First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by @Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? If you want to make your own post, just follow the rules below:
Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
Finally… reveal the book!
Book 1 in The Wind Tide series. This book is Jonathan Nevair’s debut Science Fiction novel and is due out on 18th May 2021. I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC – thank you very much to the author, Jonathan Nevair!
Personal Narrative (language: Neo-Contex) Signed: Razor Found: Cell #7, Targite City Prison Dated: 3101, Third Span
When people ask me about Keen Draden, I always lie.
The truth is, I never really knew Keen. He wasn’t the kind of person who let you in. There was always a wall. You knew he was pushing against it, trying desperately to break through. In the end, it crumbled around him and bared his soul. And yet, that still doesn’t tell you anything about him.
I was angry when we first met. Part of it was a youthful stampede, galloping over anything in my way. But it was also the result of an oppressive world. I was molded from the struggle of hard rock, dry sand, and grit. The desert wind blew through my blood. From an expanse of dunes, I learned to speak arid words.
And the book is…
The Wind Tideseries
A space opera trilogy inspired by Ancient Greek texts. If you like galaxy-spanning adventures set on alluring planets and characters who struggle with moral philosophy, you’ll enjoy this series.
Goodbye to the Sun (Book 1 in The Wind Tide series)
A character-driven space opera inspired by the Greek tragedy, Antigone.
Goodbye to the Sun is a nonstop thrillride across an unstable galaxy, combining moral struggle with character-driven adventure.
Tucked away in the blue sands of Kol 2, the Motes are on the brink of cultural collapse. Razor, a bold and daring pilot, leads a last-ditch gambit against their local oppressors, the Targitians. The plan – abduct visiting Ambassador Keen Draden and use him as a bargaining chip to restore her people’s independence in the Sagittarius Arm. But when the operation unravels, Razor is forced to renegotiate terms with the arrogant diplomat. Battling furious Wind Tides and pursuit by an infamous bounty hunter, Razor and Keen find mutual assistance in a dubious freelancer with a knack for exposing cracks in people’s pride. Light years away on Heroon a radical resistance blossoms. The alluring rainforest planet haunts Keen. All his problems started there during the Patent War, but it’s where Razor’s troubles may find a solution. The moral tide ebbs, exposing an impossible choice that links their futures together more tragically than they ever thought possible.
Jonathan Nevair is a science fiction writer and, as Dr. Jonathan Wallis, an art historian and Professor of Art History at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia. After two decades of academic teaching and publishing, he finally got up the nerve to write fiction. Jonathan grew up on Long Island, NY but now resides in southeast Pennsylvania with his wife and rambunctious mountain feist, Cricket.
Goodbye to the Sun is the first book in the Wind Tide trilogy, to be published by Shadow Spark Publishing.
Today on my blog I am welcoming indie author Sarah E. Glenn.
Sarah E. Glenn, a Jane-of-all-trades, loves mystery and horror stories, especially with a sidecar of humor. She is co-author of the Three Snowbirds novels, a cozy mystery series set in 1920s Florida, and also oversees the Strangely Funny anthology, an annual collection of comedic horror tales.
Sarah has a B.S. in Journalism and edited two different niche newsletters in Lexington, Kentucky. She was also a first -round judge in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine’s 2003 “Slesar’s Twist Contest”. Later, she was a judge for the 2011 and 2012 Derringers. Since 2013, she has overseen multiple anthologies and story collections for Mystery and Horror, LLC. Interesting fact: Sarah worked the Reports Desk for the Lexington police department, and criminals really are dumb.
Hello Sarah, and welcome to my blog!What made you decide to publish your books independently?
Gwen and I had our first novels published by Pill Hill Press, which was an excellent experience for both of us. When the press folded, Gwen was almost finished with the sequel to Circle of Dishonor and I was working on my own sequel. It’s difficult to sell a sequel to a book that was published elsewhere. My mother suggested that we publish the books ourselves, since I had Ye Olde Degree in journalism and Gwen had a degree in business.
A few years before, Gwen and I had formed an LLC so we would retain the rights to each other’s characters and books if one of us died. This was in the days before same-sex marriage was legal, and copyrights were passed on only through blood, marriage, or business ties. Since we were already legally organized, we expanded the LLC into a press.
Our first book was Strangely Funny, an anthology of humorous paranormal stories. We’ve published an edition every year since. We picked up some of Pill Hill’s authors for that series, plus Monstermatt Patterson (previously published by Pill Hill) approached us about his bad monster joke books. Gwen got her first book back into print eventually, along with the sequel. I haven’t republished All This and Family, Too yet because it’s set in modern times and I think it needs revision.
What are the benefits of being an indie author?
Control, control, control. You can publish what you want, even if it’s not what big presses would consider profitable. Since you have fewer people to pay, you will make a bigger chunk of the profits you see.
What challenges do indie authors face?
The big ones: creating a quality product without the resources of a big publisher, marketing their stories in a sea full of other choices, and being taken seriously. Of the three, creating a quality product is the most important.
What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
• Work on your writing. That always comes first, before any jazzy cover or marketing plan. • Take yourself seriously, and act accordingly. • Even if you don’t self-publish, you will discover that indie presses don’t have the budget or staff of the Big Five (or Four). Once you’re ready to go to press, you need to think about what your ideal audience is and how you’re going to reach them. When we published Murder on the Mullet Express through Mystery and Horror, LLC, Gwen and I hired a publicist out of pocket because we knew what our LLC’s budget was. • Join a writing group with some/all indie authors, whether in person or online. It’s a good way to get advice about writing and marketing. You might even find a beta reader. • Other indie authors are not your competitors. People who like to read don’t stop after they’ve read someone else’s book. Any indie author who opens a new door has opened it for everyone else.
Lots of great advice there, I’m sure! What have you learned from being an indie author?
A lot about what goes into making a good book – it’s not just the writing of the story – and an enormous amount about book promotion. I’m still learning.
And lastly, what can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
We published our first book for the year, Mardi Gras Mysteries, in January. I’ve just made final selections for this year’s Strangely Funny. It should be out in late May. Gwen and I have been working on the third and fourth books in the Three Snowbirds series. The plan is to finish book three, Ybor City Blues, but I don’t think it’ll come out until 2022. Gwen is now retired, which theoretically gives her more ‘free time’, but she’s spent a good deal of this year on taxes, calculating royalties, and exploring promotional options.
Thank you very much for joining me today on my blog, Sarah! I wish you and Gwen every success with your upcoming projects!
The Strangely Funny annual anthology:
Horror gone wrong. So very wrong.
Tales of humorous horror await you in this series of short fiction anthologies. Paranormal, supernatural, werecreatures, magical beings, the undead, ghosts, otherworldly, and creatures that defy definition are waiting. If you like offbeat or just plain odd, you are sure to find a new favorite story.
Snowbirds in the Roaring Twenties blaze a trail between opportunists, gangsters, and dead bodies in the Sunshine State. The Three Snowbirds series currently comprises Murder on the Mullet Express and Murder at the Million Dollar Pier.
It’s 1926, and the Florida Land Boom is in full swing. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn takes leave to travel to Florida with her ancient uncle, who claims that he wants a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they take the local train, The Mullet Express, into Homosassa. By the time they arrive, though, a passenger is dying of poison. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the sheriff’s prime suspect. Furthermore, the little old man has run afoul of the local mob. Cornelia and Teddy Lawless, a twenty-year-old flapper in a body pushing sixty, must chase mobsters and corner suspects to dig her uncle out of the hole he’s dug for himself.
“Never waste good rum on a bad night.” – Teddy Lawless, February 1926.
There are many bad nights ahead for Teddy. Shortly after she arrives at the newly opened Vinoy Hotel in Saint Petersburg, she comes face to face with her ex-fiancé, Ansel Stevens, in the dining room. Cue the slap that was thirty years in the making. Unfortunately, her ex-fiancé dies during a yacht race shortly thereafter. Conclusion of the authorities: poison. His family closes ranks, leaving Teddy as the prime suspect. Worse, Teddy’s hair comb is found on the deck of Ansel’s boat, leading to her swift arrest. Can Cornelia Pettijohn and Uncle Percival save fun-loving Teddy before she goes from the grand hotel to the big house?
K.R.R. (Kyle Robert Redundant) Lockhaven used to love writing as a kid. Starting at about ten years old, he wrote about anything from dragons to sentient jellybeans. Somewhere along the line, he lost that love. But now as a firefighter, husband, and father of two sons, he found it again.
Today I am taking part in the Release Day Book Blitz for Windborn by Alex Bradshaw, organised by Storytellers on Tour. Many thanks to Justine and Timy for letting me be a part of this highly enjoyable event! There is an international Giveaway at the end of this post – so please keep reading and be sure to enter!
Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw
Published: April 28, 2021
Series: Windborn (#1)
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 558 (Print Length)
Drowning is only the beginning…
Edda Gretasdottir is a raider, a fell-handed shield-maiden, feared along every coast. Hers is a life woven in battle scars.
But she never wanted to walk the warrior’s path. All she wanted was freedom, to earn enough gold to buy her family their own remote farm, and to escape their oppressive chieftain. Now, she has enough plunder so that she can finally hang up her shield and live in peace.
That peace is stolen from Edda, however, when raiders burn her home, destroy all that she loves, and toss her, wounded and bleeding, into the ravenous ocean.
But the fates are cruel and this is not the end for Edda: she rises from the bloody surf as a Windborn, a cursed warrior whose supernatural gifts are a poor exchange for everything she has lost.
Fuelled by rage and armed with strange new powers Edda will hunt for whoever sent the raiders, for whoever is responsible for taking everything from her. She will show them the sharp edge of her axe… or die trying.
Windborn is a dark, character-driven Norse fantasy packed with emotion, deadly foes, and vicious battles.
Get your copy of Windborn now to hear Edda’s epic tale!
I was given an electronic copy of Windborn by Storytellers on Tour in exchange for an honest review, many thanks to Justine, Timy and to Alex S. Bradshaw!
First of all let me say that this is one of my favourite books that I have read so far in 2021. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.
Windborn is a Norse inspired fantasy set in a time of oaths, traditions and rituals. A cold, hard time of vengeance, when Saga stories are carved into whalebone arches and doorways and a warrior’s exploits are carved upon their shield. The stark, feudal world in which the story is set is described very well by the author and the beauty of the fjords and the surrounding countryside is easily imagined.
The story is told in first person from Edda Gretasdottir’s point of view. At the beginning of the story, Edda and her husband Bjolfur are raiders during summertime and tenant farmers of a landowner called Dagnur Olafson the rest of the year. They’re hoping to earn enough through raiding to get their own farm and escape from Dagnur’s mean-spirited miserliness.
We are introduced to the Windborn of the title during a raid which Edda and Bjolfur are taking part in for Dagnur. Windborn are warriors who have died and been resurrected by the Winds:
…the gods destroyed the Giants’ bodies and trapped their souls as the Winds. Traders, ignorant of the Winds’ true nature, called them the northern lights and Ertlanders thought them demons and called them the dancing sky fire. Whatever you called them, their power was obvious.
The first Windborn we meet are fearsome warriors with supernatural powers. Dalla Thyrisdottir can move objects with her mind – knives and axes float around her as she walks, whereas Finnr Gellirson the “Sky Treader” can fly. In addition to their specific superpower each Windborn has the strength of five to ten ordinary warriors.
Edda’s husband is lost to a brutal storm on the voyage home and her grief takes over and determines her story arc from that point onwards.
Her grief is described as feeling like a crow inside her rib cage, the feathers get in the way of her throat, while the claws squeeze her heart. There are many instances of black feathers being mentioned inside her, this imagery becomes a kind of theme for her character. Edda is a very likeable character, and through the first person perspective of the novel, we get to know the depths of her grief for her husband and her sheer determination in the face of everything she has lost. She is a kind and loyal, supportive friend and a brave and relentless warrior.
Edda takes a runestone down to the cliffs in order to throw it into the ocean and make Bjolfur one of the “Blessed drowned”. Before she can do so she discovers a band of Wind-hunters, raiders who kill in the hopes of making new Windborn warriors to serve their master, King Hraki. They overpower Edda and toss her over the cliffs before burning down her house. The throw from the cliffs kills Edda, and soon after she is resurrected as an ice-wielding badass Windborn warrior. She wants to hide this information from everyone especially Dagnur:
If he found out that I was Windborn then I would become another prize to be paraded in front of his peers. He wouldn’t waste me herding chickens. I would become a tool to him, nothing more.
There is a heartwarmingly loyal friendship between the shield sisters Fjola and Edda – Fjola accompanies Edda to the Althing to appeal against Dagnur’s decision that she not get Bjolfur’s share of the hoard from the raid he died in. She also doesn’t think she should have to pay to rebuild her house which was destroyed by the Wind-hunters. At the Althing, Fjola discovers Edda’s Windborn status when Edda fights Soren, the Windborn who kicked her off the cliff. Edda wins but has drawn attention to her powers. They await the law keeper from their village, Ingvar, to help Edda make her case before the High King.
Meanwhile, a Windborn who can fly, Runar, falls from the sky, exhausted from fighting King Hraki’s band of Windborn, who have attacked King Erling’s land out of season, which is unlawful. Windborn cannot earn anything or own anything – they are legally dead. They need to be sworn to a household and for the lord to give them the things they need. Edda decides she would like to return to King Erling’s land with Katja, King Erling’s law-keeper and Runar, since they have the shared goal of fighting Hraki and bringing him to justice. However the High King must approve this decision.
I played the last few weeks over in my mind and an involuntary growl escaped me. Over and over again one name flickered in the shadows like a shark following a trail of blood. It had been whispered at the cliff edge. It had been muttered at the edge of the arena. It had been shouted in desperation by a law-keeper. Hraki.
A highly tense scene with the High King unfolds, while he decides whether to execute Edda; send her back to Dagnur’s household to act as his muscle; send her to work in the mines or make her an outlaw. She has Katja the law-keeper on her side, pleading with the High King to let Edda be sworn to King Erling’s household, but the High King is well known for his hatred of Windborn.
There are numerous exciting, well-written, edge-of-seat fight scenes between these over-powered warriors, each with different, amazing gifts from the Winds. It was fun to guess what the new set of powers would be whenever Edda encountered a Windborn she had not previously met or heard of. The Windborn reminded me somewhat of X-men in this respect.
Since her resurrection, Edda has been hell-bent on avenging her husband’s death, her own death and the razing to the ground of her house. Thoughts of making her murderer pay are all that drive her. Vengeance has driven her entire being since becoming a Windborn. Can she catch up to King Hraki and make him pay? What will happen to her if she does? The High King’s hatred of Windborn is well-known and he is unlikely to tolerate such actions.
Hraki was why I had lost everything. He was the reason Orin’s storm had killed my husband. He was the reason that Soren had killed me. He was the reason I was Windborn and lost my home, my hoard, my dreams. He had even taken my revenge from me when he gave me Soren’s head. And now he was marching on Erling’s pitiful blockade with a household full of Windborn.
I found the ending quite a surprise as it required a character to completely change their opinion, and lose their prejudice, which I was not really convinced would happen with this character. Apart from that small niggle I thoroughly enjoyed Windborn and would recommend it to anyone who likes Norse fantasy and well-written battle scenes, with some supernatural flavour added by the Windborn superpowers. The battle scenes are gory, but not gratuitously so. There is also a description of a nasty execution near the end, but if those types of things do not make you squeamish I would heartily recommend this book.
GRAND PRIZE: One (1) paperback copy of Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw RUNNERS-UP: One (1) of three (3) ebook copies of Windborn by Alex S. Bradshaw Starts: April 28th, 2021 at 12:00am EST Ends: May 1st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Is that a great tagline or what? Welcome to the tour for Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart! Read on for book details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway — A signed copy of the book AND in keeping with the theme, a couple of John Hughes box sets (80’s movie classics)!
Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze.
But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.
When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself.
The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…
I was sent a kindle version of this book for review purposes – thank you to Jason Stuart and Shannon from R & R Book Tours.
Jukebox Hero is a fantasy novel set in 1980s America with superhero elements. There have been a number of killings of girls, all with red hair, and the local police do not seem to be making any progress with the case.
The author is clearly a fan of all things eighties and this novel contains a multitude of nods to the music and movies of that time period. Each chapter begins with a popular song title from the era and the main character of the novel, red-headed Molly Slater brings to mind the actress Molly Rigwald, star of John Hughes movies, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club.
Molly Slater has some gaps in her memory. She is a likeable foster kid, eighteen years old, or thereabouts, as no one knows her actual birthday:
Found wandering around out in the woods south of Stennis, half covered in dirt and dust, just filthy. She didn’t even speak for three days, just sat catatonic. The guys from social services called her Space Cadet. When she finally started talking it was just yes or no answers at first. She couldn’t remember her name, her parents, where she was from, how she got there, nothing. Blank.
She is a keen guitar player and music fan who works in a clothes/record shop after school, run by Tracey, a fashion queen. Her best friend Lydia is a goth but Molly prefers rock and rocks out on her electric guitar in her foster parents’ garage, whenever she gets the chance. She likes a boy at school called Easton Braddock who seems to be into her as well, but there appears to be more to him and his friend, Nguyen than at first meets the eye. Molly’s nemesis, a girl called Becky de la Beckwith used to date Easton and does not want him to have anything to do with Molly. She is now dating another boy at school, Blake, a ‘richie’ who also seems to have mysterious secrets he is keeping from the other kids.
The other characters of this book are Molly’s foster brother Howie, known as Hurl and his group of friends, who add a Goonies-like thread to the story.
The language of this novel, particularly the dialogue, is full of American eighties slang, much of which I wasn’t familiar with, since I grew up in England, which made it something of a challenge to follow at times.
All of a sudden, Molly starts to develop superpowers. She is able to read the feelings of the people around her, becomes bulletproof, extremely fast and able to jump really high.
The characters are quite caricature-like in that they take everything in their stride. Molly is pleasantly surprised to find she has superpowers but it doesn’t seem to faze her very much. They comment on the fact Blake carries two swords and speaks in an old worldly manner but don’t spend much time thinking about it.
Molly decides to use her powers to help fight crime in the town and decides her Superhero name will be Sledgehammer after the Peter Gabriel song she loves. There are rival gangs,
Les Mutants Rouges gang and the Dreds causing all kinds of trouble in town. Blake Elvis bails the gang members out of jail and we discover he is far from human, but is an ancient creature who has been disguising himself as a teenage highschooler. The creature calls itself the ForgeMaster and believes he earned Molly as his bride price many centuries ago.
…all debts must be paid. Hers most of all.
The narrative is occasionally told from The ForgeMaster’s point of view, so we learn that he thinks himself a god and that he sees Molly in the same way. He has great mystical powers of creation and creates an android killing machine which looks exactly like Molly.
No ‘80s high school story would be complete without a prom and this one does not disappoint. Prom is coming up with the theme of “Ancient Future”. Molly and her friends form a band and play at the prom, while she hopes that Easton will dance with her.
The pace of the novel is fast, with plenty of action scenes and a final battle which ties up many of the loose ends. I would recommend this story to fans of 80s movies and music, who enjoy contemporary fantasy.
Three standing grandfather clocks gazed down at her that morning, ten years to the day since they found her wandering alone with no memory—not even a name.
There, at the corner of Elm and E Street, Molly Slater (the name they’d given her) gripped her Fender Stratocaster like it were a weapon forged for her hands. Her fingerless gloves whispered at the strings, ready to saw down some serious noise. Jordache jacket with the sleeves ripped off at the shoulder. Purple lipstick and double-earrings. Corvette red hair. Bette Davis Eyes.
The garage smelled like the early morning—no other sound but her Cons slapping the dewy concrete. She kicked away shorted out gizmos and various half-finished contraptions littering the cold slab floor. Hoyt, her foster dad, fancied himself the inventor. Any day now he’d invent their way into riches untold. Any day now.
Those grandfather clocks ticked at her as she plugged into the Peavey. More of Hoyt’s tinkering, thinking he could set his machines by them. Each triggered a different chain reaction every morning. One fed the dog. Another opened the garage to the day. A third…well it never worked anyway. She stared at them, as did they her in return. They held no judgment, only the looming doom of the impending hour.
As the garage doors groaned, opening to the dim autumn light outside, she cranked up and twist-tuned her axe. She gave it a gooseneck and sliced right in. Mötley. Halen. Bowie. Duran. Whitesnake. Saxon. Maiden! Fluidly, she moved from one riff to another. She was totally, epically zoned.
She lived in that fifteen minutes. Those granddads thundered their terrible news. The parentals shouted.
“Shut that racket off! You’re gonna be late, I swear to every god,” the mother said. As if there were gods. Molly just shook her head, put up the guitar and grabbed her bag. “And put on a hat on that red hair. I don’t want you getting murdered by that maniac!”
So dramatic. Like anything that interesting could ever happen.
About the Author
Jason Stuart is from the ’80’s. He came through that cocaine-fueled fever dream and lived to tell this story. Find him on Twitter: @raiseaholler and Facebook.com/raiseaholler. This is his 4th book. And, no, that’s not his real hair.
Today I am very excited to share with you the cover for the third installment in TheComing of Áed trilogy by E.G.Radcliff in conjunction with Storytellers on Tour! This is a YA series I have been thoroughly enjoying and I can’t wait to read the final book in the trilogy: The Wild Court.
Without further ado, here is the gorgeous cover. I love the combination of the fire which is a very significant part of Áed’s story and the Celtic symbol in the background. The Coming of Áed trilogy is inspired by Celtic fae mythology:
It’s the seventh year of Áed’s reign, and while Ronan, full of restless wanderlust, may dream of a world outside the protective walls of the palace—there is peace in The Gut. Meanwhile, the only thing bothering Éamon, Áed’s closest councilor and friend, are his growing feelings for the King.
But can it last?
On a single festival night, the Gut explodes with fire and magic as faerie and human realms collide. Crossing the Veil with Eamon and Ronan, Áed is catapulted into an otherworldly battle between a manipulative queen and untamed courts vying for supremacy.
Sparking an alliance with the mysterious Bone mound, whose connection to Áed runs deeper than he can imagine, and with the queen’s missing consort holding the key to life and death, Áed and his allies determine to unite the courts before it’s too late.
Stranded in a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and nothing is at it seems, three lives will be forever changed in this thrilling conclusion to The Coming of Áed.
I think you’ll agree that all of these covers would look amazing on anyone’s bookshelf!
Read my review of Book 1 of this trilogy The Hidden Kinghere.
Watch this space for a review of The Last Prince in the next few weeks.
About the Author
E.G. Radcliff is a part-time pooka and native of the Unseelie Court. She collects acorns, glass beads, and pretty rocks, and the crows outside her house know her as She Who Has Bread. Her fantasy novels are crafted in the dead of night after offering sacrifices of almonds and red wine to the writing-block deities.
You can reach her by scrying bowl, carrier pigeon, or @egradcliff on social media.
The 1880s was a bounty hunters dream in the twilight of the Old West, a land divided by the US government as they saw fit, not the way everyone residing there did. The West was won by grit, determination, and good ‘ol violence – either by guns or a very sudden stop at the end of a rope.
Henry “Preacher” Blackwell and Josiah “Flash” Gordon are the reason why the West was almost never won. It’s not like they did it on purpose. They were just drunk, washed-up Civil War veterans whose only saleable trade were as bounty hunters. They live by the code of “you only live once” and they live it up to the fullest everyday they wake, because tomorrow could be their last.
On a a bounty hunting mission to collar a few low dollar desperados, they accidentally kill “Fish Eyes” Mack, the leader of the Good ‘Ol Boys out of Albequerque. If Preacher had never shot Fish Eyes, a lot more people would have survived the prairies and went on to become whatever they wanted.
A single bullet changed bounty hunting in New Mexico…and not for the better.
Written by DB Bray and Walt Allen, the audiobook is narrated by Walt Allen. I was sent an audiobook code by DB Bray and Walt Allen – thank you very much!
Having listened to Loners, also narrated by Walt Allen I knew the narration of this audiobook was going to be something special – and it did not disappoint!
How the West Wasn’t Won is a character-driven western tale of has-been bounty hunters, filled with wickedly disgusting characters. The first pair that we meet are a foul-mouthed, tobacco-spitting, farting duo of washed up bounty hunters, too old to be gunslingers and barely making ends meet. We meet them on a rocky outcrop in New Mexico.
Henry “Preacher” Blackwell has an addiction to asparagus and hot sauce which has given him stomach issues that lead to a lot of rip-roaring farts.
Josiah “Flash” Gordon is described as “a true alcoholic”. He’s been that way since a pandemic claimed the lives of his wife and child. He is bald with a combover and no teeth and nearly 7ft tall. Flash wears a kilt with no underwear and a Native American headdress – he wears whatever he can find in his drunken stupors. His favourite pastimes are whisky, whoring and swearing.
These two meet up with other equally revolting bounty hunters along the way to Albuquerque, until they have a band comprised of Navajo Joe, Lucius “Quick Draw” McGraw, Blue Guns and Silence, a gorgeous blonde female bounty hunter with a mouth as dirty as the rest of the group.
There are shootouts, tension, tragedy and tons of camaraderie to be had on their journey to earn a bounty. In the process they accidentally kill “Fish Eyes” Mack, the leader of the Good ‘Ol Boys. Which leads to tragic consequences:
We either die at the end of a rope or from a gun
This is a short book (about 2 hours in length) full of fart jokes, lewd behaviour and filthy language – if that’s offensive to you then you won’t like it. Everyone else will find it wickedly hilarious!
About the Author
D.B. Bray is an author and the publishing director at WClark Publishing, the best traditional publishing house in the world. During COVID, he decided to get on Instagram for the first time in his life, and just woke up one day and thought, “I want to start a show called The OoooWeeee Chronicles to showcase underrepresented African American creatives.”
And so began the IG show, The OoooWeeee Chronicles where he has interviewed some of yours and his favorite writers of all time. After asking Wahida Clark to come on the show (with a really janky flyer), his life changed in more ways than he could have dreamed. And every day he gets up, he thanks God for the opportunities he’s been given.
He is the author of the crime series Blood & Whiskey, narrated by the magnificent Irishman, Karl Haycock. The YA adult novel The Last Tribe, narrated by the supercalfragalistic Walt Allen (also of Emperors & Assassins). And as a personal accomplishment, D.B. has co-written with the Queen of Street Lit, on her way to becoming the Queen of Fantasy with your help!
They have co-written The Loners, a mixed mercenary companies of DND characters with a street lit edge. And the topper is their collaboration, The Light Brigade, a new age inclusive Underworld, releasing soon.
When not signing talent, writing, zoom calls, or anything else that happens in his crazy day, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Dolores and his three dogs (Japanese Chins), Chin, Juno, and Sushi. Most days you can find them walking the quiet streets of Ft. Monroe in Hampton, VA.
Today on my blog I would like to introduce you to Evan Witmer. Welcome, Evan!
My name is Evan Witmer; I am the sole writer and webmaster for oddfiction.com where I post free short stories. At the end of each year I take down the last ten stories I wrote and self-publish them online; containing the ten stories within a surreal framing device. Pages from the Pizza Crows has a crow deliver me the stories in exchange for pizza slices. Digest: Ten Short Stories by Convicted and Plausible People-Eaters has each short story authored by a different known cannibal. My next collection is How to Burn This Book; which includes a brief reason to burn each of the short stories inside. That’s due out January 8th, 2022.My “work-sona”, as they call it, is a Masters of Bioengineering who does tech transfer for the University of Buffalo, but this is simply a means of supporting the laissez faire lifestyle of your typical late millennial. I’m an uncharacteristically optimistic twenty-seven year old who fought his way out of a massive depression three years prior using Prozac and mood stabilizers. I’ve been using my new outlook on life to focus on what’s important to me: spending time with my cat and writing really weird short stories. I’m tall and quirky; I collect beer labels in my free time. I relate more to the works of MC Ride and Tarantino than I do most modern authors. I’m trying to lose forty pounds.
Hi Evan. Welcome to my blog.What made you decide to publish your books independently?
Short story collections aren’t exactly the most sought after book form nowadays. A lot of literary agents won’t even consider them. Considering I was just starting out, I thought I could use my short stories as a proof-of-concept, to show my work is sellable. I’ve had great success with reviews on my first two collections and now I’m toying with the idea of having my third collection traditionally published if I find the right agent.
Congratulations on the success of books 1 and 2! What are the benefits of being an indie author?
Complete control over the project means my readers get the purest form of my writing without any surgery or censor. I also get to do a lot of marketing all on my own which is stressful, but I enjoy the rush I get when it works out. Makes me feel like a pro.
What challenges do indie authors face?
I’m no marketing expert, so I’ll often find myself handing over my book for review to the wrong people. My content will be edgy or strange and that will be the exact style they don’t like. I feel like having someone to do that service for me would be superior. I’ve also had to pull some serious strings to get my books edited and I’ve relied heavily on the kindness of others and what little cash I make from these books. I’m hoping traditional publication would come with professional editing included; it would also be nice to get some feedback before publishing from an experienced pair of eyes that knows how to impress the readers.
From what I’ve heard from other indie authors it can often take a long time to get published traditionally.What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
I’ve had friends tell me they quit writing because the statistics say something about “the platform is so saturated there’s a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming a famous writer” and I really want people to throw away those statistics and listen clearly. Your goal should never be to be a famous writer; it should not be to win awards or make money. Every single person that reads your books; that’s a win. Every single person that enjoys your books; that’s two wins. Aim for the little wins and take them seriously.
That sounds like sound advice. What have you learned from being an indie author?
People are very kind to indie artists. Most people I reach out with spam-like requests for features or reviews or editing or cover design don’t slam their fist on the table and tell you to shut up! A lot of them want to help and the only reason they don’t is literally when they’re too busy helping others.
What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
Digest: Ten Short Stories by Convicted & Plausible People-Eaters had a soft launch in January, but now that I’ve passed some initial hurdles I think you’ll see me advertising it full steam. I also have a secret project involving science fiction that will be coming out before the end of this year. And January 2022, I’ll have my third short story collection How to Burn This Book published.
Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Evan. I look forward to reading Pages from the Pizza Crows. Good luck with your future projects!
Pages From The Pizza Crows
In exchange for pizza, a beautiful crow delivered stories to my windowsill. I’ve collected those stories, here, for your amusement and observation. “Bedfellows” follows the story of a boy and a girl who are attached at the hip by supernatural means. “Belligamy” tells the tale of a powerful curse forcing married men to fight one another in order to protect their brides. “Captured by Animals” details an author’s adventures spying on people in the woods to write his romance stories. “The Red Constellation” is Law & Order SVU meets Cosmic Horror. “Young Adult Series Simulator” tells the story of that date you went on at the bookstore. “F1” is about a pregnant horse. “Nine-Tenths An Ape” is the Monkey’s Paw but in reverse. “Lethe” asks, how old were you when you had your first memory? Maybe a little too old? “The Bright Idea Room” reminds you that it’s the environment that kills you in the end. Not the serial killer. “Satan’s Spies” is about a friendly group of businessmen and their obsession with strip clubs. New for September 2020: The book has been reedited by professional editor Vincent Parisi.
Add Pages From the Pizza Crows to your To Be Read list here:
Digest – Ten Short Stories by Convicted & Plausible People Eaters
I’ve tracked down ten authors who have, at some point, participated in the act of cannibalism. I’ve collected one short story from each writer and combined them here for your amusement and observation. Isaac Cone presents “Margaritaville”, Jimmy Buffet’s hit song reinterpreted as a southern gothic. Sandeyu Yamamoto writes “Antiquing” about a family with a rare type of OCD where they haunt the object they most obsessed over. John Doe submits “Jesus Christ Meets the Chupacabra” which is exactly what it sounds like. Arsenio Alonso adds “A Vacancy in Staffordshire” about a team of researchers hunting for black-eyed kids in the British wilderness. Greige Wagner contributes “The Life & Times of a Rockefeller Pregnancy Zombie” about a girl who is hypnotized by the New World Order to feel unfathomable pain unless she uses her every egg for procreation. Mago Schlecter’s brings us “Ring the Belles”, a mix between historical fiction and a slasher where the villain only kills the teenaged daughters of slave-owners in the Antebellum South. Cassius Crown surrenders “Zooland” about a cursed town where everyone is reduced to their id at night becoming either vicious wolves or delicious deer. Bonny Bride sends “Glee-Maiden”, a story about a woman seeking to make it in the male-dominated field of killer clowning. Matthew Hoga pens “Comorbidity”, the story of two different plagues of zombie with wildly different styles that collide in the ruins of Zhengzhou, China. Joss Iger authors “Six O’s”, the most light-hearted of the bunch, about a man who can only orgasm six more times before he can never do it again. I share these stories in hopes of emphasizing the unique voices oft ignored in favor of traditional masticators.
Sarah E. Glenn, a Jane-of-all-trades, loves mystery and horror stories, especially with a sidecar of humor. She is co-author of the Three Snowbirds novels, a cozy mystery series set in 1920s Florida, and also oversees the Strangely Funny anthology, an annual collection of comedic horror tales. Sarah has a B.S. in Journalism and edited two different niche newsletters in Lexington, Kentucky. She was also a first -round judge in Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine’s 2003 “Slesar’s Twist Contest”. Later, she was a judge for the 2011 and 2012 Derringers. Since 2013, she has overseen multiple anthologies and story collections for Mystery and Horror, LLC. Interesting fact: Sarah worked the Reports Desk for the Lexington police department, and criminals really are dumb.
A rookie cop. A town on fire. Can he execute justice and survive? It starts with a newspaper article. An economic miracle. A run-down town in the Midwest transformed. One man has effected this change, poured his wealth into converting old factories into new ventures, Main Street into a hub for deep-pocketed incomers, and put a spring into the step of a place people once avoided.Ricky Nardilo, all grown-up, a rookie cop, isn’t having it. The man who has brought this boom is the man who shot him in his youth. The man whose son Ricky killed. He owns the town, he owns the local politicians, he owns the police force Ricky works for. As Ricky aims down the muzzle of his gun at this bigshot, his struggle between a quiet, complicit life and a personal war will tear him apart and drag old friends and family into a chaos he never thought possible.
I was sent a review copy of American Spartan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Carly Rheilan and Jason Beech!
American Spartan, sequel to The City of Forts, is a police story told entirely from the third person perspective of rookie cop Ricky Nardillo, whose partner Dave Heiller is a mean bully, who more often than not turns off his body cam when arresting someone and expects Ricky to do the same.
The town in which this story plays out is a festering cesspool of drugs, murder, corrupt police and ruled over by a property tycoon gangster called Harry Vale, who stands way above the law. It is a place where kids have to grow up fast and learn how to survive, as Ricky and his friends discovered to their detriment in The City of Forts and now Ricky’s teenage brother must also discover this fact of his life.
Ricky is dancing on the edge of corruption – Heiller tempts him and tries to suck him into the circle of trusted bent cops he has developed. At first Ricky appears to be morally upstanding, contrite about having killed Vale’s son when he was a teenager, but he doesn’t report it when he accidentally kills Tommy Ithaca in the woods or when his brother Brett does criminal damage to some cars. Instead he pays off the owners – corruption appears to be beckoning him. He joined the police force as a way to be safe from Vale, but doesn’t really see himself as a law enforcement officer:
He’d not joined the police for altruistic reasons, but neither did he join to make it worse.
Ricky is embroiled in a seething nest of vipers unsure who is in Vale’s pocket and who is straight:
Greedy men twist their principles when it suits them.
He worries his teenage brother, Brett will get sucked into Vale’s underworld and wants to protect him, but all his life, Brett has been protected and cocooned by his mother and Ricky and now is feeling like a caged animal just waiting to burst out and align himself with whoever is willing to give him some attention.
Ricky is tempted to go live in New York with Liz, his childhood friend who he wishes was more than a friend, but needs to stay in town in order to keep an eye on Brett and his mother.
Can Ricky come up with a plan to give Vale and all the bent cops their comeuppance and save his own life and that of his mother and brother in the process? It seems like a very tall order for most of the story. Things appeared to be going from bad to worse for Ricky as the story developed and I began to wonder if anyone would still be alive by the end.
There is a lot of killing in this novel. None of the characters were very likeable, apart from Ricky, who I found myself rooting for not to go over to the corrupt side. The only characters who didn’t commit murder were Ricky’s mother, his elderly neighbours and Liz, his childhood friend.
The pace of this novel builds up into a fair amount of action sequences, and there is plenty of tension and excitement during those! The prose flows smoothly and pulls you along with it. If you are a fan of crime novels you will definitely enjoy American Spartan!
Today I am excited to share with you the amazing cover for the latest and final book in the Timelessness trilogy by Susana Imaginário: Nephilim’s Hex!
Every soul is a curse
Title | Nephilim’s Hex Author | Susana Imaginário Series | Timelessness #3 Exp. Pub Date | 1st July 2021 Cover Art by | Dave Kidd Design by | Design for Writers
The Nephilim loom over Niflheim.
Gods, Dharkan and mortals fight amongst themselves in their shadow.
And Time is on no one’s side.
The gods are outmatched.
Their talents are useless against the Nephlim’s technology.
Desperate, they turn on each other. New alliances form and fall apart, for there can be no peace when survival is at stake. Psyche, thorn between a goddess’ duty and a mortal’s hate, sets off on her own to learn the truth behind her fate, unaware of the danger following her. Meanwhile Chronos’ own agenda involves a power so dangerous and unpredictable it’s been long forsaken by the both the gods and the Nephilim. Will it be worth the risk?
Kings and Queens is a coming of age poetry book. The story follows a young queen as she struggles to find herself while dealing with the king’s rule, the fire-breathing dragon, and the evil queen.
I read Kings and Queens on behalf of Rosie Amber’s Book Review team, #RBRT. Thank you to Rosie and J. N. Eagles for sending me a review copy.
Kings and Queens is a fantasy poem, set in the kingdom of Benvolio and told exclusively from the point of view of the queen. We don’t learn the names of any of the characters.
It is an amusing rhyming poem about the life of a young queen who is mostly ignored by her power-hungry, unfaithful husband and how she reacts when her country is beset by a dragon, due to the King’s greed:
“The beast had red scales And sharp nails. Its claws dug in the ground. The knights were spellbound. And as it crept nearby, They shook at the dragon’s cry”
A knight comes to defeat the dragon and the queen falls in love with him.
The king has been cruel and neglectful to the queen. Yet he has heard rumors of their love from the ladies in waiting and becomes jealous, sending the knight out to fight the dragon.
The knight is compassionate and cannot kill the dragon, but instead he rides the dragon back and presents it to the queen. She hopes that now she is the owner of a dragon, this will make the court listen to her. She is frustrated that being queen is not enough to make her desires heard. Instead the king locks her up in a tower.
The dark queen attacks their land in retaliation for the loss of her husband, and the queen is scared and lacking confidence. She needs to find the courage to help defend her kingdom and eventually she manages to. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes during the battle, but the queen has now become a much stronger person, able to command respect and beat her foes.
The poem is a quick but very enjoyable read. I imagine an audio version would probably sound like a rap and would quite like to hear that!
Jordan currently lives in Alabama with her husband, two cats, a fish, and a hamster named Shakespeare. Kings and Queens is her first work of poetry to be published, though she plans to write and publish in many genres. She graduated from Athens State University with a Bachelor’s in English/Language Arts and is now studying Creative Writing at the University of Northern Alabama.