Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Birthday Twins! #Premeditations #MillroadAcademy

Everyone loves a book birthday!

Both Premeditations and The Girl in Acid Park release today!

Happy Book Birthday, Lauren Harris!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Last day to Pre-Order #PREMEDITATIONS

Folks, this is the last day to preoder PREMEDITATIONS so that it will ship on December 15th!

With these compulsively readable stories, Michelle Ristuccia creates a new genre in PREMEDITATIONS. This chapbook achieves a fresh look at our times, seeming to simplify while posing new questions about all we accept as reality — much as fairy tales and sci fi must have when first told. Ristuccia reveals forbidden texts, such as the complete “Articles of Faith” concerning cookies: tenets that are funny and a little sad, that cut to the core of our many belief systems. She dares tell first-person, true-life accounts of encounters with stick figures that become threatening; with a father who has a dangerous, rejuvenating secret; with immature non-human beings that in no way resemble anything we’ve come to expect. Whether humanoid, android, or otherwise sentient, PREMEDITATIONS is a must read.

  • FREE shipping US, $2 elsewhere
  • same rate for all options below
  • pre-orders will ship on or before 15 December 2015

PREMEDITATIONS releases tomorrow, so get in your preorders now!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: The Girl in Acid Park by Lauren Harris

The Girl in Acid Park by Lauren Harris is fast-paced adventure and an emotional roller coaster told in the voice of crime-busting, paranormal investigator wannabe Georgia Collins. Georgia has always wanted to be a journalist, but when her underground newspaper Toilet Paper goes viral after her encounter with a ghost, she finds her fame to be of the unpleasant, social-outcast sort. A few heated words later and even her best friend Hiroki is shunning her.

Bereft of her best friend's support, Georgia falls on her resolute nature to drive her forward through a half-baked plan to restore her name by solving another murder.

Lauren Harris writes chest-squeezing descriptions of social anxiety and heart-break, leading to stronger characters who intentionally improve their emotional intelligence. The Girl in Acid Park (The Millroad Academy Exorcists Book 2) is even better than its predecessor, Exorcising Aaron Nguyen (The Millroad Academy Exorcists Book 1).

The Millroad Academy Exorcists is a series of paranormal mystery novellas set in the out-country of North Caronlina, at Millroad Academy prep school. The Girl in Acid Park (Book 2) is now available for preorder:



The Girl in Acid Park (Book 2)

The shenanigans continue...

Unlike her best friend Hiroki, Georgia Collins can't see or talk to dead people. But she recently discovered she can help ghosts move on--no exorcism required! Unfortunately, so did the national media. Her underground blog is not so underground anymore and the Millroad Catholic Academy students with their scandals on exposé are less than thrilled about Georgia's journalistic success.

But Georgia has never been one to let things blow over, so when the police request paranormal assistance on a new murder case, Georgia decides to make the unwanted spotlight work her way and agrees to help...except she didn't expect Hiroki to refuse.


Preorder Now on Amazon ] !

For a limited time, join Lauren Harris' mailing list and read the first book, Exorcising Aaron Nguyen, for free. Then, give it some love on [ Amazon ] and [Goodreads].

Prefer audio books? Pick up Exorcising Aaron Nguyen at [Audible]. 

Lauren Harris

You can find out more about Lauren Harris' upcoming stories and her narration at [www.laurenbharris.com].

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Review: "Exorcising Aaron Nguyen" by Lauren Harris #Millroadacademy

Exorcising Aaron Nguyen by Lauren Harris is a paranormal mystery novella and the first in a series, The Millroad Academy Exorcists:


What's a little murder between friends?

The murder of Millroad Catholic Academy's resident genius, Aaron Nguyen, shuts down student life at the boarding school in rural North Carolina...for about a week. With the resilience of youth, the student body bounces back, and the memory of murder is nothing but a streamer of caution tape fluttering in the breeze. Unfortunately for them, Aaron's spirit has some resilience as well. 

Hoping for spontaneous romantic combustion with her ghost-seeing best friend Hiroki, school gossip journalist Georgia Collins agrees to help bring Aaron's murderers to justice and set the vengeful spirit free...but it's not quite the close encounter she's hoping for. 


First off, Exorcising Aaron Nguyen is both dramatic and funny. Even the chapter titles are hilarious. Harris portrays the the frivolity of high school existence through the eyes of large-as-life characters with big hearts and big mouths. Throw in the ghosts of dead students and a little murder mystery and you have the entertaining adventure that is Exorcising Aaron Nguyen.

Exorcising Aaron Nguyen is also available as an audiobook. Lauren Harris narrates with a pleasant, emotive voice that matches perfectly with this first-person novella. Her intonation, measured pace, and clear accent carry the story along through its exciting ending. Lauren Harris is an accomplished narrator who had voiced many stories on EscapePod, Drabblecast, The Dunesteef, and Walk the Fire.

You can pick up Exorcising Aaron Nguyen at [Amazon] or [Audible]. Give it some love on [Goodreads].

I'm excited to read the next installment, The Girl in Acid Park, available now for pre-order at [Amazon].

You can find out more about Lauren Harris' upcoming stories and her narration at [www.laurenbharris.com].

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review: Awst Collection by Kendra Fortmyer

Awst Collection in Print - Kendra Fortmeyer

I've enjoyed many new stories by Kendra Fortmeyer this year, so imagine how excited I was when Awst Press published this beautiful chapbook!

"The Girl Who Could Only Say sex, drugs, and rock & roll" is a story about the limits of language and the limitlessness of the human soul. The narrator is a young book nerd who meets a fellow high school student who can only utter the words sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

Pick up your copy here!

Don't stop there: read "Mermaids at the End of the Universe" and "Continue? Y/N" right now!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#Premeditations Teaser

Here's a peek at the first story in my speculative fiction chapbook, PREMEDITATIONS!

Statements of faith like the Nicene Creed provided inspiration for this piece... and an excellent smoore chocolate chip cookie recipe.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Order "Premeditations" from Folded Word

PREMEDITATIONS, my chapbook of 7 flash science fiction and fantasy stories,
is now available for preorder from Folded Word!

With these compulsively readable stories, Michelle Ristuccia creates a new genre in PREMEDITATIONS. This chapbook achieves a fresh look at our times, seeming to simplify while posing new questions about all we accept as reality — much as fairy tales and sci fi must have when first told. Ristuccia reveals forbidden texts, such as the complete “Articles of Faith” concerning cookies: tenets that are funny and a little sad, that cut to the core of our many belief systems. She dares tell first-person, true-life accounts of encounters with stick figures that become threatening; with a father who has a dangerous, rejuvenating secret; with immature non-human beings that in no way resemble anything we’ve come to expect. Whether humanoid, android, or otherwise sentient, PREMEDITATIONS is a must read.

  • FREE shipping US, $2 elsewhere
  • same rate for all options below
  • pre-orders will ship on or before 15 December 2015

PREMEDITATIONS releases December 15th, so get in your preorders now!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review: The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish

The Shadow of the Sun (The Way of the Gods #1) by Barbara Friend Ish is an immersive epic fantasy narrated from the perspective of anti-hero Ellion Tellan.

Ellion Tellan's thirst for dark magic has already cost him a promising life as royalty in line for the High Priest and ard-righ, and now his new life is about to crumble apart with the assassination of the current ard-righ. Every one Tellan knows – his old and new circle of friends – are soon packing their bags to travel to an elaborate, hedonistic celebration where the new King of Kings will be chosen. Rather than face gossip and watch someone else be chosen as ard-righ, Ellion now flees the human realms in the hopes of losing himself as a harpist among the Tanaan royalty. Yet even in Tanaan lands, a dear, estranged friend runs into Tellan and demands that the wizard-turned-bard once again draw upon white magic, this time to protect Tanaan princess Letitia from a mysterious renegade magician.

Tellan aches for his old life and senses the chance for redemption, and so he agrees to accompany the princess as a bodyguard, not as a wizard. Yet, the further Ellion travels with Letitia, the stronger the pull of dark magic becomes. Years of self-imposed abstinence may yet prove a poor inoculation against the seductive call of old, black magic emanating from the earth itself. As Ellion battles his inner abyss, he must choose between gratifying the desires of the self and protecting others from the consequences of his sensual abandon.

Barbara Friend Ish weaves together a morally complex fantasy world on the brink of a magicians' war on par with Ellion's inner conflict. As Ellion Tellan crosses between human and Tanaan lands, we learn much about the histories of and the different cultures of Friend Ish's world through natural exposition that prepares readers for the epic revelations to come. In addition to the differences in human and Tanaan languages, Friend Ish expertly employs ancient language and translation issues to fuel the mystery behind the renegade wizard in a way that is so much more than your standard 'vague prophecy.' “The Shadow of the Sun” will leave readers craving the next grand installment of wonderfully crafted detail and soul-wrenching existentialism.

From details beautifully inspired by Celtic mythology, to a mature consideration of sexuality and gender power play, The Shadow of the Sun gives experienced fantasy readers a delightfully dark bone to chew.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: Earth Flight by Janet Edwards

Earth Flight by Janet Edwards continues the adventures of Jarra, teenage archaeologist, military adviser, and accidental celebrity. While Jarra waits for news from the Alien Contact programme, she and Fian deal with prejudice against the Handicapped from all sides. Fian's father disapproves of their relationship, and vids of Jarra on the newsies trigger terrorist attacks.

To the prejudiced, Jarra's Handicapped status disqualifies her from military work on the alien artifact, never mind that she helped discover and activate it in the first place. The fact that the Beta clan is about to officially accept her membership with pomp and circumstance only makes her enemies determined to dispose of her, before her very existence turns their status quo inside out.

Then, when Alien Contact's research into the alien light artifact finally leads to a breakthrough, it's much worse than any one could have imagined. Earth needs Jarra to go on an off-world mission, where her Handicapped immune system will try to kill her. Jarra always thought she wanted to go off-world, but now she has more to lose than ever – her friends, the love of her life, and, either way, the Earth itself.

Earth Flight is the exciting conclusion to Edward's debut YA SF trilogy. Beginning with Earth Girl, Janet Edwards brings the reader a future humanity that is as complex and unique as its present, with characters whose love for life make them burn bright as flame. Jarra begins the series as an Earth girl passionate about archeology and social prejudice against her kind, but with much to learn about those she derisively calls norms. Through Earth Star, Jarra develops deeper relationships with Fian and the rest of humanity as they all confront a dangerous alien sphere orbiting Earth. In Earth Flight, Jarra must reach deep into her new found maturity to put her life on the line.

From archaeological “digs” involving lasers and earthquakes, to off-world portals that shut down during solar storms, Janet Edward's Earth Girl trilogy will have readers on their toes from the start. Earth Flight finishes the series with alien spheres that hold the key to the past, and therefore the future, of humanity's numerous worlds.

Read them now!

Earth Girl
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Star
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Flight
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]

Janet Edwards

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Earth Star by Janet Edwards

To celebrate the upcoming September 8th release of Earth Flight, the conclusion to the Earth Girl trilogy, I'm reblogging my reviews of Earth Girl (Book 1) and Earth Star (Book 2).

Review originally appeared at SFFWrtCht.

Earth Star by Janet EdwardsWith Earth Star, the engaging sequel to Earth Girl, Janet Edwards brings us a completely different sort of SF adventure while continuing the themes of discrimination, self discovery, and the emerging theme of commitment. In Earth Star Jarra suddenly finds her military connections to be of great importance as she attempts to connect the distant past with a military mystery of the present in the hopes of avoiding a future disaster. Jarra has matured as a character over the previous book yet still acts her age as she confronts a variety of personal challenges, from boyfriend to bullying issues.
The theme of discrimination has matured along with Jarra, exploring the systemic nature of such societal ills, including personal attacks directed at Jarra for her ape status. These attacks endanger not only Jarra but the mission at hand, and in turn the safety of the Earth itself. Her Earth-bound status also enters into her developing relationship, though for more practical reasons, and is one of the barriers to commitment she must overcome. Jarra also faces a phobia that threatens her ability to perform her duty, which is as dangerous as ever.

Find out if Jarra can live up to her new-found hero status in this excellently written, fast paced, hard SF adventure.

Earth Girl
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Star
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Flight
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]

Janet Edwards
Website ] [ Interview ]

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

To celebrate the upcoming September 8th release of Earth Flight, the conclusion to the Earth Girl trilogy, I'm reblogging my reviews of Earth Girl (Book 1) and Earth Star (Book 2).

Review originally appeared at SFFWrtCht.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards brings us to Jarra’s Earth, in the year 2788, when travel between the stars is as easy as stepping through a portal. Except that, for “throwbacks” like Jara, the other side of that portal means death by anaphylactic shock due to an inherited fault in their immune system. Jara knows this first hand, because as soon as she turned of legal age, she exercised her legal right to leave Earth. She only survived because a medical team was on alert, waiting to transport her back and save her life. But there can’t always be someone waiting on the other side of her mistakes. Now she decides to join an archaeological dig team of “norms” and pretend to be from off-world so that she can spit in the face of their prejudice against “apes.” When her lies put her life in danger, what she learns has more to do with herself than her foreign peers.

Janet Edwards gives us a book to lose ourselves in, from a well-crafted backstory of Earth’s depopulation to the coming-of-age romance of an off-kilter archaeology nerd. Before we even get to the first life-and-death-scene, we’re wowed by NYC in ruins and the future tech the team uses to excavate it, complete with environmental suits and specialized vehicles. The sparse future terminology and lingo, such as “tag points” and “amaz,” feel natural and are easy to understand. The archaeology, history, and tech are all welded together in a way that makes the exposition feel like action, because each piece of data is so closely tied to plot. There’s also a bit of kissing, offscreen sex, and many emotional moments driven by the camaraderie of team work and near-death experiences.

Interesting scifi setting? Check. People dying? Check. There’s also a strong underpinning of the softer sciences – psychology and sociology, to be precise. Jarra’s self-discoveries build us a multidimensional look at social prejudice in her universe, one that eventually crushes her immature us v. them paradigm. Many of the assumptions that Jarra has at the beginning of the novel, mostly regarding people that she knows nothing about, like her parents, eventually shatter under the weight of opposing fact. Through this process, we get to meet many fascinating characters and, through them, their diverse birth worlds and cultures.

Earth Girl sports a robust first-person voice that fills out Edwards’ smart female protagonist. Smart, as long as you don’t count common sense. Many of Jarra’s beliefs and life decisions are unrealistic, like her determination to check that she will die if she visits another world. Some of this determination stems from her core strength, her ability to commit fully to a decision if there is even the slightest chance that something will be gained. This is part of what makes her a good tag leader and what leads to many of her heroic actions. Yet, Edwards also shows us, before Jarra even meets her intended “norm” victims, that Jarra can at times become disconnected from reality and fall prey to magical thinking. It’s great to have a risk-taker who’s willing to save your life. It’s scary to have a risk-taker basing their risk assessments on pure fantasy.

Told through Jarra’s unreliable perspective, Earth Girl is a fascinating blend of delusion and reality. But most of all, Edwards captures the wonderful feeling of discovery, both of the physical world and of the self. Find out more about the amaz Earth Girl and upcoming sequels:

Earth Girl
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Star
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Flight
Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]

Janet Edwards
Website ] [ Interview ]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Witchfinder by Sarah A Hoyt

 [ Amazon ] [ Smashwords ]
In Witchfinder by Sarah A. Hoyt, Seraphim Ainsling and Gabriel Penn secretly defy the king's edict to rescue witches facing death on other Earths. Meanwhile, Nell strives to ransom her lover's freedom by spying on Duke Seraphim, and so finds herself caught up in the Duke's heroic escapades. After Sydell, the king's spy, confronts Nell for the information she owes him, an attack on Seraphim and Gabriel throws the three of them into the spiral of a much larger plot that could destroy Avalon, Fairyland, and the surrounding alternate Earths.

Witchfinder boasts a fine balance of female and male protagonist voices headed by Nell, Gabriel, and Seraphim. Although it may appear at first as if Seraphim is the typical heroic main character, Nell quickly comes into the mix as an equally powerful voice, and Gabriel becomes more important as the larger plot unfolds. Seraphim, Nell, and Gabriel's intertwining paths culminate in magical battles that shake the foundation of their worlds.

Hoyt brings us a fun twist on the heroic trope of a knight who runs off into danger, saving maidens along the way. The many iterations of Avalon, most of them calling themselves Earth, provide everything from fairies and dragons to the machines and iron of the modern world.

Witchfinder's plot proves as complicated as its multiverse, evoking comparisons to Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber. But where Zelazny gave us a plethora of princes and princesses at war, Hoyt offers us compassionate characters with deeper ties of brotherhood and romance.

Witchfinder is an epic adventure fantasy that draws the reader along on a enthralling journey of heroism through colorful alternate universes, pitting cousin against cousin and human against fairy as greed threatens to destroy all.

You can read the beginning of Witchfinder [ here ], and purchase the book on [ Amazon ] and [ Smashwords ].

As a bonus, Witchfinder has an interesting real-world origin: it started out as chapters posted to Sarah A. Hoyt's blog. Hoyt is posting Rogue Magic, Book 2 [ here ].

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Review: Noah's Boy by Sarah A Hoyt

Noah's Boy (Shifter Book 3) by Sarah A. Hoyt continues with Kyrie and Tom and their shifter friends as they must again assert themselves against older shifters, but what they don't know is that bigger baddies wait behind the proverbial curtain. This time, they learn about the origin of shifters and become uncomfortably intimate with the Great Sky Dragon's powers. The couple also comes to acknowledge the growing group of shifters that have become friends and allies over the past two books.

I enjoy how Noah's Boy adds a distinctive science fiction spin to this hitherto urban fantasy series. Everything we learn in this book brings tidbits in the first two books to life, giving that delicious feeling of aha! This new depth has the potential to carry the series through several more entertaining books.

The magic/science also adds further weight to the theme of self-agency that permeates the series, from ancient dragons demanding things to romance and sex. Oh, and on that note, there is a sex crime in this book, so, trigger warning for that. Sarah Hoyt realistically handles the issue, framing it as a violation of self-agency. Mixed in with this weighty issue is the question of what makes people human – but you'll have to read the book to learn how that comes up.

Rafiel's character gets a boost in Noah's Boy as well, and if you like how Tom and Kyrie have turned out, you'll enjoy this new pairing. Personally, I appreciate that Hoyt does not follow the typical love triangle plot, and that the two couples are also very different from each other.

Sarah Hoyt once again brings a complicated plot that draws together beautifully at the end, complete with dragon fire and viscous, ancient shifters. The character continue to be refreshingly strong through their principals and their self-awareness, which is something I don't often see in urban fantasy or adventure SF. I'm gunning for the next book!

Amazon ] [ Sarah A. Hoyt ]

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: Gentleman Takes a Chance by Sarah A Hoyt

In Gentleman Takes a Chance (Shifter Book 2) by Sarah A. Hoyt, newly established owners of The George come up against other shifters who have come to investigate the deaths from the end of book one, Draw One in the Dark.

Kyrie and Tom know that they have a long road ahead of them, and that's just counting the everyday things – their not-quite-intimate relationship, their makeover of The George, and generally establishing themselves in a new town. In Gentleman Takes a Chance” the new couple get a chance the blossom in these roles, if they can keep busybodies from either blowing their cover or killing them. Oh, and if Tom can keep from breaking any more bathrooms in dragon form.

In book one, we met the Great Sky Dragon and the triad he controls. Gentleman Takes a Chance expands upon this while adding other ancient shifters who also think they have a say in Kyrie and Tom's lives. These ancient shifters claim that they care about the deaths Kyrie and Tom and their friends have caused, but they arrive conspicuously after the fact and do quite a poor job of investigating in the name of their simplistic and elitist laws. Kyrie and Tom note this as they assert their own moral code and their own version of events. In this way Hoyt neatly continues a theme of responsibility and agency that goes far beyond simply owning up to a superpower like shifting. If anything, Tom and Kyrie strive to hold themselves to the same standards as other humans, which is hard to do while seemingly all-powerful elders are taking deadly swipes at you.

The denouement surprises me. After an appropriately climatic battle at the end, there comes another battle, this one more private and less blow-by-blow. Having now read the third book, I can confirm what I suspected at the end of book two, that Hoyt is setting us up for a bigger plot with bigger bad guys.

A Gentleman Takes a Chance shows a lot of character growth while still bringing the reader plenty of action. In fact, I think book 2 outshines book 1 because of its superb balance of character growth and action. Hoyt fleshes out her theme of agency quite well in this coming-of-age narrative, providing a good backbone for the book 3, Noah's Boy.

Books 1 and 2 are also available as an omnibus titled Night Shifters. Wouldn't that look amazing on your shelf?

I jumped immediately into the third book, so look out for my review of Noah's Boy.

Amazon ] [ Omnibus ] [ Sarah A. Hoyt ]

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Draw One in the Dark by Sarah Hoyt

Draw One in the Dark (Shifter Book 1) by Sarah A Hoyt is an exciting, action-filled urban fantasy:


Every one of us has the beast inside. But for Kyrie Smith, the beast is no metaphor. Since she was 15, when she first shape-shifted into a savage, black panther, Kyrie has questioned her humanity and moved from town to town, searching for a way to feel human again.

Kyrie's lonely life changes forever while waitressing at a cheap diner. Investigating screams from the parking lot, Kyrie stumbles upon a blood-spattered dragon crouching over a mangled human corpse. The dragon changes back into her co-worker, Tom, naked, dazed and unable to remember how he got there.

Thrust into a world of shape-shifting dragons, giant cats and other beasts waging a secret war behind humanity's back, Kyrie may find the answers she seeks—with help from Tom, a mythical object called the Pearl of Heaven, and her own inner beast.


I absolutely love how Sarah Hoyt handles the love interests in this book. In so many urban fantasy books I see unhealthy relationships portrayed as normal - men who steal kisses and untrustworthy people who are given chance after endless chance. There is no enabling in this book because Kyrie does not take crap from anyone, especially not from men who are attracted to her.

I also love seeing characters take responsibility for their actions like Hoyt's characters do. I'd say more but I don't want to spoil anything!

Draw One in the Dark (Shifter Book 1) is a great fantasy with a lot going for it: thrilling action, murder mystery, a bit of romance, and unusual shifters. This gritty urban fantasy is a fast read with a YA/New Adult feel.

[ Amazon ] [ Sarah A. Hoyt ]

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: "First Fleet #3: Descent" by Stephen Case

In "First Fleet 3: Descent," Case answers many questions about the Grave Worlds and the disappearance of the First Fleet, and in the process pulls all of the characters together into a thrilling crises on a Grave World cut off from the rest of humanity.

As we learn more about the monster who destroyed the First Fleet, Case's blend of hard science fiction and horror reminds me of Dan Simmon's style in the Hyperion Cantos. I get the feeling that many characters are going to die before, or because, they discover the true nature of their adversary.

Even as Case brings plot thread together and answers many of our questions, I can't imagine how the story arc could possibly wrap up in only one more novella. There will have to be mind-boggling surprises in the next installment, and I can't wait!

Once again, Case leaves me itching to read more. Are you addicted to First Fleet yet?

"Part 1: Bones" [ Amazon ]

“Part 2: Wake” [ Amazon ]

“Part 3: Descent” [ Amazon ]

and "Part 4" to be released later this summer.

While you're waiting for Part 4, you can read an essay by Stephen Case about writing First Fleet [ here ].

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: "Sophronia L" by Tim Bridwell

Sophronia L. by Tim Bridwell brings the reader back to 19th century Americas, beginning off the coast of New England at a time when whaling is fading as the predominate method of obtaining oil, soon to be replaced by mountain drilling in Pennsylvania:


Sophronia Lambert, a schoolteacher on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, lives a quiet life; that is until Nantucket whaling captain James Folger comes ashore. Realizing he is the man who killed her deaf brother, she decides to pursue vengeance – first at home, then at sea-sailing to the far side of the world as his bride. As she grapples with madness and morality, Sophronia’s quest mirrors that of her island community: to find a way forward amidst the pressures of a brutal industry, a nation mired in Civil War, and a past darker than the ocean’s abyss.


When Sophronia Lambert elopes and joins the Eliza Jane as Captain Folger's wife, her uncle Keziah Lambert and her love interest, Absalom Cook, worry that she will be “lost at sea” as was her late brother, Jonathan. If Captain Folger doesn't murder her himself, Sophronia may fall victim to the mental illness that has plagued her since she found her mother dead at the hands of her father.

Growing up on the small island of Martha's Vineyard is surely poor preparation for the brutality of an all-male crew set on the bloody business of whaling, as it proved to be for Sophronia's brother, except that this Lambert comes knowing that her true nemesis is the Quaker Captain who obsesses over numbers and superstition.

Bridwell's vividly poetic style draws the reader deep into the horrors of the human heart, whether it be Sophriona and Captain Folger's mental illnesses, the sailors' chauvinistic savagery, or the bloody process of spearing and stripping the soulful whales. But like Bridwell's realistic characters, his dark themes are tempered by the other side of humanity; the sudden joys, small pleasures, and even love. In this way, Sophriona's journey on board the Eliza Jane is like a mental breakdown, where she is separated from the two people who understand and love her most as she traverses what for her are uncharted waters.

Sophronia L. boasts the descriptive language of Hemingway and the complex drama of Faulkner, taking readers on a haunting journey through Sophronia's mental illness, manifest through her obsession with Captain Folger's death. I would absolutely recommend Sophronia L. as a superb novel for those who enjoy literary and historic fiction.

You can get your copy of Sophronia L.at:

Find out more about Tim Bridwell at [TimBridwell.com]

Check out the publisher, [Folded Word], and leave a review of Sophronia L. on [Goodreads].

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: "First Fleet" by Stephen Case

First Fleet by Stephen Case is a pulp science fiction tale released as serialized novellas by Retrofit Publishing. “Part 1: Bones” is a short story leading into the series and is currently available for free at [ Amazon ] and [ Smashwords ].

“Part 1: Bones” sets the stage on a medical frigate that regenerates the bodies of killed soldiers. When one of the res-pods behaves strangely, a medical officer suspects that the Colonists – or an unknown intelligence – have smuggled aboard something dangerous.

In Part 1, Case introduces the reader to some of the hard science fiction aspects of the series by showing us the regeneration process, where stored personalities are downloaded into cloned bodies. Part 2 expands this to include the light lines that enable FTL travel, and other technology that I don't want to spoil for you. Case also gives us the impression of the long history of his universe which has led to the war with the Colonizers, who have settled on planets at the far edge of inhabited space.

In Part 1, we also get a glimpse of the monster who causes the slaughter of the First Fleet. In “Part 2: Wake,” humanity scrambles to penetrate the silence of the First Fleet, but without matching bodies to regenerate, they cannot download the stored personalities of the dead soldiers who might have seen the face of the enemy. From here the story branches out to two points of view.

Beka Grale, a disentanglement expert, finds herself folded into a secret team of investigators who run unethical experiments in the hopes of uncovering the memories of the First Fleet. Meanwhile, a regenerating medical officer may hold the key to the mystery of the First Fleet, but the wayward res-pod lands at an outlying planet, where fugitive Cam Dowager contemplates destroying the pod to keep the military out of her figurative backyard.

First Fleet is a grim tale of desperation where the characters begin in a vacuum of knowledge and are quickly overwhelmed by an influx of secrets and of events beyond their control. Stephen Case presents us with several questions that give the story depth beyond its beautifully crafted tone of horror. We wonder – is a regenerated person really the same person? What makes one human?

Would you set aside your ethics to save the human race?

“Part 2: Wake” ends on a cliffhanger that has me biting my nails until the next release. [ Amazon ]

You can pre-order “Part 3: Descent” for April 1, 2015 at [ Amazon ].

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Premeditations" Teaser

"Premediations" clocks in at nearly 4,000 words with 7 science fiction and fantasy stories:

  • The Articles of Faith of United Cookies
  • Dream House
  • Basking in His Glory
  • Far Away, with Megaera
  •  The Persistent Unicorn
  • Throwing Stones
  • I Must Be Dead
You'll be able to preorder soon!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Premeditations" Cover Reveal

Here is the cover for my upcoming speculative fiction collection by Folded Word!

Thank you, JS Graustein (@grayestone)!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Premeditations" Chapbook Coming Soon!

I'm excited to announce that Folded Word is publishing a collection of my speculative fiction as a chapbook, "Premeditations"! "Premeditations" contains 7 pieces of short fiction and clocks in at nearly 4 thousand words.

Stay tuned for a cover reveal, teasers, and ordering information!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Out Now: "Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories" By Alex Shvartsman

"Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories" by Alex Shvartsman just released! If you missed my review, click the link below to read more about why I enjoyed Shvartsman's stories.

"Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories is a solid, quality collection worthy of a speculative fiction fan's bookshelf." - Michelle Ristuccia

[Buy direct: Paperback | E-book]

Visit Shvartsman's website at:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How To Write With Kids

A year ago today, I abruptly stopped editing my Nanowrimo novel to participate in the miracle of having my insides cut open to yank out a tiny human. My writing hiatus ends now, and since this is my third child, I've got a plan for how to jump back into writing.

Happy birthday, Linden! Mommy's running off to live with the squirrels! Enjoy your cupcakes.

How To Write with Kids:
1. Leave out snacks. Kids like candy, cupcakes, and chips. Remember that tiny humans are still very short (especially if they are MY tiny humans), so you may as well leave the food out in bowls on the floor.

2. Pretend to be deaf. What? I can't hear you! I'm sure that Jimmy can patch his eye by himself. This is how you learn not to hit each other, children.

3. Everything is closed. The other stores heard that Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays and they got jealous. Marbles, jump houses, and everything else is closed for the rest of the winter.

4. Remove all the clocks. Your kids don't need to know that you are putting them to bed an hour early, and since you're deaf, you can't hear that they need a drink of water after the lights are out. See someone fighting in the middle of the day? Oh, must be nap time! Again!

5. Supply books and DVDs, preferably ones that teach children how to get dressed, make a sandwich, pour milk, mop up milk, vacuum up chips, brush their teeth, nap, apologize for hitting Jimmy, and first aid.

6. Get a babysitter. HAHAHA! (Wait. Do you know one that takes cupcakes as payment?)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Review: "Hunters Unlucky" by Abigail Hilton

"Hunters Unlucky" by Abigail Hilton is a moving, exquisitely complex epic fantasy about a long and bloody feud between the dominant talking animal species of Lidian, the deer-like ferryshaft and the lion-like creasia.

Hilton's deep, personal characters, meticulous species and setting development, and continually evolving plot pulls the reader along in constant suspense. This is one of those rare tales that has you constantly telling yourself "just one more chapter" until the beautifully orchestrated ending, 214 thousand words later.

"Hunters Unlucky" is just one of many highly engaging fantasy stories that I've read or listen to by Abigail Hilton. Visit her website at AbigailHilton.com to find out more about the author and her works, which appear in both text and audio formats.

The sales copy says it well for "Hunter's Unlucky":

He's not bigger. He's not faster. He's not meaner. So he'd better be smarter.

Storm is born into a world of secrets – an island no one visits, names no one will say, and deaths that no one will talk about. The answers are locked in his species' troubled past, guarded by the fierce creasia cats. But when Storm's friends are threatened, he decides that he must act, pitting himself against the creasia to show that they can be resisted and outwitted. To prove his point, he must stay one step ahead of clever hunters, who have more to lose than Storm imagines.

Hunters Unlucky is an animal story for anyone who loved Richard Adams's Watership Down, Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, and Jack London's Call of the Wild. Kids who enjoyed Erin Hunter's Warriors books will also enjoy Hunters. The animals in this story do not carry swords, walk on two legs, or drink tea. They fight. They starve. Sometimes, they eat each other.

This 214,000-word novel is DRM-free and carefully formatted.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tangent Online Recommended Reading List 2014

Here is the recommended reading list from review site Tangent Online. I'm seeing a lot of familiar names, and, of course, some that I recommended:

Tangent Online, 2014 Recommended Reading

Shout outs:

Cory Doctorow:
"Huxleyed Into the Full Orwell" by Cory Doctorow (Terraform, 11/17/14) SF** (CDL)

Stephen Baxter:
"The Lingering Joy" by Stephen Baxter (Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson’s Worlds, 4/14) SF (DT)

Juliette Wade:
"Suteta Mono de wa Nai" by Juliette Wade (Clarkesworld #90, 3/14) F** (MR)

Sarah Pinkster:
"Notes To My Past And/Or Alternate Selves" by Sarah Pinsker (UFO 3, 10/14) SF (CDL, WH)
"The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbis of Mpumalanga Province" by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, 2/14) SF* (MR)
"No Lonely Seafarer" by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed #52, 9/14) F* (RH)

Nathaniel Lee:
"Stonebones" by Nathaniel Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #142, 3-6/14) F** (SB)
"Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes On the Day I Graduated From High School" by Nathaniel Lee (UFO 3, 10/14) SF*** (WH)

Alex Shvartsman:
"The Fiddle Game" by Alex Shvartsman (IGMS #41, 9-10/14) F (CW)
"The Golem of Deneb Seven" by Alex Shvartsman (IGMS #40, 7-8/14) SF* (HB)
"Fate and Other Variables" by Alex Shvartsman (Galaxy's Edge #11, 11-12/14) SF (MR)

Unidentified Funny Objects 3, edited by Alex Shvartsman:
"The Right Answer" by James A. Miller (UFO 3, 10/14) SF* (CDL, WH)
"That Must Be Them Now" by Karen Haber (UFO 3, 10/14) F* (CDL)
"Live At The Scene" by Gini Koch (UFO 3, 10/14) SF* (CDL, WH)
"Picture Perfect" by Matt Mikalatos (UFO 3, 10/14) SF** (WH)
"Into The Woods, With Zombunny" by Camille Griep (UFO 3, 10/14) F/H** (CDL)
"The Full Lazenby" by Jeremy Butler (UFO 3, 10/14) SF** (CDL, WH)
"The Door-To-Door Salesthing From Planet X" by John Vogt (UFO 3, 10/14) SF** (CDL, WH)
"The Newboy’s Last Stand" by Krystal Claxton (UFO 3, 10/14) F*** (CDL)
"The Real And The Really Real" by Tim Pratt (UFO 3, 10/14) SF*** (CDL, WH)
"The Fate Worse Than Death" by Kevin J. Anderson and Guy Anthony De Marco (UFO 3, 10/14) F*** (CDL, WH)

(More) Stories that I reviewed:

"The Inked Many" by Adam Callaway (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #150, 6/14) F (MR)
"No Sweeter Art" by Tony Pi (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #155, 9-4/14) F (MR)
"Zombies at Work" by Leena Likitalo (Galaxy's Edge #11, 11-12/14) SF (MR)
"Elsa's Spheres" by Marina J. Lostetter (IGMS #37, 1-2/14) SF* (MR)
"Extinct Fauna of the High Malafan" by Alter S. Reiss (IGMS #38, 3-4/14) F* (MR)
"Pocket Full of Mumbles" by Tina Gower (Galaxy's Edge #8, 5-6/14) F* (MR)
"Voices in the Black" by Jeff Stehman (Penumbra #34, 7/14) SF* (MR)
"Song of the Sargasso" by Marina J. Lostetter (Galaxy's Edge #11, 11-12/14) SF* (MR)
"The Burden of Triumph" by Samuel Marzioli (IGMS #42, 11-12/14) SF* (MR)
"Neep" by K. C. Norton (Galaxy's Edge #10, 9/14) SF** (MR)