Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review- ★★Out of Darkness★★ by Jason D. Morrow

Out of Darkness is the story of Mora, a teen from a small village struggling to survive in a dystopian world beset by zombies called greyskins. On a quest to obtain the protection of the group functioning as the regional government, she travels to meet with the leader, Jeremiah. Although Jeremiah’s protection typically comes at a very high price, Mora hopes to negotiate a favorable outcome.

This story was a bit slow on the start for me, and I was well into the third or fourth chapter before things started to pop. But once it did, the story did a fantastic job of pulling me along for a crazy ride through the author’s post-apocalyptic vision of Mora’s world. For example, the introduction of Mora’s powers initially seems awkward and contrived, but as her powers develop along with the story, they become an integral and entertaining part of Mora’s experiences.

The author does a great job of developing and introducing the characters and settings throughout the story, and manages to build a world that the reader can easily envision themselves in. Jeremiah is particularly well written, and conveys a subtle aura of menace and evil without being overly detailed in description.

Overall, this an interesting and entertaining take on the standard zombie story, with relatable characters struggling to survive in a harsh world. A well balanced mix of action, dialogue and backstory make this a must-read for any fan of sci-fi, and zombie lovers in particular!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dark Luminance Relaunch!

After only a few short months, I'm really excited to announce the relaunch of my first novel, Dark Luminance with GMTA Publishing! The new release has an awesome new cover designed by Amber Rendon, which I think does a fantastic job of conveying the tone of the book. Beyond the new cover art, this release promises to expand Dark Luminance into other venues and formats including Barnes & Noble and paperback via Createspace on Amazon.

Stay tuned for upcoming information on blog tours as well as upcoming projects including my YA Urban Fantasy novel, a story in an upcoming SciFi Anthology, and of course, the sequel to Dark Luminance, Dark Nexus!

Thanks to all the fans that have read and enjoyed Dark Luminance so far! Mackland and the others have quite a bit more excitement in store for you soon!
Dark Luminance on Amazon
Dark Luminance on B&N

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rafflecopter Giveaway!!

Dark Luminance Giveaway powered by Rafflecopter!

Through the month of September, I am running a giveaway to promote my SciFi novel, Dark Luminance! You can enter three ways:
  1. Click to send a Tweet for 1 chance to win
  2. Click to like my author page on Facebook for 1 chance to win
  3. The big one...Write an Amazon review for Dark Luminance! Just a few minutes of your time will get you 3 chances to win!! (If you haven't finished the book yet, don't worry, the giveaway runs for the whole month, so you have plenty of time to finish and write a review)
Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review- ★★The Cloudstone Key (The Rithhek Cage Trilogy: Book 1)★★

From the beginning, the author does a fantastic job of setting the scene. His descriptions of the world of Tholann are vivid and full of depth throughout, wasting no time in immersing the reader into this strange new world.

Likewise, his development of the races on Tholann is similarly detailed and imaginative; from the towering Jikhquae women, down to the tiny squirrel-like Rethe, Patrick shows you the planets population in vibrant detail. 

The premise is typical fantasy fare, with a protagonist that is pushed out of his normal life in order to fulfill a quest that is vital to the world.  The story moves at a steady pace, with a good mix of dialogue, action, and world-building. I found myself staying up a few nights to finish an extra chapter or two, which is one of my hallmarks for a good book, and I finished the whole thing in three days.

This brings me to the only area that left me feeling flat. This book felt too long to be a short story, but far too short to be the first book of an epic fantasy series.  As the first in a series, I can appreciate that more will likely be explained in the subsequent volumes, but several portions felt as if they weren’t fully fleshed out in this book, such as the different agates and how they are used to interact with the world around them.  Several of the supporting characters also seemed to be missing some detail which would have allowed the reader to connect with them more deeply.

Overall, the book was a very immersive and exciting start to what appears to be a great new entry into the epic fantasy genre.  If the next book fills in some of the details and continues to develop the world that Patrick has so deftly created, the entire series will definitely be one to add to your bookshelf!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review- ★★Kindreds An Alliance Of Bloods★★

After the first few chapters, this dystopian novel grabbed me by the lapels and wouldn’t let go!  

I only exclude the first few chapters, because for some reason, the introduction to Raine, Jem, and Leif didn’t resonate with me.  It wasn’t that it was bad, or boring; it just didn’t pull me along for a ride I didn’t want to get off. That is the only reason I am giving this four stars, instead of five.
Once Raine and the others embark on their journey to fight with the resistance against the evil king, I was hooked though! The author maintains a fantastic balance between action, description, and dialogue, so that you are always immersed in the story. All of the characters are well developed and interact in a believable and realistic manner.  I particularly liked the fact that the main character was a strong woman character that didn’t get bogged down in a romantic relationship. While she has a few flirting scenes, and the reader can see a possible relationship building, it is very much a secondary plot point. 

The plot is well designed, with a good helping of surprise twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.
I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series, and highly recommend this to any science fiction fans out there!

(I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review ★★A Prescription For Delirium★★ by Noree Cosper

Overall, I thought this was a very good book, with only a few minor issues keeping me from giving it a five star rating.

The overall storyline was a fresh take on the vampire hunter plot by adding in demons and demon hunters, with the added bonus of extending the Van Helsing family into the present time! I admit I was a bit thrown off at first by the combination of the cursed demon huntress who was also oathbound to the Van Helsing clan, but once I was about halfway through, it started to gel nicely. Another pleasant plot twist was the demon-creating drug used to spawn a new generation of terrors in the asylum. Very creative and surprising!

The action and pacing was evenly spread throughout, with fantastic action sequences interspersed with emotional and fluid dialogues. A few slow spots popped up in the middle of the book, but they weren't enough to bring me out of the fiction.

The characters were a mixed bag for me, and the only real reason I dropped one star for the review. As an overall cast, they worked well together, and balanced each other out without being too over the top about it. Gabbi was well developed, although her back-story seemed a bit confusing to me, at least from the flashbacks used to tell it. But she made a great protagonist, and you felt for her throughout. The Van Helsing brothers were good characters, but I wished they could have been a bit more developed, although since this is the start of a series, that may have been intentional to leave room for subsequent novels.

Overall, a very good book, and I will definitely be reading the sequels as they come out!

Book Review ★★First World★★ by Jaymin Eve

Fair warning: Although this is a YA Urban Fantasy novel, I’m a guy. This review is from a male perspective. Ok now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about this fantastic book!

I came across this author and her book on a Goodreads indie author forum (I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review), and I admit my first reaction was “Oh no, I have to review a chick-lit paranormal romance”. Needless to say, this isn’t my normal genre, but I decided to risk my testosterone levels and make it to the end so I could give a fair review. And I’m a better man for it.

From the opening scenes with Abby the orphan struggling to make it in a post-apocalyptic New York I was hooked.  The author does a fantastic job of setting the scene and quickly introducing you to the main characters in a fluid and well told story.  Abby and her best friend Lucy make a great team throughout the novel, providing complementary personalities that strengthen and support each other when they need it most.

The action really starts to pick up as they are whisked away to the First World, where Abby finds out about her past, her family, and eventually, her future. Along the way she meets several men, including Brace, the dark-haired, brooding hunk who she pretty much falls for immediately, no matter how much she doesn’t want to. I think the author did a fantastic job of putting the romance and emotional bonds between the characters in without going overboard. There are plenty of scenes with smoldering looks and latent sexual tension, but they developed naturally throughout the story; they don’t feel forced or crowded in as with some of the current crop of YA Urban Fantasy genre.  Overall it was a perfect blend  of romance with action throughout the story.

Jaymin Eve has written a terrific YA Urban Fantasy story that can easily appeal to older audiences as well, even the guys out there. The storyline, pacing, and characters all make it a book that will appeal to just about any fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels. Definitely worth the read!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dark Luminance is live on Amazon!

After a year of blood, sweat, and tears, my science-fiction novel, Dark Luminance is published live on It has already gotten a 4-star review comparing it to an early Michael Crichton novel, which I consider very high praise, indeed. 

Just a quick plea:

If you enjoy the book, please, please, tell your friends, and take a few minutes and leave an Amazon review. It doesn't have to be long and drawn out, just a simple star rating, and a few sentences is fine. Reviews help drive sales, so every one helps a bit. I really enjoy writing, and the success of this book will help me devote the time needed to the sequel, as well as other projects already in the works.
Click Dark Luminance to go to the Amazon page and find out more, and here is the book description:

Dr. Mackland Luther is a man driven to find answers, no matter the cost. As lead scientist on the Frameway project, he tries to solve the mysteries linking unlimited energy and quantum physics, and he is making progress.

But one step too far down the wrong path can be disastrous, and now an experiment gone terribly wrong has suddenly thrust Mack along with his friends and co-workers Billy and Sean, into a world populated by monsters from nightmares and mysterious individuals that could turn out to be friend or foe.
Now with time running out, Mack and the others must battle enemies on all sides, and find a way back to their own world or risk being stranded
forever in another universe.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sneak Peek of Dark Luminance - Coming out July 19th!

From the Cover -
Dr. Mackland Luther is a man driven to find answers, no matter the cost. As lead scientist on the Frameway project, he tries to solve the mysteries linking unlimited energy and quantum physics, and he is making
But one step too far down the wrong path can be disastrous, and now an experiment gone terribly wrong has suddenly thrust Mack along with his friends and co-workers Billy and Sean, into a world populated by monsters from nightmares and mysterious individuals that could turn out to be friend or foe.
Now with time running out, Mack and the others must battle enemies on all sides, and find a way back to their world or risk being stranded
forever in another universe.

Dark Luminance
By E.M. McDowell

 Copyright © 2013 by E.M. McDowell
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.


Mackland Luther shifted his grip. Wedging his fingers into a small fissure, he clung to the side of Blanca Peak and took a moment to look out over the Colorado landscape. The verdant green backdrop of the San Luis Valley in the distance contrasted the bright blue of Lake Como below. Mackland marveled at the variety of terrain visible from his perch. Grasslands, lake forests, tundra, and mountains all merged to create the spectacular vista before him. "Enough daydreaming, Mackland." He thought. "Focus or you'll become part of the pretty landscape." He turned his thoughts from the beautiful scenery to the sharp unyielding rock beneath his hands and feet. Swinging a hand up and over to a stone lip above him, he blinked away stone dust as it drifted down in small puffs, although he still got a good nose full with his next breath. The rock face here jutted outward from the vertical wall, forcing Mackland to pull himself up using only his arms and upper body, leaving his legs dangling in open space as he scaled the thirty-foot ledge. Ignoring the fact that his hands were now all that kept him from an abrupt and messy return to their base-camp below, he pulled himself along the rock shelf. His intense mental focus matched the visible strain of every muscle in his arms, chest, and shoulders as he pulled himself across the rock face. He shot a quick glance back towards his two fellow climbers, Sean Flannigan and Billy Roland, just below him. "Come on you slackers, step it up!" he cajoled the two younger men with a laugh. At thirty-eight, Mackland was not old by any means, but his two co-workers were both in their early twenties, so he felt the need to make sure they knew the "old" guy could still lead the pack. He knew it was a throwback to his Marine Corps days, where everything was a testosterone-fueled competition for superiority, but he couldn't help it; he simply thrived on competition and difficult challenges. It didn't matter if they were physical or mental; he had to win.
His friends responded with short barks of laughter punctuated by their next gasp for breath as they continued to climb. Billy piped up as he looked for his next foothold to get him to the overhang Mackland was pulling himself over. "I guess experience does count for something, if an old guy like you can stay ahead of young bucks like us." He groaned as he reached up for a handhold just out of reach, and with a grunt began to pull himself along. When he didn't say anything else, Mackland knew that Billy was struggling and focusing on his climb, since he typically didn't shut up for more than a few minutes at a time unless something forced him to.
Sean on the other hand, climbed as he did most things, with minimal communication or elaboration beyond an occasional grunt of exertion as he pulled himself along. Where Billy was outgoing and extroverted, always willing to crack a joke or tell a story, Sean was quietly focused and preferred to keep to himself unless others drew him into conversation. Their complimentary personalities are what Mackland liked best about his two friends. Ever since the accident that had taken Carla from him, they gave him a sense of balance he couldn't seem to find on his own.
Thinking of his friends brought a small grin to Mackland’s face. There was nobody he would rather have with him today than these two. It seemed that every adventure he could remember had one or both of them involved, and today was no different. The three men continued to climb toward the top of the rock face nearly fifty feet above them as the afternoon sun moved toward the west. The waning sunlight painted brilliant reds and golds across the rough canvas of the mountainside, throwing shadows across the boulders interspersed with scrub pines and sparse vegetation. Mackland pulled himself over the lip of stone at the summit, flopped down and took several deep breaths to gather himself after the strenuous climb. Billy was the next one up, and when his fingers thrust above the ledge, Mackland reached over to give him a hand up. Billy pulled himself up the last few feet with Mackland's help, and then sat down heavily to catch his breath.
You think Sean is gonna make it?” Billy gasped with a grin.
Mackland looked over the ledge and saw his friend about six feet below him preparing to move to his next handhold.
  Sean looked up, grinned at Mackland, and placed his fingers into the crack in the rock, but his expression suddenly changed as he shifted his weight and tried to pull himself up. He should have come up almost even with the shelf where Mackland and Billy waited, but instead the rock between his fingers broke away with a crack, and Mackland yelled out as he slowly fell away from the cliff face. Without a safety harness, he was facing a deadly plunge to the desert floor far below. His fingers scrabbled for any ridge, crack, or outcropping within reach, but Mackland knew it was too late. Flashes of the accident that took Carla threatened to crush him. "I can’t watch someone else I care about die!" He saw the realization in Sean's eyes as gravity pulled him out and away. Mackland’s heart raced as he watched his friend falling away from him, and he dove forward in a desperate attempt to save him.


Mackland grinned as the wind rushed over the windshield of the convertible, surrounding them in the smells of springtime in the Georgia Mountains. Glancing over at Carla’s blonde hair blowing wildly as she leaned back with a contented smile in the warm sunlight, he couldn’t help but smile at how lucky of a man he was. 
He throttled back slightly so they could hear each other over the wind. Reaching over to put a hand on her knee, he shouted, “Hey beautiful, you wanna stop and stretch our legs pretty soon?” Not bothering to yell a response, Carla simply gave him a thumb-up and nod of agreement. Mackland began looking for somewhere they could pull over for a break, but he knew it would be awhile before they found something this far into the mountains.
So far, the trip had been everything he imagined, and he couldn’t wait to get to the cabin tonight. After two years of dating this fantastic woman, he wanted to make this something they would both remember forever. He glanced over at the woman he planned to spend the rest of his life with as he absently patted the pouch holding the ring in his pocket.
The steering wheel suddenly jerked violently to the right and Mackland snapped his gaze back to the road in time to see the shoulder had dropped away, catching the right front tire just as he was approaching the next curve. His split-second of inattention had caused him to miss the damaged road, and now he was fighting to bring the car back onto the asphalt as he tried to slow the vehicle without losing control further.
The right rear wheel dropped off the shoulder as he fought the steering wheel, further pushing the car toward the edge of the approaching curve. Whatever had damaged the shoulder had also destroyed any guardrails, and Mackland realized there was nothing to prevent them from going over the edge. Fear and adrenaline combined to rob Mackland’s fine motor control, and he slammed on the brakes, putting the car into a slide that carried them off the road completely.
The convertible tumbled countless times as it dropped down the mountain, alternating sky and trees in Mackland’s view before his head struck the door pillar and everything went dark.
* * *
Mackland woke to a crushing pressure across his chest and sharp pain in his head. He cracked open eyes caked with blood to check on Carla. The sun had dropped low in the sky, and although he couldn’t tell just how long he had been out, it had to have been at least an hour. The car tilted onto the passenger side, leaving Mackland hanging from the driver’s side seatbelt, which explained the pressure on his chest. He turned towards Carla— or tried to, as agony shot through his right arm at the movement. He glanced down to see the arm caught by the seatbelt and bent completely back at the elbow, with pieces of bone sticking through the skin. His eyes watered as the pain threatened to knock him out again, but he sucked in a deep breath and struggled to remain alert long enough to check on Carla.
As his vision cleared, he turned just his head towards Carla and the pain from his shattered arm disappeared as he fought for breath at the scene before him.
Either Carla had taken her seatbelt off, or there had been a mechanical failure, but Carla was no longer in the car next to him. The car was resting on a ledge, propped at an angle on a pine tree that had finally stopped the car’s fall. From his vantage point, Mackland was looking down to a clearing about fifty feet below the tilted car, and his heart stopped when he saw the yellow fabric of Carla’s sundress peeking out from the pile of rubble they had knocked loose as the car crashed down the mountain. “Carla!” he screamed, praying for any response, no matter how small. Birds singing and crickets chirping were the only response. He saw no movement and heard no sound from Carla so far below him. “Babe! I’m gonna get help! Stay with me!” he yelled.
Every movement was searing agony, but Mackland was finally able to get his cell phone out with his left hand, only to find what he had already guessed, they were out of any kind of cellular coverage. He tried to remain awake, but the combination of blood loss, pain from his broken arm, and hanging nearly upside down for so long pushed him towards unconsciousness. As he passed out, his last thought was that her yellow sundress looked like the sun, forming the center of his whole universe.


His chest slammed onto the ground and he shot his arm as far as he could towards Sean's outstretched hand. Their fingers locked, briefly halting Sean's fall, but Mackland was too far over the rim; the extra weight began pulling him over the edge. He yelled, "Billy! Grab my feet!" as he dug the toes of his hiking boots into the dirt, barely slowing his inevitable slide.
Hands grasped Mackland's ankles and Mackland looked back to see Billy throw himself backwards on his butt and dug in his heels. Between them, Mackland and Billy stopped the sliding and Sean swung back towards the mountain. Panting and straining with exertion, Mackland was able to work his way back a few inches with Billy's help. As soon as his center of gravity was back on solid ground, he and Billy were able to shift positions and begin pulling Sean up towards the relative safety of the ledge.
Sean dangled at the end of Mackland’s arm as they pulled him up and gasped, "I think I can get that one there," pointing his chin towards a fissure about two feet to his right side. Timing his next swing, he stretched his left hand towards the small crack in the rock. The movement increased the strain on Mackland's arms, causing him to wonder if his arm would simply pop free from his body before they got Sean to safety.
"Anytime you want to do your part would be great!" he ground out at Sean without loosening his grasp. Sean’s fingers found the edge of the fissure, and he pulled himself up, relieving the strain on his friends somewhat. A few minutes and several strained muscles later, Sean was able to pull himself over the lip and lay there gasping next to Mackland and Billy.
After catching his breath and slowing his racing heartbeat, Sean cleared his throat and looked at his friends. "That was pretty damn intense...I don't know what I would have done if you guys—"
Before he could finish, Mackland reached out and smacked Sean's shoulder and said "Hey, don't sweat it. That's what we do; we watch each other's backs, right?"
Billy choked as a laugh forced its way out between gasps for air. "Riiigghtt, we have each other's backs.” He pushed himself up on his elbows and looked at Mackland with one eyebrow quirked up. “You do realize we wouldn’t need to worry so much about our backs if you didn't drag us into all these crazy "adventures" of yours, don’t you?' He nudged Sean lying on the ground next to him. "Like our trip to go running with the bulls in Pamplona? My arm was in a cast for three weeks!" He held a hand out to Mackland as he got his feet under him, "I could do with a little less "adventure" sometimes, chief. I think our backs might be able to use the rest." His grin put the lie to his words as Mackland tugged him the rest of the way to his feet.
All three laughed and Mackland mumbled something about them being pansies. They took a few minutes to drink some water and collect themselves before beginning the descent to the canyon floor. If they were lucky, they would make it back down to the base-camp before nightfall. If they weren't lucky, they might have to spend the night on the mountainside. Mackland thought that would probably be just another "adventure" for the three of them to survive, together.

-Find out what happens to Mackland and the others in Dark Luminance coming exclusively to Amazon Kindle on July 19th!-