‘My Mom Has MS’ Author to Appear at Rhode Island MS Walk

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Author Stacey Longo will be on hand at the Walk MS event being held at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI this Sunday, May 3. Longo will be selling her children’s book, My Mom Has MS, to help fundraise for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

My Mom Has MS is the story of Patrick Holder, an impressive young man whose mother Renee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008. While the entire family banded together to help Renee cope with her diagnosis, young Patrick began asking his friends not to buy him gifts on his birthday, but rather to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Longo and Renee Holder have been friends for a decade. “I wrote the book as a surprise for Renee and her family, to both honor all of them—they really are an amazing team—and to help raise money to find a cure for MS,” Longo said. “Patrick’s tale was both endearing and remarkable. I was honored to be able to put it to paper.” Longo also illustrated the book.

Renee and Patrick will be volunteering at the Bristol MS Walk. Book-buyers are welcome to have their book signed by both the author and the stars of the story.

My Mom Has MS is published by Books & Boos Press. The book can be purchased here.

Book Review: “VWars: Blood and Fire”

 

By Stacey Longo

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VWars: Blood and Fire is the second installment in the VWars series, edited and co-authored by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, featuring such talented writers as Kevin J. Anderson, Larry Correia, Joe McKinney, James A. Moore, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, and Scott Sigler. The book is set up in a manner reminiscent of World War Z, in which the reader is treated to snippets of the escalating battle between the “Beats” (humans) and the “Bloods” (vampires). No need to worry if you haven’t read the first one (though I do recommend the first installment): the anthology is character-driven, engaging, and sucks the reader in from the first page.

Maberry leads off with “Apocalypse Tango” (broken up into seven parts and interspersed between other stories, as many of the tales in this book are), which introduces us to Luther Swann, an important figure throughout this book. This story maps out what’s going on—families are getting slaughtered, tensions are escalating, and Swann is unable to prevent what appears to be another war against the vampires.

“The Enemy Within” is a solid entry from Yvonne Navarro, who introduces us to Mooney, a vampire uncomfortable with her new status. She becomes immersed in local vamp infighting. Mooney is an intriguing character, and this story will have you hoping that Mooney gets her own novel someday.

Joe McKinney introduces us to thirteen-year-old Ernesto in “Tenochtitlan Will Rise,” showcasing yet another facet of the developing tensions. Through Ernesto, who is just trying to take care of his grandfather, we see how closely war can hit home.

“War Torn,” the piece from James A. Moore, creates an engaging voice in Johnny Lei. Lei is empathetic, and you’ll find yourself rooting for the misunderstood vampire, until he reminds you that first and foremost, he is a predator.

“Suicide Games,” also by Maberry, lets us know that there’s more to fear in this war than just vampires and humans.

Next up is “Solitude” by Kevin J. Anderson, a standalone piece about a veteran of Afghanistan who just wants to be left alone. It’s intriguing and haunting.

Maberry pops back in with “Let God Sort ’Em Out,” in which we’re treated to battle scenes, the internal struggle that our old friend Swann continues to deal with, and the introduction of a dynamic new character, Big Dog.

“Manifest Destiny” is Weston Ochse’s contribution, and showcases the cruelty and destruction of which both man and vampire are capable. Underlying in this piece is a cynical commentary on role the media plays in life-or-death situations.

Larry Correia gives us “Force Multiplier,” another standalone story, this one about the far-reaching destruction the war has wrought.

Scott Sigler is up next with “The Hippo,” a fascinating piece about a serial killer hunting amid the vampire wars. This was probably my favorite story in the book—it finally let the reader get a glimpse of reporter Yuki Nitobe, who is mentioned in several other pieces, plus, it reminds the reader that not all of the monsters in this book are vampires. Humans are capable of some pretty awful things, too.

“La Belle Dame Sans Merci” shows some behind-the-scenes negotiations between Swann and the Crimson Queen, in which we learn that neither side, really, wants this war.

Finally, Maberry concludes with “Monsters in the Dark,” a brilliant character portrait of a vampire that is intriguing, opens up new questions, and leaves the reader wanting more.

Overall, VWars: Blood & Fire showcased some fabulous writers, kept me turning the pages, and got me excited about the next collection. VWars: Blood & Fire is available in bookstores and on Amazon here.

Pictures from Queen City Kamikaze 2015

By Jason Harris

 

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Authors Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., Ursula Wong, and Stacey Longo at the Books & Boos' tables.

Authors Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., Ursula Wong, and Stacey Longo at the Books & Boos‘ tables.

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Convention attendees playing video games on the big screen.

 

From left to right: Emily Drouin,  an illustrator, comic book artist, caricaturist, and painter and Jeremy Drouin, writer.

From left to right: Emily Drouin, an illustrator, comic book artist, caricaturist, and painter and Jeremy Drouin, writer.

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Jason Voorhees from Jason X.

Jason Voorhees from Jason X.

Authors David Daniels, Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, and Vlad V., the authors in the collection, Insanity Tales, published by Books and Boos Press.

The Writing, Editing, and Collaborating on a Book Panel: authors David Daniel, Dale T. Phillips, Stacey Longo, and Vlad V., the authors in the collection, Insanity Tales, published by Books and Boos Press. Photo by Jason Rivers.

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The Two Jasons. Jason Voorhees and Jason Rivers.

The Two Jasons. Jason Voorhees and Jason Rivers.

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You can find out about Queen City Kamikaze here.

Book Review: ‘The Great Grammar Book’

 

By Stacey Longo

The Great Grammar Book

I am a copy editor for a Fortune 100 company by day, a copy editor by night for a small press, and a writer. As such, I am extremely rigid and unforgiving when I am asked to review and analyze a book about grammar and syntax. I am happy to say The Great Grammar Book (Second Edition) by Marsha Sramek exceeded my expectations.

The book uses familiar and easily understood language to go over the fine details of the English language, patiently walking the reader through each step, starting with parts of speech and ending with a comprehensive chapter on successful writing techniques. The example sentences used to demonstrate the nuances of the lesson being taught were full of interesting trivia, making this not only an informative review but also an interesting read.

My favorite things in this book were the pointers regarding commonly misused words. (Chapter Two, for example, patiently explained that “alright” does not exist in standard English—a pet peeve of mine when it crops up.) There were numerous examples highlighting common errors, all of which made me start mentally composing a list of people who would benefit from this book. Suffice to say, most of my holiday shopping is now done.

The only proofing error I found was in Chapter Five, “Using Apostrophes Correctly.” Chicago Manual of Style, 6.114 notes that the using the left single quotation mark “should always be construed as an error.” Basically, the tail of the apostrophe should always point to the omitted text, which didn’t happen in the section on omitted numbers (Spirit of ’76 was displayed as ‘76, for example). This is, of course, a minor error, but one I’m sure the author is chastising herself over as I type this.

The Great Grammar Book is fabulous for writers, editors just starting out (I found it to be overly simple for my editing level, but it never hurts to review the basics) and anyone who misuses the English language on a daily basis. I’ve brought it in to work with me to use as a reference when I’m tired and second-guessing myself. This book should be mandatory for every writer’s library.

The Great Grammar Book is available on Amazon here.

The Sex Appeal of ‘Style Icons’

By Stacey Longo

Style Icons

Style Icons, Volume I: Golden Boys (2014, Createspace Independent Publishing Platform) is the first in a series of coffee table books from Fashion Industry Broadcast, written by Paul G. Roberts. In this volume, the series examines the sex appeal of some major Hollywood actors of the 20th century.

The selection of actors offered is diverse and clearly carefully chosen. From the brooding handsomeness of Brando to the swashbuckling sexiness of Flynn, the book showcases a variety of talented, beautiful actors. It examines why these men were so appealing: on page 10, the author says, “It would be convenient to compare the greatest sex symbols to Greek gods … but a keener truth seems to be that we fancy our love gods deeply flawed.” I’d agree that this is true for most of the men in this book.

The book contains glossy photos, a biography on each actor, and links to videos (more on those later). The book opens with Marlon Brando, a personal favorite of mine. There’s a brief biography, and many smoldering photos to remind the reader of why he was so appealing. I particularly enjoyed a whimsical shot of Brando on the set of Apocalypse Now, where he looks relaxed and happy.

Next up is James Dean. The glossy photos capture his handsome face and bad-boy charm. Interesting note about the bio included here: I used to think Dean was bisexual. After reading this, now I think he was gay. This, of course, is irrelevant, because the main point is, he was a good actor and easy on the eyes.

Errol Flynn is featured next, and the pictures here emphasize his debonair reputation. Many actors today still emulate Flynn—indeed, in one photo, he reminded me of Cary Elwes; in another, Kevin Kline.

The chapter on Clark Gable was what I’d expected—several shots from Gone with the Wind, certainly his most famous role, along with candids of him with Carole Lombard and Marilyn Monroe.

The Cary Grant chapter was much like the others—a brief bio and several photos. The treasure in this chapter was a shot of him with Marilyn Monroe. She is posing, and he has a bewildered look on his face. It was a nice glimpse of Cary Grant, the man, not just Cary Grant, the actor.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on Rock Hudson. The photos emphasized how attractive he was, and the bio emphasized the tremendous impact he had on bringing AIDS to the spotlight. As I still remember the shock of seeing his gaunt face on the cover of People back in 1985, it was good to see him young and sexy again.

The Steve McQueen chapter offered no surprises, and served as a reminder of how cool he really was. He was followed by Paul Newman. It’s impossible not to love Paul Newman: besides being a genuinely nice guy—those eyes!

The chapter on Elvis Presley was sad. Though many of these icons died young, it’s tragic to look back on Elvis’s life, see how much he had going for him, and knowing that his life ended so soon. Yes, he was handsome, and the photos will remind you of that, but he was unhappy, too.

Finally, we have Rudolph Valentino to close out the book. His sex appeal was legendary, though photographs don’t always capture that essence of sexuality about him. Luckily, there are links that the reader can visit to see the man in action.

I did have some small issues with the book—it definitely needs another text edit, and it ends abruptly and without photo credits. (In all fairness, I have a review copy, so it’s possible that further edits were made after this version.) The video links throughout the volume will certainly enhance the e-book version of Style Icons, Volume I: Golden Boys, but in the print version, the location of the “play” icon in the center of each image was frustrating. However, this extra element of video links embedded throughout the book did make me want to purchase the e-book version.

Overall, Style Icons, Volume I: Golden Boys was an enjoyable read, and a respectful and intriguing look back at some of the screen’s most alluring leading men. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking here.

A Book Suggestion for the New Year

 

It’s December 31, the last day of 2014. What do you plan to do in 2015? If you are a reader, I would suggest the anthology, Insanity Tales. It’s a collection of work by five authors: David Daniel, Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong. 2014-10-03 12.13.50Insanity Tales includes a foreword by award-winning author Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin) and published by Books & Boos Press. Be prepared to enter a world of madness as you read these nine tales of twisted psyches, peculiar people, and demons of the mind and spirit.

Anthologies are a great way to discover new talent, so order the paperback or e-book today by clicking here.

You can find out about Books & Boos Press here.

 

The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 10

 

Looking for a good book this holiday season? Check out The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh.

In 1948, when he was just a boy, Jimmy Kalmaku trained with his uncle to be the shaman of his Tlingit village in Alaska. There he learned the old legends, the old myths, the old secrets.

Chief among them was that of a mask locked in a prison of ice, and of the faceless god imprisoned within: a cruel and vengeful god called T’Nathluk, dedicated to the infliction of pain and suffering.

Now all but forgotten in a Seattle retirement home, Jimmy finds his life turned upside down. For when an unwitting archaeologist pries the mask free of its icy tomb, he frees T’Nathluk as well.

Stuck in spirit form, the Faceless One seeks a human to serve as a portal through which he can enter our reality. The Faceless One can control—and mercilessly torture—anyone who touches the mask, which means there is no shortage of slaves to ferry it across the country to its chosen host.

Yet the Faceless One has foes as well: Stan Roberts, a tough New York cop whose pursuit of justice will lead him into a dark abyss of the soul; Steven, Liz, and Bobby, the family of the doomed archaeologist; and Jimmy Kalmaku, who must at last become the shaman of his boyhood dreams.

The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh.

The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 9

 

Looking for a good book this holiday season? Check out The Angel of Death by Peter N. Dudar. It’s a supernatural noir thriller that explores the darkness of humanity, through religious and philosophical contexts. It will haunt you long after the last page is read.

In Frank Blake has a plan to murder his cheating ex-wife. After years of her messing with his life, he’s finally hatched a plan to be done with her once and for all.

Malcolm MacAuley owns a bar in downtown Portland, where he’s been hiding from the past and drinking away his sinful memories. Hell is waiting for him on the other side of the grave.

The Angel of Death is about to visit one of them, and make a very dark offer. Can one of these men find redemption by saving the other from the evils of the heart and mind?

Bring home The Angel of Death today.

The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 8

 

The Official pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion brings you two suggestions today. So if you are looking for a good book or two this holiday season? Check out Rock ‘N’ Roll by L.L. Soares, the Bram Stoker-winning author of Life Rage or In the Spooklight, a collection of 115 horror movie columns by Stoker Award-nominated author and film critic Michael Arruda

In Rock ‘N’ Roll, Lash possesses a unique gift that allows him to enhance the sexual pleasure of anyone around him to mind-blowing levels, by entering a trance-like state. This makes him a highly sought after “entertainer” for the local rich and hedonistic, who pay Lash handsomely to attend sex parties and personal one-on-one trysts. But this power begins taking a toll on Lash’s life and psyche. He struggles to maintain his current relationship while dodging an ex-wife who is addicted to his abilities. When Lash finds himself in the presence of death, his world begins to crumble as a new facet of his power is revealed … one with horrible and gruesome consequences.

Rock ‘N’ Roll is like an off-the-wall late night supernatural erotic thriller as directed by David Cronenberg. Soares blends several genres to deliver an original and quite difficult to put down tale (I read it in two sittings). There’s wall-to-wall sex, but unlike a typical exploitation story it’s key to the constantly unfolding plot. This is a real wild ride that’s highly recommended to those looking for something truly different.” – Horror Fiction Review

Rock ‘N’ Roll by L.L. Soares, the Bram Stoker-winning author of Life Rage. Available in paperback and for Kindle: http://amzn.to/1zT3bfl

In the Spooklight is a collection of 115 horror movie columns by Stoker Award-nominated author and film critic Michael Arruda.

Michael has been writing the In the Spooklight column since 2000, and it has appeared within the pages of The Horror Writers Association newsletter and Hellnotes. The book contains reviews of horror movies from the silent era, the Universal monster movies, Hammer Films, all the way up to present-day.

In the Spooklight is available from NECON EBooks as an e-book at http://bit.ly/1wWnK9M and as a print edition at http://bit.ly/1Crl0S9.

The Official Pre-Christmas Writer’s Promotion Part 7

 

Looking for a good book this holiday season? Check out SoulServe: A Ray Garret/Lifeline Techno Thriller by Robert Shane Wilson.

Death is but a doorway … when SoulServe holds the key.

One by one, a group of scientists at Brizen Health are being murdered by … something. Doctors, subjects, and even janitors are reporting disturbances in Section 671, the Neuro-Technical Division. Ever since the death of Dr. Carl Broxson, the server room in Section 671 has maintained a negative 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Printers turn themselves on and print out
terrifying cryptic messages. People have been seeing things in and out of the virtual world of the Lifeline. Including the apparition of their beloved colleague Dr. Broxson himself.
When local police realize the case leads directly into the deep digital canyon of the Lifeline, Antivii agent Ray Garret is called to the scene to get to the bottom of things before another brilliant mind can be taken. But when his wife, Rhonda, starts falling at random and begins to have seizures, the ghost in Brizen Health could be Ray’s only hope to save the love of his life.

Check out SoulServe: A Ray Garret/Lifeline Techno Thriller by Robert Shane Wilson on Amazon.