Category Archives: book spotlight

Spotlight – Little Yellow Magnet by Jamieson Wolf

Little Yellow Magnet – A Memoir

Life can change in an instant. Jamieson learns this the hard way.

Waking one morning to find he has little-to-no motor control, Jamieson only wants the world to return to how it had been before. After a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, he thinks his life is over. What he doesn’t know is that it’s only just begun.

Trying to navigate through the world in a body he no longer understands, Jamieson must travel through the dark forest of depression while waging a constant battle against himself. Over time, he learns what he’s truly capable of, and what it actually means to be courageous.

Follow Jamieson as he loses himself…then discovers who he is really meant to be.

Buy Links:

Amazon.ca         Amazon.com          Kobo

Jamieson has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.

He is a number-one bestselling author—he likes to tell people that a lot—and writes in many different genres. Jamieson is also an accomplished artist. He works in mixed media, charcoal, acrylic and oil pants. He is also something of an amateur photographer, a poet, and a graphic designer.

He currently lives in Ottawa Ontario Canada with his husband Michael and their cat, Tula, who is fearless.

You can find him at www.jamiesonwolf.com    Facebook    Twitter    Instagram

The world was falling around me.

Then again, I always fell. The ground would reach up to meet me, but I would get up and keep going. Having been born with spastic cerebral palsy, this was nothing new. But lately it happened with increasing regularity and without explanation.

Normally, if I were about to fall, there’d be a warning: a tightness in the muscles, a spasm, or a vibration running up my legs or down my back as if someone were playing an internal instrument, causing my muscles to gyrate.

Now there was none of that. I’d be walking one moment, then down I went the next. The ground wouldn’t welcome me in its embrace; it would pummel me, demanding a kiss. I wouldn’t even remember falling.

I also began having problems speaking. Just odd little turns of phrase of sentences I couldn’t get out properly. I’d want to say cup and ended up saying cuppy. I would try to say computer and instead said something like commuter.

This worried me more than the falling. I am a writer and words are my trade. I had always been able to turn out a quick phrase, public speaking never a hardship for me. I constantly had more words than the allotted time to speak—there had never seemed to be enough time to say all of them.

These days I was constantly tripping over my tongue. The words didn’t come out the right way. I was concerned but put off going to the doctor. I don’t like doctors; I’d seen too many of them as a child. I usually waited until the last possible moment to see one. I had narrowly avoided pneumonia a few times that way.

Then my mother called me. “Your brother has been diagnosed.”

I knew he’d been having health issues. As I didn’t speak to him, I got second-hand updates from my mother. He had been losing feeling in his feet and the numbness had moved up to his knees. He was having his own kind of difficulties.

“What’s wrong?” I asked her.

“He’s been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” she said softly. I could tell from the sound of her voice that she had been crying. “They said it was progressive MS. You should get checked to make sure you don’t have it.”

“Is that likely?”

“You’re his brother, Jamieson, his twin. It’s very likely.”

I begrudgingly agreed that I would go. I had postponed it for as long as I could, but after a fall at work and another fall in my apartment, I gave in to the inevitable. I made an appointment to see my doctor. He’d been my family physician for a while now and while he wasn’t great, at least there was someone I could see when I needed to.

I explained everything: how I was falling more often and losing control of my body. How I was having difficulty speaking and getting the words out that I wanted to say. I told him about my brother’s diagnosis and my mother’s concerns.

He was dismissive from the word go. “You don’t have multiple sclerosis,” he said.

“How can you be sure? Aren’t there some kind of tests you need to do to prove that?”

He waved my concerns away. “You don’t have multiple sclerosis. I’m a doctor, I know these things.”

“What about my body?” I asked, growing slightly frustrated. “I know my body and I know my cerebral palsy. This isn’t cerebral palsy causing the falls. I know it’s not. There’s something else going on.” He stared at me with a somewhat bemused gaze. “I know my own body,” I said again. “What about my speech?”

“This is all in your head,” he told me. “All this hysteria is affecting you. I would suggest psychological help. That’s what you need. I can recommend a good therapist.”

I was shocked. I had never been talked to like I was an idiot. I felt quite hot under the collar now. “What about my speech?” I asked again.

He waved his hand once more. “I would suggest elocution lessons.”

I left his office furious, knowing without a doubt that I needed more than elocution lessons and therapy, but I had no idea what to do or who to talk to.

On December 30, 2012, my hand went numb.

I called my doctor again and got him to begrudgingly refer me to a neurologist, but the appointment was months away. Every time I smoked a cigarette my hand kept going numb. I would switch to the other hand, then I’d begin to lose feeling in that one, too. The cigarette would fall from my fingers. I would pluck it off the carpet before it burned a hole.

Since seeing the doctor that first time, the symptoms I experienced had worsened. I fell almost every day with no explanation and had more trouble with my speaking. I made jokes about it, but I was worried.

I looked forward to the coming new year and I decided to go to bed early so I would have plenty of energy for the day ahead. My body, however, had other ideas. I went to bed living one life and woke up living another.

Advertisements

Spotlight – Fid’s Crusade

Fid's Crusade banner 2

About the Author

David Reiss

While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

Website Link: https://www.davidhreiss.com

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/davidhreiss

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/davidhreiss

 

About the Book:

Title: FID’S CRUSADE
Author: David H. Reiss
Publisher: Atian Press
Pages: 365
Genre: Scifi/Contemporary Fantasy

Fid's Crusade

BOOK BLURB:

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.

Praise:

Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I’ve seen in years. His title character’s crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin’s Prepare to Die!.” – Hugo award-winning author Tim Pratt

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C92PMDH

 

Book Excerpt:

“I’m fine,” I informed Starnyx as soon as he answered his highly-encrypted phone.

A swarm of medical automatons surrounded the gurney on which I was reclined, a humming and swirling dervish of blades, clamps, sponges and other surgical tools focused upon the stump of my shoulder. A surgical laser was carefully burning away flesh in a pattern that would increase the efficiency of repairs performed by the medical nanites once my right arm was reattached.

The blended smell of disinfectant and cooking meat had been disturbing at first, but I was beginning to get used to the odor.

“Okay…?” Eric yawned. “Where are you?”

“I’m back in Boston,” I winced; a more significant cocktail of painkillers was now coursing through my veins, but some discomfort remained. “I’m sorry, I forgot that you were asleep when I left.”

“Nah, it’s almost morning. I can wake up. What’s up?”

“I ran into some minor trouble on my way home,” I forced a chuckle. “It will probably make the news and I didn’t want you to worry.”

“Hold on, let me get to a computer.” I heard tired, uncoordinated movement over the connection.

“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Using my neural connection to the surgical control computer, I ordered one of the robots to add another dose of topical anesthetic. “Really, I’m fine.”

“So, what happened?” Eric must have reached his desk, because I could hear the clacking as he typed on his keyboard.

“I ran into the Brooklyn Knights.”

“I think I’ve heard of them. New guys, righ—” he paused mid-question and fell silent.

“Eric?”

“So, you’re fine then?” Nyx asked, patiently.

“Absolutely,” I affirmed.

“I only ask, because the first hit I get on recent news of Doctor Fid is shaky cel-phone footage of you with your arm cut off,” he explained. “And I’m pretty sure you had both arms earlier tonight.”

“Tis but a scratch?” I tried.

“Christ, Doc,” he sighed, “I’m not doing Monty Python bits with you. Let me get dressed, I can be up in Boston in a few hours.”

“Thank you,” I smiled gratefully. “But, really, don’t bother. I’ll have my arm re-attached by then.”

There was another long pause.

“How?” Starnyx sounded exasperated.

“Medical nanotechnology. I’ll have function back in eight hours.” Which was a good thing, since my civilian persona had a face-to-face meeting with the Governor of Connecticut this afternoon to discuss opening a new research facility in Middletown. “In twenty-four hours, I’ll be good as new.”

“You’re a scary man,” he chuckled, relieved. “Okay, I get it. You’re fine.”

“I am.”

“Keep out of trouble, Doc, I’m going to get back to bed. Stay in touch, yeah?”

“Of course.” It was an odd feeling, having someone who cared for Doctor Fid’s wellbeing.

He hung up, and I closed my eyes to think.

Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e_2WVVnZO8&t=2s

 

Spotlight – Misfits and Supermen

Misfits and Supermen banner

About the Author

Steve Starger

Steve Starger is a journalist, author, and musician. His 2006 book, “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-Best Comic-Book Artist,” was short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics Related Book of 2006.

His latest book is a memoir titled MISFITS AND SUPERMEN: TWO BROTHERS’ JOURNEY ALONG THE SPECTRUM.

Website: www.misfitsandsupermen.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Starger-2222670174658438/

About the Book:

Title: MISFITS AND SUPERMEN: TWO BROTHERS’ JOURNEY ALONG THE SPECTRUM.
Author: Steve Starger
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 178
Genre: Memoir

Misfits and Supermen

BOOK BLURB:

The bond of brotherhood is hard to break, but a lifetime of dealing with familial expectation, bitterness, and psychological disorders can bend and warp it into something nearly unrecognizable. This story tells the tale of two brothers: Melvyn, the elder, whose amalgamation of disorders leave him completely unable to function within society; and Stephen, the younger, whose own emotional and psychological issues are overshadowed to the point where he becomes little more than a pale and twisted reflection of his brother.

On different ends of the same spectrum, Melvyn is blissfully unaware of their troubling connection (or so his brother can only assume), but for Stephen, it is undeniable. He lives with it every day, sensing his own otherness in every twitch, outburst, and inability of his brother to overcome his inner demons. Left largely on his own to deal with his peculiarities-while carrying the burden of being “the normal one,” of whom much is expected- Stephen begins a complicated and unpredictable journey, one which will take him as far from his brother as he can manage to get, even as it brings them inexorably closer.

A portion of proceeds from this book will go toward the Camp Cuheca Scholarship – Melvyn D. Starger fund at Waterford Country School, Quaker Hill, CT., to help fund a two-week summer residency at the camp. For more information about Waterford Country School, please email development@waterforddcs.org.

A finely crafted, affecting memoir of two brothers.”

— Kirkus Reviews

If you want an honest book about life with mental illness in the family, this is it. Great writing. Brutally honest. Hard to put it down. Great stories about CT, NY and CA from the 1940s to 2000.”

–Amazon Reviewer

Misfits teaser 4

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=misfits+and+supermen&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/misfits+and+supermen/_/N-8q8?_requestid=1514906

Book Excerpt

On a clear, cool night early in the spring of 1967, I lay on a stone wall fronting Long Island Sound, waiting for the acid to come on. I was in the back yard of a mansion in Stamford, Connecticut, staring into the star-filled sky, listening to the small waves gurgling against the shoreline. My mind was serene, but I was nervous, as always when I took acid or some other psychedelic substance. The unpredictability of the drug both thrilled me and made me anxious. Where will I go? What will I see? What will happen? Will I survive? If I lose myself on this plane of existence, what will come next?

My expectation and anxiety were more intense than usual this night. I had dropped what I had been told was two-hundred-fifty micrograms of pure Sandoz LSD-25, the Holy Grail of psychedelics. Or something very much like it.

I had no idea who obtained this rare specimen of a heralded consciousness-altering substance or who manufactured it, but it showed up at the house where my band, NGC 4594, had camped to rehearse. The sprawling home was a prime example of a southern Connecticut Gold Coast mansion; it belonged to the family of our flute and mouth-harp player.

The tablet I had swallowed, about the size and color of an adult dose of aspirin, purportedly had the purity and power of LSD-25, the legendary psychedelic accidentally discovered at Sandoz Laboratories, in Basel, Switzerland, by a chemist named Albert Hoffman, in 1938. Dr. Hoffman’s cosmic experience was decades in the past, but this dose was supposed to be light-years beyond any acid I had previously taken.

The pitch that accompanied this acid could have been lifted from a used-car salesman’s book, but if the claim was correct, I was in for a journey to the center of consciousness, where “clear light” waited to bathe me in its cleansing glow. I had taken other “clean” acid trips, uncut with amphetamines to make the trip come on faster, and free of other additives favored by the street “acid men” to stretch their product for maximum profits.

As the acid slowly insinuated itself into my nervous system (one test of purity is the length of time it takes for uncut LSD to start working, about forty-five minutes to an hour), I felt the heightened combination of exhilaration and anxiety that signals the acid beginning to work its magic.

A gentle nudging began to assert itself at the edges of my consciousness. I gave myself over to the Sandoz simulacrum and let it take me where it would.

Over the course of what seemed like millennia, the acid took me far away, into the vast field of stars above me, and into the water, where I imprinted my image on the surface over and over, until I became an armada of insubstantial clones breaking on the shore. In a quick burst of rational thought, I thought, so, this is what the shouting is all about over Sandoz. Well … let it come down!

Inside the house, NGC was playing to a group of local day trippers who showed up every Friday night to get high and listen to us. We had moved into the mansion from Storrs, Connecticut a couple of months before and had become the latest attraction for the local sensation seekers.

As I lay wrapped in ecstasy in Stamford, my brother, Melvyn Starger, lay on his small bed in his small cell of a room on the opposite side of the state, at Norwich State Hospital. He too had taken drugs, ones very different from what I had consumed by choice. He was not given a choice in the matter; his drugs were prescribed and mandatory. His meds probably were benzodiazepines, psychoactive medications that produced sedative, hypnotic, anti-convulsive, and muscle relaxant effects. In other words, they were used to control patients’ behaviors, which could be explosive and unpredictable.

Someone meeting Melvyn for the first time would wonder why it was necessary to give him medicine designed to pacify him. He seemed so calm and diffident to most people. But he had a temper that could get way out of hand, and it could explode in seconds. He was too thin and under-muscled to do any physical damage to people, but he could be scary. He could yell at the top of his range for a long time.

I can’t presume to know where Melvyn’s mind went when he was on his meds. His inner workings had been a mystery to me and my parents for many years. I did my best to hold off thoughts of him as I peaked on the acid. Had I thought of him in this blissful state, I thought I would freak out (as we used to say). That would have been a shame, because this trip was one of a kind. Nothing should be allowed to ruin it. Not that I hadn’t thought of my brother over the years since we were kids, but there were times when it just wouldn’t have been fair to let reality intrude on my experience.

My efforts to keep my brother at bay have never worked. He was always there, ready and waiting—my constant Virgil on our travels together. He had appeared to me many times over the years, a stoop-shouldered wraith shambling through my thoughts, not so subtly reminding me that our bond would never be broken, least of all by changing locations and doing drugs.

Even in the middle of my cosmic dance on Long Island Sound, I occasionally felt the sorrow generated by my brother’s presence creep in, slowly and inexorably. This time, my altered perceptions absorbed Melvyn and his aura with barely a whimper. I didn’t panic; no ambulances had to be called. I simply rode the whirlwind to its conclusion: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

By then I had learned enough about how to guide myself through a psychedelic experience to understand that walking the Via Dolorosa (“the way of grief”) can be an important part of the experience. After all, the language we used to describe an acid trip or some other mind-altering experience employed such phrases as “ego death,” states of being one must travel through to reach the true center of consciousness, where the pain and suffering brought on by human folly melts into divine nothingness.

Our perceptions of the power of psychedelic drugs came from our readings of Buddhist philosophy and certain practices found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which had been appropriated by the Harvard psychedelic guru Timothy Leary for his own usages. In terms of getting high on psychedelics, it probably amounted to nonsense, but if that got us through bad experiences, what was the harm? In fact, the truest thing I had learned about acid, peyote, mescaline, magic mushrooms, and even things like lowly marijuana was how strong these substances were. One could believe anything behind their power to distort the senses and disrupt the orderly flow of one’s mind.

In my brother’s case, he walked the Via Dolorosa his entire life.

In some societies, my brother might have been revered as a holy man, treated with respect and deference. In our world, he was crazy. A looney-tune. A moron. No one in polite society called him those terrible names, of course, at least not in public. I called him those names, in private and in public.

Divorced from the rest of “normal” society by his multiplicity of psychiatric afflictions, my brother grew up inside his own life. It was not a life that anyone would have chosen, but it was his, thrust on him by nature. His world was rigidly self-contained. He was the only permanent resident. He could relate to the “outside” when he chose to, but those were rare moments. My parents and I had to do the work required to enter his world. It was a hard, frustrating task, but there were occasional payoffs, if one worked hard enough. Small flickers of light would dance in his eyes on those rare moments when he was able or willing to enter the world of the others—our world.

This brief description of my perception of Melvyn’s affect and demeanor may remind some of the classic symptoms of autism, or as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) terms it, “Autistic Disorder.” The DSM’s list of symptoms includes: Marked lack of awareness of the existence or feelings of others; no or abnormal seeking of comfort at times of distress; no or impaired imitation (e.g., does not wave bye-bye, does not copy mother’s domestic activities, mechanical imitation of others’ actions out of context); no or abnormal social play; and gross impairment in ability to make peer friendships.

Melvyn did display some or all of these manifestations at various times throughout his life, sometimes all of them at once. The diagnosis of autism was not generally heard during the time of Melvyn’s development, and even if it had been, the tagging of Melvyn as autistic, or “on the spectrum,” may not have made a difference in my parents’ comprehension of their son’s many aberrant behaviors. In retrospect, the gap that existed between Melvyn and the rest of the world would surely have remained—in fact, did remain—for his entire life.

But Melvyn did not live in a vacuum, despite all of the obstacles that separated us. Melvyn—the fact of Melvyn—exerted a profound influence on everyone who came into his world. My parents struggled for their entire marriage under the weight of Melvyn’s conditions.

Some families, when faced with crippling mental disabilities in a family member, bond together and face their futures in some kind of harmony. Other families fall apart, unable to face the fact of a terrible intruder in their midst. My family went the latter route.

When Melvyn’s strangeness could no longer be ignored or explained away, my parents’ reactions took very different forms. Over the long term, my father grew more distant and depressed, and he began to blame my mother more and more for Melvyn’s problems. My mother adopted the pose of a martyr, taking verbal abuse from my father that increased with passing years. My mother became “Long-Suffering Elsie” in the eyes of friends and family. The perception wasn’t entirely fair. She could still laugh and socialize and have fun playing the piano, but there was no doubt that something deep and sad had possessed her. One can argue that we all affect each other simply by being in each other’s lives, but living so closely with someone of Melvyn’s uniqueness takes that rather obvious observation to a very different place.

As Melvyn’s wrongness became more and more pronounced, my parents turned their gazes on him and never looked away. My developing antisocial behavior and rock-bottom self-image took a backseat to Melvyn’s much bigger problems. My parents missed the danger signs in my young life early on. Their concentration on Melvyn bored like drilling tools into Melvyn’s being, as if my parents could mine information from him about his strangeness. They watched in mounting horror as he transformed from a seemingly normal child into an alien creature lurching toward entropy. They reacted to the early years of Melvyn’s thwarted development with shock, disbelief, denial, increasing pain, depression, and cruelty.

The fact that it took years for Melvyn’s first symptoms of psychiatric disorder to appear—holding out hope for my parents where none really existed—exacerbated a situation that eventually flowered into a force that destroyed the fabric of my family.

This may sound like melodrama, but I watched it happen. My mother, refusing to believe the evidence of her eyes, would swear at times that Melvyn was reading full sentences when he was 2 years old, which proved to her that what was clearly happening to him was beyond her comprehension. She was indulging in magical thinking to save her own sanity.

Misfits and Supermen 3

Spotlight – Dark Spiral Down

Dark Spiral Down banner

About the Author

Mike Houtz

After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream.

He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

His latest book is the thriller/international/action novel, Dark Spiral Down.

Website: www.mikehoutz.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelhoutz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.mikehoutz/

https://www.facebook.com/mike.houtz.77

About the Book:

Title: DARK SPIRAL DOWN
Author: Michael Houtz
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/International/Action

Dark Spiral Down

BOOK BLURB:

COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.

Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.

Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.

Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer. Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.

Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.

Praise for Michael Houtz Books

“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”

~Lima Charlie Review

“…this work proves that author Houtz is undoubtedly a rising star in the publishing world.”

~Andrea Brunais, Author

“Mike Houtz takes us on fast-pace adventure in Dark Spiral Down, a thrilling ride along the border between China and North Korea, where Cole Haufner is in pursuit of his Delta Force brother and a device that has the potential to change the world forever or destroy it.”

~Dan Grant, Author

Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz. This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!”

~Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine

 

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://amzn.to/2UpXJmK

Book Excerpt:

Anger born of helplessness rose in his chest. In contrast to Master Li’s placating tone, Cole straightened to his full height and stared into the man’s face. “Let me guess, more 14K cowards?”

Another man stepped forward and cocked his pistol’s hammer. “I show you coward.”

As at the Crowne Plaza earlier, Cole refused to back off, even in the face of impending conflict. “The coward is the man who needs a gun.”

The other with the shotgun pointing at Cole’s chest stood only some seven or eight feet away. “You will come with us now!”

“Please. Violence is forbidden here,” Master Li spoke again. “The Temple is sacred. We cannot have this type of behavior.”

“Maybe you don’t hear so good,” the leader sneered. “He comes with us whether you approve or not.”

“He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but to hold immediate trials and executions.” Master Li cupped his hands together and held them against his chest.

“Famous American,” the man chuckled. “If you are so famous, what are you doing here then, huh?”

Cole stared straight into the man’s eyes. He took several steps toward the shotgun-wielding thug. “How about I show you?”

Dark Spiral Down teaser 3

Spotlight – Moments That Made America

Moments That Made America banner 2

About the Author

Geoff Armstrong

Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

His latest book is Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo.

You can visit his website at www.MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com.

 

About the Book:

Title: MOMENTS THAT MADE AMERICA: FROM THE ICE AGE TO THE ALAMO
Author: Geoff Armstrong
Publisher: History Publishing Company
Pages: 254
Genre: American History

Moments That Made America lg

BOOK BLURB:

From its geological birth during the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent millions of years ago, through the nation-shaping key events that led to its political independence from the British superpower, and other crucial, sometimes miraculous events that worked to create the nation, Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo explores those defining moments, both tragic and inspirational that profoundly shaped the nation and its people – crucial turning points that worked inexorably to mold and make America. These pivotal “tipping” events formed America’s geographical, sociological, political and historical landscape. Part 1 culminates with the discovery of gold in California and the role it played in fulfilling America’s dream of Manifest Destiny.

ORDER YOUR COPY AT AMAZON:

Moments That Made America: From The Ice Age To The Alamo

Moments That Made America teaser 5

Book Excerpt:

Excerpt from Chapter Three: The Road to Revolution

On the 19th of June, with twelve hundred men and officers, the British army began its march. Braddock’s forces moved slowly, building roads as they advanced. By the 8th of July, Braddock had arrived within 12 miles of Fort Duquesne. Typical of British thinking concerning military action in North America, Braddock failed to send out scouts or set up advance guards. In splendid European-style formation, their bright scarlet uniforms glowing in the summer sunshine, Braddock and his men moved against the French Fort. Washington had spent time in the region and knew it well. He understood the style of fighting they would have to face and recognizing the danger, he tried to persuade Braddock to set up proper security, but Braddock, suffering from what turned out to be terminal arrogance, ignored Washington’s experience and advice.

At about noon they crossed the Monongahela River. The road on which they now marched led through a valley and along two concealed ravines covered with trees and deep grass. What Braddock didn’t know, thanks to his haughty refusal to employ scouts, was that the ravines concealed 600 Native American warriors and 250 French soldiers all armed and waiting.

As soon as the British reached the ravines, the woods in front of them erupted with musket fire as the French and their Native American allies unloaded their weapons into the British. Stunned by the unexpected attack, the leading British troops were hurled backward into their advancing rear units, throwing Braddock’s regulars into hopeless confusion. Disorganized and gripped with fear, hammered by volley after volley of musket fire from directly ahead and then from their flanks, the British struggled to fight back as their legendary discipline began to falter.

The first discharge of musket fire had targeted the officers and many had already fallen. Several times the British rallied and at one point succeeded in killing the French commander. That seemed to act as a signal to the Indians. They threw themselves at the British.

Now panic-stricken and disorientated, ignoring the commands of the few remaining officers, the British regulars huddled together in small groups, firing ineffectively into the surrounding trees and bushes. Protected by the ravines and trees, the French and Indians continued to target the officers.

The only troops who retained any hint of common sense were the Virginians. As soon as they realized whom they were fighting, they ignored Braddock and used the colonial fighting tactics they had learned from the Native Americans.

Washington’s conduct during the battle was exemplary. He refused to huddle in terror, as so many of his fellow officers did, vainly hoping to escape the death that flourished all around them. At six-foot-four and on horseback, he was the most conspicuous officer and the most conspicuous target in the entire British expedition. Witnesses describe him as riding from battered group to battered group, rallying his Virginians and attempting to rally the British regulars into following the example of the Virginians. Four musket balls tore through his coat and two horses were shot out from under him. Inexplicably, nothing touched him.

Finally, Braddock was shot through the lung and carried from the field. He later died of his wound.

Washington, though he was relatively far down in the chain of command, displayed the leadership for which, he would someday become famous. He was able to enforce enough discipline to form a rear guard and allow what was left of the British expedition to retreat.

British losses were appalling with more than 900 dead and wounded. According to most records, only one mounted officer survived the engagement that would become known as the “Battle of the Monongahela”, but should have been called the “Monongahela Massacre”. That officer was George Washington.

He should have died that day. Just one more unknown, low ranking colonial officer, one more casualty in a poorly executed British offensive, his name lost in the mists of history. How Washington managed to survive is beyond explanation and it was only the first of such miraculous escapes. Had he lost his life, the America we know would not exist, or if it did somehow come into being, it would certainly be profoundly different. His survival in the face of almost impossible odds also gives substantial evidence to many, that both Washington and the nation that would someday become America, were under the protection and guidance of Divine Providence.

Washington himself recognized that his survival that day was highly improbable. A few days later, in a letter to his brother John, Washington himself wrote about this. “By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”

Moments That Made America teaser

 

unnamed

Spotlight – The ‘Real’ American Diet

The Real American Diet banner

About the Author

Kevin C. Alston

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, he’s had an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary. The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business.

His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.

Website Link: http://diet4america.wix.com/real ,

https://youtu.be/sQ8LOeFoj68

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/kcasrkev1

Facebook Link: http://facebook.com/kcasrkev

 

About the Book:

Title: THE ‘REAL’ AMERICAN DIET
Author: Kevin Alston
Publisher: Xlibris Publishing
Pages: 48
Genre: Memoir/Nonfiction

The Real American Diet

BOOK BLURB:

This book is a culmination of the author’s life, but mainly the past 10 years, where personal tragedies have led him to discover more about the correlation with food, nutrition & the diseases of today, & how it affects us all.

This program is an experiment of sorts, with the author using himself as the guinea pig, with positive results having been discovered, & hopefully, in time, even bigger positive results yet to come.

Between our government & Big Business, we, the people, are already involved in an experiment. It’s like a big laboratory. With all of the harmful toxins that are allowed in our air, food, & water, diseases are at epidemic-like levels, & the author, for one, would like to know if there is more to this than is being told to us. It speaks volumes when other nations refuse to accept grains & meats from us, or at least it does to the author.

Most of the ailments we suffer from today emanate from our guts, & our poor diets keep the sickness-wheels turning, costing each of us millions of dollars, a whole lot of heartache, pain, & suffering. It’s time to make a change, & that change started with the author’s experiment on himself.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Real-American-Diet-Kevin-Alston-ebook/dp/B0794MPWWD/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+%27Real%27+American+Diet+kevin+alston&qid=1552343215&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

Book Excerpt:

Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

IF YOU’VE BEEN dieting forever with very mixed results, then you’ve finally come to the right place. These lifestyle changes that I am recommending will be like no diet that you have ever attempted, so if you combine what I’m about to teach you with the proven methods that Dr. Joel Fuhrman teaches you in his books—Eat to Live is the best one to start off with—you will be well on your way to attaining your goal of losing the dreaded weight that you have been desperately seeking to get rid of for so long.

Book Trailer

https://youtu.be/sQ8LOeFoj68

Spotlight – CRAVED by Keli Hammond

Craved-Front

Book Description:
What does it take to stand out from the crowd? How do you build a brand people notice, connect with, and trust? What does it really take to get (and keep) a constant flow of incoming and loyal customers and opportunities?

In CRAVED, Keli Hammond walks you through the ins and outs of building a brand that is not only noticed, but sought-after and profitable. She uncovers the key elements needed to craft cohesive and clever marketing campaigns and demystifies the components needed to gain influence and be memorable.

In this book, Hammond combines decades of award-winning industry knowledge with helpful stories and advice that illustrates what not to do in brand building. She walks you through how to build a loyal tribe that advocates for you and endorses you.

Because marketing rules change quickly, the things that worked five years ago are now outdated and old-fashioned. The guidance you get from CRAVED will help you elevate your profile, attract more people to you, monetize your influence, and set the stage for long-term profit for your personal brand or business.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been at this for a while, this is the resource you need to help make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Transform your life by strategically creating a brand people CRAVE.

Author Bio

Keli Hammond head shot

Keli Hammond is a nationally-recognized, award-winning expert on marketing. The author of CRAVED: The Secret Sauce to Building a Highly-Successful, Standout Brand; Keli knows what it takes to make people stop, listen, engage, and invest in brands (both personal and business). With a focus on brand acceleration and positioning, Keli’s expertise helps people pinpoint hurdles to success and pivot their marketing to achieve maximum results and brand loyalty.

Keli owns B Classic, a Washington, DC-based marketing and communications agency that helps entrepreneurs, corporations, non-profits, and government agencies better educate, entice, inspire, and engage their target consumers.

Keli distilled over 15 years of marketing know-how into her debut book, aptly named CRAVED, which offers practical tips and resources that provide clarity on how to turn a passion into profit by becoming a dynamic marketer.

A highly sought after speaker, trainer and writer, Keli regularly speaks to groups of business owners, students and women on personal branding, marketing, and social media. Keli holds a BA in Advertising from Temple University and certification in Change Leadership (Change Management) from Cornell University.

Get the book on Amazon.

Spotlight – The Guild Saga Series

About the Author

John Joseph Doody

I earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Coral Ridge University and Seminary, as well as an M.A. in Political Science from George Wythe College. My first publication was a short story, TELEPIO 690, which appeared in Sidetrekked Magazine, Issue #48. My other publications are, my first novel (actually a novella), THE WONK DECELERATOR, my second novel, THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE, my third novel, RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH and a fourth mini-book, a prequel to the Guild Series, THE DAUGHTER OF GETH, which is available only in ebook. I am currently working on a science fiction/horror novel, THE DARK. One of these days I might even finish it.

Happily, I have a wife and four children and live in Florida.

Website Link: www.johndoody.com

Twitter Link: @johnjosephdoody

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/authorjohnjosephdoody/

 

Inside the Books

The Wonk Decelerator

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE WONK DECELERATOR (Book 1)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 131
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

For Earthers dwelling in Guild space, it is a one-hundred year journey back to Earth. An unimaginable voyage, until now.

When Guild commander and crack pilot, Thad Cochran boards the shuttle destined for the casinos of Timmerus, finding a way back to Earth is not on his radar. He wants the five-percent finder’s fee the Guild is offering for a black box held by the lizard-like Yazz. Thad has a dream: With the loot he will get for stealing the Wonk Decelerator, he can buy a ranch on Beta Prime.

But things begin to fall apart for him in the dark caverns of Timmerus, and Thad must reconsider his priorities in life. Has he discovered a cause greater than his dream? Are there actually more important things to life than money and his dream? What about the woman who is waiting for him? What about freedom in the galaxy? And what about his discovery, fashioned by the gnarled hands of a brilliant, old Yazz, that could change everything?

Thad Cochran has a choice to make. He can fulfill his quest, escape with his life and be rich. Or he can fly with the Wonks … one more time.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Wonk-Decelerator-Guild-Saga/dp/1937809323/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_3?keywords=john+joseph+doody&qid=1551501377&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

Book Excerpt:

Thad opened his eyes, aware of a sense that the murky sun was dropping on the horizon. He panicked momentarily until he realized he still had a half hour before the prearranged confab with Maggie.

He headed for the bathroom to change into darker clothes for the journey. The bathroom had Thandimonean stone flooring, golden faucets and a huge commode one nearly needed a ladder to get up on.

Thad rubbed his face and ran his tongue over his teeth. He might as well clean up while he was in here. He stripped, broke out his toothbrush and was busy about his business when he heard a creaking hinge.

He stepped out of the bathroom in his skivvies, toothpaste frothing in his mouth.

“Commander Cochran.”

He heard the voice, glanced at the open door, but saw no one.

“Yeph?!” he gurgled, toothpaste spraying everywhere as his voice took on a falsetto tone.

“I’m up here, silly boy.”

Thad looked up, and his heart tried to jump out of his gullet. The woman, the one he had seen in the space port

and had suspected of being a droid, crawled across the ceiling like a spider chasing after a bug. How she managed to cling, upside down, her head twisted a hundred and eighty degrees and looking directly at him, was a repulsive mystery to him.

Oh, you’re a droid all right! 

He had never seen a Mandroid capable of walking on ceilings. This droid’s techno was impressive and scary.

“You should go back to your people, Commander Cochran,” she said, as she crawled down the wall, her head twisting again, cracking and popping back to its original position.

He knew there was no sense in trying to get away, or in trying to fight with this droid. She was too fast, too strong. He had no weapon to use against her, and worst of all, he was in his underwear.

Thad swallowed his toothpaste.

Once on the floor, she meandered over to him and, with a critical expression, eyed him from head to toe. She was beautiful, but she smelled of a peculiar blend of perfume and something like burnt rubber.

“There’s only death waiting for you here on Gar Mega. Go back, Commander, before it’s too late.”

With that, she walked stiffly from the room, leaving the door open. Thad wasted no time, sprinted to the door, locked it and leaned against the wall, his legs trembling beneath him.

She’s probably got a key that pops out of her finger or something. I know I locked that.

Inside the Book

The Late Great Benjamin Bale

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE (Book 2)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 370
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The destinies of two men depend on Maggie Thorn. One is dying and the other is dead…or is he?

Captain Maggie Thorn is on a formal Guild mission, supposedly to kidnap the yazz scientist, Gravian Endrenicus, and return him to Thandimone. But she also has a personal score to settle with the lizard-like inhabitants of Timmerus. She intends to make the yazz pay for what they did to Thad Cochran—the one the yazz call the Thieves Guild pilot. The man she loves.

Supreme Fleet Commander, Admiral Geoff Grangore knows of only one man who could get Maggie to Timmerus and back while traitorous eyes are watching. That man is an old drunk who lives deep in the Thandimonean wilderness with his pet Eno, Snot. Benjamin Bale is suicidal and cantankerous, and Maggie can’t stand him—at first.

Bale is a dead man. At least, that’s what everyone was told. But this dead man has a final mission to perform. The greatest star pilot in the galaxy has a chance to redeem himself and make right a great wrong. A wrong which he can never forgive or forget. A wrong that cost him everything.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193780948X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Inside the Book

Return of the Crimson Witch

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH (Book 3)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 407
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The Bashtier call Wonk space, Eerindark—The Place of the Dead—and Thad Cochran, the only pilot to go there and live, will soon find out why. The sacrifice of Benjamin Bale brings Thad back from the dead. But is he truly free from the death grip of the Wonks?

A body is discovered behind an apartment wall in a small town on the planet Daggon. With the mystery thrust upon him, Admiral Geoff Grangore must pursue a dangerous quest for the truth—is it somehow connected to The Wonk Decelerator?

Dreams and visions are dancing in the heads of the yazz. Something bad is coming to the frontier—a hidden enemy only the Guild traitor, Alexander Hamilton Patho knows.
Patho sends an assassin to Daggon and his conniving gaze is on the M-3 Wonk vessel. It seems civil war is imminent and those who control the power of Wonk travel will rule the known galaxy. Therefore, it must not fall into Patho’s hands.

It is time for war, and time for Maggie Thorn to learn the truth about who she really is. It is also time for The Return of the Crimson Witch.

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Crimson-Witch-Book-Guild/dp/1942391242/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

%d bloggers like this: