Dog Days Linkdump

It’s the Dog Days of summer, the hottest and sultriest time of the year, and also the time when supposedly there are more serious disasters and tragedies than usual. Thankfully, the dog days don’t always live up to this particular aspect of their reputation, but sadly this year they do.

And now for some links:

First of all, I’ve been interviewed by fantasy writer K.J. Bryen at Take the Plunge. We talk about writing, UFOs and pirates – the seafaring kind, not the kind that illegally shares digital media.

I also made a trio of posts over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, explaining why my e-books won’t be available via Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program, collecting other reactions to Kindle Unlimited from around the web and finally linking to some prime Amazon bashing from Germany.

In the speculative fiction community, the big topic is the decision of the WisCon committee to only provisionally ban former editor Jim Frenkel for four years after several incidents of sexual harrassment. Natalie at The Radish has the full scoop.

The Guardian has an interesting article about how the comment sections of articles about the conflict in Ukraine and recently the flight MH17 tragedy are flooded by pro-Russian comments and wonders whether this is an orchestrated social media campaign. I’ve been noticing a similar phenomenon in the comment sections of the German media. Lots of pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian comments, accusations of bias, similar wording (“murderous militias of Maidan” is a popular one) and often a liberal dose of anti-Americanism, too. There has been surprisingly little reaction to this in the German media, which is odd, considering it’s happening right in their comment sections and on their own Facebook pages. Here is a rare German language report on the phenomenon from kulturzeit. Comments are screened BTW.

John C. Wright claims to have found the secret to mindblowing perfect sex. The rest of the world begs to disagree.

German radio and TV personality Manfred Sexauer died Sunday aged 83. From the mid 1960s on, Manfred Sexauer introduced international pop music on the very conservative German public radio, which was something of a scandal at the time. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, he hosted the popular music program Musikladen on TV, where pretty much all of the big names of the era performed live.

I’ve seen a lot of Musikladen episodes over the years, both live and later as repeats. As music programs go, it was unique with its mix of comedy, political cartoons, international top acts, GoGo dancers (often topless in the early years) and early electronic effects. Here is the opening of the first Musikladen episode ever featuring Manfred Sexauer and co-host Uschi Nerke and here is a typical episode from the disco era (1980 in this case). Musikladen eventually became a casualty of MTV like most of programs of its type, though it survived in some form well into the 1990s on TV and to this day on the radio.

Finally, here is Manfred Sexauer in 1980 together with a very young Thomas Gottschalk and Frank Laufenberg rapping to the beats of the Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight (which had been performed live on Musikladen sometime before, though I couldn’t find the video). This piece was actually the first German language rap song ever.

Last but not least, here is a signal boost: Speculative fiction small press Hadley Rille Books is running an Indiegogo campaign to allow them to expand their operations.

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Prometheus and the problem with prequels

Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012) was on TV yesterday. Now after seeing the bad reviews this film got at the time, I bumped it down from “Head for the cinema now” right past “Get it on DVD” to “Watch when it’s on TV”. And now Prometheus came to TV, I finally did watch it.

Now given that a whole lot of smart people really really hated Prometheus, sometimes so much they posted several times how much they hated it, I expected a feat of truly epic badness.

However, Prometheus is not a feat of truly epic badness. Instead, it’s just a rather meh movie with some pretty bad science. So “meh” in fact that more than twice as many German viewers preferred to watch a rerun of the German crime drama Tatort (Crime Scene) instead.

Spoilers behind the cut, provided you need a warning for a two year old movie. Continue reading

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Austrian SF legend Dietmar Schönherr dies

Austrian actor and television personality Dietmar Schönherr died yesterday aged 88. Here are two obituaries from Die Welt und Der Tagespiegel as well as a video obituary courtesy of kulturzeit.

In spite of the surfeit of world news on this day, all news and cultural programs made room for tributes to Dietmar Schönherr. However, most of them focussed mainly on his time as a host of game and talkshows in the 1970s as well as on his humanitarian work (more on that later). And indeed Dietmar Schönherr introduced the talkshow to German television in 1973 (we shall forgive him for that, for he knew not what he wrought). And Wünsch Dir Was (Make a wish), a gameshow Schönherr hosted together with his wife Vivi Bach in the early 1970s caused not one but two TV scandals, when a game got out of hand and nearly drowned a family who had been lowered with their car into a swimming pool and when a when a 17-year-old contestant paraded across a catwalk in a transparent blouse (mild nudity alert). Particularly the transparent blouse is something of a giggler today, since only a few years later, such blouses were normal everyday wear. My Mom had a very similar blouse in the mid to late 1970s.

Beyond half-drowned families and transparent blouses, Wünsch Dir Was was one of the first interactive gameshows on German language TV. However, in those days before televoting participants in selected towns voted for the winner via switching on the lights in their homes or flushing their toilets! Which is a lot more bizarre than transparent blouses could ever be.

But German SF fans (and even many non-fans) will forever associate Dietmar Schönherr with the role of Major Cliff Allister McLane, commander of the space cruiser Orion 7 in the TV series Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffs Orion (Space Patrol – The fantastic adventures of the spaceship Orion).

Raumpatrouille Orion is often called Germany’s answer to Star Trek. But this is wrong, because Star Trek and Orion both debuted within two weeks of each other in September 1966 and thus had to be developed independently of each other. I guess it was a case of an idea that was simply floating around in the Zeitgeist at the time. And there certainly are superficial similarities between Raumpatrouille Orion and Star Trek, since both shows star a spaceship with a multi-national crew and a dashing gung-ho commander. What is more, both shows tackled the social issues of the era, disguised as SF.

IMO Raumpatrouille Orion wasn’t quite as successful as SF as the best of Star Trek, since the SF components were mostly rehashes of well-worn golden age tropes (one episode plays very much like an Asimov robot story). On the other hand, Orion was generally better acted. It also had better and more regular female characters. The regular Orion crew consisted of four men and two women, including the wonderful security officer Lieutenant Tamara Jagellowsk, who is still one of my favourite female SF characters of all time. Female space fleet general (and apparently a former lover of McLane’s) Lydia van Dyke (played by Friedrich von Dürrenmatt’s wife Charlotte Kerr) appeared in several episodes and Margot Trooger guest-starred as the queen of the space amazons (like I said, the series had a thing for hoary tropes). The crew was diverse with regard to nationality and consisted of a Scotsman, a Russian (in the middle of the Cold War!), an Italian, a Swede, a Japanese and a Swiss woman. Alas, Raumpatrouille Orion was a 100% white show due to being made in what was still a very white country. One crewmember, astrogator Atan Shubashi is supposedly Japanese, but played by white actor Friedrich Georg Beckhaus.

Though Raumpatrouille Orion‘s special effects get some flak today, since many of the futuristic machines were assembled from common household devices (the navigation clothes iron is particularly notable), they were outstanding for their time and are lightyears ahead of mid 1960s Doctor Who and even edge ahead of Star Trek at times (though unlike Orion, Star Trek was shot in colour, which is less forgiving of ropey effects).

But what made Raumpatrouille Orion so special were the characters, particularly the Schönherr’s Commander McLane and his security officer Tamara Jagellowsk (played by Eva Pflug), whose sparring and chemistry created enough sparks to power not just the Orion but the underwater base where she was docked when not in service as well. They finally got together in the final episode.

Cliff Allister McLane is basically your typical gung-ho space hero, a guy who goes into danger guns blazing, for whom order are just optional suggestions and who regularly wrecks his spaceship (twice on screen and five times before the start of the series), which gets him demoted to patrol duties in the pilot episode and regularly brings him into conflict with the straight-laced Tamara Jagellowsk. McLane is something of a womanizer, extremely loyal towards his friends and a “rather average kisser” according to Tamara Jagellowsk. In the hands of a lesser actor, McLane would have been a sterotype. Dietmar Schönherr turned him into an icon.

As a product of the 1960s, Raumpatrouille Orion reflects West German anxieties about rearmament following WWII and a deep scepticism not so much towards the military itself (unlike the Enterprise, the Orion is a military vessel), but towards generals with little concern for human lives (McLane repeatedly acts against orders to save lives). Characters like the shouty General Wamsler and the icy intelligence officer Colonel Villa show how the average West German viewed the military, particularly its higher ranks.

Though part of the military himself, our hero McLane is closer to the counterculture of the 1960s. McLane isn’t a pacifist and indeed is perfectly willing to fight the shadowy aliens known only as “the Frogs”. However, McLane is a rebel. Orders are totally optional for him and definitely not to be followed blindly. Indeed, in one episode he berates two of his crewmembers for blindly following one of his order and thus putting themselves into danger. And – sorry Horst Schimanski – but Cliff Allister McLane was the first person to utter the word “shit” on German TV, albeit in adjective form.

Indeed, I can trace many of my problems with the “Rah, rah, space marines” strain of military SF right back to Raumpatrouille Orion. Because after seeing Cliff Allister McLane yelling at two of his crewmen and friends for following his own orders and thus risking their own lives in the process, the blind obedience and “Yes, sir, no sir” attitude of much military SF was difficult to accept.

Ironically, Raumpatrouille Orion caught some flak in the late 1960s from the usual suspects for its military content and was even called “fascistoid” at one point, which was the favourite accusation of certain leftwing pop culture scholars of the time to hurl at any kind of popular entertainment at all. It makes you wonder whether those people ever actually watched the show. But then those are the same people who called Captain America “a fascist idol” (Steve Rogers weeps and Hulk smashes) and who also accused Perry Rhodan, another German space hero, of “fascistoid tendencies”, even though Perry Rhodan allies himself with peaceful aliens against a militaristic Earth in his very first adventure and proceeds to destroy all nuclear weapons on Earth, instantly ending the Cold War by pissing off East and West enough that they unite against him. Fascistoid indeed. To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Dietmar Schönherr was as much of a rebel in real life as on the the screen. Though he came from an aristocratic military family and made his screen debut in a Nazi propaganda film, he was active in the peace movement, was arrested while protesting the deployment of nuclear missiles and once called Ronald Reagan an “arsehole” live on TV. He also did a lot of humanitarian work, particularly in civil war-stricken Nicaragua.

As for Raumpatrouille Orion, you do not have to take my word for how good it was, but you can see for yourself, for all seven episodes are available on YouTube. So let’s rewatch a few episodes in memory of Dietmar Schönherr.

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Double Release: A new Shattered Empire novelette and a new Silencer story

The post title says it all really, for today I have no one but two new releases to announce. And not just any new titles either, but a brand-new adventure of the Silencer and the long awaited next installment in the Shattered Empire space opera series.

Let’s start with Shattered Empire. The new story is called History Lesson and that’s exactly what it is, namely Ethan giving Holly a primer on the history of the Fifth Human Empire. In the grand tradition of the space opera genre, any parallels to actual events are total coincidence, of course. And yes, I had a lot of fun liberally borrowing from postwar (West) German history.

History Lessson
History Lesson by Cora BuhlertThe nights are long on the rebel world of Pyrs, most of the man and women hiding out there have demons that haunt them and everybody deals with those demons in their very own way.
For Holly di Marco and Ethan Summerton, two of the more than two thousand rebel fighters on Pyrs, the best way of staving of the nightmares is arguing about politics, eating sweets and getting drunk, very drunk.
But one long night of arguing about politics reveals some unexpected truths about the history of the Fifth Human Empire… and also about Holly and Ethan.

 

Find out more here or buy it for the low price of 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Casa del Libro, Scribd, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

As for the Silencer, Richard Blakemore’s latest adventure follows him out onto the nocturnal streets of Depression era Manhattan again, where after a long night of crimefighting, the Silencer is called upon to prevent yet another crime. Mean Streets and Dead Alleys is as close to a typical night out for the Silencer as you can get, for not even Richard Blakemore gets to battle master criminals every night.

Mean Streets and Dead Alleys
Mean Streets and Dead Alleys by Cora Buhlert Wounded and weary after a long night of crimefighting, all Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the Silencer wants is to go home. But then he spots a young woman being stalked by three thugs, so the Silencer has to jump into the fray once more. However, when the Silencer follows the woman and her pursuers into a dark alley, he finds far more than he bargained for…

 

 

 

Find out more here or buy it for the low price of 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Casa del Libro, Scribd, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

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Germany wins the cup, George R.R. Martin goes Swiss and the last bastion of masculinity falls

First of all, Germany won the 2014 World Cup tonight, making it Germany’s fourth win after 1954, 1974 and 1990.

I watched the match with my Mom (my Dad has caught a cold and went to bed after the regular matchtime was over), a bit annoyed that the match went into overtime, especially since I still had two pages of a very boring and complicated contract to translate (The customer needs it urgently – of course they do). However, the result was more than worth it and the match itself was very good as well, though not as stunning as the semi-finale against Brazil.

One thing that marred the event was that a man was stabbed to death during a fan gathering to watch the match in a cinema here in Bremen.

Switzerland may have gotten kicked out of the World Cup in the round of the last sixteen, by Argentina of all teams (don’t worry, neighbours, you have been avenged), and Swiss authors were given a hard time by the Bachmann Prize jury this year, but Switzerland has one reason to celebrate, namely that George R.R. Martin has graced our multilingual neighbour country with his presence, since he is guest of honour at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival.

Now the German language cultural scene likes to pretend that Game of Thrones doesn’t exist, because it’s “just” fantasy and doesn’t have anything to say about the way we live, unlike those other US quality TV shows The Sopranos or Breaking Bad (because the lives of mafia clans in New Jersey or a cancer-struck highschool teacher turned drug kingpin in New Mexico has so much to do with the life of the average German). Honestly, I’ve seen/read interviews with Turkish German actress Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae, which seemed to consider her role in the German crime drama Tatort the pinnacle of her career and didn’t mention Game of Thrones at all. While you just know that if Ms. Kekilli had been casted to play a terrorist on Homeland or a drug dealer’s mistress on Breaking Bad, the German language cultural press would be all over it.

However, when George R.R. Martin is the guest of honour at a renown SFF film festival, at least our Swiss friends no longer have any excuse to ignore him. And so the Swiss public TV channel SRF offers this profile of the man and the series, while the Zurich based paper Der Tagesanzeiger has interviewed Martin. Der Tagesanzeiger has run background articles and reviews about Game of Thrones, both the TV show and the books, before. Apparently, the deputy head of the culture department is a fan.

Finally, one of the last bastions of masculinity here in Bremen has finally fallen: For the so-called Schaffermahlzeit, a black tie gala dinner for Bremen’s sea captains, merchants and political guests held annually since 1545, has announced that they will finally allow women to take part in the official dinner. Because up to now, female guests – mostly wives and daughters of sea captains or merchants – had to eat in a separate room from the male guests, though they were allowed to take part in the ball afterwards, probably because a ball involving only men would have been a bit strange. An old classmate of mine actually attended the women’s dinner at the Schaffermahlzeit once, accompanying her Dad, and quite enjoyed the experience.

Now there have been female guests at the main Schaffermahlzeit before. A female sea captain has been a regular guest since 2004 (by now, there are two female captains) and Angela Merkel was the first female guest of honour in 2007. But those ladies were exceptions, while the wives and daughters were still stuck in their separate room. But apparently not any longer. Hey, it only took 470 years.

If you’re wondering about the actual meal, it’s chicken soup, followed by stockfish with mustard sauce and potatoes, kale with Pinkel sausage and smoked meat, roast veal with celeriac salad, apples and plums and Riga style turbot with anchovies, sausage, fruit and cheese, most of which sounds rather weird even if you’re from North Germany. There’s also wine and a special sailor’s beer. Oh yes, and smoking is not just allowed but expected, though you have to use a claypipe.

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Mansplaining and Amazon Bashing at Klagenfurt – The Annual Bachmann Prize Post

This year’s Ingeborg Bachmann Prize was somewhat more low-key than usual, probably because everybody’s attention is engaged by the World Cup and it was a hot and tiring weekend in general. For more about the competition read this, this and this post from previous years.

I almost forgot that the Bachmann Prize was on, so I missed the first day, including the eventual winner Tex Rubinowitz and his story Wir waren niemals hier (We were never here), and only heard a few of the texts and subsequent discussions. My general impression, albeit based on a small sample size, was that this year’s crop of Bachmann Prize texts was rather mediocre to underwhelming. It’s an impression largely shared by German speaking critics and cultural journalists. For an example, see this write-up in the Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Echoing the NZZ write-up, there were pleasantly few texts this year about dealing with WWII/the Third Reich/Communist East Germany, which was a surprise, since three of the last four winners were texts dealing with these subjects (and two of them weren’t even particularly good). One of the texts I did manage to listen to, Millefleurs by Austrian writer Georg Petz, did touch on the current “rememberance mania” and the excessive celebration of the anniversaries of D-Day and the beginning of WWI, the manner of which Petz’s protagonist finds as distasteful as I do, but it does so in the context of a contemporary love triangle between a German exchange student, a French woman and her French boyfriend.

With fewer texts focussing on “our sorry history”, the majority of the texts instead focussed on the other big Bachmann Prize topic, the ennui of modern life, described in exhaustive detail. And so we got stories about conflicts between parents and grown children, stories about broken relationships and memories of past romances, stories about death and suicide, stories about drugs, stories about battling with bureaucracy. I’m not sure if those texts are necessarily better than the “our sorry history” stories, but at least they are stories about the way we live now and not about something that happened decades before the contestants were even born, filtered through second and third hand family anecdotes.

There is an element of public performance to the Bachmann Prize, as the statues require a public reading by the author in addition to the submitted texts. Indeed, the reading is such an important component of the competition that this year author Karen Köhler was disqualified, since she was unable to attend due to an accute case of chickenpox. And because the reading is so important, the author’s performance sometimes seemed to overshadow the actual content of the text.

This was very notable with regards to the discussion about the entries by the two Swiss contestants, where the jurors debated more about the performance than about the actual texts. The debate about Michael Fehr’s text Simeliberg, which I quite liked, focussed almost entirely on Fehr’s performance (Fehr refused to sit, but walked around, reciting his text as dictated by his iPod) as well as on his Swiss accent. Now Swiss German can be nigh incomprehensible to the Non-Swiss, but Fehr’s accent was perfectly comprehensible (and actually quite endearing). Immediately afterwards, Swiss writer Ramona Ganzoni, who is a native speaker of Romansh by the way, was accused by head juror Burkhard Spinnen of having “read her text to death”. By this point, I was beginning to wonder what the jurors had against the Swiss. Or maybe they had a problem with regional themes, since both texts were very Swiss IMO.

We also got some prime examples of mansplaining, mostly at the hands of the above mentioned head juror Burkhard Spinnen who didn’t want to see so many stories about mother/daughter conflicts and also couldn’t understand why Bruna, the protagonist of Ramona Ganzoni’s text Ignis Cool was suffering from low self-esteem, at which point I yelled at the TV, “Dude, if you were a woman you’d know.” City-born Spinnen also claimed to know more about cows than Ms. Ganzoni, completely disregarding the fact that Westfalian cows may behave quite differently from Swiss cows. Come to think of it, Spinnen also engaged in mansplaining last year, when he believed that a story about a woman finally finding the strength to break up with her jerky boyfriend was too hard on the boyfriend.

But the mansplaining and Swiss bashing at the Bachmann Prize were nothing against the Amazon bashing. The cultural program kulturzeit devoted more of its Bachmann Prize coverage to discussing Amazon than to discussing the actual competition. See this interview with Sandra Kegel, who is one of the jurors,, wherein Ms. Kegel spends more time complaining about Amazon and e-books than actually talking about the competition and the contestants. Moneyshot: Ms. Kegel laments that Amazon does not nurture and challenge writers like the traditional publishers do, while totally disregarding the fact that those self-publishing via Amazon mostly aren’t exactly keen on the sort of “nurturing and challenging” provided by traditional publishers.

There was also an interview with an Austrian independent bookseller complaining about Amazon as well as Austrian TV journalist Ernst A. Grandits (whom I normally quite like) calling e-books “a threat to literature”. Thankfully, several people disagreed with him and pointed out that e-books are books. Nonetheless, I was tempted to add “Destroying literature since 2011″ to my Pegasus Pulp tagline.

Now the event is called “Tage der deutschsprachigen Literatur”, i.e. “Days of German Language Literature”, so e-books and Amazon’s influence on German language literature are legitimate topics for discussion, especially given the current uproar about Amazon’s contract negotiations with Hachette in the US and Bonnier in Europe. Nonetheless, it is first and foremost a writing competition and I fail to see what Amazon has to do with that. Even if Amazon’s market share and indie publishing in general grows further, there’ll always be Bachmann Prize contestants, even if they may choose to indie publish their text later on. As for e-books destroying literature, I spotted a Kindle at the Bachmann Prize, used in lieu of a manuscript, two years ago and somehow the competition and German language literature managed to survive.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this delightful Bachmann bingo, courtesy of the Austrian radio station ORF 4.

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What a Match!

I’m normally not the world’s biggest football fan. Oh, I like football all right and I’m happy when our local first league team Werder Bremen wins (which sadly hasn’t been all that many times these past few years). But mostly it’s enough for me to know the result afterwards – I don’t actually have to watch the match live.

World Cups normally interest me even less than regular league games, because our national team is usually made up from a lot of players from clubs I couldn’t care less about and about half of them are Bayern Munich players at any given time. And Werder Bremen supporters normally don’t much like Bayern Munich, because the two clubs are archrivals.

However, yesterday’s World Cup semi-final, where Germany beat Brazil 7:1, was the big exception, since it was the best football match I’ve seen in a long time and a damn entertaining ninety minutes of TV in general.

I hadn’t actually planned to watch the whole match, since I was rather tired last night. Plus, I’d had a service tech at my home all afternoon long, repairing a leaky ACU. Besides – as I said – mostly knowing the result is enough for me.

I watched at my parents’. That is, my Mom and I watched on the first floor, while my Dad was in the basement catching up with some paperwork. When the first goal happened, approx. 11 minutes in, I went down the two flights of stairs into the basement to tell my Dad. A few minutes later, the second goal happened (scored by former Werder Bremen player Miroslav Klose, who is now the top World Cup scorer of all time with 16 goals altogether). So I went down the two flights of stairs again to tell my Dad and hadn’t even made it back up, when I heard my Mom cheering. “Don’t tell me they just scored another?”, I asked disbelievingly.

About two minutes later I had to go down to the basement yet again to report on goal No. 4. By the time goal No. 5 happened, my Dad had finally made it up to the TV room.

When the half time whistle sounded, I could have gone home, because it was pretty clear that Germany was going to win that match. But though I was still tired, I stuck around and watched Germany score two more goals and finally Brazil scoring their “goal of honour” in the last two minutes. All of which was fantastically entertaining, though I felt a bit sorry for the Brazilian players and fans, many of whom were openly crying. In fact, by the last two goals several Brazilian fans actually started clapping for Germany, which was really nice.

Also nice was watching German players comforting Brazilian players – often players who play in the same teams in the regular league games and thus know each other – after the game. At one point, several German Bayern Munich players were comforting Dante, a Brazilian playing for Bayern Munich.

No matter what happens in the final, this was one hell of a match. And it happened almost to the day sixty years after the so-called “miracle of Berne”, when Germany beat Hungary in the 1954 World Cup final (apparently Hungary were a contender back then) and also almost to the day forty years after Germany beat the Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup final. They took the cup once more, in 1990, which is the only German World Cup win I can actually remember, even though I was theoretically alive for the 1974 win.

Driving home, I was a bit surprised to hear quiet and sad music on the radio, because this was so not a night for quiet music. There still was very little traffic, though I did hear some fireworks and a few car horns (common in big cities, but not in the semi-rural suburb where I live).

Back home, I watched the late night news and logged onto the Internet. I saw a few stupid Nazi jokes/remarks on Twitter, which were not just not funny but also totally uncalled for, and actually unfollowed one guy over those tweets.

There also were some people complaining about people daring to watch and enjoy something as trivial as a football match and the news programmes devoting time to football coverage, when there is a massive crisis going on in the Middle East and another in Ukraine. Now I’m not a big fan of extensive sport coverage to the detriment of other news, but this was an exception. Never mind that both the half-time news and the late night news did cover the situation in Israel/Gaza and Ukraine. And expecting people not to watch a major sports event and celebrate a win is just contrary to human nature, especially since there is always something horrible happening somewhere in the world.

That said, missile shrapnel hitting the German cruise liner Aida Diva off the Israeli coast is not the most important bit of news about the situation in Israel/Gaza, even if some news programs tried to spin it that way.

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Linkdump, mostly about indie publishing, SF and climate issues

Over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I look back on three years of indie publishing and share some metrics. I’ve also got another post listing research resources I used for the Silencer series and New York City’s Finest.

Forbes has a very good article from David Vinjamuri about how indie and maker movements are changing commerce in a variety of fields. When I started self-publishing three years ago, I used to post links to a lot of articles about indie publishing. I’ve largely stopped doing that, because the articles all started to sound the same after a while and the tone became increasingly strident, such as the whole “us vs. them” mentality displayed in the commentary about the current Amazon vs. Hachette conflict. However, I really like this Forbes article, because it looks at indie and DIY movements in a variety of fields such as music, gaming, crafts, film, etc… and doesn’t just focus on publishing.

Regarding the Amazon vs. Hachette conflict, I really like John Scalzi’s rather measured take on the subject, wherein he points out that both Amazon and Hachette are businesses focussed on their own interests and not anybody’s friend. Of course, the more enthusiastic fringe of indie writers begged to disagree, but then they always do.

The winners of the 2014 Locus Awards have been announced and again the slate looks pretty good. I’m particularly happy to see more love for Ancillary Justice.

A blog called Armed and Dangerous (name says it all) offers its definition of “real SF”, i.e. the sort of thing Heinlein used to write and John C. Campbell used to publish in Astounding (found via SF Signal). Anything else is “defective SF, non-SF or anti-SF”. Characterisation? We don’t need no stinking characterisation. It reads very much like yet another example of people yelling at clouds that SF has changed, while the rest of us are over here, doing our own thing.

Arisia Crystal has a helpful post explaining exactly how to vote on future Worldcon locations. Alas, it seems I cannot vote on the 2017 location with my Loncon membership, though I can vote on the 2016 location which is a choice between Beijing and Kansas City.

Spiegel Online has a fascinating article about how a monster drought and record heatwave hit Europe in 1540, resulting in a massive catastrophe and some excellent wine. The article is only available in German, but Pierre Gosselin offers a summary at No Tricks Zone. Australian SFF writer Patty Jansen weighs in as well and points out that weather conditions like in 1540 are quite normal for Australia, but devastating for Europe and even more so in pre-modern times.

The Virtuelles Literaturhaus Bremen profiles my pal Axel Knapp, literary translator and owner of the small press Mocambo Verlag, and recommends Poste restante – Postlagernd, a memoir by Hubert Kerdellant about working in the French and German postal service, translated into German by Axel Knapp.

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New historical romance short available: Hanging Day

July 3rd (i.e. tomorrow) marks my three year indie publishing anniversary. I’ll do a more detailed post with some sales statistics over at the Pegasus Pulp site tomorrow, but for now I’ve got a new release to announce just in time for the anniversary.

Hanging Day marks a return to the “historical romance with a bite” (and some blood and guts) subgenre to which some of my most popular stories belong. This one has it all, a dashing highwayman, an innocent maiden in danger and the seedier side of 18th century London as a background.

I’ve also got several new sales channels, including plenty of Italian stores, to announce (read this post at the Pegasus Pulp blog or simply peruse the complete list of retailers). In the near future (i.e. going through editing, proofing and formatting now) there will also be a new Shattered Empire story as well as a new Silencer adventure.

But for now, travel back in time to Georgian London where public executions were popular entertainment:

Hanging Day
Hanging DayLondon, 1751: It’s hanging day at Tyburn and nine condemned criminals, six men and three women, are about to meet their end on the infamous triple tree. Among the crowd come to see them hang is Jack Blackstone, better known as Blackjack the highwayman.

But Jack has not come to Tyburn on this day merely to gawk at the spectacle of a public execution. For among those to be hanged today is Eliza Colson, Jack’s beloved, sentenced to death for a crime she did not commit.

Jack is going to save her from the gallows… or die trying.

 

For more information, visit the Hanging Day page.

Buy it for the low price of 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Casa del Libro, Scribd, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Flipkart, e-Sentral, You Heart Books and XinXii.

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Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month: June 2014

Indie Speculative Fiction of the MonthIt’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some May books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

This is the biggest indie speculative fiction round-up to date, featuring 29 SF, fantasy and horror books. Again, we have a broad spectrum of titles, featuring space opera, epic fantasy, Steampunk, Chinese historical fantasy, Norse mythology, dystopian fiction, bizarro fiction, urban fantasy, vampires (Stuart, Icelandic and celebrity), witches, necromancers, fantasy romance, YA fantasy, zombies, the afterlife, techno exorcists, Romans in space, deadly plagues, science fiction romance, short story collections and much more.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

If you’re looking for more indie speculative fiction, check out the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a new blog devoted to all things indie speculative fiction.

And now on to the books:

Follow the Faery Footpath by Nicholas AndrewsFollow the Faery Footpath by Nicholas Andrews

When the Thrillseekers reunited, they did not know the treasure they sought was the first marker of the Faery Footpath, a journey which would lead them to a godstone… one half of magic’s last earthly legacy. With Len-Ahl the Stonechaser leading the way, they seek the second marker within the iconic tomb of an ancient king. For with the Elemental Stone, they can put an end to the ambitions of Queen Qabala, as well as the evil power she serves.

However, Qabala has not been idle. Even as her forces prepare for war with the east, the holder of the world’s other remaining godstone trails after Nerris and his companions. Her allies are not only human, but from beyond the world as well. A ferocious dragon is spotted in the Tormalian skies, and a deadly beast known as the Malkind awakens from its ancient imprisonment.

The Thrillseekers must also contend with internal struggles as new faces join their journey, and unscrupulous agents seek to destabilize the alliance of the eastern kingdoms. Nerris and Len-Ahl find they must hold true to their quest, and to each other, as the fight for the fate of the world draws near.

This is the sequel to Secrets of the Stonechaser.

Forgotten Tigers by Annie BelletForgotten Tigers and Other Stories by Annie Bellet

From a grim near future to ghostly forests on far flung planets, from lost loves to magic gone awry, this collection of ten short stories brings you fully imagined tales of science fiction and fantasy.
Forgotten Tigers & Other Stories contains seven brand new and three previously published stories.

Includes the stories “Forgotten Tigers”, “The Crimson Rice Job”, “Innocence, Rearranged”, “Falls the Shadow on Broken Stone”, “Singing Each to Each”, “Nos Morituri Te Salutamus”, “Somebody Else’s Problem”, “Ghosts in the Mist”, “Infinitesimal Mercies” and “FUBAR”

Heaven's Price by V.M. BlackHeaven’s Price by V.M. Black

Yin Lihua will to pay heaven’s price to save everything she loves in this historical fantasy short story….

In the age of China’s Three Kingdoms, great forces fight over the corpse of the Han Empire. Among the leaders that emerge from the chaos, the Duke of Shan and the King of Tian stand apart. They are no ordinary Chinese noblemen. They are vampires, and with their armies, they vie for ultimate control of the Central Kingdom.

Lady Yin is the Duke of Shan’s consort, bound to him eternally, heart, mind, and body. The mother of his heir, she will do anything to keep her lord and her child from falling into the hands of the enemy.

Anything at all.

Heaven’s Price contains explicit sexual content and is not intended for minors. It is not a romance. Fans of Chinese historical drama will find this story both interesting and refreshing.

Grimoire by T.M. BladesGrimoire by T.M. Blades

Brenton is the town with no shadow, or the town where no one dies. When a budding necromancer inherits an old house, a grimoire, and a familiar, in the form of a crow the town starts to see a lot of strange happenings.Toss in a demon named Cain with his own agenda and an unlikely ally in the form of a preacher and you may have a recipe for disaster. Zane wants to use his black magic to keep people in town from passing on, but will it all catch up to him in the end?

Grimoire is a monthly serial. Each installment between 12,000 and 20,000 words. The books are meant to be read in order, but they are all their own story. If you’re not familiar with serials you can think of them like television shows for books!

Duplicity by Stacy ClaflinDuplicity by Stacy Claflin

Alrekur Vidarsson had to wait three thousand years to finally fall in love. He spent two thousand years searching for her, but then she found him, awaking him from death.

Unfortunately, she was engaged to another, and Alrekur had to wait another eighty years. Finally, he won her over and they got their happily ever after…except that it won’t be that easy.

The birth of their daughter has awakened the entire dragon species, who had been sleeping since before Alrekur was born. The dragons have their sights set on Alrekur’s family, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, not caring if they destroy everyone he loves in the process.

Blood Sacrifice by K.J. ColtBlood Sacrifice by K.J. Colt

With the threat of the Queens’ army increasing, only blood healing can save South Senya. Adenine continues her journey alone, encountering constant danger and tragic loss. Clutching at the strands of her sanity, Adenine barely makes it to Juxon City where the king proves untrustworthy and hostile.

The Queens quickly destroy all Adenine’s hope for the kingdom of Senya. Under their rule, the people are doomed. She has allies, but they are too few to take back the city. The only one who can challenge the Queens is the emperor of Bivinia: a monster responsible for the deaths of hundreds of healers. She must convince him to invade Senya, replacing one evil for another.

This is the third book in the Healers of Meligna series, following Concealed Power and Blood Healing.

Fallen Down World by K.E. DouglasFallen Down World by K.E. Douglas

Florida was supposed to be all sunny beaches and Disney World, the perfect vacation. Instead, fifteen-year-old Dani is the only member of her family not struck with a ferocious new flu. Now the only part of Florida she cares about is the road out. Home is what her family needs, but home is a thousand miles away.

Dani’s family aren’t the only ones who are sick. The hospitals and highways are littered with the dead and dying. Dani is soon adrift in a world where she struggles to find food and fuel as she tries to get her family home. In this terrifying new world, every stranger is a threat and each mile is a battle.

But home isn’t the salvation Dani hopes for. Now, she needs to survive in a world that will never be the same.

Benton by Jolie du PreBenton: A Zombie Novel by Jolie du Pré

Zombies have killed everyone in the Benton household–all except twenty-something Jennifer. She’s escaped her bedroom, but what now? Waterbank, Illinois is overrun. Where can she go?

A chance encounter with seven other young survivors points her toward Texas. A charismatic, handsome young man named Mark says he can lead them all to his family’s ranch. He’s sure they’ll be safe there. Jennifer wants to trust him, with her life and possibly her heart.

There’s no place else to go, there’s no way to escape the zombies but through, and there’s no telling if Jennifer and Mark will live long enough to act on the emotion building between them.

91kdBMM5qeL._SL1500_Haunting Echoes by Caethes Faron

Amaia was one of the most sought after courtesans in King James’s London when she became a vampire. Together with her sire, Lawrence, she works to birth a new, more powerful race of vampires. She has everything she could want: wealth, prestige, and eternal life.

She fears nothing. That is, until Michael, the first man she killed, walks into a tavern twenty-three years after she killed him. He has more reason than most to hate her; he’s the man who gave her the engagement ring she still wears. She’s convinced he’s come back from the grave for one purpose: to destroy her.

Michael’s gray eyes haunt Amaia until she surrenders and goes to him. If her clan finds out about her obsession, they’ll kill her and him. But if she stays away, she’ll go mad. Both paths lead to destruction, and it’s up to Amaia to find a way to keep herself and Michael alive, whether Michael still loves her or not.

Shade City by Domino FinnShade City by Domino Finn

Dante Butcher is a twenty-four-year-old programmer living alone in Los Angeles. At least, that’s the part of him people see. He doesn’t tell them he dreams of the Dead Side: a skewed land of past and present inhabited by shades.

Dreams are one thing, but matters are complicated when the dead don’t agree to stay that way. Shades like to drink and smoke and revel in the pleasures of the flesh. They cling to the physical world, but they can’t stand here on their own. They need to attach to something tangible. Usually that means other people.

Possession. It is a means for the dead to hide in plain sight. But Dante Butcher is more than he appears as well. He can see them. The shades. The fakers. And he’s not at all alone either. He’s haunted by the ghost of a murdered little girl who may end up being his only ally. Yet, as Dante gets more involved with the machinations of the dead, he learns one important truth: you can’t trust shades.

Quantum ZooQuantum Zoo, edited by D.J. Gelner and J.M. Ney-Grimm

From a ghost park to a time-travel penitentiary of murderers to a menagerie of Egyptian deities, Quantum Zoo presents 12 compelling stories involving 12 very different living exhibitions. Includes stories by D.J. Gelner, Sarah Stegall, A.C. Smyth, S.E. Batt, Ken Furie, Scott Dyson, John Hindmarsh, Morgan Johnson, R.S. McCoy, Frances Stewart, J.M. Ney-Grimm as well as Hugo and Nebula nominee Bridget McKenna.

 

 

The Slip by C. GockelThe Slip by C. Gockel

It’s only been a few days since Veterinarian Amy Lewis escaped Asgard with the FBI’s professional hacker, Bohdi Patel. The escape involved “borrowing” Odin’s magical, world-walking, eight-legged, horse, Sleipnir. Now Odin wants Sleipnir back. FBI Director Steve Rogers doesn’t want Odin getting anything he wants. Amy and Bohdi want to set Sleipnir free. The horse has his own ideas. A story (mostly) from Sleipnir’s point of smell.

 

Reckless Recon by Rinelle GreyReckless Recon by Rinelle Grey

Following his brother half way across the galaxy seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hadn’t hit him just how much he was giving up. Stir-crazy after three weeks in space, Kerit, professional surfer turned interstellar colonist, jumps at the chance to get off the ship and onto the new planet’s surface—even if it is a little inhospitable.

He expects searing heat. He expects acid rain. He even expects the sunburn from hell. What he doesn’t expect is to meet Folly—the most prickly, irritating, and fascinating girl he’s ever known. And he needs her help if they want to make this planet their new home.

Determined to find her father’s ship and prove he was a brilliant scientist, Folly has no interest in getting to know Kerit. The cute stranger is just a distraction. Unless of course he can help her in her search…

But something sinister lurks in the ruined city, and neither of them realise how much they are going to have to rely on each other if they want to make it out alive.

Reckless Recon is the third book in the Barren Planet Romance series, following Reckless Rescue and Reckless Rebellion.

A Season of Kings by Duane GundrumA Season of Kings by Duane Gundrum

The Tales of Reagul is the story of the sorcerer Sarbonn who is chosen by the “gods” to act as their representative and the planet’s protector.

During the dawn of the Roman Empire, a segment of the population is transplanted onto another planet as part of an alien sociological experiment. This planet, Reagul, develops a new history as its people slowly begin to realize they will never return home again.

Sarbonn, gifted with the science of the aliens (“the gods”), discovers they have been abandoned by the aliens, leaving them to forge their own destiny in a lonely corner of the stars.

The first book involves their colonization of this new world, their struggles with survival, greed and the realization that they are not alone. Previous civilizations have been transplanted to this planet before them. And Sarbonn discovers he’s not the first sorcerer, and that the previous ones may not be all that welcoming to the new inhabitants.

Bound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-SenterBound in Blue by Heather Hamilton-Senter

Gods walk among us—all you have to do is See.

High school senior Rhiannon Lynne couldn’t get noticed even if she walked stark naked into the cafeteria and started playing the banjo. While tap dancing. As if that weren’t strange enough, Rhi has synesthesia—she feels in color. It takes being almost drowned by a Celtic river goddess for her to discover she’s been bound by a spell that has hidden her from the world and her own mysterious heritage.

As Rhi starts to see that her colors belong to magic, she finds herself at the center of a conflict between gods, humans, and the lost world of Avalon. She’ll need to figure things out fast if she wants to be a player in the coming conflict and not a pawn. Each side has a claim on her loyalty, but each one could decide she’s the real threat.

Hopelessly attracted to a god of thunder; deeply connected to a boy with no memory of his past; irresistibly drawn to a creature with a taste for flesh—Rhi’s choices could decide the fate of worlds, but their choices could decide hers.

Maybe not being seen wasn’t so bad after all.

The Machine by Mark R. HealyThe Machine by Mark R. Healy

In the near future, a man climbs the corporate ladder inside a powerful company but finds that with each promotion he must sacrifice a part of himself. (6500 words, approx. 23 pages)

 

 

 

 

Diabolus by Travis HillDiabolus by Travis Hill

Salvatore Antonelli, a disgraced ex-bishop, and Benito Castillo, a young tech-priest fresh out of Seminary, are tasked by the Vatican to confront DAMON-1, a nuclear capable AI that claims to be Satan incarnate, returned to the physical world to bring about Armageddon.

The two clergy must battle to restore DAMON and purge Satan from the enslaved AI’s core. The bishop is forced to play a deadly game with billions of lives in the balance, while the young priest must confront Satan’s digital persona within the network.

The eternal conflict between good and evil, fought in the space between time, brings humanity and their AI creations to the dawn of a new age, and to the brink of annihilation.

“The Exorcist” meets “Skynet” meets “The Matrix” in this thought-provoking new science fiction thriller.

The Inventor's Son by S.B. JamesThe Inventor’s Son by S.B. James

Set in a Victorian London that could have been, The Inventor’s Son is the story of twelve year old Ethan Stanwood, whose father is a reclusive and brilliant inventor and scientist. Sickly and isolated, Ethan’s entire world revolves around his father and his work. He believes that this is all his life has to offer him, in spite of the latent magical talents he’d inherited from his mother that are beginning to surface.
When his father abruptly flees London one Monday morning, Ethan’s quiet life is swiftly turned into a fight for his survival. His father tasks him with bringing their most important prototype back to him, and has only left vague clues for Ethan to follow in order to find him. While Ethan has to try and find his father, he must also face his father’s foes who will stop at nothing to get Ethan and the prototype.
Ethan thinks he knows everything there is to know about his father. He is about to find out how very wrong he is.

Othella by Therin KniteOthella by Therin Knite

Georgette
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Georgette McClain can’t resist a juicy tip. So when a rumored crazy ex-CEO gifts her evidence of a vast conspiracy involving the world’s premier scientific community, Arcadian Heights, she sets her sights on the story of a lifetime. And all she has to do to grab it by the reins is sneak into the most secure facility in the world—and expose it for the slaughter house it is.

Marco
Tech company CEO Marco Salt has it all. Fame. Fortune. Family. But not long after Marco’s beloved genius daughter is invited to join Arcadian Heights, a rogue agent reveals to him the horrifying truth about the revered scientific community. Forced to flee for his life, Marco finds himself on the run with a deadly secret in his grasp and a single goal in mind: destroy Arcadian Heights.

Quentin
Quentin Belmont has been the Arcadian Heights spokesman for the better part of two decades, and his singular motivation is to keep the community safe at all costs. So when an internal incursion leaks vital information to an outside party, Quentin preps a “cleanup” without a second thought. But what at first appears to be a simple task turns out to be anything but, and Quentin comes face to face with the unthinkable—a threat that could annihilate the community.

The Ship to Look for God by D. KraussThe Ship to Look for God by D. Krauss

Otto Boteman suffers a massive heart attack and wakes up in a strange, jeweled city filled with beautiful people, a mesmerizing sky defying all physics, and what looks suspiciously like his first car. Seeking answers, Otto has a disturbing encounter with a murdered childhood friend and is assured by some kind of angel bureaucrat that this is Heaven, but God is not here so don’t bother looking. No God? Can’t be Heaven, then, despite the best danishes he’s ever eaten and residence in a pretty nice condo (replete with tailored suits and HBO). Maybe he’s not even dead, just comatose. But then he meets Claudia, a 5th Century beauty running an Irish pub, who tells him about a group of malcontents building a rocket ship in the far desert. Their mission? Find God.
So begins Otto’s journey across a fabulous world peopled with the likes of Doc Holliday, Prester John, and a Mongol horde led by an accountant from West Kankakee, Illinois. Drawing the wrath of a frenzied, suit-wearing army of angels (or demons, can’t tell), Otto discovers that launching the ship just might end the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Dead South Rising by Sean Robert LangDead South Rising by Sean Robert Lang

Welcome to the South, where the dead are dangerous, and the living are deadly.

David didn’t know he killed another man’s wife. He was only trying to save his own family. His friends. Himself.

And now he’s being hunted. By the dead. And by the living. He thinks he can handle the dead. But can he handle the living?

Book 1 of the Dead South Saga, a zombie drama/thriller. Contains strong language and violence.

One Man, No Plan by MT McGuireOne Man, No Plan by M.T. McGuire

Confused ex-outlaw, pardoned for all misdemeanours, seeks answers…

The Pan of Hamgee has a chance to go straight, but it’s been so long that he’s almost forgotten how. Bewilderingly, despite a death warrant over his head he is released, given a state-sponsored business, and a year’s amnesty from all offences while he adjusts.

He doesn’t have a year, though. In only five days Lord Vernon will gain total power and destroy K’Barth. Much to his frustration, the only person who can avert it is The Pan: a man without a plan.

This book is the third in a series, following Few Are Chosen and The Wrong Stuff

A Play for the Castle by Zelah MeyerA Play for the Castle by Zelah Meyer

Arthur and his friends are noblemen disguised as traveling players. Raising an army in secret, while dodging mercenaries and cabbages alike, isn’t easy. Neither is keeping secrets from the curious young woman he happens to be falling in love with. She thinks he’s just an actor with a shady past, and if he’s to have any hope of a future, he can’t put her right. Between sword fights and scene changes, life is about to get interesting.

 

 

Flying Saucers by Nigel G. MitchellFlying Saucers by Nigel G. Mitchell

As a recent graduate of the University of Destruction and Mayhem, Mortog Flethrax is eager to make his mark in the Xenon Empire that rules the Galaxy. Mortog’s first assignment is an insignificant little planet so pathetic that even its inhabitants call it dirt: Earth. With his devoted robot soldiers and textbook from class, Mortog plans to rule the world in less than twenty-four hours. He’s starting with the town of Dead Meat.

Jeffrey Foster has spent his entire life in the tiny town of Dead Meat, Illinois. He’s always thought small, been afraid to take chances. His life’s ambition is to get promoted to assistant manager at the convenience store where he works. All that is about to change when Mortog Flethrax comes to Earth.

When it turns out that Jeffrey’s best friend Dirk is a highly trained intergalactic freedom fighter, Jeffrey will be forced to rise up and save the world.

Stars and Other Monsters by PhronkStars and Other Monsters by Phronk

Stan Lightfoot is the perfect paparazzo. His dog, Bloody, can track down anybody, anywhere, which comes in handy whenever a celebrity involved in a juicy scandal tries to avoid public attention. He’s about to get the perfect picture—a real privacy-invading winner—when he runs into a vampire who ruins his life.

From the dark and vulgar mind of Phronk — author of Baboon Fart Story — splashes a neo-vampire trip through nightmare America, full of movie stars and other soulless creatures, mind-numbing romantic comedies, and a Wal-Mart in every town.

When the vampire reveals a celebrity crush of her own, Stan finds a way to keep her from eating him. Helping a murderous monster screw a movie star wasn’t exactly what Stan had in mind when he got into photography, but it’ll buy him a few days. Can he find a way to escape a creature with god-like power before she reaches her destination?

Probably not.

Darknight by Christine PopeDarknight by Christine Pope

Kidnapped by a rival witch clan, Angela McAllister envisions a dark future for herself until she discovers her captor’s brother is the unknown man who has haunted her dreams since she was a child. Forced to re-evaluate everything she’s ever known about the Wilcox witches, Angela begins to explore the powerful connection that binds her to Connor Wilcox, despite the generations of hostility between their families and the disapproval of those closest to her. And when a dark, malignant force arises, Angela knows she must draw on her growing powers as prima to protect enemies and allies alike…even if her choice threatens to tear her new and fragile love apart.

Darknight is the second book in the Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.

Scion of the Woods by B.E. PriestScion of the Woods by B.E. Priest

SIX MONTHS LATER
A monster is loose in the Trees’ Wood,
and the rebellion is suddenly revealed.
As Galen’s dark past comes to light,
war breaks out in the Queendom,
and Asher must choose a path,
risking all that he holds dear.

Sequel to Southwind Knights and The Queen of Grass and Trees.

 

Gear Heart by Hollis ShilohGear Heart by Hollis Shiloh

Living with a gear heart made from magic and machinery, Auden knows his lifespan will be shortened. Now a second-class citizen, he’s part of the household of Dr. Gregory—the man who stitched him back to life years ago during the war. And now Dr. Gregory is being threatened.

A friendly (sometimes too friendly) police officer named Owen is assigned to help protect the aging doctor. Auden could resent the policeman who’s come to help with security. Instead, he finds himself drawn to the attractive, flirtatious Owen, who somehow doesn’t let Auden’s cold nature scare him away. And that holds a different kind of danger for Auden’s heart.

Spectra's Gambit by Vincent TrigilliSpectra’s Gambit by Vincent Trigilli

An old ally of Grandmaster Vydor comes to him for help because an enemy, perhaps as old as the Empire itself, has turned its sights on his Cathratinairian race and means to wipe them out. Spectra and Dusty are sent to find and stop this new threat, while Spectra begins her plan to change the balance of power for the entire known multiverse. Dusty must decide to follow Spectra as she uses this mission of mercy for her own gain, or stand with the Wizards Kingdom, which could put him in direct opposition to his wife.

The Lost Tales of Power is an open-ended series of Science-Fantasy books set in a vast multiverse. Spectra’s Gambit is the sixth book set in the Lost Tales universe

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