Tremontaine: binge-worthy and full of chocolate!

Book cover

Book cover

Truth be told, I thought perhaps there was something wrong with author Caroline Fréchette. They kept enthusiastically going on and on and on about some book called Tremontaine, insisting that we all read it.

Finally, not wanted to incur Caro’s eyebrows of wrath, I bought the eBook version.

And now, after reading it, I can say with all sincerity, HOLY CRAP, THIS BOOK IS FREAKING AMAZING! In fact, it’s not really a book but a written series with each chapter as an episode. I began reading Season One, which consisted of thirteen episodes, and totally binged. There are several authors in this series, too, but magically, all the episodes read as if they were done by one person.

The story follows the machinations of Diane, Duchess of Tremontaine, a beautiful, sly creature who is the current mastermind behind her husband’s fortunes. At least, she wants to be. But a secret deal gone awry—and a sunken ship carrying chocolate—might bankrupt the Tremontaine estate and lead them to social ruin. Oh yeah, and the duke has no knowledge of this. Diane must try to escape this potential disaster on her own.

Then we have the exotic soldier-warrior Ixkaab, or Kaab, exiled from her own country and a “princess” of the first family of chocolate traders. She’s come to redeem herself in this new strange land where people have skin the colour of ant eggs. Kaab is fearlessly skilled as a fighter with a dagger, yet, a ginger woman from the wrong side of the city is her greatest weakness. When a murder occurs in Riverside, and the victim is the protector of this ginger vision, Kaab goes on a quest to find the killer.

But we mustn’t forget little Micah, who is a girl dressed as a boy—which only tends to fool men and not women. Micah is a mathematical and physics wizard who finds herself living among the male scholars of the University, including Rafe, a reluctant son of a merchant, who sees “him” as the ticket to forging a new scientific truth and creating a new way to improve the chocolate trade.

It took me a while to get used to the place names and become accustom to the world that seemed so much like our own during the 17th century. However, I stuck with the story and it turned out to be so delicious, I drank it down it like spicy hot chocolate. (Funny how I always like romantic adventure stories that run along a plumb line of food. Huh.)

I loved the way Micah was represented. She reminded me of someone on the autism spectrum, and I felt her character was written so well. Micah can get overstimulated by her hypersensitivity to stimuli and she can be hyperfocused on a task, but the people around her don’t judge her. She has her coping techniques and when her friends see her in distress, they help her, using her preferred methods to calm down. The writers also made her charming, compassionate, and intelligent. I personally loved how literally she took things. It was endearing. I also was happy that nobody treated her with disdain, like she was odd. Frankly, she was no “odder” than the other characters, who all had their quirks.

I must also say that I really liked how the sex scenes were crafted in Tremontaine. They were sensual and moreso by what they hinted at, instead of graphically spelled out. This just happens to be my favourite style of the sexah in novels. Sexual orientation went beyond the cisgender-heteronormative, too, and it was great to see classic romantic themes through queer characters. I WANT TO SAY MORE BUT SPOILERS. OH, MY FREAKING WORD, PEOPLE!

So, I gave this series a 5-star rating. When something makes me want to scream, “YOU GOTTA, I MEAN, SO GOTTA READ THIS!” then it’s top marks from this Irish-Canadian princess.

I cannot wait to read Season 2. I am totally addicted.

If you’ve read it and loved Tremontaine, let me know, so we can squee together!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Networka blog that solely features writers who manage disabilities and/or chronic illness.

 

 

 

In Memoriam: A lifetime or two within a short story

Some people can write a tome and not really tell a decent story, but then authors like ’Nathan Bourgoine can create an entire lifetime—or two—in a short work of fiction that cuts right to the soul.

In Memoriam book coverIn Memoriam follows the story of James, an editor who has just been given a diagnosis that will debilitate and soon eradicate his brain function. He knows his remaining existence can be measured in days or weeks, maybe months, and he races against time to find the one person he regretted letting go of, and who he never stopped loving.

As serious as this theme is, I actually laughed in parts. James has a good sense of humour. Then my heart ached as he tried to remember his early days with Andy, and how his mind would rewrite history, even as James tried to recall the facts by reading his own journals. By the end of the story, I was gutted, but in that way that also leaves you uplifted.

Then I just wanted to cling to the people I love for dear life.

This piece is so masterfully crafted, I don’t think the words have been invented to describe how brilliant it is. I highly encourage you to grab it, and support this fantastic author.

In Memoriam was the first work I read from ’Nathan Burgoine, but it won’t be my last. That’s for sure!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Networka blog that solely features writers who manage disabilities and/or chronic illness. She might make pasta for lunch.

 

Are you genre non-binary?

That’s not a typo in the title of this post. This term is the ingenious brainchild of my best friend, educator and activist for transgender rights, Talia C. Johnson. (Btw, her blog is brilliant, so follow it!)

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my third and final short story for the winter-spring anthology season. After re-reading what I’d written, I felt I faced a dilemma. Because I constantly straddle the comedy and sci-fi genres, I told Talia I didn’t know whether to submit to an anthology for comedy writers or science fiction writers. This was our Facebook chat:

Me> I can’t figure out whether I should send it to the humour anthology or the sci-fi anthology about optimism.

Talia> Short story?

Me> Yeah. The sci-fi people might think it’s not sci-fi enough and the humour people might say it’s too sci-fi.

Talia> Damn it! It’s genre non-binary!

Me> IT IS!

Talia> Genrefluid.

Me> OMIGOSH! This is a thing!

You must understand that Talia and I discuss gender topics almost daily, and she is my prime consultant for vetting gender-amazing characters and content in my writing. I’ll send her scenes from my book or short stories in a panic and say, “Is it OKAY???” (Yes, I’m that cishet person who is terrified of offending.  Don’t worry; I’m growing.) My fear of screwing up gender-fabulous peeps never comes to fruition as Talia says, “It’s fine. It’s fine. Just have fun with it. It’s sci-fi. You’re not an asshat.”

But yesterday when she said my work was genrefluid, I nearly died of laughter. It’s probably the best way to describe a writer who isn’t fully immersed in one genre. My space opera, Life in the ‘Cosm, can fall into humour, romance, and sci-fi categories. No, it’s not ‘hard sci-fi’, as some put it, but to those who don’t read that genre, it feels sci-fi to them. One person saw the cover and said, “I don’t like sci-fi, and when I explained some of the content, they got all excited. (It also doesn’t hurt that the book also has a lot of cake in it. Desserts are the universal language of love.)

I’m not surprised that I’m fluid in this way. In my life I’m never really strapped to one thing. I’m not exclusively a writer. I’m also a musician and have been for decades. I’m mad about crafting and this has recently ventured into designing costumes for cosplay. I’m a techno geek and web developer. My friends are also diverse as all out. My Google playlist ranges from awesome to don’t judge me. My gender expression can be interpreted as fluid. And I don’t even have a favourite colour. All the colours are my favourite. I think colour, period, is my favourite.

nonbinaryblogI happen to like writing life experiences through aliens instead of humans. It ties into my personal theory that if life exists on other planets, there’s gotta be some poor slob who hates his job. With space opera, I can be serious and hilarious at the same time. I also get to create different races and choose their skin or fur or scales and colour them in like in a colouring book in my mind. I can have them fall in love or be clumsy in relationships. I don’t believe every ‘alien’ is a technology wiz or a military hero. Sometimes he’s a shy chubby guy who really likes cupcakes.

Being genrefluid might turn other authors’ noses up at me, or they might turn toward me in solidarity. Whatever others might think, I like writing what comes to my imagination and going on a journey with my characters. I don’t want to feel any constraints with genre. I want to have a blast.

So far this genre non-binary writing is my jam. Coincidentally it also includes gender non-binary peeps, because the spectrum of gender is a real thing, too, and I love going beyond the cisgender scope.

Anyway, if you’re fluid between genres, too, you have a fellow author who gets you, and will probably want to read your stuff. Writing to me is like cooking; it’s more appetising when you don’t follow the recipe.

Although I still can’t get my mind around the pineapple pizza thing. I mean, I truly can’t.

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.

 

Losing Faith and Loving Emma: sharing in two siblings’ grief

I met Alexis James on Twitter and when I discovered she was such a  lovely person, I wanted to support her by purchasing her books. Well, I started backward and bought Loving Emma before Losing Faith, but she said it was okay, because each book stands on its own. (Each one really does, too!)

Both of these stories revolve around the death of a much beloved friend and girlfriend, named Faith. What I loved about the books was how I got to see the different perspectives of grief from the two survivors: Grace, the best friend in Losing Faith, and Liam, the boyfriend, in Loving Emma. Grace and Liam are very close siblings who adored Faith in their own profound way. Watching them navigate and stumble through their mourning gave me all the feels. They have their unique differences, but I also saw their similarities in their coping mechanisms. How difficult it must be for them to lose someone so young when they are so young themselves.

aj-booksI wanted to hug them, kick them in the butt, yell at them, bake them cupcakes, and comfort them . . . all at once. There is no smooth way to travel through grief. And for each character, someone new enters their lives. Steamy stuff happens, quite piping-hot steamy, but it doesn’t erase the sadness. How Grace and Liam handle their pain journey had me turning pages until my eyes went blurry.

I’m looking forward to reading more by this author! I might just be staring at the cover of the third book for days, but I’ll eventually get around to reading it. I think. 😉

You can learn more about Alexis James on her Website, and her books are on Amazon.

/cg

 


CGAuthor

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, published by Renaissance PressAvailable now

 

 

Human, A Shadows Empires Book: left me enthralled

I have to say something right off the bat: author S.M. Carrière made a liar out of me. Yup, she totally did. And that’s because I told people I’m not a vampirey book type of person. Then I read her work, Human, A Shadow Empires Book. Now I’m a big liar, liar pants on fire.

This is the story of Aleksandar Zograf, who becomes prince of House Svetoslav, a clan of vampires, or Opyri. In our modern day he’s a savvy businessman, philanthropist, with an old-world charm that is crazy sexy. Honestly, I found myself wanting him to bite me more than once. He catches the watchful eye of suspicious detective Brody, who knows what Aleksandar is, and the heart of beautiful and strong Officer Alicia Wilde (who I hate because I want to be her and how dare she steal that Opyri hunk of man away from me?).  After Aleksandar inherits the failing businesses and ruined properties of the now decimated Üstrel House, and restores them, people suddenly go missing. These missing people are known as the innocents; they are human and are not involved in the rumblings between the Opyri clans. Someone is trying to get to Aleksandar through the humans he is closest to, including Alicia.

S.M. Carrière made a liar out of me. And that’s because I told people I’m not a vampirey book type of person. Then I read her book, Human, A Shadow Empires Book. Now I’m a big liar, liar pants on fire.

And now for the screaming: OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS SO FREAKING FANTASTIC, I WANT TO DIE!

Ahem. Okay, I’m good now. It’s superbly written, had me ignoring my husband for the better part of Canada Day, and totally converted me to the whole vampire-story genre. When something is done well, it just sings. And S.M. Carrière just took me by the hand and enthralled me with this deliciously spun tale of intrigue, romance, and vampirey dishiness.

I am a fan.

Just to note, I met the author at Comicon in May, and she is so warm and friendly. She signed her book for me and gave me such encouragement when I hadn’t known I was to be published. Thanks so much for being you, awesome author lady. Please don’t stop writing. Like, ever. Get bitten so you can write forever!

(You can purchase this book in paperback or ebook. See the author’s Website for details.)

/cg

 


CGAuthor

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, published by Renaissance Press. Available in the fall of 2016.