Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Travel at the speed of "The Hyperspace Project: The Awakening" from Donald Swan

Amazon Link
With a name like Nick Bannon, you know that even without looking, trouble is just going to find him.  Even an innocent "trial" of his hyperspace project becomes something that can wind up causing problems all over the galaxy. 

The problems start when Nick's trial goes just a little too well, and instead of preliminary testing, Nick becomes the first human to experience hyperspace.  Which would be great - if he had any idea where he was.

After an appropriate "greeting" from a not so friendly alien race, Nick is forced to ditch his ride inside a foreign space craft.  This is one decision that Nick makes that turns out to actually work in his favor.  On board are Kymeans, almost 8 foot tall Rakozians with four arms that would make Hulk Hogan jealous, Meth breathers, and a green female Arisian (a cat like race) with a rather large secret she is hiding.  While "not so well thought out bravery" is not a quality that Nick Bannon is lacking - the sight of the 8 foot  Karg the Rakozian brings a line that had something to do with "live to fight another day."

With some handy technology that aids language, Nick soons finds himself in the middle of a galactic war in a galaxy he previously didn't even know that existed.  Things are always tough for the new kid on the block, but when that new kid has a technology that could be used as the most powerful weapon the aliens have seen - well - that kid is going to attract a lot of attention whether he wants it or not.

Nick would love to just hop in his ship and just cruise hyperspace back home, but it's hard to get to a destination if you don't know where you are going.  So while trying to figure that dilemma out, why not just pick a side and fulfill an ancient prophecy or two along the way........


I found "The Hyperspace Project" to be an immensely enjoyable read.  I kept picturing Harrison Ford, but with the Indiana Jones personality, but in a Blade Runner world as Nick Bannon.  The pacing was great, Swan did an awesome job giving just enough desription of the new technology and alien races without dragging the story into a grinding halt.  The story had a feel good sense that I got from watching "Guardians of the Galaxy" - where you get to know the characters to the point where you actually want to meet themand have a few drinks at a dive bar to hear more stories.

The dialogue and writing were top notch - and it was clear that this story was thought out before Swan committed it to paper.  With all of the rehashes (really - can we do a Spiderman reboot just one more time please.....) it is nice to meet some new characters in a new adventure - and it doesn't have to end here, since Swan already has book two on the shelves. 

Highly recommend this book for lovers of sci fi!!!

(awesome website, by the way!)

Monday, December 29, 2014

A high seas tale of treachery and murder - a whale of a tale!

Amazon Link
Once the sea gets its grip into you, it is almost impossible for a seagoing man to turn a deaf ear to its siren's song.  Joseph hears the song, and decides to leave everything and sign up as a crew member aboard the whaler ship "Fortune".  "Fortune" might just happen to be the least appropriate name for this ship, however.

After starting their journey successfully and the crew getting along fine with their experienced captain, fortune turns a blind eye to them.  As if hunting and harvesting a whale isn't dangerous enough - when you also have to battle the plague and homicidal maniacs - well, it is enough to make a sailor wish he were a landlubber who decided to sit this trip out.

You can guess some of the author's influences throughout this book, but in the end Michael really does make this book "his own".  A true "last man standing" on the high sea's, this sea story will harpoon you right away and pull you right on board with the rest of the crew of the "Fortune".


Michael does an exceptional job in his description of the ship, and it is obvious in the detail how much effort and love he put into this novel.  If you love stories of the sea as much as I do, you will find the level of detail unmatched in almost anything else you have read.

Add to this "educational" material a story that is going as fast as a ship with a strong tailwind, and you have a novel that you just won't be able to put down.

I get many offers to review books, but every once in a while - I need to take a break from the randomness of the "list" that I have and read something that I choose to read.  "The Whaler, Fortune" was a book that I chose to read based on Wyatt Michael's other book "Revenge of the Wolf" that I was fortunate enough to review.  I loved the pacing and detail in the plot - and Michael does not disappoint in a setting that is entirely different.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Pixel Hall Author! "Traveling Left of Center" by Nancy Christie

Buy Here!
“Girl,” my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, “on the highway of life, you’re always traveling left of center.” (from “Traveling Left of Center”)
What happens when people face life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared? They may choose to allow fate to dictate the path they take—a decision that can lead to disastrous results.
The characters in the 18 stories in “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” are unable or unwilling to seize control over their lives, relying instead on coping methods that range from the passive (“The Healer”) and the aggressive (“The Clock”) to the humorous (“Traveling Left of Center”) and hopeful (“Skating on Thin Ice”). But the outcomes may not be what they anticipated or desired. Will they have time to correct their course or will they crash?

The website link for the book is A “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” study guide for book clubs, classrooms and other discussion groups is available as a free download at

(Not a review - cover and book description only from my friends at Pixel Hall Press!) 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Inspiration From Ray White! Read "Alexia's Legacy"

Amazon Link
On June 15th, 2014, Father’s Day, the unthinkable happened - that moment in your life that you can never imagine, except in your worst nightmares. Alexia Ardeleanu, a beautiful young lady with unlimited potential was suddenly and tragically taken from us by a drunk driver. The drunk driver who killed her was driving 82 miles an hour when she plowed into Alexia’s car and others that were stopped at a stoplight in Houston, Texas.

We spent a lot of time crying and still want to cry every time we think about it. But we have chosen instead to honor her memory. We want to share the lessons she taught us and we feel she would have taught others, if she had been given the time. Alexia was special in what she accomplished and in how she lived her life.

She had a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average in a double major of Accounting and Finance at the University of North Texas. She had taken her GMAT and was working on her LSAT so she could get double graduate degrees in Law and an MBA. She was successful in her job and was a campus leader. She was a Resident Assistant, had won multiple scholarships, and was President of the University of North Texas Professional Leadership Program. 

But most importantly she was a wonderful friend, daughter, and servant leader. She was special because of her daily focus on the important things in her life and how she unconditionally gave to others.

We want to emphasize that she was not perfect and that was what made her special. The leadership lessons we learned from Alexia are techniques anyone can learn and apply. She was not successful because of natural gifts; she was successful because she made choices every day that led her to be successful and a true servant leader. 

Our goal in this book is to share her real life examples and choices so you can learn how to make these lessons work for you. We hope that you can see the obstacles and challenges all successful people face and can learn how to persevere and live a life of happiness, success, and servant leadership.
Note from co-author Ray White:
I was lucky enough to be a mentor for Alexia; and as in most of my Mentor/Mentee relationships, I definitely learned as much from her as she did from me. In this book you will see a lot of emails addressed to me from Alexia. Our relationship included daily updates about how she was doing and whether she was on track for reaching the goals in her life and more importantly being happy and successful. We focused a lot on making sure she made taking care of herself a priority and took time for the actions necessary to keep her healthy and happy so she would have the energy be a successful servant leader for others. These emails are a great way to capture what she was thinking and what was really going on in her life. They give us the opportunity to not only see the important characteristics of a good leader but also to observe the concerns, challenges and imperfections as well.
We have structured this book to show real life examples from Alexia or people she interacted with, a summary of the lesson, and then an opportunity to help you reflect and improve on your related leadership skills.
We hope you enjoy the book and learn the reality about how you can be a servant leader who is both successful and happy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Author Interview with Robin Landry, author of "It's Like Here Only Better"

Amazon Link
1.  Your book is a very touching tribute to your son.  What made you decide to share your story with everyone? 

At first I just had the dreams of Tim in a blog, but after hearing so many people say how much it helped them deal with their own loss, I decided to put it out to a wider audience, and to make it more permanent.

2.  Did being a reviewer of so many books make your job as author easier or more difficult? 

I believe that being a reviewer actually makes me a better writer because I read now with the idea of saying what I like and what I dislike about a book.  After a few hundred reviews, I found that I had a much better idea of how to write than I did before.  I couldn't help reviewing my own writing with a more critical eye, and applying the strengths I'd seen in other authors' works. 

3.  What had been the highlight for you concerning this book? 

Both seeing how the cover reflects Tim so well, and having people who've read the book tell me how it affected them in a positive way, and lastly, the worse thing about losing your child is feeling like everyone has forgotten them.  I've made Tim immortal in a small way and that makes me happy as a mother.

4.  What is the one piece of advice that you would like to share with your audience? What was the best advice you received?  
Just as it's hard to see how you look without a mirror, it's hard to judge your own creative work without the input of others. Sometimes it's hard to hear, but it always helps, so get as much criticism as you can because most people genuinely want to help you.  And of course read as much as you can and start reviewing, because it changes both how you write and how you read, for the better.

5.  Having gone through something similar, I know that feelings about the event never really go away. I personally find it harder to remember all the details as time goes on. Do you have any type of ritual or annual event that you do to keep his memory alive? 

Well, since we're coming up on Christmas, I put a stocking up for Tim, and I visit his grave site once a month and leave something that represents the time of year it happens to be.  I leave small gifts like flowers and Hot Wheel cars, and a Harley motorcycles, and  talk to him.  I know he's always listening, in fact he told one medium, that he listens now a lot more than he ever did before as a teenager.

6.  What is one thing you know now after writing a book that you wish you knew before you started?  
How easy it is to do the whole thing yourself.  I waited 5 years because I thought I would have to go through a publisher, but really self-publishing is easy. I asked an author I'd reviewed for a cover designer, and I looked up a editor on the web.  It's very easy to have a professional book these days so really anyone can do it.  I would recommend that everyone tell their story if only to have a copy to hand down to the kids.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You can feel the love and anxiety come through the pages

Amazon Link
Book Description

Ever feel your life spinning out of control? You hang on for dear life and hope you end up face forward, and all intact when the storm ends. Situations and circumstances out of your control will come your way. We found ourselves in such a storm after giving birth to our second child, perfectly formed, or so we thought.

You grab onto trust and faith in the Lord as you find out your core essence- how you will withstand the next waves of life that will wash over you.

The amazing realization that if only our eyes could have seen all that was happening around our dear baby as he grew. As events were revealed, we saw the extent of God walking by our side, preparing the way, extending His love and comfort. We are utterly convinced that ‘Every Breath’ has been given and we are to be living each day with purpose.


Every Breath by Tracy Burkhart is a read that will take you through all the anxiety, tears, love and hope that parents go through when faced with uncertainty.  Often, we can deal with this uncertainty and crisis when we are the ones going through it, but when it involves a child the ability to cope as we normally would doesn't seem to be an option.

This short book is packed with emotions from cover to cover.  Burkhart does an excellent job putting feelings and emotions into words.  She also describes all of the steps that many parents go through along the way when faced with these kinds of events.  One that I feel many of us can relate to is "bargaining" with God.  While we might know on the inside that this isn't something to be done, I can certainly relate to the feeling of "needing to do something."

It was also a testament to the family to see how everyone pulled together and did whatever little things that they could offer to help out.  I believe that this experience is one of the reasons that led them to decide to "pay it forward" through mission trips.

Each of us must make our way in this world on our own journey.  Each person we pass by during the day has a journey and a story that we often have no idea about.  If we knew these stories, maybe we would be just a little nicer and more understanding to everyone we touch throughout the day.  Maybe we would realize that we really aren't "alone" in what is making us tired, depressed, anxious, or ready to give up.  While it is important to understand that each of us reacts differently when faced with these events, it is just as important to remember that a small act of kindness or supportive words can make all the difference in the world.

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Book! The Sword of Agrippa by Gregory Lloyd!!! Science, shamanism, past and future collide in the search for dark energy.

Smashwords Link
The oligarchs control science and religion. Roy Swenson, a scientist banned from the US is in Prague on a quest to discover dark energy, a form of energy which could transform the world and lead to a new tech revolution. Not everyone is happy with his prospects.

Mainstream science and religion view him as a threat. Dark energy could change humanity's view of everything and disrupt a lucrative status quo for the world's leaders and their backers.


Unconventional Science

Roy chases his dark energy dream with everything from graphene-coated sensors to experiments with pineal glands and DMT. His team of PhDs includes experts across an assortment of fields, from shamanism to advanced sensor technologies.

At night Roy's dreams take him through secret rooms in the Great Library of Alexandria as a young Roman soldier, Marcus Agrippa. Agrippa falls in love with an Egyptian slave priestess. In the secret chambers of the Great Library she guides him through racks of now lost scrolls.

Empire of Blood

Along the way Agrippa is forced into making painful, personal sacrifices for the glory of Rome. He eventually builds the Pantheon, not as a tribute to war, but as a quiet dedication to the priestess who introduced him to love and enlightenment.

Both heroes fight to the end, each in their own way. Their dreams power them through devastating events and sacrifices as they seek the betterment of humanity. 

(Not a review - Book Cover and Description as part of a paid ad - come back often to see the review and author interview!)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I now know that even wizards can have really, really bad days.....

Amazon Link
Reading Sharon Bayliss' "Destruction" makes my holiday's look like utopia.

It is safe to say that David Vandergraff has had better holiday seasons.  Not that he is a grinch - not by any means.  But bringing home two love children from that you had to an affair and introducing them to your wife and three kids without warning could land you on Santa's (and your wife's) naughty list. Mistletoe magic just isn't that powerful to fix these kinds of problems.

Like that isn't enough - David discovers he is losing his company, cars are crashing into his living room, kids are running away, a daughters friend who they were watching while the parents were on vacation becomes a little more of a permanent member of the family.  It is enough to make a person want to flip out and look for someone to kill......

After a freaking crappy week like that, one would think that discovering that they could do magic would be the high point of David's week.  But discovering there is magic, and then discovering he is a "dark wizard" doesn't seem to be adding anything but more problems.

Oh yeah - everyone else around David are wizards too, but for some strange reason he seems to be the last one in on the joke.  It is almost like he has been living in a fantasy world up until this discovery - could there be an logical explanation for this?  Unfortunately, when your whole family consists of wizards and witches, logic isn't always applicable.


Bayliss has created a first novel in a series that will grab your attention.  The best part is that the second book is already out - so you don't have to wait six years like you do with George R R Martin.

I literally have over 200 books sitting in my "in box", but every once in a while I need to take a break and read something that I pick and that I want to read.  The next book on my "me" list is "Watch Me Burn" - which happens to also be by Bayliss and happens to be the next book in this series.

This book was that good.

The characters popped off the page to me, and each had a personality that seemed to be uniquely "theirs" - in a way that felt natural, not contrived.

I don't know if this book is listed as Young Adult or not, and I really don't care.  I liked Hunger Games and Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children because they were great stories.  "Destruction" is a title that should be on your "to read" list if you liked those books, no matter what age you are.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Freaky creatures, insane asylums, and secrets make for an awesome adventure!

Amazon Link
Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn, and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents.
The book follows both, the sibling’s emotional struggle from their parent’s sudden loss, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”, an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate.

It is here where they first learn of their new guardian, an eccentric old man named Professor Clandestine and the rest of the mansion's caretakers. Tossed into their bedroom, and locked away under the pretense of “safety concerns” it does not take long for the children to hatch an escape plan.

Follow the children as they slowly unravel the secrets of their parent’s true identities, the origin of the strange Mansion, and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters known as Seekers.

Even though I'm 23 years old, I am still a sucker for a good book about kids.  Add in some freaky creatures, mystery, adventure, and maybe even a little magic?  I am sold.  Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro is about two siblings, Elly and Hunter who, after the death of their parents, are sent to live with a godfather whom they have never met, let alone heard of.

Obviously, the kids are scared and intimidated by meeting the stranger, especially since, get this, he has them delivered to an abandoned looking insane asylum.  I don't want to give away too much, but as cool as an abandoned insane asylum would be to explore, the truth is far more incredible. 

Admittedly, I fell in love with Hunter and Elly pretty early on.  They're dealing with a lot of loss and change all at the same time.  Even through the sadness and pain they are feeling, they both have a lot of spunk and are the epitome of kids being kids.  Albeit, kids thrown into a crazy world of monsters and adventure with no prior knowledge.

Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro is a great start to a series and I cannot wait to read more.  There is so much world to learn about and explore in J. L. Hickey's story.  He only touched the surface in this book, and I anticipate many great stories from him.

(Guest review by Lauren Pesci)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A book that took a lot of courage to write - "It's Like Here Only Better" by Robin Landry

Amazon Link
Sometimes you come across a book and you can feel the emotion that the author poured into it.  When it is fiction, that quality really makes the characters seem to leap from the page.  When it is non-fiction - the effect is to pull the reader into to pages instead.  When it is non-fiction that deals with a tragic event involving a mother's loss - it really makes the reader wonder how Landry was able to put into words what she went through.

Landry recounts the tragic accident that took her son too quickly from the world and some of the events that have occurred afterwards to give her signs that  her son, Tim, was trying to communicate with her and his friends.  

I know some people might dismiss this as "seeing what you want to see" and making connections that aren't there.  Having lost a younger brother much too early, I can say that I went through a period where I thought I was going crazy with some of the "signs" that I was coming across.  At first, I tried to rationalize that I was looking for things and making connections.  But after things kept happening, I have opened myself up to other possibilities.  

Landry has given tribute to not only her son's memory in this book, but has given a gift to all of Tim's family and friends by documenting ways and signs that her son has given them to let them know that "It's Like Here Only Better" where he is at.  It is obvious from the pages that this book was a labor of love, and I feel that it delivers a message and story that hopefully the readers can just read about and never have to experience.

For those of us who have experienced a sudden loss of a significant person in our lives, this book will have you walking through all of the different stages of the experience again.  In some ways, it was difficult - but in many more ways, this book let me know that what I went through and some of the experiences I have had afterwards might be more of the rule instead of the exception.

I would like to personally thank Robin Landry for sharing her experiences with others so that they may know that they aren't alone in what they are going through.

(This book was given to Movies and Manuscripts as a gift to review.  This does not affect the review that was provided in any manner.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Pixel Hall Press Release! The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta!

Amazon Link
Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Winter Boy" explores important political and social issues within a dynamic, character-driven otherworld, wrapped up in masterful storytelling.

A cloistered society of widows, the Alleshi, has forged peace by mentoring young men who will one day become leaders of the land, using time-honored methods that include dialog, reason, and sexual intimacy. However, unknown to all but a hidden few, the peace is fracturing from pressures within and beyond, hacking at the very essence of their civilization.
         Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers a web of conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threatens to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.


The website link for the book is A “The Winter Boy” study guide for book clubs, classrooms and other discussion groups is available as a free download at

Movies and Manuscripts is proud to feature authors and books being published by Pixel Hall Press - a new small publishing company based out of Pennsylvania who looks for authors that other publishers might have missed.  This isn't a "vanity publishing company" that charges authors for their services - they are one of the good guys!  

Please check out their website and support them as they support new authors!!

(not a review - non-paid ad donated by this blog)

Be in a sequel to a movie with a cult following, get eaten by a dinosaur on film, impress your friends! Iron Sky 2 is coming and you could be in it!

Nothing more needs to be said!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

When the world is about to end - it gets really hard to tell who the good guys are!

Amazon Link
You would think that vanishing for a year in a fugue state would make a person the talk of the cocktail party.  The fact that Hector can't remember what he did during that year doesn't mean that he wasn't busy though.  While in he amnesiastic state, all Hector was doing was becoming the Blessed Man and getting ready for his part in Armageddon.

So when Hector is outed as the "Blessed Man," (which is news to his wife as well as himself) he winds up on a team whose side includes a "witch" who can perform astral travel with some serious angelic connections, a YooTV channel superstud who has a religious conversion that would make Jim Bakker jealous, a leader of a drug gang with stigmata, and an owner of a security firm.  Then all hell breaks loose.
No, seriously - all hell does break loose.

The Bleeders have been tracking down artifacts while trying to find the Blessed Man.  Using some pretty intense "readjustment" techniques on some people within the Occupy movement, the bad guys also have a job opening for someone who can lead their Legion.  The main qualification include wearing a couple thousand year old pig head that has some biblical history of its own.

But who is fighting for what?  The "bad" guys are trying to stop Armegeddon from happening (which really makes one wonder - are things really THAT bad on earth that the people on the side of Hell want to keep it that way!).  The good guys are trying to set about the end of the world.

Maybe humanity can hope for a draw and we can revisit this whole Armageddon thing in a few thousand years down the road......


"The Blessed Man and the Witch" by David Dubrow is a story unlike any that I have come across before.  Plenty of action, lots of neat characters, plot infused with biblical relics, and an climax that will really leaving you wondering who you want to root for.  Bad guys win - world keeps going.  Good guys win - beginning of the end.

The characters were strong, and easy to connect to.  The plot was very ambitious and there was enough action to keep you turning the pages.

A couple things that I did find confusing - lots of mention of Angels names and no real background of who they were or why they were important.  Also, as ambitious as the plot was, the ending was a cliffhanger.  I almost had the feeling that the ending may have been written by a different author.  The beginning and middle of the novel seemed to move at a good pace, the ending seemed frantic.  But, we are talking about the end of the world here - and I am sure I am not going to be sitting around in a leisure suit with a glass of fine cognac in reflection of great literature at that moment.

I am hopeful that Dubrow is planning a second novel to "The Blessed Man and the Witch" - the suspense has been built up.  There is more story to tell with this novel, and the characters are too well developed not to hear from again.

(Movies and Manuscripts were provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Everyone's a Genius - so get to ideating now!

"Everyone's a Genius:  Simple Tips to Boost Your Brilliance Now" by Jen Fraser is a gem of a book.  Although the book is short, the results and effects of the book can have rewards long into the future.  Lot's of tips thrown at you in an organized way, but at machine gun rate - are mixed in with quotes and challenges from the author.  I did try one of her techniques, because I just "knew" that I had another book in me.  I woke up in the morning with the entire outline of the book plotted out in my head and wrote it down as quickly as I could.

There is a saying that if reading motivational books were effective, then why are there so many.  Shouldn't people be able to read just one and then be good?  They point to that as if it were a failure of self help books.  Well, I guarantee those people take showers every day.  Why?  because the benefits of the last shower they took eventually wear off. 

Everyone needs to have some words of wisdom occasionally to help guide them, or better yet expand their horizons.  "Everyone's a Genius" does just that.

This book should be in everyone's library who has run into obstacles from time to time.  In other words - it needs to be in everyone's library!

Thank you Jen Fraser for putting together this wonderful resource!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Abracadabra! A brand new world!!! Check out "The Four Kings" by Scott Spotson

Amazon Link
The world is a wreck.  The economy is tanking, everyone has nuclear weapons, and there is no end in sight.  That is until a surprise visit by a group of wizards that take over everything - and I do mean everything.

Imagine if the whole world could be "reset" by all powerful beings who agree to watch over the government, can build buildings in minutes, switch to one world currency that measures exactly what you use in all ares of your life, and still has enough free time to take part in "Wizard Game Day's" that are broadcast all over the North and Central America.  This is all done with the "mortals" best interest in mind, and the wizards promise to turn everything back over to mortal control in three years.  Some people love it, and to no surprise the people that lost quite a bit of power are not happy at all.

To get the mortal point of view, a supreme liason has been chosen from a pile of applications and a few interviews that were televised live.  Enter Amanda, a college student who suddenly finds quite a bit on her plate.  Sure, she gets to hang out with wizards who can zap her into some pretty incredible places - but a nagging feeling that something may not be quite right with the wizards starts to grow.  After an incident that shakes Amanda to the core - she is forced to either resign the most powerful job a mortal could hold or stay to try to gather whatever information she can glean from the four wizard "kings" that she serves.


Spotson's book is a huge undertaking with many different ideas and possibilities that are explored.  This almost falls into the realm of alternative historical fiction because it makes a great case for "what if" thinking.  Not that I am saying wizards are going to descend from the sky and take everything over - but what if they did and what would they do?  These questions are explored and answered in a great entertaining book that delves deep into the world and scenario that Spotson created. 

Amazon Link                              Goodreads Link

Monday, October 6, 2014

Your actions are being dictated by "The Manipulator"

Amazon Link
"The Manipulator" by Steve Lundin isn't a prep book for a chiropractic final exam.  Far from it.  Instead of relief, the visitors to Blowfish's advertising firm often leave with grief and disbelief.

Jack Vance, owner of Blowfish, is one of those guys that make you really hope that there is such a thing as karma.  Jack is all about business, and the business that Jack enjoys the most is making obscene amounts of money.  Sure, there are the women, awesome cars, hard drugs, and booze - but it is money that makes Jack Vance's world turn.

So when a new mobile network that will be viewed on everyone's phones needs a big-time launch, who else are you going to turn to but Blowfish? Blowfish is THE marketing firm that puts the edge in cutting edge.  So what show does he pitch to MVN networks for their launch?  A show called "Some Will Die", which gives a fantasy life to anyone who can lose half of their body weight in a set amount of time.  But Jack always has an angle - he is willing to bet that once exposed to the good life, the winner will cut down on the expense account of the show be over indulging themselves to the point of death.

You can't get Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons to run this contest - way to tame and lame.  So who.....  Vance gets a great idea to get the Russian winner of :"Survivor: Cherynobol", Vlad Berber.  The fact that Berber is currently in a Mexican jail for manslaughter only adds to the appeal of having him as "host" of the show.

But even this isn't enough of a "event" for Vance.  He is going to launch the new network during the Super Bowl.  When people get in "all or nothing" situations - there are often a lot of "casualties" along the way.  But when a Congressman who was forced out of two political parties due to weight, a former employee of Blowfish who might have just enough knowledge of the scheme, and the CEO of a rival marketing firm form an alliance to make Jack's life miserable - things start to become personal.


I thoroughly loved this book.  Really, I can't remember reading a book in which I despised almost every single character to the point that I had to keep reading hoping that the saying "Karma is a bitch" might turn out to be true.  The characters were built up just enough to make you look forward to them getting their due, but wanting karma to hold off long enough to see how the myriad of plots finished up around him.

I thought Steve Lundin did an excellent job with this book.  The pacing was great, the characters were at times not very likable , and the plotting and actions of everyone borders on despicable.    Put this all together, and you have something resembling a train wreck that you have to just watch.

The one thing that I appreciated was that Lundin kept Vance a complete jerk up to the end.  No moment of finding total redemption here - at least not by the end of this book.  Vance is a jerk, and he not only knows it - he embraces it!  Lundin didn't turn this into a morality play - and I think he made the exact right call.  I haven't met Steve Lundin, but I wish that George Lucas had him on his staff when he decided that Han Solo shooting Greedo first made him look like a bad guy.  Newsflash, Lucas!  Han Solo was a scoundrel -  that's why people loved him!  Oh well, if Lucas is going to take our heros and go all "politically correct" on everyone - at least we still have Jack Vance to count on for keeping in touch with who he really is....

As often is the case, when everyone has revenge on their mind, mixed with a total disregard for anyone but themselves - there just might be all losers and no winners.   Well there are a couple of definite winners - the author Steve Lundin and the readers of this book.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interview with "Innerearth" author S. M. Coan

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In “Innerearth”, you have created quite a unique world where most of the story occurs.  How difficult was it to describe a setting that is constantly changing and not even “there”?

Creating and maintaining the setting was very difficult. Innerearth is more impression than illusion. It is like describing an amorphous form. I considered that the book would be difficult to put on the screen for this reason. 
What gave you the idea of going with the “Innie” instead of “Outtie” space?

I've always enjoyed Science Fiction dealing with space travel and strange, new worlds, but I wanted to present the earth as a living organism and use that to explore the mysteries and urban legends of earth. It truly was an interesting project once you begin to consider it from that point of view.

What authors inspired you to write science fiction?

I read lots of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Jerry Pournelle and Rod Serling when I was younger. I credit Stephen King for my character development. I now tend to read mostly mysteries and crime stories.

Which of the characters in your book do you feel the closest connection to?

The protagonist, Christian W. Falconer. I very loosely based the character on my time in the Army, so Chris was written more as myself than as a character.

How did you lay out the plot of the book before you wrote it?

I am actually an artist. Since the book deals with multiple characters, a time paradox and two worlds, I drew it all out on a 11" x 6' timeline, all color-coated and cross-referenced to my note cards.

What do you wish you knew before you started this journey that you know now?

I will definitely pay to have the work professionally edited and formatted. It is enough work to tell the story. I've always considered myself more a storyteller than a writer, so I'll step back and let fresh eyes have a go. Besides, by doing it this way, I have more time to work on the sequel. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When there is no where to hide - seek out "Santuary 12 (Fallen Gods Saga)

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In Sanctuary 12 (Fallen Gods Saga), author T.W. Malpass   introduces the readers to a dark world filled with dark characters.  From the impeccably dressed Mr. Cradleworth, to the patchwork creation named Clover that was born from the mind of a man going mad, and last but not least - terrifying flying creatures dropping vehicles on top of buildings.

Who is going to rescue the planet from this group of baddies?  Nine strangers with different latent powers that they are just starting to discover.  A sculptor who not only creates, but heals with his hands joins up with a blind woman who "sees" how people are going to die by mere touch.

Jerrico (whose imagination is vivid as well as deadly) meets with Barnes the dimension hopping dog and his "owner" Stuart.  Stuart is a telekinetic, which is very helpful when you are confined to a wheelchair.

This is just part of the gathering of unlikely defenders of the planet.  They are formed and led by a young girl, Celeste, who also happens to be in a coma.

If you haven't gotten the idea that this novel is a collection of total misfortunate misfits (I know misfortunate isn't a word - but it should be!), then there probably is no convincing you.

This novel is the first in a series.  Most of the novel is dedicated to building up the characters, which had me guessing the entire time as to how they would meet up with each other.  

Malpass does a great job with the setting and the characters, but the plot seems to take a long time to develop.  The blending of horror and science fiction is a bit confusing to me, but I trust that this author will go into more detail on that angle in future books.

If you like books with flawed "heroes and heroines" that are extremely well developed through the novel, then you have definitely found a book to fit your niche.  As i have read in other reviews, don't worry were the journey is headed - just sit back and enjoy the ride that Malpass will happily chauffeur you on.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Motorcycles, Werewolves, Police - Oh My!

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The Seventh Sons of Sycamore is a short novel about a small town cop; a tall, dark, handsome stranger; and a werewolf biker gang in modern-day Sanctuary, Arizona. First, we meet the small town cop, Detective Maxim Dwyer, as he locks up some brawling bikers and pines after his missing wife. He is soon joined by Diego, a mysterious man, with a dark past and an ulterior motive. They join forces in order to take down the Seventh Sons, a formidable local motorcycle gang with a strange and terrifying reputation. The unexpected occurs, and allies and enemies are found in unlikely places.

If you enjoy police dramas and the paranormal with a human twist, this book is definitely in your realm. Note that although there are werewolves and fight scenes containing gore, The Seventh Sons of  Sycamore is not a horror novel. Overall, the plot is entertaining and consistent. Domino Finn, the author, noted that he wrote each chapter as its own short story and somehow it became a book; this was not a hindrance to the readability of the story, it flows smoothly throughout. 

There are some typical jurisdiction disputes that are expected in any story involving local law enforcement and the government. Lycanthropy is given a reasonable explanation; the likes of which, I have not seen before (points for originality!). The greatest weakness in my eyes is that the writing is often verbose; however,the writing remains clear and grammatically correct, which is always a huge joy in my life. The characters are easy to differentiate and easy to imagine while reading.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Lauren Pesci for Movies and Manuscripts.
Thank you Lauren!

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's what's on the "inside" that counts! Book review of "Innerearth" by S. M. Coan

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Ok, I admit it - when it comes to UFO's, aliens, alien abduction, Men in Black, and X-Files you can count me as all in.  

So when I hear that this book contains elements of crop circles, magnetic fields, Bermuda Triangle-like disappearances and reappearances, and erased memories - I immediately am thinking of beams of lights, implants, and little green (or grey) men.  

But sometimes the truth can be found right where you are standing (well, maybe just a few miles underneath where you are standing).  

You see, all of this time we have been looking to the skies and stars.  According to S. M. Coan’s  fantasy world of Innerearth, we would have been better off to watch dolphins and bats.  

Have I confused you yet?  Coan is able to weave a story that is both original and puts an unique spin on what “believers” have accepted as psuedo-fact - that to find intelligent life, we must look to the stars.  

The main character in the story, Chris Falconer, was an enlisted man in the Air Force that had to get out and become a surveyor after falling ill and going into a coma nine years earlier.  But then Chris is recruited to become a member of “the council” and learns that he is what is considered to be a “Red File.”  A Red File is a person who vanishes without explanation.  Some return, but have no recollection of anything that has happened.

Chris is given his “Red File” to look over, only to find that there is a gap of five years, he was an Air Force Major who flew jets, and vanished somewhere over the ocean.  To try and rediscover his past, Chris agrees to join “the council”.  Instead of being the hunter for the truth, Chris finds himself being used as bait and winds up on a “three hour tour” on a boat that even Gilligan wouldn’t believe.

I found this book to be a good paced read with some plot lines that I hadn’t come across before.  I like fantasy and science fiction, but it has to have some “meat” in it and be original in some facet to really draw me in.  "Innerearth" has both. S.M. Coan didn’t take a well trodden path that he knew from heart.  Instead he tackled a whole new world with some difficult plot lines and characters.

I don’t want to give much away, but the descriptions that Coan uses for characters that don’t have physical forms are excellent.  In a book like this, the author could have easily been sidetracked so much by the new world that they created that they fail to move the story along.  Coan does an excellent job of description and pacing to keep the readers attention.

If you are a fan of intellectual science fiction, then this book should be on your list. 

(this review was part of a paid ad, which only gave the author 'front of the line' privileges, but in no way influenced this review.)