Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blood & Steam giveaway!

This week I'm starting a Goodreads giveaway for 3 signed ARCs of Blood & Steam. You can click on the banner above to join. The contest runs for about 4 weeks and will end somewhere around the time of release. More on that later. If you have don't have a Goodreads account, this is a great time to sign up. It only takes a few minutes and they've got a fantastic website designed to help you find the type of fiction you're interested in, and connect with fans of the same work. Check it out!

If anybody missed the cover reveal, here's another look at book three of The Tinkerer's Daughter:


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blood and Steam (Tinkerer's Daughter Book 3 announcement and cover reveal)

Revisions are drawing to a close. I'm preparing ARCs and I hope to announce another giveaway soon. And so, this is the official announcement:

Blood & Steam will be available next month.

I haven't set an official release date as of this moment, but I will give you something more solid in a couple weeks. For now, meet River Tinkerman:

It has been many years since Breeze vanished in her spring-powered plane over the icy northern Wastes, but her daughter River is more than happy to carry on her legacy. The Vangar overlords have turned Astatia into a slave state, forcing citizens to work in their mines and factories, stealing their resources for their own greedy ends while they live safely high above in the sky-city known as Juntavar. River has never known any life other than the mean streets of Dockside, but street life has made her strong and resourceful. She's the perfect leader, and that's what her ragtag group of rebels needs most.

When the rebels meet to conspire against their overlords, their meeting is interrupted by three sentinels - Vangar warriors whose bodies have been melded with nine-foot-tall suits of armor powered by steam. River has no choice but to lead the Vangars away from the others, thus exposing her and forcing River to go on the run. Thankfully, she's got Tinker's boneshaker to help her get to safety.

But along the way, River runs into some of the last people she had ever expected to meet. She learns that there still might be a way to defeat the Vangars. She also learns that her mother's fate may have been decidedly different than what she was led to believe. Now, River will do anything to learn the truth about her blood-kin. And one way or another, she's determined to destroy the Vangars once and for all.

Oh, and just a note to add: Have a very happy holiday weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giveaway #1 !!Contest Over!!!

The Tinkerer's Daughter fans, this giveaway is for you. Today, I'm giving away a signed paperback of Tinker's War. I'll be happy to customize the signature, just let me know what you want it to say. I'm going to make this short and sweet (and it shouldn't be too hard). I will pose a question and the first person to answer correctly in the comment section below will win. Ready? 

Q: What was the name of Breeze's father in The Tinkerer's Daughter
Hint: I'm not talking about Tinker, I mean her real blood father.

That's it, no more hints. The first correct answer gets the book! I'll be stepping out for an hour or so, but after the contest is over I will need the winner to contact me with a mailing address. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

'Tis the Season for Giveaways!

I know how difficult it can be to follow a blog. There are so many of them out there that it can be hard to keep up, even if you narrow your list of favorites down to a dozen or two. Obviously, it helps to follow the blog so that it shows up in your feed, but even that can be tricky because so many people out there use different blogging services and they're not all compatible.

To that end, I have installed a "Get Blog Updates by Email" button on this blog that -if it's working correctly- will send a copy of my latest post right to your inbox. I also have a newsletter, but I won't be using that for this promotion. Instead, I will post my latest giveaways on this blog over the next few weeks. They're going to be quick and easy, and my blog followers will get the chance to win e-books, signed paperbacks, and before it's all over I'm even going to give away a Kindle wi-fi loaded with my book collection. In fact, if things go well enough, I might even give away two.

So consider this your heads-up! Watch this space.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 Harvest Wrap Up

First, congratulations to the winners of the latest Goodreads contest. Your copies of "Tinker's War" are on the way. For those of you who didn't win, watch this blog because there's more to come very soon.

Now, the matter at hand: Some of you may remember that last year I said the wine harvest was terrible. 2010 and 2011 were both miserable wine years in California. We had an excess of rain and cool weather for both summers. Spring rains lasted longer than usual and winter started early. Winemakers faced a myriad of complications, not the least of which was that rot had set in before most of the grapes were ripe, forcing vineyards to pick a crop that wasn't ready.

The rains were like that again this year, with the exception that we had zero precipitation during the summer, and we had plenty of warm weather to ripen those grapes. The result?


It's a fact. Vineyards all over NorCal have experienced bumper crops. The harvest numbers didn't just improve, they broke records. There were more clusters of grapes on the vine and the clusters were bigger, and they ripened earlier. Last year, many people (including me) were picking Cabernet Sauvignon in November. This year, the harvest was mostly finished by mid-October. In other words, it was a better than average year.

And the best news of all: A very generous wine family in the Russian River area gave me the opportunity to pick as much Pinot Noir as I could carry! They had finished their harvest, filled their winery's 12 ton capacity, and still had about five tons of grapes hanging on the vine. Sadly, I only have the capacity for a half-ton of grapes, but still that is huge. In layman's terms, one half-ton of grapes equals one barrel of wine. I have, at this very moment, a half-ton of Russian River Pinot Noir fermenting in my garage!

This is very exciting for me because -although I've been making wine for about five years- I've never made a batch of wine this big before. This is also my very first attempt at Pinot Noir. So far I have only made minor adjustments (the sugar was a bit on the low side due to some early rain) and the wine yeast is quite happily doing its job. I won't know how it turns it for a few weeks, and I won't really know for at least a year, but for the moment I couldn't be happier. 

My small home vineyard is coming along as well. A few of the plants haven't done very well and I think two may have died. Several others have taken off, and I'll be pruning them to take advantage of their vigor this coming spring. A few of them were so vigorous that I went against convention and allowed them to produce fruit in the second year. I harvested those grapes a couple weeks ago and I have about one pint of cabernet finishing nicely right now. 

Last but not least  -and completely unrelated to the wine harvest- I have just finished my first major revision of "Blood & Steam." I struggled with the first draft of this book because it's a bit unusual, and frankly it was something of a challenge. Now that the book is done and I'm on to the refining process, I'm quite happy with the direction it has taken. As always the final say is up to the readers, but for the moment I'm quite excited. My plan has always been to release this book in December and so far that appears to be on track. With about nine weeks to go in the year, I just might make that deadline. WOOT! 

Now to start planning those giveaways and contests.... :-)