Nocturnal Lives

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

Tag: Sarah A. Hoyt (Page 2 of 4)

Interrupting my vacation and not happy about it.

One of the things I love about this country is the First Amendment. That means we have, with a few exceptions, freedom to say whatever we want. However, there are exceptions, like screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Other exceptions are that employers can, and do, limit what their employees can say on social media. The reason is simple. If it impacts said employer negatively, the employee has become a liability. This doesn’t, in most cases, mean the employer can fire the employee for whistle-blowing. But, when an employee’s actions become unprofessional, the employer can take action. It is also when customers of the employer can demand action be taken against the unprofessional employee.

The reason for the above statement is simple. Irene Gallo, creative editor for Tor and who is also associated with Tor.com, made the following statement about Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies on her Facebook page last month. I saw the comment for the first time yesterday and, frankly, it has been eating at me since then. Here’s what she said in response to a question asking what the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are:

“Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi groups, called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies… they are unrepentantly racist, misogynist and homophobic.  A noisy few but they’ve been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them and elect a slate of bad-to-reprehensible works on this year’s Hugo Ballot.”

Now, everyone is permitted to like or not like what made it onto the ballot. All I’ve ever asked is that the nominated works be read before a decision is made. I guarantee you that, at the point when she made her comment, she had not read everything. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s my opinion. Of course, what she is also saying is that all the Tor authors on the ballot who were nominated by either the Sad Puppies or the Rabid Puppies are “bad-to-reprehensible”. That isn’t showing much loyalty or confidence in the work done by her fellow editors at Tor.

But what galls me is how she calls us “Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. To begin with, if she were to really look at who wound up on the final ballot, especially those backed by the Sad Puppies, she would see that there are conservative, libertarian AND liberals represented. There are women and minorities. If I remember correctly, not everyone on the ballot is straight. (I don’t remember because I don’t care what a person’s sexual preference. It has nothing to do with their ability as a writer.)

Then there is the personal reaction. Ms. Gallo doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. So she doesn’t understand what sort of wound she opened for my family by calling me “extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. My family comes from Germany and the Netherlands. Fortunately, the family was here before Hitler came to power. But they remember what it was like living in parts of this country and having to defend themselves because they had a Germanic last name. Nazism is and always will be a personal anathema to my family and to be called a follower of that hated philosophy/government is beyond acceptable.

Did she commit slander or libel? No. Did she consider the impact her words would have on other people? I don’t know. Part of me wants to believe that she did not but I have my doubts. She used a number of “trigger” words in her response, words meant to create a negative impression. She did not consider or care about how her allegation would impact fans of those authors she was condemning nor did she apparently think or care about how such a hateful allegation could possibly lead to termination of employment.

I could go on but others have already said what I would. So, I’ll let you read their words. Cedar Sanderson writes about Ms. Gallo’s lack of professionalism with regard to this matter, Sarah A. Hoyt reminds us that this isn’t an isolated incident and Jonathan LaForce has penned an open letter to Tor.

As for me, I might be a Texan — and I know that is a dirty word to a lot of folks who like to kick puppies who are sad — but that simply means I live in a state that still values personal freedoms.

Chicken Little is alive and well and living in SF/F

I have loved science fiction and fantasy since I was a kid. I’ve read it, watched it, played it and written it. I remember watching Gemini and Apollo launches. I watched the first Moon landing. I felt the wonder of all the potential ranging before us because NASA was a live and well and actually doing something the everyday Joe (oops, perhaps that should be Jo to keep certain folks happy) could see. All of that fueled my imagination and the science fiction and fantasy stories kept it flying.

I was a fan with a big “FAN” of sf/f. But now, according to some, being a fan isn’t enough to know what “true” science fiction is. Oh, you might dabble at enjoying it but you can’t tell what quality works are. Or, to quote the Hugo site, you can’t know what “excellence in the field” is because, well, you don’t follow the SMOF’s rules. My question is, what makes them a better judge of what is excellent than those like me who have read the genre for years, maybe even for decades?

If you wonder what I’m going on about, you can read Brad Torgersen’s excellent post or Sarah A. Hoyt’s. Fair warning, they are like me. They aren’t the “right” sort of folks according to the SMOFs.

My question is why shouldn’t those of us who actually read — and buy — science fiction and fantasy books, movies, games, etc., have a voice in deciding what wins a Hugo? Does it not lessen the award to start claiming that it is “yours” and that everyone else should just go start their own award?

I admit, I supported Sad Puppies 3 this year. I was honored to be included on Brad’s list of recommendations. I also admit that I did not follow his slate completely. I voted for what I thought were the best in each category and, unlike many of those who oppose SP3, I actually read everything I nominated. Can the other side say as much?

I don’t know how the nominations will fall out but there isn’t much longer to wait. April 4th is when the Hugo Committee will announce the final ballot. It is going to be interesting to see what happens then. Judging by the whining and whinging that I’m already seeing from the “establishment”, they are scared they might have lost their stranglehold on the award. Why else go on such irrational attacks, often personal, as we are already seeing?

I look forward to April 4th and seeing what happens. Heads may explode.

They Might Be Aliens

(I’m mirroring this post by Sarah A. Hoyt over at Otherwhere Gazette because, well, it needs to be said.)

Picture 167

You know, over this entire argument on who is or is not a fan as over the entire argument over what games should or shouldn’t be enjoyed (if you think that’s not what the entire #Gamergate kerfuffle is about you haven’t paid attention. It took about minus three seconds for the woman accused of corrupting journalists to come back with “you’re just stupid men who play games for escapism” or some such pronouncement), and the argument over what science fiction people should read (because for the SJW’s “value” means “supports my agenda) I keep finding the same two thoughts over and over and over (until it reels, the mind) in blogs posting on the controversies.

And by thoughts I mean…  I’m not quite sure what I mean, because I don’t think anyone sane, or indeed anyone with room-temperature IQ can believe the arguments are about this.

Yet the comments come, again and again, on all these sites, almost verbatim.

The first one is “If by believing women, minorities and people of different sexual orientations are entitled to equal rights and equal treatments I want to destroy science fiction, then bring it on.”

The other is “You’re all just bigots, afraid of women/minorities/small furry animals writing/starring in science fiction and fantasy.”  (I might have made up the furry animals thing.)

Of course I know what is happening, rhetorically speaking with the first one.  This is a motte and bailey argument strategy.

The original Shackel paper is intended as a critique of post-modernism. Post-modernists sometimes say things like “reality is socially constructed”, and there’s an uncontroversially correct meaning there. We don’t experience the world directly, but through the categories and prejudices implicit to our society; for example, I might view a certain shade of bluish-green as blue, and someone raised in a different culture might view it as green. Okay.

Then post-modernists go on to say that if someone in a different culture thinks that the sun is light glinting off the horns of the Sky Ox, that’s just as real as our own culture’s theory that the sun is a mass of incandescent gas a great big nuclear furnace. If you challenge them, they’ll say that you’re denying reality is socially constructed, which means you’re clearly very naive and think you have perfect objectivity and the senses perceive reality directly.

The writers of the paper compare this to a form of medieval castle, where there would be a field of desirable and economically productive land called a bailey, and a big ugly tower in the middle called the motte. If you were a medieval lord, you would do most of your economic activity in the bailey and get rich. If an enemy approached, you would retreat to the motte and rain down arrows on the enemy until they gave up and went away. Then you would go back to the bailey, which is the place you wanted to be all along.

So the motte-and-bailey doctrine is when you make a bold, controversial statement. Then when somebody challenges you, you claim you were just making an obvious, uncontroversial statement, so you are clearly right and they are silly for challenging you. Then when the argument is over you go back to making the bold, controversial statement.

But that doesn’t explain the sheer weirdness of the second one.  And when you think about the first it is also obviously strange, because what does wanting equal treatment for women and minorities have to do with making sure all the Hugos go to women, which is a patently Unequal treatment?  (And no, it is not to compensate for women being discriminated against all along.  I mean, I’m sorry, but that was always nonsensical on the face of it.  How can anyone who thinks he or she is for “justice” want to punish present-day males who might otherwise deserve an award for the issues of SF 80 years ago?  Or reward people who have never been discriminated against for “past discrimination” against other women who simply happened to share ONE physical characteristic with them?  But all that aside, this rampant discrimination never happened.  (http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/11/07/the-women-some-women-cant-see/  – and yes, I know that Kim Stanley Robinson is a man, and I think I got China Mieville out of there.  A fan compiled this list and I was having keyboard/and/mouse issues, so some things I thought I’d x-ed out stayed in.  Which doesn’t mean much as the overwhelming majority of these are still women and received awards well before the present anno domino.)

As for the second one it is … inexplicable.  I mean, for all the sense it makes it might as well be written in Martian.  No.  I take that back.  Some fictional Martians are very logical.

I mean, a lot of the people opposing the status quo in science fiction organizations/awards/traditional publishing are women.  Toni Weisskopf and myself have got pilloried for “not being real women” precisely because of that.

More importantly the indie side is vibrant with women, quite a few of them my friends.

So what is the point of saying that we are afraid of women/people of color/differently gendered people?

If I were afraid of all of those I would have not only to cut relations with 90% of my friends, but I would have to run screaming when I brush my teeth in front of the mirror every morning.  (Not that I haven’t considered fleeing, mind you.  The morning is unkind to middle aged women.)

Surely these people can’t be so ivory-tower insulated that they think that the people opposing them, those great unwashed holding out for stories that are entertaining (whether or not they also contain a message) are all white males?  For one, sad to say, most white male readers were run out of science fiction and fantasy long ago, probably in the eighties when I stopped reading SF/F because every straight male was a villain.  (I came back to it.  Most of the men never did.)

But then we come to their other argument, which comes out when they are really pressed: that until they started advocating for more women/minorities/differently gendered people/dragons [I might have made up dragons] in science fiction, all the main characters were buff white males who carried semi-nude women around for sport.

That one is a puzzler.  I started reading science fiction in the late seventies, and for the life of me, I can’t imagine what they’re talking about.

Heinlein had all of the above, with the boxes neatly checked.  And just about every “shocking” writer of the seventies had at least one bisexual/lesbian woman in there.  The kind of pulpish literature they reference never really existed.  Okay, I’m not an expert and maybe it did in the twenties or something.  However, by the thirties and forties the covers might have aliens and scantily clad princesses, but the stories were meaty stuff, often far more meaty than the stuff being published today when they rely on stereotypes and preaching the accepted wisdom.)

Let’s see, off the top of my head:

1943 Clifford Simak, Hunch a blind man and his alien seeing eye dog have only a hunch that an epidemic of insanity stems from a million-year-old-war.

Okay, so perhaps the main character is a man, but he is clearly handicapped.

1931 Neil R. Jones “the Jameson Stalletile” begins a series of stories about a frozen astronaut whose brain is transplanted into a robot body.

So, what sex is a robot?  I know!  If only Jones had refused to use gender pronouns, we’d think he was all advanced and stuff, right?

Then there is CL More, a bonafide woman, among whose early accomplishments are the following, according to Wikipedia:

One of the most remarkable was the 1944 novella “No Woman Born,” which went on to be included in more than ten different science fiction anthologies including The Best of C. L. Moore.

Included in that collection were “Judgment Night” (first published in August and September 1943), the lush rendering of a future galactic empire with a sober meditation on the nature of power and its inevitable loss; “The Code” (July 1945), an homage to the classic Faust with modern theories and Lovecraftian dread; “Promised Land” (February 1950) and “Heir Apparent” (July 1950) both documenting the grim twisting that mankind must undergo in order to spread into the solar system; and “Paradise Street” (September 1950), a futuristic take on the Old West conflict between lone hunter and wilderness-taming settlers.

Then there are, oh, Ursula Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Connie Willis, Mercedes Lackey and a lot of other people whose book aren’t at my eye-level right now, all of whom apparently sprang into being in the last three years somehow creating a record for illustrious careers in science fiction.

So, yeah, of course – of COURSE – science fiction until recently was all scantily clad women and square jawed men and that is why we white fanboys (actually I paintchipped myself and the color I match is spun gold.  As for boy… well, I checked.  I still don’t have the essential accouterment) are now opposing the march of the SJW’s thought our beloved genre.  It’s because we’re afraid of women and minorities in SF.

Look – I’ve looked over the evidence, and there’s only three explanations for the people posting this in the comments, particularly for posting it in every post they can, in almost the same words:

1-  They are not now nor have ever been fans.  In fact, they are too stupid to walk upright, and have never learned to read well enough to make it to the end of Horton Hears a Who.  This is possible, if someone is typing their replies for them, or if they’re using some dictation software, but it doesn’t explain how they read the original post they’re replying to, or why they’re interested in these controversies.

2- They’re academic shills with absolutely no interest in science fiction.  They descended from their lofty posts as assistant professors to enlighten us, the benighted, and they never even bothered to read the classics in the field, because they know what they contain.

While this could be true, why would college professors busy themselves over such a low-prestige endeavor as science fiction?  Possible, but they sound so sincere, I’d rather not believe they’re Marxist Leninist shills who care nothing for what they’re talking about so long as it’s for the greater glory of the revolution.

3- They come from a parallel universe, where none of our greats ever lived.  In that paltry and deprived world, SF really is all square jawed white men and scantily clad barbarian princesses.  They have just crossed over to our world for help, and are confused by the controversy, interpreting it, of course, in light of their own world.

I think of these, #3 is almost certainly the truth.  I suggest we render what assistance we can and send the poor things back to their own world, ASAP, loaded to the gills with Heinlein, Simak, CL More as well as the many fine women and men who wrote classical SF in our universe.

It’s the least we can do.

Meet the Character

The inestimable Sarah A. Hoyt tagged me to take part in a “meet the character” blog tour and I, in a fit of madness, agreed. You’ll understand the madness in a moment. To find Sarah’s introduction of her character, Seraphim Ainsling, the Duke of Darkwater, main character of Witchfinder (Magical Empires) , click here.

The reason I say I was in a fit of madness when I accepted the “invitation” is that I knew better. You see, I have two characters, from different series, who really think they should be getting my undivided attention right now. So when they found out I was going to take part in this blog tour, they both demanded to be the one featured. When I told them that wasn’t going to happen, I got the stare. You know what the stare is. It’s that look your mother used to give you when she asked you something and you didn’t answer quickly enough or, worse, you didn’t give the answer she was looking for. Yep, that’s right. The stare. Let me tell you, it is even worse when you get that look from the imaginary characters who reside in your head thanks to a muse that is all too often fickle and who takes pleasure in torturing the poor writer.

coverforvfaSo bear with me as I try to keep the two in check and only  introduce you to Ashlyn Shaw from Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1) and the upcoming Duty from Ashes (both written under the pen name Sam Schall).

1.) Is he/she fictional or a historic person? 

I could go all crazy author on you and say she believes she is as real as you or I (what, don’t all your characters believe they’re real and you, the writer, are simply a figment of their imaginations?). However, she is fictional and lives on a planet far, far away .

2.) When and where is the story set?

In Vengeance from Ashes, much of the action takes place on the planets of Fuercon, Ashlyn’s homeworld. A secondary location is the military penal colony on Tarsus,. Ashlyn had been sentenced to serve 5 years on Tarsus and returns there after she’s been pardoned to free those who had been sent there with her. In Duty from Ashes, the action will expand to include exploding spaceships, boarding parties and dirtside fighting on Cassius Prime.

3.) What should we know about her?

Ash is mother, daughter and comes from a military family. She is a SpecOps Marine, commanding the Devil Dogs. She has a deep sense of duty, both to her family and to the Corps. As a Marine during a time of war, she knows that the monsters exist within each of us and has seen the attrocities one person can commit against another, all in the name of God and country. What she never expected was to find herself and those under her command betrayed by her own commanders. That betrayal led to the deaths of most of her unit and saw herself and the survivors court martialed. It took two years and a change in political and military leadership to correct the wrongs done to her and the other survivors but she isn’t satisfied and won’t be until every person responsible is brought to justice. For the moment, she is willing to work with the system. But the memory of how the system failed her is always there and her patience is growing short. If something doesn’t happen soon, she might just take matters into her own hands.

4.) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

See the above. Ash needs to know that those responsible for not only what happened to her and her people but the unnecessary deaths of so many civilians have been made to pay for their crimes, crimes that include betraying their homeworld. Add to that the resumption of hostilities with the Callusians and she is now preparing to lead the Devil Dogs back to war.

5.) What is the personal goal of the character? 

That’s simple — honor and duty. To the Corps, to her homeworld and to her family and not necessarily in that order. The specific goals for Vengeance from Ashes were to free those who had been sent to Tarsus with her and to see that the injustice done to them was answered for. She managed to accomplish the first and, in Duty from Ashes, continues to work on the second.

Added to that is her determination to prove that she is still a good Marine and deserves to have been cleared to returned not only t duty but to command. The one way she can do that is to make sure the Devil Dogs are ready to go to war and that, once in action, they accomplish their mission goals and help end the war with the Callusians once and for all.

6.) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

Vengeance from Ashes is currently available DRM-free on Amazon. You can check it out Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1).

Duty from Ashes will be available the end of the month. You can read an excerpt from the rough draft here.

As for who I’m going to tag, I decided on Jason Cordova, Pam Uphoff, David Burkhead and Cedar Sanderson. All four are great authors, imo, and good friends. You can check out their “Meet the Character” next Monday. In the meantime, here’s come information about them.

David Burkhead

David L. Burkhead is an Indiana writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy. He has also written on technical topics for The World & I magazine and High Technology Careers. In addition to his writing, he works in a consulting laboratory in Atomic Force Microscopy and Nanotechnology. His work ranges from measuring samples in the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to refurbishing used AFM’s for resale to writing software for measurement of AFM images. More than half the DVD production in the world, and the development of Blu-Ray, is supported using measurement software he wrote.

Check out his blog, The Writer in Black.

Jason Cordova

Well, what is there to say really? Judging from the emails I get, quite a bit I suppose.

First off, I want to clear the air a bit about a common misconception. I wasn’t one of those kids that walked around telling everyone that they were going to be a writer when they grew up. Heck, when I went to college Istill had no intention of becoming a writer. I had dreams of being a historical journalist (don’t ask, it made sense when I was 23), not writing fiction. I wanted to travel the globe, study native cultures and teach them how to record their history for future generations. How to preserve their folklore and family history. It was a noble idea, and one that fell flat on its face the moment I faced the harshness of reality.

You have no idea just how hard it is to get funding for something like that.

Up until about two years ago, I still didn’t consider myself a writer. Sure, I had written four books by that point, but I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I just figured I was killing time in between jobs, filling those lonely days by creating worlds in which people might want to play in. Well, people being me, but you get the point.

My friend Leo told me one day while I was discussing this new project I had started that, under no uncertain circumstance, was I allowed to deny being a writer any more. I asked him why, and he replied with “Dude, you’ve written more books than most writers”.

So yeah, that’s how I became a writer.

The story about how I came to be in movies is far more convoluted…

Oh, details about my life? Well, I was born in California and grew up very nomadic, bouncing around the state (and Oregon) until I was about 12 when I settled down in southern California. Joined the Navy, went to college (three times!) and played some baseball, wrestled, and water skied a lot. Moved to Colorado, then Virginia, back to Colorado, down to North Carolina, back to Virginia, over to Kentucky, then back to Virginia.

I can’t help it, I like to travel. And I really like Virginia.

You can find out more about Jason here.

Cedar Sanderson

Cedar Sanderson is a writer, blogger, and businesswoman who can be found in her office pounding the keyboard when she isn’t at school studying to be a Mad Scientist. Her work has been published by Stonycroft Publishing, Naked Reader Press, and Something Wicked. She is the author of the young adult novel Vulcan’s Kittens, and her contemporary fantasy series that began with Pixie Noir will continue with Trickster Noir, scheduled to be released in May 2014. She writes regular blog columns at the Mad Genius Club, occasional appearances at According to Hoyt, in addition to her own writing blog,www.cedarwrites.com. She prefers science fiction, mostly writes fantasy, and dabbles in non-fiction when her passion is stirred.

Pam Uphoff

Pam Uphoff was born and raised in California, but she’s now lived more than half her life in Texas.

She claims that it’s a wonderful place, and that she caught almost the first bachelor she met there. Rumor has it they coming up on their thirty-fifth anniversary.

Pam’s college degree is in Geology. After working for an oil company for almost ten years as a geophysicist, she “retired” to raise children. As they grew, she added oil painting, sculpting and throwing clay, breeding horses, volunteering in libraries and for the Boy Scouts, and treasurer for a friend’s political campaign. Sometime in those busy years, she turned a love of science fiction into a part time job reading slush (Mom? Someone is paying you to read??!!)

Pam has always written, and published a few short stories. But now that the kids have flown the nest, she’s calling writing a full time job. She has so far published fourteen novels, four collections of novellas and short stories, and five separate short stories.

You can find out more about Pam here.

 

Strong women in science fiction – a few thoughts

Earlier today, I read a comment from someone complaining that the women characters in science fiction are nothing but “men with boobs”. He longed for the days when female characters resembled those written by Jane Austen or appeared in Shakespearean comedies. The gist of his argument was that male conservative authors are basically giving preference to female leads who can hold their own with their male counterparts. There is more to it but, frankly, I’m not going into it. For one, my blood pressure just now returned to normal after reading the post. For another, I don’t want to start a flamewar.

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I don’t give a flying rat’s ass if I start a flamewar. It’s bad enough to read someone who comments that a woman who is promiscuous is a slut but not a man who engages in the same sort of behavior. To throw fuel on the fire, there was the comment that women will do their best to avoid violence and abstract thinking — yes, I’m paraphrasing. Of course, there was a not at all subtle religious sub-text going on throughout the comment as well.

Now, I’m not going to rain on anyone’s religious parade. My own religious beliefs are very important to me but I don’t parade them around for everyone to see and ooh and ahh over. Nor do I try to beat my readers over the head with them. What I try to do is write entertaining stories that people want to read. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all any of us should have to do.

But his comments did make me pause and think for a moment. My books do have female leads. You’d expect that with the paranormal romances and the romantic suspense novel. The leads are strong women, sometimes stronger than they realize. Not in terms of physical strength but emotional strength. However, they are flawed, as are the male characters. One of them is, I swear, at times too stupid to live because she rushes headlong into trouble. But that is what a lot of us are like. We act — or react — without thinking. That’s called human.

The lead character in the urban fantasies is also female. She’s tough, capable and dedicated to her job as a police detective. But she also spends most of the first book, Nocturnal Origins, trying to figure out how she fell down the rabbit hole into the Twilight Zone. She doesn’t let it interfere with her job but it is interfering with her life and has her questioning her sanity. The reason it doesn’t interfere with her job isn’t because she’s superhuman or because she’s a “man with boobs”. It’s because the job has always been the one thing she could count on. It has rules and procedures that have to be followed. She is also standing for someone, the victim of a crime. As long as she is doing that, she can’t worry about what’s happening to her. Funny, that doesn’t sound like a particularly male — or female — characteristic. I sounds human.

Since the commenter specified science fiction, I looked at my novel Vengeance from Ashes (yes, yes, I know. I’m not a conservative male writer. I am, however, a libertarian female writer of science fiction. So, other than different plumbing, there isn’t all that much difference between me and some of the authors this person was referring to.). Female lead character? Check. Military? Check. Working in a man’s world? Waggles hand.

See, that’s one of my issues with the argument that women can’t be capable, strong officers in science fiction. Most science fiction is written about future timelines. Because of that, there will be differences in how the sexes interact with one another and what sorts of jobs they can hold. Don’t believe me? Just look at the differences between what women can do today and what they were allowed to do a century or more ago. I don’t know about you but I don’t know too many women who are content to be taken out of school before they enter high school — assuming they were allowed to go to school at all — or who want to be married off to a man much older than they are before they see their fifteenth birthday.

Does this mean women are equal on all levels as men? Absolutely not. But to say women will use words before violence fails to take into consideration what the situation is. I will deck a guy — or gal — who tries to cop a feel without permission. However, if they are simply in my personal space, words and then a well placed stomp on a foot if the words don’t work. However, go over someone I care for and all bets are off. I will not only fight but I will fight dirty because I play to win. For those who believe the female of the species is the peaceful one, go back to junior high and watch what happens there. If that doesn’t open up your eyes, I don’t know what will.

As for female characters acting like men in a work situation, get real. That is done now. It’s called fitting in. Beyond that, if you are writing a story which features a female soldier, whether it is set in outer space or or current day military, if you want that soldier to be respected by her compatriots — male and female alike — you’d better not have her having the vapors every other page. She has to be capable and competent. She has to be able to relate to her fellow soldiers, male and female. Most of all, when she’s on duty, she’d sure as hell better do whatever it takes to get the job done. You can let her angst all you want when she’s in her bunk afterwards.

Just because you put a female in a role that is traditionally male and actually make her competent, that doesn’t mean you’ve sold out to the feminists or are simply putting boobs on a man. It means you are writing a character to fit the situation you’ve placed her in. Most of all, as writers and as readers, we have to remember that as time passes, things change. Technology improves, wars are fought and the roles people play — whether you are looking at the sexes or sexual preference or race/creed/whatever — change. Women are no longer expected to stay home, get pregnant, raise the kids and have dinner on the table when hubby gets home from the office. In the distant future, it isn’t a stretch to have a woman being every bit as competent on the bridge of a starship as a male. Nor is it a stretch that they will be able to fight as well as a man — at least if in battle armor or something similar — due to technical advances to the armor and possibly implants, etc.

I guess what really threw me about the comment was the fact that the poster apparently didn’t see the underlying problem with what he was saying. Take away those strong, competent and capable women and where are the role models for our girls to dream about? Should we deny them the stars simply because, right now, a woman isn’t equal to a man on all levels? I don’t know about you but I want the younger generations, female and male alike, to dream to be more than previous generations have been. It is up to us, as writers, to find a way to show that women can do much of what a man can — and vice verse — without making the woman a “man with boobs” or the man a milquetoast.

*     *     *

Friday starts the Labor Day Promotion I mentioned yesterday. At last count, there were more 30 or more authors taking part and more than 80 titles being offered for $2.99 or less. You can find a complete listing here. (It has been updated since yesterday) Below is just an sampling of some of the titles you’ll find on sale starting Friday (although some have already been marked down).

VfASam Schall
Vengeance from Ashes

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

conventKate Paulk
ConVent

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

 

ConSensualConSensual

There are vampires in the lobby, succubi in the beds, and bodies in the bathroom. It’s ConSensual, where the editors are demons, the writers are crazy and the vampires and werewolves might be the most stable people in the room.

If that isn’t enough, Dracula is staying at the hotel on a business trip for his wood-based hardware chain, Kit Marlowe is one of the authors, and there’s an out of control baby vampire to deal with. Once again, the “Save the World” department is caught with its pants down.

 

PixieCedar Sanderson
Pixie Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 1)

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.”

 

tricksterTrickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

 

the eternity symbioteThe Eternity Symbiote

Earth sits at the center of a galactic power struggle humanity knows nothing about. Then an alien delegation suffers a fatal accident and hidden plans unravel around the wreckage in the Alaskan wilderness. Infectious disease expert Gabrielle McGregor discovers the hidden machinations and what they’ll mean for her and her family.

 

 

HuntedEllie Ferguson
Hunted (Book One of Hunter’s Moon)

When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what. Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous?

(This is a new edition of Hunted and includes new back material.)

Hunters DutyHunter’s Duty (Book Two of Hunter’s Moon)

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it. Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way. Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery. When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own. Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

(This is the second edition of Hunter’s Duty and includes new back material.)

Nocturnal lives boxedAmanda S. Green
Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set – includes Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade, Nocturnal Interlude)

Special price of $2.99 though September 5th.

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.

Nocturnal OriginsNocturnal Origins

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal InterludeNocturnal Serenade

Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude2Nocturnal Interlude

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

ATONSarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski
A Touch of Night

When Netherfield is let at last, Mrs. Bennet is very much afraid that the new neighbors will be shape shifters. The English countryside is much plagued with the creatures and the Royal Were Hunters have their hands full. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bennet tries to hide a deadly secret, one that could destroy the whole family. In a world where being a dragon is a crime can a dragon ever find love?

The novel is set in the world of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Magical British Empire.

doamSarah D’Almeida
Death of a Musketeer (Musketeers Mysteries Book 1)

April in Paris 1625. D’Artagnan, and his new friends who hide their true identities under the assumed names of Athos, Porthos and Aramis, discover the corpse of a beautiful woman who looks like the Queen of France. Suspecting an intrigue of Cardinal Richelieu’s and fearing the murder will go unpunished they start investigating. But the enterprise will be fraught with danger, traps from the Cardinal, duels with guards and plotting from the king himself.

 

Musketeers SeamstressThe Musketeer’s Seamstress (Musketeers Mysteries Book 2)

Aramis emerges from the water closet to find his lover, a duchess, murdered on her bed. The room is locked, and Aramis is the only one who could have entered it. He’s sure he didn’t do it, but no one else believes him. Even Monsieur de Treville, Captain of Musketeers, doubts Aramis’s word. Aramis must leave Paris and go on the run, entrusting the solving of the murder, and the defense of his honor, his freedom and his very life to Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnan. Can “one for all” carry the day when every powerful person in France believes Aramis a murderer and when powerful interests would gladly frame Aramis for it?

 

Musketeers apprenticeThe Musketeer’s Apprentice (Musketeers Mysteries Book 3)

It’s August in Paris 1625 and Porthos, once a dancing and fencing master, has taken as apprentice a young nobleman, whom he’s teaching to fence and ride. When the young man dies, poisoned, the stories of his ancestry and domicile unravel into layer after layer of deception and blackmail, involving Porthos’s relatives and his own past.

Can Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan dodge the Cardinal’s guards while finding the real murderer? Who was Guillaume Jaucourt, and who could have killed him? And why?

It’s one for all and all for one with the swashbuckling sleuths, in a race against time and their own misgivings.

 

Musketeers InheritanceThe Musketeer’s Inheritance (Musketeers Mysteries Book 4)

THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY BERKLEY PRIME CRIME UNDER THE TITLE “A DEATH IN GASCONY.”

A letter from Gascony calls D’Artagnan home. His father is dead and D’Artagnan must come and take charge of the estate. His friends, of course, accompany him. But what Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan don’t know is that the older D’Artagnan was murdered and that they must find the killer, if they want to keep the younger D’Artagnan alive.

By award winning author Sarah A. Hoyt writing as Sarah D’Almeida.

Promotions

Promoting our work is the bane of many writers. We’d much rather be sitting at our desk — or in a coffee shop or the library or wherever — than trying to promote our work. Because of that, those of us who are part of the Mad Genius Club blog, are trying harder to do promo posts. That’s what we’re doing over there this morning and I’m carrying that over to here this morning. But don’t worry, I’ll be back later today with a “real” post. It’s just that I’m trying to push out some edits this morning and my mind is in that mode. If I take time to write a detailed post, I’ll get out of the edit mode and I can’t afford that right now. Anyway, here are my novels and a few others by friends I think you ought to take a look at.

nocturnaloriginscoveralternatenewNocturnal Origins (Nocturnal Lives) (Volume 1)
Amanda S. Green

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

nocturnal SerenadealternatenewNocturnal Serenade (Nocturnal Lives) (Volume 2)
Amanda S. Green

Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

nocturnal interludenewNocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives 3)
Amanda S. Green
(This title will soon be available again.)

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

HuntedHunted (Hunter’s Moon Book 1)
written under pen name Ellie Ferguson

When Meg Finley’s parents died, the authorities classified it as a double suicide. Alone, hurting and suddenly the object of the clan’s alpha’s desire, her life was a nightmare. He didn’t care that she was grieving any more than he cared that she was only fifteen. So she’d run and she’d been running ever since. But now, years later, her luck’s run out. The alpha’s trackers have found her and they’re under orders to bring her back, no matter what.

Without warning, Meg finds herself in a game of cat and mouse with the trackers in a downtown Dallas parking garage. She’s learned a lot over the years but, without help, it might not be enough to escape a fate she knows will be worse than death. What she didn’t expect was that help would come from the local clan leader. But would he turn out to be her savior or something else, something much more dangerous.

 

 

Hunter's DutyHunter’s Duty (Hunter’s Moon Book 2)

written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson

Maggie Thrasher is looking for a man, not to love but to kill. Duty to her pride and loyalty to her family demands it.

Joshua Volk has betrayed pride, pack and clan. All he cares about is destroying the old ways and killing anyone, normal or shape-changer, who gets in his way.

Jim Kincade is dedicated to two things: upholding the law and protecting the pride from discovery.

When Jim is called to the scene of a possible murder, the last thing he expects is to discover the alleged killer is a tracker from another pride. Now he’s faced with a woman who is most definitely more than she appears. Complicating matters even more, there’s something about her that calls to him and his leopard is determined to claim her for his own.

Joshua Volk is looking for revenge. Maggie killed one of his own. His vengeance will bring Maggie’s worst nightmares to life. Is the passion between Maggie and Jim enough to defeat Volk’s plans or will Maggie’s determination to fulfill her duty to her pride be the death of them both?

Hunter's HomeHunter’s Home (Hunter’s Moon Book 3)
written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson

They say you can never go home. That’s something CJ Reamer has long believed. So, when her father suddenly appears on her doorstep, demanding she return home to Montana to “do her duty”, she has other plans. Montana hasn’t been home for a long time, almost as long as Benjamin Franklin Reamer quit being her father. Dallas is now her home and it’s where her heart is. The only problem is her father doesn’t like taking “no” for an answer.

When her lover and mate is shot and she learns those responsible come from her birth pride and clan, CJ has no choice but to return to the home she left so long ago. At least she won’t be going alone. Clan alphas Matt and Finn Kincade aren’t about to take any risks where their friend is concerned. Nor is her mate, Rafe Walkinghorse, going to let her go without him.

Going home means digging up painful memories and family secrets. But will it also mean death – or worse – for CJ and her friends?

 

coverWedding Bell Blues
written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson

Weddings always bring out the worst in people. Or at least that’s the way it seems to Jessica Jones as her younger sister’s wedding day approaches. It’s bad enough Jessie has to wear a bridesmaid dress that looks like it was designed by a color blind Harlequin. Then there’s the best man who is all hands and no manners. Now add in a murder and Jessie’s former lover — former because she caught him doing the horizontal tango on their kitchen table with her also-former best friend. It really is almost more than a girl should be expected to handle. . . .

coverforvfaVengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty)
written under the pen name of Sam Schall

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

stardogsStardogs
Dave Freer

Revolution rises!

The Interstellar Empire of Man was built on the enslavement of the gentle Stardogs, companions and Theta-space transporters of the vanished Denaari Dominion. But the Stardogs that humans found can’t go home to breed, and are slowly dying out.

As the ruthless Empire collapses from its rotten core outward, an Imperial barge is trapped on top of a dying Stardog when an attempted hijacking and assassination go horribly wrong. Trying to save its human cargo, the Stardog flees to the last place anyone expected – the long-lost Denaari motherworld.

Crawling from the crash are the Leaguesmen who control the Stardogs’ pilots by fear and force, and plan to assassinate Princess Shari, the criminal Yak gang, who want to kill everyone and take control of a rare Stardog for their own, and an entourage riddled with plots, poisons, and treason. But Shari and her assassin-bodyguard have plans of their own…

Stranded on the Denaari Motherworld, the castaway survivors will have to cooperate to survive. Some will have to die.

And some, if they make it to the Stardogs breeding ground, will have to learn what it means to love.

 

 

witchfindercoverfinalWitchfinder (Magical Empires)
Sarah A. Hoyt

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trickster ebook cover

Trickster Noir (Pixie for Hire)
Cedar Sanderson

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

 

 

 

 

 

 

convent

ConVent (The Vampire Con Series)
Kate Paulk

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00006]War To The Knife (Laredo War Trilogy Book 1)
Peter Grant

Laredo’s defenders were ground down and its people ruthlessly slaughtered when the Bactrians invaded the planet. Overwhelmed, its Army switched to guerrilla warfare and went underground. For three years they’ve fought like demons to resist the occupiers. They’ve bled the enemy, but at fearful cost. The survivors are running out of weapons, supplies, and places to hide.

Then a young officer, Dave Carson, uncovers news that may change everything. An opportunity is coming to smash the foe harder than they’ve ever done before, both on and off the planet. Success may bring the interplanetary community to their aid – but it’ll take everything they’ve got. Win or lose, many of them will die. Failure will mean that Bactria will at last rule unopposed.

That risk won’t stop them. When you’re fighting a war to the knife, in the end you bet on the blade.

 

 

 

 

 

murder world kaijuMurder World: Kaiju Dawn
Jason Cordova

Captain Vincente Huerta and the crew of the Fancy have been hired to retrieve a valuable item from a downed research vessel at the edge of the enemy’s space.

It was going to be an easy payday.

But what Captain Huerta and the men, women and alien under his command didn’t know was that they were being sent to the most dangerous planet in the galaxy.

Something large, ancient and most assuredly evil resides on the planet of Gorgon IV. Something so terrifying that man could barely fathom it with his puny mind. Captain Huerta must use every trick in the book, and possibly write an entirely new one, if he wants to escape Murder World.

 

 

baptism by fireBaptism By Fire (Edge of Faith)
Dave Pascoe

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

fancy freeFancy Free
Pam Uphoff

In the last parts of the Twenty-first century, AI, Artificial Intelligence is commonplace. Highly able computers, and nothing more . . . until some rare and as yet unidentified trigger creates an actual personality.

Artificial Personalities, APs or hals, are illegal. Destroyed upon discovery. Even Beowulf, the AP the government controls, and uses to hunt down emerging hals, isn’t legally recognized, has no right to existence.
So you’d think that when the Special Grid Security Unit started paying extra attention to the area where a certain cooking show operates, Fancy Farmer—the AP who runs the show—would be concerned.

But Fancy has a bigger problem.

She’s been stolen.

 


needyouNeed You Now
Taylor M. Lunsford

The last time Caine Maddox saw Melody Carr he broke her heart. Or she broke his. He was never quite sure. Now she’s moved back to Unknown, Texas and he’s sure of one thing – he’s not going to lose her again.

Mel returned home with a plan to put down roots as the town’s doctor and maybe start a family. The plan definitely doesn’t involve revisiting her past relationship with Caine, the town’s sexy mayor—and her childhood crush. Everything about him stirs up the passion she forced herself to forget but her heart’s been broken too many times to risk history repeating.

Caine’s got his work cut out for him trying to win Mel’s trust back. The town doesn’t want her there and the local gossip blog can’t stay the hell out of his personal life for even a day. When the animosity brewing in town turns to vandalism, Caine makes sure Mel knows he’s not going anywhere. Keeping Mel’s stubborn-as-hell self safe from whoever’s targeting her may be the only way to convince Mel he’s playing for keeps. Getting Mel to trust him again is going to be the hardest fight of Caine’s life, but he’s determined to prove the to her that she needs him by her side.

Friday Book Recommendations

Here are a few reading suggestions for the upcoming weekend.

41ZbHz8yYmL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_April

by Mackey Chandler

(This is the first book in a series that comes highly recommended.)

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.

trickster
Trickster Noir (Pixie for Hire Book 2)

by Cedar Sanderson

(This is the second book in the series that began with Pixie Noir. I have read both books and can’t wait for the third.)

After the battle of Tower Baelfire ended, Lom lay dying. Bella was tasked with not only the job she never wanted, but the one she did. Could she keep Lom alive long enough for him to come to the rescue when their kingdom needed them? And what did Raven, mysterious trickster spirit and honorary uncle to Bella, want with them? If the threat was big enough to have the trickster worried, Bella knew she needed to have Lom at her side. Underhill might look like a soap-bubble kingdom, but Bella and Lom knew there was a gritty underside. Why else would fairyland need a dark man willing to carry a big gun and be the Pixie for Hire?

witchfinderWitchfinder (Magical Empires)

by Sarah A. Hoyt

(I started reading this when Sarah was posting it as she wrote it on her blog. If you like fantasy and the multiverse, then I’d highly recommend this. Sarah is currently working on the next book in the series.)

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

Enjoy!

 

Beginnings

As most of you know, last month I brought out my first “indie” novel. If that wasn’t scary enough, the fact that it was — yet — another genre only added fuel to the fire. Fortunately, I listened to Sarah Hoyt, Kate Paulk and Cedar Sanderson, among others, and actually hit the publish button and took the book live. I say fortunately because it has done better than I expected. The flip side to that is that I now have to hurry up and get the next book in the series finished.

Oh, and did I say that there is now a prequel waiting to be written as well? Thank you very much for that little suggestion, Jason Cordova.

I know the plot arc for this second book in the Honor and Duty series. I know what plot threads are being pulled in from the first book and what new threads need to be woven in. I’ve made my notes and done some of the research. Heck, I’ve even made plot notes for the prequel, just to get to to shut up long enough for me to write Duty from Ashes.

Only the first chapter is refusing to come. No, that isn’t quite right. I have most of the chapter. I just don’t have that opening hook it needs. I know it will come. Vengeance from Ashes did this to me as well. But it’s frustrating. I know what needs to happen. It is dancing there in the corners of my mind, not quite clear enough for me to get it down on paper — yet.

But it will come. I just have to find the right trigger. Sometimes it is writing out the first few pages, or even chapters, by hand. Sometimes it means changing my writing location. Or it could be music, time of day or phase of the moon. Whatever it is, it will come. I just have to find the right trigger and pull it. (oops, did that need a trigger warning?)

So, I’ll keep plugging at it and working on the NRP stuff and, hopefully, in the next day or two my muse will decide to quit being a bitch and start cooperating.

In the meantime, if you haven’t taken a look at Vengeance from Ashes, I’d appreciate it if you would. You can find it at all the major e-book retailers. Oh, don’t forget that it is out under the pen name of Sam Schall.

*     *     *

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall) is the first in the Honor and Duty series.

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back. 

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long. 

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

Reading recommendations

I haven’t done one of these posts in a bit. In fact, it’s been far too long. So I’m going to try to correct the oversight.

kaijuThe first title I’d like to recommend, and the latest one I’ve read (as in I just finished it a few minutes ago) is Kaiju Apocalypse, a novella by Jason Cordova and Eric S. Brown. I’ll admit that this isn’t the sort of title I normally buy. However, Jason’s a friend and an excellent writer. So I bought it and sat down last night to read. The only reason I didn’t finish it in one sitting is because I started it too late and fell asleep. So, over my first cup of coffee this morning, I finished it. This is definitely on my recommend list. I will say this, I wanted more. More of the backstory, more information about the characters and more of their interaction together. In other words, I wanted it to be a novel and that, coming from me, is high praise.  😉

Here’s the blurb:

The oceans rose and from their depths the Kaiju came. Mankind survives in fortified, domed cities, fighting what seems an eternal war with the giant monsters and the smaller creatures they use as foot-soldiers. Now that war is coming to an end as one by one the city states of humanity fall to the Kaiju. Kaiju Apocalypse is the tale of the human race’s desperate, final stand.

pixieThe next title I recommend comes from friend and fellow blogger over at Mad Genius Club, Cedar Sanderson. Pixie Noir is the first book in a series that will continue with Trickster Noir when it comes out next month. Pixie Noir is a wonderful combination of fantasy, noir and there’s a touch of romance thrown in as well. No, not that kind of romance. Sexual tension, yes. Character development that has you wanting the main characters to get together but not at the cost of sacrificing the rest of the plot, much less subverting the plot. This is much more a noir fantasy than anything else and very enjoyable. The characters aren’t your stereotypical modern fantasy characters. Not once did I think the main characters were too dumb to live — something I feel all too often with much of the fantasy out there these days. Like Kaiju Apocalypse, this is a must read recommendation.

Here’s the blurb:

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.” 

witchfinderThe final title I’m recommending this morning is Sarah A. Hoyt’s Witchfinder (Magical Empires). Part historical fantasy, part alternate history, Witchfinder is a fun read. It is also the fist book Sarah has published as a true indie publication. Better, it is the first in a series and she is working on the next book as we speak. You can find the first draft snippets of it on her blog.

Here’s the blurb:

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

Vengeance From Ashes (new)Of course, if you’re looking for a new science fiction novel to read, I’d be thrilled if you would take a look at Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty) (written under the pen name Sam Schall).

Here’s the blurb:

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back. 

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long. 

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

Monday Morning Links

I’m more than a bit under the weather this morning and I do NOT have time for it. I think it’s mainly allergies but right now I want to claw out my eyes, rip out my sinuses and freeze my scratching throat. The result is that I’m not functioning well enough to formulate a coherent post this morning. However, since this is a holiday for those of us in the U.S., I thought I’d post links to some books you might like.

Cedar Sanderson is one of my fellow bloggers at Mad Genius Club. She is also one of the best new voices in fiction that I know of right now.
Pixie Noir

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.”

Another member of the Mad Genius Club is Kate Paulk.


ConVent (The Vampire Con Series)

A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. Whoever picked this team to save the world wasn’t thinking of sending the very best. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good is being staged in science fiction conventions, amid people in costume, misfits and creative geniuses, any convetional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose — literally.

ConVent is proof that Kate Paulk’s brain works in wonderfully mysterious ways. A sarcastic vampire, his werewolf best buddy, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze. The “Save the world” department really messed it up this time.

If you like historical fiction or if you are a fan of the Six Wives of Henry VIII, check out Sarah A. Hoyt’s No Will But His.

Kathryn Howard belongs to a wealthy and powerful family, the same family that Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s great love originated from. From a young age, her ambitious relatives maneuver to make her queen. Brought up in a careless manner, ignorant of the ways of the court, Kathryn falls victim to her kind heart, all the while wishing she could be the wife of Thomas Culpepper.

Dave Freer, another of the Mad Geniuses, is one of my favorite authors. He spins wonderful tales and I have never been disappointed by anything he’s written. If you like satire, urban fantasy and detective stories, check out Bolg, PI: The Vampire Bride.

A humorous, satirical noir detective urban fantasy, set in a small city in flyover country, which has an unusually high population of Trolls, werewolves, fairies and a dwarf.

Private Investigator Bolg, a Pictish gentleman who happens to be vertically challenging, a self-proclaimed dwarf and tattooed so heavily he appears blue, finds himself called on undertake paranormal cases: in this case tracing the Vampire bride’s absconded or kidnapped groom.

The groom should have been a troll by the name of Billy Gruff, the manager and owner of the Ricketty-Racketty Club – a topless bar and nightclub. Bolg finds himself, and his client embroiled in murder, extortion and a Celtic wizard. The latter is supposedly helping him, but wizard’s help is not always what it you think it will be.

Finally, there is the self-promo. You knew I couldn’t close without mentioning my own books.

Nocturnal Origins (Nocturnal Lives)
(Book 1)

Some things can never be forgotten, no matter how hard you try.

Detective Sergeant Mackenzie Santos knows that bitter lesson all too well. The day she died changed her life and her perception of the world forever.It doesn’t matter that everyone, even her doctors, believe a miracle occurred when she awoke in the hospital morgue. Mac knows better. It hadn’t been a miracle, at least not a holy one. As far as she’s concerned, that’s the day the dogs of Hell came for her.

Investigating one of the most horrendous murders in recent Dallas history, Mac also has to break in a new partner and deal with nosy reporters who follow her every move and who publish confidential details of the investigation without a qualm.

Complicating matters even more, Mac learns the truth about her family and herself, a truth that forces her to deal with the monster within, as well as those on the outside.But none of this matters as much as discovering the identity of the murderer before he can kill again.

Nocturnal Serenade (Nocturnal Lives) (Book 2)

In this sequel to Nocturnal Origins, Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

Nocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives) (Book 3)

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow!

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