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Corpse Pose

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CONGRATULATIONS JAN M FLYNN!!

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Author Jan Flynn hits the high notes with each of the ten tales in this imaginative and entertaining collection of speculative fiction. I love how the author tells a fantastic story as though it were as commonplace as going to the post office. And in the midst of a wild tale, the reader can believe in the well-drawn characters and feel a range of emotions—laughter foremost.

Each story is tight, genuine, over the top—and delightful to read. I found the writing style clean, well seasoned with modernisms, snarky asides and keen observations. The authorial voice shines through the collection, yet each story sounds unique, beginning with Corpse Pose, a darkly humorous yoga fantasy through Walk-in, and an uplifting look at what we do between human incarnations. The tales range from the hilarious, Imp, to Pills, packed with heart touching magical realism, to the psychological horror of 541. While the collection is touted as horror “illumined by the paranormal,” for me, the “humor and heart” elevate these stories from your run-of-the-mill slasher or vampire tales. If you love dark humor, creepy twists, magical realism and pathos, Corpse Pose: and Other Tales will be your go-to fix. I’ve read it twice. One caution, reading these stories might lead to spontaneous laughter and flights of fancy!biypkpret

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IN EXTREMIS

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I just received my copy in the mail. It’s the second novel from Napa Valley author David Ainsworth. In Extremis is a powerful and frightening look at the world we may be inhabiting in twenty years if we continue to exhaust our limited resources of fossil fuels. A love story set in the era of “peak oil,” Vincent and Grace rekindle their failed marriage as the oil dependent U.S. begins to fail through its lack of foresight and planning and its policies of consumerism, greed and oil imperialism.

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Vincent is a Marine attaché at the Beijing Embassy and his ex-wife, Grace, is launching her journalism career when the rolling blackouts and transit delays begin. They are reunited through Grace’s connection to a controversial senator and his jet when the western U.S. electrical grid is shut down by a cyber attack from China and all transit, crippled by oil scarcity, is grounded—just when Vincent needs a ride home.

As the plot unfolds, Vincent’s high moral values are compromised, as it becomes clear that an element in the U.S. Government is up to no good. He is confused and outraged by what he sees happening and finds common cause with Grace, who has evolved into a strong and capable woman. As America cascades into economic collapse the two unite to uncover the conspiracy, but the effects of “peak oil” intervene in the form of superpower political responses, including cyber warfare, and the couple must navigate through the growing dystopia to save themselves and find their hopeful future.

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In his precise, crisp prose, Ainsworth weaves oil history and politics through the story, making In Extremis both believable and chilling. Let’s face it, we enjoy the books that resonate with our own perceptions, yet tell us something new. The book certainly informed me of many things I didn’t know, both through the characters’ voices and narration.

The writing is intelligent, logical, and persuasive. Reading In Extremis is an experience in cutting through comfortable denial and coming face to face with the hard reality of our futures when the oil runs out. It’s going to be way worse than the “oil shortage” of 1973. If you aren’t making changes yet, this political thriller is going to get you out of your easy chair and into action—and I don’t think driving a Prius is enough.

I’ve given In Extremis a big fat A. Ainsworth read parts of it in our writing workshop at Napa Valley College and I’m honored to have helped edit the book. Although I’ve read a draft, I can’t seem to put the published book down!

Ready to read? In Extremis is available from dog ear Publishing on Amazon or via the author’s website,  http://www.davidainsworthbooks.com.

Tell him Ana sent you!

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The To-Do List by J.C. Miller—A 5 Star Read

The To-Do List published January 2015 by Booktrope Editions December, 23, 2014

The To-Do List published January 2015 by Booktrope Editions December, 23, 2014

By JC Miller

We meet Ginny Cooper in her kitchen where she’s contemplating a stale donut and negotiating the day’s calorie count with herself. Her husband, Cal, browbeats her for her weight and she dumps the donut into the garbage, belittled. Her two kids don’t offer her any more respect than Cal, and her tedious job in a town that is dying doesn’t offer Ginny any relief. She needs an Arbys. But she’s a busy woman—she needs a list to keep track of the myriad details of her day: Buy milk, walk the dog, clean the garage, kill Cal.

Ginny remembers a time in college, before she and Cal met when she was self actualized and she wants to become that woman again. That woman didn’t manically count calories or soothe herself with Arbys. That woman wasn’t a doormat for an uncaring and arrogant man. She fantasizes about meeting someone new who will affirm her and joins an on-line dating service, but she submits a photo of someone else.

Ginny’s journey to empowerment is rough at times, bittersweet at times, and inspiring at times. Readers may feel impatient for her false starts and back-sliding, but ultimately Ginny takes charge of her own happiness. This is a story that doesn’t come with a predictable ending, but it delivers satisfaction. Her last to-do-list might read:

  1. Breathe
  2. Relax
  3. Smile

And she’s sure to do just that. Even if the garage still needs cleaning.

At the launch of The To-Do List February 1, 2015

At the launch of The To-Do List February 1, 2015

The To-Do List and JC’s other books, Believing in Bigfoot, and Vacation are available through Amazon

I loved them too!

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