Friday, June 28, 2019

Featured Book: Dark Spiral Down by Michael Houtz

Author: Michael Houtz
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/International/Action

COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.
Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.
Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.
Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer.  Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.
Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.


“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”
~Lima Charlie Review
“…this work proves that author Houtz is undoubtedly a rising star in the publishing world.”
~Andrea Brunais, Author
“Mike Houtz takes us on fast-pace adventure in Dark Spiral Down, a thrilling ride along the border between China and North Korea, where Cole Haufner is in pursuit of his Delta Force brother and a device that has the potential to change the world forever or destroy it.”
~Dan Grant, Author
Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz. This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!”
~Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine



Anger born of helplessness rose in his chest. In contrast to Master Li’s placating tone, Cole straightened to his full height and stared into the man’s face. “Let me guess, more 14K cowards?”
Another man stepped forward and cocked his pistol’s hammer. “I show you coward.”
As at the Crowne Plaza earlier, Cole refused to back off, even in the face of impending conflict. “The coward is the man who needs a gun.”
The other with the shotgun pointing at Cole’s chest stood only some seven or eight feet away. “You will come with us now!”
“Please. Violence is forbidden here,” Master Li spoke again. “The Temple is sacred. We cannot have this type of behavior.”
“Maybe you don’t hear so good,” the leader sneered. “He comes with us whether you approve or not.”
“He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but to hold immediate trials and executions.” Master Li cupped his hands together and held them against his chest.
“Famous American,” the man chuckled. “If you are so famous, what are you doing here then, huh?”
Cole stared straight into the man’s eyes. He took several steps toward the shotgun-wielding thug. “How about I show you?”


After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream.
He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

His latest book is the thriller/international/action novel, Dark Spiral Down.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Blog Tour l Authors to Watch: David H. Reiss, author of Fid's Crusade

While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer. 
Fortunately, he hasn't changed much.
David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.
(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)
David's first book, Fid's Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won't be his last—he's having far too much fun!

Author: David H. Reiss
Publisher: Atian Press
Pages: 365
Genre: Scifi/Contemporary Fantasy

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.


"Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I've seen in years. His title character's crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn's After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin's Prepare to Die!." - Hugo award-winning author Tim Pratt



We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
I’m honestly not sure; I was already a writer in my earliest childhood memories.  I’m fairly certain that my mother would have mentioned if I was actually born with a pencil in my hand, but it can’t have been terribly long before I first managed to acquire one and begin writing down stories.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
I prefer to write late at night when the house is silent and I am free from distractions; I’ve set up a home-office / writing nook with a height-adjustable table that’s wide enough to fit a treadmill under one side; sometimes, I like to walk while typing.
My writing process itself is somewhat in flux. 
I used to write by the seat of my pants, but I’ve discovered that writing by the seat of my pants is the reason far too many of my longer works went unfinished. For my first finished novel, Fid’s Crusade, I started with a loose and somewhat flexible plot outline. The outline was only fleshed out as I worked. 
More recently, I’ve been experimenting with creating a more detailed outlines before I began constructing prose. For some reason, this seems to have slowed my overall production rate. I’m pleased by the work that was created but am not particularly happy about the decreased speed.
For my next work, I hope to find a happy medium between the two approaches.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Fid’s Crusade is a supervillainous tale of grief, rage, guilt, and violence. Also, of humanity rediscovered. The novel follows the adventures of a veteran supervillain who uncovers a horrifying conspiracy and is called upon to save a world that he once sought to terrorize. Also, it’s a story about an awkward but brilliant young man and the tragedy that motivated him to take on a new villainous persona. It’s about Doctor Fid’s history and about Doctor Fid’s future, about his never-ending quest to punish the heroes who he believes to be unworthy of the public’s trust, and it’s about his emotional and moral evolution. 
With sporadic superheroic battle sequences to break the tension, of course.

How did you get the idea for the book?
Superhero stories are everywhere these days, and (as a long-time comic book geek) I’ve been thrilled to see some of my childhood’s favorite characters being brought to the big and small screens. One thing that I’ve noticed, however, is that in many of these stories the heroes are very reactive. The bad guy initiates some terrible plan and the heroes respond by putting on costumes and risking their lives to save the day. So, I suppose that my inspiration was to approach a very well-known and popular genre from an oblique angle, and to really focus on the place where the majority of conflict originates: behind the villain’s mask.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
I think that my favorite character from this series is a superhero named Cloner. He’s an old, very-experienced superhero who ends up leading the most powerful team on the East Coast. His power set involves instantaneously creating new bodies for himself…a one-man mob, superficially similar to Marvel Comics’ Jamie Madrox/the Multiple Man.

It’s a secondary aspect of Cloner’s power that makes him interesting to write: even though each of his bodies can act with complete autonomy/ individuality, they are actually part of a hive-mind. Cloner can multitask at an obscene level, and he has hundreds of bodies scattered around the world…just living ordinary lives. He’s endured a remarkable cross-section of the human experience, and yet he hides this vast wisdom behind an irreverent mien. Portraying that without being heavy-handed is always an enjoyable struggle.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
For the last decade or so, the vast majority of my stories have been written from third person limited point of view, but this tale really needed to be narrated from first person perspective. While I’m pleased with the narrative voice that I’ve managed to capture, I will definitely say that making the shift to first-person perspective was challenging for me.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the third book in The Chronicles of Fid. After that, I intend to set aside the world of superheroes and supervillains for a while to focus on a high fantasy tale that has been nagging at my subconscious. I have lots of stories to tell, so stay tuned!

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
Read a lot. Write a lot. And (perhaps most importantly) find a reliable source of harsh criticism. It’s wonderful when someone tells you that they love your work, but you’ll learn more from the reader who loathes it and is willing to tell you why.
No one starts out writing brilliant, emotive and thought-provoking prose on page one. Those skills are built up over time. So…don’t get discouraged. If your first story isn’t up to par, save the file and start another one. And another. And another.
If you keep at it, you’ll get there eventually.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery, by Jean Paul Paulynice

Title: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery
Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA
Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM
Genre: Self-help/Inspirational
Publication Date: May 30, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7330427-9-6 (Hardback)      $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-9-1 (Paperback)    $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-7330427-0-3 (eBook)           $3.99
ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook)   $3.95

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.