The Showing

I spent the first weekend of the new year enjoying a variety of fun things: movies with the family, sledding with the kids, and time spent curled up with a good book. I’ve spent far too little time the past few months curled up with good books, and I mean to make up for it.

tswmjThe book I lost myself in this time was called The Showing, by Will Macmillan Jones. It’s a fantastically spooky tale about a spooky old house. It took me right back to my childhood, when I read every spooky book I could lay my hands on. And like the best of those old stories, this one had me shivering in anticipation. I half-expected something to jump out at me, but nothing ever did.

To break up all the spooky tension, there were a few lighter moments. I couldn’t help smiling at Evie’s collection of books (Cheyenne, by L.L. Wiedmeier; Leah, by A. Baker; and The Binding, by S. Dogra), all of which are real books that you should also check out. And this part had me giggling loud enough to make my family further question my sanity:

Across town, other resources were being wasted, but at least they weren’t mine. Evans pulled a load of cash out of his pocket and it vanished, just like that, into the pocket of a somewhat blowsy middle-aged lady who called herself a medium.

I put her down as an extra-large.

It takes a lot of skill to write good comedy, and at least as much to write good horror. Will Macmillan Jones excels in both areas. If you haven’t read his Banned Underground series, I highly recommend it.

As for me? I’ll be settling down with the next book in the Mister Jones series, Portrait of a Girl. I can’t wait! 🙂

Have you read any good books lately?

(c) 2016. All rights reserved.

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A Much Arranged Marriage, or, Further Adventures With Tallis and Friends

Cover A much arranged marriageAs I said, I spent a little time reading over the long Christmas weekend, and one of the things I read was A Much Arranged Marriage, the newest book in The Port Naain Intelligencer series by Jim Webster. As usual, poet Tallis Steelyard and friends have become embroiled in a mystery, though this time in a rather less dramatic fashion than in Flotsam or Jetsam. But just because it didn’t start with a bang doesn’t mean it didn’t finish with one:

Benor is asked to help warn off a blackmailer who appears to be threatening a young girl’s chances of marriage. But the deeper he digs, the more dangerous things become.

It all starts with a request for help from Tallis Steelyard’s patron, Mistress Bellin Hanchkillian. She seeks to help the granddaughter of a childhood friend, but nothing about the situation is exactly what it seems. Once Tallis and Benor were on the job, I couldn’t stop reading – I had to know what would happen next. I read the whole book in one sitting, which is both good and bad. It’s great because it’s nice to read something a little shorter every now and then, but it also kind of stinks because I’m always left wanting more. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have to wait long between installments! 🙂

If you haven’t yet read A Much Arranged Marriage, what are you waiting for? It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it.

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

And now for the review!


Yes, that’s right, it’s review time! Because nothing says weekend like books, glorious books. 🙂

Okay, fine, nothing says it’s the weekend like sleeping in, but that’s not the point.

Books. That’s the point.

And this book is a fantastic one.

Literally. 🙂

The people here are as harsh as the landscape, but they’re not without their warmth, and in a land of perpetual winter, warmth is important. Heck, even in a world not cursed with perpetual winter, warmth is important. The warmth Marishka finds is not exactly conventional, which makes her story all the more intriguing.

How do you survive as an outcast in a place as harsh as Ingary? Beyond that, how do you thrive?

Read this book and find out. Seriously, read it – if I keep talking, there will be spoilers. 🙂

Bleizgeist is wonderfully evocative and beautifully written, the kind of story that sticks with a person. I can’t wait to read it again.

You can find Bleizgeist for sale at Amazon US and UK, and you can even get it in paperback! And with a cover as beautiful as this one, you’ll want it in paperback. 😉

In case you missed the blurb earlier this week, here ’tis again:

Ingary is a harsh land. Cursed by a perpetual winter, the isolated little town has all but forget why they worship the wolf.

Marked by magic she cannot control, Marishka is an outcast. Alone and starving she is plagued by geiste, the unconscious minds of the people of Ingary, roaming the wilderness as they sleep. Attracted to the gramarye in Marishka’s blood, the geiste give her no rest. Losing herself to madness, she is saved when she chances to fall in love. But when her affair is discovered, all hope is taken from her.

Beaten and lovelorn, she resigns herself to death.

And then the wolf walks through her door, and Marishka recalls the meaning of Bleizgeist—the spirit of the wolf.

And if you were wondering about the author, you can find her at her website as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and at the Bookshine Bandit.

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

Bleizgeist!



Today I am over the moon excited to share a new book release with you. Bleizgeist, by the wonderful Hazel Butler, debuts today and I am beside myself with excitement. Hazel is a great friend, a wonderful author, and a talented artist, and I am so, so happy for her.

 Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter at the end – there’s a giveaway happening that you won’t want to miss!

Bleizgeist
Hazel Butler
Published by: Astrid Press
Publication date: December 15th 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, New Adult
Ingary is a harsh land. Cursed by a perpetual winter, the isolated little town has all but forget why they worship the wolf.

Marked by magic she cannot control, Marishka is an outcast. Alone and starving she is plagued by geiste, the unconscious minds of the people of Ingary, roaming the wilderness as they sleep. Attracted to the gramarye in Marishka’s blood, the geiste give her no rest. Losing herself to madness, she is saved when she chances to fall in love. But when her affair is discovered, all hope is taken from her.

Beaten and lovelorn, she resigns herself to death.

And then the wolf walks through her door, and Marishka recalls the meaning of Bleizgeist—the spirit of the wolf.

Goodreads / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Paperback

EXCERPT:

Eventually, I thought, death will come for me.

It was a comforting notion, and…

Ten things I learned from The Mighty Ducks

Today’s Writing 101 topic was to critique something that you’re passionate about, and since I’m passionate about my ’90s nostalgia (and since Bubbles wanted to watch it last night), I decided to review one of my favorite childhood movies, The Mighty Ducks.  All three movies in this series are fantastic; I’ve watched the first two (because we didn’t have the third one) so many times that I have them memorized.

And now, without further ado, here are ten things I’ve learned from watching The Mighty Ducks:

1. Sometimes the gentle approach is the best.  Soft hands – concentration, not strength.

2. It’s never too late to try again.  If Coach Bombay can try out for the minors at the end of the movie, then you can do anything you want.

3. A simple fraction can make a world of difference.  A quarter of an inch to the left and little Gordon’s puck would have gone in…but a quarter of an inch the other way and it would have missed completely.  It’s all about perspective.

4. Don’t quack at the principal, unless…

A bloody review

Today’s review is brought to you by the fine folks at Glass House Press and the letter S.

Why the letter S? Because you can’t have serpents in the Thames without it! 😀

Hold on, I hear you saying. Serpents? In the Thames? What on Earth are you talking about?

Very well, then, I’ll tell you: behind the cut!

Next up, it’s Flotsam or Jetsam!

Flotsam or JetsamAnd now, as promised, I’ve reviewed Flotsam or Jetsam, another book involving Tallis Steelyard and his compatriots:

Benor arrives in Port Naain intent on the simple task of producing a handbook for merchants. Then there is a murder, and a vengeful family who will stop at nothing to silence those who found the body. Suddenly Benor’s life is no longer simple.

I should have read this book first, I think, as it’s quite a good introduction to Tallis Steelyard.  He strikes me as the kind of person who could charm the scales off a snake, or at least the kind of person who thinks he could.  I found him highly entertaining, and very realistic – who among us hasn’t known someone with equal talents?

At any rate, Flotsam or Jetsam was a wonderful introduction to Port Naain and the world Tallis and his lovely wife Shena inhabit.  It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to read; I’d have had it finished in an afternoon, except that my kids seemed to think I should feed them.  It’s short enough to read in one sitting, but long enough to feel like a complete story, and it’s a good thing there are more stories to come from Port Naain and the colorful characters who inhabit that city because I’d love to pay the place another visit.

Check out Flotsam or Jetsam; it’s a wonderful story.  You won’t want to miss it.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Lambent Dreams: A Review

Lambent Dreams Cover5As promised, my review of Lambent Dreams.  What’s it about?  Poetry.  Plain and simple:

The Poetry of Tallis Steelyard. This appropriately slim volume is the fruit of a unique artistic collaboration, bringing together the writings of one of Port Naain’s most major minor poet with the personal commentary of an esteemed cartographer and traveller, and the guiding notes of an informed poet-critic. You cannot say you have not been warned.

The poetry in this book is endlessly fascinating.  I read the whole volume in the course of a morning, punctuated by short bursts of doing my day job, and I can’t wait to go back and read them over more closely to see if I can find some deeper meaning.  (If, of course, there is any deeper meaning.  Sometimes a poem is just a poem.)

My favorite bit is behind this cut!

Review time!

spindle-2000Joining Authonomy was my first step into the wider writing community. I know I’ve raved about the site before, but it really was a fantastic place at the time I was there. (Well, at the time I was active, anyway – I’m still actually there, but I haven’t logged in in ages.) Anyway, as a result of getting to know so many other authors, I’ve been introduced to some truly wonderful friends and some truly magical books.

Spindle, the first book in the Two Monarchies series, is one such book:

And now, the review!

The Ark_version 1You know, I really feel like I don’t read enough.  I mean, I read oodles of blogs, plus about a dozen articles a day from The Guardian, plus random articles on Facebook, and I always try to check in on Twitter at least once a day, but I don’t read nearly as many books as I used to.

I know, I know – writing is reading.  To write well, I need to read widely.

And the thing is, I love reading.  I actually really miss the days when I could zip through a book in a day or two.  Sometimes I still do, but it’s becoming more and more rare.  I just don’t make the time for it that I used to.

*cries*

But then this spring, I heard about this book called…