‘Escaping First Contact’ by T.S. Beier – Review

Original and imaginative space sci-fi full of depth and immersion

Set in a detailed future of cultivated space filled with different species and cultures, T.S. Beier has built a world of depth and originality. These species, some alien and some more familiar to us collide as a diverse group find themselves trapped on a ship, it soon becomes apparent, that even though they might have differences, they will need to work together to survive and escape.

It is within those differences where the story contains power along with plenty of messages about understanding and cohesion while also being fun. Readers will get a lot of information throughout as the point of view changes which establishes a universe with plenty of depth. From the usage of new inventive language to describe certain species to the dialogue interactions – there’s a strange but fun sexual curiosity undertone between some providing a good balance of humour as these characters try to understand each other and navigate their way through a death trap environment and a ship they aptly name ‘Misery’. The whole chemistry between everyone is the real strength in this story.

“Get your weird xenophilia fantasies out of here, Rip!”

And this ship ‘Misery’ is an organic kind of Rubik’s cube full of mystery where threat and challenge lurks around every corner. Our heroes are placed in various scenarios as their journey progresses and just who is behind everything? You’ll have to read it to find out.

They’re playing with us. The only reason you’re all alive is that they want you to be…”

Anyone who enjoys space sci-fi with plenty of detail and originality along with a message about different cultures working together will certainly enjoy this one!

5 Stars – original and imaginative! Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads

Excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd

Billy soon ran out of tunnel, er rather hallway, and entered a room about twice the size of the living room in his and his mom’s small house. Purple tiles still lined the floor and wood paneling the walls. There was a lopsided vaguely trapezoidal shaped door on the far side of the room. Two crooked looking sofas and two armchairs of grey leather or horribly patterned fabric lined the walls, all scaled down for people of a rather small stature. He walked nearer to a sofa that had a dotted fabric on it only to realize that the small dots were in fact, insects. The bugs on one of the cushions scrambled out of the way, giving him room to sit down, but not before spelling out ‘sit here please’ in all caps and then crawling off to the side, still in formation, like a marching band halftime show. He didn’t sit down. As he backed away from the sofa, he could have sworn he heard a thousand tiny sighs of disappointment coming from it.

Between each of the chairs and sofas was an end table of some sort, each supporting some of the ugliest lamps Billy had ever seen. The tables themselves had been crafted with all the loving care of a nearsighted carpenter who didn’t own a tape measure, a square, or a level, and had never held a hammer in his life, and who was working with his feet instead of his hands. In the center of the room was a dining table with four mismatched chairs. On the table was a pitcher full of water and four cups, none of which was perfectly round. There wasn’t a single right angle, level surface, or straight line in the whole room.

The water reminded Billy he was thirsty. As he looked closer to the pitcher, he noticed little fish swimming around inside. Weird looking fish that were subject to the same laws of dimension and proportion that affected the rest of the room. As he looked closely at the fish, one of them took notice of him, swam up to the glass and said, “what?” in a voice both too deep for such a tiny fish and muted like you would imagine someone speaking underwater would sound like. He also sounded a bit irritated.

“Nothing,” he replied, backing away. He pulled his backpack off his shoulders and grabbed his own water bottle. He froze before opening it when the door opened and in walked the strangest creature Billy had ever seen. It didn’t see him though, it was staring at the floor as it walked, mumbling to itself. Its mumbles were interspersed with strange whistling and popping sounds.

“Hello,” Billy said, announcing his presence and startling the creature badly.

“Oh my! Oh my,” it said, waving its arms around and jumping back. “You scared me half to death.”

Billy studied the creature while he, (it sounded male Billy decided), calmed himself down. He was about three and a half feet tall and was just as unsymmetrical as everything else in this strange place. He had ten fingers at least, six on one hand, four on the other. One of his lower teeth was a fang that stuck out over his top lip and was so long that when his mouth was closed the tooth in question rested perfectly, deep within his left nostril. This is what caused the whistling sound every time he exhaled with his mouth closed. The popping sound was that same fang overcoming suction every time it left his nostril when he opened his mouth. He had dark curly hair on the right side of his head and straight red hair on the left. His eyes were different in size and color. Every time they fell on Billy, the creature winced and turned away. The clothes he wore were almost normal all things considered, a bright red, button down short sleeve shirt with what looked like yellow two-headed lizards on it and brown slacks with rough looking, different sized, boots on his feet. Billy was pretty sure the lizards were moving around a little.

Presently it said, “(Pop) I assume you came from the…uh…Outside? (whistle)” It met his eyes again and quickly looked away and grimaced, although that may have just been his normal expression.

“What do you mean by Outside?” Billy said, confused. “I came down the tunnel at the end of that hallway he said turning toward the end of the room he had come from. The arch over the hallway opening had a sign above that read “The Gallery” in crooked uneven lettering.

“(Pop) I know that. I live here. You came through the entrance from the Outside,” the creature said, a tad impatient. Like this should be obvious, which Billy supposed it might be in a place like this. “(Pop) They told me when I bought this house that this might happen, (whistle pop) but that it was very unlikely,” he added, more to himself.

“Well, I’m here,” Billy said. “If you could just tell me where here is, I’ll be happy to return to the…uh Outside and get out your house.”

“(Pop) That would be great actually,” the creature answered. (Whistle pop) “You’re quite ugly and hard to look at to be honest. But you can’t go back that way. As I said, it’s an entrance. To go back you need an exit.” Again, his tone was that of a parent explaining something obvious to a particularly dense child.

“What do mean I’m ugly?” Billy said. “And why can’t I leave through the way I came in? It’s a tunnel, isn’t it?”

“(Pop) Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, but your face is rather…. symmetrical.” At this, he shuddered as though the thought repulsed him immensely. “And as I said, it’s an entrance, not a tunnel. One is one-way and the other is not. Is that not how things work in the Outside? Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me. (whistle)”

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd which you can find here. More information about the author can be found via Twitter and Facebook.

Book Reviews XIV

A big thank you to fellow author J.D. Cunegan for sharing some recent reviews including one for Consistent Creative Content

J.D. Cunegan

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

I honestly believe every indie author needs this book on their shelf.

I’ve made no secret on several different platforms my creative problems of late. The reasons for this struggle are numerous, but at least throughConsistent Creative Content, I now have a road map for getting back on the proverbial horse. At the height of my writing powers, I was publishing two novels a year and averaging a blog post a week — and it’s no coincidence that numbers, meager though they were, were much better than they are now.

Lee Hall’s brief how-to not only offers a road map; it’s also inspiration (for things I can do going forward) and validation (that, in some ways, I was on the right track when I was at my best and most productive)…

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Excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson – Discounted Today!

Somewhere in the desert east of San Diego, California.

“Joshua, don’t be a dick. Okay? Humor me,” Marta Guerrera said.

The weapons dealer of choice for terrorists worldwide wore a long-suffering expression. She braced a hand on the warm metal skin of the mobile tech unit, her voice low. An awning shaded her and Joshua from the worst of the searing afternoon sun.

“You have an odd definition of ‘humoring’. You’re asking me to kill four people.” Joshua squinted out over the monochromatic tans and browns of the desert. Far out over the next hill, he could see vultures circling. The sweet-rotting smell of death floated in on a tepid breeze.

“You and I want the same thing. We want Zosar’s money, and he wants a complete demonstration of the Maelstrom’s capabilities.” Marta wasn’t a nervous person, but Joshua noted the tension in her stiff posture, the tight set of her mouth, the pinch at the corner of her eyes. She didn’t like the change in plans either.

“Dead bodies attract the wrong kind of attention.” Joshua had come outside to compose himself before linking his brain to his experimental weapon. He needed a moment, but Marta didn’t seem willing to give it to him.

“They’re scumbag implant counterfeiters.” Marta gave a stiff one-shoulder shrug.

“That’s not the point, you know it.”

“How many hundreds of people are dead because of them? You’re doing the Federal Implant Directive a favor.”

“Doubt they’ll see it that way. We should put this demo on hold. Let me talk to Zosar.”

“Not happening. I know you, and you have no filter. By the time Zosar finishes listening to your bullshit, he’ll want to drop a nuke on this state just to shut you the fuck up.” Guerrera took a breath. “This deal has taken me months to set up, and this is it for me. I’m retiring, so I’m not watching our money storm back to wherever the fuck Zosar hides in between his little wars.” She pursed her lips and watched a lizard sunning itself on the top of a nearby boulder.

Joshua watched Marta walk to the edge of the awning’s shade and cross her arms. Tall for a woman, with a compact frame and dark hair peppered with gray around the temples, she was an ex-marine, and about as endearing as a hungry wolverine.

“Look, we don’t have to like this, we just have to like his money. Do your job, demonstrate the weapon and be a good boy.”

“Good boy? You sound like my fucking mother.”

“There’s a reason I don’t have kids.” She drummed her fingers on her forearm. “It’d be my luck to pop out an asshole like you, and I’d rather not have strangling my kid on my conscience.”

Curbing his irritation, Joshua pressed a palm against the tech van’s security reader and the door slid open. He walked inside, the air conditioning a welcome reprieve from the heat. Guerrera followed, the door closing behind them. Kevin Maitland, Joshua’s best friend and weapon co-designer, sat in front of a half-dozen inactive holoscreen disks and a control panel. He was a slender, dark-skinned man with a halo of black hair and a pleasant, expressive face. His blue t-shirt read, ‘Science is Like Magic, But Real’. Kevin reminded Joshua more of a college student preparing for a math competition than one of the world’s foremost weapon engineers.

Kevin gave Marta and Joshua an absent wave. Kevin had designed and outfitted the mobile tech unit, the size of a delivery skyvan, to support Maelstrom’s operation. The U-shaped console with the holodisks allowed a tech to monitor data. Next to the console was an integrated Virtual mainline rig for the weapon’s operator, its pure nanogel material engineered to block out any outside stimuli. Typical mainline Virtual rigs nanogel material provided virtual sensations, but Joshua’s connection to the Maelstrom depended on nothing distracting him, a complete absence of sensation.

Marta’s gaze darted to a Deimos machine pistol on a stainless-steel table. The automatic pistol’s digital readout displayed a full magazine. “Where the hell did that come from?”

“I got it from one of your people. I told them to put it on your tab.” Joshua couldn’t suppress a fleeting ghost of a snarky smirk.

“Of course you did,” she muttered under her breath. “Are you expecting trouble?”

“It’s only trouble if you’re unprepared.”

“I need that on a t-shirt,” Kevin said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms behind his head.

Joshua could hear Marta’s teeth grind.

“Well, it looks bad to our clients, like we’re expecting problems.”

“This is my ‘I don’t give a fuck’ face,” Joshua replied with no inflection.

“That’s Z’s normal face,” Kevin chuckled.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson which is discounted today and available here.

For more information head on over to Al Davidson’s website here and you can also find Al on Twitter and Facebook.

The Best Books I Have Read in 2021

As the year draws to a close I have saved the best until last. Although I appreciate every author and their wonderful works that got me through 2021 this post is dedicated to the books that stood out to me.

‘From Voiceless to Vocal’ by Danielle Larsen

Having read this memoir all the way back in February it has remained with me since for being a brave, candid and incredibly well written account by Danielle Larsen. Mental health and escaping abuse are the central themes while also being subjects that might not be talked about as much as they should – this book isn’t afraid to go there with the path it carves in order to get that point across. Its ultimately inspiring and gives hope even to those who seemingly have so much stacked against them.

Quote from my review:no matter how many chips are down you can always come back, there’s always hope and survival is probably the greatest gift we have.

‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist 

Part 3 of the ‘Nocturnal’ vampire series is both the concluding pay off and a display of how far Villimey Mist has come as an author. Her craft unfolds throughout the series and much like the story peaks in this one. If you are looking for a modern and sometimes gory take on vampires, then this book and wider series is for you.

Quote from my review: ‘There are dramatic turns and even shocking moments that’ll keep those pages turning before a resolve that is both satisfying and even a little emotional.’

‘Josef The Writer’s Cat’ by Ellen Khodakivska

This story comes from a unique perspective and that being a writer’s cat. Its a brilliantly executed tale of one cat’s journey and how he see’s the world while also being a reminder of how important animals and pets are in the family. Ellen Khodakivska delivers a book that will appeal to many different ages and especially those who write.

Quote from my review: ‘We do sometimes take things for granted in life and this story reminds us that pets are such an instrumental part of it while they also have a life too.’

‘Life of Maggot’ by Paul Jameson

Paul Jameson delivers another masterful vision of literature through a unique style that favours deep description and classic style language. This book is very much laid out like lyrics from a song in what is a story about the end of time and told through the eyes of ‘Maggot’ as chaos unfolds. This is escapism in its finest possible form.

Quote from my review: ‘No matter what bad is happening there is always hope and ultimately there is some light to be found somewhere.’

‘Born in Stockport – Grew up in the Royal Navy: Book One’ by Maurice Perkins

Charming, funny and full of variety, Maurice Perkins or Moz as he is known tells a wonderful life story of childhood antics and then joining the navy. In between there are some great moments that bring a lot of enjoyment to an awesome candid memoir.

Quote from my review: ‘From a youth spent being a ‘scallywag’ getting into all kinds of trouble to finding success in the Royal Navy – his journey is both inspiring and full of lessons that are valuable for anyone…’

‘Wonder Rush’ by Dan McKeon

Dan McKeon delivers an awesome tale of one teen assassin that has always followed orders and fulfilled her mission no matter what name she is given and then events make her think about the morality of everything she stands for. What follows is a coming of age morality check journey that is both enjoyable and easy to read.

Quote from my review: ‘You can give a person all the assassin training in the world and try to engineer out all human elements but they are still human.’

‘Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code’ by Emma Jean

Emma Jean has combined two concepts that I have a lot of time and passion for, that being STEM and Fairy Tales. All Fairy Tales have a deeper important message and this one carries that while also encouraging younger readers to take an interest in STEM subjects. Sleeping Beauty is brought into the 21st century and this adaptation excellent.

Quote from my review: ‘With some fun moments along the way and plenty of awesome tech, magic, original concepts and a good old fashioned good versus evil story this one is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to younger and older readers.’

‘Everything, Except You’ by Emma Jordan

It can be hard to find a really good slow burning romance and while that’s just my taste in love stories Emma Jordan hits all the right notes in this one. With a little drama and plenty of feel-good vibes along with a little cosiness, I really enjoyed this tale.

Quote from my review: ‘A well-executed story about two people and their lives that are made better for finding each other and the way in which they discover a love for each other…’

‘We Watch You’ By N.S. Ford

With dark tones and missing person vibes, N.S. Ford tells a tale that takes readers down the rabbit hole of the unexpected as three friends try to decipher a mystery that consumes their lives. The journey is eventful and culminates after a multi-layered puzzle for a plot that pulled me in all the way to an unpredictable perhaps even haunting ending.

Quote from my review: ‘The darker moments carry impact and overall there is some real power in this story that continually goes to unexpected places and even strange places.’

‘Deceit of the Earth – Heavy Metal’ by Henry Cox

Having enjoyed the first ‘Deceit’ book by Henry Cox I was intrigued to see where he would go next and with this story I was immersed into the world of rare earth metals and how they dictate the future of our technology while also being a bargaining chip in military politics. This thoughtful story takes readers back in time and fuses fact to fiction flawlessly. If you like Crichton or Dan Brown then you’ll enjoy this one.

Quote from my review: ‘From military aircraft to world geography, the delivery of his knowledge and imagination merging makes everything believable and the final verdict may even be out of this world.’  

‘The Right Thing’ by Kelsey Kupitz

Kelsey Kupitz tells a page-turning easy-to-read story about a past trauma that finds itself returning for ‘Astrid’ who has struggled with it for most of her adult life. Now she must face that past and what follows are chilling mysterious tones with a little dose of the unexpected.

Quote from my review: ‘Atmosphere, originality and intrigue take the reader to the depths of the unexpected with some great twists at the end because ‘everyone has a secret’.’

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Futuristic world building combined with societal concepts that echo our own reality are two things that are right up my alley and so when I saw Rebecca Crunden had made this free to download I jumped at the opportunity. You may know Rebecca and the awesome support she shows authors via her Indie Book Spotlight account on Twitter and I really enjoyed this thrilling spy type story that takes readers across worlds.

Quote from my review: ‘There are plenty of messages and themes throughout with many pointing towards revolution and the nature of humanity.’

Thank you for supporting me this year

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you kind reader for supporting me in what has been my most successful year as a creative. Whether you are a regular blog follower or from Twitter where yesterday I hit the absurd but incredible milestone of 20,000 followers. In celebration, 3 of my books are free to download today as a thank you for such wonderful support. That support has given me reason to carry on, it has shone light over the dark of doubt and kept me motivated to keep going. Along the way I have made some great connections and of course friends. Above all, reaching such a wonderful milestone is proof that our words can cross continents and make a difference. I guess you could even say those words and ideas can change the world.

If you are celebrating today or not I wish for you to have a wonderful time and stay safe. Hopefully things are going to get better for all of us soon.

The First 3 Books in my Order of the Following Series are FREE today. Links below.

US LINK

UK LINK

CANADA LINK

INDIA LINK

2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

A huge thank you to Indie Book Spotlight for the wonderful support of my work and many other creatives. Check out this huge list of reviews, interviews and much more!

a writer's blog.

a man holding a sparkler, text reads '2021 in review, indie book spotlight'

I started Indie Book Spotlightabout a year ago in an effort to find other authors and connect with them, and the result has been wonderful! I’m stunned by the reception of the page, and so utterly grateful to everyone who’s helped boost the reviews and writer’s lifts and pinned reposts, etc. There is such lovely community spirit in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, so for anyone hesitating joining, I definitely recommend it.

It’s fabulous to be able to boost indie voices in a way that’s actually getting noticed and I’ve met so many amazing authors and read some seriously fabulous books. From short stories to poetry to kid’s books to fantastical novels with epic world-building, the indie world has such a plethora of wonder on offer! Really, a great group to be part of!

For my part, I didn’t write as much this year as I’d hoped/planned, but I did…

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‘No Rest For The Wicked : Detective Stories’ by Megan Hinde – Review

A collection of intriguing short noir crime stories

Megan Hinde has put together a collection of quick-to-read stories that center around Detective James Andrews as he investigates a multitude of homicides and the mysteries that accompany them. There’s a noir feel to these stories that take readers on short but enticing journeys through the fringes of many different people and situations all of which carry that crime theme.

I managed to easily read the collection in just a few sittings and particularly enjoyed the final story ‘Following Fireweed’ that see’s Detective Andrews put his knowledge and skills to a ‘different’ type of use. For anyone looking to escape for just a little while into the underworld of noir crime will find this collection enjoyable, I certainly did.

4 Stars

Available now in Paperback – Consistent Creative Content

Like I always say, you can do this, quite simply because I did and you might even leapfrog anything I did…

What exactly am I talking about? Success in blogging, authoring and social media-ing because my guide book guides you towards it, and now in cost effective paperback!

With this book, I originally envisioned a digital only release due to the fact I only really sell e books but recent demand has taught me to change my stance and admit this may have been a slight oversight on my behalf. The learning curve here is to listen to your readers and so many wonderful folks asked for this to be released in paperback so here it is.

So what is Consistent Creative Content? Well kind reader, CCC is a part memoir and part guidebook that lays out everything I have learned on my path to 6 books in 5 years being published, gaining over 10,000 Twitter follows and how I turned this blog around to a near 900 plus following – I have even started to make money on this journey and now this book will guide you toward that. From marketing yourself to the basics of social media, there is even a stack of quotes by fellow authors and bloggers that I have connected with over the years. Above all this book teaches you to find happiness on your path and that there is no substitute for hard work.

Here I stand regularly selling books and with a loyal engaged following. All of it because you guys support my Consistent Creative Content across platforms. This book would make the perfect gift to give to the blogger, author or creative you know this season. You’ll find the link below and also some extra resources that are samples from this book. Thank you for the support kind readers!

Basic Blog Content Ideas

Twitter Basics – Stuff I follow everyday

The First Pages of Consistent Creative Content

Book Links:

US Link for CCC

UK Link for CCC

Weekly Ramble #131

One week until my final author act of 2021 unfolds. Consistent Creative Content is coming to paperback and will signify the end of what has been an incredible year. Although much of this path has been difficult, yet again the good outweighs the bad mostly and so we’re rolling on towards new heights.

The truth is, I’m a selfish writer, I tell stories I want to read for me but Consistent Creative Content is the first book I wrote for everyone else. Using all the things I learned while being a selfish creative serve as something that can help others and this era of self published social media authors are climbing ladders over gates previously kept for years. It seems that in order to succeed in art, you had to be someone, but now all you need is for your art to do the talking or at least that’s a battle we are now contending in. We’ve come a long way and gatekeeping is slowly being beaten by the happenings of self made self published creators who deserve for their work to be seen. We have a platform, we have social media and we have our dreams.

Only a few years ago did I notice that people paying attention to my guides and so I had the idea of putting a book together with all of my best advice, learning situations and methods – its called Consistent Creative Content and it is coming to paperback next week, I might have already mentioned that. The act of sharing our results and experiences as creators will only bring us closer. That whole keeping things secret so your competition doesn’t find out, that stuff deserves extinction because in art there is no competition. Our creativity unites us.