Novellas & Cover Reveals!

Hey all! I’m back! After a brief hiatus of regular Friday blogs, I’m back this week to fill you in on what’s been going on and some awesome music I’ve been cranking!

But first – just a heads up, there won’t actually be a blog next week 😦 I know, my apologies. You see – my fantastic work place gives us our birthday day off from work with pay! Since my birthday is on the weekend this year, I chose the Friday to have off so that we can attend the K-Days parade and I’ll be checking out The Offspring kick off concert that night as well!

So let’s get this going;

Novellas!

If you look at my output of work, you’ll see that I have a number of novellas out;

Jane: the 816 Chronicles, Wagon Buddy, YURI & The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. I have four planned novellas already for next year, with a probably 5th as well. I love writing novellas and reading novellas. I love the one shot deal. I think readers also enjoy having the ability to sit and read an entire story in a few hours or less. It can break up any reading lags as well, if you are reading a 400-800 page book.

Going forward I’ll pretty much be solely focused on novellas. I have a novel coming out at the end of this year (see below) as well as a probably novel next year (hopefully) with David Sodergren. Otherwise between some collections, expect my stuff to all be between 60-100 pages long!

Music:

Since I got back from vacation it’s been a mixed bag of stuff I’ve been playing. Lots of old, lots of new and lots of in between.

Abbath – Outstrider

While I was away in BC the new Abbath album dropped. I listened to it as soon as I got back and WOW. Just outstanding work once again by the former Immortal frontman. I think I dig more of this album than the debut, but what a fantastic follow up. So far I’m thinking the title track is my personal stand out track but it’s hard to say as they all rip!

Killswitch Engage – Unleashed

Speaking of new tracks that RIP! Where the hell has this version of Killswitch Engage been? Since Howard left and Jesse returned on vocals I’ve found their output uninspired and derivative. But then this new track drops and it’s almost like Adam rediscovered his “The End of Heartache” music writing chops again. Here’s hoping the rest of the album delivers!

 

Upon a Burning Body – King of Diamonds

I’m late to the Upon a Burning Body game. I’d say I’ve tolerated their earlier stuff but never searched it out. Then “King of Diamonds” dropped on Liquid Metal on Sirius XM and wowsa. The entire album “Southern Hostility” finds the band scorching through ripper after ripper and the groove they’ve fallen into here is meaty and delicious.

Screaming Trees – Nearly Lost You

Screaming Trees is a band that I frequently revisit when I need some nostalgia feels. Them and Stabbing Westward. Screaming Trees were always on my periphery of bands growing up and when I was younger I just didn’t dig them that much.  Now with the advancement of time, I’m appreciating what they did more and more.

 

The Offspring – Days Go By

As I mentioned – I’ll be seeing The Offspring next Friday. The Offspring will always have a special place in my heart. Their song “Gone Away” is a song that many people will relate to for different reasons.  For me it brings me back to the summer that Sarah Jackins was killed in a car accident. The Offspring are one of those bands that even if you’ve never been a big fan, you’ll recognize most of their songs. They are apparently working on new music, but until then – here’s the title track from their last album.

 

What I’m Working On:

As always a whole bunch of stuff!

I do have a very exciting announcement coming with a fantastic group of people. I can say much more now, but I think it’s an amazing partnership and hopefully we can grow this to benefit a lot of folks!

Ritual – I’ve chatted about this novella a bit already. As I said up at the start, going forward Novellas will be my bread and butter! This one is about 75 pages long. I’ve not shared too many details or even a cover. So here’s a brief synopsis!

“Meet Brad. Quiet, unassuming, always on time. He lives his life enjoyably, going through the paces. Every week day the same. Every weekend the same. That is until Father reveals he’s the Chosen One. Now a deadline looms and Brad needs to make sure everything is just right. If they want to open the sky and live forever, everything needs to be perfect.”

This will be out in October. If you want a review Mobi – let me know!

Ritual Cover

Piece of Me – my probable last full length novel. I’ll never say never, but as I go through editing it already I’m missing the novella length of stuff!  I haven’t said a heck of a lot about this one. So how about this – another synopsis reveal! This is tentatively planned for an December release. I have said this before – but this takes place in the same world as my two short stories ‘For Balder Walks’ and ‘Poppa?’

“The snow begins to fall as another winter arrives.  Kari holds out hope that her husband and son will return. She knows that the creatures that lurk in the night are growing bolder, that the winter will be hard on her own, but still she holds out hope for their return. Then a mysterious figure arrives. He tells her they’re still alive. All she has to do is cross the mountains and the realm of the dead to be reunited. But can she trust what the figure says?”

This one is part horror, a touch of fantasy and probably the absolute closest thing I’ll ever write to a full out ‘love story.’ Closer than my short stories ‘Jim’ or ‘Mr. Tross.’

PIECEOFME-COVER

The cover is actually taken from a picture my father-in-law Peter took of a fire we were having at their place in Fort Mac! Mason modified it and voila!

Now let’s chat about two that I’ve not really discussed much. And because I’m feeling good and generous – let’s have two more cover reveals!

The One That Knows No Fear.

TOTKNF-COVER

Cover art done by my usual partner in crime, Mason McDonald who is also doing an introduction. This is coming early next year.  Originally this was going to be a collaboration between the two of us and there are still parts in there that Mason wrote but has kindly said ‘take it and run!’

The title comes from line “Anger rideth with the one that knows no fear” from the Immortal song “Sons of Northern Darkness.”

Here’s Immortal performing it live!

Unofficial Synopsis;

The One That Knows No Fear is a coming-of-age cosmic horror novella. It follows a young boy who longs for his step-father’s love. One morning he discovers the stunt show ‘DAREDEVILS!’ and falls in love with the motorcycle riding stuntman The One That Knows No Fear. This stuntman defies death week in and week out on the show, somehow surviving each stunt no matter how outrageous it is. But the old saying goes – never meet your heroes. In this case you just might now want to see what’s under that helmet.

Can’t wait for you all to check this one out!

The Window In The Ground

Recently David Sodergren (aka paperbacksandpugs) tweeted that he’d beta read one of my books and he was super excited about it.  This is that book.

The Window In The Ground will be another novella out early next year.

Mason McDonald crushing the cover game for me as always!

The Window in the Ground cover.png

Brief plot;

On the outskirts of town sits a secret. One that the town has protected for centuries. If you hike through the woods you’ll find a signpost with some rules. Keep walking through the trees before you make your way up a steep hill.  Then you’ll come to a clearing. At the far end of the clearing is the town’s secret. You’ll be tempted to run and look down through the glass – but don’t. Things live down there and the townsfolk will do whatever it takes to keep the window a secret.

Scott: A Wagon Buddy Tale

That is the official working title for the second book in the Wagon Buddy world. I want to write that this will be the last of the Wagon Buddy tales but who am I kidding. I long ago said that I wouldn’t write a sequel to the first one!

Early feedback has been great. I have a working cover but we need to tweak a couple little things so I won’t share that yet. This will be a novella as well, released next year.

I’ve already thought about doing a super limited edition hardcover of both Wagon Buddy and Scott as a single release so I’ll keep thinking about that!

 

What I’m Reading:

I’ll keep this brief!

I’m currently reading;

The Drive-Thru Crematorium – Jon Bassof – digging this bizarro tale. It’s not up yet on Goodreads so I can’t share a link!

Hellrider – JG Faherty – about 25% into this and loved the build up here.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42789399-hellrider

Dead Mountain – Donnie Eichar – look I’ll read anything about Dyatlov Pass, but this is outstanding.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18881732-dead-mountain

The Spirit – Thomas Page – bigfoot book. That’s all you need to know what I’m reading it. I got this one with the old cover and digging it. I don’t read much paperback stuff so I’ll finish this up next week while flying to Peace River.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12160459-the-spirit

 

Life:

Life has been interesting. Some of you may have seen a bit about my tweets regarding some vague bullying that I occurred regarding my review of Same Deep Water As You. I’ve patched things up with the other parties involved, which was great.  I believe every person is capable of change and that actions will always speak louder than words. So I’m glad to move on from that unexpected bout of drama.

As well, I headed back to BC to where I grew up for my Grandpa’s memorial at the end of June/start of July. It was great to say goodbye to such an influential person in my life.

I hiked up the mountain behind his old house with my Uncle Butch and some of my cousins to spread his ashes along side my grandma’s and my aunt’s. It’s been some time since I hiked up an almost sheer mountain face and going up there on a hot day, limited sleep and almost no food in me was brutal and I had to sit and stop for some time when we made it to the spot because I was certain I was going to pass out!

Overall the trip was good, it was great seeing the family and while some things weren’t enjoyable, that’s always expected with family.

Lastly – July 21st is my birthday.  This year I’ll be having a few of my books free on Amazon. Invisible, YURI and Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery will all be free so snag those for sure!

As well – for my birthday, I ask that in the lead up, if you can all do a random act of kindness. It can be something simple; smile at a stranger, hold the door open for someone, help someone out with their groceries. Just really anything that brightens someone else’s day. That would be swellsville!

Cheers and I’ll be back on the 26th!

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See you soon…ish!

Hey all!  Happy first day of Summer!

Not to start off this blog with a bummer… but this will be my last blog post until Friday July 12th.

Next week I’ll be heading out, back to where I grew up, to attend my Grandpa’s memorial.  Then I have a week off of work.  So no blog post on June 28th or on July 5th.  I’ll still be active-ish on social media, depending on connectivity, but for blog posts – it will return on the 12th.

If you haven’t seen – I’ve teamed up with Gavin over at Kendall Reviews to give away a paperback of ‘Let’s Go Play At the Adams” this weekend.

Enter here;

{Giveaway} Your chance to win the controversial Let’s Go Play At The Adams

I was going to give away another copy of my collection Dim the Sun but I’ll hold off until next week to do that, as I don’t want to create any confusion!

I’m steadily working on stuff, reading stuff and keep your eyes open for some announcements soon!

I’ll finish this briefer blog post with some tunes I’m digging!

This week will be all hardcore/metal core bands.

The Ghost Inside – With the Wolves

This tune kicks serious ass.  I shared their album before – but this song is a stand out and just a head banger.

 

Wolf Down – Stray From the Path

I really, really loved this album, but found after the singer change and the bigger focus on anarchy from the band, I lost touch.  But this song is fantastic.

 

Deez Nuts – Stay True

Don’t let the jokey name fool you, JJ and Deez Nuts crush it.  One of my fav bands and this song keeps me focused and grounded on the tasks before me.  Saw them live in Vancouver and they crushed.

 

Terror – Keepers of the Faith

Of course, finishing with some fantastic Terror.  Seen them live twice and they were awesome.

 

Alright, that’s it – that’s all!

Stay true.

Steve

{Insert blog title here}

Friday has arrived.  And what a week it’s been, friends!

I couldn’t think of anything witty to title this post so you can call it whatever you damn well want! 🙂

This week will be a quick one.

1st – Good news!

As you may have saw, I received my very first acceptance email this week.  I’d stopped submitting anything a bit ago.  Occasionally I’d throw something out there, a poem, something to Unnerving, Flame Tree Press, but for the most part, I really just stopped submitting.  Not because I didn’t think my work was good enough, I stopped because I wanted to focus on writing and getting my stuff prepped for release.

Well, I’m proud to say that two of my short stories will be featured in 100 Word Horrors Volume 3 from Kevin J. Kennedy.  Really proud of this moment.

2nd – What I’m working on.

  • Ritual – almost completely done.  Review copies will be ready soon!
  • Piece of Me – coming along

3rd – Music.

This week I’ll do another round of songs that have inspired my writing.  Last weeks seemed to really click with folks.

Gallows – The Riverbank

This song was a big inspiration behind the story Tossers from Left Hand Path.  I love this Gallows album, but find the rest of their output hit or miss.

 

Stone Temple Pilots – Crackerman

This song is one of my fav STP jams and helped inspire some of the main character for 17 Hours, also from Left Hand Path.

 

Six Feet Under – Beneath a Black Sky

I know SFU has a ton of haters, but they are one of my fav bands and their first album Haunted is directly responsible for my love of death metal/black metal.  The simplistic approach they took on this album, more rock than blast helped my young mind grasp it all.  Beneath a Black Sky features a bit in my novel Invisible but also big time in the two story pack of The Fence (from Frostbitten) and James (from Left Hand Path).

 

Amon Amarth – Thousand Years of Oppression

Another epic song and one of my fav AA tunes, this story really inspired the story Old Man from Frostbitten.  The lyrics in this song are emotional, but really the title, the alluding to someone just being stuck for centuries made me think of this creepy old man who just sat like a statue.

 

Kalmankantaja – Waldeinsamkeit

For Balder Walks was my first officially released story.  I love the story and it came from the German word ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ which loosely translates to ‘alone in the woods.’

If there was one word that described my writing and my themes, Waldeinsamkeit would be pretty accurate.  I came across this album as I began to write the story and contacted the band who allowed me to pair the story with the album.  Ideally, for the most heightened experience reading For Balder Walks, you’d have this album playing in the background.

The artwork for the album was a big inspiration as well.  The artist really conveys my feelings towards the ‘being alone in the woods’ theme.

 

That’s it, that’s all for this week!

Take care my friends!

Book Review – The Targeter by Nada Bakos

The Targeter by Nada Bakos

Release date – June 4th, 2019

30361994

I’m a big fan of alternative history or exploring ‘other’ options of how things might have played out.  This will sound like I’m a big proponent of conspiracy theories, but I know we, as the public, are not always privileged to know all of the details of what happens.  We are told only what we need to know or what a government agency deems necessary for the public to know.  Hence – all of the redacted parts when a Freedom of Information Act request is granted.

This love of alternative stuff led me to find the show ‘Hunting Hitler.’  This show had three seasons on the History Channel and really what I was enthralled by was seeing just how immense the war effort had been.  The cast and crew travelled across Europe and South America, showing different places and massive war time construction efforts.  As someone who has never been a member of the military or involved in anything like this, it is fascinating to see.

During the shows run, Nada Bakos was brought on board and I was immediately drawn into her level-headedness and how she always worked to state facts/ideas and never worked towards sensationalizing the story.  Sadly, I found she wasn’t featured enough, as she became one of my favourite people featured.

Which led me to her book ‘The Targeter.’  Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for approving me for this book.  I only read a handful of non-fiction books each year, but when I saw Bakos’ name pop up, I knew I needed to throw my hate in the ring and read about her previous career.

This book is an exhilarating romp following the behind the scenes story of how Bakos’ was involved in tracking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a mastermind with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Nada does a fantastic job of sharing her story with us in spurts and as the hunt pics up, it reads like a well-made war movie.

I had a great time reading this and as a Canadian, it’s always interesting to read about how the USA functions at some of the top tier levels.

For those who are reading this for any ‘Hunting Hitler’ dirt, this book doesn’t deal with it at all.  But that shouldn’t stop you from checking this fast-paced thriller out.

I really enjoyed that citations were added at the end to help with the logistical nightmare keeping this stuff in order must have been.

4/5 stars!

The Stranger… things in life.

Hey, hey!  Friday has arrived and here I am back with a normal blog post.  If you remember correctly, I didn’t do a full real blog post last week as The Stranger was arriving and I did a giveaway with Kendall Reviews!

Response to the give away was huge.  I was blown away with how many people were interested in snagging the super limited All-Black edition of The Stranger.  531 entries to be exact.  Couldn’t believe it.

Big congrats to Sara over on Instagram for winning it!

The Stranger so far has been seeing some really nice reviews and the various photo’s I’ve seen of the book in the real world look amazing!  Next week I’ll get a collage together of some of the ones I’ve seen so far.

If you haven’t snagged a copy and want to;

 

One of the stranger things I’ve noticed – in the week before and the week following the release of The Stranger, there has been a surge of folks snagging my previous release The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.  I’m chalking this up to a ‘holy hell, amazing steve has another amazing release out but I haven’t read his last phenomenal release so I need to snag it now!’  🙂  I mean, that’s how you all think, yeah?

Really what I’m trying to say is thank you to each and everyone of you who has snagged any of my releases.  Really means the world.  My hope is to one day get to a point where I break even on the books when released or even start to make a few bucks!  Slowly getting there!

If you haven’t snagged The Girl, here’s the link!

 

What I’m working on;

As you know (at least those who follow along!) I’m pretty organized with my writing and releases. So organized in fact that my October release Ritual is 99.9% done.  I rewrote one important scene and sent it to David Sodergren for thoughts/edits and just waiting on that to be returned.  If you’re keen and want a copy for review – those will probably be ready by month end.  This one’s a really quick read, 60ish pages, but it’s jammed packed and really, really dark.  Some may say disturbing.  And that’s coming from my mind, so prepare yourself.  I’ll be looking at dropping a cover reveal and synopsis probably in August.

Wagon Buddy 2 – I’ve posted about this a couple times, but I am in fact working on a sequel to Wagon Buddy.  I have a working title and a probably cover already.  I’m now 12,000 words into this first draft.  I’d say I’m 50% done the story.  One thing I’ll note – when Wagon Buddy was released there was a few comments and a couple of reviews saying they didn’t find that novella ‘horror.’  While I’m not going to argue for or against, or what ‘horror’ is, Wagon Buddy 2 follows Scott and the creature immediately following the ending of the first story.  The initial story is about a very lonely kid, who becomes a man, who is mercilessly bullied, but his imaginary friend helps him time and time again.  Expect more of the same, but written with a bit more introspection from Scott and his searching for the ‘why’ of things happening Scott trying to come to terms with feeling absolutely alone.

Piece of Me – as you may have read before, Piece of Me will be coming out in December.  I have a finished cover (absolutely stunning from Mason McDonald) once again and draft two is finished.  I will be finishing draft three probably next month then it will be off to Sodergren for edits etc.  This one happens completely in the same world as my short stories For Balder Walks and Poppa?

What I’m Jamming;

For this weeks blog I’m going to share four tracks that inspired some of my writing specifically.

Devildriver – Before the Hangman’s Noose

If you’ve read my first short story collection Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery, you’ll no doubt have read the disturbing Time Out Noose.  That short story was a western jaunt through a son’s revenge.  Before the Hangman’s Noose was a song I’ve loved since I first heard it.

 

Big Wreck – Albatross

Another story in Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery is Mr. Tross.  A story of metamorphosis, I was listening to a lot of Big Wreck at the time of writing it and this song helped me name the main character.  Sadly just this past Wednesday, June 5th, founding member and rhythm guitarist Brian Doherty passed away following a battle with cancer.

 

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

My first novel Invisible was a long, long writing process.  Close to a decade of writing and rewriting before I finally let it fly free into the world.  The story follows me as I make my way across a desolate mountain landscape, chased by a beast.  All the while I keep finding myself locked in a claustrophobic lighthouse.  The book features a lot of autobiographical sections and discussions my struggle with wanting to live while in high school and some of my mental health battles.  I wish it brought me pleasure saying this – but I don’t believe anyone has made it all the way through without crying.

Throughout that book there is close to 150 music references.

One such frequent reference is Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.  For this video I decided to share the live version from the very last time these four humans performed together, July 2, 2005 at Hyde Park in London.

 

Book of Black Earth – Horoskripture

Lastly, I’ll share a track that has been playing in constant rotation for me while writing Ritual.  Book of Black Earth is a Seattle, Washington band.  I first discovered them when they opened for Himsa at Himsa’s going away show.  Himsa has since played at handful of dates, but at the time, this was the last bash.  Book of Black Earth was crushing and I quickly added them into my musical library.  I ended up chatting a bunch with the drummer for the band when we were standing beside each other at the At the Gates reunion show a few months later at El Corazon.  Really nice guy.  BoBE has announced that new music and a new tour is coming as it’s been some time for either, but as of yet nothing’s been announced.  The album Horoskopus is outstanding and this is one of my favourite tracks from them. (side note here – I have a number of releases that are interconnected/linked.  BoBE is referenced/mentioned within my book Invisible.  Ritual and Invisible are not linked in any way.)

 

In Closing;

So to wrap up this weeks blog, I WILL be getting a few paperbacks of The Stranger and will be doing a paperback giveaway at some point here.  I’ll also be doing three flash giveaways coming up for my poetry collection Dim the Sun.  I have three copies sitting at the house and I might as well give them away!  So watch for those.

This weekend my sister, brother-in-law and her two boys are visiting from BC so we’ll be heading to Jurassic Quest on Saturday.  This will be a pretty fun show to check out, so watch for photos over the weekend!

Cheers!

Book Review: Cydonia – Michael Morar

Cydonia – Michael Morar

Genre: Sci-fi

Publication Date: May 10th, 2019

Page count: 608

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When I started really looking at reviewing books – not just a paragraph or two about them (which if you look at my first reviews on Goodreads you’ll see that’s what I did) one thing I really wanted to focus on was helping folks GET reviews.  Getting reviews is super tough.  I’m a small fish in the indie author scene, but on June 1st released my 9th book.

By this point you’d think I was confident and can just message people to ask if they’d like an ARC to read.  To be truthful – I will write down a list of who I am wanting to message (and most of these folks are people who have said I can ask them about reading an ARC from me any time) and then it will take me 2-4 days to build up the steam necessary to message them!  It’s so stressful.  Yes, the worst they can say is no, or sorry not right now – but I never want to feel like an imposition!  And the funny part is – I’m never really stressed if they’ll like the book or not – as it’s their reading experience!

So – Cydonia is a special one for me.  Michael kindly messaged me through my site/blog and asked if I’d be up to reading his debut (which came out on May 10th of this year, 2019).  We exchanged a couple emails and I said sure – pop it over and I’ll prioritize it.  He kindly read and reviewed my novella YURI as well, which is always nice to do a book swap, and here we are!

I would’ve had this done sooner if not for a few things cramping my reading progress – 1) I wanted to finish reading ‘Let’s Go Play At the Adams’’ and 2) I was trying to finish up some stuff for my May celebration of Pypermaynia!

Cydonia is sci-fi true and true and I’m always in awe of authors who can write in that genre.  I have tried my hand kind of with my horror/sci-fi novella Jane, but full on sci-fi is daunting.  As a reader it can also feel daunting when diving into a sci-fi release simply because you’re never too sure how in-depth and Science based the plot with be.

Thankfully Michael focused more on the story while having the Science based stuff really accessible and as a really nice feature to prop up the human story featured throughout.

The story itself follows three main characters (at least for me it did, there’s a few others who Michael treats has involved, but for my reading experience it was these three.)

Morar introduces us to Sarah Pauley almost immediately, in a really fun, exciting opening.  The story revolves around a conflict on Mars and Sarah is the ‘outcast’ of the Pauley family.  The one who doesn’t believe there should be a war.  Her husband meanwhile, Robert Pauley is the second main character here.  Robert is high up in the political landscape.  His character was an interesting one that went back and forth between wanting to ensure Sarah was alive and safe, but also interested in how much violence he could inflict, while trying to keep climbing the political ladder.

Lastly Morar introduced us to Markus Arundel.  When we first are introduced to this character Morar almost gave Arundel a storyline of being disinterested in the war and the political conflict, but we soon fine that is furthest from the truth.  Markus was a fun character and a character I would have loved to see even have his own series based on his past and his exploits.

Overall this book goes through some peaks and valleys.  At 600 pages you are bound to have some lulls and spots where the dialogue could have been tightened and a few scenes cut out for posterity.  If we were to ask Michael about that, as the author he’d have a strong rebuttal, so the other thought I had that would make this flow and become a stronger read would be to split into two or three books.   Almost go ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ style and have each release focus on one of the characters and then wrap it all up together.  That’s not to say the book is bad, its actually far from it, but I worry the listed page count will be a deterrent for some folks, when really it shouldn’t be.

At the end of the day this was a great read and when I think of the achievement of writing a 600 page Sci-fi release for your first novel I’m left stunned.

Kudos to Michael for such an accomplishment and I thank him kindly for letting me visit Cydonia.

4/5 stars for a frolicking Mars based story with a ton of great interpersonal storylines.

You can get Cydonia here;

Synopsis;

CYDONIA is set in the near future. Humans have colonised Mars after discovering molecules that will transform Earth’s energy economy. Two global organisations competing for lucrative Martian territory have, following inconclusive legal efforts, declared war. The worlds watch as elite mercenary armies prepare for a modern, corporate warfare, fighting in freezing, brutal conditions never before endured by armed forces.

Robert Pauly, Cydonia’s ruthless Deputy Director General, is driven by his love for his wife Sarah and his limitless ambition. Fearing both loss of Sarah and that of his job, the former homeless orphan turns against his employers and pushes instead for peace, but soon discovers his own propensity for violence.

Sarah Pauly doesn’t care about the Cydonia Corporation, or Mars, or the war. Bitter and driven, she will do anything, even endanger her own life, to escape the shadow of her aunt, the Director General.

Markus Arundel, a disgraced mercenary captain, has travelled to Mars to lead the initiative on the battlefield. But jaded by years of violence and plagued by paralysing nightmares, he suddenly resolves to retire, that is until his own superiors insult his already wounded pride.

May wrap up, PYPERMAYNIA and Contest

Hello, my find furry friends!

Today is the last day of May, which also means it’s the last day of the unofficial Canadian month long celebration of my favourite author Andrew Pyper.  This month I attempted (and failed) to read his other books I haven’t read yet!  I managed to get two done…

The Homecoming (see link for review)

https://stevestredauthor.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/the-homecoming-review-pypermaynia/

and

The Trade Mission (see link for review)

https://stevestredauthor.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/book-review-the-trade-mission/

I also was able to interview the man himself!

{Guest Interview} PYPER-MAY-NIA continues as Steve Stred talks to the man himself, award winning author Andrew Pyper.

This was a total thrill and something I’ll cherish for the rest of time.

I still plan on reading the other three Pyper books I didn’t read in May coming up, so watch for those reviews!

May Wrap Up;

I’ve never done a monthly wrap up before, mainly because I do all of my reading on my Kindle, so I can’t post a picture of my book stack.  So instead, here’s the books I read 🙂

We Sold Our Souls, Netherkind, Artemis-One-Zero-Five, The Homecoming, Ex Nihilo, Mr. Sticks, The Hungry Ones, Let’s Go Play At the Adams’, and The Trade Mission.

It’s odd to say this – but I only read 9 books, which is a really slow month for me.  I currently am reading Impossible James, The Silence, The Targeter and Cydonia, so those will all be finished up by the end of next week.

Interview;

I was recently featured over on Sonora Writes, talking about writing The Stranger and just some general horror stuff!  If you missed that, check it here;

Ask the Author: A Q&A with Steve Stred

 

Which leads me into;

The Stranger

The Stranger arrives TOMORROW!!! HOLY HELL!

Thank you to the 24 folks who purchased the limited edition hardcovers.  That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.  25 total were printed, one of those bad boys are mine!

As well – TODAY IS THE LAST DAY YOU CAN ENTER THE SUPER LIMITED EDITION HARDCOVER CONTEST FOR THE ALL BLACK THE STRANGER!!!

For full details check this link;

{Giveaway} Your chance to win an extremely limited edition copy of The Stranger by Steve Stred.

Winner will be announced tomorrow!

The Stranger ebook is available for pre-order still – it will arrive tomorrow, but the paperbacks are now also live!

 

What I’m jamming;

This one is gonna be super varied haha!

Chadwick St. John did the artwork for The Stranger.  He also did the artwork for the new Darkthrone album, which drops today!  The artwork he has done for their release is also stunning.  Check out the first two videos released for the album.

 

 

Above & Beyond feat. Armin Van Buuren – Show Me Love

If you’ve followed along you know my love of Above & Beyond.  I enjoy the energy they bring and the positive message.  They are also my son’s favourite group and every time I hear them I think of him.  This new song is fantastic and if it doesn’t make you tap your toes and smile then listen to it again!

 

Collective Soul – Right as Rain

Collective Soul have been a band I’ve loved since I first heard Shine when it was released way back when.  Solid Hard Rock with a bit more musicality than the standard fare, they’ll always be one of my favs.  I saw them in Abbotsford about 15 years ago and really need to see them live again.  This is their newest track off of their next album and Ed Roland and crew deliver again!

 

What’s happening in life;

May was a busy month.  At the start of the month my mother-in-law moved down to Edmonton from Fort Mac and it’s been fantastic having her so close.  Auryn loves it as well.  I grew up with my Poppa and Nanny just down the street from us and I’m so happy he’ll be able to grow up with (for now) one of his grandparents so close.

Speaking about Poppa – at the end of June we’ll be travelling back to Nakusp/Burton area to attend his memorial.  He passed away at the end of 2018 but it was decided to postpone his memorial until the Summer, allowing people to make it and not have to worry about winter travel.  Auryn met Poppa a few times.  Yesterday my wife showed me something really amazing – Auryn was able to pick out Poppa in a photo and even called him Poppa!  Blown away.

As for Mr. Man, we attempted to have him to outdoor soccer this month.  He really had enjoyed indoor soccer over the winter, but alas outdoor soccer wasn’t to be.  The lure of the playground next to the field was too much for him and so we went to two sessions and that will be it.  We will see if it is something he wants to try again next year!

Finally in closing – the only other thing happening here is once again Alberta is on fire.  Currently there are 28 significant fires burning in the province.  Here in Edmonton we are under an air quality advisory.  Last night the air quality level reached a level of 72 on a scale of 1-10.

Take a look at some video footage;

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/air-quality-in-edmonton-peaked-at-a-72-thursday-night-on-a-scale-of-one-to-10-1.4445538

And some pictures;

We aren’t in any risk from the fires burning, just affected currently by the air quality, which reached levels seen typically in Beijing.

The loss of houses and land is significant already and it’s just going to get worse before it gets better once again this year.  Here’s thinking of the safety and health to all of those impacted and to those fighting the fires.

 

Until next week!

Steve

Book Review: The Trade Mission

The Trade Mission – Andrew Pyper

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As most of you have seen, I’ve been celebrating all things Andrew Pyper this May – dubbing it PYPERMAYNIA.  I started the month off by reading his latest The Homecoming which was a stunning work of family tension and psychological thrills.  It catapulted itself into my favourite book position and one I’m actually considering re-reading, which is something I very, very rarely do.

My ambition was to read The Homecoming, The Trade Mission, The Killing Circle, The Guardians and Kiss Me, his short story collection.  Sadly, I have failed you all, as in the month of May I read The Homecoming and last night finished The Trade Mission.  I’ll still be reading the other three here in short order, I’d just hoped to get through all five.

In May, Andrew also kindly agreed to a short interview and it was one of my literary highlights to ask him some of the burning questions I had clanging around my head.  I cheekily even asked him two more questions via DM that he amazingly answered, but all in all, I’m super happy about PYPERMAYNIA and I hope some others were able to add his books to their TBR or even read some of his work.

Now, as for The Trade Mission – this was a book I’d had on my TBR for a little while.  I’m a sucker for all things ‘Lost World’ sounding.  Whether it’s the Amazon rain forest, a forgotten island, Dyatlov Pass or something just set in Siberia, then I’m game.  The synopsis is one that would always grab my attention – a group of Canadian entrepreneurs have travelled to South America trying to increase interest in their start up business.  While there they go on a sight-seeing trip up one of the numerous rivers.  After a celebratory party one night they are kidnapped by unknown assailants and from there it becomes a tale of survival.

The story is told from the point of view of 38 year old translator Liz Crossman.  The other main characters are the two faces of the business Wallace and Bates as well as 50 something Barry and another co-worker Lydia.  I can’t honestly say I remember what Barry and Lydia’s jobs were but enjoyed both characters immensely.

The opening to the story in my opinion is a decent set up for what the business is and why they are down in South America, but ultimately wished it was a tad shorter.  The true grit in this tale is Pyper’s psychological journey once the characters are captured.

The jungle itself is one of the biggest antagonists in this story.  They are in the middle of nowhere with the only source of travel being on the river, which itself plays host to a number of animals wanting to turn them into a snack.

The survival aspect and tale in this story is top notch.  From their capture through to the ending I enjoyed watching each characters descent into turmoil and madness.  It should be noted that at the same time of reading this, I was also reading The Silence by Tim Lebbon and Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ by Mendal Johnson.  While I haven’t finished The Silence yet, I did finish Let’s Go Play and this trio of stories all play with the mental aspect of survival as well as what happens when the odds are turned against you.  They worked well to heighten each other and I really lucked out into each working off of one another.

Overall this is another exciting entry into Pyper’s bibliography and one I’m glad I finally got to read.  I’m looking forward to finishing off the rest of his work and will await the announcement of his next release!

4/5 stars to a gripping tale of survival that takes place in a world where everything is out to kill you.