Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

A Question and a Request

 

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Agatha Christie

The Question: Agatha and I have been wondering…where does the time go? No, I mean, really. Where does it go, once we’ve squeezed every bit of the life from a moment, and cast it aside, moving on to the next? Is there some graveyard for used hours somewhere? Or is it really relegated to crumbling photo albums and lines in a diary?

Just curious, here, on account of I seem to have lost a LOT of it lately. But I suppose that’s the nature of things–both losing time, and wasting more, wondering where it went. By my age, there are veritable slag heaps of lost time piled up behind me, but I’m finally learning that it doesn’t pay to worry about it. What does pay, sort of, is writing. So that’s where I’ve been in recent weeks. Writing my fingers down to bloody bones! Makes for a messy keyboard, but it does get me closer to the final line of Novel #4, anyway. And that brings me to the next part of this post.

The Request: I’ve said this before, and I’ll no doubt say it again. Most readers have no concept of just how important good reviews are to writers, most especially in this day of eBooks. If you’ve read a book you enjoyed, please, please consider posting a review on Amazon. Yes, even if the book is by a famous author who has sold millions of copies. Every single review has an impact on where they rank on Amazon, which, in turn, impacts how many new readers come across their book. Unless they are in the #1 spot, across all boards, they have room to move up, and increase their sales. And if you enjoyed their book, they’ve earned it.

Reviews are even more important for new writers, such as myself. When I balance the number of reviews Swamp Ghosts has gotten, for instance, against the number of emails and other comments I’ve received from folks who say they enjoyed the book, I know that a lot of them–most of them–aren’t leaving reviews. I think some don’t know how critical they are, and others actually mean to do it, but forget. Either way, it would sure be nice if everyone who enjoyed reading a book, mine included, would take five minutes to let the world know. It will increase sales dramatically, and for some authors, that can mean the difference in being able to continue writing versus having to get a second job, just to put food on the table. You can leave reviews on your blog or Goodreads, too, but the one that will make the biggest difference is the one you leave on Amazon.

Help your favorite writers succeed. Read and review. Rinse. Repeat. Rainbows will follow you everywhere you go, and sweet dreams will visit you every night. Okay, not really, but you WILL be doing a good thing. :) Thanks!

Thor’s Day Joke #2

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Heck, around here, it never even reaches the floor. Dachshunds are FAST.

Thor’s Day Joke #1

It’s that time of week again. Thor’s Day Joke Time! (That Thor was such a kidder!) And so, without further ado, here’s joke #1. I know just how this lady feels. I’ll bet you do, too. :D

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Just Sharing With You Guys, and Hoping You’ll Retweet!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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Starting a new series of memes and graphics, because…FUN! :) Please feel free to share anywhere you wish. This is a quote from my latest book, A Boy Named Rabbit. Find it on amazon HERE. Thanks!

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On Being 71…

Marcia:

Wishing you a day filled with shamrocks and leprechauns!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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The bad thing about turning 71: Waking up every morning with numerous aches and pains. The good thing about turning 71: Waking up.

Everything is relative.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Everyone!

:D

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Thank You, Evelyn!

Just wanted to thank my friend, Evelyn Cullet, for having me as a guest blogger today. It’s always so much fun to connect with other writers, and visit each other’s blogs, and Evelyn is an especially nice one! You can check it out at: Evey’s Blog

Excerpt from Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing: One Woman’s Adventures in Dating, Plumbing and Other Full-Contact Sports

Marcia:

Hilarious excerpt from Karen Yankosky. Check it out! :)

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

First, a huge “thanks” to Marcia for her fantastic idea and trademark generosity of spirit. It makes this a wonderful community, and what a great way to get to know new writers!

I’d like to send off Excerpt Week with not a bang or whimper, but a laugh, with this Easter-centric chapter from Good Luck With That Thing You’re Doing, a collection of humor essays published in November.

Hope you enjoy!

A Hare Out of Place

Last spring I moved to an Arlington neighborhood whose inhabitants do more than pay lip service to the idea of community. People here make a point of getting to know each other and do things like leave welcome gifts for new arrivals. (An unidentified neighbor left me an eggplant, for example. I thought it was a nice gesture, though some readers feared I had been targeted by a produce terrorist.) The neighborhood also…

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My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series

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Was thinking yesterday about all the great Urban Fantasy series there are out there, and decided to make a list of my very favorites. I tried to list them in order, and then realized that they tend to shift up and down the list a bit, based on the latest book, or a current favorite plot twist, perhaps. All except one. I’m sure it’s no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog for a while. My number one all time favorite Urban Fantasy series has never changed. Why? Because none of the rest appeal to me quite as much, in spite of the fact that I love some of them like crazy. Here they are, in order from first to…everything else. :)

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The best characters, good and bad, best plot lines, best adventures, best…and longest drawn out…love affair)

2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: Yes, he’s a master of horror, but while the Odd Thomas books can be scary, they are so much more than that…funny, endearing, hopeful, and poised on the edge of redemption, since I haven’t read the last one yet. Been saving it for just the right moment.

3. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: Toby Daye’s world of the fae is filled with all the Celtic legends a person could imagine: selkies,  kelpies, mermaids and mermen, The Luidaeg or sea hag, barghests, trolls, and all the high Queens and Kings of the Fae, complete with their courts and the attendant political intrigue and discord. There are banshees and barrow wights, kitsunes and Tylwyth Teg, and best of all for a cat lover, the Cait Sidhe, led by Tybalt, King of Cats. And all set in  San Francisco! *sigh* It’s a world like no other!

4. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill: Talk about political intrigue…those obsessive, control freaks, the vampires, pretty much outdo every other supernatural being when it comes to mind games and power plays. I love how well it’s done in these books, but most of all, I love the liege of Cadogan House, 400-year-old vampire,  Ethan Sullivan. Best. Vampire. EVER. He and his house Sentinel, Merit, are a couple to be reckoned with, though it took them a few books to get to that point. A solidly entertaining and satisfying series.

5. The Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs: This one is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, mostly about shifters and skinwalkers, though a few other creatures pop in now and then for good measure. While I very much enjoy the Mercy books, I think the Alpha & Omega books are even better. I’m very partial to Charles and Anna, largely because angsty, somewhat frightening men are interesting (as long as they aren’t actually hurting innocent people or battering their women around, of course), and this was the first series to introduce me to the concept of an Omega wolf. It’s extremely well done and never fails to hold my interest to the last word.

6. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews:  This one has it all, too. Shifters and magic, horrible, totally non-sparkly OR sexy vampires, and all sorts of complex shenanigans going on. But mostly, it has Kate and her love, Curran, who just happens to be a lion when the mood strikes him. There’s a healthy dose of humor, which I love, and which Kate uses to keep; “his furriness” in line. I’ve enjoyed every single book in this series, and am always looking for the next one.

7. The Weather Wardens by  Rachel Caine: This one wrapped up a couple of years ago, but it was one of the most original concepts I’ve come across. The weather wardens keep the earth safe and spinning smoothly, controlling rain, storms, floods, fire, earthquakes, etc, to the best of their ability. They can’t eliminate these things, but they can shape them, soften them, steer them a bit, and otherwise try to blunt the trauma wrought by Mother Nature, who is always trying to scrape humanity off  the surface of the planet. And did I mention there are djinn? Oh, I love djinn. Especially David, who is the love interest in this series. It’s a fun, action-packed romp, and the 4-book spinoff series, The Outcast Season, is equally entertaining.

8. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: This is a YA series that is profoundly moving and beautiful. Stiefvater’s writing is second to none to my mind. Lyrical, strong, and often heart-wrenching, without being maudlin, it will suck you in and wring you out! I’ve read the first two books, and have the third lying right next to the final Odd Thomas book. I’m torturing myself with them, daily, but soooooon. Sooooooon, my precious! I WILL read them, and mourn them when I’m done. If you’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater, I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, a book so beautiful and dark, it will speak to your heart in shivery whispers you won’t soon forget.

9. The World of the Lupi series: Eileen Wilks: Shifters with intriguing pack politics, power struggles, and romance, all done better than most, by far. Interesting secondary characters, and complex plotting make this series a solid standout, book after book.

10. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: Mentioned above, this is a solid series featuring Mercy, who is a coyote skin-walker, and a host of other interesting characters, including the occasional vampire and troll. Some Native American lore here and there, and enough drama to make it all very interesting, and all of it, very well done.

Ooops…did I say TEN? Surely I meant FIFTEEN? And since they are ALL tied for second place after The Dresden Files, it doesn’t matter too much, anyway.

11. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison: This one is at the top of most lists, and I admit that I enjoyed it very much, and looked forward to each book, but I can’t put it at the top of mine because there were some things…and some characters…I just didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong…the series was still worth reading every single book, but I can’t quite rate it as highly as I have some others. I’ve reviewed enough of these books that some of you already know the things that annoyed me, so I’m not going into that here. But suffice it to say, no self-respecting list of good Urban Fantasy would be without these books. And Trent Kalamack will always be a favorite character of mine, as will the demon Algaliarept, and the obnoxiously funny pixie, Jenks.

12. The Leandros Brothers by Rob Thurmon: I’m adding a caveat to this series. It was one of my very top favorites…until it wasn’t. Things happened, and I found I wasn’t enjoying the new direction the books seemed to take. So I was hesitant to mention it in this list. However, if I’m honest, I got enough enjoyment, shivers, AND snarky laughs out of the first 7 or 8 books to warrant including it, even if I won’t be reading any more. Cal Leandros was a character I truly adored for a long time, and I won’t forget the books I loved, though I’ll try to forget the ones I didn’t.

13. Tales from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green: These quirky, off-the-wall, sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying books are like nothing elses out there. Noir meets Poe meets King, perhaps. Just bizarre, and filled with wonderful characters like John Taylor, Private Eye…who actually HAS a private…EYE. And Dead Boy, and Suzie Shooter. Oh, there’s no way to describe all of them. You’ll just have to visit the Nightside yourself…that world beneath London, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die, and most babies are born. You want shivers? Head to the Nightside.

14. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine: Another YA series, but one with such a well-done cast of characters, and entertaining plot lines, I just couldn’t leave it out. I devoured every single book, because…hello? Town run by vampires. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And yet, the good guys never give up, and their way of making it all work is totally believable. Assuming you’re the kind who can believe in vampires at all for the duration of a book. Solid writing, unexpected twists, and a very satisfying ending to the series.

15. Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia: Non-stop action from page one right through the series. This is serious, kick-butt and take no names stuff. A manly kinda supernatural series, with plenty of things that go bang and boom and give off a lot of smoke. Manly, yes, but I like it, too! ;) Fun. That’s it in a nutshell.

And there you have it, folks. Fifteen terrific Urban Fantasy series, with something to please just about everyone. Hope there are one or two in the list you haven’t yet tried. Check ‘em out! Tell ‘em Marcia sent ya!

:D

Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas Cover

Excerpt from CH 5 of Swamp Ghosts

Marcia:

Only 24 more hours of Excerpt Week left to go. Slow tonight, so here’s a longish one of mine, from Swamp Ghosts. Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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Kind of quiet tonight, so here’s a longish one from Swamp Ghosts. (Thought I’d show you that I do know how to write scenes that aren’t totally weird and disturbing.) Gunnar Wolfe is a wildlife photographer who has hired Maggie Devlin to guide him into some pretty inaccessible backwater areas, in search of rare birds and animals. He’s never set foot in a canoe before, and denies he’s afraid of boats, but he admits he does not want to end up in that black, black water. This is his first canoe lesson with Maggie, who was raised on the river, and knows it like the back of her hand. So far, she’s less than impressed with Gunn, immense size and Norwegian good looks notwithstanding.

*****

SUNDAY MORNING arrived looking like a picture out of a travel brochure. A buttery yellow sun beamed down from a cloudless swath of blue sky, and…

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Thor’s Day Joke #3

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Hehehehe

Thor’s Day Joke #2

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*Snort*

Thor’s Day Joke #1

9a009631495b1f720add8e2a92b07ebaI think I’m picking up a clue…

The World Will Miss You, Sir Terry Pratchett!

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I’ve just learned of the passing of author Sir Terry Pratchett, and the world seems a sadder place to me today. His imagination made everything better and funnier, and I wish I had discovered his books years earlier. Tonight, the wee, free men and I will drink a toast in his honor, and we will never, ever forget him!

Excerpt: Pack Princess by Aimee Easterling

Marcia:

More great excerpts…this one from Aimee Easterling’s Pack Princess. Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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I am posting on behalf of Aimee Easterling who is under the weather, currently. This is from Chapter 1 of her latest novel, Pack Princess, Book 2 in her Wolf Rampant werewolf series. Enjoy!

***

…When I set off for my afternoon run, the whole forest smelled like my mate. Pine needles and leaf mold and that tinge of something extra that said “powerful male werewolf .” Which is why I was smiling in a tongue-lolling canine fashion… right up until the moment when a huge wolf came barreling out from behind a bush and sent me spinning head over heels to land with a thud against the trunk of a tulip poplar.

Werewolves are pretty rough-and-ready, so it wasn’t the crack on my skull that had me shaking my head in a daze as I scrambled back to my feet. Nope, it was just plain surprise. From the moment…

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MARRED Excerpt – Sue Coletta

Marcia:

Wow. Fabulous excerpt from Sue Coletta! Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

ONE

Sunday

1:30 P.M.

I used to believe people were inherently good, if only at their core. I saw the brokenness of the homeless. The, if only he caught a break. . . I respected the overachiever in the football star, hoping for Daddy’s approval even though he knew he’d never get it. I saw the heart of the sinner. The souls of lovers. The shattered dreams of an abandoned child. I saw good in evil. Spirit in the unholy. The complexities of love, marriage, life. Hell, I welcomed the challenge. I had hopes and dreams and affirmations. I did.

And then, that all changed. My views shattered. Or maybe, my eyes finally opened.

That’s what Niko would say. Though now, devastation also fills his eyes. He no longer looks at me as his optimistic wife who loves life. I miss our blissful marriage. I miss our baby. I miss…

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Excerpt 2 from THE PRINCE’S MAN, #EpicFantasy by Deborah Jay. #readers #books

Marcia:

Another great excerpt from Deborah Jay!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

Yesterday I shared a snippet of dialogue from the first meeting of the two main characters in THE PRINCE’S MAN.

Today we have an action sequence. To set the scene, Rustam and Lady Risada are fleeing an enemy’s lands, burdened with an unconscious elf they have just rescued from a dungeon.

Enjoy :D

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Rustam tightened the horses’ girths while Risada filled the canteens. They had just remounted when thundering hooves pounded down the slope behind them and three riders burst into the clearing.

On the edge of his vision Rustam saw Risada drop the bay mare’s reins, draw her dagger and raise a blowpipe to her lips in one fluid set of movements, while he struggled awkwardly to free his sword from the saddle scabbard beneath his left thigh.

Nightstalker pranced eagerly, destroying the tiny moment of concentration he needed to snap his mind into high speed. The elf bounced…

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Edgelanders Excerpt

Marcia:

An excerpt from Jenny Melzer’s Edgelanders series. Whoa. I can’t wait to read this one!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

Excerpt week is such a great idea! Thank you, Marcia, for nudging me out of my winter cave to join in the fun.

Here’s a snippet from the first book in my Serpent of Time series, Edgelanders, classified within the high fantasy/romance category.

edgelanders cover

“What are you?” he whispered.

“Looks like a dead girl to me.” Rue’s shadow blocked the light of the moons, fell over the girl and darkened the bright perfection of her face.

“No.” He shook his head, a sweaty wisp of black hair falling into his face. “Not dead.” He’d almost said not a girl, but how could he possibly know that for sure? She smelled human, but there was something else in her blood, something familiar, something savage that whispered words to his soul he couldn’t understand.

Why couldn’t Rue smell it? She was a master huntress, could track a rabbit to its warren from five…

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#Excerpt week – THE PRINCE’S MAN by Deborah Jay #EpicFantasy #readers #books

Marcia:

Another excerpt on The Write Stuff. This series sounds like fun. More excerpts from Deborah Jay today! Stay tuned.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

rsz_3pm-ebook_flat_2Stepping up to the plate :D

Thanks Marcia for this great idea – sampling authors we’ve not met before.

So here is a little teaser snippet from THE PRINCE’S MAN, a novel best summed up as ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’.

Excerpt – THE PRINCE’S MAN

“Dart, meet Charmer. Charmer, meet Dart.”

            Rustam looked pleadingly at Halnashead. “You’re joking, surely? You must be. She can’t be Dart; she’s—”

            “What?” cut in Lady Risada. “A woman?”

            “No! Well, yes. I suppose so.” Rustam shifted uncomfortably, his mind reeling as it tried to adjust to the concept of a noblewoman as a player. Female servants on occasion, yes. But a lady?

            He glanced aside at the lady in question. She stared coldly back.

            “Please, please!” Halnashead drew their attention. “I want you two to get on with each other. Does it surprise you so much…

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Excerpt Week! Ghost in the Canteen

Marcia:

An excerpt from Jen Rasmussen’s wonderfully scary “Ghost in the Canteen.” Check it out. If you haven’t read this one, you should. It is flat out terrific! (Stay tuned, as there will be more excerpts featured on The Write Stuff all week long.)

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

ebooksmallI’m putting some of this after a jump so as to share the front page with all the other lovely excerpts we’ll be seeing here during excerpt week, which I’m sure we can all agree was a genius idea on Marcia’s part. Naturally, I’m tacking on a little shameless self promotion. I hope you’ll all do the same, to make it easy for me to find your books.

I’m looking forward to finding some new stuff for my Kindle this week, so get posting!

Ghost in the Canteen is a modern paranormal fantasy with elements of horror, comedy, severed stuff, and supernaturally powerful dogs. As the first in the Lydia Trinket series, it’s permanently priced at 99¢ at major online retailers. Book two in the series, Peak of the Devil, is coming next month. (For anyone who’s already read Ghost, an excerpt of Peak is available at my…

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It’s Here: Excerpt Week!

Marcia:

You guys might enjoy reading along this week. Should be fun, if enough folks participate.

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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Don’t worry. You didn’t miss anything. I just made Excerpt Week up, because I think it would be fun. Starting tomorrow, I’m encouraging you guys to share excerpts from your books. No rules or restrictions, other than no erotica or politics, please, which I don’t think any of you are writing, anyway. Except for that, feel free to choose an excerpt, long or short, from any part of your book you’d like to share. If you aren’t already a contributor and would like to share, just email me at mmeara@cfl.rr.com and I’ll tell you more. I’m going to start us off first thing in the morning, so stayed tuned, but I’m not limiting how many excerpts can go up in a given day, nor how many you guys can share during the week. If you have  multiple books out, feel free to post excerpts from each one as you have…

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My Fabulous Day Yesterday!

Marcia:

Had so much fun yesterday! Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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The Naiad, Inspiration for the Undine in Swamp Ghosts
I swiped this photo from the St. Johns River Eco Tours FB Page
Go there to book a tour for yourself, and see how much fun it is.

You folks who know me best, know I’m very seldom out of the house these days. In a frenzy to tell my stories while I still remember what words are, I mostly spend my days at the computer, writing or researching. But yesterday, they LET ME OUT! Woohooo! The wonderful Captain Jeanne Bell of the St. Johns River Eco  Tours and her wildlife  photographer husband,  Doug Little, invited me to go along on TWO of their tours. And what a great time it was!

The weather was sunny and beautiful. Okay, I was hot, since it was well over 80 degrees out, but you can’t go by me. I haven’t been cool…

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Thor’s Day Joke #3

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Okay, this one only has the hammer, but still…it’s THOR’S hammer!

Thor’s Day Joke #2

c3ad194ad9df116b4c5d098bee4aa872He IS in there, honest!

Thor’s Day Joke #1

This Thor’s Day…How About A few THOR Jokes?

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Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Finished reading Princeps’ Fury at midnight last night, and it was so blasted good, I downloaded Book 6, First Lord’s Fury,  immediately, and started right in on it. Of course, I fell asleep before I finished the first chapter, but at least I found out what happened in the next scene. This series is SO action-packed, and filled with courageous souls doing heroic things, I just can’t put it down. It’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and it’s scary as heck at times. In short, I love it. And I highly recommend you start with Book 1,  Furies of Calderon, and read straight through. Yes, the books are long and there are SIX of them. But, they are oh, so worth it!

Princeps’ Fury

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