Sunday, November 24, 2019

November Book Reviews and Previews

For your consideration:
  • A collection of steampunk short-stories (Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude);
  • Two, interconnected novellas (Daedalus: SWIC Basejump from Fred Noonan Skyport and Daedalus LEO: SWIC Drop from Low Earth Orbit) - two more are planned by the author;
  • An entertainingly bizarre, steampunk novel (The Diplomat and Desperado Stories); and
  • A self-help book (Turn Your Happiness ON).
Hope you find something for your library,

Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude: A Seven Story Collection by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Coming-of-Age Short Stories Set in a Well-Crafted, Steampunk Alternative History

Prelude, a short-story collection, is one of three literary paths into an alternative, steampunk world that is the Boston Metaphysical Society. The other two paths are a novel, Storm of Secrets, which I have read, and a comic book/graphic novel, which I have not. The two I've read lead to a fascinating world where steam power and gauges replace the electronics and digital readouts of our world. And it's not just technology that's different, but history and society as well. Then, add a supernatural element with mediums, ghosts, and demons, and you have a fertile setting for the imaginative tales that make up Prelude

For the complete review, see

Daedalus: SWIC Basejump from Fred Noonan Skyport by Robert G. Williscroft

A Death-Defying Feat Told with the Swagger of a Navy SEAL

Imagine, if you will, riding something like an extremely high-speed elevator 80 kilometers into the sky (that’s almost 50 miles or over 262,000 feet). And you’re doing this in preparation for jumping with nothing but a hard-shell, wingsuit with a steerable rocket while aiming for a small island 379 kilometers away. I can think of a lot of phrases that might describe people’s feelings as that elevator starts its ascent—paralyzed by fear, hearts pounding in their ears, stomachs in their throats. Now consider how the narrator of the novella Daedalus, Tiger Bailey a Navy SEAL, described it. “I felt a faint tug that rapidly increased to about the same pressure produced by a chick sitting on my chest.” 

For the complete review, see

Daedalus LEO: SWIC Drop from Low Earth Orbit (Daedalus Series Book 2) by Robert G. Williscroft.

An Interesting Blend of Science and Fiction with a Larger than Life Hero

Like the first installment of the series, the focus of Daedalus LEO is on using a wingsuit to deliver SEALs to a trouble spot, a concept that is part science and part fiction. And like all good hard-science-fiction writing, the boundary between current theory and the author’s imagination is difficult to determine. Leave the readers guessing, make them sweat. That tension, however, generally comes from trying to guess the dividing line between current, beneficial theory and the story’s disastrous side effects of the same technology. Just where in the development of technology X did it stop being the savior of mankind and become our downfall? In this book, however, there is no catastrophic side of the wingsuit and so, the distinction between fact and fantasy is interesting, if not particularly tension producing. 

For the complete review, see

The Diplomat and Desperado Stories by PanOrpheus.
I read PanOrpheus’s books with a search window open.

PanOrpheus’s books—and I’ve read a few—involve a bizarre collection of recurring figures from history and mythology, not to mention from the author’s imagination. Phoebe, the Spirit of the mythical Third Oracle of the Temple of Delphi and her consort, Mister E, the afterlife spirit of Nikola Tesla are a couple of examples. In this installment, these two assign their agents—the Diplomat and the Desperado—to travel to other times and realms to correct certain anomalies that have or are about to occur. And these two, let me assure you, have unique ways for dealing with anomalies! The Diplomat taps into his growing abilities for precognition and telekinesis. In other words, he’ll be using his head, just like all diplomats do. And the Desperado? She’s the muscle, employing all “… the weapons used in Terminator One, Two, and Three, and a few from the Matrix Two” on one mission. Sure, sometimes it seems she’s gotten out of hand, like the afternoon she destroyed the entire Forbidden City. But do you really want to quibble with the Diplomat’s summary of the mission:  “… unfortunate but within bounds collateral damage. Goals attained.” Again, his stellar diplomatic skills were on display. 

For the complete review, see

Turn Your Happiness ON: How to Light up your Days and Fill your Life with Joy by Norma Nikutowski

Consider Your Impediments to Happiness Before You Pick Up this Book

"Happiness means different things to different people." That’s just one of dozens of quotes in the book. I wanted to use it because it highlights why this book can’t be completely successful. It can’t because, in 196 pages, it cannot deal with everyone’s impediments to living a happier life. I’d guess the author has addressed a large portion of the population. But on the other hand, I’m certain the book doesn’t address everyone. Why? Because you won’t find much on issues such as the lack of self-esteem (other than the fact that it suffers when you’re unhappy), learned helplessness, bullying, most work issues such as dealing with glass ceilings or learning to delegate, fear of success, and so on. And there is certainly nothing like living with phobias, addictions, or compulsions. So, my advice to the potential reader: consider what blocks your happiness and compare it to the topics covered in the book. To help with that process, I’ll try to summarize the book’s primary points.

For the complete review, see

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November's Limited Kindle Deals

How about something to read while you wait for the turkey to cook?

(Prices change constantly. Be sure to verify all prices before purchase)

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 11
Of Half a Mind
By Bruce M. Perrin
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

2019 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

2018 Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist

When you talk to yourself, there’s only one voice.  When you look at something in your mind’s eye, there’s but one image.

Psychologist Sam “Doc” Price and his colleagues had always held that principle to be true … at least under normal circumstances.  But as they studied the work of a brilliant but troubled neuroscientist, they discovered a device that created a reality that was anything but normal.  And when they had unraveled its mysteries, the only question that remained was, could they survive the truth?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 10
The Amazon Code (Harvey Bennett Thrillers Book 2)
By Nick Thacker
Pulp Thriller
Usual Price: 6.99  Sale: 0.99

The Amazon rainforest is hiding a secret.

One woman has uncovered it ... and it's a secret worth killing for.

When her company discovers a remarkable hidden message in the dreaming brains of her subjects, Dr. Amanda Meron unknowingly invites disaster unto her company.

The clues seem to be pointing her to one of the remote places on the planet: The Amazon Rainforest.

When Harvey "Ben" Bennett gets a hint that the nefarious organization he's been searching for has turned up in Brazil, he and his new girlfriend Juliette Richardson race to the jungle to discover what they're after - and hopefully stop them.

From the myth of the lost city of El Dorado to emerging science technology, The Amazon Code has it all: action-packed adventure, an exotic setting, and characters you'll fall in love with.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 10
The Color Dead: A Dickie Floyd Detective Novel
By Danny R. Smith
Hard-Boiled Mystery
Usual Price: 4.99  Sale: 0.99

Detective Josefina Sanchez has been taken.

She and her partner, Dickie, had been sent to Gorman, a remote northern outpost in Los Angeles County, where a man had been executed in the woods. Three days later, Josie has vanished.

Had she returned to the mountains over the weekend on her own? If so, what might have happened to her? Or could her disappearance have something to do with any of her other cases, especially one involving the Mexican mafia? The idea that Josie was randomly taken must also be considered, however unlikely.

Dickie and Floyd must find Josie. Their search takes them from the streets of Los Angeles up to the wilds of the Tejon Pass where they find themselves at odds with residents of the backcountry. But time is running out, and nothing will deter the veteran detectives in the search for one of their own. Not even heavily armed and dangerous mountain men.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 11
First-Realm Problems: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Eastwind Witches Cozy Mysteries Book 12)
By Nova Nelson
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 4.99  Sale: 0.99

What happens in New Orleans, slays in New Orleans…

Psychic Nora Ashcroft is somewhere she never thought she’d see again: her old world. Desperate to bring Tanner and Eva back to Eastwind as soon as possible, she faces a major up-levee battle in New Orleans. Because without any money or a clear place to start, finding two witches in the city could require more magic than she alone possesses.

When she catches wind of mysterious slayings among the local vampires and witches, her only shot at finding her friends could be to unmask a murderer. But time is running out, and a dangerous cloaked figure is running amok…

Can Nora solve her first-realm problems before the past comes back to haunt her?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 10
Oranges for Christmas: A Berlin Wall Escape Novel
By Margarita Morris
Historical Fiction
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

The war is over but the fight for freedom has only just begun.

Berlin. August 1961. The Cold War. When the Berlin Wall brutally divides East from West, Sabine is separated from her beloved brother, Dieter. Escape to the West is the only option if the family is to be reunited. But the Wall is guarded by soldiers operating a shoot to kill policy. And Sabine finds herself at the mercy of the Stasi and their brutal interrogation techniques. She must fight to escape. She must fight to survive.

Separated from his family by the Berlin Wall, Dieter teams up with a rebel group determined to rescue their loved ones from East Berlin. They have a plan. But it’s a dangerous mission, beset with difficulties at every turn. Who can they really trust? Who is friend or foe?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 9
The Academy of Stolen Magic: YA Paranormal Academy Book Two (Blakemore Paranormal Academy 2)
By Sullivan Gray
YA Spy Fiction
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

I’m not sure what hurts more: the knife in my back or the one in my heart.

I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was losing my powers and being shipped off to Supernatural Reform School. I was wrong.

Betrayed and heartbroken, I’m still searching for the mages who stole my powers. But now I know that the conspiracy goes much higher up the chain of command. High enough that my new friends and I might all be in danger.

Especially when we find out that Blakemore Paranormal Academy is housing a magical weapon. We don’t know what or why, but are determined to find out where and stop it. The only upside: the search is a great distraction from my broken heart.

Will we find this weapon in time? Or am I about to find out how much I still have to lose?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 11
The Silver Strand Legacy: A Suspense Thriller Novel (Eritis Trilogy Book 1)
Military Thriller
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

He’s looking for a way out …

For Nate Kincade, former army special forces, the future looks bleak. Following a tragic incident, he faces a long-term sentence inside a U.S. Military prison. But when a mysterious visitor appears and offers to secure his freedom in exchange for completing a mission, Nate believes his luck has finally turned.

The mission: go to Paris and track down a group of scientists who recently escaped from a top-secret research facility located near the French and German border. Sounds simple enough. But Nate soon discovers the fugitives are far more dangerous than he could have possibly imagined. And when one of them, a mysterious young woman, saves his life then asks for his help, Nate must decide if he can trust her, and if he’s willing to put his team in danger by confronting the most lethal enemy he’s ever had to face.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 11
Simon Says (John Simon Thrillers Book 1)
By Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Science Fiction Adventure
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

Master Detective John Simon is a tough, streetwise seventeen year veteran of the Kansas City Police Department with a healthy disdain for the encroachment of modern technology into his workplace. When his partner is kidnapped after a routine stakeout by thugs with seeming ties to connected, wealthy art dealer Benjamin Ashman, he's determined to find the truth, but the only witness is a humanoid android named Lucas George. Reluctantly, he takes Lucas along as he begins to investigate and soon finds himself depending more and more on the very technology he so distrusts. Meanwhile, Simon's precocious teenage daughter begins to teach Lucas how to sound More like a cop using dialogue from famous cop movies. If only he'd use them in the appropriate context.

As the two men dig in deeper, they find themselves and every witness they touch faced with danger from assassins as they begin to uncover a conspiracy that may stretch from the heights of the KCPD itself to South America and beyond. Can they identify the guilty before it's too late without getting themselves killed in the process?

Start Date: NOW  End Date: November 11
Old Haunts: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Eastwind Witches Cozy Mysteries Book 11)
By Nova Nelson
Cozy Mystery
Usual Price: 4.99  Sale: 0.99

Some spirits can’t take a hint. 

Psychic Nora Ashcroft can’t tell the future, but she’s starting to look forward to it. And with the support of Donovan and the rest of the town, she’s ready to leave the past behind. Too bad the same can’t be said for Eastwind’s most newly departed...

After a body is discovered in the street, everyone has a theory about what might've happened… including the deceased himself. Though he swears he was ready for death and has no unfinished business keeping him around, Nora knows something must be tethering him to this plane. 

But the more she discovers, the more questions she has about this friendly ghost’s shady past…

Can Nora piece together the truth of her newest client before his dangerous history comes back to haunt her?

Mark your calendar for this one, because it starts November 23

Whiskey Kills (A Top Shelf Mystery)
By Lolli Powell
Cozy (Humorous) Mystery
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

2017 Bronze winner of The Wishing Shelf Book Awards---
When bar owner, Ricki Fontaine’s friend, Ruby Fogarty, is charged with murdering her boyfriend by clubbing him to death with a bottle of whiskey, the police consider the case closed. But Ricki is convinced Ruby is innocent and sets out to find the real murderer. Although Waterton police detective Gabriel Russell is crazy about Ricki, he isn’t too crazy about her trying to do his job.

The killer’s not too happy about it either.

Prices change constantly. Be sure to verify all prices before purchase.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Monday, November 4, 2019

THE Headline for November ... plus 3 others

Of course for any author, this headline will always take precedence.


Mind in Chains went live today just after midnight. It's great to have it out!

I wanted to say thanks to all the editorial reviewers, the ARC readers and reviewers, and the blog and Facebook page owners who have helped publicize this event. And a special thanks to Gothic Mom's Graphics for some stellar artwork.

And don't forget to enter the Release Day Blitz drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift card:

If I'm going to shell out $25, I'd like one of my subscribers to win it!

2. Killer in the Retroscape is now available as an eBook at Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and other retailers.

Killer in the Retroscape is a BRAG Medallion Honoree, a Montaigne Medal Finalist, and took third place in the 2019 Eric Hoffer Awards for eBook Fiction. For those of you who wanted to give it a try on something besides the Kindle, this is for you:

Barnes and Noble:



And of course, it's still on Amazon: 

3. A Binge-Worthy Pulp Thriller Boxset 

Zachary Goldman Private Investigator Cases 1-4 by P.D. Workman

When I picked up my copy soon after its release in October, its ranks on Amazon were as follows:
#1 in Pulp Thrillers
#2 in Noir Crime
#1 in Mystery Series
If you like these genre, it's worth a look.

Zachary Goldman, Private Investigator, is flawed with a capital F.

Shattered by the tragedies of his own life, he will somehow still manage to pick himself up and dig just a little bit deeper than anyone else to find the vital clues. Maybe being broken makes it easier for others who have faced tragedy to trust him. Walk with Zachary as he solves four cases that will stretch his abilities to the limit. Even with his own life in shambles, Zachary Goldman is still the one you want on the case.

The set includes: She Wore Mourning; His Hands were Quiet; She was Dying Anyway; and He was Walking Alone.

4. Winners of the AXP Crime/Thriller eBook Giveaway

The AXP Crime/Thriller eBook Giveaway ran Oct. 15 to 21. The two grand prize winners of all 23 eBooks were Terry W. and Ruth S. The winner of my book was Susan F. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who entered. 

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)