Random Book Review- Calibration 74 by William F. Aicher

Recently finished and reviewed. If you like your read on the surreal side of life with flourishes of driving narration and free-form poetry that teeters between light and dark, life and death, this will be an enjoyable and memorable read. Don’t miss it.

Review follows image, enjoy!

Five stars!

Thought-provoking and surrealistically gripping.

In Calibration 74, Aicher delivers a powerful offering that draws readers into a world behind the façade, to the inner workings of the mind, and a life exposed. One part musings of a mad man and two parts surrealistic-like fever dream, Calibration 74 deftly takes readers by the hand and leads them deeper down the literary rabbit hole forgoing standard storytelling.

At its start, Aicher showcases his ability to spark interest with his opening narration of a man obsessed with numbers and embroiled in a quest for a door leading to salvation, renewal, life. Within Calibration 74’s few first pages, we soon learn this will be no simple task and that our experience will be anything but typical for the novella’s duration as Aicher masterfully blends free-form poetry into the mix breaking down the barriers of outside versus inside, and the drive, the force behind a man’s moving parts.

Combining pacing that features scattered thoughts and blurry visions of both past and present experiences, Aicher allows his readers to experience the dark gritty corners of a man’s troubled and fractured mind before delivering sharp flashes of poetic justification that pulls back the curtains of meaning and encourages deeper philosophical inspection with his created revelations. As readers draw closer to Aicher’s crafted end of Calibration 74, what we know and believe versus what is imagined and false blur in expertly detailed snippets of realization that will leave many on a course of retrospection unpacking and comparing all that was offered.

At times psychologically illuminating, Aicher delivers a brave presentation on how the mind works when dealing with life, processing trauma, circumventing reality, and living with past and present conflicts. Its poetic flourishes flawlessly meld with a college course on abnormal psychology and will push and pull your mind and emotions in every direction equally. Troubling, endearing, comical, and abrupt, Aicher’s work is a giant onion consisting of layers hiding meanings hiding deeply rooted scars of clarity. With references aplenty peppering his prose throughout involving literary, musical, and cinematic offerings, Aicher’s expert foray into a world behind the eyes is broken and beautiful, raw and untouched, eroded and used.

As it reads, Calibration 74 feels like an old radio in a dark basement being manually tuned. Snippets of music fight through the static, the squelches, the talking, the silence. Readers will hear bits and pieces forming visual cues and directions in their mind only to be lead away on another course by the master of the dial until we are left with the knowledge we so desperately crave, to the ending we so rightfully deserve.

If one is searching for a run-of-the-mill simple read, Calibration 74 is very unconventional in that regard and does its best work for those looking for something different, something lasting and memorable. A feather, a knife, a heart pleading, a mind steering a body, Calibration 74 is a beautiful and broken mosaic expertly collected into a glowing tapestry once completed and viewed from afar.

Within a moving gallery of creation, every reader will interpret Aicher’s work differently, will find a connection within themselves among the jumbled art pieces of his storytelling that reflects personas both bright and damning. Weaving through man’s inner turmoil, desire, escapism, conflicts, and personal constructs set adrift among a brackish ocean of reality and fantasy, Calibration 74 will stay will you long after the final page.

Review was posted on Amazon and Goodreads, check it out! Keep reading, keep writing!

Until next time,

KJF

Launch Day! The Rise of Gadreel

The last of the trilogy releases today. A splendid read from start to finish!

The Writer Next Door | Vashti Q

Hi, everyone! Today is the ‘Launch Date‘ for my new book, The Rise of Gadreel! I was hoping the paperback would have gone live today too, but for some reason, Amazon still has it on review. I’m not surprised since everything this year has happened at its own pace. I’m told the paperback will be released soon. Because of this inconvenience I’ve left the price of the eBook at .99¢ until the paperback goes live. Please help me spread the word.

Today I’d like to share another excerpt from the book. In this excerpt my main character Gadreel is visiting an abandoned monastery said to be haunted by a group of monks. She meets her ally Thomas for the first time. I hope you enjoy it.

The courtyard had a peculiar allure. The vast, grass-covered area surrounded by flowering bushes and small trees lay interspersed with benches…

View original post 1,017 more words

Random Book Review- Cur Dogs by M.N. Seeley

Recently finished this science fiction adventure read from M.N. Seeley and posted a review on Amazon.com and over at Goodreads. If you’re looking for a great action adventure in a crazy world and you like it a little rough, this is a perfect thrill ride. It’s well worth the read. 5 out of 5.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 55421214._sy475_.jpg

M.N. Seeley’s “Cur Dogs” will let you know from the first few opening lines of the very first page that this will not be a pleasant adventure story nor ever considered an easy-breezy walk among the roses. Unapologetic from the start, Seeley barely offers readers a chance to adapt before his flourish for brashness pushes the envelope into a world so masterfully created and detailed, you’ll never want to leave but be entirely grateful you survived.

Seeley introduces us to Etta Reigert, a protagonist that works in Sea City as a “chaperone” that assists in transporting packages to the promised land, better known as Dinlas Verde across a fantasy sci-fi landscape that’s about as hospitable as a bag of rattlesnakes. Well defined and instantly likable, Reigert shines in many ways while being perfectly flawed in others. Taking a job that seems simple enough and will earn her a promotion, Reigert soon finds herself in trouble.

As the story unfolds, she is put through the paces in every imaginable sense by Seeley’s flair for the dramatic among shifting scenes of danger and destruction. Beautifully broken, the strong-willed Reigert weaves in and out or morality and ethics as she is thrown into Seeley’s well-written game of mouse versus cat versus the environment leaving no stone unturned when it comes to shaking the very foundation of life for everyone involved.

Other characters include the ball-busting Stovall, the crystal hugging Birdie, and many more, all with specific defining characteristics that showcase Seeley’s ability to create a cast that works splendidly within the confines of his work without blending or becoming confusing. Readers will no doubt find a favorite along with Reigert but, with Seeley behind the wheel of this fast-moving vehicle, don’t be surprised if it flies off a cliff and explodes. You’ll love watching it burn.

Beyond the odd mix of characters making their way to Dinlas Verde, Seeley expertly details the world around them on their journey from sight, to smell, to the overall feel to the point that readers may find the need to shower during some of the more not so clean moments. Gritty, dirty, and unfiltered, it’s a dream escape for a madman, or two. Among the expertly crafted environment, the true stars of “Cur Dogs” are the animals found along the way. Under Seeley’s masterful control, these gruesomely created, and disgustingly vivid forms of life are as unforgettable as the names given to them throughout the story and would never be mistaken for cuddly or fuzzy.

Seeley’s work on “Cur Dogs” feels and reads like what would happen if LSD was freely given to the writing team of Jurassic Park. It drives itself maddeningly forward piling up the threats and ramping up the fears until its dramatic finale. One part adventure, two parts psychological test, Seeley explores the shifting parameters of human nature when the chips are down, people are pushed, and money is on the line with perfect precision. Funny, gross, somewhat touching, bloody, and damn right horrific in spots makes this science fiction jaunt a non-stop thrill ride of twisting schemes and dangerous scenarios. Much like the loveable and gentle hug of a “muskpuck” it’ll surely leave a mark. Great read, do not miss!

Amazon Link/Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/M-N-Seeley/e/B078WWWQY2/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20689459.M_N_Seeley

Keep reading, keep writing,

–KJF

Kicking the lid off the casket.

Way back in 2017 I finished my first novel, Bitter Awakenings. I was pleased and overwhelmed, at the same time. I quickly edited it and found a cover designer assuming I could easily figure out most of the other parts of self-pubbing on my own. It was a horrible learning experience. I assumed I knew enough, I knew nothing. Information was sporadic, conflicting, and ended up leading me down many dead-end streets and roundabouts of confusion. I took a leap; I fell flat on my face. Trial and error abound and eventually, after spending way too much money to even get it somewhat out there into the world, I decided to leave it alone and walk away.

Originally planning on it being the only novel I would ever write, I soon realized that I had left Bitter Awakenings wide open for a second installment which evolved into three books that ended up having babies until it became a five-book series titled, The Keeper Chronicles. Every book had me acquiring new knowledge, new tactics, and introduced me to some very helpful people along the way. Sites like Grammarly, Draft2Digital, and a new cover designer that worked miracles at thebookkhaleesi.com and much more suddenly allowed those with bad “know-how” skills to get work out there and to be happy about it too.  

After five books and three novellas, I kept seeing my first book staring at me disapprovingly. See, I thought I could outrun the whole “leave it alone and move on” mentality I had built up. I thought I had left that whole bad experience in the past of hard lessons and ever steeper learning curves. I had always wanted to go back and edit/thin out my first book more but never found the time. Focusing on new work kept the old thoughts at bay. I was thundering through my new novella series, The AOA, and getting ready to wrap up the final pages of Season 1, Episode 3 when Covid-19 came a-callin’.

The pandemic hit, everyone’s world took a spin into chaos and craziness. I found myself home more, I found my hubs in the same boat sitting behind me. Both of us worked or tried. See, I can’t write effectively with someone behind me narrating their daily tasks or answering calls or even muddling through yet another zoom meeting. It weighed on me, I shelved Episode 3 of The AOA after trying to get back into daily writing and stewed. I wanted to write, I wanted to be creative and constructive yet this whole new “norm” was seriously kicking my butt. What would I do, what could I do?

I found myself drawn back to Bitter Awakenings. I found I could easily edit without too much fuss and interruptions; I could still feel like I was accomplishing things! I suddenly craved it, suddenly found myself deep in focus editing dialogue, snipping away fluffy bits to make the book flow better, to feel better. I kicked the lid off the casket exposing the rotting remains inside and decided to spray some cologne on the corpse and dress it up for Sunday dinner. What was originally a massive book of way too much ended up getting cut by a staggering 55 pages! It’s still a large book but now it resonates better with me, it smiles lovingly from a distance having finally been put right, or close enough.

I learned a lot through the years, I had to roll with quite a few punches. I’ve learned I can not write with noise behind me, but I can edit. I’ve also learned that with patience and time, one can better their world and beautify something that was once a tad on the ugly side. I enjoyed the experience so much, I’ve moved onto Twisted Reunions, Book 2, and will probably roll through all five in the series trimming and fixing minor mistakes or larger issues.

I’ll save all the unused and cut away body parts in a large document as one never knows when the urge to build something from bits and pieces will draw me to creation. The books will never be perfect in my mind, I’m an author and that’s how I roll, however, it will be better than it was and then some. When I finish, I’ll knowingly nod, softly close the lid, and sink the casket of my creations back into the earth to allow new works to spring forth like flowers in a cemetery.     

Happy Writing,

KJF

Random Book Review-A Sky Littered with Stories by R.D. Pires

I recently finished this book and have left a review on Amazon and Goodreads as well as here in case any of my followers would like to give it a read. A brilliant anthology of short stories, it’s one that will appeal to many. Below is my posted review as well as links. Enjoy, read, write, and embrace!

Five of Five stars!

A panoramic view of humanity.

In “A Sky Littered with Stories” by RD Pires, readers are taken on a winding tour of life with its varied ups and downs across an expanse of existence from birth to death. Within this collection of short stories, the emotions are ever-present and, much like the starry night above, are wide open for interpretation and meaning in our own lives while we gaze upon the light offered.

At its start, Pires’s work could be seen as a simple collection of short stories showcasing his work. Several pages in, readers are treated to the subtle brilliance hidden within. Weaving heart throughout, Pires takes his readers on a journey that seems to dance effortlessly between genres without overly saturating his work on one particular area of interest. Hints of the supernatural combine with drama and suspense while action blends flawlessly with budding romance coupled with fear. Each short story, something new. Each offering, a shifting perspective, an emotion checked off a hidden list. Expertly crafted, each display denotes a sense of our fragile existence, the mortal coil that ties us together. Although readers will be wanting to place Pires’s writing into a specific genre, doing so would only muddle the overall experience and diminish the appeal of how anthologies function. His work can be seen as all things, all of it in bits and pieces, beautiful, broken, dark, and light.

Within the stories, beyond the shifting parameters of Pires’s scenes, characters are well delivered and conceptually sound on all levels. We are pulled into their worlds and given access to moments, seconds of lives beyond our own. While the endings of most of the offerings follow a “good enough for now” or “happy for now” setting with some dropping off not so heart-felt, it does take some time getting used to this technique until we are made aware that maybe Pires’s goal was to force us to reminiscence, feel, or evaluate which worked flawlessly on so many levels in that regard. Readers will no doubt find enough detail in each story to be drawn in and allowed to form their own opinions on how each should effectively end or if what was given is enough to satiate.

Throughout, readers may find that Pires’s work operates much in the same way a television remote works. Each story seems to represent a channel change, to a show already in progress masterfully crafted for our appeal that works double duty to invoke a feeling, bring forth a long-forgotten experience of our lifetimes be it love, loss, illness, or the oddity of a life lived on a spinning ever-changing planet. Given enough detailed information and characterization to interest us before the scene/channel is changed, each story leaves us with a different emotion, a new experience, a shifting perspective. Lingering on the mind longer than the page count of each, the stories encourage additional thinking on the readers’ part, exploration of scenarios and possibilities. One could easily see an additional anthology on Pires’s part containing a collection of “what happened next” or “later that same day” of some of his stories but the chance of souring the emotional longevity of his initial work would make that a dicey proposition.

“A Sky Littered with Stories” is a journey through a shifting landscape of people and places throughout timelines that mirror our own experiences and the emotions accompanying each. Thoughtful and paced affectionately, Pires’s work stands as a definitive example of the possible fullness and ultimate briefness of life in its many colored and beautifully fractured parts. Shining bright or dimly lit through space and time, each character is all of us, each makes an appearance, and all have presence and meaning among the backdrop of humanity. Wonderfully crafted.    

Amazon Link:

Leave a comment, a hug, or tell me what you enjoy reading!

-KJF