Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rainforest Book Reviews #7 - Historical Fiction, and Paris

From swords and suspense in England to writer memoirs in Paris, this is what I've been reading.  I purchased Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade at my local bookstore.  Five or so pages into the book, I was hooked.  After reading the novel, I met Diana at a writers conference during a blue pencil appointment and found her to be very friendly and supportive.

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Diana Gabaldon, Fiction
Doubleday Canada, a div. of Random House, 2007

In London, the story begins when Lord John Grey meets his new brother-to-be, Percy Wainwright, the adopted son of General Sir George Stanley, who is marrying his mother, the widowed Benedicta Grey.  They know one another by sight, they have met before. The two men become close friends.  A call to arms puts them in close proximity and in jeopardy, narrowly adverting one scandal while fostering another.

Passion overtakes common sense and fortunes and troubles shift and settle.  Lord John is beaten in an alley and nearly murdered.  His new step-brother is in jail.  He suspects his deceased father's enemies. Pages of his father's journal surface which may be connected to his untimely demise.  Like ghosts from his father's past, these missives appear as if to remind the son of how much he doesn't know.  An older brother, Hal, hasn't told him everything nor has his mother, as they try to preserve the family dignity.  There's a bond between the two brothers, the older one protective, the younger one impulsive. 

Lord John addresses the hazards and mores of a military existence without belaboring the military procedure.  We see the dirty laundry of social standards, and the fortitude of the wife and sons of a nobleman who dies a tainted death. 
This was happenstance, that I picked up a book by an author I hadn't read, and ended up meeting that author.  Diana Gabaldon is a New York times bestselling author.  I'll be finishing this series, and looking at her Outlander series.


Paris Was Ours

Penelope Rowlands, Editor and Contributor, Nonfiction
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.


Paris was Ours is an anthology of writers' memoirs about their own experience in Paris. I received this book as a gift late last year.

Quote from Rowland's book:
"Few places can draw in as many diverse souls, then mark them as profoundly, as this city -- called 'that siren, Paris" by the writer Francine du Plessix Gray -- seems to do."

Take a walk down the streets of Paris via impressions from 32 different authors.  These are penned by journalists, a newspaper editor, students bunking together, a pastry chef, a single mother, and many award winning authors.  Coming to Paris from different countries, including Iran and Cuba, each author or writer tells how they were treated and what still stays with them, especially if they no longer live in the City of Light.

Seeing Paris through many different eyes reveals how unique our various perceptions can be.  Each person in this collection shares their first impressions and how they managed to fit in as a resident.  I enjoyed this book with my morning coffee each day before I entered into the blogosphere.  You'll like this book if you like Paris or have been there.  It's a city that's NEVER dull.


References:   Diana Gabaldon's Website Penelope Rowlands Novel site


Have you read any of Diana Gabaldon's series?  If so, let me know in the comments.  Have you taken a trip because of a special event or a special time in your life?  Do you have memories of that location?  Please share in the comments.


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Backworlds is here!

The first story in the Backworlds series by M. Pax. A vision of how humanity might colonize the galaxy some day in the distant future.

The Backworlds

After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Available from: Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks
Other links to more outlets can be found at either Wistful Nebulae or MPax

The Backworlds is an ebook and a free read. All formats can be found at Smashwords and Feedbooks.

It’ll take a few weeks to work its way down to free on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available on B&N and iTunes. Sign up for M. Pax’s mailing list to be notified the day it does go free on Amazon, and when the book becomes available at other outlets. You’ll also receive coupons for discounts on future publications. NEWSLETTER

M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spends her summers working as a star guide. 

M.Pax at the Observatory

She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, and at Wistful Nebulae. You’ll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

The sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, will be released in July 2012. It will be available in all ebook formats and paperback.


From DG:

The schedule for MPax's blog tour is at her site.  Check out the information and a science fiction author who's always gazing at the stars. . .


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reflections of a Novice A to Z ' er

A to Z Blog Challenge 2012

First, thanks to the A to Z Team for the 2012 Blog Challenge! That’s all of the Co-Hosts listed on the A to Z Challenge page (Arlee, Alex, Stephen, Matthew, Jeremy, Tina, Jenny, D.L., Shannon, Elizabeth, Damyanti, Karen, and Konstanz.)

Special Thanks to Arlee (Lee) from Tossing it Out for initiating a fun event for writers to get to know other bloggers.   It's a trade show for blogs.

This was a month in which I forced myself to stick to deadlines and produce a mini-series of posts. My theme was Paris, Etc. - Art, Film, Places and People in France.

2012 was my first time participating in the A to Z Challenge. I considered it a project. I enjoyed the research of the topics, and I hope I introduced you to some things you didn’t know about the city of Paris, and stirred the memories of those of you who have been there.

The A to Z Blog Challenge works well, when the list of participants is monitored. My follower count grew and so did my comment count, for which I’m pleased. Some days I visited more of the blogs than others, but I’m not finished visiting yet.

What worked - for me:

  • Word Verification disabled.  Comment approval ok.
  • Blogs with an ‘About’ page
  • Calm blogs, with less animation.
  • Interesting titles
  • Photos to enhance subject post

What caused problems - for me:

  • Word Verification
  • Blogger
  • Bogus blogs, with no mention of A to Z, using the list as a lure.


Tips From a First-timer:
  • Print the calendar month of April or use a monthly calendar page to plot out the letter for each day, allowing for 'rest' Sundays. 
  • Do advance research, if required.
  • Schedule posts.
  • Respond to those who make the effort to stop by your blog. 

Did you learn something about yourself and your writing via the A to Z Challenge?  Do you think it was worth the effort?  Have you claimed your survivor badge?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DG's Note of Appreciation and What's New

Thanks! To all those fellow bloggers who visited, commented, and followed my blog during the A to Z Challenge.  I enjoyed meeting some very interesting people, but I'll save the detail for the Reflections evaluation of our experience. 

DG's Avatar
 What's New

I'll be posting my Reflections later this week and will add it to the list next Monday.  Hope you'll stop by to read my post and all the others which will be on the linky list on May 7th.  Details are on the A to Z Blog Challenge site.


In addition, on May 7th, there will be a Book launch to check out;  it's a science fiction author, so I'm pleased that I can help spread the word.

Mid-month, around May 15th, I'll be reviewing two books: one fantasy, one non-fiction:
  • Diane Gabaldon's  Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
  • Penelope Rowland's  Paris was Ours

What I'm reading now:  Alex C. Cavanaugh's books:  CassaStar and CassaFire.  They'll be the next ones reviewed.  I'm loving all these new science fiction books.

In addition, I'm planning on reviewing a mystery book by an author familiar on our blogs.  This is tentative until I have a copy of it in my hands, but mystery is my other genre of choice, so I welcome the opportunity to read this one.

Now, I'm back to my regular posting schedule although, I'm probably going to be posting a bit more often. I may do book reviews mid-month, every month.  It's something I'm considering.

Hope you enjoyed the Paris Etc. tour, it will be available under a separate tab soon, as a list of links to each post. 

Are you taking a break?  Back to the novel?  Or on to something new?  Please share in the comments.  I'm back to revisions and working on a new novel in the outlining stage.