Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Global eBook Awards

I'm thrilled that The Fountain of the Earth has won the Silver Medal in the category of Young Adult Fiction in Dan Poynter's 2015 Global eBook Awards.
To see all the winners go here - http://globalebookawards.com/2015-global-ebook-award-winners/.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What I would do in a zombie Apocalypse?

I've thought a lot about the looming zombie apocalypse. Really. When half-rotten (or in some cases, fully rotten) corpses reanimate and feast on the living, what the hell would I do? How would I defend our home? More importantly, how would I defend my family?

I've recently concluded a very thorough analysis of my current planning, and it seems my defensive strategies aren't very good. To be a little more precise, they stink on ice.

So I decided that I needed advice. Then it dawned on me. Who would know more about killing zombies than screenwriters? With that in mind, I popped some popcorn and downloaded several of the best zombie movies of all time.

Sadly, the results were not very encouraging.

SPOILER ALERT – If you haven't seen these movies I sort of give away the endings.

I could stay and defend my family like in Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Unfortunately, the movie ends with photos of the hero being dumped on a pile of burning bodies.

Okay, maybe holing up in a shopping mall would work. After all, it was more or less successful in Dawn of the Dead (2004). At least for a while. And it all worked out in the end by sailing to a remote, uncorrupted island. Right? Wrong. Instead, you get bitten, and you have to kill yourself while your friends sail away to uncorrupted island. Except . . . not. They run out of food and land on an island swarming with—zombies. Crap.

How about flying to another continent? One that's zombie free? In 28 weeks later (2007) our heroes fly across the English Channel to France only to find zombies pouring out of the Paris M├ętro.

In Zombieland (2009) (full disclosure, one of my favorite movies) their great idea is going to an amusement park in California where they believe there are no zombies. Except when our heroes get there, the place is not only loaded with zombies, there's a zombie clown. A ZOMBIE CLOWN!! What the hell???

There are more movies. Many more. But it seems that in each, no matter what you do, you're going to die.

My conclusion, based on this exhaustive research, is that when the zombie apocalypse comes, we're all thoroughly and completely screwed.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Book Quarry: H.L. LeRoy's Pooled Blood ☆Review☆

The Book Quarry: H.L. LeRoy's Pooled Blood ☆Review☆:     Pooled Blood Series: A LT. Jack Daniels/Jillian Varela Mystery  ( A loosely tied together series. But any of the stories ...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Waceland - a review

Coyote, a teenage girl in a post-apocalyptic landscape, must save her little sister by crossing a desert to reach the fabled town of Midian, all while being hunted by a pack of bloodthirsty mercenaries and outlaws.

But is Midian harbouring even darker secrets than the moonlit dunes of the Akchain Territory? Through her barbaric journey, Coyote must find the strength within to keep her humanity without losing her life.

It's violent. It's mad. It's Waceland.
-Blurb from Amazon.com
Coyote Singh has a knack. In the post-apocalyptic ruins of Waceland, she can find the artifacts and weapons that bring a little money and a certain measure of respect. All that's fine, but her mind is focused on getting out of Bone Town and to the mythical city of Midian where they might be able to heal her dying sister, Anika.
That is, if Midian exists.

But Coyote Singh has a knack and with it, she'd find the city or die trying.

Waceland is a tightly written, imaginative novel with well-developed characters and a story that hums along at high speed. Better yet, the world Ashlock has created draws you in with a gritty reality that you don't often find in sci-fi books.

A terrific story! Don’t miss!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

When the opportunity to write in Jack Daniels’ world presented itself, I jumped at the chance. Since my other works are in the mystery/thriller/action/adventure genres and tell the stories of strong female protagonists confronting impossible situations, I knew it was a perfect fit.
I decided that to begin with I would write three novellas, To that end, I have published the first two (ONE EIGHT SEVEN, REMEMBER THE DEAD) through Amazon’s Kindle World’s platform, and the third, POOLED BLOOD, should be ready in the next few weeks. These are licensed tie-ins with J. A. Konrath’s serial killer hunter par excellence, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels, and I hope people enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Although loosely tied together, the stories are stand-alone reads and fit into the 2005-2006 timeframe. Longtime fans as well as first time readers will be able to drop right in and not miss a beat.
Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels’ mom doesn’t just enjoy guilt trips she buys your ticket, packs your bag, and stamps your passport. Now she has Jack reluctantly heading to San Francisco in an effort to solve the murder of a drag queen superstar.
Teamed up with a tough-as-nails local P.I., Jillian Varela, Jack figures it will be an easy case. But what her mom didn’t tell her was that she would be helping a Mafia don with a long list of enemies.
As the bodies begin to stack up, it becomes obvious that Mom’s “simple job” has turned into something both dangerous and deadly.
In the world of serial killer hunters, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is a legend and well known in every cop shop in America. But when one gruesomely posed body after another are discovered in the middle of Chicago, ambitious politicians and an aggressive press are threatening to derail Jack’s investigation.
And with her partner Herb on an extended second honeymoon in Mexico, it doesn’t look like help is on the horizon.
Then a friend from California, P.I. Jillian Varela, shows up on a job that parallels Jack’s case. Together they pursue the killer into a nightmare world of obsession, torture, and murder where no one may survive.
Joe’s Jack Daniels franchise is sharp, witty, suspenseful, and scary, and I’m privileged to be able to write in her world. She’s a once in a lifetime character. If you have a Jack Daniels story you’ve been dying to write, check out Joe’s Kindle Worlds page. It couldn’t be easier.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Kindle Worlds Launch

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Kindle Worlds Launch: This is cool. The Jack Daniels and Associates Kindle World is now live. The official announcement was just made. Right now there are  ...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

City of Magi Blog Tour & Review


Book Description

At the heart of Astosen, the city of Dein Astos stands as a bulwark for the free world, always on alert to battle Valania’s attempts to bring the republic under continental dominance. Sophisticated and diverse, driven by magic, money, and information, this city of magi teems with tea houses, government agencies, exclusive clubs and risky districts.

Alexander Locke, a great Magi Knight and the hero of the republic, lies dead. His daughter, Zia Locke, reluctantly rises to power, unaware that her father may not have died of natural causes, as everyone believes.

That is, until she is artfully maneuvered into meeting the mysterious and abundantly self-assured Grayson Kearney. A keen judge of character and cunning magus, Grayson rocks Zia's world in more ways than one as he helps tear away the veil of ignorance from her eyes. From lifelong friends to sworn enemies, the new leader of the House of Locke is discovering that anyone could be the next to betray her. What Zia needs is a good intelligence officer at her side. But when everyone has a hidden agenda, can she truly place her trust in Grayson?
Book Information

Title: City of Magi
Author: Michael McDuffee
Series: Magi Stone Series (Book 1)
Genre: Industrial-era Fantasy
Publisher: Self Published 
Release Date: July 25 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: Kindle



“Is the Councilor in his conference room?” Keegan asked.

“No,” the woman said. “But you can wait for him there. Do you need me to show you the way?”
“Of course not,” Zia said. The woman gave a shallow bow and stepped out of their way as they followed Zia through the greeting room and down a hallway adorned with priceless paintings of mountains, ships, and rivers. There were no people in any of the paintings.
“Shouldn’t we have turned—” Keegan started to ask.
“If Kelley isn’t in the conference room, then he’s in the kitchen,” she said as she took them around a corner to a grand, slate-floored kitchen.
At the second stove knelt one Jeremy Kelley, gray, thinning hair just visible over an island as he reached into the stove.
She rapped her knuckles against the wall. “Councilor Kelley,” she said.
“One second, Zia. Or Lady Locke, I suppose, since you’re here on business,” Kelley said. He grunted as he stretched his arm further back into the oven, nudging a small brown blob over by a fraction of an inch. “I’ve tried five times in the last week to get these damn spice biscuits to come out right and I’m not going to screw the pooch this time by having the dough spaced wrong.”
They waited as he nudged and tugged on two dozen little brown blobs of dough before gritting his teeth and pushing himself to his feet. He flicked the oven door closed with his foot and stretched his back. 
“Perfecting a new recipe?” Zia asked.
Kelley grimaced. “Maudine said the other week that the new chef’s biscuits were better than I ever made. It’s one of those things that gets under my skin. I can never paint a proper landscape, but I always feel closest to being an actual artist when I’m in the kitchen.”
“Is Maudine in? I haven’t seen her in a while,” Zia said.
“No. She’s out at the spa. I’m not going to let her catch me cooking until I get it right.”
Kelley untied an apron, breaking the odd mixture of personalities reflected in his garb. His arms were still muscled like they had been back when he patrolled the streets, but they connected to a body that had grown a paunch and was starting to show its age. He wore a fine, blue, buttoned shirt, with a striped tie. Patches of flour on his sleeves broke the severity of his outfit, though. His wrinkled face gave way to a misshapen nose, broken one too many times in battle or training. There was a reason Kelley was Zia’s favorite politician, and it was written all over his gruff appearance.
“Nice to see you again, Lieutenant Thynne,” Kelley said.
Keegan gave a short bow. “Likewise, Councilor. Though it’s Captain now.” 
Kelley nodded in return. “My apologies Captain.” He studied Zia’s other two companions and stuck his chin out at Xavier. “You must be a Shore. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you look a lot like your sister.”
“You’ve met Arden?” Xavier asked.
“I inspected her unit out in the Border Defense Force a few years ago. She stood out during combat demonstrations. Took down a guy his size,” he hooked a thumb at Keegan. “Haven’t seen a takedown like the one she did since. Do the two of you ever spar?”
“Often,” Xavier said.
“Well?” Kelley asked.
“I can assure you she never gets a takedown on me. Spends too much time practicing magic to keep up with me in the ring. I’m not burdened by a need to bother with figures and spells.”
Kelley chuckled. “Neither am I. Glad to meet someone else who knows how to make an advantage out of it. Bunch of guys at Talon Hall never thought I could make Commissioner without being a magus. None of them retired as Citizens.” He fixed a keen eye on Grayson. “That makes you the spy.”
“On my better days,” Grayson said. He extended a hand to Kelley, which the older Councilor shook firmly. “Grayson Kearney.”
“I understand we have you to thank for intercepting those explosives.”
“You have me to thank for knowing where they would be. There were many more involved in the interception, at least one of whom lost far more than did I,” Grayson said.
Zia noticed Keegan grimace at Grayson’s words.
“Were there many casualties then?” Kelley asked.
“Just the one,” Grayson said.
Kelley nodded. “Then give thanks for no more, but blessings on his—”
“Her,” Grayson corrected him.
“—her soul. In Their holy names, blessings upon her.” Kelley bowed his head and swept a circle in the air with his left hand, his right holding solemnly close to his chest.
Zia repeated the gesture, a common blessing for the dead. An uneasy moment of silence descended upon the group before Kelley spoke up.
“Enough about the past. We have matters of the future to speak of. Let’s head to the conference room. You know the way, Zia.”
They made their way out of the grand kitchen and down the hall. Kelley fell in beside Grayson.
“You must have a keen eye for people, Mr. Kearney. Tell me, what did you think of Amelie?”
“Do you mean the maid? Medium height, black hair, light tan Samolian skin?”
“Yes, that’s the one. She let you in, didn’t she?”
“The young painter on your porch, Darius, met us at the door. We only saw Amelie for a second. Why do you ask?”
“We only just hired her last week. I’m always nervous about getting the right people. She seems good enough, though I find it odd to be switching shifts in her second week on the job,” Kelly said. “I’d love to have the opinion of someone who makes a livi—”
“She switched shifts?” Grayson asked. “To this morning? When?”
The hair on the back of Zia’s neck stood on end at Grayson’s sudden shift in tone. She stopped on the threshold of the conference room door.
“When? I’m not sure I recall. Why would that—” Kelly started.
“Zia don’t move!” Grayson shouted.
Her stomach clenched when she saw his face, staring wide-eyed at her leg. He knelt slowly by her calf and took a deep breath. “Councilor Kelley, please tell me you have security beams.”
“Magi stones set in the doors to record who goes in and out of certain rooms. They send a simple, harmless beam from one to another until something living crosses their path,” Grayson explained.
“I don’t have any beams. What’s going on?” Kelley said.
Grayson pointed to a gleaming speck on the door frame by Zia’s ankle, then a matching speck on the opposite side.
“You’ve got one now.”
“What is it?” Kelley asked.
“It’s a beam trigger. Most people use them for alarm systems, but you could trigger whatever you want with the beam. Like a bomb.”


This book was a little slow to get into but moves into high gear in the second act keeping the reader turning the pages.

I don’t do spoilers, so I won’t get into the plot other than to say it hits the sweet spots of a good fantasy. The characters and the action scenes are all convincing and the story compelling. The magic is believable in its world and not contrived.
The characters are easy to connect with, and the world Mr. McDuffee has created is fascinating and complex. I’m anxious to read the follow-on books.

All in all, a great read.




Author Information 


Michael McDuffee is a science fiction and fantasy author from Raleigh, North Carolina. He moved around the United States long after his formative years and spent time in Philadelphia, Seattle, and DC, before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. His first series, Those Who Die Young, was designed and conceived to be published exclusively in online platforms, utilizing the freedom of the new distribution network to explore a story that would never have been possible before, the long-form serial.

His first feature novel, City of Magi, is a fantasy adventure set in a magically-powered industrial society. Get it exclusively on Kindle now!

Author Links


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kindle Worlds

If, as an author, you haven’t heard of Kindle Worlds, you’re missing out. Kindle Worlds is a publishing arm of Amazon that provides a commercial outlet for fanfiction of licensed media, including books, movies, and television series.

As Amazon explains:

“Kindle Worlds is a publication platform where you choose a licensed World, read the Content Guidelines for that World, write your story, upload that story, create a cover, and click through a publishing agreement with Amazon Publishing. Once published, every Kindle Worlds story will be featured on Amazon.com, as well as on Kindle devices and apps. Follow the steps below to publish your story today!”

Currently licensed worlds are:

Archer & Armstrong (11)
Atlantis: The Origin Mystery (4)          
Bloodshot (12)
Body Movers (8)
Dare To Love (8)
Eternal Warrior (1)
Four Weddings and a Fiasco (9)
G.I. JOE (70)
Game For Love (10)
Gossip Girl (20)
Harbinger (27)          
John Rain (33)        
Miss Fortune Mysteries (1)          
Pretty Little Liars (49)          
Quantum & Woody (1)          
Ravenswood (6)          
Sand Saga (1)          
Shadowman (8)          
Silo Saga (109)          
The Abnorm Chronicles (9)          
The Arrangement (15)          
The Callaways (3)          
The Chronos Files (4)          
The Dead Man (5)          
The Foreworld Saga (16)          
The Kathleen Turner Series (1)          
The Lizzy Gardner Files (18)          
The Vampire Diaries (168)          
The World of Kurt Vonnegut (46)          
Unity (16)          
Veronica Mars - the TV series (23)          
Wayward Pines (37)          
XO Manowar (8)

Amazon sets the price, typically between 99¢ and $3.99. Works of at least 10,000 words are paid 35% of net revenue. Amazon also has a pilot program paying 20% of net revenue for short stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

These are digital only works, and there are other restrictions found on the authors page and content guidelines.

Writing in another author’s world is harder than you might think. It requires discipline, a familiarity with the canon of your selected world, and originality (within canonical restrictions, of course).

Check it out.