M.C.A. Hogarth

Biography

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.

Where to find M.C.A. Hogarth online


Where to buy in print


Books

Mindline
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 101,600. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2013. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 2 reviews)
When Vasiht'h follows Jahir to Selnor, he's not sure whether his plan is to help his friend survive his residency, or to drag him back to Seersana University. But a storm is coming to Heliocentrus, one they're uniquely positioned to address, and their nascent mental link is about to receive its first test in the crucible that will either forge their lifelong partnership—or kill them both.
The Godson's Triumph
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 76,200. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2013. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
In this epic conclusion to Flight of the Godkin Griffin, Angharad Godkin finds herself under the ominous eye of her ruler, the Godson. Will her attempt at fostering her province's sovereignty survive his attention... and the secret the two of them will unwittingly unearth? The final book of the Godkindred Saga duology.
Rose Point (Her Instruments 2)
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: Her Instruments, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 102,420. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2013. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
To see the world of the Eldritch is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a thing of fantasies and rumor. You'd have to twist her arm to get her to admit it, but Reese can't wait to go. But a court out of fantasy and a breathtaking land aren't enough compensation when they come packaged with a rabidly xenophobic species whose world is falling apart... (Book 2 of Her Instruments)
Mindtouch (The Dreamhealers 1)
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Dreamhealers Duology, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 121,680. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2013. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.75 from 4 reviews)
When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives at Seersana's xenopsychology school, he's unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society... but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht'h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?
Earthrise (Her Instruments Book 1)
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: Her Instruments, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 115,790. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2013. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Reese Eddings has enough to do just keeping her rattletrap merchant vessel, the TMS Earthrise, profitable. So when a mysterious benefactor from her past shows up demanding she rescue a man from slavers, her first reaction is to say “NO!” And then to remember that she sort of promised to repay the loan. But she doesn’t remember signing up to tangle with pirates over a space elf prince!
A Bloom in the North (Stone Moon Trilogy 3)
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Stone Moon Trilogy, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 123,600. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2013. Category: Fiction
When imperial enforcer Pathen Ures-emodo turns fugitive, he finds himself inheriting a decimated rebellion with a missing leader. His only choice? To hide his people in plain sight as dutiful members of the empire… and maybe, just maybe, transform that empire from within. The final book fo the Stone Moon Trilogy.
Pearl in the Void (Stone Moon Trilogy 2)
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Stone Moon Trilogy, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 115,900. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
When emissaries of the Stone Moon arrive in town, Keshul, the charlatan seer of House Akkadin, is suspicious. It doesn’t take long for Keshul to know the breadth of their ambitions must be fought. But in that battle he discovers that bringing about the downfall of the Stone Moon may undo everything it has planned for the species…including its survival. Book 2 of the Stone Moon Trilogy.
From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 11,580. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2012. Category: Nonfiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
In my first year on Kickstarter, I ran four campaigns. All four succeeded; in fact, all four overfunded, some by over 400%. I am not a media superstar. I am, at best, a very energetic indie author and freelance painter. But even a small fish can make a big splash in the Kickstarter pond... with the right tools. This guide outlines the steps I took to build and fund all of my campaigns.
Black Blossom
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Books of Kherishdar, Book 3. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 123,990. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2012. Category: Fiction
In this sequel to The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar, the gentle Calligrapher is sent to succor the broken priest of Shame. Will he be in time to rehabilitate one of the empire’s greatest assets? And what will happen in the House of Flowers? A genteel, conversational fantasy of society, culture... and the perversions that threaten them.
Flight of the Godkin Griffin
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Godkindred Saga, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 90,030. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2012. Category: Fiction
On the eve of her retirement, Mistress Commander Angharad Godkin is directed to replace the governor of a newly conquered territory, but what starts out as a predictable military challenge takes unexpected turns at the hands of Shraeven's rebellious people, unorthodox beliefs, and very tangible gods. But if they're going to force her to play their game, she's going to make them regret it...
The Case of the Poisoned House and Other Xenopsychiatric Studies
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 9,690. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2012. Category: Fiction
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
Jahir and Vasiht'h are xenopsychiatrists: specialists in counseling aliens on the varied problems they might face living on a multicultural starbase. This volume collects eight vignettes and one short story ranging from a solar sailor recovering from a crash to an orphaned alien struggling with adoption issues. Come tour the Alliance, therapist-style!
Spots the Space Marine: Letters
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: Spots the Space Marine, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,490. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2012. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
An epilogue to the novel Defense of the Fiddler told in the form of letters from Travis "Claws" Walker. Contains spoilers for the novel, and hints of what may be to come...
Blades and Bitter Apples
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,520. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2012. Category: Fiction
A collection of four fantasy shorts, ranging from epic fantasy to dark fantasy/horror. Includes "Bitter Apples," "A Divine Consistency," "The Copper Bodice" and "The Blade to Your Hand."
Claws and Starships
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 48,880. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2011. Category: Fiction
A collection of short fiction about the Pelted, the descendents of genetic experiments on Earth fled to create their own society: "A Distant Sun," "Rosettes and Ribbons," "The Elements of Freedom," "Tears," "Pantheon," and "Butterfly."
The Snow Maiden, or the Case with the Holiday Blues
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,710. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Xeno-therapists Jahir and Vasiht'h are on call! This time their patient's a Fleet officer working environmental maintenance on the starbase. She's got the holiday blues. Can the duo help her find the spirit of the season... and maybe get a few other people in on the act? Find out how they close the file on yet another patient in the case of the Snow Maiden, a Jahir and Vasiht'h short story.
Family
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,360. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 4 reviews)
Vasiht'h always thought himself lucky to have befriended one of the rare and fascinating Eldritch, so when Jahir invites him home for a cousin's wedding, he's eager for the chance to find out more about these enigmatic aliens. Naturally, he gets more than he bargains for; by the end of his trip, he'll either know all Jahir's secrets...or he'll be dead... A 92-page story in the Pelted Universe.
A Rosary of Stones and Thorns
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 67,520. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.83 from 6 reviews)
When the angel Asrial discovers that the halos of the Fallen have been kept in Heaven against their eventual return, she speaks out against Archangel Michael’s plan to make war on them on Earth. For her insolence, she is driven from grace and ends up in the parking lot of a Jesuit high school. But can she, a priest, a demon and two high school kids stop the Apocalypse... and redeem the Fallen?
Precious Things
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,450. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(3.50 from 2 reviews)
Sydnie Unfound, one of the Pelted gengineered by humans in centuries past, came to Earth to discover herself. She hasn't had any luck yet. But on a fateful day during the winter holidays, her luck starts to turn when she meets an unexpected fellow seeker.... a short story of the Pelted.
Even the Wingless
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 131,980. Language: English. Published: September 12, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.75 from 4 reviews)
The Alliance has sent twelve ambassadors to the Chatcaavan Empire. None have survived the vicious court of a race of winged shapechangers. Lisinthir Nase Galare is the Alliance's thirteenth emissary. A duelist and esper, he has been sent to bring an empire to heel. Will it destroy him, as it has his predecessors? Or can one man teach an empire fear... and love?
Pantheon
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,760. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
Young cadet Renya made a deal five years ago to dedicate an altar to the gods on her future ship if she never lost a game of Pantheon. Now she has a chance to prove herself to her first captain, an expert Pantheon-player, and win a little renown for herself. But will the human deities of her new expansion set oblige?
The Smell of Intelligence
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,150. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.25 star(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Fatha Gesha-emodo is the most talented scent-maker in the north, but even it cannot save its House from catastrophe... until it meets an anadi witch, and learns a secret that will save its House, but change everything else. What knowledge is worth the price of an anadi's tears? A novella of the Jokka.
Unknowable
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,320. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.25 star(4.25 from 4 reviews)
In this sequel to Reader's Choice Award "Unspeakable," Tanel, Nashada and Ekkuli return in a new city, having made themselves a comfortable home... a comfortable home, until an invader arrives and threatens once again to rearrange all Tanel's notions of love.
Anadi Dolls
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,510. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.60 from 5 reviews)
The last thing Jekun wanted to do was Turn neuter. She'd spent her life as a pampered breeder in the caverns of House Sadlan, a female prized for her intelligence and stamina. Changing this late in her life meant... loss. Heartbreak. Work! Can she--it--find a place among the neuters of her House? Or is there no peace to be found in a new body? A short story of the Jokka.
Stone Moon, Silk Scarves
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 9,840. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.67 from 3 reviews)
"Evaluate the new head of House Laisira, and if he seems unsuitable, deal with it." Such was Pathen Ures-emodo's unpalatable assignment. When he begins his investigation, he suspects nothing more than incompetence. But could House Laisira be hiding a far greater sin? And what will he do about it? A Jokka story set in the time of Roika's empire, after the novel The Worth of a Shell.
Living the Moment
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,360. Language: English. Published: May 17, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
When Simon Voar, called the Sensationalist Voyeur of the photography world, gets bored of taking pictures of humans, he decides it's time to cross the Gate and see what alien sex looks like. But he doesn't expect the questions he'll have to answer--or the things he'll have to agree to--in order to procure a suitable model....
Salome
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,860. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2011. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
The class field trip to Faraway House strikes everyone as boring... everyone except Salome, the outsider, the poet, the dreamer. She alone seems to realize that the master of Faraway House is more than he seems....
Songs From a Conch Shell Whistle
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,300. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
In good times, the Tsipia-seekers, aliens of a stormy planet, trade their goods and services and lay their eggs on warm beaches. But it has been a long time since the good times. All changes need an author. Will Kelennet find a way for her clutch-sisters and brother to survive?
Fire Queen, Dark Lady
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,590. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(3.50 from 2 reviews)
Helen has a bad habit; she gives people nicknames, an eccentricity she thought harmless until bestowing one made the database analyst at her office disappear. She doesn't have long to find out what happened and fix it before the Name drains her coworker away forever....
Blueberries: A Poetry Chapbook
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 1,610. Language: English. Published: April 14, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Ten poems on the topics of loss, love, relationships, nostalgia and grief. Includes "Elemental Combinations," reprinted from the Fairwoods Press anthology Exquisite Corpuscle.
Snow in Summer, Flowers in Fall
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,280. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2011. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
The Khedariens came in peace, and found unexpected friendship in a minor functionary of the diplomatic office. Tragedy inspired that woman to write the Khedariens into a performance, lamenting their loss. Can art heal a rift between species?
The Perfect Totem
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Selling people new totem animals to solve their personality problems isn't a great way to make a living, but Sue doesn't complain until she gets a particularly annoying repeat customer. How many problems--and avatar animals--can one man possibly have? Originally published in New Fables #3 and podcast on Anthro Dreams.
The Copper Bodice
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,520. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Tienette wanted nothing to do with the alicorn hunt arranged by her brother for visiting Prince Khorshid... imagine her surprise when she draws the magical animal from the forest. When the hunting party wounds it, she thinks she will never see it again--until a mysterious woman shows up in her chambers, dressed in a magical corset....
The Admonishments of Kherishdar
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Books of Kherishdar, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 13,440. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
In Kherishdar, when a person commits a crime, they become their sin.... Suicide. Rape. Child Abuse. Addiction. Twenty-five crimes. Twenty-five stories. Twenty-five narrators... and one minister over them all, to judge, convict and Correct the faulty: the priest who serves Shame. Companion volume to The Aphorisms of Kherishdar.
Bitter Apples
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,950. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2011. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(3.50 from 2 reviews)
The kiss of the Emperor is poison, and only his destined consort may bear it. Sickened by her attempt, Erianthe decides she is not the one. Or is she?
A Divine Consistency
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,250. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2011. Category: Fiction
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
When the successor to the duke that knighted her demands the return of her sword, armor and horse, Aslinne goes forth to do so, and into peril. Naturally her assassin partner must intervene on her behalf, and with the help of a questing priest save her from dire treachery.
Not Now, Not Ever
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,830. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2011. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
Among the immortal Le'enle, there are two factions: those who become involved with mortals and those who don't. When one of their kind falls prey to the consequences of mortal entanglement, Silent Chain decides to save her... no matter what danger that rescue may entail. Sequel to the story "For the Love of Mortals."
Breaths Long as Years
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,420. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2011. Category: Fiction
They came to her to ask her to save the king... and betrayed her into delivering her magical essence to them so she could be entrapped. But Sacred Rose is not human, but Le'enle, magical and immortal, and she can afford to outwait their treachery, and be unaffected by it...
For the Love of Mortals
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: Free! Words: 1,570. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
The Le'enle are magical creatures, undying, powerful beyond the dreams of the mortal species they share the galaxy with. But with their powers come responsibilities; visiting a mortal world, Distant Song is confronted with one of those responsibilities, not to abuse her power. Even if it means the storm she does not turn away reaches landfall, and the people living on the coast...
Useless Tears
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,500. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
Like the fabled unicorns, the Le'enle are often hunted for their magical bodies, to be distilled into potions and ground into powders to heal the sick and give powers to the mundane. When Agile Storm's mate dies on a distant world, he returns there to seek her killers... and justice. Originally published in The Leading Edge #45.
The Blade to Your Hand
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(3.60 from 5 reviews)
The pirate lioness Mazalaen has survived by pretending to be a man, a murderer and a thief... and fears she has become those things in truth. Until she meets a fearless princess in battle. Could this woman be her salvation? Originally published in Anthrolations.
Skip-Leveling
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,940. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2010. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
When lowly order processor Adrienne Carrera discovers the powerful new VP has a crush on her boss, her own heart sinks... particularly when chance throws them together to prepare for the annual department holiday party. Still, the nights are long in winter, and anything can happen when two Cinderellas go to a ball! A F/F meet-cute office romance.
Season's Meaning
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,040. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Captain Alysha Forrest is taking advantage of leave to do a little holiday shopping at the largest mall in the Alliance's summer capital... when a little boy gets into a little trouble. A holiday feel-good story from the Pelted universe.
New Stories
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,660. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2010. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
When disease struck Serel's new settlement, it feared that its clan head would force them to resume their punishing nomadic life. That's when it heard tales of a madwoman in the hills... a madwoman with healing skills. But can this rebel female truly help them? And if she can, will the rest of the clan choose to triumph over the prejudices that would cause them to spurn her help?
Rosettes and Ribbons
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,860. Language: English. Published: November 8, 2010. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
Pelipenele is on her first trip as Dr. Edisse's xenoanthropology intern, to the planet Aren, to a dig-site being unearthed by the passionate and intimidating Aera. Little does she know that her dull, easy translation assignment is going to be nothing of the sort... This story was chosen for the "Best in Show" anthology.
The Elements of Freedom
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,270. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.25 star(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Carevei EarthHunger was the seismologist who pinpointed the location of the faultline, so it made sense to send her to try to convince the centauroid natives there to move camp. Except they refuse to listen, unless she is prepared to convince them--their way....
Tears
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: Free! Words: 1,840. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2010. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Paul's friend Milara was born with tear-shaped birthmarks, and her life has been one of exhaustion and sorrow; she assumes it always will be. But he doesn't agree, and he's determined to show her differently....
Broken Chains
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,450. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.83 from 6 reviews)
"Ethical Perspectives on History" seems like an innocuous enough elective...until the teens taking it discover the genetic engineering that created the Alliance's alien races wasn't as perfect as they were told as children and that their new teacher, Kellen Grove, might have his own reasons for his passions. This is a senior year they'll never forget. Previously published as "A Distant Sun."
Butterfly
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,550. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Long ago, Jared and Geneviive's father committed a great injustice on their third sibling, the Hinichi Noelle. His death frees them to summon her home from her long exile. But will she want to stay after being abandoned?
A Trifold Spiral Knot
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,080. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.75 star(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Once upon a time the Jokka worshiped the three gods in their image: male, female, neuter. Years later, the worship of the trifold virtues--that all sexes have value and dignity--became the second-most dominant belief. But all religions begin with an idea... and a prophet to speak them....
Fire in the Void
By M.C.A. Hogarth
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,710. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.60 from 5 reviews)
Keshul makes his money cloaking his common sense as fortune-telling for the Jokka of het Narel, and he would be the first to tell you it's all a sham. Or so he thinks, until a patron shows up asking for the wisdom of the Void...
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Smashwords book reviews by M.C.A. Hogarth

  • Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Book One on Oct. 16, 2010
    star star star star star
    A couple of days ago, Meilin Miranda's Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom popped up for sale as an e-book. I've been intrigued by this one because the paperback version was crowdfunded completely, to the tune of several thousand dollars: enough to feed the author and hire (at respectable rates) her cover artist, an editor and a layout pro for the book block. That was a phenomenal achievement and I wanted to know what had inspired its fans to do so. I picked it up thus, without even knowing what it was about (I know, I know), except that it was a fantasy novel. And it was, and I read it in two days. Right. What do I say? That I read it without a hitch, because it read like a book you'd pick up in a bookstore? It did. That the world-building was delightful and (unusually for fantasy, alas) dense and real? It was: I believed this was a world with a complicated political and magical history. That the main character, the Heir Temmin who starts the book at... 17 years old? Was written like a genuine teenager, complete with extreme self-absorption, and that his slow (and incomplete) transition to someone more adult felt real? Well, it did (and that's a hard one to pull off). That it handled a very broad cast of characters without dropping any of them or diffusing the narrative? Believe it or not... yes. It reminded me of the Kushiel series, except not annoying because the people in it were real, normal human beings and not quasi-angelic perfections born of gods. It also reminded me of the best of Mercedes Lackey's coming-of-age stories, but with a lot more texture and a lot more sex. (Yes, there was a lot of sex, which I wasn't expecting, but almost none of it felt gratuitous, which is rather astonishing given my tastes.) In short, had I paid $8 for it in a bookstore, I would have been satisfied. More than satisfied. It was excellent. My only complaint was that it's very obviously the first in the series, and though I spent ten minutes on the author's website I can't find any information on when the next book will be available. So, in brief: great, complex fantasy with good characterization, dense cast handled adeptly, coming of age story liberally seasoned by romance, politics, magic and sex. Also, trains, corsets and tweed. Because when was the last time you read a magical fantasy with tweed caps and waistcoats? Go check it out if you're into that, you won't be disappointed.
  • Daron's Guitar Chronicles: Volume One on Oct. 16, 2010
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    When I ran into this story on its website, I started reading... and didn't stop until I faceplanted two hours past my bedtime. And then I woke up the next day and did it again until I got to the end. That probably tells you everything you need to know right there. -_- But more extensively: this is a first-person narrative set in the 80s, told by a 19-year-old musician trying to make it in the rock scene. He's got a problem family, no money, and if that wasn't enough of a challenge, he's also gay. In the 80s. I have to be honest... I'm kind of over coming-of-age stories. I may at one point be excited about them again, but for now I'm really tired of the pinhole perspective of self-involved teens. But Daron's Guitar is missing that "this universe is populated solely by teens" feeling. Tan fills Daron's world with adults at every stage in their life, from the grizzled music veterans, the failures and the tired agents to their daughters, Daron's schoolmates and the hopefuls in the music industry. Daron observes them all; sometimes he lacks the life experience to understand them, but we know that they have a life outside Daron's limited perspective and Tan paints that very well. This world feels real: like our world, like we could run into Daron today and this will all have had happened. Not only that, but the music details are just fabulous. This is someone who really knows her stuff. I actually laughed out loud when Daron made a reference to Jon Anderson when snarking about a former roommate who was trying to get weird/experimental. If that wasn't enough, every chapter title... is an 80s song. Not just a trip down nostalgia lane for those of us who lived through them, but an impromptu soundtrack and pretty darned clever. Finally, I'm really impressed by the portrayal of Daron's relationship difficulties (such as he can be said to have them, given the circumstances). His struggle between the typical teen hormonal highs and lows and his need to have a meaningful tie with someone... it's poignant and deftly evoked. Such a great loneliness, conveyed so powerfully and yet without preaching. This is incredibly skillful writing and a compelling story. Pick it up in this format, or get it off the website... you won't be disappointed either way.
  • The Bear Prince on Feb. 21, 2011
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    A collection of fairy tales that feel like the eldest you've found: dream-like and strange and yet familiar. My favorite of the three was "The Bear Prince," with its pale palette and sense of escape through virtue; but "The Jewel of Moon and Starlight" was haunting and passing-strange in that "who thinks of these things?" way, with details to match, and "The Princess and the Sheep's Wool" is a fine retelling of the Princess and the Pea, with smell rather than touch as the royal tell-tale. If I have an objection to these, it's that they are too few. You end up in their psychological space and just as you're accustomed to it, the e-book is over. Stories like this for me work best if they either stand alone and are over so quickly they feel like a needle to the arm, or so long a collection that you can become adrift in them.
  • Spoonfuls of Sugar on Oct. 08, 2011
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    If you're looking for a good introduction to McCoy's work about the Kintara (centauroid feline aliens), this is my suggestion for the best start. The Kintaran stories are delightful space-opera-flavored science fiction; the aliens themselves are feline enough to charm fans of cats while not being so feline they feel precious. They have their own amusing customs, and their many flaws, and feel well-rounded as a species. "Spoonfuls" is a good introduction because the extremely-prolific family-oriented Kintara often end up with litters (no pun intended) of cousins and siblings and babies and it can be a little dizzying to keep track of them all. This short story starts with only two of them, separates them from their family, and gives you a good chance to get to know them without having the juggle all their kin in your head too. It's a good length. The pacing is good. There's humor. There's family focus and children play a part in the story more complicated than "let's just throw one in to allow for emotional gut-wrenching later" (so sadly rare in science fiction). The depictions of motherhood and children and their interactions are particularly good, and often very funny. So, generally: adventure, light, fun, fast; with fun cat-like aliens and great integration of family life into spacer life. Definitely worth the price. :)
  • Wahnt on Oct. 08, 2011
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    Cleverness is a frequent feature in McCoy's stories, and "Wahnt" has it, very definitely. It's the only story I've read so far in first person, which gives an interesting perspective on the events. So, contains: cleverness, pirates and privateers, politics and eccentric felinoid centaurish aliens. This is good space adventure. I withhold my last star because it could be longer; a few more sentences scattered here and there would have helped ground the reader further in the setting. I think writers have become chary of "infodump" and sometimes shortchange their stories a little in an effort to avoid dumping blocks of information at the reader. Btu sometimes blocks are necessary and add to the story, so! A fun read, good for the price, and helps fill in the universe.
  • What Really Matters on Oct. 08, 2011
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    Excellent coming-of-age fiction for aliens, this is my second favorite of the Kintaran stories, and a longish one to boot. The themes of family and growing up intertwine nicely with the alienness of the Kintarans (felineish centauroids with enough cat in them to charm cat-lovers but not enough to annoy people tired of cat-aliens). The author's cleverness also returns in the motivations of the antagonists, which are fresh and unexpected in a story of this kind. I very much appreciated the author's take on the bad guys, and that's what earned this story its fifth star. The pacing is good; it's long enough to really sink into the culture and get a chance to keep all the names straight--Kintarans are into big families and keeping track of all the different siblings and cousins can get dizzying in a shorter story. And it's pleasant to see coming-of-age in an alien culture where teens are judged adults by different standards than ours. So: fun world-building, nicely complex for its length, unexpected motivations and fluffy aliens. I really liked this one.
  • The Legend of the Morning Star on Oct. 08, 2011
    (no rating)
    Creepy in the way that good fairy tales are, this one is believable as a real tale, old and full of warnings. Very nicely executed.
  • Leaping Lizards on Oct. 08, 2011
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    A charming addition to the Kintaran stories, suitable for younger readers, and very true to childlike observations, worries and behavior. I see the author's experience as a parent peeking out in how well these alien children are portrayed... and it's a fun romp to boot. This story's a bit too short for me; I find the Kintaran families are large enough and the language bits a little tanglesome enough that I like more time and longer stories to get into their mindset. Readers who've already sampled the other stories, however, will have fewer problems with that, so dive on in!
  • The Best Revenge on Oct. 08, 2011
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    Another story that depicts children very well; I enjoyed this look into family life and the exasperation of alien parents. This is a great story to round out the other Kintaran offerings, but I find it a bit too short to effectively grapple with the dense world-building. A little bit more infodump can be a good thing. Nevertheless, charming and family-friendly.
  • Uniqueness Counts on Oct. 09, 2011
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    This is another of my favorites of the Kintaran stories by McCoy; unsurprisingly, it's one of the longer ones, and I think the longer ones are much better showcases of her talent and her flair for world-building. I also appreciated that throughout the short stories on offer we get to know the same characters and watch them grow up; there are recurring characters in this story and it was gratifying to watch them move on with their lives and grapple with new challenges. You feel a little like you've gotten a chance to live with them, and end up sort of parentally fond of them somehow. But anyway, this story is high on space adventure, with lots of explosions and McCoy's trademark cleverness. Since the main characters end up separated from the Kintaran clanship, there's also a lot fewer of the Kintaran family to keep track of, a definite boon to people new to the universe--the Kintarans tend to have lots and lots of family, and keeping track of them can get difficult in short fiction. This story bypasses some of that issue. So: fun, clever, lots of various aliens, explosions, adventure and charming characters. Definitely worth the price. :)