Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hell Struggle Review

Hell Struggle, the second in a series by King Samuel Benson, is a YA Urban Fantasy novel set a few years in the future. A New Government is in place and Alex King finds himself having to decide whether to join the New Government's Special Force. He refuses and walks out of a meeting, accompanied by his good friend, Mercy Damalie, thus setting up the arc of the book. The story is intriguing, fast paced with a few unexpected twists along the way, as well as a bit of romance in the midst of all the action. 

Benson's writing keeps the reader engaged in the story. The plot moves along at a quick pace, neither over- or underwhelming the reader. His descriptions are minimalist enough to allow the reader to visualize the scene while also allowing the reader to add enough of the reader's own imagination to remain engaged in the story.
Alex King is the hero in this story. He refuses to be recruited into a Special Force run by a New Government he doesn't believe in. He is questioning, yet determined to see his own way. Along the way he loses the trust of his dear friend Mercy, and realizes what he must do to win it back, perhaps at great sacrifice to himself. Benson allows for Alex to question and doubt himself during the course of the story, reminding the reader heroes are also human. 

Hell Struggle is an enjoyable read; and even though it's part of a series, it can stand alone as there are just enough references to what happened in the first book to keep the reader's interest, and perhaps piquing interest in the prior one should the reader come into the series at this point.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Newest Review of "Out of the Past"

I'm very grateful for this 4* review by Samuel Lora for of "Out of the Past" just in time for it's 2nd anniversary!

To read the review, click here.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gifts Not Yet Given

Certain writers know how to tug on the heart strings. Kergan Edwards-Stout is one of them. Having read his award winning debut novel, Songs for the New Depression, and cried a time or three, I expected nothing less with his follow up book, Gifts Not Yet Given, a collection of holiday-themed short stories. I was not disappointed. 

Gifts are most often tangible, yet, the ones that make the most lasting impression usually are not and we receive them when we least expect, and often from complete strangers or from people we know but might not necessarily associate with as he points out in several of the stories; the high-powered businesswoman unhappy with her life whose gift comes from a lowly office worker, the  elderly woman distraught at losing her family gets a message from a homeless woman, and the terminally ill man who receives a gift from an old girlfriend. 

In Gifts Not Yet Given, Edwards-Stout's characters represent a cross-section of society; young, old, men, women, gay, straight, and transgender. His characters are real, fully developed and carry the reader along on the character's own journey while preparing the reader to receive their own gifts. 

As Paul, the young man in the story The Cape, releases the sorrow and guilt he carried for so many years of losing friends and family, I came to realize I was Paul in so many ways. I had lost a partner and many friends over the years and carried with it some of the survivors' guilt common to many of us. It set me on the path to find true closure. And I found it. 

When writing can affect the reader in such a way as I was, it is indeed the gift of good writing. Thank you, Kergan, for your gift.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

WIP- Dragonclaw

With Winter Recess officially over, I must confess to not getting as much writing done as I'd hoped. I did manage to enter some notes into my computer, and here offer a little preview. Whether this makes it into the final project, or a sequel..., time will only tell. Enjoy!

Graydon took one step into the clearing, laying his sword at his feet as he did so. “You are in no danger,” he said calmly.
“I don’t know that,” she replied.
“You are on your way to rescue someone close to your heart. You were attacked a few days ago and all your food was taken. You don’t know this area.”
“How do you know this? How can I trust you?”
“The Ring of Truth-here put it on.” He removed the ring, and extended his hand to her offering her the ring.  She reached for it, tentatively. Taking the ring, she fingered it, deciding whether to trust it.
“Magic is trickery,” she yelled and threw the ring at Gray’s feet.
“You shouldn’t have done that!” Thor had stepped into the clearing, his sword drawn. “If he said you were safe, you were safe. Now you have angered me!”
“I need help from no one.” And she began backing her way out of the clearing, sword still at the ready.
“Fine, but be careful of the Shimmer. I trust you know when it will appear next,” Thor said, tauntingly.
She froze.  “The Shimmer?” she said, fear in her voice. “You know?”
“Never precisely, but Graydon,” –Thor pointed in his direction- “has been studying the stars. And he’s been noticing patterns.”
“I still don’t know if I can trust you,” she said.
“Nor do I know if I can trust you,” replied Thor. “But if Graydon is willing to trust you, I will trust him.”
“This is getting us nowhere,” said Graydon, walking over and taking Thor’s hand in his own. “We will help you on your way to rescue your friend.”
“My betrothed.”
“Your betrothed?”
“Yes, she was kidnapped before we were to be wed.”

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Sinfully Sexy Review of Out of the Past!

A sinfully sexy review of Out of the Past is now on Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews! Along with an interview with me! Please check it out!! And I'm giving away something!!

For the review, interview and giveaway, please click on this link!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tentative New Work In Progress

Writing has been difficult for me lately. I just haven't felt motivated. Maybe it's because I have too much going on in my head; personally, professionally and literally.

By 'literally' I mean several writing projects are brewing in my head at once, giving me a feeling of Multiple Character Syndrome, and no clear direction on which of the three main ones I should work on. Yes, I hear voices, but it's my characters and and projects all screaming at me. At least I think it's them.

I recently attended a local support group for LGBTQ Writers. I was hesitant, okay, downright anxious and nervous at first. But, excited. I had emailed the group leader asking what, if anything, we should bring.

"A current piece you're working on," he replied. "Something to share with the group."

OMG! I have to read? I was thinking snacks. Well, after all it is a writers' group, so bringing a piece for critique made sense. So, I sat, listening to my inner voice, for whichever one of the "triplets" screamed the loudest. One voice eventually drowned out the others. Damn, it would be that one.

"But," he had continued, "there is absolutely no pressure to read. We are a very constructive and supportive group."

So, he says. I shall see.

I printed the opening chapter of a piece I'm working on, a combination social commentary/fantasy-space travel/LGBT romance. Quite ambitious for my second piece, right? I decided on a section and timed out ten minutes of it, as that was the limit so everyone would have time to read.

I arrived at the meeting, signed up to read second. I figured I'd be in the moment, and if I wanted to read, I would; if I felt overwhelmed, I would simply pass. And by going second, I'd get it over with.

I went ahead and read. All of the eight other members had something very positive to say, were very supportive, offered some very constructive suggestions and had genuine questions as to where I saw the project heading. I even expressed my doubts about the project and they reassured me they liked it as it was! I was deeply touched by their help. (I also made a mental note, that I seemed to receive the least number of notes. Maybe that's also a good sign!)

So, here I share a small portion of that reading, from the piece I will be concentrating on, tentatively called


     “Faggots make me sick,” snarled the first one, “Let’s take care of this one.”
      “Please just let me go.”
      “Please just let me go” mimicked the first one. “See, he’s a pitiful excuse for a man. Not willing to defend himself,” he shoved Lance into the fence.
      “Defend yourself, gay boy.” He punched Lance in the face. Lance spun around, fell to the ground and the three took turns kicking and stomping on him.
      “Three on one isn’t a fair fight,” came a deep voice from behind them.
       The attackers froze in mid-kick. Lance had fallen to ground, pulled himself into a fetal position and was covering his head and neck with his arms.
       The three turned and saw a tall thin young man walking calmly toward them. He was dressed in clothes from a different time; a dirty peasant shirt, black vest embroidered with strange symbols, brown leggings tucked into knee high boots.  His clothes, hair and face were dirty, and it appeared he hadn’t shaved in about a week.
     “Look, this homeless scum bag is coming to defend a faggot,” said one of the three.
     “Maybe he’s a faggot, too. You a faggot, bum?”
     The Stranger stopped, squaring his stance.  “Leave him alone.”
     The three turned from Lance and faced the Stranger.  Slowly, they surrounded him.  
     He smirked,“Think you’re brave, picking on a single man.” Lance, sensing his freedom, struggled to his feet, and tried to get away, but stumbled and fell, crying out in pain. He tried to reach for his cell phone, but the pain in his side was too great. Defeated, he sat there crying in both physical and emotional pain.
   “We’re just out for some fun. He’s a queer; he needs to be taken care of.”
   "Yeah, we hate faggots and people who defend them.” And with that, the brown haired one threw a punch at the Stranger’s face. With lightning like speed, the Stranger caught the fist and twisted it away and down from his face, snapping it back, breaking the wrist as he did so. The attacker groaned in pain, falling to his knees.   
The blond one grabbed the Stranger from behind pinning his arms against his sides. “I’ll hold him, you get him!” he called to the others.  The Stranger, stomping on the instep of his attacker, took hold of the guy’s hands and pulling them away from his own body, turned under them while pulling the attacker down into his knee and catching him in the face, dropped him to the pavement.
The third attacker, furious at seeing his friends taken down like this, reached behind his back and pulled something out of a back pocket.  With a small click, the glint of a knife blade glinted in the light. He sneered, “Now, you’re gonna get it.” 
“Oh, you want weapons,” the Stranger mocked, he reached over his right shoulder into a pocket in the vest he wore, and drew out a small sword.
At the sight of the sword, the attackers fled.  The Stranger, sheathing his sword back into the hidden pocket in his vest, hurried to Lance, and bent over him.  Lance cringed, pulling himself tighter, crying.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Another Review for "Out of the Past"

I'm very grateful to Tams of TamsTwoCents for the latest review of my novel, Out of the Past.

"....a roller coaster ride of emotions from start to finish..."

"...enough intrigue and suspense to keep you turning the pages."

"You don't want to miss the opportunity to get to know Paul and Javier...."

To read the whole review, click here: