Good morning, friends. I want to start right off with an email I received last Thursday afternoon from my friend Vinnie, editor of Book Reader Magazine:
“Last year at the 20Booksto50K conference I had the chance to meet an author. Brandon Barr was fighting cancer and it was such a pleasure watching him speak on stage about his battle and his writings. I got to spend a few minutes after talking to him. I am sorry to say that Brandon lost his battle a few days ago. Losing a family member around the Holidays is just tough. He was the breadwinner of the family so its twice as hard on them. If you can, please share Brandon’s books with your readers and friends, even if it’s not your genre. Every sale is a good sale and helps pay the bills for a family who just lost their primary breadwinner.”
This is Brandon’s Amazon author page:
In the Song of the Worlds series, a god-gifted young woman is chosen for a grim task – one that will take her beyond the boundaries of her own world. Winter’s chilling visions of the future make clear that her choices will not only affect the success of her mission, but whether those she loves will live or die. This is epic fantasy of the first order, and I know a good portion of my readership is interested in that, so click on over and see whether your heart might support a purchase.
The Boy in the Well. 232-page novel by Steve Peek. John Ryan was about to be drafted, so instead of risking punji-stick filled jungles, he joined the Air Force. When his best-laid plans and schemes backfired, he volunteered for the war he tried to avoid – irony he failed to appreciate. His tour in Nam chronicles so many other boys of that war. The Boy in the Well is a universal memoir for the nine out of ten who served behind the lines in non-combat roles. Except there weren’t any lines and nearly everyone in-country heard exploding mortar shells or rockets close enough to remind them an unseen enemy wanted Americans gone or dead. Even in the safest city in Vietnam, even working in an air conditioned building, for Christ’s sake, Ryan fell into a routine: parties, weed and rock & roll. If you had to fight a war, this was the way to do it. And then there was the Tet offensive. What a downer. Everything changed. John Ryan never killed anyone, never even fired a gun. He just saw things; some funny, others, not so much. Ryan just wanted to serve his tour and escape back to the real world unharmed. War leaves no one untouched. No one escapes. All wounds are not from bullets. $4.99 on Kindle.
Hidden Thrones. 336-page novel by Russ Scalzo. Jack Bennett has an unusual gift. His coveted ability means he is the FBI’s newest hire, serving as a consultant for their new Paranormal Division. The government is convinced we are not alone in this world. With invisible forces all around, agencies are seeking how to harness that power for their own uses. The mystery swirling around the unseen and unknown has caused much speculation. Some suppose lost souls are wandering the earth, others believe deceased loved ones never truly moved on, and still, there are those who are convinced that aliens have infiltrated our world. The ancient scriptures talk about a great evil that was conceived in the depths of eternity. There, a great war occurred in a place called Heaven. Lucifer, the ancient serpent, the evil dragon of folklore, was cast out and bound to the earth and confined to its surrounding atmosphere. Could it be that the evil we see is inspired by a dark kingdom, a demonic spiritual force at war with the human race? Could these princes and rulers of darkness be influencing our world today? Jack Bennett knows this is the truth. He knows because he encounters them every day. Follow Jack Bennett and Frank Lederman as they battle the realm of Hidden Thrones. 99¢ on Kindle.
Dead Cold. 326-page novel by Jennifer Chase. What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design and execute. On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time. Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in the FBI? Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them. The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time, they leave behind everyone and everything. 99¢ on Kindle.
The Ender Dragon who Saved Christmas. 38-page children’s book by Ty the Hunter. The Head Decorator Elf in Minecraft is in charge of decorating the village Christmas tree, and he knows that this is the most important job of the year. Yet, as he brings out the big bag of ornaments on Christmas Eve, his Ender Dragon sneezes, blowing the decorations into the sky and across the Minecraft map! The race is on to find the scattered ornaments and put them back on the tree before Santa arrives. Can the Head Decorator Elf and his Ender Dragon find them all in time? You can help them by searching each page of the book to find the lost ornaments so that they can finish the village Christmas tree before it gets dark. Written in verse and perfect for new readers, this Minecraft-themed story is an exciting blend of fun and learning. Young children will love the feeling of pride in helping others, and with the accomplishment that it offers, it’s sure to become an all-time favorite. $3.99 on Kindle.
Universe in Flames. 5-novel boxed set by Christian Kallias. When the Star Alliance is attacked, ace pilot Lieutenant Chase Athanatos and his friends attempt to survive the total annihilation of their kind. Their struggle for survival brings them to a world far. far away, a little planet called Earth. Little do they know that in doing so, they’ll expose humanity to the biggest scourge the universe has ever faced. Nothing is ever as it seems in this thrilling, action-packed Science Fiction Space Opera series. Greek mythology and fantasy elements add a dab of mysticism and originality to the intense and suspenseful adventures of Chase: a man unaware of his past, a man who must learn to get a grasp with what destiny and the Gods of Olympus have in store for him. Unwilling to let evil unleash their minions upon every soul in the universe and armed with his courage, convictions, as well as the help of the gods themselves, Chase fights not only for his own survival but for everyone’s, on Earth and throughout the galaxy. 99¢ on Kindle.
Deliberate Deception. 408-page novel by Joe Porrazzo. A greedy corporation rigs a multi-million dollar raffle, creating false hopes for ticket buyers. Now people aren’t winning, they’re dying! What comes next will shock the world! Deliberate Deception heralds the return of Alex Porter, retired United States Air Force OSI (Office of Special Investigations) Agent turned private investigator, in another heart-pounding Joe Porrazzo suspense thriller. Seven months after leaving New England, Alex, still grieving the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, gets a call from his friend Joe Prater. Prater’s old army buddy has gone missing from his home in Tucson, and Joe wants Alex to check it out. While investigating, Alex gets too close to the truth and becomes a target himself. He finds himself teamed with the very person hired to kill him, as they race against the clock to prevent a mysterious group from striking in Tucson and shocking the world. $5.99 on Kindle.
My African Craving. 138-page novel by Audrey Flynn. When Erica Knight arrives in Lebombo Game Reserve for her first African safari she has no idea that her life is about to be changed forever. As an executive for a mining company she believes that negotiating the mining rights for the Lebombo Reserve will be a slam-dunk, but she didn’t count on locking horns with the reserve’s enigmatic owner, Jean-Luc de Graaf. In the heart of a wild African landscape full of beauty and danger, Erica and Jean-Luc, both stubborn and passionate, find themselves on opposite sides of an escalating conflict. With the Reserve threatened by vicious poachers and runaway fires, they are thrown together unable to contain the scorching attraction between them. Far away from the rat race of New York Erica feels the stirring of a different drum, ancient and irresistible. But surrendering to the wild would mean she would have to submit to her powerful attraction to Jean-Luc and she isn’t ready to give up control just yet. $2.99 on Kindle.
A Bump in the Night. 149-page novel by Crispian Thurlborn. Being dead can be hard. In the past, it was all rattling chains and white sheets. Now, it is all mortgages and unpaid bills. Mr Snaggle and Mr Snuffle, Arbitrators for the Quick and the Dead, find themselves coming to the aid of an old friend, Mr Bump, formerly known as Mr Grym, Lurker-under-the-Bed-and-Frequenter-of-Wardrobes (or just Charon to his close friends). Together, they must come up with a plan to prevent Mr Bump from fading. Of course, a cunning plan is never easy to come up with, but with the help of a few beers, a young girl, and an unfortunate victim, they might just pull it off . . . or will they? Not everything that goes bump in the night is the stuff of nightmare; sometimes, the dead have nightmares themselves! $3.99 on Kindle. Note that this recommendation comes from the pen of C.W. Hawes, who don’t recommend no junk!
Death & Damages. 25-novel (4,891 pages) anthology. Danger lurks around every corner as these courageous cops, adventurous agents, and daring detectives hunt for the answers to stop the crimes by vicious killers. But what if the damage is already done? Inside these pages, you’ll find 25 adventures full of captivating conundrums, hair-raising homicides, and suspenseful secrets from today’s USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning authors. Become a private investigator yourself when you inspect plots of deadly assassins, cold-blooded killers, and bone-chilling suspense inside the pages of Death & Damages, an enthralling mystery and thriller boxed set. Fans of Lee Child, James Patterson, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Grisham will devour these puzzling, mysteries and gripping thrillers. Pre-order today to secure this limited edition collection with stories from Patricia Loofbourrow, Pauline Creeden, John Ling, Alexa Padgett, Siera London, and twenty more well-known authors. 99¢ on Kindle.
Intrusion. 264-page novel by Rosalind Minett. Lonely Billy’s excitement at having a playmate now turns to dismay. The frail and artistic Kenneth is hideously devious, Uncle Frank is an outright bully and Billy’s parents fail to see further than Kenneth’s porcelain looks to his darker soul. Those very emotions that enable Hitler’s rise – envy over strength, desire for new territory – now ferment in the Wilson home. Only his secret sighting of a precious Cossack sabre can comfort Billy by imagining he has its power. As war becomes a reality, this becomes an icon that sustains Billy through evacuation and hardship, but is it destined to damage as well as protect? 99¢ on Kindle.
After almost two months of watching and careful consideration, I have decided to award Inmate Blogger the Blimprider Seal of Approval. I don’t know what their success rate is vis-à-vis rehabilitating convicted felons; I don’t even know whether they’ve been around long enough to see a participant released, but the effort they’re making to give these men and women a voice outside the walls is certainly above and beyond any normal obligation that anyone might have imposed upon them. Ultimately, whether they are successful or not depends entirely on the people using their service, but they should be recognized for their work, and I’m doing my bit here.
Also, expect to see a weekly reminder that I also host a virtual tavern called Jack’s Hideout where you can stop in, claim a favorite chair, and join the conversation about whatever’s up at the time. No judgment, no harassment, just enjoyable conversations between friends. Don’t forget to check the right sidebar while you’re there, where new posts from my fellow bloggers are updated in pretty close to real time. This site has replaced my Sunday ramblings that used to appear here, and I’ve just begun a drill-down of the TV show that guided me into adulthood, and along the path of my life since then. Don’t miss it if you can!
And that’s 30 for this week. See you all at the Hideout, and here again next Thursday.