Another fabulous cover by Damonza! What do you think?


Nine By Night-E-BOOK Cover2



“From vampires to empaths, to the grim reaper himself, this bundle will keep you on the edge of your seat. I dare you to try and put it down!” SHANNON MAYER – author of THE RYLEE ADAMSON NOVELS and THE NEVERMORE TRILOGY

Nine books. Nine bestselling authors. Nine heroines that take names—and chances—while confronting dark foes, whether by force of arms or magic, that threaten their entire world.

Over two-thousand pages of epic reading await! Let the adventures begin.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, SM REINE, WITCH HUNT –– Shaman on the run. Isobel Stonecrow speaks with the dead…for the right price. She brings closure to the bereaved and heals broken hearts. But when she resurrects someone for the wrong client, she ends up on the OPA’s most wanted list.

From NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, CJ ELLISSON, DEATH’S SERVANT –– Jonathan Winchester has clashed with his werewolf alpha one too many times. He returns to Virginia to find work and meets a young waitress, Raine. As their relationship progresses, Jon’s embroiled in more intrigue than he bargained for and a danger bigger than he can handle.

From bestselling author, LINDSAY BUROKER, TORRENT –– When Delia chose to major in archaeology, she imagined herself as the female Indiana Jones of the Southwest. She didn’t imagine herself stumbling across decapitated bodies in old mine shafts or learning that monsters are real…

From bestselling author, ANTHEA SHARP, SPARK –– What if a high-tech game was a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie? Superstar gamer Spark Jaxley’s life might look easy, but she’s part of an elite few who guard a shocking secret; the Realm of Faerie exists, and its dark magic is desperate for a foothold in the mortal world.

From bestselling authors BOONE BRUX and CJ ELLISSON, DEATH TIMES TWO –– The V V Inn has a ghost problem. New grim reaper, Lisa Carron, accepts the job. She quickly learns the hotel is full of the dearly departed—and she’s working for vampires. Throw in Asa, a young vamp hot enough to melt the Arctic ice, and Lisa realizes she’s way out of her element.

From bestselling author, JC ANDRIJESKI, ROOK: ALLIE’S WAR EPISODES 1-4 –– Like most humans, Allie distanced herself from Seers, a race of human-like beings discovered on Earth. Yanked out of her life by the mysterious Revik, Allie finds out her blood may not be as “human” as she thought, the world is nothing like it appears to be…and she has more in common with Seers than she ever wanted to believe.

From bestselling author, ANNIE BELLET, JUSTICE CALLING –– Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe. As long as she doesn’t use her magic…

From bestselling author, JESI LEA RYAN, ARCADIA’S GIFT –– Teenager Arcadia (Cady) Day’s family tragedy unleashes a hidden power. After experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, her home life crumbles. As her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…

From Urban Fantasy author, KARA LEGEND, WILD NIGHT ROAD –– One innocent hex sets off a chain reaction of trouble among the shifters of the Kinraven that threatens war between werewolves, seraphim and witches. Lilith Darke will do anything to be free of her seraphim master. All hell breaks loose when rival packs face off only to discover a new, deadly threat that will take all their magick to survive.

NINE BY NIGHT releases 8/03/2014 on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other e-book retailers.

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Nine By Night


This week I was asked to host a cover reveal for Nine by Night, a collection of nine urban fantasy novels. I love this cover!! I’ve been sitting on an advanced review copy for a couple of days and I was to excited when I saw the cover photo in my inbox. It’s gorgeous.

I’ve already read Jesi Lea Ryan’s Arcadia’s Gift and reviewed it on Goodreads. I can’t express enough how much I love that novel, and its sequel Arcadia’s Curse. I am absolutely dying to read the conclusion to the Arcadia trilogy, which is set to come out relatively soon, so stay tuned for news on that.

I’ve just started reading SM Reine’s Witch Hunt, and I’m already hooked. I’ll review each of these as I finish them, but I have to say I can barely wait to read Annie Bellet’s Justice Calling. A heroine who’s a gamer nerd sorceress? If that was all the description said, that would be enough to get my attention.

In other reviews, my apartment complex here in Houston occasionally has food trucks. Tonight’s was Korean-Mexican (“korean cuisine with mexican in-between!”). It was absolutely delicious. I ordered some kind of Korean BBQ burrito thing and with the first bite it was like an explosion of flavor in my mouth. Definitely give it a try if you’re in town and try not to be too skeptical!

I mentioned last week that my dad came to visit me in Houston, and we did a million things. There are many things I like about Houston, so if you’re thinking of visiting this city sometime in the future, hopefully this list will give you some ideas. Mostly I’m going to show you photos, but I would like to make it clear that the guide books don’t lie about the food here – there is a TON of delivious foods to experience in Houston.


Before I go into all that, I have a few words about World Cup. Yes, it is over for another four years, and this makes me sad. I am delighted that Germany won, and it has inspired me to embrace my half+ German heritage more than anything ever has in my life.

But within seconds of the end of the game, Twitter and Facebook exploded with comments from many people in the United States expressing their glee that “soccer is over.” It’s possible that I am biased, because I am indifferent to not-caring about all other sports. But I usually keep those feelings to myself. I find it really frustrating every time I read one of these anti-soccer comments. Living in the United States, I find it EXTREMELY difficult to watch soccer. The only time it really gets any attention is during World Cup, and good luck ever seeing it broadcast on network television. Specific bars might play it on their TVs (particularly those designing themselves with other countries in mind). Nearly every other major sport in this country can be found on network television during each sport’s season. So reading those kinds of comments is like a reminder of how little my favorite sport (and, might I add, the WORLD’S favorite sport) gets attention in my home country. Thanks for rubbing it in, friends. That’s just SO nice of you. So please, even if you don’t like soccer, can you keep it to yourself? It’s painful enough that it’s so difficult to watch live in this country without you rubbing it in after the biggest tournament the sport has.

Ok, stepping down off my soap box now.

1. Onion Creek

Delicious restaurant with great outdoor seating. Hotdogs are a big deal here for whatever reason, so I had a really fancy one with fancy mustard and grilled onions with sweet potato fries. They also have a great selection of local and non-local brews. Good music, too.

2. Brazoria

If you like wildlife, the Brazoria Wildlife Preserve is pretty awesome. We saw three emotions of alligator.


A. Friendly “feed me!” alligator. This guy came right up to the boardwalk dock. We could have touched him had we not been afraid of the thing chomping our hands off.


B. Get the F*** Away from my Nest! alligator. This one hissed real loud and stalked toward our car as we slowly drove past/stopped to take photos like idiot tourists.


C. Chillin’ in the Water alligator. This guy did not care about anything.


3. Gulf Coast

We drive north up the coast from Brazoria to Galveston, and discovered a gazillion pastel-colored houses on stilts. As a geologist, I think it is absolutely moronic for these people to live here, considering the danger of hurricanes and the fact that a beach is an EXTREMELY unstable place to build your home, but it certainly made for interesting photos.



4. Galveston

Galveston is extremely touristy. But we found this great Gumbo Bar for a delicious lunch (gumbo and fried okra), and briefly stuck our feet in the Gulf of Mexico, so that was cool. The water was freakishly warm.





We arrived to NASA rather late, but managed to get a tour in, during which we saw the original command center (“Houston, we have a problem,” happened here) and a Saturn V rocket. We also saw the moon rock and a bunch of other stuff. If you have kids, it’s a great place for them to check out. The tour was great for adult-level entertainment.





6. The Original Ninfa’s

Delicious Tex Mex food. I mean, REALLY yummy. My dad especially loved this place, and they have a stray restaurant cat that hangs around the outside seating area. Pretty sure my dad wanted me to take it home and feed it, but alas, I can’t have pets here, and I think the restaurant workers are rather attached to it (they’ve named it).

7. Soccer

We watched a World Cup game one morning. There are several British pubs here in Houston, which I found surprising. We went to Watson’s, which has a great outdoor area and a good beer selection, but the service and food leaves something to be desired.

8. Houston Museum of Natural Science

Aaaaah this place is amazing. It is my second favorite Natural History museum that I have been to, my first being that in London (mostly because the one in London is much bigger). They have an insane number of trilobites (I took about a thousand photos of them), not to mention a massive dinosaur and other creature bone collection. It’s worth the $15 admission fee just to see that collection. They also have a rather impressive mineral and gem collection. There is also an African animal display – beware if you have small children, some of the animals are presented in rather gruesome death poses.












9. Underbelly

The chef of this restaurant is a native Houstonian, and since Houston is a melting pot of pretty much every ethnic food ever, he has designed his menu around what he thinks of as “Houston food.” You also don’t order single dishes. No appetizers, no entrees, just food. My dad and I shared 3 dishes plus a dessert, and that was enough. They also have a great wine list. It’s pricy, but totally worth the experience.

10. Catalina Coffee

We found a local coffee roaster and it was absolutely delightful and had a cute little outdoor seating area. I don’t have any photos of this place, but be sure to look it up if you’re ever in town.

11. Tacos-a-Go-Go

Breakfast tacos are a big deal in Texas. The internet told me about this place, and we were not disappointed. It’s sort of a build-your-own kind of deal. You get eggs plus 2 additional ingredients for under $2 (unless you go fancy like avocado or something), and each extra beyond those two are only $0.25. Pretty sweet deal, considering two breakfast tacos is enough to fill me up.


12. Karbach Brewery

Houston doesn’t have many breweries, but this one probably produces my favorite beer. You pay $8 for a small glass and 4 beer tokens. Pretty sweet deal. Plus we got caught in our second thunderstorm of the weekend! #nofilter


13. Auto Art Show

There’s a random Art Car museum that has very artistic cars as well as a few random pieces of art. The collection changes frequently, so here’s a small taste of what they might have.







14. Beer Can House

This really needs no explanation, only photos.



15. River Oaks neighborhood

We were driving around randomly, checking out the neighborhoods, and stumbled upon the place where rich people live. I live-tweeted the experience, so I’m sorry if you missed it. It was a rather ridiculous experience. My dad and I decided the thing to do would be to park your car somewhere, and bring your dogs for a walk, so you could pretend that you actually lived in one of these mansions. I swear, some of them looked like small castles. Crazy.

16. We finished our day with cockroach hunting, because my dad likes bugs, and due to an earlier incident I knew where to find them after the sun set. This activity mostly consisted of me running and screaming, or freezing when I saw one, while my dad walked happily along trying to startle them into movement.


We visited a few other places, like the Rothko Chapel, at which I learned I don’t have a single spiritual bone in my body. Going in that place just felt oppressive and awkward. The outside garden area is pretty nice though. We also tried to see the Bayou Bend Gardens, but got there too late, and the bridge was broken, so I’d recommend checking that out if you’re here, because I’ve heard great things.

So while I certainly don’t love Houston (or its weather, ugh, please let it rain for five days I am so tired of the sun), there are quite a few fun things to do. I’d also have to say that Montrose is the most fun neighborhood. The Heights is also pretty good. Both of these have good food places and bars, and really nice homes. If I had to live here, it would be one of those places.

In other news – I finished editing my second draft outline for my urban fantasy novel yay! Now I can actually get back to the fun part of writing. If only we’d get a few decent days of rain here…

So here’s the thing: my dad came to visit me on Wednesday and he didn’t leave until Sunday morning. In that time, he decided he wanted to see everything worth seeing in Houston while he was here. Plus there was some soccer watching and lots and lots of food consumption. I have spent the day trying to recover from non-stop action. As a result, I forgot that a blog post had to happen by 9am on Monday, and I have no idea what I want to write about.

Well, no, that’s not true. I had a few ideas and discarded them all for one reason or another. I’d love to write a post about everything we did this weekend (we saw alligators! Three of them! One of them was very angry at us!), but that requires photos, and they are not on my computer yet… So that will be next week.

Then I thought about blogging about the book I just finished reading this morning, but I realized everything I had to saw I already said on Goodreads. Repeating that here seemed like a cop-out. And yet I just posted a link to it…

Because I am feeling rather boring right now, and I really want to eat some chocolate, finish my glass of wine, and crawl right back into bed (work tomorrow, ew), I am giving you another spam poem. My spam comments have begun to sound really funky, and I feel as though it’s been long enough since the last one.

I am also in the mood for book recommendations. I have a handful on my kindle, and I’ll start picking through them tonight, but if you just finished reading something that you devoured, I’d love to hear about it! I’m a huge fan of urban fantasy and sci-fi, so suggestions in those realms are most welcome!

ganhe dinheiro

They have this attitude like,
they’re simply up and down in order.
trade value for your time
as you work from one to

Boulder Six at Track Rock Gap
the Itza Maya glyphs for Great Sun
~ Lord Quetzal-Serpent.
The Russian apparently didn’t predict
exactly when the U.

million wanted
to fix rebel place
a burden for arguments

briniest brioches brionies briquets brisance
briiskest briskets brisking.
Gospels of Blood
sandhis  sandhog  sandier  sanding  sandlot
sandman  sandmen  sandpit.

If you consider straiight back
chat too the parents,
after you got going
nibbling the nails.
memory And he’s going to prove
tgat you don’t need a bunch of Play -Station 2 ports appear on Android
and been like,
oh wow,
oh yeah,
that was awesome.

Technically, that was 6 spam comments (the title came as a single comment), which goes slightly against my self-established rules, but it’s late and I’m tired and I don’t care.

In case you haven’t been following my tweets the last couple weeks – I am obsessed with World Cup. World Cup is for me what the Olympics are for most people who aren’t soccer fans. I have always loved soccer, and this is due in large part because my dad, uncle, and granddad all loved soccer. Sure, they loved watching American football too, but they don’t follow it the same way they follow soccer. My uncle has been known to get up at ridiculous-o’clock to watch his favorite Champions League team play. I come from a soccer family, and I played soccer all through gradeschool. There was a hiatus during my undergraduate education, but that was mostly because very few of my friends even cared about soccer, and I always felt like I was busy, so I never got around to joining an intramural team. Plus we only had basic cable in the dorms, and later I didn’t have any TV in my apartment, so it wasn’t at all easy to watch. This is a major flaw with our country. I want soccer games to get the same amount of attention as all the other sports on the major channels. But I digress. Once I got into graduate school, I found myself surrounded by soccer fans again, and was able to join our geology grad student intramural soccer team. Great times had by all (even though we kind of sucked, but we still had fun). Soccer is in my blood.

Let me explain how World Cup works for those of you who may be totally in the dark but might also be curious.

World Cup only comes around every 4 years, and then it’s a month of all-day soccer. Before that there are many qualifiers, and that’s broken down into regions. I don’t really know how that part works, I just start paying attention once the list of who made it into World Cup comes out.

To start, 36 teams play 3 games in groups of 4. A win gets you 3 points, a draw gets you 1 point, and a loss gets you zero points. The top 2 teams in each group get to advance to the round of 16. In group stage, tie breakers for who advances are usually determined by the “goal differential” – the number of goals the team scored minus the number of goals the team couldn’t stop. There are more tie breakers after that if the GD isn’t enough, but I won’t go into that here. If you make it into the round of 16, the rules change to sudden death. You have to win to move on to the next game. If there’s still a tie after the full 90 minutes of normal game time, they do 2 more 15-minute halves. If it’s STILL tied after that, they go into penalty kicks. Each team gets five chances to kick the ball into the goal, just the shooter and the goalie on the field. Everyone else has to watch, holding their breath in fear and anticipation. If they are STILL TIED after the first round of penalty kicks, it goes into a sudden death shootout. This is how teams progress through the round of 16, the quarterfinals, the semifinals, and the final game.

Group Stage is probably my favorite. Three or four games a day, every day, for about two weeks. It’s glorious. For the most part, every team has 3 chances to make it into the next round. When your favorite teams win, it’s thrilling. On the other end of the spectrum, when your favorite teams epically fail, it’s absolutely devastating. Watching the World Cup is an emotional roller coaster. But I don’t think I could ever stop watching, no matter how much heartbreak I go through.

My favorite team is England, because it’s a quarter of my heritage, and it’s the part of my background I relate to the most. Then comes Spain, because I have a minor in Spanish, and for a while a lot of Spanish players were playing for my favorite Champions League team, Liverpool. Plus I’ve been in love with David Silva since I watched him win Eurocup with Spain a few years ago.


Followed by England and Spain are Ghana and USA. Ghana is my favorite underdog team, and I love watching them play. I support USA mostly because I live here, but also because I like to watch them improve every time World Cup comes around.

England played well, but they just couldn’t get their shots in the goal. The best part that came out of this World Cup for them, though, was Wayne Rooney FINALLY scoring a goal in the World Cup. I’m devastated that they didn’t advance out of group stage, but at least they have that win, and they were fun to watch.

Spain, on the other hand, went in top-ranked in the WORLD by FIFA, and failed miserably. It was absolutely painful to watch their first two games. My day was ruined when those final whistles blew, and I worked through the rest of the day hoping no one would come talk to me. I expected them to go all the way, and they just got bulldozed by the Netherlands (a team for which I will never cheer because of this and other defeats).

Ghana made a good go of it, losing to USA but DRAWING with Germany, one of the best teams on the planet. Ghana may not have made it out of group stage, but I was proud of them for that. I also felt really bad when USA beat them, because it turns out they were saving all their available electricity to watch that first game on their TVs back in Ghana. If I get properly rich some day, I’m giving money to Ghana. Their devotion to their soccer team is inspiring.

USA, oddly enough, was the only one of my favorite teams to make it out of group stage. So I guess I’m throwing all my support behind them, though I have no idea how they’re going to do against Belgium (another team I’m supporting this year because damn they have good beer and chocolate, not to mention wonderfully friendly people).

As you can see, quite the roller coaster of emotions. And that was BEFORE I decided to become attached to Mexico, mostly because they have the best goalie I have ever seen in my life. Ochoa is a sight to behold. He’s basically a wall that covers the whole goal. Their loss on Sunday to the Netherlands was painful because it means I won’t get to see Ochoa save all the goals for a very long time. I might have a gigantic talent crush on Ochoa. No big deal. The man is a goalie god, though.


You only need to watch the first few seconds to get the idea. The Netherlands have robbed us of this magnificent goalie for World Cup 2014, and it is a travesty.

Nearly every game so far this World Cup has been excellent fun to watch. The teams are all playing phenomenally well, and I HATE that most of the games are live when I’m at work. It’s painful to only be able to listen to the commentary, frantically looking at the screen whenever the crowd gets excited and the commentators start talking really fast. I love talking to my coworkers and friends about the games, discovering new fans every time. We may not all be rooting for the same teams, but we are all enthusiastic about it.

I feel that now is a good time to inform the world that when I’m watching a soccer game, don’t talk to me unless it’s about the game. I don’t have time for small talk when a game I care about it in front of me. Don’t bug me, I’m busy. I’ll talk to you in 90 minutes. I’m not watching these games for the boys, but for the thrill.

In my opinion, there isn’t another sport anywhere near as exciting as soccer. World Cup years are always the best years.

Last week I finally watched Austenland, and absolutely regretted nearly every second of it. There are some VERY good reasons it only got a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s the trailer:

At first glance, it looks like another movie about silly Jane Austen fans. I myself am a huge Austen fan (though I probably would never want to live in an experience like this one) – I’ve been to Bath, England, and checked out all her old haunts, and I’ve read all the finished books. Sure, I love Mr. Darcy as much as most Austen fans, but my favorite is probably Mr. Tilney. JJ Field portrayed Mr. Tilney in a BBC version of Northanger Abbey, and I’ve enjoyed his performances in other movies. Bret McKenzie is always funny (and also FIGWIT), and Jennifer Coolidge us usually hilarious. So I figured this movie would at least be funny, and maybe a little unrealistically cute, and I was ok with that.

Boy, was I horribly wrong.

I’m going to give a lot of spoilers for this movie, so if you, for whatever reason, really want to see this movie without spoilers, probably you should stop reading now. Though I highly advise against it. It’s terrible. Here’s why:

First, what the trailer doesn’t tell you is that all the men are actors paid to be there and pretend to fall in love with the women who show up for the vacation. Everyone is paired off, typical of a Jane Austen novel, and the women know the men are actors going into it. Personally, I felt this was a huge flaw, but mostly this is a product of the fact that it was meant as a romantic comedy. It was powerfully unrealistic, but in the end it did play an important role in the conflict – our main character, Jane “Erstwhile,” played by Keri Russell, can’t tell what’s real by the end of the movie and is extremely distraught over this and has trouble trusting her own feelings. This may have been the only well-written (or at least logically-written) part of the whole movie.

Basically all the characters sucked. They either weren’t likable, or their personalities were about as interesting as a cardboard box. Many of them were made to look mental (read: if you are a Jane Austen fan, you are probably mental). Jane is meant to be perceived as mental (her entire home is decorated like an old lady’s home, because that’s as close to Jane Austen’s style as they could get, apparently), but when she gets to Austenland, she ends up appearing as the only sane character. If that weren’t bad enough, she has absolutely no agency. Her character buildup is basically “Look, this girl is obsessed with Mr. Darcy, just like every other Jane Austen fan. Also her job is boring but we don’t really know what she does other than that she went to school for it for a little while. Eh, who cares, she just wants romance anyway because she’s a boring one-dimensional female character.” I struggled through the entire movie to figure out what she wanted in life, or at the very least out of this experience at Austenland. If she knew the men were all actors, she certainly couldn’t have expected romance out of the experience.

I will give them points for throwing a little twist on that particular plot aspect. Jane develops a relationship with the stableboy, who she assumes isn’t an actor, and isn’t part of the experience, more like proper hired help to make the experience run smoothly. As it turns out, he IS an actor, and he was meant to be paired up with her all along. He even pretends that he’s not part of the experience just to win her over. It’s kind of sick the way it all plays out, actually. The fact that this stableboy character was played by Bret McKenzie made him bearable as an antagonist character, but ugh… what a let down. It also seemed a bit cruel for a romantic comedy, but what do I know?

JJ Field did alright with the role he was given, but I really wish he hadn’t been in this movie. Same goes for James Callis. They, as well as Bret McKenzie, could all have done much better than this pitiful excuse of a movie, and I haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet. Unfortunately, they made JJ Field make a half-hearted attempt at being the “Mr. Darcy character.” He was all broody, and didn’t like to dance. But he didn’t stick to any other characteristic of Mr. Darcy. In fact, that detail specifically made me think the writers/directors of this movie may not have ever read a Jane Austen novel in their lives. Hell, it could have been Nicholas-Sparks-Land and you’d have the same story (with less awkward clothing and hairstyles).

So here’s the worst part:

This romantic comedy has an attempted rape.

They don’t call it that (using the term “assault” instead), of course, but that only adds to the horribleness with which they handled this particular plot point. Jane almost gets raped by the husband of the woman who runs the whole operation. JJ Field manages to rescue her just in time, and it is implied that this sort of thing has happened before.

And the old bastard gets away with it.

The night it happens, Jane brushes it off like it’s nothing, and the movie continues, and it isn’t brought up again until Jane threatens the woman who runs the place with reporting the guy simply because she is absolutely upset about the whole experience and how the love is all fake, etc. etc. She doesn’t consider reporting him because IT WAS A HORRIBLE THING FOR HIM TO DO, it’s just an afterthought to the rest of her awful experience in Austenland. THEN, at the end of the movie, when the woman in charge tries to smooth everything over by sending Bret’s character to the airport to apologize and pretend to still be interesting in her, Jane backs down and confesses that she wasn’t going to report the man who attacked her, so they didn’t need to worry about her ruining the business. She just wanted to go home. This bastard NEVER sees the consequences of his actions. His attempted rape is treated like it’s no big deal.

No wonder we have such a problem with rape culture in this country.

If it weren’t for that attempted rape scene, I could have just been annoyed I’d wasted my time with a boring movie. But that alone made me take a closer look at the whole thing, and just thinking about this movie makes me angry. Luckily I got it for one free night at Redbox and didn’t actually lose any money to it, which would have just infuriated me further.

So, avoid watching Austenland at all costs. It will not make you proud to be a fan of Jane Austen.

If you read a lot of books, or if you’re a writer, you are probably at least aware of what’s been going on between Amazon and the publishing company Hachette. Possibly, you are also confused by it, or maybe just conflicted. I fall into this latter category, and I’ve spoken with a couple of my author friends about it, so my goal in writing this post is to facilitate some kind of discussion about what’s going on between Amazon and Hachette.

To start us off, here’s an article (clearly biased in the anti-Amazon direction) that lays out the situation pretty well and should answer any immediate questions you may have. Basically, Amazon is making it really difficult for customers to buy Hachette-published books because the two companies can’t come to an agreement about how to sell these books. Amazon finally spoke out a little bit at the end of last month, and this article sums it up without any bias one way or the other.

As a person who has never actually had a problem obtaining books from Amazon, and as an as-yet-unpublished writer (either traditionally or independently), I personally do not have any qualms with Amazon. I am not going to boycott them until I understand this situation more. But based on what I’ve read so far, I understand why some people are choosing to boycott Amazon. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a personal choice. Author Neil Gaiman pointed out recently in an interview that we don’t REALLY know what’s happening, because all the details are under non-disclosure.

These articles I’ve linked to show the perspective from some of the big authors who are affected by these business proceedings. But what about independent authors? What about writers who can’t get the time of day from these enormous publishing companies? How does this affect them?

Author Frank Schaeffer defends Amazon because he believes he would not have been as successful without Amazon’s help, and he’s not the only independent author who feels this way. My writing partner told me she wouldn’t be a writer today it it weren’t for Amazon, and that for every J.K. Rowling and James Patterson, there are 500 authors like her. The jury is out as to how this affects unpublished authors seeking traditional publication.

My conclusion is this: it’s a business war between two major corporations. Many people seem to be forgetting that Hachette is ALSO a big company, and I think that’s important to keep in mind. I will never understand the ins and outs of it because I don’t have any expertise in business, so I’m going to wait to pass judgement until everything is settled. But maybe some of you reading this have a better grasp on the situation. Is Amazon really the big bad that so many people are quick to claim? What do you think about what’s going down between Amazon and Hachette? If you’re boycotting, why, and if you’re not, why not?

Well, I appear to have survived my first week in Houston, TX!

This place is not at all what I expected, and I haven’t reached a decision about whether or not I could see myself living here for a couple years. Luckily, I have 2 more months to think about it and get to know the place.

If you’ve never been here before, this is what it’s like. There is green EVERYWHERE. All along the bayou, on the boulevards, the sidewalks, in yards and gardens. The plants here are absolutely amazing. I imagined a desert or industrial type landscape, but it hasn’t been like that at all. Many parts of the city I’ve seen so far are actually very beautiful. The humidity is real, though. I’ve hardly spent any time outside since I’ve been here, because the air is not very comfortable to just sit in. I’m learning that less cloudy days have lower humidity, and one of these days I’ll be brave enough to go lounge by the pool while I read. But then you have random 5-minute rainstorms come through, and you must run for cover. I’m used to bi-polar weather, but this is on a different level. I’m also learning the joys of air conditioning. I’m from Seattle, where we usually must fight against the cold to find a house temperature that doesn’t cost too much on the electricity bill, but still keeps us warm enough to function. Here, it’s the opposite. I’m trying to figure out how much warmth I can stand before I desperately need the air conditioning to keep me at a reasonable temperature. It’s a delicate balance, but it’s also nice to be comfortably warm for a change. A bonus for this climate, though, is the amount of volume it adds to my hair. I keep it short, so a little climate-controlled volume is actually pretty awesome.

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Being from Seattle, I’m used to everyone ignoring each other when they pass in the street. When I moved to Montana, the opposite was true. I got used to politely nodding and/or smiling at people as I passed them in the street (though less so on the college campus). Houston is a massive city. Once again, everyone goes back to ignoring each other. I ran into someone at the gate to get into the apartment complex, he was struggling to open the gate. He finally opened it just as I made it to the gate to try to help, and as we passed each other, I tried to smile at him, because hey, he’s probably my neighbor. No response. So, it’s weird going back to that after being in Montana for so long.

As for my job, I’m an intern for an energy company. So far, my job has essentially consisted of looking at squiggly lines all day and trying to interpret them. I’m not even kidding. Squiggly lines. Theoretically they mean something, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

This internship has so far been an interesting experience, and not so much for the job itself, but for the… setting. For one, I’ve got a swanky office all to myself. My name is even on the door! I have two computer monitors and a huge desk! I’ve never experienced an office job like this – the Google office I worked in was all open plan, no cubicles or anything, and tiny desks. Not that that was bad or anything (it was much easier to talk to my friends that way, or lean over to my neighbor to ask for help on a difficult task, etc.), just different.

I’m also used to jobs that keep you to the clock. You clock in when you arrive, you clock out for lunch, you clock back in after, and you clock out when you leave. No cell phones or personal calls or fun internet breaks while you work (those were the rules, anyway). This internship, though? Totally different. As long as you get the work done, and can show you’re making progress, there’s actually a lot of freedom. It’s taking some adjusting to get used to. I mean, I made a phone call to set up my internet installation at my home during business hours and NOT on my lunch break! I was allowed to leave a few minutes early to go to happy hour with the office mates! I’m not going to lie, I could get used to a job like that. Plus, I’m actually using my geology knowledge and skills, which is more than I can say pre-graduate school.

The one weird thing about this job that bothers me is the lack of women in science-related positions. Maybe it’s just this company, but I’m the ONLY woman on my team. Most of the men are much older than me, too. Almost all the women I’ve met are in administrative or assistant-type positions. It’s really strange to be sitting in a big meeting, and be the only woman in the room. Every other job I’ve held, and all through school, the gender divisions have been pretty well split down the middle for all positions. I suppose the fact that I’m a woman in an internship position should be encouraging for the future of the company, but it’s still a little hard to get used to.

I’ve also had the pleasure of trying to sleep on an air mattress. A friend of mine was successful with this for his entire 3-month internship. But my air mattress? Somehow magically developed a pin-hole puncture after two nights. Pro-tip: Three layers of rubber cement plus tens of layers of duct tape won’t work.

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Rather than fight with the mattress for the rest of the summer, or straight up buying a new one, I decided I didn’t want to wake up feeling like I was in a water bed for any more mornings/middles of the night. So I went to IKEA and bought the cheapest roll-out foam mattress I could find, and I have slept well the past few nights. I do not regret the expense.

On the major plus side of doing this internship over the summer, I have no school work to deal with. Sure, I should probably type up my field notes (which I will, I promise), but other than that – I’m basically on vacation when I’m not at work. So, I’ve started working on my novel again! Typed up 3 pages of edited outline material. It’s a lot of work, but I’m getting through it. 11 more pages to go! I forgot how much fun I have while working on it, and how excited I am to begin re-writes. If I’m really lucky, I’ll get through these outline edits, send them to my writing partner, and get started writing some scenes before the summer is out.

I’ve also got time to cook delicious things like butter chicken with broccoli and mushrooms.

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AND I’ve had time to have a bath. With a candle, a glass of rosé, and my kindle.

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I am, of course, also taking this time to catch up on some TV shows and fiction reading (The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead just arrived and it is SO good and I’m only 50 pages in!). Which brings me to the next thing I want to share with you all…

I know I already wrote a post about book-shaming, and how it infuriates me when someone tries to tell me (or anyone else, for that matter) that I should be embarrassed about the books I like to read, an article recently came out from Slate that has me swearing at my computer screen as I read. Don’t read it unless you want to get angry about something. I firmly believe that you should read whatever you want to read, regardless of other people’s opinions. What you read literally has zero effect on them, and if they’re going to judge you for it, you probably don’t need them in your life. Since I’ve already articulated how I feel about this, I suggest taking a look at these two responses to the Slate article that made me really happy.


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