Saturday, January 03, 2009

Books In Our Future

The few months of 2009 are brimming with a bumper crop of new books so I figured I'd let you have a peek at some of the ones I'm looking forward to. Since I'm very fussy about what books I read, these are the series that I've consistently enjoyed. I also introduce a new pair of authors who hold great promise!

** I updated the list to include David Coe's latest book. Purely an oversight on my part and now that's corrected.

The Horsemen's Gambit by David B. Coe
(Hardcover - Jan 20, 2009)
I'm not much of a fantasy reader. Urban Fantasy, sure, but pure fantasy is usually too boring to slog through. David's book are just the opposite. The complexity of the characters, the depth of the plot and the overall story arcs keep me coming back. Always worth the read and the latest looks no different.

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4
by Patricia Briggs (Hardcover - Feb 3, 2009)
Auto mechanic, shape-shifter Mercy Thompson always gets into a load of trouble, but she has the realistic spark I find compelling. After the last book, which contained some seriously personal devastating events for our heroine, I'm curious how Briggs will help Mercy move on in her life.

White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, Book 7) by Kim Harrison
Hardcover - Feb 24, 2009)
Okay, I admit I was steamed at Kim for a time after she offed Rachel Morgan's hunky vampire lover. But I've gotten over that. Well, sort of. As the author, she calls the shots (sigh) but that hasn't stopped me from looking forward to the next in the series with great anticipation. Kim is a master at setting scenes and penning believable characters. Much like many of the others on this page, I read her not only for enjoyment but to study the craft.

Hunted (House of Night, Book 5) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
(Hardcover - Mar 10, 2009)
The next installment of this incredibly popular Young Adult vampyre series is due out in March and I'm eager to see how the story plays out. Think "Hogwarts Meets Dark Shadows." Too young to know the Dark Shadows reference? Click

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3) by Ilona Andrews
(Mass Market Paperback - Mar 31, 2009)
Ilona (actually Ilona and her husband Gordon) set their Urban Fantasy in a dystopian Atlanta. Magic runs amok and they have a really cool twist on how vampires work. This series always surprises me. I recently reread the first two books (Magic Bites & Magic Burns) to ramp up for the next one. Yeah, I'm a fan.

The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin
(Hardcover - Mar 31, 2009)
These are the two newcomers I was speaking of. I met these gents at WorldCon in Denver and just by talking to them I can tell this book is going to be dynamite. I'll be queuing up to buy a copy as soon as it's available.

Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, Book 11) by Jim Butcher
(Hardcover - April 7, 2009)
Any guy who can spin out a series over twenty (20!) books and keep it on the rails has my unabashed admiration. Each of these books deepens the mystery, deepens our understanding of Harry and his continually messed up life. Pity these only come out once a year.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Plan for 2009

A new year is much like a fresh sheet of paper in a typewriter or a blank screen on your monitor. You can make of it what you will. Well, sort of. External forces to do apply, but a fair amount is in your control. At least that's my delusion and I'm sticking with it.

Personally, things are going well. Husband is gainfully employed, house is super clean due to Annual Decompression Party yesterday (attendees are more inclined toward intelligent discussion than heavy duty partying) and I have story ideas to play with. So what is on my plate for 2009? Lots of good things, I hope.

I am continuing to play with a Young Adult Urban Fantasy story set in 2018 Atlanta about a young girl working as an apprentice to her father, a legendary demon hunter. Demons have been done to death so I'm trying a "twist" to the standard tropes that will hopefully prove an interesting read. It helps that I really like the heroine! Because this is set in a dystopian Atlanta, I've actually had to do some research about The Athens of the South. I plan to do some exploring when it stops raining every weekend. (Not really complaining -- we're still in a drought here and the lakes need water.) However trudging around historic
Oakland Cemetery in a downpour, while picturesque, is not ideal.

I'm also playing with that paranormal historical set in 1902 Chicago, which is equally revving my creative juices. I have two paranormal romances already written that need some editing and there's that self-pubbed Fantasy series that demands a final book. So this year will be full.

Since 2001 I've been doing the "Jana Oliver Roadshow" at conventions so potential readers will get to know me and potentially buy my books. That's actually worked rather well so now it's time to settle back, finish maybe a book and a half in a year rather than the usual one, and not crisp myself around the edges as much as I have the last three years. Since 2001, when I started this journey, I've lost count of how many conventions I've attended. I do know that since 2005 I've attended 30. Wow.

So the plan is for this year to be much more focused on the writing and not the schmoozing. I'll still be out there (4 conventions) but not as much as before. It feels right. When I sign with a NY publishing house I'll be back on the road, but the earliest that would be is 2010. For now I get a breather from the airports, the con food and the hectic schedule. I'll miss the fen, but I am available by email so it's not like I'm totally running under the radar.

So what's your plan for 2009? Any new directions or goals? Or are you just going to crawl into your cave, order in a stock of double pepperoni pizza and ride it all out?

News Article of the Day

Couldn't pass up commenting on this news article. For those of you concerned that all the Muslims in the world are going to blow up your airplane, here's a few tips. Bad guys come in all shapes, sizes, colors and religions. Just because the lady next to you on the plane wears a hijab doesn't mean she's looking to kill you. Would you have raised the alarm for a good old boy (Tim McVey)? Yet he killed a lot of folks, including leveling a daycare.

Talking about the best place to sit on an airplane does not qualify you as a terrorist. Hubby and I have had this same spirited debate and concluded there's no best place because you can't predict if the plane is going to crash and in what manner. An innocent, albeit gruesome conversation. Folks of a terrorist bent do NOT have these kinds of conversations. They blend in by staying very quiet and they don't come in groups of NINE. One or two are plenty to send the plane to Valhalla, folks. In fact, you don't even need a body on the plane anymore. (Technology is not necessarily a wonderful thing). The bad guys have moved onto other "softer" targets. It's only our fellow citizens who are still thinking "hijack airplane." Anybody with a working brain could have ruled these folks out in a heartbeat. Maybe they've been watching a bit too much "24". To their credit, the FBI handled this very well. However...

AirTran didn't. Once the FBI cleared these folks you should have put them on the next plane, then someone should have had a chat with the folks who reported them so they could understand why their worries were groundless so they won't do it in the future.

The terrorist's ultimate weapon is paranoia. It doesn't require any manpower or C4 to pull it off. It's self perpetuating. Next time look past the accents, the skin color and the clothes. If they looked like you would you have called attention to their comments? No? Then sit back and eat your peanuts. Yes? Then talk to the flight attendant pronto.