Review of “Non-Profit” by Larry Hyatt

non-profitcvr

The author is clearly a talented writer. The story flowed nicely and his characters were fairly well-developed. I think there may have been a few too many characters, but the story revolved around a conference held for those working for non-profit organizations in Louisiana, so a fair amount of people were required. Since I’m retired, in many ways the story reminded me too much of work, LOL. Those who work in the non-profit industry would probably enjoy it. I did laugh out loud several times at their antics. The politics, interaction between employees, dirty little secrets, and so forth were certainly credible and somewhat typical of any office environment, with the added flavor of the South.

One thing I found confusing and then annoying was the fact the author was inconsistent in how he spelled one of the main characters name–sometimes it was Rachael and others Rachel, which at first made be think it was two different people. Another character, Valerie, was also spelled Valarie. It’s also usually a good idea to keep character names different enough they don’t get confused. Having a Rebecca, Jacob, Josh, and the protagonist, Jay, didn’t help keep them separate.

There was also minimal if any physical description regarding what the characters looked like. I realize some readers prefer to imagine what a character looks like themselves and not be told, so this is subjective and a moot point, but I prefer to have that included. I suppose the cover did some of this, which was clever and a great representation of the story. To the author’s credit, there was only one or two actual typos, which I always appreciate. As a grammar Nazi, I can really go on a rant when I’m continually thrown out of a story due to flaws that should have been caught by an editor, proofreader, or even a spellchecker. A few times I got lost regarding who was speaking with the group dialogs, but at least the conversations sounded real.

To me, this was primarily the story of a crazy week at a conference. While it was credible, it wasn’t that interesting to someone outside the industry, but I think the author has the talent to make a more interesting story, perhaps throwing a murder or some other mystery in there for his next work.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Advertisements

What do Wacky Sci-Fi, the LSAT, and MCAT have in Common?

I certainly never would have thought avant garde science fiction and entrance test preparation manuals for law or medical school would have anything in common–until I came across author, Jay Cutts. Our “meeting” was in a somewhat notorious manner, in that he gave one of my books a rather scathing review, replete with a grammar lesson about the use of periods. However, after my initial tantrum, I had to admit he was correct, so subsequently edited the book accordingly, sent him the revised copy, and he generously improved the book’s rating. It was during this correspondence that I discovered that, in addition to being a grammar Nazi, he was a fellow author as well as a professional editor.  After sampling his brand of humor in his novels on his website, I wanted to know more about him, so asked him for an interview. Indeed, he is as diverse and unconventional as I suspected. To wit:

MF: I find it fascinating that your writing spans such diverse writing skills, i.e., editing study guides for the LSAT and MCAT versus the wacky humor of Death by Haggis and Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom. Conveying facts and editing are left brain activities while fiction falls more on the right. Which talent were you aware of first? Does one come more easily than the other?

JC: Yes, it’s true that I’ve edited and/or written thousands of pages of science and logic! Actually, it feels to me that real creativity requires both some “organizing” skills and some “wild fantasy” skills. The trick is to keep my imagination from going crazy when I’m writing non-fiction stuff. My publisher has to make sure I haven’t included bizarre aliens in my test prep materials. In the LSAT book I did include a logic dialogue between my dog (Baxter) and the neighbor’s dog (Beardsley). I finally confessed to my editor but she said not to worry. All authors do that. Of course, the dialogue was pure fiction because Baxter NEVER talks to Beardsley, stuck-up little mutt that he is.

MF: I can see that. And cats are even worse. Tell us about your educational background. Where did you go to school, what did you major in when you were in college, etc. If you were to go back to school now, what would you study?

JC: I went to the University of Michigan, where I tried to major in (in chronological order) chemistry and/or cooking, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics. I eventually managed to complete the linguistics degree. Many  years later I got a masters in special education.

If I were to go back to school now, I would be anxious for summer vacation to come! I have always loved summer vacation more than anything.

If I had to take classes, they would be in dance and jazz piano.

MF: I can relate. Summer was always my favorite, too. Who are your favorite authors? Whose work do you enjoy most and why? Did any one in particular influence you more than the others?

JC: Terry Pratchett is my favorite. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a great imagination and really captures the human condition. I’ve never read anyone else with his combination of qualities. I also like Kage Baker, Jasper Fforde, Connie Willis, and Douglas Adams. I once read a Terry Pratchett novel in Slovak. It’s amazing how well he writes in Slovak!!

MF: I’m impressed that you can read Slovak! What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had? What did you learn from it? Has it affected your writing in any way?

JC: I once cleaned houses. It affected my writing in that my hands were too sore to write!

MF: Harsh detergents can do that. Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea for them? Do they have a hidden message?

JC: Death by Haggis had a very interesting genesis (as explained in its intro.) I have an old friend, Terry Boothman, who is a great writer with a wonderful sense of humor. We often email back and forth a dozen or more times  a day with riddles and jokes.

At one point I suggested to him that he send me the first line for a novel and that I would write back. Continuing in that way I figured we could complete the book in a couple weeks. He did send me a wacky first line and I responded.

I found that every time I tried to develop a plot, he instinctively destroyed whatever I had started. That made for an amazing challenge. Eventually he dropped out of the project and let me finish it myself. The basic plot and characters of the story, however, were set in those early exchanges that were random and chaotic.

I wrote Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom because one of my Barron’s (test prep publisher) contacts said they were now publishing YA fiction. I asked him if he had a particular request for a type of story that he thought could sell. He said I could just write whatever I wanted.

A year later I sent him the result, which he said was very nice but they don’t really publish sci fi. Oops.

In any case the character of Annie was inspired in part by my granddaughter and I hope some day she will read it!

MF: For what it’s worth, I gave a copy of it to my granddaughter for Christmas and I hope she’ll read it, too! Maybe even give you a review, since she’s an aspiring author herself so should appreciate the concept of reviews! What is your life like outside of writing?  Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

JC: When I’m not writing, I sometimes take a three minute break for a sponge bath and to open a random can of, hopefully, food from the kitchen.

Just kidding.

I like to dance (especially with my sweetie), play the accordion and piano, garden, travel, study strange languages, go to meditation retreats and roller skate with my granddaughter.

MF: My paternal grandfather was a linguist, but he had the ill-grace to die before I was born. Supposedly, he spoke nine languages. You’re a brave soul to roller skate, which I gave up in 9th grade after breaking my tailbone. Who (living or dead) would you like to invite for dinner? What would you like to know about him or her?

JC: I would invite the living. It’s hard to know what to cook for the dead. They are so picky. And I hate it when the food dribbles out of their mouths like that. Yuck.

MF: There’s that logic side of yours coming out again. Switching to the creative, is there any particular song you’d pick to go with your books?

JC: House of the Rising Sun. Three drunk guys once paid me $20 to play it on the accordion on the streets of Tempe, Arizona. I have a feeling that the next day, they wondered what happened to all their money.

deathbyhaggisNo but seriously folks, I did produce a trailer for Death by Haggis and it has some cool detective-y music. It’s on youtube here. If the book is ever made into a movie, it could have some eery Scottish music in it. And of course some Greek music when the hero arrives in the Aegean.

I’ve never thought about music for Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom. It’s about teens so I suppose it would have to have some godawful rap music in it. Just sayin’.

MF: Will there be a sequel to Annie Gomez and the Giant Foot of Doom or Death by Haggis? If so, do you have anything you’d like to tell us about it or a target day for its release?

JC: I don’t have plans for sequels for either. I’m waiting for all you fans to beg me desperately to write more.  In the meantime I’ve been very much enjoying writing short stories. I’ve poured my heart and funny bone (assuming one can pour a funny bone) out into them.

I’m thinking of publishing a collection of short stories woven together by an overall story, possibly based on a Time Lizard, who may just happen to have appeared – though not identified as such – as a character in Annie Gomez.

MF: Some of these characters who just appear are among the best. Anything else you’d like to tell your existing and potential readers and fans?

JC: Eat a nectarine. Half a peach, half a plum. It’s a hell of a fruit. And never run for a bus. Just stroll, jaunty jolly. (Shamelessly quoted from Mel Brooks’ 2000 year old man.)

Other than that, if you like humor in your sci fi/fantasy and admire writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, please do browse through my website at cuttsbooks.wordpress.com

I also send free short stories monthly to my Twitter followers. I’m at @jaycuttsbooks.

Thanks for allowing me to do an interview. I enjoy being in touch with readers and writers!

MF: Thank you, Jay, for sharing your wit! I hope my blog readers check out your books, which can be found on Amazon by following these links:

Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom

Death by Haggis

Three Cheers & Five Stars for Scott Skipper’s “Alien Affairs” Trilogy

I read the first book in this series, “Alien Affairs”, a few years ago and always intended to read the others, but had a TBR list that precluded it at the time.  When a health issue drove me toward reading something that would make me laugh (laughter is the best medicine after all, right?), I reread “Alien Affairs”, then immediately dove into the sequels. I was not disappointed.

As a fan of dry, dark humor, not only did this one make me laugh, it was also a great, highly suspenseful story with a complex plot of its own with some new engaging characters. With the human race left sterile by the attack depicted in book one, now the characters need to figure out how to reverse the effects. Coupled with that, however, is a wave of terrorist attacks, which rather than simply using explosives to kill people, disperse the deadly ebola virus instead. Thus, the chase is on, the team trying to second guess the terrorists with regard to where they’ll strike next while also trying to develop the antivirus to say nothing of trying to live their personal lives in the midst of chaos.

Alien technology recorded in an ereader that main character, Carrie Player, obtained in book one, contains the information they need to beat the virus, which they hope to employ to reverse the sterility situation as well, since it’s caused by a virus. Nothing is simple, though, because the aliens are still hanging around committing random abductions to make sure their extermination plan has succeeded. If they discover their mission to wipe us out humanely by attrition has failed, they’ll simply kill off everyone real-time with their gravity wave weapons, though we’re on the trail to developing them as well, thanks to the same ereader.

Anyone who has left-leaning political views would probably find this book outrageously offensive.  I found it refreshing and satisfying, the characters’ goals such that could undoubtedly improve upon the current world situation. There’s no sugar coating of what’s going on or where we’re heading, if someone doesn’t take drastic steps soon. While I appreciate the symbolism vampires and zombies represent in numerous dystopia novels, this cautionary tale doesn’t pull any punches with regard to where the greatest threat really lies. These stories are not trivialized satire; they are well-written, masterfully constructed, brilliant looks at how our way of life is crumbling before our eyes. Read it and weep.

If you haven’t read “Alien Affairs” this book would still make sense since the author did an outstanding job of recapping major events that tie into this one. However, I recommend starting with book one since it sets the stage by going all the way back to the Roswell UFO crash back in 1947. If you’re a UFO or conspiracy aficionado, you’re bound to thoroughly enjoy these well-written, fast-moving stories populated with vivid, often snarky characters you’re sure to cheer on in their quest to save the world from annihilation.

Pick up your copy of Book 2 on Amazon here.

Moving on to Book 3, “Alien Child”, the third and final book in the “Alien Affairs” series, this one is slightly different since it’s written through the viewpoint of Terrie Deshler, who is Carrie Player’s child (born in the end of book two as the result of an alien encounter in book one) who has 2% alien DNA.  Now a teenager, she’s brilliant, snarky, sexy, and telepathic, her black eyes the only visible evidence of her alien heritage. This is enough for her to be viewed as an abomination, so she and her mother become the target of government supported terrorist attacks. Thus, they are forced to live in a walled compound surrounded by heavily armed security details.

Having found an anti-virus which can reverse the sterility imposed upon the world in book one, it is being selectively dispersed only to graduates of Georgia Turnbull’s elite Academy, their goal to repopulate the earth with educated, hard-working, morally solid individuals. Controversial, yes, but what intelligent person hasn’t entertained the thought that there are some people on this planet who simply shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce? Yet, there is the matter of who should make such a radical decision? It’s even more complicated, however, because if the aliens discover their plan to destroy the entire human race has failed, they’ll employ more violent means to do so and be done with it.

Like the other books in this series, this one is loaded with political incorrectness. However, anyone who thinks we’ve made strides forward in the past several years is either blind or can’t be playing with a full deck. It’s thought-provoking to consider who the real enemy is: The aliens who want to destroy the human race because they don’t want our propensity for violence unleashed on the entire galaxy? Or the terrorists and their sympathizers in the government itself, who are clearly on the path to destroying civilization as we know it?

Yet, when push comes to shove, the aliens turn out to be Carrie and Terrie’s allies, providing some very satisfying, high-five moments, though the problem remains regarding the alien’s refusal to accept a failed mission due to the sterility issue. There are certainly plenty of other loose ends that the author could continue to develop, should he so choose to continue the series.

I blew through this book in a single day, wondering how it would end, which certainly held some interesting twists and surprises.  Dark, satirical humor and suspense aside, this thought-provoking series addresses numerous sobering issues. Clearly we live in a world that has chosen a path that can’t possibly end well without intervention. It wasn’t too difficult to see both the alien point of view as well as that of the Turnbull Academy with regard to human behavior. As a side note, if you’ve read any of Dr. Steven M. Greer’s books on the UFO phenomenon, you may recognize that there are various elements of this tale that could be more truth than poetry. We can always hope.

Pick up your copy of “Alien Child” on Amazon here.

World UFO Day Flash Sale

55368521 - 3d rendering of flying saucer ufo on night background

I can’t think of any better way to celebrate World UFO Day on July 9 than a flash sale of my latest release, The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51. Not only is it on sale for 99c, but A Dark of Endless Days, volume II of The Star Trails Tetralogy, is as well.

Why? Because that’s where The Terra Debacle began. Thus, if you haven’t read it yet, especially if you’re the type who’d like to get it all in context, you can grab that one, too, for a bargain price. (Note that since The Terra Debacle is a standalone book it’s not necessary, but it does fill in numerous blanks.)

So far, The Terra Debacle has been collecting great reviews. Here are some excerpts:

“Scintillating science and side-splitting humor.”

“Unique and titillating sci-fi entertainment.”

“Brilliantly conceived and finely crafted.”

“The research is profound and convincing.”

“Off-the-wall in a way similar to how Tom Robbins grabs the reader & shakes him.”

“A brilliant story, extremely well written and with great character development.”

“Easily comparable to a dark version of ET – The Extraterrestrial”

“Highly entertaining, suspenseful and thought-provoking”

“What an ending! What a story! I will always think differently about plant chloroplasts and bulbs in the future.”

And don’t miss the latest video, which gives you a glimpse of its darker side.

Happy reading! And remember: The truth is out there.

Book Descriptions on the Star Trails Website:

The Terra Debacle

A Dark of Endless Days

Buy Links:

The Terra Debacle

A Dark of Endless Days

The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51
Stock Photo Copyright:oorka / 123RF Stock Photo

“Stxeamtown” by John Reinhard Dizon is an Uproarious Steampunk Classic

stxeamtownfront 3copy

“Stxeamtown” by John Reinhold Dizon operates on so many levels that it can only be compared to such works as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Alice in Wonderland” and Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” To say it is brilliant is totally inadequate. Readers of all ages can enjoy its genius, though if you choose to read it as a bedtime story your young children may not understand why you laugh uproariously from time to time.

This brilliant satire creates a vivid post-apocalyptic world in which the few survivors following the “Big Bang” form a variety of societies. This was my first experience with the “steampunk” genre and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual twist on a post-apocalyptic world. The teenage protagonist is Trip Nortel, short for Amitriptylene, his name credited to the custom of finding baby’s names in pre-Big Bang formulary volumes. Trip is an Abovegrounder, a subculture that lives on the rooftops unbeknownst to the Grounders below due to a perpetual cloud of water vapor that obscures visibility; steam is the primary power source, having been rediscovered following the Big Bang. Abovegrounders are held to strict rules, including the need to be obsequious toward tyrannical “young-uns” by meeting their every demand. Those who don’t follow the rules are “crossed-out,” i.e. given a lobotomy, and sent to the ground below. Those who don’t make trouble don’t fare much better since upon reaching the ripe old age of 30 they, too, are banished. The rules are enforced by Big Boys who maintain limited contact with Traders below.

Trip falls in love with Lyrica, another Abovegrounder who lives on a different rooftop. She’s not only beautiful but wears stitched clothing rather than the wraps worn by most of the others. The two exchange Morse code messages in which they express their affection and finally the day comes that Trip finds his way to Lyrica and the pair makes a precarious escape to the ground, some rooftop friends subsequently joining them.

Once amongst the Grounders, Trip immediately connects with influential people who advise, “He who moves the most paper is the one who goes farthest ahead.” He’s quickly dressed in stitched clothing like the others in styles reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ world of fantasy. Eager to learn, he soon finds himself elevated to the upper echelons of society. The hero and his girl are instrumental in instituting numerous changes, including starting a school system to educate the Idiots, i.e. those “crossed-out” and cast from the rooftops, so they can reach their full potential. Things get more complicated as their Abovegrounder friends lament receiving unequal benefit from Trip’s influence and stir up trouble by associating with the Traders Guild and the Society of Black Beards who enjoy strong drink. The complications of the culture clash that follows are ultimately solved and of course everyone lives happily ever after.

While this tale is presented in a style similar to the best of fairy tales (which I assume is typical of steampunk), more sophisticated readers will be greatly entertained by recognizing the allegorical themes running throughout the surprisingly intricate plot, colorful characters and their societal predicaments. Dizon’s dry wit is only matched by his genius in creating this must-read allegorical tale that bears a striking resemblance to the world in which we live. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.

Don’t miss it! You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Rhoda D’Ettore Blog Tour

BOXSETPROMO

Buy Rhoda D’Ettore’s books on Amazon

Coming this Summer…..


ZODIACJUNE

No One Is Safe While…

ZODIAC LIVES

A Novel by Rhoda D’Ettore

After surviving a car accident that killed her father, three-year-old Jennifer begins having nightmares. It’s soon obvious she suffers from something more dreadful than the accident when she provides clues to a murder committed 3,000 miles away—and two decades before she was born.

Jennifer’s nightmares set off a chain reaction that prompts the infamous Zodiac Killer to emerge from dormancy and terrorize San Francisco for a second time.

Visit Rhoda D’Ettore’s Website


BOOKSQUAD

Goin’ Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore began her writing career by publishing humorous tales about working at the United States Postal Service. Fifteen years of dealing with bombs, anthrax, and human body parts in the mail made for an interesting read. Her co-workers laughed so hard at the nostalgia, they encouraged her to publish the writings. Since then, D’Ettore has fascinated readers with plot twists mixed with sarcastic humor.

D’Ettore knew postal workers would buy her story, yet she also wanted to show them she could write interesting, serious work with shocking twists. In Goin’ Postal & The Creek, the reader gets two very different stories in one book. The first containing the hysterical tales of postal worker life. The second story is a historical fiction that spans 200 years with a slightly supernatural twist. Topics include war, love, romance, death, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and how families survive such events.


Newborn Nazi

Newborn Nazi tackles the issues of right and wrong as well as self sacrifice when fourteen-year-old Edmund is forced into the Hitler Youth in 1935. His older siblings vow to destroy Nazi Germany, and the family gets swept up in espionage and the Underground Movement. When Edmund becomes an adult and joins the feared SS, his sister’s secret endeavors to save Jews in her home endangers lives—including her own. This suspense thriller is sure to keep you guessing.

Newborn Nazi is based on Rhoda D’Ettore true family history. There was an Edmund who was forced into the Hitler Youth, and his sister did help Jews escape. D’Ettore found the story so riveting, she took the plot of the story and added murder and espionage to create this intense thriller.


Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series 1

In Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series, we find Jane traveling to America from Ireland with her three-year-old son. Expecting to find a better way of life, Jane finds nothing but intimidation, betrayal, violence, and heartache. This family saga includes blackmail, murder, mystery, and a touch of romance.

While writing Tower of Tears, D’Ettore gave her mother one chapter at a time for feedback. D’Ettore was undecided who the murderer in the book would eventually be, so she wrote the story with five characters hating and threatening the murder victim. Halfway through the book, D’Ettore’s mother shouted, “I know who killed him…. it was ####”. D’Ettore then finished the book with a different character as the murderer. When her mother read the final draft of the book, she replied, “That’s not who the murder is. I told you who is was.” D’Ettore then said, “I wrote the book, so I know who the murderer should be. Thanks.”


10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink is a collection of naughty fantasies of ordinary women. Teachers, mothers, and professionals submitted their wants and desires for kinky fun. All the tales are told as if the women are speaking directly to their partners. The audiobook of this has been called “Two hours of phone sex for $7”.

Rhoda D’Ettore works are available as ebook, paperback, and audiobooks

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Facebook

Follow Rhoda D’Ettore on Twitter

Review of “Phantom Bigfoot and the Haunted House”

PBFHaunted

In this episode of the Phantom Bigfoot trilogy Duane meets his match in the ghost of Old Man Peabody whose eternal slumber is disturbed not only by pranks that threatened the sanctity of his commode but the need to resolve an old-time Big Beaver feud. While Duane continues to fret over whether Lou and “the Verge” will ever get together he finds his Phantom Bigfoot image tarnished by the antics of a true phantom bigfoot who can pass through walls in the tradition of the slime master in Ghostbusters.

I was disappointed in the ending of this volume, mostly because it was indeed an ending. The plot twists were resolved, the Swedish-looking aliens from the planet Abba returned and all was restored to its natural order amidst bigfoot weddings with a famous alien-abducted rockstar (who will remain nameless so as to avoid being a spoiler) for entertainment. I will miss the characters of Big Beaver and their crazy antics which brought me to tearful hysterical laughter numerous times during my virtual visits. If you enjoy off-the-wall humor in the tradition of Mel Brooks and National Lampoon you will enjoy this trilogy which I found tremendously entertaining. No matter how stressful my day had been I knew I’d go to sleep with a smile on my face when I was reading one of Simon’s Phantom Bigfoot stories.

CONNECT WITH SIMON

Twitter: @simonokill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.okill

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Haunted-House-Book-ebook/dp/B00LQITBOQ/

Interview With Simon Okill Author of the Phantom Bigfoot Series

simonpix

MF: What was your original inspiration for the Phantom Bigfoot series?

SO: Me and my big feet always getting in my big mouth and our Burmese cat. Oh boy is she naughty or what which perfectly describes Phantom Bigfoot?

MF: These stories are some of the funniest I’ve read in a long time.   Is it as much fun to write as it is to read?

SO: I was the court jester in school always in trouble for practical jokes and I guess I never really grew out of it so I turned those mad days into Phantom Bigfoot’s adventures. It’s very therapeutic writing stupid stuff that readers enjoy and bringing a smile to them makes my writing that much more satisfying.

MF: Just because a story is preposterous along the lines of National Lampoon or a Mel Brook’s film doesn’t mean it’s poorly written. Your writing style is strong and well-developed which contributes greatly to the story, particularly the vivid descriptions. What else have you written or is this your first foray into fiction?

SO: Thank you Marcha for your kind words. In between my Phantom Bigfoot Series 1-3 I found the time to step into my dark side and write my Luna Series – a two part Gothic vampire romance set in an asylum in France 1925.

MF: Is Big Beaver, the location of your story, based on a real place or entirely a figment of your imagination?

SO: It’s a collection of memories from old westerns, The Waltons and a few horror movies thrown in for good measure. Whether Wyatt Earp actually stayed in Big Beaver is a matter for the historians to decide.

MF: You mentioned to me previously in a chat that much of Phantom Bigfoot’s language is based on your cat, such as the word “smet,” which expresses frustration. Tell us a little about your Burmese cat.

SO: She asked me not to mention her name, she’s a little on the shy side. What’s that, oh yeah, she asked me to tell you all she is a purrfect little princess and never bites the hand that feeds her. Right, as if! I have the scars to prove otherwise. Smet is the noise she makes when she’s really pissed and spits through her nose.

MF: It takes a special talent to write ribald humor. Without skillful descriptions it’s no more than crude and often vulgar but you somehow bring it to an art form. Do you consider yourself funny in real life?

SO: I always try to see the funny side of life which often gets me into trouble. Phantom Bigfoot abides. Once while on holiday, I fell off a 5 bar gate and landed in a dung heap. Unable to wash the muck off I proceeded into a pub and sat down for lunch much to the disgust of other patrons.

MF: Do friends or relatives give you a bad time about the content of your writing or is it what they’d expect from you?

SO: They think I’m all the way bonkers and come to expect that which you have read.

MF: I love Lou and get more laughs out of Walt, the “sewage extraction expert,” than anyone. Who is your favorite character?

SO: Duane is basically me toned down a bit for family viewing. Okay this is gross but true – I was the kid most likely to get beaten up in school due to my lack of height and would have my sarnies eaten by bullies – that’s sandwiches for the uninitiated. Having gotten quite fed up with this daily ritual I played the coolest joke ever and said bullies were rushed to hospital to have their stomachs pumped after eating what they thought were my sausage sandwiches. Need I say more, heehehehhehh!

MF: Are any of your characters based on real people? Or can’t you say?

SO: Well Duane is me, but there is a little of everyone I know from my home town, nuances, character traits, weird habits, even from people I don’t know like whatshisname across the street.

MF: Is there any chance that you may return to Big Beaver in the future or do you intend to let all the werebigfoot characters rest in peace?

SO: Big loaded question – my fans would be most upset if I didn’t continue – so I will next year with 3 more novellas describing Phantom Bigfoot’s adventures in foreign lands.

MF: Do you plan to write anything serious in the future or stick to humor?

SO: My next two books are both comedies, a romantic comedy about alien abduction and a horror comedy set in Cornwall and my own town of Llantwit Major, which is very old and full of ghosty stuff. However, I do have a completed horror novel that retells WWII from two German brothers’ POV, and once edited could be on the shelves early next year.

MF: Do you have any works in progress (WIPs)? Would you like to tell us something about them?

SO: “Hot in Bigelow” is a romantic comedy about stranded aliens who must find the most intelligent man on Earth to get them back home, problem is Bigelow is full of morons. “Murder Most Deadly” is a scary but funny horror following Bianca’s exploits as she murders her way to wealth, but has to contend with the deceased wanting revenge. Set in beautiful Cornwall and Llantwit Major S Wales.

CONNECT WITH SIMON

Twitter: @simonokill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.okill

PHANTOM BIGFOOT SERIES

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Strikes-Again-Book-ebook/dp/B00H5Y2AWU/

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Vampettes-Venus-Book-ebook/dp/B00IYRXIDC/

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Haunted-House-Book-ebook/dp/B00LQITBOQ/

PHANTOM BIGFOOT & THE VAMPETTES FROM VENUS: Another Raunchy, Ridiculous Uproarious Ride Thru Big Beaver

vampettescover

In the worthy tradition of the first book of the Phantom Bigfoot series, this one did an excellent job sustaining the action and tacky humor. Not that I have anything against tacky humor because I certainly enjoyed it and laughed as much as before. It was as if the author was just getting warmed up in the first episode. One thing I do want to mention, however, is that before you read this or any subsequent ones you should start with “Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again.” What makes these stories so endearing is the array of characters which populate them, making it more enjoyable if you start at the beginning and thus have all the context. Otherwise some of the jokes and references won’t make as much sense and you’ll miss out on some of the humor and innuendos which become inside jokes for Phantom Bigfoot fans.

The author does an admirable job developing real and convincing characters which make you feel as if you’re a part of this crazy little California town called Big Beaver. Their personalities are well drawn such that I can now see and hear (and in some cases smell) them in my mind. You would think that outrageous bathroom humor would not include excellent character development yet it does, adding significantly to the story. Consider how much the personality of the characters in various funny movies is inherently tied to the situations whether it’s Dr. Venkman in “Ghostbusters,” Otto in “A Fish Called Wanda,” Frank the Tank in “Old School” or Alan in “The Hangover.” Humor most often results from human action and reaction which is driven by personality, making those involved essential to the story’s delivery. In this, Okill succeeds and therefore gets a “high five.”

There were some parts which actually got a little serious. Not horribly or tragically so, but rather enough to induce a bit of worry that one of the main characters may have lost some of his “edge.” Fortunately, this spell did not last long and by the horrendously disgusting and suitably hilarious grand finale I must say that this sequel matched and possibly exceeded the Funny Factor of the first, a major accomplishment in itself.

If you enjoy old Indian wisdom that declares “man who depends on watch will be late for the rest of his life;” descriptions such as “the Bigfoot had large swinging boobs indicating she was a female”; or bits of scientific truth such as “the human fart is pure methane gas” then you’ll enjoy this book. Indeed the final chapter is a piece of work beyond description that had me laughing so hard my cats left the room, apparently thinking I’d lost my mind. I’d love to share some excerpts which have the potential to become classics but don’t want to be accused of being a spoiler. If you’ve made it through this review without being grossed out then you should read this book. Laughter is truly the best medicine.

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Vampettes-Venus-Book-ebook/dp/B00IYRXIDC/