4-Star Review of “The Wolf’s Moon” by Patrick Jones

First of all I was happy to discover that this was NOT a story about werewolves. Rather it’s about someone unleashing a genetically engineered wolf species that has been extinct for thousands of years upon the unsuspecting residents of a small Missouri town. The author did an excellent job of several things I look for in a good book. The imagery was vivid and made you feel as if you were there, the characters were convincing and easy to visualize plus I could even hear them in my head in some cases, dialog was smooth, there was an appropriate emotional element, plenty of action and lots of suspense. It was well-written including the use of an omniscient viewpoint with only a few errors typical of a full-length novel. I will admit that I’m quite picky about such things and most people probably wouldn’t even notice that the couch in the protagonist’s living room went from blue to green in the course of a few pages. It was a good read that I enjoyed. It kept me wondering what would happen next and I felt as if I knew the main characters.

The only reason I’m not giving this novel five stars is the ending. I found part of it somewhat contrived and there was a major loose end that I felt was glossed over and never resolved in a satisfying manner that I won’t go into because it would constitute a definite spoiler if I did. I will say that it was one of the reasons I kept turning the pages and was disappointed that my curiosity was not satisfied. Another thing of a strictly subjective nature for which I don’t fault the author is that with an underlying theme of genetic engineering, as a science fiction fan I would have enjoyed it a bit more if that angle had been further developed. The main character in this story, Mark Lansdowne, is not a scientist, however, but a badass “special ops” type so it follows that this didn’t occur. I’m only pointing this out in case you may be looking for a bit more on the science fiction side. So this is NOT about werewolves, is NOT science fiction but does constitute a good read regarding a horrific terror being unleashed on a small town.

http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Moon-Linden-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B0077F0DFI

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A Flagrant Holiday Star Trails SSP and Special Deal

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If you follow me on Facebook you’re familiar with my “SSP’s”, a throwback to my more than two decades working at NASA where we used acronyms to the point that to outsiders they sounded like another language. When I was at NASA “SSP” stood for “Space Shuttle Program.” In this case, however, it stands for “Shameless Self-Promotion.” As an Indie Author, if I don’t hawk my own books, no one else will, either. Actually, I take that back. I have lots of amazing friends who are also fellow authors and we try to help each other out however we can, somewhat like group therapy.

Anyway, to celebrate the Christmas Holidays (which also include my birthday on Christmas Day) I’ve placed “Beyond the Hidden Sky,” the first volume of my Star Trails Tetralogy, on sale for only $.99 from now through New Year’s Day.

The series is old-fashioned, classic hard science fiction. “Star Wars” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” fans are especially likely to enjoy it. “Beyond the Hidden Sky” kicks off the family saga that continues through “A Dark of Endless Days” and “A Psilent Place Below” with the fourth and final volume, “Refractions in Frozen Time,” due out soon.

Okay, okay, I know I’ve been saying “soon” for a while. I did find great consolation for missing my various release dates (by years, in some cases) from some authors who write similar length and complexity stories to mine who said they never met their first deadline, either. So I feel at least I’m in good company, tardy though I may be. Like fruit ripening on the tree, it’s not ready ‘til it’s ready to drop. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.

I’m picky and won’t put it out there until I’m reasonably satisfied it’s the best possible product. Someone told me once an author doesn’t ever finish a book, s/he abandons it, which is definitely true for me. As fellow author, Elle Klass, has pointed out, I’m a “grammar Nazi” so I definitely try to clean up my own books as much as possible. This series comprises full-length books, i.e. well over 350 pages for the print version with “Refractions…” current hitting about 427. Thus, for the series we’re talking about over 1500 pages, enough for you to get your teeth into the various characters, my particular SciFi universe and of course my “subplots galore” as noted in one of my reader’s reviews.

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As you have probably already guessed, I’m not one of those authors who kicks out another book every six weeks or so. Not even close. I started writing this story “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” I don’t even want to admit exactly when and where that was. Let’s just say in the interim the original technology I’d depicted became science fact and I had to upgrade it considerably. I’m sure it will be (maybe already has become) obsolete at some point as well.

These stories are suitable for all ages, teen and up. However, the vocabulary and writing style is fairly sophisticated and I’ve been told by various reviewers that it doesn’t read as if written strictly for young adults. It’s not.  They are considered “clean” and are listed on the Clean Indie Reads website here: http://cleanindiereads.com/star-trails-tetralogy/

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As an Indie Author I had a lot to learn and this past year has been akin to climbing Mount Everest, in a figurative sense, at least. I was the world’s worst book blurb writer and hope I’ve gotten a little better at that at least. Here’s the latest for “Beyond the Hidden Sky.” I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions!

Moving to another planet is never easy. It’s even harder when you never arrive…

Laren Brightstar knows he’s a target since refusing to work for Augustus Troy. Accepting the chief terralogist position on the other side of the galaxy seems like the simplest solution. Getting there, however, isn’t. Not with a teenage daughter like Creena.

She’s Intelligent.

She’s a rebel.

And now she’s missing.

In deep space.

Was it an accident? Or abduction?

Either way he has to find her. Before Troy does. And somehow he knows life will never be simple again.

* * *

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here are some review excerpts so you can see that some people really like them! You can of course find these in their entirety as well as various others on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

PRAISE FOR “BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY”

A joy to read. Imaginative hard sci-fi with real-life characters… Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up. However, that and the wonderful world-building is the bonus. The start of a bigger, complex, political sci-fi thriller chock-full of mysterious baddies… and there’s a robot I swear would drive C-3PO insane.

–Ceri London, Author of “Rogue Genesis”

Subplots galore that will satisfy the appetite of the hardcore sci-fi audience.

–John Reinhard Dizon, Author of “Nightcrawler” series.

Entertaining and believable. The author takes you on a ride through the universe.

–P.S. Winn, Author of “Tunnels”

A brilliant sci-fi, young adult novel…Colorful and animated word sketches give the reader the feel of actually watching or being right in the mix of the story. I am an author as well as having taught junior high science for a number of years and think this read would be a fabulous addition to classroom libraries as well as “the hungry for sci-fi lovers” personal bookshelf.

–Elle Klass, Author of “Eilida’s Tragedy” and the “Baby Girl” series

Science theory is a large part of this story and the writer uses many scenes and situations to explore warp drive, time bumps, worm holes, and warp gullies to name a few. When explanation is needed in a book, it usually slows progression of the plot, but the author uses the science as a “key” to unlock the puzzle of the many developing situations in which Creena finds herself. It’s a great book for anyone that wants to learn more about scientific concepts while being thoroughly entertained.

–Martha Fawcett, Author of “The Permeable Web of Time” and the “Janaforma” series

This well written novel’s style plunges the reader into a new world through fabulous characterizations and sci-fi terms without interrupting the flow of the story. Reading this, I did not even realize it was considered a YA, as it is written in a mature style with realistic possibilities. As a Star Wars fan, I was deeply excited to read this book.

–Rhoda D’Ettore, Author of “Newborn Nazi”

Begins at warp speed as space travel and its theory weaves throughout the tale of a family separated by mishap and kept apart by intent.

–Noelle Harrild, School Librarian

* * *

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Here are links to the books as well as some “Book Bubbles” where you can find excerpts with commentary from yours truly.

BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume I

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/ennmW2jTIsc

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Hidden-Star-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B005JQNN2M/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-the-hidden-sky-marcha-a-fox/1112260474

Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3911767

Book Bubble Excerpt: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2861/

Book Bubble Excerpt 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3131/

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A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume II

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/P_2sbLHvBj8

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Endless-Days-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B007X5V1TE/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-dark-of-endless-days-marcha-fox/1112742769

Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3937890

Book Bubble Excerpt: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2735

Book Bubble Excerpt 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3228

Book Bubble Excerpt 3: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3754

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A PSILENT PLACE BELOW – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume III

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-MTp9vUFLy0

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Psilent-Place-Below-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B0082CW8QC/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-psilent-place-below-marcha-fox/1120000574

Create Space (print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3991023

Book Bubble: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2752

Book Bubble 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3589/

And here’s another teaser for REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume IV

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Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/SRY0P4-ZBYw

If you’d like to follow me, here are links to my various other social media locations. “Likes” are particularly appreciated! If you have one you’d like me to “like” in return let me know.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Author Website: http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

This Blog Page: https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://startrailsiv.tumblr.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/marcha-fox/86/440/326/

Google+: google.com/+MarchaFoxAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kallioperisingp/

Thank you for wading through this much longer-than-intended SSP. It somewhat demonstrates why my short stories turn into novels and my novels turn into a series. Sorry, just can’t help myself.

I wish everyone a most joyous holiday, whichever one you happen to be celebrating at this special time of year. Many thanks to my family, friends, fellow authors, fans and the many people who have helped and supported my efforts writing for many years. May all of us enjoy an happy and prosperous New Year!

Blog Tour: Susanne Leist’s “THE DEAD GAME”

I read “The Dead Game” several months ago with my review and interview with its author, Susanne Leist, elsewhere on this blog site. I’m not usually a horror or vampire fan but I thoroughly enjoyed Susanne’s story with its vivid imagery and convincing characters to say nothing of its well-sustained suspense. I am thus more than happy to participate in this blog tour where you will find an excerpt from the book, a fictitious interview with one of the characters whom I found particularly interesting due to our shared interest in astrology, and a short biographical sketch of Susanne. Those of you who are into astrology yourself will undoubtedly enjoy Shana’s “natal chart” and the “transit chart” for the party at End House. 🙂

EXCERPT FROM “THE DEAD GAME”

pic for excerptCHAPTER 22

Their car neared the house. A stunning sight unfolded before their eyes. Encased in a tight circle of trees, shimmering from the lights strung through their heavy branches, the glass house sparkled against the dark night sky: a huge glass ball shooting green sparks of light from within its rounded walls. Its great dome twinkled as radiantly as the multitude of stars shining down from above.

Todd left the car with the valet and led the way up the marble stairs to the rounded front door. Two armed men, dressed in tuxedos, guarded the door, their holstered guns only slightly marring the fantasy image running through Linda’s vivid imagination: for as soon as she turned away to admire the scenery, she was once again in fantasyland.

The panorama facing her was doused in white. Gleaming white snow caps covered the tops of the tall trees and the great dome of the house. Snow was falling on them from somewhere. She could feel snowflakes melting on her lips. They felt wet, like real snowflakes. She touched her face and hair. Her hand came away wet. She had snow on her fingertips. She searched the grounds for a snow machine, but couldn’t locate anything—not on the glass domed roof or in any of the trees. She couldn’t believe that genuine snow was falling on them from the dark sky. The landscape resembled a winter wonderland despite it being fall in Florida.

Todd placed his hand against her back to escort her into the house. The others followed them into the glowing green ball that was alive with dazzling lights, music, and laughter.

Once inside, Linda was mesmerized by the glittering glass walls that mirrored the dancing images of the guests twirling around the marble dance floor. These images were cast in bright halos of light reflected from the myriad of crystal chandeliers hanging throughout the room.

Soft candlelight from mounted crystal sconces flickered across the intricate patterns carved into the green walls. It was the most beautiful and fascinating house that she had ever seen. She glanced back and watched Shana’s mouth drop open. She was certain that Shana would agree that the house appeared simply magical.

Couples were swirling around the immense dance floor. They were dancing in a large studio between Diane’s life-sized statues. Each sculpture was carved from clear glass: each one revealing a full-sized person. Linda found them to be too lifelike. She stood next to one and stared into it frozen face. She was startled by a fleeting expression of horror that seemed to cross over its features; as if a real person was trapped inside, staring out at her from within his glass tomb. Then the look was gone and the statue appeared lifeless once again.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Game-Susanne-Leist-ebook/dp/B00F3IWF70/

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dead-game-susanne-leist/1116825442

Shana Logan is a close friend of “The Dead Game’s” main character, Linda.  She is a Tarot reader and astrologer so of course she’s my favorite since I’m also an astrologer.  I had fun with Shana talking about astrology, her Aries Sun Sign and the astrology in effect for the infamous party at End House.

INTERVIEW WITH “Dead Game” character, Shana Logan

MF: As an astrologer I get the impression that you have strong Aries influences based on your red hair, natural curiosity, competitive spirit and sometimes impulsive behavior. Have I guessed correctly?

SL: Yes, I have an Aries Sun plus a Leo ascendant and Sagittarius Moon so my “big three” form a Grand Fire Trine. Needless to say I have a rather generous helping of Fire in my chart which gives me a lot of spunk and energy. I love nice things and always dress in pretty, bright colors, which is obviously my Leo ascendant. My curiosity is greatly enhanced as well as my interest in so many different things derives from my Sag Moon.

MF: Aries typically love sports. Besides volleyball, which are your favorites?

SL: I have my sign ruler, Mars, in the 11th house of groups so I love team sports of all kinds. One of my favorites in high school was track, as you would expect with these long legs of mine. I could compete with the others in my team while helping the team as a whole by doing well. As you know, Aries don’t like to lose. I love tennis, too, both singles and doubles. I’ve played in a couple tournaments and had a blast.

MF: What sets off your temper the fastest? In other words, what’s your pet peeve?

SL: Hahaha! I hate being told what to do. Like that time when Sam called me “sweetheart” and accused me of being too independent. Of course I am, and proud of it, and that’s the very reason I like to make my own decisions. I admit sometimes I react too quickly and get into trouble but then I have no one to blame but myself.

MF: What is the most interesting thing you’ve discovered while doing an astrological reading?

SL: When there’s an accident, destructive storm or major event I always like to check the chart and see what was going on in the heavens. I found it fascinating that for the Boston Marathon bombing a few years ago that the asteroid named Marathon was in a key place of the chart, right on the Midheaven, which suggested it would be in the news. There was also a massive tornado, the one that killed some professional storm chasers, which occurred when an asteroid did a fly-by of Earth.

I don’t believe in coincidences and find these show that something is definitely going on astrologically. Also, with all that fuss about December 21, 2012, I could tell by the chart that the world wasn’t going to end. It implied a shift in consciousness, which seems to apply since things have been a bit different since then. Probably because everyone thought they were going to die. An 8th house experience for the world, where the 8th house includes transformations, death, intense experiences and so forth.

MF: You did a Tarot reading for the party at End House. Did you run an astrological chart as well? If so, how did that correlate with the cards?

SL: They complemented each other in a very scary way. For one thing, it had a Cardinal Grand Cross which usually is a bad sign, anyway. Deception was clearly part of the event as well as potentially lethal aggression with Mars ruling the chart and the 8th house of death. Pluto was on the Midheaven opposing Jupiter in the 4th showing a public display of power and control taking place in someone’s home. The only favorable aspect in the entire chart was a trine between Saturn and Neptune which of course wasn’t fortunate but indicated further the dissolving of boundaries with Neptune conjunct the 12th house cusp, more indication of hidden enemies.

MF: How much does your ability to read people relate to reading their horoscope?

SL: Of course I gather people’s birth data whenever I can get it out of them but needless to say the people in Oasis, at least the old-timers, weren’t very willing to share theirs since the date alone would have been very telling. It’s no wonder they were trying to drive me out of town. Astrology can reveal all sorts of things besides a person’s natural inclinations, however. Going into property records and obtaining the date when people closed on their store or property revealed a lot as well. At least when I could get it. Sometimes it went back so far I couldn’t ever track it down.

My friends are usually more than willing to provide their information to me in return for a free reading. I don’t mind because it’s fun to get to know them at that level and help them understand themselves a little better. I did a compatibility analysis for Mike and David which was hilarious. It totally showed why those two are always butting heads as well as why they are partners in an antique store.

MF: Are you psychic in addition to doing astrology and card readings?

SL: A little bit. I get strong impressions which I’ve learned the hard way that I should pay attention to. My independent and sometimes stubborn nature can bite me sometimes when I have a bad feeling but then someone tells me to be careful, which of course I can’t listen to! LOL! Usually when I get a bad feeling I turn to the cards or a horoscope and take it from there. I probably should have done a horary reading on the party and whether or not we should go. I’m less inclined to cut off my nose to spite my face when the advice comes from a chart!

MF: When your shop was ransacked did you check your transits to see what was going on?

SL: Of course! And there was all sorts of 12th house stuff which indicated an attack by a hidden enemy. Lots of this is apparent until after-the-fact because any astrological aspect has numerous interpretations and I try not to be totally paranoid about this place. Nonetheless, I’m paying more attention to my own transits than I did before after what has been going on here lately.

MF: Do you plan to stay in Oasis for the long haul? Or will you be leaving as a result of some of the unpleasant situations and strange characters you have for neighbors?

SL: My sense of adventure will probably keep me here unless things get a lot worse. I’ll keep an eye on that, needless to say, and pay close attention to what my transits and solar return has to say. I haven’t looked at it yet because I don’t mind a few surprises and don’t want to let my curiosity ruin my fun. I love to live each day as it comes and in most cases the more excitement the better. But even I have my limits and in spite of my Aries nature know when it gets to the point it’s time to turn tail and run. But not yet. There are too many unanswered questions I’m dying to find the answer to. Hopefully not literally. LOL.

SHANA’S NATAL CHART (Just for fun for the benefit of any other astrologers out there)

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TRANSIT CHART FOR THE PARTY AT END HOUSE

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SUSANNE LEIST

Profile

Susanne Leist graduated with an M.B.A. in Finance. Wherever life has led her, through the hectic commodities’ markets or the number-crunching field of budgeting, she’s continued to read and daydream. Unbeknownst to her, she had been pursuing her dream all along, her dream of putting her words down on paper for everyone to enjoy. She currently resides on Long Island with her husband, two daughters, and Maltese.

Her first book, The Dead Game, is a paranormal thriller with humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. Her goal has been to write a book different than the usual vampire story or murder mystery. She wanted a murder mystery with victims, clues, and suspects. She created that and much more. The book has revolving rooms, traps, falling cages, and anything her active imagination could create. The Dead Game is a fun ride into the realms of the supernatural.

“Tammy” Disappoints to the Point of Depression

I first learned that a comedy was not necessarily funny many years ago when I read William Saroyan’s novel, “The Human Comedy.” While a comedy often depicts an irreverent look at humanity which may be perceived as humorous, this is not always the case. And some things which you expect to be humorous simply aren’t. And that was my impression of the movie “Tammy” which is currently out for purchase via various cable and satellite TV providers.

To start out on a positive note I will say that the acting was excellent. Melissa McCarthy was more than convincing as Tammy; Susan Sarandon did an excellent job as Grandma and of course, Kathy Bates did her usual outstanding job as Leanor. If anything, the story was too real and too convincing as a slice of life in today’s world. Someday it may be categorized as a docu-drama depicting the culture of 2014 (or lack thereof), somewhat like “Blast from the Past” captures the 1950s. For this and its convincing content I would give it one star.

The basic story is of a young, obese young woman whose name, of course, is Tammy (McCarthy), who has had a very bad day. First, she wrecks her car, proceeds to lose her job and then, the coup de gras, she gets home early to find her husband enjoying an intimate dinner with a female neighbor. Justifiably upset, she heads to her parents’ house, who seem relatively normal, but also happen to have an extra house guest, i.e., “Grandma,” (Sarandon) who has a wad of cash and a good car so before you can say “lickity split” Grandma and Tammy head out on a road trip.

And everything goes steadily downhill from there.

I am not amused by a character who is dirty, gross, crude and disgusting besides being overtly stupid and disrespectful of everything and everyone including the law. While Tammy does do some changing throughout the course of the movie, particularly while sitting in a jail cell, if anything this movie demonstrated exactly what is wrong with the world today. This is not to say that I look down on people who work in fast-food restaurants, are grossly overweight (I’ve packed on quite a few extra pounds myself over the years) or have finally had enough and have a meltdown. I know the world is not fair and that it’s difficult to make it financially or otherwise in today’s world. The “redneck” mentality has been highly glamorized the past few years and yes, I’ve laughed at Jeff Foxworthy and various others as much as anyone else, but even rednecks usually have more dignity than shown in this film. I suspect that even the folks on Duck Dynasty would be offended.

The best part of this pitiful story is when Leanor (Bates) tells Tammy like it is: There is no free lunch and if you want to have something you have to work for it, hard. Self-pity and not caring about your appearance, language, behavior or future lead nowhere but the dead-end road found somewhere in the vicinity where this movie started.

Maybe Leanor’s message will be absorbed by those who can relate to this pitiful character or maybe it won’t. You can always hope. Personally I found this flick downright depressing as a sad commentary on at least one of the reasons why the world is in the fix it is today.