Friday, October 12, 2018

Book Review: 'Pokergeist' by Michael Phillip Cash posted by San Francisco Review of Books

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Book Review: 'Pokergeist' by Michael Phillip Cash

GEIST















This is not a typical ghost story. Usually ghosts are either scary, freaky or out to cause mayhem. In Pokergeist this particular ghost wants a bracelet. Not just any old bracelet. No, this one is the ultimate poker prize, the dream all poker players strive to reach. Such is the draw, not even death can stop a determined poker player. Clutch has a second chance to win, even if he has to use the hands and body of Telly, the hapless hero. At least, that’s the basic gist of the story but it’s not the whole story, not by a long shot and that is why this novel was so interesting.
Telly is the epitome of the man who dreams big, who thinks he has what it takes to play with the big guys, but when he joins them, he gets a rude wake-up call. It’s very disheartening and the author made it very clear that the hero is at the tipping point. He’s not so addicted that he can’t stop, but he’s not far off. It’s the love of his life, Gretchen, that’s his anchor. But can he really stop gambling?
Their relationship bears the strain of his dream and it’s very gripping, gritty and true-to-life. When you love someone, you want to help them, support them and encourage their hopes and ideas and Gretchen does that the best she knows how. Sometimes, there’s a breaking point and the author explored that a little bit. Telly’s dream comes close, very close to destroying one of the best things in his life, his relationship with Gretchen. The major complication comes from Clutch, the ghost.
Clutch’s influence is a good thing/bad thing. There are times I cheered and others I thought he was a jerk – which is sort of how he was in life. Because he dealt with loan sharks, Clutch qualified for the ‘j’ word. It wasn’t just the fact that he owed money, it was who they went after to recoup their ‘investment’. I wonder if people ever think about that – that loan sharks don’t accept death as a reason to bring the balance sheet to zero. That messed up the subplot rather nicely. The subplot was about the people Clutch left behind and the author interwove their lives with Telly and Gretchen seamlessly.
As the reader approaches the final few chapters, the author starts bringing all the players in this drama onstage for the big finale. I am happy to share that I ended up being stunned. The ending did not happen as I expected. What did happen ended up being a very savvy, clever and surprisingly funny wrap up. The angel that kept trying to get Clutch to ‘cross over’ finally got his way, but again, the why and how was greatly amusing, and yet, there was a lesson to learn, a moral to the story that was really sweet and poignant. The final showdown with Ant and Telly was a class act. The epilogue was perfect and sweet with a hint of that ol’ Clutch sass.
Pokergeist is a ghost story with depth, heart and grit. It follows a man who is basically good, timid and smart but loves poker and believes it’s the path to better things, mixed with a ghost who sees a second chance at that coveted bracelet and pursues it with a single minded purpose, and complicated by the love of a good woman who is wondering if Telly is still the man she fell in love with. Woven throughout this book is the story of real people in all their vices, darkness and passions. What redeems them are the good deeds, the integrity and the true love of Telly and Gretchen. This isn’t a fluffy book; it has teeth and it’s meaty, and it’s well worth spending time with.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission.

http://www.sanfranciscoreviewofbooks.com/2018/10/book-review-pokergeist-by-michael.html

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, CreditCards.com created a resource guide to help bring awareness to several breast cancer charities that accept airline miles and credit card rewards as donations - which often go unused.

Breast cancer mortality rates have declined 39 percent due to the continued support of research and education. Imagine how many more lives could be saved if more people knew how to donate to the cause.

CreditCards.com created a resource guide that explains how readers can go beyond wearing pink by donating their unused airline miles and credit card rewards to several breast cancer charities - something most people are unaware of.

CreditCards.com also included information about how to avoid charity scams and ensure your donation lands in deserving hands.

Click here to discover more...
https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/support-breast-cancer-awareness.php


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Third Step by William Lobb - Synopsis & Excerpt

The Third Step

William Lobb

GET YOUR COPY ON AMAZON TODAY!
https://www.amazon.com/Third-Step-William-Lobb-ebook/dp/B077669NJ1

SYNOPSIS:

Dark, gritty, and riddled with back alley characters, The Third Step is one man’s journey into the black recesses of his own soul…

Meet Frankie, a young, disaffected amateur boxer, really more of a punching bag, a drunk and a drug addict. He is a loser at love, except for his relationship with his grandma, who, rumor has it, is a white witch. She, along with a handful of others, serve as his moral compass.

Frankie fights a lifelong struggle to find an understanding of the creator of the universe, not the poisoned caricature painted by the church and the “holy” people who seem to torment him.

His journey takes him from the East Coast down to New Orleans to face confrontations with his demons, both real and imagined.

Along the way the story is littered with tales of drug smuggling, murder, an affair with a woman who may be the devil herself, and an ultimate quest for revenge. Frankie comes to terms with his addictions, but his search for a deeper understanding of this God entity and his need to connect with his soul could be his ultimate addiction, one that may follow him beyond the grave…


EXCERPT FROM "THE THIRD STEP" BY WILLIAM LOBB

It was 1957, March actually.  Guys who’d kicked Hitler’s and Hirohito’s asses were back home and settling in, buying big block Chevy’s and houses and TVs. I came to this world in the middle of all this. It was amazing. Captain Kangaroo and Leave it to Beaver. There was a sense that we were on the side of God and right.

Then it all changed, quickly. Vietnam, hippies. Nixon. The Russians. We no longer so scary, our government was, and everything started to change. My belief system broke down.  I started to swim with the sharks, the water got deeper and colder.

I got lost as I lost the desire to be found. I began to live underground. I liked it there. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

Today, no two people know me as the same person. Everyone has a slightly different story, a different version. I’m okay with that. I’m a good source of amusing stories. That is what I should be.

A landlocked pirate, trying to survive 21st century mediocrity, writing is an attempt at making peace with these times and my life. Some days it works; some days it doesn’t.

GET YOUR COPY ON AMAZON TODAY!
https://www.amazon.com/Third-Step-William-Lobb-ebook/dp/B077669NJ1

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Neuormorphs by Dennis Meredith


Title: The Neuormorphs
Author: Dennis Meredith
Genre: Science fiction
Page count:   285
Formats:   mobi and paper back




Synopsis:
The robots were good. The Russian thugs were evil. But then...

It's 2050, and self-learning, neuromorphic “Helper” androids have become 
invaluable aids to humans, efficiently making their lives easier. Built 
and trained by such companies as Helpers, Inc., the Domestic Helper 
robots manage their owners’ homes, run their errands… and in the case of 
the erotic, alluring Intimorph model, even offer them marvelous sex.

The robots even save lives. The remote-controlled Defender line, has 
revolutionized warfare, by keeping human soldiers out of harm’s way.

The Domestic Helpers’ lifelike “secondskin” and programmed sociability 
have enabled them to fit right in with their human owners. And with 
their sophisticated, adaptable neuromorphic brains and meticulously 
engineered safeguards, they have proven benign and trusted.

But the human engineers who program them are neither benign nor 
trustworthy, as Patrick and Leah Jensen discover to their horror.

When they arrive in Phoenix for their new jobs, Patrick, a security 
consultant and former SEAL, and Leah, a lawyer, are at first delighted 
at the bargain price of the luxury co-op apartment, The Haven.

But after they move in, they discover the co-op is no haven, but a cadre 
of Helper robots that had been re-engineered to mimic wealthy humans, 
formerly their owners.

The robots had taken residence after being reprogrammed to murder their 
owners. And the Russian mobsters behind the plot directed the robot 
mimics to systematically loot the victims' estates of billions of 
dollars.

But neither the corrupt engineers nor the greedy thugs realize what 
catastrophe they have wrought in programming autonomous abilities into 
the robots.

They have unwittingly created a new race of networked "hive-minded" 
sentient creatures with a relentless survival instinct: the Neuromorphs.

Patrick must enlist his team of SEALs to marshal their combat skills and 
futuristic firepower to thwart the seemingly unstoppable evolution of a 
new dominant species on the planet.

Read Chapters Here: http://dennismeredith.com/the-neuromorphs_473.html

Amazon Link:  https://amzn.to/2MnNsyR

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Still stirring hearts after 2013... Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

Still stirring hearts after 2013...

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island
by Michael Phillip Cash


Prologue Saturday


aul turned from the dark window, twitching the drapes back in place. It was cold in the house; it had
the dank feel of being unused. It had only been empty for a week, and yet it held a stale feeling of overripe food and decaying garbage.

The kids would be coming home tomorrow. He had sent them to his sister’s place for the past week. It was too hard to have to worry about their schedules when he was sitting by Allison’s side. The funeral was yesterday, and he asked his sister to keep them one more day. He needed to have some time to collect himself. He’d spent the last twenty-four hours sitting in the dark, staring at nothing, his mind too numb to think.

Lisa had taken over with the brisk efficiency of the nurse that she was trained to be. Stella was eating once again and Jesse and his twin, Veronica, were able to sleep at night. His sister’s was the safe house, and while he desperately missed his children, he couldn’t deal with their everyday drama while he stayed with Allison for her final weeks.

He played with the chain around his neck then placed the gold band that hung from it on his lips. He closed his eyes, feeling alone. It was his wife’s wedding band and it had never left her finger from the time he had placed it there almost fifteen years ago.

Everything happened so fast. Too fast. His mind replayed the last six months in a montage of colors flashing like an out-of-control merry-go-round. Only it wasn’t a happy ride. Well, he sighed, he had to admit that he did feel relief. It felt wrong to have this burden taken off his shoulders, but his wife didn’t have to suffer any- more. He admitted to himself that he was weary too. She had gone from bad to worse in such a short time. She had slipped into a coma. He held her skeletal hand for a solid week, watching hope die alongside his wife. His family had brought in food, but he felt no hunger. As he stayed by her side, nothing seemed important. Paul stared at her face, memorizing every curve, her deep dimple, the mole she hated above her upper lip. Every second counted, and he wouldn’t waste a minute on himself.  His future yawned ahead in a great vastness of nothing that stretched endlessly before him. Alone, mute,  and his thoughts jumbled in his head, he couldn’t find words to say what he needed. Did she know how happy she had made him? Did Allison understand how much she meant to him? Could she know that his heart was so numb, he felt as though he were a corpse? Though he sat caressing her hand, could his wife sense the man next to her was spent, empty? It was that burnt-out feeling like after drinking so much that the liquor loses its taste and cigarettes burn with dying fire.

The irony was that he was the smoker, even though he had stopped when the twins were born, thirteen years ago. Allison wouldn’t have it in the house. He cheated at work, chewing gum to disguise the smell on his breath. It had always been a huge fight, and while she painted all kinds of devastating scenarios if he continued to smoke, they never expected her to be the one to fall victim to cancer.

The twins were a rare handful for them. Married for just over a year, they were unprepared for the incessant work. He was building his reputation as a go-to guy for the McMansions that dotted Long Island’s North Shore. The pull of work and two newborns tested their marriage. Allison breast-fed until utter exhaustion—or as he liked to call it “udder” exhaustion—made her stop. She always laughed at that.

Jesse, his son, was all brooding intensity, while Veronica, the elder twin by six minutes, was sweet, faithful, and resilient. They were golden children, kissed by sunlight, with blond hair, freckles, and odd silver eyes, like their mother. They communicated in a strange language that worked only for the two of them. A silent collusion between the twins created a special insight, and they knew exactly what the other was thinking. When words finally arrived, they could finish each other’s sentences.
While he was happy with his family, Allison had wanted another child. Reluctantly, he agreed and was shocked at his devastation when she miscarried. His despair turned to relentless hope, and although they faced a period of secondary infertility, he pushed for seven years, and they became pregnant once again. He called her “Stella Luna,” because she was the stars and moon to him.
With Stella, he had time to play. She was a fey child, filled with whimsy and a touch of an old soul.

Brown-haired and brown-eyed, she was the image of his older sister. Shut out of the twin’s world, he made sure she never felt alone. When she turned two, her soulful brown eyes induced him to give up smoking once and for all. God, he wished he had a cigarette. Right now.

The house screamed with silence, its heavy pall smothering any sense of light. It closed over him. The acid ache in his gut he’d been experiencing since she got sick made its presence known. Padding to the kitchen, he went in search of milk to put out the fire. After he opened the refrigerator door, he stood for a minute staring at the empty shelves. He smelled the open carton of milk and recoiled at the odor. He never remembered buying it and could only guess how old it was. Well, the milk was plainly spoiled, as was the cheese. They had to be at least a month old. Maybe he should just eat the yogurt, let it kill him, and the kids would be done with mourning. Two for the price of one, he thought as he slammed the door. He’d have to go food shopping at some point. Yep, the kids were coming home tomorrow.

Paul slid on to the counter stool, holding his head in both hands. His skull ached as though there were a thousand hammers pounding behind his eyes. It pulsed with such intensity; he pressed his fingers against his eyeballs until all he saw was an iridescent halo. He sighed deeply
and stretched backwards cracking his jaw as he yawned.

Dizziness assailed him and he gripped the granite counter with wet palms. “God,” he thought, “am I going to faint?”

Sweat dotted his forehead and he shivered involuntarily as a gray mist enveloped him, chilling him to the bone.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sensed a shadow dancing around him. He felt paralyzed and couldn’t move.

Suddenly nauseous, he rested his unstable forehead against the counter and said, “I gotta get some sleep.”

For more of "Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island" click here:

Monday, August 27, 2018

Indie Authors Roundtable: NYT Best seller Tosca Lee drops by!


NYT Best seller Tosca Lee drops by!



Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot, The Legend of Sheba, Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign).
A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband. You can find Tosca hanging around the snack table or wherever bacon is served.
Tosca’s highly-anticipated new thriller, The Progeny (May, Simon & Schuster) is available now!
Find Tosca online by visiting: www.toscalee.com
Listen to our author interview by clicking on the link below!