Moving Day!

July 27, 2013

This is it! The last day I’ll be able to work with my desktop for the next month or so.

I’m retiring and moving from the DC area to south Florida. That will mean more time to write, edit, take photos, and relax.

I’ll still be available via email, but I hate touch-screen typing on the smartphone, so response might be a bit slow.

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

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Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed a lot of new fantasy authors. It occurred to me that a list of the best might be appreciated by those who are just starting to read the genre. Among the following you will find two male, three female, and one husband and wife team. I can highly recommend all of these tales.

Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is actually a husband and wife team. Together, they have produced some of the best fantasy novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

We’ll start with the Kate Daniels series. Currently, there are eight novels available.

The chronological order of the series, including Kate Daniels World:

  1. MAGIC BITES
  2. MAGIC BURNS
  3. MAGIC STRIKES
  4. Magic Mourns (Raphael and Andrea novella)
  5. MAGIC BLEEDS
  6. Magic Dreams (Jim and Dali novella)
  7. MAGIC SLAYS
  8. GUNMETAL MAGIC (and Magic Gifts) – Andrea’s book – Kate Daniels World #1

They just released the last of four books in The Edge series. This is a truly classic fantasy adventure with many memorable characters. The Edge is not a place most would care to live, but it is a place that you’ll feel you’ve been there upon reading the books.

  1. On the Edge
  2. Bayou Moon
  3. Fate’s Edge
  4. Steel’s Edge

http://www.ilona-andrews.com/

Their website not only includes a blog, appearance schedule, and news articles, but also has the first couple of chapters of each tale. An added bonus is an ongoing free weekly serial that when finished, they have promised to release as an ebook.

Treat yourself to a visit.

Kim Harrison

The best thing I can say about The Hollows series of books is that I consider the characters to be old friends and would love to meet them for real. Of secondary interest is how each book seems to surprise the reader with a little more insight. All the characters grow and change from their experiences.

  1. Dead Witch Walking
  2. The Good, The Bad, and the Undead
  3. Every Which Way But Dead
  4. A Fistful of Charms
  5. For A Few Demons More
  6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
  7. White Witch, Black Curse
  8. Black Magic Sanction
  9. Pale Demon
  10. A Perfect Blood
  11. Ever After

http://www.kimharrison.net/

Patricia Briggs

Although the tropes of vampires, werewolves, fae, and others have been overdone in recent years, this series has a refreshing new feel to it with memorable characters.

Merchy Thompson is a female German auto mechanic. She drives older Volkswagon models that she has rebuilt herself.

Both the Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega series take place in the same corner of the multiverse. Like most serials, I would read them in sequence.

Mercy Thompson Series

  1. Moon Called
  2. Blood Bound
  3. Iron Kissed
  4. Bone Crossed
  5. Silver Borne
  6. River Marked
  7. Frost Burned

Alpha and Omega Series

On The Prowl [short story]

  1. Cry Wolf
  2. Hunting Ground
  3. Fair Game

http://www.patriciabriggs.com/

Kelly Armstrong

This is another series that should be read in sequence. The characters of Kelly Armstrong’s Otherworld will become friends and the reader will get sucked into the overall storyline.

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch
  12. Spell Bound
  13. Thirteen
  14. Werewolves
  15. Spellcasters

Men of the Otherworld (Anthology)

Tales of the Otherworld (Anthology)

http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/

J.A. Pitts

More than a few authors have paid homage to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). J.A. Pitts has managed a whole new viewpoint on Dragons and the Fae while wrapping an adventure tale around an unusual love story. Our heroine is a hiding-in-the-closet lesbian, trying to make a living as a blacksmith and prop manager for a movie production company. Anyone who has spent any time with SCAdians will recognize the cast of characters.

  1. Black Blade Blues
  2. Honeyed Words
  3. Forged in Fire

http://www.japitts.net

John Ringo

I think prolific sums it up. Since 2000, he has written or co-written with David Weber, Michael Z. Williamson, Julie Cochrane, Linda Evans, Travis Taylor, and Tom Kratman thirty three novels. These tales run the gamut from hard-core military science fiction to urban fantasy. Since this article is focused on fantasy, I’ll only point out two of his series that I believe qualify.

Special Circumstances Series

  1. Princess of Wands
  2. Queen of Wands

Council Wars Series

  1. There Will be Dragons
  2. Emerald Sea
  3. Against the Tide
  4. East of the Sun, West of the Moon

http://www.johnringo.net

Tanya Huff

She has written many, many novels, but these two gems stand out as something truly different.

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?Tanya%20Huff

Enchantment Emporium

The Wild Ways

It is interesting to note that Tanya Huff is the only popular author I’m aware of that does not have her own webpage. You can find plenty of interviews and reviews of her work, but even when the Canadian Broadcasting Company turned her vampire books into a TV series called “Blood Ties”, she managed to avoid the limelight.

There you have it. Fifty six novels that if you’ve not read them, you really should add to your TBR pile.

Be sure to share your reviews after perusing each one.

Author: John Picha
Edited by: Matthew Davies and Suellen Picha
Rating: Five out of five stars
Chip is an idealistic young man who tends to get lost in daydreams from time to time. He and his fellow Skyracos are armored super-cops, thinly scattered on many worlds, in an imperfect future.
Destiny City is a remote colony owned by the Arkon Mining Company. Chip is a junior part of the Skyracos wing brought in to assist the company security forces in quelling a riot.
It doesn’t take long to discover there is much more to the story than the mining company would have them believe. Sheer greed quickly overcomes compassion and common sense as the Skyracos are ordered to betray their ideals.
A saucer-shaped blimp hovers over Destiny City. The Painwell Pharmacare laboratory team within this floating research facility scrambles to find a plague cure while the Arkon Mining security teams battle the terrified colonists below.
The reader is given a peek into the minds of each of the major characters as the situation reels out of control. Chip’s idealism is put to the ultimate test as John Picha weaves an exciting tale.
I must admit I expected a lightweight space opera. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Skyracos unfolds in a manner reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut at his best. I found myself relating to Chip’s pain as he is tested under fire and learns some hard lessons. Skyracos is a dark story, well told.
You can find out more about this multi-talented author by visiting his website at: http://www.takejohn.com/
Pick up your own copy of Skyracos: The Mining Mess on Amazon.

Foreword by Tome Wilson

Tome is the founder of the web’s largest and most active dieselpunk community. The dieselpunks website provides a home for most anyone with an artistic bent that enjoy working the era between the world wars.

Tales of the Aether Age

by Grant Gardner

This is an all-too-short ride through an alternate history where the Great Depression triggered a rather nasty breakup of the United States. Rather than the simplicity of the civil war, a new series of alliances and power brokers established a half-dozen industrial city-states.
The tale is told from the viewpoint of a pair of minor gangster who run in a film noir Chicago of prohibition and flappers. It’s a fun ride and I’m looking forward to more from Mr. Gardner’s keyboard.

Pandora Driver: Who are the People in Your Neighborhood

Created by John Picha

A beautiful woman hiding behind a mask and driving an indestructable car. A midwestern city in nineteen forty provides the backdrop and John Picha’s knack of filling his tales with the speech and mannerisms of a forgotten time.
The world of Pandora Driver gets better with each new read.
Me? I love the cars.

The Troubleshooter: What the Wise Man Says

Created by Bard Constantine

“After the Cataclysm nearly wiped out humanity, the remnants of mankind survived in Havens: city-sized constructs built to reboot society and usher in a new age of mankind.”
That is how the Bard starts this tale. As the story unfolds, the reader comes to understand this isn’t so much a pre-WWII world as the current day, complete with computers and modern radios. The difference is the corruption and dark under belly of the Haven. Mick Trubble is a man who has lost his memory and becomes The Troubleshooter.
The World of Mañana: A Friend of Spirits

by Jack Philpott

Mr. Philpott has taken notes from various native American tribes as well as current political intrigue to weave a masterful tale of dedication and betrayal. This glimpse of the world of Mañana promises other dark tales. It is well worth the read.

The Dieselpunk Showcase can be downloaded for FREE.

Old City, New Blood

February 11, 2013

The convention was a lot of fun. I want to thank Jennifer Morris for putting on a great first-time event. Just in case you think it is all fun and games, this is what a convention looks like three hours before registration.

OCNB_GettingReady

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was setting as a bevy of beauties headed over to attend the Meet-n-Greet.

OCNB_BevyOfBeauties

 

 

 

 

 

The Meet-n-Greet on Friday evening was a great chance to network with some marvelous people.

OCNB_Meet-n-Greet

 

 

 

Here’s a shot from the first panel, on Saturday morning:

OCNB_Panel

 

 

 

Since meeting these ladies, my TBR pile has grown by more than a dozen books. I would highly recommend you take a peek at their websites.

http://jennabennett.com/
http://www.luciennediver.com/
http://www.nancyhaddock.com/
http://jesshaines.com/

I was too busy to take as many shots as I usually do, but will share some more over the next day or so.

Multiplarity

The famous science fiction author, Vernor Vinge’ has been credited with originating the term singularity.

From Wikipedia, we have this, “…his 1993 essay “The Coming Technological Singularity”, in which he argues that the creation of superhuman artificial intelligence will mark the point at which “the human era will be ended,” such that no current models of reality are sufficient to predict beyond it.”

Both the term and related concepts have been further advanced with a series of books and lectures by Ray Kurzweil.

Although I believe this rapture of the nerds will occur, I don’t think it will be the all-encompassing revolution that these futurists predict. As my friends and fans know, I’m a history buff, and this allows one to take a wider view of things.

Just as today, there are those of you, reading this on some sort of screen that is driven with micro-electronics, at this same instant, at other places around the world, there are semi-literate people who’s very existence depends on herding animals. A deeper search can still reveal naked humans, armed with blowguns and arrows, living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle that would have been familiar to a Neanderthal.
Just as we have very intelligent and well-read people in the United States that are totally aware of the benefits of high-technology and yet choose a simpler lifestyle, I believe the future will not be a singularity, but rather, a multiplarity.

That is the universe I have depicted in the Multiplarity Trilogy. The first book sets the stage when humans finally break the tyranny of disease and death itself. As one would imagine, this sudden change in the way we view ourselves isn’t painless. But it does show a way around some of our current issues. Unfortunately, every solution comes with a brand-new set of problems.

The second book, Selenaphiles, deals with some of the basic problems of establishing an off-Earth colony. This became much more of a world-building exercise than I had originally planned. I’m a bit picky about the technological items in my stories. They all have to have some basis in current scientific research and prototypes. The inflatable structures of Bigelow Aerospace that I’ve described in both Omniphage and Selenaphiles, are in fact quite real and are undergoing orbital testing at this time.

Next week, we’ll take a look at some of the space travel hardware described in the Multiplarity Trilogy.

Click this to read An Author’s Journey: Part Three

Echopharte!

October 31, 2012

The forth book in a five book shifter series from Red Rose Publishing, Echopharte tells of the origins and evolution of the shifters.

The ancients revered them. The colonists feared them. Today, no one believes in them. Shifters have lived and worked among humans since before recorded history.

Echopharte tells of the first community and how both good and evil have continuously shaped our society, from ancient times up to the present day.

Read the rest of this entry »

FREE READ – Imbolc

October 21, 2012

This is the tale of young priest who is introduced to a satyr by a beautiful member of his flock. Deep in the Black Forest, they break bread, discuss religion and learn the horror of the burning times.

Read the rest of this entry »

FREE READ – Marty Roberts

October 13, 2012

This is a short, Paranormal Romance in celebration of Halloween.

Prologue

She was cold and hurt. Again.

He had been drunk. Again.

This had been the worst one yet. As soon as he went to sleep, Kelly was going to leave and call the woman’s shelter. Perhaps he already was asleep. She didn’t hear him and now that her headache was easing a little, she realized it was way too cold. Had he set the AC to freeze in his drunken stupor?

She slowly opened her eyes, expecting the headache to worsen in the morning light. But there wasn’t any light.

Cold. It was so damn cold. And she realized she was still nude and laying on the floor. Wait a minute! Their bedroom had hardwood floors as did most of their home. She felt bare concrete under her. No wonder she was cold!

Tentatively, she reached out and her fingers brushed a concrete block. “Honey?” Her soft voice was totally lost in the darkness. Quickly rolling over, she felt her knuckles tear against another concrete surface,  above her. “Honey! Where am I?” This tumbled out of her almost as a shout.

It only took a few seconds of scrambling about on her back to realize she was in a concrete box. Smooth on all sides except the one where she felt the rough edges of the blocks. The smell of curing cement finally woke her completely.

Kelly tore at the walls until her fingernails were gone and screamed until the air ran out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Last week, I posted a brief tutorial on how to use Audacity to create your own audiobooks. Now, I’ve decided to share some of my experiences during the creation of my latest project.

First, a little background… I’ve recorded some short tales and a friend’s poem in order to test and hone my skills. This process has taught me a few things.

#1 Use a decent microphone. I have been using the same $20 headset and boom mic combination that I’ve used for Skype. It works. But the sound quality is just not that good. A couple of week’s ago, I broke down and purchased a Blue Yeti.

#2 However long it takes you to read a chapter slowly and distinctly, translates to four to five times that long to create the final MP3. Yes. The post-edit process is time-consuming. Plan on it.

#3 I’ve started recording Shifter Born, the first book in my Shifter Series. I’m on chapter ten of thirteen. As I finish reading each chapter, I’m doing the basic noise-reduction and editing out the screwups. That’s it for now. I’m going to leave the rest of the post-production, such as adding spacing, music, titles, copyright, and overall level balancing… until all the chapters are in the can.

It’s just the start. Feel free to ask questions along the way.