Saturday, February 6, 2016

In the Spotlight: BUTTERFLY, The Hunt Book 3

Today is the 3rd book in the YA fantasy series The Hunt, published by Writer's Exchange.


Beth considers herself a geek, one of the invisible and awkward in her school, too smart for her own good, part of the Gifted and Talented program. During a summer internship at a government weather station, she notices strange weather patterns. The storms remind her of the ones when she was brought to Earth by the Hounds of Hamin. Remembering that she is a member of the Hunt, Beth sets out to remake herself, to be ready when the gathering of the Hunt occurs.

When she returns to school in the fall, she is a new person, physically and mentally, and she attracts the attention of another member of the Gifted and Talented program: Tommy DiCorsi, supposedly one of the "bad boys" in town. As their friendship grows, and Tommy protects her from trouble and learns about the Hounds and the Hunt, Beth learns he isn't at all what he appears, either. Then another member of the Hunt shows up, and both their lives are changed forever.

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Book Trailer: THE PIRATES OF SORENDAAL, from the Commonwealth Universe

Within the Commonwealth Universe are several series, following different planets, colonies, and even families through several generations. With the release of NOVA VENDETTA 1: THE INJUSTICE and NOVA VENDETTA 2: THE TRUCE last year, 3 of the books dealing with the pirates (or if you will, rebels, revolutionaries, or colonists) of Sorendaal are now available. Several years ago, the first story was released: THE PIRATE AND THE PROFESSOR, a novella SF/romance featuring -- don't be confused now -- the daughter of the heroes of the Nova Vendetta books.

Hey, that's the way I sometimes write. As I'm writing one story, I realize their parents or other ancestors have stories of their own, and write those stories afterward. Sometimes years afterwards. If you waited for me to write a series of books in specific chronological order, you might never see them in print, and I'd have a huge backlog of books waiting to "finish" before sending them to my publisher.

Now, for your pleasure, edification and hopefully temptation: THE PIRATES OF SORENDAAL. A series within the Commonwealth Universe.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

In the Spotlight: QUARTET, The Hunt Book 2

Today's book is the 2nd in the Hunt series of YA fantasy from Writer's Exchange.


Cinden Lai is a firstborn, a member of the Hunt. She found sanctuary with a reclusive old woman when the Hounds of Hamin brought her to Earth, but now her dreams and the increasing storms make her think it is time to leave her safe haven and seek out members of the Hunt.

When a rich old man claims she is his missing granddaughter, Cinden knows he is lying, but she can't prove it -- not without endangering the Hunt. He knows too much about her, and claims he has her brothers and sister. That is reason enough for her to investigate. Are the other three part of a trap, or in need of rescue?

When four members of the Hunt come together, amazing things can happen...but they also discover a traitor among them, and learn a countdown has started: Time is running out for the Hunt, and life on Earth can be fatal for them in more ways than one.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Off the Bookshelf: ALIEN HUNTERS, by David Arenson

This was another book I got from Nook on a Free Book Friday. It looked ... interesting. I mean, besides the fact that it was SF, it had a cool ship on the cover, and it was Free!!

Some kinds of humor just aren't my style or taste. For instance, some people think the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis are the pinnacle of humor, while I think they can fall way over the side too often into obnoxious, moronic, and immature, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer the size of the Empire State Building. I like subtle humor. I like humor that makes you stop and think, and you chuckle and read faster, rather than laughing out loud and falling off your chair. Disc World. Make sense?

So the humor in this book escapes me, but that doesn't mean it's wrong or it doesn't work -- it just isn't mine.

Too many things didn't work for me -- but then, I admit I'm really, really picky. Comes with the territory, being an editor. And I don't like being promised one thing, and then being disappointed. For instance, the "aliens" that this ragtag group of misfits hunts ... are essentially the space-age version of rats, termites, squirrels in the attic, and other vermin, but on the sometimes gigantic and really disgusting scale. Kind of a let-down when that was revealed.

On the other hand, the characters the author has created to populate the ship that not only is named after a dragon but is shaped like a dragon? Unique individuals, cleverly and expertly drawn. Each with so much to offer the story, each consistent within themselves. So that tells me this is a matter of taste, not talent. The author has got the talent. It's me, not him.

I know there are many people who will like this story as the characters go haring off across the galaxy, pursued by really disgusting characters out to rule the universe, spraying blood and gore wherever they go (even among themselves), on a quest to find possibly the last member of a magical race, while they bicker among themselves and try to keep the demon member of the crew from drinking the really expensive fuel for their ship. Try it, you might just like it!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

In the Spotlight: DAWN MEMORIES, The Hunt Book 1

This weekend, we're starting on the Hunt series, YA fantasy published by Writer's Exchange.


It was a blast in more ways than one. The explosion that could have killed Dawn actually ignited a fiery trail of long forgotten memories, all leading to the point where it all began.

Yes, she remembered.

She was not from Earth at all. She was the daughter of one of the ruling families from another world in another dimension, sent to Earth by her parents to protect her from a galactic despot who wanted all the rulers' children as hostages.

She was from The Hunt, branded as such by two thin white lines on her wrist caused by the Hounds of Hamin: interdimensional guardian beasts that held the children's wrists in their mouths as they pulled them through the vortex from their world to Earth.

But Dawn remembered something else. Someone else. Stayn, her best friend and her betrothed.

Where was he? Could he rescue her from the 'safe' house where she was currently guarded by Federal Agents? And could they rekindle what time and distance had torn apart?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Off the Bookshelf: A HOBBIT, A WARDROBE AND A GREAT WAR, by Joseph Loconte

Writing books, by/about writers, about the process of writing -- specifically, their process of writing, how they became writers, the things that shaped them and their viewpoint -- I find fascinating and educational. Anyone interested in becoming a writer or refining their own process and "voice" should try to find books on the process by or about their favorite writers. Such insights will help them understand a little more clearly what goes on in their own heads.

This book, as you can tell from the title, is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien -- and the "great war" refers to WWI. Specifically, how the war changed the world's attitudes and philosophies, and how their experiences in the war helped to shape these two writers' viewpoints and attitudes and values. I find it interesting and encouraging that they basically turned away from the pessimistic, humanistic trends of their day, in reaction to the devastation, cruelty, disillusionment and hypocrisy of WWI, the justification for the brutality and slaughter -- and they held to higher ideals and hope in their writing.

The two were friends, meeting in the academic community around Oxford years after the war. They supported each other's literary endeavors and helped shape each other's mindset, and later credited each other for their successes. This book is a keeper, not just because I adore Lewis and Tolkien, but for all the insights and growth and encouragement included in this little-known chapter in the story of their friendship and writing.

Read it. Re-read it. Loan it to your Hobbit and Free Narnian friends. They'll thank you for it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Off the Bookshelf: WIND AND SHADOW, by Kathy Tyers

Whew! Done. Book 1 of the one-book-a-week commitment for the year. I even went so far this year to list the first 10 books or so of what I plan to read on Goodreads, so you can hold me accountable.

What's nice is that it's a book I've wanted to read for a long time. Honestly, I've had this and the next book in the series sitting on my nightstand for at least 2 years, giving me the evil eye, whining in my sleep, demanding to know when I'll get to them. It's a rough life, having so many books waiting to be read that the riches turn into a burden.

I'm only partially joking.

WIND AND SHADOW is the 4th book in the series Kathy Tyers started many years ago with her landmark novel, FIREBIRD. The first three books have gone through quite a few shifts and changes and publishing houses, and now she's written two more books, following through on the promises and prophecies mentioned in the previous three. This series is set in a far future where conflicts familiar in recent movies are prevalent -- basically the tension between ordinary Humans and augmented Humans with talents. Can the changed Humans be trusted? Can the unchanged Humans be trusted? Who is going to make the first strike against the other? In the middle of all this are the gifted Sentinels with their Code, their devotion to the prophecies and to the guardian of their souls, and the Caldwell family, with their gifts and problems and the heavy burden of figuring in those prophecies .......

I think the sign of a really good series is that even with a break of at least 10 years since reading the last book, it didn't take long to pick up on who is who, what's going on, and remember the events of the previous books and what's at stake. If you're lucky (or maybe not so, because why did you wait so long?) you're on the verge of starting the series, with the waiting thrill of discovery and being drawn into the universe of Firebird and Brennan Caldwell and now, their descendants. ENJOY!