Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kinetic is Coming! Kinetic is Coming!



Guess what?

If you've read the title of this blog entry, you know exactly what. Or perhaps you only know what I'm telling you, but not what it means. Allow me to enlighten you.

S.K.Anthony has written a novel—a really great one—and it's finally up for grabs, starting tomorrow, September 20. I have been excited about this for a month now, and have hardly been able to stand the wait.

Kinetic (The Luminaries) is Anthony's debut novel, but you'd never know it's her first time out. A self-proclaimed "official make-stuff-up-er," she nails it with Kinetic. The flow is good, the characters are strong, and it's a non-stop wild ride from beginning to end.

Annie Fox is a kick-butt heroine who's just as flawed as anyone else in the world, except she has super powers as a result of genetic alteration by The Organization. She and her friends have a variety of skills which complement each other as they fight criminals. What I love about this gang is that they're all strong, but they're not too perfect to be real. The good guys & bad guys are intermixed, with none of them predictable in their goodness or badness.

You can find out more about the book here at Amazon, or here at S.K. Anthony's website. Her blog tour is going screamingly well, and excitement is high.

What I wanted to know was the inside scoop in the author's household. What does "book release day" mean for her? Will she be glued to the computer or hiding under her covers until the weekend comes?

Here's what she has to say:

"On my release day you can expect me to bite my nails while browsing for wigs. Why? Because I'll probably pull my hair out once I'm done with the biting. And even more exciting, I'll also be changing diapers and basking in the beauty of it. Later on, I'll have the hubby pop a bottle of wine, and I'll sit back and drop one single happy tear."

 I think she'll be shopping for a wig so she can go out in public without being mobbed by adoring fans.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life Can Change in a Heartbeat

A friend of mine launched a website today, and I am just so proud of her. It's not your typical website that's a promotion of self, like so many are (like mine). This one is for the sole purpose of encouraging others like her: those whose spouses have suffered traumatic brain injury.

Brain Injury Spouses was created by Melanie Vadzemnieks to provide a support network for spouses who are hurting—those who have essentially lost the husband or wife they've cherished without the closure of widowhood (or widowerhood) to allow them to grieve and move on. They've lost their sweethearts through no fault of their own—through no choice of their own, in fact—in a split-second of time.

Anyone who knew Melanie and her husband, David, prior to his accident could see that their marriage was a happy and healthy one, full of love, laughter, and playfulness. I'm near tears even now as I think back to just a little over two years ago: hearing about David's accident, seeing news reports online, and reading Melanie's daily updates on Facebook as we all prayed while he fought for life. Even during her darkest times, she would find things to smile about, like months later when David was finally able to speak; he didn't always remember her, and he'd tell her about his wonderful wife who was always so nice to him when she visited.

Melanie's website is a reflection of her: honest (sometimes heartbreakingly so), helpful, and full of hope for those who have none. Please visit it here to read her story and to share it with others who may benefit from her encouragement.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Celebrating Stephen Fender's New Release

**UPDATE: Stephen surprised us by releasing the books early! What a wonderful treat. Read on to find out why you want them . . .

If you've read Stephen A. Fender's The Army of Light (Kestrel Saga), the announcement of the release of its follow-up, Icarus, should make you pretty happy.



For those of you who haven't yet discovered Fender's books (ranked #2 on Amazon in the category of Science Fiction: Space Opera), you're in for a treat. Not only is Icarus scheduled for release in all formats at the end of September, but The Army of Light will now be available in hardcover, upgraded inside and out, as part of the celebration.



The basics:
Shawn Kestrel is ex-military—a former fighter pilot whose current goal in life is to deliver his interstellar cargo without getting shot at, robbed by pirates, or threatened by sleazy arms dealers. Oh, and it would be wonderful if his ship didn't need so many repairs, since repairs need spare parts, parts cost money, and money isn't forthcoming when shipments are stolen.

Of course his semi-peaceful existence is shattered by a woman. (Isn't every man's?) Not just any woman, though: Melissa Graves, the daughter of his former commanding officer, arrives out of the blue, seeking Kestrel's help to find her missing father and to find out whether the Kafarans really are active and threatening war again.

I love the interplay between all the characters: Kestrel and Graves remind me of Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis' characters on the old TV show, Moonlighting. She's uptight and bossy, and he's a smart aleck who, though not a strict rule-follower, nevertheless is a good man. I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy hanging out with him. Side characters like Kestrel's mechanic are enjoyable, and all the characters are written with depth and personality. The dialogue flows very naturally and never feels stilted.

Icarus picks up right where The Army of Light leaves off—only hours later, in fact—and just keeps rolling right along. Shawn's life takes an interesting turn as he's recruited back into Sector Command and placed as the head of an elite squadron of starfighters, just as the crew discovers the remainder of a ship from Sector Command's missing fleet.

You'll have to read the rest for yourself, because my description can't possibly do justice to all the good guys, bad guys, space fights, fist fights, eye rolling, witty banter, explosions and aliens.

Find Stephen Fender on his website, www.stephenfender.com; on Lulu.com; on Facebook; or on Amazon to get these great books for yourself.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Plans for Ol' Greenie

Dietz Law (a.k.a. Murphy's Plus One) struck again last week in our house. In one week, we had to purchase a car for my hubby, a new fridge (for all of us), and a new laptop for me. Not the cheapest week we've had, that's for sure. Oh yes . . . and the router for our network died, too . . . probably overcome with grief over the laptop's demise.

According to Dietz Law, if something can go wrong, it will—there's the Murphy's portion of it—but only with more than one item at once, and at the optimum time when everything is dependent upon those items that suddenly fail (that's the Dietz portion of it).

Sometimes this works out for us, like the car: my husband's truck has been steadily failing, and just when it began to get serious about its death rattles, a neighbor put his car out for sale. Right price, right type (the "runs-when-you-turn-the-key-the-first-time" type), and right timing.

Sometimes the timing can be shuffled, like the refrigerator: it started to fail but miraculously came back to life, giving us a three-week reprieve before it started to fail again. Now we have a new fridge, cold food and a happy household.

But the laptop . . . ah, the laptop. If Howard Pyle were still alive, I'd have him write some overblown prose about its virtues.

My Toshiba Satellite is/was only three years old, which is probably ancient to the true computer geek but not all that ancient in my book. The worst part is, it worked just fine right up until the month prior to its collapse. Why, oh why? I had absolutely no problems with it for the past three years, and within four weeks it went from perfect to I-can't-boot-or-be-fixed-by-commoners.

Of course this happened right as I began a new editing job for an author with whom I've just begun to work. Now was not the time to start making excuses for why I couldn't complete the work for him in a timely manner. So, with plans to have the laptop fixed or gutted as soon as possible (because it's still shiny, and surely that should guarantee that it's fixable, right?), I headed off to Best Buy for the quickest purchase of my computer-buying life.

I walked in, found someone who looked smarter than I am (not too tough) and rattled off my requirements. I wanted it cheap, able to use the Internet, and I wanted MS Office. I truly didn't care what else it did. I narrowed down my choices and was out of the store within twenty minutes of arriving. The entire thing took me a total of an hour; the drive each way was longer than I was in the store, in fact.

That's how I ended up with Ol' Greenie. I am now the proud owner of a green ASUS notebook.

It certainly is green, isn't it? No mistaking that color for anything else. Think 1970s kitchen appliances.


The best part about it being so very, very green is that when I'm working, it lends a lovely green tinge to my skin. This causes people to steer clear of me because they think I'm ill, which is sort of a win-win situation because I can get my work done without interruptions.

One of my friends had a great idea: she suggested I take it with me to a cafe (like Panera or somewhere the hip people hang out with their notebooks), set up in a prominent place, and put a large, empty cup beside me at the table. The bilious look I acquire simply from having the notebook open in front of me will inspire passers-by to put monetary donations in my cup to help me pay for the medical treatment I obviously can't afford. I'll have my investment dollars back in no time.

As always, I think her ideas are pure genius. I'm off to Panera.