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Book Review: ‘Cuttin Heads #Blogtour #cuttinheads #dawatson

 

Title:
Cuttin’ Heads

Authors:
D.A. Watson

Genre:
Horror

Book procurement:
Received a copy from Rachel’s Random Resources for a fair and honest review

Rating:

A Musically-Horrifying  5 out of 5

Synopsis:

Aldo Evans is a desperate man. Fired from his job and deeply in debt, he struggles to balance a broken family life with his passion for music.

Luce Figura is a troubled woman. A rhythmic perfectionist, she is haunted by childhood trauma and scorned by her religiously devout mother.

Ross McArthur is a wiseass. Orphaned as an infant and raised by the state, his interests include game shows, home-grown weed, occasional violence and the bass guitar.

They are Public Alibi. A rock n’ roll band going nowhere fast.

When the sharp-suited, smooth talking producer Gappa Bale offers them a once in a lifetime chance to make their dreams come true, they are caught up in a maelstrom of fame, obsession, music and murder.

Soon, Aldo, Luce and Ross must ask themselves: is it really better to burn out than to fade away?

First Thoughts

I genuinely love musicals. Though thinking about it, Tenacious D and The Relentless (American Satan) wouldn’t think themselves musicals even when they technically are. This is also true, despite their deals with the Devil cliched contract that leads to epic music, drugs broken friendships and all underhanded devilish tricks. I genuinely thought of a Scottish version of American Satan while reading this book, with a very distinct difference between the two; D.A. Watson knows what he’s talking about. The musical notation, the combination of story telling and musical knowledge, the character portrayal and depth, with combination of horror and  fear that makes you resonate with the characters, their individuality, thoughts and persona, and watching the constant digression like the best movie you’ve ever seen. I even have music in my head from a written story. That is true talent.

The Story

We follow Aldo, Luce, and Ross on their musical journey from small town nobodies to musical stars of fame and wonder in a very short amount of time, and at no small price. Gappa Bale is more than he seems even when he appears after an amazing gig at a local bar. Gappa, representing Easy Going Records, approaches the trio after the stellar performance with an opportunity to bring their music dreams to life – but then, things begin to spiral out of control.

Writing

I absolutely adore the writing. It’s easy to read yet fluid and real. Each character has a unique voice and character persona which carries well throughout the book. Switching between characters does not throw you off the story.

Aldo has his own voice and thought processes that you can easily fall in to. With a music passion that hinges on obsession but a true love and care for his boy Dylan whom he cannot be a father to as much as he wants, puts him as the perfect front man for Public Alibi.

Luce’s Italian Catholic background and shake in faith from an event in her past combined with her love of music and drumming has hardened her to be an amazing drummer and hardcore band member. Her character comes out strong and infallible regardless of her collision with Gappa Bale.

Rose is strong as an ox and kind as one too, not afraid to show the horns when he has to. His shaky childhood as an orphan and his work at the hospital shape him into an amazing young man. A killer on the bass guitar and true friend, his character is clear and distinct and strong. I loved him.

D.A. Watson is able to delve into the individual characters of Aldo, Ross, Luce, and Gappa without jarring chapter breaks or unnecessary story changes. Brilliant writing.

Final Thoughts

Absolutely adored this book both from a horror perspective (Remember May wow) and from a story and music perspective. A truly inspiring musical journey, intermingled with musical folklore and music knowledge that makes you question the fame of popular rock artists. Like a conspiracy theory and fantastic book all in one. Cuttin’ Heads makes me want to pick up my guitar again, while questioning any person who comes to me with a record label deal.

Oh and that last chapter between Aldo and Gappa Bale? Absolutely epic!


 

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Cutting Heads Blog Tour

It has been a while since I posted any book reviews, and it’s not for want of trying. The last couple of months (how is it almost June already?) have been quite trying on many fronts, but as with many things in life, they pass on. Along with my desire to continue “horrifying” my blog, with the occasional splash of sci-fi and fantasy to cure the nightmares, the next few books up on review will be dedicated to horror.

One of these is an upcoming book from author D.A Watson.

Aldo Evans is a desperate man. Fired from his job and deeply in debt, he struggles to balance a broken family life with his passion for music.

Luce Figura is a troubled woman. A rhythmic perfectionist, she is haunted by childhood trauma and scorned by her religiously devout mother.

Ross McArthur is a wiseass. Orphaned as an infant and raised by the state, his interests include game shows, home-grown weed, occasional violence and the bass guitar.

They are Public Alibi. A rock n’ roll band going nowhere fast.

When the sharp-suited, smooth talking producer Gappa Bale offers them a once in a lifetime chance to make their dreams come true, they are caught up in a maelstrom of fame, obsession, music and murder.

Soon, Aldo, Luce and Ross must ask themselves: is it really better to burn out than to fade away?


Cuttin’ Heads by D.A. Watson

Genre: Horror

Tour Dates: 11th – 20th June 2018

Publication Date: 15th April 2018

Formats available: Mobi, Epub or PDF

Estimated Page Count: 361

Standalone Novel

Purchase from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K02I4X


I have already started diving into this book and I must admit I’m really enjoying it. I’ll be part of the Cuttin’ Heads blog tour and this is just my shout out to Nicky Stephens, my editor over at Chasing Dreams Publishing, who told me about the book, and to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources, who generously provided a copy.

Author Interview: JD Woodson – A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception

interview

I had the awesome privileged of speaking to J.D Woodson, author of A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception. You can read my book review here. This what he had to say.

Q: An enchanting tale combining a number of interesting characters and pertinent questions. What inspired you to write A Space Between Worlds: Conception?

A: Loss, regret, self-loathing, the lack of identity, introspection and comprehension: those ideas would suffice in the reasoning of the creation of the A Space Between Worlds: Conception. All of those things, I’ve experienced and were deeply seeded into my heart ever since I was young. Not until I grew older, I had the inkling of tackling such questions. Terrifying and painful, liberating and refreshing. I wasn’t singular in facing such concepts. Those around me, people I knew and who I didn’t, struggled with the very same. I wrote the story, not only to soothe myself but others as well. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to face ourselves; it’s almost as if we refuse to. Many of us don’t know who we are. I knew someone who had the thorough understanding of those ideas but unbeknownst to me, I hadn’t an inkling of her suffering. After she departed from this world, that was the spark for me to compose this story. After three years of writing this story, it changed drastically from draft to draft, however, what I needed to express had to be pulled out of me by my own hands.

Q: Are the questions and concepts your characters work through something you consider deeply? Do you question the truths of life and death as deeply?

Inner worlds, reincarnation, cycles both broken and whole? Yes, I ponder those concepts with care. They are depthless and without shape. And because of this, there isn’t a universal answer. Some characters in the story have their own interpretations while others are trying to find their answers. I’m still seeking mine too.

Yes. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t’ve been write a story like this. I questioned life and death starting very young. The reason for that was the departure of my eldest brother not long after I was born. For some reason, I thought I wasn’t meant to be alive. I thought I stole my brother’s life. So because of that I wore a mask that wasn’t mine in order to keep my brother’s presence here, I suppose. I didn’t have an identity and I was constricted by regret. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I removed that mask and since then, I’ve been piecing together my identity. I started my life at death instead of the other way around. But this enabled me to question what those things meant to me. I can’t say I have any answers yet, much like my characters. Shanti is on one side of the cycle and Reno is on the other, but neither of them can see beyond what they do and don’t know. My true feelings on the matter are expressed through the story.

Q: This is only volume one. I am assuming you’ve got a series in the works? Will they all be related?

A: Yes, I can confirm there will be more volumes to come. Though I originally intended for A Space Between Worlds to be a duology; the change came about during the outlining of the next book, I noticed there was more of the story wanting to be told and if I confined those ideas into one last book, the execution would’ve been sloppy and what was to be covered wouldn’t be fully realized. I’m currently writing volume two and there are plans for future books. While volume one and volume two will be directly related, the others will be a separate arc in a sense. With that being said, you can expect majority of the characters to return in the next one. I wonder how they will change?

Q: Your writing style is flowery. Poetic. I know you gained a love for poetry but is this how you have always written or has there been something or someone who influenced you?

A: Wow. Flowery, huh? The majority of authors in this day and age would cringe at hearing that term affixed to their writing, indeed. As for I, I find it to be flattering. Flowers are pleasant, fragrant, and comforting. But an overabundance of flowers can be overwhelming to the senses, no? Since poetry was my background, my first love, my style transitioned into my storytelling. There was a time were my storytelling was as pungent as a perfume section of a department store when I was first starting out but I would like to think I found a proper balance and flow of what is considered flowery.  My style was influenced by Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks in terms of poetry. As for storytelling, Haruki Murakami would probably be my deepest influence in the way of storytelling and Carl Jung, Frederick Nietzsche, and Indian Philosophy as whole are some of my philosophical influences.

Q: Do you have works of poetry out there (or in your drafts folder) that we can look forward to?

A: Now that you mentioned it; I do desire to publish a collection of poetry. I’ve put all of my focus on A Space Between Worlds for the last few years so I can’t say I’ve written any poetry outside of the ones within the story. Integrating my first love into my second, I’ll continue to do that but maybe one day soon I’ll write a traditional poetry collection.

Q: I infer from your style that you are an emotive writer. Do your feelings and emotions always guide your writing? How do you manage when you’re not feeling any particular way?

A: Naturally, I’m a sensitive person. In everything I do, I go by feeling. For myself, there isn’t any other way to live but to go by what my heart tells me and that carries into my writing. If I can’t express myself without clarity, I abstain from writing until I’m enraptured by the emotion I’m trying to convey. If what I am writing doesn’t have meaning, there isn’t any reason why they should be written.

Q: Do you have any favourite authors? Music that inspires you as you write?

A: Haruki Murakami, Franz Kafka, Ray Bradbury, Natsume Soseki, and Yu Godai are some of my favourite authors of fiction.

Nobuhiro Watsuki, Masamune Shirow, Hiroyuki Takei, and Tetsuo Hara are my favourite manga-ka (authors of manga).

Yoko Shinomura, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuki Kajiura, Shoji Meguro, Masashi Hamauzu, and Uyama Hiroto are the composers I listen to thoroughly. Symphonic, Jazz, Rock and Synth, interesting combination, huh?

Q: What does your writing process look and feel like?

A: To keep it simple, it’s a lot like gardening. Peaceful and relaxing, meticulous and intensive. I adore writing, but it can be painful. I’m mentally and physically exhausted after it’s all said and done.

Q: Who is J.D. Woodson? To the world and to yourself?

Obtaining those answers are the very reason I write.

Q: Where to from here?

A: If I had every map devised, it’ll leave nothing for me to discover. I can only continue to live and express myself moment by moment. Whatever is in store, I’ll accept and move only by what my heart tells me. All I know for certain, I’ll never cease to write.


giveaway

Click here or visit Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page to enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of A Space Between Worlds Vol.1: Conception by J.D. Woodson.

Wednesday Book Review: A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception

Wednesday Book Review: A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception

aspacebetweenworldsconception

Title: A Space Between Worlds Vol 1: Conception

Author: J.D Woodson

Publisher:  Royal James Publishing

Book procurement: Received from publisher in return for an honest review.

Release Date: October 17, 2016.

Synopsis:

Songstress Shanti’s final performance is no different than any other. Gazing into the mirror, the Songstress laments her faceless curse. To hide her unsightliness, she dons a beautiful mask. She knows she doesn’t belong in the darkness. Her desire is to live in a world of eternal light, to be seen for who she truly is.

An enigmatic man who calls himself Avidia beckons Shanti, claiming to know how to conceive the world of light sleeping inside of her, and escape her current world of darkness, Cauraaha. Avidia poses the question that will be the key to her desire, as well as an unresolved pain:

“What is your first memory?”

Reno, a gentle florist, has his own stigma, a translucent coil of thorns wrapped around his arm, draining him of life at the utterance of the word “Promise”. Hidden away in his heart is the knowledge of a past he doesn’t wish to face, one that connects to Shanti, Avidia, and her curse.

A dual narrative of introspection and self-discovery, A Space Between Worlds eloquently questions the truths of life and death, timeless bonds, and regret through lyrical imagination, philosophy, surrealism, and a journey through the unconscious mind.

Review:

We are thinking, feeling beings currently experiencing the ebb and flow of life. Guided by our past, driven by the prospects of our future, and engaging in the instance of our present. We question our existence, the banality of day to day life, the adventure of hope, regret, love, friendship – and the inevitability of death. Do we remember our first memory? Do we know what happens when we die? Will we cease to exist? Will we live eternally in the presence of the Creator? Will we return to the world in an endless cycle of life and death?

These are the questions JD Woodson explores in this poetic narrative A Space Between Worlds: Conception. We follow the mysterious songstress Shanti, and her faceless existence seeking to be seen. We follow the emotive Reno with a dark past coiled around his arm in living, life draining thorns. The story flits between these two characters as they seek to figure out who they are and what secrets theirs pasts hold – and the space between worlds where the enigmatic Avanti continues to unravel.

The writing is poetic, story cryptic, and although occasionally difficult to figure out, A Space Between Worlds makes for an evocative tale.

Rating:  A stirring 3 out of 5.


fb_img_1461011555129

J.D. Woodson was born Chicago, Illinois in 1992. He grew up in Palos Park, a quiet suburb southwest of Chicago. During his early years, J.D. gained a fondness towards poetry and continued to writing it through primary school and high school, winning small awards for his work. He would attend Columbia College Chicago with intent to major in poetry, however he shifted his focus and major to Fiction Writing due to his love for storytelling. After his sophomore year, he would take a leave of absence to study outside of the workshop method he was taught and gained experience as a ghostwriter which his projects spanned from fiction to non-fiction. To read more about J.D., you can visit him on his website.

Website: JDWoodson.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/authorjdwoodson

Twitter: @Woodson_JD

Instagram: @author_jdwoodson

Wednesday Book Review: Boyznite

Wednesday Book Review: Boyznite

front-boyznite

Title: Boyznite

Author: Xane J. Fisher

Publisher: Royal James Publishing

Genre: Short story

Book procurement: Received a copy from Royal James Publishing as part of their Blog Tour. See end of review for purchase links and a chance to win a prize!

Release Date: August 1, 2016.

Synopsis:

Law school wonder student Ian Peters chronicles his first night home for the summer in Piedmont, Washington. What starts with a pleasant drive up the Pacific Northwest Coast leads him into a night of self discovery, contemplative self-assessment, and ultimately the question of what kind of man does he want to be? Along the way, he reconnects with friends, family, and an old flame who changes his world forever.

What started as a typical night of partying quickly becomes BoyzNite.

Review:

What can I say. Boyznite is a beautifully written fist to the chest, a short story about the realities that occur in the world and how sometimes, we are just out of our depth. One can only wonder how the rest of the story plays out. I myself feel compelled to do something about it, but perhaps that’s just the immature schoolboy in me.

The story follows Ian Peters and his nostalgic trip back home from law school. Along with his brother and childhood friends, they decide to have a reunion and party the night away. What follows is a typical drunken night with the boys, but also a life lesson intermingled between the testosterone, alcohol and the emotional turmoil of a young man who is slapped with the cold truths of life.

Like I said in my previous review of Something Borrowed from the Sticky Fingers anthology, “nothing is random in short stories”.  And that’s not a bad thing at all, it is in fact a useful hook for the unfolding story. Once I saw that occurrence, I knew something was coming up, I just didn’t know what. And when it hit, it hit hard.

Do note that it is very much a boys night out so language is not excessive but present, and it does have a scene with light nudity – nothing overtly sexual. Nonetheless, I finished the short story asking myself this: can we truly rectify the injustices we see, and how much of ourselves are we willing to give for another?

The story is short and really well written. It wasn’t the most compelling story but it was a good emotive journey.

Rating: A touching 3 out of 5.


Purchase Links

Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/iTunes/Indigo
Smashwords/Goodreads

Giveaway

BoyzNite-giveaway

Enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a Q&A with Xane himself!
Click here to enter the giveaway
OR
Visit Xane J Fisher’s Facebook page or Royal James Publishing’s Facebook page.

Book Cover Reveal – BoyzNite by Xane Fisher

Royal James Publishing have so kindly allowed me the opportunity to be part of their BoyzNite blog tour, which in and of itself is quite an exciting journey. As you know, I love reading (see Monday Book Recommendations and Wednesday Book Reviews if you doubt.) and as I stretch myself across the genres, I hope to not only read amazing books but write them too.

So without further ado, today, fresh from RJP, the book cover reveal for BoyzNite.

Release dates:

Pre-sale Date: July 3, 2016

Blog Tour: July 24-31, 2016

Release Date: August 1, 2016

Published by Royal James Publishing


About BoyzNite:

front-boyznite

Law school wonder student Ian Peters chronicles his first night home fro the summer in Piedmont, Washington. What starts with a pleasant drive up the Pacific Northwest Coast leads him into a night of self discovery, contemplative self-assessment, and ultimately the question of what kind of man does he want to be? A Long the way, he reconnects with friends, family and an old flame who changes his world forever.

What satrted as a typical night of partying quickly becomes BoyzNite.

 


About Xane Fisher:

XaneFisherAuthorShot

Originally from the Salt Lake City area, Xane Fisher has spent most of his life living out of a backpack or suitcase. Along his travels, he has been blessed with an amazing family, a college education, and the opportunity to see the world from the skyscrapers of Abu-Dhabi to the third world markets of Angola. From a young age, he has felt compelled to write and share experiences through a pen or keyboard. He is currently living in southwest Germany, serving in the United States Air Force with his wife Autumn and their son Judah. He hopes to have his first novel completed soon. To read more about Xane, you can visit him on his website.

Royal James Publishing website

Xane Fisher – Facebook

Xane Fisher – Goodreads

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