Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Tag: books

I’m baaaack!

It seems as if every time I make the commitment to blog daily, things start off fine. Then real life takes my pledge as a challenge to see just how much it can throw at me before I cry “Surrender!”. Usually, when that happens, I can dig out after a couple of weeks. It seems like this time real life decided to not only knock me down but try to knock me out, at least for the first quarter, if not longer. I won’t go into all the details, just know that we’ve had more than our fair share of death of extended family members, illness, death of appliances. Well, you get my drift.

What happened as a result is my writing, editing and everything else associated with publishing got pushed to the back burner for awhile. In some ways, that’s been a good thing because it has let me come back with fresh eyes to projects that are now not only late, but very late. It has also given me time to think about how I approach my career and make some decisions about how to move forward. I’ll probably be blogging about those decisions later.

However, for those of you who have been patiently — and some of you not so patiently and I really do appreciate knowing you are looking forward to my work — waiting, here are a couple of cover reveals.

Dagger of Elanna will be released Tuesday, Feb. 21st. Assuming real life doesn’t decide to see what sort of twists and turns it can throw me today, I will hopefully be able to get it up for pre-order today or tomorrow. However, with all that has happened for the last two months, I’m not making any promises on the pre-order.

Here is the second cover reveal. We will be tweaking the cover very slightly before the book goes on sale, but I have to say I really like what Sarah has done with it. And, for those of you who have been waiting for the next Honor and Duty novel, the plan is to have it ready for a May /June release. There will be more about that after I put Dagger to bed. Oh, and the title for the next book is Victory from Ashes.

That leaves Nocturnal Rebellion, part of the Nocturnal Lives series, which I am planning for a Late Summer/ Early Fall 2017 release. The so-far untitled second book in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series will come out around Halloween. It, like Victory from Ashes,  is already in the works. Somewhere in there will be the next installment to Skeletons in the Closet. The nice thing is, the novellas and books set in the Eerie Side of the Tracks world are quick writes, relatively speaking, because they don’t require as much research and fact-checking as some of my other books. Now, this is a tentative schedule because I am not, absolutely NOT, going to tempt real life to try to beat me over the head any more than it already has.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1), click on the link or the image to check it out.

War is coming. The peace and security of the Ardean Imperium is threatened from within and without. The members of the Order of Arelion are sworn to protect the Imperium and enforce the Codes. But the enemy operates in the shadows, corrupting where it can and killing when that fails. Fallon Mevarel, knight of the Order of Arelion, carried information vital to prevent civil war from breaking out. Cait was nothing, or so she had been told. She was property, to be used and abused until her owner tired of her. What neither Cait nor Fallon knew was that the gods had plans for her, plans that required Fallon to delay his mission. Plans within plans, plots put in motion long ago, all converge on Cait. She may be destined for greatness, but only if she can stay alive long enough.

 

A few thoughts and some more recommended reading

The past week has been memorable and not necessarily in a good way. Accusations have been tossed around that the Hugo nominations were gamed, that the people behind Sad Puppies 3 are interested in only having white males of the misogynistic bent nominated and, therefore, winning. Media outlets have run with stories that fit square into the definition of libel, taking at face value the accusations without doing even the most minimum of fact checking. Some of those who claim to be against block voting are encouraging others to do just that — block vote No Award to block those evil Sad Puppy 3 nominees.

That is, perhaps, the saddest part of this whole thing to me. Here are authors and editors — and some fans but most of the calls I’ve seen have come from those directly involved in the publishing industry — to vote No Award without even reading the nominees. They have shown they are willing to condemn people and their work simply because they don’t like the way the nominees got on the ballot. To them, it is better to nave no awards handed out this year than it is to read those books and stories that have been nominated and possibly have to admit that there are some pretty damned good works on the ballot.

It has gotten so bad that there are folks out there blocking and/or unfriending people on Twitter and Facebook and other avenues of social media simply because they were on the Sad Puppy list — or because they have spoken out in favor of it. They aren’t even willing to have a discussion about the ballot and what Sad Puppies really means. After all, it is so much easier to just go with the shouts of racist and misogynistic and evil.

Some claim they will “consider” works on the SP3 list if those authors renounce Sad Puppies and distance themselves from Vox Day. That is a head-scratcher because Vox isn’t on the SP3 list. He wasn’t involved, to the best of my knowledge, in drawing up the list. But we are supposed to disavow him — wouldn’t that be a sort of negative way of saying he was involved? — in order to get the outraged gatekeepers of yore to consider our work.

Sorry, but the Hugo Award is not the diversity award. It isn’t the literary award. It isn’t the award for the most politically correct science fiction and fantasy (even though it might look that way if you study the last few years’ nominees). It is for the BEST science fiction and fantasy for the year. As I noted the other day, it is up to each of us to determine what “best” means. But to determine if a work is or is not better than another, you have to read it.

And that is all any of us is asking — read the nominees and then decide what is best. If, after having read them all, you feel, in good conscience, that there is nothing nominated worthy of winning the Hugo, then vote No Award. But do not act all righteous and go into this vote with a decision already made when you haven’t read any of the nominees.

Read the nominated works.

Let me repeat that again, READ THE NOMINATED WORKS.

Starting some time next week, I will be reviewing the entries in the novel and novella categories. I will try to get to the other literary categories as time permits. Oh, and before anyone asks, I did read everything I nominated and I did not follow a “slate”. Yes, I voted for some of the recommendations from the SP3 list. But if I felt there was something better, that is what I nominated. That is what everyone I’ve spoken to did. We nominated works we felt best deserved the Hugo.

Now, I’ve said more on the subject than I meant. Now here are some indie books I highly recommend — and, yes, I have read them all.

Pixie Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 1)
Cedar Sanderson

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

“They had almost had me, that once. I’d been young and foolish, trying to do something heroic, of course. I wouldn’t do that again anytime soon. Now, I work for duty, but nothing more than is necessary to fulfill the family debt. I get paid, which makes me a bounty hunter, but she’s about to teach me about honor. Like all lessons, this one was going to hurt. Fortunately, I have a good gun to fill my hand, and if I have to go, she has been good to look at.”

Take The Star Road (The Maxwell Saga) (Volume 1)
Peter Grant

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become an apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…

April (April series Book 1)
Mackey Chandler

April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good things because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.

The Empire’s Corps
Christopher Nuttal

You Should Never Speak Truth To Power…

The Galactic Empire is dying and chaos and anarchy are breaking out everywhere. After a disastrous mission against terrorists on Earth itself, Captain Edward Stalker of the Terran Marine Corps makes the mistake of speaking truth to power, telling one of the most powerful men in the Empire a few home truths. As a result, Captain Stalker and his men are unceremoniously exiled to Avalon, a world right on the Rim of the Empire. It should have been an easy posting…

Well, apart from the bandits infesting the countryside, an insurgency that threatens to topple the Empire’s loose control over Avalon, and a corrupt civil government more interested in what it can extort from the population than fighting a war. The Marines rapidly find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of political and economic chaos, fighting to preserve Avalon before the competing factions tear the world apart. They’re Marines; if anyone can do it, they can.

The battle to save the Empire starts here.

The future of libraries is here

Wow, a blog two days in a row. It almost didn’t happen because, well, it’s Saturday and I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Then a story in the Dallas Morning News caught my eye and off I went to find out more about it.

It’s no secret that there has been a lot of discussion the last few years about how the continuing growth of e-books will impact our local libraries. If you talk to a librarian, you’ll soon learn how they have to carefully budget their monies for e-books against that for print books because a number of publishers charge much more for e-books than they do for “real” books. One way some libraries have pushed back against this is to form partnerships with neighboring library systems to cut the cost of e-books. The downside of this is that there are more patrons wanting to read the same e-books, making wait times longer and often preventing a patron from re-checking the e-book.

New libraries have larger and larger tech or computer centers included in their floor plans. The Bedford (TX) Public Library is a wonderful example of how our library staff, the city and the public worked together to build a library that does its best to meet the needs of the city. However, as cutting edge as it is, it has nothing on one of the libraries in San Antonio.

BiblioTech is something new, at least here in the States. It is the nation’s only public library that has no books. When you walk inside, if you aren’t aware of what the library is, you might think you’ve walked into a tech store. The DMN compares it to walking into an Apple store, complete with librarians in matching shirts and hoodies. Instead of books, there are computers and tablets set out around the facility for use by the patrons. Tablets can be checked out, loaded with up to five e-books. It is a techies dream and yet it also signals the end of an era.

Being a cynic, my first thought was to wonder how many of the tablets had been checked out never to return. In the four months, approximately, that the library has been open, there have been no non-returns. That’s impressive.

But what is more impressive to me is the fact that San Antonio, a city that isn’t exactly one of the richest or most progressive in the country, took this bold step. In a city that ranks 60th in literacy, it had to have been seen as a gamble. Hats off to those who pushed this project through because the current numbers forecast more than 100,000 visitors to the library this year. The city listened to its citizens who have been complaining since the early 2000’s that their neighborhood didn’t even have a bookstore, much less a library (iirc).

There is an added benefit to having this revolutionary new library: it is bringing in visitors to the city. People from all around the country, and from outside of it, are visiting BiblioTech to see if it is something they can implement in their community. That means added income for the city.

Am I advocating that all libraries should go this way? No. I like going into a building filled with books and being able to find one and just sit and read for a bit. However, I will be watching to see how BiblioTech does because it can show that libraries can be successful even without physical books.

There’s another reason a library like BiblioTech interests me. The Bedford Library was closed once after a tax rollback. For weeks our city had the ignoble distinction of having lost our library due to a lack of funding. Unfortunately, that is now becoming a reality for more and more cities and towns across the nation. Through BiblioTech, San Antonio has shown that you can have a library but that you don’t have to spend as much on the facility — both the building of those facilities and in the maintenance — because a bookless library doesn’t have to be as large or meet the structural requirements that a regular library does.

This is an experiment I’ll be watching with interest and I hope San Antonio continues to embrace BiblioTech as much in the future as it appears to be now.

For more information, here’s a link to BiblioTech.

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