Saturday, March 31, 2012

Don't Hate Us Because We're Sleek and Beautiful

Leagurer Mark Henry (aka Daniel Marks) popped into town this week. I told him the Denver Diner had changed their recipe for Huevos Rancheros and he had to try them. But the real reason Mark visited was to show off the new Gulfstream executive jet that replaces his older Cessna Citation.

Writers spread this rumor that we're a bunch of poor mouths, and that publishing pays squat.

It's a big, fat lie.

For example, Kat Richardson lives on a boat. She'll tell you it's a nice boat of modest size. I've seen her boat. Modest size if you mean this:

We frequently jet together for Five-Star getaways. Jeanne Stein, Jaye Wells, and Jackie Kessler spent the weekend in Las Vegas renting the top floor of the Bellagio, doing body-shots of Macallan 64 off the hotel's cabana boys.

Dakota Cassidy loves her shiny and bought this Cadillac because it matched her nail polish.
Nicole Peeler and Carolyn Crane leased the Space Shuttle for joyrides.

Richelle Mead had a stroller custom made from Siberian mammoth ivory.

Beer snob connoisseur Kevin Hearne bought the Coors Brewery just so he could demolish it.

In other words, publishing urban fantasy has brought us shitloads of money.

How did this happen? Simple.

Our query letters start and end like this: I'm in the League of Reluctant Adults. Those simple words make the publishers open their vaults and shovel us with cash. But the recession has put the squeeze on the book business. In the meantime, I'm standing my ground and refuse to sign a contract for a puny seven figure advance.

Life is great. We Leaguers are no April Fools.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's an Urban Fantasy Springtime!

Happy Spring, Leaguers! Now is the time when werewolves's thoughts turn to mating rituals and vampires enjoy a little sleeping in thanks to Daylight's Savings Time.

I think most UFers would profess a preference for autumn with its associations with Halloween and Samhain, but I think Spring is also an equally ripe time to explore in urban fantasy. From the Leprechauns of St. Patrick's Day to the fertility rituals involving eggs and creepy rabbits breaking into our houses, the season is full of festivals and symbols easily incorporated into any UF. After all, it's also the season when many Christians celebrate the moment when their favorite guy returns from the dead.

What other Urban Fantasy twists can you think of for Spring?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

GUEST POST: J.A. Kazimer!

Hi folks! Nicole here. I had the pleasure of blurbing J.A. Kazimer's new book CURSES! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale, and thoroughly enjoyed it. She's very League, so I thought I'd bring her here to do a guest blog. She was gracious enough to agree. Enjoy her fruity fruitfulness!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Off to Murder a Princess I Go! : Telling Stories through the Eyes of a Villain

By j.a. kazimer

In CURSES! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale, I didn’t set out to murder Cinderella (or any other princess for that matter). Things just sort of happened. I swear it. One minute I’m writing a sweet little fairy tale and the next I’m running Cinderella over with a bus. I tried to swerve. I really did. But before I knew what happened, the poor princess was squished under five tons of bus parts. From there, things just got weird as the narrator, a villain called RJ, took control of the tale.

So why write a fairy tale through the eyes of a villain? In many ways I didn’t have a choice. In other, far more fun ways, the chance to view the world as a villain was irresistible. Through his eyes, fairy tales took on a different slant. Questions arose, like, where does a villain live (The Easter Village, of course) and what does a villain wear on his days off ( a ‘Your Lair or Mine’ t-shirt) racked my brain. What did a villain order for dinner? Pease Porridge, lukewarm? Curds and whey? Did he enjoy being a villain? Or was it more of a family tradition, evil deeds handed down from one generation to the next?

Heroes often fill our tales, white knights on horseback with perfect features, guys who always say the right thing like, No, those pants DO NOT make you look fat, and bad boys who aren’t so bad. Heroes are easy. They have flaws sure, but those flaws are part of their hero charm. The biggest hero flaw is often a lock of wayward hair falling devilishly over one eye. Heroes eat Wheaties for breakfast. They live in lofts or mansions in cities like Gotham (For the life of me I can’t figure out why anyone would live there. The crime rate is unbelievable). They are at heart- good. Who wants that in a protagonist?

Viewing the fairy tale world of New Never City through the eyes of RJ offered a series of insights and adventures I’d only imagined in my nightmares. That’s what writing should do, transport the reader and sometimes even the writer to a place we’d only dreamed of, a place filled with pilfered baby candy. A place where villains save the distressed damsel and Prince Charming practices a dance number. A place even the blackest of hearts can live happily ever after.

j.a. kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. With a master’s degree in forensic psychology, j.a. has worked as a private investigator, bartender, and at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Books include The Junkie Tales (2010), The Body Dwellers (2011), CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale (2012), and Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons (2012). The next book in the F***ed Up Fairy Tale series, FROGGY-STYLE, is forthcoming from Kensington in 2013. Visit j.a. kazimer’s website at

CURSES! A F***ed Up Fairy Tale

Definitely not for baby’s bedtime reading, this hilarious and irreverent take on classic fairytales—think Shrek for grownups—combines humor, mystery, and characters only a fairy godmother could love…

When Cinderella is run over by a New Never City bus, her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia, suspects murder. So she hires RJ, a private eye, to investigate. Little does she know RJ is actually a villain on mental health leave from the Villain’s Union. Cursed with an inability to say no to damsels in distress, RJ travels to the Kingdom of Maldetto, meets the rest of Cinderella’s family—including her fiancĂ©, the flamboyant Prince Charming, Cinderella’s crazy stepmother, and a seriously twisted version of Hansel and Gretel—and dodges bullets, explosions, fires, and his own ex-wife to slip his own version of glass handcuffs on the wrists that fit. All while falling for Asia, who has a curse of her own to deal with…

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tales from the Trenches

I'm sort of in the middle of promo-release day-blog-tour-o-rama fun, so I'm actually out of things to really talk about.

(Which happens when you're guest posting everywhere. Sooner or later you run out of vaguely professional things to say and before you know it you're blogging about what color underwear your characters have on and if they like to butter their corn or any other crazy little detail. And before people ask...yes, Abby wears Hello Kitty undies. Talivar and Ion? Not so much.)

Anyway, things are humming along as per usual, but I did want to make mention that Sad Sausage Dogs is now officially up and running. My first comic, Fox & Willow should be going live in the next month or so. As an aside, I get a lot of questions on how I hooked up with my artist. (Aimo).

In a vaguely appropriate twist given some of the literary news this week, I can honestly say it was fanfic. Now, I'm not going to get on my soapbox about fanfic in general in this post. It is what it is and people like it or they don't. I'm not always fond of it myself, but in this case it did serve a purpose - namely to find out if she and I could work together.

See, the thing is, I've done the co-writing thing before...and when it works, it's lovely. But sometimes it doesn't work. And I've never written for a comic before and to ask someone to commit to a project when neither of you is completely certain of how the other one works in a co-project is an awful big step. One thing maybe if you're BFFs or crit partners, but for me it was a new medium AND a new creative personality to work with.

And I didn't want to screw it up. Not the project and certainly not the friendship. (I've had that happen before too and it just sucks.)

So one of the things I decided to do was write up a bit of fanfic for her. We're both big Bioware gamers, we both love Dragon Age... and she draws enough fanart of some of her characters that I felt fairly comfortable trying to turn that into prose. Basically, I wanted to know if I could capture *her* concepts into words...and in return, she then converted some of my scenes into images. (And some of them are nicely pervy and smutty, on both counts. Let me tell you how awesome it is to get pervy sketches texted to my phone in the middle of work meetings. ;-) It's a fabulous way to stay awake, anyway. Yes, the fanfic is out there on the web - it's probably not all that great as far as fanfic goes, but it served well enough for our purposes.)

Digression aside, fanfic worked nicely here because it was neutral. We both knew the world creatively, so there wasn't much of a worldbuilding or character creation learning curve. In some ways it was almost a plug-and-play creative scenario - quick and dirty -  but it gave her a chance to see how I work - the way I draft, the way I edit and clean-up my prose and just my overall mindset. Can we stay on the same wavelength? Do we have wildly varying ideas, or can we come up with a goal and head toward that? (Because honestly, if you can't manage to work well on something you both really love? It's probably not going to work out well on an original piece if things start to falter. But that's just my two cents.)

The same went for her - I got to see her panel concepts for my scenes and how she turns my words into pictures and expressions and details of a more visual nature.

Thus far? We work together really, really well. It's been an amazing few months (creative honeymoon, I suppose) as we sorted out the type of story we wanted to tell and how we wanted to go about telling it.  I figure out the scenes and the dialogue and write down the bones of the scenes and she fleshes them out.

I can't wait to share it. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lesson learned?

When I was in fourth grade, I got to participate in our local Young Authors Conference. As the name suggests, it was a coming-together of young authors from various schools in southwestern Michigan. Honestly, though, I don't remember much about what happened at the conference. In fact, as I type this, I'm now questioning if it was actually third grade. Well, that's not important. What I do remember is the "book" I wrote and a conversation I had with my teacher.

The book, entitled TWO BY TWO, was around ten pages long, written and illustrated by me, with about five sentences per page. It was made of 8.5 x 11 paper folded in half and wrapped in a catchy cover made of wallpaper. Here's the plot. It was about a cardinal and another bird that I referred to as a mackinaw, when I actually meant macaw. Except, what I actually drew was more like a cockatiel. (It's worth noting I have this book somewhere in storage, and if I was a diligent blogger, I'd find it and scan it...but I'm also a blogger with limited time). Anyway, these were girl birds, and they were pals. Throughout the course of the book, each of them builds a nest and lays eggs. Then, in the shocking ending, the eggs hatch into baby birds.

You're probably wondering where the title comes from. After all, doesn't two by two = four? Well, while I was painstakingly working on my rough draft, my teacher came by and started this conversation:

TEACHER: Your girl birds are having baby birds.
ME: Yes.
TEACHER: What are you missing?
ME: ...
TEACHER: What do girl birds need to make baby birds?
ME: ...
TEACHER: Boy birds.
ME: Oh.

And so, I had my first editorial experience.

My teacher had me write in a boy cardinal and a boy "mackinaw," whose gender I identified by making them wear ties. In the book, the boy birds meet the girl birds, and--this is a direct quote--"they mated." Now, why a 9-year-old would choose that ineloquent wording baffles me, though I think it was encouraged by my teacher. More baffling, if we're dealing with anthropomorphic birds here, why not just say "they got married"? Wouldn't that be more kid friendly?

I've thought a lot about this over the years, and I find I'm less concerned about the mating wording than I am about why it had to be put in. Why was my teacher so fixated on making sure I correctly detailed the rules of nature? I mean, it was a kid's book with tie-wearing birds. And if she was such a stickler for detail, why didn't she fact-check my erroneous bird species, hmm? As the news these days buzzes with social issues and women's right, a new thought has come to me.

Was she worried my book was promoting single motherhood? Or that my birds were lesbians?

It was the 1980s--not entirely backwards but certainly not as progressive as today. Was my early literature being censored with family values? Maybe I'm reading too much into it. All I know is that no hussy birds came out of that classroom that day--but that I now make my living writing about succubi.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

LOSS Blog Tour: The Saturday Giveaway

Who doesn't like a little blatant self-promotion? Especially when there's a giveaway involved?

Yes, that's right - LOSS will hit the shelves on March 20, 2012! (Some places seem to be already shipping.) What's that? You have no idea what I'm talking about? Well, gentle reader, let me enlighten you...with back-cover copy.


Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on. Things change drastically when Billy learns that years ago, he'd been tricked by Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now it's Billy's turn to wield Pestilence's Bow and spread sickness through the world. He uses his new power to lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of disease. Horrified by his actions, he wants nothing more than to be rid of the Bow. For that to happen, Billy must track down the previous White Rider, who is hiding in a place where even Death cannot go.

By the time Billy finds the man who had tricked him so long ago, the White Rider is completely insane—and is poised to unleash a plague that would make the Black Death look like a summer cold. And only Billy can stop him. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

This is the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series, but it, like the first two (Hunger, Rage), are written as standalone novels.

And here's the thing: I have an extra author's copy that I really don't need. Heck, I wrote the thing; I don't need to read it. :)

So...GIVEAWAY!!! **throws confetti**

All you have to do is comment below and tell me what your favorite book about the Apocalypse is. (Yes, you can say mine. You can also say other authors and titles. I won't hold it against you. Of course, I may be lying.) On March 20 -- the day that LOSS officially hits the shelves -- I'll pick one random commenter to win a signed copy of LOSS and a small LOSS cover poster.

While you're at it, check out the schedule of the official LOSS blog tour! Because hey - the grand prize is pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself. :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All kinds of goodies

1. I have just learned that there is a DJ in my market named Dick Havoc. On the same station there is another DJ named Ruby Cheeks. (This is KDKB in Phoenix.) I give this to you without comment.
2. I'm having a little shindig in celebration of the release of TRICKED in April because I've always wanted to have a shindig. It's at a pub rather than a bookstore; in fact, it's at Rula Bula, the Irish pub mentioned in my books—yes, it's for real! If you'd like to go, I'm giving away two tickets on my blog.
3. Atticus O'Sullivan is being featured in Suvudu's Cage Match. So is Evy Stone (Kelly Meding) and Chess Putnam (Stacia Kane)! They could all use your love and mouse clicks in advancing through the tournament. It's fun to geek out on the Cage Match if you haven't ever done it before. Good times!
4. Del Rey released an e-book only omnibus of the first three books in The Iron Druid Chronicles, in case you or your friends/family/ferrets have not read them yet. They're selling it for $20, so you'll save $4, which is almost enough these days to get yourself a small cup of hot milk and flavored syrup at Starbucks! WOOHOO! The omnibus can be found for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony e-reader, all that jazz. And it includes the first chapter of TRICKED!
5. Dick Havoc. Ruby Cheeks.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Devil’s Luck: 7 reasons

This has been a release week for me, or a mini one anyway: I wrote and self-pubbed a Disilusionists world spin off, Devil’s Luck. Yippee! 

Why, why, why would I do such a thing? The top 7 reasons:

1. I originally created the hero of the book, Simon, to be a villain and an enemy for my heroine, Justine, but he got so interesting to me, I had to give him his own book, just to explore his perspective. I love this badass hero!

2. Simon is into gambling, and I’m kind of fascinated with gambling, and the pull of it. I don't do much of it myself, but I like to think about it, and I’ve always seen it as being about more than just easy money.

3.  Duelling possible futures! 

4. Fawna's crazy coat. I had to explore why she had all those doo-dads pinned and stapled and sewn to it. Plus, she is a fun and mysterious girl.

5. Simon's crazy coat. Simon is kind of like my badass Ken doll. I love to dress him in outrageous stuff.  

6. Self-pub experiment. Even though I have been involved in an awesome self-pubbed anthology, I wanted to see what it would be like to take a project solo, all the way through the process on my own. It was really interesting. Some things were harder than I anticipated, some easier. Writers, if you think you get sick of your book the traditional publishing route, try self-pubbing - you have to read and proof it SO much more. 

7. Midcity, I can’t quit you!!!

And now, le blurb:

There’s a thin line between love and doom.

No wager is too outrageous for Simon Fitzgerald, the most reckless of the Disillusionists. His dark secrets drive him to take increasingly extreme risks, but he’s never lived so quite so dangerously as when he hooks up with Midcity’s most powerful prognosticator.

Fawna Brady is tormented by the destinies she sees for those around her. To Fawna, knowledge of the future is a cage she’d do anything to escape. She’s stunned to discover a taste of the freedom for which she yearns at the side of Simon, the one person in the world who despises everything she is, everything she stands for.

Simon’s defiant attitude toward destiny captivates Fawna, but will her love destroy him? And will Simon rush headlong into the delicious doom she offers? 

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