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1. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs -- Five Stars!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a HUGE fan of Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Night Broken is the eighth Mercy Thompson book and if you ask me, except perhaps for the first book, Moon Called, this latest book is the best in the whole series.

New and interesting characters, Coyote, the Fae and Tad, more troubles with the pack and OMGosh, the way Mercy handled Adam's ex-wife, Christy! I can't say too much or I'll give it all away. Let's just say, I got this book for my birthday and I'm already on the third reread. Yes, it's that good!

Check it out!




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2. Shadows of a Fading World Anthology - Four Stars!

Like all anthologies, I liked some of the stories in Shadows of a Fading World better than others. I'm delighted that there were no "stream of consciousness" writing styles, every story was plotted, crafted and well written. I especially liked Neal Litherland's and Ian Creasey's stories. Each had its own defining moments and plot twist that brought the tale above the other good stories in the anthology and the genre.

I highly recommend this anthology to anyone who's looking for some new and different tales in sword and sorcery. At approximately 146 pages, it's a quick read, perfect for a summer afternoon or an evening by the fire. 



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3. Please Support Terrence's Hockey

I've had to swallow my pride and admit that I need help paying T's hockey fees.

If you can spare the dollar, or at least share the link, I'd be so appreciative. And so will the boy.

Every donor will receive the coupon code for a free ebook copy of my little cookbook, and my heartfelt gratitude.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ciH0d

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4. The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent -- Five Stars

 This young adult steampunk novel revolves around Vespa Nyx and the Museum of Unnatural History -- and the possibility that she might be the only witch left in this world of magic and technology.

The city, New London, is the fault of Saint Tesla, whose experiments tore loose whole sections of Victorian London, thrusting them into a magical land where an assortment of legendary creatures and the Tinkers live. The Tinkers are reduced to poverty by the time of the story. According to Trent, “…the Tinkers in this book are heavily based on my experiences living in the Sichuan highlands of China with the Baima people, an ethnic Tibetan tribe.” I actually thought that they were based on the Roma but later decided that they were of Asian heritage, so I was happy to read that I wasn’t too far off in my assessment.

The story moves along briskly, following Vespa through her trials with her father, work, aunt, New London society and a young Pedant, who might not be who he claims. While magic is illegal, children in the city are sometimes born with powers -- and abandoned or disowned by their families. The story is filled with mysterious events, magical creatures called Elementals, a dangerous and destructive Waste, plenty of intrigue and a romantic thread that doesn’t muck up the storyline at all. In fact, it’s essential to the story. The famous scientists of our world -- Tesla, Newton, Darwin -- are Saints in the city of New London, where magic is forbidden and the technology depends on a dust called myst.

The threads that tied the story together weren’t obvious and many were subtle hints and portents of things to come, unlike most YA literature. Even the story elements that seemed familiar often ended up in completely different places; the tale took unexpected directions. There were a few spots that I was able to predict what was coming next, but I’ve read hundreds of books; I wouldn’t expect a teen or YA reader to pick up on those nuances. In general, it was not predicable or heavy handed at all, including the ending.

The formatting of the story is interesting, with alternating chapters told in first person, present tense, by Vespa, and third person, past tense, by Syrus, a Tinker. It took me a minute to adjust to this style, but I think that it actually enhances the story line. You’re never trying to figure out which character’s point of view is being followed -- it’s obvious at a glance.

The weaving of fantasy and technology within a Victorian New London make this a unique addition to the world of steampunk. I stayed up until 2 am to finish this story and honestly, I’m looking forward to rereading the book to pick up details that I might’ve missed during the first reading.

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5. The Tinker King by Tiffany Trent -- Four Stars

I was lucky and received an ARC copy of the book in an online drawing.

The sequel of The Unnaturalists picks up shortly after the first book. In this book, the Tinker, Syrus, is the main character. His chapters are first person present, while Vespa’s chapters are third person past tense.

With the destruction of much of New London and myth now illegal, the four young leaders of the new society are trying to rebuild their technology, using Syrus’ Tinkers knowledge of machines. But now new troubles threaten them and an ancient enemy rises to oppose their efforts to rebuild.

Again, the twists and turns of the story line are not predictable. I enjoyed this book but I’m hoping that since I read an advance copy, a few details have changed with the publication of the book.

I was a little disturbed at a few spots. For example, at one point there’s a huge disaster, but there was no indication of regret by the main characters of those who didn’t make it through. And the Elementals that were saved simply disappear, with only a few references and questions as to their fate. Also, the ending felt a little rushed.

Other than those details, I once again stayed up much too late while finishing the book. I couldn’t put it down. The details, wonderfully expressed and yet not overdone, including Syrus’ eating utensils, again led me to the Asian heritage of the Tinkers. The story moved right along, keeping me wanting to turn the pages and find out what happens next.

I highly recommend this book, not just to young adults, but to adult steampunk and fantasy fans as well.

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6. Summer People by Neal Litherland -- Five Stars!!

Now, I’m not a fan of romance in any form, not classic, not historic and definitely not paranormal. But I was pleasantly surprised, while there are romantic elements in Summer People, it’s not what I’d call a romance. No, not at all.

To make this clearer -- I LOVED it!!

Litherland’s writing evokes the lyric prose of Ray Bradbury, Patricia McKillip and John Bellair’s classic, The Face in the Frost. As I read Litherland’s words, I could literally see the café and smell the pastries, teas and coffee.

Yet there was always a sense of something lurking, behind the peaceful scenes of summer and oncoming fall that Neal painted of this New England town. Something ancient and whether for good or evil, the undercurrents slip between the characters -- hidden pasts and secrets that lie just out of sight, amid sunlit leaves and under the streetlights at night. Of music that speaks of beauty and darkness.

Litherland starts off with the peaceful scenes of early morning in the cafe and then slides us subtly into a world of magic and mystery, of the potential of young love, love triangles and awakenings, and then, little by little, shares with us the darkness that lies behind a smile and a promise.

Nope, you don’t get a spoiler, you have to read this lovely tale yourself. It’s just the right length to sit in front of a crackling fire, tea at your elbow, and savor the plot and prose before you go to bed and dream of magical lands just out of sight, just past the trees and meadows of the mundane world.

I have just one small criticism of the story. It wasn’t long enough!! 

FIVE STARS!!

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7. Sacrifices by Alan D. Jones -- Four Stars!

This fascinating prequel to “To Wrestle With Darkness”, Sacrifices, which is book two of the trilogy, follows the four sisters -- Cil, Deborah, Ruth and Sarah -- who have a destiny to fulfill.

I’m not usually a fan of stories that leap back and forth in time, from the 1700s to the present, but in this case, Jones did a masterful job in not only keeping the story on-track through the centuries, but as the book drew to a close, it all became clear. The story really was in sequence, although at first it didn’t look that way at all

From slavery to sacrifices to victory, the story of the family and their journey from the past to the future is deeply imbedded in not just Christianity, but also ancient mythology, Sacrifices tells us of both Faith and the consequences of actions and reactions, whether well-meant or knowingly stepping off the path of righteousness.

I not only thoroughly enjoyed this book, I’d read it again, and again. There’s depths to the story that will only reveal themselves on rereading, and I’m looking forward to the journey.

The author generously provided a copy of the book for review.

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8. Vote Them All Out!

Now I usually don't get too political on my personal/book blog, but this is an issue that I've been looking at for some time.

There's a lot of screaming and shouting and downright lying being done by Congressional representatives. To be honest, I'm sick of it. The President, like it or not, won by about five million votes. He's doing what the President does -- doing the best that he can despite the opposition from "the other side."

If you're as tired of this as I am, then start paying attention and planning your votes now. There's representatives coming up for reelection. Do you REALLY want those same clowns that aren't looking our for your interests back in office for another term? Or are you ready for a change?

I've even done a T-shirt and you can join me in expressing my dissatisfaction with our current Congress.





So, the way this works, once 25 shirts are preordered, your credit card will be charged and you'll get your shirt. You have 21 days to order your shirt or hoodie.

If this does well, my next T-shirt designs will fund my son's Junior Hockey fees because, well, it's expensive and I'm just a single mom.

Yes, there's a child support order in place. Put it this way, if that guy won the Lotto, I'd be able to pay off all my bills and pay for Junior Hockey until the boy is 21 -- and then send him to college too. But in the meantime, that $20 that the last of the big spenders puts on his child support every month doesn't even cover the interest. SMH

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9. And Another Kindle Blog!!

Oh my, Neal is busy today!

His other blog, Improved Initiative, is also available as a subscription through Kindle, so you'll never miss a post! At only  99 cents a month, you can stay on top of the latest in the tabletop RPG world!




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10. Read Blogs on Your Kindle!!

I'm pleased to announce that my fellow writer and friend, Neal Litherland, has made his blog The Literary Mercenary available via Kindle. For only 99 cents a month, you can get his latest posts on the craft and business of writing, downloaded immediately to your Kindle and ready to read.

 

And, just as an FYI, you can also subscribe to this blog, Razzberry Jam, the same way!

Amazon has a number of blogs available for subscription, so if you don't have time to peruse the Internet looking for your favorite blogs, you might want to check and see if they're available on Kindle. 

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11. A Quick Tip -- Format Before Writing!

Before you begin writing your short story or novel, save time and money by formatting your paragraphs.

Use the paragraph function and avoid tabs and double-spacing like poison. When you're finished writing, your document will be preformatted and ready to drop into an e-book or book file.

Begin by opening a new page in Word and clicking on "Paragraph." Set your paragraph format as follows: Alignment: Left; Outline level: Body Text; Indentation, both Left and Right: 0; Special at First line: 0.5; Spacing, both Before and After: 0; and Line spacing: Single

I've attached a screen shot of the Paragraph dialogue box for your convenience.


Once your paragraph is formatted, just start writing.

Whether you use a book designer or do it yourself, you've just ensured that your book will have a professional, finished appearance on the computer, Kindle and in your paperback or hard cover editions. 

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12. Featured on Twinja Book Reviews!

I'm honored that Guinevere & Libertad Tomas' Twinja Book Reviews has featured my little book website, Alien Star Books.

You can check it out here: http://twinjabookreviews.blogspot.com/2013/12/aliens-stars-and-books-sit-down-with.html

And if you're looking for reviews on YA books, you should check by Guinevere & Libertad Tomas' blog often. They're also voracious readers who love to share the books they read.


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13. Book Two of the Cobweb Bride Trilogy Is Out!!

And the Kindle edition of book one, Cobweb Bride  is FREE right now!


Check this out, Vera Nazarian has already published books one and two, and book three is due out on CHRISTMAS DAY!! So you can get book one for free, or even give it as a gift, and then get books two and three in time for Christmas. What a great gift for the epic fantasy lover in the family!

So, here's book two, Cobweb Empire

Book description:
"In a world where no one can die, she alone can kill...
 
"COBWEB EMPIRE (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book Two) is the second book of the intricate epic fantasy flavored by Renaissance history and the romantic myth of Persephone, about death's ultimatum to the world.

"Now that she's Death's Champion, what will Percy do?

"In a world where all death and dying has ceased, and only one person can kill, everyone can only expect a miracle. But what if it's just the tip of the iceberg? Percy Ayren must make her way south, despite all odds, to the place where the death shadow of the Cobweb Bride calls her. With the help of her companions and the invincible black knight, Lord Beltain Chidair whose enigmatic presence disturbs her in a way she cannot explain, Percy must continue her quest, while the mortal world falls apart around them.... 

"Meanwhile, the Marquis Vlau Fiomarre faces the truth of his impossible feelings for Claere Liguon, the Emperor's daughter. He had cruelly taken her life, and now he must serve her until his last dying breath -- it is no longer a matter of honor but secret passion.

"And now, the world itself is changing.... A new dark witch rises, and she will make your heart freeze with her beauty and power....
 
"Empires clash, kings and emperors and gods vie for supremacy, the living and the dead are at war, while love stories play out in amazing directions, and new mind-blowing mysteries are born."

Available editions:
Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) HardcoverCobweb Bride Paperback - Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) Kindle

Cobweb Empire Hardcover - Cobweb Empire PaperbackCobweb Empire (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) Kindle -

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14. Book Review - Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Three Parts Dead 
by Max Gladstone

 
I just read this book a few nights ago and let me say "WOW!" Original, complex, mysterious and I never saw the ending coming! The world building was excellent and the characters were consistent, nothing wishy washy about this book.

I've read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and it's rare that an author "gets it right" straight out of the gate. Not only were the loose ends tied up, but the ending was quite satisfying, with the door open for a second book.

I highly recommend Three Parts Deadto anyone who's interested in a strange new world filled with magic, gods, good and evil.

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15. Writing for Yahoo Voices

I've started trying to diversify, so I've added a couple of articles to Yahoo Voices.

The nice thing about Yahoo is that if you have enough articles, or "hit" with one really popular article, you get paid for the views. So in time, this can add up to a nice chunk of change every month.

So far, I've added "How to Fertilize Your Pomegranate Tree" and "Detached Retina - a Personal Story."

I have a bunch of old articles that I chose not to sell, so I'll add a few here and there to build up a body of work on Yahoo.

In the meantime, back to writing for my main client!

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16. New Books on Alien Star Books!

I've added a few new books to Alien Star Books.

Feel free to come by and check out my little book website, where you can find science fiction and fantasy for teens and young adults of Color, featuring protagonists outside of the stereotypical mold of the "white guy saves the world/universe."

Now, don't get me wrong here. There's nothing wrong with having a white protagonist or white characters. It's just that, well, do they ALL have to be white? And I do have a place for white protagonists too, because Alien Star Books is all about INCLUSION, not exclusion. There's plenty of room for new authors, established authors and the classics.

If your teen (or you) is looking for something different in speculative fiction, there just might be a book that'll take his/her/your fancy as you peruse the pages of Alien Star Books.


Alien Star Books

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17. Sad News


Donald Edward Griffith
The Illinois Valley has lost another of the silent pillars of the community, the unsung heroes who step up when there’s work to be done and stick to it until the job is finished.
Don Griffith passed into the hands of the Great Architect with his boots on, on the morning of August 17, 2013 after nearly 82 years on Earth and 58 years of marriage. His work here is done.
Survived by his much loved wife, Hazel Pate Griffith; his children and their spouses, Ruth de Jauregui, Karen and Robert Blaettler, Donna Thompson, and Edward and Joni Griffith; grandchildren, James Erin and Courtney de Jauregui, Lofeeya Darden, Terrence Cheeseboro, Thomas and Karen Blaettler, Krystal and Walter Hulsey, Brian Griffith, Becky Griffith, and Bruce Griffith; great-grandchildren, Avellana Jolie de Jauregui, Dominiq Hulsey, Rayna Hulsey, and Khloe Hulsey; his brother and his wife, Kenneth and Dioney Griffith; and numerous other family members, dear friends, and brothers in Masonry.
Don went on ahead to join his parents Edward Carter Griffiths and Clara Oaks Griffiths Blanchard, brother Ralph “Teddy” Griffith, stepfather Jack Blanchard, and great-granddaughter Joselyn Hulsey.
Born in the original Rexford, Montana, a town now under Lake Koocanusa, Don moved all over the Pacific Northwest with his parents and brothers as a child until his family settled in Point Arena, California. He graduated from Point Arena Joint Union High School in 1949.
Don was a Korean War Veteran, having spent 1952 to 1954 in the Army.
As a young man, he worked in the woods and lumber mills in California and Oregon. While working in Oregon, he met and married Hazel Ione Pate in Brookings, Oregon, in 1955.
Don worked for CalTRANS for 33 years in Point Arena, San Diego, Santa Maria and retired from District 7, Los Angeles, CA. Having retired at midnight, January 16, 1994, he didn’t miss the Northridge earthquake on January 17 at 4:31 a.m., but he got to stay home and take care of his family and house in Downey instead of going out to work on the damaged freeways.
He retired to Cave Junction, Oregon, where he was an active member of the community.
A 43-year Master Mason, Don was the Worshipful Master of Belt Masonic Lodge #18 twice and was the current Treasurer. He was a recipient of the Hiram Award. He also chaired the annual Crab Feed, the Bikes for Books program at Evergreen Elementary School, and the Annual Labor Day Breakfast at Jubilee Park in Cave Junction.
Don was on the Board of Directors of the Kerby Union High School Commemorative Park, the Medford Gun Club, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association’s Hall of Fame.
He was the President of the Retired Public Employees Association of California, Chapter #102 of Grants Pass, Oregon.
He was also a member of the NRA and the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
An avid trapshooter, Don received his 50,000 target certificate at the PITA Grand Pacific Trapshoot in Evergreen, Washington, in July 2013.
Above all, Don was a dedicated family man, who loved his wife and family with all his heart. He will be missed by all who love him dearly.
A Masonic Memorial will be held at a later date, to be announced.
Donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Shriner’s Transportation Fund/Emergency Transportation Fund, Attn: Margaret Bryan, 2425 Stockton Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95817 or to the Belt Masonic Lodge #18 Scholarship Fund, PO Box 3091, Kerby, OR 97531.

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18. Sad News


Donald Edward Griffith
The Illinois Valley has lost another of the silent pillars of the community, the unsung heroes who step up when there’s work to be done and stick to it until the job is finished.
Don Griffith passed into the hands of the Great Architect with his boots on, on the morning of August 17, 2013 after nearly 82 years on Earth and 58 years of marriage. His work here is done.
Survived by his much loved wife, Hazel Pate Griffith; his children and their spouses, Ruth de Jauregui, Karen and Robert Blaettler, Donna Thompson, and Edward and Joni Griffith; grandchildren, James Erin and Courtney de Jauregui, Lofeeya Darden, Terrence Cheeseboro, Thomas and Karen Blaettler, Krystal and Walter Hulsey, Brian Griffith, Becky Griffith, and Bruce Griffith; great-grandchildren, Avellana Jolie de Jauregui, Dominiq Hulsey, Rayna Hulsey, and Khloe Hulsey; his brother and his wife, Kenneth and Dioney Griffith; and numerous other family members, dear friends, and brothers in Masonry.
Don went on ahead to join his parents Edward Carter Griffiths and Clara Oaks Griffiths Blanchard, brother Ralph “Teddy” Griffith, stepfather Jack Blanchard, and great-granddaughter Joselyn Hulsey.
Born in the original Rexford, Montana, a town now under Lake Koocanusa, Don moved all over the Pacific Northwest with his parents and brothers as a child until his family settled in Point Arena, California. He graduated from Point Arena Joint Union High School in 1949.
Don was a Korean War Veteran, having spent 1952 to 1954 in the Army.
As a young man, he worked in the woods and lumber mills in California and Oregon. While working in Oregon, he met and married Hazel Ione Pate in Brookings, Oregon, in 1955.
Don worked for CalTRANS for 33 years in Point Arena, San Diego, Santa Maria and retired from District 7, Los Angeles, CA. Having retired at midnight, January 16, 1994, he didn’t miss the Northridge earthquake on January 17 at 4:31 a.m., but he got to stay home and take care of his family and house in Downey instead of going out to work on the damaged freeways.
He retired to Cave Junction, Oregon, where he was an active member of the community.
A 43-year Master Mason, Don was the Worshipful Master of Belt Masonic Lodge #18 twice and was the current Treasurer. He was a recipient of the Hiram Award. He also chaired the annual Crab Feed, the Bikes for Books program at Evergreen Elementary School, and the Annual Labor Day Breakfast at Jubilee Park in Cave Junction.
Don was on the Board of Directors of the Kerby Union High School Commemorative Park, the Medford Gun Club, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association’s Hall of Fame.
He was the President of the Retired Public Employees Association of California, Chapter #102 of Grants Pass, Oregon.
He was also a member of the NRA and the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
An avid trapshooter, Don received his 50,000 target certificate at the PITA Grand Pacific Trapshoot in Evergreen, Washington, in July 2013.
Above all, Don was a dedicated family man, who loved his wife and family with all his heart. He will be missed by all who love him dearly.
A Masonic Memorial was held on September 25, 2013, at the Belt Building in Kerby, Oregon.
Donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Shriner’s Transportation Fund/Emergency Transportation Fund, Attn: Margaret Bryan, 2425 Stockton Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95817 or to the Belt Masonic Lodge #18 Scholarship Fund, PO Box 3091, Kerby, OR 97531.

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19. West Sound Warriors

Well, I'm an empty nester already.

Yes, my youngest went off to play Junior Hockey in Washington. Wow.



Nose to the grindstone now, no more part-time working at writing because hockey is freaking EXPENSIVE!!

Speaking of, those articles are calling me... Read the rest of this post

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20. Farewell, my friend, you were taken from your family and friends too soon.

For Chano:
My heart burns with pain, knowing that I can't be there with the family at this sad time. It hurts so much, knowing that Chano was taken long before his time.

Let me tell you what Chano was to our family. We lived next door and Chano and Shirley took us under their wings. We spent holidays and celebrations with our lovely neighbors. I have family, but they live hours away and I couldn't always be there for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, Easter or birthdays. But to Chano and Shirley, we were the little family next door and they adopted us.

Chano was a real man. He took all the young people under his wing, and he showed my youngest son how a real man lives. Taking care of and loving his family, not running the streets and acting a fool. Family was everything to Chano and he treated my son like family. I will forever be grateful for his influence on my boy, and the other fine young men and women that he helped bring up.

And not just my son. My daughter also saw how a real man treats his family -- with love and respect. He was always ready to give a hand, whether it was taking a sink apart to fish her friend's grill out of the trap, or give us a jump when I left the headlights on. Again.

Chano was one of those real men who influence all those around him, not by flaunting money or power, but by being the strong family man.

I believe that we all belong to the Great Spirit, to God, and Chano has only stepped from our plane of existence and on into the next. Energy doesn't disappear. The spirit doesn't disappear. He has only abandoned the mortal shell that ties us to this earth.

And now that Chano has his wings, he can spread them and fly wherever all the family is, birth, blood, and adopted, whether in Texas or Oregon or West Sacramento, he is still with us. He is still watching over his family, his children, and all the rest of us.

His essence remains with his beloved Shirley and his children, and his memory remains with us all.

His mortal shell is laid to rest, but his spirit has been set free.

Let me say, thank you Chano, for all that you've done for us all.

Fly free my friend.

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21. Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

OK, check this out.

The first new book in over a decade from two time Nebula nominee Vera Nazarian. You have GOT to get her latest, and best, book!!



The first of a trilogy, the Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) is already ramping up the standard for the fantasy genre. Romantic, with flawed characters and a fascinating glimpse of a world where Death has went on strike.

OMGoodness!

The book's description:

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.

You can get this great story in paperback or Kindle. And I have even better news! The next two books are planned for publication by the end of the year! YES! You aren't going to have to wait a whole year for the next book!

Can you tell I'm excited about Vera's new books? Yes, yes, I am!

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22. Happy 4th of July!

May you all have a wonderful day as we celebrate our country's birthday!

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23. West Sound Warriors

Well, I'm an empty nester already.

Yes, my youngest went off to play Junior Hockey in Washington. Wow.



Nose to the grindstone now, no more part-time working at writing because hockey is freaking EXPENSIVE!!

Speaking of, those articles are calling me...

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24. Farewell, my friend, you were taken from your family and friends too soon.

For Chano:
My heart burns with pain, knowing that I can't be there with the family at this sad time. It hurts so much, knowing that Chano was taken long before his time.

Let me tell you what Chano was to our family. We lived next door and Chano and Shirley took us under their wings. We spent holidays and celebrations with our lovely neighbors. I have family, but they live hours away and I couldn't always be there for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, Easter or birthdays. But to Chano and Shirley, we were the little family next door and they adopted us.

Chano was a real man. He took all the young people under his wing, and he showed my youngest son how a real man lives. Taking care of and loving his family, not running the streets and acting a fool. Family was everything to Chano and he treated my son like family. I will forever be grateful for his influence on my boy, and the other fine young men and women that he helped bring up.

And not just my son. My daughter also saw how a real man treats his family -- with love and respect. He was always ready to give a hand, whether it was taking a sink apart to fish her friend's grill out of the trap, or give us a jump when I left the headlights on. Again.

Chano was one of those real men who influence all those around him, not by flaunting money or power, but by being the strong family man.

I believe that we all belong to the Great Spirit, to God, and Chano has only stepped from our plane of existence and on into the next. Energy doesn't disappear. The spirit doesn't disappear. He has only abandoned the mortal shell that ties us to this earth.

And now that Chano has his wings, he can spread them and fly wherever all the family is, birth, blood, and adopted, whether in Texas or Oregon or West Sacramento, he is still with us. He is still watching over his family, his children, and all the rest of us.

His essence remains with his beloved Shirley and his children, and his memory remains with us all.

His mortal shell is laid to rest, but his spirit has been set free.

Let me say, thank you Chano, for all that you've done for us all.

Fly free my friend.

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25. Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian

OK, check this out.

The first new book in over a decade from two time Nebula nominee Vera Nazarian. You have GOT to get her latest, and best, book!!



The first of a trilogy, the Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy) is already ramping up the standard for the fantasy genre. Romantic, with flawed characters and a fascinating glimpse of a world where Death has went on strike.

OMGoodness!

The book's description:

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.

You can get this great story in paperback or Kindle. And I have even better news! The next two books are planned for publication by the end of the year! YES! You aren't going to have to wait a whole year for the next book!

Can you tell I'm excited about Vera's new books? Yes, yes, I am!

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