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Book Review: Patch: United States Marshal: Wanted Dead by Russ Towne

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Patch: United States Marshal: Wanted Dead: A Classic New Western Action Adventure From The Author of Patch: United States Marshal: Wanted Dead: A Classic New Western Action Adventure From The Author of “A Bullet In The Neck” by Russ Towne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Russ Towne has found another genre to excel in. I’ve read a few of his books in the past, including one other Western, but this new book–part of a future series about US Marshal Patch Elkins–is a winner. At ~150 pages, it chronicles the US Marshall’s life as he navigates the ‘territory’ to bring in criminals. Unfortunately, there’s a price on more than just the criminals’ heads this time…

My favorite aspect of this book is how much the story tells ‘above and beyond’ the words, for instance… life was insane back in the ‘old days’ of Western adventures. No cars, minimal maps, changing territorial boundaries, it took days to spread the word about outlaw problems via newspapers, it might take a month before someone found a dead body, etc. By reading this book, I actually realized what life was like for a US Marshal during those days. People died in tragedies all the time, just like they do now, but we didn’t hear about it the second it occurred in the days of long ago.

When an author can push you to think beyond ‘what you know,’ you’ve found someone fantastic. Towne’s style is easy-to-read, informative, and reflective. While being an outlaw and traveling by horseback across a territory can be intense, the book is not a totally dark and instructional take on this type of life. It’s not light and fluffy either. There’s a balanced equilibrium where we see love, blood, fighting, anger, death, and hope. Towne shows us how two strangers can bond, how a young teen needs a role model, how what’s fair doesn’t always occur, and how a man with an injury can still protect himself and the country.

I’m excited to see how this series develops. Kudos on an excellent book for a non-typical reader. View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: A Bloody Day in Destiny: Four Stories of the Wild West by Russ Towne

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Over the last year, I’ve read a few children’s books by Russ Towne and loved their strong lessons, vivid characters, and well-thought out settings. Then I noticed on his blog that he’d written a short collection of stories based on western adventures, A Bloody Day In Destiny: Four Stories of the Wild West: A Western Adventure. I snagged a copy (thank you!) and dove into it this week. What a remarkable thing to be able to write in a completely different genre but still offer the same wonderful appeal.

Of the four stories, I was most fond of the first, then the third one. All 4 were good, but the characters greatly appealed to me in these two legends. Between the fantastic western settings, the spot-on dialect, and the clever way to end with a wish the story could keep going on… Towne succeeded again. Unfortunately, he made me a tad upset that they were only short stories. I wanted to read more about the woman searching for a husband and/or for her own land, or the sheriff who may or may not have stolen a bank robber’s girl. Who are we supposed to trust? Way to keep us guessing!

Towne has a gift for creating characters you don’t want to forget or walk away from. I really hope he continues in this genre and shares more about the Old West… there’s quite a lot of history he could help convey to those who haven’t been exposed to it in the past. Kudos to a great leap into the genre… bring us more, please!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Happy Mother’s Day

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Life begins with the concept of motherhood. The terms are virtually inseparable as you can’t have one without the other under most conditions in the human world. And while mothers come in all different forms, today is the day to celebrate them no matter how they’re part of our lives. Whether it’s our own mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, or someone in our family or circle of friends, we all know one or many who have unbelievably touched us for the better.

My own mother is a prime example, and while she doesn’t follow my blog (she’s not online often), someone I know — I’m sure — will tell her about this post. And when they do, they will tell her that I think she’s undoubtedly the most generous, wonderful, and caring woman in my life. She’s done everything she could for me throughout the years and I’ll be eternally grateful. From wisdom to gently knocking me upside the head (figuratively) when I needed to get back on course, my mother is a genuine and amazing role model. Thank you to her for everything I’ve become, as it wouldn’t have happened with you.

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My mother is not the only woman out there who fits into this description. Perhaps you’re one of them. Or you know someone who is. Tell them you love them. Let them know how amazing they are. And so… to all of you who fit this description, you are amazing. I’m glad we’re connected via our blogs, social media, or texting… whatever the form of our communication: Thank you for being part of my life.

***

As a quick aside, motherhood in my first two books is pretty core when it comes to the central theme. Whether it’s Olivia in Watching Glass Shatter trying to reassemble her family after a devastating accident, Amalia learning what it means to have a mother who abuses you in Father Figure, or any of the supporting characters trying to figure out their relationships… women like Janet, Molly, Diane, Sarah, or Margaret, these women all share one thing in common: they are mothers in some way, shape, or form to people around them. It’s in this relationship I find the beauty and energy of love, pain, emotions, and selfless choices. And that’s why it’s always something close to my heart and front-n-center in my books. I choose to celebrate motherhood however I can.

365 Challenge: Day 294 – New Year’s (LIST: Holiday)

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New Year’s: the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a national holiday

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Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For this group of 5 Sundays, I chose holidays and now we’re in our final week. I’ve gone with New Year’s because that’s what happens tonight into tomorrow — and it’s a perfect ending to this holiday list. Let’s explore why I love this holiday:

  • It’s a new beginning.
  • It’s a time to remember and reflect.
  • You can embrace change.
  • I love the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’
  • I have a few traditions, like holding money and ensuring the house is cleaned up with no outstanding laundry and a fully stocked food supply.
  • I have fun memories of my father and I banging pots at midnight when I was a child.
  • I live in NYC but will NEVER EVER go to Times Square.
  • I don’t really eat any traditional foods — none are very tasty from what I know of.
  • Watching the BALL drop on the TV.
  • Resolutions.
  • Off from work.
  • The possibility of a whole new approach to things.
  • A truly defining marker.
  • Hope for things yet to come.

I prefer to be at home. I have this weird moment as the ball begins to drop where I want and hope to be perfect starting at midnight… eat healthy, no drinking, say and think positive things, behave, just do everything right! As I get older, I realize that it’s not about picking a moment to change, it’s about incorporating it one by one into your lifestyle in healthy ways. But ever since I was a child, it was always a game to see how long I could hold on in the new year. Now that I’m no longer a child, though at times I like to think I am (ha!), it’s more about that breathtaking moment when the ball drops — to tell myself how lucky I am, kiss the one I love and wish for the brilliance of tomorrow. For me, that’s all about being in the comforts of home, or with a very small crowd, where it feels cozy.

How do you feel about New Year’s Eve or Day? Do you celebrate in any special way?

 

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: TBD
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 58 – Mean

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Mean: unkind or cruel

Today’s word is mean. It took me about two minutes to decide what to blog about, stemming from a book I read yesterday evening that kept me awake for a good part of the night. The book told a story about what I can only describe as mean people… and it was mean that I lost my sleep! The book was Beartown by Fredrick Backman, and I will write up a review about it later, as I don’t want to duplicate any thoughts here. You check it out via this link.

I am not a mean person. I have done a few mean things over the course of my lifetime, but I could count them on both hands and probably still have one or two fingers available for the future. Being mean is something that’s only ever come out of me when absolutely pushed to the edge, unable to find any recourse elsewhere. They’re certainly not moments I’m proud of, but youth or anger can get the better of you at times.

I spent part of the evening thinking about what it takes for someone to innately be a mean person. Is it something built into their DNA? Is it an amalgamation of awful experiences? Is it learned by watching others around them?

Then I began wondering whether or not mean people even know they are mean. Or have they justified actions such that it feels like acceptable and normal behavior?

Let’s qualify a few examples of what I’m referring to as mean: (a) you intentionally say rude or harmful things to another person just for the sake of wanting to insult them, (b) you take or steal something important because you want it badly and don’t give a hoot what happens to the other person, (c) you physically hurt somebody just because you can, (d) you purposely set someone up for a fall to see them lose. I could go on for days here, but you get the point.

I may think of doing a negative action, letting that unkind or cruel thought ride the waves in my brain for a moment or two, but I stop myself before it ever happens. It’s just not in me to do something like that… unless it’s extreme retaliation or utter frustration and anger. But there are people who simply go about their lives with those tactics in the forefront of their mind. I struggle to understand how something like that can happen.

Do they feel remorse? Do they assume it is just a small practical joke? Are they hurting and just feel it’s lashing out? Mean is unnecessary. To people. To children. To animals. To anything. There are thousands of other options to avoid being mean.

It starts in childhood, often in school. You’ve probably seen the movies “Cruel Intentions” or “Mean Girls,” where it’s an uber-experience in being utterly unkind and awful. I think back to my own experience, be it grammar, middle or high school, and I have several examples of kids being mean. I was never one of them. But I’m not bragging or trying to pat myself on the back. I’m thinking about why it happens…

I never felt a need to demoralize or demean someone else. I’m no saint. If someone tripped, I probably giggled. If someone looked bad, I probably made a mental note and either laughed or smirked. I have a few general recollections of things like that, even 1 or 2 where a group of kids laughed at someone else, and nearly everyone joined in… but I didn’t, as I knew it wasn’t right and didn’t care about fitting in. I’m not the one who’d stand up and tell everyone else off to get their attention away from the other victim. Maybe a little bit, I might… But I would go talk to that person afterwards so (s)he knew someone around them could be kind.

For any bullies reading this, shame on you. For anyone who lets it happen and does nothing… think about your actions. For anyone who tries to stop it or is never/rarely mean… which if you’re reading something I’m saying is probably 99.99% of you… congratulations for being a decent human being and truly knowing how to be a good person…….. why am I being so Mother Goose today?

It’s one of those things I don’t accept excuses for… no matter what’s happened to you (barring extreme circumstances), it’s important to stop that behavior from passing thru you on to someone else. Phew… a little tension out before I finish writing that book review. Thanks for listening to the rant. But it fit well into the 365 Daily Challenge. It was introspective. It was analytical. And it was an important characteristic to discuss… to ensure it’s one we all stay away from.  xoxo (it’s hug time after my little vent!)

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 2 – Honesty

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Honesty: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

Being honest is almost always the only proper route in life. On rare occasions will I find it acceptable to be less than honest. It’s innate, at least in me, and I think in most people, that the honest response or answer is the first one (s)he thinks of; however, the degree to which they debate following through on the honesty is what differs among us.

I’m sure I was taught as a child that “honesty is the best policy,” whether it was in school or at home. I don’t exactly remember this conversation other than hearing about it in classic 1950s and 1960s TV shows and the occasional movie where someone is trying to coax a child to tell the truth. But even if I weren’t actually taught this message, it seems like the right thing to do. If not, everything would be more like a treacherous game than a way of life. Let’s all play some Game of Thrones today! Russian Roulette is the new mantra. NOT!

I can recall a few moments when I wasn’t 100% honest; told you in my 365 intro I intend to tell both the good and the bad!

  • I know I was obsessed with Legos and took a few home with me from a friend’s house one time. I claimed I didn’t know what happened to them, but I clearly remember thinking “these aren’t mine” when they “fell” into my Lego box. I’m not exactly sure why, other than Legos brought me great pleasure and offered an escape from other things in my life (no, nothing bad… I was just a very shy kid).
  • I’ve told someone (on a few occasions) I’d been dating that I wasn’t attracted to someone else when I knew I was. And yes, in the past, I did cross a line many years ago that I should not have crossed. I was bad. I admit it. But I learned from it and I eventually confessed. You can choose to dislike it or me, and I don’t blame you. But we all live in a glass house at some point, and we’ve all thrown the stones when we knew we shouldn’t.
  • I’ve made up plans when I didn’t feel like going out with someone else. I truly just needed down time… and didn’t want to offend the person or have them think I didn’t like them. They would be persistent if I just said I didn’t “want” to go out.

OK, so none of those are all that bad (e.g. murder, marital affair, bullying). But I had an opportunity to tell the truth, and I chose not to. Sometimes, I’m afraid of hurting another person’s feelings. Sometimes it would lead to a far worse situation to be honest, and it’s easier to just tell the white lie to end the immediate issue. Are these acceptable situations?

For the most part, I think they are. If the truth will hurt someone’s feelings, but the lie will avoid a problem – and it is short-term and not impactful – it may be the best course of action. Why tell a friend their new haircut looks bad when it will be fine in a few days? Perhaps if they are going on a date or a job interview, don’t let them suffer a longer-term impact. Bite the bullet, tell them it’s awful and deal with the short-term impacts.

If you’re thinking about cheating, hmm… that’s a tough one. Do you hide it until you know you want to, or do you risk saying “I thought about Person X” to the person you are dating and have them prematurely leave you? I choose not to answer that question because I think the answer lies in the strength of your relationship; you should be working towards a solidarity that can withstand admitting you find someone else attractive. It’s when you choose to act on it that the line has been crossed. Subjectivity in this level of honesty in the important message.

But on the good side, honesty is really the only way to exist. It’s an example of how to level-set the playing field. When you are dishonest, everything that happens afterwards will immediately be suspect. Take the example of someone who lies on their resume or in an interview to get a job. Perhaps the less qualified candidate will get the job due to this lie. But eventually, it’s a high probability (s)he will be found out and either lose their job or be reprimanded. That addresses the situation for the liar, but what about the person impacted by that lie? (S)he didn’t get the job, which may have been a career changer for the future. Where does that leave him or her? Note: I’m not getting into fate and sometimes it’s necessary to lose one thing to set you on the path to what you are really destined for… that’s another topic! Yikes… these challenges might be harder than I thought. Morality exists everywhere!

And so, when I look at honesty, it’s a scale heavily waited to 99% of the time, i.e. it is required. Dishonesty should only be reserved for those moments when you’ve weighed the options and the impacts of that decision are not harmful to anyone, or are less harmful than the alternative.

That said, many readers are probably thinking “he’s so wrong… you should never lie… what do we tell our children…” You tell them the truth. You provide examples, you teach them about cause and effect, you explain the impacts with either decision. Not when they are 2 or 3 or 4, but when they are mature enough to understand.

That doubly said, I RESPECT those who ALWAYS tell the truth, no matter the impact. Perhaps they are too blunt. Perhaps they are inconsiderate. Perhaps they are rude. But they are honest and you will always know what to expect from them. And being consistent is one of those really extremely important things to be. And that will be tomorrow’s characteristic!