Love Is a Racket – Finally, Formally on My Shelf!

So yesterday I finally acquired the hardcover edition of one of my all-time favorite crime novels, Love Is a Racket (1998) by novelist/graphic novelist, showrunner and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (you probably know of him or his work — Google him). I originally discovered and read this book in the Summer of 1999 and was addicted to it from the first page. I had checked it out in hardcover form from my public library. Already over a year past its initial release by the time I came to know it, the chances of acquiring it in hardcover at Barnes and Noble or Borders were slim-to-none, and used booksellers like Half-Price Books were an unlikely longshot (I’d never seen it on used shelves). So I just kept checking the damn thing out at various library branches every few years when I had the itch to read it (and wanted to recharge my own crime-noir prose batteries). I practically took ownership of this precious tome, hoarding it to myself for the full checkout duration multiple times and, yes, paying who knows how much in late fees on the thing per occasion. Eventually I came around to stalking Amazon, only finding a couple of different paperback versions and maybe one of those listings for the hardcover that had some astronomical price tag due to the scarcity of the edition or some such. Well, upon chance a week ago I found that rare “Only 1 left in stock – order soon.” offering from an Amazon third-party bookseller for a very low price ($4.99) and I eagerly pulled the trigger. And so now, at long last, after nearly two decades of our first acquaintance, this book and I are now together forever! #BookwormRuckus #MyPrecious

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Now Reading: Words for Pictures (2014, BMB)

I am 35 (of 210) pages in of Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels (2014) by Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones, upcoming Superman) and it is actually a pretty good read so far. Bendis tends to get a bad rap from a small but vocal segment of comic book fandom, but given his massive success in both the indie & corporate side of the comics publishing game with nearly two and a half decades of experience, the guy has much wisdom to impart on the subject of writing comics and graphic novels. Dude holds a professorship for comics/graphic novels courses at Oregon. There aren’t many books out there like this one and if you’re an intellectual you will glean information from any reliable source. #BookwormRuckus #ReadToFeed #ReadToSeed #ReadToSucceed

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Book Release Day: “When We Go Missing” — Kristen Twardowski

Happy and proud to announce that my author buddy Kristen Twardowski has released her debut novel WHEN WE GO MISSING today! Congrats KT!!!

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Amazon link: When We Go Missing – by Kristen Twardowski

 

Today is the day that I can officially say that I published a book. When We Go Missing, my debut novel, is live and available for purchase in print and e-book form on Amazon. (The e-book version is also in Kindle Unlimited, so if you are a member, you can grab it for free!) When We Go Missing is […]

via Book Release Day: “When We Go Missing” — Kristen Twardowski

Lifebook 11 | Local Heroes . . . 5 Years Later

So this past week, November 22nd, to be precise, marked the five year anniversary of the publication of the first ever physical book to bear my byline on the cover (as editor/compiler). Local Heroes was a small anthology conceived, compiled and edited by yours truly and published by now defunct small press publisher Static Movement (with an assist by the also now defunct publisher Pill Hill Press and Amazon).

As the proud compiler of this anthology I somehow managed to select some exceptional work from my fellow scribes. As noted in the introduction, the sequencing of the pieces  (24 in total, including one by me) was a tough task not unlike that of a DJ deciding which songs to get the party jumping and keep it rocking throughout.

As stated in my introduction, I had to go with the three stories that emotionally impacted me the most as the lead-off trinity. “Virtual Memory” by Bob Eccles (known more for his horror stories), was a sci-fi story with so much heart (break) that I did become a little misty-eyed when reading it, which doesn’t really happen when I’m reading short fiction. I believe that story went on to win an award of some kind (I just can’t remember which).

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The second piece, “Football and Faith” by Kevin Wallis, also pulled on my heartstrings a bit.

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And then “In the Eye of the Beholder” used a game of baseball to tell a very touching coming-of-age tale that gripped me immediately.

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There were several military stories that tackled heroism in their own unique ways. Guardian angels also had a strong presence, as well as what can only be described as, well,  ‘local heroes’. 

For the theme of Local Heroes alone makes it an important book, so I’m happy and proud to’ve helped bring it into the world, even if for only a small press print run. 

Today I think the theme of local heroes is a very timely one, all things considered. I’d love to do a sequel someday.

Now Reading: The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie

I am really enjoying this exceptional debut crime/suspense thriller novel so far. I’m starting Chapter 8 tonight. I’d grabbed this one from the library a week or so ago, having heard nothing about it but was immediately sold by the description on the inside flap.

Description from the Hardcover edition:

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his “white static,” the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the Marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man’s widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for: the largest, ugliest, meanest dog he’s ever encountered . . . and a Samsonite suitcase stuffed with cash and explosives. As Ash begins to investigate this unexpected discovery, he finds himself at the center of a plot that is far larger than he could have imagined . . . and it may lead straight back to the world he thought he’d left for good. Suspenseful and thrilling, and featuring a compelling new hero, The Drifter is an exciting debut from a fresh voice in crime fiction.

The Press buzz . . .

“[Peter Ash’s] sharply intelligent, witty voice strikes the right tone for an honest exploration of the challenges returning veterans face, and while this wandering veteran will remind some of Jack Reacher, Peter’s struggle to overcome PTSD sets him apart. An absorbing thriller debut with heart.”—Booklist

“Petrie’s impressive debut thriller is fine tuned, the action gripping, and through Ash offers a well-drawn portrait of a vet who can’t escape his combat experience. Like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Ash’s philosophy of detection is to poke a stick into something and see what happens. His discoveries will keep the reader on edge and whet the appetite for more from this author.”Library Journal

“Superb . . . A tautly written thriller . . . with a convincing plot, mean and nasty and full of real character. Edgy and slowly boiling to a thrilling climax, this book will hold your interest long after a late night of reading.”—Examiner.com

Check it out!

 https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?asin=B00SA5KHEG&asin=B00SA5KHEG&preview=inline&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_dGotxb41EZQKZ


About the Author

Nicholas Petrie received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, won a Hopwood Award for short fiction while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, and his story “At the Laundromat” won the 2006 Short Story Contest in the The Seattle Review, a national literary journal. A husband and father, he runs a home-inspection business in Milwaukee. The Drifter is his first novel.
Link

New Book: Lost Storm Rider | A Novel by Jennifer Macaire

Jenny Mac is back!

In April, the sequel to Riders of the Lightning Storm will be out! Get ready to continue the adventure! And here (drumroll….) is the new cover!

“…featuring an intimately detailed plot, Horse Passages is very highly recommended as action/adventure science fiction novel and an altogether entertaining read.” — Midwest Book Review 

You can get Book 1 of this YA digital novel series directly from the publisher Evernight Teen or via your Kindle at Amazon.

Source: New Cover!

GALILEE by Clive Barker

GalileeNovelClive Barker’s 1998 unrivaled tenth novel Galilee  (subtitled asA Romance” inside the cover, and also known as Galilee: A Novel of the Fantastic) is hands down one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read.  It became the inspiration for a novel series I’d thought up one cold winter evening earlier this year.  It’s funny that I’ve found myself virtually connected to it.  If you were to do a Google search of the book, one of the top links that shows up leads to a review I did of it on goodreads.com back in summer of 2011.  It shows up at the top on goodreads.com because it is the highest rated review for the book by the members there.  I had no idea of this until just recently when I was looking for info links on the book to share with my co-writer. Here’s the four years old text from that review:
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Galilee, for me, is Clive Barker at his storytelling best. It may not be as inventive as Cabal (Nightbreed), Imajica & Everville, or as mind-bending as The Hellbound Heart (Hellraiser), nor as imaginative as Weaveworld, but it’s the best written, the best ‘told’ story of all of his with elegant, seductive, magnetic prose that’s as smooth as butter. His prose in this book can make even the most boring, mundane things seem worthy of your attention.

It should be stated right up front Galilee is not a horror novel, at least nowhere in the singular sense (though it has parts that may certainly exist on the periphery of that description). It’s a bit of a wonderful, odd beast. It’s my favorite kind of tome, running the gamut of several flavors from epic saga, historical suspense, myth-making, inter-familial drama, forbidden romance, light metaphysics, a teasing amount of the supernatural (almost maddeningly understated) and, being a Barker story, a touch of the dark fantastic, naturally.

It’s truly the hardest novel to nail down with a description that I’ve ever encountered, and I am honestly and thoroughly bummed that I have yet to encounter something of its ilk since. That’s over a decade of let down. Thankfully it’s so invitingly re-readable and continuously rewarding when you do so.

I love all the extraordinary elements . . . everything about the Barbarossa family, whom I did not ever think of as fantastical creations, but more supernatural. However, Barker wrote that Cesaria, the matriarch, was essentially a goddess-like being, more or less a demigoddess (in other words, she’s a direct descendant of, well, God) than a typical fantastical invention Barker is typically known for creating. Certainly a more metaphysical approach than his norm at the time. Like urban fantasy it’s a great merging of the mundane with the extraordinary.

As a writer, this book was such a defining, eye opening read for me. It was an “Ah, so THAT’S how you do it!” revelation. Part of that is due to the character-driven literary device he uses (kind of as a cheat) that allows him to tell a birds-eye view kind of sprawling epic story without sacrificing an ounce of the first-person intimacy since it comes from the MC’s near-omniscient point of view. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat, but damned effective. But I won’t get more into that because it’s a real treat of reading the novel and I’ve probably teased enough details.

After the book came out Barker mentioned a sequel one day that would essentially focus more on the Barbarossas instead of the Gearys, who get the bulk of the focus in this book. I so hope he gets around to it before he retires.

Note: I’m giving this book 5 stars because there is no option for 4 & 1/2 stars.

— from Brandon Rucker’s review on goodreads.com