Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reading Rainbows

Not to sound as if this is a bluster, but for me this is a very big deal. I don’t read as much as I used to, which was damn near incessantly. I give a writer the first few sentences and if I can see where said writer is going and exactly how said writer plans to get there, I don’t bother. I’m already a writer; I don’t wanna write somebody else’s book for them, particularly not when I’m trying to sell my own damn stuff. Being this selective, there are very few writers whose name alone guarantees me separating from coin. Let me talk about some folks who are widening that list. I hope to intrigue you. Click every link here and buy something.

Marguerite Reed. Ms. Reed doesn’t write for our better angels. She writes to tell the demons to get their shit together and make sure life, for each one, is worth living. Her debut novel, released this year, is humanist science fiction minus any glittery trappings. If you read sci fi to glean something about us in the here and now—and salud to you if that’s the case—ARCHANGEL is necessary. Not only is it beautifully constructed, intelligently written, and researched to authentication perfection, but it’s emotionally moving as all hell too. It takes themes of pain and healing and transforms them into a grand take on colonialism, militarization of the spirit, ecology (both emotional and environmental), and what it truly means as a human being to be a steward of the wonders we wander. I fell in love with the honesty of this book.

When it comes to the brass tacks of prose itself, all you need to assess is this, then I’ll move on to the next writer, Ms. Patty Templeton.

How to describe one’s first experience of open air, of limitless light? If I say that everything appeared gray, the shuttle, our skin, our clothes, that gives no true impression. This was not the gray of weariness, of defeat. This was the dreaming gray of dawn, the color of the silence before the beloved speaks, the color of the water-filled glass offered to parch long thirst...

There Is No Lovely End. Isn’t that life? Isn’t that what we run from day after day, that one truth, that one refutation of all our fairy tales? There are times a body needs to cuss. Uttering “Holy fuck” during communion at certain beauties shouldn’t raise an eyebrow. I ran into Ms.Templeton of THERE IS NO LOVELY END by chance. We were on the same panel at a con. I wanted to buy her book because that’s what I do: I support writers who come out from behind their thoughts to say hi. I can’t financially support everybody but when I feel that spark I act on it. Ms. Templeton had that gleeful cool spark. Bio. Read this bio.

Patty Templeton is roughly 25 apples tall and 11,000 cups of coffee into her life. She wears red sequins and stomping boots while writing, then hits up back-alley dance bars and honky tonks. Her stories are full of ghosts, freaks, fools, underdogs, blue collar heroes, and never giving up, even when life is giving you shit. She won the first-ever Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors Award and has been a runner –up for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. There Is No Lovely End is her first novel.

This is where I cuss.  Sweet fuck in the rock. This book is sharp. It is smart. It is macabre, and damned if it ain’t wise. Not a character in the book walks a straight path, and not a situation or word is misplaced or wasted. I didn’t know hide nor hair of Patty Templeton before that con. Now, anything she writes, I’m there. She respects the word. She knows the word is a tool not a brick. And by damn you can tell she enjoys what she’s doing. That’s so key. Every artist in the world who puts their joy in what they’re gifting us shines with a particular light.

I will not gush overmuch on her but will instead share with you this snippet of her book whilst highly, highly, recommending you get some.

After a lengthy time, wherein the sun abandoned the sky and the moon strolled out, Graham decided to kill himself in front of Hester Garlan. He was not guaranteed to haunt her, but from what the Uncommon History said, he had a generous chance, so long as his last moments were of fervid yearning arrowed at existing by her side.

On the sixth day, Graham Johnson knocked on Hester’s door.

Hester had decided to kill Graham Johnson when next she saw him...


Mr. DaVaun Sanders. It’s hard to talk about Mr. Sanders’ work without giving away spoilers. The stories are intricate, full of characters who cross and re-cross paths, and ever expansive. I’ll have to be brief, but in no way diminishing. There’s joy (of which he has) and then there’s fun, and my gods does this man like to have fun. A good adventure has to take place in an interesting world. It needs sympathetic characters. It needs heart. And it needs to be daring enough to take chances. THE SEEDBEARING PRINCE (parts one through three) world-builds like you wouldn’t believe, and the surety of voice grows with each book. These adventures flip race, flip gender, and upend expectations, especially for younger readers. I’m saving my copies for my Wee Nephew for when he’s older because the way this world is going he’ll need some coolness. This book is full of monsters, escapes, and enough jumping to make Spider-Man tired. Sanders presents his world-building without showing you the bricks; lays out the hero’s journey without retreading thousands of previous steps; imparts enough of a sense of community that the sense of danger seems all the more real.

To wit:

“Hello, Brother Blayle. I won’t be surprised when ridgecats sneak into Evensong, as good as it smells here.” Dayn’s mouth watered so freely he thought his cheeks might start to sweat. The butcher took a good look at him, then sliced a liberal chunk from a roasting goat and skewered it. He slathered it with his family’s sauce, known throughout the district, and offered the morsel to Dayn.

“Oh, the ridgecats are here,” Blayle said. “They just put dresses on over their fur. Good Evensong to you, lad.”

I like that his books aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel. I love that his books, with their brown-skinned protagonists and thorough knowledge of sci fi fantasy conventions, are spinning the wheel on a new axis.

Three authors you may or may not be familiar with; three, if not, you might want to show some love. The brain needs. Reading feeds.

As to neurons, stay lit, my friends.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Contest Joy

I'm digging the fun and ingenuity of the Chronicles line (and the fact that I have a story in the Alternate History Chronicles: Alt History 101 is pudding for my pop).

So while you're on Amazon ordering your copy of
check out this contest. Good stuff abounding!

Gotta read 'em all!

~Fresh voices and award-winning authors
~Original speculative fiction short stories     ~#1 anthology on Amazon with every release

Like the storied SF collections of the past, The Future Chronicles brings you themed anthologies on the topics you love: Robots, Telepaths, Aliens, Artificial Intelligence, Dragons, Zombies... and more on the way. Each collection combines fresh new voices in spec fic with established, best-selling authors. Award-winning curator Samuel Peralta's vision has created a series like no other.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN (via Rafflecopter)