Category Archives: Books/Literature


Found this interesting opinion piece written by Kara Alaimo and published on…

Goodreads controversy goes far beyond a bad review

The author of this piece focuses on the issue of “spam” reviews, often negative ones, presented online regarding published -or about to be published- works.

In this case, the focus is on but it could well apply to movie review sites like as well.

Because the internet isn’t all that well regulated and people can post reviews on works they haven’t necessarily seen or read or heard, there is a danger that a group of people might post an overwhelming amount of (often negative) reviews about a work simply because they don’t like what the author/director/actor/singer is doing or has done versus present an honest opinion of the work itself.

Ms. Alaimo notes a couple of books dealing with potentially “controversial” topics but it doesn’t have to be so. I recall a few years back when the female-centric Ghostbusters was released and a corner of the internet lost their collective minds feeling that the film was somehow slamming masculinity simply by existing in this form.

Negative and positive reviews of a product, obviously, can play a huge role in whether it succeeds or fails. By posting large amounts of negative reviews, a group of people could ensure that a work fails.

But what if they haven’t read the work? What if they’re upset with what the work is about and doesn’t conform to their world-view?

This is the rub, I suppose. When a website like, which is devoted to offering readers a chance to critique a book, devolves into questionable reviews, then what purpose does it serve?

Is there an answer?

I noticed on (which owns Goodreads, it should be noted), reviews of novels may have a “Verified Purchase” label which indicates the person reviewing a novel has indeed bought it.

However, this likely only applies to people who purchase said novel through Amazon itself, be it a Kindle work or a physical copy, and doesn’t necessarily apply to someone who might have bought it elsewhere -such as through a bookstore or second hand shop- and were so impressed (or perhaps depressed!) by the work they felt the need to offer their opinion on it.

For example, I love the novel The Far Cry by Fredric Brown. So much so that I went out of my way to write a positive review of it on even though the copy I have was bought years before at a second-hand bookshop and therefore my review didn’t have the “verified purchase” label.

c’est la vie

Either way, there is no easy solution here. The effort it would take to weed out “legitimate” reviews from those that aren’t seems almost impossible to do, and the shame is that perhaps some books that could or should be successful may not be, and vice versa.

Update on latest projects…

It’s been a while since I’ve provided an update on what’s going on with me and the works I’ve been currently doing.

I mentioned before that I’m working on two things simultaneously: A graphic novel project done in collaboration with an artist friend of mine and my next novel.

The graphic novel, from my part, is completely written and therefore the bulk of the work is on my artist-friend’s shoulder and it will be a little bit before we have enough material to publish the first of what I’m thinking will be three books.

As for my latest novel, a couple of days ago I finished the 2nd draft of the book. It’s a very full draft and presents the story’s elements from start to end. I was having issues, as I wrote before in some updates, about the way the book ends but I’m quite happy with what I’ve come up with.

It is, though, a second draft. As good as I feel it is, and I feel it is very good, I’m guessing there are things I’ll be adding to put more “meat on the bone” and make the book a little more fully realized.

Having said that, I’m confident that part will not take as much time as its taken me to get all those other elements together.

Bottom line is that things are certainly moving ahead and I’m looking forward to having some interesting releases… hopefully by a little later this year!

So… what have I been up to of late…?

It strikes me I haven’t provided much information about what’s been on my plate -creatively, anyway- for a while now.

One of the frustrating things about being a writer is that it takes a while for something to get done. It is more likely than not whatever project I initiate goes through various permutations and what comes out often isn’t anything like what I originally conceived.

Further, I don’t want to give details up… I want the project to be released fully formed and “done”, and that means giving “updates” on a project have to be free of many story details.

At the moment, I’m working on two projects… or rather I personally am writing my next novel while a good friend of mine -an extraordinary artist- is working on another project I’ve already written.

The novel is roughly halfway done. I’ve gotten most of the details of the first half of the book in place but have yet to fully flesh out the book’s last act. I’m getting there, thought.

As for the project done in collaboration with my good friend… I saw the first few pages of it and I can’t wait to see more. Again, don’t want to give away too much but after all the shit I’ve gone through and the sadness and madness of dealing with my parents’ passing, lawyers and judges, and banks… it’s really nice to get back to creative work.

Let’s see where things go…!

What will become of the movie industry…?

Stumbled upon this rather grim article written by Tony Maglio and presented on…

Warner Bros Discover lost 2.4 Billion and Lionsgate lost 1.8 Billion and its not even dinnertime

The article rightfully wonders how film studios can survive with such staggering losses and, frankly, I wonder the same.

Looking at this from a longer view, it seems to me this is part and parcel of, of all things, the arrival of home computers and the internet.

Let me explain.

When home computers first appeared they were crude yet began changing the landscape. I’m old enough to have been part of the very first generation to have one way, waaaaaaaayyyy back in the early 1980’s. My first computer was the venerable Atari 800…

Compared to what we now have, the Atari 800 was a laughably crude and for the most part primitive machine. And yet I almost instantly found a use for it. See, I was in high school at the time and the word processing program it had allowed me to write reports and get them printed out (on an equally crude and extremely slow printer) which was an incredible blessing!

No longer did I have to use a typewriter and white out errors or have to start all over again when I made too many errors. With Atari’s Word Processor, I could type and correct the whole thing and print it out only when it was ready!

A truly marvelous innovation!

Of course, the Atari computers didn’t last and soon IBM and Apple computers appeared. Apple was viewed as more “graphic” intensive but the IBM computers seemed to have the leg up. They were constantly improving and, like the mania to buy new iPhones or new gaming computers, one expected each new generation of IBM or Windows based computers to be better and better.

And they were!

And then came the internet, which is essentially phase two.

Now, you could interact with people all over the world. You could communicate via email. You could send files…

When MP3s became a thing, you no longer needed to store your music on CDs or have those vinyl records (by then, cassettes were a thing of the past and, yes, I know vinyl records are making a comeback).

You could keep your music on your computer and soon enough, even buy albums digitally without having to leave the comfort of your home. Suddenly, all those music stores I frequented -some of which were incredibly large!- were gone…

Then came the Kindle and the iPad and, as with music, now you didn’t need to actually buy physical copies of books. You could buy digital copies and buy and read them in the comfort of your home and, just like that, bookstores also became something of a thing of the past.

Certainly in my area there are only a fraction of them around like there used to be!

Alas, next in line were movies.

With the ability to create music and book files, it wasn’t long before digital copies of movies became a thing as well. Further, Netflix appeared and showed the industry that streaming was also a viable option to watching movies and TV shows.

However, people still went to theaters to see the latest releases, so things seemed to be going ok…

Until COVID hit.

Suddenly people were homebound and the studios had to hold back on releasing their upcoming films. In some cases, these films eventually were released but appeared on streaming services very quickly afterwards. It’s fair to say that films such as Wonder Woman 84, No Time to Die, and Tenet, regardless of their quality (and I know some feel they’re not great films at all), would have performed far better had COVID not kept them from being released as they should have been… and those are the three “biggest” films I can think of offhand which were victims of COVID.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to notice after spending all these years watching the ebb and flow of entertainment: Something that is big at one point might suddenly become old hat really quickly.

There was a time disco music ruled. Then, suddenly, no one wanted to hear disco music. There was a time grunge ruled. Then, it was gone.

Movie theaters for so many years have been THE place to go see new films. But with COVID, we stopped going to them en mass. Yes, there are exceptions (Top Gun Maverick and the latest Spider-Man film being two of them) but in general the entire industry is in a funk.

And now that COVID is somewhat a thing of the past (get vaccinated, people!) we’re seeing that audiences aren’t necessarily flocking back to see the latest movies. At least not quite yet.

For we have seen movies appear on various streaming services and some of us figure we’ll just wait a month or two and see whatever film is currently in theaters then.

It’s happened to me, quite frankly, with Black Adam. I’m certainly curious to see it (Dr. Fate is a favorite comic book character of mine and the fact that they got Pierce Brosnan to play the role delights me!) but frankly… I can wait.

How many other people are saying the same thing?

I’ve mentioned it before to friends of mine, but we still don’t know the extent to which the internet and home computers will affect our lives. We’re seeing it, day by day, from the early days when I realized I could use a Word Processor to write my High School reports, to realizing you can have your entire music collection on a small memory card to realizing you can have your entire library (books, comic books, magazines, etc.) on a memory card as well, to where we now realize we can stream or own movies on that same memory card.

Where will it all ultimately end?

I guess we’ll all find out together.

So sorry…

It has been a very long while since I’ve posted here and for that I’m sorry.

Those who have been ’round these parts know that things have been rather… rough… of late. I don’t want to keep repeating things, but scrolling back through the most recent posts of the last year/year and a half will tell you what you need to know.

In some ways, it feels like I’ve been floating about life since the events of June 24, 2021. There is a paradoxical feeling that my sisters and I are trying to settle the estate of my parents and, because of that, I haven’t been able to fully acknowledge the loss.

I might have noted this before but there was a Sunday a while back, perhaps some two or three months ago -this is another thing I’m noticing, time is so damn fluid and one day seems to blend into the next- where I woke up feeling quite good.

I felt like my old self and found myself smiling and enjoying the day more than I have any day since the collapse of Champlain Towers South and the loss of my parents.

What stunned me more than anything else was that in feeling relatively “happy”, I was able to realize just how down/depressed I have been all this time. The good feelings, alas, didn’t last beyond that day but at least having an understanding of those feelings has made me aware of the need to do things to try to get myself out of this pit.

Unfortunately, there were many things related to the estate that had to be dealt with. I don’t want to go into those things too much, but suffice to say the process is long and difficult but estate issues are being resolved, one at a time.

So after a month or more of not coming around here, I’m back. I’ll try to make up for lost time as best I can but, as was the case for the days between my last posting and now, I can’t guarantee too much.

For those who enjoy my writings, during the past month I worked on and completed -from my end, for the most part- a new project which hopefully will bear fruition in the next year. It’s something I can honestly say I’ve hoped to do in collaboration with someone I’ve known for some 30 years now and he’s a terrific talent and deserves to be better known.

Maybe this project will help make that a reality.

I’ll be speaking with him later today and we’ll see what happens!

Been a while…

…and I’m sorry for the dearth of posts for -gasp- something like a month now!

The past month has been, emotionally exhausting.

Issues regarding the collapse of Champlain Towers South -and the death, among others, of my parents- has moved to its end stages, and the family and I have been incredibly busy getting everything readied.

There are two stages to the various lawsuits: First is the value of the lost property itself. The owners and heirs of the apartments are entitled to a portion of the sale value of the property and we needed to provide paperwork verifying our status as heirs. This was known for a while now, but things need to be signed and verified nontheless.

The second part of this is the wrongful death lawsuit, which involved filling out the paperwork for the deaths of my parents along with writing testimonials of what they meant to us. We also made an appointment with the judge who is handling the whole situation and, in his courtroom last week, presented their life story and what they meant to us.

It was, to say the least, a difficult thing to do. There was no telling how it would go and how coherent we would be. This was the first time, truthfully, we expressed our feelings about our losses outside of our family and… it was tough.

Tough but, in the end, cathartic.

I was proud of my sisters and their families. I was proud of my own family. We presented our feelings and memories and I believe we did well in telling the judge who our parents were and what they meant to us as well as the unimaginable horror of this loss.

So we did it, and now we sit back and wait to see what happens.

There are those out there who have speculated all the relatives/heirs of those lost in Champlain are going to get a big payoff, as if the money somehow will justify the horror we’ve gone through.

It may be a good amount. It may indeed wind up being a very big amount.

And I just don’t know how I feel about it.

Because there doesn’t pass a moment where I think about a world where my parents are still alive and most of their possessions aren’t lost in the rubble of the collapse of Champlain Towers.

In the afterwards to my latest novel, The Ebb of Time, I wrote this:

As cliched and silly as it sounds, I urge everyone out there reading these words to take a moment of time and hug your loved ones or, if you can’t, at least reach out and tell them you love them.

Things can change dramatically from one moment to the next.

I know.

Don’t leave things unsaid and, as my father used to say, please, please enjoy your day.

I do hope everyone out there has a good day.

On Writing… edits

As I’ve mentioned before, my latest novel, The Ebb of Time, is now available over on Amazon and I’m getting fairly strong interest in it… at least insofar as people are reading it -usually in what appears to be one sitting!- and that, in turn, encourages me to think that perhaps I’ve written another book that those who take on get into and want to see what comes next…

I hesitate to use the term ”page turner” but that’s indeed what’s usually in the back of my mind when I write these works. I want people to be ”hooked” onto the novel and its presence and hopefully get so into it they read it all the way through and indeed in that one sitting.

I’ve mentioned before, perhaps too many times now, that I find Elmore Leonard’s writing advice quite fascinating and, of the items he lists, this is my favorite:

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

What he’s saying is that your novel/story should be a lean and focused work, one that doesn’t waste the reader’s time with elements which don’t add to the story in any significant way.

There are many, many, many works out there that I’ve tried to read but have stopped simply because the author does indeed go off on tangents, perhaps over-describing what characters wear or getting a little too detailed about silly stuff like what they eat (This, interestingly enough, is something I see far too often: Detailed descriptions of what a character is eating and/or orders at a restaurant).

Anyway, for me getting a good first or second draft of a book is inevitably only the first major step in getting it ready to be released. I wind up spending many hours going over the work, revising it and adding -at first anyway- elements that I feel might be needed or, conversely, removing things that are either repetitious or don’t really add much to the story proper.

The repetitious thing is a real head-scratcher for me. I don’t know why but sometimes I repeat story elements and its not until I get to the editing phase that I realize there are these repeated beats/concepts. No major literary crime, mind you, but an annoying thing I do without meaning to. Often I’ll consider these repeated beats and compress them together into one and choose where best they belong.

But even when you’re completely done with your work, it pays to have someone read it after the fact.

My wife did this with The Ebb of Time and she found, much to my shame, at least a half dozen minor errors I made which somehow made it through my editing process.

Most were silly things. I would call a character a different name. On one specific page, the main character was called -twice!- by a different name and for the life of me I don’t know how a) I made that error and b) didn’t discover it before giving my wife the book to read.

There was one paragraph, a small one thankfully, that was almost incomprehensible as written. Another oddity that it made it through so many drafts without me noticing it! My best guess as to how it made it there was that maybe I did some revision on that paragraph at the very end and simply got distracted and didn’t add in all the words I needed to.

Again, though, we’re talking about very minor stuff. The name changing truly was the biggest issue but it was limited to problems here and there. The one paragraph was a relatively small one halfway through the novel and easily fixable, and I believe there were also something like two very minor edits of improper works/tenses.

Regardless, I’m thankful to those out there who are checking the novel out.

As is often the case with me, I’ve taken a few days to relax… and focus on some rather serious things I’m about to deal with regarding the loss of my parents in Champlain Towers… but am already thinking about my next work.

As is always the case, it’s something I’ve wanted to work on for a while, a general premise that should allow for expansion into a hopefully suspenseful action/adventure/horror book.

We’ll see!

This n’ that…

Been a very, very busy couple of weeks. Not only have I just finished off and released The Ebb of Time, my latest novel and that’s just the first of a seemingly endless amount of things I’ve been up to.

First, though, and I know I already posted it before, the paperback cover/backcover of The Ebb of Time.

I like it a lot!

What else has happened?

Welp, I traveled to my daughter’s new home again and spent a week getting stuff fixed up there. Getting a new home and fixing it up is serious business and my wife just spent 2 weeks -longer than she intended- dealing with the various handymen/plumbers/what-have-you.

I told my daughter before we embarked on this that she would grow to hate pretty much all the people we hire to fix things and, for the most part, that seems to have happened.

Not to everyone, though, and that was a relief.

But you get people who promise to be at the house on certain days and they don’t show… multiple times. We had one person whose company was supposed to specialize in renovating stairs and it’s safe to say the guy didn’t seem to know the first thing about his so-called business.

Thankfully, the incompetents proved the exception rather than the rule and -even more thankfully- we spotted them quick and let them go.

After returning home, I was met with another wave of stuff to do. As I’ve mentioned before, my parents perished in the collapse of Champlain Towers South. The wrongful death lawsuits are coming to their end and it was time for me to go over the paperwork needed to send in regarding this. Included in the wrongful death form was a narrative I and my sisters wrote regarding the loss of our parents and…

It’s not an easy thing to do.

Emotions run high and, soon enough, we’re going to go before the judge overseeing this case and talk about our loss. I anticipate yet another very emotional series of hours.

Anyway, for those who have picked up and read The Ebb of Time or any of the novels I’ve released, my thanks. I hope they proved entertaining and thought provoking.

The Ebb Of Time, part deux

Yesterday I received what I’m hoping is the final cover material for the paperback version of The Ebb of Time, my latest novel, and it’s been sent in and, if all checks out, I should order a proof, receive it soon after, and either accept the material -after which time it will become available to be bought- or need to make some (probably very minor) modifications.

Anyway, the full cover image:

Frankly, I love this. Easily my favorite cover/back cover combo so far!

Again, if all is good on the printer’s end I’ll order a proof copy and once I see it in my hands and it does indeed look good, then off we go!

If you can’t wait, the book is available now digitally via Amazon Kindle. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you may “borrow” the book and read it as well!

Here’s the link: The Ebb of Time eBook : Torre, E. R.: Kindle Store

The Ebb of Time (2022)

While the cover for print still requires a couple of small tweaks, the digital cover to my new novel is for the most part good and I went ahead and uploaded all the information onto Amazon for the Kindle digital publication.

Within 72 hours, hopefully less, my latest novel will be available for purchase or, if you have Kindle Unlimited, borrowing.

As soon as that information is available, I will present it here and it will also appear at my author page, which is here: E. R. Torre: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

In the meantime, here’s the cover to The Ebb of Time.

Hope you guys like it!

The novel’s description:

They called it the Frenzy and in a matter of days it caused the fall of Civilization.

Ten years later, inhabitants of a small settlement receive an eerie signal originating from a distant military base.

Who sent it and why?

To investigate, they need to journey outside the safety of the settlement walls and face a savage world that hides many dark secrets.

Secrets which could not only destroy what’s left of humanity but destroy the world itself.