Thursday, 31 December 2015

Review: Zombies Inside.

Zombies Inside, the latest collection from author, Rebecca Besser.



"If zombies are what you crave, open the pages of this book for a wild ride! The 12 zombie short stories within (equaling over 64,000 words) will make you cringe, delight your imagination, and possibly even warm your heart . . . so the undead can feast upon it! Be brave and see if you can survive the Zombies Inside!"

Okay, let me start with the one story included by guest author, Courtney Rene. Now, I've not read The Hunger Games, or anything like it, but I was immediately reminded of it with this offering. A young woman, zombie apoc, kill or be killed.

I've never read Courtney Rene, but I am now tempted to pick up a Howl in the Night book.

Her writing was flowing and reminded me of some bleak mashup of Douglas Adams and Richard Laymon. It's funny and distressing at the same time. In such a short piece it gave me a believable world. Ms. Rene, Courtney, if you are reading this: Write THIS. I want a novel of this. It is excellent.

That is all.

So, to Besser.

Just to get this out of the way at the start, as always, Rebecca Besser puts out well edited, well formatted work. Apart from the occasional minor editing error, it goes without saying the book is presented well.

Besser's own stories are all good, of course. We expect nothing else from her these days.

One or two of the stories did stand out for me. Most notably was "My Kind of Woman". The story is utterly mesmerizing. I could picture every second of it, even though it talked greatly of things I (as an Englishman) have never experienced. I loved the protagonist. The ending was perfect. What more can I say?

Other standouts included: The World of Zombies (which has personal meaning to me *winks*); When Plans Fail (utterly heartbreaking); and The Magic of Christmas (and it's sequel).

Each of the stories plucked at the heartstrings, with Besser emoting throughout. The collection gives a mix of stories as well, and I never once felt I was reading stories too similar, which is always a potential problem with single author, themed, collections.

Throughout reading the collection there seemed to be a slight change in style with some stories. Some seemed a little YA/NA to me. Most probably wouldn't notice, but I never venture into reading that style of material, so it caught me off guard. However, if you wanted a gateway book into the genre, I think that helps and would heartily recommend this as a starting point.

That said, if you like zombies and are looking for fun, scares, and emotion, this is also the book for you.




You can find out about Courtney Rene here:

http://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Rene/e/B004X6SS2Y/
www.Courtneyrene.com 

Rebecca Besser Here:

www.rebeccabesser.com

And buy the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-Inside-Rebecca-Besser-ebook/dp/B015ZZFGEE/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zombies-Inside-Rebecca-Besser-ebook/dp/B015ZZFGEE/

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Review: GRIEF. The Horsemen Tetralogy

Okay, so I did some Google work on the author, Dimpra Kaleem, and came up with it being a pen name for someone else. Um. Whatever. To the book!


So, I picked this up...somewhere...I'm so freaking vague these days. It was on Amazon, and free, so I guess Bookbub? Or maybe a Facebook Group? I don't even know.

Anyway. Between longer reads I thought I'd jump in and read it. It's like 45 pages on Kindle.

From salvation to damnation.

When an act of desperation leads to a demonic deal, one man must pay the price of his arrogance.

The Horsemen are being assembled - renewed and renamed.

Grief, Fury, Hatred and Lust.

Each with a story to tell. 

Okay, the synopsis gives nothing away, and hell, neither will I. Rolling it into one sentence, a parson - preacher - is about to lose everything, and starts to make deals...if you get my drift. It's dark fantasy. Modern horror. It's really well written. There are a few grammatical errors, but aside from that the formatting is excellent.

Kaleem brings humor, a well written word, and a twisted realism to the world that he has created. And good it is too. The protagonist is realistic and within the story (it'll make more sense when you read it, and I suggest you do) you have no idea who is who.

For such a short story it brings in a great sense of worldliness.

I was - am - sold on it. 

I cannot wait for the next one. 

Hold on. I've said nothing about the written word. The story is written with a light touch. It's very 'fun' to read. It bounces along, and lets you enjoy the scenes. It does have its dark moments though, trust me. And by dark, I mean pitch fucking black. 

That's not to say that a younger reader (Late YA) would not enjoy it. 

I'll say this: It has stuck with me. Kaleem has pitched me. I know he's there. I just need more.



You can purchase the book here:

  

WITCHES: Tea Party to be released under the EGP Family.

This is just a quick (late) announcement.

WITCHES: Tea Party is to be published Feb.16 by the good people at European Geeks Publishing. I had already announced the release when owner Elisha Neubauer expressed an interest in it. She totally dug it, and brought it into the fold.

As many of you know, I'm moving away more and more from self publishing. This is not because I struggle with it. No, quite the opposite. I am proficient in formatting and cover art, I know some awesome editors, and I can publish across multiple formats. That's the easy part. No, I see my self published work adrift in a sea of other self published work, and I want to work with a publisher. 

The Hand will stay self published until the four planned parts are out, and then the omnibus? Who knows. And I've also got at least two more stories to tell in that universe, so we'll see. I also plan on re-releasing Small Cuts to the Psyche some time in the future, with some internal changes, new cover art etc., however that works out.

So anyway. Mark your diary. Coming February 16 from European Geeks Publishing:







Tuesday, 29 December 2015

How To ART.*

Yep.

This is it.

Firstly, answer me this. What is...writing? Your writing? Mine? Anybody's? Yes. ANYBODY'S. It's simple. It's art, right? You're creating something that people will look at and appreciate. You know, like Matisse, and Rembrandt.

Jackson Pollock did this:


And it's pretty fucking amazing. No? Did I hear you correctly? It's bollocks? Oh, you're one of those. Well what about this?

This is by Constable:


Wow. I mean, look at the lighting. The Hay? The Wain? 

But, you're asking me now, what the fuck I'm talking about. Art. Look at the two pictures. Wait. Never mind. Look at the movements:

Abstract Expressionism; Academic Art; American Regionalism; American Scene; Art Deco; Art Nouveau; Arte Povera; Arts and Crafts Movement; Ashcan School; Barbizon School; Baroque Art; Bauhaus; Camden Town Group; Blaue Reiter; Brücke; Byzantine Art; Canadian Group Of Seven; Classicism; Contemporary Realism; Cubism; Cubist Realism (Precisionism); Dada; Der Blaue Reiter; Die Brücke; Die Neue Sachlichkeit; Divisionism (Pointillism); Early Renaissance; Expressionism; Fauvism; Futurism; Golden Age of Illustration; Gothic Art; Group Of Seven; Harlem Renaissance; High Renaissance; Hudson River School; Impressionism; Japanese Ukiyo-e; Les Nabis; Magic Realism; Mannerism; Minimalism; Nabis; Neoclassicism; Neo-Impressionism (Pointillism); Neo-Plasticism; Neue Sachlichkeit; Northern Renaissance; Op Art; Photorealism; Pointillism; Pop Art; Post-Impressionism; Precisionism; Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; Realism; Regionalism; Renaissance, Early; Renaissance, High; Renaissance, Northern; Rococo Style; Romanticism; Sensation Show; Social Realism; Surrealism; Symbolism; Tonalism; Ukiyo-e; Victorian Classicism.

This is (one of) the list(s) of art movements as listed by Wikipedia.  

Every single one of these movements was created by some fucker saying, 

"FUCK YOU, I'M DOING IT MY WAY."
(paraphrased, of course)

You want to know what else? If Stephen King wanted to follow the rules of, what, say, Shakespeare, Carrie might have been written in iambic pentameter. Yeah. Think about that. Think real hard about that. Then Google it. Now back to me. See what I'm saying?

"News item from Westover (Me.) weekly Enterprise, August 19, 1966: RAIN OF STONES REPORTED."

Not so much Iamb, more...news report?

You want to follow the rules, then fine. I'm certainly not saying that's wrong. But breaking the rules, bending them... that's how you create something new. Something people want to talk about.

But you want to really go that extra mile?

'Cause that's the real secret. If you read this far, of course. (I know, a list art movements isn't exactly exciting.)

If you want to break the system. If you want to be a movement, firstly learn the rules. Learn every fucking one of them. You don't need to use them. But you should have used them. But once you know them, you know their purpose, you know why they are there, then you can break them.

Be an artist, and be able to use iambic pentameter in conversation with other people who also know what it is. (In other words don't be a pretentious cock-womble)    

Write some. It is, can be in the right hands, hauntingly beautiful. It brings gothic architecture to the page.

Then break it.

Use it.

BE A MOVEMENT.




*Or, "How to Make the Words From Your WordButt Yours."

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Review of the Year '15

This year has been a good year. A really good year, for me. A fucking great year.

Normally, about now, I'd do a "look at me and what I did" post, maybe highlighting some pitfalls, and such, but this year? Nah. I'ma do a rundown of people to thank, great books I've read, and just general indie awesomeness!




It's been a year of me reading indie authors. There have been highs, as well as lows. My only comment on the lows is that if you're going to self publish, or publish through a small press, do it right. Make sure the formatting is right, the grammar checked, and proof your story. Make sure it makes sense. Anyway. HIGHS!

BOOKS OF THE YEAR

BEST NOVELLA

Undead Drive-Thru
Rebecca Besser



When Kyndra, Colleen, and Jose apply for jobs at a diner that has seen better days and is undergoing renovations, they have no idea what they're in for.

Aunt-B and John have a horrible secret, and when it's unleashed on the unsuspecting employees of the diner, things get . . . complicated.

Bloodthirsty and dangerous, a zombie awaits the opportunity to feast on them all.

Who will be served first? Can any of them make it out of the Undead Drive-Thru alive?





BEST SINGLE AUTHOR COLLECTION

Spook Lights
Eden Royce

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these twelve tales of Southern Gothic horror:

Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….

These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

The stories are rich in flavor and clever in metaphor, the horrors completely surreal or—far more unnerving—all too possible. She brings a refreshing perspective to the table that paranormal lovers are sure to enjoy.




BEST BIZARRO NOVEL

Otherplace
Donald White




Evil always comes first for the young. Two girls trapped in a nightmare world must struggle to survive. A place where dolls move and bears operate. It is a land of heartless children, and brutal discipline; a realm of witches and shadowy beasts. Fear reigns supreme, and dragon’s breath sets courage ablaze. The girls will be tested at their core, exposing the wicked things lurking underneath. Help will come in unexpected forms, and a battle will be waged for their very souls. You find yourself in Otherplace: a place to find yourself.







BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Heaven's Forgotten
Branden Johnson


Moira just wants a normal life for her daughter, Penelope. And sometimes, it seems like she has achieved it. Penelope is a sweet, smart, and precocious four-year-old girl. However, she is also the product of Moira's affair with an angel. Her parentage gives Penelope strength far beyond what any child should possess. It also makes her the target of fallen angels who intend to use her mysterious powers as their way back into Heaven. Worse yet, one of those fallen angels is her own father. Now, Moira finds herself caught up in a terrifying struggle for Penelope's life against beings more powerful than she can imagine. And when Penelope's true power is revealed, it will shake the foundations of reality.

Suspenseful and action-packed, Heaven's Forgotten demonstrates the power of a mother's love against the longest odds in Heaven and on earth.





COVER OF THE YEAR

The Dead Survive
Lori Whitman








Got a lot of people to thank this year. People who helped me; people who helped others; people who helped the industry. I'm not going to embarrass you by listing out why you all hold a place for me, but I am going to embarrass you by shouting your names out. So here goes. If you're on this list you'll know why, and if you're not and should be, um, oops. Sorry. If you want to be on this list next year? Go out and touch somebody. Just not in a creepy way.

Toni Rakestraw, Richard Schiver, Rebecca Besser, Ojan Borot, Elisha Neubauer, Armand Rosamilia, Alexis Allinson, Donald White, Eden Royce, Tina Marie, Jaime Johnesee, Cindy Hernandez, David Karich, Chantal Noordeloos, Pierre Rechatin, Robert Nelson, and of course, my wife. 



I'm not going to bang on about all the publishers that I have  worked with in the last 12 months, but I do think two of them have been stand out.





Publisher of The Human Condition, Gnome On Pig Productions, have had a great beginning to their first year. With everything available from books and tees to mugs, I suggest you go check them out, here: http://www.gnomeonpigproductions.com/






And another fast mover out of the stalls is Eleventh Hour Literary Press. A new imprint from European Geeks Publishing, Eleventh Hour is hosting a small, select group of works, and so far, extremely professionally. Check them out here: http://www.eleventhhourliterary.com/



And that about wraps that for the year.

Me? Oh, well as you asked...

Like I said. Fucking. Great. Year.

Books out, deals done. Some you know about, some you don't. Hell, at the time of writing, even I don't know about some of them.

Let's just say, "Roll on '16".

Friday, 11 December 2015

All Roads Lead To Terror, by Richard Schiver

The horrors of the past meet the brutality of the present.



Four boys strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while taking their first hesitant steps into adulthood, as they face the brutality of an old, new world. They will be tested at every step in their journey, as they travel through a blasted land where the only hope is for a swift death followed by an endless sleep. Survival lay in the firepower they carried, coupled with their willingness to use it, and their ability to trust each other with their own lives.

The world has become a wild place filled with wild things, and into this new reality each of them had been born. Coming of age at the end of days, where savagery was the norm, and man's inhumanity to man was on daily display. Where the only law was the firepower one carried and the only hope was for a swift death followed by an endless sleep.

Meat was born at the height of the Zombie apocalypse, upon his birth his mother took one look at him and pronounced him meat. He grew up in a reality where they were all nothing more than walking bags of meat, so in his mind the name fit perfectly.

Window, his best friend, is very quiet, and ever watchful with a quick hand. To him friendship was the most important thing in the world. His family had perished in the ruthless times after the awakening and his temperament had been forged in the fire that took them from him. His friends were all he had left so he watched over them with a jealously protective nature strengthened by that sense of invulnerability all boys his age embraced. Further backed up by a quick hand with the .44 he'd used to kill the men who had raped his mother.

The remaining members of this quartet are Einstein who had been born within the compound at Bremo Bluff after the apocalypse. Having spent his life behind the fence he had no first hand knowledge of how brutal the world has become. As his name implies he's the smartest in the group, as well the most innocent. While that innocence helps to soften the ruthlessness of the other three, it will serve to drive a wedge into their friendship. On this trip he will discover just how terrifying the world beyond the fence has become.

The final member is Billie-Bob, one half of a set of twins who appeared outside the fence several years earlier. Your typical class clown whose mouth runs a mile a minute, if he isn't sharing overused jokes about Zombies, he's whispering the passages from a book his mother used to read to him when he was younger, a chant that provides him with a degree of comfort. Billie-Bob is unique in that at the tender age of eleven he has proven himself to be a natural born sniper with a willingness to use his special talent to protect his friends.

The trail they follow leads them East, into the Dreadlands, from which those who had dared venture in the past never returned. There are places where the fabric of reality is at its thinnest. Where nightmare creatures roam the shadowy corners of a well lit world. Existing at the edge of man consciousness, an indistinct blur briefly glimpsed in our peripheral vision. Their presence felt on a primitive level that reached our consciousness as a faint whisper in the night. Their touch the soft caress of chilled fingers dancing along the spine like the half remembered terrors lurking within the childhood memories of every person who had ever feared the night.

In Richmond they will be confronted by a savage cult of children who worship a creature of the night. A nightmare being that feasted upon the fear of its victims, delving into their innermost secrets, revealing half forgotten terrors that lay like a rotting carcass at the heart of their souls. For these creatures, that were once considered nightmare imaginings, are now awake in a world where the population that once served as their food source has been reduced.

Awake and very, very, hungry.

Buy Links:

Amazon US:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B016MLXM32

Amazon UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016MLXM32

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-roads-lead-to-terror-richard-schiver/1123014703?ean=2940152477603

Itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-roads-lead-to-terror/id1061157501?mt=11

Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/all-roads-lead-to-terror

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/593434

Author Bio






Richard was born in Frostburg, Maryland, in the winter of '58' and currently lives eight miles away. A five-year stint with the military allowed him to see what he wanted of the world. Married with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he and his wife provide a home to four pets that are spoiled beyond rotten.

In addition to writing daily he works a full time job in retail, and piddles around in his wood-shop making one mess after another when time permits.







Richard can be found online at:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006MF80VI

Facebook:
http://www.facebook/RichardSchiver

Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardSchiver

Written in Blood is Richard's personal blog where he shares his thoughts on writing, and whatever else that might strike his fancy. http://www.richardschiver.com

He can be contacted directly at rschiver@gmail.com and would be delighted to hear from you.

Sign up to be notified of publishing updates and new releases as they become available. He promises to never share your contact info, nor will he swamp your inbox with unnecessary crap. He’ll also toss in a free copy of White Walker when you sign up.

http://www.eepurl.com/2bYSf

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

When Bad Reviews go Bad-er-er.

This is a review of The Devil's Hand: Crossing Guard, reviewed by a website, who decided not to post it, as it was "poor". So what with everything I've said recently about reviews I give you:

The Devil's Hand: Crossing Guard. The Review You Were Never Meant to Read by Anonymous.






The premise for the short story ‘The Devil’s Hand’ is intriguing, but I felt the author treated the subject matter too superficially, and the characters lacked depth. Angela’s reactions to her encounter with Darin, finding herself in hell, the final confrontation with Petiot, were far too stylized to be credible. No sane person would behave in such a cool offhanded manner to a situation that jars every concept of reality and religion.

The story also left several important elements unresolved. Why did Petiot want to recover the journals? Was he a devil or merely a tortured soul dead for 50 years? His confrontation with Darin in hell, devoured by giant insects, caused me to shake my head in resignation. Surely the author could have devised something more imaginative, including better and more frightening descriptions of hell. Darin, as the devil’s right hand man, comes across weak, insubstantial and far from credible. Is he a real demon? If so, he would have greater power over Petiot, a dead mortal.

In the end, I found the story highly unsatisfying. I suggest the author revisits his plot and considers injecting realism into his characters and scenes.

***

The Devil's Hand is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Guard-Devils-Hand-Book-ebook/dp/B00DPUSVYE/

And you can find out more about it here:

http://authormarktaylor.com/DH_Crossing_Guard.html

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Review: Flight of Destiny

This is a sticky review to write.

Flight of Destiny, by Francis H. Powell


"A collection of 22 short stories about misfortune characterized by unexpected final twists at the end of each tale."

This review has to be a game of two halves.

Firstly, to Powell's writing.

This is the first time that I have read Francis H. Powell. I hope though, not the last. The stories within these pages are well written, and strangely articulate. Powell has a style of writing that is unusual to find within the pages of a collection of horror shorts. His choice of words careful, each sentence seems to be crafted, rather than written. Which is, of course, excellent.

As with any collection, the stories themselves contain a variety of shocks, some signposted and holding no great shock, others standout and again, crafted, with skills.

Standout stories for me must include:

Cast From Hell: a wicked little tale, the last in the collection, and going out with a bang. A man cast from Hell within a woman's body... and I can say no more without spoiling. But it's excellent.

Bug-Eyes: A mother dis-owning her son because of his looks and the redemption years on...

Slashed: Shall we say, artistry gone wrong? You'll have to read to find out.

That said, there were no stories that I found left a bad after taste in my mouth. All positive points.

My only real criticism of Powell's stories is that on occasion they finished a little quickly. Abruptly. Story, story, story, twist, end. Sometimes I wanted to know the reaction of the characters, but this style of twist-ending is common, and I felt was a wonderful representation of the old Tales of the Unexpected television program.

There is however a bad side to the review.

The second half: the editing and editorial within the piece.

Immediately upon opening the book I was presented with the Foreword of the book, written, I noted by one of the editors of the book. Surprised as I was to find it was now a Forward. So immediately I was put off, assuming this represented the quality of Powell's writing, which of course it doesn't.

However, the quality of editing is not of a standard that I expect from a book published through a house, one "Savant Books and Publications", with two credited editors. Progressively more noticeable throughout the book are editorial errors and mistakes, proving on occasion to be a little off-putting.

But it takes nothing away from Powell's writing. Of that I assure.

Sadly, if not for the poor editing, it would have fared better.


You can purchase Flight of Destiny on Amazon here:

And find out more about the author here:

Thursday, 3 December 2015

No Conformity, Only Epicness.

Don't write it like this.

Write it like that.

Put simply, WRITE IT YOUR WAY.

Everyone has chased trends. It's something writers have a tendency of doing. Well, you know what? Put that shit down. Write what you want to write. Write epically.

1. DON'T WRITE WHAT IS SELLING.

If you're writing for trends then that means you aren't making trends...yet. So you haven't made it...yet, right? So how long does it take you to get a novel from, "Ooh, Twilight was great," to "Here's my world changing book on the shelves, IN REAL BOOKSHOPS, Word Hounds!"?

Months. Years. And you know what? That fucking trend has changed. It's gone. You've written a sparkly vampire novel *spits on the floor at your feet*, and dystopian futures with mazes is the thing now. Or tributes. Or whatever. It honestly could be anything. BAM! Unsellable.

2. DON'T CONFORM.

You're in a writer's group. Of course you are. What are they writing? Sparkly vampires. Ah, good. That falls in with the latest trend. *slowly wraps fingers around throat* Didn't you read point 1? Don't write what their writing. Don't write what anybody's writing. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," after all. (No it isn't. Not in this business. That's plagiarism.) If you need to imitate, you need to do some serious thinking.

3. MAKE TRENDS AKA WRITE WHAT YOUR HEART TELLS YOU TO.

I was talking to a writer friend of mine about a novel I was writing, and whether it would go well in the hands of an agent. Told, I was, quite rightly (Did I just turn into Yoda?), that because of it's content it would be a hard sell. Sure.

That was two years ago, and I'm still writing it. (Yeah, I know, things happen. But I have successfully had several other novels completed and published in that time.)

It won't be finished until the end of next year, according to my time table. It might be in vogue then. No, better. It might break new ground then.

I will be trend setting. People will imitate me. Um...yay?

The point is, is that I love the novel. It's my fucking opus. I might be working on it for another two years until my heart, my soul, my soles, my shoes, tell me it's done. And when it is, it'll be perfect.

4. MAKE YOURSELF AND OTHER PEOPLE HAPPY.

By doing it your way. Yes. I could write a sparkly vampire novel. I could pull it's rotten, stinking, lifeless story from my word making butthole (my wordbutt). But, I would hate it. With a passion. That's not me. I write what I want. I throw my writing in other peoples faces, shouting things like "READ MY WORDBUTT WISDOM!" and "BLURT MY WRITING", like a drunken Englishman. (Like?)

Where has it gotten me?

I'm now contracted to write a novel for a publisher who liked the idea of it so much, they decided they had to have it.

And you know what that means to me?

I'm writing something, someone wants, because it's mine. I arted it. I created it from my wordbutt.

WRITE WHAT YOU WANT.

WRITE EPICALLY.

REMEMBER:


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Want an honest review?

Want an honest review?

You're probably not going to get one. 

Why?

FEAR.


Okay, that's an extreme case, but a valid one. 

It's unlikely that you are going to get "bottled" at your place of work by an asshat with an attitude because you said that their latest book sucked balls. (Unlikely is not impossible, though.) And by the way I'm writing this, I know that you're thinking, "Fuck that shit. I'm never writing a bad review again. Writers are psychos who spend waaaaaay too much time on their own thinking about murder". 

And you'd be right. 

But I enact out my murderous rampages on little fictional people in my head, and on my page. What do you do with yours? 

But like most times I write, I digress.

More than likely you're going to get a vicious attack from the said author of "My Monkey, My Balls, and the Things I do for Fun," in the written word. They'll respond to your heinous opinion with a scathing attack on how wrong you are, and how you don't know what you're talking about. Like the wonderful responses of Stephan J Harper on the negative review of his book "Bears in Boats Fighting Crime" on Tidbits.

(In case you go all TL;DR) The author starts by getting on his high horse and tries to tear the review apart literary-ly (like in writing, not literally), and eventually loses his temper, however a number of his responses have now been deleted by himself. It was, at the time, a fascinating read by a man who slowly unhinges. Better, I'm sure, than "Bears in Boats Fighting Crime", however, I am intrigued by the title. 

So anyway. 

Unhinged Author Attacks in Writerly Way!!

Now we, as an industry - the writerly types - have been telling each other forever that we, as an industry, should not respond to negative reviews. We shout at each other about how we should learn from them. We should like them, respect them. 

I do. 

Because I understand the fact that everyone has an opinion.

However, these days I don't see bad reviews. Yes, I know that something in the public eye (*coughs* Chuck Wendig *coughs* Star Wars: Aftermath) might get bad reviews (*cough*) that may have nothing to do with the book itself, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the little guy. You. Me. Them. *points*

So many book sites now state "we won't post a bad review, we just won't review", or "tick this box to not have a review posted if it's under 3 stars." 

We're artists, man. How are we to improve if you don't tell us what you don't like? We're (probably) not going to hunt you down and bash your head in, in a supermarket. 

So I implore you, the reader, the reviewer, the writer who reviews, leave us bad reviews. We need it. And if we respond at all to peer pressure, we won't murder you in the supermarket.

And we try really hard not to murder people off the page.

That's like, real human interaction.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

#toobusywriting

Friday, 27 November 2015

Friday Feature: Shutter Speed

"Taylor's novel Shutter Speed is a dark thriller with stylistic writing similar to Michael Crichton."
~ Amazon Review

"SHUTTER SPEED is a very sneaky story. It worms its way into your psyche and latches on as you watch the events unfold." ~ The Bibliophilic Book Blog

"Mark Taylor brings a fresh burn of imagination to the reader with his suspense, thriller Shutter Speed." ~ Rebecca Besser, Author of Zombie Inside

 "Author Mark Taylor gives us a gripping story from the start."
~ Amazon Review



✺ #‎NewRelease‬ ✺ #‎ShutterSpeed‬ by @filingwords!
"Evil Doesn't Burn..."
SHUTTER SPEED by Mark Taylor
Kindle Unlimited: http://amzn.to/1LZLm0x



✺ SYNOPSIS ✺
Burned, scarred, and left for dead, Jimmy Tasker is running from everyone.

The blaze changed him—changed the way his brain fires—and left someone else in his head with him. Someone who wants to kill for fun.
He changes his name, buries his past, starts a new life…and disappears.
Years later, four friends from the city are hard up. Steve needs work, Gil’s jumpy, Peter is struggling, and Cal’s an addict. So they plan a robbery. Steve backs out, but the other three go through with it and botch the job, resulting in the death of Lauren Westerbrook.
Ronan Westerbrook has a hidden past, a love of photography…and a fondness for flame.
Ronan’s revenge for his wife’s death culminates in a bloodbath—and unleashes Jimmy, who was there all along, tormented by nightmares of atrocities he has no idea if he truly committed.
Steve is trying to build a respectable life, but now Jimmy has one last piece of unfinished business…the only witness who can identify him.

✺ ✺ CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER ✺ ✺



Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Strange: A competition

Looking to win a free copy of Strange?


Are dreams made of jello or of blackened hearts? What are the four shadows? From a career defined by darkness comes the unexplained, the unbelievable and the shocking.

Mark Taylor’s Strange is a collection of six. Six tales of woe, six tales of terror, six layers of hate. But more, so much more, they are the answers in the darkness, the shades no longer grey...or are they?

Within the trials of Networking and the totalitarian Total Entertainment are the terrifying consequences of technology, and Eternal Light sees the world extinct.  Inside and Elizabeth toy with the mind, and that just leaves Dead Game where you might like what you find.


Come, come and visit...come and play...where we are all a little...Strange.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review: Heaven's Forgotten

Branden Johnson's debut novel.


This one's a little different from my usual reads. For a start it's not a horror... dun, Dun, DUN!

Anyway.

Synopsis:

Moira just wants a normal life for her daughter, Penelope. And sometimes, it seems like she has achieved it. Penelope is a sweet, smart, and precocious four-year-old girl. However, she is also the product of Moira's affair with an angel. Her parentage gives Penelope strength far beyond what any child should possess. It also makes her the target of fallen angels who intend to use her mysterious powers as their way back into Heaven. Worse yet, one of those fallen angels is her own father. Now, Moira finds herself caught up in a terrifying struggle for Penelope's life against beings more powerful than she can imagine. And when Penelope's true power is revealed, it will shake the foundations of reality.


Suspenseful and action-packed, Heaven's Forgotten demonstrates the power of a mother's love against the longest odds in Heaven and on earth.


Review:

So, I had my doubts. I thought I was going to get something a little YA, perhaps. Although listed as dark fantasy, the synopsis reads like a good number of teen angst-y novels. I was wrong.

It is full on dark fantasy, and very good it is too.

The protagonist, Moira, is a well rounded character. Actually, given the situation she's in, Johnson writes the character's breakdown extremely well. The ancillary characters are good too.

Johnson has also written in a mythos around the angels that is both terrifying and real. 

Although a slow starter, the book had me gripped soon enough. 

It's a heart-string-puller, with plenty of action, and believable characters, from a situation that could have been almost, well, silly.

Totally recommended for adults, mature YA, and dark fantasy fans.


Friday, 23 October 2015

Out Now: Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues

“A must read for students and nostalgic alumni” 
Only 99c on sale now!!



Five College Dialogues is a philosophic comedic treatise on college life told through the eyes of George Tecce, a graduate student working as a teaching assistant for an eccentric English professor. Told through Socratic dialogue, George, his students, and his mentor explore all the ins and outs of college life as they examine the state of post-millennial academia. Humorous and thought provoking, the Dialogues are the perfect resource for students, especially those with a philosophy requirement, as well as anyone who wants to relive their four years in an entertaining fashion. 



Available now from Eleventh Hour Literary Press



Early Praise:

“As a whole, the dialogues are clearly a statement on the ups and downs of the college experience.” 
– Colorado College Catalyst

“Unlike some publications on college life, “Five College Dialogues” exposes the raw truth and harshness of the collegiate experience. Malone does an excellent job with this exposition. The students’ problems are not sugar-coated.”
–The Scranton Aquinas 

“This book didn’t disappoint me at all. Very comical and plenty of life lessons that would made you think over about your life as well.” 
–Agent Bookworm







AVAILABLE HERE

Five College Dialogues on Amazon
Five College Dialogues on Eleventh Hour Literary Press

Five More College Dialogues on Amazon
Five More College Dialogues on Eleventh Hour Literary Press





ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Ian Thomas Malone, a graduate of Boston College, founded the publication The Rock at Boston College. He is a certified yoga instructor and a Meisner trained actor. Ian will be pursuing a Masters in English Literature at Claremont Graduate University starting fall 2015, where he has been awarded a writing fellowship. A lifelong resident, Ian lives in Greenwich, CT with his golden retriever Georgie.









Monday, 12 October 2015

Heaven's Forgotten: Available now.

Heaven's Forgotten: Branden Johnson's Debut Novel




Synopsis:

Moira just wants a normal life for her daughter, Penelope. And sometimes, it seems like she has achieved it. Penelope is a sweet, smart, and precocious four-year-old girl. However, she is also the product of Moira’s affair with an angel. Her parentage gives Penelope strength far beyond what any child should possess. It also makes her the target of fallen angels who intend to use her mysterious powers as their way back into Heaven. Worse yet, one of those fallen angels is her own father. Now, Moira finds herself caught up in a terrifying struggle for Penelope’s life against beings more powerful than she can imagine. And when Penelope’s true power is revealed, it will shake the foundations of reality.

Suspenseful and action-packed, Heaven’s Forgotten demonstrates the power of a mother’s love against the longest odds in Heaven and on earth.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Bio:






Branden Johnson is a writer living near Chicago with his wonderful wife and hyperactive chihuahua. When he’s not writing, he’s playing music in the post-rock band These Guys These Guys. Heaven’s Forgotten is his first novel. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: Sex, Marry, Kill

From Todd Travis, Sex, Marry, Kill is a rarity.



Plot wise, it's a little different. The blurb says it all:

"An online game that would change their lives and give them power over others. They could do anything they wanted, sleep with anyone they wanted to, kill anyone who got in their way. Their every fantasy fulfilled.

But at a mortal price. They soon discover that the game will consume and destroy them unless they find a way to stop it before it's too late."

So is it any good?

Yes. Yes it is. Okay, so firstly the cast of characters are made up by your common group of high school unpopular kids. The weirdos. They're surprisingly relatable, You really start to like them. One of them, Ed, couldn't be more like Bob's Burgers own Gene. He's all kinds of awesome.

There are twists, turns, as the group are torn apart with different wants and desires. It really is good.

Pulls at the heart strings more than once, as well.

It's got a cracking finale, action, and scares.

For a book aimed very much at adults though, the writing style is extremely simple. There's no pretentiousness to the writing. Its very easy to read, and very quick. No noticeable errors. Well edited. 

Over all, pretty much flawless.

You can buy it here:









Thursday, 24 September 2015

1 Effortless Way to Not be a Dick on Social Media

"It makes me angry" pretty much epitomizes half of social media use today. Okay. Fine. I get it. We all get angry over something, and somethings are worth getting angry over. Whether it is a hunter hunting for sport that you don't agree with, or Presidential candidacy, you're sure enough to have an opinion.

This poor stock image is now forever upon my blog representing internet dickery.

And your opinion is likely the same as others. You will have noticed what I like to call "the Herd Effect".

But I'm not talking about that.

I'm talking about your opinion on someone asking a question.

Let's take a fictional situation. You're on Facebook. You're in a group called "Bloody Best Baking Support Group". A newbie to the group creates a post that asks, "When a recipe says eggs, what sort are they talking about? Chicken, duck, or ostrich?"

Now I think we can all agree that is a pretty easy question to answer.

So you go back to your own wall and post something along the lines of:

"Can you believe how stupid some people are? Some idiot just asked what sort of eggs you use in a recipe in a baking group. A BAKING GROUP!

I mean what a fucking stupid question. Have they even baked a cake?"

You know what?

You're a dick on social media.


So, you want to know the one effortless way to not be a dick on social media? 

Answer the question, or pass on by. You don't need to tell everyone what an intolerant dick you are. If you're an intolerant dick, everyone will work it out eventually, anyway. And if that type of post makes you angry, maybe seek help. At least, leave the group and crawl under a rock.

The internet is full of dicks. 

Don't be a dick.



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Available for Pre-Order; Shutter Speed.


Now Available for Pre-Order





Burned, scarred, and left for dead, Jimmy Tasker is running from everyone.

The blaze changed him-changed the way his brain fires-and left someone else in his head with him. Someone who wants to kill for fun.

He changes his name, buries his past, starts a new life...and disappears.

Years later, four friends from the city are hard up. Steve needs work, Gil’s jumpy, Peter is struggling, and Cal’s an addict. So they plan a robbery. Steve backs out, but the other three go through with it and botch the job, resulting in the death of Lauren Westerbrook.

Ronan Westerbrook has a hidden pat. A love of photography...and a fondness for flame.

Ronan’s revenge for his wife’s death culminates in a bloodbath-and unleashes Jimmy, who was there all along, tormented by nightmares of atrocities he has no idea if he truly committed.

Steve is trying to build a respectable like, but now Jimmy has one last piece of unfinished business...the only witness who can identify him.




Winner of the Readers Favorite 5-star Choice Award (Sept. 15)









Order now from Amazon US: Here and Amazon UK: Here.




Saturday, 5 September 2015

Review: Extraordinary

And it is...



I honestly didn't know what to expect from this short. It's good. A worthy read, but hard to describe.

A troubled young mother, a genetic disorder, a dystopian society. The rules are different, but the problems are the same. K.M. Herkes beautifully portrays a protagonist, beaten down and tired, yet happy and rounded.

The story circles people with extraordinary powers who are, unsurprisingly put upon within society, looked down on, yet who strive to do what's best. To be human.

We are introduced to another character, as sympathetic as the first, and then a tragic ending to the tale.

It's a short read, one that I did in one sitting.

It's solid and has strong mirrors between plights in our past and present dealing on some levels with the segregation within society by those deemed to be different. When you finish it, and sit back and think about it, it's actually quite frightening.

It's written in such a way that will give you a satisfied warmth, a sharing of feelings with the protagonist, until the end, and then slap you, and leave you heart-broken.

It left me wanting more.

You can buy Extraordinary from Amazon US here, and Amazon UK here.


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review: The Dead Survive

Um, well, this was more brutal than I expected it to be...




Lori Whitwam's The Dead Survive was a little different than I expected. Yes, I've been reading a lot of zombie at the moment, perhaps overdosing on it. But I thought I'd give this a try.

The story starts at the beginning of the zompocolypse. It was handled differently to a lot that I've read in books and seen in movies. It focused on people and behavior. If you've seen the recent Schwarzenegger vehicle "Maggie" you'll know what I'm talking about. People are trying to keep stores open. Civilization is trying to survive.

It's bleak, but not unbelievable.

Then the shit hits the fan.

For the majority of the first half of the book, there is no real zombie action. If you're looking for arm biting and head shots, then you'll be sadly disappointed.

But if you want the hard-hitting, brutally real downfall of humanity, then yeah, you'll find it here.

I'm not going to lie. It's a hard read. It's certainly not only not for children, but also not for the faint-hearted. It's exceptionally well written. You'll be captivated by it. Won't be able to put it down. An amazing read to be sure.

At the half way mark, I did think the author was going to slip. It suddenly seemed like it was going to go all Twilight on me. But Whitwam reigns it back in, and ramps up the emotion (if you could believe it could be ramped up further) and smashes it out the park.

Whitwam's characterization is what makes the story. The protagonist, antagonist, the would-be could-be wasn't antagonist...hell, even the dog. It's a masterclass is characterization within a traditionally hard to character sub-genre.

If you're writing zombie, read this.

The end is heartbreaking, action packed, and left me wanting more. Dammit. Another book on my to-read list. Yes, the sequel is already out.

You can purchase the book from Amazon UK here, Amazon US here, and find out more about the author here.


Monday, 31 August 2015

New Release: The Multiverse of Max Tovey


About the book







Fourteen year old Max Tovey’s world is blown apart when he discovers that his problems are nothing to do with him, and everything to do with being a Time Traveller. 

Following his mysterious grandfather’s funeral, Max finds himself on a wild journey through first century Celtic Britain, real and mythological, as his every action threatens to change the past, and his future.

Max battles demons – both real and psychological – on his mission to find the legendary Montacute Cross, stolen by his Viking ancestor Tofig, in order to close the gates to the Underworld, and lift the curse on his family.


Excerpt



“So now you can find what you seek,” whispered the Chief­tain.
Max pulled The Coin from his pocket, which now glowed very brightly, and hummed very loudly. Hoping desperately that it wouldn’t wake the General, Max walked slowly towards the end of his bed, as The Coin was directing him to, until he came to a wooden chest.
“It must be in there,” he whispered, before very very carefully opening the lid. Inside, the chest was full of coins.
“How do we find the right one?” whispered Myvi. But they didn’t need to – for just outside the chest, was one coin that had fallen out, now pressed into the ground by the General’s boot. And it was glowing. As Max, Myvi and the Chieftain watched in amaze­ment, The Coin began to glow, and hum, and then rise slowly out of the ground.
“What is this magic...?” said Rhydderch, a little afraid despite himself.
The coin continued to rise, until it was at Max’s waist. Tenta­tively Max held out The Majyga Coin in his palm under the one that was rising, until the two were touching. And then there was a blast of light, and both coins disappeared.
“What...?!” said Vespasian, waking suddenly, and on seeing Max, Myvi and Rhydderch immediately called out.
“You?! I told you I’d kill you if I saw you again! Guards!”
Vespasian leapt out of bed and grabbed his sword as two guards with their own swords out rushed in. But then all three were stopped in their tracks as a strange glow began to form between them and Max and the others, a glow that was slowly taking form, and which, with a deep, deep growl, now became flesh, a huge man, easily seven feet tall, dressed in glowing silver armour, and carrying a long, barbed, razor sharp silver sword.
“You wish to destroy The Coin...?” came a voice out of it that was even lower than a Gurt Dog’s. Max was staring wildly at the ap­parition, but somehow managed to nod.
“Then you must destroy me, for I am The Coin!”
Max ducked the first sword swipe, astonishingly fast for one so big, but one of the guards didn’t, and fell instantly dead.
“What is this?!” yelled Vespasian as he managed to parry a second blow, before leaping out of the bed chamber and into the Hall proper.
“Never mind what it is!” yelled Max, as he and the others followed the General, fleeing the demon soldier. “If you want to live, you’ll have to help us kill it!”
More soldiers ran into the Great Hall now, until many dozens surrounded the Demon. No match for the Demon’s lightening quick sword work, they fell as quickly as they arrived. Vespasian now ran up behind the Demon as it was occupied with two of his men and ran it through with his sword. Nothing happened. The Demon mere­ly turned toward Vespasian and laughed.
You cannot kill me!” it yelled, pointing its sword at Max and Myvi. “Only they can kill me!”
“I think we’re in trouble,” said Max, hugging his sword to his chest.
“You may be right,” said Myvi, instinctively ducking a blow from the Demon, memory of many fights now returning to her. She rolled across the floor, parrying another blow, before bringing her own blade up at its sword arm, but it went right through, with no effect. The Demon laughed again.
“All they have to do is work out how!”
But now Myvi was pointing at Max’s sword.
“Max! Your sword! It’s glowing!”
The Demon growled low now, backing away as Max ad­vanced towards it, his now glowing sword held out in front. He just hoped he could remember how to do this.
“How did you get it to glow?” said Myvi.
“I think I must have touched it against The Brooch!” said Max, slashing at the Demon, but the Demon slashed back, heavily, again and again, forcing Max to desperately parry time after time before falling to the ground. The Demon advanced on him now, and put its sword to his throat.
“You cannot beat me,” growled the Demon. “The Coin is not for destroying!”
“Oh yes it is!” yelled Myvi, and before the Demon knew what was happening, with one movement she touched her sword to The Brooch then brought it up fast, taking the Demon’s head clean off its shoulders.

The blast of sound and light this time knocked everyone to their feet, but then receded, and faded to nothing. After a moment, Max leant up on one elbow, looked around, then felt in his pocket. The Coin was gone.

And a giveaway



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Links



B&N:

Amazon:

Amazon UK: 

European Geeks Publishing: 

About the Author





Alastair Swinnerton has been writing for children’s television for over twenty five years. Among his many credits are ‘The Wombles’, ‘Sabrina, Secrets of a Teenage Witch’, and the Bafta-nominated CBBC Christmas Special ‘The Tale of Jack Frost’, which he wrote, co-produced and co-directed. He was also one the co-creators of Lego® Bionicle®. ‘The Multiverse of Max Tovey’ is his first Young Adult novel.

Alastair lives in Somerset with his family, and spends much of his spare time walking the dog, more often than not at his beloved Ham Hill.



Social media Links



Author Website:  www.alastairswinnerton.com
Author Twitter:   https://twitter.com/alswinn