Monday, December 27, 2021

Sci-Fi First in Series Giveaway

I’ve teamed up with 40+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Science Fiction series starters to 2 lucky winners!

Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁  

You can win my novel, Of Half a Mind. And if you have it, you still have a chance to win 39+ other books!

 👉 Enter the giveaway by clicking here

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Book Review: Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents by PanOrpheus

Not Your Father’s Steampunk Novel

Traditionally, steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that has a historical setting and that features current and futuristic technology powered by steam. So, you might expect boiler-driven engines with analog dials and gauges. You will, however, find almost nothing like that in Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents save a story told by one of the main characters during an outer-space trip. Yes, this isn’t your father’s steampunk novel.

What, then, is the setting and technology? The story is set in the distant future near the binary star Pleione, which is about 450 light-years from the sun in the constellation, Taurus. (I only know that because PanOrpheus intertwines history, science, mythology, and imagination in his books, and Pleione is part of the science, i.e., I could search it online.) Not only is the story set far from our earth in time and space, but it is also couched in an alternative theory of astrophysics generally known as plasma cosmology or the electric universe. So, rather than black, empty, and cold space governed by gravitational forces, space contains flows such as the Birkeland Currents involving ionized gases and plasmas (this nonstandard theory is also searchable on the Internet). Do you need to understand the differences between Big Bang and Plasma Cosmology to enjoy this book? Not at all. Many works of fiction involve building alternative worlds, and though this alternative has some scientific underpinnings, it’s still fantasy world-building to a large degree.

As for the technology involved in space travel, it’s centered around a bio-engineered organism that also serves as a spacecraft, the anemone. Think horse and rider, except for the scale—the anemone is huge, making the human rider more like a flea on horseback. And somehow, these minuscule humans (a pilot and copilot) direct this monstrous creature/spacecraft, with PanOrpheus comparing their control to that of the unconscious over a human, i.e., directing things not in awareness, such as emotions, habits, and memory. Conscious control over the anemone is provided by a computer, which has as much personality as the humans because the pilot decided to save a little money on its purchase. And finally, prescience or the ability to foresee the future is provided by Aletheia, with PanOrpheus tapping into ancient Greek philosophy for this character. If that’s not enough cooks to spoil the soup, anemone also has a collective unconscious (from past generates of the organism) and an evolving free will. I came away wondering if this craft ever made it to a destination on time.

If you’ve read this far, I suspect you’re thinking, what an odd collection of alternative world-theories, characters from mythology, tidbits from less than mainstream science, and wild imaginings and I’d have to agree. But that’s what makes Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents such an entertaining read. Tickle your imagination with a book that’s definitely not your father’s steampunk.

See on Amazon:

(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.)

Friday, December 10, 2021

Book Review: Bottoms Up (A Top Shelf Mystery) (Top Shelf Mysteries Book 5) by Lolli Powell

Meet Ricki Fontaine, Purveyor of (Humorous) Wisdom

If you haven’t read any of the Top Shelf Mysteries, then you should meet the heroine, Ricki Fontaine. I never fail to learn something new from her. In Bottoms Up, she introduced me to the last part of an old saying: “‘everyone to his own taste,’ the old woman said when she kissed her cow”. She gave me insight on how to dole out the truth: “Mark and I had been in the park looking for drug dealers. It was a half- truth…. I wasn’t going to tell them the other half— that we’d found the drug dealers because they’d agreed to meet with us.” And she gave me advice on watching out for my friends: “I sat there for a minute or two longer while I polished off the banana chocolate chip muffin. July didn’t need three muffins, after all. He was an old man and should be careful about carbs.”

Besides the droll humor that author Lolli Powell weaves into every book, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the mysteries are top-notch. This one, like each of the previous books in the series, kept me guessing to the last page. And with all the twists in the finale, make sure you don’t stop until you see “The End” because it might not be. Additionally, the continuing story of Ricki’s love life provides another source of entertainment. This time, Ricki’s mom is trying to meddle in it, until her new love interest turns the tables with a little charm. “He raised my mother’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. For a second, I thought she was going to pass out.”

As for areas for improvement, there aren’t many. The story shifts between investigating a suspicious death and romance smoothly and with a steady rhythm. The characters are well-developed, a bit quirky, and quite entertaining. About the only thing I noticed was a slight tendency to repetition: “I was in no mood for his games. “’Oh, you two are hilarious!’ I said. ‘But I’m not in the mood for your childishness’”. But for the laughs I get from every one of these books, I can hear Ricki’s not in the mood for games/childishness twice.

So, if you haven’t yet, it’s time you meet Ricki Fontaine.

See on Amazon:

(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.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Get the Mind Sleuth Series for Less than 50 Cents a Book!

Now until December 9, you can get the (currently) four-book Mind Sleuth series for only $1.99. That's four books all rated 4.3 stars or higher on Amazon.

Of Half a Mind (book 1) is FREE. 

When a young psychologist uncovers the dark side of a brilliant neuroscientist's radical research, will he survive the brutal truth?

The boxset of books 2 - 4 is $1.99.

  2. Mind in the Clouds:  A Suspenseful Whodunit, Where Not All the Suspects Are Human

  3. Mind in ChainsA Clash of Beliefs Plunge Doc and Nicole into a World of Domestic Terrorism

  4. From the Mind of a Witch:  PI Rebecca Marte expects every client to proclaim their innocence, but a witch claiming it by reason of possession?