New Release >> THE HAG RIDER

You've never read a Civil War tale like this! (1)I’ve just released my fourth novel, The Hag Rider. It is historical fiction set during the Civil War and because of that setting, it covers subject matter that can generate an emotional response in many people. In normal times I’d let it go at that and leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. But because of the nature of the book, I want to offer just a little more introduction.

It is written as a Civil War memoir from the viewpoint of a Confederate cavalryman, who was just fifteen-years-old when he enlisted.  Early in the book, we met Jack, a broken boy in Texas who runs away. He manages to discover parental love and wisdom through Moze, an enslaved man who in essence becomes his family.  Moze is anxious and reluctant when Jack is enticed by fiery secession fever and decides to enlist, to join the Civil War campaign. Concern for Jack leads his mentor to seek protection for his young friend through the only source available to him. A local witch,  Vanita, who is also a slave, embodies a source of mysterious power in spite of her life situation. Jack makes his way through the violent and confusing time of war, with her help, and through his reflection on lessons gleaned from Moze’s discourses about dignity, respect, and humanity.

Yes, it is set in the south during the Civil War, but this book is far from a glorification of the antebellum era.  At its core, it is a soldier’s story told through young eyes. Jack is against slavery and he strives to overcome the prejudices of the time while at the same time knowing he is a product of those times.

The Hag Rider is available from Amazon, in Paperback, Kindle, and KindleUnlimited.
Buy it here>>>–>>

The Curse of 29

img_6284If we were having coffee today I’d be lamenting the curse of twenty-nine. 

“What is that?” you might ask.

I’d sigh and tell you about Amazon.

Twice in the past year or so my first novel has breached the number of twenty-nine reviews.  Thirty looks so cool hanging out there on a book listing.

Ah, but twice, for unknown reasons, a review has been deemed unworthy by Amazon and the counter resets to 29.  The interesting thing is, it isn’t necessarily the most recent review that gets swatted away.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have any reviews at all.  It is very humbling to get any kind of feedback on one’s work.  I’m even happy to have the ten reviews on my second novel and the two reviews on my cookbook.  ANY number is good.  I just don’t understand this seeming curse with the number twenty-nine.

There is a theory among authors, that Amazon has a mythical number of reviews where they begin to spontaneously help authors with an added marketing push.  I’ve heard several supposed benchmarks for this point, anywhere from twenty-five to over a hundred.  Fifty seems to be the consensus.  What all this has to do with twenty-nine, I don’t know.

A fellow author, Marianne Reese, has noted a similar trend with her books — stuck at twenty-nine.  What are your experiences with disappearing reviews?

Anyway, I had a good two week run this time.  It felt so good.


Thomas Fenske is a writer living in NC.
Help him beat the curse:  All reviews will be appreciated by me, even if they are rejected by Amazon.  Hey, it’s on KindleUnlimited … and it’s a good time of year to read it since all the action takes place between now and New Years.

You Snooze, You Lose

For the first time ever, I’m running a “countdown sale” on my novel, A CURSE THAT BITES DEEP.

Friday January 12 …. it’s 99 Cents! That’s 75% off, folks!

Saturday January 13 it goes up to $1.99, still a great bargain.

Sunday January 14, it will be $2.99, but still a good deal at 25% off.

Price reverts Monday. You snooze, you lose.

Murder, mayhem, suspense, a little romance, and ghosts? How can you go wrong?

But it is 99 cents for Today Only!

Have You Caught THE FEVER?

img_5454-1I’m hosting a giveaway through Amazon for a copy of The Fever. Three copies are still up for grabs.
Trust me, it’s not just another “lost gold mine” story … find out for yourself.

This giveaway is to celebrate the Hilah Cooking video detailing a dish described in the novel, Huevos Rancheros Especial.  imageClick below, and watch the video (it’s a short video) and maybe you’ll win a Kindle version of The Fever!


Don’t have a Kindle?  The free Amazon Kindle reading app can run on your tablet, your phone, your computer … there is no excuse not to enter!


From a few of the reviews on Amazon:

“What an enjoyable read! Nothing better than diving into an adventure story and being swept along as if you are actually there.”
“This is a good read, fast paced, good action descriptions. Hard to put down!”
“…one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.”
“Fun story, great characters! Looking forward to the sequel”
“How far would you go to feed your Fever?”
“Fun read! Easy to place yourself in the old VW clunker with their minimalist heating and defrosting.”


Trench Warfare

enemiesI’m doing a rare book review for a writing buddy, Richard Barnes.  We have both published books in the last year from the same publisher.  It’s a good book, about The Great War.  Below is the text I used for several other reviews I’ve posted.
The release of Enemies was well-timed, coinciding with the centennial of the War To End All Wars. What we are presented with is a story within a story — something I can’t say very much about or I would divulge spoilers … but I will say the secondary story reflects events roughly fifty years after the war so in that respect those events are fifty years ago. With this, the author created an ingenious vehicle to combine the past with that present.

Ah, but the war, it’s mostly about the war. It follows two young men, one a young Canadian fighting for God, King, and Country, and a young German, fighting for the glory of the Kaiser and the Fatherland. Despite the obvious differences, i.e. fighting for the opposing forces, they follow very similar tracks in their respective journeys to the front.

Most “war stories” tend to dwell upon the big picture and the generals but Barnes effectively brings us an intimate portrayal of what I like to call the real war. Main characters Brian and Jurgens both suffer through the training and the boredom outside of combat. They both dwell upon questions of “what if” regarding hasty pre-war almost-romances. They both have close friendships and rough relationships while in the service and they both endure loss from the ranks of those associations. And of course, they are both thrust into situations no young person should ever have to endure, never knowing what the big picture of what they are doing is supposed to be, never knowing if the screaming death of constant shelling will find them, never knowing if a they will be called away by an unseen sniper’s bullet, never knowing if the next trench, the next whistle blow, or the next muddy water filled crater will be the last thing they see or hear on this earth.

I have a degree in History and am a student of this war and I have to give Barnes credit, he puts the reader right there in the trenches ON BOTH SIDES. His research was spot on and his military background gave him insight into a front line soldier’s mind. That he can convey that into a work of fiction is remarkable.

I think any reader will enjoy this work … it is not just a war story, it is a story of the human condition, the fears and frailties, the hopes and dreams, and ultimately it is a story of remembrance and resolution.