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Archive for April, 2015



Sunday, April 26th, 2015
Sunday sunny Sunday and Trace of Magic is on sale!

This week has been a rollercoaster. We’ve been working on getting Boy of Size into a neuro, which is not so easy, as they seem to have long lines. Same with getting the EEG. He is doing better the last couple days and not sleeping so much. He’s grown more, though, so maybe some of the sleeping is growing. It’s just really hard to watch him go through this and not to be able to help.

It has only been a slight distraction from the release of Edge of Dreams. What reviews I’ve seen have mostly been positive, so that’s good. But I still feel itchy that there aren’t more of them appearing. I keep feeling that no one is reading. I know, author paranoia. And the thing is that really, all I can do is keep writing.

And that brings me to the problem that I’m having a terrible time writing this week. See above on Boy of Size. So I’ve been reading. I discovered SM Reine. How is it possible I never picked up her books before? I know she’s been recommended to me. Sigh. I’m behind. I’m pretty sure I have other books of hers on my kindle, so I’m going to have to do more.

I’m trying to read more and do some reviews. Partly because some of the books are coming from netgalley, partly because I like to talk about the books. It’s crazy how easy it is to stop reading and watch bad TV. So now it’s more of a goal. I do keep track of the books I read in a year in the hopes that I’ll notice when I am not reading. Maybe keep myself honest.

I have some twisties going on in the next Diamond City Magic book. Kind of unexpected (a lot unexpected) but totally perfect. Picture me chortling.

Trace of Magic is on sale for the kindle at $3.99! So if you know anybody who hasn’t tasted the book yet, now’s a great time. Spread the word!

I had nightmares last night in which I was required to do math problems. Math. Problems. WTF???

I have to fly to Dallas in a couple weeks for RT and with all the weather reports, I’m growing unenthusiastic. Gulp! I’m an RT virgin, so I’m also a little bit floundery about that. It should be tons of fun, once I’m on the ground.

The girlie’s birthday is today. I’ve got to make a cake. I’ve got to go to the grocery store. I should get on that. I did wrap stuff. So I am on top of that.

What are you doing today?

 

 

Friday, April 24th, 2015
Book Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

First, the caveat. I got this book from Netgalley as an advanced reader copy.

This is one of those books that makes you think. It makes you consider what you’d do in the same situation, and it makes you consider what choices you’d come to–what would be the most important thing to you.

I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’m going to try to be careful. I plan to err on the side of vague. The book is about Em, who wakes up in a coffin. She breaks out and discovers she’s in a dusty room with several other coffins. She doesn’t know her name. She has some memories, but a lot of blank spots. She soon finds several others in the same boat, and now they have to find out where they are, who put them in the coffins, and most importantly, find their way home.

One of the things that some people will find off-putting is that the story is told in present tense. Normally that would drive me nuts, except that the present tense makes a lot of sense because it works well with the element of discovery. Em is constantly discovering things–she has little sense of the past or the future, so the present is where she lives. All her decisions have to be based on the now because she has no experience or any sense of what the consequences might be. It makes her situation tense, to say the least.

I enjoyed the story. It was gripping and at times grim. It didn’t shy away from the difficult aspects. In fact, it embraced them, but focused more on the personal consequences of the choices and the events. Each character has to learn who s/he is. This is a story about identity. What makes it unique is that the identities the characters have no outside references to decide who they are, or what they should do or not do. This means they are stuck with making decision based on simply who they are without any external guidance or pre-existing framework of morals, except for a handful of memories that aren’t all that useful.

The book raises a lot of meaty themes. The question of nature vs nurture when it comes to personality and self. Then there’s the question of religion and what value it has. Leadership is important, and loyalty and friendship. When does the group outweigh the individual? There are questions of consequences and whether you can choose beyond your nature.

My only complaints about the book are that the religious element comes a little out of nowhere. I wish it had been eased in a little more intuitively rather than just arriving. It made sense and fit perfectly as the story went forward, but the arrival was awkward and unexpected. I also thought the leadership quandary was a little bit heavy handed, though a lot of it made sense and the doubts were important as well as the choices eventually made. Especially in light of the fact that they were based on the here and now and what logic the people could scrape together. There was no way to predict consequences and that made choices really scary. Another oddity, to me, was the basis in Aztec/Mayan culture. I wasn’t entirely sure why that was the case. I also wanted to know how and why the monsters appeared as they did–I won’t say more, since that would be spoilerific, and it really isn’t very important to the story, but just something I’m curious about.

Once several revelations/discoveries are made, the development of the relationships become more interesting and important. I don’t want to say much more because of spoilers, but just that there were some really cool and smart developments between the characters that blossomed in unusual ways by the end of the book.

Also, it was fun how Sigler mixed races in this book in unusual ways.

I’d totally recommend this book. I am hoping there will be a sequel. I’m totally going to have my kids read it.

Monday, April 20th, 2015
Book review–Jennifer Estep’s Cold Burn of Magic

First, the caveat: I got this book from Netgalley.

I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s writing. I’ll start with that. Cold Burn of Magic is first in a new YA series. Now I have to admit, I often don’t care as much for the YA series because they are a little too young for me. They deal with stuff that I’m long past and while they are good, it’s about 50-50 that the book will grab me. Exceptions include Robin LeFevers’ His Fair Assassin series, and now, Cold Burn of Magic. Not that it won’t appeal to its intended audience, but just that it appeals to me, too.

I thought the world was really cool. It’s a mix of modern and medieval, but it totally makes sense. There’s cool magic and a cool mythology. In the town, you’ve got open magic, and people with magic have unique talents, some more unique than others. The town is run by mob families and there’s a lot of danger. (For those of you who’ve read my Diamond City Magic books, you’ll smile at that familiarity). Anyhow, the story revolves around Lila Merriweather who is a teenaged thief and weapons expert who’s been living off the proverbial grid for four years since she left the foster care system. Her mother was murdered, and she’s alone, except for Mo, a friend and pawnshop broker.

Lila gets involved with a mob family and gets roped into a working as a bodyguard. The family is under attack, and so things quickly progress from there.

I really enjoyed the characters. The teens were believable, and so were the adults. Lila was a well-written character, and likeable. Oscar, the redneck, cowboy fairy, was absolutely awesome. Claudia, the head of the Sinclair family, was a lovely mix of loyalty and ruthlessness. The roots of romance were established, as well as a Romeo and Juliet situation. Nothing was resolved in the romantic department, and I think that will be fun to see play out.

I read the book quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I really loved the worldbuilding, the interplay between the characters, and the development of Lila. She had angst, but totally believable and not annoying. She made mistakes, but never fell into the too-stupid-to-live category. She had to make unforgiving choices. The mystery is good, and while I suspected the bad guy, there were twists that I didn’t see. The bridge seen was well foreshadowed, maybe too well, but it was necessary, I think.

I totally recommend this book. It was fun and I’ve already preordered the next one. I hope there is more of the wild world in the next one, and I know we’ll see more of the dangers of the mob families. I look forward to seeing the relationships develop, and not just the romantic ones. The other relationships are compelling and fraught and so well done.

I’d give this a 4/4 stars for me. I would totally recommend this book and I plan to encourage my son to read it.

Here’s a link to have a look for yourself.

Friday, April 17th, 2015
a snippet from Diamond City Magic book #3

I am so eager to hear how people are responding to Edge of Dreams. I want to talk about it, but I’m afraid of spoilers. I’ve chewed my nails to the quick and Costco is having a sale on double caramel Magnum bars, which has only partially settled me down. I’ve only (or already!) got 4 reviews on Amazon and this makes me nervous that everybody is either thinking, meh, don’t feel like reading that any time soon, or everybody hates it and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Obviously the world is terribly concerned about my feelings. Give me another Magnum Bar.

So in honor of my total anxiety, what snippet from the yet nameless book three, written today. Bear with the roughness and the mispellings and poor grammar and all that.

“Looks like Savannah Morrell knows him better than you do,” I taunted, though there wasn’t much to feel triumphant about. After all, Touray had been captured by his Tyet enemy, and Morrell wasn’t exactly known to be Glinda, the good witch. She was more the psychotic witch from the land of We Are So Fucked. The only thing that was going to keep Touray alive was the fact that he had some of the Kensington artifacts, and she wanted them.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
Happy Book Birthday to me!

Edge of Dreams has officially been born. I’m totally excited and yet absolutely panicked that nobody will like it. So pretty much, all is normal.

I have been thinking about what I should talk about on the day of book birth. You know, in childbirth, people just coo over the baby and don’t expect much from the mom. I can’t really set out party favors and streamers and serve cake. That’s seems sort of rude when nobody is nearby to attend. That leaves me to just babble on in interesting and hopefully entertaining ways to possibly whet your appetite.

I’m thinking I want to talk to you about Diamond City and what makes it special. First of all, it’s built on a prehistoric volcanic caldera. It’s such an old and deep volcano, that there are diamonds inside it. I love that setting. Just the idea of an enormous treasure place. Maybe it’s the fact that I love rocks and I want to learn to rockhound my own. I go scouring estate sales and riverbeds and the coast looking for treasures. So Diamond City is dear to my heart. I wish I had a place like that that was full of such treasure to dig in.

Under the caldera are ley lines of great power. I love the way magic becomes organic to the place. Some are given magic talents and some aren’t. What’s fun is how silly some of the talents are. I haven’t thought of all of them yet, but some are very limited. I should have you give me some ideas on useless magical talents. Anybody? Like maybe speeding up broccoli cooking on the stove? Or the ability to summon slugs.

We learn some cool stuff in this book about the area, that would be terrifically spoilerific, so I’ll not talk about those. I like the way there’s a diamond dole. That everybody makes a base amount from the diamond mines–sort of like the way people get money from oil in Alaska. It helps people in Diamond City afford to live there, for one. And also keeps people happier living there.

I’ve figured out some new stuff for the third book, or maybe the fourth, that I can’t mention here, but are really cool things about the Tyet factions and how that works. I’ll be looking at the larger world beyond Diamond City, and maybe even traveling to some other places.

There’s a lot of wealth in Diamond City–from diamonds, from illegal activities, and from legal activities. I love the idea of digging into a society that has a lot of money, some have magic, some don’t, and yet people aren’t necessarily happy. There’s so much fear and corruption in the culture that it’s impossible to ever feel truly safe. That’s a truth of many people all over the world historically and in the present, and I wanted to explore that.

I wanted mystery and that noir feel of the world. I may not be a hugely noirish storyteller, but the world has some of that shape and color. It’s got that kind of dirt and edginess.

I like romance. On top of that, I think people are driven by those sorts of feelings to do many things. Jealousy, lust, love, pride–all those sorts of things. So there’s romance. It’s not easy, and there will probably be more (I’m not sure between which characters yet and I’m not sure when, but again, romance/sex is a part of life).

I’m also digging into Riley’s past and you’re going to get to meet some more of her family. I’m not going to say anymore than that yet.

Diamond City has great beauty and great ugliness and a lot of secrets. These are things I plan to keep exploring.

 

Monday, April 13th, 2015
Counting down

Tick tick tick . . . It’s almost April 15th . . . taxes are due and Edge of Dreams arrives!!!!  You can now preorder the print book, and you can read the first chapter here on my website. Just click through the Diamond City Magic tab and scroll down to read an excerpt. Or . . . I could save you all that trouble and just give you the link. LINK.

I’ve been trying to figure out things to blog about. My editor wants me to encourage reviews, particularly on Amazon. There’s a method to that madness, because the more I get, the more likely they can talk Amazon into doing a specific promotion. So I would love for you to review and spread the word and go forth and help me conquer. It doesn’t help that I haven’t really prepared anything for promotion. The stuff with my son has monopolized me, and the work on book three, which is coming along well and I’m enjoying a lot. Between that stuff, mom stuff, and generally keeping my head afloat, I confess I’m a little bit panicked about the launch of this book. I so want people to read it and enjoy it. I know it sounds crazy, but one thing I want is for it to get more reviews on Amazon than Trace of Magic. Like that’s actually any measure of anything. But I’ve never had a second book do better than a first and I don’t even know if it’s possible.

It’s writer neurosis. It’s like a bubbling hot acid mix of 16 year old hormones, PMS, that terror you get when your plane is crashing, and the feeling of riding a roller coaster, all rolled into one and magnified by about 30. That. Right there. Get me some chocolate, chai, and alchohol STAT!!!

I cleaned my kitchen in an effort to make myself feel better. It did not work. My stomach is literally in knots. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced this on a launch before.

Okay, I’m going to shut up now and read something. Or snuggle a dog, because . . . fuzz therapy, as my son calls it.

Friday, April 10th, 2015
Finishing books

I have always finished books that I’ve started. It’s an innate sense of obligation that I have to. I have no idea what engendered that need in me, but I wonder if as I’ve become a writer, it’s partly the mentality that I would hate people not to finish my books. Yet I’ve started several books this year that I haven’t finished. The worst part is I actually liked two of them A LOT. The others kind of petered out and bored me. I don’t understand why I haven’t gone back to finish the ones that I like, and I’ve felt only slightly guilty in not picking up the ones I felt meh about. I’m reaching the point where there are too many books and too little time.

The funny thing is that the books aren’t necessarily bad. I have no violent urge to put them through the garbage disposal. Mostly they just don’t have anything going that makes me want to keep reading. This is not necessarily the fault of the book. I’ve become a little bit distractable. Here! Shiny! and off I go. I’d like to change that. I’d like to read more in general. I have tons of books on the TBR mountain, and so I have plenty to choose from.

How about you? Do you ever not finish books? Why? or

Thursday, April 9th, 2015
working and thinking and doing

The story on the boy is that he likely has functional abdominal pain syndrome, and functional vomiting, which means there’s no real physical cause like a tumor or cancer or a disease. Instead, his nerves are responding incorrectly to stimuli. It could be that he’s too full, or gas, bloating, anything like that. Even hunger. His nerves are not processing things right and so he’s in pain and sick. There’s no silver bullet treatment, or a drug. There are a couple drugs we can try, and there’s the pain clinic. That’s the thing that’s most likely to help him.

I am exhausted. Or sick. I haven’t decided. Whatever it is, I can’t seem to want to wake up. I’m a little bit congested, so wondering if I have a cold of some sort. Or maybe it’s the stressload.

I’m making good progress on book three of Diamond City Magic. And the new book comes out in a week and I’ve done nothing for promotion. So spread the word if you like. Please? It’s a really good book. Promise.

There’s a lot going on with the kerfuffle over the Hugos. Right now, I can’t bring myself to care about them. At all. Maybe because I will likely never be a contender and so they’ve never really been front and center in my world. This year it has more to do with the fact that it takes a lot of energy to care about all the nonsense, and because I don’t have the spoons for them. I do feel sorry for those who were nominated and are caught up in this. Many are talented, deserving of winning awards, and yet they are getting maligned and celebrated and hardly know where to turn.

 

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
home again and tired

Had a fabulous weekend of few responsibilities, lots of laughter, and general fun. I saw tons of people, met new ones, and f-bombed my way through the weekend. It was that sort of a weekend. I spent most of my time in the bar. I slept precious little, however, thanks to fun and talking and a less than comfortable bed. Came home and napped and am about to climb into bed again. I had meant to get some work done this weekend, but didn’t do any. Tomorrow I take the boy up to Seattle for a consultation and maybe tests. I have no idea. no idea how long we’ll be there or what. It’s play it by ear.

Dogs missed me. Have been clingy since I’ve been home. Feel bad I’m abandoning them tomorrow again.

I’d like to say more interesting things at this point, but really, my brain is total mush. So I’m going to bed. I will check in as I can.