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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.

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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 »

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Sorry about the clickbait-y title, guys; I couldn’t resist

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theatres this weekend, and love it or hate it, seems like everybody’s talking about it. Whether it’s Vox’s piece on Nineteen Things That Don’t Make Sense coming down on the Hate It side, or articles about the film’s impressive box office returns being used as evidence for Team Love It, everyone has an opinion.

And here’s the shocking bit. Are you ready?

Love it or hate it, that’s your opinion.

I have friends who adored it, who will probably go see it fifteen more times. I have friends who deplore it, who have written at length on why they think it is so terrible. I also have friends who haven’t seen it yet, or don’t plan to see it at all, who are indifferent, or who were genuinely unaware that this movie was happening. (Me, I don’t have an opinion; I haven’t seen it, and likely won’t until it hits Netflix.) But the thing is, whether you think it is the best thing since individually wrapped cheese slices (let’s face it, those things are amazing), or a big steaming pile of terribleness–

That’s okay.

It’s your opinion.

You can like what you like, or hate what you hate.

Think on the old Latin saying: De gustibus non est disputandum. Roughly, “Guys, we shouldn’t argue about matters of taste.”

It’s not just that you can like what you like, or hate what you hate: my opinion of a work of art (which BvS arguably is) in no way diminishes or counteracts your opinion, even if we disagree.

When it comes to matters of taste, we shouldn’t fight. Certainly I’m the last person who can throw stones; one of my favorite movies of all time features two hours of giant robots punching giant monsters, and I’ll happily argue its excellence to you if you have the time and patience for it, but if that’s not your cuppa, that’s cool too.

Opinions aren’t objective, no matter how pleasing to our egos it might be to pretend that we ourselves are the Final Arbiters of All Aesthetic Goodness (or whatever your yardstick is). Now, whether or not the thing you like is objectively good or terrible is a separate question, and one people smarter than me have been tackling for many and many a year, and outside the purview of this little blog post–but even if it is terrible (as many folk said about Pacific Rim, and are saying about BvS), it’s still okay to like it. Something in it feeds your soul, or fires your heart, or sparks your imagination. It’s downright cruel to try to take that away from a person.

So, guys, let’s not fight about matters of taste.

(Although, if you think Pacific Rim is terrible, you’re just wrong, and that’s a fact! XD )

Brave_coverMy short story, “Somebody Brave,’ is available now, DRM-free, on Amazon!

Here’s the book description:

They had done what they could. The six heroes had traversed the land to gather the seventeen Artifacts to defeat the evil sorcerer Maliax. But would their efforts be enough to stop the end of the world?

This short adventure story originally appeared in the Nightfalls anthology from Dark Valentine Press.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee, this story can be yours! Or you can enter to win a free copy, as well as a whole bunch of other nifty free books and book-related items, as the March Mayhem giveaway winds to a close. If you haven’t entered yet, hop to it!

Either way, thanks for looking, and if you read the story you can help me out by leaving a review! I hope you enjoy it!

Today as March Mayhem continues we would like to introduce Marcus Aurelius, Lord Malton. He’s the hero from Lynne Connolly’s brand new historical romance, Dilemma in Yellow Silk— a delightful romp through mid-18th century England with assassins, secret Jacobites, star-crossed lovers and much more.  Welcome to the blog, Lord Malton!

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

Ride. Anywhere that took my fancy. I’d go back to the family estate and ride somewhere nobody expected anything of me, or even knew my name.

Let’s say you believed in reincarnation, a la Plato. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? What are you most proud of about your life?

Probably a pampered lap dog. Some people think I am one anyway, because of my birth. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but I cannot persuade them of that. I’m proud of my family, of supporting my father in the work he does.

What was the happiest time of your life?

Playing with my father’s steward’s daughter, Viola, when I was a child. Viola never concerned herself with my birth or consequence. I owed her nothing, unlike my siblings. Viola was—is—the most charming, lively person I know. She’s a good friend. I’m just sorry she can never be anything else. Continue Reading »

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Today I’m hosting an excerpt from Lynne Connolly‘s Dilemma in Yellow Silk, one of the books you can win when you enter the March Mayhem giveaway, hosted by author/artist/all around talented lady Joanne Renaud. Click the banner above for the details.

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lynne_Dilemma-in-Yellow-SilkConcentrating on her music, Viola nearly jumped out of her skin when a large body plumped down on the stool next to her. She shrieked, spun around, and closed her eyes. “You!”

“Why, weren’t you expecting me?”

His expression of innocence did not fool her for a minute.

“Not here, not like this. Did you run from the last staging post?” she demanded. She should not talk to the Earl of Malton like this. Right now he was less the earl and more Marcus, the boy she’d known so long ago. “Oh, my lord, sir, I’m sorry!”

She should recall her place, but she was finding the task difficult when he was wearing the same mischievous grin he’d used at nine years old.

“I couldn’t resist. Do you know what you were playing?”

The heat rushed to her face. “Yes.” No sense dissimulating. Of course she knew.

“And if you don’t stop ‘my lord’ and ‘sir’ing me, I’ll have you sent home forthwith. When we’re alone, it’s still Marcus.”

What had happened to him? Marcus had slowly moved away from her, gone from a childhood friend to a dignified, proper aristocrat. She understood the move, because he would have responsibilities to take care of, but sometimes she missed him. He’d remained a distant figure ever since, growing more pompous every time she saw him. Now he seemed to have cast all that off.

“I thought—that’s not right.”

Sighing, he shook his head. “And I’ve stopped you playing. A pity—I was enjoying that. Carry on.”

“Is that an order—sir?”

He growled deep in his throat, such a small sound she’d have missed it if he were not sitting so close to her. “Stop it. I’ll be Malton in about an hour.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ve spent the last three days in a closed carriage with my father, and I want to forget the stateliness. He would, given the chance. But with outriders and men riding ahead to warn innkeepers we were on our way, we had little chance.”

“So they commit the great crime of ensuring the best bedrooms are free. The cook is bursting from his waistcoat, trying to cook the best meal he’s capable of making. If only my journeys were so tedious!”

His laugh rang around the room. “Exactly. But we’re welcomed with ‘Good evening, my lord,’ and ‘How can I serve you, my lord?’”

“You poor thing.” She should guard her tongue, but she delighted in reacquainting herself with the man she used to know.

He rewarded her with another laugh. “I know. It’s such a hardship.” Lifting his feet, he spun around on the bench so he faced the keyboard, as she did. “You got a phrase wrong. The tune is based on the traditional one, but it’s varied in the last line of each verse. Slightly different each time. Like this.”

When he demonstrated, Viola understood exactly what he meant. But with the amusement, her heart ached. She had missed him so much. At the delicate age of nine, two years after his breeching, Marcus had begun his training, and since then, he’d become engrossed in his life’s work. Before then, the laughing boy had had no cares, and they’d played together.

Until someone remembered their different stations in life, and she did not think it was Marcus.

“Your turn.” Continue Reading »