Writing Anniversaries

I was talking with a friend (We’ll call her B for sake of… well everything) about anniversaries recently. Writing anniversaries to be specific. She had a semi-important one coming up (her one year anniversary in a specific fandom) and was working on hitting a milestone number of stories written and posted in that fandom in time for it.

I commented that I didn’t think I’d ever marked my writing anniversary like she and another friend tend to. In fact, off the top of my head I couldn’t even remember when any of my writing anniversaries are. The more I thought about it though, the more I wondered when my writing anniversary (anniversaries) are.

The date I joined my writing group is easily discoverable and actually I do sort of celebrate that every year, although the group calls it a “birthday”. I simply needed to log into my account and access my information. I’ve been a proud member of my writing group since May 28, 2003.

My other two anniversaries are a little more difficult to discover. Not because I’m trying to hide them, but because the information isn’t online. One part was never online and the other has been removed for the time being.

So my next step was to discover my fanfic anniversary—the day I published my first fandom story. That took a little hunting through jump drives since I’m in the process of changing computers and moving my stories between sites. The first day I published a fanfic story was August 6, 2007.

There was one more anniversary I was interested in finding. The day I started writing my very first novel. While that novel will never see the light of day, that day is very important to me. Luckily the actual day was not just the day I started my novel, but also the first day of Operation Desert Storm: January 17, 1991. Now this isn’t the day I started writing, just the day I started my first novel.

So how about you? Do you celebrate writing anniversaries? Do you do anything special? I don’t normally, but I’m considering doing something this year. I’ll be hitting my 14, 10, and 26 year anniversaries this year. So at least one milestone this year!

Short but Poignant (Tested by Magic Review)

Normally when an author offers up a novella, I worry that some of the story will get lost in the rush for keeping it within word count. That didn’t happen with Jasmine Walt’s offering Tested by Magic. The first “short” story in Ms. Walt’s Baine Chronicles, Tested by Magic is a fabulous introduction to the heroine, Sunaya Baine, and does not require reading of any other book in the series (which isn’t to say you shouldn’t read the others.)

Tested by Magic gives us a glimpse into Sunaya’s start as an Enforcer, showing a different side to the girl readers might have met in Burned by Magic and allows us to see what she was like before she begins her journey. It’s a slightly different Sunaya (but not really) who starts her first day as an Enforcer: making friends with Annia (another enforcer) and searching for a lost little girl.

Sunaya struggles with her morals in this book, which underlays a nice little bit to things that will come up later in the series and characters that will be major players are introduced, but for the most part, this is a nice little introduction. For readers who aren’t quite ready to dive into the whole series, this is a nice little toe dip.

Me? I’ve read the first book and have the second book ready to cue up on my Kindle. You? Can rush over to your favorite eBook retailer right now and snag a pre-order of Tested by Magic. I highly recommend this one!

Pledge Review

Pledge by Christiana Gardner (Book One in the Witches of Coventry House) seems at first glance to be a story about a group of sorority sisters starting out on a new adventure. But secrets lurk within the walls of Coventry House; not just with the new pledges, but also among the sisters and the house mother.

The story mostly follows the group of pledges: Eden, Sarah, Hannah, Rebecca, Paige, Talia, Lexi, and Julie. Although you also see a lot of the pledge leader, Alex, and the house mother, Carolyn. Just as you are getting to know the girls, they start failing the “tests”. There is no hazing in Coventry House, but everything is a test. And failing means removal from Coventry House.

Although the idea of the story was interesting, I found myself wanting to get to the meat of the story. There was a lot of buildup and false “mystery” in the story and the only reason to keep reading was to find out what was happening, not why it was happening. Ms. Gardner seems to want to leave her reader craving more. Although this can be a good thing, too much leaves the reader frustrated. And I reached that point.

I got to the point where I was starting to make guesses on what Eden’s “problem” was and predicting Sarah’s reactions to things. I also guessed things like the true meaning of Coventry House long before the characters in the book which left me with an almost unfilled feeling. (I didn’t read the subtitle so that didn’t clue me in.)

Taking the story at face-value, it’s a nice little college romp that happens to have some paranormal elements. While it’s probably not something I’ll continue reading (it’s the first book in a series), I don’t regret trying this one.

Magic Unknown Review

I received an ARC copy of Magic Unknown for a true and unbiased review. I did not receive any monetary or other compensation for my work. Please be mindful of spoilers below.

Magic Unknown by Caethes Faron picks up right where Magic Born leaves off. Ms. Faron drops readers right back into the action, hoping and expecting that they will remember where they were when they finished the last book. The story picks up with Kat Thomas and her shifter guard, Alex, debating what their next move is in the hotel dining room. It quickly jumps into the action and doesn’t let up until the last page, keeping you turning (or swiping if you’re on an e-reader) long after you should be asleep.

New characters are introduced as Ms. Faron takes the reader through a portal into Elustria and almost immediately into a confrontation with the Council, who Kat believes has sent assassins to kill her. She’s given an ultimatum; discover evidence of what her mother was doing or be banished to the Vortex.

Bouncing back and forth between Elustria and Earth, the pace never lets up as Kat, Alex, and Millbrook race to discover what Kat’s mother was working on and find evidence to clear Kat.

My only complaint about the book is how it jumps right back into the story. It’s been a while since I read the first book and I had to really dig into my memory to recall what had been going on. Still this was a gripping read, carrying on from the ideas created in Magic Born and building on the idea of the gaming world. Ms. Faron has created a worthy world, building on the idea of the game, and making a beautiful world out of it.

I highly recommend Magic Unknown, but make sure you read Magic Born first!

Crimson Death

I’ve been reading Laurell K Hamilton’s books since I got the first omnibus from the Science Fiction Book Club. These books were focused on Anita Blake and her hunting of vampires. It also focused on her work with the police and the cases she solved with them. Of lesser focus was her rising of zombies, although it did have a lot to do with why she was needed by the police.

 

The last couple of books have been quite the departure from the first few though. Many of the more recent books have focused on Anita’s relationships and her “men”. I recently picked up Crimson Death, Hamilton’s most recent book, and was hoping it was a return to the prior books when I saw how thick it was.

 

Unfortunately I was sorely disappointed. Instead of a book focused on a case and the evil vampire… it was almost 650 pages of Anita’s relationships and emotional problems and metaphysical issues (again). I say 650 pages because they did spend about 50 pages on the actual case. While at first I was thrilled to see Edward back, I was quickly disappointed because so much of the book was devoted to Anita and her relationships and the actual case was pushed aside. Seriously, it took over 350 pages to even get her to Ireland! Honestly I’m just tired of all the drama.

 

I enjoy erotica in the right place and in the right situation, but I started reading these stories because I liked how badass Anita was. She’s not quite so badass anymore and all the characters I enjoyed have because simply sex-fodder. While I like porn without plot as much as the next person, that wasn’t what I was looking for when I started this series.

 

I won’t be reading another one of her books.

Radio Silence

I apologize that y’all haven’t heard much in the last few months, I moved and started a new job. And that job has been kicking. My. Butt!

I’m enjoying my new house, still working on unpacking, but the job is… well, a job. For now, I’ll be doing my best to keep things moving, but please don’t expect much unless I get some breaks.

Meanwhile “What Happens When the Prince…” is still avaliable on smashwords and Amazon. If you buy and read, please review!

 

I’ve got a Halloween prompt and I’m hoping to offer it up before the actual day, but no promises! See y’all soon!

Announcing…

rebkreyling

 

I’m pleased to announce the release of “When the Prince Didn’t Come In Time”, a rewrite of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale… or is it?

What would happen if the Prince didn’t come to wake Sleeping Beauty from her 100 year nap? Sometimes happily ever after… isn’t.

The release date is August 2nd and right now it’s only available on Kindle, but I have hopes that I’ll be putting it out on a broader platform (smashwords so it’s available on Nook, etc). I most likely won’t be releasing this one in print ever because it’s so short.

I had planned to release the cover a few days ago and then do another release when the book was available for pre-order, but my life got away from me.

You can preorder the story here.

Why Sirens?

A few days ago, I posted a review for Sirens and I hope y’all have had a chance to read it. And have now had a chance to pick up the book (it was released this past Tuesday). Today I have the genuine pleasure of introducing LS Johnson, one of the contributors to the anthology. LS speaks on “Why Sirens?” especially in reference to this day and age.

 

Check it out, check out more of the blog tour (I’ll try to see about updating the links later today or tomorrow). And make sure to pick up your copy of Sirens from your favorite retailer.

 

Why Sirens?

 

There are few original references to sirens: Jason and the Argonauts, Odysseus on his ship, a handful of others . . . If that wasn’t bad enough, the details are inconsistent. Sometimes they’re winged and sometimes they’re scaly and sometimes they’re just beautiful women, sometimes they eat men and sometimes they mourn them, sometimes there’s two and sometimes they’re five and sometimes they were changed against their will and sometimes they were always thus. It’s barely enough for an episode in a man’s journey.

 

Which is the only purpose they have: to provide a temptation that the hero can overcome, preferably while exhibiting his craftiness or proving himself more noble than his fellows.  But it makes me wonder about these beautiful temptresses.  What motivates them? What do they actually sing? What do they think about, what do they do with themselves, when they’re not ruining men? No one seems to know or care, because they’re not really people in the end; they’re temptation embodied, useful only to the extent that they serve the hero’s narrative.

 

Unless, of course, someone writes them otherwise.  

 

You can look at a project like Sirens in a couple different ways. You can view it as, say, reworking a trope—a fun exercise that can produce some amazing stories, for it has.

 

But as I type these words, my social media is filled with the outcome of the Stanford rape trial. The victim’s statement had me in tears; the backlash against her, and the messages in support of her rapist, have left me shaking with anger. In such a framework every act of voicing by a woman—whatever the content or the medium, whatever her race and creed, whether she is cis or trans, queer or straight—is an urgent and necessary act.

 

Julian Jaynes posits that Greek mythology arose from a time when humanity had no self-consciousness as such, and instead was possessed of a bicameral consciousness: that their decision-making occurred when one hemisphere projected orders/images to the other, like a kind of schizophrenia. What the Greeks called gods—Athena, Zeus, Apollo, Hera—were in fact personifications of the voices in their heads. Bearing in mind that nearly all the texts we have were written by males, with male protagonists: what do creatures like the sirens personify, and why have they continued to resonate all this time? For “there’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck” as Radiohead tells us.

 

What motivates sirens, what’s their story? Because we need to know their story: we need to understand why the shipwrecks, why the ruination, if it’s even really about shipwrecks and ruination. Because behind every siren is a woman, and no matter how much she sings, she may be heard but she’s sure as hell not being listened to.

 

L.S. Johnson was born in New York and now lives in Northern California, where she feeds her cats by writing book indexes. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, and other venues, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and longlisted for the Tiptree Award. Her first collection, Vacui Magia: Stories, is now available. Currently she’s working on a fantasy trilogy set in 18th century Europe.

 

Sirens Blog Tour

A few days ago, I did a review for the new book edited by Rhonda Parrish, Sirens. I was lucky enough to read an ARC and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I get to help introduce the authors and the book as part of a blog tour. I thought I would help that along by posting the schedule here. It does not include links for the ones not yet posted, but I’ve added in the links for the few that are active. If I can, I’ll come back and add links as they become active.

Happy reading!

From Rhonda Parrish’s Site:

The release date for Sirens keeps inching closer and closer. To celebrate it I’ve organised a blog tour, and I’m pretty stinkin’ stoked about this one Beginning tomorrow a series of blog posts will go live on my blog here as well as several other locations across the web.

The incomplete and tentative schedule looks something like this:

Sirens Blog Tour Schedule

June 28, 29th and 30th
Rhonda hosts “Of Sirens and Sorrow” three part mini-series by Amanda Kespohl
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

July 5th
Rhonda hosts “Why I Wrote Safe Waters For Sirens” by Simon Kewin

July 7th
Rhonda hosts “The Drama in Japanese Dramas” by Eliza Chan

July 12th (Release Day)
Pippa Jay hosts an announcement with an excerpt
Beth Cato hosts an announcement with her blurb
Mia Rose hosts a guest post by Amanda Kespohl
Tons of announcements from those directly involved in the book

July 13th
Elesha Teskey hosts a guest post by Tabitha Lord
Simon Kewin hosts a guest post by Michael Leonberger
Laura VanArendonk Baugh hosts a guest post by Eliza Chan
Rhonda hosts The Horrors in the Closet by Adam Bealby

July 14th
Stephanie Cain hosts a guest post by Tamsin Showbrook
Hayley Stone hosts a guest post by Amanda Kespohl
Rhonda hosts Voices in my Head… by Tabitha Lord

July 15th
Anna Kyle hosts a guest post by Adam Bealby
Linn Arvidsson hosts an interview, subject TBD
Samantha Saboviec hosts three question interviews
Rhonda hosts flash fiction, Listen and Repeat by Tamsin Showbrook

July 16th
Dea Poirier hosts an announcement and giveaway
Reb Kreyling hosts a guest post by L.S. Johnson
Rhonda hosts Literary Crush by Michael Leonberger

July 18th
Paul A. Hamilton hosts interviews with K.T. Ivanrest, Cat McDonald and Randall G. Arnold
Tiffany Michelle Brown hosts an interview, subject TBD
Rhonda hosts Notes on “We Are Sirens” by L.S. Johnson

July 19th
Rhonda hosts Four (and a half) Things I Learned Writing Threshold by K.T. Ivanrest

July 20th
Rhonda hosts Notefisher alternative opening by Cat McDonald

I am excited to be able to share all these extra perspectives, alternate openings, flash fiction and so much more over the coming days and weeks This is, as I said, a tentative schedule though and I will be traveling during some of this period so I may not do an awesome job of keeping it up-to-date. All the same, I wanted to show some skeleton idea of what the blog tour is going to look like. I hope you’ll visit some of the stops.