Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review and Giveaway! An Etiquette Guide to the End of Times by Maia Sepp

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/10/14 - 7/24/14

Sci Fi (Dystopian)


Good manners never go out of style…do they?

There aren’t any zombies (yet), but the world is still at the brink of destruction: It’s 2028 and global warming has led to rising oceans, crazy weather, and resource scarcity. On top of that, someone just
turned the Internet off. Seeing as how it’s humanity’s last chance to turn things around manners are, understandably, a bit frayed.

Bookish etiquette buff Olive O’Malley is busy microfarming her urban property and minding her own business (and her chickens) when the government comes calling. Their goal is to push the populace towards carbon-neutrality while keeping kvetching to a minimum, and they come
with a proposal: transition Olive’s popular etiquette column to a radio show for the masses, and they’ll help Olive find her grandfather, who’s gone missing.

Olive doesn’t trust the hipster government officials who try to bribe her with delicious-but-probably-a-little-evil chocolate pastries, and declines their offer. (Politely, of course.) But they won't take no for an answer, and soon Olive is knee-deep in turmoil, eco-terrorism, and missing chickens. Now she has to untangle herself from their demands and figure out how to make sure her family (and her poultry) are safe before it’s too late.

One—In the Land of Victory

My superhero power is definitely not sleeping. When I was looking for a
house, my realtor rhapsodized about this bedroom’s perfect southern
exposure, about the tastefully herbaceous wall treatment and charming
old-world feel. Right now my room could be more accurately described
as a floral-wallpapered sauna, full of an impossible heat, like three
Julys stuffed into one. It isn’t helping.
I watch the overhead fan stop again, gyrate, and then restart before I
roll over, the sheets coming with me. After a minute I shift to the
other side, flinging the covers away with a sigh. The fan finally
grinds to a halt, probably the victim of a wiring problem I haven’t
been able to pin down, although lately I’ve been thinking it might
just hate me.
I relocate to the living room and angle the pedestal fan my way. God,
it’s hot.
I close my eyes
and lean back on the couch for a minute, hoping sleep will take me.
The sofa is a faux leather hand-me-down that’s supple after years
of wear, smelling faintly earthy, soft against my skin.
Eventually I switch the TV on. Our cable hasn’t worked properly in months, the
service so erratic it’s like the people running the company are
legless, as my grandfather Fred would say—a charming Irish way of saying
spectacularly drunk, even though my grandfather hasn’t seen Ireland
since he was a child. My eyes land on Fred’s easy chair, a pale
green monstrosity he could barely squeeze through the front door when
I finally convinced him to move in with me. His pipe, his books, and
his old-man slippers are still where he left them.
After flipping through a bunch of static, I shut the TV off and switch to
the radio, which promptly announces it’s five-thirty in the
morning. I ponder what to do next, discarding juggling, mind-reading,
and origami, although I spend more time thinking about mind-reading
than I probably should, considering I’m the only one here. Finally
I pull my computer tablet onto my lap and turn it on. I write an
etiquette column for a spunky arts and culture website, and my latest
instalment is due on Friday; other people’s problems are always a
delightful way to get my mind off my own. I start to page through the
letters, which all start with 

Dear Olive. Dear Olive, I’m convinced my neighbor is milking my goat. Dear Olive, my neighbour’s windmill is keeping me up at night. Dear Olive, my wife is hoarding solar panels. What do I do?
Three crashing noises erupt above my head, each more ominous than the last.
I wait for it to stop, but twenty minutes later I’m clinging to the
side of my house, staring down a pair of raccoons who seem intent on
defiling my solar array. For a long while it’s just the three of
us, locked in visual combat, but it’s my roof and unless they start
paying rent, they’ve got to go. Eventually they get spooked by the
noise of the six a.m. domestic surveillance drone overhead, which
would make this the first time I’ve ever been happy to see a drone.
I watch as it starts its first pass of the morning. They’re smaller
than the military version—sleek, modern, ever-watchful. Rumour is
they’re even biodegradable, although that hasn’t exactly endeared
them to anybody.
After the raccoons finally lumber off I pull myself onto the roof and take
a look at the solar panel they’ve sullied, the wires connecting the
array to my house almost stripped. It’s not easy to carry out
rooftop repairs quietly at six in the morning, and it definitely
wouldn’t be polite to wake anyone up, but I don’t want to be back
up here tomorrow, either. If I leave the panel like this, they’ll
come back and finish the jo
I know it. They’re organized.
I look up when a new-fangled Town Car,
still boxy and authoritarian but now electric-powered, turns onto my
street. I watch it as it goes; there are almost no cars on the roads
these days, and the sight makes a faint sense of unease pulse through
me. I hope whoever’s in that car isn’t carrying bad news for one
of my neighbours.

Buy Links:





Barnes and Noble 

My Review:

My recipe for creating Maia Sepp's An Etiquette Guide to the End of Times: mix equal parts apocalypse and science-fiction with a generous portion of conscience, and top with a dash of adventure. The story tells of a future where our ice caps have melted, our climates have changed, and necessities like cars have become nearly obsolete. It's a place where homesteading is no longer an option, and money is no longer important. It's the world of Olive O'Malley, the post-apocalyptic Emily Post.

Sepp's post-apocalyptic world is very different from the one we live in, and she does a great job of describing the world and the lifestyle changes without boring the reader. I really enjoyed reading about Olive's world, but especially about Olive's day-to-day life. I particularly enjoyed reading the questions Olive was sent and the answers she was given. It helped show how different the world was by showing how different the responses could actually be (though I do believe that a backup ham is unnecessary in any situation.)

While this story was a casserole of things that I love, I must admit that the portion left me wanting so much more. I feel like Sepp did an injustice to her creations by giving them such a small story. My one wish is that Sepp could take this novella, expand it and give her characters the longer story they deserve. With such great characters, settings, and plots, she could create a full-length masterpiece with just a bit more work. It was torture for me to end the story so quickly and wonder what happened in between the events of the novella.

While I know that my readers will also feel the pain of reading such a short story, I recommend this story to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic tales or science fiction in general. I am giving this story five stars, because Sepp did a wonderful job in creating this new version of our world.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Maia Sepp is an author of humorous contemporary and dystopian fiction. She
left the tech sector to write about sock thievery, migraines, the
future, and…the tech sector.
The Sock Wars is her debut novel. The first chapter of The Sock Wars was published as a short story/novel excerpt titled Irish Drinking Socks, and became a Kobo bestselling short story. The Sock Wars has been a top-100 digital bestseller on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and
the iBookstore, as well as a genre and Writing Life bestseller on Kobo.
It is
available in print and ebook formats.
Maia’s second novel is The Migraine Mafia, a story about a nerdy thirtysomething’s quest to come to terms with a chronic illness. It is available online everywhere in print and ebook formats. It has been a genre bestseller on Kobo.
Her latest is a humorous near-future dystopian novella, titled, An Etiquette Guide to the End Times, available now!

Author Links:



Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card! The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cover Reveal! The Other Lamb by Katie Young

The Other Lamb, by Katie Young

Genre: fantasy, paranormal-horror

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication: August 28th, 2014.

Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn (



Incarcerated on Earth as punishment for breeding with humans, the Watchers found a way to escape. Zach is living proof of that…even though someone has cut out his heart.

When Zach turns eighteen he develops an insatiable thirst for blood, but he tries to bury his fears and go on enjoying his birthday. His best friend Kim has scored them tickets to the hottest gig in town. But a charged encounter with his idol, the enigmatic rock star known as Grigory, leads to a revelation that shatters everything Zach thinks he knows about himself and the world, and places everyone dear to him in grave danger.
Zach is a Naphil, the forbidden offspring of a mortal woman and a Watcher. When those who seek to destroy him snatch Kim, Zach is forced to embark on a journey of discovery spanning continents and ages. With the help of a mysterious stranger named Sam, Zach must unearth the truth about his parentage, find Kim, and discover who has stolen his heart…before he triggers the apocalypse.


About The Author:

Katie Young is a writer and occasional zombie movie ‘supporting artiste’. She also works in kids’ TV but wishes she were a rock star. She has various shorts available for download from Ether Books, and features in anthologies from Collaboration of the Dead Press, Angelic Knight Press, Indigo Mosaic, Song Stories Press, Static Movement and Fox Spirit Books. Her story, Atelic, was shortlisted for the 2010 Writers' & Artists' Year Book short fiction prize, and she is a regular contributor to the Are You Sitting Comfortably? story-telling events run by White Rabbit. Katie also writes TV reviews for The Cult Den. The Other Lamb is her first novel. She lives in South East London with her partner and a second-hand cat. She is not a natural redhead.

Find Katie Young Online:

Website ( | Facebook ( | Twitter ( | Goodreads (

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review and Giveaway!: Joe by H.D. Gordon

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/8/14 – 7/15/14
Genres: Paranormal Thriller, Supernatural Thriller, NA, Thriller

Tour Promo Price: $2.99

A psychopath planning a
massacre. A stuttering young girl with disturbing visions of the
future. Six ordinary people who will all be in the line of fire come the
day of the disaster.
Joe Knowe is not a
boy. She is twenty-one years old, and she sees things before they
happen; bad things, and the worst thing she has ever faced is just
around the corner. A madman is going to shoot up the college Joe
attends. The trouble is, her gift is stingy on the details she needs to
divert the impending tragedy. Now, Joe has four days to figure out the
mystery and save the lives of many.
From the author of The
Alexa Montgomery Saga comes a tense tale that glimpses the mind of a
genuine psychopath, follows an unlikely hero, and explores real-life
terror in a race against time that will leave the reader breathless.

~The Decider~

It was a Monday.

The worst days are typically Mondays. But this one was alright.
Different, sure, but alright. He’d made plans for today. He’d not only
made plans, but acquired the artillery to back them up. Put them into
action. Bang-Bang.

One song had played on a continuous loop in his apartment for the past three days.

Come Monday

He didn’t much care for music. Never really had, but this particular song amused him. Perhaps would have comforted him. If he were able to feel any emotion required to be in need of comfort.

It’ll be all right

He couldn’t wait to see their faces, to watch as they fled and cowered in fear. In fear of him. The thought of it all made his heart leap in his chest. And, oh, what a wonderful sensation that was. Potent. They should
fear him. Hell yeah, they should. He could take his pick, and he would.
They just didn’t know it yet, which was great, because they would know
soon. They would know today.

Come Monday

He drummed his thumbs on the steering wheel in time to the tune, but
had no mind of doing so. He was excited. Such a rare, beautiful thing
this was, this excitement. The anticipation of it all, all his plans coming to life, of all their….faces.
He bet some would try to beg, and wouldn’t that be amusing, to watch
them crawl at his feet? They would know in that wonderful moment right
before he ended their worthless existences that he had made the decision.

I’ll be holding you tight.

He reached down and brushed his fingers across the semi-automatic
pistol sitting atop the passenger seat. It was the smallest of the lot,
but his favorite. His baby. In the end, it would relieve him of
his existence as well, but oh, the wonders the two of them will have
seen together. He thought about what they would say in the news about
him and his…decisions. Lunatic, Gunman, Madman…Massacre.

The last was his favorite.

If things went according to plan he may be able to take out a
hundred, hundred-fifty people. If the bombs he’d built went according to
plan he would take out many more. Hundreds. He dared to dream even thousands
as he cruised down Highway 71 toward the Wilker campus of the
University of Midwest Missouri State. UMMS for short. He hated that.
Stupid fucking acronym. Man, he hoped his bombs worked. He’d
followed the instructions on the internet as precisely as he could
manage, but wiring the timers on the damn things had been tricky. It
didn’t really matter, though. He would watch them fall to him either

In fact, he knew just what they would do.

They would be heartbroken and crying to their mommies. They would
light candles and say prayers and mutter condolences, like any of them
were even intelligent enough to give a shit about another worthless
human being. The police chief and reporters would call him a madman, a
psychopath, a murderer. They would analyze the video journals and poetry
he left scattered about his apartment. And they won’t learn a damn
thing. Because that’s how fucking stupid they were.

Oh, and there would be a body count. If things went according to
plan, if the rockets’ red glared and bombs burst in the air, they would
stamp his Decisions in the book of records.

The worst massacre in the history of the U-ni-ted States of Amer-i-ca.

The thought made his heart soar.


Joe is not a Joseph. In fact, Joe Knowe is not a male at all. Nor is she a Josephine, a Mary Jo, or a Joanna. What she is, is a special girl with a special talent that is both a blessing and a curse. 

What first grabbed my attention about Joe is that like me, Joe has a stutter. Though hers is much more pronounced, it helped me related to her sis a character. It seems that characters with pronounced flaws are easier for me to relate to, as they seem much more real. It was nice to see an author understand the frustration of someone who stutters who has an important message, and be able to convey it to others who don't.

I'm a big fan of using multiple character viewpoints to tell a story, but I have very mixed feelings about how it was done in this book. With so many characters, it can be hard to distinguish the characters from one another or to figure out who is telling which chapter. Gordon does a great job with listing exactly who is narrating at the beginning of each chapter. It took a lot of confusion out of reading. However there were a few characters you didn't hear much from, and it was easy to forgot about their story lines. Overall, I think Gordon did a great job creating memorable characters, and establishing the importance of characters that you didn't know much about.

There were a few things that made Joe a bit tricky to read. First was trying to get through the stuttering. Like I said, I suffer from what I think of as a sometimes-stutter. And while it can be hard to speak at times, there is no stutter in my thoughts. While Gordon had to be able to depict Joe's stutter, it made her dialogue incredibly hard to read. Another thing that made it hard to read was where Gordon would interject the characters thoughts to complete a sentence, which would then be completed in another way on the next line. I found myself re-reading lines quite a few times, though every time the sentence took on a whole new meaning.

As my TBR pile begins to dwindle, I will definitely find myself reading the sequel to this book. I really enjoyed Joe. It had great characters, really got you involved in the story, and had a clear (and engaging) climax to it. I am giving Joe five stars, and I encourage my readers to check it out. You will not be disappointed.


Five big ol' stars

Buy Links:

About the Author:

H. D. Gordon is the bestselling author of THE ALEXA MONTGOMERY SAGA, THE
reader and writer, a true lover of words. When she is not reading or
writing she is raising her two daughters, playing a little guitar, and
spending time with her family. She is twenty five years old and lives in
the northeastern United States.

Connect With H.D. Gordon:





Win a paperback copy of Joe! Enter through Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Joe by H.D. Gordon


by H.D. Gordon

Giveaway ends July 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Books to Love: Return of the Loving Dead by Araminta Star Matthews and Stan Swanson

Return of the Loving Dead by Araminta Star Matthews and Stan Swanson

Genre: young-adult, paranormal horror

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Publication: 8th May, 2014

Homepage (

Purchase Links:


Being in love with a zombie bites, but that won’t stop true love. Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead is like no zombie book you’ve ever read.  Meet Amber Vanderkamp, senior at Stephen E. King High School. Amber is poised for class valedictorian when she graduates this year and has her sights set on the New York Center for the Performing Arts for college. Everything is wonderful in Amber’s world. She always gets the lead in her high school’s plays and is counting on the lead role in the school’s upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet to get a college scholarship for theater That is until her well-ordered world is thrown into chaos when her boyfriend, Zach Williams, dies and comes back as a zombie. But she simply can’t turn her back on the love of her life, can she? How does she deal with the pressure? And will she remain committed to the boy she once considered her soul mate and future husband? Especially when her mother (with secrets of her own) is encouraging her to wait and experience more of the world. And her flighty best friend, Jasmine, is acting even more peculiar ever since Zach has become a member of the undead club. Add in the class bullies, Caleb and Darla, who seem to be doing everything in their power to ruin Amber’s life and Zach’s existence, and all of the elements are present for a page-turning romp through a world where zombies, or “living impaired loved ones,” are a part of everyday life.

About the Authors:

Araminta Star Matthews is an author, educator, and instructional designer in Central Maine. Born a ginger to a pair of geek parents (one, a lover of all things Stephen King, the other a tabletop gamer and Tolkein-fan), Araminta has always been a bit of an odd duck. Her books typically feature strong, young women who are brilliant, clever, funny, and weird.  Her books include Blind Hunger, Write of the Living Dead, Before Black Mask, Before Weird Tales, and The Warehouse. Her notable shorter works include “Bark of the Covenant,” in One Night Stands, “The All-Consuming Hunger of Love” in Dark Moon Digest, “Under My Skin” in Zombies Need Love, Too, and “Every Time a Bell Rings,” in Slices of Flesh.  She lives in Central Maine with her miraculous dogs, Devo the whippet and Crivens the Jack-Chi, and her partner, Abner Goodwin.

Find Araminta Star Matthews Online:

Stan Swanson is a Bram Stoker award finalist and author of eight books including Forever Zombie (a collection of short stories), Write of the Living Dead (a highly-praised writing guide written with Araminta Star Matthews and Rachel Lee) and Return of the Scream Queen (co-authored with Michael McCarty and Linnea Quigley). He is also editor/publisher for Dark Moon Books and Dark Moon Digest. Upcoming titles include Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (the first book in a young adult horror series co-written with Araminta Star Matthews), Dead Sparrows (a collection of apocalyptic poetry) and The Methlands (a horror novel co-written with award-winning author Joe McKinney).

Find Stan Swanson Online:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BOOKS TO LOVE: The Ruins of Tropicalia with MUSIC by The Amends

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/24/14 – 7/22/14
Genres: General Fiction, Literary, Thriller, SciFi, Musical

Tour Price: Free

Release Date: 6/24/14


The Ruins of Tropicalia is a serialized, pulpy adventure story, accompanied by new music by indie rock n roll band The Amends.

Expanded Plot Summary:  In early 2014, a group of
Americans gathered on a remote Central American peninsula to experience
the last days of an unsullied tropical paradise before its development
into a corporate retreat for the world’s biggest tech company. Many of
them believed they were there accidentally, but none of them were. This
is the story of how a group of restless, indecisive idiot discovered who
brought them there, and what they could be. This is the story of a
country and a civilization few remember ever existed. This is the story
behind the most mysterious mass Disappearance of the 21st century. This
is a war story. And when things get bad, you rescue what you can…

Details: Two new chapters/episodes of TROT
debut each week from 6/24/14 until its completion at the end of August,
available for free in multiple formats (mobi/Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.)
both online and on a mobile app. A new single from The Amends will premiere each Wednesday throughout TROT’s run at the above locations as well as A trailer for the book can be viewed on Youtube.


Sam Merard doesn’t recognize the station
names any more, but they must be deep into Queens. They’re out of the
underground, elevated. He checks the time on his phone. This isn’t
right. They should have been to JFK at least fifteen minutes ago. He
considers crossing the car to check the subway map, but he doesn’t want
to chance Liz spotting him.

“Approaching Utnapishtim station,” a female voice announces through the rattly speakers.

Utna-what? The announcer’s voice was different, too. The
train slows and screeches loudly to a stop. The doors slide open. Liz
steps outside. Sam pauses his iPod, slips the earbuds back into his
pocket, waits a few seconds again, and follows. The train rolls away
behind him.

The platform stretches endlessly northeast. A solitary heat-lamp
illuminates the stairs down to the street. Beyond that, darkness and
infinity. Without looking behind her, Liz walks into the gloom. He

Sam hears nothing but her footsteps. No car horns, no breaks, no
drunken shouts, no anything. He peers over the edge of the platform, but
has trouble seeing anything more of the city than dark, blurred
outlines of buildings. This part of the city produces no light. No
illumination behind the windows, no streetlights below. Nothing but
shadows beyond the train platform.

He walks gingerly on the sides of his feet for what must be a mile.
The platform continues on past the point of credulity. Liz is not
concerned with making noise. Whenever her faint outline disappears into
the murk, he is still able to follow the sounds of her heels clicking
against the wood.

A faint white light appears in the distance. Liz continues walking
towards it, never altering her pace. The light splits into three
distinct shapes. He makes out the profiles of three men— two wear white
bio-suits and gas masks, the third dons a long white lab coat and
surgical mask. A dim fluorescence emanates from their clothing.

Liz stops walking. Sam’s heart thumps, and he ducks behind a trash can. He peers over its edge.

The man in the lab coat approaches Liz. His coat is open, and an
oddly-shaped, octagonal stethoscope bounces against his chest. Liz
unfastens the top two buttons of her blouse. She offers him her chest.
He places the diaphragm against her neck instead.

The scientist murmurs something to his colleagues, who stand side by
side four feet behind him. One of them scribbles a note on a pad. Sam
hears their exaggerated breathing through their masks. The lead
scientist reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a portable blood
pressure monitor. He straps it around Liz’s forearm. He pumps it, checks
his watch, and mutters to the others again.

“Satisfied?” Liz asks.

“Somewhat,” the scientist answers in a gruff, muffled voice.

“Then give me what you promised,” she says.

Sam can’t help but notice again the lack of noise and smell and sight. It’s as if there is no city surrounding him.

One of the other scientists steps forward. He places a small
cylindrical object to his throat, beneath his gas mask. When he speaks,
the words come out robotic, metallic.

“After one more test,” He She or It says.

The second scientists pulls what looks like a neatly folded piece of
paper from his back pocket. He unfolds it, bends down, and places it at
Liz’s feet. It too gives off a faint glow. She steps upon it. The second
scientist glances at the paper, checks a watch-like device on his
wrist, and places the cylinder to his throat again.

He says to the note-taker, “Thirty-seven pounds. A new record.”

“Would ya look how special I am?” Liz says flatly.

The scientist in the lab coat asks, “Have you noticed anything different? Have you taken flight yet?”

Liz shakes her head. “Just give me the powder,” she says.

Guest Post!!

The Foundations of The Ruins of Tropicalia
Post By Tyler Taylor

The Ruins of Tropicalia is a bit of an experiment. It’s a serialized novel-length adventure story that will be released (at least at first) only digitally, and it’s accompanied by the rock n roll music of my band, The Amends. However, one of the overarching themes of TROT is the importance of building any “new” creation on solid, well-tested foundations. For that reason, I’d like to talk about the various books which influenced me (and my fellow collaborators) in the construction of TROT.

The Big Book of Adventure Stories, Edited by Otto Penzler: I’m starting off with a bit of a cheat here, and using this as a catch-all for all the classic, pulpy, adventure stories I grew up loving—from Kipling to Stevenson to Burroughs to Robeson--and which serve as a major influence for The Ruins of Tropicalia. The most obvious connection is that TROT is serialized. And sometimes the characterizations, motivations, inner monologues, and backstories are merely prologue to the thrilling heroics. Sometimes you have to rescue what you can…

Stranger Things Happen, by Kelly Link: Magic realism, however elusive a true definition of it can be, has long been the most fascinating, unattainable literary genre. It wasn’t until I began reading Kelly Link’s odd, beautiful stories that I realized that the genre could be broadened beyond its Latin American roots. To me, the genre is about memory and perception, whether on a cultural or personal level. Link manages to wrap late-20th century pop culture and mythology around unique voices, creating miniature worlds that appear alien at first, but eventually reveal universal truths.

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway: When writing about a group of American ex-pats in a foreign land, why not at least try to take inspiration from the best that ever was?

The Hawkline Monster, by Richard Brautigan: Although Brautigan has a small cult of devoted readers, he deserves to have a much bigger audience. Like Hunter Thompson, his style is unique and unable to be imitated. I wouldn’t dare to try, but once you near the end of TROT, you might understand why I included here the story of strange creatures in caves beneath the basement of a decaying mansion.

The Haunting Of Hill House / We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson: Shirley Jackson is one of my absolute favorite writers, and I often return to her stories when I need guidance on how to create atmosphere and a believable inner monologue—even if the monologue I’m writing is my own. Plus, the first paragraphs of both novels are two of the best in all modern literature.

 Under The Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry:    “You like this garden? Why is it yours? We evict those who destroy!” I admit I didn’t begin reading this story of a depressed British diplomat drinking himself to death in Mexico until after I was well underway writing The Ruins of Tropicalia. A friend recommended it. There are many surface similarities to TROT—a disillusioned Westerner wanders around a Latin American country he is unable to understand while his relationship crumbles, and his companions share perspectives more lucid and truthful than his own. Although very different (and better, I’m quite sure) in tone and plot, there’s no way that it didn’t end up influencing me in the latter part of my writing.

Ubik, by Philip K. Dick: Once you finish the first chapter/episode of The Ruins of Tropicalia, you will see why.

The Labyrinth of Solitude, by Octavio Paz: Although this is a collection of essays about the history of Mexico (and not the Central American country in which much of TROT takes place), the scars of colonialism and the challenges of building new culture from fractured ruins are issues across much of Latin America.

All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, by Larry McMurtry: This departure from the epic Westerns that made Larry McMurtry famous has been one of my all-time favorite books since I read it in many years ago. The memory of the story of a writer who walks away from the edge of success called me back to the book, and I re-read it in the months before I went to Central America. Granted, there’s a big difference between Danny Deck’s story and mine, considering I left my band to go into the business world, and we probably wouldn’t have been successful anyway. But still, an incredible book.

CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders: Saunders’ debut collection of stories creates a vivid patchwork of a recognizable but surreal picture of America’s dystopian near-future. The narrators of TROT sometimes portray the country they left behind through a similarly distorted lens.

Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, Edited by Joyce Carol Oates: I’m going to defer comment on this one until the whole of TROT is released, haha.

The first installment of The Ruins of Tropicalia debuted on 6/24. Two new chapters/episodes will debut each week, along with new singles from The Amends, until its conclusion at the end of August. It’s entirely free. Go to to read it online in multiple formats (Kindle, PDF, plain text, EPUB), or for links to download the mobile ios/Google app.

The Ruins of Tropicalia is written by Tyler Taylor, Elizabeth Troy, Regina Porter, and Anonymous.

The Amends are Drew Weikart (lead vocals/guitar), Tyler Taylor (guitar/keys/vocals), Chris Childress (bass), and Shay Byington (drums). Learn more at

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Photo of The Amends, including TROT’s “curator”, Tyler Taylor (wearing the shark shirt).

After taking a temporary leave from his Colorado-based rock n roll band
The Amends, Tyler Taylor was among the group who went to Central
America, and witnessed the events described in The Ruins of Tropicalia. He edited and compiled the accounts of his fellow travelers into the main text of TROT.
He and Amends lead singer/guitarist Drew Weikart worked to put some of
the events to music, and the entire band (including bassist Chris
Childress and drummer Shay Byington) recorded the eight new songs in
April and May.

Connect With The Author:


The author is giving away: (5) The Amends T-Shirt (Multiple Sizes
Available), What We Could Be Studio Album (3), and The Amends Studio
Album (3) on The Ruins of Tropicalia Book Tour! Open internationally, enter through Rafflecopter!