Required Reading

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Virtual Virgin by Carole Nelson Douglas

Paranormal investigator Delilah Street deals with a variety of paranormal critters such as demons, doppelgangers, vampires and zombies in a Las Vegas liberated by a paranormal revolution.

A wealth of paranormal or urban fantasy books has inundated the book market. I suppose the whole vampire craze may have triggered it but regardless of the trigger, the books are popping up everywhere.

This book suffers somewhat as Delilah has a back story that never gets a satisfactory explanation. The profusion of characters and their exotic nature is almost overwhelming. There is such a wealth of color and lights that you almost feel like you are in Vegas.

I was not able to get into this book in spite of all the whiz bang that populated it. I had assumed I would enjoy it and I did not. I suspect that if I had read the preceding Delilah Street books I might have felt more in touch with this one. As with many sequels, I think the Delilah Street fans will be happy with the book.

Body of work of Carole Nelson Douglas

Web Site:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Winner of Deborah Coates Wide Open

Winner of Deborah Coates Wide Open is:
Fran From Michigan

Thank you to all of you who entered, please check back often as there is usually a GiveAway going on at one of my blogs. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Interview of Deborah Coates Author of Wide Open

I enjoyed looking at your blog and your website. Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed. I have included a link to your website here.

I will keep this brief but feel free to expound to your hearts content.

1.) Why did you write this book?

WIDE OPEN came from things I love: contemporary fantasy with a strong sense of place, the High Plains, working people in rural America. But it mostly grew out of what most of my stories grow from--a couple of characters in a place with a problem. I want to tell interesting stories about places that most people don't visit or even think much about and I hope WIDE OPEN does that.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?

There are certain things that I know before I start. In the case of WIDE OPEN, those things included the characters of Hallie Michaels and Boyd Davies (or at least solid beginning versions of their characters), the setting and one or two key scenes. I tend to write to those key scenes (which might not even be 'key' to anyone else. To me, they are critical moments of character or setting). My first draft involves a lot of writing to those key scenes. Revisions involves a lot of moving everything around until it finally works.

3.) Would you really want your dogs to talk? (Magic In A Certain Slant of Light)

HA! My dogs DO talk. Don't yours?

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?

I don't know that I do have a favorite character. I like Hallie a lot because, unlike me, she is far more about acting than thinking about acting. She sees that something needs to be done and she does it. If there are consequences, she deals with those too. But I also like Boyd because he is so careful and precise in ways that I'm not. He thinks A LOT, but he's strongly driven by his sense of what's right and that's what compels him to act, I think, that need to do the right thing, even if it's hard.

5.) What do you like the most about writing?

There are two phases of writing I like--the first draft, when it's all about the promise and potential of the story and the final revision, when I can see that things are actually going to work and I know, finally, how to make them work.

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?

My story ideas come from all over, they come from things I'm reading or places I visit or something I see, even a conversation I overhear. There are times when I think I'll never have a good story idea again and then, in one day, I'll have two or three.

7.) Who and what do you enjoy reading?

I like contemporary fantasy. I also like more traditional fantasy, though I've read so much over the years that I've become pretty picky about it. Thanks to a friend, I've recently discovered Lois McMaster Bujold (I know! How could I have missed her all these years?). I love her Miles Vorkosgan books, but I've also recently read (by which I mean listened to as audiobooks) THE CURSE OF CHALION and PALADIN OF SOULS, both of which I liked a lot. I also read a lot of mystery novels.

8.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?

Read. Write. Be as open as you possibly can be to learning.

Thanks for the interview!

Thanks for asking me!

Don't Forget the GiveAway!

Comment on any of my blogs for an entry and fill out the form below, each gets an entry.

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Pick of the Literate

Sunday, March 18, 2012

GiveAway & Review of Deborah Coates Book, Wide Open

This book seems to be qualified as a paranormal romance. I saw it more as a mystery with ghosts. A soldier serving in Afghanistan is called home due to the death of a sister. Said soldier needs to solve the mystery of the dead sister within the 10 day compassionate leave.
Ms. Coates developed a very particular, prickly and self reliant protagonist. Sgt. Michaels is frequently unlikeable and prone to being opinionated. Starting fights in bars and punching people seems to be her method of communication. I enjoy strong female protagonists and Ms. Coates delivers.
The description of prairie living and stoic personalities was detailed and rich. The cool chill on your neck could be from the prairie wind or the touch of a ghost. I would have liked a touch more back story on the villain.
This was well done and a very interesting read.
I highly recommend.
This GiveAway runs from March 18th to March 26th. The Winner will be announced on March 27th. You can enter on as many of my reviews as you wish, each comment will be entered as an additional chance, however you will need to enter here as well for me to have the needed information to send you your prize if you win. Thanks for reading my blogs.
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Pick of the Literate

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Post and Winners of Artic Rising by Tobias Buckell

Susan from MD is the winner of a copy of Arctic Rising.
Congratulations Susan!

Guest post by Tobias Buckell, Author of Arctic Rising

One of the more frequent questions a writer gets is 'where do you get your ideas from?'

It's a question that in some ways I struggle to answer. I'm like a four year old kid, I find the world endlessly fascinating and everything prompts questions and ideas. I also have ADHD, so I have a harder time focusing and working sequentially, so I have an edge on most people. It's very easy for me to daydream because I don't have an instinct to focus on the primary item in front of me.

I was that kid staring out the window during lectures all the time. Or reading a book while listening to the radio and doing homework. When I get bored I tend to jump to the next shiny thing (ps: wikipedia is about as roughly addictive to me as heroine, I can disappear for many hours into a rabbit hole. I once lost six hours in a night to it).

So it's hard to pinpoint where a book 'came from,' but I can sometimes point to a few core ideas that got things rolling.

In the case of my latest novel, Arctic Rising, it was a great big 'what if?' That's often the case while writing science fiction. My friend Karl Schroeder had posed the 'what if' question to me while we co-wrote a short story together: what if the polar ice caps finish completely melting? What would happen?

I was never able to get that 'what if' idea out of my head, because even after had and I wrote that story together, I couldn't stop seeing more answers to the question in headlines that I stumbled across. Companies were planning deep water harbors in the far north. Companies were filing permits to be able to extra resources in the north. Airships were being planned for carrying cargo throughout the region. I couldn't help not see a continuous pattern of answers that wouldn't let me go.

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Interview with Tobias Buckell Author of Artic Rising

You are a prolific writer, I enjoyed looking at your blog and the wide range of topics you address. Thank you for your willingness to be interviewed. I noticed links for other interviews on your blog and have included a link to your blog here.

With the other interviews in mind, I will keep this brief but feel free to expound to your hearts content.

1.) Why did you write this book?

A few moments struck me. I grew up sailing boats, so I always pay attention to maritime news, and it caught my eye that shipping companies were starting to draw up plans to begin shipping over the North Pole in the next few years. And I read an account of a sailing yacht that passed through the NorthWest Passage. Not all that long ago men were dying trying to prove one could feasibly exist, but it turns out the choking ice prevented an over-the-North-American-continent route, which is why we have the Panama Canal. I started to get the itch to explore what it was going to mean that there would be no polar ice cap in thirty or so years, possibly. Certainly as of the last couple years the US Navy has been moving forward with planning based on that assumption, which is what also caught my attention.

2.) Does your story line develop organically or is it a gestalt before you begin?

A little bit of both. I plan out a skeleton of a story, I like to know my destination in rough before jumping in, but I like to have enough freedom to make the smaller bits up as I go along, and I always reserve the right to head off in a better direction if I realize there is one halfway through.

3.) What are your personal views on global warming?

It’s pretty much an accepted scientific consensus that the Earth is warming for one reason or another. Of the scientific consensus there is a very large majority that indicate it’s created by human industry. Not surprising, the same industry is capable of causing cancer from invisible particles, birth defects, etc etc. If we accept we have a giant impact on species disappearing, fishing, and all other areas of the ecosystem, why deny that it’s highly probable we’re having an impact on this one other area?

I am not a fan of hair-shirt environmentalism, and feel it’s done a great deal of damage. However I do think it’s one of the bigger human challenges we’re facing. I do think preaching too much doom is also counterproductive. As global warming increases I doubt we’ll be wiped out, but it will create mega-shifts. The tropics will get hammered by more storms, as will the coasts. Farmland will shift. The sad story is that scientists suspect, based on models, that the bulk of the misery from global warming will, and already is, impacting the developing world (drought, storms, loss of coast) because they’re located in the center, warmer region. The polar tigers, which are mostly developed areas, gain new arable land (Canada and Sibera are probably the biggest winners, right?).

And as I try to point out in the book, geo-engineering is actually a massive, double-edged sword that is not a cureall.

As to what needs done? I don’t have simple answers. I think it’s a complex and large issue.

I also believe that even if you don’t believe it’s happening, a lot of the solutions are actually in general, really good for society at large anyway. Fossil fuel works better as plastic (it’s recyclable), once you burn it for power it doesn’t come back (and we use plastics in the modern world all over the place, it’s worth protecting for that). Fewer emissions are good for society in general. Independent power (house solar) is good in general.

Are they expensive and early in development? Yeah, but that’s why we need to start tossing money at making it happen. The possibilities are there, more and more breakthroughs are happening faster and faster. People who say we can’t make the switch, or claim that it’s too expensive and will hurt the market and country and GDP, are sort of failing to believe in capitalism and science. These same people predicted collapse if we used cap and trade to stop acid rain. That didn’t happen. They predicted we’d never have cold AC in our cars if we got rid of Freon, and that car companies would buckle under the constraints. That didn’t happen either.

Ultimately I believe we have the science, the skills, and ability in the long run to make this. But I also believe there are a lot of forces making profit doing this the old ways and a lot of people have started to drag belief systems into it. So there’s a battle out there. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Certainly, a novelist always looks for places where this is conflict, and uses that for fiction. Seeing all the conflict that a major subject like this engenders, I thought that made it rife for novelization.

4.) Do you have a favorite character in the book and if so why?

I have a soft spot for Roo, living aboard his catamaran and sailing around the Arctic, freelancing for a living. Sounds like an interesting life, right?

5.) What do you like the most about writing?

I really enjoying just making stuff up for a living, living in other people’s heads. I get to keep my own schedule (I’m a night owl). I really don’t fit well into corporate cultures, so being my own boss has always been extremely appealing!

6.) Where do your new story ideas come from?

Everywhere. Headlines, research, history, personal interaction. It’s a creative cauldron always bubbling in the back of my head. The stuff that floats to the surface gets skimmed off and presented to the world, I think.

7.) What advice has helped the most in your writing?

The biggest part of the word writer is the word write. Get in there every day you can and work on something.

8.) What advice would you give for the want to be writer?

Read a ton. Then write a ton. Then try to write better the next round and read some more. It’s a commitment and a trade. Enjoy yourself. Try to minimize stress even as you’re trying to make sure you work hard. Be confident and yet critical of what you’re creating. Notice all those squares you have to circle? It’s a skill that you learn, and spend your lifetime mastering.

And do read. When I was teaching writing, I would often get people who wanted to write novels who didn’t read much, but watched a lot of TV and film. Nothing wrong with that, but I kept pointing out to them that what they really wanted to do was be in film or screenwriting, not novel-writing.

Thanks for the interview! Now how to win a copy of Artic Rising.

Runs from 3/6/12 to 3/16/12

Artic Rising GiveAway

To Enter the Giveaway fill out this form. Your name, mailing address and email address are needed so you can be contacted if you win. It would be nice if you would follow my blog but it is not necessary to win. If you would like to subscribe to my Feed or to Twitter, the links are on the side bar.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Check Out the Poseidon's Children Trailer

DarkRider Studios produced Michael West's Poseidon's Children, Book One of the
Legacy of the Gods Series.

Once again 7th Star Press is Impressive!

Tobias Buckell's Artic Rising GiveAway

Arctic Rising GiveAway

Tobias Buckell Has Written“…an intimate techno-thriller…”

—Publishers Weekly


ARCTIC RISING is a sci-fi techno thriller that addresses near-future concerns about the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and the geopolitical tensions that could arise if this were to occur.

The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted away. Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming: thousands of tiny mirrors floating in the air to create a giant sunshade, capable of redirecting heat and cooling the earth’s surface. They plan to terraform the Earth—but in doing so have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.

Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. Intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made its way into the Polar Circle, she finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia stopped. And when Gaia loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop the sunshade when it falls into the wrong hands.

Tobias Buckell has an incredibly unique story to tell. Born in Grenada, he is the third generation in a family of sailors who lived a life of adventure aboard boats, traveling the Mediterranean and Caribbean. When hurricanes destroyed his family’s boat and forced their move to the states, Buckell found himself in a place quite different from the sea: Ohio—and he’s been there ever since.

In 2002, Buckell won the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award and was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer the same year. He sold his first novel at twenty-five, the ground-breaking Crystal Rain, which was a Locus bestseller and followed by two novels in the same universe: Ragamuffin—nominated for both the Nebula and Prometheus awards and Sly Mongoose. In 2009, Buckell reached New York Times bestseller status with Halo: The Cole Protocol. In addition to his novels, Tobias’s experiences in the publishing world—and various other topics—are documented on his weblog, which reaches thousands of readers each month.

See my interview with Tobias on March 9th, here!

Giveaway runs from March 6th to March 13th 2012.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jackie Gamber Blog Tour

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce 36 blog tour dates for award-winning author Jackie Gamber's Sela, Book Two of the YA fantasy Leland Dragon Series, and the follow-up to her highly-acclaimed novel Redheart. In addition, Seventh Star Press is unveiling the cover art and two interior illustrations created by award-winning artist Matthew Perry for Sela.

The Sela Blog Tour is being hosted by Babs Book Bistro, and will feature 35 blog sites over 36 days, beginning March 27th and running through all of April. The tour will include a mixture of reviews, giveaways, interviews, and guest posts from Jackie. The tour will culminate with a special encore and wrap-up visit at From The Bookshelf of T.B. on May 1st.

Sela picks up a few years after the events of Redheart. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland's mountains, and his latest device to obtain it is by marriage to a Leland maiden.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland's Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?

Sela will be released in softcover and eBook versions during the first week of April, following the launch party at MidSouthCon in Memphis, TN during the March 24-26 weekend. Continuing the Seventh Star Press tradition of releasing collectible, limited edition hardcovers, Sela is now available for pre-order in a beautiful hardcover edition that is strictly limited to 75 copies.

The limited hardcover edition is signed and numbered by Jackie Gamber, and includes a bonus illustration from Matthew Perry not included in other editions. It will be accompanied by an assortment of collectibles, including a set of glossy art cards, bookmarks, and magnets. The limited edition hardcovers will also be bundled with the eBook version, with buyers able to choose an ePub, Kindle, or Nook version. Those interested in securing one of the 75 limited hardcovers can place a pre-order at:

The Sela Blog Tour Dates and Participants Are As Follows:

March 27 Lisa's Book Reviews

March 28 Watch Play Read

March 29 Stuck In Books

March 30 Fade Into Fantasy

March 31 Ian's Realm

April 1 Jelly Bean Chair Reviews

April 2 Once Upon A Time

April 3 A Book Vacation

April 4 Jess Resides Here

April 5 Soliloquy

April 6 Vilutheril Reviews

April 7 Ritesh Kala's Book Review

April 8 Sci Fi Guys

April 9 Unputdownable Books

April 10 Edi's Book Lighthouse

April 11 Workaday Reads

April 12 Eva's Sanctuary

April 13 Book and Movie Dimension Blog

April 14 Babs Book Bistro

April 15 Azure Dwarf Horde of Fantasy and SciFi

April 16 Fade Into Fantasy

April 17 Reading Away the Days

April 18 Splash of Our Worlds

April 19 Ali's Bookshelf

April 20 Sheila Deeth

April 21 I Heart Reading

April 22 All-Consuming Media

April 23 Spellbound By Books

April 24 One Thrifty Gurl

April 25 Evie Bookish

April 26 Booklady's Booknotes

April 27 Ella Bella Reviews

April 28 I Smell Sheep

April 29 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

April 30 Darlene's Book Nook

May 1st From The Bookshelf of T.B. (special tour encore and wrap-up visit)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

This is the first book in the Imager series. In the spirit of the terrific Recluse series, the Imager series debuts a new world of similar interest. Imagers, much like mages in the Recluse series seem both powerful and powerless. This book deals with a budding artist journeyman who tragically discovers he is an Imager. His discovery leads to a career change, romance, intrigue and danger.

Medesitt’s protagonists have a modest, self depreciating nature. They are seldom the swaggering, boastful heroes found in many fantasies. The author spends a great deal of time defining the character of the protagonist. The carefully crafted persona is generally likeable and easy to identify with. This story is no exception. Rhen is a most enjoyable character who is coming of age in the story. His new occupation as a walking, talking Xerox machine provides a wealth of story materials.

Modesitt also infuses political commentary and philosophy as part of his story line. Time Gods World, The Forever Hero and Order Master all illustrate philosophic musings. There are times where the author seems to pontificate a bit but it always fits the story line.

The common thread, as I perceive it, in Modesitt’s stories is the lone soul fighting for self identity in a harsh world. Imager is excellent and I will be reading the sequels.

I highly recommend.

Body of work of L.E. Modesitt</a>