Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Calling All Fangs

If you have been paying even a little bit of attention to my various feeds, you know that BURNED: A VOID CITY NOVEL is out today. And today or at least this week is when I need you to buy it. On previous book releases, I've kind of been a bit subtle. I snuck around to various bookstores (both the indies and the big guys) and stealth signed all the copies they had in stock. I have never been that comfortable with saying, "My books are awesome and funny and sweet and twisted. If you love them, buy ten copies each and pass them out to your friends." I still don't like to refer to my Facebook Fan Page as a "Fan Page", though I've started to do so, because calling it a Reader Page was confusing people.

But the market is changing. And only the writers with die hard fans are surviving. I'm not good at blogging about every clever thing under the sun and making the every day seem magical. I do it when I can. Whether it's talking about how The Elder Son complained about the turkey I'd packed for his lunch being the most horrible turkey he'd ever tasted. (It was roast beef.) Or posting parody lyrics of "(Meet) The Flintstones".

What I do best on the writing front, however, is not the self-promotion part. It's the writing part. I have no interest in talking about my politics or religion, beyond the ideas of everyone being fair and nice to each other. And okay, I wouldn't shut up about getting excommunicated, but for the most part when I have the urge to write, it's a novel or a short story that I start turning out. As a result, I need your help.

If you love Void City and want to see what other quirky little worlds are inside my head, then buy my books and when you've purchased them and read them and enjoyed them, then spread the word. Review them anywhere you are comfortable doing so. If you can't review them or are afraid to do so, then log onto Goodreads or iTunes or Barnes & Noble or anywhere else and give them five stars or "like" them or tag them or all of the above.

Here's why: last year, around October, the reading public in the U.S. lost a lot of brick and mortar stores and it looks like we are going to lose more. When that happened and every time that happens, physical book sales are taking a huge hit and it isn't all being transferred online or to eReaders. Some of those sales simply vanish. Books that people would have purchased had they seen them in the mall just don't happen, because those stores aren't there anymore.

So if readers want to make sure they get the next book by their favorite authors who aren't always on the bestsellers lists (and even the ones who are), they are going to have to do their best to put their favorite author on those lists and keep them there, to go beyond buying the book the day it comes out, but to making websites, or funny videos, or posting with obnoxious repetition on Facebook and Twitter, or buying copies of books they've already read and loved and passing them on to friends they think would enjoy the books, too, or even by simply making sure everyone they know understands how much they love the books they love.

And that's not just my books. If you love Kelly Meding, Adrian Phoenix, Jennifer Estep, or any other author with a book out today, then let the word ring out. If, like me, you love Mark Hodder's awesome Burton & Swinburne series (book three of which came out last week)... whichever author you love... buy your copies now or as soon as you can. And if you can't afford a book, then go to your local library and place it on hold or request it. But spread the word or the words you crave may stop flowing.

(Cross posted everywhere I have posting rights, because it's THAT important.)

If you're interested, you can find links to all my free fiction and other wacky stuff at AuthorAtLarge.com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Craving Something Wikkid?

Hi folks!

I'm in Boston, having just finished my duties at Arisia 2012. I've officially hit my con wall and am holed up in my room, watching Zombieland and catching up with EVERYTHING that has slipped out of my grasp out of the last few crazy weeks.

I'll blog about everything when I get back, but until then I wanted to give you a little sneak peek of what's coming at you . . .

In only two days!

For on January 17th, Orbit will be releasing SOMETHING WIKKID THIS WAY COMES, a digital-only short story starring Capitola, Shar, and Moo, the ladies of Triptych that you met in Tempest's Legacy.

I had so much fun writing this story and can't wait to share the ladies with you. They're a bit different from Jane, and I'm hoping they'll have lots of adventures in her Trueniverse. Below is the cover, which you can click for the story's Amazon site. You can get it from Barnes and Noble here, and on the day you can get it from Orbit Short Fiction.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Are You Searching For?

Kelly Meding has hairy armpits.

(Let that sink in a moment.)

Do I know this because I hide out in her shower? No.

I know this because while going through my website stats the other day, that particular phrase came up as a pointer to my blog.

And as much as I might love to blackmail Kelly with some super hairy armpit pictures, the truth of it is that I've got her name on my sidebar (as I do all the Leaguers)...and I tend to post scantily clad men about once a week.

So somehow the browsers are putting those two things together and churning up my blog as the answer to their Urban Fantasy author hairy armpit utopia.

Now, note that I've never actually mentioned armpits on my site (until very recently when I noticed this interesting trend), but over the last few months I've seen an increased number of visits to my site - all based on hairy armpits.

Which is sorta scary in its own right, but I began to dig a little deeper and I have to admit to being a *little* bit disturbed...not only because of what people are looking for - but the fact that they're coming to my blog to find it. And I should point out this is NOT my official author site. Only well mannered folks go there. My Borrowing Heaven blog is a mish mash of stuff and random thoughts...and man candy. (So, yes, I do get lots of people looking for hot men. That's fine and expected. But....)

Search Phrase Winners of the Week:
1) Armpits. Armpits all over the place. Hairy ones. Hot men licking them. Oiled. Whatever. I probably get at least 100 hits a day on armpits alone.    (Also? Two and Half Men armpits. Okkkaaayy.)
2) Head of a hamster and back end of a cat
3) I like putting plushies in dirty diapers and throwing them away (O.o)
4) Star Wars Stripper
5) Dolphin Vagina
6) Manicorn (I have to cop to this one because I actually did post a picture of it. Years ago.)
7) Horse Pussy Hentai (WTF?)
8) Tired toad
9) Man taking it in butt from horse (okay, dude - if you're going to search for this, man up and use ass. Really. I think we're past the point of pleasantries, yeah?)
10) Old bloody naked guy with corpse

*passes brain bleach*

Yeah, I don't get it either. I'm so prim and proper about everything online.

And now I am off to make Unicorn Poop cookies with my former editor. Because that's how I roll.

(Yes, we will live tweet this, I suspect. Because of reasons.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

I had a couple different ideas for League posts today. The first was to do something related to the cancellation of soap opera "One Life to Live" (which airs its final episode today, after 43 years on the air) and how that relates to current changes in the publishing industry. Instead, I just did a brief message on my personal blog.

Option two was to do some sort of promo post for the release of WRONG SIDE OF DEAD (Dreg City #4), which comes out January 31st. <---But this works, too.

Finally, I looked at the calendar and realized that not only is it the 13th, but it's also....


It's that funny day that pops up a few times a year and has gotten a bad rap.

I'm sure I'm not the only person whose mind immediately goes to one thing when someone says Friday the 13th.


Handsome devil, isn't he?

In my curiosity, I decided to check out the history of this particular day. I mean, I'm sure the movie's writer didn't just arbitrarily choose Friday the 13th as the title. Wikipedia isn't always the most reliable resource, but this article sheds some interesting light on the origin of the superstition. I knew 13 is often considered an unlucky number, but I had no idea Friday was often considered an unlucky day.

You learn something new all the time, huh?

For example, in researching this, I discovered the existence of Winnie the Pooh: the Jason Vorhees Edition. I'm not joking. And I kind of want one. He'd look adorable on my desk....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Go Blue or Go Home

I'm often asked by some of my younger readers what you need to study in college in order to be an author. This is also often paired with, "Do I even have to go to college?" While you don't need to go in order to be a writer, I absolutely recommend college. It's awesome. You'll find people you didn't know were like you and groups of all interests, ranging from Star Trek LARPers to Young Republicans to Republican LARPers. And although I learned a lot from my classes, it's the experiences that I feel really shaped me into becoming a writer. That, perhaps, is the biggest thing you need to write: LIFE. You need to experience people and places and events. Those are what feed good writing.

My writing is filled with funny scenes and commentary on human quirks, and again--a lot of that ability to observe and appreciate the absurdity in the world came from college. Here are a few of my favorite wackiest experiences from my time at the University of Michigan. (I have three degrees, from three different schools, but if you're from the Midwest and went to a Big Ten school, you understand why U of M is #1 in my heart).

1. Your Casa is My Casa
Most schools have a "Meet every campus organization" fair. That's where you find the LARPers and Republicans. Being the bright-eyed freshman I was, I really wanted to get to learn about all sorts of things. So, my then-boyfriend and I attended a Socialist meeting. It was run by two 40-something guys, telling us all about how in the new world order, life would be better because we'd all have equal possessions and get what we wanted. My boyfriend kept wanting to know what would happen if he wanted ten TVs. The guys couldn't understand why anyone would want ten TVs, and the argument became circular. A couple weeks later, one of the 40-something guys called me and asked if I'd like to get together over coffee to discuss more issues. I was so over Socialism and evasively said I'd have to check my boyfriend's schedule. 40-Something said that it was okay, I didn't need to bring my boyfriend. Something tells me it wasn't because he was trying to avoid another TV discussion.

2. Saved By the Bell
Someone was always trying to convert me when I was at U of M. And by someone, I mean the same person. Only, he didn't know it. There was this Evangelical kid who staked out the Diag (a central green spot that saw a lot of foot traffic) and looked for lost souls to approach. Well, I must have looked more lost than others because over the course of a year, he kept coming up to me and using the same lines on me. "Would you like to talk about going to church?" He'd totally forgotten the last time we talked. To this day, I wonder what it is about me that made me a conversion magnet.

3. Any publicity...
The anthropology department recruited students by hanging crappy homemade posters that read: NEED A MAJOR? HOW ABOUT ANTHROPOLOGY!? Weirdly, U of M's anthropology graduate program is one of the best in the country.

4. Now playing...
Pulp Fiction, which is a great movie, came out during my freshman year. It opened at an independent campus theatre, and being in a college town, drew a particularly big crowd. For a really long time. When Pulp Fiction had left other theatres, when it had come to video, it was STILL being shown at this theatre. Why? Because they were still drawing a crowd. We came to accept it as the only movie option. "What do you want to do tonight? Go see Pulp Fiction again?" And we would, and it would be just as awesome as the last time. They eventually had HOME OF PULP FICTION on their marquee. When other movies finally began trickling in, it was like a coming of age story, and I had passed a meaningful phase in my life.

5. Some alumni are more famous than other alumni
James Earl Jones is a U of M alum. And, oh man, do we love that. They used to have him narrate recruitment videos. I will never forget this one video that went on and on, touting the school's fine education. Then, suddenly, it segued to this guy handing a girl a flower on the Diag. The camera pans over to James Earl Jones, who is apparently spying on them. He gives the viewers a sly smile and--remember, this is Darth Vader's voice--says: "But the University of Michigan isn't all about academics. Here, you can develop deep, interpersonal relationships." Sold. Throughout my college days, James was constantly referenced. "Here's the building he took classes in!" There were even petitioners who tried to get him to be the voice of our phone registration system. They had a giant Darth Vader cutout with a word balloon reading, "To add a class, press 1." James is definitely a worthy alum, and you can see others here, everything from notable scientists to, um, reality TV stars. Do you know who is not on that list?

I don't mean to end this on a down note, but I have to close in mentioning my friend Jason, my very first U of M friend. We met at orientation, when neither of us wanted to participate in our group leader's Chaka Khan dance. Once Jason and I discovered a mutual love of the Beatles and Neil Gaiman, we were pals for life. Sadly, Jason passed away very unexpectedly, a few days after the birth of my son. I found out in an offhand Facebook comment and was so sleep-deprived and juiced up on hormones that I couldn't process the news. It sounds weird, but I didn't have the mental energy to handle it, or I would have broken down. I was stretched too thin and had to tuck it away into the back of my mind. Now, months later, I'm slowly able to deal with it, and it's hard. He's a bright spot in all of those memories, one I will never forget.

And that--the people you meet and the real-life stories you experience--are what fill you up and give you the ability to write great things. They are what make you a great person.

Should you go to college? Yes. Yes, you should.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Burned (A Void City Novel) - Excerpt

Mwhaha!  It's almost here!

One of the many weirdnesses about writing is the long wait between when the book is written and when people can actually read it. That aspect has been particularly rough with this book, because there are so many things in it that i wasn't even sure if readers would ever get to see. In fact, the book starts off with one of them right up front. A comeuppance.

If you want to see what I mean a little early, here is the first chapter of Burned: A Void City Novel by J. F. Lewis (due out January 31st, 2013): 



Chapter 1

Eric: All A Part of the Plan 

Vampires burn. 

It’s a rule.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Still Life with Badass & Beer #3

*Cross-Posted from Kevin's Blog*
Today we have a very special beer to pour into a very special glass. The beer is "imported from Vermont," which makes it sound exotic somehow. (Hear that, everybody in Vermont? Your neighborhood is exotic.) The brewer of Hill Farmstead Anna—Shaun Hill—is something of a world-renowned chap who lives in the exotic realm of northeast Vermont. Anna is a honey saison brew that I can't wait to try. Hill Farmstead crafts many small-batch, interesting beers. Thoughtful ones, too, like Phenomenology of Spirit
The glass into which I shall pour the honey saison is emblazoned with the logo for Atticus & Oberon's Sausage Fest. I've received many requests to sell these, and after looking a wee bit into setting up something on my website, it appears that it will take far more of my time and energy than I can afford. Instead, I'll set up a shop with Cafe Press, so you can put the Sausage Fest on a shirt or hat, glass or shooter, whatever you'd like, and they'll handle all the shipping and stuff and I can concentrate on writing.
Who's the badass? Why, that's a Pureblood Warpwolf howlin' for some honey saison. He's got a Death Howler spray attack and has an animus that allows you to ignore enemy defensive buffs. Whoa. It just got awful nerdy awful fast, didn't it?
I hope your holidays were full o' warm fuzzies and your new year will be full of travel to exotic locales like Vermont!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some writing/reading things I thought I'd never do that I now do all the time

Use ‘LOL’ or ‘ROFL’
I used to be soooooo down on LOL. An LOL hater! I felt it was dishonest, because, who among the people writing LOL truly were laughing out loud? Maybe 1%! And I felt sure none were ROFLing! So this made me not like LOL, or ROFL.

But now I’m a user—and some might say abuser—of LOL. Seriously! ROFL!! Especially on twitter. No, I haven’t begun to laugh out loud, but my understanding of LOL has changed. It just means I think this is funny, or I mean this to be funny, in a medium that has no expression. I used to not see it that way, but I do now. Now I am an LOL LOVER!! 

Aren't you glad you are reading this fascinating post? Now for the next exciting item:

Ever write 'tho' or  'thru'
I used to not ever use these sorts of abbreviations of though and through, even if it was on something for my eyes only, like I would lose my self respect as a lover of words and an English Literature person. It just seemed tawdry, lazy, and WRONG! But, now with twitter—argh!! Twitter, you have been making me use tho and thru! You have cheapened me in my own eyes! And now, today, while making notes on a paper manuscript, I used tho. Nooooo!

Actually, I’m not that upset about it. Language is always evolving, so, this is fine. I think some shortcuts truly ARE tawdry, lazy and wrong, but informal uses of tho and thru, I’ve let you into my life! Make yourselves at home. Go ahead! Heat up the leftover pizza. Put your feet up on the coffee table.

Use the thesaurus that comes with Microsoft Word
I used to ONLY have eyes for the Rogets thesaurus. I have an awesome hardcover one here, a massive, classic, complete thesaurus. It really is wonderful. And I would use it when I needed the perfect word. Even when editing on the computer I’d have it nearby. And how I disdained the MS word thesaurus. Has there ever been a more pathetic thesaurus? Please! You can never find just the right word there. Or, I can't. 'MS Word thesaurus: when just any old synonym will do.' 

I felt thesaurus.com was okay, but definitely not anywhere near the fabulousness of the hardcover Rogets. Then, I sort of started using it. Not a lot, and still I would go to Rogets when I felt serious about a word. And THEN, every once in a while, I would use the hated MS word thesaurus!! 

I suppose now my thesaurus use is 3-tiered, with MS word for the low-hanging fruit, thesaurus.com for the middle of the tree fruit and glorious Rogets when I must have it right. Or, like, if I’m thinking of a title.

Aren't you totally fascinated? Also, OMG, how priggish do I sound? But wait! There’s more!

Reading many books at once
As an author, I plant all sorts of little details and seriously, every sentence is there for a reason, and I think most authors are like that. So to stop reading a book to  pick up another? Then another? Heresy! How can I, as a reader, remember all the careful little details the author wove in? For years I felt that each book must be my one and only, and a continuous read, unbroken by other characters and narratives. 

You probably know where this is going. Right now I am reading three books. But, I like it, because I read according to mood. Oh, what will become of me? Satan has taken over my mind!! 


Hah, there is it. So, are there any word or bookish things you thought you’d never do that you do now? Do tell! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The End of All Things

For me, 2011 could've ended better.

Last night, I was at a restaurant when this guy at the next table offered a toast to his dinner companions. "Here's to health, wealth, and happiness." I jumped up and knocked the wine glass out of his hand. "You naive bastard," I screamed and yanked his lapel. "Don't you know that 2012 is the end? Haven't you heard about the Mayan prophecy? Worldwide volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, financial collapse, Obama martial law, Armageddon...the forthcoming zombie Apocalypse!"

That's when the Taser hit me and I don't remember anything else until I woke up in jail. Right now I'm blogging from my lawyer's office.

But I take comfort that we Leaguers are especially prepared to take advantage of catastrophes. We're like Mormons in that we stock supplies to survive any emergency.(Actually, all we keep are guns and machetes. If we need vittles, we'll take them from you.) In fact, we're looking forward to the zombie outbreak. Who else but scribes of supernatural mayhem are better prepared for the rise of the undead?

You have been warned.

Happy New Year!

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