Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

stephanie Barr Interview

Introducing writer Stephanie Barr

 Although Stephanie Barr is a slave to three children and a slew of cats, she actually leads a double life as a part time novelist and full time rocket scientist. People everywhere have learned to watch out for fear of becoming part of her stories. Beware! You might be next!

You’re a rocket scientist! What do you do? I've done a number of things. I'm a dabbler. I've rebuilt data handling systems for ground chambers, designed ground comm systems for those same chambers (used for crew to test suit capabilities and procedures and test hardware). I've done qualification and acceptance testing for payloads going in the Mir (Russian) space station and the Space Shuttle,  wrote communication software for robotics, evaluated main engine software changes, addressed micrometeoroid/orbital debris risks, spent several years as an EVA Safety Engineer – (EVA +> when they go out in spacesuits) including more than one Hubble mission and Columbia's last flight. Now I help evaluate design changes and issues for our large launch
vehicles (Delta IV and Atlas V)

If you ran the space program, what would be your priority? A manned Mars mission? A moon base? Moon base. Pretty much any technology or system we'd need on Mars we could test on the moon where we're actually close enough to do something if it went south.

Did you ever want to be an astronaut? Nope. Can't stand free fall.

You’ve been writing since you were a child, at what point did you veer into science? I've always loved science and could do math and languages. I loved all kinds of academics, including literature. I loved writing but I figured I'd need a day job, so I majored in Engineering Physics because I could get a scholarship from the Physics dep't and the Engineering College at the same time. And then I was just too stubborn to get out. I really love problem solving so it turned out to be a good choice.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

#RiteToReign #iBooks--a boxed set for your iDevices

I don't know about you, but doesn't it sometimes feel like if you want to get an ebook you have to go through Amazon? My fellow writers on Rite to Reign feel your pain. That's why we want to offer it to you on iBooks for 99 cents. Preorder now!  You haven't heard of Rite to Reign? Hold on to your crowns and cauldrons..

Power is never given, it has to be taken.
In this collection of stories about wicked witches, cruel queens, and powerful princes, you'll find something for every flavor of your paranormal fancy. My own story Secret Hexe, is a tale inspired by the life of Catherine the Great from her childhood apprenticeship in magic (with her French nanny) to her arrival at the Russian court where her soon-to-be husband makes the mistake of thinking she's someone he can manipulate on his own way to power.
He is so wrong about that!
My story is just one among more than two dozen tales by North America's best-selling writers of paranormal and fantasy romance. This is a limited edition set and ONLY 99 cents. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

A preview of hell...

It's been smoky in the Pacific Northwest for the last week thanks to more than 300 fires raging out of control in British Columbia. The wind is finally blowing the smoke away but for a while there, the air quality was worse than it is in Beijing, giving everyone dry and red eyes.

It struck me that this might be a good time to share my list of favorite fire-related books. Everyone always points to Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean, who also wrote A River Runs Through It, but I prefer Dennis Smith's Report From Engine Company 82, which came out more than 40 years ago, but is still available. If you were a fan of Denis Learay's Rescue Me, you'll see similarities in this book.

John Maclean (son of Norman) has written several books about fires, but his best is probably Fire on the Mountain, about a fire known variously as the South Canyon Fire and the Storm King Mountain Fire. (I'd have gone with Storm King Mountain--so incredibly evocative.) This was a particularly deadly fire in that it killed an entire elite team of 'hot shots" who'd been dropped into the area. The lone survivor of that event has written his own book.

An even deadlier fire, the Granite Mountain Fire near Prescott, AZ claimed 19 firefighters and is the subject of a movie called No Exit, starring Josh Brolin.

Two other memoirs that are gripping:  Bob Donbrowski's 38 Years: A Detroit Firefighter's Memoir  and Nick Brunaciini's B-Shifter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One for the TBR list

The cover of this book caught my eye.
I'm currently writing a sequel to Magic in the Blood called Santa Muerte, but the saint of the title is a benign, female version of death who grants favors to her followers. this looks like a very different book, but I definitely want to read it. It's available on a bunch of different platforms, but here's the publisher's site.

The debut authors are crushing it lately

Heart of Thorns, described as a fierce feminist fantasy, is the first in a series (of course), about a young woman who lives in a world where only women can possess magic. The author is Bree Barton, and if you sign up for her newsletter, you can win a copy of the book. (It was published last month.)

I like the cover--simple and elegant. I like the concept. Can't wait to dig into this one.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Peng Shepherd's Book of M--a review

In a world where people are suddenly losing their shadows, the lives of a group of unrelated people are bound up in a hope for building a new world on the memory of the old.

This is an epic, apocalyptic quest along the lines of Stephen King’s THE STAND or Robert McCammon’s SWAN SONG, with a large dose of INCEPTION thrown in. It’s also a zombie story of sorts, particularly in scenes where the “shadowless” surround those who are still tethered to their ‘dark twins.” The story unfolds in a somewhat nonlinear fashion where events being recounted by various characters overlap, but there’s a good mix of adventure and intimate contact.

The unraveling of reality is incredibly visual, and no one will much quibble with the premise that memories are stored in our shadows (and not in a certain part of our brains). The writer tells the story from multiple points of view, with both first and third person being used. The author does a very good job of “opening out” the story with flashbacks to “before” and even to multiple events after the Forgetting hits.

Peng Shepherd's debut novel is a multi-faceted apocalyptic quest story told from multiple points of view. She plays with pov in a way that I haven't seen since Kevin Brooks' iBoy, and it's astonishing that this is her first book. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Coming soon!!!

I am very excited about this upcoming boxed set which features stories about royal witches!! Mine is about a young Catherine the Great using magic to play a real-life Game of Thrones. Stay tuned for more info!  In the meantime, if you have a iDevice or a Nook, you can pre-order. (Amazon pre-order will happen later in the year.)
Here's a link that will take you everywhere.