Monday, August 31, 2015

VOK and Authors For Change

Being a book blogger, I have the opportunity of making friends with all kinds of awesome people, whether they be authors, readers, reviewers, or other book bloggers.  
            I absolutely love working with authors and have met some that I am happy to consider friends.  I'm always interested in hearing about their next projects, and being lucky enough to be one of the people that help get them out there in the hands of potential readers.

A friend of mine, author Jason Kucharik, has started an Indiegogo for his book, VOK, and an organization he has begun called Authors for Change.  Both projects have really caught my attention, and I've read a bit of VOK over on Wattpad and thoroughly enjoyed it.
            Now, I'm not usually the one that posts all about someone's funding goals, but Authors for Change looks like a great idea and I'd like to see him get the chance to get that up and going.  Also, he's giving some really good prizes for the donations (his bookmarks are pretty wow), so check it out. :)



About the book:
Earth has burned.
            My people made sure the humans paid for their insolence in the final days of the Blood War, but as it turns out the universe is pretty freaking huge and they weren't the only threat.  Not by a long shot.
            I'm an Alpha, one of the most feared special operations soldiers in the universe.  Born out of blood, I am the eyes and ears of the High Order and, when need be, their unflinching reaper.  I do not yield, I do not bow, I do not fail.  Ever.
            For centuries our loyalty was unquestionable, but my partner and I uncovered a dark secret about our past that calls into question our entire lives.  The High Order trained us to be the most intelligent, ruthless, and feared soldiers ever created...  They're going to regret that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW: Tessa Beth & Co and the Sugarplum Recipes


The Sugarplum Recipes 2:
Tessa Beth & Co
and
the Sugarplum Recipes
By: Wendy Salter

Genre: Children, Short Stories, Cooking
Publisher: Wendy Salter
Publication date: 7.28.2015

Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 8.24.2015


This is the second book in the series.  Tessa Beth is a little older now, and even though some things have changed, others have not.  The Godmothers are back, she has several different animals in her life, and in these stories you learn a little more about her family and the fun of living on the farm.  

I enjoyed this book more than I did the first, and I really enjoyed the first.  I especially liked the first story (my favorite out of all the stories in both books) - I have a thing for dogs and always feel that the ones that pick you are better than the ones that you pick yourself.  

There are more recipes in this book that I would love to try and, as with the first book, they each go with the story written before it, and include a little explanation of each one.  

I really like Wendy's dedication page.  I know that some people flip right past these, but ever since I was little, I have always made a point to stop and look, curious.  You can learn a lot from this page, and Wendy really has a lot of beautiful words to say on her's.


About the book:
Eight-year-old Tessa Beth sugarplum is famous in her hometown for creating one-of-a-kind cookie recipes.  Tessa Beth and the Cookie Ministry Kids bake batches of zany Sugarplum cookies, tuck them into bags or boxes with Bible verses and deliver them to people in need of a little cheer.  As Tessa Beth navigates life in a small town - from pancakes and pj parties, rabbit princesses on the edge of the farm and rescued puppies - she has her friends to make life adventurous and her baking to show kindness to others as well as for the simple goodness of a sweet treat.  Add a cup of wholesomeness, a sprinkle of whimsy and a scoop of faith and you get Tessa Beth & Co and the Sugarplum Recipes - a unique flavor that tastes sweet like Little House on the Prairie and zesty like Pinkalicious.  The simple yet quirky sugar cookie recipes that follow each chapter, such as Rabbit Princess and Bow-Tie Boy Cookies, will appeal to both boys and girls.


About the author:
A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Wendy Powell Salter is a licensed professional counselor and a school counselor with ten years experience in public schools.  She married her high school sweetheart and they have a daughter.  Wendy is from a long line of farmers and she and her family live on a farm that has been in her family for six generations.  They tend a garden and raise rabbits and silkie bantam chickens.
            Wendy has been a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators since 2012.  Wendy has had the opportunity to do intensives with Matt de La Pena, Nikki Grimes and Donna Jo Napoli.  In addition, she served as an assistant for author Nancy Raines Day at the SCBWI Springmingle in March 2014.  In December 2014, she competed in the St. Augustine Cookie Exchange using the Sugarplum recipes as the basis for her Flamingo's First Christmas cookies.  Author of Flamingo's First Christmas, Nancy Raines Day, featured an article from Wendy's cookies on her website.

REVIEW: Tessa Beth & Co. and the Godmothers' Nursery Rhymes


The Sugarplum Recipes 1:
Tessa Beth & Co
and 
the Godmothers' Nursery Rhymes
By: Wendy Salter

Genre: Children, Short Stories, Cooking
Publisher: Wendy Salter
Publication date: 7.28.2015

Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 8.24.2015


This book is a set of stories about Tessa Beth as a baby, and the time she spends with her godmothers, Godmother Dear and Godmother Honey.  Each story is followed by a recipe that goes with the story, and there are some cute little drawings throughout.

I really enjoyed the stories.  They are cute, funny, and well written.  The Godmothers seem like a lot of fun, and hearing about the things they do together was really neat.  The recipes sound great and I look forward to giving them a try.  

Highly recommend.  I mean - cute kid stories, great characters AND cooking.  How could it possibly be wrong?




About the book:
The prequel to the Sugarplum Recipes Series, Tessa Beth & Co and the Godmother's Nursery Rhymes is unique to the series because it is the only book told from a baby's point-of-view.  Baby Tessa Beth Sugarplum introduces us to her life in a small town - from gathering eggs with the Godmothers, to ice storms and a bon voyage party.  Add a cup of wholesomeness, a sprinkle of sparkly dust and a scoop of faith and you get Tessa Beth & Co and the Godmothers' Nursery Rhymes - a unique flavor that tastes sweet like Little House on the Prairie and zesty like Pinkalicious. The simple yet quirky sugar cookie recipes that follow each chapter will appeal to both boys and girls.  Be advises that this combination chapter and recipe book may inspire you to bake and start your own Cookie Ministry Kids.


About the author:
A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Wendy Powell Salter is a licensed professional counselor and a school counselor with ten years experience in public schools.  She married her high school sweetheart and they have a daughter.  Wendy is from a long line of farmers and she and her family live on a farm that has been in her family for six generations.  They tend a garden and raise rabbits and silkie bantam chickens.
            Wendy has been a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators since 2012.  Wendy has had the opportunity to do intensives with Matt de La Pena, Nikki Grimes and Donna Jo Napoli.  In addition, she served as an assistant for author Nancy Raines Day at the SCBWI Springmingle in March 2014.  In December 2014, she competed in the St. Augustine Cookie Exchange using the Sugarplum recipes as the basis for her Flamingo's First Christmas cookies.  Author of Flamingo's First Christmas, Nancy Raines Day, featured an article from Wendy's cookies on her website.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

REVIEW: The Lord of Shadows Rises


The Lord of Shadows Rises
By: James Terzian

Genre: Fantasy
Publication date: 1.6.2015
Pages: 206

Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 8.20.2015


I have so much to say on this book, and yet I have no idea where to begin.  It's a really interesting story, with a lot of action and fight scenes galore.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, which I wasn't so sure that I would at the very beginning, but the story and characters kept me wanting to know more.  I think the author has a lot of imagination and talent, and I am interested in reading other things that he comes up with.  When I was talking to a friend about it last night, one of the things that I said to her was that I think this book would be really good for middle school and high school boys.  Now, I know that's considered sexist, but I've worked with a lot of younger boys in helping them find things that they would be interested in reading, that would keep their attention, and to me this book has that - the action and fight scenes that would pull them into the story and keep them there, and a really neat main character that they could potentially imagine themselves as.  

My issue with the story is actually more centered on the editing of the book.  See, I think that the editor did not do the project justice.  James Terzian has a learning disability, and he's very honest about it.  When you look at the issues with the story, you can kinda understand that they're there and why they're there.  I mean, story alone I was really impressed, and having known people in my life that have learning disabilities, I know how hard it is to be able to put your thoughts onto paper.  I feel like the job of a good editor is to help an author pull their thoughts together and make sure they make sense, and there were parts of this story that just ... didn't.  There were issues with grammar and other stuff, which made parts of it hard to get through, and it's so unfortunate because the underlying story has so much potential.  I could see this being a five star book, and I really hope that the author takes the time to get this book reedited so that it can stand out and be the amazing book that it can be.


About the book:
It has been 200 years since the Lord of Shadows was called in a horrific battle with the Order of White Rose.  Now the year is 1998, a boy with murdered parents must gather allies to stop the once powerful Lord of Shadows from regaining his full power and breaking the seal.  Learning from the Order of the White Rose guardians, he must fight or his parents' death would be in vain.  From Norway to United States of America, from China to Korea, he must join with the other students and fight.

Excerpt:
1798, Norway

It had been two hundred years since the battle of Twin Peaks was decided and the warriors of the Order of the White Rose fought a long and grueling battle, losing over half their fighters against the Army of the Lord of Shadows.
            The reason for the losses of these brave heroes was due to the evil dictator known as the Lord of Shadows.  With his army, he descended upon the Scandinavian countryside to destroy all who stood in his way.  Pillaging and selling the vanquished into slavery, he showed no mercy to his victims.  He was defeated, however, not by the army, but by one man.  That man was the leader of the Order of the White Rose, Master Eirik.  He was a monk who had studied the ways of the warrior and mastered Aikido and Stav fighting.  He fought the Lord of Shadows near the evil one's temple.  He was able to seal the Lord of Shadows using the forbidden technique of the Soul Seal, banishing him into an object.
            That was Master Eirik's last battle because he gave his life to seal the evil one.  The Lord of Shadows had been imprisoned for two centuries.  This left five keys with the five Masters of the White Rose.  The Lord of Shadows became imprisoned inside a statue of a Norse god.  His power was dispersed among the five keys, and only if those five keys were brought together within the temple would he regain his power.  The Guardians were there to make sure that did not happen.  To further protect the keys, the Guardians eventually spread out among the world.  For generations, the keys had been passed down from master to student.


About the author:
James Terzian is an upcoming author with a learning disability in writing.  Writing a novel to prove to others that having a disability does not hinder you in any way.  He was born in the Ukraine and came to America in 1992 at the age of five, found his love for writing after graduation and is hoping to share his journey.  He graduated on the honor roll in high school despite his disability, and he strives to do what he loves, write.  He started to write fan fiction based on his childhood shows.  He is currently working in the school system in building services, maintaining the building for bright minds to learn and get an education.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James Terzian


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, James.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

James Terzian:
I am a 28 year old male born in Ukraine and diagnosed with a writing disability.  I live in the Greater Washington/Maryland area.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

James Terzian:
They know a lot about me.  I can't think of anything.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

James Terzian:
Dr. Seuss book.  Green Eggs and Ham.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

James Terzian:
Work by local authors.  Right now rereading The Lone Werewolf by Tim Forder.  

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

James Terzian:
College class.  They wanted me to write a story and I enjoyed it.  I wrote a small historical story about the Bataan Death March during World War II.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

James Terzian:
Man Cave, my room.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

James Terzian:
I always try to have the ending in mind when I begin writing.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

James Terzian:
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Manga.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

James Terzian:
Putting your idea down on paper.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

James Terzian:
Characters, how deep and likable, plot, how much time is invested in it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

James Terzian:
Yuan, one of the masters.  He is kind of lazy, but will be serious when the world is at stake and will fight his hardest.  I am a jokester, but when stuff happens, it is all business.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

James Terzian:
I just like the genre.  I love anime and I like to read martial art novels and watching movies.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

James Terzian:
Just the amount of fighting style that are in the book.  The book has around 10 different styles.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

James Terzian:
I am trying to do a short spin off story based off the Master of my book and their early years.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

James Terzian:
I am working on a third book and some short novellas.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, James.  It's been great having you :)


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

REVIEW: Nightmares


Nightmares
By: Andrew Lennon

Genre: Horror, Short Story
Publication date: 2.4.2015
Pages: 7

Date read: 7.11.2015


This was my first Andrew Lennon read and to say I was impressed would be an understatement.  I really like how this guy writes.  He has the ability to creep you out while you're reading the story, but at the same time, the story comes back to haunt you later, like when the lights are all off and you're laying in bed, staring at the ceiling ... thinking.  It's short and to the point - he gets his story across in a great way without a lot of unnecessary filler.  The ending, well, I sorta expected it, but at the same time, I thought it was the perfect ending for the story that was told.  Good job, Andrew!!

About the story:
Sometimes dreams are more real than they appear.  Can you wake up before your dream becomes a reality?


About the author:
Andrew Lennon is the author of "A Life to Waste" and several other short stories.  He enjoys spending time reading and reviewing books.  Andrew is happily married living with his wife Hazel and their children.
            To see more information on Andrew's work, go to Lennon's Lair.

REVIEW: Time


Time: A Short Story of Love
By Andrew Lennon

Genre: Time Travel, Romance, Short Story
Publication date: 2.3.2015
Pages: 9

Date read: 7.11.2015


When I meet someone and find out that they're an author, I immediately go to Amazon and Goodreads to find out more about them, always interested in checking out what it is that they produce.  Andrew Lennon has a couple of short stories (in several genres) and a novel, and this particular story is currently free (at the time of this review).

I was rather impressed with the little piece.  It's a sweet little story about a guy who, after waking up, realizes that his daughter is all grown up and he has missed a lot, and everyone around him thinks that he's suffering from Alzheimer's.  It's a very quick read, but I love how it ended and this story encouraged me to read more of what he has to offer.

About the story:
Sometimes your life can flash by in the blink of an eye.  Pay attention, you won't want to miss it.

About the author:
Andrew Lennon is the author of "A Life to Waste" and several other short stories.  He enjoys spending time reading and reviewing books.  Andrew is happily married living with his wife Hazel and their children.
            To see more information on Andrew's work, go to Lennon's Lair.

REVIEW: Ashes of Life


Ashes of Life
By: Erica Lucke Dean with Laura M. Kolar

Genre: Women's Fiction, Family Life, Romance
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 4.28.2015
Pages: 280

Date read: 7.18.2015
Recommended by: Red Adept Publishing


I'm going to vent for a minute here so bear with me: I loved this book and absolutely hated this book all at the same time.  The emotions that this story brought out of me were - wow.  In fact, there were several times that I put my Kindle down and vowed not to pick it back up again.  Now, I've only been through part of the situation - my father died when I was a freshman in high school, but my mother never remarried, or even dated, as far as my sister and I know - but the way that these two acted, as if they were the only ones hurting, just really peeved me off.  I'm serious - there were times that I wanted to punch both of the main characters in the face, yell at them for their behavior ... and there were times when I really wanted to give them both a giant hug, help to take some of the burden that they were going through off their shoulders.  I know, from seeing friends go through the whole step-parent thing, that this is a realistic depiction of the relationship that happens a lot between the child and the parent's new spouse - even more so because of the fact that Alex was the only parent Maddie had left - but they spent far too much time hating each other when they really could have - and should have - bonded together in both their times of sorrow.  But I'm also someone looking in on their lives from the comfort of my couch, not actually having to live the life that they lived.  But MAN they pissed me off.

^^ That should tell you a lot about how well written this book is.  I don't often get super emotional during a book like that, but this one sure did pull the feels out of me.  It was eye-opening, to say the least. ^^

The characters are great.  Even though I spent quite a bit of time hating Alex and Maddie (when you read the book, you'll understand why), they were both good people and deserved better than what they got from each other.  The two men that came into their lives - and both of their best friends - really helped to show the kind of people they were outside of the grief that they were dealing with, and were just as well written as the two main characters.

Amazing job done by both of these authors.  This is a great book from the very first to the very fast page.  I definitely plan on searching out more from these two authors, and hope they produce something together again.

About the book:
Married for just three months, Alex Barrett is stunned when her husband, David, dies in a tragic accident.  And the absolute last thing the pregnant young widow wanted is to take on responsibility for his teenage daughter, Maddie.  Reeling from loss, Alex struggles to deal with her grief and her troubled stepdaughter, but one question haunts her: why was David with his ex-wife when he died?
            All Maddie Barrett wanted was for her parents to get back together, but an icy road took that dream away.  Afterwards, Maddie is riddled with guilt that she can't share with anyone.  Feeling angry and alone, she lays all the blame on Alex.
            Alex and Maddie must find a way to move past their path - shared, yet separate.  Thrown together in an untenable arrangement, they fight through a frozen landscape of sorrow and redemption while redefining love, forgiveness and family.


About the authors:
After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180 lb. lap dog, and at least one ghost.
            When she's not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she's either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub.  Much like the main character in her first book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.
            How she's managed to survive this long is one of life's great mysteries.

Laura M. Kolar lives with her husband and daughter in a one-stop-light town in northern-lower Michigan.  Though she didn't discover her love of books until she turned thirty, as a self-declared hopeless romantic, she has spent the past few years reading and writing stories with mostly happy endings.  If not at her day-job or with her family, you will find her sipping a cup of chai latte while sitting in her favorite rocking chair, hunched over her laptop writing or spending entirely too much time on Twitter.

REVIEW: Braineater Jones


Braineater Jones
By: Stephen Kozeniewski

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Hard-Boiled
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 10.9.2013
Pages: 235

Date read: 8.10.2015


I receive thirty or more emails a day from authors wanting to be on The Gal or, at the very least, wanting me to review their books on here.  Some of these authors are quite memorable, Stephen being one of them.  When I received his email, and followed the links to Amazon to find out more about them, I found out that I had already purchased both of his books.  We laughed and laughed - I mean, how likely was it that would happen? - and have since become friends.
            Every time one of his books is mentioned in front of me, he'll make some sarcastic remark about how he STILL has not been on The Gal, which I find funny because all of my author friends know that I am going to be harder on them than I am on an author who I don't know.  I mean, these people are on my Facebook, they read my blog, they KNOW better, or at least they should. 
            So, Stephen - since I know you're reading this - sit down, take a deep breath, prepare yourself...

At the time I purchased this book, I had really had it with the whole zombie 'thing.'  I had seen SO many movies and read SO many books that were all pretty much the same, that I had sworn off the lot - and was avoiding dystopian as well, since so many authors seem to believe that zombies and dystopian go hand-in-hand.  I was absolutely sure that there was no one who was going to be able to come up with something new and fresh, something exciting and out of the ordinary... 

That's when I stumbled upon this book.  As usually happens with me on Amazon (and Pinterest - my apologies to anyone who follows me there), I was looking at one thing and ended up, thirty minutes later, looking at the cover of this book.  It completely caught my attention and, after reading the book description, I knew I needed to try this out.  Maybe it's been done before, but I hadn't seen a zombie PI from back in the 30s and this grabbed my attention on so many levels.  I mean, I'm a big fan of mysteries and noir, so how could this be bad?

Trust me - it wasn't.

The main character, Braineater, is pretty awesome.  He's sarcastic as hell, and I have this thing about sarcastic main characters.  He's new at this whole zombie thing, having recently died, and there are a lot of things to get used to (not even including the fact that their bodies start to change after awhile).  Throughout the book, he has some small mysteries that he tries to solve with his new PI business, tries to figure out who murdered him, avoid getting into trouble (which he's not always successful at) - and he meets some crazy characters along the way.  

The story itself is so good.  The mystery of his murder - and the truths that he finds out along the way - are really thought out and well written.  And you can tell that he knows a lot about this era (or did a lot of research) - the terms he uses, as well as social and behavioral points he touches on in his story.

My favorite part of the whole book is the brothel.  Wow!  It was so out there and different - and absolutely hilarious.  And I love the "guy" that Braineater ends up partnering with.

Considering the different genres that this book could fall under, I can see a lot of different readers liking this book.  And it's definitely recommended - this is going on The Gal's best read list this year and I wish it hadn't taken me so long to read it.

About the book:
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he's now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
            But Jones's investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh.  Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings.  Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous.  From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
            As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city's stranglehold on liquid spirits.  Death couldn't stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
            Cracking the case is a tall order.  Braineater Jones won't get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.


About the author:
Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie.  He was born to the soothing strains of "Boogie With Stu" even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn't even really want to get into right now.
            During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star.  The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow.
            He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's is in German.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Scott Bell


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Scott.  Welcome to The Gal.  I just finished reading your book and I was really impressed - great job!!
            Let's start off with something easy: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Scott Bell:
By day, I'm a Suburban Man.  I'm able to grill hamburgers, mow the lawn, and change the oil on my SUV.  I have been married to the same woman for 25-years, and two kids in college - one at the University of Texas, one at Texas A&M.  This provides great cover for my true identity...
            At night, I become Writer Man.  I put on my spandex writer suit and fight crime with my trusty laptop.  Villains thwarted, crises averted, evildoers punished.
            Then I brush my teeth and go to bed.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things that most people don't know about you?

Scott Bell:
One of the reasons people don't know these things is because I don't tell them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Scott Bell:
Besides "Green Eggs and Ham"?  The book that inspired me to read was a Conan the Barbarian pastiche by L. Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter.  I never knew mighty-thewed barbarians could exist inside my head in such stunning Technicolor.  This led to a series of pulp fiction by Robert E. Howard, Mickey Spillane, John D. MacDonald, and many, many others.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Scott Bell:
I read two or three books a week.  Right at this instant, I'm starting my first Daniel Silva novel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Scott Bell:
Writing haunted me since Junior High.  Late at night, through a dark forest, I would run from it, tripping over fallen adverbs and sinking into deep plot holes.  I used everything to block its path: work, kids, alcohol...
            Finally I gave in and let writing catch me, after 30-years of evading it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Scott Bell:
Nope.  I'm not picky.  Anywhere I can score a fix, I'm good.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Scott Bell:
I'm what they call a "puncture."  I want the story to unfold for me the way it would for a reader.  Which sometimes means I paint myself onto the edge of a cliff with no way down but the hard way.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Scott Bell:
Not a book, exactly.  More like a general disgust with the way fiction was headed.  One, the quality of published fiction has suffered due to poor editing, poor writing, and self-publication.  (No offense to self-pubbers.)
            Fewer and fewer people were writing the kind of stories I wanted to read.  I mean, how many damn vampire stories do we need?  (No offense to vampires.)
            So I decided to write my own stories.  There.  That'll show 'em.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Scott Bell:
Sentences.  Sentences and words.  Putting them in the right order sucks.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Scott Bell:
Explosions.  I like lots of explosions.  And good men and women stepping up to do the right thing, despite the personal cost.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Scott Bell:
The smart-ass ones.  I usually have a snarky character or two that gets off some good lines.  Victor Ruiz in "Yeager's Law" for example.  He's Yeager's sidekick and, I think, has some pretty funny comebacks and put-downs.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Scott Bell:
I write in several genres.  Crime Fiction came first, only because I found it easier not to have to create a new world.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Scott Bell:
Characters.  At least I hope it's the characters.  I try to make my people real.  No superhuman ability, no super-smarts that can outthink everybody in the room.  (No offense to Jack Reacher.)  Just real people who get stuck in some really tough situations and have to somehow triumph over the adversity.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your "trunk"?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Scott Bell:
A dead body.  Sorry, officer, I have no idea how that got there.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Scott Bell:
I'm so glad you asked...  The sequel to "Yeager's Law: is under review by the publisher, called "Yeager's Mission."
            I have a series of crime fiction books featuring a larger-than-life Texas Ranger, Sam Cable, and his Bronx-born, sassy sidekick, a little hellion named Rita Goldman.  The first of these will be called "April's Fool," followed by "May Day" and "June Bug."  (See the clever titles?  Aren't I cute?)
            Next up, I have a departure from crime fiction, a pre-Dystopian sci-fi novel called "Working Stiffs" that posits: What if we could reanimate dead people with technology and have them take over the grunt work of day-to-day living?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Scott, it has been GREAT having you today.  And I can definitely see you being like my favorite character from Yeager's Law, Victor (he was awesome!).  I can't wait to read the sequel - and to check out these other books you have coming our way.  :)  I wish you the best of luck ... and you are welcome back any time.


About the book:
Abel Yeager is dead broke, down on his luck, and suffering from a serious case of what-the-hell-does-it-matter.  His transition from active Marine to stateside long-haul trucker hit a wicked speed bump when his rig was involved in a wreck that claimed the life of a pregnant woman and laid him up for several months.
            Back at work but deeply in debt, Yeager meets bookstore owner Charlie Buchanan in St. Louis and jumps at the chance to haul a load of remainder books to Austin for her.  On the way south, a crew of truck thieves tracks his every move.  But none of them know what Charlie's ex has smuggled inside the book pallets, who e stole it from, or how far the owner will go to get it back.  Charlie's the first person Yeager has cared about in a long time, but as their bond depends, so does the danger they're in.
            With enemy forces closing in, Yeager battles greed, corruption, and his own fatalism in a bid to hold true to Yeager's First Law: come home at the end of the day.


About the author:
Scott Bell has over 25 years of experience protecting the assets of retail companies.  He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University.
            With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love - writing.  His short stories have been published in The Western Online, Cast of Wonders, and in the anthology, Desolation.
            When he's not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?

REVIEW: Yeager's Law


Yeager's Law
By: Scott Bell

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Vigilante Justice
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 7.21.2015
Pages: 266

Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Red Adept Publishing
Date read: 8.14.2015


"Guilt is an acid that corrodes a man's self-image,
etching it with scars that never heal."

The book description on this one really caught my attention, giving me very high hopes for this book.  I am so glad that Mr. Bell didn't disappoint.  

From the very beginning, I was pulled into the story, and the action - which there is a lot of - was awesome.  Just when you think things are beginning to settle down, something else comes out of left field to peak your interest and get your heart racing once again.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this story.

The descriptions of Texas, where a lot of the story takes place, are spot on and you feel like you're there with them.  I like how the author includes the things they are "seeing" in the story without it making you feel like you're on some sort of tour through the cities.

The characters are easy to take a liking to and are well written.  I really liked Abel and Charlie.  Both of them were more than what you expected them to be when you first met them.  Even the bad guys had personalities that kept you wanting to follow their every movement, to know more.

Favorite character is Victor ("Por Que") - I guess I just have a thing for the sarcastic ones.  He had my full attention from the very first we meet him, and there were times in the book that I wanted him to be part of the action.  (Just made me appreciate when he was there more, I guess.)

Favorite line: "My papa finished your gun.  Nice sights, by the way.  I went by our house, man, and I have to tell you... you ever hear about a thing called paint, dude?  I mean, shit, your house, it wouldn't even qualify for a crack house."  (I laughed pretty hard.  Maybe it's because I knew people back in San Antonio that talked like this.)

I do want to point out that I felt the editing on this one could have been a lot better.  After checking to make sure that I had received a final copy, I was disappointed to find that there were words missing from sentences and words out of order.  I do realize that it is often hard for me to turn off the editing side of me.  I, however, read this book for fun and there were parts, though really good, that could have been better if I didn't have to go back and reread, trying to figure out what word should be there.  This could be just a personal thing for me, but I find poor editing bothersome and something that takes away from the flow of the story.


About the book:
Abel Yeager is dead broke, down on his luck, and suffering from a serious case of what-the-hell-does-it-matter.  His transition from active Marine to stateside long-haul trucker hit a wicked speed bump when his rig was involved in a wreck that claimed the life of a pregnant woman and laid him up for several months.
            Back at work but deeply in debt, Yeager meets bookstore owner Charlie Buchanan in St. Louis and jumps at the chance to haul a load of remainder books to Austin for her.  On the way south, a crew of truck thieves tracks his every move.  But none of them know what Charlie's ex has smuggled inside the book pallets, who e stole it from, or how far the owner will go to get it back.  Charlie's the first person Yeager has cared about in a long time, but as their bond depends, so does the danger they're in.
            With enemy forces closing in, Yeager battles greed, corruption, and his own fatalism in a bid to hold true to Yeager's First Law: come home at the end of the day.


About the author:
Scott Bell has over 25 years of experience protecting the assets of retail companies.  He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University.
            With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love - writing.  His short stories have been published in The Western Online, Cast of Wonders, and in the anthology, Desolation.
            When he's not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?