Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone for the Merriest of Christmases and a Prosperous and exceptional New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Influence by Bently Little

The Influence
Bentley Little
Cemetery Dance, $25.00
ISBN: 9781587674198

Engineer Ross Lowery lost his position at Air Research during the Great Recession and has not found work since. He always sent money to his family when they needed it even when he didn’t have much. However, now that he needs assistance, all (including his siblings) except his cousin Lita ignore him. Though not wealthy, Lita and her husband Dave invite Ross to stay with them in remote Magdalena, Arizona for a few months while he applies for jobs over the Net.

At the town’s New Year’s Eve bash, everyone shoots into sky at midnight; only something falls to the ground. Soon afterward the townsfolk begin to face changes in their fortunes. A rancher’s cattle die with eerie creatures leaving the corpses before vanishing and Lita’s eggs hatch lizards and spiders; Ross receives job offers and falls in love, and a beautician wins the mega lottery. When children vanish, realizing something is not right in Magdalena ever since the creature fell from the sky and altered 180 degrees the fortunes and misfortunes of everyone, Ross believes he and others must rescue the young and prevent whatever is occurring from spreading.

The Influence is a strong horror thriller in which darkness threatens life as the townsfolk knew it. The reactions by the affluent suddenly hammered by bad luck and the threat of poverty, and the impoverished suddenly charmed with a run of good fortune make for a super storyline. With deep underlying social messages from scriptures: “But by the grace of God I am what I am …” and "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (karma aside). Bentley Little provides a taut thought-provoking tale.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Message from Quang Nguyen, An American

I wore my Vietnam Veteran hat with my POW/MIA pin today and stopped by to pick up some dinner to take home.I met a fellow Vietnam Veteran at a local eating establishment and it turned out we both were in Cu Chi Vietnam in the 25th Infantry Division. He was there in 1967-1968 and I was there in 1969-1970. He was in the 1/7 Wolfhounds and their company area was right next to ours.

He asked about my job and I told him I worked for the Veterans Service and he gave me a printout of this and asked me to share it with other Vietnam Vets I came in contact with. I am going to post a copy on the bulletin board at work, I'm posting it here and I will post it on the Broken Soldiers group on Facebook.

The next time someone asks me if we accomplished something in Vietnam, I'm going to show this to them.

On Saturday, July 24th, 2010, the town of Prescott Valley, AZ, hosted a Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on his experience of coming to America and what it means.

A Vietnamese refugee, Mr. Nguyen immigrated to this country in 1975, where he eventually founded an advertising and marketing company, Caddis Advertising, with offices in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, and Prescott Valley, AZ. He is also a talented oil and watercolor painter (see his website here).

This is Mr. Nguyen’s speech, which he dedicated to all Vietnam veterans. Notice that he refers to himself as an American, not a hyphenated Vietnamese-American. How good it’d be if all immigrants—no, EVERYONE— felt like Quang Nguyen.

Proud to be an American

35 years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I’d laugh at you. Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on earth.

I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I am living the American dream. I was asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I’d rather speak to you as an American.

If you hadn’t noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable with my people.

I am a proud U.S. citizen and here is my proof. It took me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I got it and I am very proud of it.

I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything. Trust me, those images can never be erased. I can’t even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf.

35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had ended. At the age of 13, I left with the understanding that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the U.S.A. Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months later, amazingly, in California . It was a miracle from God.

If you haven’t heard lately that this is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I cannot make it to college due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong. I finished college. You see, all you have to do is to give this little boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am.

This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn’t know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head. That was my experience.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as an American. To this day, I can’t remember anything sweeter and more patriotic than that moment in my life.

Fast forwarding: somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21-year old kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern California. In some way and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station, I saw a veteran pumping gas on the other side of the island. I don’t know what made me do it, but I walked over and asked if he had served in Vietnam. He smiled and said yes. I shook and held his hand. The grown man’s eyes began to well up. I walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back.

You see, America is not a place on the map, it isn’t a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must buy into this concept, and most importantly, you have to fight and defend this concept. This is about Freedom and not free stuff. And that is why I am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion, you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can’t speak the language of the country you live in. Take this document of 46 pages – last I looked on the Internet, there wasn’t a Vietnamese translation of the U.S. Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up with the right words. It’s not easy, but if it’s too easy, it’s not worth doing.

Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000 Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000 names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my heroes. You are my founders.

A t this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam veterans to please stand. I thank you for my life. I thank you for your sacrifices, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now ask all veterans, firefighters, and police officers, to please stand. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.

Quang Nguyen

Creative Director/Founder

Caddis Advertising, LLC

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Storm Demon - A Jake Helman Novel

Storm Demon
Gregory Lamberson
Medallion Press, Oct 31 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781605427461

Following the completion of his mission to rescue his best friend Edgar Hopkins, the “raven”, from a witch doctor in New Orleans, Miami, and Pavot Island (see Tortured Spirits), ex-police officer turned private detective Jake Helman feels good being back in the Manhattan jungle. Besides saving his BFF, Jake looks forward to a relationship with Edgar’s NYPD homicide detective partner Maria Vasquez who teamed up with him on the paranormal “rumble in the jungle” (not the Ali-Foreman fight).

While he was traipsing the tropics, psychic healer Laurel Doniger vanished. Jake investigates Laurel’s disappearance by looking into the missing psychic’s past. Although the sleuth works the supernatural beat, which means meeting and frequently confronting strange creatures, even Jake is taken aback when his inquiry leads to Lilith the first succubus now known as Storm Demon planning to destroy New York City.

The fifth case in the Jake Helman Files (see Cosmic Forces, Desperate Souls and Personal Demons) is an exhilarating urban fantasy noir. Jake is terrific as he holds the fun story line focused while following clues that lead to an angry avenging malevolent who is the oldest female on the planet having been there when Adam and Eve fell from grace. Gregory Lamberson deftly blends humor and horror elements inside of a strong save the concrete jungle investigative thriller; summed up by the hero’s wry observation about needing flood insurance.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Two from Crossroad Press

THE ORIGINAL VAN GOGH’S EAR ANTHOLOGY 8, Tina Hall, Crossroadpress.com, $4.99 download, 684 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is a collection of the best to appear on TheOriginalVanGogh’sEar.com over the past year or so. It is collected in an annual volume for those who want to have the material close at hand and not have to keep the pages bookmarked on your computer.

The volume is filled with poetry, stories, art and interviews. Herein you will find some names that you are familiar with and others that, hopefully, will make an impression on you and make you want to remember them.

The art is reproduced and represents an eclectic group of interesting works. The stories are different from what you normal expect. The interviews are not what you usually expect and feature writers, singers, artists and other interpreters of the arts. There are some familiar names here and a couple who are no longer with us.

Van Gogh’s Ear is a place for the experimental, avant garde, interesting and unusual. There is literally something here for everyone and plenty of material to give you new ideas, make you think, and create discussions.

Thanks to Tina Hall and Crossroad Press for an interesting volume that goes above and beyond the ordinary fare we usually come across. Also available from Tina and Crossroad Press is THE DAMNED BOOK OF INTERVIEWS ($3.99). Check out their web site for other interesting titles. Both are also available at The Kindle Store on Amazon.com.

ETCHED DEEP & OTHER DARK IMPRESSIONS, David Niall Wilson, Macabre Ink, Crossroadpress.com, $2.99 download, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

David Niall Wilson has always impressed me with his way of letting the horror in his stories waiting in the background until it jumps out and grabs you by the throat. His non-horror stories also will catch you with the unexpected.

This volume contains short stories and poetry that range over his career. Topics include a Ouija board with a homemade planchette, a girl who dreams of flying, a tale of survival that could have been a great episode of The Walking Dead, the end of the world, clowns, and one that could be read in The National Enquirer or Star.

The poetry ranges from “Loch Ness”, “The Fishmonger”, “Longhaired Puppies” and “The Acropolis”.

My favorite is “Redemption” in which Reverend Bookheim of The Church of New Light finds out that true repentance comes at a price that he was not ready to pay.

Pick up this one for some truly original stories and a couple of them that will make your stomach churn even as you savor the finished product.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mr. Mercedes, June 2014

MR. MERCEDES by Stephen King

Due June 2014

Can't wait for this one!

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Last God Standing is Coming

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Creator. Ruler. Stand-up Comic…

When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.

Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.

Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.

How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

Friday, December 13, 2013

NY Times Obituary for Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson, English Author of ‘The Outsider’ and Other Books, Dies at 82
Published: December 12, 2013
Copyright 2013 by The New York Times

Colin Wilson, a self-educated English writer who in 1956 shot to international acclaim with his first book, “The Outsider,” an erudite meditation on existentialism, alienation and creativity, but who incurred critical disdain for a string of later books about murder, sexual deviance and the occult, died on Dec. 5 in Cornwall, England. He was 82.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, his son Damon said.

The author of well over 100 volumes of fiction and nonfiction, Mr. Wilson became a sensation at 24, when “The Outsider” was published and instantly touched a deep nerve in postwar Britain.

Ranging over the voracious reading in literature, science, philosophy, religion, biography and the arts that he had done since he was a boy, “The Outsider” had an aim no less ambitious than its scope: to delineate the meaning of human existence.

The book’s central thesis was that men of vision — among them Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Nietzsche, H. G. Wells, T. E. Lawrence, George Bernard Shaw, Hemingway, van Gogh, William Blake, Nijinsky and the 19th-century mystic Ramakrishna — stood apart from society, repudiating it as banal and disaffecting.

“The Outsider is not a freak, but is only more sensitive than the average type of man,” Mr. Wilson wrote. He added: “The Outsider is primarily a critic, and if a critic feels deeply enough about what he is criticizing, he becomes a prophet.”

In years to come, actual critics would argue over whether Mr. Wilson was a brilliant synthesist or merely an accomplished aphorist whose work lacked methodological rigor. But on the book’s publication, most reviewers, including the distinguished English men of letters Philip Toynbee and Cyril Connolly, were lavish in their praise.

Though “The Outsider” was often described as a philosophical work, Mr. Wilson saw it as fundamentally religious. Unlike existentialists whose worldview, he felt, inclined toward a dour nihilism, he purveyed what he called optimistic existentialism.

“Sartre’s feeling was that life is meaningless, that everything is pure chance, that life is a useless passion,” Mr. Wilson told The Toronto Star in 1998. “My basic feeling has always been the opposite, that mankind is on the verge of an evolutionary leap to a higher stage.”

Mr. Wilson argued that it was possible for mankind to achieve this exalted state through the kind of transcendent experience that comes, for instance, in the presence of great works of art. Such transcendence, he maintained, had been rendered largely inaccessible by the grind of daily life.

Despite his hopeful outlook, Mr. Wilson was labeled one of the original Angry Young Men. That appellation, popularized by the British press, described a cohort of emerging writers, including John Osborne and Kingsley Amis.

He deplored the designation, and in fact had little in common with those writers. As the author of a work of nonfiction, Mr. Wilson was neither a dramatist like Mr. Osborne nor a novelist like Mr. Amis. He did not like them personally or artistically, nor they him. (Mr. Amis once tried to push Mr. Wilson off a roof.)

The label derived largely from an accident of timing. “The Outsider” appeared in May 1956, the same month that “Look Back in Anger,” Mr. Osborne’s acclaimed drama of working-class disaffection, opened in London. Like Mr. Osborne, Mr. Wilson came from a modest background in which intellectual pursuits were anathema.

But if Mr. Wilson was no Angry Young Man, with his lush Romantic hair and roll-neck sweaters he more than looked the part. The papers delighted in the fact that to save on rent while writing “The Outsider,” he had spent his nights on Hampstead Heath, the vast London park. They took to photographing him there, posed with his sleeping bag.

Mr. Wilson’s disdain for the contemporary human condition, coupled with his almost preternatural confidence in his own abilities, also played well with the British news media — at least until the almost inevitable literary backlash set in.

Colin Henry Wilson was born in Leicester, England, on June 26, 1931; his father, Arthur, worked in a shoe factory. As a boy, Mr. Wilson later said, he was aware that he differed greatly from the “vegetable mediocrity” surrounding him.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Child Thief for $1.99

Harper Voyager US IS RUNNING a Kindle Daily Deal, downpricing the horrifically wonderful, warped fantasy classic THE CHILD THIEF by Brom down to an incredible $1.99. I believe this price is good from the 9th to the 30th, so it’s the perfect gift for anyone who loves a dysfunctional, scary-scary-scary holiday read! And … as an ebook … so easy to give! No wrapping paper, no poster. Just click and send for immediate shock (of happiness) factor!


If the link doesn't work, got to Amazon.com and check it out.

Also available from Harper and Brom is Krampus the Yule Lord. About the book: Set in Appalachia, Krampus the Yule Lord is a twisted fairytale about a failed West Virginia songwriter who gets ensnared on Christmas Eve in an eternal war between a not-so-saintly Saint Nick and his dark enemy Krampus, aka Black Peter, an ancient trickster demon. Once again featuring Brom’s chillingly beautiful artwork throughout, Krampus the Yule Lord is a feast of wonder straight from the kitchen of Sweeney Todd.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Apply to be a Harper Voyager Right Away

Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror? Would you like special access to e-galleys, author interactions, and swag? If so, the Harper Voyager US team invites you to apply to become a "Harper Voyager" super reader!

As a Harper Voyager super reader, you'll get special access to early review copies, special entry to an exclusive online forum where they can post reviews and thoughts about the exclusive book previews, engage in private author chats, interactions with Harper Voyager authors at regional vents. Most of all, we hope our super readers will help generate excitement for our stellar authors!

Please Note: If you chose to post these reviews online at consumer websites, you must disclose in the review that you received your copy for free and send us a link to the review.

Entry period: December 9-23, 2013.

Twenty Harper Voyager super readers will be selected by January 17, 2014.

Terms and Conditions:

• You must be 18 or older to apply.

• Open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

• We will select 20 new "Harper Voyagers" every six months.

*Harper Voyager will send each individual applicant one book in appreciation of their time and effort. One book per consumer. U.S. and Canada only.*

Entry link:


Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Couple from DAW Books

C.J. Cherryh
DAW, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407988

The heir to the Atevi leader of the Western Association Tabiniaiji, eight years old Cajerji celebrates his birthday with his people and select human friends he made. Meanwhile the Assassins' Guild, responsible for security, is divided with many opposed to Tabini's rule, preferring traditionalists like Ilisidi and others.

Not knowing who to trust, Tabini asks his friend human diplomat Bren Cameron to work with his aiji-dowager grandmother Ilisidi to protect his child and other guests. Tabini and Bren believe the enemies of the Atevi leader will use the gala to make a deadly statement with both of them, the heir and specific guests as the targets.

The latest Foreigner Universe thriller (see Intruder, Betrayer and Deceiver) is an entertaining tale with somewhat limited action, as once again C.J. Cherryh deeply develops political and ethnic themes with young Cajerji as the focus of opposing forces with diverse motives. Few besides his father and Ben care about his well-being as most see the lad as a pawn to further personal agendas. Fans will enjoy Cajerji’s happy birthday bash with unwanted fireworks part of the gala.

Harriet Klausner

The Forever Knight
John Marco
DAW, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756407513

Lukien once was the beloved Bronze Knight until he betrayed his king. Despondent he lost his love Cassandra and several friends, he sought death as the way out of his lonely existence after bringing peace; no one needs a hero after the victory. However, he learns that is not quite true as he became the immortal champion of the magical using Inhuman desert dwellers who live in impoverished isolation deep in the desert at Grimhold.

Lukien remains the defender of Grimhold, but no longer possesses both Eyes of Gods amulet. Instead he now yields the Sword of Angels that possesses the Akari spirit of an earlier age hero Malator. Needing a purpose, Lukien leaves Grimhold with encouragement from Malator. On the road from apathy he meets youthful Cricket a seeker of her lost memories.

The profound premise in this first follow-up to the Bronze Knight fantasy trilogy (see Sword of Angels) focuses on what happens to a hero after the mission is accomplished and accolades received, As MacArthur said: "old soldiers never die; they just fade away"; but fails to mention what to do with the rest of their (immortal in this case) life. There is plenty of action as expected in a John Marco thriller, but it is the psychologically scarred Lukien and his counterpoint Malator who make the story fascinating. Cricket adds depth but her young and innocent immaturity seems out of place in a realm where teens mature fast or die. The Forever Knight is a deep opening gamut as the larger than life hero needs a purpose.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Very Klingon Christmas

A VERY KLINGON KHRISTMAS, Paul Ruditis, illustrated by Patrick Faricy, Gallery Books, $16.99, ISBN: 9781476746807, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

If you are a Star Trek fan, add this Klingon telling of the birth of Kahless and how the very special Khristmas holiday is observed on Qo’noS and all over the Klingon held planets.

Grab a tankard of hot mulled blood wine and learn of Santa Qlas, who really has retractable claws and leaves tribbles in the stockings of the honorless. A good child may find a disruptor or a mek’leth as he travels by transporter beam to the next house on his star chart.

Ruditis and Faricy have a great job in putting this together and it will be a terrific surprise to find this under the tree. I think it would be a whole lot better than a tribble – don’t you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ed Kramer pleads guilty on three counts

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website, www.ajc.com

Dragon Con co-founder pleads guilty

Ordered to serve remainder of 5-year sentence on house arrest; pay victims $300,000

By Marcus K. Garner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dragon Con co-founder Edward Kramer pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of child molestation for allegations dating back to 1996, according to reports.

Three separate teens — two of them brothers — accused the 52-year-old Kramer of sexually abusing them. After more than a dozen years and numerous delays, the trial that was to begin Monday ended before it started with Kramer’s plea, AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB News/Talk Radio is reporting.

In exchange for Kramer’s guilty pleas to three counts of child molestation, prosecutors are nullifying three counts of aggravated child molestation.

As a first-time offender, he was sentenced to five years for each count to run concurrently. Kramer will serve the remaining 34 months of his 5-year sentence on house arrest, WSB Radio reports. He has already served 26 months.

He must also pay each of the three victims $100,000 in restitution and register as a sex offender, according to WSB Radio.

The abrupt end to Kramer’s saga with the legal system seems to be par for the course, based on the history of the case.

In October 2000, Kramer was accused of sodomizing the younger of two brothers at the science fiction enthusiast’s Duluth home. Weeks later, the older of the brothers came forward with his own set of allegations.

And just before he was due to go to trial in 2003, a third accuser claimed Kramer molested him in 1996.