My feet STILL hurt…

Yes, another week has passed, and I didn’t post a blog last week due to Further Confusion. Mhari and I both are very tired out, with Mhari suffering more than I, in general. She seems to have caught some bug, be it a cold or something more, it really doesn’t matter because she’s just plain not doing so well… and her weekly meds didn’t help that one bit… I’m worried, but it doesn’t seem too bad. But that doesn’t stop me from being worried.

As for myself, my feet still hurt from all the time I spent on my feet at the convention. My back pains me as well for the same reason. But I am slowly recovering and getting caught up on the sleep I missed. However, at the same time my paying job is really taking my time wholesale. I will be working this weekend, if from home. And I really am not happy about that. I was looking for a weekend where I could relax and do mostly nothing to further recover from the convention. I also would not be surprised if I end up working NEXT weekend as well and have to miss the PnP gaming session that will be happening. I may have to wait for DunDraCon on Valentine’s Day weekend before I will be able to ‘relax’ and recover. Grrrrr.

Further Confusion 2009
You know… I really don’t have a lot to say about the convention. Others are a LOT better at convention reports than I am, and there is lots of video coverage and photos showing up on the net. Just go do a search on the words ‘Further Confusion 2009’ on google and you are sure to find lots and lots of things about it.

FC2009 was a very good convention. While I am not as filled with post-con energy and immediate desire to do the next one as I was after last year’s convention, it was still a blast. Part of the difference is that I really didn’t get to see much of the convention other than the part of it that I ran. I got to see lots and lots of the Dealer Room, Con Store and Furry Market Place. Things in those areas ran very, very well and my staff did a DAMN good job of making the experience a low-stress one. There were no big crisis, no huge dramas, nothing that makes me have a single bad thing to say at all. Which means that we did it right, we did it well, and people didn’t drop loads of grief on me.

All my hard decisions were made before the con. I managed to get everyone that stayed on the waiting list right up to the beginning of the convention into one of the selling spaces. I did have to give one dealer a lot less space than he needed, but thanks to another dealer having brought one of those four-foot work tables that are sold at the big chain office stores, he had a better laid out space than he would have had. I wish I could have given him more space, and I had to squeeze another of our dealers onto a similar space, but it all worked out and they were able to sell.

This was our last year at the DoubleTree, which made the end of the con really bittersweet. It was bitter because we were not going to be back there. Sweet because the new space will have MORE space which I hope to be able to use better and thus give all my dealers more elbow room and fairer space. We’ll have to wait and see.

This past weekend was also an important milestone in a way that got a lot less press and celebration than it should have gotten… but maybe another California furry convention will give it the due it deserves. You see, this past weekend was also the 20th anniversary of Furry Conventions as a whole. For on that weekend, 20 years ago, ConFurence Zero happened in southern California. On that same weekend, in 1989, 65 to 87 (depending on who you talk to) fur fans gathered and started a January tradition that continues to this day with Further Confusion. ConFurence may be gone, but there’s a whole world where there are fur fan conventions every year. And NONE of them would have come about without the success of that first one and the furry parties that came before it. It’s my hope that the folks at CaliFur 5, happening in the first week of June this year, will give it some of the due it deserves. Twenty years of furry fandom being organized enough to hold conventions… that’s nothing to sneeze at.

I am surprised that we (Further Confusion) didn’t do more than the single panel devoted to the subject. But at the same time, I will admit that until someone pointed it out to me, I didn’t realize that the weekend WAS the 20th anniversary. So it is entirely possible that we were so busy just trying to do this convention at all that we didn’t step back and really realize the historic event that it was.

As you can imagine, we didn’t really get to play much City of Heroes this week. But we DID get online on Monday, some of us, with Whyaylooh being with Mhari and I at our place it was three of us from our household, and Nighty and Zafel from their household. We did some before we pooped out from exhaustion from the convention we had just finished. Then Wednesday we got together and rather than doing ‘Flying Fox’s Team’ we formed an adhoc team of other Dark-Star members and did some high-level content for a few hours.

Tonight is villain night, though we may move that to Wednesdays starting next week so Tigrise can join us on the ‘dark side’ each week. We’ll see. But tonight, tonight the Wolf Pack will HOWL!

Thanks for reading… I plan to be back next week… and be sure to read the my latest book review elsewhere in my blog. Thanks!

Book Review: ‘Brimstone Kiss’ by Carole Nelson Douglas

Brimstone Kiss by Carole Nelson Douglas

Brimstone Kiss is book 2 of the ‘Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator’ series. The first book was Dancing with Werewolves from last year. You really, really need to read the first book before reading this one.

Delilah Street is an orphan from Kansas who worked as a paranormal investigative reporter for WTCH-TV until office politics, a ‘vampire’ newscaster and his weather witch of a girlfriend almost literally blew Delilah from town. Delilah saw an episode of CSI Las Vegas V in which there was a morgue scene in which there was a twin of her, right down to a nose stud, on the autopsy table. So, with no reason to stay in Kansas, she moved to Las Vegas to search for her twin and discovered a LOT more going on than just a TV show with her twin in it. But all that discovery happened in the first book, in which she gained a new home, a new job, a new boyfriend and new pet. As well as a passel of new enemies.

In Delilah Street’s world, things are similar to ours, but changed in significant ways due to something that happened in the year 2000: The Millennium Revelation. In that year all the things that go ‘bump in the night’ and were thought to be only fiction have come out from under the bed and out of the dark closet. Werewolves, vampires, witches and zombies are just some of them. And some of those zombies are imbued through magic and science with new life from the black and white age of film. These zombies become CinSims (Cinema Simulacrums) whose appearance and nature are based on the merging of the actor and the character the actor portrayed. So there are multiple Bogarts, multiple Lon Chaney’s and so on.

It is now 2013 (or thereabouts) and Delilah Street lives in Las Vegas in an Enchanted Cottage on the estate of the Hector Nightwine, producer of the CSI Las Vegas V TV show and is investigating the 80 year cold case of the murder of a pair of lovers back from before Las Vegas was the ‘power’ that it is today. But in both the discovery of the bones of the lovers (in the first book) and in just the fact that she looks like that body in the TV show (around which a cult is forming, of sorts), Delilah has stirred up a whole passel of troubles and things that the powers that run Vegas really preferred stayed buried like the murdered lovers.

In general this book adds a number of pieces to the puzzle, adds more questions, and reveals more about the post Millennium Revelation world (or at least Las Vegas). We learn more about the lovers, more about the CinSims, more about Delilah’s various ’employers’ as well as a little more about her dog, Quicksilver, and her boyfriend, Ric Montoya. But most of the book is just investigations and Delialh getting herself into more trouble. She discovers that some of her ‘enemies’ may be closer to friends, and that there is more going on than meets the eye in Vegas. But really nothing is resolved and things don’t move along that much. This feels a lot more like just another step along a long, long path.

All in all, I really don’t feel like this book had any story of it’s own. No real start, middle or end. Delilah Street is a GREAT character, and the world is really interesting, but this felt less like a book and more like a collection of episodes in an old movie serial. Even the end of the book, where we suddenly have a big event causing a undefined change in one of the characters feels like something you would find in one of those serials. Maybe this is the author’s intent, in which case she did a really good job, but I, as a reader, was sort of swimming around through the book looking for something to be resolved, even if it was something small, but I never found it, unless that something was intended to be the Name of book and the bestowing of that kiss.

I did enjoy this book, and I really want to read the next one, and I hope it is on the same schedule as the last to, targeting them for a October release. But I also see that Ms. Nelson writes very prolifically, so we’ll see.

So lets see if this is short…

Another Friday and time to post another blog. First of all, Mhari and I are doing okay, though Mhari’s going a little bonkers from the Pre-Further Confusion 2009 activity she has to deal with. Lots of last minute pre-registration things and other administrivia. I am also in my pre-con blitz. It my case it’s for the dealer room. Dealing with last minute cancellations and getting in contact with people from the waiting list to fill the openings. Things like that.

In the MMO worlds we took ‘Thrilling Adventures’ out for a spin on City of Heroes on Mon and Wed and did Numnia’s Taskforce. It was fun, and it’s good to see a team that doesn’t get all flustered and bent out of shape by getting defeated. We just rez and move along when a member of the team goes down. At level 40 a number of us have self-rez powers and had to make good use of them. Otherwise our healer, Jandre, took care of getting them back into the action or an ‘awaken’ inspiration was put to good use. In general the task force went quite well.

Wednesday when we were done with the task force we kept playing (after some selling, leveling up and doing the level 40 Founder’s Falls costume mission) and added Mr. Adventure to the group. Then we did a door mission or two before calling it a night. I think we did good. Not quite sure if on Monday we will be doing Thrilling Adventures or Delta Squad. I still can’t decide. But the team has left the decision up to me as they all reported back ‘No Preference’ or ‘Abstain’. *sigh*. Guess that is why I am ‘leader’ of the team. I still wish one or more of the team would be a little assertive from time to time as to which missions they would rather do. Oh, well. I’ll do the missions I want to do.

All I have to do now is decide which character I would rather be playing… the Blaster or the Warshade… they are both a blast to play. And either would be fun to get to level 50. In some ways the Warshade would be better to ‘push’ with as getting a Keldian to level 50 is quite a accomplishment. And it’s possible at some point that they (the designers) will add a epic archtype that only unlocks by getting a Keldian to level 50. Would that be a Epic Epic Archtype?

At present I have gotten a Tanker, Defender and Mastermind to Level 50. That leaves Warshade, Peacebringer, Controller, Blaster and Scrapper on the Heroside… and Corrupter, Dominator, Stalker, Brute, Widow and Soldier on the Villain side. Hmmmmmm.

I haven’t been playing ANY other MMOs right now. All my other time is taken up with FC stuff. No time for extra MMOs or Second Life.

Well… was that short? I guess it was. Don’t know if I will post here next Friday as I will be in the midst of Further Confusion 2009. If you, dear reader, are there, perhaps I’ll see you. If not, have a great time this weekend and next. I’ll be back. (I might also post con-reports here… we’ll see.)

Book Review: ‘Dragon Wytch’ by Yasmine Galenorn

Dragon Wytch by Yasmine Galenorn

This book is book #4 in the Otherworld Series (Also known as the Sisters of the Moon series). As with the first three books, this book focuses on the point of view of one of the three D’Artigo sisters. Like the first book, this one is told with Camille, the Witch of the family. All three sisters are half-Fae, half-human. Their father was Fae, and a member of the Fae Queen’s royal Guard. Their mother was human and an adopted citizen of ‘Otherworld’ which is the dimension that broken off from Earth long, long ago in a bid to prevent demonkind from taking over.

The barriers between Otherworld and Earthside have been opening. The Fae restored contact with Earthside again about 4-5 years ago and made themselves known. Now the world in general knows about Elves, Fae, Goblins, Werewolves, Vampires and all the other things of the supernatural. It appears that the place where all this ‘breaking through’ or ‘reconnecting’ is going on is along the Pacific Northwest. And so the story is set in Seattle, roughly set in the current day, maybe a little back, or a little forward from us in time.

The D’Artigo sisters are part of something called the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Or they were. Things have gotten a little troubled back home. The Fae are warring amongst themselves and are a little busy with that so they have drawn most support of the OIA from them away. So the sisters and their allies, both Earthside and in Otherworld, are trying to keep things going alone. And it’s not easy. One of the major powers of the underworld, Shadow Wing, is out to break through from Underworld into Earthside and ‘unleash hellfire to burn it all down’ so that Shadow Wing can take over and rule over Underworld, Earthside and Otherworld. He wants it ALL! But he has to get some things called the ‘Spirit Seals’. In the first three books they managed to save some of them and get them into safe hands. But there’s another one that is now in danger. And there’s a new set of demons in town as well as many other dangers to deal with.

Besides the over story, there is also the personal stories. In the first book, called Witchling, Camille reunited with a love she was long parted from, met a kitsune-demon that she also has fallen in love with, and met this handsome hunk of a Dragon (who can shape change to look like a man) that she had to negotiate to spend time with in exchange for some much needed help. All of these men in her life return in this book and Smoky, the dragon, has come to collect on their agreement. And what a Dragon wants, a Dragon gets! Add in more portals between Earthside and Otherworld opening, goblins attacking, unicorn royalty, trolls, and Morgaine la Fae and the queens of the Earthside Fae Courts coming back into power, and you have a whole MESS of trouble.

The book is well-written, and there is clear character growth of the main character. Camille is center stage but that doesn’t totally leave out Delilah, the werecat, or Menolly, the vampire. And the cast of supporting characters are all back and we meet at least a few more. Delilah and Menolly’s parts are defiantly only supporting here, and sometimes they almost felt cardboard. But it didn’t detracts from the story at all. Oh, and since this IS ‘Paranormal Romance’ there is a bit of sex. But then Camillie is very much the ‘Saucy Wench’ of a Witch… with powers that have been known to short-circuit. So lust plays a part in this novel, though not quite on the level of focus that it plays with many ‘Paranormal Romance’ books.

Overall, I would say that this book does a lot more to further the over story plot and Camillie’s relationships that the first book did. And it feels like the author has gained a firm feel for where she is going with this and how Camille is going to react to things. Ms Galenorn’s characters are NOT dumb bunnies. They are intelligent, they have their flaws, and they have strength and courage. Her characters truly carry the story, they aren’t just swept along by it.

The next book in this series is Night Huntressand the focus of characters will move over to the werecat, Delilah. I am rather looking forward to it, as of the three sisters she is the one I find most interesting. I’m wondering if, like in the last three books if the complications of her personal relationships is going to get still more complicated. That’s sure what has happened in Dragon Wytch for Camille. And in the prior 3 books each sister’s personal lives got complicated in similar, yet different ways. Will it be the same for the second trilogy? Night Huntress is already out and waiting at home for me to read.

Meanwhile, the next book for me will be Brimstone Kiss by Carole Nelson Douglas. It’s book 2 of Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator. This is the sequel to Dancing with Werewolves that I read last year. I don’t know if I will finish this one before Further Confusion next week or not.

Thanks for reading…

Book Review: ‘Kris Longknife: Intrepid’ by Mike Shepherd

Kris Longknife: Intrepid by Mike Shepherd

First off, if you haven’t read my review for Kris Longknife: Audacious, I recommend you do so, as I sort of summed up most of what the series is about in that post. It was from December 29th, 2008 Book Review post.

Okay, so this is book 6 in the series about a rich young woman who pulled her way out of a bottle after some really bad things happened to her and her family, and she dove into being a Marine in her planet’s space navy. She’s a LT in the space navy at this point in the series, and she’s out on the rim of space a space ship of her own along with a crew of ‘look like they are pirates’, a platoon of Marines, a passel of scientists, her lady’s maid and a twelve-year-old girl…. trolling for real pirates and on a mission of ‘exploration’.

Well, it turns out that in exploring where no one else is supposed to have gone before, there’s an awful lot of already settled worlds, ‘Sooner Colonies’, out here. And the pirates are preying upon the merchants that risk it all to supply these ‘unauthorized’ colonies. Just what Kris is looking for…

In the course of her travels in this book, Kris encounters forgotten fanatics that prefer to be forgotten, an old former captain of hers hired to do ‘bad things’, and once more encounters the woman who, in the prior book, was trying to kill her… who is now an Ensign under the captaincy of an ‘old friend’. It’s a Small Universe these days, and where ‘those damn Longknifes’ are concerned, no one is truly safe… especially if they are trying to hurt and profit off of those that can’t defend themselves!

This book in the series is really, really good. It contains moral dilemmas, adventure, and a lot of doing the right thing and having to live with the bad that sometimes comes with doing those right things. There’s a lot of character growth for our Kris and her computer, Nelly. And there’s also a turn for the good from an unexpected direction! All that makes a Kris Longknife novel good is in this book. I plowed through it really fast and am strongly looking forward to the next one Kris Longknife: Undaunted when it comes out late this year.

My next book will be Dragon Wytch by Yasmine Galenorn. However, I am not in as strong of a reading mood, so it might take a while before I finish it.

Thanks for reading…