Monday, October 31, 2011

A Guide to Surviving Whatever Halloween Throws at You

So, as usual, I've been watching way too many horror movies in the lead-up to Halloween. And because I tend to over-think these things, I've started composing lists of things I need to watch for just in case I'm destined for some sort of SyFy Channel Halloween death match. And because you're my blog peeps, and I love you, and I want you to survive if such a situation comes up, I thought I'd share them with you.

Five signs you are about to be bitch-slapped by the zombie apocalypse.

1) You have drunkenly stumbled into a mausoleum, hunting cabin, abandoned hospital/mental ward, derelict amusement park or closed shopping mall to do something juvenile and asinine.

2) You recently achieved a life milestone- marriage, a promotion, pregnancy, or retiring. In zombie movies, God will only let you be happy for so long.

3) You fiddle with chemicals and/or bio-hazardous materials you neither appreciate nor understand.

4) You are feisty and/or plucky. Zombies are drawn to "plucky" like ants to an open Coke can. And your Coke can is full of delicious brains.

5) Despite having never touched a gun before, you discover a heretofore unknown mastery of badass weapons.


Five signs you are about to be possessed or eviscerated by a ghost

1) You have drunkenly stumbled into a mausoleum, hunting cabin, abandoned hospital/mental ward, derelict amusement park or closed shopping mall to do something juvenile and asinine.

2) You find an amulet inscribed with a Satanic symbol, a book bound in human skin, or some other object the locals describe as “cursed,” then stick it in your pocket as a souvenir.

3) You bear a striking resemblance to any person in the history of any place. Ever.

4) Your ancestors did something really, really douche-y, once upon a time.

5) You have been told a local legend about a spirit that devours attractive twenty-somethings, turns attractive twenty-somethings inside out, or skins attractive twenty-somethings and turns them into puppets or household furnishings. But you ignore it. It’s just a story, right?


Five signs you are about to ironically murdered by a serial killer.

1) You have drunkenly stumbled into a mausoleum, hunting cabin, abandoned hospital/mental ward, derelict amusement park or closed shopping mall to do something juvenile and asinine.

2) Someone in your group of friends is a really attractive, sweet-natured virgin.

3) You’re on a group outing with friends, but can’t wait until the end of evening to have sex. So you sneak off to a location where no one will hear you. You’re smart AND classy.

4) No one in your group has a fully charged cell phone, a well-maintained car or a gun.

5) Someone in your group, usually the one wearing glasses, has a really solid survival plan, but you don’t listen to it.


Five signs you are being targeted by some variation of a mutated shark, gator, octopus, fish, snake, gorilla or combination thereof.

1) You have drunkenly stumbled into a mausoleum, hunting cabin, abandoned hospital/mental ward, derelict amusement park or closed shopping mall to do something juvenile and asinine.

2) You are a grizzled old fisherman with a drinking problem, that no one will miss until your remaining bits are found in an estuary.

3) You stumble upon a twisted, empty storage container from an ominously-named genetic engineering lab a few yards from your campsite, but you don’t want to change your plans for the weekend.

4) You utter the words, “Did you hear something?”

5) You are outside at night, either going to pee or to meet your sweetheart for an ill-advised rendezvous and your flashlight’s battery just died.


Five signs you are about to be devoured by vampires, the non-sexy, non-teen angsty variety.

1) You have drunkenly stumbled into a mausoleum, hunting cabin, abandoned hospital/mental ward, derelict amusement park or closed shopping mall to do something juvenile and asinine.

2) You live in an isolated community where there is an inordinate amount of rain or night-time hours.

3) You are driving a bloodmobile.

4) You are friends with someone who seems to know too much about vampire traditions and history.

5) You are biddable and desperate for friends and would therefore make an invaluable bug-eating familiar.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Chat at VYou

No plans on Halloween? I'll be hosting a video chat at VYou, from 9-10 p.m. (CST) Monday, Oct. 31. Stop by, leave a question, you'll get an immediate video response!

My profile is linked here.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Once & Future Podcast Haunted Halloween Special Features Favorite Authors Reading Their Favorite Seasonal Tales

I've been a busy little bee spooking it up for the haunted holiday season, and here are all the details that will bring you almost 2 hours of awesome story goodness!


(USA, NY, NY) - Speculative fiction author Anton Strout announces a very special haunted episode of The Once & Future Podcast- a new weekly book-centric podcast focused on all things fantasy and science fiction. Episode 7, posting on Monday, October 24th, promises hours of dark and creepy tales of the season, including many of them read by the authors themselves.

“I love the Fall,” says Strout, host and curator of content for the show. “I always have. The change of seasons where everything is slowly dying, a chill filling the air, and all the horrors that are associated with one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. To help celebrate, I’ve invited some of my most ghoulish and delightful author friends to join in this danse macabre and regale us with stories inspired by their darker nature. Being the twisted little creators they are, they happily agreed, some of them cackling with evil glee pouring forth from their little black hearts, bless ‘em.”


The podcast will feature essays and tales surrounding the Halloween spirit by: Amber Benson (Death’s Daughter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghosts of Albion), Jennifer Brozek (Grant’s Pass, Shanghai Vampocalypse), Rachel Caine (The Morganville Vampires, Working Stiff), Christopher Golden (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, Ghosts of Albion), Heather Graham (Harrison/Krewe of Hunters series), Nalo Hopkinson (Skin Folk, The New Moon’s Arms), Jonathan Maberry (Dead of Night, Patient Zero, Marvel Zombies Return), and Tim Waggoner (Nekropolis, Ghost Trackers).


To find out more, please visit http://antonstrout.com/Once___Future_Podcast.html

About The Once & Future Podcast

The Once & Future Podcast is a weekly book-centric podcast focused on all things fantasy and science fiction, hosted by the one and only Anton Strout. Strout is the author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series published by Ace Books as well as the upcoming Spellmason Chronicles and has been in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Anton will be chatting in interview format with other authors at various stages of their careers every Monday via iTunes or by visiting http://antonstrout.com/Once___Future_Podcast.html

Contact:
Anton Strout, Host/Curator
Email: OnceandFuturePodcast@gmail.com
twitter: twitter.com/OandFPodcast
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Once.And.Future.Podcast
Website: antonstrout.com/Once___Future_Podcast.html

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombies. Denied.

((Cross-posted at On Literary Intent))

Anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with me knows my one great phobia: zombies. Can’t explain why, but they freak me out like nothing else in this entire world. Yes, I know they’re fictional. No, it doesn’t help. And for some reason, even knowing that they scare the bejeezus outta me, I still feel the need to poke at that open wound. Hence, watching the AMC series, The Walking Dead.

(It should be noted that I watch a lot of it with my eyes closed)

In discussing this show with others, it has been brought up that they never use the word “zombie”. (they call them “walkers”) And of course, in my mind, this is because a “zombie” was never part of this world’s mythology, and therefore they don’t HAVE that word. I find this simple concept interesting, however, because it tends to illustrate one of my key theories* about the concept of a zombie apocalypse. (*key theory also translates to “things I will rant about for hours if you don’t walk away first”)

My theory being this: A zombie apocalypse canNOT happen in a world where zombies are part of the known mythos. Bear with me here, I shall ‘splain.

I am willing to hazard a guess that at least 75% of the world** has heard the word “zombie” or whatever that translates to in their language of choice. (**all statistics pulled directly out of my butt) A good chunk of that 75% goes even further and has read/watched/heard enough about the monster called “zombie” to know how to kill one, and how to avoid infection by same.

Therefore, the surprise and bewilderment element that seems to be so key in the early days of a zombie apocalypse would not apply to our world as we know it.

Picture this, two guys sitting on their front porch, and they see a half-decayed corpse come lurching down the street.

Guy 1: “Hey, Ralph, you see that?”
Guy 2: “Holy shee-it, that’s a zombie!”
Guy 1: “Dude, get the camera, I’ma grab a ball bat. We’re gonna youtube this shit!”

No pause of “hey, that guy’s hurt, we should get him to a hospital!” No trying to save Uncle Jethro because we love him and he just had a little bite from the crazy neighbor guy across the street. No spread, no epidemic, all done.

Now, it has been mentioned to me that “Not everyone sits around with a shotgun saying ‘Bring on the zombies!’” To which I answer, “They don’t?” I don’t have a single friend who has not put at least minimal thought into a plan for a zombie apocalypse. I know, ‘cause I took a poll. Some are more thorough than others (ie: weapons stashes, bug out bags, survival training, etc.). Some are no more than “Hey, I’ma go find Kari & her hubby, ‘cause they have swords and they’re mean!” But still, it’s a plan.

And really, think about it. The original gaming generation has now reached adulthood. How many of us grew up on the original Romero zombie movies, blasting away at zombies in almost every video game ever made? (even Mario Brothers has walking skeleton dudes. Just saying) We’re comfortable with the idea of killing zombies. More importantly though, we’re all ADULTS now. (for some loose definition of the word) That means we have our own expendable income, and the legal ability to buy weapons. This isn’t just guns, this is swords, and crossbows and axes and all those things your parents would never let you have as a child.

We’re an entire generation of armed, zombie killing machines, people! Just let one of those undead mofos raise his head and we will bust it into tiny plague-ridden bits. No zombie apocalypse for me, thank you very much.

And there you have it, folks. Proof that I have put WAY too much thought into a totally fictional disaster scenario. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spooky Stuff

First, thanks to all of you for your support of our "boycott me!" post. The attempts of a few bullies to undermine some of the best information sites out there truly is scary, but you guys aren't afraid and that gives us a warm, goopy feeling... but more like chocolate lava cake than whatever Mark and Mario where thinking. And thanks to you guys, we're going to be sending money off to support Absolute Write's and Writer Beware's continuing efforts to keep writers safe from scammers and lying cockwaffles.

Meanwhile, since it's October, I've been thinking about Hallowe'en. When I was a kid, this was always my favorite holiday. You got to go out after dark (yay!), get candy (more yay!), and dress up as someone or something you weren't (Excellent!) Maybe my parents should have realized right then that I was destined to be a writer because I always wanted to dress up and be someone else and tell lies. Because writers are usually insecure loonies with word obsessions who read the dictionary for fun and find their imaginary friends more interesting than "real" people. Well, I am at least.

But back to the dressing up! I guess I'm lucky I'm female because most people don't find it odd for little girls to play dress up or for adult women to have a closet full of clothes with which to transform themselves from whatever they do during the day to whatever they play at night (or vice versa). If I'd been male I suppose I'd have had to be a drag queen,

because I secretly crave the FAHBoolus, dahlink.

At Hallowe'en, I always dressed up as a princess...
long before Disney princesses were popular. Except for the one year I dressed up as a cat (haha) and gave myself a hairball trying to get my hands free of my adorable felt paws using my teeth.


But this year I don't know what to dress as. I'm not the sort to dress up as a Sexy Nurse:
an adorable pirate:
Or even a socially-responsible, green-friendly "box Croc" (not that I'm known to be responsible or green... except when I've had too much to drink.)
So... I guess I'll have to go as myself.
Alas

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sneak Peak at A Sliver of Shadow

Well, the cover hasn't been "officially" released yet, but I've been given the go ahead to give away cover flats, so here's a quick shot of the new A Sliver of Shadow cover!

New model, new artist...and yes, a shot of Phin on the back there.  Though for some reason I couldn't convince the art department to put him in a wombat brothel. Alas.

(There's actually a bit of a gork-up on the image on the spine, but that will be fixed with the book release, so chalk these up babies up to potential collector's items. You know, some day when I've got that massive movie deal.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Picture Worth a (Literal) Thousand Words

(Cross-posted from my blog)

Last October I was lucky enough to enjoy an extended weekend frolicking around New York City with a good friend. We went to see the fabulous show "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," eat good food, walk a bazillion miles, and even throw in a little book research.

You see, the opening chapter of TRANCE takes place in Central Park. In it, sixteen teen and tweens training to be superheroes are running from a group of bad guys. It's the final battle after years of fighting between the adults, and everything has come to a head in Manhattan.

The problem was, I had never been to Central Park, and while I'd found lots of nice photos online, it's an entirely different experience to walk the Park itself. For one thing, it's huge! And you can't really get a sense of scale without being there. So we went, and we walked, and I took lots and lots of pictures.

You can read Chapter One of TRANCE here, or you can hang around and read here, as well, complete with pictures. Unfortunately, I lack the drawing skills required to insert my characters into these photos, so the narrative action will have to suffice.

ENJOY!

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One
Central Park

The bronze man's head was melting. It oozed fat splats of liquid metal and swirled down the front of his old-fashioned suit jacket to puddle at his feet. Some of it hit the bronze duck below him, adding layers of new metal that mutated it into a nightmarish goose. The molten metal cooled and hardened as it hit the sidewalk. Mayhem's heat blasts were concentrated above the statue, and metal needs a constant heat source to stay liquid. I learned that in class.

Gage had told me the statue was of a once-famous man who wrote stories for kids. I don't know for sure, but if Gage says so, it must be true. He's in charge while the adults are fighting for all of our lives, and he kept us quiet and hidden. For a while.

Until Mayhem found our hiding place.

"We have to run for it," Gage said.

I didn't want to run. We'd been running for hours, from the southernmost point of Central Park to where we were now. I don't know how many blocks, but a lot, and it was raining, too—light, chilly rain and heavy, splattering rain. Sometimes it stopped and just blew cold wind; then Ethan would use his Tempest powers to try to redirect it so we didn't freeze.

Hours of it, and I was exhausted. We all were. Each time the Banes gained ground and pushed the last of the grown-up Rangers north, we kids ran ahead and took cover. We were there to fight if we had to, but the grown-ups didn't want us to—not until absolutely necessary. At fifteen, Gage was the oldest; I'm the youngest at ten-almost-eleven. He says we're the last line of defense for the city of New York.

We're the last line of defense for the rest of the country.

And we're just a bunch of kids.

Mayhem kept blasting.

Ethan stepped out from the shelter of the stone wall, all wiry and red-haired and cocky thirteen. He raised his hands to the sky. A blast of wind shot away from him and swirled toward Mayhem. She was a good hundred yards away, across a cement hole that had once been a lake or something, near a statue of a bronze girl on a mushroom. The statue was losing shape, turning into goo from her being so close to it.

Ethan's air blast slammed Mayhem's heat back at her. She was wearing street clothes, just jeans and a black shirt, and they were nothing like our special uniforms. No armor to protect Mayhem from her own powers or ours, so she flew backward with a piercing shriek. Her braided black hair flipped around like snakes, and she landed out of sight on the other side of the mushroom.

"Go!" Gage shouted.

Mellie ran first, as fast as she could across the cement ground, toward the nearest clutch of unburned trees. Renee went next, a streak of blue skin and honey-blond hair, with William behind her. He carried Janel, who was unconscious from power overload; William had superstrength so he could run and carry her at the same time, while I could barely run and carry myself.

I followed the big kids, including Marco, who was still in panther form, and fifteen of us streaked across the way, rounding the edge of the cement pit, seeking our next place to hide. Just like we'd done all day. My lungs were burning, aching with smoke and cold and overuse and unshed tears. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. I was sick of being cold. I didn't want to be afraid anymore. I didn't want to have to think about tomorrow—if we had a tomorrow.

I was only ten. Almost eleven. I wasn't ready to die.

None of us was.

Mellie sure wasn't when one of Mayhem's heat blasts caught her full in the face and melted her skin down to her bones. Mellie didn't even get to scream. I screamed plenty. So did Renee and Nate and William. Only panther-Marco paused long enough to sniff her, then loped past.

Ethan cried out, and then he wasn't running with the group anymore. I didn't stop to see what happened, but a few seconds later, Mayhem shouted again. This time, the roar of wind was louder. I hoped he tossed her into a tree or something.

We left poor Mellie on the ground and kept going, like we'd left three others behind already. My jelly legs didn't want to keep running, and one by one the older kids moved ahead of me. Toward the trees and the promise of safety somewhere else. I'd get left behind and it wouldn't matter. My powers were stupid; I couldn't help in a fight. My ability to hypnotize people and alter their thoughts worked only if I looked them in the eye. That was hard to do in the middle of a war zone. I hadn't done anything today but cry and scream and get in the way.

Not like my dad, Hinder, one of the greatest heroes in the Ranger Corps. He was fighting south of us with the last half dozen grown-up Rangers, keeping the horde of Banes (sixty-something of them, Gage had said) from overrunning us. We were kids training to be heroes. If our parents and mentors died, how did anyone expect us to stop them?

We could barely save ourselves from one Bane with a superheat blast. Once the line fell and the Banes got through, sixty-something of them would crush us in seconds.

No, the line couldn't fall. Not with my dad in charge. He'd save us.

A hand grabbed my arm and yanked me forward. I nearly tripped. Gage didn't let go as we ran; he was practically pulling me along. It was as close as we'd ever come—or ever would—to holding hands. I'm still a baby and he's a teenager. He's just helping me because he's in charge. He can't let me lag behind.

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We found a wide path. It took us under a stone archway and we emerged onto an open lawn. If it was ever green, it was now brown and rutted and overrun here and there with clumps of dried weeds. A lot of Central Park looked like that now. After New York City's first major battle in the War, most of the city had been evacuated and a lot of the buildings destroyed. I'd seen it from the helicopter that brought us here this morning—burning, crumbling skyscrapers, gutted old theaters, debris in the empty streets. William had pointed at a tall, skinny building called the Empire or something, and said it used to be twice as tall. I didn't believe him.

Manhattan was a good place to fight, we were told. Early evacuation meant fewer civilian injuries. One of the major rules of the Ranger Corps code is protect civilians at all costs. Even the dumb ones who stand there and scream, instead of getting out of the way.

I once overheard Gage's mentor, Delphi, say that any civilian who didn't get out of the way of battling Metas was too stupid to save. It had made the other adults laugh. I didn't know why it was funny, and I couldn't ask her to explain it. I shouldn't have been listening in the first place. But Delphi was smart, so it had to be important. She'd mentored a lot of kids who didn't have anyone to teach them about their powers and how to be a Ranger. If I'd been an orphan like Gage, I'd have liked Delphi to be my mentor, too.

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No one else attacked us on the lawn, but it was too open. Gage changed our direction, sideways instead of across the lawn. It felt like forever before we hit the cover of trees again. In the distance, peeking through the crisping, late summer leaves, was the turret of a big stone building.

"Head toward the castle," Gage yelled toward the front of the line. William and Renee altered their path just a little. We passed what had once been a pond of some kind, and soon we were all going up.

"Can we hide there?" I gasped. The cold and wet made my lungs burn.

"I think so."

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Somewhere south of us, something exploded. It sounded like a truck got dropped from the sky and hit another one on the ground. I felt the rattle of it in my bones. Gage looked over his shoulder. I couldn't. Every ounce of my attention was on not falling over my own tired feet.

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We went up a set of stone steps. The paths intersected at the top and seemed to go off in four different directions. To our left was the castle—a stone building that had so far avoided complete destruction and shone like a hopeful beacon. Thick, round stones made a sort of patio that led to the castle itself, and it had two fancy pavilions on the left and right of the steps we came up. Except for a few blown-out windows, the castle was intact. Past it, farther to the north, was something that looked like an outdoor theater surrounded by bony winter trees.

A figure emerged from the castle, and everyone ahead of us came to a clumsy, jumbled halt. Gage let me go and jogged to the front to see. I sidled closer to Renee, who stretched one blue arm out to grasp me around the shoulders. She was twelve, almost a teenager, and my best friend. I loved her Flex power that let her bend and twist into funny lengths and shapes. It was a useful power, too. When we first got here, she'd used it to yank me out of the way of Mayhem's heat blast.

"You gotta keep up, T," Renee said. Her teeth chattered and, instead of red, the cold made her cheeks look purple. "Can't lose you, too."

"I'm trying," I replied.

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"Who are you?" Gage asked the stranger. His voice was still changing, going unpredictably from high-pitched to deep in timbre, so it squeaked a little when he tried to be bossy. Like now.

I peeked around William's bulk—twelve and almost six feet tall—to get a better look.

A dirty man in ragged clothes was leaning hard against the stone wall. His face was sunken and filthy, and he probably stank, if the look on Gage's face said anything. All five of Gage's senses were hypersensitive and picked up on all sorts of things. Something about the stranger, other than being homeless and in our hiding place—was bothering Gage.

"Sir, you shouldn't be here," Gage said. "It isn't safe."

"Nowhere's safe from your kind nowadays," the man said. His voice was slurred, thick, like he was both drunk and half asleep. He wouldn't look up from some interesting spot on the stone. Loose, torn clothing hung limply, covering his hands and feet, as if he'd shrunk inside them.

"There's a battle moving this way. You can't stay here."

The man shrugged.

Another explosion, similar to the first, rocked the ground. It was closer this time, louder. One of the younger boys whimpered. Panther-Marco stalked around the group to stand sentry next to Gage and hissed at the man. The two boys with the best noses knew something was wrong.

Nate's voice rang through all of our heads as his telepathic warning blared like a neon sign: Back up and get out of—

The stranger raised his right hand as he looked up. His sunken eyes glowed with yellow-orange power as he fired the little revolver in his hand, creating chaos.

Her arm still around me, Renee practically dragged me toward the larger pavilion. We all fled there while three more shots were fired. I couldn't see for the flurry of moving bodies. I didn't know where Gage was. Someone was screaming about Nate.

At the back of the pavilion, more stone steps led down to a rocky surface that overlooked the dried-up pond. We crouched there, using what little cover our hiding place provided. Fear clutched me colder than the January freeze, but I still glanced up and around a stone column, heart kicking against my ribs, a bitter taste in my mouth.

Nate was dead on the ground, a hole in his chest. The homeless man looked on, his eyes glowing death, smug like a Bane. He threw back his head and laughed—it might have been scarier if he weren't so hoarse.

Nearby, under the pavilion and behind a stone wall, William was bleeding at the hip. Down on the rock floor with us, Ethan was shot in the left shoulder. Both were panting, trying to be brave and to not cry. I looked away before I started crying, too.

"We're ending this tonight!" the man shouted. "Your pathetic Rangers are falling as we speak. You'll see your parents in hell soon enough."

I shivered.

"Specter," Gage said, and I jumped at the sound of his voice right beside me.

It couldn't be Specter, the leader of the Banes. My dad said he was the one who'd rallied them together and initiated the War that had raged and ruined the country, killed hundreds on both sides, and left Metas nearly extinct. The last surviving Metas in the world had descended on Central Park to fight each other today. Dad said Specter could possess anyone who was unconscious or had a weak mind—take them over like a puppeteer, and make them do whatever he wanted.

Specter had found a man with a gun who could cut us kids down as surely as superpowers had taken five of us since the morning.

He strode out to the middle of the stone patio, gun raised but pointed nowhere. We didn't have a lot of cover, crowding low on the cold stone steps and behind two columns and two bits of waist-high stone wall. The wounded were now in the rear, the most powerful in the front. I was somewhere in the middle beside Gage, whose hands were shaking. His lips were pressed together so tight I couldn't see them. He looked like he wanted to barf all over the ground.

He was terrified.

Gage couldn't be terrified. He had to lead us, tell us what to do so we survived this.

"Gage?" I said.

He didn't look at me. He scrubbed a hand through his spiky blond hair, down over his face, then clenched it in front of his blue jumpsuit. Tugged and pulled at the material.

I tried again. Maybe my powers couldn't save us, but I could help him save us. "Gage?"

He just wasn't paying attention to me, like usual, so I grabbed his hand and gave it a solid yank. He looked at me then, his dark eyes flecked with little bits of silver that made them look like a starry night sky. As soon as I caught his gaze, I locked in and let my Trance powers do the rest.

You're a brave man, Gage. You wouldn't be our leader if you weren't brave. We need you to lead us. We need you to save us. You can do this.

Tears glistened in his eyes. I felt him fighting it, fighting the Trance, the urge to do anything I told him. Being scared was easier—I knew it and so did he. I forced a little more at him, as much as I could muster through my own terror.

Trust me.

His hands stopped shaking. He was calming down, bucking up, accepting my influence. My own fear lessened a little, but not enough. I wished I could Trance myself.

Trust me, Gage, and lead us. Save us.

The Specter-host took three more potshots. Someone screamed—I couldn't look, didn't want to know. Didn't want to see any more of my classmates hurt or dying or dead. A third explosion, horrifyingly close, sent a blast of hot air scorching across the pavilion, layered with the stink of smoke and ash. And something burning sweet.

Death was coming closer.

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"Angela, I need a distraction," Gage said, breaking our lock. He moved away, toward a blond girl who could leave up to twelve copies of herself behind as she walked, like holographic bread crumbs. "Marco, raven form."

Nearby I heard the funny, wet-Velcro sound Marco made when he shifted. The large black bird hopped over to Gage and waited for orders.

"I can still help," Ethan said. He was sweating, so pale his freckles looked like pimples, his uniform front soaked with blood.

Gage whispered a plan I couldn't hear while our attacker shot at us twice more, exploding stone and cement, in no hurry to kill us all. Or he was waiting for something.

"Ready?" Gage asked. The other big kids nodded. They all turned, prepared with their plan.

An energy orb slammed into the Specter-host and spun him around—but it wasn't from any of us. He squeezed off a wild shot that shattered the stone near Gage's head, and then the dirty man fell facedown on the cobblestones. The cold rain started falling harder.

A hunched, bleeding figure shambled toward us from around the stairs. Her white hair was stained red, plastered to her skull, and she looked a hundred years old. Gage and Angela ran out to help her, and they practically carried the old woman into the pavilion. She was bleeding from a dozen wounds, her hands and knees scraped from multiple falls. I saw her face and started to cry.

"Granny Dell," I said, shouldering my way through the older kids. I dropped to my knees next to my maternal grandmother, confused and horrified. She shouldn't be here. She'd retired forty years ago, long before I was born, and had lived my entire lifetime in Europe. We'd only met once, but had chatted on the phone dozens of times. She told me stories about my mom, who I didn't remember much.

And now Granny Dell was in Central Park. I'd heard the grown-ups say that everyone was being called to duty, but I had never imagined they meant my grandmother.

She turned weepy eyes toward me, like someone so desperately tired she wanted to burst out crying. I couldn't stop my own tears from falling, or the desperate sobs that hurt my chest.

"You kids need to go," she gasped. She was trying so hard. "They're coming. He's coming."

"We have wounded," Gage said behind me. "We can't leave them."

"Have to, son. You kids … you're the last. Have to live."

"We're not," I said. "Dad's still fighting. He'll save us." Her sad, sad face told me something about my dad I didn't want to know. My lungs hitched. I ignored her face. If I ignored her, it simply wasn't true.

"They'll be here soon, Teresa," Granny Dell said. "You have to run. Hide."

"Rangers don't hide." Dad taught me that. All I wanted to do was hide until the bad guys went away, but we couldn't. If we hid from the Banes now, we'd never live it down later. Unless we died after all.

Was it better to die a hero or live a coward?

I didn't know. All I knew was that I wanted to live.

Granny Dell choked up blood and stopped breathing. I kept holding her hand, afraid that if I let go, I'd run and hide just like she wanted me to, find a tree to climb or a hole to burrow into and stay there until the battle was over.

"We stand here," Gage said, rising up and addressing us like a general. Still brave, still saving us. Not giving up. "The man out there was right. It comes down to what we do tonight. We have to make our parents and mentors proud."

They were all talking at once, a buzz of voices and sounds and movements, and situating those who were too hurt to fight in the back of the pavilion, down in that rock-bottom hiding place. Forming a defensive line based on powers. Someone dashed outside to retrieve the gun. No one would use it; they just couldn't leave it lying around for a Bane to pick up. I stayed in the rear with the wounded and the dead, too cold and scared to help. I was useless.

Again.

An agony-filled shriek rose up from the trees surrounding the south side of the castle, carried on a wind that brought more of that awful roasted-sweet odor. Female scream, I thought, unable to think of the other adult Rangers who'd been left. I couldn't think of anyone except my dad, hurt, maybe … No. Just hurt. Or still battling his way toward us, leading his Rangers as only he could. Hinder would save us.

Renee and William stood together. I was surprised that William could be shot and still standing. He was strong. I thought he had a good power, just like Renee. But he didn't like her ability to stretch her blue body out like taffy. He said it was creepy, and she loved to torment him. Seeing them together was weird.

Marco was back in panther form. He paced the length of the pavilion, thick tail swishing, a predator. He told me once he'd rather be a big cat than a person. I didn't understand, but I was always jealous of his being a shapeshifter.

Even hurt, Ethan was waiting to help. He had one of the strongest powers among us, and he knew it. He was being brave. Everyone was being brave, except me. Might as well only be eleven of us left, instead of twelve.

Stupid, useless Trance.

The castle's spire exploded. Fire and rock blasted outward and rained down on the cobblestones in front of the pavilion. Some of us shrieked. I know I did. A second blast took out the rest of the turret. Smoke choked me and stung my eyes. Gage was shouting orders.

The first Bane crested the stairs at the far end of the stone patio. I didn't know her. Just saw her stop, locate us, then let out an excited war whoop. Terror hit me like a blast of fire all over my body as more Banes joined her.

The heat of the fire increased to all-over agony. This wasn't fear. Something was happening. Marco screamed, a too human sound. Everything went gray, and then the agony swallowed me whole.

© 2011 Kelly Meding

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hallowhat?

As a fan of low cut shirts, I usually don't have a problem with sexy anything. Each Halloween, however, I'm forced to re-evaluate this position as costume manufacturers continue to inundate me with new and increasingly outlandish "sexy" ideas for women to strut their stuff in. While these aren't the skankiest outfits out there, these are the top three that have caught my attention this year:


1. Risky Raccoon

This is part of an animal set, which also includes sexy fox and skunk costumes. Now, one might argue that the skunk is the more appalling sexy choice. And that would be a fair argument. Yet, this is the one I'm continually fascinated by. I don't know why, nor can I figure out who would be on board with this. Mostly I think it has to be someone like me who keeps scratching their head over it and finally just gives in. I suppose the mask and tail have sex appeal, but I'm not going to lie. Every time I look at this, I just think this girl is saying: "You like what you see, baby? You wanna go rummage through the trash with me? Yeah, you want that. That's exactly what you want. Hope you've got your rabies vaccine."



2. Sexy Bumblebee

No, not a bumblebee. I mean Bumbleebee, the character. The robot that turns into a car from Transformers. This one amazes because I have to wonder, what designer sits in a room and thinks, "You know what would be sexy? A giant, bulky seemingly male robot turned into a slutty dress." More puzzling still is the same old quesiton: who gets this? As a fan of Voltron and He-Man, perhaps I shouldn't judge. Maybe there's some girl out there with a childhood love of Transformers, and this is her dream come true. Mostly, however, I picture this as something the girlfriend of a guy like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons would wear for a hot night of sexy roleplaying. Except, I have a hard time picturing CBG with a girl like that.



3. Sassy Bambi

Disney characters aren't newcomers to the world of sexy Halloween costumes. Just look at all the Snow Whites and Jasmines out there. Even this isn't so bad, in and of itself. What worries me is that this is a gateway costume. From here it's only a slippery slope to the inevitable and most disturbing costume of all: Sexy Bambi's Mother.


So, that's my quick assessment of this year's options, but like I said, there are many more out there. What appalling ones have you seen? Can you top these with your own twisted ideas?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Void City Beach Outing

Sometimes, I write a scene that I love, but then can't fit it in the novel. Maybe it doesn't fit with the flow, or maybe I wrote it as backstory, just so that I would know exactly what happened. This vignette is one of those times where I wrote a piece knowing it wouldn't fit. To reader of the Void City books, it will fill in a little background, but o those who haven't, hopefully it will provide a tantalizing glimpse (I've always wanted to type that phrase) on the father/daughter relationship that is at the core of the series...

A Void City Beach Outing

by

J. F. Lewis © 2011

As my tent disintegrated in a lurid flash of heat and flames, so did I. Well, okay, I didn't quite go fwoosh, but there were definite flames involved. Vampires and the sun don't play well together. Then again, the people with whom I play well can be counted on one hand. The people I love? Well, for that you only need two fingers.

The bright sandy beaches of Gulf Shores sparkled before me and, for just an instant, I caught sight of my daughter in her bikini, having the time of her life out beyond the breakers. Then, of course, I was blinded, my flesh erupting into flames. Technically there is a bubbling phase in there, but it goes by so fast that I rarely notice. The smell of my own sizzling flesh filled my nostrils and I shouted a word of which I'm very fond. It alliterates with "fond" too, now that I think of it.

Two vampire hunters armed with flamethrowers rushed in, lighting me up further, if possible. The gas smell of their fuel tanks bit at my nose.

"Oh, come on," I snapped, "that's adding insult to injury isn't it? I mean when you're already engulfed in flame, can you really be more engulfed?"

The crossbows came next, though. I heard rather than saw them. Sharp spikes of pain bloomed in my chest as arrows penetrated my flesh. They missed my heart, but that doesn't mean it felt good.

Off to my left, under an umbrella, a sixty year old redhead who knew me far too well looked up from the Agatha Christie she was reading and laughed before looking back down at the book which held her attention. Cries rang out all around me, screams from the beach goers who were there on family outings mixed with the terse shouts from the vampire hunters who wanted me dead.... or rather more dead.

"Daddy!" Greta's voice cut through the other shouts. A quiver of fear lay underneath her words and it unleashed the angry little part of me that lives too close to the surface. I had rage blackouts my entire life. Being undead hadn't changed that, only made me more deadly when I lost it. Being on fire annoyed me, but I understood. I eat people. Kill them and drink their blood anyway. Humans don't take kindly to that. Fair enough.

Here's a hint: If you're a vampire, the sun will set you on fire. You will not sparkle. Vampire Hunters, unless they are monumentally stupid, look for times to attack vampires when the vampires are at their most vulnerable.

The beach, furthermore, is not a place for vampires.

Not during the day.

At night we can hang. We can do the whole bonfire thing and listen to the radio and watch humans cook things and eat them and when they move off from the rest for a little alone time, it's simple enough to wander off after an amorous couple and have a little drink. But Greta did not want to go to the beach at night. She wanted to go during the day. And, seeing as how it was her twenty-first birthday, and I'd agreed to turn her into a vampire that very night after having made her wait for more than a decade, I'd said yes.

I'm an idiot, but I also love my little girl. Rescuing her is one of the few good things I've done with my undeath. And no one gets to mess with Greta or ruin her birthday. I lost it.

For a long time I didn't know what happened when I raged out, but looking back, I can tell you what the vampire hunters probably saw. I call it the uber vamp. The first sign of trouble would have been when the flames went out. A writhing, charred and blackened vampire rose from the smoke. The black skin of my uber vamp form flowed out like a smoothing of the skin. The hunters might not have even realized what was happening at first. A lambent purple glow shone forth from my eyes. At some point, I'd have started to grow. The uber vamp is bigger than me and while it doesn't like the sun, the effect is more of a smolder than a conflagration.

Leathery wings unfurled from my back, tearing free with the sound of sail cloth catching the wind. The uber vamp’s claws are long, black and curved, like talons and the fangs are both uppers and lowers. At eight feet tall, it's quite impressive- and, yes, Freud, I’m disassociating. I like to think it only killed and drained the vampire hunters, but way back then, in... I guess that would have been around 1980… my memory can be a little fuzzy (okay, a lot fuzzy), but that sounds about right. Anyway, way back then I didn't remember anything that happened when I was the uber vamp. So... though, I'd like to say I only killed the vampire hunters, I can't be sure.

The next thing I actually remember is waking up in the trunk of my 1964 1/2 Mustang convertible, with Greta banging on the metal. "Are you okay in there, Dad?"

Some vampires don't get to keep their clothes when they transform. I'm one of the lucky ones, though I have a tendency to reform in the same set of clothes all the time if I don't really concentrate. Dressed in a black "Welcome to the Void" t-shirt, jeans, brown belt, undies, socks, and combat boots, I rolled out of the trunk only to find out we were barely safe from the sun in a small scale parking deck, covered with tracks of sand, the smell of the sand and surf carrying to me easily, driving the burnt odor out of my nostrils.

Greta smiled. Tall, blond, and built like a model, she was in better shape than I'd ever been... which had been my idea. When I rescued her from her... bad situation… she'd been overweight and out of shape, but I'd made physical fitness part of my conditions for turning her: Not before she turned twenty-one and not unless she was in the kind of shape she'd be happy with until the end of time. It was all a part of my maybe-if-I-let her-see-all-the-bad-things-about-being-a-vampire-she'll-want-to-kill-me-when-grows-up-instead-of-becoming-like-me plan. I’d definitely given her time to think it all over.

"Can I be a vampire now?" she asked when she saw I was okay.

Yeah, my plans never turn out well.

"What food do you want to taste last?" I hoped the answer would require some thought, but if it did, she'd done that thinking a long long time ago. Vampires can't eat. Can't taste anything, but blood. Some of us crave food so badly we recruit humans to eat it for us, watch them do it, and make them describe the experience. Other vampires call it voyeuristic eating. I call it food porn.

"I want a coke in a real glass bottle." Greta smiled the biggest smile in the whole wide world. Behind her, Marilyn puffed on her cigarette and looked on with distinct disapproval. "I want a huge plate of French Fries... and a vanilla ice cream cone."

"No beer?" I asked. "You're old enough now."

"Ugh," she stuck out her tongue. "I thought you said it tastes like camel's piss."

"It does." It was my turn to grin. "But this will be your last chance to-"

"Nope," she shook her head, "I'm good."

I'd like to say I watched her eat, but I was lost in thought listening to the sound of the heartbeat I was going to stop, the blood rushing through her veins. The very thought of turning her made me sick inside, but she'd made me say two words on which I never go back: "I promise". So I was stuck. She ate her last meal at some little dive close to the beach and we watched the sun go down, me from further in the shadows than my companions. When Greta went to the bathroom, Marilyn slapped me.

Marilyn had been the love of my mortal life, the woman to whom I'd been engaged back when I died in 1965. She still looked like the red headed bombshell of a woman that she was, but I knew she dyed her hair, and the lines had begun to show around her eyes. She was sixty-something, so I'd finally accepted that she wouldn't have anything to do with me romantically anymore and that vampirism was an option the two of us no longer needed to discuss.

"You're going to kill that girl, you selfish little asshole," Marilyn spat. "I can’t believe you're really going to do it."

"I promised," I said, seriously, which brought on another slap.

"I don't even have the words for you." She got up and stalked toward the exit of the diner. "I'll see you back in Void City."

I stared out the wall fo windows after Marilyn, watched her walk down the beach, and pretended not to hear Greta throwing up in the bathroom. An empty system makes the transition less painful, but getting rid of food by barfing, wasting it… felt wrong to me. The whole thing felt wrong.

I can't remember if we drove back to Void City or to the hotel, but I remember Greta talking about Kyle. He was Greta's brother... not her for-real brother, but he was a part of our undead little family for a while. I don't think about him much. It's easier not to.

There are only a few power levels of vampire. In terms of things you might find along the beach: Pawns are like bottle caps, if you find one you throw it away, barely even proper vampires at all. Soldiers are next in line, pretty shells that are broken or flawed... nice for sentimental value, but no one is really happy with them long term. Masters are your whole shells and sand dollars. Everyone is impressed with them and they are what everyone has in mind when they go out collecting. Vlads though, Vlads like me, are special... like finding a perfectly preserved nautilus shell washed up on the beach. Rare. Special.

I turned Kyle a few weeks after Greta. If I’d turned him first, I’d probably never have turned her. He was a nice guy and I was sort of trying to pull off this whole family thing. I think I hoped it would make things more normal somehow. Unfortunately, while Greta was a Vlad, Kyle only came out a Pawn. He was never the same after.

Waiting in the bedroom for Greta to get ready, I watched Carson on The Tonight Show.

"When I feed for the first time," Greta called from the bathroom, "can I eat somebody famous?"

"Like who?"

"Johnny Carson?"

"No," I said with a laugh.

"What about Valerie Burtonelli?"

That gave me pause. "Why the hell would you want to kill Valerie Burtonelli?"

"So you could turn her." Greta walked out of the bathroom naked and I looked away. A man isn't supposed to see his daughter naked when she's grown. And a daughter is all Greta has ever or ever will be to me. "She could be the mom and I can be the daughter and Kyle can be the son."

She walked past me out of the room.

"I'll be back in a little bit," she called. "I need Marilyn to help me with my enema."

"Enema?" I had no idea what enemas had to do with vampires.

She popped her head back in the door. "Otherwise it will hurt when my body purges itself of the human waste. I don't want it to hurt, Dad."

Twenty-four hours later, we walked the beach together, hand in hand, the sand squishing between our toes as the waves rolled up over our feet, the receding water making us both sink deeper into the dampened sand. Farther down the beach, a group of Spring Break revelers whooped and shouted around a bonfire while Lee Greenwood's voice came through loud and clear on the radio. He wanted God to bless the country. I thought God might have other ideas.

"Can I, Dad?" Greta looked at me with her eyes aglow with crimson light, fangs out, glinting in the moonlight… and I just couldn't say no.

"Have fun," I said.

And screams filled the night.

And blood soaked the sand.

Later, Greta buried me in the sand. The hermit crabs sensed somehow that they'd best stay well clear. Next, Greta fed on a group of late night walkers, some teens out gigging frogs, and then a wino passed out on the beach. I told myself it was only the initial hunger of a newly made vampire, but I should known then that there was more to it than that. Greta's thirst for blood was like nothing I'd ever seen.

We sat up, waiting to watch the sunrise together. We planned to dash for cover, and Greta swore she didn’t mind getting a little bit singed, but she fell asleep an hour before dawn. I cleaned her up back at the hotel, washed the sand off of her and struggled her into her nightshirt and shorts. On the news, I watched the local anchors struggling to find the right words to report the carnage. They were shocked... appalled... horrified… and they’d never actually know what happened. What else would you expect from vampires at the beach?

* * *

And now you've had a glimpse (brief though it may have been at the world of Void City. Be sure to pick up STAKED, ReVAMPED, and CROSSED to see more recent (as in set after the year 2000) adventures of Eric and his ever-hungry and murderous daughter, Greta. If you dig the setting, but want a bigger sampleI have more free fiction online and you can track me down on Facebook, Twitter @JF_Lewis.

Monday, October 10, 2011

WRITE PRETENDAS UPDATE

Holy shit, people and others! Holy shit! MORE THAN 100 AUTHORS INSIST ON GETTING BOYCOTTED ALONG WITH THE LEAGUE!!!

Maybe you're doing it because you believe that Absolute Write and Writer Beware are among the greatest resources available for writers, and you're showing solidarity. Maybe you're doing it because all the cool authors are getting banned. Or maybe you're doing it because you thought it would enter you into a contest with a chance to win free shit (you were totally wrong, but whatever, not our problem). Maybe something else entirely!

Who cares why you did it -- you insisted on getting banned! Rock on, you nasty, bad-ass, awesome authors!

Hats off to the amazing Ann Crispin, John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, and Rachel Caine, among others, who tweeted the shit out of the League's call to arms!!!

Speaking of Rachel, she pointed out that the cockwaffles at TWA were looking to host its "first annual book burning." (I'd link to the TWA website that shows this, but frankly, I don't want to give them more traffic. Feel free to Google it. Or just take my word for it. You can trust me. I write fiction for a living.) Um, TWA? You know there are other ways to keep warm at night than by burning books, don't you? Like, frex, reading a book that has fucking in it. Lots of fucking. Or, if you prefer, fornication. Shitloads of fornication. That's sure to rouse the blood. And other things. Don't burn books; read more books that have sex in them. Or maybe you should actually have sex. Try it! You might like it! Just a friendly public service announcement.

So because more than 100 authors insist on getting banned, we at the League of Reluctant Adults are each donating $15, to to be divided between SWFA's legal defense fund and Absolute Write. Rah!

We love you guys. WE WOULD BAN YOU IF WE COULD. But that's not up to us. That's up to the asshats at TWA. So spread the gospel of Writer Beware and Absolute Write! Tattoo John Scalzi's name on your forehead! And maybe one day you, too, will get banned!

Friday, October 7, 2011

THE WRITE PRETENDAS

WE at the League of Reluctant Adults are pissed. Miffed. Put out. Thoroughly riled. We don't often get political, nor do we often get angry. But an angry Leaguer is an UGLY thing. Just look at Mark over there, all snarly with rage.


Why are we angry, you ask?

BECAUSE WE DIDN'T GET BOYCOTTED.

There's this group calling itself "The Write Agenda," who claims to be a bunch of authors looking out for other authors. In reality, we're pretty sure they're a bunch of con artists who got mad at people calling them con artists. Why? Because they attack two of the best friends an author or an aspiring author can ever have: Writer Beware and Absolute Write Water Cooler. Here's John Scalzi's breakdown of what this Write Agenda is, and why they're doing what they're doing.

For those not in the know, Writer Beware and Absolute Write Water Cooler are free services that collect information on agents, editors, and publishers. They report on things like how long agents take to respond to queries, whether certain editors are looking for certain genres, and other things like that.

They also bear the cross of a darker duty, which is warning writers when someone's a crook. Using lots of documentation, both sites build cases against those agents and publishers who do unscrupulous things: like steal manuscripts, demand payments for services rendered (a big no-no in the industry), or otherwise swindle their clients.

To make a long story short, this "Write Agenda" decided that it doesn't like such information to be known. And it attacked not only Writer Beware and Absolute Write Water Cooler, not only some of the individuals running these sites, but such random folks as the board members of the Science Fiction Writer's Association, as SFWA hosts Writer Beware. To add insult to injury, "The Write Agenda" demands these writers be boycotted.

AND YET THEY DIDN'T BOYCOTT A SINGLE LEAGUER.

Meanwhile, we at the League use the shit out of Absolute Write and Writer Beware. We used it querying, we still use it to gossip or to read up on people, and we will continue to use it.

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US DESERVES TO BE BOYCOTTED, AND HERE'S WHY:

NICOLE PEELER deserves to be boycotted because she not only uses both sites, but she has “Nicole + Writer Beware” tattooed across her buttocks. She wakes herself in the night shouting “Absolute Write Water Cooler!” in ecstasy. She also plans on naming her first-born child John Scalzi.


MARIO ACEVEDO Mario Acevedo deserves to be boycotted because he has trained flies to sit together, forming the letters "The Write Agenda" on piles of fresh dog shit. He takes joy when fans write to him, saying they pleasured themselves after reading his books. If Mario has any regrets, it's that he didn't take every advantage in life to demonstrate what a pervert he can be. Especially with John Scalzi, on whom he has a tremendous man crush.


J. F. LEWIS deserves to be boycotted, because he knows the F word and lets his characters use it from time to time. Worse, he owns books by the other authors on the boycott list and thinks you should, too. He even volunteers for SWFA. Obviously, he is a monster of Godzilla-like proportions.


Another Leaguer in desperate need of boycotting is MARK HENRY, known sympathizer, user of profanities and ex-lover of the Absolute Write site. Why, they used to make love until dawn. Sweet, sticky love. And by "love", I mean fucking. That's right, I said it. Fuck.


Leaguer and writer of vile paranormal porn novels MICHELE BARDSLEY deserves to be boycotted because that bitch never shares chocolate with anyone EVER, except with Writer Beware, who is her pimpdaddymack. Also, she writes romance novels wherein her characters say things like "Fuck!" and then they go and fuck. A lot. Because romance is about intimacy.


JACKIE KESSLER deserves to be boycotted for the following boycottlicious rant: “So Jackie Morse Kessler's stuff is evil enough to be an anathema to the Wall Street Journal, but it's not quite evil enough to be banned by The Write Agenda? Damn it!!! How will I ever, with all of my Writer Beware loving ways, ever get officially banned??? **channels inner Monty Python** I fart in your general direction, Write Agenda!!! You wouldn't know what to do with a Grail shaped beacon if one lodged its way up your buttocks!!! There, I said it: BUTTOCKS. Write Agenda is BUTTOCKS! Ban me, Write Agenda!!! I triple dog dare you!!! And...and...neener neener!!!”


JAYE WELLS has the audacity to insist that money should flow to the greedy word slingers who insist on making an honest wage for their "work." If that wasn't bad enough, she is also a member of SFWA, with whom she had a child out of wedlock. Poor little Remainder Wells is being brainwashed by his vampire-porn-writing mother to believe that writers are people, too. Boycott her now. Do it for the children!


KEVIN HEARNE is a member of SFWA and once sat on a panel moderated by John Scalzi, so he should damn well be boycotted by the cockwaffles at The Write Agenda. He even recycled an empty can of Scalzi's private stock of Coke Zero, so he's been well and truly contaminated with Concern for Other Writers. He occasionally frolics on the boards at Absolute Write and spends his extra time building miniature siege weapons armed with marshmallows. Boycott that fucker now!


DIANA ROWLAND deserves to be boycotted because she's Evil. (Jackie Kessler will vouch for this.) Not "ha ha she's so evil" but "Hard Core Rule in Hell Evil." Plus, she once licked John Scalzi's sausage and has the photographic evidence to prove it. Also, she once ran for office in SFWA but lost, which makes her a Scalzi-Sausage-Licking Evil Loser. Totally worth boycotting.



JEANNE C. STEIN deserves to be boycotted because she was declared a corrupter of American Youth by a "researcher" at BYU-- what, she doesn't write YA, you say? That didn't seem to matter. Maybe that researcher also works for The Write Agenda


ALLISON PANG deserves to be boycotted for so many iniquities. Purveyor of all things Hello Kitty. Writes about panty-sniffing, ass-biting unicorns. Guilty of using the phrase “Turgid Magnificence.” When she's not dreaming of daemons with deer peens, she's fantasizing about the board of SFWA--all with deer peens.


ANTON STROUT deserves to be boycotted, because he’s the epitome of “Writer! Beware!” Writer of bad sex scenes. Writer of failed sex scenes. User of words like "asspony." According to his one-star reviews, the man-child shouldn't be allowed to write at all. You can help by boycotting him! Do it now before he gets on one of his tirades about how there's room for BOTH indie publishing AND traditional publishing alike. Somewhere a self-publishing unicorn just died reading that sentence. Boycott the mofo now!


STACIA KANE should totally be boycotted because not only is she a member of SFWA, and not only has she written blog posts Writer Beware has linked to, and not only has she gotten hate email from scammers, but she's a moderator at Absolute Write. Really, she's practically a Gimme. (Not to mention her books are filled with sex and drugs and all that stuff.)


DAKOTA CASSIDY should be boycotted by The Write Agenda because she writes shitty, shitty paranormal/contemporary books with the maturity level of a twelve-year old (sorry, kiddies!). Oh, and also because she hopes to own the tiara for Miss Most Boycotted 2011 and make that bitch hers!


K.A. STEWART should be boycotted on general principal. She kicks puppies, eats bunnies, picks her nose at the dinner table, and those are her good traits. Most egregious of her sins is that she is a permanent resident of Absolute Write, where she is often found in company of a secret obscene cult that worships The Almighty Junk.


CAROLYN CRANE deserves to be boycotted because she often directs writers who are seeking guidance to Absolute Write and Writer Beware, thereby helping to deprive needy scammers of victims! AND, she draws pornographic cartoons AND wanders around in public under the demonic influence of chocolate!


KELLY MEDING deserves to be boycotted because she's just another pretenda who stomps around Absolute Write in her big old Moderator boots, squashing the writing dreams of others. She dares think that writers should (*gasp*) get paid for it. Yep, GET PAID FOR IT. Not pay others for it. She writes (*gasp*) fantasy, too, full of violence and monsters and strong women kicking ass, and inflicts these on the unwilling public via (*gasp*) commercial publishing.

KAT RICHARDSON deserves to
be boycotted, because not only am I a Leaguer and a member of the SFWA and a friend of John Scalzi's but I'm so horrible I didn't even have time to write up why I'm so horrible! (but no fear, just as horrible Nicole added me in, cuz she wuvs me!)


To show their solidarity with both Absolute Write and Writer Beware, the League wants YOU to be boycotted, too. If you're a writer, BOYCOTT YOURSELF IN COMMENTS. Tell us why you deserve a thorough boycotting. If you're a fan, get your favorite author over here and get them boycotted!

All the cool kids are boycotted. Why aren't you?

If we get 100 authors to boycott themselves, we'll EACH donate $15 dollars, to be divided between SFWA's legal fund and Absolute Write. Help us put our money where our mouths are, AND GET TO BOYCOTTIN'.

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

******************