Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keeping the baby

Things change. No matter how much we want relationships, people, jobs, life, everything, to stay the same, they change. Relationships unravel or grown stronger, jobs end, life moves on.

We move on. We get older, wiser, weary, smarter, slower, sadder, more skilled, more prejudiced, more learned, more set in our ways, more able to appreciate joy. Nothing stays the same except the mountains, and even they weather eventually into dust.

Change is inevitable. We cannot escape it. We cannot stop it. Why do we keep trying? Why do we hold on when we should let go? Why do we let the past rule our future? Why can we not learn to embrace what is going to happen anyway?

Maybe it's because change always carries uncertainty. Too much newness, and we back away. We are jungle creatures, drawn by the light, peering out of the darkness, but wanting the comfort of the shadows.

Many times, change hurts. We lose things we love. We lose people we love. We lose. Change is fire. Can be helpful. Can also burn you to the bone. It's no wonder we are careful.

So we plan. We attempt to control change. Budgets, forecasts, predictions, trends, all the language of our modern witches of Endor as they gaze into their computers and attempt to pierce the veil of the future.

Sometimes they're right. Sometimes they're wrong. It can go either way. The only thing we know for certain is things will change. And we must adapt to that change or perish. Those are the choices.

There will be losses. There will be gains. The trick -- the really cool thing -- is if you can keep what is good and precious when letting go of the other things. How NOT to throw the baby out with the dishwater, there's the rub. How do we keep the best of the past while reaching toward the promises of tomorrow?

Danged if I know. Do you?

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Monday after

Last Friday I sent Floozy and Other Stories off to the publisher, took a nap, and just like that, all my energy and drive went away. I did a bit of house cleaning Saturday, floated a few minutes in the swimming pool, and watched some TV. Fought with my stomach a bit, but otherwise, did nothing else. I feel ... numb, maybe.

Of course, there's a lot going on in my life right now. Some of which I cannot as of yet tell you about. I do promise some shockers toward the end of July. Info that I can't share yet, but I will as soon as I can.

So maybe it's a combination of working hard on Floozy, events in my life, health problems, I don't know, but I feel empty. Disconnected. Like there's a transparent barrier between me and the rest of the world. Ever feel that way?

I have before. This will pass. I will come alive again. My mojo's just missing. It'll be back.

How's your mojo holding up? How's life treating you? Let me know so I can celebrate or commiserate as need be. Talk to you later.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Up to my elbows and beyond

Sorry I haven't been here. Been up to my elbows and beyond in finishing Floozy and Other Stories. Inputting errors, fixing margins, and so on. I still have those final (I hope) changes in the back cover to do. I had hoped to transmit last night. Didn't happen. Probably won't be able to transmit until late tonight or tomorrow night. Very frustrating.

It's a clearer, sharper book for this work, but line editing is detestable. I hate doing it. Line editing? Oh, that's editing the book line by line. My procedure -- learned years ago at Oklahoma State University and taught by the formidable Dr. Steng -- is to read the whole chapter first for the sense of it. Then read the first sentence word by word. Fix any obvious errors. Read sentence again to see if you've introduced any new errors while making changes. Read the next sentence to make sure they flow together. If okay, move on to second sentence. Repeat process, except for all the following sentences, read both the one before and after. And so on and so on and so on UNTIL YOUR EYES BLEED AND YOU FEEL YOUR SOUL SCREAM! Ahem.

It's quite slow, and I'm not that good at it because I get bored quickly. However, it's amazing what mistakes you will find in a sentence that you thought was perfectly good on first read. I sure appreciate my proofreaders catching so many errors before I started this. Otherwise, I'd never get done.

Floozy will really be finished when I can't stand to look at her anymore. That's usually how it goes with me. I'd fiddle forever with a poem, story, book, but eventually I can't stand it anymore, and so off it goes.

I'm inclined to be obsessive -- yeah, I know that's (not) a surprise to many of you -- but I try to remember this: 'Perfect is the enemy of progress.' If I hold onto the book forever trying to catch every single error, I won't write anything new. I have to do the best I can in the time I have and then move on.

Speaking of moving on, I have to get to work now. It's going to be a hot one here. Hope you stay cool and have a great day.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

Too many errors

Well, I had hoped to find only four or five small errors in Floozy and Other Stories, but I've found about twenty so far (I'm on page 117). I had thought I might be able to have the book go on sale June 28th, a week early, but that won't happen now. I have to order another proof after this one and make sure I didn't make any more errors while correcting these errors. Still, it should be ready by July 1st, barring unforeseen problems.

Speaking of problems, I have to change the back cover some. I'll be losing a couple of lines and having rewrite a couple of others. Also, the gold star on the cover has to go as well as the large BEST SELLER. Turns out there are all sorts of rules about what books are allowed to have best seller on the cover, even if it's a joke as my usage was. Live and learn -- one of the more painful truths in this world. I also have to fix a margin problem. I'm hoping it won't take long to make these changes. It shouldn't since none of them are major changes.

I hope to transmit the book to publisher Tuesday night. Means I should get the second proof the early part of next week. Hopefully I will be able to approve that proof, and then the book will go on sale! That's the plan, anyway.

By the way, people who tell you that they enjoy line editing will lie about other things, too.

Anyway, that's what's happening in my world. What's happening in yours?

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The two proofs

They arrived today by FedEx. Here are the two proofs:



I've been reading through them tonight. They look good. Found a couple of small errors. And the back cover has a margin problem, but easy to fix. Overall, I feel good about the book. I see no reason I won't meet the July 1st sales deadline.

Those books made my whole day. I hope you had a good day, too. See ya tomorrow. Night!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shipped!

Lulu.com shipped the two proof copies of Floozy and Other Stories to me today! I should get them Friday or Monday, maybe Tuesday next week. Very excited. If nothing major is wrong, Floozy will go on sale at Lulu.com on July 1. More info as I know more!

Today was very stressful at work. I left work with my shoulders so tense they hurt. Came home, ate dinner, and then washed dishes, vacuumed the house, and generally cleaned until I worked up a sweat. Make me feel better to do something productive. And the exercise itself likely helped, too.

Anyway, time to watch Leno's monologue and then go to bed. Hope you had a great day and a wonderful tomorrow. Night!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Final cover of Floozy ... I think

And this is the final cover of Floozy and Other Stories, always depending, of course, on how it looks on the proof copy. Sometimes your screen will show a different look than the actual physical book. However, usually it's close enough that I only have to tweak colors or move things over a bit. We'll know later this week or next week. I'm really ready to hold it in my hands.



Lots of rain here yesterday, but nowhere close to what Oklahoma City and Edmond have experienced. As far as I know, we didn't experience any flooding.

Otherwise, not much else to tell you. I feel sort of empty now that Floozy is at the publisher. You give so much of yourself to a project that you have an void when it's gone. I have more to do on it, but not until I have the proof copy. Perhaps it's time to gear up for Murder by the Mile. Or at least pull out the outline and what I've written so far and get familiar again with what's going on.

Time to get ready for work. Have a great day, y'all!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Floozy is on its way!

FLOOZY AND OTHER STORIES WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE PUBLISHER SUNDAY AFTERNOON! WOOHOO! SOMETIME LATE THIS WEEK OR EARLY NEXT WEEK, WE WILL HAVE A BOUNCING BABY BOOK!

Okay, I'll stop yelling. But I'm excited about it.

Here's the dedication and acknowledgements page from Floozy. All these people helped me with Floozy, and I appreciate them muchly.



And here's the front cover.



And here's the back cover, except for a few minor changes.


Tomorrow I'll post the completed cover: front, back and spine. Anyway, I need to get ready for work. Hope you have a great day!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Last chapter

Okay, that's it. I just placed and edited the last chapter in Floozy and Other Stories. Only two things left to do: the back cover and the acknowledgments page. It feels weird to be this close to submitting to the publisher. I've been working on Floozy for so long now that I won't know what to do with myself when it's finally out of my hands.

Tomorrow afternoon I will finish the back cover and the acknowledgments page. Then Saturday, I will submit and order my first proof copy. Five to 10 business days after that, I will hold a copy of Floozy and Other Stories in my hands. Wow.

Well, it's late, and I'm tired of sitting at this computer. I hope things are going okay for you. Have a good night and a great tomorrow. Night!

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Right now

Right now, purchase Murder by the Acre at Lulu.com & get 10% off. Use coupon code SUMMERREAD305 to get your discount! This coupon is only good until June 30th.

Here's the link:

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Hope life is treating you well. Talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Quicksilver

Let us pray.

Power Who moves the universe
Who makes the mountains speak
and the skies sing
and the waves give praise

To Thee we offer thanks
for these quicksilver moments
brief and precious
that compose our lives.

We sparkle but briefly
against the bounded night
motes of lights bright
before we fade into shadow

But in these fleeting moments,
we live and die
weep and laugh
and gloriously love

So we give thanks to Thee
and ask upon us
Thy endless blessings
and unbounded mercy.

We ask this in Thy Myriad Name
remembering always
to give unto You
all the praise.

From Endless by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Excerpt from Dragons Gather

I still write on Dragons Gather sometimes. Eventually I will have it finished. Here's an excerpt from it. Our hero has discovered that a woman to whom he is attracted is indirectly responsible for the deaths of an entire village.
      
From Dragons Gather

Ireached the camp, my pulse pounding in my head. Feathen was mending a harness and waved to me. I ignored him. Kassler watched from his wagon. Maladora was not in the women's wagon, but Shellia was.
      Shellia looked at me and gasped. "What’s happened?"
      "Where is she?" I snapped.
      "I … she … Stefean, you need--"
      "WHERE IS SHE?" I yelled, stepping toward Shellia.
      She stumbled back. "She went for a walk. Toward the river. You must listen to me!"
      But I was already heading into the forest. The path to the river was easy to follow even in my state. I saw a glimpse of her gown through the brush. I strode to her, my anger overcoming fear. She was sipping a cup of mulled wine as she walked under the oak trees. She smiled at me at first and then frowned as she registered the state I was in.
      "What’s wrong?" she asked.
      “I was in a tavern, my lady,” I said, breathing like I was in a race. “You hear such interesting things in a tavern. Rumors, stories, truths, you hear everything.” I placed a hand on a tree to steady myself.
      “Stefean, what’s wrong?” she said, taking a step toward me.
      “Duntann,” I choked out. “They killed everyone.”
      “What?” she whispered.
      “They. Killed. Everyone!" I ground out.
      “Oh, gods, no,” she whispered.
      “They died because a wizardling was killed there,” I said. “I killed him. I killed him because you used your witchery on me!”
      She was silent.
      “Yes, I know,” I rasped. “I know you are a mind witch. I know what you did in Duntann. I’ve known all along.”
      “Stefean.” But she did not continue.
      “What will you do now, my lady witch?” I asked harshly. “Will you take my memory? If so, then hurry because I do not want to remember this!”
      “It’s ... it’s not your fault,” she said.
      “Then it must be yours!” I hurled my accusation at her.
      “No, no, it’s not our fault,” she said. “The Dreadmen--”
      “They crucified the villagers,” I said. “They hung them upside down on trees and left them to die. Then they burned the fields and forests. Galekarn decided to make an example of them. They murdered everyone to the last man, woman, and child.” I pointed at her. “You killed them.”
      “The Dreadmen killed them,” she said unsteadily. “I am not responsible for their actions.”
      "A pretty argument, my lady," I mocked. “Should we have a soothsayer hold a séance and let you communicate that to the shades of the dead? I wonder how they would feel about it.”
      She threw her cup at me and missed. “What do you want of me?” she yelled. “To feel guilt? I do. To be a slave again? I will never do that!” She brought up a fist. “They held me. They crushed me. It isn’t my fault I was a slave!”
      “You made me kill!” I shouted.
      “It was already in you!” she shouted back. “It was in all of them. All that hate and fear. I could feel it. So much hate and fear. I only released it.”
      "Is that your justification? My gods, those people would have never acted on those feelings. I would have never acted on them. You used your power on me. On those poor, dead villagers. On Shellia--"
      “No, not her,” Maladora cut in. “Shellia helped me willingly. You don’t know her. You don’t know what is in her heart. You don’t know what she believes--"
      “And you do?!” I yelled. “And knowing her heart”--I spat the word--“gives you the right to risk her life? Do you know what the Dreadmen will do to her if they catch us? Do you?”
      Her voice was small. “Yes, I do.” She looked at the ground. “I do.”
      I stopped, horribly aware of how much I didn’t know of her life, of what she had endured as a slave to the wizard. In the quiet, I felt ashamed. My anger faded away. I watched her lovely, still hands. Her hair glinted in the sunlight.
      “If there had been any other way …” she said softly. “I had waited so long for a chance. I took it. I didn’t think … I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. I was afraid of returning to the capital. This was my only chance. The other mind adepts were becoming suspicious of me. I was afraid I would lose the little freedom I had.” Tears ran down her face. “But I did not want others to be hurt. I was only trying to escape. That’s all. I didn’t think they would all be killed. I would have died myself before I would have let that happen, but I didn’t know.” She collapsed to her knees. She wept silently as I stood there.
      “I’m sorry.” I said finally. “You couldn’t have known.”
      I stepped toward her. I couldn’t catch my breath.
      Her emerald eyes met mine.
      I grabbed her arms and raised her up. My world narrowed to her face. The world faded into silence.
      Her eyes were wide and fearful and full of longing. “If you kiss me, how will you know if it is what you want or what I want?” she whispered.
      “My lady,” I said deliberately, “I don’t care.”
      I kissed her cold lips. She was shaking. She pulled away and lowered her head.
      “I will stop if you want me to stop,” I said softly. “Only you must tell me to stop.”
      She lifted her tear-stained face up to me. “Kiss me,” she whispered.
      I kissed her gently and then with more urgency, matched by her own. We fell against each other, hungry, savage. Her mind reached out to mine. I nearly pulled away, but her touch was gentle, an invitation. I gave myself over to it. We were lost together, sharing each other’s pleasure and pain, loss and hope.
      When it was over, we huddled together on the ground on the imperfect bed of our clothes. She held my hand over her breast. I nuzzled in her hair. I was content, but I wanted more of her. I would never have my fill of her. A doubt surfaced. Was she using her witchery on me? Was this passion real? I considered the thought, turning it around to examine its sides, and then I put it down and never took it back up.

Copyright 2010 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

To the sea

      It's a summer day here even though the calendar says we're a couple of weeks away. At this change from spring to summer, I find myself thinking about time.
Relentless.
      The odds are good that I have lived more of my life than I have left in front of me. I feel pressured by that. I still have so many things I want to accomplish. Books to write, places to see, people to meet.
Heartless.
      We lose people along the way. Loved ones fall to accidents or disease, and while we believe in life beyond, we miss them here. Eventually our past sorrows travel with us, a dark companion to remind us that everything ends.
Unstoppable.
      People live longer these days. We take vitamins and supplements, exercise and eat healthy. We try to stay active and live longer. In the back of our minds, we think that maybe scientists will offer a better drug next month or next year and we'll be as we once were -- young.
Conquering.
      Everything falls. Even the pyramids lose a bit of their substance each year. Wind and sun and rain will eventually reduce all that we've built. Every mountain peak will become a prairie given enough time. Our greatest fame will be forgotten or the subject of dusty books. Even infamy fades. Hitler's name was spoken in a hush sixty years ago. Now he's a joke on sitcoms. Time makes footnotes of everything.
Precious.
      So while the sun is shining, meet me for lunch. Let's laugh and enjoy this fleeting moment. And when the night falls as it will no matter what, hold my hand tightly and gaze out over the horizon to the endless sea.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What Truth I Know

What Truth I Know

You say I'm wise
which makes me laugh
because of all the things
I've learned, the one thing
I know best remains
how little I really know.

What wisdom I hold
has only been won
by making mistakes
time and time yet again
sometimes new, sometimes old
but errors by any counting.

I've loved and lost
and somehow loved after
only to lose once again
learning as I did that love
doesn't care who you love
only that you love.

And death has been too close
taking precious people
some quick, some slow,
teaching me no one knows
when they will pass and the world
won't stop while we mourn.

Perhaps this is wisdom
or I could be too dumb
to know any better but
I get up each morning
because I want to see
what happens next.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Books read in 2010 so far

I've left a few books out, but I'll add them as I run across them in my house. These are the books I've read so far this year. By the way, have you read my books in 2010? Links to purchase them are at the end of the list, and remember Lulu.com is offering FREE Summer Shipping on all orders of $19.95 or more.

62. *** Shootout in Dodge City by Judd Cameron
61. *** The Escher Twist by Jane Langton
60. *** Live Free or Die by John Ringo
59. *** Eco House Book by Terence Conran
58. *** Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you by Mardy Grothe

57. ***** Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Buddhist monk, and with the assistance of Dr. Lilian Cheung, has produced an excellent book on how to eat healthy and live well. I found this book illuminating and wise and have started to see results in my own life as I've applied its principles. Highly recommended.

56. *** Into the Darkness by Harry Turtledove

55. **** Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life by Steven H. Strogatz
Fascinating book about how order can arise at every level of the cosmos and how this synchrony effects our world. Easy to read and full of examples. One of the best science books I've read lately. Recommended.

54. *** Do-it-yourself Digital Home Office by S.E. Slack

53. **** How to Simplify Your Life: Seven Practical Steps to Letting Go of Your Burdens and Living a Happier Life by Werner Tiki Kustenmacher and Lothar Seiwert
Excellent book on how to simplify your life with wise, practical advice. The authors cover everything from your home to your job to your relationships. This book isn't about having less, but about enjoying what you have more. Recommended.

52. *** Solar Power Your Home for Dummies by Rik DeGunther
51. *** Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist
50. *** Choice Theory by William Glasser

49. **** Leap of Faith by Gordon Cooper with Bruce Henderson
Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper tells of his career in space and then of his belief that the U.S. government has covered up information about UFOs. Besides the surprising info about UFOs, the book details Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space projects and offers lots of surprising details about the inside workings of NASA. Recommended for UFO skeptics and believers alike.

48. *** Teach Yourself Copywriting
47. *** The Art of the Book Proposal by Eric Maisel
46. *** 2010 Guide to Literary Agents
45. *** The Puzzle of Piri Reis by Kent Conwell
44. *** The Diabetes Dtour Diet
43. *** Time Spike by Eric Flint
42. *** Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey

41. **** Assegai by Wilbur Smith
Enthralling and exciting adventure in Africa in the early 1900s. Brutal at times, it remains a deeply romantic story in which the brave hero and beautiful heroine fall as deeply in love with Africa as they do with each other. Recommended.

40. *** And Now A Few Words From Me by Bob Garfield

39. **** Photocraft by Caroline Herter, Laurie Frankel & Laura Lovett
A beautiful book perfect for your crafting table. Many projects on ways to use your photos in interesting and unexpected ways. Recommended.

38. *** Harshini by Jennifer Fallon
37. *** Treason Keep by Jennifer Fallon
36. *** Medalon by Jennifer Fallon

35. **** Null-A Continuum by John C. Wright
This is a mind blowing, confusing, but ultimately entertaining book. It is a sequel to three books by the late Golden Age writer A.E. Van Vogt. I warn you: it has more plot twists and hidden identities than any other book you've ever read. The action bounces all over the universe, back and forth in time, and anywhere else you can think of. Frankly, it's overwhelming and took me two readings before I could fully grasp the plot. While I doubt I'd read any other sequels that might follow this one, it was worth the effort.

34. *** Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

33. *** Knockout by Suzanne Sommers

32. *** Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews

31. *** The Golden Shrine by Harry Turtledove

30. ** Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E. Zuiker with Duane Swierczynski

29. **** Breath and Bone by Carol Berg
The stunning and exciting conclusion of the duology that started with Flesh and Spirit. Valen has discovered the truth about his life, but it's a truth that makes him a target for kings, warriors, dead men, witches, and worse evils. I hated to see the book end. Recommended.

28. **** Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
A interesting, quirky fantasy, the first of a duology. Valen doesn't fit in anywhere and runs away from the restrictive Pureblood Registry straight into a war that will determine the fate of the entire world. Recommended.

27. **** Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
One of the best books I've ever read on how to better your writing. Lively, packed with great examples, well-organized. I'm going to buy this book for my library. Recommended.

26. *** UFO by Charles E. Sellier with Joe Meier
25. ** The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
24. *** Elyon by Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill
23. *** Lunatic by Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill
22. *** Tragic Magic by Laura Childers
21. *** Chaos by Ted Dekker
20. *** Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler & Dirk Cussler
19. *** Renegade by Ted Dekker

18. **** The City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
The true story of the disappearance of legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett in the 1920s and of the many other explorers who lost their fortunes, lives and/or sanity searching for Fawcett and the Lost City of Z. Recommended.

17. **** Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Do you like steampunk? Do you like alternate histories? If so, Leviathan is the book for you. It has zeppelins, clankers (like Star War walkers), giant living airships, cannons, politics, a prince on the run, and much, much more. The only reason this handsome teen book didn't get five stars was because it's the beginning of a series, and the story leaves you hanging. Recommended.

16. *** Infidel by Ted Dekker
15. *** Less Than Dead by Tim Downs
14. *** Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley
13. ** Amberville by Tim Davys

12. **** Whirlwind by Robert Liparulo
Another entry in the Dreamhouse Kings series. The King family moved into a huge creepy house and discovered that it held terrible secrets. The pace is staggering as they rush from one danger to another. This teen book has some truly creepy moments in it. Recommended.

11. *** A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

10. **** Altar of Eden by James Rollins
James Rollins's Altar of Eden is a good book, but it dismayed me with its vulgar language in places, and frankly, it's not one of his best. Characters are slight, and the plot has a few holes. Still, Rollins is one of the best thriller writers out there, and I don't think I wasted my money; I just know Rollins has better books in him. Recommended.

9. *** Cowl by Neal Asher

8. **** Crush it! By Gary Vaynerchuk
Crush It! is a great book for anyone who is trying to turn their passion into a life-long career. It's worth your money if you've ever thought about telling your boss where to go and leaving to follow your dream.

7. *** Design it Yourself Newsletters by Chuck Green

6. ***** First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
First Lord's Fury is my first five starred book and is the conclusion of an epic fantasy series. (Butcher also writes the Dresden Files series, the basis for the short-lived show on SyFy channel.) I hope he returns to these characters again in a new series. I think there's still plenty of stories left to be told in that fantastic world. Highly recommended.

5. *** Marvel Visionaires Chris Claremont
4. *** Orcs: Army of Shadows by Stan Nicholls
3. *** Robot Titans of Gotham by Novell Page

2. **** The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl
The Chocolate Cupid Killings is the latest in a mystery series. I've not read any of the others, but I'm going to look for them. It's an excellent cozy. Carl, by the way, also lives in Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma authors!

1. *** The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans

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