Showing posts from June, 2008

Things just got a little more Reluctanter

Big news in the League clubhouse, and no, Jackie's rash has not cleared up, thanks for asking! Apparently, Mark and I aren't enough man for the insatiable appetites of our demonic vixens in the LRA, so at their salacious request, we began searching far and wide for a suitable candidate, or manidate if you will... Neil Gaiman wouldn't return our calls. Robert Asprin, sadly, is dead. China Mieville sent us a cease and desist letter. So we kept on digging... digging, perhaps, past the bottom of the barrel. It gives me some reluctance and zero joy to announce the newest member of the League, food pornographer and blood sucking enthusiast Mr. Jeremy Lewis. You may remember him from our interview a few weeks ago to help pimp his book Staked . Had we known it would turn into such a mess as this, I would have disbanded the League immediately. Yet apparently, we're stuck with him... for now. For those of you more generous in spirit that I, feel free to welcome him in your

Joke Me, Baby

I have absolutely nothing funny to say. Which is really sad, considering I'm elbow-deep (er, no, more like knee-deep, inching up to thigh-deep) in my current WIP: the fourth Hell book. And while I'm not a laugh-out-loud sort of novelist, I'd like to think there's humor peppered in there, among all the demons and horror and death and stuff like that there. Actually, I'm feeling a wee bit panicky. This happens, sometimes, when I'm writing. There's various kinds of panic: (A) The ZOMG THE DEADLINE APPROACHES panic, when I'm terrified that I'll never get the book written in time. (B) The ZOMG THIS BOOK SUCKS panic, which I think is self-explanatory. (C) The LET'S TURN JACKIE'S HAIR WHITE panic, which is a lovely dose of A and B, above. Today's a C day. So cheer me up, Avid Fans. Know any good jokes?

Unplug? Never

My last book was set in L.A. and San Francisco. The one I'm working on now is set in Manhattan. Have I been to these places? Yes. Do I know them well enough to write without research? Heck no. Enter Google and Youtube. Praise be to the Internets--a writer's best friend (and worst enemy, but that's a post for another day). I was talking with a writer friend the other day and we both agreed we didn't know how we'd do our jobs without it. Whether it's looking up the exact location of a landmark to researching demonology to translating a spell into Sumerian, I could not write my books without easy access to Google. I'm not one of those writers who can insert a place holder when I don't know a detail. Until I find what I need, I'm stuck. Now, imagine we suddenly had to go back to living without the internet. How would your life (and your writing, if that applies) be different?

Easter Eggs

I tend to put Easter eggs in my novels--small items, phrases or themes that carry from novel to novel. In the Nocturne City series it's food--my heroine has a werewolf metabolism and she eats constantly. I've been able to invent a whole series of fictional restaurants and have her eat everything from burritos to gourmet sushi. It's great for world-building on a detail level and it's something fun that series readers can pick out. In the Black London books, it's music. My hero is an ex-punk who still clings to the musical tastes of his youth, and so I got to dive into my MP3s and extract such gems as the Supersuckers and the Anti-Nowhere League so I could reference their songs in the text. More character-building can tell a lot about someone by what kind of music they listen to. What are some of your favorite Easter eggs in novels? What are some you put in your own writing?

Promo Madness!

I promote the shit out of my book. Online. Via mailings. In person. And for the most part, I really enjoy this part of the job. It's fun to interact with people and share my enthusiasm...or dementia (you say potato, I say...) So far, I haven't found a promotional method I didn't feel comfortable with. Until this past Sunday, that is. A few months back, I got this really flattering request from a local Barnes and Noble to do an in-store signing appearance. Their sales of Happy Hour had been brisk and consistent and they were confident it would be an awesome opportunity. I didn't need to be talked into it, I would have come no matter what. I figured, I'd go sit around chat with some folks sign a few books that the store could then sell. No big deal. When I got there though, there were 20 books sitting on the signing table, so I felt some pressure going in. Not to mention the fact that I was regaled with tales of a previous author sticking around and handsel

Bestseller Madness

(In which I get cranky. Be warned.) Every day once in a while I get a bee in my plaid bonnet about one thing or another, and for some reason, something has struck me today about bestellers. Or rather, about people who tout themselves as bestsellers. I don't mean the NYT or USA Today bestsellers. That's a big deal, and frankly if I made one of those lists I'd probably redecorate my house with photocopies of it. I'd get a personalized plate for my car, I'd get t-shirts made, I'd get it tattooed on my ass. Well, okay, I wouldn't go that far, honestly. But you get what I mean. Those lists are a huge deal, in terms of money and prestige, and making one of them, even the extended lists, is something to be proud of. But am I the only one who is immediately suspicious when I see someone of whom I've never heard refer to themselves as a "Best-selling author"? Or, even better, "Internationally best-selling author"? (oops, I actually typod that

Weirdly Winner

First, a big thanks to Jonathan Lyons for the great interview. Second, as promised, the winner of Weirdly vol. II: Eldritch is: ~J Email me: jayewells(at)gmail(dot)com to collect the awesomeness.

Rest in Peace, George Carlin

In tribute to George Carlin, everyone list your favorite word that can't appear on television.

Housekeeping in the Strout hivemind

I think this may be the one place I haven't announced it, but hey, it's Monday and the floor is mine! I am proud to tell you that books three and four in my Simon Canderous series have been sold to my current publisher, Ace Books! I'm thrilled to continue on with my darling publishers, where I have the cutest editor in the biz. What does this mean for you, the consumer? Dead To Me- On Sale now Deader Still- March 2009 Book 3 of series- March 2010 (most likely) Book 4 of series- March 2011 (most likely) In the interim, there will be a few short stories coming out to tide you over, most of them set in the Simon Canderous universe, including The Fourteenth Virtue in DAW'S The Dimension Next Door out on July 1st. More news on the others as their dates approach... Also, just a reminder to all our wicked minded and creative readers about the DEAD TO ME photo contest I'm running over at You've got to be in it to win it, so head on over, check i

Video Time!

Okay, I'm begging off because I'm knee-deep in my WIP (minimum of 1,000 words a night; got to love deadlines) and have to take the Precious Little Tax Deductions to their godmother's house for mucho play time (and, on my part, mucho vino time). So I'm reposting what I had on my blog the other day. I think you'll like it. From Jackie's blog: Sorry, I've been a bad blogger. I've been writing. But I haven't been too busy to watch this fabulous video that my crit partner, the phenomenal Heather Brewer , sent me. It's made by her son, Jacob. It's brilliant. Watch it now.

In the Hot Seat: Agent Jonathan Lyons

We have a very special League guest for you all today. Jonathan Lyons agreed to take some time out today to discuss agenting, the market for urban fantasy, and reveal a personal secret or two. I have to admit a bit of bias here because Jonathan is my agent. In addition to being a fantastic agent with deadly laywer-fu skills, he also approachable and funny. Help us give him a hearty League welcome, will ya? Hi, Jonathan! Welcome. First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your agency. I am a licensed attorney and president of Lyons Literary LLC. I represent a select list of writers in various genres, including narrative non-fiction, history, food writing, biographies, women's issues, pop culture, sports, true crime, mysteries, thrillers, literary fiction, near future science fiction, and contemporary fantasy (of course). Agency clients include finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and PEN/Hemingway Award, nominees and winners of the Beard Foundation Award and

Pwned by Spawn

Talking to a five-year-old can get a bit complicated. First, there's the quicksilver changes in topic. Then there's the crazy declarations. Take the following: "Momma, did you know dads always make more money than moms?" I won't repeat the patient lecture he received, but suffice it to say that idea was nipped in the bud. Then there was this: "What job will you do when you stop writing books?" Huh? Why in the world would I stop writing books? I told him that if by chance I ever decided to stop writing books I'd probably go work for a magazine like I did before he was born. But it was more likely that I'd just write different kinds of books if I ever decided to stop writing about vampires and magic. "I think you should go work at Blockbuster." I explained that if I did that, I'd have to work for someone else. I couldn't hang out with him whenever I wanted. We wouldn't have as much time to play games together. "I have an

There are no dumb questions. Okay, yes there are.

I was looking through my email for reader questions to answer on my own blog later today and I started thinking, which as Mark can tell you is always a dangerous proposition with me. Why are some questions so prevalent in the writing community? Specifically, why is where do you get your ideas so popular? I HATE this question. Hate it. When it comes up I want to scream STOP IT STOP IT STOP it and hold my hands over my ears and throw a fit. Because it's un-answerable, and as a borderline obsessive Type A personality I NEED to have all the answers. NEED, people. You're seriously messing with me by asking me this. Ideas can come from anywhere. Literally anywhere. I've written books that started with ideas from: -Bad TV shows -Good TV shows -Dreams -Folklore -Comic books -The song "Voodoo Child" by Jimi Hendrix -Everywhere else So there's your answer. They come from eeeeeeeeeverywhere. [spooky hand movements.] I'd much rather answer questions about h

Saturday Interview

Just a quick announcement: This Saturday, agent Jonathan Lyons will be sitting in the League hot seat. He's going to discuss agenting, the uf market and maybe even reveal a personal secret or two. Be sure to stop by and comment because one lucky commenter will also receive a prize.


Aw Hells yeah, I know you been waiting. And I won't keep you checking any longer... The big wiener of all the Dakota Cassidy shiz is... pikestephenson! The #75 commenter was nascarandbeans! Email your addresses to - and I'll hook you up.

Surprise Guest Blogger and Contest! J.F. Lewis, Author of Staked

We Reluctant Adults are just full of surprises this week and today is no different. Jeremy Lewis, the author of STAKED drops in to free up some of my time to get some actual writing done. Show him some big League love and I DO mean the kind with tongue kissing. Ready. Okay! Voyeuristic Eating -- the Vampire Way Mark was kind enough to ask me to stop by and blog here in the hallowed halls of the League of Reluctant Adults. He even gave me free rein to talk about whatever I wanted. MWAHAHAHAHA! This is, of course, why I chose porn. Okay. Okay. I won't blog about porn. (Though I do keep meaning to blog about the peculiarities of food porn as practiced by the vampires in my book.) You know, maybe I will blog about food porn. Imagine never being able to eat food again. Worse yet, imagine seeing some wonderful dessert and never being able to taste it. No more chocolate. No more strawberries. Not even a sip of rootbeer. And what about the stuff you had never tasted? Wha

They can't all be winners, kid

Okay, this is officially the lamest blog topic idea I have ever come up with, I think. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and it will be fun. We'll see. This morning I had to take the Faerie to the doctor's office. She's officially three and a half now (my baby's not a baby anymore!) and so needs her shots. If there is anything in the world that feels worse than deliberately taking your precious baby to a place where you know they will cause her physical pain, I don't know what it is. Seriously. With both my girls I practically need to be sedated before taking them for their shots. I get all teary and guilty and watch them walk around, happily oblivious, like I'm about to sell them into slavery or something. They're so trusting, you see. They know Mommy would never, ever hurt them. Their Mommy would never hold them in an iron grip while a total stranger gives them a puncture wound, right? Wrong. So I, feeling awful, walk my adorable little darling to the doctor

Contest Ahoy!

Survived the coming zombie apocalypse... that picture of me with the white flaking skin and blood all over me was just from a day at the beach for me... Anyhoo, on to contest time, or as I call it The Totally Not Pat Rothfuss' Photo Contest Contest ! A good idea is a good idea, even if it happens to be the idea of your sworn enemy. While I would sooner walk down the other side of the street than share it he who shall remain nameless, I am so inclined to run a contest both similar in design and nonsense, all for the sole purpose of heightening worldwide awareness and adoration of Dead To Me . That, and I'm hoping the fan girls really get into it. There's nothing like elf ears on a spirited minx clutching my book to get the feminists after me show some spirit! Here's what you do: Display a copy of Dead To Me in whatever creative fashion you will. Props, people, what every your twisted mind can come up with. I'm looking for originality here. Snap a pi


I'm thrilled to announce that BLACK & WHITE, the dystopian superhero novel written by me and Caitlin, sold to Bantam in a two-book deal. Two superpowered women--once best friends, now on opposite sides of the law--must work together to fight the Big Bad Evil. Bwahahahaha! Think JUSTICE LEAGUE meets 1984, with a splash of BLADERUNNER. Caitlin wrote in the POV of the villain; I wrote in the POV of the heroine. Say it with me: HUZZAH!!!

Welcome Dakota Cassidy!

Moi: Today in the League Lounge we have one of my favorites, Dakota Fanning. And all grown up too. Care for a drink, Ms. Fanning? Dakota: It's Cassidy, darling. Dakota Cassidy. I can totally understand the mixup, though. *Waves hand under nose in a dainty swirl* Maybe you should reconsider sober? Just to avoid these kinds of embarrassing public displays. Oh, and would you ask the skanky dude in the corner to pass the damn booze? Frickin' hog. While you're at it--I believe, before I agreed to this, ahem, interview, I asked that you remove all of the YELLOW M & M's from my line of vision in my diva interview request package. Get someone on that, would ya? Clearly, someone on your staff'll be searching Monster jobs frantically tonight. Me: Anton! Clean up your soap making supplies and get this bowl of fat out of here! It's offending Ms. Fanning...I mean Cassidy. Pardon me. I think I even read your book. Werewolves, or something. Dakota: You can read? Me:


I'm not a zombie! I'm not a zombie! I'm... **glances at Facebook; sees that I was bitten by about a zillion zombies** Crap.

In case of emergency, break zombie...

How long have I been here? Looks like the rest of the League is having a tough time of it--I wouldn't know, since I work from home and have managed to stay barricaded inside my house with a supply of chocolate and the internet. TV went out, though. Bummer. Guess I'm going to have to pick up my TBR pile. Those neighbor kids are quiet for once, now that the biggest one turned on the smallest and ate her. Circle of life, man...I'm not one to interfere. It's very quiet here since the electricity went, and a strange smell is coming from under the sink. So quiet. You can hear the zombies singing, in a quiet like this. They sing to each other, yeah. Maybe we can't understand it, but they're communicating. Watching. Watching me watching them. Dizzy...time to drink more water. Let's see what the League handbook has to say about this whole mess...ah, here we go. Page 52 Caution should be taken when barricading a residence as prolonged confinement can cause feel

Portland Was a Mistake

I lost Charles on the bridge. Not in the sense that we got separated but in the way you refer to a close relative when they die. I lost Charles. Like that. 'Cause for sure that's what happened. He died. And he won't be coming back. I always thought it was funny how those stupid people on reality shows seemed to form bonds so quickly, abnormally so. Extreme and unusual situations must call for an escalated sense of intimacy, because I'm feeling the loss. Hard. As we reached the top of the wreck, we were met by scabrous mass of flesh in a stained magnolia sun dress. The woman--well, she used to be a woman--carried a baby in one arm as she pulled her morbidly obese carcass up the opposite side. She cooed at the thing in vibrato, her moan rattling with loose sputum. Charles tried to maneuver away from her, but she forced the baby ahead of her--well, not really a baby anymore, either. It snapped at the soldier from the zombie's hand like a puppet. A hungry

Only have a couple of minutes...

Okay, there is officially a zombie plague of some kind. Or something. Because there's a shitload of dead people wandering around. I of course remembered my League Emergency Preparedness Guide, and of course the information on Page 114 is completely accurate (did you doubt?): "...Zombies prefer human flesh, but, being vicious and not particularly clever, can be easily temporarily mollified by beasts of any variety. Or small vehicles." This being rural England, there are plenty of cows and sheep around (hey, it's them or us, okay?) We've fled to the moors, along with a small band of other living people. There are very few homes and villages here, so it's still fairly safe; we've found a B&B and are holing up here for as long as we can. Meanwhile...the sounds of the cows lowing outside is getting quieter...we're hoping it's just that they're going to sleep. Thanks goodness there's still a wireless internet network up.


We're on the bridge that crosses the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon, Vancouver is behind us and Portland looms ahead, a haze of gray tinted in sunset pink only we know that's from the fires and not anything romantic. We're going to have to get out of the car here. The drive was harried enough and mostly on the shoulder with plenty of stops to roll other cars out of the way. Bands of undead roam the freeways picking at meat from burning cars like it's brisket. We've had a few close calls. More than a few. Kayleigh is running a fever and the dark circles around her eyes threaten to cave into her skull. She's stopped talking. Charles and I are leaving her behind. If I had a gun, I'd shoot her in the head before she had a chance to slake off her soul and hunt. I should have left them both behind in the library, then I wouldn't have to make these kind of choices. The bridge is impassible. At least thirty cars are piled on the southboun

Still Alive!!!



I'm in a car, mobile posting. Driving south on Interstate Five. With me are Charles, an enlisted man from Ft. Lewis (long since overrun with zombie hordes and hazy with smoke, like streets after the Fourth of July), and Kayleigh, a barrista from the local coffee shop. She's shivering in the back. I found Caroline's car in the parking lot at her work. The door was hanging open. The building teemed with the undead fuckers. No screams. Bad sign. I fear the worst. At last count, Jaye and Anton were down, too. If it weren't for Charles and Kayleigh, pulling me from the heap I'd become, I'd have died right there. The zombies streamed from the doorway as soon as I got out of the car. We just passed Maytown, the auction yards are still. Smoke rose in crooked columns on the horizon. The EBS just stopped dead on the radio. Now, it's all fuzz. No word from Caitlin. Jackie? Stacia?

Jackie, knock knock knock!



The problem with the Emergency Broadcast System is that you have to be watching TV or listening to the radio. Where are the air attack sirens that used to litter small towns like mine? I'm sitting on the floor behind the checkout counter at the library, there are a few people huddled in the employee lounge, none of them librarians--the librarians are all shambling in the stacks. Dead. When I woke up this morning, the neighbors were in my house. The neighbors? We never even talk to them. We are NOT good neighbors. So you can imagine my surprise when the guy next door bumped into me as I came out of the bedroom. Or maybe you can, since this is spreading everywhere. Steve is his name. Was, actually. He tried to bite me. BITE me. WTF? Luckily, we rarely put anything away, so the cane I used as part of a Halloween costume two years ago was nearby. Let me tell you, it's rarely pleasant to bash in someone's head before one's first mug of coffee. There were two mo


Okay, things are getting really odd here in England. There's no TV at all. The girls haven't gone to school in a couple of days--when I went to drop them both off yesterday morning the buildings were deserted. ALL the buildings are deserted. Everyone is just sort of milling around outside. We've been okay, watching DVDs at home, but...we'll need to get some groceries or something soon.

Initiating League Protocol Zed

Burst transmission, all channels, New York City. 9:12 a.m. EST. Ok, WTF people?! I know it's a half day Friday here, but could you fucking pedestrians show a little less sluggishness in the streets and get out of my way? Hold the phone... *pulls out the League Emergency Preparedness Guide* Fuck... we got zombies. This is not a drill, League! Sure, that was e-coli on those tomatoes.... idiots! *checks the LEPG again* "I need to talk to Supply about labeling the flamethrowers properly. They really should come with a large sticker on them that says: WARNING! USE ON ZOMBIES ONLY PRODUCES FLAMING ZOMBIES! - Simon Canderous , New York 's Department of Extraordinary Affairs" *reaches into Resident Evil 4 and pulls out the infinite shotgun* Everyone to the League Safehouse NOW! *puts on t-shirt with the image above on it* BLITEOTWD

If a zombie leaves Denver at 3:30 p.m....

I've got nothing for you today, dear readers, so instead I'll give you a word problem: A zombie is approaching you from the north at .01 MPH. A second zombie is approaching you from the west at .03 miles an hour. Which one of your friends do you sacrifice so that you can run back into the mall and barricade the doors? Show your work.

This Weekend in the League Lounge: Dakota Cassidy

Dakota joins me for an interview so funny and sexy, it'll stain your underwear one way or the other. Make sure to check back on Saturday, there'll be a contest and prizes, including a signed copy of The Accidental Werewolf, an ARC of Accidentally Dead and even a gift card to feed you hedonistic book buying sickos. See you there.

A Post About Nothing

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. The way I figure it, that's about halfway, right? On the average, 80 is about the life expectancy (give or take a few years), so I should be taking stock of my life, what I've accomplished and likewise, what I haven't. But I'm not. Sure, I like to bitch about it and blame my lack of productivity on my age but the truth is, I don't really care. Birthdays were never a big thing in my family, which is odd considering that the relationships were very much notable due to age. My mother is 10 years older than my father and she had me when she was nearly 40, so very late in life and risky (the chances for Down Syndrome increase dramatically as those eggs get stale). My parent's reactions to birthdays were flavored by childhoods adrift in siblings and not a lot of money to celebrate. So even though I was an only child and finances had improved. The just weren't considered a big deal. And neither is this post. I've begun to bore myse

Hmmm...should I be worried?

So I was at Tesco this morning. I have to go there every day, as the refrigerator in our house (well, pretty much every fridge in every house in England) is too small to hold much food. So you can't do a week's shopping at once. Also, the freezer is tiny and has drawers. Very annoying. I digress. Anyway. I was at Tesco, buying chicken breasts to eat tonight. And I was chatting to my little Faerie who was riding in the cart, like I do every day. But Tesco seemed a little quieter than usual. Nobody else in there was talking very much. And it was a lot emptier than it usually is at that time of the morning too. But what really freaked me out was, some guy started following me. Not like a normal guy (of course, guys follow me all the time, lol) but...he looked weird. He kind of shuffled his feet. Now, he looked really tired. So I thought maybe he was just hung over, and maybe he just wanted to buy a few bottles of water too and that's why he followed me into that aisle. But he


First of all, Those all rock. Secondly... In all the hoopla of Dead To Me coming out, I have perhaps been neglectful of my next piece of work to hit the stores. Well, that neglect ends NOW! July 1st will see the publication of The Dimension Next Door , a DAW anthology with yours truly as the opening story. It's entitled The Fourteenth Virtue and ties into part of the historical records of the Fraternal Order of Goodness from Dead To Me. For those who have read DtM , there was a moment where Simon accidentally triggers off a book that Wesker is holding and he gets a flash of a rotting, decaying but still living Benjamin Franklin. This story looks more into the necromantic adventures of one of our founding fathers... who doesn't want to read that??? So hit your favorite retailer, be they online, bricks and mortar, indie, national chain or creepy guy in a trenchcoat on a corner selling urban fantasy surreptitiously. Go forth!

Songs That Grab You

You ever hear a song that makes you stop everything you're doing so that you can better listen to it? Maybe it's the lyrics; maybe it's the beat; more likely, it's a combination of the sound and the words. I was driving home last night when I heard this song on the radio that made me start banging my hand against the wheel and singing the chorus (quietly; the kidlets were sleeping). I made myself remember the first line of the chorus (easy, because it was one line that repeated), and as soon as I got home I Googled it. And then I saw the video, and it blew me away. The song, in case you're wondering, is "Youth of the Nation" by P.O.D. -- and here's the video . The last song to make me stop in my tracks like that was Breaking Benjamin's acoustic version of "The Diary of Jane." That one hit me so hard that I nearly changed a character's name in my current story at the time (HOTTER THAN HELL) from Virginia to Jane. This ever happen to yo

Worst. Idea. Ever.

I have a lot of ideas for stories, which I dutifully record in a file entitled, in a startling display of creativity, "Ideas 2008.doc". Maybe 10% of them actually make it to the page and maybe half of those make it to publication. Why? Because a lot of these ideas are bad . I don't hit a home run every time. I don't even bat .400. I do use too many sports metaphors in this paragraph. Some highlights of my bad ideas include: The Star Wars tie in novel I wrote. When I was 13. Yeah. The epic dark fantasy about a WARLORD and a CHRISTIAN ALLEGORICAL SOCIETY that was THEMATIC and IMPORTANT. Also BORING. The urban fantasy about vaudaun starring a redneck white chick, her pickup truck and some dead chickens. The thriller about a psychic serial killer and a psychic FBI agent who had mind battles. The oh-God-what-IS-it about lycanthropy experiments during the Vietnam War, complete with de-aging and Government Conspiracies. I actually still sort of like this idea, but t

What? A Post About Writing? I Hate Those.

Yet it's what I do. Can you smell the irony? So, I'm going to stomp my feet and pout all through this little blog entry (just keep that in mind). You see, I'd much rather make fun of crap, or pornify Oscar nominated film titles, or recount the horrors of my daily life than write about what I do, the mechanics of which, I have a hard time making sound amusing. I'm not adverse to reading about writing--in fact, Stacia's post yesterday reminded me to add some scents to my WIP--and according to some author bloggers, it should be our primary purpose. I'm not sold on that idea. I've gotten it into my head that people read blogs because there's something about the writer's voice that resonates for them, whether it's a political stance, a similarity to their fiction, or a sense of humor (I'm kind of counting on that). I've tried to follow the program, but it's a struggle. I don't feel like an expert, in any sense of the word, so ever

What do they smell like?

It's Tuesday! Time for me to pull a topic out of my--I mean, off the top of my little blonde head. Last night I wrote a scene in which smell was a big factor. Sweaty bodies, drugs, magic herbs, cheap beer and homebrew all smushed into one hot, smoky space. I like the scene; I like writing about smells. I think it's one way to really, firmly put the reader where you want them to be. And writing about scents always makes me think of pheremonal attractions, too. A long time ago I read about smell being one of the most basic building blocks of attraction--literal chemistry between two people. You could meet the most beautiful woman or most handsome man in the world, but if you don't like the way they smell chances are you're going to have a hard time getting it up, metaphorically speaking. I don't mean liking their cologne or soap or whatever. It's the scent of their actual skin, that unique combination of different smells that make one person, that's important.

Riding the Cyclone, or The Life of a Writer

If you are a writer and hoping to get published, I hope you like roller coasters... at least the emotional kind, because that is what you are in for. The writing life is a series of ups and down and any instant gratification that does happen has to be deep and personal because from the time you finish writing it to the time people read and comment on it, it is an eternity. So be gratified by your daily accomplishments, be it a few words, edits, research... as long as you are moving forward even in baby steps, yer doing the right thing. The intoxicating scent of wanting to be published drives people mad. A lot of folks set unrealistic goals for themselves and then get frustrated when they don't make them. A book is written word by word, page by page... take it in those bits and try not to think about THE ENORMITY OF THE TOTALITY OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE OMG WTF I AM NEVER GONNA FINISH MAH EPIC!!!! But back to the ups and downs... here's my short list of what I've experience

What Urban Fantasists Do When They Can't Sleep

It's 4:23 am, and I'm up. What do I do? (A) Make a nice cup of tea and try to get back to sleep (B) Get a glass of wine and try to get back to sleep (C) Screw the sleep, let's get some caffeine and start writing (D) Google for the possible reasons why I can't sleep and freak out over the (slight) possibilities of tumors, brain disorders and possession (E) Go online and see if my Seattle buddies are awake (hi, Caitlin!) (F) Think about waking up my kids, just to return the favor of many a long, sleep-deprived night from when they were infants (G) Grab a book and read (H) Plot to take over the world -- real or fictional, doesn't matter (I) Blog and post to various online communities; heck, might as well be a little productive* (J) Mix and match any of the above What do you do when you can't sleep? * Okay, duh, so this one's a gimme