Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And Now a Word for our Sponsors

I've noticed that race car drivers make a big point of taking a swig of their sponsor's drink during the post-race interview. Unless they happen to be running the colors of a booze maker. But I think it'd be refreshing to see a driver slam a couple of shots of Jack Daniels while the media peppered him with questions. We might end up with a much more interesting segment. Kinda like:

"What did you think of the race, Dan?"

"I am the best driver that ever lived! Fear me, or I will put you on your lid!" Elbow nudge and a wink. "Didja see how I rhymed just now? Kinda like Muhammad Ali used to? Anyway, where was I? I rock, we established that . . . oh, also my crew is pretty bitchin'. Except for this guy named Milt who never gets our lunch orders right and always comes in smelling like gym socks." Nose wrinkle. "I hate going to the gym. It's like, run, run, run for a freaking hour. And then lift weights until you've killed 10,000 brain cells. And then bike. These cars should be easier to drive. I'm gonna talk to the engineers about throwing an automatic transmission in there once in a while. You know, so I can take a day to go shopping." Teary-eyes. "All my jeans have holes in the knees."

Now that, my friends, would make me into a whole new level of race fan!

How would you like to see your favorite athletes change their approach to the sport?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Contest Winner!

We had an outstanding 23 entries for the Linda Robertson Interview drawing! Thank you, everyone, for participating. And a special thank you to Linda for volunteering your time!

And the winner of the signed copy of VICIOUS CIRCLE is:

Beth!

Congratulations, Beth! You can email your mailing address to me [ mail (at) kellymeding.com ] and I'll forward it to Linda, so we can get your book out to you!

And congrats, Linda, for tomorrow is Release Day!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Holy Smoke! XTC and contest advice...

Through a not-so strange sequence of events, I was very recently turned on to the band XTC... and "Books are Burning" may be my new favorite song. There are a few folks to whom I am incredibly tempted to send this video... Super tempted.

Instead, I'll share it with you guys. :)



How does a guy who listens mostly to metal, musicals, soundtracks, and They Might Be Giants get turned on to a New Wave British band you ask? All you have to do is read What Time Devours by A. J. Hartley and you'll want to listen to XTC. Andrew doesn't write urban fantasy, but the books are extremely good.

As a result, I even wound up with a great song for the death of one of my important characters: "No Thugs in our House".



Oh, and if anyone would be interested in a contest where you get to be eaten by a vampire (Greta) and have your corpse devoured by an undead 1964 1/2 Mustang (Fang) in one of my future books, leave a comment letting me know how you think such a contest should work. I'm still mulling it over.

And though you fight to stay alive...

Despite any personal misgivings about the man, one of my favorite zombies has passed. It got me to thinking about creativity, though. I struggle wondering if I'm writing good stuff, how is it selling, where do I stand in the great hierarchy of books coming out, etc.

But I'm terribly lucky that I get to create and share. And to my fellow creators and those who wonder if they are creators all I can say is create what you want to create and do it now. None of us is long for this world... if we're lucky, we'll get to terrorize y'allz neighborhood.

And since it won't embed the file, go watch Thriller, won't you?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtyJbIOZjS8

I like to think of it as building anticipation

I was trying to think of good places to post my recently-announced tour dates, and when I asked Mark if I should do it here, he politely suggested that maybe I should try posting an intro before shamelessly pimping myself out.

This is a fair point, seeing as I've been a member here for a few months. Possibly more. Thus far, the only real evidence of my presence has been my book covers in the sidebar and the picture that Jeanne Stein posted of my office, back before my boyfriend cracked and cleaned it for me because it was literally impossible to walk in.

Anyway, I digress. Unlike everyone else here, I write post-modern erotic literary fiction. Okay--no, that's not true. At least not until retirement. I write urban fantasy like the others and currently have three series out, two for adults and one for teens. My Georgina Kincaid series is about a reluctant succubus who's unlucky in love, seeing as getting physically close to others steals their souls. When not caught up in that, she solves assorted supernatural mysteries that find their way to Seattle--which are more prevalent than you might think. And when not doing that, she and the rest of the cast drink a lot.

My Dark Swan series is about a shaman-for-hire whose roommate dresses up like a Native American in order to wax about nature at poetry readings and score chicks. My heroine battles fey and spirits that cause mischief in our world but inadvertently becomes the object of their affection when a prophecy declares that her yet-unborn-or-conceived-son will lead the Otherworld to the domination of humanity. She also drinks a lot.

Lastly, there's my YA work, the aptly named Vampire Academy. It's my heavy-hitter and what sends me on tour. It's about a half-vampire teenage girl training to be a bodyguard against evil vampires. So, there's lots of punching and decapitation. There's also an inappropriate relationship with her older (i.e. early 20s) instructor. The drinking is kept to a minimum, but the series is getting darker as time goes on, which is rough on some readers.

Anyway, there we have it. My life's work. I always feel self-conscious describing what I do, but at least I can rest easy that my vocation will receive a better reception here than when I have to explain it at the bank or hair salon. Hmm...other thing to know about me. I'm a red-haired, passive-aggressive Scorpio from the Midwest, now living on the elitist West Coast and loving it and its crazy liberal ways. I'm also fan of anything with a twisted sense of humor, but this seems to be a secret since I'm usually the Quiet One in group activities...and there seems to be this stereotype that quiet people are bland and nice. But I won't dash everyone's illusions if you won't.

More info about me is on my site. If anyone would like to meet me, the aforementioned tour dates are here. And since I feel my pimping was subdued here, I'll also make a pitch for my hot, badass teacher from the VA series, who is currently up for sexiest guy at Bitten By Books. There's a strong possibility the League might shut down if he doesn't win...so, yanno. This is an urgent matter.

Thanks for reading!

Contest and Interview with Linda Robertson

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ETA: CONTEST CLOSED!!!

In anticipation of the release of my debut novel, I've been running a series of contests over at my blog, Organized Chaos. This month, Countdown: June! Contest will happen right here at the League. I've got an interview with a great lady and fellow-debut author, Linda Robertson, whose first novel, VICIOUS CIRCLE, releases June 30th from Juno/Pocket.

Here's how the contest part works: Comment and ask questions. It's that simple. Linda will pop in a few times a day to answer your questions, so ask away! All comments and questions count an entry into our Prize Drawing. One entry per participant, but you can comment as often as you like. The comments section will remain open today through Monday morning, June 29th. So you've got all weekend!

What's the Prize, you ask? An autographed copy of VICIOUS CIRCLE, to one lucky, randomly selected participant. And as in prior contests, the winner of this one will be put in the pot for an early copy drawing for THREE DAYS TO DEAD (to be held in the fall).

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Witches and werewolves don't mix...

Being a witch doesn't pay the bills, but Persephone Alcmedi gets by between reading Tarot cards, writing her syndicated newspaper column, and kenneling werewolves in the basement when the moon is full--even if witches aren't supposed to mingle with wolves. She really reaches the end of her leash, though, when her grandmother gets kicked out of the nursing home, and Seph finds herself in the doghouse about some things she's written. Then her werewolf friend Lorrie is murdered...and the high priestess of an important coven offers Seph big money to destroy the killer, a powerful vampire named Goliath Kline.

Seph is a tough girl, but this time she bites off more than she can chew. She needs a little help from her friends--werewolf friends. One of those friends, Johnny, the motorcycle-riding lead singer for the techno-metal-Goth band Lycanthropia, has a crush on her. And while Seph has always been on edge around this 6'2" leather-clad hunk, she's starting to realize that while their attraction may be dangerous, nothing could be as lethal as the showdown that awaits them.



Welcome to the League, Linda!

--You play piano, the electric guitar, were in a hard rock band, and are an artist. How did writing a novel fall into the mix?


It’s all a kind of story-telling to me. People connect to music, art and books because they convey and evoke emotions. Art uses shadow and light, color and shape, but each person determines how that visual scene makes them react. In music, tone is set by the key and tempo, and using melody and harmony like phrasing, the beat like punctuation, it tells a story, too. Writing is the most direct—using words—but it leaves the art in your mind, letting you fill in the scene as you see it. They’re different tools. Put ‘em all together and you have movies.


--Had you always wanted to write and publish?

My mom recently dug out of her cedar chest a couple of “books” I wrote when I was 8 and 13, and neither was part of any school assignment, so I guess I’ve always had the writing bug. My senior year of high school, though, it became a firm goal when my Creative Writing teacher took notice. He offered to take some of my stories home and read/edit them over a weekend. His unexpected encouragement really cemented it—in a way that family and friends’ couldn’t.

In my late teens and early 20’s, I was on the hunt for a certain kind of book, a book with a credible, admirable female heroine. Since I wasn’t finding it, and since I tend to loathe the princess in need of rescue, I started writing them for myself.


--How did Vicious Circle and heroine Persephone Alcmedi come to be?

In 2004, at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans—pre-Katrina—I was waiting on a plane and—gasp!—bored. So I kind of fell into day-dreaming. Johnny came to me first; guess I was digging into my rock-n-roll past. As I recall, Persephone was his idea. I know writer’s often talk about their characters “interacting” in the creative process and I totally see how that could lean toward a psychotic diagnosis, but it’s true! That’s the way the Muse works with me. Of course it could’ve been something in the airport Po’Boy I ate.


--What was the publishing process like?

First, I’ve been chasing this dream for twenty years. Trying to get the right work in the right editor’s hands at the right time, for me, was like trying to get three 7’s to line up on a slot machine. I’m sure an agent would have made a big difference. That said, I heard about Juno Books, and had met and talked with editor Paula Guran at a World Fantasy Convention or two, so I sent her a submission/partial. She asked for the manuscript (SQUEE), but in the end she sent it back with a firm no and reasons why. Studying the text again with an eye on her reasons for rejecting it, I aimed to address those issues. Among other changes, characters were cut and, because of that, the ending had to be drastically rewritten. It was painful, but I did it. I asked if I could resubmit, she said yes. This time, she accepted it! (Let me say that a good attitude, a sense of trust in the editor, and being willing to work on changes seems to have served me well.) About mid-way the process, Juno teamed up with Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. That affected the time line and the initial plans, but it was unquestionably a great opportunity so there were no complaints from me!


--Who are some of your favorite authors/books, and how have they influenced you as a writer?

My adoration of books started with The Black Stallion picture book in elementary school because of the art; it lead to a “horse book” phase, followed by a “kid mysteries” phase. Then I moved into fantasy. I read the Dragonlance saga, Piers Anthony, David Eddings, Fred Saberhagen. If there was a sword or a cool creature on the cover, I was reading it. I loved Steven Brust’s Jhereg series. All fine stuff…but lacking that female heroine. Then Jennifer Roberson’s Sword Dancer series hooked me! Here was the strong female character I’d been searching for! Though told from a male point of view, the story was about the heroine, Del—a sword dancer who kicked the guys asses. (I may be wrong but I think in those days this was the only way to have a strong female: tell it from an unquestionably strong man’s POV and have him come to see her as an equal.) I’d found few sword-slinging heroines, and none of them none struggled as hard as Del—who earned it. She felt real because it wasn’t easy for her. But she was determined to achieve her goals. I wanted to be Del. And I want to give a shout out to Tanya Huff who graciously gave me the fantastic blurb for the cover. Her Blood Books have great, well drawn and believable characters, and the plots have kept me up late turning pages! And Victory is one tough lady!!


--What can we look forward to from you in the future?

Persephone’s story continues in Hallowed Circle, coming Dec. 29, 2009. It also features Don Sipley’s art on the cover (love it!) The tentatively titled Fatal Circle is scheduled for June 2010. I’ll be at Context in Columbus, Ohio the end of August, and at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia in September. I’m also doing a book signing with other fine Cleveland-area authors on Oct. 10 at Joseph Beth’s. (There’s a good question…ask me who else is going to be there….)


--Five Quickies for you:
Outline or No Outline?

A very basic, very rough outline.
Vampire or Werewolf?
If a bi-weekly schedule rotating between both isn’t admissible, I’ll take the werewolf.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!
Star Wars or Star Trek?
I can spew useless geekery/trivia from both. (*Episodes 4,5,6, respectively. Not so much on Episodes 1,2,3. I watched those only to see Hayden Christensen.)
Hard taco or soft taco?
Aw hell, gimme Chimichangas!!!!


And most importantly: Any good (*cough*) stories from your hard rock band days that you can share?

Hell, yeah!! My senior year of high school my almost all-girl band was the house band for a local bar. A former moose lodge, we had a practice room upstairs which meant: we had our own key’s man!!!! Being house band guaranteed us at least one gig weekend a month, we had first dibs on being the opening act for the low-ranking touring bands that came through, and had the dubious requirement that on Thursdays we played a set before the strippers started their show. I was 17, the drummer was 16. The strippers couldn’t take the stage until we’d both vacated the building!

And, best of all, we once opened for a band called Precious Metal. (We were called Corsair, proving I thought pirates were cool back in the 80’s.) This was the only show my dad ever came to. It was my mom’s second show. I convinced my writing teacher to bring his wife and come out. I’d even gotten in three kids from school to see us. During the opening song, as I sang back-up, the mic zapped my lip hard. When the song ended, as the singer was talking to the crowd getting them all worked up, I tried to ask the roadies off stage if they had seen an arc. They—in some kind of inebriated state—couldn’t understand me. Frustrated, I tried to explain and grabbed the mic. Bad thing. Electricity jolted through me, setting me on my ass! I couldn’t let go. I’ve been told sparks were flying off my guitar’s pick-ups. You know that “scream” when you suck in air in a gasp? I had the mic right in front of me and I was screaming like that. The sound squealed out of the PA system and I had everyone’s attention. Luckily, there were two folks there (out of a hundred or so) who understood why the guitarist was on the floor, screaming. They stormed the stage and yanked the mic away. We took a ten minute break, then came back out and, because of the electricity drama, we re-started our set and played AC/DC’s Live Wire first. The next day, I skipped school (yeah, it had been a school night). Classmates left at lunch to come over and tell me there was a rumor at school that I’d died.


Comments and questions are encourage (especially if you want to win!), so have at it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Release Day, Diana!

As if anyone forgot, today marks the release of debut author and fellow Leaguer Diana Rowland's urban fantasy novel MARK OF THE DEMON. If you don't have a copy, get to your local bookstore. You don't want to miss it!

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Congrats, Diana!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take That, Writer's Block!

I've basically shut myself off from the internet over the last week or so while I concentrated on finishing a first draft of my new book, a werewolf romance set in Alaska. Which I did, last night at 11:20.

This is probably the most difficult manuscript I've worked on so far, from the beggining, when I started it during the ice storm, without electricty for a week, writing more than 20 pages longhand. And then I had nearly crippling writer's block for about three weeks, which freaked me out enough to seek professional help. (Granted, that help was from another romance writer, but it was still professional help.)

So needless to say, I'm pretty excited about it and I'm not far enough into my career that I take it for granted that it will be published, so keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Zombieland. Damn Straight

First off, watch this. I mean it.



Let's all go see it together.

Living Backwards

So I'm eating my oatmeal with sliced banana this morning and I realize this isn't gonna last. Because I have taken my gooshy-food phase out of sequence. Which means by the time I'm eighty I will definitely be breakfasting on steak and corn on the cob. I have pondered the practical details of this dealie, and here's how I figure I'm gonna solve the molars-worn-to-a-nub problem.

What funky fun are you planning for your old age?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Where in the World is Nicole Peeler?

She's all over the fucking place!

Seriously!

That girl has antsies in her pantsies. And so does her friend, Dr. Ruth.

To find out where and what she's doing, check out her website!

The Docs do Various Cities Throughout the US* is up! With pictures!

(Sorry for talking about myself in the third person. I had a moment.)

*working title only

Monday, June 8, 2009

Twihard, sheeyah!

I don't think there's nearly enough discussion of Twilight on this blog, people. Anyone who has the misfortune to know me IRL (In Real LIfe) knows that I'm a Twihard. I'm not proud. It's a disease that I'm learning to live with. There's an ointment.

I heart Edward Cullen.

I used to heart Jacob Black, but I can't reconcile the fact he's played by a baby-faced 18-year-old.

Don't judge me. Love me. I need help.

In any case, here's the teaser trailer for New Moon, out November 20th. (barely restrained squee) Five billion people have already watched it multiple times.



Some fans even taped their first reactions to it. This one amused me greatly.



And that reaction? Say what you will about the books or the writing, but anything that elicits this kind of a fan/reader response is something no writer should dismiss. SMeyer's doing something right. This is why I study Robert Pattison. Uh...I mean, study the characterization and important story themes. And stuff.

--Michelle

www.michellerowen.com

Why my marriage works...

My husband, David, and I were in a bookstore last night, marveling at the sheer number of fantasy book covers featuring half-naked ladies wielding swords. I muttered, "I really need to tap into the horny geek market for my next project..."

David thought about that for a minute. "I think you'd do well in the horny geek market. Clearly, you understand their mind-set. Look who you married."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I married him.

I love my geek.

Partaaay! (my style)

So, yeah, I'm 44 and still have a kid at home. Which means when I celebrate the July 1 mass market release of my first book (Once Bitten, Twice Shy) I reach for . . . my laptop. I know. Sew lame! Well, even if you can't take the geek outta the girl, you can squeeze a mini-mission from her. Which is what I'm gonna be posting to my website for the next few.

Yup. That's what I said.

Free Jaz Parks fer all, starting today! Consider this a yellow flyer with big black lettering that you don't even have to toss into the nearest trash can. YOU ARE INVITED . . . . http://www.jenniferrardin.com

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Who-Team?

Okay, show of hands: Who loves "The A-Team?"

I adored this show growing up, watched reruns religiously when Spike was still Television for Men (ha!), and have most of the reasons on DVD. It's a super-fun show with a catchy theme song.

Another show of hands: Who loves The Lord of the Rings? Movies and/or books?

Classic fantasy novels that became amazing, classic films. I was one of the geeks who freaked when she heard there would be special, extended edition DVD's of the theatrical versions.

So imagine my surprise and delight to find this little ditty on YouTube:



Too. Much. Fun.

And it got me thinking (I know, dangerous). What cast of characters from another book (yours or someone else's) would you match up to characters from "The A-Team?"

Who's your Hannibal? Who's your Murdock? Who's your Amy Allen?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Calling all you fashionistas.......

So I have a serious fashion dilemma.

The thing is, I'm not normally stumped. I definitely have my own "style." I'm not claiming it's actually "stylish, but it's my own style.

And yet sometimes you get an invite to something so new and exciting that you need a little help with what to wear.

Like tea with the Queen!
Or a really fancy horse race!
Or a date with a Finnish death metal drummer who is reputed to have eaten his own pinkie finger, raw, after chopping it off with an axe one night when he was drunk on acquavit!

Ukso was a big softie, once you got to know him.

Anyway, I'm confronted with just such an occasion.

What does one wear to a former cockfighting bar?

I'm thinking this is too much:



What do you think I should wear?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jaye's in Mah Hooooouse!

We have so much in common we'll probably eventually find we were conjoined twins, tragically separated at birth by our feuding parents. (I have a suspicious purple birthmark on my left knee--how 'bout you, Jaye?) So I figured it was about time to invite Jaye to my website, especially since she's got a kickin' new book on the scene. Feel free to join us for some fun talk about Red-Headed Stepchild!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Long Time Gone...

X-posted from my personal blog.

Wow. Can I just say, officially, Battle of the Network Zombies kicked my ass.  It was what I imagined my second book would be like to write, only it wasn't--Road Trip was a breeze comparitively.  I think I spent so much time and energy into one of my spec projects (The Dark Rites of Joe Barkley), when I had to switch gears and drop back into Amanda's filthy cluttered mind, I just wasn't prepared. So, I'm really just happy to have a completed draft.  It needs a ton of work and it seems I have a bit more time to do that work than I'd previously expected, but I'm happy with the comedic elements and the new characters that cropped up despite a pretty detailed outline (oops). Summer's here and so I'll be doing revisions here... ...which helps a great deal.  Something about the moving water from the fountain and the dogs roaming in the yard really helps the vile snark to rise out of me like a meaty belch.  Or not. We got a new addition to the family this week, a 6-year old Maltese named Yoda (seen here being overtly adorable). He's taking a lot of time away from my writing, forcing me to make baby noises and be otherwise ridiculous.  We've had him for four days now and he's bonding with us and the other dogs, which was our biggest concern.  The bonus is he's trained to go poop on potty pads, which has had an interesting effect on the brood.  They've been doing it too and not just wherever the fuck they feel like.  Could he be training them? So anyway, back to the writerin'.  I plan to have a draft for my beta readers by Friday.  After that, I'm working on the following (in handy list format--since someone pointed out they never know what I'm actually working on)...  

1. YA proposal (Ghosty Teen Goths/Purgatory/Buttload of Possessions)  

2. Screenplay with Mario. (Not paranormal at all)  

3. Finish Joe Barkley and get that off to my agent.  

4. Work on Russ Meyer/sexy vampire stewardesses/wayward druggie starlet/drag race project  

5. Option Book Proposal  

6. Blog more routinely (Cuz Dayum I've been absent lately).  

Not necessarily in that order.  But you get the gist.  Lots to do this summer and fall.  And, bonus!, I'm excited for the prospects.  Wish me luck y'all.

Detox

So next week Mr. Jaye and I are going on vacation to Italy. This will be the first major trip we've taken since our honeymoon ten years ago next month. I'm totally stoked. I've wanted to go to Italy ever since I saw Stealing Beauty in college. Liv Tyler I'm not, but I will do my best to recreate the bohemian lifestyle. The town we're starting out trip in is famous for it's wine, and I plan to indulge. Heavily. Then it's off to Florence to glut ourselves on Renaissance art and fattening foodstuffs.

But a dark cloud looms on the periphery of the excitement. Mr. Jaye has forbidden me to take any device which allows internet access.

I'll pause for a moment for that to sink in. Eleven days with no Twitter, Facebook, blogs, email or instant messenger. Eleven days without my precious laptop. Eleven days when I'm forbidden to think about deadlines or rewrites. (Okay this last part isn't so bad.)

My name is Jaye and I'm an internet junky.

My ego craves constant stimulation in the form of Google alerts and Amazon rankings. Failing that, I begin a shame spiral that involves a circuit of blogs, facebook games, twitter and IM banter with other procrastinating authors. And truth be told, my writing has suffered for it. The more time I spend in the virtual world, the less time I'm spending in both the real world and the ones of my own creation. But I'm not alone--a lot of writers I talk to lately have admitted suffering from similar symptoms.

As far as I can see, the problem has two parts. First, these days, the Internet is our best resource for promotion. And it's no secret that authors are expected to be book pimps as well as word hos. The second issue is that writing is a solitary endeavor. For extroverts like myself, the internet offers endless opportunity to connect with both peers and readers. And if we're not careful, even something like a quick log-in to check some bit of research can turn into a three-hour tour through the labyrinth.

So, as much as I anticipate a couple of days of withdrawal, perhaps a week or so offline will do me some good. After all, the best inspiration for stories is real life, not the virtual lives we lead online.

That said, if you see a report of a woman arrested in Florence for offering to blow a stranger for five minutes of internet access, well, it probably wasn't me.

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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