Showing posts from May, 2008

Emotion and Stuff

Okay, I admit it: I'm addicted to Bravo's Step It Up and Dance. If you haven't seen it, think Project Runway except with dancing. They even have a Tin Gunn-esque character who acts as a mentor. Anyway, last night the finalists had to do a choreographed routine to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Throughout the rehearsals, Nancy, who is the tough love judge, kept telling the dancers to bring their emotion and experience to the dance. So, in addition to learning a rigorously technical dance, they also had to tap into their emotions. Hmm, sounds a lot like writing. In addition to minding our word craft, balancing plot structure with character development, and a plethora of other technical issues, authors also have to be good at both eliciting emotion and bringing their own emotions to the story. When you get down to it, any kind of art--any form of creative expression--really boils down to creating an emotional experience. Even if you're writing about a

The Twist

I just got back from seeing Chuck Palawalladingdonhniuk, and he got me thinking about twist endings. I LOVE twist endings but I've never had the opportunity to utilize a true twist in my own plots just haven't allowed for it. I think it's one of the hallmarks of a really good author if they can thoroughly surprise you so far into a novel. And Fight Club has one of my favorite sneaky endings of all time. Tyler is Jack! Jack is Tyler! I am Jack's plot twist! I get to twist the overarching plot at the start of the second book in my Black London series, but it's just not the same as a big whallop right before the climax. I'm still working towards that, hoping one day that I'll get to make everyone jump out of their chairs and cry "Oh no she di'int!" with a story. What are your favorite twist endings?

Crypticon Sans Pressure

I'm continuing a post started on my personal blog, for no better reason than saving some time. Cuz, really, I need all those precious spare moments for Facebook word games. I just can't have blogging cutting into my other distractions. So where was I? Ah...Sunday. The day I got to be an actual con attendee. No pressure to perform and all the time in the world to gawk. I took my best friend Kevin because--c'mon--pseudo-celebrities? I needed a snark buddy. We started by taking a quick lap around the signing area. Tony Todd scared us because he was grumbling by himself. Danielle Harris scared Kevin with her unsightly blemishes, he promptly suggested Proactive--it has helped many other d-listers get their skin under control. Then it was off to the Friday the 13th Q & A panel with Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees) and Adrienne King (last counselor standing). Let me start off by saying, Betsy Palmer is adorable. She's just this tiny thing that you want to squeeze eve

It's about the work

So as I lay on my couch of pain, recovering from this weekend's fun with abdominal disorders (the Faerie had the stomach flu Friday night, and managed to throw up on me three times, poor thing; I often think the biggest change in your life when you become a parent is that having another person's vomit on you is no longer a big deal but is instead just a minor annoyance, on a par with your socks slipping between your toes--I hate that--but not as bad as a fly in the house. And so of course the hubs and I both came down with it Sunday, and spent all of that day and yesterday huddled on the couch under a blanket while the children turned the living room into some bizarre, disastrous ocean of papers, clothing, and little plastic toys which I do not yet have the energy to tidy) I was thinking about writing. Thinking, not doing, really, although I gathered myself enough last night to make a few edits. Well, I thought about writing and Johnny Cash, because we finally got around to wat

Memorial Day: A Memory

Back in the 80s, during my high school days, three authors got me on the path to writing. The first was William Gibson and his book Neuromancer , which I barely understood on my first reading of it but all I knew was that I felt like I so desperately wanted to understand it that it fostered a lifelong love affair with his work and made me a better reader. He, thankfully, still lives on. The next two authors, sadly, do not. The first has been gone for some time- Douglas Adams. If you've read anything I've done, I think you can see his influences throughout my work. The next, however, left us just this past week- Robert Lynn Asprin. I came to him through an equally nerdy friend, stole his copies of the Myth Adventures series, and never returned them. I was hooked on his particular brand of quirk, action adventure, and humor. When I came to New York years later, I ended up working at the publisher responsible for Mr. Gibson and Mr. Asprin, Ace Books. I was thrilled when his

Caught: A Contest

***CAUGHT!*** We're all friends here, right? I can share something personal with you, can't I? (I promise, it has nothing to do with feeling less than fresh. That's the stuff of bad commercials, not of League blog posts.) Loving Husband and I were having an intimate moment. Well, hour. Well, I wasn't really timing it. So there we were, getting Biblical (without the begatting). The bed was rocking, so no one's supposed to come knocking. Mid-rock, Tax Deduction the Elder calls out, "Mom? Are you OK?" Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek. I freak out, thinking that we've scarring my precious six (and three-quarter) year old for life. I think this as I dive under the covers, completely mortified and vowing never to have sex again (just like someone worshiping the Porcelain God vows never to drink again). I say something like "Gark." Loving Husband calls back, "Mommy's fine. Her belly's hurting a little, that's all." (Okay, you have to understand

Hey, There's An Idea

I named a character after a friend from college. I used another friend's experience on a cleanse diet as inspiration for a scene involving a magic potion. I added a demon to that movie premise. A bottle of wine inspired a major plot element--and not because I was drunk. A dream inspired another cool element. These are a few examples of where I get my ideas. Truth is, writers can find inspiration anywhere and from anything. Sit me in a blank room with nothing interesting to look at, and I'll create a story about the dead fly the windowsill or about a woman who loses her mind from boredom. I've always created stories in my head. It's the result of being one of those easily bored kids. But when I started writing fiction, I struggled with trying to figure out what to write about. Eventually, my first book was based on an idea I had while working in a museum a few years earlier. But as I continued to write, I found that my mind became trained to look for inspiration. Now, e

Hold Up. Spoke Too Soon

There's a zombie movie that got my attention. It's like Night of the Living Dead meets 227.

The Year in Horror...or Something

So Saturday I'll be hunkered down behind a folding table at Crypticon Seattle (the Northwest's first horror convention, yay!). If you'd like to swing by, it's... Saturday, May 24th - 12:00 noon - The Year in Horror That's all I have to go on. Just that topic. No news on who'll be on there with me. Or maybe it's just me. I mean, seriously, who else would choose to do a panel during lunchtime? So that brings me to my topic, which is really more of a plea. What defined horror this year? Was it film? I can only think of a few big horror movies. Diary of the Dead sort of fizzled before it began. Most of the shocking stuff was independent or foreign (The Signal, Funny Games, The Host). Though this looks promising... Despite some of the films being shlocky and poorly executed, the After Dark Horrorfest, 8 Films to Die For, has been a shot in the arm to a genre that was drowning in Asia Extreme remakes and, to some extent, still is--some notable breakouts

Kill Me Now

(A little note first: Personal Demons is now available in ebook format from Fictionwise! And it's on sale this week.) Ah, summer. The days get longer...long enough that putting the kids to bed at a decent hour becomes a nightly battle with the curtain rod and a bunch of blankets in an attempt to darken the room enough for them to sleep. The air gets warmer...warm enough to make the garbage piled up outside thanks to every-other-week garbage collections stick and attract flies. The air gets warmer (again)...warm enough that, without air conditioning, everyone leaves their doors and windows open, which means that although I myself did not spend the money to buy a home karaoke machine, I still get to experience the riotous fun of listening to my neighbors play with theirs! Oh, yes. In the last couple of days, I've had the thrill of listening to my neighbors' deathless performances of the following: The Time Warp 9 to 5 American Pie We Are the Champions some lame-ass Kylie Min

How Stel-- Anton Got His Groove Back

Book 1? On the shelves. Book 2? With my editor while I await my editorial letter. Last short story? Turned in by deadline. Anton? Not writing. All my current deadlines, in the business contractual sense, are met right now. I'm mostly done touring the book. And now I'm not writing because at first I was all "Hey, cool! I can has nap nao!" But I know there's a book three in the series since book two ends on a cliff hanger (sorry, readers of next year!) I should be getting to it... but I haven't been able to. Here's the thing: if the sales of Dead To Me that I can discern are any indicator, I'll have at least five digits worth of people waiting to see how several things turn out. All those eager peepers on you, that's a little daunting when you feel like the littlest writer evah! So what to do? First, as best I can, I have to ignore their existence and focus on the story, having faith in what I set out to do in the first place- to write

Demon Week: It's Getting Them To Shut Up That's The Trick

You want evil? I'll give you evil: getting woken up at four in the morning with a burst of inspiration for a scene for a book that I haven't even started yet. Some might call it the Muse. Yeah, right. That's my own personal demon (or demons), Jezebel. And sometimes, Daun. Damn them. JEZEBEL : Hey, Kessler, quit your whining. If it weren't for me, you'd be flipping burgers now. DAUNUAN : You? Babes, as if you'd be anywhere without me . JEZ : Arrogant, much? DAUN : Just callin' it like I see it. JEZ : You're kidding yourself. DAUN : And you're deluded. JEZ : Look, you dumb demon, I ran away from Hell because I found the change in management untenable. Believe it or not, that had nothing to do with you. DAUN : And you came back to Hell because of me. JEZ : I needed you to kill me so I could rescue my boyfriend's soul! DAUN : [WAGGLES EYEBROWS] The ends justifies the means. And you meant it when you moaned as I got your sweet spot. JEZ : Stop that.

The League Interview: Jeri Smith-Ready

Joining us today in the League Lounge is Jeri Smith-Ready. But it's filthy--Anton threw a party last night for all his alcoholic gamer friends and left the place a mess. Lucky for me, Carrie (the Bookgirl) has agreed to help clean up--I don't think she has any ulterior motives, but we'll see--she's like my little hausfrau (without the oomlaus because I don't know how to make those happen). So, with that, Jeri and I sit down with foot tall steins of beer. Carrie sulks around in the shadows, sweeping. Moi: So you're old hat at this book release thing, what with the two "Crow" books on the shelf and all. Did you spend May 13th sitting around drinking Grasshoppers and yawning? Jeri: I guess from a distance, to a deaf person, it might have looked like yawning. But up close, to the non-hearing-impaired, it looked (and sounded) a lot like yelling. I won't say it was a complete mental meltdown, but my laptop had to be put into protective custody. I&#

Demonic Marketing

Sometimes, when I feel like my evilness quotient is slipping, I like to surround myself with demonic marketing gimmicks and foodstuffs. For example, I have a framed version of this poster hanging in my living room. Yes, I'm a sucker for demonic art , especially when it combines alcohol and French--the official language of evil. But many option exist when it comes to demon-themed products. Witness the following...if you dare! (insert evil laugh) From Lush bath products, we have Demon in the Dark , which is a "minty and mysterious body soap to tingle sluggish skin." What could be tastier than a Demon Pig ? Well, now there's a sauce for all your evil BBQ needs. For those who prefer their food to taste like burning hellfire, Demon Ichor is the sauce for you. And how about a Satan Red beer to wash down all that brimstone? Last, but certainly not least, the classics : Deviled eggs and ham. What's your favorite demon themed marketing gimmick?

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Hey y'all. Last day of book club and I'm thinking we should do it a little different. We talked earlier in the week about what we thought the personal demons looked like, but aren't they all unique and perfect snowflakes like us? Ahem. Let's talk about our own personal demons and describe them. Here's mine... I call him Hijinks. Not that he goads me into pranks--he doesn't--he just makes me say things that probably should have stayed in my head. Hijinks is about 6 inches tall and almost that around, like a little bowling ball with feet and hands, only prickly like a thistle. He leaves little red welts across my shoulders when he rolls from one side to the other and can't quite reach my ear to whisper so he uses a rolled up post-it note which he whacks against my ear lobe to get my attention. But enough about Hijinks...

Demons on the Small Screen

Well, it's demon week, so I can't blog about my plans to become the future Mrs. Tony Stark. So it goes... Have some random movie geeking instead! Demons are so rarely well-done on film, and this makes me sad. But there are some demon films I count among my favorites, so here they are... The Exorcist Duh, right? A classic, sure to peg your creep-o-meter and beautifully shot. The Ring But wait! you cry. This movie isn't about a demon, it's about a little girl in the TV who kills people. Hah, I say, that all depends on your interpretation, and to me it's clear that little Samarra is something otherworldly. She appears mysteriously, lives on after being drowned and affects all of those around her with evil. Plus, that bitch is scary . Fallen A tight little film about the nature of evil, with a twist ending. And a vauguely sinister song wound throughout. Bonus. Constantine Before you all start yelling at me, no, I don't actually like this movie. The depict

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Oh shit! It's a SPOILER free-for-all. Anything! ANYTHING!!!!

The Devil Made Me Do It

Ever watch those rehab or intervention shows and wonder, how can I become an alcoholic? Well now you can. These demon inspired cocktails will have you withdrawing from your significant others, making excuses and socking your boss in no time. Demon Semen 1 oz Aftershock Hot & Cool cinnamon schnapps 1 oz Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps Mix and serve in shot glasses Green Demon 1 oz vodka 1 oz rum 1 oz Midori melon liqueur lemonade 1 cherry Shake vodka, rum, and liqueur and pour over ice in a highball glass. Fill with lemonade, add the cherry on top, and serve. Bitches from Hell 1/2 oz Jagermeister 1/2 oz banana liqueur 1/2 oz half-and-half Layer ingredients into a shot glass in order; jagermeister at the bottom, then banana liqueur, followed up with half-and-half. When you're ready to begin, give me a call.

Sexy Demon

Isn't that hot? It's called "Angel and Demon." I found it yesterday while looking for pics to use for my lame Loldemons, and it's just too gorgeous to make fun of. So I contacted the artist, a lovely (and pretty attractive himself, btw) German man named Uwe Jarling, at his website , which is full of other gorgeous art, and asked him for permission to post the pic here, which he very kindly gave. Why am I going into all of this (which is, let's face it, rather a dull story)? Because it is a copyrighted image, and Mr. Jarling was generous enough to give his permission to post it here, so I wanted to make sure everyone got the links to his site and everything so they can go look at his other stuff if they so desire. So go do that, and in the meantime, I'll be here still looking at this one. Because I'm just that kind of pervy, baby.

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Hola bitches! Sorry I'm late getting this up, but real life interceded. Anyway, I've been thinking about Megan Chase (the MC of Personal Demons for you guys that haven't forked out your $7 yet) and in particular her psychic ability and how it helps her in her work. The question that comes up for me is this, is it an ethical issue for a psychotherapist to use their mind-reading ability to help a client through their issues? Put yourself in the client's position. Would you feel violated? Manipulated? Creeped out? Hmm? I'll take the stance that most people follow the same cycles of behavior as their parents and make choices based on learned methods of communication, decision making and introspection, so any therapist who does proper background assessment would appear to be "psychic." I know I've been accused of it. But to actually be psychic makes my mouth water. Totally more efficient. Anyways...

Oh, the hilarity


Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Good morning peeps! Today at the League book club, I thought we could talk about technique stuff. Stacia is a great storyteller and here's why, she can weave together several experiences in a single book. Personal Demons is at once a tale of horror, adventure and mystery, romance and comedy. Let's discuss these cross-genre interplays and how the writer uses them to guide the reader on an emotional journey. Or... Wow, Stace is super manipulative.

10 Things (Most) Demons Never Do

(I'm going to list my ten, and you guys come up with some new ones in the comments!) 1. Study the fine art of cake decorating. 2. Squeal and leap on a chair when a spider runs across the floor. 3. Place potpourri anywhere. 4. Own Princess Diana commemorative plates. 5. Ice dancing. 6. Wait outside anyplace a celebrity is rumored to be inside, hoping for a glimpse. 7. Turn down a drink. 8. Worry about what other people think of them. 9. Butterfly collecting. 10. Wear sunscreen.

Logo Contest Wieners!

Yep. Plural! 1/3 of you correctly guessed that Caitlin was missing from the line-up. As an added bit of fun, most, if not all of us, will be posting the original photos we used on our own blogs. So...drumroll... Our grand prize winner: tetewa tetewa get the signed copies of Dead to Me, Personal Demons, Happy Hour of the Damned, Night Life, The Road to Hell, an ebook of Weirdly 2 featuring Jaye's story and assorted swag. Congratulations! But...wait...I've got so many signed books on my desk I'm giving more away to... macbeaner and bunny_b! I'm going to let you two race for first choice between Rachel Vincent's Rogue and Kim Harrison's The Outlaw Demon Wails. First to email me gets their choice. me (at) Go!

Book Club: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane

Okay League readers, it's book club time. Seems like a while since Stacia through me one for Happy Hour and here we are chatting up Personal Demons. What could be a more appropriate time than during Demon Week? We won't be doing a spoiler thread until later in the week, so even if you haven't read PD yet, you might want to swing by just to chat with Stacia or anyone else, really. We're all usually just hovering around talking about Stacia, anyway. I did a review of Stacia's book over at my blog, so if you want to check that out, then clicky . But remember, this isn't a place for reviews, or whether you liked it or didn't. That's not the point. What is the point? Well, today it's all about the demons. Stacia served 'em up three different ways. You got your scary, sexy and comic all in one. Who was (were) your favorite(s)? Why? Let's get it goin'!

A Theme Week? Yep!


The F Word

Yes, folks, it was just a matter of time before it came up. I'm talking about that most dreaded word to a fledgling writer- frustration. OMG WTF BBQ??? I wanna be a writer! I'm writing, no one's offered me a deal yet.. should I burn my book? Should I rewrite my serious first person fantasy as a humorous third person military science fiction because one agent said so? Should you start another project while working on one? Should I give up writing all together?OMG! OMG!!! First of all, grab a paper back and take a couple deep breaths into it. Go ahead. I'll wait. A little better? Good. Second, have some chocolate. (Send me some too... not the chocolate in your mouth, the other!) I'm here to tell you that for the yet to be published, frustration and anxiety are literally a part of the job. I'm also here to tell you that for the published author, they are too, just in different ways. I hope that by hearing this it is of some comfort to you. Does it make it e

Can A Reluctant Adult Be a Parent?

Happy Mother's Day! And yeah, I'm a mom. Heck, I'm a freaking soccer mom, as yesterday proved: the Precious Little Tax Deductions both had their soccer games (at two different places), AND their team soccer photos. My boys kicked a...--um, tush--and Loving Husband and I are so proud of them. I can't believe these little people popped out of me. Then again, there are times when I can, because they know how to push all the buttons--and, if you believe Jackie's Mom (yeah, I know, I don't trust anyone over 40 either), I, shockingly, was a handful. From yesterday, an example of my kids being very good at being six and four: PRECIOUS LITTLE TAX DEDUCTIONS THE ELDER AND YOUNGER: **Throwing a super bounce ball in Tax Deduction the Elder's room and banging it hard enough to make the walls vibrate** ME: I'm going to kill them. LOVING HUSBAND: Don't do that. PLTDTEAY: **Bang, crash, emphasized with maniacal laughter** ME: I'm going to kill them slowly.

Contest Reminder and a Thank You

First of all, we won't be choosing our winners (yep! With an "s") until Monday, so tell your friends about the League and jump on the free shit bandwagon. Just make sure that the comment is under the contest post and not this one, cuz I'm too lazy to go huntin'. I have to thank Jaye for that post she did yesterday. Got me putting together a playlist, where I remembered a song that would be perfect for Dark Rites. But more than that, gave me an idea for a secondary character that I'm super psyched about. Here's the video for Lagartija Nick... ...and nope, the character I'm thinking of is not the devil, or Nick, or whatever you want to call him. Any guesses? Stace, you're excluded, since you know. Happy Mudda's Day, tomorrow. Don't forget about Jackie's Mother's Day post!

Gettin' Some Play

It's Friday at the League, and we all know what that means--Jaye Day. Unfortunately, there'll be no interesting list of cool things I've done because, frankly, nothing I've done beats being a phone psychic. So I decided instead to share with you the play list for my debut novel, RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. I figure since none of you can read the book until next April (start saving now, people), you could at least get a taste of the music that influenced its writing. Here goes: Voodoo by Godsmack Bodies by Drowning Pool Red-Headed Stepchild by Golden Smog Coming Undone by Korn Breathe by The Prodigy Temptation Awaits by Garbage Push It by Garbage Blood Sugar Sex Magic by Red Hot Chili Peppers Apple of Sodom by Marilyn Manson Fatal by The RZA Heirate Mich by Rammstein Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes The Witch by The Cult Lazy Eye by The Silversun Pickups Under the Milkyway by The Church Cuts You Up by Peter Murphy A lot of these songs are purely to get me in the mood for

Some things you should know

Hi, everybody! Hi, Caitlin! Since this is my first post at the League, I figured I might as well go for full disclosure and reveal embarrassing things about my personal/writing life. So here we go: I once worked as an internet psychic. No lie. I sat in chat for a scummy company based in New York and read tarot cards. I wouldn't lie to people, so I didn't last long. However, when I was bored or needed to get a soda, I could pretend to go into a trance, so that was fun. I know all the words to 'Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)' by Travis Tritt. And whatever your feelings on country, it is a great song. I'm a hidden geek. Or not so hidden, if you get me talking about Batman. I'm incapable of writing well-adjusted characters in my novels. Okay, I probably am capable but I find them incredibly boring, so all of my characters tend to be broken and screwed up. At last count, my protagonists number a werewolf, a heroin addict, a runaway Fae, a

What Does Your To Be Read Pile Say About You?

Let's start this one off with the list... The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy War of the Oaks by Emma Bull Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris World War Z by Max Brooks The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler Heartsick by Chelsea Cain One Mississippi by Mark Childress The Night Gardener by George Pellicanos Greywalker by Kat Richardson Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill A Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan Bloodangel by Justine Musk Duma Key by Stephen King The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk Okay, so what does it say? 1. The zombie guy hasn't read World War Z yet? That's pure laziness any way you slice it. You probably won't be surprised th


Ahh, best friends. They do things like go into bookstores and take pictures of your books when you can't be there yourself. Or video themselves going to buy it, which MY best friend Cori totally did, which is one of the many reasons why she's awesome. Look! Aren't they pretty? They really exist, at least at the Barnes & Noble Cori went to which is somewhere in South Florida but I'm not exactly sure which one. What does all this mean to you? LOTS, especially because I know me and my book are way up high on your personal priority list. But wait! There's more! Next week we're going to have DEMON WEEK here at the League, along with Fun Book Club Posts. Mark is running it, and I will of course be coming in to comment, so I'm sure we're going to have a blast. We will also have an awesome Guest Blogger in the form of Jeri Smith-Ready , so you definitely don't want to miss that one! But WAIT! There's MORE! This Friday the 9th I'll be chatting ove


I don't know about you guys, but when I get really deep into a project I like a little music to write to. You know what's the best kind of music to kick start your ass? FREE MUSIC! Head on over to Trent Reznor's gone nuts and is giving away his best album since Closer for free. That's right: f.r.e.e.

A Whole New League!

...well not a WHOLE new League, three of us are the same people--though forever immatured by our experience with the first League--but still a very different League. Let's call it the League 1.5. Does that work? First off, some sad news. Jill Myles has decided to leave our ranks. We wish her the best with her writing pursuits and much success in her career. Don't be surprised if you see her popping up here from time to time (particularly when Sex Starved hits the shelves). So...what's new? I've been looking around the internets and saw that some of our readers were involved in a bit of the old speculation as to what was going on at the League Lounge. Understandable, we were 2 down and that's 2 too few, after all. So, we went on the hunt and coralled us some fresh meat. Who, who, who, you ask? Introducing our newest members (cue drumroll)... Caitlin Kittredge (MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON, NIGHT LIFE) Jaye Wells (RED-HEADED STEPCHILD) Jackie Kessler (HELL&

Watch This Space...

Come Monday we're going to have some stuff to tell you about! Meanwhile, I'm totally stealing this day to plug my guest chat thing, next Friday May 9th, at Chris Eldin's blog . I'll be there most of the day, and I'm giving away a free book, and I'll bet chatting and answering questions and doing all those promolicious happy fun things, so make sure you come by! Meanwhile, here's an amusing book cover for you to look at.