Dracula

A great review of a book many haven’t read in years, which is precisely the reason why they should read it! It’s not a coincidence that the first words in the prologue of Vampire Syndrome are “Dear Diary.”

Runnin Off at the Mouth....

Dracula.

The name immediately conjours up fantastical images personal to each of us.

I first read Dracula in high school. I’ve since read it four times: first, third, and fourth times in the version to the left (Dell, ISBN 0-440-92148-1), and the second time an abridged version (by Nora Kramer) put out by Scholastic Books Services (curiously no ISBN is to be found on the book), third printing, August 1975. Since I’m working my own novel manuscript, it has taken me a while to get through it (about 40 days). I started it a week before Hallowe’en. I’ve been wanting to reread it again for years.

And so refreshing a re-reading it was!

Dracula is so well done, and is written from a point of view (POV) that is “outside the [vampiric] box,” pardon the pun. I love how it’s not a straightforward, real-time POV, that the story is woven together through an after-the-fact presentation of diaries…

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John Franklin Stephens

I wrote a novel with a Down Syndrome protagonist, and I’m proud to say my character Jack Wendell is a dignified, wise being.. just like John Franklin Stephens!

John Franklin Stephens: “Using The “R” Word” essay (Denver Post)

The World of Special Olympics

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child…

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Review ~ The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” ~ Monty Python

“Nobody expects a novel about the Deepwater Horizon explosion to be reviewed on a vampire-themed blog.” ~ Daven Anderson

Amazon ~ The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout

April 15, 1912: The Titanic
April 20, 2010: The Deepwater Horizon.

Two infamous sea disasters that we must keep in our collective consciousness, and from which we must study the lessons, to insure the safety of future generations yet unborn.

When James Cameron set forth to make the R.M.S. Titanic’s tale come alive on the screen, he chose “faction”, a fact-based fiction approach. Cameron’s fictional characters Jack and Rose were always in the “right place at the right time” (more so than any real individual survivors of the Titanic) to tell the most complete story possible about the ill-fated vessel and the hundreds of souls aboard.

In this book, John Turley takes the same approach. Mr. Turley is a retired petroleum engineer with many years of oil-rig experience, so he knew how to create fictional characters who would be in the right place, at the right time, asking the right questions. Specifically, Jessica Pherma, the rig’s geologist. Jessica is the “Rose” asking Thomas Andrews about the lifeboat capacity, only more so. Jessica has access to the highest levels of the rig’s administration, yet she can logically ask the same questions you, the general reader, would ask. Jessica, and all of her experiences in the story, perfectly illustrate Turley’s masterful command of blending fact and fiction into “faction”.

One paragraph in this novel brilliantly illustrated all the reasons why Jessica chose a career in geology, only to find all of those reasons being negated by her presence on the Deepwater Horizon on that fateful evening. This paragraph was a stunning insight into the basic character of what shapes our humanity, never mind that it’s “fiction”.

Make no mistake, this story can get a bit technical at times. Fortunately, Mr. Turley went to great effort to insure that you can choose how far you wish to delve into the technology behind the story. Extensive footnotes and diagrams allow you to dive in as deep as you wish, or you can skip them and stay with the main story. Accessing the supplementary material is in fact easier on the Kindle than it is in the paper book.

Movie producers, take note. If anyone wishes to make a film about the Deepwater Horizon, you should use this book as the base. We all know how successful Cameron’s “right place at the right time” characters Jack and Rose were in making the story of the Titanic come alive for the audience. Turley’s composite characters Jessica, Barry, Tanker, and Daylight succeed as much (or more so) than Jack and Rose did in making the events of a large-scale marine disaster accessible, immediate and moving to the general audience.

John Turley has succeeded in telling the story of the Deepwater Horizon in a dramatic style that will appeal to readers of general fiction, while simultaneously giving you access to the essential, simple truths behind the oversights and general arrogance that led to this disaster. Imagine what a book about the Titanic would have been like if it had been written by the Captain of the Olympic. For the Deepwater Horizon, you don’t have to imagine such a novel. It’s right here, on this Amazon page.

The world needs more people like John Turley, to record for posterity the simple truths behind the large-scale disasters, and present them in a fashion people can enjoy reading while they learn those important lessons.

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review by Daven Anderson, author of Vampire Syndrome

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