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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pirates in Hell

Have you availed yourself of the bounty yet?

It’s all hands on deck in this swashbuckling extravaganza that leaves no bone unturned. And the great thing is, you don’t need a map to avail yourself of the treasure trove of tales inside...

Just look at the list of characters from myth & legend, history and the stuff nightmares are made of to keep you entertained:

Pirates in Hell Contents:

Bitter Business – Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Pieces of Hate – Andrew P. Weston

Evil Angel –  Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Who’s a Pirate Now? – Nancy Asire

Curse of the Pharaohs – S.E. Lindberg

Lir’s Children – Paul Freeman

Unholiest Grail – Larry Atchley, Jr.

The Bitter Taste of Hell’s Injustice – Jack William Finley

Serial Recall and Beautiful Tortures – Michael H. Hanson

Drink and the Devil – Rob Hinkle

The Pirates of Penance – Joe Bonadonna

Muse of Fire – Janet Morris and Chris Morris

Hell Hounds (excerpt) – Andrew P. Weston

See something you like?
Then don't scuttle your chances, click the link now:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Little Look into the World of Shannara

A skilful blending of two into one

I first read Terry Brook's Sword of Shannara back in 1980, and took to the series with relish. On the basis of that, I followed his other works too, and in particular, Running with the Demon detailing the exploits of John Ross, a Knight of the Word.
Boy, was I glad I did, for in Genesis of Shannara, we see a skilful introduction/evolution of the two series into one. (And I might add - a delightful surprise)
Genesis of Shannara takes place in a postapocalyptic world fifty years into our future, where the seeds of the Shannara world really begin to flourish. Civilization has fallen into darkness and stands little chance of surviving long. However, hope exists in the shape of two Knights of the Word, and the resilience of one of the Chosen, guardian of the Ellcrys who senses the fall of mankind also heralds the demise of the Elves - hidden as they are.
How the story develops - thereby weaving the two together - well, you'll have to find that out for yourselves. But it's skilfully and credibly done.
I look forward to the next in the series soon.
(Just a note to avid fans. Although this book/series stand alone, you can gain a great deal of insight and history by reading the Word & Void series first. Let's just say it will lay fine foundations for what's to come)

In “The Elves of Cintra” we continue the story of Logan Tom and Angel Perez, two knights of the word, intent on their own individual missions.
Logan seeks to recover an ancient talisman of wild magic – the gypsy morph – and icon that can prevent humanity’s destruction. In doing so, he inadvertently becomes the surrogate protector of a ragtag bunch of street kids fleeing south from Seattle in their search for a safer place to live.
Meanwhile, Angel Perez is heading north, escorting the ephemeral ambassador of the fey – the tatterdemalion – to the elves of Cintra. Though isolated from mankind’s affairs for centuries, the elves are also in danger and need to take drastic measures to ensure they are not also swept away in the coming destruction. But will they listen?
If their job wasn’t difficult enough, both knights are forced to contend with the dross of a ruined civilization, mutants, freaks, once-men and demons. They also have to battle their own shortcomings, proving once again that in the post apocalyptic world of the future, the streets are always paved with so many hidden traps and snares, you never know who to trust
…until it’s too late.
A thoroughly enjoyable romp through the seeds of the Shannara legend. I look forward to the next installment.

(And that will hopefully follow in about a week's time)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dark Tales set in Dark Times

I recently enjoyed a spot of back-to-back TV/DVD watching of a rather outstanding serial – Penny Dreadful. (Series 1 - 3)

It took more than a month, but now it’s over, I’ve got to say, this is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time, where a wonderful set of characters are brought together by time and circumstance to fight the forces of darkness. Despite their strengths, each of our heroes and heroines display a vulnerability that not only makes them more relatable, but bares their soul to scrutiny.

What adds credibility to the Penny Dreadful experience is the perseverance and fortitude each protagonist brings to the table, despite their obvious shortcomings. A great plot, edgy themes and superb acting.
When the going gets tough, the tough band together, determined to win at all costs.

But do they?

An absolutely outstanding series brought to a fitting conclusion. Try it - you'll see what I mean.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Writer's Roundup
2017 So Far

Hi there, in case you missed any of the recent goings-on in my life that kicked 2017 off to a great start, here's a brief roundup of what's been happening...

Just click on the links to catch up on the various interviews and guest posts, and who knows...

You might learn something about me you never knew?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Here's Something That Might Catch Your Fancy

I recently completed reading Mad Shadows II - 
Dorgo the Dowser and The Order of the Serpent.

Check out my review:

Murder, mystery, mishap and mayhem. You’ll find all this and more as Dorgo Mikawber returns in Joe Bonadonna’s latest fantasy adventure:
“Mad Shadows II – Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent.”
Dorgo Mikawber is everybody’s favorite rogue; a finger in every pie, sailing close to the wind ex mercenary, who now spends his days eking out a living investigating the magical and macabre, thanks in the main to his marvelous dowsing rod, a tool capable of detecting most forms of odylic power.
The thing is, our supernatural sleuth seems to act as a lodestone for bad luck and spends most of his time falling afoul of the servants of evil.
In this latest adventure, it doesn’t take long for Dorgo to stumble upon a vicious spate of deathly double dealing that leaves a trail of dead bodies, hideously disfigured citizens and unanswered questions in its wake. And it all seems to center about a book that no one dare read, the “Book of Echoes” and someone called Ophidious Garloo.
But how might the two be connected? Who is the elusive Ophidious Garloo? And why would someone want to possess a book so determined to protect its secrets? Are these mysteries in any way connected to something called, “The Order of the Serpents?”
One thing’s for sure, whether he wants to or not, Dorgo’s going to be in the thick of it finding out. But will he survive this time?
Mad Shadows II: a most entertaining journey through the sinister streets of Valdar, and beyond, where familiar characters welcome you home, invite you in and encourage you to stay.
But dare you?
I can honestly say, I absolutely loved it
(I’ll see you down at the Hoof and Horn…)
See it on Amazon

Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Coming Week, I'll Mostly Be Enjoying

An absolutely superb serial on Netflix.

Set in the here and now, Travelers involves the ongoing fight of handpicked survivors from the future who are sent on a one-way journey back to the present day to alter certain occurrences. Their hope? To prevent a stellar catastrophe from setting off a chain of events that eventually ruin the earth and puts mankind on the brink of extinction.
With me so far?
The thing is, it’s not as easy as you might think.
For while there are other groups of travelers scattered across the planet – who can provide support should emergencies arise – each are intent upon their own missions. Additionally, our intrepid travelers arrive by taking control of the bodies of those recently deceased at the moment of death. Their consciousness is downloaded as it were, across spacetime, whereupon they adopt the lifestyles of their hosts…
In our case: an FBI agent – lucky guy; a single mother struggling to raise her baby whilst fending off the unwanted advances of an abusive father (who just so happens to be a cop); a young woman with special needs who is subject to welfare checks; a college boy prone to flout the rules; and finally, a heroin junkie.
Quite a mix, eh? And quite a story too, for Travelers is as slick and tightly woven together as it is powerfully poignant. You see, if our heroes succeed, then they risk their own lives, for the timeline from which they were sent might no longer exist.
If you haven’t seen Travelers yet, do make the effort. You’ll be glad you did.

American Gods

By: Neil Gaiman
I’m only three chapters in, and am enjoying this novel immensely.
(And from what I understand, this will soon be a major new TV series?)
I’m not surprised. It’s a marvelous dark fantasy that pulls you in the moment you start. Even better, I’m sure this is a character mentioned in “Trigger Warning” a short story collection by Gaiman I recently finished and reviewed on Amazon:

See my website for the review link

So I don’t give anything away, take a look at a the blurb:
Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…

I think I’ll be on this for some time. I’ll let you know what I think as soon as I’m finished.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Something for the holiday?

While things have been quieter, I’ve spent the past week or two relaxing, binge reading and watching the TV, Netflix in particular.
Here’s a brief list of three of the things I found particularly enjoyable:
The OA

Wow! What an enthralling first series. Ethereal. Provocative. Disturbing.
The OA details events in the life of Prairie Johnson, a young woman rendered blind by a childhood trauma which resulted in her clinical death. Upon her recovery, she moves to America to start a new life with a new family.
The thing is, Prairie is abducted, and spirited away to a mystery location. Reappearing seven years later, she can now see and has one heck of a tale to tell. Except that – she doesn’t tell it. Not to her family. Not to the FBI. Not to counselors.
She does, however, start to open up to a disparate group of people in her community who share nothing in common except for the profound way Prairie’s influence seems to affect their lives. But how does she do that, and why?
Though vulnerable, Prairie possesses an uncanny mental toughness that reveals she is a true survivor. So, it begs the question: Are her revelations true or false? Is the complicated tale she spins to her small group of supporters part of factual reality, or the product of a fragile, damaged mind?
I thoroughly enjoyed this first series of the OA and found it compelling viewing. If you’re looking for something different from the mainstream agenda, try it out.
And talking mainstream…

Van Helsing.

Easy to watch and fast-paced fantastical fun.
Set three years into our future, Van Helsing details events in the life of Vanessa, a woman who is attacked and left for dead in her own home during a cataclysmic event that becomes known as – The Rising – a time when North America is covered by a vast swathe of cloud following a volcanic eruption that allows a hidden menace to show its ugly face. Vampires!
Van Helsing details Vanessa’s turmoil as she slowly recovers and struggles to come to terms with who she is and the changes in society following The Rising. Of course, it also details her obsession to find out what happened to her young daughter.
There’s a natural progression to this little adventure that keeps you entertained – if somewhat frustrated at times – by her topsy-turvy ability/inability to fight, and the “dog-eat-dog” interaction between bickering fellow survivors. (A typical stereotype of the human race – we’re barely hanging on – but let’s keep killing each other anyway mentality)
One thing I did particularly enjoy was a nice little subplot the creators wove into the story. There’s a hidden serial killer lurking amongst the survivors. If you watch and listen, you’ll be able to work out who it is. But I’m glad the producers didn’t make it too easy.
And of course, there’s an end of season cliffhanger that will leave you guessing.

I’ve got to say – Well done Netflix – I enjoyed both series for different reasons and look forward to watching them again when they reappear. (PLEASE – not too long).
Finally, we come to my choice of reading material.

Wind From the Abyss

Some of you will have already seen my review for this particular story, as I published it earlier in the week on Amazon and Goodreads. I’m repeating it again here, as it really is a treat of a story for those who like fantasy of a deeply philosophical nature.
Owkahen – the time-coming-to-be – sets the tenor and ethereal current for, “Wind From the Abyss,” the third and most esoterically endowed chapter from Janet Morris’ Silistra Quartet.
The previous installment, “The Golden Sword,”, saw Estri – former well keepress of Astria, outcast and champion – rise to become a power among mortals as she at last begins to wield the sovereignty of her forefathers, a heritage she seems loath to acknowledge. Together with Sereth, a former high-ranking Slayer turned renegade, and Chayin, Cahndor of a Parset desert tribe, they form a triumvirate of authority as foretold in an ancient prophecy.
Such prophecy, however, threatens the influence of “the dharen” – Khys – an autocrate who has ruled Silistra for thousands of years. A man who, like Estri, is descended from the Shapers, (those gods who create and destroy worlds and civilizations by the application of thought and will).

“Wind From the Abyss” picks up the tale some two years later, and we find circumstances have changed drastically for our heroic trio.
As slave to Khys, Estri now wears a band of restraint, a device that curbs her talents as it scatters her memories. Alone, helpless and totally unskilled, she is in complete subjection to her master, and lives only at the whim of his good will.
Sereth and Chayin fare little better, for their apparent “freedom” is but a sham; an exercise of true dominance by the dharen who realizes all three are key to maintaining control of the planet.
Khys isn’t shy of demonstrating his absolute supremacy over them. Not only is Estri reduced to mere property, but Sereth and Chayin are forbidden to enlighten Estri regarding details about her past. They must also serve at Khys’ beck and call on the most distasteful of tasks.
Thus, the scene is set for a storm wreck of possibilities to be, for the weathers of life will blow where they will, and prophecy has its own methods to ensure fulfillment.
How this transpires, exactly, you will have to discover for yourself. But you’ll be glad you made the effort, for “Wind From the Abyss” continues one woman’s quest for self-realization in the face of overwhelming conflicting tides: destiny and betrayal; plots and politicking; lust and ambition.
With engrossing, well-rounded and thought inspiring characters, and as amazingly erotic as it is action packed, “Wind From the Abyss” transposes the strictures of time and space and limited morality, to reveal how fragile those in positions of absolute power can be, and how those impotent may rise to the dizziest of heights.
Owkahen cannot be denied.
So there you go. If you find yourself wondering what to do over the holiday period, try any or all of the above out. You won’t be disappointed.
Failing that, you could always force yourselves on my books?
(I won’t mind at all)

Stay safe now…