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Showing posts from January, 2008

Book Club Topics #3 and #4

Since I'm a huge doofus and am getting the ball rolling so late in the day, let's just roll Wednesday and Thursday together for a multi-topic extravaganza. I figure you're all flexible enough to roll with that, and if you aren't...well Gary the HS, has plans for you.

So here are some things to mull over...

Because the Negotiator series is designed as a trilogy, it's important for Heart of Stone to set up the world and begin multiple story arcs. Which of these arcs are you most interested to see run its course? And for purely selfish reasons, I ask, are you more likely to read a series or trilogy, than you would a stand alone novel.

Next...

Alright let's go ahead and indulge a little fantasy. Which one of the Old Races are you and why?

Get to answerin'!

Book Club Post #2--Spoilery Goodness!

So yesterday we discussed characters who stay with us, and what makes a character stand out. Today we thought we could discuss scenes.

Every book I love has a particular scene that really sticks in my head, because it was funny or sexy or exciting, or just a few lines of beautiful detail keep echoing until they're part of me.

What scene in Heart of Stone was your favorite, and why?

***Warning again--feel free to post spoilers in the reply, so if you haven't read or haven't finished...read the comments at your own risk!***

The Winnah!

Just interrupting the book clubby goodness for a moment to announce the winner of the "Anton's birthday" contest. I meant to do it on Friday, so sorry everyone, as I know you were waiting with bated breath to see who gets one of my spiffy special Yezer magnets, and a SIGNED copy of Happy Hour of the Damned.

The winnah is...

Writtenwyrdd!

So pop me an email with your address, and we'll get you your loot.

Thanks to everyone who played!

Book Club Numero Uno: Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy

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I've got some exciting news, all through out the week, Catie (that's C.E. Murphy to you hambones) will be stopping by to answer questions, add commentary and just generally hang out.

AND...on Friday, one lucky commenter will win a copy of the new Negotiator novel, House of Cards! Be one of the first to get yourself some more Margrit and Alban!

So...we're all set up in the League Lounge, Stacia's mixing up a pitcher of mojitos (I know it's early. Writers, heh-heh) and the conversation pit is all warmed up.

Let's start with some ground rules.

As I said when I first announced the League's Book Club, the purpose is not to find out whether you like a book or not (we don't care), it's to talk about the emotions and thoughts that resonate from the experience of reading. In our case, we're going to be lookin' to have fun with themes, characters that remind us what goobers we are, and situations that trigger memories.

1. The first rule of book club, d…

And the Nominees Are...

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Tomorrow marks day one of the first League Book Club. We'll be chatting up C.E. Murphy's gargoyled urban fantasy HEART OF STONE. Come back each day this week for a new book related topic plus our regular blog posts. It's gonna be a busy one.

We only had 6 people make nominations but they were awesome (remember, we only do series debuts, that way no one is left out). So...on that note, let's pick us the next victim.


Already Dead
Charlie Huston
Vampires and zombies
all up in the NYC.



Beg for Mercy
Toni Andrews
The power of suggestion x 10.
Heroes meets paranormal romance!



Blood Engines
T.A. Pratt
Hayay!
Marla's got the magixes!

Dancing with Werewolves
Carole Nelson Douglas
Paranormal PIs,
Werewolves and Vegas, baby!




The Devil Inside
Jenna Black
An exorcist with a problem.
Why do the demons have to
be so damn sexy?

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Mario Acevedo
What's with all the nymphomaniacs?
Vamp PI finds out.




Unshapely Things
Mark Del Franco
A modern druid investigates
the murders of fairy …

Moonrat Speaks! The Editing World Revealed!

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For this weekend's interview, I thought I'd pick the brain of someone fascinating to me - Moonrat from Editorial Ass fame. For those of you that aren't familiar with her blog, she talks about publishing from the editor's chair, and all from an anonymous - and hilarious - point of view.


1. So how did you get started in publishing? Degree? Friend of a friend?

I'm not sure when I made the decision to try to become an editor, although now that it's been made I can't imagine it having worked out any other way. But I suspect I decided to make a go of it around my senior year in college. As it turned out, though, I had the trifecta that editors look for in assistants--I had worked in a bookstore for a long time, I had interned at an agency, and I was an extreme geek who could rhapsodize about my favorite authors for 10 minutes. I think a lot of editors like to see unabashed rhapsodizing during interviews. (I know I do.)

I think if you're organized enough to kn…

Oops!

I composed a post a few days ago and for some reason, it's showing up a few days down the row...and Jill isn't smart enough to figure out how to bump it up. So for those of you wondering about my Friday thoughts, please scroll down to earlier this week under "Born or Made" where I debate the big questions of the art world: Are artists born, or are artists made?

Sorry for the confusion. *g*

Happy Birthday Anton!!

Ha! Sometimes I love the time difference, especially when it means I get to be the first to wish Mr. Strout a very, very happy birthday!

Seriously, I adore Anton. It is so much fun to be in this group with him. He's funny, he's smart...just an all-around great guy, and a great writer, and I think we can all help celebrate his birthday by pre-ordering Dead to Me today!

In fact, if you pre-order it today, or if you already have, let me know. Email me with a copy of the relevant part of your Amazon or B&N receipt (I don't want or need your credit card or home address details, of course), and I will enter you in a contest for another of my Yezer magnets!

****And Mr. Mark Henry is chipping in a signed copy of Happy Hour of the Damned! So c'mon! Enter!****

You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, so preorder now!


(This is what I'm looking for:


Dispatch estimate for these items: 3 Jan 2008 1 "Flunkeys and Scullions: Life Below Stairs in Georgian Engla…

The Revisionist

It looks like this is the week. Road Trip of the Living Dead will be off to my beta readers for their oh-so helpful critique (see Mark butter up betas). Then it's on to revision time (actually in the short break, I'll be attempting a website update and catchup on some interviews that have been sitting in my inbox). I know lots of people who refer to this period as "revision hell," but I don't mind it so much.

My thing.

As I'm writing, I keep a pad next to the laptop. I edit the shit out of Chapter One. It's my basis. It's the one place I can count on to not need revision. It makes me happy. Then I write Chapter two and three. By three I'm making notes on two. What's been left out, what needs to have been left out. I keep up this way through the whole manuscript. So before I let myself type "the end", I go through my list and start doing the fix. Not that I'm all that linear. I may be writing Chapter five and think of …

Born or Made?

Ever use the phrase "I've been writing since I could hold a pen!"? Ever tell everyone that you've always wanted to be a novelist?

My husband hates people like you.

(Just kidding!)

But seriously. He hates that statement, no matter whether it's used in an art standpoint or a writing standpoint. A little bit of backstory for you - my husband grew up doodling and drawing. His father discouraged it, but he did it anyway. He was good at it - maybe not Michelangelo-genius-level, but competent and he enjoyed it. And when it came time to make a career decision, my husband elected to go to animation college. He learned how to apply his love for art in a realistic way and even went on to work for the animation giant (at the time), Disney studios.

My husband is talented. I consider him a 'born' artist. He does not. Why? Because he went to school to learn to be a professional artist. He worked very hard for his degree, worked many years at crappy, low-paying jobs in the i…

For whom the bell tolls...

Every time this subject coes up, I am reminded of my friend George--the driest, most sarcastic man I've ever known--'s reaction to a certain celebrity death ten years or so back that made major, major headlines. When the hubs mentoned said event to George, George did his patented slightly-to-the-left head tilt and said, "Yeah, and you know what I think about that? People die every day."

But do they always die in books?

I don't mean minor characters. I tend to go through minor characters like a hot knife through butter, at least these days I do. Personal Demons doesn't have any major deaths I can think of, but the sequel has a few.

And one that's missing.

I originally planned to kill off a certain character in the second book, but when the time came...I just couldn't do it.

Am I going soft? Am I a big girly wimp?

I would say no, but in Unholy Ghosts I actually created a character specifically planning to kill him. From page one (well, not quite, he doesn'…

Saturday Interview: Heather Osborn, Acquiring Editor, Tor Paranormal Romance

I adore Heather Osborn, and not just because she had the good taste to acquire my first two erotic romances for Ellora's Cave before heading off to acquire paranormal romances for Tor Books (Heather, was it something I said? Should I not have sent that shrunken head as a thank-you gift? Was the shrine I built to you in my living room too much? It was actually much smaller than it looked in the pictures.)

Perhaps her only lapse in judgement was agreeing to let me interview her here, but I'm sure she won't make that mistake again.

1. So how crazy are things at the Tor offices these days? Moderate crazy? Really crazy? Is it busier in any particular time of year?

Actually, the holidays are a fairly quiet time in the offices, since most authors are not writing and most agents are vacationing. So yeah, I would place it at moderately crazy. It seems that much of an editor's life is either feast or famine. You are either REALLY busy or twiddling your thumbs.


2. Can you tell us…

Distractions (again), Phlegm Globbers and Jeff Conaway

In my ongoing effort to reduce distractions and finish ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD over this long holiday weekend, I've been asking my wife to take my wifi card with her to work. The most notable result is blog withdrawal.

Common Symptoms of Blog Withdrawal

1. Repeatedly opening internet application followed by screams.
2. Peppering speech with unsolicited advice about writing, new bands, horror trailers, book recs.
3. Unhealthy interest in pet's bowel habits.
4. Actually making progress on manuscript.

It's amazing how much work I'm getting done.

So...how is it I'm blogging right now? Well it's called following through on commitments. You'll notice the haphazard structure? The title that has nothing to do with the content? All key indicators of a rush job.

The other big thing...

I think I wrote a zombie scene that's actually *cough* poignant. I know that's insane, not only am I writing a comedy, but it's a gore-filled potty-mouthed totally un-PC z…

One of the best news stories I've ever seen

Check this out.

For those of you who won't click (you rebels, you!) it's a story about a study done at the University of Sheffield hospital here in England (at least, I assume that's where the survey was done. The story mentions the U of Sheffield and mentions a hospital but does not actually connect the two in any real way).

Researchers surveyed 250 children, ages 4 to 16. About clowns. And what did they find?

What they found was the best quote in the article: "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

I do not like clowns. I have never liked clowns. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I don't know a single person who likes clowns (okay, that's not entirely true, because I have a friend whom I very much like, and his mother is a clown. And a Vicar. Shes a religious clown, for religious gatherings and things. I think. But I am certain about the vicar and clown parts.) But aside from him…

Call for February Book Club Noms!

I know you're all planning to pop in the week of the 28th to chat about C.E. Murphy's HEART OF STONE. So the question is...what's next? Leave your suggestions in the comments and we'll compile the 5 top choices for a vote next week.

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

The Fragility of the Writing Ego

So before getting your big break and grabbing that brass ring known as publication, there is rejection. And that rejection sucks because each and every one becomes a blow to the ego, which furthers a new author to think "OMG WTF BBQ I SHOULD BURN MAH BOOK NAO!"

Hopefully, this feeling doesn't linger, but the grand accomplishment of having written out 100,000 words does get diminished a little by these blows.

Now here is the fun part: Once you have the brass ring? It ramps up to a whole new level!

Cuz now your work is in the public eye. There's gonna be a lot of people who will come to adore your work, which is terribly ego boosting. Then there will be those who don't love it and that's okay. The odds are against the entire world loving it. The point should be that YOU love it, and if it entertains some people, that's a good day.

I've come to write for me first, the reader second, but this doesn't mean they are exclusive of each other. I try…

Hurt me. It turns me on.

Ha! I figured that might get you reading.

We're having some fun this week, as is our wont, and mixing things up here at the blog. So if you expected one of Anton's sharp, witty posts today? You're out of luck. You get me instead. You expected me tomorrow? Nope! Someone else will be here tomorrow. Or maybe I will again. Maybe Anton will show up here later. Who knows? We're CRA-ZEE, I tell you!!

I've been thinking a lot about what makes us writers. What is it about us that makes us deliberately set ourselves up for rejection and pain on a regular basis? First there's all those agents waiting to reject us. Then publishers. And if we finally manage to get both an agent and a publisher, there's millions of readers out there to reject us.

So why do we do it? Mommy issues? Ego? Masochistic tendencies? All of the above?

I write because it's all I ever really wanted to do. Oh, sure, if I wasn't doing it I would probably have found something else. I thought serio…

Weekend Interview: Richelle Mead

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Joining us in the League Lounge this week is the lovely and talented Richelle Mead, author of SUCCUBUS BLUES, VAMPIRE ACADEMY (YA) and the just out, sure to be a sensation, SUCCUBUS ON TOP.

Me: Welcome, Richelle. Might I offer you a cocktail from our Tiki Bar? An aperatif, perhaps? Something with a paper umbrella and a plastic monkey dangling from it?

Richelle: It's barely noon yet...but well, I am from western Michigan originally. And we have a saying back there: "Being sober before noon is like being sober after noon." I know--I don't really get it either, but I think it means it's okay for me to have a mojito.

Me: Yummy. Getting right into the business of Ms. Kincaid. As we last left our tasty morsel, she had dispatched the villain and enchanted the famous writer guy. Will we be exposed to copious descriptions of carnal canoodling?

Richelle: If your definition of canoodling involves pipe cleaners and tarps, then yes. Okay...I'm kidding about that, but…

Top Ten

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So I was going to write this witty, charming post about something in particular, but the list itself gave me so many great ideas for a book sequel that I am jealously hoarding it close to my chest and refuse to share it. Authors are like this. We squat on ideas like, well, squatters on free land.

So here is the rinky-dinkiest Top Ten List ever brought to the League:

TOP TEN THINGS JILL SHOULD HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT INSTEAD OF WEASELLING OUT


10. Romance tropes that should cross over to Urban Fantasy (but do we really want to see the Cowboy Vampire's Secret Baby?)

9. Top Ten thoughts on plagiarism (but I stole them all from Jane at Dear Author).

8. Top Ten Reasons You Know A Book Is Written By Me (but then Missy would be disappointed to find out that 'Surprise Buttsecks' isn't one of them).

7. Top Ten LOLcats of all Time (but who can pick just ten?)

6. Top Ten CDs That I Love That I Should Be Embarrassed About (Why must I justify my Ace of Base love?)

5. Top Ten Things I Do Instea…

Holy Crap! This Here's Post 99!

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Yep. 99 League of Reluctant Adults blog posts. It seems like just yesterday when Jill emailed with the scheme she and Ilona cooked up. And now we're rolling along, gathering no moss, throwing no ston...well yes throwing stones but, well, you know what I mean.

It seems the perfect time, then. While I'm knee deep in deadlines and struggling with an unweildy manuscript, to drop everything and shit out a top ten list for you hambones. So that's what I'll do.

...and it's titled:

TOP TEN DISTRACTIONS
(THAT KEEP MARK IN A STATE OF DEADLINE DRIVEN PANIC,
BORDERING ON HIS FIRST SCHIZOPHRENIC BREAK!)

10. Good Books: Damn you writers! How do you expect me to finish my novel when I've got so much reading to do. It's just not possible. Among the culprits this past year were Ilona's MAGIC BITES, Jeaniene Frost's HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, Joe Schreiber's EAT THE DARK and his unpublished manuscript THE BLACK WING, which is going to rival Straub for creepy secre…

Top Ten: Elvis Edition

Hee! Since I get to blog today, on Elvis' birthday, I am eschewing writing topics and posting instead my top ten favorite Elvis songs. (Perhaps I should explain the roots of my Elvis fandom. When I was little my Dad used to do a lot of business in Memphis and take us all along [he was a salesman for a company that sold sodium silicate]. We used to stay at a Holiday Inn right up the road from Graceland, and in those days you could tour the grounds sometimes or just stand around waiting to see if he would show up. We went every time, as my parents were such big Elvis fans that somewhere we still have photos they took of the TV when <"Aloha from Hawaii" was aired. Photos of the TV screen, people. So I literally recognized Graceland as quickly as I recognized my own home as a child. Also, on one of those trips, in late spring/early summer of 1977, I saw Elvis himself. Yes, you read that right. I saw Elvis. In person, for real. On his motorcycle. I can therefore beat just …

Top Ten Week: Top Ten Things I Need When Writing

Welcome to everyone's favorite month, January. It's not only special because all of you are busy trying to create the new year-new you versions of yourself, but it is also my birth month.

And sure, that was a shameless plug for happy birthdays, but really, it's on the 24th, so why not hold back until then? I digress...

This week each of us Leaguers will be tackling our own brand of Top Ten lists, maybe in tribute to bearded David Letterman's return to the small screen, I'm not sure.

I decided to tackle things I need when writing... so on with the show!

10. Notebook- in my fancy schmancy work backpack which is always at hand, I keep one handy. You never know when some inspiration is going to strike or when you're going to come across some detail in real life you want to use for your fiction. Once I decided to take writing seriously, there was a switch that went on in my head. Suddenly everything I saw was being video recorded by my brain because simply walking…

Guilty As Charged.

Someone confessed to me the other day, "Do you ever feel guilty when you don't write?"

And my response was, "OMG YES!!! I'M NOT ALONE!!!"

It's so true. Ever since I started pursuing publishing, the guilt has been clinging to me like my slacks on a staticky day. If I don't write that day? Guilty. Don't write a good wordcount for the week? Guilty. Project takes a little longer than I think, or the writing isn't as good as I want? Guilty guilty guilty GUILTY!

Writing wasn't always like this for me, of course. When I first started writing, I wrote when I felt like it. It took me a year and a half to finish my first novel. I didn't care. I had no clue what the industry was like - all I knew was that I wanted to write. I first submitted my second novel, and began to talk to writers in the industry.

I learned that you need to push out one book a year for most genres. In some, two books or more are 'required' to keep your name in front o…

Booksies!

When you're a veteran reader, or worse a writer, reading books becomes a frustrating affair. You've been there, done that, seen the plot twists and got a magic trinket for your trouble. So when you find something to look forward to, it's like an unexpected present. Like your husband buying your WOW character a blue ring in an Auction House. (It was terribly romantic. So I'm easily swayed by his charm. I'm allowed.)

So what books are you most looking forward to in 2008?

I bet Patricia Briggs' Iron Kissed will be a favorite. By all indications, it is an awesome book and it's out now! Sometimes you read a book by another author and have to admire the very skill with which it was written. This book, while a bit darker than previous two books in Mercy's series, is nothing short of elegant.

I am looking forward to Johanna Bourne's Spymaster's Lady, also available now. I read a couple of reviews of it and it sounded so interesting and I ordere…

We're Baaaaa-aaaaaack!

It's the 2nd of January. Already. The holidays have come, gone and left their droppings all over the League clubhouse. There's cleaning to do, grocery shopping, exercise, a trip to the post office. Plus we've got the new book club set to go (HEART OF STONE, pick it up and read, bitches). It's all too much.

Aaaaaaah!

Writing is my day job and it's still hard to find the time. So how do you juggle all of life's demands and still put together a story worth reading?

No...seriously...how?

I could tell you that it's all about the time management, prioritizing, lists, PROSEC (or Prozac, for that matter). But really, it's boils down to focus and enjoying the process.

You know those moments where you get into your own story, laughing along with the characters or at them, feeling the tension as a particularly suspensful scene unfolds? Those are moments to remember, to celebrate. They sustain us.

They are our runner's high.

So--I know--that doesn't real…