SPIEL 2019 Impressions

Essen Loot
Loot! Loot! Loot!

As in many previous years SPIEL in Essen was the highlight of our boardgaming year. For the first time since we started going regularly, I attended on Thursday. Our usual schedule has been to go Fridays and Sundays and skip Saturday because it is too packed. This year, I got up at 5:40 and took an early train to arrive at SPIEL around 10:30. The following is a list of games and my comments. Some I played, some I bought, others were explained to me and for quite a few I only watched other people play for a bit. This year I had pre-ordered a few things and planned my other buys quite a bit so there were few spontaneous additions. I was burned on blind-buying a game just recently (I really didn’t enjoy Black Angel like I had hoped I would) and so I was more careful than in some previous years.

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Publishing my first book

is not such a trivial thing.

Today was supposed to be the day, and as a fact the Kindle Edition is available right now. Except that the version on Amazon – despite my best efforts – is not the final version I uploaded. So please wait for 24-72 hours until I have been told that my recent changes are finally published.

The Smashwords Edition will be available on May 18 and will be distributed to a number of major ebook stores like Apple Books, Kobo and Tolino.

Orchid Nights is the first part of this story and I am working on the second part already. The second part is already written; hopefully it just needs a bit of editing and paving over the plot holes to get it off the ground and into the internet.

After taking more than 4 years to get even the first 251 pages published, I hope that the next 400 or so will be quicker.

I’ve learned a lot about this writing thing in those years.

So what is my book about? Here’s the description:

Lys is a VR programmer and a collector of keys. In vSpace, she can get into any system and hack every object. But in meat-space she can’t get away from her criminal uncle without risking a permaban. Asking for help from her father would only make her part of the corporate machine. But when she sees what her latest work has caused, she can no longer just watch. She has to do something!

The government deregulated itself into non-existence. Then automation came and put everyone out of work. The lucky few are the employees living on a Campus of one of the remaining mega-corporations. The rest live in the Fringe, barely getting by on the scraps thrown to them by the corporations, always in fear the gangs that rule the cities. Their only escape is a trip into VR.

With one parent from the Fringe, the other from Campus, Lys had a choice few ever get to make. She chose to stay where she grew up. A hacker by night, a VR programmer by day, she lives under the thumb of her uncle, leader of the Dragon gang, hiding her identity even from her friends. And now her work on the Mindscapes draws her deeper into the Fringe’s latest threat: Dive—the drug that makes VR so real, it kills.

Orchid Nights will be available May 9

Orchid Nights Cover

Lately, I haven’t posted at all and before that only book reviews. Now I have some actual news: I’ve finally decided on a date and set myself a deadline! Orchid Nights will be out May 9, 2019. You can actually preorder the book now (and I’d love if you would, see links below).

I’ve worked on this for a while now (~5 years) and it is finally going to be available to read for all of you who have asked me again and again “Is it out yet?”

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Review: Nanoshock (SINless 2)

My review @ Goodreads
Nanoshockby K.C. Alexander
Genre: Cyberpunk

So here’s the first sentence of the book.

You haven’t lived until you’ve fisted a nun under the cheap light of a neon Jesus.

If you think you can take a book that follows that sentence, go ahead and try. I apparently couldn’t and it would have ended up being a 3* except…

Both books – Necrotech as well – probably highly depend on the mood of the reader (yes most books do but…). This time it was like eating raw steak, when I really wanted to indulge in chocolate. And I am allergic to beef.

Dangerous as masturbating with the barrel of a Sauger 877, safety off. The hunger riding my high made that sound like a great idea.

So the trend from book one continues, nitty, gritty, bloody, gutter street action with an out-of-control anti-hero as MC (a protagonist is something else entirely). I spent most of the book rooting for Riko to-get-a-fucking-grip-for-once.

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Review: Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor 1)

My review @ Goodreads
Red Sister is book one in the Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence
Genre: Fantasy with hints SF-Crossover

IT IS IMPORTANT, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

This story is an ass-kicking story of ninja-nuns wrapped in a melange of opposites: politics & prophecy, magic & technology and most of all friendship & treachery.

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Review: Penric’s Mission (Penric & Desdemona 4)

Penrics Mission CoverMy review @ Goodreads
Penric’s Mission is part 4 of the Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold
Genre: Fantasy

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Penric and his interactions with the demon Desdemona, who is sharing his mind, have fascinated me from the first novella I read, and their interaction & cooparation are once more at the center of this one.

“I’m not talking to myself.” Just to the voices in my head. All ten of them. Not, [Penric] knew from long experience, a useful thing to mention.

Their story takes place in Bujold’s „Five Gods“ universe and the protagonist Penric is a magician/priest of the Bastard’s order who shares his mind with a magical entity – aka demon – known as Desdemona who has 12 different personalities from previous riders. Through her, he as access to magical powers beyond those of most mortals. But he is also bound by the rules set upon him by the Bastard‘s order, and his special connection to the Bastard himself. By the time this story takes place, Penric and Desdemona have been together for a decade, and are used to working together. That practice makes it just a little easier to survive all the myriad mishaps they encounter. But magic doesn‘t come for free – unless its destructive.

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Review: Caliban’s War (Expanse 2)

Caliban's War CoverMy review @ Goodreads

Caliban’s War (Expanse 2) – by James S.A. Corey

Genre: Hard Science Fiction

For unknown reasons I kept putting off reading this book for … years. Even though I liked Leviathan Wakes. Recently, I’ve tried to read many different books and committing to an unfinished 9 book series was probably what kept me from it. Then we watched Season 1 of The Expanse and I was amazed by the casting and when Season 2 came out I finally read this book. That I am halfway through Abbadon‘s Gate should suffice to show how much I enjoyed this one.

For those who are wanting to combine reading and watching: characters from this book are introduced at the start of season 2 but the plot of this book begins halfway through the season. Season 2 so far has also introduced characters from later books (I checked – searching via kindle can be helpful)

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Review: Children of Time

Children Of Time CoverMy review @ Goodreads

Children of Time by Aidan Tchaikovsky

Genre: Science Fiction

It is a perfect time to read this and that’s why I am posting my 2015 review of this now. Because the other day I heard that  there will be a big-screen adaption of Children of Time by Lionsgate.

If you ever wanted to see zoology turned into science fiction and are not afraid of spiders, read this book. I am absolutely Team Spider 😉
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Review: Tyrant’s Throne (Greatcoats 4)

Tyrant's Throne Cover My Review @ Goodreads

 Tyrant’s Throne is book 4 of the Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell.

Genre: Swashbuckling Epic Fantasy

„There‘s a trick to fighting on the deck of a ship. I don‘t know what it is, but I fully intend to find out one day.“

After reading Greatcoats 1-3 in about a single sitting, I couldn‘t bring myself to get started on the 4th and – I knew – final book of the story.

The first three books were so good, that I was scared the end might not live up to it and just attach some extra baggage to a great story. And more important throughout the first three books I got more and more invested into the characters and the emotional rollercoaster became faster and faster … and I was terrified that I wouldn‘t make it through this book without a total breakdown.

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