Archive Introduction

A brief note on how I’ve set up my reviews archive:

The tags represent where a review ran the first time around, whether online, or in print. This includes defunct magazines such as Absolute Magnitude, Science Fiction Chronicle, and Realms of Fantasy.  All reviews that appeared in those magazines can now be found here, with the exception of a very few that were lost along the way. Reviews originally posted at The Green Man Review (and its sister site, The Sleeping Hedgehog), SF Site, and Tor.com remain on those sites indefinitely.  They are uploaded here at irregular intervals after their original publication, and are reprinted for my archives with all due credit and permission.

The categories, obviously, represent where a particular item falls into the grand scheme of things. This is pretty obvious, but a few things bear a little further explanation. Historical means that the book is set in the past of a world either meant to be ours, or pretty darned close. I’ve applied the Fairy Tales/Folklore/Mythology label to anything which I feel takes inspiration or influence from those themes, and as such, this is both a specific and nebulous category, applied at my whim and discretion. The Zombies, Shapeshifters, Vampires and Superheroes are in place simply because it amuses me to do so. Lastly, I’ve also marked some books as being of greater than usual interest because of LGBTQ themes – featuring a gay or lesbian character, for instance, or dealing with gender issues, or addressing matters of alternate sexuality. In all cases, this is a work in progress, to be fine-tuned and adjusted until I’m satisfied…whenever that might be. More categories may appear, some may vanish. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and comments, especially if you feel a certain book deserves (or doesn’t!) a specific, existing, category that I’ve overlooked.

Enjoy.

Regarding “The Miller’s Daughter”

51ml3J3tXOL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_We take a short break from our obsessive pushing of the Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter to talk about something a little… okay, a lot different.

“The Miller’s Daughter” appears in the new anthology, Witches, Princesses, and Woman at Arms, edited by Sacchi Green (Cleis, 2017). In this delightful collection of erotic lesbian fairy tales, I, and other wonderful authors such as the ever-amazing Annabeth Leong, Emily L. Byrne, Salome Wilde, A.D.R. Forte, and Sacchi herself, take a good look at what makes fairy tales tick, and then reinvent them in sexy, sensual, satisfying ways.

My story is inspired by Rumpelstiltskin, but with a dark, witchy twist. In this tale, the Rumpelstiltskin figure is a mysterious witch, an older female possessing potent magics and a knack for spinning straw into previous metals. Katherina, the miller’s daughter, is strong and resourceful, determined to find a way out of a terrible situation. Together, they pass every task set before them by the greedy king, and make some magic of their own.

What can I say? I wanted to tell this story from the viewpoint of the so-called villain, to find a way to make her sympathetic and vulnerable without sacrificing her mystique and power. I wanted Katherina to have her own sense of agency as she actively participates in getting what she truly desires and needs. And I wanted this to be sexy and at least a little surprising. Best of all, I enjoyed bringing these characters to life.

Perhaps the best compliment I’ve gotten thus far for “The Millers Daughter” comes from an Amazon review, which states, “The biggest surprise was a Rumpelstiltskin type story between two women. It was written by a man and even though I wanted to hate it for just that reason I could not…go figure!”

Hey, I’ll take that in the best way possible. It’s not the first time someone’s said I write acceptably satisfying F/F situations… for a male author. :) If you like this, or are intrigued, don’t forget I have a whole collection of f/f erotic urban fantasy out there.

For your pleasure, then, a safe-for-work excerpt…

——-

I came to her in her cell, just after nightfall.

I don’t know what exactly I’d expected of Katharina, the miller’s daughter. Perhaps a meek and terrified victim, reduced to tears by the sheer injustice of her circumstances. Perhaps a rage-weary firebrand, voice hoarse from shouting at her captors, nails bloody from scrabbling at the lock. Instead, I found a cool, calm, collected young woman, who prowled the confines of her quarters like an animal in a cage, examining it for weaknesses.

I think I fell in love with her a little in that moment.

Katharina was not beautiful, but she was lovely in her own way. Her hair was long and fine, a silken blonde that tumbled down her back like a waterfall. Her eyes were a brilliant blue, sharp and intelligent. And her skin, with one exception, was smooth and lightly tanned from time spent outdoors. Were it not for the purple birthmark which stained her right cheek, she might even have been considered a great beauty, able to attract any number of suitors.

Alas, she had reached marriageable age and then some, with no man able to overlook this flaw, despite her father’s increasingly outrageous offers of dowry. “It is but a fairy mark,” he claimed to all who would listen. “She was touched by the fairies at birth, and imbued with a great gift, which will belong to any who wed her.”  Had there been any fairies remaining in our land to dispute this, they might have put a rest to the claim before it caused problems. But there were not, and they didn’t, and so it did.

The king had heard tales of Katharina, the miller’s daughter, who could spin straw into copper, silver, and gold. And the king, a greedy man who never stopped to wonder why the miller was not already wealthy beyond belief, took her for his own, but with an ultimatum: Katharina would spin for him. If she passed his tests, he would marry her and her father would be richly rewarded. If she failed, there would be two new heads adorning the spikes atop Traitors’ Gate.

The king had no patience for failure.

I had no patience for the king, and so I came to Katharina as night fell, appearing in the shadows of her cell with but a whisper of cloak to herald my arrival.

I call it a cell, but it was a spacious tower chamber, bare but for a few necessities… such as a spinning wheel and an imposing pile of straw. There was a lovely view of Traitors’ Gate through the thin barred window, to remind Katharina of her fate should she prove inadequate.  I was pleased to see that it had not affected her.

She whirled when she sensed my presence, taking a step back to eye me warily. I can only imagine what she made of a hooded, cloaked figure, standing where none had been the moment before. Remaining still so as not to spook her, I pushed my hood back and let me look at me.

Slowly, she took in my own feminine features and long dark curls, my red lips and dark eyes, my non-threatening stance, and she relaxed. Just a little. “Who are you?” she demanded. “Why are you here? If that bastard king sent you, tell him I can’t work with an audience! The straw will turn to dust and he’ll never have his riches and treasures.”

My lips curled in a smile. Ash and oak, but I already admired her spirit. She had a fire that would be utterly wasted on the king. And yet, I had come to make sure she lived and ultimately married him. “Calm yourself, Katharina,” I told her gently. “I know the truth of your supposed gift, and the fate which awaits you come the morning.”

“Then why are you here?” she asked again, folding her arms sternly. “And just who are you?”

“I cannot tell you my name. But I’m here to help you. I will spin the straw into copper, enough for you to buy another day of life from the king.”

As she assessed my offer, her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “And what will it cost me?”

——

What is the cost of a magical favor? Buy the book and find out.

Ooooorrrrrr…. comment and you might win a copy for yourself. Details below:

THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS for the Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms Blog Tour

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)

www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”

www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”

michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”

www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”

annabetherotica.com 

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”

breywillows.com

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”

sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”

writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”

www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”

mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”

https://www.facebook.com/carina.bissett.5

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”

sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”

aisforallison.blogspot. com

 

Thanks for dropping by!

Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter – Week 2

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Well folks, here we are on day 14 of our Kickstarter for the Schoolbooks & Sorcery anthology. Two weeks down, 16 days to go, and your poor host and editor of this project is losing hair he really can’t afford to lose as he watches the numbers and tries to keep that hype train rolling. We’re staring at 48% funded, which is a perfectly reasonable but not entirely -comfortable- place to be at this point in the campaign, and boy, I’d love it if we crossed that magical threshold today.

So what can I offer to excite you? Well, first this promise:

To increase representation and diversity, I am actively looking to obtain more stories for this collection. Specifically, stories with trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and/or asexual protagonists. I really, -really- want to find room in the anthology for more voices. I know how to make it work. But we still need your interest and support to help turn it into a reality.

Second, this explanation:

When I call Schoolbooks & Sorcery queer-inclusive, or LGBTQ-inclusive, I mean it. Out of 12 stories, at least -10- have openly gay, lesbian, trans, or bisexual characters. Yes, there are cishet protagonists as well, because this is an anthology aimed at including and accepting everyone to the best of my ability. Is it a perfect blend? No, but we can always try to be better.

Lastly, an excerpt from Seanan McGuire’s “Finals” to really grab your attention. It’s a gorgeous story, told as only Seanan can, about the many, many schools of magic, and what it means to embrace that magic with all your heart.

——–

Four girls running down a city street, dressed in the meticulously pressed uniforms of a private school: black skirts, orange ties, white shirts.  Polished black shoes and tights in whatever color they choose, for the administration recognizes that some individuality is essential to a healthy student body.  One wears striped black and orange, like something from a Halloween store.  One wears bright pink, knees already ripped up from encounters with the pavement.  Another wears staid gray, cool as concrete.  The fourth wears no tights at all: she runs bare-legged and swifter than the others, reining herself in when she pulls too far ahead, her heels beating a staccato rhythm on the sidewalk, like she’s wearing tap shoes.

She is not wearing tap shoes.

See them run, beautiful children of a beautiful age—for all ages, and all children, are beautiful if one looks closely enough, overlooks the things which do not seem beautiful on the surface, or better yet, learns to see those things as the most beautiful of all.  See them run, each with her own gait, her own approach to the concrete, from our girl of the bare legs and phantom tap shoes to her sister in patient gray, who runs smoothly but with no hurry at all, at all, for her destination will wait until she gets there.  See them run, and know them for the miracle they are.  Now hurry, hurry.  Class is about to start.

They run until they come to a rusty gate in a crumbling wall, sandwiched between a convenience store that boasts fifteen big jackpot lottery winners in the last six years and an apartment building that has been thoroughly, utterly condemned, masked over with plywood boards and orange caution tape.  Someone with canny eyes might see those girls slip through the gate, disappearing from the street, only for flickers of motion to show through the boarded-up windows, in the places where the light slips through.

Always the light slips through.

To see what happens, you know where to go and what to do.

In the days to come, I’ll share more excerpts and blurbs.

 

 

 

Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter – Day 5

schoolbooks cover comp 600 px

Well, folks, we’re on day 5 of the Kickstarter for Schoolbooks & Sorcery, and things are looking good. 50 backers for $1135, which puts us at 18% of our funding goal. 25 days to go… we can totally do this. Mind you, despite my happy-go-lucky demeanor, I’m a worrywart deep inside, so I’m totally flailing about and making a backup plan which involves fleeing to Canada, changing my name, and becoming a lumberjack if things don’t work out.

Friends, I would be an AWFUL lumberjack. You do NOT want me anywhere near chainsaws or large men in plaid flannel.

So let’s fund this anthology. Let’s fund it so hard, I never even have to dream of becoming a lumberjack out of shame and regret.

And now… an excerpt from “Protection,” by the amazing Cheryl Rainfield. What happens when a lesbian teenager, harassed by bullies, finds a magical item capable of changing her life?

—–

I walk out into the hall—and Janelle thumps her shoulder into mine, slamming me against the shiny brick wall so hard my teeth jar together. My shoulder aches but I try not to let it show.

Her friends surround me in a half circle, backing me up against the wall, blocking off my exit. Students rush past us in the usual frenzied escape for the weekend, some looking over curiously, others ignoring the tight knot of humans closing me in. Shouts and catcalls sound out, but not for me, sneakers squeak against the floor, boys throw half-finished lunches or sweaty socks at each other.

“Don’t think you can make a pass at me, dyke,” Janelle says, pushing her face up close to mine, her lips a snarl, her normally pretty face transforming into an ugly mask that I’m sure none of the teachers have seen. This close, her sickly sweet perfume is overwhelming.

I push my breath out. “I wasn’t coming on to you! I just liked your presentation. I thought you made depression real. I’ve never heard anyone put it like that before—that it’s like a happiness-eating virus, eating up all the happiness before the person can taste it. It was…real.”

Janelle’s eyes soften a little, and for a second I almost think she wants to ask me something, or maybe tell me something. Then one of the girls snickers. Janelle’s gaze darts sideways at the girl who laughed, and when she looks back at me, her face is hard again, like a mask. “Don’t kiss up to me.”

“I’m not. Besides,” I say, “you’re not my type.”

“Not your type?” Janelle stiffens, tossing her head. Her hair whips my cheek. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

I don’t understand this whole straight-girl fear that I’m coming on to them, then offense when they realize I’m not. “I don’t like straight girls. Think about it; why would I? Rejection, aggravation, and there’s no attraction.”

“Maybe you like to suffer,” Zhi says.

“Seriously? Get real,” I say. “No one does.”

“Yeah? Then why are you always trying to flaunt it?” Janelle says.

Flaunt it? “I’m just trying to be me.” Trying to be comfortable in my body and who I am, which is more I can say for any of them, with their faces all made up, the fake girly-girl way they laugh and talk, their designer clothes bought to show off their bodies to boys instead of, god forbid, being liked for who they are.

—–

For more… well, you know whatcha gotta do.

 

Schoolbooks & Sorcery – Kickstarter Day 2

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Hey everyone!

While I don’t plan to deluge you with posts related to the current Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter, I did want to say that so far, after just one day, we’re doing quite nicely, and I’m feeling optimistic. With 31 backers as of right now, and $840 pledged, we’re 14% towards our first goal.

So let’s talk a little about what I want, what I really really want.

I want this project to succeed for the wonderful authors who’ve stuck with me for -years- as this anthology lurched its way towards this point. I want to be able to reward them for their faith, dedication, and amazing work.

I want everyone out there to be able to read these stories, and lose themselves in the struggles, heartache, triumph, and magic of the characters as they deal with problems both mundane and extraordinary.

I want you all to know about bees and ghosts and djinn and kitsune and healing and so much more.

And I really want to be able to reach out and maybe find just a few more stories to add to this collection, because I know they’re out there.

So pledge. If you can’t pledge, spread the word.

Thank you for the support you’ve all shown already.

And to end this, a brief excerpt from a story that I think a lot of people are going to love.

 

“I can’t decide whether that’s really sad or not.” Rosemary rested her head on crossed arms and looked at me doubtfully.

“Maybe it would be really sad for somebody who isn’t me, and they should be lucky I got this gig instead of them.”

“Don’t get me wrong, school’s horrible, but there’s people to go to the diner with, and go to the movies with, and — you’ve just got goats and bees and all these stars and nobody to dance under them with.”

“Have you got somebody to dance under the stars with?”

“Well, you know how it is. This is Nowheresville and I’m pretty damn gay.”

“I’m pretty damn bisexual,” I said, giving her a daring-myself look, a going-in-the-beehive-without-the-smoker look. “Which should be easier, in theory.”

She grinned. “Twice as many options for a date on a Saturday night doesn’t actually help when there’s nobody around but bees, huh?”

–From “The Delicate Work of Bees” by Emily Horner.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter is LIVE.

schoolbooks cover comp 600 px

Dear Everyone,

The Kickstarter for Schoolbooks & Sorcery, an anthology of diverse, queer-inclusive, YA urban fantasy, is officially launched.

This is not a drill. This is real life.

It will run for the next 30 days, ending at 3 AM July 1st. Our base goal is $6000, which covers all relevant costs and expenses, especially paying our authors professional rates for their stories, and feeding the alligators in the basement. If we go over this amount, our stretch goals will include acquiring more stories to increase our diversity, interior art, and/or paying everyone, including the editor, more money. I don’t know about you, but I want even more stories.

Future posts will include more hype, excerpts from select stories, and cat pictures. But for now, I wanted to start spreading the news.

Again, here’s the link to the Kickstarter .

Tell everyone.

Table of Contents, in no particular order:

  • “Finals” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Protection” by Cheryl Rainfield
  •  “The Grimoire Girls” by E.C. Myers
  •  “Where We Come From” by David Sklar
  •  “Bad Roommates” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
  •  “Dirty Deeds” by Kelly Swails
  •  “Heart of a Fox” by Aaron Canton
  •  “The Delicate Work of Bees” by Emily Horner
  •  “Awaken” by Rain Fletcher
  •  “All That Matters” by Elizabeth Shack
  •  “The Chosen One” by Katrina Nicholson
  •  “Fishing for the Dead” by Eric Esser

See you soon.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery Kickstarter Launches June 1st

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Ladies and Gentlemen:

As the title states, I’m pleased to announce that the Kickstarter for Schoolbooks & Sorcery will go live on June 1st. The campaign will run for the full month, and end on or around June 30th. Obviously, I’ll have more information once we launch, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up. I’m thrilled, I’m excited, I’m even terrified. It’ll be awesome. This has been a long time coming, and I hope the wait will be worth it. So come back next week, and join us as we get this party started.

 

 

Roanoke PotterFest Presentation, Part 1 of 2

This Saturday the 13th of May, I attended the first ever PotterFest here in Roanoke, a massive celebration of all things Harry Potter. Wearing my hats as a book reviewer and student of childrens’ literature, I gave a presentation on “The Hogwarts Library.” Amanda Cockrell, head of the Hollins University Childrens’ Literature Program, joined me to discuss the mythological underpinnings of Harry Potter, and the literary inspirations, and books worth checking out if you’re a Potter fan. For the sake of common interest and spreading the knowledge, I thought I’d reproduce my half of the presentation here. Mind you, it’s not fancy, and it’s not nearly as thorough as I’d have liked, but we only had so much time, and we didn’t know exactly what sort of audience we should expect or prepare for. Also, these are sort of the bare bones from which I improvised and extemporized as needed, so it’s lacking some of the details I added in the actual talk. Still, enjoy!

In the first part, I tackle Harry’s precursors and literary cousins.

Predecessors, Influences, and Similar Books

 

The Harry Potter series didn’t emerge from a vacuum; it’s a synthesis of familiar and original elements, fused together to create a story which feels both timeless and fresh. Rowling drew from innumerable sources for her inspiration, both consciously and unconsciously. Her work is, moreover, the product of growing up in a specific place at a specific time. Her influences are quintessentially British, mid-to-late 20th Century, and eclectic. Trying to name all of them would take all day, but I’ve taken the liberty of collecting several of the most obvious inspirations, as well as other books which existed in the same veins as Harry Potter before or during its original publication, books to which Potter has been compared favorably, or which share its core aspects.

 

tom brown

1) Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes

This is where the entire subgenre of English boarding school stories started, with this Victorian-era drama about an 11-year-old boy who goes off to school and comes of age while having numerous adventures. It basically lays the seeds for Hogwarts and Harry’s own journey.

 

sword in stone

2) The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

One of the essential books on British lore and myth, this tells the story of young King Arthur; in it, you’ll find an orphan, an owl, and an old, absent-minded magician, among other things. Young Arthur, or Wart, is supposedly “Harry’s spiritual ancestor.” Also known for its animated Disney adaptation.

 

little white horse

3) The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Rowling has claimed that this book, about an orphaned girl sent to live with her guardian in the West Country of England, where she encounters a unicorn, was one of her major influences. It’s part of why there’s such a huge focus on, and descriptions of, food in her series.

 

matilda

4) Matilda by Roald Dahl

An orphan discovers amazing magical powers while living with horrible family members. While there’s not a significant comparison to be found here, Roald Dahl’s stories certainly borrow from the same well of wonder and whimsy.

 

dark is rising

5) The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Another classic of British children’s literature, this 5 book series draws deeply from myth and folklore. The second book, The Dark is Rising features an 11-year-old boy who comes into great power while being mentored by the figure once known as Merlin. The heroes battle evil throughout the British Isles, across time and space, and encounter all sorts of legendary heroes and artifacts. Again, this is basically an older cousin to the Potter series, stemming from the same cultural subconscious.

 

 

 

 

worst witch

6) The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

A young witch deals with bullies, stern teachers, and magic, while attending a boarding school for witches. Despite similarities to Harry Potter, this series started in 1974, with seven books as of 2013, and there’s no indication that Rowling was specifically influenced by it. It’s also inspired several television series, and enjoys significant popularity.

 

books of magic

7) The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman and John Bolton

In this graphic novel collection, published by DC Comics, a teenage boy is taken on a grand tour of magical realms and concepts by a quartet of mysterious figures, in order to prepare him for his own destiny as an immensely powerful sorcerer. While it later inspired several ongoing series, the original story hews the closest to the same archetypes Harry embodies, as acknowledged by author Neil Gaiman… again drawing from T.H. White’s earlier work.

 

wizard's hall

8) Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen

A 1991 fantasy about a boy named Henry who attends a school for wizards, where he has to fulfill a prophecy and battle an evil wizard. Any similarities are thought to be simply coincidental, and Yolen has expressed a mild dislike for Harry Potter and Rowling’s writing style. Still, an extremely fun book.

 

so you want to be a wizard

9) So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane

This long-running series, now up to ten books, mixes science fiction and fantasy to tell episodes in an ambitious, universe-spanning conflict between good and evil, life and death. In the first book, a girl discovers her wizard’s manual in a library, and along with her wizard partner-to-be, undergoes a trial in a nightmarish version of New York City as part of her initiation. This series tends to raise complex philosophical and moral questions as the heroes wrestle with vital decisions while saving reality.

 

secret of platform 13

10) The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

An orphan is raised in the real world, but is introduced to a magical world by passing through a portal in King’s Cross Station—but not platform 9 ¾, obviously. Ibbotson has gone on record as saying that she’d love to shake Rowling’s hand, and that they all borrow from each other as writers.

 

There you go: a tiny sampling of books which inspired Rowling, and books which come from the same cultural, social, and mythological sources… Harry’s extended literary family, if you would, from the great-grandparents to the distant cousins.

 

 

Roanoke PotterFest Presentation, Part 2 of 2

This Saturday the 13th of May, I attended the first ever PotterFest here in Roanoke, a massive celebration of all things Harry Potter. Wearing my hats as a book reviewer and student of childrens’ literature, I gave a presentation on “The Hogwarts Library.” Amanda Cockrell, head of the Hollins University Childrens’ Literature Program, joined me to discuss the mythological underpinnings of Harry Potter, and the literary inspirations, and books worth checking out if you’re a Potter fan. For the sake of common interest and spreading the knowledge, I thought I’d reproduce my half of the presentation here. Mind you, it’s not fancy, and it’s not nearly as thorough as I’d have liked, but we only had so much time, and we didn’t know exactly what sort of audience we should expect or prepare for. Also, these are sort of the bare bones from which I improvised and extemporized as needed, so it’s lacking some of the details I added in the actual talk. Still, enjoy!

In the second part, I recommended a number of books and series which have come out in recent years, as things Potter fans might enjoy, or which I felt needed attention.

Recent Releases and Helpful Recommendations (in no particular order)

In the wake of Harry Potter, the childrens’ literature field has exploded into a truly wild and wondrous place. While Harry can’t get all the credit for the vast wealth of magic and adventure we now enjoy, he’s certainly left his mark. These following books and series share the same sort of wonder, excitement, action, mystery, and joy, and are well worth exploring by readers, young and old alike.

lightning thief

1) The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan

In this immensely popular series, which has also seen several movie adaptations, Percy Jackson discovers that he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon, and, after meeting numerous other demigods at Camp Half-Blood, embarks on many adventures. Subsequent books and series have brought in the Roman, Egyptian, and Norse gods, while his most recent series focuses on Apollo trapped in the form of a teenage boy.

seaborne lost prince

2)  Seaborne: The Lost Prince by Matt Myklusch

In this historical fantasy set in the Caribbean, a boy in service to the feared Pirate King has to pose as a long-lost prince in order to discover a legendary lost island and plunder its riches. But as he tackles the challenges which will supposedly prove his identity, he dreams of escaping his master and seeking freedom instead.

the map to everywhere

3) The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

A girl from modern-day Arizona teams up with a thief who can’t be remembered, journeying from one world to the next aboard a pirate ship in search of a map which could take them home… or destroy all of creation. Fun and fantastic, it’s the start of a great series.

school for good and evil

4) The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

This series follows several girls as they’re sent to schools which will prepare them for fairy tale lives, but they soon discover that good and evil are not necessarily black and white issues. Will these best friends become sworn enemies, or will they carve out their own happily ever after, despite their apparently inescapable destinies?

rebel genius

5) Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino

In this world inspired by the Italian Rennaissance, artists and creative types have been outlawed, due to their magical connection to powerful birdlike creatures called Geniuses. But when one teen discovers his own Genius, he joins a secret society trying to save the world from those who would misuse long-lost artifacts. This is by the co-creator of Avatar: the Last Airbender, and also features some great art.

york shadow cipher

6) York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

In this alternate version of New York, fantastic architecture and bizarre technology make this a city where anything can happen. In order to save their apartment building from destruction, a group of kids set out to solve a centuries-old riddle which supposedly leads to a fabulous treasure. Action and mystery abound! This book comes out on Tuesday, so be sure to grab it as soon as it’s on sale.

tut

7) Tut by P.J. Hoover

Imagine the famous Egyptian King Tut… as an immortal 12-year-old, unable to escape the torture of middle school. With evil cultists, a power-hungry god, and other problems to deal with, he may not have to worry about never reaching high school.

the dungeoneers

8) The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

In this brilliant homage to fantasy and gaming tropes, a young thief-er, rogue—is accepted into a school which prepares the next generation of dungeon-crawling adventurers for a life of monster-slaying, trap-solving, and treasure-hunting. But is he destined for fame and fortune, or a horrible demise before he ever loots his first chest?

the ministry of suits

9) The Ministry of Suits by Paul Gamble

In this tongue-in-cheek adventure, an Irish teen is inducted into a mysterious organization which investigates and deals with the strange, unusual, and impossible. Part handbook, all action, it’s a humor-filled romp through a world filled with danger and excitement.

foxheart

10) Foxheart by Claire Legrand

In this fantasy, a 12-year-old thief capable of performing forbidden magic escapes her orphanage just before it’s destroyed, pursued by the mysterious Wolf King. But when she’s catapulted into the past along with her dog and best friend, she’s given the opportunity to save the kingdom.

These books are just the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully they’ll give you all something to read, and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite along the way…

Two Publications and Two Sales

I’m pleased to announce that I have two more stories for your enjoyment.

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The first is “Saturday Night Science,” and it can be found in the first issue of the new magazine, Broadswords & Blasters, available in both electronic and print formats. This is, as with so many of my stories, set in Puxhill, and it’s… well, it’s about dating in the modern age. And mad science. And maybe a little light-hearted bondage. And breaking the universe. You know, just like -your- first dates tend to go, but with more SCIENCE!

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However, if you’re in the mood for something different, there’s “The Miller’s Daughter,” which can be found in Sacchi Green’s new anthology, Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. This is my witchy, sexy, lesbian retelling of Rumplestiltskin, and I loved getting the chance to turn the tale around while still keeping true to its roots.

 

Finally, I can also reveal that I’ve sold “The High Cost of Answers” to the upcoming anthology, Utter Fabrication: Tales of Haunted Houses and Weird Places. This is a more family-friendly sequel to my erotic detective tale, “The Strange Case of Rebecca Rice,” and sees Nat MacDonald, the Gaslight District’s best private detective, looking into recent disappearances. If you like my Puxhill/Gaslight District work, this will definitely be worth reading when it comes out…

Also forthcoming (yes! so many stories!) is “An Afternoon in the Park with the Coyote Brothers,” which will appear in Pole to Pole Publishing’s Dark Luminous Wings collection. What happens when Raoul and Merle, the infamous Coyote Brothers (and their cat Skeeter) decide to teach a young woman about her previously-unknown supernatural heritage? Wacky hijinks ensue, of course.

 

And for those interested in my editorial pursuits, rest assured that both Like a Haunted Trail, and Schoolbooks & Sorcery are moving forward behind the scenes. I was just up in Boston for the annual Circlet Retreat, where I consulted with my beloved and feared publisher about what we need to do to finish these projects. I know both have been in the works for a long, long time, but they’re both in very good places and getting better. All delays were my fault, and I’m just not one to speak overly much of private stuff to a public audience, so all I can do is ask people to trust me just a week bit longer. Thanks!

New YA Releases

I am pleased, nay thrilled, to announce that more of my work is now out in the wild and available for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

First up is my brand new story, “A is for Anger,” which can be found in the anthology D is for Dinosaur, edited by Rhonda Parrish. While the title sounds pretty explanatory, I’ll share this excerpt to whet your interest.

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Tanith Murray is always angry. Not the cool sort of angry that comes with superpowers, because at least then she could save the world and feel like she was making a difference. No, the awful kind of angry involving lots of yelling and slamming doors and hitting walls. The sort of angry where everything sets her off, from burned toast to an accidental bump in the hallway at school. The sort that always ends with bruised and bleeding knuckles.

She hates being sixteen and half-white, half-black and not fitting in with either race. She hates being poor, she hates being unattractive, unpopular, unloved. She hates the way she doesn’t fit in with her family. She hates the way everyone else seems so confident, so accomplished, the way they have their crap together when she doesn’t. She sees the world through the red haze of perpetual fury, stomping around like Godzilla and people scatter out of her way. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but everyone knows it’s a matter of time until punched walls become punched people, or worse.

At night, when she’s tossing and turning in the too-hard, too-small bed tucked into what used to be a storage space in the basement until she demanded she not have to share a room with her little sister, she dreams of something ancient and reptilian. It squirms inside her, restless and hungry.

In her dreams, Tanith rips at her skin, tearing away big flaky chunks to reveal green scales underneath. She picks and shreds and soon there’s nothing but a pile of Tanith-skin, of clothes and hair and everything that makes her her. Oh, and the dinosaur. There’s a dinosaur standing where Tanith used to be. It’s human-sized, whip-thin, built for speed and meanness all scales and tail and teeth, radiating menace and hunger.

Oh, she knows that supposedly dinosaurs had feathers and weren’t really green, or whatever, but Dinah, as she thinks of her dino-self, doesn’t care about scientific accuracy, she’s something dredged up from the foulest part of Tanith’s psyche, anger made real, and in her dreams, Dinah runs free.

Does this one end in tears and bloody gibbets of people all over the hallways? Buy the book to find out.

 

Meanwhile, the audio market Far Fetched Fables has just released their adaptation of “Sea of Strangers,” which first appeared over at the short-lived but fondly-remembered Inscription magazine. This one takes place in Puxhill, my go-to setting for all of my favorite urban fantasy pieces, and stars the team of Audrey “Aud” Martinez and her girlfriend Charm as they try to figure out why everyone at school is acting so -weird- lately. Go read it for free at Inscription, and listen to it for free at Far Fetched Fables, then tell me which version you prefer! And an excerpt…

There was a weird vibe in the halls before first period today. As I made my way towards homeroom, weaving between people with experienced ease, I picked up a thousand different emotions– everything you’d expect from a building packed to the gills with hormone-ridden teenagers and long-suffering adults– and something new, strange, and impossible to identify. A slippery, elusive, emotional flavor that tinted the rest without revealing itself. It poked at my subconscious, put me on edge, made me just a little careless. I bounced off a man-mountain wearing a football letter jacket, and got a snarled, “Watch it, lesbo,” for my troubles. The shove he gave me wasn’t gentle; I stutter-stepped away, trying to regain my balance.

It was going to be one of those days. Some people hate Mondays; this was proof that Tuesdays could be just as bad, given the opportunity.

Sometimes, it really sucks to be queer and out in high school. I blame the combination of pack and herd mentalities. Those who aren’t preying on the weak and different, are shunning those who don’t belong… and every group has a different idea of what’s appropriate. Unfortunately, when you draw a Venn diagram of “different” and “doesn’t belong,” the overlap tends to include people like me. The black-clad loner types with few friends and a thing for the same sex.

That’s it for now. Remember, authors rely on word of mouth and reviews, just as much as they do on sales. So please, write a review, leave a comment, share on your Facebook, rate us on Goodreads.

More news to come very soon.