Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Michael J. Bowler - And The Children Shall Lead - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

The campaign to save California’s children was only the beginning. Now King Arthur and his Round Table of teenaged knights set their sights on fixing something even bigger – the entire country. How? By targeting America’s most sacred document – The Constitution.

Native American teens Kai and Dakota, despite harboring secrets of their own, join the team, and swear undying loyalty to Lance. They carry the hope of their people that the crusade will better the lives of Indian children, who are the most neglected by government. This new campaign will take the young people to The White House, the halls of Congress, and beyond in their quest to change the prevailing opinion that children are property, rather than human beings in their own right.

But an unseen nemesis stalks Lance and Arthur, and ratchets up the attacks on New Camelot, promising to kill them and destroy all that the king has put in place. Lance, Ricky, Kai, and Dakota become the enemy’s favorite targets, and barely escape with their lives on more than one occasion. Who is this mysterious stalker, and what is the motive for these attacks? Lance has no idea, especially since he’s never intentionally hurt anyone.

“You were right, little boy, death is coming for you, but slowly, and only after it takes out the people you love.” That chilling promise haunts Lance, but also strengthens his determination to protect the people he loves at all costs. Or die trying.

The Knight Cycle Continues…

My Review

Washington, D.C. The paranoid political climate. The stifling humidity. The game playing and jockeying for power. It's all here and then some, but shown through the eyes of an adolescent on his way toward amending the Constitution. Yeah, Lance Pendragon doesn't go to the Capitol just to sightsee, he has an agenda to push, too.

For a boy who's never been on an airplane before, he quickly rises through the ranks, dining with the President on his first night in town. The thing that made this such a neat twist is that the author, Michael J. Bowler, visited the White House in a similar fashion after being named the National Big Brother of the Year. It was a treat to feel what Bowler might have experienced when he stepped inside the White House as an honored guest, just like Lance does because he takes readers on a special journey, giving them an inside look into the corridors of power.

There's an overall sense that Bowler doesn't trust politicians much, and neither does Lance. They're a means to an end, impossible to bypass if the ultimate goal is to bring about beneficial change for the greatest number of people, and Lance wants children to have the same rights as adults, and he's not going to stop until he accomplishes that. He puts his celebrity factor to good use, bumping elbows with congressmen and Supreme Court justices in order to bring about a monumental shift in public thinking.

Bowler has fun taking readers around the city from the birds-eye view atop the Washington Monument to a solemn moment in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Lance experiences everything firsthand, much the way Bowler probably did. It's a great way to introduce teenage readers to such a pivotal place in American history by giving them a lesson on what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to passing legislation and instituting change. It's not easy. It requires the unrelenting focus of a select few, who are determined to see it through, no matter what the cost.

But things get really exciting when Lance and Ricky hop on their skateboards (per a psychic vision from Merlin) and hang on to the back of a D.C. bus while escaping a band of would-be assassins on motorcycles. The tension gets ramped up when a helicopter starts attacking them in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery and Lance is forced to perform some death-defying feats near JFK's gravesite in order to keep them alive.

This book has it all from high speed action to groundbreaking access to the wheelers and dealers who run the show. Bowler even tosses in an American government lesson along with the thrills and chills readers have come to expect from him. It's an interesting take on what would happen if Camelot really did converge with Washington and what the end result would look like. Bowler has a great eye, remembering every detail of his own trip and then imagining on the page what could've happened if Lance had accompanied him on his excursion. Overall, what an entertaining way to combine an author's real life experiences with those of a fictional character!


And The Children Shall Lead can be purchased at:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 302
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: September 25, 2014
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9780990306368
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of seven novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place, There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall Lead, and Once Upon A Time In America.

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the White House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently at work on a horror/suspense novel based on his screenplay, “Healer.”

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DJ Wilson - Ride to Restoration - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

In this second book, D learns that paying it forward is not without costs, toss in Candi Parker, the girl of D’s dreams gone rogue, along with vivacious Victoria Lawson, attorney at law, who willingly steps in to fill Candi’s thong, and D’s hilarious misadventures continue across Canada. Reality sets in and the bullets begin to fly just two days after he returns to the states.

D sends Victoria away to keep her out of harm’s way, before tackling his real life demons, aka A.J. Standford, the Ponzi scheming banker who has a bounty on D’s head, and Candi’s extended family, the Gambinos, who will profit from his demise.

The romantic side of the story poses multiple questions: Will D settle for Victoria after being royally screwed by Candi or will his feelings for Candi propel him back into her life and the crime family’s ongoing chaos? Will Candi take back her sleazy ex-husband Joseph or will she somehow manage to break with her powerful family and come crawling back to D’s loving arms?

With all of this going on, there’s bound to be hell to pay sooner rather than later. Like momma always said, “When you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned.”

My Review

The journey taken in RIDE TO RESTORATION is like the one in RIDE TO REDEMPTION, only in reverse. This time, D is leaving his Canadian sanctuary and heading home to his lakeside cabin in Tennessee. But things are not always as they seem when his final destination changes, when danger arises. He's no longer a part of the federal government's witness protection program, voluntarily going off the electronic grid to avoid any kind of detection from the man who wants him dead.

But oh, what sights there are to be had along the way. The world's largest teepee, for one and the Northern Lights, for another. D even finds himself in the middle of a duck tornado during migration season and stuck in a tree when a mama bear and her cub come calling. Yet the isolation and long, cold winters of the Canadian wilderness quickly drive him back to warmer climates. He knows he'll miss the quiet solitude of these backwoods towns and the charming people in them, but he has unfinished business he needs to attend to.

Such as, giving up his refuge on the banks of Dale Hollow Lake—his dream house, the one he built himself. The idyllic gated community where he'd share a bottle of wine and dine with his fellow residents during their monthly get togethers—it's all over now. He can't go back home, not anymore. The Mafia knows where he lives and so does the kingpin behind bars who has a price on his head. He's no longer safe there. He has to disappear and go where nobody can find him.

But first, he has a date with destiny along the southern coast of Florida. Daytona Beach sets the stage for an epic reunion with one of his lovely ladies—the home of the elderly retirees, NASCAR fans, perpetual spring breakers and leather-clad bikers. It's a lively mix of humanity that culminates in traffic jams along infamous I-95.

A picture is painted back to D's early days when he was happily married and finding some alone time with his wife in a minivan in the hotel parking lot while their children slept soundly upstairs. The Aunt Catfish seafood shack is still there, but now the shoreline is littered with hurricane-resistant condominiums that only the wealthy can afford. D reflects on how some things change, while others remain the same, showing how the passing of time can alter a well-loved location in one's memories.

The novel spends some time in St. Augustine, making D's teeth rattle when he rides his bike over the 400-year-old cobblestone streets. He rides on to the southern elegance of Savannah, Georgia and the pristine beauty of Tybee Island, one of the few places that D can imagine himself living besides Dale Hollow Lake.

Through it all, D takes us from relaxing B&Bs where the owner treats him like family to a hunting lodge run by a professional husband and wife outfitter team to a Wild West kind of hotel whose main claim to fame is karaoke night, not its communal bathroom. Along the way, D stops in impersonal Holiday Inns and refuels in truck stops. Traveling is not always glamorous, but with bags full of stolen diamonds to pay the way, it can be, more often than not.

And of course, the food is not to be forgotten. Sometimes for dinner, moose is on the menu and sometimes it's just a six-pack of beer at the hotel bar. More often than not, mornings begin with a cup of black and green tea and a scrumptious breakfast after an early riser workout on the elliptical machines or a walk in the great outdoors. D even knows how to find a first rate Italian restaurant right in the heart of Georgia, but he's content to eat in an off the highway Subway, too.

D is a man of many tastes, willing to go with the flow and adjust to wherever life takes him. He's a lover of luxury when it comes to claw foot tubs and four poster beds, but he'll also don animal scented clothing if the occasion calls for it. He's not too proud to blend into his surroundings. He's a biker, and he knows that sometimes he'll be welcomed with open arms and other times he'll be looked at like a rebel-rouser. And he's okay with that. He's used to laying his head on a different pillow every night. That's who he is.


Ride to Restoration can be purchased at:
Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $11.95 paperback
Pages: 318
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release: July 16, 2014
Publisher: Riscatto Publishing
ISBN: 9781604148022
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

FREE ebook download 
of book one of this series

Smashwords Promo Code: MU83Y
expires 10/24/14

About the Author

Raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, I graduated from Cumberland University, located in a small town you've never heard just inside Kentucky quite a few years ago. At the present, we're living beside beautiful Dale Hollow Lake.

Blessed to travel, blessed with health, blessed with second chances, too numerous to list here.

As a blogger, featured on many sites, including the Huffington Post, I have been humbled beyond measure, more times than not, by all that life has thrown our way.

Successful, that's me, catastrophic failure, that's me too. We've been there, done that and have the life changing scars to prove it.

Our writings reflect life through the throes of heartache and loss, as well as through the joys redemption brings.

"Life is not waiting for the Storms to Pass, It's Learning to Dance in the Rain."

Links to connect with DJ:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Richard H. Hardy - The Infinity Program - Author Interview & Giveaway

About the Book

Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways--Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn't know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office's Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.

Author Interview

1. Why did you choose this setting?
The office setting The Infinity Program allowed me to write about what I know about from personal experience: the office dynamics of a privately owned IT company.

2. How is it a fundamental part of your overall theme?
The odd, Dilbertesque world of a software company is the backdrop of The Infinity Program. The hero of the story is a world class systems programmer. The office background shows my hero, warts and all, in his native environment.

3. How challenging was it to write about?
The challenge for me was to re-create a world that I was very familiar with but do it with original characters, not copies or re-creations of the people I actually knew.

4. How did you develop your setting as you wrote your book?
The software company I worked at was small and specialized. My fictional company, called HPTS, is much larger, wealthier and has connections to the defense industry. I had to extrapolate this world and its larger cast of characters. My descriptions of the offices and buildings were rather plain vanilla until the final drafts. At that point I added architectural and design details to make the setting more realistic.

5. How do you transport them there through your writing?
The reader is shown the office environment from the point of view of the workers who inhabit it. People in a well-run office must be focused. This is especially true in the software industry. I tried to bring the reader into the story with dialogue and re-create the hectic, intense pace of the IT environment.

6. How do you introduce them to an area they may not be familiar with?
Software developers sometimes seem to be a breed apart, but they have many of the same foibles as the rest of this. I tried to present this side of them to my readers. They’re really just like the rest of us. Sometimes they eat too much or spend too much time thinking about sex. Sometimes they create needless conflict simply because they are in a bad mood or bored. And sometimes they are just plain silly. I definitely tried to inject a little humor into the book. My friends and early readers were enthusiastic about some of the humorous bits.

7. How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
I tried to make the setting realistic by using small pieces from my own life experience. For example, at one point in The Infinity Program Jon Graeme is stressed and is walking off his nervous energy in the office hallways. When he keeps running into another programmer who is also walking the halls, he remembers what his boss said about the man: “That guy is on his feet more than a cow!” This line was lifted word for word from a co-worker who was criticizing a colleague for never being at his desk. In creating some of Jon’s work assignments, I borrowed directly from my own work experience. I tried hard to give the reader a true sense of what life is like at an IT company.


The Infinity Program can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Pages: 250
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819336
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.

Links to connect with Richard:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

Read an Excerpt:

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