2014: What’s Next?

Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones - because you have to name such pieces something.

Here is an artsy wool rug. Sky Stones – because you have to name such pieces something.

2013 was an extremely busy year for me, so some of my book commitments fell to the wayside. I had ankle surgery in February and that took forever to heal enough to be fully mobile. My man took an EMT course over the summer, while continuing to work 40 hours/week, and hopefully soon he will be licensed (still waiting on the ambulance ride alongs to be scheduled). Several small, intense events also happened over the summer and having them all stacked up like that took a toll. Then there was cubicle land. Yep. The office. I saw myself going down the path that leads to Dickhood and I decided I didn’t want to be just another disgruntled employee who was spending every ounce of concentration trying to hide it. I was tired of listening to my coworkers cry at work and my managers being yanked around by yet more managers. So, I looked around at what else I could do and I spotted a loom and weaving supplies. Yeah. You didn’t see that plot twist coming, did you? So on top of all the summer madness, I started a home business (Woven Hearth) while still employed at the the Cubicle Dungeon. Craziness.

In October I put in my 2 weeks notice, and my last day at the Dungeon was Halloween. It’s always been my favorite holiday, and now I see it in a liberating light also.

Picabuche - Just a smidge demon?

Picabuche – Just a smidge demon?

What does all this babbling mean about my reading life? Well, now I have a full-time job where I listen to audiobooks all day while weaving. Hooray! So I am tearing through those like Granny Margaret tears through pantyhose (don’t ask).

I also took up free-lance editing. I love this side job. I love being paid to take apart (politely, always politely) someone’s work. I love double checking their facts. Do herons really nest on the Nile banks in summer? What kind of trade was going on in 1580s Europe? If she’s holding a knife and a gun, where do they end up when she lunges to strangle the good guy?

You get the idea. But the other side of that shiny coin is that I now have difficulty reading ANYTHING without mentally editing it. My eyeball reading has decreased even as my audiobook listening has increased. So I am trying to get my eyeball reading groove back. Hence, the pileup of review ebooks that still need reading.

As many of you already know, I will be participating in Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage SF and in Stainless Steel Droppings’ Science Fiction Experience 2014. The Wheel of Time read along is ongoing (and lots of fun!). We’re just starting Book 7, A Crown of Swords. Also, for 10 glorious weeks we will be dissecting Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings in a read along cooked up by On Starships & Dragonwings and myself. I’ll also be participating in the February The Book of Apex Anthology blog tour organized by Little Red Reviewer. Starting up next week is the continued read a long of N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance trilogy with Book 2, The Broken Kingdoms with Books Without Any Pictures and Violin in a Void. I also have about dozen books from last year to review so that I am all caught up. Beyond that, we’ll see what happens.

HowellSummersKeplersDozenThere were so many books and authors I didn’t get to last year, so they role over to this year. David Lee Summers still has plenty of books for me to explore. Jacqueline Carey has put out one or two books in the YA genre. Of course, Brandon Sanderson‘s sequel to The Way of Kings will be out in March (Words of Radiance). I’ve been meaning to read Jay Kristoff for 2 years now. James Maxey, I’m an ass for not having listened to Bitterwood yet. Kick me in the britches if we ever meet. Since listening to Wil Wheaton read John Scalzi‘s Redshirts, I want to read Wheaton’s book, Just a Geek, and also more Scalzi. I love Mary Roach‘s investigative reporter books and I NEED, yes it is a need, to read her latest, Gulp. I’m feeling a deep, deep need to reread The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and to follow that with reading Wise Man’s Fear (which I haven’t read yet). I also need something dark, magical, and WWII, which means Ian Tregillis and his Milkweed Triptych series.

MaxeyGreatshadowHeldigYou get the point. I will be foregoing sleep.

What’s on your reading goals for 2014?

TregillisBitterSeeds

Interview: David Lee Summers of Hadrosaur Productions

David Lee Summers giving a reading.

David Lee Summers giving a reading.

Everyone, please welcome author, editor, & publisher David Lee Summers to Dab Of Darkness once again. This time, he graces us with his knowledge on publishing, small presses, and the mysterious hadrosaur mascot of Hadrosaur Productions.

1) Often in the publishing world, we see that cover art and even illustrations may be wide interpretations of the actual story. As a small publisher, how do you match art to the story?

First off, as a writer, I find it exciting to see how an artist envisions one of my stories or novels.  I even love it when the artist’s vision doesn’t precisely match the vision I had in mind, as long as it’s a valid interpretation of what I wrote.  It’s the process of seeing what I wrote through a reader’s eyes.  I love seeing the elements of the story the artist found important.

TalesTalisman8-4-coverThe way the process works at Tales of the Talisman Magazine is that I send the stories that require illustration to our art director, Laura Givens, along with summaries of the stories.  Laura then does her best to match the stories with the artists she works with, typically looking at how the “mood” of a story will match the tone and flavor of an artist’s work.  Once the artist has the story, they’re free to go off and interpret it how they want.  Laura works with them to create a technically good piece of work and then she sends it to me and I pay the artist.  I very rarely interfere with the process.  I only send something back to Laura if I feel an illustration gives away too much of a story’s ending, if I feel something could be interpreted as a copyright violation, or if I just can’t understand how the illustration relates to the story at all.  I think I have only sent three or four illustrations back in eight years.

As for the covers of Tales of the Talisman, or an anthology like A Kepler’s Dozen, I really just tell Laura the mood or feeling I want to convey in the cover.  Most of the time, she goes away and about 48 hours later has something for me.  I swear, Laura Givens is a mind reader.  Most of the time, what she sends me is perfect.  In the few times I’ve asked for a change, it’s usually some detail that I don’t think was quite right and often it’s fixed the same day.

2) Concerning publishing etiquette, are unsolicited manuscripts a welcome treat or something that immediately goes to the bottom of the pile?

Let’s start by defining terms.  A solicited manuscript is one that an editor has asked for.  We often think of those as being equivalent to submissions made through an agent.  Well, sorta.  The way that happens is that the agent goes to the editor, makes a pitch and then the editor invites the agent to submit, hence the solicited part.  Magazines, even big-name magazines like Asimov’s or Cemetery Dance, rarely solicit work through agents.  They tend to buy short stories directly from the authors.

Tales of the Talisman takes submissions from anyone during its open reading periods.  As long as the stories conform to the guidelines, these unsolicited manuscripts are absolutely a welcome treat.  Our reading periods typically start on January 1 and July 1 of each year and we read until full.  (Note, we did cancel our July reading period this year to allow us to get back on track with our publishing schedule.)  The guidelines are available on the web at http://www.talesofthetalisman.com/gl.html

HowellSummersKeplersDozenThe anthology A Kepler’s Dozen presents thirteen stories set on exoplanets discovered by NASA’s Kepler Mission.  In this case, we wanted each story to be set on a different exoplanet.  Because of that, writers had to tell us which star system they were going to feature in their story and then they were given the go-ahead to write their story.  So, in this case stories were “solicited” even though they didn’t come through an agent.  What this meant was that an “unsolicited” story was unlikely to be used.  Even though I say that, we did get a submission for Tales of the Talisman that was perfect for the anthology, so I asked to buy it for the book instead of the magazine and fortunately the author was happy to oblige!

3) When considering a short story or even a novel for publication, are tales that fit snugly into a well-established genre preferred over tales that are cross-genre?

As a reader, I absolutely love it when authors play with genre boundaries and tropes to create something fresh and unique.  The only real requirement is that everything works in the story’s internal logic.  No surprise, then, that I love doing the same thing as a writer.

The reasons for genre compliance are really to give bookstores a place to shelve books and to give readers a sense of what to expect.  Being a magazine of science fiction and fantasy, Tales of the Talisman doesn’t have to worry much about either of those things.  When we’re lucky enough to be on a bookstore shelf, we’re shelved with the other science fiction and fantasy magazines.  Because we are a magazine of multiple stories and poems, people expect a potpourri.  So, in fact, I love to see cross-genre stories.  That said, my preference is generally for good stories regardless of where they fit in genre definition.  So, I usually buy a mix of stories that fit in well-established genres and ones that cross genres.

I don’t consider novels for Hadrosaur Productions, but I have considered them when I’ve worked as an editor for other publishers.  My sense is that small presses are a bit more open to cross-genre works than bigger presses simply because they’re selling more of their works as ebooks or through online retailers and again don’t have to worry so much about how the books are going to be shelved at the local big box bookstore.

4) Do small publishers locate beta readers for their works, or is that generally left up to the author?

Again, I think a definition could be handy.  A beta reader is someone who reads an author’s manuscript and provides an early critique.  I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of any press, big or small, finding beta readers for books.  Typically that’s something left up to the author.

Generally, a publisher will run a manuscript through three levels of editing.  First is acquisitions, where the manuscript is selected. Second is line editing, where someone will read for plot holes, characterization issues, factual problems, problems with sentence structure and so forth.  This is probably the closest a publisher will get to a beta reading phase.  Finally there will be copyediting or proofreading, where the basics like spelling, punctuation and grammar will be fixed.  Depending on the size of the press these jobs may be handled from anywhere from one to three or more people.

Some small publishers will send a novel out for review blurbs.  These are the little quotes you may see on the front or back cover of the book that tell how wonderful it is.  This really isn’t the same as a beta reader.  If the blurb writer loves the story, they will generally send you a short paragraph telling what they loved.  If they don’t like story, they generally won’t provide a detailed report.  They’ll just decline to provide a blurb.

5) Series versus stand-alones: What are the pluses and the possible pitfalls?

When a situation and a set of characters click, readers and publishers love series.  Readers love them because they can come back and spend more time in a beloved world.  Publishers love them because they have a ready-made audience for the next book in the series.

An author should only agree to do a series if they absolutely love spending time in the world.  If not, they’re not going to create a series that readers will come back to.  Ideally, a writer should also treat each book of a series as possibly the last, and wrap up the plot sufficiently that if the publisher cancels the series, readers won’t feel cut off.  By the same token, writers should recognize that a reader may start a series in the middle.  So, the book has to be able to function as a first book as well.  In other words, the perfect series book is a stand-alone that functions in the context of a larger story arc.

In fact, as a writer, I’ve never set out to write a series.  I always started with a standalone book, because a new set of characters and a new world is an experiment.  That’s the beauty of the standalone.  It’s a chance to try new things out.  Sometimes those new things are wonderful and need to be explored in more books.  Sometimes, that first book will prove sufficient.

On a related note, Tales of the Talisman did try publishing serialized fiction in some of its early issues.  A few readers were enthusiastic about the serials, but generally these were people who were already loyal subscribers.  New subscribers generally didn’t go back and look for past installments, and single-issue buyers didn’t rush to buy subscriptions to find out the next installment.  Perhaps this was a reflection on the specific serials we bought, but it didn’t seem like this was the path to creating loyal subscribers and it kept us from buying as many wonderful stand-alone stories as we would have liked, so we ultimately decided to drop serials from the mix.

6) How important is self-promotion for an author that has signed with a small publisher?

I’m going to say something completely heretical in this day and age.  Forget what you’ve been told about “self-promotion.”  Figuring out how many tweets per day to send out about your book is a fool’s errand.  Intentionally trying to build buzz is just going to get you put in people’s spam filters.  What sells books is word of mouth by engaged readers.

The job of an author is to come up with an idea so wonderful, a story so eye-poppingly well told, characters so dynamic that readers will have no choice but to gush about the book.  In fact, the book is going to be so terrific, you’re not going to be able to help yourself as you geek out about it to your friends on Twitter, Facebook and at conventions and book fairs.  When you’re done with the first book, your job is to go on to the next book.  It’s going to be so great, you’re going to have no choice but to talk about that one, too.

The best publishers, large or small, have always worked with the author to help share the enthusiasm, but all publishers have limited resources.  Small publishers in particular are going to be people just like you, struggling to make ends meet with a day job, but who have a passion for the craft.  On top of that, they also have a bunch of other authors they’re working with.  If there is one specific promotion job I can encourage you to do, it’s to work with your publisher to figure out how best to dovetail your energies spreading the enthusiasm about the book, but do it with a spirit of partnership and cooperation.

So, yes, self-promotion is vitally important to an author who has signed with a small press, but the idea I want to get across is that if you’ve done your job as an author, the enthusiasm will flow naturally.  It will be infectious.  A few curious people will see and check out the book.  If the book really is great and strikes a chord, word will spread quickly.  If the book’s greatness eludes people, it doesn’t matter.  Even though you’re enthusiastic and spreading the word, you’ll already be working on the next great book.

7) How did the hadrosaur come to be the mascot?

My wife, Kumie, and I both love dinosaurs.  There’s one dinosaur in particular that we found particularly striking.  It’s a Chinese hadrosaur called tsintaosaurus.  It’s a duck-billed dinosaur that had a strikingly unicorn-like crest, in effect making it the creature of science and the creature of fantasy.  Here’s a good page describing the dinosaur:  http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/discoverycentre/dinosaur-walk/meet-the-skeletons/tsintaosaurus/

What’s more, when Kumie was going to graduate school for her Masters in Business Administration at the University of Arizona, her final project to create a company.  That company became our small press.  While working on her project, hadrosaur fossils were discovered near Tucson.  We took it as a sign and named our small press hadrosaur after the creature of science and fantasy, and we use the tsintaosaurus in our logo.

8) In this electronic age, is distance between author, cover artists, illustrators, and publisher an obstacle?

The distance between people really isn’t much of an obstacle at all.  These days I do the majority of business by email and it really doesn’t matter if the person I’m working with is across town or half a world away.  Editing stories is largely a visual exercise, and emailing manuscripts marked up in Microsoft Word is very simple.  Paypal has generally made it very easy to pay people, no matter where they live.  The only thing that can be a very slight obstacle is that it costs more to mail contributor copies of physical books to people in other countries than it does to mail them to someone in the United States.

SummersSolarSea9) What is your take on book trailers and their effectiveness in promoting a single book or a catalog of books?

I think book trailers can be very eye-catching if done well.  Like a good book, a good book trailer needs to be able to stand out from the pack and do something memorable.  There are a lot of sites for sharing book trailers and it becomes another way for an author or a publisher to share their enthusiasm for a particular title.  However, I’ve seen some book trailers that look like amateur YouTube videos.  Nothing about them really captures my attention.

If you’re going to take the time to make a book trailer or spend the money to have one made, make sure it’s done right.  Don’t just do it because it’s the “in thing” to do.  Do it because it’s something you’ll be proud to show off.  I haven’t assembled any book trailers lately simply because I haven’t had the time to make one of the quality I’d find satisfactory.   The last one I did was for my novel The Solar Sea.  It’s a little dated, but I think it still stands up, largely due to Laura Givens’ excellent artwork.  I even made an animation for the video.  It’s at http://thesolarsea.com

10) When you are actively scouting for new authors or artists, what are some things you look at for compatibility?

The process of “scouting for a new author or artist” is largely one of putting up a notice saying we’re open to submissions.  An author will send a story or a novel (depending on what we’re looking for).  An artist might send us a link to their online portfolio.

In the case of short stories, the process is simple.  If they send me a story I love, I most likely will send them a contract.  As long as they handle the contract and payment process in a business-like way, I’m happy to continue doing business with that author in the future.

In the case of artists for Tales of the Talisman, generally Laura Givens looks at the artist’s portfolio to see if the work fits the kind of tone and quality she wants to maintain.  If it is, she emails the artists to make sure they’re happy to work for the pay we can offer and deliver the illustrations we need in a timely fashion.  She’ll generally try them out with one piece.  If all goes well with that first assignment, she’ll contact them for a future assignments.

Most of my experience with novels comes from acquiring books for other companies.  Still, when a publisher commits to buying a book, it’s a relationship that will need to last at least a few years to be successful.  I generally start by evaluating the cover letter to see if the author presents herself in a businesslike and professional manner.  From there, I like to see what kind of track record the author has.  Ideally, I’d like to see a few story sales or at least some indication that she knows how to work well with an editorial team.  I also like an author who can carry on a conversation either online or in person.  Conversely, I don’t want someone who will dominate a conversation or whose ego is so big, I don’t feel like I fit in the same room with it.  I also like to know what an author plans next.  Do they have another book planned?  Is it a sequel or another standalone?  There’s not necessarily a right answer to those questions, but I don’t want an author who has invested all their hopes and dreams in the one work sitting in front of me.  Those authors are invariably disappointed when their baby didn’t make them a millionaire overnight or someone gave them a one-star review on Amazon.

11) As a well-established small publisher, what are a few pieces of advice for folks thinking of founding their own publishing company or joining one?

If you’re thinking of joining a small publishing company, look at their track record.  Do their books look like they’re professional quality?  Do they pay royalties on time?  Do they treat their authors well?  Do they have clear guidelines for the work they expect you to do?  Talk to other people working with that press to find out if they’re happy or not and why.

If you’re planning on founding your own company, plan for the long haul.  It can take years for a small publisher to find their niche and be successful.  Stay within your means.  Don’t publish more books than you can afford to.  Don’t take on more projects than you can handle in a timely fashion.

Educate yourself about the process.  Understand the workflows needed to create the products you plan to sell.  For example, if you plan to publish both print books and ebooks, learn how to manage your workflow so you can do both in a timely manner.  Understand how to create a print book and how to create an ebook.  Even if you ultimately plan to contract these jobs out, it’s the best way to know whether you’re getting a fair price for the jobs performed.

Educate yourself about the marketplace.  Where are you going to sell your books?  How do you place those books with those vendors?

As a small publisher, treat your authors well.  Pay your royalties on time.  Keep clear channels of communication open with your authors and your staff.  That said, remember, the readers always come first.  Fill your orders in a timely fashion and pay attention to what your readers like and don’t like.  They’re the source blood of any publishing venture and your mission will always boil down to finding the best way to get good books into their hands.

Thanks again David for sharing your time and knowledge!

Places to find David Lees Summers and Hadrosaur Productions

Hadrosaur Productions

Tales of the Talisman

David Lee Summers: Wrong Turn on the Information Superhighway

David Lee Summers’ Web Journal

Goodreads

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

Bubonicon 2013: The Afterglow

The signed Kindle.

The signed Kindle.

First, here are a bunch of pictures of my signed goodies from the Bubonicon 2013 mass autographing session Saturday afternoon. I brought more books than I could carry in one backpack, and more than I could get signed in the 80 minutes allotted for it. I also went around with my kindle having the back signed. Some of the signatures on it are from Bubonicon 2012 and it came with one signature (David. B. Coe). We were allowed 3 items for the author to sign and then we could get back in line to have more signed. Since I had so many authors I wanted to stalk, I limited myself to no more than 3 items per author.

Books signed at Bubonicon 2013.

Books signed at Bubonicon 2013.

George R. R. Martin by far had the longest line. In fact, by the time I decided I was done (5 minutes left of the session), he still had somewhere between 20-30 people in line. So I spent my time stalking all sorts of other authors. Of course I had books for David Lee Summers to sign. Mario Acevedo, whose book The Nymphos of Rocky Flats I recently finished, was sitting next to Summers, so I couldn’t resist having him sign my kindle (devilish smiley face). I recently finished The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham and had a paper copy for him to sign. However, I listened to Leviathan Wakes (by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck under the pen name James S. A. Corey), so I asked the two if they wouldn’t mind signing my kindle – and luckily I had a few permanent markers on me. Then I headed over to the Tim Powers line to get a few books signed for a fellow blogger and tripped over Joan Saberhagen on the way. Well, I just happen to have this anthology, Golden Reflections, she helped put together, so I asked her to give it a signing since I blundered into her. She was so nice. In fact, everyone I tracked down to sign this anthology went into smiles and commented on how much fun they had with it.

The only one I have read in this batch is The Outlander. Looking forward to diving into the rest.

The only one I have read in this batch is The Outlander. Looking forward to diving into the rest.

The Tim Powers line was shorter than I expected. In fact, Brent Weeks and Diana Gabaldon had longer lines, but Powers didn’t seem to mind. I told him my blogger friend threatened to beat me bloody with his books if I don’t give them a try and he seemed appreciative of the comment. Then I bobbled around to a few more - John Maddox Roberts, Walter Jon Williams, and Connie Willis. I got to tell her how much my man and I enjoyed the audio version of Blackout. I can’t wait to read the 2nd book, All Clear. Willis created one giganto novel and the publisher split it in two, so you really need to give both a read to get the full story.

My beloved Night Angel trilogy signed.

My beloved Night Angel trilogy signed.

Then I got in line for Brent Weeks. His wife and baby were right up there at the big table with him. The line had gone down quite a bit so he was chatting with folks as they came up to the table. I had my Night Angel trilogy that my man’s sister (thanks D.!) gave us a few years ago. Weeks was very cool. He let me babble on about how my man and I enjoyed his trilogy so much, we basically read it at the same time, having two sets of bookmarks and one staying up later than the other to get a chance at the book in use. My man won that little race, finishing the trilogy half a book ahead of me. Then over to Diana Galbaldon‘s table. By that time, the room was pretty darn warm and I and many others were beginning to wilt. I thanked her for doing this as I can only imagine that it might not be the most favorite part of a convention for the authors. I had found an old ARC of The Outlander and rescued it just for this con and was very happy to get it signed.

Sam Sykes books for my man.

Sam Sykes books for my man.

Finally, I swung by Sam Sykes‘s table. My man loved his first novel, Tome of the Undergates, and I picked up the next two in the series for him. Interesting factoid I didn’t know before the con: Sykes is the son of Diana Gabaldon. Sykes signed my kindle as the books were already signed, and he offered me two signed book plates! Hooray – keep putting out novels Mr. Sykes so we can use the book plates appropriately. Hmm… which brings up ideas of how to use them inappropriately. Anyhoo, I then asked Jane Lindskold (Firekeeper Saga) for a signature on the anthology. While I am not familiar with her work, I look forward to reading her story in Golden Reflections. Last on the list, but not least, was S. M. Stirling. My man really enjoyed his Island in the Sea of Time trilogy and we have both wanted to give The Change series a go. After all that, I was beat.

Mario Acevedo, Betsy James, Gabi Stevens, & Connie Willis

Mario Acevedo, Betsy James, Gabi Stevens, & Connie Willis

Now, on to Sunday, in which the festivities started at 10 and ended (for me anyway) at 4ish. Of course, I started off with a panel, Warehouse 2013: Odd Objects in Fiction. Gabi Stevens moderated and Mario Acevedo, Betsy James, and Connie Willis joined in. In this panel, they started off discussing objects that propel a story forward, such as the One Ring in Tolkien. The discussion then turned to metaphorical objects, such as searching for the truth. It was actually pretty good info for any aspiring authors because the dos and don’ts of how to use such objects in fiction were also touched upon.

Diana Rowland playing Toastmistress to Guests of Honor Tim Powers & Brent Weeks.

Diana Rowland playing Toastmistress to Guests of Honor Tim Powers & Brent Weeks.

I then stuck around for the hour and half Co-Guest of Honor Presentation. Diana Rowland played hostess to Tim Powers and Brent Weeks. This was a great discussion. I quite enjoyed Diana Rowland’s jokes and stories. She use to be a cop and use to work at a morgue. I know, you might be guessing things about me by my interest in such professions. At any rate, now I want to read her stuff. Library trip! All three shared publishing snafoos with the audience. Brent Weeks talked candidly, but kindly, about the narration to his first book and how reviewers found the narration (think surfer dude for the main character) to be not a good match for the book. Tim Powers, who has been a published author for many more years, talked about Canadian Harlequin’s failed SFF line of books and then his experiences with Lester Del Rey. I am constantly fascinated by all that goes on behind the scenes to simply get a book out there to the public. Then of course we talked movie versions of their books. Brent Weeks commented on how he would want a good match and to have a final product that he could be proud of. Tim Powers was at the other end of the spectrum, not minding at all if a book of his was turned into a musical with dancing hamsters. He commented that to him movies, or even audiobooks, were different beasts entirely than the source material, his books. The imagery of dancing hamsters doing a Tim Powers scene had many in the audience laughing. It was a great way to spend an hour and half.

Darynda Jones, Alan Beck, Caroline Spector, Debbie Lynn Smith, & Warren Spector.

Darynda Jones, Alan Beck, Caroline Spector, Debbie Lynn Smith, & Warren Spector.

Then I had a half hour to kill before going to a talk I didn’t want to miss, so I stuck around for the panel Reality Bites Back: Media/Game Shows Gone Wild. Caroline Spector moderated with Darynda Jones, artist Alan F. Beck, Debbie Lynn Smith, and her husband Warren Spector attending. This panel was about reality TV shows. We have a TV. It is hooked up to a blu-ray player and Netflix. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV preferring my audiobooks. So, I knew only a small fraction of the shows they were talking about (mostly the cooking ones). They made some interesting points about ‘scripting’ of such shows and just simply how human behavior changes if you add a camera and dangle money in exchange for outrageous behavior. I ducked out early to hit the 1PM talk.

 

Connie Willis giving her 55 minute talk.

Connie Willis giving her 55 minute talk.

Connie Willis was giving a solo presentation, Non-Formula Plotting. Again, this was geared towards writers and aspiring authors, but I enjoyed her novel Blackout so much, I figured listening to her chat for an hour would be a treat. She did not disappoint. She pointed out some basic plot frames that are used again and again, successfully. The man in a hole plot is usually a big draw. People love to see or read about a person digging themselves out of a hole – usually metaphorical. Even if you don’t care for the main character, you like to watch the struggle of the person trying to regain financial stability, power, life, etc. The other plot frame that I remember her talking about extensively was the try, fail, try, fail, try, succeed story line. She then went on to discuss how to modify these slightly, with either failing at the end, or succeeding in a way that made the whole mess worse. All in all, it was an entertaining and insightful hour.

Darynda Jones, Mario Acevedo, David Lee Summers, T. Jackson King, & Doug Beason

Darynda Jones, Mario Acevedo, David Lee Summers, T. Jackson King, & Doug Beason

I was waiting around for the art auction to announce whose silent bids won, and that wasn’t scheduled to happen until 3PM. So, I popped into the second half of another panel, What If Humans Never Go Into Space Again? This one was moderated by David Lee Summers with Mario Acevedo, Doug Beason, Darynda Jones, and T. Jackson King joining him. I walked in at the point where they were discussing how the travel industry and thrill seekers will propel humans into space (at least a vacation station) if world governments do not. Several on the panel made the point that as the world becomes more and more crowded, more and more eyes will turn towards the stars. I kind of wish I had caught all of this panel, but with the hour & half co-guest of honor presentation off setting the two main tracks, it was hard to jump back and forth catching all of a presentation.

Once this was over, I still had a half hour to kill, so I went to the afternoon auction. We could hear all the fun they were having through the floating wall. I sat near the back, where I could see one of the doors to the art show room. It was interesting to see the variety of items that had been donated for the auction. If I am reading the pamphlet right, these items were either for personal benefit or donated to Bubonicon to raise funds for next year. Of course there were plenty of books, some art donated by show artists, movies, Star Wars ice cube tray, even some VHS movies. Most people paid with cash on the spot. I think the highest item I saw was $40 or $50. Once I saw a line starting to form for the art show, I headed out there.

We waited. We waited some more. It was past 3PM when they came out with a handwritten list of all the bidders (by number) who won something. However, they repeated again and again that it was a very rough list and to check inside. I waited some more. Finally, about 330, they started letting folks in, but only 2 at a time, to pick up their items and pay for them. I was only 8 or 10 people back, so I was finally done about 410, not having won anything in the art show. Still, I had a great time.

My Favorite Moments: The autograph session, the Ty Franck & Daniel Abraham talk, with writer workshop put on by Diana Gabaldon, the co-guest of honor presentation.

Who Will I Be Stalking: Well, there were several new-to-me authors that caught my eye such as Diana Rowland, T. Jackson King, Susan Krinard, Jane Lindskold, Tim Powers, and Sam Sykes.

Next year I would like to attend the costume contest for fun. I saw several Saturday afternoon and wish I had taken photos. I loved staying at the Marriott where the convention was held as I kept bumping into authors here and there. If I do the art show next year (meaning more than look), I think I will do the quick sale instead of bidding. I could have either been enjoying another panel, the dealers room, or on my way home instead of standing around for just over an hour to learn that I had not won anything. At any rate, the art show is always fascinating to look at.

Sigh…. only 51.5 more weeks until the next Bubonicon.

Bubonicon 2013 Friday

Bubonicon 2013 Saturday

Bubonicon 2013: The Meat

Here we have Suzy Charnas, Daniel Abraham, Josh Gentry, David Lee Summers, and Joan Saberhagen.

Here we have Suzy Charnas, Daniel Abraham, Josh Gentry, David Lee Summers, and Joan Saberhagen.

Saturday of Bubonicon 2013 was an all day event, with the con suite opening at 9am. I opted to have tea in my hotel while messing around on the computer. 10AM brought about the first panel of the day: Short Fiction in the Era of Digital Publishing. Josh Gentry of SnackReads moderated this panel of Daniel Abraham (The Dragon’s Path), Suzy Charnas (The Holdfast Chronicles), Joan Saberhagen (manages the literary estate of Fred Saberhagen), and David Lee Summers (Owl Dance). This was a fascinating talk about how publishing has changed since ebooks came about, but also about how digital publishing has changed in the last few years and continues to change. Of special interest to this panel, was the subject of short fiction: how to sell it, should you sell it?, what format to provide it in, etc. Everyone agreed that ebooks were a great way to put an author’s backlist out there, but perhaps not the best way to become known as a new author (for a variety of reasons).

Walter Jon Williams reading a short story from a forth coming anthology.

Walter Jon Williams reading a short story from a forth coming anthology.

After that I bounced over to the 55 minutes with Walter Jon Williams. He was amazingly entertaining last year, doing the various voices for his characters in the short piece of fiction he read. I was hoping he would be just as charismatic again; he did not disappoint. His story, which will be published in a forthcoming anthology, was just a little longer than we had time for, but he paused in a good place. Of course this only added to my desire to pick up the anthology when it comes out. Let me just point out that I had a choice of listening to Brent Weeks for 55 minutes, or Walter Jon Williams. Sorry Brent, but I am sure you had plenty of fandom to glory in and my shy attention wouldn’t have added to it.

Back in the big main room, George R. R. Martin and Tim Powers had an hour long discussion about dark fantasy: Whatever Happened to Dark Fantasy. While I have read some of George Martin’s works going back to the Wild Cards days in my highschool days, I have not yet had the pleasure of reading Tim Powers’s works. Even with that bit of ignorance, the talk was fascinating. Both authors seemed to shy away from such categories as ‘dark fantasy’ or ‘horror fantasy’. I have to agree with them; having recently explored some H. P. Lovecraft works, ostensibly horror, I found them to be fantasy with some dark elements. Martin and Powers are discussed the differences between fantastical horror and psychological horror (where nothing magical is involved).

Bubonicon2013PowersMartin

Time Powers & George R. R. Martin

After all that sitting, I needed a walk, and what better place to walk than the art show. Lots of cutsy kitten & some magical or SF element art was on display. Some made me laugh out loud with the fun of it. Of course there was the requisite armed and nearly nude women that permeate the SFF world (some of which I appreciated, others I found improbable even with suspended disbelief). This year also had pottery and I loved that there were a variety of mugs named for Tolkien characters. While I bid on a few items in the silent auction, I failed to win any. Perhaps next year.

David Lee Summers giving a reading.

David Lee Summers giving a reading.

At the dealer room, I swung by Hadrosaur Productions and said hi to David Lee Summers. While we chatted, author Mario Acevedo happened by and stopped to chat. Of course I had to mention that I recently read his book, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, and from there we were off on conspiracy theories involving aliens and such. The dealers room had several more sellers than last year, which was nice to see. I wandered, looking for a corset to amuse my man with. Alas, I only found a few and nothing that struck my fancy. Perhaps next year.

I sat in on David Lee Summers‘s 25 minute reading. He entertained us with a short bit from his novella Revolution of Air and Rust, which is a steampunk or alternate history set in early 1900s near the beginning of WWI. Having recently finished the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, I really enjoyed the short bit that Summers shared with us. I’ll be picking up my copy for reading in the winter (when I have much more time for eyeball reading versus audiobooks).

Diana Gabaldon & my shoulder (since I was making a stunned bunny face).

Diana Gabaldon & my shoulder (since I was making a stunned bunny face).

On a whim, I then attended a writing workshop hosted by Diana Gabaldon, How (And How Not) To Write Sex Scenes. I don’t write, other than bloggity stuff and government reports (which may or may not be fiction), but I had not attended anything with Diana Gabaldon yet and didn’t want to miss out. The room filled completely. While we had a few minutes before beginning, Diana Gabaldon invited folks to come up and take pictures with her. I couldn’t resist, but the lady I passed my camera off to looked at it dubiously and caught me making a distressed face that could be mistaken for gas. It was way cool of Gabaldon to make the offer to the room. This was one of the funnest hours of the entire con. We laughed often and loudly. The room was full of women and a few brave men. I read a few of her Outlander books way back in college and recently reread the first book, The Outlander, so I had a good idea of her sex scenes. She gave a lot of great advice that was highly entertaining to even those who don’t have an interest in writing.

Brent Weeks moderating a panel with Darynda Jones & Diana Gabaldon.

Brent Weeks moderating a panel with Darynda Jones & Diana Gabaldon.

The last panel of the evening for me was Assassins & Serial Killers in Fantasy moderated by Brent Weeks (The Night Angel trilogy rocks!). Diana Gabaldon, Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson series), John Maddox Roberts (well known for his SPQR series), and Melinda Snodgrass (who has done script writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation & other TV series) joined him. Once again, this was another great panel. Brent Weeks, well known for his assassin trilogy, was the perfect moderator, keeping the questions coming as the panel explored the various differences between serial killers and assassins. John Maddox Roberts pointed out that the traditional assassin, the hashashin, were folks who were called upon once in their life to take out one person, and then they were expected to die in the back blast of vengeance. The panel also explored the dark, disturbing attraction to serial killers whether in fiction or in the media.

John Maddox Roberts waiting for the panel to get started.

John Maddox Roberts waiting for the panel to get started.

After that was the mass autograph signing. I think I will do another post showing off the treasures I got signed as this post has grown a bit long. You can tell my enthusiasm though.

Melinda Snodgrass chatting as Brent Weeks looks on.

Melinda Snodgrass chatting as Brent Weeks looks on.

 

 

Prepping for Bubonicon 2013

This is Chupacabra & Waffles nesting in my books.

This is Chupacabra & Waffles nesting in my books.

That’s right. New Mexico has it’s own SFF convention and it’s coming up next weekend in Albuquerque. Bubonicon is the only con I will be able to jaunt off to this year, so I am making the most of it. I’ve already booked my hotel room and purchased my con ticket. My man has offered to watch the farm for the weekend (as I will be watching the farm while he is off at the Fire & EMS Symposium – you can see pics over HERE from last year). the con is a 2 hour trip one way from where we live, so my man may or may not make it down for part of Saturday.

Of course I stacked these books just so, just so for the cats.

Of course I stacked these books just so, just so for the cats.

As you can see from the pile of books (and cats) I have plenty to get signed and keep me entertained. Brent Weeks and Tim Powers are the guests of honor this year. I have read the Night Angel trilogy (how fast did I read those books?) by Weeks and picked up a book by Tim Powers to give a try (I’ve heard great things about his works). You can check out the full list of participants on the site. Several state and regional locals will be attending. Who am I excited to see, listen to, politely stalk, end up having to do some emergency elevator evacuation drill with? Well, DoD favorite David Lee Summers will be there (you can kind of see a pile of his book sunder Waffles kitty), Connie Willis (loved her book Blackout), George R. R. Martin (yes, I finally read the first 2 books in the series A Song of Ice & Fire), Diana Gabaldon (recently reread her book Outlander, and it was every bit as good as the first time almost 2 decades ago). I just finished The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham two nights ago and am very excited to know he will be at the con. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck wrote Leviathan Wakes under the pen name James S. A. Corey. I am just about halfway through Leviathan Wakes and loving that too. One of my man’s favorite writers, Walter Jon Williams, will be attending along with S. M. Stirling. Let’s see, who else…. Ian Tregillis, Sam Sykes, John Maddox Roberts and many more.

Cats. I will not be taking the cats.

Cats. I will not be taking the cats.

I attended one day last year (instead of the entire weekend) and saw a few costumes walking around. Since I have a room at the hotel hosting the con, I will be able to stay for the costume contest this year, hooray! There’s also tons of great panels and single author sessions scheduled. I plan to take my camera and my kindle – people like to sign kindles. I will probably take my knitting just in case there is a false fire alarm and we are all stuck in the parking lot. Speaking of the parking lot – right across it is Buca di Beppo, one of my favorite Italian restaurants. Yes, I will be eating good that weekend.

Around the Sphere April 2013

Yes, it is that time again. Time for me to be social. Which usually means snarking on things. In this case, other folks have already put together the snark for me. Enjoy!

I love making fun of Disney heroines. Mostly because they are not particularly heroic. Or rather, running through the woods, cleaning house, or reading a book all while looking gorgeous is heroic for the female form. Sigh….

Here is a really cool article about the what ifs of drawing female superheroes fully clothed. I love the idea and I think a competent, mostly clad superhero (of any gender) is far more attractive than stepping out to fight crime in a bathing suit or highheels and thong-bustier combo.

http://www.geeknative.com/38733/drawing-the-impossible-fully-dressed-superheroines/

Remember Mr. Smith (Hugo Weaving) from The Matrix? Yeah, I do. Here he is again in the GE commercial. If all ads were this cool, I would spend more time rotting my brain watching them. Are you ad companies paying attention?

Cracked.com is a great place to visit if you need to kill some time waiting for the bus, that last load of laundry, or you’re stuck at work and can get away with it. Not that I would ever encourage folks to be slackers. Not me. This particular article is on real life places that could be sets for science fiction or fantasy movies. I wish some of these places made up my lawn art.
http://www.cracked.com/article_20357_7-modern-ghost-towns-that-look-like-sci-fi-movies.html?utm_source=thechive.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=7-modern-ghost-towns-that-look-like-sci-fi-movies-pics-article

I’m sure you have seen this trailer by now, but hey, it stars two of my all time favorite actors – Jodie Foster and Matt Damon. So there is no way I was not going to plague you with this trailer one more time.

Ever wonder how to make that superhero Aquaman sexy, useful, and manly all in one go? Well, yeah, I hadn’t actually spent much time thinking about Aquaman either. I mean, who does? Here a cool pic of Aquaman, medieval style. It does the trick.

http://www.ilyke.net/i-thought-this-deserved-to-be-seen-by-more-people–batman–aquaman-medieval-garb/25303/?utm_source=u212&utm_medium=p212137&utm_campaign=aff

Confession time. I love the Riddick movies. I have watched Pitch Black like dozens of times since I first caught on the once appropriately names SciFi channel. When The Riddick Chronicles came out, I hauled my main man off to the theatres to watch it. It was great. Now, a third movie is nearing completion.I know, some of you….perhaps most of you, are quirking your eyebrow at me. I’m OK with that, because I am picturing you all in The Next Generation combat leotard. You look smashing.

This last video is Honest Reviews. Now I love me some Harry Potter – books first, movies second, trick jelly beans third. This video covers all the movies, so beware of spoilers, if you care about such things. Had me chuckling out loud.

Finally, stuff about me that you may or may not care about. I care, and that is good enough. First, I gave an interview over at the Book Store Book Blogger Connection. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a great site where you can provide little snippets about books you love. Then bookstores, usually small, independent ones so far, print off those snippets and place them on their shelves to entice book browsers to pick up the book and perhaps take it home. Genius. (both the site and my interview).

http://bookstorebloggerconxn.com/2013/04/03/bloggers-who-win-dab-of-darkness/

Almost finally, David Lee Summers, an author, scientist, blogger, and all around fun guy, passed the WordPress Family Award on to me. This is my first bloggity award and I am still figuring out what to do with it. The rules with this award are simple – chat about some other blogs that you enjoy. I assume from the title of the award they are suppose to be WordPress blogs, but I am not one for rules really. I think rules, as well as recipes, are really just guidelines. In some cases they really only denote some end goal and how you get there is up to you.

So, let me take a moment to talk about a few blogs that have been in my life recently. On Starships and Dragonwings has one of the snazziest looking blogs around – not too much glitter or flash, and plenty of dragons. If you love your YA SFF, that’s the blog to check out. We recently wrapped up Book 2 of The Wheel of Time series and we’ll shortly be starting Book 3 (The Dragon Reborn). The Little Red Reviewer, who is also the power and master mind behind the Book Store Book Blogger Connection I mentioned above, has always got something SciFi good going on. I recently participated in her The Emoticon Generation blog tour. Stainless Steel Droppings is running his annual Once Upon A Time reading event that runs the duration of spring and is a celebration of anything fantasy (mostly books and film). It is a wonderful, fun event. We just finished up the Stardust Read Along this past week. Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers has been joining me on all my crazy read alongs, including The Shadow of the Sun Read Along which goes to the end of the month. Barbara Friend Ish is giving away digital copies of her book on her site (just follow the read along link to download yours). Let me just say that Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers always has such great comments. She really takes the time to read the post and leave meaningful comments. Lynn’s Book Blog has been teaching me UK words, like numpty. Lynn has also been a big participator in recent read alongs. And what is a read along if you ain’t got nobody to play with? Yes, I left the bad grammar in. Yes, I can see you wincing. You’re cute when you wince. There are many more to name, but I think I will save some for the next bloggity award or the next time I am feeling social. Yes, you may very well be on that list. It’s better than being on the Other List.

And just yesterday, Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog awarded me the Liebster Award. So, I had to come back in here and edit because this was the perfect place to stick this.  She gets a wicked chuckle from me on timing alone. First, she has these questions I am suppose to answer. She says I can’t say ‘both’. But she also says rules are for breaking. Hehehehehehhe.

  1. Beer or Wine - Chocolate milk stout or muscato dessert wine. But not both together.
  2. Dogs or Cats - I have to say both as I live with both and if I picked one, the other would find out and kill me in my sleep. For Reals.
  3. Fantasy or Sci Fi - This is a cruel, cruel question. How about Scitansy? The best of both worlds.
  4. Book or Film – Book. Except for The Hunger Games trilogy. That is one series I hope the movies end better than the books did.
  5. Star Wars or Star Trek - Star Wars for the women and star trek for the bald headed men.
  6. Batman or Superman - Batman all the way. There is nothing sexy about a grown boy scout in a blue and red unitard.
  7. Anime or Manga - Manga
  8. Gaiman or Tolkien - Gaiman for the everyday. Tolkien for the once a decade read.
  9. Reading or Music - Reading. But you knew that already.
  10. Chocolate or Cheese - Chocolate. Unless there are fresh local cheese readily available.
  11. Morning or night - Morning. Shit needs to get done in the morning.

On top of that, I am suppose to reveal 11 things about myself. Well, I already told y’all about my Riddick fascination above. That should really count for 2. My favorite bookmarks are the ones my aunt made several years ago. We live on a small farm and I rather clean chicken houses than fold laundry. Alas, folding laundry happens like every other day, and cleaning the chicken houses happens likes 3-4 times a year. Yes, I do wear a respirator when doing that. I often salt my icecream. I know you want to also. Oh you think it might be weird, but I bet you love other sweet & salty food. I have two addictions in my life – my man and Dr. Pepper. I once hit a puppy with my car on a dark night. I broke it’s neck, but it was still alive. I took it home and my man helped me grant him mercy. He is buried near the apple tree. I have a consuming fear of ladders. No, shaking the ladder while I am on it to prove how stable it is DOES NOT help. Just being clear about that. I have been with the volunteer fire and emergency response for 6 months now and seen two fatalities. The only girly thing about me is my super secret cutsy wutsy collection of My Little Ponies.  I have been peed on by a cat more than once. No, I am not on speaking terms with that cat. I have spent quality time in a public place with one boob hanging out of the bra (still covered by shirt). Lots of odd stairs went my direction, but no one took me aside and chatted about wardrobe malfunctions.

This last part is where I torture others. But I am going to mix it up (see rule breaking previously in this post). Instead of nominating 11 others and posing 11 questions to them, I am going to leave it open to you, my dear readers. Leave your answers in the comments.

1) I love interviewing folks, digging into their lives, etc. Would anyone like to do a real interview on my blog? Leave your email or twitter handle, and I will get in contact.

2) If you took the main characters from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, and Brent Week’s Night Angel series and stuck them in a gated, locked grove, who would come out in the end?

3) Honestly, are the fig leaves really necessary?

4) Should they have a third go at turning Dune by Frank Herbert into a movie?

That’s all I got folks. This turned out to be a longer post than expected, but for anyone who makes it to the end, leave me a raspberry in the comments!

The Pirates of Sufiro by David Lee Summers

Why I Read It: Loved the author’s latest book Owl Dance.

Where I Got It: My book shelf.

Who I Recommend This To: If you are into very fast-paced space operas, you might enjoy this.

Publisher: Commonwealth Publications (1996)

Length: 328 pages

Series: Book 1 The Old Star Saga

This book opens with some privateers, Captain Firebrandt and crew, having it out in space with a military ship captained by a relative of Firebrandt, which leads to some awkward decisions. After loosing most of his crew, Privateer Firebrandt barely manages to land his ship on an uninhabited world. He has his first officer Roberts and his woman Suki for companions. Without the ability to gain space in the near future, they set to making a life on their planet, including the next generation.

This book spans 4 generations of the Firebrandts and can skip ahead decades at a time. As the planet Sufiro becomes known to the galaxy, pioneers from cramped human worlds make the trip to farm and raise a family in open air. This idyllic setting lasts until a rare and expensive metal integral to space flight is discovered on one of the large continents of the planet. This is where the true drama starts.

Over time, the mining communities become rich and technologically-advanced. However, they also become dependent on cheap labor, often ‘imported’ from the farming communities of the metal-dearth continent. Throw in the pressure of needing a beefed-up space fleet to combat a superior alien species, and you get Great Needs versus What Is Right.

This book read like a series of short stories, with the constant fast pace and the leaps in time. While this meant that the characters often lacked depth, I still found myself growing attached to the Firebrandts and their Sufiro neighbors, such as Espedie Raton. It was very interesting to me to have read David Lee Summers‘ latest book (Owl Dance) and then to have jumped back in time to his first published work. I can see how his skill as a writer has grown in the near-two decades in between these books.

What I Liked: The unexpected happens and you have to be able to roll with it, like many of the characters in this book; the women were sexually independent and free to make their own choices as equally as the men; lots of Spanish lingo.

What I Disliked: Not much character depth; for the most part, the women were wives and didn’t play a large role in the book; I sometimes found the leaps in time a bit much and would have liked the book to slow down at certain points.

Owl Dance by David Lee Summers

Why I Read It: A good chunk of this book takes place in the desert Southwest, like my life so far.

Where I Got It: Courtesy PDF ARC from the author (thanks!)

Who Do I Recommend This To: If you like your genres all mixed up with steampunk, cowboys, & attempted military take-overs, then this is for you.

Publisher: Flying Pen Press (2011)

Length: 270

Series: Book 1 (I hope, with reason – see author’s Web Journal)

In David Lee Summers seventh novel, Owl Dance, he explores the American Southwest in a crazy 1800s Wild West Steampunk adventure. This was the perfect brain candy for me and diving into the first chapter, I felt right at home. Ramon Morales, a Mexican-American sheriff, and Fatemeh Karimi, a Persian healer, are our two main heroes. Throughout their travels across NM, AZ, and CA, they come across a variety of delightfully unexpected characters – from the gun-slinging kid Billy to entrepreneurial scientist Maravilla, to the California Coast inventor-turned-pirate Cisneros, to General Sheridan.

Ramon and Fatemeh have to avoid several trips and falls of life, such as being burned at the stake, or killed by miners, or shot, or blown up, or captured by bounty hunters. But their greatest challenge doesn’t come from the Southwest. No, there is something much more ominous brewing in Mother Russia. A land dispute between resident Russian descendants in CA and a powerful rancher sparks off the drive for Russia to grab some land in the American West. But this time, they are aided by an unlikely source…..which I will leave for you to discover.

Clockwork wolves and owls, cutting edge submersibles, dirigibles, and one Persian lady who whistle-talks to owls. It’s a great ride. If you’re looking for a good read and satisfying adventure, jump into Owl Dance.

What I Liked: Multi-cultural book; alternate history is always fascinating; a touch of steampunk never goes amiss; owl- whistle talking.

What I Disliked: Pretty much just 1 main female character surrounded by lots of male main characters.

Note: This review was originally published on Darkcargo.com on 11/22/2011 and republished, and reformatted, here with permission of Lady Darkcargo.

BTIBMTGT: David Lee Summers & Johan Harstad

Space Pirates on my exercise equipment!

Books That I’ve Been Meaning to Get To (BTIBMTGT) is an idea from the depths and crannies of Lady Darkcargo (check out her stuff at Darkcargo.com). On a random basis, I plan to bring you a post about 2 or more books that have been on my TBR Mountain Range for longer than I like to admit. In that spirit, check out these other bloggers and their TBR lists.

Lady Darkcargo

Chuck Parker

Paula S. Jordan

David Lee SummersThe Pirates of Sufiro (1995) has been on my list since I met My Main Man (M3) back in 1997. M3 and his family has been friends with David and his wife Kumie and their kids for years. While I myself have only met David twice, I have enjoyed some of his later works Like Owl Dance (2011). So, yes, this signed book has been kicking around my house since the glory days of college. This past week, I sat and read the first chapter, all in one sitting, easily ignoring one of my favorite action movies (Salt with Angelina Jolie). If this pirate scifi book can distract me from Jolie being a badass, then it has got something going for it. I fully intend to finish this one, so be on the look out for a forthcoming review.

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad is a hardback I recently won in a giveaway. In the first chapter, the story is well set up: mysterious coverup by the government, mystery on the moon, and a plan to revitalize the space program – a lottery draw to send youngins up in the next ship. Yep, teenagers in space. So far, everything intrigues me except the teenagers bit. I can see great potential for this book if the highschool shenanigans don’t take over on the moon – and end up saving the day. Will keep you posted.

So what’s been sitting on your cushioned, coddled, dusty, shadowy TBR pile?

UPDATE:

Review: The Pirates of Sufiro

Review: 172 Hours on the Moon