Saturday, December 29, 2012

BOOKS: Goodreads List 2012


2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Heidi has
read 40 books toward her goal of 50 books.

In 2011 I read 34 books--you can see them all here. When you consider how many books some of the most avid readers on Goodreads are devouring--a book a day, some even more--I wanted to challenge myself in 2012. I figured I could easily do 1 book per week, but to be on the safe side, I'd build in 2 bye weeks for myself. So I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to 50.

I found that...I am a slow reader.

I did make it to 40 before year's end, besting 2011 by 6 books, so I consider this a win.

Some may call it cheating that I included books I either wrote or for which I contributed a story, but I don't, and since this is my list, that's the only opinion that matters.

Science Fiction Romance topped my list this year as I also took on the 2012 SFR Reading Challenge--didn't quite meet that one either, but ended up somewhere between the earth and the moon.

15 - books by Seton Hill Writers
3 - Children's books
16 - print books (12 signed copies)
25 - female authors
3 - books from Raw Dog Screaming Press
2 - anthologies
17 - books from 13 different series
3 - poetry books
12 - books by Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday participants
5 - books by Pennwriters members
3 - non-SF Thrillers
5 - books from Big 5 publishers

Ace Science Fiction
Amazon Digital Services
Champagne Books
Dana Marton
Dragon Harp Productions
Entangled Publishing
Evergreen Syndicate
Firefly Publishing & Entertainment LLC
Gray Lady Publishing
Grey Gecko Press
Imaginary Books
Kindle Direct Publishing
L & L Dreamspell
Lee Howard
Meteor House
Moonshell Books
p i c t u r e l e s s books
Pippa Jay
Raw Dog Screaming Press
Red Sage Publishing
Saverie Books
Susan Abel Sullivan
Tealy Books
Uncanny Fiction Factory
Union City Publishing
World Weaver Press
Zebra Books

Adrea L. Peters and Teffanie T. White
Ann Aguirre (4)
Braxton A. Cosby
Cary Caffrey
D.A. Bale
Dana Marton
Daphne J. Riordan
Heather Massey
Heidi Ruby Miller
Irene L. Pynn
JC Cassells
Jacquelyn Frank
Jennifer Barnes
John Edward Lawson
Jonas Hyde
Judah Lee Davis
Lee Allen Howard
Malcolm Sexsmith
Melanie Card
Michael A. Arnzen
Patrick Stutzman
Pike Lake
Pippa Jay
Rachel Pruitt
Sally Bosco
Shawn Hopkins
Shelley Adina
Susan Abel Sullivan (2)
T.K. Toppin
T.M. Hunter
T.W. Fendley
Tamela Quijas
Wayne Basta (2)

Though I fell short of my goal, I had a good time along the way escaping reality among thousands of pages. I always consider it an honor to spend time in an author's world because there is so much work and thought and heart that goes into each book that most of us, even other writers, will never see.

Which authors shared their world with you this past year?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Theodore A. Webb


Theodore A. Webb

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Right now Simon Laramie is my favorite. Simon’s the 15-year-old narrator of “Lifeline,” “Crucible,” “Colossus” and “Inferno,” the first four books in “The STARLING Series,” set in the year 2045. I love Simon because he often surprises himself. Simon’s my most complex and developed character to date. He’s a bullied kid, trying to survive in a dystopia in which pilotless, supercomputer-controlled drones capable of using “shock waves” on citizens rule the skies over towns and cities. Because Simon wants to express himself freely, he finds a way to circumvent the tight controls of the future SUPERNET. But Simon’s not just about tech. He also loves playing guitar, writing poetry and songs. Simon’s the youngest of the four teenagers who rebel against the system. Simon has the most to learn from his experiences at Briarwood Public High School.

2. Tell me about your travels.
I was born in South Carolina, but grew up mostly in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. In 2000, I sold most of what I owned, including my car, and took an Amtrak across the country with only a manual typewriter and a duffle bag full of clothes/poems. My typewriter and I landed in Eugene, Oregon, a town with wonderful bike paths and a connective bus system. I bicycled most of the time I lived in Eugene. Shortly after 9-11, I joined the Army. The Army took me to Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina. I was deployed twice, the first time in Iraq in the central area south of Baghdad. Second time I deployed to Kuwait. I’ve also been to Canada, England, Scotland and France. I’d love to visit Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece and Egypt and also see Australia and South America. My friend and fellow writer Stephen Earley Jordan II keeps trying to talk me into visiting him in Puerto Rico.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
I drink coffee with “Paul Revere” every day. “Mr. Revere” is the copper-clad stainless steel 1930s-style stovetop percolator with a cool art deco glass top. I caught up with “Mr. Revere” scouring the vintage scene over the course of the summer. The brand stamped on the bottom of the coffee pot says, “Revere Ware,” and there’s actually a picture of Revere’s likeness. So that’s why I call my coffeepot by his rightful name. (Whispering: Don’t tell anybody this. But “Mr. Revere” actually does talk to me when he percolates. Sometimes his words are inspirational, even insightful. But most of the time he just says “Drink more coffee.”)

4. What else can you do besides write?
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I’ve always been inspired by other writers, artists and musicians, along with all the mysteries in Nature. Regularly attending writing groups is a huge motivator. These include Morgantown Writers Group (MWG) coordinated by authors George Lies and Patricia Patteson and the groups which meet at Monongalia Arts Center (MAC): Morgantown Poets hosted by author Scott Emerson and the playwrights’ group organized by playwright Donald Fidler, whose work has been performed via M.T. Pockets Theatre Company, among others. Writers across the region such as the members of West Virginia Writers, Inc. have also been incredibly supportive (particularly I’d like to mention Eric Fritzius, Cat Pleska and T.W. McNemar). I also savor the energy of poets I know such as Neil Donnell Ray of North Carolina and Joe Limer, currently living in California. Enjoying community is important fuel for the writing process.

9. Food you could eat everyday.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I try to walk/bicycle regularly for commuting/exercise. For example, I often walk about a mile one way to the downtown library in Morgantown. I strive for the recommended 30-minutes a day of exercise—although I often get caught up reading or writing and don’t always reach this goal. Generally I try to walk or bicycle as much as possible to get exercise, save money and to reduce my burning of fossil fuels. My poem, “STAR BUS,” which was featured in the Morgantown/Monongalia County bus system’s “Poetry on the Move” program, talks about my love of bicycling and walking.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
My sister and I grew up in the 1980s with records handed down to us by our parents, mostly 1960s-70s rock such as The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and others. We had stacks of 45s and a beat up “vintage” record player. We’d play the 45s all day (flipping them over frequently) jumping around to the music of each song, having fun. My mom also played piano in rural churches, so I grew up listening to gospel too. Songs like “I’ll Fly Away” still speak to me. When I was in middle school, my grandfather gave me his eight-track player and his tapes, so I started listening to bluegrass and country. I listen to everything from Kris Kristofferson to Moby, from Billie “Lady Day” Holiday to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” I’ve recently been listening to Patty Griffin and continue to be inspired by Garth Brooks’ song, “We Shall Be Free.” I’ve also heard a number of local musicians during my travels (Mike Morningstar of central West Virginia is one of my favorites—particularly love his song, “Buffalo Creek”). I’m inspired by live, local music most of all. Like other area writers and artists, I support the local music scene as much as possible.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Theodore A. Webb is the author of Lifeline, Crucible, Colossus and Inferno, which comprise “The STARLING Connection,” the first four books in The STARLING Series, available for Kindle on Webb posts daily updates to his blog,, which frequently features authors and other artists, events, writing tips, news, ideas and thoughts about the arts and other subjects. Journalists, book reviewers, teachers, publishers, etc. may contact Webb directly at Other ways to connect are Facebook: and Twitter: Theodore Webb @STARLINGCONNECT.

The STARLING Series:

Lifeline: Book 1: The STARLING Connection: The STARLING Series
Does true friendship exist in the year 2045? Fifteen year old "hacker" Simon Laramie is trying to survive high school and a world where supercomputer-controlled Drones patrol the skies, where massive Reconditioning Centers rule the land, and PATRIOT SECURITY constantly watches everyone. As one of the “invisible kids” left out of everything at Briarwood Public High School, Simon faces life-threatening bullying. At a critical moment in his life that seems without hope, Simon crosses paths with Jaya Ceyes (“Keys”), a rebellious, hard-charging senior with a mysterious burn scar on her face. Despite the deeper scars crossing her spirit, Jaya has survived determined to place her life on the line for what she believes in.

Crucible: Book 2: The STARLING Connection: The STARLING Series
Teenage "hackers" Jaya Ceyes, Simon Laramie, Flower Wildwind and Peter Arnold dig in deeper in the fight for their rights at Briarwood Public High School, giving STARLING its wings. Their special code launches STARLING front and center into the tightly-controlled SUPERNET, for all the world to see. See what Pete does when the maiden flight of STARLING doesn’t go as expected.

Colossus: Book 3: The STARLING Connection: The STARLING Series
Teenage hackers Jaya Ceyes, Simon Laramie and Flower Wildwind journey deep into the colossus that is TEMPLE to confront their friend, Peter Arnold. The teens are targeted by TEMPLE's chief executive and high priest the Rev. John Falcon. Hear Falcon's boiling sermon about STARLING’S migration and Falcon's utopian plans for the future of “humankind.”

Inferno: Book 4: The STARLING Connection: The STARLING Series
Jaya Ceyes and Simon Laramie journey into an epic struggle to take Prom for the People from dream to reality. The big shots in the Briarwood School Committee finally decide what to do with the "problem" of Jaya. Unexpected results lead to a surprise ending after the Briarwood High seniors graduate and Simon meets a mysterious stranger in a giant ULTRA SUV limousine.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SFFS: Snippet #4 from Atomic Zion

Atomic Zion

I've skipped ahead in the first chapter of my SF Thriller, Atomic Zion, which is in its final revisions.
The book was influenced by my time as the Educational Marketing Director at Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob and by reading stories from Michael Crichton, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Back Cover Blurb...

On the night of his 90th birthday, a former Wright Apprentice is thrown from the fifth floor of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The only clue to clear his grandson of the murder is a note written in Navajo code which warns "The Bear has awakened."

These four words throw Nick Vanko into the middle of a decades old international cover-up where Wright Apprentices encoded WWII-era secrets about genetic experimentation into their blueprints. In order to stop a being who isn't quite human from unleashing a biological weapon upon the U.S., Nick must find Broadacre City, the fabled utopia designed by Wright, but supposedly never built. Searching by his side are an old Navajo CodeTalker, a woman who sees emotions as colors, and a Mossad agent who is really working for the Russian mafia. But can Vanko trust any of them?
Three men crawled on their knees down the rocky maw in front of Skovajsa. Even without their shed packs, the meter and a half square tunnel squeezed the men.

Skovajsa watched the legs and boots of the man in front of him angle down and out of sight into darkness. The line stopped.

At that moment, it was good to be small. Rock pressed around him and above him. He pulled deeper breaths, his mind telling him the air was thinning. He wanted to scream, "Move!" Or "Back up! Get me out of here!" Instead, he closed his eyes and said a silent Hail Mary, working the M35 strap as a rosary.
Find other wonderful snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Scott Thomas


Scott Thomas

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?

2. Tell me about your travels.
I’m not much of a world traveler, I’m afraid. Not yet anyway. I’ve only been to the six New England states and Campobello Island, which is part of Canada. It’s not my passion for New England that’s kept me from journeying to other parts of America or places beyond. Circumstances have just never taken me very far. I’d love to visit Britain!

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
There is hardly a waking moment that I don’t have a cup of coffee at the ready, though I don’t actually consume large amounts of the stuff. I take small sips, so one cup lasts a long time. I have been known to drink tea now and again, and I’m a fan of Chai. I once made my own ginger tea. I like various holiday herbal teas and have enjoyed peppermint and licorice tea. I very much like Earl Grey!

4. What else can you do besides write?
I’m an artist. It’s in the blood. I’ve also worked with clay. When in our 20s my brother Jeffrey and I made our own video movies, so I have experience acting, directing, making sets and props, creating horror makeup and gore effects, making miniatures, etc. I’m also a fairly good cook.

5. Who are you reading right now?

6. Pop culture or academia?
I have great disdain for the pop culture and its dreadful music, fashions, and television programming. And much of its mentality. I don’t know that you could really call me an academic, because I have no college history to boast of, though I have studied things on my own, subjects that include British prehistory and aspects of American history, herbs, neo-paganism, Colonial architecture, ships and battles of the Age of Sail, the development of cultures and other things.

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?

9. Food you could eat everyday.
The cuisine of India!

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I have very eclectic tastes. My top favorite musical folks would be the composer/violinist Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Robin Williamson, and Elvis Costello. Others I am very fond of include the late Bill Morrissey, the late Stan Rogers, Sylvius Leopold Weiss (18th Century lutenist), REM, Steeleye Span, John Dowland, French film composer Phillipe Sarde (Ghost Story, Fort Saganne, etc), Enya, and Turlough O'Carolan a blind harper/composer of the 18th Century. One of my favorite musical recordings is an album called WAR, WAR, WAR by Country Joe McDonald setting the WWI poems of Robert Service to music.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Scott Thomas is the author of 8 short story collections, which include URN AND WILLOW, QUILL AND CANDLE, MIDNIGHT IN NEW ENGLAND, WESTERMEAD, THE GARDEN OF GHOSTS, and OVER THE DARKENING FIELDS. He is also the author of the fantasy novel FELLENGREY.

He has seen print in numerous anthologies, such as THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR #15, THE YEAR’S BEST HORROR #22, THE GHOST IN THE GAZEBO, LEVIATHAN #3, OTHERWORLDLY MAINE, and THE SOLARIS BOOK OF NEW FANTASY. His work appears with that of his brother Jeffrey Thomas in PUNKTOWN: SHADES OF GREY and THE SEA OF FLESH AND ASH.

Scott and his girlfriend Peggy live in coastal Maine.

DESCRIPTION for Fellengrey: As a boy, Hale Privet dreamed of sailing the grey waters of the northern Gantic Ocean aboard a mighty ship of war. But when farm life kept him from the sea, the sea came to him – in the form of Rye Blackbird, the infamous mutineer whose wondrous tales help set Hale on his own path to adventure. And such adventures they are! Villains, mysteries, sea battles and even a cursed island await.

Privet's story is part folklore and part fantasy, set in a long-ago time where you might just as easily witness something mystical, as feel the salty spray of the sea on your face. FELLENGREY is a bedtime story for grown-ups, complete with pirates, ghosts, magic spells and, of course, a beautiful maiden to capture the dashing hero's heart. Author Scott Thomas lyrically creates a world that is visceral and treacherous, but also lovely and familiar.

Buy FELLENGREY at Raw Dog Screaming Press -