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What with my eye trouble in the last two years I feel with fellow people in trouble quite a bit. My eyes are hopefully slightly getting better and I'm taking steps to help that along, but the economy bites us all, healthy or not. Catherine Valente has gotten into trouble (and was linked by Scalzi and Gaiman which has helped enormously), but there are still great offers at the auction site implemented for her [ profile] adoptingcat.

It seems Vera Nazarian whom we helped somewhat last winter is in some trouble again (considering the situation with her house and mother and her own health, I'm not really surprised). This is the lady who runs Norilana Books ( ), which publishes lovely fantasy, as well as a Hugo-Nominated novealla writer. If you have the money, she's selling an artwork of hers here:
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He's doing a bit of a promo and he picked the cover of his upcoming German edition "Die Assassine", heh - giving a bit of a hint for a competition he has. The story is truly dramatic, but BY GOD, the main heroine has to go through the darkest depths of despair in the first half of the first book, so don't read that unless you're in a fairly up mood or don't usually feel alongside the characters... The horrible things that she has to experience and do halted my reading at that point.

The author also runs the dawbooks community here on LJ.

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The author I've bought most books of this year - except for Elizabeth Bear - has been Sherwood Smith with the novels published in her own worlds (she's been a long-time collaborator of some great names in the scifi genre and has written media-tie-in novels, as well) - whether they have been YA or not.

I first came across her a few years back with an entry in Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction by the Firebird YA imprint and right away bought Crown Duel, as her story was a sequel of that. I then ordered the Wren trilogy published by Firebird and quite liked the first two volumes. I bounced off the third because it started with an irreparable tragedy for one of the major characters who already had to suffer from something similar for years and I couldn't handle reading about having to deal with this and the aftermath.

That's actually one of her strengths: her books may have focus protagonists but no matter what age those are, child or grown-up, there are no guarantees that they will survive to the end (with the exception - so far - that if she names the book after that protagonist they haven't died yet). Her young adult worlds are just as hazardous, although the characters there go at their troubles and triumphs with less gray-scale in feeling (sometimes: this is not the case if your parents have died and you are heir to a throne), and more positive energy.

However, even if a character whom the reader loves dies, there's a good chance that they still have other characters to root for without hurling the book at the wall. Smith's books are always ensemble pieces with some starring roles sticking out. She manages to make even the side-characters so interesting and relevant when she highlights their role in her world/plot that you don't mind spending the time with them - there are no fillers, at the end you realise every bit of focus was necessary for you to see and appreciate the whole.
Review of all Inda books released by DAW so far )
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I seem to be turning into some kind of author stalker. I've exchanged comments with Sherwood Smith, P.C. Hodgell, Elizabeth Bear, E. Wein, Emma Bull and now I've found the Bookview Café run by unknown (to me) and well known sf/fantasy authors, which linked me to Vonda N. McIntyre's Basement of Books, where I promptly ordered one I haven't read and one which has gone missing.

Today I get an e-mail thanking me for the business and asking how I found the page and promising to sign the books. This is one of the authors whose Star Trek novels I read in the 80ies... *shivers running down spine* and who has a great SF universe of her own in the Starfarer novels.

Thinking back on this year I have obviously turned into a female sf/fantasy author groupie. I have no regrets.

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