Fantasy Story to Share With the Kids in Your Life #review #bookreview #fantasy #story #kids

Portal Keeper book coverIf you’re looking for a fantasy to keep kids reading over a school vacation, check out this book, and read it yourself, too.

A mysterious portal, which opens at dawn and closes again at dusk, is located deep in the woods and kept secret from the vast majority of the people who inhabit the kingdom of Rastella.

When Ajax, a newly appointed teenaged keeper, takes his post, his first day does not go well. Soon the kingdom’s prince and his best friend have vanished into another world and he must follow them or they will never return.

The story travels through a Land-of-Oz like world, where the characters meet friends and enemies, and battle dangers.

Listed under Amazon’s Children’s eBooks category, this book held my adult interest too. A perfect story to read and share with a youngster in your life.

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Teens Battle to the Death in Ruthless Dystopian Games – Latest Big Hit Contribution to the Genre #review #bookreview #dystopia #scifi

Teen Dystopian BookRed Rising is in the scifi/fantasy dystopian genre – the sort where teenagers fight and kill each other in “games.”  Like other stories in this genre, adults are generally corrupt or ineffective. The genre favors medieval sorts of weapons with flashes of high-tech and high-fashion. The main character must win the game to maneuver into a position to topple the evil society. You may think this has become predictable stuff, but Red Rising by Pierce Brown is phenomenally popular.

The story delivers all the requirements of the genre, and grandly. The underdog hero, Darrow, is a Red slave in a society of many rigid classes ruled by the Golds. He chooses to join the game to give meaning to his murdered wife’s death, bravely suffers a dreadful preparation, and doesn’t really know what he’s getting into. There’s lots of violence and suffering by all involved, more than any one of us could endure because the characters are supermen and superwomen.

Darrow repeatedly ruminates about his lost love, which drives him and makes him unwilling to settle merely for revenge. He feels guilt over some of the terrible things he must do to win and sometimes suffers consequences. He makes and loses friends and enemies. The story is well done and doesn’t devolves into merely a video game plot.

At one point I was getting a little tired of the violence, and laughed out loud when a character said that he was getting tired of the game. How about that – an author who can read my mind.

What others are saying
There are always some negative reviews. Darrow’s ruminations strike some as “rehashing” and “tedious.” Others noted this is more of a fantasy than hard science fiction (though the scifi genre has been stretched into fantasy forever.) The book is set on Mars but there’s only one grim element that says “Mars” to me – the planet’s been terraformed, so the story could have been set almost anywhere.

Others disliked similarities to previous popular dystopias. “I am very bothered, and even distracted… because it is following The Hunger Games in 2008 and Divergent in 2011 and Red Rising came out in 2014 which wholesale loots plots and character arcs from the previous two books.” Joel De Gan.

The comparison wouldn’t bother the author – the Amazon description brags about the similarity to Ender and Katniss.

My bottom line.
I’ve read enough stories in this genre lately, and that may blunt my opinion. I’ve read that scifi is always about us today, so they make me wonder – do teens and twenty-somethings see school as an arbitrary game imposed on them by callous adults? And the real world on the other side of school as grim and rigged?

Red Rising is well done and if you’re looking for this sort of story, you’ll love it.

Podcast Crammed with Science Fiction & Fantasy, Delightful Shorts, & I’m Thrilled to be Featured #podcast #scifi #listening #today

Science Ficiton and Fantasy PodcastYou’ll find short science fiction and fantasy stories on the 600 Second Saga podcast and I’m thrilled to be their Featured Author, for the first time, for August. That means, in addition to listening to loads of flash fiction for free, if you sign up to support the podcast, you’ll get my latest collection of short reads as a thank you.

But hurry – August 2017 won’t last forever.

Short Reads in Scifi and Fantasy :)Check out podcasts of two of my stories now, and escape the real world every week with a new 10 minute story of scifi or fantasy. Or choose from the extensive library. Lots of stories and lots of ways to listen. Perfect for a break or a binge.

Thanks to the podcast’s creator Mariah Avix who also handles the audio and production, and writes some of the stories. And thanks to our listeners and supporters.

Find me on 600 Second Sagas, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll find my paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats for my ebooks at Smashwords. Read one today.

Now, before you forget, get yourself over to 600 Second Saga for a treat and support this wonderful podcast.

Podcast of Berserk, a Norse Fantasy #podcast #scifi #fantasy #shortstories

A short read from my new collection is coming to audio! Listen to the June 14th podcast of 600 Second Saga – episodes go live at 6pm CST US.

Eirik takes his first voyage with a Norse raiding party. He admires and fears the berserker warriors who lead them into battle, but the magic that makes them invincible is not what he expected.

Can’t wait? Read Eirik’s story and more – short stories, flash and microfiction, and excerpts from my Mars colony series. Available now on Amazon

There are plenty of short science fiction and fantasy pieces on 600 Second Saga, so visit today. Perfect for a break during your day, or anytime.

And watch this blog for a reminder when Berserk goes live.

Urban Fantasy of Good Battling Evil #urbanfantasy #paranormal #book #review

A cop in modern Albuquerque, with (as one reviewer said) a walk-in closet full of skeletons, is drawn into the battle between good and evil, where evil is magical creatures and monsters including “every god you can name,” and the good is science and reason.

Oddly enough, the forces of good seem to be magical immortals, just like those of evil, but they want to lock evil out of our dimension by helping humans become rational. This may sound intellectual, but the story is easy to read and full of action. I mention some possible emotional “triggers” below – something I haven’t done before. Would you like to see triggers and, if so, which ones?

Most humans have a touch of magic and so are vulnerable to evil, but in a neat reversal of the usual trope, instead of secretly being a wizard or some such thing, the cop may save the world because he has no magic at all inside him. Oddly enough again, this allows him to wield a magic sword.

I found it easy to forgive the oddities because I like the bold premise. The story moves along with flawed characters who (most but not all) grow into heroes.

The first two main characters we meet are exceptionally attractive, and I groaned thinking this was all-too-typical. But there’s actually a point in the story to their good-looks, so kudos! The main immortal good-guy is fabulously wealthy, which helps to keep the plot moving by, for example, producing a private plane when needed.

The cop’s neuroses are explained in a believable manner and the story carried me right along as evil invades our world.

Modest spoilers – Expected amounts of violence and mayhem are present, but also a few possible triggers that you might want to know about. Religious believers may find it offensive to include their god with the evil gods. There’s a little preaching about this idea but it’s not heavy handed. There is rape, torture, and suicide, a child is endangered, and a bisexual character endures harassment at work. What sort of triggers do you think I should mention in a review?

The ending sets up the next book in the series, but isn’t an annoying cliffhanger – though some reviewers on Amazon thought it was too abrupt. Three books are available in the series.

What others are saying
The Edge of Reason earns a respectable, if not overwhelming, 3.5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon. Those who liked the book enjoyed the provocative premise and the characters, nay-sayers thought the plot twists were trite and predictable.

Absolutely Free Collection Short Science Fiction/ Fantasy limited time so this is your chance #shortstory #free #flashfiction #bookworm

jupiter-diving-web-ebook-24feb2017-267x400From a ship mining helium-3 in Jupiter’s atmosphere, Kelly launches a probe to search for life in the ocean of a Jovian moon. In the title story, Jupiter Diving, she finds more than she expected. If you missed out on ebook week earlier in the month, here’s another chance. I’m about to offer Jupiter Diving and other Short Reads on Amazon but you can download an advance copy for free.

Visit colorful and dangerous worlds in short stories and flash fiction. From an angel’s photo op on Mars, to the agony of a berserker warrior, a tiny craft’s interstellar mission, and an astronaut’s cries for help, you’ll find many new tales plus opening chapters and vignettes from my On Mars series, the multi-generational story of the first colony on Mars. Plus a few pieces of microfiction too 🙂

Perfect to fill a break in your day or an afternoon curled up in your favorite chair.

I’m going to offer the ebook on Kindle Select (I never used that outlet before but it’s supposed to be a good idea) but you can grab your free copy now. Sign up before March 31st to receive your book in April, before I let Amazon get its hands on it. Hurry – limited time offer.

You’ll receive a coupon code to download the book in your choice of formats, and to receive an occasional email from me with offers, a piece of flash fiction, and news about my writing projects. No spam and you can unsubscribe any time.

The code goes out April 1st (no fooling) so sign up before you forget and download your free book of short reads. I hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

Last Day of Ebook Week – Awesome Discounts and Free Books #free #bookday #ebook #giveaway

jupiter-diving-web-ebook-24feb2017-267x400UPDATE: Did you miss this post? No worries – always a free download coupon available here.

Don’t let time zone comfusion defeat you. Get your discounted and free ebooks on Smashwords now, before ebook week ends. Start with my collection of short scifi and fantasy reads at https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1213/newest/1/promo_SFREE/any/

Prefer novels or poetry? Got you covered! Go to Glory on Mars or Rhyme and Reason Three and use coupon code SFREE to get a free download through March 11. All major digital formats available!

Thanks to the dozens of you who have already downloaded these ebooks 🙂

 

Emma wants to explore Mars in her robotic walkabout suit, but something’s terribly wrong at this near-future Mars colony.

Poetry inspired by science – astronomy, biology, humanity, environment, and more.