Saturday, January 31, 2009

February Spotlight on Books

February is the month of love and romance. That and President's Day. However, Dianne Salerni's excellent Spotlight on Books this month is romance and not presidents.

Dear Jane Letters by Amanda Hamm
Waiting for Spring by RJ Keller
Second Chance by Joy Collins
Mozart's Wife by Juliet Waldron
My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse
Love and Brimstone by Lesli Richardson
Dear Heart, How Like You This by Wendy J. Dunn
Pemberley Remembered by Mary Simonsen

Dianne provides covers, a summary, and links to the books. Go see if there's something that strikes your fancy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review for "Tales of a Texas Boy"

A new review has been posted on Amazon. Thanks to Al Past, author of the Distant Cousin series.
Just for the young? Not necessarily!, January 28, 2009
By Al Past (Beeville, TX USA) - See all my reviews

Tales of a Texas Boy is a collection of 21 reminiscences of rural life in the Texas panhandle during the Depression, told in the voice of an eleven year old remembering his childhood as an elderly man (modeled after the author's father). Each tale is short and complete in itself, and all add up to a convincing evocation of what life was like during those days in that area of Texas.

The boy, of course, would not dwell on hardship, deprivation, or lack of creature comforts. From his point of view, he had regular chores to perform, a loving, fairly strict family to live with, and various spells of an interesting or exciting nature to experience.

These include adventures with snakes, a man who had a pet bear, a livestock auction, driving his father's Model A pickup truck, a wild jackass, various odd neighbors, going on an old-fashioned cattle drive, dogs, skunks, fishing, chickens, and his little sister, to name a few. Each story is preceded by a few sentences of authorial scene-setting--a nice touch--and a small black and white photograph, not credited or explained, but adding a pleasant visual accent to the pages.

The prose style has a countrified flavor, but not excessively so. Each story is well narrated, with the right details in the right place and usually a satisfying and appropriate conclusion.

Tales of a Texas Boy is intended to be a young adult book, but I see no reason younger children wouldn't enjoy it too, or adults, for that matter. I enjoyed it myself, and I am very far from a young adult. It reminded me of some of the stories J. Frank Dobie, the grand old man of Texas folklore, used to love. In fact, parents who are in the habit of reading bedtime stories to their children (an excellent idea) might find children as young as five would be entertained by them--the length of the stories is about right, and they offer a fine opportunity for parental dramatic reading. Indeed, the point could be impressed upon the child that daily life, however prosaic it might seem now, is worth gathering and writing down for the interest it might have in the future. It's easy to imagine a sleepy child asking why the Texas Boy never watched television. Calling grandpa and grandma!

(Al Past is the author of the popular Distant Cousin series and reviews for PODBRAM.)

Interviewed at Christine Fonseca's Musings Blog

Christine Fonseca is an up-and-coming YA writer, working hard to find an agent, get published, and go on Oprah. For now, she's doing what every writer should do: blogging on writerly subjects. She wanted to post about self-publishing. She knew I self-pubbed one book, so kindly asked for my opinion (as if I knew anything).

Excerpt (Read the rest of the interview here)

Christine (CF): How long have you been writing?

Marva (MD): The “all my life” answer that writers usually give here seems a bit disingenuous. Personally, I did not pop out of the womb with pen in hand. The better question is: how long have you been writing for publication? I wrote technical documentation for thirty-five years. I started writing fiction for publication about three years ago. Before that, I wrote stories for fun. The good part is that I dredged out a few of those old stories and have done well sending them out as individual stories. Three of my oldies eventually became books. Lesson: Never throw anything away. Those old ones were on paper only.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot

The preliminary ballot has been released for the prestigious Bram Stoker Awards for horror writing. Ellen Datlow posted the complete list of works receiving enough recommendations for the preliminary ballot. I saw it on her LiveJournal posting.

I'm not (usually) a horror writer, so I'm not too disappointed my name isn't on it. However, my publisher, Sam's Dot Publishing, has several works. I'm proud of my little ol' publisher getting so many mentions. Hopefully, many of them will make the final ballot, then on to a win.

Superior Achievement in a Collection:
Little Creatures by Michael McCarty (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection:
The Phantom World by Gary William Crawford (Sam's Dot Publishing)
Virgin of the Apocalypse by Corrine De Winter (Sam's Dot Publishing)

Congratulations to the SDP writers for making it to the prelims!

Just a reminder: SDP published my books, First Duty and The Seven Adventures of Cadida, both available at The Genre Mall.

* Thanks to Ellen Datlow for stopping by to correct my errors on this post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Costs

I got to thinking about those costs so I had to do some investigating.

Yup, a total of $150,000,000 for Obama's inaugural. Cost to the government: $49 million. Yup, that's a lot of money. But notice that that is only 1/3 of the total cost. The rest is supplied by donors.The other thing you'll hear on Faux (Fox) news is that Bush's inaugural only cost $47 million. Wrong! That did not include the cost to the government. Total cost of Bush's inauguration? $150 million.This seems to be the amount spent on inaugurations. The good part, as I stated, that much of this cost goes to people in the form of wages. Security, catering, flowers, all the other partying stuff.

The vast majority of it (in either inauguration) goes to paying wages to tax payers. Money well spent on boosting the economy.Your $8 million figure was a tad low. However, it's like the space program to me. People bitch and moan that the space program costs so much money. They seem to think they load up money from the Mint and blast it into space. No. They buy lots of manufactured goods and services and pay a lot of people decent salaries. Yeah, they leave a bit of junk in orbit, but that's miniscule compared to the good done right here on earth.

People get confused and addlepated by these huge (to them) numbers. Supposedly, Everett Dirkson said, "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon it adds up to real money." That's not the exact quote, since the Dirkson archives claim it didn't happen.

The concept, however, is something that your average wage slave (all of us) find hard to comprehend. In the Greatest Nation on Earth (the one and only thing I agree with Hannity the Nutcase about), we are perfectly capable of affording a grand party for a new president. In Bush's case, it was a waste of money, time, and energy. With Obama, this is more than just another inaugural. It's a turning point in US history.

Some people don't like it one bit. To them, I say: I didn't like your guy being proclaimed president by a bought-and-sold Supreme Court, so shut your face up about my guy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book by Ardyth DeBruen

A good friend of mine, Ardyth, has a cool book coming out on January 20th. A great day already made yet greater.

"Chosen Sister" is published by Wild Child Publishing. They put out an eclectic bunch of books. I've had stories in a couple of their anthologies, so I gotta like them.

Buy Chosen Sister in ebook format for $5.95 at Wild Child.

When the Gold Wizard comes looking for the Child Warrior in Reina's village, it's no surprise he's only looking at the boys. However, when the wizard magically selects her younger brother as the warrior prophesied to defeat the Red Wizard, Reina has mixed feelings—jealousy and concern. Austyn is only six.

Allowed to accompany her brother, Reina soon finds they're in deeper trouble than she thought. The Gold Wizard's fake beard is ripped off by attacking harpies, revealing he's only seventeen, not to mention his magical demonstrations tend to go awry. Unfortunately, with the Red Wizard's harpies and snakewolves on their trail, finding a new (and better) wizard mentor is hardly an option. If anyone's going to find a way to track down the elusive Sword of Chivalry for Austyn and get him into the Red Wizard's castle to fulfill whatever the obscure prophecy insists must be done, it's got to be Reina.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

So, You Want to Get an Agent

Well, I'd also like to fly to Mars. Both events have approximately the same likelihood of happening.

However, if you are determined to track down and capture the elusive agent, Query Tracker is the best place on the net to get the most up-to-date information on agents, plus super search functions to find just the right agent.

Check it out at

There is a companion forum filled with writers sharing information, helping each other write the very best query letter possible, and provide support for your sagging ego when you receive rejections like machine gun bullets.

Patrick, the site developer, is a very nice person, too.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Seven Adventures of Cadida

Read The Toasted Scimitar interview where I blather on about my writing and talk a bit about Cadida!

Seven Adventures is now available from The Genre Mall.
150 pages
18 interior black and white illustrations.
$10.60 + $3.00 handling.

Cadida's in trouble again. But then, when is Cadida not in trouble?

First, she gets captured by raiders and thrown into a cave to be sacrificed to a demon, which turns out to be a djinn named Bascoda, a rather clumsy genie who adopts Cadida as his mistress. Cadida manages to escape despite Bascoda's "help," but later returns to the cave to see if anyone else had been captured. She finds instead of a prisoner a rather lonely and pathetic demon who needs a new home. Then Baakir, a fire-breathing, talking, flying horse tells Cadida that his beloved Barika has been captured by pirates. Baakir is only somewhat helpful because he is not yet fully in control of his magic. Oops.

Oh, yes, there's much more . . . but you'll just have to turn the pages and find out what kind of trouble this bored little rich young lady can get into.