Yay! The 13th and final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series is out today. Titled, Dead Ever After, we have been promised a grand finale complete with Sookie finally choosing once and for all between all her many men.
And I have been counting down the days.
For the record, I am Team Sam. I think he ‘gets’ Sookie the most and allows her to live the life she is most happy with. She is never guilty about things that she does with Sam. He is living and breathing thus making sure she doesn’t have to die to stay with the one she loves. Also, he can sun-bathe with her if she wants that. All in all, Sam is my favorite.
My back-up choice is Eric. I always thought the chemistry between Eric and Sookie is steamy. After the last book though, he lost points with me. Also, with Eric, Sookie has to deal with all those vampire politics that are such a pain in the neck! (You see what I did there?)
So which Team are you for? Will you be starting the book today or waiting a while?
There is an article on io9 about a new art book coming out in September, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Magic The Gathering. New art from artists from the early days of the game are contributing to the project. If the art sampled in the article is any indication of what this product will look like, it will well be worth syphoning some of your CCG budget over to it.
Note: There’s a Kickstarter page for the project.
Today my big brother would turn 40. This would begin the nine and a half months that he was ‘older’ than me. These nine and a half months would begin his teasing of me for being his “little sister”. This year though I’d be 39 while he would be 40. I could finally tease him back for being old and creaky (though knowing Brian, he would still be in awesome shape and wowing all the women who saw him). Since teasing him is off the table, I thought I would share some of my favorite memories of my big brother.
- I was about five years old the first time I remember meeting and playing with my new big brother, Brian. At that time we lived on a potato farm and lived in a trailer. We played under the trailer in the cool shade and sand got everywhere. Brian would wrestle sheets of corrugated metal into place for floors or walls in our playhouse. Another game we played involved pushing the mattress off my bed up against the wall and sliding down it. He taught me about coloring so that all of your crayon strokes went the same direction and going outside the lines was a major embarrassment that only “babies” did. Since I wasn’t a baby, I started to try harder to stay inside the lines. By far though our favorite game was the “Monster Under The Bed” game. Brian was the best at being the monster. He would lie down under the bed and we girls would sit on the headboard and dangle our feet down in the space between the wall and the bed. If he caught your ankle you had to pull your leg up and out of the way. It was bitten off! If you lost both legs, you were out. If you were the last one left with a healthy leg, you got to take over as the monster next turn. Brian’s turn at monster always went pretty fast, he was that good.
- After I skipped third grade, things got competitive between us. Now I was in the same grade as him but I was his “little sister”. School was easy for me but not so much for Brian. He was smart but he had a lot of different interests, including and especially sports. In the early years, the competition for better grades was fairly subtle. At report card time, he’d casually ask me what my grade was in X subject. If his grade was better, he made sure I knew about it. If mine was better, he shrugged and moved on. I got a lot of shrugs until our senior year in high school. Our final semester of school, Brian’s grades moved ahead of mine but I still managed to get a better cumulative GPA by .03 points. It was a near thing and I actually had to work at it to maintain that small margin of victory. The other thing Brian competed in was height. I reached my full height of 5’10 1/2” by the time I was 12. I was a tall girl, and definitely taller than my big brother. He wanted desperately to be my big brother in all things, not just age. He eked past me by half an inch during the same time he started pulling better grades than me. The grin on his face was priceless when he realized he was taller. Finally, the big brother again.
- When Brian moved in with us full time around age 12, he started challenging me to be better. I couldn’t read a clock face with any kind of speed. I had to study that thing for several moments before I could decipher the time from that confounding contraption. He used to point at the clock on the wall of our dining room and ask me the time. If I hesitated, he’d make an annoying *beep* noise and follow up with the time. As I hesitated less and less, he stopped pestering me on it and moved on to something else. He joined the church around that time and he gave up caffeinated drinks. I still stole swallows from my mother’s Pepsi on a daily basis. He said that if he could give it up when he was surrounded by Big Gulps full of pop at football practice, I certainly could give it up too. Around that time that he found books that I had left open to save my spot and closed them. Over and over again. I had to memorize the page number to find my place again. One of those times, he held the book up to me and said “You read so much, you ought to write a book. I bet you’d write a good one.” These words started me down the path I am still on today. My first dedication will be to him for sparking the dream. I wouldn’t be a writer today if it wasn’t for him.
In this collection of five short stories, dragons attack in the Pacific Northwest, a nightmare from the sea ravages a small coastal town, and a boy lost in the woods is rescued by someone who is not all that he seems.
Included are "Dragonslayers Anonymous", "Empty", Wolves In The Mist", "Survive To Eat", and "Off The Path". From contemporary fantasy to traditional, this collection is sure to entertain.
In Dreams is available or will soon be available through most major ebook retailers for only $4.99.
Two stories in one package.
Rheken has been alone for a long time and just wants to get his father back. The truth about his father’s disappearance has eluded him for a year and finally, he will find out just why he is the only survivor of a once thriving city.
SURVIVE TO EAT
Forced to fight in the rings after his enslavement by the Charkneth Empire, Aetran finds that he is willing to do quite a lot to satisfy his hunger to live. Just how much will he risk to keep his belly full and his body whole?
Previously available singly, these two stories are now paired up and priced at $2.99 through most ebook retailers.
Two short stories included in one fast-paced package.
WOLVES IN THE MIST
Sacrifices must be made to protect a small coastal village from an annual danger. A monster from the deep rampages the town every year. This year a possible solution has been found, one that hits close to home. Will Nisbeth and her family survive the terror in the night?
After years fighting dragons with his trusty Remington M700 and sword, John St. George wants to retire but dragonslaying is in his blood. When danger comes to another damsel, John leaps into action, creaky knees and all.
Previously available singly, these two stories are now available in one package for only $2.99. “Dragonslayers Anonymous” was previously titled “Wanted: One Retired Dragonslayer”.
When Petres gets lost in the woods, Maevin takes him in. What happens next is idyllic, until Petres discovers just how lost he really is.
Off the Path is a short story of about 8500 words.
This short story is only $2.99 and is the most recent release of an original story.
When Petres gets lost in the woods, Maevin takes him in. What happens next is idyllic, until Petres discovers just how lost he really is.
Off the Path is a short story of about 8500 words.
Off The Path is on sale at some places and soon to be on sale at others. Here is a list of where you can buy a copy as of today:
- Barnes & Noble: There is some sort of glitch with the cover image and it didn’t upload properly. The site that allows me to edit the details is also experiencing technical difficulties. I’ll be fixing it soon.
- Smashwords: It is for sale through Smashwords and still being approved for premium distribution.
Currently Amazon’s website is being stubborn about the conversion process I’ll let you know when my story goes live there.
Here’s a heads-up on what’s up with me:
- In September, I’ll be releasing a new short story; short in terms of the industry but long in terms of me. This one is more than twice as long as any other completed story I’ve written. Off the Path is inspired by a nightmare I had last fall and I call it a cross between Willy Wonka and Hansel & Gretel. I’ll blurb you and tease you more on it next week.
- Soon, I’ll be repackaging my existing short stories (new blurbs, refresh the covers, and pairing them up) and raising the price on them. The ebooks will be $2.99 for a pair of stories. So if you like the $.99 price-point, now is the time to take advantage.
- Also this month, I’ll be teaching myself some new computer things (and that is quite a process as I am NOT a computer person) and trying to release the aforementioned short stories in a Print-On-Demand format. This means that you can hold something in your hand and if you felt like it, have me sign it. Also if the power goes out, you’ll still have something to read. I hope to have the first ones of these out by the end of September but I do have some learning to do and not on something that comes easy to me.
- In the next couple of months, I will be tweaking my website here. My web-guru is fabulous but very busy and so again, I some learning to do. I hope to add a shopping cart so that you can purchase directly from my site. In addition, I want to change some things cosmetically.
- I’ve been on the Goodreads app for a while now but just recently, actually went to their site. That means I’ve just made my author profile there. There isn’t much to see there except a list of all the books I’ve read so far this year (minus the few at the beginning of the year that I forgot about before I signed up for Goodreads). I decided not to even attempt to go backwards and enter in other things I’ve read. I’d be there forever and never remember everything. I have also stopped putting in books in progress for the most part. I don’t finish books if they are a 1 or 2 star review and I don’t want anyone to feel bad about that. The reasons why I don’t like a book may have nothing to do with your writing and everything to do with what is going on in my life or a style choice that I just don’t like for that genre.
- I’m still planning on being at Rivers of Ink on October 12 & 13. Family things have been in the way of me attending the planning meetings and so I have very little idea on what I am doing there but I will be there.
Hope you all have a grand day and don’t forget the sunblock.
Whether you’re out on the water, in the water, or by the water; whether you’re eating barbecue chicken, steaks, or veggies; whether you’re at home, camping, or with your family; I hope you all have a grand Fourth of July.
For our troops past, present, and future who make it possible for each of us to appreciate all the things, big and small, that makes America great—Thank you.
Tonight is the Season 3 finale of The Vampire Diaries. Rumor has it that Elena will (finally!) make her choice. The anticipation has put an extra bounce in my step for days now and a smile across my face.
Everyone who knows me knows I am a huge Damon fan. I am not Team Damon (or Delena fan as my daughter is quick to correct me) though just because he is the ‘bad boy’ or because he is very blessed in the looks department. Oh I have reasons. I do indeed. And some of them have to do with Miss Elena herself.
Damon has been evolving and changing ever since he came in contact with Elena. He has become softer and more in control of his actions when he is emotional. Early on and even in the distant past, Damon has been ruled by his emotions. He reacted and acted from an emotional place. He loved Katherine so much, he didn’t blink twice when he discovered she was a vampire and drank her blood willingly. He similarly dropped out of the army when he grew bored and homesick. As a vampire, when people hurt him he lashed out by hurting (or more often killing via neck snap or heart rip) others. He was the epitome of impulsive.
As time passes in Elena’s company, he has become better at controlling his impulses and thinking of the consequences before taking action. He has learned to consider the feelings of others and not just his own. Damon is maturing…after 140 plus years.
Meanwhile, Elena started off very much in charge of her emotions. Deeply in grief over her parents’ deaths, she worked hard at maintaining a ‘normal’ façade. She made decisions with her head and not her heart. As the show has gone on, she has let her emotions rule her more in that she has become self-sacrificing to save those around her. Finally this season she fights now for the things she wants instead of putting herself on an altar to be sacrificed and hoping everything would all work out. Elena has also become a lot more ‘practical’ lately. This point was illustrated most when she (a doppelganger and therefore supernatural) stabs Alaric to allow his ring to work when she found him stabbed and dying in her house. Exposure to vampires and Damon has given Elena edge and has hardened her. She has gone from prey to fighter in this world she has found herself in.
In the beginning Damon and Elena would not have worked together but because they have changed over time they are very attractive together and they work.
What About Stefan?
To be fair, if I am going to pair Elena with Damon, I have to reject Stefan (the other side of the triangle). Her goes:
Part of why I don’t like Stefan with Elena is purely subjective. I just don’t feel the chemistry between those two characters. It feels surface deep only. The actors are great but for me, those two characters don’t click, they are only going through the motions of a romantic relationship. I think they truly and deeply care for each other but it more of a platonic caring.
Stefan is entirely too governed by his ideals and his head. Except for when lets his ripper side out in which case he has no control whatsoever. Stefan can’t control both sides of his personality though he has made great strides in the last half of this season. He still seems to have his emotions locked up firmly and doesn’t fight for Elena. He is content to stand back and let her choose. While I admire both brothers for respecting Elena enough to let it be her choice, Stefan has stepped back so far that it seems as if he is still wary of his feelings for Elena. If he lets them out they will take over again.
Tonight I hope we see Elena choose Damon. I’d like to see those two as a couple for a while. Since the series isn’t over yet, that won’t mean that they will get to stay together but for now, I’d like to explore a Damon-Elena relationship.
dystopia— noun: an imaginary place where everything is as bad as it can be
I don’t know about you but I am one of those that tries really hard not to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else. In fact the more popular something becomes the harder I try to resist. The Hunger Games was that for me. The more people came to me and told me how good it was the more I didn’t want to try it. After all, how could anything live up to that hype?
Then I saw the first Hunger Games movie teaser. I thought, Maybe I could check out a copy at work. However, since I don’t work for a couple days I should check to see how much the nook book cost. It was on sale, so I touched that little “buy” button and I was hooked. That was in early January. Since then I’ve read several books about teens set in a dystopian future and I am looking around for more to put my hands on.
The following is a list of the books I’ve read and my thoughts on them.
Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: The first couple of chapters of Hunger Games was all right but not great. I definitely couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. After the first couple of chapters, I was unknowingly sucked in and not released until the final page was read. I loved it. Katniss was a character I could relate to and cheer for. And she uses a bow. I use to participate in archery tournaments when I was a teenager though I am/was no where near as good a shot as she is. Peeta was an ordinary boy who acted like a prince. I fell a little bit in love with him myself. As soon as payday rolled around I slowly bought the second two books in the series and I tried to savor them. No matter what I did they went by way too fast. I finished Mockingjay two days ago and I am seriously considering rereading the whole series again today.
Delirium, Pandemonium (Release Date 2/28/2012) by Lauren Oliver: In this series, love is a disease and there is a cure for it that is administered when you are 18. If you are given the surgery earlier, complications can arise. Lena is counting down the days until she will be old enough for the cure, hoping that she won’t get the disease beforehand. Of course she meets someone and succumbs to the disease. I greatly enjoyed these books and became heavily invested in Lena’s relationships with her boyfriend and her best friend. The world-building was rich and gritty and detailed. Warning: Book One ends in a cliffhanger and Book Two’s cliffhanger makes the first one seem like a crack in a sidewalk. Waiting for book three is going to be torture. Argh!
Matched, Crossed by Ally Condie: In this series, Society (yes, with a capital S) controls everything about your life; your job, your education, your entertainment, how many kids you have, and who you marry. For Cassia, she can’t wait until she is Matched with her future husband. When she sees the face of her best friend Xander on the port screen she couldn’t be happier but then another familiar face flashes across the screen. Has a mistake been made? Curiosity prompts her to seek out Ky, the strange boy who lives down the street and her very carefully arranged Match begins to get messed up. This series is a lot slower paced than the previous two but the world is just as interesting. In this case, the world keeps me reading more than the characters do. Crossed ended with some revelations and twists that definitely want me to go back for more.
Partials (Release Date 2/28/2012) by Dan Wells: In the future, humans have created artificial people to fight their wars for them. After the wars, the Partials, as these soldiers are called, want equal rights and rebel against humanity. During this war, a virus is released that kills off 99.9% of all humans. The remaining 40,000 are living on Long Island and struggling for survival. The RM virus is still killing; killing off every baby within days of being born. Without new babies, humanities days are numbered. Our protagonist, Kira, is a medic-in-training with a knack for research and she has an idea about where to find the cure to RM. Unfortunately, her idea will involve her defying the government. This book has a lot less in the romance subplot than the previous ones listed her but there is the tiniest thread that begins near the last third of the story. This story is all about survival and fear and how to get one despite the other. It is gritty and raw and a wonderful read. I can’t wait to read the next book.
Any and all of these I’d recommend to teens through adults. If you would rather skip the romance subplot then I would recommend the Hunger Games trilogy or Partials. If you like your romance subplot front and center, Delirium or Matched would be better. All of them are good and well worth your reading time.
Dystopias may be places that are as bad as can be but dystopian settings are darn good in my opinion.
Note: As a bookseller I occasionally have access to Advanced Readers Copies of books and that is how I was able to read Pandemonium and Partials before their release dates. Lucky me.
No self-respecting child of the 80’s can miss seeing this commercial. You’ll have a smile on your face from the opening scene until the final fade to black.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: The Sorta Sequel