Monday, September 12, 2011

Reviews from the Heart: Concrete Pearl

Concrete Pearl: Reviewed by "Reviews From the Heart"

Reviews from the Heart: Concrete Pearl

I received this eBook of Concrete Pearl by Vincent Zandri compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours for my honest review and this one had me hooked from the first page. Being sensitive to my readers this book does contain some profanity and sexual references that one may find common to construction crews dialogue but it does not take away from the value of a well written story.

The character of A.J. Harrison, the daughter of the Harrison's Construction company was a believable one considering she's been doing this kind of work since she begged her father to give her a shot since she was sixteen. Now struggling to maintain a hold on the company on the verge of bankruptcy and multiple fines already from OSHA, if she can't locate her missing subcontractor, James Farrel, she will more than likely lose the business from the amount of pending lawsuits that are building over the cancer cases of the children affected by the asbestos since inhaling the fibers for the nine months she's been working on the school.

When a lawyer, Damien Spain, shows up suddenly and begins offering her help, hired by James' wife, that things begin to take a twisted turn. This novel will hold the reader from the very first paragraph and is so well written, you finish before you realize it which to me is a definite sign of great writing. I award this book a 4 out of 5 stars. For more information about this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this book, please click on the links below:

Concrete Pearl

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember 9/11 Today and Then Move On With Your Life

After a divorce or a breakup or a death to someone close to you, a professional therapist will almost always suggest that you try and recall the good things about that person, then move on. Obviously you will never forget and often be reminded of the individual who at one time was very close and special to you. But now that person is gone and they are never coming back to you. The bond is broken forever. Despite the immediate and sometimes agonizing pain, the loss means one thing and one thing only: it's time to reinvent your life.

Today is 9/11, the tenth anniversary of an event that we will never nor should we ever forget, when a Mickey Mouse organization called Al Qaeda comprised primarily of murderous Islamic extremists got very, very lucky, and managed to pull off the mass murder of the century. Since that time the country and much of the world has been tossed into economic turmoil, travel by airplane has become difficult and full of security hassle, many American lives have been lost on the fields of battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, we've tolerantly learned to live with degrees of fear defined by color coded bar charts, and we've tried in every politically correct way possible to understand why Muslim Radicals might hate us so much. We've even come close on occasion to apologizing for just plain being us. Well, I'm not apologizing. I don't say "I'm sorry" to bullies and homicidal maniacs.

Other things have happened in the past ten years. Good things.
Osama, the Al Qaeda chief thug, is dead. A man who lived by the gun and died by the gun. Another thug, Saddam Hussein has been tried and hanged. We now have active counter-terrorism organizations operating both inside and outside the U.S. and in turn, we are better able to protect and defend ourselves. The internet has exploded with social media sights like Twitter and Facebook spreading messages of freedom and democracy to citizens of Egypt, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, making it just a little more difficult in this day and age for a Mafia style thug like Saddam to rule over a country of frightened people. No we didn't uncover weapons of mass destruction in his country prior to entering into the second Iraq War, but that never disguised the fact that they did in fact possess them and had used them before in the form of poison gas on innocent Kurds and had been in the process of acquiring light water for their nuclear processing plants which were being reconstructed.

But it's ten years since 9/11.
Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives on that day, and we shall never forget a single one of them. While it pains my soul to try and imagine the unspeakable sorrow and horrors each of these people went through on that sunny Monday morning, these days I prefer to think about the passengers of Flight 93 bound for San Francisco who decided to re-take their hijacked plane even though it was almost certainly going to mean sacrificing their lives in the process. But somehow they knew that given the choice of being a victim or a defender, they all chose defender. They are heros and saints.

So what shall we do over the course of the next ten years?

Move on. Remember what occurred all those years ago on September 11, 2001 and move on with reconstructing your life.

No more apologies for who or what we are as Americans. We have our faults but we are a strong people whose spirit will always be one of defending the right to be free.

Be tolerant. There will be many more people of the Muslim faith moving to America who are as far removed from the murderers of 9/11 as you and I are from Charlie Manson. They just want a fair shake at living the American Dream. So part of moving on is to move on with people you might have formerly harbored a distrust for.

Be vigilant. There as many domestic terrorists at work in the United States as there are foreign terrorists who want to kill Westerners, Christians, Jews and people of color. Yup, they want to kill little children too. Let's force them out of their rat holes and put these haters behind bars.

Work harder. No one single U.S. President can bear the unspeakable burden of creating jobs for us. As Americans we've always found a way to not only to make a living, but to create new industries. Lets stop complaining, stop collecting unemployment and other "entitlements" and get the hell back to work. Now!

Fight back. It's not only probable that another terrorist attack will occur in the US, it's inevitable. And when it does, we find out the party responsible, and we don't hold back. This time we retaliate with a "police action" not with one arm tied behind our backs, but with everything we've got. We take terror to the terrorists and eliminate every single one of them in as swift a manner as possible. We send a message to the world that we will not be bullied anymore.

Most of all, we must live and re-invent ourselves as free people who love not only our country but the entire world and beyond.

Let's take today to remember the past. Let's never forget! But then let's also pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, and move on with life.


Friday, September 9, 2011

How To Keep Going the Next Day

Richard Moonlight doesn't always know precisely where he's going, but he somehow always gets there.

I'm often asked how is that I'm so prolific?
The answer is simpler than you might imagine. And it came to me not in college or MFA writing school, but instead by reading Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. It was inside a cold water flat five or six flights above a square in the Montparnasse district of Paris that the would-be Papa wrote some of his first short stories. Stories that would come to change the literary world as we knew it.

He was able to write his stories with confidence day in and day out by following one simple rule. He would write a certain amount of words everyday and then complete the session by ending in a place where he was sure to go on the next day.

While this took severe discipline it was also liberating to know that come the next morning, you wouldn't find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper knowing that the day before you shot your wadd, as it were.

So then, I'm not Ernest Hemingway. But I do write a lot of novels, and the way to do that is not only to sit your butt in the chair and write whether you feel like it or not (this is your job after all), but also to always make sure that you end in a place that will allow you to continue the next day. The best way to do this is to simply make some small notes right on the page below your last sentence. If your character is about to enter an apartment with his ex-girlfriend in order to steal a zip-drive containing secret nuclear information her new boyfriend is about to sell to the Iranians, you might make a note about what route they take in order to get to the apartment, and the steps they take in order to get there without being spotted. That should be enough to get you moving come the next morning. The rest of the chapter should reveal itself organically for you.

Thanks Papa for making my writing life just a little bit easier. I wish I could say the same for writing school.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Author Chris Redding Makes a Flyby at the Vox

"Classy title. Classy writer."

Chris Redding is a writer with a bucket list. But then, who doesn't have a bucket list? It seems I spend half my life in the air on the way to one foreign destination or another while dreaming about going to yet another destination even before I've landed in the first destination. Am I making sense here? Well, the talented author of "A View to a Kilt" (Get it?) certainly does. I owe her big time for picking up the slack at the Vox while I try and catch up from half a summer in Italy and while writing the first draft of my new Moonlight thriller, Blue Moonlight.

Time for you to fly, Chris:

Bucket ListChris ReddingWhen I was younger I never thought about a bucket list. Oh I had things I wanted to see. And because I spent the first few years of my marriage following my husband’s career around the world, I did see many things.I saw the Mediterranean Sea. That body of water was as beautiful as I expected it would be. There I was in the south of France on a gorgeous day. The next morning we had croissants so buttery that when you bit into them, the butter ran down your hands. Ah.One of the things I wanted to do was fly on the Concorde. My DH and I shared this dream, but alas, we had children instead of saving up for it. On July 25, 2000, Air France Flight 4590 took off while on fire and later crashed killing all 100 passengers, the crew and four people on the ground. This was the beginning of the end for the Concorde and it is unlikely we will ever see supersonic air travel in my lifetime.Why am I talking about this now?I recently went to the newly refurbished Intrepid, Sea, Air and Space Museum. For those who don’t know what this is, the Intrepid is an aircraft carrier that was originally used during World War 2. It was decommissioned in the 1970’s and later brought to New York City as a museum.You are tapping your foot. I see it. What does an aircraft carrier have to do with supersonic air travel?This museum complex was recently refurbished and now, on its deck, is a Concorde. (There were 20 made.)And I got to sit in it. No flying. No world class service, but I did get to sit in a seat and in the cockpit. And it was worth every penny I paid. Especially because I learned some interesting facts.I’m sure I will use them in a book.The Concorde was built by the British and French which is a feat in itself. After the accident, the planes were grounded until an investigation could ensue. When ii finished the British decided to bring the Concorde back into the limelight with a publicity tour. They planned on flying celebrities and other important people around Britain. Sadly they picked September 11, 2001 as their date. After that date, air travel was reduced. Companies didn’t want to pay for flying and at the same time computer and internet technologies made it easier for companies to do business with each other without flying. And the price of fuel had gone up. All these contributed to the demise of the Concorde. For me a sad day.But now I have had at least sat in one and dreamed about what it would be like to see the curvature of the earth from an airplane. Thanks for having me today, Vincent.A View to a Kilt excerpt:The trip downtown took ten minutes in the midmorning traffic. Miriam shivered at the cool breeze snaking across the parking lot of the Philadelphia Police Administration building at Fifth and Race Streets. She wasn’t dressed for the fall weather. Pulling her coat tighter around herself did nothing for her exposed legs. The chill percolated to her bones.Would she ever be warm again?Donner left her in an interrogation room and went to get coffee. The room, painted in a subdued green, had what Miriam presumed to be a two-way mirror on one wall. A tape recorder for her statement sat on the table. She couldn’t seem to stop shivering despite rubbing her hands up and down her arms. Standing, she began to pace. A urine smell wrinkled her nose. She jammed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear and caught a look at herself in the mirror.“Bedhead, big time,” she said to her reflection. Her crumpled dress added to the picture. She admitted she looked as if she could kill someone. Even her hot pink, sheath dress looked odd on her. How she looked was the least of her worries now. Doubling in pain, new tears streamed down her face. “Oh God, Joe. What were you into since I last saw you?”Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. Her latest book is A View to a Kilt.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The New Stand-Alone Thriller: SCREAM CATCHER!


My first stand-alone thriller in the Stephen King tradition since the bestselling THE REMAINS: SCREAM CATCHER is now released by StonGate Ink in all E-Book formats...

To Order Cick here: SCREAM CATCHER

This is how your life ends: Not with a whimper, but a scream!

Jude Parish is afraid. The former violent crimes cop turned bestselling true crime author has a fear-filled demon lodged inside of him. A demon so real he can only imagine a slimy reptilian beast with scaly skin, black eyes, and razor-sharp fangs having taken up residence inside the place where his once confident and fearless soul resided.

Now, in the wake of his literary success, the ever anxious Jude is hoping to lead a quiet, peaceful life in the idyllic Adirondack vacation town of Lake George, New York with his new pregnant wife, Rosie, and Jack, his young son from a previous marriage. But when Jude becomes the accidental witness to a bizarre “kill game” in which the killer, video game designer and master of disguise, Hector “the Black Dragon” Lennox, insists on recording the screams of his victims prior to shooting them dead, the ex-cop’s life is turned upside down.

When Lennox is arrested by the L.G.P.D. and Jude is asked to act as the state’s “star witness,” he has no choice but to fight his demon-fear and take on the role. But what he doesn’t realize at the time, is that the killer’s arrest is actually the first level in what is a carefully designed and scripted first-person video kill game that will involve his entire family as “players” and “victims.”

How will the kill game end?

Like all violent video games, it will end in death. But it won’t be “Game Over” until Hector Lennox catches the screams of his tortured victims.

“If you want a novel that runs wild like a caged beast let loose, Zandri is the man.”

—New York Post

“Probably the most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.”
—Boston Herald

“A thriller that has depth and substance, wickedness and compassion.”
—The Times-Union (Albany)

“Vincent Zandri explodes onto the scene with the debut thriller of the year. As Catch Can is gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting. Don’t miss it.”
—Harlan Coben, author of The Final Detail