Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Idea, Bad Execution

Ever come up with a word that makes perfect sense in your head, then makes you cringe/cry/LOL as soon as you actually type it?

I've been doing some world-building on a potential new project, and I needed a slang word for penitentiary guards. First thought was Peni guard, which I then shortened to Peni.

Works perfectly, yes?

Until I needed to pluralize it for a sentence.

This is what I typed: The Penis hated him on principal.

My cat woke up and glared at me for laughing so hard.

What have you written lately that compares?

This Just In...

Mario totally wants to haul your junk. Hehe.

RT Wrap Up

Hey-- I decided to cross post these pics from the Biting Edge to give all our friends who didn't go to RT a taste of what they missed. Now, I have to remind you, I'm the nice one so for the most part these will not be incriminating or embarrassing. Those pictures, I'm sure, will show up somewhere else soon.

Part of the gang off to breakfast at...

the world's biggest shit

Waiting in line (along with the eight busloads of kids dumped off for breakfast before proceeding to one of the thousand theme parks in the area) Richelle Mead, Diana Rowland, Jackie Kessler (back to camera)

After the gluttony, Blake, whose last name I can't remember, profuse apologies, Diana Rowland, Jackie Kessler and Richelle Mead

Lucienne Diver and he who shall be nameless.

Leaguers in Club Rt: Michelle Rowen, Michele Bardsley, Jaye Wells

The super delicious Dakota Cassidy (who ALWAYS looks like this- I'm so jealous)

Fearless leader of the League of Reluctant Adults: Mark Henry standing in front of the stash we offered as a raffle prize in Club RT. He looks so normal, doesn't he?

Reviewer extraordinaire Jill Smith, Richelle Mead, Stacia Kane, Caitlin Kittredge

Jill Smith giving Jackie Kessler the good news—she loved her new book Black and White co-authored with Caitlin Kittredge.

Leaguer Michele Bardsley on stage accepting her Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance, Because Your Vampire Said So

And last, me accepting my award for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist, Anna Strong from Legacy. What a rush!!!

So that's it...hope you enjoyed seeing your leaguers in to speak.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Welcome Leaguer #19: Diana Rowland!!!

When we ran into Diana at the Romantic Times Booklover's Convention, little did we know we'd found a sister in reluctantness. Diana's book Mark of the Demon, not only has my name in the title but is also, purportedly, awesome. Why here's Diana now...

Give her a big League welcome!  Like with naughty talk!

Gimme Yer Organs, Ma'am!

In honor of my 44th birthday yesterday, I got to renew my driver's license. It wasn't that bad, actually. I went around 9:30 a.m., and it's a fairly small town so I didn't even have to wait. Just walked up to the nice man and handed him my old license. Which was from 2001. No, not kidding. I didn't have any tickets or wrecks, so they just let me buy a sticker to put on the back to stretch the renewal period to this year. Needless to say, the picture was dated. Ancient enough, in fact, that the guys at the safety check in airports were starting to look at me kinda funny.

The state also thought I needed a new card. In fact, they figured I needed an eye test too. Not a big deal, except I had to press my forehead against that black pad to make the letters show up. And it didn't feel clean. Do they ever wipe those suckers down, do you think? Ugh, I just wanna go shower remembering it.

So then the dude asked me if I still wanted to be an organ donor. And I said, "Of course." But here I feel as if I should apologize to my future donee, should the worst happen (to me). Because my bladder is about the size of a ping-pong ball. Which means whoever gets it is going to become very familiar with their bathroom. Take my advice, decorate it lavishly. Use your favorite colors and fabrics. You're going to be looking at them a lot!

Then came the dreaded picture. I tried to primp for it, but it still turned out looking like I'd been swigging energy drinks so I could stay awake for the last forty-eight hours, perhaps to do surgery on other organ donors.

Though my experience wasn't quite the nightmare I'd anticipated, I'm sure a little mood music and a snack tray (along with a shot of Germex to that eye test machine) would've improved it immensely. How would you make your trips to the license bureau more fun?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Mother of All Vamps Theme

So Dakota Cassidy and I put our heads together (ouch) and, with a little egging from Michele B., have planned another Theme Week. Y'all may remember Zombie Week and the craziness that ensued (as well as a couple of awesome author interviews). Well, we want to do it again (and again and again).

So, in reflection (er, not a vampire pun) of Michele Bardsley's May 5th release (next week! Where did the time go?), Over My Dead Body, we're, organizing "The Mother of All Vampires" Week.

Why this, you ask? Well, because the heroine of Michele's book is a vampire. And a mom. See?

So dear blog readers, be sure to tune in to the League Tuesday May 5rd - 9th for "The Mother of All Vamps" Week!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Aloha, Dr. Peeler!

So right now I feel like I'm in some 80's college movie. It's the end of the semester, everyone is DONE, including me. We're all just waiting on finals and graduation and the sweet freedom of summer.

Which means that I don't have a very pithy blog post, today (not that I ever do), but I felt that I should say, "Hi." Not least because my own lack of anything interesting to say coincides with the fact that the League is a ghost town right now, what with everyone having scarpered to Romantic Times.

I've been following our Leaguers on Twitter, and can I just tell you HOW MUCH IT SUCKS I COULDN'T GO?

It really, really sucks. But next year, people, I. Am. There.

I'd also like to say how surprised I was by just how many people went. There were horror writers, mystery writers, literary writers. I wasn't surprised, at all, by the UF crossover, but it seems to me that pretty much everyone and their mother goes to RT, no matter what their genre. 

I wondered why, until, from the blog posts, pictures, and tweets, I put together a pretty clear picture that answered my question. The picture involves Ellora's Cave, chocolate, cover models (who, I've heard from a reliable source, all smell like baby oil), and copious amounts of booze. With a little Disney World thrown in, just to make everything UTTERLY BIZARRE.

So I am expecting some major League time devoted to the RT convention. I want to know everything. I want real pictures of boozey chocolate covered baby oil smelling cover models entering Ellora's Cave to go alongside my mental pictures. The promise of such images has been all that has sustained me while I graded 5,000 papers instead of cavorting, and now I want some real pictures.

And Kelly Meding and I, as the newbies, did briefly consider bringing down the league in a thunderous cacophony of chaos while the adults were gone, but we refrained.

OH, and I've done a couple of posts about a writing workshop I just did at LSUS, over at my site. They end up talking about Philip Roth, again. It's what I do.

And I get +5 points for using the word "enter" in a blog post. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Who Knew Nigel Had an Iguana?"

At the SOKY Bookfest Saturday, I was once again confronted with the question, "Are you a planster or a pantser?"

Fortunately, the members of the League of Reluctant Adults had previously explained to me that a "planster" is a writer that works from a previously planned plot outline. A "pantser," has no plan and lets their plot grow spontaneously, flying by the seat of their pants. It's a good thing someone explained that, because when I was in high school, "pantser" meant something totally different.

I am more of a hybrid, a "shortster" - more of a planster, less than a panster. I have a general outline of how I think the plot will go, random scenes and dialogue exchanges I plan on using. And generally, I use about 60 percent of the outline. And much of the planned dialogue becomes what my friend, Brandi, calls "outtakes."

But it was clear, while sitting on the Bookfest panel with fellow romance writers Teresa Madeiros, LuAnn McClane, and Allie Pleiter, that they were all pantsers. Teresa talked about writing a scene in her book After Midnight in which a female character spends the night in a crypt with a vampire. Teresa "faded to black" before the reader saw what happened in the crypt and neither character comments on what transpires. Fans asked, "So what happened?" And Teresa had to confess that she had no idea, the characters hadn't told her yet. They didn't tell her until she started writing the sequel, The Vampire Who Loved Me, and the story came out while the characters were talking.

She said, "I stood up, screamed and ran around the room, yelling, 'Of course that's what happened!"

Then there was Allie, who described sitting on a plane, typing a scene and suddenly, it became clear that her character needed an iguana. Named Marilyn. She exclaimed, "Who knew Nigel had an iguana?!" And found all of her fellow passengers staring at her.

So the lesson here, kids, is that with or without a plan... writers can be scary people.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Name that Troupe!

So one of my pastimes is belly dancing, and the group of ladies I dance with have just formed their own troupe. Which is highly amusing, on any number of levels. We are very enthusiastic and it is my job to bring the flask.

Anyway, we're a splinter group of the pro-troupe, the Port Belly Project, named for Shreveport, LA, where we are based. We are going to be the student troupe, and we will occasionally dance with/fill in for the real troupe.

Our problem is that we need a name! I've already sicced a few people on the problem, but I would love more input.

Any suggestions?

I would like something funnier/non-serious. We're still belly dancers in the making, and we don't take ourselves too seriously. But I don't know how the others feel, so if you have a pretty name, throw it out there.

On a side note, for anyone in the Shreveport area, I'll be running a short workshop this Wed., at 11:00 AM, at LSUS, for the Write On Writer's group. The public is invited. Just email me at IHeartSelkies(at)gmail(dot)com for more information!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Guest Author!

League regular, Mario Acevedo is visiting at my website today to talk about his new book, Jailbait Zombie. If you have a minute, we'd love for you to come on over and say hi!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SoKY Bookfest was AWESOME!

I am back from the SOKY Bookfest. I am exhausted and amazed. For a rundown of the weekend, including an encounter with folk legend Janis Ian, click Here

Cutting People in Half

I admit it. I've been a fan of well-executed slasher movies (that's a pun, not an oxymoron, I swear) since I was a goofy-looking teenager hoping that I might get a brief glimpse of womanly parts in those very same movies, but I haven't watched many of them lately. Of ocurse, I enjoyed SAW, but I haven't taken to the time to watch Hostel or most of the other recent fair. Maybe it's because it's so hard to get a night out to see a "grown up" movie that I tend to go see stuff like Hellboy 2, The Dark Knight, or Watchmen when given the opportunity.

I also have a weakness for free first episodes of TV shows on iTunes.

What do these two things have in common?

They collided.

There I was, watching this new TV show, Harper's Island, rolling my eyes the same way I did at the first episode of The Starter Wife (which got better, but simply wasn't my show). On the screen, vapid people were being self-absorbed but in a moderately charming way, when all of a sudden we cut to a shot of a man trussed up to the ship's motor. He's got scuba gear, so he can breathe, but he can't get loose. And, just as the showrunners intended, my thoughts were these:

1)He's going to be in a little bit of trouble when they start those engines.


2) Okay, this is looking pretty cool.

The show even has the creepy little girl who seems to have some kind of regular contact with the killer. (Nobody would be more thrilled than me if she actually turned out to be the killer, but that's neither here nor there.)

And speaking of the creepy kid, here's the trailer so you can hear her saying "One by one."

Now... you may ask yourself. What does all of that have to do with the title "Cutting people in half?" Heh. For that, I have the following answer: Watch the first episode and keep your eye on Uncle Marty. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

There's zombie goo in the fridge!

My vampire, Felix Gomez, threatened to kick my ass unless I posted more about him. So here you are:

Tonight Jeanne Stein and I will be at StarFest here in Denver. We'll be presenting, paneling, schmoozing, and drinking like the reluctant adult mo-fo's that we are.

SoKY Bookfest

Hey All,

I am packing up for Bowling Green, KY, my old college stomping grounds, for the SoKy Bookfest. The conference will run all day Saturday at Sloan Convention Center. There will be so many authors I respect at the conference - Silas House, Theresa Medeiros, Kathleen Kent. I'll be speaking on the Southern Ficton for Women panel at 11 a.m. Saturday. Otherwise, you can find me at my table!

For more information, see

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring has Sprung . . . and made me WORTHLESS

I'm an academic, which means I've never NOT been in school. Plus, my parents are teachers, so I've always lived on an academic calendar. I get very confused when people talk about the New Year as the new year . . . because, obviously, the new year starts in late August or early September, depending on your school.

So right now, it's the end of my working year. And I'm done. I'm not actually done, I have two more weeks of teaching and a week of finals, but I am DONE, as in stick a fork in me. My students are even MORE done. They are so done they might mutiny. We all want to stab each other, at some antideluvian level of our brains, despite the fact we are rather fond of each other by this point in the semester.

For me, spring is more than just flowers and bumble bees and hormones. Spring makes me WORTHLESS as a human being. I just want to nap. I do not want to grade any more papers, or fill out any more forms, or discuss any more ideas. I want to drink a Guinness, read a dirty book, and call it a dizzle-izzle-ay.

How do you feel about spring? Are you one of those people (like my mother) who feels energized and starts washing walls? Or do you slip into the narcoleptic coma which is my current state, too?

Oh Hell Yeah!

Thank You Sam Raimi!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Favorite Site

As a master of procrastination, I have tons of websites and blogs I read on a daily basis. Tons. But what is my favorite? I really had to think about that. Most of the sites I hit on a daily basis (Twitter, Facebook, livejournal) have an element of promo and socializing about them, or have to do with the business and the state of the industry. Amanda makes me research pop culture by hitting all the gossip sites, but sometimes I like to just veg out and look at books and get people's opinions.

I'm loving Goodreads. You can find me there, as well as many other League members.

It's a social networking site just for readers and authors, where I can be a fanboy and leave comments for my favorite authors and lurk around book clubs discussing Palahniuk, Sedaris and Gaiman.  I do think it's funny that the site doesn't distinguish my name from all the other writing Mark Henry's, so it looks like I'm quite prolific in things other than zombie porn.  Genre's I'd never think of touching, particularly westerns,

A warning for thin-skinned authors: Goodreads is such a good site because the members review books with abandon.  I've been skewered, then praised.  So have you.

Whatevs.  It's a great place to keep track of reading habits and meet people with similar tastes.  You should totally check it out.  Friend me while you're at it.  In fact, friend all the League folks!

What's your favorite site?  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Coming Clean

So, I did it. I finally gave in. I bought Twilight.

Let me first say that I resisted mainly due to the fact I'm an incredibly picky reader, and since the books are aimed at a younger audience I didn't think I'd like them. Also due to my pickiness, I tend to be wary of anything that has such mass appeal. I wouldn't call myself a book snob, but something about hysteria always makes me suspicious. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, for example. But then I got to thinking about it. I write about vampires, and I read about vampires. Why wouldn't I check out one of the most successful additions to the vampire fiction canon?

I recently bought a Kindle, and have been using it to try out all sorts of books since the book versions are cheaper. I'm finding it's a lot like my iTunes addiction. So easy! So cheap! Why not? So I downloaded Twilight.

People, I couldn't put it down. Not because Meyer is a genius at word craft, although I think she gets a worse rap than deserved. Not because I wanted to figure out why the books were so successful. But because I kept waiting for Edward and Bella to get it on. The tension was sharp-edged and heightened by the complication of Edward's blood lust. And it kept me turning pages into the wee hours.

Haters say what you will, but I love some good sexual tension. And Meyers delivered it in spades. I'm not saying this is why other people enjoyed the series. I'm also not saying it was a perfect read. I'm certainly not a convert to Twilight hysteria. But I enjoyed the book and will continue to read the series. In fact, I'm already halfway through New Moon.

Has anyone else out there resisted the siren call of Edward and Bella because of it's popularity? Or those who have read it, what did you think about the tension. Was the lack of (ahem) consummation refreshing or a let down?

Now, before you answer, a caveat: Twilight is obviously the subject of lots of debate, especially in UF circles. But I would ask that you refrain from author bashing. If you didn't like the books, that's cool. But I don't think you'll find much support here for personal attacks against a fellow scribe.


Last year, Caitlin and I came up with this spiffy tag line for our upcoming superhero novel, BLACK AND WHITE (book 1 of The Icarus Project). It goes like this:

Whose side are you on?

Neat, yeah? We go back and forth in the book, alternating points of view between Caitlin's character, Iridium, and my character, Jet. So the whole "Whose side are you on?" thing really underscores what we're doing with the book.

Well, just before Season 3 of HEROES came out, NBC, too, had a tag line for its "Villains" volume of the popular show about, well, superheroes:

Choose a side.

Okay, so, no big. Close, but really nothing to sneeze at. Just the Muse being all sorts of fickle. That's what I told myself as I quietly freaked out. And then the "Villains" storyline ended and "Fugitives" began, and the whole "Choose a side" thing died out. Groovy.

So picture my face last night as I watch last week's and this week's episodes of HEROES...which has Mohinder discover files about...Project Icarus.

"Project Icarus?" "Choose a side?" That's it. Someone over at NBC/Heroes is obviously a fan of BLACK AND WHITE (book uno of the Icarus Project).

To which I humbly say, "Dude, BLACK AND WHITE would make an awesome television series."

Monday, April 13, 2009


Remember your first car? My daughter was talking about hers yesterday. The one she didn't want at first because it was, well, old. A 1986 Cutlass Supreme, it was white with decorative flecks of rust and a bumper sticker that said, SOMEONE IN TEXAS LOVES ME. She called it The Boat, and moaned about dirving it the first and last six months we owned it. But in between she fell in love. And now she wishes she still had it to drive around campus. Yeah, the same car her great-grandma used to navigate Evansville, Indiana before she stopped driving altogether.

My first heap, erm, ride was a pea green Duster that consumed oil like ants eat sugar. I wouldn't take that sucker back if you plated it with gold. But then, according to my hubby, it didn't have soul.

How about your original wheels? Brimming with so much character it became part of your identity? Or a forgettable piece o' trash? Can't wait to hear the road trip stories!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My First Signing: A Summary

My first signing was fantastic! Thanks so much to everyone who came by and had such nice things to say about the book. And much appreciation to the staff at Barnes and Noble, who so kind and accomodating.

So here's what I've learned:

- When someone buys five copies of your book, one for every person in their department at work, sign it, "To my new best friend." Because that will set a good tone for the rest of the day.

- You're going to mispell someone's name. Apologize, profusely when you do it and try to move on. Side note: Lilli- I am really sorry I misspelled your name... even after you told me how to spell it. I was really nervous.

-Don't let your four-year-old "borrow" your Sharpie because seeing you sign books will inspire her. (Before I realized what she was doing, she'd autographed two Curious George books.) She won't be coming to the next signing.

-It's cool when your family members show up to get their books signed, it's even cooler when a complete stranger walks up and says, "I wish I'd known you were going to be here! I read your book and loved it." This leads to:

-You sign anything those strangers put in front of you, because they're awesome.

In an unrelated note, I also learned the two most evil words in the English language are "piano bar." Thanks to my 80's music-loving new friends (you know who you are) for making the post-signing evening so memorable and enjoyable.

I will be doing some sort of event every weekend for the next three weeks. My next stop is the SOKY Book Fest, April 18, at the Sloan Convention Center in Bowling Green, Ky.

For more information on the Bookfest, click here.

Easter Musing

So Easter seemed to sneak up on a lot of this this year (just like Daylight Savings), and as I sat here sipping my coffee, waiting for dinner guests to arrive, a strange thought occurred to me. And this seemed like a great place to ask.

If the Easter Bunny was a supernatural creature, what species would he be?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Signing on Saturday!

My first signing for NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS is Saturday! I hope to see you there!

1 p.m. Saturday
Chesterfield Barnes and Noble
600 Clarkson Road
Chesterfield, MO, near St. Louis.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Trailer for The Last Lullaby

Jeffrey Goodman's, The Last Lullaby, is about to be released and the trailer is up!  It looks FANTASTIC.  Granted, it'd be even better if Sizemore were a were-wolverine, or something, but I'm totally digging the trailer.  Not least because it's entirely set in Shreveport and the surrounding area.  Which is where I live!  Yay!  

For more information on the film, the upcoming premiere here in Shreveport, and the film's national distribution, sign up for Jeffrey's newsletter at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Interview with JC Hutchins

It's good to know people.

I was lucky enough to know sci-fi author JC Hutchins when we were journalism students at Western Kentucky University. I worked with him at the College Heights Herald and he became the best sort of friend I could ask for... the kind that always listens, understands your pop culture references and doesn't make fun of you for drinking Zima.

Over the last few years, I have watched in awe as his 7th Son podcast has grown into an internet phenomenon with legions of followers (Hello, loyal clone army.) I am so very proud of him and to be able to say, "I knew him when."

JC was kind enough to interview me for his inaugural episode of "Hey Everbody," an off-shoot of his regular "broadcasts" from The conversation was part walk down memory lane, part interview, all fun.


And if you want an interactive reading experience that will scare the absolute crap out of you, order JC's new novel Personal Effects: Dark Art, due out in June.

Seriously, the commercial left me cowering on the floor in the fetal position. Hutch brings the scary. Order it now!

And while we're on the subject:

The video blurb from Victor Miller for Personal Effects can be found here on YouTube.

The link to the "novel meets Alternate Reality Game" Personal Effects: Dark Art can be found here

The link to the fan-fueled "Commit Yourself To The Brink" promotion (where fans can get "committed" in PE's insane asylum and receive patient paperwork can be found here

The link to more "vlurb" trailers, featuring horror icons endorsing Personal Effects can be found here

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Guest Author Interview: Beth Fantaskey

At some point, every teenage girl has told herself, “This isn’t where I belong. Those aren’t my real parents. My real parents are (royals, relief workers in the Peace Corps, circus folk, etc.)”

Well, for Jessica Packwood, it’s true.

Jessica has always known she was adopted. She did not know she was the last princess born to a noble and ancient vampire line. Or that she was promised in marriage to the son of a rival royal vampire clan in a ceremony just after she was born. When her betrothed- posing as a yummy, if somewhat arrogant foreign exchange student from Romania- shows up on her first day of senior year to demand her hand, her whole world is turned upside-down.

I found Jessica and the other characters in JESSICA’S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE a little while ago while searching for more age-appropriate alternatives for my mother’s eighth-grade students, who wanted to read my book. Author Beth Fantaskey has managed to blend just the right mix of humor, fantasy and angst in her debut novel. Jessica is smart, strong, and has believably adolescent reactions without being whiny. The chemistry between Jessica and her love interest, Lucius, is sexy enough that young readers won’t feel patronized, but still manages to be age-appropriate.
It’s been a long time since a young adult novel actually made me shed a tear or two… in fact, I think I was a young adult the last time that happened.

So imagine my shock and surprise when Ms. Fantaskey took time out of her busy schedule (not to mention defending her century-old home from roof leaks and plagues of ants) to respond to a fawning E-mail from yours truly.

Beth was kind enough to agree to a guest interview here on my blog. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself.
BF: Hmmm.... I'm 43, married with two kids, and I have a couple jobs, including teaching at a university and working sporadically as a journalist. I like to dabble in different hobbies, like studying Mandarin or doing martial arts, and I most recently joined up with a bunch of women who are training to complete a mini-triathlon this summer. Not sure if we'll cross the finish line, though, since half of us - including me - don't really know how to swim. That could be a problem!

Tell us about your pathway to publication. Where were you when you thought of Jessica? How long did it take you to write the book? To find an agent and a publisher?
BF: I was riding in a car, traveling from Georgia to Pennsylvania, when I came up with the idea for Jessica's Guide. I started jotting notes on the gazillion fast-food napkins that my husband stockpiles in his glove compartment. (He is ready for any ketchup-related emergency!) When I got home, I wrote the book very quickly, in a matter of weeks, and sent it to an agent I'd heard speak once, at a conference. She called me within a few days and said, "Let's get this sold." It was all really fast - which was great, since I never had time to think, "Who do I think I am, writing a novel??"

What about this story made you sit up and say, "This HAS to be told."
BF: I just loved the idea of a very rational, math-loving girl discovering - and embracing - a very irrational truth about herself.

How did you come up with your vampire lore? Were there certain plot devices that required certain vampire powers?
BF: I created my vampire lore from scratch, not counting vague memories of movies like "Nosferatu" and the old Bram Stoker story. Mainly, I wanted Lucius to be able to function in the real world (not dissolving in light, for example) or doing things that I considered too silly, like cringing away from garlic. I can't imagine Lucius Vladescu cringing away from anything.

You've created a sensible, steady teenager in Jessica. How important was it to you that she be a good role model for teen girls?

BF: Very important. I want my own daughters to have strong female role models. I wanted Jess to be able to stand up to Lucius, when necessary, and think for herself and make her own choices. I also wanted her to be proud of her appearance, although she's not the traditional "model" body type. Smart, gorgeous women come in all shapes and sizes, and I think that should be celebrated.

How did you manage to find such a delicate balance for Jessica's parents? They're these wacky hippies, but still very well-rounded, real characters.
BF: Thank you! I drew upon being a parent, myself. I do things that embarrass my kids, but I'm also there to give them guidance, support and, of course, love. When I wrote about the Packwoods, I'd think, "How would I deal with Jess in this situation?" They are in a tough spot, trying to protect Jess while also allowing her to grow and become the person she is meant to be, and I really connected with that struggle, emotionally, as I wrote.

Will there be a sequel? (Please, please, pretty please.)
BF: That is not certain... I am honestly not sure!

What's next for you? Future releases? Exorcism of ants and leaks from your house?
BF: Propping up our old house with duct tape, Elmer's glue and chicken wire is, indeed, high on my "to do" list. But as far as writing goes, my next book, called Jekel Loves Hyde, is due out next year. It's another dark, supernatural romance/mystery... I'm very excited about it. I hope readers are, too!

Here is her Amazon sales page

And here is her home page.

Stars? Or Bloodsuckers?

I think what we want from our movie stars is some talent accompanied by everlasting beauty. We could talk for hours about talent, but that's not my point. I'm in it for the looks today, and here's why. Because we seem to have such a weird standard when it comes to our big-screen gods. On one hand we want them to be gorgeous up to the second they die. On the other hand, we can't wait to whip on them when we discover they've "had a little work done." Prime example: If Goldie Hawn has one more face lift she's not going to be able to see over her cheeks. But if she'd let herself go granny, no one on earth would've spoken to her again because she'd have had big old bags under her her eyes, not to mention (gasp!) wrinkles!

Some celebrities look incredibly well preserved, however--as if they'd never gone under the knife--thus avoiding the dreaded operating-room stigma. Madonna, for instance, has either found an incredible surgeon . . . or she's bared her neck to something no longer quite human.

So let's play the match-game. Which of your favorite stars do you think has chosen the doc? And which has chosen Dracula?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smolder Rocks It Out!

Smolder covers Sabotage by the Beastie Boys. You might recognize our Miss Peeler on Vocals rapping the shit out of it, dolphin style. Jaye's on drums and Dakota's got the axe. ML's strummin' too.

Me? Oh...that's my drunken Muttley laugh that chimes in near the end. Good times.

The Swag

So I was talking with my rockin' editor, Devi, last week, and I was gushing (again!) about this particular article of swag that I really, really, really want for Tempest Rising.

And she was all, "Meh."  

And I was all, "Dude, seriously?  It's wicked cool."

And she's all, "Meh."

And I'm all, "DUDE.  It ROCKS."

And she continued to make meh-ing sounds at me.

It boils down to the fact she doesn't like swag.  I'm not talking about a copy of an ARC swag, but the little fiddly swaggy bits you see people giving away at conventions.  The cover flats, and the pencils, etc.  

She's all, "Does it really serve a purpose?"

And I'm all, "Hellz yeah, it's free!  And it's free!  And . . . um . . . it's free!"

It boils down to the fact that Devi, once again, made me think.  I'm tired of thinking.  Unlike the Underground man, I can not think about anything for hours.  I make like that insipid line from Pretty Woman and veg.  But my editor made me think, again, and this time about the swag.

Does it really serve a purpose?

I mean, it's FREE!  I'm always running around academic conventions and inevitably I end up with a bagful of shikahkah.  I eventually rummage through said bagful, looking for two things: anything I can (legitimately) put in my mouth and anything that's actually useful.  The pens get stuck in my purse (where they break IMMEDIATELY and ooze pen juice all over me at inopportune moments), I inevitably use the luggage tags because I move around like a nomad, and then I throw everything else out.

So maybe some convention swag deserves a meh?  But my idea for my swag is SO GOOD, people, that I still have hope for the swag, yet.  And I can think of a million examples of swag that I still have rolling around my house (and food swag always wins my vote of approval).

Basically it boils down to you.  What do you think of Swag?  Again, I don't mean swag as in free books (who the hell doesn't want free books?).  But the other types of swag.  I would appreciate it if you answered the following questions.  No, this is not a test.  Yes, Dr. Peeler can grade them if you'd like her to.

1) Do you pick up swag at conventions?
2) What do you especially like as swag (besides books)?
3) What would you like to see as swag?
4) What would be your ultimate swag, or what has been your ultimate swag, or both.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Discussion: Fan Fiction

I have been known to indulge in reading fanfiction on occasion. I totally get why people like it. When I’ve read a great book and I’m tempted to buy another copy, it’s not because I want to read the book again, but I want the experience of reading the book for the first time again. Fanfiction answers that want, the desire for something new, the need to expand on the characters/story you’ve already enjoyed. Or just play with the characters like they’re your personal love puppets.

That came out wrong.

Anyway, I was wondering, as published authors, what is your take on fanfiction? What would you think if an online community started a fanfiction site for your work? I can see myself being slightly annoyed, but at the same, sort of flattered that someone enjoyed my work enough that they wanted to make the story last longer. Maybe it would feel like a sign that I'd finally "arrived" as an author.

Of course, my opinion might be colored by the fic itself. I could understand, maybe even enjoy a fan’s consummation of the vaguely inappropriate banter between my heroine, Jane, and the vampire Dick Cheney. But at the same time, I would not like to read Hard M slash between my male lead and Jane’s best friend.

What say you, Leaguers?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Steampunk frequent flier

Mario here:

I'm posting this awesome picture (by Mike Kwolek) for you writers of Steampunk, in particular, Cherie Priest and Caitlin Kittredge. Not much regard here for a low carbon footprint.

We're in the short numbers of the countdown to RT Booklovers Convention 2009. Check out my interview on Romantic Times Book Reviews. Post comments. Make me feel loved.

Happy Fanging!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First or second draft submitted?

I have a writing question to ask. Here's the thing. I see on plenty of blogs, published writers who seem to start their contracted books and count down to their deadline scrambling at the last moment to finish on time. To me, this looks like they're submitting a first draft to their editor and then do the bulk of their edits and changes in tandem with what their editor tells them needs to be fixed. Is this the norm?

I feel like I perhaps do an unnecessary extra step -- a second draft. My personal deadline is at least a month earlier than my official deadline, which gives me two weeks for the manuscript to sit and fester, and then two weeks for me to tweak it. My first editor told me how clean my drafts were and I didn't know what she meant at the time. But is it the fact that a whole lot of writers don't hand in a second draft? If this is so, I think I could save myself that entire month of tweakage and work on something else.

Then again, I kind of like the feel of handing something with all my commas nicely organized. Doesn't mean I'll have any less to do when the edit letter comes in. It all depends on the book.


P.S. My fifth book has just been released. Stakes & Stilettos is available now! (It had a fairly short edit letter. The next one in the series, though, a tad longer).

Live Morning Radio- An Adventure

I did my first ever radio interview this morning. If anyone knows of a magic trick to doing interviews and not sounding like you've got a tension bubble in your throat, I'd love to hear it. I sounded incredibly nervous, apparently.

And the minute the DJ Greg Dunker gently reminded me I would be live and asked me to refrain from foul language, I was overwhelmed with this perverse compulsion to start cursing a blue streak. What is that about? I don't curse much in everyday conversation. I hadn't thought about cursing until he said something. But the thought loop of "Don't curse, we're live, don't curse, we're live" made me want drop some f-bombs. Fortunately, I restrained myself, even when a car alarm went off 10 feet away and ended up broadcast across 10 counties.

It was an interesting educational experience and Greg was the consumate interviewer of nervous first-time authors.

League Interview with Debut Novelist Kari Stewart

Nicole: Bonjour Leaguers! So, Jaye and Mark have been so busy SCHILLING THEIR NEW RELEASES that they forgot to pay the League’s crack team of resident lackeys. Therefore the lackey union has pulled all of our muscular, oiled, minions. Not only does this mean that I have to brave Texas to be their lackey at Dreamin’ In Dallas this weekend, but it also means that I have to conduct an interview without lackeys even though our guests still expect a certain level of hospitality. We at the League are famous for our mixed drinks, fondue, and slathery massages. And we have a recently signed debut writer waiting to be interviewed and I got bupkis, people.  My drink making abilities peak at pouring whisky into a glass (or down my throat). I always forget to scrape the bottom of the fondue pot so it doesn’t burn.  And my massages?  They’re slathery, all right, but that’s about all that can be said for them. Yet I can’t let Kari Stewart come and go without the full League treatment. What if she’s the next Stephanie Meyer? I will let no opportunity for brown nosing go to waste. So I gotta pony, er, lackey up.  Wait . . . here she is.  Everybody act like it’s just a normal day here at the League . . . shit, did I just put plastic explosives in the freakin’ frackin’ fondue? Oh hell. . . Hi Kari! How are you? Can I get you anything? Just a Coke? Phew . . . I mean, coming right up! While I get that, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

Kari: Sadly, I’m a bit boring. I’m a wife, and a mother of one.  For fun, I play online MMORPGS, read, and practice my archery when I get time (which is rarely anymore).  Oh, and I once spent an entire summer as a mermaid. (long story)

Nicole: Boring, huh? That doesn’t sound boring, that sounds like a lot of work. Awesome on the archery. Would you like me to fan you with this giant ostrich plume?

Kari:  Um . . . no.

Nicole:  Are you sure? Okay! Why don’t you tell us about your project?

Kari: My book, A Devil in the Details, is the first in a new urban fantasy series, following the adventures of a modern-day samurai who spends his days retrieving people’s souls from the demons they sold them to.

Nicole: That sounds awesome. Can I feed you grapes I peeled with my teeth while you nestle your head in my bosoms?  

Kari: Thanks, I think. But no thanks.

Nicole: No sweat! Go ahead and tell us “your story,” i.e., how’d you become an author?

Kari: I read The Hobbit when I was in first grade, and it not only turned me into a fantasy fan for life, but it made me want to write stories that would pull people into a world of my making.  I’ve been writing since I can remember.  The first stories were fanfic (though I didn’t know the term then) involving my friends in the world of my favorite comic book.  I wrote two entire novels in high school (neither of which will ever see the light of day), a couple more in college (again, not fit for public consumption).  I don’t think I could quit writing, even if I tried.  And why are you taking off my shoes?

Nicole: Just giving you the League treatment, hot stuff! So, what’d you do when you got “the call?”

Kari: *eyes Nicole warily* Before or after I stopped screaming? I actually think I got up from my desk and jumped up and down in a circle, doing these silent little squeals (‘cause I was at work and they already think I’m crazy).

Nicole: Girl, I’m gonna show you crazy . . . crazy slather! Unless Strout’s run off with the baby oil again. GODDAMMIT PEOPLE, REPLACE THE UNCTUOUS FLUIDS WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED WITH THEM. No worries, Kari, we’ve got olive oil around here somewhere. . . In the meantime, what have you learned over the course of your career that you can share with others?

Kari:  Uh, oil? *watches Nicole dig through cupboards*  Well, you are allowed to write utter poo!  So many people say that they got so far into a novel and never finished it because it was crap. FINISH it, even if it IS crap.  Crap can be fixed.  Unwritten novels cannot.

Nicole: *from inside the cupboard* Who are your major influences?

Kari: I worship Jim Butcher, because of his ability to create characters you genuinely care for.  I want to be able to do that, to make people ache when the character hurts, to cry when they finally get their heart’s desire.

Nicole: *still rummaging, starts to chuck things out of the cupboard* What’s something really bizarre that you worry about in reference to your writing?

Kari: *dodges drained blood bags, broken swords, empty Schlitz cans, and what might be a chewed on human femur* I get obsessive about my “props”.  Where are they, who had them last, who has them now?  For instance, my hero has a cell phone in my book, and I finally had to make a flow chart with chapter notes so I would know when my hero had it and when he didn’t, because I was SO afraid of a continuity error.

Nicole:  HA! Olive oil! So, If you make a bajillion dollars on your books, what would you buy?

Kari: *eyes olive oil and Nicole warily* I’d buy land. I grew up on 50 acres of pasture and forest, and this suburban/city living is just too crowded for me.

Nicole: Awesome. Now are you ready for your slathery massage?

Kari: Sorry?

Nicole: Your slathery massage. It’s a League thang. We make them extra slathery. Are you ready?

Kari: No. Not so much. Stay away from me with your slathery, slathery hands.

Nicole: Really? No massage? *Kari shakes her head* Are you sure? Some people just don’t appreciate the slather. Anyway, what’s your greatest fantasy regarding being a writer?  What’s your worst nightmare?

Kari: My greatest fantasy is getting on the city bus and realizing that there’s a person sitting across from me, reading my book.  Worst nightmare…hmm…  I guess having the above person just laughing their butt off at something that wasn’t supposed to be funny at all.

Nicole: Finally, what couldn’t you live without, in terms of your writing?

Kari: My husband.  He is the single best sounding board I’ve ever seen. I’ve even had to loan him out to writing friends to help them brainstorm their own projects.  (and apparently, brightly colored pens. Sparkly ink is a plus.  I can’t edit without them.)

Nicole: Would you like to see me in my loin cloth?

Kari: What the hell? No.

Nicole: Dude, I waxed just for the loincloth! Lemme just slip it on! It’s like a sexy diaper! *picks something up off the couch and goes behind one of the changing screens*

Kari: *picks up her shoes* I am so out of here.  You’re a freak. *slams the door on her way out*

Nicole: *peering from behind the screen* Kari? Kari? Where’d she go? *peers down*  Looks like it’s just you and me, you sexy, sexy diaper . . . . . . . . . . . .Now where did that olive oil go?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cover Art *SQUEE*

I can think of no better way to ring in a new month (Happy April) than with super-seriously-amazing cover art! With my name on it! I am so in love with my cover...I have no words.

Evy. Is. Gorgeous. And almost exactly as I pictured her.


Didja see the Patricia Briggs quote????

Release Day Round-Up

Thanks to all that have purchased NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS in these first few days. And to those who have left comments on my blog and web site. I still can't believe the book is out on the shelves!

Funny story: My friend called me from the local bookstore to tell me she couldn't find my book. She approached a clerk and got as far as, "I'm looking for a book by Molly-" when the clerk got this really wretched look on her face and said, "Look, we sold all the copies we had. People have been coming in all morning asking for it. We've ordered more. They should be here by the end of the week, OK? I'm sorry." The clerk turned on her heel and walked away.

Now that's what an author likes to hear! I do feel bad for stressing out my favorite bookstore's employees... They'll get over it.

Also, I will be doing an interview with Greg Dunker on WKYX, 570 AM on Thursday morning. I'm not sure when it will be airing. I'll post when I know.

Dream Analysis: Contest Winner

Thanks for playing, everyone! The winner of the spiffy Dream Analysis contest is...


**throws confetti**

Davida, please email me at JAX aht my name daht cahm with your postal addy.

Who Gets a Zombie Survival Kit?

Amanda emailed with the winner of her contest and it's you...


Come forward and claim your booty!

Thy Robes, They Be Mesmerizing

Occasionally, Caroline, my wife, and I drive to St. Martin's College a few miles from our home to make use of their modern and cavernously quiet library for writing stints and to escape the allure of the internet and the siren call of reality TV.

Last night was one of those times. We settled into the reading room and I pounded out a quick 1000 words (I'm becoming increasingly fond of sexualizing my writing, why say "typed" when you can say "pounded," "drove home," or, even, "spewed?"). Now those thousand words consisted of an incendiary sex scene between Amanda and her lover, who just so happens to be a werewolf. Like most of her passionate experiences, this one did not end well, not tragically, just well, embarrassingly and as so happens, it was prolonged and uncomfortable. Just like I like 'em.

Anyway, so I'm writing this truly filthy stuff and in walks one of the monastic brothers. He grabs a magazine and sits down nearby to read. I stop mid sentence. It's like I was physically unable to continue with a scene involving werewolf haunches, dog references and getting "locked up."

I had no choice, I instantly start composing this blog. Was I ashamed, I wonder? Maybe, or did the flowing black robes pose as much a distraction as a livejournal post or Frenchy on I Love Money.

Got me thinking. Why aren't there reality shows involving clergy? And if there were, what would they be called?

America's Next Top Jesuit? Make Me a Supernun?


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