Saturday, April 30, 2011

Joanna Russ Dies

This is reprinted from

We have confirmation that Joanna Russ, 74, died this morning peacefully around 7:15 a.m. in hospice care in Tucson AZ. She has been ill since suffering a stroke in February 2011.

Russ was a critic and SF writer, best known for The Female Man (1975).

Born February 22, 1937 in New York City, she attended Cornell University, graduating in 1957 with an English degree, and earned a MFA from Yale Drama School in 1960. She taught at various colleges and universities, including a long stint at the University of Washington in Seattle beginning in 1977, before moving to Tucson.

Her first SF story was “Nor Custom Stale” in F&SF (1959). Notable short works include Hugo winner and Nebula Award finalist “Souls” (1982), Nebula Award and Tiptree Award winner “When It Changed” (1972), Nebula Award finalists “The Second Inquisition” (1970), “Poor Man, Beggar Man” (1971), “The Extraordinary Voyages of Amélie Bertrand” (1979), and “The Mystery of the Young Gentlemen” (1982). Her short fiction was collected in Alyx (1976; as The Adventures of Alyx, 1983), The Zanzibar Cat (1983), Extra(ordinary) People (1984), and The Hidden Side of the Moon (1988).

First novel Picnic on Paradise appeared in 1968, and was nominated for a Nebula Award. Other SF novels include Nebula Award finalist And Chaos Died (1970), We Who Are About To…” (1977), and The Two of Them (1978).

A noted critic and scholar, Russ’s non-fiction includes the landmark feminist work How to Suppress Women’s Writing (1984), Hugo finalist To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction (1995), essay collection Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans and Perverts (1985), What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism (1997), and The Country You Have Never Seen (2008).

She suffered from health problems including back pain and chronic fatigue syndrome beginning in the late ’80s, which reduced her writing output. She was admitted to hospice in April 2011 after suffering a number of strokes.

Good News

Power's back on. Was out for four days and three hours. Our problems were caused by straight line winds. The tornado that came through later was said to be 125 mph. Mostly trees on the power lines and some damage to buildings.

We were lucky just to be without power. Some tree limbs and minor hail damage were all we sustained.

Thanks to everyone for their messages and good thoughts.

Friday, April 29, 2011


On day three without power due to the storms. Don't know when I will be back on a schedule. All my files are on the home computer so I do not have access to reviews to post or enough light to read by.

Be back soon! (I hope.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Press Release

Anno Frankenstein
by Jonathan Green

12 May 2011 • £7.99 (UK), ISBN 978-1-907519-44-4

17 May 2011 • $9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN), ISBN 978-1-907519-45-1

Also available as an eBook

Could Hitler’s ultimate weapon be our hero’s nemesis?

Time travelling Nazi terrorists, flailing steampunk fisticuffs, dapper swashbucklers facing Hammer Horrors from before they were born – Ulysses Quicksilver may have travelled into the past, but has he bitten off more than he can chew?

It’s temporal trouble for Quicksilver as he travels back in time to stop the ultimate weapon falling into Hitler’s hands just at the crucial moment of his defeat in the Second Great War but must infiltrate the most heavily-defended fortress on the planet to stop this malignant gift from the future from changing the past – and erasing Quicksilver himself from history!

In the world of Pax Britannia, Jonathan Green crafts another storming Boy’s Own steampunk adventure where Mary Shelley meets Kim Newman meets The Terminator.

“Jonathan Green gets mileage out of his monsters, with big action set-pieces that read like things we’d like to see in a rip-roaring summer movie.” SFX

About the Series

Pax Britannia was Abaddon’s fourth shared world, launching with Jonathan Green’s Unnatural History in February 2007. A steampunk alternative history set in a late twentieth century in which Queen Victoria – now nearing the end of her sixteenth decade on the throne, and wholly dependent on steam technology for survival – rules over the vastly wealthy, powerful and decadent Empire of Magna Britannia. Airships ply the skies overhead as gentlemen of leisure admire the dinosaurs in the London Zoo, while the Empire has extended to the Moon. Across the pond, the United Socialist States of America, loosely allied with the might of Magna Britannia, is home to dreamers, poets, madmen, and heroes, poised to usher in a new era.

The series has included six books by Jonathan Green, featuring the adventures of Ulysses Lucian Quicksilver, dandy and adventurer and agent of the throne; an omnibus collecting the first three is currently available.

About the Author

Jonathan Green is well known for his contribution to the Fighting Fantasy range of adventure gamebooks as well as his novels in Games Workshop’s world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. The creator of the world of Pax Britannia, Anno Frankenstein is his seventh novel for Abaddon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Several More from Harriett

Wolf Tales 11
Kate Douglas
Kensington Aphrodisia, Dec 28 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758242679

The kidnappers planned the assault perfectly with a precision rarely seen outside of the military or the Chanku. They abduct two Chanku females, Lisa and eight-months pregnant Tala. The entire Chanku clan is outraged and feels helpless.

The kidnappers notify the pack leadership as to their ransom demands. They want the Chanku special ops firm Pack Dynamics to assassinate the president of the United States. Failure to do so means getting the women back in pieces. Not one to allow extortion or an abduction to be ignored, Anton plans to save the two females without endangering the president. To do so will change him, which he conceals from his Chanku; while the support he needs from his clan is for each pack member to orgasm at the identical super moment.

Fans of the long running Chanku exciting erotic thrillers will appreciate the latest saga as the spins keep coming; cubs will need the scorecard provided by Kate Douglas to keep track, but should consider earlier entries in this excellent series. Fast-paced as always throughout yet character driven (another trademark), Anton believes he knows the second hand consequences of a super pack-wide orgasm but conceals from his beloved people the cost. Instead he chooses to save the women and the unborn as that is paramount preferably without the Chanku losing their species’ values. Harriet Klausner

Chloe Neill
Signet, Jan 4 2011, $6.99
ISBN: 9781101476741

Lily Parker attends St. Sophia's School for Girls in Chicago after her parents recently dumped her there while they conduct research in Europe. At the school, Lily discovered her paranormal ability to use the Firespell. Although she has improved at controlling this power, she knows she has a long way to go before she is comfortable using it if ever. Her biggest fear is becoming a Reaper who abuses their magical gifts. Lily’s roommate and BFF Scout, who fights the otherworldly beasts, helps her stay anchored while her relationship with Jason is becoming more intimate.

As Lily trains to be an Adept, she fears the immortal words of Lord Acton ("Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”) and Darth Vader (“Give yourself to the Dark Side”), so she wants to go slow. However, when she observes strange creatures wandering around St. Sophia's, Lily realizes slow is no longer an option for her. With Scout at her side, she vows to learn who they are and what they want. Although she admits to herself she has made the same pledge re the enigmatic behavior of her parents and adversary Sebastian.

The second Dark Elite (see Firespell) young adult fantasy continues Lily’s training in the paranormal as she learns more secrets, especially about her parents and her abilities, but is also is caught up in some sort of otherworldly “turf” war. Fast-paced and mindful of the Casts’ House of Night saga and Claudia Gray’s Evernight series, readers will enjoy Lily’s dilemma. She would prefer to ignore the impossible and hang with the hot hunks rather than joining Scout and friends in mortal combat, but feels Hexbound to learn her craft expeditiously to keep her school, Chicago and the world safe from the others. Harriet Klausner

The Agent Gambit
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Baen, Jan 4 2011 , $12.00
ISBN: 9781439134078

“Agent of Change.” The Department of Interior recruited First Scout Val Con yos’Phelium of Clan Korval as an Agent of Change. He became a covert assassin with no feelings. Completing his current mission with a bang, Val Con does the unthinkable for a brainwashed soulless agent. He rescues former Terran mercenary Miri Robertson from five Juntavas interstellar crime syndicate assassins; ignoring his implanted Loop that warns him to dump her. She mashes his head in remittance, but Val Con saves her life again. They are attracted to one another, but distrust each other even as the Juntavas mob wants both dead. As she keeps dumping him, he keeps finding her.

“Carpe Diem.” The Juntavas mob calls off the hits of lifemates Val Con and Miri. However, they are given a crippled ship in the middle of the Yxtrang who want them dead. The pair fixes the vessel enough for one jump to nearby Vandar; a planet that is so primitive the sentient race thought they were alone in the universe. Val Con and Miri know they are stranded so they make the best of it. Val Con’s family and close friends search for him. On Liad, his sister Nova interprets a message from Val Con that informs the Korval Clan their heir lives and that the Department of Interior searches for him too. Their involvement leaves Nova suspecting the worse.

This is a reprint of two of the early Liaden thrillers. Both tales are exciting romantic science fiction loaded with hi and low tech action, a strong lead couple, and a belief in the Lee-Miller outer space, as well as a sense of family. Fans will enjoy this pairing, but though unnecessary to enjoy this duet, newcomers will better understand Clan Korval and planet Liad by reading Local Custom first. Harriet Klausner

Arcane Circle
Linda Robertson
Pocket, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439190258

Although witch Persephone “Seph” Alcmedi and her boyfriend werewolf rock musician Johnny Newman defeated the Fairy (see Fatal Circle) insuring the monsters did not devour Cleveland (paraphrasing Maynard G. Krebs again), the cost remains high. Seph gets veterinarian Dr. Geoffrey Lincoln to help Johnny who had his chest ripped apart in his wolf form that fails to heal as normally occurs when he is hurt. Dr. Lincoln explains the wound came from magic; he uses salt to cleanse the wound.

Johnny announced to his pack that he is the werewolf Domn Lup. If he was not, the phoenix’s claw would have killed him. His magic resides in his tattoos, but the one on his chest was ripped in the attack. His number two informs Johnny the world wide werewolf ruler the Rege is coming from Romania to determine if he who he claims. With his magic muted from the assault, he has to find a way to access his inner talent or face a painful execution. Seph plans to assist him, but has a horde of paranormals camping out on her farm; requiring basic human needs even if they are not human. Seph also is throwing a tenth birthday party for her foster child Beverly.

The fourth Circle urban fantasy (see Vicious Circle and Hallowed Circle) is an exciting entry that is low-keyed as the major foe from the previous entries has been vanquished, but now the lead couple deals with the aftermath. Johnny knows that no one lives wasting a nanosecond of the Rege’s time; if he proves a false prophet because he cannot generate the magic from a key tattoo, the Zvonul will rip him apart. Sub-genre readers will appreciate the Arcane thriller. Harriet Klausner

A Chronicle of Endylmyr: The Witches of Endylmyr
Charles Hall
Outskirts Press, September 28 2010, $27.95
ISBN: 9781432750282

The Eastern Khan plans to possess all known magical relics as the first step in world domination. He already owns some of these ancient arcane artifacts. The Khan knows that others are owned by Endylmyr. Obsessed with obtaining them, he sends his feared legions to Endylmyr and the other small communities to the north and west of his empire. His orders are to kill anything that moves.

Those under attack form an alliance while also deploying the gizmos that have been dormant for centuries. Former mercenary Gylfalin is coaxed out of retirement to lead the counter forces alongside his cousin Pendaran the Archer with his companion Peregrine the magical falcon. Their side faces overwhelming odds against a brutal experienced army. Their hope lies with magical crystals that allow stealth movements in time and place, but no one knows how to deploy these artifacts. As time runs out and the slaughter begins, Angmere the wizard historian finds a clue in an ancient tome that implies three witches are the key to deployment. The scholar’s daughter Gwynyr unites with Hellwydd and Hilst as the Endylmyr witches in a last ditch attempt to save their people.

A Chronicle of Endylmyr
is an entertaining epic fantasy that will remind readers in some ways of Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwars. The story line is fast-paced as the western alliance struggles to survive against a more powerful enemy; their only hope is three women who must figure out how to safely use the crystals with no time to spare. Charles Hall provides an exciting thriller as from the north the witches try to save the city of Endylmyr from the siege of Khan and his vast lethal horde.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 25, 2011

Several from Harriett

Crimson Wind
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Pocket, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781416598152

The Guardians of the Earth declare war on humanity. Witches are warned that neutrality is unacceptable as you are with them or the enemy. Giselle is the witch who enslaved Max years ago by turning her into her personal Shadowblade. They reach a tense agreement in these troubled times. As part of that deal, Giselle gives bitter Max permission to bring her human family to Horngate so they can remain safe from the Guardians. Max has not seen her family in three decades ever since Giselle enslaved her.

Max knows the trek to her family will be dangerous. Her new Shadowblade ally Alexander has her back, but that may not be enough as he offers much more and she wants what he covets. However besides the Guardians stalking enemies, Giselle sold her rights to Max’s life to the powerful Scooter, who impatiently demands she come to him immediately.

The second Horngate Witches urban (and mountainous) fantasy (see Bitter Night) is an exciting thriller as Max remains raging with fury towards Giselle who betrayed her friendship years ago, but for the sake of Horngate and her family, knows she must set aside her acrimony. Danger seems everywhere as the Guardians release the forces of nature. With an incredible ending to an action-packed tale, readers will clamor for the third book in Diana Pharaoh Francis’ excellent epic saga. Harriet Klausner

Syrie James
Vanguard, Jan 4 2011, $19.95
ISBN: 9781593156282

Nicole Whitcomb came from the San Jose area to attend the wedding of her friend in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Since the meteorologists said the weather would remain fine, she decides to stay for an extra day of skiing. When she leaves for the Denver Airport, the weather remains okay, but soon snow begins to fall. The precipitation turns heavy and her rental fishtails out of control. She cuts her head and honks her horn hoping someone will rescue her.

Michael Tyler was cleaning off his driveway when he saw the idiot crash. He has never let anyone into his home so considers leaving the driver to die, but cannot. He reluctantly brings Nicole into his isolated house. They are attracted to each other from the first meeting. However, she senses something wrong about her host as she knows in her gut he thought he made the wrong choice bringing her into his home. Nicole also wonders why a hunk like Michael resides alone. Other signs seem to make no sense, but she ignores their warnings as Nicole quickly falls in love with a man who seems to know her better than she knows herself. He knows he cannot love anyone and never has; yet this is different as he falls hard for Nicole, a new undesirable feeling for him. However, he struggles to control the beast inside while also needing her to want him with all her soul.

This is an engaging star-crossed romance as the Rocky Mountains’ blizzard isolates the pair in his home. Nicole finds clues to as who her host is and why he chose to live as a hermit, but her logical mind rejects her conclusion until perhaps it is too late. Readers will relish this strong romantic suspense thriller wondering how this relationship will end. Harriet Klausner

Cowboy Angels
Paul McAuley
PYR, Jan 1 2011, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142513

In 1963 at Brookhaven National Lab, physicists open the first Turing Gate into an alternate time line. The CIA sends Cowboy Angels to spread the gospel of the “Real” American way, which included assassination, overthrow of governments, and dirty tricks to implement a cross time Pan America. President Carter shuts down the program over the howling of Manifest Destiny believers.

Former Cowboy Angel Tom Waverly has become a serial killer crossing several alternate time lines as he rejects Peaceniks like President Carter and his quitter former partner Tom Stone who have ended Operation Swift Sword. The Company directs Stone to learn why Waverly’s target in each history is mathematician Eileen Barrie if he wants his friend brought in from the cold alive.

Stone searches for his partner entering a variety of Turing Gates following clues. Assassins try to kill him when he enters some of the gates. Even more confusing to Stone is in some universes he is teamed with Waverly and in others he tries to capture his partner. Even more convoluted to Stone is his occasional partnering with Waverly’s daughter although he is unsure what side she is on; then he again he no longer knows what side he is on either.

With an obvious nod to Stargate, Cowboy Angels is a convoluted (as the flawed hero learns) science fiction story with a strong why-do-it mystery. Stone holds the complex faster than the speed of light tale focused even as he and the audience wonder what he will find next when he enters a Turing Gate; a sort of Alice falling through the hole. The wonder of this super story is that the Real characters remain consistent with how the history books portray them. This high octane action tale is hard to put down as Paul McAuley provides a terrific thriller. Harriet Klausner

Soul Trapper
F. J. Lennon
Atria, Jan 4 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9781439184448

Reporter Eva Kellis thinks there is more to Kane than just being another twenty musical wannabe. She is right as musician Kane Pryce enjoys partying as a means of forgetting his day job. His late father found the soul trap, which enables Kane to rid facilities of ghosts, helping the spirits leave earth; though his efforts do not always end happily.

In a Lompoc, California church Kane captures six years old Ollie Lonzi, an impish ghost. However, Kane does not stop with the catch. He investigates what happened to Ollie. Fifty years ago, Ollie and his mother an actress died in a car crash. Kane realizes the child spirit is nice but lonely. He digs deeper into the death, which leads the investigator to Las Vegas. Feeling the child needs his mother Kane searches for the ghost of Ollie's mom. When he finds her, he falls in love. To keep Ollie safe she traded her soul to a demon who has marked Kane.

This Ghostbusters paranormal thriller stars an intriguing dispirited individual (he is the anti Dr. Venkman) who due to his profession distrusts people in general as knows from the testimony of spirits how evil even family can be, Music is his outlet, but at times the hip scene intrudes on the exciting saga of Ollie the imp. With an odd unexpected climatic spin, readers will enjoy Kane’s Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore’s version) efforts to help ghosts. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Three from Me

UNFAMILIAR CHRONICLES: or, the Mis-Education of a Young Demon, Patrick Welch,, ISBN: 9781554048199, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Patrick Welch has proven that he can be at home writing horror, science fiction or fantasy. This is a fun filled fantasy that makes me think of the Myth stories of Robert Aspirin who was aided and abetted in the last few years by Jody Lynn Nye. It’s always good to find someone who can follow the lead and add some charming new steps to the dance as well.

Babu is a demon in training and is about to be bonded with his new master. When their apprenticeship is completed, they will become fully vested in their professions. The only problem is that when Babu was being bonded, Althane the wizard sneezed in the middle of the spell and Babu was bonded to Kylph, a servant boy.

Althane is unable to undo the bonding and Babu and Kylph are sent out into the world to perfect their magic and serve their apprenticeship with on the job training.

As Kylph and Babu travel the countryside and other continents using simple spells and ingenuity to make a living and become accomplished magician and familiar. During their travels, they use sleight of hand, love potions and truth spells (everyone knows they don’t work) to become well known. They also manage to obtain a grimoire so that Kylph can learn some real magic.

Welch has written a delightful novel that has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing as to whether they will pass their apprenticeship or not. If you aren’t already a fan of Pat Welch’s, pick this one up and you will be by the time you finish.

LIKE A VORPAL BLADE, More Erotic Tales of Wonderland, edited by J Blackmore,, $5.99 download, 79 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Here is a new collection from Circlet Press giving us a different view of Wonderland. It contains five visions of Wonderland that show that it is not always found at the end of a rabbit hole, nor by following a March Hare who is worried about the time. You won’t have to worry about the time either, it will be time well spent.

In Theresa Sand’s “If This Be Not Love, It Is Madness”, we find out that the Mad Hatter has a thing for the White Knight; but Mary Ann, his housekeeper shows him the difference between the two.

Bernie Nojzes shows us that Alice can be “A Perfect Creature” as she shares her love with ALL of the inhabitants of Wonderland in EVERY way.

Alice has many of her adventures while asleep, it seems, but in “Waking” she finds out she may be the Queen in a story by ADR Forte.

Alex Picchetti envisions Wonderland as “Midway Rides” complete with the smells and “rides” that are available at an adult oriented Carnival.

The book closes with “The Boiling Sea” by Angela Caperton which is also my favorite story in the collection. In 1969, a young man comes home from Vietnam and goes to California to find his Wonderland of hippies and communes. He gets involved with a group of “actors” who are doing Alice as a play. As he gets drawn into a world of sex and drugs, he manages to discover himself and knows when to go home. In addition to being a tale of Wonderland, it is a parable about many of the Vietnam Veterans who lost their way and how some were able to find their way home. It also shows that there are still some out there looking for the return path.

Jen Blackmore has a deft touch at picking her stories and all of her anthologies are well thought out and extremely enjoyable. Don’t let this one get away.

ELEMENTARY EROTICA, edited by J Blackmore,, $5.99 download, 133 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This new anthology from Circlet Press and J Blackmore answers the age old question of what really happened at 221b Baker Street when the Doctor and the Detective weren’t out solving cases.

Aoife Bright opens the volume with “The Prophets Eye” in which the body of the Bishop of Guildford is pulled from the river and some of the darker sides of London are shown. It also shows how passionate Holmes can be while not working on a case.

“The Hysteria Machine” by Louise Blaydon tells of Holmes trying out one of Watson’s new medical machine that was meant to cure hysteria in female patients.

“The Adventure of the Green Zeppelin” by Elinor Gray opens with the death of a passenger in the dining room of the zeppelin and has them joining the Victorian equivalent of the Mile High Club.

Kate Lear’s “Research” helps delve into the relationship between the two. “Emet” by Cornelia Gray brings a golem into their lives. Peter Tupper’s “Songs without Words” explores Holmes relationship with Irene Adler while Watson has a discourse with Mycroft about his brother.

My favorite of the volume is “Upon the Use of Electrical Vibration in the Treatment of Hysterics” by Violet Vernet. Edgar Lillie’s wife suffered from “hysteria, that is the bane of the upper class woman” and he has hired Dr Watson to treat her condition. Watson tries out his Weiss Rejuvenator with much success and recounts his story with Holmes. As usual, Holmes must investigate the new device and goes about making it more like the device it is today.

Again, Jen Blackmore has brought us an unusual, thought provoking anthology. Be sure to check out the website and browse their other offerings. You might be in for a surprise or two.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Quartet from Harriet

The Heroes
Joe Abercrombie
Orbit, Feb 7 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780316044981

Union commander Lord Marshal Kroy knows his direct reporting officers are incompetent mostly political appointees who believe they will be the hero of the upcoming combat. None of these egomaniacs has any real combat experience. However, you must play with the deck you are dealt.

The much smaller opposing force of Northmen is led by Black Dow, who has quite a kill rate. His throne is shaky as his brutal reign is built on his citizens’ fear of him and the Union King wants no deadly rival as his neighbor. On top of that Calder wants to replace Black Dow as the ruler arguing for peace in our time. Soon all will converge in a battle for the ages as all of the North land will feel the epic impact for centuries to come.

Though located in the Abercrombie world of the First Law thrillers, this terrific saga can be read without the trilogy. War enables ordinary people an opportunity to perform heroic deeds (think of the medial of Honor winners). Joe Abercrombie pulls no punches when it comes to combat as masses are fodder for the glory of a general, a king or a country. Yet like U.S. Army staff sergeant Guinta and those listed on the Vietnam Veterans Wall (included in the Mall and Virtual at these are the real heroes of battle that Mr. Abercrombie honors when the avaricious leads to insanity by leaders seeking empires. Harriet Klausner

Col Buchanan
Tor, Jan 18 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765331052

For five decades the theocratic Holy Empire of Mann has conquered the countries on The Heart of the World. Their ruthless dictator, Holy Matriarch Sasheen remains in control of her vast empire due to her specialty trained Diplomat Corps of diabolical vicious priests.

Ash the Roshun belongs to an assassin group who provide a protection to clients by meting out revenge on anyone who murders one of their customers or a family member. He has been ill lately so has taken on a mentee Nico from the streets of Bar-Khos, an island under a decade old siege by the forces of the Holy Empire of Mann. When Sasheen’s heir Kirkus kills the daughter of a priest who has paid for Roshun’s protection for himself and his family, the assassin knows he and his apprentice must complete a vendetta against the “sacred”.

This is an engaging “historical” that looks closely at the impact of a long war on individuals representing different groups caught up in the conflict. The intriguing story line is driven by a moral undercurrent as the values of the Holy Empire of Mann and of the Roshun conflict when Kirkus committed murder. Readers will want more tales set in the Col Buchanan’s Heart of the World as the author brings to life his realm through a murder requiring contracted retaliation against a protected VIP. Harriet Klausner

Among Others
Jo Walton
Tor, Jan 18 2011, $24.99
ISBN 9780765321534

In Wales their single mother’s spell goes terribly wrong when her daughters interfered by trying to thwart the incantation. Teen Morwenna survives but is severely hurt; her twin sister was not as fortunate as she dies.

Mori flees her raging mother’s wrath seeking shelter with her father in England. He welcomes his daughter by immediately shipping her off to a boarding school. Feeling alone, Mori employs a spell seeking souls like her own who escape their troubles with literature. This leads her to a science fiction readers club, but Mori has no time to make friends. She senses her irate mother searches for her to kill her. Mori concludes she has no way to elude her mother much longer and has no place to hide; as her father made his feelings perfectly clear when she first arrived at his home seeking shelter and protection.

Mori makes the tale with her journal focusing on her loneliness and her obsessive need to belong especially since her only friend, her twin, is dead. The teen is realistic and believes she can never truly belong though she yearns for such; as anyone who befriends her becomes instant fodder for her insane mother’s wrath. That is why books are her friends. Readers will be hooked by Mori’s lament that she will never really belong Among Others though that is her strongest need (Dr. Maslow would have loved to interview Mori, but her insane mom better had not found out); in many ways more so than surviving the anticipated showdown with her mother.
Harriet Klausner

Home Fires
Gene Wolfe
Tor, Jan 18 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765328182

Due to an interstellar military duty, affluent attorney Skip Grison is now two decades older than his contracted paramour Chelle Blue though they were the same age when they met at college. Her time in outer space was months, but years in North America where he waited for his wife to come home from serving in the combat. Skip seeks a special present for his beloved who came home early due to war related injuries; he thinks he may have one. Skip arranges for Chelle and her estranged mother Vanessa, whose essence has been loaded into a new body, to see one another.

Soon after the mother-daughter reunion, Skip takes Chelle and her mom on a cruise that circles the globe. However, the vacation proves anything but relaxing as hijackers, assassins, and others of their ilk come after someone on board with collateral damage acceptable.

This is a terrific science fiction mystery with the whodunit and why-do-it thriller themes up front as the prime thread, and the futuristic SF elements serving as background enhancement. The fast-paced story line grips the reader from the moment Chelle and Skip reunite with her so many years younger than him chronologically but in many ways her military experience makes her seem older than him. Red herrings abound in this exhilarating character driven thriller. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Four from Harriett

Hopefully I'll get back on track soon and have some new reviews for you.

Back to the Moon
Travis S. Taylor and Les Johnson
Baen, Dec 7 2010, $25.00
ISBN: 9781439134054

The second race to the moon has begun between America and China, but also trying to beat the big nations to the earth satellite is the private sector firm Space Excursions. NASA selects astronaut Bill Stetson as the mission commander of the first American flight to the moon since Apollo ended four decades ago. Space Excursions CEO Gary Childers selects Paul Gesling to serve as chief pilot of Dreamscape to orbit the moon with wealthy clients.

However, during test runs nothing goes right for the Space Excursions flight or with the NASA launch. Bill takes control and soon realizes the same defective circuit board caused the problems; a circuit board made in China. At the same time a malware Trojan horse sends Space Excursions hardware and software information to China. As NASA counts down to the moon launch, China sends a ship into space while the Dreamscape leaves earth with five passengers on board. They soon find a shocker waiting for them that changes NASA’s lunar landing plan.

The two authors bring their NASA experience to this exiting entertaining space race science fiction thriller. Their background in propulsion technology serves well for this fun thriller as the audience learns much about the science of rocketing into space while also feeling as if we are part of the crew. Though the cast is not as developed beyond heroism, readers will relish this exhilarating Back to the Moon as the space race returns with two new contenders including a private sector entry challenging America for supremacy beyond the troposphere. Harriet Klausner

Thirteen Years Later
Jasper Kent
PYR, Feb 1 2011, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142537

By 1825, Europe including Russia continues to revel in peace and prosperity. Napoleon and the French were defeated over a decade ago. Russian Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov was on the winning side, but in his opinions his true victory was over the dozen Oprichniki mercenary voordalak monsters that destroyed the advancing French and the nearby Russian villagers; he prefers not to ever think about the bloody horror again (see Twelve) as even the thought chills his blood.

Still Tsar Aleksandr I fears for his family and his country as a pledge made in blood was broken a century ago. However, it is not the revolutionary Decembrists that have the Russian ruler trembling; the other party in that blood debt is coming to collect. Aleksandr’s only hopes he will be able save his soul, but he fears it is too late for his life, and to keep his family and his fellow Russians safe remains with loyal Aleksei. Worried about his wife, teenage son Dmitry and four year old daughter Tamara, the colonel realizes what he defeated during the Napoleonic War as they returned Thirteen Years Later to collect blood and souls.

The second Russian historical fantasy is a super tale as the hero of Twelve returns to the fray of fighting an invincible amoral beast who believe humans are toward the bottom of the food chain. Overall the story line is filled with action though the protagonist muses on all sorts of topics including his children, the Oprichniki, the new monster he faces, the revolutionaries, and his loyalty to the Tsar. Tied to the Tsar’s real mysterious death on December 1 1825 in Taganrog and the confusion that ensued, fans will enjoy this epic saga as the voordalak blood suckers have returned. Harriet Klausner

James Barclay
PYR, Jan 1 2011, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142520

Xetesk began the open hostilities when the College assaulted depleted Julatsa, who lost so much in people and treasure during the Wesmen wars (see Chronicles of the Raven trilogy). The other two colleges Lystern and Dordover join the fray as they see opportunities to defeat both rivals, but must figure out what to do with what remains of the Raven, which saved the land and the Colleges.

As the Balaian continent to the west is aflame after a foolish alliance with Xetesk, Lord Tessaya of the Paleon Tribes rallies his Wesmen warriors under a battle cry of avenging their defeat. Lord of the Mount, Dystran knows his Xetesk faces a horrible defeat at the hands of the western barbarians who he believes stupidly ban magic. Desperate, he uses the forbidden horrific dimensional magic as nothing will stand in his way of being world ruler even insanely at the cost of the world. He rips asunder the dimensional barriers leaving his world open for a demonic genocide. With no dragons and not at full strength, Raven is the last hope to prevent soul cleansing by the invading demon horde.

The third Legends of the Raven fantasy (see Shadowheart and Elf Sorrow) is a terrific final tale as grim and eerie as the previous ones. Action-packed and fast-paced, fans will relish this deep tale with a message for leaders to lead for the benefit of all and not just to grab more power at the cost of others (think of the Senator whose sole vision for the country is to defeat Obama in 2012 by fiddling as Nero to stonewall the president). James Barclay provides a great ending to his profound two sagas as all of the books focus on the abuse and misuse of power in what are some of the best political military thrillers in years. Harriet Klausner

The Omega Theory
Mark Alpert
Touchstone, Feb 15 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9781416595342

Iran tests a nuclear device; a Columbia University physicist, based on readings from scientific instruments, claims that for a nanosecond the test ripped asunder the universe as if the Big Bang was about to explode. On the same day, the Upper Manhattan Autism Center informs science historian David Swift and his physicist wife, Monique Reynolds that their nineteen years old autistic adopted son Michael Gupta was snatched.

The True Believers cult kidnapped Michael, whose ancestor is Einstein and who has memorized his late relative’s little known Unified Field’s Final Theory. Worried for their son, FBI special agent Lucille Parker joins Swift and Reynolds on the rescue quest because the True Believers plan to deploy the Omega Theory as those who know the Big Bang of alpha creation also know the Big Crunch of omega nothingness.

From New York to Jerusalem to Turkmenistan, the chase is on as the good guy scientists (angels) battle the bad guy cultists (devils). Although none of the cast is developed beyond their role in the potential apocalypse final war, fans will enjoy the non-stop action as Mark Alpert provides an exhilarating Big Crunch thriller. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Calling All Knights

The hunt is on for knights in shining armour!

Are you chivalrous enough to be a Knight of the New Round Table – and win the chance to be a real knight for the day?

To celebrate the release of the new Knights of Albion series of Arthurian adventure, Abaddon Books is on the hunt for ‘knights in shining armour’ to sit on a 21st Century King Arthur’s Round Table – and they could win the chance to be a real knight for a day.

As part of the hunt, a real knight in shining armour ventured out onto the streets of London – and caused a few stares – as he searched for chivalrous candidates, even managing to do a little wooing of his own!

Whether it’s rescuing a princess from a dragon or just opening doors for your beloved, wannabe Sir Galahads can tell us why they should earn a place at Arthur’s side by going to the Abaddon Books website:

The most chivalrous are in with a chance to win an exclusive day of training from experts at a specialist jousting facility where they’ll undertake the essential training that no aspiring knight would be without –from swordplay to donning armour. The day will be crowned with a thrilling live demonstration of jousting.

The Knights of Albion is an exciting new series based on the ‘rediscovered’ second book by Thomas Malory, author of the Le Morte d'Arthur. The first in the series, The Black Chalice, follows wannabe knight Alymere, who discovers the foul Devil’s Bible – said to have been written in one night by an insane hermit – which leads him to seek the unholy anti-Grail know as the Black Chalice.

For more information contact Michael Molcher - phone 01865 792 201 • e-mail

About the Series

‘Uncovered’ in the parish church of St. Barbara and St. Christopher in the summer of 2006, the Salisbury Manuscript (British Library Add. MS 1138) is the only extant copy of Sir Thomas Malory’s The Seconde Boke of kyng Arthur and also His noble Knyghts, apparently written at Thomas Caxton’s request after Malory’s release from gaol. Deep controversy surrounds the book, which is claimed by some to be a contemporary forgery, possibly written by Caxton himself. In March 2010, Rebellion Publishing announced that it had secured exclusive rights to publish the modernisations of the stories...

Abaddon’s eighth shared world, Malory’s Knights of Albion will regale our readers with totally original stories set in King Arthur’s time, exploring the stories of the less well-known knights – like loyal Sir Alymere – or telling previously-unknown events from the lives of beloved characters close to Britain’s greatest king.

With courage and courtesy close to its heart, the series promises to deliver the best of heroic, chivalric adventure, often with a dark or surprising twist.

About the Author

Steven Savile has written almost thirty novels and short story collections, including The Hollow Earth, Temple: Incarnations, Laughing Boy’s Shadow, Houdini’s Last Illusion, Angel Road, and the graphic novel Fragrance of You (with artist Robert Sammelin). He was a runner up in the 2000 British Fantasy Awards, a winner of a 2002 Writers of the Future Award, and nominated twice for the Scribe Award, in 2006 (for best novel adaptation) and the 2008 (for best young adult novel).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Interesting Reviews

Jane Goes Batty
Michael Thomas Ford
Ballantine, Feb 1 2011, $14.00
ISBN: 9780345513663

In Brakeston, New York owner of Flyleaf Books, Jane Fairfax now understands being careful what you wish for as you may get it. She has raged for years as her Austen books and their rip-offs sell without her receiving a royalty check having written them two centuries ago before Byron changed her into a vampire. Adding insult is that her last manuscript as Jane Austen, Constance, was rejected a zillion times. That has changed as Kelly Littlejohn of Browden Publishing of New York buys the rights and Constance is a colossal bestseller.

The world wants more from Jane Fairfax bookstore owner and bestselling author. She struggles with concealing her vampire condition and her birth identity though Byron tries to mentor her. Jane fears another biting engagement with a jealous Bronte. Meanwhile a suspicious editor believes the plot was stolen from a lost Bronte novel. Hollywood and groupies have invaded the small village, and her boyfriend Walter’s mother Miriam arrives expecting Jane to convert. As the writer struggles with a new novel after not writing for centuries, she also wonders whether a vampire can be Jewish, Miriam carries a big stick.

The second Jane the contemporary vampire tale (see Jane Bites Back) is an amusing satire that spoofs the Austen sub-genre including the novels by Michael Thomas Ford. The story line is fast-paced as Jane fears she will be exposed as a modern day fraud, a biting vampire, a great Regency author or simply batty. With references to literature that are fun, the Austen crowd will enjoy her escapades as she now knows the tsuris of what she now hopes is fifteen minutes of fame. Harriet Klausner

Rising Tides: Destroyermen
Taylor Anderson
Roc, Feb 1 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780451463883

WWII USS Walker Navy destroyer Captain Matt Reddy leads his crew to Hawaii. They and his new friend New British Imperial Navy Commander Jenks face a difficult task of rescuing two women from a traitor. For Reddy and Jenks the abductions are personal as Nurse Tucker and Princess Rebecca are the victims. However, their effort to obtain help from the Honorable New Britain Company fails. The pair realizes the New Britain Company is dishonorable and must be destroyed before a velvet coup d’etat occurs. Reddy also must forge the Grand Alliance with the New British Empire; though he loathes the latter’s slavery policy as an inhuman abomination.

The pact with the Empire angers the displaced Holy Dominion colonial Spaniards. Worshippers of a blood sacrificial form of Catholicism, they vow to slaughter Matt and his crew. Meanwhile Reddy’s junior officers are delegated to having responsibilities that lead to unfortunate and in some cases avoidable deaths. The leaders learn under this under the baptism of fire, but face the moral aftermaths of sending people to die.

As the war remains heated in this parallel Destroyermen universe, the officers of the USS Walker obtain a taste of decision making in combat when they know they will send young people to their deaths. Adding to that gut wrenching horror is inexperience leads to errors compounding the deadly count. Eisenhower understood this when he ordered D-Day knowing thousands of young men would never go home and as president carefully used the military something his successors never learned. Besides the anguish of sending people to die even for a worthy cause, Taylor Anderson provides an incredible battle at sea that will have readers in awe rereading it and ponder nature’s involvement in the war with the destruction of Talaud Island. Harriet Klausner

Dragon Warrior
Janet Chapman
Pocket, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439159897

For twelve centuries William Killkenny was a dragon. However, recently he regained what he thought was lost forever; he has become human again (see Moonlight Warrior).

In Maine, single mom River Run Nursing Home Nurse Maddy Kimble raises her troubled younger brother and her nine years old daughter Sarah. William likes Maddy but she rejects his efforts for them to date as she considers him uncouth after he threatened to spank her and he was naked when he kissed her in front of the town. Desperate and out of the human dating business for twelve hundred years, William asks her elderly patients for advice. Maddy watches in amazement as the arrogant beast acts so gentle and caring towards her patients and daughter. However, having one bad marriage already Maddy has major doubts about a courtship especially with a hunk concealing who knows what from her; especially one born in 1047. William believes his time as a beast cost him his heart though he risks his new found mortality protecting Maddy from a magical attack.

The latest Midnight Bay romantic fantasy continues the whimsical saga with a delightful tale as William the grouch dragon has become William the desperate human. Readers will appreciate this humorous yet poignant thriller as the former grumpy soul warrior woos the reluctant damsel in distress (initially from family problems until the magic attack) while he obtains illegal citizenship papers including an authenticate birth certificate dated 1977. Harriet Klausner

Soul Hunt
Margaret Ronald
Harper, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061662430

Genevieve “Evie” Scelan knows she faces growing troubles, but not sure what she can do about it. She took possession of the horn of the Wild Hunt without permission and had the audacity to use it though she did it for a good cause (unless you are a Damn Yankee fan – aside from this former Bronx resident); the Fiona Cabal prevented the Red Sox from winning the World Series for decades (see Wild Hunt). Lately, Evie feels lethargic struggling to do anything. Although not exactly sure, she believes her feebleness started when she rescued Nate from the quarry spirit. Finally her critical sense of smell that made her the Hound and a major part of who she is has vanished without an olfactory trace.

Evie knows time is running out on her. In two months the Wild Hunt will come after her as she owes a soul debt to an essence that she thinks of is more it than a strange species. She must learn what is happening to her, why and how to reverse it or face dire consequences when the collector comes for her. A desperate Evie begins looking inside herself and at her family for answers

The third Hunt Red Sox nation urban fantasy (see Spiral Hunt) is an engaging thriller as the heroine learns the cost of her recent success. Fast-paced, readers will be enthralled with this action-packed yet character driven tale as Evie has lost much of her other sensory prowess at a time when the bill collector demands remittance. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, April 16, 2011


PRESS RELEASE: 16th April 2011.


The signatories to this letter range from Gold Dagger-nominated crime authors such as S J Bolton, writers of children’s fiction such as Debi Gliori, as well as many fantasy, science fiction and horror authors – from Iain Banks to Michael Moorcock.

The BBC programming which has raised their complaint was the state-sponsored television channel’s coverage of fiction during World Book Night, with programmes including The Books We Really Read: a Culture Show Special and New Novelists: 12 of the Best which went out on BBC2 on the 5th March 2011.

Fantasy author Stephen Hunt, who organised the protest, commented, “The sneering tone that was levelled towards commercial fiction during The Books We Really Read was deeply counterproductive to the night’s aims of actually encouraging people to read novels. The weight that was given to the single sub-genre of literary fiction in the remaining programmes was unbalanced and unrepresentative of all but a small fraction of the country’s reading tastes. And closest to my own heart, the failure to feature a single work from the three genres of horror, fantasy, and science fiction was a disgrace. The official World Book Night list included Philip Pullman’s fantasy novel, Northern Lights. It is a shame the BBC could not.”

Hunt went on to say, “There have been weeks when one in three books sold in the UK were Harry Potter novels, or more recently, Twilight novels. The sweeping under the carpet of the very genres of the imagination which engage and fire readers’ minds shows a lot more about the BBC production team’s taste in fiction than it does about what the general public is actually reading. If the BBC really wishes to support reading in this country, then they should produce a literary version of The Film Programme, or commission a modern updating of the Bookworm show that had Griff Rhys Jones as its lead presenter in the ‘90s. A series with a mainstream slot. Then perhaps the BBC can do what it said on the tin the first time around: cover the books we really read.”

The list of writers supporting the petition…

Kevin J Anderson
Neal Asher
Iain M Banks
Greg Bear
Jacey Bedford
Gregory Benford
Michael Bishop
S J Bolton
David Brin
Michael S. Brotherton
John Brown
Ramsey Campbell
Gail Carriger
Mark Charan Newton
Michael Cobley
Diane Duane
Kevin Duffy
Steven Lundin (writing as Steve Erikson)
Geraldine Evans
Russell B. Farr
Matt Forbeck
Gregory Frost
Gary Gibson
Linda Gillard
Felix Gilman
Debi Gliori
Alison Goodman
Joe Haldeman
Elizabeth Hand
Steve Haynes
John Helfers
John Hemry
Jack Hessey
Liz Holliday
Matthew Hughes
Stephen Hunt
Jasper Kent
Kay Kenyon
M. D. Lachlan
Jay Lake
David Langford
Bob Lock
James Lovegrove
Jonathan Maberry
David Mack
Juliet Marillier
Ian McDonald
Juliet E McKenna
Karen Miller
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Elizabeth Moon
Michael Moorcock
Theresa M. Moore
Yvonne Navarro
Stan Nicholls
Larry Niven
Jonathan Oliver
Phil Palmer
Steve Parker
Tamora Pierce
Jonathan Pinnock
Phyllis Irene Radford (writing as P.R. Frost/C.F. Bentley)
Robert V.S. Redick
Kit Reed
Mike Resnick
Adam Roberts
Steven Savile
Robert J. Sawyer
Ann Scarborough
Michael Shea
Lucius Shepard
Michael Marshall Smith
S.M. Stirling
Charlie Stross
Stephen Sullivan
Michael Swanwick
Harry Turtledove
Robert E. Vardeman
Tim Waggoner
Ian Watson
Simon West-Bulford
Sean Williams
Walter Jon Williams
Geoff Willmetts
Jane Yolen

For further comment on this story, contact the protest co-ordinator, Stephen Hunt, on

Friday, April 15, 2011

Atlantis, Valdemar, Vampires and Park Avenue

Eternal Prey
Nina Bangs
Avon, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062018953

After vampires murdered his brother Rap, Utah vowed vengeance. His quest is to kill many vampires. His vendetta has caused serious problems for Fin and the Eleven as he was one of them and his vigilantism has left a strain with the local vampires they need on their side in order to prevent Zero and his minion from destroying Portland.

Lia yells at Utah who she considers a prehistoric beast. She is also his human contact. Before her death Lia’s mother Katherine was the chief of the Northeast vampires. Although she detested many horrific decisions her mom made as Katherine thought humans were lower than vampires on the food chain, Lia still plans to convert to being a vampire soon. Utah and Lia soon find convoluted loyalties, betrayals, and broken alliances interfere with their attempt to stop Zero.

The exciting third Gods of the Night Mayan urban fantasy (see Eternal Pleasure and Eternal Craving) continues the count to the 12-20-12 meltdown. Utah is a distraught berserker who meets his match in more ways than one in courageous Lia. Fast-paced, fans will believe in the Big Bang universe as Zero time is fast approaching. Harriet Klausner

666 Park Avenue
Gabriella Pierce
Avon, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061434778

For the past two years in Paris, Jane Boyle works at Atelier Antone boutique architectural design. A month ago she and affluent Malcolm Doran meet while bidding over the same vase at an antiquities auction. They quickly fell in love; he proposes and accepts.

Jane takes him to meet her grandmother who raised her in fear and isolation of losing her after her daughter and son-in-law died in a North Carolina car crash that left the little girl an orphan. When they arrive, they find Gran dead. She left behind for her granddaughter a ring and a note explaining they are witches who must trust no one. She also apologizes for not telling her beloved granddaughter earlier, but promised Jane’s mother she would not. Jane believes her as she looks back on her luck. Still she accompanies Malcolm to New York where she meets his family only to find hostility from her in-laws who covet her magical powers just like Gran warned her in that au revoir note.

Though 666 Park Avenue starts slow, once the lead couple go to Manhattan, the story line accelerates faster than a jet. Character driven, Jane faces the mother-in-law from hell who has plans for her power. Gabriella Pierce provides a strong urban horror thriller as readers will wonder or bewitching wife. Harriet Klausner

Julien Longo
Fire Raven Press, Oct 26 2010, $16.95
ISBN: 9781450557528

On Atlantis, Artemis arranges a hunting party to initiate her friend Hera as a Huntress. Hera’s parents do not believe in hunting as a sport or ritual. However, her mother has one of her dreams that are taken seriously by anyone who knows her; in reaction to the vision Hera’s father gives their daughter a knife to use in defense. Hera performs the ritual that ends with going after the boar. Instead the creature is full grown and charges at her until Artemis’ arrows distract the humongous beast. The boar hammers Artemis but Hera leaps on the creature with the knife. Artemis is gravely injured while Hera blames herself as the animal was too big and she should have led it to Apollo. Hera and her Mother begin healing the seemingly dying Artemis.

In the dream realm Hecate escorts Hera to the Emerald Temple High Priestess Rhea. However, Rhea is stunned to find Hecate has brought her the daughter of her beloved Sofia to protect and train. Her destiny lies in her past and future bones as her awakening awakens Zeus’ knowledge of her since she will birth the heir just like Sofia did.

Hera narrates her exhilarating Book One of the Goddess Chronicles. The above paragraphs are just the opening of a strong rendition of the Greek Mythos from the perspective of Hera. Julien Longo reminds readers that those in power write the history books (and mythologies) so that this insightful, fast-paced winner enables the reader to see the female side of the saga. Especially fascinating on Hera’s journey to being the Queen is how she perceives over time her relationship with Zeus. Mythology readers will relish this strong entry as Hera pulls no punches on her journey from being a dutiful daughter to the queen of Mt. Olympus. Harriet Klausner

Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar
Mercedes Lackey (editor)
DAW, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406332

As with previous anthologies set in the Valdemar realm, (see Sword of Ice and Other Tales of Valdemar, and Crossroads and Other Tales of Valdemar); this fifteen story collection targets fans of the Mercedes Lackey world. Each tale is well written as the focus is predominately on heralds and Companions. The bar of excellence opens high with “Finding the Way,” by Ms. Lackey and Larry Dixon as the unique Shera the Hertasi uses her pathfinder skill in the treacherous Gripping Mire swamp. At the coronation of Queen Alliana, King Nabeth of Karse sends his envoy with an offer to join them in worship of Vikandis Sunlord and then she can marry his heir; a year later his army invades the heathen Valdemar from the east (“In Burning Zones We Build Against the Sun by Rosemary Edghill and Denise McCune). In the “Education of Evita (by Mickey Zucker Reichert) and in “The Groom’s Price,” (Michael Z. Williamson and Gail Sanders) the leads must learn to use their magic properly. “A Bard by Any Other Name” (Fiona Patten) and “Healing in White” (Kristen Schwengel) showcase bards and healers as Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar is filled with plenty of heart that fans of the Lackey realm will relish. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mars McCoy - Space Ranger

News Release


Move aside, Flash Gordon. Shove over, Buck Rogers. Here comes the newest space hero of them all, Captain Marshall “Mars” McCoy of the Space Rangers. Created by the writers of the Pulp Factory, this new rocket blasting hero and his Space Rangers blast off to new heights of action and adventure from Airship 27 Productions & Cornerstone Book Publishers.

Working from their secret asteroid base known as the Black Hole, the Space Rangers are an elite band of men, women, robots and aliens, banded together to patrol the lawless and ever dangerous sections of the space known as the Frontier Worlds. Their daring and heroic exploits in their sleek, super fast Black Birds blaze a glorious path across the stars.

Here are three brand new stories of Mars and his gorgeous robotic co-pilot, Betty 12, as they face off against overwhelming odds to preserve the peace and defend the Galactic Empire. Writers John Bear Ross, Greg Gick and Andrew Salmon have whipped up kidnapping pirate aliens, body snatching spores and a giant, invading space behemoth to challenge Mars and his allies. From page one, the action blasts-off and goes into orbit, featuring a stunning cover by ace artist Chad Hardin, with a dozen marvelous illustrations by Michael Youngblood.

MARS McCOY – Space Ranger is a bold new trip into the reaches of the imagination. So, buckle up pulp fans, for star-spanning thrills and excitement as only Airship 27 Productions can deliver. Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!

Cornerstone Book Publishers also publishes Masonic and esoteric books, selected pulp fiction, art literature, limited children's books, and poetry collections. The first two novels are available on-line, at book stores, from Cornerstone, and as E-books. For more information about Cornerstone, go to

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” and “Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting”, “The Green Lama” and “Secret Agent X”. For more information on Airship 27, go to

ISBN: 1-934935-87-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-934935-87-3
Produced by Airship 27
Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers

Retail Price: $21.95

Also available at:
( & at
( for digital readers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some Interesting Reviews

The Fallen: Raziel
Kristina Douglas
Pocket, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN 9781439191927

Allegra “Allie” Watson wrote sassy biblical murder mysteries. However her career as a novelist ends when she dies in a bus accident.

Because of her saucy biblical tales, Allegra is slated for hellfire. However, Raziel, one of the twenty-Fallen that Enoch with bias mentioned, violates the afterlife operating procedures. Instead of guiding her soul to her final destination, although unsure why he reacted like he did as he has ferried countless lost souls, Raziel changes her destination saving her from eternal damnation. He is injured in the process. Sparks fly between this blood drinking Fallen and the damned he temporarily rescued. His peers take the pair to safety in Sheol. However by doing what he did and what the other Fallen did for the condemned duet, they enable God's last remaining archangel Uriel the “unfallen” to break the millennia old armistice sending the flesh eating Nephilim swarm to attack Raziel and the other Fallen.

Although the opening acts take a bit of adjustment to understand who’s who and what is going on in the Kristina Douglas pantheon, fans will believe it is worth the time as the story line turns into a fast-paced angelic war with an intelligent obvious jab at the hypocrisy of organized religions. Cleverly designed so that heavenly decree is deigned by bureaucrats, fans will enjoy Raziel’s (and Allie) tale as the Nephilim led by one who takes pride that he never fell attacks the Fallen using the rescue of a condemned as the excuse for open war. Harriet Klausner

Cherie Priest
Bantam, Jan 25 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345520609

Century old vampire Raylene “Cheshire Red” Pendle is a thief who steals valuable items. The cops assume the brazen crook is a man as she does nothing to change their bias. Instead, the Seattle resident lives sort of alone with a couple of street people in an abandoned warehouse where she hordes much of her values.

Blind wealthy vampire Ian Stott hires Raylene to steal top secret government documents detailing inhuman black-op military experiments on vampires and other illegal aliens. Their testing on Ian took away his eyesight. She kills an intruder before going to Atlanta to follow up on a clue to another experiment victim. Raylene meets the brother Adrian, a former SEAL turned drag queen with no obvious place to tuck in his lower head. However, her inquiry takes a nasty spin as she learns Project Bloodshot still exists even if officially it was shut down years ago. This group’s private sector backer also has goons ready to turn anyone into a test tube especially those making inquiries.

This is an enjoyable urban fantasy made fresh by the interesting support characters who provide insight and action while also lampooning the sub-genre. The experiments are somewhat unique with the military tests on vampires, but will remind readers somewhat of Lora Leigh’s Breed series. Raylene is a kick butt loner who finds herself working for a sightless vampiric client with a humongous drag queen as a sidekick while the Men in Black and a scientific lunatic give chase; what more can a reader want from the cast? Although nothing major is wrapped up, Cheshire Priest opens Chesire Red with an exciting tale. Harriet Klausner

Treachery In Death
J.D. Robb
Putnam, Feb 22 2011, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399157035

In the summer of 2060, NYPSD Eve Dallas assigns her partner Peabody to look into the death of a shopkeeper by apparently stoned young men. Detective Peabody takes them down and puts them in the cage. Eve tells Peabody she did well but she was a bit slow in physically fighting them knowing it was her first time for the detective to take the lead. Peabody know to get in shape she must exercise three days a week.

While Peabody showers after a workout in the police gym, two cops enter the room. She overhears Chief of Illegal Squad Lieutenant Renee Oberman and her subordinate Detective William Garnet discuss crimes they are going to commit including murder. Peabody tells Dallas who wants to take out the pair and other corrupt officials under Renee’s control, but has to be careful as she has no idea who the others are.

As expected from J.D. Robb, the great author has written another fabulous futuristic police procedural. Much of the fun is watching Eve, who loves her job, work a case as even when it comes to internal affairs she diligently seeks clues to support the truth. Recurring characters add to the sense of continuity and enhance the suspense (Roarke brings the romance) as Eve obstinately leads the internal affairs inquiry. Harriet Klausner

Autumn: The City
David Moody
Dunne, Feb 1 2011, $16.99
ISBN: 9780312570002

In a matter of minutes people fall down and die without any apparent cause. A few days later, many of those who died start walking; aimlessly shuffling as mindless decaying corpses. Almost one hundred percent of the population died from the unknown cause; those who revived have one goal to kill the survivors even if that destroys their bodies.

On the outskirts of the city those humans still living make their way to a college building that seem relatively safe enough to keep the walking dead out of their retreat for now. Weeks pass and supplies are dangerously low as the haven has become a prison. Foraging outside is extremely dangerous since the walking dead have started to regain their cognitive skills. An underground bunker is filled with soldiers. They go outside to see what the world looks like. One of the group is separated from his comrades and finds his way to the survivor hideaway. They hope the soldier will take them to the military bunker. He agrees, but they ponder how to cut though hundreds of thousands of walking dead who want them dead ad who encircle their building.

Although this fabulous urban horror thriller clearly enables the audience to know what the monsters are, David Moody never uses the Z word nor is there much blood and gore. The key survivors including the soldier are interesting as their lives have turned upside down with survivor no longer a reality TV show but a way of life in this terrific Byzantine story line. Harriet Klausner

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves and More

Dark Prince
Christine Feehan
Morrow, Mar 8 2011, $19.99
ISBN: 9780062009623

In the Carpathian Mountains lives an immortal race of blood drinkers. These eternal Carpathians face several crises that have the species nearing extinction. There are few females and no new child has been born alive in ages. Humans with their superior numbers hunt Carpathians as soulless beasts. The assertion has support as the male must find his soulmate within a few centuries or turn into blood sucking vampires; some recognize the emotional void when they lose the ability to see colors and choose suicide.

Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky despairs for himself and his people as he is on the brink of lunacy. His emptiness overwhelms him so he wants to shut down the emotions; still he holds back his anguish as his people need him as their moral anchor. He wonders if he totally lost it when he hears a female telepathic voice in his head. Mikhail finds the woman psychic Raven Whitney the serial killer hunter. He knows who she is to him so he abducts her. Using mind-sex to make it with his virgin, Mikhail begins to win the heart of his savior. He has little time to persuade her that they are life mates as a serial killing monster hunts Carpathians with species cleansing the objective.

“The Author’s Cut Special Edition” reprint of the original first Dark Carpathian romantic fantasy (released in 1999) includes over a hundred pages removed from the initial publication. These include sexual padding but also provide deeper insight into the Carpathian culture. Mikhail is a wonderful lead character with his mental roller coaster while Raven proves his equal as his soul savior. This life mate team must prevent the genocide. Reader of the twenty-one books series will enjoy the revised alpha thriller with its marvelous underlying premise while newcomers will find this is an excellent way to enter Christine Feehan’s Dark. Harriet Klausner

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Molly Harper
Simon & Schuster, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439195864

Mo Duval-Wenstein drives from Leland, Mississippi to Grundy, Alaska; population of 2,053. She left behind a broken engagement and a concerned mother who has flooded her cell’s voice mail with a zillion “call me” messages that she deletes each night without listening to them. She needed to get away so she leased the Meyers’ place for a year. Her first person to greet the Lower Forty-eight transplant is Yosemite Sam AKA Nate Gogan the lawyer.

Her abode smells of dead fish as the last residents were weekend anglers. At the Blue Glacier Saloon, Mo meets owner Evie DuChamp who tells her as long as they don’t offer her meat they are harmless. She also meets Cooper Graham who scoffs at a southerner surviving in Alaska. He conceals from her that from his first sniff he knows who she is to him. Soon afterward, Mo is taken aback when a naked Cooper with an animal trap locked onto his ankle limps onto her porch. He is a werewolf, who fears he is the serial killing wolf murdering people. Mo refuses to believe her alpha life mate is a psychopath even in animal form so he risks her life to prove her assertion.

This jocular Alaskan romance places a dysfunctional werewolf pack whose alpha has deserted them and a Mississippi Delta woman into the middle of Northern Exposure. With culture clashes that make Fleischman seem like another Native Alaskan instead of a New Yorker, How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf is a zany tongue in cheek lampooning of the sub-genre. Filled with sassy southern sensitivities and wacky werewolf wanting, fans will enjoy “Nice Girls Don’t” marry dead men with fangs in places like Leland or Half Moon Hollow, but in Alaska tongue out of cheek lycanthropes make better lovers. Harriet Klausner

Lucifer’s Tears
James Thompson
Putnam, Mar 17 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780399157004

Police Inspector Kari Vaara now works homicide in Helsinki since his wife Kate detested living in his hometown. Kari has a lot on his plate with his pregnant wife only weeks away from giving birth after miscarrying last year. He is hurting mentally over the Sufia Elmi case that left his face scarred and physically from headache from a three-week long migraine with the end nowhere in sight. Worse than the headache is his new partner Milo who is a certified genius with a Dirty Harry gunslinger perspective. New to homicide, his office peers wonder if he will break solving a homicide. There hasn’t been an unsolved homicide in decades

Kari gets a chance to prove them wrong when he is assigned the torture murder of Lisa Filippov whose lover is arrested for killing his married mistress. His superiors order Kari to find evidence to hang the lover and look nowhere else, but Kari instead notices anomalies that lead him to believe the Finnish government is protecting the husband, influential Russian businessman arrogant Ivan Filippov, abetted by his mistress, who he believes likely committed the murder

His other inquiry also has high government visibility as Germany demands the extradition of Finnish World War II hero Arvid Lahinen to stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed in Northern Finland. The Interior Minister demands Kari proves the hero is innocent so he cannot be deported; nothing condemning the hero is acceptable.

Lucifer’s Tears is a super Finnish police procedural that quickly immerses the reader into the exciting story line. The audience learns much about Finnish society today and explosive events not found in history texts about Finland’s role in WWII. Kari is a fascinating protagonist with personal issues and whose first two Helsinki investigations have big brother government telling him the acceptable outcome. Harriet Klausner

Cold Wind
C.J. Box
Putnam, Mar 22 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399157356

Joe Pickett is happy being home in Saddlestring, Wyoming with his beloved wife Marybeth and their daughter instead of being the Wyoming governor’s point man. The only person who resides in the county that he dislikes is his mother-in-law Missy, who just married her sixth husband multimillionaire Earl Alden. However he is missing and she demands her game warden son-in-law find him.

Joe arrives at the ranch and quickly finds a body in a wind turbine. He climbs the ladder and identifies the corpse as his latest father-in-law. Sheriff McLachlan orders him down as he knew this was a crime scene before her got there due to an informant’s tip. He arrests Missy, but Joe believes she is being framed as the informant is her ex husband Bud Longbrake who lost his ranch to her when she divorced him. Marybeth begs Joe to investigate, which he reluctantly does. He quickly learns everyone within Earl’s scope wanted him dead. That is enough for Missy to be not guilty in court, but Marybeth wants her mom proven innocent.

This complex mystery with its strong casting is what fans expect in the Pickett investigative series as C.J. Box provides another terrific tale. The story line is personal because Joe and Missy detest one another, but both love Marybeth. Readers will enjoy Cold Wind as the hero works a case trying to prove his number one enemy is innocent. Harriet Klausner

Blood Covenant
Lisa Harris
Zondervan, Feb 24 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780310331476

In the African Republic of Dhambizao, civil war between the government military and the rebel Ghost Soldiers force thousands to flee. Dr. Paige Ryan of the Volunteers of Hope relief sets up a temporary refugee camp to provide medical care and some sustenance; knowing temporary can be decades.

The Ghost Soldiers attack an American mountain climbing expedition. Dt. Ryan and her team rescue some of trapped climbers. However, one of those rescued brings to camp a highly infectious disease. Ryan, pilot Nick Gilbert and her crew desperately try to obtain vaccines but the Ghost Soldiers refuse to allow anyone to leave the encampment even for humanitarian reasons unless their demands are met. American diplomat Paul Hayes negotiates between the government and the Ghost Soldiers as time is running out for those inside the camp.

The second Mission Hope thriller (see Blood Ransom) is an exciting tale driven by a cast used to tragedy yet remains hopeful. The negotiations are not easy as everyone has a stake they can lose in the outcome. Readers will enjoy the courageous efforts of Ryan and her beset team of volunteers, and the daunting work of Hayes and Gilbert, but the taut story line belongs to the three groups (government, Ghost Soldiers, and the refugees) of people of Dhambizao who put faces and complexities to the deadly crisis. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another PTSD Sunday

Here are the lyrics of a favorite Jackson Browne song that got me writing recently. The Story will appear in the Christmas Anthology from Whortleberry Press. It's not one of my usual tales, hence the title of today's blog. All bold and italics are mine for emphasis.

The Pretender
Jackson Browne

Copyright and All Rights Reserved

I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic ligh
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each others paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put out dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender

Friday, April 8, 2011

Several from Harriett

Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong and Ava Gray
Berkley, Feb 1 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425239056

“Bleeding Heart” by Michelle Rowen. Dhampyre Declan Reyes vows to keep safe purebred human Jillian Conrad in spite of their attraction to each other. He knows only her death can bring them together. This is an entertaining direct follow-up to Nightshade.

“Skin & Bone” by Ava Gray. In a remote part of Ecuador that keeps him off the grid after five years of torture and imprisonment to reveal his gift, Silas rescues American expatriate Juneau Bright from the rubble of an earthquake. Though he fears betrayal and returning in to the grid, he finds himself thinking of a second chance at life with his new “partner”. This is an exciting direct follow-up to Skin Tight.

“Angel-Claimed” by Jory Strong. In California, Addai the angel knows he must forget Sajia, but cannot. Sajia the Djinn knows she must forget Addai, but cannot. Their love is considered taboo and unnatural since djinn and angels have warred for eternity, yet each prays for the safety of the other. This is an enjoyable return to the post-apocalyptic world of Spider-Touched and Ghostland.

“Primal Kiss” by Lora Leigh. A good girl all her life got Kita Claire Engalls is betrayed by her loved ones. Now she has met bad boy Wolf Breed security specialist Creed Raines and knows she loves him. However, she fears her beloved will be like her family by betraying her love. This is an exhilarating Breed thriller.

All four tales are well-written fun that overall will satisfy series fans, but the novella format limits character development; trademarks of the contributing authors in their romantic fantasy novels. Harriet Klausner

American Vampire
Jennifer Armintrout
Mira, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778328780

Somewhere in Ohio, Graf McDonald is on his way to a party, but in spite of GPS he is totally lost. Smoking a cigarette, the vampire sees a light and heads to it. When no one responds to his knocks he shouts at whoever is inside. Twentyish Jessa tells him to shut up and drive as It is coming.

Graf is confused thinking maybe he entered an isolated Amish community though unsure what caused a part of a roof to fly at his car. He learns he is in Penance, Ohio as the first outsider to enter in five years as It does not allow anyone to enter or exit. Supplies are extremely low and the townsfolk are panicking. Now he cannot leave either. Though neither Graf nor Jessa trust each other, they need each other to survive; and not just from It.

This engaging romantic horror fantasy stars a hedonistic vampire and a desperate country girl inside a town with no pity run by a monster. The lead couple is terrific as he cares not one iota about others except as a blood bank or a place to hide from the sun; thus his transformation to caring in love feels off kilter and detracts from his self-indulgence. On the other hand Jennifer Armintrout cleverly reveals clues about It over the course of the story line that has readers wanting to know what it is. Although the romantic subplot feels more like a sub-genre requirement, readers will enjoy the tale of an American Vampire trapped in the Heartland. Harriet Klausner

House Name
Michelle West
DAW, Jan 4 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756406516

In the Essaylieyan Empire capital, Averalaan, Jewel “Jay” MarkessA has survived being an orphan in the slums thanks in part to her “mentor” Old Rath the demon slayer who taught her how to live off the treasures beneath the mean surface streets. She has formed a den of discarded children in Rath’s home and struggles to feed her charges; but her life and that of her pups appeared to improve when the most powerful of the Essaylieyan Empire ruling Houses, Terafin take Jewel and her den rats under their protection with the stipulation she must pay the price.

Jewel proves her worth when she prevented a demonic assassination of the Terafin ruler. That proves easy compared to what the House leaders assign her next. With demon kin planning something deadly, they order her to escort their mages on the magical pathways into the hidden Undercity where the demons reside. Initially Jewel assumed this is easy thanks to her relationship with Rath, but each portal vanishes just before Jewel reaches them. Jewel fears that her den will be deported back to the slums. The visions she sees adds to Jewel’s feelings of hopelessness when failure is not an option, but success seems impossible as she expects the improbable of an all out demon kin assault on the House of Terafin, but does not know how to prevent what seems inevitable.

The third book of the House Wars saga is an exciting entry that continues to tell the events of the Sun Sword epic from the primary perspective of Jewel. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, but lacks the freshness of the first two tales especially The Hidden City; as fans of Michelle West will sense déjà vu. Still following the adventures of Jewel remains a delight. Harriet Klausner

Twilight's Dawn
Anne Bishop
Roc, Mar 1 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780451463784

"Winsol Gifts”. The Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince of Dhelan Daemon Sadi prepares for the gala celebrating his first anniversary with his spouse Jaenelle the Witch Queen; as family and friends arrive.

"Shades of Honor”. Daemon’s brother Prince Lucivar Yaslana struggles to escape a traitor’s trap at a time when Surreal of Ebon Rich learns her former lover Prince Faloner claims he is the ruler.

"Family”. The vicious warlord No Face threatens the lives of Queen Sylvia and her sons Beron and Mikal.

"The High Lord's Daughter". Daemon has lost his heart and soul with the deaths of his beloved wife and father Saetan. As the High Lord of Hell he meets and marries Surreal, and they have a daughter named after his late first spouse. However, the two women in his life may not be enough to get over his broken heart.

This is a super Black Jewels dark fantasy anthology containing four strong entries due to Anne Bishop’s ability to make her characters seem real as life is a struggle from birth to death, but joyfully with loved ones at your side. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Star Wars, Zombies, Witches and Demons

Star Wars Knight Errant
John Jackson Miller
Del Rey, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345522641

A millennium before Skywalker became a galaxy name, the Sith traveled destructively across the Republic as everyone is considered a slave on a chain. No one except a Sith Lord would dare challenge any of these predatory superego maniacs who share in common the belief they are the dictators of the galaxy and collateral damage of innocent bystanders is desired as a means to control everyone.

In this brutal Dark Age, one light shines and that is Jedi Knight Errant Kerra Holt, who does not fear using the Force to destroy the Dark Lords. Her quest has made her Sith Lord public enemy number one; number two is each other. However, her battles with Lord Daiman who knows he created the universe in his image with a big bang and his older jealous brother Lord Odion who knows he destroyed the universe in his image with a big crunch suddenly seems minor. In Daiman’s capital Darknell, Kerra meets Narsk an Odionite enabler, which leads her to realize an interwoven diabolical family affair with previously unheard of modern technology rather than individual megalomaniac exists. She must find a way to divide and conquer amidst the chaos of combat.

Based on the Dark Horse comic book, Knight Errant is a fun Star Wars tale occurring even before Lord Bane. The story line is faster than the Force and loaded with action as obsessed Holt assumes everyone is her enemy though she knows she needs allies if she is to end the threat. The heroine is a sort of Paladin (from Have Gun Will Travel), but not for hire. Though none of the cast is developed beyond their prime trait, readers will enjoy Kerra’s saber butt kicking escapades in a Republic overwhelmed by incestuous infighting Sith Lords who bring new insanity to the meaning of the Dark Ages. Harriet Klausner

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped
Madeleine Roux
St. Martin’s, Jan 18 2011, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312658908.

The workers at Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped inside as outside suddenly are a horde of zombies. None of those locked inside the store has the slightest idea what happened not just here but seemingly everywhere. Still the military manages to maintain the Internet.

One of the trapped employers Allison Hewitt begins to write a blog on what is happening to her and the others. She connects with other human survivors in her small town and elsewhere as the scope of the disaster proves pandemic. At the nearby community center Allison meets Collin, a married astronomy professor with an estranged wife who the zombies would fear. Dining on Doritos, they begin to plan a means of retaking the village back from the zombies.

This is a fun entry in the expanding Zombie universe as heroine Allison Hewitt Is Trapped in a world gone Undead insane. The story line is character driven mostly by the most famous (perhaps only) SNet blogger. Although a trip into zombie animal-infested woods seems more like a picnic than blood scary escapades, readers will enjoy blogging with Allison as the gore and guts vividly keep on coming. Harriet Klausner

Franny Billingsley
Dial (Penguin), Mar 17 2011, $17.99
ISBN: 9780803735521

In the village of Stratton in Swampsea lives Briony, a person filled with self loathing. She blames herself for hurting her identical twin Rose and turning her into a child-like female. Briony holds herself culpable for the flood that swamped the parsonage where she lives with her sister and their father the pastor and the death of Stepmother who kept her secrets including the fact that she is a witch.

Loaded with overwhelming guilt and remorse, Briony assumes she is a witch too as she can communicate with the Old Ones who haunt the marshes as only witches and the Chime Child are capable of doing so. She also knows she is a witch because she casts spells as only a witch can.

Briony’s life radically changes when Eldric arrives in the village; he is body beautiful enhanced by his golden hair. He looks deep inside Briony and sees only goodness. Fearing how much he knows about her with his penetrating yellowish eyes that slowly reveal her zillions secrets including her being a witch; a person the villagers woud execute if they knew. Eldric remains resolute in his need to know what makes Briony tick so that he can persuade her she is not a monster.

Chime is an enchanting fantasy filled with magic, monsters, and a romance that breaks down defense mechanism barriers created over the years. Briony is a vulnerable person who feels deep emotions, a non-witch trait, that she conceals to hold back her deep rooted mental traumas. Told in the first person by Briony, her self loathing is a two edged sword as her self-hatred can overwhelm the reader and plot but also makes her a fascinating and unique protagonist in a refreshing tale.
Harriet Klausner

Pale Demon
Kim Harrison
Eos, Feb 22 2011, $$26.99
ISBN: 9780061138065

Rachel Morgan knows she is running out of time if she is to avoid execution or eternal exile into the demonic underground realm (see Black Magic Sanction). She has three days to get from Cincinnati to San Francisco where she then must prove her innocence of the capital offense of black demonic magic use at the annual witch convention. She knows how difficult her plea will be as the end never justifies the mean even when saving the world in the white and black magic world. However, she is on the no fly list so a plane is impossible as security will never let her board.

Drug lord Trent Kalamack is the elf who is sort of still in hiding and kind of helped her in her recent fiasco (see Black Magic Sanction) that has led to Rachel’s latest condemnation by the witch coven; he offers to chauffeur Rachel and her two BFFs Ivy and Jenks. She accepts though he has an agenda to recover something an ex stole. Their trek through ghost town America is haunting enough, but Ku'Sox the demon trails their not so joy ride.

Besides a strong urban fantasy, Pale Demon is much more jocular in tone than the previous few save the world epics (see White Witch, Black Curse ) while also providing a serious look at a segue of real American heritage, the disposable discard of anything including towns and other locales. The story line is as usual fast-paced even while driving and has what appears to be the beginning of the long waited romantic arc. Fans will relish Kim Harrison’s strong tale in one of the best series over the past decade. Harriet Klausner

Press Release from Solaris

4 April 2011

Dragon Apocalypse series comes to Solaris

Three exciting new titles from American fantasy author James Maxey have become the latest acquisition by Solaris, in a deal with John Berlyne at the Zeno Literary Agency.

Greatshadow, Hush and Sorrow each form part of the Dragon Apocalypse trilogy, a fantasy series packed full of action, magic, memorable characters and dragons.

Greatshadow will be published in February 2012, with Hush following in July of the same year and Sorrow hitting shelves in the spring of 2013. All the titles will also be available in eBook format.

About the author

James Maxey is the author of three previous novels for Solaris: Bitterwood, Dragonseed and Dragonforge, as well as the writer behind the super-hero novel Nobody Gets The Girl.

Jonathan Oliver, Solaris editor-in-chief, said:
“It’s a delight to welcome back James to the Solaris fold. I was a big fan of his Bitterwood series of fantasy novels and it’s great to see more from this talented writer. James has to be one of the most innovative and entertaining writers of dragon fantasy around.”

James Maxey said:
Greatshadow is my most ambitious work to date, simultaneously an epic dragon hunt, a heist novel, a ghost story, and a love story, all blended with a bit of the comic-book inspired action I love. After I met Jonathan Oliver at World Fantasy last year I realised he was a perfect editor to help bring my vision into print.”


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

Agent John Berlyne said:
“Greatshadow is a complete riot… fantasy super heroes, terrifying dragons and a deliciously unorthodox protagonist. I loved this high energy fusion of traditional fantasy colliding with X-Men. It’s huge, seat-of-the pants fun.”

About Solaris Books

Solaris is the science-fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy and horror imprint from Rebellion, publishing a mix of new and traditional for all genre fans. We also aim to fill the ever-widening gap that has appeared between the large mass-market publishers and the small genre press in the American and British scene. Solaris publishes exciting new stories and novels by great authors – including Andy Remic, James Lovegrove, Juliet McKenna, Eric Brown, Paul Kearney, James Maxey, Emily Gee, Tim Akers and Ian Whates.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Back with Reviews from Harriet

The King of the Crags
Stephan Deas
Roc, Feb 1 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780451463760

In the Realms, Prince Jehal has succeeded in achieving the first objective in his strategic plan. He has placed his lover Queen Zafir in charge of the hundreds of drugged brutally trained dragons and consequently their respective aristocratic riders. Everything came together except for that pesky white dragon who, if still alive, could destroy his plot to replace Zafir as the ruler of the realms; Jehal is unconcerned that if the freed beast attacks many will die.

Snow the White Dragon is planning to liberate her peers. The task will be difficult as they are drugged but just like she telepathically linked to her master Kailin, she knows she mentally will reach the intelligent part of the dragons. Whole Zafir distrusts Jehal and prepares to prevent his coup d’état, exiled Princess Jaslyn and Hyrkallen the dragonmaster lead a counterinsurgency.

The second Memory of Flames dark fantasy (see The Adamantine Palace) continues the brutal gruesome adventures in the bleak Deas Realms as this is no cozy. The story line is fast-paced with literal back-stabbing a normal acceptable way of life as alliances are temporary and fragile. Readers will appreciate soaring through the skies of the Realms as every free thinker has a deadly agenda with civilian (human and dragon) deaths an acceptable consequence. Harriet Klausner

Managing Death
Trent Jamieson
Orbit, Jan 1 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316077989

Due to the unmanaged deaths of many of his extended kin’s Psychopomps who worked like he did at the family firm Mortmax Industries (see Death Most Definite), Steven de Selby has been promoted to Australia’s Regional Manager. He knows he is not ready for this new position that he got due to being the last Pomp standing so he does what most young males do – he turns to drink, rage and more drink and his girlfriend Lissa.

Finally he accepts that he has no choice except turn the Death collection firm around though he faces plenty of issues starting with a stirrer revival epidemic due to a shortage of experienced Pomps (thank goodness for high unemployment as the survivor benefits are excellent not that the recruit will care), plan for a Death Moot, organize the office Christmas party and deal with an apparent zombie master who wants to end the world as Steven knows it. In other words he has to stop wallowing in survivor guilt and begin Managing Death while avoiding death as someone wants to reengineer the system; all that and a few drinks at the Christmas party.

The second Death thriller is a terrific entry that has less action than its predecessor but stronger character development especially Steven, who comes out of his PTSD to find the regional end of the world, has become more global. Told by Steven, fans will enjoy insight into his work, office pace, and an Australia turned upside down by Trent Jamieson. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Steven’s rapid rise to the top of the dead heap, but he knows there is always someone gunning to take you down; in his case that is literally not figuratively. Harriet Klausner

Other Kingdoms
Richard Matheson
Tor, Mar 1 2011. $24.99
ISBN: 9780765327680

In 1918, more to escape from his abusive father rather than any sense of patriotism, Alex White joins the army. He is quickly sent to the trench warfare in France where he meets Harold Lightfoot who is from Gatford, England. When Harold dies, Alex finds gold in his duffle bag instead of Harold’s bag. Alex instantly decides to visit the place Harold called the most beautiful village in the world. Alex crosses the Channel, but soon realizes locating the rustic quaint village is not easy as if Gatford does not want to be found by just anyone.

He rents Comfort Cottage using the money he received by selling the gold. The owner is shocked when it turned to dust; this is the beginning of the travails he finds in the village where the townsfolk believe the Faerie live in the nearby woods. They warn him never to leave the path and to avoid Widow Magda Variel the witch. Alex fails to heed the sage advice as he and Magda begin a relationship and encounters Ruthana a beautiful Faerie. Both women want him exclusively, but the more time Alex spends with Magda, the more ne becomes wary of her actions. He enters Faerie, but life there proves dangerous there also as someone wants him dead.

This is a chilling DNA helix-like twisted historical love story as a female uses her power to keep the male object of her obsessive affection at her side while her rival is willing to sacrifice her desire for his safety. Told in the first person, Other Kingdoms draws the reader into Alex’s account starting with his enlistment, but mostly his time in Gatford and the surrounding areas as he believes he has fallen in love with two diverse women. Harriet Klausner

Enter the Zombie
David Lubar
Starscape (Tor), Jan 4 2011, $17.99
ISBN: 9780765323446

Although Nathan knows he owes the Bureau of Useful Misadventures (BUM), especially their leader Mr. Murphy and Dr. Cushing, for hardening his bones as the life span of a zombie is rather disgustingly short, he prefers to avoid them. Nathan and Abigail see Murphy at their school where he demands they and Mookie team up in a contest sponsored by evil RABID as a drafting mechanism to find appropriate young recruits.

Rodney the bully also forms a team to compete and pound into the ground Nathan and his squad. However, during the games, Rodney and others closely observe Nathan leaving behind bodily yucky pieces on the playing field. Nathan sadly tells Abigail that mission-obsessed BUM in their way is almost as evil as Rabid is; he concludes Mr. Murphy will never humanize him because having a zombie on call, even a preadolescent, is a great secret weapon.

Although there are several less pints of puke and other loosely labeled bodily fluids that the EPA would condemn, Enter the Zombie is a terrific upper elementary school thriller. Nathan and Abigail display wisdom as they draw generalizations based on observations, For instance, her wry comment on research and his re the merits of BUM and Rabid in which they share in common the tenet that the end justifies the mean. Mookie provides comic relief when the gross meter is about to implode. Fans will appreciate the latest Nathan the child zombie tale as the trio works together to survive the brains and brawn contest while seeking the Zombie fever cure. Harriet Klausner