Alyssa’s Blank Canvas available tomorrow.

Erika’s latest children’s book is now available on Amazon!

From the author, Erika Gardner:

People have been telling me for years that I should write a children’s book, and I finally decided to give it a shot. My 3 children loved having stories read to them when they were small, and though many of the books they loved were great and fun to read, there were always some that left me shaking my head and hoping I wouldn’t have to re-read them very often. I am a big fan of children’s books that rhyme. I love reading books that are entertaining and can be read with a fun rhythm. Colorful and cute pictures are also important. I am writing books that I wouldn’t mind reading over, and over, and over…which hopefully will be the case. I decided to have these first 3 books each have titles with ABC in them, partially because then I could have a book for each of my amazing children and also because I liked the ABC concept. I got really lucky that my husband was able to find an absolutely incredible illustrator to create the pictures for my books. I am SO EXCITED to see the finished products. It’s like the artist saw right into my mind and drew exactly what I wanted. This is a really fun undertaking for me and I hope to continue beyond the initial 3 ABC books, with holiday books and then whatever pops into my crazy mind after that.

Aubrey's Beautiful Crown Alyssa's Blank Canvas Anthony's Blue Crayon


Plains of Exodus, by Robert J. Burnett

Mankind’s first contact with an extraterrestrial species didn’t exactly go well. The inadvertent destruction of the Earth saw a call go out to the vast and ancient empire for help. Despite the quick response to this plea for aid, the remnants of humanity find themselves refugees in an overcrowded galaxy and at the mercy of an empire whose existence predates mankind’s own existence. Unwanted and unwelcome, humanity languishes in a dozen massive colony ships around an energy poor star. As a young smuggler, Jonah Mctier is one of those fortunate few who has access to this millennial old realm, and it is he who after fleeing a triad of imperial cruisers, discovers the answer to mankind’s dilemma. In desperation Jonah finds refuge in a parsecs deep dust cloud where he discovers not only a habitable and empty planetary system but one of the most sought after resources in the Milky Way a spatial conduit. Except this is no ordinary conduit. Exploitation of this unique and unknown type of spatial gateway offers an alternative to the slow but inevitable descent into extinction for the children of Adam. Key to this bright future is the need to keep their phenomenal find a secret from the resource hungry empire who would take this discovery for themselves and themselves alone. To complicate matter, Jonah discovers that there is more than one of these gateways, and for humanity to be successful in their question mankind must hold and eventually destroy all of these rare portals.

I really liked Plains of Exodus, by Robert J. Burnett. It’s not without a quibble or two, but I just had to keep reading it all the way to the end. (It still took me three days to read – it’s long!) I guess I’ll start with what I didn’t like about the book. The author introduced a major female character by her physical attributes. Curves, boobs, hair – standard sci-fi stuff for twenty years ago. It was really only the introduction, and the character is pretty bad-ass, but the description was a turn off for me. The other quibble was that the book formatting was hella odd. The chapters seemed to have scene breaks that had their own numbers? Hopefully it was because I was reading a pre-release version from NetGalley.

Now, on to the good stuff. Plains of Exodusis a straight up popcorn sci-fi. No deep political machinations, no heavy-handed social or religious subtext. Just a group of humans versus an overpopulated universe after tragedy destroyed the Earth. The entire book is an exciting read, and this would make an excellent miniseries. (They did it with Altered Carbon, and The Expanse, so this totally could be one too.) I can’t wait for a sequel. You hear me, Robert? I want a sequel. Five stars, and a must read.

Amazon
Goodreads


Aubrey’s Beautiful Crown now available.

Erika’s latest children’s book is now available on Amazon!

From the author, Erika Gardner:

People have been telling me for years that I should write a children’s book, and I finally decided to give it a shot. My 3 children loved having stories read to them when they were small, and though many of the books they loved were great and fun to read, there were always some that left me shaking my head and hoping I wouldn’t have to re-read them very often. I am a big fan of children’s books that rhyme. I love reading books that are entertaining and can be read with a fun rhythm. Colorful and cute pictures are also important. I am writing books that I wouldn’t mind reading over, and over, and over…which hopefully will be the case. I decided to have these first 3 books each have titles with ABC in them, partially because then I could have a book for each of my amazing children and also because I liked the ABC concept. I got really lucky that my husband was able to find an absolutely incredible illustrator to create the pictures for my books. I am SO EXCITED to see the finished products. It’s like the artist saw right into my mind and drew exactly what I wanted. This is a really fun undertaking for me and I hope to continue beyond the initial 3 ABC books, with holiday books and then whatever pops into my crazy mind after that.

Aubrey's Beautiful Crown Alyssa's Blank Canvas Anthony's Blue Crayon


What Gods Incite, by Clara Coulson

A month after the explosive end of his mission to the Divide, Vincent Whelan is spinning his wheels. He’s struggling to rebuild his business, frustrated at his position as Tom Tildrum’s “minion,” and uneasy about the dangers the near future will bring. So when a local spots a zombie prowling around one of Kinsale’s biggest factories, Vince takes extra precautions before he goes hunting for a necromancer in the dregs of his beleaguered city. Unfortunately for Vince, a straightforward case quickly morphs into a balancing act, when a familiar face pops in to drop a dangerous new quest on his head: Abarta has stolen a powerful tool from Manannán mac Lir, and to get it back, Vince will have to venture into the Otherworld yet again. With his allies split on two fronts, and threats rising on both sides, Vince finds himself facing the most perilous trial of his entire life: the battle to preserve his own humanity.

It really wasn’t until book three that I’m starting to like Vince. It’s not that I disliked him or anything in the first two books, but he was the reluctant hero before – almost a curmudgeon before his time. In What Gods Incite, he starts to become the hero we all knew that he’d be. More shenanigans ensue when Vince’s old friend, Rian, appears at just the right time to bail our hero out, and lend his skills to the fight against perennial villain Abarta. But as usual when fae magic is involved, not everyone is who they claim to be, so Vince, Rian, Odette and Saoirse need to watch each other’s back as they split into teams to confront multiple threats. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, and What Gods Inciteis another five star read.

Therin-Knite

Clara Coulson was born and raised in backwoods Virginia, USA. Currently in her mid-twenties, Clara holds a degree in English and Finance from the College of William & Mary and recently retired from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC to return to the homeland and pick up the quiet writing life. Clara spends most of her time (when she’s not writing) dreaming up new story ideas, studying Japanese, and slowly reading through the several-hundred-book backlog on her budding home library. If she’s not occupied with any of those things, then you can probably find her playing with her two cats or lurking in the shadows of various social media websites.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://www.claracoulson.com/
Twitter


See you at CoKoCon!

CoKoCon is a traditional science fiction/fantasy con in Phoenix, AZ which will be held over the Labor Day weekend in 2018. We’ll be at the Doubletree by Hilton Phoenix North at 10220 N Metro Parkway E, Phoenix, AZ 85051.

Regulars of the blog already know that I’ve been a fan of Harry Turtledove for several decades. I’m totally excited to be on an alternate history panel Saturday with my literary hero. There will be a limited amount of my novels and collections on hand – sold by Duncan’s Books and More. Copies of all my current novels (Champion Standing, Days Until Home, Score of Silence, Sixteen Sunsets & War of the Worlds: Retaliation) should be available, plus the discontinued story collection, Warmache and Other Stories. I’ll be signing books Saturday at 4pm, and Sunday at 1pm. I’ll be on the Alternate History panel with Harry Saturday at 12:30 (H. Paul Honsinger & Sue Martin as well), and a Space Opera panel at 6:30pm with author friend, David Van Dyke. (H. Paul Honsinger & T. L. Smith will be there too!) I’ll probably be heading back up north around 3pm on Sunday.


Relic, by Alan Dean Foster

Once Homo sapiens reigned supreme, spreading from star system to star system in an empire that encountered no alien life and thus knew no enemy . . . save itself. As had happened many times before, the basest, most primal human instincts rose up, only this time armed with the advanced scientific knowledge to create a genetically engineered smart virus that quickly wiped out humanity to the last man. That man is Ruslan, the sole known surviving human being in the universe. Rescued from the charnel house of his home planet by the Myssari—an intelligent alien race—Ruslan spends his days as something of a cross between a research subject and a zoo attraction. Though the Myssari are determined to resurrect the human race, using Ruslan’s genetic material, all he wants for himself and his species is oblivion. But then the Myssari make Ruslan an extraordinary offer: In exchange for his cooperation, they will do everything in their considerable power to find the lost home world of his species—an all-but-mythical place called Earth—and, perhaps, another living human. Thus begins an epic journey of adventure, danger, heartbreak, and hope, as Ruslan sets out in search of a place that may no longer exist—drawn by the slimmest yet most enduring hope.

At times predictable, and sometimes confounding, Alan Dean Foster is always a solid read. Alan is a known quantity with his writing, and Relic is just what you’d expect from him. Some authors, after decades of writing, will rest on their laurels, and churn out formulaic tomes to keep their existing audience coming back for more and more. Alan decides to write a story that while not exactly unique, does get the imagination going.

A dislikable protagonist is nothing new, and Ruslan certainly frustrates the reader with his antics, but there is a sad quality to the character that I can’t help but like. I can imagine what would be going through the mind of the last human ever, or how he would react to an extraterrestrial civilization that is so alien than we are.

That’s another interesting aspect of Relic: Anthropomorphism, or specifically a distinct lack of it. So many popular alien civilization stories are just bipeds with extra stuff added or taken away. It was a treat to read about a society not based on bipedalism, and more so how a biped would interact in an environment not designed for them.

I enjoyed Relic, as I knew I would. I continue to see Alan at cons, and he’s always an interesting visit. Relic is a solid four stars, and I’d love to read another book in the series, especially after the ending.

Bestselling science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, but raised mainly in California. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1968, and a M.F.A. in 1969. Foster lives in Arizona with his wife, but he enjoys traveling because it gives him opportunities to meet new people and explore new places and cultures. This interest is carried over to his writing, but with a twist: the new places encountered in his books are likely to be on another planet, and the people may belong to an alien race.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://www.alandeanfoster.com/


New Children’s Book series!

From Erika:
People have been telling me for years that I should write a children’s book, and I finally decided to give it a shot. My 3 children loved having stories read to them when they were small, and though many of the books they loved were great and fun to read, there were always some that left me shaking my head and hoping I wouldn’t have to re-read them very often. I am a big fan of children’s books that rhyme. I love reading books that are entertaining and can be read with a fun rhythm. Colorful and cute pictures are also important. I am writing books that I wouldn’t mind reading over, and over, and over…which hopefully will be the case. I decided to have these first 3 books each have titles with ABC in them, partially because then I could have a book for each of my amazing children and also because I liked the ABC concept. I got really lucky that my husband was able to find an absolutely incredible illustrator to create the pictures for my books. I am SO EXCITED to see the finished products. It’s like the artist saw right into my mind and drew exactly what I wanted. This is a really fun undertaking for me and I hope to continue beyond the initial 3 ABC books, with holiday books and then whatever pops into my crazy mind after that. Thank you for taking the time to consider backing my project and I can’t wait to share these with the world!
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