Fred L. Taulbee, Jr


4 July 2014 (I swear I'm going to barbecue later)

English teacher, writer, filmmaker.

If you like my work here, please visit me elsewhere.

Book Reviews:

I published two short stories in 1994, including "Six Bullets to Kill" in Innisfree and "The Last Tree" in Child Life Magazine. I recently published "A-Haunting We Will Go" in Bete Noire, available here:

I have an MA in Literature and MFAs in Creative Writing and Film Production. I worked in the film industry for about two years, and it culminated in directing Gothic Vampires From Hell. Forgive me for it. I directed it in the style of the producer. It is available on Netflix.

Where to find Fred L. Taulbee, Jr online


This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Fred L. Taulbee, Jr

  • Fools and Cthulhu on Sep. 27, 2013

    Morgan Drake Eckstein’s “Fools and Cthulhu” is a good story, especially if you’re a Lovecraft completist, and if you are, good luck with that--good luck even if you’re just a Cthulhu completist. I take great pleasure in supporting anything that says the Necronomicon is not real. I’m a huge Lovecraft fan, and have a collection of at least two faux Necronomicons. I might have to doublecheck, but I could swear this short story here alludes to one specifically. There is one rambling sentence that rambles so much I can’t even tell if it is a true run-on or just rambling, and I rarely see semicolons in the work of literary masters, and I admonish them in amateur fiction. The story does take a turn near the end when some characters seem to appear, but I’m not even sure if they do, and also when the main character starts what I might be mistakenly calling his conjuring. In this section the story is told and not shown. It reads for those who already know what the main character is doing, and if that is okay with you then the story is fine. A few minor problems I would expect a selling author not to make, but an interesting topic and story, even though a bit confusing make for chancy purchase depending on your tastes.
  • Possibilities on Dec. 08, 2013
    (no rating)
    I love a vampire story and I love a good bar, but I couldn’t even finish this story. Besides the fragments allowable in fiction and called style, and the lack of a comma before a coordinating conjunction--understandable in print medium where ink is money--the author misspelled Jameson at least twice and described it as amber, when it is more of a yellow. This means the author didn’t even take the time to look up how to spell it. That’s five seconds she could’ve put into this story to make it better. And then came an obvious “feed” instead of “fed.” Then, I looked back at the author’s description of the story--mistakes there too, a missing letter. This wouldn’t be such a harsh review if the story were free, but it’s for sale. And if this is the quality of writing my fellow writers wish to put up here, then something needs to be done about it. There are many steps in the writing process, and revise is at least three steps--revise, revise, revise. I’m in a quandary here. I want people to come to Smashwords and find quality writing, and I know I am probably going to get angry retaliative reviews, but this is a rough draft for sale. Make it free or revise it.
  • Old Bones and New Flesh on Dec. 09, 2013

    Wow. I’ve only read about a dozen stories by my fellow Smashwords writers, but I also read a ton of short stories from the masters. I also teach literature, sneaking in Ellison, King, Heinlein, Lovecraft along with Hemingway, Poe and Hawthorne. This story has the most potential for being exceptional, above par. The story picks up much more when dialogue starts, and the three major events that occur should probably be more relished in the writing. The first time it happens, the author takes his time, but the second and third times he tends to gloss over it too much. Seems to me we might also enjoy the final one more if we had more reaction or thoughts from the last person. What makes this story exceptional is that I liked it--and you’re not going to like this--though it was full of grammatical errors. I’m sorry to say it: missing apostrophes, a semicolon where there should be a colon, and other minor errors, but glaring errors. I wouldn’t worry about it if this were free, but it’s for sale, and I paid for it. The major problem with the work is that it reads like a story told. Some show-me-don’t-tell-me would really flesh this story out so to speak. We don’t get in to their heads except for a few times. The author tells us everything. I would read more by this author, but I would definitely sample for quality writing first.
  • Weird Heroes, Book 2: Pittailiniq on Oct. 02, 2015
    (no rating)
    “Pittailiniq” by Josh Reynolds is a good short story in the tradition of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan and dozens of other serial heroes. Howard dropped his characters straight into history, creating a realism unexpected in the action genre. Reynolds does this too. The visual and especially the unique and regular audio imagery really drives the story, as does the action and the exposition which is subtle, but the “show me” of the action is also paired with an equal balance of “tell me,” and the story could benefit from a ratio with higher “show me.” The action of the story—the best parts—really picks up at paragraph four, and then has a good resurrection around the paragraph that starts with “As he ran.” The parts in between are filled with some action, but also exposition, specifically information we need to process the story, but there could be the same amount of information with fewer words. However, this informative exposition is also the best part of the story, and also needs more information. I realize I am being contradictory, but it’s really the only way to explain it. After reading the story, I went back to the summary where it mentions “Inuit,” but I don’t recall seeing that in the story itself. Basically, this is what I think Reynolds has done. I think he’s taken Inuit history, culture and I’m assuming religion, and created zombies or reanimated corpses using that already-established information, and if so, then that is where—don’t get big-headed—some genius lies, if not some damn good work in a world now populated with off-the-cuff research by all of us calling ourselves writers. If I am right about this, then I think the story needs a few more direct clues to the ethnicity of the hero and time period. There are assumingly Inuit words, but the reader just knows they are foreign. There are references to the English and Canadians, but I’m not sure where that places us in time. I’m certainly not asking for a date in the text, but more hints as to the time period and where we are, easily done by possibly checking out a few of Howard’s work or more research, though a lot has already been done. I am a traditionalist, and I know I am outnumbered, but all the subtitle information that this is part of a series turns me off. I just don’t care. A good story will make me want to read more from an author, and this does that already. I don’t need what is basically an ad to read more when the story itself does such. There is at least one example of passive voice—“the sound of bones being cracked opened” which might work better described as “someone or something cracking bones open” or something similar—and one adverb—“distressingly.” Go ahead and label me a grammar Nazi, but I mention this because the masters do this rarely and on purpose. I haven’t fully looked into it, but it looks like the story is published as part of a publisher series, and publication kind of nullifies some of my quips, but if a story is going to have lasting power in a world where the ratio of writers to magazines is exactly opposite of where it was twenty-five years ago, then I expect the work to be of master quality. Overall, I would read and buy his work again, or at least keep an eye on his work. I think a lot of writers are attempting series and trilogies and heptologies to mimic their influences and what has been popular in the last twenty years, but I’m all for a resurgence of the serial, short stories that make a larger story, and hope that is what is happening here.