Tag Archives: Adventure

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: Ghost Is the New Normal

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Book 4 is a real thing with a real release date: March 21, 2017. It has a pre-order at only 99 cents (this price will only last until March 22!), and it’s all ready to go so I can have copies in hand for Norwescon (Seatac, April 13-16). The audiobook is scheduled for release one week later, on March 28. I’m excited about this one because it has giant mutant cockroaches. And also ghosts and dragons, of course.

Claire has a big problem, Drew has a smaller problem, and Justin gets to have some fun. Iulia causes trouble. Avery is sensible. Enion remains adorable and Tariel is still the only real grownup in the room. If you’re new to this series, check out where it begins with Girls Can’t Be Knights, available in ebook, paperback, and audio!

With this book’s release on the horizon, I can now also officially state for the record that the Spirit Knights series will have a total of 5 books. That’s right, Number Five will be Number Last for the series. But that’s not the last you’ll see of Claire, Drew, Justin, and the rest of the crew. Claire and Justin kind of already aren’t Spirit Knights anymore, you see. I freely admit that this series began with a book I wasn’t expecting to make into a series. It’s gone places I didn’t really foresee. As such, the series title doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore.

Which is why, following book 5 of Spirit Knights, I’m shifting to a different line of attack with this stuff. There will be more stories, some about Claire and some not. They’ll all take place in the same world where Portland is extra-weird. But they won’t all take place in Portland, or even in the PNW. I’m looking forward to spending time with the kind of people affected by [spoiler] [spoiler], and [spoiler].

Book Review: Clockwork Twist: Waking by Emily Thompson

Clockwork Twist Book One: Waking by Emily Thompson –  4 stars

Twist has never left London, until today. Now he’s traveling on an airship—with a crew that insists they’re not pirates—on his way to find the clockwork princess because he’s the only one who can fix her.

In true Neo-Victorian style, Clockwork Twist is set in a lush and vibrant world where thing are as you might expect in 1878. That is, of course, if fantastic creatures like djinn, faeries, kitsunes and vampires were commonplace. An increasing number of people are being born with supernatural senses, called Sights. While airship tourism is sweeping the globe, air-piracy is also on the rise.

Twist is among the Sighted, but his Sight is unusual. While others might be able to see and hear over great distances, find anything they can imagine anywhere in the world, or even recognize every type of flower by scent alone, Twist’s Sight shows him only damage. Whenever he touches a broken clock or machine, he can instantly understand the damage and can fix it easily. If he touches a person, even for a moment, his mind fills with a terrible vision of whatever trauma or pain once broke them. Naturally, he’s chosen a solitary existence and shuns all human contact.

Unfortunately, thanks to his seclusion, Twist is also unfamiliar with everything beyond his own clock shop, hidden away on a quiet and ever-drizzly London street. When a treasure hunter arrives at his door with proof that they have found the fabled clockwork princess—Twist’s favorite old fairy tale—it’s up to Twist alone to bring her back to life.

The continuing series of Clockwork Twist begins with book one: Waking. Join Twist as he embarks on his first adventure, and find out first hand if he can actually survive it.

One part mad adventure, one part wonder, and one part steam, this story is quite entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down and a harder time not picking it back up again. Twist is yanked out of his comfortable little world and learns more about himself than anything else. The character of Twist particularly captured my attention. He’s very Victorian and just daft enough to be blindsided by himself.

The supporting cast are vibrant and alive, the world is detailed, and the mythos has that layered feel of robust world-building.

My two complaints: One, the typos are quite numerous starting somewhere in the middle. Some are funny. Others made the sentence difficult to understand, which is rough on immersion. Two, Twist drives me mad with his utter lack of self-awareness. I’d like to throw something at his head.

Anyone interested in steampunk but not put off by fantastical elements such as ghosts, kitsune, and supernatural sight, will enjoy this book. It’s appropriate for ages ~15+, as it has no sex or graphic violence, but does have some semi-mature themes and was clearly written for adults. I recommend this especially for LGBT teens.

Book Review: Foul Is Fair by @JeffreyCook74

Foul is Fair by Jeffrey Cook & Katherine Perkins – 4 stars

Lots of girls play Fairy Princess when they’re little. Megan O’Reilly had no idea the real thing was like playing chess, guitar, and hockey all at once. Megan had known for a long time that she wasn’t an entirely typical girl. But living with ADHD—and her mother’s obsessions—was a very different thing from finding out she wasn’t entirely human. Somewhere out there, in a completely different world, her father needs help. There’s a conflict, revolving around Faerie seasonal rituals, that could have consequences for humanity—and if Megan’s getting the terminology straight, it sounds like her family aren’t even supposed to be the good guys. As she’s further and further swept up in trying to save her father, Megan may be getting too good at not being human.

Very different in style from Mr. Cook’s Dawn of Steam series, this story takes teenagers on a quest to save the world from the machinations of sidhe faeries. It conjures up both Irish/Celtic legend and Hawaiian mythology, twisting them together seamlessly to produce a coherent setting.

The main characters, Megan and Lani, are charming and clever, and the depiction of someone with ADHD and her medications strikes close to home. Ashling the pixie is adorable. As usual, this author delivers highly believable characters even when they’re outlandish and extraordinary.

Though the main characters are all female, this isn’t a “girly” book. The genders of the characters are barely worth noting as they aren’t dealing with “girl” problems. They don’t spend lots of time talking about boys or makeup, or any of the hundreds of things that might turn off young male readers. Instead, these are carefully complex young women thrown into exciting action and adventure.

I liked this story very much and look forward to the next installment. Recommended for anyone who likes a good Young Adult adventure, especially if you’re into faeries.

It’s #NaNoWriMo Season!

If you’re unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it’s an annual writing activity pursued by hundreds of thousands of lunatics with the goal of producing 50,000 words of a single story in one month. I don’t find that particularly challenging, but I love the atmosphere, camaraderie, and peer pressure inherent in the month-long obsession with writing.

This year, I’ve set aside the month of November to write two specific books: Backyard Dragons and Chowndie.

Backyard Dragons is the sequel to Girls Can’t Be Knights. It’s going to focus on Claire with Justin as a secondary character this time, explain a little more about the setting, continue the awkwardness between her and Drew, and–as the title suggests–bring dragons into the mix. This is a Spirit Knights book, so there will also be a spirit causing trouble.

Chowndie is a book I’ve already written. Badly. It began life as a story I wrote to show my mom that I could do that deep, profound literature crap she likes. Since I’m clearly not into that, it turned into a fish gasping for its last breath on a quay surrounded by pigeons (it flopped). Armed with a new plot angle, 50% more guns and car chases, and 100% less piano, Chowndie is set to become a nanopunk thriller. Action, suspense, and bad guys take me back to the style of Dragons In Pieces, which is my writing home base.

Right now, I’m working on short story submissions. One will appear in next year’s GenCon Authors’ Missing Pieces anthology and reveals the earlier adventures of Tahjis the Rat, the secondary character in my new book, Al-Kabar. If you haven’t heard yet, that book is now available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. It releases on the 18th, and to celebrate its arrival, I’m offering the ebook for only 99 cents until the 26th. This book will likely never be that cheap again, so grab it while the grabbing is good. It’s a standalone story set in the same world as Damsel In Distress, and you don’t need to have read that book to get into this one. If you’d rather have the paperback and live in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll have copies with me at the WordFire Press booth and Ripley’s Book Booth at Rose City Comic Con, at Jeffrey Cook’s table at Steamposium, in the Book Garden at the Portland Home & Garden Show, at the AFK Elixirs & Eatery in Renton on 10/10, and at more events to be announced later. otherwise, any of the links above will take care of you.

Happy reading!

P.S. Book 4 of The Greatest Sin will be out next year, we just don’t know when yet. Hopefully, so will Book 5.

Girls Can’t Be Knights Cover Reveal

You’ve seen the blurb before. This book leaves the stable on June 12th. It’ll be available for pre-order starting June 3rd. Girls Can’t Be Knights is packed full of stuff in a compact, easy-to-devour form. It has ghosts, family, sarcasm, daddy issues, police brutality, callous disregard for authority, sarcasm, and adorable little girls in pink tutus with stuffed unicorns.

Claire likes her socks mismatched and her memories tucked safely out of reach. Justin suffers from an excessive level of sass in his life. Together, they aren’t going to fall in love, but he will teach her what it means to be a Spirit Knight, even if it kills them both.

Chapter by Chapter, a wonderful YA blog, is running a giveaway for this book until June 4th. Good stuff.

Book Review: Mimir’s Well (The Oracles of Kurnugi #3) by @GamaTheWriter

Mimir’s Well (The Oracles of Kurnugi Book 3) by Gama Martinez – 5 stars

With the identity of their mysterious foe finally revealed, Henry and Andromeda journey into the land of Viking myths searching for the Oracle of the Past. Armies from many worlds clash in a battle for the fate of human imagination. Once again, the future rests on Henry’s shoulders, but how can he possibly stand against the powers of the gods?

In fairness to this book, I have not read the first two in the trilogy. In fact, because of how I stumbled across it, I had no idea it was the end of a trilogy, thinking instead it was the third of a longer series. Despite that, I found this book to come very close to standing on its own. It had a few moments where I had no context to understand some minor point, yet that had no real impact on my ability to enjoy the book.

Based upon reading this, I highly recommend the first two, Delphi and Stepmother’s Mirror. Henry and Andromeda are both great characters. The dwarves cracked me up. The gods are depicted well, as are the various mythological sites and stories. Though I missed the opening setup from the first book, I deduced the gist of it well enough to find the resolution satisfying.

I recommend this trilogy to anyone who loves fantasy involving the Greek or Norse gods, or Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court style stories.

The Greatest Sin #2: Harbinger


It lives! Erik and I are pleased and excited to announce that Harbinger is now available exclusively on Amazon, and in the Kindle Unlimited borrowing program. The print version will be available next week. It (and The Fallen) will be touring blogs in the nearish future. Which is more fun than a barrel of cats with slingshots and bananas. (It’s actually fun, in case that metaphor isn’t clear.)

Finishing this book and getting it out the door has consumed me for the past month, and I’m proud of it. After the horrific upheaval of The Fallen, Chavali gets some time to figure out what she’s doing. Not nearly enough, but some. The past, the future – both matter, no matter how little she wants to think about either.

In this installment of The Greatest Sin, she travels with Colby, Portia, and a new gentleman introduced in Chapter 1. They bring out the best and worst in her, and force her to deal with things she’d rather avoid. One of those things? The matter of the greatest sin itself. In The Fallen, we didn’t talk much about it. In Harbinger, the subject is discussed. Starting with this second book, it becomes Important.

I must admit that I considered using a fish for the cover, instead of a knife. You’ll see why! The knife, though, is so much more a theme of Chavali’s life and this particular part off it. Seriously. I challenge you to find all the ways in which a blade plays an important part of this. In order to do that, of course, you’ll have to read it.

I’m sneaky like that.