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Book Review: Brain Twister by Randall Garrett and Lawrence Janifer

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Review by Helen Krummenacker This book was copyrighted in 1962, which explains why it reads like a very old-fashioned, Cold War Era story on one hand, with the language of the era, and yet has elements that would be futuristic by today’s standards. It also predates the period where writers decided longer is better-- it’s decidedly light on padding and has a crispness to the language. Overall, it reads like a Young Adult novel, not demanding much of the reader but imagination and a bit of tolerance for mild sexism and ablism.

The writers, Randall Garrett and Lawrence Janifer, give us an FBI agent assigned a seemingly impossible case: there is a spy working, presumably for the Russians, to ferret out what is happening with a project for a new kind of space drive. The reason that catching the spy may be impossible is that the spy is a telepath. By coincidence, a second research project at the same facility had been studying telepathy and developed the means to determine when someone was h…

Book Review: "Noble Rot" by Carson Buckingham

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REVIEW BY ALLAN KRUMMENACKER
5 - STARS  "Monsters don't always hide in the closet..."
A failing marriage, a struggling writer, a new job, a new place, a new beginning... What could possibly go wrong? For Allison Pilch just about everything and anything. Walking away from a failing marriage Allison sets out on a journey to find her own way as a person and a writer and soon finds herself not only with a new place but a new job as well in the real estate office that is also the property management of her new home.
     But as with anything too good to be true, there are mysteries and secrets that should be best left alone.
     Her new boss, a handsome and devilish (almost literally) fellow has his eye on her. As does the owner of the building she's currently living in. But unlike her boss, this man shuns the light and hides in darkness, covered in bandages to avoid being seen for very good reasons. A past transgression has left him with a terrible curse forcing him to li…

Letting Go of An Idea... Or Several Actually

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Today I'm following up on a topic I brought up in a previous entry where I talked about having started all over on "The Door". Originally this story was meant to be the 3rd novel in our Para-Earth Series, only I kept hitting one wall after another with "The Door" and not getting much farther with the story. It got so bad I realized way too much time was passing without a new book being released, so Helen and I went to work on "The Vampyre Blogs" books because we had a clearer vision of those stories.
But even during that interim, I'd go back to "The Door" and new progress would be made, but then another wall or distraction would come along. That is until recently when I've gone back to it with a vengeance and have been making some serious progress. The story is moving along nicely but there have been a few bumps in the road. Most of those difficulties I've been encountering lately have come from new shapes and directions the sto…

Book Review: Kasi Blake's "Vampire's Rule"

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His name is Jack, his nickname is "Jackpot" and with good reason. Killed by a werewolf, but changed at the last moment by vampires he is spared from death. Then by a freak chance, he becomes mortal once more after an encounter with another werewolf. Now he's not completely human, vampire or werewolf... he's something more.
K. C. Blake presents us with a unique blend of traditional vampires, werewolves and a bit more thrown in. It's a fast-paced tale of life, death, rebirth. Second chances that may not be all we hoped they would be. Friends and family become enemies and allies, with twists and turns sure to keep the reader on edge.   The pacing is good and the story intriguing.  Definitely an enjoyable read.
Now this is the first in "The Rule" series. The characters can be a little hard to like at times, but when setting the stage for a series this can be forgiven as we watch them grow and find that there is still a lot more to come from this author and…

Updating

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The word count is past 42,000, and the main draft may be finished by the end of the month. I call it the main draft rather than first or rough, because I'm one of the weird, rare writers who works to polish their prose from the start and edits throughout the initial writing, so that the final product is very close to the original finished draft. I'm not saying this is superior; actually, I think this insistence on having my language just so before I put down a sentence is why I could never finish writing more than a short story on my own before this. On the other hand, I do want beta readers to help me with cultural aspects (Rafael is part Latino) and other details, such as making sure I didn't mess up the proper terminology for shipboard life, military work, firearms and equipment, and such. It's one thing to do a little online research, but the people who delve deeply are worth listening to-- I respect readers too much to disregard correct usage.

It Is Now Officially a Rewrite!

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As many of you know I've been working on "The Door" for the last four years. And looking back on that sentence I'm wishing I'd phrased it differently, because it makes me sound like someone who is the lamest handyman in creation. Hmm... there might be another blog post in that. I can see it now "Choosing Your Words Carefully"...

     Anyway, getting back to today's topic, yes I've been working on that novel all this time and it still isn't finished. In fact the closest I've gotten is halfway. Why? See below...

    But seriously, I was trying to put too much material and characters into the story. I had forgotten one of the cardinal rules I try to write by, which is "Keep It Simple Stupid". When you have a story that already has a number of twists and turns built into it, DON'T MAKE IT MORE COMPLICATED! Secondly, if you are building a series you don't have to introduce every bloody person who's going to appear …

Designing Your Own Bookcover: Not As Easy As You Might Think - Part III

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As usual I started experimenting with a basic quick sketch of what I had in mind. I knew right from the start that I wanted to incorporate the title into the image for this one, especially since it was our more traditional two word titles. Naturally I aimed for an actual door, knowing it would be fairly easy to incorporate the word "door" into the wood grain.

     From there I started testing out different color schemes for the wood grain itself. But then I started asking myself, how would a door that had been exposed to the elements for almost two centuries look? So I did some Googling, to find images to get a better idea of what such a door might look like. Here's a few of the examples I found:


     So now I had a basis to build upon. Yet I also felt that whatever I created should have good strong colors that still gave that weathered yet somewhat foreboding feel. So I pulled out my soft pastels and started laying down some colors in order to start forming the pa…