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.

 

Sirens Review

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I’ve had the privilege of knowing Rhonda Parrish for quite a few years. I first met her through a NaNo site online and although I’ve never met her in person, I’ve corresponded with her over the years about writing. So I jumped at the chance to review a book that she edited (even if she hadn’t written any of the stories).

It took me a while to get through this, not because the stories are bad, but because I wanted to savor them. The idea of Sirens dates back to the BC times, at least to the idea of Homer’s story, The Oddessy, if not before. Songs sung by women luring sailors to their doom… but the authors of this book took it to a new level. Not only did they have sirens of the sea, but land and space also. And even a siren spaceship (that one was fascinating!). The vast differences in the stories are what keep your attention as you page (flip) through the book, moving between each story from the Siren who’s looking for love (“Siren Seeking” by Kelly Sandoval which brings a whole new meaning to online dating) to the cheerleader sirens (“We Are Sirens” by L.S. Johnson and a very creepy look at the mentality of high school) to the spaceship siren (“Nautilus” by V.F. LeSann which almost reminded me of a Star Trek episode).

There’s something for everyone in here and although a couple of times I had to squint to try to figure out where the “siren” theme fit in, by the end of the story, I could figure it out. A few times I got to the end and went “wait, that’s it?!” but there’s a couple of authors I’m going to look up and see if they have any other books (and no I’m not going to tell you who… you’ll need to read Sirens for yourself), but overall, I didn’t feel the need to skip anything, a rarity in an anthology written by multiple authors.

So pre-order Sirens and then stop back next month for the blog tour when I host L.S. Johnson. I’ve already read her post and I promise it will give you something to think about.

I Did It Again

 

I have a problem. I will fully admit it. I subscribe to free Kindle books emails. And I have a habit of “buying” whatever strikes my fancy. If a cover catches my eye, click. If a description looks mildly interesting, click!

But then, the books just languish on my Kindle.

That doesn’t mean I don’t read books on my Kindle. I do.

But I’m more likely to read something an author sends me and asks me to read.

Or a book by an author I’ve already read.

Or a book that will “get” me something.

Still I keep pressing buy on those free books. And then? I find I’ve purchased that book in the past. Or I’ve already read it. And I feel silly. Or I feel pleased that at least my tastes haven’t changed. But I still don’t read the book!

So I’m going to work in the next few months, not just on editing my own stories and getting them ready for all of you to read. (I’ve made some significant progress there.) But I’m also going to stop buying free Kindle books. And start working my way through the books already on my tablet.

One down… and 1000 to go. *pages through* What should I read first?

A Prescription for Delirium and Giveaway

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Hello! Noree Cosper here to tell you how SUPER excited we are to bring you this MEGA giveaway! First place prize is a $2,000 Amazon Gift Card, but we also have 15 runner up ebook and paperback prizes! Entering will connect you with 21 paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors for more great deals, freebies, and giveaway, so in a way, everyone wins! I myself plan to connect all the entrants with an opportunity to get Flower of Hell for Free! First I’m going to share more about my my inclusion in the feature deals associated with this promotion: A PRESCRIPTION FOR DELIRIUM.

 
Ninety years ago, Gabriella di Luca promised to protect the family of her dying lover. She failed to keep that promise.  She was too far away to stop the devil that murdered the eldest Van Helsing son. Years later, Gabby learns the devil has resurfaced. She arrives in Hampton, TX, determined to stop the devil before it can lay a bloody hand on the remaining three brothers. 
However, madness is spreading through Hampton. She suspects the devil is using this madness to test a drug which has a side effect of demonic possession.  Gabby rushes to end the source of the madness only to fall victim to it. For a woman cursed with eternal life, dying is no threat. However, Gabby must stop the devil’s plot or risk losing her most precious possession: her mind.

Available on Amazon for $0.99 until July 4th!

Check Out Deals from the Kick Ass Authors who Are Giving Away $2000 to PNR and UF fans!

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About the Giveaway

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Welcome, fans of the Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy genres! This one is just for you! And really, it is! We want true fans of the genre to win this one, so our totally bad ass team of paranormal-romance-writing detectives have devised the perfect plan for vetting winners and making sure these awesome prizes go true fans of the genre–so if that’s you, don’t worry, we won’t let giveaway bots or cheaters steal your prize!
Our only rules for winning: 1 Entry Per Person (plus the additional entries you get for referring friends) and You Must LOVE Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy!
By entering this giveaway, you will be subscribed to the newsletters of our sponsoring authors for opportunities to snag more great deals, giveaways, and freebies, though you can unsubscribe at any time.
Not only will one grand prize winner snag a $2000 Gift Card, we also have a TON of fabulous runner up prizes (6 print books and 9 ebooks)!!
  • The Beast by J.R. Ward (any format)
  • Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning (any format)
  • Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (ebook or paperback)
  • Charlaine Harris, Dead until Dark (ebook or paperback)
  • Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh (ebook)
  • Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep (ebook or paperback)
  • Signed Copy of The Blackburne Legacy by Apryl Baker
  • Magick After Midnight Boxed Set (ebook)
  • Wolf Rampant Boxed Set (ebook)
  • Mythean Arcana Boxed Set (ebook)
  • Cursed by Lucy Leroux (ebook)
  • Flower of Hell by Noree Cosper (ebook)
  • Darkness Rising by Lisa Carlisle (ebook)
  • Blood Warrior by H.D. Gordon (ebook)
  • Winner’s Choice on any top 10 PR/UF book on Amazon at the time of the drawing

Good luck, and don’t forget to share this giveaway with your Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy loving friends for extra entries to win!

Enter the Giveaway

Book Reviews! Part Three

Magic Born by Caethes Faron

[I received an electronic ARC of the book in return for a fair and honest review.]

Kat Thomas doesn’t want much out of life. To play her online game, keep her college scholarship, and maybe figure out what she wants to do when she graduates. She’s mourning her parents who recently died and has taken refuge in Wizards and Fae. Her only real friend is one of her online gaming partners.

Then a package is delivered to her door by a mysterious stranger (which honestly this pinged every stranger danger warning I have, but Kat clearly hadn’t gotten that memo as she took the box from him.) Despite his insistence, she didn’t let him in or have more than a brief conversation with him though.

The stranger turns out to be Alex, a panther shifter, and the son of Kat’s birth mother’s protector. He’s been sent by his father (and Kat’s mother) to deliver the amber necklace and Kat’s legacy.

And that’s when Kat finds out the truth. The game she’s been play? Not just a game… it’s a way for mages from Elustria to find latent mages on Earth. The creator, Casper Rothian, is actually from Elustria and knew Kat’s mother.

And when she puts on the necklace that Alex delivered to her, her world opens up in ways she never imagined.

I received this ARC on a Friday and I’m really glad I had the weekend mostly free because I was just going to read a couple of chapters each day. I did just that Friday night and then picked the book up again Saturday morning and finished it. Ms. Faron keeps you on the edge of your seat, turning pages and waiting to see what’s next. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Book Reviews! Part Two

Beyond the Veil by Pippa DaCosta

Charlie Henderson seems like an average girl at first glance. Granted an average girl that can “read” items and makes weapons for a living, but just an average girl.

But Charlie Henderson doesn’t exist. She’s actually Muse, a half-demon who is hiding from her demon master and trying to have a normal life. Until an assassin walks into her life and she is forced to return to the one man (demon) she never wanted to. The Prince of Greed.

Akil Vitalis in the human world (Mammon on the other side of the Veil); the Prince of Greed will stop at nothing to wrench Muse from her normal world. Against him is Stefan, who Muse is not sure if she can trust or not. At first she’s not even sure what he is.

To complicate matters, there is a group of humans who kidnap Muse and attempt to get her to fight with them (while blocking her demon side which doesn’t really endure her to them).

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, I would recommend picking this one up. It’s currently free on Amazon for Kindle. And the rest of the series is already available so there’s no waiting for the next book!

 

 

 

Book Reviews! Part One

Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher

As a fan of the Knights Templar history, I picked up Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher on a whim when someone on one of my lists recommended it. I was leery at first because I’d attempted his Six-Gun Tarot and hadn’t gotten past the first chapter.

But Brotherhood surprised me. It’s gritty, horror filled, and keeps the reader on the edge of your seat until the last page. Now I’m not typically a horror reader (my love of Dean Koontz and SyFy’s Haven aside), but Brotherhood really reached out and grabbed me. The characters struggle not just with the supernatural, but the harsh realities of life.

The novel mainly focuses on Jimmie Aussapile, the “knight” of the story. In actuality, he’s a trucker trying to keep house and home together as he travels the Road. He’s joined by Heck, a biker, with a past that I’d love to find out more about (it’s hinted towards the end, but the author definitely leaves you wanting more) and Lovina Hewitt, a Louisiana State Police officer.

Of course you can’t have a White Knight without the dark or black knight and Belcher gives the reader one that will keep you up at night (no pun intended) with the Pagan. Beautifully drawn and imagined, the Pagan is one of the best villains imagined in a while.

If you go into this expecting sweeping battles and Knights Templar, you will be half disappointed. Belcher only briefly touches on the history of the Templars, but the battles are generously written and described.

Overall, definitely one I will be on the lookout for a second book of. The author left it open to write a sequel or two.

Wolfhaven Promo

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From author, Jay Shaw, comes a new werewolf novel. Wolfhaven is the first book in her Duality series and looks to be a fun and exciting romp. Although I haven’t read this particular novel yet, I’ve read other books by her. This book sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

From the blub:

For three generations, an uneasy truce has existed between the shapeshifter packs of Wolfhaven and Silver Ridge. But Equinox is fast approaching; and all is about to change.
Connell, grandson of Wolfhaven’s chief, is hungry for adventure; and eager to explore the world beyond the boundaries of where he grew up. Is this a plan set for failure? Only Lupa, Goddess of Wolves, can know; for it is she who bends destiny to her will.
Thayer, heir apparent and Connell’s older brother, has found love with Lena – Mistress of the Moon – and daughter of Silver Ridge’s alpha. Yet, the course of true love never runs smooth. Lena is matched to another. A wolf of her father’s choosing.
Fierce and strong, Kellan is Arden’s second and will make the perfect mate. If only Lena wished it. Silver Ridge, a world of zealotry and submission, is no place for a freethinking female. Especially not one, whose lover whispers of a world beyond her father’s reach.
Will Connell’s dreams of freedom and adventure be thwarted, as Thayer and Kellan challenge for the right to claim Lena as their own? Or will Lena resolve to put the traditions of her pack and the demands of her father over those of her own heart?

So if shifters and goddesses are your cup of tea. If the idea of mates and challenges makes you want to flip the pages to find out what happens next… Wolfhaven might be the novel for you.

Available right now on Amazon for Kindle. And soon it should be available in print. A review will follow.

Review of C is for Chimera

C is for Chimera is the third book in the Alphabet Anthologies series (following A is for Apocalypse and B is for Broken), edited by Rhonda Parrish.

Starting with A and working all the way through Z, authors share a variety of stories all based around the theme of chimeras.

With twenty-seven stories, there’s worry that the book could be overly long, but each of the stories is short, no more than a couple of pages. There are a few that are a bit longer, but I don’t think any go over five or seven pages (I read the book on a Kindle so page counts may vary). The best part is it allows a reader to meet new authors that they may not otherwise encounter. (Or in my case come across the surprise of an old friend I was not expecting.)

The stories are mostly science fiction in genre, although they range from fantastical to historical to steampunk. It was an easy read and for the most part I was happy to move to one story to the next although a couple of times, I got to the end and went “Wait. What?” wondering what happened in the story. It was almost as if the author had a word count and couldn’t quite get the entirety of the idea into the required space.

What it all comes down to those is C is for Chimera is an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what happens with D and the rest of the Alphabet.

 

You can get your very own copy starting on April 19th.

 

[I received an electronic ARC of the book and I know the editor and one of the contributors, in interests of full disclosure, but that did not influence my review… especially since I didn’t know the one contributor had contributed until I reached her story.]