Monday, September 27, 2010

Covers for Wheeler's Books Completed

Richard S. Wheeler's latest Kindle offerings are up. The three-book Sam Flint series. It took me forever to complete the cover. I'm never totally satisfied. All three covers have the same setup, but with the name of the newspaper changing with the title. A Fun series.
Flint's Gift, Flint's Truth, Flint's Honor

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Parttime Pet

I moved furniture around in the living room today, getting ready for my house guest--my neighbor's little Chihuahua, Paco Laco (or maybe it's Pacolaco). He stays at my house rather than a kennel when his "folks" go on trips.

You can't tell from the picture, but Paco is blind, so kennels confuse him, and staying with the neighbors who have big dogs is a disaster. So he comes to my house, where he knows his way around and all.

The furniture was always in a certain pattern on his last visits, so I've put it back to that configuration so he won't bump into things. I'll get out the little bed I made for him and keep in my office. He knows right where that is, too, and sleeps away while I'm busy at the computer.

I do have to walk him on a leash; the yard isn't fenced, and there's the danger of eagles, ravens or fox seeing him as prey if he were out on his own. We have a morning and evening ritual run up the driveway and back (maybe 1/8 mile RT). In the evenings when I'm watching TV, he toddles in and jumps onto the sofa and snuggles (another reason to have the sofa in the same place he's used to}.

For me, this is the best way to have a dog -- part time. Like I've heard people say about grandkids: right when they start to be an aggravation, you get to send them home. :-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25 - October 2, 2010

Banned Books Week starts today and runs through next week (September 25 - October 2, 2010).

This annual event celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Promoted by the American Library Association, sponsors are many, including Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

What to do during this time? Find a title that has been banned somewhere, and read it. I'll probably read an Alexie Sherman title (pick one, any one, and it's probably been banned); maybe Huck Finn, or Animal Farm. I already have Ayn Rand's Anthem on my Kindle.

This is a Freedom issue. If there's someone reading this who thinks book banning is okay, think of the other types of bans that could be forced on us that would take away our right to choice. If you don't like a book, don't read it. If you find a certain title offensive, that means your curious self probably DID read it, and now you're in a tiff. Get over it. And don't attempt to proscribe for others what they should or shouldn't do.

For sensible thinkers, trot off to your public Library and Indy bookseller and get involved. Click here for lists of Banned Books.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Serpent in the Thorns

Serpent in the Thorns
Author: Jeri Westerson
288 pages, published September 2009 by Minotaur
I plucked this book from my Public Library, New Book shelf.

On occasion I enjoy reading books set a very different locale. Since I write American historical fiction and science fiction, I'm drawn to something that isn't in my bailiwick. Serpent in the Thorns certainly fit that.

I was immediately swept into the 14th century London setting. Jeri Westerson does a great job conveying sense of place--one of the keys to keeping me a happy reader.

The mystery involving series protagonist Crispin Guest, was intricate and filled with action as Guest is drawn into political intrigue of the Court (Richard II) and dealings with France--the very type of situation that had Guest's knighthood stripped from him seven years earlier. So rather than being part of the Court, he lives in a poorer part of London and employs himself as a "tracker" (a PI, if you will).

All the characters were smartly drawn and distinctive. I felt some loose ends in the story development, but I nitpick on these things.

This is a good action mystery--well-written and vivid.

You can learn more about Jeri Westerson and the Guest series at her Web site

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rolling Thunder - Book Review

I'm playing catch-up with reviews previously posted on Goodreads.

Rolling ThunderRolling Thunder by Thomas C. Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I downloaded this Smashwords book after reading reviews and comments from the author, Thomas C. Stone. As a writer of SF and a reader of SF, I couldn't pass it up. And also, the title was the same as a book I already owned--not SF--about a 1970's American Indian spiritual leader (Rolling Thunder, by Doug Boyd).

Smashwords books are often limited in aesthetic "real book" look, but that didn't matter. Stone's Rolling Thunder was compelling enough to read even if it had been in longhand.

I give 5 stars for character development. Jacqueline Judson and T.L. O'Toole are vibrant and well defined, as are all the sub-characters, from TL's companion Sera to a not-so-nice Acala. When I wasn't reading, I often thought of them, and wondered what would happen next—anxious for free time to get back to the story.

In SF, an important "character" for me is the world. Stone's Pax Noma was as interesting and well described as the flesh-and-blood characters.

For the story line: I'd only give 4 stars. The action was well done and believable, but the tie-in to what was happening politically on Pax Noma didn't show up until very close to the end. I'd say more about the actual "rolling thunder" but that would lead to spoilers. The ending pushed the envelope a bit on believable development, and this only hit me after I'd finished the book and pondered it for a day. That a book makes you ponder after reading it, is a true positive.

When all was factored in, I rated this book that in the way IRS reckons taxes; my 4.6 becomes a 5.

Stone has written several SF books. Visit his Web site