Books & Blog: July 27, 2017

Books & Blog: July 27, 2017

Books of the Week:

  • Promise of Fire, Amanda Bouchet
  • A Second Chance, Jodi Taylor
  • The Defense, Steve Cavanagh
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers

Obviously, I am WAY behind on telling you what I’ve been reading and enjoying. I set quite a few books aside unfinished while I was working and traveling, but these are a few I can endorse with enthusiasm.

Promise of Fire protagonist Catalia Fisa is part of a traveling carnival, very much incognito. She fears above all that her psychotic mother will track her down, and staying hidden is her deepest wish. All that goes out the window, of course, when her talent is spotted by Griffin, brother to a new queen, who is ambitious and pragmatic to the nth degree. But Griffin doesn’t know the half of it, and while it’s pretty apparent to the reader who Cat really is, Griffin simply can’t believe her true identity. Cat, likewise, keeps denying her overwhelming attraction to Griffin. Amanda Bouchet’s two oblivious people share a great adventure, and it’s fun going with them.

I am a true Jodi Taylor fan, and I’m only trying not to gobble up all her books in a swoop. A Second Chance is a continuation of her Chronicles of St. Mary’s, and it keeps up Taylor’s track record of great hilarity alternating with tear-inducing sadness. Taylor’s heroine, Max, has such a complicated history I’m not even going to try to explain it, but in the team’s next time-jumping expedition, Max gets hit in the head by a giant cheese. Really, it all makes sense when you read it, and this whole series just can’t be recommended enough.

I met Steve Cavanagh and his wife when we were on Sea Island, at a sort of get-to-know-the-writers weekend. Steve has a great capacity to laugh at himself and life, which is truly charming. He’s also written a hell of a book. Though Steve is Irish, The Defense is set in the US. Former con man and (now) attorney Eddie Flynn, recovering alcoholic, father, ex-husband, is grabbed outside a diner. He’s told if he doesn’t get an acquittal for a mobster, his kidnapped daughter will be killed. Eddie feels his way through a terrible situation, and we’re right along with him for the ride. This is a super, break-neck book.

Becky Chambers’ book could not be a greater contrast. The Long Way is a book about a group of disparate characters, alien and human, who live and work on a space-tunneling ship. It’s told mostly through the eyes of Rosemary, a human, who is also a fugitive from her father’s crimes. This crew has adventures and addresses philosophical issues from a personal perspective, and it’s a real pleasure to go along with them on this most imaginative journey.


I’ve been promoting “Midnight, Texas” and my own work almost non-stop, it seems, and my suitcases are getting battered from traveling. It’s almost time to pick another set. I select my luggage for visibility, not for durability, though I hope to get both.

I have four conferences left this year: GenCon, StoryCon, Bouchercon, and World Fantasy. I will not book so many next year, and I’ve been turning down things steadily for 2018. Only three things on that calendar so far!

My life is a little calmer now, since the launch of the TV show went well (yay!), and I know the second episode is also a corker. The cast and the producers and the writers . . . it’s a pleasure to deal with them all.

Right now, I’m concentrating on finishing the book I’m turning into Simon and Schuster. The title keeps changing. Since the working title was “Texoma,” you can see why. I really, really want to turn it in before GenCon, and I leave for GenCon on August 16. So it’s full-tilt boogie on the book. It’s mostly done, but needs extensive tweaking.

You know that thing, real life? It keeps intruding on my writing schedule. A hose broke in our icemaker, resulting in MORE WATER ON THE FLOOR, which was just replaced due to previous water damage. However, thankfully this was nothing compared to the cleanup a burst water pipe requires and so we have dealt with it quickly and without any major hiccups. We seem to have issues with water, though. My grandson had his birthday, our church keeps having meetings we need to go to, meals have to be planned, and it would be nice to go to a movie with my husband. I keep postponing things until the book is finished, but that’s the hand I’ve been dealt. This is my job.

I can tell our dog Abigail picked up a toad in her mouth this morning because she’s dripping foam from her mouth. Yuck! You’d think they’d learn. And on that delightful note, I bid you adieu . . . until the book is finished.

Charlaine Harris