CON JOB is now an audiobook!

Con Job book coverSo this is fun — Con Job is now an audiobook! So if you’re pulling a long drive, or trying to ignore the stitch in your side during your run, or picking up clutter in your living space, or wherever you listen to audiobooks, now you can do it with Jacob and his geeky friends.

Of course, you have to be prepared for a little murder along the way. Continue reading

Sirens: the Femme Fatales of Folklore

Sirens, edited by Rhonda ParrishToday’s guest post is about Sirens, the next Magical Menageries anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish, and is by Eliza Chan.

Sirens. That was Rhonda Parrish’s call for submissions for the latest World Weaver Press anthology.  The alarm bells started going, well, the connotations of sirens with the emergency services, wailing noise and flashing lights. How interesting that minor creatures from Greek mythology have become a word for warning, the noise of life or death scenarios. It made me think, why are mythological sirens portrayed as malevolent whereas mermaids fill the Disney store and waterpark shows? What makes a siren a siren rather than a mermaid, a nymph or another water creature? Or are these all one and the same? Continue reading

Guest Post: Annie Douglass Lima & The Collar and the Cavvarch

You’ve heard me talk about modern slavery in the real world, and you’ve even helped me raise funds to fight it. I’ve talked briefly about a WIP called Shard & Shield, which includes among its worlds a Renaissance-like society in which Greco-Roman slavery never died out. Annie Douglass Lima imagined a more modern world where it yet persists, and where modern gladiators fight not for television fame, but for freedom.

I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
Continue reading

Miyazaki & Story

I’m not a huge Hiyao Miyazaki fan — okay, I haven’t even seen all the standards! — but I really like some of what he says here about story in general and about stories for children.

And what he says about stories of fantasy and monsters requiring the realism of human character and emotion, that’s spot on.

(Also, I love that even someone of Miyazaki’s stature is writing the story as he goes along. Makes me feel a bit more justified in my not-exactly-over-plotting approach.)

Making Something of the New Year

TGiftmas Blog Tour December 2015oday is my turn again to host in the Giftmas Blog Tour, and I’m happy to introduce you to author Jay Wilburn. Please don’t forget to enter the contest for free books and stuff! You’ll find the entry below the post. Catch the whole tour here. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Making Something of New Year

by Jay Wilburn

I always felt a little darker around the New Year than I did around Christmas. I think it had a lot to do with being a teacher for so many years. The dread of knowing I was going to be dusting myself off and getting back to work was hanging over me on the first of the month. Continue reading

Guest Post: Counting Down to Giftmas

TGiftmas Blog Tour December 2015oday is my turn to host in the Giftmas Blog Tour, and I bring you author and editor Rhonda Parrish. Rhonda has written and edited a bunch of things, but readers of this blog will know her as the editor of Fae, Corvidae, and Scarecrow. Please don’t forget to enter the contest for free books and stuff! You’ll find the entry below the post. Catch the whole tour here. Thanks, and in case I don’t catch you tomorrow, Merry Christmas!

Counting Down To Giftmas

Growing up my family had holiday traditions, traditions that I carried on even after I moved away from home. Then, when I moved in with my husband fourteen (!!) years ago he had his own holiday traditions and we (my husband Jo, daughter Danica and myself) had to find a way to try and mesh our traditions together into something that worked for us. One of Jo’s traditions which I was super happy to adopt was advent. Continue reading

The Force Awakens: A New Hope for the Star Wars Franchise

Yes, /waves Jedi hand/ you see what I did there.

I’m not gonna lie, I had a very hard time getting excited about the new Star Wars movie. I’d been very excited about a new Star Wars movie before, and that backfired hard. Ever since Jar Jar and the disregard of established canon, I’ve had trust issues.

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But as I hate spoilers, I bought an opening night ticket in self-defense, and I sat tense in my seat through the ads and trailers, wearing my Mara Jade costume*, waiting. Daring, just a little, to hope. Continue reading

Vampires for Charity

Once, while dressed as Dracula (I was a sponsor for the Monster Mania film festival of Universal classics at the Historic Artcraft Theater), I donated blood. I posed for a photo outside the mobile donation trailer, assuring the photographer I’d come to the blood bank to make a deposit, not a withdrawal. Then I went inside, and when the nurse came around the corner to check me in, she screamed.

It was great fun. I do love my vampires.

In a similar /ahem/ vein, I would like to share with you a fun promotional event called Vampire Books for Blood. The authors of the vampire-themed books listed have pledged to donate 10% of their October sales to either the American Red Cross or Canadian Blood Services, depending on their location.

So hop on over (yes, that’s a vampire pun, too) and see if there’s any new books you want to sink your teeth into.

#VampBooks4Blood

The March Madness CIR Blog Hop

The March Hare with Alice, the Dormouse, and t...

The March Hare with Alice, the Dormouse, and the Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During breeding season, it was said, hares were bolder and more active than at other times of the year. Hence the phrase “mad as a March hare,” or “March mad,” and finally “March madness,” a phrase which has been appropriated to refer to basketball tournaments.

As European hares have a six-week reproductive cycle which repeats from January to August or so, I am not sure why they were supposed to be particularly mad in March. I suspect it had something to do with being more visible in the spring as they also rushed about to recover calories spent in the winter and the general thank God at last there’s sunshine shared by all species. But let’s not quibble.

And so in the spirit of March Madness, both leporine and athletic, the CIR blog is having a March Madness book sale and giving away some books. Continue reading

Something Wicked, or How I Got Kicked Out of Book Club

Cover of "Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Cover of Something Wicked This Way Comes (film)

So Monday night I attended for the first time our local library’s book club. It may also have been my last.

The club was discussing Something Wicked This Way Comes, the creepy seasonal novel by Ray Bradbury. I’ve always felt vaguely guilty about not liking this novel quite as much as it probably deserves, but after listening to everyone else give their impressions, I felt like a positive fangirl. Oh, sure, a few enjoyed it, but at least half the group hadn’t even finished the book.

That’s not what got me into trouble, though. No, this particular session of book club offered dinner and a movie, and we watched the film adaptation for further discussion.

I realized I was both dominating the conversation and sounding rather negative, both of which I figured were bad for a first-timer, so I squelched myself a bit. And thus a blog post was born! But the comparison really does offer a really spectacular example of what removing the stakes and changing motivations can do for a story. Continue reading