Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Guest Post by Jennifer Estep! Plus, a Giveaway!

Jennifer Estep is the author of the Bigtime series, which includes Karma Girl, Hot Mama and starting on Tuesday, Jinx (although Jennifer says it is already showing up in bookstores). When she agreed to do a guest post, I asked her to comment either on her greatest author moment and how her life changed since her initial publication. Jennifer has generously decided to cover both topics.

The Times, They Are A’Changing
by Jennifer Estep

First of all, I want to say thanks for Tia for inviting me to blog today. Thanks so much, Tia!

So Tia asked me to talk about a couple of things today – my most exciting author moment and how my life has changed since being published.

It’s really, really hard for me to pick just one favorite author moment. There have been so many incredible milestones. Getting an agent … getting offered my first contract … seeing my first book, Karma Girl, at my local bookstore … signing my very first copy … getting so many wonderful e-mails from folks telling me how much they enjoy my Bigtime superhero series … Each one has been so special and wonderful in its own way.

If I did have to pick, though, I’d say my highlight was coming home from work one day to find an envelope from my publisher. I couldn’t imagine what was in there, but when I opened it up, I let out a shriek of glee. Because nestled inside was the very first copy of Karma Girl that I ever saw.

I just stood there for a few minutes, holding it in my hands and staring at it. Finally, finally, after all those years of writing and all those manuscripts and all those rejection letters, I finally had a copy of my book in my hand. It truly was a dream come true – and made me realize how very blessed I am. A very happy and humbling moment.

Where’s that first book now? On my bookshelf, along with all my other favorite keeper titles. 

As for as how my life has changed, it has – and it hasn’t.

I’ve got three books out now, so I can say that I’m a multi-published author. It sounds more impressive than it is, considering there are tons of folks out there who’ve published many, many more books than I have. But hey, it’s still pretty cool. 

I do and get asked to do more author/book-related things now, like guest blog, book signings, and workshops (all of which I love). I travel a lot more, going to book signings and conferences all over the U.S. I have a little more name recognition, and lots of folks seem to have at least heard of me and my Bigtime series. Plus, I’ve met a lot of great folks – authors, readers, and bloggers – online and in person.

But the best way my life has changed is that I occasionally get e-mails from readers who’ve enjoyed my work. Any author will tell you those kind of e-mails are the best thing about being published. They always brighten my day.

In other respects, my life hasn’t changed at all. I still have a day job (most authors do), still hang out with my family and friends, still read and watch movies and write. I’m still the same person I was before my books came out. Oh, I’m a little older, a little smarter (I hope), and definitely more jaded about the book business. Looking behind the book biz curtain definitely takes a little fun out of things.

But I always remember that I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to share her work with others. Who has books out, more on the way, and many more ideas than I’ll probably ever have time to write.

And the great thing is nobody can ever take any of those accomplishments away from me.

Contest! Contest! Contest!

Jennifer has offered to give away a one copy each of Karma Girl, Hot Mama and Jinx to three lucky winners. (Don't worry--each novel would read well on its own.) All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here. She is willing to ship overseas, so anyone can enter. Jennifer will pick a winner on Tuesday, so be sure to check back here to see if you won. I will put up a separate post announcing the winner.

Also, Jennifer has agreed to stop by and answer questions, so if you have any questions for her, ask away!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Upcoming Goodies!

Labor day weekend is kind of a slow blogging weekend for Americans, because it's traditionally the last big bash of the summer. However, do try to stop by sometime between Sunday the 31st and Tuesday the 2nd. Jennifer Estep, author of Karma Girl, Hot Mama and Jinx has provided me with a guest post that I will put up on Sunday night. Plus, she has promised to check in to answer any comments or questions you may have.

Plus plus, Jennifer is sponsoring a rare contest here at Fantasy Debut. How do you enter? Stop back by on Sunday night, when I will give you all the details.

(Please, do not attempt to enter the contest today.)

And then, later next week I'm going to be starting something entirely new that I hope you will like.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

David Anthony Durham's ACACIA Now Out in Paperback

Of the medieval epic fantasies that I read last year, I'd have to say that ACACIA was my favorite. Ok, so I only read two medieval epic fantasies last year. That doesn't take away from its excellence. If you missed ACACIA last year, now's a good time to pick it up, because it is now out in paperback.

Here's all the info:

ACACIA (Amazon UK, Canada)
by David Anthony Durham (website, blog, forum)
mass market paperback
Random House (Anchor)

Born into generations of prosperity, the four royal children of the Akaran dynasty know little of the world outside their opulent island paradise. But when an assassin strikes at the heart of their power, their lives are changed forever.

Forced to flee to distant corners and separated against their will, the children must navigate a web of hidden allegiances, ancient magic, foreign invaders, and illicit trade that will challenge their very notion of who they are. As they come to understand their true purpose in life, the fate of the world lies in their hands.

Here are my own posts on ACACIA:

Part 1 - Opening Chapters
Part 2 - Cringeworthy Moments
Part 3 - A Dark Secret
Part 4 - Pacing
Part 5 - Character Impressions
Part 6 - Final Review
Part 7 - Thinking About Acacia

Wow; I did seven posts on ACACIA. Today, I mostly do only 3 parts to an as-I-read-it review. This inspired a poll. I'm going to put it up on the sidebar, so if you feed readers want to participate, please click through.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SEABORN - Opening Chapters

I've been interested in reading SEABORN by Chris Howard for quite some time, and I knew within a few chapters that I wanted to cover it as an as-I-read-it review. Now that I'm 75 pages into the novel and on Chapter 10, its time to get started.

I can tell that I'll be covering Chris's online endeavors along with his novel. He has two blogs with a lot of gadgets. He's been to India, which I find fascinating because I've been there as well. (I wish I had gone there when I had a digital camera!) He also is an artist.

But on to the novel. Here is the cover blurb:
There is a world deep under the sea, a kingdom that has endured thousands of years without the modern world knowing it exists. Those who dwell there are the SEABORN

Kassandra is the Seaborn king's granddaughter--the one he wishes he'd killed when he'd had the chance. She comes from the sea, but she has spent her whole life in exile on the surface, learning to control strange and frightening powers she barely understands. But now she's ready to declare war on the murderous king.

Corina Lairsey is a scuba-diving Californian who has freed herself from a controlling relationship...and finds herself in another. Only this time, Aleximor, an ancient Seaborn sorcerer, is literally inside her head and wearing her body. Corina must strive for control of her self, fighting against time as Aleximor trades pieces of her life away in exchange for power over the path between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Aleximor wants revenge for his 400-year imprisonment and his dangerous machinations threaten to destroy both young women and the world of the Seaborn.
The first few chapters set up the events described in the blurb. It begins with Kassandra wandering along a road at night, apparently coming to terms with a power she has over the water, and with voices inside her head. These voices have names and personalities . . . and they call her "my lady."

On the other side of the country, in California, Corina is going for her weekly scuba diving trip. She is a cellist, which means she is a character just designed to engage my interest. She has also just went through a nasty break-up. She goes diving and while under the sea, she encounters Aleximor.

Aleximor is startled to find that the person he took over is not one of the Seaborn. He struggles to get used to his new body, before he kills her through his ignorance. In the meantime, Corina has become a prisoner in her own body, aware of everything that Aleximor is doing, but unable to do anything, herself.

Each chapter heading has an excerpt from various works, some of them the fictional journal of Michael Henderson. I'm hoping we get to actually meet him. It is an interesting device by which the author is able to feed the reader dribs and drabs of the intriguing history of the Thalassogeneis--the Seaborn.

I actually got a bit further than this, but I still seem to be in the midst of the action, so I'll blog on that for my next entry. So far this is quite an engaging read. The writing is polished and lyrical and the pace is relaxed without being plodding. I'm looking forward to reading more and I'll be very surprised if I don't finish it over the weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blogger Showcase: The Book Smugglers

Ok, one more Blogger Showcase before we return to our regular blog programming. I want to give a shout out to The Book Smugglers, because Ana and Thea have a really cool thing going. They read Romance and Speculative Fiction with a twist--they do Siskel and Ebert style reviews. (Oops! I just dated myself. It's Ebert and Roeper now.)

Their Inagural Post explains the concept of a book smuggler, and it outlines their goals for their blog. They don't always do joint reviews, just once a month as a Book of the Month selection. Their latest Book of the Month was for a historical fiction but back in July, they did one on Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

Plus, they do all kinds of posts on science fiction and fantasy on TV and at the movies, plus comics and graphic novels. They have author chats and reviews galore, and both are really in-depth. I highly recommend that you give The Book Smugglers a permanent home in either your feed reader or your blogroll (or both!).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blogger Showcase: The Galaxy Express

After my post on Friday about Mulluane's blog, I realized that I know of several other excellent blogs that deserve showcasing. So I'm going to devote a few posts to them, because I suspect the rate of the debut showcases won't pick up until September (going by last year's pattern). I'm only going to showcase blogs that I've only become aware of recently, so please don't think I'm leaving you out! If you think I have overlooked or missed your SF/F blog, feel free to email me.

I like blogs with a tight focus, therefore I like The Galaxy Express. Heather runs The Galaxy Express, and she focuses on Science Fiction Romance. And I'm not only talking about the modern stuff. Heather goes all the way back to the 1930s in search of great science fiction romance. She has blogrolls devoted to romance, science fiction and science fiction romance (of course), plus her top ten lists.

She puts up a lot of discussion posts, which has a lot of people jumping in for their say. It's a lively site; go check it out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay - A Review

I believe by now, Tropical Storm Fay has affected every square inch of Florida. Take a look at the tropical storm strength wind swaths of this sucker:

To achieve this wind swath, Fay obligingly twisted and turned, being sure to pause and dump copious amounts rain here and there, as if our wet summer had called for more rain. If it holds according to the forecast, it will have come ashore no less than six times. It also had the dubious honor of being one of the few storms that actually grew in strength while it was over land. The swamps and Lake Ocachobee in South Florida obligingly provided it with enough energy to develop that bulge there near Miami, and then it went offshore and sat next to Melbourne--where much of my family lives--for days.

I know it appears that Tampa/St. Petersburg escaped, but they must have got at least some tropical depression strength weather. (The progression goes like this: tropical wave/disturbance, tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane.) And the panhandle gets to play with Fay tonight.

Therefore, on the Behavioral Scale (entirely of my own invention), I'd have to rate it Highly Atypical.

To sit through, however, I'd rate Fay as Fairly Typical. For us, it wasn't very exciting. We didn't even lose power. It did get downright tedious. I found it necessary to bake a pan of brownies to relieve the bad moods of everyone in the household. There's nothing like chocolate to perk up bad moods! The most exciting part of the day was when I went down to the end of the road to rescue my neighbor, who was obliged to park her car and trudge through the water, since it was too deep to drive through. Later, we took a jaunt around the neighborhood to see if anything interesting had happened. A few trees leaned over; a few fell, but no damage that we could see.

(We did have an exciting tropical storm in 2004, when Tropical Storm Frances dumped a tree on our house. That's when everyone in the neighborhood came by to stare at and take pictures of our house. That kind of interest and excitement I don't want on a regular basis.)

Overall, I'd rate Tropical Storm Fay as Worth Talking About. I'd recommend it with reservations, but only if the choice was between that and something truly horrible, like an earthquake. Because when it comes facing nature's fury, a tropical storm is about as exciting as I'd want to get.

Blogger Showcase: Dragons, Heroes and Wizards

I've been watching a new-to-me site for the past few weeks and I've found it so impressive that I just had to give it a shout-out. It's called Dragons, Heroes and Wizards, and it is run by Mulluane. She has an niche--I just love blogs that have niche--in which she reviews fantasy novels by the series. Not only does she have a review for each book in the series, plus she puts up a post on the series as a whole.

Here is her latest series summary, on The Book of Words. It includes a link to each of her book reviews for this series.

Not only does her blog have a great angle, but her sidebars are a treat to browse through. She's got them packed with stuff, most of it highly clickable. She makes me want to get busy on my own sidebars. Her ads are unobtrusive and relevant.

Congratulations to Mulluane for coming up with such a great concept and for executing it so well!

Now go check it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Some Hurricane Reading

Well, it's not exactly a hurricane, but it is a tropical storm, and because of it, I got to skip work. I'll probably be skipping work tomorrow too, because this thing just ain't in any hurry to get out of the way. Here's a picture of the storm track:

My poor sister was stuck under it for three days, and her house came close to flooding. Tonight, I'm next.

* * *
Since I've been needing to read something light this week, I took a break on some darker novels and I read The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith (Amazon UK, Canada)

This novel was even more of a delight than the last one. Precious Ramotswe, the propriatress of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is having personnel issues, and so is her husband (as propriator of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors). Since the cover blurb never even hints at it, it was a fun surprise. Also, Mma Ramotswe's (who is never referred to as Precious by anyone) husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, has asked her if he can handle a case.

I think this is what you would call a cozy mystery. It's more about the life of Mma Ramotswe and the people she loves than about solving mysteries. Their problems and how they solve them is the true fun. The mysteries is like icing on the cake.

And of course, these series have the added bonus of taking place in a non-western culture, namely Botswana. These novels are wonderful. I read the whole thing in a day.

* * *
Since I got my urge for a lighter novel out of the way, I may pick up some of those darker novels that I set aside earlier in the week. I rarely set aside a novel permanently, but when said novel has lots of competition from my reading stack, I'm less likely to stick it out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Embarassing Admission, a Self-Indulgent Shout-Out, and a Rant

Whew! I went through over two hundred emails that have been accumulating throughout my vacation and illness and I'm glad to say that I am caught up! I don't usually let myself get this behind--at least not for my Fantasy Debut email address. I'll never have time to organize my personal inbox. Among the emails I unearthed was a particularly embarassing one that required me to send an apology to an author . . . but the least said about that, the better.

John over at Grasping for the Wind has another "Ask the Blogger" post up, in which I took part. I weighed in on the urban fantasy genre, and I tried my hand at a bit of prophesy. Also participating are Sandstorm Reviews, The Galaxy Express, A Dribble of Ink, World in a Satin Bag, and Nethspace. Check it out!

I'm afraid I've set aside another novel, the title of which I won't mention for now. I need something lighter, or maybe just something else. I tried a few other novels that I have waiting around, and none are lighting my fire. Therefore, I'm heading to the bookstore this weekend. I'll keep my shopping list secret for now, but if I get a chance to snap some photos of some debut novels, I will do so. It has been a long time since I've done that--almost a year!

Has anyone else noticed that Blogger's comment form is downright unfriendly these days? You sit there typing your comment and all of a sudden your text vanishes, the captcha (the text verification thingy) reloads and you have to start from scratch. It has even happened to me on blogs that doesn't have a captcha.

As an aside, might I issue a humble request for those of you who have captchas to turn them off? I have never had a captcha on this blog and I get very little comment spam. My approach--which I somewhat arrogantly hope everyone will emulate--is to wait for a spam problem to happen before I start trying to block it. A year and tens of thousands of visits later, and I'm still waiting.

Anyway, about the comment bug. I briefly turned on a Blogger In Draft comment feature that makes your comment page look more like WordPress's. However, it had issues, so I turned it back off. Therefore, I am going to turn on the feature where the comment form loads in a pop-up window. I have noticed that the pop-up version of the comment form does not seem to have the problem with everything refreshing. If you hate that, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

JINX by Jennifer Estep

Jinx (Amazon UK, Canada) is the third novel in the Bigtime superhero series by Jennifer Estep. It releases two weeks from today.

JINX focuses on Bella Bulluci, who was Fiona Fine's fashion designer rival in Hot Mama. Bella comes from a family of superheroes--both superpowered and otherwise--and she's quite frankly tired of the whole gig. She's had superheroes out the wazoo, especially since her family became closely affiliated to the Fearless Five in the previous novel. She has a power that is more of a curse, and it causes her endless embarrassment when the strangest things happen around her.

Bella isn't thrilled with a lot of aspects about her life. If she even looks at chocolate she gains about ten pounds, which she is forever trying to work off with brutal exercise routines. She hardly dares to eat in public for fear of her power rearing its weird head. And she's not really satisfied with the whole fashion designer gig, either. She has a secret ambition to be a museum quality artist. Therefore, she is quite the patroness of the arts.

In that capacity, she has brought together a clutch of society dames to plan the opening of a new wing over at the Bigtime Museum of Modern Art. High-society types from all over the city had been pressed into donating pricey items, plus there's going to be a bachelorette auction. (And of course, Bella is going to be one of those auctioned off.)

If you've already read Karma Girl and Hot Mama, you can probably skim much of the backstory that is incorporated into the first two chapters. If not, it should be fun to read, and will set you up perfectly to understand the rest of the novel. Reading the previous books is not required, but they are every bit as fun as this one (Karma Girl being the funnest, in my opinion). The story really kicks off when Bella meets Debonair, one of the sexiest superthieves in Bigtime, whose fans include rabid members of the Slaves for Superhero Sex group. Debonair himself has this to say about SSS: "They're hardly an appropriate judge of character. They'll do anyone in spandex."

Anyway, Bella meets Debonair when he catches him in the act of a theft. He's an art thief with an interesting twist. As a superhero, he has a twist as well. And Debonair's Lair of Seduction is not all it seems.

More superheroes get unmasked here, including Granny Cane and of course, Debonair. Other ubervillains aren't as easy to guess as they were in previous novels, but neither are they difficult. That has never been a minus in my opinion. It sort of helps the wink, wink, nudge, nudge humor of the series. Also, Bella has the most uncanny ability of catching people in the . . . uh, act. Is it a superpower? I'm not sure.

These novels are paranormal romance, so the romance takes up a good portion of the plot. So do outlandish shemes, narrow escapes and outrageous luck, both good and bad. The heat level is quite scorching hot--about on par with Hot Mama, and much hotter than Karma Girl, where the sex scenes were mostly humorous.

Estep does a great job coming up with a theme for each novel. Karma Girl was an origin story. Hot Mama was about an established superhero. JINX is neither. And that's all I'm going to say about that. The series is beginning to develop its own formula, so by the third book you know what to expect; the surprise is in the way the plot plays out. Like the previous two novels, JINX stands on its own.

JINX is a delightful morsel of a novel that you can probably devour in a night or two. It doesn't take itself seriously and because of that, it's downright entertaining. If you liked the previous two novels, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. If you haven't read the others and you like hot, funny romance with your fantasy, then these novels should be right up your alley.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Debut Showcase: The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle
(Amazon UK, Canada)
by Andrew Davidson (website, other website)
Excerpt (also available as PDF)

The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.

A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne's care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.

Gosh, I don't know what to think about this one. The narrator doesn't sound like he'd be very likable at first; maybe he is compelling otherwise. But the idea of the carefully planned suicide made me sit up. One 0f the websites is, and you might think that I linked there mistakenly; I did not. Scroll down to see the relevance to this novel.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mark J. Ferrari an Endeavor Award Finalist!

Mark J. Ferrari has informed me that his debut novel, The Book of Joby, has been nominated for the Endeavour Award. Here are the list of nominees:

The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari
Bright of the Sky: Book One of the Entire and the Rose by Kay Kenyon
Not Flesh Nor Feathers by Cherie Priest
Powers by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper

Here are my own posts on The Book of Joby. Congratulations Mark!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Debut Coverage Link-up

Here's some debut coverage that I've noticed on other blogs recently.

Kelly Gay loves A Rush of Wings. She's not usually a reviewer, but she was so enthusiastic about Adrian Phoenix's novel that I thought I'd link it here.

Urban Fantasy Land has the cover art for Mark Henry's Road Trip of the Damned.

Over at Fantasy Book Critic, Liviu reviews Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn, which I have not yet announced since it is not yet available here in the United States (according to Amazon).

Robert announces some upcoming debuts from Orbit Books.

Liviu also reviews The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, which I need to announce.

And moving away from Fantasy Book Critic, the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Book Review reviews Russell Kirkpatrick's Across the Face of the World.

Chris the Book Swede reviews The Graceling, another UK debut by Kristin Cashore.

And Thea at the Book Smugglers reviews one of my recent favorites, Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle.

One more! Over at the newly-redesigned Hotlist, Pat interviews Chris Evans, the author of A Darkness Forged in Fire.

And I won't mention how long it's been since I've written a review of my own. Things should pick up again on Monday. I'm finally off antiobiotics, and I'm halfway through a novel that I hope to finish this weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Author Spotlight - Jennifer Estep and Bigtime

Jennifer Estep's Jinx is the third novel in the Bigtime superhero paranormal romance series. It releases on September 2 as a mass-market paperback.

I have been following the Bigtime series from the start, beginning with the adorable Karma Girl. The original trade paperback cover is to the left, and the mass-market cover is to the right. I reviewed Karma Girl as an as-I-read-it review. Here is a highlight:

"She [Carmen, the progatonist] has the most hilarious sexy dream that I have ever read. And that's only topped by a sex scene that, as I wrote in Jennifer Estep's blog, is the funniest sex scene I've read since Stephanie tried to get it on with Joe the Buick in one of the early Stephanie Plum novels."

That scene, which I dubbed the Condom Scene, I voted as the Best Laugh in my 2007 Best-of Round-Up.

Here is a highlight from the first interview I did with Jennifer Estep:
You seem incredibly prolific. Did you have a bunch of Bigtime novels written ahead of your first sale, or do you have a writing superpower?
I had the first novel, Karma Girl, finished, and a rough draft of the second book, Hot Mama, done. After I sold the first two books, I started working on book three, Jinx, which is coming out in April 2008. Right now, I’m finishing up the fourth book, tentatively called Nightingale, and thinking about book five, Fangirl.

If I had a writing superpower, I’d want it to be superspeed, so I could type a thousand words a minute and write even more!

Next up was Hot Mama. Here are the covers for that novel. It released in November, and then it releases again this month. Here is a highlight from that review:

"One thing that always got a chuckle from me was the amount of food that Fiona has to eat to keep up her fiery metabolism. You can almost read the wishful thinking that the author might have felt. If only we could eat like this all the time and stay a size two (or whatever size Fiona is)."

And here's a snipped of the second interview I did with Jennifer Estep back in November:
I found the change of character a great idea in Hot Mama (although I missed Carmen). Same world, very different character. Personally, I think is such a brilliant concept that it could safely be called a Master Plan. What gave you the idea to write each book about a different character?

Actually, it wasn’t my idea -- at first. I was pitching Karma Girl to an editor at a conference a couple of years ago. She asked me about the potential to develop the book into a series. I told her that I envisioned the series as a trilogy, with each book about Carmen and her coming to grips with her superpowers. That was my brilliant idea.

To which the editor responds: “Or each book could be about a different superhero, too, right?”
What do you think of the old vs. new covers? I kind of have a fondness for the old covers with the stylized artwork, but I only own Karma Girl in non-galley form, so that's the only cover I have. I'm waiting for all three to be available as a boxed set.

I intended to write a review of Jinx tonight, but it somehow turned into a spotlight on the entire series, instead. I'll have that review ready in another day or two.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Check it Out

I took part in John's Ask the Bloggers series over at Grasping for the Wind. This week he asked a group of bloggers how they got started as a blogger.

Here's the link.

Yes, I'm Still Alive

I have a bit of author news. From a bulletin sent out by Adrian Phoenix:

I'm very pleased to announce that Pocket has just purchased books three and four in the Dante and Heather (and Lucien) saga.

Thanks to all of my readers for making this possible! I hope this is just the beginning.
Adrian wrote A Rush of Wings, which Raven reviewed (and loved) back in January. Here are all the Adrian Phoenix posts and my original showcase.

* * *

I'm behind on my reading stack, because while I was sick, my vision really fluctuated and I was unable to read small print. (It was a sinus infection.) Therefore, although I tried to read both Mirrored Heavens and Seaborn, I had to set both aside temporarily. I have since resumed reading Mirrored Heavens. Seaborn also looks excellent so I should be able to finish and review it in the upcoming weeks.

I did finish Jynx, the third novel in Jennifer Estep's Bigtime series, and I'll start working on my review this week. I also hope to set up some special kind of event with the author. We emailed about it briefly, but we need to hammer out details.

Jennifer's first two novels, Karma Girl and Hot Mama, have been re-released as mass-market paperbacks and Jynx is set to release on September 2.

(I also re-read a comfortable old classic with large print, but I really don't feel the need to review classics here. If you've never read Pride and Prejudice, read it. Enthusiastically recommended. There. I'm done.)

(Speaking of Jane Austen, my seven-year-old daughter is absolutely hooked on all my Jane Austen movies. She especially loves the A&E adaptation of P&P, but she'll happily watch any of them over and over again. But I digress.)

Anyway, thanks to everyone who continued to visit each day despite no new posts. I was really heartened by all the loyal readers of this blog!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Debut Showcase: The Accidental Demon Slayer

The Accidental Demon Slayer
by Angie Fox (website, blog)
Mass Market Paperback
Love Spell (Dorchester)

It’s never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet bowl. For Lizzie Brown, that’s just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she’s seen it all, Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer – and all hell is after her.

Of course, that’s not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you’ve never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn’t work, how dangerous could a little seduction be…?

This one looks fun enough for me to delve into a rare reading of urban fantasy. It doesn't appear to break any of my reader taboos that usually prevent me from reading urban fantasy. (I won't read about sex with the undead--ugh.) The Grandma reminds me of the grandma in the Stephanie Plum series, with a spell-using, Harley-riding twist.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

News and Events

David Anthony Durham recently announced something potentially big. He has sold the movie rights for Acacia. He mentioned it on his blog here and here. I think Acacia would make a terrific movie--such a sweeping epic and his scenes are so visual that I can't wait to see how they are portrayed on screen. The League Platforms? The battle scenes? I just hope they don't go too CGI-crazy. Congratulations, David!

Kimber An is giving one of her famous Cyber-Launch Book Parties for one of my early blog supporters, Linnea Sinclair over at Enduring Romance. Linnea's latest novel is Shades of Dark and the book party starts today. I'll update this post with a link directly to it when I see that the link has gone live.

UPDATE: Here's the link!

Over at Grasping for the Wind, John started a new feature called Ask the Bloggers where he asks questions of various SF/F bloggers. The first installment features Shaun, Scooper and SQT. Check it out--there's even a contest. I'll be taking part in future installments.

Thanks for all your well-wishes while I was sick. I am now on the mend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Too Sick to Blog

I've been struck with the worst flu I've had in about four years, and I'm spending a little above zero time online. It looks like I'll miss another day of work today, too.

Until I get back to regular blogging, I have a question for you. In the comment thread of the post that follows this one, someone left a comment that reads in part:

I'm Jules and I work at, a company interested in blog advertizing. I found your blog engaging and I'm contacting you to ask if you are interested in blog post sponsorship.

I'm not against ads in general, but I've been to sites where the ads have been thoroughly objectionable, and it's tainted my view of the entire site. I am thinking of one site in particular that I stopped visiting entirely because they introduced ads that were so awful (half naked men and women, ads for "smilies" that are probably nothing more than spyware).

What do you think about ads on blogs? Yes? No?