Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Short Story Collection - Get it for Free!

Eye of the Beholder and other stories by Kara Hartz

I have put together some of my favorite short stories as a short ebook. These are Science Fiction and Fantasy stories:

An astrobiology team discovers a planet with disturbingly familiar aliens.
A middle manager finds out who has been stealing office supplies but knows no one will believe him.
A cleaning robot is much too efficient.
A little boy id desperate to acquire superpowers.
A military robot fights to deliver vital information before time runs out.
A translator under pressure makes a fatal mistake.

This collection qualifies for the KDP Select program, so I'm giving that a try as an experiment. So for now it is only available at Amazon but it also allows me to offer a limited time FREE! promotion.

You can get the collection for free for three days at the link above beginning tomorrow, Friday February 5th thru Sunday the 7th.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

This Year's Christmas Pokemon

It has become a bit of a tradition over the past few years for me to crochet Pokemon for my girls. This year is Pachirisu and Oshawott. I think they turned out cute and the girls seem to love them.

I always get the Pokemon crochet patterns I use from WolfDreamer 
Someday I'd like to try to create my own pattern, but that day is not today.

Monday, December 28, 2015

I've Released an eBook: 'Love Thy Enemy / The Way Home : Two Short Stories'

I've complied two of my short stories, one previously published and one new, into an eBook.  These are both primarily Romance stories with Sci-Fi settings so I thought they would fit well together.

For awhile now I've wanted to try my hand and creating an eBook, and these short stories felt like a good opportunity to try out the process. Obviously, going forward if I do more of these I will need help making covers - this one is not spectacular to say the least - but will have to do for the moment.

I'd originally wanted to try out Amazon's Select program to get into the Kindle Unlimited lending system, but they require digital exclusivity for that. 'The Way Home' is still published at Voluted Tales Magazine so this book would not qualify. Maybe another time with another book.

However, that means I am free to distribute 'Love Thy Enemy / The Way Home' to other stores as well. In addition to Amazon (link above) it is currently at:

Apple iBooks

and should be up at a couple more places, including Nook and Kobo, in a few days. I will edit this post with links as they become available.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Almost NaNoWriMo Time Again

I'm signed back up for NaNoWriMo again. I feel more determined to do well this year, so we'll see how things go.
I have a couple of possible obstacles - one is that I'm taking an online writing course at the moment. It's from the University of Iowa and called How Writers Write Fiction. It's been more time consuming than I had anticipated and I've had some trouble getting all the assignments in on time. As this relates to NaNoWriMo - the class will still be going on in November so that adds another layer of writing to do. I plan to just go ahead and count my class writing in my NaNo word counts even when I don't write a scene from my novel for my assignment. Still, there are the video lectures to watch, the reading and critiquing that will also need my time. Hopefully I can pull it all off.
The second thing -  I guess it isn't an obstacle really - is that I plan to keep working on my novel in progress first. I don't think it has a whole 50,000 words left in it however, so if I finish it before the end of November I will start a new story. This plan is slightly off from the NaNoWriMo guidelines, but I'm not concerned about the novel police coming after me. I just want to boost my word count.
Stranger things have happened!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Things I Love - Orphan Black

I first heard about this show on Wil Wheaton's blog, and shortly thereafter I read an article about it titled something like, 'The Best Show You're Not Watching'. (I would link to it, but I can't find it again now).  It is an amazing show, and I agree that not enough people are watching it because I have trouble finding people to talk to about it!

The tag line that comes up with a Google Search for Orphan Black is :
"An orphaned outsider witnesses a woman's suicide and decides to assume her identity."

What lets our orphan, Sarah; assume the woman's identity is their eerie similarity in appearance. Before long Sarah finds out the reason for the similarity is that she is a clone - and there are more out there just like her.

The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, who plays the clones, just blows me away with her talent. While I'm watching I often forget that these characters are not actually different people, so completely does she give individual personality and mannerisms to each clone. There are many scenes over the course of the series in which one clone steps in to impersonate another, and even then, she doesn't just act like the impersonated clone. She maintains the layers of both, so that it is clear to the viewer that this is not clone B, but actually clone A pretending to be clone B. (I'm trying to avoid getting spoiler-y here. They aren't really called clone A or B, they have real names.) 

Maslany isn't the only great talent on the show. The entire supporting cast is fun and diverse and wonderful. 

If you are interested in watching, and you should be, this is definitely a show to start at the beginning of season 1. Right now there are 3 completed seasons available, so it shouldn't be too hard to get caught up. I should also probably note that this is not a child-friendly show. Lots of sex and violence.

I confess, I actually wrote this several weeks ago, but was slow in posting it but since I did, now I can add that recently Orphan Black won the Hugo award (a science fiction/fantasy award) for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form. While I voted for Orphan Black, I didn't expect it to actually win since it was up against episodes of Doctor Who and Game of Thrones which I believed were much more popular. So - Yea!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Daycare Isn't Dull now up at Aurora Wolf

I have a new short story up over at Aurora Wolf : A Literary Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
It's called Daycare Isn't Dull.

For a time, I took care of my infant niece. She was not a fan of naps and it was a great source of frustration for us both. Later, when she went to daycare, I wondered how the caregivers there managed with so many children all with their own problems. Then I started to wonder how they would handle a child with even bigger problems. . .

So go check out my story, as well as some of the others over there. It's a free site for readers, but I did notice a 'Donate' button if you like what you find.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Things I Love - Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

When I find something I love, I have the urge to share it with someone. It occurred to me, that would be a great use of this blog.

So, to begin with, I give you Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.

Shadow Scale is the sequel to Seraphina: the story of a young musician (named Seraphina) who is in a unique position to bridge the increasing divide between dragons and humans at a time when years of peace between the two groups is growing strained. In Shadow Scale Seraphina has to take her mission even further and travel to other lands in search of other half-dragons like herself.

I loved the first book so much that I was waiting with great anticipation for the second. Part of me was a little disappointed in the sequel, but for a strange reason. In the first book, I was captured by the wonderful world and characters, and a decent amount of the text is spent on developing and introducing this world as Seraphina goes about her business. It's the sort of story world I love to just wallow in. I had looked forward to that same feeling in the second but didn't quite get it. We are introduced to many new lands and a lot of fascinating characters, but I didn't get to wallow. So much happens that the story doesn't pause enough to just lounge around in this beautiful world as much. Seraphina moves on a to a new place and new characters before we ever get to feel settled. Although I feel like complaining that the story moved along too well as a backwards sort of complaint. Instead, I will fill my need to spend time in this world by rereading both books at some point.

I believe these are marketed as Young Adult books, but I feel like there is more than enough depth for full on old adults like me to enjoy. I have a dragon-loving tween who I think would enjoy it a great deal, but I think I will wait a few years before offering it to her. Not that I don't think she could handle any of the content or follow the story, but I think there are things (like the innocent, bitter-sweet romance) that she would appreciate more a little later on.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I Read in 2014

I have really enjoyed these lists in the blogs I follow, so thought I would do my own. I know, I'm such a follower. In 2014 I finally let myself buy a voting membership for the Hugo awards, so there are a fair number of items that were for that. Also, some of these may technically qualify as short stories, and yet others are short story collections where I don't list each story individually. If my lack of consistency bugs you, I'm sorry. This is how I kept track of them as I read, so this is how they will be listed here.Some are kids books that were for the book club my kids and I belong to. I only included the kid books if the was the first time I read them myself.

Hugo works will be in italic, audiobooks in bold, and my favorites from the year in green.

Conversations with J K Rowling by Lindsay Fraser
Night Echos by Holly Lisle
Goblin Hero by Jim Hines
The Inheritance by Robin Hobb
At Any Price by Brenna Aubry
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Dolye
The Red Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville
Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville
Clash of Kings by George RR Martin
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M Valente
Opera Vita Aeterna by Vox Day
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang
The Exchange Officers by Brad R Torgersen
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
Parasite by Mira Grant*
Holly Lisle's Create a World Clinic by Holly Lisle
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachael Aaron
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne
Sand Omnibus by Hugh Howey
Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Dark Whispers by Bruce Coville
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Songs of Love and Death edited by George RR Martin
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Now that I've typed it out, I am tempted to go back and get rid of the green classification. Some were very hard to decide about, and there are lots of great books that just were not for me. I tried a lot outside my usual reading sphere this year. So a lack of green does not mean I think it's a bad book. In fact, I don't think any of these were books I actively disliked or was not happy that I read. This may be obvious when several books in a series are listed, but not green - I liked them enough to read more. The green books were just a better fir for my personal taste or ones I especially loved. So maybe the green is not useful, but I'm leaving it for now.

* One thing I found extra fun in this is that it takes place in/around the Concord/Clayton and Greater Bay Area in  California, and recognizing landmarks as I read is neat. So I recommend this to local folks for that reason.