Monday, November 29, 2010

Interview with Michael Vance


Michael Vance Interview

By Richard Vasseur

What attracts you to writing horror stories?

“Initially, it was the fear of death that paradoxically terrified and fascinated me that led to my love of the horror genre.

“When I was very young, possibly seven or eight years old, my great grandmother died, and my parents took me to the open coffin funeral. Her lifeless body left me with a horror of death that only increased when I understood its inevitability. It was many, many years before I overcame my terror of mortality.

“It didn’t help that most people thought there was a good chance we’d all die in a nuclear holocost.

“At about the same time, I was allowed to watch the original King Kong movie on television, shown in Oklahoma in the ‘50s each Halloween, and several movies that influenced me to eventually write in the genre. The most powerful of these was Hitchcock’s “Psycho” which I saw during its original run in, I believe, 1960.

“A little later on, Ray Bradbury became a major influence on my work as well; he is a master of the short story. H. P. Lovecraft is a creative influence as well, although I only discovered his work later in life.”

Can you give us an idea of what we will find in the pages of "Weird Horror Tales - The Feasting"?

“A reader will find a small town on the coast of Maine named Light’s End that hides filth, decadence, and madness behind its respectable white picket fences. These stories are told in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres, and span many years. The first two novels in the trilogy are braided; that means each chapter is also a stand-alone short story. The last novel of the trilogy will be a traditional novel.”

Why do people love a good horror story?

“Through catharsis, horror fans escape the certain and very real horrors of mundane life without any real chance of injury or death to themselves.”

What scares you the most?

“What terrifies me most is the misguided belief that the world is without rhyme or reason. This life philosophy is a self-fulfilling prophecy that only leads to chaos and arbitrariness that destroy reason and order.”

What is "Holiday Out" and who would enjoy it?

“Holiday Out was a comic strip I wrote for five years that, for half its run, parodied the Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, Detective, Western genres, and more. In its second two-and-a-half years, it became a “funny animal” strip still focused on parody and satire. Some of the artists who worked with me on Holiday Out were Duane Hanson, C. T. Smith, Richard “Grass” Green, and Wayne Truman.

During its time, it was syndicated by two small companies and ran in around forty newspapers, and many more fanzines. Some of it was also republished in four or five comic books, including a three-issue run by Renegade Press. The Complete Holiday Out is now being reprinted by Main Enterprises.”

You were first published at age eleven do you remember how that felt?

“First publication was an emotional high unparalleled by almost anything else in my life.”

Why are you associated with the Tulsa Boys Home?

“For fourteen years, I have been the Communications Director of Oklahoma’s largest residential treatment facility for troubled boys. That means I am their writer and graphic designer, in charge of all publicity including radio, television, and newspaper, the production of a quarterly newsletter and website, and the writing of all of their grant requests. I am very proud of the work done for troubled boys at Tulsa Boys’ Home, and am honored to play a small part in their mission.”

Why did you decide to write "Forbidden Adventure: The History of the American Comics Group"?

“I wrote the book because of my love for comics and history. I chose the American Comics Group as my subject because I read them as a boy, and it had been overlooked by most everyone else who was writing comics history at the time.”

You have worked as an editor, writer and advertising manager for newspapers and newspaper magazines. How is that different than working on a comic book?

“My first love is writing fiction; my nonfiction pays the bills.”

Why did you want William Windom to narrate your audiotapes of "Light's End"?

“Windom and I were doing a signing together. I had been looking for an actor to record my Light’s End stories for several years, and was a big fan of his work. I grew up on his television appearances and in movies like “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I think he is an amazing actor. I asked, and, lo and behold, he said yes.”

What comics besides your own would you recommend?

“Some of my favorites remain Popeye by Segar, Pogo by Walt Kelly, Calvin and Hobbes, the EC horror and SF titles, Alan Moore’s and Neil Gaiman’s work, and more than can listed here. I must not leave out most anything by Will Eisner, and the early work of Harvey Kurtzman. I am ‘republishing’ more than 1,040 comics reviews I wrote over twenty years under the title of Suspended Animation on my Flickr site, adding one review a day. Just go to Flickr and type in Michael Vance. A more comprehensive answer can be found there.”

Any words for the fans of your work?

“I have finished writing the third book of the Weird Horror Tales trilogy, to be called Weird Horror Tales: Light’s End. I ask fans to anticipate its publication probably around September of 2011. I would also ask them to spread the word among their friends and acquaintances about the trilogy if they enjoy it. My publisher is a small, niche company, and the success of the series really lies in word-of-mouth recommendation.”

Michael Vance returns with fifteen gripping, horrific and deeply moving stories of people caught in unimaginable horror in the tradition of Ray Bradbury, H. P. Lovecraft and William Faulkner. These tales center around the eldritch town of Light’s End, Maine, a remote and isolated little corner of New England where dark secrets haunt the streets and homes of this quaint, supposedly innocent setting. Douse the lights, bolt the doors and get ready to be frightened by a true master of the genre.

The book’s haunting illustrations are by fantasy artist Earl Geier, features a macabre cover by Christophe Dessaigne, is edited by Ron Fortier, and designed by Rob Davis.

Vance is the author of three books, hundreds of articles and interviews, several comic book titles, and two comic strips. He founded the Oklahoma Comics Collection in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, and helped create the “Okie Cartoonists” Exhibit at the Oklahoma Museum of History in Oklahoma City.

Weird Horror Tales – The Feasting is pulp horror at its finest. The first novel in the trilogy, Weird Horror Tales, is still available as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and Reviews

Thanksgiving wishes to all. I'm thankful for the readers and the writers and Harriet for passing her reviews to me for posting here.

I'll be taking a few days off he take care of Kathy and do some cooking for the Holiday.

Again, thanks to everyone.

Andrea Cremer
Philomel (Penguin), $17.99
ISBN: 9780399254826

The Keepers have already ordained the joining of two Guardians from different werewolf packs Calla Tor leader of the Nightshade clan and Ren Laroche leader of the Bane clan once she graduates from the Mountain School. Everyone wonders who between these two alphas will be top dog.

While on patrol looking to insure their enemy the Searchers are not lingering nearby, Callie breaks a key law of the Guardians when she rescues a human boy from a bear attack that meant certain death. Callie and Shay break a second rule when they become friends. However, though forbidden, Callie abetted by her human friend Shay ignores another taboo when she investigates the secrets of the Keepers.

Much more complicated than the above, Nightshade is a fabulous young adult romantic mountain fantasy in which the triad of species (in addition to the humans) seems genuine as werewolves and others roam Colorado. In some ways a coming of age tale, but more a rebel with a cause, Calla is terrific as she holds the plot together while suddenly breaking the laws of the Keepers after her whole life dedicated to strict adherence. Attracted to the fully developed key two males in her life, fans will wonder how far she will go between her desire for Shay and Ren. Harriet Klausner

Tome of the Undergates
Sam Sykes
PYR, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142421

They are a band loathed and feared by everyone else. They take only jobs that no one else even considers as that is the only work they can get. These mercenaries are not a band of brothers (and sisters) in arms as they detest one another. Their leader by default is Lenk the swordsman whose prime job is to prevent Denaos the thug, Asper the priestess, Dreadaelon the wizard, Gariath the dragonman, and Kataria the shict from killing each other especially when they are on the job.

Their current assignment is to protect a Priest while searching for the stolen by an oceanic malevolence Tome of the Undergates as they sail on the Riptide. Cragsmen of the vessel Linkmaster attack their vessel, but the six defeat the pirates though thy are incredibly outnumbered. However that is a forerunner as soon the sextet will learn what their greed means as they are caught in the crosshairs of a war in which the hell beneath the sea wants to dominate the world.

This is an entertaining seafaring fantasy filled with plenty of adventures. The story line is loaded with action as the six fight adversaries including each other. The back stories of each are well written and interesting though their tales slow down the pace of the oceanic fantasy and in spite of their diversity reads somewhat interchangeable. Still fans will enjoy the opening Tome of the Undergates. Harriet Klausner

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
Charles Yu
Pantheon, $25.00
ISBN: 9780307379207

In Minor Universe 31, time travel is a way of life as is paradoxes caused by someone tinkering with the past. Time technician Charles Yu fixes the stupid actions of those wanting change without comprehending the consequences. He councils these idiots, but does so calmly even when he tries to pacify his harried boss Phil.

Yu visits his mother, who is trapped in a life of one-hour in which she prepares dinner infinitely. He still seeks his father who invented the machines that enable time travel, but vanished while testing his gizmos. Accompanied by TAMMY the operating system with Yu’s personality (to include a lack of self-worth) and Ed the imaginary ontological canine, he continues his personal quest to meet and talk with his dad; having gained hope by a book he will one day author, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

This is an intriguing time travel science fiction tale starring a stay out of trouble extremist (think of Columbus in most of the movie Zombieland) who as a bureaucrat quietly rectifies the mistakes of others while searching for his lost dad to have a father-son chat. The story line feels like a Moebius series of loops so is difficult to follow yet quite fun to do so. Although the climax is abrupt and seemingly out of character for the safety only lead protagonist, SF fans who enjoy something radically different will want to read Charles Yu’s escapades in time and space. Harriet Klausner

The Silent Army
James Knapp
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451463616

In a dark and bleak future, science has progressed to the point where the deceased can be revived and function mentally with recall of their past though their bodies remain dead. Revivors are used as soldiers fighting endless wars on the other side of the world and nanotech stops decay and repairs. Samuel Fawkes is a Revivor who is battling the establishment because he believes that reprogrammed memories are part of the population and can only be accessed when a person dies and becomes a Revivor.

He goes one step further as he thinks a solid data base will back up his theory that a shadow government controls the minds of most f the population. Fawkes, who though a Revivor, controls all the other Revivors, which means he has an army he is amassing while obtaining twelve nuclear bombs that he intends to explode to make a statement. FBI Agent Nico Wachalowsloski is assigned to find the bombs and other weapons of mass destruction while other operatives look for the ship importing Reviveors from foreign locations.

Military zombies are not a new concept (see World War Z by Max Brooks), but made fresh due to the lead adversaries as Fawkes may be a reanimated corpse but is also a strategic and operational thinker, and Nico believes Revivors have feelings. Heroic Nico especially risks his life to save a friend and dreads the confrontation that he knows is coming between him and Fawkes on a logical level and on a personal level the love of his life Faye Dasalia who is a loyal to Fawkes Revivor. Readers will enjoy this science fiction as caring Nico believes Samuel is a terrorist while on the contrary Samuel believes he is a freedom fighter. Harriet Klausner

C.E. Murphy
Del Rey, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345516060

In Boston Lara Jansen trusts her intuition so while working at a tailor shop, her hairs leap up when a handsome man enters. He insists he is Prince Dafydd ap Caerwyn of the faerie and she is a Truthseeker; a rare individual who is more accurate than a lie detector in determining truth from fabrication. She believes him as he stinks at his day job of meteorologist. He pleads with her to come to his home to help ascertain who murdered his brother.

She accompanies the attractive prince through a portal into faerie. There she is stunned when she finds herself in the middle of a Seelie civil war as her irresistible companion failed to reveal this and apparently there are other secrets he conceals. Meanwhile someone in the shadows uses magic to further the dispute, which leaves two realms, Faeirie and Earth, in peril.

Truthseeker, the first of a two book fantasy, is a terrific opening act as C.E. Murphy sets the stage with a strong secretive royal and a special pragmatic human. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the heroine steps through the window into Faerie and never slows down. Fans will appreciate this strong fantasy due to Lara, a wonderful Red Sox in a Faerie prince court. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reviews from Harriet

Lodestone: The Sea of Storms
Mark Whiteway
VBW Publishing, May 200, $14.95
ISBN: 9781602645462

On Kelanni, people are disposable with their solo mission to mine "Lodestone" for use by the planet’s great dictator. The Prophet who rules the orb is the grandmaster of using the lodestone resource that comes to Kelanni in meteor showers. His powerful extremely loyal Keltar Knights insure no one tries to rebel.

Lyall vehemently rejects the Prophet and the concept of slavery. He vows with his best friend Alondo to overthrow the violent despot. When he meets Shann, who wants the Prophet's reign of terror to end , he teaches her his knowledge of lodestone. The prophet learns of the growing unrest and he sends Keris the Keltar to brutally destroy the rebels using them as an example for others to obey. She has doubts about her vocation and her current mission. When a giant bird attacks her, a Chandara saves her life. Boxx the Chandara informs Keris of her leader’s evil plans so she joins Lyall and his insurgents.

Once author Mark Whiteway establish the relativity laws of physics (and astrophysics) in his universe, the first Lodestone tale is a terrific science fiction thriller that in many ways reads like a fantasy. The world of Kelanni is what makes this a strong opening entry as readers will feel they are there along side of Keris as she begins to doubt what she believed all her life was gospel. Fans who enjoy something different yet exciting in their outer space novels will want to read Mr. Whiteway’s entertaining take on despots, rebels and negative matter. Harriet Klausner

Weight Of Stone
Laura Anne Gilman
Gallery, $24.99
ISBN: 9781439101452

In the Vin Lands, the powerful Sin Washers sect accuses Vineart wine mage apprentice and former slave Jerzy of heresy dealing with their ruling Commandment involving magic users and rulers. He knows their condemnation is an open invitation to kill him, so he flees. Joining him on the lam are former aristocratic Lady Mahault the warrior, Ao the trader, and Kainam the Prince of Atakus an island kingdom that has disappeared.

Jerzy and his friends continue their tracing of the taint of the vines. They begin to believe an incredulous conspiracy is behind the destruction. Following the clues by sea, Jerzy and company elude the Washers who demand he face trial and punishment and danger from under and on the water and on board their vessel.

The second Vineart War fantasy (see Flesh and Fire) continues the escapades of Jerzy in a fast-paced tale that also provides deeper focus and understanding of the complicated refreshing Gilman science of magic based on winemaking. Jerzy is a terrific protagonist though he and his three traveling companions seem to whine a lot over wine. Filled with tension throughout, readers will toast the quartet as they trek through the dangerous Vin Lands where the washers want to drink to their deaths. Harriet Klausner

Troubled Waters
Sharon Shinn
Ace, $25.95
ISBN: 9780441019236

While grieving the death of her father Navarr of the flame, Zoe Ardelay receives a surprising visit from the capital Chialto where she and her late father once fled to rusticate in safety. King Vernon sent Darien Serlast to bring back Zoe as the fifth bride of the monarch in order for a numerically balanced court. The Five Families fight through their respective queen to propel their offspring as the heir. Zoe met the ruler before her father fell out of favor and learns from Darien that his family possesses all that hers once did.

However, before entering the castle, Zoe slips away to the nearby river where she is stunned to realize she is the “Coru Prime” of another family Lalindar of the water. Ergo she is no longer the next bride of Vernon. Zoe explores her new power and investigates palace secrets while facing danger from envious enemies, many of whom remain shadowy unknown adversaries who reject an upstart new dynamo. She and Darien also are attracted to one another, but both know many will use their desire as a weapon to destroy both of them. Zoe’s biggest lesson at court is trust no one as everyone seems manipulative with a personal agenda to move up the ladder without regard for others.

Troubled Waters
is a great opening political fantasy that is filled with a strong cast, wonderful refreshing laws of magic and court intrigue. From the moment Darien arrives for Zoe, the story line never takes a respite as this is a fast-paced thriller. Sharon Shinn affirms what her fans already knew from the Twelve Houses saga that the author is one of the best fantasists; with her new series loaded with action yet introducing the key characters and significantly the mathematics of magic. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Kensei by Jon Merz review

Here's the review of one of my buddy's latest novels. Should be another entry into a terrific series. Be on the look out for it

The Kensei
Jon F. Merz
St. Martin's Griffin, Jan 18 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312662233

Needing rest from his last lethal balancing assignment (see The Syndicate), vampiric secret agent Lawson travels to Japan in to get away from it all. Part of his stay is to attend an ultra advanced martial arts training at the dojo he always visits when in country. He also anticipates a tryst with former KGB assassin Talya.

However, he immediately alienates the Yakuza when he prevents a murder from happening on a train. He also assists Talya in her quest to eliminate an organ-trafficking ring. Kensei the albino vampire crime lord is outraged with the foreigner’s interference with his plan for world dominance by creating a loyal army of super soldiers. He plans to dine on Lawson’s blood while Lawson plans to tear Kensei’s head off.

Over the top of James Bond’s Moonraker adventure, the Kensei is an exciting urban fantasy thriller starring two macho fangsters ready to rip the guts (and jugular) of one another. Tongue in cheek while teeth aggressively are showing, sub-genre fans will anticipate the High Noon over Tokyo confrontation between the Balance undercover enforcer and the wannabe world dominator. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Update and reviews

Sorry about missing a couple of days. I have gone back to work for the first time in over two years and I'm having to make adjustments. On top of that Kathy had to have surgery and has been in the hospital for a couple of days. She will require some extra care and will be out of work for six to eight weeks.

Hope all is well with each of you. Thanks for reading!

Patricia Briggs
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019427

Aralorn the shapechanger has been a spy for Sianim for years as the money is great. She is assigned to penetrate the Kingdom of Reth where the powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi has established a cruel dictatorship; her mission is to assess how potent the mage is and what he is scheming on beyond this beleaguered land. To Aralorn accompanied by Wolf, this is another easy task.

However, once inside she realizes how dangerous and powerful Geoffrey is. Aralorn quickly completes her mission and rushes back to Sianim to report. Only she now learns how far Geoffrey has ties as his insidious control reaches everywhere. With Wolf at her side, Aralorn the mercenary takes her first stand without a thought of money when she joins the resistance.

This is a revision of Patricia Briggs’ first fantasy from the early 1990s; the sequel never released before will soon follow. The rebellion against magical evil story line is entertaining even without Mercy although the cast comes across stereotypical of the sub-genre. Still fans will root for Aralorn as she goes from avarice give me the money realist to rebel with a cause idealist. Harriet Klausner

Bayou Moon
Ilona Andrews
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019458

The Adrianglian Secret Service asks William Sandine the Changeling to stop Spider from possessing a weapon of mass destruction that will lead to war. Loathing his long time enemy, William agrees to go to the Bayous of Louisiana to challenge Spider and his insidious ring of operatives.

When Spider abducts her parents, Cerise Mar becomes the clan chief. To save their property the Mire swamps of the Edge, Cerise visits the Broken. Returning to her home, Cerise and William meet. The outsider realizes she and her kin may be the tool to prevent Spider from achieving his nefarious scheme and perhaps ending his terrorism all together. However, William’s biggest problem is his attraction to his hostess; a foreign feeling to the Changeling who belongs nowhere and to no one.

This is a powerful swamp romantic fantasy starring a harassed heroine, a hermit hero, a vile villain and the mad Mar mob. The story line is fast-paced with a sort of Scottish historical Highlander feud feel to the Mire while the Spider weaves his web. However, the fun in this delightful tale is the return to Ilona Andrews’s Weird world of the Edge (see On the Edge) where malls and magic converge. Harriet Klausner

Grave Witch
Kalayna Price
Roc, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451463807

Having met Death when she was five years old, Grave Witch Magic Eye Alex Craft makes a living by raising ghosts for living clients. The Nekros City police department consults with Alex on some recent homicide cases. However, she is stunned when one of the shades she brings back, that of a murder victim, attacks her. That has never happened before and she thought it was impossible.

Following a call from her frantic sister Casey, Alex probes the corpse of assassinated Governor Theodore Coleman, which made their father George Caine governor. Alex finds someone cast odd but dangerous spells. Homicide detective Falin Andrews makes it clear that he is unhappy with Alex intruding on the official investigation. When Alex learns from the ghost of Roy Pearson that the late governor’s body is actually his, the witch fears a powerful spellcaster is operating in the area.

This is a terrific private investigator urban fantasy with a noir feel to the story line; not so much by the heroine, but more so by the uneasy dysfunctional relationship between the normal, the paranormal, and the practitioners that bring the two uncomfortable groups together. Fast-paced from the moment Alex leaves an unhappy customer to answer her sibling’s call pleading with Alexis to help her, fans will be hooked and demand more Alex Craft cases. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Killshot, Sparks and Twelve reviewed

Ann Aguirre
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019410

Sirantha Jax, March and their crew struggle with ending the death and destruction of jumpers in Grimspace. However as the peril from the man-eating Morgut expands, the Conglomerate has need of March. They want March to train an Armada whose missions will be to take the war to the deadly pirates and the Morgut.

Jax considers a perilous trek jumping through Grimspace without the use of beacons. Hesitating she wonders if her new nanotechnology will enable her to do the jump or kill her. However, while she vacillates, Jax also knows time is running out.

The fourth Jax science fiction (see Doubleblind, Wanderlust and Grimspace) continues the outer spaces escapes of the heroine and somewhat less March in the dark (sort of like leaping in grimspace without a beacon) bleak Aguirre universe. The story line is faster than the speed of light as Jax goes from one thrilling adventure to another though she is much more mature but still her philosophy remains shoot first or be killed; questions are irrelevant if you are dead. Fans of the saga will need to set aside time as Killbox is a terrific taut thriller, which sets up book five; newcomers can jump right in and appreciate this entry, but will relish it much more with the reading backlist. Harriet Klausner

Laura Bickle
Juno (Pocket), $7.99
ISBN: 9781439167687

In Detroit, city fire department arson investigator Anya Kalinczyk works more than just the blazes as she is also a Lantern. Her latter skill is to send spirits into nothingness. Used to 24/7 shifts, six months ago, with her salamander familiar Sparky having her back, she faced the vaunting challenge of Sirrush (see Embers) and has been slow to rebound mentally.

Recently, Anya feels she is returning to her lifestyle pre Sirrush. However, her two skills merge when she is assigned an investigation into what has been purported to be spontaneous human combustion at the home of elderly wealthy Jasper Bernard who was caught in the inferno but left not an iota of a trace of his remains. Her inquiry leads to Hope Solomon who insists she grants miracles to her donors. While Sparky hatches the next generation, Anya senses something not quite right about her or her charity backers as if evil has taken hold feeding on the souls of the desperate.

The terrific second Kalinczyk urban fantasy is a great saga that works mostly because of the portrait of Detroit as a city with many ruins, but trying to recreate a new image. The heroine is fabulous as she keeps her wits and sense of humor in the midst of infernos (some created by unnatural arsons) while battling psychopathic and avarice arsonists and supernatural malevolent essences; in this preying on impoverish forlorn seeking miracles. Harriet Klausner

Jasper Kent
PYR, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142414

In 1812, Napoleon's army marches closer and closer to Moscow. Nothing seems to slow down the inevitable. Four Russians are dispatched to obtain help from a dirty dozen mercenaries to hassle the French in order to slow down the encroachment; they agree.

However, two of the Russians Aleksei and Dimitry soon debate whether they made a deal with the devil when the twelve beasts attack civilians; drinking their blood. Aleksei feels these vampires must be destroyed as they harm the populace; Dimitry claims they are allies hurting the French as much as the peasants. As his friend insists the end of stopping Napoleon justifies the mean of deploying vampires even as the undead cause collateral damage without a second thought, Aleksei internally ponders how to rid Russia of the twelve when even his mistress wants to become one of them.

This is a fascinating historical vampire thriller as Jasper Kent places Napoleon’s devastating wintry march into Moscow within a horror setting. The vampires are a bloodthirsty lot who do not delineate when it comes to a French or Russian morsel when dining on humans; a lesser species on the food chain. Aleksei is an intriguing character whose conscience has him deeply disturbed with what they wrought. Although he can overdo his internal debate, readers will enjoy this terrific horror thriller as vampires turn the snow red. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 12, 2010

Which side of the fence?

Which side of the fence?

If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a Conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a Conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a Conservative reads this, he'll share it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A Liberal will not because he's “offended.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010



NEW YORK & LONDON--(SCIFI-PR-WIRE)-- Portugal's largest fantasy and science fiction convention, The Fórum Fantástico 2010, is getting ready to open its doors to thousands of fans in Lisbon this weekend 12th-14th November.

The two Guests of Honour being flown in this year are the British fantasy author Stephen Hunt, and American fantasy author Peter V. Brett.

The three-day event also includes many Portuguese fantasy and science fiction authors & comic-book creators and artists, including Ricardo Pinto, David Soares, Afonso Cruz and João Pedro Duarte.

The event is being held in Portugal's capital in the stunning Biblioteca Municipal de Telheiras (state library).

Stephen Hunt was first published in 2007 after a fiercely fought auction for his debut fantasy novel, 'The Court of the Air'. The success of ‘The Court of the Air’ (it’s still the only debut fantasy novel to be given mass-market distribution by Tesco) helped kick-start a now rapidly growing sub-culture known as steampunk, with a slew of novels in the genre following in Hunt’s foot-steps on both sides of the Atlantic.

Books in Stephen's series include ‘The Court of the Air, ‘The Kingdom Beyond the Waves’, ‘The Rise of the Iron Moon, ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’, ‘Jack Cloudie’ (pub: 2011), and a 6th as yet untitled work in the series due for publication in 2012.

The Jackelian series is published in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand by HarperCollins; the USA by Tor; and as foreign language editions by various publishers in Japan, China, Russia, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

Stephen Hunt's blog is at and his official author’s site can be found at

Peter V. Brett is an American writer of fantasy novels. He is the author of the ongoing 'Demon Series', whose first volume 'The Painted Man', was first published in the United Kingdom by HarperCollins's Voyager imprint in 2008. The book is known as 'The Warded Man' in the United States where Del Ray Books published it.

The first novel in Peter's Demon Series introduces a world formerly the home of an advanced human civilisation, now reduced to a 'dark age' by the attacks of demons, known as 'corelings'. The corelings are powerful beings, with magical abilities and differing elemental natures, and each night emerge from the planet's core to feed on humans. The story is told from the perspective of three main characters, Arlen, Leesha and Rojer, showing their passage from childhood to maturity and the beginning of their individual quests to bring an end to the terror that has befallen humankind. Each character possess differing talents, which develop across the tale, and will become key in the ongoing struggle.

Peter V. Brett's official author’s site can be found at

Visit the convention's web site at for more details of Fórum Fantástico 2010.

HarperCollins Voyager’s blog can be found at

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all my comrades in arms from all wars.

I hope everyone who served in the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, Republic of Vietnam are doing well, especially those of Company E, 725th Maintainance Btn.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poison Kissed and Harvest Moon reviewed

Poison Kissed
Erica Hayes
St. Martin’s, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312624705

Kick-butt Mina the blue-haired banshee with a deadly siren’s tune works as an enforcer for snakeshifting mob boss Joey DiLuca because she owes him for saving her life. Currently Joey and his gang are at war with a rival mob. Joey and Mina are attracted to one another, but each has a million reasons not to form a romantic entanglement between them.

Mina vowed a long time ago to avenge her mother’s murder, but has made no progress until now as to who the culprit is. She obtains evidence that shakes her to her bone marrow as what she learns implies Joey was somehow mixed up in her mother’s homicide.

The third entry in the Shadowfae Chronicles (see Shadowfae and Shadowglass) is an intriguing dark urban fantasy starring two paranormal beings who trust one another with their respective soul until now. The story line has too much going on with a myriad of subplots, but readers will appreciate the main theme wondering what Mina will do next. Alternate Melbourne has not looked darker or more entertaining than Erica Hayes exhilarating take on the Australian mobs. Harriet Klausner

Harvest Moon
Mercedes Lackey, Michelle Sagara, Cameron Haley
ISBN: 9780373803224

“A Tangled Web” by Mercedes Lackey. At. Mt Olympus, Thanatos kidnaps Brunnhilde in the opening ploy of a scheme to enable his master Hades to capture Persephone. Ever since he met her (see The Sleeping Beauty) Leopold is not one to sit idly by when Brunnhilde is in danger.

“Cast in Moonlight” by Michelle Sagara. In Elantra, teenage Kaylin Neya joins the hawks as she works her first case.

“Retribution” by Cameron Haley. Enforcer Domino Riley killed her rival for the position she now holds in accordance with Mob Rules, but an otherworldly hit man is coming after her also in accordance with Mob Rules.

These are three fine fantasies that fans of the respective authors especially will enjoy as Mercedes Lackey provides a Five Hundred Kingdom’s entry; Michelle Sagara contributes an Elantra saga; and, Cameron Haley an Underworld tale. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Black Prism, The House on Durrow Street, and Bones of Empire reviews

The Black Prism
Brent Weeks
Orbit, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316075558

He had been the Prism who controlled the magic of the Chromeria. However that seems like eternity as he lost the civil war to his brother Gavin, the current Prism. Everyday since Gavin incarcerated him in a dungeon beneath heir home. Jacen sees a world of dispiritingly gray; he lives hoping to regain the colors he lost to his sibling.

Gavin may be an intelligent High priest-Emperor who controls the Prism since he defeated his sibling by using guile, but he knows what happened to his brother could occur to him as Prisms have relatively short life cycle usage. Once his prism dies, he will die too. Gavin knows his prism has five years of life left; five years for him to accomplish five unattainable quests or his world will lose all color and consequently all life.

Gavin is stunned to learn he sired a son. Kip will have the power of the Prism, untrained. The lad could be the opponent in the next war of power. At the same the son learns who his dad and uncle are and begins to find out about the sibling splintering, but is unsure what he should do as increasingly he fears the world is going to implode if the colors run out.

The opening tale in the Black prism fantasy is an exhilarating thriller that uses the colors of a prism as the source of magic. The story line focuses on the three male leads while cleverly interweaving the Weeks’ “physics” of magic into the plot. Fast-paced and character driven, fans will enjoy the first act as the Prime Prism practitioner begins a quest knowing he must remain vigilant watching for his son and his insane brother; failure will mean death or worse a lunacy to parallel that of colorless Gavin who once tasted the power of the colors. Harriet Klausner

The House On Durrow Street
Galen Beckett
Bantam, $16.00
ISBN: 9780553807592

Saving her country Altania and having married the mage Mr. Quent, the witch Ivy and her sisters have been welcomed back by the aristocracy (see The Magicians and Mrs. Quent). She and her siblings establish a residence in the mysterious house inherited from their late father on Darrow Street.

However, all is not quite idyllic in Ivy’s world as she feels pulled by two conflicting natures. First she is a witch married to a magician and that is hard to ignore. Then there is her place in high society. Though both have some inclusiveness, mostly they are exclusive. All those woes come across as nothing compared with learning the secrets of The House on Durrow Street before raging rogue magicians cause further havoc throughout the land.

This is a terrific dark fantasy in which magic feels genuine due mostly from the interesting eccentric support cast and the title abode. The heroine is a fabulous lead protagonist who readers will like and root for as she works the enigma of what she and her sisters inherited. Galen Beckett obviously had fun writing the second Mrs. Quent quirky fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Bones Of Empire
William C. Dietz
Ace, $24.95
ISBN: 9780441019229

The Uman Empire has conquered many worlds, but the species they watch most carefully and carefully is the shapeshifting Sagathies. Feral to a berserker level, these predators are caged on the planet Corin under the watchful eyes of Xeno police officers who have been reengineered physically to keep these beasts from changing shapes and running violently amuck.

All seems right until Xeno-cop Jak Cato arrives with others only to be attacked by professionals. His reputation tattered and with a thirst for avenging his mates driving him, Jak takes a needed R&R in the capital city of Imperialus. There he is stunned to observe the Uman Empire emperor through his re-engineered eyes is a dead shape shifter who he thought he killed.

The second part of the Uman Empire science fiction duology (see At Empire’s Edge) is an action-packed faster than the speed of light futuristic in space thriller. Filled with gore yet also loaded with ET politics and social order, fans who read the first entry will appreciate the race to the finish line as a disgraced beleaguered hero has few allies left after the mass slaughter of the cavalcade, but must save the empire from a diabolically brilliant loner or an incredible conspiracy that would include his people. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Here is an intgeresting email I received today. The site is interesting and may prove to be of interest to some of my readers.

Dear friend of Science Fiction,

My name is Jos Kirps and I'm one of the creators of Galaxiki, a Science Fiction Community project created in 2007.

I hope you'll find the time to take a look at Galaxiki and - if you like it - to spread the word about it. We're a non-profit organisation and we'd really appreciate if you could help us to promote our project - thanks!

So what's Galaxiki?

Galaxiki is a wiki based, editable online galaxy consisting of millions of stars, planets, moons, pulsars, black holes and much more. Site members can edit solar systems, invent life forms and write their own science fiction stories. Community members have to make sure their stories are compatible with other user's stories to create a consistent fictional universe.

Galaxiki is also a real Social Network - after joining you can add friends, share your thoughts & your work, join groups, like things or attend events.

Galaxiki is a non-profit project, the site is relying on advertising and on users willing to pay a small amount to get an own, personal solar system instead of community-editable systems.

Check out Galaxiki here:

Hope you'll find the time to spread the word about our project.
Thanks in advance for your support !!!!!
Jos Kirps - The Galaxiki Team

------------------------------------------------------- is a project by Joopita Research a.s.b.l
Joopita Research a.s.b.l, 14 Cite op Gewaennchen, L-4383 Ehlerange, Luxembourg
Luxembourg RCS: F0008447 (registered non-profit organisation)
Management Board: Jos Kirps - Chantal Reuter - Nora Vitali -

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Way of Kings, A Star Shall Fall, and Sin Undone reviews

The Way of Kings
Brandon Sanderson
Tor, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765326355

The storms of Roshar are legendary for their fierceness as natural selection has led to flora and fauna adapting to the intensity. Failure to do so means extinction. Humans understand the basic premise for survival of the fittest as they have built great cities only in places where shelter from the torrents can be found. Centuries ago the Knights Radiant laid down their arms having disestablished their units. Now four thousand five hundred plus years since they dispersed, they have become myths while their shardblade weapons and shardplate armor have become the most valuable commodity on Roshar.

Shallan the scholar has uncovered an inconvenient truth as she serves as an apprentice to the sister of the King. Unlike his aristocratic peers, visionary warrior Dalinar Kholin, the current king’s uncle looks to the past to forge an honorable just future. Finally acrimonious Kaladin went from aristocratic surgeon to slave to save the life of his brother, but it cost him his honor and caring of others.

The opening act of the Stormlight Machine an epic fantasy which a monster sized book in which Brandon Sanderson establishes his world in minute detail (some might say overly detailed) and the flaws of his three prime players. The story line contains several subplots with Shallan, Kholin and Kaladin serving as the main three in the intertwining saga. Especially intriguing, besides the encyclopedic fascinating depth of Roshar, is the gripping sagas of Kaladin and Shallan; while the arc of Kholin feels forced as if a fantasy element was needed to spice up the saga. Still this is a fascinating grand beginning to what looks like an epic worthy of the late Robert Jordan. Harriet Klausner

A Star Shall Fall
Marie Brennan
Tor, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765325365

Almost a hundred years ago back in 1666, the Fae and all of London were threatened by the great Dragon Spirit of Fire. However, by 1682 the Fae successfully deported the lethal beast inside its home of what was soon to be named Halley’s Comet, but not before the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed much of the city above and beneath the ground (see Midnight Never Come).

In 1705 at Gresham College, predictions of Halley’s Comet retuning in 1758 stun the astronomers who though the Great Dragon Spirit of Fire from the sky was gone. In 1758, the Fae astronomers of Onyx Court inform their leader Lune that the lethal dragon is definitely returning as the comet along with its hitchhiker is coming back. Ailing Lune has issues within the Onyx Court as challenges to his rule have surfaced at a time of the pending crisis with many deniers insisting no way. As the great dragon nears earth, London residents (human and fae) are in peril. The only hope for salvation resides with the Stone Prince of the Onyx Court, novice Galen St. Clair, who has no experience whatsoever in dealing with such a catastrophe especially with political enemies from within making his learning curve steeper as time runs out.

This great historical fantasy sequel moves forward in time nine decades to an age where science and math is building off the works of Newton and others. Thus a sense of historical accuracy makes this unique enlightened London seen real as the myriad of vivid descriptions will hook the audience as much as the pending dragon of doom. Marie Brennan provides a fabulous saga that will have newcomers seek the previous visit of Halley’s Comet and fans looking forward to the next visit in seventy-five years. Harriet Klausner

Sin Undone
Larissa Ione
Grand Central, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446556811

Assassin’s Guild. Chief Seminus demon Sin unintentionally released a virus that is killing werewolves. The epidemic threatens to go pandemic and wipe out the species. Stunned, Sin wants to save the surviving werewolf population from extinction while others have a different deadly agenda for the shapeshifters.

Sin knows her life is in jeopardy as many including herself believe she deserves punishment for the plague she wrought. Her guild also has opportunistic ambitious assassins who plan to kill her so they can take over running the Guild. Connal “Con” Dearghul is directed to bring Sin in, dead or alive, but they are bound by blood. Con knows he must choose between bringing her head in on a platter that would make him a hero who obeyed orders; or assisting her, which would leave him as a hunted outlaw.

The fifth Demonica romantic fantasy (see Pleasure Unbound and Desire Unchained) is a terrific sinful saga as the wicked assassin is finally undone by love. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as Con must choose between his lady and his duty. This volatile mix makes for a great time for sub-genre readers especially fans of Larissa Ione. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fort Hood Massacre Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the Fort Hood Massacre.

Please remember these fallen warriors and all the other gallant warriors who are serving all over the world today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Atlantis Betrayed, Immortal Sea, and Warrior Avenged Reviewed

Atlantis Betrayed
Alyssa Day
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425238103

Christophe, a Warrior of Poseidon, is sworn to protect humanity, but he loathes his duty as he detests the perfidious humans. Still he does his mission well in spite of his personal animosities. His current assignment is to break into the Tower of London to steal Siren, a Jewel of Poseidon, implanted in the sword of William the Conqueror.

Christophe quickly discovers he is not the only one breaching the Tower’s security. The infamous Scarlet Ninja breaks and enter to steal the Siren too. Not one to allow a male to trump her plan, Scarlet Ninja AKA (in daylight) Lady Fiona Campbell the fairy tale illustrator plans to complete her latest Robinette Hood theft. However, as the pair competes for the gem, a lethal third person breaches the museum taking the sword before the stunned pair can react.

Starting with irreverent Christophe’s debate with a vampire while sitting on Big Ben over whether Ripper was a vamp too, the latest Atlantis saga is a great entry (see Atlantis Redeemed and Atlantis Unmasked) as a strong romance is enhanced by non-stop action and plenty of jocularity. The cast is powerful and not just the Warriors of Poseidon and their soulmates as London and Atlantis have never swung wilder. Alyssa Day scores big time with this terrific amusing yet action-packed tale. Harriet Klausner

Immortal Sea
Virginia Kantra
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425237472

Three years has passed since her husband died, but only recently has Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez feel she can move on with her life. Nearing forty, she and her two children Zack and Emily move to World’s End Island, Maine where she hopes to help her troubled son.

Sixteen years ago, Elizabeth and Morgan met in Copenhagen and shared a one night stand that resulted in the birth of Zack. Unaware he sired an offspring until he meets Liz again accompanied by her kids; Morgan wants to take his son with him to Sanctuary, home of the finfolk. However, to his chagrin he is attracted to Liz in spite of her being a human; a species he loathes. Worse he even likes her seven years old purebred daughter. Liz reciprocates his feelings until she realizes that Morgan is not human and has horrific plans to take away her Zack who she now knows is a half-breed. Like a lioness defending her cub, Liz challenges her son’s sire to allow the teen to choose where he prefers to reside.

The fourth Selkie-human "Children of the Sea" romance (see Sea Lord, Sea Witch and Sea Fever) is a fantastic romantic fantasy. The romantic story line is similar to the previous entries as the plot enables the reader to look deep into the hearts of the lead couple and believe in the existence of Selkie and half-breed Selkie. However, Virginia Kantra refreshes her saga through the beleaguered Zack who always felt different but now knows why; as his feelings are not teen angst or grief. Fans will appreciate this strong entry as Elizabeth bets her heart on the two males in her life. Harriet Klausner

Warrior Avenged
Addison Fox
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451231079

Nemesis started her life as a cursed nymph, but recently became a Goddess. However, in spite of her change in position, the neo deity seeks revenge against the God who cursed her unfairly:, Zeus and his pantheon on Mount Olympus. Part of her effort was a Faustian deal with a dark sorcerer, but that has backfired on her since she finally met her first target Kane, Scorpio of the Zodiac warriors.

Her deal, made three centuries ago, is to kill Kane by poisoning his soul. For three hundred years he annually fights the war of survival and every time he has vanquished the toxin even knowing he will repeat the process again and again for eternity or his death. However, this year Kane Montague, an MI6 sniper-assassin, is divided ever since he met a woman Ilsa the secret agent who has him focused on her and not his mission or his survivability.

The latest superb Zodiac Warriors urban romantic fantasy (see Warrior Ascended) is a terrific tale of love, betrayal, and (readers will hope) redemption and not more perfidy as Aquarius and Scorpio do not mix smoothly. Fox world is fully developed with the back-story of what happened millennia go intertwined within the exciting storyline. The support cast especially his concerned brothers in arms enhance understanding of the lead couple as the second saga in the Fifth Age of Man is another winner. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November Newsletter from Donald M. Grant

Welcome to issue #70 of the Donald M. Grant Newsletter

3 November 2010



When we first released the Artist Edition of THE DARK TOWER
VII it was made available only to purchasers of the Artist
Edition of THE DARK TOWER VI. Because we were able to
print more copies of this Artist Edition than the previous one we
also made copies available as part of the Dark Tower VII Special
Offer which included THE TALISMAN/BLACK HOUSE set
signed by Peter Straub and Rick Berry. While that Special Offer
is your best value all our customers may now purchase the Artist
Edition of THE DARK TOWER VII directly for $65 plus ship-
ping. The Artist Edition is signed by Michael Whelan, has a
smythe sewn binding (the Trade Edition that was in all the
stores had a glued binding) and was released two weeks prior to
the Trade Edition:


Due to financial considerations at the time many of our cus-
tomers who bought the Deluxe Edition of LITTLE SISTERS OF
ELURIA chose not to purchase the matching numbered Gift
Edition. As we have been shipping copies from the higher num-
ber down we still have many of the Gift Editions up to number
1,000. If you would now like to match your Deluxe Edition with
the same numbered Gift edition please email Karen French at under the subject title “Little Sisters
Gift Number” with your number and Karen will confirm if we
still have that number.


We have finally SOLD OUT of the Gift Edition of DESPERA-
TION. Illustrated by Don Maitz it was released a week prior to
the Viking Trade Edition. You may be able to get copies from
Cemetery Dance who bought our remaining copies.


We have 3 copies left of the Gift Edition of INSOMNIA, pub-
lished by Mark Ziesing, which Phil Hale signed when he visited
our offices this summer.

We have been told by Mark that he is low on copies and cannot
sell us any more so when these are gone that will be it.

These are available at our regular price of $75 plus shipping:


I recently visited Jeffrey Jones and he signed a number of copies
of the Trade Edition of THE ART OF JEFFREY JONES.

These are available at our regular price of $35 plus shipping:

Thank you.

Robert K. Wiener, President
Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cruel Enchantment, Sins of the Soul, and Veil of Shadows Reviewed

Cruel Enchantment
Anya Bast
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425236376

Fae assassin Emmaline Gallagher hated her work so she fled from her homeland of the Summer Queen. She prefers to use her power of extraordinary persuasive glamour to help people. However, with her race in peril of extinction, she comes home as the only Fae who can her people, but to do so she will need help from a person she loves who loathes her.

Three centuries ago, Emmaline the assassin murdered the soulmate of Aeric O’Malley. He has had three hundred years to plans his revenge on the Fae he detests. When the opportunity arises by her coming to him, to his shame and chagrin he fails to kill her. Although he has doubts about her sincerity due to her glamour skills, he believes his attraction to his enemy is from within him. Emmaline explains what occurred back then and why; more important she needs Aeric to create the key that will enable her to open a box containing a magical artifact to save her species.

In her latest superb Dark Magick romantic fantasy (see Wicked Enchantment), Anya Bast through the changing relationship between the strong fully developed lead characters makes a strong case that the line between powerful love and intense hate is microscopic. The story line is action-packed, but owned by Emmaline and Aeric who make the world of the Fae seem real. Cruel Enchantment is an enchanting magical entry in a superior series. Harriet Klausner

Sins Of The Soul
Eve Silver
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774838

Underworld enforcer and soul reaper Alastor Krayl seeks the Butcher; the assassin who he believes was involved in the death of his brother Lokan. When he finds the Butcher, Alastor is stunned as the killer is dead. Apparently a shocked Naphre Kurata, the Butcher’s apprentice, killed him when he tried to murder her.

Naphre buries her former mentor, but Alastor claims his soul as he needs it to free his sibling’s soul. However, Alastor is taken aback when he learns the soul of his late enemy belongs to someone else. As Alastor and Naphre find themselves falling in love, a definitely forbidden feeling for both of these non-humans, neither know what to do next about their desires, his brother or the third party soul collector.

The latest dark Otherkin soul reaping romantic fantasy is a great entry in what looks like will be a top series (see Sins of the Heart). The story line is extremely complex with a great late spin, but also incredibly entertaining. Fans will be hooked from the onset as Krayl walks the Territory of Sutehl with revenge as his companion only to be stunned by what he sees. The escapades have just begun for him, her and their hearts. Eve Silver strikes gold with this terrific Underworld thriller. Harriet Klausner

Veil Of Shadows
Shiloh Walker
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425236352

Captain Laisyn “Syn” Caar seeks warriors amongst the refugees fleeing the dreaded demon horde that has overrun the forests devastating the Roinan territory. Commander Kalen Brenner wants the refugees removed as they interfere with his strategy of fighting the demons.

One of the newcomers Xan is obviously different from all those who are fleeing Roinan. He is noticeably a seasoned fighter with an assortment of weapons and not much else; but why he is here at the encampment is unclear. While Captain Carr ignores her attraction to him and her recent loss of her magical skills, the Anquar Gate between the worlds remains shut, but trapped warlords, wanting to escape this primitive side back to their realm, plan to find a way to breach it regardless of the cost in lives.

A direct sequel to Through the Veil (suggest reading that just prior to Veil of Shadows), this is a super military fantasy as Caar (and fans) wonders whether the male she loves is the heroic champion her beleaguered race needs or the enemy who will leave her people extinct. Fast-paced and filled with action from the very first reaction by the heroine upon Xan’s arrival and never slowing down as she and her allies deal with insane demons, angry trapped warlords, bone weary refugees, and Xan the unknown. Harriet Klausner