Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ana and Thea Accept My Dare!

When Ana and Thea of The Book Smugglers dared me to read Ghost Story by Peter Straub, I decided to dare them right back. The natural choice was The Once and Future King by T. H. White. I knew it was a difficult read that becomes better and better the longer you read. Since it is a very thick book and is actually four books in one, I gave them an out: my dare would only involve them reading the first book, The Sword in the Stone.

I didn't expect my dare to be done in by Disney!

Disney made the first book into an animated movie in 1963. It is not one of their better films, although it does stick to the story. Disney re-releases their movies every once in a while, so new generations can see it, but they failed to release it during my childhood. Therefore, I read The Once and Future King in my 20s, untainted by outside influences. It led me to tackle the original Malory. 

Read on for how Disney affected Ana and Thea's reading experience.

First Impressions:

Ana: I have to admit I knew close to nothing about The Once and Future King. I had seen it listed by some bloggers as one of their favourite books and I knew it was about King Arthur. In my defense, I am Brazilian, grew up in Brazil and only recently moved to England, so did grow up knowing about this Classic as most English speaking people probably did. When Tia dared us to read it, I was happy to comply: and I opened the book hoping to read a sweeping tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Tale and then to my complete surprise the story begins with a child Arthur who by the way, is called merely as Wart, and his tutoring lessons from (a very loopy) Merlyn in what can only be described as a quirky storytelling, let’s put it that way. To say I was taken aback is to put it mildly. I did eventually get used to the narrative and was able to enjoy the book.

Thea: I have to plead ignorance, like Ana. I had heard of The Once and Future King, but had never read it. Oh, I’ve read many takes on the Arthurian legend in both classic and modern literature, but never T.H. White’s version. Considering how many people cherish this book, I was eager to give it a go. And again, like Ana, I was expecting a sweeping Arthurian epic – something very somber and adult. Well, color me surprised! When I started reading “The Sword and the Stone” I was struck by how similar it was to the Disney film of the same title that I used to love when I was a child. A little Google searching revealed that the Disney film was in fact based on the beloved version written by T.H. White – which, I think, is cool.
Once I managed to wrap my head around the fact that this was a playful, almost parody-like, take on the origins of the Arthur myth, I was able to settle in a bit and enjoy the story. (Though, I will say that Ana and I both agreed to stop after “The Sword in the Stone” – so as to save ourselves the heartache that follows reading the entirety of the Arthurian tragedy.)


Ana: Basically, “The Sword and The Stone”, the first book in this series deals with the childhood of orphaned boy Wart (“The Wart was called the Wart because it more or less rhymed with Art, which was short for his real name”), growing up in his uncle’s stronghold, in ye olde England and his adventures and lessons when the magician Merlyn becomes his tutor.

Through a series of what we can call ‘magic-induced hands-on experiences’, Wart learns important lessons which will later (I am assuming) come in quite handy as Merlyn uses his magic to transform the kid, temporarily and subsequently, into a fish, an ant, a merlin, etc.  He even gets to meet Robin Hood and Maid Marian until the very end of the book when, we all know what happens.

The thing is, I was caught off guard by:
  1. The absence of any mention of King Arthur-y stuff like the fact that there was a sword in a stone somewhere waiting for the next King of England : the sword wasn’t mentioned until the last pages so  if it wasn’t for the title of the story I wouldn’t know that the story was building up to it. Because this is such a well known tale, I expected a more grandiose build-up. It surprised me that when eventually, the Wart picks up Excalibur it was not even a big deal;
  1. The narrative: the third person omniscient narrator who continuously interrupted the story to explain for example, the bucket loads of anachronisms in the story. Whereas part of me thought this actually really quirky and so unexpected and humorous as to make it fun, it also took me off the story completely.
I think there is clearly a case of reader’s expectation on my part that I am aware is not really fair to the book. I expected something but got another thing entirely – and it did not work for me. In all honesty, I was bored out of my mind with the bits where Wart was being some animal or another. Some of it was funny, some of it carried so much double meaning (did I notice a discourse about Communism, or is it just me???) that I thought the lesson was not only for the Wart but for the reader as well, and I really don’t like preaching.

Having said that: Merlyn was such a loopy character and I loved how he was getting younger instead of older as time went by. I also loved the adventure with Robin Hood and then, we have the Wart himself being all innocent and child-like and it was all very sweet. And if I am going to be completely honesty here, I did get some goosebumps at the end.

The real question though is this: am I going to read the rest of the books in the series? At this point in time….no. Firstly, it didn’t really grab me by the guts. Secondly: I don’t think I want to see that poor kid Wart going through all that (you know, incest, patricide, cheating wives, the works).

Thea: “The Sword in the Stone” was not at all what I was expecting – and I mean this in a generally good way. Young, innocent “Wart” (who is never called Arthur until the spine-tingling last line of the book) and his adventures make for a humorous, light-hearted read – and to be honest, this is something I always felt was missing with the dreary, depressing Aruthurian legend. We always read about Camelot, about the Round Table, about the incest, about the spiteful Mordred, about the betrayals of Guinevere and Lancelot, and about the sad demise of the King and his noble’s very heavy. It’s incredibly depressing.
At least, in “The Sword and the Stone”, we see Arthur’s whimsical youth before the weight of England is thrust upon his shoulders. That’s a very good thing, to see this respite granted the boy that would become legend.

I will agree with Ana, however, in that the way the story began and the nature of the narrative – with the numerous anachronisms and asides to the reader – completely threw me. Also jarring was the fact that I could not get the Disney cartoon out of my head whilst reading this book.

Arthur, Merlin and Archie 

Perhaps this is, as Ana says, a problem because I am reading this book perhaps too late in life – I’ve already been spoiled by numerous imaginings, tellings, and interpretations of King Arthur, so I found myself comparing “The Sword in the Stone” to what notions and biases already existed in my head...and this isn’t really fair to the book. Ultimately, this is what detracted from my reading experience the most.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book; there were certain parts that had me giggling gleefully. For example, I loved Wart’s adventures as a merlin in the hawk armoire with their songs and tests of worthiness. I also loved Wart’s time as an ant, with the strange, groupthink sort of mechanical hierarchy they had – even though the concepts of communism were jarringly dated (Ana dude, it wasn’t just you!). Similarly, Wart’s adventures with the jealous (but generally well-intentioned) Kay taking on Morgane le Fey with Robin ‘ood (Robin Wood/Hood) and Maid Marian were awesome.

But, ultimately, did I find myself won over and enamoured with this classic? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Maybe it’s because I’m older and jaded. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t stop reconciling the sad tale of Arthur in my head with the young, naive, carefree Wart. I just cannot bring myself to reading the next three books in the saga, knowing how it will all end...and that’s just my bias (and my loss) as a reader.

Final Thoughts recommendations and Rating:

Ana:  I suspect I read this book at a wrong moment in time – possibly at a wrong age too. Objectively speaking, I can see how this story is fascinating and creative. Even the narration of the story with its humorous asides is well done. It just….wasn’t for me.  And I think I can hear Tia’s readers wishing me to Book Hell right now.

Thea: I always said we were going to Hades, dear Ana.

I agree with you. I liked “The Sword in the Stone” and I found myself enjoying the story. I also understand this book is a Classic and beloved by many – but it’s hard to shake that gloomy raincloud looming on the horizon for young Wart. I’m afraid I’ll prefer to end my quest for Camelot here, with King Arthur’s coronation, before the heartache sets in.


Ana: 6 good. (I can’t really fault the book - this is clearly a case of “It’s not the book, it’s me”)
Thea: 6 Good, but again I agree with Ana – it’s so, totally me.

Thank you, Ana and Thea, for your brave attempts. The true magic of the book lies further within, but you do have to get by clunky language and occasional lecturing. It's been years since I read the story, and the lectures didn't stick with me. My favorite of the four books is The Ill-Made Knight, which is the third. White came out with a fifth book, The Book of Merlin, which is often sold as a separate book. I read it but I prefer the original ending, which takes place just before Arthur goes out and "faces his sins" in battle with Mordred.

They gave me an alternate book to read "one day," so I'll give them one too. For some reason, Silas Marner by George Eliot springs to mind. It is not a fantasy, but it's a magical little classic nevertheless. George Eliot was a woman who also wrote The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch. It's not very accessable at first, but I was hooked once Silas has his bag of gold stolen, and then finds something else that is very previous in front of his hearth--a little girl.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I still have way too many things to resolve before I can start blogging again (this post nonwithstanding). Our new endeavor of this week didn't work out, plus we now need to make some unexpected plans. However, my target re-start date of July 6th still seems reachable.

I'll be able to start with a bang, as one of my first authors wants to celebrate her second novel with a giveaway--and this one will be worldwide.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recharging Those Blogging Energies

Sometimes, even when you love something, you still have to step back from it for a while. To avoid burnout, the best thing to do is just do it. Take a break, that is.

I'll be back after the 4th of July weekend. Maybe before, but no later than the 5th or 6th. In the meantime, Raven might throw up a post or two, and my debut calendar works off the date, so it's always changing. I'll also be reading, so when I resume blogging, I should have reviews for you right away. And I'll be checking email, so if you leave comments or notify me of debuts, I'll see them.

Oh, and I usually post to my personal blog whether or not I post here.

Have a great 4th of July!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Red Wolf Conspiracy Contest Winners

Here are the winners of THE RED WOLF CONSPIRACY!

  • Sue of Bronx, NY
  • Travis of Tulsa, OK
  • Tom of Spanaway, WA
Congratulations and happy reading!

I'll be back to my regular blog schedule next week, but since it's a holiday weekend, I won't restart the Discovery Showcase until the second weekend in July. Holiday weekends are abysmal for web traffic around here.

Tomorrow, I think I'll do something different. What will it be? I'm not sure yet. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So Where's the Content?

Now that I've attracted new readers with my recent contests, I admit to having a drout of content. I'm going to blame it on my husband and Clint Eastwood. Yes, we have been watching old Clint Eastwood movies.

(Be still my heart! I love the Hollywood tough guys! Yeah, he's my dad's age. So?)

We took advantage of a bit of prosperity to buy all the old Dirty Harry movies, which were unbelievably cheap at FYE. This was inspired by Gran Torino, which we also saw over the weekend. I'll get off my lazy butt and write up a review in the next few days.

I'll also try to get a book read this weekend.
The contest for Red Wolf Conspiracy ends tomorrow--probably tomorrow evening unless I get up really early tomorrow. I'm unpredictable that way, so you may as well get your entries in tonight.
In my homelife, we're starting something new and kind of scary on Monday. We're not sure it will work, but we're sure hoping and praying it will. I can't get specific, because there's certain things I just don't write about on my blog. But we sure could use all the prayers we could get, if you can spare a few. (We're all healthy, so it's nothing like that.) Thanks and please forgive any distraction next week as we all adjust.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Warded Man Contest Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of THE WARDED MAN, courtesy of Del Rey!

  • Kathryn of Richmond, VA
  • Adam of San Carlos, CA
  • Renee of Valleyford, WA
The winners have been notified. Happy reading! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Chatter

The giveaway for The Warded Man ends tomorrow. If I don't close it out in the morning, you'll have until the evening to get your entries in. So if I oversleep, it's to your benefit.

I've had so many entries for these contests that Fantasy Debut is now officially costing me money. (Besides in book purchases.) My little contest entry forms come from JotForm, a very cool form service. Since I had over 100 entries this month, I had to fess up nine dollars for their premium service. I can do forms using html, but what a drag. I'd rather pay someone to format the emails nicely. Besides, it will also handle uploads, so I'm tempted to make a form for my Discovery Showcases. I'll probably continue the premium service next month because I have at least two more giveaways scheduled for July.

I've been Dared by the Book Smugglers, and my library copy is due in two weekends. Their book of choice has been something of a struggle for me, but that's why they call it a Dare. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I dared them right back with one of my favorite novels of all time, one you've seen me mention here quite a bit. I'm curious about what they'll think of it.

Speaking of the Book Smugglers, Raven and I have decided to shamelessly copy them and do a joint review. I hope this is ok with Ana and Thea; they will get full apologizies and a link. Now I just need to get with the author and snag us some advance copies.

Since I'm spending money already on this blog, I'm thinking about going even further and asking Ana and Thea who did their artwork. Whoever it is, it looks a lot like the style over at Mystery Robin as well. I'd love to have a skinny little waif represent me at the heading of my blog. I'm not sure what the waif would be doing. Besides reading, that is. Perhaps reclining on a classy chaise lounge, sipping champaigne?

And as long as I'm spending money, a subscription to Publisher's Marketplace would be just peachy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

As-I-Read-It: Zadayi Red

Zadayi Red by Caleb Fox is an unusual novel that gets lots of props for sheer originality. It is based on a Cherokee legend. Other writers may write from the framepoint of Native Americans, but I've never read any in the fantasy genre. It seems like a natural fit.

(Click the cover for a larger view.)

Actually, I'm not even sure if this is written from the point of view of the Cherokees. The people are called the Galayi, so it may be a fictional world. A Google search for "Galayi" turned up foreign links and links to Caleb Fox's website.

I am now about one quarter through the book. So far, it is mostly told through the point-of-view of Sunoya, a medicine person of great power. She has a vision in which the Cape of Eagle Feathers--a powerful tool of communication with the gods--is desecrated and powerless. Sunoya takes a trip to the spirit world to learn why the cape becomes desecrated and what can be done to restore it, or prevent it.

Her task is unclear, because the gods don't give her exact instructions on what must be done. Instead, Sunoya is given a spirt guide to help her with her task. The spirit guide is not what you might expect. And he cannot tell Sunoya the future; instead, he can only tell her what must be done. It might seem like a plot device, but even if it is, it works. The point-of-view sometimes even switches to the spirit guide, who has a distinct personality.

The point-of-view sometimes switches to the villain, who is one of the better ones I've read in a long time. He's driven by ambition and pure, blind hatred, yet he thinks he's doing the right thing. He is cruel and he is fun to hate. By a single act, he can rob Sunoya of her spirit guide and doom her to death, and he has already indicated that he plans to do it if he gets a chance. So as you you read, you know this confrontation might be coming.

So far, there's enough here to keep me reading, and I've set aside all other books. I have some nitpicky critiques, but I like to keep those until the final review. Sometimes, but the time I get to the end of a book, I've forgotten about any critiques I may have had along the way. Or, what I think is a flaw is revealed to be a clever trick on the part of the author. Since I'd rather not look like an idiot, I'll just keep silent until I'm finished.

This book is not available in bookstores until July. Here are the Amazon pre-order links (USA, UK, Canada).

What do you think of that cover? I think it's awesome.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Edge of the World Contest Winners!

Here are the winners of The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson.

  • Scott P. of Houston, TX
  • David W. of Hamden, NY
  • Amy S. of Nottingham, UK
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Interview with Dru Pagliassotti at Fantasy Literature

Here's an interview with Dru Pagliassotti over at Fantasy Literature.

Echo Chamber - Clockwork Heart

Last year, Raven and I had a virtual arm-wrestling contest over Clockwork Heart, and she won. I sent her my review copy, which Juno Books had sent me. And then she proceeded to make me regret sending it to her by writing such a wonderful review.

So when I saw it in the used bookstore, I had to have it.

It is almost errie how much I agree with what Raven had to say almost point-for-point. The wordbuilding in this novel is wonderful. The characters are all fresh and original. And how can I, a computer programmer, resist a novel in which programmers of steam-powered computers get such a favorable treatment? I can't. Too many times, programmers are portrayed in a stereotypical way. Not here.

Punch-card binary programmers--now they were real computer programmers!

I'd go on and on, but it would be like an echo chamber. Go read Raven's review. Then, go get the book. It's a mass-market paperback, so it's not like it's expensive or anything. Plus, it's fabulous.

Link Love!
CLOCKWORK HEART (Amazon USA - Canada - UK)
by Dru Pagliassotti (website, magazine)
Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback

Friday, June 12, 2009

Giveaway - The Red Wolf Conspiracy!

To continue our anniversary week at Fantasy Debut, here's one more contest! Once again, Del Rey has provided three copies of a debut novel to three lucky winners, this time for The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick.

This novel is a real treat. I reviewed it here.

Important! This contest is open in the United States and Canada.

I will draw the winners one week from today. One entry per person, please.

UPDATE! This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Another Contest Coming Tonight . . .

. . . so be sure to stop back by!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Contest Widget

For you feed readers, my current contests now occupy a permanent (at least while a contest is ongoing) spot at the top of my blog, just under the blog title. This should keep the contests front and center. Eventually, I may get fancy with cover images, but for now, this serves the purpose.

Giveaway - The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

In a continuing celebration of our blog anniversary, Del Rey has very generously offered to give away three copies of The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett!

UPDATE: I've reviewed The Warded Man here.

Important! This contest is open in the United States and Canada.

I will draw the winners one week from today. One entry per person, please. As in, please only enter this contest one time.

Update! This contest is now closed! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Top Referring Blogs

These are the top ten referrers to Fantasy Debut over the life of this blog. Thanks for sending all the traffic over the years!

  1. Pat's Fantasy Hotlist - 2,655
  2. Fantasy Book Critic - 2,255
  3. Graeme's Fantasy Book Review - 1,128
  4. Lisa Shearin - 701
  5. OF Blog of the Fallen - 690
  6. Star Captain's Daughter - 646
  7. Fantasy Book Reviewer - 626
  8. Aidan Moher - 505
  9. Speculative Horizons - 484
  10. Darque Reviews - 483
I've noticed that blogs that prominently display their blogroll tend to send the most traffic. That's why I like to keep my blogroll up near the top of my own blog. Hopefully, I'm also sending some good traffic elsewhere!

I'm still working out the details of a couple more giveaways; I hope to be able to post something later today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Debut Showcase: Amazon Ink

Amazon Ink (Amazon USA - UK - Canada)
by Lori Devoti (website - blog)
Juno Books (Pocket Books)
Mass-Market Paperback, $7.99
Excerpt (pdf)

Publisher's Blurb:
It’s been ten years since Melanippe Saka left the Amazon tribe in order to create a normal life for her daughter, Harmony. True, running a tattoo parlor in Madison, Wisconsin while living with your Amazon warrior mother and priestess grandmother is not everyone’s idea of normal, but Mel thinks she’s succeeded at blending in as human.

Turns out she’s wrong. Someone knows all about her, someone who’s targeting young Amazon girls, and no way is Mel is going to let Harmony become tangled in this deadly web. With her mother love in overdrive, Ms. Melanippe Saka is quite a force . . . even when she’s facing a barrage of distractions—including a persistent detective whose interest in Mel goes beyond professional, a sexy tattoo artist with secrets of his own, and a seriously angry Amazon queen who views her as a prime suspect. To find answers, Mel will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do: embrace her powers and admit that you can take the girl out of the tribe . . . but you can’t take the tribe out of the girl.

Ok, I'm not really into tattoos, so when I saw the "ink" in the title, I had my doubts. Then, I read the blurb. Now I'm reading it. I brought up this novel in the comments on the review just below this post. The whole mother/daughter storyline seems very fresh in a genre full of kick-ass snarky protagonists. If you're going to kick ass, then I can't imagine a better reason to do it than to protect your daughter. I'm really looking forward to getting into this one.

Scooper really enjoyed this novel.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Review: Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict

Sins and Shadows (Amazon USA - UK - Canada)
by Lyn Benedict (this domain name is the victim of nasty domain squatter; don't visit)
Also known as Lane Robins (safe to visit)
Publisher: Ace
Special Feature
Paperback - 7.99

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real—and where death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.

But when an employee is murdered in front of her, Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she’s closing up shop—until a man claiming to be the God of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover.

It took me longer than I expected to finish Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict. It wasn't the fault of the book; I just don't read as fast as I used to. No, let me rephrase. I read at the same speed, but I have less time to devote to reading.

I've now finished Sins & Shadows, so here goes. The book is very readable. It's also what I would consider light reading, despite the fact that there's a lot of death and destruction and the protagonist, Sylvie Lightner, is forced to ask herself whether she might be just as bad as the "monsters" (human or otherwise) that she kills.

I think the reason I still consider this book light reading, despite all the dark stuff, is that I never got very far into Sylvie's mind or emotions. She questions herself, but I didn't feel it with her. I wasn't emotionally engaged in her struggles, so the book ended up being a fun adventure novel, but not anything very deep.

One section of it was an exception, though. The exception consists of approximately three chapters where we get Sylvie trying to force her will on a certain god character. I can't identify the god because it would be a spoiler. Sylvie wants him to do something he needs to do, but the god doesn't want to, and the result is a very interesting three chapters where Lyn Benedict pulls us into the god's emotions from Sylvie's point of view. I realize that may not sound exciting, but trust me, it was. And there was action, too.

That particular god was the most interesting character, I felt. He had more shades of gray than the others, more internal struggles. The others, well, they served the plot.

One character I wasn't expecting put in an appearance: Lilith (I hope it's not a spoiler to mention her). So now I have to ask, is Lilith common in urban fantasy? I lauded Red-Headed Stepchild as original for including her, but maybe I was wrong. I haven't been reading urban fantasy long enough to pick up on all the tropes and cliches.

My final complaint has nothing to do with the quality of this particular book. The problem is I'm tired of kick-ass female protagonists who don't know when to keep their mouths shut. Sins & Shadows has one. So do a whole ton of other urban fantasy novels. I realize these are strong women, but I think it's possible to be a strong woman without necessarily kicking physical ass or mouthing off. It would be really nice to read about a different personality type. Or a man.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fantasy Debut's Blog Anniversary!

Fantasy Debut is two years old!!!

To celebrate, I'm throwing a party all week! And several generous publishers has agreed to be the life of the party by giving away books! I'm still arranging some of these giveaways, so be sure to check back all week.

Read on for the first giveaway!

Giveaway - The Edge of the World by Kevin Anderson!

To help us celebrate our blog anniversary, Orbit Books has very generously offered to give away not one, not two, but three copies of The Edge of the Word by Kevin Anderson.

Important! This contest is open in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

UPDATE! I will draw the winners one week from today. One entry per person, please. As in, please only enter this contest one time.

CONTEST CLOSED! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Discovery Showcase Review - What Happened to the Indians

My review of What Happened to the Indians by Terence Shannon is now up at Self-Publishing Review. To refresh your memory, here is the original Discovery Showcase.

My review was mostly positive, but with a fair number of critiques. I'll post a slightly different version of my review at Amazon as well.

Next week is going to be a busy blog week, so I will resume the Discovery Showcase program two Saturdays from today.

Friday, June 5, 2009


No Discovery Showcase tomorrow. I got busy and neglected to email the next author on my list. (Sorry! But I had a CT scan and it took me two days to recover! My tender tummy can't take that "barry smoothie" and I had to drink a bottle and a half. Shudder.) BUT I will have a snippet and a link to my first review at The Self-Publishing Review.

Next week is a very special week here at Fantasy Debut, and I'll be adding giveaways to the mix along with the usual blend of showcases and reviews. So be sure to stop by often!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Debut Showcase: The Demon's Lexicon

The Demon's Lexicon (Amazon USA - UK - Canada)
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Margaret K. McElderry (publisher)

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick’s mother stole — a charm that keeps her alive — and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon’s mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase…and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians’ Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

I first became aware of The Demon's Lexicon when the author's agent, Kristen Nelson, announced the sale, which was a "major" deal. Major deals for debut authors are big deals, especially when said author is under thirty, which I believe she was at the time. Ana over at The Book Smugglers raves all over this book. The demons look to be solidly in the "evil" camp so it's a strong maybe for me.

That, and it doesn't seem to have any "snark."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

David Eddings

I was sad to read about David Eddings. For some reason, I thought he was in his 50s or 60s. Stephen Hunt has a nice article about him at SF Crowsnest.

Author Catch-Up

Del Rey asked me to mention something on my blog, so I thought it would be a good time for an Author Catch-Up post, because some exciting things have been going on.

Peter Brett (The Warded Man) and Robert Redick (Red Wolf Conspiracy) will both be participating in an author chat on Suvudu, starting at 2:00 PM EST. Plus, they're running a contest. Click through for details.

(Del Rey also agreed to sponsor a giveaway of truly generous proportions in celebration of my upcoming blog birthday. More on that later!)

Speaking of Peter Brett, his novel was recently optioned for film!

Plus, he's having a haiku contest! And you get to try to beat my entry!

Just saw an exciting announcement on Publishers Lunch:

Sarah Prineas'sTHE CROW KING'S DAUGHTER, featuring faerie lore without the urban setting and without drugs, sex, and angst, to Toni Markiet at Harper Children's, in a three-book deal, by Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates (NA)
All the "withouts" make this one a true hook for me. Sarah's debut, The Magic Thief, came out last year. This book is more geared toward YA, so I may jump all over this one.

And David Anthony Durham quit his day job! He's living the dream now. I am officially jealous.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Release Week!

We have a trio of debuts coming out this week. I'll do showcases on them in the next few days.

Congratulations to these authors!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Ticket to Middle Age

I'm in the club now. I'm officially "middle aged." I got inducted last week. For about 350 dollars, I got my Official Middle-Aged Status Symbol. I wear it everywhere I go. And I hate it. Or, I should say, I hate them.

What are they?


You young pups, treasure your vision while you can. Because once you it your 40s, your lenses in your eyes will begin to lose flexibility. And even though bifocals restore your ability to read without either a) taking off your glasses and reading with the book right next to your nose, or b) perch the glasses at the end of your nose (which is what I did) or c) holding your book uncomfortably at arms length, where the letters are clear, but are too far away to make out.

It sucks.

But guess what? It's life, now. Until my lenses harden completely, turn white and have to be taken out in cateract surgery--which, judging from my family history, is only a matter of time for me--I have to deal with it.

My eyes are what you might term as Offically Screwed Up. I have -6.75 in one eye and -5.25 in the other. And the vast difference in eyes makes the bifocal portion extremely hard to get used to. Clockwork Heart is worth the struggle, but I have to force myself to restrain the urge to go and get my old glasses. Yes, I had to perch them at the end of my nose, but at least the entire page was clear throughout my range of vision.

Once you're in bifocals, you are doomed to hourglass vision. What is hourglass vision? Well, the range of clear vision in your glasses is shaped like an hourglass. You have a wide range of clear vision on top, then it narrows to completely blurry just below the straight-ahead point, then it widens to a very narrow triangle of clarity at the bottom. through which you can read. If you look down while you walk, everything is blurry.

Enough grousing. Comments expressing empathy are seriously needed right now! Or better yet, advice on how to deal with these things.