Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interview with "Innerearth" author S. M. Coan

Amazon Link
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)

Amazon Link

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!

Amazon Link
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

Amazon Link
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.)

Manipulating media? That doesn't really happen, does it? (Really)?

The most unusual, insightful, readable business book of the year.

The Manipulator, by Steve Lundin, is a satirical techno noir business thriller about marketing, madness and the fast paced edge of our communications-rich society. It's a prophetic look at communications just a few years over the horizon, when master media manipulators will insidiously shape almost every aspect of culture and ultimately society. This unique insider perspective on marketing and the media is wrapped around a fast moving, witty and action packed story that will keep you turning pages while you should be working!

(Not a review - paid ad)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Keeping it "simple" keeps your customers coming back

Amazon Link
Doug Lescoe makes a strong case for making things easy in a short book titled "Will a Rival's Better Quality UI (User Interface) Suddenly Destroy Your Business?"

Lescoe is obviously a KISS fan.  No, not the rock band (that may be true, however), but the "Keep It Simple Stupid" acronym.  You see, Lescoe has finally validated my pent up frustration all these years.  It's not that I am stupid.  The issue is that User Interface (the screen on webpages that customers see) makes total sense to the people who create it.  This then goes to other like minded people for review - and all of sudden you could have a Havard Social Sciences experiment in "Group Think".

The book is a short, one-sitting read - but when your argument is as sensible and logical as "make it easy and they will come", there isn't a need for a long drawn out diatribe trying to impress the reader.  In fact, Lescoe practices what he preaches and "Keeps it Simple" through the entire read.  Don't get me wrong, the idea is powerful, but delivered in a way that is understandable.  It is backed up by 35 sources for his information - making Lescoe's argument even more convincing.

One example of a great insight.  Apple's original decision to make the first iPod to it hitting the market took a mere 8 months.  By the time the other 50 companies that made mp3 players figured out what hit them - Apple owned 65% of the market.  The others couldn't react.  The main difference?  Style and ease of use.

Don't believe me?  Well, everyone with a Zune mp3 player - please raise your hand.  I think I hear the crickets chirping.

And how much simpler can you get than Google search engine?  How does a webpage that features a logo, a search box, and the majority of the page is white background come to become a "verb"?  The answer - it's simple.  I don't have ads trying to take over my screen and I have to battle to find the "hidden close" button.  This is a great example of "less is more".

If you are a business owner, computer programmer, or student looking to break into the industry - this is a book that may be more valuable than many of your college courses.

(This book review was part of a paid advertising package, 
which only moved the book up in line and does not have any impact on the review)