I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A truly unique memoir tells the story of a young writer who struggled with addiction and mental health, and found a way to overcome it all through love in author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder”.
Disorder is the story of Michael Adams, the man behind the pen name, Israfel Sivad. At 37-years-old, Michael wasn’t sure any longer if he was hipstered out or truly beat. He was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He’d been in psych wards, and he’d spent almost a decade writing his second novel. But then, he found himself inspired in a whole new way. He believed he might be falling in love…
Disorder traces Michael’s experiences from a period of homelessness at the age of 32 through his battles with alcoholism and psychosis back to his birth in Southern California. Simultaneously, it weaves a tale of the relationship Michael is trying to build with his girlfriend, Pam.
In this story, the author develops a groundbreaking, nonlinear style that captures both the disjointed madness of psychosis and the natural rhythms of memory. He reveals the reality behind what many of us believe we would never be able to live through: drug addiction, alcoholism and psychotic breaks… and his ability to overcome those demons to discover love, even when it seemed he was already too damaged to let that emotion take hold.
The author does a fantastic job of conveying a powerfully painful and harsh period of time in their lives, using a non-linear style storytelling device to convey the author’s life. From memories of childhood having lost a grandfather and best friend to dark times living in and out of psych wards and the streets of Richmond, the author doesn’t hold back on the physical and mental toll his life took when he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and the psychosis that he endured as well.
The imagery really conveys the struggle the author had in his life to the reader, while the story between himself and Pam is the beginning of a path to redemption that anyone who is struggling in life can hang onto and see for themselves that the trials and tribulations in their life aren’t forever. While the writing style can change sometimes throughout the narrative of the author’s life, it adds to the allure and interest of the non-linear storytelling, making this a fascinating read.
Powerful, emotional, and a brilliant read, author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder” is a truly one of a kind memoir both stylistically and intellectually, giving voice to the struggles of those with mental health struggles and addiction in a way that few have ever really captured before. Grab your copy on September 8th, 2020, and see for yourselves how this amazing author came to be.
About the Author
Israfel Sivad is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, “Crossroads Blues”, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, “The Adversary’s Good News”, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal.
The new Justice League Dark is here! Led by Wonder Woman this team of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp (?) must bring the fight against all supernatural foes too big for the World’s Greatest Super Heroes!
From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE comes writer James Tynion IV’s epic new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…
Written by James Tynion IV (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) with phenomenal illustrations from Alvaro Martinez (Detective Comics), this bold new graphic novel series is one of the most anticipated in years! Collects issues #1-3 and 5-6.
A brilliant new dive into the world of magic for DC Comics, everything fans thought they knew about this world is turned upside down. The emergence of new magical threats, as well as the rules of magic being rewritten and magic’s origins all come into play here as Wonder Woman finds herself leading a team into a world she only partially understands. Shocking betrayals and amazingly horror-themed artwork make this a must-read for DC Comics fans.
After liberating New York City from her now-feral Gang of Harleys, poor Harley wants nothing more than to slip back into retirement in her coastal (and heavily guarded) paradise. But the Laughing Boys Gang has another idea–they’ll follow her to the ends of the Earth, to drag her back to their leader!
If you think that’s a big problem, just wait. The Joker couldn’t possibly still be alive, could he? After all … Harley killed him with her bare hands! Should she turn to President Power Girl for help? Or flee to the 51st state, Atlantis? Step into an insane vision of a future DC Universe we all better hope we don’t live to see!
In this dystopian-future tale, Harley’s quest to find out how The Joker could possibly still be alive has taken her back to their old stomping grounds, but Gotham City is very different nowadays! Nobody’s allowed on the streets without the Batman’s permission–but who is this Batman, anyway? Harley’s only choice is to return to Arkham…the Arkham Home for Criminally Insane Retirees, that is! Fancy a round of bingo with the Riddler? Or some pool aerobics with Killer Croc? Collects Harley Quinn #42 (Rebirth Series) and Old Lady Harley #1-5
A hilarious and gritty dystopian future for the world of DC Comics, only a zany character like Harley Quinn could appropriately bring this story to life. Seeing the state of the world in this apocalyptic world is fascinating to see, with a nation of zombies on one side and a nation led by a villain on the other, the United States is in a state of chaos, and Harley must navigate it her way to find out if the Joker has truly returned. Dark secrets and shocking revelations await for this amazing series, with fantastic artwork that is reminiscent of Mad Max.
John Constantine, the hard-hearted Hellblazer returns home to London to face an impossible choice: live an immortal life bonded to a demonic curse, or shift that curse to eight million people–killing each and every one of them! What to do, what to do…
The Hellblazer is back in the first volume of the continued story of one of DC’s most iconic and long-lasting characters by writer Simon Oliver (FBP) with art by Moriat (The Spirit).
Collecting: Hellblazer 1-6
A true testament to the character of John Constantine, the fantastic gothic artwork compliments the story of one of DC Comics most fascinating magical antiheroes. The story focuses on the character’s ability to con his way out of any situation, and the consequences that come as a result. A marvelous look at the delicate balance John walks between the real world and the magical one just beneath the surface.
Left rattled by the events of Dark Knights: Metal, Bruce Wayne must come face to face with the ultimate evil spawned from the Dark Multiverse. One part Batman one part Joker. The Batman Who Laughs.
“A Batman who laughs is a Batman who always wins.”
The mastermind behind Dark Nights: Metal, Scott Snyder, gives you a look inside the most terrifying version of Batman ever! He and superstar artist Jock (Batman: The Black Mirror) kick off a chain of events that makes Dark Nights: Metal seem like child’s play.
The Batman Who Laughs not only survived his fight with The Joker at the end of Dark Nights: Metal, but is now enacting a sinister plan across the Multiverse–something both terrifying and oddly familiar. When Bruce Wayne realizes the only way to stop this madman is to kill him, he must consider violating the very rule Batman can’t ever break … the rule that created this insatiable villain–the Batman Who Laughs!
As Bruce begins to deduce that his current life is somehow wrong and that all the mistakes he’s made are somehow connected, the Batman Who Laughs unleashes a brand-new evil. Enter one of the most punishing Batmen of the Dark Multiverse: the Grim Knight!
Collects The Batman Who Laughs #1-7 and The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1.
This marks the next chapter of one of Batman’s darkest chapters. After the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Batman got a grim look at the darkest aspects of himself across the dark multiverse. However things aren’t what they seem, as the most evil of them all survived and is now haunting Batman and the DC Universe. The Batman Who Laughs is a fantastic and dark new edition to the DC Universe villains, and this story sets up several future storylines in the multiverse.
LET SOUND THE CRY – THE GOD OF THUNDER HAS RETURNED! Thor Odinson has regained his mantle – and with it, a wild new world of trouble on his mighty hands! The artifacts of Asgard have been scattered across the Earth, and to reclaim them, Thor will have to face some ugly truths. Like the production cost on hundreds of new hammers! And the Thunder God is going to need every last one of them if he’s going to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut. Jason Aaron takes the Prince of Asgard in a whole new direction with YOUNG GUN artist Mike Del Mundo joining him at the helm! And don’t miss the latest chapter of the King Thor saga with acclaimed BLACK BOLT artist Christian Ward, as the Thor of the far future encounters an old friend who’s undergone some startling changes.
COLLECTING: THOR (2018) 1-6
A new era of Thor kicks off here with this original story that sees Thor and Loki on an adventure straight to Hel. With the War of the Realms nearly on them, the two brothers and adversaries must traverse Hel and find a way of stopping a fiery army hellbent on taking over the realm for themselves, all in the name of Malekith. Exploring Thor’s complex family and his path to reclaiming the mantle of Thor, this was a visually stunning and exciting read.
From the cusp of tomorrow’s dreams to the forefront of imagination, one man always soars on the cutting edge of adventure! You know his name. Everyone knows his name! Tony Stark is Iron Man. And Iron Man…is an idea. Always changing. Always evolving. Now Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti propel the ultimate self-made hero to new heights of inventiveness! But Tony has been holding back an enormous secret since his return, and there’s only one person on Earth he’d trust with it: James Rhodes?! This will change everything. Plus: Jocasta! Machine Man! The Gauntlet! The Wasp! The arrival of Tony Stark’s new rival…Sunset Bain! And the Manticore, the most powerful assault vehicle in the Marvel Universe! Tony Stark is Iron Man. The future is now. Strap in!
COLLECTING: TONY STARK: IRON MAN 1-5
Tony Stark is back! The new and improved Iron Man takes the world by storm as he adds new team members to his company and he begins his work as Iron Man once more. However his new lease on life comes with a cost, and he begins to question just how much of himself returned to the land of the living. A bustling new series that has a great focus on the tech side of the Marvel Universe, and the age old question of rights and morality for the AI heroes of the universe.
THE RETURN OF BRUCE BANNER! You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk. COLLECTING: IMMORTAL HULK 1-5, MATERIAL FROM AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER 684
The story of the Incredible Hulk returns to a more horror-centric story, as the Hulk gains a new persona in the Immortal Hulk. The many horror motifs are present throughout this comic, and it was refreshing to see Bruce Banner and the Hulk on the run, hitting the road much like he did in his early years. This was a fantastic first run in the new Hulk’s story.
Black Panther, Vol. 6: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, Part One
A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has kept foreign invaders out of his homeland, protecting his people from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name! Jump on now and learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda! Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuña for a Black Panther story unlike any other!
COLLECTING: BLACK PANTHER (2018) 1-6
First and foremost, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the late and great actor and the King himself, Chadwick Boseman, aka T’Challa of the MCU. It was a devastating loss to not only Marvel fans but the world and his family. My deepest sympathies to everyone impacted by this loss.
This comic does a great job of taking Black Panther and the lore of Wakanda into a whole new direction. A great blend that puts the world of Marvel Comics into a galactic setting like no other, the story behind how T’Challa found his way into a whole other galaxy is both fascinating and engaging. This is a story not to be missed in the Marvel Universe.
Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer, Vol. 1: Back to Basics
An alien invasion attacks New York City and the only one who can stop it is…Spider-Man?! But that’s far from all you’ll find here – a revelation from the past puts Peter Parker’s job, relationships and whole life in jeopardy! And if even that’s not enough, you’ll see a new roommate, new love interests and a new villain!
COLLECTING: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-5, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN STORY)
Back to Basics is an appropriate title for the brand new Spider-Man series. Peter Parker is back to his life as Spidey, and dealing with the complications as a result of it. Being framed as Wilson Fisk’s new buddy by the Mayor himself, all the heroes see Pete as a sell-out to one of New York’s worst villains. Meanwhile, Pete’s job is in jeopardy and his newest roommate is a shock even to himself. This is a great new start to one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes.
An ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York. With it, something equally evil has been awakened in that most wicked of web-slingers: Venom! The symbiote may still be a Lethal Protector of innocents in New York, but this never-before-seen threat could possibly force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear — including its human host, Eddie Brock! As Eddie and Venom summon the strength to defend New York against the most powerful foe they’ve ever faced, there’s one more thing standing in their way: Miles Morales, Spider-Man! Two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, join forces to deliver a Venom adventure a thousand years in the making!
COLLECTING: VENOM (2018) 1-6
The origin story of Venom and the Symbiotes takes a dark and cosmic turn as the true nature of this alien race is revealed. As Eddie Brock bonds with his symbiote once more, he discovers that an ancient and powerful force deriving from the Symbiote’s origins is awake, and is setting it’s sights for Earth. He must fight to stop this powerful force before everything is consumed by the coming of a dark god. A gritty and twisted new spin on the Venom mythos.
After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again, only this time CARNAGE has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights! He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering, action-packed story…and he wants to paint the town red! And there’s NOTHING anyone can do to stop it!
COLLECTING: Absolute Carnage 1-5
One of Marvel’s deadliest and most terrifying crossover events in recent years was also one of its best. The development of the Venom/Carnage mythos is fascinating to see unfold, and treating the Carnage event like a more terrifying zombie apocalypse was an inspired choice. Definitely a must-read for Marvel fans.
Super heroes – they’re a privileged class. Doing what they want, when they want, and suffering no consequences. They have no regard for the ordinary people who are left behind to suffer in their wake. Who will stand up for the little guy? There is a man. If you can find him, and if he believes in your story, he and his friends will put things right. Some call him an outlaw, rebel, Robin Hood. To others, he is a hero. No powers to speak of – just skills, smarts and a burning drive to take back justice. The man’s name is Hawkeye. He doesn’t look for trouble, but trouble finds him – and he’ll quickly drag Western hero Red Wolf into it as well! It’s a shame that they’re facing certain death; they would have made a great team.
COLLECTING: Occupy Avengers 1-4 and Avengers (1963) 80-8
A refreshing new vision for the famed archer and classic Avenger, Hawkeye gets to hit the road and become a new kind of hero. Righting wrongs wherever he goes, he seeks to make a difference for those who have no one to fight for them, all while being haunted by his slaying of his friend Bruce Banner during the Civil War II events. It’s a great introduction for some new heroes like Red Wolf and a great new direction for Clint Barton overall.
What do you do when a sentient cosmic event rampages through Japan? ASSEMBLE A-FORCE! Marvel’s newest hero, SINGULARITY, has escaped Battleworld and found her way to the Marvel Universe! But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the villainous ANTIMATTER, Singularity will call upon Earth’s mightiest team of Avengers. And one thing’s for sure: They are A FORCE to be reckoned with!
Collecting: A-Force 1-4, Avengers 83, A-Force 1, material from Avengers 0
A fantastic new direction for some of Marvel’s most powerful female heroes. The dynamic between characters like She-Hulk and Medusa are fascinating to see unfold here, and the new hero Singularity is a great new character to include in the Marvel Universe. Beautiful artwork and a much deserved all-female heroic team make this a must-read comic.
LEGACY! In the wake of SECRET EMPIRE, Sam Wilson has laid down the shield and taken to the sky once again! Reborn and recommitted, THE FALCON takes flight on a personal mission to reconnect with the American people and train his new partner THE PATRIOT. But when a gang war overtakes the streets of Chicago, Sam finds himself stuck in the middle of a situation far more dangerous than he could’ve imagined-one with its roots in an unexpected corner of the Marvel Universe! COLLECTING: FALCON 1-5
A brilliant follow-up to the events of Secret Empire, the personal journey of Sam Wilson and the anger he harbors for the betrayal he felt after Steve Rodgers (actually a faux-Rodgers at the time) led a HYDRA invasion. With the true Steve Rodgers returned as Captain America, Sam begins his life as Falcon once more. Introducing the character to the world of the supernatural while also showcasing the racial tension and violence in our world today made this an instant must-read for Marvel fans.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Loyalties will be tested and lines will be crossed as the fight for humanity wages on in author John C. Adams’ latest entry in the Ivy Spires dystopian series, “Blackacre Rising”.
From Horror Tree reviewer and double Aeon Award Longlister John C Adams comes a disturbing tale of scientific experimentation and sadistic cruelty. The sequel to ‘Souls For The Master’, ‘Blackacre Rising’ features a stunning cover by Fiona Jayde Media.
Leaving the chaos erupting in the Metropolis behind, Gerald speeds north to his cousin Brett Flint’s farmhouse, Blackacre. He is certain that their vehicle is being followed, but returning to the capital with Don and Ivy is simply too risky now that Janus Fidens has taken over the Resistance and declared the pair to be outlaws who have betrayed the Revolution. Arriving at Blackacre, Gerald begs Brett and his wife Radclyffe to shelter Ivy and Don under their roof without asking too many questions about why his young companions have had to flee to the sparsely populated uplands and need their presence there kept secret.
Distraught at saying goodbye to Gerald, Ivy admits how much she has come to care for him since they have been battling the authorities together. They snatch a few moments alone together to say a private farewell before Gerald drives back to the capital, hoping to persuade Janus to drop his pursuit of Ivy and Don. En route, Gerald is followed by the same car that tailed them northwards. Lured into stopping to assist at the site of a road traffic accident, the trainee surgeon is captured and transported to a shadowy underground scientific research facility, where he is disturbed to discover that Sinister Tungsten, sister to his arch nemesis Hendra, awaits him.
In the Blackacre library, Don is welcomed by the Seven. This mysterious group includes the Master he fought to defeat down in the Metropolis, five other strange figures with bizarre powers and, of course, the malignant farmhouse itself. Brett, Radclyffe and their twin baby sons reside in the oddest place Don has ever encountered. He reluctantly agrees to become involved in the Seven’s project to assassinate Dr Luther Honigbaum, who funds the facility where Gerald is being held prisoner and runs the asylum in Austria which supplies its young female test subjects.
Learning how to transport herself from one location to another shocks Ivy. Unlike Don, who has wielded great power his whole life, her skills as an assassin are more practical in nature, and she worries that having shifted safely to Austria she’ll be unable to return safely. Finally, she is ready to undertake her mission to kill the evil man behind the gruesome experiments that serve no purpose other than to gratify the rampant cruelty of Honigbaum and his acolytes.
Meanwhile, the Seven show Don another facility, this time in Antarctica, where equally cruel experiments take place upon men. When the Seven tell him he is too young to witness exactly what it taking place, he uses his unique powers to advance his age by three years so that he is now eighteen. He gladly sacrifices a part of his natural life to rescue the men kept prisoner there and tormented by sadistic experiments with no scientific value whatsoever.
Arriving in Austria, Ivy is horrified to discover that her cover is already blown and Honigbaum lies in waiting for her. He has a sinister agenda of his own and will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who resists both his sadistically cruel medical research and his repulsive sexual advances. When Brett Flint’s cousin Henry turns up at Ubersneller, Honigbaum locks him up in one of his asylums high up in the mountains to ensure his silence. He has particularly dark designs on Ivy, and is determined that her close friendship with Don will enable him to reach out to his estranged son. Drugged and forced to comply, Ivy is young enough to provide the ageing Honigbaum with everything he wishes. Gerald’s imprisonment ends when Sinistra’s elder sister Hendra returns and the authorities brutally re-establish law and order, but he is no safer with her than with her sibling.
A truly gripping, intense, and engaging dystopian sci-fi read. The author does a brilliant job of creating a large mythos in this dystopian world rich with a multitude of main and side characters that readers will be able to both loathe and root for.
Although I had not read the first book in the series, the author writes in a way that allows readers both new and established to be able to delve into this new narrative, as the central characters find themselves split up and fighting brutal battles all on their own. Each finds their path fraught with horrifying trials and monstrous adversaries, all while their own abilities grow and develop over time.
The story really benefits from a strong character arc for the central protagonists and antagonists. This lengthy read delves into the hardships and struggles each character undertakes in this world divided by class and exposed to horrors unlike anything seen before. In the midst of powers and action, the author really brings about complex characters that readers can identify and support throughout this narrative.
A must-read dystopian sci-fi thriller, author John C. Adams’ “Blackacre Rising” is a fantastic sequel in the Ivy Spires series. Emotionally driven character arcs and action-packed scenes all come together under strong mythology and ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Be sure to preorder your copy today!
About the Author
I’m a non-binary author and critic of fantasy and horror.
I review for Schlock! Webzine, the British Fantasy Society and Horror Tree, as well as placing reviews and articles across a wide range of blogs and magazines.
I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. I’ve been a Contributing Editor for Albedo One Magazine and the Aeon Award since 2016. Before that, I was a Submissions Reader with them.
My debut horror novel, ‘Souls for the Master’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. Likewise, my debut fantasy novel, ‘Aspatria’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. The sequel to ‘Aspatria’, ‘Dagmar of the Northlands’, is out now on Kindle and Smashwords retailers.
Although I write mostly long fiction, since 2015 I have had stories published in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press, Fantasia Divinity and Jersey Pines Ink. My short stories have also been published in the Horror Zine, Swords & Sorcery, Sirens Call, Blood Moon Rising, Lovecraftiana and various other magazines.
Every emerging writer needs plenty of encouragement right at the start, and entering lots of competitions early on made a real difference to my confidence to press on with writing longer fiction and think about submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies in due course. In 2012, I was longlisted for the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest for ‘The Visitors’ and again in 2013 for ‘We Can Finish Your Baby’s Brain For You’. My writing was also recognised by the Enrico Charles Literary Award (runner up in 2012) and by the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference in both 2012 and 2013, including a Commendation in the First Three Pages of a Novel category, and other nominations in poetry and short fiction.
I read PPE at Somerville College, and I am a non-practising solicitor. I live in rural Northumberland, UK, and I combine my career as an author and critic with raising my kids and caring for a severely disabled relative. I’m always busy!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Author Earl B. Rynerson takes readers on a journey to discover how capitalism and greed have utilized eight different industries to impact our health and way of life in the book “Unchecked Capitalism is Killing Us!: How unfettered corporate greed and corruption have made us poorer, fatter, sicker, less tolerant of others and more dangerously exposed to the coronavirus”.
This book shows in detail how eight specific industries (banks, health care, processed foods/sugar, autos, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, military contractors and the media) have harmed us over the years, driven by their greed and quest for profits. For example, did you know that:-Drug companies and their lobbyists actually wrote government legislation in 2002 that gave them the unlimited ability to raise future prices on medications? -A Supreme Court ruling in 2010 essentially destroyed our democracy by allowing the wealthy and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on bribing and funding politicians.-There are over 100,000 different lobbyists in Washington today, each one trying to control our elected representatives with cash and bribes!-Our US defense budget today is larger than the next nine largest countries’ defense budgets, combined!-Our healthcare is a mess. All hospitals are profit driven. A trip to a hospital today can bankrupt even those of us who are insured.-Until Tesla came along, auto companies were content to produce essentially the same type of polluting car with the same gasoline mileage as the Model T. -There are eight specific US institutions that could normally help protect us during a pandemic. But unchecked capitalism (coupled with corporate greed) has infected all eight institutions, enabling the virus to infect more people here than anywhere else in the world.The problem is much worse than you realize…
This was a well-written, detailed, and focused book. The author does a great job of outlining a long list of industries and history that showcases how greed and corporations have wormed their way into American politics and have led to some of the most damaging effects on the American people.
What really stood out to me as a reader is that the author utilizes a long career of experience without approaching the subject from either a Democrat or Republican Party viewpoint, instead of taking a non-partisan approach to this subject to find the root of the issue no matter what.
While I myself am not well-versed in economics and the gritty world of politics as a whole, it was refreshing to see the author’s study of so many different industries that have an impact on the average American’s health, finances and so much more. Living in the world we do have right now, the growing pandemic has left many wondering why our nation is failing so badly in stopping this virus in its tracks, and this book highlights the decades of corporate greed that are now preventing the right measures to come forward and help stop this from getting worse than it already is.
A must-read non-fiction related book that delves into both American politics and finances while also detailing the various industries and the issues that plague them, allowing readers to easily understand how unchecked capitalism is affecting us all. The author’s years of experience and the references utilized her showcase a well-researched book that drives the author’s excellent points home. If you haven’t yet grab your copy of this spectacular and fascinating read today!
About the Author
Why I wrote this book-
I started this examination of unchecked capitalism back in 2018 after I began hearing of all the corruption, lying and cheating that Wells Fargo Bank had been engaged in with their clients. What I found was that not only Wells Fargo, but all of the largest banks had for years been engaged in many of the same offenses, including even money laundering!
Curious, I started looking at other industries. Of course, the pharmaceutical Industry and the Healthcare Industry are huge examples of how unchecked capitalism has directly harmed us and our families, with health insurance that is too costly and drugs that are ten times or more the price that other nations pay. Hospitals, insurance companies and “Big Pharma” pocket billions of dollars in profits annually from us. They pay their executives huge salaries that are tens of millions of dollars annually, with stock options and bonuses that make their income even higher. We, on the other hand, have to decide whether to pay for rent, our medications or even if we can afford to go to the hospital.
But it’s not just those industries. Processed Foods/Sugar, Oil and Gas, the Auto Industry, the Defense Industry, even the Media, are all examples of how major industries (and those huge corporations within those industries), regularly cheat and lie to us, bribe those who are supposed to represent us, and regularly make our lives miserable, all the while pocketing hundreds of billions of dollars in profits every year that they often move offshore, paying little to no taxes.
Over a two-year period, I researched and maintained files of hundreds of examples of corporate corruption. I found that what you will often hear or read (in snippets about certain companies lying, cheating or engaged in other illegal activity) is actually a flood of corruption that has been going on for more than 20 years, activity that huge corporations (with their billions in profits and thousands of dedicated paid lobbyists) engage in to lobby Congress and to bribe our elected representatives. It is such a powerful force today that our own government is unable to stop or even regulate what is going on.
When you hear “We need to lower our taxes and reduce regulation“, it is simply a manipulative statement made up by the corporate elite decades ago to get the average American voter into a mindset that ends up weakening our government and increases our national debt. The taxes they are referring to are corporate taxes. These behemoths could care less about the taxes that you or I pay; they only care about taxes that they have to pay. Their tax rates by the way, are a fraction of the rates that you or I pay today. They are a fraction of the rates businesses once paid in the 1950s and 1960s, taxes which enabled our nation then to build roads, schools and airports and provide meals and services to the less fortunate. In many cases today some of the biggest corporations pay no tax at all!
The regulations they refer to are regulations that were put in place (usually by a bipartisan and thoughtful effort within Congress), to insure that businesses play fair with each other, and don’t provide products that kill us. Those are the regulations they want abolished and are the regulations they are constantly trying to get reduced or modified. Doing so will make them even more profitable which will enable them to spend even more money on corporate lobbyists.
For the record, I believe in capitalism over any other form of government, but we have allowed capitalism to get out of hand in America. When lobbyists for special interest groups and corporations start writing legislation and telling our elected representatives to “Pass it or else”; when the corporate heads spend tens of millions of dollars in bribes to get their chosen sycophant selected to run a major Federal Department (when they know nothing about that department), well, that’s capitalism run amok. Our government needs to be free of this incessant lobbying and the uncontrolled flood of corporate money flowing into Washington. We MUST take back control of our Democracy!
Who am I? I am an American-
I am a former Democrat, then Republican and now Independent. But today, I avoid affiliating myself with any political party. They all feel dirty. Political parties today do very little for the American People; they have succumbed to the will and the greed of of special interests, and corporations with their billions of dollars in profits and thousands of lobbyists. Politicians from both main parties have run our nation into the ground over the last 30 years, with our national debt now approaching (or even exceeding!)30 TRILLION DOLLARS!
That’s why I call myself an American, not a Republican or Democrat. I choose to think of today’s issues as to how they affect the poorest among us. If we can help the poorest, then the rest of us will benefit as well. If we can start to think of what we can do to help others among us, instead of continually bashing those from the other political party, well, then maybe we can overcome some of our pettiness and focus on the real problems today, problems caused by unchecked capitalism and how those forces control how we live our lives today. It doesn’t matter which political party you think you are a member of; you are being harmed every day by the forces of greed and corruption coming from unchecked capitalism.
I am a retired Air Force Lt. Col. (I served in the military for 20 years), a small business owner for 17 years, Professorial Lecturer in MBA studies for Business Management and Marketing in San Francisco, and have been active in writing about problems that affect those around me. Back in 1999, I wrote and placed on the ballot in San Francisco a measure to stop handing out cash to the City’s addicts and alcoholics. While it didn’t pass then, it was dusted off a few years later by then City Supervisor Gavin Newsom who was able to get his measure passed. It helped him become Mayor of San Francisco, then Governor of California.
For years (2006 to 2015), I wrote a local blog about the wasteful spending in the City of Fort Lauderdale; millions of dollars spent every year on non-essential items rather than on improving the City’s aging infrastructure. Now, with budget cutbacks, the City now has to pay for repairs of numerous sewer and water breaks that are plaguing residents today.
My efforts to expose the dangers of unchecked capitalism in this book are similar to my efforts to expose the problems of handing out city cash to addicts and alcoholics, or the problems of wasting money on nonessential city services while letting the infrastructure rot. It’s the same effort, except my writings now are about a national problem, not a city problem.
The problem is worse than you think and getting worse every year. You will see how bad the national problem has become by reading my book. You will also see what steps you can take to start to better control the problem.
What do I want to do next?
My next book? I think I would like to write about the “Forgotten Generation”; those men and women aged 40 to 70 who lost their well-paying blue collar manufacturing jobs in small and medium sized towns in New England, the South and the Midwest 20 years ago due to Clinton’s “Free Trade Agreement” with China.
Once our government signed that horrible agreement with China, corporations fell all over themselves to close up their manufacturing facilities here, abandoning their workers. They instead moved offshore to find cheaper labor in China. Those Americans who previously were able to support themselves and their families with honest and reliable work suddenly had no job; they usually were left economically stranded, often bankrupt, depressed and often times addicted to pain killers and other drugs to mask their depression. That heartbreaking scenario has happened to millions of American families over the last 20 years.
Those folks remember what “Achieving the American Dream” had meant to their parents and grandparents, and are bitter and angry now. They have every right to be angry. Our country has abandoned them. They are having to work two or more low paying service jobs just to keep food on the table; trying to stay out of the hospital for fear of becoming bankrupt; trying to ration their medications due to the cost; often not having healthy food available to eat and watching themselves become obese. And all the while they see their country slowly rot and go into deeper debt while their elected leaders scream at and blame each other on national television..
This is what our nation has become. It is frankly, embarrassing and shameful.
So if you know of someone who has a story to tell about their troubles and how our country has abandoned them, please let me know!
My email address is: Bonneau@capitalismiskillingus.com.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A typical investigation on a small Montana ranch leads to a powerful entity that threatens to unleash a paranormal nightmare in author Christy J. Breedlove’s latest entry into the Shimmering Eye series, “Screamcatcher: The Shimmering Eye”.
Why is this book special? This is a fictional account of a true story and investigation of the most haunted property in the United States. When I first read the book and watched the documentary of The Hunt for the Skinwalker, I was awestruck, delirious with confusion and so overwhelmed I could think of nothing else. I wanted to pen my own version and theories of what was happening out there by sending in my own Badlands Paranormal Society to solve the riddle and cleanse the property. To this day, theories abound: demons, Skinwalkers, portals, aliens, doppelgangers, alternate dimensions, ghosts and multiple paranormal infestations—a grab bag or horror. I got in contact with the author George Knapp, investigative reporter out of Las Vegas and host of Coast-to-Coast AM radio. I explained to him that I wanted to create my own fictional account of a haunted ranch, but that I would not use any of his pertinent details, names, locations or incidents. It would be an “inspirationally motivated” book only. He gave me the thumbs up and wished me well on the project. This book is solely dedicated to him, mostly for scaring the living hell out of me. I strongly suggest you read and watch George’s account of this horrific tale before you even touch my book.
Eighteen-year-old Jory Pike, a half-blood Chippewa, is depending upon her Native ancestry to help her investigate one of the strangest hauntings she’s ever encountered. A 500-plus acre ranch in rural Montana is under psychic and physical attack. The ranch’s owner, the elderly Ambrose Tucker, is determined to hold steadfast and courageously to his beloved property. Answering an ad in Jory’s outfit, The Badlands Paranormal Society, Ambrose hopes to rid his property of evil spirits once and for all.
Jory and her crew of three other teenagers, each of whom bring to the table their own line of skills and expertise, have brought every known piece of hardware and technical equipment to Granite Springs Ranch. Although the assignment seems ordinary at first, and the answer to the haunting seems eminent, everything spirals out of control and leaves the team terrified. The problem is, they have no idea that they’re being outclassed and sabotaged by a malevolent spirit, who seems to know their every move.
If Jory and the Badlands Paranormal Society don’t solve the problem in quick fashion, they stand to lose the $50,000 extermination fee, but worst of all, they will allow a dangerous and unmerciful entity to unleash a hoard of vicious mythological creatures that will run rampant over the ranch and surrounding properties. Jory has no idea how she and her teammate’s mettle will be tested, bringing them near the edge of insanity, physical endurance and death.
What a fantastic entry in the Screamcatcher series! A wonderful blend of mystery, suspense, character growth, and fantasy and sci-fi blended into one narrative, author Chris Stevenson takes readers on a journey through evolving relationships, powerful new threats, and growing mythology that doesn’t relent as the new creatures in this tale arrive.
As a fan of the paranormal and with a fascination in real-life cryptid/paranormal investigations, this story really spoke to me. The inspiration behind the story is one I am all too familiar with, and it was a great way of bringing this real-world mystery into the narrative and mythology the author has created in this series.
The revelation of how these creatures are making their way into the world and the creatures themselves will delight fans of this genre of novel, and the protagonist Jory really does a great job of keeping the reader invested in the growing mystery surrounding this land.
A brilliant, evenly-paced, and thrilling third chapter in the Screamcatcher series, author Chris Stevenson’s “The Shimmering Eye” is a must-read fantasy and science fiction novel of the year. Powerful imagery and great character evolution really make this story shine brightly, and is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!
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Christy’s Young Adult Fabuliers:
Occupation Novelist and Science Writer
Location Sylvania, Alabama, United States
Introduction Been writing for 32 years, publishing novels, non-fiction books, radio horror plays, short stories, reviews, interviews, poetry and thousands of non-fiction automotive articles. I’m on my third agent, and have had 10 books and twenty-two short stories published, beginning in 1988. Writing Credits and History BOOK CREDITS: Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward–Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles–226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning book. Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia–190 pages, non-fiction book—1988. Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007. Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008 Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009 Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009. The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF Books, February 2009
The Girll They Sold to the Moon, Intrigue Books
Blackmailed Bride to Melange Satin Romance. Screamcatcher: Web World by Melange Books.
Interests Hiking, paleontology, Ufos, cryptozoology, bigfoot, astronomy, lake monsters, ancient Egypt, archeology, geology
Favorite Movies Blade Runner, Time Cop, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Logun’s Run, Transformers, The Time Machine, Kickass
Favorite Music REM, Abbaa, When in Rome, Steve Miller Band, SF and fantasy soundtracks.
Favorite Books Icerigger, Virgin Planet, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Lord of the Flies, Black Marble, Close Encounters, The Island, Black Marble, Dune, Riverworld, The Mote In God’s eye
How many books have I published? 10 to date, with three out on agent subs, and five more in the wings ready to go.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Years after Earth’s destruction, those who survived travel on the generational ship Forever, but face troubles as a series of events could lead to the total loss of free will and humanity as we know it in author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Rising Tide”, the second book in the Liminal Sky: The Ariadne Cycle series.
Earth is dead. Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind. Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.
This was a brilliant sequel to author J. Scott Coatsworth’s first novel in this amazing new sci-fi series. As in the first book the author takes the time to split the book into three parts over the course of several years. Getting to see the evolution of this ship carrying the remaining humans was inspired, from those who knew and loved on Earth and their struggle to adapt to their new home to future generations who know only the generation ship, this was a genius storytelling device.
What really stands out is the variety and depth of the characters the author utilizes in this book. Jumping around into different generations definitely gives readers new characters rotating into the plot, as well as the Immortals who are part of the ship’s hive-mind. The complex nature of these characters and their connection to the ship help drive the mysterious events of this narrative that put humanity in such danger of losing themselves, making this an instant hit read.
A stunning, lengthy yet passionate read, author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Rising Tide” is a phenomenal sequel that deepens the mythology of the series in a wonderful way. The evolution of mankind and the way they connect to the hivemind of the ship is great to see unfold, and the growing cast of characters help keep the reader invested in this extensive and fantastic mythos the author has crafted. This is a story of survival, love, and of evolving and learning to let the past stay in the past. Be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Ushered into fantasy and sci-fi at the tender age of nine by his mother, he devoured her library of Asimovs, Clarkes, and McCaffreys. But as he grew up, he wondered where the gay people were in speculative fiction.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently–he sees relationships between things that others miss, and often gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He transforms traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
He also runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband, Mark, sites that bring LGBTIQA communities together to celebrate fiction that reflects queer life and love.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Trigger Warning: Themes revolving around mental illness are present in this novel. If you or someone you know suffers from illnesses such as schizophrenia and are easily triggered by these storylines, reader discretion is advised.
A husband and father trying to take care of his wife and child finds himself struggling as a childhood friend returns home, bringing complex feelings back to the surface and a dark secret threatens to tear apart his family in author LM. Brown’s “Hinterland”.
Nicholas Giovanni’s life revolves around his five-year old daughter Kate. When he isn’t driving his taxi, he is taking care of her and her mother Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was before Kate was born. When his childhood best friend, Ina, returns next door, tensions rise in the house. Already unstable, Kathleen suspicions of Ina and Nicholas grow until a day of violence ensues and Kathleen disappears.
Kate’s life is shattered by her mother’s disappearance. No-one will tell her where Kathleen is. Although Ina helps to take care of Kate, Nicholas keeps her at arm’s length. He cannot bring himself to tell the truth about Kathleen’s last day, until Kate runs away, and he realizes his silence has torn everyone apart. To find Kate and to keep Ina in his life, there are truths he must face, if it’s not too late.
This was a well written, slow-burn style mix of family drama and thriller. The author explores two important themes in this narrative: the lengths a parent would go to in order to protect their child, and the hardships of trying to care for someone suffering from a severe mental illness.
The protagonist Nicholas is a complex man, with both many faults and a desire to protect his daughter Kate from heartbreaking truths. From the return of his childhood friend Ina to the struggle he has with his wife Kathleen and her struggle with a serious mental illness, the author beautifully focuses on character development to highlight the story within this book.
An emotionally charged, dramatic, and evenly paced read, author L.M. Brown’s “Hinterland” is a must-read thriller drama. The heartbreaking circumstances that push Nicholas and his family to the edge are truly engaging and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and definitely felt like the delivery of the narrative was very reminiscent of a classic Hitchcock thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to preorder your copy today or grab it on October 13th, 2020!
About the Author
L.M Brown is the author of novels Debris and Hinterland, and the linked short story collections Treading The Uneven Road and Were We Awake. Her award winning stories have been published in over a dozen magazines. She grew up in Ireland but lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A web of conspiracy and corruption makes it’s way into one of the United States most impactful elections in the historical fiction thriller “The Day Lincoln Lost” by Charles Rosenberg.
An inventive historical thriller that reimagines the tumultuous presidential election of 1860, capturing the people desperately trying to hold the nation together – and those trying to crack it apart.
Abby Kelley Foster arrived in Springfield, Illinois with the fate of the nation on her mind. Her fame as an abolitionist speaker had spread west and she knew that her first speech in the city would make headlines. One of the residents reading those headlines would be none other than the likely next President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln, lawyer and presidential candidate, knew his chances of winning were good. All he had to do was stay above the fray of the slavery debate and appear the voice of compromise until the people cast their votes. The last thing he needed was a fiery abolitionist appearing in town. When her speech sparks violence, leading to her arrest and a high-profile trial, he suspects that his political rivals have conspired against him.
President James Buchanan is one such rival. As his term ends and his political power crumbles, he gathers his advisors at the White House to make one last move that might derail Lincoln’s campaign, steal the election, and throw America into chaos.
A fascinating historical novel and fast-paced political thriller of a nation on the cusp of civil war, The Day Lincoln Lost offers an unexpected window into one of the most consequential elections in our country’s history.
A truly unique and fascinating story that comes along during a time where our world is facing more injustice and painful experiences in the fight to bring equality and recognition to all people, not just a select few, author Charles Rosenberg’s “The Day Lincoln Lost” is a much needed political thriller with a historical fiction bend.
The author does a great job of utilizing historical figures into the narrative while also giving ample room for new characters to come along for the narrative and bring about a new depth to the theme of racial equality. The horrors that the Black Community faced during this time period of slavery are showcased greatly within this narrative, and show that although slavery has ended, discrimination and hatred are still very much alive in this day and age, and only by learning from the past can we change.
A good mixture of meaningful lessons and an intriguing political thriller that highlights the complex fight to end slavery and how the more prominent figures of that time rose to the level people now know them for, the author does an amazing job of introducing enough new material to keep readers invested in the narrative. Fans of the Historical Fiction genre and political thrillers will not be able to put this book down, so be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author:
Charles Rosenberg is the author of the legal thriller Death on a High Floor and its sequels. The credited legal consultant to the TV shows LA Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, and The Paper Chase, he was also one of two on-air legal analysts for E! Television’s coverage of the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. He teaches as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and has also taught at UCLA, Pepperdine and Southwestern law schools. He practices law in the Los Angeles area.
Lucy Battelle’s birthday was tomorrow. She would be twelve. Or at least that was what her mother told her. Lucy knew the date might not be exact, because Riverview Plantation didn’t keep close track of when slaves were born. Or when they died, for that matter. They came, they worked and they went to their heavenly reward. Unless, of course, they were sold off to somewhere else.
There had been a lot of selling-off of late. The Old Master, her mother told her, had at least known how to run a plantation. And while their food may have been wretched at times, there had always been enough. But the Old Master had died years before Lucy was born. His eldest son, Ezekiel Goshorn, had inherited Riverview.
Ezekiel was cruel, and he had an eye for young black women, although he stayed away from those who had not yet developed. Lucy has seen him looking at her of late, though. She was thin, and very tall for her age—someone had told her she looked like a young tree—and when she looked at herself naked, she could tell that her breasts were beginning to come. “You are pretty,” her mother said, which sent a chill through her.
Whatever his sexual practices, Goshorn had no head for either tobacco farming or business, and Riverview was visibly suffering for it, and not only for a shortage of food. Lucy could see that the big house was in bad need of painting and other repairs, and the dock on the river, which allowed their crop to be sent to market, looked worse and worse every year. By now it was half-falling-down. Slaves could supply the labor to repair things, of course, but apparently Goshorn couldn’t afford the materials.
Last year, a blight had damaged almost half the tobacco crop. Goshorn had begun to sell his slaves south to make ends meet.
In the slave quarter, not a lot was really known about being sold south, except that it was much hotter there, the crop was harder-to-work cotton instead of tobacco and those who went didn’t come back. Ever.
Several months earlier, two of Lucy’s slightly older friends had been sold, and she had watched them manacled and put in the back of a wagon, along with six others. Her friends were sobbing as the wagon moved away. Lucy was dry-eyed because then and there she had decided to escape.
Others had tried to escape before her, of course, but most had been caught and brought back. When they arrived back, usually dragged along in chains by slave catchers, Goshorn—or one of his five sons—had whipped each of them near to death. A few had actually died, but most had been nursed back to at least some semblance of health by the other slaves.
Lucy began to volunteer to help tend to them—to feed them, put grease on their wounds, hold their hands while they moaned and carry away the waste from their bodies. Most of all, though, she had listened to their stories—especially to what had worked and what had failed.
One thing she had learned was that they used hounds to pursue you, and that the hounds smelled any clothes you left behind to track you. One man told her that another man who had buried his one pair of extra pants in the woods before he left—not hard to do because slaves had so little—had not been found by the dogs.
Still another man said a runaway needed to take a blanket because as you went north, it got colder, especially at night, even in the summer. And you needed to find a pair of boots that would fit you. Lucy had tried on her mother’s boots—the ones she used in the winter—and they fit. Her mother would find another pair, she was sure.
The hard thing was the Underground Railroad. They had all heard about it. They had even heard the masters damning it. Lucy had long understood that it wasn’t actually underground and wasn’t even a railroad. It was just people, white and black, who helped you escape—who fed you, hid you in safe houses and moved you, sometimes by night, sometimes under a load of hay or whatever they had that would cover you.
The problem was you couldn’t always tell which ones were real railroaders and which ones were slave catchers posing as railroaders. The slaves who came back weren’t much help about how to tell the difference because most had guessed wrong. Lucy wasn’t too worried about it. She had not only the optimism of youth, but a secret that she thought would surely help her.
Tonight was the night. Over the past few days she had dug a deep hole in the woods where she could bury her tiny stash of things that might carry her smell. For weeks before that, she had foraged and dug for mushrooms in the woods, and so no one seemed to pay much mind to her foraging and digging earlier that day. As she left, she planned to take the now-too-small shift she had secretly saved from last year’s allotment—her only extra piece of clothing—along with her shoes and bury them in the hole. That way the dogs could not take her smell from anything left behind. She would take the blanket she slept in with her.
She had also saved up small pieces of smoked meat so that she had enough—she hoped—to sustain her for a few days until she could locate the Railroad. She dropped the meat into a small cloth bag and hung it from a string tied around her waist, hidden under her shift.
Her mother had long ago fallen asleep, and the moon had set. Even better, it was cloudy and there was no starlight. Lucy put on her mother’s boots, stepped outside the cabin and looked toward the woods.
As she started to move, Ezekiel Goshorn appeared in front of her, seemingly out of nowhere, along with two of his sons and said, “Going somewhere, Lucy?”
“I’m just standing here.”
“Hold out your arms.”
“Hold out your arms!”
She hesitated but finally did as he asked, and one of his sons, the one called Amasa, clamped a pair of manacles around her wrists. “We’ve been watching you dig in the woods,” he said. “Planning a trip perhaps?”
Lucy didn’t answer.
“Well, we have a little trip to St. Louis planned for you instead.”
As Ezekiel pushed her along, she turned to see if her mother had been awakened by the noise. If she had, she hadn’t come out of the cabin. Probably afraid. Lucy had been only four the first time she’d seen Ezekiel Goshorn flog her mother, and that was not the last time she’d been forced to stand there and hear her scream.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I think rather, writing got into me. At school I found writing a good way of expressing my imagination, while reading showed me how to do it. My father was always one for good speech. He taught physics, but he told his pupils that all they knew about physics was worthless if they couldn’t express it in English.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Two huge literary influences on me as I was growing up were JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. Of course they have a lot in common, not least that they worked together at Oxford. And also they have this: an imagination to create other worlds – many other worlds in Lewis’ case, and worlds where some sort of passage between is, rarely, possible.
Placing my own new world in a Celtic setting I blame on the last holiday my first wife, Janice, and I had together, on the west coast of Ireland, maybe twenty years ago. The untamed landscape and rugged coast; the self-contained, straightforward nature of the people; the transient weather. I had several chapters written – later to be torn up – long before I moved to the croft on Scoraig.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
If nothing else, I hope people will gain a glimpse that the prevailing materialist world-view is very limited: that there is so much more to life. Organised religion has done us no service in this regard, with a quite undue emphasis on rigid dogma and rules: dogmas that are too often taken too literally, causing many intelligent people to reject spirituality en bloc.
I don’t apologise at all for the spirituality in Seaborne. Not only is it appropriate that such a people would have a highly developed spiritual sense, but also this is so much what I want to express.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
Mostly, laziness. A fantasy genre means that you can invent your own world, and needn’t be too tied down by research. The only catch is that if you want your world to be believable, you find you then have to research what a parallel culture in our own world would look like, and make your world something like that. I take my guidance from Jill Paton-Walsh’s Knowledge of Angels, set on an island ‘somewhat like Mallorca, but not Mallorca.’
So I had to do a fair amount of research into what life was like in the eleventh century on the Western Isles, and I have Cathy Dagg, a former neighbour and archaeologist, to thank for much of that. Among many other points, she picked out that houses on the Western Isles in the eleventh century didn’t have the chimneys that I had alluded to. Of course I could just say, for instance, that in my world they do; but every time you say that before someone who knows otherwise, you lose some credibility and distance yourself further from our world, the one that you want to speak to.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I thought a lot about this question: which character? There are many candidates. Eventually I settled on my hero, John (or Dhion). I think I’d like to ask him, maybe a few years after the book ends, ‘Do you think you made the right choice? Or have you thrown away a life that you could have returned to and lived it with a deeper wisdom, long, comfortable and secure. Have you thrown that away for (as Conchis in John Fowles’ The Magus puts it) ‘the satisfaction of a passing sexual attraction’?
The John whom we first meet, running away from his failures, could not have answered that question, and felt he didn’t have a choice. But as the story progresses he grows in depth: he becomes Dhion.
I think he would answer that this is no passing sexual attraction. He is not choosing Shinane instead of Helen: in the end he is choosing the self he has come to be with Shinane, and with that a world that seems more real than the one he left behind, in which he had felt driven by the demands of his work to betray everything else, and everyone else, of value in his life. It is a choice between two world views. I think of Archbishop Thomas A’Becket in TS Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. His first three tempters offer him material advantage in various ways, but he knew, as Dhion knows now, that there is more, so much more, than mere materialism.
Will Dhion regret his choice when he lies dying? I think he might, for more than a moment. But, as Shinane says of herself, who knows what he will think in the future. The point is to live most authentically, now. I think of Robert Jordan in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls as he lies dying, casualty of the Spanish Civil War. And yet, with Maria, for a fleeting few hours, he had known something that Pilar, the wise older woman of the novel, says most people never experience. Who is to say that wasn’t worth it.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
For six months or so, while Seaborne was coming up to launch and after, I kept a Facebook page going, and this was helpful in building up an audience for a book-launch tour. But I’m not someone who engages with social media, or enjoys it, and I’ve totally ignored my Facebook page for a few months now. There always seems to be something I’d much rather be doing, out in the field with my hands – or getting on with my next novel.
However, my wife, Gillian Paschkes-Bell, and I do have it in mind to set up a website to include the books we write or edit, with an added blog content about what we’ve been reading or thinking. Probably next year, when we’ve finished the self-build we’re currently working on. Perhaps then I can re-awaken my Facebook page and link it in with that.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Study English grammar, syntax and punctuation, and cultivate a deep enjoyment of the sound of language. It’s only when you thoroughly understand the rules of good writing that you can begin to break them, appreciating the cost of doing so.
Study people – their appearance, mannerisms, ways of talking, unconscious leaks of feeling in facial or bodily expression.
Play with ideas – the ‘what if?’ sort of ideas. What if the world was flat? If the Russian Revolution had never happened? If the Civil War had been won by the South? If there really are fairies at the bottom of your garden? Or what would it be like to be an unmarried mother in the Puritan colonies back in the seventeenth century? A fisherman in the westernmost parts of the British Isles of the eleventh century?
And read. See how the experts do it. Read anything but trash.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I think I’m clear about what the future doesn’t hold for me: fame, wealth, best-sellers, Booker Prizes. I write because I love writing and I love the worlds I can create with my writing, and I’m grateful that enough people have appreciated what I’ve written, first to publish it and then to purchase the book and read it – and say they found the readingworthwhile and make complimentary comments about it after.
I want to complete the trilogy of which Seaborne is the first book, and I have a first draft completed of Book II; but I alsohave lots of other things I want to do. I’m an inveterate fixer – I can’t stand anything that doesn’t work without taking it to pieces and putting it together again. Between us, Gillian and I have built our house – with a lot of help from people who actually knew what they were doing – and there are still many things both inside and outside the house that need finishing. And a whole eco-system that needs encouraging out there on the field where we have the privilege to live.
Finally, I am myself a project that needs finishing – and probably won’t be finished in this lifetime. I have a lot of flaws, and side-shoots that need to be pruned away, and branches that must be encouraged and brought to fruition. When all’s said and done, that’s the most important project for each of us – and the most exciting.
Andrew (A.G.) Rivett was born in London. He has lived in England, Nigeria, Scotland (where The Seaborne was drafted) and now in Wales.
The inspiration for The Seaborne, his debut novel, came twenty years ago on holiday in Ireland, at which time he wrote some opening chapters, relics of which remain in the published book. The Seaborne, the first book of the planned Island trilogy, was published in November 2019.