Blog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael Williams

Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a stop on the “Dominic’s Ghosts” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dominic’s Ghosts” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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How I came to learn of this novel:

I wasn’t aware of this particular series until Stephen Zimmer mentioned it to me – as he’s the founder of Seventh Star Press and the publicist behind Tomorrow Comes Media – he’s known my readerly habits since our paths first crossed in [2013} when I first started hosting his authors and reading the releases through his publishing company. Over the years, what has truly fascinated me as a reader is how attached I’ve become to *Urban Fantasy* and the genre-benders which fuse themselves into a quasi-Urban Fantasy world.

This has been proven by my love of E. Chris Garrison’s Tipsy Fairy Tales and Jennifer Silverwood’s Borderlands Saga whilst there are others I’ve read and ruminated about which are equally beloved for how their authors created their worlds; however, when I think about Urban Fantasy, these two authors come to mind first and foremost due to how their stories affected me as I read them. I was dearly attached within their worlds soon after I began reading them which you’ll happily notice if you visit the archives I’ve linked for you to peruse.

When I learnt this is Mystic Urban Fantasy series – separated into four distinctly unique installments – where you can walk in and out of the sequencing, I was quite keen to read “Dominic’s Ghosts” as I wanted to see for myself how this series was being constructed. Generally speaking – when it comes to serial fiction, I am a strong advocator for reading series *in order of sequence* to their world(s) not necessarily by order of publication – however, I’ve also been known to read series out of sequence if there is a time issue or there is a gathering issue of the past installments. I’ve enjoyed an introduction to those particular series all the same as if I had read them in order and I was looking forward to knowing what my takeaways would be with the City Quartet.

And, why I’m thankful for Scribd:

I’ve renewed my subscription to Scribd this past month, as I noticed how much listening to audiobooks is aiding me with curbing my chronic migraines – a two year quest to turn my reading life around & to find comfort in knowing by listening to more audiobooks, I am steps away from not experiencing as many migraines (as being a book blogger for six years come March & August, 2019 I’ve read a higher volume of stories in print than I have in the rest of my years) whilst appreciating my journey into the lives of narrators by how they internalise, execute and produce a listening environment that enriches the stories I’m’ enjoying through my headphones. I predominately use Scribd as an *audiobook subscription* whilst I do look at their ebooks as ‘chapter samplers’ to gauge certain books not available in audiobook if I would enjoy reading them in print via my local library.

Imagine my surprise finding a copy of “Vine” available to sample and to become introduced to the style of this series – which in of itself, is a uniquely assembled series!

Thereby, I acquired the ebook for “Vine” as a subscriber to Scribd – wherein I am sharing a few notations from reading as sampler of the context of the book for my own edification whilst proceeding to read “Dominic’s Ghosts” for this blog tour. I was not obligated to post a review nor was I compensated for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBlog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael WilliamsVine
Subtitle: An Urban Legend
Source: Scribd | Subscription

Amateur theatre director Stephen Thorne plots a sensational production of a Greek tragedy in order to ruffle feathers in the small city where he lives. Accompanied by an eccentric and fly-by-night cast and crew, he prepares for opening night, unaware that as he unleashes the play, he has drawn the attention of ancient and powerful forces.

Michael Williams' VINE: AN URBAN LEGEND weds Greek Tragedy and urban legend with dangerous intoxication, as the drama rushes to its dark and inevitable conclusion.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07H45PVQB

on 28th September, 2018

Format: eBook

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I believe I’ve found my ‘connecting link’ to the City Quartet and that is the theatre itself – it is the linchpin uniting all four stories as the key draw to reading Vine would be revealled within the final chapter. As I can only read a sampling of the ebook, I chose to read a portion of the Prologue and then, immediately went to the very end to the Exodus – as I knew I wouldn’t understand the point to Vine without spoiling the journey. This is the first time in a long time I was able to ‘sample’ chapters from an ebook – which is marked progress for me, as I used to read them quite frequently as it helps me decide which stories I might enjoy reading in fuller length.

I had a theory the connective thread of interest in the City Quartet was the theatre – as if you notice the cover art for the two editions by Seventh Star Press there is something rather theatrical about their synchronicity! Not to mention the fact, Vine is writ in the vein of a living play – as you move through it (according to the layout of the chapters, which are not traditionally incurred) your taking this lyrical journey into the world itself; pulling back the layers in a way a play would reveal itself on stage and thereby, your not reading a traditional story by the end of it.

From what I did read – especially in the conclusionary final chapter, is this series is not shy from broaching current events and political rhetoric from what you might gleam from the news. I was a bit surprised the switch in direction at the end but then, I wasn’t privy to the full journey and thereby can’t speak on behalf of what wasn’t yet read. I was just surprised by what the topic was in regards to how it was being inter-related to the City Quartet time-line of events.

Outside of a few thoughts relating to the overall series itself, I must admit I was more confused than I was enlightened and immediately began reading Dominic’s Ghosts to see if I could sort out what was what and where we were to go from here. Or rather, where did we originate in order to have Vine follow suit after Dominic’s Ghosts as the novel I was sent for the blog tour was published a full month ahead of Vine; even if in theory, this series has an earlier publication history.

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Blog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael WilliamsDominic's Ghosts
Subtitle: City Quartet
by Michael Williams
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Atmospheric and thought-provoking, Dominic’s Ghosts will take you on a unique kind of journey that involves a conspiracy, legends, and insights from a film festival!

Dominic’s Ghosts is a mythic novel set in the contemporary Midwest. Returning to the home town of his missing father on a search for his own origins, Dominic Rackett is swept up in a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival. As those around him fall prey to rising fear and shrill fanaticism, he follows the branching trails of cinema monsters and figures from a very real past, as phantoms invade the streets of his once-familiar city and one of them, glimpsed in distorted shadows of alleys and urban parks, begins to look uncannily familiar.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1948042581

Genres: Alternative Reality | History, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Urban Fantasy


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 6th August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 396

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

The City Quartet Editions via Seventh Star Press

Vine by Michael WilliamsDominic's Ghosts by Michael Williams

The City Quartet Series (in order of original publication):

Trajan’s Arch (2010) | Vine (2018)

Dominic’s Ghost (2018) | Tattered Men (*forthcoming)

Seventh Star Press Logo badge provided by Seventh Star Press.

*It should be noted, I believe the Seventh Star Press edition of “Dominic’s Ghost” reset the series – where this edition is the “first” book in the series. Followed closely by “Vine” being the second book and then, the final two would be “Trajan’s Arch” and “Tattered Men”. I am unsure the proper reading order if you wanted to read this as a quartet and look forward to sorting out the final order once it is known.

Converse on Twitter: #CityQuartet, #DominicsGhosts & #7thStar

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About Michael Williams

Michael Williams

Over the past 25 years, Michael Williams has written a number of strange novels, from the early Weasel’s Luck and Galen Beknighted in the best-selling DRAGONLANCE series to the more recent lyrical and experimental Arcady, singled out for praise by Locus and Asimov’s magazines.

In Trajan’s Arch, his eleventh novel, stories fold into stories and a boy grows up with ghostly mentors, and the recently published Vine mingles Greek tragedy and urban legend, as a local dramatic production in a small city goes humorously, then horrifically, awry.

Trajan’s Arch and Vine are two of the books in Williams’s highly anticipated City Quartet, to be joined in 2018 by Dominic’s Ghosts and Tattered Men.

Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent much of his childhood in the south central part of the state, the red-dirt Gothic home of Appalachian foothills and stories of Confederate guerrillas. Through good luck and a roundabout journey he made his way through through New England, New York, Wisconsin, Britain and Ireland, and has ended up less than thirty miles from where he began. He has a Ph.D. in Humanities, and teaches at the University of Louisville, where he focuses on the Modern Fantastic in fiction and film. He is married, and has two grown sons.

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my review of dominic’s ghosts:

We enter the story through the memory of a young boy seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; a film which has a fondness of recollection in my own childhood and of which had an interesting new tangent of connection benefiting this novel. Williams used this as both a metaphor of how difficult it is for a father and a son to find a reason to bond and recover their fractured relationship inasmuch as he used it as a catalyst to begin his tale. If you are familiar with the lore and legends surrounding Hollywood films it was a strong place to insert his particular angle into the background of this film – as he inserted a new character of sorts, of only Dominic could see and of whom I felt might soon become better known as his ghosts. As I didn’t get the cogitation that this was a novel about regret and thereby, the ghosts being memories of the past – though that could of course also parlay into it as this was only the Prologue after all. If it does cross-apply than the title is referencing more than one layer of insight into the novel – arching itself through a new line of theory within the series and tap dancing round the three other stories which are inter-locked into this one by sequence, setting and thematic.

One thing which surprised me is when a book shoppe was inferred as being ‘a poor man’s university’ as I hadn’t overheard this sentiment previously and it struck me odd in many regards as book shoppes and libraries are the passageways towards self-education; where people like myself love to curate our own path into literature and topics of interest across university level disciplines. Books have such a curious history about them – how they can purport us directly into the subject we’re researching whilst they ground us in the knowledge in which we ardently seek. The pursuit of knowledge is without limits and is not strictly for those who go into higher learning opportunities because some of us ‘opted out’ for reasons which I believe now would be lost on those who are University educated. The thoughts this throwaway sentence incurred in me was layered but I believe I’ve expressed the key reactions well enough to continue from here.

I did agree on one observation about book shoppes – used or new, they do have the tendency of having the strictest hiring practices and in the instance (as Williams mentioned) there is a singular owner who is burning the wick at both ends – there is never space for someone to become hired as they are their own worst enemy trying to tackle all the duties of the business themselves. This is something I have observed myself through my own experiences and sometimes, wonder – wouldn’t it be better to do something outside the box than to lie stagnant until the last of your customers disappear?

Dominic is a new recruit at a book shoppe run by an eccentric bloke whose a chain-smoker and an intellectual who hopes to inspire motivation in this community to seek out the stories he’s selling but falls a bit short of the sales he hoped to garnish out of those who amble into his shoppe. Meanwhile, since his customers aren’t vying for his attention, he’s placed his eye on Dominic – observing an intuitiveness about the boy and realising Dominic was mostly searching for his father without the realisation of his search registering to himself. The fact Dominic was sensitive about his father’s career as a writer and the fact, most people who spoke to him about his career were a bit on the clueless side of understanding how he wrote the story he had – gave Dominic the overwhelming sense that most of the world lived outside the passages of publishing. Meaning – people might be aware of books but are they earnestly aware of what goes into them behind-the-scenes of where the writer has to sit and create the story from scratch? A bit like how there are librarians out there who do not understand the purpose of being a writer – despite standing in the middle of a library, full of stacks and books and the bookish people who populate it and of being employed as a ‘librarian’. There is a certain layer of ambiguous disassociation in our society and Dominic was observing it from a very personal vantage point.

There is a stirring of a scheme – where the past and the present were about to re-collide in a way that no one might have seen probable much less plausible, except for those who looked past what is readily observed to see the hidden truths obscured from view. It was here where we learnt the theatre was going to be putting on a films series which hearkened back to the war era where each of the films would be of German origin and most of which had to be restored in order to be viewed. Here we found the entrance of a German woman named Leni who was not whom she seemed and whose mission here was more nefarious than it appeared. She had a darker view of the world as a whole – she even discredited faith which she exchanged for a pursuit of ‘something else’ which led her to this moment where her path was about to collide with Dominic. Which in of itself leant towards what Dominic first revealled as his memory and this woman were both German in origin.

There was more than one disturbing scene or revelation before I even concluded Chapter 3 – there was the illusion of an attack against a woman but what was most disconcerting is how Dominic kept changing in the limited space of chapters and how all of the narrative felt like a nightmare which shifted per each new view you gave it measure to affect you. There are a lot of overtures from Fantasy and Magical Realism – from whispered rumours of flamed smoke creatures to golems and the curiously peculiar way in how Dominic’s grandmother and most of the relevant characters in the story are inter-connected.

The darker shades of the story-line are gently conveyed at first but I had a feeling they were going to pick up in pace and take a more direct approach of alighting through the scenes. I’ve read quite a few out of the box narratives as a book blogger and as an open-minded reader, but this one takes the cake for being a bit too far afield for me to embrace.

The stories I have fond memories of which evoked such a strong sense of ‘otherness’ of the craft and how they were uniquely spun  into their own personal niche of where literature and the artfulness of Speculative Literature can co-merge were the following: Worlds of Ink and Shadow; Swan and Shadow; Bearskin; The Ghost Bride; Some Other Town; The Kinship of Clover; The Last Gatekeeper; Blonde Eskimo; Moonflower; The Golem and the Jinni; To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis; House on the Forgotten Coast; A Mortal Song as well as Proof of Angels and the Seven Sisters series which is a genre-bender of a series of its own right within the realms of Women’s Fiction.

I wish I could have found an entrance into Dominic’s Ghosts – however, as it was written, I felt there were some clear misses for me as a reader. I love humour and satire in literature but not the kind of humour I consider to be in bad taste such as the kind I was noticing becoming a mainstay in this volume. I also observed a few questionable instances of reference in Vine whilst perusing the sampler pages I was reading via Scribd. There is one thing I go back to as a reader when I’m blogging about the stories I am reading – the tone and the undertone of a novel.

For me, Dominic’s Ghosts had a kind of undertone that sets off a few warnings in my mind – little nudges of noticing the context of the story isn’t working with my readerly sensibility but rather it is taking me a full-step outside my comfort zone as a reader. It isn’t bridging me into a niche I want to be exploring but rather it’s making me question why I am reading the story. This is definitely a series for someone who can overlook a lot of the content I personally either a) found starkly off-colour b) felt uncomfortable for having it inclusive to the story and c) can take the journey as Williams intended the reader to follow his vision. I’m simply not the right reader for the City Quartet.

Fly in the ointment:

There wasn’t too much of a splattering of strong language – however, there were a few instances of re-directed attention highlighting things I felt weren’t in the best of taste. Such as a passage in Chapter 3 where there is a reference to one of the most well-known serial killers – in an off-handed way of being suggestive about how men should present themselves or act accordingly to how they might be received. I felt it was in ill-taste as honestly why are we comparing the behaviour of men to serial killers?

Also, there was several moments of innuendo which struck a chord for the odd as it is one thing to have a novel which is LGBTQ+ inclusive and then, there is a story that seems to parlay into those realms but holds back and seems to make it irrelevant. I was a bit surprised by the casualness of sexuality being explored and how it wasn’t really defined in a way that I’ve seen it explored in other novels I’ve read. Not that sexuality has to be explicitly defined but it just seemed a bit ‘off’ that there was an off-handed suggestion towards a character’s sexuality and then, after it was glossed over it was dismissed.

One of the hardest issues I had with the story is how it was told – there were a lot of about-faces in the context of the story itself. Meaning, once you finish reading a sequence of a chapter – you almost have to begin ‘anew’ once you reach the next sequence because there has been a slight ‘shift’ in both what is happening in the time-line of the story and of how the characters themselves are presenting their stories. It was a bit of an oddity and one that I was frustrated by as it didn’t pace itself like a regular novel where you can move start to finish; you had to re-think what you already knew as being true and then, adjust accordingly.

On the mystical literary styling of michael williams:

When you first open Dominic’s Ghosts there is a quotation I felt was originating from an Eastern Religion – which is why I was happy to source a Wikipedia page about its origins. From a stop along the tour route, I had already learnt a bit about the creatures being explored through the story itself and it was through the explanation the author had given on their behalf where I first felt this might have not just Eastern Religious origins but Mystical ones as well. I simply had forgotten he had mentioned it was Buddhist in origin! (I’ve had a long week of reading and blogging,…)

Williams tucks in feeders of thought from various sources of inspiration – from religious history to art history to the pop cultural references you’d expect from motion picture, publishing and life in general. He re-twists what you think you know about the things you’ve observed or experienced in your life and then, as he angles it against the journey of his character – everything becomes nuanced and new in a different point of entrance. It is similar to how he re-fashioned Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – he found a small entry which enabled him to enlarge the story and use that as the juxtaposition he needed to carry forward his hero’s journey. Yet, I wasn’t overly convinced this was a hero’s journey.

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It ought to be noted, the majority of this novel was happily read whilst playing ‘Ambient Musical Genre’ via Spotify. Ambient Electronica has been a personal preference whilst writing my own stories but over the past five years as a book blogger, I’ve learnt how wonderfully blissful it is to listen to Ambient tracks and soundscapes whilst #amreading. Spotify is my go-to digital music app of choice whilst blogging and reading this 5th Year of Jorie Loves A Story.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

 Tomorrow Comes Media Logo badge provided by Tomorrow Comes Media.Follow the rest of the blog tour for wicked insightful reviews & more guest features:

Dominic's Ghosts blog tour via Tomorrow Comes MediaFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com{SOURCES: Book Covers of “Dominic’s Ghost” and “Vine” as well as the author photograph of Michael Williams, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badge, TCM Host badge and Seventh Star Press badge were provided by TCM (Tomorrow Comes Media) and used with permission. Quotations from “Dominic’s Ghosts” were selected by Jorie as she read the book and is being used with permission of Seventh Star Press. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are inserted due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banners.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 17 February, 2019 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Content Note, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Urban Life, Vulgarity in Literature




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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “Dominic’s Ghosts” (Book One: #CityQuartet) by Michael Williams

  1. Ari Augustine

    Konbanwa Jorie!

    Though I haven’t read the book myself, it sounds like this story was certainly interesting. I’m sorry there were points that didn’t jive with you. Sometimes we can’t like all aspects of a novel, no matter how much we wish to, but I do think the story premise overall sounded different. What innuendo struck a chord with you? Also, was there an aspect you liked most about the story?

    • Hallo, Hallo Ari,

      Thanks for such a lovely comment – you’re quite right, despite our earnest hopes to enjoy certain stories, there are ones which turn out to not be our cuppa tea; this clearly was one for me. Hmm… this was a hard review to compose and I struggled a bit to articulate properly what was ‘taking me out’ of the narrative, even though I did state the points which bothered me the most. I was trying to straddle that line in the sand between being openly transparent with what I didn’t like and not spoiling details in case another reader read this and thought the issues I had might not be issues for them; as I’ve read reviews by other book bloggers who’ve done the same for other stories finding I might prefer one they’ve taken a miss over as something affected them but hadn’t affected me.

      I *do!* agree with your suggestion this story is ‘different’ from others as it is clearly in a category of its own.

      It was the concept I liked going into reading it (ie. based on Buddhism, a Mystical Urban Fantasy, inter-related to Classic movies, etc) I liked most but it was how it was executed I personally found fault with how it translated through the narrative I had to read. The concept was solid but for me, how it was written just didn’t work for me.

      If memory serves, in regards to the innuendo it was the casualness of implying bisexuality but not actually confirming it and then shaking it off as if sexuality is not relevant nor is owning whom your attractive too. There was a lot of sexual references in the context of the story – not the kind I was thinking there would be and a lot of it was uncomfortable due to how it was written. I’m used to reading LGBTQ+ Women’s Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy and Historical Fiction – all beautifully written and honouring those characters — this to me felt uncomfortable because I didn’t get the same vibe I had from those previous stories.

      I appreciate your enquiries and I appreciate your discussion as it was just a difficult novel for me to read.

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