Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review - THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT, by Roland Yeomans

Don't look too close or you might see that which hides in the darkness. . .or an evil that's been slumbering for milleniums. . .

Egyptian lore lures with its unknowns, its mysteries and the characters and stories that Roland Yeomans places in the setting of bygone times. Samuel McCord, Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain/Samuel Clements, Meilori/Sekhmet, Bastet, a young Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde and other names come and go in this riveting tale which begins in the United States, jumps to India and then to Egypt. Gathering at the exotic Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo, the friends prepare to unearth an ancient curse, while dodging or dispatching those who would stop them.

This is a story of intrigue, betrayal, love, friendship, and adventure. It is a magnificent waltz of power and control which fluctuates as various enemies make their attempts to foil the expedition. By the way, don't miss the lavish ball, it's the event of the season in this tale.

Samuel McCord remains the beacon to which the others gather, He protects. Tesla provides the means of transport, and Meilori orchestrates the restraint and/or demise of several enemies who would harm them.


The Stars Bleed at Midnight follows Death in the House of Life, the first book about the Egyptian expedition, the story that introduced the characters and one which I enjoyed very much. What inspired the massive monuments in Egypt? Were they of this world or another? Who is Bastet? And how did Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill end up being in this place and time? These are all questions that will be answered, at least some of them. . .

I recommend taking your time reading this one, savouring the exotic location and the interactions between characters. Consider this quote by the character Daystar:

"There are none more complicit in one's undoing than one's own heart. . ." 


The adventure and the intrigue continues in the next novel about this expedition: Red Land and Black Death. I'm looking forward to it. . .Be sure to check Roland Yeomans' blog site to see the other offerings by this prolific author.


Have you read any of Roland's novels? How about Death in the House of Life? Have you read that one? I've reviewed that novel here.

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll reply. Thanks for dropping by! I'll be back with another review soon, on a Diana Gabaldon novel. Stay tuned.


Friday, May 15, 2015

CAPTAIN BARTHOLOMEW QUASAR, Serial Chapters, by Milo James Fowler

Do you like your reading in bite-size chunks? Have you heard about Milo's latest novel, in serial form? 

Author Milo J. Fowler, cover

New Release:

and the 
Space-Time Displacement Conundrum

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16 weeks of serial chapters every weekday
80 exciting episodes of adventure aboard the Effervescent Magnitude 
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Captain Quasar is out of time. . .

Pursued by vengeful Goobalob toll collectors, savage Arachnoid bounty hunters, and formidable Amazonians, Captain Bartholomew Quasar must do whatever he can to keep the crew of the Effervescent Magnitude out of harm's way. All in a day's work—except time is not on his side.

Torn from the present to relive his past, he vows to keep mistakes from occurring the second time around. But is he doomed to repeat history? Or can he erase his regrets?

Villains will be vanquished. Lives will be lost. Bonds will be betrayed. Heroes will be heroic.
Join the crew of the Effervescent Magnitude for a hilarious time-travel space adventure the likes of which you've never seen!


Jaw muscle twitching at untimed intervals, Captain Bartholomew Quasar gripped the armrests of his deluxe-model captain's chair and narrowed his heroic gaze. The main viewscreen on the bridge of the Effervescent Magnitude radiated with white-hot streaks blurring in elongated trajectories as his star cruiser plunged into the depths of space at something near the speed of light.

Quasar could feel the tension in the air. It was palpable and tasted like sweat—mostly his own. The members of his bridge crew remained silent, standing at their stations and staring at the viewscreen. Many forgot to blink as their insides trembled, recoiling with a nameless fear.

They had never moved so fast in their lives.

This was the Magnitude's maiden voyage into deep space utilizing the recently installed cold fusion near-lightspeed reactor—an experimental propulsion system they'd picked up on the planet Carpethria. One thing was readily apparent: it worked. But how long could the ship could maintain this incredible velocity without compromising hull integrity?

Already, the ship was creaking and groaning in protest, and the helmsman—a very hairy, four-armed Carpethrian who resembled something between a sloth and an overweight orangutan—had begun to grumble that the reactor really should have been tested before this full-speed leap into the black.

But there had been no other choice. Their options at the time were either flight (and survival) or fight (and undoubtedly be destroyed). Vicious Arachnoid bounty hunters were on their tail, and Arachnoids tended to be a very hungry lot—often foregoing payment for their illicit services in favor of a fresh kill.

The Magnitude's first officer, Commander Selene Wan, wasn't keen on the idea of allowing a Carpethrian to man the helm of their freshly minted star cruiser. But no one else on board knew how to navigate at near-lightspeed, and it took all four of the alien's hands to do the job—something two humans would have had to coordinate in tandem. And that could have gotten awkward.

"Steady as she goes." Quasar smoothed down his close-cropped blond hair and cringed as the ship released a moan that didn't sound good at all—something akin to a whale giving birth. "How are we doing, Hank?"

"Haven't run into anything yet," grunted the very hairy helmsman, hands flying across the controls.

"Status report?" Quasar half-turned to regard his first officer with a confidently raised eyebrow.

Commander Wan, a tall, slim Eurasian with impeccable posture, kept her attention riveted on her console. "Proximity scanners are offline." She swayed on her feet with the rocking movements of the ship, her sleek black hair swinging across her shoulders. "Artificial gravity is holding. Life support remains functional." A sudden frown creased her usually furrow-free forehead. "But the reactor, sir… We may have a serious problem."


"It's overheating, Captain. If we don't decelerate, it may—" She swallowed. "Explode."

That wouldn't be good at all. The folks back home were depending on Captain Quasar and company to bring back loads of quartz necessary for virtually every form of technology and transportation on Earth, not to mention haute vintage time pieces. The Magnitude could not possibly be allowed to blow up.

"Hank?" Quasar faced the shaggy helmsman. "Could we possibly slow down a bit?"

The Carpethrian grunted something intelligible, followed by, "Commencing deceleration sequence."

"Very good." The captain nodded, glancing over his shoulder at his first officer. Everything was under control. "Status?"

She shook her head without a word. Quasar checked the console on his armrest. The Arachnoid ship was nowhere in sight, and the Magnitude had begun to slow down, but only by an infinitesimal fraction of its near-lightspeed velocity.

"Uh-Hank? About that deceleration sequence…" Quasar cleared his throat.

"It will take thirty minutes, Captain. Any sudden downshift in speed would tear the ship apart."

Quasar maintained a brave façade for the sake of his crew. Such was expected from starship captains, after all. Clenching his jaw, he leaned toward Wan and whispered, "Do we have thirty minutes?"

She met his gaze, and he didn't like what he saw in her eyes—something she hadn't shown before when they'd dealt with the horrible Goobalobs or the savage Arachnoids:



Now Available from Every Day Novels
Add Captain Quasar to your Goodreads bookshelf or add it to your TBR list.
AND. . .
Get to know the author, Milo:

Milo James Fowler, Author

1. When did you start seriously pursuing writing as a career?

I've been writing since I was 12, but I started submitting my work for publication in the summer of 2009. I'd always thought I would pursue publication at some point—probably after I retired from teaching or turned 40. My first story was published in January 2010, and I've had over a hundred others accepted for publication since then. I won't turn 40 for another year, and I'm still teaching full-time. Doesn't look like I'll be retiring anytime soon!

2. How did you create the character Bartholomew Quasar?

When I came up with Captain Bartholomew Quasar back in the spring of 2010, I was going for a mash-up between William Shatner's James T. Kirk and Dudley Do-Right from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (but in Quasar's case, things seldom ever go right). He's one of those classic pulp heroes with a heart of gold whose narcissistic tendencies often land him in hot water. I hope readers can laugh at Bartholomew Quasar and root for him at the same time. He's ridiculous, but there's something about his fallible nature that most of us can relate to on some level.

3. Are you working on more Captain Quasar stories?

I've written over 20 Captain Quasar tales so far, many of which are out on the submission circuit, looking for good homes. "Captain Quasar and the Ghosts of Space Command" will be published in the next issue of Perihelion Science Fiction. "Captain Quasar and the Carpethrian Call of the Wild" will be included in the B is for Broken anthology, and "Captain Quasar and the Devious Powers of Persuasion" will be in the Geminid Press space opera anthology. I'm in the middle of edits on a novella-length adventure I plan to submit for publication soon. My collection of 15 Quasar tales Starfaring Adentures…in SPACE is available everywhere eBooks are sold—and free for the taking, last time I checked.  

Author Bio:

Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day, speculative fictioneer by night, and an active SFWA member. When he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. In the past 5 years, his short fiction has appeared in more than 100 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.

Visit and join The Crew for updates about new releases.


Have you read any of Milo's novels? Do you like his detective noir, weird westerns, or science fiction best?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I will respond. Thanks for dropping by, and don't forget to wish Milo Good Luck!! I might be able to get Milo to drop by for a few comments as well. My favourite is his detective noir work! 


Monday, May 4, 2015

Reflections - A to Z Challenge 2015 - French Theme

What did you learn from the A to Z Blog Challenge this year? 

A theme is de rigueur for me. I'm not French, but I love Paris and many things that are of French origin. With a theme, the passion you have for what you're writing about comes through, whether it's your own life, vignettes, or subject matter. De rigueur = strictly required by etiquette, usage or fashion.

Romancing the subject - or searching for connections with any given theme via research adds depth to the posts. Add extra information like side dishes to make the reader go 'hmmm - I never knew that or thought of it that way'.

For the 'planner' that I am, prepping posts beforehand with research material and images and ensuring I have a subject for each letter is something I do. Why? Life intervenes at the most inconvenient times and pre-scheduling alleviates that.  The challenge is to produce a post a day, not just to see if you can fly by the seat of your pants, unless you are a pantser at heart and enjoy doing the flying style. It's a choice.

Search for those blogs that appeal and follow those that you like.
Good advice because we each have different interests that appeal to us when we look for blog to read. It's a good way to meet bloggers you haven't discovered yet. This month long challenge is like a boot camp for blogging.

Expand your horizons, and make the post interesting to others. It's discovery, a way to grow in your writing, and a way to learn something too.  Each year I've kept the posts in a collection, since the theme helps with that and afterwards, added a tab at the top of my blog. Most of those posts continue to bring in readers long after the challenge is over.

Entertainment. Some of my favourite blogging themes entertained me all month - one on all things Cornish, one with alpha lists of a combo nature-books, movies, and bloggers, one on retro TV shows, one with alphabetical themed vignettes, and one naming all sorts of disasters. I discovered  a few new blogs and lost a bit of sleep. I'll look for your Reflections post, if you decide to post one.

Previous collections: Paris, Etc, 2012Art A to Z 2014, and now I'll add a French Faves 2015 (the Archives on this page also shows A to Z posts for April in the sidebar). I'm happy with what I have produced, and I've enjoyed the trip through the month of April. 

Thanks to all those who formed the Hosting Team! 
Lee (Arlee), all the co-hosts, ambassadors, teams, and Congrats to all participants! I plan to keep strolling through the list to see those I missed during the hectic times. I've got my survivor badge. Remember there are T-shirts and a Reflections badge too! Check at the A to Z site.

Are you doing a Reflections post? Did you enjoy the Challenge this year?

Please leave a comment and let me know you were here. I'll respond. Thanks for stopping by!