“The Darkness of Evil” by Alan Jacobson (Open Road Media, 2017)


Alan Jacobson has delighted us readers for a number of years now with his gripping Karen Vail books, and in the latest installment, the sinisterly titled Darkness of Evil, Vail comes up against what could be her greatest foe yet: a convicted serial killer.

Senior profiler at the Behavioral Analysis Unit, Karen Vail, is juggling lots of projects and problems at once; but that’s just her modus operandi, in addition to dealing with a new boss who she doesn’t really get along with. She’s also keeping her eye on Jasmine Marcks, who has just published a book about her life as the daughter of a serial killer, which she had no idea about until she was a teenager and was crucial in having Roscoe Lee Marcks brought to justice and put away for a very long time. Roscoe killed fourteen people and Vail took over the case in the early days of her career, helping the guy get put away.

Jasmine receives a note from her father. He knows about the book. He knows what she said about him in the book. He wants revenge. Vail lets Jasmine know the man is locked behind bars and everything will be okay. She is finally granted access to begin interviewing Roscoe to find out what he is up to, and then before she knows it, the serial killer escapes with help from a number of people on the inside.

The rules have changed; the stakes are through the roof. It’s a whole new ball game.

Bodies begin turning up, including a cop who was protecting Jasmine. The daughter decides to go it alone, keeping hidden and quiet, only getting in contact with Vail occasionally. Meanwhile, the ace profiler joins a crack team of US Marshals and other experts to chase down Roscoe and put him back in prison where he belongs.

The Darkness of Evil kicks it into high gear right from the start, as the reader immediately gets drawn into the book. Jacobson continues to make Vail a complex and complete character, as she juggles personal life problems, other cases, and the nail-biting terror of a serial killer on the loose who seems to have no limits to whose life he may take. He could be coming around the next corner with his sights on her. But Vail is a professional. She is experienced; a veteran. She knows what has to be done, and the reader is thrilled to be along for the ride.

Originally written on March 15, 2017 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Darkness of Evil from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

OSTIUM EPISODE 6 – DIALOGUES

In Episode 6, Jake and Monica sit down over a good meal and some hot tea and have a heart to heart chat about Ostium, life in Ostium, and all things . . . Ostium.

Written and produced by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Chris Fletcher and Georgia McKenzie.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/ostiumpodcast. Perks include mini episodes, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, outtakes, and access to new episodes a week before regular release.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.

“Powers of Darkness” by Bram Stoker, Valdimar Ásmundsson, translated by Hans de Roos (Overlook Press, 2016)


In 1901, an Icelandic edition of Dracula was translated and published by Valdimar Ásmundsson, which he titled Makt Myrkranna or Powers of Darkness, for the Icelandic readers. It included an original preface by one Bram Stoker but remained unknown for a long time. In 1986 this Icelandic edition was discovered, and Bram Stoker’s preface was translated and studied, while the rest of the book was largely ignored.

In 2014, independent researcher Hans de Roos took a look at the rest of the Icelandic text and discovered something unique: a whole new, never before seen story of a vampire named Dracula. Apparently, when Valdimar Ásmundsson translated Stoker’s bestseller, he made some character and plot changes. The result is a shorter novel that runs a lot faster, is a little more erotic and suspenseful. Makt Myrkranna focuses more on Jonathan Harkness’s stay at Castle Dracula and the strange and terrifying things that go on there.

This edition of this new and unique text features an introduction and margin annotations by Hans de Roos, as well as a foreword by Dacre Stoker, and an afterword by John Edgar Browning. Powers of Darkness is a completely new look at this classic text that fans of the book and genre won’t want to miss.

Originally written on November 18, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Powers of Darkness from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

OSTIUM EPISODE 5 – A.W.O.L.

In Episode 5: A.W.O.L. listeners get to meet a new character.

Written and produced by Alex C. Telander.
Performed by Georgia McKenzie.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/ostiumpodcast. Perks include mini episodes, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, outtakes, and access to new episodes a week before regular release.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.

Writing Goals for 2017

This year’s goals are going to be more in the . . . very rough guidelines category. I feel like I pull a little further back on these goal posts each year, knowing when I set myself lofty tasks things like life, children, work and random, unpredictable things seem to find a way of happening. But I still find them both helpful and necessary.

When I’m having to juggle work and personal life with my writing and I stare down the long tunnel of a new year it’s . . . daunting. I could just assume throughout the year I’ll get lots of writing done, but I’m also a very structured person. I enjoy having things planned out and organized. It’s one reason I love using Scrivener for all my writing as it allows you to be excessive in your organization. So these goals help give some structure for the coming year and when I’m saturated with working on a project, and I’m not sure what to move to next, I have these handy goals to help guide me.

  1. Ostium: This is the podcast project that became the main writing work for me in 2016. Episode 5 will be released February 26th, and I’ve got one other episode to mix together. Other than some light work leading up to the release of an episode this frees up my writing time. So my plan for Ostium is unless the Patreon page starts kicking and hitting the monetary goal, I don’t plan to start writing Season 2 until late summer with plans to start running the episodes in January 2018.
  2. Olague: My plan is to have my novel be my main project for the year and since I have Ostium more under control this year (unless it starts making big bucks), this should be feasible. Let’s just say I hope to get a vague chunk of this novel done this year and leave it at that.
  3. Story Submission: Continue submitting stories, like usual.
  4. Short Story: I have a number of short stories I’d like to get written, but for this year I’d be happy to get at least one of them done.

Review of 2016 Writing Goals

Meant to have this posted earlier, but life keeps getting in the way, as done sickness which I am just now recovering from. Anyway, let’s see how we did with those writing goals for 2016. Red text below goal indicates how I did.

Olague: My novel Olague is going to be my main writing focus for the year. I’d like to throw out something like “get half the book written” or even a third, but I know this is neither likely nor feasible with my current work and life schedule (of course, if the above thing happens that was hinted at that will change things a little). So I’m just going to say: get more writing done with Olague. Even if it’s just another chapter, at least something; though I hope it’ll be a lot more than one additional chapter.

So Olague did not become the main focus of the year, a little thing called Ostium did (see below). I did however get three hefty chapters done. And with the main work on Ostium looking to be completed in the next week or two, I am planning to return to this novel full force at that point.

Stories: I’ve got two short story ideas kicking around in the noggin that I jotted down a few notes for in case they disappear entirely from my head. I’d like to get those two stories written in some form this year.

The stories didn’t get written because of that little thing called Ostium again (see below), however I did get some ideas for new stories and fortunately jotted down what notes I had.

Submit Stories: Continue submitting stories for publication each month, including editing and getting the long story that was written in 2015 submitted to at least one publication by the end of the year.

I did do this and the high point of the year was I got an “Honorable Mention” for Writers of the Future, meaning I need to get back to submitting that story this year along with it’s “almost publication” tag.

Ostium: This is my podcast series I’m working on with a friend. The first episode script is written and ready and now it’s just a case of getting it recorded. For 2016, I’d like to get the first episode recorded and ready, and the scripts for the second and third episodes written.

So this project this year took off big time and ended up being the focus for the year. I ended up writing ten episodes and a bunch of mini episodes amounting to around 50,000 words, so that’s where all my work and energy went. We got a good chunk of the episodes recorded in the fall and winter and the last few in January. The first episode was released January and you can find out all about it on the Ostium website.

BONUS: So here’s a bonus goal, should I need something extra to work on. My novel White Horse is completed in first draft and has been waiting for some editing for a few years now, but I’ve never quite found the time to get around to it. I think the reason for this is because I felt it wasn’t quite right as the novel that it is. It’s taken me a while to figure out what this means and I think I finally have. I originally started the book as a novella, but then it grew into a novel. Now thinking on it for the last few years, while it was fun and interesting writing the whole book, I believe it still wants to be a novella, and needs to get edited down to that. So that can be the extra credit project for the year.

Hahah. Nope. Who knows when this will ever happen. But I always have it as a backup should I need something to work on.

OSTIUM EPISODE 4 – FIRST CONTACT

In Episode 4 – First Contact, Jake learns about some big changes in his life and the world, before he travels to Ostium. He now knows he’s not alone in this special town, and as he passes through Door 4 he wonders if he’ll have any company. Also what world will he be taken to this time?

Written by Alex C. Telander
Performed by Chris Fletcher, who also composed the interstitial music pieces.
Background music by 2Kutup courtesy of the Free Music Archive.

Warning, this episode contains explicit language.

Please help and support Team Ostium by rating and reviewing on iTunes, as well as checking out our Patreon page at www.patreon.com/ostiumpodcast. Perks include mini episodes on the Enigmatic Mysteries of the Unknown, all the music to Season 1, transcripts featuring full-color covers and illustrations, and much more.

And don’t forget to subscribe and tell your friends.

And finally from Team Ostium to you: Thanks for listening.