Square Pig in a Round Hole-July 20, 2019

Square PigNaming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times club listings for abundant source material!

I will show my age by saying I remember the first moon landing, 50 years ago today. I was almost 6 and completely captivated by the idea that people were walking on the moon I was looking at. We’re going out tonight for an early celebration of my next birthday (do the math). This break in the weather means we’ll probably see the moon on our way home. We plan to avoid Block Party, so probably won’t see any bands, but you never know. That won’t prevent me from celebrating these five:

Highest of Heels

Could be a pair of ridiculously uncomfortable shoes. I’m going with a superlatively hoity-toity villain.

Sparks+Front+Cover+eBook+finalHorse Jumper of Love

There really is someone for everyone. This also gives me a chance to plug Sparks, a delightful fantasy romance set on an Oregon horse farm, releasing in late July from Not A Pipe Publishing. Read my advance review here and pre-order now!

Long Shorts

I love a good oxymoron. On the one hand, which is it? On the other hand, sometimes you don’t want to show your knees, even in summer.

Rock Paper Sun

This contest seems rigged.

Stay Grounded

Solid advice in stressful times; a terse order that lets you know you’re still in trouble with Mom; or the reason we haven’t gotten back to the moon.

Wizard Girl cover imageShameless Self Promotion: My next fantasy novel, Wizard Girl (sequel to 2018’s Daughter of Magic) releases next Tuesday, July 23! I’m having an online launch party that day from 2-6 pm Pacific time. Join us here for any or all of the festivities. On Saturday, July 27, I’ll be reading and signing at 7 pm at Third Place Books–Ravenna. Details here.

And one last thing before you go: I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, and other goodies. Click the link to check out the first three issues and subscribe here for future issues.  (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Review: Sparks

Sparks+Front+Cover+eBook+finalSparks by Maren Anderson (July 2019 Not A Pipe Publishing)

Romance, monsters, and magic … for grownups? Yes, please!

It’s a treat to find a good fantasy novel aimed at adult readers. Sparks is just such a book. Nothing against YA, which I love, but I like the idea of someone with life experience and responsibilities encountering magic in the midst of an otherwise ordinary life. I also enjoyed the setting: contemporary West Coast farm country, not the usual venue for tales of monsters and magic.

Rosie, a widow in her late 30s, owns a ranch where she boards horses and offers riding lessons. She loves her life but she’s deep in debt. She has plans to train five mustangs, which will help pay the bills. But first she needs to build a round pen, and the only good place for it is occupied by a century-old cowshed. A cowshed that does not want to be torn down. Things are complicated further by the arrival of Patrick, a handsome stranger with a beautiful horse and a mysterious past. Skeptical, unsuperstitious Rosie has a big adjustment to make as genuine magic enters her life, and not only from the cowshed.

The book has a nice balance of humor, romance, and suspense as Rosie and Patrick team up to figure out what is in the cowshed and how to get rid of it. Things get worse before they get better—much worse for some characters—until the surprising, satisfying conclusion. Recommended for fans of fantasy romance, mythical creatures, and horses.

Hardcover HERE

Trade Paperback HERE

Kindle Edition HERE