Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd - Out in June...

Mahnaz Ahmadi
Nax dreamed often about the night it all began. There was just so much joy, so much wonder. No one knew then what the shadowlessness would lead to. Even when she dreamed about it now that she'd seen what it all became, the dream still never turned into a nightmare. She didn't know what that meant. Maybe it didn't mean anything at all.
~~~

It's not often that I truly find little to like about a book. This is supposedly an apocalyptic fantasy. I found little that showed it to be that... Yes, it is definitely fantasy--the concept was interesting, but quite unbelievable...

In essence, the premise is that our memories are retained in our shadows. Thus if you lose your shadow, you will begin to forget. In a real world where Alzheimer's is growing, this "possible reason" seemed to be farcical...

For one, the reason behind the concept was never given, nor did it result in the total loss of the world's people... There was no reason given to those who kept their shadows and those who lost them. 

Nor was the division based on any tangible reason that some turned bad, evil, while others worked to help as many people as possible, shadowless or not.

What there was was a division based upon the power that some of those who had lost their shadows had attained...

And the foolish "transcenders" who looked to these powerful people and bowed down to them, while attacking those who did not follow them... This was the only hypothesis that perhaps had any semblance to today's world...if you thought about it.

So, those few that remained with a shadow either were going to be forced into transcendence or killed...or be taken by the "reds" who were called that because everybody painted their bodies red. Really?

There were too many inconsistencies also, conceptually in the beginning, it was suggested that if an individual "forgot" say, their home, that it would disappear... Later in the book, however, this did not hold true in some cases. The book also hones in on several medical doctors...while the rest of the world is ignored in the story...Readers wonder if there are shadowed people everywhere, or just the few that are the main characters in the story.

White the writing and story flow was excellent, I often considered stopping and did skip parts that seemed to be overworked. The only part of the book I enjoyed was the characters. The book is divided into the story from the perspective of the various main characters and it is only their personal stories that carried the book for me. On the other hand, the lead-in suspense of the supposed savior took a storied fable to create that "savior." Who...really...wasn't...

On the other hand, the twist at the end of the book surely was not a welcome one for those who were left hanging. If this was done to elicit interest in a sequel, it didn't for me.

Maybe it didn't mean anything at all... One of the characters mused that in the book... I must admit I concurred...This is one book that held nothing for me except a new, fantastical concept of an age-old hypothesis. I will soon forget it...

You can decide on this one, but I don't recommend it... Do check out other reviews...


GABixlerReviews


Friday, May 18, 2018

Bulwark by Brit Lunden A New Adult Fiction Author?



"It's like a primordial soup," Clay Finnes muttered his hands on his hips.
"A primordial what?" Owen Bishop raised his hangdog face to look at the town sheriff.
"Primordial, ancient, prehistoric..." Clay looked at the deputy's blank face and finished with,  "old...really, really old."
"Oh," Owen shook his craggy head. His bulbous eyes looked like two hard boiled eggs; his hair was matted as if if was blued to the top of his round head. Owen never passed any of the tests allowing him to advance on the force. He was a deputy when Clay first got a job in Bulwark right out of the army. As the promotions started coming, Clay eventually became his boss. He wondered if it bothered the oler man taking direction from someone who trained under him.
"You mean like dinosaurs?" Owen scratched his head.
"Dino...no... forget it, Owen. What else did the couple say?" He listened to Owen drone on about the car that was now sitting in the middle of the greenish pond.
"Appears they were coming from the other side." Owen pointed vaguely in the other direction.
"How could they? There's nothing there. That road has been closed off for years."
Something was missing. He wasn't sure what, but a feeling of unease enveloped Clay until his body fairly vibrated with it.
Clay looked up, his deep brown eyes scanning the thicket of trees surrounding the strange body of water that seemed to appear overnight. He crinkled his nose; it smelled pretty bad too. It was a greenish color, like a dirty army fatigue. It seemed shallow. He resisted the urge to stick the toe of his boot in the water. It was still, the surface like polished glass. The Ford Fuston was trapped in the what appeared to be the deepest part of the puddle as if they had tried to speed through it. The brackish water abut two feel deep.
"If they had skirted the edges they would have made it through. He shouldn't used the choke, probably got an entire engine full of water." Once Owen started talking he could go on about something forever.
"Where the hell were they coming from?" Clay muttered to himself. He moved away as if to see through the gloom. "It's a road that leads to nowhere...
"It's not deep enough to sink," Clay observed his deputy scratch his bald head, then turned to look at the enormous puddle. It covered the road from one end to the other. He chewed the inside of his cheek. He had to admit, it appeared larger than when he got here, but it couldn't be that deep, could it? Clay forced his attention back to Owen. It helped him stop thinking of his own life. "Where are they?"
"Over at JB's house. The wife's pretty freaked out..." 
~~~

Bulwark

By Brit Lunden


Take a pinch of Brigadoon... It appears and then disappears...


And think back to the Fairy Tale, Hansel and Gretel...




You see, in the town of Bulwark, there was an old road that had led nowhere... But one day, on the main road, there suddenly appeared a small body of...ooze...mostly greenish water that moved across the main road, little by little...

The local sheriff was called out to see it, when a car had got stuck in the middle of the road... They had gotten out, but nobody, including the Sheriff, wanted to even touch that oozing puddle which was deeper in some parts...

But the strangest part of all was that the couple who had escaped from their car was screaming about what had happened to their children. They wanted the Sheriff to go to Linden Lane where their children were being held by a witch! In the Gingerbread House...

Only problem was that Sheriff Finnes knew every road located in Bulwark and he was positive there was no Linden Lane there...

Until...there was...

The genius of an award-winning long-time children's book author was, in my opinion, easily translated into this adult fantasy mystery story...Way Cool! It's easily readable for YA and up and quite enjoyable! 
Her main characters are uniquely intriguing, although I did think of Sheriff Taylor and Barney Fife... Clay had come in and ultimately was promoted over Owen...but Owen didn't seem to mind.

Clay, of course, adds to the story by having love problems in his life, distracting him to some extent, but he was involved enough and caring enough to go out and walk right up Linden Lane, heard children's laughter, but seeing nothing but a desolate old mill, a dirt road and ultimately stopped at a mailbox: Bavmorda, Gingerbread House, Linden Lane...

And found an old lady living in an old white Victorian house, who told him her family had lived there for generations...




And then there were the wolves heard in an area where no wolves had lived for many years...  A sequel to Hansel and Gretel--NOT! And definitely without one of the endings! You get to choose!

I had a lot of fun reading this debut fiction novel by Brit Lunden and hope you don't mind my sharing memories of past delights.  I've read most of the author's children's books, and the adventures we found in her fantasy and adventure pirate books, for instance, are a great lead in for her move on to fictional novels that both entertain and keep reader interest to the last page. Kudos!


GABixlerReviews 





Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Paul Kyriazi - Two books Today! Forbidden Power and Rock Star Rising!

In September, 2010, I spotlighted Paul Kyriazi, talking about the James Bond Life, as well as one of his earlier books...and more... Here's the link to the first article and further articles that entire week...

While Paul has much experience and expertise in media and audible books...using recognized actors in his books, I chose to select ebooks for the two I've just read simply because that makes it easier for me to review. But I would recommend you check out the audible books...I loved hearing Eddie Byrnes, instantly recognizing his voice in one book...and check out the book trailers! Love them!
“She was as smart as they come. There’s nothing she didn’t know. I overheard her talking a couple of times. Very spooky,” the geezer barfly says to me while looking closely at the picture I’m holding. 
You’ve seen that picture on a postcard, dear reader, if you’ve ever traveled
http://www.nativeamericanexpressions
.net/naefolder/maija.html
through Arizona or New Mexico; the postcard of the tall, beautiful Indian maiden, clothed in tight buckskin, standing in the snow next to two white wolves. I had printed it out from the internet because it looked like the woman I was searching for. “Mind you,” I tell the geezer, “this isn’t the actual woman. It just looks like her.” 
“I’m telling you, mister,” he says pointing to it. “That’s her. She caught me staring at her once. Looked at me like she could kill me just by pointing her finger. Stayed away from her after that whenever she came to town.” 
“You said the last time you saw her, she was twelve or thirteen?” 
“Yeah, but if she grew up, that would be her.”
~~~

Archimedes Enterprises – Veronica Hawthorne - The Future is Here.

He'd met her at a computer conference--he was one of the exhibitors, but was not doing well since the other guy working quickly moved in on any real potential clients... But he had seen her coming and couldn't take his eyes off of her. Then she came to him and started asking questions..His co-worker quickly took one look at her and tried to take over... He was thrilled when she said she was already being helped, merely continuing their conversation.



When she handed him her card, Veronica Hawthorne, with her personal number, he was stunned...Would he call her?

After opening the book with how they met, the author then takes readers into the future, where we find George Barrett now trying to find the mysterious woman, with whom he had spent one night, who had then disappeared... Barrett however had been changed that night--he now had the power to succeed. But at what cost? Perhaps afraid that the power could be taken away, he sets out to find her, carrying a picture that was remarkably similar to his memory of her, although a postcard... He winds up in Arizona where he begins to find a past history of a young girl who was called Chumana... only to have somebody try to kill him!

With his powers Barrett overpowers the man who begged not to be hurt, that he was only following the orders of Chumana who had told him to kill anybody who ever came to try to find her... He had received that order about 10 years ago, but was still willing to follow her command... Barrett decided he had discovered everything he could there...

But provides readers more of the story by agreeing to keep an elderly man company as they travel...

And he shared that Veronica left a lipsticked message on the bathroom mirror: 
Short Red Train

Got it? Well neither Barrett nor I did either...but that leads us on into the story, don't you think? And if you are as curious as I, you'll just have to keep reading! Because Barrett remember an important clue that Veronica had given her which he had not understood before... as his powers were continuing to increase... He headed for Winslow, Arizona...

And the hunt begins!

What fun! Where will Barrett go next and will he find his answers? What a fantasy and I loved the ending... What about you, would you be tempted and succumb to Forbidden Power?  By the way, if you've learned of Kyriazi "Bond...James Bond" activities, you can probably guess that this story tends to be male-oriented, even if the power comes from a woman... at least in my opinion... Enjoy!


~~~

One of the main characters in Rock Star Rising is Medusa. There won't be many who don't recognize the name, and perhaps envision her face...but I thought it might be fun to hear the back story of the myth... Read on below if you have no interest...







A cold, ground-clinging fog rolled through the dark cemetery, licking the forgotten names carved in marble. It seemed to slow and linger on the tombstone that bore a single name; a name not forgotten at all. The fog seemed to conjure up five bony fingers that caressed the five letters carved large and deep. All who watched the scene knew that the man who slumbered beneath that five letter name was not in heaven. No, for sure he was in Hell. That is, if he slumbered at all. Many of the hundreds of onlookers this Halloween night thought he was still alive, with only an empty coffin buried below that cold marker. But they came anyway. Many in the crowd thought him dead for sure. But they came anyway. Most thought the promised resurrection at midnight was just a bunch of B.S. publicity. But they came. 
“I see it,” a sixteen year old girl yelled excitedly to her boyfriend as she pointed up the hill. 
“Let me see,” he said. “Give me the binoculars.” He, put them to his eyes and searched up the hill with them.
“Yeah, that's it,” he said. “I'll be damned. That's Shane's grave.” He gave out a comic yell, “Come on Shane, you son of a bitch. It's almost midnight. Get the hell up.”
The youngsters around him gave out a laugh. Just to the right of the group a tall, good-looking man with a hand mike looked into a TV camera and said; “This is Steve Landers, here at the Memory Gardens cemetery in Carson, just south of Los Angeles. MTV is here on this Halloween night of 1991 because of rumors spreading amongst die-hard Shane fan clubs, that tonight, on the twenty-first anniversary of his death, Shane will rise from his grave at midnight. To do what? I don't know. But whatever he does in front of these hundreds of fans, MTV is here to cover it for you. This portion of the cemetery, where his grave is located directly behind me, just up the hill, has been roped off by security. But who knows what this crazy crowd will do, as we’re just ten minutes away from midnight. As you know, since Shane's mysterious death, rumors have been flying around that the rock star is still alive. However, all the people that were associated with Shane say that he's dead and gone.” 
About fifty yards away from the MTV announcer stood a heavyset, white-haired man in his fifties, dressed in a three-piece brown suit. He was standing next to the security rope with his eyes glued on Shane's headstone up the hill. Looking around at the crowd with a half-smile, he checked his Rolex. It was four minutes till midnight. 
From out of the crowd, a tall young woman with long brown hair held in a ponytail, approached him. “Hi, I'm Nancy Carter from Music Scene magazine,” she said. “You're Carl Jessup, Shane's agent, right?” 
“Hmm. I was,” Jessup said. “Well look, sure, I know Shane's dead, but you still handle his merchandising, don't you?” 
“Yes, I do, my dear.” 
“Well then, what do you have planned for us tonight?” 
“I don't have anything planned.” 
“Nothing planned?” 
“That's right.” 
“Oh, come on,” she pushed. “You can level with me. Look, there are loud speakers set up in the trees, and there are a couple of guys up there that are doing a great job with the fog machines, but are terrible about staying hidden.” 
Jessup stood silent, looking up the hill with a half-smile. 
“Look,” Nancy said, “everyone knows that this thing has been planned out, just like the rumors that the radio stations have been spreading, all planned out it seems. So why don't you just come clean? I know you're doing this to keep Shane's old records selling and my article will do that for you.” 
Bishop finally turned to look at her. “Look...ah....What was your name again?” 
“Nancy Carter, Music Scene magazine.” 
“Look Nancy, I don't know where or who started these rumors. I heard 'em this month, just like you. And when I heard there was a crowd gathering as early at eight o'clock, I decided to drive down here and check it out. That's all.” 
“And what about the speakers and the fog machines?” 
“Ah….How should I know? There's a lot of media and fans here. Look, are you going to hold me responsible for every Halloween prank that happens in the city tonight?”
“What about all this security, huh? Who arranged that? 
“I don't know. Ask them.” 
She stuffed her pad and pencil into the bag she was carrying. 
“Okay, then just answer the big question.” 
“If I can,” Bishop smiled. “Is Shane alive?”
!!!


Just like the millions of Elvis fans who tried to hold on to him after his death, Shane was still beloved and his fans held on to every hope that came along that he might be still alive...

A special event had even been "rumored" for Halloween Night, 1991, at his grave-site...Shane was to leave his grave! 

And when the adoring fans saw movement on top of the dirt, they started running up the hill to his grave, regardless of any guards... But once Shane was out of the grave, he saw the crowd screaming and running toward him...and just turned and ran into the woods!
When the dark, undead figure of Shane saw the mass of wild humanity approaching, it turned and ran, heading for the woods behind the cemetery. The crowd gave hot pursuit, but the figure, with the devil's own speed, out-distanced itself from its pursuers and soon was lost in the trees, and the darkness.
Alan Bartlett had been gambling at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel. He was flying high and wild, thinking about the lover he had just left upstairs and realizing that the seminar he had attended had given him a new life (a James Bond seminar??? LOL) When a woman sat down beside him, he knew she had checked him out closely... Medusa was on the prowl... Alan had not seen the posters all over the place announcing her show--it wouldn't have mattered since Alan knew little about music...

Interested that this younger man hadn't recognized her, but still had been polite and pleasant, she went on to share that, if he had heard of Shane, she had been one of his backup singers. Alan recognized the name because of the Halloween wild graveside events... Medusa quickly denied any truth behind what had happened...

Let's just say that, later, Medusa did not turn Alan into stone...

Alan felt both excitement and apprehension as he entered Medusa's suite. She immediately went over to the CD player and put on some opera music, as Alan opened the sliding glass door that lead to the balcony. “Hey, this is cool,” he said. “What?” Medusa said, as she walked over to him. “Oh…You've got a view of the artificial beach, you know, just like me.”
“Oh, screw the beach,” she said, as she put her arms around Alan’s neck. “Yeah, yeah, screw the beach,” he echoed. Medusa gave him a short kiss. You know,” Alan said, as she moved to his ear. “You being a rock singer, I'm surprised you like opera.” “I don't,” she whispered. “But with the balcony door open, we need the opera singing to cover up my singing.“Ah….gotcha.” “Not yet you don't.” In Alan’s room, his girlfriend Connie was awakened by the sound of a woman's operatic voice. And just beneath that, another woman's operatic screams. She sleepily got up, walked to her balcony door, closed it, and went back to bed.
~~~

Alan left Hard Rock with Connie, but he realized that he couldn't forget Medusa, even while he was with Connie... When he followed and met her again, she didn't remember him...He didn't care about the embarrassment; he reminded her that they been very good together. Medusa wanted proof...

The book contains some sexy scenes...but what had that to do with Shane? Well Alan was interested in writing...and Medusa wanted to write about her time with Shane...  She pointed out that there were no books yet written that told the inside story of working and living with Shane...

After hearing stories on being on the road with this rock and roller, Alan was hooked. He wanted to write that book--and of course readers will be reading what that book turned out to be!

The Life in the business may be exciting, but also dangerous... The twist of the story is fantastic! Totally unexpected, and moves the story into a page-turner as the content of the story is shared! Loved it! Highly recommended...


GABixlerReviews



Life Behind the Camera

At age 8, I see The Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on Disneyland TV and decided to become a movie director. Age 16, I start filming 20 minute action stories using my father's 8mm camera. Age 18, my father bought me a used Bolex camera.

I film a 30 min color action movie titled Trapped and it wins the Berkeley Film Festival. I start taking karate to be like James Bond. My Sensei introduces me to samurai movies.

Seeing that action with great film techniques of the Japanese directors, moves me into martial arts movies, even before the TV show Kung Fu. I transferred to San Francisco State University making more 20 minute karate stories and placing 3rd in the next Berkeley Film Festival. I graduate with a BA in film.

I join the Air Force movie department and film space launches for NASA. I take leave to film my first feature Drawn Swords in 35mm black & white Techniscope. It's about 3 samurai going to England to enter a fencing tournament. I use all my cash and credit cards, loans, and refinancing my car.

I get out of the Air Force and return to San Francisco unable to sell my movie. I promise myself if I get another break I will make a color movie that is so commercial the distributors will have to buy it.

I meet karate tournament fighter Ron Marchini who has me re-edit and sell his Philippine produced movie Murder in the Orient.

Ron then hired me to write and direct Death Machines. To be commercial, we come up with a story of 3 karate killers (white, black, Asian) to cover all markets. Then we add a cop/gangster plot, big fight scenes in a karate dojo, bar, and police station, and we actually blew up a piper cub airplane.

The completed movie is immediately picked up by Crown International Pictures with big advertising. It opened in 50 theaters in LA making it a #14 top grosser. However, I still can't raise the money to produce my own movie, so I direct a sequence for Sesame Street.

I pick up a copy of The Million Dollar Secret Hidden in Your Mind by Anthony Norvel. I take his classes for three months in LA, then return to the San Francisco. In 10 days I raise the money to produce and direct Weapons of Death.

The panavision film plays all over the USA breaking a house record in a New York theater. I next produce and direct Ninja Busters. This was followed by the cops and gangsters story One Way Out.

Next came writing and directing Omega Cop starring: Adam 'Batman' West, Troy Donahue, and Stuart Whitman. An actress from Weapons of Death hires me to produce a travelogue in Phuket, Thailand, Thailand Adventure proving you never know what contact will end up getting you movie work.

I write two novels in hopes of getting them produced as movies. When many people ask me "How do you survive as a freelance?" I write How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle.

In 2003, I produce In the West - a 90 minute travel production for Japan. Appearance by Pat Morita.

In 2005, I produce my novel Rock Star Rising as an audio-book narrated by Rod Taylor, performed by Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Robert Culp, James Darren, and Kevin McCarthy. It has full effects and music, making it an "audio movie" of sorts.

In 2006, I direct the largest production in audio-book history, McKnight's Memory. Narrated by Frank Sinatra Jr, it stars Robert Culp, Nancy Kwan, Don Stroud, Henry Silva, Alan Young, David Hedison, and Edd Kookie Byrnes.

In 2007, I Direct Edd Byrnes' My Casino Caper audio-book. It's Edd's memoir of being stalked for his 3 million dollar Las Vegas win. With Alan Young, Henry Silva, and David Hedison playing themselves, recreating the incident that happened in 1977. Michael Callen plays the part of criminal that stalked Edd.

In 2008, I direct Barbara Leigh's The King, McQueen, and the Love Machine audio-book. Her memoir of being a top model involved with Elvis, Steve McQueen and MGM president Jim Aubrey. Joe Esposito introduces it and plays himself in the dramatizations.

In 2012, I update & expand the James Bond Lifestyle on Kindle, Nook, iTunes & Kobo.

In 2013, I write & produce - 3 Wild Thrillers - Three fiction stories on Kindle that includes the audio-book.

In 2014, I produce The Mexican Swimmer, a 3 hour audio-book performed by Julian Scott Urena. I also write Wicked Players, a story of gambling and survival in wild Las Vegas.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Epic Novel, The Jade Owl, by Edward C. Patterson, begins Series!

From ancient times, in folklore, the owl has been noted in various ways. For most of us we have learned that the owl is wise, although the facts may not support that assumption...

But only Edward C. Paterson tells us the tale of a unique, powerful and deadly symbol--The Jade Owl!



In fact, the first book begins an epic series that is bound to be of interest to lovers of historical fiction, those who study the Chinese culture... as well as those who enjoy fantasy/scifi centered on cultural issues... My own interest started when I was working on campus and attended a student Chinese cultural dance program... I loved the traditional dress for women in particular, as well as, since then, the architectural beauty of their buildings.  So much so, that I went on to use oriental decor for my bedroom for many years...and now have it spread throughout my cabin and into my garden landscape.



While never digging into much
actual history, I found Patterson's first novel, epic, at just under 600 pages,  a wonderful learning experience, quite intriguing and delightful... A fantasy based upon folklore regarding owls, with a strong scifi horror emphasis... I loved it! It's added to my personal favorites for 2018!

"The old grandmother?" Rowden asked.
"Ao-ling--the matriarch." Nick must have expected Rowden to react, maybe a jaw drop, but Rowden just looked across Simone with the pale glance of a man suffering from too much motion over too many potholes. "You've never heard of her? Nick asked.
"No. But she must be important to be honored in the pronoun mystical."
Nick laughed. His bright smile reckoned him like his old self...
Nick approached the old woman. He bowed.
"Xiao Ao-ling, you have called and I have come. My friends are here, This is my partner, Simon and..."
"Please Nicholas Battle," Ao-ling said. Her hand raised like a leaf in a breeze. "I know who you take to your bed." She smiled at simon, a dim smile filled with many broken teeth, but teeth as white as ice, evidence of the many years they drew rice and noodles past the sums. "I also know the pupils of your father. I know of this Professor Gray. I am glad you have an escort of friends and lovers in this world of mistrust and shadows, but I called you because you have found it, and keep it safe, from Win-t'o's clutches. That gladdens me." 
She flexed her shoulders, sighing with a hollow wind that washed the room with her ancient breath. "Bird and Box will be joined again. John Battle's son shall do it. He shall. Hao. Hen hao.
Nick kissed Ao-ling's hand as it stretched above the cane. Rowden, fully taken by her regal demeanor, fell in line to do the same, but it was not expected. She stopped the ceremonial, waving her hands to either side of the ke-ting.
"Please all. Sit. Be comfortable." She touched Audrey's hand. "Ao-ti, call for tea and some sesame cake. I do appreciate the filial piety, but be comfortable all. Sit.
Rowden found a floor cushion, while Simone and Nick tucked into the love seat. Ao-ling adjusted her petite bottom on her throne. She regarded Rowden, her deeply lined face, a billboard to five score in years at least, reflected more events than a history book.
"So, Professor Gray," she said. "I have heard your name on John Battle's lips many times. He hoped one day you would enjoin his work."
Rowden balanced himself on the cushion. "I'm afraid I disappointed him," he said. "I sometimes wish I had pursued his work."
"You pursue it now." It was a pronouncement Rowden hadn't considered. "The Jade Owl is his work. It is found and now to be restored. It will reveal her greatest secret."
~~~

I took about a week to read this book--there was so much to follow and absorb, that I didn't want to miss anything. While Professor Rowden Gray would be considered the main character, he was not intended to be the hero, per se. Professor Gray had gone for an important curator interview which seemed to be fairly secure. He had resigned his teaching job and packed up... Only to be told that the position had not been funded and there was no job!

Professor Gray had once sat at the feet of John Battle, known to be a great expert in Chinese history. Not so coincidentally, it seemed, the Professor had stumbled into meeting a young man, Nick, when he was still highly agitated on what had been done to him--he didn't really want to go back to teaching, but he did need to have some type of position.

Rowden later learned that Nick was one of the sons of John Battle... In fact, most of the intrigue evolves out of the seeming coincidences that came one after the other...The "treasure hunt" effect of, say, The Da Vinci Code, et.al., where clues are found...is replaced with what seems to be previously ordained. People have been waiting for the Owl to be found, both villains who want it for their own purposes, and those knowing the power must be restrained in only one way. Readers travel along with the small group who have been selected to fulfill the destiny of, specifically, Nick, John Battle's son...and take the owl to be once again joined with the Empress... I'll not go into that thread of the story. because it is so entwined. not to reveal the primary focus.

A minor topic includes the lives of those gay men who both travel with the group and meet along the way. It is a heartwarming tale that allows readers to intimately see and empathize with the bias still faced by many with a different sexual orientation. Simon/Simone is an adorable character that I found fascinating in her/his reactions to traveling with his partner, Nick. 

Rowden has two different types of encounters with women, as a result of being who he was and where he was in particular. All of the characters, in fact, add a special flair to what is definitely not an adventure story. The cultural implications of the desires, long-dead empress, have long been felt as her power continues to live after her death...or is she dead? 

The scenes when the Owl is "more than" a statue are thrilling in their creativity as well as placed within the various cultural buildings that are explored as they travel on their journey. I checked a few of the site locations named and found they were fictional, so I have not spent too much time on specific locations--let's just say that I thoroughly enjoyed how each step was guided from one point to another...

She kissed him on the cheek. He hugged her and took a larger liberty beneath her nose, which she apparently did not discourage as she let his lips repose there twice. "Will you be okay?" she asked.
Rowden smiled. "I'm in freaking John Battle Memorial Hall, standing beside the Joy of Finches. Now, that's a restorative."
...A wave of sadness engulfed him despite his restoration declaration. He returned his attention to the Joy of Finches, his eyes studying the contour of every beak, eye, and swirl. How he wished he could don latex and explore each contour of his lovely object with his scientific hand. It beckoned him, a power within, calling from an ancient, withered Imperial heart. As he stared, his imagination played a game. A outline of that haunting bird--a deep velveteen green wavering in a fluorescent glow. He blinked. It was gone...
Rowden abruptly turned, but there was no one. Nothing. Just the lingering scene of lavender. He cocked his head, looking for reflections in the black marble floor.
...He took another longing glance at the Joy of Finches--the Empress Wu's great treasure. "You all lose!" he muttered. He turned away wondering why he could think of nothing now but the aroma of lavender...

...Suddenly, the Jade Owl hooted.
"Holy shit." Rowden gazed at the emerald glow. He thought he saw wing movement. Ears twitching. He also felt a tremor in the floor, a foot massage vibration, or some amusement part fun house effect. He held Nick's shoulder. The display case rumbled.
"Earthquake?" He winced. It would just be his luck to travel to California in time for the Big One.
"No. It's the Box," Nick said. Nick's face blossomed. No terror here...
~~~  

"The bird was stolen, but now is returned to its place in the Wind Cave guarding our great ancestor's tomb, watched over by the spirits and the winds of Huai-ya. Such a journey do I tell sourced from Ch'en Po-yen's notebooks--the journey of the tiger in the dragon garden, Ch-un-ch'eng's madness, the Bell echoer, Mao Sheng's bane."
--from The Diary of The Jade Owl--Xiao Ch'eng



The book is long...take your time and sink into the past when a famed Empress wanted only one thing...to never die... Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews


Author Edward C. Patterson has been writing novels, short fiction, poetry and drama his entire life, always seeking the emotional core of any story he tells. He has currently 38 published books. He is known for spinning magical and fantasy yarns grounded in history and favors epic tales revealed in books series. His flagship works are The Jade Owl Legacy Series, The Southern Swallow Series, The Farn Trilogy and the Nick Firestone Mysteries. 

In many of Patterson's novels, he combines an imaginative touch with his life long devotion to China and its history, having earned an MA in Chinese History from Brooklyn College with further postgraduate work at Columbia University. This background is the cornerstone for The Jade Owl Legacy, The Southern Swallow Series and Master Wu's Bride, works drawing on Sung and Ming Dynasty History and Culture. History has played a major part in the coming of age tale Little Vin at Dreamland.

Patterson's military experience is reflected in such works as Surviving an American Gulag, The Road to Grafenwoehr and Pacific Crimson - Forget Me Not. His gay life-way and work in diversity is reflected in his novellas No Irish Need Apply, Cutting the Cheese, Bobby's Trace and Mother Asphodel; and in larger works - Turning Idolater and Look Away Silence.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Patterson has spent over five decades as a soldier in the corporate world gaining insight into the human condition. He won the Year 2000 New Jersey Minority Achiever Award for his work in corporate diversity and is a proud U S Army Veteran of the Vietnam Era. Blending world travel experiences with a passion for story telling, Patterson's adventures continue as he works to permeate his reader's souls from an indelible wellspring. 

His novel No Irish Need Apply was named Book of the Month for June 2009 by Booz Allen Hamilton's Diversity Reading Organization. His Novel The Jade Owl was a finalist for The 2009 Rainbow Awards.

He is the proud founder of Operation eBook Drop which, in its heyday, distributed over a million eBooks to deployed Armed Forces members from over 2,000 independent authors. He has guest blogged extensively and has appeared on the Bobby Ozuna - Soul of Humanity Show. He is also proud of his Cherokee heritage, knows seven languages (including Cherokee) and is a contributing member of the ACLU.

"The little voice from between the lines can become a lion's roar, one listener at a time."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Guest Blogger Lin Wilder spotlights Importance of Book Covers

The Cover: 
   Why it matters.

Hi Everybody... It's great to be back at Book Readers Heaven--this time to share a little about my new book! I, Claudia!


I’ve been waiting for the new cover of I, Claudia eagerly. Even breathlessly. That’s always the case for me as I begin writing anew story. After writing the first few chapters, 3500 words or so, I need to see the characters- the entire story.  

And Nancy Cleary never disappoints. In fact, she--or maybe we--keep getting better!

Before I move into why I’m calling this post, “The Cover: Why It Matters,” a little background.

Our partnership began five books ago-just four years ago through a chance email conversation with a friend of a friend. Odd how those ‘accidents’ can change everything, right?

Nancy listened patiently while I described an altogether horrid experience with the publisher of the first book in the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series. And brushed aside all the ‘I should have known's’, kindly but firmly. I wanted to do a second edition but had signed a contract with this company-- my list of ‘what if’s’ was endless. 

Nancy’s advice was direct and practical. I had no doubt that I was working with someone who ‘got’ this chaotic, confusing business of 21st century publishing.



In reflecting about the colossal amount of learning I’ve done in this new career, it seems unimaginable that it’s been only four years. To my surprise, I realize I’ve no regrets. Even about that first decision to go with Tate. It’s true, that adage of GK Chesterton:

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly for the first time.

Four years ago, the vastness of the errors in the first edition overwhelmed me. As did my naivete about the ease of moving from the universe of writing and publishing non-fiction to that of fiction. And about the depth of the black hole of marketing.
Wow. Worth a few repeats when I ponder how differently the writing of this 6th book feels from the first one. Wowza!
Okay, now to my main point. Or more precisely, The Cover: Why It Matters. There are three quite simple reasons why.
  • The adage, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover is mostly wrong.’
  • Covers are hugely persuasive in the decision to buy a book-- for me and I’d wager--for you. They attract or repel, evoke interest or not, almost subliminally.
  • Nancy’s mock-up cover for I, Claudia provides just the right combination of intrigue, timelessness and mystery needed for this story.
Why?
For a couple of months, I’ve been immersed in a number of books about this infamous couple, Pontius Pilate and his wife, Claudia. The research needed for this book has of course, been extensive. But then that’s the case for everything I’ve done. And is the case for all writers, if we want to create something excellent.

The woman in the red is precisely how I see this woman. Alone, overpowered by the weight of a wisdom for which there are no words, and yet erect, undaunted, this is Claudia Procula. The confluence of ancient Greece, Rome and Israel in the background with a reddish hue of portent. Yes! Perfect, Nancy, another consummate cover!

As always, thank you for reading.




Lin, Talk about Wow! BRH readers Alert! This article is far more than one page...Check out each spotlighted link and you will find article after article! What a wonderful way to keep your important knowledge gained through experience and provided to readers who may have missed it in other locations. I certainly enjoyed sharing this "total package" with even a recommendation for an independent publisher provided! By the way, this was important to me because I had known about the bad reviews for Tate Publishing well over 10 years! It just shows that it is hard to find out good advice in this still-emerging, expanded publishing world!


Lin, like me, I am sure many of us never have even thought of Claudia, even though well we remember Pontius Pilate...

Seeing your beautiful cover, it entices us to learn of the story from Claudia's perspective... I admit I am quite curious!

Thanks so much for visiting!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Predatory Kill by Kenneth Eade - Second in Book Set...Spotlights Bank Fraud...







He had made it to his State Street office just in time to check messages and make sure everything was in order for the big weekend.  No work, only play and relaxation for the next 48 hours.  
As he entered the office, Melinda Powers, his secretary, looked worried.  It was unusual for her to be there past quitting time on a Friday. “Hey Mimi, what’s wrong?” Brent asked her.

“You’ve got a call waiting.  I told him you weren’t in, but he said he’d wait.” 

“Who is it?” 
“I don’t know, he won’t say.  He’s really weird, Mr. Marks.” 
“Why don’t we let him just die on hold then?”
“I think you should answer.” 
Brent entered his office, sat down behind his plush mahogany desk, and picked up the phone. 
“Hello, this is Brent Marks.” 
The eerie voice on the other end was cold and inhuman.  “Do you know how fast a bullet goes, Counselor?” it asked.

“Who is this?” 
“Seventeen hundred feet per second.  At that velocity, it will crack open your skull and splatter your brains all over your wall like a watermelon being hit by a sledge hammer.”  The caller cackled like a wounded chicken. 
Brent quickly switched on the recording device to the receiver.  He had bought that baby to record threats from ex-husbands whose wives had obtained restraining orders against them, but which Brent had always refused to dismiss, even in cases of so called “reconciliation.”  
“I don’t think I got your name, mister?”      
The voice responded with a maniacal chuckle, which turned into a full blown belly laugh, like Vincent Price in the final stanza of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. 
“No judge in the world can stop a bullet, Counselor.  No piece of paper can do that.”
“This conversation is really interesting, but if I don’t have your name, I…” 
“Think hard.” 
“I’m not going to play games with you.” 
“Oh, this is not a game.  I assure you.  I’m just giving you a little preview.  Wherever you go, I’ll be there.  When you’re at the corner at Starbucks, having your mocha grande in the morning before going to court, I’ll be there.  You won’t see me, but I’ll be there.  All it takes is one shot – one shot in the head.”  The phone vibrated from the eerie laughter. 
“And why would you want to shoot me?” 
“I am a servant of the Lord, Counselor.  I do His work.” 
“You’re saying that you’re going to kill me, because God told you so?”  
Without answering, the caller went into a sermon, like an evangelist preacher trying to convert a world full of infidels. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord!  When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.  I am your terror, Counselor.  I am the hand of the Lord and I will strike you down!” 
Suddenly, Brent realized who this character could be.  Last year, he took on a case for Felipe Sanchez, who had rented a house from a crazy religious fanatic named Joshua Banks.  When Banks found out that Sanchez had moved in his girlfriend, all hell broke loose.   “I won’t have fornication in my house!” Banks decreed.  
Sanchez ignored him and three days later, came home to find himself locked out of his house and all his furniture thrown out on the street.  When Brent succeeded in getting the police to open the house, Banks turned off the utilities, and Sanchez sued.  
Thanks to a little known provision in the Civil Code, daily damages were awarded to Sanchez at trial which allowed him to take his judgment, levy it against the house, and become the owner of it.  Justice can be hell for some people.  
Threatening my life is a felony, Mr. Banks,” said Brent, “Do you really want to go to prison?” 
“Do you think I care about your court?  Your prison?  There is only one lawgiver and judge, and that is the Lord God!  Judge not, that you not be judged, saith the Lord.  Man does not have the right to sit in judgment of his fellow man.” 
“You’re not God, Mr. Banks.”  Ignoring him, Banks pressed on. “Your judgment has been pronounced, Counselor.  And I’m afraid there is no chance for a pardon.  The punishment is death.”
~~~



The upcoming client had Brent intrigued.  Her matter was a potential wrongful predatory lending case against one of the largest New York banks, which had taken over one of the nation’s largest mortgage banks, rumored to have committed more fraud than Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff put together...
“I looked at the materials you sent over to me.  Of course, I would have to review all of the files, but its looks like when the bank bought the assets of Tentane Mutual after the FDIC seizure, your father’s mortgage was not properly assigned to the mortgage backed securities trust that was supposed to be one of the assets.”
Before the 2008 mortgage crisis, thousands of subprime real estate loans on over-appraised real estate were assigned to mortgage pools and then resold to investors as mortgage backed securities.  When U.S. home prices declined sharply after peaking in 2006, it became difficult for borrowers to refinance their loans.  As adjustable rate mortgages began to increase in monthly payments, mortgage delinquencies soared, causing mortgage backed securities to lose most of their value.  This, in turn, led to what is known as the financial crisis of 2008; the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. “Yes, they tried to slip it in with a forged assignment three years after the closing date of the Trust...”


~~~

It was interesting to go back and pick up the earlier books by Kenneth Eade, who has become my favorite legal author. Of course, there are the thrills of the "kill" where murder provides tension and suspense--in this book, Brent Marks, the main character even has a stalker to deal with while he works on his main case...

The reason for the stalker, as an aside, is one of those issues that really irks me--when an individual quotes God in explaining why he is going to kill somebody. The sad truth, however, is that there really are some who become fanatics in their religion...

But the main case covers fraud by major powerful, banks, using a sample to explore the 2008 crash that resulted in many banks being bailed out by the government. When I found a video where Bernie Sanders in 1998 expressed concern about what proved to later happen, I was gratified that Eade had also taken the opportunity to use his novel to help his readers understand what might (probably?) had happened! And could very well happen again...

It is scary to consider that banking institutions, especially large ones, could, and possibly already has, become the predator who turns to murder to cover-up their crimes...Eade presents an intriguing fictional account, which is, of course, as always backed up with research of real-time events... which is why he rose to my top legal writer...

April Marsh had found her mother murdered, and her father close to death... She was already named to legally act on their behalf and after her research had come to Marks, believing he was the lawyer she needed, even though he was a single-lawyer office and with no experience in this area. She cited a case from Marks' experience and had used it to explain why she had selected him. She was fairly certain who was behind what had happened...

She provided all documentation to illustrate how her parents had been swindled. Essentially because of a buy-out, the larger bank had taken over, and falsified information to show that it was not their fault... Her parents had already lost much and now they were coming after their home...

Although not versed in financial law, per se, I was easily able to follow the case put together by Marks  and his investigator. He began to worry, however, when he was personally attacked and his investigator disappeared, later presumably dead!

I had my small local bank bought out by a larger one...and I have been unhappy ever since. A large bank will soon use bureaucracy as the primary power control for their business. This was certainly the case in this situation. But can one lawyer succeed in a fight with the power of a company with all the legal advisers they could ever need? I think Eade did an exceptional job in allowing readers to learn as well as enjoy the reality of a story that all of us wish we will never face. Highly recommended...


GABixlerReviews



Described by critics as "one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene," author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced International law, Intellectual Property law and E-Commerce law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, "An Involuntary Spy." Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as "one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation." He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader's Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, "Paladine," a quarter-finalist in Publisher's Weekly's 2016 BookLife Prize for Fiction and finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Eade has authored three fiction series: The "Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series", the "Involuntary Spy Espionage Series" and the "Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series." He has written eighteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. 

"I've been writing all my life, but began publishing my work out of a passion for the environment. My wife, Valentina, is a professional photographer, who worked for two years on an environmental exhibition called, "Bee Cause I Care" which was exhibited by the Prince Albert II Foundation and is now touring cities in France to bring awareness to the importance of pollinators and the dangers facing them. I penned a few articles on the subject for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and turned my research into my first book, "Bless the Bees." That passion continued with the publication of my novel, "An Involuntary Spy," which is an action thriller that also points to the dangers of genetically engineered food. Then I began publishing the "Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series," which, in part, is based on actual experiences during my long career in law.

"Now I divide most of my time between France, where I have resided for the better part of 10 years, and Russia. I try to put as much realism in my novels as possible, and they all revolve around important social issues. I treasure all of my readers and love to hear from them, whether it's good or bad. Sometimes I make changes based on their suggestions and one reader has inspired a character that has appeared in my latest three novels. Everyone who signs up on my mailing list at www.kennetheade.com gets a free ebook and I give away a Kindle Fire every month to a lucky winner on the list. I love this new adventure and hope you enjoy taking it with me."

Email: info@kennetheade.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KennethGEadeBestsellingauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KennethEade1
ECommerce site: http://www.amazonsellers.attorney


Note: The last book in this set, I had already reviewed...