indie spotlight: tomb of the triceratops

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tomb of the triceratops cover

Click the cover for a free Kindle preview of Tomb of the Triceratops.

Tomb of the Triceratops takes you on a dinosaur dig where researchers and a group of young students uncover a realm where dinosaurs are still alive. The boys selected to go on this archaeological expedition risk their lives to free a triceratops from the clutches of its brutal, otherworldly tormentors.

And that’s just the beginning.

Author Michael Ajax seasons the story with plenty of dino facts that will surely please any dino-maniac. Between the action scenes, the characters are just as likely to discuss the biology of a Stygimoloch as they are their interpersonal conflicts. The people in this story are passionate about dinosaurs, and that makes it especially fun for those of us who share that enthusiasm.

Though action-packed, Tomb of the Triceratops keeps its language and violence in the “family-friendly” range. Even as an adult reader, I was pulled into the nightmarish struggle of the captive triceratops, but the level of detail and word choice did not venture into overly graphic territory. If you thought Jurassic Park and Rex Riders were fun, this is a good addition to your bookshelf.

The boy heroes of the story casually banter with each other, keep secrets from the adults, and have an unforgettable adventure in this first novel by Michael Ajax. Discover the mysteries inside the Tomb of the Triceratops in paperback or for just 99 cents in Kindle.

Author website: http://www.michaelajax.com/

diaries

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Diaries

At the galaxy’s edge float stars no eyes will ever see.
You set them out thoughtfully like candles
in a bedroom, or lanterns on a river.

Some say you care for none of them
that you scattered them on a whim
forgetting all but the brightest
then one day even those.

What if they knew your delicate precision
how your heart ached to let each one go
how every orb was a part of you, shining?

You have named them all
to keep diaries of their travels
their ancient orbits and clusters
who spin in glowing whirlpools for eons.

All your stellar children, the solar seeds you planted
who carve their initials in gravity and burn
for your pleasure, someday they will all be grown.

indie comics spotlight: Ark

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ark-cover

The 140-page graphic novel Ark focuses on the relationships and ideological conflicts within a spaceship’s crew whose mission is not what it seems. The crew is split between humans and animalistic “meta-humans” created by genetic experiments. Across this species gap, some find love and friendship, and others find distrust and resentment.

As the Explorer spaceship approaches the edge of the solar system, communication from Earth has ceased, and no one knows why. Tensions flare between the metas and the humans. A mysterious message and a murder provide the sparks to ignite the flame.

Author Peter Dabbene tells the tale through dialogue for most of the book, and at first glance there is more talking about conflict than actual conflict. But Ark is not science fiction in the vein of Predator or Aliens, where high-tech shoot-outs and physical violence rule the day. Ark more resembles vintage Isaac Asimov stories where character responses to the central concept, and how it affects their relationships, are the true heart of the story.

Without spoiling it, we can say that Dabbene leaves the tale open-ended. Ark could easily be the set-up for a longer, ongoing series. After all, the Explorer logo on the cover bears the Latin phrase “sic itur ad astra,” which means “thus one journeys to the stars.” It could be that the ill-fated ark’s tragedy at the edge of the solar system has laid the foundation for even greater adventures in the uncharted vastness of the galaxy.

ARK (published by Arcana Comics). Available digitally at www.comixology.com ($4.99). Available in print ($19.95) at Arcana’s website and on Amazon.

See more books from this author at http://www.peterdabbene.com/books.htm

drifter

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Drifter

You should stick around sometime.
When you stay in one place long enough
you get to watch people change.

Do you remember the girl too scared to fly?
She grew wings. You missed it.
Everyone goes too fast and drifts apart.

No, it’s true. She grew wings.
If you don’t believe me, then
go to the river any afternoon.

Call her name. You can see her soaring
when the clouds break apart.
Sunset is the only thing to survive.

mermaids

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Mermaids

Dead men in the summer. The loss
comes seasonally, as periodic as tidal
motion, and the townspeople understand
the tide. But they cannot stop it.

Every year, their men hear mermaids
singing on waves that swallow whales and
anchors and things we have not discovered.

The song has not changed in millennia.
Its chorus tells a sensuous dream, a hook
baited with a brightly naked lure.

Fishermen and husbands in a trance
walk into the ocean. The moon offers
guidance, but they do not need it.
They know where promises are fulfilled

in melody, in scaly embraces and breasts
which float like gravity has no power.
Men do not know they drown.

They feed at nipples below the surface
without questioning their joy,
and then oblivion.

The next morning, wives and daughters cry
over empty spots at the breakfast table. Women
know nothing of what their men discover
when they venture into saltwater and never return.

Then shells and gold and gleaming
treasures line the beach as payment for
misappropriated goods.

Summer, with your storms and madness,
your lightning cracks along the shore,
and no one can deny its burning.

anything sounds like a symphony

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A continent gorges itself on new arrivals.
Vagabonds and lost animals collide at midnight

in alleys, sheets, and casinos for distraction,
denial, shouting never into darkness.

Anything sounds like a symphony
when you turn the volume all the way up.

—from Piano

Anything Sounds Like a Symphony: Poetry at Maximum Volume.

Crank up the verse in this new collection of poems about music, stars, gravity, love, calico cats, and everything else. More than 80 poems!

Available in paperback, Kindle, iBooks, and Nook Books.
Paperback Edition includes black-and-white ink drawings.

Anything_Sounds_Like_Cover_for_Kindle

Free Kindle Preview.

memo from mars

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“I don’t get blogging.” Someone said that to me recently. What’s there to get? If you ever kept a diary, you get it. Or a dream journal. Or notes while you travel. Or maybe you just pretended to be Captain Kirk and kept an imaginary Captain’s Log.

Stardate: 29 June, 2016.

Halfway through the sixth year on Mars Will Send No More, this blog has outlasted the original five-year voyage of the bloody starship. Thank you, dear reader, for indulging my unhinged rantings about comic books, rough drafts of poems before they get a tune-up, and the never-ending struggle to create an illustration that’s worth a damn.

Strange things happen when you keep a journal. Whether it’s a private diary for your eyes only, or an exploration of something that interests you, you learn. You grow. You change. And you gain a greater perspective on events when you can step back and see where you’ve been.

This blog is a record of things that inspired me—mostly comic books, but also art and music and pop culture artifacts. A few thousand people drop by every day to plunder the archives. They’ve racked up 3.1 million page views since 2011, but they’re a pretty quiet bunch and always leave the archives in order when they leave.

If you’re new to this site and you love comic books even half as much as I do, start with my Top Ten Favorite Single Issues and its follow up Ten More Top Ten Favorites. These lists are also instructive for people who don’t “get” why anyone would be into what many people perceive to be children’s cartoons. You might also be interested in Indie Comics, which includes spotlights on small press comics the creators were kind enough to send for review.

And if you think I’m ending this post without a link to my glorious archive of dinosaur comics, you’re crazy!