Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

Here's a picture I did in pencil crayon of Spawn (quite) a few years back. Hope it puts you in the mood for trick or treating (or partying).

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Friday 30 October 2009

Free Small Press E-Books on Halloween

Thanks to SF Signal for posting about the e-book giveaway by Gryphonwood Press and Blade Red Press. Here's the press release:

Publishers Provide Halloween Treat!

October 29, 2009 — Ebook lovers will be getting a special treat this Halloween. On October 31, Gryphonwood Press, along with Australian-based Blade Red Press, will be giving away their entire catalog of electronic books for free. The giveaway includes popular speculative fiction titles in a variety of sub-genres, as well as thrillers and an anthology of short fiction. “There is something here for every reader,” says Blade Red’s Alan Baxter.

Books will be available through ebook distributor Smashwords in multiple electronic formats, including Kindle-compatible. Thriller author David Wood sees this as an opportunity for authors from both publishing houses to broaden their readerships. “Ebooks are an integral part of the future of publishing, and I’m excited to be a part of this promotion.” Visit the websites at Gryphonwood Press and Blade Red Press for details.

# # #

Here are the codes you need to download the books:

Cibola by David Wood- SJ79G
Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer- MK29P
Death Dealt the Hand by John E. Bailor- CT72U
Dourado by David Wood- QX73J
Flank Hawk by Terry W. Ervin II- DM58A
The Silver Serpent by David Debord- MG27T
Street: Empathy by Ryan A. Span- KK37T
You Don't Know What You've Got... anthology- RD33A
Seabird- An Invitation by Sherry Thompson- QW23Y

RealmShift by Alan Baxter – DK99C
MageSign by Alan Baxter – HH65A
Ghost Of The Black by Alan Baxter – Already free at Smashwords.

Maggots Of Heresy by Michael Fridman – Already free at Smashwords.

I must say, Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer at Gryphonwood looks very interesting.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Vampire Reunion - College Humor

All the great vampires get together to inaugurate a great battle...

Infinite Flikr: The Movie

This isn't sci-fi or fantasy related but it is pretty cool so I'm posting it here.

A couple years ago my husband (known as "Monkiineko" on Flickr) put together all the photos posted (at the time) to the Flickr group, Infinite Flickr, and set up animated transitions from one to the next to make a continuous video from the images entitled "Infinite Flickr: The Movie".

The music is "Tribute" by Eric Hamilton - check out his royalty free music at and click on the "Music Archive" link in his right hand navigation column.

If you wish to download a high quality version of this video, you can use the following link:
105 image version (H.264 codec, 640x480, 30fps) 167 seconds, 19.5 MB
(right click the link and use "Save Link As..." or "Download Linked File")

Friday 23 October 2009

R. A. Salvatore video clips

My husband showed me how I could upload the videos faster, so here are two more clips from R. A. Salvatore's book signing at the World's Biggest Bookstore. Once again, sorry for the quality of the videos (which will probably be worse than the one I posted yesterday).

In the first video he's explaining why he started writing and why he chose to write fantasy over other genres.

In the second video he's answering the question of how he disciplines himself to write and how he handles writer's block. It's a great response. If you find yourself constantly procrastinating when it comes to your own writing, I'd highly recommend listening to his advice.

Thursday 22 October 2009

R. A. Salvatore in Toronto

As promised, here is a video clip from the R. A. Salvatore signing last night at the World's Biggest Bookstore. In the picture he's being introduced to the audience by the marketing director of Random House Canada, Mike Fuhr.

Mr. Salvatore spoke of the 4 projects he's currently working on, his influences when it comes to writing and several other topics. I took these video clips with my camera so I apologize for their less than professional quality. :)

In this video Mr. Salvatore is asked why the heroes in his books are all highly moral characters and what sources he got those ideals from.

I have two more videos to post but uploading time is such that I can't add them today anymore. Look for them tomorrow.

Friday 16 October 2009

R. A. Salvatore Author Interview

Books: Again, too many to list. Check out his website.

Most recent books: Orc King
Pirate King
Ghost King

The Dame


If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

Sure, until I had to take a shower with cold water.

Seriously, there is a certain purity in fantasy worlds that I wish existed in our world. The idea that one person can be the hero, can slay the dragon and save the town, is very appealing to me, as is the idea of having a very clear reason to go to battle. I’d love to visit the unspoiled lands of Icewind Dale, or the great monastery of St. Mere Abelle in DemonWars. I’d love to be the Highwayman, robbing the lairds to help the ordinary folk get by. Of course I would.

Isn’t that why we read fantasy, after all?

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

The hardest scene for me to write, ever, was the last part of Brother Francis’s tale in the book Mortalis. I wrote that book while watching my best friend, my brother Gary, wither away from cancer, and Francis came to symbolize Gary’s struggle for me, a struggle I knew he could not win, as much as I wanted to deny it.

Any time you kill a character, or send some of your favorites off on a different road, it’s difficult. I remember way back when writing The Halfling’s Gem, when I thought I had killed Catti-brie. I had to take a break and go for a walk. It really hits hard.

What's the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing is that I get to escape from our world as a matter of course. When I get going, it’s like I’m there in the story; I get the same thrill from writing that most people get from reading, and I’m constantly surprised by the twists and turns in the stories I write.

The worst thing is that, like every writer, I’m cursed. I can’t escape a book. It won’t leave me alone, won’t get out of my head. It’s with me when I’m driving. It’s with me when I go to bed and when I wake up.

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer. I mean that, and not at all facetiously. You write because you have to write, because if you’re not writing, you’re miserable. You write because you have all these stories inside of you, clawing at your skin and demanding to be told. One thing I want to make very clear here: writing and publishing are two different things. I write because I’ve got the curse, because I have to write, because I won’t be happy unless I’m telling my stories. I publish because, since I’m writing anyway, I might as well share the stories.

So, as far as advice on publishing goes, I’d say, go to the library and look in The Writer’s Market. Learn the business end of the business, and send the publishers exactly what they want, content and format. And as soon as you mail out your work, forget about it and get back to writing, and never, ever forget that you are a writer if you’re writing. Publishing is just the icing on that very tasty cake.

How do you discipline yourself to write?

I’m a professional writer. I’m my own boss. Without discipline, I fail, period. There are many days where I’d rather be out in the sunshine, or watching a ball game, or getting an ice cream, but I have deadlines and I have responsibilities.

You don’t need to have that sense of responsibility to be a writer, but you need it to be a professional writer. And here’s the most important thing I’ve learned: once you start typing, you’ll fall back into the work and very quickly forget anything else you thought you’d rather be doing.

Remember R. A. Salvatore's blog tour continues tonight on Suvudu ( 7-8 EST,
and tomorrow at Fantasy Book Critic (

Thursday 15 October 2009

The Mermaid's Madness - Jim C. Hines

Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid is a horribly depressing story. Jim Hines takes that story and makes it even more horrifying. So yet another princess missed out on her 'happily ever after'. Only this time the princess strikes back. Against those who hurt her and those who want to help her.

The Mermaid's Madness begins with the Lorindar nobles welcoming the return of the undine (merfolk) from their annual hybernation. Only this time the undine aren't happy to see the humans. The subsequent attack lands one noble greviously wounded and embroils Danielle, Talia and Snow in an adventure with consequences none of them are ready for.

The novel is fast paced, with well defined characters. Readers who haven't read The Stepsister Scheme will be confused by one or two points left unexplained from the first book, but won't otherwise have any trouble reading this book on its own. The true joy of this series is figuring out how Mr. Hines has twisted otherwise familiar (or not, depending on the version you read as a child) fairy tales. And this one is twisted indeed.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Steampunk Take Two

I had several comments on my steampunk reading list:

Thanks to those who added new books to the list (Nuno, Josef, ediFanoB, manly28s, Jeff, Roger & Rob Ward).

Here are their additions, as well as the display from the store where I've got steampunk featured this month (and my reason for creating the list). The empty space at the top was filled with Soulless by Gail Carriger last week. Imagine some still there if you'd like. Also, the bottom row contains cyberpunk as I couldn't think of enough titles at the time to properly fill the endcap. I'll have to add a few of the following books to my order lists!

I didn't really examine these new steampunk titles, so I'm not taking credit for the list or being held responsible in case of disputes. :)

A Nomad of the Time Streams trilogy - Michael Moorcock
Infernal Devices - K.W. Jeter (out of print in Canada)
Lord Kelvin's Machine - James Blaylock
The List of Seven, Six Messiahs - Mark Frost
Anubis Gates - Tim Powers
Osiris Ritual - George Mann (unavailable in Canada)
Pax Britannia: Unnatural History - Jonathan Green
PB: El Sombra - Al Ewing
PB: Leviathan Rising - Jonathan Green
PB: Human Nature - Jonathan Green
PB: Evolution Expects - Jonathan Green
The House of Storms - Ian MacLeod
The Alchemy Stone - Ekaterian Sedia
Thunderer, Gears of the City - Felix Gilman
Flaming London - Joe Lansdale
Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel - Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, The Dark Volume - Gordon Dahlquist
The Dungeon series - Philip Jose Farmer
Perdido Street Station - China Mieville
Airborne, Skybreaker - Kenneth Oppel
His Dark Materials series - Philip Pullman

I found steampunk to be harder to define as a genre than I used to believe when I put this endcap together. I characterized steampunk as
1) takes place in Victorian London
2) uses steam or steam derived technology

There's a lot of leeway there, but there's also a lot of ambiguity. I'd considered Anubis Gates by Tim Powers while making my list but considered it more time travel than steampunk. Similarly Felix Gilman's series isn't on Earth, so can it be steampunk? Then again, Soulless is more of an urban fantasy than steampunk despite it's Victorian setting as there's not much technological examination going on. And I've read the Golden Compass and it didn't even occur to me that it was steampunk until someone mentioned it (but in retrospect it covers my 2 criteria). In examining my criteria, if it has to take place in England, that would kick out Cherie Priest's Boneshaker, which takes place in North America, and is most definitely steampunk. It would also kick out Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, which takes place during World War I. And then there are books like Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. Does it count as steampunk if the author LIVED during the period in question?

Does anyone else have this sub-genre classifying problem? Where a story seems to fit more than one genre or where you hesitate to group it into another category? (Like Pax Britannia, which I put under alternate history, and so didn't consider that it was also steampunk.)

* added note: Obviously based on the books in my previous list and the one above my practical definition of steampunk is broader than my original definition allows. As someone commented on this page, wikipedia has a great definition.

Sunday 11 October 2009

R. A. Salvatore Blog Tour

In addition to his live book tour, R. A. Salvatore will be doing a book tour at various blogs throughout the coming week. Be sure to check back here Friday Oct. 16th for my portion. And here are the rest of his stops:

Monday, 10.12.09


Tuesday, 10.13.09


Wednesday, 10.14.09


Thursday, 10.15.09

Elitist Book Reviews

Friday, 10.16.09

Suvudu (7:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST)

Saturday, 10.17.09

Fantasy Book Critic

And remember, October 21st 7 pm, meet him live at the World's Biggest Bookstore in Toronto!

Friday 9 October 2009

Steampunk Reading List

As Tor has made this Steampunk month, I figured it's a great time to post my steampunk endcap/reading list. Again, this isn't the most comprehensive list you can find. I purposely avoided books I didn't consider steampunk (the definition for steampunk seems to be broader than I've ever considered with books showing up in searches that I would call time travel or cyberpunk books). Anyway, here's my list.

Soulless - Gail Carriger
Affinity Bridge - George Mann
Clockwork Heart - Dru Pagliassotti
Whitechapel Gods - S.M. Peters
Extraordinary Engines - Nick Gevers, Ed.
Court of the Air, Kingdom Beyond the Waves, Rise of the Iron Moon - Stephen Hunt
Swiftly - Adam Roberts
Mainspring, Escapement - Jay Lake
Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
Difference Engine - William Gibson & Bruce Sterling
Steampunk - Ann & Jeff Vandermeer, Ed.
Homunculus - James Blaylock
Light Ages - Ian MacLeod

Mortal Engines, Infernal Devices, Predator's Gold - Philip Reeve
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Thursday 8 October 2009

Interesting SF Sites

Here are a few things I've seen around the web recently.

Star Wars baby costumes. Very cute, especially the Chewbacca costume.
Courtesy of:

Some pretty amazing science fiction themed cakes, over at Sci-Fi Wire:

And last but not least, superhero My Little Ponies! Wish these had been around back when I played with them.

I found three new ones today (Oct 9th) and figured I'd add them here.

Baked goods for geeks 1:

Baked goods for geeks 2:


Wednesday 7 October 2009

R.A. Salvatore Booksigning In Toronto!

R. A. Salvatore will be doing a booksigning in Toronto at the World's Biggest Bookstore October 21st at 7 pm. It's the only Canadian stop on his tour. In conjunction with his live tour, he's also doing an online blog tour. So come back on October 16th to see part of an ongoing Q&A with the author! Check out his other blog stops and, if you're in one of the cities listed below, go see him in person.

The Ghost King Book Tour
Tuesday September 15, 2009
Book Tour for The Ghost King, featuring R.A. Salvatore:


San Diego, CA: 10.06.09
Mysterious Galaxy Books, 7 pm
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Los Angeles, CA: 10.07.09
Cerritos Library, 7 pm
18025 Bloomfield Ave
Cerritos, CA 90703
Seattle, WA: 10.08.09
University Book Store, 7 pm
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Spokane, WA: 10.09.09
Auntie’s Bookstore, 7:30 pm
402 W. Main
Spokane, WA 99201
Portland, OR: 10.10.09
Wordstock, 5:00 pm
Portland Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232


Atlanta, GA: 10.19.09
Georgia Center for the Book, 7:15 pm
Decatur Library Auditorium Georgia
Perimeter College
215 Sycamore Street
Decatur, GA 30030
St. Louis, MO: 10.20.09
Left Bank Books, 7 pm
399 N Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Toronto, ON: 10.21.09
World’s Biggest Bookstore, 7 pm
20 Edward Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1C9
West Chester, PA: 10.22.09
Chester County Book Co., 7:30 pm
975 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380
Johnstown, NY: 10.23.09
Mysteries On Main Street, 7 pm
144 West Main Street
Johnstown, NY 12095
Poughkeepsie, NY: 10.24.09
Barnes & Noble Poughkeepsie, 12 pm
2518 South Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
This list is from his website:

Tuesday 6 October 2009

The Light of Burning Shadows - Chris Evans

The second book in the Iron Elves series starts immediately where A Darkness Forged in Fire finishes. The Iron Elves are clearing the Shadow Monarch's sarka har and rakkes from the 7 islands in the Onmedan Sea before heading to the desert to pick up the original Iron Elves. Or so Major Konowa believes. It turns out there are other reasons to head for the desert, and other magics at play. For a second star is returning, and several powerful people would like control of it.

This book deals primarily with the fall out of the first book's actions. Those actions are only moderately explained, so you might want to reread the last few chapter of A Darkness before starting Light. The Iron Elves are not happy with the curse they're under or the power that comes with it. Private Alwyn Renwar has to deal with an artificial leg and the knowledge that death won't stop his pain. And when magical white fire seemingly sets one of their compatriots free of the curse, death suddenly doesn't seem such a high price to pay in order to achieve that freedom.

A lot of authors forget that a large part of the story, especially when it comes to battle, is the downtime between confrontations and how the soldiers deal with the stresses that come from a military lifestyle. Chris Evans brings all of this in nicely, allowing the characters to develop from caricature soldiers into real people.

The pacing is quick though at times it feels little is happening in the story as there's a lot more political intrigue than outright fighting. But it's a quick read and the ending has several surprises that will have you wishing the next book were already out.

Friday 2 October 2009

Gail Carriger - Author Interview




1. Pitch the first novel of your series.

Soulless is Jane Austen does urban fantasy meets PG Wodehouse does steampunk. It features a soulless spinster confronting Queen Victoria's grumpy werewolf investigator over the issue of lisping vampires.

2. What are your favourite three books?

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip, The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce.

3. What made you want to be a writer?

A healthy does of insanity mixed with a reckless disregard for my own survival topped with ingrained escapist tendencies.

4. In the books you’ve written, who is you favourite character and why?

I adore Lord Akeldama because he is so deliciously fun to write – all that mad italic-wielding action. I also like Professor Lyall because he has hidden depths and wears a waistcoat of plenty, and Ivy Hisselpenny for her sheer ridiculousness.

5. If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

Good gracious no! Victorian London, even with the supernatural mucking about, is no place for an independently minded female with a mad passion for exotic foodstuffs. That said, if I could actually be Lord Akeldama I might be tempted, I'd enjoy leading such an outrageous life.

6. What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

I believe I wrote a cerebral and undoubtedly allegorical novel about calico cats and flying carpets. It took me a couple of days and was, my mother claims, a masterpiece of modern literature. I was eight.

7. What was the hardest scene for you to write?

In Soulless it was definitely the nookie scenes. I don't mind admitting it – I hate to write nookie. I always end up embarrassing myself.

8. If you still have one, what’s your day job?

I moonlight as an archaeologist. No really, that's the truth. I just got back from the Peruvian Highlands where I've been analyzing the pottery from a fascinating long-occupation site (Wari – Inca – Colonial). I start teaching a crop of unsuspecting undergraduates in just a few weeks, poor things.

9. What is your university degree in?

I have a BA in Archaeology, an MS in Archaeological Materials, and an MA in Anthropology. I got the book contract and left academia before finishing my PhD. Oddly enough, I have absolutely no regrets.

10. When and where do you write?

When I'm on a deadline I write in the afternoons from about 2 to 6 at my desk at home. If I'm doing really badly at making my daily word count I remove myself to a nearby independent coffee shop. If I'm doing really, really badly than it's off to the library.

11. Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Honestly and rather crudely? 1. Sit your arse in that chair and write. 2. When you're done writing only then do you get to edit. 3. Give it to three highly critical people to attack with red pens. 4. Fix it and submit it. 5. Let it go, sit your arse back down and write something else as different from the first as possible. 6. Wash and repeat.

12. Any tips against writers block?

Read something non-fiction that relates in some way to what you are writing. Writing SF? Read the latest Scientific America. Fantasy? How about a book on medieval cooking? The other thing to do is to put a note in the margin, skip the part that is giving you trouble, and just keep writing.

13. How do you discipline yourself to write?

I use shameless bribery: cup of tea if I finish the chapter, sushi every 25k, new shoes when I finish the first draft. I also punish myself. If I haven't made my word count I can't watch TV. Not even if it's Project Runway.

14. How many rejection letters did you get for your first novel or story?

Counting both agents and editors, my first book (which remains unsold and unsellable) collected at least fifty rejections over about six years. As a result, I developed my "let it go, sit your arse back down and write something else different" rule. During those six years I'd managed to sell a few short stories. I realized editors only bought comedy from me. So I wrote a comedic novel. Soulless got picked up out of a slush pile within two months.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in November 2009


War Hammer 40K: Blood Pact – Dan Abnett
Nightchild – James Barclay
Elegy Beach – Steven Boyett
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart – Jesse Bullington
Death Masks – Jim Butcher
First Lord's Fury – Jim Butcher
Wings of Creation – Brenda Cooper
The Dragon Book – Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, Ed.
Makers – Cory Doctorow
Dan Dare: Safari in Space – Frank Hampson
Heart's Blood – Juliet Marillier
Time Travelers Never Die – Jack McDevitt
Destroyer of Worlds – Larry Niven & Edward Lerner
Halo: Evolutions – Various Artists
A Young Man Without Magic – Lawrence Watt-Evans
Torch of Freedom – David Weber & Eric Flint

Trade Paperback:

The House of the Stag – Kage Baker
The Magicians & Mrs. Quent – Galen Beckett
Exodus: the Ark – Paul Chafe
The Devil's Alphabet – Daryl Gregory
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2009 – Rich Horton, Ed.
ParaSpheres 2 – Ken Keegan, Ed.
The Infernal City – Greg Keyes
The Suicide Collectors – David Oppengaard
Diving Into the Wreck – Kristine Rusch
May Earth Rise – Holly Taylor
Finch – Jeff Vandermeer
An Evil Guest – Gene Wolf
The Cobra Trilogy – Timothy Zahn

Mass Market Paperback:

War Hammer: Chronicles of Malus Darkblade, vol. 2 – Dan Abnett
War Hammer 40K: Titanicus – Dan Abnett
Jailbait Zombie – Mario Acevedo
The Van Rijn Method – Poul Anderson
Crusade – Taylor Anderson
Mammoth Book of Merlin – Mike Ashley
Eberron: Son of Khyber – Keith Baker
Navigator – Stephen Baxter
Princeps Fury – Jim Butcher
Plague Zone – Jeff Carlson
Vampire Sunrise – Carole Douglas
The Better Part of Darkness – Kelly Gay
Arch Wizard – Ed Greenwood
Evil Ways – Justin Gustainis
Swallowing Darkness – Laurell Hamilton
Gentleman Takes a Chance – Sarah Hoyt
Torn – Julie Kenner
Unleashed – John Levitt
The Trouble with Heroes – Denise Little, Ed.
Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – James Luceno
Heir to Sevenwaters – Juliet Marillier
Magic the Gathering: Agents of Artifice – Ari Marmell
Chalice – Robin McKinley
Three Days to Dead – Kelly Mending
The Lord-Protector's Daughter – L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Magic in the Shadows – Devon Monk
The Golden Tower – Fiona Patton
The Battle of Devastation Reef – Graham Sharp Paul
Claws That Catch – John Ringo & Travis Taylor
Forgotten Realms: Fall of Highwatch – Mark Sehestedt
The Breath of God – Harry Turtledove
War Hammer: Forged by Chaos – C.L. Werner
Queen of Song & Souls – C.L. Wilson