I have a Kickstarter campaign running right now for my book’s cover art. So throughout the month of March, while that’s running, I’m going to point out other Kickstarter projects that are cool.
Hey, guys? I have exciting news. My last ebook, The Confederacy of Heaven, was published in the fall of 2010. Now, after three and a half years, I’m finally ready to publish another ebook.
It’s called Cannon Fodder, and here’s a taste of how it goes:
The good guys always win – and Alec Nightshade isn’t going to take it anymore. Alec’s a fifteen-year-old member of the Norgolian Society of Evil Overlords, which means not having much of a life expectancy. When a hero hunts down and kills his aunt, the Viper, he sets off on the first evil scheme of his life to set things straight.
Starting an evil scheme proves to be harder than it looks. Alec catches a break when a friend tips him off about the Eggbeater of Doom, a device that can summon a kiloton-sized elder god with a grudge against those puny hairless apes. If Alec blabs about the Eggbeater, gets a hero to go after him, then kicks the hero’s ass, he can break the cycle of prophecy that dooms his side never to see the age of fifty. He doesn’t mean to hurt anybody else. But when another overlord steals the Eggbeater with the intent to actually level a city, Alec knows what he and his gang of minions will have to do: save the day. He will never get to live this down.
Like the sound of it? I’m running a Kickstarter campaign starting today to raise money for professional cover art. I’m working with Kelsey King, a local artist who’s illustrated my other ebooks. If you preorder a copy of Cannon Fodder through the Kickstarter, not only do you get to help support the cover art, but you’ll get the book at a discount.
Check out the Cannon Fodder Kickstarter campaign.
Want to know more about the project? Drop me a line. I’ll keep you guys posted about the campaign’s progress now through the end of March.
Since the movie of the book came out last November, you probably already know how the story goes. Ender is a super-intelligent child, probably genetically engineered, who’s destined to lead Earth’s military forces against an alien insectoid race. At the age of six, he’s enrolled in Battle School with a bunch of other superkids. The teachers put them through war games that get ever more grueling until everything goes horribly wrong – or horribly right, depending whose side you’re on.
This book was just as hard to read as it is to review. One of the reasons is that Ender’s Game was never really meant to be a novel. Orson Scott Card originally published this story as a short story in 1977, then later beefed it up so he could write the sequel, Speaker for the Dead. It shows in the pacing, which goes by in fits and starts. And the ending is bizarre by a novel’s standards. Throughout the book, Ender makes the same mistake over and over again. He only means to beat his opponent, but he beats him so thoroughly he winds up killing him. At the climax of the story, Ender makes the same mistake, big time. It’s only in the denouement that he starts to change and get better.
But the biggest reason this book was so hard to read is that it’s chillingly real. Orson Scott Card is a skilled writer and he puts you through the hell on earth Ender has to go through. In my edition of Ender’s Game, Card writes in an introduction that the book’s become a manifesto for gifted children. Of course I’m nowhere near as smart as Ender, but I was a gifted child. I knew that same alienation and embarrassment when I’d run circles around my classmates academically, so the book struck close to home. Petra could have been me.
Should Ender’s Game be a manifesto for gifted children? Ender is no role model. Ender commits atrocities, and the book is never totally clear whether Ender’s a monster or just unlucky. Would any bright kid in Ender’s situation have done the same things? Does the book condone this?
I don’t know, but I want to add that I watched the movie at the same time as I read the book. It’s never destined to be classic cinema, but the movie was good. It fixed the pacing issues and lightened the story up a lot. Fine with me. It’s a great way to chase out nightmares after you’ve read the book.
One final note: the book wound up undercutting its own scariness, completely by accident. I couldn’t help snickering every single time one of the characters mentioned the Buggers. *snerk* Buggers!
Traditionally, coconut cake is lighter than air and sweeter than a marshmallow, which is not what I’m looking for in a cake. I’m looking for a cake that’s got a nice, firm texture, tastes like cake, and also has an intense coconut flavor. After the umpteenth online recipe told me to use boxed white cake mix to make the coconut cake fluffier, I Frankensteined this recipe together out of a couple of non-coconut sources.
Ingredients for the cake:
- 9″ round cake pan
- 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup sweet flaked coconut (did I mention it’s supposed to be coconutty?)
Ingredients for the frosting:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temp
- 1/2 stick butter, room temp
- pinch salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon rum
For the topping, lots more sweet flaked coconut!
Set oven to 350° F.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar. Then, beat the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture. Add part of the flour mixture, stir it in, add part of the coconut mixture, stir, and go on until it’s all combined. Finally add the vanilla and sweet flaked coconut.
Grease the baking pan and pour the batter in. Bake for about 30 minutes, but check on it early! The cake is done when a knife stuck in the middle comes out without chunks of batter on it.
Let the cake cool completely. Meanwhile, making the frosting couldn’t be simpler: put all the ingredients into a bowl and beat the heck out of them.
Once the cake is cool, turn it out onto the plate and frost. Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. Enjoy.
Here’s some photos of the process: