Thursday, May 28, 2009

If Everyone Jumped Off a Cliff . . .

. . . I'd be right there with them. So when I saw that EVERYONE seemed to be vlogging (note my confident use of the jargon), I was like, "I gotta vlog, dude! Everybody's doing it! Lemme just finish smoking this gateway drug and experimenting with deviant sexuality, and I'm all in!" 

Okay, I was doing NEITHER of those things, I had just returned from a night of fierce trivia over at PieWorks, but whatever.

Anyway, I vlogged. It's tres rough. Keep in mind I didn't know I had a camera in my iMac until like three weeks ago. I wasn't a member of YouTube till last night. So it's REALLY rough, but I consider it a learning experience.

I think I'll do more. I had a lot of fun, and I will babble less in future. I'll probably put them up on my own site, from now on, but for this one I thought I'd let the League have at me. Tell me what you really think. Tell me what to talk about! That's most important. Give me some idears.

So here I am. In all my bouncy, bouncy glory:

And now Jaye has inspired me to make this little beauty:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Constructive Construction

I think I have solved the dammit-I-hate-road-construction crisis that faces every one of us when we hit the highways each summer. Here's my idea.

As soon as you reach a construction zone, a computer inside your car is activated by a beacon beside the road. All driving responsibilities go to auto-pilot. At which point laser guns emerge from compartments hidden in the vehicle. You and any passengers then attempt to shoot targets, which double as the reflectors that stick out of the top of the barrels that mark where you can and cannot drive in construction lanes. If you hit a target, something neat pops out of the top of the barrel. A clown, maybe, or a bank robber with his hands in the air, signaling surrender. At the end of the construction zone, scores are tallied, and whoever wins on the day gets a free tank of gas. Cool?

If you could, how would you completely alter your driving experience?

New Winners!

All right, I'm over the feeling of being unloved. Really, I am. Unfortunately, three previous winners didn't come forward, even after my last call. And so, those three are disqualified. Sorry, ex-winners.

Being a believer in hope springing eternal and all that jazz, I have drawn three new random winners from the original contest comments. And the new winners are:

1. Chris said...LibraryThing and Fang-tastic Books. :)

7. Heather C said...I have 2 places I would post a review - on my facebook page and over and my blog page at Bitten By Books. I'd love to have a copy!!!

34. Sara said...I would blog on my own personal livejournal and blogger accounts. I don't really have anyone reading those, so I would also post the review on Amazon, B&N, Borders... Basically, anywhere I can think of. Lol.

Congratulations, new winners!

Because I am now gunshy, I'm giving you 48 hours to contact me with your postal addresses. Please email me at jax aht jackiekessler daht calm with the info.

Prove that you love me. Email me with your mailing info.

And to everyone else -- thank you so much for posting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gratuitous Self Promotion!

I got my first author quote for Tempest Rising! From RACHEL CAINE!

"Grounded equally in ancient myth and the challenges of modern life, Jane True lives up to her name ... true, and truly unique!  A fascinating, fast-paced, sexy storm of a book." - Rachel Caine

I'm shitting in my pants!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last Call for Winners

I announced the five winners of the "Psst. Want a copy of B&W" contest last week. Really, I did. But as of today, only two of the five winners emailed me with their postal addresses.

I feel so unloved.

My therapist tells me I need to be more proactive. And so, this is the last call for the remaining three winners: If I don't hear from you by midnight Tuesday, May 26, I'm picking three new winners on Wednesday, May 27.

Come on, winners. Prove that you love me. Email me with your postal addresses so you get get your copies of BLACK AND WHITE.

Signing off to write some macabre poetry or something.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Killin' Germs

Mmm. Riesling.

What's your poison tonight?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Throwin' that gauntlet down!

Yes. Here I am, throwing it down. And who am I throwing it at?


See, last night I was hanging around on Twitter. (What? I wasn't avoiding work! No, no, not me! I was, um, keeping tabs on everyone else. Because that's my job.)

Anyway. I was on Twitter. As was a certain Miss Jaye Wells. And Miss Jaye was bemoaning her own lack of balls--figuratively--when it comes to doing awesome things with her hair. To whit: Jaye feels that, had she any GUTS, she would do black-and-red streaks in her hair like the fantastic heroine of her fantastic book RED-HEADED STEPCHILD (and its sure-to-be-fantastic sequels, as Jaye is a kick-ass writer).

And you know what? I personally feel the same. If Jaye had any guts, she would do it.

And so the gauntlet is thrown. IF Miss Jaye does the hairy deed, and goes black with red streaks, *I* will put red streaks in my own bleached-white hair. And I'm talking red, folks; dark, primary-color red. AND I will post pictures here on the League blog.

So. Do you think she'll have the nerve? Do you think I'll follow through? Whose will look cooler?

I'm betting she'll wimp out. Who's with me?

You have two weeks, Jaye. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Let the trash-talking begin!!


Wow -- lookit all the fabulous people who commented! You all rock, each and every one of you.

Thanks to a spiffy random number generator, I now have five winners! You are:

#13: bridget3420
Jacqueline C

Congratulations, winners! Please email me at jax aht jackiekessler daht calm with your postal addy, and I'll put your copy of B&W in the mail. And please do blog/post about B&W when you're done -- whether you loved it or hated it. Thankya!

Ode to Humidity, or, Why I Loved NOLA

Okay, so I figured out why so much UF is set in or around New Orleans. Because it’s FREAKING AMAZING.

I was just there for the weekend and it was my first time visiting. I am now officially obsessed. The food, the people, the stench . . . I love me some stinky city and New Orleans smelled like a dock yard whore’s underthangs.

It’s the kind of city that makes me feel louche. I want to lounge on things, wearing too much make up that gets smudged in the heat. It’s so hot and sticky, and you just instantly feel dirty. So you have to embrace the dirt, rather than fight it.

New Orleans also looked exactly like it does in the movies. Have you ever been to a city and realized that it’s not the city in the films? That’s not only because “Chicago” or “New Jersey” was actually probably Toronto, but because oftentimes filmmakers find that one clean patch, or that one really interesting patch, of a given locale and make it even shinier and more interesting. But everyone wants NOLA dirty, disheveled, swelled with humidity. So it looked like I expected it to.

It also reminded me a lot of other places I’ve lived. The heat, and the section by the Plaza d’Armas, reminded me of Granada. And the tourist press reminded me of Edinburgh, as did the insane amounts of drunkenness and fried food. If it weren’t so hot and sunny, I coulda been back in Scotland.

But that’s not accurate as, at the end of the day, it was entirely Louisiana. I’ve only lived in this state since last August, but it’s growing on me, fast. There are a lot of problems and a lot of things I don’t appreciate very much. But then there’s all the amazing stuff. People here, for the most part, know how to live. They know what’s important: good food, getting outside and doing stuff, being active in the community and spending time with friends and family. I love the friendliness. I talk to everybody, and I’m finally living in a place where everybody talks back. I also love how everybody, even the super conservative people here, allow for quite a bit of weird in their lives. Partly, that’s because everyone I’ve met here is secretly fairly crazy, usually in a good way. So even my most conservative acquaintances will not bat an eyelash at the dude dressed like Wonder Woman for no obvious reason. Other places I’ve lived, the status quo definitely holds sway and brooks little or no insubordination. But here? There’s a strange tolerance that coexists alongside the conservatism, as if people know there’s a historical link between Louisiana and the bizarre that can’t be broken. This was best illustrated for me by my first Mardi Gras, where even in Shreveport every other big strapping Christian cowboy was sporting a wig and a stuffed bra. Subversiveness seems to be in the water, here, and that’s why I like it.

For a detailed guide of everything I shoved in my face, with pictures!, go here. In the meantime, do you guys have any NOLA memories? Or any particular places that you’ve visited that really resonate for you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fang Debate

Okay, it's your turn to decide.

Vampires through the ages have stalked their prey with fangs that arrived along with their immortality, more or less instantly and permanently stuck in place.

But some of them seem to have the ability to retract their fangs, thus allowing them to bum around bars and alleyways, passing for regular human beings until the time is ripe to strike.

Which way do you prefer your bloodsuckers?

The League marches for world domination

Mario here:

A shout out for our Cherie...

From Publishers Lunch:

Cherie Priest's BLOODSHOT, the first novel in the Cheshire Red Reports, about a neurotic vampire/thief and her wealthy client who was blinded by a secret military project and hires her to steal back his records, to Anne Groell at Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal, by Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Send us your Heroes.

Over at Biting-Edge we're tallying the votes for your favorite hero. Win stuff by going HERE. Snarkiness is welcome.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Review I'd Been Waiting For... From My Husband

When my husband, David, and I first got married, I was a scribbler. I scribbled ideas for books in legal pads, notebooks, three-ring binders. I had outlines and chapters and a few completed manuscripts saved on a huge stack of diskettes with carefully coded titles. And they were all ... well, terrible. (I've had about 10 years, my ideas have improved since then.)

My husband wasn't allowed to read any of it. Hence the coded titles. I was afraid he'd think he'd married a delusional lunatic. Or that I wasn't happy with him because I spent my free time creating these perfect, sexy paperback heroes. And still, every time we moved, he dutifully hauled my big box of notebooks and diskettes from house to house without complaint.

When NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS sold, David asked, "NOW, will you let me read somethiing you wrote?" I asked him to wait until it was in final edits, so he'd see the best possible version. And by the time the book came out in April, David been involved in a masters course and was up to his eyeballs in criminology textbooks.

So he was finally able to start reading the book late last night. He got through the first chapter, in which Jane is fired from her job as a children's librarian, gets mistaken for a deer on her way home, is shot and left for dead, then gets turned into a vampire.

I sat next to him, trying not to twitch as he read. Every time he laughed out loud was a huge thrill. And when he was done with the chapter, he looked up at said, "It's funny. And it sounds just like you talking to me."

Sounds like a I'm a hit.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Psst. Want a copy of B&W?

Yeah, I'm doing this crazy Twitter thing where I'll give 10 copies of BLACK AND WHITE to 10 random followers if I hit 1,000 followers. Insane. I know. But what else was I going to do with the copies?

And then lo, I received **another box** of BLACK AND WHITE today. Dude, it's like Bantam is giving them away! (Or fulfilling it's contractual obligation to its authors.)'s the deal. In addition to the spiffy Twitter thing I have going on...I'll give away 5 copies of BLACK AND WHITE to 5 random commenters to this post. Anywhere in the world. Limit: one copy per person.

Here's all I ask: after you read the about it. If you love it, awesome. If you don't love it, say why. But blog. Tell people about it, and whether they should read it.

Sound fair? Or sound good, at least?

You have until Tuesday, May 19 to comment.
In the comment, tell me where you'd post your review of BLACK AND WHITE. (And while I technically have to say that offering a bribe won't better your chances of winning a copy, too many people here know how to own my heart.)

Ready? Go!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Off Topic...maybe

Jeanne here:

I'm a movie lover-- and I seldom look at movies with a critical eye. In fact, I'll look for reasons to like a movie much more often than I'll look at reasons to pan it.

But I’m not sure how I feel about this one--a new Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey, Jr and Jude Law. From USA Today:

"We are trying to make a fun adventure movie," (Producer Lionel Wigram) says. "My favorites are the Bond films. Raiders of the Lost Ark. I want to make a movie like that."

Familiarity does breed box office. "The word of the day is 'branding,' " says Hollywood mogul Joel Silver, another of the film's producers and a force behind the Die Hard and Matrix series. "We are always looking for branded ideas. Audiences are interested in seeing something they know."

But with a difference, too. This Holmes is as brainy as ever but is a bruiser as well. Bare-fisted boxing, sword fighting and a mastery of martial arts have been added to his arsenal of weapons.

And a second look here.

Okay, my thoughts…Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson?

The first problem for me is that Law is taller than Downey—that’s wrong. And Downey doesn’t have the angular edges to his face that Holmes had. I’ll probably be sparking a war here, but Basil Rathbone was the cinema Holmes for me. Until Jeremy Brett made the PBS series. I had the pleasure of meeting Brett when I lived in Southern California. I belonged to our own Baker St Irregular group called The Grimpen Admirers. We had dinners and dressed in vintage clothing and talked the Canon for hours. Brett was in Los Angeles for some function or another and our group met with him. It wasn’t long after his wife died and I’ll never forget his sad countenance. Still, he was warm and welcoming and I have a wonderful picture taken with him. Someday I’ll have to get it scanned so I can share it.

Anyway, in a wave of nostalgia, I started looking for some pics, depictions of the Master. Here's what I chose.

First a well known Sydney Padgett Drawing.

Next a couple of Rathbone images:

Jeremy Brett:

And finally, Downey and Law:

How do you feel about Sherlock Holmes? Ever read Doyle’s stories? Why do you think they still resonate with readers? Any thoughts on the new casting? Tell us.

Images above are from the Sherlock Holmes shop and the website of Sheryl Franklin.

And for this poster, here is the link:

Over at the Biting Edge, Mario and I are holding a contest--your favorite hero. Two guesses who mine would be.

Pulling in the Dough

From the age of twelve I knew the only thing I ever wanted to do in life was write books. But this field is slower than cold molasses, especially when you suck at it in the beginning like I did. So I figured I should find real work to help support the family while I learned how to write well (because apparently four years of college wasn't enough--snort!). Only in the last couple of years have I been able to write exclusively. Before that I held a number of odd jobs. Here's my short list:

Piano Teacher
TV Continuity Supervisor
Day Care Provider
Pool Cleaner
Freelance Writer
Grant Writer

So what kind of cool gigs have you guys held down?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Cover Art!

This is the cover art for Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men. I love it. I'm so happy they put a cardigan on Jane. She's so much more demure and bookish this time! I even love the bat jewelry!


The winner of the Advance Reading Copy of TALL, DARK & FANGSOME is....


Congrats! Please email me at to let me know where to send it!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Great Buffy/Angel memories! I'm going to pull out my DVDs again soon!

--Michelle :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Zombie Raccoons & Killer Bunnies anyone?

What can I say? I'm a giver. I like to share. Especially when it is as ridiculous a cover as this for an upcoming anthology I'm in.

Includes for lizzie, a short story about a day in the life of Godfrey Candella, head archivist for the Department of Extraordinary Affairs' Gauntlet Division from my Simon Canderous urban fantasy series. There's a host of others fine authors in there, but I haven't had a chance to read any of them yet. Mine, despite the package, is a little bit of a tear jerker. Coming October 6, 2009.

I can't tell you how awesome I find this package. Not a bare midriff, tattoo , or leather pantsed girl to be found!

Geographical Anomaly? Or Does UF Need Humidity to Survive?

So I just went over to our newest Leaguer's, Diana Rowland's, website, and saw that she lives in Southern Louisiana.

I, meanwhile, am writing this from Northern Louisiana. And I can count a shit ton of other UF/PR writers who are currently in this state or who are from this state and set their books here.

Which I know does make sense. After all, Anne Rice obviously made vampires and New Orleans practically synonymous. But it's still weird that so many of us live here, for entirely random reasons. I did not move to Louisiana for the vampires, after all, but for a job. And yet Shreveport is inextricably caught up with my story of "becoming" a UF writer. It was on a plane back to Edinburgh, after I'd been on my campus visit/interview here for the job I currently have, that I discovered the book that inspired me to write Tempest Rising. That book was Dead as a Doornail, by Charlaine Harris. Meanwhile, I only bought the book because my six-year-old-niece and I agreed that it had a pretty cover. I had no idea what the series was about, as proven by the fact I started mid-series. I didn't even know what book came first.  So imagine my surprise when Sookie drives into Shreveport to go to Fangtasia. I'd never even heard of Shreveport till I applied for the job, and there I was, reading a book set there. A book I really loved and a book that made me think, "Dude, I love the tone of this book. I could do this tone."

So that was weird. But even weirder was when I moved here and started meeting writers here, reading even more books set in Louisiana, and finding out just how many writers live in Louisiana.

The only place with a higher concentration of UF/PR writers than I can think of is Seattle. There are tons of people I've met or read about who live there.

Now, the only connection I can make between the two is that they are both really moist. One is hot and moist, the other cold and moist, but they both definitely rock the moist.

Is there something in the soil or the air in either place that lend itself to UF? And are there any other hotbeds of UF that we should know about?

Thanks All!

I just wanted to shout out a "Thank you!" for everyone, both members and readers, who participated in the "Mother of All Vampires" Theme Week.

We'll be doing other variations of the Theme Week in the future, so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Buffy memories! Plus, win a signed ARC!

Happy Mother's Day to all vampires (or non-vampires) out there!

So our theme week is vampires, is it? That's right up my alley. The mother thing...not so much.

I mean, I have a mother. I forced her to watch many episodes of Buffy and Angel with me over the years. And I think she even enjoyed some of it.

Buffy, for me, solidified my vamp love -- after years of enjoying Ann Rice and other vamp fiction (usually, at that time, found in the horror section). It was the first time that I noticed vampires "choosing" to be good and actively fighting their darker natures. This really appealed to me. Buffy's relationships with the vampires in her life -- the slayer falling for the vamp -- was a perfect Romeo/Juliet scenario. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a love story (no pun intended).

Upon reflection of Buffy's relationships with both Angel and Spike, I think I like both of them in different ways. Angel was the self-sacrificing guy with the very dark hidden side. Spike was the unapologetic bad boy who'd do anything for love. Both layered, both interesting, and both -- at the time -- really hot!! The difference to me is that Angel would have chosen to save the world before saving Buffy. And Spike would have saved Buffy before saving the world. So...selfishly speaking, Spike edges Angel out on true pigheaded romance. only one of them actually died to save the Buffster. But luckily in Joss Whedon's world...dying isn't necessarily the end.

I had no idea I was going to talk about Buffy in my post! But I guess my love for that show still burns bright even after it's been gone for five years.

Okay.... whew. That was a lovely walk down television memory lane. I MISS YOU BUFFY AND SPIKE AND ANGEL!!! (Bones just does not do it for me. At all. Sigh.)

I want to give away an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of the last book in MY vampire series, originally inspired by Buffy -- I started writing the first book when I got the news Buffy had been cancelled -- SOB!! I flipped things around and made my main character a vampire and the bad guys the slayers. I've had so much fun writing the five books and can't believe it's all over in September when TALL, DARK & FANGSOME releases.

Do you want to win a signed copy of this and have a sneak peek? Just leave a comment and tell me about your favorite Buffy or Angel moment. Or, if you've never watched the shows (gasp!!) what is your favorite vampire movie or television show?

I'll randomly pick a winner on Wednesday, May 13th. Good luck!!!


Happy Vampire Mother's Day!

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all the humans out there, too. And werewolves. And fairies. And ... um, dragons. Okay. Look if you're a mom, Happy Freaking Mother's Day, all right? Go eat your buffet and open your singing card already.

Hi. My name's Jessica Matthews O'Halloran (how I got that second last name is long story ... and Michele Bardsley so thoughtfully wrote about it in I'M THE VAMPIRE, THAT'S WHY). Michele asked me to write this post today because she's lazy. Also, she decided she wanted to see Star Trek (again ... sheesh) as her Mom's Day present. So, you know, lazy and lame.

But I digress.

I'm writing to give you the 4-1-1 about vampire motherhood. It ain't no cakewalk, people. In fact, there is no cake involved whatsoever and that's one of the parts that suck. (Snerk. I cannot resist vampire puns. Deal with it.) Okay. So more suckage: No sunlight. No chocolate. (Take that in for a minute ... yeah, you're running out to get Godiva's, aren't you? Jerk.) No food at all. None. (Sob.) Total blood diet (Since I slurp on a very fine man, I'm okay with this part). Sometimes, you have to deal with crappy paranormal peeps like vengeful vampires and pissy fairies (yeah, Zerina, I'm talking to YOU), and whatever.

Truthfully? Besides trying to raise my kids on a night schedule and not letting my undeadness get in the way of being a good mother, being a vampire ... kinda rocks. When I got Turned, it was like ... instant plastic surgery. No more crow's feet. Cellulite went bye-bye. Skin, hair, nails went all fab. I know, I know, poor me. Also, I can glamour my kids. When I tell them to go clean their rooms, they do it. First time I ask, too. My husband, Patrick, tells me I'm cheating, but I say I'm using my new skillz. I can also kick butt. Nobody better mess with me or mine because I can launch a mini-van at your head. Just sayin'.

Look, I'd rather be undead than dead-dead. Even though there are some compromises I have to make thanks to being a bloodsucker, I'm still here. I get to hug my kids every day. I get make cupcakes (I. Can't. Eat.) for school bake sales, see my son play soccer (at midnight), and watch my daughter go all pre-teen and girly (soooo fun ... only not). I'm grateful that I'm un-alive. Plus, did I mention I was married to a totally hot 4,000-year-old vampire? Yeah. He's a definite perk.

So, you know, Happy Mother's Day. Whether your alive or undead or furry or winged or what-ev-er, I hope today is filled with love for you. And chocolate. And buffets. And singing cards. And Star Trek.

Anyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a $10 One for you and one for your mother or mother-in-law or mother-type figure. And oh yeah, this prize is on Michele. 'Cause, hel-lo, she should contribute something to this post.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother****er of All Vampires


Is it mother****er or mother ****er?

::checks and comes back::

Ah. Either is correct. When I found out this was the Mother ****er of All Vampires week on the League, I thought it was incredibly sweet of everyone to want to do a week all about the bad ass vampire men in fiction... and then I realized it wasn't about that, but since Eric's sire (or "Grandma" if you ask Greta) doesn't show up on panel until book three of the Void City series, I'm making a shout out to all the Vampire Dads.

And I don't mean vampires creating offspring to rule the night and the bedroom with... I'm talking about vampires trying to create an actual family. Folks like Anne Rice's vampiric Odd Couple (yes, I did just compare Lestat and Louis to Felix Unger and Oscar Madison - you guys can fight who is Felix and who is Oscar amongst yourselves)... Hey, smooth moves, guys - cause making child vampires *always* works out sooooo well. Of course, even if you wait things don't automatically work out. Just take a look at Greta, Eric's daughter in my Void City series. Everyone wants their daughter to grow up to be a vampiric super-killer with an eating disorder, right?

So let's hear it for the Vampire Dads. After all, they have fangs, too!


And speaking of the F word, (not Fangs, the one I censored above... the "Fire Truck" word)... in the spirit of shameless pimping, I'm experimenting with podcasting STAKED (Void City, Book One) as a way to celebrate its release in mass market this June and to spread the word about the series. The test version of the first episode is up and I'd be interested in getting feedback/suggestions on it before I go all iTunes with it. You can find the episode here.


Okay. Now seriously. I think Louis would totally be Felix as played by Tony Randall. Who's with me?

Have You Tried Not Being a Vampire?

I wanted to take a slightly different angle on "The Mother of All Vampires" theme and chat about, well, mothers. Mothers of vampires, that is, rather than mothers who are vampires (although symbolically speaking, they can be one and the same). Being turned into a vampire can be a traumatic experience for the turnee, but what about those left behind? Particularly, mom?


On Sunday, I had the pleasure of devouring our own Molly Harper's NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS, and I enjoyed every snarky, Southern-flavored word. Molly has a fun take on vampires and their place in society, and I love the self-help passages that start each chapter.

Her heroine, Jane, has a fascinating set of parents--especially Mom. I won't go into details, for fear of spoilage, but there are several fun scenes in which new-vampire Jane and clueless I'm very curious to see how the relationship develops in the next book.

I also mentioned another character in comments the other day--Justina Crawfield, mother of half-vampire Cat (The Night Huntress series, by Jeaniene Frost). Justina has developed from a bitter, vampire-hating, daughter-smothering victim into someone with so many more layers. Again, no specifics, because I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a moment in the third book in the series (fans should know which one I mean) that had me laughing out loud. And cheering for the other guy. ;)

Anyone else? Other non-vampire Moms of vampires you enjoy?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You're Not Leaving the Table Til You Eat That Truck Driver!

Naw, I don't suppose vamp moms are that worried about three squares a day and the food pyramid. (Or is it a tree now, I can never remember?) In fact, like many of my League buds, I figure they're kinda whacked. Or in danger of getting that way.

Which is why it's probably a good thing my vamp's mom died in childbirth. Because, face it, she'd just be pissed off all the time now. His first marriage fell apart. He's killed so many people he can't even keep count anymore. Plus he didn't even go to college. (I think she'd like his house though. He's got all that No-way-am-I-a-vampire landscaping going on.)

If I was going to write about the Mother of All Vampires, I think I'd have her throw a bitchin' Halloween party--and then turn all the guests who lost the costume contest into punch.

Granny is Evil

So I know this is a week about vampire mothers, but today I'm focusing on vampire grandmothers. Maybe for some of you, the term "grandmother" conjures images of grey-haired ladies in house coats. If we're talking a vampire granny, maybe you're thinking, hmm, I bet she makes a mean blood cobbler and is nice to vampire children. Not so, my friends.

See, in my world (or at least my fictional one), Sabina's grandmother is downright evil. In fact, she's one of the villains. Lavinia Kane is the Alpha Dominae of the vampire race. She's ancient. She's ruthless. And she's blood thirsty.

Instead of being feeble or kindly, Lavinia is a kick ass villainess of the first order. She's a blast to write too because the mere fact she is a grandmother challenges people's assumptions about age and strength. This is one granny you don't want to mess with.

I'm lucky enough to have two incredibly strong grandmothers. My mother's mom gave birth to six kids. She's hilarious, loves margaritas and doesn't take no for an answer. Ever. My father's mom gave birth to five children. She ran a book store for years, and more than once I witnessed her cuss out unruly customers. Now, she's made it through multiple rounds of chemo to treat lung cancer, but she's as fiesty as ever. Both widows now, these two ladies live active and interest lives. They both came to my book launch last month, and I consider myself lucky to have two such amazingly strong female role models.

Now, I'm not saying Lavinia is anything like my grandmothers. She's an evil bitch, no doubt about it. But as a writer, I love taking expectations and spinning them on their ear. Age doesn't always equal benevolent wisdom. It doesn't always equal compassion. Sometimes it equals a formidable foe who has the intelligence and strength to outwit and outman younger opponents. And, yes, sometimes that bitter husk of a villain can be a woman who's lived long enough to see her only child die and make her only grandchild pay the price.

Can anyone think of any other grandmother villains in fiction?

Give Me Infertility, AND Give Me Death!

So when Kelly and Michele were kicking around the idea for a mothers and vampires theme week, I was like, "Huh. I've never really thought about that." And then I did think about mothers and vampires, and I realized that I had actually thought about this theme a lot.

Like all of my thoughts, they were disjointed, random, usually silly, and mostly consisted of "Wouldn't thinking about [insert random idea] be interesting?" These epiphanic moments, unfortunately, were usually followed up by such distractions as, "Oooo, look, hot man," or "Oooo, look, cake," or, "Ooooo, look, hitch testicles." I do live in Louisiana, after all, where hot dudes, cake, and hitch testicles abound. None of which allow me much time to focus, really.

But today I'm going to focus, a bit. In an unfocused way. I am going to talk about what I do like, and what I don't like, about the very different ways that motherhood is dealt with in various types of books.

My sort of gut reaction to motherhood in vampire fiction is one of ambivalence shaded with cynicism. I like the idea that vampirism-imparted immortality should be accompanied by the sacrifice of procreative abilities. Such a sacrifice makes sense to me. It makes me feel that the universe is balanced, and I assure myself that this sacrifice represents how nature protects itself. Then I realize I'm a moron, and if nature really wanted balance, it wouldn't have created humans as we appear intent on destroying the planet.

Perhaps, however, this desire for balance explains my gut reaction when I read some, usually paranormal romance, fiction that has a brand of vampirism that grants both immortality AND baby-making skillz. I get why such authors do it. After all, selling a heroine who was like, "I like to shag this immortal dude so much I don't care about the babies!" would be tough. And romance is about the HEA, and the romance fantasy, and it's not very romantic to make genuine sacrifices, especially when they're tinged with an aura of selfishness or non-feminine traits.

That said, and speaking of non-feminine traits, I read the hell out of books like this and I lurv them, but I ignore the baby part. Why? Because children FREAK ME OUT. I'm the most non-maternal person EVER. So I think that a huge reason I like vampire fic is that there ain't gonna be no kids. And if there are kids, they're like the kid in Interview with the Vampire, who is actually wicked old and would tear out your jugular. Because I think most kids would tear out our jugulars, given half a chance. Which is why I loved that Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In. Seriously, though, I like my vampires pleasantly infertile. Which is TOTALLY ironic, as I've done the opposite, sort of, in Tempest Rising. But my vampires aren't really vampires, either.

Ooooo, look! Hitch testicles!


Despite my motherhood anxieties, I love what Michele did in creating a post-vamp mother. After all, I'm so used to images like that in True Blood (which I don't think was actually in the books) of Bill Compson looking at his wife and kids all sad because he wants to go hug them but he knows he'll just wind up eating them. So it was nice to see a character who balances motherhood and homicidal tendencies, and I think the idea is a very clever riff on the more expected impact of vampirism on families. The expectation being that the kids will become dinner, rather than be given dinner.

In conclusion, and yes, I've just come off of reading about 400 freshman comp papers, I think that the exploration of themes regarding motherhood in urban fantasy and paranormal romance is a rich one, and hasn't really been explored by many writers. There seems to be a dichotomous way of dealing with the theme: either you can have babies like a normal human or you're infertile like a normal vampire. Books such as Michele's, which engage with this theme in a new way, have a lot of turf to explore and a lot of opportunities for some really original work.

And now I'm going to go eat some cake. Rock it, sistah!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Fever for the Flavor of...

...some mother-effin' blood, bitches!  

Oh yes, it's vampire week here at the League so I figured I'd bust out the opening scene of one of my favorite movies, The Hunger.

Not only does it sport the hottest bisexual milf vampire ever to grace the screen, Catherine Deneuve, it featured a band that would really flavor my high school experience, Bauhaus.

A little warning, the clip features nudity and some pretty freaky fake animal violence.  Take it away, Pete!

(and no, I have no idea who or what Bar do Bulga is)

What are some of your favorite vampire flicks?

The "Mother of all Vampires" Theme Week

As mentioned last week, today kicks off a new theme week here at the League. My fellow conspirators and I wanted to do something not only tied in with Michele B.'s new release, but (and I can't believe I forgot this!) also celebrates May 10th.

What's May 10th, this coming Sunday? Mother's Day (USA), folks!

So let's celebrate/commiserate Mom in all her forms where our favorite vampires are concerned (books, movies, TV, etc...)!

Monday, May 4, 2009

LRA Book Club!

Continuing with the Vampire Week theme, we bring you the May LRA Book Club Selection: Red-Headed Stepchild: The Sad and Turbulent Upbringing of R. McDonald.

That, I believe, is an example of why the Mrs. tells me I'm not nearly as funny as I think I am.

Jaye Wells' debut, Red-Headed Stepchild, is our selection. Seriously.

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now. This time, it's personal.

Look for threads, posts and comments in the League Lounge starting this week!

Sneaking in before it's all vampires

Tomorrow kicks off the Mother of All Vampires week here at the League, so I figure I best get my non-vampy news posted super quick. (Blogging, like novel writing, is all about the timing.)

Today started exceedingly well. Like most paranoid and praise-hungry authors, I have a Google Alert set up for my name. This morning, I checked my email and found there was a new Google Alert. Clickity click...and oh my God, BLACK AND WHITE has been reviewed by Publishers Weekly! Ahhhhh! A few freak-out moments as I scrolled, scrolled, scrolled...and lo, there it was. The review:

Black and White
Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. Bantam Spectra, $15 paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-553-38631-8

In this complex tale, Kessler (the Hell on Earth series) and Kittredge (the Nocturne City novels) create a dark world where the narrow line between hero and vigilante is defined by corporate interests. When tragedy strikes during their third year at a young superheroes’ academy, best friends Jet and Iridium begin to grow apart, seeing their heroic world in different, and irreconcilable, ways. Shadow-wielding Jet becomes the Hero of New Chicago, where light-powered Iridium is seen as a rabid vigilante, and they find themselves archenemies. Both characters are intriguingly flawed: Jet suffers from insecurity, while Iridium’s arrogance repeatedly gets her into trouble. When an investigative reporter disappears, Jet suspects Iridium’s involvement, but the truth is far more complicated, keeping readers guessing whether the finale will be a reconciliation or a spectacular showdown. Jet and Iridium’s multifaceted relationship will appeal to all who have come to want more from their superheroes than good vs. evil and mindless battles. (July)


BOOYAH!!! In my quiet moments, when I am not freaking over the upcoming release (four weeks from tomorrow, ACK), I'll reread the PW review and smile.

(Separately, the rest of the morning rocked, because Precious Tax Deduction the Younger **stayed dry** overnight. Yes, there IS a Santa Claus!)

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