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Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors

Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors by [Landon, Dolly Gray, Noland, Gary Lloyd]

This physiological thriller is amusing and engaging right from the start. Act one introduces us to the characters, all of which I found interesting but one more particularly so was Purvel Schlignatz. He’s a graduate student who is focused and open-minded, but gets convinced to do things that he sometimes does not subscribe to and I was not comfortable with the influence that Pelvin Penisovich had on him.

The drama and romance blended easily and were equally entertaining. I loved how Purvel Chlignatz was ready to risk everything just to be with Kitty Walters. I closely followed the drama that led to Pelvin Penisovich and Dronah Stackbut’s break up and learned a few things about friendship along the way. The romantic themes explore how pals and lovers sometimes get betrayed, and the result is anger that could be destructive.

Dolly Gray Landon’s story is exciting if not interesting and filled with characters with quirky names having engaging conversations. Melody wasn’t a favorite for me, but not for a lack of character development, quite the opposite. Her attitude and lack of empathy made me dislike her character. She was full of herself and abused the influence she had. I, however, appreciate that the author made her one of the main characters, as her role added more spice in the book. I also got to learn a few new words, as the jargon used by the Stool candidates was compelling. ‘Nadaism’ is one of the words I found to be amusing throughout the book.

Everything from the plot, literary stylistic devices used, character and writing style were excellent. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading plays and wants to enjoy a good story. Keep a dictionary handy as this story will surely increase your vocabulary.

Wealth, power, the socialite life, education, relationships, and peer influence are some of the themes covered in the book. The author’s sense of humor is subtly apparent throughout and serves to deliver a larger satirical story that kept me laughing, entertained, and quickly flipping pages.

Pages: 306 | ASIN: B07P3L7C7R

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Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont

Historian Wrenn Grayson arrives at the Rosemont mansion expecting to receive payment for her services from the mansion’s new owner, Clay Addison. That expectation dies when she and Clay find Trey Rosemont murdered on the foyer floor. Across town, police officers race to Eastwood University. Priceless Egyptian artifacts were stolen from the history department safe. Wrenn’s longtime love, Eastwood professor Gideon Douglas, heads the department. Only recovery of the artifacts will save his career.

Life in Havens, Ohio, doesn’t stop for this crime spree. Wrenn works for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge. He wishes Wrenn would stop searching down clues ahead of the police and pacify temperamental playwright Barton Reed. Barton’s play is just days away from opening in the town’s historic Baxter Theater.

Amid murder, theft, or curtain calls, Wrenn’s instincts prove sharp. But it’s her stubborn one-woman approach that places her directly in the killer’s path.

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All Roads Home

All Roads Home: A Collection of Short Stories by [Diaz Meyer, Lisa]

All Roads Home by Lisa Diaz Meyer is a fictional short story collection. Covering several genres, the book is divided into six parts titled The Outposts, The Enduring, The Oddities, The Particulars, The Fragments and The Play Versions. With each section and story being utterly unique, this book really is a mixed bag of offerings. Nowhere is this more obvious than, besides the four sections of short stories all varying greatly in their genre, the collection also consists of a part of poetry and The Play Versions which really are that: five of the stories in the collection written in play format!

The first section of the collection deals with a world that is hard hitting. In the story titled The Safe Room, this links back to the previous short story in its representation of women, cancer, and childbearing. With such stark descriptive passages of the cloning and curing process detailed, this section hits upon the more awkward of subjects that aren’t always spoke about comfortably.

Dealing with religion verse science, this section may be quite an eye-opener, considering its placing at the very start of the collection, but its subject matter does indeed turn the tables making you question just who, if anybody, has such a right at this stage.

The Enduring section starts off with a story which is most certainly that – enduring for its characters. What begins as a heartfelt story of a mother’s struggles quickly turns itself on its head when the story ends. However, nothing physical has changed, her situation remains dire, but she has found peace in her heart and mind and can now approach her situation from a more positive perspective. This story emphasizes Lisa’s ability to change tact and emotion in just a few short pages and sums up the book in its entirety.

All of Lisa’s characters, though only with the reader briefly, are very easy at catching our attention and therefore it’s easy to recognize their plight and see the story from their point of view. That Lisa can create such emotions in her readers through characters that appear fleetingly is a wonderful achievement.

For me, The Enduring was a favorite section. Packed full of emotions, there is one story where the action begins, plays out and ends in a matter of just two short pages! If you’re not too sure whether this selection of stories is for you, I urge you to read The Christmas Break first. Immediately this highlights Lisa’s fluidity in prose as well as her ability to create a fascinating collection of characters, and all within a few short sentences.

With superb powers of observation, a beautiful and haunting writing style on many of the pages, alongside an ability to push topic boundaries (Hitler and Jesus at a dinner party, need I say more!) this is truly a collection you must read for yourself.

If Lisa is this good at creating such an enthralling collection of short stories, I can only imagine what she would be like with a full-length fictional novel!

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B00WVWFL86

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Into the Night

Into the Night by [Veit, Jerry J.C.]

Into the Night, by Jerry J.C. Veit, is a play featuring an unlikely pairing of main characters who have set out on a journey together to battle the barbarians making their own way across the countryside. While on their mission, Samuel and Valencia are simultaneously fighting to save themselves from two ruthless vampires hellbent on destroying them both. Valencia’s past with Isabella, one of the vampires pursuing them, her knowledge of vampires and their habits, and her well-honed fighting skills drive her desire to set out on this dangerous trek across the English countryside. Samuel, unknowingly, has agreed to a trip that will change the course of his life.

This piece by Jerry Veit reads smoothly and much more like a narrative than a play. In fact, I found myself often forgetting that I was indeed reading a drama rather than a fantasy in narrative form. Veit has included a good bit of narrative which helps to set extremely vivid scenes and helps the reader visualize the intensity of the protagonists’ multiple encounters with the vampires and the barbarians.

As for the two different plot lines within the play, I found the vampires’ appearances throughout the story to be somewhat less than I had expected. The bulk of their interactions seem to be at the beginning of the play. I was much more interested in the plot involving our heroes and the vile vampires, Isabella and Cerbera. Though the barbarians involvement in the plot was important, well-drawn out, and wrapped up neatly, I would have preferred to have read less of the main characters’ plight with them.

Regarding the author’s style and chosen genre for this story, I felt it would have read wonderfully as a novel. Veit is adept at writing narrative description of time and place. He also gives his characters memorable lines, both dramatic and comedic. This work could translate easily to stage or to a full-length novel. I would love to see more of the pairing of Samuel and Valencia.

Valencia herself is an enigma, and Veit has written her character amazingly well. His introduction of her in Act I leads the reader down a path of assumptions about both her nature and her abilities. Veit works her expertise with weaponry into the plot in a satisfying fashion leaving no room for doubt about her from that point on in the plot. As the reader, I was as surprised as Samuel to find her so skilled and, later, to discover the reasons behind her competence in battle.

Without giving away too much of the play, I must comment on the conclusion. Being one of the readers wrapped up in the parallel story line involving Samuel and Valencia, I would like to have read more about the search for Samuel in the last act. I won’t say more. (Readers will know what I mean.) It has the makings of a strong act of its own leading to the conclusion.

I give Into the Night, by Jerry J.C. Veit, 5 out of 5 stars. I am not one to enjoy plays, but as I said, this one reads more like a narrative and has all the hallmarks of a vivid, well-thought through, detailed fantasy. Veit has managed to set his story in England in the 1300’s, giving readers who prefer that historical feel to their vampire tales something in which to revel. His characters, both heroes and villains, are memorable and leave the reader wishing for more–always the true sign of great work.

Pages: 166 | ASIN: B00Q1P3U2I

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The Beautiful Struggle

Adam Que Author Interview

Adam Que Author Interview

Never a Choice but Always a Gift follows Max as he tries to connect with someone from his past and is set on a journey of self discovery. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

As vague as it is, one day, when I was walking down Bedford Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with my girlfriend, I had an idea to create a story about “life”. Nothing more than that. I didn’t even think that initial and simple idea would become a novel. I was going through a tough time myself and I just felt writing a story would heal me in a way. As my ideas progressed and narrowed “life” became “everyday living”.

Writing and writing, scratching out this idea and writing some more, the story flourished; and I was creating a story and character(s) that in some way inspired the beautiful struggle (the roller-coaster of ups and downs) and how it is to face those trivialities.

That through the hardest adversities one can overcome and one can illuminate their light within them, even if it’s in a subtle way.

A story that involves the mysteries of love and how that is faced in each aspect of life.

I felt Max was a relatable character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?

First, I sifted through Max’s flaws and I wanted to put that on the page. And then I wanted Max to eventually become aware of those flaws. In doing so it pushes Max to become a more enriched human being. Max, as all of us, are unfinished jigsaw puzzles, in knowing that we can fill in the pieces however we want.

So ideals such as understanding and perseverance were a driving force for Max’s character.

This is a beautifully written story. Is there any moral that you hope readers take away from the story?

I want readers to feel the power of forgiveness. Sometimes we are so quick to judge, criticize, anger–especially, to the ones closest to us–we forget about compassion.

And so, I also want the readers to feel the importance of family. That family is not only blood related, but can take shape however we define family. And not to take that for granted but to be grateful for that kinship/companionship/friendship.

Finally, I want the readers to find Max’s character and the story itself to inspire them to kick start their own journeys, to live out their passions or simply to find time for those passions. But most importantly to understand that when one door closes, inevitably, another one is waiting to be opened. It’s funny how life works like that. That stopping something is not necessarily failing or quitting, but just a pause, to change up the blueprint and to truly find what tugs strongly at the heart.

What is the next story that you are working on and when will the book be published?

At the moment I am focusing a bit more on my poetry and short stories. My poetry has recently been published in literary mags/reviews/journals/etc., such as, The New Engagement and Slink Chunk Press. Thus, I eventually want to get a full poetry collection published.

However, within the next couple of years there might be a romantic short story collection to come and/or a thriller/crime novel.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Max Kristoff, a man in his thirties who is living in New York, is about to come face to face with his past. When he walks into a house in Brooklyn, trying to connect with a person from that very past, he is plunged into a haunting situation. This situation sets him on a journey that will reveal–not only his character–but what lies in his heart and soul. Will Max find what he is searching for? Will he ever find closure? Will he find himself along this journey? Or will he die without ever knowing the answers he’s always been seeking?

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PrimoDeus

Primodeus4 Stars

PrimoDeus, written by John Lachance, is a novel based on the life of Beaulyn deFaux. Beaulyn is a defrocked priest, caught in a nightmare of illusion and reality whilst having flashbacks of his childhood. Abandoned as a toddler, Beaulyn was thrust into the arms of his babysitter, Claire. Shortly after, arrangements are made to foster the boy and he is soon visited by a group of triumvirs to assess his well being. During the meeting, the terrible secrets haunting each woman are unraveled and secrets of the past are exposed. Flash forward to the current time and Beaulyn is fighting his own demons as he tries to forget the pivotal moment in his life that leads to this future- a beast in revelation.

PrimoDeus is a novel styled around religious ideologies and focuses on a journey of demons and biblical style events that surround the life of Beaulyn DeFaux. Beaulyn is a former priest who is lost within a land that tortures him into a delirious state of confusion. Throughout the story, the characters intertwine in both past and present to allow the reader to gauge the truth around the mysterious Beaulyn.

The chapters are written in a similar format to a play with parts of the story labeled as an “Act” and even an “Interlude”. Throughout the various Acts, the story occasionally changes the font in order to depict inner thoughts. For example, one style shows Beauby (Beaulyn) as a baby where he slips into “daymares” as the characters of his life morph into witches and fairy tales. This can sometimes act as a moment of relief for the reader as some of the themes are sensitive and may be a trigger for some individuals.

One part of the story takes place in the past where Beauby is being assessed by women from a church (sometimes referred to as triumvirs). Memories of imaginable horror resurface during the triumvir’s visit to Beauby, providing an insight of the tragic circumstances each woman endured throughout their lives. Bizarre interactions begin to occur between the women and child as they strive to understand the probing stare of his intense blue eyes. Little do they know that a torturous moment in his childhood is forming the path of his unfortunate demise.

In the present time, Beaulyn is constantly battling his inner demons in a fight to decide what is real or a delusion. Haunted by his own personal demon, Azra (sometimes appearing as a vulture throughout his life) the story flickers through characters of the future and past, leaving the reader to slowly piece together what is real and what is an illusion.

At parts, the story delves into unimaginable trauma and John Lachance’s style of writing leaves the reader feeling emotional and empathetic to characters that you would not expect. Brigitte is one character that is involved with Beaulyn during his years as an apostate and her innocent demeanor and loyalty to him is one attribute that I admired. They are lost in the Caldera, walking for days with no food or water, yet the intricate details of her love seem more like an infatuation with the powers Beaulyn seemingly possesses.

Demons, swarms of bugs and exorcisms are all part of the biblical style novel that leaves the reader questioning, what is real and what is simply a delusion? I would give this book 4/5 and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the mystic of demons and religious beings.

Pages: 532 | ISBN: 1524653942

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Never a Choice but Always a Gift

Never a Choice but Always a GiftMax Kristoff, a man in his thirties who is living in New York, is about to come face to face with his past. When he walks into a house in Brooklyn, trying to connect with a person from that very past, he is plunged into a haunting situation. This situation sets him on a journey that will reveal—not only his character—but what lies in his heart and soul.

Will Max find what he is searching for?
Will he ever find closure?
Will he find himself along this journey?
Or will he die without every knowing the answers he’s always been seeking?

3 Stars

Never a Choice but Always A Gift By Adam Que is a book about change. Que takes you on a journey of Max’s life. Max was born and raised in the Bronx and currently living life with no real thought of tomorrow. After receiving some surprisingly unsurprising news, his life is bound to change.

Trials and tribulations surround Max and his long time friend, Bibby. Love, sacrifice and pride are challenged throughout the story. Memories are always with us. Can these two forgive and forget, or will they live the remainder of their lives holding a grudge?

Que’s use of vocabulary helps the reader relate to the different characters and really help you feel the emotions. The reader is lead along an easy to follow narrative that is sure to stimulate emotional response. That being said, there are times where the vocabulary becomes redundant and phrases are repeated which disrupts an otherwise sentimental novel.

Max is a well developed character and the story is gripping, but I felt that his thoughts in the beginning of the novel were constantly interrupted by tangents, side stories and information dumps which caused the story to lose focus. But when Max meets his love interest Celeste the background information is given in a less dense format and the novel flows easily and keeps the readers attention.

This novel is one of the more unique one’s I’ve read in 2016. Story detail is revealed through the use of double narrative. Things that Max is not willing to tell the reader is revealed through Bibby’s perspective. The switch of perspectives results in a change of language and tone which truly captures the feel of a new narrator. Few books I have read with a similar method of perspective change have lacked that quality.

I recommend this book to people going through hardships. Hope and unconditional love are cornerstones in the characters relationship. Never a Choice but Always A Gift is about a journey, but not the kind where characters trek through exotic locales. It’s a journey through life, to find love.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B01EYS4Z9U

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The Everlasting Fight

Brent Thomas Author Interview

Brent Thomas Author Interview

The Deadly Troubadours seek to make a name for themselves by stealing a dragons egg. What was the inspiration that created this fantastic journey these characters go on?

There are two basic inspirations for this quest. The first and likely more obvious one, is alcohol. I have lived in Japan for over a decade and office drinking parties are a part of the culture. I certainly think this was on my mind when I decided the quest should began basically due to bragging while inebriated. As for the actual quest for the dragon egg, I wanted something relatively small scale. By that I mean a common element in fantasy is the everlasting fight against the eternal evil that threatens to destroy the world. And nothing against that books that use that in their stories, but I wanted this to be an adventure of our heroes making.

There are several well developed characters in this story. Kestra, Demetrius, Talbert, and Aleksander. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating these characters?

To be honest I’ve never really thought about them in that way. I wanted them to be likable, even if they don’t always make the best choices. I wanted them to feel real in that we can understand their motivations even as they make those choices. I’m trying really hard to think of certain morals that I was thinking of, but I really do think I was more aiming for roundness of character, which sounds horribly egotistically of me.I would say that here are four people who are striving to make themselves better people while doing their past to remain loyal to each other and honest with each other about their mistakes.

I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?

Thank you! Writing has always been a hobby for me, even if at times has been a neglected one. I’ve been working on little short stories, many half finished, since elementary school. I had ringed-notebooks filled with little hand-written tales that have probably been tossed in the trash years ago. During college I tried a bit of play writing on things that never got produced even locally. After graduation I moved to Japan and did blogging on and off to keep the folks back home caught up with my life and that slowly petered out. Finally I got a job where I spent two days teaching special needs lessons and three days sitting at my work desk staring into a computer with too little work to do. That was when I remembered writing and starting a new blog, which transformed into my current site, and started writing little short stories to pass time because I figured if I was typing in English while looking seriously into the monitor everyone around me would just assume I was doing work. Deadly Troubadours actually started as a one off story about a little thief-mage running from some guards. Something about that story got stuck in my head and I kept thinking “What happened next?”

What is the next book that you are writing and when will that be published?

It is going to be a sequel to Deadly Troubadours. It is tentatively called “Sand, Sea, and Stone”. I’m hoping to have it released March 2017 and I will be starting a crowdfunding campaign to do a print run, much like I did with Deadly Troubadours. That campaign will likely start January 2017.

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Deadly TroubadoursWho are the Deadly Troubadours? Artists? Thieves? Pranksters? Punks? The answer depends on who you ask. In the summer city of Tryst the Deadly Troubadours seek to make a name for themselves – unfortunately that leads to a stupid oath after a night of heavy drinking. Because of course it does. Kestra: former gladiator. Demetrius Tate: magician and huckster. Talbert Gretchen: academic in exile. Aleksander: master of song. Will their actions earn them fame or infamy? Do they know they are out of their depths? Are they truly stupid enough to fight a dragon? Yes, yes they are. Because they are the Deadly Troubadours.

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