Recommended: A New Hype

adventureswithD-final (1)A: Head on over to The Recommenders to tell us what you’re hyped about in upcoming books, movies or shows in the month of May – and get a quick run-down of what we’re looking forward to, as well!

D: What is this we, stuff A? Your plebeian list certainly isn’t what I’m hyped about.

A: I’m going to regret this, but what, pray tell, are you hyped about? And why are you italicizing “hyped?”

D: Hype: Noun – propaganda, excitement, flimflam. Flimflam, A. Flimflam.

A: I think you just like the word flimflam. And I don’t blame you.

D: No, it’s a sham, that’s what it is.

A: A flimflam sham?

D: A . . .

A: Or how about a yam-sham?

D: You are not going to Buffy your way out of this one, A.

A: Oh, yes I am – because I already won. Yam-sham it is. So, what are you yam-shamed about?

D: I hate you.

A: No you don’t. Come on. What are you excited about?

D: Fine. I’m quite pleased that I shall be visiting with – and congratulating – Abd-al-Rahman. He was proclaimed emir of Cordoba, Spain today. I’m so excited for him. He’s been challenging the local rulers for some time now, and I want to give him some encouragement – unifying the fiefdoms is going to take some time, but it’ll be worth it, in the end.

(Long pause. Stares at the Druid. Druid casually checks nails for dirt. A swears she can see a smile winking at the edges of that ridiculously smug face. A huffs and grabs her phone to research.)

A: Um, D – we’re hyped for things happening in this year – not in 756!!

D: Time is relative, my dear A.

A: . . . Fine. Give Abd-al-Rahman my regards.

D: I shall do that.

A: And everyone else who lives in the 21st century, check out the post at The Recommenders, and add your two cents!

A sale – a story – and a surprise?

1birthdaypancakesWell, that went by fast. I knew it was getting close, but it was still a bit of a shock when Facebook reminded me yesterday that a full year had passed since I released the first book – the 20-year project – of the Changelings saga. It also marked the nine months since I’ve blogged with any regularity. Now, while I can’t say the latter will change to any great degree, I can honor the former with, drum roll please–

D: You mean this drum roll?

A (Ridiculously cheesy grin): Glad you could make it to the party, D.

D: It’s not a party without me – as well you know.

A (Cheesy grin at odds with eye-rolling): Of course. Will you do the honors?

changelingsebookcover-flat4D: Of telling everyone that the glorious tale of my life and loves – oh wait, you haven’t gotten to that one yet–

A: D…

D: Right, anyway – that the almost-glorious tale, Changelings: Into the Mist – and A’s attempt to escape from me by writing an Irish spy thriller, Three Ghosts – are FREE starting today. Wait – did I just say free?!

A: Yes, D – it’s a promotion. It ends Sunday the 15th.

D: Well, that’s okay, I suppose.

A: You never took gold for your songs.

Cover Art by Casey T. Malone

Cover Art by Casey T. Malone

D: But I did get a good cup of mead or ale out of the deal.

A: I have wine. I’m good.

D: Fair enough – now, what’s the surprise?

A: Nope – story first. Because not only are we celebrating Changelings‘ birthday with a sale, we have a brand-new side story – staring you.

D: Oh. This one. You’ve saved it.

A: I have, and I thought, with Veterans/Remembrance day just past, it was appropriate. Enjoy.

Remember

“What do you remember?”

Dubh Súile mac Alasdair lifted his eyes to the red-haired man standing over him. He looked smart in his pilot’s uniform. He was young, yet his green eyes spoke of many battles.

Every day it was the same question.

Every day he said the same thing.

“Nothing.”

It was a lie.

Each of the 1200 years he’d lived among man and Fae spread out before him – loves and lives lost taunted him whenever he closed his eyes. Time etched fondness in the lined faces of his teachers in the Druid grove – and in the tonsured heads of the monks who took their place three centuries later. Each moment of the war that had torn him from the world of man screamed at him in dreams and the memory of magic, which had once been his reward, still lingered on his skin.

But that was not what the young man meant.

queen marys hospital

Queen Mary Convalescent Auxiliary Hospital

A broadsheet included with this day’s breakfast declared it 1 March 1944. The narrow bed in which he lay was courtesy the Queen Mary Convalescent Auxiliary Hospital just outside London, England.

He had not been in London for nearly 400 years. Metal-clad machines that growled in the street had replaced the placid clatter of the horses’ hooves on the cobbles. It had been one of these – these things which looked more like monsters reserved for the unmapped territories at the world’s edge than something man should ride within – that had put him at the mercy of the white-capped ladies of Queen Mary’s.

In fact, the only thing that remained the same in old London-town was the threat of ongoing war, only this time it wasn’t with the French.

“Nothing at all?” Pale eyebrows arched to etch lines of disbelief in the sergeant’s face.

“I remember nearly cracking your skull, even as I cracked my own.” Dubh snorted and shook his head. It had not been his finest moment, but Nuada Silver Arm had not meant it to be, either. In fact, he was certain the king of the Fae had intended it to be Dubh’s last moment.

“You and the cab came out of nowhere – if you hadn’t rolled me out of the way, I might have been hit by the bloody thing, myself. Your reflexes are sound, at least.”

“Physically, perhaps,” Dubh admitted. “My memory before that black cab is a little dim, however.”

“And yet, the doctors tell me the memory loss is a protective mechanism – depending on what it’s protecting, I would say that reflex is also very good, soldier.”

Dubh raised his own eyebrow and the sergeant finally cracked a smile.

It was about time. At turns solicitous and stern, the sergeant had been trying for two days to uncover Dubh’s identity, and yet it seemed to Dubh that the young man’s official suspicion was at odds with a more affable curiosity.

Even so, Dubh hesitated to reveal anything. His mortal record was lost to time, certainly, but creating an identity from whole cloth was dangerous. No longer did man rely on a messenger who might take days, if not weeks, to reach his destination. In 1944, a command from a faceless man half a world away could move – or halt – an entire army.

The sergeant sat on the edge of Dubh’s bed, and the hairs along his neck rose as he moved his legs. Typically, his visitor came later in the day, when Dubh was allowed the novelty of rolling around in the wheeled chair. Even then, the sergeant never stopped long, and he never sat.

The sergeant’s smile turned into mock surprise. “What’s this, no retort? No denial? I call you ‘soldier’ and you simply accept it?”

“I have been a warrior – among many things – all my days. I could no more deny it than willingly stop breathing. And yet, I do not know for whom I fight.”

“For Queen and Country, that’s who,” the sergeant snapped. “I had a thought you were from one of the Highland regiments. A lad from the Black Watch had gone missing on his way back from the front. Deserter, they thought.”

Deserter. The word slithered through the air, now sharp and sour. The sergeant’s eyes had turned to flint as he waited to pounce on any twitch or other sign that Dubh’s memory loss – amnesia the doctors called it – was a ruse.

Dubh blinked once, then twice, and waited for the sergeant to continue.

“A Corporal Doyle McAlister, late of Strathpeffer? I sent up your photo. Captain there says it was blurred – don’t know how that bloody happened – but it’s close enough.”

Breathing was suddenly difficult. Dubh’s family name – and the name of their home – had changed only slightly. Was this more of Nuada’s machinations, or some other agent of fate?

He took care with his next words. “The names feel familiar, sir, but I can’t say for certain that I am your man.”

“That will do enough for me.”

LIkCehE

Lancaster “S for Sugar”, the first RAF heavy bomber to complete 100 missions.

It was Dubh’s turn to smile. “Why in such a hurry to tag a name to me, sir?”

“Because amnesia or not, you’re a canny one, Corporal. You watch, you wait and you keep your own counsel. I have need of a man with your skills.”

Dubh arched an eyebrow.

“And I was only granted two day’s extra leave. I’m due back at 8 Group tomorrow. So, unless you would prefer to return to the front with your regiment…?”

Dubh didn’t let the question hang in the air too long. He had seen the mechanical monstrosities that man had made – and he had no desire to witness them any closer than he already had.

“You’ve cleared this with McAlister’s commanding officer, Sergeant O’Malley?”

“Indeed, Corporal McAlister, I have. How do you feel about aeroplanes?”

To be continued. . .

D: And the surprise?

A: Pardon?

D: There’s supposed to be a surprise. You promised – and it’s not allowed to be the “To Be Continued,” either.

A: Oh. Well, in that case, come back tomorrow.

D: If you were really a great and powerful–

A: Come back tomorrow, D – I promise, there’s more.01BlueVelvetChangelings

D: She said it here, folks – and unreliable though she may be, I know firsthand that there is much more to this tale already written. So, head over to Amazon and pick up the first installment in the Changelings series – or a quick spy thriller – and escape into our memories for a spell, for FREE!

The Editor

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Another day, another film review – I’ll admit it, I’ve been refiling my creative bucket with a varied, and at times very strange, film extravaganza. The Editor is one of the weirdest t0-date (I haven’t seen the Japanese comedy/horror, House – I’m pretty sure that one wins all the weird) and yet, it was all kinds of fantastic I was not expecting.

Reviewed: Crimson Peak

crimson peakOr why your horror needs more gothic romance, and vice versa…

The macabre and surreal have a definite place in my heart – as do beautiful things – so watching Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror, Crimson Peak, as a cap to a fantastical weekend at Detroit’s Theatre Bizarre , found several avenues to completely win over my fascination and admiration. But, to find out just why I found it such a beautiful and remarkable film, you’re going to have to mosey on over to The Recommenders (formerly known as Green Embers’ Recommends) and read the review!

Comments here are closed.

On Tour: His Revenge by John W. Howell

Announcing His Revenge by John W. Howell – now available in paper and ebook  on Amazon.

His Revenge front final

The sequel to My GRL titled His Revenge is available and a new story continues where My GRL left off.

His Revenge is available in the US in Paper and Kindle editions

In Canada in Paper and Kindle editions

In the UK in Paper and Kindle editions

About His Revenge

America loves John Cannon, its newest hero, and the President wants to present him with the highest civilian medal for bravery for saving the Annapolis midshipman from a terrorist plot to destroy them. While in Washington for the award ceremony, John unwillingly becomes an accomplice in another plan by the same group to attack the credibility of the US President and the stability of the worldwide oil market. There is no way out as John either becomes a traitor to America or causes thousands of innocent people to die if he refuses.

The second John J Cannon Thriller moves from a barrier Island off the coast of Texas to Washington DC, then to Northern California, and finally to Ecuador. John is on the receiving end of an offer he cannot, refuse. His avowed enemy Matt Jacobs now wants John to help him shake the reputation of the US in the world political arena and disrupt confidence in the government at home. If John refuses, Matt plans to murder innocent Americans including John’s latest relationship. John’s only way out is to pretend to go along with the plan and hope for a miracle.

Excerpt from Chapter One

The water rushes over my head. I’m sinking and don’t know why. With my breath held, I have trouble stopping the air from escaping since the pressure drives the air up and out. I try to keep my mouth closed, but the water pressure pushes the air out more and more. Will I pass out? In the distance, the light is dim. To rise to the surface in time might not be possible─I need to breathe right now. Toward ending the pain in my chest, my rambling mind rationalizes taking a deep breath—even knowing it will end my life. In conflict with the irrational thought of ending it, my body won’t let me suck in the water, as it fights to retain the little bit of oxygen left to fuel my brain.

The despair is nearly overwhelming, and my mind considers other ways to battle the feeling. What more could I have done with my life? The pressure becomes more intense, and I’m about to lose it all, and I decide I’ve lived the way I wanted and have no regrets. I close my eyes and hear only the roar of the sea. 

I’m so tired. Exhausted. Sleep will fix everything, and I want to give in.

About the Author

Photo by Tim BurdickJohn’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes fictional short stories and novels as well as a blog at http://www.johnwhowell.com. John lives on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and spoiled rescue pets. He can be reached at his e-mail johnhowell.wave@gmail.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241 or Twitter at @HowellWave

 

My GRL_johnwhowell

His first novel, My GRL is available on Amazon and wherever e-books are sold

 

 

 

Reviewed: Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise

coverI have long been a fan of writer Jack Flacco. When his first book, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, came out, I jumped at the chance to read and review an advance copy.  The same is true when the opportunity came around to read the third – and sadly, final – book in the Ranger Martin series, Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise.

Ranger has lost none of his spunk, his grit, or his genuine desire to guide his young charges through the wasteland America has become following the wake of the zombie – or my favorite moniker from the book, chewer – apocalypse. He remains a top contender for my zombie apocalypse team, and the series featuring his adventures has a cherished spot on my shelf.

Ranger’s final chapter starts with a punch to the gut and never lets the reader rest until that final, bittersweet page. Along the way, characters we grew to love over the course of the series, face challenges that would test the mettle of any good man or woman. And a good man is what Ranger is – but even good men make mistakes, and for me, the question of trust, in the face of utter devastation, was what really turned the pages in Search for Paradise.

As always, Ranger’s story is tight, keeps its sense of humor, and never lets the reader forget that death is a snap of the teeth away. At this stage in the Ranger game, Jack knows his character inside and out. It would have been easy to put up a strong-but-flawed Ranger and let the story flow around him, and yet, Jack let his characters stumble and fall – let them make choices and grow, and in doing so, draw the reader that much deeper into the story and the characters. It gave a fun, post-apocalyptic zombie romp a much-appreciated nuance, and stands as a poignant and lovely final chapter in the Ranger Martin series.

Ultimately, it was a joy to read – and you can get your hands on a copy tomorrow, October 20! Check out Jack’s site for more information and wander on down to Amazon to get your hands on the other two books in the Ranger Martin series.

Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse

Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion

 his review was based on the digital ARC, provided by the author.

 From the Author… Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise

There is no cure. The change is permanent. Whoever says they can fix this is wrong. Months ago, billions of people died in the zombie apocalypse. The survivors either have become refugees looking for a way out or have turned against each other. No one will admit they killed their friend for a package of raisins. It happens though, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it. 

Undead slayer Ranger Martin makes the unforgiving Arizona desert his home. He has never had to defend it. He has never had to kill anyone for it. If anything, he has shelved his shotgun and has taken an early retirement package.

That is, until now. 

When the military lays siege on his silo, Ranger and his crack team of professionals—a bunch of kids, really—have no other choice than to run. But after he discovers a map that may lead to a mythic city called Paradise, where neither army nor zombie can invade, Ranger mounts a cross-state journey to find the place of safety before the others find him and it’s too late.

About the Author

jack flaccoJack Flacco is the author of RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE and RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION. His blend of action, suspense and dark humor offers the reader a new perspective on the horror genre. The first book in the Ranger Martin series is now on sale.

Flacco and his family live in Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he volunteers his time. Past work includes acting in youth theater outreach for nursing homes, ushering at his church, and getting involved with scouts. Supporting his wife, she served on the leadership council for the local home education network and on the library advisory board responsible for the purchase of new books for children and young adults.

Jack and his wife currently contribute to a wide variety of charitable organizations. Holding dear the importance of universal literacy, they donate books to individual families in need.

Singularity on IndieGogo – Only 5 Days Left!

Only 5 days left to pre-order (and thereby get some great perks) one of the best, and creepiest, psycho-thrillers I’ve read in a long time. Get ye to the IndieGoGo campaign… stat!

dilettante factory

I feel like I’ve got the bends.

I’ve spent the last (god is it nearly three weeks now?) decompressing after losing my job of five years.

There. I’ve made it public.

Now you know why I’ve been gone.

I’ve been lost inside my head — been reading, been watching TV. Got a gym membership. And a bike. And a tattoo.

What can I say, it’s cheaper than a convertible and less harmful than an affair.

I’ve been thinking a lot, and wondering if I’m falling back into a place I’ve been before — where I gave up writing, discouraged by the utter disinterest of even the other writers involved in my project. I’m not speaking of Singularity, I’m talking about a project I headed up about six years ago now, whose utter failure caused me to stop writing.

Fast-forward to today, and with four days left to order SINGULARITY through…

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SINGULARITY — IT’S ALMOST HERE

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What’s this Singularity thing I keep crowing about? Check out diettante factory’s “Road So Far” on the Singularity journey – and don’t forget to stop by the release party on Facebook for some great conversation and a terrifying freebie from the writers of Singularity!

dilettante factory

Okay, so forgive me for pillaging SUPERNATURAL — feel free to be playing AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells in your head while you read this recap of the road so far. I thought that not only would this provide a good place for you to catch up on what you may have missed, but also, an interesting look at what goes on behind the scenes, how many people are involved, and all the work that goes into writing a novel and promoting and publishing it.

In March, I began writing what I didn’t at first even realize was the sequel to Jessica — until I wrote the last line of the opening salvo, and realized that that creepy fucker, Jessica B. Bell, had returned.

I began recruiting collaborators (and formulating an idea in my head of exactly what these collaborators would be writing, and how I was going to incorporate them into…

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Adventure with us to Jessica B. Bell’s Wayward Home for Lost Characters

adventureswithD-final (1)D: Well, look who’s alive.

A: Really? That’s all you have for me? Not-very-imaginative-snark?

D: Well, it looked like you were in a hurry and I know you want to keep these ‘adventure with us’ guest blog notifications to half a page.

A: . . .

D: OK, fine. It’s been a while. I’m rusty.

A: Don’t worry about it, D. We both are – and while we get our groove back, please head over to the newly-christened dilettante factory, home of the sometimes-twisted, creative brain of H.K. Abell, AKA Helena Hann-Basquiat. It was my honor to write the very first guest blog for the factory – a piece reviewing the upcoming book, Singularity, and exploring just what happens to the stories and characters we don’t write.

D: Should I take what happened to your maybe-possessed, digging-his-own-grave with no memory character as a warning, A?

A: You could . . .

D: But (crosses fingers) . . . ?

A: . . . you could, but then you might get cautious and a cautious Druid is a boring druid. Stay snarky D. You’re not going anywhere.

SINGULARITY AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Singularity – the sinister and sublime meta-fiction compilation featuring Jessica B. Bell – is available to pre-order on PubSlush!