Character Guest Post by Steve Starger of Misfits and Supermen

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For today’s blog post, I’ve asked Steve Starger, narrator/protaganist of his book, Misfits and Supermen to tell us more about himself. Without further ado, take it away Steve…




Hello out there. Steve Starger here. I’m the narrator/protagonist of Steve Starger’s memoir, MISFITS AND SUPERMEN. It’s interesting how we have the same name, right? Well, since MISFITS is a personal memoir (is there another kind??), I’ve picked myself as a character for this post. When you read the book you’ll see why I was the logical choice! I have already revealed much about myself and my relationship to my brother, Melvyn, over the course of our lives and my confronting (or not) the fact of his many psychiatric disabilities. So, I think the best thing to do here is focus on an anecdote from my psychedelic days in New York City with my band, NGC 4594.  This was during the summer of 1967, the Summer of Love. The band had taken up communal quarters in a loft on St. Marks Place, in the East Village. One night, my friend Buzz and I decided to talk a walk to Tompkins Square Park, a few blocks south of the loft. We were in a pleasant altered state of mind. The night was warm, and the streets were crowded with interesting people – locals, tourists, weekend hippies, police, musicians, artists, and some folks who were there just because it was St. Marks Place and it was the hip and groovy place to be that summer. When we got to the park, we took perches on the back of one of the many benches and watched the passing parade. The variety of humanity strolling by never failed to amaze and entertain us on these sojourns. On this night, literally, in the blink of an eye, a young woman appeared before us. She sat on the pavement in front of us and fixed her eyes on both of us, her gaze moving from one to the other. She didn’t speak, and neither did we, for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, either Buzz or I asked her name and where she came from. She didn’t give a name, but she told us she had come from a remote region in northern Canada. She said – nonchalantly and without irony -- that she had been raised by wolves and had left the pack when she came of human age. Her subsequent wanderings eventually brought her to the park, and to us. We listened with fascination to her tale. We began to notice that her eyes, indeed, were wolf-like – icy blue and piercing. Her eyes contained unfathomable depths and we dove right in to her welcoming pupils. She then told us that she possessed certain extra-human powers of a telepathic nature. Intrigued, we asked her to demonstrate. She told us to close our eyes and she would enter our connected consciousness.  “How will we know?” we asked. “You’ll know,” she answered. Who were we to argue? Some time passed. Suddenly, we both felt a surge of energy pass between us, as if a switch had been thrown in our neuro-electrical grid. Our eyes were forced open. We gaped at each other in both disbelief and belief! And to top it off – the wolf girl had vanished, not in a puff of smoke or with an ALAKAZAM!, but subtly, quietly. Just gone. We still talk about her to this day. The wolf girl, our name for her. You may call the whole thing a hallucination, just one of many that presented themselves that summer. But we felt the charge, the shock, the transfer of electricity from one brain to another. We know what happened, and the fact of it hasn’t changed in more than fifty years!



Inside the Book

Misfits and Supermen
Title: MISFITS AND SUPERMEN: TWO BROTHERS’ JOURNEY ALONG THE SPECTRUM.
Author: Steve Starger
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 178
Genre: Memoir
BOOK BLURB:
The bond of brotherhood is hard to break, but a lifetime of dealing with familial expectation, bitterness, and psychological disorders can bend and warp it into something nearly unrecognizable. This story tells the tale of two brothers: Melvyn, the elder, whose amalgamation of disorders leave him completely unable to function within society; and Stephen, the younger, whose own emotional and psychological issues are overshadowed to the point where he becomes little more than a pale and twisted reflection of his brother.
On different ends of the same spectrum, Melvyn is blissfully unaware of their troubling connection (or so his brother can only assume), but for Stephen, it is undeniable. He lives with it every day, sensing his own otherness in every twitch, outburst, and inability of his brother to overcome his inner demons. Left largely on his own to deal with his peculiarities-while carrying the burden of being “the normal one,” of whom much is expected- Stephen begins a complicated and unpredictable journey, one which will take him as far from his brother as he can manage to get, even as it brings them inexorably closer.
A portion of proceeds from this book will go toward the Camp Cuheca Scholarship – Melvyn D. Starger fund at Waterford Country School, Quaker Hill, CT., to help fund a two-week summer residency at the camp. For more information about Waterford Country School, please email development@waterforddcs.org.
“A finely crafted, affecting memoir of two brothers.”
— Kirkus Reviews
If you want an honest book about life with mental illness in the family, this is it. Great writing. Brutally honest. Hard to put it down. Great stories about CT, NY and CA from the 1940s to 2000.”
–Amazon Reviewer

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_____________________

Meet the Author

Steve Starger
Steve Starger is a journalist, author, and musician. His 2006 book, “Wally’s World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World’s Second-Best Comic-Book Artist,” was short-listed for the Will Eisner Industry Award for Best Comics Related Book of 2006.
His latest book is a memoir titled MISFITS AND SUPERMEN: TWO BROTHERS’ JOURNEY ALONG THE SPECTRUM.
Website: www.misfitsandsupermen.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Starger-2222670174658438/

A Lady's Virtue by A.S. Fenichel

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Title: A LADY’S VIRTUE
Author: A.S. Fenichel
Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington Books
Pages: 225
Genre: Regency Romance


Can a broken engagement ignite the spark of true love?

Sylvia Dowder had almost made it to the altar when her fiancĂ© unexpectedly became a viscount, and dropped her like a stale crumpet to make a more “suitable” match. Though Sylvia’s heart has been crushed, her spirit has not. She puts her wits and social savvy to use as a secret gossip columnist—and as the Everton Domestic Society’s party planner to the ton. Luckily, she’s not in danger of ever falling for an aristocrat again…

Especially not one like Anthony Braighton, Earl of Grafton. Raised in America, Anthony sees no reason to marry when he can enjoy all the perks of being an eligible earl. Determined to convince his family he doesn’t need a wife, he hires Sylvia to act as hostess and decorator for upcoming parties. Yet Sylvia is as adept at captivating his interest as she is at beautifying his home. And despite this Everton lady’s aversion to titled men, some attractions can’t be denied—and love rarely does go where it’s told . . .

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______________________




Late again, Sylvia Dowder ran down the stairs at the Everton Domestic Society as if her skirts were on fire. It was impossible to read her handwritten pages while moving at such a pace, but she needed to send her article to the Weekly Whisper’s editor before the day was out. She’d been late last month and nearly lost her post at the newspaper.
At the bottom of the stairs, she noted her failure to sign the article. Quill in hand, she dripped ink on her brown skirt, leaned on the banister and scribbled Mable Tattler at the bottom. She would ask Gray to have  a footman carry it to Free Market Square. Jumping down the last step brought her up against a wall that toppled her to the floor.
Stunned, she lay still with her papers strewn around her and the light from the transom windows blocked by whatever had felled her.
A masculine, ungloved hand reached toward her. “I’m terribly sorry, miss. Entirely my fault. Are you hurt?” His accent was strange, American perhaps. Having no gloves on, she was hesitant to touch him, but there was no help for it. She couldn’t remain on her back like a turtle. The warmth of his skin traveled up her arm, and her cheeks heated. His fingers were strong and rough. This was no gentleman’s hand. She stood as he eased her to her feet. “Not at all,” she said. “I was distracted.”
He towered over her. At her full height of barely over five feet, she craned her neck and was frozen by the most stunning pair of golden eyes, olive skin and full lips. She blinked to focus on the whole rather than the parts. “Anthony Braighton?”
He bowed over her hand, which he still held firmly in his. “Lady Serena or Sylvia? I’m afraid I don’t know.”


The mention of her twin’s name brought reality crashing back on Sylvia. She pulled her hand back and made a curtsy. “A common mistake, sir. I am Sylvia Dowder. My sister is still living at home.”
Cocking his head, he gawked at her. “And you are now living here at Everton House, Miss Dowder?”
“I have joined the Society.” While he seemed only curious, it still rubbed her wrong, and she forced herself not to defend her decisions. Anthony Braighton was just a rich gentleman from America. His opinion didn’t mean anything.
“Because of Lord March?” The problem with Americans was they said exactly what they thought rather than keeping a conversation polite. Sylvia bit down on the inside of her cheek. The last thing she wanted was to recount the demise of her engagement to Hunter Gautier, the current Viscount of March. She had been so close to the altar before disaster struck. No. She wouldn’t think about that anymore. “My reasons are not your concern, Mr. Braighton. If you’ll excuse me, I have to see the butler.” His eyes were wide. “Have I been rude, Miss Dowder? I assure you,
it was not my intention. I only meant to convey that March’s treatment of you was abominable and no one blames you.”
Despite his effort to make things better, his mention of what everyone in London knew of her life and failure only exacerbated her mortification. Still, she could see he was sincere, if mistaken. “There is no harm, Mr. Braighton. I am uninjured.”
“I am pleased to hear that. It seems I have a bad habit of offending the English with regularity.” His smile created the most charming dimple in his left cheek, and his eyes sparkled with mischief.
If she were honest, she did not mind looking at Anthony Braighton.
Best not to be too honest. “I am made of tougher stuff than most.” “Indeed.” That dimple deepened, and he raised an eyebrow. Looking at
the pages in her hand, he said, “I’m keeping you from something. Forgive me. I was on my way to see Lady Jane Everton.”
Curiosity over what troubles might bring a rich young man to the Everton Domestic Society warred with her need to have her article delivered to her editor before her deadline passed. Her training as a lady won the battle. She gestured toward the hallway, which led behind the stairs. “Lady Jane’s office is the first door on the right.”
“Thank you, Miss Dowder. Very nice to see you again.” “And you, Mr. Braighton. If you will excuse me.”
He bowed, and she rushed from the foyer to find Gray, the Evertons’ aging butler.






 





A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Forever Brides series, the Everton Domestic Society series, and more. With several books currently contracted, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the Southern Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, puttering in her garden and spoiling her fussy cat. 

Website Link: http://asfenichel.com
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/asfenichel
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/A.S.Fenichel





Guest: Kevin C. Alston, Sr., Author of The 'Real' American Diet

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I've always considered myself to be a consciously healthy eater. All the way back to my childhood, I was taught by my mother & my grandmother the importance of keeping greens in my diet. Since

writing my book, I've tried to take that same healthy thinking up a notch. What I mean by this is that at least twice a week, I will try to get a 'good' salad in. And my definition of a 'good' salad is one that has a potpourri of fresh ingredients. An all-around favorite of mine is a Greek salad. At times I will purchase one from a local restaurant, but most times, I go to my favorite fruit/vegetable stop ( Nino Savaggio's is my all-time favorite in my area ) & load up on all the ingredients. But when I do this, I don't stop at the Greek salad ingredients. I love avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, yams, arugulas, red onions, green onions, bell peppers, olives, whole garlic, spinach, & artichokes, just to name a few of the ingredients that I'm very fond of.  Now just imagine a  salad with all of those things on it, with just a hint of dressing, which often is olive oil based for my palate. Yum! I'm getting hungry just talking about it. And what I've discovered over the years is that I oftentimes don't get my 2-salad-a-week limit, but I will make a sandwich or two instead, which if you know me, is nothing but a salad anyhow, but that's another story.

About the Author

Born & raised in the small town of Mullins, SC, by God-fearing parents who instilled religion into his life at an early age, he’s had an insatiable appetite for knowledge since birth. God blessed him with a keen, analytical mind, & an almost feverish desire to help others. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, married to the love of his life, with five wonderful kids, & a deep passion that still burns within him to help the less fortunate, through whatever means necessary.  The correlation between what we eat & the epidemic-like rise in diseases of today has the author on an impassioned mission to get to the bottom of what he thinks is a big conspiracy by our government & Big Business.
His latest book is The ‘Real’ American Diet.
Website Link: http://diet4america.wix.com/real , https://youtu.be/sQ8LOeFoj68
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/kcasrkev1
Facebook Link: http://facebook.com/kcasrkev

Little Girls Sleeping Pre-Order Blitz!

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LITTLE GIRLS SLEEPING  by Jennifer Chase, Crime Thriller, 377 pp.


Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime



He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!


WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn't believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn't stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can't wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

Captivating from beginning to the last page. A "who did it" crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

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______________________





Prologue
The oversized tires obliterated the rural roadway before the large truck came to an abrupt stop. The driver stalled the engine. Dust rose in a curious flowering cloud, swirling in front of the vehicle’s hood and creeping toward the back of the camper shell. When the surrounding vicinity finally cleared, a dense forest landscape emerged.
The truck overlooked the sheer cliff and rugged scenery that had become a permanent roadblock. The usual silence of the deserted region was interrupted by the incessant and rhythmic sound of a cooling engine.
Tick… Tick… Tick…
The vehicle remained parked. No one moved inside the cab or got out. The truck stayed immobile as if an unlikely statue in the vast wilderness—a distinct contrast between nature and manufactured steel.
The truck sat at the ideal vantage spot, which was both mesmerizing and terrifying for any spectator; but still the occupant chose to wait. The intense high beams pierced ahead into the picturesque hills, leaving a hazy view of the area above the massed trees.
When the driver’s door finally opened, a man stepped out, his steel-toed leather work boots hitting the dirt. They were well-worn, reflecting the many miles he had walked and the many hours he had labored. Swiftly the door shut as the man, medium build and wearing only a plain dark T-shirt, walked to the back of the truck and, with a loud bang, released the lift gate. He moved with purpose and with a calm assertiveness, as if he had performed this particular task many times before. His weathered hands, calloused from years of working with heavy tools and machinery without the protection of leather gloves, had a certain agility and speed.
He grasped two well-used shovels, a large arching pick, and a bulky utility garbage bag. As he tossed the bag onto the ground, the top burst open and several medium-sized teddy bears spilled out. Their smiling faces accentuated the brightly colored ribbons tied around their necks, contrasting with the muted shades of their surroundings.
The man pushed the floppy bag aside with the toe of his boot. He worked in quiet solitude, no humming, no whistling, and no talk.
He flipped on the flashlight fixed to his baseball cap. Straight ahead and slightly arced, the large beam illuminated his path while he strode steadily toward a particular wooded area.
The surrounding thickets and trees remained still without any wind to rustle the leaves. The only audible sound was the man’s quick footsteps—never with any hesitation. He walked with the gait of a young man, despite his stature of someone older.
He hesitated as if he had forgotten something, standing motionless with his arms down at his sides and his head hung forward as he shone the bright light at the ground and the tops of his boots. He still held firmly to the tools. He mumbled a few inaudible sentences of a memorized prayer, which sounded more like a warning than a passage from the Bible, then he raised his head and continued to walk into the dense forest.
Dropping his tools, he carefully pushed a pine branch aside and secured it with a worn piece of rope that had been left for the purpose. An opening was exposed—a tunnel barely large enough for a man to enter.
He grabbed his digging tools once again and proceeded. The flashlight on the front of his cap brightened the passageway as it veered to the right. He followed, only ducking his head twice before the path opened to an area with several boulders sticking out of the cliff. Clusters of unusual rock shapes, some sharp, some rounded, made the terrain appear more like a movie set or backdrop.
A narrow dirt path of crude, sloping man-made steps dropped fifteen feet to a landing jutting out from the rock formation. A small yellow flag was stuck into the earth, marking a spot. A slight evening breeze picked up, causing the flag to flutter.
The man balanced the shovels and pick against the hillside and pulled a hunting knife from a sheath attached to his belt. Pressing the bone handle tight against his palm, he drew the blade through the packed dirt to mark a rectangular pattern on the ground.
He stared intently at the soil, then retrieved the pick, gripping it tight, and swung it hard against the dry, heavily compacted earth. It dented the surface, spewing chips of dirt in every direction. A few small rocks buried in the soil since the beginning of time hampered his progress, but after several more arced swings, the ground began to crumble, exposing the fresh earth.
The heavy pick was exchanged for one of the shovels. Soon there was a small pile of California soil, comprised of sand, silt, clay, and small rock. The repeated movements of dig, scoop, and deposit continued for more than forty-five minutes at a brisk pace. The hard work of manual labor didn’t deter him. It only made him more determined to create a work of genius—his ultimate masterpiece.
At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.







 







Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.
Her latest book is the thriller, Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1).

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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 Author Blog: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase

Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime
Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting 





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Character Guest Post by Cole Haufner of Dark Spiral Down by Michael Houtz

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For today’s blog post, I’ve asked Cole Haufner of Dark Spiral Down by Michael Houtz to tell us more about himself. Without further ado, take it away Cole…


Hello everyone! My name is Cole Haufner, and I’m a professional mixed martial arts fighter. I have a confession I want to share with you all—I hate interviews. I know I’ve performed in some of the biggest pay-per-view fights and sat on post-fight podiums speaking to reporters and fans across the
globe, but I get really nervous when the attention is on me. Weird, right? I certainly don’t fit in with the usual crowd. I’m not like Connor McGregor, so… 
 
I think I get that from my youth growing up in a Shaolin temple in China. Can’t say there’s a lot of attention seekers in that part of the world. Anyone with that type of personality tends to either leave or learns to suppress those urges. We’re kind of a stoic bunch. 

Hmm, what else? Oh, I love dogs. My best friend has a German Shepard, Zeus. That dude is a total badass. Oops, can I say that word on here? I probably shouldn’t say that anyway. If I wasn’t traveling all the time, I’d totally get one. Maybe when things slow down a bit. Who am I kidding? My cowriter here has zero plans I’ll ever slow down. I threatened to choke him out if I didn’t get a break, but I don’t think he even heard me. 

Love kids! I have a real soft spot for them. I’m normally a chill guy but when I hear a story of abuse of any kind, I tend to lash out pretty quickly. There was this one time I followed a bad guy to…Oh, sorry. I’m getting a hand signal I can’t talk about that. Guess the laws in that part of the world wouldn’t like what I did to him. Too bad—I thought it was pretty clever…okay, fine. I see your hand waving again. 

You probably know my wife. She’s a pretty famous ballerina. Most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. Guys, back me up on this. Right? She hates my fights. Can’t say I particularly care for them either, but she REALLY hates them. We agreed on one more before I announce my retirement. I haven’t told anyone that yet so let’s keep that little gem between us. I figured I go undefeated and win the middle-weight world championship. Just about there. After that, I’m off to med school, like we initially planned. I want to take care of little kids like my cowriter here. 

That’s enough about me. Tell me a cool story about you!




About the Author

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.



                          https://www.facebook.com/mike.houtz.77


About the Book:

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.


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Book Excerpt:
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?”

Character Guest Post by An Unarmed Bank Robber from Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss

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COMMENTS

For today’s blog post, I’ve asked an unarmed bank robber of Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss to give us a typical day in his life. He had a lot to say, not to mention having his life in danger with Dr. Fid right there in his bedroom. Without further ado, take it away unarmed bank robber…


I don’t know what it was. There wasn’t a whisper of noise, the floorboards didn’t squeak. I just woke up and knew I wasn’t alone. Trying to move real slow and careful, I shifted to grab the forty-four under the pillow; it wasn’t there, of course. Stacey was visiting and I keep all the guns locked up when kids are in the house. My ex- insisted, and for a moment I was afraid listening to that bitch was gonna get me killed. And maybe Stacey too! But then the shadows shifted, and fear turned to something worse.
A revolver wouldn’t’ve been any use anyway. Probably better it was in the safe or I might’ve done something stupid and got hurt before I figured out who was visiting.
“Do not be alarmed,” the supervillain ordered calmly. His voice was freaky, almost human, but not quite: synthetic, somehow menacing and dull at the same time. “If I intended any harm, the pain would already have begun.”
I grew up seeing different versions of that damned powered armor on the news. Its surface was so dark it didn’t look solid…just a silhouette, no light or shadow could touch it, and there were stars visible in that black. It felt like I should hold my breath, like a man-shaped doorway to the night sky was in the room with me and if I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right through into empty space. A red glow bled from the armor’s seams, and that was the only hint of the guy’s real shape. On television, the effect was disturbing. In person, it’s fricking terrifying.
It couldn’t be anyone else. Doctor Fid was in my damned bedroom.
“I am here,” the villain continued, “because you robbed a bank in East Boston on Tuesday. It was clever of you to wait until the local superhero team–the Guardians–was already engaged in battle in Belmont. Against me.”
He paused and I thought maybe I should speak; it was kinda hard to guess what he wanted ’cause his armor had no face. No face meant no expression. “Uh…Thank you?”
“You’re welcome,” he replied, and even with no face and that damned emotionless voice, somehow I knew he was laughing at me. But that sense of amusement disappeared when he continued: “Your choice was clever, but short sighted. I’ve claimed New England as my territory, but I generally do not micromanage lesser crimes performed in my domain; If you’d waited until Wednesday to rob your bank, we would not be having this conversion. But by using my trouncing of the Boston Guardians as a distraction, you chose to involve me.
“And I have certain expectations of professionalism for any crimes with which I am associated.”
He paused again but this time I knew to keep my damned trap shut.
The strange suit of powered armor floated closer, slow and imposing. “You beat a security guard unconscious after you’d disarmed him. His name is James Monaghan and tomorrow is his son’s birthday.”
I wanted to defend myself, say maybe the guard deserved it or something, but the supervillain who fought fricking Valiant hand-to-hand on the White House lawn was only a few feet away and I could tell he was pissed at me. The words got stuck in my throat.
“I’m no stranger to cruelty,” Doctor Fid chuckled, and it felt like something cold crawling up my spine, “but I’ve always found it to be unseemly when directed at an undeserving target. James Monaghan was no threat to you. He’ll survive this ordeal, but the level of violence that you employed was unnecessary. It was unprofessional, and thus…unacceptable.”
“I didn’t mean any disrespect,” I finally choked out. “Please…”
“If I thought the insult was intentional, we wouldn’t be talking right now.” Doctor Fid straightened, “But, intentional or not, there are consequences.
“First: you will cease any criminal operations in my territory. What you do elsewhere is none of my concern, but I will know if you so much as jaywalk anywhere in New England. If you do so then I will return, and I do not anticipate being quite so forgiving during a second visit.”
“Okay.” That’d suck, but I could move my operations south. And it’s not like I had any real choice, anyway.
“Second…There has been an online petition formed to fund James Monaghan’s hospital expenses. You will donate ten thousand dollars anonymously. If you do this thing within twenty-four hours, your daughter Stacy will not be forced to spend her own birthday visiting her father in a hospital.”
Ten grand was a punishment, but it wasn’t terrible y’know? Doctor Fid must’ve known what I took from the bank, he was leaving me enough to get out of town without being desperate. That’s smart; desperate people do stupid things, like try ‘n pull one last score before the armored monster comes down on you like an avalanche. And maybe some people would still be that stupid, but Doctor Fid knew my daughter’s name.
“I understand,” I said, and I did. Maybe this ‘d be good for me, professionally. And maybe I’d be more careful about which guards I put a hurt on next time.
Either way…Doctor Fid flew out my window without another word, ‘n I knew I dodged a bullet big time.
He’s fricking scary.

About the Author

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!




About the Book:

Title: FID’S CRUSADE
Author: David H. Reiss
Publisher: Atian Press
Pages: 365
Genre: Scifi/Contemporary Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:
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.

Praise:

"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

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