Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Review: Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen

Official description from Aubrey Hansen's website: 
Government regulations said they had no choice. 17-year-old Philadelphia must stay on Earth in the care of complete strangers while her father is sent against his will to Mars. When a benevolent official gives her the opportunity to accompany her father, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to Earth. But when a search for her deceased brother’s Bible leads her into a hallway that isn’t supposed to exist, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer – the choice between returning to Earth or destroying it.
   Red Rain is an well written book. I read it twice (as I like to do with all books: once for the excitement, the second time to catch everything I missed). This book almost made me cry, in fact (the first time, not the second).
   The characters are well developed, and Hansen was able to pull at my heart every time a character had to make a hard choice. This book was good sci-fi, but it is mainly (in my mind) a drama. It merely uses Mars as a backdrop for a display of family, sacrifice, and hard choices. The only thing I would change is not to have the ending quite so rushed, but that's just a personal opinion.
   I recommend this book to anyone who likes science-fiction and even to people who don't. If you want a story with strong characters and ethical dilemmas, check out Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen.

Annoying Pacifist Alert!: I had a one grievance with the ending of this book. I won't give any spoilers, but there was a spot at the end when the villain is being taken away in chains. Philadelphia watches him leave, then thinks about all the people whom she should be praying for. At that moment, the author could have stuck in a small line about her praying for the villain. It's a small qualm, but had that happened I would have found the book a small bit better.

There's the end of my second book review! Maybe there'll be more to come in the future. Who knows? (Well, I suppose I do...)
Note: I don't own the rights to the cover picture or to the description taken from Aubrey Hansen's website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ya Hear Me?

What do you hear right now? Is it the hum of traffic? The murmur of your computer? The chatter coming from people in the other room? The tweeting of birds?

How often do I listen? This is a question that struck me the other day. I work on a farm and a lot of that work is alone or done with loud machinery running. Therefore I like to use an MP3 (yes, those still exist) to listen to things while I work. A lot of the time it feels like I have earphones in my ears over half the day. And yes, audio books and music are important and can be entertaining (more on that a bit later), but for me they seem to take over my life. It's like reading a good book: I just can't wait to get back to it. With an audio book, all I have to do is plug in my earphones and I'm off! It doesn't matter who is around me or what I'm doing, I can listen to that audio book while blocking the rest of the world out.

Sure, it hurts relationships if I listen too much. Sure things get confused because I'm not paying attention to what people say, but at least I'll figure out what happens next!

I've come to this conclusion before. "I'm not listening to others enough! I'm not praying enough!" So out come the earphones and away goes the MP3. I've 'fasted' from my MP3 for weeks before. At first it works: I feel more observant, more worshipful, more 'happy'. Then things start to get ugly. My thoughts start taking over. That's when I turn to my MP3 just to get away from my awful thoughts. And the cycle begins again.

Is that right? Am I just using my MP3 at that point as a block to ignore dealing with evil thoughts? Maybe. But that's not the point. The point is that sometimes listening to others (or even just unplugging) can help. Sure, there's nothing inherently wrong with audio books or music. Audio books are just like books: they can build you up or burn you down. The point is not to stop listening, but to stop listening too much to the wrong things.

There, those are my thoughts. Quite a roundabout way of saying it, but I like long-cuts. Hope you understood what I was trying to say.
And a quick side-note: I got interviewed! Here's a link.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Every good book has a villain. Sasha is the villain of The Missing Kitten. Who is she? Here's an abridged excerpt of a conversation between Rambo and Old Corny to explain more:

“Who is she?” I asked. “All I know is her name is Sasha.”
Corny froze. “Sasha, did you say?”
“You know her?” I stepped forward in anticipation.
“She travels around these parts. They told tales about her even when I was young. She’s a murderer, a plotter. She makes plans for animals to destroy others then leaves them to do the dirty work. She’s a criminal consultant, you might say. Though, ‘monster’ is closer to the mark.”
“What would she be doing here?”
“Just passing through, maybe. Though, if she’s here to stay, you can be sure dark days are coming.”
“Like what? What should I be expecting?”
Corny looked straight into my eyes. “Has anything weird been going on lately? Disappearances of items, animals, anything like that which you haven’t been able to explain?”
I thought for a moment. “Seabert hasn’t turned up recently… I’m sure he’s just off on a romp.”
Corny paled. “That’s not good.”
I agreed, turning serious. “What do I do?”
“Find Seabert. Keep close tabs on everyone else. Search the farm for him, get everyone on the job. He must be found. If he’s not around, you can be sure Sasha has something to do with it.”
“If I can’t find him, what should my plan of action be?”
Corny paused. “Let’s hope you don’t have to worry about that.”
I looked him in the eye. “If I can’t find him, if he is wrapped up in Sasha’s plan, what do I do to stop her?”
“If he’s a part of Sasha’s plan and he’s been captured, or kidnapped, or whatever; then, I’m sorry, but I don’t know if anything else can be done. Your best hope is to find him before she does. If you can’t, then reconcile yourself to the fact that he could be lost forever.”

Sound creepy? Sound villainous? That's the hope.
Will Sasha be back in later books? Who knows? Maybe if I'm begged enough.
Again, you can find The Missing Kitten on Amazon. If you've already read it, don't for get to review it on Amazon, on Goodreads, or just tell a friend!
Once again, thanks for coming to my blog and listening to me talk about all sorts of stuff. I hope you have a great day!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


It was my pleasure to meet with Samantha and interview her about her writing habits and styles.

Jesse (J): Thank you for meeting with me, Samantha. We're here to ask you a few questions. (glances at Rambo) Rambo, why are you in a bouncy castle?

Rambo (R): (while bouncing) It makes things more medieval.

J: (shakes his head) This is going to be a long interview.

Samantha (S): Never give this guy sugar...

J: What is your favorite type of story to write?

S: To be honest, I absolutely love Fantasy. Fantasy as a main, with a sprinkling of... Everything else. Ahaha. I also enjoy a good fanfic when I'm up to it.J: Who are your favorite authors?

S: This. Is. So. Hard. Well, let me see here. I absolutely love Louisa May Alcott, Mary Norton, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Franklin Dixon/Carolyn Keen.J: What are your favorite books?

S: Well, I love Little Women, Little Men, The Borrowers, The Little House series, the Anne Series, Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, Pilgrim's Progress, Babysitters Club, Passages, etc. So many books, so little time. (sighs)

J: What are some of your favorite books in the genre of literature you like to write most?

S: Well, Passages, definitely. And Borrowers. As far as others, I've not really gotten to read that many fantasy-based books. I do read a lot of fantasy-based fanfic short stories, though. (smiles)

J: Describe your personality.

S: Hmm. I'm never good at these things. Despite what I may appear online, offline I'm very, very shy, and very, very sensitive. I'm pretty quiet, and I mostly like it that way. However, it does get pretty annoying when I want to speak up. (chuckles) I'm introverted. That about sums it up.

J: Are you a panster or a planner?

S: Hmm. I'm actually neutral between those two. It depends on the story, and the inspiration, if that makes sense...

J: What is your favorite pass time (besides writing, of course)?

S: Apart from writing, I absolutely adore music. And art. I'm basically into the arts, which I consider writing, reading, acting, music, crafting, and the like to be under. I also enjoy thinking and debating through writing. I'm not brave enough to do it in person, heh. I also enjoy listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and studying theology.

R: Perhaps we should have a debate blog post!

J: How about... no. Samantha, what is your favorite inspirational device?

S: Hmm. I'm not sure, but I'd probably have to say music. Music helps inspire so much in me. If not music, then it would be current issues, or the Bible.

J: Do you prefer silence when writing, or do you like to listen to music, watch movies, etc.?

S: Again, it depends on what I'm writing. I prefer silence most of the time, but I'll listen to music a lot when writing too.

J: Do you find a recurring theme in any of your writing?

S: Best friends, a sense of magic, perhaps a little romance. That sort of thing. *Nods*

J: Are you published/planning on getting published in the near future? If published, what have you written? If planning on it, what is your current work in progress?

S: I plan on becoming published, but I'm not sure exactly what piece I'm going to do it with. I have a few fantasy pieces I'm working on, but they are nothing special. Actually, they're far from it. More like... Embarrassing. Heh.

J: Well, thank you Samantha for spending time with us today. It was a great pleasure to meet you and I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

R: Jesse, my tail is stuck in the drawbridge.

Samantha14 is an up and coming writer. You can read some of her work on her blog. She also moderates an Adventures in Odyssey forum. Check out her stuff, and thank you for joining me here today!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Difficulties of Blogging

Well, I think it's safe to say I'm running out of content. There's only so much I can say about my book(s), random thoughts that pop into my head, or absurd rants by cats (I apologize for letting that happen. I suppose I should have made a cleverer password than 'Rambos#1'. Don't worry, it's changed now.). When I like to post at least once a day, that puts a lot of stress of me to come up with clever stuff to say. Unfortunately, I'm not that clever all the time (I have moments, but only moments).
So I'm going to try something different. I'll still try to post once a day, but I might be making a schedule! Restrictions are difficult, but they can sometimes be helpful. I still need to work on the schedule, though. It's not made up yet, so no need to fear. You'll still have the chaotic blog posts for a short while longer.
What I'm thinking is posting stuff about my books one day a week, maybe short stories or excerpts another day, and maybe (if I beg enough people) guest posts on anything the guest likes. This is still all in flux, so don't hold me to anything.
What else can I talk about...
Well, I've been writing a bit. I've written about 70 some pages of Trapped! Book two in Kitten Mysteries. I hope everyone's going to enjoy it.
Again, I apologize for letting Rambo sneak on here. It won't happen again (unless the audience demands it, or I run out of content.)
I think that's all I have to talk about. 10^4 and all that.

One more thing! I have my first review! If you've read my book, go ahead and give it a review. I won't cry (too much), just give an honest review. Whether on Amazon or Goodreads, or just to a friend, go ahead and review my book if you have the time. Thanks!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to Basics

Hello! This is Rambo, hacking Jesse's blog! He's talking too much about smart stuff, like philosophy, theology, and ethics. It's time for me to take over and get you all thinking about what this blog was created for: me.
Now, you'd like some back story on me? Well, I'm a teenager cat (what you humans would call teenager, anyways) and I'm in a story that Jesse 'wrote' called The Missing Kitten (which you can buy on Amazon or Createspace). It's part of a series called Kitten Mysteries (it really should be called Rambo: The Amazing Detective, or something like that). I was born a while back and was raised by Old Corny, the cat who lives in the cornfield next to our farm. Spot and Butch are my siblings, but we're not related. (If you read the books, you would know all this stuff.)
There's a lot more I could tell you, but some stuff has to get revealed in the stories! And some stuff I'm a little fuzzy on myself... Jesse claims to have done some research on this stuff, but I'm not too sure.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my hacking Jesse's blog and maybe I'll be back later.
Be sure to buy Jesse's book! I get 4% of the profits and a cat treat per book! I can't wait! :) (Smily faces, who knew?)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Face to Face

This is the first post of things I learned on my missions trip. I learned this while away from the internet for a week, so it might be slightly hallucinatory and make little sense.
What did I learn? There's nothing better than a face to face conversation.
Sure, the internet is nice for keeping up with people and for learning things. However, it is basically useless when it comes to real conversations. Why?
A. It takes too long to respond.
This is obvious, especially with emails. Sure, you can have conversations this way, but it just doesn't feel as connecting as a real conversation. You miss body language, verbal cues, and it takes too long for the other person to respond. There's no one over there to answer your question or comment on your statements until you've already left. This is fixed with chat rooms, but then you still run into another problem.
B. It's hard to explain yourself over written word.
This is especially true when debating someone over the internet. You post a huge novel of a response, then wait for them to respond, and find they've asked a question about the beginning of your speech. You answer that, get sidetracked on that discussion, and never get around to working through the big stuff. This can happen in real life too, but at least then it would save you the time of going through the unused words. And, with written word, you miss body language from the other person. And, over the internet, you sometimes can't tell if a person is asking a genuine question, being sarcastic, or just trying to aggravate you while ignoring what you say.
Now, most of the time, you can't be with your friends all the time. That is what makes the internet great. It keeps people together, and your 'conversations' can go a lot quicker than when we had to wait for letters to come in the mail. Still, a lot of the time I'd rather jump to the internet and do a quick email or Facebook message than actually talk to a person face to face. This keeps up the relationship, but it doesn't really help it grow.
Growing your relationships is something best done face to face.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm Back!

Hello Everyone! I've returned from the land of the monsters.
Actually, no. I wasn't in the land of the monsters. I wasn't even taking an internet break to keep my sanity (well, kind of...). I was actually on a Missions Trip to Cherokee, North Carolina. There my Youth Group and another teamed up to shingle a roof and paint the rest of the house. It was quite fun, especially when the weather was in the 90's. (Not the 1990's, I don't have a time travel device... yet).
That's why I haven't been posting. I wasn't missing, I wasn't going on all sorts of book tours, I was working. Now, that's all that's left of this shabby blog post. Maybe I'll have more time to write something exquisite after I get caught up with my farm work.
Talk to ya'll later. (I used "ya'll"! NC must have rubbed off on me.)

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I wrote my first autograph the other day. Nothing fancy, just signed my name. Autograph's are cool and all, but I've never gotten one from anyone. Perhaps that should change... Well, let me explain.
I never understood society's interest in autographs. I suppose, on one hand, it makes sense. We want to have proof that we actually met such a person. Like, if I have a certain person's signature, then I can flout to the world, "I actually met Scott Elkins!" Though, in one sense, that is rather prideful.
Still, if that's case, then why don't we get autographs of our friends and family? Sure, we probably don't know anyone famous, but why should that make a difference? Shouldn't we be just as proud to shout to the world that "I've met John Smith!" as "I've met Chris Wise!"? If we do otherwise, isn't that hypocritical of us?
So here's my challenge. Let's not just go after the autographs of the famous people (people like Neil Gaiman, James Rollins, or Shane Claiborne) let's go after the autographs of semi-famous people (like Katie Lynn Daniels or Theodora Ashcraft) and even 'normal' people like Jesse Rice or John Smith.
Ever wanted to give your autograph to someone? Wouldn't it make your day for someone to come up to you and say, "You're (insert your name here)! Can I have your autograph?" What if we started doing that to our friends? How would that make them feel? And isn't an autograph from them more important than some famous person you know a lot about, but hardly know?
Most important, an autograph is only your name written on a piece of paper. Our names represent who we are. When we write our name for someone, it is like showing someone who we are. However, I lives really represent who we are. What if we started living our autographs instead of merely writing them? What if we wrote our lives out "To Austin, with love, Jesse Rice." and actually meant it? What would we truly live like if our lives were dedicated to each other? Or, perhaps, to someone greater?
"If you give a glass of water to someone in my name, you give one to me."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Supervillain of the Day

Here's my first book review! Hurrah!
Anyway, I first heard about this book because I'm a friend of the author (Katie Lynn Daniels). Well, friend is a strong word, and I don't know if she'd agree. Let's say we are strong acquaintances. Yeah, that works.
Anyway (again), I got this book mere days after it was released and read it quickly after.
What can I say about it? Well, I could say "It's terrible!", "It's boring!", or "It's the best thing to come out of England since Sherlock Holmes!", but none of those would be true. It's not terrible, it's not boring, and the author is from Kentucky, not England. This book is not brilliant, but it is a good, short book.
What else can I say? I once referred to it as the Don Quixote of Superhero fiction, but better.
What do I mean by that? I mean it's better written... oh, you mean the other part? Well, Don Quixote was a book that made fun of common stories of his time by stringing together a group of stereotypes from them into a story. Supervillain of the Day does the same, but with a better story, in my opinion.
The basic plot is this: Supervillains spontaneously come into being out of normal humans, and no one knows how. Tabloid Reporter Jeffry Floyd just happens to live in the one place on Earth (London) where no Supervillains can be found. When given an ultimatum to find some Supervillains or else, Jeffry goes to Scotland Yard and ends up wrapped up in a scheme to take over not just the Supervillains of London, but also all the normal humans as well.
I don't want to say much else, because it might give away the story. Yes, this story isn't perfect. There is some info-dumping which I found a bit unnecessary, but it's still an enjoyable read and the book is a nice set up for more adventures concerning Floyd, his Inspector 'friend' Adams, and their 'adventures' with Supervillains.
I hope you check out this book and enjoy it as much as I did.


I told you I would give you an excerpt, so here it is!


I walked slowly toward the farm. It was the fifth one I’d stepped onto today, and those other four had each been between long walks. I stumbled forward, tripping over my own feet. Mum had always called me clumsy. Maybe I was. Still, I was only a kitten. Just because I was snowy white and innocent-looking didn’t mean I was perfect.
“Hello?” I called.
There was no reply. I stopped for a moment, feeling especially dejected. The sun was sinking down below the ridge that rose up in the west. Was this farm deserted? Or, perhaps, did dogs live here? Even the thought of dogs couldn’t send a shiver through my weary heart at the moment. Nothing could bring me to be afraid after what I’d seen. After the horrors of watching my parents die.
I shook such thoughts out of my mind. I didn’t want to think of that. “Is anyone home?” My voice sounded as feeble as I felt.
“Hello? Who’s there? Is that you, Rambo?” A cat appeared out from behind a bush. His golden hair swayed slightly with the evening breeze.
I shivered. “Sir, I was wondering if you might have a place where I could stay.”
The cat looked at me. He wasn’t old, probably only a few months older than I. Still, to such a kitten like me that seemed ancient.
“Sir,” I started again.
“I-” he interrupted, then paused.
“Butch! Where are you?” A calico cat with a brilliant golden spot on her forehead stepped out from behind the bush. Her hair was elegant, almost glowing. She looked so much better than I, in my bedraggled state. I could tell from the look on her face that she was disgusted at the very sight of an orphan like me.
“What in the world are you?” the calico cat asked.
“I’m an orphan, ma’am.” I put on my best face, forcing a smile onto my lips. My act broke as a tear slipped down my cheek. I slumped to the ground.
“Oh dear! Is it wounded?” the calico cat asked, not moving or checking herself.
The golden cat stepped forward and nudged me gently. “You okay?”
I nodded weakly. “Just tired, sir.” I tried to remain as polite as possible, hoping against hope that they might allow me to stay here.
The golden cat turned back to his companion. “Just tired.”
“Great!” the calico cat purred. “Then it can move right along.” Her tail rose up in the air as she turned away.
“Spot,” the golden cat sighed, stopping her.
“I’m serious, Butch,” the calico cat, Spot, said. “We don’t have the facilities or the intelligence to take care of a kitten such as that. Well, Nelly might, but she has her paws full.” She turned to me. “I heard of a great place just down the creek. It’s a kitten orphanage, or something. Just the place for the likes of you.” Her tone was pleasant, but the words coming out still made me feel inferior.
“Yes ma’am,” I murmured, struggling to my feet. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Butch put up one more feeble effort. “Spot….”
I could tell Spot didn’t want me here, and the golden cat would only get in trouble for sticking up for me. “No sir, I’m really fine.”
Butch hesitated, then nodded slowly. “Okay.”
I trundled on, passing through the yard and into the pasture. Then I walked beyond and followed the man-made path that spread out between the corn field and the creek. Somewhere ahead I would find the orphanage. Until then, just keep walking.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Hey, everyone! Rather, the five people who actually read this thing (hi, siblings!). I have some news for you. I got my proof copy (a couple days ago, actually) and it looks cool! A couple pictures to proof (I mean, prove) it:

And, yes, that is my natural hair.

Some more news: My book's published! Hurrah! Here's a link: The Missing Kitten
I'll release an excerpt of the book soon, just on a different post (so it's not so cluttered).
There. That's my news! Adios world!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Interesting how anger works. It seems to be a license. A license which is swiped and said to be okay for swearing, yelling--even to the edge of screaming, insulting, saying cruel things. Then there appears this card called the apology card, and you swipe this one too, so everything will be okay afterwards. There is only one thing. You can never take back your words because as soon as they came from your mouth it was impossible. They say betrayal is a trust breaker, and dishonesty too. Well. I guess you can keep swiping that anger card and that apology card, and see if that is true.    -MELR

I'm sure most people have a credit card, or know someone who has a credit card. This is the kind of imagery this quote is talking about. Just swiping a card and getting what you want. And, like a credit card, eventually the price has to be paid.
The problem is, there's a card missing. There's another card that needs to come into play: the love card. This is the card that says, "This isn't right." It's not a card that gives the right to smash the other person over the head. It's not a card that allows for hatred and bitterness. It's a card that seeks recovery and reconciliation. It's not an easy card to use. And this card needs to be swiped over and over again. Swiping this card will mean there may be a long wait before you can see the reward. There may be not perceivable change. Yet this is the card that we all carry and we all can swipe.
How often do you use your card?

Edit: By this post I am in no way discrediting the original quote. It is a legitimate quote speaking about the problem of using excuses for anger. I am trying to speak about the response of the one who is hurt, and this plays off the quote, it doesn't reduce it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Authors and Links

Another day of waiting. Hurrah! While I wait to be published, here's a list of writers who are already published.

Katie Lynn Daniels, Author of the Supervillain of the Day series (Katie Lynn Daniels Supervillain of the Day)

Theodora Ashcraft, Author of Sangre: the Phantom's Lair and Of Whispers and Wanderings (Whispers of Wind and Song)

J. Grace Pennington, Author of Firmament: Radialloy and Never (J. Grace Pennington)

Aubrey Hansen, Author of Red Rain and The Peter's Angel Saga: Peter's Angel (Aubrey Hansen)

Don't forget to check out the Holyworlds Blog Marathon: Speculative Fiction Through Time and Space.