Recently I entered Transmissions to the Mystic Nebula into a self-published book contest. I didn’t win (what the heck?!) but I received this review from one of the judges that impressed me with how observant the reader was to the little details that went into making the book. Nothing makes an author more happy than a thoughtful (and vocal) reader. Don’t forget you can buy this book on Amazon and Smashwords!
The title, cover, and even the table of contents of TRANSMISSIONS TO THE MYSTIC NEBULA suggest a traditional, even stereotypical, form of science fiction, a world of spaceships, robots, aliens, and intergalactic conquest. Instead, the poet fastens his eyes on the heavens with his feet firmly on planet Earth as he connects our very human world with astronomy, physics, mythologies, and the paranormal. As the poet tells a love interest in “Ash in My Lungs,” “I brought you here to show you / this fragile wild of my soul, / the dark things that connect us.” The poet sets up the collection with a “researcher’s note” describing a cyber-poet, awash in the hyper-communications of a modern, wired world, who identifies a distant nebula with a backyard telescope and sends transmissions of poems in an effort to communicate and be heard. This gives the collection an authentic science fiction frame, reinforced by internal art that echoes the intriguing cover image and includes status updates as the transmission progresses. However, what makes these poems so strong is that, taken out of this context, they are impressive, accomplished creations that succeed on their stand-alone merits. The poet offers a beautifully written mix of forms and free verse, poems in which he explores love, sex, memories, seasons, and death. Although he hasn’t organized the poems into sections, the verses are ordered carefully so the flow keeps the whole connected. It’s interesting that the early poems are filled with celestial imagery that eventually gives way to more gravity-bound themes, ultimately leading to poems about death and the departed. In the end, though, the final graphic of the collection says delivery of the transmission is confirmed, and the poet adds a final, hopeful message, “I know you’re out there. I’m waiting.” Physically, everything about the book is attractive and professionally done. The poet is to be congratulated on a memorable first book of fresh and fine poetry, a true joy for the reader.
– Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards