Friday, May 2, 2008

Some Fran Friel Goodness
AJ Brown

Good morning, class. Put the books away, the pencils down. No need to worry about any tests today.

On this early May morning we are not going to discuss hard work or determination; we're not going to delve into keeping the creative juices flowing or following guidelines; we're not going to discuss any of my normal topics, so for you folks in the back, don't worry about falling asleep from the mundane yada yada that I normally do.

Class, today we will talk about one thing, err, person. She is one of my closest and dearest friends within the writing community. She calls me Little Bro and I call her Big Sis. Though we are not related, our friendship is very much like a close brother/sister relationship.

Her name is Fran Friel and I'm sure she needs no introduction to the class.

I first learned of Fran less than three years ago when I joined the Horror Library workshop. I went to their website and saw some wonderfully delicious stories by the crew there. I happened upon a story titled Wings With Hot Sauce. Wings With Hot Sauce. I was amused by the story but there was something else, something intriguing. I read another story by her, though I am not sure what it was. That is when it dawned on me. There was so much confidence that went into her writing. Whether she was confident or not in her stories doesn't matter, they gave the appearance of confidence.

It gave me some renewed desire to really write with a little more confidence than what I had at the time. It's one of the main reasons I'm still around.

Then Mama's Boy came out. Though I didn't get to read it right away—it sold out before I had a chance to get my grubby little hands on it—when I finally got to read the story, I was blown away by it. As were quite a few people. Enough folks, in fact, loved the story to garner Fran a Bram Stoker nomination.

When I finally got to correspond with Fran, her words were gentle and encouraging, her thoughts provoking and her attitude infectious. Then when I joined the Horror Library as a contributing writer she asked me if I would consider writing for the HLBOR.

I loved the idea and I have been doing it ever since. To be honest with you, at that point, Fran could have asked me to rewrite the Canterbury Tales and I would have probably tried really hard to do it.

When Fran asked me to do the HLBOR I found it an honor coming from her. It instilled in me another level of confidence. The HLBOR was kind of her baby (I believe Chris Perridas had a lot to do with it, as well) but she trusted me to write on a regular basis and attach the HL name to it.

Confidence. The one thing every writer needs. She gave me a lot of that. Little did I know at that time that we would grow close and become like brother and sister.

Fran is like no other writer I have met. She has a kind and sweet demeanor about her. Her voice is soothing and calm and she has a wickedly good sense of humor. She also has a good head atop her shoulders. To talk to her, to listen to her speaking, you would never imagine this woman would write Mama's Boy.

Why am I telling you all of this? Simple: Big Sis has a short story collection coming out. It is titled, Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales. It is being put out by The Apex Book Company. By the title, it is clear that the collection will be anchored by the Stoker nominated Mama's Boy, a story that you want to read if you haven't already. The collection guarantees to be a wicked ride to the nether regions of your soul. And you might make it back, but you will never be the same.

Fran Friel has a genuine gift for storytelling. Her highly adaptable prose boils over with emotion: love, guilt, fear, and the myriad shades between. Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales marks the arrival of a stunning new talent.
– Michael McBride, author of the God’s End trilogy and Bloodletting

Would you buy a collection of stories based on that blurb? I most certainly would.

How about this quote from Jason Sizemore of Apex:

Fran Friel has a sweet, unassuming demeanor. People like talking to her. Her voice is soothing and expresses a sense of peace that is hard to describe.

Having read that, you would think she writes children's stories or romance novels. Ah, but you would assume wrong. But, Jason is absolutely correct in his assessment of Fran—the words ring true to her personality. But, you see I left off part of that quote intentionally. Here is the rest of it:

Knowing this makes reading something like Mama’s Boy all the more horrific.

Now, are you intrigued a little more?

Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales is scheduled for release at Hypericon in Nashville at the end of June. Pre-orders can be made soon. There are limited signed editions as well. It is very early May now. June is next month. Don't miss out on what I believe is going to be one of the greatest collections of the year. If you're especially daring, read it with the lights off under your cover with a small pin flashlight. Then, try to go to sleep.

And, to Fran, Big Sis, I'm so very proud of you and honored to call you friend and Big Sister.

For now, I'm AJ and I'm out.

Fran Friel's Yada Feast

Fran Friel's Yada Feast MySpace

NiNe QuestioNs with FraN Friel

The Horror Of Women By Jason Sizemore

Apex Book Company

The Horror Library

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