Listen to my Short Story "The Forest Trail"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris | Book Review

This was a great murder mystery mashed up with a paranormal romance. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story. I haven't read many mystery novels other than Sherlock Holmes and I want to read more of them now. It's fun have a mystery drive you forward through the story. I really wanted to know who the killer was and I couldn't figure it out. When it was revealed I was surprised and at the same time it made sense. Charlaine Harris did a great job dropping in little hints that I sort of just breezed over. Then when I found out who the killer was I remembered some of the little clues hung here and there throughout the story and it all made total sense. That's some good writing right there.

The author also did a great job at something that surprised me. She made the vampires very scary without hitting you over the head with it. Yes one of the main characters is a vampire who becomes friends with the protagonist but even he is scary. The rest of the vampires in the story are downright terrifying which made every scene with one in it very tense.

For those who are into it the romance story was done well too, but that wasn't why I kept reading this story and I actually had to skip some scenes that were a bit too much for my tastes. I liked the main character Sookie Stackhouse and her family and friends. I liked how high the steaks were in the action scenes because of the fact that the vampire characters were so powerful. A lot of people die in this book and you never quite feel that everyone is safe so there was great tension throughout the story.

I don't think I'll read the next one because this genre isn't really my thing but I'm really glad I read this one. It was done very well and I'm sure the many books in this series only get better.

Have you read this book? Did you love it and read the rest of the series? Did you hate it? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

East of the Sun (The Prometheus Saga) by Jade Kerrion
Book Review

Another fantastic story from The Prometheus Saga. I'm loving how different all the stories in the saga are. The premise of all of them is that an alien being named Prometheus was sent to Earth to live among humans studying them. We get to dip into different times in history where this being affected the people around it and in some cases the course of history. It's really fun.

This time we get to visit a port where sailors clog the docks and moored boats. My favorite thing about this story was the setting and the sense of destiny. The main character is a cartographer trying to change the world by making a better map of the world. The Prometheus character has a hand in helping the determined youth. The story goes on and we find another young enthusiastic cartographer with the same ambitious goal. In ways you can only discover by reading this great story the Prometheus character helps this young man as well, as does a map made from the first character we meet in the story who also had a hand from the Prometheus.

The author Jade Kerrion writes beautifully. The rich world of boats, sea ports, and bars come into full brilliant detail in your mind as you read. I was excited, nervous, and scared with the characters. The sense of importance you feel coming from the two main characters is inspiring and makes the story feel epic.

I love how the author uses the Prometheus character to give us an anchor through the different time periods we get to visit in this story, and at the same time keeps us guessing as to who it will turn out to be. Since the Prometheus is a shape shifter you never know who it's going to be. I'm really glad I read this story. It was well written, fun, had a grand epic feel, and did a great job conveying the environments the characters walk through.

Have you read any books in The Prometheus Saga? Let us know in the comments! I haven't been disappointed by one yet. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dimensional Abscesses is Available!

Dimensional Abscesses is now available for purchase! I am so proud of my story in this book and I'm humbled to be alongside the other awesome authors published in this anthology. Go forth and pre order!

Purchase at:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Alibi Jones by Mike Luoma | Book Review

Science Fiction adventure. For me, that's enough said. I'm in. This was a fun Sci-Fi action adventure story. It was a refreshing read for me because I've been reading a lot of massive epic fantasy novels lately that are chalked full of description. This book just moves. It is almost all story. There's plenty of good description but it didn't have so much that it slowed down the story which was awesome. The characters are always doing something, very rarely were they sitting in a room talking.

I loved the alien character Kit who is described as a "cat man." It sort of reminds me of the Kilrathi from the Wing Commander games, but Kit was a very different character than those bad guys. He's an awesome fighter and I loved the way he related to humans. He's so different than them that he has a hard time understanding them which made for some great humor and character development in this book. I also loved how the author showed Kit's much stronger sense of smell changing the way he interacted with the various environments in the story.

I also liked how the main character Alibi Jones, though he has an exciting abnormal job, was an every man. This made him easy to relate to which worked well for the point of view character. He's sort of like a crass Han Solo who has to constantly prove his abilities to others.

I had fun reading this book. It was an awesome romp through space with a few surprising scenes full of grotesque horror and a lot of deep emotion. But mostly it's just fun adventure. If you love Star Wars, action movies, or comedies you'll have a good time reading this book.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews | Episode 19
The Final Empire & The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Download the .mp3

In this 19th episode I review Brandon Sanderson's awesome epic fantasy books The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension - the first two books in his Mistborn trilogy. Next week I review the final book in the series. Have a listen to find out why these are some of my favorite epic fantasy novels.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: 

Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: Michael Kramer

This episode of Dan Dan The Art Man's Book Reviews has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit for a free trial membership.

Audible Free Trial Details

Get an audiobook of your choice, free, with a 30-day trial. After the trial, your paid membership will begin at $14.95 per month. With your membership, you will receive one credit every month, good for any audiobook on Audible.

Cancel anytime, effective the next monthly billing cycle. Cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged. Check out the full terms and policies that apply to Audible membership.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reading Habits

Between audiobooks, podcast novels, paperbacks and eBooks I'm currently reading a lot of books. I've always been like this. I usually have one or two main books I'm reading and then a few others I dip into every once in a while. Sometimes I'll open the Kindle app on my iPhone and read there. When I'm commuting I listen to audiobooks and podcast novels. At one of my jobs we have downtime and so I have a few paperbacks in my locker. You can always see what I'm currently reading by being my friend on Goodreads. I love using it to track what I'm reading, rate and review books, and see what others are reading.

How do you read? What's your preferred method? When? Where? What form?

My favorite way to read is by listening to an audiobook, but reading eBooks on my phone comes in at a close second. I love physical books. The way they look on my shelves, the way they smell - but honestly they feel very heavy and clunky in my hands now. I often read in bed lying down and a big fat fantasy novel makes my arms tired! My phone is very light and it's much easier to turn the page with one hand by giving the screen a tiny little tap. I love reading on my phone.

How about you? Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Game of Thrones and Older Fantasy Influences
Guest Post by Maria Jane

As the smash hit HBO series Game of Thrones rolls up to its fifth season, it's a good time to take a second look at what scriptwriter David Benioff has described as "The Sopranos meets Middle Earth." Is the clamoring fan base invested now for its freshness and originality of concept, or are we simply retreading a well-worn tire? The Song of Ice and Fire series by author George R.R. Martin, on which the TV series is based, has a meticulous fan-base who have drawn parallels between it and other works. 

In brief, the story introduces the land of Westeros, where seasons can last for years. As the threat of a long winter begins to loom, King Robert selects Eddard Stark as his second in command after the passing of his former hand Jon Arryn. Stark soon uncovers a possible conspiracy that snuffed out Arryn and might be aiming for the king next. Soon after King Robert's death, a power struggle for the throne ensues, with various relatives making claims. The vast empire breaks up into squabbling factions, and lots of intrigue spiced up with the occasional dragon happens. 

When it's all said and done, can any work of high fantasy be taken for the wholly original one? We've been doing this at least since the tales of King Arthur, and even those borrowed from Welsh poetry and Breton history. If it has a sword, a castle, a king, or a dragon in it, it has roots we could probably trace to the beginning of civilization. In the case of Song of Ice and Fire, the sprawling epic series, by the author's own admission, borrows from both fictional and real-life sources. 

The idea of a parallel world with slightly different rules borrows from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings setting, Middle Earth. Quite a bit of the rip-roaring action combined with Medieval sexual politics borrows from Howard's Conan series and its subsequent film Conan the Barbarian (which is also being screened this month on DirecTV’s El Rey network). Of course, inspiration from Arthurian legend means that T.H. White gets the nod of recognition coming straight from the Disney classic The Sword in the Stone. Martin has also mentioned Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Martin has also praised the works of historical fiction authors including Bernard Cornwell, Thomas B. Costain, Frank Yerby, Sharon Kay Penman and Philippa Gregory; his interest, he has said, is perked by these authors showing the Middle Ages in gritty reality as opposed to Disney fantasy. 

The difference here is one of separations from reality. If your story concerns itself entirely with whether a maiden will or will not get to kiss a prince with the aid of a fairy godmother and some singing mice, that's high fantasy. If your story is more concerned with day to day lives including the frank discussion of sex and pragmatic matters of logistics and plumbing in eighteenth century castles, plus people dying in droves, that's "low fantasy." It could be said that low fantasy is to high fantasy what cyberpunk is to science fiction. In fact, the same distinction can be made in any genre; Westerns can be divided into both romanticized tales of heroic gunslingers and grungy historic fiction of the Antebellum era. 

In addition to fictional works, Martin alludes to many historical inspirations. The vast, sprawling family trees that sometimes intertwine are a famous feature of many historic dynasties from Feudal Europe to Imperial China. There are influences from religion and mythology, both Pagan and Abrahamic. Even the Red Wedding scene mirrors the actual event of the Glencoe Massacre of 1692. And the Great Wall of China, it turns out, isn't the only famous barrier protecting a kingdom; Martin based the wall that protects Westeros on the Hadrian Wall of Scotland. 

Again, no substantial work of fiction set in the Medieval era can be wholly original. It's the most well-trod path in fiction; knights and chivalry have been around far longer than cowboys and sheriffs, who in turn have been well mythologized before the era of hackers and mad scientists got established. George R.R. Martin, like Tolkien and Howard before him, brings us his unique view of a very familiar genre, which is what makes it so special. 

This awesome article was written by Maria Jane. Click on the label Maria Jane below to find more articles on this website written by her. This is the first article she's had published on this site but it's likely that there are more articles now at the time you're reading this :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Luigi's Chinese Delicatessen | Book Cover

Check out the latest cover I had the privilege of making for Jim Vines! Here's a link to his book. The guy's an experienced screen writer so you know his novel is going to be awesome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dimensional Abscesses COVER REVEAL!

You may have heard I recently had a short story accepted to an anthology. This is the cover!!! It is so awesome! Now I'm even more excited about this anthology coming out and I didn't even think that was possible! :)