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Showing posts from September, 2008

So...Do you like...stuff?

(Two points, whoever is first to recognize that line!)

So.

One of the things I'm very excited about (at least as excited as I can be, being sick), is that I remembered the other day that I own a food processor. So I'm planning on making lots of dips in the next few weeks. I am also excited about the process of making my own mushy peas to have with fish & chips, because for some reason all the canned mushy peas I've been buying lately are more like solid peas in lots of green water. So I'm going to give the food processor a go.

But the thing I'm really excited about it, I'm getting a new website. And some other stuff.

Long story short, I found out an old friend of mine now runs a graphic design shop called Ironforge Press. And they do websites and flyers and posters and all kinds of merchandise, which is awesome (and look what a great job they do! That is fantastic work, isn't it?)

So. We're looking at sites. We're thinking of logos etc. It's all …

Bodies: The Exhibition

So in my travels to Las Vegas last week for some non-book related fun, the wife and I took in the Bodies exhibit at the Luxor pyramid. The exhibit essential shows various vivisected cuts of the human body in various states to show how it all hooks together on the inside. While I have a weak stomach for real life blood and guts, I found the artistry in humanity and how we work just under our skin absolutely fascinating. We're all meat, folks... sweet, delicious meat.

Anyhoo... it got me thinking, as any great art form will do. What makes up unique beyond that? Despite skin colors, despite race, despite the made up prejudices of our minds, we are all the same in simple biological form, yet it's that large grayish lump we keep in our heads that seem to be the thing that makes us all unique. We are the thoughts we have, which in the most simplest form to me means we are the stories we tell ourselves. Some of these stories we label as generally acceptable, agreed upon things t…

Look, Up In the Sky!

Finally -- the candidate we've all been waiting for! Do not read this when sipping coffee.

(For one of the funniest things you'll see today, be sure to go to the Kids section.)

And for those of you who commented in the contest blog from last week, thank you! The winner, picked by random number generator (all hail) is...

Kimberly B!

Huzzah, Kimberly! Please email me at J A X aht J A C K I E K E S S L E R daht C O M with your postal addy, and I'll send you a signed copy of the LILITH UNBOUND anthology.

Well, that's all for today -- it's my 11-year anniversary, so I'm off to spend some quality time with Loving Husband. Maybe next week, I'll finally post that article about cartoon superheroines. (Unless another comic book villain decides to run for office...)

Let's Discuss Your Underwear

"Excuse me, Ma'am, but exactly what kind of undergarment *does* one wear with a bondage suit?"

That question and others like it are the sort of thing that I've found myself asking people at conventions lately. I first noticed this astonishing alteration to my normal conversational comfort zone at Dragon*Con in 2007. I know why it happened. The women in my novels tend to dress to impress (and not in a business sense) and because my editor always insists that Tabitha, Rachel, and the other gals can't get away with wearing the same outfit all the time like my male protagonist does, I very quickly exhausted my own mental wardrobe or rather... my fashion vocabulary.

I have to admit that after I got married, I kind of stopped paying attention to what women other than my wife were wearing and even then, beyond the simple things like: skirts, blouses, high heels, t-shirts, etc... I had no idea how to accurately describe an outfit.

This is something Mark does very well in Ha…

I'm Ascarded

So I have a phobia. I actually hesitate to share it in a public forum. So irrational is this fear that I actually worry that one of my enemies will use it against me one day. What is it?

I'm terrified of snakes.

I blame this condition on my family (and really what can't I blame them for?). My grandmother was bitten by a water moccasin when she was young. So she has a good reason for her own fear. But she passed this on to my mother. Who passed it on to me. I'm not sure at what age the fear clicked on. I recall being in preschool and happily holding a garter snake someone brought in for show and tell. But later, when I was in high school, I was in my backyard and saw a rock. I said to myself, "There's a snake under there." But instead of listening to my instincts, I flipped the rock over. Sure enough, a seven-foot long black mamba hissed and jumped at me. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. Maybe it was really a four-inch-long garter snake. But in my mind, it was …

The Perils of Pajamas

I can work in my pajamas if I want to. For about the first six months of me writing full time, I did.

Pajamas, however, are dangerous.

If you don't put on real pants, soon enough you're thinking or I don't REALLY need to wash my hairorThat Thai food I put in the fridge two weeks ago and forgot about doesn't REALLY smell all that bad.

And then you find yourself barricaded in your office, hair unwashed and guts churning because really, you shouldn't have eaten that Thai food but you haven't been out to the grocery store in a month. Your personal assistant will do things like that, when you get one. Until then, you're content to live on coffee and Kraft macaroni while you create literary masterpieces in your PJs.

Or, surf LiveJournal in your PJs. Or play Chuzzel in your PJs. It's a slippery slope between working on deadline and working on beating your high score in Rock Band.

I find that if I'm going to have a productive day, I need to put on real c…

Are Brains Really That Tasty?

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Honestly, zombies and brains seem to go together like bread and butter, Brad and Angelina, and briefs with poop stripes. But has it always been the case, as this nutritional zombie guideline suggests?

I'll posit "no" and we'll just see where that takes us.

Zombies have existed in popular culture ever since people started telling stories. In fact, you can't swing a severed limb at folklore without whacking an undead varietal of some sort. Why, here's a little snippet from the epic Gilgamesh...

Father give me the Bull of Heaven,
So he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.
If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the doorposts,
and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living!

What the ancient Sumerians don't mention is...Brains. Nor did Wade Davis's research into the coup de poudre find that the Haitian zombies hunger for brains or e…

Bee Sting Aftermath!

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So, as some of you know, I was stung by a bee on Saturday. And I am allergic to bees.

The hubs took this picture last night of my poor bee-stung finger. I have my left hand over my right so you can compare the two pinkies; the swelling had actually faded a bit by that time but it was considerably more swollen earlier (my attempt to take a picture myself, using my chin to press the button, was less than successful. The picture came out but the angle was odd.) So you can't see how big the finger actually was. You also can't see the deep bruising at the knuckles. And of course you cannot see that it itches like mad and it hurts to move my finger at all. Which is bad.

Stupid bee.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don't know, really. It just seemed that, having taken the trouble to actually photograph the wound (and that spot on my finger is where I was actually stung; it's a horrible blistery thing), I should share it with someone besides my mother.

But now it's your tu…

Time for a little seasoning

I tend to set my books in an almost eternal Fall, because it's my favorite season for many a reason.

First of all, there's logistics. Simon wears either a suede or leather Angel-length coat at most times to hide the retractable bat at his belt... also, he likes Angel. The idea of him wearing it in the high heat of summer stewing in his own sweat frankly skeeves me out, so I always like to think there's a little chill in the air. Odd that that skeeves me out when you consider he's often covered in ectoplasm, zombie bits or blood....

Second, the Fall gets dark earlier once time changes over I love that... it gives more time for the creepy crawlies of the Big Apple to come out.

And third, for me anyway, Fall has always been when exciting things happen . It always harkened the beginning of school, new faces, the beginning of a new year of theater in school... it was also the time I tended to fall in love.

What seasons do you love? What time of year do you tend to set yo…

On Dreams and Covers -- and a contest!

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So I was going to post about female characters in 1970s superhero cartoons, but I got sidetracked with gonzo dreams last night.

Apparently, I was having trouble playing an obo.

No, that's not a sexual euphemism. I was supposed to be playing this one tune, on an obo (which, in my dream, was a looooooong clarinet, with a doohicky at one of the ends that made it look like a sideways bong). And the tune was divided into four parts, and the first two had sixteen notes. And my fingers or arms weren't long enough to cover the correct holes at the correct time. And someone...maybe an ex-boyfriend? Either him or Jack Black...was trying to show me how to play the tune.

Yeah, I know. Weird. I don't even play the piano anymore.

Second dream: I was coming home (defined as the house I grew up in) to find a man leaving the house. I didn't know who he was, and I demanded ID from him. Turns out, he was dropping off the ice-cream machine that Dad had ordered. (It looked like one of those fr…

Sick Urban Fantasy Author Posts Videos

I'm under the weather today, so instead of a long and insightful post to inspire you, you get some videos of cool stuff that inspires me:

The first is from Disturbed, a band that has been featuring rather heavily in my playlist lately. This video in particular inspired me to go back to a previous WIP that I'd taken notes on and set aside while writing my Void City stuff. I think I've posted before about building playlists for my protagonists. This is song number one in the playlist for one of that WIP's main characters:



The second is something you may have aleady seen. It was part of BBC Sport's ad campaign for the Olympic games in Beijing. I can't say exactly what about it inspires me in particular, only that it did:



Third up in the queue is a video called We Wo - The Half Moon Werewolf, that is an excellent example of how to keep the fun in Urban Fantasy:



Last of all, a video that all writers and aspiring writers should watch. A writer buddy of mine, Jeff Carlson…

Avast, Ahoy, Arrrrr

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ETA: Pretty picture

"Ahoy! buckos. Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Join in on t' fun! Arrrrrrrr!

To celebrate, you can:

learn to talk like a pirate.

take a pirate personality test
find out your pirate name
Join the Church of Pirateology
And let's not forget our friends, the Space Pirates. (Might want to turn down your volume)

And finally, you can join in the debate between Mark and I over who would win in a fight--ninjas or pirates? Discuss.

It's My Birthday!

First things first...the winner of the Worst Travel Story Edition of Pure Blood is...

blakey_girl

Please email me at caitlinkittredge[at]gmail[dot]com with your name and address of where you'd like the book mailed and I'll send it on its way!

What was I doing a year ago today? I was in London, and I went to take pictures in Highgate Cemetery. I ate dinner at Pizza Express and went to a movie.

Turning 24 has made me think about maturity--creeping up on my mid-twenties as opposed to my reckless youth, I can't help it. I think I'm actually less mature than I was at 20. I was a super-uptight, obsessive-compulsive little thing four years ago. As long as my writing has gotten better (because at 20, I still thought fanfic was the way to go), I'm just fine with not acting my age.

And since it's my birthday, I leave you with that profound thought. I'm out of here to get some birthday sushi and go antique shopping. It's not quite London, but it works.


Internet: Writer Lifeline or Source of Misery?

I'm blogging today, not from a sleek white Apple product, but a clunky Gateway laptop with a screen the size of a coffee table book and heavier than the keyboard half, so that when I lift my hands the whole thing teeters. The lack of balance makes me ill, but my makeshift (makeshit) wifi thingie on my ancient iBook is on the fritz and so, I'm lucky to get internet for the amount of time it takes to send a single email before it disconnects and needs to be reset.

Yeah. I'm in internet hell.

It's probably for the best, as I put together this accountability chart for The Dark Rites of Joe Barkley (God I love the long-ass 70s titles), and only allotted about a month for 1st draft completion. Okay, I've already started it so I don't have 80,000 words staring me down or anything but still I'm looking at 3750-4000 words per day. Doable.

But between this new plan and the OUTLINE OF DOOM, which I finally tossed off to NYC on Monday (amidst screaming and multiple re…

Blah

I'm depressed.

You know how sometimes really stupid things can set you off, and just ruin everything? That's where I am now.

Because of a pair of shoes.

Now, shoes are not stupid things. Shoes are incredibly important things. The stupidity here is from me, because I should have expected it.

Every August and, oh, April or something, we get the new Next catalogue. Next is a sort-of-department store; or rather, it is a department store, but with much less selection. For example, they might offer a sort of cool top in blue. And only in blue. There are no choices of colors. Same with shoes. If you like those brown boots, don't bother looking for black, because they don't have them. So it's more like a boutique.

I generally dislike just about everything Next has to offer. The clothes are frumpy for the most part--lots of ruffly calf-length skirts, which swim on someone petite like me, lots of thick horizontally-striped sweaters, lots of shoes with thick low heels--or too fuss…

Lamocity. I haz it

It's Monday. It's that kind of Monday here in publishing world, making me feel very uncompelled to post today. However, I don't want the world to be ripped asunder by me not attempting to post, so I've decided to open the floor for questions in order to disguise my lack of real content into concern for our readers and their needs. Ask away about anything... the League, writing, my work, my personal life, which member of the LRA I'm most likely to make out with, anything...have at me!

My favorite thing about UF

Our vampire protagonist (let's call her Haley) has roused herself during the day via a herculean expenditure of willpower. All of the humans have been disabled. Her boyfriend, Jason, has been dusted. Only Haley can light the fuse that will detonate the make-shift bomb and close the portal to Hell that opened in the middle of Quinton's Hallmark at the local mall. One problem - she has no matches, Jason's lighter appears to have dusted with him, and none of the Zippos in Spencer's have any lighter fluid in them. How do we resolve the situation?

Vampire + Sunlight = Fire.

Haley shouts a few obscenities as she "makes fire" by holding her hand out the front door of the mall. If her writer is feeling particularly nasty, then her flaming hand goes out on the way back to the Hallmark store... twice.

Okay, so what was all that about?

It's an illustration of one of my favorite things about Urban Fantasy. A scene like that one (silly as it is) can work in the genre. But…

Squee!

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Yay! I just got permission from my editor to share the cover of my debut novel, RED-HEADED STEPCHILD.

So, without further ado, I present to you the world's first look at Sabina Kane.



Isn't it precious? I just love the "don't fuck with me" look in her eyes.

Writing is a Pain

I've been thinking lately about how I work. Not my process, but the actual set up of my work. I use a Macbook to write. I loves my Mac. It's got a great keyboard with thin keys that allow my fingers to fly.

The only problem I have it the setup of the keyboard is tough on the wrists. Lately, I've been having pain in my right wrist. It start a few months ago with some random numbness and occasional tingling. I put it off for a while, but now I'm afraid I might have the beginning stages of carpal tunnel. I also get frequent neck and backaches from poor posture and tensing up while I write.

It doesn't help that I usually sit on my patio when I write. This set up does nothing good for my posture. I type hunched over my keyboard with my wrist resting on the sharp corners of my laptop. Not good.

Well, I finally got wise. Last night, I purchased a new monitor. A twenty-inch flatscreen that will allow me to look up at the screen instead of down. It also allow me to work on…

LRA Blogging, Lazy Edition

Okay. Here's the deal. I'm buried in edits (I managed to get myself a CEM and content edits on two separate books at the same time. I'm lucky like that.)

I have some brand spanking new copies of Pure Blood to give away, so I will assuage my guilt over not posting properly by handing out free shit.

But I'm gonna make you work for it. Everyone knows that misery loves company, so go read my tale of airline woe, come back and give me your worst travel story ever. I will reward the winner with books! So simple, so elegant.

So I Hear You're Looking for a Book...

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I've been a total slacker about keeping up with book reviews on my regular blog. Let me reitterate: Total. Fucking. Slacker.

I thought I'd take this Wednesday to do a catch up and give you some brief impressions and recommendations for some of the awesome books I've read recently.

First up...

Michele Bardsley's I'm The Vampire, That's Why really sucked me in (so to speak, and pardon the pun--count your blessings, I could have gone with "off"). The author's take on a small town being overrun with vampires was engrossing and inspired. She certainly got a few spit takes out of this dirty-minded reader--and you know that's actually pretty hard to do, me being such a jaded and cynical fucker. If the opening three chapters of I'm the Vampire don't leave you breathless for more, you're deader than the title character...Inspired stuff and funny as hell. I'm going to be hunting her down for an interview soon. Do you hear me Bardsl…

I am totally pointing at you

So, I point. I'm a pointer.

I know it's not polite. I remember a babysitter of mine, when I was, oh five or six?--I remember contemplating her theory while "The Rainbow Connection" played on the radio, so it had to be around the time the Muppet Movie was released. That was 1979 so yes, five or six. I digress--telling me that when you point a finger at someone, you're actually pointing three fingers back at yourself.

Which I guess is true, although IMO is it's more then two fingers it's no longer really a point, but is instead a hand gesture.

But the thing is, I don't, like, point and curse at people. Or call them names. I just...point at them ("No, you're not mad at him, you're just pointing"--I'm full of pop culture references today, huh?). Like I might ask, "Did you go to the store?", which is a perfectly innocent question, but while I ask it my index finger just pops out, like the little red button on a turkey. Pop!

The…

Hope for all Inhu-mankind

As I'm sure most of you were aware, HBO's True Blood debuted last night, the Alan Ball series based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by my homegirl Charlaine Harris.

I was nervous waiting for it to air these past few months. Why? Because I'm selfish. Its success or failure really made me wonder if Dead To Me might ever find a television or movie home of its own. A victory for True Blood is a victory for all of us who dabble in things that go bump in the night. And if it's a big HBO success, there's an even larger stamp of social success for our genre that lends greater legitimacy.

Now don't get me wrong. I love our niche, our loyalists to the urban fantasy genre, but I'd love to see it grow beyond what it is, the way Harry Potter or the LOTR's movies brought fantasy to the greater masses. Not just because I want to be filthy rich. That would be just a side benefit...

So what did I think about True Blood? I liked it... a lot. I think it captured th…

Kid Humor

A quickie today, because I'm chin deep in Black & White edits.

Tax Deduction the Younger scored three goals yesterday at his soccer game. After his first goal, he bounded up to me and Loving Husband and asked if we saw. We hugged him and congratulated him. He said:

"I snucked up on them. Heh, heh, heh."

It was the maniacal laugh at the end that cracked us up.

* * *

My kids' favorite joke:

KNOCK KNOCK.
Who's there?
INTERRUPTING COW.
Interrupting c--
MOO!!!

Post a funny about your kids, or someone else's kids. Go on, I double-dog dare you.

Gah! Invasion of the Living Kids!

Seriously, guys... I rolled right out of DragonCon weekend and into my seven year old's many birthday celebrations... the school party, the family party, and then... the slumber party. Our first slumber party. I barely escaped with my sanity, much less my life. I returned after a hard day of corporate stooging and THEY had already invaded. Okay. Okay, I admit it. The sleepover actually went very well. There was pizza (although what it is with small children and wanting nothing but cheese on their pizza, I'll never understand) and my wife had even ordered some of the kind *I* like. Black olives. Mushrooms. Sausage. Yum! My wife loves me.

Then, there was much Wii-ing. Mario Kart was the game of choice though there was a certain amount of Mario Party 8 to be played as well, and despite what I like to refer to as a standard level of "No Fairing" the children were very well behaved. As the evening came to an end and pajamas were donned, my wife covered the dining room tabl…

Research, I Likes It

I'm a research nerd. Last night, I spent a whopping $90 on reference material. Topics included: Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, female archetypes, scrying and faeries.

I'm giddy, I tell you. Giddy.

For me, research is how I get all my best moments of inspiration. I'll take a little from book A, a skosh from book B, twist them together with a little imagination and bam a world is born.

This love of research has a long history. Back in college, I spent an entire semester obsessed with the subject of a project I did for a seminar art history class. The subject? Mandatum scenes as depicted on columns found in Romanesque cloisters. Mandatum is another term for foot washing. It's fascinating. Really. (Stop looking at me like that.)

Research is also an excellent way to pretend your working. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only writer who wastes hours and hours scouring books and the web for random facts.

Take the other day, I just had to know what metal the Tartarus Gates were…

This is Some Scooby Gang Shit Right Here...

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...and the funny thing is I don't believe in ghosts. But I'm getting ahead of myself, right from the get go, from the title even. Let's start at the beginning, three weeks ago.

My wife and I normally go away for the weekend of our anniversary, but occasionally when it falls on a work day, we'll let the tradition slide. But, we always make up for it. This time, I wanted to do something completely different. Something we'd never done before and after nearly two decades together--twelve of those married--there isn't much we haven't done.

The answer?

Ghost hunting.

In Washington, the biggest bang for your undead buck is found in a sleepy little peninsular enclave an hour and a half northwest of Tacoma. Port Townsend is an artsy, antiquey and--sure--touristy town that I'd never thought much of, but it called to me with its promises of haunted lighthouses, castles and military bunkers.

So, the decision was made and we got off Saturday morning, camera charged…

Similar tastes?

Because my mind works in very strange ways, I was thinking last night about Lost in Translation.

Yeah, I know the movie is almost six years old, so what?

What strikes me about it is, even now, after those almost-six years, there's still a sort of love-it-or-hate-it issue around this film. Either you think it's a charming, wonderful, beautiful film about two people connecting in the midst of confusion, about how strangers can feel closer to you than your family, about how age and circumstance are less important than what's in your soul (I am in this camp); or you think it's a dull, insipid waste of time, full of vapid characters making dull small talk and doing nothing of interest (I don't know anyone in this camp--or do I?)

But what I find so interesting about LIT is, whether you love it or not really seems to have nothing to do with how smart you are, or how deep, or anything of that nature. You either get it or you don't, but I have certainly heard of some very …

Blackout averted!

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First of all.. we have a winner in the Michelle Rowen contest.. where I believe you actually win Michelle Rowen.. and the winner is... scarltsmmy! Congrats!

Now on with the show...

Deader Still is turned in. I am done with the content of the book, with only copy edits to do reminding me that I fail at the English language. Took the weekend off to visit family, not a lick of writing done, but now that I am back it is time to get back on the horse for book three in the series.

But since it's Labor Day, I ain't laboring, dammit! It's sitting around in my Super Mario boxers and playing video games for me!

To tide you over, bask in the yummeh that is the cover for Deader Still, which I was finally given this week.