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A Review of “Stenson Blues” by Freddie Silva

 

                          Enter once again into the world of the Seven Kingdoms, where war and political intrigue reign.  In this second book of The Kingdom of Haven series, we meet a most unlikely player, Olaf the younger, sometimes called the unlucky, nephew of the founder of the Kingdom of Haven, Olaf the elder who was exiled from his home some years ago.

 

Nephew Olaf, having been crippled at an early age, is treated as a servant by his family (his last job was shoveling pig sh—er, um, pig stuff), and he is considered to be worthless for anything else.  However, once the family learns of his uncle’s rise in power at having obtained his own kingdom, they decide to send the nephew, along with an insufferably arrogant cousin, to try and curry favor with the uncle since he’s now a royal and they’re hoping some of it will rub off on them.

 

This story is told from the POV of the nephew, and is, in one sense, a coming of age story.  I enjoyed getting inside his head, knowing his thoughts and feelings, seeing his insecurities, watching him grow, and I know this is his story, however, I kind of missed interacting with Olaf the uncle, who’s story was told in the first book (The Order of the Wolf) from his POV.  I would have enjoyed seeing him having had more of a presence.  Just my opinion, though, probably because Olaf the nephew is so young, and the uncle is older – and so am I.

 

Still, it was quite an enjoyable read (I read it in one sitting because every time I tried to put it down, it sort of wouldn’t let me!), one that can be enjoyed by just about any age group.  Though there is not as much action as is in the first one (though there is some), the sense of the adventure of a different, less high-tech world is still there, and there is tons of intrigue.  And, yeah, as soon as the next one is out, I will run right out (or to my nearest internet device) and buy it too!

Three for FREE: Ebooks at Smashwords…

FREE #Scifi & Fantasy for the July Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords (use coupon SW100 for all)

Seed 1 page-21 A Blankie for Baby 1

SEED – Abandoned on an alien planet, Second must learn to co-exist with a group of primitives in order to survive.

MOVING DAY – Apparently, you just can’t have a moving day without something going wrong. Go figure.

A BLANKIE FOR BABY – Making a blanket for the expected bundle of joy of a  friend can sometimes get more complicated than anticipated; especially if the parents are…unusual, and special yarn is needed – and you’re a werewolf!  Vampires and ghouls and demons – OH MY!

 

FREE E-Book at Smashwords – HARD CHANGES

HARD CHANGES, a sci-fi novelette of a family’s fight for survival on an alien world, is FREE for a limited time only, at Smashwords!  This is the prequel to the new novel, BRIDGE, coming out on 6/30.  (Click here or on icon below, and use coupon SW63G )

Available only at Amazon.com

 

 

Coming June 30th

Coming June 30th – Bridge, a novel

 

Randa and Ostrich17

There are many tales from the period in Boucher’s World history known as the Change.  This is one from near the beginning of that time.

The race of beings on Boucher’s World, called Elvwists, are telepathic psychics with various other extra-sensory abilities, and now, suddenly, the new generation of the Humans of that world has been born with these same abilities.  It is an event that will change both societies forever.

Two years after Randa faced  hard changes when her vow-mate left home to go fishing and met with misfortune, she had to take her family and leave her home in the foothills of the mountains, fleeing marauders who would kill her children for being different.  They were rescued by the Elvwists and taken to a village set up for the safety of the new Humans.

Randa is not one of the Changed Humans, having been born six years too early, but this does not worry her and she is neither jealous nor afraid of the new Humans as are some people.  How can she be, when her children are among the Changed?  Her task now is to raise them and figure out how to carve out a place for herself in the much different environs in which she finds herself, and where she has to fight culture shock and loneliness.  Will she be able to bridge the gap between the old ways and the new?

 

This is a sequel to the novelette, Hard Changes

Almost

Almost

Did you ever think about the word, “almost”? My daughter and I were sitting out on the deck, shooting the breeze and vaping.  What’s vaping?  It’s a term used by smokers who’ve switched to e-cigarettes, which uses a process of vaporizing liquids containing a nicotine extract, instead of actual tobacco.  So it’s “vaping” instead of “smoking”.

Don’t ask me if it’s better for you; I don’t know.  I’ve only been doing it for about a month.  I have to admit, though, that I breathe a bit easier, so I guess that’s something.  I hope to be able to quit smoking or vaping one day, but, I digress; that’s another whole post, and not what this one is about.

My daughter and I got to talking about the word “almost”, and thinking of some of the “almosts” that sometimes happen.  I have to give it to my daughter – she thought of some I never would have.  Our thoughts on it were set off by the phrase “almost won” which I think she’d just heard in reference to a basketball game.

Almost won?” she scoffed.  “Doesn’t that mean they lost?  That’s like saying “I almost got away from the cops after robbing that bank”!

Hmm, thought I, she does have a point.  “Give me some more examples of situations that didn’t quite cut it, that almost got there but didn’t.” She was happy to oblige.  And throwing reasons in with some of them, too.

Almost passed – as in, “Well, I almost passed that geometry class.  Would’ve, too, if I’d bothered to study.”

Almost missed the bus – “I would’ve missed it, if it hadn’t stopped short right in front of me!  Darn thing made me crush my front bumper.  Just because I was answering a text message and didn’t see it right off…”

Almost got the job – “I would’ve had that job but I was a little bit late for the interview, and then my phone rang right in the middle of it, so I had to answer it, right?”

Hmm, those are a bit negative, huh?  Let’s look at a few that have more positive connotations.

Almost dated him – “Hey! That guy in the mug shot on the news for holding up the convenience store? I almost went out with him but I couldn’t get my car to start so I had to call and cancel, and he never called me again!  Thank God!”

Almost fell – “Whoops! Whew! I almost fell! It’s a good thing you had my hand! That sure was a huge pile of dog s***!  I would’ve landed face first!”

Almost had  – “Wow!  Look at that report on E. coli in the salad at that restaurant I ate at the other day, I almost had that for lunch!”

And, of course, there are many, many more: almost lost it, almost as good, almost persuaded, almost cried, almost laughed, almost ready, almost shot him (don’t ask), almost left, almost took a trip, almost wrote a book (my favorite!) just to name a few.  There were some we came up with that aren’t fit to post here – well, I almost posted some but changed my mind.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, and hoping I’m finally getting to the point, okay, here it is: Some things you’ll be happy that only “almost” happened (see above for “almost dated” – or shot!).  However, there are going to be at least a few that you don’t want to reach the end of your life and look back and say “If only” about.

The past can’t be changed, so some of those “almosts” are gone, but for others, it’s not too late, and new ones will crop up, so go ahead, check into that new job you’ve been thinking about (but make sure you’re on time for the interview, and for goodness sakes, turn off that cell phone!),  take that trip you almost went on fifteen years ago (but got talked out of by your friend who couldn’t go with you at the time so you kept putting it off and one day your friend went – without you!), or write that book you’ve had in your head but you were too busy (or too afraid) to get started on.  Whatever it was you almost did, but for some reason didn’t, get going.   Can’t hurt, might work.

Now, when I’m gone, hope I don’t find I’ve almost hit Heaven…

 

The #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

I’ve been asked to participate in the blog tour, #mywritingprocess, and, I must say, when I was asked, I was  just a teensy bit…well, nervous.

Cause of nervousness?  Simple.  I’ve not been a good blogger.

Three reasons I’ve not been good:

1.)  I tend to neglect to do regular updates, mainly because I’m usually working on a new story – or four (or six…or more) – and don’t like to take time to stop and do anything else (a caveat: I do take time to go to Twitter and tweet!  Well, I primarily retweet, but it doesn’t take long, and for some  reason it relaxes me.  I’ll retweet practically anything but I mainly retweet about someone else’s book or blog post, especially indie authors.  Heh, us indies need all the help we can get!).

2.)  I don’t know why, but I sometimes have problems writing anything other than fiction.  I only come up with something I want to post, oh, say, about every two or three months or so, and after that I have nothing else to say for a while.

3.)  I’ve always believed that if you don’t have anything to say, you ought not to say it.  So I don’t.

However, I am hoping to get better at finding things to blog about, because, in the end, what’s the point in having a blog if you don’t blog?

So, I was intrigued by the blog tour, and thought maybe I could answer the four questions posited,  after all, I am a writer, and I do have a process – um, well sorta – so, though I’m a tad quivery in my flip-flops, here goes…

 

What am I working on?

Currently, I’m nearly finished with the first draft of a novel that I’m writing as a sequel to a novelette I wrote last year called Hard Changes.  While it’s definitely a sequel, it’s a story that will stand totally on its own.  Tentatively titled Bridge, it continues the tale of  Randa and relates what happens after she and her children escape from marauders with the help of the non-humans who occupy the same world.   Hard Changes  is itself a stand-alone, side story/prequel in the Boucher’s World  science fiction series in which I’ve written a trilogy, a couple of novelettes and novellas, even a short story (all of the stories are prequels to the trilogy – at least so far!  And, I guess you could say the new book is a sequal to a prequel… :-D  Clearly it’s a universe that keeps pulling me back in, and is not yet ready to let go of me, so there will also be sequels to the trilogy!).

I’m nearly finished with the first draft of another novel (in an entirely different universe from Boucher’s World) that I plan to publish by Fall of this year.  It’s kind of a dystopian/fantasy.   And, I’m also doing one  in my werewolf series  (Cady and Sam), not to mention three other’s that have nothing to do with any of the above…sigh.  You get the picture.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 How my work differs…hmm…well, in the case of my science fiction series, it includes elements that I guess aren’t strictly science fiction, in that the main characters are all psychics endowed with certain types of extra-sensory-abilities.  There is an alien world, and aliens (also psychics), star ships, domes (no, not like that one), all ingredients that are part of a science fiction story, but these stories are much more character driven.  And my female protagonist, while strong, isn’t exactly a tough kick-ass.  Um, well, in one instance, she does kick-ass but it was a fluke – and he deserved it.  These stories are mostly what you might call “soft” science fiction, but, while in some cases there is a love interest (and in some of the stories, a bit of, ahem, “mating”), the stories aren’t romances (er, um, there is that soul-mate thingy, but I don’t think it’s really romantic).

As for the fantasy/paranormal stories about the werewolves: unlike most such stories floating around, there is no romance involved here, either (I don’t think the neighborhood flirt trying to hook-up with Cady’s husband counts!).  There’s no alpha male and some young woman (or female werewolf) going hot and heavy at each other, no wolf-pack drama with the beta fighting to be alpha or to take the alpha’s mate.  There is actually no alpha, or even a wolf-pack, as  such.  There are some vampires around (mostly friendlies and they don’t sparkle) some ghouls (unfriendlies) and a few demons thrown in for good measure (good and bad – and neutral).  These werewolves are a happily married couple trying their best to live a quiet and uneventful life in their small town, going to their jobs as a barber and a masseuse, and raising their young daughter, but they keep running up on situations that throw a monkey wrench into their serene existence.

 

Why do I write what I do?

 I write what I do because it’s also the genre(s) I most enjoy reading.  I started out as a small child reading fairy tales (still like them, too.  After all, they fall under the umbrella of “fantasy”!), and graduated to science fiction when I was in fifth grade and came across Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot series that someone had, apparently by mistake, placed in the school library.  After that, I read every science fiction book in there (which, sadly, didn’t consist of many) and at the public library (which, happily, had many, many more, thank God!), and when I ran up on Zenna Henderson’s People stories, I started looking for others like those, too.  I was hooked for life, and I knew that I wanted to write such stories.  It has taken a while – one might say a lifetime – but now I do.

 

How does my writing process work?

 Well, I’ll get an idea – and I nearly always know how the story begins and ends, it’s the middle part that’s a bit tougher – and sometimes I’ll make an outline, though it’s usually only a loose one (I confess that I often stray away from the outline).  Then I set aside time to work on the idea.  I’m retired so I can work on a story whenever I want, but I work on it for at least an hour every day (usually more)  and I do write every day.

Other times, there is no outline, not even a loose one.  The urge to write is so strong that I just take off writing by the seat of my pants and don’t quit until I have the basic story down.  I have been known to write all day – or night – when the story grabs me by the throat and won’t let go (since I’m retired, I can also write for however long I want, which means that I have, upon occasion, come to, and found myself lying face down on my keyboard hoping I haven’t slobbered on the thing and shorted out something!).   Then, of course, there’s all the editing and rewriting and proofing, that sort of thing.  It’s a tad messy sometimes (okay, all the time), but it is a process.  One that I enjoy a great deal.

 ******

I was invited on this blog tour by a very nice Twitter pal, Sonya Craig, science fiction writer of the Outbound series, who is a previous blogger on the #mywritingprocess tour.  See her post here.

The next blogger up is Freddie Silva, a writer of science fiction and fantasy.  His novel, The Order of the Wolf, is the first of his Kingdom of Haven series.  A link to his post will be placed here as soon as it’s published.  Meanwhile, take a peek at his blog, Fred on the Head.

Okay, as promised, here is the link to Freddie Silva’s post on his writing process: How Do I Write Thee?

 

This last book in the Boucher’s World trilogy will be out on March 30th.  It is available at Smashwords for a sample and/or pre-order.

encounters cover5

Boucher’s World, a planet in the Epsilon Eridani star system, is occupied by humans and an alien race called Elvwists.  Having finally emerged from a two thousand years long confinement inside a continent covering, transparent dome, they undergo a life changing transformation, and learn, from the beings who originally put the dome in place, the reason why they were kept inside.

As they go about the task of adjusting to their redefined place in the scheme of the universe, they discover that ships from their respective home worlds will soon be arriving, and the ones from the humans’ planet, Earth, are coming with a mandate: secure Boucher’s World for their government.

The captain of the expedition, Timothy Moore, knows the planet may be occupied but supposes the people are at least semi-primitives who can be appeased with trinkets and/or a show of might.  He has no idea that they are coming to an planet inhabited by a high-tech society of psychic adepts, some of whom are non-human.

What will Captain Moore do when he realizes Boucher’s World is not as they presumed?

Will the new humans from Earth undergo the same change that befell the human ancestors of the current occupants a thousand years ago when they became psychics, and will they, too, then, transform? Will the Elvwists from the home world, who are already psychics, transform?

Find out how and why Jade, one of the discoverers of the exit from the dome, once again finds herself in Between, the world of the astral plane, and what she comes upon there.

Read an Ebook Week – Redux!

Yes, it’s back!  Starting Sunday, March 2nd, at Smashwords only,  get to downloading and reading!   Sale ends Saturday, March 8th.

train

I will be participating in Read an Ebook Week  again this year, from March 2nd to March 8th.   The second book in my trilogy – Boucher’s World: Transformation, will be available for the reduced price of  $1.50  with coupon REW50.

Get my other books FREE with coupon RW100!   Just go to my writer’s page here, (or click on the above image) and use the coupon code at checkout!  Enjoy!

A Review of “The Order of the Wolf” by Freddie Silva

Okay.  I have to tell the truth.  When I first saw this book, for some reason I had the notion it was about werewolves. You know, with the usual storyline of alpha males, fawning females trying to get next to the alpha, soul mates, pack fights, that sort of thing.  Even after reading the blurb I still thought a werewolf might be in there somewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good werewolf story but really wasn’t in the mood for one.  Then I read the sample before buying, and boy, was I delightfully wrong!  And, after reading the book, I’m happy to say: I was wonderfully wrong!

Instead, what I found was an engaging tale set in an alternate world and time.  A world of warring kingdoms and mercenary warriors who, though fighting for different rulers of the land, try to hold to a code of honor.  The story begins directly after the destruction in battle of a particular company in the Order of the Wolf, called The Old Guard, wherein our protagonist has been horribly wounded, and is the only surviving member of his company.  He wants to die and join his comrades but is instead, healed and pressed into training a company of newbies by the Order commander.

The story takes off from there through a string of twists and turns, some of them political, all of them intriguing.  It has lots of action but is not just a litany of one battle after another.  There’s even a touch of humor, and, it has a hint of romance but not enough to make you wonder what it’s doing in a story of war and bloodshed as it fits the circumstances.

The writing is clear and concise and the story moves right along.  My only complaint is that it ended before I was ready for it to!  I want to know more!  I want to know what happens next!  Now, I have to sit and wait – impatiently – for the sequel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read that has action, adventure, and intrigue, set in another time and place.

Most definitely: Five stars!

A Review of “The Universe, Five Minutes At A Time” by James McAllister

I had intended to first, read a couple of the stories in this book of shorts, then get the others, a few at a time, later, when I had more time.  However, I found that as I finished each one I was anxious to go on to the next intriguing story.  So, I finished the book at one sitting, and then sat around wishing for more.

The stories range from the humorous to the tragic – occasionally within the same one, such as I found in “The Neptune Fudge Affair”.  I especially enjoyed “Looking for Master” and “The Used Car Salesman”, but as someone who loves science fiction, I appreciated every story.  They are well plotted and told, and generally well written.  I felt I was right in the middle of the action with each one.

This was a quick and easy read, great for anybody who doesn’t have a lot of time, and I’d recommend these extremely good stories to any fan of science fiction.  And, if you’ve never read anything in the genre, I think this would be a great place to start.

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