Category Archives: supernatural

Books Translating into Media Forms

Have you noticed recently a lot of familiar book titles showing up on various streaming services? Movies? Television series? Then I read the last few blogs of Kris Rusch talking about licensing your work. Story content is at a premium in the war for streaming memberships, and she urges authors to look into the lucrative world of licensing.

Think about it. Star Wars has made a fortune on licensing games, dolls, cups, sweatshirts. Oh, you’ve seen all the stuff. Their products are everywhere, and it’s all from a story.

But, you say… I’m not famous. Well, according to Kris, you don’t have to be. Check out her blog and her experience at the Vegas licensing conference.

http://www.kriswrites.com/2019/08/07/business-musings..

However, it didn’t all come together in my mind until I read Tor’s blog on upcoming books adapted for media. (Movies, Netflix, TV, etc.)

Mind blown.

There’s too many to list here, so I’m just going to mention those books I have recommended in my blogs that I’m familiar with. I’m omitting the large quantity of graphic novels slated for production. Also, some went into contact and because of delays, the contracts have expired.

But still, the list is extensive.

First…those science fiction stories that are returning from an already broadcasted series and are in upcoming productions for an additional season.

The Expanse by James Corey.– This is an long series that is very good. So far the production has been outstanding. Coming on Amazon streaming service Dec 13 renewed by Amazon after being dropped by Netflix.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness broadcast– US /BBC April 2019. Second and third season has no date yet but is in production. (See discussion on this below). Well done as a broadcast.

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (See trailer and review in previous blog) Season 1 was February 2018. It’s a gritty Cyberpunk murder mystery where people can be “sleeved” into other bodies or cloned. Far future. It has been renewed for eight seasons by Netflix and is in production to return in 2020.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman–Already available on Netflix, the first two seasons deal with a group of students at a college that teaches magic. They discover an alternate fantasy world through a book and soon are battling a variety of demons and bad guys while dealing with several romantic conflicts. Next in the series due out in 2020.

Man in the High Castle. By Philip K. Dick.–First two series on Netflix. Third season due out Nov 2019. It tells the story of an alternate universe during Hitler’s era where Germany and Japan have divided up the United States. However, there’s a secret film that has our timeline on it where Germany is defeated, and everybody is searching for it to take to the “man in the castle.”.

Outlander by Diana Gilbraldi. –several seasons already. Starz says that the fifth season of the Golden Globe-nominated original series Outlander will premiere on Sunday, February 16 2020. It will be the first time new episodes have aired since the season 4 finale in January. … Season five is currently in production in Scotland.
There are eight books in this romantic time travel series to date. My own Caught in Time has a similar premise of a woman traveling to the past and falling in love… Only my female protagonist is sent back to assassinate the king, but she accidentally falls in love with him because of mistaken identity.

The Umbrella Academy. First season on Netflix. No date yet for second season, but ten episodes confirmed. This is based on a comic book story of a dysfunctional family of superheroes who are now reunited to face a world threat.

The Feed by Nick Clarke Wundo. First season on Amazon Prime Nov 22 2019. Second season to date is neither canceled or confirmed. Based on science fiction thriller where technology is placed in everyone’s brain and people can read other’s minds.

The City and City by China Mieville aired BBC (Britbox) April 2019 but no date for U.S. yet. Science fiction crime thriller takes place in dimensionally overlapped cities.

These are a few of an already broadcasted series that I have mentioned in my blog or viewed.

There are many books or graphic novels that are in contract to be published in the media. Here are only a few I’m familiar with.

Artemis by Andy Weir. Film. 20th Century Fox
Artemis is a 2017 science fiction novel that takes place in the late 2080s and is set in Artemis, the first and so far only city on the Moon. It follows the life of porter and smuggler Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara as she gets caught up in a conspiracy for control of the city. Wild young lady who disrupt the moon community. (in blog)

Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie—to be announced. (In blog) Breq used to be the spaceship Justice of Toren, controlling countless ancillary soldiers, before an accident fragmented her. Now, in a single form, she is returning to the Imperial Radch to confront its ruler, Anaander Mianaai. adapted for Fox tv.

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters. Put pilot for TV. NBC. (In blog)
With an approaching asteroid on a collision course with Earth, the end of the world is just months away. But as civilization frays at the edges, police detective Hank Palace is determined to stay on the job and investigate the crimes everyone ignores. (In blog)

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey is a high fantasy series called Kushiel’s Legacy. At this time, it is unclear if Lionsgate is planning a film franchise or looking to bring the series to a cable channel as a series in the vein of Game of Thrones or Outlander, which all had successful leaps from page to screen. (in blog)

Name of the Wind. By Patrick Rothfuss—optioned by Lionsgate for Film, TV, or possibly gaming. (In blog)
The Kingkiller Chronicle is a fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss, which recounts the story of Kvothe, an adventurer and musician. The story is narrated from the third person, but mostly consists of Kvothe narrating his life to a scribe in the first person.

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin optioned for TV. (In blog)

Lies of Locke Lemora. By Scott Lynch —TV. Tba
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a 2006 fantasy novel by American writer Scott Lynch, the first book of the Gentleman Bastard series. Elite con artists calling themselves the “Gentleman Bastards” rob the rich of the city of Camorr, based on late medieval Venice but on an unnamed world. (In blog)

Fifth Season. By N. K. Jemisin TV. TNT in progress (In blog)
At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this intricate and extraordinary Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein (In blog)

The Peripheral by Gibson—Amazon series
Neuromancer by Gibson. Film looking for screenwriter (In blog) Gibson is the father of the Cyberpunk genre. Hugo award winning novel.

Redshirts and Old Man’s War– Scalzi up for option on Old Man’s War. Netflix (In blog)
An adaptation of the John Scalzi science fiction novel “Old Man’s War.” Released in 2005, the novel tells the tale of a futuristic army, the Colonial Defense Forces. An intergalactic Earth military, the CDF’s soldiers are placed in updated versions of their own bodies and have their DNA enhanced by nanotechnology. At age 75, retired writer John Perry enlists and is given the gift of youth at the cost of military service.

Rivers of London by a Ben Aronvitch TV series (In blog) Also titled Midnight Riot.
This bestselling UK series follows Peter Grant, an ordinary constable turned magician’s apprentice, as he solves crimes across London in a sensational blend of inventive urban fantasy, gripping mystery thriller, and hilarious fantasy caper.

Sand Hugh Howey. TV at syfy channel, tv.
a story about a world covered in dunes in which a select few “sand divers” are able to retrieve lost relics from beneath the worldwide desert brought about by ecological devastation.

Seveneve’s Gaiman. Ron Howard adapting for movie
A colony of survivors living in outer space try to return to Earth thousands of years after it was evacuated.

Shipbreaker Paola Bacigalupi. In production. For film by Cinamablend beginning 2018
Shipbreakers is a thriller that deals with the ecological breakdown of Earth. The Polar caps are melting and New Orleans is under water. (in blog) YA

Spin Robert Charles Wilson syfy mini series now on backburner (In blog)

The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss. TV (in future blog)
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein optioned for TV. Famous classic Hugo winning novel

Time Salvager Leslie Chu for film (In blog) optioned in 2015 tba
Centuries in the future, a burned-out time traveler breaks society’s highest law for love and the chance to restore a toxic Earth.

The Telling (aka The Disposed) Ursula Le Guin. Film (In blog)
The 2019 Sundance Film Festival began on January 24 and runs through February 3, 2019. “The Dispossessed” is part of the Shorts Program at Sundance Film Festival.

The Time Travelers Wife Already a movie, now optioned for TV (In blog)
Problems one faces when your husband is an involuntary time traveler.

The Three-body Problem by Cixin Liu. Six movies… Already finished shooting in 2015, but the release date is still unclear. During China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military program sends signals into space to initiate first contact with aliens. Years later, a physicist uses a virtual reality game to uncover what the aliens actually want from Earth. (in blog)

The Way of Kings Sanderson (In blog) DMG three movie sets.
The Stormlight Archive is set thousands of years after disastrous cyclical wars ravaged the storm-swept planet of Roshar—a time when the Heralds of the Knights Radiant and their ten powerful swords, the Honorblades, have been reduced to legend. Even the ancient Voidbringers, who once swept the planet in invasions called”Desolations,” are now a mystery. The nations of the world squabble amongst themselves, until the threat of a final Desolation known as the Everstorm rears its head at the end of The Way of Kings.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (In blog) Warner Bros film along with co-producer Ellen Degeneress won rights in 2014. Air date to be announced.
Follows a young woman who lives near a corrupted woods where people rely on the powers of a wizard to keep the evil at bay.

Wool Hugh Hugh Howey (In blog) AMC developing TV series.
Tells a post-apocalyptic story that follows a sheriff, his wife, and their larger society forced underground due to toxic air on the surface of the planet.

These are just a few I cherry picked from a large list that I have already talked about in my blog. For a more complete list go to:

(Almost) Every Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Comic Book Adaptation in the Works

 

This blog idea came about when I received a free ARC copy of A Discovery of Witches and then noticed it was a series on Netflix.

Netflix did a good job with the adaptation that spans several episodes.

The story is about a descendent of one of the Salem witches who denies her powerful magical abilities until she is forced to use them to protect herself and acknowledge her legacy. She is a professor at University and when doing research on alchemy in the library there, one of the books she takes off the shelves is a sought after book by several supernatural creatures. A prominent professor, secret vampire, notices and stalks her to gain the book and its secrets. However, a difficult romantic entanglement ensues, and he decides to keep her safe from the clustering werewolves, vampires, witches, and other fey creatures who want the book for their own reasons. Time travel gets involved.

There are three novels in this trilogy and Times Convert, next on my list to read, is the second in the series. I look forward to the Netflix version when it airs.

Just waiting on Christmas

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Call for Beta Readers

IMG_9518I spoke too soon.

What a surprise you say.

The usual pleasant summer found in the Northwest has beamed down hot flames from the sun all week, making the temperature soar to 103 degrees Saturday. At least the nights cool down. Any reading is being done inside. Writing too. In air conditioning. It’s temporary.

I submitted my last chapter of book 8 to my writing group. Now I want to gather a few more Beta readers. These are readers who take a manuscript and read through it checking for continuity and general sense of character behavior and plot action. If they find misspelled words, I hope they mention it. Beta readers are special and often get a mention in the Acknowledgment and a signed final copy. They are people I trust with my special creation. They are the final polish.

So if you’d like to be a Beta reader for my next book, Time’s Equation, I need just a few more. Email me at: shmccartha@gmail.com.

Kepler 452bIn the science news: Many of you are already aware that the Kepler Project is discovering quite a few other planets out there in the universe. Recently, the most Earthlike planet has been discovered. Link:  https://www.nasa.gov/keplerbriefing0723  

The newly discovered Kepler-452b, located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone — the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet — of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030. Finding a possibly compatible planet in which we could live is exciting stuff to an author writing about an Earth type planet such as Alysia. Science fiction becomes reality. Half a King

This week I read Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King and Half a World.

Being royalty isn’t easy when you have a hard cold father, a maimed hand, and dislike violence. Prince Yarvi, the younger prince, was happy to leave court to study for the ministry, the office that advises the king, rather than fight wars. Handling a sword proved awkward with his half a hand. But then his father and older brother are killed, and he is called back to court as the new King of Gettland.

His mother, known as the golden queen, has firm ideas on what to do. Attack their enemies no matter the wishes of the High King who demands peace. When asked how his father and brother died, Yarvi is told that his father went to speak peace with the bordering king Grom-Gil-Gorm and was attacked and killed through treachery. At his father’s funeral Yarvi swears vengeance on his family’s killer. His uncle Odem and his mother encourage him to command an army to attack his enemies. Of course, he must lead them there. Sword raised high. Gulp.

Yarvi sails to Vansterland with his uncle Odem where he finds unexpected treachery from his once supportive uncle. His loyal guard reveals his true colors and, on Odem’s orders, throws Yarvi from a high parapet into the sea to drown. But he survives. Washed up on shore, he is brought before Grom-Gil-Gorm where he claims to be a cook’s boy to hide his true identity from his sworn enemy. From there, he is chained and delivered to a slaver who sells him to row on the downtrodden merchant ship, the Southwind.

Yarvi’s grueling life at the oar and the friendships he makes as he uses his wits to figure an escape teaches him to be a man. But even freedom isn’t pleasant, as he and a few from the ship are hunted by their sadistic captain while he tries to unravel the plots of those who want him dead.

This is an adventure story of royalty sold into slavery and overcoming adversity. A young prince who tries to reclaim his birthright and become a man. A few interesting twists and turns keep it fresh. Abercrombie builds an believable world that offers solid action.Half a World

The sequel, Half a World, follows the story of young girl who calls herself Thorn and aspires to be a king’s warrior in a society where women are supposed to cook, sew and clean house. It follows her struggle to prove herself, but when the sword master makes her fight three opponents at once, she accidentally kills one of her attackers after her practice sword splinters. The sword master claims murder, and she is clapped in jail. When Thorn faces a possible verdict of death by stoning, a fellow trainee, Brand, discloses the real story to now Minister Yarvi who saves her by bundling her onto his departing ship, the Southwind.

Once again several characters from the first book join an older and more mature Yarvi as they sail half a world away in search of allies for an upcoming war. The High King plots to take over the world and his cunning Minister, Mother Wexen, has her own plans within those plots. Minister Yarvi must untangle the politics and uncover the truth as he ventures from land to land with his rough crew, searching for allies.

As they sail, Yarvi has Thorn trained to become a killing machine and his secret weapon. There is also a nice, but rocky, romance between Brand and Thorn.

Both books are worth reading and offer old fashioned adventure with clever Yarvi and the rough but likable crew of the Southwind as they sail into exotic ports and discover surprising allies.

Recently Joe Abercrombie has come out with the next adventure called Half a War.

Enjoy your read now that the weather is cooling off.

Aaaahhh.

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Between Heaven and Hell

If you’re not writing or reading about dragons, then the next best thing is angels.

Or some say vampires, zombies and assorted ghouls. Paranormal romance seems to be the hot in thing.

Last week I was talking about Urban Fantasy and mentioned Jim Butcher’s series. I thought I was done with the genre, but as I was casting about for what to read this week, I stumbled across an old favorite who has given a new twist to his stories and falls into the Urban Fantasy genre and whalaa

Has an angel as his main character.

Meet Doloriel, advocate angel of the Third House, otherwise known as Bobby Dollar, and author Tad Williams of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series that was a favorite of mine back in the day. Tad Williams made a name for himself in the fantasy genre with this riveting and satisfying  chunk of fantasy. I recommend The Dragonbone Chair, The Stone of Farewell and parts 1 & 2 of The Green Angel Tower novels. These are not skinny little handbooks, but large tomes full of action and interesting characters.

Now he has come out with a totally different style and story in the form of The Dirty Streets of Heaven. The story is told in the first person, as if you and Bobby Dollar, advocate angel, are in an intimate conversation while all hell breaks loose around you…literally.

The story has a very Jim Butcher taste to it and if you like his Harry Desden series, you’ll like this too.

Angel Bobby Dollar has a past as an avenging angel, which turns out to be a fierce and dangerous job. So he knows survival techniques, but has opted for a quieter vocation as angel advocate in a San Francisco area town called St. Jude. When anyone dies, Bobby goes to bat for their good side, trying to get him/her to heaven against someone from the lower region who reviews his/her life in hopes of gaining a new resident in Hell. Earth is a battle ground between heaven and hell.

Life is supposed to be quieter and healthier as an advocate, but  when a valuable article is stolen from a Lord of Darkness, fingers point to Doloriel as the culprit. Soon Bobby has a monstrous beast that is an undead avenger after him, a high level seductress and she-demon called the Countess of Cold Hands who tempts him, and a new suspect angel Haraheliel whom they call Clarence in homage to “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Events go from bad to worse as Angel Bobby goes on the lam to figure out what’s been stolen and what’s really going on. Then souls go missing at judgement day. Both Heaven and Hell are in an uproar and Bobby is right in the middle of it all.

Wild times guaranteed.

Now for those of you that ask, “What happened to the scifi gal with cutting edge science facts?”

Here’s a tidbit that titillated me. http://inhabitat.com/transgenic-spider-goat-hybrids-produce-tougher-than-steel-silk/

David Pogue hosts several shows on the television series of Nova that are very well done. In “Making things stronger,” he mentions transgenic goats whose milk contains the gene components of spider silk. Two genes from the silk spider are inserted into a goat’s embryo. Their milk can be processed so that it produces spider silk. Spider silk, it turns out, is stronger than steel or kevlar, and is one of the strongest substances in nature.

Think of the possibilities!

There’s still a ways to go with it, but we are breaking new ground in genetics every day…see my blog “Slice and Dice” back in November 2, 2011.

Now if they could only make up a “Marilyn Monroe Cocktail” for me. With my luck, I’d turn dumb and suicidal.

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Complicated Magic

Hocus Pocus…Abracadabra…Open Sesame. It used to be easy. Discover a  word of power, hold a wand and be a wizard.

Shout the word and magic spews forth.

What happened to the good old days?

Not so easy in the now popular Urban Fantasy genre. Most modern day legerdemain requires a graduate degree in arcane arts.

Harry Potter, for example. A story where gifted students  study magic and learn all the rules, regulations, potions and spells in order to become proper wizards. And there are a multitude of rules, regulations and spells to learn at Hogwarts.

One of my favorite books is Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (see earlier blog) The main character, Kvothe,  struggles with poverty and sacrifices everything he has, so he can attend a college of magic where different types of incantations and spells are taught. There, the strongest magic is naming magic, particularly calling up the name of the wind. At the University, various talented students pay to study in order to find the magic they are best suited for.

Another of my favorites is the Mistborn series  by Brandon Sanderson. It employs a highly complicated system of alloy conjuring. Silver, gold, lead, etc.,  each one is taken into the body in pellet form and “burned” to produce various supernatural abilities; such as flying through the air, stopping time, and becoming invisible. Different characters wield different metals and certain gifted people can combine more than one alloy to produce unique combinations of abilities.

You have to read the complicated chart at the back of the book to understand it properly.

Now, Devon Monk’s delightful book Magic to the Bone contains a highly developed conjuring system where the use of magic results in painful side effects. As she writes, “Every act has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user.” Her main character, Allie, also attended a  university of magic in her past with courses on Grounding, Siphoning, Dispersement and various other spells before she becomes a Hound, who scrounges a living, providing black market revenge spells and taking on various odd jobs of enchantment around town. Within the first few pages, she becomes desperately ill because she forgot to set a Disbursement spell when handling a young boy dying from an incantation’s Offload. You learn that she has gaps in her memory from previous magical dabblings. 

Instead of being painful, I wonder why doesn’t magic doesn’t make the user richer and happier? You would think having supernatural abilities would give the local sorceress or wizard an edge, especially in a big city. And that would have good results. Alas for poor Allie, it brings pain and problems and memory gaps. Now, I’m thinking that might not be too bad, depending on the memory that is gapping. I, myself,  have a few memories from my teenage years that…but I digress.

Along similar lines, Jim Butcher’s well known urban fantasy, the Dresden series, also portrays a down-on-his-luck mage who takes on odd jobs involving wizardry along with his detecting. He’s a wizard for hire in big city Chicago. In his case, the magic also manifests through a wide variety of exotic creatures that he confronts. Fighting vampires, werewolves, the Fey, wizards, trolls, and others, often entails vicious battle scars and Harry Dresden carries many. His magic also exhausts him, but as in many cases dealing with the occult, he grows stronger as he gathers more powerful magic to himself and learns how to use it better. It’s called learning on the job. Of course, he takes on more and more difficult assignments and attracts more and more powerful enemies, so that he gets into some serious situations and eventually gets killed. Still, that doesn’t stop Harry and the latest novel, Ghost Story, is about how he goes about solving his own murder while a ghost.

Intriguing.

In every story, however, if you are going to do magic, you have to be born with a specific set of genes. You have to be born with wizard or sorceress potential. The common man can go to Kvothe’s college, or Hogwarts all he wants and all he’ll get is understanding, not ability. But, in most cases, as the protagonist uses his magic, he gets stronger and more powerful. Many times this results in deadlier enemies on his doorstep. The deeper the main character wades into solving the mystery, the blacker the magic he must overcome.

And, in the case of Urban Fantasy, it offers the magic wielder the opportunity to stalk down dark, creepy, alleys and meet scary, handsome/beautiful, vampire type characters that want to drink his/her blood.

Makes me want to pawnshop my wand.

Whatever happened to Cinderella’s godmother who used point and click magic?  Bippity boppity boo. A pumpkin turns into a coach and you ride away.

We live in a “No pain, no gain” world nowadays. Give me the good old days…

Shazaam.

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Bending Genre

It used to be that if you wanted to be accepted by big house publishers, you had to fit into a certain genre category: Mystery, science fiction, romance, main stream. If not, you were rejected. Book stores wanted to know where to put the book on their shelves.

With the advent of ebooks and self publishing, this is no longer the case and while cross-genre books have existed for ages, now cross genre books no longer have to fit onto a specific shelf. I predict an upsurge in cross genre novels.

So, I went to Powell’s Bookstore thinking that I was going to see Richard Morgan of Altered Carbon fame, and instead, stumbled into a mystery group that was reading speculative mysteries. Morgan was just mentioned on the calendar because he was their author that month.

Serendipity. And I went with it.

Ever since reading the Celestine Prophecy, I have become more open to the unexpected happening. There’s a novel with no particular genre, that was originally rejected, but became popular through self-publishing until it was bought by a traditional publisher.

They handed me a Jon Courtney Grimwood novel called Pashazade and I gave it the old squint. However, last week I was having trouble finding something that looked interesting, so I read it.

Wha la! I liked it.

It was a genre bender in that the protagonist, sometimes called ZeeZee and sometimes known as Ashraf al Mansur, is accused of the brutal murder of his aunt. However, events take place in an alternative universe where the Ottoman Empire never collapsed and the United States brokered a deal that ended World War I. The setting is essentially Alexandria, Egypt, which is called El Iskandryia and forms an exotic Mid-Eastern backdrop to the novel.

ZeeZee, as an American street tough, working for a Chinese mafia out of Seattle, is sent to prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Or doesn’t think he committed because he isn’t quite sure. He isn’t quite sure of anything about himself as we learn that he may not be who he thinks he is. He is sprung from prison by unknowns, given an unlimited credit card and new, or possibly old identity, by his supposed aunt stating that he is the son of the Emir of Tunis and arrives in El Iskandryia at her home just in time for her murder. Naturally he is suspect number one by lead detective and fun character Felix Abrinsky.

ZeeZee, now Raf, has to do some fast dancing.

However, Raf is more than he seems, if he is what he seems at all, and he has augmentations that kick in to save his life when things get dangerous, never mind the fox he keeps hallucinating about that gives advice. Unfortunately, the high tech corporation that imbedded these goodies into his head is out of business, and things are deteriorating. The warranty is up. Reality is becoming confused.

So, to avoid prison in El Isk, and uncover his true identity, Raf has to solve the murder of his aunt, and a few others that crop up along the way. Also involved, is the young half sister who the aunt kept in her compound and who has never left the premises, and the young girl of a wealthy industrialist who he wants Raf to marry in order to acquire some social  prestige along with his fortune. Raf, his supposed half-sister, and the renegade daughter Zara  bond together to solve the mystery, with occasional shouting matches and hand waving.

You can see the confusion. The reading group did, and there were complaints.

I loved the tangle and the mystery. If you like Kristine Katherine Rusch’s speculative mysteries in her “Retrieval Artist’ series, then this might be a surprising, unexpected find for you to read.

If you want ends all tied neatly up, maybe not.

I’m intrigued enough to read the next in the series called, Effendi. The third in this trilogy is Falaheen .   I am tasked to read it and report back, hopefully with some answers to dangling threads of the story.

Genre bending is also occurring in speculative romance style novels. The series that comes to mind there is the Liadon Universe series that I have already mention several times. The Hunger Games is a bit of science fiction combined with romance also. It doesn’t fit into a well defined category.

Someone made the statement that science fiction is about things and romance and mystery novels are about people. Sure, we like the interesting technology. How does the ship go? What does the A1 do? How can you live on an alien world? Science fiction has always appealed to the science minded reader. But I don’t think you can have a good novel that doesn’t have character development and interaction with other characters, even if they are alien. As one editor said to me, “You need a person in a place with a problem–one the reader can understand.” If your alien is too alien, then the reader can’t relate.

Now, the paranormal, supernatural has been wildly popular over the last few years. Urban fantasy al la Jim Butcher. The detective who is a supernatural crime fighter. Very popular and his series is fun to read. Fantasy mystery.

I think more and more we are going to see the mixing of genres that will create a richer reader experience and open up new exciting areas of reading. The book no longer has to sit on a specific shelf and the traditional publisher is no longer traditional.

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Five for the Future

Finding books that will be exciting to read: an interesting endeavor.

I still combed through my favorite authors, but went out on a limb for a few. At the moment I am casting my net towards upcoming novels, or new releases. Later on, I’ll do a blog of old time favorites that are must reads. Sometimes, you miss a few.

Meanwhile I am fervently working on Cosmic Entanglement that I promised in December, but I have not yet published I have the proof and several of my beta readers are avidly going through it with red pen in hand. Soon, soon. No longer do I criticize the big publishers for their long turnaround time. Well, not as much anyway.

Five for fantastic future fun

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline   This is a story that takes place in a virtual reality that has the flavor of the 1980s. The real world is in an upheaval, but put on a headset and enter the world of this virtual reality and life gets interesting…and dangerous. Wade Watts is a trailer park kid that escapes his awful real world into the virtual world. A dead billionaire leaves his inheritance in the virtual world for anyone smart enough to solve his puzzles. In this world, there are hidden keys, that gamers are looking for that offer a fortune if they are found. Some of the people playing the game are serious about winning, deadly serious. This book was in the Amazon Best of Year 2011 and looked interesting.

2. Distrust that Particular Flavor by William Gibson. Geesh, where did he get his title? If it wasn’t Gibson, I wouldn’t give this a second look. But it is Gibson and for that reason, it is on my list.

3. City of the Dragons by Robin Hobb I came late to Robin Hobb, but when I showed up, I went hard. I wasn’t expecting to like her, so I was surprised. Start with the Assassin series, try the Fool’s trilogy and then mosey over to the dragon section. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest  So much hype about this book, that I just have to investigate it. Steampunk has been very popular the last few years, and this was one of the books that started the craze.

5. Voyage in the Night  by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. By now, you know that I like these two and their Liadon Universe stories. This is the next after Fledgling, Saltation, and Mouse and Dragon.   Sharon and Steve were some of the first to self publish and use the internet to get their books out there. They published e-books and kept on going after their traditional publishing house shut down. They built a fan base through the internet and e-books, and then, Baen books picked them up. Now they have a foot in both places–both self publishing and trad publishing. Go guys.

So, I began my list from last week and read Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. My reaction is that it’s one of his best. Can you imagine waking up and being a ghost and being manipulated into solving your own murder? How Butcher gets around the problem of Harry not being able to hold on to anything, much less be able to speak or communicate is interesting. For once, Harry isn’t in constant pain, but the action is just as wild, the difficulties, even more difficult than ever before. The reader meets all the old characters like old friends (or enemies). There are a few places that bog down with explanations on how a particular magic works, or the history of a particular magical being, but the reader often finds the information interesting. We even meet Uriel, an archangel. I recommend it for any Butcher fans, or fans of fantastical beings in literature.

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Filed under Cyberpunk, dragons, fantasy, magic, Naamah, science fiction, science fiction series, Steampunk, supernatural, the fae

Making a List for 2012

A new year (sound of hands rubbing together) Time to make a list for 2012. (eager anticipation)

I would like to think that I am adventurous, knowledgeable reader, one who pushes the boundaries and tries new things. Alas…it’s not true. I find that when I’m looking for a new book to read, I run and huddle next to a favorite author, unless the cover is awesome and the subject matter intriguing. Even then, it’s a chancy thing.

Makes it hard for us new authors.

So, when I looked at what I wanted to read for this new year, the shock was that it was books from authors that I knew and loved. Many of them wrote a series…some have written several series. And that is my goal at the moment. To write a compelling series. I call it the Alysian Universe and it follows a timeline of events. Check them out.

But I digress…

First on the list for 2012 (fanfare) is Ashes of Candesce by  Karl Schroeder. Okaaay. This is a fairly new author that I have recently discovered and the story is unique. This book is five in the series: Sun of Suns, Pirate Sun, Queen of Cadesce, the Sunless Countries and now Ashes of Candesce. This universe exists inside a giant weightless bubble. The cities float and all is in darkness unless a sun is lit, which makes a huge difference to the existing life. Several sun systems float about and a young boy’s parents have discovered the secret to creating a new sun. Politics and intrigue ensue. This is innovative world building at its best that uses interesting science while maintaining the fun of space pirates, treasure hunts and an unusual love story. I enjoyed how Karl dealt with weightlessness.

2. Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. The is the latest book in the Mistborn series, which has gotten a lot of positive feedback. The Alloy of Law, jumps a few generations, but takes place in the same world as Mistborn. Add in some steampunk, the laws using the various alloys, and an interesting adventure and I’m in. Been meaning to pick this one up for a while now.

3. Intruder #13 in the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh. Hey, it’s by Cherryh, local fellow author. Everything she writes, I love. I just finished Betrayer and enjoyed that, although it did feel a bit like the formula is starting to be repetitive. I am curious as to what happens next in this world.

4. Naamah’s Blessing by Jacqueline Carey. Carey’s series is more chick lit with a sharp edge. Still, I find myself caught up in the action, the characters and the blatant sex. Carey came on the writing scene with Kushiel’s Dart and that series. The main character was friend of the queen and a masochistic spy and savior. Some of the sex scenes got rough. I came back for more, however, and finished the series. Naamah is a god of love, and not as rough as the god Kushiel. There is still royal intrigue, great adventure and passionate characters. The summary looked intriguing.


5.Ghost Story by Jim Butcher. I included this, even though it isn’t science fiction because…well, they killed Dresden off in the last book and I thought that was that–end of series. Now, this title is about a ghost and I am intrigued at how Dresden is going to survive and work his magic.

That’s five that I have to start with. I will add five more next week. Let me know what you like. I am particularly looking for Indie books that are not an endorsement by the author, but by a reader that was pleasantly surprised by a good story and wants to mention it.

Keep those resolutions. January isn’t even over.

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Filed under alloy magic, erotic fantasy, hard science, karl schorender, magic, Naamah, science fiction, science fiction series, supernatural