Earlier in the year I submitted Amazon Moon to the Military Writers Society of America for a review. The months passed and when I’d almost forgotten about it, I received a great review.
One of the things about submitting the request for review was that it would also be entered in the 2014 MWSA Conference writing contest to be held later in the year. Time marched on and I forgot about it also being entered in the contest. One day I received notification of Amazon Moon being a Finalist in the Thriller/Mystery category. Of course the conference was still months away, and I knew it was packed to the gills with great authors, so I crossed my fingers and waited.
The waiting proved worthwhile! I was notified that Amazon Moon won the Bronze Medal Award in Thriller/Mystery for the 2014 MWSA Conference. So, after performing my happy dance reserved for such special occasions, I spent the remainder of the day relishing that wonderful feeling authors get when their work has achieved formal recognition. Two days later, separate from the writing contest, I received a surprise review on Amazon from the founder of Military Writers Society of America. Needless to say, I immediately broke into another happy dance that would have put Michael Jackson to shame! Sorry, but I have to post it:
5.0 out of 5 stars Rambo on Steroids!
By W. H. McDonald Jr. “The American Authors Association”
Wow – I do not know how to start – this novel was truly a ride through lots of scary and emotional stuff that was delivered so skillfully by the author Glenn Starkey. Not sure if this is truly a war story or a sic-fi story but the two cross over into great entertainment. This would be one incredible action movie for sure! “Amazon Moon” is deeply layered in emotions and themes of both revenge and redemption. The human elements of his characters are sharply focused but layered as well.
The book is a true epic journey – from childhood, manhood in the war, betrayals, death, destruction, jail, and finally an opportunity for redemption and a new life – but it all comes with a heavy price. The war elements of the book are like Rambo on steroids but when the story switches gears to the jungles of South America it takes on an evil sci-fi world of devils and evil – then this book really begins to rock and roll. There is no one else writing these kinds of stories – this is a 100% an original tale.
If you are a fan of either military or sic-fi genres then it will work for you – it is not a book for the faint of heart looking for a soft leisurely reading experience – this will be an emotional workout for any reader!
H. McDonald Jr.
Founder of The Military Writers Society of America
& The American Authors Association
Every writer knows the importance of his or her work being recognized and appreciated. It is the true pay we receive for all the long, lonely hours spent pounding away at a keyboard in hopes of creating a worthy story to entertain our readers. And once we complete one project, we are already beginning another—with the same doubts and hopes as before.
Saying thank you to all my loyal readers doesn’t seem to be enough, but understand that I am truly appreciative of everyone who reads my novels.
Radio Host Tedd Dumas will have author Glenn Starkey as his guest on Wednesday, 7:30 am, Oct.30th. The Tedd Dumas Program is broadcast “LIVE” on multiple FM stations – KWLV-Many, La., KZBL-Natchitoches, La., KBDV-Leesville, La., KVCL-Winnfield, La., and KTHP-Hemphill, Texas.
Click on the link to listen “Live” http://126.96.36.199:88/broadwave.m3u?src=1&%3Brate=0 or go to http://www.bdcradio.com/ and click the “Listen To Show” button.
There’s no greater surprise than checking bookseller websites and seeing that your latest novel has been released two weeks ahead of schedule without your knowledge!
Amazon Moon is my fourth published work and my first journey into a bit of sci-fi. Each of my novels is different in setting and characterizations. I haven’t yet settled upon the making of a series. First, I want to get all of the stories out of my head I’ve wanted to write for years—then I’ll decide which characters are calling me to return to them. At the moment, John Alvarez from Amazon Moon is summoning the loudest…
John Alvarez was a bad boy—so bad that a judge finally gave him a choice between prison and the Marines, yet in the Corps he discovered a home. Shipped off to Vietnam, he leads his own band of bad boys—Iron Raven, the terror of their enemies and always the first choice for a dangerous mission. On one such mission, the brain child of a couple of CIA ops, Alvarez and his squad are cut off from escape by their CIA handlers and are left to fight their own way out or die. Only Alvarez survives, and his revenge on the men who abandoned him and his friends, lands him in prison for life.
After twenty years he’s offered freedom, but only if he agrees to undertake another suicide mission: to act as bodyguard for a Mr. Standish on a journey into a mysterious Amazon kingdom ruled by the devil himself. It is only in the heart of the jungle that Alvarez discovers he is on a mission that can only have two endings—redemption or death.
As I previously wrote in my blog My Journey with Amazon Moon, this novel led me down many paths and I encourage you to read the blog before reading the novel.
“Amazon Moon is the sort of novel that grabs you by the throat on the first page and doesn’t let go until the last. It is an exciting story and, at the same time, something more. It is a fable about one man’s redemption, his rediscovery of innocence.”
Nicholas Guild – New York Times Best Selling Author – The Assyrian, Blood Star, The Berlin Warning, The President’s Man …
“With Amazon Moon, Starkey has done it again– lured me in, set me up and wrung me out! Splendid.”
Jeff Mudgett – Author of Bloodstains
I am proud to have the endorsements of Amazon Moon by two fine authors: Nicholas Guild and Jeff Mudgett. Guild has a long list of literary accomplishments and equally long list of prominent literary reviews and is what I consider to be, my mentor. To have the honor of him reading my work is quite a feat, but for him to write an endorsement and give approval of my novel is beyond words to me. Mudgett is a fine author whose novel Bloodstains (about his serial-killer relative H. H. Holmes aka Jack-the-Ripper) is in the works to become a movie. I consider myself quite fortunate to have their endorsements.
In the next few days I will place samples of Amazon Moon on my website for all to read. I hope you will enjoy the novel, provide a review on it if you like it – and feel free to write me with any discussions you may have about the work.
After a long year I recently completed the first draft of Amazon Moon. The first full edit went fairly smooth, or at least as painless as I could make it. Now I’m patiently awaiting replies from a few beta readers and then will go through the novel once more to finalize it.
The writing of Amazon Moon has truly been an interesting, personal journey for me as an author. I set out upon the path of wanting to write a good, action-adventure story with a bit of sci-fi set in the deep, mysterious Amazonia region—and ended with a discovery of evils that I did not know so fully existed.
The goal of every author is to be a good storyteller, yet as writers, we hold a responsibility to educate our readers as well about certain facts as we move them through chapters until the end. Such responsibility was better understood by me once my protagonist, John Alvarez, entered the rain forest.
A psychologist might have a field day analyzing John; the boy who longed for love, became lost within himself when his family was lost to him, yet as a man, eventually found a home within the Marine Corps to anchor his soul to. He learned warfare well, possibly too well. That could be debated, and then came the insanity thrust upon him by having to doubt the truths of all he has learned to date once in the rain forest. But as I wrote this novel, John Alvarez took a slightly different path in his life than I originally intended. The variation began when he met the indigenous people of the Amazon and discovered their plights.
Simply saying, “the Amazon,” invokes images of thick jungle, wild animals, hidden tribes, and the immediate setting of danger at every turn. It’s one of the last bastions of immense territory in the world yet to be fully explored. Yet, with all its hazards and menace, we owe so much to this region.
The bio-diversity of the Amazonia rain forest is vital to our eco-system and pharmaceuticals. Climate change is heavily dependent upon it and we need the forest to keep it in balance. Over two-thirds of all mass produced drugs are derived from medicinal plants. In the Amazon, 650 species of plants with pharmaceutical value have been discovered. Gold, oil, and other resources are within this region as well. The value of the rain forest is immense, and it is home to many indigenous Indian tribes.
The history overall of the Amazon is fascinating and truly worthy of reading. But it is saddening as well, often to the point of being comparable to what our Native American Indians endured as the government and gold seekers chose to steal their rich lands.
There may be predatory creatures in the Amazon—black caiman, jaguar, cougar, piranha, viperous bushmaster snakes and monstrous anacondas—but none so vile and vicious as the “civilized” men and governments who decided they wanted to drive the tribes out in order to fill their pockets from the sale of the region’s rich resources.
Every country the Amazonia region touches is guilty in one form or another of injustices against the indigenous tribes. That in itself should be an embarrassment to mankind, yet little has been done by governments to protect these native people or the Amazon. What has been done is nothing more than creating a façade to display to the world.
Imagine if your family lived in a rain forest village under primitive conditions. In addition to the daily struggles to provide food for your family, you must be concerned with brutal Maoist guerilla factions such as the Shining Path traveling through your land; drug cartels and trafficking, their soldiers killing anyone they find in order to protect their drugs; land grabbers and ‘loggers’ raping and savagely killing your loved ones then burning your village to the ground because they want the trees for lumber—or the gold seekers who murder villagers in order to stake a claim and destroy the land as they mine for gold. But worse, is when governments such as the Peruvian government use their military to bomb your village and then send in militia to drive you out.
The indigenous tribes of Amazonia once numbered in the thousands, now due to civilized society’s gifts of rape, torture, murder, infectious diseases, venereal diseases, and violent land grabbing, some tribes are near extinction and fragmented while others only number in the hundreds.
Does this all sound painfully similar to our own embarrassing United States history in the dealings with Native American Indians? Unfortunately, it is almost verbatim.
In one disgusting account, I read that loggers used a different approach to rid themselves of a tribe. They donated clothes to the tribe. It sounds quite peaceful and generous until it was discovered that the clothes had all been worn by people sick with small pox and other infectious diseases—then was intentionally given to the Indians. The outcome was as expected by the loggers. The majority of the tribe died.
I read one news report of loggers burning an eight years old village child to death. They caught the girl, tied her to a tree then set fire to her while she was alive. It was part of their tactic to force the tribe off their land so the timber could be taken. The government was still investigating and said they believed it never happened although they did not discuss the tribes that have been almost massacred by loggers.
It would take a novel to fully tell of the injustices alone performed and being performed today on the Amazonia tribes. My hope with this article is to inform readers there are far more stories to be known than what I have now written.
I encourage you to seek out the information and read it for yourself. Use the Internet and search for “indigenous tribes of the Amazon” then begin reading about the atrocities committed against them. Perform a search on “rainforest loggers” and “Amazon gold miners” and see for yourself the volumes of real-life horror stories that will appear.
When Amazon Moon is published in the future, I hope you will enjoy its action filled, adventurous story, as well as my other presently published novels. But I hope most of all you will continue reading about the Amazon itself.
One day mankind may learn to not repeat the mistakes we have made throughout history. For now, I doubt so.