Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hey, Reviewers Need To Eat, Too


Good afternoon constant reader.

I've not deserted the Universe. I've been busy with proofing books for a writer, and writing my own series of cook books. Both are time consuming and haven't left a lot of time for reading and reviewing.

The thing is book reviewers have to eat, too and pay their bills, so I've been engaged in things that will make me some money.
The Written Universe started out as a labor of love, with no expectation of making any money off of it.
Circumstances have changed, I have changed, so my time is spent differently these days.

I intend to use this blog to advertise my cook books from time to time and I intend to post relevant reviews from time to time, so don't jump ship and assume TWU is dead in the water.

I'm authoring a series of cook books, under the name T.L. Sheppeard. Check me out on Amazon. They're for the Kindle, run $2.99 a pop.

Holidays
Halloween 100 Recipes
Thanksgiving 100 Recipes
Christmas 100 Recipes
New Years 100 Recipes
Valentine's Day 100 Recipes
Saint Patrick's Day 100 Recipes

Foods

Ramen Noodles 100 Recipes
Sriracha 100 Recipes
Lasagna 100 Recipes
Nutella 100 Recipes

Diets

Paleo Diet 100 Recipes

**Coming Soon**

Easter 100 Recipes
Chili 100 Recipes

You can also find me on Goodreads

This is a new venture for me and I've got to say I'm loving every minute of it.
Cruise by Amazon and check out my cook books and buy one or buy 'em all.
No Kindle? No problem - get Amazon's free Kindle Cloud App Kindle Cloud App.
You can use your desk top (PC and Apple), tablet, lap top, or Smartphone (Blackberry, Android, iPhone, Windows Phone)

By the way, not only is Valentine's Day approaching on the 14th, but World Nutella Day is February 5th. 
I've got you covered on both fronts.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Blue Into The Rip by Kev Heritage

Blue Into The Rip
by
Kev Heritage
Available through Amazon in Kindle format and pasperback, B&N in Nook format,
Createspace in paperback, and Smashwords in various e-book formats.

Good morning Constant Reader.

If you like fast paced, intriguing, thought provoking, character driven science fiction, then this book is for you.

Blue is a typical teenager, attending school, looking after his little sister, and putting up with his hippie parents. Until, one day, he is ripped out of his present and flung far into a future where the Earth has undergone some extreme changes. One of which is the military academy Blue finds himself rescued by and inducted into, in a future where the world is not what it used to be. Ravaged by climate change the only refuge is an under ground Desert Amazon. Blue finds life quite a bit different, especially as he is inducted into said military academy as a cadet, who only wants to return to the past. His past.

Blue is put to several tests and finds he does have some affinity for what he's supposed to be learning, but along the way, he discovers how the Earth got into it's present state. At one point, he visits the Museum Of Indulgence, which houses such diverse Earth artifacts as Stonehenge, the statue of Michelangelo's David, remnants of the Sistine Chapel, the head of the Statue of Liberty, some of the most famous paintings to have ever existed by the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Warhol, Picasso, Dali, etc.
He comes upon a gallery with a screen projecting how the world used to be, then another showing the wars, the pollution, the riots and finally the devastation of famine, the disease that followed starvation, poverty, then another gallery depicting the fall of civilization -raging fires in China, the US entirely covered by a hurricane, earthquakes devastating Northern Europe, Tsunamis, volcanic activity on a massive scale.

Still resolved to get through this academy and back home, Blue makes friends with the other cadets in his squad, steeling himself for the day he is instructed in rip technology, the way he will "rip" his way back to his time and his family.
Interspersed throughout the book are definitions of certain words, phrases, or people, which although I knew most of them, I found them a help, expanding on the reading experience the way they were used, much better than the inclusion of a glossary in the back of the book, with the words asterisked for reference or intruding foot notes.

Does Blue make it back to his Earth and his time?
Read the book and find out.

Read the book with the underlying lesson about climate change, which isn't preachy- it's so well woven  into the fabric of the story, you don't feel like you're being beaten over the head about an issue which is becoming more clear, day by day - quit hurting the planet we live on, lest we turn our cities into dust, and we along with them.

This is written for a young adult audience and being marketed that way but I can tell you, it's fine science fiction, with a great story and well imagined characters that keep you fully engaged.
I loved it.

For more information on Kev Heritage:
Kev Heritage author page
Kev Heritage blog page
Kev Heritage on Facebook
Kev Heritage on Twitter

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween - sign this petition and maybe we'll all get this treat




Good evening constant reader.

By now some of you may be familiar with the character of Loki, brilliantly portrayed by actor Tom Hiddlestion in the films Thor and The Avengers. Loki is about to make another onscreen appearance in the new film Thor: The Dark World, opening on American screens tomorrow.

Loki is a scene stealer of a character and there is a movement to persuade Marvel to feature Loki in his own film.

I'm using my blog platform to ask you to sign this petition and to forward it far and wide, as many times as you can. With your help, they can keep going and hopefully get Marvel's attention.

Another way to get Marvel's attention is to vote with your wallet. Go see Thor 2 multiple times and then post the fact to your Facebook, Tumblr, and/or Twitter page. Marvel has eyes and ears all over the place and if they see people turning out to see Thor 2 because they want more Loki, then the chances are better that we'll get more Loki.
They've already given him his own comic.
You can get Loki merchandise.
There's Loki fan fiction on Amazon (which is what got yours truly to finally read a book for pleasure on her Kindle).
So why not a movie?
It's we the fans who drive the success of a film or book or TV show - don't forget that. Without us, they have nothing.

Petition to Marvel Studios to give Loki his own film

Loki comic coming this February

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Going off the beaten path: Recommendation: American Horror Story


Good evening constant reader.
While I'm reading a new book for review, I'll be posting entries here and there on assorted topics.

This one deals with the television show, American Horror Story. If you've not had the privilege of seeing this magnificent series, then you should remedy that immediately.

I saw the first season and was suitably impressed. The house was nice in a creepy way and the things that went on there were weird as hell. The fact that I as a viewer kept getting jerked around from one time period to the next served to make things interesting, rather than keep me irritated. Oh yes, it kept me off balance, but that's what a true roller coaster ride is supposed to do - keep the rider on the alert for the next up hill climb. then free fall once over the hill.
American Horror Story has that formula down to a fine art. The acting was uniformly superb as well as the writing.

I've watched the first episode of season three, Coven, and am here to tell you the twisted minds are still at work.

It was because of that, I sought out American Horror Story Asylum.
When it was first aired, I watched the first episode and it scared the shit out of me. So much so, after the second episode, I quit watching.
It was too disturbing for me to watch.
ME! The one who will always choose a horror novel over a romance any day for the week.
ME, who sat through Dawn of the Dead, while the people's vomit from behind me seeped it's way down the floor of the theatre. Since they threw up during a pivotal time in the film, we couldn't really move, so we put our feet up.
ME, the girl who sneaked home a copy of the book The Exorcist to literally read under the covers at night as I had been forbidden to read it by my parents.

What is it about American Horror Story?
The writing plays on our common, every day lives and fears, and twists things to show us the dark underbelly. Disturbing imagery that isn't blood and guts does the job. Odd music cues, fantastic aural support to set the mood in the show musically and camera work that makes you think you might be losing your mind.

I'm on episode four of Asylum. It's freaking me out.
That's a good thing.

I hope the creators of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk keep scaring the shit out of us for a very long time, as they're producing some of the best horror out there.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

R.I.P. Phlip Nutman



Good afternoon constant reader.

It is with sadness that I must report the passing of yet another talent in the field of horror writing - Philip Nutman, author of the acclaimed novel Wet Work, passed away yesterday at the young age of 50.
An expatriate of Britain, Nutman was known for many things, but I first came in contact with him through his feature articles in Fangoria magazine in the '80's. He was one of the first to interview a then relatively unknown named Clive Barker for Fangoria.
Nutman's work appeared in two anthologies I have personal knowledge of, Skipp & Spector's Book of the Dead and Splatterpunks.
Nutman also wrote and edited 50-plus comic books and over a dozen screenplays. He was also instrumental in bringing fellow horror author Jack Ketcham's The Girl Next Door to the screen (if you've not read the book or seen the film, you need to).
This announcement also comes with a request.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Philip Nutman's funeral. His passing was unexpected and so quick, no pre-planning had been made.
You can find that page here: Philip Nutman's Funeral
If you can donate, please do.

Friday, September 20, 2013

13 Questions with...James A. Moore


1. Name one thing you miss about being a child.

 
Freedom. I miss being able to daydream without interruption and the ability to spontaneously try new things without fear of consequence.
 
2. You’re hosting a dinner party. What is the menu, and do you cook it yourself, or do you call a caterer?

 
An actual dinner party? We’ll start with a nice salad: tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, a red wine vinaigrette. For an appetizer let’s go with baked brie with apples and walnuts. For dinner itself a beef tenderloin en croute with bĂ©arnaise sauce, creamed spinach, artichoke hearts with drawn butter. For desert a properly decadent chocolate mousse cake.
Or, if we’re going with my usual budget, spaghetti and meatballs.
 
And I cook. I’m a mean cook.
 
3. Are you a collector of anything and if so, what?

 
I have a nice collection of skulls. No real ones. I believe the one I have in my head is the only real one I need but I do like to collect various skulls. I find them aesthetically pleasing. Also I have a small but growing collection of high-end statues of different comic book characters. Mostly villains.
 
4. You're about the walk the Green Mile - what do you have for your last meal?

 
My very last meal….Probably pizza. Or my mom’s goulash.
 
5. Physical book Vs an E-Reader. Your preference and why?

 
I like them both for different reasons. The physical books because I love the feel and smell of books. I like the weight in my hands and I love a good piece of artwork. Ultimately my preference is probably for “real” books. Ebooks because, hello, several hundred books that I can carry with me anywhere and when it comes to Stephen King, the real books are bloody heavy.
 
6. What are you currently reading?
 
Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall, a brilliant collection of short stories put out by ChiZine Publications. Highly recommended. I am also rereading THE BLADE ITSELF by Joe Abercrombie, who has become one of my favorites. I am also line editing a few things for myself and reading about five different ARCS for different writers.
 

7. What musical artist are you currently into?
 
Almost easier to name the ones I’m NOT interested in, but currently my favorites include Ray LaMontagne, Disturbed, Gordon Lightfoot, Iron & Wine, The Derek Trucks Band, Amos Lee, Adele, David Gray, Gangstagrass, Kasey Lansdale, Norah Jones and Glen Hansig. The answer varies by the day.
 
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
 
Nope I’m pretty much a what you see is what you get sort of guy.
 

9. What's your favorite word?
That’s as cruel as asking an artist what her favorite color is.  Today’s answer is Love. Why? Because there an myriad connotations involved in the use and misuse of that word.
 
10. What is your current desktop wallpaper?
 
A galactic cluster. I’m contemplating going to an autumn motif, but not just yet.
 

11. You're at a Chinese buffet - what goes on your plate?

 
Crab Rangoon, salt and pepper shrimp, lo mein, a few chicken wings, a bowl of hot and sour soup.
 
12.  What kinds of books make up your personal library?

 
I have a staggering collection of horror. No real surprise there. I have a decent collection of fantast books and a number of classic science fiction volumes as well. In the non-genre set I have most of John Irving’s books and a few others.
 
13. What advice would you pass on to an aspiring author?

 
I went to 17 schools in twelve years of schooling. I did not do well in school and I had to teach myself the basics of grammar and the English language (I had some very good help and advice from a few friends of mine). Despite this minor setback I have managed to write and sell a good number of books.
 
My point? Never give up on your dreams. They are yours. Make them come true.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Seven Forges by James A.Moore

Seven Forges
by
James A. Moore
Available through Amazon (print and Kindle),
B&N (print and Nook).

Good evening constant reader.

If you like a sword and sorcery epic with characters who all but grab you by the hand and drag you through the narrative, a story line that takes your interest and holds it hostage until it's had it's way with you, a lot of action, is well-paced and is so good, you don't want to put it down, but at the same time, don't want to finish it too quick (then the awesome is over), this book my dears, is for you.

Merros Dulver is leading a group of men making their way to explore the Seven Forges, spikes of mountain that can be seen from the distance of their home land Fellein, but until now have remained unexplored. They encounter a race of people who populate this wild and barren land and it seems as if they were "expected" - Merros's arrival was foreseen. The strangers he discovers there join him on his return to Fellein, but Merros wonders if this might be a mistake, to mix his people with the newcomers. The newcomers's Gods are rather martial and they have wild ways about them. Yet they return to Fellein, and the stage is set.

As I kept reading, I got more and more sucked in to this world and the magic and interesting creatures that abide there. There's more than enough sword play, a sorcerer who gave me the wiggins and made me never want to trust him, a young man who loses a lot and gains more, so much more, but at what ultimate cost, female characters that are more than just pretty faces, though there are some pretty faces, too, and an ending I didn't see coming and when it arrived, with too few pages left in the book, told me we're in for another installment in this series.

My biggest gripe about fantasy writing is it can get too caught up in itself and stretch on and on and on and on, lasting for umpteen volumes. With each new installment, the story starts to stretch our further and further from the core that captured one's attention in the first place.  This is why in my pleasure reading, I tend to shun multi-volume epics. Until now.

Mr. Moore, James if  I may...I hope you've got the next volume in this series written, or if not written, at least well mapped out, because I want more, and so will everyone else who has any taste other than in their mouths.

Circle September 24, 2013, as that's the date this bad boy hits the shelves.

For more information on James A. Moore:
The Official Web Site of Author James A. Moore
James A. Moore on Goodreads
James A. Moore on Facebook