Mortum

MORTUM
ISBN: 9781477829394, Thomas & Mercer, an e-book by Erik Threrme.

Plot: Andy Crowl inherits the house and other worldly goods from his 33-tear-old cousin Craig Moore who apparently fell from a cliff and drowned. There were no witnesses but autopsy demonstrated no contrary evidence. The house is in the very small town of Mortum where Mary, Craig’s mother still lives. Andy drives to the town with his sister Kate, meets the real estate agent and against instructions to not visit and/or attempt to move anything from it until legal matters have been settled, he goes there and begins to explore. A highly offensive odor greets him and Kate which turns out to be a dead rat under the refrigerator that has a key and a note in its mouth. Andy immediately realizes that this is a clue that will lead to others before his total inheritance is divulged. He and Craig often challenged each other in this manner. From this moment the story proceeds in a slowly expanding way to evolve a pattern of deceit and deception laced with misconceptions, misunderstandings and poorly thought-out activities indulged in by a number of often quite self-centered and/or thoughtless individuals. The tale ends in a manner that just seems to perpetuate the problems experienced by the poor protagonist.

Characters: Craig is never introduced, per se, but his competitive nature in association with Andy provides the basis for the plot. His mother Mary was 19 and pregnant when she moved to Mortum and provided the information that her husband had been killed in an auto accident in Canada. She also refused to answer any of Craig’s questions about his father. Andy is the son of a caring mother and father, as is Kate who is a single, conservative thinking, lower grade school teacher. Andy is enamored of puzzles, recently divorced under circumstances divulged later as not of a frivolous nature previously assumed by his sister. Nate is the local owner of a gas station in the town and has been there ‘forever’. Harlan, Nate’s ‘no-good’ nephew occasionally plays poker with Craig. Ricky Simms is the local cemetery custodian who takes a liking to and treats Craig like a son until a misunderstood occurrence drastically changes the situation. Debbie who is Ricky’s 13-year-old granddaughter.

Discussion: The author has provided an interestingly involved tale of deceit and deception indulged in by a group of characters who regrettably from this reviewer’s standpoint are not well defined. Thus, the activities in which they participate often are difficult to understand and/or accept. If, however, the reader enjoys a provoking almost totally plot based mystery, he/she no doubt will enjoy.

3* Unusual involved plot based mystery, 2* character inconsistencies.

SELF PUBLISHING

SELF PUBLISHING, The Secret Guide to Becoming a Best Seller, an e-book by Richard McCartney.

This is the third book offered by this author with respect to selling your self-published book. In the first, he provided “The Secret Guide to Becoming A Best Seller”. In the next (which he graciously offers to readers of this present volume) he added a most useful marketing ‘Cheat Sheet’ of “some of the lesser-known facts about buying and selling books on Amazon”. In five chapters he explains how to work your way through the Amazon jungle to best market your book AND does so in explicit, detailed steps. The present volume does contain some repetition of a small portion of material presented earlier, but is acceptably compatible in context.

Further in this present volume he has added definitions and highly pertinent discussions with respect to how Amazon works to employ ‘click through rates’ (CTR), ‘conversion rates’ (CR), etc. in determining book sales. Also set forth are ways for placing your book on listings other than only the ‘Best Sellers’. There also are comparative descriptions of the sales success rates to market one’s book gained from social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter versus those of alternative means such as Book Subscription Services. A list of the more prominent ones available is included. Even more importantly, he provides comparative statistics of value received for dollars spent (ROI – return on investment). Perhaps one of the most helpful discussions is about, and the importance and value of, book reviews, their honesty, and how to obtain them.

Discussion: At a time that extended through part of the advent of POD and the earlier phases of self-publishing this reviewer provided a university level course in writing/publishing. After studying what was available for marketing and being particularly disenchanted with the limited helpfulness of social media (strengthened by statements, and even limited studies performed by one highly respected author), my straightforward advice to my classes was: “It is my firm belief that to be even moderately successful in today’s market, you must have a sizable group of readers with whom you share a common interest. Without it, publishing and selling novels is quite simply a crap shoot. So, if you don’t have a sizable group with whom you have established a common bond, or if you cannot establish one, you had better really enjoy writing, because your sales may not come anywhere close to your expectations. There is an adage that has been around for many years in the writing profession: ‘Don’t be in a hurry to give up your day job’. AND, if you still wish to become ‘a published author’, bring your expectations to a plausible level, continue to write for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that the activity brings, and accept any monetary recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. If you still wish to reach a more meaningful level of book sales, either prepare to work as hard or harder marketing them than you spend in the writing, or be willing to spend a sizeable amount of money to accomplish the goal.” Obviously and regrettably the material presented by this author was not available at the time.

Conclusion: McCartney has set forth a well written treasure trove of information literally vital to the independent author IF after thoroughly examining the true purpose of their desire he/she wants to attain a level of respectable compensation. It indeed is regrettable that this information was not available at an earlier time when attempts were being made to shepherd a group of neophytes. Once more, as with the previous book, it is strongly suggested that this book is a must read for Indie authors.

5* Must read for serious Indie authors.

 

Milijun

Milijun
ISBN: 9780994495617, an extraterrestrial Sci-Fi in e-book by Graham Clayton.

Plot: The story opens in Mare Moscoviense, Lunar Far Side in 2179 AD with Lunar minor Simon Cordell entering the unusual cavern in which the mining company was initiating drilling procedures. His light discovers strange shapes on the walls, all appearing identical. He radios earth who send a palaeontologist who finds no evidence of their being carbon based and medico Kendall LeBlanc who decides to extract one to study. Simon objects but LeBlanc proceeds. At the base camp the alien is sealed in a transparent cryogenic tube and attached to a vacuum pump and they decide to examine it in the morning. An alarm awakens the base. What appear to be a horde of bats is arising from the dig site. Simultaneously the alien they have is escaping from the tube with head and an arm out when it suddenly stops. The scientist approaches. LeBlanc asks if it’s dead. Probably. LeBlanc moves forward and discovers there is no evidence of injury to the tube even though the ‘thing’ had partially passed through. They open the tube, extract the alien and decide to investigate. Meanwhile Simon and the director return to the cave and find all the figures have disappeared. They return and find the station a shambles and an increasing number of dead bodies. One of the remaining minors attacks them. He is killed by a laser shot, an alien emerges from his dying body, Simon nicks its arm with another shot, it speeds to the door and disappears. From this strange, devastating and fast moving beginning the reader is taken to the lesser populated areas of the Australian outback where Laura Sinclair and her teen-age son Jason are attempting to enjoy a sojourn in their camper. Their period of enjoyment is unfortunately brief as they become involved with these strange alien creatures, the local police, the military, Simon, and a strange group of individuals in a rather sequestered area of the outback they refer to as Milijun.

Discussion: To provide more detail would be a disservice to the prospective reader. The author has combined his years as an aerospace engineer and interest in sci-fi to present a tale about human- extraterrestrial interrelationships that is ‘different’ and intriguing in its concept. The plot really is fascinating but regrettably, at least for this reader, the characters have little development. Laura and Jason especially are difficult persons with whom to attain any great degree of empathy. Neither is well defined and Laura and her vacillating activities are particularly difficult to accept. However if the reader is looking for a sci-fi replete with extraterrestrials, this book should be very intriguing.

4* Intriguing plot-driven alien sci-fi.

Expired Listings

Expired Listings
An erotic Novel of Psychological Suspense”,                                           Punctuated Publishing, an e-book by D. M. Barr.

Dana Black had a brutally psychologically damaging childhood where she lost her father most tragically at 6 years of age. Following this was her mother, Cassandra, taking her older sister Melanie and moving away leaving her with her grandmother in a town literally dying from the existence of a natural disaster and insisting upon a legal name change for the child. Through the years, her mother would return for a perfunctory one day visit but never a word from or about her sister. Finally, she left for college, met Harrison, a man who appeared to be loving and introduced her to a somewhat luxurious life of sorts and adventure. She had skipped the usual sex explorations of her student days and was first introduced to sex by Harrison. Unfortunately he practiced the Kinky BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) type as well as probably suffering from Bi-polar disorder. The relationship dissolved and the reader is introduced to her as a relatively successful Real Estate salesperson working at the same office as her immensely successful sister. It further is revealed that she is in this position after being contacted by Dare, a Dominant BDSM with whom she becomes closely involved. Then suddenly, a number of Realtors are murdered and/or disappear and finally even her best friend Endicott from her college days who is a fellow realtor, is seriously injured opening Dana to become even more of a prime suspect. Dana, along with other severe reactions, is in therapy because she suffers from complete blackouts where she remembers nothing for hours at a time. If not sufficiently complicated already, the ‘plot thickens’ even more. Dare is discovered to be someone other than just her sex partner; her sister Melanie is other than just the successful realtor who hated her; her mother is extremely wealthy but suffering the results of a devastating CVA; her mother’s caring caretaker, Lorelei, becomes further involved; Grayson, Endie’s gay significant other becomes troublesome; Aidan Cummings who Dana meets at a BDSM club, is a former police detective now a PI, who is at the club for purposes other than for the expected reasons – he provides an unexpected source of help for the beleaguered Dana. The highly convoluted tale eventually unravels to terminate in a logical, albeit somewhat incredible fashion.

Discussion: Interestingly, the author opens with a Preference: “This is a satire not to be interpreted as serious regarding Realtors who have definite legal standards, although their public rating is 17%, a little above advertising executives, used car salesmen and politicians, but below lawyers.” Also included are a warning of sexual explicity and a disclaimer with respect to BDSM activity. From here the story unfolds as a provocative, highly convoluted mystery involving mostly persons on various psychologically compromised levels. The level of sexuality provided is far less explicit than that presented in most books featuring erotica and the ‘dirty tricks’ used by the realtors certainly are no different from those endlessly rumored to have been employed by members of this profession.

Conclusion: A mystery that is highly convoluted, somewhat stretches credibility, provides some mild (by many standards) deviant erotic activity but generally a story that should appeal to those who enjoy a tantalizing read.

4* Generally appealing for those enjoying a tantalizing read.

 

Where Do They Go

Where Do They Go, Part 1
ISBN numbers for hard copy only), Tellwell Talent, a children’s book in e-form by Barry Donaldson.
This is a very short introductory book in which Mrs. Williams once again discovers one lone sock among the pairs in her washing machine. She charges her small son and daughter to not lose any more socks. The tale ensues with their activity in attempting to comply. As children’s books go, it appears to be a most satisfactory beginning. It is appropriately and well-written and the pictures should bring the children into the story. The only question arising for this reviewer, is if there is enough of the tale in this first part of the story as presented. Readers’ reaction obviously will determine the answer and certainly can be far better judged by those who have small children available with which to share.

3* Well-written but acceptance depending upon brevity.

Battling Isis – The Road to Mosul

Battling Isis – The Road to Mosul, is a thriller with considerable erotica in an e-book by Ernie Marier.

Plot: Michael Roundtree is a Half-breed American Indian whose great grandfather had established the Rogue River Trading Post. The business gradually developed into a highly successful enterprise that owned a large section of the state and had a net worth in the millions. Under Michael’s direction, success continued and his personal direction was additionally directed to survival tactics for which he established a survival school of sorts. He could survive under almost any conditions, was a master marksman, and could cover miles of ground at a steady rate of six minutes/mile. His older brother, Vince was a missionary working in a Syrian refugee camp. He was captured by Isis and beheaded. Michael witnessed the act on television. He decides to take revenge and the story evolves following his resulting journeys and activities. The action includes help from Kurdish, Egyptian and Israeli characters as well as some help from the CIA. The other characters, except for his beautiful paramour Avalina, an Israeli Army Corporal, and Willie, a Kurdish governmental agent, only incidentally participate in the story and are only slightly characterized.

Discussion: The author has an intriguing plot and has the ability to generate periods of tension throughout. Regrettably, the mood is fractured repeatedly by a number of faults. Shifts constantly occur from the first to the third person; present to past tense occurs; there is repetition of entire sections (e.g. location 638 repeats 627, again in location 938, others); words are omitted and/or repeated; there is constant repetition, with little to no change in verbalization of Michael’s activity as he proceeds to attack the enemy; similarly, the author provides pages of explicit descriptions of sexual activity only to repeat these in ensuing sections of the book. It is granted that graphically depicted sexual acts undoubtedly have a strong appeal for many readers and thus are not criticized per se. It would seem, however, that a knowledgeable editor could devise some greater variation in description of the activity, as well as for scenes of his enemy attacks. A good proof reading at the very least is necessary to ‘clean up’ some of the detritus that interferes with what could be an interesting story.

3* at best. Basically intriguing thriller/erotica plot; monumental need for editing/proof reading