Top 10 Reads of 2019

10. The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

War and global destruction has once more befallen Earth and we find ourselves in the desert dictatorship community of St. Louis, Missouri. It ain’t pretty when the book starts. It’s even uglier at the end – but in a good way, I suppose you could say. Meanwhile, a dozen residents of St. Louis, led by a mute stranger who has recently escaped the death penalty, decide to make a run for it and take their chances beyond the wall of “The Sanctuary”. Cross country adventure ensues. This, along with the status of St. Louis after their departure, is our plot.

9. Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea

Ghost Mine takes us out to Hecla, Wyoming where mysterious shenanigans are taking place. President Teddy Roosevelt wants this place checked out and hires two of his former Rough Riders for the task.

As with all of Hunter’s work, it doesn’t take long for our adventurers to be flung into the fray and fighting for their lives against the strange and powerful entities that populate the book.

8. The Gordon Place by Isaac Thorne

Lee Gordon just wants to live his life, unfortunately, he wants to do it at the expense of his son having a life, too.

The beginning was a little slow for me, but once things started happening it was an enjoyable read that kept me turning pages. The dog was pretty creepy and all the main characters were well-rounded, believable, and relatable. That’s really important to me when it comes to enjoying a book – even though Lee was about as repugnant a person as can be – you knew where he stood and what he stood for. Not overly scary and the gore factor is pretty low. I’m not into gore so that was fine by me. But, there was enough going on outside of that to keep me interested. I wasn’t expecting that ending at all, either.

7. All Hallows by W. Sheridan Bradford

All Hallows follows the old and cantankerous witch, Maren Glover as she tries to make her way home on Halloween Night. All of them are sorely tempted by a high bounty placed on Maren’s head. But, Maren, old and road-weary as she is, keeps her handy-dandy bowling bag of tricks always on hand and she isn’t about to go quietly or easily into that sweet night.

The first half is slow, but then the narrative quickens. The dialogue and characters blossomed and were a delight. They drove all the action forward at a wonderful pace. It became a book I couldn’t wait to have time to sit down and get back into. Had the first half been written like the second half, I would have easily given it a higher rank without a second thought.

6. Devoured by Jason Brant

Are they zombies? Are they vampires? Are they lab experiments pumped up on Incredible Hulk steroids that never run out of anger? I’ve no idea at this stage and frankly, it doesn’t matter.

What really matters is getting the hell out of their way and praying to God they never find you. Just ask Lance and Cass, strangers who have found each other while running for their lives and themselves in the middle of the mayhem, doing everything in their power to survive in the madness that has become Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fast-paced, gory, and yes, even mildly funny.

5. The Taking by Dean Koontz

H.P. Lovecraft meet H.G. Wells. From day one, page one, I did not want to put this book down, but work and sleep required it in stretches way too long. Told from Molly’s perspective, we are draw minute by minute into the weird and terrifying realm of an alien invasion.

I was anxious and horrified. I was completely and utterly entertained. I loved every aching, ugly, terrified minute of those twenty-four hours. By far, the best Dean Koontz book I’ve read.

4. Reaping The Aurora by Jason Palmatier

The final book in the Erenthall series is chock full of battles both large and small, concluding with a war that could be the last this Fantasy world ever sees. The very fabric of reality sits in the balance and it’s up to Kara, her friends, and war-weary allies to try and fix it. Time is running out. Complete annihilation could happen at any time – it’s this premise that pushes Reaping The Aurora towards its monumental conclusion.

I really enjoyed this trilogy and am looking forward to exploring even more of his work.

3. Those Who Came Before by J.H. Moncrieff

Not I expected and it kept me engaged all the way through. The creature in question isn’t one that’s written about in fiction all that often and it was nice to have something different. The characters were engaging and realistic. The backstory was really interesting and fed into the current events going on perfectly. Writing style was easy to read, no filler or fluff. Moncrieff jumped right into the story and didn’t dilly-dally around with anything.

2. Eight Minutes, Thirty-two Seconds by Peter Adam Salomon

The Apocalypse is here. Two people have survived.

They have no idea what happened, how they ended up in this vast network of corridors and rooms. They don’t even know their own names. They simply go by L. and M. What they do know is that they can access the former lives and memories of six other people, people from the world that was, but only for eight minutes and thirty-two seconds at a time and they have to die in order to do that.

Where is everyone? Why are they the only two left? And why are there so many rooms and locked doors and so many supplies as if the place were meant to house thousands?

Read this 200 page novella in two days! BAM! Read every spare minute I could find. If you’re into books about the Apocalypse, you’re going to love “Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds”.

1. In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

Over the past forty years literally hundreds of other vampire novels and short stories have crossed my path. Most of them have been quite forgettable. Andy Davidson’s In The Valley Of The Sun is not one of them.

First, it’s original. The word vampire is never used and the effects of becoming one of the undead doesn’t adhere to the traditional.

Set in West Texas, we follow the wretched and lost life of Travis Stillwell, a deeply disturbed and traumatized Vietnam Vet. Even before he meets up with Rue, he’s not a particularly pleasant fellow. After they meet, well – it goes from ugly to absolutely monstrous.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book of this length (almost 400 pages) in less than 10 days and that’s always a good thing. Loved this book to pieces and would recommend it as a MUST READ to anyone who loves the vampire genre as much as I do.

My Worst Kept Secret … ssshhhhhh….

It’s a secret I don’t talk about all that much – though I’ve posted about it on Twitter and a wee bit on Facebook. There’s mention of it over at LinkedIn. And, it’s on my resume. There’s even a link from my official website. My parents know. My close friends know. Even my kids know, though the thought of them actually KNOWING is a bit uncomfortable. They’re adults so I guess it’s okay, plus, as their parent it’s still part of my job to embarrass them now and then, too, even if they are Growed-Ups. 🙂

I won’t deny it. I’ve written and had published some rather racy erotica. We jokingly call it The Porn around here. We’re not just talking about one book, or a couple of short stories, either. This is five full-length novels. When most people ask me how many books I’ve written, I usually only confess to the four mainstream titles.

So, how does one find themselves writing about the literary sexual adult playrooms and bdsm dungeons of the world? It started out as a dare. A friend challenged me to write out one of my fantasies. So, I did. Then I wrote another. And another and another and found out I was pretty darn good at it.

A couple years later, I found myself getting involved in the US Civil War reenactment scene. I knew the Victorians weren’t all quite so proper and prudish as they appeared on the surface and so were born Lucy, Beau, & Vivianne – the stars of what would become The Greenbrier Trilogy. My knowledge about the time period in general and further research into the Civil War, allowed me to make it as historically accurate as I could. And for those who know me, I really do love doing research.

Starting in 2006, and under a pen-name, they each found a home with Pink Flamingo Media and are still there to this day. In 2012, the company underwent a re-org and asked if I’d like to re-issue the books as an official trilogy. It gave me the opportunity to do a bit more editing, make any minor changes, and update the covers if desired. I said, SURE!

But, Pam, you say, a trilogy is three books. You said there were five. What gives? During the re-org I was also given the opportunity to pull any of my titles and take back all rights. I pulled one that I am hoping to one day work differently, to make it less ‘porny’ and more ‘horror-y’. The fifth title is still there, but you’ll have to go to the publisher’s website to see what it is.

Curious? HERE’S THE LINK. Your secret is safe with me.