Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Plz read these new releases cuz I can't

Dude! There is a lot of brand-new (very probably) excellent stuff out in the land of speculative fiction. But because I'm spending most of my time tending to a sick family member (she's recovering, and she's gonna be okay; this is just time-consuming for all of us), I haven't really been able to read much lately. Here are four books I've bought in the last month and am *itching* to read but can't, so click 'em and let me know what you think:

Cara Bristol's latest Intergalactic Dating Agency SFR, Caid: Dakonian Alien Mail Order Brides #3, released November 8 and is sitting purchased but unopened on my Kindle. Cara started out writing erotic spanking stories but bloomed on the science fiction romance scene with Breeder, which is awesome and the first book I rec to folks who have read a lot of romance and are considering a jaunt on the spec-fic side. She wields language with sophistication and ease, pays a lot of attention to details in her worldbuilding, and bundles it all up with charm. I have no doubt this one will be as fun as her previous books.

Chanta Rand's brand-new Androids and Anarchy (Intergalactic Huntress Book 1) looks super tasty. I mean, intergalactic bounty hunter facing mutants and rebellions and an evil aristocrat villain and she is a badass gal with superpowers? Yeah, this one presses all my buy-this buttons. Sadly it has no reviews yet, so please, if you do read it, put some stars upon thars.

I've been reading Rebecca Royce for years. She started out writing shifters, but she's gone in several fun directions since, including SFR. Her latest co-written piece with Ripley Prosperpina, Lightning Strikes, is a post-apocalyptic zombie reverse-harem adventure, and I have no idea how Rebecca and Ripley have made that work, but they are both accomplished writers and I trust I'm gonna like this one.

And that's about all.. Oh, wait. I actually have read one new release in the last few weeks. Well, okay, I listened to it. Does that count? John Scalzi's The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency Book 2) came out back in October but was released simultaneously in audiobook, so I spent an Audible credit on it and enjoyed the hell out of it. It's short, especially considering the price tag on the ebook (whoa), but it's crammed with tropes I adore, excellent pacing, and that signature Scalzi irreverence, so I'd rec it, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure it broke records for Most F-bombs Ever in a Book Not Actually About Fing. Or maybe they were just more noticeable in the audiobook? *shrug* Fair warning for pottymouthness.

Anyhow, that's my recent-release reading to-read list. I could tell you loads of others in genres that aren't spec-fic, but here on SFF Seven, if we do nothing else ever, we FOCUS!

(Which is totally why I whiffed on my Wednesday post the week before last. Not that you noticed, probably/hopefully. But still: sorry 'bout that.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fans of Urban Fantasy: If You Were Imbued with Power of a Single Tarot Card...

A magical whodunnit against a backdrop of Tarot brought to life sums up the new series from Jenn Stark featuring Sara Wilde as the recently ascended Justice of the Arcana Council. With appearances by The Magician, The Devil, The High Priestess, and Judgment; Justice Wilde is learning the hard way the price of evolved powers and dangerous responsibilities.

Wilde Justice: Book 1

New world order, new job, new mission.

As the first Justice of the Arcana Council in two hundred years, Tarot-reading Sara Wilde is tasked with taking out the most dangerous magic-wielding criminals on the planet. Her first assignment? A killer known only as the Red King, who’s systematically picking off the world’s most gifted magicians in the rollicking streets and storied canals of Venice, Italy, on the eve of Carnevale.

Amidst the festival’s music, masks, and brightly colored costumes, Sara must unravel the truth about a brutal murderer from Venice’s own murky past, navigate the twisting political currents of magicians who seek to rival her own Council, and keep one costume change ahead of a conjurer whose lethal spells could end Justice—permanently. Good thing the diabolically sexy and deeply powerful Magician of the Arcana Council has Sara’s back…if only he didn’t hold so much of her heart as well.

The canals of Venice will run with blood when you deal in The Red King.

BUY IT NOW: Amazon | iTunes | Nook | Kobo

Monday, November 19, 2018

Map of Moments and more

This week we're supposed to blurb a friend/ I'm doing two for the price of one.

So Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon are friends of mine and they have collaborated several times in  the past.
A truly spectacular series of books they did came out a while back. The first book out in the series was THE MAP OF MOMENTS, which has been re-released recently. In December the second book in the series MIND THE GAP is being re-released. The other two, THE CHAMBER OF TEN and THE SHADOW MEN will be coming out soon after

Do yourself a favor: READ THESE BOOKS! They are brilliant. Each novel stands by itself as a story worth reading but when they are put together they are something even more spectacular. How good are they? I'm damned jealous of the gents in question. I rather wish I'd written them myself.

The four  books, when put together, make the picture you see below.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Blurb a Buddy? Seasons of Sorcery!

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is: Blurb a Buddy: Have an author-buddy with a recent/soon-to-be released book? Promo them!

What can I do? All my besties DID just have a new release - but with me! So I'm sharing SEASONS OF SORCERY, with amazing stories by Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven, and Jennifer Estep. I've read them all and they're each delightful, as varied as the seasons we all selected.

Oh, and there's one from me too. And we finally have All The Buy Links!

An assassin at a renaissance faire. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, if you’re Gin Blanco. This Spider is trapped in someone else’s icy web—and it seems like they don’t want her to leave the faire alive . . . 

The stretch of sea known as The Gray rules the lives of those in the village of Ancilar, including widow Brida Gazi. In the aftermath of an autumn storm, Brida discovers one of the sea's secrets cast onto the shore—a discovery that will change her world, mend her soul, and put her in the greatest danger she's ever faced. 

A malevolent spell strangles the kingdom of Leathen in catastrophic drought. Prince Daric must break the curse before his people starve. A once-mighty goddess trapped in a human body might be the key—but saving his kingdom could mean losing all that he loves. 

As unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

As a bonus, our Saturday Siren Veronica Scott also had a new release this week! 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Even When Not Writing Are You Writing?

Not the Author

“Even when you’re not writing, you’re writing.”

Hmmm, looks at this week’s theme backwards and forwards, diagrams the sentence, searches for inspiration…

OK, here’s how it works for me, which is all I can speak to:

Writing, or telling stories, is as necessary to me as breathing is, and has been an integral part of my being since I can remember (wrote my first book at age 7). I have a vivid imagination.
A Muse. Not the proper one for writing perhaps but I like her
light hearted spirit
 I’m very superstitious about my Muse and how she works (you may groan now if you’re a regular reader of this column and have seen me address this before!). If I think too much about a story, then my brain or my Muse or whoever/whatever is in charge up there in the Creativity Module says the story is done. Complete. No need to write that one down. And I NEVER will be able to.

I used to have a very long commute to the day job. I like to ponder plot issues while I’m driving, especially with loud music, BUT one day the commute took an extra long time, I told myself a fabulous Halloween type scifi tale – it was so good I got goose bumps! – and then…it was done. I never did write it down in any form at all. Just no creative push to transfer the story from my brain to the paper. I don’t even remember all the aspects of the story any more.

I’m not one of those authors who soaks up the people and places around me and puts them into my stories either. If we’re out for lunch or dinner I’m not also busily making notes of cute things people have said, or interesting real life vignettes to stick in my next novel. Doesn’t work for me. I can only remember a few times when I’ve drawn upon an actual life experience of my own to put into a book and that was chiefly atmospherics from climbing a pyramid in Mexico and another time the definite evil I felt emanating from a statue of the Aztec god of death. Or the general impressions from being surrounded by the marvels from King Tut’s tomb…but in all those cases, I waited years to pull on those experiences and add them to the plot mix.

On occasion a news story will trigger my imagination and I take off in a mental riff about it, or enlarge upon it, or grab one aspect to use in a novel.

Sometimes the first conscious thought in my head in the morning – even before “feed the cat” – will be the answer to a plot problem, or a neat twist for the current book I’m writing. Clearly the Muse/subconscious/creativity module has been working away overnight to come up with that. This is the only time I guess I could truthfully claim to be “writing when I wasn’t writing.” But I can’t take any credit for the achievement since I have no idea what triggers the serendipity and it doesn’t happen every night.

So I guess a part of me is always alert and pondering creatively, possibly synthesizing a lot of varied inputs that will hit the page when I do sit down to actually write, but it’s not necessarily a conscious process.

I do keep a huge folder of plot ideas, clippings, notes etc., for possible stories that came to me at odd moments but you know what? I almost never even open that file. It's a one way funnel. When it's time for me to write a new book, there's always a bright and shiny idea waiting and I can't wait to get to the keyboard to start telling the story.

And in case you somehow missed the new of GABE, my new release this week, plus I love these covers!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sneaking Out the Back to Write

Even when I'm not writing, I'm writing.

Always. I mean, I assume everyone has felt like a stranger in a strange land in this life at some point. I cop to having felt that way most of my life, but I cannot be the only person who feels like a tourist to this planet and the guidebook omits some really critical information regarding the habits of the natives.

So I stroll the edges examining, observing, and taking field notes. It's what a writing teacher told me once. Our jobs, she said, are to see all of the things most other humans either couldn't take the time or couldn't bear to look at. And then we had to put it all on paper in some form or another. It does mean that no matter where I am, no matter what I'm doing, I'm observing. Cataloging. Parsing emotion from verbal content, shaking it all out, and mounting each nuance very carefully on well-labeled cards so I can rifle through them later looking for that single emotional response that's perfect for a scene.

If we're hanging out and you feel like I'm not entirely present, you're probably right. There's that part of me that always sneaks out the back to ideate. I don't mean it. Never do. Ask my long suffering family.


Watching is part of the process, I cop to that. But there's nothing quite like doing. I'd rather be writing.

For those following along, the boys are 10 weeks old now. Here's Corvid suffering from a nap attack. Those gray lips slay me.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Release: GABE A Badari Warriors SciFi Romance from Veronica Scott

I was thrilled to release the fifth book in my award winning Badari Warriors scifi romance series this week!

Here's the blurb:
Gabe Carter, hotshot pilot and exSpecial Forces soldier, is far from his home in the human Sectors, kidnapped by alien scientists to be the subject of horrifying experiments.  Shot down by the enemy over desolate territory far from his Badari allies and gravely injured, Gabe’s only hope is a mysterious woman on the run herself.

Keshara has to decide whether to abandon the human to die of his injuries on a windswept mountain top or give up her own quest for freedom and take him to a place he can be helped. The undeniable spark between them complicates matters.
His attraction to her is off the charts but when she betrays him to the Khagrish enemy, Gabe doesn’t know what to believe. Trapped inside an alien lab bursting with mysteries and lies, his only hope may be to trust her…again.

Because the renegade alien scientist running her own private experiments wants to use him to accomplish her goals and perpetuate the evil, no matter what she has to do to ensure his compliance. Keshara’s life hangs in the balance and Gabe has to make a choice.

This is the sixth book in the Badari Warriors world (and the fifth book in the series) and each novel has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is an ongoing series but romance always wins the day in my novels!

Buy Links: Amazon      Apple Books    Nook     Kobo     Google Play

TIMTUR (issued under the In the Stars Romance banner)


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Writer brain: the perpetual machine

“Even when you’re not writing, you’re writing.” That’s our topic this week.

Thing is, I’m not always writing. But I am always writer-braining (totally is a verb).

Example: This morning over coffee, hubs and I were talking about the new Stephen Hawking book and how in it the (sadly, late) professor laments the current glut of published research. Fifty years ago, you could read everything that had been published on a slice of science. Now, though, even if you narrow your field strictly, it is impossible to consume every scientific paper published on the topic. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day… for a human person.

And just that easy, I slip into writer-brain/questions mode: For a computer, though, what if it was possible to process every bit of information, to hold it all in sacred data storage and constantly analyze it? How long would it take the computer to realize it knows more than the humans? I mean, if it was doing deep learning, I’d give us, what, ten years? Twenty? Maybe not even that long.

Would the (omniscient, if not omnipotent) computer, knowing also everything of human psychology research, be kind to us? Or would it judge us? Or would it just let us run on our little hamster wheels while it—the real intelligent species now—went on and took over the world and colonized space because clearly we are too limited a creation to participate in the Big Projects.

What if there is already a computer right now doing the Big Projects while we run furiously on our political WTFery and social media and vapid entertainment hamster wheels?

And poof, there’s a story seed. Right there in my brain.

I will never write that story. There are literally hundreds of similar “what if…?” files on my computer and in my Things Of Coolness spreadsheet. They might inform pieces of the stories I write someday, but mostly they are the cogworks that make up the squeaky, rusty, slow-moving machinery of my writer brain.

I bet you have those, too. Yours may be shinier.

The point is that you can take a writer’s fingers off the keyboard, but you can’t really stop a stop her brain from iterating. So let it.