Monday 27 May 2013

Trumpet Blowing

There's a clue in the name; this post is largely me blowing my own trumpet about some very nice reviews I've had for The Express Diaries. Annoying, I know, but it is my trumpet, and it does need a blow from time to time... and with that I think we'll abandon the trumpet metaphor - not only is it close to breaking, it's also veering dangerously towards innuendo territory, and no one wants a big one of those first thing in the morning.

If you're really not in the mood for me telling you how great I am, I've done another blog too! You have a choice between self-pimping or flesh-eating maggots, so I feel I'm catering for a wide audience here.

The Express Diaries is my 1920s-set tale of darkness and adventure on board the world's most famous train (note : not Thomas the Tank Engine; though, that does give me an idea...), and in the last few months it's had some very nice people say some very nice things about it, which I thought I'd like to share here because... well, y'know, the trumpet thing.

Jill McDole over at Impact Online said...

'The action and excitement is unrelenting; I finished the book in almost record time... The volume is also beautifully illustrated by Eric M. Smith...

... this is probably the best Lovecraftian work I have read in quite some time. While the book tells quite a grim story overall, a few touches of well-placed humor lighten this work just enough. I found the work to be very complete between the words and the illustrations and found that it pays a wonderful homage to those old god tales for which Lovecraft was so well known. This book is a must have for fans of his work as well as anyone who loves a good, old-fashioned horror story.'

All very kind! I promise I didn't miss out any horrible bits with the ellipses, but I've popped the link to the full review above in case you're the suspicious type (and who could blame you with all this bloody trumpet noise going on?)

'Despite being an entirely serious and accomplished novel, Marsh manages humour in the grimmest of circumstances and catches the parlance of the times as if he were there in the roaring twenties. It charges full steam ahead into clouds of blood and intrigue, taking no prisoners aboard, and leaving a trail of death in its wake. As the action flicks from the different viewpoints of the various characters and articles of media, the story is constantly refreshed throughout. With a pace that Hollywood would be envious of, I couldn’t find any faults throughout the entirety of the story...

If you like your horror a little more classy, or perhaps you’re a fan of everything and anything Lovecraft, period horror such as Dracula or H. G. Wells (or even a good mystery romp like Agatha Christie), I urge you to buy the ticket and take the ride on The Express Diaries. Thoroughly recommended.'

There's a bit more, but modesty prevents me from quoting it. It very much doesn't prevent me from linking to the full review above, of course.

Lastly, the most recent edition of Knights of the Dinner Table (#196) also contains a very nice review by Paul Westermeyer. It's not so much modesty that prevents me from linking to this review so much as it being impossible, given that Knights of the Dinner Table is one of those old-fashioned paper magazine thingies (I know? Who knew they still made them!). Here's a few quotes from it, though...

'... this novel suffers from none of the self-indulgent flaws one usually finds in fiction inspired by game sessions. The character view points are each unique, and this is apparent as the view shifts with each entry...

Marsh's sense of humor and ability to portray character is excellent, his prose is very sure-footed... the train comes alive through his prose, the reader feels as if they too have taken the long journey, and despite the horror, like they might want to take another such trip...

If you enjoy horror, if you enjoy role-playing, then give The Express Diaries a read.'

I feel I should reiterate here that I'm not responsible for a lot of the imagination in the book - credit for that goes to the original writers of the Horror on the Orient Express game (of which there's a new edition coming soon! Yay!) and the Yog-sothoth players who created the characters. Oh, and of course, Eric Smith, who illustrated the book so beautifully, but I guess if someone must take the credit for all their hard work, I'm prepared to shoulder the burden.

This is getting dangerously close to acceptance-speech levels of annoyance, so I'll stop with the pimping now, but I did want to quickly mention UK Games Expo in Birmingham, which I've just returned from and am now slowly recovering.

UK Games Expo is rapidly (and possibly rabidly) becoming the biggest games convention in the UK. I was there last year, doing a reading from the not-then-released Express Diaries. Circumstances prevented me from a similar reading this year (though if you're a glutton for punishment you can watch last years' here...) but I did spend a happy few hours on the Yog-sothoth stall, talking to people who had already read the book, and selling it to people who hadn't. I had a great time, and met some really, really nice people - one of whom, Jonathon Hicks, has already done an excellent write up of the Expo, which saves me having to say much more about it, except that I will definitely be heading there again next year!

Right, that's enough self-promotion for one year. Flesh-eating zombie* maggots, anyone?

*Okay, okay, they're not actually zombies. It's a reflex when I write 'flesh-eating'

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