Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Little Book of Big Enlightenment" Up at Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo

Animated projects and indie book promotions. Between the two, I've had little chance to post for a few weeks. Before I go further, I hate formatting manuscripts for publication. What a boring pain! There. I'm restored.

The Little Book of Big Enlightenment is parked over at Smashwords, unavailable till May 9. However, you may pre-order a copy today at Apple, Barnes and Noble and, for my non-American chums, Kobo.  Get a jump on your reading peers before this astounding faux New Age book, written for the broadest of chuckles and telling you how to become spiritually enlightened in no time whatsoever, goes live on Amazon. And not just whopping monstrous Amazon, but all affiliated Smashwords sites such as the aforementioned Apple, B&N, Kobo plus FlipKart, Scribd and more. This humorous eBook will be spread across the Web like strawberry jam upon wheat toast. (A breakfast favorite around here.)

That was very sales-like and exhausting. Thank Heavens I've read The Little Book of Big Enlightenment and have sufficient serenity to withstand all contingencies. Well, most contingencies. Let's say a few contingencies and an unexpected bump or two not to exceed three per month. Then I grow sullen and overeat.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Ark Royal Review: Book Moves at Light Speed

Ark Royal (Ark Royal, #1)Ark Royal by Christopher Nuttall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the 'what happens next' department, Christopher Nuttall plays a winning hand. His tale of aging interstellar war ship Ark Royal pressed into desperate battle against invading aliens is a page turner.

His characterizations, however, draw a blank. The Captain is hardly creditable as a drunk of many years who attempts to set aside the bottle because "he must." Having some experience with drug addicts and alcoholics, the Captain would've died years earlier from a corroded liver. And no amount of duty, honor, humanity, would have stopped his descent.

There is an anemic love story and personalities you sense you've met over and over again in books and film. The news reporters, for the most part, are caricatured so broadly as to be cartoons.

But for all that, I read the story straight through, eager to learn the fate of Earth and the Ark Royal. I was reminded of Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising, a techno-military page powerhouse with thin characters that also gripped my attention.

If you like your space war fiction at a rapid pace, give this one a try.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beneath the Willows: Excellent Short Horror Story

Beneath the WillowBeneath the Willow by Gemma Farrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gemma Farrow's undead offering is a short, well-written story about the triumph of hope over reality. Thomas wants life back as it was before his beloved girlfriend, Keziah, was attacked. And now, in dreams, a strange figure describes for Keziah certain actions that Thomas must take on her behalf. Devotion wars with truth. Will she again be the girl he loved or something quite different, quite frightening?

Farrow's pacing and sharp focus kept me turning the pages. Characters were, for the most part, well drawn. Give this short story a shot.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jury Doody Now Up at Smashwords

Smashwords now hosts Jury Doody. Scroll down the page past my interview with myself and observer the pretty purchase icon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Comedy-Mystery Banana Bamboozle Appealing to All

 Cassidy Dunne is out to solve a mystery. The only problem is the disorganized personality of Cassidy Dunne. Did her niece survive a fire? Can she save her best friend from ruin? Is there enough candy to sugar-rush her past life's bumpy spots? Find out more in this comedy-mystery by author Becky Clark with help from Ted Hardwick.

Ted and I did improv together back in the day and the guy's a blast. Give Banana Bamboozle a peek and treat yourself to a fun read.

Morongo Indian Casino Makes Losing Fun

If you live in Southern California and must drop a few bucks—and that's all we had to drop—then I recommend Morongo. Past Banning on Interstate 10, the place shoots up from the desert floor like a leftover set from Gattaca. Located between the snowy peaks of Mt. San Jacinto and Mt. San Gorgonio, the casino sports a nice view west of the windmill farm. Yeah, they had slots and table games and video roulette, but they possessed something else I hadn't encountered in a good long while: customer service. Even the ladies cleaning up the rooms smiled and said 'good morning.' The staff was so friendly, I wondered if it weren't some kind of set-up.

Here's how far behind the gaming curve I was: last time I visited a casino, slot machines still accepted coins. Nowadays you feed your money in, lose for awhile, then  press Cash Out,  and—if there's any left—get a paper slip listing the amount. Then you insert that slip into another machine—a lucky machine—and play down what's left. The strong willed march that slip to an ATM-like machine that pays real money. Farewell to the clang-clang-clang of coins hitting a steel tray. Very 21st Century.

Anyway, my wife and I had a blast. No family reunions. No place to be. And great WiFi so we could sit in the same room, on the same bed, and surf the Web.  In addition, there was an In-And-Out Burger within a block of the place. Thus our needs were met on multiple fronts.

Now I've got animated assignments and a book to upload to Smashwords. But getting away for the first time in years was fantastic. So refreshing was the experience, that we returned home and forgot to be resentful of our noisy neighbors.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: The Fetterman Massacre

The Fetterman MassacreThe Fetterman Massacre by Dee Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating description of the U.S. Army's 1866 construction of Ft. Phil Kearny and the subsequent massacre of a detachment that left no survivors. Based on Army records and firsthand accounts, the narrative builds to an ambush by two thousand Sioux of Captain William Fetterman and his 80 cavalry and infantry.

While hardened veterans of the Civil War, Fetterman and most of his officers had no experience fighting Sioux and Arapaho, but plenty of confidence in their own martial abilities. At the same time, Fetterman's commanding officer had no Civil War combat experience, thus was held in low-esteem by several subordinates, including Fetterman.

Events surrounding the ambush bookend this history, but much of the tale involves traveling across the prairie from Nebraska to the site of the fort in Wyoming Territory. Soldiers had been encouraged to bring their wives and these women kept diaries. Author Dee Brown expertly weaves their observations into the story, providing a valuable peek into the beauty and harshness of life on the frontier almost one-hundred and fifty years ago.

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