Monday, October 27, 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

For a teenage boy, Lance gives a lot of speeches—a lot. Whether he's addressing reporters in a press conference or standing before both houses of Congress as the only juvenile ever to do so, he tends to act more like an adult, even with the occasional "damn straight" and "fool" or "dumbass" comment thrown into mix. His nickname becomes "the young Mr. Lincoln" and fittingly so because he can command a soap box like nobody's business.

But sometimes, the effect is overused. His importance to the country, to the world for that matter, is at times over-exaggerated. He's unique. He's special. Crazy things happen to him. But is everyone on the planet waiting with bated breath, ready to hang on his every word? It's made to seem like everybody's life comes to a screeching halt whenever Lance speaks. Could anyone, anywhere really have that much power and influence, even in fiction?

Lance is a hero to kids everywhere as he tries to amend the United States Constitution to include a Children's Bill of Rights. A lofty ambition, but one he thinks he can convince two-thirds of Congress to accept. He marches ahead into the fray, arriving in Washington on Air Force Two before dining in the White House with the president and his family. He knows he's just a boy from the streets, and he appears humbled by all of the attention, but he's never reticent when it comes to speaking his mind, eager to put those above him in their place.

He's a ballsy kid, whether he's saving his boyfriend Ricky from being carried away in a helicopter to a frantic chase on horseback when masked pursuers try to gun him down, Lance knows what it's like to be in mortal danger and survive. He is the boy who came back from the dead, after all, so that swagger is always there when he needs it. He's comfortable with being the one in charge, the guy that everyone looks to, to call the shots.

But the pressure might be wearing on him, the strain becoming a little too much. He fears that his fate might mirror that of Abraham Lincoln and that he won't live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor, that he might end up being a martyr for the cause. And he's okay with that, as long as it doesn't affect anyone else he cares about. He tells Ricky that he will lay down his life for him, before he'd let anything happen to him. Lance found the one thing worth living for (in his love for Ricky) and he's not going to let it go without a fight, regardless of whatever happens to him personally.

That's the Lance that gives the series its oomph. Not the little smartass standing at the pulpit endlessly pontificating about having all the answers to society's ills. That's all well and good, but the power of Lance's message is seeing it in action, watching him live the words he preaches. That's what makes him credible. That's what makes a reader want to invest in him as a character. He's at his best when he's just like us, not when he's posturing, thinking he's above us.

It's a heady thing for a teenager to have so much fame. For the most part, Lance handles it well. It's nice to see him as a prince, and not yet a king. There will be time for that because he's more than just a mouthpiece working an agenda and spewing rhetoric, he's a boy with a huge heart. Sure, he has towering—bordering on unrealistic—goals but that's because he's a dreamer. At the core he brings about positive change in people's lives just for being who he is, without all the pomp and circumstance.

With young adult literature, it's all about keeping it real, and the more Lance gets to do things like go to the prom and hang out with One Direction, he doesn't have to be so serious, at least not all the time. It's important to have a moral message, but kids want to read about kids having fun and the series thrives when Lance does just that.


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

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 21, 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

It's interesting when an author bases a character so much on details that mirror the ones found in his biography. It makes the reader pause and wonder, "Did a lot of this stuff really happen, or is this guy just pulling my leg?" The author's name is DJ Wilson, and his character is D, full name Jon David. Coincidence? I think not. They both live in Tennessee at a place called Dale Hollow Lake, and they both have labra-doodle dogs. Their physical traits are also similar, middle-aged, greying hair, bearded faces. Are they one in the same? It's hard to say, not having a definitive answer from the author, but a strong case can be made that DJ borrows from a lot of his own life experiences when creating D's adventures.

That's one thing for a sports drama or maybe even a mystery, but it takes some serious guts when it comes to erotic fiction. D does things in the novel, that some women might find reprehensible (passing a vibrator around between two women, when most wouldn't even share a toothbrush) and others would find graphically pleasing (with plenty of mouth, lips and tongue references). As a writer, he's not shy in describing his sexual tastes and what turns him on between the sheets, and practically everywhere else—from hot tubs to tree stands. All he can think about is sex, which most men can probably identify with, but it can be a bit much at times, especially when he's hopping back and forth between the aforementioned two women.

But there are also parts that are sad, like when D sits down in his lakeside abode, maybe for the last time, and pens a heartfelt message to his sons. He hasn't seen them in a long time, not since he divorced their mom. He misses them deeply, even if he doesn't know how to go about reestablishing a relationship with them. The letter is by far the most touching moment in the series thus far, for its honesty and the knowledge that maybe DJ is including in the book to reach out to someone in real life as well.

The references to D writing a book chronicling his motorcycle adventures with Candi and Victoria are also sly mentions to what he's doing, as if he's winking at readers, letting us in on the joke. The allusions to Christian Grey from the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy are also quite humorous, especially when Candi teases D that he's not living up to his more dashing fictional counterpart.

The whole series begs the question, "What's real and what's not?" Are the other characters based on living, breathing individuals, too? Readers want to know. Will DJ reveal what's behind the curtain or will he deliberately keep everything shrouded in a hint of mystery, a dash of intrigue? Only time will tell.


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

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 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. Who is the plot based around?
Harry Sale, a world class systems programmer is the main character in the book. He is an irascible, difficult, but good-hearted person. His contact with an alien information system changes him forever and sends the rest of the world into turmoil.

2. What is the main idea of the plot?
Like so many stories in the Science Fiction genre, the basic plot hinges on “What if?” What if a programming genius discovered a tremendously advanced alien computer? Some people would use such a discovery to accumulate wealth or power. But Harry Sale is a different kind of guy. The story revolves about the choices he makes when the alien information system gives him the power to do anything he can imagine.

3. When does the plot take place?
Basically it is a fairly contemporary setting, circa 2010.

4. Where does the plot take place?
Most of the book takes place at a High Tech company called HTPS Industries. Harry Sale, a systems programmer, works on a 100 million dollar Hyper-Computer. The book takes an inside look at the quirky, Dilbertesque side of corporate culture in an IT environment.

5. Why did the plot develop the way it did?
I wish I could say I was some kind of genius and that the plot came to me all at once. But the reality is that idea was built on idea as the book progressed. I had a very broad notion of where I wanted to take the book, but I had to work out many details as I went along.

6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
The germ idea is: someone finds an alien computer that allows anything to be accomplished using nanotechnology. It took me a while to realize that I needed something else to make the idea work. The missing component was Harry Sale, the genius-level programmer who brings the alien information system back to life.


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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway