Friday, June 27, 2008

A Non-Doctor Who Novel for Doctor Who Fans?

Yep. That's what British Summertime sounds like, and UKSteve, this blog's fave Brit, recommends it:

Dan Dare, Doctor Who, time travel, an alternate idealised Christian Earth, angels, pop stars, chipshopness, disembodied heads, interstellar war, and some icky bits with a hand drill. Something for everyone (at least, everyone likely to be reading this blog).

I'm shopping carting it at just on the basis that the author wrote the story upon which a couple of my fave Doctor Who episodes (the two-parter Human Nature/Family of Blood) were based. If you haven't seen those, Netflix em! Amnesia, romance, danger. The Doctor's revenge is dread, indeed. But oddly just in its dread.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

VANISHED by Kathryn Mackel on The Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour

I'm so out of it lately, it's not at all funny. So, I'm really late here. I'll try to atone by posting a review by month's end and by giving away a couple of free copies of our featured novel, VANISHED, by Kathryn Mackel.

Really, don't hold my doofussy tardiness against VANISHED. :) Not that you would. After all, if you've hung with the CSFF blog tour since the early days, you're familiar with Kathryn Mackel as the author of the terrific science fiction series called The Birthright Project.

(Note: If you sign up for Kathryn's newsletter, you are up for chances to win free books. Do it!)

I can't offer my review just yet, as I've not finished the novel (I did say LATE!), but so far, it's got a nice fast pace and an interesting speculative SF phenomenon. Kathryn has made this a cinematic novel (so far), and not one that starts off with a bunch of backstory or "preachy" stuff. She starts with people with personal woes (always a good way to go) and gets off pretty fast with some action. Things go very wrong, which is how I like my SF, frankly--fast and dangerous.

You can read a multi-part interview with Kathryn over at Christopher Hopper's blog. And a nice bio of Kathryn is over at A Place Called Fiction.

I would also ask for prayers for Kathryn. This is a talented author, who happens to write books that suit those of us who enjoy SF and thrillers, and she's had some hardships with the follow-ups to some of her SF work, notably the curtailed Birthright Project (2 books came out, three were originally planned). And if you have visited Becky Miller's blog during the tour, then you know that with the Christian Chiller series, of which VANISHED is #1, Kathryn has had more of those roadblocks put in her way. It's difficult being a Christian speculative author. No doubt about it. Pray that paths will open up for her and the right audience stampedes for her novels. She's good.

(On the happy side, Shannon reports that Book 3 of the Birthright Project is coming. I'm so there.)

Know what? Why not drop by Kathryn's blog and say hello? Tell her Mir sent ya.

And if you are still reading VANISHED, like moi, UKSteve has a list of songs that you can read by. It's amusing. And some some really good tunes, too! (Steve, ya know I gotta crush on Robert Smith, weird hair and lipstick and all, dontcha?)

So...until I get a review posted, please check out the links below with my fellow tourmates, who aren't late like me. Ahem.

And if you got this far, I might as well reward you. The first two bloggers who post a comment about why they really want to read VANISHED and need a free copy from me cause their budgets just can't handle the expense, I'll send you a copy via amazon. The only thing I ask is if you want the book and you win one of the two free giveaways, that you post a review on your blog after you've read it with a link to the book page. That's not a lot to ask, right?

So, if you want a free copy and you have a blog and you're willing to write a review of it with a link to , then go ahead and post a comment. (You'll have to give me a way to reach you via email--but disguise it so you don't get spammed, something like "my email is Jane Doe atsy gmail dotsy com"--and then I will need your snail mail to get your copy of VANISHED to you. Off ya go.)

Visit my tourmates:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Beth Goddard
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Deena Peterson
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Chawna Schroeder
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Linda Wichman
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Want to get more MPG? Become a hypermiler!

You don't have to own a hybrid to get good gas mileage. You can use use fuel-stretching techniques--like going the speed limit, keeping your car tuned, maintaining proper tire pressure, coasting to a stop, not leadfooting, avoid excessive idling, etc--to save $$$:

Wayne Gerdes, founder of and the king of hypermilers, recently drove a Honda Civic hybrid 800 miles from Chicago to New York on a single tank of gas. That works out to 65 mpg.

That's low for Darin Cosgrove of Brockville, Ontario. The co-founder of averages 69 mpg in his 1998 Geo Metro, a car that got 40 mpg off the showroom floor. He's gotten as many as 133 mpg on a long trip by going slowly and using pulse and glide. He's also modified his car to make it more aerodynamic and tinkered with the drivetrain to improve efficiency.

Read the full article here.

And it's noticeable on the major roadways down here in South Florida that the high cost of gas has forced folks to cut down on unnecessary driving. That's not a bad thing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Boom Goes Bust: Nifty PDF on the RE Madness and Something to Listen To

In case you have totally missed the Big Story out there:

"The State of Real Estate"

Lots of graphs, charts, and easy to follow.

Public radio's This American Life had a terrific program explaining this mess we're in, specifically how it ballooned and crashed. I heard it while blow-drying my hair last month. Worth checking out:

"The Giant Pool of Money"

A lot of greed. A lot of foolishness. A lot of herd mentality. A lot of damage. Sigh.