Book talk: Fire and Hemlock

I like stumbling on books. Sometimes this is in the form of picking up something at random at the library or the book store and being pleasantly surprised. Sometimes it’s in the form of a recommendation online – I read about something I find interesting, check it out, and it turns out to be amazing.

A few weeks ago I ended up reading this thread  on Seanan McGuire’s twitter about women urban fantasy writers. Happily, I’d actually read most of the books she recommended, but one stood out as a book I had never heard of: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. I had heard of Jones, but never had the opportunity to read any of her books.

That was about to change.

First I checked my local library, figuring that I’d easily be able to find an older book via those channels. Nope. Not digitally, nor in print, and this is a massive library system of multiple branches. I had to look online, and happily found the newest edition with an introduction by Garth Nix, another author whose books I’d enjoyed. I bought it in print because I do prefer to read in print, plus it was actually cheaper than the e-version.

When the book arrived, I was surprised by the heft in the package. Had I ordered the hardcover instead? I opened it surprised at the thickness of the volume.

Fire and Hemlock cover being held by my handI posted a picture on twitter, and I got a lot of comments from fans of the book. This was clearly a book that meant a lot to people, and for a moment I was worried that I wouldn’t like it, or that it wouldn’t speak to me in the same way. I’ve often read a book, typically a YA novel, that might have meant a lot to me if only I had read it when I was a teenager, but as an adult, it didn’t work for me.

So, Fire and Hemlock. I cracked it open on a Saturday morning in the doctor’s office, waiting for my allergy shot. By the next evening, I had finished all 438 pages of it, plus the afterward included for the first time in this volume where Jones discusses her influences in writing it.

I can see why this book means so much to so many people. The protagonist, Polly, is a young woman caught up in heartbreaking circumstances – her parents are divorcing, her mother is a narcissist and her father is uninvolved. But her parents’ divorce and other adolescent problems pale in comparison to the magical battle she is pulled into. I won’t say any more, because of the key joys of this novel is that you don’t completely understand what is going on until the very end.

In that respect it reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the end of the Lane since they both involved childhood memory, and the ending of both made me want to return to the start and read it all again knowing what was going to happen.

It’s the kind of Urban Fantasy I like to think of defines the genre – the magic exists around the fringes of the real world. That alley just might be a portal to fairyland, or that really tall guy in the grocery store might actually be a giant. But there’s this level of disbelief – is it all actually happening, or is it nothing more than the dreams of a child?

I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to read more of Jones’ work.

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Summer Reading

Every summer as a kid, I was a proud member of the public library summer reading club. I’d fill up my little booklet, give my summaries to the librarian (shout out to Miss Blake, who I still remember fondly), and collect whatever reward the library gave out at the time depending on how many books I’d read.

And yes, they were usually a lot of them.

As an adult, when I first moved out of my parents’, I went and got a public library card. And every summer, I’d load up my reading list, checking out 10, 12, 14 books out with ambitions of reading time.

Of course, that reading time got eaten into once I married and had my son. It’s hard to find time to read, although it gives me great pleasure to share with him the stories of Encyclopedia Brown – which are the exact same stories I’d read when I was his age. And to my amazement, I remember some of the solutions for his cases.

Today is the first official day of summer. And yes, my local library has a book club for adults. You only have to read 5 to be entered into a drawing for a prize – there are no guaranteed prizes for number of books read. It’s not quite the same kind of magic.

But I’m going to dedicate this summer to reading and regrouping and finding my place as a reader and a writer. I’ve checked out quite a few books I’m excited to start reading. And I still have the ever growing TBR pile at home. Join me?

Some titles on the pile:

  • Conversations on Writing – Ursula K.Le Guin
  • Save the Cat Writes a Novel – Jessica Brody
  • A Study in Scarlet Women – Sherry Thomas
  • The Belles – Dhonielle Clayton
  • City of Ghosts – VE Schwab
  • City of Brass – S.A. Chakraborty
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Angels Rising Blog Tour

It’s finally time! Angels Rising releases tomorrow! Please follow me along the blog tour and enter to win one of four $10 Dreamspinner gift cards!

Better to reign in hell….

Uriel 3019 has been a cybernetically altered angel since he volunteered for the program fifteen years ago. His devotion to the floating city of Heaven is fierce, and he’ll follow any command he’s given. But Uriel’s orderly world is crumbling. Angels are going mad, even hurting people. Some are rebelling, and the noble families are vying for control—by any means necessary.

Uriel’s latest assignment brings him into a secret society, where his partner, Raphael, is working for freedom and equality for all angels. Could their group be responsible for the angels’ recent erratic behavior? Uriel is determined to find out—and report on his findings. But he doesn’t count on Raphael’s confession—that he has feelings for Uriel—or the memories slowly starting to return from the time before he became an angel.

Is he on the right side? Does he dare to stand against Heaven, even if doing so will save his fellow angels from becoming soulless automatons? Uriel has to decide if his loyalty belongs to his superiors… or to the angel who’s stolen his heart.

Buy Links:
Dreamspinner
Amazon
ibooks
Google Play Store
Barnes and Noble

May 16 – MM Good Book Reviews
May 22 – Open Skye Book Reviews
May 23 – Love Bytes Reviews
May 23 – Happily Ever After FB Group
May 24 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
May 25 – The Novel Approach
May 28 – Long and Short Reviews
May 29 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
May 30 – Kimi-Chan Experience

 

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2017 Releases

I don’t think I’ve ever had a year where I’ve had so many releases out! If you missed something, here’s a post to remind you (and me:)


Also, don’t forget in 2018 I’ll have:

A new edition of Exodus with a new cover!
Angels Rising, the 3rd Heaven Corp Book
Re-release of Beyond Meridian

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Angel 1089 Blog Tour!

This week kicks off the blog tour for the re-release of Angel 1089. The second edition contains a new chapter and has been thoroughly re-edited. Cover of Angel 1089

Find me at the following locations and stay tuned for the giveaway at the end of the tour.

11/20 – MM Good Book Reviews
11/24 – Divine Magazine
11/27 – Happily Ever Chapter FB Page
11/28 – The Novel Approach
11/30 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
12/01 – My Fiction Nook
12/06 – Dreamspinner Press Blog

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Updates and New Releases!

The next few months are going to be pretty busy for me. I’ll have 4 (four!!!!) works coming out.

Cover image of Into the Mystic Vol 2. Woman with water in backdrop.Already released:
– Unraveled- a short story in the anthology “Into the Mystic, Vol 2”

Coming soon:
November
– The new edition of Angel 1089! The new Heaven Corp covers look awesome and I can’t wait to share them with you! The new edition includes a new chapter.
– Short story (well, a novella really) called “Wolf Knight” in the “To the Victor” anthology by Less than Three Press.

December
– Short story “The Puzzle Box” in Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar collection!

More about each project as the dates get closer!

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Updates

I’ve been super busy and lots of great things are going to be out soon! Here’s a rundown:

– I put up a new free short story on the free reads section of my page. I hope to get all my old short stories up there soon.
– Started edits on the new edition of Angel 1089, which has a new chapter and will have a new cover.
– I have a short story in NineStarPress’s next f/f paranormal anthology, releasing October 16th.
– Have a new sci-fi novel out on submission. Cross your fingers!
– Currently working on a fun little contemporary.

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What to read next after Love in the Time of Hurricanes

Now that you’ve read Love in the Time of the Hurricanes, you might be wondering what to read next. I have a few contemporaries stories out that you might like.

A Corgi Named Kilowatt, in the Silver and Gold anthology. We’ve got college students, big Italian families, and this time, a cute dog spurring the love!

Teddy Bear Christmas. A sweet story about two guys meeting at an airport. In this case, we have a cute teddy bear doing the introductions.

Kitten at Play – three short stories, lots of sexy times, mmf.Kitten at Play cover

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The Sopranos Story

(This is the story I promised to tell over at the Dreamspinner Blog, do check out my post over there, since there’s a giveaway!)

Picture it. Newark, New Jersey, 1998. I’m still a college student living my parents over the summer.

Flyers appear in our mailboxes informing us that a brand new HBO show called the Sopranos would be filming on our street, on a certain date, so be sure to have all cars off the roads.

At the time, we had no idea what the heck this was. The show had just started filming, it wasn’t a phenomenon yet, and we were all really pissed off about having to move our cars. Street parking is really hard to find in Newark, and it wasn’t like you could find a spot a few blocks away.

It turned out they wanted to use our neighborhood for a scene that flashed back to the 1960s, in the episode called Down Neck. This was because our neighborhood hadn’t changed much from the 60s.

Let me tell you – watching a film crew filming? Is really boring. We must have watched that bus come down the street fifty times. The extras reset again and again. We had our heads out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of something exciting.

If you watch the clip on youtube (warning for violence and foul language), you can see one of my neighbors staring out her window. She’s not one of the featured extras, and you have to look closely to glimpse her. Unfortunately (Or maybe fortunately?) you don’t see my head sticking out of our window:)

For years after this show aired, whenever I went to another state and said I was from Jersey, I always heard “Oh, like the Sopranos” in response.

And I always responded “not quite” because Jersey is so much more than that. Even in Love in the Time of Hurricanes, I give only a glimpse of one of the amazing places in my home state.

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Release Day for Love In the Time of Hurricanes

It’s finally here! Love in the Time of Hurricanes is out at all major retailers!

I’ll be celebrating the release all day on my twitter,so come chat with me!

Cover for Love in the Time of Hurricanes

Blurb

The night Nick Henderson storms into Martelli’s Pizzeria, he’s just looking for something to eat. Along with dinner, he finds Lou Martelli—pizza cook extraordinaire and Jersey Shore native. Nick is renting a Shore house for the winter while taking classes at the local community college as he devises a way to escape the accounting major his father chose for him.

When Lou offers to show Nick around, heat flares between them as they realize they have more in common than domineering families. But it’s not all fun and games on the boardwalk. Hurricane Sandy blows ashore, changing the place Nick was starting to think of as home. His peace is shattered, and it will take everything he has to keep his relationship with Lou from being torn apart by the storm brewing around them.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States

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