Monday, December 31, 2012

A Hat Tip to the New Year

Ah!  After a peaceful Christmas season, here we are on the edge of the New Year.  The snow is falling outside and the cats are laying all over my desk as they stare at the strange, white fluff descending from the heavens.

Today's post is a simple one.  No stories to review.  No authors to interview.  Just a reminder to you, my dear readers, to cherish your loved ones and find time to relax and take in the fleeting moments as they pass by during the coming New Year.

In the meantime, if you've a mind to do so, please drop me a note either here on the blog in the comments section or my email at and share your thoughts on reading, writing, and your favorite moments of 2012. 

And if you've taken time to read any of my work, I'd love to hear from you on what you liked and didn't like as I prepare to immerse myself once again into the world of Darkness.  Plus there's that promised short story sequel I know many of you are itching for.

So hats off to a glorious and prosperous 2013!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Adult Christmas Tale

So here we are, arriving upon the heels of the Christmas season to marvel at the snowfall outside, the chill wind blowing said snow, stirring up a cup of hot cocoa and cozying up by the fire to read about a fart.

A fart you ask?  Yes, you read that right.  This winter evening (or morning, depending on your time zone) I bring to you a Christmas story to end all Christmas stories - The Fart That Saved Christmas.

Book Summary:
The behind the scenes story of what really happened "The Night Before Christmas."

It's Christmas Eve. The reindeer go on strike with a list of demands for Santa, the elves and Mrs. Claus. Santa gets "loaded" and threatens to cancel Christmas, fire the deer and divorce Mrs. Claus. But, just when all seems lost, Christmas is saved by a timely fart.

My Review:
Yep, the above pretty much sums it up.  This adult illustrated book is a whimsical take on The Night Before Christmas - and it is definitely for adults (and clearly marked as such).  Beware the language and "Playdeer" magazine!

The meter matches the rhythms of its namesake with a clever twist to the old familiar story.  The illustrations are beautifully done, however I have a confession to make.  I took a gamble by accepting this story to read and review, as it is obvious (as the title suggests) that this is geared more toward the bathroom humor crowd.

And I have sorely no experience or understanding of said humor.

So I requested and received permission to allow my twenty-year-old son (who grew up loving the old Captain Underpants series, much to my chagrin) to read and offer his input from a more "experienced" pallette.

He laughed several times throughout and thought it was a hoot - he gave it two thumbs up for both the storyline as well as the illustrations.  The idea of the reindeers going on strike, a cranky Mrs. Claus, and drunk Santa reminded him about some crazy song about Santa getting drunk, going bezerk and blowing up the North Pole then making reindeer sausage out of Rudolph.  Then he proceeded to sing what he remembered to me.

"Sigh" - Lord, I tried!

So if your penchant leans toward the adult, bathroom humor crowd then you will absolutely LOVE this unique take on The Night Before Christmas.  And if you have a loved one who appreciates said humor style, then you simply must gift a copy to them of The Fart That Saved Christmas.

They will probably thank you - maybe. :-)

A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good (and white) night!

Jacob Morningside's Bio:
Born into a body inhabited by multiple muse personalities, I create stories by stretching the "normal" beyond the boundaries of the absurd.  The result is a worm-hole ride to the Far Side.  I love a good story — so, I wrote one.  Enjoy it with my wishes for a happy holiday season.

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour:
Price: $4.99
Format: Ebook
Pages: 40 illustrated
Publisher: Publish Green
Release: September 6, 2012

iBookstore buy link ($4.99):

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Review of Hell - Step into The Devil's Garden

Okay readers, we're going straight to hell today.  No seriously, in this season of giving, blessed peace, and remembering why we celebrate, I've the pleasure to take you on a journey to hell - at least a hell on this earth.

Today, I'm bringing you a review of Brady Christianson's novel The Devil's Garden, a story of death and destruction with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and sharp wit.  I already know of several acquaintences who will enjoy this book immensely.  So here's my gift to you this season - Merry Christmas!

Book Summary:
A Marine’s past is never far behind him, but sometimes it’s a lot closer than he thinks . . .

After years of enjoying the soft, quiet, civilian, family life, former Recon Marine Brandon Colson still has a large price on his head…only his family doesn’t know it. That is, until a heavily armed squad of terrorists breaks into his house and tries to kill him and his family.

After swiftly dispatching the would-be assassins, Colson realizes the ghosts from his past have somehow managed to come back to haunt him. His worst nightmare has come true. His identity—a secret until now—has been mysteriously compromised. Something he did years ago, while on a recon mission during his tour of service, has kept anger burning in the hearts of powerful Arab adversaries. And the men who attacked his house are simply an omen of what is to come.

With his family in hiding, Colson and local detective Sam Collier set out to locate and neutralize the remainder of the terrorist cell. It’s a race against time, and the plot they uncover along the way defies all expectation.

Their fates in the balance until the last second, the two men must fight for their lives as they navigate a trail littered with bloodshed and revenge that leads straight to hell on earth: The Devil’s Garden.

My Review:
I have to admit, when first starting this book I wasn't sure what to expect.  It is a little confusing and slow to make sense, but once it really gets started it is a rocket blast forward to the finish line.

We first meet Detective Sam Collier as he unfolds his six-foot-ten frame from his car and heads into the station at four in the morning.  Inside he'll find his strangest and most unsettling interrogation suspect of his entire career.

Suspect Brandon Colson claims to have been born on November 10, 1775 at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He also claims to have special powers and an evil sword to explain why there are four dead men in his house (one decapitated), and why he tore through security at the small airport to shoot down the remaining two men during takeoff in a twin-engine turboprop - with only a 9 millimeter and a 12-gauge shotgun.

Brandon proceeds to make verbal mincemeat of his interrogators, especially the staff psychologist.  I laughed so hard during this section of the proceedings until the psychologist tucks tail and runs from the interrogation room.  After interrogations of Brandon, his wife, and each of his three daughters (the youngest's observations are quite funny), Brandon's saving grace comes in the form of Homeland Security, Deputy Director Dain - or as Brandon refers to his former Marine partner, Day One.  Brandon and his family are released to Dain.

And that's where the storyline begins to takeoff.

Brandon's past has caught up with him.  A band of Muslim extremists have placed a price on Brandon's head from a long-ago incident in the Philippines, which is gradually brought into the picture to assist us in understanding the 'why'.  Approximately forty Palestinian hit-men have illegally entered the country with one primary purpose - kill Brandon Colson.

Now Brandon, with the help of Detective Sam, must find each of the targets and wipe them out in return so they cannot report back the success or failure of their mission - and all to protect his family and those involved.

Brandon's smart-mouthed repartee is the real winner in this novel.  The majority of the novel consists of dialogue and some action, with very little internalization driving the story - and in this case, it works very well because of the dry wit and humor referenced.  You HAVE to have a semblence of a sense of humor to really appreciate how Brandon verbally cold-cocks everyone around him.  If you don't, you will just be incensed and walk away like the psychologist character.

Even though Brandon, his past actions and how they play into the present actions, is the primary focus of the story, Sam is our true protagonist.  We see him progress from a 'by the book' detective to a man willing to put everything on the line and do whatever is necessary to save his loved ones and those he respects from harm.  Plus his size and 'grazing' habits make for some interesting jabs.

You'll have to read the book to find out why.

As I said, the beginning was confusing and a bit hard to follow at times, though I doubt the Marines and retired Marines in the audience will have the difficulty I had in this regard.  Also, in the few scenes that did not involve constant dialogue, the writing was very passive and I found myself mentally editing out the unnecessary words to make it more action oriented.  Again, however, this is probably just because I'm also a writer and used to editing, while the average reader probably wouldn't have a problem with the extra words and passive voice.

One word of caution - if you do not like action involving violence and blood-letting then don't pick up this book.  Personally, I had no problems with this because the reasoning was justified.  But there are a few scenes that are quite gory in the telling, though it does not dwell on and draw out these actions to the point of being gratiutous.  This is where we get a chance to visit the story's 'hell'.

And for those of you concerned about the Muslim religious connotations, the author makes a VERY clear distinction between those who are peaceful Muslims and the extremists - and weaves this case throughout without being preachy.

Even with the few issues I had, I still enjoyed The Devil's Garden very much and was surprised at how the irreverant humor drove it forward and kept me laughing - and reading.  The climactic scene was exciting and heart-pounding while maintaining a sense of humor even amidst death and destruction.  If your penchant leans toward the thriller genre, you will find this a fun addition to your reading library.

So on that note, I think it's time for me to go and graze a little.

Brady Christianson's Bio:
Brady Christianson is a former United States Marine Corps Recon Marine whose military service and Christian faith has shaped his writing.  Visit his blog at

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour
Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781938690167
Pages: 391
Release: November 11, 2012

Amazon buy link ($14.95): paperback buy link ($14.95):

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Piercing the Darkness Now on Amazon

Well if I'd realized it would be live so quickly, I'd have just waited to make the sequel's release announcement today.  Oh well!

This afternoon you can now find Piercing the Darkness, the sequel to Running into the Darkness, available for your Kindle through Amazon at  I imagine it will still be a few days or weeks before it is out on the other avenues, but remember you can still pick it up via Smashwords as well.  I'll keep you up to date as to availability.

So on a cold and snowy day, sit by the fire, enjoy a cup of hot coffee or cocoa and read Book Two in the Deepest Darkness series.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sequel Announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make tonight.

Piercing the Darkness is ready for publishing!

As you are aware, I've been going round and round concerning the cover art.  For weeks now the content has been formatted and ready to upload - it's been the pesky cover art that has given me too many sleepless nights.

Recently I was told the original cover was being scrapped and the process would start all over again due to the new cover artist being so new to the whole platform.  Things just weren't on track to match the appearance of the wonderful cover artist I'd retained last year. 

The scrapping of the cover art sent me into a panic, because that meant publishing would be severely delayed into 2013.  So in order to avoid any further delays, I requested and was granted a few minor changes to the original cover in order to get SOMETHING out to my patient readers before the end of the year.  We can always go back and modify the cover at a later date.

As of this evening, Piercing the Darkness is live and available for purchase on Smashwords at .  Within the next few days, it will be live on Amazon Kindle and then Barnes and Noble, Apple, etc.  I'll be sure and update you as the other sites become available.

In the meantime, re-read Running into the Darkness or pick up your own copy while it is still available on sale for only ninety-nine cents.  Then you'll be set to go with the continuation of the Deepest Darkness series.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Twisted Tale - Review Nobody Has to Know

Once again, I have a review to share with you today, Frank Nappi's thriller Nobody Has to Know.  The novel is a sad, frightening, and twisted tale that keeps you reading - even when you sometimes want to stop.

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi's dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him.

Nobody Has To Know is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

My Review:
As I said, the story kept me moving forward toward the finish line even though I wanted so many times to stop.  I knew what was coming.  The nature of the novel starts with a fresh-faced, exciting high school English instructor, Cameron Baldridge, who is the favorite of the entire school body.  He's got everything going for him and a bright future ahead.  One momentous decision changes all of that, sending his life down the slope toward a train wreck. 

Worse is, you see the crash coming.  So many times I wanted to pull Cam from the story and slap some sense into him.  Getting my emotions churned up is a sign of a good novel, in my estimation.

Every character in the story has difficulties in their lives that they either never dealt with and continues to haunt them, or that they are continuing to deal with - without dealing with it, if you get my meaning. 

Since the time of the drowning of his summertime sweetheart when fourteen, you see Cam continuing to be deluged by the memories.  It affects his relationship with his fiance in the present. 

Nikki, the young, innocent siren and target of Cam's lust, feels like an outcast, an old soul among immature, power-hungry, high school illiterates. 

Samantha has been molested by her step-father since the time she was young, and even though she's tried to get her mother to understand what's been going on, has no one in her court - and this twists her thinking to an extreme. 

Melanie is a brainiac who just wants to fit in, to be thought of as more than just a smart girl on her way to Harvard.  When she voices her desires, her family just puts her down and tells her she isn't pretty or talented enough to be anything more than a brain. 

Hayley saw and endured far too much abuse from her alcoholic father and strives for nothing more in her OCD existence than to have money and power in her career.  She constantly seeks to control the uncontrollable.

They all collide together, woven and twisted into a dark tapestry of sex, violence, and despair.

The one saving grace is Cam's mentor, John, but sadly Cam never takes advantage of the older instructor's wisdom.  Instead Cam pushes John farther and farther away as he sinks deeper and deeper into his actions, deceit and lies.

You want to root for Cam to do the right thing, but he never does.  This makes him a less-than likable character.  We see him become engulfed in his own fantasies until he acts on them again, and again, and again.  Even when he has the chance to come clean, he chooses to just add more fuel to the blazing bonfire.  His selfishness is on full display - and it isn't pretty.  He destroys many lives in the process, but then many of those lives make choices that only add to their own destruction.  The cycle goes full circle.

I did pretty much figure out what was coming about 65% of the way through the story, but even then I wasn't quite sure I was right.  This kept me reading - again, for me a sign of good storytelling.

Some miscues in word usage (constantly using lied instead of lay or laid) and some issues with formatting at times got in the way of the reading flow.  There were also many times throughout where point-of-view shifted several times within a scene, sometimes even within the same paragraph, and disrupted the flow as well.  But then other times there were transitions that kept the shift from being quite so jarring.

Overall, Nobody Has to Know kept me moving forward despite the depressing and despicable nature of the storyline and characters.  I found myself continuing to hope Cam would do the right thing at some point in the story, and that kept me reading as well.  This is dealing with some VERY touchy and grotesque issues of the human soul, so keep that in mind if you decide to read this.  But if you like a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing, I can recommend Nobody Has to Know.

But you can't say I didn't warn you!

Frank Nappi's Bio:
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.  Please follow his blog or contact him through his website at

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour at:
Price/Format: $3.99, ebook
Publisher: G Agency LLC
Release: October 16, 2012

Kindle buy link ($3.99):