Dragon Con Nominations Are Out!

One of the oldest Science Fiction (etc.) Conventions is Dragon Con. The nominations for Dragon Con Awards are out. I want to urge you to register to vote. Then, vote! If I may influence you on a couple of votes. Best Paranormal Fiction: I would suggest Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi. I really enjoyed this book and it’s worthy of this award. I should note that this is his second nomination. The other book I would recommend is A Change in Crime by D. R. Perry in the Alternate History Category.

So, how do you sign up to vote? Go to the Dragon Awards Voting Sign Up Page and fill out the form. Then, when you get the form, vote! Both of those authors I recommended are good indie authors, and we need to support them!

Grave Beginnings – Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Die

Grave Beginnings – Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Die

You will see one more review of R.R. Virdi’s work after this one soon. Then, I will be unable to review his work until Grave Report #3 (title unknown to us common folk yet) comes out. I am expecting it this year. He is becoming one of the most well known Urban Fantasy authors around. I highly suggest you check out his books. My review of Dangerous Ways is here. In the meanwhile, Grave Beginnings was the starting point. Here’s my review of Grave Beginnings!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Die

What do you get when you cross Mike Hammer and Jack Bauer…and then kill him? Meet Vincent Graves, a dead detective who solves crimes and isn’t afraid to bash in a few heads in the process, as long as he does it by the deadline. A real deadline it is, too. If he fails, he dies. Lon Chaney may be the man of a thousand faces, but Vincent, is the man of a thousand bodies…probably…but who knows. He keeps coming back as the victim of the crimes he solves and no one knows exactly how many crimes he’s had to take care of. Except, perhaps, his enigmatic handler, Church. Church doesn’t help Vincent much; he just gives him the time that Vincent has to solve his cases. He doesn’t tell Vincent his new “name” or even what kind of creature killed him. Did I fail to mention that Vincent is a paranormal investigator?

In Grave Beginnings, Vincent begins his short-lived case by clawing his way out of a casket that had just been buried. Then, without knowing the name of the body he has come back in, he meets Church who gives him 24, no, make that 13 hours to solve the case. In that time he has to figure out who he is, who and what killed him, and then dispatch the monster to its eternal punishment. Along the way, Vincent is joined by an FBI agent who helps him figure out what’s happening. Meanwhile, she doesn’t know he’s dead. And she doesn’t realize that they are dealing with a supernatural world until things become obvious.

Vincent and Ortiz, the FBI agent, take on this case wisecracking their way through New York City as the clock keeps winding down. Along the way they meet all kinds of supernatural creatures: some who would be just as happy to kill as help, others who are out for blood, while others just enjoy killing their prey, and Vincent and Ortiz are their prey. In the end, as destruction reigns all around them, Vincent and Ortiz make life and death decisions that ultimately end the chase. Who lives and who dies? You’ll have to read it to find out. It’s a great read and I am looking forward to more Case Files from the Grave Report.

Blood Calls to Blood

FYI! This entry was the champion for this week. I am therefore adding the badge of victory!

#5MinuteFiction winner's badge

5 Minute Fiction Winner Week 162

The theme of tonight’s #5MinuteFiction was “For today’s writing prompt: In keeping with the paranormal theme, write a story in which your character carries a secret in his or her blood.” TBH, there were some good stories there and I am waiting on my vote for a little bit! I am including my entry below:

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“Blood calls to blood.” John couldn’t remember how many times his mother had told him that, but it was never important before tonight. As the searched the bushes for the lost girl, his blood started rushing, almost screaming in his veins. This girl was kin and he hadn’t known it.

He couldn’t tell the others – they wouldn’t understand. He slowly led the search party away from their original objective. It took awhile for anyone to say anything. When Frank pointed out that they had strayed from their original path John muttered something about “feeling it in his blood” and moved persistently through the tangled underbrush.

He thought about the purges and how he had barely survived when his mother hid him just before she was taken away. He knew that he couldn’t explain what was happening. The blood screamed louder and off in the distance they heard a short cry. He wondered if it was her. He wondered if she realized what she was feeling.

All those thoughts ran through his mind quickly when out of the brush a figure broke into a run holding the girl. She hadn’t been lost; she had been taken and now her blood called out to his in an almost deafening cry of fear. He called out and the team tracked the kidnapper down, rescuing the poor frightened child. John focused on her and as their blood calmed down together he quietly told her not to say anything; that they would talk soon. After so many years he had finally found another. To think that it was his best friend’s child.

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Check out the competition at Wendy’s Blog

The Land Beyond the Portal – review

Would you like to win the book I am reviewing below? I have an autographed copy of The Land Beyond the Portal available for one lucky winner. Here’s what you need to do:

1) Share this post

2) Give me the URL where you shared the post in a comment below.

3) This contest will last at least one week and I’ll need at least 5 entries. If I don’t have 5 entries in a week, it will last as long as needed. (Come on, I paid for this book just for you, so the least you can do is encourage others to read the review and share it!)

4) Winner will be announced in this location.

Now for the review:

book cover

Book Cover for the Land Beyond the Portal

The Land Beyond the Portal by J. S. Bailey

Laura is seeking to find herself. A bout of injury induced amnesia has left Laura clueless about everything but her first name. Stuck in an old house in the middle of a blizzard, she looks around the house trying to find anything she can about herself. When she gets to the basement she discovers a room below the basement. As she walks into the room an unknown force transports her to a warm summer day in the middle of a pasture.

She is discovered by a young boy who, with his sister, has wandered farther than he should have while exploring. As Laura enters what appears to be a quaint medieval village she begins a journey that moves from trying to discover her own identity to unlocking the mysteries of the village. She is taken in by the village’s benevolent leader,  only to find that many do not see him as benevolent as the rumors start flying about him. The rumor mill appears to be an attempt to replace him. The villagers talk in glowing terms of their deity, but underneath their praise is a strong measure of fear. What happened to the village leader’s boy who disappeared years ago? What happened to his daughter who disappears at the festival in honor of the village deity? As Laura seeks to unlock those mysteries, and prove that the village leader didn’t murder his missing daughter she also has the seemingly impossible task of finding her way back home.

As the book concludes, all of the loose ends are tied together as Laura and the other time travelers lead their friends to discover the truth behind the village deity, the ugly rumors about the village leader and how people are traveling in time. They also discover the location where the daughter had been spirited away, uncover the mystery of the missing son and ultimately who Laura really is.

Bailey sets an amazing web of confusion in this book that ultimately resolves satisfactorily in the end. One of the best messages that I got from this book is the reminder that God is present wherever and whenever you might be. Another time traveler reminds Laura of her love of the true God and under the power of prayer they embark together on some dangerous journeys seeking to solve the mysteries. Some of the people whom Laura thought she could trust turned out to be involved with the evil influence in the land and others turn out to be quite different and more helpful than they first appear.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It has good characterization and the descriptions of the valley where the village is located make you feel like you are actually there. Even more than that though is a story line that draws you in and makes you wonder what will happen next. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop reading until I was finished. If you’re looking for a fun read that touches on suspense, hints at the paranormal and even includes science fiction, this is a book you will love.