Friday, May 31, 2019

Welcome to authors Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller

Hello, I was given a free copy of a Fantasy/Paranormal fiction novel in exchange for an honest review. Blind Walls tells an interesting story.




















BLURB:

It's a monstrous maze of a mansion, built by a grief-ridden heiress. A tour guide, about to retire, has given his spiel for so many years that he's gone blind. On this last tour, he's slammed with second sight.

He sees the ghosts he's always felt were there: the bedeviled heiress, her servants, and a young carpenter who lands his dream job only to become a lifelong slave to her obsession. The workman's wife makes it to shore, but he's cast adrift.

And the tour guide comes home to his cat.

 Excerpt:

As always, I stood by the Here sign under a fig tree sprinkled scantily with small ripe figs. Behind me, as always, I felt the looming massive labyrinth of Weatherlee House.

Being a short man, I habitually assumed a military stance, stretching myself upward at least a quarter of an inch. My clipped hair, which I’m told is mostly gray, added gravitas to my otherwise bland face, or so I imagined. My tour guide’s uniform—crisp navy blazer, burgundy rep tie—bulged only modestly at the midriff. A brass name plate, over the buttoned pocket where my heart might be, labeled me Raymond Smollet. My round wire-rimmed black glasses were the only discordant feature in my demeanor. The fact is that I am blind.

The figs and my necktie hue I knew only by report. The wire-rims made my nose itch. I had tried wrap-arounds, but my supervisor Mr. Bottoms said they looked creepy. In fact, Management surely discerned that I looked even creepier with wire-rims. I could intuit patrons peering in sideways at my fixed milky orbs, a perfect match for those haunted-house billboards that sucked them in. People would pay top dollar to visit alien worlds where the only true risk was blurring a snapshot.

Today was the final day of my life and now the final hour. Final, at least, for life as I had lived it. I stood cockily under my fig tree on the brink of my retirement—a Friday that marked the completion of thirty years as a tour guide of Weatherlee Ghost House.


My review:

Many people have heard of the strange Winchester home with its stairwells that led to nowhere and all kinds of bizarre architectural features with no purpose—or was there a purpose? The paranormal fiction account of the house and the weapons heiress behind its creation is expertly imagined by the authors. Bishop and Fuller weave a ghostly account about more than one character who goes mad by giving their lives away to a house built to appease the dead—victims of the weapons created. 

Mrs. Weatherlee, the elderly, eccentric heiress responsible for endless building onto her house, feels guilty. How many people died because her family created something destructive that made them rich? Sadly, she drags others into her world, innocent, likeable characters who are drawn by the hands of experts. Every character in this novel is unique, and we are made to see each of their points of view.

Occasionally, I was confused by the timing. There is a lot of switching back and forth between eras, but the overall effect of this was good for the plot and creating a sense of different values. 

The characters drive this story, but the setting is critical. This tale could not be told around any but this one-of-a-kind, constantly enlarged, creepy house with the power to ruin people.

The stories of the characters—past and present—overlap and moves the suspense at an ever increasing pace. Themes of family versus work penetrate every pore of the tale, and a psychological drama plays out. It really is unpredictable. How could this possibly end? We learn a little about motives and come to understand irrationality a touch by delving into the lives of these people. The style is realism, an ironic thing for a paranormal story, but symbolism enhances the plot. The mood is somewhat tragic but interesting. I recommend this story for people who love memorable characters and settings and stories told without holding back the punches.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller’s 60+ plays have been produced Off-Broadway, in regional theatres,  and in thousands of their own performances coast to coast. Their two public radio series Family Snapshots and Hitchhiking off the Map have been heard nationally. Their books include two previous novels (Realists and Galahad’s Fool), a memoir (Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making), and two anthologies of their plays (Rash Acts: 35 Snapshots for the Stage and Mythic Plays: from Inanna to Frankenstein.)

They host a weekly blog on writing, theatre, and life at www.DamnedFool.com. Their theatre work is chronicled at www.IndependentEye.org. Short videos of their theatre and puppetry work are at www.YouTube.com/indepeye. Bishop has a Stanford Ph.D., Fuller is a college drop-out, but somehow they see eye to eye. They have been working partners and bedmates for 57 years.
Topic: Author's choice of topic

COLLABORATION

{This is from the fingers of C. Bishop, with E. Fuller’s connivance.]

            We’re often asked how two fiction writers collaborate? Isn’t this an art of self-expression? Can four hands fit on a keyboard? Strange images come to mind. And yet filmscripts and TV series by the bushelful are created by teams of writers, and no one bast a whisker saying, “It can’t be done.” And some damned fine work happens that way.
            Our first collaboration, apart from being newly-besotted lovers, was as undergraduates staging a murder scene in stage-directing class that shocked the hairs off the class and the prof. It got more serious from there. Since then, we’ve collaborated on about thirty produced full-length plays, maybe 200 short sketches (mostly comic), about 150 public radio shows, and now three novels and a memoir, CO-CREATION: FIFTY YEARS IN THE MAKING.
            My relatives were all farmers raising pigs, and no one ever asked them, “How do you raise a pig in collaboration?” Well, you pay lots of attention to the pig and what it needs and who’s best at carting the slops or dissuading the sow from eating her piglets. You learn, if you have half a brain, that it’s not productive to solve your disagreements by yelling. And you learn you’re in a very chancy business: no predicting the price of pork belly futures on the Chicago market. (I’d offer a vegan version, turnips instead of pigs, but my relatives weren’t vegans.)
            And in fact collaboration in varied forms happens a huge amount in the realm of prose fiction. The pro forma acknowledgements to “my patient wife,” “my loving husband,” “my supportive agent,” “my amazing editor,” etc., may mark a passing contribution or hours and hours of haggle. Same is true of input from beta readers or writers’ groups.
            With exceptions, I’m normally the one at the keyboard, except when dead stuck on a description. The collaboration is in three broad stages. First, the long discussion of character and the plotting of the story. It gets outlined, but every stage is debated and plotted like a murder mystery, though without the murder. In the writing, that outline may alter radically, like the booking of one of our performance tours, but it’s what we start with.
            Second comes the development. In creating plays, we’ve often used different techniques of “developmental improvisation,” setting the circumstances, playing out a scene or interviewing a character, recording the whole thing as raw material to draw upon. Sometimes that’s amazingly productive, whole scenes coming into focus. Other times, equally useful, it tells us precisely what we don’twant to do, what complications we didn’t expect, etc. With luck, maybe 10% is useful, but that 10% is invaluable.
            Thirdly, when a draft emerges, it’s read multiple times, probed with prong of a truly merciless dentist. One of those readings is sitting together, alternating in reading the text aloud, marking the potential cavities in the bite. That’s much like the developmental-edit/line-edit process, with one difference. We won’t give up on a sticking point or a disagreement until we come to a solution that both of us will fully buy, until we both feel we own the result. Sometimes that takes great patience and great creativity, feeling like the dog shaking a dead rat. In this case, though, we’re shaking it to bring it to life.
            In our culture, we celebrate the lone hero, whether it’s Wonder Woman, the Lone Ranger, or the genius in his garret, and some will see collaboration as a sign of weak ankles. For us, though, it’s what gets the job done right and the pigs or turnips on the table.






Elizabeth Fuller Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizful


e-book 99 cents to preorder from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/925035


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GIVEAWAY:

Bishop & Fuller will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the tour and comment. The more you do, the better your chances of winning.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Welcome to author M.T. Bass.



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions

A police procedural sci fi thriller ripped from future headlines!


After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.


When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.


But a madman, The Baron, is just getting started with his AI recreations of Jack the Ripper's brutal crimes. And Maddie and Jake are teamed up again to stop the carnage as the Baron's army of human replicants imitate history's most notorious serial killers.


"It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it 'Murder by Munchausen.' For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest." [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.


Excerpt:

The Three Laws


1.         A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2.         A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.

3.         A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations

About the Author:
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.




Murder by Munchausen Trilogy Purchase Links


Giveaway contest: $25 Amazon/BN GC
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Welcome to author Richard Whitten Barnes

Hello, Richard, and congratulations on your upcoming book release, Steel Town, due to come out in June. Readers should be on the lookout for a pre-order opportunity in May. I read your book, Medallion, and loved it. I'll post a review about it at the end of this post.

Blurb:
Without warning, Detective Andy Blake’s personal life seems to be spinning out of control. She already has enough on her plate dealing with the opioid crisis that has crippled her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. Adding to that are her efforts to balance it all with an admitted infatuation with the charming Dr. Campbell who is on special assignment advising the health responders dealing with a new threat: a pure form of the drug fentanyl that has added to the crisis.
Meanwhile, a young boy with special needs and a young couple become integral to the intriguing outcome of Andy’s investigation.   

Excerpt:
Civic Centre
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

A burst of applause from the gallery filled the third-floor chamber of the city council. The presentation had gone even better than he’d expected. He’d made his pitch to other groups—The Elks, Kiwanis—but tonight his real audience was the eleven people on the dais…the mayor and his ten councilors. Were they convinced? At once he was surrounded by admirers. Warm words of encouragement and congratulations accompanied by slaps on the back and handshakes.
“Hello, Dale.”
Urban was shocked. “What? You!” He tried to put the encounter out of mind. There was too much at stake here. He barely felt the sensation of a prick on his left thigh.
The adulation continued and was exhilarating, but he needed to push through the crowd and talk to the mayor. What was his impression? How would the council vote on the proposal? He couldn’t seem to move through the well-wishers and his head began to feel numb. A wave of nausea welled up in his chest. He felt his knees buckle. He hit the floor. Faces peered down at him, filling his blurred vision.
The voices changed abruptly to alarm.
“Heart attack?”
“Someone! Call for help!”
“His lips are blue!”
“My God! He’s foaming at the—”
And the voices faded to nothing.

Author bio: Richard Whitten Barnes is a native Chicagoan, graduating as a chemist from Michigan State University. He is now retired from a career in international chemical sales and marketing, which has taken him all over the world. Barnes is a veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and an avid sailor. He lives in Lake Wylie, S.C., but spends summers with his wife Marg and dog Sparty at their cottage on St. Joseph Island, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron.






Medallion is a story that will capture the hearts of history lovers, and for those who love WWII stories, this tale will be a real treat. With amazing realistic details, Richard Whitten Barnes has created a story set in war-torn Europe. Karin, a pilot of Norwegian background from America, is recruited to help defeat the chilling Nazis. Her skill flying a plane is amazing. She gets called to do a secret mission for Norway, and the stakes are high.

Barnes writes his characters with finesse and respect, instilling pertinent and memorable details that makes them unproblematic to imagine. Over the course of the war, these characters, of course, go through so much, and as a result, they grow.

Important themes such as courage and trust, friendship and selflessness come into play throughout the story. They are shown by the characters’ actions, and their conversations reveal much about them.

Though the book is written with careful attention to accurate history, readers will be emotionally drawn in, afraid for the heroes and repulsed by the villains. 

From the introduction to the conclusion, elements are handled in an expert fashion, creating a rising suspense until the very end. Enough complications occur to worry readers. There is a dash of love to make the tale more appealing and inspire readers to root for a brave couple. This subplot affects the main plot and decisions that have to be made.

Intellectually speaking, readers are likely to learn a thing or two about the war, but the human elements will make that information stick. There is just enough description of the various settings to make the unfolding of events easy to visualize.

I am a great lover of history and thoroughly enjoyed this intelligent, entertaining story. I would recommend this author and this book to others. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Welcome to author N. Lombardi Jr.

Hello, and congratulations on your book release, a legal thriller called Justice Gone.


Giveaway:
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Please follow the tour and comment. The more you do, the better your chances of winning.



blurb: When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.


A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase.


Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture.


Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?
Excerpt:


Bruntfield, New Jersey, just another banal town in a part of the country that nobody thinks about, was about to become famous; or rather, more aptly put, infamous. People sauntered past lackluster shops unaware that in a few days, the lackadaisical streets would bear the rabid frustrations that divided the nation; a pus-like bitterness that was held in check by the demands of everyday survival and the distractions offered by obsessive consumerism and brazen media.

Some would inevitably blame the cascade of events on the weather, since the origins could be found on a hot summer day in 2006. Sure, just about all summer days are hot, but this one was close to the record, and humid to boot. By the end of July, the Northeast coast was suffering under a sweltering heat wave. Despite the humidity, no one could remember the last time it had rained. A hundred-year drought was predicted, they’d said.

Bruntfield, among the many places under this curse, had its water supply so severely depressed that the city authorities were forced to impose water rationing. As if that wasn’t enough, the excessive load on air conditioners led to incessant brownouts. With the weather nothing less than insufferable, suffocating, oppressive, even provoking, tempers flared along with the temperature. But the local situation, as bad as it was, was about to get worse.

About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).


In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.: http://plainofjars.net


His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.


His latest novel, Justice Gone, was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Buy links:









Welcome to author Judy Moore

Hello, Judy, and welcome to my blog! Let's hear about you and your work. The Mother-in-law blurb:  After a whirlwind roma...