Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quit your bitchin' and get to work

My sons gave me an iPad for Xmas, which makes for a handy way to watch Netflix.

One show that I haven't yet decided if I like is Showtime's Californication. David Duchovny's character, Hank Moody, has writer's block, which is fueled by his anxieties despite his publishing success and a movie deal. As expected, the show takes liberties with the life of a professional writer. Unlike Moody, I don't have panic attacks, nor do I have difficulty cranking out the word count. On the other hand, I don't have women chasing me for sex. (Hmmm...maybe I should get writer's block.) One plot complication I don't understand is that Moody claims to be a New York writer and hates living in Los Angeles. So, why doesn't he move back?

Here's a glimpse of the show in a funny Russian over-dub.

The show's premise hinges on Moody's writer's block. As a professional writer--meaning that if I don't write and write well, I don't get paid--I can't afford to mollycoddle myself with writer's block. And neither can any one of my writer friends. Many of them astound me with their work ethic. For me, 2000 words is a good day. I know writers who manage 4000+. Paolo Bacigalupi posted that he once did over eight thousand. Amazing and somewhat intimidating. That and his many awards.

Which leads me to digress for a bit about creativity. Being this is the age of the Internet, I Googled creativity process. The website Directed Creativity flayed the creative process to the point of eye-glazing absurdum. No matter what model you use--or more likely, don't use--when you write, your creative process probably overlaps many of the proposed creative steps. I find that a good way to get creative is to apply this acronym: BICHOK--Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. I once heard Chuck Palahniuk address the issue of performing a task he wasn't keen on doing. He applied the dictum: Thought follows action, which at first seems like a backwards way to tackle a problem, much like Fire, Ready, Aim. But in fact, the take-away is: Don't wait to get inspired; Get to work now. Which is the best way to attack writer's block.

I've mentioned in an earlier post that this year I challenge myself to not only keep writing but also paint more. With that in mind, let's build a little forward momentum by going backwards, much like a pitcher doing a wind-up. I've posted some of my watercolors in Facebook that I did when I first started painting professionally. Hope you like them.

Don't forget our Bad sex in writing contest. Ends this Thursday, Jan 27. Prizes!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eurovision 2011!

Why hello there! I'm trapped in JFK, having "missed" my flight to Pittsburgh due to a series of clusterfuck conditions at Heathrow and at JFK. I say "missed" as I was actually at my original flight's gate before it even began boarding, but I'd already been helpfully checked onto the 9 pm flight. And by "helpfully," I mean I've seen better service on Cops, when they run down men wearing their underpants.

Anyway, I'm trying to kill some time by blogging, but realistically that means shite will pour forth from my exhausted brain, onto my laptop, and directly to you! Awesome!

But I really need to pull up my big girl pants and not complain. Up until the horror which has been Delta's customer service, I've had an absolutely amazing trip.

For those of you who haven't seen my travels with Dr. Ruth, she's the photographer. Meaning that the night we were in Paris, we have over 200 beautiful photos. For the rest of my trip, when I was on my own? I think I have one fuzzy iPhone photo of an off-center cooked breakfast. Pathetic!

So I hope you enjoy the Paris photos, but I can't take any credit. They were all Dr. Ruth's!

Here we are at the EuroStar, waiting for the train. Everyone looks very glamorous! You'll be seeing this "cafe configuration," as I like to call it, quite a bit in these photos.

And here we are! On the banks of the Seine. The train ride is ridiculously short, and does not go through Wales. Also, if you ask your Europeans friends (with their much firmer grasp on geography) whether you'll be going through Wales, they will mock you. From left to right, we have Mrs. Whisky, representing Norway; me, representing either oompah loompahs or the USA, depending on whom I'm standing next to in a photo; Dr. Ruth, representing England and Wales (which you do not go through on the Eurostar), Judith, or Yoooo-deeeee, representing the Netherlands; and Linda, representing both Ireland, and Salim in that one reading my friends did for me. Such pretty ladies!

Here we have another cafe configuration, this one con blankets. I'm practicing my French, which I'm ashamed to say was absolute pants. Apparently, two years of high school french over a decade ago gets you bupkes in the field.

Here we have the ubiquitous "upward photo" shot:

And the ubiquitous Louvre, "Look, that's where Mary Magdalene is buried!" shot:

With another at night, just to keep it real:

Keeping in mind that between the five us girls there are about 97 degrees ranging from physics to sexual health, you might wonder what cultural things we got up to. Well, we made Linda act like an Egyptian:

But she wasn't Egyptian enough for Ruth, who had to intervene:

There may have been some molesting of statuary:

Someone (Dr. Ruth) might have pointed at a fountain and said, "Who wants to pretend she's peeing!" And someone (Dr. Peeler) might have said, "Me! Me!":

Obviously, none of these things can be blamed on the drinking of many kir royales and pastises:

Or the two helpings of abused goose I managed to cram into my gob on the first day we were there. Here's round two. And yes, Mrs. Whisky's starter featured a shot of vodka. How very Scandinavian!

The steak frites was amazing, and enjoyed by all:

And, admittedly, quite a few croissants were abused in the photographing of this trip:

We did have a few moments of serious contemplation of Paris's incredible beauty:

And there were a few monuments too large for us to mess with:

But the best part of this trip was being with my beautiful friends, who make me so very, very happy.

Ruth says it all with this lovely smile in front of the Eiffel Tower:

There was much catching up, and gossiping, and sharing. I dont' know what we were talking about here, but it must have been intense:

I think this looks like a still from a soap opera. Cracks me up! Finally, the whole whirlwind trip can be summed up by these two photos. Now you see it; now you don't:

Mmmm. Fondant.

Anyway, the trip was gorgeous. We got back to London late evening, and the next morning Ruth and I went for a full English breakfast. Then I went to grab a train up to visit another friend, leaving Ruth to her work week. I had a brilliant time in the frozen North: totally relaxed and louche. We did nothing, which is exactly what I needed. A few wee wanders, much watching of movies in our skivvies, and a few nice meals with lovely conversation. Brilliant!

Then I returned to London, where I had one last meal with Dr. Ruth. This morning, very early, I was up to get to Heathrow. Where Delta commenced screwing me silly. So right now I may smell like a goat, and I'm absolutely dreading the 11:30 pm drive back to Greensburg, but the trip was lovely. I'm so privileged to have such amazing people in my life, and to be able to visit such beautiful cultures. And to eat their food in copious quantities.

And despite sitting in the Sartrean hell which is JFK, I was also very, very thrilled to see some of my favorite book bloggers have made themselves into Peeler's Cheerleaders. They're adorable:

Jessica, aka the SPINECRACKER (rawr!) has a contest to win Tempest Rising attached to the post, as they've made it their mission to wrangle me more fans. Which I appreciate very, very much. You girls are lovely, and I'm so glad I get to meet some of you at AAD, and hopefully more of you at RT! I'd give you big sloppy goat kisses but I'm thinking I should just say, "thanks," and maybe buy you a bevvie.

All right, I am about to melt into some sort of primordial goo, so I'd better sort myself a coffee and a walkabout. Maybe throw a temper tantrum. Or write a strongly worded letter to Delta, using copious amounts of metaphor and simile.

It's been a long day. See you in a few, after mucho zzzzzzzzzs. Don't forget you still have time to enter to win the contests on this page. Just scroll down a few entries!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Game Begins

HAPPY 30th Birthday Buffy!!!

Trailer for HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones leads this week's movie and book news.

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Then onto a couple of articles about one of my favorite literary and movie characters: James Bond.

First, from the Huffington Post :

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A new international airport for private jets and small commercial aircraft was unveiled in northern Jamaica on Wednesday, named after the British thriller writer who invented the literary and cinematic super spy James Bond.

Ian Fleming International Airport is close to the scenic retreat where the late author reportedly wrote all 14 of his books about the elegant, crafty spy. The property is now an exclusive resort owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who is credited with introducing reggae great Bob Marley's music to the world.

Followed by this from the BBC :

The new James Bond book, written by thriller author Jeffery Deaver, will be called Carte Blanche.

The title and cover were unveiled in Dubai where parts of the book are set.
US writer Deaver said the novel - to be published in the UK on 26 May - posed "the looming question of what is acceptable" in security matters.

Sebastian Faulks and John Gardner are among other authors to have written officially-sanctioned Bond novels since creator Ian Fleming's death in 1964.

Deaver, 60, whose best-seller The Bone Collector was made into a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, said giving an agent carte blanche on a mission "comes with an enormous amount of trust and constantly tests both personal and professional judgement".

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Anyone who knows me, knows I'm also a tremendous Sherlock Holmes fan. I found this on the ebookseller site:

Orion is to publish a new full-length Sherlock Holmes novel, written by Alex Rider author Anthony Horowitz, after he was selected by the Conan Doyle Estate...

Further details about the title, to be published in September, are still to be revealed, though it will be "a brilliant mystery novel, stripped back to the original style of Conan Doyle", according to the publisher.

Brilliant, huh? We'll be the judge of that!

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Let's see, what's next?

Now THIS is an interesting twist. From ereads :

HarperCollins authors – have you read your Ten Commandments lately? How about the Seven Deadly Sins? You’d better bone up on them. It seems there’s a morals clause in your publisher’s contract. Not moral rights, mind you… We mean morals. Your morals.

New language in the termination provision of the Harper’s boilerplate gives them the right to cancel a contract if “Author’s conduct evidences a lack of due regard for public conventions and morals, or if Author commits a crime or any other act that will tend to bring Author into serious contempt, and such behavior would materially damage the Work’s reputation or sales.” The consequences? Harper can terminate your book deal.

Not only that, you’ll have to repay your advance. Harper may also avail itself of “other legal remedies” against you.

If this is true, Mario, you'd better be on your best behavior!! Especially since you keep finding little gems like this to send me... I could rat on you.

Besides, why he sends things like this to me, I have no idea.... I am the most even-tempered, tolerant person I know. You all agree, right? RIGHT?????

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Lot's of statistics floating around this week. Sisters in Crime commissioned a study on the public's mystery/crime fiction book buying habits. Highlights here from Shelf Awareness:

Bricks-and-mortar stores still lead the way in mystery/crime fiction sales, and women over 45 constitute the majority of buyers in the genre, according to a collaborative study, "The Mystery Book Consumer in the Digital Age," released this week by Sisters in Crime. The survey was designed to offer an overview of the mystery/crime fiction book-buying landscape, using research based on publishing industry data gathered and interpreted by Bowker's PubTrack division.

The study found that the majority of mystery/crime fiction buyers are women (68%) over the age of 45 (66% ). Buyers in the 18-to-44 demographic purchase 31% of the mysteries sold.

Some 48% live in the suburbs, 27% in rural areas and 25% in urban areas. The South accounts for 35% of sales, followed by the West (26%), Midwest (20%) and Northeast (19%). 

Bricks-and-mortar stores sell 39% of all mysteries, with library borrowing accounting for approximately 20% and online purchases 17%.

The full report can be found here

USA TODAY listed it's 100 top sellers for 2010 here . No real surprises.

And Nora Roberts is the latest author to enter the Kindle Million Club, joining Stieg Larsson and James Patterson as the third writer to surpass a million paid copies in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Twilight fans, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will host a special International Fan Event to coincide with the April release of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. Little, Brown will select one fan from the U.S. and one from Canada, and is partnering with the Twilight Saga publishers in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Taiwan and the U.K. to find each country's lucky Twilight fan. The 10 winners will receive an advance copy of The Official Illustrated Guide and have the opportunity to talk extensively with Meyer. 

The official rules for the sweepstakes to select a fan from the U.S. as well as one from Canada) can be found here .

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Found this via Publisher's Lunch:

Lynn Hirschberg offers an "exclusive first look" of the making of David Fincher's version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for W Magazine . According to the piece, Steven Zaillian's script departs considerably from the book: "Blomkvist is less promiscuous, Salander is more aggressive, and, most notably, the ending--the resolution of the drama--has been completely changed. This may be sacrilege to some, but [scriptwriter] Zaillian has improved on Larsson--the script's ending is more interesting."

Mara has the right look, that's for sure, but I get a little nervous when they start talking about a more "interesting" ending. Salander is MORE aggressive? How much more aggressive could they make her? I'm not at all sure about this one.

I guess that's it for this week. I must admit, though, I'm very disappointed we haven't had any bad sex entries yet. You can't tell me every sex scene you've ever read has been wonderful. Remember, I'm not talking about your personal sex life. I know the old saying, the worst sex I've ever had was... wonderful....but surely, you've read a sex scene in a book and came away shaking your head at the absurdity. If you can't remember the book to look up the exact phrasing, paraphrase. We'll accept it. We're easy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year, New Contest

Hi all-- to start things out this year, Mario and I decided to have a contest The idea sprung from this:

Rowan Somerville is the author of two novels, The End of Sleep and this year's The Shape of Her, described by the Economist as "deceptively simple in plot and singularly musical in its voice, it is a study of the place where our past has become our present. A summer read to be kept – and visited in the dark days of winter..."

Last month, the novel followed authors including John Updike and Norman Mailer in winning the Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction award …with one killer sentence – "like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her" – the novelist Rowan Somerville demolished all comers and secured this year's coveted…award.

Which brought up an interesting point. Who would you nominate for a bad sex in books award (notice I added “in books.” Don’t want any disgruntled husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, etc etc coming after us.) Send in an example (we won’t name the book or author) and the winner (chosen by Mario and I) will win a prize...a prize sure to be appropriate to the topic. Anyway, here are the rules--well, RULE...find a really bad sex scene and submit it in comments. It can be raunchy or ridiculous or both. This is an adult blog. We'll run the contest for two weeks. So you have until Jan. 27. We're cross-posting this here, too, at the League, and we all know how REALLY twisted this group is so you civilians will have to dig deep to beat them!!!

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What do you think of these motion comics? Anyone bought one?

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Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby 'could be filmed in 3D'

The Great Gatsby has been adapted for the big screen in the silent, monochrome and colour eras, as well as on the small screen, and even in a version for Korean audiences. Now F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel of the gilded jazz age could be set for a turn in stereoscopic vision after director Baz Lurhmann said he was considering filming his new adaptation in 3D...

The new Great Gatsby is set to star British actor Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, the manipulative and shallow New York socialite of Fitzgerald's famous tale of the roaring 20s. Leonardo DiCaprio is reportedly in line to play the title role, one made famous by Robert Redford in the 1974 version, with Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald's narrator.

Huh?? 3d??

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Starts tomorrow...

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Just got the table of contents for an anthology coming out in June-- Chicks Kick Butt.

Introduction by Rachel Caine 11

Shiny by Rachel Caine 13

In Vino Veritas by Karen Chance 35

Hunt by Rachel Vincent 59

Monsters by Lilith Saintcrow 85

Vampires Prefer Blondes by P. N. Elrod 112

Nine- Tenths of the Law by Jenna Black 136

Double Dead by Cheyenne McCray 167

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still Be Red 194

by Elizabeth A. Vaughan

Superman by Jeanne C. Stein 208

Monster Mash by Carole Nelson Douglas 230

Wanted: Dead or Alive by L. A. Banks 263

Mist by Susan Krinard 281

Beyond the Pale by Nancy Holder 309

I'll post the cover as soon as I get it.

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I can't believe I missed the Cape last weekend (let me know what you thought) but I was up in Fairplay at a writer's retreat. It's also hard to believe we actually get any work done with a view like this out the sun room window, but we always manage.

Writers in residence this weekend were Linda Hull, Susan Smith, Vicki Law, Carol Berg and a good representation from my own critique group, Tamra Monahan, Warren Hammond, Terry Wright and moi. Check out the Hand Hotel if you're looking for a quiet weekend away. It's great and in the little town of Fairplay is a candy and gift shop, the Chocolate Mousse , with the best homemade fudge and candies and fruit butters I've ever tasted.

Anyway, a few pics of the gathering of the clan as we prepare to start our day of "work".

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pimpage + a Contest at Mah Site!

Hello my League friends! Can I just tell you that Jane True Book 3, TEMPEST'S LEGACY, IS OUT!

You can see another reading and get some news on a contest to win some Legacy swag, here.

In VERY exciting news, Jane now has an Italian title! It's La Principessa Delle Tempeste. HOW CUTE IS THAT? And I can't wait to see what they do with the cover!

You can see a conversation about Jane in Italian, here. I have no idea what they're saying, but it sounds sexy, doesn't it???

Finally, you can find a contest here, run by the ever lovely and fabulous Carolyn Crane, in which you can win TL.

I am currently gearing up for the January residency of my MFA program. Students will arrive from all over the country (and a few from outside the US), descending on Greensburg to be edumacated in the art of writing popular fiction. I'm running a module on close reading, and one on urban fantasy. Totally looking forward to it! But it's going to be crazy hectic, and the day after everyone leaves I fly to London! YAY! Let's hope I have clean pants.

So that's me! Busy busy busy... so busy in fact, that I've been very remiss in my pimpage! My pimp hand is absolutely aching with disuse, so I'd better slap it down old school with...a contest! But first of all, let's see just what's in need of a smackin'...

First off, Mark Henry has some fabulous news. Not only is Road Trip of the Living Dead coming out at the end of the month in mass market paper back, with a tweaked cover:

But Mark had another big announcement on his blog. Amanda Feral, my favorite zombie socialite and writer of filth, is coming at you in comic form. I don't mean she'll be tripping over banana peels, I mean she's getting her own comic book, by the same people who brought you Patty Brigg's Mercy Thompson. I'm so excited, I could spit. Maybe at him, because I'm also jealous. I've always "seen" Jane as a cartoon, and would totally flip to have her made into a comic.

And by flip, I mean clean your house and make you many a delicious stewed meat dish. And by "you," I mean whoever's out there, reading this. And by "reading," I mean skimming till you get to the contest details.

Anyway, you know how I adore the Henrys--the dogs, the wife, the man--so I won't spit at him. But I will covet his comic, and can't wait to see Amanda ratcheting open those lovely jawbones!

Speaking of comics, I have another good friend with some hot comic action coming to gitcha. Over in the UK, Roger Gibson, along with Vince Danks, the huge brains behind Harker, have gone right ahead and given me a total NERDGASM with their newest Torchwood comic, Hell House. Check out this art:

I had to leave it big, cuz it's sooo goood. Total. Nerdgasm. There's more info on where to order the comic, here. And if you're thinking, who are these British men? And what else have they done? Then you should order some of their Harker comics. They're detective stories, and I adore them, although they're not nearly as respectful to Jessica Fletcher as they should be.

Jessica's confused by your lack of understanding, Roger! How can you do that to her?

Jesse Petersen, however, is someone who is not confused. Instead, she rocks out with her zombie out. I adore the aesthetic of her covers, and her latest release is no exception:

The truth is, I don't really know Jesse, as I've only interacted with her on social media. That said, I like her style, and hope to get to meet her soon. I also really, really want to read her books, and they're on my schedule to get to in the next month!

One lady I do know very well, however, is my critique partner, Diana Rowland. I get to read ALL of her books before all y'all and I GLOAT about it. Because they're so good! And I love the new covers for her Demon Mark series. Secrets of the Demon just released a few days ago, and isn't it a beaut?

The only thing better than this cover, is the cover for her My Life as a White Trash Zombie. You are going to DIE when you see it, people. I nearly did. I nearly choked on the glory of it's trashy zombie whiteness.

It's amazing. And the book is awesome, too. Cuz I've already read it! Hoooah!

Meanwhile, there's another Leaguer who has a story coming out in an anthology that looks hilarious. Anton's Strout's "Murfa," is available in Boondocks Fantasy:

Last, but certainly not least, I feel I never properly pimped Juliet Blackwell's latest paranormal mystery, If Walls Could Talk:

I adore Juliet, and I love her books. I've heard this one is great, and it's going to be my reading on the plane over to London. So now I'm giving you my official pimp slap, lady, instead of the paltry little half slap I managed before. Cuz you deserve a full-on pimp spank, for being so awesome in so many ways.

*****LATE EDITION ADDITION! I nearly forgot Andrew Shaffer's Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love:

There's a quote from my Nietzsche on his website! Now there's someone who sure did fail at love. Thank lawd for Facebook and people reminding me I suck. Sorry, Andrew!

So now that I've pimped, I know you're wondering what the contest is! Well, I'm being a cheat, and making you go to my site. Just because I'm too lazy to compile comments. *yawns*

You can see the full contest, here. Just scroll to the end. It's super easy; all it requires is a comment on my site!

Lemme know if you have any questions! And yay for all the new releases!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Big Amanda Feral News!!!

Finally! I can let y'all in on the super sekrit news from last summer. I've recently inked a deal with the Dabel Bros., the guys behind such stuff as this...


And what, you ask, will this deal entail? Why AMANDA FERAL chewing up some pages, motherfuckers! ROAD TRIP OF THE LIVING DEAD is going to be the framework for a comic book series, culminating in a graphic novel bind-up. No other news just yet, other than I've agreed to script and we'll be looking for artists soon (I hope). I couldn't be more excited and the timing is great as the mass-market paperback of Road Trip is about to hit the shelves.

73235712I'm equally excited for the possibility of people giving Road Trip a chance, it's my favorite of the three books and by far the least known. They tweaked the cover a bit and the high gloss they put on it really makes it awesome!

Here's a couple of places you can preorder the mmpb...

Barnes and Noble

This has been a long time coming and I can't wait to get back into Amanda's head for some extra stuff not found in the book. I hope these guys know what they've gotten themselves into. I don't think I can tame the filth. IT CAN'T BE TAMED!!!

And in the meantime, be sure to download STOCKING FULL OF COAL, an erotic short story written by none other than Amanda Feral, herself. Don't be shy, it doesn't punches!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Downpour Cover

Hey, looky what I got
Greywalker #6 US edition coming August 2011.

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