Friday, April 11, 2014

Live at Smashwords

Two men walked into a bar. 

They decided to save the state of California and they almost succeeded.

A king maker in the little town of Claremont decided to solve all the state’s problems, so he took a hardcore Republican, dressed him in Democrat’s clothes and got him elected governor of California, all the while pulling his puppet’s strings from a barstool.  Things start to improve quickly especially after the legislature went on strike leaving Governor Jim’s hands unfettered.  The National Guard did a great job of implementing the governor’s plan until the president can’t take it any longer and tries to have him assassinated.  Then there is that little surprise from Jim’s checkered past that he could have never seen coming.  Golden State Blues is a riotous and outrageous spoof on the sorry state of the Golden State.

71,000 words

Price $4.99

Buy at Smashwords 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Coming Soon

Two men walked into a bar and decided to save the state of California and they almost succeeded.

Coming soon to Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cryptos Conundrum

Jonathan Chalmers fell on his head at age four.  The resulting brain injury turned him into a
savant who could read fifty pages per minute in multiple texts and instantly
recognize complicated mathematical patterns. 
In 1918 he is inexplicably rescued, wounded, from the trenches of Verdun
by a group of quasi-spiritual, quasi-extraterrestrial beings who make him whole
and instill his brain with some arcane cosmic knowledge.  This experience apparently also retards the
aging process.  As a result of his
youthful appearance he is able to again enlist in the army at the outbreak of
World War II but he is quickly snatched from basic training and recruited by
the OSS which segues into the CIA after the war.  This coincidentally is around the time of the
incident at Roswell so Chalmers finds himself in charge of the alien bodies
which resemble H.R. Giger’s alien from the movie of the same name rather than
the cute little gray guys with big heads we are used to associating with

The above only describes a fraction of this epic length
adventure into the bizarre life of a charter member of the CIA who behind the
scenes is responsible for the protection of everything and everyone.  It is in a word, weird.  At times it is painful.  There are numerous anachronisms and much
verbal gymnastics.  I would like to see
the editor tarred and feathered for allowing the phrase, “Chalmers knew...” to
be used forty-three times.  Seriously, it
annoyed me so much I counted.  That
ignores all the cases of, “He knew...” and when the point of view shifts to the
aliens—yes, even the aliens get a viewpoint—we are made to suffer with, “The
alien knew...”  The aliens’ names are
corny distortions of English words and part of the alien dialog is first given
in nonsensical characters before it is translated for us.  I read the whole thing and never stopped
asking myself why.

In fairness it has its moments of clever situations and
intriguing hypotheses.  Having said all
this, I probably should give some thought to the fact that the author is a
retired CIA spook who surely knows how to get even.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The English General by Lyn Alexander

Erich von Schellendorf, English born General in the German
Army, is conflicted in 1939.  Estranged
from his deeply troubled, baroness wife, immovably devoted to duty, filled with
hatred for Hitler and blackmailed by British Intelligence, he finds himself
smitten by a visiting Englishwoman.  In
the last days before the outbreak of war their impetuous affair is broadcast
across Berlin and to Heidelberg, his wife’s ancestral home, and does not escape
the attention of the SS.  When they are
inevitably separated by the war, Erich must lose himself in the enormity of the
quartermaster’s task of keeping the Wehrmacht supplied, all the while scheming
with the “Valkyrie” conspirators to kill Hitler and attempting to shorten the
war by providing intelligence to MI6 knowing that at any time the Gestapo might
put a bullet in his head.

Lyn Alexander’s third installment in the von Schellendorf
series is a pinnacle of complexity, tension, realism and emotion.  Her fortuitous background has given her
unique insight into wartime Germany and she displays it with masterly
skill.  The English General is the story
of one man’s tragedy told in the landscape of the most destructive war
humankind has inflicted upon itself.  It
is the tale of how a professional soldier battled to retain his sanity, and
indeed his life, in the midst of a world gone mad.  The depth of the bind into which Lyn
Alexander has placed her character is only rivaled by her astounding attention
to historical detail.  This is historical
fiction at its very best.

The English General is not available as a ebook as of March 2014.  You can find it at Barnes & Noble and Lyn tells me it will be available soon at Createspace.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Alt Clut: The Kingdom of the Rock by Tim Dalgleish

Legend and fact intertwine tantalizingly throughout the
history of what we now know as the British Isles.  The story of the Kingdom of Alt Clut, what
fragments survive, is populated by the likes of King Arthur, Saint Patrick, Macbeth
and Old King Cole, and it occupies a setting not far removed from Tolkien’s
Middle Earth.  Tim Dalgleish guides the
reader through the hazy genealogy of the kings of Alt Clut who waged their wars
across the highlands of what will become modern Scotland and he tells us how
they interacted with the more familiar players of the day.  One finds it remarkable that a kingdom
enduring for six or seven centuries, in part contemporaneously with the
obsessively preservationist Romans, could so completely sink beneath the shroud
of time.  Ancient Britain—more correctly,
what would become Britain—was rife with famous chroniclers such as the
Venerable Bede, Chaucer and Saint Patrick, but the sum of what can be known of
Alt Clut is well summarized in this thought provoking sixty-two-hundred word

Being a junkie for history, I could not resist
revisiting Alt Clut.  I first became
aware that this shadowy kingdom had existed from Norman Davies’ monumental
Vanished Kingdoms which Tim Dalgleish references among other unimpeachable
sources.  Mr. Dalgleish remixes the
sparse facts and presents them concisely and entertainingly.  He teases the reader with comparisons of the
facts of Alt Clut and their similarity to well known and cherished legends
giving the reader to wonder if the enigmatic Alt Clut was the birthplace of
those immortal tales.  I have only one
complaint, and I tell you with tongue in cheek, that no document comprised of
only sixty-two-hundred words should ever contain the word ‘subsumed’ twice.

I got this short essay from .  I don't know where else it is available or how much it cost.  I got it for free.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Night & Fog

Karl Schumacher is a major in the SS whose job it is to select those prisoners arriving at Sachsenhausen concentration camp who will be worked to death or shot.  He is also a homosexual who must hide his proclivity or face a fate similar to his selectees.  A surprisingly tender liaison with a young gypsy begins to turn Karl from his Nazi loyalties and he hatches a plan to escape.

Night and Fog has a few issues.  The homosexual sex scenes are not gratuitously depicted—for which I was grateful—but the conversion of the gypsy boy seemed much too easy.  There are several historical errors, anachronisms and illogical events that should have been avoided.  The dialogue is unconvincing and occasionally sounds too much like twenty-first century American English.  It is however, an interesting and sometimes thoughtful look at the Holocaust from a different perspective.

149,760 Words
Price $8.99  (Personally I think it's overpriced)
Buy at Smashwords 

Buy at Amazon

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Versailles Legacy

We first met Erich von Schellendorf, née Foster, in 1912 when estrangement from his overbearing father drives him to finish school, not at Cambridge as planned, but at his mother’s ancestral home of Heidelberg.  His love for the capricious daughter of a Prussian Baron and retired cavalry officer moves him to enlist in the military for a term that inescapably draws him into the war on the German side.  Fast forward to 1933 and we find Lieutenant Colonel von Schellendorf training a military equestrian team for the infamous 1936 Olympics that Hitler so badly wants to support his contention of Aryan supremacy.  Erich’s unswerving loyalties to both Germany and his wife are sorely tested by Hitler’s brutal fanaticism and Britt’s unresponsiveness.  Erich finds solace in horsemanship and the camaraderie of his team until a British spy and a honey trap threaten to unhinge his entire existence.

Through the lens of retrospection, the Treaty of Versailles could have led to only one outcome.  It, in essence, created Hitler and the Nazis.  Lyn Alexander’s sequel to The Officers’ Code offers an insightful look into the collective mind of a defeated power via the psyche of an eyewitness.  The emotional tension building within Erich von Schellendorf as the Nazis rise and his marriage sinks is shown to us with masterful style.  The brilliant character development of Britt, from the damaged victim of incest to a manipulative wife, in deep denial of fratricide, who uses the withholding of affection as a weapon, is as penetrating as any ever created by the likes of Hemingway.  Lyn Alexander knows Germany, horses and human emotion and she knows how to bring all that knowledge to the page.  The Versailles Legacy is a great sequel and a terrific standalone story.

Only available in paperback at this time, but I'm nagging Lyn to go digital.
Buy at Amazon