Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bullwhip and Taser at the ready.

The League is poised to strike Denver this weekend. Nicole Peeler and Jeanne Stein, plus Kimberly Frost, threaten to ravish my fair city in a One-Two-Three literary throw down.

Eins. The Denver Public Library through their Fresh City Life program hosts Mucho Mojo, Urban Fantasy Authors Hex You Up! Don't let the title fool you, it's really an excuse for boozin' and depravity as the authors read the dirtiest passages of one another's books. If we don't get arrested for public lewdness, it's because we didn't try hard enough. The raunch happens Thursday, Aug 4, 7-9pm, at MadWine, 1200 Acoma St, Denver. Don't believe me, then read this pimpage from Westword.

. RomCon 2011! Suffice it to say, what happens at con, stays at con. Enough said. Heh, heh, heh.

. If you thought three UF authors was enough awesomeness to go thermonuclear critical, then imagine the damage potential of five writers when Lizzie T Leaf and Melissa Mayhue join in! Sunday, Aug 7, 4pm, at the fabulous Broadway Book Mall, 200 S Broadway, Denver CO

Friday, July 22, 2011

Get a Room

This week, I've been working in Starbucks to avoid the scorching heat and the laundry piling up as I get closer to deadline. Two incidents, though, are making me rethink working in public.

First, I was focusing on my laptop, typing away like a fiend. I reached the end of a sentence and looked up to ponder my next step. The door of the store was right ahead of me and I noticed a familiar-looking woman walking across the parking lot toward her car. "Hmm," I thought, "Is that Heidi?"

I shrugged it off and got back to working. Half an hour later, I gave myself a quick twitter break. Sure enough, Heidi sent me a message asking if I had been working at that Starbucks. She then informed me that "You looked pretty intense so I didn't want to interrupt."

I panicked. What did people see when they witnessed me working? I thought about how I will often make expressions reflecting those of my character's emotions. I'll laugh out loud and tear up. I spill coffee on my shirt and get so many refills that my kidney scream for mercy. Basically, I become a jittery schizophrenic.

Sorry, Heidi. No one should have to see that.

The second incident happened the next day. No, I didn't stop going because I didn't want to expose people to my embarrassing writing face. I should have learned my lesson.

That day I was working on the big sex scene in the book. The final one in the series, in fact. The hugely ahem climactic scene.

And then the priest walked in.


And sat down right across from me, so his uber white collar blinded me with its pious glow.


Maybe it was my checkered past with Catholicism that made me feel so ... guilty. Or maybe I just didn't like the idea of a man of the cloth seeing the faces I made while I was writing sex.

OMG, he totally saw my sex-writing face!


I tell you all this because you've no doubt witnessed a writer at work in a Starbucks. Maybe you didn't witness their sex-writing face or overhear their fierce whispers, but you felt the desperation as you passed. You smelled the coffee-scented sweat and saw the cigarette-stained fingers.

Despite the glamorous writing lifestyle promoted by Hollywood--I'm looking at you, Rick Castle--writing is a pitiful, embarrassing process. One best done in private. A lot like sex, come to think of it.

But if I listened to reason, I wouldn't make my living talking to my imaginary friends. So I'll see you at Starbucks tomorrow. I'll be the one staring a hole into my laptop screen and occasionally shouting curses. Just don't make any sudden movements and no one gets hurt.

P.S. Quick newsflash! Did you know Amazon has an awesome summer sale going on right now on Kindle books? Three Leaguers have books included in this special promo.

The sale goes until Sunday so go by yourself some books. You deserve it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Vacation From My Vacation

This past week, I’ve been on vacation from the Real Job™, entertaining my #1 Beta who was visiting from out of town. In theory, she visits so we can get some face-to-face brainstorming time on whatever I happen to be working on, writing-wise. Naturally, like most well-thought-out plans, this results in us doing a lot of running around like headless chickens, and very little working.

(But we DID get to see the new Harry Potter, and a very hot and sticky outdoor showing of Guys and Dolls, and I had a kickass book release party, details here)

Still, we did finally manage to do some brainstorming during the last twenty-four hours she was here, which means we will qualify the trip as a success. I now have four pages of rather garbled notes (but they make sense to me) on what may eventually become books 4 and 5 in the JJD series. Y’know, in case anyone ever wants them.

So yesterday I put #1 Beta on the plane home, and I have today left as my last decompression day before my return to the Real Job™. Today I need to work on revisions for book 3, do a metric crap ton of laundry, and get my hairs did. Book 3 is technically due by August 1st, so I’m a bit behind where I’d like to be with it, but I’ll get it done. I always do.

And this is my very long explanation as to why this post isn’t better/longer/bionic.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New UK Covers and a Signing!

Hello my darling Leaguers!

I'm writing to you from London, where I just finished at the Doctor Who Experience. It was insanely nerdy and fun. It was a treat for a friend who just had good news, and I think we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now we're off to Brighton for a louche evening at a posh hotel. From dork to debauched, that's how I roll. ;-)

Meanwhile, in very exciting news, Orbit UK has relaunched my series with an entirely new look. These covers are totally different from Sharon's, and I love both looks. Both are so quirky, which I think is great for the series. Here's the UK cover for Tempest Rising:

And Tracking the Tempest:

And Tempest's Legacy:

And, finally, Eye of the Tempest:

Release dates for these are as follows:

Tempest Rising and Tracking: Both out August 4, 2011

Tempest's Legacy: September 1, 2011

Eye of the Tempest: October 7, 2011

Tempest's Fury: July 5, 2012

So for those of you who have been so patiently waiting for book 3, it will be out soon, with book four shortly thereafter!

In my final bit of exciting news for this month, I AM doing an event here in London. It's at Forbidden Planet, London on Saturday 30th July, 3-4pm, and I'll be with Tim Lebbon, Philip Palmer, and Simon Morden.

More details are on the Forbidden Planet events page, full event details are here, and on my own appearances page, here.

I'm so happy I get to do this, and I hope to see some of my UK fans there. Forbidden Planet is the ultimate Nerd Mecca, so I'm having a bit of a nerdgasm that I get to sign there. It's truly an honor, and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone involved.

It's time for me to get to the train station, but I'll see you here next month. I've also got a post up today over at Pens Fatales, if you're interested!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Last week I caught a random tweet about something called Womanthology. I adore comics and I adore woman-centric projects, so I thought I'd check it out. (I always enjoy watching the process of how a project like this comes together.)

Basically it's a collaborative effort between some awesome comic book artists/writers (Barbara Kesel, Gail Simone, etc.) teaming up with unknowns to produce over 300 pages of stories and artwork for charity. It's spearheaded by Renae De Liz, who did the absolutely gorgeous graphic novel adapation of The Last Unicorn. (Yes, I have a signed copy. <3 )

According to their website:

"Womanthology is an anthology graphic novel created entirely by women for Charity. The purpose of the book is to showcase the works of female creators of every age and experience levels.

The Graphic Novel will majorly consist of many short stories interpreting our theme for this volume; "Heroic". We'll also have interviews and how-to's with some of the industry's top female pros, as well as talks with young girls who someday want a career in comics."

I've never tried writing for a comic, though it is something I'd love to check out someday. What I love about this project is that it was set up so anyone could volunteer to offer their writing/artistic/inking abilities, regardless of level of experience.  Obviously there's a limit to how many could be included (140 all told), but they've got a waiting list for a possible second volume already started. Yeah, I'm on it. >_<

Since the publication of the book depends completely upon donations (they needed to hit about 25k to make the printing happen with IDW), I tossed in a few bucks to get a numbered copy when it comes out in December - but when I donated last week, they were around the 19k mark. A few days later and they're already up past 50k, which is downright amazing...and they still have 25 days left to go. (Lots of fun things donated if you pledge certain amounts too, so it's worth checking out.)

Anyway, as anyone knows - getting published is a tough business. There are so many writers/artists out there trying to break into the business and it can be so disheartening and overwhelming -  so kudos to these ladies for making a project like this happen and giving up-and-comers a chance.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The blogger doth protest too much

In the last couple of months, I can think of at least four articles/posts that came out on the Internet and criticized some aspect of young adult novels. Unsurprisingly, these posts stirred up quite a flurry of responses, some more so than others. If you're not up on your latest Internet kerfuffles, here's a handy rundown:

"Darkness Too Visible" in The Wall Street Journal, discussing the dark and disturbing nature of YA. It references Leaguer Jackie Kessler, who wrote a wonderful response.

"Writing Young-Adult Fiction" on, which riled up readers and writers alike for painting YA as a simplistic genre.

Some Teen Books Surprisingly X-Rated, Study Finds from and distributed via Yahoo and Fox News websites. Leaguer Jeanne Stein's books (which aren't YA) were originally cited and later changed to PC & Kristin Cast's series on LiveScience's site. Other news sites still mention Jeanne.

"7th Harry Potter Movie Hastens Diabolic Trend Among Teens" from Christian News Wire, with a nod to Leaguer Diana Rowland (who also doesn't write YA) for glamorizing demonic possession.

I feel some of these sources are questionable when it comes to bias and credibility, but I'll leave it to you to make your own judgments on that. Here are the things that amaze me. First is that my League buddies keep getting "shout-outs" in this subject matter. Regardless if you agree with WSJ, Jackie at least makes sense being cited as a dark YA writer. Jeanne and Diana, however, baffle me because they're mentioned in articles that are focused on YA, not adult, books. This makes me wonder if the article writers were really that careless or if they couldn't find good enough examples of illicit material in actual YA books. Believe me, I think there's plenty of material out there in YA that would shock people (that's what makes YA so awesome), but sometimes I wonder if these articles are really, truly about YA itself.

Because here's the thing. I'm not challenging these articles' various conclusions. I'm questioning their motives. When I watch video clips on Tosh.0, particularly ones depicting groin injuries, I'm always informing my TV that those videos were staged just so those people could get on the show. Likewise, I had a college friend who was obsessed with "voyeur porn" and owned all these pictures he claimed were taken of naked women unawares. I never examined his collection, but I didn't buy his story that they'd all come from photographers lucky enough to pass an oblivious sorority girl's window. I was certain they'd all been set-ups with models, then sold to gullible men. I'm a skeptic. I don't buy that the drama we're often shown is really the real deal.

So let's get back to the YA thing. I heard a blogger say recently that while she doesn't enjoy slamming authors or publishers, she knows that if she posts anything really controversial and scathing, her site and her ads will get hit like crazy. And some days, I wonder if this attitude is being taken to an extreme level by those who post these YA-slamming articles. It's no secret that YA is a hot genre now. It's crossed age lines, and many books are household names. So, if you write something sensational that gets people all riled up, you will get traffic. And no publicity is bad publicity, right? I mean, I've just furthered this point by posting the above four articles.

So what do you think? Is YA bashing a cool new way to draw attention to you/your website? Or are these writers completely serious about their messages?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vampires in New York

This blog is being written while enroute home from a short trip to New York. Of course sixteen hours both ways may not actually count as a short trip, but still.. It's always interesting to travel to a new city. Of course, for me, part of the fun is always deciding how much damage my various characters would do to the place.

As soon as I passed Le Cirque, I knew it would be a great building to have Greta (the most homicidal of my Void City Vampires) utterly wreck during a brawl. She'd like the subway, too. The press of bodies would help keep her warm and it would also provide easy access to tons of victims.

Eric, would like the way the shade of the tall buildings let him walk out and about during the day as long as he was careful about his route. He wouldn't be careful - because he almost never manages that kind of prep - but he'd like that it would theoretically work.

Talbot (my enigmatic shapeshifting kind-of-a-cat) would dig the museums and he might drop drop into the met to snark at statues of his mom. (I'll add a picture or two later when Blogsy is giving me less trouble). He'd dig access to Central Park for his jogging and to the upscale clothiers and club.

Fang, on the other hand, would hate the place. For a car, even an undead one, the traffic would be less than ideal and it would nt be long before he drew way too much attention to himself by driving off one of the bridges or running down too many pedestrians.

One of the characters from BURNED (Void City, book 4... Which is due out in February 2012) would have an even better time in New York, but I can't really get into that without spoiling too much. Let's just say that she's a perfect "buddy" for Greta because if Greta rips her head off, it can be reattached quite easily - no muss, no fuss.

So what do you think of when you go to a new city?

(oh, and on a side note, don't forget to check out the Gearless web comic I'm writing over at )

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Show Book Show

Wow. It's been three months since I've blogged here at the League. Don't think I haven't thought about that fact. I used to be the one that bitched until other Leaguers blogged. The times, they are a changin'. Anyways, since I don't have anything "Mark Henry" related to blog about and likely won't for the foreseeable future. I thought...why not give you my alter-ego!

So...without further's the world premiere of my new book recommendation vlog, aptly titled Book Show Book Show!!!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ski Mask Shenanigans

As one might imagine, whenever I get together with my editors, we tend to Plot Shenanigans of a Sordid Nature. Raucously. Drunkenly. Boorishly, even. Peppered with Evil Sniggers. And we leave our servers wondering how we ever managed to get ourselves Gainfully Employed. More on this below...

The first thing I did when I entered the Random House building on July 5, the release day for HAMMERED, was thank the nice security lady who saved my life the previous year from the dangerous vagaries of their turnstile system. She did not remember me. She saves lives EVERY DAY, so I was just another face in the crowd for her. But she was special to me, and I let her know.

Next I got to jump up and down and squee with my editor, Tricia, because HAMMERED was already doing well on Amazon and had gotten some kind reviews. And then we went down to see the Beast of the East, Viking Mike, and deliver a comic I drew of him and Atticus O'Sullivan slaying demons together. Here it is—you can click to enlarge:

I want you all to know that my representation of Mike is only slightly exaggerated. Random House policy prohibits him from wearing a horned helmet and bringing a double-bladed axe to work, but otherwise you see him in his daily costume: a kilt and giant nipple ring. He is a hardcore badass, and he brings that ruthless energy to his editing.

Next we traveled down a couple of floors (we were on the 24th, but we went down to 22) and warmed ourselves in the cozy glow of the giant fire pit where they burn unsolicited manuscripts. The blaze is watched over by a nervous intern and the smoke is carried out through one of those giant industrial vents you see on cooking shows. On that floor I had the great pleasure of meeting Gina and April, so shout-outs to both of them!

Mike, Tricia, and I took off to a neat place nearby for lunch called The Three Monkeys. (Mike put on a shirt for this.) They had some ridiculously good food and beer there. My first inkling that this could be a very good lunch was provided by the variety of taps:

I ordered a German hefeweizen with the long name on the glass. They claim to be the world's oldest brewery, but we know that's not true. That would be Goibhniu's brewery in Tír na nÓg. Anyway, it tasted of bananas and cloves, people. Delicious.

Oberon would have been overjoyed by the Chicken Truffle Sausage, served with grilled onions and mashed potatoes. Proof:

We then began to Plot Shenanigans of a Sordid Nature, so we had to don ski masks to preserve our anonymity in case anything was overheard. And of course, because we were celebrating the release of HAMMERED, and Atticus does an Irish Car Bomb with Jesus in Chapter 11, we had to do an Irish Car Bomb ourselves. Ever had one? You take half a pint of Guinness, drop in a shot that's part whiskey and part Bailey's Irish Cream, then chug it fast before the Bailey's curdles. If you do it right, it tastes like chocolate milk. Nom nom nom! Here is what they look like before you chug 'em:

Isn't that one of the prettiest pictures you've ever seen? Here are We Three Conspirators preparing to pound 'em down—I'm the one in the mask:

That's something you don't see every day. And it's probably best for your sanity, to be truthful.

What did we plot? Well, the possibility of a short story coming out sometime before the release of TRICKED to tide you over until April 2012. The possibility of getting the same cover model for the next three books and casually inquiring whether he's single, because everyone wants to know. And since construction of our dragon ship  is nearly finished, we made preliminary plans for pillaging the coast of Nova Scotia.

I had an utterly lovely time at Posman Books in Grand Central Terminal ('Sup, Stacey?) later that night, and then I went out with my agent to drink some more at an amazing place called The Ginger Man. We toasted and caroused and talked beer with the very knowledgable bartender, Nikki. She knew her stuff!

Anyway. Today I'm back on a plane for Arizona. I have a book to finish and lots of packages to mail and stuff like that. Want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm for the series; I'm sincerely grateful and so glad I get to write more!

Next up: San Diego Comic Con! I'll be on a panel at 8 pm on Friday with Harry Turtledove and Kim Harrison! Woohoo! :) See my Events & Appearances page for other goodies! Peace.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Will Diana Love Brains forever? and's a krazy league release day!!

So many awesome league releases today, I'm devoting my post to it. 

First off, Diana Rowland is launching her awesome new series with WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE, and if she hits the NYT list, she'll be getting this tattoo! 
Wouldn't you love to see Diana Rowland wearing this fabulous tattoo? I know I sure would!
The description, from the author’s site:
Angel Crawford is a loser.
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.
That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue--and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.
Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey--just when she's hungriest!
Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat.

A SHOT IN THE DARK by K.A. Stewart (Jesse James Dawon #2)
The second installment in the fabulous Dawson series! 
The Open Book Society: had this to say about book #1: "This crackling series launch hits the trifecta of strong story, characters, and prose. Jesse James Dawson is a retail clerk, a samurai, a redneck brawler, a good husband and father, and a Champion: a demon slayer who fights to free repentant souls from hastily entered contracts."

The blurb: Jesse James Dawson is a Champion, putting his life on the line for those foolish enough to bargain with demons and fighting to save their souls. But even a Champion needs some downtime, so Jesse takes his annual camping trip to Colorado for some male bonding over friendly games of paintball.
Unfortunately, the fun and war games are interrupted by a pack of creatures summoned up from the very depths of hell by an entity Jesse prayed he’d never see again. With the lives of his friends and a teenager’s soul on the line, Jesse’s only hope may lie with an even more dangerous enemy–his personal demon, Axel…
HAMMERED by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles #3)
Our little Kevin is kicking serious ass with this series! Check out a Hammered sneak peek!!

Here, from Publisher's Weekly: 
In the adrenaline-spiked third Iron Druid adventure (following Hounded and Hexed), Atticus O'Sullivan, the 1,200-year-old sexy warrior druid, pops into Asgard, steals one of the golden apples of immortality, and zips back out again. Piece of cake—until he has to go back and face off against Thor, the extremely irritating Norse god of thunder. Thor has annoyed a whole lot of people over the eons, chief among them Leif Helgarson, an ancient vampire with a mighty grudge. Atticus reluctantly teams up with Leif and Gunnar Magnusson, the alpha werewolf of the Tempe, Ariz., pack, to take Thor down—that is, if everything goes according to plan, which it never does. Hearne provides lots of zippy plotting and rocking action scenes, and fans will be thrilled by hints that the series is set to continue. 

The pub blurb: Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.
One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself
“What I love about this book is the fact it is written with a heroine over 35 and her leading man is not some "young stud", proving a romance doesn't have to be about twenty-something’s. I also enjoyed the little entries from Frankie's "journal" before the beginning of each chapter. Dakota always makes me laugh when I read her books, and this was no exception.”
~From Night Owl Romance

Publisher blurb: If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen...the latest from national bestselling author Dakota Cassidy!
After discovering that her famous chef husband was cheating, Frankie Bennett lost her mind-on live TV. Now Frankie is broke, unemployed, and hiding out in her aunt's retirement village. That is, until Maxine Henderson-Barker-reformed trophy wife and owner of Trophy Jobs Inc. employment agency-arrives to give Frankie a much needed kick in the pants.
Soon, Frankie lands a job as a prep chef at a Greek diner in New Jersey, home to the world's best meatloaf and an owner who resembles an exquisitely chiseled Greek statue. Falling into bed with Nikos isn't the best idea, but after years of living in a man's shadow, this ex- trophy wife is ready to get busy cooking...
BLOODLUST by Michelle Rowen (Nightshade Series #2)
“Bloodlust offers up non-stop action, steamy encounters, and engaging characters that walk the razor’s edge between light and dark.  Rowen’s foray into a new dark, gritty world is a brilliant success. Bloodlust is an adrenaline rush!” –Larissa Ione, New York Times Bestselling Author

For those who feast on blood, Jillian Conrad is a fatal attraction. After being injected with a serum that made her blood both irresistible and deadly to vampires, she was used as a pawn to assassinate the vampire king. Now, the vampires want her eliminated.
Hunted and unable to return to her old life, Jillian desperately seeks to prevent the poison in her veins from killing her. And she must find a way to help her dhampyr protector, Declan, whose exposure to the serum has split his personality into one part uncontrolled desire, and one part stone cold killer.
But an even greater danger is rising. The Amarantos – a secret society of vampires – is seeking the infant daughter of the slain king to complete their quest for true immortality. And if they succeed, no one, living or undead, will escape the darkness. 
 I'm so proud of all my fellow leaguers with their fabulous releases. Have a fun day, you guys!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Something To Ponder On The Fourth

First, Happy Fourth of July :) Yay, fireworks, independence and barbecues.

Second--it’s a holiday.

You’re all probably recuperating from heinous weekend hangovers filled with drinks I’ve never heard of, wild orgy pool parties, and too much sun.

You’re tired from lugging lawn chairs, coolers filled with the above booze I’ve never heard of, and boxes of overpriced sparklers.

You’ve eaten your fill of hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad.

I get it.

So I’ll keep this blog simple.




Or Cass?

Hit me :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Fallen

It's the beginning of the July Fourth weekend. That means fireworks, BBQs, and patriotic memorials to the fallen.

I've given my own tribute to the fallen, specifically to people who meant a lot to me, in the dedication page of three of my novels.

I dedicated my second book, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, to Jad Duwaik, who I had met through a mutual friend. I sensed that Jad had gone through a lot but didn't ask. He lived in the basement of my friend's mom's house, and he didn't have a job or money. No car. But he was smart and social and a lot of fun to hang with. At the time, I wasn't yet published, and he and I would talk a bit about writing. Then, in a flurry, he decided to go to China and teach English for a six month assignment that lasted more than three years. In January 2006, I received word that he had died of a brain aneurysm in Shenyang, China. He was 35. It was in the preparation of his eulogy that I learned much about Jad, and how much we had in common. I felt that I'd lost more than a friend but a brother. He had made a bundle during the first dot com boom, only to lose it all during the subsequent bust. Many of the people he had helped on the way up turned their backs to him. Jad struggled to cope with his misfortune and to his credit, he never was anything but optimistic and cheery when around me. His trip to China was another effort to remake himself. He lived on the economy and immersed himself in their culture, cuisine, and language. His goal was to become as fluent as an educated Chinese national and then work as a translator. By that time, my first book was within a month of being published and I looked forward to his return to Denver for a mutual celebration. But that celebration instead became his funeral.

Not long after I was offered a contract by HarperCollins, the moment became bittersweet with news that my youngest sister, Laura, had been diagnosed as terminal with breast cancer, the final chapter in a hard life. When she was 19 months old, she fell victim to an epidemic of meningitis that claimed seventeen infants in our county and had left my sister mentally disabled. Laura had difficulty with motor coordination and never could learn how to write or read. But she loved to dance and was a wizard with the calendar. She'd ask you for your birth date, reflect a moment, and then say, "You were born on a Tuesday (or whatever)." And she was always right. Laura passed away on Christmas Eve, 2004 at the age of 41. I dedicated my third book, The Undead Kama Sutra, to her and my parents.

Then after I was published, I received a request from Kensington asking if I would blurb a manuscript. Sure, I replied. Turns out it was the kinetic and over-the-top mystery thriller, The Devil's Mambo, from Jerry Rodriguez. Beside the requiste hard-boiled snark and bloodshed, the hero of the book is put in his place with a strap-on by the femme fatale. Fun stuff. Jerry and I began an email correspondence, and I looked forward to meeting him at the Debut Author's Breakfast at the 2006 ThrillerFest in NYC. I was disappointed that he didn't show up and learned he was in the hospital. Turns out, his cancer had relapsed. Jerry Rodriguez passed away at the age of 46 in 2oo8.

That same year, I lost another hero. The amazing artist, John Berkey (1932-2008), whose work many of you will recognize. I never had the honor of meeting him but his passing was deeply felt. I dedicated my fourth book, Jailbait Zombie, to both him and Jerry.

And now on to the the affairs of the living. I have an essay, "Cowboy Up," in a collection of works about writing in the West, An Elevated View. The other authors include Kathy Brandt, Margaret Cole, Laurie Wagner Buyer, Dan Guenther. Edited by W.C. Jameson. We have a signing, 7:30PM, Wednesday, July 6, at the Colfax Tattered Cover. You are all invited.

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