May 17, 2016

Book Review: The “Brilliance” Trilogy by Marcus Sakey

Book Review: The “Brilliance” Trilogy by Marcus Sakey

I’ve spent the past few months reading Marcus Sakey’s Brilliance trilogy. It’s been a helluva trip. Set in the unspecified near future – maybe tomorrow? – it’s a story that could have come right off the front page of a major newspaper. Sakey has character development that makes a writer pine and a plotline that’s terribly engrossing. This is a trilogy, so it’s three full length novels: Brilliance, A Better World, and Written in Fire. You can get a plot briefing on Amazon, but the brilliant aspect, for me, is the brilliants. Sakey posits an event occurred some thirty years ago, that humans with extraordinary powers – in a word, brilliance – were unsuspectingly born. Over time, average mortals have grown largely resentful of the brilliants, and some have decided to assure they will never…

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May 13, 2016

Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Prologue and Chs. 1-4, by Patrick E. McLean

Podcast: “How to Succeed in Evil”, Prologue and Chs. 1-4, by Patrick E. McLean

Do you remember the Malaysia Air Flight 370 that disappeared a few years ago? It seems Patrick McLean was prescient – he wrote about a similar disaster-in-the-making which occurred out over the Pacific…or maybe it’s something that happens all the time and we just don’t hear about it. But what we don’t hear about is a superhero named Excelsior [go ahead, Google that word, see what it means] who flies to the plane’s rescue. Or does he? Anyway, this is how this fabulous podcast, read most excellently by the author, kicks off. Over the next three Fridays we’ll post the first twelve episodes, just to make sure you’re hooked. But you probably will be by the time you finish the first one anyway. If you listen to these and just can’t wait to listen to more, please go…

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May 7, 2016

Only One Mother, and a Noted Artist, too

Only One Mother, and a Noted Artist, too

I was named for my mother, Jacqueline Rochester (1924-2010). I suppose in some way she hoped I would continue her legacy as an artist and while I did not paint – that legacy was passed on to my brother Gregg – I did become a writer. There are a number of legacy gifts my mother gave to me and her family, too many to recount here. But it is Mother’s Day, the day each and every one of us can invoke the truth that we have only one mother and she is deserving of our acknowledgement today. There is a well worn phrase I think of often when it comes to artists, whatever their medium: Many are called, but few are chosen. My mother was called and she chose, big time: she painted with vision…

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April 29, 2016

Podcast: “Ancestor,” Episode 3, by Scott Sigler

Podcast: “Ancestor,” Episode 3, by Scott Sigler

“Ancestor” is what you might term a serious or sophisticated story. By that I mean it has character development, a complex plot, and a lot of subtlety lying just below the surface of it being an action story. These are good things for a story to have. You may have read novels, or listened to other novel podcasts, where the plot is the thing, and the only thing. Like a Dan Brown novel. So get comfortable, pay attention to Scott Sigler’s more elaborately developed story, and feel yourself become immersed in it. Because you will. And you’ll be glad you did. From Scott: President Gutierrez wants Murray Longworth to take charge of a new government agency specially designed to handle “Special Threats.” However, Murray has some conditions that he needs to have met before he will accept the…

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April 22, 2016

Podcast: “Ancestor” Episode 2, by Scott Sigler

Podcast: “Ancestor” Episode 2, by Scott Sigler

After that completely daft beginning, you’re probably getting real curious to see why this wacko Chinese genetic engineer is allowed to walk around without a strait jacket on. And you would be right to wonder. If we left you hanging last week, it’s because we didn’t mention something pretty important at the end of the blurb, so here’s the whole thing for you to, ahem, chew on: There’s just one problem: these ancestors turn out not to be the docile herd animals Colding’s team envisioned. Instead, Colding’s work has given birth to something big, something evil. ……AND IT’S VERY, VERY HUNGRY! Scott goes on: Galina Porischova has a clandestine meeting with Paul Fischer. She wants to blow the whistle on Genada’s research. We begin to see exactly how far Genada is willing to go to…

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April 16, 2016

Podcast: “Ancestor” by Scott Sigler

Podcast: “Ancestor” by Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler is The Man of Podcasting. We can thank Scott because it was he who really got it all started, podcasting novels. His first was “Earthcore,” which is as memorable as when it first came out in 2005. He has been prolific ever since. Today we introduce “Ancestor,” podcast first in 2010. Here’s Scott’s introduction: Every five minutes, a transplant candidate dies while waiting for a heart, a liver, or a kidney. Imagine a technology that could provide those life saving organs for a nominal fee…..and imagine what a company would do to monopolize that technology. On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, P.J. Colding leads a team of scientists who have discovered this holy grail of medicine. By reverse engineering the genomes of thousands of mammals, Colding’s team has dialed back the…

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March 25, 2016

An Interview with V.E. Ulett, Author of the “Captain Blackwell” Novels

An Interview with V.E. Ulett, Author of the “Captain Blackwell” Novels

An Interview with V. E. Ulett, Author of the Captain Blackwell Novels JBR: How did you become interested in writing about the days of wooden sailing ships? VEU: My interest in writing springs from a love of books and reading. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I loved C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series, and even more Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful books. I have a certain fascination with the British Royal Navy of (Admiral Horatio Lord) Nelson’s day, but I don’t read only in that era. Arturo Perez-Reverte’s Captain Alatriste novels are another favorite of mine. JBR: Those tales take place in Spain and elsewhere in the 1600s. In those times, sailors often considered a woman on board a jinx. You’ve broken through that with Mercedes, a woman who can hold her own with the men. It’s…

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March 20, 2016

“In Praise of Editing” by Sam Henrie

“In Praise of Editing” by Sam Henrie

A few weeks ago, I began mulling over an editorial blog concerning editing. I’d begun noticing, in published reviews, more criticism for novels that had multiple typos, misspellings and syntax errors. I even wrote a first draft. Then I received Wheatmark Publishing’s monthly “Marketing Newsletter” with an essay by Sam Henrie, Wheatmark’s publisher. It was far better than anything I had come up with, so I asked Wheatmark for permission to reprint. The bottom line is this: readers notice wordsmithing errors. Content may be king, but it needs editing, its queen. For all you writers, both aspiring and published alike, here is Sam’s editorial, in its entirety. In Praise of Editing by Sam Henrie Years ago I was reading the bestselling A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (on which the 2015 motion picture…

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March 18, 2016

Podcast: “Captain Blackwell’s Prize” by V.E. Ulett, Episode 3

Podcast: “Captain Blackwell’s Prize” by V.E. Ulett, Episode 3

What happens when a woman comes aboard an English fighting ship in the midst of the Napoleonic wars? Well, a lot. And a lot of it will surprise you as you listen to the third episode of “Captain Blackwell’s Prize.” By this point, I trust you are as mesmerized by the characters and the story as I am, just have to find out what happens next. If so, you have several choices. You can buy the book, paperback or e-format, on Amazon. You can get an Audible to listen to. Or you can go to Podiobooks and download either individual episodes or the entire book, for free. But please do remember, a novel – regardless of its format – is the author’s labor of love, so please consider donating the paltry sum of $4.99 to Ms. Ulett for…

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March 11, 2016

Podcast: “Captain Blackwell’s Prize” by V.E. Ulett, Episode 2

Podcast: “Captain Blackwell’s Prize” by V.E. Ulett, Episode 2

Thanks, Fictional Cafe coffeeheads, for your words of appreciation for “Captain Blackwell’s Prize” this past week. We even got a shout-out from the founder of Podiobooks, who is currently in Bangkok! So without further adieu, here is Episode 2; next week, Episode 3, and the week after our interview with the author. If you just can’t wait to continue, please visit Podiobooks to download the entire novel [and please be sure to show your enjoyment by tipping Ms. Ulett]. Please click on the arrow below to listen to Episode 2 of “Captain Blackwell’s Prize.”

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