Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Something new in urban fantasy ... Heartblaze 4I lo

I love urban fantasy and it's getting harder and harder to find something that spins the tropes in a new way. Something like Brotherhood of the Wheel doesn't come along every day. This book, though, the first in a new series, is something different in a good way. The author blends an authentic depiction of Viking  civilization with a dark Gothic dream of a supernatural world and the result is fantastastic. Yes, there are werewolves but so much more. (And that "more" includes a heroine is strong and tough and a villain who is as memorable as she is original.) Check it out here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

It's been a while since I bought a poster. (Yes, back in the day I had that Picasso Don Quixote poster that everyone had, along with Ansel Adams' Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico.) But I saw this one today and thought about a space I could put it. You can buy it here.

Freebies...urban fantasy box set

I love boxed sets. They're a cheap (often free) way to sample new authors in whatever genre I'm currently interested in reading. And I always love Urban Fantasy. I've read Christine Pope's hosen, from her Djinn series, and I'm a fan of Pippa DaCosta, so I'm looking forward to reading Hidden Blade, as well as Stacy Clafin's Lost Wolf. All the selections in this set are full-length novels, and the myths seem to span everything from Norse to Egyptian gods and everything in between. (I'm a sucker for Egyptian mythology.) You can get this boxed set free right now.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Judging a book by its cover-- Oscar de Murial’s A Fever of the Blood

Jacket design by Derek Thornton/Faceout Studio
Imagery: Arcangel and Shutterstock
Pegasus Books

A Fever of the Blood is the second book in the historical Frey & McGray crime series. Set in Edinburgh in 1889, the novel blends mystery, horror, and history in a story about two mismatched detectives. The original cover, which can be seen on a version published under Penguin’s Michael Joseph imprint, had a very different feel and has the retro feel of a steampunk-themed Tarot card deck.

Faceout Studio designer Derek Thornton went for a very different feel for his wonderfully tactile cover.

“This cover was deeply inspired by scenes and elements in the story. When I started designing we decided we wanted this cover to be dramatic, atmospheric and elegant. Even though this cover seems to be made of one dramatic image, it’s actually a composite of multiple images: a handmade snow texture, an image of highlands, the circle art that interacts with the figure, and the hooded figure of course. The final book was finished with a rounded emboss on the type, and pearlescent shimmering stock creating a beautiful final printed package.”

Faceout Studio has designed numerous covers across genres, producing striking jackets for everything from cookbooks to lit fic as well as genre covers including the 50th anniversary edition of Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, Sebastian Fitzek’s The Nightwalker, Gard Ven’s Hell is Open, Matt Goldman’s Gone to Dust, Claudia Gray’s Defy the Stars, Adam Mitzner’s Dead Certain, and Luca Veste’s Dead Gone.
Outside of design Derek loves spending time with his wife and three kids, playing sub-genres of metal on his seven-string guitar, and dreaming of future tattoo endeavors.

DISARM...a gun sense anthology

I wrote an essay for this charity anthology, which was originally called Disarm, a gun control anthology. I am not sure why the publishers changed that one word, but either way--this collection of fiction and non-fiction and poetry is all about the gun problem we have in the United States. Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will go to Everytown for Gun Safety. You can purchase the ebook now, the paperback version will be available early in May.

I don't know what it's going to take to change the gun culture in this country, especially with a president who is in the pocket of the NRA, but I hope the pieces in this book will help change the conversation.

April's Almost Over!

"April is the cruellest month." T. S. Eliot begins his epic poem "The Waste Land" with those words and if you know nothing else of Eliot, you have probably heard those lines. For me, April really is the worst month of the year. It begins with April Fool's Day, continues with tax day, and in general, it's kind of a meh month. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is a month filled with more rain than sunshine and the temperatures can range from mid-40s to a raw high 20s at night. By April 30th, I am weary of winter. When I woke up to yet another dreary day today, I found myself wondering if anything exceptional had ever happened on April 30th. 

Few dates end up being memorable because something good happened that day. (The only exception that readily comes to mind is July 20, 1969, the date of the first moon landing.) But if you check out sites like The People History (sic.), you can find out that almost any day offers a catalogue of catastrophe. For instance, on various April ths, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, the first oil from the Deepwater Horizon hit the shore, Iran nationalized their oil fields, Nixon's cronies resigned in the wake of Watergate, tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan, there was a nail bomb attack in London, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, and 100 people died after a ferry sank in India. Aieeeee.

And if you look for books that have "April" in the title, the first one that comes up is April Morning by Howard Fast, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a Revolutionary War battle.
Even when I read this book as a kid, I knew someone I cared about was going to die. And sure enough...

But then there's The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. It's literary women's fiction, a genre I don't read all that often, but probably should. It's a wonderful character study of four women whose lives are changed by a vacation in an Italian castle. I skipped the movie when it came out because I thought it was going to be another gorgeous but ponderous Merchant/Ivory production, but now that I've read the book, I'll have to hunt it down on Netflix. And next April,  I may have to take a vacation in Italy myself.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Reading road trip...Kansas

Kentucky was once known as "the dark and bloody ground" but to my mind, it's Kansas that deserves that appelation. We tend to think of Kansas as the birthplace of Dorothy Gale and the starting point of the Wizard of Oz, but it is equally the place where, 1959, a family named Clutter was murdered by Richard Hickock and Perry Smith. A chronicle of that crime became famous as the first "non-fiction novel" and In Cold Blood catapulted writer Truman Capote to literary stardom.

Kansas is also the setting of Ann Rule's true-crime best seller, Bitter Harvest. Like so many of Rule's books, this one revolves around a seemingly perfect woman (a doctor with her own medical practice, a physician husband, three loving children) who isn't what she seems to be.

Sara Paretsky set her stand-alone novel, Bleeding Kansas, in the state where she was born, and in her introduction and "background" to the book, she talks about what her Kansas childhood meant.