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Homo Sapiens: The Only Bipedal Primates on the Planet – Right?

Each time I write a book, I do my research. And more often than not, that research leads to more questions and more research for a different book. Such was the case for The Belial Children. I won’t give anything for those who have yet to read the book, but as I was conducting those particular lines of research, I kept coming across tales of giant primates in North America.

So I started researched bigfoot, sasquatch, yeti, and a dozen other names for a giant hairy primate. The more I learned the more fascinated I became and I knew there was a book in there. Originally, I had hoped to incorporate the topic into the Belial Series. But let’s be honest, Laney meeting bigfoot stretches the realm of credibility a little too far. As a result, Dr. Tess Brannick was born. An anthropologist with a background in anatomy and physiology, she is intent on proving the existence of the creature that has been the stuff of legends for centuries.

Even though Hominid is outside the Belial series, it is written in the same manner – lots of facts weaved between the narrative. In fact, Hominid has the largest fact and fiction section of all the books I’ve written.

So while you’re waiting for the next Belial series book (coming in November) I hope you’ll take a chance on Hominid. It is now available on Amazon.com!

P.S. And I failed to do an announcement for two other books: The Belial Origins and Runs Deep. Runs Deep is another departure from the Belial Series and honestly, was so much fun to write. Because what’s more fun than a serial killer in a small town? 🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Waiting is the Most Difficult Part: My Love/Hate Relationship with Book Series

I recently found two great series that I fell in love with. The first is by Susan Ee (yes, that’s how it’s spelled). The series is called Penryn & the End of Days. (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled as well.)

The Penryn books employs a post apocalyptic setting where the angels really have wings and pretty much none of them are nice. The lead character, Penryn, saves one angel in order to save her sister. Add in a mother who has phenomenal survival skills due in part to her paranoid mental disorder, and some serious martials arts skills, and you have all the ingredients for an excellent read. (Honestly, the fight scenes are great. Susan really knows her stuff!) In fact, I lost two days zipping through these books.

The Relentless Series by Karen Lynch is equally entertaining. Karen introduces a supernatural universe which includes werewolves, vampires, and other unworldly creatures.

But unlike other series with similar characters, the main character Sara and her cohorts are seriously likeable. Sarah lives with her uncle who she tries desperately to protect from knowing anything from this other world. And her friendship with a supernatural who is avoided by even other supernatural, just makes you like her more.

In fact what both of these series have in common are main characters who you like and, dare I say, respect. They put their concern for others above themselves. Seriously, if you’re looking for good reads, pick up both series. They’re wonderful.

Now as I mentioned above, I have a love/hate relationship with book series. So far, all I’ve told you is the love.

Here’s the hate: each series only has two books out so far. $%#*&^!

When I find a series I love, it’s really hard to wait to find out what happens characters that I have come to care about. (And yes, I appreciate the irony in that many of you have contacted me to say how much you care about the characters in the Belial series. So believe me when I say – I feel your pain.)

So what is one to do? Avoid book series? Nah – I like getting to know characters and I really enjoy starting a book where I don’t have to wonder if I’ll like the characters. I already know before I’ve cracked the first page.

Actually, now that I think about it, one of the great parts of book series is that I get to re-visit the books before the next book in the series comes out. After all, I like to know exactly where we left off, so I usually re-read the books right before the latest edition is published. Which means to get to experience the joy all over again.

So I’ve changed my mind. There is no love hate relationship with books series. There is only love-love.

And so if you are looking for a new series to love/love, check out Susan Ee’s Penryn & the End of Days series and Karen Lynch’s Relentless series. You will be up way too late happily flipping to the next page! 🙂

 

 

Authors I Love, Books I Love, Reading Fun

Destiny Won’t Be Denied: Book Three in the Belial Series

I am happy to announce that the third installment in the Belial Series is now available on Amazon!  Click here to be directed to The Belial Ring

Belial Ring 3D__________________________________

Delaney McPhearson has been through the fire more than once.

This time it’s not her choice to join the fight, it’s her destiny.

And that destiny will either be the hope of the world or its doom.

In the last two years, Professor Delaney McPhearson has uncovered two Atlantis sites.  Each time, she’s lost people.  Now, all she wants to do is enjoy the peace with her love, Jake Rogan and those she cares about.

But fate has a different idea.

Plans are in motion for Laney, Jake, and Henry Chandler that stretch back thousands of years and across the globe to a mysterious, ancient Egyptian necropolis.

Everything Laney thought she knew about herself and her past has been turned on its head.  She never dreamed the violence of last year was only a taste of what to come – a taste of the destiny that awaits her.

But destiny, like fate, always comes with a cost.  And this time, the cost may be more than she can bear.

__________________________________

Thanks for reading!

-R.D.

 

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Playing Favorites

I was on a fellow author’s website the other day and under his bio he had a list of his favorites: Favorite color, favorite drink, etc.  I thought that was a good idea.  But I decided to limit mine to favorite books.

Favorite Author:  Tie: James Rollins and JD Robb

Favorite Sci FI Book:  Ender’s Game by Scott Oswald Card

Favorite Action AdventureJurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Favorite Romance:   A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Favorite Horror:  Cabinet of Curiosities by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (not sure it belongs here but that’s what popped into my head)

Favorite Book I was Required to Read:  I’m completely blank on this one.

Favorite Kid Book:  But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Favorite Comic Strip:  Calvin and Hobbes

Favorite Kids Series(Read as an Adult):   Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Favorites Kid Series (Read as a Child): The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Favorite Mind Blowing Book:  The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Favorite Food:  Hamburger (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Series:  The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

Favorite Genre:  Thriller

As I look over my list, I agree with each statement.  Yet, I also realize that not one of the books by my favorite authors can be found in any of the above categories.   But Rollins and Robb are, without a doubt, my favorite authors. Whenever I see their name on a book, I pick it up without question.  Sometimes I don’t even bother reading the description before purchasing it.

So why weren’t my favorite authors responsible for my favorites reads? Because I assume I’m going to enjoy whatever they publish. My favorites, on the other hand, were a unique occurrence. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’ve read other books by those authors but they don’t grab me the same way. Even though they wrote one of my favorite books, I am not a guaranteed customer for their next publication. I’d read the blurb and decide if it worked for me. So being thrilled by their book was a happy surprise, but not the beginning of a life long love of all the author’s works.

There was some recent research on best sellers that somewhat backs that up. The authors that are the most successful are those with a dedicated readership who publish regularly. And most of them do not dominate the number one spot for weeks and weeks. They do however make the list of the top sellers year after year.

For others, they are a bit of a one hit wonder. By the next year, they are off the list.

Anybody else find their favorites coming from their non-favorite authors? Feel free to comment below.  🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Humanity in Ruins

I drove with the family down to visit other family this past weekend.  Six hours each way – I either really love my family or am completely susceptible to Mom guilt.  The jury is still out as to which it is. 🙂

Luckily, I had the third installment of Dan Wells Partial series to keep me company.  For those who are unfamiliar with the trilogy, Partials are biological robot/soldiers created to aid humanity.  But humanity, after using them to fight their wars, treats them like second-class citizens even though they have feelings, minds of their own, etc.  So of course, they rebel against humanity.

When the trilogy begins, humanity is down to thirty-five thousand, while the Partials number at 500,000.    But both numbers are dwindling down due to an expiration date for the partials and disease for the humans.

Ruins is the struggle of individuals on each side to fight their own nature and the distrust of those around them to do the right thing.  And to have faith in the people/robots they shouldn’t.

This is my kind of book.  Impossible odds.  Little to no chance of survival, but doing to right thing anyway.  I know, it sounds corny.  But I like the books that show us the best sides of human nature, er human and partial nature.

So if you are looking for a good quick read, pick it up!

 

Books I Love, Reading Fun

Another Trip Down the Road of ‘What If?’ – Edgar Cayce on Atlantis

This post is a first: I’m not going to write about a thriller or even a work of fiction.  (Well, actually, some of you may think the work I’m going to chat about is fiction.) Usually I  read thrillers, mysteries, something in the “Who done it?” category.   For the past few years, though,  I’ve  been delving into those same areas but in the non-fiction realm.

Those of you that have read my books, know that both Edgar Cayce and Atlantis play a prominent role in them.  I first learned of Edgar Cayce around eight years ago.  Since that time, the man has fascinated me.  For those of you unfamiliar with his work let me give you a quick bio:

Edgar Cayce was born on 1887 in Kentucky.  He had a normal enough childhood except for two things:

1)  He occasionally saw and played with ghosts as a child.

2) If he fell asleep on top of a book, he would wake up knowing its contents.

As Cayce matured, his psychic abilities also developed.

All right, all right.  For those of you already rolling your eyes: Edgar Cayce is an incredibly well-documented psychic.  Cayce’s most documented skill was his ability to diagnose and treat ailments while in a trance.  His ability reached a level where someone could give him a name and an address and he could diagnose them.  And he had an 86% accuracy rate!  In fact, some of the treatments he recommended were new in his time but are now actually used.

Cayce also did readings of people’s past lives.  Some of those lives were spent in Atlantis.  The Atlantis life readings only make up a small portion of his overall readings, but they are beyond fascinating.  I think we are all intrigued by this idea of an advanced ancient civilization that met its doom.  Cayce’s descriptions of this ancient civilization involve technology, relationships, even its downfall.

I’ve been working on my third book and as a re-result decided I needed a refresher on Cayce’s take on Atlantis.  So I re-read Edgar Cayce on Atlantis.  And yet again I am intrigued!

The last few years I’ve spent researching pre-diluvian archaeological records.  That research combined with Cayce’s readings, is imagination inspiring.  Cayce unintentionally argues for a much earlier start to human civilizations, we’re talking 50,000 BC.   For me, the joy of Cayce’s work is the similar joy I experience while reading a good thriller novel:  the joy of what if.

What if we actually began on this planet much earlier than is currently recognized?  What if there was this incredibly powerful civilization that existed prior to the Ice Age and through its own technology, destroyed itself?  What if a disaster wiped out our advances in this distant past, bringing us back to low level of technology?

Then I apply these ideas to modern life.  I think about what would happen if a disaster hit now.  Now, I can use a computer.  But I certainly can’t build a microchip.  I imagine the same problem would have faced people thousands of years ago.

Cayce was also a proponent of reincarnation and karma, although he didn’t identify it as such.  Reading about reincarnation, well, it made me wonder what I did in a previous life to end up where I am now.

One of the components I liked best was Cayce’s assertion that the people you find yourself with in this life have been in your past lives as well.  When I look the people important in my life, that idea makes me feel good and even more connected.

So if you’re looking for a little window into ancient civilizations, even if you are not entirely sure you believe in Cayce, take a look at Edgar Cayce on Atlantis by Edgar Evans Cayce.  If you think he’s a quack, that’s fine.  Just pretend your reading fiction.  Either way, it’s a fun way to pass a few hours. 🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

Spilling Innocent Blood: Rollins and Cantrell Team up Again

(Try Grammarly’s plagiarism check because you’re better than any copy.)

I just finished James Rollins second collaboration with Rebecca Cantrell, Innocent Blood, and I loved it.  I have to admit, though, I had a little trouble getting into it.  But I think that’s because I was trying to sneak pages in between my hectic life.  Once I gave it the attention it deserved, I had difficulty putting it down.

The last hundred pages were literal page-turners.  Nothing could distract me from it.  It had one of the critical factors these days that makes a book for me: characters I care about, who also seem to care about one another.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m less intrigued by characters who’ve just met or were forced together.  Now, I like to see some genuine concern between characters.  If they care about each other, I care more about them and what happens to them.

Innocent Blood also has a strong religious angle – a historical religious angle, not a spiritual one.  In other words, it investigates religious events as historical ones.  Right up my alley.  🙂

This series is a departure from James Rollins ‘ usual books.  In the Sigma series, he’s got a group of well, spies, sent on missions with historical precursors and of course, death around every corner.

These newer books, however, have a supernatural angle, no doubt Rebecca Cantrell’s influence.  In this latest, Rasputin reappears, along with a few strigoi, (i.e., vampires) and a mysterious immortal boy who just a few months ago was a very mortal boy, dying of an aggressive cancer.

In this latest story, there’s also a subplot involving maternal affection and protection, which rings quite a few bells for me.  As I mentioned above, I enjoy action adventures, where you feel that the people really care about one another, not just the main characters who have usually fallen for each other, but the supporting cast as well.    In the Innocent Blood, we get a taste of that protectiveness for the immortal boy.

And that adds an extra special something that makes the reader need to see the boy survive, which doesn’t look too likely.  And then bam, we are emotionally invested.

This is probably my favorite James Rollins’ book since Altar of Eden and the huge fan that I am, that is really saying something.  So if you’re looking to get lost for a few hours, pick it up!

Authors I Love, Books I Love

The Mortal Instruments: Revisiting the Teenage Years

I just finished The Mortal Instruments series, books one through four, by Cassandra Clare. The series is based around sixteen-year old Clary Fray, who unbeknownst to her, is a shadow hunter. Shadow hunters fight the demons in the world and generally are invisible to humans. There are lots of fight scenes, angel and biblical mythology, as well as some vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. All in all, a fun read.

And, I did like it. But I’m sitting here trying to figure out exactly why. To be perfectly honest, the lead female protagonist was kind of annoying. She was always jumping into things, not thinking, putting herself and the people she cares about in danger.

But then I realize that is the essence of being a teenager. You have little to no impulse control. Every crush is the love of your life and all consuming. And you simply don’t think about the consequences of your actions. Moreover, you have fewer responsibilities than you will have in only a few short years. Looking back, it was full of angst and difficulty, but it truly the freest time in a person’s life.

And I think that’s why I liked these books. As an adult, I am always weighing the consequences of my actions and my speech. I can’t just say what I want to whomever I want. Because I know how damaging words can be. And crushes are no longer all consuming. They can’t be there are too many other possibilities to consider.

Okay, granted, I am married, so it’s been a while. But even if I were free to have an actable crush, at my age, it wouldn’t be a teenage crush – that all consuming think about one guy and nothing else. Because my life as an adult has a lot of ‘else.’ And if I lose focus, a lot of other people and things are affected.

Now granted as I read over this, it makes me sound like an automaton. Not true. I’m just a grown up. But as an adult, it’s nice to disappear into a world where you are free to make any decision you want without worry about consequences, to be completely consumed by passion and forget about everything else. To vicariously live the experience of being a teenager in its best ways, without any of the awkward hair moments.

So if you’re looking to escape back to your younger, freer, self take a stroll through the world of The Mortal Instruments. And sit back and enjoy the ride!

Books I Love

World War Z: The Book, Not the Movie

The other night I went to go see the movie, World War Z. Now generally I am not a fan of watching the movie after I’ve read the book. The movie always disappoints. But this movie was really very good. And why? Because there was no chance it could be anything like the book. Even though the book is really, really good. Let me explain.

World War Z is a tale about the zombie apocalypse. But it is not written in a traditional style. In fact, there is no main character. You don’t follow a single person throughout the book, even though dozens of them are introduced. The book is written as if it is a collection of United Nations reports gathered after the zombie apocalypse has ended.

I won’t lie: At first, it was a little tough to get into. I like to meet my characters, get to know them, care about them. That wasn’t an option here. Each report involved a new character, usually in a different part of the world. But each story was compelling in its own right. In reflection, I realize the whole book was actually written from the perspective of humanity going through the stages of grief. First denial that the zombies were truly zombies. Then anger at what’s happening, depression that the plight can ever be overcome and so on.

In fact, you could even say the apocalypse itself is the main character that you are following. Each report highlights another aspect of its character. And this is a character you really want to know. By the end, you are trying to figure out how life goes on and you’re marveling at the human spirit.

And even though World War Z is written as reports, there’s nothing dull about it. Max Brooks has crafted a believable scenario and it is incredibly difficult to put down. It’s like reading a documentary on the zombie apocalypse. No, wait. That sounds boring. World War Z is anything but. It is truly fascinating form start to finish. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good book about zombies?

Authors I Love, Books I Love

A ‘Drop Everything Until You Finish It’ Book: Ender’s Game.

Aaah, the joy of finding a new author to love!  Is there truly anything better?  And last weekend, I found one.  I was at the movies and a preview for Ender’s Game came on.  It looked intriguing, especially when they said it was based on the international best-selling book.  I thought, hmm, that’s weird I haven’t heard of it.  So when I got home, I looked it up.  It was published in 1985, when I was twelve.  I forgave myself for not being aware of it.

Then  I picked up the original version (there’s also a movie tie-in version), and brought it home.  And if  it had been an option, I would have ignored the rest of the world for the next twenty four hours.  It’s one of those books.  You know the type, you just wish the word would go away so you could finish the story without interruption.

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card is set way in the future after we have been visited by aliens whom we were barely able to repel. In response, the world unites to find the best and the brightest to be the future military officers who will finally defeat this foe.  And where do they look?  At the children.  And the lucky(?) chosen are sent to Battle School, in space, where they are cut off from all family and friends.

Andrew Higgins, aka Ender, is chosen.  But not only is he chosen, he is believed to be THE best and the brightest.  He is to be groomed to lead the entire fleet.  At the ripe old age of six, he is placed in Battle School and he has to grow up.  Fast.

Okay, so far, it sounds like your run of the mill sci-fi adventure.  But it is not.  Card does an incredible job of letting you see the world and the people around Ender through Ender’s eyes.  And those eyes, albeit, young are sharp and wise beyond their years.  Yet, at the same time, his thoughts are still tinged with a child-like vulnerability.  You want the best for Ender, especially when those around him seem determined to make life for him as difficult as possible to prepare him to lead.

It is both heart breaking and inspiring to see Ender shoulder the responsibility placed on his young shoulders.  You root for him, cry for him, and just wish the world could give him a break.  Or maybe a friend.  At the same time, you see the logic in his decisions.  And the action!  It is page turning and chock full.

When trying to come up with a similar book, I naturally thought of The Hunger Games.  But then I realized that wasn’t true.  The sci-fi and action are only a backdrop for the story.  Not the focus.  The story is about human interactions and perseverance.   Which made me realize it is actually like another favorite of mine, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.  They are both stories about boys who realize the incredible power they both hold.  That power comes from their commitment to make a difference.

After I finished the book (and, yes, I did that in one day), I went out and bought five more books from the series.  I am officially an Orson Scott Card groupie.  So if you need a new reading addiction, check out Ender’s Game.  But be warned, your life may have to go on hold until you finish it!  🙂