Friday, May 30, 2008

Emotion and Stuff

Okay, I admit it: I'm addicted to Bravo's Step It Up and Dance. If you haven't seen it, think Project Runway except with dancing. They even have a Tin Gunn-esque character who acts as a mentor.

Anyway, last night the finalists had to do a choreographed routine to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Throughout the rehearsals, Nancy, who is the tough love judge, kept telling the dancers to bring their emotion and experience to the dance. So, in addition to learning a rigorously technical dance, they also had to tap into their emotions.

Hmm, sounds a lot like writing. In addition to minding our word craft, balancing plot structure with character development, and a plethora of other technical issues, authors also have to be good at both eliciting emotion and bringing their own emotions to the story.

When you get down to it, any kind of art--any form of creative expression--really boils down to creating an emotional experience. Even if you're writing about an alien race or other non-human characters, you must tap into the the basic truths of human emotion in some form.

In my own writing, I tend to go back to the same themes again and again. This is not something I sit down and plan to do. In fact, I usually don't understand where or how these themes will crop up until the story is fairly far along. Why do they keep cropping up? Because they reflect my experiences. They're issues I can bring to the table and explore because they're real to me. Yes, even when I'm writing about demon cats.

So, yes, even though my writing can verge on irreverent, some scenes put me through the emotional wringer. This is because they showcase something personal to me, only filtered through metaphor and symbol.

A writer's job--nay, a writer's duty--is to shine a spotlight on some facet of the human experience and help readers go on an emotional journey. And to get there, the writer must first go on their own emotional journey.

I can hear some of my fellow Leaguer's sniggering in the back ground. Since most of us tend to write humor, it's easy to laugh off the emotional parts. But I bet if you sat us down over a few glasses of potent adult beverages and asked us to talk about where our stories come from, eventually we'd break down and admit that our writing comes from a very personal place.

Then the tears would come. Followed by the vomit.

At least, that's what happened when I tried this tactic with Anton.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Twist

I just got back from seeing Chuck Palawalladingdonhniuk, and he got me thinking about twist endings.

I LOVE twist endings but I've never had the opportunity to utilize a true twist in my own writing...my plots just haven't allowed for it. I think it's one of the hallmarks of a really good author if they can thoroughly surprise you so far into a novel.

And Fight Club has one of my favorite sneaky endings of all time. Tyler is Jack! Jack is Tyler! I am Jack's plot twist!

I get to twist the overarching plot at the start of the second book in my Black London series, but it's just not the same as a big whallop right before the climax. I'm still working towards that, hoping one day that I'll get to make everyone jump out of their chairs and cry "Oh no she di'int!" with a story.

What are your favorite twist endings?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crypticon Sans Pressure

I'm continuing a post started on my personal blog, for no better reason than saving some time. Cuz, really, I need all those precious spare moments for Facebook word games. I just can't have blogging cutting into my other distractions.

So where was I?

Ah...Sunday.

The day I got to be an actual con attendee. No pressure to perform and all the time in the world to gawk. I took my best friend Kevin because--c'mon--pseudo-celebrities? I needed a snark buddy. We started by taking a quick lap around the signing area. Tony Todd scared us because he was grumbling by himself. Danielle Harris scared Kevin with her unsightly blemishes, he promptly suggested Proactive--it has helped many other d-listers get their skin under control.

Then it was off to the Friday the 13th Q & A panel with Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees) and Adrienne King (last counselor standing). Let me start off by saying, Betsy Palmer is adorable. She's just this tiny thing that you want to squeeze even though she was wearing "the sweater."

Oh yeah!

THE SWEATER...


Now, sure, it's a new one but nonetheless a fine ensemble choice considering. She regaled us with tales of being talked into doing the film because she needed money to buy a Volkswagen Scirroco (or however that's spelled). And that's exactly how much she's made from her role ($10,000). Total. Seriously.

She went on to explain the background of Mrs. Voorhees. Apparently, Jason's mom was a bit of a slut and got herself pregnant back in the days where that was a problem that needed to be hidden away. Her father kicked her out and she had to become self-sufficient to provide for her son. She took the job as a cook at Camp Crystal Lake.

When she put together that scenario, the suggestion that Jason was "special needs"--we'll say--wasn't in the script. She was not at all happy that they'd changed his character and made him a "mongoloid." In fact, that change happened after they'd filmed the drowning scene, where he's bald but not deformed and has full use of his voice. She's refused to watch any of the sequels, simply stating, "That's not my Jason."

Adrienne King was a surprise guest at the Q & A and really informative. She talked about the ending quite a bit and her banter with Betsy was pretty saucy.


Sorry about my camera, it doesn't like the zoom so much. But Adrienne looks exactly like she did in the movie, same haircut and everything.

So we were having a good time, listening to the all the behind the scenes gossip when who strolls in like he owns the place? The guy that played Jason as a kid, Ari Somebody. Jesus, he was irritating. Butting in. Acting like he was the star. It was really kind of embarrassing. I'd feel sorry for him, if he hadn't forced me to despise him. Here he is with mommy...


Anyway, apparently, Betsy and Adrienne were approached to be in the remake but that's NOT going to happen. Ari said that it's not a remake as much as a reboot (I'm getting really tired of hearing that word) of the first 4 movies in one. Weird. At least you Supernatural fans will get your Padalecki fix (though you'll have to wait for the remake of My Bloody Valentine to see Caitlin's TV boyfriend).

Enough about them, though. Let's move on to something really exciting. The main event if you live in my deranged head (and I think you do). The last order of business for Crypticon? Meeting and securing Lou Perryman's autograph. If you don't know Lou, then you're probably not a chainsaw fan. We're talkin' Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The first movie I saw in the theater where people actually got up and stomped out after the first 5 minutes. Sick shit, no doubt, but it contained a line of dialogue that I repeat at least once per month.

"Built you a little fry house."

Don't know why that's stuck in there, but it is. And it comes out whenever those darlings of the deep fat fryer are anywhere in the vicinity. You can imagine my interior squee upon finding Lou's "Built you a little fry house" pins and a photo of him with said fry house. Turns out he's a nice guy and a reader (not of my book but of books in general). We discussed authors who write comedy, he's a Hiassen fan (who isn't?). Had a nice chat.

$25 later. I had my loot.


The "rude" sticker isn't part of it, I just put it there to obscure the signature (we all know to do that, right?). It still freaks me out that they charge for signatures. Maybe I should start doing that.

Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's about the work

So as I lay on my couch of pain, recovering from this weekend's fun with abdominal disorders (the Faerie had the stomach flu Friday night, and managed to throw up on me three times, poor thing; I often think the biggest change in your life when you become a parent is that having another person's vomit on you is no longer a big deal but is instead just a minor annoyance, on a par with your socks slipping between your toes--I hate that--but not as bad as a fly in the house. And so of course the hubs and I both came down with it Sunday, and spent all of that day and yesterday huddled on the couch under a blanket while the children turned the living room into some bizarre, disastrous ocean of papers, clothing, and little plastic toys which I do not yet have the energy to tidy) I was thinking about writing. Thinking, not doing, really, although I gathered myself enough last night to make a few edits.

Well, I thought about writing and Johnny Cash, because we finally got around to watching Walk the Line. Pretty good. I've always been a Cash fan, but not a rabid enough one for the inaccuracies of the movie to bug me, so I quite liked it. Although they never played "Flesh and Blood" which I think is one of the most romantic songs ever written.

See how I digress when I'm not feeling well?

Anyway. I was thinking about writing. And hoping my head wouldn't actually crack open. And I started thinking how much there is to worry about, and how little I believe worrying is productive. And how, in fact, I actually sometimes think the amount of worrying a writer does is directly inverse to the amount of effective work they actually do. At least when it comes to some worries.

It's the same with being pleased with success. For example, at this moment I am pleased that Personal Demons is #2 on Fictionwise's Fantasy bestseller list. And is, in fact, #11 on the overall Bestseller list, and #5 on the overall Highest-Rated list. It's gratifying, sure. I mean, I guess it is; that could mean twenty copies have sold or it could mean six hundred have sold, who knows? All it means to me is the title is up on the front page.


And in my opinion, bleary as it is at the moment, that's all that really should matter.

Because it's so easy. It's so easy to start googling yourself on a regular basis and checking your Amazon listing every other minute. Writing is such a solitary business; it's easy to start seeing your success in terms of lists, or, as I've seen happen a lot with those printed by a certain scam publisher whose initials are PA, how many book signings you manage to schedule. Or how many fan letters you get (which, okay, that is seriously exciting, so I'll give you all a pass on that. Not that you need it; why the heck does what I think matter? Take it to heart or don't, it's up to you.)

See, stuff like that? That's trappings. And trappings are fun, sure. But it's easy to get so caught up in the trappings that you forget what's really important, which is the work. I get excited when I finish a scene that went exactly the way I wanted it to go, where not a word is out of place, where I'm absolutely convinced that when it's done the reader will feel exactly what I want them to feel and know exactly what I want them to know, and nothing else. That's what excites me. When I come up with a new way to twist the plot and it adds a whole new dimension to the book, or leads into something I never thought I could reach.

And in my opinion--which, again, is my opinion--that's what it should be about, and it's hard to do that when you're worrying about how much money you'll make or asking everyone and their brother if they think your character should do A or B, or whatever. There's lots of fun little distractions--I know a lot of people who can spend hours "casting" their books, and although I try not to I admit I've dabbled in it once or twice (but only because someone asks, like for a cover.)

But you have to try and tune those distractons out, and focus on the work. Because if the work doesn't appeal to you, and you'd rather play in the other end of the pool, you really ought to consider whether you're really doing what you should be doing.

And that's my grumpy little sick thought for the day.

My tummy still hurts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day: A Memory

Back in the 80s, during my high school days, three authors got me on the path to writing. The first was William Gibson and his book Neuromancer, which I barely understood on my first reading of it but all I knew was that I felt like I so desperately wanted to understand it that it fostered a lifelong love affair with his work and made me a better reader. He, thankfully, still lives on.

The next two authors, sadly, do not.

The first has been gone for some time- Douglas Adams. If you've read anything I've done, I think you can see his influences throughout my work.

The next, however, left us just this past week- Robert Lynn Asprin. I came to him through an equally nerdy friend, stole his copies of the Myth Adventures series, and never returned them. I was hooked on his particular brand of quirk, action adventure, and humor.

When I came to New York years later, I ended up working at the publisher responsible for Mr. Gibson and Mr. Asprin, Ace Books. I was thrilled when his years of writer's block finally gave way and he started writing again. I am proud that I, too, am an Ace author now and to be associated in some small way with him.

For your influence on my work and in mourning of the fantasy worlds loss, Mr. Asprin, I raise my glass to you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Caught: A Contest

***CAUGHT!***

We're all friends here, right? I can share something personal with you, can't I? (I promise, it has nothing to do with feeling less than fresh. That's the stuff of bad commercials, not of League blog posts.)

Loving Husband and I were having an intimate moment. Well, hour. Well, I wasn't really timing it. So there we were, getting Biblical (without the begatting). The bed was rocking, so no one's supposed to come knocking.

Mid-rock, Tax Deduction the Elder calls out, "Mom? Are you OK?"

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek.

I freak out, thinking that we've scarring my precious six (and three-quarter) year old for life. I think this as I dive under the covers, completely mortified and vowing never to have sex again (just like someone worshiping the Porcelain God vows never to drink again). I say something like "Gark."

Loving Husband calls back, "Mommy's fine. Her belly's hurting a little, that's all."

(Okay, you have to understand that earlier that night, both my kids had bellyaches from eating too much ice-cream. So the first thing he thought of was using the bellyachy non-goodness as an excuse. Yeah, I know, you're thinking about all sorts of sexual eating jokes now, aren't you? Minds out of the gutter, people. This is a family-friendly blog. Mark said so, so it must be true.)

LH then throws on a robe and goes to see if TDTE is all right. The night light was off in the bathroom, so TDTE wanted some company as he did his business.

Now, here's the question. Did Tax Deduction the Elder get woken up because:

(A) Mommy needs a muzzle
(B) TDTE had to go to the bathroom; it had nothing to do with Mommy and Daddy's aerobics
(C) He's evil and was timing the interruption

Jury's still out.

*** A CONTEST!***

I'm not the only one who's experienced coitus interruptus lately. The incubus Daunuan does, too, in the opening chapter of HOTTER THAN HELL. And giving writer that I am, I've decided to share. I have an ARC here (of my HOTTER THAN HELL, not of the lovely Kim Harrison's), just begging to be given away.

Want a chance to win? Leave a comment either about my post or share your own Caught! moment. I'll pick a winner at random on FRIDAY, MAY 30.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hey, There's An Idea

I named a character after a friend from college. I used another friend's experience on a cleanse diet as inspiration for a scene involving a magic potion. I added a demon to that movie premise. A bottle of wine inspired a major plot element--and not because I was drunk. A dream inspired another cool element.

These are a few examples of where I get my ideas. Truth is, writers can find inspiration anywhere and from anything. Sit me in a blank room with nothing interesting to look at, and I'll create a story about the dead fly the windowsill or about a woman who loses her mind from boredom.

I've always created stories in my head. It's the result of being one of those easily bored kids. But when I started writing fiction, I struggled with trying to figure out what to write about. Eventually, my first book was based on an idea I had while working in a museum a few years earlier.

But as I continued to write, I found that my mind became trained to look for inspiration. Now, every conversation, every experience, everything I see on TV or in the movies, is run past the idea-o-matic in my head. Each possibility is weighed and then stored away for future use. Sometimes these disparate ideas meld later on to become a Super Idea.

Writers experience life as both participant and observer. When you're hanging around a writer, you may notice at times their eyes glaze over and they seem to have retreated into their minds. That's because some ridiculous thing you said is being filed away for future use. And when you tell a writer your secrets, be prepared to have them appear in print later. This is why I wear a shirt that reads: "Warning: Anything you do may appear in my next book."

When people ask a writer where they get their ideas, the answer is "everywhere." But for some reason, non-writers seem to believe there's a secret alchemy to ideas. I suppose that's true on some level. It can seem magical and mysterious even to us. Some of it is innate, but rest is the result of training our minds to look for them. Without ideas, there's no story, so you learn very quickly to find inspiration in everything.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hold Up. Spoke Too Soon



There's a zombie movie that got my attention. It's like Night of the Living Dead meets 227.

The Year in Horror...or Something

So Saturday I'll be hunkered down behind a folding table at Crypticon Seattle (the Northwest's first horror convention, yay!). If you'd like to swing by, it's...

Saturday, May 24th - 12:00 noon - The Year in Horror

That's all I have to go on. Just that topic. No news on who'll be on there with me. Or maybe it's just me. I mean, seriously, who else would choose to do a panel during lunchtime? So that brings me to my topic, which is really more of a plea. What defined horror this year?

Was it film?

I can only think of a few big horror movies. Diary of the Dead sort of fizzled before it began. Most of the shocking stuff was independent or foreign (The Signal, Funny Games, The Host). Though this looks promising...



Despite some of the films being shlocky and poorly executed, the After Dark Horrorfest, 8 Films to Die For, has been a shot in the arm to a genre that was drowning in Asia Extreme remakes and, to some extent, still is--some notable breakouts were Borderlands and Mulberry St. 2008 and 2009 will bring us reboots of Hellraiser, Evil Dead (without Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell) and Friday the 13th. It's almost too much to take.

How about fiction?

Joe Hill and Max Brooks seem to think so. Actually the last two years have been the surface of the new horror iceberg. Word on the street is that publishers are actively acquiring horror manuscripts in the event that 2009-2010 will mark a return to the gold rush days of the 70s and early 80s. I know my pal Joe's got a breakout book in The Black Wing that is going to fry people's brains all to shit. A ton of good horror is coming from the internet, as serial fiction is getting the attention of publishers. Not surprisingly, a lot of it is zombie-related.

So...where does that leave us?

I'm going to say gaming. This was probably one of the best years for horror gaming and it's not over yet. 2007 gave us--what?--Bioshock, F.E.A.R and 2008 is lining up survival horror like it's the only game in town. Coming up: Resident Evil 5, Silent Hill 5, Dead Space, Dead Rising2, Alan Wake, Dead Island, Left-4-Dead, Alone in the Dark and Condemned 2. Holy crap the gamers are going to give themselves heart palpitations.

Of course, what I'm leaving out is the fact that the real horrors of the past year have taken precendent. It's impossible to compete with earthquakes, wars, and tropical cyclones, let alone parenting so terrible that it results in teen suicide and the promotion of assault.

Damn.

Sorry about that lapse into seriousness. Does anyone have anything to add? Saturday's coming quick and I hate to sound like a moron.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kill Me Now

(A little note first: Personal Demons is now available in ebook format from Fictionwise! And it's on sale this week.)

Ah, summer.

The days get longer...long enough that putting the kids to bed at a decent hour becomes a nightly battle with the curtain rod and a bunch of blankets in an attempt to darken the room enough for them to sleep.

The air gets warmer...warm enough to make the garbage piled up outside thanks to every-other-week garbage collections stick and attract flies.

The air gets warmer (again)...warm enough that, without air conditioning, everyone leaves their doors and windows open, which means that although I myself did not spend the money to buy a home karaoke machine, I still get to experience the riotous fun of listening to my neighbors play with theirs!

Oh, yes. In the last couple of days, I've had the thrill of listening to my neighbors' deathless performances of the following:

The Time Warp
9 to 5
American Pie
We Are the Champions
some lame-ass Kylie Minogue song
Summer Nights (from Grease)
It's Raining Men



Oh, yes. It's awesome. Really. The most fun you can have, aside from a fork in the eye or a raging urinary tract infection. (I would mention labor pains, but that actually was fun, as I am no fool and demanded drugs the minute it started to actually hurt. And then very cleverly had a c-section anyway, thus avoiding the really ouchie part. Modern medicine for the win!)

But oh, man. I am tired of dreading summer. In Florida we dreaded summer because it was so hot all the time, and because it rained every day at 3:30 pm (honestly), after which the sun came back out and turned the water into steam.

Here we dread summer because there is no air conditioning and no screens on the windows, so when eating dinner you have the choice of either battling flies for your food or sweating into it (I choose sweat, as I cannot abide insects.)

We dread summer because of the aforementioned rotting garbage stink, which I must admit makes an interesting contrast to the fall-winter-spring stink of manure.

But most of all, we dread summer because of our neighbors.

You may wonder if I'm not being very bold by saying this in a public forum. I am not afraid, though, as when I mentioned to our neighbor shortly after we moved in that I read a lot she shuddered and said, "Ugh, I hate reading."

It's good that she hates reading, though, because it frees up so much of her time for singing karaoke and having loud parties in her backyard every weekend.

Every. Weekend. Their yard is filled with playground equipment; they have three kids and most of their family and friends also have kids, so on Saturday and Sunday afternoons it sounds like banshees live next door. Once the banshee shrieks calm down we get the horrible Britpop music, sugary songs sung in unison by interchangeable clumps of boys and girls. And the adults, laughing and talking about football and nationalism or something right under the girls' bedroom window at ten o'clock at night.

The thing is, our neighbors aren't bad people. I don't dislike them, I really don't. I just wish they would go inside and shut up.

And I like to drink outdoors as much as the next girl, but I try to keep in mind that not everyone wants to hear my conversations, just as my family and I do not find the latest developments on Hollyoaks endlessly fascinating, and so do not necessarily want to hear them recounted and analyzed as if they were national secrets for hours on end.

So. These are some of the reasons I hate summer, and dread its miserable grinning face.

Now tell me...can you top the karaoke neighbors? C'mon, share your evil neighbor stories! Tell me why you hate summer!

Monday, May 19, 2008

How Stel-- Anton Got His Groove Back

Book 1? On the shelves. Book 2? With my editor while I await my editorial letter. Last short story? Turned in by deadline. Anton? Not writing.

All my current deadlines, in the business contractual sense, are met right now. I'm mostly done touring the book. And now I'm not writing because at first I was all "Hey, cool! I can has nap nao!"

But I know there's a book three in the series since book two ends on a cliff hanger (sorry, readers of next year!) I should be getting to it... but I haven't been able to.

Here's the thing: if the sales of Dead To Me that I can discern are any indicator, I'll have at least five digits worth of people waiting to see how several things turn out. All those eager peepers on you, that's a little daunting when you feel like the littlest writer evah!

So what to do? First, as best I can, I have to ignore their existence and focus on the story, having faith in what I set out to do in the first place- to write a story I would love to read. Dead To Me certainly had that for me. Book 2, Deader Still, even more so. So in the face of potentially disappointing thousands of people, I have to do the hardest thing which is having faith in myself.

Sometimes I don't know how the more popular writers do it, but I take heart that I still know what I like to read, and therefore will go forward and create something I would love to read if I wasn't the author of it.

I wonder how the rest of the League feels... League? Assemble!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Demon Week: It's Getting Them To Shut Up That's The Trick

You want evil? I'll give you evil: getting woken up at four in the morning with a burst of inspiration for a scene for a book that I haven't even started yet.

Some might call it the Muse. Yeah, right. That's my own personal demon (or demons), Jezebel. And sometimes, Daun. Damn them.

JEZEBEL: Hey, Kessler, quit your whining. If it weren't for me, you'd be flipping burgers now.

DAUNUAN: You? Babes, as if you'd be anywhere without me.

JEZ: Arrogant, much?

DAUN: Just callin' it like I see it.

JEZ: You're kidding yourself.

DAUN: And you're deluded.

JEZ: Look, you dumb demon, I ran away from Hell because I found the change in management untenable. Believe it or not, that had nothing to do with you.

DAUN: And you came back to Hell because of me.

JEZ: I needed you to kill me so I could rescue my boyfriend's soul!

DAUN: [WAGGLES EYEBROWS] The ends justifies the means. And you meant it when you moaned as I got your sweet spot.

JEZ: Stop that. You were just more convenient than downing a bottle full of Drain-o. And less messy than me jumping out a window.

DAUN: Now who's kidding herself?

JEZ: I am so glad that Kessler makes sure you get yours. You fall in lurve. Man, you're doomed, Daun. Doomed. And I'm giggling just thinking about what she's going to do to you--

*** HEY!!!***

Guys, shut the f*** up, will you? This isn't an ad for my books, all right?

DAUN: Just to get the record straight, demons don't love. We lust. Very, very well.

Yeah, yeah. Got it. Now go away.

So, as I was saying, my demons tend to INTERRUPT ME AT VERY INCONVENIENT TIMES. They have all of these ideas. And not all of them are good ones.

JEZ: What? Having the extra serving of chocolate chip cookie cake with an Oreo on top was brilliant, I tell you!

This from the lactose-intolerant demon.

JEZ: Hey, I could have tempted you to have the cheesecake, but I didn't.

**sigh**

What was I saying?

DAUN: We interrupt you.

Yeah, thanks.

DAUN: No problem, doll.

JEZ: Suck up.

DAUN: Hey, I know where my souls are sauteed.

So. Right, like there was this time when I was making breakfast for the Precious Little Tax Deductions, and then boom, I suddenly knew exactly how Daun's book would end. I mean, I knew the ending, totally -- but now I had this vision of a last scene, and it just tied everything up beautifully, and I ran out of the kitchen and dashed up to my office to type the scene out. And that's still the last scene of the book.

DAUN: You make it sound like it's a bad thing.

I left my kids in the freaking kitchen to write!

DAUN: And?

JEZ: Besides, they weren't in the kitchen. They were watching Pokemon. They didn't even notice you left them stranded.

Whose side are you on?

JEZ: The Down side, of course.

DAUN: Did you have a point here?

JEZ: She does tend to babble, doesn't she?

DAUN: Yeah, I noticed. But hey, she allowed you to have multiple orgasms, so let's cut her some slack.

Oh God.

JEZ: Sweetie, I'm a demon of Lust.

DAUN: Former demon.

JEZ: Whatever. The orgasms thing was all me. But the scene where you and the Angel lick me from head to toe, that was all her idea.

Oh God. Guys, shut up! This is a family friendly blog!

JEZ AND DAUN: So?

Hey, look: The Playboy Channel.

**The sound of Lust demons scampering**

Like I was trying to say, some authors have a Muse. I have demons. And while having them speak to me helps my creativity (and probably makes me a candidate for assisted living with white, padded walls), it's getting them to shut up that's the trick.

Demons. Can't live with them, can't exorcise them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The League Interview: Jeri Smith-Ready


Joining us today in the League Lounge is Jeri Smith-Ready. But it's filthy--Anton threw a party last night for all his alcoholic gamer friends and left the place a mess. Lucky for me, Carrie (the Bookgirl) has agreed to help clean up--I don't think she has any ulterior motives, but we'll see--she's like my little hausfrau (without the oomlaus because I don't know how to make those happen).

So, with that, Jeri and I sit down with foot tall steins of beer. Carrie sulks around in the shadows, sweeping.

Moi: So you're old hat at this book release thing, what with the two "Crow" books on the shelf and all. Did you spend May 13th sitting around drinking Grasshoppers and yawning?

Jeri: I guess from a distance, to a deaf person, it might have looked like yawning. But up close, to the non-hearing-impaired, it looked (and sounded) a lot like yelling. I won't say it was a complete mental meltdown, but my laptop had to be put into protective custody.

I'm all better now. *twitch*

Me: The first thing I noticed when picking up your book was the playlist in the front. How did you pick the music for your playlist or are those your favorites?

Jeri: I actually didn't pick the music for the playlist, I picked the music for the story itself. Then the buyer for one of the major bookstore chains read the manuscript, loved it, and suggested I add to the front matter a list of all the songs mentioned in the text. And when a buyer of a major chain says, "Jump!" you don't ask "How high?". You get on a pogo stick.

The fun part of forming the list was figuring out which songs to choose when they were mentioned only obliquely. For instance, the text in one scene said that Shane played a Bob Dylan song and then a Pogues song. So I had to figure out which songs he would play (I went with "Isis" and "The Old Main Drag," if anyone cares). I also went back in the text and put "a Liz Phair song" in the background of one scene, just so I could add "Flower." It's a perfect song for Ciara and Shane. Every line. (Mom, if you're reading this, you're NOT allowed to look up the lyrics.)

Not all the songs on the playlist are favorites of mine. I wouldn't count myself a big fan of Blue Oyster Cult (or any band with an umlaut in their name), outside of the SNL/Christopher Walken cowbell sketch.

Before I stop yammering about music, I have to mention the most awesome song appearing on the BAD TO THE BONE playlist (coming May 2009): "Christmas Sucks" by Peter Murphy and Tom Waits. It's a thing of beauty. A lot of people *think* they have a dark sense of humor, but this song is the litmus test. It can be heard on vampire Regina's playlist.

Carrie elbows her way in between us and slaps a fresh stein down.

Carrie: The vampires in Wicked Game are pretty unique. Did you consciously set out to have a different vampire or did they just evolve that way (this one is from Carrie)?

Jeri: When I first had the idea almost three years ago, vampires were already EVERYWHERE, so I was not looking to follow the crowd. But what other paranormal creature could get psychologically and culturally stuck in time? It had to be one of the living dead, and I wasn't brilliant/twisted enough to think of zombies.

So for me to enjoy writing about vampires, they had to be different. The 'stuck in time' thing, the OCD behavior, etc. But the twist was so extreme, I had to ground them in many recognizable vampire traditions, like aversion to sunlight, drinking blood, supah-sexeh eyes, etc.

Me (pushing Carrie to the side): The only other vampire DJs I remember were both in movies (Buffy and Blade). Were either of those influences?

Jeri: I've actually never seen BLADE, and I don't remember a vampire DJ in the Buffy movie. Then again, there was that three-day blank spot in my memory that took place after the bright light appeared over my house. Maybe those movies were pumped into my unconscious mind. It sure beats an anal probe. Though not by much.

Carrie (slips back in, kneeing me in the groin): Will there by another book about Ciara, Shane, and the other vamps at WVMP?

Jeri: Yep! BAD TO THE BONE (current bane of my existence, as I'm wrestling the plot into submission for the purposes of, er, submission) will appear May 1, 2009. Beyond that, let's be frank: it's up to readers. Popular series continue, the less popular ones, not so much.

To savvy readers I'm sure it feels like a holdup/hostage situation--the publisher points a metaphorical gun to the book's head and tells them, GIMME YOUR MONEY OR THE SERIES GETS IT!

But it's just business.

Me (slipping sleeping pills into Carrie's drink): You're in or near Baltimore, right? I gotta ask, because I've never met anyone who lived there, is John Waters as important to your life as he is mine? Are there monuments to his honor, perhaps depicting "tea-bagging?"

It's Bawlmer, hon, of course there are monuments to our favorite son (Barry Levinson and Babe Ruth notwithstanding)! A 20-foot statue of Divine stands outside the American Visionary Art Museum. Sadly, the gay strip joint Club Atlantis, home of the infamous tea-bagging ritual, is now closed. Another lost American icon, but you know how it is with the Wal-Martization of the country. Ever since those big-chain gay strip clubs moved in, it's hard for the little guys to compete.

It can safely be stated that Baltimore is like nowhere else. If you ever come here, I promise you a John Waters tour. And a Barry Levinson tour, for the sober day.

Me (nudging Carrie's body with my toe): I'll get beat all up against the head if I don't ask you to tell us about your first sale. What it be?

Jeri (wincing): I entered my second completed novel (the first was just batting practice), urban fantasy REQUIEM FOR THE DEVIL, in the Warner Aspect First Novel contest. It made the semi-finals, and I got a letter from Betsy Mitchell, who said she was passing it on to Paul Witcover, the sf/f editor for their new e-publishing venture, iPublish.com (an unfortunate name, as people kept getting it mixed up with the self-publisher iUniverse). Paul bought it, became my first amazing editor, and it was published in 2001 (and is still available at your friendly neighborhood impersonal online bookseller).

Since the Warner Aspect First Novel contest and iPublish.com no longer exist, my path to publication is irreproducible. But there's the story, useless as it is to anyone but you, who at least will avoid a beating about the head because of it.

Me: I read in your bio that you love cooking, maybe you can help me out, what am I going to do with all this leftover beer?

Jeri: 'Leftover,' as in 'not drunk'? Hmmm...

Leftover Beer
Leftover Beer
Leftover Beer

Sorry, can't help. Those words just don't like each other.

Me: Well thanks Jeri. Sorry about this mess.

I drag Carrie's body to the corner and prop it up next to Anton's.

Me: I hope you'll come back real soon.

Turning back I notice that Jeri has escaped.

*****************
Visit Jeri at her website and don't forget to order Wicked Games, out now.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Demonic Marketing


Sometimes, when I feel like my evilness quotient is slipping, I like to surround myself with demonic marketing gimmicks and foodstuffs.

For example, I have a framed version of this poster hanging in my living room. Yes, I'm a sucker for demonic art, especially when it combines alcohol and French--the official language of evil.

But many option exist when it comes to demon-themed products. Witness the following...if you dare! (insert evil laugh)

From Lush bath products, we have Demon in the Dark , which is a "minty and mysterious body soap to tingle sluggish skin."

What could be tastier than a Demon Pig? Well, now there's a sauce for all your evil BBQ needs.

For those who prefer their food to taste like burning hellfire, Demon Ichor is the sauce for you.

And how about a Satan Red beer to wash down all that brimstone?

Last, but certainly not least, the classics: Deviled eggs and ham.

What's your favorite demon themed marketing gimmick?

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Hey y'all. Last day of book club and I'm thinking we should do it a little different. We talked earlier in the week about what we thought the personal demons looked like, but aren't they all unique and perfect snowflakes like us? Ahem.

Let's talk about our own personal demons and describe them.

Here's mine...

I call him Hijinks. Not that he goads me into pranks--he doesn't--he just makes me say things that probably should have stayed in my head. Hijinks is about 6 inches tall and almost that around, like a little bowling ball with feet and hands, only prickly like a thistle. He leaves little red welts across my shoulders when he rolls from one side to the other and can't quite reach my ear to whisper so he uses a rolled up post-it note which he whacks against my ear lobe to get my attention.

But enough about Hijinks...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Demons on the Small Screen

Well, it's demon week, so I can't blog about my plans to become the future Mrs. Tony Stark. So it goes...

Have some random movie geeking instead!

Demons are so rarely well-done on film, and this makes me sad. But there are some demon films I count among my favorites, so here they are...

The Exorcist
Duh, right? A classic, sure to peg your creep-o-meter and beautifully shot.

The Ring
But wait! you cry. This movie isn't about a demon, it's about a little girl in the TV who kills people. Hah, I say, that all depends on your interpretation, and to me it's clear that little Samarra is something otherworldly. She appears mysteriously, lives on after being drowned and affects all of those around her with evil. Plus, that bitch is scary.

Fallen
A tight little film about the nature of evil, with a twist ending. And a vauguely sinister song wound throughout. Bonus.

Constantine
Before you all start yelling at me, no, I don't actually like this movie. The depiction of angels and demons, however, is one of the best I've ever seen. Eye candy gets points with me. I'm shallow.

Stigmata
For a film where you never actually see the demons integral to the story, it's remarkably effective and has a lot of spooky moments.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Shit story, good execution. The scenes of possession are primal and raw, and frightening as hell.

Hellboy
He's a demon who fights Nazis! There is no way that concept cannot be awesome. And with Ron Perelman in the title role, it's even better.

What's your favorite demon movie?

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Oh shit!

It's a SPOILER free-for-all.

Anything!

ANYTHING!!!!

The Devil Made Me Do It

Ever watch those rehab or intervention shows and wonder, how can I become an alcoholic? Well now you can. These demon inspired cocktails will have you withdrawing from your significant others, making excuses and socking your boss in no time.

Demon Semen

1 oz Aftershock Hot & Cool cinnamon schnapps
1 oz Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps

Mix and serve in shot glasses

Green Demon

1 oz vodka
1 oz rum
1 oz Midori melon liqueur
lemonade
1 cherry

Shake vodka, rum, and liqueur and pour over ice in a highball glass. Fill with lemonade, add the cherry on top, and serve.

Bitches from Hell

1/2 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz banana liqueur
1/2 oz half-and-half

Layer ingredients into a shot glass in order; jagermeister at the bottom, then banana liqueur, followed up with half-and-half.

When you're ready to begin, give me a call.

Sexy Demon




Isn't that hot?

It's called "Angel and Demon."

I found it yesterday while looking for pics to use for my lame Loldemons, and it's just too gorgeous to make fun of. So I contacted the artist, a lovely (and pretty attractive himself, btw) German man named Uwe Jarling, at his website, which is full of other gorgeous art, and asked him for permission to post the pic here, which he very kindly gave.

Why am I going into all of this (which is, let's face it, rather a dull story)? Because it is a copyrighted image, and Mr. Jarling was generous enough to give his permission to post it here, so I wanted to make sure everyone got the links to his site and everything so they can go look at his other stuff if they so desire. So go do that, and in the meantime, I'll be here still looking at this one.

Because I'm just that kind of pervy, baby.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Hola bitches! Sorry I'm late getting this up, but real life interceded. Anyway, I've been thinking about Megan Chase (the MC of Personal Demons for you guys that haven't forked out your $7 yet) and in particular her psychic ability and how it helps her in her work. The question that comes up for me is this, is it an ethical issue for a psychotherapist to use their mind-reading ability to help a client through their issues? Put yourself in the client's position.

Would you feel violated? Manipulated? Creeped out? Hmm?

I'll take the stance that most people follow the same cycles of behavior as their parents and make choices based on learned methods of communication, decision making and introspection, so any therapist who does proper background assessment would appear to be "psychic." I know I've been accused of it. But to actually be psychic makes my mouth water. Totally more efficient.

Anyways...

Oh, the hilarity





Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Good morning peeps!

Today at the League book club, I thought we could talk about technique stuff. Stacia is a great storyteller and here's why, she can weave together several experiences in a single book. Personal Demons is at once a tale of horror, adventure and mystery, romance and comedy.

Let's discuss these cross-genre interplays and how the writer uses them to guide the reader on an emotional journey.

Or...

Wow, Stace is super manipulative.

10 Things (Most) Demons Never Do

(I'm going to list my ten, and you guys come up with some new ones in the comments!)

1. Study the fine art of cake decorating.

2. Squeal and leap on a chair when a spider runs across the floor.

3. Place potpourri anywhere.

4. Own Princess Diana commemorative plates.

5. Ice dancing.

6. Wait outside anyplace a celebrity is rumored to be inside, hoping for a glimpse.

7. Turn down a drink.

8. Worry about what other people think of them.

9. Butterfly collecting.

10. Wear sunscreen.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Logo Contest Wieners!

Yep. Plural!

1/3 of you correctly guessed that Caitlin was missing from the line-up. As an added bit of fun, most, if not all of us, will be posting the original photos we used on our own blogs.

So...drumroll...

Our grand prize winner: tetewa

tetewa get the signed copies of Dead to Me, Personal Demons, Happy Hour of the Damned, Night Life, The Road to Hell, an ebook of Weirdly 2 featuring Jaye's story and assorted swag.

Congratulations!

But...wait...I've got so many signed books on my desk I'm giving more away to...

macbeaner and bunny_b!

I'm going to let you two race for first choice between Rachel Vincent's Rogue and Kim Harrison's The Outlaw Demon Wails. First to email me gets their choice.

me (at) markhenry.us

Go!

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Okay League readers, it's book club time. Seems like a while since Stacia through me one for Happy Hour and here we are chatting up Personal Demons. What could be a more appropriate time than during Demon Week?

We won't be doing a spoiler thread until later in the week, so even if you haven't read PD yet, you might want to swing by just to chat with Stacia or anyone else, really. We're all usually just hovering around talking about Stacia, anyway.

I did a review of Stacia's book over at my blog, so if you want to check that out, then clicky. But remember, this isn't a place for reviews, or whether you liked it or didn't. That's not the point.

What is the point?

Well, today it's all about the demons. Stacia served 'em up three different ways. You got your scary, sexy and comic all in one. Who was (were) your favorite(s)? Why?

Let's get it goin'!

A Theme Week? Yep!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The F Word

Yes, folks, it was just a matter of time before it came up.

I'm talking about that most dreaded word to a fledgling writer- frustration.

OMG WTF BBQ??? I wanna be a writer! I'm writing, no one's offered me a deal yet.. should I burn my book? Should I rewrite my serious first person fantasy as a humorous third person military science fiction because one agent said so? Should you start another project while working on one? Should I give up writing all together?OMG! OMG!!!

First of all, grab a paper back and take a couple deep breaths into it. Go ahead. I'll wait.
A little better? Good.
Second, have some chocolate. (Send me some too... not the chocolate in your mouth, the other!)

I'm here to tell you that for the yet to be published, frustration and anxiety are literally a part of the job. I'm also here to tell you that for the published author, they are too, just in different ways. I hope that by hearing this it is of some comfort to you. Does it make it easier to cope when you hear that every last one of has or is going through some form of it? It should.

For me, the best lesson I learned through all the doubt, frustration and anxiety was: what am I learning? We write a story. We think of it as our child, and it's hard to see it rejected or passed over or form lettered. Every one of those hurdles is someone kicking sand in our kids face and it's hard to contend with.

During these times of frustration, I've seen a lot of writers rage against the machine that is the road to publishing, which I find totally pointless. What do they accomplish other than continuing to not get published? Instead, why not weigh what people are saying about your work? Don't take it as gospel, necessarily, but look to see if there is anything merit in it to be added to your work from what you are being told.

Even now, I am in a constant state of learning with every word and book I write, so it's never too late. Let those people kick your kids, going back to my earlier metaphor! What doesn't kill them (your story), only makes them stronger.

And a lot of anxiety also comes from artificial deadlines writers put on themselves. It's good to have schedules if that helps you keep on goal, but the publishing industry is at times a slow and laborious machine, and sometimes getting your work the attention that YOU want it to have simply won't happen in a timely manner. It's not personal, it's just the nature of the beast. In the meantime, learn. Pay attention to what is being said, let go of the frustration as best you can, and keep moving forward with your writing.

Unless, of course, you are one of those people who shouldn't be writing at all because you're hopeless. Unfortunately, that is a topic for another day...!

Can A Reluctant Adult Be a Parent?

Happy Mother's Day!

And yeah, I'm a mom. Heck, I'm a freaking soccer mom, as yesterday proved: the Precious Little Tax Deductions both had their soccer games (at two different places), AND their team soccer photos. My boys kicked a...--um, tush--and Loving Husband and I are so proud of them. I can't believe these little people popped out of me.

Then again, there are times when I can, because they know how to push all the buttons--and, if you believe Jackie's Mom (yeah, I know, I don't trust anyone over 40 either), I, shockingly, was a handful.

From yesterday, an example of my kids being very good at being six and four:

PRECIOUS LITTLE TAX DEDUCTIONS THE ELDER AND YOUNGER: **Throwing a super bounce ball in Tax Deduction the Elder's room and banging it hard enough to make the walls vibrate**

ME: I'm going to kill them.

LOVING HUSBAND: Don't do that.

PLTDTEAY: **Bang, crash, emphasized with maniacal laughter**

ME: I'm going to kill them slowly. Painfully. I may even feel guilty about it for minutes afterwards.

LH: I'll handle this. **Walks to TDTE's room and glares with all the power of Daddyhood**

TDTE: What?

LH: I'll take the ball now.

TDTY: **Hands LH the ball**

TDTE: I've got another one, you know.

So for those parents out there who are also reluctant adults, I give you...

WAYS A PARENT CAN STILL BE A KID:

Watch cartoons. Yeah, we had the classics back then -- forget the original Bugs Bunny, I'm talking Smurfs! And who could forget "Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats"? But there's a lot of cool stuff these days too, like The Batman (not to be confused with Batman), and Ben Ten, and The Legion of Super Heroes. (Oh Lightning Lad, with your wicked scar and your sexay, sexay red hair...)

Play games. And not just soccer and basketball, even though those count. We love destroying each other in Sorry (yeah, yeah, it doesn't matter if you win or lose, blah blah. Take no prisoners!) And Chutes and Ladders can be evil, baby. Evil!

Listen to music. Imagine, if you will, my four year old belting out "Who, who, who?" to "Who Let the Dogs Out". Or my six year old, snapping along to "Mambo Number Five." I'm telling you, these boys are ready for college. (Er, no. No they're not. No college. And no dating. And no reading my books. Okay, I digress...)

And of course, there's...

WAYS A PARENT CAN FEEL REALLY FREAKING OLD:

Watch cartoons. Specifically, Pokemon. WTF? Is this seriously a cartoon? ZOMG. Now I understand why my parents would roll their eyes when I would watch Battle of the Planets. It has to be a generational thing, because Pokemon makes no freaking sense, in any language.

Play games. Specifically, computer games. What does it say about me that my four year old is better at every computer game than I am? (And no, "Early onset arthritis" is not an option, thank you very much. Don't you sass me, it's Mother's Day.)

Listen to music. Specifically, on the radio. There's nothing like singing along to a killer tune from your youth, feeling darn good and nostalgic and all sorts of happy...and then the DJ gleefully announces at the end of the killer tune that it is 30 years old.

(Okay, so maybe I shouldn't trust anyone over 50...)

So what are you doing to still be a kid, even though you're also (reluctantly) an adult?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Contest Reminder and a Thank You

First of all, we won't be choosing our winners (yep! With an "s") until Monday, so tell your friends about the League and jump on the free shit bandwagon. Just make sure that the comment is under the contest post and not this one, cuz I'm too lazy to go huntin'.

I have to thank Jaye for that post she did yesterday. Got me putting together a playlist, where I remembered a song that would be perfect for Dark Rites. But more than that, gave me an idea for a secondary character that I'm super psyched about. Here's the video for Lagartija Nick...



...and nope, the character I'm thinking of is not the devil, or Nick, or whatever you want to call him. Any guesses? Stace, you're excluded, since you know.

Happy Mudda's Day, tomorrow. Don't forget about Jackie's Mother's Day post!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Gettin' Some Play

It's Friday at the League, and we all know what that means--Jaye Day.

Unfortunately, there'll be no interesting list of cool things I've done because, frankly, nothing I've done beats being a phone psychic.

So I decided instead to share with you the play list for my debut novel, RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. I figure since none of you can read the book until next April (start saving now, people), you could at least get a taste of the music that influenced its writing.

Here goes:
Voodoo by Godsmack
Bodies by Drowning Pool
Red-Headed Stepchild by Golden Smog
Coming Undone by Korn
Breathe by The Prodigy
Temptation Awaits by Garbage
Push It by Garbage
Blood Sugar Sex Magic by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Apple of Sodom by Marilyn Manson
Fatal by The RZA
Heirate Mich by Rammstein
Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
The Witch by The Cult
Lazy Eye by The Silversun Pickups
Under the Milkyway by The Church
Cuts You Up by Peter Murphy

A lot of these songs are purely to get me in the mood for writing some ass-kicking scenes, and, yes, there are many of those. Others reflect specific things about certain characters. And, in case you're wondering, the title of the book didn't come from the Golden Smog song, even though I've loved it for years.

Maybe if I was smart, like Mark, I'd have figured out a way to include the lists in the book itself. But, since that's not an option, I'm thinking about making the complete play list available on iTunes when the book comes out. What do you all think? Should more authors publish their play lists as part of their book extras? Or is this just a lame attempt on my part to have something to blog about? Discuss.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Some things you should know

Hi, everybody!

Hi, Caitlin!

Since this is my first post at the League, I figured I might as well go for full disclosure and reveal embarrassing things about my personal/writing life.

So here we go:

I once worked as an internet psychic. No lie. I sat in chat for a scummy company based in New York and read tarot cards. I wouldn't lie to people, so I didn't last long. However, when I was bored or needed to get a soda, I could pretend to go into a trance, so that was fun.

I know all the words to 'Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)' by Travis Tritt. And whatever your feelings on country, it is a great song.

I'm a hidden geek. Or not so hidden, if you get me talking about Batman.

I'm incapable of writing well-adjusted characters in my novels. Okay, I probably am capable but I find them incredibly boring, so all of my characters tend to be broken and screwed up. At last count, my protagonists number a werewolf, a heroin addict, a runaway Fae, a redneck exorcist and a psychic brother and sister with abusive parents. And those are just the books I've written.

Before I sold my first novel I wanted to be a cop. Now I just write about them, which is probably better because I have neither the patience or the self-control to be a good law enforcement officer. But I maintain I would make a kick-ass bounty hunter.

And there it is...Stuff to Know about me. If you came here expecting to hear about my books...uh...yeah. Next week. Unless I forget and blog about how I want to marry Iron Man. You'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Does Your To Be Read Pile Say About You?

Let's start this one off with the list...

The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy
War of the Oaks by Emma Bull
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
World War Z by Max Brooks
The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont
Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis
The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
One Mississippi by Mark Childress
The Night Gardener by George Pellicanos
Greywalker by Kat Richardson
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
Bloodangel by Justine Musk
Duma Key by Stephen King
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

Okay, so what does it say?

1. The zombie guy hasn't read World War Z yet? That's pure laziness any way you slice it. You probably won't be surprised that I've not read Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide, either. Such a slacker. Seriously, any ideas I've formed on the subject have come from the movies...and my own fractured mind.

2. I'm more likely to pick up mysteries, comedies and horror more than my own genre, which is odd because I kind of see urban fantasy as a mixture of those three anyway. Now, that said. I buy up every urban fantasy title I can find and some paranormal romance, so I'm totally supportive that way.

3. I should be reading a couple of romances, just to get a feel for their structure. Despite being terribly abrasive and self absorbed, in the next two books, Amanda is getting a romantic arc that's going to test her ability to look beyond her own needs (in a comic way, of course--that was almost sounding serious).

4. I totally read my friend's books before others in the genre. Lucky for me, they're writing different enough stuff not to become monotonous. As soon as the material gets too homogenous, it's time to restructure friendships. I think you know what I'm talking about.

5. David Sedaris MUST be read within two days of the release of his book. This is not optional. He's a God of observational humor and a huge influence. Jen Lancaster is a close second (I challenge people that love Happy Hour to NOT laugh themselves into a pee puddle while reading Jen's Bitter is the New Black).

6. I read a lot of books based on recommendations. The awesome Jessica Morrell (she of the endless supply of writing knowledge) told me that Pellicanos kicks out dialogue so fierce, you can hear it in your head. Hill is getting a reputation for creeping people out (and I kinda like that).

7. I'm heavily influenced by my experiences. I picked up F. Paul Wilson's The Tomb based on seeing him perform Hotel California in full-on zombie butler drag at RT. Dakota, who is a bomb ass chick, forbade me to read her book, thereby forcing it to the top of the pile. Alexander McCall Smith did this amazing presentation at Pacific Lutheran U. last week (1600 people showed up to an author event--how amazing is that?).

8. My book club selections stand out like a Red-Headed Stepchild (winks @ Jaye). Anyone care to guess?


What's on your list? And better yet, why?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pictures!

Ahh, best friends. They do things like go into bookstores and take pictures of your books when you can't be there yourself. Or video themselves going to buy it, which MY best friend Cori totally did, which is one of the many reasons why she's awesome.

Look! Aren't they pretty? They really exist, at least at the Barnes & Noble Cori went to which is somewhere in South Florida but I'm not exactly sure which one.

What does all this mean to you? LOTS, especially because I know me and my book are way up high on your personal priority list.


But wait! There's more!

Next week we're going to have DEMON WEEK here at the League, along with Fun Book Club Posts. Mark is running it, and I will of course be coming in to comment, so I'm sure we're going to have a blast. We will also have an awesome Guest Blogger in the form of Jeri Smith-Ready, so you definitely don't want to miss that one!

But WAIT! There's MORE!

This Friday the 9th I'll be chatting over at Chris Eldin's blog, about, oh, all sorts of things. There's going to be a fun little quiz, and chatting, and probably booze. At least there will be for me, because this thing goes on until 9pm EDT which is like 2 am for me. (See, I make it sound like this is really exciting, but the truth is I'm terrified I'm going to sit there by myself all day. So please, I beg of you, at least come by if you can so I don't look like a total and complete loser.)

It's a barrel of me! A whole lotta me! Me all over the place! Me! And demons! And book clubs! And me! Don't miss it! I can't stop using exclamation points! Seriously! I need help!


Chat with me, book club, and demon week. Be there or be square, loser.

NIN for FREE!

I don't know about you guys, but when I get really deep into a project I like a little music to write to. You know what's the best kind of music to kick start your ass?

FREE MUSIC!

Head on over to nin.com

Trent Reznor's gone nuts and is giving away his best album since Closer for free.

That's right: f.r.e.e.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Whole New League!

...well not a WHOLE new League, three of us are the same people--though forever immatured by our experience with the first League--but still a very different League.

Let's call it the League 1.5.

Does that work?

First off, some sad news. Jill Myles has decided to leave our ranks. We wish her the best with her writing pursuits and much success in her career. Don't be surprised if you see her popping up here from time to time (particularly when Sex Starved hits the shelves).

So...what's new?

I've been looking around the internets and saw that some of our readers were involved in a bit of the old speculation as to what was going on at the League Lounge. Understandable, we were 2 down and that's 2 too few, after all. So, we went on the hunt and coralled us some fresh meat. Who, who, who, you ask?

Introducing our newest members (cue drumroll)...

Caitlin Kittredge (MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON, NIGHT LIFE)
Jaye Wells (RED-HEADED STEPCHILD)
Jackie Kessler (HELL'S BELLES, THE ROAD TO HELL, ETERNAL LOVER)

I know. Exciting, right?

In addition, we've done some housekeeping on the site--check out the new header, "About Us" page for centerfold bios and the new profiles. We're moving toward more daily contact, theme weeks (such as the upcoming Demon Week (May 11-17), guest bloggers and more interviews, contests and book club events. We're pretty excited about the progression here.

Excited enough to offer our biggest contest yet. We're giving away a MASSIVE pack of signed books by all of us (except Jaye, but she'll probably throw something in--loaf of Wonder Bread, Pet Rock, Stolen Religious Iconography, something. EDIT: Jaye's offering up her short story, RED LIFE, featured in the anthology WEIRDLY II, you'll get an e-book of that, as well). So here's the (rest 0f the) loot...


...oh yeah, signed books and some swaggy stuff (dead duck, "What's Your Sin? Personal Demons bracelet, smexy demon girl button, and that's just the beginning).

I know what you're thinking, what do I, loyal League reader, have to do to acquire such booty?

Quite simple really. There's someone missing from the new League logo. Take a guess who it is in the comments. Correct answers will be entered into the drawing. We've got some runner up prizes, too, so keep that in mind.

Contest runs 'til Monday.

Make sure to welcome the ladies and let us know what you think!

Cheers!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Watch This Space...

Come Monday we're going to have some stuff to tell you about!

Meanwhile, I'm totally stealing this day to plug my guest chat thing, next Friday May 9th, at Chris Eldin's blog. I'll be there most of the day, and I'm giving away a free book, and I'll bet chatting and answering questions and doing all those promolicious happy fun things, so make sure you come by!


Meanwhile, here's an amusing book cover for you to look at.

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

******************