Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 25th, 2013

A Special Christmas Dinner Party

Sitting at the table playing Uno was the highlight of my Christmas Eve Dinner party. My three invited guests were surprised to find the internet switched off, but quickly adapted as the cards were dealt.

No one felt overly competitive, just hungry, so after a few rounds of cards I handed out the menu. We started with three appetizers, served all at once. I knew my guests were partial to prosciutto and melon, so that was on the menu.

I’m especially proud of how my tangerine and avocado salad with mozzarella balls came out. I added orange juice and olive oil, and everyone had some.

Stuffed peppers and olives (cream cheese) rounded out the appetizer course.

Very impressive appetites … we went on to the main course of roasted chicken alongside meatloaf. These ended up on my guests’ plates before I could get a photo, but you know what meat loaf looks like anyway. My mashed potatoes are always a hit.

Retreating from the table, we listened to songs from my playlist while opening presents, then played a few more rounds of Uno. The music included:

  • Flower, by Moby
  • Blue Jeans, by Lana Del Rey
  • I’ll Take You There, by the Staple Singers
  • I Just Wanna Make Love to You, by Etta James, then the Foghat cover
  • Let’s Stay Together, by Al Green

My Christmas was marvellous. My guests did not want to be photographed, but the evening is etched on my memory.

December 23rd, 2013

2013 In Pictures

On the subject of the year which has almost ended, I really can’t complain. My third Annie Ogden mystery, Collateral Damage, came out in June.

Right after finishing Collateral Damage, I started working on my new project, The Drone Wars series, which had been in planning for some time. The first book in the series is called Saving Raine, and it came out in December. I did not know Jeff Bezos of Amazon was going to announce his intentions to deliver books via small drones within 5 years … but how interesting!

Unless you are fluent in German, you might want to skip this paragraph. The German translation of Collateral Damage began in July and culminated in the publication of Kollateralschaden, thanks to the translation work of Stefan Buess and editorial work by Marco Kaas.

Collaborating with Stefan was an interesting and enjoyable project. He translated five chapters at a time, sent them to me for my review, and then we sat together each week to talk about issues that seemed in need of more work. Got some very good lunches out of it!

Being a German speaker, I have been able to enjoy my own book all over again in a foreign language. Which is really cool … but I guess you had to be there…

Lots of great stuff in store for 2014, too. The second book in the Drone Wars series is due out before Easter, mid April 2014, and the third book in the five-book series in the summer of 2014. That is, if I don’t keel over first.

On December 26th I’ll head to California for a family visit and a little R&R. Looking forward to seeing all of them and eating some traditional American holiday desserts, like this:

Knapsack filled with books, laptop, notebook and pens, I’ll be off … and sooner than you know it, vacation over, I’ll be back in Basel again. See you then!

 

Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest

While we’re at it, let me congratulate our latest winner: congratulations Teresa H!!! You win the weekly $5 prize for your correct answer to the question of what Furey was going out to buy at 10 o’clock at night – it was a beer run.

And now I would like to announce the latest question in the Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest: How many days did Tris stay on a platform high up in a redwood tree in order to protect it from loggers? You’ll find the answer in part 64, 65 or 66 right here on Venture Galleries. Send your answer by Sunday, January 12 at 12 midnight PST to trivia@frederickleebrooke.com.

Just a reminder of what you can win here: $5 goes to a randomly picked winner for each of the questions, while a grand prize of a $200 Amazon gift card goes to the grand prize winner, picked from all the correct entries at the end of the contest (when we finish the book). The second prize is $100 and the third prize is $50. With prizes like that, it pays to participate every week.

December 15th, 2013

Saving Raine: Book 1: The Drone Wars

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Saving Raine, my new book which went live today on Amazon. The paperback will be along in a few weeks, as will ebook versions for iPad, Kobo and the other devices.

 

Book Description

It’s 2021, and personal drones are a fixture of daily life, but due to constant upheavals food is scarce. Rival militias, the terrorist group March22, and draconian restrictions on travel complicate the task for 19-year-old Matt Carney as he starts a harrowing road trip to save his girlfriend, Raine, a road-trip filled with deadly obstacles, including Predator drones raining down homeland security missiles.

 

Language warning

The book contains frequent four-letter words used in dialogue by people for whom those words are essential vocabulary. There is also some suggestive sexual innuendo, though no explicit sex. The book is suitable for young adults aged 16 and older as well as new adults and adults.

 

What’s Coming

Four more books are planned in The Drone Wars series. Although I haven’t finalized titles yet, Book 2 and Book 3 are already in revision and due in March and June 2014 respectively.

 

Want a Free Copy for your Kindle Now?

Saving Raine needs a few reviews to get going, so that other readers can get an idea of whether they might like it. If you are not a fellow author and not a personal friend of mine, and you would like to read and review the book, please email me by December 25th at info@frederickleebrooke.com. You must have the free kindle software (or a kindle reader), and you must promise to post your review on Amazon in exchange for the free review copy. It should be clear that I am only interested in completely honest reviews and fully expect to get a wide variety of opinions about the book. I will accommodate as many people as possible who respond by the December 25th deadline.

December 9th, 2013

Dreams Come True

 

Have any of your dreams come true, lately? If you stop and make a list, I’ll bet you find at least one thing you were hoping for has actually turned into reality. I always wanted a pet, and I got these two cuddly girls …

Acting on our dreams, actually making them happen, sometimes seems impossible. But we’re happy so long as we’re dreaming, right? And there are things we can do to make them come true. I truly believe this.

You are hearing it here first: my next book has now gone to the formatter, and will go live on December 16th. That’s not a dream, that’s a fact. But many years ago, writing books was just a dream for me.

All I wanted for many years was to write. Now I’ve finished my fourth book, and I’m so excited about it I can hardly wait to hear how others will like it. The book is called “Saving Raine” and is the first book in a totally new series. More on that in a few days!

Let’s talk about relationships. In a recent blog I challenged you to take a test to determine whether your partner is a zombie. Take the test here. I hope your partner didn’t fail the test … but if he or she did, you certainly have something to dream about. Dream of the day when he won’t watch TV while you’re trying to say something important. Dream of him answering you with more than one-syllable answers. Dream of him taking the initiative, dream of him listening to you, dream of him spending more time with you.

Love, as we all know, does NOT conquer all. If your partner is a zombie, you’ll either have to teach him some new tricks, one by one, or find a new partner. What do I know? You might be dreaming of your freedom instead. Teaching a zombie to be human is a long, thankless job, and some say it can’t be done.

Every one of us has secret dreams we may or may not wish to share. But are you afraid of your dreams coming true? Are you afraid of a little happiness? Do not be afraid of happiness, because life has a way of throwing problems at you whether you’re happy or not. So you may as well grab a little happiness while you can, and hold on to it as long as possible.

Run away, stay where you are, do whatever you have to to make your dreams come true. No one else is going to do it for you. And you deserve a little happiness.

 

Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest

While we’re at it, let me congratulate our latest winner: congratulations Marsha B!!! You win the weekly $5 prize for your correct answer to the question of what Bob Olson was looking for — his boss’s missing Thinkpad.

And now I would like to announce the latest question in the Doing Max Vinyl Trivia Contest: What is Furey going out to buy at 10 o’clock at night as Annie and Bob observe him? You’ll find the answer in part 58, 59 or 60 right here on Venture Galleries. Send your answer by Sunday, December 22nd at 12 midnight PST to trivia@frederickleebrooke.com.

Just a reminder of what you can win here: $5 goes to a randomly picked winner for each of the questions, while a grand prize of a $200 Amazon gift card goes to the grand prize winner, picked from all the correct entries at the end of the contest (when we finish the book). The second prize is $100 and the third prize is $50. With prizes like that, it pays to participate every week.

December 3rd, 2013

Featuring ‘Initiation Rites’ by Scott Bury

Canadian master storyteller Scott Bury has come out with a novella called Initiation Rites, which I am featuring this month on my blog as an iAi feature. You won’t want to miss this jewel. The story is set in the dark ages, somewhere in the mountains of today’s Eastern Europe. Our young hero, Javor, faces unspeakable dangers beyond the boundary of his little village, but like all great heroes, Javor has the courage to fight for what is right and good.

 

Official book description:

The Dark Age. The Earth has turned on humanity with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and a new plague that kills the Roman Emperor himself. Barbarian invasions shatter civilizations.

In this chaos, Javor comes of age in a poor, remote village. Try as he might, though, he never fits in with his own people. There is just something about him that keeps him apart from the others.

When barbarian raiders kidnap the girl he loves, he takes a mysterious dagger handed down from his great-grandfather and tries to rescue her. But while he’s away, a horror that Javor could never believe existed murders his parents and devastates his village.

Javor begins his quest for revenge, not realizing that he is entering a war against forces bent on eliminating humanity.

 

About the author:

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have appeared in magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts, the Globe and Mail and Graphic Arts Monthly.

is his second novel to be published.

His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century. His second novel, One Shade of Red, is a well-loved satire of a much more famous novel, soon to be a major motion picture. He has also published a short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and a paranormal story, Dark Clouds. His work in progress is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union, and tells the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War, his escape from a German POW camp and his journey home.

Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and the orangest cat in history.

He can be found online at www.writtenword.ca, on his blog, Written Words, on Twitter @ScottTheWriter, and on Facebook.