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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Reach: A Twin-Bred novel (Volume 2) by Karen A. Wyle

Reach ebook coverThe book, Twin-Bred¸ by author Karen A. Wyle introduced the reader to a new world and an alien race that “tolerated” humans on their planet of Tofarn. It was on this planet that interactions between the two races were troubled as neither fully understood the other.

It was here that the scientist Mara Cadell came up with the plan to create twins using embryos from a human and Tofa parent to create twins. These twins would be educated and become a new group that would help settle disputes upon the planet.

The problem when the children began going out into the world they were disliked by both humans and the tofa. Their only recourse was to leave their beloved planet and travel into the stars to find a new world to call their own. These beings, these “twin bred”, left much behind and reached for the skies in the hope of finding something new, and their purpose.

The book Reach: A Twin-Bred Novel takes the reader into space and allows the reader to continue the journey with the twin bred. Their lives still confusing and maybe leaderless give plenty of opportunity for them to grow as a group. They may have to suffer periods of time in stasis to last the long trip to find a new planet but they will do all they can to make it happen.

Mara having gone with this group will be on board to witness their growth and will be able to assist those children she helped to see brought into the world. Characters such as Jimmy, Peer-tek, Rose, and others return in this book.

Tofarn has also changed since the twin bred have left with the Tofa taking some control and like most governments there is turmoil.

Reach differs from its processor by taking you further into the characters created in the first book. You get to watch characters grow in not just stature but as a community. You are asked to travel along with the twin bred and read about their adventures. Their decisions could have far reaching impacts on not just their space flight, but those they keep in touch with back home.

Karen A, Wyte does a great job of re-introducing the readers to many characters and expanding on their personalities. She allows for growth as a people in both the humans and tofa no matter their location. She helps to bring this story full circle and gives the reader a great journey within the pages of the book. A journey that matches the one the twin bred under take in, Reach.

Karen has previously done the Author interview and if you’d like to see her responses just follow this link.

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Reviews

 

The Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World by Gusty McCabe

CritterIt is too often in today’s technological minded world that we rely on an Alarm Clock or even a cell phones alarm to get us up in the morning. Things have not always been as easy as many older farmers will tell you it was the animals that woke one up in the morning.

In the Gusty McCabe book, The Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World, a new world finds itself asleep. The critters were just scattered across the land waiting for a sign to arise from their slumber.

This signal comes with a sound and the first sign of life beginning as the sun began to rise. The critters spread out to find their homes and make a life for themselves. Everyone even a coyote finds himself a place to live. The coyote has one problem though after a good rest he needs to find himself some food.

It is here in this beautifully illustrated book, by Brandee Snyder, that we find the coyote searching for his idea of food.  The coyote finds his prey but at the same time he unwittingly finds the Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World.

Gusty McCabe uses simple prose to tell his story and the story is a good one. It is fitting for children of all ages, and is helped by the great illustrations by Snyder. The story moves at a good pace and will keep a child interested, even those with smaller attention spans.

The story also helps to give the reader an insight into the mind of a Coyote. The reader can find out why they act the way they do. The question of why they yip and howl at the moon can be found in the story from McCabe’s imagination.

In an odd way I actually found myself sympathizing with the Coyote as he searched for his first meal. He had to learn a lesson on how others interact within the world and this was a great possible hidden lesson from the book. At least I took this away that people should take time to understand something first before trying to get their “mouth full”.

I do hope people look for a copy of this book to share with their own kids, a class room, or a daycare as it is well worth a read.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Ten Questions + 1 with Author Mark Allan Gunnells

Mark GMark Allan Gunnells has been busy writing since he was 10 years old according to his Amazon Author Page. He has had novellas and books published over the years. He was kind enough to do the interview as other authors and just below is his answers to those questions.

Questions start below.

Question 1:

What inspired you to write The Quarry?  The setting is Limestone College, which is my alma mater, and the inspiration was the fact that there were many urban legends surrounding the lake on the campus.  I started doing some research, trying to separate fact from myth, and the story just came to me. 

Question 2:

Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters? Actually I do a lot of my writing at work, and usually I just go down the company directory and pick names that call to me, usually mixing first and last names. 

Question 3:

During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories? Considering that the story is set at the college I attended, it did bring up a lot of memories.  In fact, during the writing, I visited the campus and toured around, going around the buildings, the past had never felt so close. 

Question 4:

What were some of your favorite books growing up? When I was younger, it was all about Stephen King.  Misery, It, Different Seasons were some of my favorites.  Also Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.   

Question 5:

Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?  I do get some feedback from readers, and most of the response has been positive.  What I hear most is that they like my characters, say they feel authentic and relatable.  

Question 6:

What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book? Pure delight.  I’ve published 16 books so far, most of which have had print versions, and holding the actual book in my hands never gets old, never fails to thrill me. 

Question 7:

Do you continue to write? Absolutely.  I will always write, whether I continue to publish or not.  It’s in my blood. 

Question 8:

What is the message you want people to take away from the book? I mostly want people to find my books entertaining and enjoyable, that’s my main goal.  To entertain myself and my readers.   

OctoberQuestion 9:

If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be? Well, my main character pops up in my novella OCTOBER ROSES, and I may just write a direct sequel one day, so I’ll just say you have to wait and see.
Question 10:
Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you? I dedicated the book to Tom and Billie Moran, who run both Sideshow Press and Gallow’s Press.  They gave me my first chance, publishing my first book.  I’m forever grateful to them.

The + 1 Question: 

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? Here in the States, Savannah, Georgia, is one of my favorite places to visit, and I’d get a real kick out of doing a signing or reading there.  Internationally, I’ve always wanted to visit Venice.

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Interview

 

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The Quarry by Mark Allan Gunnells

QuarryI attended Michigan Technological University in the beautiful Upper Michigan in what is called the Copper Country. The area has old mine shafts and mining operations spread out around the area. This is one of the main reasons I chose to read the Mark Allan Gunnells’ book The Quarry. The setting was just too close to where I went to college not to peak my imagination.

The Quarry introduces the reader to what some may call the scariest year of college, the freshman year. It’s when new students flock to a campus and have to get used to their new surroundings. Often they have little to no friends had must find a new group of friends, or become a hermit. There are those who come to school with money and those who must do all they can to stay in school.

The setting being a college that is close to an old mine that had filled in with water to become Lake Limestone. A beautiful setting to some but as you read the book you will wonder is the beauty worth the danger.

The book itself opens with a prologue that will make you wonder about the college. It appears that a landslide, or quake, caused several things to fall into the lake.  A couple of old miners show concern over the quake as they talk to each other and you could get a sense of foreboding from their discussions. The truth is, what you may think is coming is nothing close to what lies ahead in the book.

The main characters are a group of friends, Dale, Connie and Emilio. Emilio being the odd man out only because Connie and Dale are couple but Emilio fits in perfect with their group. Also some would see it odd that a popular kid like Dale would have the nervous Emilio as a friend, but it shows the type of person Dale really is. He is a young man who befriends a person not for who they may know but just for who they are. As you read the book you find out Dale and Emilio bonded over the old TV show, Mystery Science Theatre.

Dale is one of those characters that is not only well liked but is a bit impulsive and has no problem getting his friends into trouble for a cause. You get an idea of Dale’s influence when he talks a friend to streak through a woman’s dorm to help distract the campus police while Dale took a “swim”.

The swim leads to a tense moment for not just Dale but for his friends as well.  Suddenly the campus not much later the campus is thrown into turmoil. Young girls are missing and possibly murdered. Worst of all one of our group has changed and isn’t quite acting himself.

The Quarry is a good mix of mystery and supernatural as you get to read along as things unravel within the characters world. As you progress you also get to learn more about the characters, and things they may not have known about themselves.

Mark Allan Gunnells’ does a great job of building the setting, intrigue, suspense and most of all his characters. It’s a story that many will enjoy as it includes some pop culture references as the before mentioned Mystery Science Theatre. The book has been published by Evil Jester Press. The one thing that some will find shocking after reading the book is, that this is Mark’s first novel. I say shocking as the book is put together in such a manner you’d believe others have come before it.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Multiple Sclerosis, Jack Osbourne and Celebrity

As I mentioned to the Twitter/Facebook followers I have there would be no review this week as I was on vacation and did not have much time for reading. The one thing I did promise was some original content so here is the first of that content. This one is in regards to Multiple Sclerosis, Jack Osbourne, and celebrity.

So for those wondering, “What is Multiple Sclerosis”, let me try and explain.

If we go with the scientific jargon, MS is an inflammatory disease in which myelin sheaths around axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to loss of myelin and scarring. The cause is not clear, but the underlying mechanism is thought to be either destruction by the immune system or failure of the myelin-producing cells. These changes affect the ability of nerve cells to communicate resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

Me I break it down more like this to people who ask me. I tell them imagine your home entertainment system with your TV, DVD, Satellite, and stereo. When everything is plugged in and working right you have a great experience. However, what would happen if the sound suddenly broke and stopped going to the stereo. The satellite image went out by the sound kept coming. Another is the movie you are playing on the DVD suddenly goes black on the screen but the sound is fine.  In other words it’s when the brain stops talking to other parts of the body the right way and anything can go wrong.

So now on to the real reason for this post after that bit of an Education, and yes I did gloss over the possible severity of MS.  I did that as I’m not writing this to education on the disease but to share some thoughts that have come from others with the disease, and me.

So why did I go out of my way to name drop Jack Osbourne when I started this post. No I doubt he or a family member will stumble on this and share with their fans. Instead I want to point out some of the perks and perils of when a celebrity comes out and mentions they have a disease such as MS.

Jack was diagnosed at the age of 26 back in 2012 and he had some of the same symptoms I had when diagnosed. He had already changed his life around, gotten married, cleaned up his life and had become a father. He was a young man living the life when he received his diagnosis.

I cannot speak for him but I bet he was at first angry and questioned, “Why me, I’ve overcome so much.” I type this as so many others who have gotten the diagnosis probably have felt the same way. It isn’t easy to hear and some keep the disease hidden from their families and friends. They are afraid to talk about it as they could be seen as a victim for having something not truly understood. They could fear the way some will look at them or ask if they are ok every time they make a misstep.

So this is where it is great that a celebrity comes out and states to the world, “I have Multiple Sclerosis.” It shows that anyone can get this disease and that it isn’t something just the poor or us little people can get. It impacts anyone no matter your circumstances in life, and your wealth.

The celebrity factor helps get the word out about the disease and brings attention to it. Help may come in to help fund research and look for a cure. The same type of help they bring to other diseases like cancer and HIV.

The problem comes when that celebrity starts winning awards. When they are put out there on a pedestal as the way someone with MS should strive to live their life.  This is what happened when Jack Osbourne and his mother were honored with the “Medal of Hope” award at the Annual Race to Erase MS Gala that took place in May of 2013, in California.  His mother, Sharon, was also co-recipient of the award as the both have been out raising awareness for MS.

When I first read of the award I was conflicted. I wasn’t sure how I felt as this is a celebrity family, with millions of dollars getting an award from a charity event that had attendees with deep pockets. It was as if they were handing the award out to one of their own. A person who had a platform and used it to bring awareness is great. However, why is it we have to see a charity parade another celebrity out in front of us and give them an award?

What really got me was when I read a comment Jack said to E! News.

“And I’m not saying I was trying to be the hero and wave the flag, but I was like, ‘Why don’t more people know about this?”

I wanted to yell when I read that the disease is out there, other celebrities have been diagnosed and deal with it daily too.  The reason some people do not know about it is because they don’t care till someone close gets diagnosed. They skip the news about the disease or often cancer and HIV are the diseases of focus.

I looked online and found comments attached to many articles that came out after the ceremony. The articles said congratulations to Jack, but at same time attacked the charity and the celebrity. They wondered why does someone with obvious means get an award for Hope when money is not a question. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of us with MS who live on a budget who inspire people day after day but just living.  Why do these charities not seek people out who are long time sufferers and put them on a pedestal with Jack.  Show the world that the “little people” deserve just as much attention. I mean some of those at the event were folks like Elton John, Marg Helgenberger, Shemar Moore, and Rod Stewart.

The obvious answer to this is that many do not have the means to get their story out there. If they are lucky maybe a local chapter will highlight their cause and they may get some attention. Others like me may blog about the disease and grab attention and help inspire people.

As for the whole celebrity thing I am using Jack Osbourne and still feel conflicted. Those who watched the Osbourne’s, when it was on television, saw the family had their own demons to overcome. I give Jack all the credit in the world for what he has done with his life and I’m betting it may have prepared him for how he dealt with this MS diagnosis.

In the grand scheme of things I do think the cause to help raise awareness to MS has been helped by the attention brought by celebrities. They help to raise money that hopefully can someday be used for a cure or at least better treatments.

There will always be a gap in finances with those who have money and those who go paycheck to paycheck.  People must realize the thing that matters at the end is that no one should give up hope. We should take the support from where we find it and embrace those who share the challenges that MS brings. So whoever you are there is no reason to be jealous of someone who may have more money or a better circumstance as we all have our challenges and must face them.

So although I am conflicted by the way we hold some celebrities up on a pedestal I am glad they help bring awareness. I however wish at times someone would look deeper and focus on those who get by and enjoy life with what they have while dealing with the challenges of MS.  Either way it is something many suffer from and some keep it deeply private. The key is no matter who you are people care and each new voice to bring awareness is a good voice.

 

Just a note these are all my own opinions and in no way do I try to pretend to step into the mind of others. I just am going with what I get from reading posts online from others. If this offends I ask you contact me via email so we can talk about things.  You’ll find contact information on my about me page.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Multiple Sclerosis, Personal

 

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Ten Questions + 1 with Author Adam C. Veile

Adam VAdam C. Veile is the writer of The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace. In reading his bio on his Amazon Author page, it’s interesting to find that Adam had a different career in mind. He planned to go to film school, but instead had life changing experience.  This experience took place in of all places a casino on the Pojoaque Pueblo in New Mexico.  As you read his bio you will see that this is what got him interested in Western themes.

Now we can take time to find out more about Adam by looking at his answers to the interview questions.  So, read on and enjoy.

Question 1:

What inspired you to write The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace?

I had just finished up my M.A. in English, and writing had become a bit of a grind, so I decided I was just going to have fun. I took out a piece of paper and started writing down any subject matter that I thought might be enjoyable to write/read—ghosts, cowboys, adventure—and from there the story developed. I think that sense of fun comes through in the book.

Question 2:

Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters? 

Blake is the most significant to me. In a last minute name change, I decided to name him after my oldest nephew. When I went to Blake’s school for an author visit, the students were pretty jealous. He earned quite a few cool points that day.

Question 3:

During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories? 

I had to put myself into the mind of a seventh-grader to write this story, and the easiest way to do that was to think back to my junior high days. It’s easy to remember certain events from back then, but harder to remember the thought processes behind them.

Question 4:

What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

My favorite books changed as I changed, from The Bernstein Bears to Ramona Quimby to Mark Twain to Stephen King. My interest in Twain and King were when I was starting to write more, and they probably had the greatest influence on my writing voice and style.

Question 5:

Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

My favorite comment was from a mother who said her child loves the book so much that he sleeps with it under his pillow. I don’t think anything will ever top that!

Question 6:

What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?  

I thought it turned out beautifully, but I was still nervous that something was wrong—a typos, a page missing, etc. I never lose that fear that something might be wrong, but I think that’s good for the end result. Writing one draft is fun; writing twenty drafts takes a healthy fear of failure.

Question 7:

Do you continue to write? 

The second dreamcatcher book will be out in late fall!

Question 8:

What is the message you want people to take away from the book? 

I hope that when the reader puts The Dreamcatcher Adventures down some of the adventure in the pages translates into real life. All of the excitement in the book comes from Blake’s willingness to grit his teeth and go for it, and that’s something we all could do.

Question 9:

If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

I know the immediate future involves more outlaws, a runaway train, a wild raft ride down the Colorado River, and another showdown with magical dreamcatchers on the line.
Question 10:
Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?   

The book is dedicated to my wife, who is an endless source of support. There are dozens of people who should be thanked for their help, though—critique partners, editors, illustrators, etc. I’m a lucky guy.

The + 1 Question: 

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

I love to travel. Do they have book tours on tropical beaches? If I could only pick one place, though, it would be my local books store, Downtown Book & Toy in Jefferson City, Missouri. They’ve been very good to me. Support your local stores!

 

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Interview

 

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The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace by Adam C. Veile

DreamcatcherHow many of those taking time to read this review remember the movie, The Goonies? I hope many have as it was a great film, dare I type a classic, from the 1980’s.  It told the story of a group of kids who chased a pirate map to find jewels that would hopefully safe their homes.

The book, The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace, took me back to that movie. There isn’t a group of children involved but it does tell the story of one young man who is trying to save his home.

The book starts with an introduction to the main character, one Blake Monroe. Blake is spending his last day of school on a class field trip to a ghost town.  A trip that many students do not appear to be thrilled about being on, but it’s a good way to finish out another school year.  Their teacher finally sets the class free to investigate the town after it is obvious no one is paying attention to their guide.

It is during this break that Blake gets up his courage and is finally going to ask a young girl out.  He realizes it’s a long shot but after some talking with his friends he tries talking to the girl.  His heart is broken when she states she’d love to go to a movie, but not with him. Things get worse when her “boyfriend” comes over and things get physical.  It is during this little altercation that things look to get ugly for our Hero.  You see even the teacher, Miss Kenyon, cannot stop the fight after trying to separate the boys. This is when a strange man in a Stetson cowboy hat intervenes and stops the bully, George Buck, from doing any further damage.

The thing is, Blake doesn’t know this man, but it is the second time that day the stranger has been involved with him. Earlier he had asked Blake if he had a message for him, but Blake had no idea what he was talking about.  The one thing for sure out of this, Miss Kenyon took a liking to the rugged looking man and inquired about him as they left.  The problem, no one knew who he was and in fact the only worker was the guide.

Sadly, Blake’s day does not get any better as he gets home and he can sense something is wrong. He finds his mother cheating on her diet in the kitchen and it’s after someone comes to the house he puts it together. The visitor is a friend of his mothers who works at the local bank and when she shows up all professional he gets nervous. It’s only when he hears that his parents are about to lose their house that Blake is forced to act.  He realizes he does not want to be homeless, and does not want to live in a box.

So, what does a child do at that age when his world goes upside down? Well if you are Blake you go out, get on your horse and go for a ride to relax.  It’s only after his horse refuses to take a jump, followed by an ugly dismount that he finds that stranger again.  The stranger, well his name is Gray Monroe, and is Blake’s Great Grandfather who he later finds out died in 1890.

Did you just get a chill down your back as you saw that, he dies in the 1800’s.  You must imagine how Blake felt and to make things worse, the young man is going to help Gray in his quest.  The hope being whatever Gray is after will lead Blake to something valuable that will safe his parent’s house.

It’s at this point where the adventure begins and we find out even more about Gray Monroe and his back ground. You will discover that Gray was a bounty hunter who caught a band of thieves that you should remember from earlier in the book.

The Dreamcatcher Adventures Greedy Jack Wallace is written by Adam C. Veile and the cover art was done by Sean Long and Ashley Delgado.  The book has some great illustrations within the pages that were also done by Sean Long that help give life to the book and some of the characters.

This is not the only thing that gives life to the book as the story is well written and something that I found putting down to be difficult.

The story is intriguing along with the characters. There are things within the pages that many readers will like.  There is even a mention of King Midas within these story.  It’s another example of a children’s book that has been written not just for a child but for those who still hold onto their child like imagination.

 

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Reviews

 

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