“The Klansman’s Wife” by Scott Skipper

klansmanswife

First of all, I know that I’ve been absent from my reviewing duties for a while now. That’s  because I’ve been up to my eyeballs writing a story that began as a cozy mystery that expanded into a thousand-page conspiracy thriller which has required an astounding amount of research. I truly hope to get at least the first book out in a few months. I expect it will be worth the wait.  Recently I took a trip, however, which gave me time to read on the plane and this was the story I selected. It definitely made the miles fly by at a rapid pace.


The title alone constitutes a spoiler though this cautionary tale definitely drives the message home. Set in South Carolina in the 1970s, this gripping story captures the dark side of the south in the post 60s Civil Rights era. This culture was entirely off the radar of those who lived in other parts of the country and deserves to be read for its education value alone.

I have to smile at the main character’s name, Mason, a Californian who definitely has some interesting revelations and adventures upon venturing below the Mason-Dixon line. A young man in his late 20s who has recently lost his job and been divorced by his wife accepts employment at a company in South Carolina that manufacturers machines used in the printing industry. From reviewing ECRs (engineering change requests) to interactions between employees with a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds, the author did a great job capturing the work climate of such a facility which included plenty of gossip and the inevitable backbiting. It was easy to visualize the environment and feel as if you, too, were an employee observing the drama and goings-on.

Mason is immediately attracted to a flirtatious woman named Jill. Despite warnings that her abusive husband is the Grand Knight of the local KKK, he pursues a relationship with her. As expected, he is attacked and harassed in a vicious manner, any relief from law enforcement nonexistent since they are also members of the Klan. His obsession with her is not to be doused, however, and ultimately becomes coupled with compassion and the desire to help her escape her abusive marriage.

Further description will definitely tread upon spoiler territory, though I’m sure just about anyone can figure out that this is probably not going to end well. Actually, the ending does carry a few major surprises, though the author did a good job of alluding to them. This suspense-laden story is not only a warning not to allow your libido to lure you into dangerous situations, but also provides a glimpse into what it was like in the Deep South a half-century ago. While some of it has improved, it’s still a place immersed in echoes of a culture that few outsiders understand.

Scott Skipper is one of my favorite authors, particularly his Alien Affairs series. Being much darker, this novel lacks the dry humor found there, but his skilled writing style and attention to detail make it an outstanding read.

As mentioned earlier, I read this story while on an airplane. As I was about to get into my car in the remote long-term parking lot I heard a shot. Duly sensitized by the action in the book, I ducked, wondering what was going on and whether I was in mortal danger. Then it dawned on me that it was New Year’s Eve and all I’d heard was a firecracker.  Nonetheless, it illustrated the author’s skill in pulling me into the story. Don’t miss it.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here. You can learn more about Scott Skipper and his other stories through his social media links below.

Official Author’s Website www.ScottSkipper.com
Facebook.com/Scott Skipper
@SSkipperAuthor

A Perfect Story for Native American Heritage Month

morningstar

Morning Star: Let Us Make a New Way

by Richard DeSirey


November is Native American Heritage Month and if you want to expand your knowledge of American History there is no better place to start than with this well-written, historically accurate story.


This book chronicles the story of those who came to be known as the Northern Cheyenne. They were driven from their ancestral home in the Black Hills area to Kansas, but promised if they went peacefully, they could return to their sacred ground at a later time. Of course this promise was not honored. Determined to return to the land given to them by the Great Spirit, whom they knew as Maheo, they escaped from the barracks in which over 300 had been imprisoned without food, water or heat in the winter and started the long trek back to Montana.

This band was led by a wise chief and leader whose name was Morning Star. In the historical record, he is usually referred to as Dull Knife, a derogatory nickname given to him by the Sioux (Lakota) because he was a peacemaker and wanted to co-exist with the white man. Clearly this is not what the white man wanted. Promises and treaties were made and consistently broken. Those who signed them on behalf of the United States often didn’t have the authority to enforce them. Treaties had to be ratified by Congress, and when this didn’t happen, the terms of the treaty were not met, though the Native Americans were expected to honor their side of the agreement. The military was especially brutal, leaders often decorated for the cowardly slaughter of peaceful groups that included women, children, and the elderly. Yes, Custer did get what he deserved.

The original explorers of North America treated the Natives Americans horribly, especially the Spanish and English. Believe it or not, the French showed them more respect. When the United States attained their independence, the treatment of the Native Americans got even worse. They were in the way as far as western expansion and “Manifest Destiny” were concerned and treated worse than animals or even slaves because they were in the way and of no value.

It is absolutely shameful and a national embarrassment that it took a court decision to declare them as human! Even the pope had declared it acceptable to slaughter indigenous people. In what universe is this acceptable?

As a baby boomer, my impression of the First Americans was that they were blood-thirsty, uncivilized savages. This came from what I was taught in horrifically biased history classes combined with the TV and movies of time. Nothing could be farther from the truth, yet never was it mentioned the depth and spirituality of the culture that they espoused, especially the Cheyenne tribe. In many respects, they achieved a culture that was far more advanced than our own.

As an author myself I am currently working on a trilogy in which my main character is Cheyenne. This has motivated me to do a significant amount of research to assure its accuracy. I have been shocked, heart-broken and ashamed of my country as I have learned how these people were treated. I am currently working with a full-blooded Cheyenne to further develop this character and he is the one who gifted me with this book. The author worked diligently with the Cheyenne people for decades to gather Morning Star’s story as it had been preserved by oral tradition by his descendants. This book is the real deal.

You owe it to yourself to learn how history really unfolded in this country. With all the controversy these days over immigration, try putting yourself in the moccasins of the First Americans as the white man invaded them from across the Great Waters, then proceeded to systematically steal their land.

Would you fight back if they refused to negotiate? You bet you would.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Colorado’s “Million Dollar Highway”

These pictures capture the locale of my upcoming novels in “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon” trilogy perfectly! Are they breathtaking or what?

dawn2dawn photography

One of the most scenic highways in the United States, if not one of the most dangerous, the Million Dollar Highway is a must drive if you’re in Colorado. As part of US Route 550, the 25 miles from Ouray to Silverton represents the most scary and jaw dropping stretch. It was originally built in 1882 to serve the local mining industry. Sheer drop offs to my right caused me to slow down and find a safe spot for picture taking.

Uncompahgre Gorge, just south of Ouray.

The town of Ouray

No guardrails here!

I’d hate to drive through here in winter.

Red Mountain

Fall colors can be amazing

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Cold Weather has Arrived! Celebrate with these Recipes Using an Old Favorite: Oatmeal!

Kindle Cover copy

After a long, hot summer, cooler weather has finally arrived. If you’re ready for some true comfort food from an old favorite, be sure to check out this delightful cookbook from author, Annie Douglass Lima! In her own words…


My latest writing project is very different from anything else I’ve written. It’s a cookbook! But those who know how much I love fantasy might not be surprised that this cookbook ended up with a fantasy theme. Many of the recipes have names inspired by fairy tales or fantasy stories, and I love the hints of fantasy in the two covers designed by the awesome Savannah Jezowski.

Why two different covers? The paperback version of the cookbook is an unusual shape, due to the unusual recipe format (more information about that below), so it couldn’t share a cover with the ebook.

Some people might be surprised, though, that the whole book is focused on oatmeal. After all, isn’t oatmeal that boring goop that nobody really eats if there’s anything else available?

NOT ANYMORE! In this book, you’ll find recipes for delectable dishes like creamy mango coconut spice oatmeal, cinnamon almond oatmeal, blueberry cream cheese oatmeal, and (my personal favorite:) caramel banana oatmeal with peanut butter. (Okay, so that one is a little closer to the dessert end of the spectrum than the porridge end!)

Take a look at the book blurb below for more details:

Are you tired of high-sugar, low-health-value instant oatmeals in tiny serving packets full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives? Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal contains 70 hearty recipes packed with natural ingredients and brimful of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. All are gluten free, assuming you use gluten-free oats, and vegan (or they come with a vegan option). Most require no salt so are perfect for a low sodium diet. Almost all of these recipes can be prepared in ten minutes or less, saving you time in your busy morning.

Oh … and no more math! Whether you’re cooking just for yourself, for a family of six, or any number in between, every recipe comes in the form of a handy table that shows exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need for however many servings you want.

Tasty enough for kids to crave, but wholesome enough to appeal to health-conscious parents, these mouth-watering recipes will give you plenty of energy for your day while pleasing your taste buds too. Download Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal now and say goodbye to artificial breakfasts that don’t fully satisfy.

Take a peek at a few of the fun recipe titles (with pictures courtesy of photographer Denise Johnson). Then scroll down for a free recipe!

TOC with pics copy

And now for a free oatmeal recipe in the unique format I use in Once Upon a Bowl of Oatmeal:

Blueberry White Chocolate recipe

WHITE CH

Ready to grab your copy? Click here to download the ebook for your Kindle or to order the paperback cookbook. And if you enjoy the recipes, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or Bookbub!

About the Author:

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and now a cookbook. When she isn’t teaching, writing, or experimenting with new flavors of oatmeal, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima Online:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Sign up for her mailing list so she can let you know when new books are available. When you sign up, she’ll send you a free copy of one of her fantasy books! http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

 

 

“Dark Energy”: Another hilarious episode in “The Alien Affairs” Series

DarkEnergy

The Alien Affairs team is at it again in another hilarious adventure. I love this series and it is one of the few that I have actually read more than once. It’s witty, politically incorrect, intelligent, and never fails to make me laugh, sometimes hysterically. There were a few parts in this one where I laughed so hard I was in tears, especially when they retrieved that “American hero” mentioned in the online book description.  I was reading this while in the waiting room for a doctor’s appointment and I was getting all sorts of funny looks when I would giggle out loud. Best of all, by the time they took me back to see the doctor, my blood pressure was surprisingly low, proving that laughter truly is the best medicine.

There is plenty to be worried about in the world today. As with most things in life that are troubling, we can either cry or laugh. I much prefer to laugh and these stories are guaranteed to generate plenty. Whether it’s grey alien, Deschler, and his persistent body odor issues; banter between Terrie and their avatar, Cassandra; or Uncle Eddie and his antics with Nordic wonder, Emelda (no doubt pictured on the cover), the snarky dialog, clever sci-fi plot that’s full of surprising twists and turns, and of course the author’s strong writing style, kept me fully entertained.

This episode deals with finding a new home for a bunch of Nordic invaders, the options for which lie in different time-frames and dimensions. The fact that these uninvited guests think that Earth’s terraforming efforts on Mars are insufficient,  making it no more than another “sh*thole” planet, cause all sorts of problems for the team, the solutions to which are innovative and original as well as suspense-filled.  There’s a lot of bouncing back and forth through time and space with fascinating effects that testify to the author’s fantastic imagination.

This is the fifth in the Alien Affairs series and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Keep ’em coming, Scott, you have created a hilarious world that is far better than the one we live in.

You can pick up your copy of “Dark Energy” on Amazon here.

Click on the titles to see my reviews for other books in this series, which include Alien Affairs, Alien Eyes & Alien Child,  and Gravity Waves.

Here are my reviews for additional stories by this author, who you can probably tell is clearly one of my favorites.

A Little Rebellion Now and Then

Half-Life.

Sneak Preview: Marcha Fox’s Latest Thriller!

Here’s an early review of my upcoming “Curse of Dead Horse Canyon” trilogy that offers a sneak peek into what I’ve been working on the past year. My current release date is March 2020 so I can release all three books at once so people aren’t gnashing their teeth over the cliffhangers.

Center Stage With John Reinhard Dizon

The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon by Marcha Fox is an entertaining, suspenseful and compelling novel by the accomplished Texas indie lit author. The author extends her horizons beyond the sci-fi genre upon which she established her reputation. Canyon is a thriller that focuses on corporate crime and ecological issues while enlightening us on the state of the Indian community in Colorado and its relevance in the modern world.

The story takes place in Belton, a small town amidst the ski resort area of Colorado where Sara and Bryan Reynolds are enjoying a drive along the countryside. Their sojourn ends in tragedy as a car accident costs Bryan his life. Will and Connie Montgomery, Sara’s parents, are there in her time of need as is Charlie Whitehorse, an Indian of Cheyenne heritage who is part of the Native American community. Charlie is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the accident. He…

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New Release from Annie Douglass Lima!

King of Malorn Cover

Thanks for stopping by! Take a look at this brand-new fantasy adventure story with a hint of romance by author Annie Douglass Lima.

You can download a copy of the ebook for free between July 9th and 11th!

Book Description:

Life as the king’s younger sister should be exciting.

Not for Princess Kalendria. She’s sick of the dissent and of constantly having her family undermined by those who think they could rule Malorn better than King Korram.

Hoping to lighten the mood in the palace, Kalendria plans a ball to celebrate her seventeenth birthday. It doesn’t hurt that their handsome Alasian ally King Jaymin has promised to attend, and she’s been waiting for him to notice her for as long as she can remember.

But unfriendly forces have their own party plans. When Kalendria, Korram, and Jaymin barely survive an assassination attempt, their only recourse is to flee into the wilderness. Tracked by unknown assassins, they must figure out whom they can trust and who is behind the plot. Can Kalendria help her brother reclaim his throne – oh, and catch Jaymin’s attention while she’s at it – before they are all killed and war destroys both kingdoms?

Click here to download your copy of King of Malorn on Amazon now! 

Click here to see King of Malorn on Goodreads.

Annals of AlasiaSeries Information:

King of Malorn is book 5 in the Annals of Alasia. But don’t worry if you haven’t read the others; it will still make sense on its own.

Each of the first four books can stand on its own as well. They each deal with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn.

Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life.

In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded.

Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion.

The Nameless Soldier shows how a young Alasian soldier lives through the Invasion but then has to survive and make a name for himself in enemy-occupied Alasia.
In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap. 

I also have a short ebook of “interviews” that I conducted with the characters in the other three books. Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews is not available on Amazon, but I send a free copy to anyone who signs up for my mailing list (to receive updates when I release new books or occasionally offer them for free).

Annie Douglass LimaAuthor Biography:

Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and Bible verse coloring and activity books. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.

Author Contact Info:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/anniedouglasslima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/letters-from-annie-douglass-lima-6275229

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/annie-douglass-lima

 

 

Today’s Writing Tip

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There are various pros, cons, and opinions with regard to how many characters to include in your story. I’m not going to go into that argument here, especially since I’m probably unqualified to do so in a fair and unbiased manner. By stories tend to be highly populated, though they will all serve a purpose somewhere along the plot line.

This tip is about how to manage a huge cast of characters, assuming they’re justified being there in the first place. Major characters who appear regularly throughout the story are well-established enough that reminding your reader who they are will be annoying. However, they may need a reminder about the minor ones from time to time so they can keep them straight. Placing them in a scene that fits their role sometimes will suffice. Otherwise a word of two about who they are (such as “police captain, doctor, or grocery clerk so-and-so, blah blah blah”) is helpful.

Having a dramatis personae is also highly recommended, though they are more difficult to refer back to in an ebook..

Today’s Writing Tip

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This tip is an offshoot of yesterday’s, which related to maintaining a strong sense of space and time. Flashbacks are often important to your story. They provide background, either to events or  the character’s experience base as it relates to the plot. Entering and exiting a flashback properly is important, again so you don’t lose your reader.

Thus, if you end a chapter or section with a flashback, be sure to take the reader back to the present so they’re not lost when the story returns to its normal time frame. This can be done at the flashback’s conclusion or at the beginning of the next section, whichever works better. It goes without saying you should do this clearly if it’s mid-section or mid-chapter as well.

Today’s Writing Tip

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This is another tip that makes sure you keep your reader engaged and thus avoid any confusion that throws them out of the story. When you start a new chapter or section, if a significant amount of time has passed, be sure to tell the reader so s/he doesn’t think something was missed or lost.

A sense of time and place is important to a story. It’s one of the things that grounds your reader. If this is unclear and they feel lost, you may lose them entirely. If they have to go back and reread something, or conversely, keep reading while scratching their head until it’s more clear, you have failed in your execution.  Frustration or not feeling comfortably entrenched in a story does not contribute to a positive reading experience.

As an author, such things may be perfectly clear to you, but make sure your transitions are such you don’t leave your reader behind, eating your dust.