Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Freebies and Frights

If you think the only way to improve on a free book is a horror freebie, then this giveaway is for you!

Go ahead, get a few stories. Sleep is over-rated away.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Book Review: The Retreat by Gordon Ballantyne

Preppers Stand Against Invasion When International Creditors Demand Repayment

If you know what a “prepper” is, then you’re a step ahead of me when I started this book. Basically, it’s someone who believes a catastrophe is looming and makes active preparations for it. The approaching disaster in this book? The United States has failed to balance trade for far too long and our international creditors have called our debt due. America capitulates and China takes over on the West Coast, the Russians on the East, and the population is left in virtual slavery to work off what the country owes. Not everyone is OK with this arrangement, of course, not the least of whom are the protagonists of this tale—Mitch, the enigmatic head of the Olympus Capital hedge fund, and Melanie, logistical guru, mathematical genius, and later, his wife. Together, they provide the financial wizardry that is used to build a prepper community, the Retreat, in the forests of Idaho to battle the Chinese.

Overall, the writing is good, and in particular, the characters are well-developed. Each has their own voice, so even without attribution, you can usually tell who is speaking. You’ll never mistake Angus’ harrumphing, for example. But for my taste, the author is too fond of clichés, e.g., “… would you rather ask for permission or beg for forgiveness? If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance then baffle them with bull.” And there is a tendency to run-on sentences, including some that take up half a page. An additional edit would have helped.

But the real limitations to the book are twofold. First, I found the basic premise difficult to accept. Would no one be suspicious if all of our creditors demanded repayment at the same moment? Would Americans stand by and let foreign militaries on US soil? Would a president just hand over all authority because of debt? Could he? I found it necessary to “suspend disbelief” to get into the story. But second, even after I did that, the plot lacked tension. Consistently, the reader is told that Mitch and Melanie are smarter than any of their adversaries and the prepper community knows more about survival and battle tactics than the Chinese, more than the US Army. It never felt like the Retreat was in any danger. True, there were losses later in the book, but those were the result of massive bombardments where “… they were bound to get lucky on a few shots.” Basically, hero and villain were significantly mismatched and plot tension and suspense suffered as a result.

Overall, the story was an interesting portrayal of the prepper philosophy of survival and freedom. But even if you can accept the basic premise of the invasion, the tension of conflict between equal opposing forces was missing.

See on Amazon:

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Horror * Mystery * Thriller Audiobooks

I didn't set out to write horror when I wrote Of Half a Mind. But many reviewers and readers said that was exactly what it was - "a new take on psychological horror" as the Booklife Prize reviewer put it. And the way Denver C. Risley narrates the audiobook, even I get goosebumps!

So, if you can't beat them, I've added it to a very (VERY) short, Story Origin collection of the free Horror, Mystery, Thriller audiobooks. All you have to do is consider leaving a review.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

All Genre Giveaway

I'm a mystery/techno-thriller writeror as I think of it, a techno-mystery writerbut I also enjoy reading more widely than that. I figure some of you do too. So, check out this all-genre giveaway with more than fifty (yes, that's 50) participating authors!

My contribution to this Story Origin collection is Killer in the Retroscape: A Near-Future Mystery. So, if you haven't picked up a copy of it yet, here's your chance to get it FREE!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

For a Limited Time, In the Space of an Atom is Free!

For the first time since it was published in March 2017, In the Space of an Atom will be free on Amazon from June 29 to July 3. And since I have revised both books I wrote before it, it is now my "oldie but goodie".

As a finalist in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Book Awards and 2018 EPIC eBook Awards, In the Space of an Atom is fast, light suspense with a bit of science and a touch of romance that you won’t put down until the final page.

Get your free copy here:

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

June is Audiobook Month!

At least according to Findaway Voices, it is. And to celebrate, they've arranged with Nook to provide genre-specific carousels. Two of them include two of my audiobooks.

You'll find Of Half a Mind in “Science Fiction & Fantasy Indie Deals” here:

Mind in the Clouds is in “Mystery & Thriller Indie Deals” here:

Check out all the offerings and find you next favorite author/narrator team.