October 2020

My first science fiction short story is live on Amazon: Everyone Loves Chocolate… right?


Robin Valisse is representing Mars in the the Milky Way Interspecies Dessert Championships. The Tri-Planetary Union of Earth, Mars, and Venus are participating for the first time, so stress is high. Earth’s chef Rodrigue has nothing but scorn for the Martian dessert Valisse is preparing.

Everyone Loves Chocolate… right? is a fun short story about interplanetary food competition. It has about 7,500 words.

A short story set in the world of Robin of Sherwood TV-show!


Publication year: 2019
Format: Audio
Running time: 49 minutes
Narrators: Barnaby Eaton-Jones, Andy Secombe, Michael Praed, and Nickolas Grace

I recently realized that a company called Spiteful Puppet has done several short Robin of Sherwood books! Three of them are available on Audible and I snatched up the one which has both Michael Praed and Nickolas Grace (Robin and the Sheriff!) among the readers.

It’s very short, so it’s not very complicated. The sheriff and a couple of his knights have accidentally met Robin at edge of the forest and are chasing him. They come across an abandoned church. Robin is wounded and falls through ice to the icy river.

He wakes up inside the church with a priest who seems more than a little odd. The priest rants that Robin is tainted by violence but offers him sanctuary at the church. But the sanctuary extends to everyone.

This was great, short adventure very much in the spirit of the show. I don’t know what people who haven’t seen the show would think, but as an old fan I was very pleased. It was great to hear the familiar voices and the audiobook even has the main theme!

The only thing I could complain about is that it’s too short, and I would have loved for the Sheriff and Robin confrontation to be longer. But otherwise, it’s very entertaining.

Next month will be SciFiMonth, full of all science fictiony goodness!

The shenanigans will be hosted by Imyril and Lisa! Lots of other bloggers will be joining up, too, with many wonderful posts.

The month has also two read-alongs, one for Mary Gentle’s Golden Witchbreed and another for Kate Elliott’s new space opera Unconquerable Sun. I’ve been itching to get my hands on Elliott’s book but I don’t have it yet. I’m really looking forward to reading the great posts!

WMG Publishing is bringing us a Holiday Spectacular this year , too!

”So this year the WMG Holiday Spectacular is back, with 37 brand new and original stories by over two dozen top fiction writers. This year subscribers will get the first story on November 26th, 2020 and then a new story EVERY DAY through January 1st, 2021.

That’s right! A Brand New Original Holiday Story Every Day!”

This time there’s also the Sweet Valentine’s Calendar and the Halloween Harvest Calendar, if you choose to pick them!

I enjoyed last year’s Holiday calendar a lot and I’m sure this year’s short story calendar will be just as great.

22 days to go and it’s already funded and reached the first stretch goal.

A reprint of the Modesty Blaise comic strips 58, 59, and 60.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1985-1986
Titan publication year: 2011

This collection has three fine Modesty Blaise adventures. These are the three final stories that Colvin drew. Romero returns in the next story.

The first one, “the Wild Boar”, starts on Modesty’s estate in Tangier where one of her lovers, Doctor Giles Pennyfeather is staying a while with her. When they’re leaving a restaurant, two men try to rob them. Modesty fights them off, of course, but her brooch is damaged. The man who comes to repair it is a psychic. He sees a flash of the man who gave the brooch to Modesty, the head of French Intelligence Rene Vaubois. Rene is alive and near, but hurt.

Soon, Modesty finds out that Rene has disappeared. Even his closest aide thinks that he has defected but Modesty doesn’t believe that. Using the clues that the psychic gave, she, Willie, and Giles head to Corsica to confront a ruthless crime boss called Le Sanglier, the Wild Boar.

In the next story,”Kali’s Disciples”, Modesty and Willie are in India, going to see the old holy man Sivaji who has taught them skills which have saved them countless times. However, when they’re spending the night in the palace with one of the local former rulers, they hear that the cult of Kali has revived and killed people in the traditional way, strangling. During the night, the cultists attack the palace. However, Modesty and Willie drive them off. The duo heads to the desert to see Sivaji. Of course, things aren’t so simple.

The last story, “the Double Agent”, starts with the bad guys somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. They have worked for years to train and surgically change a female agent to look exactly like Modesty. She also has all of Modesty’s fighting skills. She’s called the Replica. She’s sent with a team to Britain to kill Tarrant and put the blame on Modesty. Willie is away but another team is sent to kill him, if he returns to Britain.

Meanwhile, Willie is enjoying his holiday mountain climbing. Unexpectedly, agent Maude Tiller gets a week’s vacation and Willie heads back. The team activates to kill him and Replica’s team goes to action to kidnap Modesty and kill Tarrant.

These are all very exciting stories and all have some recurring characters. Giles has only appeared in books before. He’s very kind man, decent and honest, working in remote areas to heal poor people. Modesty likes him very much. The Indian ascetic and holy man Sivaji’s teachings have appeared many, many times and we’ve met him in only two other comics. The final story is set in Britain so many familiar characters appear. Still, it’s quite possible to enjoy the stories without knowing anything about the characters.

Another very good collection.

Today my second Robin Hood story went live on Amazon! Robin Hood and the Impostors is a historical fantasy novella.


A powerful fairy is envious of Robin Hood’s fame. The fairy enlists three vicious killers to impersonate three Merry Men. Can Robin find the killers before they destroy his good name and the villagers betray him to the sheriff?

Robin Hood and the Impostors is a stand-alone, light-hearted historical fantasy adventure perfect for readers who are looking for a fun read. It’s a short story of about 20,000 words.

Will Scarlet is another famous Merry Man and he appears in most modern retellings. Sometimes, he’s a hothead, sometimes Robin’s cousin.

In my stories, he’s quite a mellow bloke. He loves to sing and play the lute and many young women have fallen for his charms. He also loves to wrestle and fights with his sword when necessary. He’s a Norman who got in so much trouble, over a lady of course, that he was made an outlaw. As a Norman, he doesn’t have much skill with a bow even though he has been practicing since he joined Robin’s men.

He wants to always wear something red but if a disguise makes it impossible, he’d rather have the adventure, even dressed plainly.

Out of all Robin’s men, Will Scarlet has most in common with the troubadour Alan a Dale. Unfortunately, my next story doesn’t have a duet for them, but hopefully I can sneak is one at some point.

The fifth story in the science fiction Murderbot series.

Publication year: 2020
Format: print
Page count: 350
Publisher: Tor

This is the first full-length novel in the series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the novellas and enjoyed this book just as much. Murderbot is the first-person narrator of the book, just as it has been in the novellas. It is a cybernetic organism who just wants to be left alone and view media. (Don’t we all??) It’s a SecUnit, built to protect humans but it had no free will and was built to be disposable. Until it freed itself. Humans are usually scared of SecUnit, apparently mostly because media has only stories about free SecUnits going on a rampage. I love Murderbot’s cranky and cynical voice and it’s as clear as ever in this book. Well, perhaps it’s starting to adjust to living with humans instead of being a disposable tool.

The story continues from the end of the last novella, Exit Strategy. Murderbot is protecting a group of humans but this time it’s not a slave obeying orders, but has chosen to go on the space mission. Of course, pretty much everything goes wrong. Doctor Mensah is the only human Murderbot trusts, but she’s not on the mission. Her daughter Amana and brother-in-law are and Murderbot feels strong obligation to help them, even though it dislikes the brother-in-law. Right from the start, Murderbot must save the stupid humans from marauders. After it has done that, a research vessel appears and starts shooting, so things go worse. A lot worse.

The action is fast from the start and doesn’t really let up, despite several flashbacks to Preservation space, which is apparently the only community where people live free. Most live in spaces dominated by corporations and must earn a living, some of them literally as slaves. Oh and some talks about feelings, which Murderbot just hates.

Most of the human cast was left pretty vague but Murderbot has no interesting in knowing them, so it was OK. I loved the AIs… except for some specific things and some of the, er, ending which I won’t spoil here.

Preservation space quickly became one of my favorite places in fiction, right alongside Bujold’s Beta Colony and Star Trek’s Federation. Can we all just live there already, please?

The third book in the Casino Witch humorous fantasy cozy mysteries.

Publication year: 2018
Format: ebook
Page count at Goodreads: 189

About a year ago, Ella’s dad was murdered and she found out that she’s a mage. Her father’s death is still a mystery but she doesn’t have any clues about who did it. She doesn’t have any memories of her mom. She also doesn’t know why her dad kept her a secret from everyone in the magical community or why he didn’t tell her that she’s a mage. Her dad’s old friends Badger and Bear agreed to train her. About six months ago, Ella declared herself a Monza, a follower of “old way” who must stay celibate. She did it to get out of the clutches of mage law. She had, and still has, feelings for handsome, if aloof and unfriendly, security consultant Vin.

For six months, Ella has been training or rather burying all her feelings in training. She’s also pushed her best friend Vanessa to train with her. But now Vanessa is putting her foot down. Her mother who is Ella’s teacher, is away for a week. Ella has pushed them to go through all the exercises in just couple of days and Vanessa wants to stop doing them.

Their friend Natasha comes to Ella’s loft. Natasha has her own comedy show in on the casinos. Two of the women working in her show have left and she needs help. Vanessa jumps at the chance but Ella hesitates. She wants to keep practicing.

After Vanessa and Natasha leave, Ella’s tutor Bear stops by. Apparently, the girls from Natasha’s show haven’t left: they’re dead from drug overdose. Bear wants Ella to investigate. Ella agrees and a job at the comedy show is a great way to go undercover. However, she decides to keep the investigation secret even from Vanessa.

This is a more serious entry in the series. While we still get wild antics from Patagonia, Ella’s huge black familiar cat, there aren’t many other jokes or humor, especially compared to the previous book which was set in a hilarious cheese convention. Ella investigates the overdose with a drug which seems to affect only mages. Also, a handsome new love interest appears. The mystery around Ella’s dad and childhood deepens, though.

While I didn’t enjoy the plot as much as in the previous book, I did enjoy the characters and quite a lot of other things, like the descriptions of Ella performing on the comedy show. She thought it would be just a small thing but it’s really not and panicked at first. Vin doesn’t appear much which is good because I can barely stand him. Natasha is a great character and I’d like to see more of her.

Little John could be the most famous of the Merry Men. Or who comes to your mind first?

In my stories Little John is Robin’s right hand man and childhood friend. He’s also from Locksley and they grew up together both working on the fields and secretly battling with quarterstaves.

In fact, in my stories Robin and Little John first became outlaws together.

John is usually level-headed and calm, thinking things through before acting. Indeed, he usually acts as a peacemaker and a voice of reason for his friends. When Robin is away, Little John is the leader.

But when he becomes angry, all bets are off. That’s what gets him in trouble in my next story, Robin Hood and the Impostors.

John’s most distinguishing feature is his height, over seven feet tall. He’s also brawny with broad shoulders. He is legendary for his skills with a quarterstaff and he’s also a good shot with the longbow. However, as a peasant he hasn’t had much practice with a sword until the first Norman join Robin’s band. He also has a habit of embellishing his own stories (well, who doesn’t?). He loves kids but hasn’t had much luck in romance department. Of course, women aren’t too keen on marrying a man who has a price on his head.

He’s proud to be a Merry Man and is more dedicated to fighting injustice than just having fun.

Next Page »