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Eqwina

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    Eqwina
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  1. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi I have reached an important conclusion concerning my identity as a reader. I am officially a science fiction fan. I can go on to add a willing and excited reader of science fiction. I am new enough to the genre to know I still have a lot to explore, but my first few forays in the world of science fiction have been a triumph. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is no exception. In fact, since finishing this book I have already gone on to begin book two. In my mind that is the highest compliment I can give to an author; to immediately read more of their works. I learned that for me to truly invest myself into the world a fantasy or science fiction author creates, there has to be a certain level of familiarity. A blend of what truly exists in our world and the unique features of the universe that they have created. It is a delicate balance to borrow and adapt without seeming to “steal” too much of our reality. It is a dance I face daily in my own writing, and one that I think Scalzi executes masterfully. Being a relative newb to this genre, I often find myself rereading passages to make sure I understand what is being conveyed. When reading The Collapsing Empire, the rules of the world were presented in such a fashion it was almost as if I had always known of their existence. I hesitate to give away too much of this gem, but the book is set up as the possible future of the human race after Earth has been lost, or at least deemed uninhabitable. The majority of the population is spread throughout the universe and living on planets that are not truly inhabitable. The only civilization that lives on a planet’s surface, is the End. In order to survive they make use of The Flow, to sustain trade and keep each planet supplied with that they need to survive. The Flow, which is essentially a one-directional worm hole between planets is essential to the survival of the entire Interdependency. The question becomes, what happens when this pivotal network no longer functions as it should? Since its founding, the Interdependency has been led by the Emperox from the Wu family, and as the story begins the leader of the Universe is dying and his unwilling daughter is preparing to assume the weight of the entire system on her shoulders. As is true of any ruler, there are those who wish to control, or even replace her right from the first moments of her rule. While most of the story is told from only three characters' point of view, we are shown the deep impact of their decisions on the fate of the human race. This succinct and captivating novel can easily be finished in one midafternoon reading marathon, and Scalzi’s characters are so engaging that you truly won’t want to put it down. As I read the last sentence, I found myself feeling very grateful that I was able to immediately begin the next book in the series. I think having to wait for the next book would have been a reader’s torture. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book to have on hand for when you have a few hours to yourself. I can confidently say that you will enjoy this highly accessible Space-opera. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  2. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi I have reached an important conclusion concerning my identity as a reader. I am officially a science fiction fan. I can go on to add a willing and excited reader of science fiction. I am new enough to the genre to know I still have a lot to explore, but my first few forays in the world of science fiction have been a triumph. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is no exception. In fact, since finishing this book I have already gone on to begin book two. In my mind that is the highest compliment I can give to an author; to immediately read more of their works. I learned that for me to truly invest myself into the world a fantasy or science fiction author creates, there has to be a certain level of familiarity. A blend of what truly exists in our world and the unique features of the universe that they have created. It is a delicate balance to borrow and adapt without seeming to “steal” too much of our reality. It is a dance I face daily in my own writing, and one that I think Scalzi executes masterfully. Being a relative newb to this genre, I often find myself rereading passages to make sure I understand what is being conveyed. When reading The Collapsing Empire, the rules of the world were presented in such a fashion it was almost as if I had always known of their existence. I hesitate to give away too much of this gem, but the book is set up as the possible future of the human race after Earth has been lost, or at least deemed uninhabitable. The majority of the population is spread throughout the universe and living on planets that are not truly inhabitable. The only civilization that lives on a planet’s surface, is the End. In order to survive they make use of The Flow, to sustain trade and keep each planet supplied with that they need to survive. The Flow, which is essentially a one-directional worm hole between planets is essential to the survival of the entire Interdependency. The question becomes, what happens when this pivotal network no longer functions as it should? Since its founding, the Interdependency has been led by the Emperox from the Wu family, and as the story begins the leader of the Universe is dying and his unwilling daughter is preparing to assume the weight of the entire system on her shoulders. As is true of any ruler, there are those who wish to control, or even replace her right from the first moments of her rule. While most of the story is told from only three characters' point of view, we are shown the deep impact of their decisions on the fate of the human race. This succinct and captivating novel can easily be finished in one midafternoon reading marathon, and Scalzi’s characters are so engaging that you truly won’t want to put it down. As I read the last sentence, I found myself feeling very grateful that I was able to immediately begin the next book in the series. I think having to wait for the next book would have been a reader’s torture. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book to have on hand for when you have a few hours to yourself. I can confidently say that you will enjoy this highly accessible Space-opera. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  3. Eqwina

    DM News:Binti

    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes. Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy. She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring. Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  4. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor There is great beauty in a willingness to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I have come to find it even more important in our world’s changing and uncertain times to surround myself with media that helps to broaden my worldview. In my opinion it is truly one of the best things about literature, more so than any other medium. Reading requires you to use your imagination and visualize. A well written book can take you to another world and allow you to walk in someone else’s shoes. Binti is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novella by Nnedi Okorafor. Our main character Binti is a sixteen-year-old minority prodigy. She is offered a position at the prestigious Oomza University, something that no one else in her village would ever consider. Part of the Himba people, Binti was always destined to succeed her father in their business. The Himba people are deeply tied to their ancestral land, and they believe that if you move away you will begin to diminish. They even coat their bodies in a special material “Otjize” made from a red clay from the earth and the oil from local flowers. It is what makes Binti’s resolve to venture out into the universe even more inspiring. Surrounded by people foreign to herself, Binti finds similarities in a love of learning. She quickly makes friends and becomes more comfortable with the idea of being so far from home. Much like in real life, Binti’s leap of faith is not met with an easy road. She is faced with challenges and strife and is forced to find her own inner strength. I would recommend this book to fantasy and sci-fi readers alike. It is a quick read and offers a story that is richly woven with ethnic issues. I am excited to read the next two novellas in the series. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  5. A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine Some of my first and fondest memories as a child are of hiding in my closet with a camp light so that I could read, undisturbed, for the entire day. I devoured all forms of fiction, with the exception of one.... Science Fiction. Over the years I have given several Sci-Fi novels a chance, but none managed to hold my interest till the end. When I was presented with A Memory Called Empire to review, I knew that for the first time that streak was going to come to an end. What surprised me was how thoroughly I enjoyed this science fiction novel. We are launched into a world where small, planet-less stations do what they can to remain just outside of the control of the Empire, Teixcalaan. A young Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, is being sent from Lsel Station to Teixcalaan to replace her recently deceased predecessor. She is equal parts trepidation and excitement; with all the vigor of someone young and eager to prove themselves. Mahit very quickly finds herself utterly alone and unsure who she can trust among the stoic and expressionless Teixcalaanlitzlim. The entire novel takes place in the span of days, not months or years, which means that it moves along at a lightning pace. Many of the choices Mahit is forced to make are born out of urgent necessity. She is forced to think on her feet and move with profound purpose. Arkady Martines’ debut novel is a fantastic blend of political intrigue and personal ambition. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the depth of detail she created surrounding both culture and political conspiracy. At times the poetic nature of the language takes a second reading, and the intense vocabulary requires careful concentration. I am happily shocked to report that I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. The story is beautifully designed to pull you into the Lsel Ambassador’s psyche and leave you aching to know of her future. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  6. A Memory Called Empire By Arkady Martine Some of my first and fondest memories as a child are of hiding in my closet with a camp light so that I could read, undisturbed, for the entire day. I devoured all forms of fiction, with the exception of one.... Science Fiction. Over the years I have given several Sci-Fi novels a chance, but none managed to hold my interest till the end. When I was presented with A Memory Called Empire to review, I knew that for the first time that streak was going to come to an end. What surprised me was how thoroughly I enjoyed this science fiction novel. We are launched into a world where small, planet-less stations do what they can to remain just outside of the control of the Empire, Teixcalaan. A young Ambassador, Mahit Dzmare, is being sent from Lsel Station to Teixcalaan to replace her recently deceased predecessor. She is equal parts trepidation and excitement; with all the vigor of someone young and eager to prove themselves. Mahit very quickly finds herself utterly alone and unsure who she can trust among the stoic and expressionless Teixcalaanlitzlim. The entire novel takes place in the span of days, not months or years, which means that it moves along at a lightning pace. Many of the choices Mahit is forced to make are born out of urgent necessity. She is forced to think on her feet and move with profound purpose. Arkady Martines’ debut novel is a fantastic blend of political intrigue and personal ambition. I found myself repeatedly impressed with the depth of detail she created surrounding both culture and political conspiracy. At times the poetic nature of the language takes a second reading, and the intense vocabulary requires careful concentration. I am happily shocked to report that I am anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. The story is beautifully designed to pull you into the Lsel Ambassador’s psyche and leave you aching to know of her future. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  7. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood Leaping into the unknown with a debut fantasy novel is equal parts trepidation and excitement. Will familiar themes enchant or disappoint? Will the author live up to the promises made in the book's synopsis? Can the book hold your attention to the very end? Diving into The Unspoken Name, I was intent to answer these questions and more. From the first few pages, the novel struck me as something wholly unique and exciting. I was instantly enchanted by our humanoid protagonist Csorwe, and her willingness to walk headlong to her own demise. She was young and seemingly pious, and completely resigned to her fate. Csorwe was the Chosen Bride. While alive she prayed, gave blessings, dispensed prophecy, and walked ever closer to the day that she would walk into her god’s shrine and never be seen again. Call it fate or simply a choice, but when the sacrificial day came Csorwe chose to flee her faith and live, rather than die in the tomb of her cruel god. She did not come to the choice to leave on her own, but rather was prodded towards heresy by a wise old wizard. From that moment the wizard, Belthandros Sethennai, became the compass that directed her life. Sadly, Csorwe’s life had been promised to her god from a young age, and debts such as those always seem to find a way to be paid. Throughout the course of the novel Larkwood repeatedly puts her characters in situations where they are forced to make a choice between who they are and who they want to be. The gift of choice is presented time and time again, and yet fate always seems to intervene. At times it can become almost dizzying to keep up. There is often an abruptness to major changes in the novel that left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. What kept me turning the pages was the beauty and uniqueness of the world and its magic system. A.K. Larkwood created a vivid universe that is a seamless meld of traditional fantasy, and science fiction. The lives of the characters are steeped in medieval mundanity and yet they travel using flying ships and a complex lace of a Maze that transports them between worlds. These two different styles were expertly blended and completely captivating. I also couldn't help but cheer the normalcy created around queerness. The love and lust felt between characters was both beautiful and compelling. The magic system, one which is derived completely through god worship and extracts a toll on the body, is also a compelling subplot throughout the story. In whole, The Unspoken Name is an intriguing and promising debut novel. It is a modern take on the fantasy genre that has me curious about what the future holds. While the novel could certainly be a stand alone, I have a feeling it is not the last I will read about this world. The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  8. The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) By Brian D. Anderson Crystal Fritz is Dragonmount's book reviewer. Read more reviews here. My favorite aspect of the fantasy genre is that it transports us from our fast-paced and hectic world, and into realms of nostalgic and fantastic beauty. I hesitate to call these worlds simpler times, but nonetheless there is a fascinating quaintness to lives that are lived before the advent of modern technologies. In The Sorcerer's Song #1 The Bard’s Blade a new trilogy by author Brian D. Anderson, we are thrust in the midst of an epic love between two young people living in the picturesque and quaint Vylari. Our heroin Mariyah is a strong-willed and obviously intelligent young woman with her heart set on marrying her oddball, but immensely talented musician beau named Lem. Their homeland of Vylari is a place of peace. Friendly neighbors, warm summer nights, enchanting music and good wine are prevalent, and as long as the barrier that hides their land from the evils of Lamoria remains intact it seems as if nothing can shatter the never-ending calm. As often happens, a stranger brings ill tidings of impending disaster that set Lem and Mariyah down very different paths. They are thrust into a world similar, and yet far harsher than any they are used to. Fanatical “god” worship, magic, and murder are all common place in Lamoria. Our heroes have to quickly learn how to adapt and survive in their startling new reality. This novel is very much a story about love, but more than that the lengths that we will go to save what is precious to us. Decisions that we make can take us places we never thought to go, and that happens repeatedly to Lem and Mariyah. To avid readers of The Wheel of Time, there are many familiar situations and themes that give this novel a comforting feeling; almost like a favorite meal or a close friend. There are no epic battles and yet just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. I believe this novel is highly accessible and would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for someone looking to expand their horizons. For those of us who devour everything the genre has to offer The Bard’s Blade is an effortless read that reminded me how beautiful a simple story can be. This novel felt very much like coming home. Have you ever picked up a book and instantly felt like you had found a long-lost friend? The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  9. The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) By Brian D. Anderson Crystal Fritz is Dragonmount's book reviewer. Read more reviews here. My favorite aspect of the fantasy genre is that it transports us from our fast-paced and hectic world, and into realms of nostalgic and fantastic beauty. I hesitate to call these worlds simpler times, but nonetheless there is a fascinating quaintness to lives that are lived before the advent of modern technologies. In The Sorcerer's Song #1 The Bard’s Blade a new trilogy by author Brian D. Anderson, we are thrust in the midst of an epic love between two young people living in the picturesque and quaint Vylari. Our heroin Mariyah is a strong-willed and obviously intelligent young woman with her heart set on marrying her oddball, but immensely talented musician beau named Lem. Their homeland of Vylari is a place of peace. Friendly neighbors, warm summer nights, enchanting music and good wine are prevalent, and as long as the barrier that hides their land from the evils of Lamoria remains intact it seems as if nothing can shatter the never-ending calm. As often happens, a stranger brings ill tidings of impending disaster that set Lem and Mariyah down very different paths. They are thrust into a world similar, and yet far harsher than any they are used to. Fanatical “god” worship, magic, and murder are all common place in Lamoria. Our heroes have to quickly learn how to adapt and survive in their startling new reality. This novel is very much a story about love, but more than that the lengths that we will go to save what is precious to us. Decisions that we make can take us places we never thought to go, and that happens repeatedly to Lem and Mariyah. To avid readers of The Wheel of Time, there are many familiar situations and themes that give this novel a comforting feeling; almost like a favorite meal or a close friend. There are no epic battles and yet just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning. I believe this novel is highly accessible and would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for someone looking to expand their horizons. For those of us who devour everything the genre has to offer The Bard’s Blade is an effortless read that reminded me how beautiful a simple story can be. This novel felt very much like coming home. Have you ever picked up a book and instantly felt like you had found a long-lost friend? The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller. View full news item
  10. Crystal Fritz is Dragonmount's book reviewer. Read more reviews here. Intricate, complex, and engaging were the first words that came to mind as I dug into The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons. The author creates for us an extremely well thought-out, vivid, and mature world that leaves this reader wondering if anyone truly has control over their own fate; or are we all simply pawns in a much larger game? Our journey begins with a letter from a seemingly educated man of unknown origin named Thurvishar D’Lorus. In his short message, he informs us that he is our true storyteller. He has reconstructed this story from transcripts and eyewitness accounts of events. Thurvishar foreshadows for us the fall of a capital. Who he is, and what capital city he is speaking of, is unknown to us for some time. Our second window into this rich world is through the eyes and conversation between a jailor and her. The jailor Talon is a fierce and terrifying creature, that brings to mind for me, a sadistic and charming succubus, although that is not who or what she truly is. Caught in her trap is a witty young man named Kihrin, who seems more or less resigned to his fate. It is Kihrins’ life and his journey toward his current confinement that we are following. We ping-pong through, chapter by chapter and year by year learning about how his life was twisted and changed by outside forces of prophecy and fate. Talon’s recount focuses on an earlier point in time, and it takes most of the novel before she and Kihrin’s tale converge to its inevitable end. As this story is being told from the outside, our tale’s author Thurvishar includes footnotes on many of the pages meant to expand our knowledge of the history of the world. As you learn the “language” and history of the universe Jenn Lyons created the more captivating the story becomes. The detailed complexity of this novel lends itself well to a quiet room and a glass of wine (or any beverage of your choice). It is clear to me the depth of the work that went into creating the many pitfalls and triumphs that drive the story forward. Lyons created an epic and fast-paced world filled with magic, demons, dragons, and heroes that leaves you wanting to know what is next for its cast of characters. I have already added the second book in the series to my reading list and am looking forward to discovering what happens next and answering the question(s) spinning in my mind. What other books have you read that make you question the effect fate has on your life? Hypothetically speaking, as a captive or prisoner, what affect would the discovery of the manipulative outside forces in your life have on you? How accepting or understanding would you find yourself while facing the grim prospect of future imprisonment or even, worse? The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is available from Dragonmount's store as a DRM-free ebook. You can also purchase it on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and your local independent bookseller.
  11. Maybe look up some prompts? We have our group November prompts.
  12. I have been in last minute Nano prep mode. Finishing up a few character outlines, and working on a VERY rough outline.
  13. Welcome Again Juan. I LOVE comedy. In high school I was in drama and advanced repertory theatre. I was a huge into improv. My artistic endeavors took me away from the stage, but I still love comedy, improv, and of course the theatre. So what do you mean about using improv for writing??
  14. Thanks Juan! And welcome. That’s all great advice... I have come to learn that I just have to sit down and make myself write without judgement, and it eventually leads me somewhere. Good, bad and ugly I just get the words down. I’ve taken to writing late at night, when I am too tired to be self critical. Then I pick it back up to edit during the day.
  15. A cool breeze tussled her curls as she doubled over with laughter trying to catch her breath. Mathis had just fallen posterior first into a bramble bush and was running around the green, his hands grabbing at his bloodied bum. “Come here you f-f-foool” Thera called out to him, not bothering to disguise her mirth. Her brother had always leapt before he looked and today it came back to bite him. Grinning even harder when she saw her brothers sheepish, and slightly pained smile she lovinginly wiped the sweat from his brow. “Come along kid, Mistress Alla’ne will get you fixed up”. Putting an arm around his waist she started guiding him back towards the house. “You know Thera I.......Thera...........Thera....... Slowly the world faded away, the last thing Thera saw were her brothers bright green eyes staring back into her own. Reality slowly began to sink in, and Thera slowly pushed herself into a sitting position. “I am sorry Liitha...I....I’ She did not even know how to begin to explain what was happening in her mind. For months she had existed as a broken shell of herself, but the triad of ties to her daughter, her family, and her commitment to the job had been keeping her going. Suddenly her tripod had lost a leg and she felt herself teetering on the edge. Mathis had been her best friend growing up; and when he decided to follow her to the Tower should could not have been happier. Looking around the room, the concerned faces finally registered. “I am alright, do you mind helping me up?” Using Liitha to help her regain her feet Thera brushed off her clothes and ran her hand through her curls trying to tame it as best she could. “Do you mind if we go somewhere else? I need some time to process and there are far too many prying eyes here.” Straightening her jacket Thera motioned to the door, but she quickly pulled her arm back to her side when she saw her hands shaking. “I never wander anyplace new anymore, do you know a place where we could talk and perhaps have a drink? You brought me this news, the least I can do is buy you a beverage and give you an explanation”
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