Review of Our west indian Neighbors by Frederick A. Ober

"Our West Indian Neighbors; The Islands of the Caribbean Sea, America's Mediterranean: Their Picturesque Features, Fascinating History, and Attractions for the Traveler, Nature-Lover, Settler and Pleasure-Seeker"

This book was interesting in its historical context, especially about the volcanic disaster in St. Vincent in 1902 (2 years before this "travel book" was written). 50,000 people died when that volcano erupted, one of the greatest natural disasters in the western hemisphere. Some interesting facts and feelings about the islands and their different strengths and weaknesses. Hearing about them before Castro or the US purchase of the Virgin Islands is also very different.

Blog Tour for Dark Paradise Sept. 10-16, 2018

Blog Tour for Dark Paradise coming Sept. 10-16. Look for giveaways and fun posts on guest blogs all over the net.

Post your photo with your e-book or hard copy of Dark Paradise on social media and share on Gene’s Facebook Instagram or Twitter page over the next two weeks (Sept. 10-23) and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card to be awarded on Monday, September 24th.

The blog tour is running Sept. 10-16th. Please check out the schedule below. I have guest blog posts on these blogs! Go on to hear my latest ramblings!


Dark Paradise Full Tour Banner.jpg

Book Review: A Double Life by Flynn Berry

So the first chapter peaked my interest. The scenario amazingly curious, but then the novel devolves into too much interior life of Claire and her trauma over her father's disappearance, mother's attack, and nanny's murder when she was 4 years old (I think). Then around page 93 the book kicks back into gear and sweeps you along as Claire attempts to unravel the mystery of her father's disappearance and the murders he's accused of. She is an amateur sleuth who has struggled with this for so long that she only has a few disjointed relationships with friends and her brother. Everyone worries about her all the time and because it's more or less all she can think about, for the most part any relationship ultimately needs to carry her closer to the truth or comfort her in some manner. A story about isolation and need, this book delivers but you have to be patient. I especially loved her description of what it's like to be alone in someone else's home when they are away. She crafts sentences very well and as an American she has an amazing ability to capture the British way of speaking. I have not read Under the Harrow but that is on my short list. I look forward to more from Ms. Berry.

Book Review: Moonraker by Ian Fleming

As you can see my reviews are not timely. I read what comes to me then write about it. Ian Fleming came up because a reviewer of Dark Paradise mentioned Fleming as someone I compared to favorably, a wonderful compliment, then I decided to tackle a James Bond novel to remind myself after many years of not reading a Fleming book, how it would come across. Well, pretty favorably. On Goodreads and Amazon, I have this sucker 4-stars. Here's the gist:

Bond and a policewoman team up to uncover a plot under the British government’s nose by a terrorist named Hugo Drax, who is in fact an SS officer who survived, but because he grew up in England, convinced the Brits he was another man, then got them to finance him to build a “test” atomic rocket called “The Moonraker” that’s to be tested in the north sea, but under the noses of the Brits he got a real warhead from the Russians and has aimed the missile at London. Bond and Gala Brand of Scotland Yard, who has worked undercover on the project race against time. Issue: makes it look like Gala is an idiot and Bond figures it all out in 4 days…also seems kind of obvious when reading that Drax is a bad dude, but they don’t see it. Also, how did the Brits let a group of Germans have total control only 10 years after the war. Well written but a bit far fetched.

Book Review: Daemoniac By Kat Ross

Wow, what a fun, literary yarn straight from the world of Holmes and Doyle, but better with a female protagonist named Harrison "Harry" Fearing Pell, the nineteen-year-old younger sister of a legendary detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, who remains mysterious throughout as we only learn about her from the viewpoint of Harry. I loved the skepticism Harry shows throughout about what's happening. Her best friend, John Weston (Dr. Weston), is convinced it's supernatural as the victim, Becky, performed a seance to bring forth a demon, then was murdered. The Bradys show up and hire Harry on the assumption she is Myrtle, an assumption Harry does not dispel. Harry is smart and eager to prove she has worth beyond simply being the younger sister of Myrtle. Using her wits, charm, and good-looks, she makes her way through the slums, high society, and supernatural worlds to pursue a serial killer terrorizing NYC only months before the more infamous Jack the Ripper began his spree in London. A fascinating story of whodunnit that thrusts the reader into danger at every turn, I loved this story. The characters had unique voices and the writing made me feel claustrophobic when called for (I had to stop reading because the feeling overwhelmed me) and giddy with anticipation. I thought a lot about the book and I appreciated that I could play along with Harry in using the clues to make an attempt to solve the murders. Ross' metaphors were descriptive without overburdening the prose. The nods to other stories like Arthur Conan Doyle's and J.K. Rowling's also made it delightful for someone who enjoys literary references.


Join Me: Book Signing for Dark Paradise

My first book signing even for Dark Paradise is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, California from 5-8pm. Please come out and support my book and this great store! Families and kids welcome. I will be selling and signing copies of the novel. Thanks for the support.

Address: 1807 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


Behind the Scenes With Gene

A Deeper Look Into the Inspiration Behind Dark Paradise

  • What was the inspiration behind Boise Montague’s character?

Boise is a name I’ve only heard twice in my life. One was a man who worked for my father and the other was an acquaintance in Los Angeles. The man who worked for my father wound up dead on a beach. I liked him when I was a kid, so the name is an homage to that man and a nod to his untimely death in a mysterious and tragic manner. Boise’s evolution as a character begins when he returns home to “find his sea legs” so to speak. He needs to figure out his place in the world. How and if he does this is the crux of the story, so I’ll leave the reader to see how successful he is in evolving.

  • How has your childhood in St. Thomas influenced and inspired this noir novel?

St. Thomas has a great influence on me, even on my mannerisms, which are deeply ingrained in me. The ever-present smile and open attitude that island life instills in you is something that may not be imprinted on people who live in urban, fast-paced cities, abroad and in the U.S. Growing up on St. Thomas has made me feel comfortable in racially heterogeneous environments. I prefer the company of diverse communities and people of varied backgrounds. To be quite frank, I don’t like how distant my neighbors are in my Los Angeles community. St. Thomas also taught me to be very happy with very little. The electricity constantly went out and we sometimes had no running water. Daily life required you learn to live without amenities that we sometimes take for granted elsewhere.

  • What do you think about the influence that St. Thomas has on Boise and on Dana?

Boise needs the island as a salve and an escape. He’s avoiding constant reminders of his dead wife. For Dana, the island is a place where she can be free to be herself in terms of her sexual preferences, her boisterous attitude, and, of course, her drinking. My experience in St. Thomas was there’s less regulation the farther one gets away from the mainland. The thing that Boise and Dana have in common is their open contempt for incompetence and debauchery, yet they love St. Thomas. It is their true home.

  • What aspects of Dark Paradise make it a noir novel?

Noir has a lot to do with the setting. Most notably people associate American noir with Los Angeles in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s and with the authors Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. In the case of Dark Paradise, the Caribbean lent itself well to noir themes. Like Los Angeles, it’s glossy on the surface with sunshine and beauty. Beneath the gloss lurks hidden evils. The presence of alcohol and drugs in the Virgin Islands, the corrosive effects of money on relationships and people, and the anxieties about masculinity all lend themselves to the genre.

Book Titles vs. Character Names

What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

For sure the book title is harder. It’s so immediate, so vital as a first impression, akin to the book cover. You can draw a reader in or shoo them away. The names of characters, while important are rarely deal-breakers as far as someone picking up the book or even continuing to read. Interesting and meaningful character names do not necessarily matter in many cases and analyzing why an author named a character yields few results except in obvious cases like Voldemort.

In fact, obscure or everyday names are chosen more often than not to no ill effect. I sometimes
choose names from the credits of a movie or by combining first and last names I’ve heard. Human names are easy to come by and many are unique and interesting or common and easy to remember. Titles that tell you something about the story are rare and give so much of a feel to the entire text, especially before you have a completed cover. It's hard to overstate the pressure I feel when choosing a book title.

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