Monday, March 31, 2008

League Book Club Post #1: Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

*rubs hands together* Hee hee hee. (That's an evil laugh, in case you didn't know.)

This week we'll be discussing Mark Henry's Happy Hour of the Damned, which I personally thought was awesome.

Remember, we're discussing themes and craftsmanship and characterization--the stuff that made the book resonate and contributed to the fun--rather than "like" or "didn't like", although that will be in there too, I'm sure.

Mark is offering up some spiffy prizes, too--some Secret Zombie Presents and a signed copy of the book! So join in everyone!

Okay, here's our first topic.

Amanda Feral is quite the fashionista. What do you think her obsession with labels tells us about her character? In what way did Henry use those to reveal her personality?

And also, don't you think it's a little odd that Mark had such familiarity with those designers? Does it make you wonder about his upbringing? Seriously.

Comment away!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In the League Lounge: Rachel Vincent!

As it's becoming a rarity to have a weekend interview around these parts, I like to keep up the tradition of cocktails by the Tiki bar. So, I wandered into the League Lounge to set up and to my surprise, found Rachel Vincent already nursing a sinister concoction she mixed for herself. She calls it a Jaguar and I for one am a little frightened of what could be in it.

Mark: Hi Rachel! (I grab the drink and swirl it) should I be concerned?

Rachel: Well, a jaguar does have quite a bite. Try it.

Mark: Well, if you insist. (I take a long slug) Damn, girl! That shit burns going down. I better get to some questions quick before I end up dancing on the bar. So your new book Rogue follows your werecat heroine, Faythe, on some new prrrrrfectly exciting adventures, yes?

Rachel: Naturally. Faythe's playing with the big boys now, and she only knows one way to play...

Mark: Tell us all about it. Everything. Don't leave out a single detail. I hate to wait. (I slurp the murky Jaguar through a bendy straw)

Rachel: This time, Faythe is up to her canines in dead tomcats and missing human women. And as usual, her personal life is refusing to stay personal. Add to that a persistent ex-boyfriend, a insistent current boyfriend, and problems cropping up from her past, and Faythe certainly has her paws full.

Mark: So why werecats? I mean, really. Were you a fan of CATS: the Musical? t.s. elliot? Did you ever push yourself away from the computer in a jellical fashion and scream, "MACAVITY!?!?!"

Rachel: Ha! Actually, I was a fan of CATS as a kid, and there's a character in book four nicknamed Macavity. But no one else seems to get it.

Mark: Do you have an opinion on lolcatz? Garfield minus Garfield? Certain Feral creatures?

Rachel: I love LOLcatz and have been known to speak their language at random inappropriate times. No one gets that either. As for Feral, do you mean Amanda Feral? I love Amanda. That girl doesn't make apologies, and you gotta respect her for that. That, and her healthy appetite.

Sorry, though, I don't know what you mean about Garfield...

Mark: (handing Rachel my empty glass) Can I get another one?

Rachel: Sure, but only if you're out of cat references. One more, and I may garnish this with a hairball, rather than an olive.

Mark: Got it. Promise. Many League readers are aspiring writers and are thus fascinated by first sale stories. You've probably told yours a thousand times, huh? Care to make it a thousand and one?

Rachel: (handing over fresh Jaguar) Sure. My agent gets most of the credit for my first sale. She drummed up some interest, and we had ourselves a little auction. It was very exciting, but equally overwhelming. Oh, and the first offer came in on Friday the 13th. Seriously. An offer for a book about black cats. On Friday the 13th. Weird, huh?

Mark: I guess (slurp). Watcha been readin' lately?

Rachel: Actually, I'm reading Happy Hour of the Damned. It's the most awesomely gruesome book I've ever read. I'm impressed. And suddenly not very hungry.

Mark: Thank you, I try. You're going to be at Romantic Times in April, right? So am I. Should I be afraid? Do you like the con circuit?

Rachel: Oh yes, be afraid! I may look small, but I'm scrappy. Kidding of course. And yes, I love cons. I go to three or four a year, including a couple of local ones. But the big ones are my best chance to catch up with friends and meet readers.

Mark: I know I promised not to bug you about it anymore, but, seriously, Aristocats or The Aristocrats?

Rachel: Aristocats. Definitely. I'm probably dating myself here, but Thomas O'Malley is the original alley cat. No question.

Mark: Man this Jaguar is kicking my ass. We should probably wrap this up before I lose bladder control. What's in this thing anyway?

Rachel: What's not in it? I really have no idea. I just started pouring from different bottles. Bailey's goes well with tomato juice, right?

Mark: Well thanks for comin' anyway. (Passes out)

Why not visit Rachel at her website and pick up Rogue and Stray in bookstores now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

League Book Club Post #5: Dead to Me by Anton Strout SPOILERS

Here we are, time for the last discussion of the week!

Remember, next week we'll be talking about Mark Henry's Happy Hour of the Damned, so be sure to come back for that one!

So...Dead to Me...

What was your favorite part? What did you think of the ending?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

League Book Club Post #4: Dead to Me by Anton Strout SPOILERS

It's time for spoilers!

If you haven't read the book yet, don't read the comments here. It will ruin everything. (Unless of course you're one of those people who sneaks and reads the end of the book. Um, like me, because I totally do that. I usually manage to make it 70 pages or so, and I try not to read enough to really spoil everything, but I do peek.)

So...who was your favorite supporting character and why? Was there a particular moment that realy stood out for you, or is it just in looking back that you realize you particularly liked that character?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

League Book Club Post #3: Dead to Me by Anton Strout

Yesterday we talked a bit about Simon's desire for normalcy and the need he seems to have to either pretend his abilities aren't there or downplay them.

I wondered how much of that you think comes from his past? We aren't really certain what made him give up his Nefarious Deeds and Walk the Straight and Narrow, but do you think his fear of his abilities and attempts to work around them somehow means that for Simon, psychometry has become linked with memories of being someone he didn't like being, and no longer wants to be?

How do you think that affects the choices he makes now?

Tomorrow and Friday we do Spoiler Threads!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

League Book Club Post #2: Dead to Me by Anton Strout

So today I thought we'd talk some about Simon as a character (no, not just because I have a huge crush on him! I'm a serious Book Discusser, me.)

For someone with the abilities Simon has--not just metaphysically, but physically, he's pretty good with that baton--he has a lot of insecurities. How do you think his relationship with Connor highlights those, and what does it say about both men?

Also, in what way do Simon's relationships with women effect the overall plot? Would most men have been unable (or unwilling) to perform after seeing Tamara and Fergus in the beginning? Do you think his attachments to Irene and Jane are indicative of his need to find women who need him, rather than simply wanting him? And again, if this is how he sees his function in a romantic relationship or male/female one, is that perhaps part of the reason why his relatonship with Connor is what it is? Does Simon still try to see his place in his world as a traditional one?

Monday, March 24, 2008

League Book Club Post #1: Dead to Me by Anton Strout

Hi all! Sorry this post is a little later than I would have liked--we went out to get something to eat and it ended up taking much longer than I expected. But let's get started!

Remember, we want to dicuss the themes of the book and what resonated with us, rather than simply whether or not we liked the book. And despite appearances to the contrary, we try to be nice here.

So let's jump in!

The first discussion item for the day comes from Mr. Henry, who isn't around but agreed to give me a few tips and helpful points while I moderate my first book club ever.

Dead to Me opens with a Woody Allen quote ("There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is how far is it from midtown and how late is it open?") and Anton's love of New York City is evident througout. Would Dead to Me have worked in a small-town setting? Why or why not? How else does that quote relate to both the novel and Simon's particular neuroses?

I may post more dicussion items later today, or twice tomorrow, as I've got a lot of stuff to discuss--this week and next (when we do Happy Hour of the Damned) are going to be quite busy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Everyone's at Norwescon, and I am all alone...

All alone, with my family. Which at the moment includes a three-year-old with a stomach flu. She threw up Scotch eggs all over my vintage Sandman t-shirt today. Yes, I was wearing it at the time. All over my shirt, all over my jeans, all over me. Fun. Almost as much fun as five minutes ago when she threw up bananas all over her bed.

But, in the interests of actually amusing you rather than grossing you out, here is the picture of the Princess wearing the birthday gift she insisted on getting last summer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Book Club, Part One: Dead to Me by Senor Strout

Oi! League Peeps! Remember when we talked about doing the book club for both Dead to Me and Happy Hour of the Damned? Not gonna happen. I'm going to be out of town or busy with signings for the rest of this week and much of next week so Stacia is going to take the reigns on a week of fun festivities for one of our own. The oh-so pale, terrifically punny, Anton Strout.

He'll be here next week--moreso than usual--chatting with readers about all things Dead to Me. Got a crush on Simon? Let him know. Need Anton to come over and battle an unruly bookcase? It can't hurt to ask.


In other League news...

We're coming up on two big releases for two of the League ladies, Ilona and Stacia. Get out there and pre-order Magic Burns and Personal Demons, or better yet, buy them up in the first week, or even better yet, do both.

Speaking of Ilona: The couple that writes together forums together and you can get into it with Ilona and Gordon over at Romantic Times. They're breaking Kate Daniel's world down for you and it doesn't seem any question is off limits (I could be wrong).

Stacia is planning on throwing me a book club event the following week. Until then, you can swing by the Barnes and Noble Paranormal Book Club and harrass me. I'm off to Norwescon, wish me luck at my first fan convention, I'll be dropping by occasionally.

Particularly on the 29th, when I'll post my interview with Rogue author, Rachel Vincent. You'll want to pop by for that bit of comedic torture.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Better late than never?

Ugh! I am so sorry this is going up so late. I have spent my entire day on the phone, I swear. (Well, not swear like, swearing in court or anything. But I have spent a lot of time on the phone.)

See, I was tired this morning. And my Faery is ill. She's had...well, stomach troubles, is probably the nicest way to put it, and a fever. So she's been particularly cuddly. And I was tired. Periodically my insomnia lets up and I spend three days doing practically nothing but sleeping. In fact it's not even 10 pm and I'm ready to go to bed. (Considering I usually don't sleep until after 1 am, that's something.)

Then I had to call the best friend in Florida for a nice long chat. Which ended up being three hours long. Then time to do a few housecleaning type things, then...which is kind of the point of this post (yes, it does have a point):

A podcast interview. Over the phone. VERY strange. Really, really fun, but strange. Because I got to talk about writing with someone who actually cared and wanted to hear what I had to say. (This is very unusual for me. My husband isn't much for the writing or writing discussions, and the aforementioned best friend loves to talk about my writing but likes to talk characters and plots more than mechanics.) Someone who actually thought I was a real writer. I'm still reeling a little bit from that.

And of course now that it's over I'm thinking of all the things I should have said, and the things I shouldn't have--although luckily I didn't really say anything offensive, I don't think, just I'm sure I rambled on and on about something.

But mostly I'm worried about my voice.

I hate my voice.

It's so wierd! So sort of nasal and bland. It's not a gentle lovely voice, it's just..ech. I don't like it. I hate hearing it. And now other people are going to hear it and they will probably all hate it to, and decide I am boring with a stupid voice so they will never buy my books.

(And, um, I don't know how to listen to podcasts either.)

What do you guys think? Do you like your voices? (Seriously. I'm really curious.)

Monday, March 17, 2008


A conversation with my six-year-old daughter

So the girls are playing in the living room. And the little one--Faery--trips over a toy. Not just any toy. A Millenium Falcon, the ones that you get for those little chunky Star Wars toys? We of course have this item.

Anyway, Faery trips and starts to cry.

Me: What happened?

Six-year-old (Princess): Faery tripped and hurt herself on that. (Points)

Me: On what?

Princess: On that spaceship there.

Me: That's not just "a spaceship"! That's the Millenium Falcon!

Princess: What's that?

Me: The Millenium Falcon is--well, it's the fastest ship in the galaxy! It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! (picks up toy, sets it aside). You better not let your daddy hear you call the Millenium Falcon just a spaceship.

The Princess is a huge Ghost Rider fan, too. She wants a poster of him for her wall. One of these days I'll post the picture of her in her Ghost Rider mask--she begged to have it for her birthday. She can name most members of the Justice League. She knows a lot of the characters on Star Trek and loves Buffy.

What geeky things are you passing on to your kids?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Miss FancyPants!

It's not every day that we get super-awesome cool news, but today we do!

A certain lay-dee who we blog with got a big fancy agent. BIG. FANCY. AGENT.

Go read her story here: HERE HERE HERE. And like, cuss at her in the comments like I did.

Way to go, Stacia! I am thrilled for you, girlfriend. :)

(Now tell us a little bit about your book. Cause I love the title.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jaye Wells, Author, Blogger, Debutante

This week Jaye takes over the guest blogging duties with a first sale story that's sure to inspire in its poignancy. Plus, if I may stop to make some fun, doesn't that picture make this post look like an advice column? It screams, "I'm listening, bitch. Whatchoo got?"

Ask Jaye. That might have to become a regular thing. What do you think?


My first thought when Mark asked me to guest blog here at The League was "Hell, yeah!" Then he mentioned this was humor month, and I thought "Uh oh."

See, as much as I love the funny, when someone tells me to be funny all I hear is, "Dance, monkey, dance!" Thus, I'm sitting here in a tiny red fez. I tried to get my husband to wear a fake mustache and pretend to be an organ grinder, but he responded with something totally inappropriate about grinding organs followed by "that's what she said." So, he's no help.

Anyway...Mark asked me to talk about my first sale. It's one of my favorite topics, to be sure. However, while the story is mildly amusing, the truth is it was one of the most emotional moments of my life. It ranked right up there next to the birth of my spawn and marrying my dirty-minded husband.

So, I tried to think of a way to make my first sale journey more interesting. I decided to go with an interactive approach. Who's ready to play: Guess What Really Happened?

Here's how it works, I'll give a question and you choose the truth from a list of multiple choice options. Easy? We'll see.

1. When my agent called to offer me representation, what did I tell him?
a. Thank you for your interest, but I need to take some time to make this decision.
b. I need to contact the other agents with fulls and get back to you.
c. You're my new best friend!
d. I'm sorry you must have the wrong number.

2. When my agent called with the news we had our first offer, what was my response?
a. Graciously thanking him for his hard work.
b. A dignified little victory dance
c. Screamed "Oh my God!" and burst into tears
d. I accidentally hung up on him

3. Where was I when I got the call?
a. In my office, working away on a manuscript
b. In a bar, doing body shots off a muscle-bound hunk
c. At a play area filled with screaming children
d. In my kitchen, cooking dinner

4. Where was my husband through all this?
a. Right next to me
b. At work
c. In Tokyo, passed out from a Sake marathon
d. At a poker game, gambling away all our money

5. What does the word "auction" mean to me?
a. Sotheby's
b. E-bay
c. Marathon phone tag followed by elation and champagne
d. They never happen for newbie writers

6. What changed in my life after I got the call?
a. Two words: Cabana boy. Two more words: Naked Twister.
b. Suddenly famous, I now have to fend off the paparazzi and wear a pink wig everywhere.
c. Nothing much, except I have a deadline now
d. Due to the pressures of being a "famous author," I now live off a heady cocktail of psychotropic medications

So how do you think you did? If you answered "c" to all of the above, give yourself a cookie. I'd share mine, but I ate them all.

About the book:
Red-Headed Stepchild is about Sabina Kane--half-mage, half-vampire, all attitude. She's an assassin with a heart of brass, who gets herself caught in the middle of feud between the mage and vampire races. Helping Sabina navigate this treacherous world is a high-maintenance hairless cat demon, a prognosticating nymph who used to work in faery porn, and a mysterious mage with an agenda and a nice ass. Red-Headed Stepchild will be released in Spring/Summer 2009 by Orbit US.


Thanks Jaye, I think I'm jealous of your book (you had me at faery porn). Visit Jaye at her blog, aptly titled Jaye's Blahg.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fear of a new project

So I've started a new project. Actually, I've started two new projects.

And I'm scared.

What if these projects fail to come off properly? What if the last project is the last good thing I'll ever write? (What if it isn't that good, and I'm fooling myself into thinking I'm any good at all?) What if I'm one of those writers who is only capable of doing one thing, and then it all dries up and I'm never able to produce anything of interest ever again?

(I do realize that last one seems a bit far-fetched, as I have written several books. But if you take the "My favorite book is the one I'm working on/just finished" principle seriously, as I do, then all those previous books weren't important.)

And starting is so hard. I hate starting. My favorite part of writing is about Chapter Three-Twelve or so, with sparks of joy smattered throughout the rest. In the beginning it all feels clunky and hard. The book doesn't really know yet what it's going to be, and neither do I. Maybe the characters are being amusing when the book is supposed to be serious. Or perhaps it's the opposite. Maybe I've stuck everyone in a situation that I have no idea how they're going to get out of and I start thinking they never will get out of it and I should just start over. Or that this situation really does nothing for the rest of the book, so why am I continuing with it?

Whatever it is, the entire thing feels like a dull waste of time for the first chapter or so. It isn't until I hit 5k words (or that area) that it takes shape and becomes exciting to me.

Until then I'm racked with fear. Fear that it never will take shape, fear that it's all a bunch of crap, fear that I stink and the Dumb Luck Writing Fairy will never return to my humble mind. (This lasts, of course, until I hit about Chapter Three--sometimes Two--and decide this book is The One[!!!!] and my life will never be happy until I've finished it.)

That's a good place to be. But it's so scary to get there. Like travelling through a creepy dark forest (see how bad my similes are? I will never write anything decent ever again.)

What scares you about writing? How do you feel when you start a new project?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Winnah winnah chicken dinnah!

Thanks to everyone that replied to the contest on Friday! I am happy to say that I have chosen a winner:


Collette's answer actually made me sportle. That's the sound you make when you snort, spew your drink, and milk comes out of your nose. All at the same time. for real.

Collette, please email me at jillmyles at and let me know which two books you want, and your deets.

Congrats again!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jim Hines

Jim Hines is author of the very popular GOBLIN trilogy, which culminated on Tuesday with the release of Goblin War. That's right, guys. GOBLINS. And WEAPONS. How can you resist?

Jim has graciously agreed to share a very important message with you all today. Don't forget, you heard it here first!

A Message From the Blue Party Candidates

I would like to thank the League of Reluctant Adults and all of their readers for giving me the chance to announce a new candidate for the White House: Jig the goblin.

Polls show that the war is a top concern for many voters. Jig Dragonslayer is a veteran of the great Goblin War of 2008. While there are other veterans running for office, how many of them can claim to have fought both sides in the same war? It's that kind of untraditional strategy that has kept him alive all these years. And unlike his opposition, Mister Dragonslayer's position on war has never wavered: when faced with the possibility of violence, he has always run away as fast as his skinny blue legs can carry him.

In the twenty-first century, politics has become a vicious arena of lies, backstabbing, and betrayal. Therefore, we need a leader with superior backstabbing skills. We need Jig Dragonslayer.

His accomplishments are well-documented in books and in song. He is a newcomer to Washington, but has long experience facing everything from drunken goblin guards to the slightly neurotic dragon Straum.

The Jig Dragonslayer ballot is the most diverse of any party. Not only is he the first goblin candidate (with the possible exception of Dick Cheney), he has selected as his running mate the fire-spider Smudge. Where others talk about vetoing pork barrel projects, Smudge will set them ablaze, then chase down the men and women who dared push such wasteful projects in the first place. A few flaming senators will go a long way toward cleaning up Washington.

Transcript from a Recent Interview:

1. Why do you want to be president?

Jig: Um ... well, Mr. Hines told me that the president gets his own personal security force to make sure nobody kills him. That would be kind of nice.

2. That would be Jim C. Hines, correct? What do you say to critics who claim Mr. Hines' documentation of your life in Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, and Goblin War are sheer fantasy?

Jig: Easy for them to say. They weren't the ones staring at the business end of a dragon, or trying to magically heal a nose-picking injury, or--

3. Nose-picking injury?

Jig: Don't ask.

4. What about the rumors that your Vice Presidential candidate is secretly gay?

Jig: He's a saucer-sized spider who sets things on fire, and you're asking about his dating habits? Humans are so weird.

5. None of the other candidates have been willing to debate you on the issues. Why do you think that is?

Jig: They're probably afraid I'd have Trok and Braf lead an ambush to kill them all, then give their bodies to Golaka the chef for dinner.

6. Ah, yes. Prejudice is still alive and well in the twenty-first--

Jig: No, that's pretty much what I'd do. That McCain fellow looks like he'd be particularly tasty, maybe barbequed with a glaze of Golaka's honey wine, and--

7. Final question. Since Goblin War doesn't come out until March 4, can you tell us a little more about the events described in the book?

Jig: It began when our lair was invaded by [DELETED FOR REASONS OF NATIONAL SECURITY]

Vote Jig/Smudge in 2008!

"He might be a backstabbing little goblin, but at least he's honest about it."

Remember, real Americans support Jig Dragonslayer by buying the goblin books! If you don't buy the books, the terrorists win.

Thank you all. Further questions for the candidates should be left in the comments.

For more about Jim, his books, and the candidates, visit Jim's website or his blog. Thanks for playing with us, Jim!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Things That Shoulda Been Cooler Than They Really Were

All right, since I can't think of a single thing to talk about, let's discuss Things. As in, Things that should have been kickass awesome...and really just kinda sucked. Or maybe they were lame. No books, mind you, but there's plenty of other fodder out there.


The Cranberries song, Zombie. There were actually no zombies in it. Pity.

The TV show, Jericho. Because there's not enough post-apocalyptic roller derby.

Pride & Prejudice - the remake with Keira Knightley. We don't even get a KISS between Darcy and Elizabeth? HELLO? This one was done in 2007 specifically for theaters, not public TV, people. I'm not saying I wanted to see some Darcy dong (even though I do), but I'm saying that you should give a girl something.

The Matrix, Part Two - Proving that Hollywood can give you too much of a good thing.

Pirates of the Carribbean, Part Two & Part Three - See above.

The 80's - Because when you think back on all that music, this shoulda been a decade of greatness. Instead it was a decade of acid-wash jean jackets, waterfall bangs, and men with rat-tails. Shudder.

Strip Clubs with male dancers. Hot, almost naked, oiled up men? Too bad they keep looking at each other rather than the girls.

The movie 300. See above comment.

And that's my list for the moment. What about you? What sorts of things did you think could have been totally awesome, and just came out kinda lame instead?

Impress me with your wit* before Sunday night at midnight, and I'll send you a copy of Mark Henry's HAPPY HOUR OF THE DAMNED, Anton Strout's DEAD TO ME, or I'll pre-order** you Stacia Kane's PERSONAL DEMONS or my BFF Ilona Andrews's MAGIC BURNS. You get to pick TWO (that's right!). I'm pimping out my fellow League-ers. You know you wanna read our shit, right?

*I should note at this point that any book bashed gets automatically disqualified. Sorry. Feel free to hate on TV, movies, clothing, Puff Daddy, whatever. Just not my fellow writers. ;)

** US Residents only. Sorry, I'm cheap.

Caitlin Kittredge: Author, Guest Blogger

This week, we welcome author, Caitlin Kittredge. Her debut novel, Night Life, is on shelves now, or will be for a few days...until it sells out. We know our readers hate to wait for books to be ordered, so go now. Right now. Drop what you're doing. Doctors, that patient can wait. Daycare workers, aren't kids way more self sufficient these days? When you get back you can read Caitlin's musings. That shiny purple novel will enhance the enjoyment of any blog experience.

Are you back? Okay. Enjoy...


Isn't it glorious? Ganache makes everything better.

When the League invited me to guest blog, I wasn't sure I was up to their standards of wacky hijinks and sound writerly advice, so I came prepared with bribes...cake (see above) and booze. (Just wait. It'll come.)

I had some nebulous theme when I started writing about brain food, and replenishing your resources for Serious Artistic Creation with things like reality TV and cheap liquor. But that went out the window fairly fast, as I am in the middle of the Rewrite From Hell and all higher brain functions consist of "Bzuh?"

In addition to the guest-blog requisites of rambling incoherently and never quite reaching a point, I think I'm supposed to talk about my new release, Night Life. I ate a LOT of chocolate when I was writing Night Life. And watched a ton of trashy movies. Now we will leave this topic, never to revisit it again. Requirement fulfilled.

What I think I was trying to convey is: Ideas can come from all over. That's why I don't worry too much about what sort of diet I feed my brain. Sure, 16 episodes of Project Runway in a row will leave me with the ill-advised plan to write a horror novella about Fashion Week (entitled Cthulhu Couture, wherein H.P. Lovecraft, risen from the dead, casts off his strict moral stance on sex and homosexuality and becomes the darling of the high fashion world with his tentacle-inspired line. Not to mention his Shoggoth boots, which Lindsay Lohan turns into an overnight sensation when she strides up the red carpet on her new, surgically enhanced quad feet on her way to I Know Who Killed Me 2: The Full Monty.)

In case you were wondering what my particular brand of crazy needs to write the books that come from my wild idea-getting brain-replenishing TV marathons (and you know you were), I need an array of cultural sources, some highbrow and some low (and some that are directed by Michael Bay.) I need music playing, somewhere comfortable to sit and a laptop that weighs as little as possible. And I need drinks. (See, I told you I brought booze.)

Two paragraphs of rambling. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Okay, okay. The drinks. I'm getting there, dudes.

Here, for the first time anywhere on the intertubes, my personal recipe for the trendiest trendy-bitch cocktails with a writerly themes in existence. Because I love you. And the humiliating sounds you make when you throw up in the gutter.

The Deadline
A heart-stopping concoction guaranteed to keep you awake--and hammered--for three straight days. You don't need that editorial extension! Or to blink!
3 shots espresso, chilled.
1 oz Bailey's
1 oz Godiva Chocolate Liquer
1 oz cream.
Mix, serve over ice if desired. Make a double and serve it in a coffee mug.

The Bestseller
Your book has landed on The List! Can a coke habit and a sex tape be far behind? Get your diva on with a drink designed for pouring over the heads of paparazzi everywhere.
2 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. Chambord
2 oz Absolut Limon
1 oz. sprite or ginger ale
Shake well, serve in a fancy oversized martini glass, watch drinker get completely hammered, take embarrassing blackmail shot.

The Remainder
It's bitter. Like your soul.
3 oz. tequila
2 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Mix and serve. Cry.

Send any and all drunken emails to caitlinkittredge [at] gmail [dot] com. Or visit my web site for excerpts, blogs and more at

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Humiliation X3, But, Sadly, No Brain Cake (The Director's Cut)

For sheer laziness and other reasons I won't go into here. I'm cross-posting from my personal blog. If you've already read it, feel free to share your own stories of humiliation.

I've been collecting interesting anecdotes from my first week as a published author, mostly good stuff, but there have been weird, shall I say sinister, turns. Take for instance...

Last Wednesday, being the diligent sales tool, I am, I embarked on a journey of book store drive-bys. For those not in the know, this is where an author hops in his filthy compact car and sputters up and down the freeway, searching for book stores that aren't ambivalent to us debutantes, where he (me) might sign whatever copies they have on hand. It might be an awesome experience, like the one Synde and her friends at the downtown Seattle Barnes and Noble bestowed on me (I'll let the camera speak for me on this one, except to say that she even gave me a cushy brain stress ball) or it could be... less than awesome, like when an independent bookseller looked at me like I was fucking nuts. Lets shoot for a reinactment...

"What's that?" She glances over her horn-rims at the glossy Happy Hour post card I'm passing to her.
"Oh just a post card with information about my book, in case you'd like to carry it in your store." I slip the card between her hesitant fingers, where it's turned a few times and handed back.
"I don't think so." She pauses, looks me dead in the eye. "We only carry bestsellers."

I swear to God. I couldn't make up that bit of horror. Thank God for the brain stress ball. At the Northgate Mall B&N (which is like the most beautiful, modern bookstore in existence), I walked up to the info booth to ask for assistance--like you're supposed to--and they were awesome, and super nice. So much so, that while I'm signing stock, I hear this over the loudspeaker, mind you I'm in desert storm print cargo shorts and an old hoodie, at least two days of scruff covering my jowls.

"Ladies and Gentleman, if you'll please direct your attention to the center of the store, we have debut novelist, Mark Henry, signing his book Happy Hour of the Deaf. He'll be there for a while so swing by and chat with a real live author."

Did you catch the key word? Oh...yeah. Stop giggling. Deaf. The manager, who was walking back from the music area and presumably the source of the booming voice, looked at the title, spun and raced back the way she came. I'd finished signing by this point and was putting the little signed stickers on each of the books, when the voice boomed again.

"Damned! Happy Hour of the the name of the book and Mr. Henry will be with us for awhile to chat and sign copies," he finished as I set the stack back in place on the front table. I couldn't help but chuckle when he yelled "Damned," though cuz, c'mon. Since, no one even flinched through the announcement--there was a distinct feeling of indifference among the customers--I thanked the manager and high-tailed it out of there.

In Bellevue, the nice info desk girl couldn't find my book anywhere. The computer insisted, "In stock." But alas, nothing...nada (are you tiring of my ellipses?). So, I thought to myself, where is the worst possible spot for this to be shelved? It didn't take long to come up with an answer.


Sure enough, it was sitting in the new release Romance shelves faced out and missing a good 4 copies. I can just hear those mortified returns--I don't need to remind anyone that this isn't romance, right? In fact, Library Journal has dubbed it "splatter fiction" and "not for the squeamish." Two comments I, myself, love, but a romance reader might be looking for something else.

Say...romance, perhaps. Love, I'm thinkin'. Probably not dry humping, encopretic, and perpetually soused cannibal zombies.

Anyway. All this leads me to this afternoon. We're having a book release party at my house, because this isn't the city, the house will have to do, plus there'll be plenty of shadowy corners for people to vomit and/or make out. It's--duh--zombie themed, so today, I picked up Caroline from work and we went to order the cake. Can I just say... WTF? The government needs to stop worrying about regulating oil prices and take a look at the skyrocketing cost of party cakes, cuz Jesus! $70 people! And I didn't even get what I wanted, should have left, but that's my own bullshit and the topic for a never ending analysis that always ends in self loathing and very little insight, so...

I asked the woman for a brain cake. B-R-A-I-N. Gray matter icing deco on an otherwise round red velvet cake. Not too much to ask, you say? Well apparently, you're wrong. First off, I thought she was going to puke up her lunch on my shirt. Her politically correct eyes sprang open wide and dramatic, you'd think I'd left my SUV idling at the curb, coughing pollutants into her otherwise green existance. She said she could do it, but it was going to require a second tier to mold into the hemispheres and that was going to cost upwards of $150.

I told her, "I'm not planning on marrying it, can't you just design a flat image of a brain on the top?"
"It won't look right without the 3-D effect,"
"Well then maybe you could make it look like an autopsy slice, just a sliver of brain draped across the top, all veiny, but ultimately flat."
"I won't do that. That's disgusting." She didn't blink. Her solemn judgment was not comfortable, I must say. "Hmm. Did I mention this is for a zombie book." I started to shuffle.
"Doesn't matter. Did I mention I'm doing a cake for the Governor in two days?"
I began to fantasize about a mix-up in the cakes and Mme. Gregoire slicing into a bloody mound of brains.
"How about something more cocktail themed?" I suggested.

So there will be no brain cake at my party and I am full of hate. Won't someone boost my self esteem?

ETA: Thanks for all the suggestions, a cake has been purchased. Also...I'm pretending to be upset. Shhhh. Don't tell.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Those Tricksy Excerpts

So tomorrow I start posting the first of my weekly Personal Demons excerpts on my own blog, and picking them is...well, difficult.

See, I have a whole book to choose from. And I don't know what to pick. Clever dialogue? An action scene? Something sexy? Something funny?

On the one hand I don't want to pick anything from too far into the book, because that would require too much set-up. On the other hand, I want to make sure the excerpt is engaging enough without revealing any major twists. On the third hand (what? I can have three hands if I want) I want something with conflict and interest, something that at least gives readers a sense of where the book is coming from and where it's going.

So I want something that is fun and interesting without being nothing but action, that gives a sense of wht will happen without giving it all away, and that is involving but doesn't require any real set-up.

Should be easy to find. :rolleyes.

What sort of excerpts do you guys like?

Monday, March 3, 2008

March is Personal Demonstravaganza Month! (sort of)

Because Personal Demons releases next month--less than thirty days from today!

And I'm having a bunch of contests and stuff!

Now, I will be holding another contest or two next month, after the book comes out. But right now we're working on advance stuff. So here's what you need to do to enter:

1. Do you have a review blog? Do you want a PDF ARC to review? Email me (staciakane AT and let me know! One review equals one entry.

2. Create an Amazon Listmania List and place the book on it. That's one entry. You get an additional half entry for placing books by any of the following authors on it:

Mark Henry
Caitlin Kittredge
Anton Strout
Richelle Mead
Ilona Andrews

(Please, guys, keep the lists serious. I will be checking, because you'll be emailing me the link to your list. So if the list is called, say, "The List I Made to Win a Prize" it doesn't count. We're looking for urban fantasy, paranormal romance, that sort of thing.)

3. Tag the book on Amazon. Again, please be respectful with the tags. One tag, one entry. Click boxes for current tags and get half an entry each.

4. Preorder the book. From Amazon, from B&N, from your local independent, from wherever. One preorder, two entries.

5. Blog about the book. If you don't have a review blog, you can still mention it. Link to it. Talk about it. I'll be running excerpts from the book on my own blog every Wednesday this month, so hopefully you'll be able to formulate an opinion enough to genuinely tell your blog readers how much you're looking forward to it. One mention, one entry.

6. Belong to a forum where books are discussed? Mention my book. One mention, one entry.

The thing is, I realize this may sound like kind of an odd contest (though I'm really hoping it doesn't). But Juno/Wildside is a smaller publisher, and we're trying to get the word out any way we can.

Oh, and there is one big rule: NO SPAM. PLEASE don't start mentioning the book in odd or inappropriate places or clogging up comment threads on review sites or, especially, other writers' blogs. PLEASE. Your entries will be discarded if I find out about it. There are lots of ways to win and chances to win legitimately. Let's try not to piss people off. :-) (And no, I don't really think any of you would do that, but I did want to mention it for the record.)

So...what are the prizes? The prizes are many and varied!

*Two signed copies of Personal Demons
*One box of Cocktail Demons
*Six Personal Demons magnets

In other words, nine people will win prizes here, just for mentioning or helping to spotlight a book you hopefully would already want to mention!

I'll be doing a release-month contest as well, with even more prizes, including more signed books, Amazon gift cards, demon keyrings, more magnets and cocktail demons...all kinds of things. So this is certainly not your last chance to win! But this month is our last chance to build pre-release awareness of the book, so join in and have fun!

Email me your entries--links, or the copy&pasted relevent bits from your preorder receipt (I don't need or want your credit card info)--to Staciakane AT I should respond to tell you I got it within 24 hours. If I don't please email again!

Also, do you have a blog? Are you lazy, and so enjoy having guest bloggers because you don't have to come up with a topic of your own? Why not have me come blog at your place? I'm clean, and mildly entertaining. I will even blog on any topic of your choice (trust me there. I blogged about pigeon sex once because a blog reader wanted me to.) Email me! Then sit back and enjoy the day of rest.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mark Del Franco's Unbelievable Unquiet Dreams Contest!

So we come to the giveaway. Only...SURPRISE! It's actually a contest, more of a scavenger hunt, really.

The prize: 2 signed copies of Unquiet Dreams.

The rulz: There are 2 groups vying for these, the commentors and the lurkers. Mark's set aside a copy for the first person in each group to post a specific image, or a link to the specific image in the comments. Please identify yourself as a commentor or a lurker.

The rundown: In Unshapely Things, there's a poster on the wall in Robin's and Shay's room. It's not precisely identified in the book, but it's iconic, and should be easy to figure out.

That's it, who wants to play?

Who the HELL Do We Think We Are?

We're a bunch of paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors who occasionally blog, make filthy jokes and prowl the halls of conferences and conventions with switchblades!

Current roster: Mario Acevedo, Michele Bardsley, Sonya Bateman, Dakota Cassidy, Carolyn Crane, Molly Harper, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Stacia Kane, Jackie Kessler, J.F. Lewis, Daniel Marks, Richelle Mead, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole Peeler, Kat Richardson, Michelle Rowen, Diana Rowland, Jeanne C. Stein, K.A. Stewart, Anton Strout, and Jaye Wells