Free on Amazon: Altered Egos: A Collection of Short Stories by Steve Justice

Thought I would pass this along to my readers. Author Steve Justice is currently offering his Altered
Egos: A Collection of Short Stories for FREE on Amazon.
 Stories in this Collection include The Creative Process, After the Crash, Monkeying Around, Corruption, Happy New Year Dragon, Staying True, and Writers Blocked.
Go get it now!

Book Review: The One by Steve Justice

The One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in SeoulThe One: The Tale of a Lost Romantic in Seoul by Steve Justice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really do not want to give anything about this story away, because it such a thrilling and twisted tale, I want the reader to experience it for themselves without any clues as to what waits for them. All I can say, without giving anything away, is wow, this is one of those stories that will haunt you forever after you read it.

I want to say that this is done in a first person narrative, and it is, but it is so much more. The author really puts the reader in the mind of the main character, so much so that at times it feels like it isn't fiction at all. And watch for Adam, as for me, he represented in a metaphorical kind of way, the reader.

A really intriguing and well written story. Time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the author in exchange for my review. The opinions are my own.

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Book Review: A Dangerous Element by Gregory S. Lamb

A Dangerous ElementA Dangerous Element by Gregory S. Lamb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

They say "Write what you know"— Author, Gregory S. Lamb, a retired United States Air Force Colonel, knows his stuff and it pays off in this riveting military thriller.

The story starts with a bang and the reader is hooked when US Air Force Colonel Mark Reynolds wakes up in a psychiatric ward of a naval hospital.

The action only escalates from there, as the story takes us into Iran, nuclear weapons, secret operations, and cover ups.

A Dangerous Element is a thrilling ride from start to finish, with a fast pace, strong narrative, and authentic descriptions that bring this story to life. Especially if you enjoy military or conspiracy stories— you will love this one.
*FTC Disclosure: Please note that I received this book free through GoodReads FirstReads and the opinions in this review are my own.

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Book Review: Crystal Ships by Richard Sharp

Crystal ShipsCrystal Ships by Richard G. Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crystal Ships is a beautifully written historical saga, following the lives of seven friends through two very stormy decades in American history - the 60's and 70's.
Compelling prose with a literary feel, the nostalgic and dramatic narrative of Crystal Ships pulled me in, involved me, made me forget my world for a little while.
True to the time period, with intriguing characters and authentic touchstones, Crystal Ships will be a joy to read for anyone who loves historical and literary fiction.
As I like to say when I enjoy a book– time richly spent.

*FTC Disclosure: I received this book free from the author in exchange for my review. The opinions are my own.

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"Gather together a handful of characters, define who they are, put them in a setting and let them talk to each other." ~ Abraham Hicks

Book Review: Story Physics by Larry Brooks

Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of StorytellingStory Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling by Larry Brooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There seems to be conflicting reviews on this one, but I am on the side of those who loved it. This book helped me discover the reason that, in my own writing, I often write myself into a corner. Now I know why! And I know how to fix it - with the story physics outlined in this book.
If you are a writer and you find you are really good at starting your books, but you never finish them, I think Story Physics can help you.
Story Physics is available on Amazon.

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Book Review: Deeds by Joseph Amiel

DeedsDeeds by Joseph Amiel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this captivating and compelling story, author Joseph Amiel sets up an intriguing plot right from the start. The wealthy, larger than life real-estate developer Ralph Behr is all set to build his larger than life real-estate project - three 150 story towers in New York City. There's just one snag - his money and his project are threatened when he is suddenly forced into a marriage with Gail Benedict, a woman whose values and morals are the exact opposite of his. And that's only the beginning! What follows is a riveting unfolding that will keep you turning those pages.

With both of the main characters' generational stories masterfully and organically weaved throughout, Deeds is a significant and extraordinary read, one that hooked me at the start and left me satisfied at the end. Time richly spent on this story.

You can find more information on the author and Deeds here:

*Please note that I received this book free through GoodReads FirstReads and the opinions in this review are my own.

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"Still Life" by Louise Penny

Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
Minotaur Books
ISBN-13: 978-0312541538

 I had been wanting to read Louise Penny's How the Light Gets In, but since it was a part of a series, I thought it would be best if I went back and started with the first installment, which is Still Life. So happy I read this one! Time richly spent!

The first in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Still Life begins when the body of Miss Jane Neal is discovered in the woods in the Canadian village of Three Pines. Miss Neal is an artist and a retired school teacher with seemingly no enemies and her death is first thought to be a hunting accident. But Chief Gamache, accompanied by his assistant Beauvoir and Yvette Nichol, a newcomer to the team, soon discover life is anything but still in this little village where everyone has a secret.

I loved everything about this story. Beautiful, lyrical narrative, a clever and loveable hero who puts me in mind of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, and a masterfully constructed whodunit that I promise will keep you guessing to the very end.
Very much looking forward to reading more in this series.

If you haven't read any of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels, I suggest you start here with Still Life.
You can connect with the author on her website.


Interview with Author Michael W. Smart

I am thrilled to have with us today Michael Smart, author of Dead Reckoning, the first installment in his Bequia Mysteries Series.

R.L.: Hi, Michael! It's so great to have you here. Thanks so much for stopping by. All my writer friends are looking forward to hearing what you have to share with us. So, tell me, Michael, how does
it feel to have your first book published?

Michael: It feels great. I had a little trepidation at first. You want people to like and enjoy what you’ve labored over, and there’s also this separation anxiety about releasing your baby out into the world. But it’s such a relief after you see it out there. When I held the print copy in my hands, an actual book, the culmination of a dream and hard work, it was a wonderful feeling.

R.L.: Awesome! I bet it does feel wonderful! I really enjoyed Dead Reckoning and I loved Nicholas Gage, the main character in your story. Tell us a little about him.

Michael: In writing the Bequia Mystery Series the character Nicholas Gage actually came to me first. Then I decided to set the stories in the Grenadines. It was a time when I was considering retiring early and returning to the Grenadines. But I knew it wouldn’t be the same as when I lived there, some things I wouldn’t be able to still do. Too much time had passed, my perspective and my body had changed. And I wondered what it’d be like living there now. As I thought about those things the character developed, and also the themes. So Gage arrives in the Grenadines with an entirely new perspective than he had in his past life, and he has to cope with reinventing himself at an older stage in life.

R.L.: So cool to get a peek at how your character developed. And speaking of reinventing, the self-publishing industry is being seen in a brand new light lately. Authors want more control over their work and self-publishing allows them the freedom to put out the work they want, how they want and when they want. Michael, what were your reasons for choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing?

Michael: I haven’t really made a choice of one over the other. I self-published for all the reasons you state, and also to bypass the obstacles presented by traditional publishing, especially for a first time author. But I’d also want to be published traditionally. By self-publishing I can get my work out into the world, and any agent or publisher who might be interested can see it.

R.L.: Smart idea, no pun intended! So, Michael, how long have you been writing, and what got you started?

Michael: I first started writing when I was thirteen years old. What got me started was reading. Even at that age I was an avid reader, and I was fascinated by the power of human imagination and the ability to tell a story.

R.L.: What genres do you write in, Michael, and why?

Michael: I write mysteries and science fiction. Those were the type of adventure stories I cut my teeth on in my early reading and writing. Those are the type of stories which still fascinate me today.

R.L.: Michael, having published your first book, is there anything you would do different next time around?
Michael: I wouldn’t say there’s anything I would do differently. But I think the process will be easier and smoother now that I’m past the initial learning curve on publishing my first novel.

R.L.: Okay, now here's a hot topic amongst writers: Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Michael: A plotter definitely.

R.L.: Me, too! Michael, as a writer, do you ever feel like giving up?

Michael: Never. Although until recently writing was just a hobby. I never thought about publishing. But I kept everything I ever wrote, and now when I pull out some of that teenage stuff I see how unsophisticated my writing was, but the story ideas and characters are really useful. The story and characters for my first science fiction novel came from there. Now that I write full time it’s all I want to do. It’s the first thought I have when I awake and the last thought before going to sleep. It’s a really fulfilling time in my life.

R.L.: What projects are you currently working on? What are your plans for the future?

Michael: I've already completed the first three novels in the Bequia Series. I'm working on the fourth. Book #2 will be released shortly and Book #3 no more than a couple of months after that. All three books should be available by end of the summer 2014. I'll keep writing them until I run out of plot ideas or my characters decide to do something different with their lives. My plan for the future is simple, keep writing. 

R.L.: Sounds like a good plan to me! Michael, my readers all want to know, what are your best tips and suggestions for fellow writers?

Michael: If you’re a writer, you want to write every day. And that’s one of the best tips I can offer. To write, write and write, anything, doesn’t matter what, just write. Practice, practice and keep practicing. And the other tip, perhaps as important, is to learn the craft. How to do more than just use words and language, but how to manipulate them. Often what’s going on in one’s imagination doesn’t get translated to the page. And it doesn’t happen by itself or by accident. Doesn’t mean you need to take writing courses or get a degree in creative writing, although those will teach you the craft. But I think one of the best ways to learn the craft is to read, read and read, especially in the genre you enjoy and you want to create in. And while you’re reading pay attention to the language, how words are strung together to create a scene, or produce an emotion, or make you visualize what the author is imagining. Words are a writer’s raw materials, how we string them together our art.

R.L.: Perfect! Michael, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to answer some questions for us. I loved your first book, Dead Reckoning, and I am eagerly waiting for more. I wish you continued inspiration and success in your writing!

I hope you guys enjoyed this interview with Michael Smart, author of Dead Reckoning and The Bequia Mysteries Series. 
You can get a copy of Michael's book at Amazon, ibooks, or SmashWords
You can connect with Michael at GoodReads.


Book Review: "Dead Reckoning" by Michael Smart

 "Dead Reckoning" (Bequia Mysteries) by Michael Smart
Published by Michael Smart at SmashWords               
ISBN: 9780991400812

Dead Reckoning, the first installment in Michael Smart's Bequia Mysteries Series, begins on the Caribbean island of Bequia.
Nicholas Gage is a man with a secret past and tranquil Bequia is his new home. But when his good friend and Commissioner of Police Mike Daniels is shot down and a tourist disappears at the same time, Gage can't help but wonder if his past has caught up with him. Now he must risk his new life, friendships, and loves in order to find the person responsible. 
In a style and voice reminiscent of a good hard-boiled mystery, Dead Reckoning delivers an intriguing story with a tough but appealing hero caught up in a high-stakes chase— all the right elements to keep you hooked and turning those pages till the end. 
A good read indeed, and an exciting start to the Bequia Mysteries Series
Dead Reckoning is available at ibooks Amazon and SmashWords.
You can connect with the author at GoodReads.
You can also read an interview with Michael at AwesomeGang.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.