Review: Exile’s Throne (Empress Game #3) by Rhonda Mason

Exile's ThroneDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased a hardcopy of this book for full price.

Mason concludes her stunning space opera trilogy with absolutely nothing you expect, which makes this book all the more perfect.

Since I’ve started reviewing every book I complete, I’ve gotten into the habit of taking down random thoughts as I read. I read this book in one sitting on a flight between Baltimore and Salt Lake City. But some books suck you in and don’t let go. Afterward, you look up with a massive book hangover and the only reasonable action is finding the nearest human and shoving the book (or series) at them and demanding that they read it too. So, consider this the online version of that. Continue reading

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Review: American War by Omar El Akkad

American WarI snagged this book on a whim to support an independent bookstore during a vacation and absolutely devoured it on the flight home. I’d been a bit burned out on post-apocalyptic fiction lately, but this book was not your typical environmental or man-made apocalypse. Instead, it was an apocalypse created by people being dumb; or perhaps more charitably, by people being human.  Continue reading

Capclave 2018 Schedule

Capclave dodoThis weekend I’ll be attending Capclave, sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, for the first time! Even though it’s a fairly local convention to me, I’ll be staying at the hotel for the full experience, and I’m excited to spend time with everyone who will be there. Below is my schedule for the weekend, but as usual, feel free to PM me on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a coffee, or just a chat!

I will have copies of all of my books available all weekend, including the newly released Steel Time!

FRIDAY

  • 4 PM: Secret Origins of Writers (panel)
    • To MFA or not to MFA. Pros and cons of workshops like Odyssey, Clarion, Taos Toolbox, and MFA programs such as Stonecoast and Iowa Writers Workshop.
    • With Scott Edelman, Suzanne Palmer, Jack Stillingstead, and James R. Stratton
  • 6 PM: Reading
  • 7 PM: Taxonomy of Fantasy (panel)
    • Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, mythic fantasy, etc. How many types of fantasy are there? Reader’s tastes evolve over time. Which types of fantasy are currently the most powerful, which are becoming less popular, where is fantasy headed, and why?
    • With Craig L. Gidney and Lawrence Watt-Evans
  • 9 PM: How to Self-Edit that Lousy First Draft
    • Sometimes a first draft of a story is just not in a state your want to send to an editor or publisher, and yet too promising to simply set aside. What’s a good mindset to identify the pieces that can best be salvaged in revision? How can a first draft go from lousy to respectable with the least amount of exertion that could perhaps be spent on other works?
    • With Doc Coleman, Michelle D. Sonnier, and James R. Stratton
  • 10 PM: Author Table

SATURDAY

  • 10 AM: Throw Out the Genre Definitions (panel)
    • Intersections of YA, horror, romance, erotica, literary fiction, and SFF and their current successes. Who is doing it well?
    • With Jeanne Adams, Kelly Dwyer, and Joan Wendland
  • 1 PM: What Makes Alternate History So Compelling? (panel)
    • Alternate histories continue to proliferate, though in accordance with Sturgeon’s Law, most fail the plausibility test, the storytelling test, or both. Why do the what-ifs continue to fascinate us, and what makes a power story in this subgenre?
    • With Tom Doyle, Bjorn Hasseler, Alan Smale, and Jean Marie Ward
  • 5 PM: Writers as Fans: How Fandom Influences Our Writing (panel)
    • A panel of writers discusses their favorite fandoms and how their passions have inspired and influenced their writing.
    • With Andrew Fox, Victoria Janssen, and Hildy Silverman
  • 7:30 PM: Mass Autographing Session

SUNDAY

  • 10 AM: Ask Me Anything–Author Edition (panel)
    • Ask our panel of authors absolutely anything about what they do–writing, getting published, elevator pitches, getting an agent, dealing with writers block, writers workshops, etc. Includes many non-writer-parts-of-being-a-writer, such as being your own boss, setting schedules, and so on
    • With Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Brazee, Suzanne Palmer, and Lawrence M. Schoen
  • 12 PM: Don’t Go There–Unless You Really Want To (panel)
    • Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won’t you cross? What lines should you cross?
    • With Sarah Avery, Shahid Mahmud, and Lawrence Watt-Evans

Review: A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3) by Madeleine L’Engle

Swiftly Tilting PlanetContinuing this year’s journey to rectify a series I definitely should have read while I was growing up, I recently reviewed A Swiftly Tilting Planet for Speculative Chic. You can find my full review here.

An excerpt:

L’Engle has taken her previous ventures regarding science and brought them to an entirely new level here. Something about the delicate balance of science with faith and mysticism made all of these things intriguing yet accessible. I especially enjoyed how she used music as her descriptive metaphor for Gaudior the unicorn’s method of traveling on the winds of time.

Continue reading

Steel Time Blog Tour Round-Up

Steel Time Jacket.inddThe difficult part of launching a new book while also traveling out of town to an enormous convention is that it’s difficult to promote the blog tour posts that I organized at the same time. So, here’s a handy round-up and GIANT thank you to everyone who supported Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time by sharing information or hosting me on their blogs! Check out the posts below for some cool behind-the-scenes details about my life and writing process, excerpts from Steel Time, a character interview with Toria, and pictures of my adorable cats.

COVER REVEAL

BLOG TOUR

BOOK SPOTLIGHTS

Thank you so much to everyone who helped boost the signal about my latest book!

Review: Ouroboros (Circuit Fae #2) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

OuroborosDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased a hardcopy version of this book for full price.

Unfortunately, life got into the way of me devouring this book as quickly as I did the first one in the series. However, the characters and action are vivid enough that I never missed a beat each time I was able to pick it up and crank some more pages out. Events even ramped up so much in the last quarter that I intentionally set aside an evening to finish it, and my dedication was well-rewarded.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Jessica McHugh

By now, you all know that I’m a total wuss. I don’t like jump scares. I can do gore in movies/on television because I desensitized myself through a research binge on practical effects, but there’s no protective layer between the visceral on the page and my imagination. So while I desperately wanted to read Jessica McHugh’s latest novel, Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven, to support my friend and fellow Raw Dog Screaming Press author…I “noped” right out of there at about the 20 percent mark on my Kindle. This book is raw, evocative, and fabulous. You should go read it to make up for my inability to finish it!


Nightly Owl Fatal RavenABOUT THE BOOK

Since the rise of The Council, an oligarchy of despots and deviants, the legendary Capesman undertakes daily soul collections from Cartesia’s wasteland cities and battlefields. He also frequents Malay Prison, where a vigilante named Shal plots her escape. Armed with a thirst for vengeance and a sharp Shakespearean tongue, Shal must navigate a maze of trauma to save Cartesia and protect her sister from the brutal machinations of Chancellor Doa.

It will require all of Shal’s strength and cunning to resurrect her former army, battle the betrayals of the past, and avenge her father’s death. Will she survive long enough to see the Council fall, or is the Capesman coming for her next?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | From the Publisher


This novel has a long and storied history. I know you’ve probably shared it a million times by now, but do you mind humoring me?

I was twenty when I jotted down my first notes about what would become Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven on the guest checks at a sub shop called Bubba’s. At the time it was called A Mover of Stones but still focused on the character Shal, who ultimately leads a revolution against a corrupt government. As I developed Shal and the world of Cartesia, the book changed into From the Herald’s Wearied Eye and became an ultraviolent tale about trauma and revenge. It was published by Reliquary Press in 2009, and I thought that was where the story would end. But when that contract ran out, I took another look at the story and realized there was a better way to tell it. While it’s still violent, I brought more thoughtfulness and maturity to the rewrite. In the end, out fluttered Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven, and I was so overjoyed that Raw Dog Screaming Press wanted to take it on. The concept of “home” is extremely important in this novel, so the fact that the novel itself has finally found its proper home is a wonderful feeling.  Continue reading