Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Schedule for Loncon3--World Science Fiction Convention in London

I have my final schedule for Loncon3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London, UK. You can read my con bio here, and I'm looking forward to jetting across the pond and seeing old friends, as well as meeting new ones. There's a nifty app to help you schedule your time at Loncon, and you can download it in iPhone or Android formats. 

Where there's an (M) next to my name, I'm the moderator for that item.  I'll also be doing a reading from either The Pirate's Secret Baby or the WIP [Mattie's Book]. Don't forget, The Pirate's Secret Baby, along with all my previous novels, can be purchased from Amazon Kindle UK, as well as at NOOK, Kobo and other ebook dealers. Paper editions are available in the US.

I'll be out and about at the con as a fan as well as a programme participant. If you see me, please come up to me and say "Hi!" Worldcon is no place to be shy, we're there to see friends and fans!

Teen Romance

Friday 15:00 - 16:30, Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)

Romance is in the air! Authors discuss the trend of weaving romantic entanglements into young adult literature. From true love to pining for that special someone, authors tackle the thorny subject of love, sex, and the supernatural--not to mention the fateful first kiss. What is it about a supernatural love interest that leaves mere mortals a distant second? Is there a discernible difference in how teen romance is handled between SF/F and its peer genres? And how far is too far when writing teen romance?

Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Amie Kaufman, Mary Turzillo, Sarah Rees Brennan, Darlene Marshall

Sex in SF&F: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Genre fiction's relationship to sex can best be described as 'It's Complicated'. While a sub-genre such as paranormal romance is sometimes belittled for its libido, other fields play it overly coy or, worse still, deal with sex almost entirely within the context of sexual(ised) violence; moreover, space given to non-heteronormative sexualities is small and may even been dissipating. What has occasioned such divergent approaches? How can portrayals of sex in general be used to communicate more complex and positive ideas and responses? Whatever happened to fumbling foreplay, the intimacy of commitment, and the post-coital chat?

Darlene Marshall (M), Tiffani Angus, Terry Jackman, Stephanie Osborn, Jennifer Stevenson

Coming of Age in Game of Thrones

Saturday 18:00 - 19:00, Capital Suite 14 (ExCeL)

In a world were life and death hang in the balance for every character no matter how despised or loved, it is the children who pay the heaviest price. Their parents' plots and intrigues sit squarely upon the shoulders of the Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen children, snatching their childhoods away and forcing them to wield their own power to survive the game of thrones. But have the adults underestimated their children's value as players? Who will survive? Who will gain power? Will they have a chance to be children again? And who will be the biggest surprise? At what point do these children, despite their tender ages, take on the mantels of their parents and become adults themselves? Panelists will examine issues surrounding childhood and coming of age during a time of conflict where familial normalcy is gone and the rules of their world are in the process of being rewritten. *Spoiler Alert: Discussion will include all previously published books within the series.*

Darlene Marshall (M), Liz de Jager, John Hornor Jacobs, Django Wexler

Reading: Darlene Marshall

Sunday 14:30 - 15:00, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

Darlene Marshall(

When Genres Collide: Does SF&F have its own form?

Monday 10:00 - 11:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Science fiction and fantasy often borrows structures and forms from other genres like noir, western, romance, etc. What are the structures and forms that are native to science fiction and fantasy? Are these storytelling conventions that can be exported to mainstream fiction? What is it about science fiction and fantasy that makes it so flexible for folding in other genres?

Duncan Lawie (M), Peter Higgins, Darlene Marshall, Nick Harkaway

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Jaded (Walkers Ford, #2)Jaded by Anne Calhoun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought I would like this novel, but I didn't think I would love it.

I loved it.

Jaded is set in a small town in the upper Midwest, and while I enjoyed the story about the quiet librarian and the hot police chief (even they acknowledge this is a cliche), what really made me love it was the library. It's no secret that I'm on my local public library foundation, that I've been involved in library renovations, and that I believe 100% that public libraries are needed in the 21st century as community centers, places where people of all ages and all backgrounds come together for a vast array of services.

I'm also a tutor in a literacy program, and I know how much it means to invest your time in a child from a home without access to books, bedtime stories and college dreams. While I can't guarantee a happy ending in life like I can in my books, it gave me a great deal of pleasure to read about the characters in Jaded earning their HEA.

View all my reviews

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review--Valour and Vanity

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story has it all! Pirates, nuns, puppeteers, romance of the married variety, intrigue, Lord Byron, and a caper straight out of The Sting.

Valour and Vanity is an excellent continuation of the story of Vincent and Jane, married English glamourists, working now on advancing their craft among glassmakers in Italy. The trouble begins when they're set upon by pirates and Vincent is injured, and it only gets worse from there. Robinette Kowal is skilled at maintaining the interest and tension in a couple after the initial courtship phrase reaches its conclusion. She shows that happily ever after is only for fairy tales, and true romance requires work and effort. The setting may be a fantasy Regency Europe, but the characters seem very real, as are their problems.

Sure to be enjoyed by fans of the series, and a treat for readers new to the Glamourist Histories (though I'd recommend any reader start with book 1 to get the full experience).

View all my reviews

Thursday, July 17, 2014

While I was away...

I've been mostly absent this week because my son came home for a few days. Having the adult offspring return to the nest doesn't happen often, so I took full advantage of the opportunity to spend time with him.

I'm also getting ready for Loncon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention in London in August. More on this as my schedule is finalized.

In the meantime, just read among yourselves. There are plenty of good books out there, including some piratecentric romances that will go well with your summer suntan lotion and beach lounging. Don't take my word for it! Check out the reviews at Amazon and Goodreads.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review--Vixen in Velvet

Vixen in Velvet (The Dressmakers, #3)Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best Loretta Chase novel I've read in ages, and that's saying something because she's _always_ good. I loved this book, the characters, the fabric porn, all of it. Every time I think of the line "I was busy!" it makes me smile.

Chase fans will love it, others new to her writing should check it out.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review--A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil WarA World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent history of a little known aspect of the US Civil War, the role played by Britain. Their cotton mills depended on shipments from the south, but the anti-slavery sentiment was strong and had powerful backers. Brits fought on both sides of the American conflict, and this is a valuable book for anyone writing novels with an Anglo-American setting during the 19th c.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Review--Sniper's Honor

Sniper's Honor (Bob Lee Swagger, #9)Sniper's Honor by Stephen Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was once in a conversation that went, "If Jack Reacher and John Rain were in a fight, who would you bet on?"

"I'd bet on Bob Lee Swagger to take them both out at a distance," I said.

Bob Lee is the man. That is all. If you haven't read the books, start with Point of Impact and take it from there.

View all my reviews