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Showing posts from August, 2008

Where Oh Where Will My Little Book Go?

I've developed this annoying habit lately where I have to find the spot on the shelves where my books will live every time I go into a bookstore. In a Borders the other day, I headed to the fantasy section to admire the tiny space of air between H.G. Wells and Scott Westerfield. But then I turned and saw the horror section. Sitting among the Stephen Kings and other authors of fear fiction were Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris. Yet, Kelly Armstrong and Lilith Saintcrow were in fantasy.

I asked an employee how they decided who goes where. He shrugged and said it was decided by the corporate office. His best guess was that darker books ended up in horror. Yet, that can't be the only factor since several of the UFs in the fantasy section weren't exactly light fare.

Maybe the decision depends on the types of creatures involved. Magic is heavily used in the fantasy genre. Vampires and demons traditionally fall under the horror umbrella.

Of course, none of this takes into consi…

Alive in the League Lounge: Michelle Maddox, er...Rowen?

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As you can see, we haven't gone dark just yet (and we likely won't...well except in the humor department). Good thing too, cuz today is a special day here in the League Lounge. Joining us is the lovely and talented Michelle Maddox, author of the futuristic death game romantic thriller from Shomi, COUNTDOWN!!

I had a bit of difficulty tracking down Ms. Maddox, it seems she wouldn't take my calls and you all know, I won't be ignored. But eventually I was able to convince her.

Me: That's not too tight for ya is it?

Michelle: Um... my wrists are burning a little bit. And what's that nasty smell? But...uh...I'm okay for the moment. I guess. *looks around helplessly*

Me: I'm so glad you've come along peacefully. I've been reading your latest book, Countdown, and drinking a bit. Not too much, just something to take the edge off and don't worry, I'll get you that water. I promise. Anyway. Countdown.

Your heroine's name is Kira. Did you s…

Warning: Blackout Approaching

Due to the blinding awesomeness that is our own Caitlin Kittredge's newest release--PURE BLOOD (Nocturne City, Book 2), on shelves today--we Leaguers fear that a power surge is imminent. Like, starting tomorrow, there will be a four-day blackout here at the League.

Yes, we're blaming Caitlin's brilliance for this. It has nothing to do with switching domains or anything like that. Really.

So post your congratulations to Caitlin, kiddies, and go get yer candles. Because starting tomorrow, the League goes black for four days.

What is scary?

I keep thinking something really important is happening today. Like...somebody in the League has a book release today. Does anyone know what it is, that I'm forgetting?

The hubs and I were talking last night about scary things. And how he doesn't understand why I don't like zombie movies. Because zombie movies, according to him, are about nihilism and the destruction of society and stuff. Stuff that would be right up my alley. But they're not.

(You know what is right up my alley? Books by Caitlin Kittredge. I loves me some of those. Just FYI.)

So I was trying to explain why it is that zombie movies just don't do it for me. Zombies just don't really scare me, at least not in the way that I like to be scared.

And I figured it out. It's because zombies are brainless. Um, so to speak.

(Brainless like me, who just can't seem to remember if Caitlin Kittredge's second Nocturne City book, Pure Blood, releases today or not. Gee, does it?)

There's no cunning wi…

Why you have to wait so long

One of the things I'm asked a lot is "when is the next book coming out?" Right now, the answer is 2/24/09. This is often met with either a grumble, a whimper, or flat out crying, all of which are good reactions. After all, it means the asker cares, and if they care it means they like what I'm doing, but are impatient they can't get it in their grubby little mitts yet.

So this post is for them. Here's why it takes so long. It's different for every author, but here's my time schedule in a nutshell.

I have spent this year:
-finishing and turning in Deader Still
-publicizing Dead To Me
-tour and events for Dead To Me
-my Monday obligations to the League
-starting first draft of book 3
-stopping draft of book 3 to do my 'editorial letter' edits on Deader Still
- going to conventions, signings and panels in support of my writing career
- day job, five days a week, 9-5, some travel
-rereading Deader Still post edits to see if it still holds
-writing and tur…

Just Biden My Time

So those of you who read my blog already know of my theory that Joe Biden and Mike Farrell are the same person. You know who Mike is -- he played BJ Hunnicut in MASH. Well, now that Barack Obama has picked Smilin' Joe as his running mate, does this mean that there will be another BJ in the White House?

(Hee. That last line was thanks to my Loving Husband.)

Here's my question, though: is Obiden a better name than Brangelina?

Spank it

I know what you're thinking. Obviously Jeremy is posting about oddly phrased help desk advice. And you're close. This week, the Lewis household wound up with a copy of Mario Kart for the Wii. There are four of us. Four people can play Mario Kart. You can even race in teams which is great because my oldest is a bit too competitive for his own good and being able to race as "Team Lewis" means that when Dad or Mom comes in ahead of the little guys, there are no complaints like there are when the same thing happens in Mario Party 8.

But what does that have to do with spanking it?

Heh. We sat down with our Wii Wheels at the ready for the first full family game of Mario Kart and... Wiimote number four wouldn't synch with the game system. Now I *did* find info on the web about how to fix it (apparently the Wiimote had "lost it's synch" and needed to be resynched so that it could "remember that it belonged to our console"), but what I stumbled onto …

Chupacabra!

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I was watching the news tonight and saw a feature about a woman who has dubbed herself, "The Chupacabra Lady." No, she's not a chupacabra, herself. Instead, she has dedicated her life to collecting evidence about the existence of the elusive goat sucker.

But seriously, how cool is Chupacabra Lady for a nickname?

I used to call myself the Queen of Sucktown whenever I'd get a rejection. If you're gonna suck you might as well be the Queen of suckers. But now, I think I need to come up with a new moniker.

Okay, I totally forgot where I was going with this. So I'll close with the burning question you're all anticipating:

Why hasn't anyone ever written about a were-chupacabra?



ETA: Ask and you shall receive.

Origin Stories

I saw this discussed on a reader board a few weeks ago, how many authors seem to have "origin stories" for their defining work. (The example there was Stephanie Meyer and her dreaming of sparkly vampires, which lead to the Twilight saga and surprise!vampire bebes.)

I did, in fact, dream a scene to an unfinished YA project that I'd love to get back to some day (it involves secret corps of vampires on either side of the Allied/German conflict in WWII and trying to reawaken Vlad Tepes to lead the Third Reich.)

But I was thinking about origin stories and how authors seem to cling to them as an added layer of mythos for their work. Part of me thinks, "Hey, cool, if you've got an iconic moment to put in your author bio" and another part of me (the bitchy part) thinks, "What, can't your work stand on its own? You need to enshrine it in layers of mythos to sell copies?"

Believe me, if you have an awesome "How I wrote the book" story, I&…

Urban Fantasy Inspirations

They can come from the weirdest places. But I always know the ones that are going to stick in my mushy brains and squeeze there way out onto the page.

Allison is one*.



I've watched this episode of Intervention three times already and it's only been out for a week. There's something so creepily Blue Velvet about it that I rethink Dennis Hopper's performance--maybe it wasn't "over-the-top" after all. Just weird and fantastic.

It's not that Allison is addicted to inhalants that has me so fixated, it's the method of her use. That slurping down chemicals between every sentence. The effect it has on her voice. The total pupal dilation. It's the fact that she uses an everyday product that no one ever thinks about--well Allison thinks about it...a lot. But that's beside the point.

For me, Urban fantasy needs to be like Allison--or at least include glimpses--everyday products, people, settings, body functions juxtaposed with bizarre situations.

An Announcement

Yeah, I'm posting this everywhere, so? I don't usually repeat content. Give me a break, I'm excited. :-)

So... I have news. *blushes*

My dark urban fantasy Unholy Ghosts--which my husband described as "Ghostbusters meets Escape From New York", set in a post-apocalyptic world where ghosts rose from the grave and killed a huge chunk of the population, and now they're kept under control by the iron-willed (in more ways than one) Church of Truth, which is government and secular religion all in one--sold to Del Rey, in a three book deal! I don't have any official word on release date yet but we're hoping for Fall '09.
I'm so, so excited, and to celebrate, here's the blurb from the original query letter I sent my agent and a little excerpt!

Sometimes addictions are more trouble than they're worth…

Owing money to drug lords is never a good idea, especially not if you're Cesaria "Chess" Putnam, possibly the only woman in the punk-roc…

Brooklyn, Hitchcock-Style

Loving Husband, the Tax Deductions and I were in Brooklyn this weekend, visiting my FIL. Tax Deduction the Elder went to his first-ever baseball game (go Yankees!) and Tax Deduction the Younger went to the Central Park Zoo. Yay, real life!

And then, Loving Husband told me about the surreal. He was loading up the car this evening, about 10 minutes before we said our fare thee wells...and a wall of birds swarmed him. Really.

Here's the thing: we walked out and saw a cat hauling ass toward him, then veer off to the yard and squeeze under the porch. A second later, about 40 sparrows rocket toward the cat and break away at the last second, apparently realizing they can't follow the cat. They all sat on the yard's fence, bird-chirping angrily. Loving Husband stared at them for a moment, then decided that he still had to pack the car, so he left the birds to jabber in avian while he put our bags and stuff into the Honda.

So the question remains: what were the 40 sparrows really talk…

My Belated Birthday Blog

This is Saturday, right? It can't be Sunday already. (And that's why I'm backdating this blog like a tricky rabbit - and then mentioning it, so that you'll know. Hmmm....) So, I have no real excuse for not posting yesterday... except for the whole "my revised manuscript is due Monday" thing. Oh, and yesterday was my birthday. We started the day at Chuck E. Cheese, where I promptly won 500 tickets on one of those games of chance my wife insists is a waste of tokens. I'll probably never play it again. Other highlights included playing racing games with my kids and getting to save the upgrades to my car. We skipped the Chuck-E-pizza and went to one of my favorite Japanese restaurants for bento boxes.

Then, I got to spend the rest of the day, night, and part of this morning re-reading my manuscript for errors, particularly in the new stuff, and making extra sure that the new sections did not create any plot weirdness. It was fun finding ways to satisfy reques…

The Dark Side

I have a theory I've been working on for a few days. It's rough, so bear with me.

I've told a few people that I think UF is females' answer to the classic hero's journey. Instead of UF heroine's looking for love, they're searching for their destinies. That destiny may include love, but there's more to it than that.

Let's assume for a moment that my heroine's journey idea is valid (you may not agree but it's my blog post). Another genre explored this same idea. That's right, I'm talking about those pink books. Chick lit also explores a woman's journey. Generally the plots of these books revolved around women who wanted it all--the perfect career, great friends, and love.

So, here's my theory: Urban fantasy is the dark side's response to Chick Lit.

Both genres are predominately written in first person. While there are male protagonists (Hi, Anton and Jeremy) in UF, the genre is dominated by novels about female leads. But wh…

The Intarwebs Is Srs Bizness

So, I've been redesigning my web site since Monday because frankly, it sort of sucked and didn't work before. It's been a mixed experience...I'm savvy enough to understand things like FTP and setting my template options in Wordpress, but I'm having to learn yet more CSS by the seat of my pants. I hate CSS.

Perversely, even if I had a web designer on call (and could afford him/her/it), I'd probably still be sitting here messing with the values in my stylesheet. (Oh! See what I did there, with jargon?) I'm sort of a control freak about my site. Sort of = very.

Anyway, we (and by we I mean "Nathan Bransford and me") all know that web sites for authors are important. If you're querying you need, at minimum, a bio page and a short blurb to show potential publishing types that you're not a freak who likes to bite the heads off of small woodland creatures. Or, if that's your platform, that you are.

Simple, but personalized, is my advic…

Mama Had To Accessorize!!

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ETA: Hold up people, false alarm, jumped the gun. Here's the actual cover...


It's cover day!!!

My favorite day of the year. And I'm in love. Bonus points for the commenter that correctly counts the number of zombies in the image.

An agent by any other name...

Sigh.

Okay. I know we usually keep things light and fun here at the League, mainly because none of us are really capable of rational thought. But I have to say something, because for some reason in the last week or so I've seen a bunch of issues regarding this in various places online. So forgive me if I'm simply preaching to the choir.

So here it is. Anybody can call themselves an agent. That doesn't mean they can actually be agents.

The thing is, most of us are pretty good people. So we assume others are good people too. And they probably are. But being a good person doesn't make an effective agent. Deciding to be an agent doesn't make you an agent. Setting up a website for your agency doesn't make you an agent.

Think of it this way. Being an agent is like being a tight-rope walker. You don't just wake up one morning, roll out of bed, head for the nearest circus (yeah, I know, stay with me here), climb the ladder, and run nimbly over the rope.

You need a lo…

So Two Leaguers Walk Into a Sushi Place

Note: Some liberties were taken in this article. No names were changed to protect the innocent.

I was in NYC this week for the Backspace Conference, and as luck would have it, I was free on Friday afternoon. So Anton, my fellow League New York member, invited me to lunch.

Really, I should have known something cataclysmic would happen. I mean, the last time a group of Leaguers got together,* men wound up stripping,** women munched muffins*** and Dakota Cassidy lost her voice.**** (Note: League Seattle members getting together doesn't seem to trip the World Catastrophe wire. Maybe it's all the coffee; the wire's too busy vibrating from all the caffeine that it wouldn't notice someone tripping over it, even if acid and The Doors were involved.)

So there we were, first at Anton's day job office (and DROOL, do I LUST him--ah, his office), and he gave me a button that says I PLAY WITH TOYS. And soon, it was time for food. ("Feed me," I told him, "then I'm…

The Vampires of Cheyenne Mountain

I'm at WorldCon/Denvention3 this weekend. The altitude in Denver hasn't been much of a problem, even if getting access to the internet has been... and I'll tell you more about WorldCon later, but this blog is about Thursday.

Guys my age all, almost without exception, have a fond place in their hearts for the Cheyenne Mountain military base a.k.a. NORAD. So when I found out that I'd be given the opportunity, along with a group of writers, editors, and other sundry cool folks, I leapt at the chance.

Cheyenne Mountain is no longer home to many missions that it had during the Cold War, but it's still the home of Missile Command. The base itself is a study in contrasts. Even approaching the base, we saw a sign for a subdivision on the right and the road marked "Authorized Military Business Only" (onto which I turned with no small amount of trepidation) on the left. We got out of the cars (leaving behind all of our electronic devices and media storage) and …

Copy Edits

Edited to remove embarrassing lay/lie mistake. I said I wasn't perfect.

A very large envelope landed on my doorstep today, courtesy of the man in brown. Yes, my friends, copy edits have arrived.

This is the first time I've seen my manuscript since revisions. It's gone through some changes since then. Now it has a title page, a copyright page, acknowledgments, a bio and all the bonus material I wrote a few months ago. In short, it's looking more and more like a real book.

I'm new enough to all this to find the process interesting. Instead of groaning over the fact I have to juggle copy edits and a marathon sprint toward my deadline for book two, I'm actually excited.

I am one of those dorks who actually enjoys editing. In a former life, I was the bitch with the red pen who made freelance writers curse under their breath. But having been on both sides of that desk now, I understand how crucial a good copy edit can be.

Am I perfect? Heck no. I missed a lot of stupid ty…

Author Celebutantes on the Rampage

I went to a release signing on Tuesday for two members of the illustrious Team Seattle--Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson (mazel tov, ladies!) Now, those two know how to party...there were cheese fries and onion rings at the post-signing dinner.

It got me thinking about author celebrity, though, and how different (and in a good way) it is from other kinds of celebrity/notoriety. When you're an author you're intimately available to your fans in a way that actors and singers really aren't, because your fans pretty much know what you're thinking via your books. There are real dialogues between author and reader that can lead to new projects being formulated organically.

Authors are also much more exposed, emotionally, than other kinds of celebrity...we don't (often) get nude photos snapped by paparazzi but every time our books hit the shelves we suffer the complete exposure of the most naked starlet as we fret and wonder if our sales will justify our further creativ…

You Can't Go Home Again

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Remember that old saying? It's referring to anything that sparks nostalgia, right?

Gotta be, cuz this past Sunday we proved it true...TWICE!

We've been huge fans of the X-Files since it's premiere back in '93. For nine years, episodes like Home (the Peacock's have a secret and it's nasty), Bad Blood (vampire pizza boy? C'mon!), and X Cops (self explanatory) thrilled, made us piss ourselves laughing and ultimately turned us into googly-eyed fanatics. So when this latest movie started showing up in previews, you can imagine our excitement.

Um...bonerific.

Well. It's been a while since we've visited Mulder and Scullyland and our cherished memories drove us blindly running into the theater, past the throngs of picketers with their big anti-x-files warning signs (we'll call them reviewers). We weren't 10 minutes into the flick and we knew something was wrong. Something bad.

It was the longest most mediocre episode ever. We might as well have b…

Don't you wanna know all about me?

Don't be shy!

No, no. I know I'm essentially dull, really. But I've done a couple of interviews in the last couple of weeks, so not only am I going to link to them, I'm going to talk a little about the process and how weird it all still is to me.

The first interview I ever did was a couple of years ago, for Fallen Angel Reviews, a romance review site. It was totally surreal. They emailed me (I'd sent them my new release cover images for their "Coming Soon" section) and asked if I wanted to do an interview. And I seriously almost emailed back with "You do know you emailed ME, right?" I mean, what did I have to say that would be of interest to anyone?

I found a few things to say, anyway. I don't know if they were interesting. Honestly, what interests me the most about that interview now is how much has changed since then.

You know what doing interviews feels like, really? I hate to reference Friends, this far after it's passed into moderate …

I want to believe

One of the questions I get asked as a writer of ghostful works is: Do I believe? Or rather, do I believe in the stuff I write.

And my answer is I want to believe. I've never seen or experienced the paranormal, personally, but that doesn't mean I'm not open to such experience. Overall, I'm more Scully than Mulder, but my dark heart desperately wants to be a Fox Mulder. Cuz man, the paranormal really makes our world a whole lot more interesting, doesn't it?

Now my parents swore our first house was haunted, and I have a vague memory of toys flying around, but that could actually be a false memory of an overactive childhood imagination or a scene from Poltergeist I'm remembering.

So not that I'll believe any of you, but I'd love to hear your personal experiences with the paranormal...

What's this? A Book?

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Jackie can't share her sparkling wittitudes today, 'cuz she's a superstar jetsetter. So I'm popping in to pimp her shit out!

So...it's Sunday and your skulking through the internets looking for fun, a laugh, some entertainment. I don't blame you. Up until a few minutes ago I was doing the same thing. But, after I threw the tissue away, I was up for something completely different.

Something hotter.

Something...


That's right kids. Jackie's back with another elicit installment of her Hell On Earth series. This time, the incubus Daunuan is up front and personal and making with the sexy. Business as usual until his target turns out to be resistant to his...ahem...charms.

I've given you all you need. I can't hold your hand through these kinds of decisions, but you'd definitely improve your weekend with a trip to the store or a clicky here.

I'm just sayin.

My iPod Ate My Homework

While I'd love to drop some "wisdom of the ages" on everyone and reveal some hidden new secret skill that I've discovered while editing my current novel... I got nothin'.

I do have a question though. During the last revision, I listened to an awful lot of angry guy music when I was editing Eric (my male cotagonist) and plenty of angsty gal music while I was editing Tabitha (my female cotagonist).

This time around, it's been instrumental music. When revising a fight scene (or adding one) I've listened to tracks like "The Hot Gates" or "To Victory" from the 300 soundtrack, the orchestral version of Nightwish's "Master Passion Greed", or even "The Call of The Ktulu" from The Symphony & Metallica cd... (Don't get me started on why Metallica can't spell Cthulhu...)

Scenes that needed emotional revelation have been written to "Memories of Green" from the Blad Runner soundtrack. The only word int…

Hot, Hot, Hot

Edited to add asterisks.

Some people have asked me to elaborate on the concept of "author hot." But I'm afraid I only expound on this groundbreaking theory when heavily liquored. So if you're ever at a con, buy me a beer and I'll tell you.

What I am willing to discuss is the fact the urban fantasy is filled with genuinely good-looking authors.

Now, before I go into this, I should clarify that I am opposed to allowing the way someone looks to qualify their worth--especially women. So don't send me hate mail about how I'm demeaning women. First, I am one, and I've dealt with my share of being judged on things other than the size of my brain. Second, if you're offended it's probably because you're not very good-looking.*

That said, have you checked out the hotties of urban fantasy lately? At Conestoga, I was amazed at how many truly good-looking people sat on panels. I won't name names so as not to embarrass anyone. But, hell, even here at th…