"Leaping Lizards", "The Best Revenge", and "What Really Matters" are three science fiction short stories published as separate ebooks. They take place in the same universe, and mostly follow Kinahran, a young cat-centaur growing up on a clan-ship of her people.
I've read and listed them in publishing order, starting with the freebie introductory story. (Covers below link to Smashwords sites.)
As a general note I'd like to say: Elizabeth McCoy Obviously is obviously big on worldbuilding, including conlanging. The second in my eyes is a bit problematic. It's mostly that something like leaving "khih" and "nih" ("yes" and "no") and other words in the original Kintaran when translating a line of dialogue seems illogical to me, and makes reading less smooth than it could be. (The vocabulary is given in a glossary up front in each story.)
On the plus side, I think that she does a very good job of working in information about her universe in small, natural-feeling bits—in these stories I never had the feeling of being stuck in an unneccessary infodump. Aspects of Kintaran culture are shown organically through actions or thoughts of the characters in the stories.
We all agree that having someone wait 10, 20, 30 seconds for a website to load if that can be easily avoided is a bad idea, right?
Yet if you are using a big graphic as your backround, it might be what's happening: Depending on the background colour, the text may be unreadable while the background graphic is loading. The solution is to define both a background image, and a background colour that is similar to the colour of the image.
I've made a quick mock-up to demonstrate the effect.
Finished is a science fiction adventure short story (~4800 words) published as ebook at Smashwords
A life of larceny in a half-wrong body isn't what Aldin hoped for, but right now it's all he's got and he's making the best of it. When an unwelcome surprise sends him running, his prospects hinge entirely on his wits and an unlikely ally.
Aldin (our viewpoint character) is an art thief one job away from retiring and getting his sex reassignment surgery finished. When needing to evade authorities, borrowing transportation including driver at gunpoint seemed like a good idea...
Suspense, action, and a little commentary on gender change.
Content "warning": Starts off with a short section of pillow talk shading into foreplay, before that's interrupted.
There were no spelling, grammar or similar issues that jumped out at me.
From the "good things need to be shared" section, a recipe that's been floating around my mother's side of the family, for some really delicious chocolate cake. While rich in sugar and fat, it doesn't involve flour, so it should be suitable for people looking for gluten-free recipes.
200g are 7.05 ounces.
If I'm reading a cups-to-grammes conversion list correctly, we're talking
8/9 cup butter
1 1/3 cups ground almonds
8/9 cup sugar
I presume 1 packet vanilla sugar would be 4 teaspoons; the brand we have says 1 packet is "for 500g of flour", 500g being 1.1 pounds. You could probably replace it with a little vanilla aroma, or leave it out entirely.
200g dark chocolate (60% cocoa content)
200g ground almonds
1 packet vanilla sugar (meant for 500g flour)
1/2 packet (2 teaspoons) baking soda
Melt the butter and chocolate.
Add almonds, sugar, vanilla sugar and baking soda, and mix.
Whisk in eggs one by one.
Put into a round pan and bake for 40 minutes at 160° C (320 F) upper and lower heat.
The original recipe I got called for sifting powdered sugar on top after letting it cool, but I don't think that's neccessary. It's plenty rich as it is.
I had heard the name Elizabeth Moon in author recommendations, so when I saw one of her novels available for free at BAEN, I gave it a shot. It's the first volume in a fantasy series.
The prologue tells us of a written account of Paksenarrion's (here not specified) deeds being delivered to her humble family. It amazes them. Since chapter one jumps back to when she ran away from home, that prologue smells to me like a cheap ploy to build interest.
In the following, we get rather a lot of detail about basic training in a mercenary army. While we hear how to handle a spear, what the food's like, and what the unit marches past on the way to their first campaign, we don't see much character interaction beyond orders and some bullying from a fellow recruit. Paks making friends is covered with "Despite having little time to talk, she knew that Saben, Arñe, Vik, Jorti, and Coben were going to be her friends". The occasional conversation seems to be designed primarily to lay out worldbuilding details (gods, elves and dwarves, geography).
The only point which is not that boring is a sort of investigation after an offstage fight involving Paks and two fellow mercenaries, in which she is initially accused. The thing is, this has her locked up, and the interesting part is someone else showing initiative.
About a quarter of the way into the book, Paks is still a cipher to me, rather than someone I care about, and she's supposed to be the protagonist. I read too character-centered to be interested in this, and couldn't be bothered to finish.
Might might be interesting for military aficionados (Elizabeth Moon was in the US Marine Corps, so presumably it's not too far-fetched), but the more military-centered stories I read, the more I think I just should stay away from the topic/genre.
Thought I'd drop a line... I'm revamping the website to a system that better integrates art and other content, and that takes up so much brainspace not much is left for drawing. I'll pick it up again soon.