Monday, September 30, 2013

The Undead Hordes of Kan-Gul by Jon Merz

THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL, Jon Merz, Baen Books, $15, 317 pages, ISBN: 9781451639162, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

If you have never encountered the writings of Jon Merz before, you are in for a treat. I am a fan of his Fixer series. Imagine Ray Donovan as a vampire doing his job for the vampire council and you have an idea of what to expect from Merz imagination.

In this first volume of a fantasy trilogy, we find Ran, a shadow warrior, seeking passage across the sea. Also on board the ship is Kancho, a samurai type warrior seeking those who kidnapped his daughter; Neviah, who is protecting Jysal as she journeys to a monastery where she is to learn how to control her magic; and, Vargal, the rich merchant accompanying his good to market. Malkyr is the captain of the Aqaria and sets out to sea at the beginning of a storm.

The storm turns into a hurricane and the Aqaria is shipwreck in the land of Kan-Gul, a powerful sorcerer who controls an army of the undead to do his bidding. He captures the group and has Vargal sacrificed to his pet monster to prove that he means business.

As they try to escape, Neviah will not allow Jysal to use her untrained magic except in minor instances and it comes down to the ingenuity of Ran and his sword and the sword of Kanchoto make their escape. As they try to escape from THE UNDEAD HORDES OF KAN-GUL, there is plenty of action and a surprise or two about why they crashed on this particular spot.

Merz has written a good action tale and I can’t wait to see the second volume of the trilogy, SLAVERS OF THE SILK ROAD. I would compare this to the works of Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony’s fantasy before the Xanth days. Pick this one up, I think you will enjoy this sword and sorcery fantasy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Everything you know about Robin Hood is a Lie

Hunter of Sherwood:
Knight of Shadows
by Toby Venables
A legend will be rewritten on 29th Sep
(US & Canada) and 10th Oct (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-161-7
$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-162-4

Available in paperback and ebook

Everything you think you know about Robin Hood is a lie

“Venables wields his pen all sword-like and delivers quirky flashes of fearless text” –

Robin Hood is a cold blooded killer and Richard the Lionheart is a ruthless butcher who cares nothing for England – Toby Venables is taking one of the most beloved English folk legends turning it on its head.

This is the story of Guy of Gisburne. Portrayed in legend as a lackey to the Sheriff of Nottingham, Knight of Shadows reveals Guy as an outcast, a mercenary, and now newly knighted, an honourable servant of King John in his intrigues against the vicious and bloodthirsty Lionheart.

Tears up the clichés of the Robin Hood myth to reveal the deeper issues between this chaotic period of English history, Knight of Shadows will delight readers of Bernard Cornwell and the Flashman series, as it deftly weaves history and legend into a brand new pattern, with Gisburne firmly at the heart of events.

Guy’s mission is to intercept the jewel-encrusted skull of John the Baptist from the clutches of the Knights Templar before it can reach Philip, King of France. Gisburne’s quest takes him and his world-weary squire Galfrid into increasingly bloody encounters with ‘The White Devil’: the fanatical Templar de Mercheval.

Relentlessly pursued back to England, Gisburne battles his way with sword, lance and bow. But if he survives there lies ahead an even more unpredictable adversary!

About the Author

Toby Venables is a novelist, screenwriter and lecturer in Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He grew up watching old Universal horror movies when his parents thought he was asleep, reading 2000 AD and obsessing about Beowulf. There was probably a bit more to it, but he can't quite remember what it was.

He has since worked as a journalist and magazine editor – launching magazines in Cambridge, Peterborough, Oxford and Bristol – and once orchestrated an elaborate Halloween hoax for which he built and photographed a werewolf. He still works as a freelance copywriter, has been the recipient of a radio advertising award, and in 2001 won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize (both possibly due to typing errors).

His first novel (for Abaddon) was The Viking Dead – a historical-zombie-SF mashup which has been described as "A fantastic mix of history, violence and horror" and "ludicrous fun".

Friday, September 27, 2013

Briar Rose by Jana Oliver

BRIAR ROSE, Jana Oliver, Macmillan-London, 474 pages, £6.99, ISBN: 9781447241096, available from, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Briar Rose believes in fairy tales, magic and family curses. Briar is on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her parents tell her to be sure and be home before midnight, because they are all expecting Briar to fall asleep for 100 years at midnight.

Briar lives in Bliss, Georgia and thinks that her parents are just over protective and her family is in a feud with Joshua Quinn’s family. They are forbidden to be in contact, but he gives her a silver charm bracelet for her birthday. The charms are all based on fairy tales.

As Jana writes, “They’d spent every minute together, until one of them died and came back to life. It had never been the same from that day forward. And it never will be again.” This is how our adventure begins.

When Briar falls asleep, she awakens in a medieval village being chased by metallic wolves. It is a village where Princess Aurora has been sleeping for over ten years and all who have tried to awaken her have ended up dead. (Not the Disney version here.) Briar is saved by Ruric, who works in the stables and he tells her about the situation she has awakened into.

Briar’s friends, Joshua, Pat, and Reena-a root speller, casts a spell and go on a mission to find Briar and bring her home. The spell comes with a price and Joshua agrees in order to save Briar.

Their adventures in the strange kingdom, Ruric’s true identity, and Briar finding her true destiny are only parts of this excellent wonderful story. Jana has again found her unique way to create a new world based on a familiar story and turned it on its ear to tell us a charming love story.

Jana has a wonderful talent to take the ordinary fairy tale and turn it into a flowing, well written adventurous love story. This deserves a wider audience and would appeal to the teen audience and the adult readers as well.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

23 Years on Fire by Joel Shepard

23 Years on Fire
Joel Shepherd
Pyr, Sep 10 2013, $16.95
ISBN 9781616148096

Though accepted by most Federation citizens on Calley, former League cyborg Commander Cassandra Kresnov still has lingering doubts that she possesses the full range of human emotions especially when religious fanatics remind her that she and her kind are abominations. Sandy leads an assault on the Federation planet Pyeongwha where Neural Cluster Tech experiments to eliminate disease have turned into a social harmonious disastrous caste system proving dangerous for those civilians without NCT left in the ooze under the food chain.

After successfully completing the mission on Pyeongwha, Sandy leads her veteran unit to New Torah where corporations still thrive. On Pantala, newly created advanced soldiers threaten the peace. However not only facing more advanced technological militia machines, betrayal leaves Sandy in danger while street children she encounters places her mission in further jeopardy.

The latest Cassandra Kresnov military science fiction (see Crossover and Killswitch) is an exhilarating action-packed thriller. The protagonist is terrific as she works two military missions that as an emotional byproduct make her feel more human than she has ever felt before though I would have preferred more insight into the social caste experiment on Pyeongwha even with the Patala escapade being super. 23 Years On Fire is a strong entry as Sandy seems more human than many purebreds as she learns once again how inhuman humans can be to others while she also feels a strong need to protect those most vulnerable.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Skirmishes by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch
WMG, Sep 10 2013, $18.99
ISBN: 9780615795249

The hostilities between the Nine Planets Alliance and the Enterran Empire remains heated as both claim the ancient alien technology as theirs. Each side understands that ownership means gaining an enormous advantage in the galaxy.

Perhaps the best diver into the wreckages of the thousands of vessels is Boss and her Nobody’s Business Two crew. They enter the Boneyard, the largest known graveyard found so far, in an effort to strengthen the Alliance against the Empire by recovering the ancient Dignity Vessels equipped with Stealth Tech. She also wants to learn what happened to Captain Jonathan “Coop” Cooper five millennia ago; while at the same time he and his Ivoire crew and their sister ship the Shadow use alien anacapa drives to guard the Alliance border with the Empire. However, as Boss and her team struggle with the Boneyard, an Empire fleet of ten battleships and five other vessels confronts Coop and his two weapon superior ships.

The latest Diving Universe science fiction (see City of Ruins, Diving Into The Wreck and Boneyards) is a fabulous outer space thriller that rotates perspective between the divers, the Alliance and to a lesser degree the Empire. Action-packed and filled with twists yet allowing the reader to understand the motives of the key players, Skirmishes is another intelligent exciting voyage into the Rusch Diving universe.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gary Brandner has died

The following is a Facebook post from Gary's wife, Martine:

From his wife, Martine to all fans of Gary Brandner, I must tell you he died Sunday morning of cancer of the esophagus. All those marvelous e-mails and quips will no longer be forthcoming. A bright light has certainly gone out.

Gary was best know for THE HOWLING and its' literary sequels. He was a great writer that turned werewolf literature into mainstream and was a wonderful person as well.

Thank you for being a part of my life. Godspeed!

Cold Tuscan Stone by David P. Wagner

COLD TUSCAN STONE, David P. Wagner, Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 224 pages, ISBN: 9781464201905, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is the first volume of a series featuring Rick Montoya, a very likely detective who has recently moved from New Mexico to Italy to practice his craft as an interpreter/translator. Rick is asked by an old school friend, now in the Italian Art Commission, to go to Volterra and investigate illegal artifact smuggling.

Rick is posing as an agent for a New Mexico art gallery looking for Etruscan alabaster articles, especially burial urns, and has a list of people to contact and gather information. His list contains a museum curator, an exporter, a manufacturer, and an old friend of his girlfriends.

During his first 24 hours he becomes a suspect in a murder and feels that he may be out of his league, as does the local police inspector. Rick continues to make the contacts and enjoys the sights and cuisine of the area.

Wagner writes from experience as a Foreign Service officer in Italy and has created a very enjoyable novel full of unsavory characters, beautiful women and wonderful descriptions of savory food.

This is a delightful entry into what may turn into a long running enjoyable series. Give this one a try, it’s like a fine meal, enjoyable and filling.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Savage Dead by Joe McKinney

The Savage Dead
Joe McKinney
Pinnacle, Sep 3 2013, $6.99
ISBN: 9780786029303

U.S. Senator Rachel Sutton is the most vocal opponent of the Mexican drug cartels in Congress. Her strong adversarial statements and the powerful law she sponsored anger the trafficker leaders like Ramon Medina who has attempted failed assassinations of Sutton; but were thwarted by Secret Service agents Juan Perez and Tess Compton who so far have kept “Piper” as the senator is called safe.

In Galveston, Sutton boards the Gulf Stream cruise ship for some needed R&R. However, Medina sends his top field operative Monica “Pilar” Rivas undercover on the vessel. Rivas releases Dr. Rosato’s modified clostridium bacteria on the Gulf Stream; turning people into flesh eating zombies. As the biological weapon spreads rapidly, Compton protects Piper from the lethal zombies and Rivas.

The latest Dead World urban fantasy (see Mutated, Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters) is an exhilarating sidebar thriller that takes place in a confined environment making it easier for the zombies to attack ( to the delight of Z fans). Though the reanimation starts later than the usual Joe McKinney Dead World horror novels and the cartel villains caricatures, readers will enjoy the undead horde ripping flesh in a closed limited area; just don’t read this taut tale if you are vacationing on a cruise ship.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Dark Man by Stephen King

The Dark Man
Stephen King
Cemetery Dance, Jul 30 2013, $25.00
ISBN: 9781587674211

He is the ultimate dangerous wanderer because as the outsider with no attachments, he loathes those with friends and families. In his denims, fuming with rage 24/7 he nightmarishly rides the rails frightening the hobos who recognize what he is and what he is not; or hitches at night with those moronically picking him up learning too late why he is The Dark Man.

A forerunner of Randall Flagg, Stephen King wrote this aptly titled short poem while in college. Artist Glenn Chadbourne provides his interpretation through approximately seventy intriguing illustrations to the 200 or so dark words. Fans of Mr. King will enjoy this entry though the picture to word ratio at times fragments the structure of the dark ode.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 20, 2013

Seven Forges signing at Dr. No's Comics

James A. Moore's new book, SEVEN FORGES, will be released on September 24 and this is a note from him about a signing in the Atlanta area.
So, SEVEN FORGES is finally due out on September 24th, in the US and on October 3rd in the UK. As I cannot be in the UK for the release I figured I should do the release party a little closer to home for now and in this case that means on September 25th from 6PM until 7:30 PM at Dr. No's Comics and Games in Marietta, GA. Why? Because it's my favorite bookstore and because it's really very close to the place that I call home and also because that's where I pick up my comics. There are always ulterior motives, folks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Michael Bishop Books Reprinted

Two of Michael Bishops out of print novels are available again from Fairwood Press. If you don't already have one or even if you do, order these. They are two of his best.

ANCIENT OF DAYS is the story of a Homo habilis that shows up in middle Georgia and how he strives to become the best soul that he can be. The story is filled with colorful characters that show how differently people respond to the extraordinary people that travel on their everyday journey to being the best they can. Sometimes it's not the preachers and devout who try to lead you to being human and soulful. It can often be the one you least expect to make the greatest impression on you.

BRITTLE INNINGS tells the story of minor league baseball during the war years and how an up and coming player makes a giant of a man, who may just be Frankensteins' creation, into his best friend. Again in this novel, Bishop is showing the evolution of man into a searching and soulful being.

In both books, the South is used as a background, but the stories are universal and could be set anywhere. No matter where you live and how well you think you know your neighbors, there is someone you know who would replace the characters in these books. The storytelling is a pleasure to read and the words flow so well, it's hard to put the books down until they are finished.

Michael was one of the first authors I met and we have remained friends over the last mumble years and I think he is one of the treasures in our field. Every time you read one of his books, you know you have been given a treasure that will give you a reason to seek out more.

I hope to see more of his works reprinted for a new generation of readers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Heavens Rise by CHristopher Rice

THE HEAVENS RISE, Christopher Rice, Gallery Books, $26, 336 pages, ISBN: 9781476716084, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Christopher Rice has proven that the apple does not fall far from the tree. His parentage and youth in New Orleans have combined to make him a bestselling author and this book will join his bestselling list and should gain him some new readers as well.

The Delongpre’s are building a home in the swamps outside New Orleans and plan to call it Elyisum. Here, they discover a water source, undisturbed for millennia, and use it to fill their swimming pool. When Niquette Delongpre and her current boyfriend, Marshall Ferriot, go swimming and discover a life form has filled the pool and it causes changes in them.

The Delongpres disappear; Marshall tries to kill himself; and ends up in a vegetative state, while her friend Ben and boyfriend, Anthem Landry carry on with their lives.

After eight years Marshall wakes up and the mysterious power given to him by the parasite kicks in. Ben has gone to work for a newspaper and Anthem is a riverboat pilot. Both are still carrying a torch for Nikki (in their own unique ways) and feel that she is still out there somewhere.

The story takes on a supernatural twist and there is plenty of thought provoking action and adventure but told in a modern gothic style.

Christopher Rice is able to stand tall on his own with this well told and imaginative story. THE HEAVENS RISE is due out on October 15 and will be the perfect read for a Halloween read.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kim Harrison has legs

Take a look at Kim Harrisons page every day for the next few days to see what is revealed. It has a good start.

Have you taken a look at Kim Harrison’s Drama Box ( today?

She’s such a tease! She is doing a cover reveal for her next book, THE UNDEAD POOL (to be released 2/25/14 via Harper Voyager) – and she’s doing it one piece at a time!

Please play along – this is a phenomenal cover, and well worth a day-by-day reveal that’s got serious legs. And a corset.

El Cuchy is Real and is coming on 9/24/2013

Adam Mansbach, #1 New York Times bestseller of the pop culture phenomenon Go the Fuck to Sleep and this winter’s critically acclaimed novel Rage is Back, uses his “real talent, maybe crazy talent” (New York Times Book Review) to prove himself the master of all literary media as he turns to the world of genre. Mansbach couples raw, evocative language and imagery with fast-paced, edge-of-your seat plotting to create THE DEAD RUN (on sale from Harper Voyager 9/24/2013), a terrifying supernatural thriller set in the US/Mexican borderlands.

El Cucuy is real.

Not just the boogeyman mothers warn their children about, El Cucuy was a man transformed after a gruesome act of violence into a ruthless, sinister being. His power has waned, though, over many years, and he desperately seeks to restore it through his son. In order to do this, a righteous messenger must carry a horrific package across the desert, a place filled with the not-quite-dead bodies of the missing girls.

Cucuy chooses Jesse Galvan, a man unjustly imprisoned in Mexico, for the deadly task, and Jesse accepts this devil’s bargain in hopes of being allowed to reunite with his estranged daughter. He must struggle through the desert across the border with an escort of fellow prisoners, half determined to protect him, half determined to murder him, while dodging vicious otherworldly threats. The farther he goes into the desert, the more the contents of the package begin to change him in unimaginable ways.

Sherry Richards, only recently free from a maniacal cult run by an enthralling madman, finds herself once again in the leader’s clutches. But escaping a second time is the easy part. Now she must make her own dangerous journey through the desert, and coming out alive seems less likely by the hour.

Police chief Bob Nichols runs a two-bit station with few resources at his disposal. When he learns of Sherry’s kidnapping, he and psychologist Ruth Cantwell embark on a desperate mission to retrieve the young girl before she becomes another one of the sacrifices in Cucuy’s quest for power.

As girls go missing on both sides of the border, these three lives intertwine through the evil will of El Cucuy. Under Mansbach’s expert pen, THE DEAD RUN delivers what Library Journal calls “a wild high-speed ride across centuries and cultures, over water and sand” that will keep readers terrified and captivated until the very last page.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Grant Vs. Lee by Wayne Vansant

GRANT VS. LEE, Wayne Vansant, Zenith Press, $19.99, 104 pages, ISBN: 9780760354313, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In this companion volume to GETTYSBURG (also from Zenith Press), Vansant goes us the graphic story of the final year of the War Between the States and the rivalry of Grant and Lee in their attempts to win the war for their side.

In March of 1864, Grant assumed command of the Union forces and thus began the final year of the war. Grant began his Overland Campaign and continued on through the battles of Petersburg, Richmond and the ultimate climax in Appomattox.

The story is told from both points of view and deals with the facts. Wayne has done exhaustive fact checking and research to make sure that the book is as factual as it can be.

This is an invaluable aid for history buffs, history teachers and the general reader. I realize we all have mental pictures when we read, but Vansant has provided them for you to show how things might have looked had you been there.

This is a wonderful addition to his graphic novels of the various wars and to the stories that he is telling. Don’t let this one slip past you, it’s a winner.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fade to Black by Jeffrey Wilson

FADE TO BLACK, Jeffrey Wilson, Journalstone, $16.95, 254 pages, ISBN: 1936564859, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Dear Jeffrey,

I don’t usually read novels or anything that contains battle scenes or is war related. I’m a Vietnam vet and I feel like I saw enough to last me a lifetime. I know that the manner of fighting has changed a great deal since then and this current military is tearing our military members and their family to shreds. It is the one dream, desire, wish that each service member and their family has is that they return home safely with everything they left home with.

Your book shows how much Jack Keller loves his wife and daughter and how far he will go to make them safe and be with him. Jack is having nightmares wherein he is Sergeant Casey Stillman, caught in an ambush near Fallujah, wounded and near death.

The alternating stories of the military firefight, his waking life as a teacher and devoted father and husband show the passion he has to protect his men and hang on to his family are well told and emotionally touching.

The loyalty of his wife, Claire, to help him work things out shows the resolve of a true devoted spouse. The firefight scenes are not too graphic as to turn off some readers. The overall writing is crisp and well plotted.

You have written a novel that has moved me to tears and I will recommend it to everyone. Thank you for your service to our country and for writing this book.


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Influence by Bentley Little coming in November

THE INFLUENCE, Bentley Little, Cemetery Dance, 416 pages, $25, ISBN: 9781587674198, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

One thing about Bentley Little is that he can take an ordinary situation and start putting a little twist in it. The it begins to twist a little more and then a tweak or two and by that time he has you tied up and completely enthralled by the story that won’t let you go until he decides that he’s done with you and lets you go.

Ross Lowery is an engineer that has run into rough times in this slow economy and loses his job. When things were well, he helped out his family. Now that he needs their help, they all turn their backs on him. All except his cousin Lita and her husband Ross. They don’t have much but invite him to visit them in Magdalena, New Mexico.

Ross ends up moving in and helping out with the eggs and bees and all is well. That is until New Years Eve when the locals gather for a party and at the stroke of midnight; everybody empties their guns into the air. This year something falls out of the sky and things begin to change.

Suddenly everyone’s luck begins to change. The biggest rancher in the areas cattle begin dying with strange creatures crawling out of the carcass only to dissolve in the air; the beautician wins the Powerball jackpot; Lita and Ross’s eggs hatch into spiders and lizards; the local handyman strikes gold; and, Ross starts getting lots of job offers and gets lucky in love.

Everyone feels the effects on the creature that was shot down, but is not dead but changing into something else. But what is going on and how Ross and others must band together and stop it from affecting the rest of the area or even more.

Little has written an exciting novel that will definitely give you the shivers even if you have read him before and know what to expect. Another fine novel from Bentley Little and Cemetery Dance, pit it on your “Must Read” list.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Restless by Kasey Lansdale

RESTLESS, Kasey Lansdale, Blue Siren Records, UPC: 8-84501-94511-0, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Previously I had only heard some of Kasey’s cover songs on YouTube, and I am truly impressed with this CD. She had a hand in writing the majority of the songs and it is produced by John Carter Cash.

Kasey has a unique voice and her songs about loving and leaving take a slant from a woman’s perspective and present what I hope is a new trend in country music. This is an untraditional traditional country album – by that I mean the normal elements and steel guitar and fiddle are present but the smoothness of her voice are not overpowered by them as in a lot of songs.

“Foolin’ Around” is a girl wondering why her fella hasn’t tried to get to first base yet. “Blame You For Trying” tells of two old flames (both married) meeting at a bar, and the temptation of another night together. “Why Can’t I” has a girl wondering why she can’t move on after a relationship ends. A woman is trying to get a guy to move on after a bad relationship in “Don’t Let That Stop You”.

There’s not a bad song on here. I still have it in my cd player and have listened to it at least ten times and I enjoy it more each time.
I hate to compare artists of any kind, but Kasey’s writing ability reminds me of Karla Bonoff (showing my age) and at times I hear a bit of Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood in her songs. This is not to say she is copying anyone as she is a unique talent and I really expect more from her in the future.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Press Release from Solaris Books

Solaris Press Release

We’re very, very pleased to announce that author Gail Z. Martin is returning to our Solaris imprint next year with a new urban fantasy novel.

Deadly Curiosities will be published in the UK, Ireland, and North America in July 2014. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, this new series is Martin’s first book for the imprint since Dark Lady’s Chosen in 2009.

Deadly Curiosities will take readers in an entirely new direction from her previous classic fantasies: Cassidy Kincaide is the proprietor of Trifles and Folly, an antique shop with a difference that continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.

Gail said: “I’m excited to be working with Solaris again and thrilled to be creating an urban fantasy world, which is a new adventure for me. I love creating in both epic and urban fantasy settings, so this I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”

Solaris editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver said: “It’s wonderful to bring Gail Martin back to Solaris for this new adventure. Having been such an important part of the birth of the imprint seven years ago, it is fantastic to bring Gail home for such an exciting new departure. Existing fans will be familiar with her incredible storytelling and rich characters, but this new book will see her pick up countless new readers as the breadth of her talent is demonstrated afresh.”

Martin first hit the best-seller charts with The Summoner for us in 2007 and followed this with the four books in the Chronicles of the Necromancer series. She has since published The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and The Fallen Kings Cycle for Orbit.

She has published short stories set in the Deadly Curiosities universe before, notably with ‘Buttons’, which featured in the critically acclaimed 2012 anthology Magic, alongside stories by Audrey Niffenegger, Christopher Fowler and others.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Addition to Ian Ayres Interview

Here' are two pictures that I did not include but better late than never.

The cover of book

Photo by Jeffrey Grossi

An Interview with Ian Ayres by Tina Hall

An Interview with Ian Ayres

Photo by Eric J. Klein

Photo by William Williams

This interview was conducted by Tina Hall and was originally published on and is Copyright 2013 by Tina Hall and The Baryon Review.

Ian Ayres is stunningly honest about his perverse early life in a gutsy memoir called Private Parts: The Early Works of Ian Ayres. Best known as a filmmaker, he covers a wide array of subjects with clarity and taste.

Ian is currently directing What Ever Happened to Norma Jeane?, the ultimate movie about Marilyn Monroe.

Photo by Roy Schatt

Writer/Director/Producer Ian Ayres produces documentaries with an edgy honesty that is hard to beat. From The Jill & Tony Curtis Story, The Universe of Keith Haring, Five Roads to Freedom: From Apartheid to the World Cup and several others he has covered a wide array of subjects with clarity and taste. Most recently Ian directed Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom. Featuring interviews with people who knew Curtis well (Mamie Van Doren, John Gilmore, Hugh Hefner, Harry Belafonte and others) along with film extracts, archive footage and rare photos that highlight his life and career, it gives fans a respectful glimpse into what made Tony Curtis a legend of the silver screen. This film premiered at the 7th Annual Jewish Film Festival in Los Angeles. It was an honor to sit down with Ian Ayres and talk about his body of work to date. Ian’s work can be found at French Connection Films.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where you’re from? What were you like as a child?

Born in Los Angeles, my life began in a traveling carnival where my father owned a shooting gallery with rifles that shot lead bullets. I had a terrible fear of being forgotten because my parents used to leave me locked up inside the cramped cabin of the shooting gallery truck. A few months after I turned four, my parents separated and divorced. Being on the move, though, never stopped. In the custody of our mother, my siblings and I spent our childhoods packing up boxes and unpacking them several times a year due to her crazy love life.

Always the new kid in school, I never learned how to make friends or socialize. I used to keep my hands in my pockets, head bowed and watch my shoes as I walked. My imagination became my refuge and, I believe, led to my writing poetry in houses of ill fame when I hit puberty. The brothels were called massage parlors and the prostitutes, masseuses. One of the parlor girls introduced me to expressing myself through words in a notebook. I think she wanted to distract me from my mother acting like she had the hots for men who smelled of mothballs. Mom did make a lot of cash that she’d have me smash into my pockets. So, while she turned tricks, I grew obsessed with words. The word thing started when I was seven. Mom used to have me rub lotion on her back and, using my finger, write words that she’d guess. That was the closest we ever got to each other. That’s the closest I got to anyone as a child.
Soon after my fifteenth birthday my mother introduced me to the world of drugs through what she called her “diet pills.” Wired on amphetamines I’d serve coffee to men waiting their turn to be with her up the winding staircase of our latest apartment. She had diverted clientele from where she worked in order to earn enough to open a massage parlor of her own.

A few months after our first parlor opened, I read a book about Marilyn Monroe and ran away to Hollywood to become a movie star. Discovered by a director who offered me the lead role in a movie called The Greek Connection, I got the hell out of Hollywood as soon as I learned it was some kind of sex film. My mother had reported me a runaway, though, so I explained to this cop that I only took a vacation. The cop laughed and reassured us that no matter what trouble I might get into, I’d get a clean record and fresh start on my eighteenth birthday. Now Mom took a new interest in me. We’d go shoplifting together. She’d pick out what she wanted, then let me know when to hide it under my coat and sneak it out to the car. Some of the most fun we had together was during our shoplifting adventures. And everything I ever stole was for her. I guess the same went for the poems I’d write. She wouldn’t listen to me except to give feedback on something I wrote.

I’ve always lived in my own realm of imagination. Never thought of it as being creative until I was 18 and going through all that I told to Paul Brickman, who combined my young pimping days with his conformist upbringing to create the movie Risky Business.

After my “masseuses” had stolen everything from a secret parlor I ran in Miami, Florida — my mother was standing trial over her chain of parlors in Fresno, California — I learned about James Dean.

A white, lesbian prostitute junkie who’d fallen in love with a black woman and had begun wearing her hair in an afro and acting like a black man, going as far as telling people she was an albino black, became like family to me. Her name was Pat Hamren. Pat was actually the manager who hired my mom to work at her first parlor.

In between tricks — what we called a dry spell — Pat and I were smoking a joint in my mom’s Monte Carlo Sedan when I shared my fear of being forgotten after I died. I said I wanted to do something I’d be remembered for in this world. She coughed up some smoke with: “You want to be a legend like James Dean?” When I asked her who he was, she told me to go to the mall and buy a biography on him. All they had was David Dalton’s The Mutant King. Then I soon discovered what was to become my favorite Dean biography. It’s got a different title now but was then called The Real James Dean, by John Gilmore. Reading it put me in the skin of James Dean. Gilmore made Dean so human and real for me that I believed I, too, could conquer Manhattan. So Gilmore’s book transported me to a great many moments when James Dean breathed, and I could feel Jimmy’s breath as I experienced so fully what John had written. He made Jimmy come to life. Anyhow, one thing leads to another. Smoking that joint with my lesbian prostitute junkie friend when I was 18 led me to James Dean and James Dean, thanks to John Gilmore, got me hooked on a life of creativity.

Are there any hidden things about you that you’d not mind sharing?

There are too many skeletons I’ve already let out of the closet in my memoir Private Parts. I wish I could destroy every single copy of that book. I regret having exposed so much. I’m not about to regret this interview, too.

Is it true you are a cousin of Barbara Eden? What is she like as a person? Do you think her influence on you has led to your work dealing with the glory days of Hollywood?

Barbara Eden is my cousin through screenwriter Katherine Fugate (Carolina, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc.). Katherine’s father is the son of my grandmother’s sister. He married Barbara’s first cousin, the mother of Katherine. Barbara spent much of her childhood with Katherine’s mother, so Katherine always considered her an aunt. Barbara is very proper and never had any influence on me. She doesn’t approve of my side of the family, which is presented in Katherine’s first movie: Carolina. Marilyn, the madam in the movie, is based on my mother who has the same name.

How did you first become involved in film? What do you think you’d be doing right now if not making documentaries?

Poetry mattered most to me. After I gave up on becoming the next James Dean, I wanted to devote my life to reading and writing poems. Then, in 1999, a filmmaker named Eric Ellena talked me into being a founder of French Connection Films with him. I didn’t mind the production side of things as long as it didn’t interfere with my poetry. Then I talked Eric into starting a press for a poetry anthology series I titled Van Gogh’s Ear. The anthology soon gained popularity and began including creative prose and artworks. I was overwhelmed with editing volume after volume when Eric suggested I direct a documentary. I decided to do one on poets and writers, which we did a lot of interviews for and is still in the making. Then came a request from a French channel for a documentary on the American Church of Paris. My work on A Glimpse of Heaven pleased other TV channels throughout the world but I swore I’d never do another film after I finished the one about poets and writers. Poetry was my passion. Next I got the idea for a celebrity edition of Van Gogh’s Ear and asked every celebrity I could to contribute. An assistant to the legendary Tony Curtis responded with a request that I telephone. After he said Tony would gladly contribute to this special edition of the anthology series, he suggested I do a documentary on Tony and his wife, Jill, because they saved horses from slaughter. Okay, worthy cause. I’d do one more film before finishing my film career with the one I set out to do. After that I’d never again lose time on being a poet. While in Henderson, Nevada, I did an intimate interview with Tony about his life and career. I figured it would make an interesting bonus for The Jill & Tony Curtis Story DVD. Deep down, however, I knew it might end up being another documentary. It did. Now I don’t know if I’ll ever escape filmmaking. My poetry’s been on hold ever since that second documentary.

Do you think you might ever like to do a fully scripted fictional movie?

The dreaded question. No, I will never do a fully scripted fictional movie. I’m a poet and that’s the life I choose. The only catch is I’ve already begun writing a script for a dark comedy. Chances are I might end up having to direct this one. Afterwards, though, never, ever again. I am not a filmmaker! I’m a poet that keeps getting tangled up in celluloid.

As a writer/producer/director is there any one element of the work you love more than others?

I love working with composers on the musical score and doing a song or two of my own for each film. Writing lyrics is similar to poetry. And I love music. Actually, it’s the chance to create more songs that keeps me doing films. The recording studio is my favorite place to be. I consider it my reward for all the work I’ve done. When I was a kid I used to sing along with hit songs on the radio and dream of someday having a hit of my own. If I had to choose between having a hit movie or a hit song, I’d choose a hit song. That would be totally awesome.

What was it like to see Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom premiere at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival? Why did you choose to do this particular film?

I was in Martinique doing location shots for a documentary about Empress Josephine when Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom had its red carpet event. If I’d been able to attend, I would have done it incognito. Working on Tony’s film was painful. He’d died and I didn’t have time to grieve. At Shiloh, their horse rescue, he gave me his white cap. It’s as if he knew I’d be doing this film on his life and career. During his last time in Paris I kept asking him to walk for the cameras because when we met he confided his desire for recognition from the Academy Awards, though feared he’d end up rolling onto the stage in a wheelchair to accept his Oscar. He told me that at the Luxor in Las Vegas the night before we left. Next time I saw him he was in a wheelchair after almost having died from the pneumonia he came down with the week following our first dinner together. The very last thing he said to me in Paris was due, I think, to my asking him to keep getting out of that wheelchair for his public appearances. He’s greatly loved in France and I wanted him to look his best. I’d even bought him an expensive French beret that he refused to wear. I’m not sure if he was angry or joking but, after an exhausting appearance among his paintings at an art gallery for news cameras, he got back in his wheelchair, looked up at me and asked, “What are you going to have me do next — porn?” Not knowing what to think, I said, “Yes. And you will be the star. You’re my favorite star.” Instead of a porno, I began interviewing people who knew Tony throughout his life. I’d begun making the film before he died. I wanted him to be at the premiere. Perhaps his death allowed me to be more objective. I don’t know. It was total fact-finding and gut instincts for getting truths across. Have no idea how it came together. Kind of like energies from beyond channeled through me.

Did you enjoy having the chance to talk to all the people you did while filming this one?

When we arrived for each interview, I swear my heart tried to break out of its ribcage. Fears of rejection are often unbearable for me. I’ve always been nervous about meeting anyone. Some people can be so cruel, especially serial killers. But everyone we interviewed turned out to be very sensitive and caring. So, yes, I definitely enjoyed each visit. They made us feel right at home. And I guess, since my goal is to create a sense of intimacy that’s felt by viewers, there’s a lot of opening up involved that goes deep, to the heart of things. In fact, I feel a great affection for everyone I’ve interviewed.

John Gilmore is in this one and I understand he recently did two very long interviews with you (one dealing, of course, with Marilyn Monroe). What was it like to hear him talk for hours? What is he like as a person?

John’s not the type to talk for hours. I had to keep asking him questions. He was most kind and patient with us during the interviews, especially the recent one about Marilyn Monroe. We lost a major part of the interview due to a technical problem and hoped John wouldn’t mind re-doing it. We were holding our breaths when we asked. And John proved to be very understanding. Not only did he repeat the entire lost section of the interview, he became even more detailed in his spontaneous eloquence. I felt as if Marilyn were right there with us, too. It’s one of the most outstanding interviews we have on her. John cares more about truth than impressing people. He’s not afraid to skinny dip in a pond of absinthe-green corpses to expose their rot hidden beneath a liquid mirror of sky and trees. I’m convinced John Gilmore is a genius. That being said, he’s also a pretty cool dude. Like William S. Burroughs, though, he keeps guns in the house. I’d advise prowlers and paparazzi to beware. Above his office doorway he has a sign saying: “I Don’t Give a Shit.” I wouldn’t want to disturb him when he’s writing. You could get shot!

What about the other piece he worked with you on? Can you tell us a little about that? When will they be available to the public do you think?

The first time I met John Gilmore was in the Hollywood Hills for a filmed interview about his career as a writer for the only documentary I’d ever really planned on making — the one about poets and writers. I had just gone out to get the sound equipment from the trunk of our rented car when John came driving down the sloping driveway in what I believe was a sports car. The timing surprised me. And I felt an instant connection with him — probably because I’d read more books by him than anyone else. My first impression of John Gilmore was: “Wow!” He has this “King of Cool” charisma combined with an aura of mystery that’s most intriguing. We interviewed him out on the balcony of the two-story apartment where writer Felice Picano was staying. We were lucky there weren’t many noises in the surrounding hills embraced by blue sky. I remember tripping on how that same blue sky seemed to be shining through John’s eyes. He fascinated me with his responses to my eager questions. I really wanted to learn all I could about the craft of writing from him. His insights fascinated me. One thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do, however, is to get up at five in the morning and write every day. When John said this was his ritual, I fell against the balcony railing. Not even the sun is up that early. What’s making this documentary an important one is that I’ve continued interviewing great poets and writers in-between interviews for the other films I’ve produced or directed. It’s going to be a feature film about creativity, imagination and the importance of poets and writers to society. I’ve also interviewed a psychologist who specializes in the psychology of creative people. Plus there’s an interview with a scientist who claims it’s a myth about one side of the brain being the creative side. I’m looking forward to completing this film after I finish the movie documentary on Marilyn. Marilyn’s film is scheduled to premiere on Valentine’s Day, 2014, so this one on poets and writers will be released the following year. It’s going to be a work of art in itself. Still not sure what the title will be. It’ll come to me. It’s actually an exploration of genius.

I understand John Gilmore is one of your favorite authors. Why do you think his work is so appealing. Do you think his work deserves more recognition than it gets? Are you looking forward to the release of his latest work On the Run with Bonnie and Clyde as much as I am?

John Gilmore shares that certain something that James Dean had, something otherworldly and magical. He does more than write books, he creates experiences that bring you to the core of the human condition and grip every fiber of your being. As far as recognition goes, Gilmore is already considered one of our greatest writers. And all great writers gain more and more recognition as time goes on. I believe recognition for John Gilmore’s genius will grow. He’s already more important to readers than Edgar Allan Poe was when Poe died. It’s a time thing. Each book Gilmore writes is a seed that’s planted when it goes to press. I’ve already paid for an advance copy of On the Run with Bonnie and Clyde. I know it’ll be more than a book — it’ll blow you away like a bullet through the head. Pull the trigger. I’m ready!

I do think he is the most fascinating individual I have ever stumbled across. Do you think there is any chance you might ever do a documentary on the life and work of John Gilmore?

I’m hoping an autobiography or biography about John Gilmore is released before I do the documentary about his life and work. It would make it easier. But I am planning to do a John Gilmore documentary. I have a lot of fascinating interviews with him for starters. Such a documentary will also bring an incredible array of people into my life as I interview them regarding the writer and the man. For instance, I’d like to interview Holly Beavon and, of course, his son, Carson Gilmore, who happens to also be a great writer. The most extraordinary people have known John Gilmore. Think of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. Oh, yes, his story will find its place on the silver screen.

Why do you think the Golden Age of Hollywood has always been as popular in pop culture as it has?

The popularity of the Golden Age of Hollywood has never crossed my mind. There are certain movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age that remind us of the glamour, excitement and magic created by the studio system and its myth-making ingenuity. The stars themselves had a lot to do with making what’s now called the Golden Age of Hollywood popular. I think it’s the continuous spell some of these stars hold over the masses that gives those white letters in the hills of HOLLYWOOD their Golden Age feel. Then, again, Peg Entwistle jumped from the “H” of the Hollywood sign (which then read “Hollywoodland”) into a ravine 100 feet below because she was so disillusioned with that Golden Age. Her dead body wasn’t found for two days. Then there’s murder victim Elizabeth Short, nicknamed “the Black Dahlia” by the press for her dyed black hair, love of black evening dresses, and for wearing a Dahlia flower in her hair. Her body was found naked, laid on its back, cut in half at the waist with her upper torso angled at a distance from her lower half, drained of all blood like a pallid white mannequin in a vacant lot of weeds. She, like Peg Entwistle and thousands more, came to Hollywoodland with breathtaking dreams because in those days movie stars were the equivalent of royalty in the U.S.A. And some stars who died young and at the peak of fame have since become modern day gods and goddesses. We keep them alive in memory in our constant battle against the inevitable that threatens us. We need to make them immortal to help us escape the raw reality of all mortality. But the fact remains that none of them would appeal to us if taken out of their coffins today and photographed for magazine covers. The hold of the Golden Age of Hollywood on the imaginations of many is pure nostalgia for a fantasy that’s no longer possible. It might be more accurate to call it the Age of Fool’s Gold in Tinseltown. But this is only my opinion at this point in time. Maybe after I’m in my coffin for half a century I’ll be ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Do you think the Hollywood of modern day will ever come close to being as spectacular as it was then? What do you think is missing in the Hollywood of today?

Nope. Modern day Hollywood will never come close to being as spectacular as it seemed during the studio system. We’ve paid too much attention to that mogul behind the curtain. We’ll never again believe there’s a wizard in Oz. What’s missing in today’s Hollywood is the naiveté and childlike innocence that once made the illusion believable. We know the carpet is red from the blood of dreamers who’ve been trampled amid blinding klieg lights.

Do you enjoy having the chance to honor the work and memory of those that came before?

It means a lot to me to keep people alive in the memories of future generations because of my own fear of being forgotten. More important are the lessons we can learn from those who came before us. I do believe there’s much more to our existence than our limited perceptions can possibly conceive. The fact that we exist at all is proof enough.

Do you have any particular body of work that stands out most in your mind?

Not really. What most stands out in my obsessive mind is whatever I’m focused on in the now. I tend to lose track of everything else. Sometimes I start thinking of someone or something without knowing why and I’ll follow through in whatever way feels right. I just go with the flow. I do like comedies. I like to laugh. So, for movies and stars, I can say those involved with the best comedies come to mind when I need a break from work.

Can you tell us a little about French Connection Films?

French Connection Films is an international film company based in Paris. It was founded by Eric Ellena and myself in 1999. Because of the Van Gogh’s Ear anthology series we began French Connection Press. There’s also French Connection Music for all the music we’ve had composed for our films. We’re now getting ready to expand from feature length documentaries to actual movies. This was Eric’s original goal. I’m still scratching my scalp, asking myself how I wound up a filmmaker. Just going with the flow. It’s all teamwork in our company. We’re a group of artists who are very much into the creative process. Passionate about our work, we’re like a family.

Is there any one subject you have yet to cover that you would most like to bring into being?

I’d very much enjoy a summer night in a country field with you, Tina Hall.

What projects are you currently working on?

During interviews for the Tony Curtis film, people kept sharing unknown things about Marilyn Monroe. So I decided to make a bonus called All About Marilyn but found the most insightful stuff could only be cut down to 33 minutes. Then I realized Marilyn mattered too much to me to be a mere bonus. So now I’m in the process of making the documentary on her that I’d always hoped someone would make. It’s a respectful, loving one that’s feature length (104 minutes)! There is so much more to Marilyn Monroe than any documentary has ever brought to life. She is more than a movie star. That’s why the film is titled, with good reason, Marilyn: Goddess of Love. And from the interviews we already have, I’m convinced this will be the ultimate Marilyn Monroe documentary. Marilyn Monroe was a great artist. Many consider her a creative genius who, through this film, will finally be shown the respect she definitely deserves. She has my respect. That’s for sure!

Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?

Yes. Please don’t cremate me. I’m not a smoker. And do warn John that if he doesn’t want a documentary done on him after he goes, then he’s just going to have to stay.

Private Parts: The Early Works of Ian Ayres
Author: Ian Ayres
Genre: Literature / Memoir / Non-Fiction / Gay
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: French Connection Press
Publishing Date: February 12, 2012
Language: English
ISBN-10: 2914853106
ISBN-13: 978-2914853101
Retail Price: $20 USD / 15€ EUR / 13£ GBP
Available at


A stunning memoir that not only explores Ian Ayres’s rich, vibrant and complicated past life, but also features his previously unpublished experiences with luminary legends such as Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, Edumund White and Quentin Crisp. More than just a book, Private Parts is an experience of teen angst, hangovers for breakfast, and raw enlightenment tripping over that cliff’s edge in the rye. It would not exist if Ayres were not a survivor. His crusty accounts of a boy’s life on the wild side explores the extreme boundaries of human behavior and amorality, offering a journey through his life from his early years in houses of ill repute to his expatriate life in Paris today.


“Very honest, sexy, and above all interesting.” – EDMUND WHITE, author of “A Boy’s Own Story” and “My Lives
“Not only honors his Beat Generation forebears like Allen Ginsberg, but Ayres also gives us his own unique life and experiences in poetry and prose that shows how Ginsberg and the other Beats’ influence continue to enrich our literature. – FELICE PICANO, author of “Like People in History” and “Tales: From a Distant Planet”
“Takes me back to shock! A powerful reminder that so much in the LGBT culture and movement today goes way back before Stonewall. – PATRICIA NELL WARREN, author of “The Front Runner” and “The Wild Man
“Has all the right elements: obsession, vulnerability, compassion, intrigue, sexiness, self-transcendence… Honesty like this is rare. — THOM NICKELS, author of “Out in History” and “Gay and Lesbian Philadelphia
“These works are written with a born story-teller’s panache and, crucially, the candor that redeems both writer and reader. – ARAM SAROYAN, author of “Complete Minimal Poems” and “Last Rites: The Death of William Saroyan
“I expected this to be an autobiography of Ian Ayres, but it turned out to be so much more… It is more of the quest of Ian Ayres to become the person he is today and the people that he met along the way… He has had an interesting journey filled with adventure and self discovery. Anyone who reads this will share in his journey and will hopefully learn… – THE BARYON REVIEW

Featured in …

• GayExpress (New Zealand)
• Homo Magazine
• Evoke Magazine
• QX Magazine
• Pride & Equality
• International Lifestyle Magazine

Sunday, September 8, 2013

3 from L. Ron Hubbard

Three from L. Ron Hubbard, Galaxy Press, $9.95 each, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

KING OF THE GUNMAN, ISBN: 9781592124022 – Kit Gordon has the reputation of being the fastest gun alive and is nicknamed Suicide, Smoke or Sudden Death. He is currently on the run after being framed for a robbery and murder he did not commit when he saves Rainbow Jackson, a local lawman, from a group of outlaws. Jackson is in the middle of a showdown between the cattle ranchers and the sheep ranchers who have hired gunmen to back up their takeover of the territory. Gordon has to make the decision to move on or help the lawman and change his ways. Also included is “The No Gun Gunhawk”. Although I seldom read westerns, this is a look at another side of Hubbard’s I had overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake I did by waiting, it’s as exciting as his other genre writing and shows that he could write about anything.

ISBN: 9781592124015 – Vic Kennedy has picked the wrong side of a rebellion to be on and the British, French and Greeks don’t want him. As he escapes over the Sahara, he is running low on fuel and all there is in sight is sand. As he gets down to his last five gallons of fuel, he spots what he thinks to be a mirage. It turns out to be an oasis with a beautiful princess betrothed to an enemy to prevent a war. Of course gets involved and almost causes a war to break out unless he can prove he is not a genie. Also included is “Buckley Plays a Hunch” and “Medals for Mahoney”. This is a mixed bag of tales while locals ranging from the desert, a deserted island and the darkest jungle. Hubbard showed his versatility in the three tales included here.

ISBN: 9781592123223 – Mike Malloy, an American aviator in the French Legion, is taken from his cell, after a fight with two officers and sentenced to prison, to find himself on a mission to carry a French diplomat and an American woman on an expedition to recover a rare book missing for 800 years. The region is in the control of Berbers who are fighting for freedom from France. Things don’t go exactly as planned and after the book is found, they are captured by the Berbers and Malloy must use his wits and background to survive and save the girl. This is another story showing Hubbard’s knowledge of the world and the current events of the time as he ties them into his work.

This are three of the October releases from Galaxy in the Golden Age Stories collection. For those who remember the pulps and those who want to experience them the first time, this is a fantastic place to start.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Original Van Goghs Ear Anthology

I am extremely fortunate to have an essay posted on the website for The Original Van Goghs Ear Anthology. Please give it a lokk and leave a comment if you feel like it. Thanks.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ann Crispin has crossed the Veil

Ann C. Crispin has passed beyond the veil after a long illness. She will be remembered for her Star Trek, Star Wars, and Starbridge novels. A new star is in the sky tonight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alerts to Threats in 2013 Europe by John Cleese

Here is the current world situation as explained by John Cleese, a former member of Monty Python.



The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated"; or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome"; to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate"; and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be all right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.


John Cleese, British writer, actor and tall person

And as a final thought - Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frederik Pohl has died

just got word that Fred Pohl has died and the world has lost another of the greats. It's hard to put into words the worlds he created and the writers he has influenced over the years.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Shapeshifters and Vampires

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained
Doranna Durgin
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885602

“Kodiak Chained.” Ruger James the Kodiak bear shifter was a Sentinel warrior and Healer. When Atrum Core’s ambush leaves him severely wounded, he cannot heal himself quick enough before another attack will finish the assassination. Using her olfactory sense, Sentinel black bear shifter Mariska Banks rescues him. They team up in search of an experimental lab that conducts vicious tests on animals in order to discover the way to eradicate the Sentinels. As they face an amoral enemy, each knows the other is his life mate, which in these dire circumstances may not be a good thing. The latest Sentinels romantic fantasy (see Tiger Bound) is enjoyable entry due to lead pair as each has the other’s back while battling Core evil.

“The Gatekeeper” by Heather Graham. In Las Vegas, Elven detective Saxon Kirby investigates which werewolf went rogue and left behind a chewed up corpse at a tourist attraction. The inquiry leads to hybrid elf-werewolf dancer Calleigh McGowan, who hunts the same killer. The short story prequel to the upcoming Keepers saga is an engaging investigative romance. Harriet Klausner

Holiday with a Vampire 4
Susan Krinard, Theresa Meyers, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885596

“Halfway to Dawn” by Susan Krinard. The hostilites between humans and vampires heat up while Special Forces Captain Fiona Donnelly and fugitive vampire slave Jonathan Kane team up to protect a negotiator trying to end the war.

“The Gift” by Theresa Meyers. In Pennsylvania Vampire Cullen McCormack needs the locket that Angelica Edwards recently inherited and wears around her enticing neck if he wants his existence to continue.

“Bright Star” by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom.Heaven sends Dylan McCay to keep human astronomer Savannah Clark from finding the Christmas Star that will lead to the mortals learning immortal angels and fallen exist.

Each tale is a refreshing romantic urban fantasy starring fascinating protagonists who make the paranormal seem real though the respective storylines end abruptly. Additionally the anthology contains a short story “The Gatekeeper” by Heather Graham in which Elven detective Saxon Kirby and hybrid elf-werewolf dancer Calleigh McGowan hunt a killing werewolf as the prequel to the upcoming Keepers saga. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Laura Resnick and Maggie Shane

Laura Resnick
DAW, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407339

Actress Esther Diamond obtains work as Dreidel the Jewish elf in Manhattan’s Fenster Department store. She got the position because several people hired for the annual meet Santa display failed to return to work.

Santa is running very late while a crowd becomes edgy. Dreidel entertains them while Candy Cane the elf looks for him. Finally Esther’s friend Big Satsy arrives screaming in terror with his Santa suit on fire. A little boy Jonathan also starts screaming claiming a Santa with fangs tried to eat him. At the same, the Fenster family fights over control of the retail giant and thieves hijack shipments. When a tree attacks Dreidel, her on and off boyfriend NYPD Detective Connor Lopez claims mechanical failure, but Esther knows otherwise. With Max the three century and a half old sorcerer at her side, they investigate supernatural happenings unaware that a malevolence is deploying a wicked scheme to make for a deadly Christmas.

The latest Esther Diamond satirical urban fantasy (see Vamparazzi, Unsympathetic Magic and Doppelgangster) lampoons the excesses of commercialized Christmas in a fun lighthearted farce. Once again intrepid Esther proves fearless as she chooses fight rather than flight by facing danger on the freight elevator, the tree, a retired gangster and the Fenster family feud. Laura Resnick writes a not so merry Christmas paranormal mayhem. Harriet Klausner

Daughter of the Spellcaster
Maggie Shayne
Mira, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778313809

Magdalena “Lena” Dunkirk the witch has always been aware of what her soul mate looks like. When they finally meet, she and affluent playboy Ryan McNally feels charmed by love. However, their spell ends when a pregnant Lena flees for her home to raise her child as a single mom in a safe haven.

Several months later, Ryan arrives with a strong need to help raise their child. At the same time Bahru the demon has plans for the baby in which history will repeat itself due to a curse. Bonded by their love for each other, Lena and Ryan share dreams of being together in an ancient land, but remain ignorant of Bahru’s scheme.

The latest Portal romantic fantasy (see Mark of the Witch) is a fast-paced thriller starring a strong lead female, a protective male who will have a chance to prove his mettle or die, and a powerful diabolical demon. Readers will feel Maggie Shayne put a spell on them as Daughter of the Spellcaster is nearly impossible to put down. Harriet Klausner