Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some Interesting Reviews

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, Mar 15 2011, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765328045

Mykella had never expected to replace her father Feranyt as the Protector of Lanachrona because she had no psionic talent and several males including her uncle and cousin, and her brother were in line before her. However, with her father’s death due to poisoning by his brother and nephew during a failed bloody coup, her latent psi skills surfaced. She has become the first Lady-Protector since the legendary Mykella the Great created the position. The new Protector knows she can depend on only her sisters Rachylana and Salyna, as traitors are everywhere.

However besides the family seditious deadly activity, Mykella learns that Lanachrona is bankrupt. Additionally she immediately must prove her worth to the Arms Commander Areyst starting with no honorable funeral for the deceased traitors. However, she has no time for her country’s healing and economic recovery; her military leaders warn her that neighbors like Midcoast or Northcoast see an opportunity to invade with a tyro female running a devastated divided nation. An ancient magic arises within her that gives her hope to save her people and fear that the ancient enemy will also arise.

The latest The Corean Chronicles is an exciting political-military fantasy starring a strong heroine and a sold cast especially Areyst. The story line overall is fast-paced though L.E. Modesitt, Jr. somewhat mutes the pace with interwoven references of the back story (see The Lord-Protector). Still with a touch of romance, plenty of political intrigue and loads of life twisting lethal magic, fans of the saga will enjoy Mykella as the Lady-Protector even if she takes over a role too easily that she never trained for as she never expected to sit in the power seat. Harriet Klausner

Accidentally Catty
Dakota Cassidy
Berkley, Mar 1 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425239605

Fortyish divorcee Katherine “Katie” Woods, DVM moves her veterinary practice to Upstate New York to begin her life anew as the new forty is thirty for the most part. However, if she knew her patient would be an unconscious cougar her staff brought in from a nearby exotic animal park, she might have reconsidered relocating.

The cougar scratches Katie who soon finds some odd bodily modifications such as her trimmed nails and the rest of hand has changed into something a bit more beastly needing a manicure; while the animal she caged over night is now a naked man suffering from amnesia. Wanda Schwarz Jefferson (see the Accidental Human) and the OOPS unit arrive to assist Katie with her transformation. However, even with her own zoo crew and the OOPS squad at her side investigating the mystery of the shapeshifting were-cougar, no one can help Katie with her animal need to make love with her patient; a taboo for a veterinarian.

.The latest “Accidental romantic urban fantasy (see Accidentally Demonic) is a lighthearted frolic that will remind readers of the 1930s screwball comedies. The story line is fast-paced but never quite gels as everyone wants to be co- stand-up comics performing at the Improv Comedy Club in front of the in crowd. Still readers will enjoy the fifth paranormal conversion. Harriet Klausner

Rogue Oracle
Alayna Williams
Juno, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439182819

Criminal profiler Tara Sheridan is an expert forensic psychologist who enhances her abilities with tarot card readings. However her skills failed her when a psychopath nearly killed her. Shaken to her bone marrow, Tara resigns from her position at the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Special Projects” unit.

Recently several of the unit’s former operatives have vanished under strange circumstances. Tara’s former lover Harry Li asks for her help on his investigation partly because he needs her special skills and partly to keep her safe. The clues lead to Chernobyl where the pair tries to prevent a second catastrophe from occurring. At the same time Tara struggles with her dubious relationship with Delphi’s Daughters especially their chief.

This is an engaging thriller due more to the fascinating villain who steals the show because the motives that drive the adversary ring true. In her second profiling appearance (see The Dark Oracle) Tara is an intriguing blending of science and pseudoscience as she combines the paranormal with the profiling normal. Although at times the plot slows down and the ending is too low key after a Chernobyl II countdown, readers will find themselves zoning out during long expository passages, and a very anticlimactic ending leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction. Still, the great villain and good visual descriptions keep this from being a total loss. Harriet Klausner

Outside In
Maria V. Snyder
Harlequin Teen, Feb 15 2011, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210114

Trella led the Scrubs revolt that turned her world upside down as she and her rebels defeated the Uppers who previously ruled the world. After the victory, she and others learn of the existence of the Outside world.

Excited Trella plans to go back to being a quiet citizen living with her Upper, Riley. However, winning at war is not governance as those now in charge learn. Additionally something from Outside wants to enter; forcing Trella out of her short lived teenage retirement to unite her friends to prevent whatever from outer Outside achieving In.

The sequel to Inside Out targets older middle and younger high school students with an intriguing complex story line as the heroine learns what relativity means as Outside meant outside her cube, but now knows there is outside the outside. There is less action than in the previous revolt against the dystopian society, but teen readers still will enjoy this exciting science fiction tale as Maria V. Snyder once again avoids dumbing down her complex premise treating young readers with respect as the author further complicates Trella’s run. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 30, 2011


As citizens begin their summer at poolside and backyard grills this Memorial Day, they need to put the “memorial” back in Memorial Day by pausing to honor the sacrifices that make our freedom possible. No words are adequate to console those who have lost a loved one serving our nation, but we can pause as individuals, families and a Nation to offer our thoughts and prayers. We not only remember the sacrifices of our veterans, we think of the mother who hears the sound of her child's 21-gun salute. We grieve for the husband or wife who receives a folded flag. We grieve for a young son or daughter who only knows Dad from a photograph. And as we share that grief, we also honor those among us; true heroes who place Nation above self and give their all for all of us.

President Abraham Lincoln spoke for us all in his letter to a mother who lost five sons during the Civil War.

Dear Madam,

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

How can words suffice in honoring our fallen veterans? We honor them by remembering – remembering that they loved America, so offered to serve far from its shores. They revered freedom, so sacrificed their own that we may be free. They defended our individual rights, yet yielded their individuality to do so. But most of all, they valued life, yet bravely readied themselves to die in service to our country.

The brave men and women we honor today selflessly gave of themselves to defend a way of life that we so cherish -- the rights of all people to determine our own futures, free of oppression and fear. It is because of these everyday heroes that we celebrate Memorial Day, commemorating the selflessness and sacrifice of those upon whose very lives rests the foundation of freedom. Memorial Day, one of our nation’s oldest and most significant holidays, recalls the glory and sacrifice of all who have set their personal aspirations aside for the preservation of our society.

In times such as these, it is important for every American to reflect on what it truly means to live in freedom. We owe all of our veterans, past and present, a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made in the defense of liberty. It is our duty to keep the memory of our fallen veterans alive. May we never forget those have fought for our freedom, and may we celebrate the lives of those who have truly made America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We need to put “memorial” back in Memorial Day. As this special day approaches, let us reflect on the freedoms we all enjoy for which many have died. To the families in of our fallen heroes who gave their hearts to this country, I say thank you. We owe you and your loved ones our heartfelt gratitude and more. On this Memorial Day, we join fellow Americans in a national day of remembrance in honor of America’s fallen. One Nation, One Day—let us never forget.

On this day, our hearts go out to the spouses and loved ones of those who have given all they can give in service to our nation. We share their sorrow, but we cannot know their grief. What we can do – and must do as a nation – is remember those who have fallen. Remember what they did; why they did it; and appreciate what that sacrifice means to us. It means freedom. It means security. I means strength, and the motivation to stay strong in freedom’s cause. To do any less – to not remember – would defile the hopes and dreams of those we honor today.

Italics and bold are my emphasis.

Thanks to all the Veterans of all the wars for giving us a free country to live in. Pray for those still in the conflict. They serve us proudly.

Barry Hunter
US Army 1968 - 1971
Vietnam !969 - 1970

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Thoughts

This was sent to me by the staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs and I thought it was worth sharing.

There is no observance in America more somber than Memorial Day. In events held across America this Memorial Day weekend, people will gather in small towns and great cities for one purpose: to remember our war dead, pay homage to their sacrifice and courage, and to recall the selflessness that embodies military service. Indeed, throughout Europe, Africa and the Pacific Islands, Americans and our foreign friends alike pay their respects by visiting our Nation’s 24 overseas military cemeteries.

This year, as in years past and years to come, the Department of Veterans Affairs plays a key role in these observances. On Memorial Day, millions of Americans gather on the pastoral lawns of our 131 national cemeteries, crisscrossed row upon row with markers over the final resting places of some of our nation’s most courageous citizens. By virtue of scale, solemnity and serenity, it is moving beyond words, and brings home the supreme cost of defending democracy.

Across the generations – across the centuries – Americans have answered the call to duty and many paid the ultimate price. The America we know today would not be the same were it not for the men and women we honor on Memorial Day.

But the true meaning of Memorial Day eclipses American history. Much of the contemporary history of the world was shaped and molded by the tens of millions of American veterans who put their lives on hold to wear the uniform. Who among us could even begin to contemplate the world today had courageous defenders of freedom not stood fast against the scourge of Nazi fascism or ruthless imperialism in the Pacific?

The latest generation of American veterans is engaged in a struggle no less critical to history than those of their predecessors. Everyday, young men and women are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan after service in harms way. Most come home to joyous reunions with loved ones and revel in the collective sigh of relief that marks a safe return. Others come home with the visible and invisible wounds that are the tragic hallmarks of armed conflict, while still others return in solemn, eternal repose beneath a draped American flag.

I am indescribably proud of the people of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the service they provide to this community of Veterans. The value and importance of their work is evident every day in the faces of the Veterans we serve. Whether it’s the gritty determination of a patient undergoing rehabilitative therapy at one of our VA medical centers, the ear-to-ear grins of a veteran and his family buying their first home with a VA loan guarantee, or a young veteran entering college because of expanded VA benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Veterans we serve are our inspiration to live up to Abraham Lincoln’s promise, “to care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow, and orphan.”

At VA, we embrace the full meaning of these words. VA’s Office of Survivors Assistance stands ready to serve these families of our fallen Veterans. As champions for survivors, they serve both as the leading resource for benefits and as an advocate on their behalf to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Currently, more than 500,000 Survivors are receiving VA benefits. We share their sorrow, but we cannot know their grief. What we can do – and must do as a nation – is remember their loved ones and their sacrifice. We must remember what they did; why they did it; and appreciate what it means to us – personally and as a nation.

Through their spirit, adherence to duty and honor – and yes, their sacrifice – our Veterans have paid for and delivered the freedom and security not only we Americans enjoy, but that lived by increasing millions around the world.

This is why we pause and remember Memorial Day – this year and every year. We remember those who have paid the ultimate price for America and all humanity, and we also reflect on the achievements wrought by their sacrifice. Life and liberty are God-given rights, but throughout history, the task of defending these high ideals has fallen to ordinary men and women of extraordinary courage and fortitude.

Their perseverance and loyalty to a higher calling is central to what and whom we honor each Memorial Day. Let us never forget those who have fallen and the immeasurable good for which they have laid down their lives.

Let us never stop educating our youngsters about the price that has been paid for their freedom. A trip with them to one of our sacred shrines – our Veterans cemeteries – is a good place to start.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2010 Nebula Awards

The 2010 Nebula Awards were presented on Saturday, May 21, 2011 in a ceremony at the Nebula Awards Weekend, held in Washington DC.


Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)

The Native Star, M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)


‘‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window’’, Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’10)

The Alchemist, Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible; Subterranean)
‘‘Iron Shoes’’, J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
‘‘The Sultan of the Clouds’’, Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s 9/10)
‘‘Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance’’, Paul Park (F&SF 1-2/10)


‘‘That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made’’, Eric James Stone (Analog 9/10)

‘‘Map of Seventeen’’, Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
‘‘The Jaguar House, in Shadow’’, Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s 7/10)
‘‘The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara’’, Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
‘‘Plus or Minus’’, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s 12/10)
‘‘Pishaach’’, Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
‘‘Stone Wall Truth’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s 2/10)

Short Story (tie)

‘‘Ponies’’, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 1/17/10)
‘‘How Interesting: A Tiny Man’’, Harlan Ellison® (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)

‘‘Arvies’’, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed 8/10)
‘‘I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno’’, Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed 6/10)
‘‘The Green Book’’, Amal El-Mohtar (Apex 11/1/10)
‘‘Ghosts of New York’’, Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
‘‘Conditional Love’’, Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s 1/10)

Ray Bradbury Award


Despicable Me
Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’
How to Train Your Dragon
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Toy Story 3

Andre Norton Award

I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday; Harper)

Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
White Cat, Holly Black (McElderry)
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press; Scholastic UK)
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
The Boy from Ilysies, Pearl North (Tor Teen)
A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)

Alice Sheldon AKA James Tiptree, Jr. and Michael Whelan received the Solstice Award. John E. Johnston received the SFWA Service Award.

In Flanders Fields

The Flower of Remembrance

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This was the poem written by World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery. It expressed McCrae's grief over the "row on row" of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields, located in a region of western Belgium and northern France. The poem presented a striking image of the bright red flowers blooming among the rows of white crosses and became a rallying cry to all who fought in the First World War. The first printed version of it reportedly was in December 1915, in the British magazine Punch.

McCrae's poem had a huge impact on two women, Anna E. Guerin of France and Georgia native Moina Michael. Both worked hard to initiate the sale of artificial poppies to help orphans and others left destitute by the war. By the time Guerin established the first sale in the U.S., in 1920 with the help of the American Legion, the poppy was well known in the allied countries — America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — as the "Flower of Remembrance." Proceeds from that first sale went to the American and French Children's League.

Guerin had troubles with the distribution of the poppies in early 1922 and sought out Michael for help. Michael had started a smaller-scaled Poppy Day during a YMCA conference she was attending in New York and wanted to use the poppies as a symbol of remembrance of the war. Guerin, called the "Poppy Lady of France" in her homeland, and Michael, later dubbed "The Poppy Princess" by the Georgia legislature, went to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for help.

The poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW at its national convention in Seattle, Wash., in August 1922, following the first nationwide distribution of poppies ever conducted by any veterans organization.

In 1923, faced by a shortage of poppies from French manufacturers, the VFW relied on New York florists to make up the difference. This was a huge setback, however, and led to the idea by VFW officials to use unemployed and disabled veterans to produce the artificial flower. This concept was approved in late 1923 and the first poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1924. This provided a practical means of assistance to veterans and also ensured a steady, reliable source of poppies. Veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, and each year the VFW distributes roughly 14 million worldwide.

It was around the same time the first poppy factory was built that the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. The term "Buddy" was coined by the poppy makers as a tribute to their comrades who did not come home from the war or who were scarred and crippled for life.

The VFW celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Buddy Poppy as its official flower in 1997. While profits from its sales have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years, the poppy itself survives as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five from Harriet

Late Eclipses
Seanan McGuire
DAW, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406660

Half-breed private investigator Toby Daye finally believes she belongs in Faerie after leaving the land two years ago for San Francisco. She even has made a shaky peace with an adversary Tybalt the Cat King. However her serenity abruptly ends when her close friend the undine Lily the Lady of the Tea Gardens was recently poisoned and is dying. She becomes further shocked when Luna the wife of liege lord Sylvester Torquil becomes ill. Toby believes someone is targeting her through people she cares about.

At the same time Oleander de Merelands has returned. She was a key part of a group that kept Toby trapped as a fish for years. No one else believes Oleander is back as only Toby can see her, which leaves her friends wondering if the changeling has become insane. Crazy or not, Toby investigates before something else horrific occurs to someone else she cares about.

The fourth October Daye urban fantasy whodunit series (see An Artificial Night, Rosemary and Rue, and A Local Habitation) is a fabulous thriller as the heroine burned by both sides of her DNA has a lingering distrust of everyone so her paranoia kicks in and she does what she does best: investigate. Fast-paced, the case is personal as friends are dying; she is the accused; her enemy has surfaced; and her mom is somehow in the middle of what the heroine believes is a concerted effort to destroy her. No one provides better Noir tours of San Francisco and Faerie than Ms. Daye does when she resolutely works an investigation. Harriet Klausner

Primal Bonds
Jennifer Ashley
Berkley, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9780425240786

Humans keep shapeshifters in run down squabble. They also insist the beasts wear fae created collars to insure these monsters are unable to use their animal nature.

Half-breed fae-lupine Andrea Gray flees from a potential mate who insists she belongs to him. She arrives at the Shiftertown section of Austin where she hopes to find protection. Feline shifter Sean Morrissey, who possesses the powerful shifter soul release sword, claims her as his mate though he does so in name only to keep Andrea safe. As the two alphas begin to investigate their desire for one another, they fall in love, but each fears to raise the issue of being true life mates as he expected no one due to his sword’s skill and she has always detested the concept of belonging to any mate even as she knows he is not just any mate.

The latest Shifters Unbound urban fantasy (see Pride Mates) is an enjoyable thriller as the Ashley mythos is further developed with a sense that shifters exist and what happens in Austen is genuine. The story line is fast-paced with the sexual taut relationship between the feline and the lupine cutting across the action packed tale. Readers will enjoy the Primal Bonds between two alphas who mate at the drop of a page to the delight of fans. Harriet Klausner

Under Wraps
Hannah Jayne
Kensington, Mar 1 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9780758258922

In San Francisco, beneath the police department is located the Underworld Detection Agency. Their mission is to conduct investigations and negotiations especially involving humans for their paranormal clients. In fact, the only “Breather” human working for UDA is administrative assistant Sophie Lawson.

Recently, the supernatural crowd is shocked when a serial killer begins a deadly murderer’s spree of the paranormal. Sophie becomes worried when her nice boss Peter Sampson the werewolf vanishes without a trace as she fears he may have been a victim of the predator. Never working the field, Sophie tentatively investigates her employer’s vanishing, which leads her to police detective Parker Hayes. Though attracted to the cop, she begins to realize that he is not telling her something critical either about Peter or himself, so she distrusts him.

This is an engaging investigative urban fantasy that takes a while to get the elements in place, but once that occurs (about a fourth of the novel) turns into a delightful thriller, extremely diffuclt to put down. Sophie the token breather keeps the story lien focused while her relationships to her werewolf boss and a vampiress roommate make the paranormal seem normal. Fans will appreciate her adventures on and under the streets of San Francisco as she and the cop she desires with her heart but distrusts with her head search for the lost lupine shifter.
Harriet Klausner

Deadly Vows
Brenda Joyce
Harlequin HQN, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775514

In 1902 in New York, Francesca Cahill and Calder Hart are getting married in a few hours. However, before the ceremony, Francesca sneaks off to a gallery to see a portrait Hart commissioned. She is locked inside, but by the time she escapes from the gallery, everyone including Hart believes she jilted him. Francesca knows someone set this up, but not who or why.

Hart refuses to listen to her explanation as he is hurt and humiliated; raging he ends their engagement. Stunned and hurt too, Francesca turns to Hart’s half-brother Police Commissioner Rick Bragg for solace at a time when his marriage to Leigh Ann is crumbling. As Francesca ponders who owns her heart, she and Bragg search for who “framed’ her and is trying to blackmail her and soon a killer is after her too.

Though the roller coaster ride for the heroine’s relationships and affection continues to the point it feels sort of inane yet due to Brenda Joyce’s talent very entertaining as Cahill and the crew work two mysteries as well as the enigma of her heart. Filled with action, dysfunctional relationships (a common thread) and a sense of being in Manhattan at the start of the previous century (once again a fabulous recurring theme), fans will enjoy Francesca’s latest escapades in maybe (nor not) making it to the altar. Harriet Klausner

The Breath of God
Jeffrey Small
West Hills, Mar 1 2011, $15.95
ISBN 9781933512860

Emory University doctorate student Grant Matthews knows he is running out of time on submitting his thesis. His topic focuses on the impact other cultures had on the early development of Christianity. In particular over the objections of the school’s advisory board, he pursues a legend of an Asian boy traveling fourteen-fifteen centuries before Marco Polo went the other way.

In Asia, he learns from Buddhist monks that what he seeks might exist in one of the monasteries in Bhutan. He journeys to the Himalayan nation where his guide is a former Buddhist monk working to feed his family. He learns more about Issa and the lad’s spiritual journey that affirms his subject loved and wrote down his travels. Grant meets Kristin Misaki and soon finds the treasure he sought. However, what happened to a Russian late in the nineteenth century when he made the same discovery soon proves history repeats itself. Christian fundamentalists are willing to kill, destroy or hide to prevent anything heretical that affirms that the early founders were in touch with other cultures for some of the religion’s critical foundations coming east to west.

This is a super Brownian thriller that is at its best when the beleaguered hero is in Asia pursuing the Issa documents amidst Buddhist monks. The Christian conspiracy to shut down the heresy feels more like a sub-genre requirement and detracts from a powerful insightful novel. Still, based on a real Russian Notovitch was condemned as a heretic for publishing his finding of the Saint Issa scrolls in Himis, India, as those ancient documents explained the “Lost Years of Jesus”, overall The Breath of God is a terrific tale. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 26, 2011


In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln spoke of America’s obligation to repay our debt to those who died in service to our country when he said,

“It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The revolutionary patriot, Thomas Paine — with no weapon other than a quill pen—galvanized our country’s cause and inspired a revolution with his words about the import of sacrifice, and citizenship.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

In the Civil War’s aftermath, the American orator, Robert Green Ingersoll, eloquently memorialized its more than 600,000 dead. I believe his words speak for all who perished in America’s name. They read:

“They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless . . . Earth may run red with other wars, but they are at peace. In the midst of battles, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.”

George Washington once said:

“By keeping up in Peace a well-regulated and disciplined militia, we shall take … the best method to preserve for a long time to come the happiness, dignity, and Independence of our country.”

More than a century and a half ago, the American statesman, Daniel Webster, penned a fitting tribute to generations of Americans in uniform—past, present, and future. Webster wrote:

“Although no … engraved stone bears record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.”

William Gladstone, Prime Minister of Great Britain in the 19th Century, once said:

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.”

President John F. Kennedy once said:

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Afterblight Chronicles: America

The Afterblight Chronicles: America
by Simon Spurrier, Rebecca Levene and Al Ewing

23 June 2011 • £10.99 (UK)ISBN 978-1-907992-13-1

14 June 2011 • $12.99/$14.99 (US & CAN)ISBN 978-1-907992-14-8

Also Available as an eBook

The End Was Nigh! .... so what happens next?
An epidemic has devastated the world and America has gone to hell in a handcart ... welcome to the post-apocalypse as you’ve never seen it before.

Forget your depressing dystopias, Abaddon Books brings you a trio of the most apocalyptic novels you’re likely to read in The Afterblight Chronicles: America, where the US turns from The Land of the Free into the Home of the Hunted.

From the white-knuckle ride of Simon Spurrier’s The Culled to the double-crossing intrigue of Rebecca Levene’s Kill or Cure and the ultra-violent man-punches-bear bloodshed of Al Ewing’s Death Got No Mercy, the world of the Afterblight Chronicles series is no place for the feint-hearted.

A breathtaking journey across a crippled continent, The Afterblight Chronicles omnibus breathing new life into the post-apocalyptic genre. In a world where the only kind of law comes down the barrel of a gun, the only guarantee is action-packed survival adventure.

About the Series

The world has been devastated by an epidemic. Although there are pockets of an attempted continuation of civilisation, the truth is that the world has gone to hell in a handcart. The reason for this is a disease that has wiped out most of the world's population. It kills almost all those who are not of the blood group 'O neg'. Those people who survive are untouched. Everyone else dies. Infrastructures have collapsed. Mobs run rampant. The only kind of law that exists is that imposed by the people with the biggest guns. In this chaotic world who can bring hope and order?

The Afterblight Chronicles bring together the best genre writers in a shared world full of action-packed surprises and terrifying images of a world gone to the dogs, in a series that refuses to wallow in dystopian despondency when there’s meals to catch and cannibals to ward off!

Abaddon Books recently struck a deal with Multistory Films to bring The Afterblight Chronicles title School’s Out by Scott Andrews to the big screen.

About the Authors

Simon Spurrier is an award-winning writer of novels and graphic novel fiction. He's worked extensively for the UK's talent-factory title 2000 AD, has published novels with Abaddon, the Black Library and Black Flame, and has won a series of accolades and prizes for screenwriting. He's worked as a cook, a bookseller, a BBC Art Director and a film student. He lives in London because the night sky is a far better shade of green than anywhere else.

Rebecca Levene has been a writer and editor for fifteen years. In that time she has storylined Emmerdale, written a children's book about Captain Cook, several science fiction and horror novels, a novelisation and making-of book for Rebellion's Rogue Trooper video game, and a Beginner's Guide to Poker. She has also edited a range of media tie-in books. She was associate producer on the ITV1 drama Wild at Heart, story consultant on the Chinese soap opera Joy Luck Street, script writer on Family Affairs and Is Harry on the Boat? and is part of the writing team for Channel 5's Swinging. She has had two sit-coms optioned, one by the BBC and one by Talkback, and currently has a detective drama in development with Granada Television.

Al Ewing was born in 1977, three days before Elvis died on the toilet. Indoctrinated into the loathsome practice of comics at an early age by his disreputable brother, the child progressed from his innocent beginnings to the loathsome depths of sin represented by the British comic 2000AD, long known as a haunt of depravity. He remains ensconced there to this day as a writer of the bizarre and fantastic, when not involved in even more sordid past-times.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fear of Flying?

24th May 2011

No fear of flying? You have now...

Author turns his own fear of the skies into terrifying horror novel
Being afraid of getting on an aeroplane can cripple some people, but an author has decided to confront his own fear of flying head-on by turning it into a chilling horror novel.

Award-winning writer Conrad Williams, who even tried to overcome his dread of flight by taking flying lessons, has channelled his fear in his latest chilling novel, Loss of Separation.

Winner of the International Horror Guild Award and three-times winner of the British Fantasy Society Award, Williams is a master of powerful and emotionally-charged modern horror in the vein of Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker.
In Loss of Separation, commercial pilot Paul Roan is in command of a Boeing 777 when it is involved in a near miss. Nerves shot, he resigns and chooses to re-launch his life running a small hotel in a coastal village with his girlfriend, Tamara.

Hit by a speeding car, Roan emerges six months later from a coma to discover the villagers, astonished by his cheating of death, now see him as a talisman and bring him secrets too awful to deal with themselves. He also suffers from terrible dreams of a crippled black airliner and its terrible cargo, which he knows, somehow, is coming for him.

Conrad said: “I get that flying is, statistically, the safest form of transport, but it's such a dramatic, dangerous form of getting from A to B that I can't relax, no matter how wide the flight attendant's smile. Mechanical things break down from time to time but when you're four miles up in the air and the engine blows, there's no hard shoulder to rely on...

“I wrote Loss of Separation partly as a way to get all that shut-in fear and panic out of me, and to play on a fear that many of us have, but also because I wanted to send Paul, my main character, on a journey from that claustrophobic environment into the wide open spaces of the Suffolk coastline: there's terror in both extremes and I wanted to drag him right through it.

“The title of the novel is relevant on at least three levels of interaction within the book. It's a technical term, of course, for a 'near miss', but it's also hardwired into Paul's change in physicality, and, critically, it's got something to do with what happens at the end of the story.”


£7.99 (UK) - ISBN 978-1-906735-55-5
$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN) - ISBN 978-1906735-56-2

Monday, May 23, 2011

News Release


From Andrew Salmon, the acclaimed author of the “The Light of Men,” comes another gripping science fiction novel.

In the not too distant future, Earth is ravaged by a series of natural disasters that have decimated the population. To rebuild mankind, science has begun human cloning. They are created from the DNA of police officers and fire fighters; the goal... More >, to establish a new cadre of selfless guardians to protect the fragile remains of humanity.

Clones are grown with the memories of past lives erased so that they don’t have to carry around the baggage of lost tragedies. But something is wrong with C-Peter Reilly, grown from the cells of a Vancouver detective. He has memories of his first life, of his wife and children and the world before the devastation. Such information is taboo and should his secret be discovered, he would instantly be mind-wiped. Reilly must keep his painful memories to himself while coping mentally and physically with his “second” life.

Praise for THE DARK LAND. “Andrew Salmon has done it again. ‘The Dark Land’ is an excellent blend of noir crime fiction and hard SF, with the unmistakable spice of the classic pulp spirit. Plus which Salmon raises moral questions, and does not provide pat answers for them. This is a rare novel that both entertains readers, and makes them think as well.” Charles Saunders (Author of popular Imaro series.)

Originally self-published in a limited edition, Airship 27 Productions & Cornerstone Book Publishers are proud to present this re-edited, new edition featuring a cover by Mark Maddox and interior illustrations by Victor Dandridge, with designs by Rob Davis. Airship 27 and Airship 27 packages and publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition. In the past, Airship 27 has released “Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective”, “Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting”, “The Green Lama” and “Secret Agent X”. For more information on Airship 27, go to www.airship27.com.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!

ISBN: 1-934935-90-5

ISBN 13: 978-1-934935-90-3

Produced by Airship 27

Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers

Retail Price: $24.95

On-Line Store (www.gopulp.info/)

Digital Store (www.Airship27Hangar.com)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More from Harriett

The Raven Queen
Jules Watson
Spectra, Feb 22 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780553384659

Her father King Eochaid of Connacht married Maeve to two lords as political alliances, but broke off both. She hoped to remain home, but her dad arranged another marriage for her to the King of Ulaid Conor.

Two years later, desperate not to be a political pawn of the male rulers, Maeve concludes her only way out of marital hell is to replace her father when he dies though he has a son still living, her older brother Innel, as his heir. She flees Conor offering her knowledge of his Red Branch warriors for her freedom, but her dying father and ambitious brother call her traitor. Maeve knows if miraculously she becomes the Queen of Connacht she has less time than a man would have to insure affluence comes to her kingdom. To do that she must overcome her sibling, his rivals, the clan’s anti female bias and her husband; thus to succeed she needs to convince Ruan the Lake wanderer and the Fae to support her claim. If she fails almost from the onset the Druid priests will sacrifice her to the Fae in exchange for their providing wealth to the kingdom.

The latest entry in the Watson mythology (see the superb Swan Maiden), The Raven Queen is another terrific Ancient Eire mystical thriller. Filled with action but driven by courageous Maeve and supported by a strong secondary cast, fans will relish this lyrical Irish mythos as Jules Watson brings to life ancient Eire with this exciting tale. Harriet Klausner

After the Golden Age
Carrie Vaughn
Tor, Apr 12 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765325556

In Commerce City, Celia West the forensic accountant is fortunate that the Olympiad superheroes protect her because she keeps getting kidnapped. She is the daughter of the group’s leaders Suzanne known as the Spark because of her ability to create and control fire and Warren endowed with super speed and strength. However, Celia is estranged from her parents as she wants to live a normal life working assets and liabilities that are numbers and not fighting supervillains with masks and powers.

Currently she is looking into the records of supervillain Destructor seeking proof of tax fraud. When his case comes to court, her relationships through her parents to the alleged felon are exposed. This costs her the job and her friends while widening the rift with her parents. As a crime wave hits the city and with too much idle time on her hands, Celia sees a pattern that ties all the felonious activity to one person. She uses the supercomputer at the Olympiad headquarters trying to uncover the identity of this diabolical mastermind, but also learns much about the yin yang births of superheroes and supervillains.

Carrie Vaughn is a superhero of an author as she deftly switches voices and worlds with her different series (see Kitty the werewolf tales). The story line obviously pays homage to the Golden and Silver Ages of comic books with the twist of an accountant working the numbers to bring down supervillains. Readers root for Celia who they hope reconciles with her parents and obtains self-esteem as she fears she can never live up to the legends her parents are. Filled with pathos and a touch of romance as well as plenty of POW! And AM! Fans will enjoy the silver adventures of the offspring of two Golden Age heroes. Harriet Klausner

The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse
Steven C. Schlozman, MD
Grand Central, Mar 25 2011, $19.99
ISBN: 9780446564663

A zombie plague has been turned loose upon the earth, but the disease is not natural as it is man made. The research has turned people into NGH, No Longer Human. This leads to medical researchers on a remote island dissecting and experimenting on captured zombies seeking a cure with the belief that NGH types are classified as monstrous beasts who live to feed endlessly on human flesh.

Nuclear bombs fail to end the spread of the epidemic. Meanwhile on the coral atoll Bassas de India between Madagascar and Africa, a research center has been established to find a cure. Led by renowned zombie expert Dr. Stanley Blum and Dr. Blanca Gutierrez, volunteers have come to help. They conclude that the disease works similar to catching the flu with prions playing a key role. They believe they are closing in on a vaccination, but abruptly they seem to have vanished. However, Dr. Blum’s The Zombie Autopsies’ journals have been found and under review by the World Health Organization; as time runs out on Homo sapiens remaining the dominant species on the planet.

As Z books go, The Zombie Autopsies is a truly gruesome horror medical thriller; not so much due to someone creating the disease, but more because of the inhuman experiments on humanoid bodies by scientists mindful of Dr. Mengele and the Nazis. Although the reader will understand the despite attempts to save humanity, the scientific saviors lose what makes a person human while conducting their research. Dr. Blum and the Z crew put the faces to the tale as he knows he will never leave the island as he regrets what he believes he must do while fans will have to decide whether the zombie is a monster or sick grandma as this is a chilling, vividly gory thriller. Harriet Klausner

Rob Thurman
Roc, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451463869

Hybrid human-Auphe Cal Leandros awakens on a beach with no idea how he got there or why he is surrounded by dead spidery monsters. Although his memory is gone, Cal believes in his gut he is a natural born killer as he heads into Nevah’s Landing, South Carolina.

Two men he does not recognize arrive claiming they are here to help him. One of them says he is Cal’s purebred brother Niko and the other insists he is their friend Robin Goodfellow. Niko explains they are BFFs also and run a private investigator business together. He distrusts both of them as his instincts, especially his Auphe side, insist he do so. That changes when more spidery monsters attack and they have his back as other enemies surface.

The latest Cal Leandros thriller is an exciting tale enhanced by a realistic modification in the relationship between the siblings. While Niko is hurt by his brother’s behavior towards him, Cal continues to struggle between his dueling dual natures as Cal fears what he truly is since he has no memory of who he is. Filled with action, Rob Thurman provides a terrific twist to the protagonist in the angst-laden Blackout (see Roadkill and Deathwish to fully understand the spin).
Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Harriet Returns

Autumn: The City
David Moody
Dunne, Feb 1 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312570002

The pandemic virus was so contagious, over 99% of mankind died in under twenty-four hours. Civilization was over and the few humans to survive had no time to mourn their losses as a few days later the dead began to ruse. Some fortunate people escaped the city (see Autumn) though unsure where to go.

However, not all were able to leave. Those trapped inside the city have little hope as the streets swarm with the walking undead who “live” to rip human flesh apart. Donna York hid under a desk during the brutal first forty-eight hours. Jack the warehouse worker stayed home after he observed oddness on the bus and saw his elderly neighbor. Clare the student meets Jack when she enters his home seeking shelter. Paul hid in the music store where he worked. They begin to meet other survivors like Michael and Cooper. These few unfortunate knows their only prayer is to run a gauntlet through aggressive killers in order to reach an underground military bunker that Cooper says is their salvation; not knowing whether the military remains in control inside of it.

This is an action-packed exciting Z thriller (don’t use that Z word with the Autumn tales) as the few remaining humans trapped inside the city struggle through a deadly path to reach their only chance to survive. The story line is fast-paced with the early chapters before everyone converges displaying some of the fears each possesses of the unknown and more so of the known. Although David Moody never digs deeper into the emotional defense mechanisms mentally deployed to control a wide variety of psychological issues such as survivor guilt and seeing friends and family change into mindless killers, fans will enjoy the escapades of those fleeing for their lives with the Undead everywhere ready to pounce. Harriet Klausner

Demon Song
Cat Adams
Tor, Mar 1 2011, $14.99
ISBN 9780765324962

Bodyguard Celia Graves knows her inner self battles between being a siren by birth and a vampire by mistake. She struggles with managing her new thirst for blood with the emotional fallout from her recent battles with a demon and a siren queen (see Blood Song and Siren Song). On top of all that turmoil she regards herself as human.

However, instead of R&R adjustment to her new skills and a chance to lick her wounds, Celia finds out that an ancient portal closed when Atlantis died is tearing the dimensional barrier asunder. If so demon hordes will invade the mortal world killing and enslaving humans. She needs to interpret prophesies left behind by a dead friend and obtain allies, several prejudiced against vampires and others against her in particular, to reseal the widening gap before it is too late.

The latest Graves urban fantasy (see Blood Song and Siren Song) is a great entry that moves forward on two interacting fronts. The heroine copes poorly with her mental adjustment to the changes made worse by Posttraumatic Stress Disorder while the demons are coming, the demons are coming. Fast-paced and loaded with action, readers will relish Celia’s latest grave crisis when all she wants to be is a human woman and not siren-vampire save the world heroine. Harriet Klausner

Serpent’s Storm
Amber Benson
Ace, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441020096

Calliope Reaper-Jones has a unique DNA as she happens to be one of Death’s Daughters. She just wants to be a normal New York City yuppie, but with her genetics normal is not a term Calliope expects to ever find.

However even she is unprepared when her sister Thalia united with the Devil commits patricide killing their father Death. Complicating matters for Calliope is she is unsure whether she should grieve or not for her dad or herself as she is now Death. She must accept this position she never wanted starting with the need to kill her new lover Daniel the former Devil’s protégé turned soul-saver; for if she abdicates her duty, chaos has entered the Hall of Death, which will swarm all over the universe including heaven and hell but especially earth. Then she must pay the death debt with the Ender of Death for what occurred to her family especially her widowed mom.

No longer the heir apparent thanks to her sibling, the Reaper Jones must embrace her heritage or watch the universe implode. Fast-paced but filled with humor and pathos, readers will embrace the heroine as accepts Manhattan is no longer home if it ever truly was. Serpent’s Storm is Cal’s fantasy as she with a strong support cast make for a powerful action-packed thriller. Harriet Klausner

Etched in Bone
Adrian Phoenix
Pocket, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439137307

He has his feet in three worlds though he wants none of them. Vampire Dante Baptiste is the Fallen maker and the Great Destroyer who wants neither role. However, he wants a future with his beloved FBI agent Heather Wallace who shares his love and anguished tortured soul (if he has one that is) that often teeters towards insanity.

The vampires of nightkind want him as a means to take control of the planet. At the same time, the human Shadow Branch agents seek to control him by using enhanced psychological persuasion of him and if needed his love Heather. Finally the Fallen followers are growing impatient with their leader’s refusal to lead them to the Promised Land as expected by his “offspring for over a thousand years. These three diverse groups hone in on Dante and Heather.

The fourth Maker's Song (see In the Blood, Rush of Wings and Beneath the Skin) is a taut thriller in which the reader continues to empathize with the beleaguered hero and his beloved Fed. Although there are too many subplot start-ups with a horde of new mostly antagonists that make it difficult to follow the Dante (and by association Heather) assaults and where they will lead as Etched in Bone completes the transition of the overarching theme from a paranormal police procedural into a grim urban fantasy.. Still fans of Adrian Phoenix will enjoy stepping into the author’s dark world. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jeff Jones, 1944-2011

Jeffrey Catherine Jones died yesterday. During the 60s along with Frazetta created the collectible paperback book. If their covers were on a book, it sold - regardless of how good the book was, but thankfully most of the books were worth reading.

Jeff had gender reassignment surgery and added the Catherine to his name.

I only met him once in the 70s, but have enjoyed the art and will continue to do so for a long time.

PYR announces Young Adult Line

Prometheus Books’ Pyr Imprint Enters the YA Genre Fiction Market

Introduces Pyr for the YA Reader with Three New Titles in Sci-Fi Adventure, Paranormal Romance, and Fantasy Adventure

Amherst, New York – In November 2011, Pyr, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, will introduce its first book specifically for the Young Adult (YA) market. Two additional YA titles follow, in December 2011 and February 2012.

“Several titles in the Pyr catalog have had crossover appeal to the young adult reader—including The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book 1), Sasha (A Trial of Blood and Steel Book One) and The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam, Book One),” says Prometheus Books president Jonathan Kurtz, “so it was a natural progression for us to decide to publish books intended specifically for this market segment.”

Prometheus Books, an independent publisher of thoughtful nonfiction based in Amherst, New York, launched the Pyr imprint in March 2005. Since then, it has become a brand known for books with quality both inside and out, from rich, engrossing narratives to award-winning cover art and design. Pyr’s editorial director, Lou Anders, is currently nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Editor—for the fifth consecutive year.

Anders says, “We believe there is a real hunger in the growing YA readership for narratives that explore the full, imaginative breadth of what science fiction and fantasy has to offer. Of our first three Pyr titles for the YA reader, two are from authors who primarily write for the adult book market, an acquisitions approach we decided best served this need. Also, it's long been said that 'the Golden Age of science fiction is twelve,' and while this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it speaks to the common interests of those who read speculative fiction, whether teen or adult. With many adult readers turning to Young Adult fiction to recapture the sense of wonder and fun that the best stories in any category have always embodied, it made sense for us to bring our expertise, and that of our authors, to this new arena.”

The first Pyr Young Adult title (in November) will be Lightbringer, the debut novel from K. D. McEntire. For ages twelve and up, Lightbringer is a YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance set in a world a breath away from our own. Similar in tone to Tithe by Holly Black and Unleashed by Kristopher Reisz, Lightbringer tiptoes down the line between love and horror with the tale of a young girl discovering love with a long-dead ghost.

In December, one of the most critically acclaimed Pyr authors—the Hugo and Philip K. Dick award–winning Ian McDonald—makes his YA debut with the sci-fi adventure Planesrunner. The first part of the new Everness series for ages twelve and up, Planesrunner stars a fourteen-year-old boy searching for his kidnapped father across the many parallel worlds of the multiverse. Cory Doctorow (Little Brother, For the Win) calls it “smashing adventure fiction that spans the multiverse without ever losing its cool or its sense of style. Ian McDonald is one of the greats of science fiction, and his young adult debut is everything you could hope for: romantic, action packed, wildly imaginative, and full of heart.”

Lastly, Ari Marmell’s Thief’s Covenant (A Widdershins Adventure), for readers twelve and up, will be published in February 2012. It features a young, female orphan-turned-thief making her way in a dangerous city with help from Olgun, a foreign god who, having lost his followers, has taken up residence in her head.

YA titles will be released in hardcover and in ebook formats and will have their own section in the Pyr catalog. YA is expected eventually to account for a third of the Pyr list.

Although technically an imprint, Pyr was called “one of a very few publishers I know of who have no bad books to their name” by a BiblioBuffet writer, and “one of the most exciting publishers in the business” by Black Gate magazine. Given the crossover in adult and YA readership, Prometheus Books is thrilled to introduce the Pyr brand of science fiction and fantasy to a whole new audience.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DEAD OF VERIDON to be released

Dead of Veridon
by Tim Akers
9 June 2011 • £7.99 (UK), ISBN 978-1-907519-47-5

31 May 2011 • $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN), ISBN 978-1-907519-48-2
Also Available as an eBook

What is the secret of the clockwork zombies?!

Clockwork zombies, criminal families, fallen gods, an ancient horror thirsting for vengeance – when trouble comes looking for Jacob Burn, it doesn’t do half measures.

The failed zeppelin pilot and outcast may have saved the city of Veridon from destruction, but that doesn’t mean it’s grateful. Burn now finds himself on his own, on the wrong side of the law and on borrowed time as he is appointed to investigate the rise of the ‘cog-dead.’

Wrapped in a stunning cover from comic book legend Greg Staples, Tim Akers’ fantastic hard-boiled Steampunk-Clockpunk story is a thrilling mix of rich characterisation and dramatic action set in a detailed and disturbing world that leaps off the page.

“The book is fantastically imaginative, the dialogue pitch perfect, the story screaming to be an Alex Proyas film.” – Lou Anders on Heart of Veridon

About the Author

Tim Akers was born in deeply rural North Carolina, the only son of a theologian. He has been recovering in Chicago ever since, where he lives with his wife, his German Shepherd, and a healthy respect for an internally consistent narrative.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Unusual Books Reviewed by Harriett

Percival, Guardian of the King
Kent North
His Work Christian Publishing, Oct 12 2009, $12.95
ISBN: 9780979918964

At the Guardian Angel Academy, student Percival is failing as he gets nothing right. Headmaster Aurelius is frustrated with his pupil who may be the first angelic dropout as Percival is dangerous to himself and others so he could never protect a human child. Although he knows he is not on a par with his peers, Percival continues to try his best refusing to quit even knowing he will never be given a child of his own.

Suddenly a miracle occurs when The Master chooses his least Percival to serve as the guardian angel protecting a special child. Everyone fears the worst but also wonders about the Master’s plan and his mysterious ways in choosing Percival though all know the Lord has a purpose for everyone. Meanwhile the worst student angel vows to be everything to his ward as he ventures to the first century Holy Land.

Although targeting middle school children, this retelling of the child Christ is a great parable that encourages readers while embracing the Lord to be all we can be and never give up trying as part of honoring God and his Son. Readers will feel transported in time and place as Kent North provides a strong Christian tale.
Harriet Klausner

Michael Griffo
Kensington, Feb 22 2011, $9.95
ISBN: 9780758253385

In the insular town of Weeping Water in Nebraska, teenager Michael Howard feels alone and alienated. His peers taunt him about being gay while his mother keeps her distance from him and his grandfather, whose house he lives in, is always on his case.

When his mother dies, his father Vaughn takes him back to his country England only to dump the lad at Archangel Academy in Eden. There he meets enigmatic Ronan, a gay teen. Each realizes they have met their soulmate, but wanting a strong foundation to their relationship, they take it slow. Michael has secrets he hides from his beloved, but Ronan conceals a humongous one that he is a hybrid vampire whose exiled clan is at war with the popular version of the vampire. Ronan worries about how his Michael will react when he tells him truth; he also knows the American is his Achilles’ Heel. When the time comes, Michael will have to choose between hurting Ronan (and himself) or embracing their love. However, first they will have to outwit their enemies who look at Ronan’s species as an abomination.

Ironically titled Unnatural is a creative imaginative vampire enthralling thriller that targets young adults though readers should be aware there are graphic sex scenes. The strong story line focuses on the impact of a teen who is a part of a shammed minority group. Filled with action, Michael Griffo also cautions parents to be there for their children regardless of their sexual preference even when it differs from yours so that their offspring will not be like Michael ashamed of himself until he finally makes friends at the Academy. Everyone needs to feel they belong somewhere and with someone. Harriet Klausner

Karen Marie Moning
Delacorte, Jan 18 2011,
ISBN: 9780385341677

MacKayla “Mac” Lane continues her quest for the magical book of the dark Sinsar Dubh that has the power to eradicate worlds. She is no longer the frightened Irish-American exile although she still grieves for her late sister Alina; Mac enters the forbidden White Mansion of the Unseelie King who wrote the tome of evil she seeks that she believes has answers to what she truly is and may provide a light to Alina’s homicide.

She remains inside the abode with the Unseelie King much longer than she anticipated, but finally returns to Dublin with a new outlook as she now understands the essence of evil as “bad thinking it is good”; the remaining Americanized tenderness has been expunged from her soul. Mac will do what it takes to achieve her goals. If friends die, so be it; if she seeks strange bedfellow enemies as allies so what; yet Mac remains off kilter with each revelation she discovers about her sibling, herself and that dammed tome that is hunting down Mac and her allies.

This is an excellent finish (not sure about whether this is truly the end as major questions remain including new ones) to a strong urban fantasy (see Dreamfever and Faefever). The fascinating story line shows how much Mac has evolved from that naïve caring American coming to find her sister’s killer only to find monsters around ever corner; thus her travails and tribulations including grief has hardened her heart and turned her tundra colder with an absolute belief that the end justifies the mean. Exciting though there appears room for another book (re Barrons and another key player) to tie up the loose ends and an adjustment is needed to accept the evolved Mac, fans of the Fever fantasy saga will enjoy the heroines search. Harriet Klaussner

The Radleys
Matt Haig
Free Press, Dec 28 2010, $25.00
ISBN: 978-1439194010

Dr. Peter and Helen Radley, accompanied by their teenage children Clara and Rowan, move from swinging wild London to quiet sedate Bishopthorpe. Believing blood thirst is a simple addiction, the parents adhere strictly to The Abstainer's Handbook rules that strongly suggest living like a human while living amongst humans. However, they have also neglected to inform their fifteen years old daughter and seventeen years old son that they are purebred vampires.

The offspring suffer form nightmares that each conceals from their parents. However, everything changes when an intoxicated Stuart Harper attacks Clara a vegetarian. His assault causes the dormant thirst for blood (and meat) to arise in his female classmate as her fangs surface. Peter asks his brother Will an overt vampire to help them with their problems.

This is an entertaining dark vampire family drama with a powerful twist to the relationships. Character driven, the cast makes the tale fun to read as none of the extended Radley family come across as vampiric stereotyped; instead ironically the four Radley suburbanites are stereotypical: repressed and must behave in accordance with the middle class rules of order while Uncle Will prefers the bloody life of a swinger. Intelligent this is a witty satirical spin to the recent vampire lives amongst us craze. Harriet Klausner

Friday, May 13, 2011

Four from Harriett

Daybreak Zero
John Barnes
Ace, $26.95
ISBN: 9780441019755

Almost a year has passed since Daybreak made itself known, but those aware of its existence remain clueless as to what it is though its purpose appears to be the extinction of the human race. Fusion bombs explode and fourteen EMPs strike the United States causing the massive black-out and billions of deaths. Nanoswarm attacks destroy petroleum products including plastic leaving more people dead. On the moon, a gun appears that shooting rays at earth so that there is no radio or television; Daybreak is behind the assault.

In America much of the land has been devastated by the Daybreak attacks. President Graham Weisband and his provisional Constitutional Government in Olympia, Washington and Cameron Nguyen-Peters of the temporary National Government in Athens, Georgia argue over how to get the country back on its’ feet.. In Pueblo, Colorado, Heather O'Grainne head of the Reconstruction Research Center prevented a civil war (see Directive 51) and hosts conferences for the candidates wanting to become the next president with the Constitution serving as the basis for a new government. She also wonders how the Tribals are linked to Daybreak who seems to be able to kill anyone in opposition at any time.

Daybreak Zero is an exciting thriller starring a force that can either kill or control mankind. The story line contains several mysteries re Daybreak as to how it works and who is the powerful wizard behind the curtain. Readers wonder whether Quislings are selling out the government and consequently the people as some of those insiders remain avaricious power hungry addicts. Although a middle book feel as more questions surfaced and no major ones answered, John Barnes shows his talent as somehow the author continues to pique reader interest in his latest super Daybreak chronicle. Harriet Klausner

Unholy Embrace
Neil Benson
Night To Dawn (NTD), Apr 8 2010, $13.50
ISBN: 9780982679500

Human Frank Thornton and vampire Nessa Harcanu hold hands as they walk together at night in Manhattan. He knows his beloved is a centuries old vampire, but has not witnessed at all what that means until this evening. Werewolves attack them, but Nessa overpowers them; shaking Frank with her abilities.

They met three weeks earlier with both attracted at first sight. Now he needs to know why the assault. Nessa honestly thinks a serial killing demon she hunts sent the horde. He thinks about leaving her, but cannot as he loves her though he wonders if she is using her vampiric enchantress skills to manipulate his desires. Still Frank tells her he cannot convert, but wants to be with her. She explains the demon is not her worst nightmare. Her sire, who she killed back in 1627 after he converted her and sucked dry her husband, left behind a raging predator the “widow” Narice who wants to destroy her for killing the Master; Frank is her Achilles Heel.

This is an exhilarating urban fantasy filled with demons, werewolves and vampires; oh, my! Frank is a terrific human who feels as if he fell through the rabbit hole when he fell in love while Nessa is an honest vampiress who tells him the truth. Although there is too much going on with the lead couple as the demon hunters and as the Narice hunted, sub-genre fans will enjoy this tale of blood and romance flowing on the streets of Manhattan. Harriet Klausner

Green-Eyed Demon
Jaye Wells
Orbit, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316037778

Vampire mage Sabina Kane learns someone kidnapped her twin sister Maisie. Fuming especially with the photo of her battered sister, Sabina vows to rescue her sibling and kick abductor butt. With her demon servant Giguhl and Adam Lazarus the mage at her side, she kidnaps Tanith the Dominae though she intended to snatch Persephone to extract information. However, the Dominae makes a deal with the Queen of the Fairies, leaving a raging Sabina seemingly on the out again.

Still Tanith who plans to rule the vampires provides information that sends Sabina to New Orleans. There she confronts her psychopathic grandmother Domina Lavinia, the vampire queen and her horde of Caste of Nod Undead. Sabina knows only one side might get out breathing; and she plans that to be her with her sister. Voodoo priestess Zenobia and Brooks the changeling drag queen assists Sabina who knows she cannot afford to alienate either of them if she is to successfully overcome her homicidal relative who she assumes is behind the abduction.

This is an exciting Sabina Kane urban fantasy with the return engagement with grandma dearest (see The Mage in Black for their previous family reunion). The somewhat convoluted non linear story line is loaded with action as the heroine does not have a straight path to granny’s house of pain. The discussions between Sabina and Giguhl add jocularity as she fumes over her unwanted feelings towards Adam and he muses over her fuming. Readers will enjoy the Red-Headed Stepchild after an interlude with Tanith heading to grandma’s house. Harriet Klausner

State of Mind
Sven Michael Davison
Bedouin Press, $25.95
ISBN: 978-0966614923

Jake Travissi lived and was willing to die as a Los Angeles Police department homicide cop especially since Andrea and Jade were gone. However, he never expected to be kicked off the force and banned from law enforcement as occurred in 2030 following the Governor Pacheo’s son fiasco. Like an addict going cold turkey he feels cut off from what he needs. Only his two years old Lakshmi and “Auntie” Gene matter. Thus when given a second chance to return to the force, he readily agrees; ignoring the stipulation that he and two other cops will be implanted with the P-Chip. The trio will belong to LAPD, but work for the Department of Homeland Security.

Jake commands the Enhanced Unit field team consisting of himself, Detective Joaquin Parks and Homicide Lieutenant Alexander Koren. He takes orders from Homeland Security Director Sanchez. However as Jake begins to see odd visions, he realizes Sanchez and others envision an American caste system of those chipped and the few controllers of the implanted. Besides fighting his superior and Senator Crennan, Jake battles to control his P-Chip as he no longer can delineate what is his while wondering if Andrea and Jade were real of machine induced.

This is an exciting 1984 futuristic thriller that extrapolates current advances in medical, biological and technological fields to form a vision of a Big Brother society. Although somewhat simplistic in terms of the good and the conspiratorial; the story line is filled with action mostly driven by the P-Chip that helps people control their cravings and addictions, but few understand at the price of giving up control of Live Free or controlled. Jake uncovers the high level conspiracy to change America, but struggles to prevent it from happening as his controller uses the P-Chip to make him dance like a puppet on a string. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 12, 2011


The Griffin's War
K.J. Taylor
Ace, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9780441020102

The destroyer of the Eyrie of Eagleholm, Arenadd Taranisaii remains incarcerated in a dungeon. Once he was a free Northerner bonded to a griffin and once he was a slave, but in both cases when he was called Arren Cardockson he was the victim of de facto racism. Now he is a lunatic singing all day and night. His guards have no idea how to deal with the maniac who as a kraeai kran ae lacks a heart.

Though he fears the consequences of his vow to his people’s dark deity Arenadd pledges his life to the Night God, which enables him to wander the shadows unseen. Using this skill, he escapes from his Southern imprisonment. He heads back to his northern people accompanied by his bonded The Dark Griffin ready to lead a revolt against an oppressive south. Only Errian and one other Arenadd stands in his way.

The finish to the Fallen Moon fantasy (see The Griffin’s Flight) is a strong climax to a fabulous trilogy. Arren has “evolved” into Arenadd believing that his former essence is dead since the curse cost him his heart. Loaded with battle action, but anchored by a profound look at a stifling caste society in which political (power) gains supersede people needs. Fans will relish the last war of the being with no heart while wondering whether the curse physically removed his heart or society metaphysically makes him a heartless fiend greater and less than human. Harriet Klausner

Never Again
Michele Bardsley
Signet, Mar 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451232755

House of Dragons wizard Gray Calhoun is the guardian of Nevermore, Texas with the Census Bureau proclaiming the population in triple digits. However, since his wife betrayed him to a demon, he has neglected his duties as he no longer cares about responsibility.

His former impoverished sister-in-law House of Ravens witch Lucinda Rackmore arrives in Nevermore. She is cursed and needs Gray’s help, as her former lover betrayed her by extinguishing her magical abilities. Now everyone loathes the Rackmore family so with her mundane she is a target of their frustrations. Since the betrayal, Gray sees everything black and white so wants nothing to do with anyone related to his former spouse. However, he also admits to his chagrin he is attracted to Lucinda and cannot prevent himself from protecting her and trying to assist her.

The tone of Nevermore is totally opposite of the Broken Heart series as the new saga is very dark (fitting of Edgar Allen Poe) while the Oklahoma tales were lighthearted frolics in which bites were sexually bloodless. The world of the Wizards of Nevermore is refreshingly new and fully developed yet interwoven inside the fast-paced story line. Although the climax is somewhat a disappointment as the audience will have expected much more after such a strong plot, readers will appreciate this small town second chance romantic fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Healing the Highlander
Melissa Mayhue
Pocket, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439190203

Hybrid Fae-human Leah Noble fled the twenty-first century breeding program of the Nuadian Fae who tortured her by doing what she thought is her only chance for a haven; going back in time to 1293 MacQuarrie Keep where Grandma Mac takes her in. Leah assumed she would be safe back in time. However, by 1305 her assumption proves false when Richard MacQuarrie lives up to his nickname of Dick by promising her in marriage to a nasty Englishman.

Leah flees again but not in time. This time she seeks shelter with the MacKiernan clan who has Fae blood. However, when she falls into a loch, severely injured Highland warrior Andrew MacAlister rescues her. Her tumble into the water costs her the map and letter she needs to obtain a welcome from the MacAlister clan. Andrew escorts her even claiming she is his wife when her enemy catches up to them.

The latest Daughters of the Glen historical fantasy romance (see A Highlander's Homecoming, A Highlander's Destiny and Soul of the Highlander) is a warm entertaining time travel tale. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing as each needs the other to heal from physical and emotional hurts. Although the story line is more linear (even with the heroine going back several centuries) than usual for this enchanting series, fans will enjoy Melissa Mayhue’s magnificent seventh saga.
Harriet Klausner

Night Betrayed
Joss Ware
Avon, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062018632

Selena “The Death Lady” was miraculously born during the Change. Her nickname comes from her unique ability to see the ghostly cloud that denotes that person is about to die. What makes her extraordinary is that she somehow helps the dying move on.

Selena sees the cloud of a dying man. However, this time something strange occurs as a voice orders her to touch the corpse with her crystal. Somehow Theo Waxnicki, a Change survivor on a Strangers’ mission, was shot to death; yet recovers in Selena’s compound where he believes information on the world’s destruction can be found. While his twin Lou frantically searches for him, Selena not only brings him back to life, she brings him back to live as feelings lost in the Change return to him.

The latest Envy Chronicles (see Abandon the Night, Embrace the Night Eternal and Beyond the Night) is a superb mid twenty-first post apocalyptic romantic thriller. The story line is fast-paced and the cast especially the lead couple are a wonderful match. However, it is Ware world that makes for an engaging read as fans will believe they have been transported four decades into the future as places like Vegas, Arizona and elsewhere feel reasonably real. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Press Release


The Noise Revealed
by Ian Whates

12 May 2011 • £7.99 (UK)
ISBN 978-1-907519-53-6

OUT NOW • $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN)
ISBN 978-1-907519-54-3

Also Available as an eBook

We are not alone ... we are being lied to.

When mankind made 'first contact' with the Byrzaens, the age old question of whether we are alone in the universe was finally answered …

But black ops specialist Jim Leyton and scientist-cum-business-mogul-turned-AI Philip Kaufman both begin to suspect that this profound moment in human history is not what it seems – as they find themselves pitted against the vested interests of human and alien, in both the real world and in the realm known as Virtuality.

In the follow up to his acclaimed novel The Noise Within, Ian Whates cements his position as a major new voice in science-fiction with a thrilling tale of deadly games played for high stakes amid vast conspiracies.

“Unreasonably enjoyable. 24 meets Starship Troopers.
If you read Reynolds, Hamilton, Banks – read this.”
– Stephen Baxter on The Noise Within

About the Series

In a world of posthumans, powerful AIs, virtual worlds and faster-than-light travel, there is little left that can truly challenge humanity’s grip on their world... except the discovery of alien life. Billionaire industrialist Philip Kaufman and top government black-ops agent Jim Leyton have their lives turned upside-down by the mysterious pirate vessel The Noise Within, which seems to be able to do the impossible: to travel between the stars without the wormholes that the ULAW’s own ships require. Hunted and betrayed, the two men eventually make the discovery that will change the human race forever, and make first contact with intelligent life from another world.

The Noise Within
established Ian Whates as a talent to be reckoned with, blending hard SF and high-octane space opera in an explosive mix reminiscent of Alastair Reynolds or Iain M. Banks at their best. A thrilling and original setting of life-changing technology and murderous intrigue, the United League of Allied Worlds is a place you’ll want to come back to.

“The Noise Within is an A+ for me ... I expect it to develop
to be among the best space opera series around.”
– Fantasy Book Critic

About the Author

Ian Whates is a director of both the Science-Fiction Writers Association and the British Science-Fiction Association. He is also the proprietor and editor of NewCon Press. The Noise Revealed is his second novel with Solaris.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grant Books announces new Dark Tower by Stephen King


Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. will, in Spring of 2012, be
publishing limited editions of this new Dark Tower novel by
Stephen King which will be illustrated by Jae Lee.

We are not taking orders at this time, do not have prices and
have not set a release date. Please do not call or email us asking
for more information than is in this newsletter. Updates will be
announced in future issues of this newsletter. We also advise you
to sign up for Stephen King’s newsletter at stephenking.com.

Stephen King has agreed to sign 800 copies of a Deluxe Edition
which will be issued in a tray case. These will also be signed by
Jae Lee. In keeping with our policies of supporting long time
customers, owners of Deluxe Edition copies of THE LITTLE
SISTERS OF ELURIA numbered 1-800 will have the first option
to buy this Deluxe Edition.

In addition there will be a limited “Artist” Edition which will be
signed by Jae Lee and will be issued in a slipcase.

When more information is available we will let you know
through this newsletter and we will also post it at:


Thank you.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Burning Darkness
Jaime Rush
Avon, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062018854

Using his pyrotechnical mental skills, Offspring Eric Aruda killed two CIA agents using a thought to set them on fire and shot another. Trained government assassin Fonda Raine is assigned to kill Eric. Using her projection skill she manages to get close to him, but finds committing the act difficult because he is not the cold blooded killer she expected and murder in cold blood is not an easy task for most people.

Making matters more complicated is when someone with more firepower than all of the Offspring surfaces as a killing machine. As they team up to end this predator, Fonda also realizes all she thought she knew about the Offspring is questionable as he is nothing like the dangerous psychopath she thought although dangerous fits. Still a killer stalks the Offspring and seems to have high level government support.

The fourth Offspring romantic urban fantasy (see A Touch of Darkness, A Perfect Darkness and Out of the Darkness) is loaded with dangerous action starring two seemingly enemies falling in love. Part of the fun comes from the heroine’s projection skill that initially has Aruda wondering if he suffers hallucinations from the beautiful vision that comes and goes in a blink. However, the keys to this great entry are that the overarching theme moves forward and stunning depth is added to the Rush realm. Burning Darkness is an exciting thriller. Harriet Klausner

Death’s Sweet Embrace
Tracey O'Hara
Harper, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783142

Snow leopard shifter Kit Jordan left the medical examiner’s office as she mourns the death of her brother Dyan. She obtains a teaching position at NYAPS where she plans to meet her twins she was forced to give away after giving birth to them years ago. A pariah with her pride, Kitt feels alone.

Meanwhile the father of her twins Raven Matokwe is wanted by the law. Still he works for Oberon on investigations. Their current case is particularly horrific as a serial killer somehow paralyzes teenage shapeshifters and while they still breathe rips out their hearts in what appears to be a ritual of sorts. The investigation brings Raven and Kitt back together trying to end the reign of terror of a psychopath.

The second Dark Brethren urban fantasy (see Night’s Cold Kiss) retains the foreboding atmosphere even with a romantic subplot of a darkened world in which sentient species battled for over a century to be at the top of the food chain. The prime plot is a desperate investigation to end the reign of terror of a serial killer. Vivid, don’t eat while reading Death’s Sweet embrace as sweet is not quite the adjective to describe this dark thriller. Harriet Klausner

Pack of Lies
Laura Anne Gilman
Luna, Jan 18 2011, $14.95
ISBN: 9780373803248

In New York City, a mob of humans assaults the mortal companion to a ki-rin. When the dust settles, all the attackers are either dead or near death. Bonita Torres of Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations (PUPI) leads the inquiry into the deadly incident at a time when anger is high between the humans and the fatae and the Casa Nostradamus members refuse to talk to cops.

At the same that Bonnie and her team scrutinize the deadly scene, she and her boss Benjamin Venec struggle to control their attraction for one another. Each wants the other, but both understand a non professional relationship between a superior and a direct reporting individual is trouble.

The second Paranormal Scene Investigations urban fantasy (see Hard Magic) is a terrific “Electric Apple” police procedural that comes out of the gate at full speed and never decelerates as the PUPI team struggles with the magical community closing its ranks to outsiders. The Gilman’s Gotham comes across as real due to little things like Pink Floyd while Bonnie is a super lead investigator and her teammates on the case (Pietr and Sharon) add depth. Readers will enjoy astute Bonnie’s first person account as she has come a long way since her college days, which she will remind readers were seemingly just yesterday. Harriet Klausner

March in Country
E.E. Knight
Roc, Jan 4 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780451463340

It is February of the fifty-sixth year of the Kurian invasion with most of earth subservient to the conquering vampiric Kur. However, the Kur risk nothing as they never go out seeking the human energy that sustains them. Instead they send their combat laborers the Reapers who drink the victim’s blood and sends back bring back the needed Vital Auras via a form of telepathy to their Kurian master.

There remains a strong resistance movement in the United States that has led to a battle for the land between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. The Kur want it captured while Major David Valentine wants to establish free human communities in Kentucky. David knows the Golden Ones would love to settle in the lush land. Thus the Major and some allies journey to the Midwest where the group resides, but the dangerous trip proves futile. The Golden ones choose to honor their loyalryy pledge to the Baron. Even if he can find a way for the moral group to remain loyal to their oath and relocate to the Promised Land, Valentine knows the Kurian Order awaits them on the treacherous trek back as do other murderous human Quislings and outlaws.

The ninth Vampire Earth science fiction thriller is an exciting tale filled with action and new revelations re the various sentient species. Readers will be able to picture an America mostly captured by the outsiders with pockets of resistance. David is a real American hero who risks his life in order to kick the ETs out of his country and preferably out of the solar system. Though it behooves the audience to read the previous series entry (see Winter Duty) as the concept of a Kentucky freehold begins there and is not reiterated here. Fans of the saga will enjoy this entertaining entry. Harriet Klausner

Happy Mothers Day

Hope everyone honors their Mother today. Always remember she brought you into this world and taught you what love is.

Friday, May 6, 2011

In Your Dreams

Stevie Nicks' latest CD is available now. It is her first release in 10 years and may be her finest solo effort. Most of the songs are ballads(which is fine by me) with a couple of rockers. Its' produced by Dave Stewart, formerly partnered with Annie Lennox, and Glen Ballard.

Musicians helping out are Waddy, who is touring with Stevie this year, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, most of the Heartbreakers and Dave Stewart.

It's a thrill to have her back!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fated, Iron Crowned and The Illumination reviewed

Rebecca Zanetti
Kensington Brava, Mar 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN 9780758259233

Plant physiologist Dr. Cara Paulsen is an empath raising her four years old child Janie by herself. The botanist will do anything to keep her beloved Janie, who has psychic skills, safe.

When stranger Talen Kayrs introduces himself, he insists he is protecting her and Janie. She assumes he is a lunatic, but Janie reassures her that he is legitimate. He also demands she marry him so his family will be obligated to protect both of the Paulsen’s as the Kurjans want females with special skills especially Janie. Extremely reluctant though Janie says otherwise, Cara refuses initially to marry him when she realizes the visitor is a three-century old vampire though his touch lights her on fire with desire.

Although the incongruous basis for the triangle relationship is over the top, readers will quickly ignore the opening encounters as talented Rebecca Zanetti provides an entertaining engaging paranormal romance. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate the efforts of the hero and the mommy, who as they fall in love, risk their lives to keep her gifted toddler safe from a nasty group who has long term eugenic plans for young females with special skills. Harriet Klausner

Iron Crowned
Richelle Mead
Zebra, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9781420111798

Being the Queen of Thorn Land should ease making a living but it does not as in reality it adds debts, which Eugenie Markham has learned since sitting on the throne (see Storm Born and Thorn Queen). Instead the Storm King’s offspring loves her powers including that of her sire, but loathes the responsibility and accountability that comes with the non-paying gig. In fact she pays the bills by doing mercury work as a shaman to the highest bidder.

The biggest issue, besides the fact that her child is foretold to conquer mankind, is the ruthless lethal war with Queen Katrice that Eugenie wants ended. She also has male issues as her former lover Kiyo the shapeshifter wants back in her life and Fairy King Dorian wants to sire that prophesized offspring with her. Eugenie considers obtaining the mystical Iron Crown to end the combat but fears what she knows of the artifact. The two men offer to help her, but she distrusts both of them.

The key to the entertaining Dark Swan fantasy series (see Thorn Queen) is Eugenie may be an adept shaman for hire to the highest bidder, but the ruler is also a terrible leader. Her incompetence makes her ironically seem human. Loaded with action, the road to hell is filled with misadventures as Queenie Eugenie seeks the legendary Iron Crown with two males sniffing at her legendary uterus. Harriet Klausner

The Illumination
Kevin Brockmeier
Pantheon, Feb 1 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780375425318

One night just like any other suddenly The Illumination miraculously occurs as any wound on any person suddenly shines with a glow. The light shows how battered and bruised humanity truly is; as no one remains illuminated-free. During the beginning of The Illumination, Carol Ann is in the hospital due to a sliced off thumb. During anesthesia she bites her inner mouth adding a second injury. After surgery she shares a room with Patricia who along with her husband Jason were in a car accident due to ice. Patricia gives Carol Ann a book of love poems Jason wrote to his spouse. The woman assumes her husband is dead so she gives the book to Carol Ann before she dies.

Jason wants to see Carol Ann. Soon afterward battered child Chuck Carter breaks into Jason’s home and steals his journal of love. He passes the journal to evangelist Ryan Shifrin who wonders about humanity’s mental and physical sufferings under a benign God. The love tome soon passes on to Nina Poggione.

This is a powerful tale that focuses on humanity’s pain and suffering yet with a glimmer of hope as Kevin Brockmeier uses six degrees of separation to make a case that mankind is always tied together with one another even if it is for evanescent moments. The key to this tale that in some ways reads more like a short story collection as the focus shifts to the current book bearer is that the six prime stars seem real as each suffers from mental and physical injuries yet like The Illumination, Jason’s book of love shines through tying each to one another. Character driven, readers will appreciate the Illumination into the collective soul of mankind. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Press Release

School’s Out for the summer blockbuster?

Abaddon’s ‘Attack the Block meets Lord of the Flies’ novel optioned by Multistory Films

Abaddon Books is proud to announce that it has struck a deal with Multistory Films to bring School’s Out by Scott Andrews to the big screen.

Attack the Block meets Lord of the Flies in a post-apocalyptic landscape where pupils at a public school grow up fast or they don’t grow up at all, School’s Out is one of the stand-out titles from Abaddon’s successful Afterblight Chronicles series.

The books follows the final days of St Mark’s School for Boys; and when your teachers are killing each other, the prefect is experimenting with crucifixion, and the rival gang from across town has decided that ritualistic cannibalism is the way to go, spots and BO don’t seem like such big problems any more.

Multistory Films is a new UK-based production company, which has just completed post-production on its debut feature film, low budget horror thriller The Harsh Light of Day. This will be closely followed by art house feature Verity’s Summer; written and directed by Short film Palme D’Or nominee Benjamin Crowe.

Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon Books, said:
“We’re delighted that the quality of Scott’s work on School’s Out has been recognised – it’s a great novel and a cracking read that never lets up. With teenagers facing insurmountable odds in TV series like Misfits and films such as Attack the Block, the time when teens save the world is nigh!”

Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion, said:
“Whereas much post-apocalyptic fiction focuses on the bleak, The Afterblight Chronicles is made for the silver screen: action, big set pieces, strong characters and a killer concept. Abaddon’s status as an ideas factory is now well established – our medieval zombie novel Stronghold was optioned earlier this year and this is yet another property that’s been snapped up by a film company.”


Abaddon® Books is a trademark or registered trademark used by or under the licence of the Rebellion Group or its associated companies.

Emma Biggins, producer and MD of Multistory Films, said:
“We are thrilled to begin development on School’s Out. The book presents a perfect opportunity to create a high-octane action movie with depth, intelligence and wit. As a new production company we are extremely excited to be collaborating with a company as successful and renowned as Rebellion.”

About Abaddon Books

Abaddon is the independent book imprint dedicated to providing high-quality science-fiction, fantasy and horror from the freshest new voices in the industry.

Created in 2006 by Rebellion, publisher of the best-selling comic and graphic novel imprint 2000 AD, and an award-winning computer games developer, Abaddon has published dozens of shared-world novels, from the brutal and gritty stories of the Afterblight Chronicles to the swashbuckling steampunk fun of Pax Britannia, and from the Arthurian sword and sorcery of Malory’s Knights of Albion to the blood and gore of Tomes of the Dead. Often violent, often dark, but always a read that will take your breath away – whatever title you choose from the Abaddon pantheon you’ll get new talent telling slick, pacy and stylish stories.

As well as producing genre-busting fiction, Abaddon is cementing its reputation as an ideas factory – medieval zombie novel Stronghold was recently optioned by Amber Entertainment, and now post-apocalyptic teenage survival title School’s Out has been optioned by Multistory Films.