Thursday, September 8, 2016

Prince of Outcasts, by SM Stirling - Review


Title: Prince of Outcasts
Series: The Change (Emberverse)
Author: S. M. Sterling
Publisher: ROC (Penguin)
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Reviewing: eARC
Reason for reading: Big fan of this series, loved the last book
 
The Short Answer
Fans will not be disappointed. We have a reluctant hero, a feisty female co-adventurer and love interest, and the return of the Big Bad.  Cliffhanger ending.
 
The Blurb
John Arminger Mackenzie wanted to be a troubadour, but fate made him the son of the king of Montival. His sister Princess Órlaith will deservedly inherit the throne of the High Kings, and it will only pass unto him in the event of her death, leaving the young Prince on an unknown path to discover his true role in the family.

The opportunity to prove his mettle comes when John’s ship, the Tarshish Queen, is caught in the fierce storm raised against the enemies of the alliance. When the clouds recede and the skies clear, John and his crew find themselves on the other side of the Pacific, in the island chains of the Ceram Sea, fighting to survive against vicious pirates and monstrous creatures of the deep, meeting new allies and mysterious enemies of this world and another.

Now, Prince John must seize his birthright and lead his people in battle against the darkest forces man and nature can conjure against them.

Series Overview
 Not counting novellas or shorts, Prince of Outcasts is the thirteenth book in the Emberverse or "Novels of the Change" series. That's a lot of books. While there are some natural breaks in the series, it would take a really open-minded reader to jump in at this point and really enjoy the book alone. However, there are plenty of breadcrumbs to serve as reminders for readers with short memories (the first book is now twelve years old, after all) and to help orient newcomers. Most new readers are probably going to want to start at the beginning of the series.

Reviewing the WHOLE SERIES would be a very ambitious undertaking. I adored the first book, Dies The Fire. Five stars to that one. I've re-read it several times, and I'm not a big re-reader. After that, in my opinion the books are a little uneven -- there's almost an ebb-and-flow pattern where one book sets up a conflict and the next book or two enacts it. Some books are more engaging than others. Even so, I look forward every September to visiting this future/past world with its vividly imagined communities, leaders, cultures, and stories. A bare-bones synopsis: Dies The Fire is a truly riveting post-apocalyptic novel that posits something like a global EMP. In an instant, every electrical, electronic, and solid-state device ceases to function. Planes fall out of the sky. Many, many people die. As a fictional twist in the Emberverse, in that moment, all such technology is permanently disabled, and also, combustion, steam pressure, and explosives cease to work as expected-- read: guns don't work, nor do engines, steam turbines, etc. I've had a few techy friends point out that if Boyle's Law is broken, there's a good chance the human (or any animal) body would also not work correctly, but my response is always, "that's where the fiction part of science fiction comes in...".

The thing I love the most about the first three books is the way Stirling rebuilds society. The aftermath is catastrophic. Food pipelines are shattered and only those in rural, thinly populated areas where crops and game are available can survive. But communities coalesce. They have to. The roles of character, charisma, luck, and especially story in the nucleation of diverse new communities is endlessly fascinating. The way that language and culture evolve is endlessly fascinating. Given the technology for travel and communications (pre-industrial), there are endless byways to explore. One of my favorite sidebars was about an enclave of Boy Scouts whose plane crashed in the Rockies, coming home from the national JamboreeWikipedia has a really extensive entry on the series if you'd like more in the way of series background. 

After the third book, the nature of the series changes from post-apocalyptic-reactionary to future-low-tech-fantasy with a more supernatural spin on good vs. evil. The Big Bad takes the form of a sort of spirit or power that can possess humans. These humans lack free will, are controlled by the leader of this force, and are extra hard to kill. They're almost like golems. The possession mechanism seems to be protracted eye contact. Although there is a definitive victory in book 9, it seems that you can't keep a good demon down, and new incarnations appear. Starting with the 11th book, The Golden Princess, we embark on the third generation's adventures, which expand into the Pacific Rim with the appearance of Reiko, a young Japanese monarch whose destiny has some parallels with Órlaith, the titular princess.

OK, so FINALLY I can talk about this book, Prince of Outcasts.  Thanks for sticking with me so far! This here's a fightin' book. There are sea-battles, and jungle battles, and some nifty gadgety weapons. You know that scene with Q in every Bond movie? That happens, only with a sort of repeating-rifle-cross-bow thing. There's a sea monster in the southwest Pacific that's somehow connected to a dude in Boise. There are feuding islanders in an uneasy truce, led by Prince John and an eccentric female explorer-adventurer-quasi-royalty from Australia and England (Pip). There's a lot going on in this book.

I would call it more of a setting-up book than a big-conflict book, as evidenced by the cliff-hanger ending. There's no real resolution to the new storylines that are introduced. But if you're a fan of the series, you're going to enjoy the entrée into a new theater, an exploration of islander culture, and the hints of conspiracy threaded throughout.  As backstory for Pip, we get a little taste of the post-change Australia, re-imagined as Capricornia, and the rambunctious, stubbornly plebian society there, which is fun. There's some maneuvering back in Montival for Reiko's return to Japan.

This would definitely not be the book to jump into the Emberverse with. If you don't want to go all the way back to the beginning, I would start with The Golden Princess, or even The Desert and the Blade, just before this one. While longtime fans have run into this Big Bad before, I think the concept is sufficiently fleshed out in the last book or two that you don't need the background to appreciate the story.

Stirling's style is marked by detailed description of everyday life -- from food, to tools and weapons, to art and agriculture. He's a logistician and can tell you exactly how to move enough supplies for an army across two hundred miles of terrain. He's a strategist and can outline the military movements for archers, infantry, horse, or naval maneuvers. He's a politician and a sociologist and constructs alliances and feuds that shape his fictional universe as definitively as the 1998 real landscape of roads and raw materials. The technology of this alternate future is entirely the product of his ingenious brain but you'll believe that it sprang from a dozen different sources, products of diverse geography, history, resources, and culture. You may find this fascinating, or you may find it tedious. I admit to skimming a little bit sometimes. But mostly I love it.

He's also got a tendency to polarize the Good and the Bad. Good People are not sexist, racist, or homophobic. Good People pull their weight, do their share, and fight for what's right. Good People appreciate art and music and are respectful of each other and of the environment. Good People do not seek power for power's sake and do not take advantage of the weaker. His myriad civilizations pretty much fall one way or the other. There's not a lot of ambiguity. But while there might not be much moral complexity to the series, there is certainly no lack of texture, ingenuity, or adventure. Above all Stirling is a master storyteller, and this is one of my favorite series.

The Q-like scene (with a sample of the engineering detail):
Her prang-prangs opened up. They were basically huge crossbows with a set of leaf-springs at the front like a massive bowstave, but the devil was in the details and the engineers of Townsville Armory had come up with something quite devilish. Each had a simple hydraulic cocking mechanism that pulled a traveler back against the half-ton resistance of the springs and then released it if the triggers were held down. A hopper above fed six-inch steel darts machine-cut from rebar, given a crude point and spiral grooving to make it spin and provide some stability, letting one drop into the slot each time the traveler came back..

The power was provided by pairs of men sitting on the deck to either side of the weapon below the bulwark, the soles of their feet against each other and their hands on the bars of a rocking pump as they surged back and forth. Prang-prangs didn't have the range or the ship-killing battering power of conventional catapults. What they did have was speed.
Are you an Emberverse fan? what would you add?

Around the Web
Moe Lane (Cthulu? Really?)
Looks like reviews are a bit scarce so far. If you've reviewed this book, let me know in comments and I'll add your link!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Soup - September 4

In The Soup This Week... Book Riot, Kalisha Buckhanon, Kayla Bashe, Sarah MacLean, S.B. Divya, SM Stirling, Jeffe Kennedy, Domino Finn (as you can see, I'm still catching up on reporting out my summer reading!)

Soup Dish:  on my mind/good links

Bookish scrapbooking supplies! Woo! OK, they're for planners, I guess that's a thing? But perfect for my book-event scrapbook(s). I am eyeballing these stickers and this washi tape. Thanks to Jessica at Book Riot for the roundup.

Found this article on diverse-YA author Kalisha Buckhanon in my alumni magazine: "Fiction can live. The stories can live well past the moment and teach people much later in the future what life was at a certain moment in time for certain people. Nonfiction, besides some of the most powerful treatises or legal decisions that changed the states of the world, or anointed essayists like [James] Baldwin and [Joan] Didion, is ephemeral. It moves with the times, and time moves very fast. So it must be much more aggressive in its address. Fiction can relax, because we have novels like The Bluest Eye and Their Eyes Were Watching God that leap through time."

Given the rise of a fascist, racist, xenophobic, scapegoating presidential candidate in the US, Nazi-sympathizing children's books seem particularly insidious. Commentary on "A Year of Borrowed Men" -- and by "borrowed," the author means "forced labor from POWs." Hat tip to @KaylaBashe.

Saved and Sampled:  titles that caught my eye on social media, samples waiting on my Kindle to be, well, sampled. As you can see, I'm not doing my TBR-reduction plan any good.

Samples:
Death Becomes Her (the Kurtherian Gambit), by Michael Anderle
NEXT! The Search for My Last First Date, by Robert James
The Dark Knight's Captive Bride, by Natasha Wild
Surrendering (Regent Vampire Lords Vol 1), by K.L. Krieg

Saved/Marked for Later
Loved by the Dragon by Vivienne Savage
All for a Rose (The Blood Realm Series Book 1), by Jennifer Blackstream
Fish Out of Water, by Hailey Edwards

What I'm reading
Some from the last week or so, some from earlier this summer:

A Scot in the Dark, by Sara MacLean. A lovely historical with the most brave, vulnerable heroine and amazing Scottish hero. Look for a full review this week, released last Tuesday.

Runtime, by S. B. Divya. Great futuristic novella about an underdog in a cybernetic-enhanced race. The world-building was really fun and layered. There were some bits that didn't seem important for this story but could play into a longer series. The author says a sequel is in the works but not sold yet. Here's hoping the world gets to read it. A little YA, a little post-apocalyptic, but to my mind, basically a classic speculative sci-fi story. Diverse characters & author, if you're tracking that.

Prince of Outcasts, by S. M. Stirling. Another installment of a favorite series. In the ongoing re-building of civilization, the new generation of adventurers from Montival face the latest incarnation of the supernatural "Big Bad." Cliffhanger ending. Also will get the full review treatment soon; title releases this Tuesday.

Pages of the Mind, by Jeffe Kennedy. I read this quite a bit earlier in the summer.  I always think the Tala books are shorter than they really are; the pages just fly by while I'm immersed in the world and the characters. This story kicks off a possible spinoff series from The Mark of the Tala series (that I loved), starring a familiar character who had the feel of a sidekick for the heroines of the first trilogy. In this book, the sidekick steps up to a starring role, and it's incredibly satisfying. It's the "always the bridesmaid, never a bride" character who gets her own hero -- and wooo, what a hero. Set on an island with an active volcano, language barriers, and very blurry lines between allies and enemies, Dafne the librarian must leave her comfort zone behind the scenes. I loved it.

Dead Man, by Domino Finn. I saw this one on a Facebook ad, and I thought the premise was really interesting (great cover, too). I've been looking for some new UF to try, and this was pretty good.  The Latino main character, Cisco Suarez, wakes up in the midst of danger, to an unfamiliar world and an unfamiliar body. It's a bit of a spoiler to tell you that it turns out he's been an undead zombie for 10 years. The story of how he regains his life is pretty interesting. Lots of voodoo-flavored magic paired with gangland violence, set in Miami. Three book series, I need to look into getting the next one. When my TBR permits...

I have a few more in the backlog, but I'll save them for next week...


That's it for this week. Happy reading!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday Soup - August 28

In The Soup This Week... Some Pacific Northwest book events, romance books in Nigeria, Cecilia Tan, Alisha Rai

Soup Dish:  on my mind/good links

Dang, you know it's been a busy-- and fleeting-- summer and here I am again saying "I can't believe it's been so long since my last Soup post!  Truth is, I got a big wave of RustCity authors taking me up on my profile offer and that kept me way busier than I expected.  The conference was a ton of fun, and I want to do a small debrief, but it's still on the list.  So far, "laundry" and "back to school prep" have rated higher and I'm still not completely happy with the status quo on those to-do items... so there we are.
--addendum: I really, really tried to get this done last night but my eyes just glazed over around 11. Soup: delayed, but better late than never.

Romance is subversive. I never knew that, really, until I joined conversations online with other romance readers, but I believe it to be true. This article is further proof.

I caught wind of a local-ish romance event in Portland, but can't make it work with my schedule. Anyone else going? (warning, the youtube video launches when you land there).  And I gotta say, it kinda hurts to give up on the Historical Romance Retreat, because I really wanted to go, but alas, my travel days/budget are all accounted for otherwise. I hope they have it next year! Finally, I'm super-excited to see that Courtney Milan is making an appearance at the Greater Seattle RWA conference this year! I won't be at the con proper, since it is really for serious authors, but I am putting the Reader Appreciation Event into my calendar right now.  Some of the names that are making me squee are Darynda Jones, Eva Leigh, and Margaret Mallory. Eeeee!  Anyone else going?  Would love to get together!

Unrelated to romance/reading, but the mind-stretching exercise of the moment for me is parsing through the amazing content at the Gapminder Foundation. It's truly a breath of fresh air in gaining real understanding of global issues.

What I'm reading
So my reading volume is down quite a bit, and probably half is for RTBookReviews.com. But since it's been such a long time since I've done a Soup post, I have a backlog I can talk about.   

Wild Licks, Cecilia Tan. Wow. Whew. Hot. Am reduced to monosyllables.  Well, almost. Anyway, I really liked it, even though I wasn't wild about the first Tan novel I picked up a couple years ago.  I will be reading the rest of this series. Angsty rock star hero, not-as-innocent-as-she-looks society sweetheart heroine.

Play With Me, Alisha Rai -- this is currently free, which might be why I picked it up, but I'm also a fan of Alisha Rai even when she's not giving it away. Ahem.  Reunion fantasy between two well-matched protagonists who know what they want and aren't afraid to talk about it like grown-ups. Awesome.

Hell Breaks Loose, a Devil's Rock Novel, by Sophie Jordan.  This wasn't my favorite read. The premise is that the POTUS's daughter is kidnapped by a gang of criminals. Meanwhile, the hero coincidentally breaks out of prison and reunites with his skeevy brother, who, you guessed it, is part of this gang. I think if you like gritty kidnap scenarios, you'll like it fine; it's tightly written with a lot of action and good characters, but it was a bit tooooo gritty for me. So more personal taste than problematic book.

Cast in Hellfire, SM Reine.  I was pretty disappointed in this one, it wasn't much like Cast in Angelfire, which I thought had a lot of interesting world-building and politicking. This one was set in an alternate dimension that pretty much aligns with the western concept of Hell, with the protagonists questing for Marion's memories. It was meant to be twisty and surprising, but it seemed rambly and confusing to me, with some gratuitous gruesomeness thrown in.

2016 Book Goals
Stash reduction - man, this is such a fail. Maybe it's the review of Hellfire above, but for some reason my mind is going to the question of Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic? If I were more creative, I would try to re-write it with books entering my house, but I don't think it would be nearly as entertaining.  Basically, sometime between now and 2030, expect a news report of a house in the Seattle area exploding due to jusssst... one... more... book being squeezed into a bookcase.

Nonfiction. Nope. Zero progress since April. I will shoot for one or two more books this year but 1 per month was clearly over-ambitious.

---------------------------------------------------
That's it for this week. Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Hating Game, By Sally Thorne - Review

Title: The Hating Game
Series: n/a
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Reviewing: eARC
Reason for reading: Strong rec from trusted PR agent

The Short Answer
Fans of the "enemies to lovers" trope will love this one. Well-written, with snappy dialog and killer sexual tension, it has wide appeal... but wasn't a 100% hit for me.

The Blurb
Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

What I wasn't crazy about
I will often avoid buzz and other reviews about a book if I know I'm going to review it, but I didn't for this one. I read several reviews and have had a few discussions with people who over-the-moon loved this one. It's making a number of "summer's best" and even "year's best" lists. You should probably read it, and if you like the "enemies to lovers" trope, you'll probably love it.

People are telling me that it's hilarious. That they laughed their asses off. I didn't. This could be a me thing. Let me put it this way: did you LOVE Ross Gellar on Friends? Did you LOVE Seinfeld? Most people did/do, and I bet all those people will love this book. But I don't. The humor and the conflict in this story and most of those TV characters comes from a painful awkwardness. Really painful. Maybe this is my baggage, but I don't find that especially funny: it makes me wince, it makes me ache a little and sometimes it makes me angry that I'm supposed to laugh at it. So I can say this book engaged my emotions, for sure.

The story is told deep in the heroine's first person present POV. She is apparently very bad at understanding what is going on behind the hero's facade -- but in fairness, that's the way he wants it. The problem is, this POV is SO deep, and so consistently executed, that the hero was completely opaque to me, too, for 90% of the book.

This isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but honestly, the hero's arc here was way more interesting than the heroine's, and I only got to see it through the most shuttered glimpses. It was frustrating for me. Several other reviewers have said that they knew instantly that Josh was madly in love with Lucy from the first page, but I really didn't get that.

There's a scene where they have their first kiss, in an elevator heading down to the creepy basement level of a creepy parking garage. He hits the emergency stop, and in her point of view, she straight up says that she absolutely isn't sure whether he is going to strangle her or kiss her.  I hate to be a buzzkill, but people THAT. IS. NOT. SEXY.
"You drive a 2003 Honda Accord. Silver. Filthy messy inside. Chronic gearbox issues. If it were a horse, you'd shoot it." The elevator arrives and I step in cautiously.

"You're a way better stalker than I am." I feel a chill of fear when I see his big thumb push the B button. He looks down at me, his eyes dark and intense. He's clearly deliberating something.

Maybe he'll murder me down there. I'll end up dead in a Dumpster. The investigators will see my fishnets and heavy eye makeup and assume I'm a hooker. They'll follow all the wrong leads. Meanwhile, Joshua will be calmly bleaching all my DNA off his shoes and making himself a sandwich.

"Serial killer eyes." I wish I didn't sound so scared. He looks over my shoulder at his reflection in the shiny wall of the elevator.

"I see what you mean. You've got your horny eyes on." He spirals his finger dramatically over the elevator button panel.

"Nope, these are my serial killer eyes too."

He lets out a deep breath and pushes the emergency stop button and we judder to a halt."

"Please don't kill me. There's probably a camera." I take a step backward in fright.

"I doubt it." He looms over me. He raises his hands and I start to lift my arms to shield my face like I'm in some awful schlocky drive-in horror movie. This is it. He's lost his sanity."
I will say that I was pretty sure as a reader that he wasn't going to strangle her (on account of, then it wouldn't be a romance.) Other readers that I've talked to are convinced that Lucy knows it too. I guess I'm just not subtle enough of a reader to feel sure about that. I thought that the games Lucy plays were kind of immature and, well, stupid. It made me not like her very much. It was also not exactly clear to me whether Josh was really playing her or if she was inflating all of this in her own head.

Redeeming Things
When you finally start to understand where Josh is coming from, it gets better.  There is a scene where Lucy tells off Josh's nemesis and it is EPIC.  Worth the book for that scene alone.  It was very, very good. 

The sexual tension between the two is sky-high (especially when she stops with the strangling references).  This is a slow-burn book, with lots of unconsummated make-out sessions. Josh refuses to actually have sex with her multiple times, and she's weird about it. He's weird about it. It's got a very different vibe to it than a lot of contemp romance.

Bottom Line
I'm going to say again: you should probably read this book. Then hopefully come back and tell me I'm not crazy for being the only one who doesn't love it...
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Suzanne Sabol: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors who are joining us for the conference this weekend. Today is another DOUBLE HEADER day, with this afternoon's guest:
Suzanne Sabol


I write the Blushing Death Series and love every minute of it. The genre I feel most comfortable in is Urban and Dark Fantasy. I love the hard edge that the genre permits and is even expected. There's nothing too gory or off limits. My latest release is Emerald Fire which came out in June of 2016. I'm working on book 7 of the series but I also have a 15 month old at home (our first) and it's kinda set me back a little. End of summer! I will have this done by the end of summer or I'm disappearing for at least a week and my husband will have to deal with the baby all on his own!   

That sounds like a great series, Suzanne! Shall we talk a little about about RustCity?

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at time management , but these days I'm pretty rusty." Yeah, toddlers have a way of blowing up the best of those systems...

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

Aretha! I'm not much into rap but love jazz and soul.  Fair enough!

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.
neither, water please

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? I'm looking forward to meeting readers and other authors. I love hanging out with people who love books as much as I do. You'll have plenty of that sort of company, for sure!


5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
I'm from Columbus, Ohio. We don't talk about Michigan... :)  Based on my survey results, I would say that you will have a lot of  "ex-pat" company!


6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence?  She definitely wasn't going to sing her way out of this one.

OK, I really want to know what the next couple lines are. Thanks so much for hanging out here, Suzanne!  I want to mention to my readers that Suzanne was totally up for the 5 words game, but when I got behind schedule, we couldn't make the quick-turnaround work. Maybe next time! In the meantime, where can we find you on the 'tubez?

Thanks for having me! I really appreciate it. My links are below. website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter


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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Mervyn Seivwright: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic authors coming to RustCon this weekend. We've got DOUBLE HEADER posts all week. So this morning, please welcome:
MERVYN SEIVWRIGHT 

Hi Mervyn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Nicola. I am a poet that believes in social change one person at a time. My writing has developed along those lines influenced in travels and living in different countries around the globe such as England, Japan, Germany, and America; travels to more than 40 countries. My 7 poetry collections each have their themes from third person first voice stories of life, love, Christianity and social issues. The next book in works is a biography in poetic form. Wow, that's very ambitious! Ok, Mervyn, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at performing, but these days I'm pretty rusty."

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.
Aretha. Real life songs that touch the spirit and move emotions. can't argue with that!

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.

Something to look forward to at the conference!

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference? Networking in a new market and meeting people to share my work and its imagery. Hopefully to touch a person's spirit in the connection.

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
I have had some great friends over the years from Detroit but this is my first time in the area. I hope it turns out great for you!


6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence? Each night he would dream past the systematic infrastructure twisting corporate entanglement aplacing himself to the innocent imagery of the gutter strings plucked in Brazilian syncopated scale to hear her voice.

Wow, that is definitely the most surreal answer I've received to that question! I need to know what Brazilian syncopated scale sounds like now.  Mervyn, I'm so glad you could stop by today!  See you later this week!

Thanks Nicola! You can find me elsewhere at my website, my Amazon author page, or Facebook.

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Be sure to keep up with all things Rust City 2016, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook |Twitter | Google+ | Tumblr | Instagram | RSVP at the Facebook Event.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jordin Mack: Rust City Featured Author

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Welcome to your introduction to some of the fantastic RustCity authors. All this week you'll find DOUBLE HEADER profiles here on Alpha Heroes. This afternoon, please welcome
JORDIN MACK


Hi Jordin, can you tell us a little about your writing?

Hi Nicola! I always had a passion for writing and planned to pursue a career as a fiction novelist; however, I kept procrastinating for one reason or another. Then one day, I decided to stop talking about and just do it, write my first novel. In April, 2016, I released my debut novel, The Kokuran. In this story, Astrid, a naïve girl, marries Philip, who loves and praises her and later abuses and tries to break her. In the aftermath of her divorce, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads her down a path of uncensored sexual encounters, love and despair. Only to discover that she was already in possession of what she was searching for.

Ok, Jordin, let's talk about RustCity!

1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at tennis , but these days I'm pretty rusty." I always wanted to learn how to play... maybe some day!

2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.

My author personality is similar to the Gemini zodiac sign, so I am both Eminem and Aretha. As an author, my literary expression is very urban and relevant to the times similar to Emimem's music, but also classic and soulful like Aretha Franklin's music.   What a very personal answer. I love it!

3. Choose One:
Vernors
Faygo
I'm confused. And not from around here.
Faygo. No, Vernors! Both?

4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference?
Connecting with existing and new fans and networking with other authors.

5. What is an off-the-cuff association you have with Michigan, Detroit, or Troy?
My hometown is Detroit. I took a writing class a few years ago and the instructor recommended that we stay in our comfort zone with our initial manuscript. So, it felt quite natural to write a book with a storyline that was set in Detroit. I always enjoy reading a story where I recognize streets and neighborhoods. I think specifics and familiarity are a plus most of the time. 

6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R&B singer. What's the first sentence?
My NFL player boyfriend hosted a birthday party for me and surprised me by hiring Kem to sing at my party.  Hmm, that could go a couple of ways... intriguing!

Thanks so much for joining me here today on Alpha Heroes, Jordin! I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

You are welcome, Nicola!  Please feel free to check out my website, and see you soon!

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