Vlad V. is the author of The Button, Yorick and Brachman’s Underworld. His short novella The Sleep Artist will be appearing in Insanity Tales, a collection of dark fiction, in October 2014 (Books & Boos Press).
A blogger, freelance writer, and former newspaper correspondent for the Lowell Sun and Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, his work can be viewed at www.TheVlad.net. His books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords.com, and through his website (www.TheVlad.net).
Vlad has appeared on A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, Sci-fi Saturday Night, Queen City Kamikaze (panelist), New England Authors Expo, Indie Author News, Open Book Society, Yahoo! Shine, Cool Roots (performer), Rooted (performer), Strange Amusements, Digital Journal and at many more websites, blogs, bookstores, and libraries. Please see his growing list of credits below.
Vlad was raised in Groton, Massachusetts and now resides in Lowell, Massachusetts with his wife, Jordana. He received an Associates Degree in Journalism from Middlesex Community College, and after a few years of freelance writing, decided to go back to school. He is now a proud member of the National Honor Society at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where he is studying History and English.
on Feb. 22, 2011
I will probably buy more by Jon F. Merz after reading Prisoner 392. It was entertaining, the prose was solid, and it held my interest, although I felt it could've been a good beginning to a full-length novel. On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give it a 7. It was worth my time and is probably worth yours for $0.99.
on April 06, 2011
Think the super-soldier getting one last chance to clear his tarnished name by running a secret mission is a tired plot line? Think again!
Umstead weaves a gripping, action-packed tale brimming with nifty gadgets, roller-coaster plot twists, and futuristic technologies reminiscent of sci-fi greats. Gabriel's Redemption is an impressive display of talent and imagination that kept me turning pages.
I will definitely be reading the next one...
The Adventures Of Larry The Alien
on April 12, 2011
This one will keep you hooked to the end. It's light, it's funny, and it's well worth the price. The shape-shifting Larry is an amusing counterpoint to the easy-going Murphy that lends it an interesting dynamic. My only hang up...I wanted it to be longer...but I guess that'll make me buy more!
Good flow, excellent word economy (no bog points), and professionally presented.
I'll buy more from this author.
Hollowland (The Hollows #1)
on Aug. 31, 2011
Standard zombie apocalypse novel. It was my first read by Hocking and I thought it was average. I was hoping for more. "Cell" by Stephen King is worlds better if you like this sub-genre.
Still, Hocking has been a major success so I don't think it's fair to avoid her in the future based on a single title. She's a competent storyteller and Hollowland did keep my interest right until the end, so it certainly wasn't all bad.
I'll give her another shot, but this time I'll read some reviews before I make a purchase.
on Aug. 31, 2012
If you're looking to dive into something off-beat and bizarre, then Strange Tales by Dale T. Phillips might be for you. The five tales in this book are guaranteed to take you to places you've never been.
Phillips begins with Roadside Attraction, the tale of a man named Guy in the midst of fleeing his past. Guy is driving across the country with no destination in mind - he simply wants to get away - when exhaustion and the need for gasoline force him to stop at a roadside service station. He quickly discovers that he's stepped into another reality, and that he's about to be presented with a choice.
The Snipe Hunt is an unexpected, lyrical jolt into the childhood mind of yesteryear where anything is possible, and the powers of belief manifest themselves in unexpected ways. Phillips displays his skill with language here, using plays on words and a fun voice that made me smile. It provides an oasis of sorts in a work that certainly has its share of shadows.
The Tree of Sorrows is a bit of a moral tale about a man standing on the Golden Gate Bridge and contemplating suicide. When a stranger emerges from the fog and offers him a deal, he's inclined to take it. There's a price of course, but what does he have to lose?
Phillips blends science fiction and mythology in The Cats of Athens. Jim has expected more culture and less modernism in Greece, so he ventures into old neighborhoods that echo of the past. When he rescues a cat from a gang of street kids intent on killing it, a seemingly minor event, his vacation takes a bizarre turn. The cat isn't what it seems, and it has a tale to tell.
The Watch of the Yellow Eyes begins like a Stephen King novel. A man escaping the loss of his wife moves into a house in coastal Maine with his dog, Marvel. A fall from a nearby cliff and into the Atlantic offers him an easy way out of life, but when he begins to see eyes in the dark, he's forced to reconsider his options.
For me, the defining theme throughout Strange Tales was its flirtation with morality. Phillips does a nice job of bringing up issues that speak to the human condition, while simultaneously walking the line between what constitutes reality and what is only perceived to be reality. Whether its choosing to ignore our nature because it's easier that way (The Cats of Athens), or being careful what you wish for (The Snipe Hunt), or discovering your inner strength in unexpected ways (Roadside Attraction, The Watch of the Yellow Eyes, & The Tree of Sorrows), this book will take you on a journey brimming with unexpected light and looming shadows.
I recommend it!
Author of Brachman's Underworld
on Sep. 13, 2012
If you're in the mood to boogie with the apocalypse, then Apocalypse Tango by Dale T. Phillips might be just the thing to get you moving.
Of the five stories in this book, Yesterday and Today is probably the best. A condition called Presenility has swept through the world, and the survivors are left behind to wander the ruins, forced to live in the "now" in order to avoid backsliding into the labyrinths of their memories. It's a superb imagining of what might happen to the world if your own experiences become a danger. It's more than a little creepy, especially for those of us who fear diseases such as Alzheimer's.
God Save the Queen is an entertaining tale that reminds me of the B horror movies I used to love as a kid (and still do). Told through a series of headlines and news clippings, pollution and climate change have forced the sudden evolution of sea life...much to mankind's dismay.
Ruination Beach is a dark, brooding tale about drug-addled survivors trying to numb themselves against the horrors of an unnamed calamity. It's a bit cryptic, but its strong characters and sense of foreboding help it rise to an excellent conclusion. Human nature is alive and well in this one. A close second to Yesterday and Today.
Phillips succeeds in bringing a new aspect to the zombie sub-genre in Night of the Annoying Dead. I applaud the effort! This amusing and very short piece - almost flash fiction - could serve as the basis for a parody movie about the zombie apocalypse. The dead have awakened, but they're not after human flesh. They just want to go back to their old lives. Unfortunately, that's the problem.
Killer Angel is a bit of a moral tale about a mysterious woman from the sky sent to judge mankind. If we pass the test, we are left to our own devices, but if we don't we are destroyed. I have a problem with these sorts of tales, mostly because they often center around some arbitrary and collective judgment from some superpower, whether it be religious, alien etc. If said superpower were to exterminate all of mankind, wouldn't they be worse than, or bad as, any of us? Plus, I think the average human is mostly good, not mostly bad, as tales such as these seem to imply. Still, Killer Angel was executed well and achieved its goal: it made me think. It might not have been my favorite of the collection, but it may be yours. The quality of storytelling is certainly high.
Other story collections often concentrate on one theme - all horror, all sci-fi, all fantasy, etc. - but Apocalypse Tango swells and dips like a roller coaster, and each tale elicits a different emotional response. Overall I really liked this book, and it has the added advantage of being a quick and affordable read.
Author of Brachman's Underworld
Fables and Fantasies
on Oct. 17, 2012
This is a great collection of stories for just about any fantasy lover.
The first story, Our New Queen, is a reinvention of the classic tale of Snow White, and Phillips gets high marks for originality. I won't spoil it for you.
Blades and Butchery is an amusing tale about Fatbird and the Gay Louser, two unlikely heroes tapped by the king to rescue a princess. This one was fast-paced, and really increased my excitement and reader experience to another level. It's a great little story, and a heck of a lot of fun!
The pace and level of storytelling is maintained in Froggy Went A Courting. Don't let the title fool you; this one delves into the shadows, and I loved it. It's told from the perspective of the mute daughter of a very minor landowner. This landowner wants to marry his oldest daughter off to "Froggy," a royal, in order to secure greater lands and social prominence. But the mute daughter knows that her sister doesn't want to marry "Froggy," she really wants to help, and she's got a few tricks up her sleeves. This might be the strongest story in the collection.
The Little Guy is an excellent re-imagining of an old fairy tale, told from the perspective of the villain. It's got some great little twists in it, and I won't spoil them for you.
The last story is about a young man who finds a witch left out in the cold to die, strapped into a torture device by the king. When he hears her dilemma, he's inclined to rethink his perspectives. This one is a good old-fashioned fable, and true to the genre, it concludes with a dose of morality. It ends the collection on a nice high note.
Overall, I give Phillips 4 out of 5 stars. Phillips reinvents and re-imagines some traditional genre elements, breathing a unique life and new perspectives into each tale. It's a great find for lovers of fantasy.
Author of "Brachman's Underworld" and "Yorick" (pub. date Halloween 2012)
on April 17, 2014
Purple Trees is a story about a young girl who loses both her parents at a young age. Forced to fend for herself, Lily is in too deep, and she finds herself in financial trouble, surrounded by people she’s not sure she can trust. Some seem reliable, but others …
Relationships aren’t her forte either, but in order to satisfy her deceased father’s wish for her to marry and settle down, Lily ventures out into a world she is ill-equipped to navigate, encountering a variety of struggles that force her to look deep into herself. Sometimes she wins, and sometimes she loses, but the stress is too great, and soon she starts to see ghosts … or is she losing her mind?
At times sad, poignant, disturbing and amusing, this tale set in the rural New England of yesteryear is coupled with the stark, beautiful background of farming life, creating a compelling atmosphere in which to explore the grittiness of a life uncensored. Wong doesn’t pull any punches when dealing with family issues, so I’d say this book is not for the faint of heart. However, Lily’s struggles, family life, and the dark secret that defines her make for compelling reading.
Shadow of the Wendigo
on April 17, 2014
Phillps delivers again, with meteoric pacing and a unique twist on an ancient myth that has come to terrify a small tribal village in the deep Canadian north. Agent Sean LaPorte is sent in to investigate a series of grizzly murders, but he soon finds that something far more sinister is going on. When he butts heads with a sassy crypto-zoologist who is playing her own game for a shadowy reason of her own, LaPorte is put on the defensive, trapped between her, a killer who may or may not be human, and the deadly Canadian winter. This book is a heck of a lot of fun, and a quick and easy read.