Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah by Neil McKee Blog Tour & Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A journey of self discovery leads to fascinating discoveries in author Neil McKee’s “Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Finding Myself in Borneo is an honest and buoyant chronicle of a young Canadian man’s adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). Travel with Neill McKee on his unique journey through vibrant Asian cultures as he learns the craft of teaching, the Malay language and local customs, and gains many friends in his small community. He climbs the highest peak in Southeast Asia–Mount Kinabalu, has a love affair, and navigates Borneo’s backwaters to make his first of many documentary films. McKee travels by freighter to Indonesia, where he discovers the scars of that country’s recent genocide, a contrast to his hilarious motorcycle journeys in Sabah with his American Peace Corps buddy. They make a hallucinogenic discovery–North Borneo is, indeed, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famed Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings! The enterprising duo establish the North Borneo Frodo Society, an organization Tolkien joins.

McKee’s second Sabah sojourn and other return trips offer the reader the opportunity to match the early anecdotes to what in fact happened to the land and people who touched his life, and he theirs.

The Review

What a fantastic read! The honest, personal and intellectual journey of a young man in the late 60’s, early 70’s leaving behind his life in Canada to travel to a lifelong dream location of Borneo was so unique and wonderful to read. The author does a marvelous job of painting a picture of the experience, from the first weeks and the personal experiences that came with it, to the students and teachers who he got to know in his teaching role within the country.

Political upheavals, spiritual melting pots and cultural barriers all play a central role in both the author’s life and the novel. Even book lovers and fantasy fans will love the psychedelic discovery of Tolkien’s real world Middle Earth. Rarely do fans of the genre get to experience moments like that, making this memoir feel personal to both the author and reader.

The Verdict

This is a fantastic read everyone can enjoy. Filled with a wonderful blend of history, various cultures and languages and a great story of self discovery, the author has created a reading experience like no other. If you haven’t yet be sure to get your copy of Finding Myself in Borneo by Neil McKee today!

Rating: 8/10

Neill McKee’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah

 Tour Begins January 28th!

 

 

 

 

·         Paperback: 260 pages

·         Publisher: Nbfs Creations LLC (January 8, 2019)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 1732945705

·         ISBN-13: 978-1732945708

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1732945705/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0%20/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

 

Finding Myself in Borneo is an honest and buoyant chronicle of a young Canadian man’s adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). Travel with Neill McKee on his unique journey through vibrant Asian cultures as he learns the craft of teaching, the Malay language and local customs, and gains many friends in his small community. He climbs the highest peak in Southeast Asia–Mount Kinabalu, has a love affair, and navigates Borneo’s backwaters to make his first of many documentary films. McKee travels by freighter to Indonesia, where he discovers the scars of that country’s recent genocide, a contrast to his hilarious motorcycle journeys in Sabah with his American Peace Corps buddy. They make a hallucinogenic discovery–North Borneo is, indeed, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famed Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings! The enterprising duo establish the North Borneo Frodo Society, an organization Tolkien joins.

McKee’s second Sabah sojourn and other return trips offer the reader the opportunity to match the early anecdotes to what in fact happened to the land and people who touched his life, and he theirs.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:  

 

Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked internationally for 45 years and became an expert in communication for social change. He directed and produced of a number of award-winning documentary films/videos and multi-media initiatives and authored numerous articles and books on development communication. During his international career, McKee worked for Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO), the International Development Ressearch Centre (IDRC), Canada, UNICEF, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C. and FHI 360, Washington, D.C. He worked and lived in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. 

Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah is Neill’s first Memoir.

 

Find Neill Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1839945.Neill_McKee

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/MckeeNeill

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/neill-mckee-b9971b65/

 Website: https://www.neillmckeeauthor.com/

  

———-Blog Tour Dates

 

Launch Day – January 28th

 –Neill McKee launches his tour of “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!

 

Tuesday, January 29th @ Selling Books

Learn more about Neill McKee as he is interviewed by Cathy Stucker at Selling Books. You won’t want to miss this insightful interview about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. https://www.sellingbooks.com/

 

Wednesday, January 30th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto couldn’t wait to get her hands on Neill McKee’s memoir about his travels and finding himself! This busy farmer seldom leaves the farm and enjoyed every moment she experienced reading “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. Find out more in her book review at Bring on Lemons today! http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

 

Thursday, January 31st @ Breakeven Books

Don’t miss a very honest book review about Neill McKee’s “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” https://breakevenbooks.com/

 

Monday, February 4th @ Author Anthony Avina

Author Anthony Avina reads and reviews “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” – by Neill McKee. Readers won’t want to miss this adventurous and soul searching memoir! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

 

Wednesday, February 6th @ The World of My Imagination

Nicole hosts a special feature with author Neill McKee about his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

 

Friday, February 8th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples hosts Neill McKee today as he pens today’s guest post titled:  Living in and learning about a very different culture”. Find out more about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. http://madelinesharples.com/

 

Monday, February 11th @ Book Santa Fe with Elizabeth Hansen

Young reader and reviewer Elizabeth Hansen shares her thoughts after reading about Neill McKee’s memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”.
http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

 

Wednesday, February 13th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha

Shreevarsha reviews the insightful memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about McKee’s journey. http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.co.at/

 

Friday, February 15th @ Bring on Lemons with Tricia Schott Baldwin

Avid reader, constant dreamer, and occasional traveler Tricia Schott Baldwin reviews “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Tricia shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons – will this be a lemon or sweet sweet lemonade? http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

 

Saturday, February 16th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole discusses “3 Things on a Saturday” with Neill McKee. Learn more about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

 

 

Tuesday, February 19th @ Jarry Waxler’s Memoir Revolution

Memoir expert and educator Jerry Waxler pens his review of “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Readers and memoirists alike won’t want to miss this insightful post and review by Waxler. https://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/

 

Thursday, March 7th @ Kathleen Pooler

Neill McKee finds himself penning today’s guest post “Becoming a memoir writer after retiring from another career.” at Kathleen Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey – don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about McKee and his exciting tale “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” https://krpooler.com/

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To Dream the Blackbane Blog Tour

ToDreamtheBlackbane

Congratulations to author Richard J. O’Brien, on the release of his latest novel, To Dream the Blackbane!

TDTB Book CoverTo Dream the Blackbane

Publication Date: December 29th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy

A cosmic event in 2015 fused Earth with the faerie realm. Scientists referred to the event as The Anomaly. A byproduct of The Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings—people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was closest to them the moment the event occurred. Humans, or pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.

Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid—part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback—is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show; though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.

One night, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that same evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcize the headless ghost of a Confederate soldier from her home.

To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile, the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

My name is Wolfgang Rex. I am a private detective. Once upon a time I’d been a police lieutenant. After twenty-five years of service to the city of Chicago, I retired in 2063 and opened up Chi-town Detectives, a private investigation firm.

I’m what they call in the medical books a second-generation Anomalous cross-breed. My father was a cop like me. One night he was out walking his dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Rex. My mother hated that dog. After she died I learned that she had always wished that Rex would meet some unfortunate demise. She got her wish on the night of The Anomaly. My father came home from his walk without the dog—in a manner of speaking. For lack of a better term, he and the dog had fused. And the result was a humanoid—with a hairy body, a tail, and the head of his old dog Rex. My mother was horrified, but my parents were both Catholic. So they stuck it out. I was born in the tenth year of The Anomaly. When I was a kid, my mother used to read me fairy tales. She died before I finished high school. So it goes, like Kurt Vonnegut once wrote. I turned out to be the spitting image of my father post-Anomaly. I lucked out with being born without a tail. My father had somehow managed to keep his human vocal cords. My face was less hairy than his, but our snouts were nearly identical.

Learning to speak with a dog’s mouth was tricky when I was coming up, but I eventually got the hang of it. And thank Christ I’d been born with opposable thumbs; otherwise, I would’ve starved to death a long time ago. Still, given that many people melded with inanimate objects—much like that poor bastard who became a stone gargoyle—I constantly considered myself lucky. My father cursed his lot for the rest of his life. Some people, like my old man, never learned to adjust.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Author Pic

Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.

Richard J. O’Brien | Goodreads | Amazon

For your chance to win a copy of To Dream the Blackbane, click on the link below!

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ToDreamtheBlackbane

Tour Schedule

Jan 7th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://www.readsandreels.com

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com/

Tranquil Dreams (Excerpt) https://klling.wordpress.com/

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/

Jan. 8th

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

Your Books, My Reviews (Review) https://yourbooksmyreview.wordpress.com

Jan. 9th

I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

The Voluptuous Book Diva (Excerpt) http://www.thevoluptuousbookdiva.com/

Rockabilly Spoonie (Interview) https://lauramorningstar.com

Splashes into Books (Excerpt) https://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com/

Jan. 10th

Anthony Avina (Excerpt) http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

The Return Cart (Review) http://thereturncart.com/

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Jan 11th

Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

Cats Love Coffee Book Reviews (Review) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Sammie Reads (Review) https://sammiereadsbook.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours

2019 Writing & Reading Goals

Welcome to the New Year everyone! With the beginning of a new year, it’s time to start planning ahead for what we hope to accomplish in 2019. 2018, as was the case for most of us, was a year full of turmoil and heartache. While there are no guarantees that the year ahead will be better, we can only hope. As an author and blogger, I have been planning out what I hope to accomplish in the coming year. That’s why I’m going to publicly outline my goals for 2019.

Build Website

I hope to continue building my website that you guys are currently visiting. While I want to get more viewers and followers, my ultimate goal is to provide more exposure for other authors, review and preview amazing books coming in 2019, and meet some new and amazing friends in the author community. 

Read 150 Books Or More

I will make this public on Goodreads as well, but I more than surpassed my goal of books read in 2018, and so I want to challenge myself to read 150 books or more in the coming year.

Enter 2-4 Writing Contests

Writing is going to become much more frequent and a part of my life. In 2018 my own personal writing took a step back. Between my day job becoming much more frequent and a priority, building my website and taking on more responsibilities in my personal life, my writing fell to the wayside. I did publish a short novella and began working on the third novella in that series. I also wrote the fourth book in my Nightmare Wars series. However most of that writing has fallen to the wayside, not edited or reworked or even getting a second draft. 

That’s why in the coming year, I want to further my writing goals and enter at least 2-4 writing contests. This will give me the motivation not only to write, but edit and rewrite these stories and put them out there for others to see and judge. 

Submit 2-4 Stories For Anthologies

Similar to the contests, I want to submit 2-4 stories for anthologies. I get notices all the time for publications putting anthologies together and I’d love to collaborate and work with other authors in this way. 

Edit 1-2 Books Previously Published

One thing that I’ve learned in my years as a writer and blogger/reviewer is that there is always room for improvement and more lessons to be learned. When I was first starting out, I definitely failed to edit and flesh out the stories I wrote as a young writer. I want to take some of the stories I still love that I published prematurely in my writing career, and go back and fix them. I want to bring the stories to life and edit them so that readers will appreciate them more the way that I do.

Write 1-2 Novels

I have so many series in the works and so many stories floating around in my mind, that it’s time to put some of them down to paper (or a computer screen). I hope to write at least 1-2 novels in the coming year. 

Write 2-4 Short Stories

In addition to the 1-2 novels, I hope to write 2-4 short stories (not including the contests or anthologies I plan to write stories for). 

Adapt First Graphic Novel

I would love to adapt one of my novels into a graphic novel. I plan to study and learn how to write a graphic novel, and hopefully will find an artist who is willing to collaborate on the project.

Research, Investigate and Write Book On Southern California Haunting Claims

This is a passion project I hope to pursue in the coming year. My mom and I are deeply passionate about the paranormal, more specifically finding the right science behind the paranormal (we are not religious and believe there is a science that has yet to be discovered in regards to the “spirit”). One thing we have dreamed of is going to places around the world, investigating and writing about what we found/discovered. Our goal in 2019 is to try and do this by writing our first book together on local haunts in the Southern California area. 

Monthly Vlogs on Author Anthony Avina Channel

This is not specifically a writing goal, but it is related. I used to have a vlog channel called Avina Vlogs, but after all of the turmoil and changes to YouTube, I left it behind. However I loved making videos, and want to do it again. So not only will I be filming and uploading a video each month to my new YouTube channel, Author Anthony Avina, but I will be uploading them to Facebook, Instagram and hopefully my website as well. I’m doing monthly vlogs as I have a full schedule and filming daily is not an option at this time. I may look into restarting my podcast again or creating a new one, but that is not confirmed at this time.

What are your writing goals in 2019? Any books you hope to tackle in the coming year? Leave your comments below, and to keep up on whether or not I hit my goals, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and here as I post my progress.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One of 2018’s most highly anticipated fall reads has to be author Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s novel Dracul. The book is the official prequel to the classic literary horror classic Dracula, written by Dacre Stoker’s great-granduncle Bram Stoker. Taking the concept first explored by Bram and showcasing how the legend of Dracula first began, the story puts the Stoker family in the role of protagonists and explores where the myth and legends truly came from. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen–a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen–and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

The Review

I will say it now: this is one of my 2018 picks for best book of the year. It was truly amazing to read, and was as engaging as the original novel written by Bram Stoker over a century ago. Capturing the gothic, Victorian era setting and interweaving history, mythology and handwritten notes from author Bram Stoker himself, the authors really did a wonderful job bringing the life of Bram Stoker and his family to life in a horror based setting.

Now while the world knows the works of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be a fiction horror tale, what fascinated me about Dracul was not only the amount of history and real life individuals mixed into the narrative, but learning about the creation of Dracula to begin with. Readers will be enthralled to learn the true manuscript first written by Bram Stoker was never meant to be a fictional tale, but through the words of Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s afterward we learn how the book came to be what we know today, and that large portions of the original novel have never been published before. How much of this horrific and scary tale are fiction as we know it, and how much is fact?

The writing itself was amazing. The story was written in an epistolary format, allowing us to delve into the minds of the Stoker family themselves, as well as associates of the family and historical records to match some of the claims. Fans of the original tale of Dracula will love the similarities and context given throughout this novel, while modern day horror fans and readers will be enthralled with the vast character development and parallels between the life of Bram Stoker (in the novel) and the stories told within his novel years later.

The Verdict

This is a must read book for 2018. As a history buff, classic horror fan and overall Bram Stoker enthusiast, this story really captured my attention from the beginning. From the author’s early years battling illness to the life or death battle with unknown forces he and his siblings undertook, this is the kind of story that comes along rarely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up the novel Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735219346/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0735219346&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Authors

Dacre Stoker:

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Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.

Dacre, who now calls Aiken, South Carolina home, was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979 and coach of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team, Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Dacre is married to Jenne Stoker and is the father of two children. He is the Executive Director of the Aiken Land Conservancy.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

Dacre Stoker’s Links:

https://twitter.com/dacrestoker?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/DacreCStoker/

J.D. Barker:

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J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd

J.D. Barker’s Links:

http://jdbarker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

The Plague by Don Lubov Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A look into the near future shows a deadly disease with a mysterious pattern, and the way life moves on from a major outbreak in author Don Lubov’s novel The Plague. Here’s the synopsis:

The Synopsis

The year is 2040. Robots have been safely and efficiently introduced into society. They are an integral part of our world, when a pandemic of global proportions arrives. 

Isolated deaths keep cropping up. Seeming random at first, a pattern begins to emerge. Dave Miller, an investigative reporter, pounces on the story. 

He explores his neighborhood and city, and finds death at every turn. His investigation leads to interviews with experts in various fields. Everyone is mystified. People are panicky. The deaths go global. The world is in chaos. 

Through his investigations, Dave learns that a most unusual plague is responsible. It is swift and thorough—Three billion people die in six weeks. The immediate questions are: What is causing this epidemic? Why does it affect some of us and not all of us?

The Review

This was one of the most intriguing Sci-Fi novels I’ve read. The combination of post-apocalypse style sci-fi with a theme of spirituality was something unique to the genre. The protagonist Dave Miller is our eyes and ears on the ground as this mysterious plague begins to wipe out portions of the world’s population. A man plagued with self-doubt, a case of claustrophobia and a mission to be a better husband than he has been in the past, Dave is thrust into this perilous journey to become the man and the reporter he was meant to be, all while looking into what The Plague truly is.

The story definitely held story telling elements similar to that of Stephen King’s The Stand. Getting to see so many different perspectives and stories from around the world as this plague hits was fascinating to read, while the story itself did a wonderful job of bringing our own problems and struggles in the world to light in a whole new way. The overall theme of love and hope really made me connect to the story as a reader, and the author’s perspective on how to truly evolve as a species was something everyone should read.

The Verdict

This was a fantastic read. Filled with great sci-fi/apocalyptic story telling devices, the message of hope plays strongly throughout this story, and readers will be drawn into the story of this mysterious plague and the true cause of why it choses it’s victims. If you love sci-fi, technology and spirituality, then author Don Lubov’s novel The Plague is a must read and should be gotten today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Photo+of+Don

Don has been happily married since 1976.

He was an artist for 34 years and exhibited his artwork at 3 New York City Art Galleries and the Heckscher Art Museum.

He spent 8 years teaching Art & Design at East Carolina University, McNeese State University, Suffolk County Community College.

He was a guest lecturer at Stony Brook University on “Hyperspace—A Visual Introduction to the 4thDimension”.

In 1985, he received a grant from The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation for his work combining art & mathematics, with his “Quantum Pictures”.

He has written about spirituality and stress relief since 1971. He is the author of 9 books. 10 years successfully teaching his “Six-Step Path” at College of Central Florida Sr. Center, MTP College, and The Lifelong Learning College in The Villages, FL. He has taught his unique brand of meditation to over 2,000 people, who subsequently achieved a level of inner peace.

Don has written for Yahoo Voices, Beliefnet.com, and Kinja.com. His writings have been published in various magazines and books.

He has written the following 6 books —

     An End to Stress – spirituality and self-help

     The Plague – sci-fi cautionary tale

     Near Death in the Gila National Forest – a memoir

     The Side Job – a novel of a female assassin

     The Writers Bloc Club – an anthology of prose & poetry

     Frosty the Soulman – an illustrated children’s book

He has 3 YouTube videos —

      “The Grassroots Manifesto”,

      “Creativity Manifesto”

      “Spirituality Manifesto”

He created and developed “Pyramoids” – an energy-efficient building system, and taught this system at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  One of his “Pyramoid” designs was accepted and juried in The World Trade Center Memorial Competition.

Memberships: The Writers Bloc Club, Del Webb, Summerfield, FL, 2006 – present

                         The Florida Writers Association, 2006-2013

                         The Metaphysical Group, Del Webb, Summerfield, FL, 2007-present

Classes taught: Spirituality (Life’s Purpose, I & II)

                           Creativity

                           Drawing

http://www.donlubov.com/

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Interview with Author Sarah Baethge

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m Sarah Baethge and I’ve always loved reading. After a car wreck derailed my college career, I started reviewing stories and that eventually led to me trying to write my own.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I self published a short novella a few years ago (free on Google Drive now) but it started somewhat abruptly, so I wrote this story to be a prequel for it because the whole story has just kept growing in my mind.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope that they can enjoy it. I wrote it as fun entertainment.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I like to read it.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I’d sit down with Ronald Carpenter, I’d like to know more about his view of The Eclipse company; I don’t feel like I describe it very well.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I like using Twitter, but more people seem to be concerned with my Facebook page.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write what you like to read. Don’t give up just because you aren’t sure how other people will react.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have some plans for about four sequels to this Speed of Darkness book and a couple of Ideas for both a space story and a time-travel story. I’m not really sure which one I will work on first.

Murder in the Heart of It All by Michael Prelee Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An aspiring journalist finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a disturbing individual in author Michael Prelee’s Murder in the Heart of It All. Here’s the synopsis:

Someone is angry in Hogan, Ohio.

Residents of the small town are plagued by vicious, anonymous letters. The personalized notes land in mailboxes with devastating effect, revealing secrets and deeds better kept unknown. Whoever the sender is, they know the town and the people who live there.

Reporter Tim Abernathy is assigned to the story and tasked with finding out who is sending the letters and why. The letter writer doesn’t want to be found, however, and will kill to keep his secret.

A cat-and-mouse game ensues between reporter and letter writer as the violence escalates, shocking the residents of Hogan. Can Tim discover who is terrorizing the town before becoming the next victim?

I absolutely loved this book. To me it felt like a commentary on the anonymous nature of those who the world has deemed “online trolls”. In a sense, it showcased the overwhelming harshness these individuals faced that made them this way, while also showcasing the painful ramifications these hurtful comments or in this case, “letters”, have on those receiving it.

The story itself was well developed, and the characters themselves were incredibly engaging. It was refreshing to see a change in the typical “journalist” character. Normally in stories involving journalists they are eager to get the story by any means necessary, often hurting the people involved in that story. However Tim was a thoughtful, kind hearted individual who worked not for his own gain, but for the good of his community. The story also showed how easy it is for people to go to such violent extremes, and how fear of discovery can turn a harmless troll into a violent madman.

In the end this was a thought provoking and engaging read. This thriller allowed us to analyze the anonymous nature of the internet through the lens of a small town setting. Substituting emails or comments for letters, this story showed the power words have in our society, and how we can step above and beyond the pain we endure to become better people. Everyone experiences pain of one kind or another. It’s how you handle that pain and move forward that defines you. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Michael Prelee’s Murder in the Heart of It All today!

Rating: 10/10

 www.michaelprelee.com

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