Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review of "Devious (A Jamie Richmond Mystery, Book 1)" - Mark Love

Jamie Richmond, reporter turned author, is doing research for her next book. Attempting to capture the realism of a police officer’s duties while on patrol, she manages to tag along for a shift with a state police trooper. A few traffic stops and a high speed chase later, Jamie’s ride takes an unexpected turn when she witnesses the trooper being shot. Although it is not a fatal injury, Jamie becomes obsessed with unraveling the facts behind this violent act. While she is trying to sort out this puzzle, she becomes romantically involved with Malone, another trooper with a few mysteries of his own. Now Jamie’s attention is divided between a blooming romance and solving the crime which is haunting her. Jamie begins to question the events that took place and exactly who could be behind the shooting. It was a devious mind. But who?




(request submitted by author for an honest critique) 

Just a heads up, this book DID NOT portray cops in a positive light at all. With that out of the way, let me address the plot. 

It was pretty easy to guess what the heck was going on and why. A real no-brainer (IMHO). 

I will say, I hope things like that (the plot) don't occur in the real world. If they do..... I just don't want to think about it. (Yes, I'm being vague on purpose to avoid issuing out spoilers.) 

Plot and deceit aside.... let me touch on what bothered me most about Devious. WHAT THE HECK IS MALONE'S FIRST NAME!?!

He won't tell Jamie. Her police captain/stepdad Bert won't tell her. A friend of Malone's won't tell her either. They all claim he is just Malone or Sergeant. Come on, really!! 

Even after they decide to move in together, he keeps this secret. Standard response to her inquiry, "What's in a name?" 

If a man is gracing my bed repeatedly, moving into my place, then I deserve to know his full name. Heck, I would want to know more than just that but a first name would be top of the list. 

Don't you agree?

I understand keeping things 'close to the vest' to add mystery to a relationship, but your name. Call me old fashion but my legs would've stayed closed until he fessed up. 



Heart Rating System - 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:


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Mark Love lived for many years in the metropolitan Detroit area, where crime and corruption always prevalent. A former freelance reporter, Love honed his writing skills covering features and hard news. He is the author of five previous mysteries, Fade Away, Desperate Measures, WHY 319? and three Jamie Richmond romance mysteries, Devious, Vanishing Act and Fleeing Beauty.

Love resides in west Michigan with his wife, Kim. He enjoys a wide variety of music, books, travel, cooking and the great outdoors. Love is currently working on his next novel.

You can find him on Facebook, Amazon and his blog at the links below.

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009P7HVZQ

http://marklove024.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MarkLoveAuthor



Monday, May 2, 2016

Author Showcase / Interview - Allen Long


Welcome, Allen Long!!

1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Allen) I began telling stories almost as soon as I discovered them.  In sixth grade, my teacher let me write a short story a week instead of doing the regular English assignments.  I attended a six-week writer’s workshop at Michigan State between high school and college.  I took all of the creative writing courses offered in college.  I earned a BA in journalism, an MA in fiction writing, and an MFA in fiction writing.  After that, I began publishing short stories and memoirs in literary magazines.

2.     All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Allen) Knock on wood, but I’m pleased to say I’ve never had writer’s block.  However, the hardest thing for me is to get a new short story off the ground.  In the last year or so, I’ve written the first seven pages of three short stories.  Eventually, I’ll either lose interest in the story or I’ll get a new insight that spurs me on.  If I’m having trouble with a short story, I stop and write a memoir, which seems to be my natural form.  If you read the author comments at the back of the O. Henry Prize Stories, you’ll see that many authors started their award-winning stories and then got stuck.  Sometimes years later, they’ve had a flash of insight that allowed them to finish their stories.  So if a writer gets stuck on a short story, it may be that the story needs more time to marinate before it can be written.  By the way, I read the O. Henry Prize Stories every year because I believe reading quality fiction helps a writer produce the same. 

3.     Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Allen) I read, go to the movies, swim, walk my dogs, hang out with my wife and friends, and stay in touch with my grown children.  I’m also an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine, so I read and evaluate submissions.

4.     I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Allen) I have a close circle of friends and relatives who know I write.  They are proud of me and excited when I publish.  Otherwise, I keep my writing a secret.

5. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Allen) 

Ray Bradbury
Raymond Carver
Anthony Doerr
William Faulkner
 Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Tessa Hadley
Ernest Hemingway
Alice Munro
Richard Russo
William Trevor

6.     If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Allen) I don’t think I can answer this one.  I never think about how books might be turned into movies.  I’d be thrilled if my book were turned into a movie; however, I’d want the casting experts to work their magic.

7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Allen) I’m writing memoirs and short stories for literary magazines.  Maybe some of this activity will lead to another book.

8. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Allen) Here are some memoirs and short stories that can be found online.  The pieces are not connected and can be read in any order.  These pieces do not appear in my book.

 “Sleepover” in Ray’s Road Review (memoir)
“Freak Out” in Verdad (memoir)
 “The Poincare Conjecture” in 42opus (fiction)
“Common Ground” in Amarillo Bay (fiction)


9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?


10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Allen) Readers may be curious about the alligator on the cover of Less than Human: A Memoir.  This image was inspired by an incident in which our negligent parents encouraged my brother and me, when we were in elementary school, to swim in a Florida lake inhabited by an adult alligator while they visited inside with our grandparents.

Readers who are writers may be curious about my process for writing this book.  I took 3.5 years to write the first eight chapters of the book.  Then I hired a professional editor, and I took another 1.5 years to write the ninth and final chapter and complete five more cover-to-cover drafts of the book.  My publisher accepted the book as is, so I highly recommend working with a professional editor and doing lots of revising and polishing.

And one final piece of advice to aspiring writers: whatever you are writing, get the story off the ground immediately.  I reject so many submissions at Narrative Magazine because the writer “warms up” for seven pages, and then the real story begins on page 8.  This is one of the primary reasons I reject stories. 

(KAMERON) Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Allen Long. If you have any questions or comments for Allen, by all means, leave him a message below. Thank you in advance for your visit! 





In Less than Human, Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than... he is, indeed... human. Less than Human follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, creates its own form of suspense-in what direction will this book take us next?


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Friday, April 29, 2016

Comic Lovers Unite!! (CONTEST)

Do you love comics? Know someone who does? Then, you are in luck because I'm hosting a contest to give away one fabulous prize package. 

Wanna know what YOU might WIN. Keep scrolling!! 


Pretty amazing, stupendous prizes, right? And I didn't even post all the goodies awaiting you. Yup, there is totally more up for grabs inside the Superman tote bag. ;)



Ok, let's get to the rules and regulations section of the contest.  

The contest is available to anyone living in the continental United States. Sorry to anyone whom this excludes. For those available to enter, an entry is a simple and painless task. 

To enter, all you have to do is answer one of two questions in the comments section below.


1.) Who's your favorite superhero / super villain?





2.) If you can possess any superpower, what would it be?




The contest will be open all weekend long and a winner will be selected on Monday. 

So, enter today and make sure to tell your friends and family members to enter as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review of "The Right Way To Be Wrong" - Tracy A. Ball

Holden’s desire knew no limits. Holden’s family respected no boundaries. Not to worry, Cherry can fix that. Cherry can fix anything…except herself.

Being in love with Holden, one of the notorious Latche twins, has freed Cherry from her ghosts. Now, she wants to help everyone -with or without their consent. Her unyielding opinions influence every relationship on the Latche family farm. While her involvement may not always be welcome, at least her intentions are pure.

And that’s a problem.

Purity doesn’t work for Holden. Abstinence is not a part of his womanizing agenda. Besides, Cherry has two secrets too many as far as he is concerned. The lack of information about her family and her intimate exchanges with Eric– the other notorious Latche twin.



REVIEW 

(request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

After I read this story, all I could think is "Wow, my life is so boring compared to these people and thank goodness for that." In this family, both genders stepped out on each other. Some more than others. At one point, the stepping out caused a paternity test which would've made even Maury Povich shake his head and yell out WTF. Mia (town hussy) slept with ever man on the farm -- back to back. Seriously, I read that and almost threw up in my mouth. Just ewwww! 

The drama didn't end there. Then came the paternity results. SHOCKER!!

Did the excitement end there? NOPE. These people were made for Jerry Springer. 

However when things finally calmed down, we got the HEA. Cue the applause machine!! 



Heart Rating System - 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤









Tracy's family is blended from three distinct cultures. Over the years, she has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She has an equal number of liberal and conservative friends. She knows people who have committed murder and she knows people who know the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love.


tra3ball@gmail.com
tracyaball.wordpress.com

Monday, April 25, 2016

Author Showcase / Interview and Review of "Fava" - John Hazen



Welcome, John Hazen!!


1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(John) Writing a novel had always been one of those things I always wanted to do but never got around to do. I’d always had these ideas floating around in my head that I thought would make great premises (e.g., what would happen if a person stumbled upon one of the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas? Or, how can you compare two diametrically opposed wars like the Civil War and Vietnam? Or, what would happen if one of the “Pillars of Islam” were removed?), but I never acted and used one of these as the basis for a novel. It was about fifteen years ago that I got my first laptop and I decided it was time to put my downtime on the train back and forth to work to profitable use. I started to write. Over that time I’ve completed and published three suspense novels: Dear Dad, Fava and Journey of an American Son. I’ve just submitted my fourth novel, Aceldama, for publication.


2. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(John) I’ve encountered some level of block on each of my novels. I’m not an outliner. I’m more of a “make it up as I go along type of guy.” While I think this approach is right for me and has some advantages such as spontaneity, it also lends itself to going down a path, getting to a certain point and then saying to myself: Where do I go from here? The way I usually handle it is to put the book aside and work on some other project. The blocks eventually resolve themselves. For one of my books, I even had a proverbial 2:00 AM “Aha moment” when I woke up with an idea on how to move forward. Luckily, I had pen and paper by my bedside to jot down the idea so that it didn’t flee my brain come morning.


3. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(John) Well, I do have a day job in the field of environmental protection to pay the bills, but people don’t want to hear about that, I’m sure. In general, I like doing things with my best friend, my wife Lynn. We love to travel. Paris has been like a second home to us over the years. We also like to play tennis, go for walks and watch TV together. Whatever I do, I’m always on the lookout for new book ideas, I’m afraid.


4. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(John) When I first started writing, I did keep it to myself but since I’ve gotten a few books under my belt, I let anyone and everyone know about my writing. Working with a small, independent publisher, I’ve had to do a lot of my own marketing and promotion. With all the Twitter and Facebook self-promotion I do, I’m often surprised if someone doesn’t know that I’m an author. The reactions I’ve gotten range from surprise to pride, but they’ve always been positive.
(Kameron) Congrats!!


5. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(John) My absolute all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was chagrined that Go Set a Watchman was released, but I don’t hold it against her, instead chalking that up to a greedy publisher brow beating a nearly 90-year old woman into releasing it.
Other favorite authors, not necessarily in this order, include:
J.K. Rowling
John Steinbeck
Stephen King
James Michener
Leon Uris
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Laura Hillenbrand
James Patterson
John Hazen


(Kameron) Great list of authors. I love you included yourself. We should always be our greatest champion/supporter.


6. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(John) I’ve been told by more than one person that they thought my book Fava would make a great movie. One recent review noted that she loves it when a book makes her go “ Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” That’s what I like in a film as well. It’s also topical and current, has great action and believable characters. I’d go with Eva Longoria for the lead, Francine Vega, Bradley Cooper for FBI Special Agent Will Allen and Johnny Depp for the brilliant but off-the-wall Alan Westbrook. Might as well shoot for the stars, right?

(Kameron) That's a superb cast!!


7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(John) Well, as I mentioned earlier I just sent my latest novel, Aceldama, to my publisher with the hope of having it released in the spring. It’s a fantasy/suspense novel with a religious overtone that involves a coin, a curse and a murder. Getting it into publishable shape has been consuming my time of late, although I am also helping a friend write a screenplay of a book he has rights to.


8. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(John) Probably the best way to contact me is via Twitter @john_hazen. I’m very diligent about keeping up with my notifications and messages so if you reach out to me, I will get back shortly.

10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(John) I just want to thank you for this opportunity. As I said, independent authors have to spend a lot of their own time promoting and marketing. The idealistic and unrealistic side of me says that this is not needed. “My books are good and they should sell themselves,” I tell myself, but alas, it doesn’t seem to work out that way. It’s therefore especially appreciated when I come across outlets like your blog to get my name and my works out there. I hope I’m able to pique the interest of at least a few possible readers who’ll look me up and give my stories a chance.


(Kameron) Thank you John gracing us with an interview and thank you ladies and gents for poppin by. Before you run off to the real world (again), let's take a quick gander at one of the books John mentioned above, Fava.
Enjoy!!





The biggest story of Francine Vega's career could end her life...or start World War III. Francine is a rising TV news reporter in New York City. Despite her brains, beauty and a growing following, she is stuck covering local interest stories. That is until her career literally hits the jackpot when the winner of a $450 million dollar lottery tells Francine that he is committed to using his new fortune to avenge his brother's killing at the Pentagon on 9/11. His seemingly crazy plan is backed by more than just money-he is in league with a ruthless and powerful Army Colonel gone rogue, religious extremists and co-conspirators in the highest levels of government. Francine teams with FBI Special Agent Will Allen, one of the few people who believe the threat is real, in a desperate race across three continents to stop the plot before it's too late.


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(request submitted by author for an honest critique) 


As I was reading the first several chapters of Fava, I kept thinking it was coming across as a hate book. Alan Westbrook, Reverend Malcolm McKenzie, Colonel Lawson and their followers set out to eradicate Mecca for their own personal reasons. They were condemning/punishing an entire country/race/religion based off the horrendous actions of the few. 

Reverend McKenzie's motto "No Cheeks Left" went viral and his "sheep" began taking matters into their own hands while Alan and Lawson used Alan's lotto earnings to plan their own vengeance. This is where the plot unfolds and the TRUER MESSAGE is unveiled and I realized this WAS NOT a hate book after all. Thank goodness for that!! 

I believe the point of  Fava is NOT to spread hate but to reinforce the idea of not punishing the whole for the actions of the few. 

I think you can agree/hope innocent people SHOULD NOT be sentenced to the same fate as the guilty parties. 

Think about this..... If we laid down the hammer on an entire nation/race/religion based off the actions of a group of people then imagine how many people would be left walking the Earth. 

Not many, I tell you that. 

Ponder that a moment and then read this book. 


Heart Rating System - 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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