Thursday, April 29, 2010

HUMAN TRIAL by Timothy Stelly

Timothy Stelly’s HUMAN TRIAL (2009, All Things That Matter Press) and HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (2010, All Things That Matter Press), present the tale of a ragtag group of survivors of an alien-launched thermal war that has destroyed nearly all human amd animal life on the planet. HUMAN TRIAL raised the question, What happens when all that remains of the world is fear, distrust and desperation? HT II follows the group on a cross-country trek that results in a final, frenzied battle against the extra-terrestrial invaders.
Reviews for part one of Timothy Stelly’s sci-fi noir thriller, Human Trial, have been positive. Readers and critics from the U.S. and Canada have praised the book for its grittiness and frightening tenor.

“…Superb. It's as if I'm one of the 10 going through the same trials they are. I can hardly wait to read the next installment.”—T.C. Matthews, author oif What A Web We Weave
“The book scares me because of the possibility of this happening in our future and how we will handle it. Scary. Deeply thought out…Timothy definitely has his own voice and it is powerful.” —Minnie Miller, author of The Seduction of Mr. Bradley
“Human Trial was a well written, well thought out book with plenty of biting, satirical social, religious and racial commentary interspersed within the dialogue. The drama, and the pathos, were nonstop, and I never knew what to expect next.” –Brooklyn Darkchild, author of This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story, Pt. I & II
“[This] story has been haunting me-reminds me of Octavia Butler's 'Parable of the Sower’…Stelly's work haunts me two years after I read it.”
--Evelyn Palfrey, author of Dangerous Dilemma and The Price Of Passion
“4 out of 5 stars. I felt the echoes of other notable science fiction novels, including "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler, "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and "Manhattan Transfer" by John E. Stith. Timothy Stelly creates a believable milieu of small-town America being turned upside down by forces beyond comprehension, and puts the reader right in the middle of the action.—Claxton Graham, review
“Human Trial is at once a sci-fi story, a look at the psychology of survival, and a timely cautionary tale regarding current environmental woes; our individual and collective responsibility to one another and to the planet…It is an entertaining and intricate story that can be read and enjoyed along with the likes of Mitchener, King, or Peter Straub. Stelly intuitively knows what everyday people will do to survive and how their interactions with each other will sound.”—Brian Barbeito, Columnist and author of Fluoride And The Electric Light Queen
“Gritty and intense, Human Trial will leave you stupefied and terrified, neither of which will protect your gut from wrenching. The message finally revealed is not only horrifying, but real, as is the omen foretold. Turning tables and unbalanced scales foster confusion and terror in an epic far greater than its words.” - Brian L. Doe, Author, The Grace Note, Barley & Gold; Co-Author, Waking God Trilogy
“Oh the suspense, the drama, the intensity, the love I’m having for this story…trust indeed that my adrenaline cannot go any higher. This will be a series finale you don’t want to miss.” – Walee, author of Confession Is Good For The Soul and What’s On The Menu? All Of Mw!

Timothy N. Stelly is a poet, essayist, novelist and screenwriter from northern California. He describes his writing as “socially conscious,” and his novel, HUMAN TRIAL, is the first part of a sci-fi trilogy and is available from, and in e-book format at Reviews of HUMAN TRIAL can be read at
HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (All Things That Matter Press) is scheduled for release in MAY, 2010. Stelly also has a short story included in the AIDS-themed anthology, THE SHATTERED GLASS EFFECT (2009) . His story SNAKES IN THE GRASS, Is a tale of love, betrayal and its sometimes deadly consequences.
In 2003, Stelly won First Prize in the Pout-erotica poetry contest for his erotic piece, C’mon Condi.

Contact Info:
Both books available at, and
Visit me at: or
Human Trial is still available from and Paperback
$18.99, e-book (kindle) format, $10.99.
Read the Brian Barbeito review of HUMAN TRIAL at:
Read more online reviews at and
"Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol." -- Steve Martin

Tags: Sci-fi, sci-fi noir, last man genre, trilogy, ,African-american literature, noir, alien invasion

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

They Plotted Revenge Against America

Lily's Odyssey

Lily's Odyssey
ISBN-13: 978-0984098453
All Things That Matter Press
Carol Smallwood

Lily's Odyssey unfolds in three parts with the inevitability, impact, and resolution of a Greek play. The dialogue rings true, the concrete conveyed along with moods and half-tones to paint Midwestern middle class flawed characters with poignancy. The psychological detective novel explores the once largely unacknowledged: it is not only soldiers who get post-traumatic stress disorder and child abuse whether it is overt or covert incest is a time bomb. From daughter to grandmother, Lily's voyage is told with lyricism, humor, and irony using a poet's voice to distill contemporary American women's changing role in religion, marriage, and family.

Carol Smallwood has appeared in English Journal, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Writer's Chronicle, The Detroit News. Short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Award for Best New Writing in 2009, a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Award Winner, she's included in Who's Who in America, and Contemporary Authors. Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook is one of her recent American Library Association books. Contemporary American Women: Our Defining Passages, co-edited, is her 22nd book.

From the Preface:

     Weight of Silence, and Nicolet's Daughter were considered as novel titles but it remained Lily's Odyssey. Odysseus, the epic hero from Greek mythology in The Odyssey, helped by the gods with his band of men, maneuvers the Scylla and Charybdis passage as one of his many adventures in ancient times. Lily, from the Midwest, named by a gardener mother she doesn't remember, struggles with a subconscious she fears will destroy her. Her narrow passage is between reality and disassociation, her time the latter 20th and early 21st Centuries. Her odyssey without help from the gods reflects a passage through linear labyrinths women interpret as round. Lily's fragmentation is echoed in the writing style.


     That evening after we saw Dr. Schackmann, Cal said, "You must realize that building my practice takes all my energy, and accept that as reality." He was mixing his martini before dinner on the glass-topped mahogany sideboard. As he spoke, I studied the sideboard's inlaid rosewood and ebony squares, again thinking he was a good surgeon, widely respected, and it must have been my fault that I wasn't a good wife.
     I got a coaster and placed it on the sideboard. He frowned and turned it so the pheasant on the coaster squarely faced him. "You don't even know why you're so dissatisfied," he said, and laughed. "How can you not even know that?"

       At the luncheon, I made as many trips as I dared to the restroom without causing people to wonder if something was wrong with me. Inside the unheated cement block room, my long deep breaths came out like smoke signals when I opened and shut my mouth to relieve my clenched jaw, shake my head in disbelief. Each time I went in, I saw cracks in the ceiling that I hadn't seen before. Some natural light came through a small casement window dotted with snow, and I recalled making dots of snow on windows into fairy tale pictures when a child.
       When people had complained about the cold rest rooms to Father Couillard, who was the priest before Father Mulcahy, he'd say, "Enjoy the cold while you can, my friends. Where many of you are headed, it will be plenty hot."


Smallwood is a watcher. Her eyes are unblinking. And her ears can detect the mercurial ticks of a heart. As a storyteller, she's as sure as any Preakness jockey. She knows when words need to clip-clop up to the gate, when to bide, and when to unfetter them, to let the truth loose. Truth thunders in Lily's Odyssey.
      -Katie McKy, author of Pumpkin Town, Houghton Mifflin, and Wolf Camp, Tanglewood Press.

Smallwood is an incredibly gifted author with a broad range of experience. She demonstrates commitment to conscience in her work through Michigan Feminist Studies, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and Best New Writing 2009.
     -Sandra Potter, CEO & Founder, Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, co-author, Unnecessary Roughness: Till Death Do Us Part;
The Child Abuse Survivor Project.

Literary novel

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shooting Angels by Nicolas Sansone

 Shooting Angels by Nicolas Sansone

A NASA Space Shuttle plummets to Earth. A team of eight rescue workers plunges into a treacherous Texan wilderness to recover the wreckage, and become entwined in a cosmic conspiracy. An uncouth disembodied head enslaves an elderly rancher and uses his cellar as the war room of its campaign against God, a noir-style slickster with a buxom blonde wife and a taste for margaritas, who rockets down from the suburbs of Heaven on a comet to do battle with metaphysical evils. "Shooting Angels" races from the jungles of Texas, to the dark corners of undiscovered space, to the innermost reaches of the human mind, to the smoggy streets of Central Heaven, where people are free to give in to their most detestable urges. The novel asks its characters to confront their ordering theories of the universe, and raises questions of how we are to envision divinity in a technological age.

Review from amazon user S. Lemme:
"Shooting Angels" is an immensely creative and eminently page-turning first novel from Nicolas Sansone. Sansone's imagination delivers a world in which the outrageous is entirely believable, the everyday and mundane are eerily unnerving, and God (as well as Mrs. God) is a truly relatable being. This fast-paced and quick read allows readers to readily consider the "big" questions of faith and reality with good measures of humor, compassion and irreverence. Sansone's tight depiction of his large cast of characters, who range from the ordinary to the downright bizarre, contributes to his characters' accessibility and believability (in the face of the extraordinary). After this read, I can only look forward to what will come next from Sansone's rich imagination. Though his characters and their predicaments may be out-of-this-world, to quote the novel, "They are born of the imagination, but so is everything real".

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shaman Circus by Gail Gray

 Shaman Circus by Gail Gray
 In New Orleans following Katrina all bets are off; all masks dissolved. “Don’t forget the sham in shaman,” Jacob Laguerre lies to his new apprentice, Alex Hampton. When Alex, a twenty-eight year-old anthropology professor goes on field-study to post-Katrina New Orleans, he enters a chaotic and altered landscape where he’s psychologically, physically and spiritually challenged by the sarcastic mentoring of the mulatto, Laguerre, a current day voudou shaman.  
Both Laguerre’s and Alex’s psyches struggle through stages of transition and rebirth as their lives are enmeshed with a group of quirky fringe-dwellers, as colorful and eccentric as New Orleans itself. Lily Hampton, a sculptor, torn between her love for both men; Mavis, an artist who spent nights in her attic, but survived the floods;  Perry Laguerre, Jacob’s hermaphroditic twin, and Bad Jacqui, lesbian owner of a French Quarter bar: are pulled together to form the cynical but ultimately idealistic team who vow to stay in post-Katrina New Orleans. 
They all follow a taut path between madness and redemption in the no man’s land of Refrigerator Town as they assist in the aftermath and healing of both the city and those who remain. 
Shaman Circus is a magical realism/dark urban fantasy approach to the failure of the levees. This raggle-taggle group discovers how devastated and government-abandoned New Orleans leaves no quarter for societal charades and consumer societies. Cast adrift and crashing together they attempt to make sense of both internal and external wastelands, ultimately leading to transformation and sanctuary.

Review by Steve Lindahl, author of Motherless Soul

"Shaman Circus is a story of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The writing has great detail and provides an understanding of what life was like in that city with clarity that wasn’t in either the news media statistics or the graphic pictures provided at the time of the storm. I was especially affected by a section where an artist was cleaning her studio. When she discovered that one of her works was only half destroyed from water damage, she ripped off the ruined part and kept the rest hoping she could recreate the painting someday. Gray’s images of huge out of control trash fires and colorful Louisiana Voodoo rituals performed in half destroyed warehouses, pulled me into her story and held me there. There was also a fascinating love triangle between Alex, Jacob, and Lily. Their relationships swirled around with almost as much destructive force as the hurricane. Shaman Circus is the type of book that makes its readers want to slow down to carefully pull in every word. It is more than a good read. It is a wonderful journey." -
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