A while back I got to know a fantastic writer, publisher, web designer/developer, editor and all around entrepreneur via Twitter by the name of Faydra D. Fields. She is an amazingly talented individual, and I have had the pleasure of working with her off and on for about a year or so now.
She has an impressive resume, that recently expanded, with her production of the “Independent Author Index Short Compilation.” Faydra is the creator of the Independent Author Index website and network, and recently furthered this endeavor with a regularly published anthology of short stories. I was lucky enough to submit and be featured in the first volume with my short dubbed, “Rory Winters.”
“Rory Winter” is a tale of rival treasure hunters stalking the same mysterious artifact. Their fates are intertwined at a level that they cannot even imagine, but how far will the rabbit hole take them before it finally releases its grip?
This, essentially, was a homage to all of the wonderful action/adventure stories set in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The very same ones that George Lucas pulled from to create the “Indiana” Jones” tetralogy. This project was particularly close to my heart because it plays into several past times of mine, and if you are grabbed by these genres just as I am, don’t fret–I have plans to serialize Rory and Ashe’s adventures into a long running series that will (hopefully) develop into an anthology of novellas.
You can purchase the “Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation, Volume 1” via Amazon by clicking the cover image below, or you can visit my short story’s page on the Independent Author Index’s website by clicking the “Rory Winters” cover.
If anything, check out this collection of short stories to get a feel for all of the wonderful material that indie authors are producing today.
Originally my review was dry, terse, and immensely boring. Not the Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson type of ‘Bored,’ but fairly deathly in its own right. However, after placing some “Black Keys” on hi-fi and letting the caffeinated beverages fill in where the creative juices left off I began to coalesce a much clearer picture of Tom Cruise’s latest picture, “Jack Reacher.’
Essentially, the film “Jack Reacher” is plays out like a throwback to older movies of the same genre. It is incredibly reminiscent of older action films and it leaves much to be desired when considering the stellar source material in which it was derived. “Jack Reacher” is based off of Lee Child’s famous character and series of novels (specifically his novel “One-Shot”), which detail the interesting happenings of Jack Reacher–an ex-MP who wanders the States looking for…well..something. He always ends up in a predicament, but he always manages to help those in a jam and move on to the next place and task.
In this particular plot, Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise) is called by name by an old military ‘buddy,’ Barr (played by Joseph Sikora), who has requested his help. Barr has been charged with gunning down five people at a park with a sniper rifle. This scene opens the film and normally would not be troublesome to watch, but after the recent shooting in Connecticut I found this difficult to view. This most-likely is reactionary and on the whole I do not support film censorship. Forewarning though…my gut did react.
In between Barr’s supposed shooting, holding, and Jack’s trek, Barr is brutally beaten during transport that renders him useless and leaves him in a coma, so by the time Jack reaches Barr his primary witness/suspect is out of commission. In pursuit of the truth, Jack Reacher teams up with Barr’s lawyer Helena (played by Rosamund Pike), and begins a thread-lined journey that will eventually lead him to the heart of the truth.
The acting of the supporting cast and large portions of the script (specifically the dialogue) really disappointed me. Save for Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the idiopathic character, Richard Jenkins as the DA, David Oyelowo as the lead detective, and the incomparable Robert Duvall of the case the acting was atrocious. Helena’s dialogue was choppy and cliche, which resulted in a flat, inconsistent character that could have been anyone off the streets. However, that being said, there were far worse performances and writing to be had. The film’s villain, ‘The Zec’ (played by Werner Herzog) was so incredibly cliched and not at all frightening that I thought for a majority of the film that the casting director had taken head shots from all the worst Bond-villain throwaways that he or she could find and finally settled on the worst of them, The Zec. Not only was the villainous Zec not imposing he was nonsensical, frightfully dull, and had absolutely no purpose besides being fodder for Tom Cruise in the closing moments.
All-in-all, I thought Tom Cruise was great as Jack Reacher. His lines were impeccable and the action sequences were tightly shot and added to the tone of the overall film. However, even Tom Cruise cannot hold up an entire film, and in this instance he proved this sentiment wholeheartedly. The writers had excellent source material and chose to butcher much of Lee Child’s writing in favor for the old and the cliched…this coupled with the fact that the supporting cast was truly awful really took what could have been a great film and transformed it into a ‘meh’ film.
I give Jack Reacher three-out-of-five stars, and recommend that you wait for this to make its way to DVD before watching it.
Her flashlight flickered in and out of existence as she sat cross-legged beneath the old patchwork quilt. She repeatedly smacked the light to her palm to focus the beam, and as it solidified she placed it beneath her chin and gave a wicked grin. She looked directly in the eyes of the omniscient and whispered something sinister. She knew he was there, just like a man knows that the moon is there in the daylight, but unlike the moon it never speaks to men of evil.
At that moment the defined features of her long locks and green eyes faded into sand—becoming nothing but granular bits wafting in the breeze. Eventually the breeze shifted becoming something more powerful—a wind. The quilt fluttered like a tent flap, the flashlight melted into a simple camping lantern, and in an instant the world the girl inhabited was no longer there. She and it had disappeared from reality: a beam of light finally winking out beneath a dark, damp quilt and a merciful moon.
Rory Winters awoke with a sharp jolt. His heart was pounding and he was perspiring. Even though he had the same dream almost every night, it still scared him and his body reacted accordingly. The girl frightened him, but after twenty odd years, the girl beneath the blanket was like an old friend. His tent flapped in the wind as he promptly fell back to slumber dreaming of the morning sun, forgetting the low drone of the jungle background. The treasure and ancient secrets that he would soon uncover in the distant temple were more than enough to plummet Rory back into his vestibule.
Most men dream while they sleep, but great men dream while they’re awake—bending and twisting their dreams into something tangible and real. It is these men that are the most dangerous, because nothing is out of the grasp of a man who dreams amongst the sun.
I’ve been slowly working on a new short story titled “Dorian Waters,” which will be an Amazon exclusive upon release. I wanted to take the charisma of 007, the cheesiness of a ’70s sci-fi flick, and the ridiculous strength of Stallone’s Rambo–with all that being said…let me introduce you to Dorian Waters:
Dorian rocketed towards the outer crust of the lush planet at speeds almost intolerable for his Tibranium launch suit. At just the precise moment he jotted in his PI code and the blackened outer shell of suit unbuckled from his frame in a thousand fractured pieces, rocketed past him, and immediately burned up in the upper atmosphere. Dorian repositioned himself as he fell into a sort of Swan dive and fell headlong into a thick layer clouds. With a flick of his wrist he yanked the ripcord and his blue shoot billowed from his back pulling him upwards briefly before eventually allowing him to slowly descend into the dark green canopy below.
“Terra de Verde,” Dorian muttered in awe as he came into the canopy lining.
The landing was a bit rough, but with only a couple scratches from broken branches, and the consideration that little to no preparation time was had when he rashly jumped out of the low orbit Skirt Pod, it could have gone much, much worse. He hung gently swinging, listening, and thinking about the sounds he was hearing before finally unsheathing his knife and cutting himself loose from the thick, brown branches that held him captive.
He awoke flat on his back, clutched for his knife which was missing. He glanced upwards towards the canopy where he had fallen through several strata of branches–loll and behold he could see the glint of steel lodged into the bark in the distance.
Quickly thinking, he pawed for something close by, found a rock, and struck the cat-like creature as it leapt for his prone body. The 180-lb creature growled in pain and fell to its side in a hiss of dust and a belabored roar.
“Kitty’s got claws,” Dorian mumbled to himself and then promptly passed out.
He awoke in awash of his own blood and rain. Dorian sputtered water as he jolted awake in a nightmarish-like fashion. He grimaced and propped up on his elbows.
Waters was ironically drenched and thoroughly pissed.
Clive Cussler is most known for his action-adventure novels, especially those starring his reoccurring character, Dirk Pitt. However, several years back Cussler released his first Isaac Bell novel titled, “The Chase.” Isaac Bell is the lead private detective in the fictional Van Dorn Detective Agency. He is quick-witted, brave, intuitive, tall, blonde-hair, a crack shot, and everything else Ian Fleming would of thought while constructing James Bond.
The Isaac Bell novels take place in the late 19th/early 20th centuries and are always centered on a particularly cunning villain that Isaac Bell has to tangle with throughout the tale. The narrative usually flips back and forth between the two leads, and even though the antagonist essentially embodies evil Cussler manages to round them out making them quite interesting to read about. And, truth be told, Isaac does not always get the better of the villains, which in the end makes for a great read.
In “The Race” Cussler focus on the birth of the airplane. In a story that pans the continent during the height of a newspaper endorsed monoplane/biplane race Isaac Bell must protect the race’s underdog from her murderous brute of a husband, Harry Frost, while simultaneously trying to figure out who is behind the sabotage of the other participants planes.
The book is a fun romp through early 20th century America, while focusing on the classic ‘whodunit’ recipe. The atmosphere can be described as whimsical and thus creates a quick, enjoyable read. I don’t know of too many fictional pre-WWI novels and because this era interests me so greatly I am pleased that Cussler has filled in the void, some what, and produced a fun novel that will interest just about anyone who likes solid action-adventure novels.