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Mar 27, 2015

What I Came Home With

If ever I needed more proof of the fact I should not be let loose around books on my own… my recent trip to Oregon has provided it.

Buying the books didn’t really faze me (half of them were given to me)… it was putting all 13 of those beauties in my carryon duffel and lugging it around an airport.

Two copies of Prudence (book the first: Custard Protocol series) purchased at Powells during Gail Carriger’s book signing.

While at Powells, I also picked up copies of God’s War and Infadel by Kameron Hurley, as well as the White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov.

The friend I stayed with on Wednesday and Thursday nights of the trip had been collecting some inexpensive, used romances for me for a time and so I snagged those from her while I was there.

And then I met up with Author Tiffany Reisz for coffee and talking on Friday where she was gracious enough to give me two copies of The Virgin (one of which could be yours – check back on Tuesday!)

And that is how I wound up with a very heavy bag on my return trip!

Mar 16, 2015

Quick Editing Tips: Dialog Tags

Why tags are important – Conversations (especially ones where more than two people are involved) can get confusing to your reader if you don’t identify who’s doing the talking.


I’m tired,” Allie said.
“If you want to take a nap, you can.” Jerry gestured toward the sofa. “We’ll be here a few hours yet.”
“Or I can make some coffee,” Scott said.
“It’s too late for coffee.”
“Yeah, no one wants to be jittery when she gets here.”

Without identifying those last two lines, you don’t know whether Allie or Jerry speaks first. Does it matter? Not always, but it will bug some of your readership, and that is enough of a reason to care.

Why you shouldn't go overboard – There’s something to be said for variety, but when you spend too much time in your thesaurus looking for ways to replace “said” you’re going to wind up with dialog that has readers rolling their eyes.


I’m tired,” Allie whined.
“If you want to take a nap, you can,” Jerry sighed, gesturing toward the sofa. “We’ll be here a few hours yet.”
“Or I can make some coffee,” Scott offered.
“It’s too late for coffee,” Jerry grumbled
“Yeah,” Allie whispered, “no one wants to be jittery when she gets here.”

Oddly, the variety gets repetitive, sure these words help to set tone and mood, but too much gets in the way.  Readers tend to skim the word “said” and flow through your dialog more easily when they don’t have to stop each time someone says something to read how they said it.

Mar 13, 2015

5 Times I Didn't Get Past The Sample

So in the past month or so, I’ve been trying out random reads via Amazon’s samples for kindle books. Some of these were recommendations, some of them are random finds, but here are 5 that just didn’t work for me, and why. If you think I'm wrong, or want to read the samples to find out for yourself, I've linked the titles to their pages on Amazon.

Why I looked into it: Someone who liked my SFR suggested I consider this one.
Why I didn’t chose to read further: The writing itself isn’t bad in this, but my TBR pile is so long already that I’ve gotten pretty picky about what I’ll take my time on, and in the recc I was warned that this one is long (the GR page puts it at 1277 pages! Yikes!), so when I read the sample and wasn’t really into the pages (it’s a little too much doom and gloom imo) I couldn’t see myself choosing to read this one over any of the books in my Physical TBR Pile.

Why I looked into it: Twitter love from some author people I follow.
Why I didn’t chose to read further: I love a good short SFR for reading in between things, but this one didn’t pull me in. It was another case of perfectly fine writing, but by the time I got to the end of the kindle sample, I didn’t really care to read on. It starts with a declaration of the MMC’s impending death, and at that point, I don’t care enough about the character to be bothered to wonder if/how he’ll manage to survive.

Why I looked into it: This is an unpublished first book by an established fantasy author that boasts annotation. I snagged the sample because I wanted to know exactly what that meant.
Why I chose not to read further: I was hoping for more. The story itself is poorly written (which it’s up front about from the get go) but the annotations are few and far between and, honestly, I don’t think they’re funny enough or useful enough to warrant buying the book and slogging through the bad prose.

Why I looked into it: A friend’s husband is reading this and suggested I might enjoy it.
Why I chose not to read further: Any book that starts with a list of characters this long is probably not going to be for me. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t get past the first paragraph of this. The prose felt bloated and at 934 pages… I start to have GRRM worries (How much of this book is going to bore me with conflated descriptions of food and clothing and sex?). Another reason this first pgf kills it for me lies in my worry that if you’re going to give me a full sentence paragraph to start and it’s about how your character was conceived legitimately… well, your book probably just isn’t for me.

The Settlers
Why I looked into it: I’ve heard some good things here and there about the author and it popped up in a “people who looked at this book looked at this one too” type section.
Why I chose not to read further:
The first page is like reading a boring “Earth is dead” history lesson. It starts with a main character who’s five and doesn’t remember anything before. Then jumps to a very distant narration that feels preachy.

If you think I'm wrong about any of these, please do make your case for why I need to keep reading in the comments. Or, tell me about a book you tried out but couldn't get past the sample

Mar 10, 2015

Out Today: Gravity Darkening

Those of you who preordered it will already know, but the second of my Lunar Colony VI short stories is out today.

As an eclipse bathes Lunar Colony VI in darkness, power failures and more foul play turn Nala's day into a nightmare. 

Buy links for the series below:

Safety Zone
Gravity Darkening
Zero Proximity (available for pre-order, releases 3/24/15)
Terminal Shift (April)
Non-Passive Failure (April

Mar 9, 2015

Movie Review: Sunshine

I know this movie is a little old - 2007, and I've seen it more than a few times, but I felt the need to talk about it today.

With an amazing cast, a gripping plot and some serious questions about humanity and the longevity of the species... I'm amazed so few of the people I know have seen this.


The movie takes us to a space ship headed on the second mission to restart the sun and save the Earth.  And thankfully, the movie doesn't start with the decision to send them out, because gosh, that would have been a drag.

You quickly learn this is a story about people who are sacrificing so much of their lives - in fact, they fully expect that they might not make it back home. It is a teensy bit slow because of that. We're introduced to this wonderfully constructed ship, and the people who live there, heading to complete their mission. Thankfully, things start to go wrong pretty quickly. And the way they go wrong is a wonderful example of how to build tension!

The Twist: 

The second ship and it's monstrous surprise puts the movie squarely in the psythriller category. And I love the way they shot pin backer. I imagine (as I wasn't lucky enough to see this in a theater) that in the dark, surrounded by strangers, that had to have been SO freaky.


This film has a pleasantly diverse cast which always makes me happy.

Oddly, the main characters aren't what make the movie's story worth it for me. Cillian Murphy's performance is fairly normal for him. It's expected, which is nice, but meeting expectations doesn't equal note worthy.

Michelle Yeoh and Rose Byrne's characters were lovely. I was really happy to see two female characters in a SF film that weren't demonized for their femininity.

But my favorite character in the film was Mace.
If I ever ran into Chris Evans randomly and he asked my favorite role he's ever played... it would be Mace. (I know a lot of people who would say Cap... while Steve Rodgers is great, he's still second in my list). Mace is a character who wouldn't win any "nice" contests, but his convictions are extremely stable. He has one goal and he knows that he, and others, will probably have to die in order to reach that goal. I really appreciate that - and I appreciate that he doesn't hesitate to do what needs to be done, even when it means he will sustain bodily harm.