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Showing posts from July, 2008

Conestoga or Butts: A Treasury of Photos, Part Two

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Saturday, 9 AM...


...after partying late into the wee hours of the Tulsa morn, two panelists stumble into the Fangs, Fur and Fey conference room, nursing hangovers, tossing glowers and slurping down lukewarm coffee steeped in grounds-o-bitterness. What better prep could an author have for a panel on The Elusive Snark, I ask?

Devon Monk (Magic to the Bone) and Carrie Jones (Love and Other Uses for Duct Tape, seen here screaming after an evil-eye attack from physics guy Jeffrey Richard) joined our mopey band for an hour of talking shit, Barry Eisler, and the definition of "Author Hot" (if you need a full description, you'll have to beat it out of Jaye). All in all, a good time, despite the hour. Plus, we got to give away a big ass bag of signed books and stuff, which of course, I "forgot" to sign--in quotes because I do so love forcing people out of their comfort bubbles to introduce themselves.

Breakfast was of the buffet variety, with Dean Lorey (Nightmare Acad…

My big exciting weekend

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...yeah.

You know, I've had dozens of thoughts lately about stuff I should blog. Because I'm not actively blogging at the moment, I'm doing my little sex workshop, so all my random thoughts and ditherings have been totally unrecorded. And every time I've had one of those ideas, I've thought, "Ooh! I'll blog about that at the League!"

But of course I've failed to write them down. So I got nothing.

And I'm slowly starting work on a new project, which I hope will be good and fun and all that stuff. It's got dead people in it. And ancient artefacts. And scars. And violent sex. So I'm pretty pleased with the idea, all in all. Now I just have to get working on it.

At least I have my laptop back. I've been having problems with it lately. It keeps shutting off on me. So finally on Friday, when it refused to stay on for more than twenty minutes and refused to come back on, we took it to the shop. Turns out, the fan was stuck because the laptop …

Drugs & Writers

First thing is first. Drugs are bad... just say no!

Now that that's over, I was on a lot of drugs this week. Morphine, for the most part.

It's not as exciting as it sounds. Was in the hospital having a jaw infection dealt with.. good times, good times, but the drugs were amazing. But I have to say... the writing mind and drugs can produce some... interesting.. stuff. We're not talking Jim Morrison Doors of Perception type stuff.. we're talking bad stuff. That's what I get for writing paranormal, huh?

Two memories... one was an entire segment where anything I thought of turned to zombies, which is normally a giggly thing for me, but under the influence they were all terrifying. Pack of pens? Turned to zombies. Veggie Tales pirate personified vegetables? Turned to zombies. All haunting.

Also, there was this .. thing in one of my hallucinations. It started out looking like an early version of Bugs Bunny and slowly morphed into this creature I found terrifying…

A Comic-con Update

Best quote from a panel (so far):

"See? You too can grow up to be a black man."

-Samuel L. Jackson (an aside on Nick Fury in a panel about the upcoming The Spirit movie)

Best moment:

My signing at the Pocket Books booth went well, but the coolest moment was the surprise I got when I walked over to the Mystery Galaxy Bookstore booth... Several folks who hadn't been able to get a free copy of STAKED showed up to buy copies for me to sign. *That* was cool.

Oh... and the WATCHMEN looks like it is going to be fantastic.

Conestoga

Quick update from Conestoga.

So far the convention is all about olives, bats and chicken sex. Good times.

The one bad spot so far is that I finally met Mark Henry in person. We hated each other on sight. Now all the authors are splitting up into Team Mark and Team Jaye. There's a rumble planned in the parking lot tonight at 9. I think we all know Team Jaye will emerge victorious cause I'll cut a bitch.

More later once I have a chance to gather more blackmail material.

Convention Vs. Conference?

If you're trying to make a choice, there's no question, it's a matter of where you are in your career.

For instance, right now I'm in the shifty spot. I love writing conferences, learning new tricks, the whole pitch thing and hearing what people are writing. I've got a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the Willamette Writer's Conference (since it really got the ball rolling toward Happy Hour), so I'm certainly loyal there. But having been published already, it makes more sense (both logically and financially) to reach out to fans, which are few and far between at conferences.

On the other hand, I learn nearly as much by presenting workshops and sitting on panels as I do listening to panelists and participating in workshops.

Conventions are a great place to do promo and have fun and get plastered and gush over your heroes who might just be there promoing and having fun and getting plastered. You'll learn a lot about what the future holds in your g…

Ouch...

(A quick note first--poor Anton is quite ill at the moment, which accounts for his lack of Monday post. Apologies from all of us, and wishes for Anton to feel better soon. I guess that curse I put on him worked, huh?)

So. I am clumsy.

I have many tales of clumsiness (sounds like a good title for a rather lame antho, doesn't it? Tales of Horror, Tales of Dread, Tales of Clumsiness.) Like the time when, 3 months pregnant with my first, I walked into the couch and dislocated my pinky toe. It literally stuck out at a right angle from the rest of my foot, and hurt like hell. I called my Mom. My Mom, keep in mind, is an emergency room nurse.

Sobbing, I told her what happened. Her response--remember, this is the response of a licensed emergency room nurse, who is furthermore my own mother--was to say irritably, "Why weren't you wearing shoes? You know you're clumsy!"

Or, the more important parallel to today's story--which is in fact much the same story--would be the da…

It's Still Sunday Somewhere, Innit?

Okay, sorry, sorry, I was away yesterday, trapped in the Limbo that is known as Visiting All Family In A 100-Mile Radius. No, really, I love my family. And my husband's family. (That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.) But sometimes, doing the LET'S SEE EVERYBODY thing gets...stressful.

But hey, it's the price we pay by living 3+ hours away from everyone. Three long, lovely, blissful hours. Ahhh. **Birds chirping, deer flicking their cute tails**

Anyway, we went to Suffolk County on Saturday. Alllllll the way out in Long Island. In the car for four-plus hours. All I can say is thank God for the DS. It kept the Precious Little Tax Deductions occupied for the entire ride. For the most part. Well, except when they were complaining. And fighting with each other. And...

I digress. (Shocking.)

So we got to the big birthday party (three-year-old twins). The cousins had tents put up in their backyard, which kept the 90+ degree heat manageable. And there was a kiddie wading …

Is it okay if my dog eats yours...?

We were driving home the other night when I noticed a man walking a little dog. I don't know what kind of dog it was, but it was tiny, furry... one of those dogs that sounds like an Ewok when they make their little growling noises. A Pomeranian, maybe? So I asked my wife, "What kind of dog is that?" Her answer: a Breakfast Dog.

???

Apparently *I* made up the term as a descriptor for any dog small enough that it might be eaten by our family Akita while she was out checking her pee-mail. I plead the fifth. Regardless, it struck me as funny largely because I'm working on the revisions for my second Void City book and one of the new characters would have certainly thought the same thing about a dog that size.

In any case, when we met back up with the Friday Night Group at the house, I did a quick survey for animal nicknames... For little dogs, there were plenty. Snack Dogs, Arfie Dogs, Yip Dogs, and of course, the universal... wiener dog. One friend even calls Chihuahuas &#…

City Settings

I'm headed to New Orleans today for a weekend getaway with the hubs. Of course, me being me, I've scheduled some book research into our itinerary in between gambling, eating way too much and, of course, the alcoholz.

While I was researching places to stake out, I got thinking about other cities I'd like to set books in. My last book was in L.A. and San Francisco. The one I'm writing will be in New York. The next one is probably, you guessed it--New Orleans. So this lead me to wonder about cities and urban fantasy.

Some authors have nichified cities. Vickie Petterssen has Las Vegas. Jim Butcher has Chicago. Often, the city itself serves as a character in these series. But even if an author doesn't use the same city repeatedly, you better bet choosing a city for a setting is a major consideration.

What cities would you like to see show up in the genre and why?

Bring In the Funk

First things first: the winner of the "Stranger Than Fiction" contest is..

~j!

~j, your bad date story was truly horrifying, and you have my sympathy...and my ARC of Pure Blood. Email me at caitlinkittredge [at] gmail [dot] com with your address and I'll put your ARC in the mail.

Now, to the topic of the moment: I had a real funk yesterday, one where nothing got written because my brain took a vacation to Bermuda and forgot to take my writing with it. They happen, and the best I can hope for is to ride it out by doing non-writing stuff. You know the type...

Alphabetize everythingColor-code underwear drawerDust knick-knacks. And brick-a-brack. And tzchotzchkes.Spend 20 minutes on Google looking up correct spelling of "tzchotzchkes"Watch 14 back-to-back episodes of Law & Order
Learn French word for "alphabetize"Cook elaborate French dish
Realize I don't even like French foodFeed dish to catsRush cats to pet hospital due to incorrect translation of r…

Gout and About

For the second day in a row, I've rolled my tired ass out of bed and onto an aching foot. I was joking with friends yesterday that it was gout, but I'm actually pretty sure it is (or maybe just a sprain). Sadly, like a sprain, there's very little a doctor can do to help it out. Anti-inflammatories and pain meds. I got those and I'm taking them. Now I've just got to cut out the fats and drink lots of water to flush my system. 'Til then, just a little limp and feeling all that much older.

And it's not a good week for it.

Monday, the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference people contacted the esteemed and mysterious Kat Richardson and begged for her to put together an impromptu workshop. Never mind that Team Seattle had put together a lovely proposal that was completely disregarded and we never heard a peep on. So are we bailing their asses out? Of course, we do like our attention, after all.

So Saturday Kit Kittredge, American Girl (aka Caitlin), Ric…

Superstition

So one of the fun things about living in England is the many and varied bug life. Well, okay, that's not fun (although the absence of the palmetto bug is actually fun. You'll get no complaints from me on that score. No huge flying roaches is a big plus for any place. You could ask me any day of the year, "So, Stacia, would you rather live somewhere with enormous flying roaches, or somewhere without enormous flying roaches?" and I'll say, "Without, please.")

Anyway. I have of late started trying to identify some of the bugs I see--there was a huge bee on my car the other day, a fuzzy one. I hunted around Wikipedia until I found it. Then there was a very large pink-and-green moth in my living room. And a red moth outside. Hey, there's little else for me to do here.

Yesterday I decided to see if I could find out what the little tiny red spiders that swarm on my patio every summer are called. Turns out they seem, in fact, to be called "tiny red spide…

Inspiration is not a lengthy visitor

Before Dead To Me and then untitled book two in the series sold in March 2007, I was working on a book. It was not a genre book. It was a book about a punk band trying to reclaim a bit of its past glory. I loved this book, it is a project close to my heart, but sadly, it had to be put aside as I wrote book two and started multiple rounds of edits on Dead To Me. Every so often I think of said book, wonder where it was going at about 300 pages in, and realize I simply don't have the time to get back to it right now. Also? I have no idea where it was going. Had a lot of great vignettes, but I can't find the connective tissue of the book, so even if I had the time, I would have had to figure all that out first.

Cut to yesterday. First there was having one of the Clerks actors bag my comics at my first visit to Kevin Smith's Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash, followed by a concert be one of my favorite bands that broke up four years ago- the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones…

Insert Chicago Song Title Here

So I'm working on my next HELL book (due October 1, eek), and I'm on this one scene that will end the first section. It's going well -- dark and evil, peppered with humor -- and I'm satisfied with how it will end.

And then it hits me that I have no idea what to do next. Sure, I know key events that still need to happen, and I can sort of play connect the dots with a lot of it...but as to how to kick off the next section? No freaking clue.

Argh.

So I do what I usually do in such situations: I take a shower.

Seriously. The best ideas come to me in the shower, or when I'm cooking or doing dishes. Or, annoyingly, when I'm driving. (Usually, that's when bits of dialogue occur to me, and I can't write them down. So I say them aloud, like I'm utterly schizophrenic.)

And sure enough, as I'm lathering up...I figure out what absolutely has to happen next. In fact, I have the next two chapters, right here in my head. All I have to do now is write them.

(Er, afte…

It Starts With An F

What with Jaye talking about taboos, Mark being gleeful about sex research, and Anton talking about his meat, I had to follow suit.

Think of a word that starts with "F" and ends in "U", "C", "K", but don't think dirty when you do. I assure you the answer is G-rated. Obviously the word I'm talking about is: FIRE TRUCK. Okay, so fire truck is really two words, but I'm quite certain you'll politely ignore that.

There is another word though, one that is less emergency services and more expletive ejaculation. (Come on, guys, it's a perfectly acceptable Victorian word!) For many, it's the word we think of first when given the task above. We think of The Fire Truck Word and maybe we think it stands for "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" or "Fornication Under Consent of King", but it doesn't. If you'd like a interesting look at the etymology of the word, you might check here , but that really isn't what…

Taboos

One of the things I love writing about urban fantasy is there aren't many rules. Happy endings aren't required, violence is expected, and sex is encouraged. Basically, the loyal readership isn't easily shocked, which leaves a lot of room for us writers to let our deranged imaginations play.

For example, here at the League, we have authors writing about zombies snacking on appendages, gratuitous demon sexoring, graphic descriptions of blood-letting, characters killing without remorse, and any number of other things that might get us kicked out of polite cocktail parties if we brought them up. Which is why we aren't invited to many polite cocktail parties--or parties in general.

But what do you think? Are there sacred cows in urban fantasy? Aside from the normal taboos--harming children, for example--is there any subject that would turn you off of an author's books?

*Edited for wonky html issues.

Stranger Than Fiction (and a contest!)

I was out with Team Seattle a few nights ago, and the conversation turned to our wacky relatives. Then, in a phone call with my agent, we started talking about people we both knew that no one would buy as characters in a novel.

You know the kind--people who are so off the reservation that critics and first readers ding you for being, yanno, unbelievable. I've known a few of those in my time, the most memorable of which I can't recount here because I know they're reading my blog. So sad. I guess I'll just have to put their crazy in a novel some day and hope people don't think I'm actually making this shit up.

It brings up an interesting point in my mind, though--as authors of fiction, we have an unspoken responsibility to our readers to keep our fantasy within the bounds of a reader's suspension of disbelief. If I told the story about my college stalker in one of my novels, no one would buy it as a logical sequence of events in the story because the guy w…

The Joy of Researching Dirty Stuff

The terribly fun bonus of this writing gig is the research. No one talks about it as one of their favorite things about writing but it totally can be. Take this little scenario: Incubus novel set in a sinister sexual disorders clinic? Lots of research into weird sexual problems.

I've got to have other patients, right?

Mind you, I've had tons of education on sexual dysfunction and sex therapy as one of my emphases in Graduate school. So I knew enough to figure out where to get the answers to my questions. Mostly people will go to a medical doctor nowadays for impotence, premature ejaculation or vaginismus (a tightening of the vaginal walls that prohibits penetration), so therapists get referrals that way. Most of the work was along the vein (so to speak) of arousal issues. But frankly reading about those is no fun at all. At. All.

So what am I looking for? The weirdest shit possible. The rare disorders that'll keep you up at night worrying about the state of your jun…

Oh, summer. Kind of.

First of all, has everyone been over to the Barnes & Noble online UF bookclub, where Personal Demons (that's my book, see, the one what I wrote) is the July Subfeature?

(This is one of those situations where I ask a question to which I already know the answer, and the answer is no. You haven't been. I know this because I haven't seen you there. Get over there! Go on! *poke poke prod*)

Second of all. I have decided to do a little series this summer on my personal blog(s)--(I post on blogger and livejournal both) on writing sex scenes. I urge you all to come by, it should be a lot of fun, and I'll be announcing a new summer blogging schedule tomorrow.

And third of all...it's summer. At least it's supposed to be. I still have to wear my coat outside most days. It's rained almost every day (though thankfully not quite as bad as last year, when we had nine straight weeks of solid rain. We've had only intermittent rain.)

I dislike summer. It's my least f…

Eat my delicious meat

No, I haven't turned the League clubhouse into a porn studio... yet.

Instead, I'm talking about my Fourth of July weekend.

Very little writing done, but there was much consuming of malt liquor, microbrews, vegetarian appetizers, burgers, hot sausage, and a fourteen hour, slow smoked pork shoulder. Deeeelicious!

But the best of it truly was the fact that we were visiting friends in Philly and if yer gonna throw down for independence and fireworks, it's the place to be. When the fireworks started, we ran up to our friends roof deck, overlooking old world looking Philly and I got a little misty. That may have been the rain or (plug) the fact that I did a lot of reading on Ben Franklin recently for The Fourteenth Virtue in The Dimension Next Door on-sale now (/end plug). Either way, it was a good time and left me wondering if I could pull off that historical urban fantasy novel I've been jonesing to do...

In other news, don't forget to start DVRing I LOVE MONEY on VH-1…

The Mystery of the Missing Plate

Yesterday was the big party we had for Tax Deductions the Elder and Younger (their birthdays are four days apart. Okay, two years and four days, if you're going to get technical). Toward the end of the day, four boys were in the living room, zoning out on Oreos and Pokemon. At the end of the night, there were only three paper plates in the living room (with crumbs on them, mostly).

Uh oh.

So I went looking for the missing plate. Not on the sofa. Not on the chair. Not on the bookshelf. Not on the floor.

Then I made the mistake of sweeping under our living room sofa, just in case the plate had gotten shoved under there.

Items found:

7 M&Ms
2 toy spiders
4 pieces of Cap'n Crunch
2 pieces of Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries
8 crumbs (unidentifiable)
3 toy pieces, assorted
4 angry dust bunnies (think Monty Python and the Holy Grail: AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa--!)
2 stickers, with backings still on
1 sticker, without the backing and with a dead dust bunny attached to it

Did I find the missing p…

Procrastinate Like A Pro!

So, for my first official blog as a Leaguer, I thought I'd talk about procrastination. Serious procrastination. The kind that comes from deadlines, revisions letters, and that sinking should-be-working-on-that-now feeling. I got the revisions letter for ReVamped from my editor at Pocket a couple of days ago and I've got six weeks or so in which to get the changes made- and only two big conventions in that time. So what am I doing? Procrastinating, of course.

TOP TEN WAYS TO PROCRASTINATE in the face of a WRITING DEADLINE:
10) Change all the light bulbs in your house. Brighter, isn't it?
9) Decoupage the bathrooms in comic-book du jour.
8) Take out the trash, do the dishes, cut the lawn, and water your wife's petunias.
7) Take your kids to see a movie... Wall-E, Kung-Fu Panda, Indy 4... maybe all three.
6) Brush the dog until no more fur comes off. Knit the fur balls into Tribbles.
5) Lie down on the floor of your office for a good think. (Pillows and sleeping bag optional.)
4)…

If we took a holiday...

Hello, my pretties!

I was tempted to use Independence Day as an excuse to declare freedom from blogging for a day. Alas, I could not, for I actually have a topic today.

For our U.S. readers, today is a holiday that marks a big occassion in the history of our country. It celebrates the day America first discovered fire crackers. Or beer.* I can't remember exactly. However, for people in other countries its just another Friday.

And that got me thinking about writing, or more specifically, world building. A well-built world--even when set within our own-- will include things like religion, government, cultural traditions, and, yes, even holidays.

Even if the race you're writing about doesn't have their own holidays, they'll at least have opinions about the ones happening around them. For example, what would a vampire think of Christmas? Or a werewolf think of Halloween (they already have a costume)?

Just some food for thought. What made up holidays can you think of for paranor…

Oh noes!

Lo, I'm a bad blogger and I have sinned...I posted late because I got caught up writing an outline.

But that's good, in a way, because it leads into a serious post for once. About deadlines.

What a word. Deadlines. Grim. Final. Vaguely British. All professional authors cope with deadlines differently, but the one thing they add to the process, other than the fear of God/your editor, is pressure.

Pressure is like Kryptonite for the creative process, at least for me. I freeze up and I feel mechanical, like I'm just putting words down for the sake of words and not really saying anything. I could type weasel weasel weasel over and over until I got to 84,000 words.

So how to deal with the pressure? I have to lie to myself, in little bits and pieces, over the drafting process. It's about you, not the outline you turned in. Your creative genius will triumph over your manuscript due date. Your editor will totally give you that third extension.

Also, I overeat, watch te…

Woe Is Me. Blah. Blah. Blah.

A quick apology for that bullshit post. I am happy to report that I got off my fat ass and made some decent progress. That said, it's still my blog day and I think I'll make it up.

Some news...

Our very own sassy blonde, Stacia Kane, is getting worked over at the Barnes and Noble Paranormal Book Club. If you haven't yet, go on over, sign up and give her hell.

Anton's Simonverse story is in the new anthology The Dimension Next Door. Click on the book cover on the left.

While you're spending your hard-earned gas money, Jaye's story is so very Weirdly. You can pick up that e-book, too.

Now.

Let's figure out what we're going to read.

Seriously.

Book Club Noms!

Postcards from Slacktown

So I'm just sitting on my ass watching TV, drinking coffee, yelling at the dogs like the insolent children they are (only these little ingrates won't bring me the remote), when I realize. Um. It's Wednesday.

I've got a blog to do.

I'm such a frickin' slacker lately. Sorry word counts, lots of ideas and no follow-through. Oh yeah, I suck.

Take the League book club, for instance. Where's that been? I can't even remember if we came close to picking a book (feel free to leave a suggestion, last time I asked, Black Magic Woman was mentioned quite a bit).

Then there's my WIP. It seems I'll do just about anything to avoid it. Oh...not in my head, that thing is just about all I think about, it's just the actual sitting down and writing that's not happening. I may need to hit the skids and pick up some hot Ritalin or something.

The exercise is helping a bit. Clearing my head. I nearly wrote 1000 words on Monday. Yesterday: 0.

Bad, I know.

I&…

*sniffle* *sigh*

I finished my WIP yesterday.

And I think most of it really sucks. Honestly. Not in a "I hate most of my work and think of myself as a hack" kind of way, but in a real, genuine, "there's plot holes all over this thing and I messed up some stuff here and there and it needs some serious work" kind of way. Which is frankly unusual for me. This is the first book I've written where the basic oomph wasn't there in first draft. But honestly, that's another post for another time.


What's at issue here is... I don't know what to do next.

I hate finishing projects. I mean, I love it, because there's a feeling of accomplishment and blah blah blah (although, again, not really feeling that this time because I know how much work the first half of the book needs.) But what do I do now?

What do I do NOW??

Seriously, this reminds me of one of my favorite Barbara Michaels books, Here I Stay. The MC hires a maid for her hotel, a rather slow woman named Mrs. Horn…