Sunday, July 31, 2011
A Gentleman Never Tells by Amelia Grey –I read about this on in Romantic Times. It sounded interesting so I pre-ordered. It was a fun read. Lady Gabrielle kissed Viscount Brentwood to get out of a marriage she did not want but finds that she is in more trouble than before.
The Soldier by Grace Burrowes – I checked this out as an ebook from Library to Go. I liked the story but was in the dark about some of the back-story so I purchased the first book in the series.
The Heir by Grace Burrowes – One reviewer on Amazon really frothed at the mouth about the historical accuracy of this book. That did not bother me. It is a good story and it is Fiction. I was still in the dark about some of the backstory. Maybe it will come out in the next book. I do wonder if we will hear the story of the sisters who we have not met and are only mentioned as a group.
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer – Another book I checked out from Library to Go. I have been listening to some of Heyer’s books on CD. This one was fun and probably contains a lot that is historically accurate.
Her Wyoming Man by Cheryl St. John – I loved Her Colorado Man. I did not think this story was as good but like any of St. John’s books it is still worth a read.
Songs of Love and Death, Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois – I got this free from the Online Book Bloggers Conference. I did not read all of it but what I did read I enjoyed. It does have the last story Linnea Sinclair published. When I last checked Linnea did not have a contract for any new books or stories. Hope that changes soon.
Land of Mist and Snow by Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald – This is an alternate history paranormal set during the Civil War. A little different from their other books.
The New Space Opera 2 edited by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan – I purchased this on to get Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s story. Two of my other favorites, John Scalzi and Mike Resnick also have stories.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Science Fiction Romance
I received Hunting Kat as a free ebook from Carina Press. Like many of Carina Press’s publications Hunting Kat is a short novella of 90 pages.
Kat Darah was captured and given a virus that changed her into someone who could shape shift. It has taken her three years to get back to anything like normal. Lt. Christopher Rygard is back from a mission that left a bad taste in his mouth and is thinking about quitting. They are attracted to each other and decide to spend the night together. During the night there is an attack and Kat has to shift to protect the two of them. To save lives Kat and Rygard have to join forces to meet the attackers demands.
I liked the story but for me it needed a little more fleshing out. Some of the back-story just was not there and some of the back-story was confusing. It also was not a true SFR as there was not a HEA. Instead there was a “We are going our separate ways but we will see each other again”. I would still recommend it as a short easy enjoyable read.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I found the following information on author pay for different types of books published on the Liad Digest and though I would share it. The person who posted the information credited it to the authors of the Liaden books. The authors write for Baen. I don’t know if payment is similar for other publishers. Only Baen sells eArc’s .
“ It works out that the average eArc ($15) pays the authors $3, while an ebook ($6) pays $1.20, Hardcover ($25) pays $2.50, while MMPB ($7.99) pays $0.64.”
Of course total payment depends on sales volume.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Accidental Abduction is another Science Fiction Romance with a familiar plot; a feisty earth girl meets big strong purple alien and true love follows. It is how Eve Langlais uses the plot that makes this story so much fun. Megan has been pushed overboard and left to drown in the Pacific Ocean by her current boyfriend. Just as she is about to loose strength and give up she is scooped up by a alien space craft gathering marine samples. And that is when the fun begins. Tren was a successful mercenary who has traded that life for a more peaceful one as a “wrangler and transporter of rare species from undeveloped galaxies”. While the life was boring at least no one was shooting at him. Boredom went out the window when he scooped up Megan.
Tren and Megan are a lot of fun. Megan has a smart mouth. Tren likes to have the last word. Their trip while predictable is a lot of fun and full of laughs. If you are looking for a fun SFR story pick this one up.
I purchased Accidental Abduction as an ebook.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Science Fiction Romance
The author says that Discovery – A Far Out Romance is “a short and sweet read, something easy to polish off in an afternoon at the beach or with a pot of tea and a fire”. I have to agree.
Dr. Kent Xavier is the main character in Discovery. When he arrives home early and finds his fiancée in bed with another man he goes on a camping trip to try to heal his hurt. Not far from his campsite an alien group is taking samples. When one of the women in the group wanders off and is trapped in a rock slide Kent comes to the recue. Because of the rockslide Povre does not get back in time and is left on the planet when her people leave. Although Kent and Povre are different species they are attracted to each other. Their feelings grow as they end up on the run from several groups trying to capture an alien.
This is Science Fiction Romance so we know the destination. It is the journey that makes this such a good story. There is enough action, adventure and romance to satisfy any SFR fan and there are enough twists and turns to keep a predictable plot interesting. Povre and Kent are both great characters. It is a nice change to have the male as the main character and Kent does a great job of carrying the story.
I purchased Discovery as an ebook.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
In Shameless the Heavenly Host is back but this time there is a sinister difference. Lady Melisande Carstairs is a reformer who goes to Viscount Benedick Rohan for help. She has information that leads her to believe that the Host is going to sacrifice a young girl as part of their ritual at the next new moon. Never were two people more mismatched. Lady Melisande wants nothing to do with men. Her goal in life is to save women from a life of prostitution. Benedick has had awful luck with women. His two wives died in childbirth and one fiancée was mad and killed her self. He is looking for a wife he can ignore after she gives him an heir. He cannot ignore Lady Melisande and from the first sparks fly.
Shameless is another good addition to the House of Rohan series. There is great dialogue, well written characters, and enough action to hold the readers attention. As an added treat the major characters from Breathless played a major role in the book. For me one of the best parts of the book were the hooks for what must be the next book in the series. Read and see why I am looking forward to that book.
I purchased Shameless.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I did not want to hear the news I saw on Yahoo today. Borders will be closing the doors on all of their stores. The company has been looking for a buyer and set this week as the deadline to close if one was not found. No buyer, no bookstore. As a reader I will miss Borders. We had both Borders and Barnes and Noble and Borders carried a much better book selection. I think authors will also miss Borders. There will be one fewer place for readers to check out book selections and some books will not make it to the shelves. Border will be missed.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I emailed Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Kris) two weeks ago and asked if she had time for a short interview. She was in the middle of a project and asked if I had a specific time line to reply. I told her I was retired and very flexible and to get back to me when she had time. She got back to me today and here is her interview:
Kris: I finally had a chance to answer your questions. Here goes:
Jo: I am fascinated by the craft of writing and the different approaches authors take. How do you structure your writing and what is you typical writing day like?
Kris: I write at least 3,000 new words per day, six days per week. I used to work seven, but that leads to burnout even when you enjoy your job. I get up, check the e-mail, write, exercise, have lunch, then repeat until dinner, after which I write some more, then read and watch an hour’s worth of something with a plot. Then I repeat as the week progresses.
Jo: I just read Killer Advice in the January issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction and loved it. It looked like it had lots of hooks for future stories. Do you have more planned and if so do you know when and where they will be published?
Kris: A previous story came out in the Best New Space Opera 2, and Misha will show up as the hero of a romance novel, Assassins in Love, published next fall under my Kris DeLake pen name. I’m sure there will be more stories as well.
Jo: On a totally different subject, I recommended The Disappeared for our Science Fiction Book club last year and was surprised to find out it was out of print. We did read and discuss it but had to buy used copies. Do you have any plans to publish it as an ebook? I know there is a new book coming out this year. Who is publishing that book?
Kris: The Disappeared has been reissued by WMG Publishing in both trade and e-book. You can also get an audio version from Audible.com. The next Retrieval Artist novel, Anniversary Day, will appear exclusively through Audible.com in late September, early October. Then WMG Publishing will publish the e-book and the trade paper in December. Another new Retrieval Artist novel, as yet untitled, will go through the same pattern next year.
Thanks for asking!
And thanks for asking me to participate in the blog.
All the best,
A Big Thank You to Kris for responding to my interview request. I have put Assassin in Love and Anniversary Day on my list of books to be ordered . I also have to go find Best New Space Opera 2 to read the story published there. You can learn more about Kris at her web site http://www.kristinekathrynrusch.com/.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Science Fiction Magazines
I have several favorite authors and I hate the long wait between books. Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov’s Science Fiction magazines help break that wait up. Some of my favorite Science Fiction authors often have short stories or novella in both magazines. John Hemry who writes the Lost Fleet series as Jack Campbell has several alternate history novellas in Analog. My favorite is Swords and Saddles in the April 2010 issue. Kristine Katherine Rusch has several novellas set in the Diving in the Wreck and The Retrieval Artist Universe published in Asimov’s. She also has stories set in other places in both publications. I have another post today about Killer Advice, one of those novellas.
Both Analog and Asimov’s are available on Fictionwise either as individual issues or as subscriptions.
Vaadum Resort and Casino is not much of a resort. In fact to quote the author “It was more of a Hail Mary pass. If you were passing through Commons System (which was what most people did ….) and for some reason you needed to exit your luxurious spaceship ….. and you couldn’t wait the extra day to go to Commons Starship Resorts –which were real resort ….. then you ended up at Vaadum Resort and Casino.” The resort did have a very good repair bay and the ship in this story stopped for repair. The ship also came with more than mechanical problems. There have been two murders and then a fire on the ship and it could go no further.
There are great characters in Killer Advice. Hunsaker is a disgraced casino manager who owns Vaadum Resort and Casino, William F. Bunting is not who he says he is and then there is the Admiral’s daughter who seems to be running from someone or something. Killer Advice has a great cast of characters, a good story and lots of hooks for future tales at Vaadum Resort and Casino. I am hoping for more stories set at Vaadum Resort.
Killer Advice by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is a novella published in the January 2011 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction.
I purchased the January issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction at Fictionwise.
Friday, July 15, 2011
My local library has Library to Go an online service that allows library patrons to check and download ebooks. The books can be downloaded in several formats including epub and I was supposed to be able to read on my Nook by using the side load feature. When I first discovered the service I went on line and checked out a book, downloaded it, plugged my Nook into the computer and dragged and dropped the book into My Documents. It showed up in My Documents but did not show up on my Nook. I started checking and was told I had to plug the Nook into the computer, open the book with Adobe Digital Editions and the drag and drop. The first time I did this a screen was suppose to come up asking if I wanted to approve the Nook for use with Adobe Digital Editions. I could then drag and drop into the Nook. I followed the directions but the approval screen did not come up and I still could not read the book on my Nook.
After all of that I took my computer and my Nook into Barnes and Noble to ask for help. I was told that I needed to call the help line. I went home and called. I use an Apple and it turns out that there is some code that has to be changed before Adobe Digital Editions will recognize the Nook. After I imputed the code I plugged in the Nook, made sure I was online, and opened Adobe Digital Editions. I was asked to approve the Nook and after I approved there was a little Nook on the lower left of the program screen. From the library view of Digital Editions I could drag and drop the book into the Nook. Now I can read the Library To Go books on my Nook.
If you have a Nook and are having the same problems I had call the Help line at Barnes and Noble and they will talk you through the necessary steps to set up your Nook for reading ebooks you check out from your local library.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I just recommended Steamrolled and Steam Time by Pauline Baird Jones and I had some questions I wanted to ask so I emailed Pauline and asked if she would be willing to do a short interview. Here are my questions and her reply.
Pauline: I'd love to do a short interview! Thank you so much and glad you liked the book and short story enough to recommend them! :-) Hope you're having a great summer. All the best, Pauline
Jo: The Key and Girl Gone Nova were both Science Fiction Romance. What gave you the idea to combine Steampunk with SFR in Tangled in Time and Steamrolled?
Pauline: That is a most convoluted story. Or a slightly convoluted one. It feels convoluted now, but at the time, it was a process that was sometimes painful but ultimately fun. <g>
It started when I read my first steampunk novel: Soulless by Gail
Carriger. I don't write historical, but it was so fun, I put it down
thinking, "I'd like to write something steampunk. That was really fun."
Fast forward a couple of months to my writing chapter's anthology
deadline. My assignment that I'd avoided thinking about: write a short story of 7,000 words or less using a Texas Landmark or historical site (I chose Big Bend National Park). I wanted to tie it into my PROJECT UNIVERSE connected series, so that meant some type of alien thing and a character from the series who hadn't been featured yet. (I even had some cave drawings that looked a bit alien that the hubby found online.) After several false starts (okay, a bunch) I wanted to give up, and then I found myself wondering if this was my chance to write something steampunk-ish. I didn't think I could write a whole, historical type novel, but a short story? Hmmmm.
And just like that, Olivia from TANGLED IN TIME popped into my head. She seemed perfect for Colonel Carey, a lonely man who didn't know he was in need of a good woman. And I'd already been playing with time travel, so that was no problem. So I started writing. And writing. And writing. I blew past 7,000 words and told myself, maybe I can have "two" stories in the anthology. When I hit 14,000 words and the story wasn't done, I knew I had at least a novella, if not a novel in the making. Thankfully (for me and my editor) the story wound to a close at around 28,000 words.
I heard from some sources that the mashup of science fiction romance and steampunk was risky, but I've been mashing genres and breaking rules since I started writing. <g>
And the introduction of the transmogrification machine to the story set up the plot for STEAMROLLED in this amazing way that I did not see coming. So overall, very fun, and yeah, pretty whacky. <g>
Jo: Where did you find all the steampunk terms you used in both stories? Is there a steampunk dictionary or did you make them up?
Pauline: There actually IS a steampunk dictionary, or should I say, there is an app for that. <vbg> But I got most of my vintage language from researching the Victorian Era. I can state with some confidence that I did MORE research for that little novella than for any full length novel. I even bought Victorian paper dolls in my search for Olivia's perfect outfit for her meeting with Carey. I was so amazed by what I needed to find out, that I posted the research books and links to the book page on my website. I also commissioned an artist to sketch my transmogrification machine. A graphic of the drawing is available on my website, but it also makes guest appearances in both books' cover art.
Jo: I am fascinated by the craft of writing and the different approaches Authors take. How do you structure your stories and what is you typical writing day like?
Pauline: I am an into-the-mist-seat-of-the-pants writer. I have no clue where the story is going until I write it down. For instance, with TANGLED IN TIME, I had two characters and a location: Big Bend National Park. That was all. I knew Carey already had a way to travel through time, but Olivia needed transport. Because steampunk is fun and a bit whacky, I started there in creating her machine. It was fun to make it as crazy as possible (and I did make up the names of the goofy inventions, well, sort of. I looked for goofy names and gave them a bit of a spin.) And then I kept asking myself, "What if?" and "What could go more wrong?" (I was really shocked when the nefarious Dr. Smith showed up. Did not see that coming.) So I just tell people I commit random acts of writing. And then I do a LOT of editing. <g>
My writing day? Oh wow, can I make something up that makes me sound really serious and dedicated? No? Okay, my writing day is a random as my plotting. I wander through it. I write a little, think a LOT, and whine like a two year old when it doesn't go well (or play Angry Birds like that will jump start my Muse who prefers Solitaire). I also apply Diet Dr. Pepper to my brain and feed chocolate to the Muse. It likes pastries, too. It's painful until the Muse settles down and then its lovely. Like flying (dream flying with crashes. <g>). There are days when I'm sure I will fail, that I should quit and then suddenly the story comes unstuck, my characters quit fighting me and get with the story and it just flows. I
like those days the best. <g>
Many thanks for the great questions and for letting me type to you and your blog visitors. :-)
Jo: You can read more about Pauline and her writing at her web site Perils of Pauline and you can buy her books at Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble and Fictionwise. A big thanks to Pauline for taking the time off from writing to do the interview.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I left a comment at Galaxy Express and received a free copy of Dreamspell Steampunk Volume 1 from Heather Massey. I enjoyed all the stories in Dreamspell but I did have a favorite.
I had just finished Steamrolled by Pauline Baird Jones when I read her story in Dreamspell. Steam Time is a side story in the Steamrolled Universe. The story tells what happened to one of the major characters when he chooses to stay in the past instead of returning to the future.
Angelina by Linda Houle appears to be a side story based on characters from The Cat, The Canary and The Vampire her romantic suspense novel. I have not read the novel so I know the story has no trouble as a stand-alone.
Steambot Rampage by Heather Massey and The Prometheus Engine by Chris Samson are both delightful short stories.
Pick Dreamspell up, I think you will enjoy all the stories.
L&L Dreamspell published Dreamspell Steampunk Volume 1 by Heather Massey, Pauline Baird Jones, Chris Samson and Linda Houle in 2011.
Dreamspell is an ebook.
Look for an interview with Pauline on July 13, 2011.
Look for an interview with Pauline on July 13, 2011.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
5 Free Books To Kickstart Your Weekend!
Sourcebooks is offering five free reads for a very limited time. The best part? Each one of these authors has another book coming soon. So when you fall in love with these titles you won't have to wait long for more! All are full length novels so download and read, read, read.
Follow this link to find the books. http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/ebook-specials.html
Friday, July 8, 2011
Steampunk/Science Fiction Romance
Steamrolled is set in the same universe as The Key, Girl Gone Nova and Tangled in Time. Some books in a series can stand-alone. I don’t think Steamrolled is one that can. At the very least I recommend you read Girl Gone Nova and Tangled in Time before you start Steamrolled. I know if I had not read both of those I would have been really confused. Since I had finished the other books I dived right in and was never lost.
Steamrolled is a very complex book and I decided that the best way to explain it was to quote from the book blurb.
“With all of time at risk, it’s a bad time to fall in love…unless it’s the only time…
Robert Clementyne is going on a transmogrification machine hunt. He fears finding the machine will be as difficult as pronouncing the name. How can the steam-powered device perform as advertised, and how useful can any information be, coming from a steampunk themed bowling alley/museum?
It’s pretty crazy, but he’s been there, done that, and thinks he can handle it.
And then he meets the proprietor/curator…Emily Babcock.
Emily grew up in crazy, still lives in it—hey, it’s her freaking zip code. So no worries when Robert and his team walk into her bowling alley. The first visitors ever to her museum.
But neither of them is prepared for what happens when they open the door to the past…and the future. With a side trip through Roswell…and a face-to-face meeting with an evil genius/wannabe—who is on his way to becoming evil overlord-of-everything…”
I never knew time could be so much fun or hold so much peril. Steamrolled is packed with adventure, romance, and danger. I loved the nanites. They were full of personality and added a real touch of humor to even the most deadly situation. In Steamrolled Pauline has produced the perfect blend of Science Fiction Romance and Steampunk making fans of both happy.
I purchased Steamrolled an ebook.
Look for an interview with Pauline on July 13, 2011.
Look for an interview with Pauline on July 13, 2011.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I purchased The Necklace Affair when it came out in June and have been saving it until A Body in Berkley Square came out so I could read two Captain Lacey books in a row. Now I have finished both and have to wait for another month for my next fix.
This is a character driven series and it just keeps getting better. Each book has a mystery that gives additional clues to the makeup of the major characters. In addition the mystery in each book has clues that lead both Captain Lacey and the reader on a merry chase. I keep recommending this series because I really love it. If you are a historical mystery fan the series is a must read.
Jennifer Ashley using the pen name of Ashley Gardner writes the Captain Lacey books. The series went out of print and the rights reverted to the author. She is self-publishing the series and all of the titles are being re-released as ebooks. In the future there will also be new books in the series released. Another great thing about the series is the price. The first book in the series is .99 and all the others are 1.99. It does make me wonder. If she can make money at these prices why are so many ebooks prices the same as hard copies?
To learn more about the Captain Lacey books go to http://www.gardnermysteries.com/.
I read both books on my Nook.
There is a great tease for A Covent Garden Mystery at the end of A Body in Berkley Square. Reading it made me long for August when A Covent Garden Mystery will be released.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Elizabeth Speller has published two previous books but The Return of Captain John Emmett is her first mystery novel. Set in England after the First World War the story draws on the events of the war and the damage done to the young men of England in the war.
Laurence Bartram is one of the men who has come home and is lost. His wife and son died while he was fighting and he has no other family. He has turned his back on life and does not care about anything. Then he gets a letter from Mary Emmett asking Laurence to find out why her brother John killed himself while being treated in a hospital for veterans. As Laurence finds more questions than answers he begins to embrace life again.
The Return of Captain John Emmett is a beautifully written book. The descriptions are superb, the characters are well drawn and the plot moves at just the right pace. The mystery is there but what set the book apart is how events from yesterday are shown to be so reverent to today. War and the toll it takes on those who fight and those who stay home are the same today as they were in 1920.
Laurence Bartram will return in a new book The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller in 2011.
I received a free ARC of The Return of Captain John Emmett from the Amazon Vine program.
A free copy does not guarantee a recommendation. I only recommend a book if I like it.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Once I started reading I could not put City of Ruins down. Wonderful, amazing, marvelous, fabulous, riveting, thrilling, and exciting, are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think about the Science Fiction stories Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes and I could use every one to describe City of Ruins.
I first meet Boss in Diving Into the Wreck. (See my post on 11/10/09) Boss has expanded her operation and is on the planet Vaycehn. Boss hates planets but there is something happening here that points to stealth technology and she wants to find the source. The story starts out as a straightforward exploration but then there is an unexpected twist. Looking for stealth technology is always dangerous but what they find must be handled correctly or there will be untold damage.
In the Acknowledgements at the beginning of City of Ruins Rusch says:
“Thanks on this one go to the reader of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine who have consistently supported this series.”
I recommend that you read Becalmed, a prequel to City of Ruins, which was published in Asimov’s March 2011 issue. I do not subscribe to Asimov’s or Analog but each month I look at the new issues at Fictionwise to see what authors have published stories. If there is one of my favorite authors I purchase that issue. Becalmed by Rusch was the reason I purchased the March issue.
You can read City of Ruin as a standalone but like any series reading the others stories adds to the enjoyment.
I think there is a lot more to tell about Boss and her crew and I am hoping for future stories set in this Universe.
I purchased City of Ruins.
Look for an interview with Kristine Kathryn Rusch on July 18th.
Look for an interview with Kristine Kathryn Rusch on July 18th.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Science Fiction Romance
Borealis Space Station “ is a hive of villainy where anything can be bought or sold –anything or anyone – if the price is right.” That makes it a great setting for stories. Borealis is under the control of the Trans Planetary Protectorate (TTP) and The Rebellion is active on and around the station. Borealis Book Two contains three more SFR novellas set on the station. Each story can stand-alone but there are characters and events that repeat. I would read the stories in order for maximum enjoyment.
All of the stories are well written, have action, romance and additional world building. My favorite in Borealis II was the last story, Bleu Lies by Shea McMaster. Commander Kal Rains has begun to question his work for the TTP. Then he meets Summer Merriweather and he must choose between Summer and the Rebellion or TTP. Blue Lies is also the longest story in Borealis II.
I mentioned this when I recommended Borealis I and I just thought it was worth pointing out again. While there is romance in all the stories there is very little sex. I don’t know about anyone else but I am tired of pages and pages of sex that do not add to the story. I just skim those sections so having everything written so it relates to the story is great.
On a Yahoo group I belong to someone asked for recommendation for good SFR books and I recommended the Borealis books. It turns out the person who asked is the author of one of the stories in Borealis I. She got a good laugh and mentioned that she had just turned in a story for Borealis III.
Desert Breeze published Borealis Book Two by Stephanie Burkhart, Esther Mitchell and Shea McMaster in 2011.
I purchased Borealis Book Two.