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Gil Anderson’s, Going Fore It in golf and in life

In reading Mr. Anderson’s book, two things stood out: he’s a decent writer and has a severe golf fetish.   Regarding his approach to the craft of writing, in “Going Fore It“  Anderson marries descriptiveness with a merciful conciseness that leads the reader very smoothly through the book.   As for content, Anderson calls upon a lifetime of golfing experiences to paint the picture of the mental relationships between golfer, golfing, the golf course and course design itself through a light transcendentalist prism.  He then blends these relationships by connecting the proper mental approach of the game of golf to achieving peak performance in life.  His skillful crafting of such a weighty subject of spirituality was kept light and entertaining, culminating in a smooth read.  However, themes of eastern philosophy and transcendentalism along with the clear influence of Deepak Chopra were a bit overwhelming.  At times I found myself reaching for the granola and wanting to light some incense to enhance the experience.  While reading the book, though I had no reason to question the author’s handling of the English language and the game of golf, I did find myself wondering why I was reading it.  Though Anderson and I are both avid golfers and share a love and appreciation for the game, there seemed to be a major divide regarding the role the game plays in our lives.

I agree with the author on the idea that a clear mind off the golf course leads to better scores on the golf course.  Having distractions carried onto the course doesn’t lend itself to proper concentration and scoring on it.  If you have ever played a round of golf when skipping out of a work meeting and feel guilty while draining a thirty foot put, you know exactly what I mean. Mr. Anderson has a great description of a interesting concept called “mindful mindlessness” that addresses this scenario wonderfully.   The author explains the concentration concepts that many apply on the course and then also applies them off the course.  He caddies your brain through connecting you to how you were able to focus to score well, then deconstructs it to apply that mindset to life in general.  It is at this point where the divide between the author’s view on golf and life and my own personal view of its place threatened to morph into canyon-like status.  Anderson steeps himself so deep in a worshipful trance focused on the game of golf and the courses it is played on, that it becomes borderline bizarre.  Correction. It is bizarre. It is reminiscent of the character Ty Web from the movie Caddy Shack, but only if we were forced to take him seriously.  Anderson’s reverence for the sport squarely places him in a unique sort of yogi zen master positioned within his own brand of new eastern golf theology. In short, golf is both his mantra and his idol and he is not shy about it in the least.  Or he may just be a skilled writer, excellent golf instructor and a misguided spiritual adviser who is actively seeking to proselytize.

In the end if you enjoy a smooth read, are golf obsessed, and are not attached to any western religious dogma then this book is for you.  It is well written, entertaining and should not take you too long to get through.

Book Trailer

Check out the trailer for my debut novel!

“The Devil Colony” book review

Written by New York Times best selling author, James Rollins, The Devil Colony continues the legacy of Painter Crowe and his crack team of military veterans, patriotic scientists and intellectuals, all of which comprise The Sigma Force: a secretive, black-op organization who match brains and brawn with the enemies of freedom.   Admittedly, I was a tad skeptical when publicist and media guy, Mike Farley, queried whether I was interested in reviewing the novel.   Why was that?  Because in my estimation, it’s generally difficult for an author to maintain quality momentum when writing a series, particularly a series that stretches beyond three or four books, regardless of how invested a reader becomes in the characters in the initial installment.  You know of what I speak. Just ask fans of Anne Rice.

What started with a tantalizingly fresh rendition of vampire lore in Interview with a Vampire eventually morphed into tedious swathes of forced prose and stale, stretched literary concepts by the time her fifth installment in the Vampire Chronicles came to press.  Reading Rice’s fifth installment, Memnoch the Devil, was much like watching Michael Jordan play basketball.  I’m talking about the Michael Jordan who played for the Washington Wizards, not the legendary hall of famer who led the Bulls to multiple NBA rings.  Jordan had lost a step or two by the time he laced up his sneakers for the Wizards in 2001 and as much as the NBA and its fans adored him, it became tiresome to watch him clang jumpers, complain to the refs and blame the slick floors for his lack of lift-off when taking it to the hole in the fourth quarter. (Sounds eerily reminiscent of Lebron James post-Cleveland departure to the Heat, doesn’t it?)

But as for my initial reticence regarding James Rollins’ newest installment in the Sigma Force series, I humbly stand corrected.  The Devil Colony is a soaring, from the foul line slam dunk.  Chock full of action and sweeping across continents and history, Rollins guides the reader back to America’s infancy and into the present, cleverly splicing legend, fact and myth into a breathtaking conspiratorial tale of what might have happened and what could be.

Beginning with the book inside jacket teaser, “Could the founding of the United States be based on a fundamental lie”, Rollins’ sixth installment in the series explodes from the pages with intrigue: strange artifacts, gold plates inscribed with semi-Semitic script and hundreds of prehistoric mummified bodies of Caucasian origin are discovered out west in a secluded mountain cave system sparking controversy as the U.S. government and the Native American Heritage Commission race to lay claim to the remains and more importantly, the artifacts.   However, the U.S. government and the Native Americans are not the only ones vying for the strange artifacts.   A secret society known as the Guild, with its enormous wealth, resources and protective cloak of anonymity, has also entered the fray, its objective to steal the strange artifacts and harness the artifacts’ power and mystique for their own purposes, and the Guild is not easily subdued.   Manipulating America’s course since the time of the thirteen colonies, the Guild’s shadowy influence permeates every U.S. institution, showing itself to be more than a match for Painter Crowe’s vaunted Sigma Force.

That’s all the detail you readers will pull out of this reviewer. If you want more, you’ll have to read it for yourself.  If you like your novels served action heavy, with a dash of true science and spiced with archaeology and history with a garnish of plausible fiction, then by all means read The Devil Colony.

A Roman Peace in Briton: Blood on the Stone

Previously on Joe Unleashed, the world bore witness to how I felt about the state of the publishing industry and in particular, the fear and loathing in which I held it. I’m certain I’m not the first novelist or writer to harbor such sentiments. As a matter of fact, witnessing the proliferation of e-reader devices and vanity presses, I’m quite sure of it.  But alas, nevermore shall I dwell on such thoughts.  The die is cast and the proverbial Rubicon crossed. With very little peril, I may add.  Very anti-climatic and not nearly as dramatic or performed with the same flourish as the late, great Julius Caesar when he originally coined the phrase.

Nonetheless, here is a peek at my debut novel,

Over two thousand years ago, in a vanished world in which gallant death and honor still holds sway, Gaius Julius Caesar is blitzing through Briton’s fierce, blue-painted warlords, exacting a heavy price in exchange for peace. News from Rome and word of rebellion in war-ravaged Gaul cut short Caesar’s invasion of Briton, leaving him little choice but to return to the mainland. Leaving for Gaul, Caesar entrusts a depleted legion to Cussius Caesar, and senior centurion, Marcus Rulus. With orders to further explore Briton and return to Gaul with the tribute, Marcus and Cussius find themselves in a remarkable quest to carve a future out of the land. A Roman Peace in Briton follows the lives of those left behind whose fates become bound to the people of the fabled, fog-bound lands of ancient Briton. Filled with dramatic scenes and abounding in fictional and historical personalities, A Roman Peace in Briton hooks with passionate storytelling and engulfs the reader in events of historical legend.

Still not enough? Then how about a brief excerpt randomly selected from deep within the book itself. Here it goes:

The knoll itself was a decent observation point from which to survey the countryside, including the surrounding hills. The hill slanted down gently and opened up into a small valley through which the stream they had crossed earlier meandered. The wheat in the fields had already been threshed and was now winnowing. In other fields, farmers had stripped the pastureland of its bounty, and all that remained was a thick carpet of waist-high grasses that swayed uneasily in the westerly wind.

“Enemy!” screamed an alert troop. Marcus pivoted in the direction of the pointing legionary. A short distance away, a figure emerged from the fading green of the forest. Behind the figure, mild hills sloped upward to verdant woods, deep with oak and ash. Marcus smiled grimly, for he knew the forest awaited the opportunity to spew forth its content of warriors.

The solitary figure stared upward toward the waiting Romans. Marcus could just barely make out the warrior’s features. He appeared to be very tall, with rippling muscles under clear white skin striped with woad. His hair glowed blond but not unnaturally so, and was thick and shaggy like a horse’s mane. He had a cloak fastened at the shoulder with a brooch that reflected brightly in the sun. He rode perpendicular to the forest edge, brandishing his sword and bellowing loudly, banging shield and sword together, his voice reverberating roughly within the natural acoustics of the small valley.

“He seems quite belligerent and full of himself now, doesn’t he?” said Marcus, eyebrow raised in calculation. “I can’t make out what he’s yelling. Is he directing that noise toward us?” he facetiously asked Leko, a playful smile on his lips.

Leko shrugged at the spectacle. “He’s putting forth his bona fides. He is Gymm of the Coritani, son of the King, and he’s boasting of the enemies he’s bested in combat,” he said for Marcus’ benefit. “He’s also challenging you to come out and fight him man to man, in single combat to the death.” He turned to Marcus, eager to see whether or not he would accept the challenge.

Marcus gritted his teeth and a predatory grin spread across his lips. Every fiber of his being tensed as the challenge branched its taunting tentacles deep within his spirit and a primeval surge hotly coursed his veins. Though just as enthusiastic to meet the challenge issued by the boisterous enemy warrior, he maintained the stony discipline emblematic of his rank.

“Nonsense,” he said to the skeptical Leko. “We fight together.” He noticed Leko’s expression of questioning disappointment. “I have greater responsibilities than charging out at a silly challenge issued by a half-naked barbarian. We will accept his challenge to fight, however,” he said. “Tell him so, but first offer him the opportunity to surrender. Promise him he will be treated fairly.”

Leko took a deep breath, filling his lungs as full as possible before yelling in the direction of the raging warrior. “My commander accepts your offer of battle, but he would rather not see brave warriors die needlessly. In an offer of friendship, he asks that you consider surrendering. No harm will befall you, and your warriors will be treated with honor. This my master has promised.” As Leko finished, he stole a glance at Marcus to see if anything further should be added.

The strutting warrior leapt off his horse, again clanging his sword and shield together loudly. Jeering, he pulled down his leather trousers, grabbed his privities and gesticulated crudely in the direction of the bemused Roman ranks. Marcus shrugged. He needed no interpreter to get the gist of that response.

That’s enough for now. Just enough to whet your appetite.  If you want more, just skip over to Amazon and order a print version, or download the book on whatever e-reader platform you happen to be going with these days.

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