Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

World War II Thriller Review

Hitler's Grail
By Louis Charlebois
ISBN-10: 1425968341
Review by Heather Froeschl

The quest for the Holy Grail is an ancient story. Louis Charlebois' version brings the Grail to life in the midst of WWII, in his book, "Hitler's Grail."

"Hitler's Grail" tells the story of how Constantine the Great forced together the Sun Religion, Mithraism, and Christianity to form the Catholic Church. It tells of Hitler's desire to own the Grail, not for its legendary power, but for the power of politics. The book tells the tale of the invasion and occupation of France by Germany, and the terrible things that occurred. It is a somewhat dark tale, all the more dark because of its fact base. Will Hitler grasp the Grail? Will Christianity falter because of Hitler's message?

An epic story, this book is a war novel, a thriller, and even a romance. It is quite long, and non-military enthusiasts might feel they are back in history class. But some of such history you might not have known and bears looking into. The writing is tight and intriguing, grabbing the reader's attention. The plot flows as quickly as one of such depth can. There were a few typographical errors that caught my attention, but as an editor I am prone to such things. Errors are easily overlooked, and the story will carry the reader through some unforgettable moments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Interview with The Sicilian Conspiracy author, Michael Sammaritano

Michael Sammaritano
Publisher: Adesso Publishing

Heather: Michael, your own life sounds very interesting. Why choose the Mafia to write a book of fiction about?

Michael: The stigma of Mafia is what I have contended with all my life. While I am proud of my ancestors’ ideology, I am totally opposed to Mafia-hoodlums.

The majority of my compatriots are good law-abiding citizens who are stigmatized by these hoodlums and their undue glorification by the masses.

Heather: What did you base your story on, with the new Mafia having a goal of legitimacy?

Michael: The Sicilian Conspiracy portrays one man’s struggle, Don Saverio, to lure young Sicilians in becoming the best they could be through education and to compete in foreign markets for position of influence. Don Saverio’s master plan is to put an end to this fa├žade of hoodlums disguising themselves as Mafia and spread the true Mafia ideology, which is what Big Business and Government relish—men of honor with solid backbone.

Heather: Is any part of the story based on real life events that you are aware of?

Michael: Some is from real life. Most however, comes from my wishing how things ought to be.

Heather: Why do you think readers are always so interested in hearing more tales of the Mafia days? Do you think this is more of an American obsession, or worldwide?

Michael: People, especially Americans, are more obsessed with grotesque events. Unfortunately many of the so-called Mafia stories offer all that and more.

Heather: Are you planning any further works of fiction?

Michael: “Red Roses” and “The Professional Dreamer” are two of my upcoming novels. I should have them out by the end of 2007.

Heather: A lot of authors have to continue with their “day jobs” to pay the bills. Are you still a pilot? Is this your “day job”?

Michael: Yes, I am still a pilot, but I don’t earn a living at it. Fortunately, I can pay the bills without a day job.

Heather: Do you have book signings planned in the near future?

Michael: It’s in the working. The dates and location will be posted on the website @

Heather: Do you find marketing your work to be another enjoyable aspect of writing?

Michael: Marketing is an innate treat. I began marketing myself the day I was born; first to my mother, then to my siblings, to my outer family and to the world.

Heather: How do you work your plotting of your work? Do you outline every major event, or do you let your characters have their way?

Michael: I outline the storyline—beginning, middle, and end—and then each character’s general appearance, traits, and habits and I watch them act their parts and report it.

Heather: Tell me something about you as a writer that would surprise people who think they know you.

Michael: When I moved from Sicily to the United States I taught myself English. I envy anyone whose native tongue is English. For the small words they learn as children and take for granted I struggle to learn.

Heather: Thank you for talking with me, and I wish you the best of luck with your work.

Michael Sammaritano was born in Sicily in 1937, his mother in New York City. Michael spent his childhood in the heart of WWII. He started writing when he was 14 years old. In 1956 he graduated from the Scuola Professionale a Tipo Industriale. At the age of twenty he moved to the United States.

Michael holds several US Patents. He is a multiengine instrument rated pilot. He enjoys golfing, fishing, and, of course writing. He is the author of several books. The Sicilian Conspiracy is his latest work of fiction. Currently he is working on the "Radically Simplified™” series of books; “The Golf Swing Radically Simplified”, “Your health Radically Simplified” and “Marriage to Matrimony Radically Simplified”.

Fiction Review

The Sicilian Conspiracy
By Michael Sammaritano
ISBN-10: 0977902374

Whispers of the Mafia are part of our culture, like it or not. Some say the legend is bigger than fact, some pretend they know nothing about it. Michael Sammaritano’s novel, “The Sicilian Conspiracy” does more than whisper rumors, but after all it is a work of fiction.

Don Severio Cremona was forced into taking over the family “business” in Sicily. It is something he didn’t wish to do but upon the death of his father he makes a decision to set forth dramatic change in the Mafia around the world. The goal of legitimacy is a huge undertaking. It will take years to bring about tiny steps of progress. Ray Greco becomes Don Severio’s presence in the United States, New York to be precise. With the help of the Class of 1956, a group of young men specially trained per Don Severio’s instructions, Ray will begin to break down the decaying Mafia and replace it with supposedly legit business. The control that Severio hopes to gain will come through his men being in every possible position of power, from within. Politics, business, even the FBI, are all targets. Ray though, has been waiting for the moment to seek his revenge for his own father’s murder. Will he follow tradition? How does the new Mafia truly differ from the old?

Michael Sammaritano has written an interesting and exciting tale of the darker side of Sicilian and American culture. His plot flows nicely, coming full circle, while his characters lead the way. A fast-paced and intriguing read!

Fiction Review

by Ross Wells
ISBN-10: 059525411X
Review by Heather Froeschl

Some film directors leave you wondering what they were thinking, and some make you desperately want to know what inspires them. In Ross Wells' novel, "eXploZion!" the reader is immersed into one young film director's thoughts. What is revealed is downright weird.

Gabriel Black has a mild obsession with film. (Maybe not so mild.) He meets an addictive young woman, and together they work on sorting out who he is and what he will become. Along the way we read of Gabe's sordid past with various females, a couple of good friends, and the ultimate goal of producing films. His influences ranged from Mary Shelley to late night horror flicks on television. He collected dreams in the form of motion pictures. After a couple of student films, he became a film instructor for a private school, but that wasn't quite enough. His talent called him to move on to greater things. His relationship with the young woman, Isis, led him to a chance at a financed project and a permanent job. Strange things happen though, and like a scene out of a classic horror film, the unexpected occurs.

A cross between the Johnny Depp movie "Ed Wood," and a college course in film, "eXploZion!" is quite unique. Movie buffs will love it. As a story in itself, the plot was a bit out there, not exactly smooth, but something completely different. The tirades into books and films were a bit distracting to me, but then I'm not the obsessive fan that Gabriel Black seems to be. It certainly helped to bring his character across. It made me wonder though, if this book wasn't really just an excuse for the author to talk about his own passion. I don't know.

All in all, it is very different sort of book.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Science Fiction Review

The Paladin Chronicles
by B. W. Philpot
ISBN-10: 1598005650
Review by Heather Froeschl

Have you ever considered the possibility of ancient souls roaming the universe, perpetuating change, protecting civilizations and encouraging evolutional progress? In B.W. Philpot's novel, "The Paladin Chronicles," The Elders are out there, doing just that, but it may have been because of them that a whole lot of trouble began as well.

It is a school of thought that the dinosaurs were killed off by nothing greater than a germ. In Philpot's book, a great plague, spread by terrorists, nearly devastates the earth. With the intervention of The Elders, and the peoples they nourished, The Paladins, Earth is saved but society is very different from what we now know. The Elders need help in an ageless battle with The Zillians, a reptilian species that is a mortal enemy. The Paladins were to be their army, with Earthlings as the force behind it. The greatest plans go astray, but with partial success, the future can be saved. A rift must be healed between the Earthlings and Paladins and it becomes the mission of the very man who instigated the trouble to begin with, to begin the healing.

On the personal side of things, two Paladins who were clearly meant to be together, happen to be the two greatest battle hero's of the force. Forced to work together, along with the scientist and doctor who deeply affected their careers and lives previously, the three must find a way to overcome hard feelings. A bit of a rebel, Lensil has a few surprises aboard his ship, including a captive Zillian, and a forbidden dog. Other
relationships carry the reader through the tale on a personal scale.

The book is an interesting and intriguing piece of science fiction. It holds the reader's attention with cool sci-fi technology and settings, yet offers the human-interest aspect of a good story. A handful of misspellings did distract me a bit, drawing attention from my editor side, but my inner reader was more interested in following the action of the tale. With the promise of additional Paladin books in the future, I look forward to hearing more from author B.W. Philpot.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Terrorist Fear Fiction Review

Reaching Home
by Ron Breazeale
ISBN-10: 1931642060
Review by Heather Froeschl

What do terrorists hold over us? Is it their weapons, their knowledge, or is it our own fear? They elicit terror, and when we allow ourselves to be afraid, we give them power. Our fears can control our lives in many ways. In Ron Breazeale's novel, "Reaching Home," we are brought face to face with the fears that many of us cling to.

Dr. Lee Brazil left the south for the open arms of Maine. He's raised a daughter, and lived life, despite his own demons of fears. While back in the south, doing research for a book in Pine Grove, Tennessee, and a meeting of SOMAP - Save Our Mountain and Our People, Lee falls victim to an accident at the Pine Grove Lab incinerator for nuclear waste. This accident is mistakenly believed to be a terrorist plot and Dr. Brazil is taken into protective custody. The fallout sickness not being enough to deter him, Dr. Brazil escapes and hitches a ride in the back of a truck hauling port-a-johns. Thus the journey begins, and develops into a discovery of how people will help a stranger, and how they either live by or face their fears.

Things get quite heated when a second incident occurs at Pine Grove. The FBI is looking for Brazil, and a terrorist cell is being tracked in Boston. Emotionally, Lee is dealing with old feelings of lost love, nightmares of terrors, and an unquenchable thirst to return to Maine. Will he make it home? Will the real terrorists realize their terrible quest?

Breazeale's novel is an enticing, captivating read. Set in the very near future, the book rings true with many current public fears. This work of suspense also holds deeper messages of love, life, and understanding our demons. The plot is tight and well planned, and the characters are undeniably human. Easy to read and impossible to put down, "Reaching Home" is bound to be a great hit!

Testimonial Book Review

Dying to Live: A Call to Joy - The Power of a Testimony
by Hope Joy
ISBN-10: 143030846X
Review by Heather Froeschl

Do you know someone who feels a deep joy, no matter what is going on in their life? Hope Joy's offering, "Dying to Live" is an explanation of her personal joy.

After enduring years of depression, Hope finds herself in the unfortunate situation of hearing terrible news from her doctors. She faces a life threatening illness and has to undergo surgery. It is during her ordeal that she comes to realize her joy at living, and finds the source of that joy in her God.

This short book is a testimonial; it is one woman's moment of truth and her desire to share the joy she feels with people. In a no-nonsense, straightforward tone, Hope shares her tale, details her feelings and invites readers to develop their own testimonial through a workbook section at the back.

This work should be a help to some readers, a confirmation of beliefs for others.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christian Non-Fiction Review

Dying to Live: A Call to Joy - The Power of a Testimony
by Hope Joy
ISBN-10: 143030846X
Review by Heather Froeschl

Do you know someone who feels a deep joy, no matter what is going on in their life? Hope Joy’s offering, “Dying to Live” is an explanation of her personal joy.

After enduring years of depression, Hope finds herself in the unfortunate situation of hearing terrible news from her doctors. She faces a life threatening illness and has to undergo surgery. It is during her ordeal that she comes to realize her joy at living, and finds the source of that joy in her God.

This short book is a testimonial; it is one woman’s moment of truth and her desire to share the joy she feels with people. In a no-nonsense, straightforward tone, Hope shares her tale, details her feelings and invites readers to develop their own testimonial through a workbook section at the back.

This work should be a help to some readers, a confirmation of beliefs for others.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Poetry/Relationships Review

Forever Sentimental Vol. III: Agape Love
by Kenyatta
ISBN-10: 0595396933

If you're looking for a sort of poetically styled relationship advice book, "Forever Sentimental" by Kenyatta, is for you. Taking the art of relationships to a lighter, artful form, the book offers sound advice and mixes it with loving words of caring.

The book is broken into sections titled, Cherish the Love, Heartbreak, Hopelessly Romantic, and Agape Love. Each section offers Life Lessons and a piece of verse for each one. Loosely correlated to each other the topics of verse and advice include everything involved in relationships, from finding someone to connect with, to putting an end to a bad relationship, being comfortable with yourself first, to making a major commitment.

Honestly, I prefer verse to feel more poetic than greeting card-like, but the honest heartfelt emotion in the works is obvious. The advice is well founded and thought out, and is presented in a straightforward and helpful manner. All in all, the book is an insightful exploration of love.

Interview with a poet, Stephen J. Dodds

Stephen J. Dodds
Publisher: 1st World Publishing

Interviewed By: Heather Froeschl
Heather: This is your first attempt at poetry? I can't believe it.

Believe it.....surprised me too.

Heather: Did you ever, in your life, try it before? Maybe on a paper napkin, or in a secret journal? Did you take any classes in poetry?

No, no and no. My only real experience, if any, was writing business plans, marketing plans and copy/text for packaging. Other then that I have zero formal experience where writing is concerned. That said, I have always had a good grasp of the English language, thanks to my momwho started me reading at a very early age. She was a stickler on grammar, likely because she didn't want me to grow up speaking "Geordie" slang.

Heather: What has been your greatest influence to write?

I'm an avid reader of everything from history books and autobiographies to mainstream fiction where I am a huge fan of Tom Clancy. With each book he writes I am forever amazed at the way he can bring his characters to life, not only as fictional characters but as truly believable characters. This a result of his tremendous research. While my writing style is far from Clancy's he is a big influence, nonetheless. I am also a huge fan of cleverly written TV sitcoms such as Seinfeld and All in the Family. Both carefully andskillfully marry words and phrases with perfect visuals (actors) to deliver their messages - some hidden and some straight on. Add Bill Maher to the list. While I disagree with him as often as I agree I think he uses the English language brilliantly to get his point across. I hope this makes sense.

Heather: Tell me about the book cover.

The title "Life, and everything in between" is described with the globe, and withthe oyster shell represents the old phrase....the world is your oyster.

Heather: Will there be more collections of poetry from Doddsy?

There will be more of something I suppose but maybe or maybe not poetry. It may sound odd but I really don't see myself as a poet. Rather, I see what I wrote as a kind of inspirational writing of sorts. I simply tried to convey to the reader my thoughts on topics thatinterested me or on topics that are close to me, somehow my style came across as poetry. Regardless, if in doing so I somehow caught the reader’s attention, good, bad or indifferent then I totally accomplished my task. In this regard if the mood strikes again, then I will certainly write more "poetry," if not then a short story islikely my next attempt.

Heather: What is the hardest thing about creating your work?

Definitely finding the perfect words to fit what I wanted to say. On occasion I changed the same word over and over and over again until I got it right. Even at that there's always a word or two that I might still rewrite if given the chance. It all depends on my mood.

Heather: What gave you the idea to pair your poems up with famous quotations?

Understanding that I am a total unknown when it comes to writing I tried to think of ways to marry my messages/writings with the thoughts and/or writings of others. I thought that by doing so I just might catch the interest of the reader to read on. Some of the quotes came obvious to me, such as John Lennon's "imagine." It tied perfectly towhat I wrote about my travels, and the feelings that my travels evoked in me. Another great quote was from my dad. The night he died he left me a telephone message which said, "Stevie, son, I gave it my best shot." I am forever grateful for the life he gave me and I wanted to honor him. My piece "respect" does just that.

Heather: It is rare for a poet to reveal what he was really thinking about when he was inspired to write a particular piece. You've openly shared some of your intentions. Did you plan to do that in the book or was it something your fans insisted upon?

Actually it was my intention all along. In fact if I have a criticism of my book it's that I didn't expand on this section even more. Actually I get a lot of questions about, do I have fans?

Heather: Have you been back to visit England?

Many many many times, though as I write in my piece "respect" the best return of all was the first one back with my parents. Wecame to Canada on a boat with nothing and returned to the UK via British Airways - first parents thanking me for the tickets......ironically perfect. Need I say more.

Heather: I like to know what a poet sounds like when reading their work, so I can "hear" their voice in my head. Do you have an English accent or are you sounding more like a Canadian these days? Or perhaps you've picked up the Californian dialect?

It depends on how many pints I have had. All kidding aside I'm a crazy mix of Canadian and US. Not so many "ehs' any more and way too many "hey dudes." Oddly enough, however, the Geordie always returns 3 or 4 days into a trip back to Newcastle – maybe on purpose...who knows.

Heather: What has been the best part of being a published author?

Certainly not the money. In truth, the pride of accomplishing a goal and most definitely the pride of pleasing my mom with my efforts. She was thrilled with the book in all regards. Last, the fact that people actually seem to like what I have to say. I pinch myself a lot.

Heather: Tell us something that we might be surprised to learn about you.

Wow, that's a tough one. I guess the fact that I really have an "oxi-moron" kind of personality. I like hockey fights yet I write poetry, my dad was a millwright yet I can't change a tire, my mom is introverted while I am type "A" extrovert personified, I listen to AndreBoccelli, Johnny Cash and Led Zeppelin.....kind of sums me up best.

Stephen J. Dodds was born in Newcastle, England in February 1961. An only child, he emigrated to Canada with his parents before his fourth birthday. Steve spent most of his youth in Long Branch (Toronto) Canada, playing hockey and lacrosse, and enjoying everything the 70's had to offer. An entrepreneur, Steve now resides in Orange County, Southern California with his beautiful wife, Alexandra. His friends call him Doddsy. This is Steve's first literary effort.
Books: Life and Everything in Between

Poetry Review

Life, And Everything in Between
by Stephen J. Dodds
ISBN-10: 1595409750

It takes a certain talent to create poetic verse that truly evokes an image or feeling. Stephen J. Dodds demonstrates his abundant ability in his book, "Life and Everything in Between."

This wonderful collection of works covers many topics and is aptly named. I found the perfect description for the book within one of the poems, "Random thoughts adorn the page, like a jig saw, connecting not in context, but adjoining perfectly, in concert." Though many of the poems do connect in context, it is the overall feeling of one man's thoughts on life that pulls the book together so nicely. Each poem is accompanied by a quote that compliments it and completes the feelings evoked by the verse. Each poem is demonstrative of an ability to pull imagery and feeling together and weave them into carefully chosen words. I especially enjoyed "the bath" as it brought to mind the relaxed sensation of my favorite evening event and the peace of mind one feels watching troubles go down the drain along with the bubbles.

Typically I will ponder if I've read the author's intentions correctly when reading poetry. Dodds takes the mystery from that question with the addition of an explanation at the end of the book, regarding what brought many of the poems to be. This adds to his outreach to his readers as we can truly look into the mind of the artist.

Stephen J. Dodds has found a place in my mind as a talented modern poet for every walk of life.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Spiritual Thriller Review

Song of the Universe
by Robert Veres
ISBN-10: 0595402275
Review by Heather Froeschl

I had an epiphany years ago; some would say my ideas were not unique and some would say that they were just downright wrong. To me though, they answered the questions that were floating in my head. Many of those ideas are addressed in "Song of the Universe," by Robert Veres. This gives me comfort to know I am not the only one to have thought such things. So what were the ideas? I can't give away the book's plot, but part of it has to do with the energies that our souls are and what we could ultimately hope to achieve with our little spark of stardust.

The book is told from the viewpoint of a father trying desperately to reach out to his adult daughter after a time of estrangement. He is writing her a very long letter in attempt to reveal what he has been through and learned as of late, and that is a very good deal. Adam Zakar is a securities broker, but he's one of the good guys. He's one that can truly be trusted. He isn't out to line the company's pocket by stealing the fleece out his customers'. So when he is enticed in the most influential way by his boss to become involved in a huge real estate transaction, he becomes slightly wary and suspicious. The first task is to vacate the "vagrants" that are living in the warehouse he has just purchased on paper. When he meets these people, he is oddly welcomed as one of them. This group of spiritual seekers opens his eyes to the spectrum of the soul, the invisible parasites that cling to negative energy, and the power to heal the spirits who are in need. Will he kick them to the curb or will he come face to face with the one they call The Master? Will this group of avatar students be able to spread the word of their experiences and have opportunities to share the healing power of the Universal Awareness? Or will they be stopped by the evangelical power that has come to recognize them as a threat?

This novel is powerful in that it opens up the reader to the possible path of what is termed "New Age." This Spiritual Thriller's plot is tight and flows with a crescendo that keeps readers turning the pages. Conflicting feelings of greed, caring, hate, love, power mongering, and open giving are all parts of the whole. The characters are rich with personality, and the author's ability to create dimension, whether on this physical plane or in an alternative one, is outstanding. We should all be blessed to meet characters like Adam Zakar. I am happy enough having made the acquaintance of the author.