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Pirates! Romance! Adventure! Dragons! Time travel! Possibly also the kitchen sink!

Pirates! Romance! Adventure! Dragons! Time travel! Possibly also the kitchen sink!

Hi-ho, everybody! Smashwords is doing one their intermittent promotions, so for this week only you can sail over there and get the ebook of The Voyage to Ruin for FREE! Just use the coupon code SFREE at checkout.

 

And if you read it, and you like it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or Facebook or your personal blog or spray-painted on a fence somewhere, or whatever strikes your fancy. It doesn’t have to be long, just a sentence or two about what you thought. Reviews from real live readers are the author’s lifeblood. (Well, that and coffee, I’m pretty sure.)

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So when I said last time I’d post Part Two “after Christmas,” I didn’t intend it to be literally after the entire Octave, but that’s how it shook out. Welcome back, and here’s wishing you all a joyous and blessed New Year!

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SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE AHEAD. (Also The Last Samurai, if you haven’t seen that.)

 

So, last week in Part One, I talked about some of the cool stuff they did in Rogue One. Mostly it boiled down to genre and tone, and how the movie opens the door for lots of different kinds of stories in the Star Wars milieu. I didn’t talk about all the nerdy Star Wars-y stuff, the Easter eggs for fans, or anything like that, because yeah that stuff is cool but not necessary to the story, and it’s all been pretty thoroughly canvassed elsewhere.

 

But if Rogue One is cool but not perfect, then: what are the raisins in this delicious Star Wars trail mix?

 

Let’s start with the biggest raisin of them all: Continue Reading »

Hi guys! I’m still alive! Life has been relentlessly lifing at me since my last, and as I said awhile back, the first thing to get dropped is blogging. I just saw Rogue One, though, and I am full of thoughts that I wanted to share.

So full of thoughts that I’m splitting this post into multiple parts. Part Two should be up after Christmas.

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SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD! Oh so many spoilers for all the Star Wars things. I’m going to talk about Rogue One and related Star Wars media under the assumption that we’ve all seen them. If you haven’t and want to remain unspoiled, TURN BACK NOW.

 

So, Rogue One was a pretty seriously mixed bag of a movie, like the trail mix you buy at the store because you like the little chunks of dark chocolate–but it also has horrid little bits of dessicated ex-fruit in it. At least there’s chocolate, though, right? Okay, maybe this metaphor is not working for me, but you get the idea. Lots of delicious stuff to love, but also some severe flaws that keep the film from greatness.

 

The following is in no particular order, but let’s start with the stuff they got right. Continue Reading »

Light a Light

I sat down to write this morning, and like I do I decided to check social media first. (Because nothing says “getting into the right frame of mind for making up stories” like “fiddling around on Facebook for half an hour.”) And my body grew numb with horror and sorrow, and my tea got cold at my elbow, and when I closed my browser I stared at the document open on my laptop and thought, What even is the point?

 

Check the news, a friend messaged me, and try not to cry.

 

I didn’t try. I read about police officers being shot in Dallas, about a man being killed in St Paul, another in Baton Rouge, and I wept. These are human beings, each unique and valuable and beloved, and they are dead. Who would not weep, at the shattering of these worlds?

 

And what good does it do, to write another escapist fantasy, or draw technicolor superheroes, in the face of such horror?

 

These are not new thoughts, and I’m not the first to think them. In the face of a world turned upside-down and run mad, art seems silly and frivolous and without value, and I suppose it always has. We need laws! We need action! What, you’re going to draw a picture at a time like this?!

 

But what else can I do? The world is very dark, and we must fight the darkness with all the power and strength and ability we’ve been given. Let the teacher teach truth, and let the preacher preach love, let the police serve and protect, let the judges dispense justice. And let the writers tell their tales and the artists make beautiful art, and let us all each in our way, great or small, raise our lights against the darkness. We must, we must resist the powers of fear and hatred.

 

So I’ll write. What else can I do?

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Art credit: Gwendolyn1-stock @ deviantArt

kindle-coverIn celebration of the Fourth of July weekend, my pirate adventure fantasy with dragons and airships, The Voyage to Ruin, is free! Light up your sparklers and crack open the delicious beverage of your choice, and sail over to V2R on Smashwords for oodles of nautical adventure.

And remember, word of mouth is how indie authors survive. If you read it, even if you hate it or couldn’t finish it, think about leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I’d be deeply obliged to you!

ETA: Thanks to eagle-eyed readers who noticed the link was broken and suggested the fix. It should be working now.

Book Review: Doors

joanne_doorsDoors is a brand-new time travel romance from Joanne Renaud, author of A Question of Time (which I also reviewed), out now from Champagne Books.

So, first, a disclaimer: Joanne’s a good buddy of mine, and I got to be a beta reader for this book, so even though I will try hard to be fair and balanced and objective, I will probably fail. That said, on with the review!

Doors is the story of Jackie Karam, a struggling freelance comic artist in New York City; the brightest spot in her life is her friendship with rich, eccentric party boy Orne St John. Inspired by an old book and the strange real-life disappearance of its author, Orne gets a wild idea: if one had a lost book in one’s past, a book one could remember almost nothing about, perhaps finding that book could open a door into an alternate dimension.

Orne himself has no lost or forgotten books in his past, but it turns out Jackie does: a pulp science fiction novel recommended to her by her favorite high school English teacher just before he died in a car wreck.  (This is Alan Forrest, the romantic lead from A Question of Time.) In the wake of the accident, Jackie forgot everything about the book, even its title, only an image of the gaudy paperback she checked out from her hometown library lingering in her mind.

This thin thread is enough for Orne. Ready for adventure, he hauls Jackie off to Maryland to try to open an interdimensional portal. Continue Reading »

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Last but not least in our character interview extravaganza is an interview with Anna Winters, the heroine of Donna Thorland’s The Dutch Girl, a swashbuckling romantic tale of the American Revolution. It’s an exciting read, with espionage, derring-do, witches, arrogant redcoats, patroons lording it over feudal manors in the Hudson Valley, and cookies.  Ms. Winters is a woman of few words, but let’s welcome her to the blog!

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donna_Anna_lgIf you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Go fishing with my husband.

 

What are you most proud of about your life?

I’m proud of starting a school and providing women with an education.

 

What was the happiest time of your life?

Being a teacher and running my own school. Continue Reading »