Posts Tagged ‘indie’

Review – Citadel: First Colony by J. Kevin Tumlinson

October 20, 2011

Last weekend, while I was cleaning up the buckets of samples I’d sent to my Kindle over the last several months, I found Citadel: First Colony by J. Kevin Tumlinson, @kevintumlinson.

Oddly, I don’t remember how I found this sample, or even finding it for that matter, but there it was, so I checked it out…and didn’t want to stop when I got to the end. So, of course, I had to buy it. I did eventually look up the book description:

After fifty years of war, humans and the plant-like Esool have made peace. Both species have agreed to use the Lightrail, a relativistic miracle, to travel to distant worlds and explore the resources and wonders of the universe. But the peace is still new, and not everyone is onboard. Earth First is an organization dedicated to preserving the purity of humanity, and they are willing to go to extremes to do it. Including pulling humanity back from the distant colonies, and closing the door on space travel forever. And out among the stars, prejudice lives on. Class distinctions between hard-working Blue Collars, educated but often arrogant

White Collars, and the soft, wealthy, and entitled Colonists have created a mounting tension that may be a bigger threat than any alien species. It is against this backdrop that a colony of humans, reluctantly led by a single Esool captain, crash lands on a planet that holds far too many secrets. Survival may be impossible. Citadel: First Colony is book one of the Citadel Trilogy.

Oh, well, an interesting start and a promising premise. Hot dog.

And there went my weekend. 😉 At least I enjoyed it.

There was something so fascinating about this story and the cast of characters he put together. It started out with a bang (well, more of a crash) and kept up a very satisfying pace. Kevin didn’t skimp on the science without lapsing into physics-class mode. There was even a hint of steampunk in this one which was a really neat twist.

I loved the main characters, especially the Esool captain, with his unexpected abilities and the two who ended up being the main characters of the big reveal at the end. (No spoilers!) There was such a compelling vulnerability and mystery around them.

The author in me couldn’t help but notice–and comment on now–some weaknesses in the writing, but I got caught up enough in the story that I didn’t care. And when I came to consider them more in depth once the story was finished, I realized that it’s the sort of things that most readers won’t notice or care about thus I’m not going to enumerate them here. So there’s me being a bitch, I suppose, for even bringing it up. But that’s what you’d expect from me, right?

Thoroughly readable, enjoyable, and super-cool book. I recommend it highly. Read it. Today, preferably. There will be a quiz on it at the next 5MinuteFiction. 😉

About the Author

J. Kevin Tumlinson is a Wordslinger-a freelance writer and producer of film, television, and radio. He has contributed to a number of publications both in print and online. He lives with his wife, Kara, in Houston, Texas.

You can find him here:
Twitter — @kevintumlinson
Facebook —
LinkedIn —

and Citadel: First Colony here:

Barnes & Noble

Review of Gabriel’s Return by Steve Umstead

October 17, 2011

Last month I got to do a 5MinuteInterview with Steve Umstead to celebrate the release of his latest book: Gabriel’s Return, book two of the Evan Gabriel series. Today, as promised, I’ve finally got for you my review of said book. Stay tuned to the end for details of how you can WIN your copy.

Here’s the scoop:

Gabriel’s Return

On the far-off icebound planet of Poliahu, North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel suffered the loss of several team members in order to free a native species and save his brother. Now he is being called away on a new mission by a friend in trouble, and by a name from his distant past. He and his surviving team must again travel across the galaxy to the planet where he lost his naval command, and his original team, so many years ago: Eden.

Evan Gabriel must face three distinct threats on Eden: the well-armed terrorist group that has been raiding Eden City, the dangerous planet itself, and his own haunting memories of his past.

Now, as I said, this is a sequel to Gabriel’s Redemption, and because of that I already knew Steve was a great writer with imagination and spunk and a killer grip of the tech-geeky-cool stuff that makes sci-fi like this so much fun.

There was no let-down with Gabriel’s Return. In fact, it’s better in my opinion. I complained a little at Steve after Redemption because I’m an impatient SOB and I wanted a faster pace. Wow, did he deliver that in Return. (To the point that I’m going back to re-read Redemption to brush up on all the ways the characters who developed further in Return were brought where they were because of things that happened in Return.)

One of the best parts is that Return takes us back, not only physically to the planet that started Gabriel’s fall into disgrace and haunting nightmares, but it brings it to an exciting and very satisfying resolution of that life-changing event in Gabriel’s life. (At least until the bad guys raise the stakes just in time for the final book…)

The action in this book rocks, complete with super-cool weapons and technology. (I want a set of neuretics, please.) Steve takes a complex cast and gives them each a distinct personality that makes the team dynamic just great. It propels you right along with them, and you feel it with the team when something happens to one of their own.

I’m being purposely vague; I hate spoilers. (Sometimes I won’t even read the back cover copy, just in case it gives away more than I want to know.) But trust me when I say, this one pays off in a big way and I know you’ll love it.

Don’t neglect to check out both of Steve’s books, Gabriel’s Redemption and the newly-released sequel, Gabriel’s Return. In fact, let’s help you out with that. One random commenter on this thread will WIN a copy of Gabriel’s Return. Just leave a comment below and make sure I have some way to contact you.


Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.

Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption is his debut novel.

Gabriel’s Return is available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook, and is also available on Goodreads.

More information about Steve can be found on his blog here:

Or you can find him on:

Twitter: @SteveUmstead

Here it COMES!!!!! The Prodigal’s Foole Book Trailer!

October 10, 2011

It’s that wonderful month of the year when the weather gets cooler, and everything turns orange and brown (whether you want it to or not.) And this year, it’s also the month of the release of my dear friend’s debut novel, The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood, @rbwood.

Rich has been my go-to crit partner for a while now, plus I got to weigh in a fair amount on The Prodigal’s Foole, so I’m really excited about this book. There’s more to come here on Write Me! this month as we ramp up to the release. But to kick it all off:


#5MinuteFiction Week 70

September 27, 2011

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre

* You must BEGIN your entry with: Pale light, broken apart into individual beams by the thick diamondglass of the skylight, cast stark shadows on the faces of the four men seated around a small table.

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)


* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Steve Umstead, @SteveUmstead author of Gabriel’s Redemption and the newly-released Gabriel’s Return will nominate five finalists.

I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.

What’s the prize? Well, usually, nothing. We’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured. But today Steve’s donated a copy of both Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Return for the winner and I’m giving away a copy of Gabriel’s Return to one participant chosen at random!

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

#5MinuteFiction Week 69 FINALISTS!

September 20, 2011

Our prompt sentence today was donated by this week’s judge,  Pete Morin@petermorin, author of the upcoming Diary of a Small Fish. It’s not a sentence from Small Fish, but from a future release. (I just liked it a lot and he let me have it.)

How did it work for you?

Well it worked well for these people, this week’s finalists:


redshirt6, @redshirt6

Monocle, @_Monocle_

John Hancock, @Grokdad

Jen DeSantis, @JenD_Author

Give them a round of applause! Then read their entries below and vote for this week’s winner! Tomorrow at 9:00 am Eastern, I’ll announce the winner. So send your friends and family to vote right now!


“In my considerable experience, drug dealers are more likely to die a violent death than get hit by a bus.” I said and flicked the TV off. “

“Your considerable experience huh? From watching NCIS and Law and Order?”

“Maybe.” I smirked at him and he laughed. I loved to watch him laugh. His eyes crinkled up and the sound make my stomach turn to liquid goo. He lay stretched out on the couch an arm behind his head. I sat scrunched in the uncomfortable chair, the one we usually made Grace Harlan sit in in hopes that she didn’t stay long. I didn’t mind though, I liked to look at his long body and wish he was mine.

A door opened and closed and he jumped from the couch, a light in his eyes that made my heart thump painfully and the breath leave my body. If only he’d look at me like that. “Hey baby he said and ran to the front hall. It was silent for a long time and I tried not to imagine the kiss, long and deep, his lips soft and tender. Maybe my roommate would get hit by a bus.

redshirt6, @redshirt6

In my considerable experience, drug dealers are more likely to die a violent death than get hit by a bus, which is of course why she chose this course of action. To anyone watching, it would seem an accident and nothing more. But that was her goal.

Of course, something would probably go terribly wrong, it always did. Anything she tried to do seemed doomed from the start.

Like starting a family! That sure as hell didn’t work. Fairy tale marriage, an honeymoon in Europe, and then settling down in a swanky neighborhood right on the golf course. Such a wonderful start! But of course it didn’t last.

And of course, she had been blind to it all. The cheating, the dishonesty, all of the sneaking around. That had been really terrible and it had all come to light so fast! If she had realized her shrink was in on it from the beginning she never would have fallen for any of it! But she got wise to them! She got wise to them all!

Oh yeah, she had finally realized that she wasn’t the one with a problem. It was all of them. If she had realized the medicines they had her taking were really designed to hide the truth from her earlier she could have avoided all of this.

But too late. And now, he child, her sweet and beautiful darling. Only two years old. But sadly he was destined to be a gang banging drug dealer. High end of course, but still.

A moment of clarity and an insight into his future. That was all it took. She couldn’t stand by and watch that happen to him. Not as a loving mother! Of course she couldn’t stand for it.

As the bus sped down the hill she waited patiently. When the time was just right, she tossed the child under the front wheels, as any sane and loving mother would do.

Monocle, @_Monocle_

“In my considerable experience, drug dealers are more likely to die a violent death than get hit by a bus.”

Marcus gave me that warning before letting me set up my own corner. He’d somehow managed to do it, though. 30 years on the street, he’d seen his little stoop change hands a dozen times as gangs rewrote the turf boundaries in the neighborhood. Even when the Cartel swept through in the late 90′s, they let him keep is regulars. So, naturally, I didn’t believe him, and decided to carve out my own niche, just like him. Not so small that I can’t get me the nice things. Not so big that I have to worry about the sharks.

But still, it’s pretty weird. When your nice ride stalls out (fuck you and your shop, Xavier) in the intersection running the red, and the the Crosstown #20 comes barreling towards you, you realize that getting hit by a bus is actually a pretty violent death, drug dealer or not.

Not that it does you much good at that point.

John Hancock, @Grokdad

In my considerable experience, drug dealers are more likely to die a violent death than get hit by a bus. Of course, bus drivers are more likely to use drugs than drug dealers are to drive buses.

Its just one of those things that keeps running little circles inside my head. Bus drivers. Drugs. Death. Violence. Kittens.

Circles in circles. I forget to breathe. Somehow I got here, somehow I got strapped in this metal bed and cranked up with tubes and IVs running in my arms. I know if I could think straight I could remember how, or why but Buses and drug dealers run Curly Joe running circles on the floor, and the patterns in the tiles keep shifting into moving images of death and people and corpses and buses.

Bang! That noise keeps running along with the circles too. Bang! Bang! Bang! And blue haired old women hitting the floor like bowling pins. And one young man with braces snaps backward like being pulled with strings. Marionettes. Marionettes of Death. Caught in Circles.Circles spin and spin again.

“How are we doing, Mr. Seben?” a homely nurse asks me. For a minute, the circles won’t let me off. I’m caught in them like escalators in dimensions gone amuck.

“What can…. how… what is this medicine?” I think I ask her. I must not have succeeded though, because the poodle she walked in with jumped up and started ripping out whole chunks of her throat. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Its experimental” she throws out as circles come back to snag me again.

Bang! Bang! go the bullets and then I slide on the circles and the circles become handcuffs and I’m handcuffed to the bed and the bus drivers tell me I shot someone.

but I can’t tell. Are these my shoes?

Jen DeSantis, @JenD_Author

“In my considerable experience, drug dealers are more likely to die a violent death than get hit by a bus.”

“Back up,” a girl in the back of the classroom called, her head popping up as she eased herself out of the low slouch she’d been employing. “What considerable experience?”

“Well … the experience—that tells me drug dealers generally die violently,” I said, annoyed at my stammer.

“And you don’t consider getting hit by a bus violent?” she asked, tapping her pencil on the side of her thick framed glasses.

I eyed her up. Spiky hair, dyed a deep violet. Pale skin and bright eyes outlined in thick, black liner. And the glasses—don’t get me started on the glasses. They had thick, green frames, dotted with sparkly rhinestones. The frames alone probably cost her parents upwards of five hundred dollars. She probably didn’t even need them for vision correction. God, I hated my job and the new generation.

“Violent, but not in the technical term,” I clarified.

“Technical term? I’d call it violent, technical or not. I mean, it certainly wouldn’t be an easy death, now would it?”

“Well, no … but you know what I mean. They’re more likely to, you know, meet their demise on the other end of a gun or a knife, then they are to die accidently.”

“All I’m saying is you should have said “accidently. Getting hit by a bus is violent, and it doesn’t make any sense to call it otherwise..”

I swallowed the bile rising in the back of my throat. Back in the day, kids would have just sat and stared vacantly, no questions asked. Of course, back in the day, who had to talk about drug dealers and violent deaths to a class of incoming freshmen? But here we sat, 2011, with respect at an all time low and me talking about drug dealers to a class of kids who thought I was an idiot all because some teeny-bopper anology nazi in sparkly glasses disagreed with my terms. I missed the old days.

“It really isn’t that important,” I said tersely.

“The drug dealer might disagree,” violet-hair mumbled from the back.

I rolled my eyes and looked at the clock. Only seven more hours to go before the end of the first day.

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