Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jerry Pournell on Ebooks

First this from Jerry Pournell's blog:
With eBooks there is no competition for shelf space between new mid-list books and older books. They’re all available, and the store is always open. Both Mote and Hammer have been selling quite steadily as eBooks, and in fact have now sold more as eBooks than they did in their last print reissues. Other authors can tell the same story.
This matches closely with my thoughts and observations about Ebooks and publishing.

Free Ebooks by Randel Garrett

Randall Garret very interesting author, I am just starting to explore his books, but among many interesting facts I have learned about him already is that he was a Founding member of SCA (Society of Creative Anachronisms).

The link above is to Project Gutenberg, a legitimate site for free Ebooks, good place to get classics, like all of Mark Twain's books.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Looking for a great book to read?  Whether you like a great story or learning you will love Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft.

Since fifth grade I have been a big fan on Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson type stories.  So it isn't a surprise that I like this story.  Since it is very much like a real world Swiss Family Robinson.

Heyerdahl and his companions build a Raft from natural materials, and then set sail with it in the Pacific, to test a theory he had about the first human settlement of that area of the world.

I am a big fan and supporter of Ebooks, but I strongly suggest getting a dead tree version of this book for the photographs, there are a lot of pictures that illustrate events or animals described in the book.  I have deadtree version of this book myself, and will probably get an Ebook as well.

One important note about the word usage, they mention "Dolphins" in this book, they are talking about a fish also know as Mahi_Mahi, not the air breathing Dolphin.  I didn't figure this out till I looked at the pictures and captions in my first read through of the book.

More information here

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interesting Ebook Tidbit

A comment from

I found my Nook Tablet's web browser can play Amazon Prime video just fine. Add in the fact that you don't even need to do anything special to side-load the Amazon App Store, it seems to be the more inclusive 7" tablet. The Kindle Android reader installs just fine...

(Note: I've found installing applications from the Amazon App Store on the Nooks require a microSDHC card to be installed.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anne McCaffrey has passed away

Anne McCaffrey passed away Monday November 21, 2011.

My condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

Pern was a world I longed to escape to when I was a young unhappy teenager.

You will be missed deeply Anne McCaffrey.

News link.

Her blog,

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Structure of Aikido by Gaku Homma

The Structure of Aikido: Volume 1: Kenjutsu and Taijutsu Sword and Open-Hand Movement Relationships is a far more detailed book about Aikido than Aikido: The Way of Harmony .

"Aikido: The Way of Harmony" is more of an overview or introduction to Aikido.  Useful for people wanting to get some basic understanding of Aikido.

While this book, the first in a three book series, is for people that want to start the long path of learning Aikido.  It clearly illustrates beginning foot and hand movements.  And shows the connection Aikido has with the Way of the Sword.

Though the photography is black and white, there are lots of photos for each sequence, almost like the individual frames from a movie camera.  Also, there is clear illustration of foot placement to help convey proper movement.  These foot illustrations show just the feet from above, like a dance book might, so all you see is feet in the proper relation ship to each other and your opponent.

I found the illustrations of the feet useful for understanding what one is actually supposed to do for body movement.  That alone was worth the price of the book for me. 

The Martial Arts have never come naturally to me, I think I am far more of a word person than a physically coordinated person.  The illustrations of the feet was more useful for me than live instruction.  Let me understand enough so I could learn from hands on instruction.

So for anyone looking to start Aikido, or someone who is struggling to grasp some of the body mechanics, take a look at this book.  I think you will find a permanent place for it in your martial arts library.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

All The Way To The Gallows by David Drake

Ever laugh so hard that people turned to stare at you?

Well that happened to me more than once the first time I read All The Way To The Gallows.

It is hard for me to pick my favorite story in this Anthology, all the stories are by David Drake, but "Airborne All The Way" is the first one that made people stare at me when I started laughing so hard I cried.

But "Mom and the Kids" or "A Very Offensive Weapon" are better stories in my opinion.  They both made me laugh out loud the first time I read them.  And they still make me laugh most of the time when I reread them.

I think I would probably pick "A Very Offensive Weapon" as my favorite most days.  There is more word play humor that writers and thespians will appreciate.  For example, many of the Elves in this story are named after actual tranquilizers.  And I like to think of myself as a writer.

Also fans of other authors might be interested in this book, since at least a couple of the stories feature input from other authors.  Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny to name two of which I am certain.

Another of the stories was originally intended to tie in with Magic The Gathering.

I don't recommend this book for everyone, because much of the Humor is Gallows Humor, which many people find offensive.  Also I would rate it PG-13 for sexual innuendo.

But for anyone that likes, or needs, to laugh at death and despair I suggest you read it today if possible. 

But if you have any self consciousness, do yourself a favor and read in private.

The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper

I discovered Little Fuzzy, the first Fuzzy novel that was originally published in the '60s, when I was in High School.  I really liked it the first time I read it, and I still enjoy rereading it every year or so, it is a charming story.

The Complete Fuzzy contains all three Fuzzy novels:  Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Sapiens, and Fuzzies and Other People.

If you have never heard of the Fuzzies your in for a real treat.  They are cute little people, that can be quit funny, they also make for very good companions.  They are around 2-3 feet tall and approximately 20 lbs according to the novels.

The Complete Fuzzy starts with Humans discovering Fuzzies, Humans have occupied the Fuzzies native planet for some years before the Fuzzies are discovered.

The Fuzzies are clearly Sapient, and there are laws in the novel's universe that limit how the planets of Sapients can be used by Humans.  This provides the primary conflict and tension in the first half or so of The Complete Fuzzy.

Since I don't want to spoil this splendid story for anyone, I will only say the rest of the story involves an adventure for some Fuzzies.

I really recommend this book to everyone.  I would say it is suitable for all readers, both male and female, from 5th grade on up.

Only caveat for younger readers, this story was written in a time when tobacco smoking and social drinking were considered the norm.  This may be a concern for parents of  younger readers.

Other than that one concern, I think this book makes an excellent gift for young readers or adults.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7th Sigma by Steven Gould

If I remember correctly, Wildside was the first book of Gould's that I read, and I have been a fan ever since.

His latest book 7th Sigma is another truly enjoyable read, I would consider it a Young Adult or coming of age book, it is more of collection of short stories about Kim and his adventures than a true novel.

I really liked it, and I am long past young adult, I think readers from middle school age on up will like this book.  Assuming they like this general type of science fiction.

I stayed up all night to finish reading it the day I discovered it online.  Thank you Kindle!  I just love how when I discover a great book I can buy it and start reading instantly. 

I think this book is somewhat similar to the Serenity/Firefly series, in the sense that they are both really westerns with a science fiction setting.

In 7th Sigma the bugs prevent any metal from being used in their territory, so people are forced to use more primitive weapons made from wood and bone.  Or really sophisticated guns made from advanced ceramics, but only the government tends to have the advanced ceramic guns.

Everyone has to travel by foot or horseback in the bug infested region, even though the book is set in the near future United States.

If you like Serenity/Firefly there is a good chance you will like this book.

You can read a free sample at Tor titled "Bugs in the Arroyo".

Some trivia, Gould is a high level practitioner of Akido, and he portrays his art very accurately in his novels.

Though he has a rather fanciful perspective about unarmed martial artist vs armed opponents.  [I mention this because I review non fiction martial arts books on this blog.  You can learn a lot about Akido from Gould's books, but don't believe that even a skilled martial artist has much of a chance vs even a moderately trained armed opponent.]

If you would like even more good fiction with a lot of real Aikido, try Gould's novel Helm.

Check the right side of my Blog for link to Gould's blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

In Imager Modesitt has created a new world with a new unique magical system, like he did years ago with the first "Recluse" book.

We are introduced to this new world, and the magic of this world, through the eyes and life Rhenn, a young man, or teenager if you prefer, that comes from a well to do merchant family.

The magic of this world requires a person to visualize, or Image (Imagine?), what they want to create very clearly.  There is more to it than that, just like the magic of Recluce, since only a small percentage of the world has the ability.

This is just the first book in the Imager trilogy, there are two more books about Rhenn already in print.  Which is a good thing, because your going to want more after reading Imager.

I am happy to say I really like this book.  I have been a fan of Modesitt's books for a long time, but previous book or two before Imager didn't interest me much.

I almost gave up on his books when I read Empress of Eternity , I think his passion for poetry influenced that book to much for my taste.

I really like the Imager series and recommend it to everyone that is interested fantasy.  If you liked the Recluse series you will like Imager

Modesitt doesn't seem to like writing more than 2 or 3 novels based on the same protagonist.  If you have read his Recluse series you have seen that before.

Modesitt is following that pattern with this series.  There is new book in the Imager series, Scholar, that will be out in November featuring a new protagonist, that is set further in the past, than the current Imager books.

Check the right side of my blog for links to Modesitt's, and other authors, blog and web page.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Issola by Steven Brust

Issola is my favorite book in the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust.

I would not recommend this book for people that are unfamiliar with the series.  You would be missing far to much of the back story for many of the plot lines to truly make sense.

For fans of the series, I wholeheartedly endorse it, as I mentioned above this is my personal favorite of the series.

The story begins with Lady Teldra finding Vlad in the wilderness.  She has come to request his aid in locating some missing people.  Then the trouble begins.

Spoiler Alert  Don't click the read more unless you want some spoilers or have already read the book.

Friday, September 9, 2011

There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith

Rafe Esquith has a tremendous passion for teaching. He works harder at teaching and nurturing his students, than any two teachers, including the exceptional ones that I have had the honor to meet in my life.

Rafe puts in 12 hour days of a day teaching, in the class room teaching, not just punching the clock.  Far more hours than he is required to teach.  He provides any of his students who want it many additional hours of class, in addition to the 12 hour days, he also holds class on Saturdays and holidays.  These additional hours are purely voluntary, the students are not required to attend.  It is voluntary for Rafe as well, since he is not paid for all this extra time he puts in for his students.

In There Are No Shortcuts Rafe shares his tremendous passion passion for teaching.  He shows us the joys and sorrows of the path he has chosen.  He is also sharing more than a few lesson about life that he learned the hard painful way.

Personally, I think Rafe is more than a little obsessive, he obsesses over his students, sacrificing his time, energy, and money to give his students every opportunity to succeed that he can.  He wants them to have as good a chance to succeed in life as anyone else.

He doesn't just teach academic skills.  He also teaches real life skills, he teaches his students personal finance.  His students have to "pay" for their desks! 

Rafe is a real hero in my opinion.  Sir Ian Mckellen, whom you may know as Gandalf, Magneto, or as some other character from one of his many other roles in Cinema and Theatre, shares my opinion about Rafe Esquith.  Sir Ian Mckellen has said,  "Rafe Esquith is my only hero."

I recommend There Are No Shortcuts to everyone, but it is especially valuable to parents, teachers, students, athletes, parents that Home School, or anyone else that is striving for excellence.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Redliners by David Drake

Redliners is my favorite David Drake novel, though I don't recommend it for everyone.  If you lack the proper background or perspective, you will not understand, or worse misunderstand the central theme of this exceptional novel.

I unreservedly recommend it to Combat Vets, EMT's, LEO, ER Doctors & Nurses, Firefighters, & others that have had to deal with trauma, death, and sacrifice.  If you have a friend, family member, or other loved one that fits the above list, then you might gain some insight into parts of their lives they can't share with you, or don't want to burden you with.

It follows a group of battle weary vetrans that are so burned out & emotionally traumatized that they have lost their effectiveness as a military unit.  They have been "redlined", they are to traumatived by their time in war to be truly combat effective anymore.

Yet they are far to dangerous to simply allow back among civilians, without more pain and suffering for both the vets and the civilians.  The Chief of Administration, the top civilian leader in this novel, he is referred to as "John Smith", also feels they deserve better than to be treated as disposable, no longer useful, assets.

Lead personally by John Smith, someone who understands sacrifice all to well, on a  perilous expedition to colonize a completely wild and dangerous planet.  Mr. Smith is attempting to reintegrate these veterans and civilians.  He wants the civilians to appreciate the veterans, and the sacrifices they have made. in addition to reintegrating the veterans with society.

Mr. Smith fully realizes this expedition will probably cost some lives, perhaps even his own, but he doesn't flinch from his decision.

Despite the all the dark and horrible events in this novel, it is truly a story about hope.  About hope, atonement, and possibly redemption.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stretching by Bob Anderson

This is a truly excellent book, I have had my copy for well over ten years, refer to it on a regular basis to this day.

Mr. Anderson, has taught stretching to professional sports teams including, the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

I originally purchased this book becaue I was in martial arts, and was looking for ways to improve my flexibility for Tae Kwo Do.  It served me very well in that role.

As I got older I started to use it to deal with and treat work related issues, repetitive stress injuries in my hands & bad back.

One rather unique and very useful feature of this book, is the section of Routines for different sports or problems.  Show specific stretch routines for boxing, which are different than the ones for running.  Also has one for sitting and back pain.

Stretching is an invaluable resource for any athlete or anyone having problems with joints or flexibility.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hammered: Iron Druid book 3 by Kevin Hearne

I like Hammered much better than Hexed I think it might actually be may favorite of the series to date. We find out more about Atticus and his friends, lot of back story is filled in on his friends.

I do get the feeling though reading this of a RPG (Role Playing Game), Atticus might end up with a truly interesting collection of magical weapons and artifacts if this keeps up.

 One minor quibble I have though, it seems that Kevin Hearne likes to throw sex scenes in more in the fashion I would expect from a TV show or movie than most of the books I read.  It is done for comic effect, or along with violence, not really because of any attachment of the characters involved.

It seems clear that Atticus, despite being over 2000 years old still deals with the opposite sex about as well as a 12-14 year old when feelings are actually involved as opposed to lust.  It is clear that Atticus & Granuaile are in love with each other, but they can't even say the word "love" without it being "pretend".

Makes the characters seem far more shallow in my opinion.  Really, Atticus and Oberon have a deeper relationship than Atticus can handle with women.  And Oberon is a dog!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Troynovant. If your looking for a more sophisticated & erudite Blog

Eclectic doesn't begin to describe Troynovant in my opinion.  It has many reviews and comments on literature, TV, movies, etc.  There are multiple writers who contribute, a regular panel and guests.  It is almost more of a online magazine than a typical blog.

Well worth spending several dozens of hours exploring.

If you use computer a lot, give Cleartype a try. Clear & crisp text, reduces eyestrain.

If you spend many hours a week on computer like I do, try the cleartype setting on your computer.  It is something that is already there you just have to select it.

Here is a youtube that shows very clearly how to turn it on, if you don't like it just change back.

Kevin Hearne's Offical Website

Kevin Hearn's Offical Website, I found more than a couple of chuckles on his website.

Writer's Grove, Kevin's Blog on his webpage.

Free Short story in pdf format, from the author, set little before Hounded.  I liked it, was very good.

I would like to see Kevin do more short stories or even short short stories, just have them in chronological order IMO.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hexed book II in the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne's second book in the Iron Druid series Hexed continues the story of Atticus, the last Druid, living in modern Arizona.

I don't like this book as much as the first one, not sure why, I think the pacing is a bit different.  Not bad pacing, just not as smooth a fit with my reading rhythm.

I have already started book three which I am liking much better than Hexed.  Book three reminds me more of book one, but I still recommend reading Hexed
because book three won't make much sense without reading book two first.

After more thought and finishing the third book, I realized part of what I didn't like about Hexed was how weak Atticus seemed in this book vs the first one.  In the first book he personally kills two gods, the first one without any real effort.

So the amount of effort and help he needs in the second book to deal with problems that are far less than a god trying to kill him personally just doesn't make sense.

Plus I know a bit about guns, so the whole "steel jacket bullets" just didn't make any sense.  Normally, only older (like WWII) or Com Block military rifle ammunition will have steel jackets.  Or Com Block handgun ammunition.  I think he could have handled that better by just stating since the gun was a steel (iron) weapon they wouldn't work against that enemy.

So I guess it is nitpicking.  But he uses Holy Arrows in the same book, so stone or wood tipped arrows would have worked well IMO and fit with the story.

I do really like Coyote, and am looking forward to seeing more of Coyote in the fourth book based on hints already dropped.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hounded: The Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne

A great first novel by Kevin Hearne!

If your like me, you have a handful of authors that you love and treasure deeply.  Your always waiting for their next book to come out, save for the few days it takes to read their current masterpiece.

So when I discover a new author, even if they are only okay, it brightens my week.  Since I will have something new to read.  Plus one more author making me wait impatiently wait.

When I find a new author, that is good enough that I say forget sleep.  That is for TV watching!  I get giddy.

Hounded: The Iron Druid is such a novel, even better there are already three books out in this series.  I finished reading Hounded in one sitting.  I immediately ordered the next two books, on my Kindle, and started reading the next book right away.

Though I was tired enough I soon went to bed, I continued reading for another 40 minutes or so on my Blackberry, PDA/Smartphones work better for reading in bed than the Kindle IMO.  The lighted screen works better in the dark for me.  I much prefer the Kindle's Screen though for long periods of reading.

Hounded: The Iron Druid is what I would call light, amusing reading.  I would describe it as a mix of Lois Bujold and Patricia Briggs with a sprinkling of Terry Pratchett.  He adds snippets of Shakespeare, TV shows, movies, & modern slang for comic effect. 

Some of the fight scenes are very amusing, some are so so, Romance he handles more like Bujold does in the Miles books, your not going to find description of sex scenes.  Action stops "before the bedroom" pretty much and resumes afterwords.  Though both women and men get chances to admire hot members of the opposite sex with little or nothing on either in romance scenes and for shapeshifting.

Some people may be offended or more likely annoyed by religious comments, but this is fantasy novel that has a Druid as a central character.  I can't think of any other possible negatives.

If there is something more you would like me to cover in review please post below.  I am trying to balance providing information about the book for people while avoiding spoilers.

I really like this book, will be posting reviews on the next two books soon.  Will also provide some more information on Kevin Hearne in future reviews.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Aikido: The Way of Harmony by John Stevens

Aikido: The Way of Harmony

Is a very good book, 4 out of 5 stars, I wish they had color photographs though that would raise the price of the book significantly.  That is the only reason I am giving it 4 stars.

Aikido is a gentle art, it is what I normally recommend to people asking about a martial art for self defense.  Though I really don't like the term "martial art" specially as applied to Aikido, the name can actually be translate "the Way of harmonious spirit."

This book provides clear explanation of many of the techniques of Aikido.  Provides a clear view of what the art encompasses to anyone interested.

Highly recommend to anyone curious about Aikido, or anyone trying to decide on which martial art to study.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get out of Money Trouble: "America's Cheapest Family"

5 out of 5 stars!  I don't give those out often, but this book deserves it!

America's Cheapest Family:  Gets You Right on the Money
is one of the best starting places I have found for dealing with money trouble.  Clear, easy to read book with very well laid out chapters.

One thing they do that I haven't seen anywhere else, for money books, is they provide three different actions you can take at the end of each chapter.  They are actually three different levels: beginner, intermediate, & advanced.   Though they use cute names and picture to help you remember. 

Easy to read format, bare minimum of tables or charts, so you don't have to understand the topic material before you read it.

They also clearly believe in helping others, something I believe in myself and respect in others.

My only complaint about their book is their section on food & groceries.  It makes sense from pure dollar perspective.  But they seem to totally ignore health & nutrition concerns.

Which will actually cost more in the long run, which medical and other health related expenses.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 starts rating though.  I haven't found a better book for beginning & intermediate level of personal finance.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kindle problems & FAQ

Common issues with Kindle from what I have seen so far include, using Mobipocket, or some other non Amazon desktop software, to load books onto Kindle can be a little frustrating.

Because it will load them into the "wrong" folder, by design the Kindle will only show items from 2 or so files.

To read a book you will need to make sure the file is in the "documents" folder.  Also, you can't NEST folders, the kindle won't see them if you do that.  Unless you want to that on purpose to organize stuff, but you will need a PC/laptop then to shuffle items into view on the Kindle.

For audio AFAIK it only works with MP3 files, and putting them in the "audible" works better for me than the "music" file.  You can pause, fast forward, pick specific file, etc.

Now if you want to listen to MP3 WHILE reading then you will have to put the MP3 file in "music" folder.

Also remember unless it is disabled, because of copyright issues, the Kindle can read any ebook you have on it out loud to you. 

For putting non DRM books onto your kindle you will need a PC/laptop.  I either use Mobipocket reader on my PC or a simple folder. Mobipocket lets you send one or many or all new ebooks easily to the Kindle.  Only problem is Amazon changed Kindle so the "ebooks" folder where Mobi sends the books to will not show up on your Kindle screen.

It is in the Kindle memory just not accessible.  Go to "my computer" click on Kindle so it opens, select all the books in the "ebook" folder and move them to "documents" folder.

Right mouse click on your project gutenberg book, or whatever, click "save as" pick the folder you want to save it in.

Once the book is on your computer all you have to do is connect your Kindle, I use "My Computer" select Kindle (just like using a flash drive) and open the file on computer with Ebooks.  Simply drag Ebooks you want on your Kindle to the "documents" folder on your Kindle.  The Kindle may have an "ebooks" folder but that won't show up for you to read.

Or if you get it in another folder it probably won't show up on the Kindle's Screen.

If you have any questions or problems that I haven't covered or my descriptions are not clear please post below and I will do my best to help.

Kindle can be a pain at times, I still like mine though.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Memorial/Wake for Joel Rosenberg Today

Memorial / Wake for Joel

The memorial/wake for Joel Rosenberg on Sunday June 26, 2011 starting in the early evening at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There will be stories, music and whiskey.

I won't be able to make it, but if anyone needs help finding it post here and I will try to help.  I used to work right in that area here is a map link.  Easy to find, but easy to miss the ramp if your coming from the East, because it is an early separated lane, so lots of people don't get in the lane soon enough.  Or they miss the Park Place Drive ramp they need to hit and end up on HWY 100.

I know cause I had problems first week I worked in that area.  I finally started taking the Louisiana Ave South exit, and then take the Frontage road around.  Was a lot easier.

Bus line also goes there, here is hotel info if you want to call them for directions: 
1500 Park Place Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
(952) 542-8600

FYI for the reader fans of Joel the wake is a wrap up to sci fi/fantasy convention there at the hotel.  So if you show up early probably can find other people there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Joel Rosenberg, one of my favorite authors has passed away

I will be adding a few more comments and links from other people. Joel was already on the list of authors I was planning to write about, so will in the near future do several reviews of his novels.

Damm it Joel you were to young, your going to be missed by me among many others.


Joel Rosenberg – husband, father, mensch

On Wednesday afternoon, June 1, 2011, Joel had a respiratory depression that caused a heart attack, anoxic brain damage and major organ failure. Despite the very best efforts of the paramedics and the team at Hennepin County Medical Center, Joel was pronounced brain dead at around 5:37pm Thursday June 2nd, In accordance with his wishes, he shared the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

He is survived by his daughters, Judith Eleanor and Rachel Hannah, and his wife, Felicia Herman. Today, June 3rd would have been his 32nd wedding anniversary.

Memorial / Wake for Joel

Please join us for the memorial/wake for Joel Rosenberg on Sunday June 26, 2011 starting in the early evening at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There will be stories, music and whiskey.

Benefit for Rosenberg Family

Joel was passionate about and committed himself deeply to causes that he believed in. This passion and commitment led him into an ongoing legal battle with Hennipen County that drained his savings and leaves his family in a precarious position. Joel left behind his wife of 32 years, Felicia Herman; his daughter Judy who was employed as his personal assistant, and his daughter Rachel, a junior in high school.

His friends, in addition to a wake, will be holding a benefit to raise money for the family. The wake will take place on Sunday, June 26th, at the Doubletree Hotel, 1500 Park Place Blvd, Minneapolis, MN, 55416,at 5PM. The benefit will be held on on Tuesday June 28, at 7pm at Dreamhaven Books, 2301 East 38th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406.

Among the musicians performing at the benefit will be:
John Sjogren, of the well-known Tim Malloys and Bedlam.
Scott Keever, whose band, Orkestar Bez Ime, just won the 2011 McKnight Fellowship Award
Nate Bucklin, musician and songwriter
Steven Brust, local fantasy writer and drummer for Cats Laughing
As well as several other talented local artists.


Here is one of many real stories from Joel

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiassa by Steven Brust

Tiassa is a bit disjointed in time, part of that is Brust is having fun with his writing, also there are characters that are not strictly bound by time.

For die hard Brust fans, or die hard Vlad fans (ME!) it is a must read.  If you don't know the characters or author I would suggest starting at the beginning or with Issola which is my personal favorite of the Vlad Taltos series.

Brust is a fan of Dumas, and the last third of this book is written in that style.

Steven Brust's webpage.

Steve also has one DVD he recorded, I found it amusing,  A Rose For Iconoclastes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One by Patrick Rothfuss

If you read a lot of fiction, you know how hard it can be at times to find a good NEW book.  This book is the first new one I discovered in 2011.  It was published in 2007, first book in a new series.  The luck was with me, because book 2 was published in March of this year.

I only had to wait a couple of weeks after I finished the The Name of the Wind for The Wise Man's Fear to come out.

For more about the author including book signings check out Patrick Rothfuss website