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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Saturday, May 31, 2014



After a disturbing experience serving in the military in Vietnam, Stony strives to overcome addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Emotionally scarred and trying to move on, Stony finds solace in fly fishing, Alaska’s vast wilderness and a woman, who he promises on her deathbed that he’ll
won first place at the 2011 Pikes Peak Writers contest.
“The Guide” is a page-turner with thrills, chills and unexpected twists and turns, but it also touches on some serious, real life issues, including the postwar struggles of military veterans. As a doctor and U.S. Navy veteran, the subject is close to Mays’ heart.
“PTSD is a much more of a major problem in veterans returning from war now than ever before,” he says. “It can be overcome if you get the right help. Fly fishing can be a part of that therapeutic plan because when you fly fish, you live in the moment: figuring how to wade the river, the cast, the drift, the take, the fight, the release, the beauty.”
Mays spent most of his adult life in the military as a Navy doctor. He lives with his wife in Fort Collins, Colo. He is the author of the techno-thriller Dan’s War, two short stories – “Thanksgiving with Riley” and “The Dry-Land Farmer” – and “Take the Fly,” an illustrated poem on the wisdoms and frustrations of fly fishing.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The great outdoors become a warzone of sorts as a military veteran-turned-fly
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fishing guide struggles to regain control of his life and save a client from a devious killer in Milt Mays’ “The
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always help

people and never kill another man. But when Stony takes a new fly fishing client, Jake, deep into Rocky Mountain National Park, his vow is put to the test. A conniving doctor is out to get

Jake, and it’s up to Stony to do anything it takes to protect him.

A new edition of “The Guide” comes out June 1, 2014. Mays’
Much like the protagonist in his book, “The Guide,” author Milt Mays lives for the great outdoors. He grew up in Colorado and spent most of his adult life as a Navy doctor, caring for those at the forefront of many conflicts, including Vietnam.
Milt graduated from the Naval Academy and Creighton Medical School. His medical career included tours with the Marines, a Navy security group in Scotland and now at the Veteran’s Hospital in Cheyenne, Wyo. He has been a fly fishing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park and continues to ply those waters with a long
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stick and pieces of fur and feather.
His techno-thriller Dan’s War (2011, Telemachus Press) was a finalist at the 2009 Pikes Peak Writers contest. He has also written short stories, including “Thanksgiving with Riley” (Copaiba Press) and “The Dry-Land Farmer” (The Northwind Magazine). He is the author behind “Take the Fly,” an illustrated poem on the wisdoms and frustrations of fly fishing.
A new edition of his latest book, “The Guide,” comes out June 1, 2014. The book won first place at the 2011 Pikes Peak Writers contest.
Milt is married in Fort Collins, Colo., with three children and a grandson who will soon be learning the joys of flinging a fly.
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Review: THE GUIDE by Milt Mays

I HIGHLY recommend THE GUIDE, for any reader of suspense, mystery, thriller, and literary fiction. This is a very DIFFERENT kind of thriller, a mystery that is  character-driven rather than plot-driven.  Make no mistake--plot is here and it's excellent, very unexpected and twisty, all in a way that makes perfect sense: in the context of CHARACTER.

Read ONCE for pure enjoyment; read TWICE to savour the author's excellence.




Virtual Tour Page


Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: NIHAL OF THE LAND OF THE WIND by Licia Troisi


A lovely, lyrical, and delightful fantasy fable with characters I care about and truly came to love and cheer, NIHAL OF THE LAND OF THE WIND contains those elements so viable in any good story: it gives the reader the immediate ability to immerse into the tale; it's well-written; and its characters are growing and dynamic and maturing. I care about them, their odd society (odd to us, that is), and marvel at how close they are to.people we know or know of. Thankfully this is the first of a continuing series.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: FLIGHT OF THE BOWYER by Kenneth R. Lewis

Deeply complex and riveting, FLIGHT OF THE BOWYER takes on issues that are personal, familial, of the extended family, of the community, and of politics and government. Additionally, it delves into class status ( that which American ideology decries but which is adamantly propelled by socioeconomic factors and their constantly mutating consequences). Throughout the novel we range from individual to parent and child, to.extended family, to community, then local, state, and national government. This is a novel of political chicanery and dirty-dealing, but it is also a triumph of the human heart and mind. For the hundreds, the thousands, who seek only their own self-aggrandizement, there remain individuals of integrity, such as protagonist Jace Fuller, and his young but fast-maturing son Josh.

Review: THE DOLL PEOPLE SET SAIL(THE DOLL PEOPLE BOOK 4) by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

A delightful story for children (and adults) with a late-Victorian flair I admire, THE DOLL PEOPLE SET SAIL is a winningly whimsical contemporary tale starring two DOLL families. One, the Dolls, are a century old, fashioned beautifully of porcelain, their costumes now antique. The Funcrafts are modern, plastic, unbreakable ("invincible"). All are conscious (a fact always concealed from humans.) In this installment, they unexpectedly take an ocean journey while their Human Family vacations.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: SUSPICION by Joseph Finder

Elegantly written and engaging, SUSPICION will keep readers on target till it's finished, the perpetual "back-of-the-mind" question being:
"Oh, what now? What'll go wrong next?" At times I wanted to be an omniscient narrator with a megaphone, shouting at the protagonist, who definitely.should have developed a more finely-tuned "suspicion "

This was my first exposure to reading Joseph Finder, but it won't be my last. And I'll remember: If it seems too good to be true....

Review: COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter

Multi-published author Karin Slaughter ably delineates an ugly era in American society. A decade plus after the passage of the Federal Civil Rights Act, the contempt and hatred, the unreasoning rage, of racism is still prevalent, really, still ingrained, just as much as during Reconstruction. Despite the entry of black politicians into city politics, much of the Atlanta Police Department is dyed-in-the-wool bigoted, and misogynist. Female police officers are considered brainless glorified go-fers and regularly demeaned.

Into  a setting already a gunpowder keg spouting off sparks, comes a somebody  (possibly multiple somebodies) gunning down white police officers, execution-style; the killer is believed black. It's a recipe for hot 'n' spicy: potential for police brutality and riots, and only.the "good old boy" network is deemed capable of taking the killer down.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: DEADLOCK by Tim Curran

I can't speak for contemporary sailors, but I've read enough to know that historically, sailors to a man (yes, no women then--that was one of the rife superstitions) were extremely superstitious; in fact, that was expected. There existed so many superstitious premises that the list would be as long as my arm. I think, too, of the issue  of inescapability: one can run out of a house or other building, jump out of a vehicle; but out at sea? Not so: stay on board, face the monsters, or jump overboard  and drown.

Our protagonist Charlie--a professional gambler just a little too full of himself--won't be oceanbound, but he will be boarding ship--the WRONG ship.  You see, Charlie has foolishly allowed himself to get into trouble on two fronts, and both involve his creditor, who's come up with a lovely idea by which to cancel Charlie's gambling debts--stay overnight on a supposedly spooky cargo ship.

Remember the old song "Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues?" Doesn't even scratch the surface of what our Charlie's about to encounter.


As an adolescent I consumed several novels by Arthur Hailey, including HOTEL when it was still quite new. I enjoyed it very much all those years ago, and am delighted to see it returned to the reading audience by Open Road Media. To.those who have become gluttoned on so-called "reality tv" and long-running drama, I suggest: pick up HOTEL and watch a Maestro conduct!

Another benefit of this New edition is author Hailey' s own foreword, which goes into some detail on the factual backdrop of this exciting novel. Yes, it is based on an actual New Orleans five-star establishment, and the author's extensive in-person research.

Readers who, like me, are hungry for a meaty, riveting story with multiple intertwining plot lines and realistic, flawed, characters, need look no further. Curl up with HOTEL and let author Arthur Hailey carry you away on an exciting adventure.

Monday, May 26, 2014




Who Inspired Tween Me - Guest Post May 26th
Can you remember being twelve and a half? Not 12, because that was obviously "little kid stuff". But twelve and a half. Because that little half makes a world of difference. That half means you're almost a teenager now!
In my debut book, that's exactly how old Ana, my main character, is. She's goofy. She's smart. She lives in a zoo. And she's standing in front of the biggest challenge of her lifeBeing twelve and a half is no picnic.
Looking back, there were two things that I was obsessed with as a tween. I loved animals—I even decorated my room like a rainforest, complete with little plastic reptiles and spiders that I stuck to the wall. I would have loved to live in a zoo like Ana, even if I was stuck next to the smelly hippos like she was.
And I loved books. I started my own library in my room, by sticking little pockets and catalogue cards in all of my books. Because of these obsessions, instead of idolizing celebrities (or soccer stars, like my sports-loving brother), I looked up to people who worked with animals, and theauthors who wrote the books that gave me secret doorways into other worlds.
So who did twelve and a half year old me look up to? Beatrix Potter is a name that keeps coming up when I talk about HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE. See, Beatrix was the best of both worlds. She was an incredible writer and artist, but she also was a fierce conservationist and animal enthusiastBeatrix was a meticulous scientific artist, and she would even travel to museums in order to examine insects up close so she could draw them just right! She would use the money earned from her books to buy up land around her, protecting the landscape for years to come. Savvy readers will notice a certain Beatrix in my own book, and that's no accident! It was the least I could do for the lady who showed me it was possible to keep both loves in my life: zoology and writing. And now to no one's surprise (except maybe my own!), I've written a book about a little girl who is surrounded by animals every day.
Another huge inspiration to twelve and a half year old me was Jane Goodall. I devoured her written adventures of Africa, imagining myself researching chimpanzees in Gombe and marveling at how brave she was to set off on such a journey by herselfWhat did the dark African nights sound like, I wondered? Jane embodies the idea of fierce spirit to me, and although Ana struggles to be brave (like any twelve and a half year old!), she shares that deep need to express herself through the animals she loves. Bravery seems to be something we learn in tiny moments, and I think Jane would love to know she inspired this writer to be her bravest self, too.
Looking back on both of these women and how they've shaped my life, it makes me realize just how important the stories we tell are—connecting us despite huge barriers. With books, we're allowed into the minds of others and you never know the effect that will have on your future stories. At its heart, HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED is a funny story and a coming-of-age story, but mostly a story about embracing your true self, no matter how strange you feel you are. I think both Beatrix and Jane would agree, your true self is all that matters.
Even if you live next to the hippos.
About the book:
What would middle school be like if you lived in a zoo?
Ana didn't ask to be named after an anaconda. She didn't ask for zoologist parents who look like safari guides. And she definitely didn't ask for a twin brother whose life goal seems to be terrorizing her with his pet reptiles. Now, to make matters worse, her parents have decided to move the whole family INTO the zoo! All of which gives the Sneerers (the clan of carnivorous female predators in her class) more ammunition to make her life miserable-and squash any hope of class tennis stud, Zack, falling in love with her. Ana tries to channel her inner chameleon and fade into the background, but things are changing too quickly for her to keep up.

About Jess Keating:
As a zoologist turned middle grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her debut How To Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied is coming in Summer 2014 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, with a sequel to follow. Her nonfiction picture book, PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH, will be published by Knopf in 2016. 
She has a Masters degree in Animal Science and a growing collection of books that are threatening to take over her house. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves hiking, watching nerdy documentaries, and writing books for adventurous and funny kids. 
Add to Goodreads:
Visit Jess online:

Photo Attribution: Beatrix Potter [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I might as well call this a very well-tuned "coming of age" story, because this little girl does some tremendous maturing between first chapters and last, and I for one am very proud of her advances. Familial situations out of the "routine" occur in all sorts of stripes and patterns. In the case of our middle-school protagonist,  her parents are zookeepers, her brother is.a confirmed opidiophile, and her name "Ana" is really "Anaconda."

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Avoiding adversity and difficult challenges in any human lifetime is nearly impossible, but properly perceiving adversity and learning to grow through it is the goal. Author Marquita Herald postulates that the key is to develop "emotional resilience." The dictionary definition is that resilience is the ability to recover from illness or adversity, change or misfortune.  Ms.   Herald believes we each are born with some degree  of of emotional resilience; and we each can train ourselves to develop and improve that capacity. She presents principles and practical applications through the examples of others. This book will be an advantageous took, both for reading and for reference.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: BIGFOOT BOY: LOST ON EARTH by Kenna McKinnon

Boy, I feel for Errl. Poor guy, he's practically an outcast among his peers, adults of his Bigfoot species find him unprepossessing, and worst, Errl doesn't even appreciate himself. Now he's stranded on an alien planet (Earth) because he's missed his ride.

A delightfully satisfying story with beautiful forested mountain scenery, BIGFOOT BOY:  LOST ON EARTH delivers some encouraging lessons about peer pressure and developing our own internal self-esteem, and what "being different" really signifies.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: SO WHAT! STORIES OR WHATEVER! by G. J. Griffiths

I quite enjoyed this book, which is more a collection of vignettes about a dedicated but occasionally feckless secondary Science teacher ( later a college tutor). Robert Jeffrey is of course imperfect, but he is diligent, and devoted to developing potential scientists or engineers. Like most teachers, he has a variety of students, from the quiet intellectuals, to the bullies and future delinquents.  It's pretty certain, that Mr. Jeffrey, successes and flaws, is not easily forgotten.

Author G. J. Griffiths has an easy, very readable and interesting, style of writing; it kept my attention initially and throughout. Although I've never been an instructor at any level, still I found the teachers, staff, and students realistic and recognisable. I recommend this book.when you're looking for a relaxing, comfortable, and entertaining, read

5 Stars

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: AMONG THE UNSEEN by Jodi McIssaac

Protagonist Cedar McLeod scarcely knows whether she's  coming or going. From a relatively routine life, suddenly she was impelled into another world, that of the Tir  na Og of Celtic mythology. She's undergone soul-searing loss,   reveled at blessed reunions, and faced the mind-numbing fact of this "New" world. But trouble Isn't over yet;  and Cedar must summon every ounce of her strength as she shoulders all her new responsibilities.

Author Jodi McIsaac' s writing style is just lyrical, appropriate to a series suffused in Celtic mythology. I scarcely stopped to.realise I was reading- the story carried me like a river.


Readers of my blog know that I am a near-fanatic aficionado of author Mark T. Barnes, the writer who reignited an affection for Fantasy. I consider myself fortunate to have been able all three installments of his ECHOES OF EMPIRE trilogy in quick succession;  and now, for those of you who have held your breath waiting for it---here is THE PILLARS OF SAND, today!

Readers of Fantasy: Drop everything! You owe it to yourself to read THE PILLARS OF SAND immediately!
Aspiring Writers: Get over here and learn how real World-Building is done!
All the rest of us: READ THIS SERIES!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: DECEIVER by Kelli Owen

Wow!! This novella packed SO MUCH emotional and psychological impact!! The reader's emotions and perceptions are upended, over and over again; not like a roller-coaster, not like a bullet train--but like a Ferris wheel. We just don't know what to think, because even though we are presented with the facts, we can't know the truth. Amazing story.

Review: REAPING THE DARK by Gary McMahon

I so loved the depths and heights and breadths of this story that I'm going to read everything Gary McMahon writes. In my mind, it ranks, for sheer impressive Urban Horror, with Paul Cornell s London Falling--and that is astronomical praise indeed. Mr. McMahon not only delves into.the darkness of ceremonial magical and of outre, arcane,  cults; he KNOWS his characters, down into.their bones and their souls (those who have such)---and his writing purrs, it's so smooth...

Review: ELDERWOOD MANOR by Christopher Fulbright and Angelique Hawkes

"ELDERWOOD MANOR" is a return to "classic" horror, where Evil is frequently triumphant and humans are just pawns. Several of the scenes are stunning: primarily, the garage scene, the climactic den scene, and the terrifying scenes immediately following, plus the Epilogue (probably my favorite). The backdrop--events in the life of the protagonist and his family, prior to his return to his childhood home--are realistic and probable; and the Horrors-past and present--quite imaginative. Difficult to forget this one.

Review: DARKFUSE #1 Anthology ed. by Shane Ryan Staley

A collection of six stories, the first Anthology from DarkFuse. All I can say is: READ WITH THE LIGHTS ON. Better yet, read in the daytime. While you're reading "Better Heard and Not Seen," read outdoors, far away from your bedroom and from any closets! Of course, outdoors won't [shudder] help you at all while you're reading "Netherview." Nothing will help. Prepare yourself for shakes, shivers, and chills--and some unforgettable frights.

Review: AFTER: FIRST LIGHT by Scott Nicholson (AFTER#1)

A brief preface from this reviewer: I have been enraptured with the pre-, post-, now-Apocalyptic Genre since the 1950's. First A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ (if you haven't read this incredible book, you must!) Which inspired me to fall in love with  the potential of imminent apocalypse, TOMORROW by Philip Wylie, which taught me to fear Apocalypse; then Neville Shute's ON THE BEACH, Wells' WAR OF THE WORLDS, Larry Niven' s INCONSTANT MOON, plus early TWILIGHT ZONE ("To Serve Man") and early OUTER LIMITS, plus two films: THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED and (shudder) DEEP IMPACT. That, plus growing up during The Korean Conflict, the Cold War, Senator Joe McCarthy' s witch-hunt,  the John Birch Society, etc. modeled me into  Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist, anticipating Apocalypse at any given moment.

Now, what does all that personal theorizing have to do with Scott Nicholson' s lovely AFTER series? Simple enough; quite obviously (judging by the quantity of fiction and nonfiction dealing with Apocalyptic topics--Zombies excluded--a great number of people have put in mega-hours of contemplation and analysis on divergent Apocalyptic possibilities/probabilities, and some have "got it right." (Hey--authors are Think Tanks, too.)

Scott Nicholson is one author who's nailed it. He's taken my #1 Apocalyptic Hit Parade--EMP: Electromagnetic Pulse--and made that his central premise. Here it's not a weapon, but stems from the worst possible source--our Sun. Mr. Nicholson specifies in clever detail the potential damage from a rogue Sun flare--and then he delivers it to us, with brutal impact.

Run, read this series. Reviews of the other three books in this series, soon.


Last week I reviewed the first in the excellent ECHOES OF EMPIRE series, THE GARDEN OF STONES ( and mentioned that I had been "away" from the Fantasy genre for quite some time. I don't think such a hiatus will happen again, as long as authors like Mark T. Barnes continue to publish.

THE OBSIDIAN HEART is the second of the ECHOES OF EMPIRE series (Book 3 releases tomorrow, May 20, and my review will be posted then),  but the author takes sufficient care that it can be read as a stand-alone, or as the first one of this series read. Once again, Mr. Barnes' talented world-building and deep understanding of his characters results in an unstoppable reading experience.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: MURDER by Sarah Pinborough

Ms. Pinborough continues to demonstrate her talent for immersing her readers and herself in earlier times. I felt not only as if I lived in the Victorian era (if only) but also that  I perused the various dispatches and missives included throughout the narrative as if these had been penned by fellow Victorians.

Readers who enjoy reading of the disparate investigations of the Whitechapel murders of 1888 will flock to this book, second in the series that commenced with MAYHEM.

Review: STRANGER ON THE SHORE by Josh Lanyon

After one book, I am a committed Josh Lanyon fan. This story turned me inside out, upside down, and every which way but loose. Mr. Lanyon plays the heartstrings with the skill of a master harpist. This story has everything--and even for readers uninterested in m/m romance, the deep levels of emotions, the twisting multiple mysteries, and the protagonist's "class issues" are all riveting. I consider STRANGER ON THE SHORE a not-to-be-missed story.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Complex psychologically founded suspenseful mystery commences with holiday familial warmth, burgeons briskly into inexplicable tragedy. From there the investigation must be psychoanalytic as well as procedural, in order to effect solution of this fatality and its repercussions.  Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch.
4 stars

Review: NETWARS EPISODE 1 by M. Sean Cilemn

Loved it! And what's more: even though I am a dinosaur in the Age of Technology, I understood the story line! I loved the theme,  the characters, the set up...I don't wish to be too specific, but even just in this first episode are a ton of unexpected surprises, abundance of tension, painful hints of backstory...this is a series I shall pursue to its conclusion.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: LINDEN MANOR by Catherine Cavendish

As I've been devouring the Horror genre for some 5.5 decades, I'm not that easily frightened--but it is possible. Last evening, I started reading Catherine Cavendish' s  excellent newest offering (her first with Samhain Publishing) and found myself too scared to continue reading all alone at nighttime. (My two canine companions offered no opinion.) There are some TRULY terrifying features, and characters, in this story. So I finished it this morning, in daylight-- and I'm STILL scared!

Review: GORGON by Greig Beck

ARCADIAN GENESIS and GORGON are the first two books I've read in author Grieg Beck' s Alex Hunter series, but I enjoyed both so much that I plan to pick up the entire series quickly. Hunter is a member of Hotzone All-Warfare Commandos, the "ultimate" special operations group. Ultimate, that is, until a combination of bizarre circumstances, a  "pick-up" mission to bring out a Chechen scientist-defector, and an unidentifiable recently uncovered artifact, and a deadly psychopathic  former Spetsnaz killer, results in near-fatal injury to Hunter, who is then "enrolled" in a clandestine U.S. military medical experiment. Now he is "the ultimate warrior," but when GORGON begins, Alex Hunter is a man without identity, without memory, without purpose; while across the globe, in Istanbul, a millennias-ancient, impossible, evil has been uncovered and "jump-started," an eventual threat to the existence of all humanity.

Review: DIRE WOLF by Eric Jubb

I was glued to this fascinating story; the writing, the multiple plot lines, the resolution, all kept me engrossed and I could not set it aside till I'd finished. The Author starts with a little historical backdrop, from the Roman occupation of the future British Isles; then moves forward to the 21st century. In light of the ongoing conflict between environmentalists on one side, and hunters and some governmental entities on the other, over wolf populations in Montana, Idaho, Canada, and Alaska, this story is very timely and apropos. Additionally, the wolf populace rendered herein is not the usual species, but a type much more powerful and much more dangerous. I think readers owe it to themselves to enjoy this riveting read.


From Eric Jubb, author of Dire Wolf (Book Baby, 2014)
ISBN 978-0-9897155-1-5
In Dire Wolf, author Eric Jubb writes about his own near death experience through the protagonist, John Johnston.  Below, Jubb describes the strikingly real experience of reliving that trauma through a character in his writing.  

As you might imagine talking about my near death experience is pretty hard for me.  Perhaps the hardest part of having a near death experience is that most people do not believe you.  Sure your wife believes because she was there, but mostly your friends and relatives simply do not know what to think.  I had planned for many years to write a novel, started a couple of times but never really got going so gave up.  When a plot finally coalesced in my mind I wanted my hero, John Johnston, to have to overcome personal tragedy and trauma in order to seem more like the rest of us.  All of us have to overcome hardships and tragedy’s in our lives, it in part makes each of us who we are.  

My personal odyssey with near death experience has transformed me in many ways.  For me to tell the story of how it came to be in my novel, I must I think start at the beginning.  I was forty-two, my father had just died and I was dealing with his estate which pretty much amounted to nothing.  Like many guys I did not go to the doctor when I got sick a few weeks after his death.  I ended up with an ear infection that hurt like hell, but I did not see a physician until the pain was pretty much unbearable.  He gave me some antibiotics and some pain medication and I went home.  I went to bed and woke some thirty days later from a coma.  I had bacterial meningitis that had pretty well marked paid to my life.  I don’t remember the pain or the life flight where my heart stopped beating.  What I remember was the experience of being on the other side of the veil that separates us from death.  

What I remember of this experience is in my novel, but goes something like this. The tunnel is deep. So deep that it appears to be without bottom. I suppose the dark doesn’t help. Luckily there’s a bright light at the top thatI’m climbing towards, or I wouldn’t be able to see the hand holds. I don’t know how long I’ve been climbing, but I feel a deep dread every time I look down. It’s strange; my muscles should be screaming in protest. My fingers don’t even hurt. In fact, I feel stronger with each new foot that I climb.Finally, the lip of the tunnel; I grab a rock and lever myself over the edge. The sky is really weird, almost like mother of pearl, but really bright. It’s not clouds, but gives off an ethereal light. I can hear some voices off in the distance, laughing and conversation. There’s a bench of exquisite design under a simple trellis. The bench sits on a rail landing of raked gravel with patterns in it. The patterns seem to change as I sit and stare at them. I pick up a pebble and throw it into the pattern. The gravel seems to form eddies around the stone, like water in a stream. Unbelievably peaceful. The tracks seem to start here, but go off to my right far enough that there perspective changes to a point in the distance. Such a beautiful place, I’ve never felt so at peace in my life. I have a feeling, though, that I don’t belong. As I look around, I see a tunnel off to my left that seems to call for me. The voice is very quiet. I can barely hear it telling me that the path will take me to where I need to be.  

A day or two after I woke in the hospital, nurses and doctors kept comingthrough my room to just say hi.  I eventually asked my doctor why they were coming.  The answer was pretty startling.  They were trying to demonstrate to the docs and nurses working in the cancer ward that sometimes medicine wins.  Survival rates for the meningitis type that I had after seizures and heart failure were less than ten percent, yet here I was alive.  As the song says, dazed and confused, but nevertheless living.
As I started writing my novel it occurred to me that the most difficult things in life to overcome and to deal with were not the physical limitations of our bodies but rather the mental issues we all deal with.  At first I did not include the near death experience in the description of John Johnston’s injuries.  But as I reviewed the rough draft of the chapter, it seemed almost natural to me to include my experience.  As I wrote the experience out I struggled with the description of the absolute peace that I felt.  In the end I left it to the readers imagination as I really feel that its beyond my humble ability to describe.  
Was it therapeutic? For me perhaps, as I have been pretty gun shy for the last eighteen years since the experience.  I can tell you that for me it was more real than any experience that I have had thus far in my life. Death has no fear for me as I have experienced it and found that there is a place for all of us to go when we die.   

Eric Jubb spent over fifteen years as a helicopter pilot in the military. When an illness, including a near-death experience, forced him to resign his commission, Jubbreturned to the Montana wilderness he loved.  Most recently, Jubb worked for a defense manufacturing company. He is an avid fly fisherman, lives in Polson, MT with his wife, and has six children and eight grandchildren.

To learn more, visit Eric Jubb

DIRE WOLF is available on Amazon DIRE WOLF

Review: THE PARIS LAWYER by Sylvie Granotier

An intriguing and complexly plotted French mystery, in its first translation into English. I liked especially the psychology underpinning this novel:  the "front face" of the mystery is a felonious crime in rural France,  engaging the attention and investigation of a talented Parisian defense attorney. The "real" mystery lives on inside the mind of lawyer Catherine Monsigny, an exemplar of the persistence of memory--the scarce remembrance of the murder of her mother.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: ASH AND BONE by Lisa von Biela

It's not too often that I encounter a horror story as intensely character-driven as this one. Author Lisa von Biela peels her characters down to muscle and Bone, even those more secondary ( for example, the waitress; and the near-telepathy of two local police officers). Make no mistake, there is outright horror contained here--in some notably terrifying scenes; yet the real horror exists just where 19th century Polish author Joseph Conrad identified it: in the human heart.


For quite some time I had avoided the fantasy genre, preferring instead to concentrate my reading and reviewing on Horror, Supernatural, Mystery-Suspense, and Thrillers (and always, always my beloved pre-,  post-, and currently- Apocalyptic). But for me, everything goes in cycles, and lately I've been eager to take up again the perusal of fantasy. When I was made aware of author Mark T. Barnes' ECHOES OF EMPIRE trilogy, I leapt headlong and discovered what I'd been missing. Poetic, lyrical, worlds and species cleverly imagined, and even happier, excellent writing. I am truly enraptured, and very glad to be reading this superb trilogy in immediate consecutive order. Fantasy fan:  if you've not yet discovered Mark T. Barnes, you owe it to yourself to read the ECHOES OF EMPIRE trilogy.  (Book Three, THE PILLARS OF SAND, publishes May 20).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: THE RELUCTANT JESUS by Duncan Whitehead

This  whimsical and often hilarious "memoir" of the "other Son of God"--the "second-begotten" -relates the life narrative of a thirty-two-year old male Jewish architect, very successful, living in Greenwich Village. Why is his age important? Well, remember what happened to Jesus when he turned thirty-three. Seth Miller, who considers his life actually perfect, is beyond astounded when his parents, Irma and Ely, announce that Seth is the second Son of God. What's worse is the direct revelation from the deity--presented here as forgetful, not fully in control, and often absent, that Seth must battle the Anti-Christ in Armageddon. Despite the fact that he persistently reveals himself as a little too shallow, Seth does possess a core of persistence and determination--both of which will be sorely in demand as he strives to cope with this all-new set of pressures.

Review: THE 53RD PARALLEL by Carl Nordgren (RIVER OF LAKES #1)

A most lyrical and poetically imagined novel, which flows with the lilting tongue found in an Irish storyteller beside the hearth-fire, and the boundless appreciation of Nature and the wilds possessed for millennia by indigenous tribes, THE 53RD PARALLEL reaches back into the 17th century in the area later to become Ontario, Canada, then forward to.Ireland, from approaching World War Ii to.the mid-1950's. Hopes, dreams, grinding  poverty, hopelessness, despair and patriotism and rebellion all mix into this melting pot in this first novel of series to be savored, not rushed.


A fast-paced, exciting mystery I didn't want to set aside till finished, THE ORIGIN OF MURDER ( the title being a nice spin on Darwin's THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES) also is subtly educational. I gained a good bit of knowledge about several subjects, including Darwin's theories, the Galapagos Islands, the Incan Empire, and much more; so.the novel is quite satisfying for an "armchair traveller" such as myself, as well  as providing me a good mystery. Inspiration reawakened in me to read the works of Charles Darwin.  I always find the cozy "traveling" mysteries of Jerold Last particularly educational as well as exciting. In them, I "see" various locales I'll not ever visit. A great continuation of the series!

Review: ARCADIAN GENESIS by Greig Beck (Alex Hunter 0.5)

Although the series is now at four novels plus this novella, ARCADIAN  GENESIS serves as an introduction to.the character Alex Hunter, and to the ops group of which he becomes such an integral part. It clarifies some specifics of personality about Hunter, which color his   actions and decisions as part of HAWCS. I found the story line thrilling, given its near-apocalyptic-potential overtones. Violence is rampant, but effective in the story context. Oddly enough for a thriller, I found I quickly developed empathy, even for the characters only.temporarily "on stage, " and consequently found my heartstrings tugged repeatedly.

Review: WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Whoa!  This novel is "some scary!" Aimed at higher YA/ NA, still it frightened this antique reviewer! Author Laurie Faria Stolarz takes the often-reworked "multiple individuals invited to---haunted. House/resort/tropical island/exotic hotel"---and recreates it brilliantly into a plot line that is snappy, scary, and tautly knitted. I "fell in love" with each of the characters (empathy-wise) because they are so cleverly delineated. 3 cheers and 12 stars for this winner!!

Review: EXCAVATE! DINOSAURS by Jon Tennant

What a SUPERB book! I loved reading it for review and will definitely buy to share with my grands. The information is well-researched and beautifully illustrated; and what child (or adult) can resist the opportunity to put the dinosaur skeletons together, like jigsaw, and learning in the process? I can't, nor will my grandkids.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: MEDITATION ON SPACE-TIME by Leonard Seet

Father Lawrence is too good for this world. Or, Father Lawrence is too high-minded for this world. Or, Father Lawrence is too unearthly for this world. Let the individual reader decide. Myself, I think his troubles began when he stepped off the grounds of the Massachusetts monastery and headed for Tennessee-Gilead to be exact, where no Balm was to be found. Whichever, Gilead certainly opened his mind, expanded his horizons, exposed dishonesty and danger. Father Lawrence really should have kept to his monastic meditations.

WOLF by Jim Ringel BLOG TOUR


Despair, hopelessness, depression: complete loss of faith or hope in a potentially different future. Life is only survival, only going through the motions, if at all. THIS is what every Dystopian novel needs to convey, and WOLF brings it on in spades.

Our protagonist Johnny Wolf is a loser. Aging, obese, smoking, divorced, a failed salesman--but his saving grace is his love for Dogs, especially Sindra, his childhood companion, who lived 20 years before her disappearance (or death), at the time all the dogs went away (or were killed by the police). In fact, Johnny Wolf has internalized his dog: he injects a little bit of Sindra's heart or liver, every day.

Johnny is/was a salesman. He knows all the sales lessons by heart; and somewhat self-analytical (intermittently) he recognizes where he falls short.

Johnny may be an anti-hero, held in contempt by ex-wife and colleagues; but in the End, Johnny Wolf proves his mettle.

Excerpt 1
Johnny Wolfe carried his dog Sindra in a vial that he kept in his pocket. A bit of her liver, a piece of her heart.Whatever he could scrounge. Dogs die hard for a man.
The vial was a tubular glass vacuum with a rubber stopper up top, the pieces of her perfectly preserved inside. He clenched her in a tight fist thrust deep inside his raincoat pocket. His other hand he flexed to shake off the cold November morning.
Johnny stood on a side street, in an unlit doorway of a shutdown five and dime, on a Monday that ran thick with rain,in the abandoned sprawl of a northern New Jersey city, in a time that would soon be over and forgotten.
He stared at the BMW across the street with the woman inside it. The BMW sat at Johnny’s end of the street, its nose faced away from him and its rear glass tinted and speckled with frozen raindrops. The woman inside was his ex-wife, Lieutenant Kita Hasker. The car, his ex-BMW.
Johnny was a security salesman, versed in selling little bitty cameras and surveillance gear and protection against the night. Sales seemed an okay profession. But sales run in spurts, up and down. And when they were down too long, a salesman loses a bit of himself.
He can try gathering it back, but nothing comes back the same.
Kita hadn’t.
The city around him smelled like wet clothing. It hadrained for a week. Rain tore little holes in the guttered snow mounds and banged against the abandoned cars lodged between, behind, beneath those snow mounds. Johnny tightened his belly, trying to keep it from flabbing over his beltline out into the rain. His eyes puffed with warm fat. He felt a sneeze tickle inside him.
Had he stood over at the Thom McAn’s or theLaundrorama across the street, he might have better seen Kita― her exposed neck, freckled and brown this time of year, undulating with each sip of coffee, her eyelids fluttering, her throat soft and pliable as she drank.
But from the Woolworth’s where he stood, Johnny couldn’t see any of that, so he just watched.
From the distance, a shadowy scarecrow of a stranger advanced toward him, bowlegging his way through the puddles. Johnny fingered Sindra’s vial and stepped deeper into the doorway. Sindra had been a stealth young dog. She taught Johnny the art of slinking undetected. Together they’d sneak out on nocturnal rambles through boyhood neighborhoods, attacking the night and all the mysteries hidden inside it.
 and into the doorway, smelling of sweat and saturated wool.
The stranger approached wearing a rain-stained fedora with water running from its brim. The rain dribbled down the man’s pea coat, pulling it heavy across his bent shoulders. Hecame straight for Johnny with a determined gait. Arriving at the storefront, he stepped up out of the rain

He stood tall, towering over Johnny, jostling him aside.They did not look at one another. They stood together, with Johnny slightly squeezed, thinkingWait, don’t say anything,let the stranger speak first. It was a sales trick. Never looking needy. Never giving yourself away.

The man murmured, "Did you bring it?"

Wolf by Jim Ringel

Genre: Literary Horror 

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication: May 13th, 2014

Wolf on Goodreads (


Johnny Wolfe carries his dog Sindra in a vial that he keeps in his pocket.  He carries her out of loyalty.  He carries her out of guilt.  He carries her because there are no more dogs in this world. And he carries her to connect to her feral nature, so that he might take her inside himself and feel her animal wildness.

Johnny’s life is in shambles.  His sales career at Bulldog Enterprises is on the blink. On his way to work one day he comes across a colleague who is killed by a dog. But with dogs now extinct, how is this possible? Going through his colleague’s dead body, Johnny discovers the colleague is carrying a rather sizeable sales order. Figuring “he’s dead, I’m not”, Johnny decides to place the order as his own.

Except he can’t figure out what product the colleague is selling.  As he gets closer to understanding the product, Johnny starts to realize it has more and more to do with why the dogs might be returning, and why they’re so angry.

Then he starts to wonder if maybe the dogs know more about him and Sindra, and if maybe they’re angry with him.

Wolf Purchase Links:

Amazon US: Amazon US

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Barnes &; Noble: B&N

Kobo: Forthcoming

About the Author:

Jim Ringel lives in Boulder. When not writing fiction, he  can be found hiking, biking, and skiing in the Colorado mountains, or sitting still and meditating at home. He also does a lot of reading, and is a long-standing member of Denver’s Lighthouse Literary Workshop.

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