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Vampires: Don’t You Just Hate Them?

Vampires: Don't You Just Hate Them?: An Urban Fantasy Novel5 Stars

If you’re looking for excitement laced with lots of violence and sex then you need to look no further than Danny Estes’ Vampires: Don’t You Just Hate Them? We begin our story with our protagonist, Jonathan, who finds himself speaking with some form of a psychologist. At first, the reader is unawares in regards to what the story is going to be about. Jonathan speaks about how he always thought vampires were myth. It’s not until a bit later on that Jonathan reveals through the effort of flashbacks that he is a half-werewolf and he has been living with his mate, and full werewolf, Jasmine. What begins as a story of coming to grips with the laws and rules of Pack behavior that Jonathan is not used to, devolves in an exciting way into a gun fight between werewolf and vampire. However, not everything is as it seems.

Estes does a fantastic job with this story. He’s very descriptive and by telling the story from Jonathan’s point of view we can feel as though we are Jonathan as he struggles to accept the fact that his mate has brought him to live with a Pack, something he is not accustomed to, where females are dominant and his opinion is not required. Jonathan is faced with the difficult task of merging into a culture he has never heard good things about. His father is a full werewolf who ran away from pack life with his half-werewolf mother in tow. Jonathan is aggressive, stubborn and has deep rooted feelings about justice: traits that are not welcome in his new world.

It appears that werewolves are very physical, sexual beings, which is an interesting take on the race. Estes doesn’t go too over the top with his descriptions about the sexual events that take place in his novel. He describes things with enough emphasis that crude words are not necessary and it is clear what he is getting at. By having the story from Jonathan’s point of view we’re also awarded his assistance with explaining things that might not be understood at first glance. Whenever there is a chance the reader is confused, Jonathan is confused as well and asks for explanation or provides it. It’s almost like breaking the fourth wall without really speaking with the reader. A very clever tactic.

Estes does what he does best: tell an engaging story with all the trappings of entertainment. Vampires: Don’t You Just Hate Them? performs better than a movie with rigorous action scenes, lust and explosions in all the right places. There is a story to be told here, as well, which doesn’t get overshadowed by all the action. Jonathan is not all he seems to be, and he doesn’t even know it. While it may be clichéd to say that there is more to him than meets the eye, that is the reality. Estes milks that for all it’s worth and ends his tale with flair and excitement. Those who are looking for an exciting read with good character development and a plot that doesn’t get ignored, will definitely find everything they’re looking for in this book.

Pages: 276 | ASIN: B009PO52PK

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What If The Heroes Were Just Some Schmucks

Tim  Owens Author Interview

Tim Owens Author Interview

The Hobbymen follows Geoff and Book who are Amateur Monster Biologists that are out to separate truth from fairytale no matter how bizarre it may be. Where did the idea for ‘Amateur Monster Biologists’ come from?

It was born out of boredom. After consuming media for over 25 years, I had become bored with the same stories popping up. I was bored with prophecies and characters destined to save the world. I was bored with all these rules about monsters that were in place for no reason other than tradition. I was bored with something as silly as a werewolf being treated with dignity and respect. So I thought, “What if all these myths were only half the story? What if the heroes were actually just some schmucks who had no idea what they were doing? Why don’t we take all the folklore to the stupidest conclusion we can find?” Because I don’t take myself too seriously and thought it was high time modern fantasy reflected that mindset. Also they’re biologists rather than hunters because hunting becomes a game of “find monster, kill monster” and having it be research is not only more fun, it opens a lot more possibility for exploring different aspects of the world they live in.

There is a lot of witty banter and sarcasm being thrown around by the characters. Did you have fun writing this novel?

I really did, sometimes more than I expected. Large portions of the book were sort of mentally written in my head as I was driving or just going throughout my day, but some scenes were completely unplanned and ended up being the most fun by just having the characters bounce off each other. The worst part was always coming up with a bit that got me really excited and it wouldn’t show up for another 3 chapters. I always had to slow myself down and make sure each chapter was worthwhile, even if I wasn’t as excited about it initially.

Liliana is a down-on-her-luck young nun who’s caught stealing a loaf of bread in a little town in Mexico. How did her character develop as you were writing?

Very slow and difficult. That’s what happens when the basis for your character started as “nun that beats things with a bat”. Having her be the audience surrogate in the beginning helped because it gave me a couple chapters for her to breathe before I really needed to know what she was about. I had a good handle on her about half way through the book, and made sure to go back and make sure she was consistent throughout. A lot of things for her sort of fell into place. Her cohorts were each at opposite ends of the spectrum, so she became a mixture of short-tempered and goofy to balance it out.  She needed to be strong and independent, yet still function as a part of a team.  My biggest focus was always to make sure her actions and dialogue came from herself as a character, and not as “the girl of the group” or “stock archetype #15”. I think a lot of the time she was the hardest to write just because she is somehow the least extreme in terms of her personality.

What were some books or movies that you think were your main sources of inspiration?

I tend to take inspiration from many places, which probably comes across as a cop out answer. The real answer is I grew up watching horror movies, reading Stephen King and Poe, and watching a little show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. The latter, for any unaware, essentially aired old B-movies and made fun of them. As a kid I loved the concept and my family ended up doing it on our own for any movie we watched. So unwittingly the concept for a book where monsters and myths are handled with a heaping dose of self-awareness and eye rolling was planted fairly early in my mind. But in terms of writing I tend to find inspiration through a lot of the classics. Like I think Catch-22 is an amazing tool in teaching about how to create the tone of a scene or how Dickens made sure to utilize his prose to make mundane events a joy to read.

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

I am currently finishing up on a short story in the Hobbymen universe titled “Truth, Dare, Scissors” which is going to be released sometime before October. It’s the second short story I’ve written with these characters, the first being “Interview with a Vampire Named Bob” which acts as a prequel to the book. I am currently working on a sequel as well. What can I say, I enjoy these characters and I’m too lazy to come up with new ones for now. The next full novel is too far away to estimate, but I will definitely be finishing it.

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The HobbymenSister Liliana has not been having the best of days. Between running away from the convent and then being thrown into a desolate prison, she has started to lose hope of having a fun Wednesday. That is until she meets two strange men with a rather peculiar hobby: Amateur Monster Biology. From ancient monsters to urban legends, Geoff and Book are out to separate truth from fairytale, no matter how bizarre or ridiculous that truth may be. And as they have found, there is truth in everything. Soon Liliana is caught in a whirlwind of adventure as they show her a side of the world she never thought existed, filled with fantastic creatures hiding in plain sight. But just as it seems her life is finally turning around, the group get a foreboding message from an unexpected, sinister source. Are the three of them in over their heads this time? Yes…the answer is yes.

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Review: City Under the Moon

cutm 4star

City Under the Moon is a well written action adventure novel, but that’s not surprising considering who the author is. Hugh Sterbakov was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Robot Chicken: Star Wars and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III. He also co-created the Freshman comic books with Seth Green and also wrote Hell & Back which is a stop-motion feature film. Sprinkle in an MFA in screenwriting and you’re guaranteed the writing is going to be rock solid. Enough about Hugh, let’s focus on his book. City Under the Moon takes an outbreak approach to the werewolf story which, I think, is a semi original plot. The werewolf plague is spreading through Manhattan on New Year’s Eve eventually getting the attention of the FBI, the military, and the President.  In the beginning it starts with one or two cases of werewolf attacks, but that quickly multiplies. The military is deployed to Manhattan to, at first, evacuate civilians, but that quickly devolves into a quarantine of the island where the military is battling huge waves of zombies… I mean werewolves. An interesting idea that comes along with the werewolf outbreak is the fact that werewolves only change when the moon is out. So through the story there are these times during the day when people have time to prepare, sort of like the calm before the storm. But during these times there are people walking around among them that may have been bitten by a werewolf, don’t know about it, forgot about, or are trying to hide it, and when the moon comes  they change into werewolves right next to their loved ones. So it’s like a disease that is only deadly when the moon is out and makes everyone suspicious of each other during the day. Although the story takes on a scientific pretext, the origin of the werewolf outbreak comes straight from werewolf lore and is resolved according to those rules. At one point the characters have to travel to Transylvania to find the werewolf’s lair (the scene does not disappoint). The scene stands in stark contrast to the rest of the book as it seems like it’s pulled from an old Dracula novel. The last half of the book is a race against the clock to take out the werewolf leader before Manhattan is overrun and the wolf plague spreads beyond the island. There are several characters in the book, but I consider Brianna Tildascow and Lon to be the two main characters. These characters have well defined motivations and well developed character traits.  Tildascow is an FBI agent that is part of a secret government program to create super soldiers (which pretty much means she kicks ass), she has some abandonment issues that leads to promiscuity and a need to throw herself into her work. And Lon who is your typical anti-social, self-aggrandizing, misanthropic nerd (I’m pretty sure there ‘typical’…right) who happens to be the world’s foremost authority on the occult, specifically werewolves. There is rarely a dull moment in the novel where you’re not learning about the interesting characters, learning about the werewolf disease, learning about werewolf lore, or where werewolves are either killing or being killed. Now to discuss what I didn’t like about the book….. Well that’s enough about that. LOL. Ok, gun to the Hungry Monsters head, there were a few things that didn’t digest well, but City Under the Moon is a non-stop action packed thrill ride with very few missteps.

ISBN 0985245611
Pages: 464
Published March 1, 2012

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