Blog Archives

The Wandering Tribes

Rob Bartlett’s The Wandering Tribes sees a bet between God and the Devil begin to escalate while Milo Sapphire, self-styled itinerant starship captain, champion of God, leader of the vampire families, and most dangerous individual in any room, enacts a plan to rehome a sizeable proportion of the vampire families and begin manipulating the huge Mercantile Empire through a convoluted plan. As the First of the vampire families, maintaining the peace and defending his position from challengers who would usurp him takes up much of Milo’s time, but with the assistance of a few carefully selected friends, Milo is able to pursue his personal goals.

The Wandering Tribes is the third instalment in Bartlett’s War Against infinity series, and it is a wild sci-fi tale which develops amidst one of the more creative settings readers will likely encounter. Featuring spacefaring vampires, philosophic velociraptors, graphic scenes of a violent and sexual nature and lots of discussions focused on the galactic economy all of which are seasoned with a liberal helping of humor and mix better than you might expect.

Milo’s frankness and his schemes make him a likeable character, and his chronic need to have most things explained to him in detail, or explain things to the reader in detail, make him the perfect narrator, as his conversational form ensures the reader is never completely lost in the world. Everything is well written and explained. It’s clear that a lot of thought and care has gone into building the universe in which The Wandering Tribes is set. Everything has a logical consistency which helps the plot flow and allows the reader to follow along with relative ease, even if they are starting with the third instalment in a series rather than at the beginning. Why would you do that? Book one is great, go read it.

The Wandering Tribes is an offbeat science fiction story that comes across as deceptively random. Rob Bartlett’s sharp writing and keen sense of humor comes together to create a relentlessly entertaining story with a fully fleshed out universe that is filled with wacky elements.

Pages: 212 | ISBN: 0939479494

Buy Now From Amazon

The Mommy Clique

The Mommy Clique is an entertaining and unpredictable novel filled with gossip and betrayal that will keep readers on their toes. Beth comes back to her hometown after many years to take care of her mother. She is worried about coming back to town, and to make matters worse she is forced to face the mean girl clique of mothers on her street. She soon realizes that she has become the target of these women, and they are looking for some fun. We find out that their ‘perfect’ life in the suburbs is not as great as it looks on the outside.

This is a riveting character driven story and author Barbara Altamirano does a fantastic job of creating believable characters, even when they do some unbelievable things. Each character is different in their own way but they all have one thing in common, they are mean girls and no one can be better than them.

Each chapter in the story is told from a different perspective. This allows the reader to get an intimate look at their thoughts and feelings and truly understand them. Even if readers can’t relate to certain situations they’ll still find that the characters have surprising depth, even when they sometimes seem shallow.

The reader learns that some of the characters in the story are not as happy and perfect as they seem and are putting up a façade. Elise, who is also referred to as the queen bee, is a surprisingly complex character and she is one that I loved to hate. I think that is a testament to the author’s writing ability, as she is able to evoke such strong emotions from the reader. I was also surprised by Beth’s character because, when she is first introduced to the group, she is looked at as weak and as easy prey, but as the story progresses readers learn that she is not at all who we think she is.

This is an engrossing evolution of the high school mean girl story. But when I thought I knew where this story was going the author adds an unexpected twist and once it is revealed you will not be able to put the book down.

The Mommy Clique is a spunky urban drama that will captivate readers as they are drawn into the melodrama, the cattiness, and the backstabbing. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a quick but compelling story.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B088DJS6TT

Buy Now From Amazon

Fore Play

Linda Sheehan’s Fore Play is a book that explores the beauty of golf and the intricate lives of those who play it. Set in a fictional Los Angeles sports club called Bellstone, the book’s storyline revolves around three main characters – Jody, Mandy, and Newt. It particularly focuses on the life of Jody – the granddaughter of the club’s founder – Forrest Wheeler.

Traumatized after the death of her grandfather, Jody stops playing golf. But her husband convinces her to try out the sport by joining the Bellstone club. Here, they cross paths with Mandy, Newt, and a host of other characters that significantly affect the couple’s life trajectory.

As Jody gets more involved in golfing and her work as a scientist, she becomes closer and closer to Jackson – a reserved caddy. Moreover, she begins to notice some of her husband’s unpleasant qualities. Ultimately, she, like the reader, comes to realize that all that glitters is not gold.

If there’s one thing that this book does well it’s that it highlights how far some people will go to gain social acceptance and praise. Using the lives of characters like Mandy, the author highlights how important it is for some people to appear rich, beautiful, and successful, regardless of who they hurt to achieve that. On the other hand, characters like Jackson remind us of how society overlooks anyone who seems different, poor, and unwilling to participate in posturing.

Another theme that is deeply explored in this book is the propensity of victims to become oppressors down the road. For instance, Mandy is bullied as a child and grows up to be a bully herself. On the other hand, Father Norm is abused as a child and grows up to manipulate people and the system to do his bidding. Ultimately, their stories parallel so many real-life ones, making them believable and relatable.

The author creates characters that are layered and interesting, making it easy to believe that this book could be inspired by real events. Even the way that the different golf games are described seems so real. It also helps that the book is written in simple language and even includes verses to popular songs that the characters listen to in different scenes.

Fore Play provides a unique and captivating look at life through some intriguing characters. This is a riveting and easy to read sports fiction novel that uses humor to assuage the darker moments of the human drama unfolding in this absorbing story.

Pages: 273 | ASIN: B09WCT3VHV

Buy Now From Amazon

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop by author David R. Low is a collection of four short stories that start in Japan and quickly move to Russia. These intriguing stories are very different in structure and style but share themes of obsession, disorder, and finding the so-called ‘Russian Soul’ through dark satire that isn’t afraid to descend into the bizarre. Low’s Russia is a chaotic society where culture has been consumed by a never-ending stream of filthy, overcrowded bars and a juvenile obsession with violence, drinking, and sex.

Whether it’s the ridiculous “Waiting for Deacon,” in which two Americans pointlessly pretend to be Australian, or the disturbing world that’s ruled by “Russia Cop” and an army of apes, the threat of violence is never far from the surface in these stories.

“English Teacher” starts as a traditional short story but soon transforms into a surreal drama in which everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong. Unfortunately, the ending here leaves you with more questions than answers.

The best story of the collection is “Tsoi Lives,” in which a group of acquaintances travels to Russia in search of a one-time rock star. Exploring infatuation and identity, this is an emotionally gripping tale offering profound commentary on culture and obsession.

I found the metaphors commenting on Russia’s hatred of the U.S. to be transparent. That aside, the satire is dark and haunting. The characters are well-drawn and complex, giving readers a variety of personalities to follow. Low’s ability to create realistic dialogue even when the subjects are not is noteworthy.

SCHLOCK Featuring Russia Cop is a collection of dark and satirical short stories. These inventive stories are incredibly well-written and memorable, and fans of the absurd will find them funny. If you know Russia from the inside, this collection is a must-read.

Pages: 262 | ASIN : B09VGB2TZN

Buy Now From Amazon

Pigs In Paradise

Pigs in Paradise is in the author’s own words, an absurd portrayal of reality. In author Roger Maxson’s satirical imaginary world, there are talking animals, and these animals are very serious about their religion. From the very beginning of the novel, the reader will find the influence of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a fact that the author acknowledges in the preface. The entire work is an exercise in favor of freedom of expression. The author heavily criticizes the tenets of American evangelicalism, as well as the actions of religious leaders who are deeply embroiled in corruption and politics. 

The story begins with the birth of Lizzy, a red calf, who is proclaimed by both Jews and Christians as their Messiah. After a series of incidents the talking animals are brought to America, where their ultimate destination is a Christian farm. 

Steeped in political and religious symbolism, the story utilizes the trope of talking animals to depict harsh truths about how religion operates in the modern world. It goes on to pose valid questions about the involvement of politics in religion.

Initially, readers may be intimidated by the length of this thought-provoking novel, however, they will be captivated by the dramatic plotline and the seamless flow of language. The author writes at a good pace, keeping the action moving without being overwhelming. The dialogue is presented in a conversational manner, without any ornamentations or pretensions, allowing the reader to feel as if they are there listening to the character’s interactions.

Pigs in Paradise is a riveting political satire colored with magical realism elements. Readers that enjoy this kind of humor will find this novel entertaining.

Pages: 456 | ASIN : B09HN4VHF8

Buy Now From Amazon

The Great Cyprus Think Tank – Book Trailer

The Great Cyprus Think Tank is narrated by Bart Beasley, a dejected Canadian author of cultural memoirs who yearns to return to Cyprus, where he spent his youth and where he might shake off his ennui. He forms a think tank of renowned but flawed experts to tackle crises still besetting the fabled island in 2024. The birthplace of Aphrodite is parched, its famed sea turtles face extinction, its songbirds are swallowed whole by native epicures, and Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, if no longer dispatching one another, rarely send over a bottle of wine. A string of felicitous adventures and seeming successes follows, while romantic liaisons spring up within the think tank’s ranks. Where else but in Cyprus could the Fellows hope to unearth Pygmalion’s ancient showgirl sculpture of Aphrodite in time for Kataklysmós, an annual celebration of Noah’s flood when Cypriots take to the sea and flirtatiously splash one another? Unknown to all but alert readers is a counterplot to waylay the think tank’s best designs.

POWERBALLS

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for by Jimmy Clifton is a story about a middle-aged couple who unexpectedly wins the lottery and find themselves in a very different world, offering them a life vastly different from their challenging careers and financial struggles. Henry Ball, an accountant in a progressive firm, fantasizes about living a more exciting life, fantasies about his younger female coworkers and greater recognition at work. Likewise, Henry’s wife, Rose Ball, dreams of a luxury lifestyle that she sees her friend enjoy.

As the couple dreams about their ultimate life, they suddenly realize their most fantastic fantasy, winning the Powerball lottery. Quickly though, they learn how this transformation will create a new set of challenges for each of them. Things are not what they seem as they dive into this extravagant world. This growing tension and realization of their newfound financial freedom becomes a journey that leads them on separate paths. The couple’s new adventures lead to many exciting and humorous encounters that give them a changed perspective on life, but not without a few shocking lessons and opportunities.

Readers will enjoy this light and funny read that details the struggles of a couple’s journey from mediocracy to luxury and how they trade one set of tension and challenges for another, with higher risks and experiences. The author narrates a well-paced, lively tale that creates a sense of hope and adventure for a couple struggling with mid-life identity and goals while transitioning into the extravagant world of billionaires and how they transform into this world of privilege.

Powerballs Be careful what you wish for is a riveting, enjoyable read that’s quickly absorbed. It’s a fun page-turner that readers will find entertaining and witty, with brilliant character development, lots of action, and a well-structured story filled with drama. Readers looking for travel fiction or contemporary American fiction will enjoy this humorous, fast-paced read.

Pages: 250 | ASIN : B094DTBRPX

Buy Now From Amazon

I Like Interesting Stories

Glenn Reschke
Glenn Reschke Author Interview

Something Went Cold is a collection of thought-provoking short stories on a variety of topics. What inspires you to stop what you’re doing and write?

I suppose I’m like a lot of writers in that I felt I had some very intriguing stories to tell or share and that motivated me to write the stories in Something Went Cold. I also felt I had some talent, and talent wants to be expressed. I’ve never had any shortage of ideas. What has stopped me is the work involved. Good, cogent writing requires hard work, patience, and discipline. Stephen King was right: “Writing is re-writing.” And good writing requires nothing less.

Another thing that motivates me is that I like interesting stories as much as anyone. I like stories that intrigue, are thought-provoking, and entertain. I personally enjoy reading stories that are impactful with a quick payoff of enjoyment. If one thinks about all the movies, TV shows, plays, and books that we are bombarded with, there is one fundamental element: someone wants to tell a story that they think mandates attention or interest. (We truly are a culture of storytelling.) Fundamentally, I think I can identify a good story, and tell a good story. So, that is what compels me to write, and what compelled me to write Something Went Cold.

The characters in your stories are varied but equally interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I enjoyed writing all the characters in Something Went Cold (I know that sounds like a cop out!). However, if there is only one that I’d have to choose that was fun to write, (as much as it was disturbing), I’d have to say the Adolf Hitler character. I had to learn a lot about him in writing the story and he was most definitely a loathsome character, to say the least. I had a very specific plot line in mind for that story and I never deviated from it. Lastly, I suppose I enjoyed writing about his fictional story in I that I enjoyed making sure he got the justice he so richly deserved meted out to him so thoroughly in my little universe.

Now deceased actor Spencer Tracy once said that he put himself into every character he portrayed. I think a writer can’t help but put a little bit of themselves into their stories. So, second place for me would be the girl from the #MeToo story. It’s a completely fabricated story and character but almost everyone in some form is bullied in life in some way, and almost everyone wants to see people who hurt them get their comeuppance. So, that was an interesting character and story for me to write, too.

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

To be honest, I never wrote any of the five short stories contained within Something Went Cold with the express intention of focusing upon a specific theme. I was more concerned with writing stories that were intriguing, interesting, unique, enjoyable, and readable. In my opinion, if a writer focuses upon a theme too heavily, it can harm the story. Every story has an arc and while I certainly sought to hit the guideposts of format, which helps to make a story linear, I think that the events and problems that characters need to solve or deal with in a story are what create suspense, intrigue, and a “what’s-gonna-happen-next” type of feel. One of the best compliments I received from a former work colleague who bought my book was when he messaged me on LinkedIn saying, “I didn’t want to put it down.” When I read that, I felt within myself that I had made the story intriguing enough to merit such a response. And that pleased me.

To me, a story’s universe of problems, characters, and scenes must contribute to the reader experience, and to me, reader experience is everything. It’s more important than theme, in my opinion.

Lastly, I’ve always been a fan of the now 60-year-old-plus television show The Twilight Zone. Each story had its unique characters, storyline, theme, etc. Almost all of the stories gave a “jolt” to the reader – and I liked that. That’s how I view the short stories in my book, Something Went Cold. They are somewhat like The Twilight Zone stories in that they are unique stories that end unconventionally while subtly exploring dark themes of survival, life, revenge and so forth. The thematic elements were again not deliberate but inevitable, I suppose, given the stories’ construction.

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

I just completed a book tentatively titled “The Success Secrets of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” It’s about the Austrian movie star’s goal-setting, success, and visualization strategies using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) principles and postulates to decode and isolate his processes. I don’t know when it will be available. I’m looking at the different options available to me with its publishing, marketing, etc. I’ve also started work on a novel. That’s what I’m involved with now. I actually have no shortage of novel and short story ideas. Obviously, I’m hoping to find a marriage of commerciality and story. That would be the best of both worlds.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

One thing connects all cultures and people-we all want great stories that entertain.

In Something Went Cold, you’ll read five such stories. Short stories that will seduce and entertain while taking you on a jolting journey of surprise and enchantment. In “#MeToo,” you’ll relish how an abused young woman gets her revenge. When you read “On the Serengeti, Nothing is Wasted,” your heart will beat faster as you accompany our heroes in a survival tale unlike any other. In “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler,” you’ll find death is just the beginning for Der Fuhrer.

In Glenn Reschke’s Something Went Cold, you’ll read stories that will transport you to another world where you will be changed. And moved.
%d bloggers like this: