Dave Randall had always found it hard to interact with people around the office. Dave was fine reflecting on his less than fulfilling life as a man of the law, but when his friend disappears he struggles to find out what happened to his friend. His friend finally appears to him and sheds some light on what happened to him. This sets off a series of events in Dave’s life and leads him to question his life and his beliefs. His journey of self-discovery is long and not without its bumps. Will John appear to him when he needs him? Will he get Abby back?
Daniel Maunz tells a touching story of one man’s struggle in life that we can all relate to. When Dave grief process is a lot like most people go through. Only he gets a chance that we never get.
Questions of Perspective will have you asking yourself difficult existential questions and motivate you to reflect. I found myself planning on how to improve my own life so it can be more fulfilling. The prose and tone of the book is casual but always engaging. Thus, giving the reader a sense of kinship with the characters. The book moves at a speed that allows the reader to acclimatize to the emotions of the characters as well as get used to the changing backdrops. It lets the reader take a break to think about his or her own life and then get right back on track with Dave on his own journey. All this is executed with a tinge of humor. Just enough to keep things light and fun but still let the reader know that this is serious stuff.
Dave is an intriguing an well developed character that supports the novels narrative. He is nothing like your usual hero. He is just a regular guy. You can almost picture him with a paunch and an awkward social persona. Peaches is the cat you wish your cat would be. The author has done a good job with the characters.
Questions of Perspective may not have the answers to life but it will help you keep from being frustrated that you do not have them either. Take your time with this book. It can be a nice relaxing read. It can also be the book that lights a fire under your seat.
Pages: 244 | ISBN: 1684334586
Of Sound Mind and Someone Else’s Body is a hilariously imaginative novel about a freaky body swap. It is about Alan Maitland, a successful businessman who has woken up in the body of Hana Toussaint, a sophisticated escort. He slowly connects the dots that connect him to this sticky situation, some of which include a disastrous science experiment and a missing scientist. Along the way he discovers that living as a woman is far from easy, especially in Hana’s profession. However along the way, they develop a bright and playful relationship. They both develop respect and compassion for the life that the other lives, even if it may be on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Although it is reminiscent of the classic Freaky Friday or The Hot Chick body swaps, the story itself does not sound old or unoriginal. I was hooked from the beginning till the end. Often the plausibility of such a premise can be easily undermined, but the author has a knack for portraying recognizable human tics in even the wackiest situations.
William Quincy Belle also makes some intelligent commentary on the ways of today’s world. Gender inequality and class discrimination are addressed in a light hearted but thought provoking manner. I was expecting that the topic of sexuality and gender identity would be explored a little further- especially considering the dilemma that arises from being confusingly attracted to/trapped in an unexpected body. Even if I didn’t necessarily learn anything new, it was still refreshing to encounter a novel that acknowledged the realities of the modern world. Also the various physical shticks provided on behalf of Alan (walking in stilettos, makeup shenanigans) were endlessly amusing.
I particularly enjoyed reading Hana’s character. She was a playful and charming character but not without intelligence. Any doubts that Alan may have had about the nature of her profession vanished when he realized she was equally matched, if not better than him.
This was a vastly entertaining read and I pretty much zoomed through it. I look forward to exploring more of Belle’s works, especially if they are to include Alan and Hana.
Pages: 155 | ASIN: B01LYWXM4E
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, comedy, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, Of Sound Mind and Someone Else's Body, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, William Quincy Belle, writer, writing
W900 is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a satire, humor and fantasy as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Whenever I put the very first written letter on the page, at the start of a new story, ‘The Beast,’ as I call him, slowly emerges from his hibernation, growling What began its existence as a concept, suddenly has structure. From that point, I am only the conveyer of the messages related by the personalities in the story. Their characters speak to me from the text, almost demanding to be heard.
I’m a firm believer in allowing my ‘players’ to evolve, bringing my stories to life. This part of the process, could indeed be described as organic. However, I wish that just occasionally, they would be willing to listen to me.
What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?
The ending of W900, was the direct result of an event that took place much earlier in my life, involving a girl who chose a better life in Canada, to staying here with me. “Smart kid,” I hear you say and I would be pushed to convince you, or anybody else, otherwise. The end of the book also exhibits certain traits of “What was and what could never be,” which sadly, is probably the case for most people. I’m just happy, that Hovis wrote such a joyous end, to a potentially bleak story and it must always be remembered, that hindsight is always a questionably wonderful thing.
I enjoyed the depth of Hovis’s character. What was your process to bring that character to life?
Hovis Monk, is a conglomerate being, made up from the mosaic of problems that assail many people as they grow older and the increasingly impractical solutions which become more conceivably possible, almost by the day. Think of it as a sort of ‘What would my inner child do,’ response. Yet, as everybody knows, time and the retelling, can often distort.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
And finally, the next book. I’m about to begin work on the tentatively titled, “Your Luggage is in Leningrad,” (details withheld), in the hope that it will be published around, or before Christmas of 2020 but like all written works, there are no steadfast guarantee’s involved.
Hovis Monk had been decieved. Perhaps he always had been. His comfortable life in the Snowdonian bubble, provided by The Blue Yonder Mining Company, was ending.
As his world implodes Hovis spins into a realm of inner and outer realities, chance occurances, memories, music, luck and laughter.
This story describes the reunion of Hovis with his old Paisley Underground band, a little known group called The Festers, and his struggles with a very special Flame Red Time Trialing Onesey…
No Old Souls at Fury Tavern follows the trials and tribulations of the general dive-bar-going populace. What pulls you towards telling the story of the people many others seem to use only as background characters?
While watching movies or reading books, like many other people I’m sure, I take note of as many background details as I can, including the people populating the background. I get to thinking, I wonder what that person’s story is, I wonder what they do for a living, what their troubles are and all that juicy stuff that we’re supposed to wonder about the main characters. No Old Souls at Fury Tavern most definitely has a story that follows the main character, but it’s also largely about the other characters and how all their pieces fit together to form the overall picture. In a way, Rocko Pitts wouldn’t be who he is without the other characters, and vice versa.
I always enjoy how you bring your characters to life and make them seem real. Were you able to use anything from your own life in this book?
Every one of the people populating Fury Tavern and Grocer Junction in the book were inspired by people I’ve worked with, drank with, had relationships with, and lost my sense of morality alongside of.
What were the driving ideals behind Rocko Pitts character development throughout the story?
Rocko Pitts, if he can be, while compared to most everyone else in the story, really has no particular drive. He’s a wallflower and he’s okay with that. But while the book progresses, he starts to wonder if he’s going to be okay with that lack of purpose for the remainder of his life, or if he’s just going through a phase of apathy. The main story of “Fury Tavern” is his coming-to-the-realization that while everyone else around him has their own lives, he really doesn’t have much of a life at all.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
Currently I’m working on the follow up to “Fury Tavern”, titled “A Scorched and Mystified Wilderness”. It continues the story of Rocko Pitts and the other denizens of Fury Tavern. I can’t really say too much about the plot without spoiling the end of Fury Tavern. But there will be chaos of all kinds, and I’ll be exploring deeper into the characters introduced in the first book. I am also working on Book II in a western/post-apocalypse trilogy, and my seventh collection of poetry. All three of those books I’m hoping to have released at various times next year.
Rocko Pitts is a low-ranking receiving clerk at Junction Grocer Supermarket. He doesn’t like going to Fury Tavern with his coworkers, but he does it anyway. He likes the woman at Register 4 but everyone says she’s ugly. He doesn’t have any interest in politics, but the Mayor wannabe, Rand Sleeman, will do whatever it takes to get his vote. Rocko lives a quiet life and likes it that way but doesn’t seem to know why he likes it that way. In fact he doesn’t seem to have any purpose at all, and he’s okay with that. But travesty begets travesty, forcing the simple-pleasure-seeking Rocko to complicate his life just a little bit more than he’d normally be comfortable with. “No Old Souls at Fury Tavern” is a story about the seemingly meaningless meanderings of the dredges and sloths of society who exist in the background and behind closed doors, the denizens who populate the barstools at Fury Tavern, and more importantly, the very soul of Fury Tavern itself.
Hovis Monk received his verbal dismissal a few days ago so he knows that his simple and paid for life will not last long. Then his old buddy delivers the written dismissal in a shit covered envelope and Hovis knows he has three weeks left at no. 37. He sits with his friend Lee Kelso and the trips down memory lane start. He talks about his days as a struggling musical legend. Later, Hovis takes us through The Festers 2.0.
Tom McNulty regales the tale of Hovis’ life in the wake of dismissal from Blue Yonder Mining Company. He executes the story with flourish and profane delight. The story flows seamlessly allowing the reader to take in the surroundings. The author creates a rapport between Lee and Hovis that is both sad and brilliantly humorous. The way they engage with each other is heartwarming. As Hovis moves on to the next chapter of his life, the story presents his tribulations in a simple yet masterful way. With unique language and quirky mannerisms the characters make their way into the reader’s heart.
The character development in this book is top notch. Each character has their own unique traits that would appeal to one reader or other. Hovis, as the main character, is strong enough to drive the story. He is wistful and, while afraid to move on without the comforts Blue Yonder provides, proceeds to do something that appeals to his passions. Although Hovis might have a bit of a problem with bidding on auction items, he is a hoot.
The use of the English language in this book is unique and, at times, borderline peculiar. It is not language one would encounter in most places but it goes with the construct of this book. In this book it seems fitting and at home. Some of the phrases used in the book are quite confusing. However, these phrases enforce the personalities and traits of the characters. One thing is for sure, the use of the English language is expressive of the author’s creativity and ability to manipulate the language into croutons of absolute joy. All in all, it is fun to read through all the peculiarities in speech.
This is a fun and captivating book with interesting characters and a plot that is genuinely wonderful and intriguing. Hovis always seems to have a story under his sleeve that you have to coax out. This book is not recommended for children as it contains some hard language. However, any young adult or adult will certainly enjoy it.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07T68W277
Scooter Nation follows two funeral directors trying to hold things together as events spiral out of control. What was the inspiration for the setup to this entertaining novel?
The funeral industry, as it is now often called, is an interesting one in that its policies and practices haven’t really changed since the “modern” funeral home came into being in the 1970s. By that, I mean, larger facilities with multiple visitation suites and staff trained to accommodate not just European traditions, but traditions from around the world.
As a caregiver, the director is tasked with providing services to both the living and the dead; the people left behind need as much care and concern and, yes, expertise as the person who has passed. But approaches are changing in keeping with how society has changed with the arrival of the digital age. Families are now savvy consumers who demand to know what is going on behind closed doors at what cost and why.
All reasonable questions/expectations.
For me, as a funeral director, I was intrigued by the notion of how staff locked down by tradition—the funeral home in Scooter Nation is 70 years old as is a lot of the furniture—would react to change and how far they would go to hang on to the only thing they think they know.
They are a great deal wiser by the end of the novel, I think.
Scooter and Carla were unique and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their development?
Scooter and Carla are career funeral directors, which means they have been doing their work since high school. Unlike the Weibigands who own and operate the funeral home, Scooter and Carla were not born to it. Because of this, they take a peculiar proprietary interest in the place. In other words, they think they care about it more than the family that started it. This may or may not be true depending on who the reader sides with. What is true is that they have been altruist funeral directors for a long time and resent the appearance of a new owner who wants to change everything for the greater good. They challenge this assertion, believing wholeheartedly that the new owner is merely out for revenge and self-aggrandizement. The journey for them and for me as the writer was to wade through the misconceptions, mistakes and moments of enlightenment that take not just them, but all the characters to a rational, thought-provoking conclusion. Very satisfying to get there.
I understand that you’re also a funeral director. Was there anything from your own life that you put into this novel?
I was a hybrid in mortuary school in that I was not a funeral home kid. My family weren’t directors and certainly didn’t like the idea, at first, of me becoming one. I was drawn to it, maybe the way some astronauts dream of going to Mars even if it means never coming back. I love and believe in the work and the intrinsic good it does. But there’s no way to write about death and dying and make it “nice.” I tend to shy away from novels that go there. But I’m influenced by the satirists and gonzo writers and like the idea of shining a light on tough subjects and making them accessible through humor.
We don’t joke a lot at work, but many of us have that dry sense of humor that carries us through after a tough day. Murder victims and children are especially tough—no one gets used to that—so I guess I bring that mix of dread and the promise of a new and different day to the novels.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have three half-finished manuscripts and all three demand my attention. It’s a tough choice. Self-Defense, the first in the Kirsti Brüner Mortuary Mysteries series, follows the ups and downs of a first-year licensed mortician not quite in tune with the practices and traditions of her chosen profession. She has a nose for inconsistencies and knocks foreheads with the formidable chief coroner, who isn’t really a bad guy but claims to know much more than she ever could. Self-Defense is a murder mystery.
Next, there’s The Heuer Effect, which is a prequel to Heuer Lost and Found, my first. Effect goes back forty years to 1979, where protagonists Enid Engler and Jurgen Heuer are alive and well and doing as much damage as possible. It’s a coming of age story set against the reality of growing up first generation Canadian with questionable German relatives. Enid lands a job at Seltenheit and Sons, the enemy funeral home of Weibigand’s referenced in Scooter Nation. It’s fun giving that side of the story.
The last one is Poor Undertaker and this one really calls out. It is the story of Jocasta “The Jocastrator” Binns and Alma Wurtz, her nemesis in Scooter Nation. It begins in 1947 when the Weibigand funeral home is in its prime and staff are venerated for the good work that they do. Poor Undertaker shows Scooter readers why the home declines and why the Weibigand family staff become the way they are in the current novels. There is a murder and a doomed romance as well as a matriarch who is equal parts racist, alcoholic, brutal and very, very sad. This is a three-part novel that treats equally, the matriarch, Jocasta Binns, and Alma Wurtz. It’s very exciting to write.
Aging managing director Charlie Forsythe begins his work day with a phone call to Jocasta Binns, the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home founder Karl-Heinz Sr. Alma Wurtz, a scooter-bound sextenarian, community activist, and neighborhood pain in the ass is emptying her urine into the flower beds, killing the petunias. Jocasta shuts him down. A staff meeting has been called and things are about to change.
The second novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SCOOTER NATION takes place two years after HEUER LOST AND FOUND. This time, funeral directors Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue take center stage as they battle conflicting values, draconian city by-laws, a mendacious neighborhood gang, and a self-absorbed fitness guru whose presence shines an unwanted light on their quiet Toronto neighborhood.
Scooter and Carla have to deal with lots of drama and backstabbing behind the scenes. They face off with Jocasta Binns. On the other hand, there is also a scooter bound gang led by a silver haired goon wreaking havoc on the gardens in the most contemptuous way. The Funeral Service is saddled with tension between the ‘siblings’.
The author has weaved quite the hilarious tale set in a funeral service establishment. The story highlights the inner workings of managing such an establishment which, it turns out, is like any other family business. The story is so vividly narrated that the reader cannot help but join the world.
The plot is well developed and fast paced and the characters are multi-dimensional. This makes it easy for the reader to visualize them and get acquainted. It is particularly interesting how Jocasta is introduced to the reader. She is introduced with her crackling fingers and her scandalous origin. She is not fazed by her old age and remains stoic and a force to be reckoned with. The Jocastrator can withstand anything and anyone. She inspires the kind of admiration that is mixed with fear. Then there is Scooter, who seems very sweet and charming. He is like the sunshine that peeks through the curtains in the morning. Then Charlie, the poor old man who has been turned into a mere informant for the brothers. Every character has a backstory and their uniqueness shines through regardless of their role in the story. This is one of the biggest strengths of this book.
Scooter Nation contains all the elements of a great novel. Thoughts and ideas flow seamlessly while moments of laugh out loud humor keep you engaged in a story that is surprising at every page turn.
This is a book I can see myself reading again because the characters, incontinent though some may be, make you want too keep coming back. It has managed to surpass expectations which were already high from the first installment in the series. A perfect book for a good chuckle.
Pages: 196 | ASIN: B07RQ92W83
No Old Souls at Fury Tavern, written by Dave Matthes is a must read for anyone entertained by the trials and tribulations of the general dive-bar-going populace. In the story, we meet a regular guy, working in a regular place, who deals with a series of seemingly mundane problems. The ways in which the characters interact with their world, however, is much more interesting than what you would find in your rundown neighborhood dive bar.
Despite a few typos and minor grammatical errors, the writing is excellent. The author’s style is unapologetic and rich, with plenty of depth worked into his narrative to keep you hooked throughout the book. Never too simplified or overly complex, the short, bite-sized chapters keep the pace moving at a quick beat which is obviously what the intention was.
Characterization and world-building are areas that Dave Matthes excels at. While reading No Old Souls sat Fury Tavern, it is impossible not to relate with either the protagonist, Rocko Pitts, or any of the other inhabitant of his world. Each character is carefully crafted and comes with his or her own set of idiosyncrasies and personality. And, each of the characters seems to be placed very well within the world that Matthes creates.
From the descriptions of the physical attributes of Pitts’ world to the imagery – and empathy – that gets drummed up as the characters interact with their world, it is no difficult task to forget that you are reading a work of fiction. The world surrounding Pitts seems as real as the one we all inhabit and that makes identifying with and relating to him a satisfying experience, indeed.
The author is able to transport you into his world and the ride couldn’t be more believable. Add that to the fact that the story is entertaining, and you have yourself a highly-rated book that should be on your must-read list.
Pages: 220 | ASIN: B07R881T6Y