Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Fair

I was very fortunate this year to participate in the Miami International Book Fair promoting my novel, The Rose Master. 
It was a bit of a damp, stormy day, and chilly for Miami, but lots of people showed up. I brought a good number of books and sold all of them, so definitely a very positive experience. I did also get a few antique books abou London and Scotland, for you know, research. *cough cough They are awesome. Here are a few pictures from the day.
A selfie with my sister, who helped me throughout the day.

My badge and guide

We had lots of coffee!

A productive day!






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Never Coming Back (David Raker, #4) From Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

“He shrugged. 'I know you're the type'
'Type?'
'The type that doesn't let things go”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fiend by Peter Stenson



Fiend  When Chase Daniels first sees the little girl in umbrella socks tearing open the Rottweiler, he's not too concerned. As a longtime meth addict, he’s no stranger to horrifying, drug-fueled hallucinations. 
   But as he and his fellow junkies soon discover, the little girl is no illusion. The end of the world really has arrived.
   The funny thing is, Chase’s life was over long before the apocalypse got here, his existence already reduced to a stinking basement apartment and a filthy mattress and an endless grind of buying and selling and using. He’s lied and cheated and stolen and broken his parents’ hearts a thousand times. And he threw away his only shot at sobriety a long time ago, when he chose the embrace of the drug over the woman he still loves.
   And if your life’s already shattered beyond any normal hopes of redemption…well, maybe the end of the world is an opportunity. Maybe it’s a last chance for Chase to hit restart and become the man he once dreamed of being. Soon he’s fighting to reconnect with his lost love and dreaming of becoming her hero among civilization’s ruins.
   But is salvation just another pipe dream? 

This was certainly a different take on the whole zombie genre, though it wasn’t everything that the blurb promised. 

I think the main issue that this book has is that it is describe as a dark comedy. I didn’t find anything remotely comedic about it, not even anything I could call dark comedy. The novel started pretty well, but lost its way somewhere in the middle, only picking up the pace once more at the last two chapters or so. For a zombie novel, that’s disappointing. 

The protagonist, Chase, was interesting but not someone likeable in any way. It’s hard to root for a character that has no real redeeming qualities, not even the supposed love he has for his ex girlfriend, KK. The ending, however, was well written and had enough tension to get the heart racing.
If you enjoy zombie novels, then this one might be an interesting addition to your collection.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I just finished Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. I really enjoyed her previous novel The Shining Girls, so this one was a bit of a disappointment. You can read my review here.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersDetective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies, but this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half-boy, half-deer, somehow fused. The cops nickname him "Bambi," but as stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?

If you're Detective Versado's over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist, Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you're Thomas Keen, you'll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed with setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew.




This novel started out with spirit, but it lost it about halfway through with too many storylines and too much happening.

It is difficult to place this novel into any particular genre, because it has a bit of everything. This might also be part of the book’s weaknesses, as well, since it never really finds its footing in any genre. Yes, it is a thriller, but it sometimes reads as a literary novel, which tends to slow the pace down too much for what the author wants to achieve. Another issue with the novel is that too many things are left unexplained and unresolved. Too many storylines are left dangling, almost as if the author is planning on a sequel. 

It’s a sprawling novel that never settles into what it wants to be. Its beginning was good and solid and if some storylines had been cut out, perhaps it would have been a more cohesive story. As it is, there are better books out there to read.
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I'm reading Fiend by Peter Stenson. I'm not usually a big zombie fan, don't know why but I'm just not that interested in them, but this book is a comedy, so it is pretty amusing. I'll let you know how it continues. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guest Post: Mark Laporta and Heart of Earth


Very happy to have Mark Laporta visiting today with a great article on the scif-fi genre and his experiences working within it to while writing his novel HEART OF EARTH.

Heart of Earth (The Changing Hearts of Ixdahan Daherek, #1)


The Freedom of Sci-fi and a HEART OF EARTH

It’s easy to come up with a page full of baloney about the wonders of sci-fi. You can get away with using words you barely understand, like “dystopia” or “genome." Fortunately, the word I associate with
sci-fi is “freedom,” the freedom to shuck off the gravity of everyday life—and hang out somewhere else.

My fascination with sci-fi started when I turned 13—the year I discovered that being a teenager was the worst punishment in the entire universe. Really. What greater torture is there, than feeling like a race horse who’s been saddled with a sense of impending doom?

No wonder my view of reality was constantly changing. There was what my friends saw, what my teachers saw, what my parents saw—and none of that ever synched up with what I saw in the stars at night. A unified concept of reality? Not on this Earth. But maybe, on a rational planet…

So it's no surprise to me now that when I wrote my upcoming YA novel HEART OF EARTH, I started with the idea of a guy whose concept of reality is about to change fast. The story centers on Ixdahan Daherek, a 17-year-old alien, whose punishment for selling classified intel is Life as a Human Teenager on Earth.

Using a transmog chamber, the Snaldrialoran authorities change Ixdahan from an eight-tentacled, liquid-methane-breathing cephalopod to a spazzed-out human kid on hormone overdrive. That’s a big shock, but Ixdahan’s troubles don’t really begin until his first day of American high school. Next thing you know the experience changes him again—as he comes to value the empathy of his human friend, Lena, over the snotty social scene he left behind.

What happens next is both the fate he deserves, and the fate he should only hope he has changed enough to stand up to. Looking back at my own fate, I see now what I couldn’t see back in the day. The changes I went through weren’t a punishment at all. They were, instead, a driving force—giving me the courage to make the most important discovery of my life:

That had I traveled to the rational planet I once longed for, I would have had no fun at all. 



You can purchase his novel here.