Book Review – Starship Grifters


ImageA few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a book cover for an upcoming release. It was bold, it was daring, it was…straight out of the 1950’s and ’60’s. Back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction, all the book covers had similar vibes. A sense of the unknown mixed with flash and wonder. A robot here or there for effect and some futuristic silver spaceship. And of course, our hero, in a ready-to-act pose and a boyish, yet rogue grin. I was hooked. Book covers aren’t supposed to sell books, I reminded myself as an author. But this one did. I loved the old sci-fi books my dad had on the bookshelf as I was growing up — quick little reads with the promise of so much more.

So what book was it? Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese.

I hadn’t read any of Kroese’s books before this one, but I think I’ll have to go back and read some now. I was drawn in fairly quickly by the world Kroese built, complete with anti-hero Rex Nihilo. From the get-go the audience is thrust into a well-built story with all the trappings of a fantastic recurring character.

The following is my Amazon review:

After reading Robert Kroese’s Starship Grifters, I came to one conclusion: everyone in the 31st century is an idiot. Rex Nihilo is either the smartest man alive, or a Forrest Gump of a con artist, lucky enough to stay alive in the face of ridiculously deadly circumstances. I’m still not sure — I’ll get back to you on that.
In fact, the only one in Rex’s world that seems to have any brains is his robot, Sasha, who is programmed to turn herself off whenever she actually has an original thought. In a world like that, Rex seems to surround himself with the power players of the galaxy who all turn out to be bumbling morons.
I don’t often laugh at the books I read, but I found myself chuckling, chortling, at times flat-out guffawing — at times uncontrollably — at Kroese’s humor placed in the best places in the story.
At the end of the story, we do get answers to questions I wasn’t sure we were asking, but it certainly paved the way for more Rex Nihilo books, which I will gladly shell out money for whenever Mr. Kroese decides to write them.


Mother – An Acrostic Poem


I owe a lot to my mom. She has always been a rock. I don’t talk to her as much as some people talk to their mothers, but that’s really because I know what she would say. Her words echo in my soul. They made me who I am. 

And so, in honor of my mom, I went old school with an acrostic poem. 

M – My life is better for having you as my mother.
O – Only your strength and love could’ve provided the foundation upon which I live today. 
T – The lessons you taught me, both in words and in actions, resonate within. 
H – Harsh words rarely came from your mouth, but when they did, I knew I’d gone too far. 
E – Eyes and ears of four children (and now six grandchildren) follow you, yet you do not waver. 
R – Remember you are loved, not only because of what you are, but also because of who you are. 

Thanks Mom! 

A Few Items…


Just a few things to let you know about today: 

— The audiobook of Ant Apocalypse is done! My narrator, Sean Lenhart, did a fantastic job evoking the comedic horror of my short story. I really enjoyed listening to it (when I wasn’t utterly creeped out by the words I, myself, wrote). It is on sale at with a link for iTunes coming later. To celebrate, I’ve marked the Kindle version of the story down to FREE today only. That’s right — FREEEEEE!! ANTS!!! Then download the audiobook and enjoy it together!

— My book Dead Sleep has been a Countdown Deal this week. Still just 99 cents through the weekend for U.S. Amazon customers. (I’ll take care of the UK readers later — I promise!) If you never picked this up, now would be a great time. A total of 19 reviews on Amazon and 16 of those are 5-star. 

— The next book in the trilogy, Dead Sight, is now a Countdown Deal, beginning today! You can pick up both full-length novels for less than 2 bucks for a couple days! I wrote the bulk of this book in November, 2013 (NaNoWriMo) and it has 10 reviews — all with a five-star rating. People are loving it and you can get it super-cheap right now!

— I’m done bragging on myself, but I can’t leave this without mentioning my buddy Logan Thomas Snyder also has a Countdown Deal of his WOOL series The Disappeared right now for just 99 cents. Great stuff. 


Desperate to Escape, Part 3


DESPERATE_Part3Thomas Robins published the first entry into his Desperate to Escape series in September of last year and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s exciting, really — getting to read some great science fiction, all while seeing a brand-new author develop and bloom right before you. (Full Disclosure: Thomas and I are both in the WOOL fanfic charity anthology WOOL Gathering and his story “Eight” is my favorite of the bunch.)

Today we are blessed with Part 3 in Robins’ ambitious tale, ready for download on Kindle. I was lucky enough to be an early reader of DTE3, and I have to say: Robins steps up the story to another level I didn’t know he had in him.

So what’s the story with DTE?

Basically, DTE tells the story of a young woman named Ineeka from inner-city Chicago. As a reader, we see two stories told in parallel tracks — one is Ineeka’s quest to escape from Chicago, from her past, from her nature, from what could have been her destiny. The alternate story is of Ineeka as an astronaut, taking a passenger to the International Space Station and the unexpected adventure that follows in orbit of Earth. Ineeka was so desperate to escape her life on Earth, that she wound up leaving the planet entirely.

From there Robins does an exceptional job following Ineeka as she battles her figurative demons back on Earth and the literal enemies she has once she reaches the ISS. With each new addition to the story, Robins amps up the drama and the action as his skill as a writer continues to improve.

I think a lot of people can really relate to Ineeka’s situation. Her mistakes from her adolescence threaten to ground her from NASA before she even has a chance. She dreams of flying…away from Chicago and her life there. It would be easy for her to stay. It would be the well-worn path taken by so many young women, not just in the inner city, but all over this country. I see it myself in rural Illinois. Girls latch on to a guy. They don’t work as hard in school because they think they can just depend on Mr. Good Ol’ Boy the rest of their lives. (Maybe they can, maybe they can’t — that isn’t the point.) They mentally hit stop on their education and any dreams they may have had and slide into a sense of apathy. They stay within 15 miles of their high school most of their lives and by the time they reach middle age, they wonder what happened to their childhood hopes and dreams.

Ineeka is not that girl. She is strong and confident. Even with every obstacle and hurdle in her way, she manages to make her dreams come true. It may not come in the traditional way, but just as her name suggests, Ineeka is not the traditional girl. As Robins takes us from the peril the entire world is in at the end of Part 3, it will take that tenaciousness for Ineeka and the rest of the human race to survive Part 4.

Robins has gotten a lot of compliments on his portrayal of the Earthside story through Parts 1 and 2, but his spaceside story in Part 3 holds its own. I kept rushing through Ineeka’s Earth struggles to get back to her issues in space.

If you haven’t yet checked out Thomas Robins’ Desperate to Escape, here is Part 1, and Part 2, and finally, Part 3. All just 99 cents with Part 4 destined for your Kindle this summer. Get this book — you won’t regret it.





Yep — my first novel, Dead Sleep is on sale this week for less than a buck. Nearly 68,000 words that I wrote all by myself.

Between Dead Sleep and its sequel, Dead Sight, I’ve got 28 reviews on Amazon and all are 4-or 5-stars (in fact, 90% of the reviews are 5-star!) This book is my first novel and something I put a lot of work into. It has definitely been a learning process as well, exposing myself to the world of independent publishing full-force since I hit “publish” last summer.

Dead Sight has been out for over two months now and the third and final book in the series is churning away in my brain, just waiting for some time after high school final exams to put them down on paper. I do have the first chapter written — nearly 2,000 words — of the manuscript for Dead Search. I’ve got a ton of surprises left in store for Jack, Kristina, Donnie Cloyd, and some other characters you haven’t even met yet.

If you haven’t given this book a chance, why don’t you now? It’s just 99 cents in celebration of Cinco de Mayo or Star Wars Day or whatever you want to celebrate. Thanks a ton and happy reading!