On The Fourth Day of Shopping….

On the fourth day of Christmas shopping, Ninetoes brings to you recommendations for the Science Fiction lover in your life!

AND Awaaaaay we go!


Andy Weir, who gave us The Martian, uses his talent to bring us Artemis, a heist tale set on the moon! A heist tale on the moon? Sign me up! I am sure that fans of his will devour this book with great gusto!

Ready Player One

In a soon to be major motion picture produced by Stephen Spielberg, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is a Science Fiction novel not to be missed. Th world is an ugly place, and in their free time most of its citizens plug into OASIS, a game world where anything is possible. The creator of OASIS has hidden a prize of great wealth and power, all the players have to do is find the puzzles that lead to said treasure. Wade Watts has just found the first puzzle! Will he have what it takes to go the the end and get the prize?

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Rose Sartin gives us a novel that is part science fiction, part love story. “I’ve come for you.” With those four words, Rhyel of New Centallus changes Dr. Amber Donovan’s life forever. This is the first book in a series that has been forty years in the making.

Title: Stranger in a Strange Land, Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein’s classic tale of a man from Mars coming to earth is a must for any fan of Science Fiction. Part social commentary on the 1960’s, part sci-fi  thriller, it is the tale of Valentine Michael Smith, a man from Mars ho comes to Earth. He wants peace, the government views him as a threat. He is a character you will fall in love with!


When the cyberpunk movement was just starting in science fiction, William Gibson was its god! Neuromancer was the book that cemented his title. It is slick, stylish, dark and compelling. It is the story of data thief Henry Dorsett Case and his last score for a mysterious employer against a powerful artificial intelligence that orbits Earth. Neuromacer won the Hugo, Nebula, and Phillip K. Dick awards, and onve you crack into this one you will see why!


5 Questions with Paul Kane

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Paul Kane is the award-winning, bestselling author and editor of over seventy books – including the Arrowhead trilogy (gathered together in the sellout Hooded Man omnibus, revolving around a post-apocalyptic version of Robin Hood), The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, Hellbound Hearts and The Mammoth Book of Body Horror. His non-fiction books include The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue and DeathRay. He has been a Guest at Alt.Fiction five times, was a Guest at the first SFX Weekender, at Thought Bubble in 2011, Derbyshire Literary Festival and Off the Shelf in 2012, Monster Mash and Event Horizon in 2013, Edge-Lit in 2014, HorrorCon, HorrorFest and Grimm Up North in 2015, The Dublin Ghost Story Festival and Sledge-Lit in 2016, plus IMATS Olympia in 2017, as well as being a panellist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention, and a fiction judge at the Sci-Fi London festival. His work has been optioned and adapted for the big and small screen, including for US network television, and his latest novels are Lunar (set to be turned into a feature film), the Y.A. story The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane), the sequel to RED – Blood RED – the award-winning hit Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell and Before. He lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife Marie O’Regan, his family and a black cat called Mina. Find out more at his site http://www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Robert Kirkman, Dean Koontz and Guillermo del Toro.

It has been said that to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. With that in mind, please answer the following questions.

-What book got you interested in reading?

When I was really little, my granddad would read me stories – and I remember one about a mysterious house in the fog. Years later, I discovered it was of course Enid Blyton’s The House in the Fog, which is part of a collection I now have. Such strange things happened inside that house, like the boy turning slowly into a fox cub, and when he returned to try and find the place, it was gone. So I suppose you could say that was my first brush with genre storytelling. The book that got me interested in reading myself, and horror in general, was James Herbert’s The Rats. I read that when I was about nine, I think – and really shouldn’t have been anywhere near it. But I absolutely loved that novel, and still do! The whole man vs nature thing and the gory descriptions… That spun me off into a lifelong love of horror books, and I read whatever I could get hold of moving into my teens – including King, Campbell, Rice, Masterton and, naturally, Clive Barker. Over time, of course, I realised there was a hell of a lot more to horror novels and stories than simply blood and guts.

-Do you have a favorite genre to read?

Well, probably horror, as I say – but I do love crime, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy… All these were part of that big read in my teens, when I had a lot more time on my hands than I do now. I called it my ‘real’ education, grounding myself in all of those; not that I don’t value my actual education! My favourite authors from those genres included people like Colin Dexter – who wrote the Inspector Morse novels – Thomas Harris, Frank Herbert and his Dune novels, and Tolkien. I adored The Hobbit! But I suppose horror was the genre I kept returning to again and again. Even in my own writing, if I do a post-apocalyptic tale like Hooded Man or The Rot, or crime stories like those found in one of my recent collections Nailbiters, they have horror elements to them as well. It’s always there, like a constant companion. But then, horror is the most flexible of all genres anyway and can absorb lots of others. You can even have comedy horror stories, and I also write those in the form of my Dalton Quayle adventures; these are something of a release valve or antidote to the much darker material I’m often getting down on the page.

-Is there a book you have read more than one time?

Oh, loads… But I’ll probably go for The Hellbound Heart here, for obvious reasons – and my association with the Hellraiser mythology. For people who don’t know, I wrote The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy, edited Hellbound Hearts with my wife, Marie O’Regan, and wrote last year’s award-winning Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell, which saw the world’s greatest detective tackling the Cenobites. However, for me, it began and ended with Clive’s original novella which introduced it all. Quite apart from the stuff with the sadomasochistic demons, it’s a brilliant study of a marriage and an affair, with some excellent character studies: Frank, the hedonist who seduces Julia – and she’ll do anything for him, including killing victims for Frank to feast on; Rory, the hapless husband and brother of Frank; Kirsty, whose unrequited love for Rory is the stuff of legend. Horror set against the backdrop of everyday life, or as Ghostwatch writer Stephen Volk called it recently in a talk he gave: ‘the domestic uncanny’. The idea that something so outlandish as the summoning of these creatures could happen in an ordinary house just down the road is very appealing to me. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t be if it was actually happening down my road, but reading about it is a different thing.

-What got you interested in writing?

Probably reading first, then wanting to have a go at that myself. When I was really young it was reading the comics my dad used to buy me from the local newsagents – all kinds of stuff, from DC…Batman was my favourite…to Marvel. And I remember vividly the old Tomb of Dracula stuff that I really should not have been reading at such a tender age, but God bless dad for letting me! I started to try and draw my own comics, making up stories – and I’d also construct these elaborate tales which I would act out with my toys. When I was a bit older, I’d write stories in my English classes, usually involving ancient curses and mummies, or zombies and vampires, much to the exasperation of my teachers I’m sure. Then I simply tinkered in my teens, playing about with my mum’s typewriter and emulating the kind of authors I was reading. I still have some of these and take them out when I’m feeling a bit down, because they’re simply hilarious. One’s called Night Beast where I have all these people in helicopters on the moors chasing a monster and shooting at it with Magnums. It’s like something out of the spoof Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace! After my A-Levels, I went to art college with some sort of vague idea of becoming a comic book artist, but quickly realised I wasn’t as good as a lot of my mates. I had a go at everything there, though, including filmmaking and photography, which I specialised in. I was getting better marks for my theory writing than anything else, however, so my tutor suggested I do a theory degree – and I ended up doing a BA in History of Art, Design and Film, then a couple of years later doing an MA just in Film Studies. During that first three years, I did a couple of modules of Professional Writing – journalism essentially – which forced you to send off your work to newsstand magazines. So, when I left uni, I started up as a freelance journo, writing reviews and articles for various mags and newspapers. But that idea of writing fiction was still nagging at me… I did a correspondence course in writing and then discovered the small press scene in the ‘90s, before becoming involved in the British Fantasy Society after that…and the rest is history! Last year I celebrated 20 years as a professional writer with a collection from SST of my best stories called Shadow Casting, introduced by Muriel Gray and with cover art from Vincent Chong. It’s gone by in a flash…

-Was there a book of yours that was difficult to write? Which one was it and what made it so difficult?

Ha ha, they’re all difficult to write! Unlike some other writers, I find the actual process of writing quite hard – which might sound strange, given the amount I’ve produced over the years. I like having written something, and tidying it up or editing it, a lot more than the sitting down and banging out the words. In fact I go into a bit of a fugue state when I write, waking up and wondering how I managed to do 1,000 words before lunch or whatever. But it’s never easy… The hardest, I’d say, was my latest novel Before – out now – because it’s the most complex thing I’ve ever attempted. It’s certainly my longest piece of fiction, weighing in at about 160k wds, but it also deals with a lot of very challenging ideas. It’s being described as a dark fantasy version of Cloud Atlas, as it takes place over different time periods, but it’s also my Great and Secret Show and my American Gods, which gives you some idea of what we’re dealing with. It took a lot of planning, research and hard work, but the reviews it’s getting which are calling it ‘thrilling’, ‘truly compelling reading’ and ‘rewarding’ make it all worthwhile. I’m also very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive publisher for this one in Grey Matter; they’ve even set up a website devoted just to that one novel – http://before.greymatterpress.com/  If you read the book you’ll soon see that all the effort is right there on the page: the sweat, the blood and, yes, the tears. But I’m incredibly proud of it, especially now it’s out there in the world.


On The Third Day of Shopping…

On the Third Day of Christmas Shopping, Ninetoes Presents to you…books! I know! A blog devoted to books and it gets to books on the THIRD day? Well, without further ado, I present to you gift giving ideas in the genre of (throws a dart) Biography!!!!!

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit

Chris Matthews (Political commentator for MSNBC), who gave us Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, now turns his sights to JFK’s brother Bobby in Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit. This is a must read for biography and Kennedy lovers alike!

Leonardo da Vinci

Walter Isaacson has made a career of writing biographies of men of genius and innovation. From Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein, to Steve Jobs, he has turned his talented eye to another renowned man of genius, Leonardo Da Vinci. Yeah, this one is definitely on my wishlist!


Ron Chernow, who gave us Washington: A Life and Alexander Hamilton (which spawned a hit Broadway play) now turns his talents to Civil War general and 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant in his biography Grant. Coming in at a little over 1100 pages, I am sure you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about President Grant. Yes, this is another book on my wishlist!

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Caroline Fraser, the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series, draws on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s letters, diaries, unpublished manuscripts, and financial records to fill in the blanks of Wilder’s life. This is a must for fans of the Little House on the Prairie series.

This is just a sampling of the many biographies offered at bookstores and online sites. If you have a biography lover on your shopping list, I hope I was able to give you some ideas.

Happy Shopping!

Introducing Michael Lee

-What is your name?  Michael Lee

-What genre do you write in? Currently, American Western fictional history.

-What drew you to this genre? I wanted to write about something, I had some knowledge of.

-What book(s) have you written?  Del Rio completed and at Publishers, in pre edit.  I am currently under contract for 4 books in this series. Almost finished with 2nd book, Del Rio’s Revenge.  I have another book of short stories called My Sandy Martin series.  These are short stories loosely based on the morning t.v. westerns I watched on t.v. as a kid.  Children’s t.v. is atrocious! Sandy Martin and his family are ranchers in the west.  Set in no exact time or place.  They are slated to appear in “Saddle Bag Dispatches” an online magazine sometime, I believe next year.

-What is your current release? Del Rio will be the first book released sometime in 2018.  Sandy Martin as a magazine serial 2018 as well.  I am conjecturing here as I have no precise date.

-How much research went into that book? Two years of research as an ongoing process during the writing. Research is never ending.  Four years with re-writes to complete. I always have to validate what I am doing to the time and period.

-What was the hardest part of writing that book?    Learning the craft of writing.  Sounds factitious I know.  I was an English/ Theatre major, awa degreed Chiropractor (retired) and have written several articles and local plays, but I didn’t understand the craft.

-Is this work part of a series?  Yes. It will be an ongoing series with Del Rio’s Revenge the 2nd book.  “Tucker” will be the third and have not decided on a title for the 4th.  Though a plot is building in my mind.

– Where can your book(s) be found?   Through OGHMA publishing in Bentonville, Arkansas.

-Reading time is valuable. Sell me on your book.

I tried to introduce a few plot angles, not normally associated with a typical “WESTERN”  Time is Christmas Eve, 1846

Young, 17 yr old (Delaino Daniel Riodan) mistreated boy runs away from Grandfather, Major Conlon (ex-British military) and Uncle Beaux to find the father he thought was dead.  He hopes to find him in Indianapolis.  He was born in Indiana, mother took him back to visit grandpa. She passes from fever.

Her slave, Tucker was with her Indiana.  He raises the boy.  Grandpa and Uncle dislike the boy, because they feel the mother married below her social class.

Father (Daniel) was told both mother and son had died. He goes to Baltimore to see the graves.  He is crushed with sorrow, but refused even this gesture from the Major. Uncle has him thrown in jail and threatened to kill him if he ever returns to Baltimore.

Tucker is whipped by an enraged Beaux, because he told Del about his father, helped him to run,  and the lies he has been told, by the Major, convincing Del to leave.

Tucker runs away, hoping to meet Del and Daniel in Indianapolis.  He is rescued by Mormons, who are not going to Indianapolis, but to Independence, Mo.  Heading to California.

On Christmas, Eve, Del steals Major Conlon’s (militarily) trained stallion Raj, after a fight where Beaux threatens to kill him and Del cuts Beaux’s face with an iron poker. Del leaves, taking his father’s letters and gold sovereigns, he finds in the Major’s library. Both uncle and nephew, hate each other.

Del travels the National road to Indianapolis where he discovers, his father has left to go to Independence to join a wagon train for Oregon.  He has two Howdah pistols on his saddle from his grandfather’s days, hunting tigers in India as part of the British Raj.

Del, Tucker, Daniel reunite in Independence for the trip to Oregon.  Danger and adventure await on the trail.  They are pursued by Beaux as Del is the inheritor of the estate.  The Major has died and Beaux is left penniless.  He is next of kin and will inherit if Del dies. Beaux turns into a preying wolf on the prairie seeking Del’s blood and to brand and return Tucker to slavery or death.


On The Second Day of Christmas Shopping…

On the second day of Christmas shopping, Ninetoes presents to you… A few more non book related gift ideas for the reader in your life. Fear not dear reader, book suggestions are coming!

Let’s start with something easy; Beverages! When I read during the day, I like to have a cup of coffee next to me. I know, I know, coffee is not the only beverage, but let’s face it, in most book stores you will see a COFFEE shop of some kind. Here are some coffee and tea ideas for your reader.

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The best place to find coffee and tea online is at Amazon.com. I am sure there are other places, but this is where I found the selection you see here.

What’s that? Oh, I like the way you think dear reader! Of course they will need something to drink it out of! You can find mugs anywhere. And if you do not find the one you like, you can have one made! What is the reader in your life into? Personally I have an assortment of mugs, from Star Trek to Star Wars. From Spiderman to Superman. And of course the ones with literary quotes. The list goes on and on.

A couple of places I found for your mug needs are:



They have a wide variety of mugs and you can even make your own.

On The First Day of Christmas…

Okay, we are in full swing in the Christmas Shopping Season. Do you have a reader in your life? Do you want to get them something other than a book, but do not know what to get? Have no fear dear friends, Ninetoes is here with great gift giving ideas!

First, what do you get a book lover, but are afraid they will have the book you are thinking of? Do not get them the book. Get them a book mark. Huh? Something so small, and inexpensive? Seriously Ninetoes? You have to be kidding me! Nope. Not at all. If you go to a bookstore, you will see and assortment of “bookmark trees” with a whole host of bookmarks to choose from. Movie character, inspirational quote, funny, cats, dogs, superheroes, metal, plastic, wood, you can find a bookmark for any occasion.

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Not interested in a bookmark? How about a book light? Yes, there are lights that clip on to the book and go over the page so just the reader is awake with the light and no one else. There is even a lighted magnifying glass for books if the print is too small.

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Book lights not doing it for you? How about a book cover? Yes, a book cover. Any book lover worth their salt loves to maintain the integrity of their book. From the cover to the spine to the very page, they want their book cared for. Why not look at a high end book cover?

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How about a lap table? They come in handy, you can use it to take notes on, write letters on, hold your book open. etc. They also come in handy for other non book related activities.

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If you have a reader in your life, and they want to carry multiple titles with them where ever they go, then get them an e-reader. You know, Kindle, Nook, I-Pad or any other kind of tablet that books can be read on.

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These are just some samples of non book related gifts for the reader in your life. No matter what they get from you, it will be most appreciated.

Happy Shopping.

I Dreamed a Dream

For the first time in at least twenty years, I dreamed of my grandfather Harold Gunnar Larson. This man taught me how to laugh, love, live. Most importantly, he taught me the joy of reading. I was seven years old, we had just finished watching Errol Flynn’s version of Robin Hood. I sat there is wide eyes wonderment and he said four magic words…THE BOOK WAS BETTER. My jaw fell to my chest. There was a book? (Santa Claus got the book for me that year…hey, I still believe!)

In my dream, my grandfather came back to life. We were sitting at his kitchen table, on a midnight run of reading. Every night, before he went to bed, my grandfather would sit in the corner, at this table, coffee cup on one side, pack of Viceroy cigarettes on the other, and a book in the middle. In my dream, he was without a book. “Well Ninetoes, what have I missed in thirty six years?”

Well Gramps, I am so very glad you asked.

Title: The Hunt for Red October, Author: Tom Clancy

The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy. Gramps you would have loved this one! A Russian submarine commander wants to defect to America, goes rogue in Russia’s newest sub and heads west. The hunt is on from both sides. Politics abound, a CIA analyst figures out what he is up to, but will he be in time to convince our leaders that this guy is on the up and up? Oh, and Gramps, there is an entire series of “Jack Ryan” books.

Title: The Camel Club (Camel Club Series #1), Author: David Baldacci

The Camel Club by David Baldacci. This is a thriller of the first order. Four eccentric men gather together to discuss conspiracy theories, current events, and what is going on in our government, UNTIL they witness a murder and become a part of their own conspiracy theory! Again, Gramps, this is the first in a series.

Title: No Time for Goodbye, Author: Linwood Barclay

No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay. After a night of partying, fourteen year old Cynthia Bigge woke up to find her entire family, mother, father, brother, gone. No note, no trace, no nothing. Twenty five years later, she will discover what happened to her family. THEN her nightmare will truly begin!

Title: The Martian, Author: Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir. C’mon Gramps, you know I had to sneak some Science Fiction in the list! However, this is no ordinary Science Fiction novel. Hear me out! Mark Watney is on Mars with his fellow crew members. Until a freak dust storm makes the crew abandon the planet and leaving Watney behind in the process. Now it is a fight for survival until Watney can be rescued, if he can be. Yeah, I thought that would get your attention.

Title: Wolf Hall, Author: Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. England during the rule of Henry VIII can be plunged into civil war if Henry does not give a male heir. He wants to divorce his wife of twenty years so he can marry Anne Boleyn, a woman he is certain can give him the heir he needs. The Pope, and most of Europe is not in favor of this. In comes Thomas Cromwell who can possibly help those opposed find a way to accept what will happen. I really think you will like this one, Gramps.

Unfortunately, I woke up before I could continue my list. I hope there is a library in Heaven, because I know my grandfather will be sitting there, somewhere, catching up on what he missed!