"If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster." --Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Please help me fight animal abuse in China

This month (March), I’ll be donating all proceeds from the sales of my books to the Humane Society International fund to end dog meat trade. The biggest effort is focused on Yulin, China. Every year, on the summer solstice, this city engages in a barbaric “festival” that includes torturing, killing, and eating dogs and cats.

I won’t include any links because the content is very disturbing and contains graphic images. However, Google “Yulin 2015” or check the ‪#‎StopYulin2015‬ hashtag on Twitter if you want to find out more.

How can you help?

  1. Spread awareness by sharing and tweeting this information.
  2. Donate to the Humane Society International.
  3. I don’t have much faith in online petitions, but you can sign one at change.org (search for Yulin 2015). It requires little effort and no cost.

Thank you.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book review: 2 States: The Story of My Marriage, by Chetan Bhagat

2 States: The Story of My Marriage2 States: The Story of My Marriage by Chetan Bhagat

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’ve been intrigued by Chetan Bhagat’s success for some time and decided I should study his work to see what makes him tick. I was lucky to get a copy of 2 States from a Goodreads member, because most of his books are not widely available here in the US.

Bhagat is clearly aiming for a mass-market novel—a light, easy read—and he does a good job in that respect. He writes in Indian English, appropriate for his characters, which probably makes the book more relatable to the millions of Indian readers who speak English as a second language. I didn’t like the way dialogue tags were handled and many of them were simply unnecessary, but that’s probably more the editor’s fault than the author’s. 2 States doesn’t make any pretenses at being literary, and that’s okay. In fact, Bhagat reveals his disdain for literary fiction when Krish says (describing the smells of food cooking), “If this was one of those prize-winning Indian novels, I’d spend two pages on how wonderful those smells were.”

I didn’t particularly like the ending, which seemed too simplistic and contrived. However, romance novels are supposed to have HEA endings, and I can understand why Bhagat wrote one. Overall, I liked this book more than I thought I would.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book review: Village Books by Craig McLay

Village BooksVillage Books by Craig McLay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have an entirely impractical dream of owning a small, independent bookstore. That's why Village Books intrigued me. It soon convinced me that I'd better hang on to my day job. McLay does a fine job of populating his story with colorful characters, each of which has at least one notable eccentricity. The narrative voice is witty and ruthlessly skewers everything from the quintessential evil corporate conglomerate to midlist authors at book signings. (No, I have never done a book signing, because I suspect it would turn out exactly as McLay describes.)

The romance is fairly predictable and somewhat trite, but I didn't read this book for the romance. I chuckled through most of it, and that was good enough for me. A few of the secondary characters seemed to blend into one another after a while, and some could even have been eliminated without affecting the story. But that's a minor quibble. Overall, a light and enjoyable read.


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book review: The Cunning Woman’s Cup, by Sue Hewitt

The Cunning Woman's CupThe Cunning Woman's Cup by Sue Hewitt


4.5 of 5 stars

I’m not part of the target demographic for this book, due to my Y chromosome, but I enjoyed it immensely. Hewitt does a great job detailing the setting—the small, rural town of Duddo near the Scottish border in Northumberland. You can feel the chill of a foggy morning in your bones and the mud squelching under your boots after a long rain. The bonds of friendship between two women, as well as the site of their chance meeting, near an ancient stone circle, form the primary threads for the story.

Hewitt also weaves another tale into the story, one that took place in ancient times. As the book progresses, the two stories are knit together with an expert hand. The mystical connections that lead to the discovery of an archeological artifact and its impact on the characters are gradually revealed as well.

This is beautiful writing, a character-driven story that will appeal to any reader who enjoys literary fiction or someone who has a particular affinity for the English countryside. At times, I felt that some of the plot point resolutions were a bit too perfect, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The ending may seem a bit abrupt to some, but I like stories that leave the reader asking questions. I hope a sequel is on the way!

Note: I received a free copy of this book for review.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book review: James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing, by G. Norman Lippert

James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing (James Potter, #1)James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing by G. Norman Lippert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm not a fan of fan fiction, which is why I resisted reading this book for so long. However, after multiple re-readings of HP and watching all the movies, I was still craving more Hogwarts. I saw that JK Rowling had given this series her blessing, so I started reading...and was pleasantly surprised.

Lippert does justice to the world of Hogwarts, and his grown-up versions of HP characters could almost be written by Rowling herself. They're very much the way I imagined them. Unlike some readers, I found the introduction of technomancy a nice feature. I wasn't quite as thrilled by the American invasion, but after 7 years at Hogwarts in the HP series with scarcely an acknowledgement of the former colonies, it seemed almost inevitable.

The book didn't quite have Rowling's magic (pun semi-intended) and I think it's because Lippert couldn't reproduce the chemistry among the main characters that was such a big part of HP. I liked James, but the secondary characters didn't leave much of an impression. I suspect they'll grow on me over the course of the series. Yes, I intend to read the other books: Lippert has me hooked.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Gateway of India, Part One

Gateway of India Part One
My new book, Gateway of India (Part One) is now available on Amazon.com and other Amazon international stores. It's a collection of three linked short stories, and I plan to publish the remaining parts next year as they're finished. After that, I'll release an "omnibus" edition in both e-book and paperback formats.

The e-book will be exclusive to Amazon Kindle for 90 days. During this time, I'll monitor sales  and decide whether to publish through other channels when the 90-day period is up.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Please help me choose a cover

My next book, Gateway of India, will be a collection of linked short stories published in three parts. I need your help choosing a cover concept that will be developed into the final cover. Each part will have a slightly different variation.

Please vote for your favorite in the comments. Thanks!

Concept A

Concept B

Concept C

Concept D

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