Archive for July, 2007

30
Jul
07

Jeanne C. Stein: Blood Drive

Anna Strong is a vampire caught between two worlds. She clings to what makes her human, her family, her job, her lover. But the pull of the undead is a siren song becoming impossible to resist. She discovers she has a niece, Trish, a child caught up in the worst kind of human nightmare. To save Trish, Anna may have to surrender to the animal side of her nature. Concepts of good and evil are no longer clearly defined as Anna must determine who is the real monster—a human who preys on children or the vampire who tries to save them.

What makes Blood Drive stand out is Jeanne‘s handling of Anna’s journey. It’s a more nuanced and complex exploration of what immortality means to someone newly immortal, paralleled by Anna travelling deeper into the world that she is now part of.
My main gripe about the series is that the male characters in the series are rather flat, though this has improved since the first book, The Becoming, especially with the introduction of Daniel Frey. But this detracts rather less from the book than it should, perhaps because this book is first and foremost about Anna Strong.

Blood Drive is one of the best urban fantasy novels I’ve read in awhile, and I can’t wait for the next book, The Watcher, to be released.

Blood Drive rates 4 out of 5.

Full Disclosure: Jeanne sent me this book, and I have interviewed her recently. There is also another extract of Blood Drive available here.

28
Jul
07

MP3 Players

Here’s hoping somebody can help me out.

I’m looking for an MP3 player.

  • 2-8GB–preferably on the higher end of this range
  • Has a hard-drive, not a flash drive.
  • I don’t care about photo/video capability.
  • Minimum 10 hours playback time.
  • Easy to use software.
  • Flat would be a huge plus
  • Coming in black color would be a huge plus too–because I have to match
  • Being able to use it as a back-up hard-drive for smaller files (eg WIP files) would be nice
  • Small is beautiful

That’s basically it, I think.

I could head straight for an iPod, but I’m not sure I want to pay the premium for having the Apple logo on my MP3 player.

I could get 2 Creative Zen Stones for the price of 1 Shuffle, or a 4GB Neeon 2 for roughly 30% less than an 4GB Nano.

Not to mention, it might kill me because I’d be paying SGD436 for an 8GB black Nano when I could get a 30GB iPod for the same price!

I don’t want the 30GB iPod because it’s BIG (I repeat, small is beautiful), and I really don’t need that much space.

On the other hand, getting an iPod would mean the convenience of being able to buy directly from iTunes without converting formats and what not–I know how to use a computer, but I like things complication-free.

Thoughts?

22
Jul
07

So Many Drollerie Press Releases…which one is the lucky winner getting?

You’re probably wondering, am I the lucky winner? Because I’m Evil, I’m not going to tell you yet–okay, okay, it’s my fault. I blew it and forgot to draw a winner yesterday. But I’m going to make you wait anyway.

Oh, and if you want to buy it, clicking on the cover will get you to the right page. ;)


Both of these are by Cindy Lynn Speer, and aren’t they just lovely? Especially the second one. I’m definitely getting A Necklace of Rubies but haven’t decided on the other one.

Everything else (at least, I think I’ve all the titles) is below the cut.

Continue reading ‘So Many Drollerie Press Releases…which one is the lucky winner getting?’

21
Jul
07

Joely Sue Burkhart: Survive My Fire

Trapped as a dragon for centuries by a curse impossible to break, Chanda is consumed by rage. Her heart broken, her life ruined, her entire tribe dead by her own actions, she never expects the warrior outside her lair to know the secret of her curse. Let alone that she will fall in love with him.Jalan survives the White Dragon’s teeth and claws. He survives her fire. He even survives her love. But he doesn’t come to break her curse or win her heart. Not exactly. His dark god will spare Jalan’s tribe–if the White Dragon is sacrificed.While Jalan must choose between the love of his heart and the safety of his tribe, Chanda realizes she may at last break her curse forever.

If she’s willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all.

It’s dark. It’s got dragons. It’s got bloodshed. It’s got writing so beautiful, tears come to your eyes.

And I’m so jealous that I didn’t write it myself, I’d probably put sugar in her petrol tank if she weren’t so nice. (Hey, it rhymes!)

What makes Survive My Fire shine is that you can see that Joely’s put everything she had, and then some, into it. You can tell that it is written by a woman with passion for her craft and a gift for storytelling.

It should be noted that I felt that the book kicked into high gear from the second scene. This doesn’t mean you should skip the first scene–you shouldn’t because the rest probably wouldn’t make enough sense to you then–just that you should at least continue reading past the first scene.

On top of being a friend of mine, Joely’s also just one of those writers whose voice is like crack for me. So there’s no grade, but since I think her voice is like crack, it’s kinda obvious what she’d get, don’t you think?

If you’re still not convinced–in which case I would never be able to get a job as a bookseller–check out the excerpt below. Her writing speaks for itself.

Continue reading ‘Joely Sue Burkhart: Survive My Fire’

21
Jul
07

Joely Sue Burkhart on Fairytales, or Here Be Dragons

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me.–Labyrinth

Ah, but such tales do have power over us. Fairy tales, legends, and mythology, magical stories of goblin kings and fantastical creatures, princesses, quests, faraway castles, evil queens—they cast a spell on us even today.

I’m not speaking about Disney fairy tales, but the “original” stories that were often… Grimm. Those violent, darkly erotic, bloody tales of things that go bump in the night. They encompass our fear of the unknown, darkness closing in, risk to our immortal souls, the possible victory of darkness over light forever. Pulse racing, heart hammering, spine chilling tales, I still can’t get enough.

Here be dragons.

These tales both haunt and fascinate me. What if Jareth the Goblin King had succeeded in wooing Sarah? Just how close did Lily come to killing the unicorn in Legend? What if Sam and Frodo hadn’t made it up the side of the mountain to cast the One Ring into the fire?

I love many of the modern Disney movies, but I wonder if they’ve done a disservice to the fairy tale. The gruesome or painful ends of so many of my favorite tales have been forgotten. The “bump in the night” thrill has been lost. The pain, grief, and sacrifice—a huge part of the human condition—has been prettied up into “they lived happily ever after.”

But if you read the original fairy tales, you find the truth. Not every princess found her prince. In fact, sometimes a great price was paid for that love, and the love was still lost. This theme haunts me, permeating everything I write, and I can trace it back to one main influencing work. The original “Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen.

For love, she gave up her voice. For love, she walked on two feet, even while pain like knives stabbed her viciously with each step. And in the end, her prince chose another woman, and she was doomed to 300 years of service to mankind, trying to earn her immortal soul. Oh, what a lovely agonizing tail… er… tale.

In comments, tell me an unhappy or brutal ending to a fairy tale story that haunts or delights you to be entered to win a free download of my romantic fantasy novella, Survive My Fire; a White Dragon mug; and your choice of a fairy tale DVD (may I suggest Labyrinth, Legend, Pan’s Labyrinth, MirrorMask, just to name a few; to be ordered after the winner is selected in case of a non-USA winner).

You can get Survive My Fire here and here. An exclusive excerpt will be posted later, together with my thoughts on the book, or you can check out the one on her website.

20
Jul
07

6 Questions with Deena Fisher

Deena Fisher is the Founder and Publisher of Drollerie Press.

Drollerie Press opens today!

Today’s Releases:

Joely Sue Burkhart‘s Survive My Fire (Woohoo Joely! The horrifying Sister of the Severed Hand passes through tomorrow!)

Imogen Howson‘s Falling (she was here yesterday peeps, and her contest is still ongoing!)

Ed Morris’s Atlantis 1999

Tala Bar’s Ja’el

Cindy Lynn Speer‘s Every Word I Speak and Necklace of Rubies

G. L. Simmons‘s Orb of Enori

Tim Mulcahy’s Monday Night at the Vampire Lounge

Connie Neil’s Shepher to the Wolves

Elena Murphy’s Provenance

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

Ten, without doubt, but it’s a fun ten. My kids are amazing people. I have three children that keep things lively, the best husband in the entire world, one cat (and my husband has one cat. They don’t hang out with one another), one dog and a gerbil. Okay, I’m lying about the gerbil, but our oldest son brought his cat over for long-term babysitting, so the numbers are even. Our five year old daughter, Kara, wants a rabbit. We’re thinking about it. Thankfully she only asks once a day now that she’s been given a stuffed one. The insanity… well, I’ve always been a little odd to most people. I like books too much, not just reading them, but holding them, the smell of ink and paper, admiring the cover art. I get a very satisfying aesthetic from a good cover. I’ve bought books just because of the cover art, some of which I slightly regret, but if the art is good they’re still on the keeper shelf. But I’m digressing.

Right now I’m juggling a lot. I have a small business that pays (some of) the bills and has just started to grow beyond where I thought it would be, and now I’ve added Drollerie Press to the mix. Then, recently a gallery owner saw some of my digital art and asked me to do a show, so I’m trying to get enough pieces done that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to display to the public. This is the first time my art will be seen in a non-commercial setting so I’m a bit nervous about it. On top of that I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, and our youngest child is both albino and autistic of as yet unknown degree. (Our middle child is a precocious five year old artiste and our eldest is a rock star) I believe the challenges our youngest faces have made my husband and me better parents and more aware of the difficulties that differently-abled children have to face, and he’s an absolute joy but he’s also a lot of work.

I digress (again) for a PSA: There are two kinds of albinism. Oculocutaneous (the kind we think of when someone says albino or albinism) and ocular albinism. People with ocular albinism may have poor eyesight without knowing why. People with either kind of albinism don’t usually have red eyes. Our son’s eyes are rare in that they’re a sort of soft peachy-red color but most people with albinism have pale blue, green, or hazel eyes. Albinism is not a disability of mental faculty. People with oculocutaneous albinism have white hair, pale skin and poor eyesight–a condition called “low vision” that means that they’re neither far-sighted nor near-sighted but the effect is probably similar to both at once. Aidan, our son, can see poorly to about a 6 foot radius. To top it off, he inherited his parents’ near-sightedness and astigmatism and wears glasses to correct those problems. Since he’s both four and autistic, he only wears the glasses sometimes. Other times they’re “in the shop”–recovering from one of his fits of temper. Aidan also has nystagmus, a condition that is part of oculocutaneous albinism. Nystagmus is a condition that makes a persons eyes “jitter.” Sometimes they tilt their heads a particular direction to lessen the effect. Aidan often looks like a little bird with his head cocked when he’s trying to figure something out. If any of your readers would like to know more, they can e-mail me or visit http://www.albinism.org/.

The rest of the interview is behind the cut.

Continue reading ’6 Questions with Deena Fisher’

19
Jul
07

Extracting Falling by Imogen Howson

Falling by Imogen HowsonLinnet has a secret that is tearing her apart. While her world falls apart around her, Linnet learns that it takes courage, and the grace of a new kind of friend, to learn that not all secrets are meant to be kept.

This graceful and unexpected retelling of Rapunzel in a futuristic setting is a wonderful story that will delight you.

This book will be available from Drollerie Press tomorrow. Until Sunday, it’ll be at half-price, so be sure to get your copy. I can’t wait to get mine!

But if you comment today, I will pick a winner tomorrow, and you’ll get choccie and a free download of this book.

In the meantime, check out the excerpt below.

Continue reading ‘Extracting Falling by Imogen Howson’





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