with awards, new releases and milestones reached.
What is the Pine Cones Writers Den? PCWD is a robust writers group based out of the Portland, Maine area. Comprised of ten members, spanning just about every genre you can imagine, each monthly meeting takes on a life of its own, as thriller writers critique memoir and chic lit writers critique post-apocalyptic tales. Without a doubt, the depth and variety of critique has led to vast improvements in my writing over the years, pushing me in directions that I likely wouldn’t have considered if I sat around, high-fiving with other thriller writers all the time. Not that I don’t like hanging out with other thriller writers!
The group is always busy; submitting to agents, publishing on their own and striking deals to expand their author footprints. Each meeting brings exciting news and new manuscript samples to the table. There’s never a dull moment. With that said, I’d like to highlight a few of the most recent accomplishments/releases.
First up, Tim Queeney, with his second release in two months! Seriously, that’s impressive. Starting with his Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds release, The Borealis Incident, in February, he follows up with book 3 in his Perry Helion thriller-adventure series, The Ceres Plague. I just finished a review for The Ceres Plague, which sounds something like this:
“The Ceres Plague, Tim Queeney’s follow up to The Atlas Fracture, takes the Perry Helion series to the next level. The action is more intense, the plot is deeper and the scope is wider. Carrying elements from The Atlas Fracture forward, Queeney continues Dr. Randall Crandee’s diabolical plan to manufacture a genetically programmed virus to “save” humanity in the most unexpected way imaginable, landing Helion and his reluctant partners in the middle of a deadly international conspiracy.
The story starts with agent Perry Helion, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencey) agent, caught in the crossfire of a doomed salvage diving expedition. Never satisfied with the obvious, circumstances surrounding the diving operation lead Helion to dig deeper. What he uncovers sends shockwaves through the U.S. intelligence community, pointing to a shadowy international cabal with a reach so vast, Helion may no longer be able to trust the very people he’s relied upon for years. Cautious at every turn, he begins to assemble the devastating truth about the Paracelsus Group, and their burning obsession with Dr. Randall Crandee’s work.
Queeney’s vision for the series expands throughout The Ceres Plague, briefly exposing the demons and exterior motivations that drive the enigmatic DARPA agent’s actions—clearly opening a channel for future exploration. Supporting characters are further developed, and the story’s antagonist—the twisted, but insanely rational Dr. Crandee—is delivered with a stunningly, devilish brilliance.
The author has a penchant for cold, desolate settings, because the reader is once again taken to the end of the earth—Alaska and the Bering Strait—the perfect backdrop to hatch an apocalyptic plot. With a surplus of abandoned Cold War bases spread among hundreds of islands of Alaska’s coast, Queeney couldn’t have chosen a better backdrop for the type of scientific research Dr. Crandee has in mind. I couldn’t help imagine the types of nefarious activities that could be conducted today on these islands, never to be discovered. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. For now, Tim Queeney has cornered that market. I can’t wait for the next installment in the Perry Helion series.”
Next up, Joseph Souza, award winning author and prolific writer. Joe’s most recent novel, Unpaved Surfaces, was selected by the prestigious Kindle Scout program for a publishing deal with Amazon imprint publisher, Amazon Press. Unpaved Surfaces is a bit of a departure from Joe’s recent reign of terror, which includes three zombie/undead novels and two post-apocalyptic plague thrillers (one is on the way). Unpaved Surfaces is vintage Joseph Souza, tapping into the core writing node that launched his career. Not that he can’t write a mean undead thriller…HE CAN. Trust me.
Check out my review of Unpaved Surfaces:
“Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces, is a hauntingly beautiful story of loss, redemption and reconciliation. Set in Portland, Maine, Unpaved Surfaces weaves an unforgettable tapestry of sorrow, guilt and struggle around Keith, the father of a young boy who disappeared one year earlier. With his life derailed in more ways than one, Keith is starting to come unglued. Surreal visions of his missing son, Auggie, start to fill this void, creating a tempest of doubt and renewed vigor to uncover his son’s fate. Keith’s story is just one of several told by Souza, in a tightly wrapped suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.
Souza explores sach family member’s private journey through the aftermath of Auggie’s disappearance, masterfully putting the reader inside a family on the verge of falling apart. The experience is both heart-wrenching and rewarding—heavy and uplifting. Souza takes his considerable talents to the next level in Unpaved Surfaces, delivering an emotionally charged, exquisitely tuned suspense story.”
Last but not least, Bryan Wiggins. Bryan has hosted PCWD from the start, graciously opening his home to the group once a month. When he’s not writing, he’s a creative/graphic designer…the PCWD logo at the beginning of this post is Bryan’s creation. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. His graphic designs have become iconic Maine business logos.
Bryan recently finished Autumn Imago, a brilliantly constructed, exquisitely written literary fiction novel. Bryan delivers a powerful, emotionally charged story about loss, love and redemption set mostly in Baxter State Park, a raw, often chaotic wilderness in the shadows of Mount Katahdin—at the northern most tip of the Appalachian Trail. The setting, vividly and beautifully described by Bryan, is just as powerful as the narrative itself.
Bryan’s journey is about to take a serious leap forward…I can’t wait to see where he lands.