Letters In A Helmet: A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood by Ron Sorter, Bob Tierno

Letters In A Helmet: A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood by Ron Sorter, Bob Tierno

Letters In A Helmet: A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood

Letters In A Helmet: A Story of Fraternity and Brotherhood by Ron Sorter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Letters In A Helmet is an extremely personal and unique recounting of the intersecting lives of two men. The book follows the two authors’ lives over five decades rotating back and forth between. Each scene is rendered from one perspective followed by the other. Their voices are decidedly different, and it is easy to determine who is writing each snippet of story. Their collection of brotherhoods from fraternity days to military service and beyond made profound markings on their lives. As a veteran from a military family, I found myself set back in my own thoughts to those who have made the deepest impacts in my own life.
Their stories are poignant, humorous and heartbreaking, often simultaneously. The writing is well crafted allowing the styles to merge into a superb flow. It was difficult to find a point to stop reading.




View all my reviews

Built to Order by L.A. Noble

Built to Order by L.A. Noble

Built to Order

Built to Order by L.A. Noble

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I need to begin this review with a note that I probably should have read the first book prior to reading this one. I wasn’t aware it was the second book of a series at the time I purchased it. Much of the character development was missing for me as it was likely built in the first book.

The read was a complex with many streams of characters moving toward an intersecting point. The premise was good and the plot twists began coming together toward the middle of the book.

I was caught slightly off guard as many characters would discuss serious situations before having sex at what seemed inappropriate times. The way the story was flowing up to those points, it seemed the more natural progression, of the story, would have been for the characters to attempt to resolve the situation at hand. Instead, they would go from concerned and urgent to engaging playfully forgetting about the discussion they were having.

I have nothing against a playful romp, however it seems some of the situations were stuck in with little regard to the characters personalities or emotional situations at the time.

All that aside, this book has many high points as well. It is an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing well toward the end of the book. The pace is quick and many of the characters are interesting, dramatic and funny. Some are all three.



View all my reviews

Kill Crime by Mike Slavin

Kill Crime by Mike Slavin

Kill Crime: A Jeff Case Novel stunning crime thriller full of twists with an unpredictable ending

Kill Crime: A Jeff Case Novel stunning crime thriller full of twists with an unpredictable ending by Mike Slavin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was impressive. The intricacies of the story were captivating. I could not stop reading. I sucked it down like a cold sweet tea on a hot summer day.

“Kill Crime” enlists undivided attention. The plot moves at a steady pace with no languishing interludes to interrupt the pace. Flashbacks are well placed and easy to recognize from the main narrative. I’m not normally drawn to this genre, but this is by far one of the smartest reads I’ve seen in years.

Jeff Case is everything you want in a main character. He treads the line between protagonist and antagonist in a way I’ve seldom seen a character written before. You empathize with him and he never loses the feeling of being the guy doing the right thing outside of a sometimes inadequate system.



View all my reviews

Unexpected Gem

Unexpected Gem

Million Miles Away

Million Miles Away by Alice Bane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Unexpected Gem

I selected this book when I was searching for a new author with less than ten reviews.
I wasn’t sure that it would be interesting for me at first. The tedium of the main character’s initial interactions and workday made me question if I had chosen the right book for me.
It quickly shifted into a dark fantastic story that surpassed my expectations. I found myself pulled into the emotions of the character, her relationships and transformation.
The writing is geared toward a slightly younger audience than my +50 demographic. With that in mind, I still found it an enjoyable, thoughtful read.
I look forward to seeing the next installment from this author.



View all my reviews

The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

The Time Ships

The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Fanciful sequel of sorts to Well’s Time Machine. The style is slightly different, but the story is solid. What could happen if the Traveler went back to the future. Would it change? Had he changed it already. It is a very different take on what you may think would happen.



View all my reviews

Holiday Madness

Holiday Madness

I watch my co-workers inching closer to insanity as the days to Christmas become fewer. The planning, the parties, the lights, the gifts. The commercialization of our holidays has turned from an expression of heartfelt gratitude, into a race to rack up crushing debt. A desire to give the most expensive gifts, only exceeded by an insurmountable greed to receive them. I don’t understand, at what point in time, did our society start believing giving was about money? Love was about a piece of carbon crushed and polished into a shiny bauble. Or a cell phone, that received, will garner the attention of your children forever.

Have we become so obsessed with things that we have forgotten the winter holidays are about serving the needs of others? Helping your neighbor? I’m as guilty as the next person. I don’t know my neighbors other than to occasionally say hello. I see them putting up their decorations, bringing home bag after bag stuffed with shopping bargains. Delivery packages flowing in an endless stream. Overflowing trash cans removing excess packaging, clothes and toys making room for the new.

Maybe my view is cynical. Maybe there are places that aren’t like this. I remember growing up, we each received one thing we really wanted. One thing we had begged all year for. A bike, new roller skates, tickets to an amusement park for our next vacation. Everything else we got was something we needed. Clothes, shoes, a new clutch for the car, or a sewing machine. After we opened our gifts, we delivered things to others. My grandmother and I would knit hats and sweaters, crochet blankets, put together packages of socks.

I miss growing up poor. I miss not believing everything was disposable. I miss caring about people I don’t know.

Self-publishing isn’t as cheap or easy as I thought.

Self-publishing isn’t as cheap or easy as I thought.

I should start by saying that I love to write. I will always love to write. I’m not sure I will ever enjoy the publishing process or the promotion that goes with it. 

I wrote my book. I actually wrote three books. And they sat there. I had no idea what to do with them. So, I did what any normal introvert would do. I went online looking for options. Advice is a dense forest without decent navigation. Everyone has an opinion. I read articles, I searched self-publishing groups. Each one had tons of advice and opinions but not much real substance as to how to actually do anything.

The first great piece of advice was to have my writing professionally edited. There are a couple of good places to get editing on a budget without skimping on the quality. Upwork and Fiverr are both littered with talented resources. Like anywhere else, you need to make sure you perform your due diligence and research your candidates before you hire. Make sure the editor works in your genre. Look at their portfolio. And one major step that most will skip; check their reviews. Anyone can compile a great portfolio. You are about to part with a substantial amount of your hard earned money. No legitimate editor will be uncomfortable providing references if they don’t have verified reviews. There are four main levels of editing. Make sure you know what type you need. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars minimum depending on what type of detail you need.

I like both of the resources above because they escrow your payment. You deposit the fee. The service holds it until your project is complete or a project milestone is reached before you release a portion or the entirety of your fee. The editor you pick has incentive to complete the work in a timely manner and you have peace of mind knowing you control when the payments are made.

If you have enough technical capabilities, formatting for an e-book release is relatively easy. There is a great Kindle tool if you want to post on Amazon but you can also upload directly from a document. Aggregate publishers can load painlessly from a document as well. Setting up for a paperback is not quite as easy. I will write another article about how I put mine together withing the next few weeks.

The major publishing question is, do you start with KDP or an aggregate publisher? I ended up doing both. Nothing sold, which led me back to the internet to find out what I was doing wrong.

Next piece of advice, market the book. Okay, sounds easy until you search to see there are thousands of places to market. So far, I’ve taken three basic steps. First, I set up a Facebook Author page and a Twitter page. Second, I set up this website and now I am working on the most difficult part for me. I’m building a social media presence. I have no idea where this is going to lead me or how difficult it is going to be. I do plan on detailing as much of my journey as possible while I continue to write and add to my published work.

I hope this helps at least one person.

Wish me luck. 

Theme: Overlay by Kaira
J. Serrano 2020 All Rights Reserved