Con Report: Farpoint 2018

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Last weekend, I attended my first Farpoint convention! You could say that I got my start in speculative fiction as a Star Trek fan, so it was nice to get back to my roots, as it were.

FRIDAY

Since this is a “local” convention for me, I commuted from home rather than staying at the hotel. After working half a day in the morning, I headed north of Baltimore by mid-afternoon to get the lay of the land. My first panel was at 4 PM, which involved a fantastic discussion with other authors and readers about creating immersive worlds in speculative fiction (and writing in general). We discussed how to incorporate just enough detail (but not too much detail!) to allow a reader to suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride in any genre.

My second panel was immediately after, where I switched gears into fan mode and discussed “All Things Winchester.” Supernatural is currently in season 13, and not everyone was caught up, so we kept it general in our discussion of how the show is successful thematically, various character issues, favorite episodes, and theories regarding the upcoming spin-off, Wayward Sisters.

I didn’t have any of my usual writing tribe at this convention, so I steeled myself and asked if I could join one of my fellow Supernatural panelists, cosplayer Jessica Crouse, if I could join her group for dinner. I’m so glad that I did, because I made some amazing new friends over the course of the weekend through that one act of courage! We had a great dinner and evening of hanging out, then it was back to the hotel for the evening book fair.  Continue reading

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Steel Blood Deleted Scene

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddHappy New Year to all of my awesome readers! In honor of 2017 finally being over, and to celebrate my birthday (yes, I’m a New Year’s Eve baby), I’d like to share a scene that was left on the cutting room floor after my beta readers read one of the earliest drafts of Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood.

This scene takes place early during the novel, while Victory and Mikelos are traveling by ship to Jiang Yi Yue. While I had fun writing it and exploring more of Rob and Guy’s characters, it was ultimately felt that the scene didn’t add to the larger story of the book itself.

My only birthday wish is that if you have been enjoying my writing, please consider leaving an honest review of any of my books someplace like Amazon or Goodreads. A review can be as simple as “I liked it!” and leaving a rating. This is the cheapest and easiest way to continue supporting authors you enjoy after buying their books.

Thank you, party safely tonight, and enjoy this look at Victory in her element — with a sword in her hand!  Continue reading

Review: Pathways (Tales of Valdemar #11) edited by Mercedes Lackey

PathwaysWhile I usually call out two specific stories in anthologies, my favorite and the one I’d most like to see expanded into a novel, I’m unable to do that with this Valdemar collection. I enjoyed most of the stories, but none of them jumped out to me as amazing. A few of the stories also dragged, and one I stopped reading altogether.

One thing this anthology did well was the fantastic representation of diversity in sexual orientation and even gender identity. I’d love future anthologies to explore farther beyond the realm of Valdemar for more representation of people of color (beyond Karsites being a little more brown).  Continue reading

Review: Closer to the Chest (Herald Spy #3) by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the ChestIt’s taken quite a few books, but I think Lackey is back on her stride with her long-running Valdemar series. While I still noticed a few editorial discrepancies, I enjoyed this novel a lot more than any of the previous books that featured Mags and Amily. This particular story acts as a culmination to what both characters have been working toward for years. Now, they are full Heralds who have come into their own, both in the work that they do and in their relationship.

Valdemaran courtly and political intrigue are some of my very favorite things, and I got both of those in spades in this novel. As an added bonus, Lackey also introduces us to other religious elements in the world, proving that just because a series has literally dozens of books doesn’t mean that the readers (and the author) aren’t always learning new things.  Continue reading

Review: A Scandal in Battersea (Elemental Masters #12) by Mercedes Lackey

Scandal in BatterseaThe novels of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series take two forms. The first is re-imagined fairy tales set in Edwardian England (and Europe beyond). The second is a more of a traditional (historical) urban fantasy series that centers around a group of magicians, psychics, and mediums in London, starring two plucky young women and their avian familiars. They hang out with Sherlock Holmes sometimes, which is why his star-power gets him on the cover of the book.

A Scandal in Battersea is the latter style, which is not my preference of the two, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read. It was a solid, magical mystery adventure filled with comforting characters familiar from earlier in the series. Watching Nan and Sarah grow up has been a lovely ride, and I do enjoy checking in on them.  Continue reading

Review: Canyon Shadows (Dark Tyrant #2) by C.R. Langille

Canyon ShadowsDisclaimer: I consider myself friends with the author, via the graduate writing program we both attended. However, I purchased the hardcopy version of this novel for full price.

Though this book is the second in a shared world of stories, you do not have to read the first in order to get full enjoyment from this novel (which I think is actually a prequel, anyway). Set in our contemporary world, this story features a fascinating mix of mythologies, Christian and indigenous North American, which complement each other to good effect over the course of the plot. The combination starts with a fascinating archaeological mystery and ends with an epic showdown.  Continue reading

Review: The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by K.J. Charles

Magpie LordNow that I’ve discovered a newfound love for queer historical romance, it was really only a matter of time before I made the jump to the urban fantasy variety. This novel was an excellent introductory choice that I devoured in the space of one airport wait + flight to Florida, and I had to resist the urge to immediately purchase the rest of the trilogy (that urge has since been sated).  Continue reading