Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Hand of Fate

I decided I would release another of my novelettes as its own kindle, The Hand of Fate its one of my oldest stories and it is included in the earlier collection The Mad Song but I just felt like putting it out there on its own anyhow.

It is a tale I've always really loved, blending sword and sorcery elements with Mongolian death worms and Tuareg lore, oh, and Humphrey Bogart's SAHARA was an influence too.

The cover is a modified pic I recently took of another trip to the four corners area, I liked the big raven sitting on the ruined tower, I adjusted the color some and I did add the arrows.

Here is my brutally simple description:


When desert nomad Ahimoth, takes in defeated conqueror Seantum, extending him the hospitality of his people, he is obligated to defend his guest against all foes whether they be forces of nature, man or worse. 

But when the victorious enemy insults Ahimoth and takes Seantum prisoner, the nomad's honor cannot rest until he sets things right and the Hand of Fate will not allow him to turn the other cheek.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Reading My Friends

I'm way behind on reviews etc, so I thought I'd get a few of these together, especially since I know all these people and consider them friends.

The Lure of Fools, by Jason King
"Adventure is the lure of fools, and excitement glamour to the gullible. The siren song of the world is as music to the wanderer's feet, but that dance leads only to the soul-less grave." So Jekaran's uncle has warned him. 
The Lure of Fools is awesome epic fantasy with a good dose of the gritty action and humor that I love about sword and sorcery as well. While I thought it started just a little slow, once things got going this was a rip roaring book, with witty dialogue and clever action.
It reminded me in places of some other fantasy tales I greatly enjoy = Elric and Hellboy and the Golden Army but also with its complete own legend. (by no means am I saying this is a pastiche of the other two-merely that some things reminded me, the reader, of same and again I am a big fan of those other works so its a compliment)
Jekeran, the main character finds himself tied up with some interesting twists of fate involving a sentient powerful sword, and that's always trouble. I also liked the magic system involved in the world and the backstory as its revealed. I heartily look forward to the next installment - The Souless Grave that is getting released in just a couple weeks!

Blood Oath, by Sarah E. Seeley

Blood Oath is an Orc love story. Didn't see that one coming did you. And I gotta tell you , you didn't see the twists coming in this one either! Our tale begins with Riplanicum a young Orc with a mission from his mentor to hide a sacred and powerful stone. He comes across his beloved dying on a battlefield, but she is also from an opposing clan and from there the reveals just keep coming.
I did feel that some of the ending was just a wee bit duex ex machina but at the same time I have to say that I was floored by some of the back stabbing twists on the way there! Well done Sarah!

Beibers Finger, by Craig Nybo

Beibers Finger is one of the most off-the-wall surprising pulp sci-fi gonzo books I have ever had the pleasure of reading/listening too.
Taking place in a world(s) that is like our own but not our own, it blends two stories 1. is the bizarre aftermath of a teen idols brutal murder - a piece of him is left and retrieved by a super fan who gets him cloned. She then has plans for him to do a big comeback at the Pan-Galactic Prom Show = his is all perfectly reasonable right? 2. A dying race of Ice Beetles need help before they are exterminated and we follow their brave rescue crew on a mission that is half  Seven Samurai half Hard Days Night - are you with me? We are in a heap of trouble by books end and it all has to wrap up in book two The Pan-Galactic Prom Show which I will be getting to post haste!

I have several other friends who have read this and I've heard it said this could not have gotten published except through the self-publishing market - I beg to differ, it is amazing but it does require special taste. The author Craig Nybo is truly a tour-de force and I look forward to working with him again - he was the bass player on that spoken word improv album I did a month ago.

Incorrect Astronomy, by Steven Peck

A collection of poetry by an evolutionary biologist and I was very pleased with his turns of phrase and insights. Whether the first that caught my eye The Slaying of the Trickster Gods or Waist Deep in the Abyss - Peck has quite a way with words that I truly appreciate. The moods cascade all over the place and some of these struck home deeply because poetry is someone saying how you feel, and you know the truth of it. Decisions Among the Red Rocks is another favorite. It is a short collection but if you feel for poetry like I do give Incorrect Astronomy a chance.

Crow Jane: Rock Band Fights Evil Volume 3, by D.J. Butler

Crow Jane rocks us into Qayna's point of view - a new character in the RBFE universe but an integral important one, she has after all been around since the beginning! And this is what I love about Butler's writing, an eclectic blend of what you know or think you know, arcane references and a buckshot load of smart action fantasy!
So, Qayna/Jane/Cain - that's right Jane is Cain, cursed to be unable to die no matter what she does, and of course she gets wrapped up in others agenda's and double crosses including the coming war between Heaven and Hell. The story interplays between the present and the past and this is a great way to find out more about our favorite band of damned men. Get on the playbill with this one!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Poets in Hell

I'm damnably late on this, especially when I am seeing a legion of press pushing the next Janet Morris edited production Heroika.

Poets in Hell continues the tradition of famous and infamous persons alike in Hell having their dramatic turn on all the monstrous possibilities for conflict.

I recall I read Rogues in Hell a few years ago and quite a few of the same authors are back. My first thought years back was why did so many of these mazing people end up in hell? They don't deserve it, until Janet herself commented that there are 613 commandments that nearly everyone of note in life has broken and thusly we end up with Heroes in Hell...

I'll mention my favorite tales:

Seven Against Hell, by Janet and Chris Morris
I love this opening, we get the magnificent point of view of vaunted Diomedes (one of my favorites from The Iliad) he along with Odysseus, Homer and Sappho. Gotta love anything with Sappho! Greatpoetry and imagery for anyone who loves The Iliad and Odyssey.

The opening line of Nancy Asire's Reunion got me - If hell had a GDP ("Gross Demonis Product"), that product would be rumors.
Great line and a great tale.

My friend Bruce Durham's Hell-Hounds is fantastic combining Alexander Graham Bell, Marconi and a run in with the aforementioned Hell hounds and of course the great Snorri Sturluson and Robert E. Howard - my only beef Bruce is that your tale is far too short!

My favorite this time around is likely Larry Atchley Jr's Poetic Injustice probably because I like Samuel Coleridge and always loved his Kubla Khan and this tale is about Coleridge being vexed that he never truly finished that poem to epic length and he needs to - couple that with a nefarious plot by Guy Fawkes and Anton La Vey again as a tailor and we have devilish conspiracies.

And one of the things I really enjoy about this series is the wide variety of people in hell, like Beowulf and Boudica in Tom Barczak's Pride and Penance - and the Jabberwocky!

All in all a great collection of twisted historical personages in the worst place in the universe.