pleasure to chat with.

JournalStone Publishing is in a Giving Mood!

A while back JournalStone Publishing gave away 10 copies of The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass on Goodreads.  There were nearly 800 entries, so a lot of people didn’t win a copy. Now JournalStone has decided to give away 10 more.  Go to Goodreads now and enter to win a copy for your chance to read The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass before it is available to the general public.

It’s easy!  Just go to Goodreads and click to enter. Well, you do have to have a Goodreads account, but if you’re a bookish type, you probably should have one anyway.

Good luck!

Brian Knight

*Contest Over*

Congratulations, you survived 2012!

2012 was a challenging year for most of us.  Economic recession, numerous professional disappointments for YHA (your humble author), political and religious crazies making a whole lot of noise and trouble, other crazies murdering, raping, and making us despair for the future of humankind.  We survived the rapture – twice if memory serves – and the end of the world – again twice.  Ever larger portions of the Earth’s population, including those from what are supposed to be the more civilized corners of our spinning globe, reject rationality and science in favor of superstition, fear, and hatred.  Those of us still lucky enough to have stable employment find our opportunities for upward mobility shrinking, and are expected to work harder and harder, generating larger profits for our beneficent masters, for shrinking benefits and wages that fail spectacularly to keep pace with increased costs of living.

What do we have to look forward to in 2013?

The cynical part of me says it’ll probably be a whole lot of the same, but a hopeful part of me continues to blindly assert that things will get better.  Hope is a good thing, so I will continue to give my inner hippie enough space to live.  Maybe he’s right and things will start to get better.  Anything is possible in an infinite universe.

There are a few good things on the horizon.

They Call us Monsters is coming soon from Gallows Press.

In 2008, the cult novelette 1200 AM Live introduced readers to the sick, perverted world of Andy Crow and Charles Green. In 2009, The Avian presented the tragic story of Jove, his mysterious curse, and his quest to find identity. Finally, They Call Us Monsters, a brand-new novella and final book of this fantasy/horror trilogy, brings these characters together and answers many questions in an explosive conclusion. When Jove and the mysterious Andy Crow finally meet, all hell breaks loose. And, for readers who missed out on 1200 AM Live and The Avian, this volume collects all three books.

This is not a novel, but a collection of related novellas that work together to create a larger story.  They were fun stories to write, and Andy Crow and Charles Green were fun characters to work with, but my writing is going in slightly different directions now, so this is the final appearance of Crow, Green, and their wacky and slightly demented adventures.

Also coming out in 2013, a book I’ve been trying to get published for 6 years.

The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass, coming March 8th from Journalstone.  Check it out on Goodreads or Journalstone.

When thirteen-year-old orphan Penny Sinclair moves to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother, she expects her life to become very dull. She doesn’t expect to find a strange talking fox roaming the countryside near her new home, a kindred spirit in her new friend Zoe, or the secret grove where they discover the long-hidden magic of The Phoenix Girls.

Learning to use magic isn’t easy, though; Penny and Zoe get their magic wrong almost as often as they get it right. When something sinister threatens Dogwood, their often-accidental magic may be the only thing that can stop it.

I wrote this story a long time ago, and in the years since have come to know the characters better than any other I’ve ever written about … and that’s probably a good thing since you may have noticed the Book 1in the title.  As currently envisioned The Phoenix Girls series will run from 5 to 7 novels.  The second in the series is finished, and I’ll be starting work on the third soon.

The Phoenix Girls stories are YA fantasy – remember that new direction I spoke about earlier? – but will appeal just as much to adults.  I think the mark of a good YA or children’s book is that there is no upper age limit.  I don’t write down to a YA audience, I wrote a story that is age appropriate for them.  A good story is a good story, no matter what genre you tag it with, and I think The Phoenix Girls, Book 1: The Conjuring Glass, is one of my best.

The Phoenix Girls’ road to publication has been a long and bumpy one.  I might share it here someday.  For now, I’m letting my inner hippy bliss out on the fact that book 1 will finally be available soon.  I have never been more enthusiastic about one of my books, and I hope my enthusiasm will spread to you, dear reader.  A good story is the best magic in the world, and I think we can all agree that a little good magic would be welcome in this new year.

Brian Knight

The Next Big Thing … Bla-Bla-Blog

My good friend and fellow writer T.G. Arsenault (Tim-ay!) tagged me in his The Next Big Thing blog, a kind of viral round robin thingy where we get to talk about a current work in progress.  I, in turn, was to tag another five writers to keep it going next Wednesday.  I was only able to dig up three who were interested, had a blog, and haven’t already participated.  Seems this thing is a bit like the flu, it’s making the rounds very quickly, and it seems everyone already got it.

The three suckers who allowed me to tag them are listed below, so be sure to check them out!

Here are my answers to the ten questions.

Q: What is the working title of your book?

A: I have a few irons on the fire right now, but the one that’s closest to being finished is the second book in my new YA Fantasy series, The Phoenix Girls, Book 2 – The Crimson Brand.  That is only a working title.  As I get through the second draft a better one might occur to me.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A: This book is only a smaller part of a larger idea which came to me about half-formed in a moment of epiphany so strong it almost stunned me.  I remember exactly where I was when I had it, a passenger in my wife’s suv, instead of a driver which was usually the case.  Probably a good thing too.  I might have driven us straight off the road.

Where it came from … that’s a question I can’t really answer.  I have no idea where it came from.  I had toyed with the idea of writing something I could let my daughters read, they were younger back then, 14 and 11, and thought YA Fantasy would be a lot of fun.   I wasn’t looking for that kind of story idea though.  It found me, and I was happy to take ownership when it did, but that moment of epiphany wasn’t where the idea was born, just when it presented itself.  I think ideas like that one either come from a lifetime of accumulated experiences, from everything that made me who I am and how I am, or from nowhere at all.

Q: What genre does your book fall under?

A: Young Adult Fantasy, though it has hints of other genres in the story to spice it up.  There’s mystery, adventure, and just a dash of horror.  I also want to point out that I don’t think a good YA story needs to be written down to a certain level or age group.  I certainly wrote it with younger readers in mind, but I won’t insult them by suggesting in either word or deed that a story has to be simplistic or unchallenging for young readers to grasp it.  A good YA story, and I do think my Phoenix Girls stories are good or I wouldn’t be writing them, and certainly not committing myself to an entire series, is just as complex and challenging as its adult oriented counterpart.  Good YA stories are certainly capable of supporting complex characters, relationships, emotions, and ideas, and very capable of engaging adult readers.

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A: Unfortunately, all of the actors and actresses I can see playing the lead rolls are already too old.  If I could go back a few years and recruit some of my favorites … Bonnie Write as Penny, Saoirse Ronan or Dakota Fanning as Katie, and well, can’t really think of anyone for Zoe.

Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A: A young orphaned girls loses everything she has, family, friends, home, and finds them all again in a most extraordinary, and magical, way.

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A: I will not self-publish.  I flatly refuse to self-publish.  I wouldn’t be able to do it properly for one, and more importantly, if no one is willing to take a chance on it, then maybe it’s not worth taking a chance on.  Luckily that is not the case with The Phoenix Girls.

No agency though.  Agents … just don’t get me started.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A: Around a year, though a majority of the 90,000 words were done in a few month of marathon writing.  It was simply the most fun I’ve ever had.  Ever!

Q: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A: The Harry Potter books (yeah, I flatter myself) and the Narnia books (more flattery) come first to mind.  It’s really not like either of them.  I think The Phoenix Girls is pretty unique.  Or I like to think it is.  You read it and let me know.

Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A: My daughters, and the idea itself.  Once the idea hit me, it was too good not to write.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A: Magic, monsters, bullies, and bad guys, and most importantly, I think anyway, sympathetic young protagonists who any young reader, or every reader who remembers some of the difficulties of being young, can relate to and love.

Well, that’s it I suppose.  There’s a lot more I’d like to say about this book, and series, but if I ramble too long, I’m likely to start throwing out spoilers.

Here are the writerly people I suckered into participating.

Trent Zelazny
Mark Allan Gunnells
Tim Marquitz

Adults Should Read Whatever the Hell They Want

“The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading The Hunger Games.”

Joel Stein, a columnist for Time magazine, started a recent article in the New York Times Opinion Page with the above line.  I stopped reading there and spent a few minutes trying to wrap my brain around that statement, trying to find a way to relate to Stein’s point of view.  When I couldn’t, I read on, thinking that perhaps he was engaging in a bit of satire, expressing a personal prejudice against a certain kind of fiction in a manner meant to elicit chuckles.  The next 269 words in his article, Adults Should Read Adult Books, disabused me of that notion.  He was dead serious.

Stein goes on to equate reading primers like Hornton Hatches the Egg with works like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, while admitting to not having read them.  I’ve dipped into Twilight, just to see what all the excitement was about and found it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Same with The Hunger Games.  I enjoyed Harry Potter quite a lot and feel no shame.  Stephen King, recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and about a thousand other awards, an accomplished wordsmith in his own right one might say, said of the Harry Potter novels “Jo Rowling set out a sumptuous seven-course meal, carefully prepared, beautifully cooked, and lovingly served out.”  I couldn’t have said it any better, so I won’t try.

Mr. Stein is undoubtedly an accomplished writer and all-around smart guy.  Very well educated as well, I would venture to say.  Probably well-respected to boot, Time Magazine and The New York Times don’t publish morons.  His snide and simplistic characterizations in Adults Should Read Adult Books make him sound like a pretentious and narrow-minded jackass.

Adults should read whatever the hell they want.  As long as they read.  Read Charles Grant, Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, Jeff Lindsay, Charles Dickens or John Steinbeck.  Read modern fiction, genre fiction, classics, or even Hornton Hatches the Egg, if that’s what floats your boat.

Stein says that the only time he’s okay with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads, and that’s just fine, just as long as he doesn’t expect the reading public to base their choices on his good opinion.  It’s not going to happen.

Enjoy your Dochevsky, Mr. Stein.  I’ve got some J.K. Rowling to catch up on.

Brian Knight

Holy Crap!  Regarding Religious Freedom and the Upcoming Elections

I generally don’t like to talk about politics or religion – “Damnit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a political pundit!” – but it seems like we’ve backslid about sixty years in the past few months, especially regarding women’s rights and the idea that the United States of America is not now, nor has ever been, a Christian Nation.  I imagine the 1950s were a wonderful time in some regards.  In others, however, it was not.  Widely accepted and protected racism and sexism are only a few of the social evils we have mostly left behind.

It seems lately that a lot of these old notions have been pulled out of the trash-heap and dusted off.  It seems insane to me, how many people seem eager to erase sixty years of social progress.  When I heard a man who I once liked and respected refer to The President of the United States as – and I apologize for this – “The Niger ‘N’ Chief,” it felt like someone slugged me in the stomach.  I guess I always knew there were people who thought and behaved that way, but it’s a shock to find out how many there are, and how close I am, or in this case used to be, to some of them.

So, here are my two cents, for what they’re worth.

Regarding Religious Freedom and the Upcoming Elections.

National elections have always been a messy business, lots of name calling, finger pointing, and hate of contrary ideas and beliefs manifesting as hate toward the people who hold those contrary ideas and beliefs.  The upcoming election seems, to me at least, to be an especially rancorous one, and most of that ugliness seems centered around political figures presenting themselves as religious leaders to a constituency of THE FAITHFULL.  They betray a sense of entitlement, a GOD GIVEN imperative for THE FAITHFUL to spread THE TRUTH as far and wide as possible, and to turn THE TRUTH into THE LAW whenever they can.

I come from a family of Jehovah’s Witness, and say what you will about that particular sect, they refused to get involved in politics in any way.  All of the ones I knew at least believed they had no business at all getting involved with the political process, which they considered too worldly to participate in, and I was led to believe that was the official position of the JWs.  Maybe that is why the idea of mixing religion and politics seems so ridiculous to me.  Or maybe the notion of turning religious belief into law is just a ridiculous one.

Most religious sects see it as their job to make everyone else behave and think the way they do, and since good old fashioned conversion is plainly not doing the job for them anymore, they have decided they must write their beliefs into law and force us to behave and think as they do.  Kind of like The Taliban did in this little Middle Eastern country some of you may have heard of.  If you think The Taliban is an unfair example, then you need to start paying attention to how some of the Christian extremists behave.  It’s frightening.  If the Hard Religious Right was given free reign in the USA, we would be burning witches and demon worshipers (ie, anyone who doesn’t agree with them) at the stake, and stoning homosexuals, liberals, and atheists to death in town squares for the entertainment of THE FAITHFUL.

They are not fighting for religious freedom.  They already have religious freedom.  They are fighting to create a GOD CENTERED AMERICA, also known as a theocracy.  Google theocracy if you don’t know what it is.  I am referring to the extremists, not the sane majority of religious people, but unfortunately it is the extremists who are making the most noise and putting forth a huge effort to recreate America in their demented image.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

I found the line above in a curious old document called The United States Constitution.  Evidently the fellows who wrote The United States Constitution were so serious about the idea that they included it in The First Amendment.  They didn’t waste any time putting it down on paper.  They wanted it right out front.  And just in case the Founding Fathers didn’t make their opinion of religion mixing with politics clear enough in The First Amendment, I’ll offer the following historical quotes.

“The United States in is no sense founded upon the Christian religion.” – George Washington

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” – Thomas Jefferson

“In no instance have churches been the guardians of the liberties of the people.” – James Madison

“This could be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” – John Adams

“I disbelieve all holy men and holy books.” – Thomas Paine

I know these last two aren’t Founding Fathers, but the quotes are excellent.

“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” – Susan B. Anthony

We live in a nation, in a world, full of conflicting opinions and ideas, and here in the good old USA you are allowed to hold and express any opinion you want.  That right, granted to you by The First Amendment, extends to your religion.  Worship Yaweh, Allah, Odin, Zeus, the sun, Mother Nature, Justin Beiber, or even The Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever floats your boat.  You can even – and here’s a radical notion indeed – worship nothing at all!

What The First Amendment does not grant is the power for some backward thinking politician to write his religious beliefs into law.  If said politician feels strongly about a topic, then he/she must find a way to promote his or her position without falling back on the Bible or God.  If they can’t, then he or she is not worthy to promote that idea, or the idea itself is not a worthy one.

Separation of Church and State is not a radical idea, or even a new one.  It’s what will prevent this nation from becoming a theocracy, and if you think a theocratic nation would be a good thing, just imagine what life would be like if it wasn’t your faith or sect in the seat of power.  Then you might discover what religious persecution is all about.

Brian Knight