Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hallowed Ones: authorly interview + lightning giveaway!

I've been so excited about THE HALLOWED ONES, the debut YA novel by author and pal Laura Bickle featuring an Amish heroine fighting terrifying vampires. And yesterday was her release day! And today she's here. 

A bit about the book: 

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

Welcome, Laura! 

CC: Laura, first, congratulations on the great reviews! All I hear is that it’s just riveting and scary and exciting and impossible to put this book down.

LB: Thanks so much! I’m over the moon to hear that folks are enjoying it!

CC: I think it’s interesting and dramatic that you have this Amish character, Katie, battling chaos and evil. Especially because I think of Amish settlements as places of great quiet and order, quite the opposite of chaos and monsters.

LB:  The chaos/order dichotomy is a key theme in the story. Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time when she can experiment a bit with the outside world. She wants to explore controlled chaos, the kind of exhilaration that we all want with pushing limits and determining what risks are good ones. It’s the bright side of chaos that makes us feel alive.

Instead, the outside world is overtaken by chaos. Katie’s community is a safe haven, but she knows that evil and silence are waiting beyond her fence. She learns bit and pieces of the story of what happened, but can’t know for sure.

And order does have a dark side. The Elders of Katie’s community fear contagion and declare that no one is allowed in or out of their land. Katie becomes aware of the constraints of order as she questions rules that disturb her own moral compass.

CC: Do you have an attraction to spaces of order?

LB:  I think there’s something very comforting about order. I crave it, but rarely achieve it. I mean, my desk is a disaster area.

CC: Is there something protective about Katie’s Amishness, or is it more about who she is?  

LB: Being Amish, Katie is a very quietly strong girl. Her background has given her a great deal of pragmatism and inner fortitude, and these are qualities she’ll need in order to survive.

CC: They say that fiction is more honest than non-fiction in many ways. I think that’s true. What’s most honest bit in this book?

LB: There’s a line that I love. It’s spoken by one of the older Amish women as she and Katie take on some difficult, gruesome tasks: “God smiles upon those who quietly do His dirty work.” The underlying lesson for Katie is that one’s actions prove one’s character. 

CC: Are you surprised by how people find THE HALLOWED ONES super scary, or did you go for that?

LB: I did intend for THE HALLOWED ONES to have a traditional horror vibe. Katie has to do some tough things because no one else can or will. I wanted the violence to have a purpose in forging a strong heroine…so I don’t recommend it for the easily-squicked.

The creatures that Katie must battle are nasty monsters. They want to devour pretty much everything they touch. I think that there’s something atavistic about the fear of contagion and of death, and I wanted Katie to feel that fully.

CC: As a fellow animal lover, I think you’ll understand why I’m asking this question: Katie raises puppies to make spending money. Do any dogs or puppies get hurt?

LB: Gah! No. If I even contemplated it, I’d be smothered to death by the cats that own me.

CC: Ravens figure into this tale. Can you say a bit about that?

LB: As an Amish girl, Katie is very connected to the natural world. One of the first signs she receives that something has gone terribly wrong in the world is the ravens – they leave in a great, thunderous black cloud.

There’s a legend about the Tower of London…that if the ravens ever leave, then the kingdom will fall. As a result, there are some ravens that are kept there with their wings clipped.

But it makes you wonder if there’s something the animals know that people don’t.

CC: Does this series follow your heroine, Katie, through all the books, and how many do you have planned?

LB: There will be two books. The second one, THE OUTSIDE, is also told from Katie’s perspective. It will be released by Houghton Mifflin Graphia in spring 2013.  

More about the book here. Excerpt here

Up for grabs: one copy of THE HALLOWED ONES, (print or ebook); print available wherever the Book Depository ships (which I believe is the whole world, so international) or in digital form, from the vendor of your choice, assuming they have a way to give it as a gift. 

  1. International okay. 
  2. Your email should be on your comment or I should be able to click to it from your name. 
  3. To be entered, you must make a real comment on the interview or answer this question: What about you would a scary vampire have to fear most? 
  4. Contest ends Thursday morning CST a few minutes after I turn on my computer. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Anthology Announcement

Several of us (including my fellow Leaguers Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Jackie Kessler, Allison Pang, Nicole Peeler, and Jaye Wells) have been sitting on this news for a few months now, and it's finally time to spill the beans!

From Publisher's Marketplace:

Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy: CARNIEPUNK, an anthology which combines the carnival setting and the world of urban fantasy, a place of deception, where monsters wait silently in the dark, featuring short stories by authors Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Seanan McGuire, Rob Thurman, Delilah Dawson, Kelly Gay, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Hillary Jacques, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole Peeler and Jaye Wells, to Adam Wilson at Pocket, for publication in August 2013, by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media.

I'm so excited to be part of this anthology with so many other amazing authors!  And the concept was a lot of fun to work with.  My story is called "Freak House" and is set in a completely new world, unrelated to my Dreg City and MetaWars books.

The anthology is coming out in August 2013 from Pocket.  We'll keep y'all updated as I learn more!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The curious affair of Jeffe Kennedy's desk...

Hey everybody! I've invited my lovely author pal Jeffe to guest post for me, not just because I'm in deadline hell, but because she is funny and an awesome writer, even though I'll have you know I have never been a cheerleader as she implies, and in fact, was soundly rejected from both cheerleading and pom-pom girls. Sending me on a sad downward spiral that ended here. At the league. And now, allow me to hand it over to Jeffe, who has agreed to join us in our writerly abyss. 

Hi and welcome Jeffe Kennedy!


When fabulous author, friend and CP, Carolyn Crane, invited me to guest post here today, I confess I got all a-dither about it. It’s like the head cheerleader, who’s a really nice person and is willing to talk to me in English class, invited me to come sit with the Popular Kids at lunch.

What do I wear? What do I say??

I mean, I’m not a shlep. I blog quite a bit. But I wanted to say something interesting, relevant and, above all, important. So I looked at past posts from all these amazing authors, hoping I could riff off of the interesting, relevant and important things they were saying.

People – they’re talking about SOAP. And bookshelves. And the gew-gaws on their desks.
Yes. You know what I was thinking.
I have found my tribe!
(I always suspected those Popular Kids were just nerds with better outfits.)

So, I can play “What Gew-Gaws Are on My Desk?”

I keep my desk pretty clear, with the desperate hope that my mind will be that way, too. This stuff is all to the left of the writing laptop. (That monitor is for doing the Evil Day Job. We try not to turn that on, Precious.) To the right of my writing laptop is my coffee mug.

This is absolutely required or they kick you out of the writer’s club – even if you’re social rank is below the chess club. Take Heed! I got this one in St. Thomas. If you can’t read it, the cursive says “A little paradise is good for the soul.” My little piece of paradise. Out the window, you can catch a glimpse of my non-Caribbean view – gorgeous and peaceful all the same.
As for the gew-gaws?

Yes, I have a shurikin on my desk. I may or may not toy with it during annoying conference calls. If you don’t know, it’s a kind of throwing knife – just a very sleek variety. Why do I know how to throw knives? It’s a long story which, sadly, does not include the circus. But, did you know you only get one of those sparkly outfits if the knives are thrown AT you? Total gyp.

Little fairy and dragonfly charms. I’ve kept these since my very first RT convention, when I was prez of the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFP) chapter, and everyone was so welcoming to me. I roomed with Leaguer Allison Pang way back then and I bet she remembers ordering these party favors with me.

My guy made this clay jaguar for me. It’s kind of a totem animal for me. He was annoyed that I let my cat chew the tail off (which I’ve reglued a few times). Ha! I’m so amused he thinks I can control my cats…

Exhibit A. This creature is frequently on my desk. Look at that face. Tell me you wouldn’t give him anything he wants.

This is a token from Sullivan McPig ( , who I know reviews a lot of the books here. It’s for review good luck.

I try to keep fresh flowers on my desk, to remind me to breathe, to stop and smell the flowers, as it were.

Finally, this trio is about my fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn. The magic wand is for my heroine’s sorcery. The ring I found after the FFP party at RWA in Orlando, after an agent told me my books fell through the cracks between genres. And the rock is a piece of unpolished obsidian I found up in Wyoming, when I first started shopping Rogue’s Pawn – which I called Obsidian back then.

All of these totems remind me of my path to get here, my visit with the cool kids. Thanks for putting up with me, guys!

I’ll try not to snort milk through my nose… 

Thanks, Jeffe!! Now stop snorting milk through your nose! And because she's picturing everything but her latest novel, allow me:   

Rogue's Pawn! Which, to me, was a fabulously risky, funny, sexy, highly entertaining book, full of shadows and light. It's a tale about an academic heroine who falls through a kind of rabbit hole to Faerie, a strange and dangerous place—dangerous mostly because her every wish materializes.

And then there’s the hero, Rogue, who is her savior and captor, and who may be good or evil, and might help her…or he might kill her.

Sometimes things are quirky and funny, but an odd savagery bubbles just below the surface. An awesome twist on the fae mythos!

More about the book here. Jeffe's  blog is here. And you can be her twitter friend  here, or her facebook friend here, and here is her website.

Thanks for stopping by, Jeffe! I want flowers and a shirikin now, too! *runs back to deadline cave*

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