The 2021 SFPA Halloween Reading Site is live!

If you're looking for a little literary spookiness to get your Halloween season going, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association is ready to help.

Their 2021 Halloween Poetry Reading site is live now, with poem recordings & art from SFPA members. Find it at

I'm very happy to have my poem "Toward Samhain" appearing on the site. It is beautifully read by the site curator herself, Angela Yuriko Smith.

The site continues to expand throughout the season, so be sure to check back regularly.

And if you enjoy "Toward Samhain," there's a whole new book where that came from! More details & ordering info for my ninth collection of dark verse, Unquiet Stars, can be found at

My Goodreads review: Bloodless

Bloodless (Pendergast, #20)Bloodless by Douglas Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For any of you Pendergastlies (myself included) who were getting a little worried about the nearly mundane nature of a couple of his recent cases . . . well, worry no longer. The weird is back, & as usual, Pendergast is in the thick of it.

Other than mentioning that this case (mostly) takes place in Savannah, GA -- & that it is absolutely essential for Constance Greene fans -- there's not a lot to be said without committing Spoiler. Suffice it to say that Preston & Child have broken new speculative ground in their long-running series, & that it may not be to all tastes. I myself enjoyed this one immensely, though I confess to holding my breath once or twice as I listened, wondering just how far the authors would go & whether things would all make sense at the end.

For me, they absolutely did. The only serious quibble I had about the Audible version of this novel was that narrator William DeMeritt had an awful time voicing Constance. No such trouble with other female characters, oddly enough. It's well-produced otherwise, & very much worth a full credit purchase for fans.

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My Goodreads review: Mythos by Stephen Fry

MythosMythos by Stephen Fry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Leaving aside the fact that I'd probably pay to hear Stephen Fry read the phone book (assuming this reference is still valid for some readers!), this was one of the most worthwhile audiobooks I've enjoyed this year.

Although lengthy, there is no time wasted. Fry not only presents a comprehensive retelling of the earlier portions of Greek mythology, he also offers many asides concerning word origins. I'm a certifiable Word Nerd, so this was like hot fudge on the sundae.

Family listeners may wish to know that this is the full R-rated version of Greek myth, with Zeus's misbehavior (and Aphrodite's, and . . . ) pretty thoroughly documented. Aside from this concern, I'd recommend this to any Audible listener even as a full credit purchase. I've already added the second and third volumes of this series to my listening library.

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My Goodreads review: The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful OnesThe Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not quite sure what to call this: fantasy novel of manners? Razor-edged Jane Austen with a side order of telekinesis? Whatever this strange hybrid is, it managed to keep this non-romance-reader close to her Kindle until the very last plot twist had been unraveled.

The overall plot arc (which other reviewers have done a wonderful job on, so I won't) covers two Grand Seasons in a fantasy variant of London/Paris/Elsewhere. There's an intelligent and nonconforming young woman, a somewhat older and equally nonconforming romantic hero, and one of the nastiest highborn villainesses one could ask for. The first two have a "talent" (i.e., telekinesis) which is regarded as Not Quite Respectable. The third has a love/hate history with the hero stretching back over a decade. Add a full set of Austen-style social strictures, a few juicy scandals, and stand back.

I can't say that all the plot twists were complete surprises for me, but I've read a little more science fiction than some. And I wasn't disappointed, just glad to be right.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia doesn't seem to write the same book -- or even the same genre of book -- twice, but one thing she does write with great reliability is excellent summer reads. I don't mean brainless beach books, either . .. just compelling, character-forward spec fiction that I have a hard time putting down on long midsummer evenings.

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My Goodreads review: The Assassins of Thasalon

The Assassins of Thasalon (Penric and Desdemona, #10)The Assassins of Thasalon by Lois McMaster Bujold

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm always a little apprehensive when a series known for shorter works (novellas, in this case) produces a full-length novel. The two forms are significantly different, and stretching a novella's worth of plot over more pages isn't always satisfying.

In this case, I shouldn't have worried. Bujold uses the extra length well, allowing for some much-needed world-building in the Pen & Des universe. The divine magic system based on Temple (or not!) sorcerers and their ride-along demons is explained in some detail, as Pen acquires an unexpected apprentice & must deal with her training . . . as well as with some very nasty abuses of this type of magic. Court intrigue plays a larger role than in previous Pen tales -- there's room for that here, too -- and several interpersonal loose ends from previous installments are woven together into a satisfying, though not entirely surprising, conclusion.

Five stars for delivering in full what Bujold's readers come to her work expecting.

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An interview with me on The Obsidian Mirror blog (Italy)

I don't get a lot of requests for interviews, let alone requests from other countries! When Severino Forini, blogger at The Obsidian Mirror (Italy) , wanted to ask me a few questions about my work in Robert W. Chambers' King In Yellow mythos, I was very happy to respond -- but I was also expecting to be unable to read the finished product.

Fortunately, this interview appears on his blog in both Italian & English:

The Unquiet Stars have turned right!

My latest collection of dark verse, Unquiet Stars, is in stock now & shipping from Weird House Press.

This one features a new sonnet sequence -- "Faces From the House of Pain" -- along with plenty of cosmic horror, dark archaeology, and grim SF themes.

Signed copies are available -- & better yet, it's on sale!

81 pp., perfect-bound, with color cover art by Skinny Gaviar.

For more information, or to order: