Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: The GunDigest Book of the Revolver

The GunDigest Book of the Revolver is a fine book and should be a valuable resource to anyone interested researching, shooting, and carrying a modern double action revolver.  That said, I will list my quibbles, which almost all have to do with what strikes me as a somewhat misleading title.
With a title like ‘Book of the Revolver’, I was expecting a thorough treatise on the revolver, including its history from the very earliest models through current iterations.  I looked forward to a learned exposition on, for example, such things as the Colt Paterson, cap & ball conversions, the Smith & Wesson Schofield, 20th Century refinements and improvements, and such oddities as the Webley-Fosbury semi-automatic revolver.  Nope.  The book ignores all that and instead concentrates on modern, currently produced double action revolvers, and virtually ignores the single actions.
Setting aside my mistaken expectations, the book is an excellent resource for anyone deciding between a revolver and semi-automatic handgun.  Once the decision to go with a revolver is made, the author very clearly and intelligently discusses many aspects of shooting, carrying, maintaining, and customizing the weapon.  Mr. Cunningham clearly states his own personal preferences and why, but also presents alternative views on such things as sight picture, types of grips, etc.  Also, the book has many black and white photos that clearly illustrate the points made.
All in all, once the book’s focus is understood, the GunDigest Book of the [Modern Double Action] Revolver is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to thoroughly understand the weapon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1,000 Miles on My Bike

This is off the usual topics, but I can't resist.

Today I made my goal of riding 1,000 miles on my bike in 2011.  As of this writing my iPhone bike app has recorded 1,003 miles of pedaling for the year.  That's inconsequential for serious bikers, but it's not bad for someone who is out of town half the time.  This photo is from early 2011:

With regard to a usual topic, Redemption on the River, Laurie's edit should be done any day now.  (Breathe, chill, go ride a bike.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review - BADWATER

I enjoyed BADWATER by Toni Dwiggins, an independently published thriller that compares well with traditionally published paperbacks available at any bookstore.  
Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws are forensic geologists—a new term to me, but I know about it now thanks to the book—who are called in to assist in the investigation of missing radioactive waste in Death Valley.  The setting is well described, the technology well researched, and the bad guys engineer diabolical plot twists.  The action continues right up to the end.
My only gripe worth mentioning has to do with the narrative perspective.  The book is written in a mix of first and third person that I personally find to be distracting.  I don’t know if this is a recent trend in fiction—this is the second book I’ve recently read that does this—but I find it jarring at each change.  It may well be a personal preference, but I can’t help but penalize a star for it.  
BADWATER gets three stars from me, others who don’t mind the narrative perspective would likely rate it higher.  It is available at Amazon in ebook (at 99 cents as of this writing) and paperback.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Heard From Laurie the Editor!

My editor, Laurie, was kind enough to send me a short email halfway through her edit of Redemption on the River.  I had to unplug my laptop and take it downstairs to my wife so we could read it together for the first time.  And.....she had nice things to say.

Actually, even nicer than her comments was the fact that she took the time to let me know how it was going.  She normally doesn't send progress reports, but she had somehow sensed from 3,000 miles away how anxious I was and gave me some early feedback.

Whew.  I took some of that just-released pent-up energy and went out for a 38 degree bike ride.  (OBTW, only 22 miles left to go to reach my goal of 1,000 miles for 2011.)

Speaking of pent-up energy, I've already warned Teri that once Laurie's report arrives there is going to be nothing else I'd rather be working on than the book.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review - Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb

I’m not a big fan of YA—I’m not a YA—but SUPER ZOMBIE JUICE MEGA BOMB is a good YA read about teenagers dealing with a nasty, localized zombie outbreak in their hometown.  The zombies mostly follow the conventional zombie paradigm and rules of engagement outlined in THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE by Max Brooks, save for the fortuitous discovery of an unexpected zombie vulnerability that allows construction of the Mega Bomb.  SCJMB should be enjoyable to any young adult fan of the genre.  

Link to SZJMB on Amazon, the Kindle edition, also available in paperback.

Note:  I'm going to start doing book reviews, focusing on independently published e-books.  I'm hoping that it will be something of a pre-give-back to the independent author community, because I will likely be one myself some day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blurb the Blurbing Blurb

In my continuing efforts to keep busy and connected to the book while Laurie ( ) takes her red pen to the manuscript I've been working on blurbs.  If I do decide to pursue independent e-publishing the marketing efforts will be entirely up to me and that includes coming up with an irresistible blurb.

I've found that writing them sucks.

My first thought was to simply adapt one of the 100+ queries that I wrote when I was assuming that I would pursue traditional publishing.  Nope, I finally got through my dim brain that a query and blurb are two different animals.  They're both sales pitches, but one is to an agent and reveals a lot or nearly all of the plot, and a blurb is much more of a cryptic tease that induces a reader/customer to buy the book to find out what happens.

Here is my latest effort:

     A guilty conscience, a woman, a twisted enemy—and redemption rides on a riverboat poker game.
     Mississippi steamboats offer escape and Silas Jacobson tries to forget his past by fighting, fornicating, and cheating at cards.  It’s a hell of a good time, but the guilt is always there.
     Eventually Silas finds a purpose, a woman, and love.  He might also find redemption if he can overcome betrayal—especially his own.

     REDEMPTION ON THE RIVER is historical fiction set on the Mississippi River in 1848.