Book Review- Dark Day Dreams by James Hawthorne

Dark Day Dreams
James Hawthorne
4 Stars

Today I have another collection of stories for you, my Gentle Readers. This collection is all from the mind of James Hawthorne. It ranges from the philosophical to the dark, the uplifting to the horrific. James did a great job with this collection. I’m just going to highlight a few of the stories that I particularly enjoyed.

From the first story about the Midnight Kid and the dream realm, I was hooked. Beast in Show is exceptional and I wish there was more of it. The Summer of our Discontent is a fabulous piece of alternative history that could really go places if expanded. James explores the question: What if the Confederate states had stayed separate? Glitch is an interesting and dark story of pharmaceuticals turned street drug becoming catastrophic from the side effects no one would have tested for.

I found this book to be a great quick read. If you are looking for a collection of bite size stories, I’m sure you will find something here to tickle your fancy.

Dark Day Dreams on Amazon

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Author Interview – Paul Francois 

Today my Gentle Readers, I want to introduce you to Paul Francois. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Paul will be GREEN.

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Seems like all writers are also voracious readers. What got you started in the literary world?
Actually, I am a hypocrite. I never enjoyed reading in school, not sure if that was due to the horrible English teachers I endured in high school or not. Unfortunately that followed me beyond my academic years. I even find it difficult to read my own work, of course what writer enjoys having to edit his own work.

I don’t think any nominally sane writer likes to edit their own work. When you do pick up that rare book however, what do you go for?
When I do read, my favorites are SciFi, Fantasy, and Suspense/Thiller.

So if English was so horrible in school and you weren’t a reader, what turned you onto writing?
I hated to write in school, once again a side effect of my hatred of English classes. One day in 2011 I started thinking of a story idea. No matter how hard I tried I could not stop the thoughts…or voices I guess. So I started writing them down. That first novella was the most difficult to write. Most likely due to my lack of desire to read and write at a young age. I have found writing to be my greatest challenge, and I love a good challenge. I am not sure where my ideas come from, but most of them come from when I shower. My wife thinks it’s the hot water that inspires me. Maybe the heat makes my brain work better.

Some people sing in the shower, you plot stories. Maybe it is the heat. So what genre is your specialty?
I still have not restricted myself to a single genre yet. I have written a YA Adventure novella, a Epic Fantasy novel, and am working on a SciFi novel next. I also plan on writing Thriller and Mystery as well.
So when you finally decided to write, what was your journey like?
As I mentioned before, I started in 2011 writing. Mostly to just stop the voices in my head. I felt as if the ideas were pouring out faster than I could write them. I lost count of how many edits that novella went through. I am surprised there were any pages left when I was done. Once I finished that I received my next idea for a novel from the online game I used to play, Shadowbane. I loved the lore behind the game, but it left too many unanswered questions. So I used that for my novel. Before I knew it, I wrote enough to fill a full length novel…my first one too. Before I could even finish that novel I started getting more and more ideas for novels. I finally started writing down the basic ideas on text files and storing them away for later. I think at last count I was up to at least a dozen more ideas. Now I just need the time to finish them.

No doubt you will have more ideas before you finish those novels. When you are not writing, what fills your time?
I work in the IT field. I am currently work at a college. I have a wife, who still tolerates me after 25 years, and a son who is finishing his 3rd year in college right now. All of my other hobbies, football, video games, and electronics, have taken a backseat to my new hobby…writing. I am obsessed with it. There have even been some nights I woke up in the middle of the night to write, my wife loved that!

I bet she did. I want to thank you for stopping by and chatting with me for a bit, Paul. I look forward to getting my hands on that epic fantasy and the Sci-Fi novel once I get my ‘to be read’ pile down a bit.

If you want to check out Paul’s work and keep up with what he dreams up in the shower next, just click on the link below to go to his website.

Paul’s Website – Crusader’s Crypt

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Book Review – God is a Woman by Michael Tavon


God is a Woman
Michael Tavon
3 Stars

I’m going to put a little parental advisory here, my Gentle Readers. While not nearly the most explicit thing I have ever read, there are parts of this book not suitable for the kiddos.

That said, I want to like this book. Price Jones is a broken man. A broken home, molestation, and a mother who eventually checked out on drugs lead to an adult who can’t cope without alcohol. Price’s redeeming quality centers on his ability with the written word, at least to the few people close to him. His latest book sold more copies than his previous two, but he isn’t topping any best seller lists. His journey to redemption is, if at all possible, going to be difficult.

There is a great story here, even if you ignore the sometimes gratuitous sexual explicitness. The problem for me was in the editing/proofreading of this work. There are many varied errors that will snap the attentive reader out of the story. If you can overlook them however, you can find a great journey of self discovery and redemption.

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Book Review – The Student by Frank Weisener

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The Student (Jerome Water Book 1)
Frank Weisener
4 Stars

 

Crime Dramas are not my normal cup of tea for reading, my Gentle Readers. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the TV shows, I just normally do not read them. This series might become my first exception. Frank does a great job of weaving flashbacks and character backstory in bite size chunks so that you can understand the depth and motivations of his creations. Each chapter gives you a date and time, as well as the primary players in the scene. This allows you to follow along with the investigation as well as the criminal’s activities.

Something is wrong at Miami’s prestigious Florida International University. FIU students are turning up dead. It’s up to rookie detective Jerome Water to crack this case and bring the perp to justice. He’s not alone, however. He has his mentor, aging detective Poole, and former Miami Dade police officer turned private eye, Franco Tamargo. Can these three gumshoes find out who’s killing the students of FIU? Grab your copy of “The Student” today to find out.

The Student on Amazon

Frank Weisener on Goodreads

Author Interview- Melinda Kucsera

I have a great new friend to introduce you to today, my Gentle Readers. Melinda Kucsera is a fellow author with two works currently on Amazon. I have added her to my To Be Read pile (which never seems to get smaller) and I think you should too. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Melinda will be GREEN.

Let’s start this off with something easy since almost all writers are avid readers as well. Is there a specific event or person which made you a reader?
Like many other writers, I grew up reading. My mother is a voracious reader who didn’t much care for television. So she allowed my sibs and I only 1 hour of TV per day. So yes, I missed out on most of the 80s shows. When I was a kid, her ‘one hour’ rule irked me, but now I’m grateful to her. Not following a ton of TV shows frees me up to read and write more. Though I grew up reading, I was never as voracious a reader as mother was until I discovered audiobooks. Now my audiobook habit outstrips her ebook addiction and we have a good laugh about that when we get together to talk about books.

That’s funny about your mom. Sometimes I wish I had watched less TV as a kid. Maybe I should try this with my kids. Since you prefer audiobooks, what are you favorite books to listen to?
Fantasy, thrillers, mysteries, police procedurals, Sci-fi especially military and hard sci-fi, physics, astronomy and other nonfiction science books. I love the Great Courses series of audiobooks.

I may have to check those out myself, though I am not much for audiobooks. What pushed you across that threshold from reader into writer?
My imagination. I invented a fantasy world before I started school and I carried it with me everywhere I went. Every day I refined it, and I spent hours imagining adventures for the characters living there. One rainy day, I started writing those stories down to distract myself from the argument my parents were having. I wrote until my hand cramped and then I switched hands and brute forced more letters onto the page. Some of them were actually readable thanks to ambidexterity. After that, dreaming of adventures wasn’t enough. I had to note them down.
World building is generally a long process if you want to get it right, so kudos to you on the dedication. I probably don’t really have to ask this but for the sake of the interview, what is your writing specialty?
Fantasy, epic or paranormal non-romantic though, I like action and adventure!

We know your world building was a long journey, but once you had all this down, tell us how you went from cramped up hands to published writer.
My journey is an eccentric one. I work in the publishing industry at the intersection of design, IT, editorial, business and marketing. I’d already been researching and thinking hard about self-publishing when the unthinkable happened. My sister died suddenly at the age of 29. Before she passed, she asked me to publish the Curse Breaker series I was working on at the time. Grief crushed me. I crawled into audiobooks and took refuge there until the pain lessened and the tears stemmed. I’d lost my best friend and she never got to read the story I was most proud of, the penultimate sequence in the Curse Breaker saga.
In the dark days that followed, I clung to the promise I’d made to her. I would not let her down. I published the first story from the series, Curse Breaker: Enchanted, on the second anniversary of my sister’s death as a memorial for her and all those who never had the chance to chase their dreams.

I am very sorry to hear about your sister. To shift gears a little bit, what do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
When not writing, I’m a project manager for a privately held publishing company that I do not own. They don’t publish fiction, so there is no conflict and my coworkers are quite proud to have an author on staff. I can usually be found listening to an audiobook and sneaking onto audible.com to search for my next great listen or chatting with other coworkers about the audiobook they’re listening to. I’m also fitness/health enthusiast. So if you pass by my neighborhood or my office, you’ll find me out there wearing the rubber off my sneaker’s soles. I love to walk.

Well, keep up the good work and thank you for stopping by to chat with me for a few minutes.

If you would like to find out more about Melinda or her work, you can find her at the links below.

Melinda Kucsera’s Website

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Curse Breaker: Enchanted is available from Amazon

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Book Review – 2020 by Jim Mosquera


2020 (Chandler Scott Series Book 1)
Jim Mosquera
3 Stars

Gentle Readers, this book will make you think. Jim weaves a tale of financial power players and behind the scenes politics that’s a bit too close to home.

Chandler Scott is a rising star reporter with his own show on the El Mundo television network. With the help of his mentor, Axel Schultz, he begins digging into a story mired deep in the current economic crisis. His investigations make him a target, as well as his girlfriend.

Jim Mosquera does some things right and some things wrong, in my humble opinion. The story begins very slow. There is a lot of info dump of character biographical information. The author seems to do this to establish the pedigree of the character and lend credibility to their statements and actions. While important for the story overall, these chunks of history really slow down the action in the first half to two thirds of the novel. The action does pick up from there. There is also a bit of restatement where a character says something, then the author gives us nearly the same thing as a separate sentence. This bogs down a few of the great dialogue sequences.

These issues aside the book ends on a note of making you want more, to find out just what Chandler is going to do in the wake of the forces arranged to control the flow of and existence of money in the United States and the world.

Jim Mosquera’s Website “The Sentinel.biz”

2020 on Amazon

Author Interview – G.R. Lyons

Today my Gentle Readers, I have a treat for you. I was recently introduced to G.R. Lyons, a fellow author. I thought it would be great to make some introductions to all of you. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Lyons will be GREEN.
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Thank you for joining me today. Let’s start with something basic. I’ve learned that almost all writers got their start as readers. Tell me, how did you become a reader? Is there a specific event or person who fostered a love of reading for you?
I started reading at a very young age, and devoured just about anything I could get my hands on. I’ve always lived a fairly dull, regimented, uneventful life, so having the escapism of fiction was always a blessing.
Nothing wrong with a little escapism into books. Healthier than a lot of the alternatives. Do you have a favorite genre? Or many?
I’ve always loved the classics, and have a heavy collection of libertarian philosophy / Austrian economics texts, but my current love is m/m romantic fiction. Once I discovered it was actually a thing, I couldn’t get enough.
At some point this love of reading turned to writing. When were you inspired you to write?

I became a writer purely by accident. Had you asked me in high school or college if I ever saw myself as a writer, I’d probably have laughed in your face. It just never appealed to me. Then, in April 2009, all the memories I’d repressed from an abusive relationship suddenly came flooding back, and after finally breaking down and crying about it for the first time, I turned on my laptop and wrote out a description of my most vivid memory of being raped. It was incredibly cathartic. Just two pages, but it was like a dam had broken. The next day, that once ‘scene’, if you will, became a story idea. Five weeks later, I had a finished novel. Which turned into a trilogy. Which led to another story idea, and another, and another. Somehow, the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me turned into the best thing that ever happened to me. I finally found a passion for something. I finally had something I wanted to do with my life. I now live, breathe, eat, and sleep my stories, and I can’t imagine my life any other way.

I’m very sorry to hear about what happened to you. That must have been terrible. It is wonderful though that you have turned it into something positive and uplifting in your life. What genre(s) do you prefer to write?

I prefer fantasy, because even though it’s a lot of work to create an entirely new world, it’s also incredibly freeing. I’m not tied to actual historical events or places in the real world. I can make it all up. I’ve also recently broken into the m/m romance genre, and find I definitely prefer that, though I’m thoroughly enjoying placing all my stories into the fantasy world I’ve created, so they’re all going to be linked to some degree.
World Building is something I’ve always enjoyed as well. Why don’t you tell us a little about your journey as a writer? Any funny stories about editors or publishers you want to share? We can omit names if you prefer.

Thanks to the incredible help and encouragement from self-published author Lisa Clark O’Neill, I found the courage to self-publish my first series, the Lethean Trilogy. Not my best work, but the sense of accomplishment — having that first print copy in my hands — was indescribable. From there, I’ve charged in head-first, continuing to self-publish each book as it comes along. My main series is the Shifting Isles series, set in my little fantasy world. There are currently 5 of the planned 14 novels in that series available. I’ve also self-published an m/m romance trilogy set in the same world, entitled Matchmakers. Besides the 9 remaining Shifting Isles books, I have at least three other series planned, set in the same world.

That’s fantastic. I think a lot of writers look back on their first works as not their best, but it is about the journey and growing with each step. When you are not writing, what do you do? Day/Night Job? Family? Other Hobbies?

The dreaded day job is Service Writer / Office Manager for the family auto repair business (not a great position for an introvert!). I’m close to my father, step-mother, and my sister, though for the most part I’m definitely a lone wolf, and tend to prefer quiet nights of reading or writing. I was a belly dancer for 16 years, and would love to get back into it someday, but for now, my only other activity is CrossFit. The big thing in my life right now is that I’ve sold my house so I can have some funds to live off of for a few years while I try to be a full-time writer. I may never manage to make a career of it, but since this is the only life I’ll ever have, I have to try, just for the sake of it. To call myself a full-time writer? What a dream!
That’s a big leap of faith and I wish you all the best of luck with it. Thank you again for stopping by to answer a few questions so my readers can get to know you. If you want to see more from my featured author, G.R. Lyons, check the links below.
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