Interview With a Writer

Well, I guess it’s an interview with me! I was recently interviewed on Madness Heart Radio. I very much enjoy giving interviews like this since it allows me to explore concepts and ideas with the host.

Check it out here!


Review: Stiff by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a fiction writer, I am constantly researching the things I write about (death and dying) so Stiff was a natural fit for me. We have a fairly odd view of death here in the West and dare I say, it is unhealthy. Death is natural and also inevitable.

Here often humorous look at the things she does for research purposes is sprinkled into a look at the realities of being dead, and what you can expect in your new life as a dead person. Well written and easy to read, I found myself often unable to stop reading since I was enjoying it so much.

Of particular interest to me was the chapter entitled “Crimes of Anatomy” which looks at the thefts of bodies over the years and how we came to know as much about the human body as we do.

I joyfully, and full heartily (before someone takes it from my body to donate it to someone) recommend Stiff for anyone interested in what happens after the end comes.

-Bryan the Writer

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Review: The New Adventures of Rocky Jordan

The New Adventures of Rocky JordanThe New Adventures of Rocky Jordan by Richard White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of radio classics. I even have my computer bookmarks set up to listen to some of my favorite programs. So when I saw that someone had written The new Adventures of Rocky Jordan, I jumped at it.

This is a series of stories which focus on Rocky Jordan, Cairo saloon owner and a perpetual thorn in the side of the Cairo police department. No matter where Rocky goes, trouble seems to find him and he is ready and waiting.

This is a collection written by a few authors who do such a wonderful job capturing the spirit of the original series, they are hard to beat.

If you love the old stories on the radio, dime store crime dramas, or the penny dreadful, you will absolutely love this collection of stories.


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Review: Plot Your Health


Plot Your Health: A Journey to Wellness PlannerPlot Your Health: A Journey to Wellness Planner by C.J. Ellisson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In November of 2017, I was healthy overall. Not perfect, but not in horrible shape. Fast forward a year later and I am fighting three diagnosed conditions, one of which is potentially life threatening if not checked on a regular basis. I have more specialists than I ever cared to know, on several different drugs requiring monitoring, and take a variety of vitamins every day.

In the midst of what seemed to be a mounting avalanche of doctor’s visits, lab tests, continual drug refills, and a monthly injection, I was beginning to make careless errors. You never want to make mistakes with your health. I did two things which brought order to my chaos. I bought a pill organizer and I got a copy of Plot Your Health by award winning author, C.J. Ellisson.

What I love about “Plot Your Health” is that it allows me to use it how it suits me best. There are sections for medicines, doctor visits, a symptom tracker, and a monthly calendar. There are also pages which are open so I can write in things I want to keep track of.

One of my conditions comes with occasional days where I will be in a mental fog making it hard for me to grasp concepts and questions I should remember to ask. This organizer helps me to write out the questions I want to ask my doctor when I see him or her next and I don’t have to pray that I will be having a good day that day!

I also love the habit tracker! One of my treatments include regular swimming at my gym and the tracker lets me track which days I did it and which days I missed.

I would trade almost anything to get rid of these conditions, but mine are genetic and will be with me the rest of my life. With Plot Your Health, I feel like I have more of a plan to control my health rather than have my health control me.

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Review: Unbury Carol

Unbury CarolUnbury Carol by Josh Malerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the days the old West, when outlaws ruled the trail, a woman lived who had an unusual problem. Carol Evers has died over and over again. Ordinarily, this wasn’t a problem, and she recovered with the help of a handful of people who knew of her condition. However, when the only person seemingly left on earth, her husband Dwight, actually wants her dead, things start to get very interesting. Dwight didn’t count on the return of the one other person on planet Earth who knew.

Unbury Carol, by Josh Malerman, is one of those books that comes along only a few times in a lifetime. Beautifully written with characters who are not only engaging, but sometimes terrifying, twist and turns around every corner keep this dark tale fascinating.

What I particularly liked about this book is the way in which Josh paints a picture that you don’t fully understand until the very end. By the last few chapters I was kicking myself for not seeing the end which I should have been able to figure out. That’s the magic and true mastery of this work.

What really fascinates me about the story is how well the sequences are written where it is just Carol reporting from her own mind. Josh paints this other world where Carol lives when she’s taken by these spells she has and it works on a whole different level. I asked myself when I first started reading this how it would be possible to write a book that was interesting when the main character is in a sort of coma for most of the book. I was pleasantly surprised with how well Josh handled this aspect. In my mind, it shows how much of a master he is at the craft of writing.

I highly recommend reading Unbury Carol.

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Review: Endgame (Book 3: Wielders of Arantha)

Endgame (Wielders of Arantha #3)Endgame by Patrick Hodges

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The problem with any series is that eventually it must come to an end. It is true no matter who you are. Eventually, the story needs to finish. “Endgame”, the third installment of the “Wielders of Arantha” trilogy brings us to the end of this epic adventure.

I always read the end of a series with trepidation. I never know how satisfying the ending will be before I jump in the water with both feet and that makes me nervous. I have to say I was very satisfied when I turned the final page.

The plan sounds simple enough. Collect all the stones, stand on the Nexus, and win. Sure, simple enough. With the possible exception of the massive armies moving against one another, it is a simple enough proposition.

Patrick masterfully builds the story to a point where it feels like hell is about to explode on the surface of the planet and he does not disappoint. The battle is intense and smaller conflicts are nail biting to be sure.

While it is possible to read endgame and understand the story without an issue, I would recommend picking up all the books in the series and read them from the beginning to the end. Trust this reader when I tell you that you are going to want to read them anyway.

And for those of you who have read the other books in the series, I will tell you that things don’t turn out any way you could possibly imagine. I was genuinely surprised at the twists and turns.

For me “Endgame” is a fitting end to a series destined to put the name Patrick Hodges along the legends of fiction.


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Review: Winslow Hoffner’s Incredible Encounters

Winslow Hoffner's Incredible EncountersWinslow Hoffner’s Incredible Encounters by Michael Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes you come across something so amazing that it is really hard to put into words that quite encapsulate what you want to say. Right now I am at a complete loss as how to adequately describe Michael Thompson’s book, Winslow Hoffner’s Incredible Encounters. You see, it rather defies explanation in any meaningful way.

It chronicles the adventure of a reporter, John Chapman who finds himself aboard the Seanna, Winslow’s fishing vessel. Aboard the aged vessel, he is introduced to a world John can neither imagine, nor believe. And yet, it is all there. Being a dutiful reporter, he writes the story, which lands him in the crosshairs of his less than supportive editor.

Starting with style, Michael has tons of it to spare. His writing is unique, vivid and engaging. The entire time you get the impression you are either on Winslow’s fishing boat, or listening to Winslow while joining him in a root beer.

The writing is witty, funny, and totally a fun ride. Perhaps that is the best way to describe it. Winslow Hoffner’s Incredible Encounters is a fun ride.

I can highly recommend Winslow Hoffner’s Incredible Encounters to anyone who is looking for a great story. Be warned, you are going to be looking for more from this gifted author!


-Bryan the Writer

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