Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloweek Reading to SEIZE THE NIGHT!

Edited by Christopher Golden
Gallery Books
October 6, 2015
ISBN: 9781476783093
Trade Paperback

Once upon a time, vampires were figures of terror…and they can be again. Legends of these dark creatures sprang from every corner of the world and infinite variations throughout history—with even more of them waiting in the farthest corners of the imagination. SEIZE THE NIGHT takes hold of a popular culture environment where the vampire has largely lost its ability to inspire fear, and now brings out the dread, showcasing twenty all-new tales of horrifying evil from an extraordinary lineup of twenty contributors:

John Ajvide Lindqvist
Kelley Armstrong
Laird Barron

Gary A. Braunbeck
Dana Cameron
Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry
Charlaine Harris
Brian Keene
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Michael Koryta
John Langan
Tim Lebbon
Seanan McGuire
Joe McKinney
Leigh Perry
Robert Shearman
Scott Smith
Lucy A. Snyder
David Wellington
Rio Youers

The dusk is upon you, and your fright-filled journey to the shadows of the hereafter is about to begin with SEIZE THE NIGHT—old-school vampire fiction at its finest.  

“The notion of the romantic vampire is transcended to chilling and even heartbreaking effect in this stellar anthology of talesThese stories move smoothly from the subtle to the horrifying…”
Publishers Weekly Starred Review Description: Description: Description: Description:

“Twenty stories of varying lengths offer quick bites of otherworldly entertainment. Edited by Christopher Golden, this collection takes vampire fiction back to its bloody, frightful roots. Readers looking for old-school horror laden with darkness will appreciate these diverse stories from some of the best writers in the genre…all are entertaining…With new spins on classic traditions and inventive, unexpected twists, it’s the perfect spooky read for Halloween — or any night that calls for a touch of terror.”
RT Book Reviews

“The twenty-one authors collected in this volume have…succeeded in returning vampires and their ilk back into our nightmares where they belong…each tale delivered the goods. And by goods, I mean terror…These are not your Count Dracula vampire stories, but thankfully they’re not of the friendly variety either. What they all have in common is that each and every story is a cut above the ordinary. My highest recommendation.”
—Cemetery Dance

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is a highly successful anthology, one that puts vampires back into the shadowy, hidden corners where they belong and makes them creepy, chilling, at times downright frighteningwe’re getting back to the old-school roots of vampiric lore, going back to the heydays of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lotthis is a vital return to form for these stoic, and historic, universal baddies…Seize the Night has the singular aim of making vampires terrifying again, and it heartily succeeds in its mission. Golden and the contributors deserve a fair amount of applause for their work here, and this anthology is a wonderful reminder of what made vampires such a popular horror staple, and why they continue to endure across the ages.”
Michael Patrick Hicks
“Anthologies have always been one of my favorite things. A chance to read old favorite authors and a chance to also find some new favorites as well, all based on some short stories. Which is, of course, why I chose to readSeize the Night – New Tales of Vampiric Terror Seize The Night –New Tales of Vampiric Terror is slated to be released on October 6, 2015. Be sure to get your copy before they disappear! Anyone who likes tales of the creepy sort like Stephen King’s short stories in Everything’s Eventual or Nightmares & Dreamscapes should check out Seize the Night.”
—The Goth Girl Reads

“…a diverse and high quality collection of new stories from some great names within the horror and paranormal sub-genres…Quite simply, if you are a fan of vampires, do not miss this one. 4 Throbbing Carotid Arteries forSeize The Night.”
—Horror After Dark

“Sink your teeth into this collection with caution, it'll bite back.”
—Hardboiled Wonderland

“I would really recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wants to read a vampire anthology that harks back to the heyday of quality horror fiction.”
Book Nutter’s Reviews

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Seize The Night…well-written with plenty of frights to keep any horror fan awake at night.”
—Coffee Addicted Writer

“I really prefer my vampires evil, so this anthology was just what I was looking for. It opens with a novelette by Scott Smith, and that one story is worth the price of the book. The victims are suitably disgusting and deserve their fate, which is rapid and brutal. Michael Koryta suggests a rather different cause for vampirism. Charlaine Harris has a very nice story about an energy vampire rather than a blood drinking one. Kelley Armstrong suggests there is a genetic marker for vampirism. Tim Lebbon takes us back to a particularly brutal period of history for his story. John Langan presents a time traveling vampire that can duplicate bodies to ensure it has a steady source of prey…well above average.”
—Don A’mmassa On Horror

“…Brings out the dead and dread, showcasing 20 all-new tales of horrifying evil from a coffin full of different writers who dabble in the undead from various angles, from horrific to heart-wrenching, romantic to rough. We especially feasted on Rio Youers’ “Separator”, set in a typhoon-devastated Philippines where a land developer gets a brutal taste of local legend. Ouch!”
— – A Tricky Treat for Fright Night

“I honestly had nightmares reading this anthology, which is a first for me, and found the writing samples to be strong and powerful tales that twisted an already frightening lore. I definitely recommended reading Seize The Night as a Halloween novel. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy horror, frightening tales, anthologies and short stories, gruesome and violent vampires. I would wholeheartedly recommend reading Seize The Night if you are a horror fan or a supporter of real, gritty vampire novels without the romanticism and moral questions.”
—Silk & Serif

Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again.”
—Bookgasm – Halloween-Ready New Release Awaiting You to Treat Yourself

About the Editor
Christopher Golden is the #1 New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker Award-winning author of such novels as Snowblind, Tin MenOf Saints and Shadows, and The Boys Are Back in Town. His novel with Mike Mignola,Baltimore; or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, was the launching pad for the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series Baltimore. As an editor, he has compiled the short story anthologies The New DeadThe Monster’s Corner, and Dark Duets, among others, and has also written and co-written numerous comic books, video games, and screenplays. Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world. Please visit him at

Buy buttons for Seize the Night:
KINDLE (ebook)
NOOK (ebook)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Author's Guide to Marketing With Teeth eBook Release

Today is a very special day with the release of Author's Guide to Marketing With Teeth, a book written by Bram Stoker Award-winner Michael Knost that features interview contributions from the likes of Charlain Harris, Dan Poynter, Diana Gabaldon and others. 

This is a fantastic reference book for authors wanting to understand more about marketing and promotion in the book world. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

From Russia Without Love by Stephen Templin

Once again Stephen Templin pulls his plot from current events.   Chris Paladin is the protagonist who is trying to balance his SEAL handle of Reverend with his self image, personal identity and new career when he is called back into action by his erstwhile lover Hannah.  We met the basic cast of characters in Trident's First Gleaming.

Russia is rearing it's head with adventurism in the Ukraine.   Russian paranoia is exploited by Tenplin in his plot for the financing of state supported terrorism.   The KGB is dead, long live the FSB.  One of the things about Templin's books is their plausibility.  

Sonny is also back with his irreverent and sarcastic manner.   The action is paramount in Templin's books.   Once he set the scene you are forced back into your seats by the speed of the action.  Chris's reverence is counterpointed by his lethal behavior.  He searches his soul as he deals out death.   Templin portrays a protagonist torn by his sense of honor, patriotism and religion.    

I enjoyed the book.

Web site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shake Cats by Carli Davidson

Shake Cats by Carli Davidson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grandcat showing Stillers Love
I don't read a lot of non-fiction. This book is amusing. It is a compilation of photos of frisky felines. Cats of all sizes, colors and furry dispositions are captured showing their stuff. We have not had cats for years but remember ours fondly. We currently our grandparents (?) to two funny furballs. One appears to love dress up and the other loves to lay under your body when you are doing a plank. Both have typical cat quirkiness.

I recommend the book to all lovers of quirky cats.

Web site:

View all my reviews

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ghost on the Lake by Alex Alexander FREE October 20-24, 2015

Ghost on the Lake by Alex  Alexander

I enjoyed this book.  See my review.
The author is offering it FREE on Amazon on  October 20-24.
The direct link is:
It is an entertaining read and I recommend it. 

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Darwin's Pause by J. Gregory Smith

As much as I have enjoyed Greg Smith's books, Darwin's Pause transcends those experiences. The author has moved to a new level! This book was outstanding. It was captivating, action packed, thought provoking and more.  A photographer accepts a vacation trip with a college friend that turns out to be far more than he expected.  Think Indiana Jones meets Clive Cussler.

This book had a very complex plot that was similar to one of those nesting doll sets.  Just when you thought you had reached the last little complexity you discover that Smith just threw in another twist and turn.   Fin, the photographer, is the primary protagonist in this book.  There are other important characters but Fin is the one that holds the plot together. 

Smith clearly shows how greed is an insatiable beast that can be self devouring.  There are preposterous scenarios that upon rumination become less preposterous and more implausible.  It is exciting to think that there are still many natural wonders that lay either undiscovered or under reported. 

This was a compelling book that provided a serious amount of sleep deprivation until I finished it.  I received a complimentary copy of this book under the condition I would write an honest review.  All my reviews are subjective and honest, I see them as recommendations rather than reviews.  I didn't teach English nor have any of my own books been nominated for a Pulitzer so my expertise is only based on a life long passion for reading.   I read several books each week and this is one of the best books I have read in years and I highly recommend it.  

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two Dogs and a Parrot by Joan Chittister

I erroneously thought this was going to be about animals.  It is peripherally but marginally so.   I guess I would describe it as a philosophic religion oriented parable.   The author equates her experience with her pets to a road map for better human behavior.

Back in the 70's when I was studying humanistic psychology, I may have enjoyed this book.  Being on the wrong side of age 50, I suspect that I am somewhat jaded as to this type of reading.   I did not find it enlightening.  I suspect the author is a good person who wants to help others be better people.

Web site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Likability or Un-likability in Book Characters​

A Truly Likable Guy
Not long ago I was criticized for citing the un-likability of a protagonist for my lukewarm reception to a book featuring that character.   Apparently if you don't find a character likable then you, yourself are flawed and most likely unlikable.  As I am widely regarded as highly likable (in my own mind but where else is it so important to be liked?), I disagree with the assertion that we must all like or dislike alike, to be capable of offering an opinion on a book.   Face it, reviews are opinions.  I have tried over the years to characterize my "reviews" as recommendations rather than reviews.  If in my opinion a book ranks high against other books I have read,  I tend to rate it with a five star rank.   Since I am not certified or accredited by any pseudo-scientific organization  to write book reviews then there should be an immediate assumption that I am posting an opinion. 

It should be noted that likability is very subjective, I liked Darth Vader for his spooky evilness.  I liked Thomas Covenant,  Stephen R. Donaldson's character for his desperately flawed self esteem.  I liked David Feintuch's Seafort due to his despairingly depressing self loathing.   Character likability may be due to despicable behavior rather than laudable acts.  So, in my opinion, it is perfectly fine to like or dislike a character and since the characters in a book either drive the plot or are driven by the plot, it is not unrealistic to dislike or like a book depending on the likability of the characters.

BTW I do find it highly unrealistic that expressing a like or dislike of a fictional character represents the personal likability of the reviewer.     You may like or dislike that point of view to your heart's content.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How to Sell Books by the Truckload on - Book One and Two: Get More Sales - Get More Reviews! by by Penny C. Sansevieri

This is a step away from my normal reading.  I am a committed fiction reader and this is anything but fiction.  This is a must read book/books for anyone who is self publishing.  Ms. Sansevieri runs a book marketing company and shares very valuable tips for the independent author.

I had a hard time reading the book due to the need to stop and take notes on so many pages.  It is hard to keep a reading flowing when you are writing.  I found myself going to KDP or Amazon Central and immediately implementing some of Ms. Sansvieri's advice. 

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

An in-depth self evaluation or self absorption might characterize this book.   The main characters search their souls for their foibles, clutch at them, wallow in them and try to expunge them. 

The premise is a look at two families bound together by the murder of one daughter by one son.  The pain is palatable and nearly unbearable if you have any empathy whatsoever.  The author depicts anguish and despair with great intensity.

The mystery of the murder is secondary to the anguish of the families.  Parenting is examined and found failing with merely a glimmer of future hope. 

A thought provoking book.

Web Site:

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.