Review: The Silver Timeship by Sean Robins (The Crimson Deathbringer Series Book 4)

Sean Robin’s heroes and principals are back—Jim, Kurt, Xorgaana, Maada, Tarq—to save the universe before it’s too late!  Can they <shiver, shudder, gasp> do it?

They can if Jim, the ego-heavy protagonist, has anything to say about it—once he gets through licking his wounds, of course.  Kurt, Jim’s best friend, has no qualms about assisting.  Stunning, mind-reading Xornaa’s all in; so are prankster Tarq and former nemesis, General Maada.  And we have a sharp-witted newcomer, the beautiful Benedita, who flies a silver timeship (thus adding an interesting dimension, in more ways than one).

For the first time in a very, very long while, Benedita allowed herself to hope. Jim, Tarq, Maada, Kurt, and Xornaa were legends (especially Maada, that man was an apex predator). Together, they’d defeated the Volts, and they would go on to overcome more sinister threats in the future. If anyone could stop the Ghost Fleet, it was them. She might be able to pull this off, after all, which meant Diogo, Bia and Belinha wouldn’t die a horrible death. Of course, without the Time Engine, she was trapped here and would never see them again, but just knowing that they’d be alive and well was enough.

An odd array of “soldiers”, they set off to set things right.  En route, they encounter a sundry of curious characters, including Mother, an AI who turns out to be anything but maternal.  You want to talk about a run for your money, er, life, er . . .

The fourth in the Crimson Deathbringer series, The Silver Timeship, delivers . . . action, drama (of several sorts), and the usual wackiness.  There are a few nail-biting battles, where it appears that victory—and the fate of the illustrious universe—might belong to either side.

Overall, The Silver Timeship is a fun ride.  You’ll not want to put down the book until you know the outcome: did they or didn’t they?

A definite 4 out of 5.

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And, just so you fans are aware, coming in the not-too-distant future (but who really knows what “future” entails when time travel’s involved), is The Scarlet Queen.  It’s a prequel and features a few of your favorite characters’ adventures before the Xortaag invasion of Earth. There will also be one called The White Republic, but I’ll leave you with a bit of mystery as to what that one entails.

You can find Sean Robins on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Sean-Robins) and Twitter (@seanrobins300) and Facebook (facebook.com/seanrobins300).

seanabcFor those not yet familiar with Sean, he is a huge fan of Marvel, Game of ThronesStar Wars and Star Trek.  He’s also a university/college level English teacher who has lived and worked in five different countries( like Canada, eh?).  He’s met people from all around the world, and his parents and wife are from different backgrounds—hence, diversity as a major theme in his novels.

I Said . . . so Did He . . . and so Did She

I’ve posted on this one at least a couple of times over the last two years—the enthusiastic over-use of “said” in fiction writing.

It seems common in manuscripts by new(er) writers, so I felt compelled (once again) to review why using “said” with zealous abundance might not be in the writer’s, or reader’s, interest.  Literally.

“Yes, sir,” Malcom said with a nod.  “I’ll report my findings as soon as possible.”

“You’d better,” she said.  “And make sure you share them with Winters too.”

“I’ll do that,” he said.

She sighed and said, “Don’t forget to call after the meeting later; I need to know what’s transpired.”

“Yes, Mary-Anne,” he said and disconnected just as his executive assistant, Lee, entered.

“Looks like it’s gonna be a long day,” Lee said as he placed a folder on Malcolm’s desk.

“You said it,” Malcolm said with a sigh.

I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts that flow like this . . . as flat as flapjacks.  There’s no need to always state that a character said something.  Dialogue can stand on its own a lot of the time.  Readers are pretty smart and can gather who is speaking from the action and details.

This isn’t to say that “said” shouldn’t be used.  By all means, utilize it, but with a critical eye, and ear.  It serves a [valid] purpose, but it’s not always a terribly exciting word and, sometimes, dialogue needs more, particularly in a tense or action-fraught scene.

Do you think people will have “said” something when a bomb is about to detonate or a giant lizard is about to eat a bunch of tourists?  I suspect people would more likely have “declared”, “shouted”, “screamed”, “shrieked”, “commanded”, “cried”, or “bellowed”, to name but a few more thrilling and descriptive words.

Can’t you imagine Bob’s face as he shrieks a command to a fear-frozen coworker, as opposed to says?  Shriek, to me, suggests his face would be tense, his brow creased, his lips tight, his throat dry; maybe he’d be gesticulating or taking action as he shrills.  Say, to me, evokes an image of an unemotional face, someone who’s non-reactive.

How about we take the previous example and “activate” it a bit?

“Yes, sir,” Malcom promised with a quick nod and roll of the eyes.  “I’ll report my findings as soon as possible.”

“You’d better,” she advised with a hint of a threat in the tone.  “And make sure you share them with Winters too.”

He swallowed heavily and jabbed the pen into the edge of the desk.  “I’ll do that.”

She sighed loudly.  “Don’t forget to call after the meeting later; I need to know what’s transpired.”

“Yes, Mary-Anne.”  He disconnected just as his executive assistant, Lee, entered.

“Looks like it’s gonna be a long day,” Lee commented with a dry smile as he placed a folder on Malcolm’s desk.

“You said it,” Malcolm muttered, rubbing his temples.

It’s not an exciting scene to begin with, but we can make it a little more interesting or add a little more tension.  Always give thought as to how you can create more gripping or dynamic dialogue and scenes.  Pull those readers in; don’t make their eyelids droop from fatigue.

It’s difficult getting started on that first story, be it a short one or a novel.  There are many things to learn and apply.  It all comes with time and practice.  And that’s okay.  We all have a learning curve.

Churning something out, however, without reviewing, proofing, or editing, is something to avoid.  Per a previous post on this blog: there’s no need to be “perfect”, but do aspire to be the best that you can be.

I’m fairly sure, of the many manuscripts I’ve edited thus far, most haven’t read their final drafts aloud.  Do so.  This may sound daft but, trust me, it’s a worthwhile endeavor and it really doesn’t take that long.  You’ll be amazed what you will “hear” and pick up.

Hope what I “said” makes sense.

The Pleasure of Perfection

Hey, it’s Rey.  The title’s courtesy of Lindy-Loo, but the post is all mine.

The Boss actually gave me the idea—the inspiration—from something she said the other day.  She’d finished editing “HA-HA-HA-HA”, turned off the laptop, and murmured “perfect”.  Not that she thinks it’s actually flawless or spot-on or anything like that.  Perfect because she’s given it her all and—yeah, although she knows she could edit it another five times—it’s time to say and embrace “The End”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be thoroughly skilled, or defect-less (my word), or “excellent” but remember this: perfect isn’t about being that, it’s about being good enough in your eyes.  Aim to be the best you can be; there’s nothing wrong with that—in fact, it’s something we should all do—just don’t expect to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  That will never happen—as perfectionists (or high achievers, as they’re sometimes called) can confirm—because there’ll always be something that could use tweaking.

There’s nothing wrong with setting high goals, either; just don’t obsess about it.  Take me.  I was a B-actress.  I’d have loved to be an A-list one.  I’m talented, but I also know exactly how talented I am—i.e. I acknowledge my limitations and accept them.  Yes, I can work on them (and I have, and I do), but I’ll never be a Meryl Streep or Julianne Moore, and I am fine with that.  I . . . am . . . good . . . enough.  I take pleasure in being as perfect as I can be.

There are some fields/areas that do need 100% perfectionism—like medical and engineering (anything where being off even a teeny-weeny bit could be deadly or dangerous), but I don’t have the perfect (he-he) background to provide insight on them.  And I suspect that’d be a major snooze-fest if I did.  I’m simply l’il ol’ Rey, a pretty decent private eye, who’s posting about giving something/yourself your all and recognizing how far you can/will go to achieve that.

“Practice makes perfect” is a valid saying.  The more you do something, the better you are at it.  The Boss will readily admit she was a lousy (!) writer when she first started out a few decades ago.  She kept applying herself, though . . . kept learning . . . kept practicing.  Still does.  Now, she believes she’s a good (not great) writer—she knows her limitations.  She’ll never be a James Joyce or Margaret Atwood.  She’s not perfect but she is good [enough] in her eyes.  And that’s okay . . . because she’ll still endeavor to do it better the next time around.

I’m going to end this perfect little post; it’s as perfect as I can make it, given my limited writing background.  But I’ve come a long way—just look at my first post.  I won’t say we [all] develop/grow, because I’ve met some people that truly “never learn”.  I think that’s because they think they’re perfect as they are.  Well, bully for them—and, boy, do I have news for them (he-he).

On that note, I hope you have a perfectly lovely Wednesday and week.

Becoming Bulletproof – Part 2

Per the previous post, I wanted to share a [sort of] review of a book—Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras—one I’d label both enlightening and engaging.

As mentioned, it was given to me by a friend who understands what “space/place” I’m in these days and thought it might serve of value.  It has, as it’s certainly giving me food for thought.

Besides giving us a bit of background as to how she became a Secret Service Agent, and what that entailed, Evy provides guidance on how to “protect yourself / read people / influence situations / live fearlessly / become bulletproof” (per the back of the book jacket).  Sounds good—is good.

Divided into three sections/parts, we have “Protection”, “Reading People”, and “Influence”.

There are, for example, three types of fear: flight, fight, freeze.  I tend to embrace fight mode, though on the odd occasion, I might freeze.  Speaking of fight, you’ll find information on how to learn to fight; i.e. know your limitations, have a plan, maintain a reality check.

What else might you learn?  How to better secure your life.  “Whether at home, online, or out in public, you’ll have the strategies you need to keep your property, possessions, and information safe.”  Who doesn’t want to know how to do that?

I particularly liked Part Two, with chapters on how to read people, via diagrams as well as descriptions, and how to determine what people are truly saying, via verbal red flags.

As well as being enlightening and engaging, Becoming Bulletproof is a good, solid, straightforward read.  Need I say more?

Becoming Bulletproof – Part 1

I’m reading a great book right now (one I’m not editing)—Becoming Bulletproof by Evy Poumpouras.

The intention was to do a review, but as I was strolling along pre-dawn streets this morning, it came to me to do a two-parter.  One: how the book came into my possession.  Two: the review itself.

This year has been one of sharing, of communicating things about my personal situation, and what a challenge life has become over the years.  I never had the inclination to be transparent [that much] in past, but somehow, these days, this year, it seems a cathartic thing to do.

I’ve been sad/depressed off and on for a long time; sometimes, I can handle it, sometimes I slip deep within and/or spit razorblades.  Lately, it’s been the latter.  I’ve walked away from people (the very, very few friends I have, all three of them).

One friend, however, was sweet enough to give me a feel-better bag filled with lovely pick-you-up pressies.  Scented candles (I couldn’t peel my nose from those heady fragrances).  Sweet treats (how nummy).  A soft blanket (so ni-ice at night).  And the book . . . Becoming Bulletproof (Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent).  Thank you, Krystyna.

“The one person you should be able to fully rely upon to save you is you.  You are the hero you’ve been waiting for . . .” is how the back jacket reads.  Love it.  Ultimately, it’s true; the only person(s) we can rely on are ourselves.

The book revolves around how to deal with and overcome fear.  I’m all for that; who doesn’t want to take charge of her/his life?

My fear?  There’s really only one: never being free of mom-care.  I’ve devoted most of my life to taking care of a woman who could care less what the toll is on me, nor is she thankful for the multitude of things I do every day.  That’s okay.  Some people simply can’t say thank-you.  And I don’t criticize or condemn her for that; that’s just who she is.

I’m often feeling like one of the walking dead because I am exhausted beyond exhausted.  And hope and faith are merely memories.  But real [uninterrupted] sleep will come one day.  Maybe not tomorrow or next month.  But it will come.  Hope may return and I hope (he-he) it does.  Faith I’m not so sure about, but maybe I take the Wayne Dyer approach to life.  Faith is found in many forms and it doesn’t have to be “religious”.

I must learn to go with the flow better than I have been doing.  Pull up the socks.  Keep a stiff upper lip.  Let things happen/unfold.  Allow the cards to fall where they may.  How are those for overused—but appropriate—sayings?

wpbookI must also apply what I’ve learned from the book.  It’s merely a matter of putting advice into practice . . . and practice does make perfect (one last familiar saying, he-he).

And, with time, yours truly will become bulletproof.

Five . . . Still Live

As in still available, available, on Amazon.  Hey, it’s Rey again.  For just 99 cents, you can get a copy of Coco’s Nuts.  But today’s the last day, so-o, don’t procrastinate (my new word).

The third mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, Coco’s Nuts, finds us—still pretty much rookie private eyes—trying to prove that socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer did not shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.  She didn’t shoot her best friend, Eb Stretta, either.

No matter what police believe and evidence suggests, JJ, Linda and I are sure as <bleep> that Buddy was set up.  In the quest for answers, we have to deal with a slew of suspects.  A lot of people hated Picolo enough to kill him, but locating the one who pulled the trigger sure proves challenging.

Please check out how we solved this complicated (and exciting) case at: https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

Four . . . Only Two More

. . . days to get Coco’s Nuts for only 99 cents!

It’s JJ today.  Linda’s doing volunteer work at the shelter and Rey’s off on a theater audition, and our Boss is running amok (don’t ask).

The three of us, aspiring P.I.s from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency, undertake our second major assignment: proving our client, once-socialite-Vassar-grad-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer, isn’t responsible for two murders.  Despite what the folks in blue maintain, she [really] had no motive to kill her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.  Nor did she murder her best friend, Eb Stretta, a fellow trucker and Picolo employee.

Yes, the evidence points to Buddy being the murderer, but we’re convinced that Buddy has been set up.  Nutty Coco Peterson, another Picolo employee, has been MIA since the murders went down, and appears to be a central piece in this perplexing puzzler.  But where is the little sh-uh-prat?

As we endeavor to uncover a killer amid another cast of curious and unconventional characters, we find ourselves in some dangerous situations—exploding bombs, for example, suggest we’ve ruffled a few feathers by asking too many questions.  Hopefully, we’ll obtain some legitimate answers before anything significant blows up . . . like us!

Coco's Nuts11111Maybe you’d like to accompany us on this challenging and thrilling ride?  If so, please check us out at: https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

Three … Almost Free

You have Linda today and I’m here to remind you about the 99-cent Coco’s Nuts promo.  It’s Day Three, two more to go.

Coco’s Nuts is the third mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series and it has the three of us newbie private investigators—JJ, Rey, and myself—pursuing our second official assignment: proving socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.

Instead of revealing too much, maybe I can pique your interest by providing an excerpt.

As beautiful as a Bamboo Orchid and as cool as an English cucumber, Buddy Feuer seemed neither fazed nor anxious, given the grave predicament. Tall and willowy, the thirty-four-year-old former society woman turned truck driver was easy on the eyes no matter what your predilection. A “looker” or “dish” she might have been called back in the days of gin rickeys, trilbys, and gumshoes. Some females truly lucked out in the comeliness lottery, as unconventional, chinchilla-faced Aunt Rowena Jaye was often heard to utter about a relation or friend (with a wistful, wishful sigh).

Buddy had contacted the Triple Threat Private Investigation Agency after researching our involvement — and success — with the handling of the “Gruesome Twosome Case” (as we’d jokingly dubbed our first P.I. job) and the ensuing arrest of our client, William Pierponce Howell. The now-deceased WP Howell had been as wealthy as he’d been eccentric (a tactful way of saying f’g zany) and the murder of his young, pretty wife was not the only crime he’d been guilty of. HPD’s Detective Gerald “Ald” Ives had been gracious enough during a media interview to credit the agency with providing “some valid crime-stopping information”, which had led to the apprehension of the millionaire and his equally culpable (f’g zany) partner. The truth was we’d done considerably more, but we were cool with letting HPD take credit.

Our latest assignment was fairly clear-cut: prove Buddy hadn’t murdered renowned entrepreneur Jimmy Silone Picolo III.

Jimmy Man-I’m-Fabulously-Rich Picolo was second-generation owner of a hapu’upu’u pickling factory called Braddah Jimmy’s Pickled Aquatic Delights (who’d have guessed preserved fish cheeks and eyes could be such popular delicacies). In addition, the shrewd man owned JSP Capital-Credit Corporation and Balz to the Walz Incorporated, a demolition-construction company that knocked down buildings as rapidly as it put them up. There were also pet projects here and there, little businesses he absorbed or annihilated.

Slim and trim and relatively short, Jimmy was a cross between Dean Martin and Sal Mineo in their heydays. Over the years, the attractive man had rubbed a few people the wrong way. You see, equally successful had been his loansharking and racketeering — excuse me, alleged loansharking and racketeering.

Unlike Jimmy Silone Picolo II, who’d been indicted on racketeering and murder in the 70s, “III” had never been convicted of anything. Equally charmed and charming, he’d navigated the tranquil waters of life and business with a multi-thousand-dollar smile and a playful monarch-like wave . . . of the middle finger. The odd time the folks in blue had become involved, paperwork transformed into ashes and lawsuits dropped like smoldering charcoal briquettes. Witnesses developed curious cases of amnesia or hopped continent-bound jets faster than Hollywood celebrities changed partners.

Picolo had been found in an alley in the business district, not far from his opulent Bishop Street office. The capital-credit company took up half the fourth floor while the main office occupied the entire top floor. Lavishly decorated with marble, crystal, and 14-K gold, it even held an interior waterfall rumored to stream champagne instead of water. How decadent was that? No longer a concern, however: expanding that firm fiscal foothold and/or working long hours while sitting in a gold-trimmed leather barrister chair before said waterfall. The quinquagenarian’s face had greeted a brick wall several times before three bullets created cranial air vents. Had he survived, attractive would certainly no longer have described Jimmy Silone Picolo III.

If you’d like to learn how we tackle this challenging and goosebump-exciting (Rey demanded I throw that “adjective” in) case . . . or would like to leave a review (we would be greatly appreciative if you did), please check us out at . . . https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368

Forever Poi, Not a Ploy

Just a straight-out 99-cent promo.  Hey, it’s Rey again.  And it’s the last day for you to get Forever Poi for less than a buck.  I say, that’s a steal.

Forever Poi is our agency’s—The Triple Threat Investigation Agency, ‘case you forgot or somethin’—third official (paying) case.  Linda, JJ, and I have to discover who set fire to two upscale art galleries and left two bodies in the rubble.  One was the co-owner and the other was a former queenpin.  There seem to be some valid if not interesting reasons why people might have wanted them dead.

We stumble across a few bodies as we do our private-eye thing, which adds to the head-scratching.  Who wanted who (or is that whom) dead and why?  This case proves to be anything but easy.  But who doesn’t like a challenge or two? 

Won’t you please check us out at: https://www.amazon.ca/Forever-Poi-Tyler-Colins/dp/1079716483

One, Two . . . Boo-Hoo

Hey, it’s Rey . . . again.  Boo-hoo!  I forgot to post yesterday and today re Coco’s Nuts!  It’s avail for 99 cents too!  Double boo-hoo.

So, let me give you a quick rundown (so everyone will stop yammering at me):

Coco’s Nuts, the third mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, finds us three rookie private eyes—that’s JJ, Linda, and me—caught up in our second professional assignment: proving socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.

No matter what the police believe and the evidence suggests, we’re convinced that Buddy has been set up.  In our search for answers, we deal with a slew of suspects.

A lot of people hated Picolo enough to kill him but locating the one who pulled the trigger proves challenging.  Our detecting travels lead us along a few detours, like the world of gambling and “limb-breakers”.  Picolo’s daughter, Annia, owes thousands of dollars to “collectors” in Vegas and Oahu.  Could this have served as a motive to kill her father, so that she can collect a sizeable inheritance?  What about Picolo’s son?  Could Jimmy Junior be that eager to take over his father’s multiple businesses?  What about nutty Coco Peterson, a Picolo employee who has been MIA since the murders occurred?  He certainly appears to be a central piece in this odd puzzler.

Maybe you’d like to learn how we fare . . . or leave a review (we’d love it if you did) . . . https://www.amazon.ca/Cocos-Nuts-Tyler-Colins/dp/1078374368