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Book Review

The Long Road

Michael Hopf

344 pages

Publisher: Plume

Sold by: Penguin Group

Post-apocalyptic scenarios fascinate me. I find the indomitability of human survival against overwhelming odds oddly hopeful.

Michael Hopf gets into the action in The Long Road pretty quick.

Even without the advantage of having read the first entry in the series – The End – I had no difficulty catching up and understanding what had happened and what was going on. Mr. Hopf deftly wove the backstory of the first book into the second, thus enabling the reader to follow the story without lengthy explanations or the absolute necessity to read the first book.

The characters are rich and vivid. I had no trouble empathizing with the good guys and despising the bad guys. And the bad guys are truly detestable.

It is a race against time for survival as what was once America continues to break down into a primitive, apathetic, lawless and frightening world in which to live. And with three sanctions vying for power in this post-apocalyptic land, it’s anyone’s guess what the country will look like once the dust has settled.

The intensity of the action and drama had me glued to my seat: I actually read the entire book in one sitting, reluctant to take a break to even refresh my cup of tea. It is rare that I am so compelled to read a book that I don’t want to break away from it to refresh my tea!

Yes, the book could use some editing, but that can be said about the books of Dean Koontz, James Rollins and countless other tomes coming out of traditional publishing houses these days. I have developed a degree of tolerance for errors because that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The errors in the book are few so it doesn’t interfere so much with the reading experience.

The only drawback, of course, is that now I need to acquire the third book to find out what happens next. Several cliffhangers were included (no spoilers!) and inquiring minds must know. The fourth installment isn’t due out until 2015, so I have a little time to catch up.

The scenarios painted in The Long Road are grim but very realistic. It’s easy to visualize those events actually occurring should our nation be attacked on the level depicted in the book. With the current state of the world and people being people, I am surprised something like this has not already occurred.

Although when I view the 6:00 news, I wonder just how far off those events truly are.

With those words, I’m going to start prepping now.

If you’re interested, check out G. Michael Hopf’s Amazon Author Page where each novel in the series is listed. http://amzn.to/1vWDEiA

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and ebook formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle is a fictitious account of an EMP attack. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 Follow her on Twitter @penspen, visit her website at http://www.penspen.info or follow her blog www.mytuppence.weebly.com Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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The subconscious mind is a marvelous thing. According to crime dramas, the subconscious mind is capable of remembering everything we see, hear and learn in our lifetime. We may not be able to consciously recall the tag number of that car that cut us off in traffic, but our subconscious never forgets.

I rely a great deal on my subconscious to enhance my writing. It never fails when I am at a crossroads with my characters a solution seems to magically be made known to me. Accordingly, I credit my subconscious.

This was really brought home to me when I recently revised a couple of novels published prior to the Sword of Tilk Trilogy.

I reread 9.5B first published in 2010. I created a character named Stormy Rose Prometheus. Excuse me, Dr. Stormy Rose Prometheus who was known by the moniker Prometheus.

I didn’t do any research on the name when I initially wrote the book. I don’t know why. I am usually anal about that sort of thing, but I liked the name.

Before I began revising the book, I took to the Internet to find out exactly who and what Prometheus was. I especially wanted to know because there was a movie released in 2012 of the same name and I needed to know if any part of the movie overlapped the book and vice versa.

What I found surprised me.

Prometheus was a Titan from Greek mythology credited with the creation of man. He gave the gift of fire to mankind then was punished by the Greek gods for doing so. He was tied to a rock and an eagle would eat his liver. The liver then grew back and the eagle returned each day to feast upon the organ again.

I remember studying Greek mythology in high school. It was one of my favorite subjects at the time. I recall being in a cramped little room, sweltering from the heat even with the windows open, desks crowded side by side against one another. I even remember the cover of the book: kind of a peach and teal color, very pretty I thought. But I do not for the life of me consciously recall the name Prometheus.

But we must have studied Prometheus at some point. The name obviously stuck.

I also learned from my research that the original title of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus. The subtitle has been dropped but it refers to Victor Frankenstein himself due to his attempt to create life through scientific means or by means other than natural reproduction.

It is a similar credit given to Prometheus the Titan when he created man from clay: a being into which a spirit could be breathed.

Once I had done all my research, the irony of naming my character Prometheus surprised me.

You see, Dr. Stormy Rose Prometheus is also a scientist. One who clones herself a daughter, thus creating life by means other than natural reproduction.

Talk about the subconscious working overtime.

There are many other smaller examples of my subconscious contributing to my writing efforts, some of which came directly from personal experience. But the Prometheus name really took me by surprise.

I have learned to sort of “listen” to my subconscious when I’m writing. If I am struggling with a scene, a dialogue or a character, I sit very still. I allow my imagination to visualize the idea I am attempting to get on paper.

Before I know it, I am breezing through the scenario with ideas that had not occurred to me but which work very well with what I am writing.

Some call it inspiration. Some call it a muse (my muse’s name is Natalie; at least that’s what she told me). It’s really both.

No matter what you choose to call it, pay attention when it comes calling. More than likely, it’s your subconscious working overtime.

That’s what it’s there for.

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