Friday, June 29, 2012

Author Penny Estelle

Today I am hosting author Penny Estelle. Learn more about Penny and her various works. 

City Girl’s Trip Down Reality Lane – Part 2

One of the first things we did after purchasing our 54 acres in the middle of nowhere was sink a well.  But before that could actually happen, we were told, by the gentleman drilling our well, to hire a witcher to find the best spot.  There was no joking smirk, or even a look of amusement.  This guy was dead serious and gave us several names to choose from.

So I call one of the names, from this point on he will be known as witch guy, and he comes right out.  I got to say; he looked just like any ordinary Joe Blow on the street. He’s holding a slim 2-foot metal rod in each hand and starts walking our property. The story goes when the rods cross each other, you’ve hit pay dirt!  He stops at a spot, not far from where we are planning to build and declares, “Here’s your water.”

I’ve never been a person to hide my skepticism and my expression must have spoken volumes.  “You don’t seem convinced,” says witch guy.  “Do you want to try it?”

I took the rods, held them so they layed lightly on my finger tips and walked over the area.  Like magic, those rods crossed on their own.  “Did you go to witch school for this?”  He patiently explained how he had been an apprentice to another witcher and learned the craft that way.  (Folks, they do walk among us!)

“Do you want to know how many feet you will have to dig to hit water?” witch guy asked.

Well, of course we did.  He proceeded to rest one rod across his finger and let it bounce on the ground.  That rod bounced 300 times.  When all was said and done, we hit water at 275 feet, but they dug to 320 feet.  $10,000 later, we had a hole dug, a casing with a pump installed and a 1500 gallon water tank.  I am sure, without any water bill, we will have that investment recouped in an easy 50 or 60 years.  I will say this – the water up here tastes unbelievably good!  As a side note:  We had the water tested and there were no chemicals or any kind of bacteria found!

Over the years, the trailer Jim was living in became a hostel for every mouse within five miles of our property.  Let me say here and now, I HATE mice!  One weekend when I was there, Jim woke up to me throwing tiny water bottles at a mouse that kept running back and forth on the kitchen counter.  He grabbed his gun (which was loaded with snake shot) and aimed.  The mouse ran under our tiny futon that we slept on.  Jim was looking under that when I noticed the mouse was walking up the screen door.  I whisper to Jim, “Look, here he is.”

BOOM!  It’s true!  Snake shot and mouse guts all over and in the middle of the night!  The song, “You Know You’re a Redneck When” by Jeff Foxworthy was probably written for my husband.

It took about 4 years (or winters) for Jim to lay 2,000 cinder blocks, install windows and doors, have the trusses and roof put on.  Glory Halleluiah!  Jim could move out of the Mouse Palace into a completely enclosed block shell. It was indeed a day of celebration!
Part 3 of my Girl’s Trip Down Reality Lane will be Monday, July 2.  Jim Hatch has been kind enough to host me so I sure hope you will come back and read more of ..ahum… Livin’ The Dream!

If you would like to read Part 1 of my story, it can be found @
If you leave a message today, your name will be entered into a drawing for a PDF copy of Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare!

                                                            * * * *

I am so excited to report that Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare – the Wickware Sagas, is finally out.  The Wickware Sagas – stories about a 7/8 grade history teacher, Miss Wickware, gives certain students a little shot in the arm, when it comes to their book report assignments.  They mysteriously end up back in time, meeting the historical subjects face to face.  How does that happen?

Take Billy Cooper for example.  Who the heck is William Tell – and more to the point, who cares?  Old lady Wickware springs this assignment on Friday afternoon and the dumb thing is due on Monday.  Billy has way too many things to do over the weekend than to worry about some dude he’s never heard of.  Billy has skated by on many assignments with a quick computer search and this will be no different – until he finds himself in 14 century Switzerland, in front of William Tell’s house.

Billy Cooper’s Awesome Nightmare is a short eBook for only 99 cents.  It can be found at:

I have also written a novella called Hike Up Devil’s Mountain.  I am honored to say according to The, Hike Up Devil’s Mountain is on the preferred summer reading list for MG/tweens.  This story is in print and eBook version.

Hike Up Devil’s Mountain

Create Space for Hike Up Devil’s Mountain – printed book

My last MG/tween story is A Float Down the Canal.  This is a feel good story for us girls out there who were always just one of the guys/the underdog/just a good buddy!

A Float Down the Canal

Barnes & Noble

I love when folks stop by for a visit and especially when they leave me a message.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Born of Blood by SB Knight

Five Stars
"An entertaining start to this series"

I don't read a lot of dark fantasy, but Born of Blood did a great job of hooking me from the beginning. Though the premise of the story revolves around a family's history dating back to the late sixteenth century, most of the book takes place in the present day. While the relationship between Jesse and Drake takes center stage, I was actually more engrossed with Charles and Reba. Drake and Charles both have a certain mystery to them, but I felt Charles was the more unknown of the two. As a result, it was interesting to see Charles evolve as the story progressed.

Overall, I found the story to be very entertaining. Not only are there many interesting characters, but Knight does a superb job of pacing. Instead of bogging you down with excessive details, he keeps things moving along with just the right balance of imagery and action. It also took some courage to end the book the way he did. Born of Blood is just as much of a stand-alone story as it is a lead-in to the next installment, which is the beauty of it. The only drawback I had was some of the situations the characters found themselves in. More specifically, I felt they should have reacted differently in certain cases, but that's just my personal opinion. Not everyone acts the same when confronted with a challenge.

Despite this, I believe Born of Blood is closer to five stars than four, thus the reason for my rating. Dark fantasy and horror lovers will likely enjoy this book, but I think the material is diversified enough to intrigue readers outside of these genres.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour

It is my pleasure to be hosting the "Summer of Zombie" blog tour today (on Father's Day of all days). It just so happens that I have six gentleman visiting today, all of them talented authors of the zombie genre. Mark Tufo, Dave Jeffery, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, Todd Brown, and John O'Brien take the time to answer a few questions of mine. Be sure to check out their Amazon author pages for more information, and don't forget to leave a comment on the blog, including your email address, for a chance to win a free copy of one of their books. On that note, let the interrogation begin.

I am a huge fan of the zombie sub-genre. In fact, zombies are my favorite. However, I have to admit that zombie stories have flooded the market in recent years, maybe more than any other sub-genre today. I've read a few books that have taken a different perspective on zombies, which makes them stand out from many of the others. What do you feel makes your book stand out from the rest?

Mark Tufo: Humor, I think does it for my series. Now that's not to say this is a spoof on the genre, not at all. There are plenty of gory, action scenes interlaced with huge doses of horror, but there is the human element in my zombie stories and the interaction between the characters lends itself well to some much needed balancing laughter.

Dave Jeffery: The zombies in Necropolis Rising are the backdrop to the story, not the central conceit. They are more an obstacle for the characters to overcome. I made a conscious effort not to write a post-apocalyptic story given that there were so many books of this ilk on the market when I was putting the project together.  The event also takes place in Birmingham, the UK’s second city and, I am reliably informed, it is the first zombie novel ever to do so.

Ian Woodhead: I believe that my books stand out because I focus on the human tragedy of the whole situation. I believe that…Oh, who am I kidding? My stories don’t stand out at all. I’ve just followed in the countless footsteps of gore and splatter and of dead people eating those who are alive. Or have I?

Armand Rosamilia: I focus on the characters themselves, and try to make them as realistic as possible given the situation they find themselves in. There is plenty of profanity, sex, killing, drinking and gore, just like in real life.

Have you ever written a sex scene in one of your books? If so, was it uncomfortable or difficult to do? If you haven't done this, would you ever consider it?

Armand Rosamilia: I've written several sex scenes, especially in the Highway To Hell extreme zombie novella, all kinds of nasty sex…and it was quite fun, gotta be honest. Someday I might take shot at just dropping the fa├žade of trying to be literary and write a good old fashioned f**k story. Can I say f**k?

Ian Woodhead: Christ on a bike! Oh yeah. The first ever sex scene I wrote just happened to be for the second story in my Zombie Armageddon series – Walking With Zombies. Yes, I did find it very uncomfortable to write. Saying that, I did find it very er…liberating.

Mark Tufo: I wrote one scene that more alluded to sex between a man and his captive female zombie, and yes it was difficult and uncomfortable. I felt dirty after writing it. The funny thing of it was that my brother suggested the scene and I kept telling him 'No way! I'm not touching that with a stick!' So of course the thought wormed itself into my psyche and it ended up in Zombie Fallout 1.

Todd Brown: It isn’t my thing. I have implied scenes of that nature. I just don’t feel the need. I have written one for my non-zombie novel (Dakota by Todd Brown…as opposed to the TW Brown moniker I use for my horror stuff.) In fact, it was a sex scene in a zombie book that I read where I simply shook my head and vowed that I wouldn’t be that guy.

If you haven't already, would you be open to co-writing a book with another author? If so, who would your ideal partner be?

Dave Jeffery: I am currently co-writing Crabs: Apocalypse! with UK writer Stuart Neild. The story is the official seventh novel in the Night of the Crabs franchise created by pulp horror icon Guy N Smith. It is a very strange process and requires significant collaborative approach in what is usually a solitary pursuit. But the challenge is very rewarding.

Mark Tufo: I am very much open to co-authoring a book with another author and actually have plans to do just that. I'll be honest though having never done it before I am not sure how one goes about it. My ideal partner would be someone I get along with and that is open to suggestion, preferably a former Marine but I guess Air Force is okay too. (That would be a slight dig to John O'Brien. We will be collaborating on a novella with a couple of our lead characters.)

John O'Brien: Funny you should mention this.  Mark Tufo and I have recently conspired to write a novella with Michael Talbot and Jack Walker meeting.  The details have yet to be worked out but it should be out towards the end of this year or close to it.

There is a lot of discussion on print versus e-books today. For example, I have always loved the feel of a physical book in my hand. I never thought I would buy an e-reader for this reason alone. However, ever since I bought a Kindle, I can't see myself going back to print books. Which do you prefer and why?

Todd Brown: This is like the old vinyl versus CD debate of the 80s all over again. (Yep, I’m that old.) I think they both have their uses. I love my name brand e-reader. It is a huge space saver for a person who already owns in excess of 5,000 books. As far as sales, I would say 98% of my numbers come from e-books. It is just the way of the world.

Dave Jeffery: I’m happy to publish in any medium. The real key for me is having your work on platforms that make them accessible to the majority of readers. As an author it doesn’t pay to be precious about how your work gets out there. What matters is reaching as many people as possible.  I have a Kindle and I still read printed books, the important thing is reading, not the format.

John O'Brien: I was a diehard ‘have to have the paper in my hands’ kind of guy but since purchasing my Kindle, I’m a huge fan of it.  It’s easy to carry, hold, and read anywhere.  I can skip to other books without having to carry a multitude of them around.  I’ll always have paper edition of my favorites though.  For instance, I have been reading Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series since 1990 and have to read each and every one of them in hard back.  Go figure right?

Ian Woodhead: Oddly enough, I don’t have a preference. I love the Kindle for the convenience but I still enjoy the physical weight of a paperback in my hands.

What is the best book you have read outside of your typical writing/reading genre(s)? If this doesn't apply, shame on you! Ha-ha.

Todd Brown: It would be a toss up between Nathaniel Philbrick’s The Last Stand-Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Bighorn or Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver.

Dave Jeffery: I love Cannery Row by Steinbeck. He is my all time favorite author and this is my all time favorite book. No one characterizes like Steinbeck.

John O'Brien: My favorite series is the ‘Dark Tower’ series by Stephen King and ‘Wheel of Time’ by Robert Jordan.  But I guess those are actually in my genre of reading.  I read a lot of military books as well.  “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy was another great one.  I actually read quite a few genres so I guess I don’t have a typical genre.

Armand Rosamilia: Origins by JA Konrath comes to mind and anything from Lee Goldberg and Blake Couch. Wish I could write thrillers like they do.

Name one author you'd be afraid to get in a fist-fight with?

Todd Brown: I’m a pretty big buy, but I would not want to tangle with Billie Sue Mosiman. While I would be standing there having the internal argument over the inappropriateness of being in a tussle with a female…she would probably gut me like a fish.

Ian Woodhead: Anybody! I’m a total wimp!

Dave Jeffery: Armand Rosamilia because his Facebook avatar looks hard!

Mark Tufo: I think John O'Brien could take care of himself quite well, and maybe Armand Rosamilia. Now that I think about it - just about any horror writer. They have some of the most twisted views on reality so who knows what they are capable of!

John O'Brien: Armand Rosamilia – I mean seriously, have you seen him?!  JK Armand.

Armand Rosamilia: Come on, I'm seriously not a bully! I'd be afraid to fight any of these guys (although I could probably take Ian, let's be honest).

*   *   *   *   *

All six of us - Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O'Brien and Dave Jeffery - hope you'll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.

And…one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we'll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that! 

- Armand Rosamilia (the ring leader)

Ian Woodhead

Todd Brown

Dave Jeffery

Mark Tufo

John O'Brien

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tea with Death by Joel M. Andre

Today I welcome Joel M. Andre, who is making a stop here on his Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour. I am reviewing Joel's short story Tea with Death. 

Five Stars
"Death has a dark sense of humor"

This short story, told in first-person narrative, revolves around a meeting between a man and Death - also known as the Grim Reaper. It's not disclosed how the gentleman manages to arrange such a meeting, but it's insignificant in the bigger scheme of things. What proves to be important is the man's true intentions. Constantly tip-toeing around Death and second-guessing his words out of fear of retaliation, he is afraid to ask the tough questions. However, things change as the discussion progresses. Learning secrets which are sought after by so many of the living, he eventually gives in to temptation. He asks death for a favor knowing there will be a price to pay in return. Death has a great sense of humor in this story, yet there is a serious undertone throughout, which only intensifies leading up to the grand finale. Though I saw the ending coming to a certain extent, this was an entertaining read that leaves you pondering life, as well as what comes after.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Music of the Gods by Richard Shiver

Four Stars
"I'm still trying to figure this one out, which is a good thing"

Music of the Gods is a quick read (roughly ten pages), but there's a lot going on in this story. With their marriage on the rocks, Donald and Susan are headed to a Bed and Breakfast for the weekend in hopes of salvaging what's left of it. Unfortunately, the two bicker continuously during the drive, and - as the story opens - we find them lost on a country road. Distracted by this, Donald loses control of the car as a truck comes at them from the opposite direction, ultimately landing them in the ditch. Since it's only a mile to the next town, the two of them set out on foot to get help. This is where things get interesting. Is Donald dreaming about what transpires next, or is there some higher force at work? I love stories like this where the ending is open to interpretation. Music of the Gods is definitely a thought-provoking read.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Moon Dance by Jo-Anne Russell

Four Stars
"Keeps the reader guessing and surprises you at the end"

Moon Dance by Jo-Anne Russell is part of an anthology titled Scarlet Whispers, which benefits horse rescue. Given the theme of this collection, I wasn't sure what to expect. Though a horse plays a pivotal role in the story, I had no idea Jo-Anne was going to spin such a twisted tale.

Steve's Uncle Clay committed suicide two months ago. With no other living family members, Steve is in charge of handling his uncle's affairs, so he makes a trip to Clay's house. However, his first night there is anything but normal. Clay's dog, Rocket, shows up with a nasty injury and Steve finds a similar mark on one of the horses the next day. Concerned, he calls the local vet - Dr. Purth - who proceeds to patch up Rocket. Already familiar with Clay's property and insisting on checking the horse himself, Dr. Purth takes off to the stables without Steve. Before you know it, Dr. Purth goes missing. What transpires next will likely surprise you. I honestly had no clue what was going on, and the ending was an eye-opening experience for me. If you like dark fiction stories that keep you guessing, Moon Dance definitely qualifies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Frankenstein: Return from the Wasteland by Billie Sue Mosiman

Five Stars
"A beautiful and touching tale"

This story takes place twenty years after the death of Dr. Frankenstein. Ever since that day, when Dr. Frankenstein's creation disappeared into the cold, Robert Walton has obsessed over the unknown - is the creature still alive? With his health faltering, Walton sets out on a journey to answer this question while he still has time. As he travels north into the frigid seas and icy landscapes, Walton keeps his true intentions a secret from those who accompany him. Will Walton find the one he seeks and, even if he does, can anything good come from it? Billie Sue Mosiman writes a beautiful and heart-felt tale that will make you ponder the true definition of a man. I highly recommend this novelette.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Lover, My Garden by Erik Gustafson

Four Stars
"Watch out for those peeling onions!"

Larry's brother, Frank, inherits a mansion from their uncle, the dwelling located only a mile from where the two grew up. Initially planning on joining the Army, Larry - fresh out of high school - decides to stay with his brother instead. The idea of freedom excites Larry, but he gets a rude awakening when he arrives. Everything (the driveway, yard, etc.) is buried in vegetation, and Frank turns out to be someone Larry hardly recognizes. Not only is he overweight, but he has an obsession with the fruit and vegetable plants surrounding the house. It takes a few months before Larry figures out what's going on, but once he does, the reader will find non-stop action leading up to the finale. While I could sense where things were going throughout the story and the ending did not surprise me, Erik's creative and crazy storyline made this a fun read.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Warrior in Woolworths by Marcus Blakeston

Four Stars
"A nice change of pace"

Warrior in Woolworths is a short piece by Marcus Blakeston. Since I've been reading a lot of dark fiction and science fiction in recent weeks, this story - which revolves around a security guard in a department store - was a nice change of pace for me. When a couple of guys ("punks" as the guard likes to call them) enter the Woolworths store, he anticipates trouble from the two. Tracking them closely but trying not to be seen, he tiptoes around the store hoping to catch them in an illegal act. What transpires is comical, even more so because of the language and style of the author. It's actually something I can relate to, as I come across punks on a daily basis. In fact, I love saying the word. Punks. If you're looking for a quick read and don't mind adult language, check this out. It's free on Smashwords and is also available on Amazon in a collection of shorts titled Tales from the Underclass.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Francis by Georgina Morales

Four Stars
"Don't mess with your neighbors!"

This short story by Georgina Morales is taken from a collection titled "Isolation: An Anthology of New Horror Fiction." The story takes place in the town of Saybrook, which - based on other information in the book - is apparently located in U.S. Northeast. Francis, the main character, is an obese man who lives alone in his parents' old house. Rarely going outside and becoming something of a hoarder, Francis is visited by one of the town's deputies, who informs him that his residence must be cleaned of all its unnecessary junk. Failing to see how this can be enforced, Francis sets up a private meeting with the deputy and the town Sheriff. When pleading his case, Francis gives a reason as to why his house is in its current condition. Trust me when I say you'll never guess his excuse. Anyway, the two officers refuse to budge, and Francis is given a date for when he must comply. I can't disclose any further details, but I found the premise of this story - and the eventual climax - to be very interesting. While there is room for improvement when it comes to editing, Georgina succeeds in entertaining the reader, as well as in her execution of the story. There was even a point when I had to put my e-reader down, and I was eager to get back to the story to see what would transpire next.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Eyes Have It by Rena Mason

Four Stars
"Leave my eyes alone!"

This is the second short story I've read from the "Horror for Good" anthology. The main character is a young, female sales supervisor. Despite having a wife and children, Ray Briar, the company's head of accounting, still likes to flirt with her, and vice-versa. As a means of not giving too much away, I am going to be vague in the rest of my review. It's present day when the story opens, and the reader is provided with back story and flashbacks leading up to this point in time. Once the reader is caught up, the story progresses to its ultimate climax. After reading through the first half of it, I thought to myself - this story is too straight-forward and predictable. I was curious if the author would ever throw me a curve ball. Well, Rena definitely did. In fact, the story turns bizarre (in a good way) and the ending has a nice touch to it as well. If you want to find out what happens, you'll  have to read it yourself. This is Rena's first published story, but you wouldn't know it by the quality of her work. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

She Makes Me Smile by Mandy DeGeit

Four Stars
"A Roller Coaster of Emotions"

I don't think we ever get the name of the main character in this story, but she is someone who has never felt true emotions as long as she can remember. In other words, she has never experienced happiness, sadness, anger, etc. Having learned what emotions look like in the form of body language, she fakes them in an attempt to fit in with others. However, when she finally finds someone who likes her for her true self, things begin to change. As she starts sensing certain emotions, some of which hit her simultaneously, it proves to be more than she can handle. Though a few parts of the book read a little awkward and even seem to go against the character's claims of being emotionless (maybe she is looking back on previous events and describing how she feels about them now), this is still an interesting story. If you want to read about the dark side of friendship, check out this short by Mandy DeGeit.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yestermorrow by Richard Salter

Five Stars
"This story blew me away!"

Richard Salter's "Yestermorrow" - a short story in an anthology book titled Solaris Rising: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction - is an amazing tale. First of all, it's like a combination of Groundhog Day, 50 First Dates, and Minority Report. Each time the clock hits midnight, people are sent forward or backward in time, which is a phenomenon known as the Slip. In order to keep track of previous events, whether it's the future or the past, journals are used as personal archives. On top of it all, every person knows the date, time, location, and cause of their eventual death. The problem is there's no way in knowing when that specific day will arrive being that time is not linear. When someone starts interfering with the timeline by killing people in a different manner than what their initial fate had determined, an officer named Craig - the main character - takes it upon himself to find the murderer. Unfortunately, the latest murder occurs roughly a week prior to Craig's predicted date of death. Not knowing how many days he has to live, but assuming the worst, Craig is hell-bent on catching the killer in time.

There are so many elements and depth to this story, you'll be trying to wrap your head around it long after you've read it. For example, having a wife and son of my own, I can completely relate to Craig and his family. I won't give anything away, but if I knew the future of my family like Craig does (post-death), it might be enough to drive me insane. The way the story is wrapped up is very clever, too. I can't say enough good things about Yestermorrow, and I'm probably not doing it justice. Even though this is a science fiction story, it hits on so many different levels. As a result, I think just about anyone would enjoy this story.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Silent Ones by Taylor Grant

Five Stars
"This story is a trip!"

While I will be reviewing the "Horror for Good" anthology in its entirety at some point and posting it on Amazon, today I am reviewing an individual short story - The Silent Ones - by Taylor Grant. Told from a first-person narrative, the main character starts to question his existence when he stops receiving mail, phone calls, and even acknowledgement from his co-workers. Though he's not a ghost, something just isn't right, and he finds himself fading from reality more and more. This story was a lot of fun to read and has a little bit of everything. In addition to possessing a certain creep factor, especially in the beginning, Taylor provides a few laughs along the way. This story alone is worth the five dollars. Since there's a ton of talented authors in this book and proceeds go to charity, I can't find an excuse not to buy it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Vagrant by Bryan Hall

Five Stars
"An intelligent and masterfully told story"

The Vagrant acts as a superb stand-alone story, but it also gives the reader something to look forward to. As an introduction to Bryan's Southern Hauntings Saga, this novelette offers just enough back story and character development to satisfy the reader, while unanswered questions leave you wanting more. Though the premise is nothing new or groundbreaking, Bryan's main character - Crate - brings a refreshing slant to the genre. In fact, the thing I like most about Crate is how human he is. For example, despite his ability to see ghosts since the age of thirteen, Crate still has a fear of them. Overall, I found The Vagrant to be an intelligently written tale that engages the reader from the very beginning. If you want classic storytelling at its best, check out this novelette. I can't wait to learn more about Crate's mysterious past and his experiences with the dead in the forthcoming Southern Hauntings Saga.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Paranoia by Kat Yares

Four Stars
"A unique story that turns the wheels inside your head"

Based on the book title and description, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with Paranoia. By definition, paranoia can be brought on by general fears or very specific ones, so the possibilities seem endless. Nonetheless, I was surprised by what transpired in this story, as I don't think even my imagination could have come up with such a twisted tale. It revolves around two neighbors, one of which is paranoid. The other, from whom the story is told, is critical of her and almost wishes bad things upon the neighbor given her extreme cautiousness. What the seemingly normal neighbor comes to realize, though, is that you can't truly judge a person until you've walked in their shoes. Kat's writing style is easy to follow, and her creative mind definitely stands out. If you're looking for a quick, unique, and thought-provoking read, Paranoia would be a good fix.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Wraith by Lori R. Lopez

Five Stars
"I can't believe I waited this long to read Lori Lopez!"

I have come across many books by Lori, each one sounding just as good as the other. Finally finding the time to read Lori's work, I decided to check out one of her recent releases - The Wraith. A combination of poetry and prose, this short story is not only filled with fantastic imagery, but it boggles the mind as well. Like many people, Maud is stuck in a boring job. Her escape, or true passion, is poetry. Little does she realize (and how could she) that putting pen to paper will eventually impact her in unimaginable ways. A gentleman she creates in a poem, one Maud envisions as the love of her life, starts to appear around town. Initially trying to track him down, Maud soon becomes a target herself. Can all of this be in Maud's head, or is it truly unfolding in front of her? Who is chasing who? Is Maud being deceived, and will she find peace in the end? These are just a few of the many questions that readers will likely encounter. Lori has a beautiful way with words, and this story definitely captivated me. I can't wait to read her other books to see what Lori has in store for me.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Night of the Beasts by Eric S. Brown

Five Stars
"A great teaser for his longer work(s)"

I've heard great things about Eric's Bigfoot series, but I haven't found the time to read it yet. However, after reading this short story, I have to say that these books will be high on my priority list. Even though this story takes place in the world of Bigfoot War II: Dead in the Woods and acts as a perfect introduction/lead-in to this book, it has piqued my interest in the entire series now. What I felt was lacking a little bit in Eric's "Into the Light" book can definitely be found here. He does a superb job of fleshing out the character (no pun intended) for such a short piece and building up the suspense in the process. The story is well-written and Eric's simple style effectively engages the reader. I said I'd give Eric a second chance, and I'm glad I did. I look forward to reading his longer Bigfoot works in the near future.