Greetings, my friends, and welcome to Thursday. ‘Tis the season when the “Christmas Police” come out in force, so I thought I’d better lead with this so there is no misunderstanding about where I stand on the issue:
In other news, most of you know that when I bought an upgraded WordPress site last April I was still laboring under the delusion that I was going to be a big-shot author. Now I know better, and have been debating whether to renew the upgraded site to support my blogging. Yesterday morning I received an email from WordPress informing me that beginning December 18th, there would now be an additional charge on top of the upgraded site for the domain name. Decision made. I have enough people lined up to harvest the contents of my wallet to be rewarding that sort of behavior, so be advised that next March 30th or April 1st (it falls on a weekend) my address will revert to https://blimprider.wordpress.com. That sends you here now, but I’m not sure it will work the other way around, so adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
Moving on . . .
We’re getting perilously close to another fabulous weekend, and I know that some of you will be looking for thrilling things to read, and that’s where I come in with my list of interesting reads. I have named my weekly column “Other Voices,” but my voice counts, too, and so I’ll begin with my own published works.
These are mainly steampunk adventures (and a mystery), and The Stone Seekers is epic fantasy. I’ve been told that these are pretty good, which I appreciate, but none of us can objectively judge our own work. You can be your own judge, though, by visiting my Amazon author page. The prices I control are kept at the bare minimum, and the one that I don’t is quite reasonable, especially given that all proceeds from that collection go the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Now, let’s hear some of those promised Other Voices.
Wicked Seeds. 209-page novel by Cameron Sword. Some people who’ve survived an apparent death report experiences of having communicated with departed friends or relatives. Others describe encountering an indescribable warm bright light accompanied with the overwhelming feeling of unconditional love. Still others share memories of witnessing their lives flashing before their eyes as they felt themselves slipping away. None of this was occurring with Dr. Nathan Cribbs. A molecular biologist by profession, Nathan worked for a food conglomerate where he was responsible for genetically engineering crops but here he was now, dumped in a remote forest along with his younger sister, both left for dead. Due to a fortunate series of events, he managed to survive, resurfacing three years later, set on exacting revenge against the perpetrator – his former employer. Olive Beacon, a 17 year-old aspiring actor, becomes Nathan’s reluctant sidekick as she unwittingly joins him in his effort to expose his former employer’s crimes and unethical business practices. The duo must overcome serious obstacles, which emerge virtually from the beginning, but circumstances become profoundly more grievous after Nathan places his trust in an unfitting ally. Free on Kindle [reg. $4.99].
The Anonymous Man. 267-page novel by Vincent L Scarsella. What if one day you could become anonymous, free of obligations, free to do what you have always wanted to do? That’s exactly what Jerry Shaw pulls off after faking his death to collect on a $4 million life insurance policy. But just when Jerry thinks he has escaped his former life, he is betrayed by his co-conspirators, his wife and best friend, and learns that a tenacious insurance company investigator is hot on his heels. You won’t be able to put down this twisting and suspenseful novel, wondering if Jerry will ultimately get to do what he has always wanted, to become anonymous, just like the hero of his comic book creation, The Anonymous Man, and then not only draw his further adventures, but live them. 99c on Kindle.
The Questioner. 36-page novelette by Andrew Vachss. For all secrets created, a tiny percentage is kept against any intrusion. The ultimate extractor of such secrets is The Questioner – a man who has trained himself to become empty, who uses that emptiness to listen fully, to sense what others need to hear, to respond in ways that lead them to reveal their most protected thoughts. Disdaining torture or coercion, he mines those secrets with nothing more than conversation. For those who meet his price – governments, multinational corporations, and the most complex criminal organizations – The Questioner obtains information. The secrets he learns can create or topple empires, win or destroy fortunes, lubricate the gears of the world . . . or grind them to a halt. But as the Questioner moves from one target to the next, just beyond the outer edge of his probes lurks something dangerous to his own emptiness. It will force him to turn his powers inward, to ask how he became what he is, and to find a truth he has never sought. $1.99 on Kindle.
The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Written in 1871, the story is fairly simple and straightforward. The unnamed narrator and a friend decide to explore a chasm that an exploratory mine shaft has uncovered. During the descent, the rope breaks and the friend is killed. The narrator finds himself with no way to get back to the surface and decides to continue his exploration of the extensive chambers he’s discovered. Eventually he enters a vast subterranean world. The narrator meets a couple of the inhabitants, a man and a boy, who are friendly and welcome him to their world. The narrator learns that the man is an administrator and the boy is his son. The narrator also meets the entire family, and Zee, the magistrate’s daughter, begins teaching the narrator about the world of the Vril-ya, as the people call themselves. The Vril-ya are very much superior to humans on the surface of the earth. Their mental powers are phenomenal, and they control a substance called vril, which can heal or destroy. In time, Zee falls in love with the narrator. Meanwhile, her father, the magistrate, has grown wary of the “primitive” narrator. When he learns his daughter is in love with the stranger, the magistrate orders his son to kill the narrator. From there, the story takes a dark turn for all of mankind. At the time of its publication, The Coming Race, was very convincing and many believe the vril mentioned in the book was real. It’s also claimed that vril was believed to be real by many pre-Nazi occultists, such as those in the Thule Society. Such is the power of fiction, even today vril continues to make an appearance among occultists, in movies, and in video games. Free at Gutenberg. Special thanks to C.W. Hawes for bringing this influential work to my attention.
Dragon. 296-page novel by Valerie Tate. Burials, bones and bandits – not what Alicia and Chris Mallory are expecting when spring finally arrives in Dunbarton. In the aftermath of a violent storm, Chris and Alicia come across fossilized dinosaur bones in a lakeside rock fall. Before long, Chris’s sister, anthropologist Dr. Penny Mallory, arrives to head up an archaeological dig. Despite their best efforts to keep it a secret, news of the discovery gets out and it’s not long before members of the shadowy underworld of antiquities theft and trafficking take notice. Two old foes return to Dunbarton and the race is on to save the momentous find from disappearing into the murky haunts of the illegal antiquities trade. Who can the Mallorys trust? Which of these two villains is the Chameleon and which is a dragon bent on increasing his hoard? Will Alicia and Chris manage to play the winning hand in a life-and-death game or will they come to rue the truth in Shakespeare’s advice, “Come not between the dragon and his wrath.”? $2.99 on Kindle.
~ Blogs ~
I know I told you to check out the Jack’s Hideout sidebar, where blogs are updated in real-time, to see what my friends are doing, but a few of them have no RSS feeds, and get lost at the bottom of the list, so I thought I’d mention them here. Enjoy!
Willow Raven – Graphic artist and designer. Created my “Blimprider Publications” logo.
Stephanie Kato – Author and very active blogger on steampunk, movies, and games.
The Daily Pioneer – Indian “newspaper” printed in English.
Steampunk’d – A fairly static primer on what goes into the fabulous works called Steampunk.
Penelope Burns – A comprehensive guide on How to Blog.
I’d Rather Television – A pop-culture guide to things on screens.
Life’s Little Mysteries – Answers to things we all wonder about.
Gimme That Star Trek – Podcast discussing all things Trek.
The Home of Lorna Lockheed – Actually the home of C. William Perkins, steampunk author and reviewer.
And that should keep you busy until Monday, when my plans call for the next Kung Fu post to be ready for your approval. Read well, write better, and I’ll see you all back here then!