Spotlight: The Serpent’s Tail by Martin Dillon

the serpents tail

They were recruited as police informers but they found themselves caught up in a shadowy counter terrorist war.

From the bestselling author of The Shankill Butchers and the Dirty War, The Serpent’s Tail is a novel based on a true life sting involving the IRA, the SAS and MI5. It is a gripping thriller based on a true sequence of events in which two young Belfast Catholics are recruited as informers and find themselves at the heart of a ‘sting’ involving the IRA, the SAS and MI5. The Serpent’s Tail is the first work of fiction by the man Conor Cruise O’Brien has described as ‘The greatest living authority on Irish terrorism.’

The true story of an SAS inspired sting against the Provisional IRA which almost destroyed the organization. The IRA later admitted that the operation was a brilliant piece of planning by the SAS and the British Intelligence Agency, MI5. Its success was, however, short-lived leading to the sacrifice of many agents and the emergence of a more determined and ruthless IRA leadership.

About the Author:

Martin Dillon has won international acclaim for his unique reporting and is considered one of the foremost experts on global terrorism and organized crime. His bestselling trilogy, The Shankill Butchers, The Dirty War and God and the Gun, from his twelve non-fiction works, is regarded as the definitive account of the Ireland conflict. He began his distinguished career as a newspaper reporter and later became a program editor with the BBC. He has written plays for television, as well as documentaries, and has been featured on television networks in Europe and across North America. Martin Dillon lives with his family in San Francisco.

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Book Review: Portraits of a Faerie Queen by Tay LaRoi

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I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. I’ve somewhat distanced myself from the fantasy genre over the years because it often felt tired and unoriginal. Thankfully, Portraits of a Faerie Queen was anything but that.

What drew me in most was how real the relationships felt between the characters. The romance develops naturally and is well paced. It was also nice to see diversity considering many books of this genre don’t feature LBGTQ protagonists. It was refreshing to say the least and the book felt much more with the times because of it.

I will admit that the plot was predictable, however it didn’t take away from the novel being a fun read.

Overall, it was an easy, enjoyable read. I look forward to the sequel!

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Book Trailer Launch: Cayleth Warding and The Scarlet One by Jessica Hernandez

Who doesn’t love a good book trailer?

I’m pumped to share the trailer to Jessica Hernandez’s newest novel, Cayleth Warding and The Scarlet One. Click HERE to check it out!

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Fifty-three families looking for a new beginning board a ship and sail to an uninhabited island. Happily they live for well over two decades. Homes are built and the past is forgotten. Paradise, however, is no more after the adults suddenly vanish one night. For three years, the teens and children rule the island of Oridd. For three years, they survive. When an old woman unexpectedly appears on Oridd, all is cast into disarray as the strange and awful threaten to become commonplace. The old woman wants something, and she won’t leave until she gets it.

 

Spotlight: Shu Wei’s Revenge by Jackson Fahnestock

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SYNOPSIS

This is a story about strength of family and friendships, heartbreak, perseverance, and personal trauma. The setting is 1898. In his role as Town Scribe in the sleepy village of Sanhou, China, seventeen-year-old Shu Wei is caught up in an incident in the town square, which ultimately causes the family to be banished from the town.

The ensuing journey to San Francisco’s Chinatown gives rise to the intrigue, mystery, and tension that only escalates the deeper the story goes. Shu Wei ultimately finds himself working for a local newspaper while he juggles the scurrilous demands and threats of Tong members as he attempts to restore his family’s honor.

It is his growing experience as a cub reporter and writer that brings him the confidence to confront not only his own mortality but the brutal world around him.    

About the Author

Jackson Fahnestock traveled as an architect, working on large-scale projects, in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other parts of the world. His experiences formed the basis for Shu Wei’s Revenge. He earned a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois and two Masters Degrees – one in Architecture and the other in Urban Planning at Columbia University in New York.  His first book, To Preserve a Heritage, was about landmarks in Lower Manhattan. He lives in San Francisco.

SHU WEI’S REVENGE

A Young Man’s Journey into the Depths of the Underworld

Available now on Amazon!

By Jackson Fahnestock

  • Price:  $12.95
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Bayside Press (September 6, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0998803413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998803418

Book Review: Beartown by Fredrik Backman

BEARTOWN

Ok, let me start by saying that for the first fifty pages or so, I had a hard time getting into Beartown. Maybe it was my mood, maybe it was the amount of characters introduced (there are many), but I almost gave up on it. This, friends, would have been a huge mistake.

Beartown is set in a town much like my own; tiny, somewhat dying, where people have little to hold onto aside from their hockey team. With the whole town’s hopes and dreams riding on them, the players are left with a heavy weight of responsibility to carry. The pressure is high and morality often takes a backseat to winning. When one act of violence brings a family to their knees, Beartown forces readers to evaluate their own ethical standpoint. It’s smart, honest and feels very real.

Beartown is beautifully written and touches so many important subjects from rape-culture, to homophobia, to peer pressure, that I feel like this novel should be a mandatory read in every high school. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never read anything by Fredrik Backman before. After reading Beartown, this will change. And if you haven’t picked up any of his work yet, it should change for you too.

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Interview with Author Piers Anthony

Piers Anthony is one of the world’s most popular fantasy authors, and a New York Times bestseller twenty-times over. His Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world.

Q. Who are your favorite authors?

A. If I lost my memory and had my choice of reading matter, I hope my favorite would be Piers Anthony. I try to write what I would like to read. As for other authors, I have admired many in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, from Robert A Heinlein on down. I am also an admirer of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and not just because he was a vegetarian.

Q. What advice do you have for other writers?

A. Publishing is changing so much now that much of what I might say would become dated about ten minutes after I wrote it. So I’ll just say read and study the genre you are in, keep writing and improving, and may the world go well with thee.

Q. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A. For me the best thing is getting to exercise my imagination and being independent. I can’t be fired for someone else’s mistakes.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

A. It used to be dealing with publishers, who were like insensitive robots interested only in money, regardless what they claimed. But the old order is passing and the new publishers I am dealing with are generally more compatible. Some of them even like good fiction. So now the hardest thing is facing the prospect of my declining ability with advancing age. I’m not capable of simply letting it go and retiring. So when I no longer write well, I hope I am the first, not the last to know it.

Q. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

A. My web site is http://www.hipiers.com where I have a monthly column, commenting on whatever is on my mind, and background information on my titles. I have also written two autobiographical books: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.

Q. Where can a reader purchase your book?

A. From wherever the publisher puts it.       

Q. What are you doing to market the book?

A. Precious little. I’m a writer, not a marketer.

Q. Who inspires you?

A.  The world inspires me.

Q. Have you written other books? Where can readers purchase them?

A. I have written about 175 other books. Readers can find many of them listed on Amazon. Many readers like my Xanth fantasy series, which now number 42 novels, not all in print yet.

Q. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

 A. I needed to decide on my college major. I pondered a day and a night, and it came to me: I wanted to be a writer. It was like a light turning on and it has guided me ever since.

Q. Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

 A. My wife supported me. She went to work so I could stay home and try to be a writer. That was when I broke through with my first story sale – for $20.00. But it led to greater things, in time.

Q. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

A. Writing is my passion and my life. All else feels like dross. But I do make the meals and wash the dishes, as my wife is infirm. I also like to play cards on the computer, mainly Free Cell, which I believe is the best card game ever.

Q. What is your favorite line from a movie?

A. Great lines in movies are myriad, but it’s the quiet personal ones that get to me the most that others may not even notice. There was one whose title I don’t remember, where a man, a widower, got a girlfriend he was considering marrying. His early teen daughter lived with him. When the woman made them a meal, the man told the teen to do the dishes. The girlfriend intervened. “No, she doesn’t have to do that. I’ll do it.” Why?  “She’s your daughter and I want her to like me.” That disarming candor surely ensured that the girl would like the woman.

Q. What do you like to snack on while you write?

A. I maintain my college weight, and I exercise seriously. I don’t eat between meals. I’m pretty fit for my age, pushing 82, and mean to stay that way.

Q. When you walk into a book store, where is the first place you go?

A. The last local book store closed down.

Q. What is the funniest thing that you’ve been asked during an interview?

A. At the moment I’m not thinking of anything funny in an interview. But I was amused by a sentence in my fan mail: “Ha! Caught you reading fan mail!”

            Sometimes I do learn things from my fan mail.

            I had a suicidally depressive girl in one of my novels (Virtual Mode, if you must know) who regularly cut her wrists so that they bled. So she wore red bands on her wrists to conceal the blood. A reader wrote that I had it wrong: blood dries black, so she needed black wristlets. I suspect she spoke from experience.

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Book Dedications

Hi Everyone!

Although I realize that I’ve been MIA over the last little while, I’d like to assure you that I’m still very much alive and well. Life got in the way as it so easily does and I had to shelf the blog for a little bit. That being said, I will do my best to post more regularly (pinkie promise, as my children would say).

Since I’m currently trying to word the dedication for my third novel (easier said than done), I’ve decided to feature my top ten book dedications.

 

  1. Austenland, by Shannon Hale

 

For Colin Firth

You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.

 

  1. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you. Not this time. Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other! This one’s for you. With you know what, and you probably know why.

 

  1. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Dear Pat, You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?” I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.” “What for?” “To put things in.” “What kind of things?” “Whatever you have,” you said. Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. JOHN

 

  1. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint Exupery

To Leon Werth I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:

To Leon Werth, When he was a little boy

 

6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

 

I want to thank everyone who helped me create this book, except for that guy who yelled at me in Kmart when I was eight because he thought I was being “too rowdy.”

You’re an asshole, sir.

 

5. The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

 

To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.

 

4. Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Neil Gaiman

 

Because she’s threatened me with consequences too dreadful to consider if I don’t dedicate a book to her…

And because she’s taken to starting every transatlantic conversation with “Have you dedicated a book to me yet?”…

I would like to dedicate this book to intelligent life forms everywhere.

And to my sister, Claire.

 

3. The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

 

To Grandma,

For being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

 

2. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
To Lucy Barfield

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis

 

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events(books 1–13), by Lemony Snicket
To Beatrice– darling, dearest, dead. (The Bad Beginning: Book The First)

 

For Beatrice– My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not. (The Reptile Room: Book The Second)

 

For Beatrice– I would much prefer it if you were alive and well. (The Wide Window: Book The Third)

 

To Beatrice– My love flew like a butterfly Until death swooped down like a bat As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said: “That’s the end of that.” (The Miserable Mill: Book The Fourth) 

 

For Beatrice– You will always be in my heart, In my mind, And in your grave. (The Austere Academy: Book The Fifth)

 

For Beatrice– When we met my life began, Soon afterward, yours ended. (The Ersatz Elevator: Book The Sixth)

 

For Beatrice– When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are. (The Vile Village: Book The Seventh)

 

For Beatrice– Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder. (The Hostile Hospital: Book The Eighth)

 

For Beatrice– Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours. (The Carnivorous Carnival: Book The Ninth)

 

For Beatrice– When we first met, you were pretty, and I was lonely. Now I am pretty lonely. (The Slippery Slope: Book The Tenth)

 

For Beatrice– Dead women tell no tales. Sad men write them down. (The Grim Grotto: Book The Eleventh)

 

For Beatrice— No one could extinguish my love, or your house. (The Penultimate Peril: Book The Twelfth)

 

For Beatrice— I cherished, you perished. The world’s been nightmarished. (The End: Book The Thirteenth)

Guest Post – Author Andrew Joyce

GUESTPOST

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. J.D. has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny the Dog.

Andrew took me away from one of my favorite pastimes—barking at dogs that have the temerity to walk down my street—to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my latest adventure. I’m always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is usually 100% true. For those of you who are for the first time being graced by my literary genius, I am Danny, dog extraordinaire. My fans know me as Danny the Dog and I live on a boat with my human, Andrew. Now it’s time for another one of my fur-raising adventures and in this one I shine. I am the hero.

It was a dark and stormy night (not really). Andrew was fast asleep in our boat. I was on the dock patrolling the perimeter. When I’m on guard duty, I am always vigilant and on my toes.

They came out of the darkness. There were at least thirty of ’em, and they were all armed to the teeth. But they didn’t scare me, no sir! I stood up to them, and for every blow I took, I bit three. And when the fur stopped flying, there were bodies strewn everywhere. And those not lying on the dock were in full retreat.

Okay . . . okay already! Andrew is giving me the evil eye. He’s always telling me that I can’t tell lies when relating one of my adventures. Well, he said barefaced lies. Whatever!

I reckon I’ll listen to him this one time and tell you what really happened. But I’m still the hero.

It was around midnight, I was asleep and dreaming of hotdogs. (It was a good dream. In it, I was running through a field of hotdogs and eating every one of them.) Then I heard a noise and sat up. There was some guy walking right up to our boat just as fancy as you please. Well, I wasn’t going to take that, so I barked at him. He did a U-turn and made a hasty departure. And that was the end of it.

You know . . . I wish Andrew would stick to his own story-telling and let me do mine. It sounded a whole lot better when I defeated thirty killers.

That’s about it for now. If I hurry home, I might just be able to make it in time to catch the neighborhood dogs taking their humans for their evening walk. That’s always good for some first-rate barking.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book. It’ll make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank J.D. for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Andrew

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

 

Book Review: Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson

salsa with the pope

Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson is a quirky, women’s fiction novel about a struggling actress going through the ups and downs of finding love – and in the end, herself.

I’ll say this; Salsa With the Pope is funny. The situations that Samantha finds herself in and her inner thought process throughout it all are downright hilarious at times. And although it isn’t necessarily the deepest novel that I’ve ever read, you know what? It doesn’t have to be. A fluff read is fun once in a while.

My only issue here is that I wonder how closely this novel walks the line between fiction and creative non-fiction. I couldn’t help but notice that the author and main character share many similarities and I have a sneaking suspicion that we have a “Mary-Sue” situation going on here (if you aren’t familiar with the term, click here).

Overall, I liked Salsa With the Pope and would recommend it for fans of the pop fiction / women’s lit genre.

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