Overlooked A New Release

The early reviews of  Overlook are in, and they are 100% positive:

There’s at least one car chase so awesome, it needs a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

Joe has spent his life being forgotten. Not even the IRS comes for his back taxes. He’s a ghost, a perfectly average, perfectly forgettable man. It suits his purposes, though it’s a lonely existence. He can live as he wants, plying his almost-invisibility for freelance jobs.

Then a pretty blonde finds him when no one else can, asking for his help solving a murder. He almost says no, despite his instincts to help a damsel in distress. But how did she find him? And who is she?

He takes the job to find out. But he bites off more than he can chew as he realizes a brutal secretive organization called The Phoenix Ring is behind the murder, and somehow they can predict his every move.

A new Heroes Unleashed series begins with Jon Mollison’s Overlook, a fast-paced, action-packed superhero spy novel that will keep readers guessing until the end.

Can Joe defeat the shadowy Phoenix Ring? Or will his powers fail him when he needs them the most? Read Overlook today and find out!

Oh, you didn’t hear about the release of my latest novel?  This one released by the fine folks over at Silver Empire Publishing?  Could’ve sworn I announced it here, but that was maybe just on my mailing list, which can be delivered straight to your inbox using that field over on the right hand side of your screen.

It’s pretty damn good, but don’t take my word for it:

Amazing story that has everything you could ever want in an awesome book. Heroes, fast-paced, action-packed, great characters, and an awesome story!



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More Like This, Please – Bone Tomahawk

Every once in a while Hollywood accidentally does something great on purpose.

It’s basically cowboys versus cannibals with the sensibility of a Cormac McCarthy film.  The basic plot of a townswoman kidnapped and dragged back to the cave of the wild west CHUDS doesn’t do this thing justice.  The meat of the film is the story of four civilized men who step up to the plate to fight for civilization and push back against the ravenous hordes.  To do so, they must set aside petty differences, lift up the weaker members of their little posse, and trust to good sense, gunpowder, and cold steel.  It is as much a film about a band of brothers and the lengths to which one man will go to save a good woman as it is about the brutality of life on the margins of civilization.

It moves slow, builds up the menace, and finishes with one hell of a brutal climactic fight scene.  It is gory and heroic and reminded me of the writings of David J. West in all the best ways.  The gritty realism of the cowboys elevates the threat of the giant savage antagonists, and a subtle and ephemeral music score add to the menace.  Punctuated by violence, it is not really an action movie – one of the big fights occurs entirely off screen – so settle in for a slow burn, and you won’t be disappointed.

The director, S. Craig Zahler, also directed the near miss, Brawl in Cellblock 99 (reviewed here).  He really elevated his game to bring this low budget masterpiece to screen.  Filmed for less than two million, it is a testament to how poorly budget correlates with quality.  A few good friends have been singing the praises of his other major film, Dragged Across Pavement, and that title has moved considerably upward in my queue.

Just need to find a night where the kids are in bed and I’ve still got enough energy to get through it.  A rare treat these days.

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Cyber Monday Book Recommendations (Cheap!)

With thanks to the humble and brilliant king of the airwaves, AetherCzar, allow me to recommend a host of great reads for your digital shopping carts.  There are a lot of works on this list that have been moved from my “sooner or later” pile into my “bought and in the queue” pile.  The ones that I have read from this list have ranged from the merely satisfying to the pleasantly excellent, so have no doubt that you can’t go wrong with any of them.

For ease of reference, here is a Twitter thread with links to all of the authors involved in this Team Effort to bring you the best of sf/f.

Consider it a little something to help keep you warm this winter.


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Thank You

From all of us here at Mollison Manor, here’s to wishing you and yours a restful and blessed Thanksgiving. One of the great blessings of my life over the last few years has been the ability to share my stories and thoughts with all of you. My readers have been a thoughtful and humorous and high-spirited band of brothers, and it is an honor to have the accompaniment of such wonderful people on this journey through the vale of tears. I genuinely enjoy working late hours to bring you a bit of fun and adventure, and truly appreciate all of your thoughts and camaraderie.

I hope you all enjoy your holiday, and get to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

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StoryHackery: Island Rescue

Spencer E. Hart hits the fourth issue of StoryHack with a nice little adventure that delivers exactly what it offers.

I have been following Spencer’s work for a while, in both this and the pages of Cirsova Magazine, and with this story of a kidnapping gone wrong, it’s safe to say he has hit his stride.  A few of his earlier works included a few clunky passages, or skipped vital descriptors of important story elements such as setting, environment, or dress.  That might be on me, my internal editor tends to overanalyze word order and usage even when I read for pleasure.  This one flows from first sentence to last without ever triggering my hyperactive and purely mental red pen.

This is a light story, just a quick break for young love, kids in trouble, and how they surprise and fight their way out of a trap.  Perhaps it is the fine editing skills of Bryce Beattie, or maybe Spencer has grown into the pulpy writer he always has in him.  Either way, he is an author to watch for.

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Karl Barber: The Even More Completer Collection

My first professional works were modern day action tales of a long ranger roaming the world and righting the sorts of wrongs that don’t often get righted in our fallen world.  A couple of these stories wound up gracing the pages of StoryHack Magazine and Milhaven’s Tales of Suspense.

Those who subscribed to my newsletter received a free copy of this complete collection on Monday (hint hint for those who have not).  The rest of you will have to part with some scratch and then wait until Black Friday when the title hits the digital shelves.  If you’re a hard copy sort or reader, stay tuned, it is on its way.

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More Hackery of the Story Variety

The always reliable Misha Burnett tosses the reader into a two man fight to the death in an arena that makes modem day San Fransisco look like as clean as an operating theater.  StoryHack Four continues to stroke my ego by placing my work alongside greats like Misha.

He’s good, this Misha.  I’ve said it before, and let heme add that he single handedly saved me from throwing the whole New Wave sci-fi baby out with the rest of the SocJus bathwater.  His deft touch with character studies and nuanced approach to the introspective aspects of genre fiction has earned him the respect of a lot of hard-nosed blood and guys writers.And

And then he sits down and bangs out My Foe Outstretched, a vivid duel set in a dystopia where all that matters is revenge and survival.  It’s a straightforward trial by combat between two men with a grudge. Somehow Misha pulls off a grimdark ending that satisfies even Virtue hounds like myself.

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Castalia Review: Secrets of the Nethercity

Now up over at the House of Castalia.

Given that this is an adventure for mid-level characters, you’re looking at a minimum of six months of play or rolling up 4th level characters before first setting foot into the slop at the doorstep of this kilo-dungeon.  Not sure I’ll ever play this one, but the hard copy will set on my shelf, just in case.  A fun read, if only to pick up some ideas for how to organize a big dang dungeon to make it playable and easy for the DM to gradually build up to something really special.

Observant readers will have noticed that I have taken to posting links to works that I review over on other sites.  Really observant ones will have noticed that I also include fresh content here to provide some added color and personalized content.  Unobservant readers are not my target audience, but I still love you – hence this brief addendum.

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StoryHack Catch Up

This hot little number has been sitting in my to-read pile for far too long.  Having written The Bouncer’s Tale, the third chapter in a crime not-quite-serial, I skipped straight to Jason Restrick’s  Beyond the Temple of Bak-Taar.  The sequel to an impressive story presented in Issue 1 (iirc), this wild journey followers the hero, Arthur, on a wild journey that takes him from the trenches of WWI into dreamland’s and thence into a strange and alien realm.

Sam recieves the key to rescue his boon companion Sam…no, not to save him, but to redeem him from the hell into which Sam gladly plunged himself in the previous story, and all in order to save Arthur from that nightmare fate.

That key takes the form of Sam’s journal, handed to Arthur by a dear friend and ally, it inspires him to go AWOL from the French slaughterhouse and trek into the Alps to, as it says on the tin, return to the temple of a forgotten god best left forgotten.

Once again, Jason perfectly captures the meat and potatoes vocabulary and rhythm of the old pulp masters.  His word choices are heavy and gripping, but it is in his insights into the nature of friendship, and the lengths that men may undertake for love of a faithful friend, that Jason truly shines.  These are the moments that elevate the best stories above a mere loot and scoot or guns and blood romp.  With Beyond the Temple of Bak-Taar, Jason delivers them in spades.

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Taking a Bear to a Knife Fight

A death match that pits the bitter wisdom of the Big Bear’s X-Brigade against the energetic cunning of Nick the Knife’s Zoomies is just what the Boomers ordered for dessert. Those trying to force a direct confrontation between the two groups are fools and troublemaking drama queens who should step back, let the men figure it out on thier own, and then gracefully accept the conclusion.  If you have chosen one of these fine fellow travelers as your Captain, trust him enough not to act the Judas to force him to act according to your timetable.  If you want him to lead, do not goad him into action, but wait for his leadership.

If you don’t know what any of that means, it’s okay.  This is one of those esoteric discussions burbling about the margins of society that may or may not ever be recognized after it finally makes a bigger splash.

As for me and my house, we serve the Lord.  For now, that means we accept the wisdom, each in his own way, that the knife and the bear offer.  We wish them both the best, and will support each in his fight against…well, you know who and what or you probably wouldn’t be here.

While you’re here, I’ll also point out something very few pundits have observed.  The Groypers, aren’t going anywhere.  If the movement gets the full Baked Alaskan treatment, they’ll just scatter, regroup, and come at this under a new banner.  They are masters of routing around roadblocks and slipping the stiletto of rhetoric through chinks in the armor of social media.  You can’t stop them, and you can’t contain them, so you’d better learn to deal with them.


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