The Pine Cones Writers Den is on fire…

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 READ MORE

Executive Summary of The Perseid Collapse books by Simple Man

No, I didn’t just insult the owner of Backwoods Survival Blog by calling him a Simple Man. Like an author that uses a pen name, I can only assume that the creator of this comprehensive readiness/survival site desires privacy—in the form of anonymity. I can thoroughly appreciate that, since everyone within a 100 mile radius of me knows where to go if they run out of food and supplies when the SHTF. Rule one of prepping. Do not advertise your preps. Lesson learned. With his identity protected, I wanted to draw attention to the amazing reviews he has put together over the past few months for ALL of my post-apocalyptic, prepper-themed novels. Simple Man hits the proverbial nail on the head with his reviews, in more ways than one. He intuitively roots out some of the deeper themes and plot devices I had buried in the novels, bringing them to the prospective reader’s attention. His reviews truly form an executive summary of my novels. If you’ve been on the fence about reading my series, take a few minutes to read what Simple Man has to say about them, and don’t forget to check out the BACKWOODS SURVIVAL BLOG. REVIEWS: The Jakarta Pandemic READ MORE

Book Review of A.R. Shaw’s Graham’s Resolution Series

I haven’t done one of these in a while, particularly due to time constraints, but I couldn’t help showcasing the writing talents of a featured author in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. I was very excited to hear that A.R. Shaw would contribute a novella…here’s why. Forgive me if this review is a little rusty. The China Pandemic (Book 1) and The Cascade Preppers (Book 2) spring from the post-apocalyptic tale of Graham Morgan, a sturdy, even-keeled survivor of a lethal, quick-killing pandemic that sweeps 98% of the world’s population off the map in the span of weeks. Graham has just buried his wife and father, finding himself without purpose, until a gift is bestowed upon him—the unexpected stewardship of a young child. With the promise to guard the child “like his own” recently forged, Graham departs on a journey to reach his family’s empty lake house in the rural Northwest, and the perceived safe haven of a secluded locale. Needless to say, his journey and the following trials are not for the faint of heart. A.R. Shaw strikes a nice balance between menace and the post-apocalyptic environment that would ensue after 98% of the people essentially disappeared. Supplies are READ MORE

Book Review of Sedulity by David Forsyth

I try to avoid reading books in the same genre as my work-in-progress, for a number of reasons I won’t explain—you’d end up scratching your head and concluding that I’m a bit “touched in the head.” You might think that already. When I finished (for now) The Perseid Collapse series, I treated myself to a novel I have been watching for several months, SEDULITY.  David Forsyth’s book burned up the Amazon charts when it launched in March, and is still making waves…I’m playing with words related to the asteroid strike in his book. It’s early, and coffee has not been delivered to my office. My family takes the day off from catering to me on Saturday. I’m not a completely evil overlord. Anyway, aside from having a completely cool last name (Frederick Forsyth is one of my favorite authors), David wrote an incredible disaster tale. We both incorporate asteroids in our latest series, but tell a completely different story following  the impact…not to mention that David’s asteroid is way bigger than mine. I know—Asteroid envy—not a healthy sentiment. Check out my review of SEDULITY and grab a copy for $2.99.     “Like the Rogue asteroid in Forsyth’s blistering tale of a READ MORE

Doubleshot Reviews take on Event Horizon

A special thanks to Heather Faville for putting the time and detail into an incredible review. I figured she would enjoy the novel, but you never really know with Heather—or any reader. I change up just enough in each novel—even closely tied series—that the experience isn’t the same. The last thing I want is for readers to feel like they’re digging through the same book they just finished. Doubleshot Review of Event Horizon. READ MORE

Book Review of David Jacob Knight’s The Pen Name

Good horror is hard to come by—very likely because I don’t follow the genre as closely as I should. I love horror with a supernatural twist, which is why Stephen King has always been one of my favorites. With limited reading time, Stephen King’s bi-annual offerings have kept me fairly occupied, satisfying my “horror” craving. I guess I’ll need to make more time. David Jacob Knights first entry into the horror genre instantly earns him a place on my “to read” list. Check out my review of The Pen Name.  “The Pen Name takes the age old premise of the Faustian Bargain and fashions a unique, utterly horrifying contemporary tale. A devilish blend of psychological thriller and supernatural horror—this one will keep you turning the pages long into the night. Meet Ben, a struggling writer on the verge of failure. Reality, both financial and family-related, is one step away from crushing his lifelong dream. Armed with his self-published novel, The Mark, Ben takes a chance on a book convention, ordering hundreds of copies of his novel. The books never arrive, crushing his hopes even further. The single bright spot of his day is a chance encounter with Jack Fleischer, New READ MORE

Book Review of Michael McFarland’s BLOOD ON THE TRACKS and DUPLEX

Michael McFarland recently notified me that he released a new novel—apparently the first book he’d ever written. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed McFarland’s work in the past, so I was naturally excited to hear the news. Then it dawned on me that I haven’t shared my reviews of his work on my blog. Not sure how that slipped past my ever vigilant radar (not difficult, I suppose). Here is my review of Michael McFarland’s most intriguing novel to date, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, plus a quick review of a novella he published a year or two ago, DUPLEX. Both excellent supernatural horror/thrillers. Trust me, either novel will impact your electric bill—you’ll find yourself turning on ALL of the lights to walk around at night! Review of BLOOD ON THE TRACKS: Michael McFarland delivers a brilliant supernatural horror novel with his latest release, Blood on the Tracks, landing him a place next to masters of horror like Stephen King and Blake Crouch, on my must read list. The story terrified me from start to finish, leaving me afraid to walk around in my own home. This is not an exaggeration. There is something so menacing and chilling just behind the surface of the READ MORE

Book Review of Allegiance by Tom Abrahams

My book reviews have shrunk over the past six months, mainly due to the time constraints of full-time writing. You’d think I’d have more time, but that hasn’t been the case. Size matters in Texas, but don’t judge the quality of Tom’s book by the length of my review. Allegiance is awesome, and I’ll let you in on a little secret—I’m reading an advanced copy of Allegiance Burned (Book Two). INCREDIBLE. Abrahams has put together a winning series, with memorable characters and serpentine plots. “There’s a lot to like about Tom Abrahams’ recent release—beyond “Beer, Redheads, And Politics.” Sizzling storyline, snappy dialogue and fiercely intelligent twists are just a few of the elements that lift Allegiance out of the vast political thriller muck and establish Abrahams as one of my favorite authors. Allegiance pits underdog, Jackson Quick, against a powerful cartel of Texas politicians, oil barons and multinational interest groups, in a brutal, high-octane cat and mouse game played out across the southwest United States. Abrahams quickly turns Quick’s comfortable, Texas lifestyle upside down, tossing him into the middle of a complicated conspiracy with the potential to bring the Oil Industry to its knees. Paired involuntarily with one of Abrahams’ READ MORE

Book Review of R.E. McDermott’s Deadly Coast

R.E. McDermott nailed it with Deadly Coast. Ripped from the headlines, his second installment in the Dugan series is a serious contender. If you act fast, you can grab both books in his series for .99 on Amazon. I know this is a limited time offer. Deadly Coast on Amazon. “Equally as captivating as Deadly Straits, R.E. McDermott’s second novel delivers everything I had come to expect from this subject matter expert, master storyteller. Once again, McDermott’s inside knowledge of the maritime industry and its complex relationship to worldwide piracy lays the foundation for an international terrorism thriller like nothing I’ve experienced. How can McDermott bring an original extremist terrorism story into a market crowded with the same? Trust me. He nails it, with a finely researched, briskly paced, entirely satisfying thriller. From the opening chapters, McDermott had me hooked. As a former naval officer who served on naval vessels in the region described by McDermott, I can attest to the realism and authenticity of the setting and action…though I suspect the author could teach me a thing or three about maritime operations. I eagerly await his third novel, which I know for a fact is in the works.” READ MORE

Book Review of Russian Renaissance by Ian Kharitonov

It’s always a pleasure to discover an excellent Indie author, so I’ll spend a little more time explaining why I felt like a big winner discovering Ian Kharitonov. “Ian Kharitonov’s debut thriller novel fires on all cylinders and delivers a high octane, intellectually gratifying experience. The novel’s premise is complex, with roots extending back to World War II and Stalin’s reign of terror. Serpentine tentacles from the past extend in every direction, their purpose exposed as modern events unfold and a horrifying world threat emerges. As a native Russian, Kharitonov’s location descriptions are breathtakingly alive, giving you a ground level view. The final scenes in Kazakhstan are worth the price of entry alone. Character development is strong, especially with Sokolov, the story’s protagonist. His motivations are clear and I genuinely empathized with his plight. He’s skilled, but stands outside of the typical covert operative framework typically used for this genre. The author clearly plans to bring Sokolov back for follow on novels, and I look forward to experiencing further adventures. A few reviewers felt distracted by Kharitonov’s lengthy narrative background passages regarding the Bolshevik Revolution and Stalin’s iron fisted rise to power. As a quasi-student of history, I found the READ MORE