Sunday, February 26, 2012

A HIGHER COURT by By John Betcher


Bill Kensey takes a trip into the unknown and finds his true calling in life. He is a trial lawyer, called to serve on a jury that will determine the existence of God. Tossed into a surreal atmosphere similar to the rabbit hole in “Alice In Wonderland” or an old episode of “The Twilight Zone”, our juror is perplexed by the eerie atmosphere that fills the courthouse he knows so well. He finds the entire court process rearranged and the names of expert witnesses disguised. Thirty-six jurors from all walks of life are thrown together to put an end to the question every philosopher asks, God? Or No God?

Expert witnesses address the reasons they believe in a Higher Power and the reasons they do not. Have you given much thought to scientific theories such as Cosmology or the Big Bang Theory? Or, do you believe in Anthropomorphism, Egoism, or simple, blind faith? Does our existence boil down to a mathematical equation or love?

The courtroom setting reads like a deposition. The testimonials will break your heart. The expert witnesses will baffle your mind. This is a delightful read for wannabe philosophers like me. “A Higher Court” presents a rare opportunity to view various opinions on the existence or nonexistence of God, and subsequently, mankind. After seven deliberations, what is the verdict?

Thank you, Mr Kensey, for sharing your mission with us. Reviewed by Alle's 5-Star Reviews 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ice on the Grapevine by R.E. Donald



Ice on the Grapevine is a traditional mystery featuring Hunter Rayne, a retired homicide detective turned long haul truck driver. The story opens on a July morning with the discovery of a frozen corpse at a brake check just south of the Grapevine Pass in L.A. County. Hunter, who is in southern California making a delivery, is persuaded by his irascible dispatcher, Elspeth Watson, to help clear two fellow truck drivers who are arrested for the murder. His job is made more difficult by the fact that the suspects, a newlywed couple, won't speak up in their own defence.

The circumstantial evidence is strong, and a rookie detective from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department is eager to score a win. The investigation crosses the Canada-U.S. border when the victim is identified as a second rate musician from Vancouver, and it turns out there were more than a few desperate people happy to see him dead, including the accused couple. Hunter has to use all his investigative skills to uncover the truth.

Hunter’s ex-wife maintains that by taking to the highway Hunter is running away from his past, but he believes that the solitude of days on the road is helping him to heal from guilt over the failure of his marriage and the suicide of his best friend. His life gets more complicated when he feels an unwelcome attraction for a lawyer representing one of the accused.

Tangled relationships and multiple suspects emerge throughout the novel, as Hunter butts heads with more than one officer of the law to solve the crime.  
R.E. Donald is the author of the Hunter Rayne highway mystery series. Ruth worked in the transportation industry in various capacities from 1972 until 2001, and draws on her own experiences, as well as those of her late husband, Jim Donald, in creating the characters and situations in her novels.

Ruth attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., where she studied languages (Russian, French and German) and creative writing to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree.

She currently lives on a small farm in Langley, B.C., where she and her partner, Gilbert Roy, enjoy their Canadian Horses (Le Cheval Canadien) and other animals.
                            R.E. Donald

Friday, February 17, 2012

Martha Bourke is the Author of Jaguar Sun


Martha Bourke grew up in Burlington, Vermont, often considered a hub of "free thinking.” She was encouraged to write, act and be creative at a very young age. An accomplished Spanish teacher, Martha has spent the last fifteen years creating Spanish programs for elementary schools. For most of her life, she has had a fascination with languages, culture and mythology – a passion that now colors and enriches her stories. She has written novels, short stories and poetry. But she admits to being totally “hooked” on YA Paranormal Romance.

Martha and her husband of thirteen years have carved out their own little piece of Vermont in the Massachusetts countryside. When not writing, Martha loves spending time with their animals, listening to good music, taking photographs, and adding to her Converse collection. She is currently working on book two of the Jaguar Sun Series, Jaguar Moon. She has three to five books planned for the series. 

Jaguar Sun (Jaguar Sun Series Book 1) 

Young Adult Paranormal 

DECEMBER 21, 2012. Will that fateful day destroy our world, or did the Mayans have something else in mind?

Maya Delaney knows. Unfortunately.

JAGUAR SUN is the story of Maya Delaney, a typical sixteen-year-old high school junior of Mayan descent. She’s busy dealing with exams, her soon to be ex-boyfriend and fitting in. But Maya’s got bigger problems. She’s hiding a major secret from her dad and having strange visions she can’t control. In her struggle to figure out who she is, she learns that she is meant to fulfill an ancient Mayan Prophesy and bring forth a New Age on earth. Maya finds herself at the very center of a plot over the transition to take place when the Mayan Calendar ends on December 21, 2012. And on top of that, she and her friends are beginning to develop strange powers. Faced with learning to harness her new abilities in time to bring the world to a positive transition, Maya must reevaluate her relationships, identity, and her place in the world. But will the spirit magic she wields be enough to defeat Toltec, an evil society bent on keeping Maya from her destiny? Or will that destiny destroy her? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lisa Taylor: The IAN Interview

Well, I’m the youngest of three children, born on May 18, 1988. I spent my childhood moving all over the United States and have loved reading since I learned how. In May of 2010 I graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Physics. Unfortunately I was medically discharged from the military soon after. I spent a semester in graduate school studying physics while I sorted out what my back-up life plan was, and then left school to begin publishing my writing. I’ve published one novel and a series of short stories on Kindle, and I’m currently working on the first of a YA Fantasy trilogy.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book.
LT. The Hour of Tiamat is YA paranormal fiction, and takes a very unique perspective on the apocalypse. It is based on Sumerian mythology mixed with magic and ancient aliens. It is the culmination of years of personal research on this fascinating subject. Here’s the blurb from the back:

“We've all heard of the Mayan predictions of a vast change coming in the year 2012; but it turns out the ancient Sumerian people had a very similar prophecy…

The dreaded Necronomicon, a book of fable said to contain all the ancient knowledge of the Sumerian civilization has surfaced and fallen into the hands of four teenagers in a small Texas town.  Tonight, after years of studying its dark teachings in secret, they gather to call back to Earth those Gods that tried to enslave humanity over ten thousand years ago, and in turn become rulers themselves. 

Under threat of his life, Tristan helps them complete the ritual; but does that mean it is too late to stop this apocalypse? With Evelyn, whose past and future seem inextricably linked to Tristan, their friend Hunter and a host of surprising paranormal helpers, Tristan will race against murderers, monsters, and time itself to shut the ancient gate before our evil creators are upon us again.”

IAN. How long did it take to write The Hour of Tiamat?
LT. I wrote it off and on for quite a few years. I wrote half of it over a period of six months or so during high school. I then took about five more months during graduate school to go back and edit everything I had written during high school and then finish the book.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book?
LT. My fascination with ancient Sumerian mythology, the idea of ancient aliens (long before the history channel show came on, mind you) and my love for H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories.

IAN. Talk about the writing process.
LT. Well, it’s a long process. I tend to write at night and in spurts. When I’m in the thick of the action of a particular scene, it’s hard to stop writing. Then in between sections I have to step back for a few days and let what I wrote settle. Then I go back and re-read it to make sure I actually went in the direction I wanted. Then I start the whole process over for the next scene and section. Unfortunately lately, with a job to be at in the mornings, staying up all night writing is no longer practical, so I’ve been trying to re-adjust. Forcing oneself to write during a specific time, inspired or not, is harder, but in the end is what you must do if you want to be a professional writer.

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?
LT. I did not use an outline. I tend to be a write as I go type person. However, while that worked fine for a stand-alone novel, I have found that to be harder while writing the fantasy trilogy I’m working on. To make sure the books connect and interact with each other over the entire trilogy has required me to do some outlining and planning.

IAN. How is your The Hour of Tiamat different from others in your genre?
LT. It mixes a LOT of different things. The Sumerian mythology in the book is accurate, so one who considered the idea of ancient aliens being a possibility might find this book to actually be plausible, even though it is written in a more fantastic way. But it’s not all learning. There is romance, difficult ethical struggles, and personal demons that are fairly serious for a young adult novel.

IAN. Is The Hour of Tiamat published in print, e-book or both?
LT. It is published in both, hardcover, paperback and ebook.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
LT. Well, I hope they come away with a sense of hope, that prophecies and fate and predestination, if those things exist, still are not all powerful, and that maybe there is help out there in what seems to be a scary universe. I also hope that it helps those who might be struggling with personal demons similar to those in the book. I hope it helps them realize how much bigger the universe is than just their life. Sometimes not allowing the painful things in our lives to become the most important things in our lives can help.

IAN. Where can we go to buy The Hour of Tiamat?
LT. It is on amazon, barnes and noble, and most online avenues. You can also order it at Barnes and Noble stores.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
LT. My next book is not related to The Hour of Tiamat. It is the first of a YA Fantasy trilogy, entitled Crystallized (Book One of the Crystal Chronicles). It is set in a fantasy world fairly similar to 18th century England, though there are many other cultures mixed into it as well as some of my own inventions. In it, fifteen year old Rachael Elizabeth and her friend Annalise are drawn into the magic that permeates their world through a dream become real. Though their society is ruled by a strict religion that forbids such things, they find out about a demonic plot taking place in the haunted woods near their town, Tairna. Possession is becoming rampant and the only way they can stop it is all out magical battle, with the help of a poor workhouse girl.
This is only the beginning though, for when they are shunned from their town they’ll begin to uncover even more secrets and the history of how their entire civilization came to be will be shattered to reveal a much more magical past. But can their society survive the shock of it?

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

The Hour of Tiamat by Lisa M. Taylor
193 pages
Paranormal Fiction, Horror, Apocalypse

Tristan kept his breathing shallow as he trailed behind Malaki and Tara, keeping in the trees and watching where he stepped. The animals, it seemed, were just as restless as the day before, and he had to fight not to jump every time some creature brushed him.
The more his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the more animals he saw on either side of him. They seemed to be following Malaki and Tara too, but he shook his head at the thought. They couldn’t be. The wolves and deer, rodents and birds, reptiles and bobcats, they had no reason to follow. What could they possibly know? Yet he saw all of those and more as he walked slowly and quietly, and he had to fight harder and harder to keep his breathing quiet.
“We’re here,” he heard Tara breathe quietly ahead of him. Sure enough, just up the path was the tell-tale clump of bushes that hid their cave of stashed goods. Well, it was now or never. The pistol was in the bags inside the cave, but he still had his knife on him. Why did it always have to be by knife?
He hesitated for a moment at the thought of killing again, a familiar churning in his stomach, but the rage coursing through him erased any hesitation. They would give anything to kill the only two people in the world he loved. He realized that this time, it was probably kill or be killed, and he found it didn’t matter.
“Branches in this bush are broken, they’ve been here,” Malaki said as he jogged ahead of Tara, starting to make his way through the brush. Okay, Tristan thought. Then Tara is first. And without a sound, he cocked back his arm, cold metal held between his fingertips, and flung the shining blade from the darkness, running after it even as the point sunk into Tara’s side, sending her sprawling sideways.
“What the…” Malaki started, turning at Tara’s muffled gasp of surprise, but by the time Malaki was free of the bushes again, Tristan was pulling his knife from Tara’s side, cold eyes trained on Malaki.  Tara wasn’t dead, but didn’t seem to be able to move, and she grasped her side, breathing heavily, trying to hold in the steady stream of warm blood. Her dark eyes focused on the two momentarily before her head fell to the ground.
          “This isn’t worth this crap,” she muttered to herself as she scooped up dirt from the ground placing it on the wound. Sure, it might get infected, she thought, but if the blood turned the dirt to mud, maybe it would help clot the wound and stop the bleeding.
          Malaki paid no attention to Tara, but cocked his head in surprise at Tristan. He glanced back to the cave opening, then to Tristan.
          “Well, clearly you’re still bent on saving the world, so what happened? Your little girly in there get mad at you and stop putting out?” He sneered. Tristan didn’t respond, but his blood boiled and eyes grew angrier. “Ah,” Malaki continued as if he’d just had a revelation. “I see. So she is the bitch’s daughter after-all.” He laughed at Tristan, who stood stone still. “Well that had to be awkward.” Tristan struggled to control his breathing. Don’t let him get to you, he repeated to himself. You have to stay focused. Don’t rush. As long as he’s out here, he’s not hurting them.
          Unfortunately the same thought seemed to have occurred to Malaki.
          “Look, I don’t have time for this,” Malaki said, stepping away from the bushes and slowly starting to circle Tristan. “So if we’re going to do this, let’s get it over with, huh?” Tristan smiled, a slightly crazier gleam in his eye than he’d probably ever displayed before.
          “My pleasure,” he snarled, and for once in his life, he attacked first. Malaki jumped back in surprise, narrowly avoiding Tristan’s feint to the right, and sparks flew as their daggers collided again and again. They moved in a large circle, with Malaki continuously dodging and moving backwards and Tristan continually pressing for what seemed like forever but was probably less than a minute. Finally, Malaki got in a shot and a well placed boot to the gut threw Tristan back far enough to give him a break.
          “Give it up, man,” Malaki taunted Tristan as he recovered from the blow. “If I don’t kill her, the Ancient Ones will. What’s the point? Consider it a favor when I kill you, after what you’ve done. Nothing I can do will be as painful as what the Ancient Ones will do to you.”
          Tristan shook his head, breathing hard, but keeping his eyes on Malaki. “And nothing they can do will be as painful as what I’ve already done to myself.” He glared into Malaki’s cocky eyes. “Dying isn’t as scary when you’ve got nothing to lose,” he growled as he lunged forward again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brilliant Prey by author Brenda Wallace

Brilliant Prey


"A twisting, intense psychological thriller."--Bestselling author Scott Nicholson, Liquid Fear

Even a genius can be played for a pawn by a cunning and deadly manipulator.
Lauren James is a former psychiatrist, still reeling from her husband's suicide and the subsequent miscarriage that swept away her tidy life the year before. On the anniversary of his death, she opens what she hopes to be a "Welcome to Mensa" envelope and pulls out a threatening puzzle along with the identical suicide note she had burned the previous year. Unraveling the twisted clues, Lauren embarks on a harrowing journey drawn in by a child's neglected grave, a professor from the island of St. Croix, and a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. When Lauren discovers the reason behind her husband's shocking death, she must struggle with her deepest convictions and whether killing is acceptable if it saves more lives.

Brenda Wallace

I'm the author of the mystery thriller Brilliant Prey and two more books coming soon. I have scrutinized thousands of psychiatric and psychological case studies in my work as a staff attorney and draw from those mental patterns and a former private practice for plot twists and character quirks. I am happy to be a member of the Oklahoma Outlaws writing group, Sisters in Crime, Mensa, and the National Romance Writers of America. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bob Stockton is the Author of Listening To Ghosts and Fighting Bob

Bob Stockton 

Bob Stockton was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1940. Leaving school in his junior year, he began a Navy career in 1957. Following Navy retirement in 1977 Bob has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, worked as a shipyard welder’s helper, adjunct graduate instructor, epidemiologist, pharmaceutical trainer and radio host. An avid motorcyclist, Bob resides in Jacksonville, Florida in close proximity to his three children, three grandchildren and a large American Bulldog named Bowser. 

Listening To Ghosts 


Listening To Ghosts, Bob Stockton’s memoir about growing up in a working class neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey, and how he escaped to the U.S. Navy, details the lively ups and downs of a career navy man as he comes of age and learns invaluable life lessons both personally and professionally.

One of the few navy men who has served in the submarine navy (in diesel electric submarines), Bob also served in the surface (destroyer) navy, in Vietnam in a patrol gunboat and in the aviation navy on carriers and in reconnaissance attack squadrons.

The book is divided into two sections, “Trenton” and “Haze Gray and Salt Spray.” Each section boasts short, highly readable, highly entertaining chapters that vividly span the early 1940s through 1977, when Bob gladly retires from the Navy.

He comments, “Listening To Ghosts takes readers back to a time before the Navy became a vehicle for social engineering. It chronicles my adventures - and misadventures - in frank, candid and politically incorrect language.”  
Fighting Bob 

Many have written novels about the lives and adventures of their ancestors but most are not retold directly by the ancestor himself. In the new novel FIGHTING BOB author Bob Stockton writes of the exciting life of his great-great-great grandfather, Commodore ‘Fighting Bob’ Stockton. Once described by western frontiersman Kit Carson as “the bravest of the brave,” the Commodore’s achievements in the first half of the nineteenth century have, in his own opinion, been misinterpreted by history and his true story needs to be retold by someone with a sense of a life at sea. Under a bizarre set of circumstances the Commodore visits his descendant author and tasks him with writing the corrected history of Fighting Bob’s many accomplishments.

“ I have chosen you for this mission…….”

Those words, spoken by the Commodore to his convalescing descendant began an accounting of epic battles, duels, hand to hand fighting and military conquest covering the first half of the nineteenth century which helped to redraw the map of the United States. As the Commodore’s tale unfolds the author, who was at first reluctant to embrace the task, becomes increasingly excited with the prospect of retelling the Commodore’s story in his - the Commodore’s - own words. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shades Of Gray by Andy Holloman

Shades of Gray is On-Target!

Based on a true story, this is the tale of one family's love for a little girl, illegal police activity, drug smuggling, and murder. This is a story of what can happen when good people are backed into a corner. It is also the story of what can happen when people are born into a world that offers no choices.

Two brothers are born years apart and live in different worlds. John is a devoted father, a solid citizen, and a successful businessman. His younger brother, Travis, is a single, rough and tough cop on the take. The family bond between the brothers remains strong, even though they hold opposing views about life. They enjoy fishing for Blue Marlin on the N.C. coast and a joint love for John's six-year-old daughter, Lucy.

The economic crisis following 9/11 force John into a tight spot. Desperation leads him into activity foreign to his nature. He meets Wanda, a woman born in poverty and struggling to survive. The two of them strike out on a venture to solve their problems. In the end, John realizes the futility of his plan when he discovers that help was right around the corner. 

Reviewed by Alle's 5-Star Reviews 

Friday, February 10, 2012

C.C. Cole is the Author of the Gastar Dark Fantasy Series

The First Book of the Gastar Series: Act of Redemption 

Picturedark fantasy

The city of Gastar stands in ruins following the aftermath of a prolonged war. A new enemy awaits, the demon lord Zermon, to make the remnants of the city part of his territory in hell. A trio of soldiers summoned from the afterlife arrive to help rally the people. Shevata, a former child solider/assassin of the prior wars, is released from imprisonment, and through their combined efforts, the bravery of Gastar's remaining people, and Shevata's familiarity with Zermon protect the city from annihilation. 

The Second Book of the Gastar Series: Children of Discord 

dark fantasy 

Following the defeat of Zermon, two centuries pass allowing re-building of Gastar and growth of the people. The evil boy Goldeon, traitor to Shevata and the people, returns to the city with plans to take over the leadership by forcing control over the vampires, who stayed in hiding through the past wars. Shevata is summoned back to Gastar by unlikely allies while tracking Goldeon in hell. The secret war between the two dangerous children with the city between them places the entire population in jeopardy. Shevata takes her first steps to claim back her humanity at the book's dramatic end.

C.C. Cole 

I am a writer from rural Mississippi. Schooled in medicine, I live in the suburbs with my family. Other interests than writing are rescued greyhounds, martial arts, and medieval and 20th century history. First book "Act of Redemption" was published in 2009,(Best Independent Novel Goodreads) second "Children of Discord" (NABE pinnacle achievement winner 2011) was published in 2011. The series of four novellas when complete follow teen assassin Shevata as she travels through history of the city of Gastar seeking redemption for her past actions and to re-gain her soul. Genre is medieval dark fantasy/action/adventure, no erotica, minimal profanity.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Singapore Werewolf by Thomas Mackay King

The Singapore Werewolf 


Jacky Wu is a laid back happy go lucky guy, he is a fairly average and slightly timid young man, he has a decent job, he has his own apartment and he is about to buy a new car after saving for months. Life is okay, neither too good nor too bad, although his boss regularly bullies him, but he likes career and his colleagues at State Bank,

While on a week of National Service training in Western Australia Jacky is bitten by a feral dog. The incident takes place at The Pinnacles a strange Limestone formation dating back millions of years, there is something eerie about the place and this encounter takes place under a full Moon.

Jacky begins to feel stronger in both mind and body and changes quickly envelop him, with both positive and negative consequences. He grows in stature but something is also growing inside of him. Jacky will need to fight for his own life, fight against the horrible wrath that the stray Australian dog has brought upon him while trying to live a normal life. His life begins to turn into a living hell and he tries to cope. He has to battle internal demons and has terrible dreams that are hard to understand.

When the full moon rises in Singapore Jacky Wu is in trouble and so are the islands females; Singapore a safe place for women to walk at night is plunged into a crisis as the mutilated young female bodies appear. Jacky morphs into a seven foot tall beast although he does not recall his transmutation until he cannot ignore it.

He is sent to other places in Asia to work and during the full moon he again morphs and takes innocent life. While in Hong Kong he slaughters and when working in Bangkok he once more slaughters.

Jacky changes in his daily life becoming withdrawn and ill tempered, he blows up at work and becomes the focus of police attention. The hunt is on and Jacky is the target as he is relentlessly hunted down in a dramatic end spread out across the main landmarks of Singapore. 

Thomas Mackay King

I was fortunate to have been born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, a wonderful city with deep artistic and cultural roots, all of which I fully absorbed.

The pleasant, positive aspects of Edinburgh were equally balanced by the darker, bleaker, sinister side, both past and present, of which I enjoyed, and endured, my quota.

I have since lived across the world for over twenty eight years, and am now, tapping into the subterranean recesses deep inside my cranium, to expound and elucidate, through both fact and fiction, upon the people, and the wide, heterogeneous, varied life experiences, these years and some unforgettable years before, wrought out of me.

I love writing; it stretches me to reflect, to delve deeper, and perhaps, hopefully, to even darker places.  Thomas Mackay