Thursday, October 19, 2017

Anthology Announcement!

Let me tell you a story about perseverance and the power of editing your ideas.

 
The story I'm now calling Always, Always started as a scene for a time travel story I was working on. The characters would visit a futuristic Australia and get the help of a lady who lived in Coober Pedy (a real, awesome town where people live underground). But of course I fell in love with the character, and her backstory merged with another idea and became an entire book.


Now the concept was this: desert dweller Tress finds a dead body... and it's her own. Not only does she discover that it's her from the future, but she's dressed in silks and jewelry her entire town couldn't afford in a lifetime. Can she solve her murder in time to prevent it?

Then there was the version where I added a time traveling love interest (Charlie, who's main personality trait was being from Canada) with a murder mystery of his own: his sister's. There was something to do with smuggling drugs into the past (I vaguely remember calling the drug McFly?) but I never actually got that far and the plot fizzled out.

So I added a robot! And I never figured out if she was a good guy or a bad guy!

And then the story continued to go nowhere.

Cut to a year later. I'm frustrated by my current project and really missing my futuristic Australia. What if I got rid of Charlie and the time travel and just have Tress and the robot on a road trip? And what if they fell in love even though Tress hated robots because they stole her job at the solar panel factory?

The answer is... it was still kind of sucky and still had no actual plot.

Or rather, it had a small plot - Tress trying to save her city from the people who would destroy it and drain it of the power it generated - and I was trying to stretch it to fill a book. In trying to tell the story of a country and a massive war, I was neglecting the story of the city and the girl who loved it.

Because it wasn't a novel at all; it's a short story that bears little resemblance to the idea I started with, except Tress is still too self-sacrificing and Voltaire is still a chatty assassin.

 

...and it was accepted in an anthology!

 

Central Arkansas Speculative Fiction Writers' Group (CASFWG) is putting out an anthology called When You're Strange, set to be published on November 1!

 

"There are things that define us. Things that separate us from the whole. Everyone’s a stranger in some way or another. Whether by coming to a new land, practicing different traditions, estrangement from your own people, or becoming a refugee forced from your home only to find yourself at the mercy of a tyrant… whatever the circumstances, strangers are compelling protagonists[...] We want to see stories about estrangement, oddballs, and those who simply do not follow rules. We want to see outsiders and those deemed unworthy by society. Outcasts are welcome."


 

Links and more information to come.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cover Reveal - Extraction

I've got another cover reveal today! I promise I'll get back to posting about my own stuff soon (and actually reviewing all these books the amazing authors have let me read), but there have been so many awesome books getting published lately that I want to share.

Today's gorgeous book is Extraction by B R Sanders, available November 12 from the Kraken Collective

About the Book: Extraction
“There is no justice in convenience.”
Rethnali, a newly-minted captain in the long-standing and brutal elvish rebellion, wants to do more than keep her soldiers alive. She wants to turn the tide of the war for her people. When her old captain and mentor, Li, shows up at her camp with orders to go deep into enemy territory, she may have the opportunity to do just that.
But as Rethnali’s mission unfolds, she realizes that she is just a pawn in a larger game. While she tries to protect her soldiers, she is forced to decide the course of her future and the future of the elvish rebellion itself. Extraction is a story of lives shaped by hard choices and unforeseen consequences.
 



About the Author: B R Sanders

B R Sanders is a genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer, and a K-12 public education data specialist. B’s previous novels, both set in the fantasy universe of Aerdh, are Resistance and Ariah.


B is social!


About the Publisher: The Kraken Collective

The Kraken Collective is an alliance of indie authors of LGBTQIAP+ speculative fiction,  committed to building a publishing space that is inclusive, positive, and brings fascinating stories to readers.
 
The Kraken Collective is social!


About The Cover Artist: C. Bedford

The cover for Extraction is a commissioned digital painting created by C. Bedford. This wraparound cover features Rethnali against some of the landscapes she travels through in the story.


C. Bedford also designed the covers for Ariah and the second edition of Resistance, which gives this cover the same visual identity as the the other two Aerdh novels.


C. Bedford is social!

 

Review: Meddling Kids

Meddling Kids Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do ever finish a book and the ending is so good that you want to throw the book against the wall because HOW DARE THIS BE SUCH A GOOD BOOK?

What if a group of kid detectives grew up and realized one of the cases they solved wasn't solved at all? What if the lake monster wasn't just a man in a mask, but an actual monster?

This is the funniest, weirdest, most self-aware book I've read in a long time. I love how Kerri's hair has emotions, and how action scenes are described as if they're being filmed, and just... the writing is amazing and full of references.

And there's a gay romance in it that I wasn't expecting.

I'll give one spoiler because, as an animal lover, I wish someone had told me this so I could relax a bit during some stressful scenes: No animals die. Well, Sean is mentioned and he's long gone by the time the story starts, but Tim and the canary survive. And are written very well.

The plot drags the tiniest bit in spots, there's some mental illness ableism, and I'm not sure the author totally understands what a hermaphrodite is, but the rest of the story more than makes up for that.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New World - Cover Reveal!

Today I'm helping reveal the cover for New World, Book Two of the Iamos Trilogy by Lyssa Chiavari! The cover was designed by Najla Qamber Designs, and features custom photos by Mosaic Stock Photography. The book releases in early 2018 from Snowy Wings Publishing. Check out the cover and learn more about the book below!
 
Title: New World (Book Two of the Iamos Trilogy) Author: Lyssa Chiavari Release date: Early 2018 Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing
MARS, 2075 C.E. Isaak has returned from Iamos, but life hasn't exactly gone back to normal. In what felt like a month to him, two years passed in the world he left behind—and now that he's home, he's not sure if he knows what home is anymore. Mars has become a world of riots and police states, with GSAF doing everything in their power to clamp down on the burgeoning rebellion started by Isaak's once-best friend, Henry Sandhu. It doesn't take long before he realizes that maybe coming back to Mars wasn't such a good idea. But unless they can find a way to get to the time postern—currently guarded by heavily-armed GSAF agents—Isaak is stuck in the future... and so is Nadin. Nadin thought that the future would hold her answers, but everything changed the moment they passed through the door. All she wants now is to return to Iamos and make sure that her partner, Ceilos, is safe. But once her identity as a native Martian gets out, she finds herself caught in a political struggle she doesn't understand, with both factions trying to win her over to their side. And when GSAF learns that Nadin holds the key to deciphering the mysterious System, they'll stop at nothing to keep her on Mars—permanently.
Add New World to your to-read list on Goodreads!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Eelgrass Book Tour and Excerpt

Hi, everyone! I've got a guest post for you today from Tori Curtis, who is celebrating the year anniversary of her novel Eelgrass.
  
 
 
 



I’m Tori Curtis, and last year I published my debut f/f fantasy novel, Eelgrass. It’s a coming of age story about selkies, a beautiful (and terrifying) mermaid, and how brave you have to be to protect your friends.


In Eelgrass, a lesbian reimagining of Irish folktales, Efa and Bettan spend their days roving the sea and shore. The other selkies in their village say it will soon be time for them to settle down and find husbands. Then Bettan disappears into a rainstorm. Despite the other villagers’ reassurances, Efa can't shake the certainty her friend’s been taken.

To rescue Bettan, she must leave behind the shallow waters of her home and find the fishwives. These half-human fish seduce men with song and devour them with sharp teeth. She doesn't expect to find Ninka, an outrageous young woman who makes her feel giddy and who might be the key to unlocking her own courage.


Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from the beginning of the book.


They walked to the middle of the room and took a table next to the sailors. Mary brought them each a bowl of stew, a mug of beer, and a small loaf of the coarse dark bread she made. Efa was starving. She started immediately on the stew, which was rich and thick with clams. Bettan sipped her beer, smoothed her dress, looked out of the corners of her eyes at the men around them.


"You're going to scare them if you keep on like that," Efa said.


"I'm sure they're brave." Bettan said it like the idea appealed.


"Me, too, but you can be intimidating."


Bettan rolled her eyes, but settled in her seat. She even broke off a piece of bread and dipped it in her stew.


And then, sure enough, one of the sailor boys turned to her. He was handsome, with mussed hair, warm brown skin and a charming smile. Efa wanted to like him. Then he said, "No one told me the girls were so pretty here," and she had to stop herself from laughing.


"I told you," said one of his friends, a grisly fellow with a wind-chapped face. "You spend enough time at sea and any old hag'll be easy on your eyes."


Bettan gasped at the insult, and the game began. The boys fell over themselves to assure her that she was the loveliest thing they'd ever seen. She looked at them with coy eyes and laid her delicate hands on their biceps. Efa savored the big chunks of fish in her stew and gulped her beer with relish. Before she knew what was happening they'd shoved their tables together and were three verses into a bawdy drinking song. Bettan had that effect on people.


By the time Efa finished her food (and the rest of Bettan's - she was too busy making friends to focus on it) they had convinced the Hogfish's fiddler to play a jaunty tune, and Bettan was doing her level best to dance with everyone. Efa watched them from over the rim of her mug. This was all tradition by now. Bettan got to flirt, and Efa got to make fun of her afterwards. That way they were both happy.


An old man's drink thudded hard on the table next to her.




Efa looked up and was relieved to discover that he wasn't interested in her in particular. He was just languid, feeling all right, having a good time with his pals. From the stench of him she suspected he'd brought his own something to imbibe in between sips of beer. "But the most beautiful girl I ever saw-" he started.


("Not this one again," said one of the younger men.)


"-was a vicious she-wyrm from the darkest depths!"


Efa couldn't help herself. "A serpent?"


"Eh," said one of the others. "He gets a little poetic when he's, you know."


"We try not to encourage him," agreed a third.


But she was fascinated. She leaned in, and she could see the strands of his beard like a boar's hair brush.


"She was a fishwife," he said. "A fine woman, stark naked in the water, and then, right here," he tapped his hipbone, "where things start to get interesting, poof! A fish!"


Down the table, a scrawny youth jeered, and Efa barely heard his words. "I'd bet you can still find something interesting to do with one of those. She's still got-"


"I didn't know fishwives were real," she said, barely able to form the words over her blush. People told stories about them, but then, people told stories about kings, too. She'd never known anyone who'd met one.


"As real as you are," he said, and pinched her arm playfully. "I was near sixteen, just a lad, been to sea no more than a year. One night there was this dreadful storm, and as it let up I saw her by moonlight."


"I thought they travelled in schools," Efa said, "like fish."


"Ah!" he said, and his eyes were wide and bloodshot, those of a man who had lived long enough to gray without a woman to look after him. "But not all fish hide beneath the others. Imagine a fish the likes of which your fishermen would die to catch, a fish that rules all else."


She nodded.


"Now think of the fish who lives to eat that fish. That's a fishwife, my girl."


"When they group together, they sink ships, don't they?" Bettan asked, startling Efa. The music had stopped; she was back at the table, a man's arm around her waist.


Efa had heard those stories before. She wasn't surprised by the murmurs of agreement around the table. "But how?" she asked. "They're just fish-people. They don't have-"


"What does it matter, how?" Bettan said, merry. "They destroy. It's in their nature."


"They ensnare you," the sailor said, quick to turn the subject back to himself. "I stood on deck and watched her, and she stared back with these black eyes, as dark as the places a drowned man sinks - eyes like yours." He pointed at Bettan, though by their eyes Efa and Bettan were indistinguishable. "And then she began to sing."



Thank you so much for reading!  


You can get a copy of Eelgrass here: link
Visit my website at toricurtiswrites.com
Or follow me on twitter @tcurtfish
And Sapphic Book Club is going to be reading Eelgrass for November 2017, so I hope you get the chance to be a part of that.



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review: The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What if there was fanfiction of all the best books from the 1800s and it was all about women who are friends and solve crimes and are also monsters? And what if the characters periodically interrupted the story to comment on it?

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, that's what. And it's awesome.

Dr. Jekyll's daughter has had to lay off most of her household staff and is in desperate need of money. So she decides to investigate a decade-old crime to get the reward money for catching the murderer.
But it isn't so simple as that, as she discovers her deceased(?) father and his alter ego Hyde are involved, which leads her and Holmes and Watson to investigate more recent murders.
Along the way she meets a sister she didn't know she had, a poisonous lady, a puma woman, and Frankenstein's female monster (the one Mary Shelley's non-fiction book about Frankenstein said he'd never built), and they discover a secret society that created them.

I'm sure there are literary references I'm missing. Of the works mentioned, I've only read Moreau, but a passing knowledge of the other stories is enough to enjoy this book.
And it's just so sweet and lovely and if I'd read this when I was twelve the characters all would have become my imaginary friends.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: Promotions

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group encourages writers to talk about their insecurities.

 
I never know when to promote things.
For the Mrs. Claus anthology, this is easy enough to solve: follow the editor on Twitter and retweet when she advertises it.
But I feel weird telling people "Hey, in case you missed it, I had a story published last week" or things like that. And for Mrs. Claus, some of the authors are doing some really cool promotion and I'm excited because two of the things we're doing were my idea and one of them is something I'm personally writing and I just want to brag about it because IT'S GONNA BE SO FUN. But I was kind of raised not to make a big deal of myself, so my natural state is to retreat into my shell and say, "Go read my friends' stuff!"
But I'm in a book this November. (Two actually, but I haven't been given the go-ahead to talk about the other yet.) And I'm going to promote it!

So here's what I'll be doing. Every day for a week leading up to November 28th, I'll be linking to our editor's blog for Awesome Thing Numero Uno, along with a Christmassy anecdote or other such festive nonsense.
And the instant I can talk about the other project, I'm not going to shut up about it. :)