Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Review -Observations & Conditions

I thought holding the first copy of my own book in my hands was a pretty exciting experience. But it just keeps getting better. I am making new acquaintances and getting new ideas and things to read. One of those new acquaintances is another aspiring poet with some real life experience, Marshall Armstrong. Marshall hails from southern Minnesota and has his own website: marshallbutcharmstrong.com. He was kind enough to read my poems and send me a very nice review.

What Marshall has to say about my poetry collections:

Painting pictures with words is not something easily done, nor is it often done well. But you have nailed it! That said, I have a confession. I didn't buy your books. I borrowed them... I read them both today and was very impressed. Some of your poems remind me of some of my own. The visuals you create are very real. Everyday things that we think, see and feel are brought forward. I could see the old house with the Asters and feel the pride of the Soccer Dad. I'd like to make one suggestion if I may. In Conditions, the photography is excellent. However, I wonder if it would work better if the photos matched up with the poems a little better. Perhaps a picture of dew on grass for "Dew" or a field of dandelions for "Dandelion" etc.

"Shed" is one of my favorites. It instantly reminded me of places I played and things I did as a child. "Honeysuckle Highway" is another. The use of sight and smell, especially smell, is very powerful. I have never been fond of Haiku. Often times people choose words simply to get the syllables right. I didn't see that in yours. It was very good.

Well, wish me luck. As soon as I have enough material I'm going to look at publishing. My work seems a bit darker than yours. I look at Social Issues that affect all of us, and sometimes those issues are not so pretty. I try to balance it out with stories about my dog or nature but I think some things need to be talked about... I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read your work... Thanks

Marshall "Butch" Armstrong

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review - Witch and Wombat

Witch and Wombat is a fanciful little jaunt through the idea of a magical world connected to the mundane world and the further idea that the former derives its energy from the latter. In this case that energy is seriously depleted as the mundane is losing faith in dragons, fairies, and magic in general due to their burgeoning technological marvels.

However, hope is still alive in the form of the fantasy role-playing gamers. Enter Bentwood and his idea of taking fantasy gamers on real adventures in the magical world. So four gamers are chosen to go on an adventure with Hali the witch, their babysitter/guide and her familiar Bernie, normally a crow but for the adventure changed into a wombat because of "marketing analysis".

Of course nothing goes as planned with the monster unions go on strike and the Tooth Fairy leading an actual revolt. But our intrepid gamers, Hali, and Bernie make everything come out right in the end. Bentwood gets rave reviews for his "tour" and Hali gets the ugly hut she's been looking for.

This book is fluffy. It is not a dark swords and sorcery story nor does the plot have much depth. That said, it is easy to read and pleasant to read. It is recommended for someone who is looking for light fantasy but written for the mature reader (i.e. NOT the Jewel Kingdom or Droon).

Witch and Wombat is available in Kindle edition but is out of print currently (it was originally published in 1994 by Warner). There are plenty of second-hand copies available online (we even have ours up on Biblio.com for $3.77, free shipping).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Don't lose sight of the People

As the holidays approach and the gadget commercials and the want-its get more strenuous, two poems that look to the uniqueness of being a person.


I like to see the eyes of my opponent
I like them to know I’m there
I like it when I watch the hope
Of victory fade from their eyes

I like to see the triumph played out
And the agony of defeat
I like to watch the satisfaction
Of a victory well-won

No vindictiveness, no taunting
No “trash-talking”, no “head games”
Play hard, play to win
But remember, it’s only a game

For the fun is in playing well
And the fun is in the challenge
The fun is in a worthy opponent
And in learning a new stratagem

Smile and laugh and do your best
Come back and play again
Life’s too short to hassle on it
But I want to see you play.


I see them hurry, hurry, hurry,
To get the newest Things;
Keeping to the Cutting Edge.
When they pull out the Newest
Everyone else will gawk and ooh
Attention then surely gathers
But it is all about the Thing.
What do I know about Them,
And what do they know of I?
Take away the gadgets; try.
‘Cause when the Thing’s the Thing
As Asimov and Clarke had writ
Look over your shoulder, son,
Humanity’s lost a bit.
Take away my gadgets,
Look deep into my core,
Find out who I am, sir,
Invest some time, explore
The things that make us us
Without the bells and whistles
Surely you will find, my friend,
Amid the warts and thistles,
A much more interesting whole
A person, unique in all the world.
So find the time to strip away
These modern day designs
Spend some old-fashioned time
To find out who is Who.
Never let the Things take over;
Always keep control
By knowing what is human, man,
By knowing how I roll.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Free Kindle Promotion

Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9, my book of poetry, Observations, will be FREE on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Observations-ebook/dp/B009DU8PSM/.

Normally $2.99 in Kindle and $5.99 in Paperback. Our first book, Conditions, which is illustrated with beautiful color photos by Karen O'Malia, is also available on Amazon. Contact me directly if you'd like a signed copy of the paperback for either volume.

Thank you for your support.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Back Titles for Xmas Redux

A few months ago I noted that I have been trying to work through a backlog of books in inventory for my online shops that have not yet been uploaded. This is a time-consuming process since I touch each book to make sure of its condition, including loose pages and marks, before uploading.

Now, these are not the cutting edge, just published books being marketed by the publishers. Often they are the older titles of currently popular authors. Recent case in point - over the past two weeks I have uploaded over 30 titles for James Patterson, 20 for Diana Palmer, and an astounding 100 titles for Nora Roberts.

Many prolific romance authors are also featured, though none to the degree of Ms. Roberts. Catherine Coulter has over 30 titles, as does Janelle Taylor,  Linda Lael Miller and others. I also have reasonable selections of "classic" juvenile fiction series - The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley, Baby-Sitters Club. Thriller and mystery authors seem to be, as a whole, less prolific but many big names are available as well - Robert Parker, Sue Grafton, Clive Cussler, Nelson DeMille, Dick Francis, Tom Clancy and many more.

For someone who likes these authors (or any of the hundreds of authors we have back titles for) a gift of a title they haven't yet read originally published 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, is a thoughtful, inexpensive, practical gift. One year I even presented an avid reader with a box full of probably 50 paperback mysteries. It was a mix of authors she was familiar with and new authors and provided her with hundreds of hours of enjoyment over the course of the next year.

So, if you have a reader on your holiday list and you want to give them something inexpensive, as an additional stocking stuffer or small gift, consider a back title of a favorite author. Our Biblio account for FindRomanceToRead (http://www.biblio.com/bookseller_search.php?terms=findromance) has over 30,000 titles, many under $4.00, all with free shipping.

Happy holidays to everyone and Good Reading!