Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Friday, July 22, 2016

New Orleans, Prohibition, and a mystical speakeasy. I'm there!

I've only visited New Orleans once and it was before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. But it really is one of those places that isn't like any other. I'm a sucker for stories set in the big easy, and this one, V.R. McCoy's The Merchant, looks like it's right up my alley. The author cites Walter Mosley, James Patterson, Stephen King, and Tom Clancy as his inspirations, and just reading the blurbs of the other two books he's published, I believe his work has "commercial" encoded in its bookly DNA.

This is how The Merchant begins:  It was the year 1187 after his death. It had been raining fire for most of the night ..."  I don't know about you, but there's no way I'm going to stop reading after that. Kindle "look inside" tool--you just made a sale!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Oldest Sense: Vetiver Quinn #2, a preview

Last year, at the urging of a friend of  mine who is a best-selling novelist, I dipped my toes in the "paranormal romance" genre. I didn't want to use one of the typical paranormal creatures--honestly, I'll be fine if I never see another shifter story--and I wanted my heroine to have the power, not just be "the girl" who gets dragged along on the adventure. (And I did want there to be an adventure. Straight-out romances don't really work for me.) I started thinking about the powers my heroine might have and I thought of Anton Strout's great books about Simon Canderous and Rachel Caine's "Weather Warden" series. They aren't cookie-cutter books and I didn't want mine to be a cookie-cutter story either.

I was writing an aromatherapy book for a client at the time and I started thinking about what it would be like if someone could "see" things in a person's olfactory aura. I know that sounds weird, but there are all those studies about memory being linked to scent and I decided to try. The result was a woman I called Vetiver Quinn, an aromatherapist who can read people that way. And then I came up with a story that involved a government agent named Peter Eliades who needs her help foiling a terrorist incident.  And then I found a group of pictures of the couple on the left and a couple of covers came together. The first book was The Fourth Sense (smell being the fourth sense in the sequence of five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste). 

The sequel is called The Oldest Sense. (Smell is the first sense we develop while hearing is said to be the lasst sense to leave us as we're dying.)  The storyline for the new book is a straight up mystery, and it's been fun to write. These books are just novelettes, and the idea is to eventually put them together in a boxed set.  Yes, I know, I really need to finish that novel. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying writing the shorter stuff.  Here's the prologue of The Oldest Sense written under the name Delia Fontana.

The Oldest Sense

“I want it to smell like an NFL locker room at half-time during the Super Bowl when the other team is winning,” my client said.
Yikes, I thought, but what I said was, “Okay. Man tang and musk. Notes of camphor and mentholatum.”
“And leather,” she added. “Sweaty socks and leather.”
“Leather?” I asked, because I wasn’t following her. “I don’t think they really make footballs out of pig skin any more.”
She gave me a pitying look. “The players are wearing underwear.”
Of course, I thought. The players’ leather underwear.
“And a hint of chlorine.”
“From the showers?”
Again I got the look, this time tinged with a bit of impatience. “The smell of fresh spunk,” she said. “It smells like chlorine.”

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Trilogy is Complete!

Well, almost.  I published Bride of the Midnight King a year ago August, and the sequel, Daughter of the Midnight King in January. Now I'm rounding out the story with The Midnight Queen, which is about Joie, princess of Eindar and the first natural-born vampire in the land. I'm having a lot of fun mashing up fairy tales with my own kind of vampires, but I think Midnight Queen will be the last story in the series. I snagged this cover during the big June sale over at The Book Cover Designers.  It's by Magic Covers. The Midnight Queen will be out in September, just in time to celebrate my birthday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A modern-day Pinocchio?

I read the blurb for Ricardo Henriquez' debut dark fantasy/horror novel The Catcher's Trap over at Dread Central and it feels to me like a dark fairy tale along the lines of Pinocchio. It comes out in November. I'll be waiting.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Tale of Two Covers

I love free books. And while I'm not what my best friend calls a "greedy grabber" (one of those people who scoops up freebies and never actually reads them), I have been known to actually fill my Kindle to capacity with free and bargain books.  and I have a lot of opportunities to do that because I'm subscribed to a couple of services that email me every morning with tempting books in every possible category. Today, on Freebooksy, Meg Xumei X's book Empress of Mysth caught my eye. It looked like something a little different in the paranormal romance genre, and I'm always looking for something different. (Killer angels!!)

The cover to the left is the one in the ad, and it caught my eye because it looks like an old school Tanith Lee cover. (I still miss Tanith Lee!)  It snagged my attention and then I read the blurb and clicked over to Amazon to claim my free book. Because ... free!  But also because I've read some of X's other books, including The Siren. I like her books. They always have high stakes (like the survival of the human race.) And they don't have cookie cutter characters. So, very much looking forward to reading this book. But when I clicked over, the cover below was the one on offer. And I tell you right now, if I'd seen that shirtless angel photoshop  cover, my eyes would have glided right past it.

I know there's been a lot of talk about "shirtless covers" and I've mostly kept out of it, but here's a real A/B test. To me, the book with the woman on the cover looks more interesting than the book with the shirtless angel. I'm not a prude, not at all. But the book above tells me the book is about a woman who is DOING SOMETHING. The shirtless angel cover tells me that the most important thing is the relationship with the shirtless angel. (Yes, I know it's a fantasy romance, but work with me here.)

Maybe if the guy's wings hadn't been off-center. (Because of the way his torso is turned, the wing on his left shoulder should have been turned as well and it isn't. The model has just been superimposed on the wings and it doesn't look great. In fact, it looks like a bazillion other covers you see in the Kindle book section.

I'm still looking forward to reading the book (which is #1 in one of his categories in the Free Book section right now), but I really wish the author had stuck with the original cover.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Steampunk Poe!

The annual Bellingham Steampunk Festival is coming up and as always, there are author appearances. This year one of the authors who'll be there is Lindsay Shopfer. I don't know his work, but when I Googled around, I found THIS collection, Merely This, which looks like all kinds of fun. (They had me at "clockwork raven.") I look forward to reading his work.

I like the playful thing the book designer did with Edgar Allan Poe's name. I also like the play of purple against the black and white. Not crazy about the way the title and subtitle are laid in. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Fury Rising by Yasmine Galenorn...a review

Fury Rising (Fury Unbound Book 1)Fury Rising by Yasmine Galenorn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kaeleen Donovan—her friends call her Kae—is a Theosian, a minor goddess created when her pregnant mother wandered into a patch of wild magic that altered her DNA. Bound to the goddess Hecate, and able to roam the Crossroads where all worlds meet, Kae has a mission to retrieve a stolen artifact that in the wrong hands, could mean TEOTWAWKI. That’s the setup for author Yasmine Galenorn’s latest book and it’s a romp through a Seattle altered by a cataclysmic magic storm unleashed by Gaia before the story opens.
The Portland of GRIMM has nothing on Galenorn’s Seattle, which is inhabited by creatures of both shadow and light, beings who can shift into hawks and work magic, spirit guides, and all manner of creatures that have come from the World Tree and through the various portals ripped in the fabric of space time.
Kae is a typical kickass urban fantasy heroine with her sword and dagger and whip, but though she walks “in flame and ash on a field of bones,” she is also recognizably human and profoundly grateful that she wasn’t bound to one of the death gods of Santeria instead of Hecate, Goddess of the crossroads and of dark magic. And her world includes a day-job (running a cleaning company), which grounds the fantastical in the mundane.
The author has done a lot of world building, which is a treat and as a special gift to her readers, she’s also added the playlist she used for the book, which includes everything from Android Lust to Tingstad & Rumbel. This is the first in a series, and it’ll be fun to see what’s next for Kae, who is known as “Fury” when she’s on the nightshift.

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