Monday Musings: A Short Comment on the Hugo Awards, Writing Update, Off to Maine, and Summer Heat

IMG_0731

I’m not going to comment a lot on this year’s Hugo awards, mainly because I haven’t read all of the winners, and can’t say if I thought they were good enough to win. I am happy, however, to see that, once again, the Puppies were shut out in most categories. And in at least one, their slated work won, but because it was a darn good piece of work, and even it’s creators were in no way endorsing the Puppy slate. Where do we go from here? Who knows. It’s still a mess, just not as much of one as the past couple years. I’ll just say congratulations to all the winners. Good job!

Let’s move on to some better stuff, shall we? I made some pretty good progress on the first revision of my space opera novel, “Two’s Company.” When I began drafting, I wrote a sequence of scenes that were out of the linear way I normally write. When I figured out where they needed to be inserted, it kind of messed up the timeline in a couple chapters. I had to pull back and work out the twisty details on those so that the lines make sense. I got that done, and I think I’ve mostly cleaned up the bits that needed to be tweaked to fit. And I figured out how to transition from one part of the story to the next. It means adding another chapter, but as the whole story is still a bit short for a sci-fi novel. that’s not really going to be a bad thing. So, progress. Yay. (In a side note, I think it will be ready for some beta reads in a few weeks, so stay tuned for that.)

We head for Maine this weekend. The Maine State Chili Cook Off is Saturday in Wells. This is one of my favorite cook offs. Not only is Wells a lovely town, but the cook off is always well organized (Thank you, Eleanor!) and usually proceeds very smoothly. And the place we stay is great. We’ve been staying there for years, and the owners know us. We always get the same room- number 10! It’s a combination of in the main house, quaint rooms, motel rooms with kitchenettes (we get one of those), and a few cabins. A lot of the cooks stay there, and we all get together for a potluck dinner after Saturday’s cook off. We will go to one of our favorite restaurants up there on Friday. Oh, and the fact that the motel has a hot tub as well as a pool makes it even better. Nothing like a bit of time in that hot tub after a long day at the cook off to relax and re-energize.

Lambeau will go to the boarding kennel while we are gone. I have told him he is going to the spa, since we are having him groomed while he’s there. I have not told him that “spa” means a bath and nail clip! LOL

The heat has settled. A little. At least the humidity is down a bit today, and temps have not been in the 90s. It looks like we may get one almost fall-like day this week, also. But that may change, as the weather does. We did get some much needed rain, but really could use more. The folks at the farmer’s market are saying it has affected their crops a fair amount. The grass is all dry and crunchy still. I’m watering the herbs, tomatoes, and flowers here daily. But we are getting some nice tomatoes now. The Romas are particularly firm. It’s so nice to be able to go out on the deck and pick a nice, ripe, fresh tomato for a salad! The BaldMan made a small amount of pesto last week, and you would never know he trimmed the basil plants.

That’s been my week. Hope yours was good.

========================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Friday Review: A Sampler of Samples

sample

This week, I’m going to do something a little different. Instead of reviewing a whole book, I’m going to give some quick, first impressions based on samples of books I have downloaded recently. I have a small bit of money on Amazon and I asked on one of the writer groups for recommendations of books to try. I got a list, and downloaded the samples to see what I might want to buy. So, instead of starting a new book, I thought I’d try to read some of those and give my impressions.

(Note: These are not comprehensive reviews, nor are they necessarily accurate impressions of the whole works. These are based on samples of anywhere from 10 to 20% or so of the full work. So, as usual, Your Mileage May Vary, and don’t take this as my final view of anything I may actually buy at some point.)

In the Snows of Haz (Heart of the World, Book 1) by Maxine Janerka: This is an intriguing sample. The setting is harsh, a city in what appears to be a cold, bitter land. There is a hint at a plot of some sort, subterfuge, false plans and information being sold, and a young boy that many feel is some sort of demon. The writing is good, so far, and the production is nicely done. I am definitely interested.

Dream Stalker (Talented, Book 1) by Amy Hopkins: This one is urban fantasy, set in London in modern times. This London has both magical and mundane people living in it, as well as half-bloods. The main character is a half-blood who runs a tea shop that sells both normal and enchanted teas to both the Talented and the regular folk. There has been a serial killer targeting half-bloods and killing in an unusual manner. The police are at a loss, and the Lords who seem to rule the Talented don’t care since the victims are all half-bloods. And our main character is having dreams that seem to be connected to the murders. There’s a non-Talented police officer who seems to want to help. And a dog! I’m very interested in this one!

Someday I’ll Be Redeemed (Chronicles of Lorrek, Book 1) by Kelly Blanchard: I’m not sure about this one. For one thing, it seems to have a pretty large cast of characters and a lot of them are thrown at you almost immediately with very little context for sorting them. I found as I read farther, I had to keep going back to remind myself who this one or that one is. Otherwise, it seems a story of palace intrigue involving the royal families of neighboring kingdoms. It looks like it could develop into a decent high-fantasy story.

Curse Me Not by Elizabeth Fisher: This is another urban fantasy. It involves a bodywasher, a person who can cleanse someone of a curse that has been laid on them. She’s called by a client to cleanse a curse from a dog trainer who had allowed the client’s dog to be hurt. Now regretting the anger that led her to hire the illegal curse monger, Olivia want Elzetta to remove the curse. Things go wrong, and Elzetta sets off to figure out why and what’s going on. I keep waffling on this one. It looks like a bit of a twist on the magic-ability stories you see, and I do like the gritty feel to the setting and style. But there’s something that keeps me from being fully sure about it. It may go on the “I Need to Think More About This One” list.

That’s the samples I’ve looked at so far. I have a few more to go, and then I need to make some choices. I’ll keep you posted!

(Image from sample-this.co.uk)

=================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Wednesday Wanderings: Maine Coon Cat Photos, Badminton Explained, Dr. Who Video Feels, and Designs with Light

Maine coon

These photos of Maine Coon cats really do make them look like magical animals:

Cat Photos

With the Summer Olympics going on, I think it is time for this epic badminton rant from a few years ago. Mary Carillo, you are awesome- and completely on point:

Badminton Rant

This fan make Dr. Who video contain all the best (worst?) moments from the new series. Be prepared for Feels- All the FEELS:

Dr. Who

This company has developed an algorithm to create specific images with the light that shines through glass:

Images in Glass

(Image from iizcat.com, photograph by Robert Sijka)

===================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

Monday Musings: Thunder and Lightning

NM_Lightning_Edens1

That just about sums up our Saturday night here. We had a pretty intense set of storms go through here. Loud, boomy, echoing thunder and some pretty intense lightning. The radar map showed strikes all around us. And the rain was torrential. But it seemed to soak things down well, and we really needed that kind of rain this season.

The dog was not terribly thrilled with the weather, though. He wasn’t quite as terrified as Murphy used to get, but he was uncomfortable. He didn’t quite know what to do or where to go for a bit. I think he wanted to go up to my office here, but it’s on the third floor and the weather would have been more apparent there. I sat on the floor with him for a bit, and he settled down. Then I let him keep the blanket and I sat back up in the recliner. He curled up on the blanket under the raised footrest and went to sleep. A bit later, he jumped up next to me on the recliner like he normally does at night. This was the worst storm he’s had to deal with since we’ve had him, and I’m glad he doesn’t seem to be really freaked out. He didn’t want to go out, though. I tried to take him out for a last pee during a lull in the rain, but the lightning and thunder rolled back in and he just wanted to go back in the house. I took him back in, because I didn’t want to force him and make things worse. I will say the lightning streaks while we were out there were gorgeous!

That was probably the highlight of the week. The rest of it was pretty dull and hot and humid. We’ve been spending most of our time inside with the air conditioning. When we do go out, we don’t go too far or play too hard. Lambeau would run until he collapsed, I think, especially if he has a ball to chase. I don’t want him to get overheated. And, honestly, I don’t want to stay out in that kind of heat for long, myself.

One thing we have a lot of out here is toads! They are all over at night. We have a couple that sit on the side of the house and garage up by the lights, because that’s where the bugs are. But there are some just sitting in the middle of the road, and we had a tiny one on the porch the other night. And one poking his head out of the water reservoir of one of the window boxes. They’re kind of cute, in their own toad-y, froggy sort of way.

Now we head off into another week. It’s mid-August already, isn’t it? Summer is running down to the end, and we’ll be seeing all that Fall foliage starting to appear. That means those lovely, crisp fall days are coming. Let’s all enjoy these last weeks of Summer!

(Image from noaa.gov)

===============================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Friday Review: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

The_Art_Of_Asking_Book_Cover

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People HelpThe Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was not a huge Amanda Palmer fan. I really didn’t know a lot about her until she married Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorite authors). One of my daughters is a fan. I started reading her online posts, and following her on Twitter, and found her to be not only quirky and interesting, but also genuine and interested. She wants you to engage with her. It’s how she’s made her entire career since the Dresden Dolls broke from the label the really didn’t “get it.” So, I wanted to read this book, to try and get an idea who this person was.

I can’t recommend this book enough. No, it’s not a step-by-step plan to help you learn to ask without the fear of hearing no. It’s a memoir. It’s a life story. It’s honest and direct and it pulls very few punches. Palmer grew up in Massachusetts in a, if not wealthy, at least reasonably comfortable family. Yes, she’s had some advantages, but she never took advantage. She left college to pursue her dreams- art and music. She spent countless hours dressed as a bride, busking for the dollars people would drop in her box in return for a flower from her bouquet. But it wasn’t the “begging” that was important. Nor was it the realization that she could make more money as the Eight Foot Bride than at her job at the ice cream shop. It was here that she first began to understand that what most people wanted was just the one, tiny moment of connection. The moment when the Bride, up to then still and disconnected, would bend down to present a flower with a flourish and a moment of eye contact. That bit of interaction would become the cornerstone of her whole career.

She tells her story in small scenes, vignettes that jump around in time a bit. Through it all she is honest and doesn’t gloss over the less than pretty parts. Because even for her, the woman who created the most successful Kickstarter campaign of an musician, the woman who did whole tours sleeping on the couches of fans who she didn’t know other than email or Twitter, the woman who could announce a “ninja gig” in a park just hours before it happened and have hundreds or even thousands of people show up for music, conversation, and communing, there were many moments of doubt and fear. Moments when she worried about how she was going to ask for one more thing from people who had already given so much. And it is compelling reading.

As I said, this is not a self-help book, but it did teach me a lot. It made me rethink the way I look at Art and what qualifies for that label. You don’t have to know who Amanda Palmer is, and you don’t have to be a fan of hers or appreciate her sometimes unusual music, to understand what she is saying here. But I think if you read The Art of Asking, you will become a fan of Amanda Palmer, the person.

View all my reviews

=====================================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

Wednesday Wanderings: Cute Cheese Ad, Neil Gaiman on Reading, Thunderstorms, and Mars Rover Pictures

lightning swiss

This is one of the best commercials ever:

Mouse Trap

I guess it is no big surprise that I am a great admirer of Neil Gaiman. Not only is he a most imaginative writer, but he also has wise words to say on many things. Here are some of his thoughts on reading and why it is important:

Neil Gaiman on Reading

Since today is a rainy day here in MA, I thought it would be appropriate to include a slide show of thunderstorm pictures:

Thunderstorms

And here are some pictures from the Mars Rover Opportunity:

Mars Pictures

(Image from thetelegraph.com)

=========================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Monday Musings: Better Late Than Never?

no-monday-for-web

Today is Monday. And it feels like it. Like your stereotypical, no-fun-at-all, bleah Monday. I think I am still recovering from Saturday. We had the Massachusetts State Cook Off in Winchendon, MA then. As usual, the BaldMan was chief judge and I was scorekeeper. We knew it was going to be a long day- they always are- but this one was really wearing. The weather started out rainy, but then the storm blew over. And it got hot and humid, and didn’t relent all day long. That sort of weather just sucks the energy out of me. By the time we left, I was tired, sweaty, hungry, and probably a bit cranky. We picked up some Chinese food on the way home, and just collapsed after we ate. I love doing the cook offs, and MA State has always been a favorite, but that sort of weather is no fun at all. I’m glad the rain let up, though, because the people did come out for the cook off and that means the Kiwanas made some money for all the good charities they support.

So, because we were away on Saturday, we had to do our grocery shopping and errands on Sunday. We didn’t rush to get going, so it was mid-afternoon before we were done. The rest of the day was quiet, and just a recovery day. Now, today, feels like I need another rest and recoup day, so I haven’t done a lot of extra stuff. And one of the things that suffered was getting this post out in the morning. Forgive me?

We did take Lambeau to the cook off on Saturday. This is one of a couple that he can go to, and it’s a one day for us, since Winchendon is close to home. He was a good boy, as usual, although it seemed to take him a little longer than usual to settle down. He was a bit whiny and antsy for a while after we got there. I did bring his long line and a toy, and we got a chance to get him out and play for a bit before the crowd came in. He was good overall, as usual. And he made a few new friends as people walked by and came over to say hello to him. He loves that, because he loves people and attention! While we were out on Sunday, we had to stop at Petsmart for cat food. The BaldMan went in while I waited in the car. He came out with the cat food, and some new Kong brand squeaky tennis balls, and a soft flyer toy for the dog. I had told Lambeau he would get new tennis balls once we moved, and we finally made good on that. He was so happy when I took him out to play with it later.

While we were out, he dumped over his water dish, so I took him around to the front where the outside faucet is so I could fill it again. While we were there, our neighbor came home from the store and parked in front of his door on the street to unload. Lambeau, of course, saw him and the tail started and he was watching. I told him to Stay! and started trying to quickly untangle from the shrubs in front of the faucet so I could get hold of him. Turned out I didn’t need to. He actually stayed! On the porch- tail wagging, and he really wanted to run out there, but he didn’t. First time for that and I was really proud of him. In the past, he’d have just leaped off the porch no matter what I said. He got rewarded for that!

So, Monday, you’re almost done. And good riddance. Tuesday is on the horizon. Let’s make it a good one!

 
=================================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.
 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Wednesday Wanderings: Tree Art, John Cleese on Political Correctness, Ancient Seeds, and Juno Film of Jupiter’s Moons

squash

Another click baity header, but the art is fantastic:

Tree Trunk Carving

John Cleese being his usual brilliant self here, with some thoughts on political correctness:

John Cleese Speaks

850 year old seeds that still grew:

Ancient Squash

A stop-motion film from the Juno spacecraft as it approached Jupiter in June. It shows the orbiting of the four Jovian moons around the big planet. I think it appropriate somehow that they used music by Vangelis:

Jupiter’s Moons

(Image from insidersscience.com)

==============================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Feedmypeople-thumb
In a world reeling under the effects of severe climate change, food shortages are common, and arable farmland is scarce. Unscupulous distributors like Beni Oligowma take advantage of the shortages for their own gain. When a promising new technology for growing food even under the harsh conditions is unveiled, grocery store owner Frank is determined to see that everyone is able to benefit from the results, not just the Benis of the world.
Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

 

Monday Musings: Another Month Bites the Dust, and Some Writerly Musings

summer-science-reading-kids

It’s August, isn’t it? Summer’s last fling, so to speak. Although, I must admit that I’d like it if it flung some cooler weather and rain our way. I am not quite ready for  Fall yet, and certainly not for Winter, but some more moderate Summer days would be nice.

The Summer Sale promotion at Smashwords ended yesterday. I put the three paid books I have there on sale for the month of July. The fourth is already free, so it didn’t need the coupon code added. I got a number of downloads of the free story, and a few sales (some of the one discounted to free, so no royalty there). I wouldn’t call it a rousing success, but it wasn’t a complete failure, either. I will probably do it again when they do their Winter Sale later in the year. Now, if I could just get some of those people to write a review!

Because, the thing is, reviews do help. And not just the five star, glowing praise reviews. A lot of people are suspicious of those. I have to admit that when I am shopping online for something, I look at the five star reviews, of course, but I look more closely at the three and four star reviews. Those tend to have a bit more detail to them, and often will list both good and not so good stuff about that item. And I will also look at two and one star, although I often find the one stars are kind of irrelevant. Just a made up example of what I mean:

Item: Knit gloves with extra long cuff. Size: extra small

Review: 1 star. I was very disappointed that these gloves did not fit my extra large hands. And the cuff would have been far too long if they did fit.

Huh? Reading some of those type make me wonder if some people even bother to read the description of the item they are buying, never mind the reviews!

Anyway, I digress. People do read reviews when looking at books to buy. And, from what I have heard from both writers and readers, they don’t need to see 500 five star reviews to decide to buy. A well-written, honest review can tell you a lot about whether or not you will like a book. Let’s face it- blurbs and publisher-provided descriptions are purposely meant to sell the book. And sometimes it is hard to really know if a book will be enjoyable from those blurbs. Heck, they ALL sound good! Reviews can and do narrow that down, and help people choose books they will enjoy.

Now, I know not everyone is going to like everything, and sometimes, everyone buys something they thought they would like, but don’t. And there’s where the honesty in reviewing helps. You might say it wasn’t a bad book, but I don’t really like a lot of swearing in books I read, and this one had too much for my taste. Okay, that’s fine. The next person who reads your review might think: Well, I don’t mind swearing and it looks like a good read. Okay. I’ll try it.

It’s an ongoing struggle, especially for those of us who are independently published. So, hey, here’s request. If you read a book and you like it (or even if you don’t and have good reasons for that), write a review. It doesn’t have to be long or impressive in its content. It really, really helps. Believe me. (And if you’ve read one of my books and haven’t reviewed it: Pwetty Pwease?)

(Image from livescience.com)

=========================================================================

Available now:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

After five years away, Kaili is coming home for the ceremony to install her sister as head of the family business. When an old rivalry threatens the family, Kaili and her partner need to use all their skills to save the sisters’ lives. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

tn_Six of One

A collection of six short fantasy stories set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A short novelette set in a dystopian Earth after the final environmental collapse. Sam is a genetically engineered chameleon who may hold the key to mankind’s survival. Learn more here.

Friday Review: The Wheezes and the Sneezes (or The Head Cold from Hell)

Sneezing-Winter-Cold

“With the wheezes and the sneezes, and a sinus that’s really a pip.”

Of course, those are lyrics from “Adelaide’s Lament”, a song from Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser. And that pretty much sums up how I have felt this week. The BaldMan brought some sort of killer virus into the house. Now, it’s my turn to be hit in the kisser by it.

*cough cough*

It started with an olive oil press that someone shoved inside my head when I wasn’t looking. Along with a little operator who cranked and cranked and cranked that sucker down hard. I’m surprised my head didn’t explode. My teeth hurt. My nose was so blocked by that thing, breathing was tough. Breathing through my mouth made my throat sore. Trust me, an olive oil press in your head is not optimal.

Oh, but that was just the beginning.

*Ah choo*

As the press tightened, all the “stuff” blocked up inside there was squeezed out. In the words of one of our girls when she was little” “The snot is running out of my nose like a river.” (You are welcome for that wonderful bit of imagery.) Irritating my nose and throat to the point of coughing and sneezing fits. Sleeping was not impossible, but broken up and uncomfortable.

*sniffle drip* *wipes nose*

All this meant that reading was a bit slow this week. I haven’t finished the book I’m reading, even though it is quite good. I tried. I sat down, opened it up, and read a couple pages. Then my eyes would start to swim and my brain, squished by that damn olive press, couldn’t function.

*cough*

All in all, I think I have to rate this summer cold 1 of 5 stars. Next week will be better, I hope.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go find a fresh box of tissues.

*sniffle* *sneeze*

(Image from dailyplateofcrazy.com)

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Two days left to get my books discounted at Smashwords. The sale ends July 31. Two are half off, and two are free!

Here are the books and relevant information:

 

tn_Circle Unbroken Cover (eBook)

When your family runs the mining operation on a planet that supplies a long-depleted Earth with needed resources, there are bound to be those who would like to see you fail. After five years away with the Interstellar Security Corps, Kaili is coming home after the death of her grandmother as a key participant in the ceremony to install her sister as head of the company and the ruling planetary council. She and her partner land in the middle of old resentments and new threats.

Like all of her people, Kaili is gifted with psi abilities developed over generations living in close harmony with their world- what outsiders see as magic. The ceremony investing her sister with her new positions will be a formal ritual, and Kaili, as her sister’s closest relative, will complete the binding Circle.

Accidents and unrest are growing in the mine operations, and Kaili and her partner, Jeff, uncover evidence that her sister will be formally challenged at the ceremony. When Kaili goes missing right before the ceremony, and returns with no apparent memory of the past few days, Jeff knows something is not right. He will need to use a little magic of his own to make sure Kaili is ready to face the family’s enemies. If not, it could mean both sisters’ lives.

“Circle Unbroken is an awesome mix of two genres, masterfully woven together into a strong story.” From a review on Readcommendations

The novel “Circle Unbroken” is on sale now through July 31 at 50% off its regular price of $3.99. Coupon code is PL25C

tn_Six of One

“Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy” by M.A. Kropp is a set of six short stories, set in varied worlds of magic and mayhem. Included are:

A Girl, An Elf, and a Shoe– An elf causes a mix-up the day before the big race
With Pen In Hand– A wizardly writer creates his own audience
Impish– An apprentice sorcerer lets the imp out of the bag- or box
Where Angels Tread– What if Heaven and Hell are more like The Sopranos than Seraphim? A noir style story in two parts, where a vital piece of Heavenly equipment goes missing.
Siren Song– A young accountant has an encounter with a mermaid and her companion and must think quickly to save his father.
Peepers– A young man visiting from the city finds the nighttime song of some tiny frogs irresistible.

“Six of One” is also at 50% off its regular price of $1.99. Coupon code is EW65A

 

tn_Survival of the Fittest (Front Cover)

A hundred years after Earth’s final environmental collapse, the human population is scattered, living in deep caves or underground to escape the heat and radiation that still ravage the planet. But some species adapted better to the changes. Sam, a genetically engineered lizard, is part of an ongoing program to discover what allowed his kind to evolve so quickly. Intelligent, able to communicate, and make decisions, is Sam a person or an experiment? When another survivor of the devastation threatens the promising food crops being developed, Sam may be given the chance to prove himself.“Survival of the Fittest” is FREE until July 31. Coupon code is WW27A.

 

 

Feedmypeople-thumb    The climate is ruined. Cycles of torrential rain and snow alternate with heat waves that make it dangerous to be outdoors for long. Most of the farmable land is either underwater from rising oceans or destroyed in the severe weather cycles. Food is in short supply, and Beni Oligowma controls the distribution of what there is in his local area. Grocery store owners Frank and his father have to live with whatever Beni decides is fair. And that usually means Frank can’t afford the best that’s available. When a university student returns home with an experimental method that may provide a new way to grow food, Frank is determined to help the system succeed, even if it means a confrontation with Beni.
“Feed My People” is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free without need for a code.

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