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Showing posts from February, 2008

Book Club: Unshapely Things Finale

By Friday, I always seem to forget that a lot of League readers are out east, so then by the time I post, it's already afternoon there. I think I'll have to go back to posting on Thursday night. I've got to apologize to our guest, too. Had a bit of a crisis yesterday and the club slipped my mind entirely. I hope the two Wednesday threads kept you busy and our guest blogger provided some thoughtful discussion.

Anyway, on with the show.

Today's theme day. Just like last time. What theme(s) resonated from Mark Del Franco's Unshapely Things? What struck a chord? What memories did it spark?

I was struck by Connor's heroism in the face of overwhelming personal obstacles. I always love flawed characters, their vulnerability, particularly. When I read a depiction that is well crafted, and very real (even in a fantasy), I feel like I can access some of that in myself and my own characters. At least I hope I can.

Guest Blogger: Seressia Glass

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(Quick note from Stacia: Apologies for the wonky photo layout, which should be better because the cover for Dream of Shadows is so gorgeous. Why Blogger has taken such a strong dislike to uploading photos for me lately I don't know. Maybe because I'm cheating on it with Livejournal?)

Can You Relate?

When Stacia asked me to do a guest blog over here, my first thought was, "Does she know what she's stepping into?" It's not that I'm controversial or confrontational. At least, I didn't start out that way. That's until I realized that there are two romance novel worlds: the world of white heroines, and the world of The Others.

It took a long time to come to this realization. Ten years ago I joined my local and national romance writing organizations, eager to learn. I wrote my first book, an interracial romance, and entered it into the Golden Heart. I should have known that the range--one 3, the rest way higher—was an indication of things to come. (…

Spoiler Day! Unquiet Dreams Thread

Two threads today, one for UT and the other for UD (cause I know you people read it already). I haven't, so I won't be looking in there. I'll leave it up to MDF to check in on those folks who want to venture in.

Use this thread to discuss all things spoilery about Unquiet Dreams! The ending perhaps. And by all means take Del Franco to task and pry out some new info.

Have fun.

Spoiler Day! Unshapely Things Thread

Two threads today, one for UT and the other for UQ (cause I know you people read it already). I haven't, so I won't be looking in there. I'll leave it up to MDF to check in on those folks who want to venture in.

Use this thread to discuss all things spoilery about Unshapely Things! The ending perhaps. And by all means take Del Franco to task and pry out some new info.

Have fun.

Unshapely Things: Topic 2 + Giveaway

As a result of a certain other book hitting the shelves, I've been busy as hell. But I can't forget about my clubbers, so here we go...

Mark Del Franco informed me that there will be a GIVEAWAY at the end of this week, now I have no idea what said GIVEAWAY will entail, but you can be certain, you want it. So check back regularly. If you don't participate in the comments then you don't enter. Get it.

Topique No. Deux: Although urban fantasy is a "hot" genre, there are still relatively few male protagonists. Why do you suppose this is? Where does Connor Grey sit in the pantheon of UF heroes?

We Interrupt this book club...for release day stuff!

Not sure if y'all are aware of it, but both Mark and Anton have books releasing today! I know, I know, they're too shy to toot their own horns so I'm going to, uh...toot their horns for them. Um.

First I want to talk about Anton's book, Dead to Me.

One of the more embarrassing things about being me is I tend to rate my enjoyment of books based in large part on how sexy I find the male lead. (This might be the reason for some of my more unusual tastes, actually.) So of course, large in my mind as I started reading--and kept reading, and stayed up half the night reading--Dead to Me was, do I actually want to make kissy with Simon Canderous?

Yep.

I loved him. I loved his mix of vulnerability and toughness, his self-awareness, his awkwardness around women, his shady past and his desire to move forward from it. I loved that he wasn't above getting dirty if need be. I loved his really cool apartment that he hadn't yet managed to unpack. Basically, I pretty much loved e…

League Book Club Post #1: Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco

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Here we are again, another week of chatting about books and stuff. This time it's Mark Del Franco's druid detective, Connor Grey in the spotlight. We'll be talking about both Unshapely Things and Unquiet Dreams (in a separate post, so hold off with the spoiling, people).

I have to remind myself and all you guys, the purpose of a book club is not to discuss whether you liked a book or not, but to express what resonated with you, themes, all that. But favorite bits is still the best place to start.

So here's the question...

Who's your favorite secondary character and why? I'd jump right into Connor as the topic, but Del Franco has populated his world with such fascinating personalities, they beg a mention--not to gush or anything.

So off we go. Remember, Mark has agreed to swing by and answer questions and chat. You never know who'll stop by really.

My fellow man-bitch: Mark Henry

I'm not sure if any of your readers out there have heard (because he's terribly shy), but fellow Leaguer Mark Henry also has a book coming out on 2/26. Against his better judgment (if he can be said to have any), he has let me put the screws to him. Enjoy!

Anton: Some people are calling you the Candace Bushnell of the George Romero set. And by some people, I mean me. I just made that up right now. Pretty good, right? Anyway, do you think that's a fair assessment? Feel free to shamelessly plug HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED in your answer...
Mark: While I'll agree there's a certain Samantha-on-brains flavor to Happy Hour, the book is more of a satire of chick-lit as a genre rather than it's most recent incarnation. I do have a Bushnell story, though. When I was in New York meeting with my agent and editor, I got a little lost and ended up in Bushnell's building; confidential hilarity ensued--it'd probably be a better story if the punch-line didn't involve h…

Zombie Quiz Winner + Answers!

Congratulations to Brenna!

She's our winner with a stunning 14 out of 15 correct. So, as promised, here are the answers.

1. What's the difference between a zombie and a golem?

A golem is a construct, an animated creature made from inanimate material, while a zombie is a reanimation of a corpse or a person under the toxic effects of the coup de poudre (see #3).

2. Wade Davis wrote two books about voudou zombies is Haiti in the 80's. Name one of them.

THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and PASSAGE OF DARKNESS, both explored the Haitian zombie from an anthropological and ethnobotanical perspective.

3. The coup de poudre used by voudou bokors to create a zombie consists largely of the same toxin (Tetrotodoxin) as that found in what type of fish?

Puffer fish, blowfish, globefish or even fugu for those sushi afficionados.

4. What was the first name of Shaun's stepfather in Shaun of the Dead?

Phillip.

5. In the 1984 film Night of the Comet, where do the teenage girls get into a gunfight with…

Zombie vs. Psychometer: The Anton Strout Execution...I Mean Interview

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Today, we've got Anton strapped to the barber chair Stacia swiped from the Sweeney Todd set. That's right kids, it's an inteview, interrogation-stylee. Check it!

Mark: Hey Anton, I normally ply my interviewees with alcohol but it was a wild weekend in the League Lounge--as you know--and we're fresh out. Luckily for us, you can't resist an opportunity to talk about yourself or your book, Dead to Me. Why don't you give the peeps a primer?

Anton: Why give you a primer when super-author and southern belle of urban fantasy Charlaine Harris puts it best: "Simon Canderous is a reformed thief and a psychometrist. By turns despondent over his luck with the ladies (not always living) and his struggle with the hierarchy of his mysterious department (not always truthful), Simon's life veers from crisis to crisis. Following Simon's adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it's well worth the wear and tear."

Sorry, I was in…

Zombies for Grrls

So a lot of you ladies out there are thinking, "Zombie movies? Eww." I know I thought the same thing...but I married a man that was utterly in love with the genre. Bleh. As a dutiful wife, I was subsequently forced me to watch zombie flick after zombie flick with him. Pain of death. For realz. But I found myself secretly enjoying them (wtf, right?) and I thought that the girls of the world definitely needed a little more zombie action.

Here is a girly rundown of some hidden zombie gems:

1) DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) - Because almost all of the movie takes place in a shopping mall.
2) 28 DAYS LATER - Naked Cillian Murphy. In like, the first scene.
3) RESIDENT EVIL - Supermodel Milla Jovovich wears a hot red dress and kicks everyone's butt.
4) RESIDENT EVIL 2 - Skip upon pain of death. Jill Valentine ruins this movie.
5) RESIDENT EVIL 3 - Mmmm, hot dude from the Mummy is in this (Oded Fehr).
6) HOUSE OF THE DEAD - It's a terrible Uwe Boll movie based off of a video game, but h…

Let's get Zombie with it!

Original Zombie Drink Recipe

Ingredients

1 oz Vodka

1/2 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Dark Rum

1 oz Light Rum

1/2 oz Creme de Almond

Orange Juice

Sweet and Sour Mix

Original Zombie Directions

Pour light rum, dark rum, creme de almond and triple sec into an ice-filled hurricane glass. Almost-fill with equal parts of sweet and sour and orange juice. Top with 151 rum. Add a large straw, and serve unstirred.

Serve Original Zombie in a Hurricane Glass

Courtesy of www.drinkswap.com

It's fun to stay at the YZCA

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Zombie Quiz NOW With Bonus Contest!

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Whaddya think? You know you want one for bathtime, right? Well this little zombie devil duck can be yours. All you need to do is complete that zombie quiz down there and email me (over there on the left should be a link) with the answers. If you get them all right (if there's two, I can come up with something equally zombirific for a second prize). If I end up with tons of correct quizes, I'm gonna have to do a draw. Just sayin'.

Zombie Quiz, Zombie Quiz!

Answers on Sunday!

1. What's the difference between a zombie and a golem?

2. Wade Davis wrote two books about voudou zombies is Haiti in the 80's. Name one of them.

3. The coup de poudre used by voudou bokors to create a zombie consists largely of the same toxin (Tetrotodoxin) as that found in what type of fish?

4. What was the first name of Shaun's stepfather in Shaun of the Dead?

5. In the 1984 film Night of the Comet, where do the teenage girls get into a gunfight with zombies? Bonus point: what are they doing there?

6. The first zombie movie was made in
a) 1961
b) 1945
c) 1972
d) 1932

7. Put these films in chronological order: Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead

8. Which one of these is not a real title:
a) Chopper Chics in Zombie Town
b) Zombies on Broadway
c) Night of the Zombies
d) Zombie Sunrise

9. The author of Zombie Survival Guide was:
a) John Romero
b) Max Brooks
c) Steven King
d) Wade Davis

10. What does FZVA stand for?
a) Female Zombie Vixen Alert
b) Federal…

You be the judge: Zombie or ghoul?

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In my ceaseless attempts to bring ya'll the latest in zombie...uh...stuff, I stumbled upon this. It's the Zombie Man costume from the "Silly Jokes" party & costume shop.

Now I ask you: Does this really look like a zombie? No! Everyone knows zombies wear suits (with big striped ties, usually), or the occasional sports uniform. Burial clothing. Who buries people in tattered, hooded shrouds anymore? Fringed shrouds? He looks like if the Village People had a zombie member too. (Ooh, wouldn't that be cool? Policeman...construction worker...Native American...zombie...biker guy...cowboy. Ever wonder why the Village People didn't have, say, a vampire? I wonder what would be in a paranormal Village People. The Graveyard People. Anyway.)

The costume is a robe. Is he a zombie monk? If so, where is his toque? Or big rosary belt, like Friar Tuck? He looks like Much's "The Scream".

Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that this is not a zombie. It is a ghoul.

Discu…

Save the Date!

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The League of Reluctant Adults Book Club welcomes Mark Del Franco starting Monday, the 25th. He'll be chatting up all the club peeps and though we chose Unshapely Things, I know a lot of you have been reading Unquiet Dreams, so we'll run a spoiler thread on that, too.



We had a blast last time, and tons of visits to the site during our Heart of Stone book club. We're expecting a record turn out for this one, too. Make sure to comment and get the most out of it. We promise not to ridicule you too much.

I'll Take Music Videos With Zombies That Aren't Thriller for a 1000, Alex.

Is it a zombie?

(Note: When I wrote this out it was a cool little chart, but for some reason it didn't post that way, and now I've spent like an hour and a half on it so you will read it, dammit.)

Here's how to tell:

If you're walking down the street

A. Is it moaning and stumbling, with its arms held out and its head at a strange angle?

Yes. Keep reading, it may be a zombie!

No. Is it wearing a leotard?

Yes/No

Is it wearing black-and-white makeup?

Yes It is a mime. Run!

No Probably not a zombie


B. Are its clothes dirty and tattered?

Yes Does it have a heavy beard?

Yes Probably not a zombie

No Is it a drunk?

No Is it a man?

Yes Could be a zombie

Is she missing a shoe?

Yes Probably a zombie

No Is she hot?

Yes Dude, go for it

No Call her a cab


C. Did it attempt to eat your brains?

Yes Run, it's a zombie!

No Probably not a zombie


At the office:

A. Is it wearing the same outfit it's been wearing for days?

Yes Keep reading; it could still be a zombie!

Is it the office slut?

Yes
Do its lovers still come …

Why Zombies?

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It's not news that Anton and my debut novels are prepping for their official release next week (both are even showing up in stores)! So I'll take a moment to pimp them gratuitously before I move on.

Buy them! Please! Only you can support an urban fantasist. Think about it like this, for less than a dollar per day you and your family can enjoy countless evenings of wholesome entertainment (well maybe not wholesome).

Me first, though. This is, after all, my post.


Amazon * Barnes and Noble

Amazon * Barnes and Noble

Now, with that bit out of the way, we can move on to the topic at hand...Zombies! And specifically why zombies? In a few of the interviews I've given recently, the question came up as to where I got the idea for a zombie protagonist. It seems natural to me, since, I've always been fascinated by the living dead. I can trace it back to my childhood.

*cue flashback sequence*

My grandmother died when I was 5 or 6 and we travelled to her house in North Carolina for…

Zombie Finger cookies

1 package pre-made sugar cookie dough
food coloring
colored frosting for decoration (comes in a tube)
pumpkin seeds (optional)


Mix dough & food coloring until the dough is a greenish-gray color. Make 2-inch balls with the dough, then roll it until it's a finger-sized cylinder. Set on baking sheet. Insert pumpkin seed (if using) into the end to make fingernails.

Bake according to package instructions, let cool. Decorate with frosting to make knuckles, wounds, blood, whatever you like.

FYI

10 Reasons why Zombies Are Better Than Men

10. Zombies rarely talk about themselves, so they're good listeners.

9. Zombies don't care what you watch on TV. Hellooo, Lifetime network!

8. Zombies don't demand a different meal every night. As long as you have a fridge full of brains, they're happy.

7. Zombies don't obsess about sports.

6. A zombie has no shame. They'll hold your purse for as long as you like.

5. Zombies don't need a freshly ironed shirt every day.

4. A zombie won't refuse to let you ask directions.

3. Zombies are happy to clean the bathroom, or anything else you tell them to do.

2. Zombies don't generally go to bars and pick up other women.

1. If you tell a zombie to do something, he'll do it. And keep doing it, until you're satisfied.

Send brainnnsss

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With 13 minutes left to today, I'm still getting my Monday post in, but I have the perfect excuse! It's Zombie Week, and if there's a perfect time to be a zombie, it's the week before your first full length book goes to press! I can only hope that Mr. Henry is as frazzled as I am right now... cuz insanity loves company, my friends.

And in case you were wondering if I really was a zombie, that's proof positive up above in lovely sketch form by talented comic artist John Perry.

Tune in for more zombie goodness throughout the week!

This Just In...

What's This?

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Interview: Tananarive Due, American Book Award-winning author

(Okay, Blogger is not allowing me to upload images. I'll come back later and try yet again.)

Today we have a very, very special guest interview: Tananarive Due, who's been published in a number of genres and won awards in all of them. Ms. Due received the American Book Award in 2002 for The Living Blood, sequel to 1997's My Soul to Keep (The Living Blood was one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of 1997; My Soul to Keep made the same list in 2002.) The Black Rose, a biography of Madame C.J. Walker, America's first African-American female millionaire, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and the book she co-wrote with her mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, Freedom in the Family, was named 2003's best civil rights memoir by Black Issues Book Review. On top of these amazing acheivements, she also proves her excellent taste by being a fervent fan of the Miami Dolphins. Why she agreed to come here to the League and slum it with us, we can on…

Guest Blogger: John Levitt, Author of Dog Days

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Today we have a special guest blogger! John Levitt, author of Dog Days, (currently number NINE on the Locus Magazine Bestseller List), guitar player extraordinaire (you can check out his band here, and great guy.

Thanks first to everyone here at the League for inviting me to guest blog. My urban fantasy, Dog Days, is currently out from Ace and the next in the series will be out this fall.

When I wrote Dog Days, I made my main character a musician. (Well, actually I think the main character is really Lou, the "dog", but that's another story.) And by an incredible coincidence, I too am a musician, as well as a writer. This has definite advantages, the main one being the opportunity to avoid responsibility for the quality my playing. If someone thinks my band sucks, I have an easy out-- "Hey, I'm really a writer. Music is just a sideline."

This gives you an automatic pass. If you're halfway decent as a musician you can play an acceptable solo, although p…

Happy Fish Day!

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On Valentine's Day, we eat fish. Don't ask me why. I don't have all the answers. We just do. Maybe it's because I don't cook fish at home, so fish becomes the only food that's special. And let's face it, devoting one day a year to doing something special with your wife/husband/lover/mistress isn't too much to ask. Even if it's just fish.

So tomorrow we'll head up to Seattle, roam the drizzly streets, browse, shop and have a late supper at McCormick's. Tres Romantical, eh?

No?

Well it doesn't take a lot to make us happy. I tried to remember a horrible Valentines Day but I just don't have one.

What I have is a story.

Caroline and I have known each other for 24 years, we've been married for eleven. Now, I'm only 39, so that tells you something. There were thirteen years of something else.

We started out as friends and joked that we'd end up together because no one else would be able to put up with our humor. Relationship…

Valentine's Day Hates Me

And I believe it always will.

I cannot think of a good V-Day I've had, ever. Well, in sixth grade my "boyfriend" gave me a box of chocolates. He snuck them into my desk and then whispered in the lunch line that I should look in there after recess. Then he took off, fast, after school before I could thank him. I suspect this had something to do with him turning out to be gay as an adult (I think, anyway. I have no proof of this. It just makes me feel better to think it after our acrimonious break-up, which invlved the passing of lots of angry notes during math.)

I have to give him credit, though, despite the fact that I think his Mom probably made him give me the candy. At least he got me something good. This has not been a theme with most of the men in my life.

Maybe that's not really fair. I know, for example, that over the years I've been gifted with a stunning assortment of perfumes I don't like and itchy lingerie. It's just that they've all run toget…

Valen Times!

Happy Monday, y'all! This week we're taking on our most tragic or humorous Valentine's tales... why? Because we like the sweet delicious sting of our own personal whips beating us, I guess.

Thing is, most of mine have been good... when I've been single during it, I was never one of those grousers who were "THEY JUST INVENTED SOMETHING TO TEAR THE MONEY OUT OF YOUR POCKETS BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND EASTER, MAN!!!". At the risk of exposing my soft underbelly here, I like celebrating it, I'm attentive all the year round but I'll play ball with this fabrication, and hey, I'm all for celebrating a little more focus on love, ya know? So I don't have any woe to share..

BUT!

I will share my most misguided and illfated date ever.

T'was December of 1987 and a young Anthony Matthew Strout was an actor back then, with a huge crush on his dance partner during the Fezziwig scene of Christmas Carol. She had short dark hair, a dancer's body and more impo…

Guest Blogger: Carole McDonnell, author of Wind Follower

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Having my Cake and Eating It Too


Now that my novel Wind Follower is published and I've created a Native-Americanish Asianish hero to fall in love with my dark-skinned character, I'm working on my new WIP, presently called Inheritance where another new guy falls in love with yet another dark-skinned character. Yeah, I've got issues.

Truth to tell: I've got this hankering for flesh. White flesh. It's kind of vampiric, I know. It shows up in my love for a good -- I repeat "good" -- cowboy flick. If the main character isn't a cowboy, then it's got to be some homespun cornfed type. For my own sanity and self-respect, I'd like to think that this particular issue isn't peculiar to me. I suspect that black girls, Asian girls, Native American girls all have this love for cowboys, the mythic great American ideal. After all, they hook into our testosterone. They ride a horse well. (uh...really well.) And although we've all been subjected to all …

I Blog Therefore YOU Are...*

Or alternately, if a blogger falls in the woods and no one's there to read about it, did it really happen, at all? Or even more alternately, if I blog and you comment are you anything more than part of my blog.

Am I absorbing you? Are you feeling less you and more me?

Thoughtful questions?

Should you even answer that? Was it a ploy? A trap? Did you see how I just threw it in there flippantly like it didn't matter? Maybe that was to coax just a few words from the tips of your fingers. A "whoot" or a casual "lol".

But then I'll have you. You're mine.

Or even more alternately, still. What if you only exist as an extension of this blog? If you were to stop coming, maybe you'd simply start to fade away.

Disappear.

I'm not saying that would happen. I don't make casual threats. I'm not even making sense.

Or am I?

Sometimes when I'm sitting here in this room I wonder if the internet is even on, or if I'm imagining the comments. If…

Celebrating Black History Month

The Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing representation of people of color in the speculative genres. We've polled our members and come up with a recommended reading list of speculative fiction books by black authors for Black History Month.

The idea is for you to read these books this month, forward this list around to your friends, take this list into your local bookstores and ask them to display these books this month, post the list on your blogs and websites, etc. I hope you'll all strongly consider at least picking up one of these books and falling into it. It's a wonderful list, and your February will be improved!

So, without further ado:

THE CARL BRANDON SOCIETY
recommends the following books for BLACK HISTORY MONTH:
So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
The Coyote Kings of …

I blog, therefore I am

(See what I did there? Twisting Anton's title from yesterday? Isn't that clever of me?)

I blog...well, I blog in large part because it's easier than standing around outside with a copy of my book, jumping up and down and waving it in the air while shouting, "Look at MEEEE! Look at MEEEEEE!"

But I also blog because it's fun. I like blogging. It's my own little platform for my own little opinions. It's a way to connect with other people, too, which is certainly valuable these days. Not just for promo, but for companionship. I love my blog friends. I love the people who read my blog. I notice when they stop popping in to comment. I cheer when good things happen to them and feel awful when bad things happen to them. It's nice. It makes me feel like I'm part of something.

I've been blogging for years, since...late 2003, in fact. I started with a livejournal, a personal one. Then when I sold my first December Quinn stories I started a new one. Then…

I think, therefore I blog

Welcome to Monday, folks! Grab some coffee, time to wake up!

So this week we're delving into why authors blog... where I'll address why I do since I'm apparently an author...go figure!

I'm gonna go with two great reasons here: writerly support and publicity.

First, support. Technology has give us many a fine thing. When I started really writing, it was on an old Selectric typewriter in the mid-80s. It was the pinnacle of technology... I could backspace a WHOLE LINE back, erasing it... and that was about it. Think of how easy we have it now when we can cut, paste and move whole selections to anywhere in a story with a few simple keystrokes. How did writers ever edit before computers, right? Then when Nobel Prize winner Al Gore invented the Internetz for us, I wonder if he knew the great neuroses calming tool he gave the common writer?

Think of all the support we can get from going online. We can bitch to our fellow writers about problems we are having with our work…

Nalini Singh Rocks My Underpants

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If you're not familiar with the name Nalini Singh, you have either been under a rock for the past few years...or perhaps you've never read paranormal romance? If not, then you are missing out on some of the most awesomely in-depth world-building to hit the paranormal world today. Combine this with smokin' hot sexiness and you've got a book that I cannot put down. I was stuck in an airport when I read the first two Nalini books, and after my plane landed, I promptly drove to the bookstore to get her third one. Delicious!

So when Nalini's new book hit the shelves, I asked her if she'd like to stop by the League and tell us a bit more about her world.

For those that are new to your books, can you give us a quick description of them?

The Psy/Changeling series is set in the not too distant future in an alternate Earth. This Earth is populated by three races - humans, changelings (shapeshifters), and Psy.

The Psy have amazing psychic abilities, from telepathy to teleki…