Novels with Five-Star Reviews


 

 

 

 

 

 

It is gratifying when readers like my writing and respond with Five-Star Reviews.  Few things are more satisfying than sincere feedback from a reader, and knowing that one of my books or stories touched them in some way.  Both of my novels, An Eternal Melody and The 26th Game, have Five-Star Reviews at Amazon.  You can read about the books, as well as the first chapters of each title by clicking on the links above and at right.  Both books are available in paperback and Kindle ebook versions.  

Sic Transit Gloria

Many years ago one could travel nearly anywhere by train.  The journeys could be long, sometimes involving connections with other trains and different railroads, but the process was reliable.  That era has passed, as impatient travelers of today think only of destination and little of journey.  Railroad stations, the portals at the beginning and end of the train-travel journey, have slowly disappeared from small towns and big cities alike.  Now empty, the stations wait along abandoned tracks for trains that will never arrive. Weeds grow where passengers once stood. The travelers have gone elsewhere and the portals have closed.  Lee County, Illinois.

 

Now Available in Paperback: The 26th Game

My novel “The 26th Game” is ready for reading in paperback.  Click on the links above and right to see what the book is about and to read the first chapter.  “The 26th Game” has received Five-Star Reviews at Amazon:

“An extraordinary story: a tapestry woven with mystery, intrigue, adventure and fascinating characters against a spellbinding metaphysical background with spicy undercurrents–something for everyone.”

“The 26th Game creates a journey that not only allows the reader to enjoy this suspenseful thriller, but also explores the possibilities of humanity’s future. A highly recommended book!”

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE 26TH GAME

 

From Music to Words

As a writer of fiction, I am inspired by numerous things.  One of my foremost sources is music, and specifically, movie soundtracks.  Countless times I have donned headphones and immersed myself in movie music from my extensive collection of soundtracks.  YouTube works too.  The scores never fail to create pictures in my mind: settings for stories, images of scenes, even dialogue between characters, whether for short stories or novels.  This makes sense, as movie scores are written to accompany moving visual images.  And of course, the scores do more.  They instill nuance and emotion, mood and depth, energy and passion, to the movies/stories they support.  A movie without music becomes little more than a slide show.

Among the titles in my collection of soundtracks are numerous scores to movies I’ve never seen.  This might seem strange, but if a soundtrack comes from one of my favorite composers of movie music, then there is a high likelihood that it will appeal to me (inspire me) even without having seen the flick.  As well, since I use the scores as inspiration for writing fiction, my subconscious forces of creativity are free to assign any images to a piece of music as I listen, images which can be, and are often, unrelated to those which the score was originally written.  Such is the beauty and versatility of movie music.

I have a long list of movie music maestros that I enjoy, but my favorites are John Barry (Out of Africa, Dances With Wolves), Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek, The Blue Max), Hans Zimmer (The DaVinci Code, Inception), James Horner (Field of Dreams, Titanic), and John Williams (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars).  Each of these composers has a long list of film credits on their resume, more than I could include within a reasonably short blog post.  As well, there are other likes: Ennio Morricone, Tangerine Dream, Elmer Bernstein, Alan Silvestri, Basil Poledouris . . . well, this list could go on for some time.  I like to acquire albums of collected movie theme songs too, as these tracks will have a distilled and powerful emotional impact providing a great musical listening experience as well as inspiration for fiction. 

I began my collection of soundtracks with vinyl LPs (making a comeback these days), and it has grown through cassettes, and into CDs.  It’s an eclectic mix, but I lean toward sweeping emotional scores with powerful and dramatic themes.  For me, this kind of music offers a quick translation into images for the page.  Instrumental music from artists such as Yanni also does this, as long as there are no words.  No words!  My inspirational music for fiction can’t contain vocals because the words direct the listener to a specific image, and only in rare cases does this apply to what I’m writing.  I listen to music with vocals for all the usual reasons and I have my preferences there too.  

It’s an inherent paradox: music without words, to create words on the page.

RIP Robert James Waller

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My friend and fellow author Robert James Waller has died at 77. Most will recall him as the author of the best-selling novel “The Bridges of Madison County.” Recognition for this was well-deserved. But Bob was more than that. A true Renaissance man, he was also a talented musician and photographer, as well as a master of economic theory and management. He was a romanticist, even as few people truly understand the meaning of the word. Go well, my friend, along the rivers and the long dusty roads, through the Iowa rains and past the old westbound trains.

You are invited to read my newly-posted magic realism short story “The Desk.” Click on the Short Stories tab above right.

An Eternal Melody is now available in paperback

Readers have been asking for a paperback version of “An Eternal Melody” and now it’s here.  The book has received Five-Star reviews on Amazon.  Some of the readers have said:

“Paul James Zack is not only a superb writer, but he also truly understands the sensibilities and feelings of both women and men. He’s crafted a deliciously spiced love story seasoned with a hint of the metaphysical–a modern romance with well-developed characters that had me laughing, crying, titillated and wanting more. His book is a model for what a romance novel should be. And while women tend to be the main consumers of this category, I believe many men will also enjoy this story, especially those who hear the call of the wild.”

“I was mesmerized by the characters. It was surreal to retrace some of the familiar places this Wyoming girl calls home and to view the incredible pictures the author unfolds with his words. He depicts Wyoming beautifully in its landscapes. Wonderful author and a great storyteller!”

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Click here to Order the paperback

Out from the shadows: An Eternal Melody

By Paul James Zack

Stories and scenes come alive in the time shadows of our minds.  An elusive fragment of late afternoon rests on your thoughts . . . the ephemeral light of an ancient evening embraces the land . . . the bonds of physical reality float away in the vastness of the night.

Time shadows.  Where you have been.  And where you never were.  A person you loved, once upon a season, long ago, but still today.  Do they remember?  Did they ever know?

Always the stories.  The stories remain, after the parting, after the dust disappears on the wind.  The stories allow us to live, and live again.  Can we ask for anything more?

An Eternal Melody is the story of cowboy singer Casey Beckett and western artist Victoria Ames.  Casey, fast approaching the middle of his life, is a man out of place in a world run by clocks and computers.  Bonded to the land with his Wyoming roots, yet driven by restlessness he can only vaguely understand, he travels the country to sing and recite cowboy poetry.  Victoria, middle-aged and separated from her husband, is struggling to follow her dreams.  She yearns to live in the infinite vistas of the western landscapes she creates on canvas, but wonders if her desires can ever be attained in a life where her every step forward has been matched by retreat.

When Casey walks into Victoria’s art gallery on a hot June day, their lives are forever changed as they begin a passionate romance transcending the boundaries of time and place.  Written in poetic prose, An Eternal Melody is an unforgettable tapestry of tenderness and yearning, defining what it means to dance to the music within one’s heart.  Set in harmony with the lyrical soul of the land, this love story reminds us that hope can exist even at the darkest hours, at the final curtain, and that with courage and affirmation, a man and a woman together can fulfill their shared destiny.  An Eternal Melody will speak to your spirit and haunt you with its passion.

This book is now available on Amazon Kindle (please click on the link below).  Exploring the pages of this site, you will find photographs from scenes in the book, poetry from Casey Beckett, and the first chapter of the story.  Read, imagine, experience.  Find a place in the time shadows of your mind.  And your heart.

To purchase an e-book copy of this book from Amazon Kindle, please click on the title: An Eternal Melody   Thank you!