Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years Leaguers!!!

From all of us to all of you, the happiest of New Year's Eve celebrations and a wish that all your resolutions don't go tits up by Friday!


Just a quick note. Big changes are coming to the league in the new year. Possibly related to growth, or growths, whichever.

Cheers!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wanted: Hellion

I will be a better blogger in 2009. I will. Promise.

You see, I've solemnly sworn to use my iCal function on my computer, and Loving Husband tells me it can annoy me incessantly until I blog. So...yay!

Barring that, I'll have to get a Hellion to remind me about all the administrative crap I have to do. (Not that blogging is crap. Well, MINE can be, depending on the day. And how much sleep I get.)

Now, take into consideration that I am a Luddite, and I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. (I'm! On! Twitter! What the hell's WRONG with me???) And I'm thinking that iCal won't be up to the dread task of keeping me honest and BLOGGING WHEN I AM SUPPOSED TO BLOG. (The whole reluctant adult thing? So totally me.)

Anyone want to be my Hellion? The pay is shit (actually, there IS no pay). But hey, you would get constant emails from a wannabe famous author lady. And if you're an aspiring writer, I'd be, like, your mentor. The Batman to your Nightwing. Who wouldn't want that?

So...any takers?

**crickets chirping**

Hello? Is this thing on?

My Life is Being Run By a Little Purple Monster...

Seriously, look at this little guy's garden. I tend the stupid thing each and every day. I grow virtual tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, strawberries, corn, pumpkins, and watermelons... Why do I do this, you ask? So that he can sell them and have kinzcash of course.

And why, you may ask, is that important? Because when my sons want to bring their WebKinz to visit my WebKin... they have to have cool places to hang out, right?

Like for Christmas morning:

...and stuff. That's a necessity... isn't it?

/sigh

Who am I kidding? WebKinz really have eaten my brain. I even take Stanton, the white mouse, around with me to conventions. I do it because my youngest son asked me to do it, but still...

Help! Help! The WebKin got me! And he's smiling, too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I've Got a Yule Log For You...

...or book buying suggestions as the case may be. As well as, some places to go visit your favorite League authors this holiday season.

As you know, this is the time of year that bloggers get lazy, you've seen it here at the League, too. I think last year we even shut down for a month during the holidays. We haven't gone to that extreme this year, but I imagine the posts will be few and far between. Still for you stragglers there'll be stuff for you.

In the meantime, and I know you've done your best to finish all your holiday shopping in a timely and efficient manner, for those of you who've forgotten to get presents for the League of Reluctant Adults, I offer a solution!

Preorders!

There's no better way to show your love and affection than to tell our publishers how in demand our books are, and they listen--you bet your ass, they do. Publishers determine lots of things off preorders, like print runs and other stuff I don't understand.

So, here's a handy little clicky picture thing (in alphabetical order, lest people get grouchy)...




...and since Demon Inside isn't on pre-order yet, why not pick up a copy (or two) of...



Now...I don't know how many League readers jump on over to Urban Fantasy Land, but you should over the coming days. Jeremy, Jaye, Stacia and me (Mark) have already dropped our yule logs of holiday cheer in Lindsay's pool. Won't you go read how we spend our holidays? And for the love of all that's holy leave a comment or two to show UFL some love.

That's all I got.

Happy Holidays folks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Apologies...

I haven't been there for you like I usually am. I'm sorry. That's all gonna change after daddy finishes this manuscript. Or the next one maybe. I'm nearly done with Joe Barkley and Battle of the Network Zombies is looming (the art department wants suggestions by the 2nd of January).

But first I need to finish.

You know what helps that? Not new music, that's for sure.

I loaded Pandora onto my iPod and now, every few minutes I'm like who's that new yummy band I can't live without another second? This morning I've been listening to the Cocteau Twins station and now I'm loving Autumn's Gray Solace, Stars and The High Violets. I'm in full blown Nugaze.

Now you can be too...



Assuming you're into it. Are you?

Now I must get back to the manuscript and happy suicides, old things and human tetherballs!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ever wondered why urban fantasy is so hot right now? Check out Lilith Saintcrow's theory. Imagine me nodding vigorously and pumping my fist in the air. Hell yes, lady.

Ahhh...snuggly sexism

Well, maybe it's not really sexism. I'll let you decide.

I am currently wearing thermal underwear. From neck to ankles, I am all thermal, baby!

From the waist down I'm wearing "Long Janes" under my jeans and my 'O Basics' over-the-knee socks from Sock Dreams. (Which, btw? LOOOVE Sock Dreams socks, have over a dozen pairs, haven't been to the site for a while and OMG the selection is even bigger and I am totally drooling because I LOOOOVE Sock Dreams. Anyway.)

So, the "Long Janes"; obviously, long johns for women. And they're okay. I haven't noticed that my legs are all that much warmer wearing them than they were when I had my Sock Dreams Ribbed Ms, but the Ms do tend to slip and bunch up at the back of my knee, which is awful. (I hate having the back of my knee tickled or touched, so having a bulky wad of fabric there is hellish.) It's not the socks' fault, really; beneath black skinny jeans they don't have much chance.

But the Long Janes are okay. Basically the same warmth but without the bulk. Instead they're very thin--they do have that irritatingly long waist that long john-type pants tend to have, though. I hate those. I'm a bit short-waisted anyway, and there is nothing in the world worse than having the crotch of your tights or leggings hovering around mid-thigh. Seriously, why is the waist-to-crotch section as long as the crotch-to-calf section? I've never understood it.

But they are very thin, yes. And covered with this sort of odd wavy design in the fabric itself; like little tiny airholes. It's okay but I wish the pattern wasn't there. But I will say these are a huge improvement over the thermal underwear my mom used to make me wear when I was little. Because not only did those also have the horrible long crotch, they also had thick bands at the ankles so tight they practically cut off circulation. I remember fighting to get them over my feet, which--despite what my mom and dad said--were not gunboats at all, but very average-sized feet. (They still are, pretty much. I'm a 7 1/2, which while not tiny like my mom's size 5, is not exactly gargantuan. I know; I'm digressing all over the place today aren't I? Sorry.) Does anyone else remember that? The pants had those awful, thich, tight, non-stretchy ankle ciffs, and the shirts had the same around the wrist. I remember having to get my parents to help me take the pants off.

BUT. Here's where the sexism comes in. I also ordered two thermal tops. One a woman's style; the women's tops only come in black and white; they also have a tank top version in black or white. It's the same thin fabric as the pants, with the same wavy pattern, and a scoop neck.

The other is a man's small.

I got this one in charcoal gray (my favorite color). See, the men's thermal shirts, and long johns, come in several colors, not just black or white.

It's thicker, noticeably so.

No swirly pattern. Instead it's a lovely, subtle ribbing.

Crew neck.

So you tell me...why do women have to make do with a thinner version, with an odd pattern, that doesn't protect our upper chest? Why do we only get to choose black or white?

Why do men get the thicker, softer, smoother one? In a number of colors; black, white, gray, blue...I think they also had yellow and red.

Do they think women wouldn't want a crew neck? Do they think women automatically want the drippt wave pattern? Why is our shirt not as warm (but just as expensive)? Even the Long Janes are a poud more than the Long Johns, which is silly because the Long Johns take up more fabric and need to have that little flap/fabric maze built into the front? (I know I'm not the only woman in the world fascinated by that intricate little trapdoor thing. And totally jealous. You guys don't even have to lower your undies if you don't want--although every man I've ever met does, and doesn't use the little doggie door.)

What do you think guys. Is it sexism, or what? I certainly think it's an injustice, and I wish fervently now that I hadn't bothered with the woman's shirt at all but instead bought several men's shirts, because I wear shirts under shirts ALL the time; I'm a huge long-sleeve-t-shirt-under-short-sleeve-t-shirt girl. (Ask Caitlin; she spent a week with me, she'll tell you.)

Yes, of course my tongue is firmly in my cheek, as it is 99% of the time when I actually say or write the word "sexism". But it does piss me off that the woman's shirt isn't as warm, and that it leaves my poor chest exposed to the elements--especially since every woman knows, that section of skin is delicate and needs to be protected and moiturized and exfoliated lovingly, lest we look like chickens in later life.

And do you guys own thermal underwear? Does anyone else have childhood memories of spending half an hour trying to get the ankle cuffs over your heels? And of the rather uncomfortable, rough knobbled fabric of thermals then?

State of the Caitlin

Crossposted from my website.

Time becomes very fluid and hard to grasp when you have none of it, between deadlines, real-life projects (like the kitchen, which is at least over with now except for things I have no control over, like plumbers) and social obligations. I've sprouted a surprising crop of friends in the last year or so, between Team Seattle and various other folks of my acquaintance who are the results of me finally stepping out of my shell a bit. (That shell was starting to become really claustrophobic. And it had an odd smell when the wind came from the east.) The result of all this is parties. Lots of parties. Three parties over three days. Well, one was a signing for Cherie's novel Fathom and my novel Pure Blood.



In the midst of remodeling fun and parties, I also have four major projects due at varying degrees of Defcon Ohnoes! Page proofs for Black & White (not so bad) deadlines for Witch's Alphabet and Shades of Gray (mild concern) and line edits for Street Magic (Ohnoes!)

The edit letter from St. Martin's was very light, five bullet items that needed minor fixes. Me being me, I kept finding more to fix, mostly awkward prose that seemed fine the last time I cracked the draft. I really have gotten better at this since I first set fingers to keyboard and typed out the first line of what would become Street Magic. The realization was heartening but also problematic, since I now had a manuscript crouched on my desk crying "Fix me!" in its little manuscript voice. So I did, and it ate my life for five days. On the bright side, my lovely editor Rose informs me that the book is now "100,000% more awesome." This is why she's my editor.

Work on Witch continues apace. I get so happy every time I sit down to work on the book. It's a fun novel, one that strips bare its secrets slowly and doesn't tip its hand all at once. The world is new, no rules set in stone, and I can go wherever I want in it. I'm enjoying mostly creating my monsters from whole cloth, except for the Lovecraftian background noise of elder gods and tentacle crawlies. I'm enjoying referencings 50's pop culture. I'm really enjoying Dean, the ostensible "hero" of the story. I always like my heroines, respect them even if I don't want to go shoe shopping any time soon, but it's my male characters that I find a spot in my heart for. I couldn't say why, exactly. And I always tend to leave the actual problem solving up to the women, so there is balance in the Force.

That's where I've been. Where are you?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You Could Cut A Tin Can With It...

Okay, one of the folks in my writer's group sent me this and... I. Just. Have. No. Words.
I've been "form websited" and the phrasing in places...

"I really take pleasure in my Staked! Staked is such an stupendous product that I dont know how I've lived without it all these years."

[wipes tear from eye]

Heh. I'm sorry. It's just too funny. Anyone else have good example of marketing gone awry?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where's the Line between Sexy and Porny?

So I'm writing this book, right? And it's probably urban fantasy, but not in a strong heroine fights the good fight against evil kind of way. More like it's magical historically religious type creatures living in polite contemporary society. My thing is this, since it has incubi and succubi, I figure I'm going to go balls out sexual with it. Lots of fetishes. Bondage. A fair amount of bodily fluids are spilled upon the fertile ground, let's put it that way.

I was beginning to think that the story was bordering on porn, with some of the medical fetish stuff I had planned. And then I saw this...



Now. Before you think I've lost my mind, let me assure you. I've got no sexualizing paralysis or amputations (well there may be some limb removal, but not in an erotic context). But what I do want to capture is the foreign quality of what might turn a demon on. So I'm going on a sicko bender this weekend. I'm planning on picking up Quid Pro Quo, Crash (Cronenberg), Dead Ringers and Jacob's Ladder.

Can anyone else think of a film that was unabashedly sexual in a dark and disturbing way?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ha! Ha! HA!!

I bought a new ironing board today!!


Yes, I know. I can see you all scratching your heads now, wondering why in the hell I would bore you with discussion about a new ironing board, of all things. What in the world is cool or interesting about an ironing board?

But here's the thing. Our old one came from a home-delivery-type store called Argos. And when Scooby Doo delivered it, I didn't really bother to inspect it, just shoved it in the closet.

Only to find, when I took it out a couple of weeks later, that it had been badly dented in transit. One of the legs was smushed (still works, but flattened) and, much more importantly, the narrow end of it was crushed.

Which means I could not iron on the end of it.

Which has meant, for the last two years, that ironing has been much more difficult than it needed to be.

Because it isn't just that I can't iron on the end, either, which makes sleeves--well, which makes everything--so much harder to do. Because the end is smushed the cover keeps slipping off, so both pad and cover are shifted sideways and crumpled at one side. So it's harder to iron on that side as well.

I don't mind ironing, generally. But ironing on that board has been torture. For OVER TWO YEARS.

We kept meaning to get another one, but they're not acually cheap here. A decent ironing board at Tesco is like £20. And I ain't paying no forty bucks for no ironing board. And I asked for a new one for Xmas last year and didn't get one then either, sigh.

So today, since Woolworths is going out of business, I stopped in to see what I could find (I finally took my poor, Tintagel-muddied winter coat to the dry cleaner as well). Woolworths was, of course, a madhouse, but I did find a nice ironing board, 30% off, so I got it for £9 or £10, which was good enough for me.

So yay me!! I have a new ironing board! And tonight when hubs gets home I'm going to take the old one into the backyard and beat it to death ala the Office Space printer.

It's just so frustratig when something you use every day is defective like that, don't you think? What crappy broken thing do you have to put up with?

Monday, December 8, 2008

You Say It's Your Birthday

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy 38th birthday, dear meeeeeeeeeee
Happy birthday to me!

Some lessons are better Ctrl-X'ed, Ctrl-V'ed

This comes from my post over on LJ, but I think it bears repeating here as I know some of you, for reasons unfathomable, haven't drunk the Anton Kool-Aid yet.. (*sounds of wall crashing in* OH YEAAAAAH!)

So I have this "friend" on Facebook who emailed all her "friends" for a call to action. It seems her manuscript has been over at Razorbill, one of Penguin's YA imprints, and since it's been about five months, she's asking EVERYONE she knows to write letters or email Razorbill to tell them to please publish it. She also encourages everyone to write multiple times to them!

I'm not sure if it's obvious to you, but I think it bears saying nonetheless:

People, writers-in-training, hopeful submitters...? Please for the love of all that is holy do not engage in this type of behavior.

I happen to work in the adult side of the Penguin building (outside of being an Ace author). This type of practice is more likely to go terribly wrong and get your manuscript tossed.

I understand that you've been waiting awhile (and five months really isn't that long a while, even though every day is a painful death to the hopeful young writer), but that's what publishing is... waiting. And it's a business. Filling an editors mail box or email with "fan" mail of an unpublished book MIGHT come off as a bit crazy or desperate. I know my editor there would freak. Yea, it gets you noticed, but not necessarily in a good way.

I pointed this out to her, saying I could be full of beans, I suppose... I mean, hey, it's possible they'd see it as all spunky and determined and PUBLISH HER BOOK OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!

But I really don't think that's how an acquiring editor is going to read all that overstuffed mailbox stuff that's keeping them from getting to their to-be-read pile of manuscripts in the first place. So I had my say, and wished her luck.

She replied back to say thanks for the support but one, it was too late to turn back, and that two, the worst that could happen is she gets a no, followed by a 'big deal there are many other publishing houses out there."

People-let me say that the worst that could happen isn’t just a simple no. The worst that could happen is you earn a reputation at one of the largest publishing houses in the states by your ill-thought antics as a bit of a whack job. Yeah, you can take it elsewhere and try, but editors and such all talk to each other across the industry. And let's say no one buys this book...and you write another. What have you done now? You can’t submit to them again, can you? You've already earned a reputation...

I get it. I've been there, wanting desperately to have someone say yes or no. Wanting to find a clever way to get them to move their asses...but a little civility and patience go a long way.

She kind of petered out with a you gotta do what you can to make your dreams come true kinda thing at the end, and that's about the time I realized it was all wasted on her, but I hope this example helps some of you realize what NOT to do.

Oh, and the kicker? She then offered to send the first five chapters along! Sigh...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nominated!!!

Yes, that's right -- Caitlin and I have been nominated for Romantic Times Reader's Choice awards! Caitlin is up for Best Urban Fantasy of 2008 (PURE BLOOD). And I'm in the running for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist of 2008 for Daunuan (HOTTER THAN HELL). HUZZAH!!! To all those readers who have cast their votes for us -- THANK YOU!!! It's a thrill knowing that people actually read -- er, enjoy our work.

FYI, Daun's up against Mercy Thompson, Cat Crawford, Joanne Baldwin, Anna Strong, Sookie Stackhouse and Marla Manson. So you know Daun's reaction, right?

"Orgy time."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A couple of quick things

First, a bit of shameless drive-by promo: I'm doing an interview and chat-type-thing today at Bitten by Books, so come on by and say hi, ask me inappropriate questions, call me names, whatever you'd like to do! The interview will go up at 8 am PST, and I'll be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, which you can use to BUY BOOKS. BOOKS, got it? No DVDs or CDs, no spatulas or bracelets or whatever. YOU WILL BUY BOOKS. (Lol. Of course you can buy whatever you like. But it would be nice if you bought books.)

Second, since buying Chinese Democracy, we've been listening to it almost constantly--mainly because we are very lazy and will just leave the CD playing over and over in the car until we can't stand it anymore. I am pleased to report it's really grown on us. It's still no Appetite, but it's pretty good overall. It has hidden depths.

Third...um. I don't really have a third, I guess.

Hope to see you later! :-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Are Those Maggots?



Please to enjoy "Eight Things I Know About Vampires Based on the Lost Boys." Hilarious.

Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Well, folks, the holiday season is upon us. And what better way to celebrate than to catch up on all the recent news in publishing.

On second thought, no, don't do it. It'll suck all the comfort and joy right out of you.

Ah, hell, okay I'll tell you. But it ain't pretty. Publisher's Weekly is calling it "Black Wednesday" due to all of the massive layoffs today at major publishing houses.

I've only been an author for a little under a year. But I've been a lover of books since I was too young to read. Books have entertained, informed, enlightened, amused, and comforted me through every stage of my life. And I hate to see what's happening to the great people who make these amazing stories available to the world.

So I have a proposition. Instead of dwelling on the bad news coming out of New York, let's take action. And by action, I mean a little thing I like to call: BUY SOME FREAKIN' BOOKS DAY!

Buy books for everyone on your holiday gift list. Buy a book for yourself to celebrate just being alive. Get a new book for your kid just because they ate all their vegetables. Make up any reason, just do it.

The career you save may belong to your favorite author. Or that author's brilliant editor. Or that brilliant editor's fantastic assistant. Or the amazing designer who create that kick ass cover. Or the hard-working sales people who pitched your favorite book to the book store you love. Or the truck driver who drove that book from the warehouse to your favorite book store. The list goes on and on. But if everyone bought one book today, or hell, this week, maybe some people will avoid the unemployment line.

Naive? Maybe. Do it anyway.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Winners and New Contests!

The winner of the Michele Bardsley Interview contest is...

Flip!!!

Cough up an email to me (at) markhenry (dot) us with your real name and address and we'll get those copies of Michele's, Dakota's and Rowena's books right off to ya!

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Can't get enough free books? Well my website relaunch is going on right now and I'll be giving away a copy of Happy Hour, a couple of ARCs of Road Trip and 2 mass market paperbacks of the runners up's choice. That's 4 chances to win (though one is a bit hidden and slightly more difficult.

Just pop over to markhenry.us for deets!

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

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