Showing posts from May, 2011

Another fine mess

I’m fortunate to live in Denver. Besides the essentials: nice weather, fairly low crime, beautiful landscapes, medical marijuana, and plenty of watering holes (within shambling distance), we also have a thriving multi-faceted writers’ community. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers . The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America . MeetUps . Open mike readings at the Merc . And at the top of the literary heap, my tribe of scribes in the Lighthouse Writers Workshop . This Friday, Lighthouse kicks off their annual LitFest with--what else?-- a party. The next two weeks of LitFest are packed with workshops, seminars, and readings. On June 7th, Lighthouse and the Denver Civic Theater will host the LitFest Salon, The Final Word (on Final Words) : As writers, we often dwell too long on crafting a beautiful opening chapter. And we must keep our reader engaged during the narrative marathon in the middle of the book. But our story is a journey that goes somewhere, hopefu

Phoenix Comicon

Geekalicious, friends, geekalicious. I got to meet a couple of my favorite authors—John Scalzi and Cherie Priest—and get 'em to sign books for me. I was even on a panel with 'em! In case you don't believe me, I haz proof! I'm the guy who isn't Cherie Priest. The costumes on the floor were pretty fabulous, as was the unchained expression of All Things Nerd. I'll give you a sampler: The carpet pattern overloaded his camouflage circuits. Poor Predator. OK, this next picture is my favorite, and it's not because of the girl wearing almost nothing. It's because of the guys behind her checking her out. ONE OF THEM IS A NINJA. I just want everyone to know that this is the first time a ninja has been captured on film. I have plenty more pics to share—just check out my photo album on my Facebook author page. There's a great Dr. Strange, the 10th Doctor Who, Doctor Doom, and other characters who aren't doctors. Next time I'm scheduled to blo

Tour Recap of the Damned

Cross-Posted from my Blog. Hello, my pretties! I'm back in Dallas and still recovering from my week of debauchery, aka the Snark-LA-TEX book tour with Nicole Peeler. Before I get to the details, a quick snapshot in stat form: No. of book stores visited: 5 No. of miles driven: 1,285 No. of tattoos parlors visited: 1 No. of pounds gained: 3 Also, if you'd like an alternate perspective on the trip, check out Nicole Peeler's blog . She'll have more pics than I posted here. Go check her out, y'all. But be sure to come back because there's dirt down below. Sunday: Nicole and Mary Lois arrived that afternoon and our first stop was, naturally, food. I introduced the ladies to Fuzzy's Tacos, which is a delicious street taco restaurant with lots of thinly veiled innuendos serving as decor. Duly fortified, we headed to Borders in Allen, TX. First, let me say, this store is awesome. It's a two-story beauty of a store and the staff couldn't have been more solicit

Eleven Years

((Cross posted at Literary Intent )) Fair warning, sappiness ahead. Batten down the hatches, pump out the bilges, roll up the trousers, all that stuff. As predicted a month ago (I must be psychic!), today is my eleventh wedding anniversary. Or, as I like to say, it's been eleven years and I still haven't killed him yet. Not for lack of trying, grant you. I mean, I did hit the man with a car. Twice. (And he still agreed to marry me anyway. What's that about?) You'd think, after the first time, that he'd have moved. In fact, if you peer farther into the past (my editor has given up teaching me the difference between farther and further, btw) we were best friends even longer than that. Six years before we were ever a couple, for a grand total of eighteen years. Wow, now I feel old. It's at times like these that I like to stop and think about how very different my life would have been without him. And I mean more than just the "well, I wouldn't hav

Don't Be Sick!

One of the crazy-ass things about being online is that as soon as you mention anything, everyone has an opinion or--worse--advice. Even when it's the sort of thing you would never say to a veritable stranger in person, online people will tell you how to manage your cold, your kids, your shopping, and what medications to take or avoid, what politics you ought to practice and even which undies to wear. You didn't ask them for any of this help, you just happened to mention, in a casual way, that, say... you have a headache. And not all of us have a convenient ferret to distract the advisors with. And let's just forget that you're ever going to be able to adequately explain that as an adult who has managed to survive the world, to rise from the dirt-eating, bug-sampling, plant-nibbling, mud-puddle-dancing, nose-picking, zit-scratching yard-ape that you once were to become the alcohol-guzzling, pencil-nibbling, ink-jet-copy-sniffing, caffeine-addicted stress-monkey that y


Hello mah beauties! Right about now I should be in the air, flying to Dallas to meet up with Jaye Wells and start our mini-booktour, the SNARK-LA-TEX! Come for the signing, stay for the snark! If you're in Louisiana or Texas, we might be near you. Here's our schedule: Sunday, May 15 th — DALLAS, TX 4:00 pm, Borders (965 West Bethany Dr., Allen, TX 75013) Monday, May 16 th – AUSTIN, TX 7:00 pm, BookPeople (603 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78703) Tuesday, May 17 th — HOUSTON, TX 6:30 pm, Murder By The Book (2342 Bissonnet St., Houston TX, 77005) Thursday, May, 19 th — BATON ROUGE, LA 6:30 pm, Books-A-Million (2380 Towne Center Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA, 70806) Friday, May 20 th – SHREVEPORT, LA 7:00 PM, Barnes & Noble (Bayou Walk, 6646 Youree Drive, Shreveport, LA, 71105) There will be readings, gabbing, question answering, as well as much snarkage. Hope to see you there!

Finding My Rhythm

I have a small confession to make. A Brush of Darkness was never actually supposed to be published. Back in the summer of 2008, I started writing it. It was the first thing I'd seriously written in nearly 15 years. It was supposed to be my "starter" book - the one I was going to learn the ins-and-outs of publishing with. You know - how to query, how to revise, how to *write*.  I took a bunch of workshops, and wrote off and on until I finished it in April of 2009 - just in time to pitch it at Romantic Times. I entered it in many contests, wrote and rewrote that first chapter probably like 15 times, trying to please everyone as to what a first chapter *should* be. Eventually I found friends and fellow writers who convinced me to listen to my own voice and do what *I* wanted with it. Funny thing? I started winning some of those contests. I fixed up my query letter. I started writing the second book. And then I got my agent. (I actually ended up with three offers of r

Waxing uncomically about comics

This has been a graphic year for me, and I'm not just talking about when I'll be giving birth in August. 2011 will see two of my series transcending mere words and becoming comics and graphic novels. My Dark Swan series, starting with Storm Born , will be released in single comic issues before eventually being bound and sold as a set. Issue 1 comes out next Wednesday, May 18, and I'm pretty excited. The first book of my Vampire Academy series is also being turned into a graphic novel and will be released as one complete book on August 23. Subsequent books in the series will be released later, and in that crazy way publishing works, we're already developing and adapting Frostbite (book 2) before book 1 is even out. I've done a lot of interviews for both of these projects, and I'm constantly asked about any problems or difficulties along the way. I don't know if it's just something crazy and unique to me, but everything's been great. I've had no d

Completing the first draft with Steampunk Cats and Robots

What is that guy talking about with a post title like that? I don't know, and I *AM* that guy. Seriously though, as much as I want to impart revealing secrets about writing and set fire to the hive mind of the internet with knowledge of the ages, what I really want to do is bounce around like a happy puppy. The first draft of Hunted (Void City, Book 4) is done! But also, I gotz magic cats and crazed scheming steam punk robots! For a while now, I've been working with the guys over at Ignitus Innovation, Inc (formerly The Wandering Men) on a web comic idea. At Crisis Con last year, I was talking to Ashy about wanting to write comics (Marvel Comics, if you're out there, I have the first three issues of a Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy miniseries already written) and Ashy mentioned that they were interested in doing a web comic that tied in to the their Untold RPG. I asked what the setting was like and he asked me to sit in on a demo later that evening. I did and as a result, G

Wherein I Declare My Love of the Doctor

You know how Dakota finally got off her hiney and started watching BUFFY ? Well, that was me earlier this year with DOCTOR WHO. I'd been hearing about the series (in all its various forms) for years. And I'd think, "Yeah, I want to check it out." But then, damn, where to start? There were so many Doctors! That was daunting in and of itself -- was I really supposed to start with episodes from the 1960s? If not, then which Doctor should be my starting point? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! So I did what any person would do: I asked people on Twitter and Facebook. And the People have spoken. They said to me "Start with Christopher Eccleston." And I said, "Who?" And they said, "Exactly. Christopher Eccleston's Doctor is where to start watching DOCTOR WHO." Even so, I put it off for a while. Time elapsed without me knowing what the hell a TARDIS was. A Dalek sounded like a disease. And the Master was straight out of BUFFY. (**Jackie waves at Dakota**) And

Adventures in Grocery Shopping

I'm still in the weeds, work-wise (although I did turn in my SACRIFICIAL MAGIC edits on Thursday, yay!) but had some fun here and there over the weekend. Sort of. On Friday I had to go to the grocery store, to get some stuff for dinner. I'd decided, very optimistically, that I was going to give homemade Ikea-style meatballs a try, so needed ground beef and pork and potatoes (the recipe includes mashed potatoes in the meat mixture). So I head off full of vim, to get my groceries. Only I couldn't find any ground pork at the meat counter. And I notice this older woman standing next to one of those riding carts, shouting "Hello!" at the empty window into the butcher area. Nobody's back there. I stand there for a minute, and she's complaining about how there's nobody there and she hates going shopping at that time of ay but she can't drive anymore so is at the mercy of her son and whatever, and then she asks me to watch her little cart and actually goes

Finally popped my cherry!

No....not that one. Lots of other ones, though. I'm finally published now! That was beeeeg and ridiculously fun! I visited some bookstores and signed some copies in stock and said howdy to friendly booksellers. Favorite surreal moment was walking up to introduce myself to a lady in Barnes & Noble as she was reading about me on " The Big Idea " on her Nook. Later that day I went into Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe and got surprised by a spiffy display thingie that they had set up for me! Also just got back from my first Convention—the LepreCon in Tempe. I met Gini Koch and Seanan McGuire and Diana Gabaldon! (Did you know that Diana is SUPER DUPER NICE?) Had lunch at Rula Bula, the Irish pub featured in The Iron Druid Chronicles. Had lamb stew and a Snakebite (which is Guinness and Cider). My friend Alan bought me a shot of this amazing whiskey called Red Breast, 12-year-old pot-stilled Irish stuff. Seriously awesome! To make this day even spiffier, it's FR

My super-brilliant early writing career

Like a number of writers, I have a side job to pay the bills. Writers with side jobs tend to fall into two categories: those with writing-related professions, and those with non-writing related professions. I have a marketing/advertising writing side-job, so I'm in that first group. T here are whole schools of thought about whether it's better for your side job to be about writing or not. (e.g. if you write for your side job, will you use up all your writing juice? vs. if you write for your side job, does that just give you extra practice?) I actually go back and forth on that. Anyway, as some of you may know, Mr. Crane and I are moving across town. So, tonight I cleaned out this old file cabinet. And of course, it turned into this whole walk down memory lane.  I found all these files from my VERY FIRST advertising copywriter job, more like a paid internship.I was an advertising copywriter for employment want ads! That was back when there weren't enough employees to go a

Wherein I finally watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Don’t. Don’t say it. I know, I know. You’re all going, WTF? How is it that you’ve never watched Buffy,__ (insert epithet here. Your choice. Dumb ass completes the sentence nicely. I know. I inserted it.)? I also had no idea who Joss Whedon was. Again—if you must call names, be super creative :) So, okay. I’ve never watched Buffy. Scorn all you like, but I have reasons. I think it was because during its run in the 90’s, I was still married to my first husband, and he was sort of in charge of the remote. I was in charge of baked goods and big hair. At the time, it worked. Er, at least I thought it did. That’s a whole different blog ... Also, I don’t come from the background most writers in the paranormal genre do—or so I’ve heard and read they do (again, this is me. What do I know?). What I mean by that is, I didn’t even know the genre in romance existed until I began reviewing and found Nina Bangs’ brilliance. When I finally wrote my first book—it was a contemporary. By then

How's It Going to End?

If you've never seen The Truman Show with Jim Carrey, I highly recommend that you go and watch it. Right now. I'll wait. ... Did you watch it? Wasn't it awesome? And how about that ending? Endings are important for books (and movies). A truly good ending can make you happy for days -- and a bad ending can leave you feeling angry, cheated, and possibly ready to storm an author's house with torches and pitchforks *coughStephenKingWizardAndGlasscough*. So, as an author, I take endings very seriously. Right now, endings are on my mind because I'm right at the beginning of a shiny new novel, and everything about it is awesome and amazing and exciting (for now -- that will change when I get to the middle, but at the moment I'm loving the book). And, for perhaps the first time in all my novel-writing years... I have no idea how it's going to end. Oh, I have a vague concept that the main character will somehow triumph over adversity. But that's all I got. This

Um, yeah ... it's research. Really.

I love the movie, "Stranger Than Fiction." It's a difficult film to describe, but I'll give it a go. It's about an IRS auditor who begins to hear a woman narrate his life. What he doesn't understand (not yet anyway) is that the woman is a novelist working on her come-back novel and he is her main character. The problem is that she mentions he's going to die. I made my boyfriend watch this movie last night. The selling point was Will Ferrell, of course, who plays the beleaguered Harold Crick. And every time I watch the movie, I fall in love with it all over again. I can't imagine any writer NOT watching this film. Not only from the unique perspective of fiction colliding with reality and somehow mixing until it makes perfect sense, but also watching the neurotic attempts of the writer, Karen Eiffel, figure out how to kill Harold Crick. If you watch this movie, as a writer, you will say, "Oh, yeah. Been there." As a reader, you'll say, &q