NIAA Progress Report #7

As I indicated in the previous Nothing is an Accident progress report, the manuscript is now as done as I believe it’s going to be, and I was moving onto the next step of beginning to submit the manuscript through a query, synopsis and sample to every agent I can find looking for mystery/thrillers.  And here’s the first update on how it’s going so far.

I have begun submitting to a number of agents, after making a tracking spreadsheet of all the details on various agents looking for mystery/thrillers.  So far I have had two rejections, which is good in that I received a reply in a short time, as opposed to waiting weeks and even months to get a response.

The great news I have also had from an agent is a response and request for the full manuscript.  The even bigger news about this was that it was to an agent in New York, and I sent off the request after 4PM eastern time, meaning the agent was already out at the office, so to speak, and received a response in just over an hour after sending out the submission.  And then the true icing on the cake was this awesome and exciting response from the agent:

“Wow, would love to see where your story is headed.  Please send us the manuscript.  I look forward to reading your manuscript.

Sent from my iPad”

It made my day, and week in fact.

And now that I have begun this long journey into submitting to agents, I’m reminded of the hurdles that both James Rollins and N. K. Jemisin made, which they talked about in their interviews, of hitting milestones with agents, and celebrating those milestones . . . also since we’re coming into the last couple of months of baseball season, right now it’s all about the stats.  So below you will find the scoreboard for August 25th for Nothing is an Accident:
NIAA Scoreboard

08/25 On the Bookshelf . . . “White Tiger”

White Tiger

Been looking forward to this which has been very popular over on the other side of the planet in Australia, which I started reading the first few pages of in eBook format, but now that I’ve received a hard copy I’m more interested — real books just feel more real to me.  Was a little hesitant reading about Chinese mythology from a white woman, however she met her husband in Hong Kong and lived there for a decade, and has studied a lot about Chinese mythology, as well as Chinese culture and martial arts.  Definitely intrigued.

“Coyote Frontier: A Novel of Interstellar Colonization” by Allen Steele (Ace, 2005)

Coyote Frontier

Award-winning author Allen Steele brings his Coyote Trilogy to a close with Coyote Frontier.  While this is not the end of the Coyote saga for Steele or his readers by any means, it nevertheless represents a closure to the in-depth development of the world of Coyote through its colonists, and the opening of a new chapter in this series.

As Coyote seems to be settling down somewhat with a stable form of government any would-be Social Collectivists from Earth having been sent packing, it seems like the colonists and now natives (who have been born there) of Coyote are getting by, only there aren’t many natural resources to offer, as people struggle to maintain what is essentially a medieval level of society.  The only real solution to this is to seek some help from Earth through trade and diplomacy to important some of these necessary resources for the improvement of society for the Coyote colonists.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, things are pretty much going to hell, as humanity is doing its best to destroy the planet, but science has been pushed forward with the development of faster than light (FTL) travel and what are known as “star bridges” that allow spaceships to travel vast distances of space in an incredibly short time.  A star bridge is soon built near Coyote, with another located in our solar system, and a diplomatic group from Coyote is sent to Earth to possibly create some trade agreements with various nations of Earth.  But humans will be humans, and many greedily seek the land and possibility of Coyote, looking to harvest it for personal gain.  Fortunately, the leader of this diplomatic group, the all too familiar Carlos Montero from the previous books, thinks he knows when to draw the line; only he’s not too sure about one Morgan Goldstein, who is one of the richest men on Earth, looking to improve the lives of everyone on Coyote, but also make a hefty profit.

Steele does what he did best with his previous two Coyote books, hooking the reader in with some incredible stories of Coyote and what its colonists are trying to do.  Now he brings the question of the cost of land and the effects these colonists are starting to have on the ecosystems and native species of the planet, as well as using up what little resources it has.  These are warning bells that any reader is already very familiar with, with what we’re doing with our own planet, which simply provide for some riveting reading, along with a high point of a finish and a big surprise that sets up for some very interesting future books in this ongoing saga.

Originally written on August 17, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

“Weird Tales” News

“I am very sad to have to tell you that my editorship at Weird Tales, which has included one Hugo Award win and three Hugo Award nominations, is about to come to an end. The publisher, John Betancourt of Wildside Press, is selling the magazine to Marvin Kaye. Kaye is buying the magazine because he wants to edit it himself. He will not be retaining the staff from my tenure.” – Ann VanderMeer from this article.

Pretty damn surprising.  Will be interesting to see where Weird Tales goes next.

From the Stove #5: Chicken Tortilla Soup

From the Stove

It’s been a while since I did a “From the Stove,” so I know it’s been overdue.  Fortunately, this particular one represents our foray into making chicken tortilla soup, and the results were totally worth it.  Came out delicious; so much so we made it again a couple weeks later.

Here’s the recipe from


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 cup white hominy
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • sliced avocado
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions


  1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Naturally, the perfect dish never follows the exact recipe, but involves some “tinkering.”  In this case, did cumin instead of oregano, and skipped hominy, added more corn.  For the fancy “tortilla” effect, we just crushed up tortilla chips, and came out just fine.


Here the chicken breasts cook in the delicious smelling mix.

Soup 1


Addition of corn and necessary spices

Soup 2


Then beans, chilies, and tomatoes

Soup 3


The results came out great . . .

Soup 4


. . . And tasted absolutely delicious

Soup 5

2011 Hugo Award Winners

The ceremony was held less than two hours away from where I currently live, along with the rest of the World Science Fiction Convention, but alas . . . anyways, here are the winners for this yea’s Hugo Awards.  I’ve got Connie Willis’s award winners, as well as Lev Grossman’s two books to look forward to.



Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)



The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)



“The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, June 2010)



“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s, September 2010)



Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea (Mad Norwegian)



Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse,
written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by
Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)



Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)



Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven
Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)



Sheila Williams



Lou Anders



Shaun Tan



Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace;
podcast directed by Kate Baker



The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon



Claire Brialey



Brad W. Foster



Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer
of 2009 or 2010, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

Lev Grossman

“The Griff: A Graphic Novel” by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson (William Morrow, 2011)

The Griff

Bestselling author Christopher Moore got to know Ian Corson some time ago, as they began working on the screenplay for his book, Coyote Blue, but the movie never happened.  Years later Moore got this idea for a story that could best be told through the medium of the graphic novel.  The image he had was of attacking alien dragons from outer space.  He finally got together with his friend, Ian Corson, and they wrote The Griff.

Moore and Corson don’t spend long telling of the invasion, but before you know it, most of the world has been wiped out, as these terrifying dragons wreak havoc.  There are of course some survivors, who are our intrepid heroes.  In New York there is Mo, a geeky Gothy gamer; Steve, a skateboard wielding dude; and Curt, who has some sort of complicated history with the military, but knows a lot of stuff.  They begin making their way south, to Orlando where there is a downed spaceship and hopefully the secret to stopping these alien vermin.  In Florida there are two other interesting characters: Oscar, who spends his days dressed as a squirrel, and Liz, a killer whale trainer from Ocean World, who have their own plan.

Once the main story is grasped, it becomes quite predictable with some obvious characters, but it is nevertheless an entertaining read with some good jokes and character banter, as well as some great artwork of alien dragons destroying our planet and killing people.

Originally written on August 15, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

“Ghost Story” by Jim Butcher (Roc, 2011)

Ghost Story

Jim Butcher returns – a little behind schedule – with his thirteenth Dresden Files book, which was pushed back a couple of months as Butcher explains in his introduction because he needed that extra bit of time to make Ghost Story perfect.  We last left Harry Dresden shot and sinking beneath the waters, left for dead in Changes; between then and now a short story collection was published, revealing some great adventures, as well as some very interesting and important story- and plotlines that hadn’t been discussed in the regular novels.  Now fans finally get to find out what exactly happened to Harry . . . if you don’t want to get spoiled, stop reading.

And Harry is pretty much . . . dead, but then that doesn’t really stop Dresden.  He finds himself initially in a sort of between world which is a different form of Chicago, and gets some help from none other than Murphy’s dad, and before he knows it, he’s back in regular Chicago, only he’s a ghost and can’t be his regular old self.  Harry has to think and work differently now, and employs the help of an old friend, the ectomancer Mort, to get by and help him find out just who exactly executed him, as well as to protect his friends.

Unsurprisingly, Harry gets into more problems and fires than he can handle, real fast, but to use magic in his incorporeal state he must use the power of memory.  Butcher uses a great ploy here to give some great back story and history on Harry and his life that readers have been curious about for many books, to make his magic that more powerful.  Harry doesn’t get to be his usual self as a ghost, so he needs to think about what he does, and be creative about it.  Ghost Story is a more mature Harry that has been overdue, as he must now face his reality for what it is without any pretension.  This thirteenth book represents Harry Dresden at his very best, as he must now begin a new chapter in his life, and this definitely shows in Butcher’s writing and storytelling, setting up for a great next book and a whole new world for Harry Dresden, wizard at large.

Originally written on August 15, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

“Coyote Rising: A Novel of Interstellar Revolution” by Allen Steele (Ace, 2004)

Coyote Rising

Almost ten years ago, when I read Coyote by Allen Steele and hailed it as a great work of science fiction and hoped he would do a sequel, little did I know it would become an ongoing series!  In the first sequel to Coyote, Coyote Rising, Steele continues with his parallelism of the settling of the New World, as things begin to heat up on the world of Coyote and revolution is afoot.

With the arrival of a whole host of new colonists from a very different Earth under a new doomed socialist dictatorship at the end of Coyote, the original colonists have fled their former cities, striking out for the jungles, forests and hinterlands, creating their own new hamlets and towns.  Originally published as a series of stories in Asimov’s, each “part” of the book looks at a different viewpoint of this diverse world, as the original colonists plan raids and revolts against these new colonists who seek to subjugate and control them.  But the original colonists have a strong leader in Rigil Kent, who is the familiar protagonist from Coyote, Carlos Montero: a great leader and an even better schemer at fighting back against these Social Collectivists.

Coyote Rising also focuses on the building of an important great bridge and its attempted detonation and destruction by the rebels.  Steele has great fun researching the architectural fundamentals of building such a large bridge from the viewpoint of James Alonzo Garcia.  In another story he focuses on the strange genetically engineered character of Reverend Zoltan Shirow, a cult leader who gives a whole new meaning to the term “batshit crazy.”

Reading this sequel is like delving through an important volume of history covering the beautiful but dangerous planet of Coyote, as Steele seeks to tell a wide variety of entertaining and captivating stories told by a host of interesting and at times fascinating characters.

Originally written on August 15, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

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Now That’s What I Call Closing! Volume 2

Well, the debut collection Now That’s What I Call . . . Closing Volume 1 has now gone platinum with over ten copies made!  And now we closely follow it with a strong contender in Now That’s What I Call Closing . . . .Volume 2, which some may say equals or possibly surpasses the original volume in its variety and popularity . . . but only time will tell.  With Volume 3 currently in the works, here’s the track list for Volume 2:

1. “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd
2. “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles
3. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash
4. “Time to Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro) by Sarah Brighman, featuring Andrea Bocelli
5. “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel, featuring Kate Bush
6. “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve
7. “Times Like These” by Foo Fighters
8.  “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch
9.  “This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore” by Elton John
10. “Ruby Tuesday” by The Rolling Stones
11. “It Was a Very Good Year” by Frank Sinatra
12. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
13. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds
14. “On My Way” by Phil Collins
15. “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac
16. “Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
17. “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton
18. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Mamas and the Papas
19. “In My Life” by The Beatles
20.”Goodbye Cruel World” by Pink Floyd