<><><> Betsie's Literary Page <><><>

Home | Book Reviews | FREE Celebrity Addresses | Celebrities Page 2 | Celebrities Page 3 | Get Reviewed! | Writers Showcase | Major Record Labels | Guerrilla Publicity | Print Magazines | Independent Bookstores | Specialty Shops | Media Contacts | Celebrity Production Companies | Author Friendly Radio Shows | Screenwriting | Screenwriter Agents | Author/Talent - Agents | Advice to Authors | Want your Book Noticed? | Writer's Services | Internet Resources | "How To" Articles | Other Online Reviewers | Newspaper Book Reviewers | Recipes | Movie Reviews | Links | Meet the Reviewers | About Me


  Low-life villains and not-so-tough heroes!

Title: Parasites

Author: H.B. Marcus

Publisher: PublishAmerica (publication date pending)

Genre: Fiction/Paranormal

ISBN: Pending



Rating: Highly Recommended


August 15, 2004


Jack is a cynical, cool college newspaper reporter who lives by his own code of ethics. In the midst of having a friendly conversation with his colleague, Debbie, editor and chief Barney interrupts. He informs Jack that Agnes Pinchot owner of Brasher Manor had died, her daughter Barbara who inherited the property has also mysteriously turned up dead.


Upon learning that the college has now inherited the enigmatic mansion, Jack calls his buddy Phil who instantly gains permission to enter the haunted structure. Once inside the pair is no sooner forced to evacuate with the impression that an earthquake is in progress, as the mansion’s frame trembles showering them with debris. Although before they can exit the source of disturbance is discovered when the heavy mansion doors fly open.


Phil is relieved by the familiar faces and introduces Spider and Smokey to Jack. The duo is a pair of bumbling idiots, which happen to work as janitors at the campus.


This book reminded me of the 1982 film “Poltergeist” mixed with a dash of the 1985 film “Clue” where six guests are invited to a strange house and must cooperate with the staff to solve a murder mystery. H.B. Marcus’ creation is also filled with suspicious characters and sinister rooms. Spider and Smokey only help make matters worse, as well as hilarious when they antagonize a very nasty ghost.


At the center of this intriguing novel is a book called The Vapid Wraith Panacea (the book of the dead) an elusive but valuable object that is greedily desired, for different reasons, by all the principals, in the labyrinthine, noirish plot.


Parasites, is a smart, dark novel that's pace is steady and engrossing with some great performances by its engaging characters. Everything neatly contained in marvelous descriptions and lines of dialogue. This paranormal tale will not disappoint!


 Reviewed by Betsie



An Interview with HB Marcus




Betsie: To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?


HB: It ‘about’ as insane as you can get with a story without actually having it written by your handlers.  I had two really wild books out and I had to top them somehow.  People expect left field from me, so I put on a mitt and suited up.  I took my characters, Smokey and Spider into the horror story genre.  But it reads like a murder mystery with a little suspense and even romance.  As usual there are some surprises.  As a matter of fact the entire story is a surprise.  And I hear there are funny parts too.



Betsie: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?


HB: I spent most of my life in northern Ohio.  Most of the time I was shoveling snow and my spare time was very limited.  I never did any writing and very little reading.  I find listening to people much more interesting than any book.  There are fantastic stories everywhere if you just listen.


Betsie: Who were your earliest influences and why?

HB: My father used to tell a lot of stories as a school teacher.  I grew up with that.  Beyond that I found that most books were filled with a lot of filler that made me flip ahead to see how many pages until the end of the chapter or simply put the book down.  Six pages describing a tree that doesn’t have anything to do with the story is a crime.  If my father told me a story and went into the twilight zone about a tree, I’d switch the channel by going out to play.  Since that time a big influence has been a friend, Jon Heald.  He has a knack for turning anything tragic into the funniest thing I ever heard.


Betsie: What would a typical day be like for a writer?


HB: That would depend on your definition of a writer.  If I were considered a real writer, I would sit by the digital clock until it changed to twelve noon.  Then I would crack a beer and turn on the computer.  After that it’s like opening a brand new deck of cards pulling out the wild cards.



Betsie: How long have you been writing and in what capacities?


HB: I got tired of seeing the same old thing in books until 1998.  I took a trip across the country by myself.  I came up with a wild story in that time.  When I got home I wrote the story…about eleven times.  After that I created a method that takes more time to plan and less time to write.  I only write books, but I do short stories for compilations if it’s for the right reasons.  I’ve done nine episodes of a sitcom, ‘Gab’ currently being shopped for a producer and I’m working on a screenplay for my first book.  I still haven’t been writing long enough to earn my vampire tan yet.



Betsie: Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?


HB:  Nonfiction is by far tougher.  I was working on an explanation of cheating at music theory, counterpoint, and harmony using tetra-chords as a basis instead of all the archaic memorizations they teach in school now.  The only problem is that I’m restricted from putting my own personal thoughts and comments into every paragraph.  I’m no walking computer and I can’t distance myself from the writing like that.



Betsie: Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?


HB: I take a break when it’s getting to me.  By morning I have all the answers again.  I don’t have ‘instincts’ like that beyond good old fashioned mental exhaustion.  If you hear me say that I give up, it’s a trap.



Betsie: What is the hardest part about being a writer?


HB: I don’t have the time right now to devote to it and I have three books going at the same time with a screenplay too.  Promoting, family, and all is quite a juggling act.  It’s like juggling a bowling ball, an apple, and a chainsaw without catching the apple by the blade.  There’s very little time at the end of the day.  You need to rest and writing at night takes away your sleep until you take a bite out of the bowling ball.



Betsie: Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?


HB: Right now I have no hobbies.  I simply don’t have time.  Before I started writing I used to own and fly ultra-light aircraft.  I have nine hours logged in a conventional airplane.  I used to rappel a few times a year.  Beyond that I was building models and doing an occasional oil painting.  Now I do nothing but raise my daughter.  As a matter of fact I showed her how to read ten words and type them on the computer in about an hour today.  She’s three and their brains are total sponges at that age.  



Betsie: Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?


HB: All you really sacrifice is time to yourself.  If you have time to sit and watch a meteor shower, you have time to do a lot more.  The more people see your name, the more you rise to the top through opportunities.  Someone is always there if they can profit from you in any way.  So after a while that time to yourself is spent with a lot of people you really don’t know.  Even when you’re supposed to be relaxing, that other you is expected to be on in five minutes:  “Hey Jojo the performing monkey boy, get your hat on!  It’s a good crowd!”



Betsie: What question do you get asked more than any other?


HB: Where do you come up with that stuff?  I like the joking rumors about me being from another planet too.  They are joking, right?



Betsie: What’s the coolest thing a reader has said to you?


HB: They couldn’t finish the book:  A student at Ohio University has bought the book over and over and people keep stealing his copies.  I love hearing that somebody fell out of their chair or hurt abdominal muscles laughing at my books.  It’s an escape from your life.  For the time it takes you to read it, you don’t think about any problems you have.  You just enjoy the ride and do a lot of laughing.



Betsie: What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?


HB: It depends on the personality.  Some very honest people have picked up on a few things that I took responsibility for.  For instance if the character is a drug user I don’t glorify the lifestyle.  I know teens are bound to get their hands on these books.  When I explain a homemade flamethrower I don’t explain the fuel pump system.  I don’t want fingers pointed at me just to sell a book.  I don’t want to influence people.  I just want to entertain them.  There’s nothing to be interpreted.  It’s all for a fun ride and that’s it.  If they find a word pattern within the books that tell them to worship the devil and eat Chihuahuas, that’s their deal.  Doctors have pills for that.



Betsie: Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?


HB: That’s funny.  I already answered that.  I’ve always been like that.  I used to listen to four different conversations on a city bus at one time.  The only problem is that I hear the person behind you when you talk to me.  What were you two saying?



Betsie: Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?


HB: Shakespeare is the only author I totally enjoy.  His writing is the complete opposite of mine.  His writing captures the complete human condition from stem to stern and nothing is wasted.  In those days your plays had to hold the attention of inbred royalty.  People who don’t like it usually can’t get past the language:  “Who’s Bodkin and why are they naked?”  In the Superman Bizzaro world Shakespeare wrote ‘The Joe Schmoe Show’, you know?  Actually a long term project of mine is going to be translating a work of Shakespeare.  I’m not saying anything beyond that because another writer will go:  “Not anymore you aren’t.  I just thought of that great idea first.”



Betsie: If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?


HB: Enjoy your life first so that you can gain those experiences worth writing about.  Try to do everything.  The more input you get, the better the output.  My mother used to tell me to write what you know.  If you haven’t experienced something for yourself, you better have the money to hire people who have as creative consultants.  Don’t copy your writing heroes.  That’s how a lot of crap gets written because it’s just one interpretation of a style.  Tell a story in your own words and it’s always going to be original.



Betsie: What kind of movies do you enjoy?


HB: Anything with perfectly done CG effects.  Movies have turned into the ultimate storybook where anything that can be imagined can be done.  Of course that means the porn movie industry will take a turn for the bizarre now. 



Betsie: What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldn’t want to live in?


HB: None:  I’ve been over most of this great country and a few spots in Canada.  I’ve seen a lot of cities and they all seem to be infested with people.  People are great, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just that when you pack a lot of them all together, some tend to figure their ideas are more important than other ideas.  That’s when they become annoying and even dangerous.




Betsie: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?


HB: The Underground Café asked me which I preferred, the Whopper or the Big Mac.  I guess they had a bet going that my answer would be pretty wild.  I was a good boy though.



Betsie: What’s the best part of being a writer?


HB: Security:  I can write a whole mess of books, promote until everyone knows who I am, and then die.  That way my wife and daughter can release a book from a stack I’ll leave them whenever they need money.  My daughter might even be able to ride her dead Daddy’s coat tails into a writing career.  I doubt that part though.  If she’s anything like me she’ll never do what anyone expects of her.



Betsie: What's next?


HB: I’m trying really hard to get any contact I can into the movie industry.  I know it doesn’t pay a lot, but so much of my material would translate well as a movie.  The visual aspect alone would make it easier for me to explain.  A lot of what I write is almost slapstick.  It would be easier to explain the gag in a script and let actors and a director make it happen.  Writing it is really tough to do with any timing.


And of course I have a lot of manuscripts I haven’t even tried to get published yet.  I’m still loving the reactions to the trilogy I have now.  The third book, ‘Parasites’ is due out soon and I’m working on a forth to the trilogy called ‘C-4’.  I figured nobody else has four books in a trilogy, so why not?  Since when did I start obeying the rules anyway?  We’re talking about a guy who no longer rides motorcycles because he can’t obey the laws…of physics.


Beyond that I’m going to play with my kid, play with my wife, and play with people’s heads as long as everyone lets me.  As I told my wife before we got married:  “The only thing I can promise you is that it will never be boring.”


Betsie's Literary Page has enjoyed reading H.B. Marcus' lastest works and wishes him the best in his writing career!