Monthly Archives: October 2012

Time to Question Motives

Lets talk a little football.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of the game, but not a fan of any team. I was raised in the football-devoid city of Louisville KY, (where basketball is king). I played baseball, became a Braves fan, and I had to choose to be a Kentucky fan or a Louisville fan in the fifth grade (I chose Kentucky).

But I have never been an avid fan of any football team.

When I finally settled in South Carolina, I thought I should be a Panther fan. Unfortunately, I never liked anyone on that team (until they drafted Newton). Bluffton SC is 4 hours from Charlotte, 4 hours from Atlanta and 3 hours from Jacksonville. I figure I should be a fan of one of those teams, and there is one scenario that could seal it for me:

Jets: Trade Tebow to Jacksonville!

Whatever you say about the merits of Tebow being an NFL QB, he is loved in Jacksonville. He would play in Jacksonville, and he would fill seats in Jacksonville (win or lose).

Jacksonville needs to fill seats – bottom line. The more seats they fill, the more money they have. The more money they have, the better players they can get. And the better players they get, the more they will win.

Getting Tebow would be the best move the Jacksonville Jaguars ever made, but I wonder how committed the Jags are to Jacksonville. I can only see two scenarios that would stop the Jags from getting Tebow. One, the Jets don’t want to give him up. Or Two, the Jags don’t want to stay in Jacksonville.

You Jacksonville fans need to start screaming for Tebow because if you don’t, I don’t know how long the NFL will be in your city. It is time to start questioning the motives of your team’s management staff. Are they sitting around like that fictional Indian’s owner in the movie Major League? – wanting to fail?

SEC fans are football fans (even I sit around and watch Kentucky lose every Saturday). We applaud the players who make it to the NFL and like to see them succeed. I love watching the recent success of Randall Cobb, I like to see Cam Newton, and Mathew Stafford and all the others, that I got to watch on Saturday, make it to Sunday.

Tebow is a strange phenomenon – the most talked about second string QB in the NFL. But here in the southeast, he is a God. And he belongs here – not up in NY. If the Jags secure Tebow,  I will make the trip to see him play at least once a year — and I bet many others will too.

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Join the Siege!

I have been silent for more than a week – which goes against the promise I made to myself when I started this blog – oops!

Anyway, I have been engrossed in Rhiannon Frater’s last installment of her Zombie epic, Siege, As the World Dies, Book Three.

If you haven’t picked up The First Days, As the World Dies, do it now (I mean it, stop reading this blog and go get the book)…

Now that you are back (and I am sure that you have now read all three books because I could not stop after the first), let me talk first about this book and then generally about the series. For those of you who ignored me earlier and have not read this series, I will not post any spoilers.

I expect a series to slack off. The longer you read a series, the more it kinda falls flat. That is not the case here. Siege is nonstop, and no one is safe. Frater makes it very clear from the beginning that she has no problem killing off her characters – for those of you who have never written a novel, this is very hard to do. An author creates a special bond with their characters. They are our friends as much as any flesh and blood. We applaud their successes and morn their defeats.

As a reader, you are kept on the edge of your seat. You expect the main characters to live, so when they die, you are shocked. And this novel has plenty of shocks. Frater has created something that is much greater than the sum of its parts – a zombie novel that is less about blood and gore and more about people working together, bickering over their differences and attempting to create hope among despair.

Siege is more political than the previous two novels which is to be expected given the events leading up to it. Fighting for survival causes us to come together – but once we feel comfortable in our survival, our prior prejudices get the better of us.

One note to Frater: I would have liked to know what happened to the Baptists (just saying… you left it dangling).

Overall, this was the best Zombie series I have ever read. More over, non-zombie fans would still be enthralled from the first paragraph (which caused me to mutter ‘daaaammmnnn’ under my breath).

The series has plenty of action, lots of blood and gore, but also heavy emotional moments and strong female characters. I see that Frater has optioned the movie rights, I will be first in line if it is ever made.

Thanks for the incredible journey Rhiannon!

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Trapped in the Dark! A Review of Jake Elliot’s New Novel

I was privileged to be asked to review Crossing Mother’s Grave by Jake Elliot. Jake and I “met” through our shared publisher, and parts of my review to his first book can be found inside the cover of this one. Crossing Mother’s Grave is the sequel to Elliot’s first novel, The Wrong Way Down, and I don’t think they can be read out of order, so if you haven’t read the first, you can have the luxury of reading them both back to back (where as I had to wait several months).

It is not often that a sequel out does the original, but over the past couple months, I have come across two (I will get into the other at another time). Often we get conned into reading a sequel because the first was so good – i.e. The Hunger Games, lets face it the first was way better than the second.

That is not the case with Crossing Mother’s Grave. This installment actually out does the first (and not that the first was bad), it was not, but it required a large amount of set up to introduce the Characters, the Setting, and so on (typical of a Fantasy novel since the author has to introduce their new world). This one was not encumbered with set up, so instead we get action – and a lot of it.

Elliot managed to take me back to my D&D days (I know, I’m a geek). I was reminded of those days drawing elaborate cave maps and setting up pitfalls and wicked monsters along the catacombs, only this book is more violent than I could have imagined as a teen.

Set mostly in the dark, I could feel the claustrophobia setting in. Popalia and her companions escape possible death at Dead Rik’s and resume their hunt for the thief that stole a sacred artifact, only to find that their prey has been captured and taken underground by an Orc hunting party. Fleeing through vast caverns, they spend the entire novel in ‘Mother’s Grave’ with only torches to light their way and death around every corner.

Elliot really sets the mood from the very beginning and my earlier assessment of possibly three or four novels is likely completely wrong – we may be at the beginning of a very long epic – having only scratched the surface – especially with what we find out at the end.

Where the first book seemed to hold back on the violence and sexuality, this one opened it up. From bloody fight scenes to eating human flesh, Crossing Mother’s Grave delivers excitement – and most of all empathetic characters that both inspire and annoy.

Great novel, Jake, your fans will not be disappointed!

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Review of The Wrong Way Down

Here is a copy of my Goodreads review of The Wrong Way Down by Jake Elliot. I will be finishing up his second installment in the series in a couple days so I though it would be appropriate to revisit the first. BTW part of this review made the inside of the second book.

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I’ll be brutally honest, since I know the author would expect nothing less (he is published by the same company that I am, though we have never met, and he read and reviewed my novel as well). It took me about two or three chapters to get my feet firmly planted in this alternative world. Once I did, I was sold. The best part about this novel is the main character, Popalia. At first, I really didn’t like her. She is whiny and stubborn and a bit self righteous. But then I realized that the author intended her to start out that way so that she had a starting point to grow upon — After all, she had been raised in a church and fed with a silver spoon. Wynkker, her trusty elf, served as her voice of reason, and some comic relief.

I did not realize that this book was just the beginning, and I think it is important to know that going in. I figured it out when I hit the 75% mark and realized that there weren’t enough pages left for Popalia and Wynkker to fulfill their duties. Perhaps there should be a “Book One” in the title.

To give Jake Elliot a grandiose comparison, I would compare this to The Eye of the World, Jordan started out that lengthy saga with a simple story about a farm boy and look where it went from there.

Here’s the gist (no spoilers), two thieves steal a sacred item. One is caught and the other gets away (with the item). While escorting the captured thief from the church to the nearest city, she escapes. Not wanting to turn back, Popalia and Wynkker pursue her, and this is the tale of that pursuit.

Now that I have my bearings on Jake Elliot’s writing style, I expect at least two more books in this series — possibly more if the subplots lead to a deeper understanding of this world, or a war breaks out around the characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure, it is a great read for fantasy fans. I just hope Mr. Elliot doesn’t make me wait two years for each installment like Jordan did!

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Michael Faust Back Cover

I hate writing blurbs! I think most authors will agree that Blurbs and Query Letter are the Devil’s punishment for creativity. With that said, here is what I am thinking about for the back cover of my new novel

Scott Cane, the shapeshifting vigilante, finally has it all – a fresh clean mind and body, even though it means living as a woman, Ally Miller. He has a beautiful girlfriend, even though she is one of the agents that have been hunting him for years. In addition, Ally is poised to inherit over a billion dollars. So why can’t he stop hunting and killing? Has living in the minds and bodies of serial killers for so long corrupted him to the point of no return?

Convinced he will stop hunting once he locates the creature known only as ‘Four’, Scott Cane sets his sites on two serial killers. In Atlanta, someone is stalking professional women in parking garages and dumping their bodies in grassy fields on the outskirts of town. And along the lonely stretch of highway, between Macon and Savannah, murders and disappearances have become so frequent the road has been dubbed ‘Georgia’s Dieway.’

The past is coming back to haunt everyone. For Agent Hanson it is a romance long forgotten. For Agent Cynthia Gates it is that night on the basement stairs – hiding from her abusive father. For Cane it is a serial killer, known as the A1A Stalker, which he failed to kill over thirty years ago. Is happiness completely unobtainable, or, like Faust, does one simply have to sell their soul?

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