Category Archives: book feature

The Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFL

The Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFLThe Dawg Pound Dynasty: An Alternate History of the NFL by D.F. Pellegrino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t know anything about American Football, so the fact that this book kept me reading til the end is a tremendous achievement. Whilst there are sections that comprise lists and results, the bulk of the book is made up of the human story behind the rise of the Cleveland Browns in this alternate history, the interplay of personalities and amusing sketches in an alternate history media. There are some very nice touches in events that we all know being subtly changed by the butterflies of history, things which are mentioned by-the-by and not dwelt on as they are tangential to the story.

Before reading the story I had a vague idea there was a city called Cleveland. After reading it, I am convinced that the Cleveland Browns are the greatest American football team of modern history…modern alternate history, that should be!

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Book Review – Zhirinovsky’s Russian Empire

Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire: An Alternate HistoryZhirinovsky’s Russian Empire: An Alternate History by D.F. Pellegrino

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a mighty book, of significant length, wide and ambitious plot, and global scope. It is one of those works of Alternate History that never lets the threads escape, and is masterful example of how the butterfly effect can work, and can work in the most unexpected ways.

The basic plot is that Vladimir Zhirinovsky becomes Russian leader instead of Yeltsin, but the book is so much more than that. Whilst the butterflies unleashed mostly have their origin inside Russia/CIS lands (as we would term them), their effects have dramatic consequences in the Balkans, in the Baltic states, and across Africa, not to mention within the USA itself.

Characters we know from history play greatly varied roles, some similar to their real ones, some vastly different as the butterflies multiply and the knock-on effects of history gather momentum.

But this book is far from dry, and in fact there are tremendous moments of emotional tension, moving scenes, heart-rending stories and heart-warming stands. The power of the emotive response that this book evokes is a significant testament to its author.

There is throughout a curious sub-plot, epitomised by one Mr Putin as a conspiracy theorist, but are things always what they seem?

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The Elemental Clans by Elaine Calloway

Crafting Stories of the Living, the Dead, and the Eerie In Between
Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries, gothic architecture, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Elemental Clan Series, a good vs. evil set of tales involving Elementals and Fallen Angels.

For more information and to connect with Elaine online, visit her website at .

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EARTHBOUND – The Elemental Clans: Book 3

Some say history repeats itself, but for Terran, an Earth Elemental, history has returned and slapped him in the face. Along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, the Acobi Fallen Angels have decided to go underground–literally. They are resurrecting an old legend, shanghaiing innocent people into slavery. Underage girls are trapped and kept in holding cells, ready to be sold into the sex trade. Terran must stop the Acobi and keep the public away from the Shanghai tunnels, all while keeping his supernatural powers hidden.

Kelly Habersham, overachieving real estate developer, has finally convinced her father and brothers to give her the Portland condo project, which would require extensive construction near the tunnels. Determined to impress her father and make a name for herself in the family business, she is not about to let a Save-the-Earth guy get in her way.

Terran and Kelly must work together and come to a truce–or they may be the next shanghai victims.

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Innovate E-Magazine

I would like to present INNOVATE, issue 1 of which is now live at Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo and will soon be live at iTunes and

INNOVATE is a new literary e-magazine, devoted to bringing original and thought-provoking features from established and up-coming authors, as well as establishing a new frontier with enhanced media.

The first issue has short stories by Elizabeth Audrey Mills and Mark Fleming, instalments of ongoing stories by Grey Wolf (The Library) and Swaroop Acharjee (Beyond Nemesis – Sherlock Holmes on the Titanic), poetry by KD Rose and Val Trevallion, and ‘The Re-emergence of the Book’, an article by KD Rose, looking at the multi-media options that ought to be available for ebooks.

Issue 1 has a unique cover by Mark Fleming, and an interview with best-selling author, Herbie Brennan. H T Brennan’s book “Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World” is reviewed by Elizabeth Audrey Mills and Grey Wolf.

Issue 2 is due out at the end of February and will feature an interview with Brien Foerster, archaeologist, ancient historian and author, particularly about the pre-history of Peru and the Andes, and the phenomena of elongated heads.

INNOVATE E-Magazine is seeking submissions to new categories for future issues. We are opening a Poet’s Corner where 6 to 8 poems an issue will receive the space to breathe. An Art Gallery and a Writers’ Tips section will allow both artists and authors to show their work, and propound on essential features of their craft.

Each issue will be open to at least two submissions of short stories or the like, selected from applicants by The Innovate Team. We hope this presents an exciting opportunity for writers across the genres to get themselves featured in a new and exciting e-magazine. Whilst we will consider material that is previously self-published, we will prefer material which has yet to be published anywhere. All rights, including serialisation rights, remain with the author, excepting only that the author gives permission for INNOVATE E-Magazine to use the material in the specific issue, to keep it in print for 8 months and to continue to offer the magazine with the material in it as a back issue indefinitely.

To become involved in Innovate E-Magazine you can like our Facebook page at

where you request involvement in the Submissions Group. Alternatively, submissions can be emailed to

If a submission is accepted we will endeavour to publish it in the next issue of the E-Magazine. If this is not possible, we will let you know but you can guarantee it will be published in the first available issue thereafter.

Due to copyright restrictions we are unable, as things stand to accept fan fiction. Where the character is legally out of copyright, we will of course consider such works. A recent ruling in the United States has verified that Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is out of copyright. Famous science fiction/fantasy author Barbara Hambly has celebrated by announcing that she will publish her Sherlock Holmes story. In Innovate, Indian author Swaroop Acharjee has penned an exciting Sherlock Holmes story, set around the fateful first journey of the RMS Titanic.

Future issues will also be open to guest artists designing the cover for the magazine, though this will not be open until issue 4.

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

Author Interview with John Holt

John Holt author The Kammersee Affair by John Holt

I was born in 1943 in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. I currently live in Essex with my wife, Margaret, and my daughter Elizabeth. And not forgetting Missy, the cat who adopted us, and considered that we were worthy enough to live with her. For many years I was a Chartered Surveyor in local government. I was a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council from 1971 until it was closed down in 1986. I then set up my own surveying practice, retiring in 2008.

I suppose like many others I had always thought how good it would be to write a novel, but I could never think of a good enough plot. My first novel, “The Kammersee Affair”, published in 2006, was inspired by a holiday in the Austrian lake district. We were staying in Grundlsee. The next lake, Toplitzsee, was used by the German Navy during the war to test rockets, and torpedoes. As the war came to an end many items were hidden in the lake – millions of UK pounds, and US dollars, in counterfeit currency; jewellery stolen from the holocaust victims; and weapons. There were also rumours of gold bullion being hidden in that lake. Despite extensive searches the gold was never found. In my book, however, it is found, only in the next lake, Kammersee.

The books that followed, The Mackenzie File, The Marinski Affair, and Epidemic, all feature Tom Kendall, a down to earth private detective, and were originally published by Raider Publishing in New York. My fifth book, A Killing In The City, another featuring Tom Kendall, was originally published by Night Publishing. In August 2012 I decided to go down the self published route, and formed my own publishing brand PHOENIX. All five novels have now been published on PHOENIX. A sixth novel “The Thackery Journal” was published on 8 August 2013.

I am currently working on two other novels featuring Tom Kendall, and I have made a tentative start on an Adventure novel.

John Holt’s Books

The Marinski Affair

The Marinski Affair began as a dull mundane case involving a missing husband. Okay, so he was a rich missing husband, but he was nonetheless, still only a missing husband. The case soon developed into one involving robbery, kidnapping, blackmail and murder. But was there really a kidnapping? And exactly who is blackmailing who? Who actually carried out the robbery? Who committed the murders? Who can you trust? Who can you believe? Is anyone actually telling the truth? What have they got to hide? And what connection was there with a jewel theft that occurred four years previously? All is not as it seems. Tom Kendall, private detective, had the task of solving the mystery. He was usually pretty good at solving puzzles, but this one was different, somehow. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any of the pieces. Oh no, he wasn’t short of clues. It was just that none of the pieces seemed to fit together.

A Killing In The City

‘To make a killing in the City’ is a phrase often used within the financial world, to indicate making a large profit on investments, or through dealings on the stock market – the bigger the profit, the bigger the killing. However, Tom Kendall, a private detective, on holiday in London, has a different kind of killing in mind when he hears about the death of one of his fellow passengers who travelled with him on the plane from Miami. It was suicide apparently, a simple overdose of prescribed tablets. Kendall immediately offers his help to Scotland Yard. He is shocked when he is told his services will not be required. They can manage perfectly well without him, thank you.

The Kammersee Affair

The lake was flat and calm, with barely a ripple. Its dark waters glistening, reflecting the moonlight, as though it were a mirror. Fritz Marschall knew that neither he, nor his friend, should really have been there. They, like many others before them, had been attracted to the lake by the many rumors that had been circulating. He thought of the endless stories there had been, of treasures sunken in, or buried around the lake. He recalled the stories of the lake being used to develop torpedoes and rockets during the war. Looking out across the dark water, he wondered what secrets were hidden beneath the surface.


Tom Kendall, a down to earth private detective, is asked to investigate the death of a young newspaper reporter. The evidence shows quite clearly that it was an accident: a simple, dreadful accident. That is the finding of the coroner and the local police. Furthermore, there were two witnesses. They saw the whole thing. But was it an accident, or was it something more sinister? Against a backdrop of a viral epidemic slowly spreading from Central America, a simple case soon places Kendall up against one of the largest drug companies in the country.

The Thackery Journal

On the night of April 14th 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was attending a performance at The Ford Theatre, in Washington. A single shot fired by John Wilkes Booth hit the President in the back of the head. He slumped to the floor, and died a few hours later without recovering consciousness. Was Booth a lone assassin? Or was he part of a wider conspiracy? What if Booth had merely been a willing party to a plot to replace Lincoln with General Ulysees S. Grant. Let us suppose that Booth had been set up by a group of men, a group of Lincoln’s own Army Generals; Generals who had wanted Ulysees S Grant for their President, and not Lincoln. And let us also suppose that the funding for the assassination had come from gold stolen by the Confederate Army.

The Mackenzie Dossier

Kendall could just see the television screen. There was a photograph of Governor Frank Reynolds. Across the bottom of the screen the ticker tape announced in large black letters ‘Governor Reynolds Murdered’. The voice over was filling in whatever detail was available. Apparently his body had been discovered earlier that morning. He had been found lying in his garage. He had been shot twice. One shot to the upper chest, the other hitting his shoulder. ‘Police believe that the weapon used was a 38 mm caliber revolver,’ the reporter said. Kendall froze. Anthony Shaw had also been killed by a 38 mm bullet. Kendall was not quite sure of what it all meant. What connection was there between Anthony Shaw, and the State Governor, and the business mogul, Ian Duncan? And what about Senator Mackenzie? Where did he fit in? And who or what was Latimer? Only a short while ago Kendall was a small time private detective, a Private Eye, investigating an insignificant little murder with no clues, no witnesses, and no motive. In fact, no nothing. Now he had so many pieces of a puzzle he didn’t know how they fitted together. He didn’t even know if they all came from the same puzzle.

International Giveaway

The winner will be announced at the end of the tour.
For a chance to win one of three e-books by John Holt (winners choice) and one paperback by John Holt (winners choice)
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John Holt, Thank You very much!

Story 4 – Fallen Realms?

I reposted my previous blogpost on this sequel to The Ariadne Cycle trilogy, so as to show where these ideas are progressing from.

As yet, this sequel does not have a name, so “Story 4″ is its working title.

The first scene is the Ranger jumping out of warp at Phoenix, battered and with significant visual battle damage, tho the jump time has enabled Kandinsky’s men to enact most of the most vital repair work. Whilst this exterior view is going on, the Commander X of the Ranger (ie basically Kandinsky’s flag captain) is overseeing the bringing out from cryo-med Emperor Karl who was thrown into the medical deep sleep due to wounds received in the hurried and chaotic evacuation of Kitahna, humanity’s last base within the lost Human Imperium.

Due to the haste of the evacuation, the extent of his wounds, and damage to the Ranger itself, Karl is hazy, disorientated and its not at all clear he knows who he is, where he is, or the circumstances he finds himself in. Commander X does not dare report this to Kandinsky or to Levan who was in command of Kitahna’s defences and who is the one who got the Emperor aboard against the odds. X is aware that Kandinsky has some doubts as to his competence, especially since he took up with Felicity, once the young trophy, now a woman who looks for trophies of her own in her faded glamour. He convinces Karl to pretend to remember, telling him that it will all come back soon enough, and that his authority will be dented if his people don’t think he is capable.

This will be worked at as the opening scene. More details to fill it in, include the Governor of Phoenix, Gavrilla Setax, her position now in flux as what was established as Deep Reserve has now become, with the fall of Kitahna, the capital and last central authority of humanity. With the rescue/return of the Emperor, the established political system here is in flux. A Senate and its attendant Consuls already exist at Phoenix, and are pushing to take over legislative powers now that Phoenix is all there is.

At Phoenix, characters such as Visantia, commander of its defence forces, and Karlan Kandinsky, grandson of the admiral and (former ?) poet, one of the Consuls stand as ready as the Governor to receive the Emperor, each looking to stabilise and expand their own power bases. With humanity constricted to just this last Deep Reserve, the conflicting power bases of those who serve there, and those who fled there, come into sharp focus.

But Phoenix is not the total human story, for within what was the Imperium, but is now the Fallen Realms, pirates, guerillas and those who are both remain fighting, battling and surviving. Some of these were renegades against the Imperium when it was at its height, others have taken up the life, and some like Saloran Ratan on the Delh Homeworld have escaped the slave prison camps to fight in the shadows in the very heart of the alien menace.

We should be able to establish a tripartite set of characters that does not get infected by numerical bloating. There are the following settings:-

1) Phoenix

2) Mobile guerilla forces within the Fallen Realms

3) Those in, or escaped from, the slave prison camps on the Delh Homeworld

Number 2) includes the successor to Vorp’s organisation (Beholder/Cerberus) as well as additional, “looser” characters we can meet/use when we need them. Such additional characters would include Salik and the AI Tamara, making their own way and surviving their own way.

Number 3) will include Marnee as a major focus character, four years old when she was taken captive by the Delh (Bellerophon), now fourteen and a slave prisoner on the Delh Homeworld, held since her incarceration in a different camp than Saloran Ratan, but always remembering him, though hardly expecting, rationally, to see him ever again.

And somewhere within it all we have Skorjine, traitor, merchant or survivor whose dual citizenship on the eve of the war prevented his execution by the Delh and now sees him aligned alongside them in an uneasy commercial partnership even he is never sure of.

Fallen Realms would probably be a good name for the book, as long as it survives a Google check for similar names used in similar circumstances. People may not be able to copyright names, but having one which obliterates any hope of your own SEO standing would not be clever.

Beholder can be bought at
Smashwords –
Barnes and Noble –

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

Tapestry Capricorn – Book Feature

Tapestry Capricorn by Elizabeth Audrey Mills Author Elizabeth Audrey Mills

Tapestry Capricorn by Elizabeth Audrey Mills

Where did the name for the title character come from?
I have to confess, I really don’t know. When I conceived the idea for the first story, the name was just there, in my mind, as though she already existed. I even had to do some research to make sure that I wasn’t using a name that someone else had created. It has a lyrical sound –three syllables to each word, with the same vowel in the first part of both names– but the words are incompatible, representing the two conflicting sides of the character.

Tell us about Tapestry
Ah, she is a complex little thing, that’s why I love writing about her. I wanted to create a unique heroine, with endless story options, so Tapestry had to be different, with a strong identity, and a strong personality to go with it. She may be young, but she has been through some tricky situations, and those experiences have made her tougher, smarter, a bit cynical, impatient, honest, outspoken; she hasn’t lost her softer side, it’s just well-hidden. She was born on Felidae, an Earth-like world inhabited by cats, and became an agent for FISH (the Felidae Inter-dimensional Security Headquarters) when she reached adulthood at the age of eight.

What are you trying to achieve with the Tapestry stories?
Writers must build a trust with their audience, and above all else I want my readers to enjoy my stories. But so much of the entertainment aimed at younger audiences is shallow, all action and nothing to stimulate their minds; I think that’s wasting the potential of young people to enquire and question. Although the Tapestry books are aimed at pre-teens and young teens, the writing doesn’t talk down to them – in fact, I make no concessions at all to their age in the language I use and the technical content; I’m sure they are up to it. Reading isn’t just about being entertained, it also has to be challenging. This is what Science Fiction has always been, writing that looks beyond what is known, or looks at familiar things in a different way.

Do you own cats?
I have shared my life with cats at various times, and I love to have them around, but I’m afraid that my current landlord doesn’t allow pets of any kind.

What age do you see as the ideal readers for the book?
Well, advanced readers aged ten or eleven would probably be ok with it, but the stories are aimed at age twelve up to about sixteen (and any young mind beyond).

How important is smell in the story?
Smell is, of course, very important to cats, and it features strongly in the storylines of all the books.

Do you have any artwork of Tapestry Capricorn in human(ish) form?
Not yet, but I am currently searching out artists for that purpose. I have seen some wonderful work, both photographic and hand-crafted, and hope to start consulting with someone soon. If I can find the right person, I would love to have a clear, professional image of Tapestry in various forms, to feature on book covers, posters, etc.

Are you planning a sequel, and if so can you give any details?
Yes … oh yes, most definitely. The first book is just a taster of what is to come – Tapestry has a great future. Without giving away too many details, I can tell you that a second book is under way, featuring more trans-dimensional hoolies, and it will be longer and more complex than the first book.

Elizabeth Audrey Mills, Thank You very much!