January 2, 2015 at 3:41 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

emissary banner Title: Emissary

Author: Chris Rogers

Genre: Science Fiction Literature

Length: 434 pages

Sometimes being a reviewer is hard. That sounds silly, because I love it! But when you recognize a GOOD book and you can’t seem to get into it, it’s a little painful on the emotions.  (Just like I’ve recognized books as crap and managed to love every minute of them… that part is just painful on the ego.)  It’s even harder when you begin building recurring author/reviewer relationships, see these people face to face and have to tell them: It’s brilliant, but I couldn’t get into it.  I don’t get to hide behind the anonymity of a computer screen, I book these lovely people for signings and see them around.  I enjoy that I can’t hide, it perhaps makes me kinder.  But it does not make me any less honest.  In fact, it maybe keeps me more honest, because I know we’ll chat later and I know that my facial expressions never lie.  I’m the kind of person that can’t manage to tell a cancer patient that they’re looking good when they’re not.  I end up saying, “You look better than you have!” At which point, true story, they laugh and say, “Atleast you’re honest.”  My facial expressions could be the death of me.

Let me premise by saying: I am not copping out with a back handed compliment.  Emissary truly is brilliant! From a literary perspective, it’s Rogers’ best work. It has the most depth, the most importance.  I just couldn’t get into it. JadziaMaybe it’s exhaustion, the holidays, or the fact that I’m just not in the mood for so many characters, but I wanted to devour Chris Rogers’ latest title as I have done all her others – but I didn’t.  I plodded.  I got distracted.  Between readings I forgot whether Longshadow or President Hale was the leading character, and what their role in the story was.  Ruell and I weren’t communicating well and I kept wanting him to be more tangible like Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Every time Rogers mentioned a town or country or other world, I started thinking about geography and history books, space, and the milky way… I was reading science fiction and my mind kept grasping for non-fiction reading material.

Art by Chris Rogers

Art by Chris Rogers

I went total ADD on this book for nearly every page.  Every time Duarte made an appearance I found myself humming “Don’t cry for me Argentina” until I distracted myself out of the story yet again.  Like Ruell, I was feeling all sparky and in need of a host to anchor myself. I say it’s brilliant because I think there are a lot of discussion opportunities within its pages, both for reading groups and classrooms.  It felt like reading Kurt Vonneget for school with a little Nelson DeMille splashed on top.

I think it would make an excellent film if someone could write a worthy screenplay, but the story should be guarded protectively lest someone come and make a shotty job of it. (Think of how many ways Ender’s Game could have been ruined if someone other than Gavin Hood had tackled it.) Please give Emissary a go… then come back and discuss!  Also stay tuned for an interview with the author.

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A Fancy Dinner Party

August 26, 2014 at 3:07 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Cover_Kindle_New_largeTitle:A Fancy Dinner Party

Editor: Hilary Comfort

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Thriller/ Horror

Length: 184 pages

For nearly two years now, I have had the joy of being acquainted with a small, local publishing company called Grey Gecko Press.  As a whole, they are fun and spunky, and I enjoy both hosting events for them and attending ones where they are present.

At one of the more recent signings, Jason Kristopher handed me a copy of A Fancy Dinner Party.  I was warned not to read it too late at night – or when I was alone.

I took my time with it, limiting myself to only one or two stories per sitting.  The anthology features ten different authors, a fantastic forward by Jonathan Maberry, all neatly packaged and edited by Hilary Comfort and the folks at Grey Gecko Press.

I did read it at night.  But I did not read it alone!

These stories are a lot like P1000274the group who wrote them, spunky and fun – even when they’re scaring the crap out of you.  I enjoyed the anthology, I love that I have a copy signed by all the contributors and would highly recommend it to short story lovers…

and science fiction lovers… and readers of fantasy, and horror, and thrillers…

As the back jacket says, there’s even a bit of Americana and Japanese folklore.  The book has so much to offer and is a prime example of Grey Gecko Press, yet again, putting their best foot forward.  I especially liked the dedication at the front: “For all the new and still-struggling authors whose stories have yet to be told.”

With the chapters arranged like a menu and a forward urging us to “Sit back, tuck P1000275in your napkin […] and dig into this bizarre feat,” the book keeps the menu theme alive from start to finish. Well done.

As a reviewer of an anthology, I can’t just stop there and fail to mention one crucial point – my favorite course, of course!

Drum roll…

GGP managed to save the best for last: George Wright Padgett

I loved his story The Arrangement and it was truly the cherry on top of a very disturbing dessert!

The ebook of A Fancy Dinner Party is $2.99, well worth the download.  Good luck reading alone.




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Interview with Jason Kristopher

June 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

P10200191. Your books (The Dying of the Light) are a series of zombie apocalypse novels. What do you think your stories have that set them apart from the rest of the zombie genre?

First, a realistic and scientifically-vetted reason for zombies, as in it’s not just supernatural or science fiction ‘hand-waving.’ Second, and this is the key difference, the books aren’t about the zombies. Yes, they have zombies in them, and action and blood and guts and gore, but at its core, The Dying of the Light is a story about people. I always tell potential readers that it could’ve been anything that ended the world: aliens, earthquakes, global warming… none of that matters. This series is about the end of these people’s own personal worlds, and how they deal with what happens during and after, and more importantly, with each other. That’s the real story – the rest is just window-dressing.

2. What inspired you to write zombie novels? Did the characters come to you as products of the apocalypse, or did you drop them into that setting after their inception?

The idea for the story was a mash-up of two different dreams, actually. One about a lone zombie survivor on an island, the other about the end of the world (though I didn’t know at the time what had done it). My writer’s brain smashed them together, and suddenly, there was a zombie apocalypse trilogy. It makes me a bit nervous about the other connections my mind makes, actually…

3. Stephen King says people who don’t read don’t have the tools to write. Who are your favorite authors? Who inspires you to write? Who do you read to gain more writing energy?

on-writing-coverWould it be trite to say Stephen King? His book On Writing is the single best treatise on the craft of authorship that I’ve ever read. As for other fun favorites, I have a ton, but a few that come to mind: Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Donaldson, Jordan, Koontz, Niven, Pratchett… see what I mean? For inspiration, I look at some of my friends, like George Wright Padgett (Spindown), who wrote one of my personal Top 5 sci-fi books. That is inspiring, to me. I like to re-read some books if I’m having trouble with a book I’m writing, too. For example, I’ll revisit The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series if I’m stumbling over dialogue – even though it’s English slang, Douglas Adams was a master of dialogue.

4. Do you have play lists of mood music you write to? If so, which artists/songs generally make the cut?

If I have music on, it’s generally instrumental – tuneful background noise, basically. The soundtrack to Lord of the Rings, or Last of the Mohicans, that sort of thing. If I’m struggling with a particular type of scene, I’ll find some music that fits that ambiance. For example, my “Car Chase” playlist has Guns N’ Roses, Project Pitchfork, Rihanna, and even Motley Crue. But usually, I like it quiet or very low music when I’m writing; it keeps me focused.

grey gecko press5. You are not just an author, but the owner of a publishing company: Grey Gecko Press. Tell me a little about that. What made you decide to open such a venture and what are your goals for the company?

I’ve always been business-minded, and when I published my first book, I knew there would be business expenses involved. Originally, I never planned to publish anyone else’s work, but then a friend (author Wayne Basta) asked if I could help him, and Aristeia: Revolutionary Right became the second book published under the Grey Gecko imprint. I found I really enjoyed working with other authors to share great stories, even if they weren’t mine, and I had the ability to do it… so why not? From the beginning, the company has been about treating authors fairly, publishing great books, and doing things the right way, even if that bucks centuries of tradition.

As far as goals… well, I’ve long said that I’d like for Grey Gecko to be ‘the Google of publishing.’ Most people interpret that to mean I want to be rich, when that’s not at all my goal. I want Grey Gecko Press to be huge because it would mean that every author would have a chance at the same kind of success that only a few get now with traditional publishing. Every struggling writer, pounding away at their keyboard (or typewriter, I’m not judging) would know that at least one company would look at their work when it was done, regardless of their past publishing experience – because, at the end of the day, Grey Gecko isn’t about making money: it’s about publishing great books and putting authors first. As you can tell, I’m quite passionate about this endeavor.

6. You’re quite an entrepreneur. What other projects do you have up your sleeve?

I think it’d be grP1020027eat to have a Grey Gecko bookstore, for one thing. For another, we haven’t been able to focus on as much as I’d like with Grey Gecko is giving back to our community. I’ve got some ideas for creating local resources and ‘maker-spaces’ for writers of all types and kinds. When we’re ready, I’d like to take our business model into other fields, as well, including movies, film, and even music. So yeah, a few projects on the horizon!

7. How would you feel about having your books made into a television show or series of movies? Would you want to write your own screenplays? Who would be your ideal director?

One of the comments I have most about my books are that they’re very visual, very cinematic, and I agree! I think they’d make great movies/TV shows, mainly because that’s what I see in my head when I write them. I’m not sure about writing the screenplays myself, although I’d give it a try. There’s a lot about the behind-the-camera part of the film industry that I don’t know, so I’d at least listen to some experts… though naturally I’d want final say. I’d rather not have it made at all than made badly. I’m not sure of all the director’s names on The Walking Dead, but they do such a masterful job with a show that’s so similar in tone, that I’d likely pick one of them, given the choice.

Jason and rene8. You’ve had booths at Comicpalooza and done numerous book signings with local bookstores. What were those experiences like for you? What are your favorite parts? What are your least favorite parts?

Despite what I may say on Sunday afternoon at a convention, I actually enjoy talking to people about our books. Helping people discover a new book they haven’t heard about, or seeing their excitement at the next volume in a series, or seeing the light of wonder shine in a child’s eyes as I hand them a copy of Greystone Valley is why I do what I do. As far as book signings go, I enjoy them for many of the same reasons; talking to people about my books and getting tP1020015hem excited about reading is a blast. What it really comes down to for me, though, is that I’m a storyteller at heart; however I can tell you a story, I’m going to do it. My least favorite part of all these things would be the setup, teardown, and logistics that go into planning them… mainly because I’m lazy! I’d love to show up with a cup of coffee and find everything set and ready to go, but that’s the price you pay for being your own boss, I guess!

9. What other published work have you been a part of? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Aside from The Dying of the Light, I’ve also published several short stories, some of which are based in my zombie series, some not. I also contributed one of my favorite short pieces, The Art of Steaming, to the horror anthology A Fancy Dinner Party, along with 9 other Grey Gecko Press authors, and it was also featured in the collection Penny Dreadfuls: Halloween Special. For future work… boy, have I got some ideas for you!

First, I’m finishing The Dying of the Light with the third book, Beginning, due out this winter. Then there’s Under a Cloud-covered Moon, the first in a series about an irascible, anti-hero detective who works for the Seattle Metahuman Crimes Unit, solving crimes by and against ‘metas’ – non-supernatural mutants who’ve been called ‘vampires’ and ‘werewolves’ for centuries by those who had no idea of their true nature. I’ve also got a middle-grade/YA story in mind about a Teddy Bear (because it’s a job, not a toy) named Freddy McPhane, as well as my epic fantasy series of 30 books (no joke), not to mention the 150+ other ideas I have written down. I’m going to be busy!

10. If there is one thing you would want your readers and fans to know about you, what would it be? If you had one request of your readers and fans, what would it be?

I want all my fans and readers to know that I love hearing from them! Whether it’s a quick note, or a detailed letter, I’m always excited to connect with my readers, which is best done through email at jason@jasonkristopher.com.

For a request, I’d request everyone who enjoys the books they read, especially indie books, to leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads, or elsewhere. Short of buying more books, a review is the best way to support indie authors and small press. That and telling all your friends, of course! To find out why reviews are so important, visit my blog: On the Importance of Reviews, or, It’s Just 21 Words!

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Interview with Wayne Basta

June 13, 2014 at 1:20 am (Interviews) (, , , , )

wayne bastaI had the pleasure of meeting author Wayne Basta awhile back for a book signing at Half Price Books Humble.  He has a three part series published under Grey Gecko Press here in the Houston area.  This week, I finally had the pleasure of interviewing him.

1. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading your series. Can you tell us about it?

Aristeia is a science fiction space opera that follows the characters of Maarkean, Saracasi and Zeric as they accidently set off a rebellion against the powerful Alliance.

2. What moved you to start writing science fiction?

I’ve always been a fan of the genre. My father got me into Star Trek and Star Wars at a young age and then followed it up with classic science fiction books like Asimov and Clarke.

3. An interviewer (Sam Weller, of the Paris Review) asked Ray Bradbury if writing science fiction satisfied something that mainstream fiction did not. I’d like to ask you that same question. Do you find that science fiction satisfies something that mainstream fiction cannot – both in yourself as well as in society?

I don’t believe science fiction isn’t mainstream fiction. Look at the biggest blockbuster movies and books and you’ll find lots examples of science fiction. Science fiction certainly satisfies something other genre’s do not, but so does every different genre.

4. When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to write?

The first things I wrote were when I was 9 and we got our first home computer. I dabbled in writing ever sense then, though I didn’t make a serious effort to write a complete novel length story until just a few years ago.

5. When you write, do you have a specific place or environment you like to go? Do you play music (and if so, what music?) or do you prefer the quiet?

I usually write from my laptop at the kitchen table. The chairs are less comfortable than my desk chair so its easier to stay focused. The laptop also can’t run most of my games so that clearly defines this computer a work place and the desktop for play.

I write in silence a lot but depending on the scene I’m working on I might put on music. I’ll often try and match the music to what’s happening in the book. During a heavy battle scene I might play some epic sound tracks from movie battles or if its more subdued a lighter piece.

6. What is the easiest part of the writing process for you? What is the hardest?

The easiest part is the writing itself. Figuring out what I’m going to write, finding the time when there’s no toddler demanding attention, marketing the books, editing the grammar and everything else is hard. But when I know what is going to happen to my characters, the words just flow out with ease.

basta book7. Who designed your book covers?

I worked with an artist named Oliver Wetter to design the cover. I told him what I had in mind and described the looks of my characters. He then brought them to life. He did an amazing job with each of them.

8. You were recently at a Comicpalooza. What were you doing there? What was that experience like?

I sat on a number of writing panels at Comicpalooza. It’s always great to get to sit down and talk about writing and books with fellow authors and fans of the genre.

9. Do you have any tips or advice on getting published for aspiring authors?

Never give up, never surrender. It’s a hard process to wade through and relies mostly on persistence and dedication to succeeding. Keep trying and keep improving your queries and your writing.

Like Wayne’s page on facebook.


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Meet Tom Sechrist

May 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , )


1. Describe your book and its inception. What made you decide to write this?

“The Stones of Andarus” is the first book in The Devenshire Chronicles series. It introduces us to the main characters and sets up the premise for the rest of the series. A demented Master Mage named Xavier annihilates a village in order to obtain the Stones of Andarus, which legends claim contain a fragment of the power of creation mixed with the twisted essence of a crazed sorcerer named Andarus. Daimion Devenshire realizes what is at stake and sets off on a desperate quest to stop Xavier from unleashing the unholy power of these three ancient artifacts. Joining him on this adventure are a group of unlikely heroes including The Lady Brianna Standish, governing lord of Prothtow Province, Shantira Dubris, sole survivor of Xavier’s attack on her village, Raven Darkseed, rouge adept of the Mystical Arts and Zandorth Krahl, Warrior of the Ancient Class.

What made me decide to write this was a desire to write in a genre I had never tried before. Prior to “The Stones of Andarus”, I had writtBooks13en manuscripts in multiple genres including westerns, science fiction, and detective/thrillers. I had always enjoyed a good Fantasy story and one day in 1998 I decided to try my hand at it. Little did I know that I was setting out on a story that would dominate and consume me for over a decade.

2. What were your influences? Is there anyone from your genre you especially admire?

My biggest influence when it comes to writing is Ms. Joynelle Pearson. When I was 13 I had a very explosive temper. One day that temper led me to punch a brick column in my schools court yard. Needless to say I wound up in the nurses station with an ice pack on my very swollen hand (thank goodness nothing was broken). Ms. Pearson happened to walk by and saw me sitting there. She lifted the towel over the ice pack and shook her head. She looked up at me and said, “You really should get a handle on that temper of yours. Have you ever tried writing a short story about whatever it was that angered you?” That piece of advice started me down the path of becoming a writer. At first they were just really bloody and violent short stories. As time went on I found that it really did help ease my temper and I really enjoyed the writing process. Those initial short stories started being expanded with actual plot lines, character development and so forth.

My other writing influences include Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz, Louis L’Amor and, of course, Tolkien. In the Fantasy genre I really enjoy C. S. Friedman, P. N. Elrod, and George R. R. Martin.

3. Many authors are heavily influenced by their environment when they write. Where is your safe space? Do you have mood music?

I don’t really have a designated place to write. Sometimes I write at my desk, sometimes I write in my backyard, and sometimes I write in my bedroom. I would have to say that my muse decides the environment I’m going to write in.

I absolutely have to have music blaring through my headphone when I’m writing. I have a very long playlist of all types of music on my computer. Everything from rock to rap to instrumental to big band to jazz, the list is practically endless. Sometimes I’ll pull up an Epic Music track on YouTube and write to that. Like my writing environment, it seems my muse picks the music as well.

4. What do you find to be the easiest of the writing and editing process? What is the hardest for you?

The easiest is the writing of the first draft. I don’t worry about the mechanics of writing, I just write, let the ideas flow and hope my fingers can get the ideas out as fast as my mind is producing them.

Editing gets tedious after the fifth or sixth time through the manuscript, but I enjoy the process of seeing where I’ve made mistakes and how to keep myself from repeating them. I also have a very talented editor (Rogena Mitchell-Jones) who has been a tremendous help in improving my editing skills.

The hardest part of the writing process has to be starting a new book. The excitement and urge to write are so strong and yet, getting that first sentence out has always been the hardest part for me. I’ve spent hour upon hour staring at that blank screen and blinking cursor and… nothing. I have lost count of how many millions of first sentences/paragraphs that I’ve deleted trying to get that new story started.

5. Many authors participate in book signings and conventions. Artistic authors like yourself who write and create for this genre do especially well at ComicCon and Comicpalooza. Are you interested in branching out into the event world? What would your ideal celebration of The Devenshire Chronicles look like?

I would love to branch out into the event world. I think book signings, conventions and other events where I can introduce readers to the world of The Devenshire Chronicles would be ideal. The perfect celebration of The Devenshire Chronicles would feature a booth with copies of all my books for sale, all sorts of book swag, portraits I’ve created of all the characters and a monitor set up playing the book trailers and other videos I’ve created for the series. I would be there signing copies of the books and talking with people about the books, writing and other creative processes. It would be great.

6. Did you learn anything about yourself or the world you live in by writing this book (that isn’t included in the book itself)?

Over the 16 years that I’ve been involved in The Devenshire Chronicles, namely The Stones of Andarus, I’ve watched myself grow as a writer and a person. I go back to the original first draft of Book 1 and I almost cringe at how bad the writing was. At the time I thought it was the best piece of literature ever produced, but looking back on it now, I can see how much I’ve grown. My wife has read both versions and she has made the observation that I’ve seasoned as a writer and a person since I began this story. As I have grown, I can see how the main characters of the story have grown as well. I have learned that while my skill as a writer has improved tremendously over the past decade, I still have much more to learn and that there is always room for improvement.

7. How have your friends and family reacted to your content?

My friends and family have been tremendously supportive of my writing. I have to temper their praise with the fact that they are my friends and family, but it’s good to have that kind of support.

One of my friends is hooked on the series and is always asking me when the next book is coming out and that I need to hurry up. She says she actually misses the main characters in between books and can’t wait for the next one.

My wife, Renee, is, without a doubt, my staunchest supporter and the primary reason Book 1 was ever published. When I met her three years ago I had given up on ever publishing The Devenshire Chronicles. She read part of “The Stones of Andarus” and encouraged me to keep writing. She has become my sounding board for story ideas and keeps me on track when I get discouraged or distracted.

8. What are your future writing plans? Do you have other books in the works?

I am currently working on Book 3 of The Devenshire Chronicles entitled, “The Amulet of Talmara”. I’m hoping to have it released later this year. I also have ideas for a pirate novel, a science fiction novel, a western, a post-apocalyptic novel and another Fantasy novel as well.

9. Tell me about your art ventures.

After I had released “The Stones of Andarus” I wanted a book trailer to go along with it. I had watched several book trailers and started playing around with a movie making program. I produced a crude trailer but I was never completely satisfied with it. I needed/wanted characterizations of the characters in the book and I didn’t want to use someone else’s artwork or photographs. I saw the trailer for “Sanctum of Souls”, a work in progress by Bex Pavia who is a friend of mine. She had 3D representations of her characters and I was blown away by that. I asked her how she made the characters and she introduced me to a 3D graphics program.

Over the next couple of months I played with the program, watched tutorials and experimented until I was finally able to produce the first 3D rendering of Daimion Devenshire. That was a very powerful moment for me. I had always pictured Daimion in my mind, but to actually “see” him was incredible. Once I had 3D portraits of all the main characters I started revamping my book trailer and found that I absolutely love doing that sort of creative work, almost as much as I love writing.

Since then I have gone on to produce a book trailer for Book 2 “Predator & Prey” and have gone back and replaced the text-on-screen in both trailers with my own voice over work.

I have also produced a video which is a remake of the original “Hawaii 5-0” intro. In the remake I call it “Prothtow 5-0” (Prothtow is a province in the books) and I use the characters from the book as its “stars”. I did it for pure entertainment value and the fact that I so enjoy making these videos.

I have found it’s a good outlet for me when I have a particularly bad case of writers’ block.

10. If there was one thing you’d want fans to know about you, what would it be?

I don’t write these books to become rich and famous (though I won’t deny the more pleasant aspects of that thought). I write these books because I want to touch people the way I’ve been touched through someone’s writing. I pour everything I have into these stories so that maybe, just maybe, someone will read them and feel like we have some sort of connection. I want people to read my work and feel like we had one hell of a good time together and it leaves them with some very warm and fond memories.

The Stones of Andarus (Kindle/ paperback)

The Stones of Andarus on Smashwords

The Stones of Andarus book trailer

Predator & Prey book trailer

Tom’s Website

Tom’s Facebook Page

Tom’s Youtube Page

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Hello GGP and the Zombie Apocalypse

May 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

P1020019Title:The Dying of the Light: End

Author: Jason Kristopher

Publisher: Grey Gecko Press

Genre: Thriller

Length: 417 pages

Last year I worked the Half Price Books booth at Comicpalooza.  It was amazing and fun and I met some of the best people in the world – geeks like me who had gathered from all over the world to bask in their geeky-ness.

I’m in a little bummed out that I am not there this year, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t be back in the future.  What it does mean, however, is that I am spending my weekend re-creating at home what I am missing at the G.R. Brown Convention center right now.

Last year, I was so lucky to come across Grey Gecko Press, a local publishing company who had pulled out all the stops for their authors.   The booth was gorgeous, had professional banners for all the authors, hardback and paperback books on display.  It didn’t look indie at all.  Penguin and Tor would have been impressed, I think.

Of course, I asked them to come be a part of Half Price Books events in the Humble area.  My floor space is your floor space, I basically said, and I have not regretted it one bit.

It is because of them that I have had the pleasure of reading Spindown by George Wright Padgett, a book that I thought was pretty brilliant.  So brilliant, I connected him with the artist of the art company I work with, Gershom Reese Wetzel, when he said he was ready to publish his own science fiction title.  We got a review copy to Padgett, and the rest is history.  Padgett was the perfect person to write an editorial review for us.  It’s a fascinating sub-genre they share.

Now, finally, one year later, I’m digging my teeth into Jason Kristopher’s work – The Dying of the Light series.

I don’t generally read or watch a lot of zombie material.  When everyone was on that craze, I was not.  But I do love a good zombie story.   Usually when in the mood I go on a Resident Evil binge.  One of my all time favorite movies (top twenty anyway) is 28 Days Later, the first time I saw it I was impressed by the cinematography and the choice in music made me cry it was so lovely.

I chuckled and snickered all the way through reading Pride & Prejudice  & Zombies and just recently I was introduced to the movie Warm Bodies and absolutely loved it.

So even though the zombie craze isn’t entirely my thing – I’m not ignorant of the genre and I do enjoy it.  I existed in the house when my husband was watching The Walking Dead, he watched too many episodes without me to follow the whole show, but now reading The Dying of the Light I feel like I got the better end of the stick.

Kristopher’s work is both an easy breezy read as well as an involved and intricate apocalypse novel.  Current events are tied into the possibilities – which is always the best way to build a dystopian or apocalyptic world, in my opinion.  The characters are real, the main one appropriately both strong and sappy.  (Without a little bit of nostalgia and romance, what in God’s name would anyone want to save?)

Of course, that’s always the best part of an end of the world story – it’s why millions have fallen in love with Doctor Who.  Any fight to the death for a whole world must involve a story of humanity and what it means to be human.  Jason Kristopher pulls this off well, without overwhelming the casual reader with too much intensity.

After reading several books lately that involve a lot of plodding and lengthy prologues (from biographies to novels), Jason Kristopher’s opening sentence “I didn’t see Rebecca die the second time” was just the clincher I needed to jump into a refreshingly fast paced story.

I’m looking forward to Interval, the next book in the series.



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May the Fourth Be With You

May 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today is Intergalactic Star Wars Day.  Which means yesterday (Saturday), retailers everywhere were celebrating National Free Comic Book Day.

Half Price Books was no exception.  After all, the company sells anything printed or recorded that is not home-made.

The Humble store celebrated with Art by Shaka, Book Signings with phenomenal sci-fi authors, and comic book colored cupcakes.





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The Colorado Kid / Haven

April 6, 2014 at 1:39 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

paperback_prop_embedTitle: The Colorado Kid

First Edition Release Date: October, 2005

Author: Stephen King

Synopsis taken from stephenking.com:

Vince Teague and Dave Bowie are the sole operators of The Weekly Islander, a small Maine newspaper. Stephanie McCann has been working for them as an intern. When Stephanie asks if they’ve ever come across a real unexplained mystery in the fifty years they’d been publishing the paper, they tell her the story of The Colorado Kid.

I have to be honest, I picked up this book because I have developed an unhealthy obsession for the tv show Haven.

Which, despite being drastically different stories, I like both King’s original story and the tv show spin off, a lot.

There are a lot of complaints on the internet about the show having nothing to do with the book.  I wonder what KingHaven thinks, actually, because even though there were some definite creative licensees taken, I think the writers of the show have tried to honor the original creator.

In the book, Vince and Dave are not brothers – in the show they are.  I’m not sure why that particular route was taken for the show, I don’t think it would have made a big difference to keep their original relationship.  I do, however, like their characters’ dynamic in the show.  And I adore the actors who play them.

The book focuses on the intern, Stephanie, who is asking Vince and Dave questions regarding the biggest mystery in Hammock Beach.  In Haven, Audrey Parker (FBI) has come to town to investigate a different murder.  Absurdly different, until you dive deeper into the show where you find that Audrey’s entire reason for being in Haven (or Hammock Beach, as it is called in the novel) has everything to do with the 1980’s mystery of The Colorado Kid.

If you have the patience to really get into the show, you’ll find that the show and the book have this main common thread:

In 1980 an unidentified body is found on a beach in Maine, wearing gray slacks, and a white shirt. No one seems to know who he is, or how he got to be there, but he is dubbed The Colorado Kid.

colorado kid

King’s book allows this mystery to mostly go unsolved, as Dave Sturm wrote in 2009:

“[…] King has written a meditation on stories by telling one that heads to a letdown, because the central mystery — SPOILER: How did the body of a Coloradan end up dead on a Maine beach just hours after he disappeared from Colorado???: END SPOILER — is left a mystery at the end.

King has violated a central tenet inherent in Hard Case Crime. The story has no plausible resolution.”

by Dave Sturm
8 August 2009

The point of the book is the beauty of things that are mysterious, how one answer unveils another question – at least that’s what I got out of it.  The book also leaves itself wide open to becoming a set of mysteries that must be solve to explain the existence and death of this strange man on a beach, which the tv show honors.

So, in Haven, every answer Audrey Parker uncovers in the show leads to another series of questions.  The show has one magical quality – it’s entire existence is someone’s creative answer to King’s unsolved mystery.  By the fourth season, you may start to catch my drift.  I am still patiently waiting for season five to get uploaded to Netflix.

In short, I adore the show and I loved the book.  I read the first 137 pages of the book during my one hour lunch break.  I read the rest of the book as soon as I completed my work.  One thing that I missed doing, however, was read King’s afterward.  I was in a hurry to get home, but couldn’t go without finishing the story – but putting all my thoughts in review here I wish I had taken the extra moments to read what he had to say about his own work.


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A Little Bit of Fad Reading

March 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

divergentTitle: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Length: 487 pages

So I finally took that leap onto the [fad] train.

When I worked full time in the bookstore, chatting with customers, recommending books in person, I would have read this as soon as it was a thing for the sole purpose of finding something on the shelves that was similar when we were out of stock.  It was published in 2011, the year I left.  That last year was also one spent handling more inventory and displays as the store’s SIM than handling people and their whims and desires in the book world.   So though I was vaguely familiar with the title I totally missed the need to devour this title in a day and come back with a list of titles to hold over disappointed customers until we could get this one in their hands.

Somewhere along the road in my stay-at-home-mom life I discovered Hunger Games, and fell in love.  Though part of a huge fad, Hunger Games was no Twilight Saga or Vampire Diaries series.  Hunger Games was epic and beautiful and insanely well written.

So when I saw the preview for the movie Divergent, I thought, ‘What the heck? Let’s see if it will surprise me too.’

Color me surprised – again!  I really liked this one.  I read it in one day – nearly one sitting.  It tends to be easy to do that with contemporary young adult novels, no matter how long they are.

I found Hunger Games more moving, but I was able to relate more to the main character of Divergent more.  I’m nervous to see how they portray her in the movie, the book version is a person I feel very in tune to.  Katniss Everdean is someone I admire and look up to as a literary character, but whom I share very few similarities.  Tris’s story feels as though Roth dropped my mind into her version of dystopia.  Tris feels how I feel and tends to react in ways I am known to react.  (So far anyway.) Many of her fears were my fears at 16, actually I can’t think of one that is different.

For that it was incredibly enjoyable and easy to get into, and despite this being completely entertaining fluff fiction, I consider the hours spent reading it time well spent.

I’m interested to see how the  rest of the books go (it’s a series), as well as the movie adaptation in theaters this month.  Although I’m a little nervous that it might be too easy to amp up the cheese factor for the big screen – but I guess I’ll have to take a flying leap onto that fad train as well or I’ll never find out.


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Teres – It’s About Time

December 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm (Fan Art, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

TeresTitle: Teres

Author: Gershom Reese Wetzel

Publisher: LucidBooks

Genre: Science Fiction

I read this book in April of this year (2013) when it was still a pdf file. Go back in time a few (or ten) years and I remember listening to Gershom (my dear friend) talk about his ideas regarding a character named Teres.  I remember a very cool dinner party at Macaroni Grill with Teresa Noreen, who seemingly semi-inspired the character Wetzel invented in his mind.

She was stunning.  So is the book.

I read the book in approximately three to four hours.  I believe it’s 300 pages or so long.  It was riveting, and I was doing a real time discussion as I read with the author, searching for mistakes.  There really weren’t any that I recall.

I’ve been leery about posting a formal review on any of my typical sites (shelfari, goodreads, amazon, etc.) though.  Not because I don’t like the book – I love it – but because I have the great honor of being mentioned on the back of the book and I don’t want any potential customer to feel duped or think my thoughts are self-serving or insincere.

back cover Teres

I feel too close to write an unbiased review, but I am way too excited about Teres to leave my thoughts undocumented.

Teres is all action and go from start to finish.  It’s glorious sci fi patterned stylistically after typical books of the genre, but with a depth that is not easily comparable in anything else I’ve read.  Wetzel may not have intended on delivering such a moving message about life, government, and religion, but by nature he’s a wise messenger and that couldn’t help but come across in his writing.

As I mention in so many of my posts, I am a sucker for dystopian societies, and this one is right up there with the infamous Big Brother from 1984 and Libria from the amazing film Equilibrium.

What makes Wetzel’s work so engrossing is what a visual masterpiece he has created.  He is first and foremost an artist, then a graphic designer and author.  His writing is enhanced by the images his fingers itch to draw out on paper.   It’s also really cool that he has the ability to do all his own cover and concept art.

I can’t wait to see more from this character – and her creator.  I see sequels and graphic novels and films of the Aeon Flux caliber in Teres’ future.

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