Category Archives: Reviews

May I Have Your Attention…

Hi! I’m creating a new blog. I hope you all will follow me over at that blog. I’ll post links to it here for a while before I stop posting altogether on here. The new page is spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com and please feel free to share it. I just posted my first blog at spellboundscribbler. Come on over and take a look!

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Review:Rough Magick by Kenny Soward

It’s pronounced “Sword.” Get used to it. That name is going to be very popular. Rough Magick is the first book in the Gnome Saga by Kenny Soward available through Ragnarok Publications. Yes, I said Gnome.

Soward writes with a quick pace, fleshing out images with a minimum of fuss. He gives us magick, glorious battle scenes, politics, multiple worlds, invading aliens and the dynamics of sibling rivalry. Reading Rough Magick reminded me of all the things I loved about Dune, with the same intensity and grit as Herbert’s characters. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, Tinkermage due out in December and Cog Weaver slated for a February 2015 release.

You can find Kenny Soward’s amazing skills at Ragnarok Publications, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Review: Armand Rosamilia’s Chelsea Avenue

Chelsea Avenue reads like your favorite crime drama. A quick pace chelseaavetakes you through the events of Murphy’s Law Club and its deadly history. Characters are in and out quickly, but painted in such masterful strokes that you recognize them instantly. You’re inside the head of the good guys, see glimpses inside the bad guy and cheer and shout when the end game plays out.

Armand Rosamilia writes crisp images with a minimal of fluff, evoking emotions from his readers like an elder god calling across time and space. If you need something to read, you have found your new favorite author. You can find Armand at http://armandrosamilia.com and at http://www.ragnarokpub.com

 

Review: Django Wexler’s John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth

wexlercover2Another great story from Ragnarok Publications, Django Wexler’s John Golden: Heroes of Mazaroth is a fun read. It gives you a glimpse inside the lives of gamers and the games they love told from an unusual perspective. Heroes takes John inside a role-playing game that he may not be able to fight his way out of. Wexler paints pictures in quick strokes and vivid colors. His characters are distinct and add layers of flavor to a delicious storyline. This is the second Golden story, following John Golden: Freelance Debugger. You can find all of Wexler’s work at his site, www.djangowexler.com and his RagPub titles are at www.ragnarokpub.com . He’s also available on Amazon.

The soul of an artist

images (4)I found a picture today in my Facebook feed that made me stop scrolling. Not this first pic. He’s further down the page. It was a photo of one of my favorite musicians and it got me thinking.

There’s a lot of talk about separating the art from the artist when we find out one of our idols from stage, screen, or airwave has different views on some topic than we do. Those of you up in arms about Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card know what I’m talking about. The truth is that each of us is entitled to our own opinions on politics, religion, sex, birth control, gender equality, all of these and more.

As fans, we do need to separate the art from the artist sometimes. Each song/book/painting/movie touches each of us in a unique way that only we understand. What we have to remember is that it happens for the artist, too.

I’m particularly into music. It feeds my writing ideas, both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes it’s the phrasing of lyrics. Other songs it’s the feel of the music itself. And sometimes you find an artist that you just can’t get enough of. Everything they touch turns to gold.  I have been addicted to music since I was a kid listening to my dad on the radio. Dad would quiz me on artist and title when we were in the car with the music on. I love everything from Albert King to Rob Zombie and back around twice more.davegrohl

Of all the artists I’ve found in my 42 years, Dave Grohl is one of my all-time favorites. He has an appreciation for the music that more musicians need to develop. His love of music is so profound that he bought the sound board from the Sound City Studio to preserve the history captured in all those miles of wire.

Grohl personifies what music does to the soul. Watch the video for Pretender by his band Foo Fighters and you’ll see what I mean. Many of the bands videos include cheesy costumes and campy themes behind deep, heavy grinding rock beats. But Pretender starts slow, just a voice and a microphone. Then Hell breaks lose. Pretender has both those moments of intense quiet and raging, balls-to-the-wall energy that drags you through the song at mach 3 with your hair on fire.

Watch not just Grohl but the entire band in that video. The song would be intense even of there wasn’t a riot squad involved. That intensity is evident in everything Dave Grohl does. Sometimes it’s just under the surface, others it breaks free. It is always glorious.

Since learning to play guitar at age 12, he has become one with the music and its power. That’s the point where the artist is so connected to the art they become inseparable. When you listen to an artist of that caliber, it sets your soul on fire.

 

 

 

Review: Dead West Books 1& 2

Not sure how I missed posting a review of book 1 in the Dead West series but I will remedy that instantly.

 

Those Poor, Poor Bastards is a zombie western following Nina Weaver and her father through a shambling landscape of supernaturally undead.  The characters are well developed, showing a range of the human condition in all of its ugliness and beauty.  Setting, dialogue, characterization and overall style are true to the western genre while offering up plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.  There is never-ending danger of being bitten, ancient bad guys, human asshats, and a stoic, hereo-esque type in a Stetson with two very large guns.  All combine nicely into a crazy train that takes you on one helluva ride.

The Ten Thousand Things barrels down the tracks with just as much action as the first book.  We see some of the same characters and a few new ones, all being reassuringly predictable and still surprising as events unfold, forcing them to change in subtle ways.  The humanity of the characters is hard-fought amid the shambling horde and shines through beautifully.  The authors stay true to their western style while giving us a sex scene, a first use of native spiritual magic that is stunning, and a surprise at the end that I expected and still was surprised by.

I would recommend both of these books.  Hopefully the third in the series will be out soon.  My favorite lines so far:

Nina smiled and reached out to touch her Colt 1861 Navy where it rested just inches away.  Hard iron in front, an iron-hard man behind. She was covered.

 

You can find Those Poor, Poor Bastards and The Ten Thousand Things on Amazon and at RagnarokPub.

One more thing…

Several people helped participate in my first Rock Blog Tour.  Much thanks to Whitney Coble, Tim Marquitz, Kristyn Phipps, Glenn Walker, Robin Renee, and Jennifer Cardonick Walker.  All of these wonderful people helped boost the signal for the band Skinn Jakkitt.  The band is keeping busy.  They have a CD trailer now airing on several satellite TV channels, but I have it for you here: 

The guys are getting ready for their tour that begins in Chicago in February.  Rock blogger Hellion Rocks had a round table discussion with members of Skinn Jakkit, Death Rattle, The Black Cross Brotherhood, Final Curse and Stevil Helmer of Helmer Management.

Check out the discussion in its entirety here:  Hellion Rocks.  You can find Skinn Jakkitt at the following venues:  

Jan 18th @ The Sand Shack, North Charleston, SC – The Helmer Management Show

Jan 25th @ The Wizard Saloon, Hickory NC, with Bonz from Stuck Mojo, and  Nefarious

Feb 7th Knoxville Tn tentative

Feb 8th @  Bada Brew, Chicago, Illinois with Final Curse and more.

Feb 15 @ St Valentines Massecre in Charleston, WV with Black Cross Brotherhood and Final Curse

March 29 @ The Drunk Horse Pub, Fayetteville, NC

June 21 @ Main City Cellar, Hickory, NC, for the Hillbilly Beardsman Club’s beard competition

 

The Rock Blog Tour was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again soon.  Who knows what music you’ll see here next?