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Forgot to Show Off My New Books

I forgot to show what I bought at FogCon last weekend. I knew I wouldn’t be buying as much as I wanted since the budget is what it is right now, but here’s what I went home with:

I’d already read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, and enjoyed it a lot, so I knew going that picking up the next book was part of my plan.

I’ve wanted to read In Calabria for awhile now, so when I saw a signed copy available I snapped that up (Peter S Beagle was not at FogCon as far as I know, but there was a bookseller there with lots of signed books from lots of authors).
Then there were a ton of things I saw that were already on my TBR (To Be Read for anyone who doesn’t do book lingo) list, plus I started a whole new TBR list as I listened to panels and got interested both in books the presenters had written, and ones they recommended or quoted or talked about. Picking was tough. Then I also sort of had in my head ahead of time that I’d like to get something I didn’t know anything about before attending. Something new to me. That’s where Defrag came in. I piked it up in the dealer room because of the cover art and the thin size I thought it might be a graphic novel, and my daughter might like it. No, it’s just a short-ish book, but I still love the cover art, and the blurb sounded interesting, so it’s my ‘new thing to try out’.

Then I made the good financial decision to not go back to the dealer room again. I still have my list though, so I am all set on reading material for a nice while.

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3 Books (and a cat)

Meeko with my current reading material. photo by Kara Hartz

I’m overwhelmed with great reading material (again). I picked up The Healer’s Legacy by Sharon Skinner at San Francisco Comic Con last weekend, and started reading it on the way home. The author presented a writing panel I attended, and I remembered seeing her last year as well, but I didn’t have a chance then to go back to the dealer room to buy a book. So I made a point to do so this year. I’m enjoying it so far. The main character has a panther and tiny dragon friend. So – what more do you need?

Then at the library I spotted Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon on the ‘Lucky Day’ shelf. The Lucky Day books are popular books that they don’t let you renew, and you can’t put a hold on them. I think there are other copies of the same books you can hold, but they save some just for the Lucky Day shelf- the idea being that when you come into the library and find a great book that you’ve been wanting, that makes your day, Lucky! Now, I HAVE been wanting to get this book because it is a collection of Outlander short fiction. I’ve already read most of the stories, but there are 3 or 4 of them that I had not yet tracked down in their original publications. So yea! Problem is, I’m already reading the above book, but I had to grab this one when I saw it, and can’t renew. So I get to read extra. My Sunday is reading day!

Then, a great co-worker gave me The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. (When I went to get that link I noticed the ebook is on sale for $1.99 if you want to grab it – not sure how long the sale goes.) I’ve heard good things about it, so it’s going next in line because she just told me her sister wants to read it too. I can’t lollygag too much with getting it done and back to her.

Other books I’m looking forward to hopefully getting soon are the last in the Broken Earth Trilogy: The Stone Sky by N K Jemisin, The third book in the Tawny Man Trilogy: Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb, and Terminal Alliance by Jim Hines – it isn’t out yet though so I get to wait for that one. (Ack! When I went to get THAT link I saw he has a Magic ex Libris short story available called Chupacabra’s Song for only $0.99 that I then had to buy. Perhaps I shouldn’t do these posts about what I’m reading if they are going to result in me finding even more things to read. . . oh who am I kidding. There is always room for more great stuff to read.)



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Robin Hobb is my Idol

I’m reading Golden Fool by Robin Hobb right now. I’ve been saving it for my surgery/recovery so I would have something to look forward to. I’m just about halfway through and just learned something that rocked my little reader brain for a loop. I won’t give the spoiler here, but man oh man is this a good book.

It’s a little awkward to blog about how everyone needs to read this book when it is the second book in the middle of a trilogy, and this trilogy is in the middle of a much longer series of books. Don’t start here. Start with Assassin’s Apprentice. Work your way through everything in between, then read this. It will be worth it.

Now, when I was trying to figure out the reading order of these books, several websites and forum discussions I came across said that you could skip the Liveship books since they focus on different characters. I read the Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest) first (as should you), then the Liveship books (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny) and the started on the Tawny Man trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool – that I’m in the middle of now) and next will be Fool’s Fate). Now that I have done so I can say with authority that you should absolutely NOT skip the Liveship books.

There are events and characters in the book right now that would carry so much less interest and almost no emotional impact for me as a reader if I didn’t have all the extensive background information and relationship connections explored in the Liveship books. My mind boggles at those reviews I read way back when that said you could skip them and not miss out on anything. The emotional wallop I and them main character hit yesterday would have been completely absent without the Liveship books. In fact, it may have been a bigger wallop to me since I have more incite to the revelation than Fitz does right now.

The only other books I saw as recommended to skip are the Soldier’s Son trilogy. These are actually an unrelated trilogy that is unconnected to the events in the Farseer world. Still, I read them and loved them. They are worth reading, but you don’t need to worry about their placement in the larger series because the events are completely outside of that story-line.

That’s probably enough gushing for the moment. Go read!

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I Learned Something About Audiobook Downloads From the Library

The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin was the first audiobook I got from my library as a digital download. Before that I just checked out the CDs. My library uses Overdrive for this purpose, so I had to (chose to) download the Overdrive app on my phone so I could listen on my walks.

Last night while walking, I learned something about this process. No, that’s not quite true. Last night I just thought my headphones had stopped working, and since I was almost home again, I didn’t try to fiddle with them right then. It was getting ready for tonight’s walk when I did my learning. My headphones were fine. They worked in games and in various music apps. So I head out for my walk and try to start the story back up. (Things are getting very interesting, and that’s saying a lot in a book full of interesting things) I was super excited to get going again in other words. When I clicked the play button however, it told me the download had expired and it was removing the book. The book icon then disappeared.

That the borrow had expired and the book needed to be returned is fine. I get that. My bad for not paying attention to the time. The thing I find strange was why I didn’t get that message last night when the story stopped mid-sentence and I clicked all over to try to get it going again? Why wait until I leave the app, then return to it a different day to tell my it expired? Just, weird.

So if you try out Overdrive for an audiobook and it suddenly stops working out of the blue with no clear explanation, perhaps it expired and it’s just waiting to tell you until later on.

And yes, as soon as I got the message I got back in the que to get it back again (I’m only 5th in line!) Must learn what’s up with Hoa!

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What I’m Reading

I often read more than one book at a time, but I think I’ve gotten a little out of hand at the moment. Problem is, I’m completely loving everything I’m reading at the moment so I can’t bring myself to set anything aside and focus more. Part of the reason this happened was that I put myself on the waitlist for books at the library fairly often. Sometimes those waitlists are long. A waitlist 100 people long may take months to get to me, or weeks – depending on how many copies the library has to go around. From time to time, several things I’ve waitlisted will arrive close together. The reason this is a problem is that if there was a waitlist for the item, I was usually not the last person on it. Others are waiting behind me for their turn as well, and if there’s a pending hold on a book, you’re not allowed to renew it. So I have to read those right away. Unless I’ve reserved too many. Then I have a problem. Like now.

Another thing that is happening is that I’m reading books along with my kids. Things I’ve assigned them to read that I haven’t read myself, or I read so long ago that I need a refresher before we have discussions. This type of reading is also time sensitive since I have to keep up with them.
That’s how I end up here. Reading:
Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb (it has been waiting for me on my Kindle for awhile, and darnit, I just needed this one for my heart.)
Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin (audiobook from the library that I had to wait for)
Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (library reserve. Really wanted to read some of her fiction, but still waiting for that to come in) 
Eragon by Christopher Paloini (audiobook from library. I remember this one fine, but the kids both needed to read it for book club, and we thought it would be easier to all listen together)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J K Rowling (bedtime family read-aloud)
The Once and Future King by T S White (audiobook for 8th grader’s assignment. She’s reading the physical book. I flunked this one. Didn’t keep up. She’s finished – I’m on Chap 10. Luckily I remember enough to talk about it still.)
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (new assigned book for the 8th grader. I promise to do better this time!)
A couple nonfiction books about homeschooling high school (note 8th grader mentioned above – trying to prepare) that I have checked out from library but have to admit I haven’t gone far in because of above list. 
Also, I have Ghost Talker’s I just picked up on hold, but haven’t gotten to start on because of above list. This is the one I’m worried about since it was a long wait for it. I guess if I have to return it before I get to read it, I can just get back in line. 
Having too many wonderful things to read hardly seems like something to complain about. I just need to learn to pace myself better.
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I’m Looking for Book Reviewers

I posted a little while back about my single Goodreads rating, and how nice it was to see a stranger enjoyed my stories. Over at Smashwords I also had this nice four star review:

What a terrific tale. A lovely sense of mystery, awe and a little humour. My only suggestion is to change the title of the story, it gave away a little too much. Thanks for a great read.”

I’ve since removed my books from Smashwords to use other distributors, so I can’t link to that one. The wisdom in the self-publishing world seems to be that reviews are important, and these are all I’ve got so far. To remedy that, I’m asking anyone who has enjoyed my stories to consider posting a review somewhere. (Amazon would be great, but if you like another site, that’s great too.)

If you haven’t read my stories, but like the sound of them, and would like a free review copy, I’d like to make that happen. Leave a comment with some contact information, and what format you’d prefer your ebook in, and I’ll get one to you. For now, this is an open ended offer – if you stumble on this post months (or years?) from now and want to take me up on this. Go for it. 

For the curious here are the books in question:


An astrobiology team discovers a planet with disturbingly familiar aliens. 
A middle manager finds out who has been stealing office supplies but knows no one will believe him.
A cleaning robot is much too efficient.
A little boy is desperate to acquire superpowers.
A military robot fights to deliver vital information before time runs out.
A translator under pressure makes a fatal mistake.


Love Thy Enemy: In a post-apocalyptic America where various factions are vying for control of what’s left, Jose finds himself in love with a girl from the wrong camp. How much can they really trust each other?

The Way Home: Margaret learns a secret about her new husband’s past that is difficult to understand. 

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"Eye of the Beholder" eBook Giveaway

I’m playing/ experimenting with all the promotion thingamabobers over on Amazon as I learn about this whole ebook publishing gig.

So, I’ve made an Amazon giveaway for my ebook, “Eye of the Beholder and other stories”. This is a little different than the free book promotion I ran when I first published the collection. In that case, Amazon let me set the price to free for a limited period, and anyone who wanted it could download it without cost.

The giveaway has a limited number of copies available. Five copies in this case, and I paid for them. Anyone who wants one enters and has a 1 in 100 chance to win. So, more of a lottery situation. Sounds fun, and worth a go, so here we are. If it goes well, I’ll run another giveaway next week for “Love Thy Enemy/ The Way Home”.

Here is the link to enter the giveaway for “Eye of the Beholder and other stories”.

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Daily Exercise with Books!

I have been making a very strong effort to do some type of exercise for at least 30 min every single day. I’ve been doing this for long enough now to really feel the difference between when I’m on it, and when I’ve slacked off for a few days. My go-to exercise is walking. I love walking, and it isn’t too strenuous so I won’t try to avoid doing it.

One other habit I’ve developed, sort of accidentally, but it’s working so I’m going with it, is that I save my audiobook listening time for my walks. Now I’ve made it a rule. I can only listen to my book when I’m walking. Now I enjoy walking enough that this rule has never gotten me out walking when I otherwise would have shirked. It has, however, encouraged me to take a longer route, or keep going around the block one more time if I’m at an exciting spot in the story and don’t want to stop yet.

I’m currently on book three of the first Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. These are big books so even with hour long walks these have lasted me a nice long while. The narrator, Michael Kramer, is amazing. There’s a large group of characters and they all have a distinct voice that adds to their personality. I highly recommend the book, or the audiobook if you want to try the walking thing.

Now my only problem is that now I’m doing the Couch to 5K running program three days a week, and I’ve learned I don’t listen well while trying to run. So I really miss my story on running days. I’m debating about changing my rule to compensate for this somehow. Still thinking.

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Daycare Isn’t Dull now up at Aurora Wolf

I have a new short story up over at Aurora Wolf : A Literary Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
It’s called Daycare Isn’t Dull.

For a time, I took care of my infant niece. She was not a fan of naps and it was a great source of frustration for us both. Later, when she went to daycare, I wondered how the caregivers there managed with so many children all with their own problems. Then I started to wonder how they would handle a child with even bigger problems. . .

So go check out my story, as well as some of the others over there. It’s a free site for readers, but I did notice a ‘Donate’ button if you like what you find.

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Things I Love – Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

When I find something I love, I have the urge to share it with someone. It occurred to me, that would be a great use of this blog.
So, to begin with, I give you Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.
Shadow Scaleis the sequel to Seraphina:the story of a young musician (named Seraphina) who is in a unique position to bridge the increasing divide between dragons and humans at a time when years of peace between the two groups is growing strained. In Shadow Scale Seraphina has to take her mission even further and travel to other lands in search of other half-dragons like herself.
I loved the first book so much that I was waiting with great anticipation for the second. Part of me was a little disappointed in the sequel, but for a strange reason. In the first book, I was captured by the wonderful world and characters, and a decent amount of the text is spent on developing and introducing this world as Seraphina goes about her business. It’s the sort of story world I love to just wallow in. I had looked forward to that same feeling in the second but didn’t quite get it. We are introduced to many new lands and a lot of fascinating characters, but I didn’t get to wallow. So much happens that the story doesn’t pause enough to just lounge around in this beautiful world as much. Seraphina moves on a to a new place and new characters before we ever get to feel settled. Although I feel like complaining that the story moved along too well as a backwards sort of complaint. Instead, I will fill my need to spend time in this world by rereading both books at some point.
I believe these are marketed as Young Adult books, but I feel like there is more than enough depth for full on old adults like me to enjoy. I have a dragon-loving tween who I think would enjoy it a great deal, but I think I will wait a few years before offering it to her. Not that I don’t think she could handle any of the content or follow the story, but I think there are things (like the innocent, bitter-sweet romance) that she would appreciate more a little later on.