Thursday, May 31, 2012

Arrow Coming Fall 2012

I'm afraid to hope for much from this one because Green Arrow has always been one of my favorite characters.  But I do.  And from the sounds of the description, they're playing true to a lot of Oliver Queen's mythos.

The promo picture above came from the previous do-over of the comic series.  Before the New 52.

But it seems to have a lot of the same edginess of the newest relaunch.

Either way, color me green with excitement for now. 


This one got mixed responses when it was announced, but I just caught the five minute trailer and I'm intrigued enough to give it a go.  The BBC's Sherlock is amazing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Caught My Eye

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her father are commanded to capture one for the murderous Shogun of the Shima Isles, they fear their lives are over. After disaster befalls the mission, Yukiko finds herself stranded in the wilderness with only the crippled griffin Buruu for company. Working together, the pair make a stand against the authorities, facing intrigue, betrayal and murder in the hope of seeing their homeland saved and Buruu flying again. The first installment of an exciting new fantasy series, Stormdancer is sure to electrify the growing numbers of steampunk fans as well as lovers of classic epic fantasy.
With Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff presents the Shogunate of Shima, a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Return to Summer Childhood

This summer I've made a promise to myself to return to my childhood off and on, and share it with my 14 year old.  We're both out of school for the summer and both of us have need of serious input and experiences.  School/work has been too confining.  So we're busting loose a bit.

I'm keeping him stocked in video games, and in return he's going to read every day for 30 minutes.  During school, he usually reads a book every day or two between classes, so I may be challenged.  The kid may read faster than I do.  We'll see.

So I'm going to keep a shared book list going.  He's always wondering what my life was like when I was his age.

We didn't have video games, we had sticks.  On wet days we had mud.  On sunny days, we had shadow.  He thinks that was pretty dull, but he's never went crawdad fishing with string and a piece of bologna, never broke a horse to ride, never collected a jar of scorpions, and never rode a pig.  Personally, I think his upbringing lacks.

I'm going to share with him some of the books I read way back when, talk to him about where I was in my life while I was reading them, and re-read them myself.

We're going to read some new stuff, too.  I've already put those aside.

Here's the first one.  Andre Norton was one of the two writers that shaped my early adolescence with stories of outer space, rayguns, and aliens.  Dread Companion, interestingly enough, was kind of a blend of SF and fantasy.  Norton wrote in both fields, and her Witch World novels started out as SF and ended up more fantasy at the end.

Dread Companion doesn't have a green girl in it that I recall, but I recall this Kelly Freas cover just fine.  Freas also indelibly marked my childhood with SF covers that I remember effortlessly.  The whole Laser Books run was his, I think.  The book came out in 1970.  Maybe the green girl on Star Trek influenced the art.  That was Yvonne Craig, who was also Batgirl.

The new Star Trek has kept the Orion slave girl.

And there was a new Batgirl.

But I prefer the originals.  Yvonne Craig was really great in those roles.

Maybe you read Dread Companion too, in one of its various incarnations.  There have been several covers.

New Dead Man Out Now

Matt Cahill has an unusual gift: he can see the corruption in people’s souls, making the afflicted appear as walking corpses to his eyes. This macabre ability has set him on a one-man crusade to eradicate these servants of an ancient and powerful evil, embodied by the aptly named “Mr. Dark.”

On his way through the small town of Breckenridge, Minnesota, Matt sees the unmistakable signs of corruption in the chief of police and numerous cops. The evil that has consumed them now terrorizes innocents and allows drug and sex trafficking to run rampant. Just as Matt confronts the enslaved cops, a gun-toting teen appears, looking to make Matt pay for murdering her brother. Of course, Matt did kill her brother—he was another corrupted soul who’d been planning a bombing. But how can Matt convince Elena of the truth without any proof?

Trapped between Mr. Dark’s forces and a girl hell-bent on revenge, Matt faces an impossible choice: remove Elena—permanently—or let her kill him and doom the town.

Coming June 5

Jett is a girl passing as a boy, living as a cowboy in the old West as she searches for her long-lost brother. When the book opens, she's just rolled into a new town, where she stops by the saloon. Things are relatively calm, although she suspects there will be Trouble from at least one of the locals. Sure enough, Trouble starts to mosey over, when--
The saloon is invaded by zombies.

Barely escaping with her life, Jett hightails it out of town and soon falls into the company of Honoria Gibbons, a smart, self-sufficient young woman who also happens to be a fabulous inventor. Together with White Fox, a young man they meet, they set out to discover what's caused the zombie uprising. Turns out these zombies aren't rising from the dead of their own accord... but who would want an undead army? And why?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Caught My Eye

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. And Sophie has a secret—she’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and almost instantly she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Caught My Eye

"Fast-paced, heart-wrenching, magical and fascinating."--Tamora Pierce, author of The Song of the Lioness quartet

"Utterly ingenious! Tiffany Trent has more fine invention at her fingertips than a roomful of magical Leonardos!"—Ellen Kushner, World Fantasy Award-winning author.

“By St. Darwin and his Great Apes, The Unnaturalists is unnaturally good! Few authors can mix science and fantasy the way Tiffany can; her science-worshiping New London is perfectly original and perfectly realized, and Vespa Nyx is a heroine to cheer for. So much steampunk is just more of the same; The Unnaturalists is captivatingly different.”—Ysabeau Wilce, Andre Norton Award-winning author of Flora’s Dare.

"Thrilling, intricate and magical, The Unnaturalists is a formidable entry into the steampunk genre. Vespa Nyx is a spunky heroine we can all root for, and Tiffany Trent's worldbuilding skills are unmatched. This book will delight anyone who loves magic, gadgets and brilliantly drawn settings. I highly recommend it."—Caitlin Kittredge, author of The Iron Thorn.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New Dead Man: Slaves to Evil

Coming May 29th!

Matt Cahill has an unusual gift: he can see the corruption in people’s souls, making the afflicted appear as walking corpses to his eyes. This macabre ability has set him on a one-man crusade to eradicate these servants of an ancient and powerful evil, embodied by the aptly named “Mr. Dark.”

On his way through the small town of Breckenridge, Minnesota, Matt sees the unmistakable signs of corruption in the chief of police and numerous cops. The evil that has consumed them now terrorizes innocents and allows drug and sex trafficking to run rampant. Just as Matt confronts the enslaved cops, a gun-toting teen appears, looking to make Matt pay for murdering her brother. Of course, Matt did kill her brother—he was another corrupted soul who’d been planning a bombing. But how can Matt convince Elena of the truth without any proof?

Trapped between Mr. Dark’s forces and a girl hell-bent on revenge, Matt faces an impossible choice: remove Elena—permanently—or let her kill him and doom the town.

Elsie Chapman

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ah, Pirate Girls!

Makes me wanna pick up my sword and my dice and wade into the thick of sea beasties!

I love these covers.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

THE CUTMAN Now Only 99 cents!

Summer reading?  We got an action-filled romp right here for you and it'll cost you less than a buck!

New Keith Birdsong Cover

Awesome cover for a new Aaron Pogue story.

For cover work by Keith, email.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Rogue Angel: Magic Lantern

Start your summer off with a touch of action-filled magic!

In late 1700s Paris, a young but promising illusionist dabbles in the arcane art of phantasmagoria. But at his moment of greatest triumph—unveiling a magical lantern said to open a door to the Chinese spirit world—he is violently struck down by a vengeful phantom….

On assignment in London, archaeologist Annja Creed is hunting down a man who claims to have discovered the Jekyll and Hyde potion. On the trail of one curiosity, Annja finds herself pulled toward another mystery…the origin of a strange, old-fashioned projector once used by eighteenth-century illusionists. As Annja delves into its rich history, a dark past begins to emerge. And someone wants to harness the power of this cursed artifact…risking everything for the treasures it promises.

But Annja has a little magic trick of her own. One that she wields with deadly accuracy….

"Couldn't you have worn something a little more…revealing?"

Annja Creed frowned as she considered the question over the Bluetooth earpiece that linked her with her satellite phone. She stood in the middle of a dank alleyway stinking with rotting garbage and Chinese takeout. Dark rain clouds hung in the sky visible between the buildings. Sporadic smog patches drifted past.

"Doug, I'm way underdressed for a potential mugging as it is." Annja wore a silver calf-length duster over black pants and a pearl-gray silk tie-waist blouse. Slouchy microsuede boots pushed her five-ten up to something over six feet. The boots were comfortable, stylish, and she could run for her life in them if she had to. She wore her auburn hair clipped back.

"This guy's not a mugger." Doug Morrell sounded put out. The producer of Chasing History's Monsters—the syndicated television show Annja costarred in with Kristie Chatham—was twenty-two, young and driven by all things Twitter.

Despite the fact that he wasn't really interested in history or archaeology, Annja genuinely liked Doug. He was like the younger brother she'd never had.

"I know he's not a mugger." Annja walked through the alley with her hands in her pockets. "He's killed three women that the Metro police know about."

"I saw those reports, too, which is why I want you to be careful."

"Careful, but less dressed."

Doug hesitated only a moment. "Yeah."

"Not happening."

"You could at least get rid of the jacket."

"And give it to Igor to carry?"

"Don't make fun of your bodyguard."

Annja resisted the impulse to look back at Ray Venard, the guy Doug had hired for the shoot tonight. Venard was a large, hulking brute who had played professional rugby before he'd gotten caught shaving points, then was injured by outraged fans. He'd gotten through the court system unscathed, but the fans had left him with a knee that would never be the same.

"I thought he was a cameraman."

"He is. He's both. Kind of like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Bodyguard and photographer."

"Did I mention to you that when I met him in his office he was taking pictures of women for a skin magazine?"

Doug sighed. "You did."

"So not only am I not going to take my coat off to be more revealing in this cold, rat-infested alley, I'm also not going to take it off in front of Igor."

"I only mention the coat because it could help ratings."

"The ratings are fine. We just got a two-year renewal."

"So we could work on the next two-year deal."

Annja kept walking. Working for the television show was sometimes a pain, but mostly it was fun. And there was Doug and a few of the other people she liked who were connected to the production. Not only did she get to travel, but the salary and bonuses were nice and allowed her to follow up on other explorations and digs.

She watched the shadows carefully. Detective Chief Inspector Westcox hadn't been happy when she'd come to his office to discuss the recent murders that the media was attributing to "Mr. Hyde." Of course, the reporters were only doing that because "Mr. Hyde" had written in, claiming responsibility for the murders.

Westcox had shown Annja the morgue photos of the victims. The DCI was closemouthed and professional, and he'd thought to frighten her off with the brutality of the killings. The victims had been stomped to death, their faces pulped by size eighteen Rufflander work boots.

What DCI Westcox hadn't known was how much violence Annja Creed had seen. The police inspector had assumed she was a young woman inquiring into things much too bloody for her.

"I'm keeping my clothes on for the next two years, too."

Doug whined. He was a good whiner when he wanted to be, but Annja was impervious.

"You have Kristie for the T and A ratings. With me, you've got history and archaeology ratings."

The fact that Kristie Chatham was the fan darling because of her habitual loss of clothing and "wardrobe malfunctions" bothered Annja more than she would ever tell anyone. But she accepted it. She had her fans, too.

"Would Kristie agree to walking in a rat-infested alley at midnight so a serial murderer could leap out of the shadows and murder her?"

"No, of course not. If she got hurt, she wouldn't be able to work."

"And I would?"

"You're not going to get hurt. You have Igor. Besides, you're only there tonight to shoot a little mood footage. Igor also tells me the fog is going to have to be enhanced. Says it's really weak."

Annja looked back over her shoulder at the lumbering shadow that trailed her. Igor carried a portable video camera in one giant paw. "You're talking to him?"

"Texting. I'm talking to you."

"Great. So you're distracting my bodyguard."

"He'd probably be more focused on you if you weren't overdressed."

Turning her attention back to the alley ahead of her, Annja shook her head. Sometimes—most of the time—Doug had a one-track mind. "About the Mr. Hyde thing."

"You said you loved the Mr. Hyde thing," Doug said, instantly wary. "You said the Mr. Hyde thing was awesome. You couldn't wait to do the Mr. Hyde thing."

Annja had said that. But that had been when she'd thought her schedule wasn't going to be so tight. She'd hoped to get out to Hadrian's Wall. That had been the site of her first dig, and the place still held a special spot in her heart.

Then, when she'd seen those poor women in those police photographs, she realized that the "investigation" bordered on sensationalism. That the women were going to be fodder for the conspiracy mill Chasing History's Monsters routinely set into motion didn't sit well with her.

"You do realize Mr. Hyde isn't real."

"When you meet Mr. Hyde, tell him that. Either we've got one of London's oldest and eeriest monsters returned from over a hundred years of being missing, or we've got someone who rediscovered Dr. Jekyll's secret potion. I don't care which it is. It's a great story."

"That's what it is—a story. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a novella written by Robert Louis Stevenson. An allegory some say was based on Victorian views of sex."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. You told me that already. And I agreed that you could put that stuff in there. As long as there's not too much of it. Which is why we're picking up the tab on your date with Professor Beeswax."

"Professor Beswick. And it's not a date. He's an expert on film, literature and myth."

"I suppose it doesn't hurt that Professor Beeswax is good-looking, though. I ran a Google search on him. I see what you saw."

"Really? You thought Professor Beswick was attractive?"

Doug nearly choked. "No! That's not what I said. Are you recording this?" He cursed. "Now I've got Diet Coke up my nose. Don't do that."

Annja chuckled. Doug was easy to set off.

"As for this Mr. Hyde thing, I got a very convincing email stating that the Dr. Jekyll formula had been discovered on the internet and someone had re-created it."

"Who was the email from?"

"An anonymous source."

"Doug, it's me and you. You can tell me."

"I can't. That's how the writer tagged the email."

"And you bought into this based on that." Annja couldn't believe it, then reminded herself she'd been in the same situation with Doug dozens of times before.

"Sure. There are the three murders. Mr. Hyde claims to have done them."

Annja bit her tongue. She was looking forward to her stay in London and dinner tomorrow with Professor Beswick appeared promising.

Ahead, one of the doors suddenly banged open and four figures spilled out into the alley. Three of them were young Asian males dressed in dark clothing backing out of a restaurant. One of them held a young woman trapped with an arm across her neck. Her eyes rolled fearfully and she hung on to the man's arm to keep her balance.

The woman was dressed in black pants and a white shirt, the typical server's uniform for a lot of restaurants. Light shined from the open doorway and revealed tattoos on the necks of two of the men. All of them carried pistols. A handful of pound notes drifted from the cloth bag one of the guys fisted.

"Doug, I'm going to have to talk to you later." She unclipped the Bluetooth earpiece and shoved it into her pocket. Annja was calm as she surveyed the scene. Her heart went out to the frightened young woman.

An older man in a suit raced through the back door and quickly stopped when he saw the gunmen.


"Get back, old man." One of the youths took a step forward and pointed the gun at the businessman.

"Please. You have the money. Don't take my daughter."

The youth opened fire. Annja didn't know if he was trying to hit the man or not, but one of the bullets chewed into the door and the other went through the doorway.

The man dropped to the ground, covered his head with his arms and screamed for his daughter.

"Papa!" The young woman cried out in fear and tried to free herself. One of the men not holding her backhanded her across the face.

"Hey!" Igor's loud voice thundered in the alley. "You blokes want to put the guns down before you get hurt?"

Glancing back, Annja saw that Igor had a gun in his own hand instead of the camera now. He stood holding the revolver like he knew what to do. Unfortunately, so did the three Asians. Two of them opened fire while the third hung on to their hostage.

Annja pressed herself flat against a building.

The bullets drove Igor back into cover....

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sleuth or Dare

Although these are middle grade readers, I'm going to pick up at least the first one and give it a try.  When an author has a firm hand on the characters and the world, a story is always enjoyable.  This one sounds like a hoot.  Three books come out in May, June, and July.


When best friends Darcy and Norah have to create a fake business for a school assignment, they come up with a great idea: a detective agency! Darcy loves mysteries, and Norah likes helping people, so it's a perfect fit.

But then their pretend agency gets a real case. Someone is missing, and it's up to Darcy and Norah to take on the search. Unfortunately, there's someone else out there who doesn't want the two detectives stirring up any trouble. . . .

With the help of hidden clues, spy gadgets, and trusted friends, can Darcy and Norah crack the case in time?

Caught My Eye

“It began in the graveyard. Ever since her boyfriend Nathan died in a tragic accident Emma had been coming to the graveyard at night. During the day she went through the motions at her prep school, in class, with her friends, but that’s all it was. But tonight was different. Tonight Emma and her dog were not alone in the cemetery. There were two others there—Eric, who had just started at her school, and an ancient woman who looked as though she were made of rags. And when they saw Emma there, the old woman reached out to her with a grip as chilling as death….”