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Drunk Talk

The mind of the average human is a powerful thing, able to invent and create, to study, and to progress. But it also has the capability to fill us with dread, panic, and fear. Above all, though, it gives us the ability to question. Is there a God? What is out in the far reaches of space? Did I return that book to the library? Since the dawn of time, humankind has been gifted and cursed with curiosity, and as life advances, its people and their problems advance with it.

Drunk Talk is a book brought to us by Mike Davis and TL Banks. It is not so much a story in its traditional sense, but more a study of humans told through stories. Its premise is that of a drunk sitting at a bar and listening to the various topics being discussed around him.

I enjoyed this book. It was nice to read something different from other fiction, and I liked the style of writing. It’s humorous, sharp, and authentic. This made it more engaging and a breeze to read. The topics and themes of the book were immensely enjoyable. The questions posed here were all very real, from the mysterious to the mundane. We have all experienced these same things and asked the same questions, but here, we get another perspective on them, which is remarkably refreshing.

Drunk Talk is a work of satire fiction stemming from the truth. Readers will find something in these forty-eight short stories that they can relate to. In my opinion, Davis and Banks have delivered a hit with this book. It’s thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. I would be extremely interested in reading any other material they have. A highly satisfying book that I would highly recommend.

Pages: 119 | ASIN : B08F42246S

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Meth Murder & Amazon

Author G.S. Gerry takes readers on a quirky and mind bending rollercoaster of an adventure in Meth Murder & Amazon. Readers follow a “normal” family who is trying to sell their home but have the worst luck. The shenanigans begin when the realtor, or as the Grakes call them the “assassins”, arrive to help sell their house. The Grakes are accused of murder but there is no body when the sheriff arrives, so did it really happen? Then they are accused of making meth in their garage due to the smell of burning plastic. Will the Grakes be able to overcome the chaos and sell their home?

This quirky urban thriller immediately caught my attention from the turn of the first page. Author G.S. Gerry’s unorthodox writing style had me wondering just what direction this intriguing story was headed in and what exactly did Amazon have to do with the plot.

I felt as though I was watching an energetic play, all while drinking too much caffeine. The pace of the story is quick, so make sure you pay attention because things happen quickly in a rapid series of events and if you’re not on your toes you could get lost. There is some pretty funny word play in here too. Like, “This is further muckin’ ridiculous,” I felt like this adds a lot of personality to the story to where it feels like it’s a character all it’s own, just like in author Lemony Snicket’s novels.

I felt sorry for the Grakes because all they wanted to do was sell their house and they just can’t catch a break. Even the weather intervenes when they go house hunting! I was able to relate to how things never seem to work out, but I liked how far it went, and how wild it can seem for the average person to be in that situation, just like in the show Breaking Bad. So, I think the author makes an excellent comparison to these two pieces of art.

Meth Murder & Amazon is a compelling and refreshing crime fiction story that will have you wondering what is reality and what isn’t. I highly recommend this humorous romp to those who enjoy a light-hearted and slightly bizarre story with added sound affects that will have you chuckling throughout.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B09RZN6DJZ

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The Perfect Place To Start The Journey

Author Interview
Dwight Jesmer Author Interview

Doing Time in California follows a man who escapes from jail just before his release and embarks on a fun and thoughtful journey with friends to a golf tournament. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

My younger sister died of bile duct cancer. It was nine months from diagnoses to death, the same amount of time for a natural pregnancy to lead to life.  So, when I decided to write a story dealing with time, I thought the perfect character would be someone who has had their time taken away from them. During the decade I lived in San Francisco I would take Marsh Creek Road for my drive to Stockton to play in a golf tournament every summer. I passed the detention center going and coming and it struck me that it was the perfect place to start the journey.

Kimo Jones is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I obviously wanted a flawed character, like most of us. One of my favorite quotes is Oscar Wilde’s “I can resist everything but temptation,” and I wanted Kimo to be like that. He’s someone that wants to do the right thing but is a slave to his narcissistic impulses. I wanted him to have to make choices that were beneficial to others instead of his own self interests. It was important to me that he evolve beyond his arrested development.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to explore the big boys: life and death, man vs self, love, time, God—but in a humorous way. I grew up Catholic and was often told that God works in mysterious ways, and I wanted to show that with this character. I tried to have him do something for the good of others almost despite himself, that sometimes God must get his vessel drunk out of his mind before He can work His will!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a memoir called Army Brat that I hope to have completed and ready to go next year.  I went to first grade in Germany, second grade in Aberdeen, Maryland, third grade on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, fourth grade to the middle of seventh grade at Fort Benning, Georgia, the last half of seventh and eighth grade at Fort Hood, Texas, ninth grade at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, then the rest of high school at Punahou School in Honolulu. I got hit by a car chasing my brother with a baseball bat and hit by lightning playing baseball in first grade. We saw Bobby Kennedy give a speech in Stockton, California on his way to Los Angeles the week he was killed. My brother and I played touch football with Lt. William Calley and his M.P. guard while he was on trial for the My Lai Massacre, and I went to high school with Barry Obama before he was Barack. Should be a fun read. Then I’ll work on a sequel to my novel called Doing Time on the Camino.  

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Who in their right mind would escape from a minimum security prison with only three weeks left of their sentence to play in an annual golf tournament with his buddies?

Disgraced Catholic School teacher Kimo Jones does just that, starting a journey through the California Delta with the aid of a beautiful young pianist. Mr. Jones taught his students that God works in mysterious ways, but he didn’t tell them that he believes hawks could be messengers from God. What kind of mind are we dealing with?

Dwight Jesmer’s Doing Time in California takes you on a laugh-out-loud funny journey to redemption. It’s a rock opera of a novel. Can’t wait for the movie!

The Monsters We Create

Alejandro Marron Author Interview

Pythia in the Basement is a biting satire about our fears, existence, morality, philosophy, and lacking common sense. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Life, as cliché as it may sound. Just the nuanced complexities we face as we encounter obstacles on our journey. And how we deal with said obstacles. As well as the monsters we create to justify our lack of growth, movement, fears, etc. For most of us, it is easier to create an excuse than face our truth. Not all of us are brave and that is not easy to accept. I tried to sprinkle some of those complexities into the characters.

Roger and Colin are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you for that. I think it was the search for meaning and truth. Self-validation. I know that is broad in scope, but ultimately that is the driving ideal. Colin, like all of us, is full of contradictions; he is trying to be a better version of who he was in the past, but he still succumbs to his proclivities and societal expectations. Almost like a musician struggling to accept his duality: he doesn’t want to sell out, but at the same time he longs for stardom. And you could say that in a way, Colin has not accepted his fate. Roger, on the other hand, seems to be comfortable in his skin, and you get the sense that if he was to perish he would have no regrets. He is at peace and I believe he in turn becomes the moral compass of the story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Self-deception, the lack of common sense, and the demise of religion and the resulting repercussions on society as a whole. Again, I am falling into redundancies, but I think that was a major theme of the book. I am not a ‘religious’ person myself but I do see the importance that religion once played in our societies and how we have created new religions to fill that void. This story does border on the absurd, but I think listlessness and lack of meaning make a fool of us all. The search for validation is a powerful force that I find quite intriguing. I think ultimately, we are all looking for self-validation in one form or another, and more often than not that search leads us to extremes, regret, and frustration.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have a few ideas but none that I would call good at the moment. Maybe I will delve deeper into satire and social commentary.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Pythia in the Basement is a vapid and played-out tale of self-discovery and the call to action. The search for meaning in a life that doesn’t care. The redundant hero’s journey and fear-of-death narrative that has imbued every society. A tale of failure, love, sex, and betrayal. All set to an absurdist and satirical backdrop. In a time of self-censorship and half-truths, Pythia in the Basement is a biting satire about our fears, existence, morality, philosophy, and lacking common sense. But no one poses the question better than Roger, our tendentious autodidact, and purveyor of truth…  

Doing Time in California

Nearing the end of his jail sentence, Kimo decides to make a quick escape for the weekend. Holding the image of golfing with friends in mind, he walks off the premises during yard duty. A chance encounter with the alluring Rachel turns his solo getaway into an adventure for two. They meet up with Kimo’s best friend, Frank, Frank’s brother, and his wife, who has long been the love of Kimo’s life. Kimo’s perspective shifts as he learns of tragic developments that have occurred since his incarceration, and his free days are now filled with a purpose more significant than golf.

Doing Time in California is an entertaining, humorous and thought-provoking novel by Dwight Jesmer. This is an ensemble story that plays out like a road trip story, but the characters are more compelling than some B movie comedy and the exploration of life throughout the novel feels meaningful. The characters are unique, and their various quirks compliment each other in fun and funny ways.

The tone throughout the book is friendly and lighthearted, so even as we navigate morally complicated subject matter it’s a pleasurable experience for the reader. Throughout the story, Kimo references events from his past, but the storyline stays firmly rooted in the present; which makes it easy for the reader to feel like they are along for the ride with Kimo, experiencing everything in real time with him.

Through themes of sin and penance, the author threads questions of morality into the story, so that readers are constantly considering the goodness of the protagonist. This question of right and wrong serves as the main device that drives the drama forward throughout the novel. Though nontraditional, I found it very interesting to follow the story in this manner. I heartily enjoyed this story and the creative examination of morals but I would have enjoyed a deeper exploration of the minor characters because I found them all so fascinating. Doing Time in California is a charismatic and evocative novel that will appeal to anyone looking for a story with depth but keeps things light.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B0BM3BV8NS

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Pythia in the Basement

Maybe you’ve thought that existence is a weird thing. The fact that you’re born, you grow, and you observe until one day, time runs out – and if you enjoy contemplating the meaning of life but want to bypass the delicateness of offending the layman, then this thought-provoking book is for you.

One of the chapters in this book summarizes Marron’s work perfectly: peculiar. A refreshing piece that will smack you in the face and make you laugh, Marron has embodied the absurdist fiction genre perfectly as we follow the experiences of character leads, Colin and Roger.

The author has created authentic characters that were enjoyable to follow while avoiding the sugar-coated hero cliche. Colin is abrasive. His flaws were openly stated and visually displayed throughout the book; through workplace affairs or openly stating that he possesses hedonistic tendencies, yet his character supports BLM and hates being late. The confluence of these ideas made his character very intriguing. I really enjoyed how this character comes together. Roger on the other hand is a polymath dubbed both a bullshit artist and poet. I loved the passion embedded into him and felt he was the perfect storm of knowledge, chaos and questioning the system. Together the two juxtaposed conspiracy theories of all sorts.

A special commendation must be made to the short chapters, its hook was executed brilliantly. The writing style was punchy, shocking and prevented the reader from being able to form an opinion about the characters too quickly. It enhanced the matter-of-fact tone that intelligently explores philosophical themes in a no-nonsense fashion, all whilst set in a world with little care about the purpose of existence. Each chapter was loaded with dialogue and insights into topics like Sharia law, drugs and human sacrifice. While providing plenty of entertaining and food for thought the story ends just as quickly as it takes off.

Pythia in the Basement is a fascinating story with compelling characters and sharp satire that explores some provocative and intriguing ideas.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B0BKDF7B4S

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Some Drama And Unexpected Twists

Carol Rhees Author Interview

Joint Venture follows long-time frenemies as they discover the true meaning of family and friendship while navigating an unlikely partnership. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Several years ago, one of my close friends began describing the fighting that was going on her small hometown on Cape Cod over whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in the township. I said, “Wow, that sounds like a great backstory for a novel.” Together we developed the two main characters with the intention of writing together, but health problems prevented my friend’s continued participation. When the pandemic came, with my friend’s encouragement, I kept myself entertained by throwing myself into the small imaginary town of Poplar Town.

Alice and Helen were well developed characters that were fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

From the outset, I knew that Alice and Helen had to be more or less complete opposites who had always disliked each other, but they also needed some outside force that drew them together – for Helen needing to prove herself after having been dumped by her husband of many years, and for Alice needing to find purpose and help her son after the sudden death of her husband.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted the book to be a laugh-out-loud fun read with some drama and unexpected twists. The book is about interpersonal relationships and, for me, its primary themes are personal growth, learning to deal with conflict, and supporting your family, friends and community.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on another book also set in Poplar Point, but focused on another main character. I have no idea yet when it will be available.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Long-time frenemies Alice and Helen discover the true meaning of family and friendship as they navigate an unlikely partnership and life’s second act in this hilarious and heartfelt debut.

Helen has worked hard for her success. Now, after the prim-and-proper real estate agent’s husband ditches her for a younger model, she finds herself back in her small New England home town. Smarting over her husband’s betrayal, a messy night out only brings further humiliation when Helen face-plants on the sidewalk … only to be rescued by her old nemesis, Alice.
Alice, an aging hippie mourning the death of her husband, has considered Helen her complete opposite since they were schoolgirls. Yet much to her surprise, as the town divides bitterly over whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana within its borders, she and Helen find themselves drawn into an unlikely partnership. Can this unlikely duo make a go of their joint venture without killing each other first?

A charming examination of the human capacity for growth, hope, and finding love, in all its forms, in the second half of our lives, Alice and Helen’s Joint Venture shines a light on love and friendship while delivering plenty of laughs along the way.

The Comedy That Inspires Me

Grahame Fleming Author Interview

The Blood of the Bear is a humorous telling of the classic story of King Arthur and adds in more information than the original telling. What was the inspiration for writing a humorous version of this story?

I love reading books that make me laugh out loud. I love watching comedy on TV or in film. It’s always been very natural for me to want to make others laugh too. I think the humour of The Blood of the Bear exists on a few different levels. First, the lead character of Artos exists in a fairly impoverished world. I think when people grow up in a community where daily life is hard and full of toil, then a natural humour develops to help them cope with their situation. Second, I included some scenes and situations in the book that are just for fun. I’m thinking particularly of the chapter dedicated to a crime scene investigation, which I laughed at while writing, so I hope readers of the book enjoy it too. Third, I tried to create a style of humour that is heavily influenced by the comedy that inspires me; the books of Tom Sharpe, Spike Milligan, and the work of the team that were Monty Python (including the Holy Grail film). I hope if you like any of the above then you’ll also like The Blood of the Bear.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

I think it’s hard to pick one out, but there’s a small scene which is simply a conversation between the Merlin and the leader of the Rheged tribe, Urien. When I wrote it, I was pleased with the tone and the mood and as a result it probably has remained closer to its original draft rather than other scenes.

What is one thing that you hope the reader takes away from The Blood of the Bear?

I simply hope they enjoy the story and that it lightens their day. I hope they grow to love the characters enough to want to join them in future adventures.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available

No big shocks here! The Blood of the Bear volume 2 is being drafted now. I’m aiming to launch it by March 2023, a year after the original book. The story moves further south to an area stretching between Wales and the North Yorkshire Moors, and it will involve dragons!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

An irreverant tale of an Arthurian magnificent seven setting out on their first adventures.

Swords, magic, murder, old gods versus new, some petty theft, and an unhealthy over-consumption of mead all play their part in this historical tale of a band of heroes caught up in ‘The Prophecy’.
It’s the late 5th century and the Roman legions have packed up and went home from Britannia, mainly because of the horrible weather. The land is divided amongst petty kings who wage war on their neighbours, write nothing down, and murder their relatives regularly, all in an effort to keep the dark ages as dark as possible.
Into this time of myth and legend comes Artos, a young shepherd and levy man whose life is going rapidly downhill. Almost killed in battle, encountering a banshee, and catastrophically failing in his duties to his tyrannical lord, Duncan MacForres, means that it’s finally time to (hastily) leave home for a better future, hopefully under the big city torches of Camulodunum.
Faked deaths, faked rebirths, and prophetic visions of the sword, Excalibur, help to reveal that Artos may be destined for more success than even he has imagined. On the advice of the local witch, he sets out on a quest to find the reclusive Merlin before embarking on a medieval, horse powered road trip.
If you like your witches to be essentially good with a dark sense of humour, your water nymphs to be feisty and full of their own self-importance, and your horses magically enchanted with just a touch of stubborn, then welcome to an alternative telling of the classic story of King Arthur, before he was king, and even before he was Arthur.
Will Artos get the mystical sword?
Who is Lancelot’s mother?
And why did Morganna get such a bad press from the fake news of monastic media?

The Blood of the Bear answers all these questions and more.
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