Editorial Review: The Mortician by A.L. Mengel

As many of you probably know through my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ragnarokonicev2), I’m about to embark on a book tour with fellow wordsmith, A.L. Mengel. #TakeAJourney2018 is about introducing us, the authors, to the world as well as our newest releases. For me that would be Malice of the Cross and for A.L., that would be The Mortician.

Before getting started, we both decided that reading the other’s book and giving it an honest review was the only fair thing to do. With that simple assignment in place, I downloaded the Kindle version and got to reading.

Two words – Holy Shit.

The Review

Rating (out of 4 hockey sticks) – hockey stickhockey stickhockey stickhockey stick

Summary –

Definitely not a book I should have been reading in the dark, late at night. A.L. calls this a period piece, but it is haunting; chills worthy haunting. Without getting into a whole lot of specifics, there is a section entitled The Seance. As I read that in its entirety one evening, I had goosebumps on my back and arms from start to finish. This book is a straight up horror, chiller-fest.

Our two main characters are Jacob, a master’s level college student with his band of merry men, and Ned McCracken, the original mortician. Jacob is from the present while Ned’s story takes place back in the earlier 1900’s, in Miami. How the two meet? Well, that’s for you to figure out as you read the book.

A.L. does a magnificent job with his scene descriptions. The third main character of this story is Waxely Mortuary. With its cryptic crematory chamber #7, the mortuary in itself plays a vital role. The eerie feel, the haunting decorations that may or may not mean anything, all of it is imposing. It reminds you of that haunted house at the end of the street that other kids would challenge you to spend all night at. You knew that place was haunted with something evil, yet there was a pull that kept making you come back to it.

The book is the beginning of a new series for Mengel, The Astral Files. It does have some tie-ins to his original series The Tales of Tartarus, but you don’t need to read that series to enjoy The Mortician.

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Want to know more? Here are the links:

Book – www.amazon.com/Mortician-Astral-Files-L-Mengel-ebook/dp/B077QN27QX/

Facebook – www.facebook.com/authoralmengel/

-Jeremy

You can discover my work at http://www.boltbookspub.com

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Let’s Talk Reviews

Morning everyone! It’s Friday, so that counts for something, am I right? First, thanks to everyone who read my blog post about the challenges that came upon my family over the last few weeks. The kind words and encouragement are always valuable.

Today, I wanted to talk about something a lot of my friends ask me after they read my book – how do I leave you a review?

Reviews for both authors and readers are very intimidating. For an author, it is the readers feelings not only we are seeing, but the rest of the world. What if they hated the book? What if they found something wrong that I didn’t, or the editor didn’t? Yep, every time an author sees a new review pop up, some self doubt creeps in.

But, believe it or not my fellow scribes, readers are just as intimidated with reviews as we are. Popular questions I get are along the lines of, what do I write and what if it doesn’t sound good. Hopefully, I can answer both of those rather quickly.

  1. What do I write? Write exactly what you feel when you see the book. Did it make you laugh, scare you, or any other emotion? If it did, put that. List your favorite character or scene. That’s all you have to do. If you didn’t like the book, say why too. An author can’t correct problems if no one is willing to tell the truth.
  2. What if it doesn’t sound good? You’re a reader, not a writer. As long as your honest, whether you write two paragraphs or five or six words, that’s all that matters. Some of the worst reviews out there are giant fluff pieces written by people who never read the book. Just tell it like it is and it’ll sound perfect.

Reviews matter, everyone. Amazon takes them into account, readers view them before making a selection, and advertising sites expect books to have a certain threshold before they will put them up. If you read a book and it made you feel strongly one way or another, don’t be afraid to take the plunge and write a review. You’ll find you probably enjoy it and the author who’s book you read will be forever grateful.

-Jeremy

You can find my work at http://www.boltbookspub.com.

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Those Defining Moments

You know what’s a kick to the butt, especially before the holiday season begins? Being laid off. Yep, that happened to this guy on December 1st, 2017. It was a regular old Friday, or so I thought. I’d been making plans with co-workers on how to spend some time together during the festive season, even picking out gifts for my wife and one year old son, Jak. At 2:45 in the afternoon, the manager of the location my office happened to be in called me downstairs.

“Sorry Jeremy, effective immediately, your employment has been terminated.”

Twelve years, working to make ends meet and doing a bang up job came crashing down in a matter of five minutes. Sure, the people telling me felt bad about the situation, but they were expressing pity. Just typing the word gives me unwanted feelings. They still had their jobs, a way to support their families. I did not. I will be the first to admit I cried when it happened. I’d let down my family, my entire professional career down the drain.

Steph was a warrior throughout the time. If it wasn’t for her love, I don’t know what I would’ve done. Thank the Lord Jak’s too young to understand what’s happening, because no child should ever have to see their father in such a distraught state. Through the eyes of a one year old, he was getting hugs, loves, and kisses so everything was as it should be.

Me, I ran the range of emotions. After the pain came the anger. I was mad at everyone involved, including myself. Why had I stayed loyal to these people? Phsst, that loyalty was never returned to me. Whenever I saw a logo for the company I worked for pop up, I clenched my fist and wished the worst upon them. I was not a good person for a bit. I wanted my suffering to be felt by all of them.

Then one day I woke up and realized I’d been given the best Christmas gift of all, a fresh start. Did I like my old job? Sure, it was good enough. But that was the caveat – it was good enough. My skills and talents are great, not good enough. Sure, my literary career is just in the infant stages, but I’ve achieved more already than most of the people who oversaw my unemployment ever will. Little did they know, they’d done me a favor.

On December 19th, Malice of the Cross released to the world. To say that it has been a rousing success is an understatement. People who I never dreamed of being in contact with not only read my book, but thought highly of it. I’m getting requests for the sequel. Another author took time out of his day to reach out to me to tell me that writing books is what I was meant to be doing. I wasn’t meant to sit in a cubicle all day, doing mindless work. No, I was meant to change the world through written word.

As I sit here today, in the New Year and type this post up, my feelings are still mixed. No one wants to be dumped, everyone wants to leave on their own terms. Yet, sometimes getting dumped by someone who never deserved you in the first place is all it takes for one to realize how much better off they’ll be.

“Greatness comes to those who believe they are great.”

And today, I don’t just believe I’m great. I know I am.

-Jeremy

Jeremy is an award winning author, known for his series Drakovia and The Negative Man. You can find his books at http://www.boltbookspub.com.

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The Negative Man: Dungeon Bay (Issue #3)

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Issue #3 – The Arrival

**’Old’ Rich Shock**

Life was a hell of a lot simpler when I was dumb to the fact there were secret government facilities that committed crimes against humanity. No, after hearing Erin’s story and his follow up with President Whisnant, I was convinced we were living in some sort of sci-fi novel. “That might be the craziest shit I’ve ever heard.”

Andy, on the other hand, was rubbing his hands together like a kid in the candy store. “We’re so taking this job, gents!” he exclaimed. “There’s no way in Hell I’m missing an opportunity like this.”

Wade seemed to agree, too. “The chance to gain access to a supercomputer like that, that’s a game changer.”

Still, the decision fell back to me. If I said no, the group would respect my wishes. After all, I’d kept us relatively well off since our stint at Black Lagoon with the odd jobs we’d take here and there. In my mind, this was a high risk, low reward type of job. These were the kinds of jobs that got your ass tossed back into lock up.

That’s why I couldn’t believe I uttered this answer. “We’re in.”

With the acceptance of the job came the preparation phase. The first part would be a lot of Wade, breaking into a computer and everything. We’d be there for tactical support and to guard against whatever in God’s name was lurking in that place. Erin would have to handle the heavy lifting with that, as his Titan form would be our best line of defense.

Andy was crucial at this point. He was the one with the contacts in various lines of police work and even some old paramilitary groups. I reluctantly gave him the team’s check book while he made the rounds to see what weapons and body armor he could round up for us. He said he’d be back within a day or two with the best he could get.

Wade bundled up his lap top, a ton of flash drives, and various lines of cable. The night we were loading all of it up into the van, Andy returned with the goods. “I’m quite pleased with the bundle I was able to get us.”

I walked over to the car and he popped the trunk. “Shit, we’re not going to war you knucklehead.”

He was smiling from ear to ear though. “Maybe not in the underwater house of horrors, but you heard Erin. Once we get the coordinates, we’re going to the former Secretary of Defense’s black site. We’ll need all the guns and ammo we could get.”

Ugh, I hated it when he made a good point. Looking down at the cache of weaponry, it just reminded me how bad an idea this was. “Erin, can you tell me again why the President of the United States can’t tackle this project on his own? Why does he need us again?”

Something about his answer told me he was either making shit up or not being completely honest with me. Knowing Erin the way I did, I got the feeling it was the making shit up choice. “C’mon dude, he’s the president. He can’t be slumming around, doing shady stuff.”

Even if it was a b.s. answer, it was still a pretty rationalized one. “All I got to say is, if we get into any sort of trouble, he better be pardoning us a.s.a.p.”

The four of us piled into the van and we drove off into the night for Dungeon Bay. The roads were clear and the moon was high. It wasn’t long at all before we were pulling up to the dark, blue waters where the first part of our job would begin.

“Question,” Wade called out. “How does one get into an underwater facility?”

“Like this,” Erin said. He walked over to a rocky alcove and pulled back a portion of the rock wall. The smell of salty air hit my nose right away. “C’mon dudes, it’s not as bad as it looks.”

The moment my foot touched the damp metal stairs, I didn’t think this was bad – I thought it was terrible.

-Jeremy

You can find all my books at http://www.boltbookspub.com

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The War on Christmas

It’s been some time since my last post and I get that. So instead of easing back in with a pretty tame post, I’m coming in guns a-blazin.’ We’re in peak holiday season right now, with Halloween being quite excellent, Thanksgiving in just a few days, and Christmas banging on the door wanting to come in. This should be a super happy time, right?

Wrong.

christmas

Thanks to this world of Debbie Downers we live with, over the past few weeks, I’ve had to endure people griping about Christmas. Sure, we don’t need stores putting out Christmas stuff in August, but if they decide to deck the halls in November, what’s the biggie? Oh, and don’t even get me started on these weirdos who continuously post “The Truth about Christmas” videos. Whenever I see one of these, all I can do is roll my eyes. 9/10 of these offenders have a blasted Christmas tree up in their house and enough lights to see from space! If you want to debunk Christmas so bad, don’t take part!

Phew – calm it down, Jeremy. Starting to get a little hot under the collar and all. The point is, I love Christmas. I will defend Christmas with everything I have and will enjoy decorating with my little guy each and every year. Hell, next year, I might just go full blasphemy and put up my Christmas decorations as soon as Halloween is over.

And if you don’t like it? Too bad, Blitzen.

-Jeremy

You can find Jeremy’s books at http://www.boltbookspub.com

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Negative Man Wednesday – Dungeon Bay #2

So, I’m trying to get caught up from the days missed due to the hurricane and fall out. Issue #2 will drop today and #3 will come in tomorrow, during its regularly scheduled time slot.

Before we get into the story, I wanted to take just a few minutes to talk about my book schedule for the remainder of this year and then next. The Daemon Within drops on 10-17 all you Cactus Killer fans and there’s a possibility that Drakovia: Malice of the Cross comes up sometime in Nov/Dec.

As for 2018, I’m cutting back. Instead of the normal 3 novels, I will just be releasing 2. The reason behind that is each series is up to its final book. I don’t want to rush, as each book not only needs to do justice with the plot, but tie up all the loose ends. The way it looks now is that The Negative Man is going to get first bill with a late January or possibly early February release. Then, in the fall, The Inglewood Chronicles will get it’s normal close to Halloween release date.

Fear not Ragnarok on Ice fans! The sequel to Hat Trick will be coming, just probably not until Jan/Feb of 2019. Obviously, this is all just tentative talk and as things flesh out, I’ll give you more info.

But enough talk! On to the story!

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Issue #2 – The Informant

**Erin Cieslik**

I knew it wouldn’t take long to get my old friend Davy’s attention. No one, and I mean no one, had been down into Dungeon Bay since Victory’s death. The place was in shambles, the back-up generator’s barely keeping the lights on. Using my power from my titan form, I was able to give them some more juice, enough to get all the computers back up and running.

I sent a decrypted email from one of the computers Jeremiah Presley once used. It was a simple one sent to my old friend that just read, ‘Come to where endings meet beginnings.’

Not even two days later did a submersible dock outside the facility. The president himself was on it and he walked it, alone. “Erin, how the hell are you?”

“Davy, bro, it’s been too long.”

He reached out and we shook hands like it’d been yesterday that we last grabbed a beer or something. “I’m not surprised to be back here, yet you’re not the one I was expecting to see,” he let on.

“No, but Clickbait, Old Rich, and Andy weren’t coming down here until I vetted this myself.” His eyes got really wide. “Yep, I’m part of their group.”

Davy began to walk forward, waving for me to follow him. “You will need their help if this is to be successful, Erin.”

I wasn’t sure what the hell he was talking about. What was to be successful? “Dude, care to let me in on the big secret?” I asked.

He didn’t say another word – not as we passed Presley’s old lab, Victory’s communications room, or even the old holding cells that they kept the test subjects in. Davy finally stopped at the elevator that led to the lower levels of Dungeon Bay, the one place none of us were ever allowed to travel to.

The place where Victory had brought me back to life.

With the power to the generator’s being sufficient, he pressed the bottom and the doors slid open. “What you’re about to see may be a complete shock to you.”

“Something tells me I’m going to regret this.”

I got in and he pressed the last bottom on the panel – B4. The doors closed ominously and we took the slow ride down into the depths of the bay in which the research facility was built in. We passed B2 where I’d been brought back to life and sunk even further. When we reached our destination, Davy led the way off the elevator into the dark, cold, and damp laboratory.

He took out his cellphone and used the flashlight feature. “Welcome to Hell, Erin. This is where Victory conducted one of his worst experiments,” he told me. “This is also the place I need your team to venture to. I need the information off that computer.” He pointed to the far wall; the damn thing took up the entire section!

There was a noise that broke up the silence. “What the hell was that?”

Davy waved his hand off. “An old remnant of Victory’s deranged mind. He shouldn’t give you any troubles.”

I sure didn’t like the sound of that. Changing the subject, more for my own sanity, “What’s on the computer that’s worth all the trouble?”

“There’s a file, Twilight Days, that’s on it.” That sounded easy enough. “The file is massive, but located in it our coordinates to another of Victory’s black sites.”

Man, this was the last thing I wanted to be a part of. “Victory is dead. Who cares about locations to other secret locations?”

Davy avoided the question. “With those coordinates, I need a team with the knowledge to break in and steal a piece of tech he was working on, a suit based on Jericho Staley’s unique powers.”

“What did you say?”

Davy grabbed me by the shoulders. “I know Jericho was your friend, Erin. The people who still work for Victory would use that tech for some very bad things. Do you want that on your conscience? I don’t.”

I turned away from Davy and looked at the computer that held the information he wanted. “I’m in.”

**President Davy Whisnant**

I was back on the submersible with my team. Presley was standing beside my new head of security, Christopher Bain. Both were eager to hear if I was successful. “Erin will recruit his team to handle the job.”

Smiles were all around. “I told you he was gullible enough to do what we needed,” Presley said.

“Not gullible, Jeremiah, loyal,” I corrected him. “You don’t understand the depths people will go for you when you save their life a time or two.”

Presley was, and rightfully so, irritated that we needed the help of a gang of common criminals. Victory must not have trusted us fully, not like we thought. This was the last piece of the puzzle that we needed and only the skills of a man known as Clickbait would suffice. “Don’t worry, Jeremiah. Once the prototype is in your possession, you will be known as the man who brought about the biggest change of them all.”

The mad scientist smile at that proclamation. “It will be my finest hour.”

“Project Twilight Days is almost complete then,” Bain observed.

He was right; everything was within grasp. “Once we get the suit Victory almost finished developing, our countries super problem will soon become just a memory.”

-Jeremy

You can find all my books at http://www.boltbookspub.com!

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Negative Man Thursday: Dungeon Bay #1

Hey guys. It’s been some time hasn’t it? Good old Hurricane Irma sort of put a damper in my writing plans this month, which is why Dungeon Bay has been delayed for a few weeks. Good news is that I took this week to play catch up and I should be getting us back on track soon.

This story is going to be the bridge that leads us from Legends Can Die and into Twilight Days, the last chapter of our series. And I have a feeling this last book is going to be epic. I started some storyboarding the other day with author, A.L. Mengel and what came out of that #Writestorm session was pure gold. I look forward to sharing the details with you a bit later in the year when I reveal my 2018 book lineup.

And now, for your featured blog presentation, Bolt Publishing Presents

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Issue #1 – The Job

 **’Old’ Rich Shock**

“Wade, this doesn’t sound legit,” I told him.

The man known as Clickbait didn’t even look up from the computer he’d been working on. “Rich, this email came from one of the highest security clearances out there.”

That didn’t really mean shit to me, but it meant a lot to Wade. “Can you tell me who wants us to break into some secret underwater facility?”

Before Wade could properly answer, Andy and Erin walked into the room. Each had a beer in their hand and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock in the morning yet. “I’m telling ya, Erin. English football is much more exciting than this American nonsense.”

“No way, bro,” he responded. “You can’t even properly tackle and there’s no legit scoring.”

“Guys,” I interrupted. Both of them stopped their discussion and gave me their attention. “A job came in. We need a group vote on this.”

Wade wheeled his chair around with a printout of the email he’d received from the secure, yet secret account. “Someone, and by that I mean a very powerful person, has reached out to us to check out a place called The Dungeon Bay Research Facility. If we accept the job, they’ll send a USB drive that we need to attach to the server. The pay is outstanding.”

Something was wrong. I looked over at Erin’s face and it was stark white. “What’s wrong with you?” I asked.

“Dude, I’m never going back to that place.”

Well then, so the place did exist. “Hold that thought, Erin.” I grabbed the email from Wade’s hand and shook it in his face. “You need to find out who sent this to us. Whoever it is, they must know something about our little group – this ain’t no coincidence.”

Wade rolled his chair right back around began doing his thing on the keyboard. I rounded back on Erin, who still looked like he saw a ghost. “Deep breathes big guy,” I tried to reason with him.

I was looking to see if that monster inside him was about to come out. Erin generally had control over the Titan part of himself, but there was a foul energy in the room. “You don’t understand, man.” He slapped himself across the face, which was quite a scene to witness. “I was dead when Victory dragged me into that place. The stuff that happened after… no way. No way am I going back.”

None of us knew a whole lot about Erin’s past. He joined up with us about a year ago, after what the media called Victory’s Defeat – The Assassination of Ronald Victory. With nowhere left to go with Jericho’s death, we kept him with us. Since then, we’d done some odd jobs for a few of my old contacts. Nothing serious, just enough to keep us floating above the poverty line.

So when he told me that he’d died and that Victory dragged his corpse into a secret facility, well yeah, that caught me off-guard. “Damn – we didn’t know.”

He was calming down, thank God. “It’s okay. No one really knows.”

When he didn’t offer any more information, Andy’s glance to me told me not to push it. “If there’s anything we can do, yeah, just ask.”

Everyone knew there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could do. The guy just admitted to us he’d been dead for crying out loud. Hell, with that revelation, I went to the kitchen and grabbed a beer myself. I was halfway through when it truly dawned on me just how much a victim of everything Erin had been.

The only sounds you heard in the common room of our safe house were the clicks from Wade’s keyboard. Erin’s backstory sobered the mood, which was ironic as we were all trying to get drunk. Then, he stopped abruptly. “None of you will believe this.”

“Considering we just found out Erin had been dead and brought back to life in an underwater black site, try me,” I said sarcastically.

Wade looked at me like I was crazy. “What do you mean Erin had been dead?” Apparently he missed that one. “Never mind actually. It took just about every trick I know, but I traced the IP address of the email. It comes from the freaking White House.”

“Holy shiitake mushrooms,” our British comrade dropped on us. Leave it to Andy to use weird phrases.

“Not just the White House, guys – the oval office. This email came from President Whisnant himself.”

That’s when Erin’s eyes got really big. “Don’t reply to that email. I’ll handle this myself.” That’s when he grabbed his coat and left, leaving the rest of us in shock.

First he was dead and now he was going to handle something with the president? Just what the hell was going on here?

-Jeremy

You can find all of my work at http://www.boltbookspub.com!

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