In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
~ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Let me welcome everyone to November, the month it finally starts cooling off in the southwestern desert; maybe with my brain not on the verge of boiling in the shell, I’ll be able to make some meaningful decisions.
Like this one: My old friend and professional editor Lynda Dietz gave me a shout-out on her blog, Easy Reader Editing, as a good source for new writers who I can help avoid having to reinvent the wheel, as it were. This after I just two weeks ago said I would be discontinuing that material as having no particular value. Well, if a professional editor deems my humble little posts to be helpful to their intended audience, I see no recourse but to provide them. So perhaps I’ll look into reintroducing them from time to time. It isn’t like I’m writing anything else for them to interfere with, so I’ll just hope someone finds them useful.
But enough about me; on with the show!
~ Breaking News ~
This is a warning for and about the website https://custardapplebooks.com. This purports to be the site of a lady self-publishing children’s books who followed this blog last week. When I attempted to pay a return visit, my McAfee security threw up a big red warning that this is a possible malicious site, i.e., it will damage your computer and/or steal personal information. I don’t know whether that’s true, but McAfee has never steered me wrong before, so if you are a scammer, consider yourself outed; if you are legit, you may want to contact your website provider and see what they’re doing to cause this. It’s probably costing you a good bit of traffic. Updates as they occur.
UPDATE: I have been informed by a reader that this website works fine. Probably some glitch that’s triggering McAfee, but be aware of this, and hopefully the site owner will clear it up soon.
~ Books ~
Twilight’s Last Glory by Stephen C. Perkins. America’s game, a global spectacle of triumph and anguish, a grand pageant of violence and drama. And now with its first female superstar, a spectacular experiment that may change the world! In a world secretly ruled by an organized crime pyramid with strange and mystical powers, crime lord Gigi Salerno is the sinister hand casting the ultimate fate of victory or defeat. But when a brilliant team doctor envisions future WFFL rosters filled out with AI, Salerno’s masters secretly decide he’s expendable. Now threatened by the intrepid ambitions of a young sports columnist determined to expose the Octagonal while faced with the covert maneuvering of a once trustworthy lieutenant and the conflicted loyalties of an unscrupulous general manager, Salerno is confronted with a dilemma and, he may have to befriend one of his enemies to vanquish his double crossing masters. Will he survive long enough to capture what he secretly desires most: the reluctant affections of a beautiful woman? $2.99 on Kindle.
The Hybrid Coven by Angela Sanders. If you love kickass heroines, magic, witches,vampires, and hybrids with a unique twist, you’ll enjoy these books. They all have something to fight for, and everything comes with a price. Fans of Vampire Diaries and The Originals will want to sink their teeth into this three-book box set. One-click today! This boxed set includes the first three books of The Hybrid Coven Series. 99¢ on Kindle.
The Clockmaker by Drew Neary and Ceri Williams. A gripping supernatural novel set in post-blitz Scotland, the first of an upcoming series. Widowed in World War 2, Annette and her young son face a completely different life as they exchange the devastation of post-blitz London for the slow pace of a small village. The house they have inherited is old, its bones still settling, creaking noises in the dead of night and the murmur of scritch-scritch in the walls. Located outside the village of Lochnagar, it’s been empty for many years. The unfolding of how the Clockmaker made his plans, his meticulous preparations and macabre creations, all builds up to a series of gruesome, horrific murders. These have just one end in view: his release from that which has held him captive for centuries. A chilling supernatural novel with characters you’ll come to care for, The Clockmaker will interest anyone who fears the dark – and what might lie in the shadows. £3.99 on Kindle.
Schlock! Horror! anthology curated by Bret McCormick. An anthology of short stories based upon, inspired by and in loving homage to all of those great gore-fest movies and books of the 1980’s, the golden age when horror well and truly came kicking, screaming and spraying blood, gore & body parts out from the shadows. It was the decade that brought us everything in the cinema and on VHS from the Italian ‘nasties’ to Elm Street, The Lost Boys, Hellraiser, The Thing, Day of the Dead, Reanimator, Return of the Living Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cannibal Holocaust . . . and superlative directors such as David Cronenburg, John Waters, Roger Corman and of course Clive Barker. All of this was, naturally, reflected in the books we devoured. Guy N Smith, Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, James Herbert, Jack Ketchum, Gary Brandner and Richard Laymon, to name but a mere handfiul. This exemplary 80’s themed/inspired collection of terror has been adjudicated and compiled by one Mr Bret McCormick, himself a writer, producer and director of many a schlock classic, including Bio-Tech Warrior, Time Tracers, The Abomination, Ozone: The Attack of the Redneck Mutants and the inimitable Repligator. So, you get the picture – within this weighty tome, we have the darkest splatter, most horrific gruesomeness and stomach-churning detail, all wrapped up in a gripping stories, played out by the strongest of characters, all of which will keep even the hardiest of souls wide awake and trembling in the wee hours. $4.99 on Kindle.
Witching Hour, an anthology of twisted tails. Bloody Mary… Bloody Mary… Bloody… maybe we shouldn’t test that just yet. Urban legends, fact or fiction, at the end of the day they’re all stories. We know not to spin around the room in the dark whispering her name. We’ve heard about the man with the hook and the terror that stalks the babysitter while she’s home alone. But there are other tales told around the fire at night. The man finding the steps into hell and sanity flickering away. Mind control experiments by governments, big and small. The woman married to the man of peculiar tastes. There are the haunted hospitals, sleep trials in Russia and more. Slenderman and Bigfoot are nowhere within these stories; these are only the unusual and dark ones, slanted into truth. In every legend, there is a seed of truth. Welcome to the Witching Hour. $2.99 on Kindle.
Face the Winter Naked by Bonnie Turner. “We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land. The poorhouse is vanishing from among us.” ~Herbert Hoover, accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Palo Alto, California, August 1928. Daniel Tomelin, a battle-worn veteran haunted by the carnage of the First World War, deserts his family in the Great Depression and goes on the road seeking work and relief from the nightmares of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This page-turning tale of courage is set in a tragic era in which hope was sometimes all they had and parallels today’s economic turmoil and unemployment. It’s The Grapes of Wrath from another viewpoint. It’s a wife and mother providing for her children under miserable, heartbreaking circumstances, while her husband tramps around the country playing a banjo, searching for answers to the puzzle of Daniel Tomelin, keeping his hillbilly sense of humor, his humanity, his love of God and nature intact, while deep inside feeling ashamed and unworthy of the family he loves with all his heart. Like scores of other men who abandoned their families during those impoverished years, Daniel’s wounded pride for being unable to care for his wife and children prevents him from going home. Face the Winter Naked provides an engrossing read in which Turner interweaves history, geography, and a compelling love story. More than that, it is a story that looks beyond the surface, delving into the inner workings of the human mind, a powerful narrative that illuminates larger issues of humanity that are timeless and volatile and just as apropos today as decades ago: War. Political strife. Economic collapse. Environmental catastrophe. Division of families. Cruelty and oppression. Poverty, inequity, and all the faces of prejudice. But it is also about love. And faith. And strength. And hope, forgiveness, and perseverance. Readers may feel they are traveling with this simple carpenter through the Ozark hills of Missouri as he wears out his cardboard “Hoover” insoles searching for his next meal, an odd job that pays only pennies, or shelter from the dust and sweltering heat that summer of 1932. But they’ll be glad they’re not. 99¢ on Kindle.
Beyond the Rails by Jack Tyler. In the spring of 1882 a young man arrives in Mombasa, Kenya with a plan to change the world of science. A man ahead of his time, Nicholas Ellsworth is a botanist fresh from Cambridge whose mission is to catalog the flora of Africa and unlock its medicinal secrets for the benefit of mankind. Intrigued by a lovely young woman who happens to be an airship pilot of extraordinary skill, he falls in with a crew of expatriates, misfits and castoffs all, whose cargo blimp, Kestrel, carries them from one adventure to the next as they try to eke out a living moving all manner of cargo out Beyond the Rails. Their captain, a disgraced former military commander, is employer, protector, and father-figure to the young pilot. The Anglo-Prussian engineer and a fugitive American gunslinger whose mysterious past might catch up with him at any time. Climb aboard and hang on for a thrilling ride through an alternate history. 99¢ on Kindle.
~ Blogs ~
In the Correcting Past Oversights department, three weeks ago a site called Therapy with Books asked if I’d mind looking over their material and offering my opinion. As with so many of us, I got busy and it got away from me. The operator of this site reads and evaluates self-help books. I’ve never been a fan or user, and maybe my opinion wouldn’t carry much weight, but he does do a thorough job of pointing out the pros and cons, and anyone having an interest in this field would find a stop here to be most informative.
This is one I haven’t presented before. Jack’s Hideout covers a lot of range, from book reviews to recipes to social commentary, which was the subject of a post last Friday, when the operator shared an article he found concerning elephants as persons. It says as much about us as it does about them, and I found it fascinating; you might very well, too.
September C. Fawkes is another editor, though not one I know, at least not yet. I encountered her web page, Write Better with an Editor, on one of my frequent forays to the edge of the map, and the post that was at the top was so rich and detailed that I simply had to share it. I concerns the dumb ideas that we creative types are regularly beset with, what causes them, and how to use them to our best advantage. A most enlightening article for the writers and other artists among us.
I met David Lee Summers early this month at the Gaslight Expo in San Diego. It was a pleasant drive down the hill from my house for me; David was in the midst of a whirlwind tour of the western United States at the time, and his article about some of his adventures, including meeting the ol’ Blimprider, is a fun read start to finish.
Karen C. Carlisle, author, artist, builder, and chocoholic offers a tutorial on building props for book promotion videos with a look at Aunt Enid’s silver walking stick. Lots of good tips here for anyone looking to start on this intriguing road.
As you may already know, Phoebe Darqueling is closing her website, For Whom the Gear Turns, and moving full time to The Steampunk Journal. The Gear has been inactive for a year and a half, but always existed as a rich resource for all things steampunk. Now the site is closing, but much of the material will be moved to the Journal, or to her personal web page. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
C.W. Hawes is a prolific indie who warrants frequent mention here for his very intellectual blog as well as his excellently crafted novels, so I felt it appropriate to draw attention to his combination of the two endeavors. This week he blogs about his new Pierce Moslyn novel Van Dyne’s Vampires, as well as the novelist’s role as a creator of worlds. Thought-provoking prose at its finest.
Despite the utter lunacy of the chosen season (From November 1st to January 15th, 29 holidays are celebrated by seven of the world’s major religions), some people will insist on participating in NaNoWriMo, shutting out friends and family for the entire month of November while they labor under artificial and unfamiliar conditions to write a novel. If you are one of these people, you have my sympathy, and in an effort to provide more than that meaningless emotion, I now direct you to the blog of Richie Billing, where he offers a number of well-designed tips to help you through the process. Best of luck!
This has nothing to do with writing, reading, or any of the things I usually discuss and promote here, but it is far too important to go unmentioned. Love it or hate it, we are all affected by Political Correctness. Watch this video by one of the smartest men alive to see it explained for exactly what it is, and what effect it is having on the world around us. Then share it with someone you care about. It’s huge.
And that’s 30 for this issue. As noted in my opening paragraph, join me Sunday when I’ll be back to making my typically futile attempt to be interesting. See you then!