novel

A Wonderful New Review for LEX TALIONIS in Caribbean Beat Magazine

I’m really over the moon about this one!

Caribbean Beat magazine is produced by Caribbean Airlines and given away free on every flight they have, both in and out of the Caribbean, for two months. I’m extremely lucky and grateful to be included in their bookshelf. In the past, I’ve heard about great books like ‘A Brief History Of Seven Killings’–which won the Man Booker prize, among others–from reading the magazine while traveling around the islands on business.

You can read the review here, just scroll down a bit. 

My favourite part? The closing lines:

‘Lex Talionis sings a bloody song of both forgetting and redemption, and of the price we pay for a little tenderness, when least we expect to be taxed for our freedoms.’

Empire Cookie animated GIF

*Squees with joy*

*Dances around*

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programme!

Excerpt from LEX TALIONIS Sequel: Iacta Alea Est – Analise Mentions An Old Friend

I allowed myself to become completely distracted by “So You Think You Can Dance” so my post is late today. And because I’m being lazy, I’ve decided to give you a little excerpt from my other Work In Progress. This is from the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, which I’m calling IACTA ALEA EST (The Die Is Cast) for now. In it, we meet Shalon again, and one of her new friends. It’s not perfect (lots of editing passes to go) but I hope you have fun with it.

Analise Macon swept his wet, orange tongue over his broad face and black-bead eyes before gracing Shalon with grin.  “Shalon, how nice of you to call.”

“Analise.”  Shalon propped her foot up on the console in front of the captain’s chair and settled back into her seat.  “How have you been?”

“Not as good as you.  A Kaag freighter?  You are even more blessed by the Will than I thought.”

“God had nothing to do with it, Analise.”  Shalon smiled at the holo, which had been set to show Analise as he relaxed on the pillows in his office.  It was impossible not to like the rotund Roulon factor.  Even if he had proven himself to be one of the cleverest and most ruthless black-market operators around.

“Like the wind against a flag, the Will moves all things, even those that are unaware of its existence.”  Analise stretched his small jaw, revealing pointed teeth, cream in his mottled pink and brown face.  “But enough of this existential poctae.  One of my clients is very interested in the weapons shipment the freighter was supposed to be carrying.”

“How lucky for me.  I’m very interested in selling.”  Shalon flicked at some dirt under her thumb-nail. 

“Would an hour’s time be too soon to begin negotiations?”  

Damn it.  “Actually, yes.  I have a prior engagement.”

Analise made a grating noise that sounded like the prelude to an attack, and meant that he was surprised.  “More important than my offer?”

“Much more important.”

The Roulon waved a six fingered hand.  “I am saddened by how little I mean to you.  I count you amongst my true friends, yet see how you brush me away.”

Shalon rolled her eyes.  “You’ll get over it.  I’ll come by the hotel with an inventory tomorrow, so don’t go anywhere.”

“I would not miss your visit for all the wealth in Sudamin’s palace.  Wherever it is.”

And before I forget…  “By the way, Sojo said you linked me earlier?”

“Yes.”  Analise cocked his head.  “I have a visitor at my hotel who asked to see you.”

Shalon frowned.  “Me?  What is he, a mercenary? Soldier?”

The Roulon coughed, an expression of amusement.  “You would not ask that if you had seen him.  No, he is not of our world.  He is a doctor.  Colin Mayfeld?  He said you would know who he was.”     

Shalon covered her start by gathering her hair behind her neck.  My God.  She took a breath, forced her heart to stop racing.  Colin Mayfeld.  A name out of a past she had thought gone for good.  Colin had saved her life years ago, in more ways than one, but she’d only contacted him a couple of times since then.  In the last few years, her network had checked up on him now and again so she could make sure he was okay and remained well clear of her enemies.  So why is he here now, and asking for me?

“Did he tell you why he wants to meet with me?”

“He said it was private.  That he could only speak to you.”

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Because We Are Awesome

Recently I’ve been reading some great, eye-opening pieces about women and our astounding contributions to society. Sometimes women and the great things they do have been acknowledged, sometimes not, but always, we have been here.

Here is a really great piece by Kameron Hurley about how women have always been a living, breathing part of history, whether you knew about it or not.

Here’s an article about astounding women who did not care what others thought about them, and achieved a lot because of it. Yes, it’s got a lot of blue language, but that’s really not the point. The point is, how many of them have you heard of before?

And in case you think these were just exceptions to the rule, take a gander at this brief list of women warriors from ancient history. I saw a much better list a while ago, but can’t remember where. Got to find that one again. It was really comprehensive and included all women of note, warriors or not. And it went on and on and on.

I’ve been interested in this topic for a while, as I grew up in a matriarchal family, so when I started my current WIP, The Nightward (Hand of Gaia), I knew exactly how the society was going to evolve. This little article I found only after I’d come up with the female warrior magicians that play a big part in The Nightward–the Amazores.

I had even come up with the name Amazores before reading this because I wanted to bring to mind the ancient tale of the Amazons. Talk about serendipity. It helped inspire and solidify the idea I’d already been playing around with.

Here is a little glimpse of the Amazores in action from my manuscript:

Darkness gathered at the base of the wall, pooling there and setting off bright red flashes.     

“Ready yourselves, Amazores!” Annan called. 

The archers moved to the front of the walls and drew their arrows.  Wraithlight glowed fire against the Dark that pressed down from above now, making the sky glow red above them.  The hissing had become a steady dissonance that was almost painful to the ears.  Minutes stretched into years as all light turned crimson.       

Light flared into a flash.  Amazores raised their hands to their eyes.  There was a muffled boom and air rushed past them.  Silence followed, like that found in the Dead Woods in the Queendom of Jaleel.  The Amazores blinked and scrubbed at their eyes.     

The hissing began again.  Soft and satisfied.     

“Archers! Fire!” Annan cried.     

Shafts of flame whistled downward. 

The Dark rose up, wave climbing upon wave to meet them.         

Tyra Damn

I know, Tyra, I know.

So what’s my point? My point is, if you’re a woman, if you’re a girl, if you’re sitting out there telling yourself that you can only be this, or that a women can only be that…you’re lying to yourself.

We can be anything we want to be. We have always been anything we want to be.

We are awesome.

We will continue to be awesome.

And we should let absolutely nothing convince us otherwise.

 

Luc – An Excerpt From The Sequel To LEX TALIONIS

Yeah, you read that right. I’m in a good mood because the writing is flowing these days, so you get another little peek.

Luc is a small but important character in IACTA ALEA EST (The Die is Cast). Here’s the introduction to him. Extra points if you can guess who he’s waiting for.

The man who had sold his name and his life stood against the wall of the spaceport terminal and watched streams of people and aliens move past in front of him.  No-one looked in his direction.  Not because he could not be seen, but because he did not wish to be seen. 

Even in the bright light of the busy terminal, even with the main doors on his right placing him near the path of all the comings and goings, the simple dark wrap he wore seemed to pull all regard into the black hole of its existence.  He stood within the concealing layers of his hood and cloak, motionless but for the never-ceasing movement of his eyes.  They were amber as a cat’s, startling in the harsh, unapologetic angles of his coffee-brown face. 

His hands folded across his chest, his fingers thrust into the soft warmth of his sleeves, he watched the row of disposable comm patch booths along the terminal wall opposite him.  Above the white half-dome booths and chairs, the transperiwall rose to a ceiling that showed a darkness deep enough to touch.  Tiny lights sparkled and winked within it like stars.

Below this, the spaceport bustled and resonated with hundreds of voices from hundreds of organs.  Grey, flat-headed Algarans lumbered through the crowd, swinging powerful arms.  A group of Kaag mercenaries, cocking their ears at each other in an animated fashion, brushed through the door, snapping at passersby stupid enough to touch them.  Environmental protection suits–most tinted to keep stares out–rolled or floated past, an array of exotic shapes and colors.  

Seconds after a clutch of Wensts females passed him, so well hidden by their clothing they looked like moving bundles of sparkling cloth, he spotted her.

She strode through the main doors, hands buried in the pockets of a grey jumpsuit, and headed for the comm booths. She looked neither left nor right, but he knew she had seen him.

Dark hair hung loose to her shoulders, obscuring her profile.  She forded the constant movement of those around her with practiced ease as she moved across the main terminal floor, never giving the roving security duos of blue clad Troopers so much as a wary glance. 

When she reached the booths, she took up a position next to the last one on his left.  As soon as the user–a human male–exited, she entered, closed the door and activated the tint.

He gave her ten minutes, made sure they had not been noticed, then leaned away from the wall and headed toward a booth in the middle of the row. 

Hope you liked it. Drop some lines from your latest work in the comments, if you like, and join in the fun.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Still Here and Still Working

I know I’ve been gone forever. I have a great excuse. At the end of October, I came down with Chik V. This was just before a very important week of meetings at my job during the month of November. I managed to get my work done, but I was lucky enough to be one of those people who suffer from the chronic stage of the disease, which means even now I still have lingering pain, numbness and other symptoms. I’m not alone, of course. Lots of Trinis have the same problem. The virus has spread like wildfire here. And let me tell you, this virus is the sickest I’ve been since I was a child.

November and December then became consumed with catching up on the work I had to drop for two weeks, trying to write every day, cleaning the house and generally getting ready for Christmas. Christmas turned out great and I’m finally enjoying my vacation. But the plan for the new year is to get back to working out and writing every day again. The fatigue has let up enough for me to return to my regular schedule, I think.

I want to thank all of you who came by, followed me, or just commented. Sorry I haven’t been around, and I will be by all of your blogs before the end of the year to remedy my absence.

I’m currently cleaning up the first part of the sequel to LEX TALIONIS, which I’m calling IACTA ALEA EST (The Die is Cast) for now, so I can get some more forward movement on it. I’m pushing on with THE NIGHTWARD (also known as the ‘Hand of Gaia’) because it’s in my head right now. But if you read LEX TALIONIS you’re probably wondering what the sequel looks like. It’s rough right now, and there’s stuff that needs to be edited, but have a sneak peek at the opening below:

The C.S.S. Invincible

The technician screamed, the smoking stump of his hand smearing his lab coat as he held it to his chest. Through watering eyes, he looked up at the two soldiers standing over him, their faces hidden behind the wavering diamond reflection of distortion masks. The ship’s flashing emergency lights limned their black armour, turning the figure-hugging contours scarlet, then black, then scarlet again.

He could smell his own flesh cooking, and vomit scratched at the back of his throat even as pain tore his nerves to shreds. If he turned around, he knew he would see what was left of his hand lying on the floor of the corridor behind him. But there was no point in turning around. His hand was gone for good. And he was a dead man.

The one on his left lowered the massive lasrifle to his waist, still keeping it at the ready. The soldier on the right held his weapon with the business end pointed at the floor. The soldier was silent for a moment longer, apparently studying the tech, though it was hard to tell through the distortion masks.

“Are you ready to speak to me now?” he intoned, his voice flat and expressionless through the mask.

“I told you, I don’t…”

The rifle came up again, sighting on him. He screamed and felt warm piss trickle down his leg.

“You waste our time,” the soldier continued. “If you will not help us, there are others. Doubtless they will want to live more than you.”

The tech heard the soft whine and click of the lasrifle and could not stop his tears. Above him, the computer informed them that Decks Five through Ten had been breached by intruders and that the Fire Squad should report to a blaze in progress in the Dining Hall. It was a detached report on a dying ship and he knew that if he did not do as they said, he would only suffer more pain.

He was a tech, a lowly tech, not crew and certainly not one of the fearsome security personnel who–inexplicable as it seemed–were dying in droves at the hands of these relentless attackers. Soldiers, really. Soldiers who were better than the best that Conway Enterprises had to offer. Better than men genetically bred to protect and kill. It was unthinkable.

As unthinkable as what he was about to do. Because the only thing he wanted as much as a way off the ship right now was no more pain.

“Shoot him in the–”

“Wait!” He felt every breath that left him as if for the first time.

“I…know where it is. I know where the room is. I can take you there. Please…let me take you there.”

The solider did not move for a moment, then he raised his rifle.

“Lead the way. But be warned–-if you attempt to mislead us, you will die. Slowly and in great pain. Get up.”

That’s all for now. I’ll post more from both books as I go along.

Have a great season and see you again soon!

Click Bait, Or Why Slate Should Be Embarrassed About That YA Article

Because really, let’s face it.

That article was click bait.

Pure, unadulterated, shameless, manipulative click bait. (Which, by the way, is why I’m not linking to it).

Sure, Ruth Graham just decided to write a stunningly dismissive post about adults needing to be ashamed of reading YA–which has a very obvious framework around ‘The Fault In Our Stars’–the same week the movie for said novel launches to great fanfare. That’s all just a coincidence.

Right.

What Ruth Graham wanted is what the internet gave her. Lots and lots of attention and clicks. Endless comments and a whole lot of debate. Outraged Twitter and all the best vitriol the internet has to offer. She must be over the moon. Before this, no one knew who the hell she was. Now, she’s the writer that went all postal on YA.

As far as I’m concerned, she’s just a writer looking to up her site’s ad revenue and get her name in peoples’ mouths. I say this because her entire argument falls completely flat if you consider one of the most important tenets of writing. To be a good writer in a genre, you have to read widely in that genre–and outside it as well, ideally. If adults should not be reading YA, who does Graham expect will write YA? Teenagers? Kids?

Who will make the movies and write the screenplays for these works of claptrap we should be averting our eyes from?

Because the YA movies and books that are popular now are a significant part of this generation’s entertainment and the global economy. And they can’t exist without adults writing them, filming them and valuing them enough to spend their hard-earned money on them.

Most of all, if no adults write the YA books and childrens’ books because they are supposed to be ashamed to be reading and writing such drivel, who will seduce future generations with the joys of storytelling? Or do you, Ms. Graham, not care that no YA adult readers means no future readers for the crap people like you write for shock value?

You should be thanking your lucky stars there are still people who can connect with their past so acutely they can move the generation after them with the amazing stories and storytelling ability you so clearly lack.

*Drops the mic*

And in other news…

I have a Boosting the Signal feature post up on Angela Highland (Angela Korra’ti) blog. She also has a great post on the nonsense Slate allowed to be published on its site. You should go read both. They will move you more than a thousand sparkly vampires who die young of cancer.

Say what reaction gifs

Just saying.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

LEX TALIONIS Is Now On Kindle!!

Get your Amazon on, people!

My debut space opera mystery, LEX TALIONIS, is now available on Kindle!

And for those of you who purchased the paperback, we have a special offer.

You can get the Kindle edition for just $3.00! That’s $4.00 less than the retail price.

A little thank you to those who were kind enough to NOT wait.

For those of you who want to know what LEX TALIONIS all about, here’s the Publishers Weekly review.

You know what? I think they liked it. I think they really, really liked it!

High five reaction gifs

Stay thirsty, my friends!

 

 

 

Starred Review for Lex Talionis on Publishers Weekly!

This was going to be a post about the best trailers I’d seen recently, I swear.

But then I found out that Publishers Weekly had reviewed Lex Talionis.

And they loved it.

So I thought that just might be a tiny bit more interesting that Paul Haggis’ new film.

Now excuse me while I quietly freak out.

Omg reaction gifs

 

Excitement for The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder

My friends are on a roll! Here’s another whoo-hoo for a deserving author. Marlene has been doing an alternate history based around the sinking of the Titanic. Shipbuilder is the first in that series. Go check it out, and while you’re at it, take a look at her wonderful paranormal romance, Worlds Apart. I promise, you won’t regret it!

Marlene Dotterer

????????????????????????????????????????      Marlene Dotterer_TTJ bk1_SHIPBUILDER Final cover small

I’ve been doing cartwheels all day: the popular review site, Big Al’s Books and Pals, has nominated The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder for their 2014 Reader’s Choice Award in Speculative Fiction!

Happy author here, you betcha.

B&P gave Shipbuilder a 5-star review back in October. They are continuing the love with this great nomination, but YOU have to help.

It’s a Reader’s Choice award and that means you get to vote for it. Voting opens March 2nd at 10:00 Eastern Time and ends at Midnight Eastern Time on March 12th.

That’s this weekend! Here’s the link:
http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2014/02/readers-choice.html

It’s not live yet, but check back to see your choices. I’ll post the link again once the page is up and running.

Please pass the word. I’d love for Shipbuilder to win!

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