Giveaway & Interview: Sabrina Zbasnik, Author of Dwarves in Space

24956853Dear Darklings, please welcome Sabrina Zbasnik to the blog. She recently released her novel, Dwarves in Space, this past April and it looks thoroughly entertaining! We chat about MST3K, Chaucer, Halloween, and plenty more. Also, we have a giveaway! Sabrina is generously offering 2 ebook copies of Dwarves in Space. Scroll to the bottom for details.

What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

My first thought is Terry Pratchett but that wound’s still a bit fresh and I’d probably be a blubbering mess. And what would we talk about? Even just asking about the weather would be entertaining not because he has to always be on, but because his mind comes in all the colors including octarine.

Jonathan Swift would last as far as “Excuse me, I’d like to — ah!” as he chased me off the Ouija board with a rake.

I suppose if I interviewed Chaucer I could ask him where they buried his body and who killed him, but I’d need a lot more e’s at the end of words to make sense out of him. And then it’d all end in another bawdy tale about the woman from Bath.

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If there was one show I could go all Eternal Sunshine with it would probably be Mystery Science Theater 3000. I was one of those tape sharers back in ye olden times who wore out the VCR so bad for some episodes I can quote nearly the entire movie. Jack Frost, The Pumaman, Prince of Space, and Quest of the Delta Knights in particular are tattooed across my cerebellum.

From your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay?

Variel would probably be the easiest. Just grab a Han Solo costume, cinch it up to fit a female waist and carry around fun sci-fi guns. Got to make sure to include her trademark cheek scar, but that’s easily done with makeup.

But the real fun one would be a character I haven’t technically published yet. She’s an orc named Zail and she’s more like the female version of Jayne from Firefly. There is no filter when it comes to her and she’s prone to finding the biggest weapon and carrying it around like a handgun.

ZbasnikDateFromHellIf you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF Humor & Satire, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

All of Discworld and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There aren’t a lot of options outside of that, sadly. Much like how the superhero genre has gone full grimdark, speculative fiction can have funny moments but it’s supposed to be super serious in the end. Horror, now horror can be funny. There’s a very fine line between scary and hilarious, which is one that I mine often in my hobby of making Halloween props.

But if fantasy/sci-fi can use green skinned aliens to show the human condition, and humor is supposed to hold a looking glass upon society’s foibles why can’t you have both?

Then we’d probably all break early because I got my tie stuck in the pencil sharpener.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

This is probably really embarrassing, but that’s never stopped me. I use NaNoWriMo – the national novel writing month – to drag novels out of me. At this point I’m doing about three a year, but for my very first one, I was near my 50K words and took a minor break on twitter. I typed something musing about how I mistook Garmin for Neil Gaiman and wondered what would happen if he navigated for cars. As I crossed the finish line he responded “I’d get us lost.”

I may have squealed more over that than actually writing my first 50K words of a novel. Hell, I still do.

The funny thing is now every October I make posters for his All Hallows Read, which is actually something I should be working on now. Nothing says autumn, pumpkins, and haunted cemeteries like the summer sun setting at 10pm.

ZbasnikTinHeroWhat do you do when you are not writing?

Crafting Halloween, and I’m not talking the cute Hobby Lobby like gourds. I have so many skeletons they won’t all fit in my closet. The basement is full of ghosts, goblins, ghoulies, spooks, and tentacles. I carve all of my tombstones out of foam and hand paint them. I have one I made for Edgar Allan Poe that’s so popular many people think it’s real. You can see some of my yard here.

I also do a bit of painting but it’s been waning due to the whole three novels a year idea. At best I can get in a few trees before Christmas and maybe in March before the Halloween crafting season kicks in.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Does me asking Chaucer where he’s buried count? God, I could easier catalogue the stars in the sky. I still want to know why no one is bothered that the Ewoks would cook their food alive and still in clothes? That’s gonna smoke and taste terrible. Someone get the Ewoks a better chef who can do more than Storm Trooper tartar!

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

Go Dog Go, the definitive manual on canine transportation.

ZbasnikDwarvesInSpaceBook Blurb for Dwarves in Space:

Thousands of years after the jewelry’s destroyed, the sword reforged, the dragon ridden, and the indecipherable prophecy translated into a recipe for sugared biscuits, the dwarves turned to that final frontier: space. And along came the elves, orcs, gnomes, trolls, ogres, and those vermin-like upstarts, humans.

Dwarves in Space is Tolkien merged with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in a horrific transporter accident.

The Elation-Cru is not the flashiest ship, nor the newest, or even has all of its bolts attached; but she can fly. Well, sort of wade through space, and that’s when all the parts are working. She supports a sugar addicted dwarven pilot, an elven engineer, an orcish doctor, a silent djinn, and the lone human trying to hold the entire thing together with duct tape. Variel, the captain, has been hiding from a secret for the past five years and time’s finally run out.

When she goes against her common sense and fights to save her onboard assassin/renter from a job gone sour, she finds herself before an ex-colleague that knew her in her previous life as the Knight of the realm. The entire ship is sent on a mad dash across the universe — from a decaying space station, home to the wackiest species the galaxy has to offer, down to the Orc homeworld, which wouldn’t be so bad if Variel hadn’t spent most of her previous life fighting in the war against them. Chances of survival are nil and slipping fast.

Places to Find Sabrina Zbasnik

Purchase

Website

Facebook

Twitter

GoodReads

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqpmReGzbKQ

Giveaway!

Sabrina is giving away 2 ebook copies of Dwarves in Space! So this giveaway is open international. Quick entry is to leave a comment answering the following question and leaving me a contact email: What is the first book you remember reading on your own? For additional entries, do the Rafflecopter thing below! Contest ends July 20th, 2015, Midnight.

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The Atomic Sea Vol. 1 by Jack Conner

ConnerTheAtomicSeaVol1Where I Got It: Review copy.

Narrator: Ray Greenley

Publisher: Jack Conner (2015)

Length: 6 hours 40 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Atomic Sea

Author’s Page

In a future Earth, the seas have become tainted with a mix of radiation, mutated dangerous sea life, and who knows what else. This taint can affect humans who eat affected seafood or fall into the oceans. Small nations of humans survive, but war is imminent. Dr. Avery, aboard a Ghenisian military whaling ship, stumbles upon espionage and perhaps something more when a mysterious unconscious woman is brought aboard.

This was a crazy cool mix of mutated sea beasties, military fiction, a touch of murder mystery, and espionage. The Cthulu spawn coupled with the dark, imminent danger atmosphere of this book had me hooked from the beginning. As a biologist, I was geeking out over the mutated sea life but also the chemical and/or biological weapons the Octung enemies kept throwing at Ghenisia. Later in the story, we have some human diseases, even mutations, brought about by eating tainted sea food, and the wicked biologist in me enjoyed that as well.

Dr. Francis Avery is an interesting man as well. He is not your typical hero. He’s an alcoholic, middle years, balding, not so sure of himself, and for part of the story, he is a little easy to  manipulate. All this made him a very interesting character. He has the remnants of some high ideals, as much as the world he lives in will allow him, but by the end those once pristine black & white areas have all gone grey for him.

Captain Sheridan is also interesting. She was hard for me to guess what side of things she stood on and I very much enjoyed that. Dr. Avery spends quite a bit of time trying to figure her out as well. She is also a woman accustomed to getting her way in nearly everything, including the bedroom (which Avery well knows). I liked that the sex between them wasn’t all mushy but was completely focused on release of tension and lust. After all, this is a hard world and it breeds hard people, men and women alike.

The mysterious woman Layanna was brought up out of the sea unconscious. She poses a quandary as she is unblemished and remains that way while in sick bay. Perhaps she is some human genetic experiment gone right – making it possible for humans to remain untouched by the tainted sea. Perhaps she is a myth, something higher than humanity. At any rate, she is an item the Octung want and the Ghenisia government will want once they know about her.

Then we have all this cool espionage stuff going on in the background. Who aboard the Ghenisian whaler is dropping secret messages overboard? Who can Dr. Avery trust? Who killed those two sailors? So many questions for him to resolve!

Toss in big brawling Janx with his rag tag mutant, tattooed friends and you have quite the story! Indeed, I really enjoyed this book.

I was provided this audiobook at no charge from the author via the GoodReads Audiobooks Group in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks!

The Narration: Ray Greenley did an amazing job with this book. He really brought the characters to life and made them all distinct. He had believable female voices. I especially liked his voice for Janx and that of Janx’s buddy (who he fights in an organized match). 

What I Liked: The cover art; excellent narration; mutated sea beasties!; biowarfare; tainted seas; espionage; sex without the mushiness; Dr. Avery is a complicated guy; mutated humans; murder mystery; so ready for Book 2!

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really enjoyed this book. 

What Others Think:

Rich’s Random Book Blog

Simon Goodson

Giveaway & Interview: Ddwlem, authors of IZ~ The Izzy Story

DdwlemISTheIzzyStoryEncountersDabbers, please welcome the wife-husband writing duo, Sandy and Duayne, who go by Ddwlem. They’ve published a fun adventure space opera, IZ~ The Izzy Story: Encounters, which I quite enjoyed and am looking forward to Book 2 in the series. It’s a real treat having them on the blog and I bet you’ll enjoy their humor as I do! Sandy & Duayne are also generously giving away 5 Audible US downloads and 10 Audible UK downloads of their book! Freaking awesome! So scroll to the bottom for details on how to enter.

What fictional world would you like to visit for the holidays?

The World of Authair (pronounced OUT THERE) is at the top of our list. We’re looking forward to our first flight in Graviton 1 to Planet Authair with our avatars before the end of this year.

How does modern pop culture influence your work? Do modern cultural references date a piece or add touchstones for the reader? 

Cimi Nuja, our mathematical geek, is an embodiment of pop culture modern and retro. She’ll be seen wearing the latest in fashion as long as it allows her to be comfortable and efficient; if not she’ll re-fashion it to suit her needs.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Determining the composition of petroleum streams and administrating an educational program have been our most challenging jobs.  While the tedium necessary for identifying elements in samples of petroleum has little obvious relationship to the collaboration necessary to effectively work with educators we’ve blended those skills into a rare form of ingenuity we call IZ~.

Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more? 

If you have a sidekick you’ve gotta make him kick. Leachim Ztulk is ours. He’s been assigned to Gore Andriol; so you can imagine what it must be like when you’re designated assistant ‘gets it wrong’ every time. Our sidekick is used as an entertaining thread throughout the story creating events that other characters have to deal with before they can get on with their mission.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer? 

*Duayne gets the first bid at this one.* I was one of those inquisitive little boys encouraged to explore. I wanted to know how things worked. In high school I built a cloud chamber to observe radioactive particles. I liked mixing chemicals and watching their reactions including making my own rockets and hydrogen balloons. My kid-self wanted action, writing a book wasn’t nearly that exciting to me at the time.

*Sandy chimes in.* And I was one of those quiet little girls who spent half of her first year of school at home because of a respiratory illness. There I entered the fictional world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Reading or being read to was my favorite past time. Kate Greenaway was my heroin, I would not have pretended to follow in her footsteps. Writing was one of those unspoken aspirations that has only recently surfaced to be manifest in IZ~.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table? 

It would be a glass of Merlot for Brenda Leigh Johnson of The Closer, a hearty grog for Gulliver of Gulliver’s Travels, a super soda for Abbey of NCIS, a cup of tea for William Murdock in the Artful Detective while the two of us sit spellbound with our cups of coffee going cold.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in? 

Is it possible to have a planet revolving between two suns of a binary star system as does Planet Authair in IZ~ revolve between its two suns Olym and Valym? We’ve presented this proposal to several notable astronomers.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

*Sandy gets the first bid on this question.* Marigold Garden by Kate Greenaway was probably the first book I read all the way through, possibly having memorized it. The poetry was beautiful and the little girls lived in a world I wanted to experience.

*Duayne chimes in.* As for me, other than See Spot Run in my early years, the first book I remember reading was Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott. I was a freshman in High School at the time and taken by the idea of second and third dimensions and Abbott’s concept of the forth dimension. Perhaps it’s our divergence of preferences that generates our mutual enjoyment of the unusual.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

As we mentioned in your opening question our avatars will be traveling to Planet Authair. Look for the flight in Graviton 1 to Planet Authair to be available on our website in the fall of 2015. Denisa Kuldova, our 3D artist, is preparing the flight.

We are planning to research the Olmec people in an upcoming trip to Mexico. This is in preparation for Wheeling and Dealing, Book 4 in the series. We’ll be posting those adventures and recognizing the people who help us uncover the curiosities of this magnificent ancient culture on Facebook and our website.

Places to Find Ddwlem

Website: http://www.theizzystory.com

Twitter: @IZTheIzzyStory

Facebook

www.Youtube.com/theizzystory

You can find us on WordPress at Iztheizzystory@wordpress.com

FAPA (Florida Authors and Publishers Association) has chosen IZ~ The Izzy Story: Book 1, Encounters as a finalist in the category of Florida Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. The Gold and Silver Metal winners of each category will be announced at the conference held at the Hilton in Orlando, FL August 7 – 9 of this year. There are 3 books chosen in this category: The other two finalists are John Horse: Florida’s First Freedom Fighter by Betty Turso and The Sparks by Kyle Prue.

DdwlemISTheIzzyStoryEncountersBook Blurb for The Izzy Story: Encounters

IZ~ The Izzy Story consists of a series of books that describe the life and adventures of Izzy, his loyal friends and, few but deadly, enemies. There is humor and drama, woven through scientifically imagined possibilities that question the origin and of our myths and legends.

This introductory book describes the first encounters of Izzy with the Good , the Bad and the Earthlings and lays the basis for subsequent books in the series.
“Encounters,” consists of 5 chapters from different times and locations. It weaves a tale around Izzy’s life and how he lost a precious possession while on a mission to Earth with his companions. Their plan was to develop a vaccine to cure a plague that was rampant on their home planet Authair. Each chapter further develops a mystery surrounding the discovery of a curiously crafted artifact.

Chapter 1, “Attack,” reveals that Izzy Tzeus, was created by a lab accident at the Ponce Heidon Institute of Genetic Research on Planet Authair. Surprisingly he’s found to be half cat, half iguana with a trace of Authairian blood and was named because Ponce kept asking, “What is he?” He uses telepathic powers and can communicate with any life form. Izzy surprises everyone including himself when he learns he can produce a sound capable of subduing enemies and saving lives.

For those who don’t believe such a small creature’s sound could be so potent, in Chapter 2 “Skeptical”, older Izzy attempts to prove it is true. He also provides evidence of the team’s visit to prehistoric Earth through a gift he received from Kurl Tszargon. Kurl depicted Izzy’s life story by engraving an ancient Authairian script around a plate’s edge. This precious gift was lost during the volcanic eruption in Santorini around 1600 BCE. But shortly after the eruption, a broken fragment is recovered by a Welsh sailor, Illiachus, who believes it is a gift from the gods.

It is eventually rediscovered in 2000 CE at Stonehenge by Tasy, a terrier belonging to Dee, an archaeology coed attending Bournemouth University. Her professor, Geoffrey Devans, once he recovers from the shock of his student ‘stealing’ an artifact from the earth at Stonehenge hypothesizes the artifact was fabricated during the Bronze Age in Wales but composed of materials known to have only recently been developed here on Earth. The script around the edge resembles Linear A, so professor and student travel to Santorini to have Dee’s grandfather, Aristotle Maritimis, attempt to translate it’s message.

They are joined by Thorf Serendopolis, an archaeology student who has just arrived in Santorini from Princeton University to conduct his PhD research who shortly before leaving for Greece, had discovered he has a strange allele on his DNA that may account for his superior intellect and athletic prowess. On arriving at Santorini, Thorf has a déjà vu feeling that haunts him. That night he has a series of nightmares about riots and a plague in a distant world, then about a young girl gathering firewood on a beach.

The origin of the dream is realized in Chapter 5. The young girl’s grandfather, Illiachus, recites a fireside ballad to the children of his clan about his encounters with human-like creatures and a dragon that descend to Earth and bargain with him, and how he survives the destruction of Santorini and finds a treasure made by the gods.

Giveaway!

The authors are offering 5 Audible US downloads of Encounters and 10 Audible UK downloads of Encounters! For a quick entry, tell me in the comments 1) Do you have an Audible account and indicate US or UK (and leave a way to contact you); and 2) What has been your worst or most difficult job? Also, you can enter the Rafflecopter below which has additional entries. Contest ends Midnight July 31st, 2015!

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Rex Tanner & the Sword of Damocles by Olufemi Sowemimo

SowemimoRexTannerAndTheSwordOfDamoclesWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrators: Keith Silverstein, Katie Leigh, Andrew S. Bates, Amy Robinson, Dave DeAndrea, & the rest of the Cast & Crew

Publisher: Audiblescripts (2015)

Length: 2 hours 26 minutes

Author’s Page

Rex Tanner is a race car driver, an American spy, a dude with an embedded gadget that gives him special abilities, and sometimes the hero. After saving the scientist Penelope Mulgrew, the two have a new mission. The 1935 Olympics draw nigh and something is stealing muscle strength from American athletes, leaving them depleted sad things. Plenty of shenanigans ensue as these two attempt to get to the bottom of this and save the Olympics for the Americans.

First, this book was a lot of fun. I quite enjoyed it. Rex is a fun hero to follow around. He has a bit of an ego and says some funny outrageous things. Penelope is a good foil for him, having to point out sexist remarks or such. It’s all done quite well with plenty of humor and action. In fact, this book reminded me of the TV cartoon series Archer (though Archer has more adult humor).

there’s plenty of gadgets and fun tech that makes me think of the older James Bond movies. Rex’s Omnidial, which is embedded in his flesh, is a source of usefulness and sometimes amusement. He doesn’t know what all the settings do and of course, Penelope, our scientist, wants to find out. Not all settings are conducive to all circumstances! Haha!

The bad guys are also interesting and they come in several flavors. Some are all-around jerks, others have their own agendas. Rex’s older brother shows up and there ensues sibling rivalry and male competition. The ladies play key roles on both side of the fence too. All around, this was an enjoyable tale fit for family fun. I am hoping for a sequel!

I received this audiobook from Audiblescripts (via the Audiobook Blast Newsletter) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: The sound effects, music, and narration for this book are all top notch. I enjoyed the full cast, especially those folks who had to pull off accents. Rex’s cocky voice was also excellent. The sound effects and music never drowned out the dialogue, and always added to the scenes.

What I Liked: Fun action flick; plenty of cool gadgets; the ladies get to poke fun at the male chauvinism; reminded me of the TV series Archer (which I really enjoy); excellent narration; plenty of humor.

What I Disliked: Nothing – I really liked this one and want more.

The Crescent Strikes by Dean Warren

WarrenTheCrescentStrikesWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: David Dietz

Publisher: Dean Warren (2014)

Length: 10 hours 32 minutes

Series: Book 2 The Pacification of Earth

Author’s Page

This book picks up a littler over a year after Book 1 ended. Benjamin Bjorn is still a man of power and still married to an Achiever (Jenny) who got pregnant and had his child. While North America has settled somewhat into the new regime, rumblings are occurring across Europe – their Welfies want the same things. Also, the Middle East and Asian countries are wanting to expand their territories into Europe, needing more resources for their large populations. War is imminent.

Honestly, I was lukewarm on Book 1 and I am the same with Book 2. There’s still a good pacing, the story line having a nice mix of politics, action, some quiet contemplation, and sexytimes. I enjoyed the various betrayals as that mixed things up a little. Bjorn is no longer the underdog but he still champions them.

Again, the plot lines were pretty predictable. I never worried that our heroes would be killed or that the bad guys would get away unscathed in some manner. We did have several more cultures involved in this book (which I liked) but their portrayals in the book relied heavily on dated cultural stereotypes (which made things predictable and a little boring).

There were some additional ladies in this book and we even had a female Prime Minister for the UK. However, nearly all the plot decisions were made by men and most of the women were incompetent. Contraception, or rather, the lack of it, came up several times throughout the book. The responsibility to hold off on reproducing was always laid at the woman’s feet. This struck me as an oddity for this story: The world as a whole is over populated; there are several types of contraception available to both men and women today; this is set in the near future where there would be more types of contraception available if anything. So I didn’t get why our hero Bjorn was putting all the blame on Jenny and none of the responsibility on his own shoulders. It was a recurring theme throughout the book and it struck me as a dated idea. Perhaps even a sexist one.

One of our female characters does get to carry the day at the end, which was nice. However, it felt more like an apology for making the ladies so inconsequential for 1.8 books. I still liked Uncle Will, though we saw less of him in this book. There were a handful of other characters that had their moments. Over all, it was a little more disappointing than Book 1, American Revolt.

I received this audiobook at no charge from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: David Dietz did a fine job with this book. It called for plenty of accents, had a sizable cast of characters, and required emotion from time to time. He did a really good job with all the various accents. He also had distinct character voices for all the different characters.

What I Liked: Underdog hero leading the way; good pacing; plenty of cultures.

What I Disliked: The plot lines are mostly predictable; the ladies are mostly vapid things; responsibility of contraception placed on the women alone; relies heavily on dated cultural stereotypes.

Giveaway & Interview: Jennifer Anne Seidler, Author of Dry Land

SeidlerDryLandFolks, it is my pleasure to have Jennifer Anne Seidler on the blog today. I very much enjoyed her scifi romance, Dry Land, and it was a real treat to interview her. Today we chat about hard scifi, best & worst jobs, show chickens, scifi romance, and much more! If you’re interested in the audiobook giveaway, scroll to the bottom.

If you could be an extra on a SF series or movie,  what would it be?

I love this question! I would say I would love to be someone in a control room at a launch of some important mission, whether it be from Earth or as a controller guiding ships from some distant planet. I would suppose that if I were actually part of the mission, I wouldn’t be an extra. So, give me a uniform and a pair of headphones, a mic, and some sort of display to watch, and I’ll be happy. That, and I can use my Chuck Yeager voice, do the countdown, and say “roger that.”

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? How does this feed into your idea of hard science fiction?

I love Space Opera, but my preference is for hard sci fi. I prefer that in most of my reading, to be honest. I love created worlds but I really love it when a writer can take our world and make it fantastic. I read Michio Kaku’s books about science in the future and mankind in that future and it is amazing the potential this world has – both for the amazing and the frightening. I find it fascinating to explore that in books and in the things I write. There’s a rule that technology the way it’s going now renews itself, turns over every eighteen months. Part of me wonders if the fantastical future will happen during my lifetime. If not, I can die knowing I’ve at least dreamt and read a taste of it.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I don’t think I’ve had a job that I can say is the “worst.” Perhaps it was one of my first jobs out of law school, when I was relegated to a desk, reviewing documents day in and day out. Important for the litigation, maybe, but boring as hell for me. I prefer to be “out there.” My favorite job was when I was deeply involved with the legal aspects of arson investigation – getting out in my grubby clothes and slogging around fire scenes, tagging behind some of the most brilliant minds in fire investigation. That was some amazing stuff. But, yes, it’s true that none of that compares to writing. Dry Land is my first touch into published fiction, but I do feel that I have to write every day. If I don’t write in some form or another I go a little stir. :) Whether it is throwing down ideas for more Ted and Colby or hobby writing with some of my writing partners, writing gives me a sense of peace, accomplishment, and sanity.

Dogs, chickens, rabbits, & a hamster! Who gets fed first? Are any of them show animals, or purely for family enjoyment?

The dog gets fed first. :) The chickens and rabbits, my husband takes care of. I do go out there and help him clean things up every few weeks (gross!) but the care and feeding is his bailiwick. We did show chickens for a few years. My oldest son, Ian, won junior showmanship a few years back at the Lodi Fair — something he was pretty proud of. My daughter tried her hand at showing rabbits, but it wasn’t her thing. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a moratorium on showing poultry at fairs this year because of that bird flu, but… maybe next year.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

A beer. Definitely a beer. I would invite: Eugene Wrayburn, Thursday Next, Lord John Grey, Hercule Poirot, and Captain Jack Harkness. How’s that for a crowd?

If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in science fiction romance literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

OOH! I think I’d devote entire units to Anne McCaffrey, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jasper Fforde, Rob Shearman, Ursula K. LeGuin, KM Herkes, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Jennifer Roberson; and then to the indies, of course, and there are so many of them that I love! I’ve probably forgotten some, therefore, I will leave room in the syllabus for my students to do independent studies on their favorite SFR authors.

What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

Of course, to quote Weird Al, “Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?” That and… which is better – Star Trek or Star Wars? And finally… why does everyone love Loki so much when he’s a psychotic mass murderer?

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

I had this volume of poetry and fairy tales called “Young Years.” I remember my grandmother challenged me to read through it, and I did. And I loved it. I still have that book to this very day, although I have passed it on to my daughter. I still vividly remember the illustrations.

SeidlerDryLandDry Land Book Blurb:

When mankind toys with nature, nature fights back. Astronaut Ted “Shakespeare” Hardiston is setting off on the adventure of a lifetime — for the rest of his life. He reluctantly leaves behind his wife, an android/human hybrid, to command the first base on the surface of the moon. Ted and the crew of Space Shuttle Liberty complete their mission, gifting the Moon with gravity and an atmosphere. In doing so, they cause mass destruction on the Earth below. By Ted’s side during this ordeal is Codie-5, another hybrid and a genetic duplicate of Ted’s wife. Ted, Codie, and the crew must work fast and make sacrifices to save the world — and for Ted, to return to the love of his life.

Places to Find Jennifer Anne Seidler

Website

GoodReads

Facebook

Giveaway!

The author is offering 1 Audible USA copy of her book, Dry Land! Hooray! To enter, answer the following question in the comments:

1) Do you have an Audible USA account?

2) If you could be an extra on a SF series or movie,  what would it be?

If you don’t sign into leave the comment with an active email address, then leave on in the comments. If you share the post, tell me in the comments and you get extra points. Contest ends Midnight, Saturday July 11th, 2015.

IZ ~ The Izzy Story – Encounters by Ddwlem

DdwlemISTheIzzyStoryEncountersWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrators: Roy Kelly & the whole crew

Publisher: Ddwlem, LLC (2015)

Length: 2 hours 35 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Izzy Story

Author’s Page

 

Scientists from the far off planet Authair are in a race against time. A plague is killing their people and the must find a safe haven to complete their research. Earth looks like a winner. Meanwhile, a group of archaeologists and archaeology students are peeking into ruins and find something unexpected.

The action and humor are a lot of fun in this book. We start off in space with aliens, scientists (mad or otherwise), and  Izzy himself (who is like some sort of intelligent cat lizard). There’s this plague and some bad guys and the good guys must flee and continue playing with their glass beakers at the same time. They spot Earth and discuss, determining that it looks like a good place to hide out.

Then we totally switch character lists. Now we get to play with the Earthlings and the pace slows way down. This second half of the story is definitely more about a mystery and building some suspense. An archaeology student’s dog digs something unique up and the professor is consulted. Various shenanigans ensue.

For the most part, this book was fun, combining two of my favorite things – space opera and archaeological mystery. My only criticism is that the book is so cleanly divided in half in location and characters that I felt I was reading 2 separate stories. Plus this book cuts off before the connection between the two is cleanly tied together. So be ready to jump into Book 2!

I received this audiobook from the author (via the Audiobook Blast Newsletter) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: The narration, sound effects, and music for this book are excellent. It made the book extra fun to have so many voice actors and sound effects. The music was a nice touch too, never drowning out the dialogue.

What I Liked: Fun mix of space opera & archaeology mystery; Izzy is a strange cat lizard thing; both good and mad scientists abound; plenty of humor.

What I Disliked: Felt like I read 2 smaller books as the two story lines weren’t solidly connected by the end of this book.