Rachel Poli’s novella, The Scribe, is now available on Wattpad. Check out this post from her blog for details.
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
It has been sometime since I’ve been both surprised and sucked into a space opera. I was surprised because I felt this tale starts rather slowly, but builds momentum rapidly. I wasn’t prepared to like it after the first few pages. Then, I started to enjoy and, more importantly, emphasize, with the characters. There are more than a few twists that add to the enjoyment.
The Ness sisters are interesting heroines, but I found myself rooting for their robot.
Without handing out spoilers, I can say the novel takes place millions of years in the future, where humanity had gone through more than a dozen civilizations. Each one has peaked, then failed, and we’re left with tantalizing glimpses of technology from each.
Alastair Reynolds has written many good books, but I think this is one of his best. I’m looking forward to a sequel.
I’ll give it five out of five stars.
Yoga Toolkit by Rica Lewis is an honest and slightly irreverant introduction to Yoga. It is sub-titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Magic & Momentum on the Mat”.
There are no drawings or photographs of impossibly flexible people tangled in tendon-snapping poses.
Instead, we find simple explanations of basic concepts and some great advice. For example:
“So here’s the truth: If you discover you are good at yoga, check your posture.”
Imperfections are to be found in all things and my primary complaint about this book is that she gives wonderful advice and hints at so many interesting paths, that the book is too short. Like any good work, she leaves us wanting more.
Thank you, Rica!
The final draft of Airship Legacy is ready. I need a few BETA readers. The first six people that send me an email request will get an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in .epub format. I would hope to get some feedback from them on typos or any other issue they encounter.
If all goes well, I expect to release this blockbuster towards the end of August.
Airship Legacy is an eighty five thousand word steampunk/dieselpunk crossover novel. It’s a multi-generational adventure on three continents, on land, sea, and air. There are several strong female characters including an airship captain nicknamed Crazy Taylor.
In the following excerpt, two military airships have engaged in battle near a tropical Pacific island.
Katrina realized it was much quieter. Weapons on both craft had stopped and she heard only the tortured whine of their overstressed engines and the wind, whistling through the many bullet holes. They passed astern of the other airship and were engulfed in the choking oil smoke from her flaming fuselage. By now, both craft were only a short distance above the dark blue of deep water. White spray from waves rolling over the half-submerged reefs was dampening the bottom of their hulls.
Hanz ordered Katrina to twist the wheel and kick the rudder pedals hard to one side. Then he shouted. “Forward mount! Target their bomb bay. See if you they have any left!” In a slow response to their efforts at the helm, the mortally wounded craft rolled to one side, enabling her belly guns to release a final stream of Willy Pæter. Every shot was centered on the double-hatch. The two craft were so close, none of the shots had a chance to spread until after they had punched through the thin metal.
One, last bomb was still in the rack and it was hit with more than a dozen rounds of Willy Pæter before it exploded. That was the final indignity for both ships.
The Blitzlied was hit hard on it’s port side, rolling with the impact until the cabin deck was almost vertical. That only held for a few seconds as the airframe crumpled and their momentum carried them forward. The reinforced keel contained forward and aft gun mounts, the power generator and the bridge. The cabin remained on its side, sliding closer to the water when, without warning, they hit the reef with a loud crash and she twisted sideways to lay full-length against the partially-submerged rocks. As two more waves hit what remained of the wreckage, the cabin rolled back into an almost level position before it slammed down. Water poured in through shattered windows and split seams. All except a few of the instrument lights died and the engines splashed to a stop.
Victoria was the first to free herself from the safety harness and struggle through the knee-deep water, to her brother. “He’s still alive!” She shouted as she released his buckles.
“Over there! That red handle above the door.” Hanz shouted at Katrina. “Pull it down hard!”
As she left the seat, she grabbed the canvas shoulder bag with her spare batteries and splashed over to the buckled hatch. When she hauled down on the red handle, it released an outside panel over the hatch and a rubberized package dropped. As soon as it fell, it started to make a loud hissing noise and inflate. Katrina pushed on the hatch and nothing happened. The second attempt, she just kicked the center support and the whole hatch popped open, then disappeared beneath the foam. She jumped to grab the raft and with one hand on a rope handle, she stood, chest-deep in water. Another wave hit and the remaining fuselage threatened to roll over them.
Hanz and Victoria carried the limp form of their captain to the hatch. Katrina hauled hard on the rope and swung the raft around so they might tumble in. “Here!” She slung the canvas bag from her shoulder, into the tiny craft. It was obviously only designed for two. There must have been others, but the airship was being torn apart around them. “Use your hands and paddle for shore!” She commanded, then started pushing against the reef and kicking as hard as she could force them away from the collapsing wreckage.
My email is email@example.com
As an author, I constantly run into news articles or historical events where if I were to write them into the plot of a story, no one would believe it. It seems Shannon A. Thompson has the same issue and gives some excellent examples in this recent post on her Hate / Love Relationship with Historical Fiction.
Shannon A. Thompson has a blog that I follow regularly. Sign up for her newsletter.
A friend who has made a name for herself writing erotic literature, recently started a dystopian science fiction trilogy. Naturally, I had to give it a try and I’m very glad I did.
“The Great Turning” by Lesli Richardson, is not your usual post-apocalyptic tale. With a background of the world devastated by a major meteor strike, families, friends, and lovers, fight killers on both two legs and four.
It isn’t often that gay, lesbian, and poly scenes are part of a rousing good military science fiction yarn. In case you’re wondering, this is by no means erotica with ray guns. It features a very well-crafted world and believable characters.
While this is the first in a trilogy, it works quite well as a stand-alone tale. I’ll give it five out of five stars.
I’m looking forward to the next novel in this series.
Genre: post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, futuristic, dystopian, GLBTQ, MMF (not erotic)
Every once in a while, I trip over a new tool that I just cannot do without. Such is the case for the Pigma Brush series from Sakura Color Products of Japan.
I was sorting through some felt-tip markers in the fine art section of a local A.C. Moore store when I found a small display of these pens.
What caught my attention was the fact that although the tip is similar to an ultra-fine point indelible marker, it is very flexible. The darn thing really does handle like a very fine brush!
So far, my usage has been to fill in extremely thin cracks and seams on folded cardstock. It is very easy to handle and got in places my previous markers didn’t. I’m sure that with a bit of experimentation, I’ll find more uses for this handy tool. Hhmm… Industrial age graphiti anyone?
Both the store display and Sakura’s website show these features:
• Archival quality ink – chemically stable, waterproof, and fade resistant
• No smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers
• Thorough ink delivery to the sides and tip of the flexible brush
• Individual pens available, and in a 6 – color set, and 8 – color set
You can read more at: http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/pen-brush
Be sure to check out the short video clip on their entire line.
Like most of us, I’ve lost things stored on my computer from time to time. This has made me more than a bit obsessive about backing up stuff I consider critical.
I also know that the average life of most electronics is about five years. Few hard disk drives give a three year warranty while most only give a year.
With that in mind, I’ve developed a strategy that works in conjunction with cloud storage to minimize the chance of a catastrophic loss of data.
Every couple of years or so, I purchase a new hard disk drive (HDD) for about a hundred dollars. I will unplug both of the HHDs in my tower, connect the new HDD, and install the latest version of my favorite Operating System (OS), Kubuntu.
Which brings us to this… I was very happy to get my new 3Tb HDD in the mail and immediately installed and format the drive with the latest Long-Term-Support version of Kubuntu, 16.04.
Worked with 16.04 for three days and must say, I’m terribly disappointed.
It appears as if the primary focus of the Plasma development team was to make an OS for a tablet, not a desktop. The overall look and feel is crude to say the least. Icons looks like they were created for a 1980s game system and several features have been removed.
I’m afraid Kubuntu 16.04 may well turn out to be Canonical’s answer to Windows8.
In the meantime, Kubuntu 14.04 will be supported until 2019. I’m hoping they get it right for the 18.04 LTS release. If not, I’ll probably recommend some of flavors, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
As always, this is only my opinion and your mileage may vary. I’d love to hear of your experiences with other Operating Systems.