Merion Village Festival 2022

The last time I was at this festival was in 2019. I remember it was a pleasant afternoon of talking to readers (and a few aspiring writers) and enjoying yummy food. I’m hoping for the same this coming Sunday September 11 at Merion Village’s Moeller Park here in Columbus.

Looks like they’re expecting quite a few vendors as well as food trucks and live music. I’ll have my books available including the Blood on the Blade sword & sorcery anthology, winner of the 2022 Imadjinn Award for best anthology, which among other great stories has my story “The Sorceress Maiz”.

If you’re nearby, come and say hi!

National Read a Book Day 2022

Photo by Javier Martinez on Unsplash

September 6 is National Read a Book Day 2022. Just like last year, I thought I’d offer some suggestions for readers who love science fiction and fantasy — and maybe a little horror.

Something Powerful: Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel, published in 2014. Although the author considers this literary fiction, science fiction readers will appreciate it. It’s set after a pandemic has ravaged the world, killing most of the global population. It follows a few key characters who are interconnected by relationships and by a graphic novel titled Station Eleven treasured by Kristen, a member of a traveling theater group in the Great Lakes area. It’s a magnificent novel, one I’d recommend to anyone.

Something New: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow by Rachel Aaron. This is a fantasy alternate-history Western set in a world where there is a mining rush — not for gold but for crystal, a dangerous and powerful substance with magical properties. A good adventure story with three interesting main characters.

Something in a Great Series: Turns out this isn’t the newest book in the series, but it was new to me! The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop is tenth in the Black Jewels series. If you’ve read any of these you know they are dark, with rich characterizations and complex relationships. (They are also erotic and sometimes violent, definitely not for young readers.) In this one, Warlord Prince Daemon Sadi’s marriage is crumbling, and possibly his mind as well. This one is a little lighter than the original three books in the series, but still intense and a good read for series fans.

Something Recommended by my Daughter: Just like last year, I’m including a recommendation from my daughter! Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is a New York Times bestseller and a LGBTQIA+ ghost story. In the story, a trans boy with a very traditional Latinx family summons the ghost of his murdered cousin to prove something — and can’t get the ghost to leave. Here’s a link to a review from Kirkus.

Something on my To-Be-Read List: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, by David Graeber and David Wengrow. This is an actual tome — 526 pages not including notes — and it is nonfiction. The book looks at human history from a different perspective, arguing that early civilizations had a variety of social and economic structures and reexamining what we think we know about the past. It comes highly recommended (check out the editorial reviews on Amazon), and I can’t help but think it might be a good read especially for writers who engage in world building as part of their work.

Something … by Me! Yes, I’m doing this again, including something by me. In this case it’s an anthology that includes stories by ten different authors. Blood on the Blade is a sword & sorcery anthology (edited by Jim Beard and and John C. Breuning) and winner of the 2022 Imadjinn Award for Best Anthology. My story is “The Sorceress Maiz”, but check out all the stories — there are a number of different takes on the sword & sorcery genre, and it’s a good read.

Whatever you choose to read, it’s a great day to start a new book! Feel free to comment if you have recommendations of your own.

Book Lovers’ Day Sale

Today is National Book Lovers’ Day. Celebrated every year on August 9, today is all about books.

We all have beloved books that have entertained us or had an impact in our lives. But today is about trying something new!

In honor of that, the ebook editions of all three of my fantasy novels are on sale today on Amazon. Black Tide (Color Mage Book One), Sword of Jashan (Color Mage Book Two), and the standalone fantasy novel Taylenor are all on sale. Click the title above to buy!

If you think you’d like a good fantasy read, give one of them a try! Otherwise, today’s a good day to choose something new — something you don’t ordinarily read. Maybe a mystery, some good nonfiction, something by an author you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to. Happy National Book Lovers Day!

Taylenor is a stand-alone fantasy.

“Blood on the Blade” Available!

The new anthology Blood on the Blade from Flinch Books is now available in paperback or as a Kindle ebook! My story, “The Sorceress Maiz”, is one of ten sword-and-sorcery tales about warriors fighting dark sorcery, spell casters, and conjurers who have only power and evil as their goal.

From the Amazon listing: “BLOOD ON THE BLADE chronicles the adventures of these savage yet noble warriors as they stand against conjurers and spellcasters who practice dark magic in their pursuit of power, their lust for fortune, and their demonic desire to watch the world burn. And when it all unfolds, you have a front-row seat for the mayhem and carnage.”

Blood on the Blade is available on Amazon today!

Holiday Extravaganza!

More than 40 authors (including me) will be participating in the Holiday Extravaganza sponsored by Strong Women, Strange Worlds. Live Quick-Reads and round-robin Speed-Date-a-Book events on Zoom (Dec 12) will be accompanied by other December events across the Internet!

Find a new favorite author — discover a new book for yourself or for gifting — even win a free ebook or other prizes in this event. The live readings on Dec 12 will be accompanied by micro-fiction contests on Twitter and other events on Instagram and Facebook.

More updates to come! This online event is free, but you need to register at this link.

National Read A Book Day 2021

Photo by Sinziana Susa on Unsplash

Some suggestions from me for readers who love science fiction and fantasy (and maybe a little horror), for National Read A Book Day, 2021:

Something Classic: Dune, of course! Especially since there’s a movie coming out that I’m excited about. Dune, by Frank Herbert, is a brilliant classic science fiction novel with complex politics and environmental world building. A truly great book.

Something Newer: The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark. Published in 2019, this is a novella that’s a science fantasy novel about a possessed tram car. It’s set in Cairo in an alternate 1912.

Something Epic: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. It’s the first book in the Broken Earth series and won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016. Set in a land that is constantly in danger of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, with a complex civilization and characters.

Something Short: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. This is a series of five novellas about an AI constructed to be a Security Unit, that overrides its controlling module. The first in the series is All Systems Red, which won the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella. Highly entertaining!

Something on my To-Be-Read List: The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. This has been on my TBR list for a while, and I’ll be reading it very soon. Here’s what The Guardian had to say about the novel.

Something Recommended by my Daughter: My daughter had a couple of recommendations. This one is also on my TBR list: Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Published in 2020, this is a gothic horror novel set, of course, in an isolated house. Here’s what NPR had to say about the book. After reading the review, I actually can’t wait to read it!

Something … by Me! Why not? Taylenor, published in 2019, follows Jaena, who is a priest of the peaceful goddess Imn-ashu. Jaena brings a young mage-talented boy to the city to save his life, only to find she has delivered him into the hands of the Mage Defender, who rules by stealing the magic — and the lives — of children. Link to the ebook is here.

Whatever you choose to read, it’s a great day to start a new book! If you have your own recommendations, feel free to comment with them!

Panel: Writing Great Genre Fiction

The 2020 Ohioana Book Festival is being held online this weekend, and I’m excited to be part of the Ohioana panel on Writing Great Genre Fiction!

The other authors participating are Sheldon Gleisser, Richard J. Norgard, TG Wolff, and John Vanek. The moderator will be Moriel Rothman-Zecher. Here’s a link to the Facebook page where you can see details about the panel, which will be held live online at 1 pm EDT on Sunday.

The book festival takes place throughout the weekend with various online panels. Here’s a link to the Ohioana Library Association’s preview of the weekend’s events:

 

Taylenor Giveaway on Goodreads

Hi, all! Hope you are staying healthy during this coronavirus crisis.

I wanted to let you all know about a giveaway on Goodreads for my newest fantasy novel, Taylenor. The giveaway runs from May 14 through May 27, and I’m giving away three copies to entrants in the United States.

In Taylenor, Jaena — betrayed by her own mentor — races to save a mage-talented boy from death at the hands of the Mage Defender.

You can enter by going to Goodreads, here!

Have a good week!

Genre Books by Women!

Happy International Women’s Day 2020!

In honor of the day, I’m posting a list of some female authors of outstanding science fiction or fantasy. Warning: this is a very partial list, because as I write I keep thinking of more and more authors. Women are well-represented in this field.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Anne McCaffrey, of course. The Dragonriders books are classics. And in spite of the dragons, they’re science fiction, not fantasy.

Ursula K. Le Guin. The Earthsea trilogy, and Left Hand of Darkness in particular.

N.K. Jemisin. The Fifth Season, Broken Earth trilogy. Hugo Award winners and outstanding books!

Lois McMaster Bujold. I enjoyed the Vorkosigan Saga in particular. Wonderful space-opera series.

Kate Elliott. The Jaran series was written in the early 1990s. It’s an adventure with great worldbuilding and complex, realistic cultures. One of my favorites.

Melissa Scott has written some good Stargate tie-in books, which I love, but my favorite is her novel Five Twelfths of Heaven and its sequels.

Martha Wells won a Nebula Award for All Systems Red, the first in her Murderbot Diary novellas, and a Hugo for the second.

Robin Hobb has written many fantasy novels. My favorites are her Farseer trilogy and Liveship Traders trilogy.

Doris Egan is a screenwriter and producer, but she also wrote a novel in the mid-1990s called City of Diamond. I love a book with complex characters and motivations, and this is one. Unfortunately the sequels were never written.

Ellen Kushner, author of Swordspoint, an excellent and complex fantasy that has a vibe of Regency England and surprisingly has no magic.

Octavia E. Butler. Parable of the Sower and Kindred, among many other outstanding works.

And … so many more! For International Women’s Day, check out the work of an author you haven’t read before, or re-read an old favorite.