Sunday, October 30, 2016

Books, Books and More Books

Better than water, water everywhere, which is what our plumbing is threatening to give us. While we're trying to nurse a failing drain along until we can get a plumber out here to work on it, here are some delightfully spooky reads for Halloween.

Rachel and the Many-Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter

It’s Halloween at the Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, and Rachel Griffin is stirring up the dead!

All her life, Rachel has wanted to visit Beaumont Castle in the kingdom of Transylvania, the last known location of her hero, librarian-adventurer “Daring” Northwest. Only falling out of the land of dreams onto her face was not how she had expected to arrive.

Now, the castle is right there, looming over her. Only her best friend, the Princess of Magical Australia does not want to go in, so as to avoid an international incident. But what if the castle holds some clue as to her hero’s final fate?

And who was that mysterious figure hanging by the neck she glimpsed in the dreamlands, just before she fell. Could the Dead Men’s Ball, where the spooks and ghosts of the Hudson Highland gather once a year on Halloween to dance to the music of some very unexpected musicians, be the key to discovering the hanged man’s identity?

(The third in the Rachel Griffin series, which began with The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffith and continued in The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel, it will be on sale October 31 for Halloween.)

Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

Many are called... She alone can save the world and become Death's bride.

COBWEB BRIDE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One) is a history-flavored fantasy novel with romantic elements of the Persephone myth, about Death's ultimatum to the world.

What if you killed someone and then fell in love with them?

In an alternate Renaissance world, somewhere in an imaginary "pocket" of Europe called the Kingdom of Lethe, Death comes, in the form of a grim Spaniard, to claim his Bride. Until she is found, in a single time-stopping moment all dying stops. There is no relief for the mortally wounded and the terminally ill....

Covered in white cobwebs of a thousand snow spiders she lies in the darkness... Her skin is cold as snow... Her eyes frozen... Her gaze, fiercely alive...

While kings and emperors send expeditions to search for a suitable Bride for Death, armies of the undead wage an endless war... A black knight roams the forest at the command of his undead father… Spies and political treacheries abound at the imperial Silver Court.... Murdered lovers find themselves locked in the realm of the living...

Look closer—through the cobweb filaments of her hair and along each strand shine stars...

And one small village girl, Percy—an unwanted, ungainly middle daughter—is faced with the responsibility of granting her dying grandmother the desperate release she needs.

As a result, Percy joins the crowds of other young women of the land in a desperate quest to Death's own mysterious holding in the deepest forests of the North…

And everyone is trying to stop her.

Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith

Everyone's favorite sword-wielding California girl returns-from the author of Coronets and Steel.

With the man she loves set to marry a look-alike princess, Kim Murray returns to California from the magical country of Dobrenica to heal her broken heart. But family politics soon have her leaving for London, where she is forced into a duel with a Dobrenican nobleman. He reveals that her great sacrifice, leaving Alec, was a disaster. To fix her mistake, Kim returns to Dobrenica, but what she finds there is far more shocking and dangerous than she ever imagined. Not just politics and personalities but ghosts and magic, murder and mystery, await her as she struggles to understand the many faces of love. Once again Kim has to take sword in hand as she tries to make peace and learn the truth. Only, whose truth?

(The sequel to Coronets and Steel, it delves deeper into the supernatural elements of Sherwood Smith's Ruritanian kingdom of Dobrenica).

Steampunk Cthulhu by Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass, editors

"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

So said H.P. Lovecraft in the first chapter of his most famous story, "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926). This is also the perfect introduction to Steampunk Cthulhu, for within these stories mankind has indeed voyaged too far, and scientific innovations have opened terrifying vistas of reality, with insanity and worse as the only reward.

The Steampunk genre has always incorporated elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror and alternative history, and certainly the Cthulhu Mythos has not been a stranger to Steampunk. But until now there has never been a Steampunk Cthulhu collection, so here are 18 tales unbound from the tethers of mere airships, goggles, clockwork, and tightly bound corsets; stories of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and alternative realities tainted with the Lovecraftian and the Cthulhu Mythos. Here you will discover Victorian Britain, the Wild West era United States, and many other varied locations filled with anachronistic and sometimes alien technology, airships, submersibles and Babbage engines. But the Victorian era here is not only one of innovation and exploration, but of destruction and dread.

(This anthology includes my own short story "The Baying of the Hounds," which features Gilded Age heroes Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison).

The Shadow over Leningrad by Leigh Kimmel

In Stalin's Soviet Union, Tikhon Grigoriev lives a precarious life. He knows too much. He's seen too much. A single misstep could destroy him, and if he stumbles, he will take his family down with him. With Leningrad besieged by Nazi armies, the danger has only increased.

He's not a man who wants to come to the notice of those in high places. But when he solved a murder that seemed supernatural, impossible, he attracted the attention of Leningrad's First Party Secretary.

So when a plot of land grows vegetables of unusual size and vigor, and anyone who eats them goes mad, who should be called upon to solve the mystery but Tikhon Grigoriev. However, these secrets could get him far worse than a bullet in the head. For during the White Nights the boundaries between worlds grow thin, and in some of those worlds humanity can have no place.

(The sequel to "Gnawing the Bones of the City," which was published in Fiction Vortex).

If you'd like to have your works included in future promo posts, let me know at

Crossposted at The Billion Lightyear Bookshelf and The Starship Cat Blog.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Promo Awaits

I'm busy getting ready for Grand Rapids Comic Con, including catching up on some bookwork. So I wanted to get this week's promo post out before the day slips away from me. Enjoy, and hope to see a least some of you at the con.

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts – A magic school like no other!

To Rachel Griffin, Roanoke Academy is a place of magic and wonder. Nestled amidst the beauty of New York’s Hudson Highlands and hidden from the eyes of the Unwary, it offers everything a young sorceress could desire—enchantments, flying brooms, and the promise of new friends.

On her first day of school, Rachel discovers her perfect memory has an unexpected side effect. She can see through the spell sorcerers use to hide their secrets.

When someone tries to kill a fellow student, Rachel investigates. She soon discovers another far-vaster secret world that hides from the Wise the way the Wise hide from mundane folk. Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel bravely faces wraiths, embarrassing magical pranks, mysterious older boys, a Raven that brings the doom of worlds, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.

Described by fans as: "Fringe meets Narnia at Hogwarts", The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is a tale of wonder and danger, romance and heartbreak, and, most of all, of magic and of a girl who refuses to be daunted.

Curiosity may kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin!

"Lamplighter introduces many imaginative elements in her world that will delight..." VOYA

(The first of a series that currently stands at three volumes, with more to come).

A Diabolical Bargain by Mary Catelli

Growing up between the Wizards' Wood and its marvels, and the finest university of wizardry in the world, Nick Briarwood always thought that he wanted to learn wizardry.

When his father attempts to offer him to a demon in a deal, the deal rebounded on him, and Nick survives -- but all the evidence points to his having made the deal.

Now he really wants to learn wizardry. Even though the university, the best place to master it, is also the place where he is most likely to be discovered.

Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith

The first summer of peace brings Wren on her weekly visit to the young Queen Teressa, where she encounters the derisive, upsetting Hawk Rhiscarlan riding in! Wren races to warn Teressa, to discover he's expected, which causes the girls' first argument. Tyron gives Wren a chance to leave Meldreth by sending her on a new journeymage project--to find Connor, who had wandered off to the Summer Isles. When Wren vanishes, her scry stone abandoned, Teressa veers between regret over the argument, worry about Wren, and the beguilement of attraction as Hawk skillfully upsets her court. Wren has just made friends with some young sailors when they are captured and forced on board a shady smuggler, where Wren learns all about the sea. When pirates attack, Wren does magic, which leads her straight to another confrontation with the villain she hates most, aided by the boy she . . . what do you call these feelings? Once again the four--Wren, Teressa, Connor, and Tyron--find themselves deep in adventure, as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of growing up.

(The first three Wren books were originally published by Jane Yolen's YA imprint with Harcourt. When Harcourt discontinued the imprint, it left the series orphaned with the fourth book unwritten. Sherwood Smith has reissued the series through Book View Cafe, a writers' co-op. It begins with Wren to the Rescue and continues through Wren's Quest and Wren's War.)

The Sun Never Sets by Joseph T. Major

A passionate defense of an exiled prince leads to changes that shake the course of European and world history, and lay the stage for a wider and wider yet monarchy.
In our world, the Electress Sophia of Hanover, sister of the gallant Prince Rupert of the Rhine, was made heir to the British throne, only to die just too soon, leaving the succession to her son. Once, though, she got a little too exercised about the poor exiled Pretender . . . and if she had been just a little more exercised, William of Orange might have changed his mind.
Such a change could put a strange and striking monarch in reach of the British throne. But the heirs of the Stuarts were not yet gone, and they could strike back. The result of this bold decision would mean wars across the world, involving people from lands spreading from Poland to Virginia, from Scotland to Naples. It would mean battles in the Cockpit of Europe, in the wilds of Saxony, and indeed on the green fields of England itself.
Not all is war. Literary figures such as Swift,Johnson, and Voltaire have strange and different meetings. The universal genius Benjamin Franklin, Printer, has an entirely new field of endeavor.
The opposed royal houses, and the other princes of Europe, face off in new and strange alliances in this novel.

Historical Lovecraft by Silvia Monero-Garcia, editor

Historical Lovecraft, a unique anthology blending historical fiction with horror, features 26 tales spanning centuries and continents. This eclectic volume takes the readers through places as varied as Laos, Greenland, Peru, and the Congo, and from antiquity until the 20th century, pushing the envelope of Lovecraftian lore. William Meikle’s inquisitor tries to unravel the truth during a very hostile questioning. Jesse Bullington narrates the saga of a young Viking woman facing danger and destruction. E. Catherine Tobler stops in Ancient Egypt, where Pharaoh Hatshepsut receives an exquisite and deadly gift. Albert Tucher discovers that the dead do not remain silent in 10th century Rome.

These are tales that reimagine history and look into the past through a darker glass. Tales that show evil has many faces and reaches through the centuries. Tales that will chill your heart.

Join us in our journey through horror and time, if you dare.

Stories by: Regina Allen, Jesse Bullington, Nathalie Boisard-Beudin, Mason Ian Bundschuh, Andrew G. Dombalagian, Mae Empson, Nelly Geraldine GarcĂ­a-Rosas, Orrin Grey, Sarah Hans, Travis Heermann, Martha Hubbard, Nathaniel Katz, Leigh Kimmel, Meddy Ligner, William Meikle, Daniel Mills, Aaron Polson, Y. Wahyu Purnomosidhi, Alter S. Reiss, Josh Reynolds, Julio Toro San Martin, Bradley H. Sinor, Molly Tanzer, Albert Tucher, E. Catherine Tobler, Bryan Thao Worra

(Contains my short story "Red Star, Yellow Sign," which is tied to my indie short stories The Other Side of Midnight and The Shadow over Leningrad

All the Little Hedgehogs" by Leigh Kimmel

The Lower Volga Special Bio-Research Laboratory is one of the Soviet Union's most closely guarded secrets. Yona Feldberg didn't even know it existed until the day Academician Voronsky arrived at the Suvorov School and took him away from the austere life of a military cadet.

Here Yona learned why he, the son of a KGB labor camp commandant, should have been placed in a school to train the Soviet Army's future officers: he is a clone of one of the Red Army officers murdered in the Great Terror. However, his extraordinary talent for genetics makes him more valuable as the Academician's personal student, learning the technology of gene splicing alongside the Academician's adopted son.

But privileges can be revoked, as Yona discovers when he runs afoul of the local guardians of propriety. Now he will get a different kind of education, in teh darker secrets of the Soviet cloning program.

(Another story set in the Soviet Union, in the Gus on the Moon timeline).

Over at Sarah Hoyt's blog, the Free Range Oyster has even more cool books. In the comments you can also find a story beginning of mine, for another story in the Gus on the Moon timeline.

I also have some new in-depth book reviews up at The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf.

As always, if you'd like to have your works included in future versions of this promo post, please let me know at Because I'll be setting next week's promo post up while I'm at Grand Rapids Comic Con, they'll stand a better chance of being included in it if sent earlier.

Crossposted at The Billion Lightyear Bookshelf Blog and The Starship Cat Blog.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Making Time for Promo

I'm between events right now, but it doesn't mean I'm not busy. There's merchandise to manage and bookwork to do. And there is my other business, developing and maintaining AdSense websites, which has suffered from lack of attention for far too long. So it's easy to let the day slip away and discover it's gone and I still haven't done the promo post this week.

The Bandit Steals a City by Joseph T. Major

Ordinary worlds have problems with fanatics. So do faerie ones. The faerie worlds have ways to deal with them, but some may be very mundane and ordinary. And then there is the problem of cleaning up afterwards.
Our bandit and her husband the scholar have to deal with a family crisis, an evil that masquerades as good. Not to mention having to raise more of their kind, understand how their lives work, and provide for family of all sorts. There are so many things that go into life, and having it for longer only makes them accumulate.

(The second in the Lady Was a Bandit series, which began with The Death of a Bandit)

Pride and Platypus by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian

From the critically acclaimed author of Mansfield Park and Mummies and Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons...

Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret

When the moon is full over Regency England, all the gentlemen are subject to its curse.

Mr. Darcy, however, harbors a Dreadful Secret...

Shape-shifting demons mingle with Australian wildlife, polite society, and high satire, in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic supernatural parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.

The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness -- all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!

What awaits her is something unexpected. And only moon, matrimony, and true love can overcome pride and prejudice!

Gentle Reader -- this Delightful Illustrated Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices

(Who ever thought lycanthropy could be funny?)

The Trouble with Kings by Sherwood Smith

“With music you can tell the truth about human experience.”

In this romantic fantasy set in the same world as Crown Duel, Flian is an ordinary princess who would rather be left with her music, but gets abducted not once, not twice—three times.

What is a civilized princess to do? Especially when she can’t tell which prince is the hero and which the villain!

Re-edited and reissued by Book View Cafe

(If Jane Austen were to write a novel in Sherwood's Sartorias-deles universe, it would look like this).

Lazarus Risen by Hayden Trenholm (ed.)

Dreams of immortality and eternal youth are almost as old as human culture itself. But what would the world look like if everyone could live and be young forever? What would it look like if only some of us had that privilege? Lazarus Risen presents sixteen stories from around the world that explore the economic, political, social and psychological consequences of life extension, human cloning, the hard upload and other forms of the biological singularity.

Stories by Brent Nichols, Sean McMullen, Teri Babcock, Nancy SM Waldman, Brad C. Anderson, Fiona Moore, Felice Picano, Matthew Shean, Matt Moore, Suzanne Church, Peter Wendt, Holly Schofield, Deborah Walker, Kevin Edwin Stadt, Leigh Kimmel, and Andrew Barton.

(This anthology contains my story "Phoenix Dreams," a companion story to The Crime and Glory of Antonia DeVilbiss.)

The Moon Mirror by Leigh Kimmel

Chelsea Ayles dreamed of going to the Moon since she was a child. Now her dream job at NASA has turned into a nightmare, thanks to those many blood-sucking arachnids. Yeah, politics, as in a Senator accusing her of destroying America's priceless heritage because she chose the moonrocks that were used to make a proof-of-concept mirror segment for a lunar telescope project. Now the mirror sits in her office like a bitter mockery of what might have been -- until the day her reflection turns into a handsome stranger who calls himself the Man in the Moon and offers her visions of a world that might have been. Visions that ignite a longing of an intensity she hasn't known since she was in grade school and watched videos of the Apollo lunar missions in science class.

(Another story that involves the Gus on the Moon universe).

Over at Sarah Hoyt's blog, Free Range Oyster has more interesting books for you to check out.

To get your book in next week's promotional posting, send me a note with the title and publication information

Crossposted at The Billion Light-Year Bookshelf and Through the Worldgate.