Wednesday, July 26, 2017

At times funny, and others sad, Neon Junction balances the two in a realistic depiction of loneliness and the basic need for connection between human beings. NEON JUNCTION BY DON BOLES


Author: Don Boles
ISBN: 978-1-62420-134-9

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

TAGLINE

At times funny, and others sad, Neon Junction balances the two in a realistic depiction of loneliness and the basic need for connection between human beings.

BLURB

Neon Junction is a contemporary short novella involving a down and out security guard, (with an imaginary cockroach as a friend), and a single mother making her living as an exotic dancer. Jamie Skinner is a security guard, not quite thirty, and already an alcoholic with no prospects in life. He has fallen through the cracks of society, existing mostly in his own mind. Chrissy Wagner was a young girl attending college with hopes and dreams when real life stepped in. Then there is Stan, an erudite cockroach that only Jamie can see and hear...

EXCERPT


Jamie was a drinker. While not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, Jamie did know that the difference between rum distilled in Des Moines, Iowa could produce a far less satisfactory, more vomitose experience than that which is brewed in Kingston.
Without taking his eyes away from the silent television behind the bar, he brought the drink to his anxious lips and downed half its contents. The TV was tuned to a highlight show on FSN. He wasn't sure whether the region was Southwest, Texas, or Midwest. Watching a mute double play made by the Royals didn't help distinguish the fact.
He listened to the timbre of the ice cubes as they rattled around the bottom of his tumbler. A cool breeze floated up from the glass but was quickly dissipated by the sharp aroma of bourbon and Pepsi. The cubes began to dissolve helplessly as the liquor slowly consumed them.
There was no one near him in the lounge side of the restaurant as he enjoyed his happy hour, which began at four and lasted until he awoke in the middle of the night, with crippling nausea and a paralyzing fear of what he may or may not have done. The action on the TV moved too fast for him. He lost track of the highlights and who was playing so he turned his attention back to the grains of wood racing underneath his bourbon. He ran his fingernail along a swirling knot of red oak, not quite able to find the center. At least he thought it was red oak. It had been a while since he read Thoreau's Nature and he hadn't paid that much attention.
He took a long, sour, hot gulp that briefly colored his vision in a deep amber glow. The liquor held its breath in the back of his mouth before diving down his throat, past his chest and settling in his gut. There were shaved men in Speedos racing under water on the TV when he looked back up. He finished his drink and put the glass down on a folded napkin that was given to him in place of a proper coaster.
What were once cubes of ice, now nothing more than chips, clutched together at the bottom of the glass; the brown bourbon stain taking away their transparency. Jamie glanced over to the girl tending bar. She didn't look old enough to walk through the door, more or less work the bar. She was rapidly clicking away at her cell phone that she held out in front of her breasts, the tops of which were peeking out of the v-cut shirt she wore. He raised the glass to eye level and opened his mouth to say something but forgot who he was going to say it to. The bartender came over and mechanically refilled him. She didn't make eye contact. He tried to but couldn't climb out of her cleavage. She walked back to her post behind the register on the far end of the bar. The ice cubes were suffocating in bourbon now, but at least he could not see the stain.
After a slow draw from his drink, his eyes drifted from the ice cubes to the bright green carpet underneath his stool. Not all the alcohol made it to its desired destination; some of it dribbled down the side of his mouth and he grew a whiskey flavored goatee. He saw his reflection in the mirror, warped by the fresh glasses hanging upside down in front of it and wiped his chin with the collar of his shirt looking around to see if anyone noticed. The lounge was empty with the exception of two middle-aged women who gently nursed cocktails in a back booth.
He looked at his watch. There were forty more minutes he could drink. Invigorated by the prospect, he finished his drink and made his way to the men's room in the back. As he passed the two women, he tipped an imaginary hat in their direction. They didn't notice. He thought maybe they didn't like the hat.
In the bathroom, he pissed for a solid half a minute, proud of his aim. He washed his hands and placed his palm on the door before stopping. A wave of nausea hit hard and he reached his left hand out to the sink counter. He felt his knuckles turning white as his grip tightened. He could not remember the last thing he ate, but he felt it crawling out of his esophagus and toward his throat. He turned all his attention to a scuffed screw in the shiny brass plate on this side of the door. He wondered why no one bothered to keep that screw shined like the rest of the door. It shouldn't be too hard to polish a screw, but then again, maybe the polish ran out. The nausea subsided and he moved more cautiously out of the bathroom to his stool in the front.
When he got to his seat, his drink was no longer waiting for him.
"We just did last call," the bar tender said from behind the register. Her face was too busy tabulating tips to pay him a visit.

He panicked for a moment, digging into his pockets. His fears subsided when he felt the flat, smooth, roundness of his flask in his jacket pocket. He gripped it tightly as he followed the blue diamond shapes on the carpet that pointed to the coldness waiting for him outside. His grip softened to a caress as the doors opened into the waiting night.

Jump aboard and meet the zany characters who braved the outdoors along with Captain John. Gyro the Pyro and Dan the Man, just to name a few. AT FIRST LIGHT BY JOHN R. SIKES FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED



At First Light
John R. Sikes
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Buy at Amazon:

BLURB:

Jump aboard and meet the zany characters who braved the outdoors along with Captain John. Gyro the Pyro and Dan the Man, just to name a few. Learn what it takes to survive the outdoor experiences of a lifetime. From the first story, "The Captain and the King," till the last, "Lost Again," there's never a dull moment. It is truly amazing Captain John is still with us to put the stories to paper. Spend a semester with the Captain as he attends the School of Hard Knocks. 

EXCERPT:

As stories go, this one sounds pretty fishy to me, except I was there when it happened. It is a story from way back, early in my career as a fishing guide in the Pacific Northwest. Before things like the Bolt Decision, habitat destruction, and over fishing destroyed the mighty runs of salmon fighting their way up the glacier fed rivers of the Olympic Mountains.

I felt like a young Daniel Boone turned lose in a hunting and fishing paradise. Learning things as I encountered them. I really didn't have this Northwest fishing thing figured out yet, but knew I had the bug. It was going to be a long time before I could get it out of my system. Not having built enough clientele to keep me busy guiding the rivers for salmon and steelhead, I took a job on one of the commercial fishing boats. We fished the salt water for salmon and bottom fish, when fishing was open, and dove for urchins when it was not. The urchin diving business was just taking off and we were learning it as we went along.

The Captain of the boat I worked on had shown an interest in doing a float trip down one of the rivers. There were many flowing out of the mountains not far from the marina where we docked the commercial boat. Wanting to impress the skipper, I offered him a trip down the Hoh River, which feeds out of the Olympic Park. It flows from the Hoh glacier to the Pacific Ocean. Having just bought my third riverboat, I was foaming at the bit to try it out. I destroyed the first in the same river, bought a second one, and decided it was too small.

Well, it wasn't long before we were on the edge of the river on a beautiful though unproductive day of drift fishing. I pulled the boat to the bank and made a pot of coffee about mid-morning when it all began. We finished our coffee and I stepped down to the water's edge to rinse out my cup. The cup was one of those back-packer specials, you know, the little ones fitting into a mess kit. This one was a kind of a dull orange color. Much like the little round plastic bait lures used for fishing, seen hanging from the tree limbs and snagged on the bottoms of the rivers. I own boxes of them, more than I'll ever use, have now carried up and down the waterways from that day on. The water was gin clear where a small stream entered the swift current of glacier gray runoff coming down the main river. The flow from the stream draining the surrounding foothills was not the same frigid water from the glacier feeding the main channel on its trip to the ocean.

I don't know if it was the clear water, temperature difference, or the orange flash from rinsing the cup that caught the King's attention. Which ever it was, I'll never know. What I did know was I just spotted the biggest fish in fresh water I have ever seen in my life.

I squatted down and started to rinse the cup out in the river. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a movement and spotted a huge dorsal fin as the King edged over into the shallower part of the current. Standing in awe, I realized the enormity of the fish. The dorsal fin stuck out of the water at least six inches. It reminded me of the torpedoes mounted on the sides of the old P.T. boats. The current seemed non-existent as it swam almost lazily up the fast flowing stretch where I was standing. For a moment in time, I froze as our eyes locked, his glazed over with a primeval lust as he searched for something in this foreign place. He had staked out this section of river as his space. Nothing was allowed to enter it except females of his species. My eyes got the size of paper plates. Everything about the females of my species was forgotten as my heart jumped time by a couple thousand rpm's, like a hot rod motor missing a gear in a full-fledged burnout.

"Get in the boat, get in the frigging boat right now!" I stuttered.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vladimir Dragol XIII had an immense task--convincing the world he was
not following in his ancestors' bloody footprints. MYRLYN'S GATE BY DAN EHL



Author: Dan Ehl
Email: news@kalonanews.com
Genre: Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
$4.99

REVIEW:
Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie

Vlad came from a long line of evil men.  They loved killing and torturing
people, and the dungeons were well used.  Vlad was raised mostly by his
mother and he learned about love and kindness.  When he takes over the realm
all anyone knows is that the Dragol line is evil.  Telling them he's not
like that doesn't do him a bit of good.

The author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  You
can buy a copy in ebook or print form.

I have to say that Mr. Ehl could be writing stories just for me.  They are
the type of fantasy that I love to read.  I've read his Jak Barley
adventures and this is a different side of the story.  I had mentioned in my
review in the past that I wanted to know about Lorenzo.  I know a bit more,
but I get the feeling you never really know Lorenzo.  He just is and can do
amazing things and he's handy to have around when you're on a quest.

The story moves along well and has all kinds of unusual characters. While
it sounds like it's incongruous and mixed up, it's really a very good story.
Everything fits together and makes sense when you read about it, no matter
how strange it might sound summed up.

If you like action fantasies with heroes and dragons and magic and even a
troll, you'll enjoy this story.  I know I did and I plan to keep my copy of
this book in my personal library.  I'll read it again.

Happy reading.

Jo Ann Hakola
The Book Faerie
4225 Harrison St
Las Cruces, NM  88005
http://bookfaerie.com
http://bkfaerie.blogspot.com
http://shelvedtreasures.blogspot.com



BLURB:

Vladimir Dragol XIII had an immense task--convincing the world he was
not following in his ancestors' bloody footprints.
When the chance to prove himself came in the form of an attractive princess on a quest to save world, how could he refuse? There was a slight problem--the
princess loathed the Dragol line.
There was also the dilemma that others alluded to in the quest
prophecy--a dragon trainee and wizard's apprentice--wanted nothing to do with the task.
Through Myrlyn's Gate was another foretold member of the quest
who had no idea what was in store for him, including a midnight raid on the
Dickeyville Grotto in the strange land of Wisconsin.

EXCERPT:

Vladimir Dragol XIII had an immense task--convincing the world he was
not following in his ancestors' bloody footprints.

When the chance to prove himself came in the form of an attractive princess on a quest to save world, how could he refuse? There was a slight problem--the
princess loathed the Dragol line.

There was also the dilemma that others alluded to in the quest
prophecy--a dragon trainee and wizard's apprentice--wanted nothing to do with the task.

Through Myrlyn's Gate was another foretold member of the quest
who had no idea what was in store for him, including a midnight raid on the
Dickeyville Grotto in the strange land of Wisconsin.

Together the quest mates would battle rogue dragons, a demented king¹s army and bikers at a bar in Bear River, Iowa.

EXCERPT

Garin hesitated, dazed by the fierce headache. It was time to silence the bell. He didn't feel strong enough for the deed, but there was no other choice. He reached out and picked up the receiver.
"What?"
"Mr. Garin Hemphill?"
"Yeah."
"Good morning. I'm calling about our new triple-paned aluminum storm windows now on sale..."
Garin had predicted the night before that it was going to be an ugly morning, the kind that made dying in one's sleep an attractive option. The suspicion first reared its ugly head at two a.m. when a blurry-eyed Garin first noticed the army of dead beer cans littering the war zone of the kitchen floor. A few of the casualties had even made it to the living room before giving up the spirit.
Luck was certainly not on Garin's side. He had hoped to sleep through the morning and most of his hangover.
"I don't need new windows. The ones I have are perfectly good."
"But sir, you haven't seen our deluxe, triple-paned, easy access windows guaranteed for the life of you or your house, whichever goes first. What's your heating bill?"
"What?"
"Your heating bill. Our windows can slash your heating bills in half."
Garin stretched the phone line and slumped into a kitchen chair. He winced at the bright morning light streaming in through the rippled glass of the old windows.
"My heating bill is fine. I don't need new windows."
"What color is your house?"
"What?"
"What color is your house? We also have a full line of enamel coated window frames that can be matched to any house color."
Garin guessed the telephone call must be some kind of penance. What other reason could there be for this torture?
"And?"
"And what?"
"What color is your house?"
"Chartreuse."
"What?"
"Chartreuse."
'You're putting me on. Your house is yellowish-green?"
Garin rubbed his eyes and wondered if the cord would reach all the way to the medicine cabinet where the aspirins were located.
"Yes, chartreuse. Do you have some kind of problem with that?"
"No, it's just that we don't get many chartreuse houses. Did you pick that color?"
"What?"
"Did you pick that color?"
"As a matter of fact, no. My mother picked it fifteen years ago. Of course it's getting a bit faded, but it is still recognizable as...”
"As...?"
"Shit."
"Shit?"
"Shit. I just saw something fly by my window."
"An aluminum window?"
"No, a tiny dragon."
"What?"
"A dragon."
"Now, is your window an ..."
"I just saw a tiny dragon fly toward the barn."
"Listen, if you don't want to buy new windows, why don't you just say so?"
"I have said so."
"You want to buy new windows?"
"No, I don't want to buy new windows. The ones I have are good enough."
"But sir, you haven't seen our deluxe, triple-paned easy access window guaranteed for the life of you or your house, whichever comes first. What's your heating bill?"
"What?"
"Your heating bill. Our windows can slash your heating bills in half."
Garin staggered across the kitchen and hung up the phone. There was some guilt involved. He'd read a recent Associated Press story about the psychological problems experienced by telemarketers. Continual rejection, much of it very rudely worded, resulted in severe trauma. The suicide rate for telephone salespeople, the story claimed, was almost as high as for people who consistently listened to country music.
He didn't bother putting on a shirt or shoes, wearing only his jeans as he rushed out the door. He was numb to the gravel under his feet as he picked his way across the rocky and weedy farmyard. He climbed the fence of the empty cattle yard, walked past the wooden feed bunks and stopped at the barn door. This was going to be as bad as answering the phone, he worried, and stepped inside.
It was worse than answering the phone. Five people were sleeping in a pile of straw thrown down from the mow. Four looked as if they were dressed for a Robin Hood movie. The fifth was clad in the leathers of a biker, but instead of a big Harley, sprawled across most of the concrete floor was an immense black dragon.
Garin only had so much stamina and it gave out when a small wyvern darted into view and stopped only inches from his nose. They stared at each other eyeball-to-eyeball before Garin's legs buckled and he collapsed to the floor.