Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Where Have I Been?

Hello, all! It's been awhile. I haven't been doing much of any of my usual postings lately, not here, not on Stellar Four, not anywhere (except for bits on Goodreads, which are barely a scattering of notes). So what's up?

Short version: family health issues, family member with cancer, loads of routine tests for FC, IEP meetings and evaluations for FC, death of loved one (fuck cancer forever), and my brain needed a freaking holiday.


Let's break things down a bit.

Family health issues: aside from the illnesses that tend to strike a household filled with school-age kids, there were a few other issues. I got through my routine dermatologist screening with no new problems (yay!), but then had a painful cyst that took me out of action for awhile. The hubs was hit on the freeway (he's OK, but the car was not). And we got news that my father in law had liver cancer. For while it looked like things were going OK, then suddenly, he was gone.

On a much more positive note, FC began to walk unaided - no walker, no braces, just her own strength and volition and feisty 'tude. I'd always hoped that she would be able to, but seeing her walk, play with other kids, and now attend preschool, it's one of the best things that's ever happened. She also had several tests that went pretty much OK. We're looking at surgery in a year or two, but that wasn't unexpected.

FC: I felt like a hamster in a wheel for much of the late spring/summer when it came to FC. Everything was hurry up and wait. She turned 3 and had to transfer into the school district for services. This meant lots of meetings and evaluations, culminating in an IEP* where I did get what I thought was best for her. Then came a few months of quiet followed by "OH MY GOD YOU NEED TO FILL OUT ALL THESE FORMS RIGHT NOW!!!!" followed by more quiet, then "Hey, you start tomorrow."

The thing is, I've talked to lots of folks who have been through the process. Before it all started, I generously gave myself a year to work through everything. That said, when I was in the middle of it, it didn't take long to get to "I need to have this sorted now!"

She's now in a great program with fantastic teachers, but it's taken awhile to calm myself down, to stop feeling like another shoe's about to drop.

That might be what takes a year, or twenty.

Brain vacation: I gotta be honest, at the end of the day, I was lucky to do a little tweeting. My reading was off, my interest in writing anything more than 140 characters was down to almost nothing.

I just needed a break.

When FC went to preschool, and the other kids were already in school, I DID NOTHING. No extra things off the to-do list, no special projects, NOTHING.

I sat on my ass, ate what I wanted and it was glorious.

I just needed some time with no deadlines to regroup.

I started doing some more things on THE LIST, started exercising more, starting doing archery more (it's calming, I like it, and it brings out my inner Merida), started volunteering (mostly book related), and now I'm easing back into posting again.

I'm sorry if you e-mailed me and got no response. It might very well have been during a time when my life turned to crap and I couldn't deal with anything new.

I'd like to get back into what made me happy for so long - talking about and recommending good reads.

Have anything new I should be reading?

*IEP = Individualized Education Program. Basically a contract between us and the school about accommodations and services for FC.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stop at Nothing Blurb

I'm a giant fan of Kate SeRine's Transplanted Tales books. Coming this November is a new Romantic Suspense, STOP AT NOTHING.

The blurb: "When a high-profile investigation goes wrong, FBI Agent Kyle Dawson is transferred back home where he is forced to confront his demons…and the only woman he ever loved. Three years ago, Kyle and Abby Morrow shared a wild, passionate summer—then Abby broke his heart.


Kyle never stopped loving Abby. So when Abby uncovers evidence of a human-trafficking ring, leading to her sister’s kidnapping, he swears he’ll stop at nothing to bring her sister home and keep Abby safe. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse and blindsided by their own explosive desires, they must set aside the past before it’s too late."

My take: SeRine is great at bringing the action, heat, and some fantastic couples, so I'm in.

Pre-order: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Powell's | Indiebound

About the Author:

Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) has been telling stories since before she could hold a pen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Kate reading every book she can get her hands on, watching low-budget horror movies, or geeking out over pretty much any movie adaptation of a comic book. As long as action and suspense are involved, she's in!

Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project—probably while consuming way too much coffee. Kate is also the author of the award-winning paranormal romance series, Transplanted Tales.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

SOME FINE DAY Launch & Giveaway

I've mentioned a while ago how much I enjoyed SOME FINE DAY by Kat Ross. The ebook has been available for a couple of months, and the paperback will be released February 17. To celebrate, Ross and Skyscape have an excellent giveaway.
Grand Prize: Kindle Paperwhite with custom cover, preloaded with Some Fine Day
Second Prize (2): Signed copy of Some Fine Day
Third Prize (2): CD audiobook of Some Fine Day
This contest runs from February 7 to March 7. Enter using the Rafflecopter link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's some more about the book:
Synopsis: A generation ago, continent-sized storms called hypercanes caused the Earth to flood. The survivors were forced to retreat deep underground and build a new society.

This is the story that sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist has heard all of her life.

Jansin grew up in a civilization far below the Earth’s surface. She’s spent the last eight years in military intelligence training. So when her parents surprise her with a coveted yet treacherous trip above ground, she’s prepared for anything. She’s especially thrilled to feel the fresh air, see the sun, and view the wide-open skies and the ocean for herself.

But when raiders attack Jansin’s camp and take her prisoner, she is forced to question everything she’s been taught. What do her captors want? How will she get back underground? And if she ever does, will she want to stay after learning the truth?

Some Fine Day is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can find more reader reviews on Goodreads.

About the author:
Kat Ross was born and raised in New York City and worked several jobs before turning to journalism and creative writing. An avid traveler and adventurer, she now lives with her family—along with a beagle, a ginger cat, and six fish—far enough outside the city that skunks and deer wander through her backyard.
You can find Kat on Twitter and her website.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


DARKWALKER (Nicolas Lenoir #1) by E.L. Tettensor

The blurb: "He used to be the best detective on the job. Until he became the hunted...

Once a legendary police inspector, Nicolas Lenoir is now a disillusioned and broken man who spends his days going through the motions and his evenings drinking away the nightmares of his past. Ten years ago, Lenoir barely escaped the grasp of the Darkwalker, a vengeful spirit who demands a terrible toll on those who have offended the dead. But the Darkwalker does not give up on his prey so easily, and Lenoir has always known his debt would come due one day.

When Lenoir is assigned to a disturbing new case, he treats the job with his usual apathy—until his best informant, a street savvy orphan, is kidnapped. Desperate to find his young friend before the worst befalls him, Lenoir will do anything catch the monster responsible for the crimes, even if it means walking willingly into the arms of his own doom…...

My take: Really liked this. Easy to get into, fast-paced, good read.

Lenoir is a cranky expat living in a backwater country compared to his more genteel homeland (think a Frenchman living in exile in England, but this is a different world, so it's more kind of French and English-like). He is a detective with the Metropolitan police, a brilliant detective but often bored, very arrogant and blunt, always searching for decent food, and haunted by nightmares from his past.

He is called into a case of a missing corpse and is drawn into an even bigger conspiracy when his orphan informant/sidekick (one of the few people he allows himself to care about) is kidnapped. He has to navigate the various villages, nobles with long reaches, and the secretive and persecuted Adali (similar to the Romany). 

The world feels familiar enough but is still it's own separate universe from ours. There is a supernatural element, shown in Adali magic and healing and the Darkwalker. It starts out subtly, then grows.

The Darkwalker is very interesting and I loved how it was introduced and the interactions with Lenoir. Very good "monster". I don't want to talk about it too much because you just need to read it.

There is no romance in this book but relationships between characters are key. Lenoir is firmly in the center of the story, but we do get to see things from other characters' POV as well.

I need to read book 2. Luckily, MASTER OF PLAGUES will be out February 3.

Buy DARKWALKER  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM | Powell's | Indiebound

E.L. Tettensor

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Movie Report

I am not a big movie fan. Actually, this isn't true. I do love movies. I just rarely find many that are worth the time to watch them, especially when I could use that time (and money) for more books.

Here are the ones that I remember watching in 2014. Mostly ones I loved, because honestly I refused to sit through many that I disliked.

Pacific Rim: My enjoyment of this film can be summed up with "FUCK YEAH, SWORD!" I almost yelled this out loud in the theater. I've found that if you give me giant robots fighting monsters as well as Idris Elba and Ron Perlman, I will not care about plotholes or inconsistencies.

Guardians of the Galaxy: LOVED IT. When I first saw the trailer and a raccoon firing a machine gun off a sentient tree, I prayed that it would be good. AND IT WAS! Very fun, great action, great characters. I could have done with a toned down mom death scene, but still. Had to pre-order the blu ray.

Interstellar: I loved this. Felt like the best mix of 2001 and 2010, but was also its own thing. Great acting and effects. Also really liked the storyline, the best and worst displays of humanity, and the overall hope. Was happy to have spent the money to see it in the theater.

Big Hero 6: Loved this movie so much. I might have gotten teary in parts. A boy, his robot, his friends and a supervillain.

Ghostbusters: Introduced the children to this one. Realized I need to watch it more often.

Die Hard: Watched it Christmas Eve, as you really should. Yippee ki yay!

Snowpiercer: I was enjoying this most of the time, even if the very linear nature of everything (as it kind of had to be when you go from the back to the front of a train) felt a little too on the nose. Then, in the end, they had a part reminiscent of the Architect scene in Matrix 2. THEY MADE ME REMEMBER MATRIX 2! Unforgivable.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Recipe: Crockpot Lava Cake

Might not look pretty, but it tastes good!
I got this recipe years ago from one of the hosts of Good Day Sacramento (I can't remember her name - I know, bad, bad, bad). I hand wrote it on a piece of paper and stuck it in my favorite cookie cookbook.

We recently attended a neighborhood gathering and I was supposed to contribute a dessert. The hubs mentioned this cake, that I haven't made in forever but is easy and oh so tasty. It's perfect for folks who like chocolate but aren't overly fond of super-sweet desserts. It took me awhile to find the recipe, so in the interest of keeping this for posterity, I am typing it here.


1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp baking cocoa
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 cups hot water

1. Spray crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix the first 5 ingredients for the cake. Stir in milk, oil & vanilla until smooth.
3. Spread mix evenly in crockpot. This looks more like cookie batter than cake batter. Just go with it.
4. Time for the filling. Mix brown sugar & cocoa in bowl. Stir in hot water until smooth.
5. Pour mixture over the batter in the crockpot. DO NOT STIR.
6. Cover and cook on High 2 hours.
7. Turn off the crockpot & let the cake stand uncovered 5-10 minutes.