Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Reading Road Trip is coming!

Beginning in April, I'll be taking a reading road trip all around the country. From the Redwood forests (Rutherford G. Montgomery's book Kildee House) to the Gulfstream waters (Thomas McGuane's Key West novel Ninety-Two in the Shade), I'll be taking a look at local lit from all fifty states plus D.C., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. I'll be covering a couple of books from some states and not all of the books I'll be reading are fiction. The route will be eccentric (I'm not going alphabetically) but I promise the trip will be fun.

Monday, March 27, 2017

there's an intriguing idea here

In the wake of the presidential election, I've been reading a lot more political-themed fiction and non-ficiton. This book seems to be a fusion of the two and the premise is provocative. The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041 sets out a scenario for a different kind of future. I'd really like to believe there is a civilized future out there. Here's the blurb and a testimonial:

Brexit, Trump, Le Pen: Where Are We Heading?

If you’re a contrarian, or simply wish to imagine a radically different future, The Last Bastion of Civilization will challenge your current world-view.
Written as a series of letters and short essays, each of the 18 chapters attacks a present-day assumption with a counter-punch argument of its own.
Sometimes controversial, always challenging, it’s a future to consider given today’s world affairs.

“Blencowe’s writing is fast-paced and easily readable. The structure of the book is unusual, in that it's not a novel, though not quite non-fiction. I can best categorize it as fictional journalism, or perhaps an imaginary opinion piece. He expresses himself clearly and his intentions and message are never in doubt.”  —Andrew Henry

Boook suggestions

I love book lists. And I especially love book lists that hav a theme. Now that everyone from the Seattle Seahawks to Emma Watson (and Emma Stone) to Cory Booker are sponsoring book clubs, there's never a lack of suggestions for my next read. Today this list "20 Books to Take You Around the World" popped up on The Modern Mrs. Darcy blog.  Since I love travel as much as I love reading, it felt like a Monday morning Christmas present. (And bonus points for Mrs. Darcy, one of the recommended books was NOT Eat, Pray, Love, which continues to irritate me.)

I was delighted to see one of my old favorites, John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America on the list. It's a lovely book, and intriguing to compare the America of Steinbeck's time to today's nation. It's an eclectic list that includes Tana French's Into the Woods, Anthony Doerr's Four Seasons in Rome, and All the Light We Cannot See.  Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow piqued my interest the most but I marked down several for my TBR pile.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

something for the TBR pile

A friend and I were lamenting the overload of merely mediocre paranormal and urban fantasy novels out there and wondering what to read next. I decided to go looking for a list and this book popped up on several of them.

I knew Simon Green's name but hadn't read anything of his. Looks like he's got a couple of urban fantasy series; but this one caught my eye.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Retold--free on kindle this weekend

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. I cannot wait to see the movie when it opens this weekend. The Summer Garden is my version of the fairy tale, a novelette that's free on Amazon through the weekend.

Historical Fiction

This sounds like a big, juicy read. It comes highly recommended by the Libray Journal. Here's the blurb:

The Books of Rachel is a fictional microcosm of 500 years of Jewish history. Since the 15th century, in the Cuheno family, the first daughter born to the family is given the name Rachel and a heritage of faith and courage as precious as the family diamond. A saga sweeping from the Spanish Inquisition to the birth of a Jewish homeland.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Free crime and mystery fiction

Instafreebie downloads to feed your ereader. (Because when it comes to free books, can you ever have enough?) Download here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Interview with G. Wells Taylor

G. WELLS TAYLOR was born in Oakville, Ontario, Canada in 1962, but spent most of his early life north of there in Owen Sound where he went on to study Design Arts at a local college. He later traveled to North Bay, Ontario to complete Canadore College’s Journalism program before receiving a degree in English from Nipissing University. Taylor worked as a freelance writer for small market newspapers and later wrote, designed and edited for several Canadian niche magazines.
He joined the digital publishing revolution early with an eBook version of his first novel When Graveyards Yawn that has been available online since 2000. Taylor published and edited the Wildclown Chronicle e-zine from 2001-2003 that showcased his novels, book trailer animations and illustrations, short story writing and book reviews alongside titles from other up-and-coming horror, fantasy and science fiction writers.

Still based in Canada, Taylor continues with his publishing plans that include additions to the Wildclown Mysteries and sequels to the popular Variant Effect series.

1.      You’re a horror writer. What scares you?
The knowledge that civilization is only a thin veneer.

2.      Who were the writers who introduced you to horror?
Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Robert E. Howard, Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King among others.

3.      What are the scariest supernatural creatures?

4.      Did you write stories as a child? Were you encouraged to write?
I read comic books when I was a kid and learned some of the drawing basics by copying pictures of my favorite superheroes and monsters. Later I began creating my own characters and writing stories about them. My mother who was a teacher read these and encouraged me to write more. She was also a fan of genre fiction and we shared novels and talked about authors and books.

5.      What was your first publishing credit?
My high school English teacher produced a play I wrote as a class project and entered it in a countywide drama festival where it won the special adjudicator award for promising new writer. While it wasn’t a paid gig, it sure encouraged me to take my writing more seriously.

6.      Your trilogy, DRACULA OF THE APES, must have involved an enormous amount of research. I was particularly impressed by how well you managed to imitate 19th century storytelling (in all the best ways). What did you do to prep for writing that saga? In preparation for writing Dracula of the Apes, I read fiction and genre novels from the era, and re-read the source books until I was dreaming them. So far as historical references and setting, I have to thank the local library and the many text, audio and video resources offered online.
Regarding the nineteenth century storytelling style, I love early genre fiction, and studied it in university. The lavish descriptions found in such narratives provide detailed accounts and definitions of the unknown or unfamiliar for audiences that had no access to radio, television or Internet communications. It is perfect for writing about exotic locations, horror and mystery.


The Variant Effect: Madhouse 1: Ziploc City by G. Wells Taylor


It’s never been easy working the squads, and in the aftermath of the GreenMourning operation, it’s gotten worse. Friends and colleagues died during GreenMourning, and something essential died with them. So now, everyone’s on edge knowing that the city-wide quarantine and their own efforts aren’t going to be enough if the Variant Effect takes hold of the population and spreads like a wildfire the way it did before.
The extreme psychological stresses experienced by squads had made those rules flexible, as if in homage to the days when the Variant Effect had first appeared, when half the force was drunk most of the time. They called it “cranking” when they used alcohol and drugs in the misguided belief that anesthetizing their nervous systems made them resistant to the Variant Effect.
Science had never proven this to be an effective barrier against infection, while it easily drew a correlation between cranking and absenteeism, insubordination, injury and accidental death.
However, the authorities knew that working the squads was dangerous and psychologically damaging with higher mortality rates than the police services, so members were given leeway for eccentric behavior.
But there were still limits.
And “Beachboy” has reached those limits. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge

H.P. Lovecraft was a complicated guy. For all his influence, he never achieved commercial success in his lifetime. (The author of the Wikipedia article about him suggests that one reason was he lacked the drive to promote himself, which sounds like the dilemma faced by every indie author out there.)
This new novel is, according to its blurb, inspired by the lives of Lovecraft and his inner circle. I'm so there.

I love the cover.

Free Urban Fantasy for You!

Get free urban fantasy titles here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Joan Didion just published another book. Yay!

I was in high school when I discovered the writing of Joan Didion. I can't remember which book was my gateway, either The White Album or Slouching Toward Bethlehem, but I was beginning to see that I wanted to be a writer myself and her elliptical style hypnotized me. I wanted to write that way. It was the first time I'd really analyzed "style' outside of an English class. And the first time I truly realized that something so effortless-seeming was actually insanely difficult. I cannot wait to read her latest book, which is out today. I have been a working writer for several decades now and I still have so much to learn from her.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Free Urban Fantasy giveaway

It's Monday, and there's a new Instafreebie giveaway!  This one is for Urban Fantasy novels. My favorite genre after mystery. Check out the freebies here.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

God love Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Keep Her Safe

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka the Notorious RBG)  is my spirit animal. She's impressive enough now, but check out what she did before she joined the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg is a tiny woman (5'1") but she is the very embodiment of the Shakespeare quote, "Though she be but little, she is fierce."

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Free Fae!

I've been wanting to read India Drummond's Blood Faerie and today, I snagged it free for signing up for her newsletter. You can too by going to Instafreebie.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Next Book You Need to Read

This is a YA novel that's about something other than young love. It's a debut novel. You will be seeing more of author Angie Thomas. And you will not forget reading this one.
This is the blurb:

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.