Thursday, December 17, 2015

Robert E. Dunn's The Red Highway - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

Getting Better at Things

THE RED HIGHWAY is not my first novel. My first long piece was a novelization of a comic book series by the great Jack Kirby, Kamandi-The Last Boy on Earth. I think I was eleven. It was hand written and ran through a couple of full spiral bound notebooks. I remember it fondly but without the illusion that it was any good. As a matter of fact I’m glad it no longer exists. My early efforts still have the power to embarrass me completely. The thing is though, I’m just as proud of the childish notebook scribblings as I am mortified. They were a beginning. My beginning.

Writers write and that has to start someplace. I imagine that there are people who decide, out of the blue, to set down at the word processor and pump out a hundred thousand words. I imagine also, most of them are celebrities given sacks of cash to do so. Most of us start writing early and fail through a couple of million words before we do anything we are truly proud of. But we can take pride in the effort. We can take a great deal of pride in the progress.

Let’s face it, writing is hard work. Beyond time and commitment, it requires a creativity that stands up to the daily grind. Then when it’s done, everyone and their cousin, you know the one, the know-it-all that can’t understand why cutting his own hair is a bad idea, gets to judge your work. That can kick your ass.

The amazing thing, and that one little thing that separates most of us writers from almost-writers, is the getting better thing. We do it and suck. Then we do it and suck a little less. We suck for a long time but keep up the work and finally we don’t suck completely. In fact, there are some things even we can admit shine. Then someone tells us it shines but in the wrong way or that shine has gone out of style, or that there are too many shining in too similar a manner on the market. Then we start all over. Each starting, each ending, is a little bit better.

My first published novel was my second completed and after many short stories, screenplays, corporate writing, journalism, advertising copy, travelogues, training scripts, college plays and bad poetry. That’s the way it goes. Bad poetry is the price we pay for getting to a full novel. That first novel was written as a ZomCom, a zombie horror/comedy that I had originally titled Redneck Zombie Rodeo. The publisher felt that was too American and not scary enough. It became The Dead Ground. I still get notes from readers that say it was not what they expected. But that’s okay because what they (mostly) don’t say is, it sucks. After it, I rewrote an alien abduction novel that I had originally blogged as a serial. Then I let it sit and wrote another novel, a mystery that became a romance. That was published under my other, secret name. I dare you to find it. Then, again I returned to the Alien novel and worked it over again. It was published as, Behind the Darkness Alien Abduction.

All of this has been the long way to tell you about THE RED HIGHWAY. I took the long way because I wanted you to understand the work that goes into a book isn’t just writing a long story. The real work is years of writing the books, stories, and bad poetry that become the foundation a writer builds his or her house of titles upon. THE RED HIGHWAY is the best book I can give you right now but I don’t think it’s my best book. That one hasn’t been written yet. I hope you will keep your eye out for it.

Now I'd like to tell you a little bit about THE RED HIGHWAY and give a fair warning, there runs through it, a small theme of bad poetry.

In January of 1992, the fading life of Paul Souther, a homeless veteran, is changed by two events. He witnesses a murder committed by a big black man who, for a moment, seemed to have wings. And, as Paul hides from the man in a XXX theater, Mary Prince, the adult actress on screen, begins to speak directly to him.

On the other side of the country, the real Mary encounters the same big man when she visits the site of the Rodney King beating. He infests her life and her mind then traps her in a mental health ward, impossibly, pregnant.

In LA, two other black men, a tabloid reporter, and a celebrity TV preacher, are on the trail of the same mysterious man. They follow the tracks of rage and race leading throughout the city. At every hot spot the man is seen pulling strings and spreading the message of race war.

Paul and a mix of outcasts is called to Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city of LA is sitting on a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the big man, who now claims to be a god, reveals himself to be an ancient, dark power using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands the child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between a child or a city and to save the people he has come to care about.

Twenty years later, as the grown child is spreading her own message of practical faith, as protesters picket and shout a new hate, a mysterious man shows up in the new crowds. This time his message is, God Hates Fags.

About the book
Necro Publications/Bedlam Press
PAGES: 282
ISBN: 978-1-939065-82-7 Trade Paperback (List: $12.95)
Distribution: Trade Paperback: Amazon, LSI and CreateSpace eBook: Kindle, Smashwords, Baker & Taylor, Nook, LSI, Apple, Kobo, Sony and others

In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.

Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary's side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

About the author
Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.

His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video production. Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.

He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.

Praise for The Red Highway
“The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read! It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story.” –2 Book Lovers Reviews

"A thoroughly gripping read. Dunn is a writer with guts and the chops to grab his readers by the eyeballs and dare them to look away." –Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned

Buy the book
Necro Publications

Enter for your chance to win either a copy of The Red Highway, Behind the Darkness, or a print of the beautiful cover artwork from The Red Highway done by Erik Wilson! You can do multiple things each day to gain more entries! Just click the rafflecopter link. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at

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