Whispered Magics (Kindle here), is a collection of my short stories. Most were written for anthologies for kids, except one story, "Mom and Dad at the Home Front," which was written for me, and to my surprise, it actually became a Nebula finalist. A couple of them have sf elements, most are fantasy, and all concern kids--some are upbeat, a couple are definitely not, though none of the endings are downers, as I hated that as a kid, and still don't much like 'em. I can watch the news for that.
I also have a new fantasy adventure coming out later this month, so there will be two of these ME ME ME posts in August, but meantime, a couple of small press e-book reads that I recently enjoyed a whole lot:
Sorcerer's Luck by Katharine Kerr.
One of the things I appreciated most when I put this book down was how Kerr had so skillfully taken the popular elements of the current wave of urban fantasies, and given them all a hard twist into weird. Or wyrd.
We've got the two guys and one gal. We've got a vampire. We've got shapeshifters. Powers. Icelandic mythology. A hip city, San Francisco, with secret magic drifting through it like its famous fogs. And we've got passion, oh my, the passion!
We even have Instalove. Of a kind. And for what turns out to be not only understandable but inescapable reasons.
But where so many of the urban fantasies I've read pretty much keep the characters at the high-school end of the emotional spectrum, that is, instant-and-forever passion, a lot of will-he-or-won't-he angst (and Byronic brooding or flippant quips on the part of either the good bad boy or the bad bad boy) here, we begin with attraction but the main relationship develops. And develops more! And evolves! Each level of magic, and of risk, brings its own set of problems to the relationship, which are dealt with. While I loved the action, the tension, the magic and mystery, the sheerest pleasure was watching the two main characters mix passion and intelligence in a fashion I found totally bewitching.
And our heroine is far from Fridge Girl when the fewmets fall (see my entire review at Goodreads).
Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. (right now, free on Amazon!)
Max (Miss Maxwell, but everyone calls her Max) was a troublesome kid from a terrible family life. But her headmistress, Mrs. de Winter, recommends she apply to the University of Thirsk at St. Mary's Priory.
There Max flourishes for the first time in her life, because she finds people as smart and as curious and wild and never-say-die as she is. She has the "real" interview, that is, finds out the true purpose of St. Mary's, and of course doesn't look back, even when the risks are outlined. Even when she discovers that those risks are real. She is determined to become a historian, to go back in time to see events as they happened.
At that point, it's better to stop and let potential readers discover what happens next. The pacing absolutely crackles, not only because--as the title says--one damn thing after another happens, but it's the voice. Max's voice is a wild delight, and the hyperspeed unfolding of events kept me glued to my chair. A nifty range of female characters, intense love of history, Englishness, mad passion, and conundrums are bonuses . . . after I finished it, in retrospect, a few aspects made me go "Huh," but not while I was reading.