Book Review of Sebastian Breit’s Wolf Hunt (The Burning Ages)

  Sebastian Breit’s first novel, Wolf Hunt (The Burning Ages) absolutely took me by surprise. I can honestly say, that I have no recollection of downloading a sample of his book to my Kindle, but I found myself looking for something to read during an extended sailing vacation, and  the sample was there…I burned through it in record time, and immediately downloaded the rest of the book. I knew within the first few pages that I had had stumbled upon a hidden gem. Wolf Hunt is a brilliant modern warfare techno-thriller and political drama that seamlessly transitions into a compelling alternate history novel. Breit envisions a frighteningly believable near future, plagued by a worldwide economic crisis and pushed to the boiling point by crippling social pressures. New international alliances are formed to challenge NATO, and fleets sail toward an inevitable showdown, but one of them never arrives. NATO’s joint fleet of American, British, Dutch and German ships find themselves thrust back in time, to 1940, and are presented with a chance to alter the course of history. Two Captain’s, one German and one American, have the same goal in mind, to put a stop to the Nazi war machine, but READ MORE

Book Club review of Noah Mullette-Gillman’s The Brontosaurus Pluto Society: Magic Makes You Strange

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman latest book, The Brontosaurus Pluto Society: Magic Makes You Strange, is a delightful journey into the world of science fiction and wizardry, settingthe stage for what I can only hope is a series of books about the Brontosaurus Pluto Society, and the bizarre, but recognizable world the author has crafted. Edward Whistman is the sole apprentice to renown magician, Nevil Dever, and has followed him for years, learning bits and pieces of his magic, but never really grasping the reality of Nevil secret. A dark secret that attracts the attention of aliens, and lands Edward onboard a spaceship headed toward Pluto. Confused, indignant, and slightly resourceful, Whistman defies the aliens with some otherworldly help, and returns to earth…many years in the future. And so the hunt for Whistman begins, and the Plutonians are not the only group hot on his trail. Left with a single spell by his otherworldly accomplice, Edward starts to understand the true nature of magic, and the consequences it can wreak upon everyone, including the caster. The author has created a fascinating world, with complex, well drawn characters and dangerous, beautifully crafted settings. The story is fast paced, well-constructed…and wonderfully strange. Noah’s story READ MORE

Book Club review of Russell Blake’s The Geronimo Breach

The Geronimo Breach exceeded all expectations, and establishes Russell Blake as a first rate thriller writer. Meet Albert, a degenerate, slovenly diplomat stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Panama City. Prone to gambling debt, plagued by chronic drinking and continuously undermined by a series of bad decisions, Al is a shambles of a human being, on the verge of self-destruction. He occasionally takes jobs escorting people to Panama’s borders, just to earn enough cash to cover his debts. Meet Ernesto, a simple man, just trying to make a living as an illegal alien in Panama. A longtime private cook for a wealthy estate, he finds himself suddenly out of a job, with no explanation. No longer able to work in Panama, he needs to get back to Colombia, which is no easy feat. Unfortunately for Al, he picked the wrong week to bet on a losing soccer team. Pressed for cash, he takes an easy escort job to the Columbian border. Al…Meet Ernesto.   Did I mention that Al has sticky fingers? Ernesto took something that doesn’t belong to him from the estate, and ignites a no-holds barred, scorched earth search for the object, bringing the wrath of the U.S. government READ MORE

The Culprit

Not sure how this will look on my blog…this is my first mobile posting. The vessel in the picture is the reason I have written a grand total of two pages in two weeks. Painting, waxing, buffing, varnishing, washing…more waxing. Leaving town for Memorial Day weekend didn’t help either. Vessel Name: Dolci (Italian for candy or sweet). She certainly is a sweet boat, and well worth the distraction. Thanks to April showers, she’s almost three weeks late reaching the water. Today is the big day. One more excuse for a low word count…but can you really blame me? READ MORE

Six months into self-publishing, and what have I learned?

Everything…from the ground up. Uhhh. I’d like to sit here and tell everyone that I’m always a “do it yourself” kind of guy. I framed our attic for its eventual transformation into a beautiful 800 square foot home for my son’s Xbox 360 (that’s about sums up its purpose now). I even did all of the trim work, built shelving and helped paint (I hate painting). But I didn’t mow my own lawn last year. Why? Because I’m not obstinate when it comes to the do-it-yourself mentality…and when a good price comes along, I’ll let someone else breath noxious fumes and spend two hours on a lawn that’s going to brown up in August anyways (no matter how much water or fertilizer I pour onto it! Even The Lawn Dawg couldn’t prevent that). It doesn’t look like I’m going to win the noxious fume argument this year. My wife wants to direct this money elsewhere, which is fine…I really don’t mind mowing the lawn. So, what am I talking about at this point? Self-publishing. I get a lot of inquiries about my experience, from other aspiring writers and curious friends. The question I get from everyone is: “Did I choose READ MORE

Some changes afoot…

Artist Jeroen ten Berge created an incredible cover design for The Jakarta Pandemic. Check out his write-up of my novel…along with more of his influential design work.  Jeroen ten Berge READ MORE

Eagerly awaiting my 40th…

book review. I turned 40 at the end of February, and the event was anti-climactic. I didn’t feel the decay of old bones, or slight degradation in my eyesight. One more candle, and a wonderful family birthday party. I was spared the surprise, “this is your life” event that I’ve seen unfold for other quadragenarians. My book turned 30 last week, which kicked off an exciting flurry of review activity. I had high hopes for the 30th review…looking for a reason to celebrate. The title of the review? “Wow…this book.” And not in a good way. A one-star 30th birthday review for The Jakarta Pandemic. The review was quite lengthy for Amazon, and had nothing good to say. The only positive? I could tell that the reviewer hadn’t read the entire book, probably not more than 30 pages. Needless to say, I was a little irritated. I wrote a nice response and let it go. Not everyone is going to like this book…or any book. Little did I realize that this would be the first of nine reviews written in four days. Thick skin? I would have felt better suited up in Kevlar. Every time I checked Amazon, I cringed. READ MORE

Expand your reading list…

And I don’t mean add more books to it. Consider reading a different genre. I learned a cool lesson the other night. I recently joined a local writing group…let me correct myself. I was finally invited to join by a friend. I was concerned about presenting the opening scene of my new novel to the group…because it’s violent. Not overly so, for me…but I needed a better gauge of the group. I asked the host to describe the types of writing involved at the meetings, and he gave me a list. Person matched with genre. Crime fiction- That was my friend’s work. I had already read a few chapters. Excellent. Memoir-Huh? OK, I just read a book written by a Navy Seal…definitely memoir. Not the best book, but memoir. I know what memoir is…just being dramatic More memoir-Oh boy. And both memoir writers are women. I’m still not too worried. Poetic Memoir-Now I’m worried. I think I’ll definitely keep my book’s prologue on my own computer. Eight people are shot to death in the span of thirty seconds. Not very poetic. I have other chapters to share. Literary Fiction – I was an English major. No worries here. Young Adult READ MORE

Realistic dialogue…

in 19th Century London…what a mess. My wife is reading a very thick, fiction novel set in 19th century London, and she occasionally draws my attention to passages from the book. Yes, she interrupts whatever I’m reading to do this, and since I love both historical fiction and my wife, I’m usually game to take a look. I’m always amazed by the richness of detail in these novels, which can at times almost appear obsessive. From the era appropriate napkin folds at table settings, to intimate descriptions of every article of clothing that adorns a character…and not just the main character, but everyone in the scene. This is one of the main draws to period or historical fiction. The details of another time. It’s an amazing feat, which must involve painstaking research, travel and imagination. As a part time writer, I’m thankful for Google and an active, roaming imagination. The other night, she pointed out another feature of this tome she’s lugged around for a few weeks. The dialogue. I couldn’t believe it, but the author had taken pains to mimic the speech of the 19th century London too. I can barely understand some of the thicker British accents even READ MORE

Updates!

I have a few exciting updates to announce: 1.)    My book has been professionally edited, so the typos and grammar errors that most of you have been so kind not to mention, should be mostly eradicated. When I get unsolicited emails from readers, complimenting the story, then volunteering to edit my next book…I know it’s time to put this in the hands of a professional. Still, I took a few readers up on the offer to sweep The Jakarta Pandemic, and they turned up enough errors (I’m embarrassed to say how many), that my editor didn’t consider re-negotiating terms in the middle of the project. Thank you guys and ladies for taking the time. You know who you are. And thank you, Noah Mullett-Gillman, for taking on the editing project. You should check out his book, Luminous and Ominous, another recently released Post Apocalyptic tale. 2.)    Noah also recently hosted Post Apocapalooza II, a series of interviews with new/indie Post Apocalyptic writers…and I was included in this group. The term apocalyptic fiction wasn’t in my vernacular until a few months ago, and I’m not kidding. I’ve read plenty of PA fiction…The Stand, The Road, World War Z…and I love READ MORE