Friday, July 17, 2009

Okay, move is complete; update your bookmarks!

Check out the new site at and the new blog at

I hope to see you all there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deadline day

Can't talk. Working.

See you Thursday.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Endings, beginnings, and tidbits

So. First things first.

You guys know I'm having a new website designed. (If you didn't, um, I am.) It's going to go live next week, I believe; very soon.

And... I have decided, after much thought, to retire the Blogger blog.

The blog will stay here. I will still use my Blogger identity because I still read a lot of Blogger blogs (when I can). And ALL of the old entries are being imported into the new blog, so once your bookmarks are updated (if you're bookmarking me), you'll still be able to hunt around and find what you're looking for over there, without having to wander back and forth.

But the new site will be a Wordpress site (I'm a bit nervous about that. Wordpress didn't work well for me in the past but I have messed with it a bit since and I have high hopes). And I wanted an integrated blog, one that was an actual page on the site and not a separate page. I wanted one I could design to look like the rest of the site (or rather, that my web designer, the fabulous Frauke from Croco Designs, could design to look like the rest of the site. And I wanted to streamline a bit, and not have to wander all over the internet to update all my blogs with the same content.

So I had to give up a blog. And to be honest, livejournal is a bit easier for me to use; I like the Friends page there, where I can ee all my friends' updates without having to do all the clicking. And this way I can compose my posts in Wordpress and they will automatically copy over to livejournal (I may have to go modify them to get the tags in, I'm not sure).

It makes me a little sad, to be honest. But I really do want that site/blog integration. I'm trying--I'm going to try--to be better about my website, and not just focus on the blog while the site sits ages out of date. I think that will be easier now, at least I hope it will.

And for those of you who are my Blogger pals, well, I really hope you'll come visit me there. It may be the end of me doing a blog on Blogger but it's the beginning of a new, stylish blog at Wordpress, so I'm--cautiously--excited.

I'll post a link as soon as it's live.

Oh! I have also decided on a topic for our Summer Series. Yes, I know it's a bit late in the summer to start. And no, it won't be as long or as involved as the Strumpet series. But I'm going to be discussing critique partners: What to look for, what to avoid, how to give a good critique, and how to know when to take advice and when to ignore it. So if you have any questions about those topics, or about anything to do with critique partners or beta readers or anything, please leave them in comments (you can do so anon if you wish) or email me with them or whatever. We'll probably start next Thursday the 16th and run through the middle/end of August.

Something else cool is happening. And yes, before I mention it I should disclose that the people involved are my good friends. So, you guys remember when eBay was really fun? When it wasn't all clogged up with professionals selling the same items at inflated prices, but was just people? When it felt like a community? Because does. They're a new auction site opening late this summer. I can't give all the details, but the goal is to have fun again; to get to know people, to sell some cool stuff and buy some cool stuff--legal stuff, NOT pirated copies of stuff (they're very committed to copyright protection).

You can check them out on their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. And you should. Ask them questions. Tell them what you want. Because it's going to be really cool, and because they actually care.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Oh, riight. I have a book release at the end of the month

With everything going on, and my spotty schedule here, I haven't been talking about the impending release of Megan Chase book 2, DEMON INSIDE. But it is being released, July 28, which is only 22 days away. Eek!

Publisher's Weekly says it's "sometimes amusing, sometimes terrifying," and that "fans will enjoy the developing complexities."

Romantic Times gives it four stars and says:

Spirited heroine Megan Chase returns in a swift-moving story full of chills, thrills and exploding demons. Get ready for an action-packed rollercoaster ride. Kane’s unique take on the supernatural is entertaining, and flaming hot sex with a fire demons heats up the pages

Darque Reviews says:

Ms. Kane packs this book with action at each turn, and a sizzling romance that heats up every page. Demon Inside plunges readers deeper into a world where demons and danger go hand in hand. I’ll be looking forward to the next Megan Chase adventure.

I posted another excerpt of the book on July 4th on the livejournal; a fun, sexy little scene, that's actually one of my favorites in the whole book.

And I'm gearing up for some interviews and giveaways and other fun stuff, which I'll mention as soon as everything is set. :-)

Also, the new website should be ready to go live after the 13th, which is pretty exciting. And I'm going to try to do some sort of spiffy thing for that, and will have more news soon.

One of the things I'll be doing with the new site is setting up a "street team." Which is basically a little gang of readers (I'm calling mine the Downside Army, heh) who help promote the books by doing simple things like dropping off postcards at their local bookstores, or talking about the books, or whatever. (NOTE: This does NOT include such unethical practices as moving my books to the bookstore front tables in place of someone else's books, or rearranging shelves in bookstores, or ganging up on lukewarm reviews on Amazon. Seriously. I would be extremely uncomfortable and unhappy if such things were done in my name; all it does is screw other writers, create more work for booksellers, and make everyone involved look bad. This is supposed to be fun, not guerilla warfare.)

In exchange for these tasks, Army members are eligible for special giveaways and bonus content, and whatever else may strike my fancy.

It's a volunteer thing, of course, and you participate at whatever level you're comfortable with. Say you don't have a local store or don't feel like going in to rave at the staff members about the book(s). Don't do it, then. Write a review on Amazon instead (an HONEST one). Or start a discussion about it. Or post about it on your own blog. The idea is to get some buzz going simply by doing what you would do anyway about/for a book or author you like, but to get some gratitude-based payback from me for it. Not that I'm not thankful to everyone who talks about the books or has emailed me or reviews them, just...This is a little more than that, is all.

Once the site is up I'm going to set up a special email address for the Army, and you'll be able to sign up if you want.

I think that's good for today. But I do have more to discuss on Thursday. :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

A whole bunch of stuff

Yes, sigh, I missed last week. There's been a ton going on here, most of which I'm about to bore you all with, so here we go.

I've been working my butt off on DEMON POSSESSED, and am generally pretty pleased with it. Last week I wrote a bit that genuinely upset me; it's kind of odd to do that, because on the one hand I hope it affects readers the same way, but on the other hand, not so much that they throw the book across the room. I'm really proud of it, though. One of the things I try to do is make sure my characters, in general, behave like adults. I dislike characters who throw whiny little hissy fits over nothing, or fly off the handle over things normal people would just shrug off. So I'm pleased to have (I think, anyway) accomplished that. And of course since I know what happens next I'm more proud than upset, but...yeah, it's weird thinking of what reaction readers might have. It doesn't change how I work--and this particular story arc has been planned since the very beginning--but it is there. (It also feels both cool and odd to be writing scenes I've had in my head since 2006.)

On top of that, we're moving. In a nutshell, the house next door to my mom's was rented. The tenants left. The owner of the house, who is a friend of my mom's, came down to oversee their moving. Hubs and I wandered around the place, loved it, and took it. So we have a new house. At the moment we're renting, as we haven't been back in the country long enough to buy, but early next year we'll be buying it. Which is very odd. So, I have a new house. Our shipment came Wed from England, which was weird--seeing all of our things again was cool, but it was sad too. (Oh, someone asked in response to the UK rights sale post if we would have left England had this happened while we were there. Probably we would have eventually, yes, but not as soon as we did.) Anyway, getting our belongings back was lovely, but of course, there are always problems. A broken candlestick and mixing bowl weren't that big a deal, but the fact that the movers LOST OUR FUCKING TV STAND is. That stand matches our sideboard; they were the first pieces of furniture we bought in England and remain our only truly "good" pieces; solid walnut and wrought-iron. We paid an outrageous (for us) amount for them because we both fell in love with them, and they are of course no longer available. So we're pretty pissed off about that and are waiting to see what the movers can or will do for us.

Aside from that, though, the house is fucking gorgeous and I'm incredibly excited to move in fully, which we will do as soon as we have mattresses.

More things from the last week: You can imagine what I think about the latest stupid RWA scandal. While I appreciate those who want to Change From Within and blah blah blah, I think it's beating the old gray mare. The RWA has become so irrelevant and useless it's a caricature of itself, and I simply cannot fathom why anyone would want to remain a member of a so-called writer's organization that can't be bothered to study the industry even a tiny bit.

And speaking of things which became irrelevant and a caricature of itself...yeah. Michael Jackson died. I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, the guy basically went insane in the last twenty years or so. He became someone unrecognizeable. Someone I couldn't feel comfortable liking even if he had been producing music I enjoyed; by the time "Bad" came out, in fact, I'd pretty much moved beyond pop music and stopped paying attention. And, you know how I feel about people who abuse children, and whether or not sexual misconduct took place, it is not appropriate to sleep with little kids who are not your own.

But the other night hubs and I were watching VH1. And they played "Thriller" in its entirety. And I started to cry. Because that was so much a part of my childhood. I remember sitting eagerly in front of MTV, waiting for the World Premier of that video. I remember recording it. I remember loving it. I remember owning the album and trying to figure out how to moonwalk. I'd forgotten how good it was, how good he was, how young and talented.

And I couldn't stop thinking that the time to mourn the loss of that man was twenty years ago, not now, but we never did. We never had the chance.

And it made me wonder why some of us (and I'm not including myself in the "Michael Jackson" stratosphere of talent, but people who work in the arts in one way or another, as a whole, which apparently does include me. My agent says I'm creative so I guess it's true) try so hard to destroy that talent and to destroy ourselves. Why that element of self-loathing never seems to go away, and why we embrace it so hard and refuse to let it go and feel good about how it eats us from within. Does everyone feel that way, or are we just bizarre in general?

I had something else to discuss, as well, but I don't remember now what it was. So maybe that will have to wait until Thursday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


So, remember I said I had some news? And I've been hoping to post it for several weeks? Today's the day.

I am *incredibly* pleased to announce that we've sold UK publishing rights to the first three Downside books (UNHOLY GHOSTS, UNHOLY MAGIC, and CITY OF GHOSTS) to HarperCollins UK!! I'm thrilled to be working with Harper, and I'm especially thrilled the books will be widely available in UK bookstores. I've been informed that UNHOLY GHOSTS is scheduled to be released in November there, same as here, which would be awesome and I'm really hoping it works out that way. I remember having to wait the extra time for a book's UK release, lol, and I hated it! I will of course keep everyone posted as soon as I get new info.

It seems somehow fitting, in a way, as I was living there when I wrote them. And I think there is a lot from that experience in the books. So I'm really, really pleased, and I'm really, really hoping that when they come out or soon after, I can head back out there for a visit. I'd LOVE to do that.

Of course, the irony does not escape me. My agent called me to tell me about this around the first or second week of May; we'd been back in the US for a month or so. NOW we sell UK rights? Sigh. What Agent Man called "a tidy sum" will do us a hell of a lot of good here, but it would have done us a hell of a lot of good there, too. Anyway. Like I said, I'm hoping to head back out at least for a week or ten days or so, so keep your fingers crossed for me?

That's really it for today, I'm afraid. I did have a couple of other things to talk about but they'll have to wait. I got an email solicitation the other day I'm dying to tell you all about with a big helping of rolleye attached, but I am working like a little bee. Rest assured you will hear all about it. And whatever else may come up. Right now the only thing in my head is Megan, and Greyson, and Malleus, Maleficarum, and Spud, and Tera, and the terrible trouble they're all in at this moment. Sigh, the world's about to crash down around their ears. Think I'll manage to make it all right in the end?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Deadline is eating my brain

My actual life has pretty much ceased to exist at this point, because all I'm really doing is thinking about, worrying about, planning, or writing DEMON POSSESSED. So, in lieu of post, have a list of the five songs that make me sad and emo and all that stuff. (Inspired by Caitlin Kittredge and Cherie Priest, who have both posted their own lists.)

Five Sad Songs (in no particular order):

1. "Cant' Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith. Oh, man. It's like the emo perfect storm; jangly guitars, falsetto singing, humming. That alone would be depressing enough, but add the lyrics about being wasted and unable to find one's way home--which, you see, is a metaphor for LIFE and how we're all just trying to find our way home, man--and you have a song guaranteed to make me feel sad, lonely, and small. Don't get me wrong, I actually like the song. But there's no doubt it's a buzzkill; if I'm not already depressed it will get me there. (And if I am depressed, it's the perfect accompaniment.)

2. "Gloomy Sunday" by Billie Holiday. Seriously? I cannot believe nobody's mentioned this one yet. "Gloomy Sunday" was actually BANNED from the radio in Hungary (it was written there and originally recorded by someone who was not Billie Holiday) because of the suicides it incited; at least eighteen. In the US it was marketed as "the famous Hungarian suicide song" and at least two people were found dead of suicide with the lyrics in their pocket. Which is no surprise, really, if you've ever heard the song. "The shadows I live with are numberless"? "My heart and I have decided to end it all"? Seriously. Did they give away a free razorblade with the record?

The composer of "Gloomy Sunday" killed himself in 1968.

The website where I found the lyrics offers the song as a ringtone. I doubt it will work with my BlackBerry, but I am totally checking iTunes. Is that wrong of me?

3. "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray. Not the hideous cover version that came out a few years ago, that removed all of the raw emotional misery of Gray's version, but this one. The real one. Which is about a man whose life is so awful he's begging someone to play music so he can escape into it and not have to feel anymore. About someone who has nothing to believe in except music, and uses it as a crutch, the way we less emotionally healthy people use alcohol and opiates. I have no idea why Gray wasn't a bigger star; I love his voice, I feel his pain, I think it's a touching song. (What? This is my list, I can say what I want. I know a grown man, who used to deliberately cut himself onstage with his band, who cries when "Just Walk Away Renee" is played. Get your judgy hands off me, man!)

4. "Candle on the Water" by Helen Reddy. Hey, I can't help it; I'm a child of the seventies. This is the incredibly sad love song from Pete's Dragon, for those unfamiliar. We own a Disney CD, for the kiddies; hubs and I practically break each other's fingers in our haste to hit the "skip track" button when this song comes on. It is a lovely song. Reddy has a beautiful voice. But geez...the schmaltz and the Deep Emotion and...oh, I don't even know why. But if I let this one play I'll be sobbing by the end of it. I'm a very sick woman, I think.

5. "Bad Day" by Samiam. Okay, I know. It's kind of unfair including a song by an emo band. But I've always liked Samiam (I saw them in, oh gosh, 1992?). And a lot of their songs are in fact quite cheerful. This one isn't. It starts out with seeing a dog hit by a car and runs into a litany of Bad Things and emotional isolation and how a Smile Would Look Wrong On My Face. If you can't get in touch with your inner self-hating miseryguts while listening to this one...well, you're probably entirely too cheery a person to hang out with me.

So there you go. I do have a much longer list, which includes almost the entire Bob Dylan and later Johnny Cash catalogs, along with some Hank Williams and, of course, Patsy Cline (I dare you to listen to Sweet Dreams and not cry; even if the lyrics don't do it, that voice should, because I honestly believe Patsy was one of the greatest female vocalists--if not the greatest--who ever lived). But it felt a little like cheating to start throwing country music in there. I also didn't put in songs which have been known to make me sad but don't always, like "Angie" by the Rolling Stones or "Long as I Can See the Light" by CCR (which is based on a book, did you know that? A really good book; Moonfleet by J Meade Falkner.) Or any number of blues songs, or "Danny's Song" by Ann Murray (is it supposed to be depressing? Who can tell with Ann Murray? She's a slippery little sucker) or of course the entire long, boring, story-song Dan Fogelberg ouvre, which my parents used to make me listen to, and which makes me cry out of sheer appalled misery that such works were actually recorded and produced. Dan Fogelberg: oh, the humanity.

So. Go forth and produce your own lists now, and I will have news to post on Thursday.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A quick contemplation

So I am actually, honestly, in the process of getting a new website up. I spent a chunk of my day yesterday answering all those great questions everyone asked, which was fun.

But several of them made me stop and think, as did a question asked by the web designer herself: What about December Quinn? Where are those books? Are there any new December books coming out?

No. There aren't. At least not now, and not in the near future.

The December website itself is down. Gone. I let the hosting expire (though I still own the domain name and will keep it; I'll point it at the new Stacia site). The Stacia site will have a link to the December page on the Jasmine-Jaid site.

But I don't have any plans to write any more. I haven't written as December in about two years now, actually; although I've had releases in that time, they were books I'd written before. I'm not writing erotic romance, or romance in general, anymore.

That shouldn't be taken as any sort of criticism of romance or erotic romance as a genre, because it isn't at all. I love romance and I loved writing it. And never say never; it's entirely possible I could get an idea for a great romance that I'm desperate to write next week, and get moving on it. But right now, and for the last year or so? No, I just really haven't felt the urge; I haven't been thinking in that direction.

I didn't get bored with writing romance. I didn't make a conscious decision to stop writing romance. I just...stopped. My ideas started going in different directions. My work took a different turn. I started writing something else and found it suited me. I don't know why. Why do we write anything we write, you know? Where do ideas come from? Why does one idea fill us with excitement and another just doesn't?

I have no idea. But I do know that December is pretty much retired. I'm still proud of her and her books, but they're not where I am anymore. One day I may be again, who knows.

It's a little sad for me, but that's life.

Later today or tomorrow I'll be posting another excerpt from DEMON INSIDE.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Things to share with you

I think I'm a sharing person. I'm a sharer. It's in my nature.

(Okay, that's total bullshit. I'm like Alex P. Keaton making a sticker for Andy that says "I KNOW WHAT'S MINE." Seriously. I'm just drunk, because we went to dinner at this Greek restarurant that has $5 martinis, and I had the Dulche de Leche martini--OMGfantastic--and the Mai Tai martini, which was also delicious. On an empty stomach. So I am drunk, a bit, and in a loving and giving mood.)

Anyway. There is one thing I am always willing to share, even though I hoard french fries like the Nazis hoarded gold.


And when I read a book that totally and completely sucks me in, that makes me wish desperately I was part of that world and knew those people, or that stays with me long after I finish it, I share it.

Like Caitlin Kittredge's STREET MAGIC.

I think I've talked about this book before (have I talked about this book before? Because I think I have.)

Here's the thing. STREET MAGIC? SO awesome. Seriously. So awesome. You must read it.

This is the blurb:

Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes—or so she thought. Now a detective[MSOffice2] , Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster’s chilling prediction has led police directly to the child…but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, Jack a shadow of his former self. But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey. Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago…

Sounds good, huh?

But STREET MAGIC is so much more than that, and it's about so much more than that. It's about redemption and darkness. It's about the sexiest mage ever put on paper. It's about secrets and what hides behind people's eyes and about how hard t is to connect with others no matter how hard you try. It's about loneliness and perfection and how we all keep trying to find it but fail. It's about how what appears to be true really isn't, but you know the truth in your heart.

All wrapped up in TOTALLY AWESOME. I got to read this book in ms form some time ago and was totally blown away.
Seriously. THIS is the UF we've been waiting for. This rivals de Lint and Gaiman for sheer kickcassness. No, I'm not joking.

Okay. We all know Caitlin and I are friends. I'm not going to pretend we're not or that I don't have some sort of personal bias here. I love Caitlin, and I think she's a fantastic writer on a technical level, just not a great storyteller.

But guys, you know me. I don't recommend stuff unless I really, honestly and truly think you'll enjoy it, do I?

I have *never* felt so much like recommending a book as I do STREET MAGIC. Go buy it. You won't be sorry.

Um. I also highly recommend Richelle Mead's latest Succubus book, SUCCUBUS HEAT, which I just finished last night. It's excellent. The best Georgina book so far.

Also. Several years ago--I guess about seven now--the hubs and I went to a small local Star Trek con being run by a friend of ours. As we wandered around we saw a man sitting by himself at the end of the signing aisle. We wanted to go talk to him, the hubs especially, as he was a big fan. But the man looked so grumpy, so out of sorts, that we were afraid to. We didn't want to intrude on what was either private unhappiness or just general pissed-offedness. And frankly, the man was charging for autographs and we didn't have any extra cash.

The man was David Carradine, and he died last night in an apparent suicide.

I can't speak to what anyone might be feeling when they take their own life. I won't lie and say I know how it feels, although I won't lie and say I've never been close to that, either, or that I don't know what it is to think about it, to want to do it (you can tell I'm drunk, can't you? I'm Opening Up). But this is horrible. It's a terrible thing. And I don't really have anything else to say about that.

But I do have one other book to recommend, on a similar note. John Green's LOOKING FOR ALASKA. It's a YA; it's about love and loss and the future, and three days after reading it I'm still half-caught in its world. Grab it. You can buy it at the same time as STREET MAGIC.

You won't regret either purchase, I promise.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Edits and stuff

Ooooh...and this new coffee I just bought is delicious; Ghirardelli organic Cinnamon Chocolate Almond, especially when I add some French Vanilla creamer to it. Now, I take my coffee black a large percentage of the time--when I drink it, which isn't a lot--so don't jump all over me about my hideous oversweetened tastes. Sometimes I like to try something different, is all. And this stuff is seriously yum. I can happily drink this all day, oh yes.

And why am I drinking so much coffee?

Because work time is upon me.

Today is June 1st. I have thirty days to finish DEMON POSSESSED. So if I am rather scarce for the next month, you know why. I shall try not to be scarce, as I've been so scarce the last few months, but I can't guarantee my presence. Deadlines are deadlines, and I have me one of them.

I'm having fun with it, though. Which is nice. Getting back into the Demons world after so long--it's been almost two years since I've written these characters--was a bit of a challenge at first but once it clicked again, it clicked again, and I'm really enjoying myself. We've had some sweet moments and some funny moments and some sexy moments, and I'm about to start the lead-in into the Moments Which Might Make You Want To Kill Me. Um. Yes, some Bad Things happen in this one. But you must trust me.

Anyway. In the midst of plotting and giggling and worrying, copyedits for the second Downside book arrived; the one which used to be DOWNSIDE GHOSTS and is now UNHOLY MAGIC. Which, btw, is up on Amazon!!

No cover yet--you know I'll share that with you guys as soon as I get it, and I'll post the blurb then as well--but the listing is there, and I'm excited about it.

Especially since...well. I've had a bit of a change of heart about that book. It was my Problem Child before, for several reasons, which I will outline for you now:

* It followed UNHOLY GHOSTS, about which I was more excited than I've ever been about any book I've written

* It followed UNHOLY GHOSTS, which I considered, and still kind of do, to be the best book I've ever written

* It was written while UNHOLY GHOSTS was on submission, and I was terrified it wouldn't sell, which made it hard to write the sequel

* It was the first book I've ever written that required extensive edits (more on that in a minute)

Second books are hard. When you write the first, you have the thrill of discovery; you're creating a whole new world, and whole new people. It's exciting as hell, seriously.

The second? Well. It's still exciting, but that little extra oomph that comes from building a world from the ground up is gone. You're playing in an already-created pond. You're revisiting familiar characters. While that has its own rewards and thrills, they're different. It's awesome to expand the characters and take their stories further. It's awesome to write "what comes next." But it's not as easy as writing the first, at least not for me.

UNHOLY MAGIC was hard to write. It was a second book. It was a second book in a series I wasn't sure was going to sell--I believe I was around 2/3 done with it when we got the first offer--which made me wonder, as I wrote, if there was even a fricking point. And it was heartbreaking, because I was (and still am) so violently, deeply in love with the characters and the world that I couldn't bear to think I might not get to introduce other people to them. I had an agent, and that was extra pressure; what would happen if the book didn't sell? Could I produce something else he'd like as much? Nobody ever talks about how scary it can be to sign with an agent, in that suddenly someone else expects things of you, but it can be a little nerve-wracking.

You all know I'm a pantser, not a plotter. Well. All this stress and worry made UNHOLY MAGIC veer off into odd tangents. It took me something like 13 weeks to write, which is longer than any book has ever taken me. Eeep! It didn't just flow! UNHOLY GHOSTS flowed; I wrote the first draft in seven weeks (well, eight weeks, but for a week of that time we were out of town or I was sick, so techinically it was seven weeks). So if UNHOLY GHOSTS flowed, and I love it so and think it's great, then maybe the non-flowy book, not great?

Things got worse when I got into edits. I ended up cutting over 30k words from that book; a gargantuan amount for someone who rarely cuts more than a few thousand here and there. Whole sections of the book were ripped out, rewritten, and restitched; it was kind of terrifying. I didn't know what I'd written, I was too close to it. Trapped in it. All I could think of was that UNHOLY GHOSTS was good and easy to write, or rather, it came easily and was a deeply exciting challenge, whereas UNHOLY MAGIC was blood, sweat, and tears every step of the way, and not what I'd hoped it would be.

And that is the way I've felt all along. At least until I finished CITY OF GHOSTS, the third book, which true to form I now think is probably just not very good. But UNHOLY MAGIC was the real sticky one, the one I just could not warm up to.

Well. I finished the copyedits last night. It was the first time I've read the book all the way through since...geez, since line edits, seven months or so ago.

And you know what?

I liked it.

I did. The book doesn't suck. It really doesn't! It's pretty good, I think. It held my interest. I didn't want to stop reading it. I found some good lines in it, some writing I was really proud of. Some nice character moments. Some scary bits and sexy bits; I was surprised, actually, by how sexy the sexy bits were.

My point isn't to brag about The Wonders Of Me or to convince you to preorder UNHOLY GHOSTS and UNHOLY MAGIC right now (although, of course, you could. Y'know, if you wanted to). It's not to pat myself on the back. Really.

It's to share a little bit about my editing process and thoughts. And to say that even though I generally hate my work, I do eventually find a place where...I don't. So those of you who also hate your work? You too will probably eventually find a place where you don't.

You are really not necessarily the best judge of your work. I'm not the best judge of mine. My agent, my editors, my cp pals, have been telling me UNHOLY MAGIC is a good book for months, while I frown and bitch and whine and envision readers coming after me with torches and sticks because they hate it so much and I've let them down so horribly.

I feel better about the book now. I think readers will like UNHOLY MAGIC. I think it's a good sequel, it's a good expansion of the story and world; similar enough to work, but different enough that it doesn't feel like a carbon copy or like I'm working from a formula (I'm not, of course.)

So there you go. A full year after writing it, I finally like UNHOLY MAGIC.

CITY OF GHOSTS, on the other hand... Sigh.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Everybody's doing it I won't.

Yes, this is inspired in part by my pal (and fellow League member) Nicole Peeler's vlog post over at the League. And of course Mark posted a couple of vlogs at Bitten by Books on Tuesday, the first of which featured about ten seconds' worth of footage of me. (And, btw, just so everyone knows, I adore both Nicole and Mark and think their vlogs are great.)

And that's pretty much all you're going to get. I do not wish to vlog. I do not like the way I look on-camera. I do not like my voice. And really, what in the world am I going to say? Shall I take you on a tour of my bedroom? Drive around town with you? Bake a cake and show it to you? What?

Here's the thing. Perhaps, once again, I am simply bizarre. Because I hate watching videos online. I want to read stuff. I especially hate those video instruction manuals some downloadable or whatever computer programs come with. I don't want to watch a demo, dude. Just write out the fricking instructions so I can read them. That way I can skip the stuff I don't need and get to the stuff I do; I can reread that stuff over and over again if I like. I don't want to wait while the viedo loads. I don't want to listen to somebody drone on and on.

So really, what could I possibly say in a vlog that wouldn't be better if I just wrote it? Aside from me flashing the camera--which will never, ever happen--what possible benefit could there be to me sitting in front of the camera and talking? (My new Mac does have a camera embedded, btw, which is nifty but I can't see using it.)

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Not to mention, as soon as something becomes popular and hip, I confess I lose interest in it. This is a small part of the reason why I never saw Titanic: if everybody else is doing it, it must suck. (This is subjective, of course, as witnessed by the fact that the hubs and I have seen Star Trek twice already.) This is why I don't watch reality TV, really. I used to watch ANTM but stopped in England; is that show even still on?

I freely admit I miss out on some good stuff this way. I also freely admit that I really, really hope this is just another example of my oddness, as I am of course hoping that thousands upon thousands of eager readers, who do not have my weirdo hang-ups, flock en masse to the bookstores to buy my books during their first weeks of release. Please? Seriously. Please.

On a different note, here are three things I'm excited about:

1. News I can't share yet. Hopefully next week.

2. My new website. No, it isn't up and ready yet, but again, hopefully soon. It's going to have some really cool stuff on it, I think, including one thing I'm *very* excited about.

I am also putting together an FAQ for it, so once again, if you have any questions, any at all, please ask them in comments. About me, about the books, about writing...anything!! I just might pick one random questioner to send an Amazon or B&N gift card to, so...seriously, ask me something.

3. The Faerie is one of the world's pickiest eaters (no, I'm not excited about that, keep reading.) We recently decided this business of eating nothing but plain pasta with a little butter, chicken nuggets, fries, yogurt, cookies, and potato chips needed to end. So we've started bribing her, basically; when she uncomplainingly tries a new food, she gets a sticker. Five stickers gets her a small toy. It has worked delightfully. She is now a fan of macaroni & cheese, hot dogs, fruit cups, and Chef Boyardee. No, we can't keep doing it forever, and we won't, but at least it has opened her picky little mind and she isnow more willing to give things a go.

With that in mind we bought a chart today at the teacher's supply store and had it laminated. We're putting both girls on a sticker system for various behavior-related things (Princess will get cash bonuses for certain above-and-beyond chores, and we will use the stickers to keep track). So, it should be interesting, and hopefully fun, and will make life easier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First, yes, I didn't post yesterday because of the holiday. It still feels weird to celebrate US holidays (I got so used to sitting around half the day wondering where everyone was, then remembering it was Memorial Day/Labor Day/MLK Day), but we did; we grilled burgers and hot dogs with my mom and her husband, and a good time was had by all.

Afterwards we sat around on the screened porch discussing all sorts of things. I specifically recall a long period of discussion about Wallis Simpson and Nazis, in which the hubs and I talked about our honeymoon visit to the Imperial War Museum in London. (If you ever have a chance, you really should go; it's a very cool museum.) Our general agreement, unsurprisingly, was that both Wallis and the Nazis were Very Bad.

Of course, the day did set me seriously behind on my wordcount. But sometimes it's important to sit around with family. Especially when part of that sitting around is remembering the people who fought and died for us, and why.

But cooking in someone else's kitchen is weird, isn't it? You don't know where anything is, and you keep reaching for things--your trusty wooden spoon, your favorite pan, a specific seasoning or spice--that aren't there. It can put one a bit out of sorts. I always feel like everyone is watching me when I try to cook in someone else's kitchen. It's generally fun to do, but still. I miss my own kitchen. I really miss all my cooking tools and things, which are not expected to arrive for another few weeks; not to mention we have no home to put them in. They'll all go into storage, but at least at that point we'll be able to go there, open a box at random, and actually touch them. Ahh.

It's especially hard because the house has satellite TV. Which means there's like a million channels, large numbers of which are either sports or infomercials. Point being, the only channel I know by number so far is The Food Network. And so that is what I have been watching, pretty much nonstop. The Food Network. Which I do love; I mean, there's always something on the Food Network, right? It may not be the greatest show, but it's something. So it's on almost all the time, and it's making me want to cook. Which you all know I like doing, at least most of the time.

But in the main it's nice background noise. Something I can tune out while I type, but when I glance up there's invariably something interesting happening.

Sometimes I listen to music when I write. It works especially well when I'm stuck, but not as well when the words are flowing. I either don't hear the music at all, which is more likely, or I stop to listen to a particular song and lose the flow.

Okay. One other thing:

Mark Henry is over at Bitten by Books today, doing some video-blogging and hanging out with readers. Pop on over there for some fun.

But before you do, tell me. What do you have on in the background? Does it change according to what you're doing?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Agents = People. Not fish.

Okay, okay. I know it's a figure of speech. I know people use it all the time. And I know they use it for different reasons, and that I could very well be the only weirdo who sees it this way (hey, wouldn't be the first time).

But it drives me nuts when I see people posting or blogging or whatevering about "landing an agent."

I'm not sure why the phrase gets under my skin so much. It just feels...braggardly (a word I coined on Twitter last night. Feel free to use it. Someone else probably invented it first but I'm taking credit, at least until they step forward).

Seriously? I picture a writer posing for one of those Prize-Marlin pictures, with the hapless agent suspended by a large hook, a dribble of blood down his or her chin and wide, staring, frightened eyes. It's just not a good image, guys. It kind of creeps me out.

And here's the thing. Landing a fish implies a sort of physical battle; a test of wills between the fish and the fisherman. It implies mastery over a wild thing; that a contest of strength and endurance was entered into and victory was achieved. Getting an agent, or interesting an agent, or signing with an agent? Not remotely like that.

Now, I do see the analogy. I do. Querying agents can feel like a test of endurance, certainly. And it does require some strength. It's tough to send out those letters and not know what will come back. It's tough to get rejections from people you really thought you'd like to work with, people who you really thought would "get" you and your work. It can be exhausting. It can be soul-crushing. And while I am, as you know, a member of the "suck it up" school, I do understand and remember how hard it is, and how it feels when you think this book you love so much, this book you really think is special, isn't going to go anywhere or do anything. Yes. It hurts. (I just don't think we need to talk about it.)

But querying agents isn't You Vs. Agent. It isn't, any more than finding a mate is You Vs. Them. (Which is another phrase I hate, for basically the same reasons: "catching" a husband. Hardly anybody says it anymore, because it sounds so silly and antiquated. Something to think about, huh? Anyway. "Catching" a husband makes it sound as though I set up a snare in the woods and waited in the bushes with a club and a wedding ring for some hapless guy to wander along and step into my trap. It just sounds...ech.) When you date, you're looking for the Right Fit.

And so are the other people.

You don't hear agents talking about "landing" a new client, do you? (I certainly never have.) No. They sign new clients. There's no implication that they have somehow Mastered The Wild in finding a new writer to represent.

It just presents an image I dislike. I didn't "land" my agent. I didn't haul him onto the deck of my pontoon boat and gut him while he gasped and writhed. I don't look at what happened that way. I don't see the getting of agents as me setting some kind of pheromonal Venus Flytrap and hoping an agent would blunder into it. I don't see myself as being some kind of victor, the Teddy Roosevelt of Big-Agent Hunting, with heads mounted on my wall.

(Someone on Twitter last night mentioned this in relation to record contracts, like how bands are said to "land" a record deal. But it doesn't bother me so much in that instance. Why? Because record contracts, being printed paper agreements and service deals, are not human either.)

I adore euphemism. I love the images words can create. It's fun, and exciting. And yes, "landed an agent" can be a very vivid one. But it's also one that implies some sort of trickery, a painful struggle in which an unwilling victim is finally brought down through force of will and heavy fishing line. And it just grates on me when I hear it used in reference to agents or other human beings. It sounds a little pretentious, a little braggy (or braggardly, if you like).

It's just a pet peeve. Take it as you will.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Several thoughts on several things

So here we are, trying to get back in the groove. The third Demons book is due July 1st, which means Some Serious Work Ahead for me.

But, it also occurred to me yesterday that it's May. Which means it's almost June, which means it's almost summer, which means it's almost time for another Summer Series. (My typo almost led me to write "It's almost sumer," which would imply a superagricultural Mesopotamian event about to occur, but no.)

Which means I have to decide to what subject to dedicate at least part of my summer blogging. Any suggestions? What would y'all like to hear me blather about? I doubt it will be quite as involved and lengthy as the Strumpet series--remember, July 1st deadline--but if the topic is meaty enough I'll simply delay it until after said deadline has passed, when I have a bit more time.

(I haven't forgotten my plans to expand last summer's Strumpet series and turn it into a PDF, by the way. Look for that by the end of the summer, too, as part of my new website.)

I feel all disoriented still. It's weird but great to be back, but it's also hard to settle back into a routine. At least, a routine other than the "Watch 'Good Eats' in bed every night on DVD" one we've got going here. I do love Good Eats, though. We also have several seasons of The Office (US) to catch up on, as only the first two have been shown in the UK (I think--that's all we've seen, anyway).

What else? I had several topics to discuss when I started this post (hence the title) but it all seems to have disappeared into the ether. Sigh. Perhaps part of my problem is that, while I'm digging the Mac, I'm finding web-surfing more difficult than it was. Not because there's a problem--sort of--well, okay. Here's the thing. When I type a web address in the address bar, it isn't saved there in Safari like it was in IE. This is how I used to flit around the net; I had several addys up there and the rest in my Bookmarks. Now I don't have my Bookmarks and I don't have a drop-down address list thingie, so I have to manually type the addresses in, which sucks. Any advice?

Oh, and here's something interesting. has done a list of the 100 Sexiest Movie Posters--at least, according to them. The hubs and I strongly disagree with some of their choices; it appears in at least a few cases they're looking at it in a "Half-naked woman automatically=Sexy" way, or going for one with a famously sexy actress on it rather than an actual sexy poster. (We also feel it's a bit of a cheat to include Bond movie posters, because, duh.) What do you think, if you feel like following the link and taking a look?

Goodness this is a dull post. I apologize, everyone. I will be back up to snuff soon. My mind is otherwise engaged at the moment; I'm still not sure how happy I am with my revised version of CITY OF GHOSTS, and what to do about that. Everyone else (that is, my editor, Caitlin, and Psynde) likes the book and says it's great; they liked it even before the revisions that I think made it better. But I can't help but think of what it *could* have been.

Yes, I know this is in large part simply how I work. And how a lot of others work. I love my books for the first 30k words or so. After that I generally think they're garbage. Rereading them usually assuages that,'s not really happening for me anymore. The last three of my books that I've read I have not particularly liked, or rather, I haven't felt they were anywhere near good enough. Perhaps this is because I know they're going out into the world, into (hopefully!) the hands of people who actually paid money for them? People who will be justifiably angry if they buy the books and find they're a jumble of incomprehensible mess? (Intellectually I know the books are not a jumble of incomprehensible mess. But still.)

I suppose it's better to think of lots of people buying and hating them, than of nobody buying them at all. Neither brings me much joy, though.

Oh, and by the way, the second Downside book is now called UNHOLY MAGIC. That is the permanent title. CITY OF GHOSTS, which has been through quite a few title changes, is officially CITY OF GHOSTS again. So, the first three books in the series are officially:


And I will have back cover copy for UNHOLY MAGIC pretty soon.

Now I've whined long enough.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trying to get back to normal

Or at least, normal for me.

I intend to get back to my regular Mon/Thurs blogging schedule starting today. Of course, I am also on serious deadline for the third Demons book, but I do intend to try. (I did tell y'all we had a deal for the third Demons book, didn't I? Because, um, we do. But I'm pretty sure I mentioned it already.)

We've had a pretty eventful few weeks, we have. Being in Miami again was...interesting. Good, but strange. It felt weird to be Just Visiting in a place where we'd lived for so long. At the same time it was awesome to drive around and know exactly where we were at all times, and to go to all our old haunts--or most of them, anyway, as to our horror we found a restaurant we used to visit weekly had closed. We made up for it with countless Target visits. :-)

We were offered the opportunity to stay in Miami, in fact. And oh, how we considered it. Time softened the edges of our old hatred for South Florida; that happened before we returned to the US. A while ago we watched "Stephen Fry's America," which was a really good BBC special in which Stephen Fry drove around the US in a converted old-style English taxi. Good show. He drove down to Miami, and it was hysterical, actually; a minute-long shot of him behind the wheel with his lip curled, saying "Well, this is just...horrible. It's all gray and awful, the people are terrible, this is a hellhole." Hubs and I laughed, but...yeah, maybe Miami is a hellhole, but it was OUR hellhole, and being away from it for so long made us realize that deep down we love the place. Really, truly love it, hurricanes, flying hand-sized roaches, and all.

But sadly, that doesn't mean it's the best place for us to live at the moment. Rents and the cost of living in general are very high, so high it would have made life difficult. The schools aren't the greatest--or rather, they aren't in the areas we could afford to live in--and that is obviously a big concern when e have two little ones. The friends and family we have down there are all planning on getting out, and in one case did while we were down there; a great pal of ours had a fantastic opportunity in another place, and took it, and the timing just happened to be such that we only got to see him twice before he left.

We also got to go to the Mai Kai, which is this huge awesome Polynesian restaurant with killer cocktails. They do a live show, too, but we'd seen it already so didn't watch. We just ate and drank and had a great time.

But the point is, much as we've realized we love South Florida, it just doesn't feel like the right place for us now. We said we'd give Atlanta a try and we decided we need to stick to that. So here we are. With our fingers crossed that we didn't just shoot ourselves in the foot.

I am also now using a Mac. Interesting. I like it so far. :-)

Also, we saw STAR TREK. OMG fucking awesome. Seriously. If you haven't seen it you need to go. NOW. In fact, I'll go with you, as we're already scheming when we get to see it again. I honestly can't remember the last time I had that much fun at a movie. And I've seen enough TREK that I caught all the inside jokes, I believe, but even if I hadn't or didn't I would still have had a blast. The funny thing is, the movie had what I always thought was missing from the original series and most of the later ones (with the exception of DS9, which is my favorite of the series): sex and humor. They were both in the film. Yay! (Yes, I know all the series had their sex/humor moments. But not enough for me.)

Also at the theater, in addition to my large popcorn (OMGpopcornhowImissedyourdeliciousness) we tried those new mini Hershey's Kisses, the candy-coated ones? Delicious!

I realize this post doesn't really offer a lot of value, and I apologize. But hopefully we'll be back on track soon.

Oh, and just to give some kind of writing-related info, I have also done the following in the last couple of weeks:

1. Reviewed galleys for DEMON INSIDE (second Demons book)

2. Reviewed galleys for UNHOLY GHOSTS (first Downside book)

3. Completed first editor-led revision on CITY OF GHOSTS (Third Downside book). Still needs some fine-tuning before I hand it back in but in general I'm happy with it. Word count at the moment is around 109k; I anticipate it will stay around there.

4. Started DEMON POSSESSED (Third Demons book).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Am I Caught Up Yet? I shudder to think of all I've missed and am still missing, sigh. But I am at the moment back in Miami--well, just outside Miami--and having a great time at my BFF's house. Which is pretty cool. Yesterday we visited our old comic shop which was exciting; they've expanded! And we got a very warm welcome, which was awesome.

I should probably discuss RT but to be perfectly honest most of it is just a blur at this point and everyone else has been talking up their experiences anyway. I got to meet everyone--well, I'd already met Caitlin several times of course, but everyone else. That was seriously cool. And they're just how I expected them to be. Twitter followers are already aware of the hell that was the pirate dinner theater, and of the copious amounts of booze which found its way down our respective throats. I am still trying to get my voice back after straining to be heard over the noise everywhere, but it's cool. I think I actually sound kind of sexy.

Some highlights, well, everything pretty much was a highlight--except the serious lack of accessible internet at that hotel--but these things stand out:

Okay, technically this is not RT, but. The hubs and I took the girls to Disneyworld the day before RT. Disney anything is so not my thing, but I managed to amuse myself for the most part by smoking, wishing for booze, and giving dirty looks. But one thing did cheer me up. Outside the Pirates ride there's a booth where they carve rings. We got them for Princess (who has an unusual name so whenever we find something we can personalize for her, we do) and Faerie. But the rings are rather delicate, so not for me... Until I saw the chunky MAN rings. And had a thought.

Yes. I am now the owner and proud wearer of the world's most awesome, tacky badass ring: a big chunky silver one that says KANE. I know. You all want one too. There are many like it--or I'm sure there will be--but this one is mine. And yes, it fucking rocks.

Also visited the Small World ride for the first time ever, which was surprisingly not as bad as I thought, but that might be because I never had a bad trip to flashback on in there.

Then came RT, and the great stuff was...

Hanging out with Caitlin again. I can't believe I won't see her again until September. Also got to meet Richelle Mead, which was really cool, and Jackie Kessler, whose boys are marrying my girls. And of course got to hang with Kaz Mahoney a bit again, which was great.

Dakota Cassidy. She smolders, baby. And is awesome.

Mark Henry was, of course, just as funny and cool and everything as I thought he would be, and he and his wife are cute as buttons together.

Michelle Rowen, Miriam Kriss, and I almost peed ourselves laughing at the pirate dinner theater.

I got to meet my CP, finally!! Unfortunately Anna wasn't feeling very well, so I felt bad trying to drag her out to places or to hang with me at the bar. I did have a great time smack-talking her when I signed copies of Demon's Triad--like "The best parts of this book are mine," etc.--but she wasn't feeling up to reciprocating. Or perhaps she just knew there was no point, muahahaha.

Also got to hang out with Christine D'Abo and Carole Nelson Douglas, which was totally fun.

Mario Acevedo is so awesomely bloodthirsty. It totally turned me on.

Had a GREAT evening chatting with Patrice Michele and Jeri Smith-Ready, both of whom are just awesome, fascinating, great people.

Honestly, I met so many cool people I'm afraid to mention them all would just take forever. Michelle Bardsley. Jeanne Stein. LA Banks HUGGED ME. Sat next to EC author Stephanie Julian at the signing and had a great time chatting, in between talking to actual readers! People who bought my books! Some people brought their own copies for me to sign which was really amazing. Also had a great little chat with Tina Burns from Loose-Id and met Angela James from Samhain, in addition to getting a big old hug from Raelene Gorlinsky; all three of them were interviewed here on the blog in summer 07, if you recall, so it was especially neat. I felt like a mover and shaker, y'all.

And I have to go to Target now, and force myself not to get a big whipped-cream-covered Frappucino at the Target Starbucks. I am having some serious trouble keeping my diet with all the yummy food around. So far I'm being pretty good, but the temptation to go crazy with the peanut butter M&Ms and the Lay's potato chips and Chips Ahoy and Papa John's and Wendy's and everything else is pretty bad. Not to mention all the things I could bake, or the ice cream, or the restaurants... Sigh. I have to keep reminding myself of the new small clothes I bought.

But I am having a great time. :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Here I Am!

Sort of.

No, I'm not really back back. I'm still travelling--currently in Orlando, and will be at RT as you know--but I wanted to pop in and say hi anyway.

Some highlights of the last couple of weeks (if you want to call them "highlights"):

1. Incredibly rough sea crossing. Everyone got sick but me. I was very proud of that until I got horribly sick the day after arrival (more on that in a minute).

2. I did meet a couple of lovely German ladies on the boat, though. We smoked and chatted quite a bit.

3. Felt disoriented on arrival in NYC. Had trouble getting my land legs. Hmm.

4. Awesome lunch with awesome editor. Even more awesome meeting with awesome Del Rey people. I felt like I was making a big chatty idiot of myself but they were nice anyway. Proceeded on to dinner with other awesome editor. Had great time. Thought was quite drunk but realized as time went on that not only had I not actually had that much to drink--comparatively speaking--but had also downed enormous quantities of water and quite a bit of food. Began to wonder if drunken feeling was not in fact delerium, as floor had not stopped moving since got off boat.

5. Sick as a DOG. Oh, yes. Stomach flu time. Had to cancel lunch with agent. Had to cancel pre-lunch lunch with editor pal. Had to cancel after-lunch meeting at Pocket. Had to cancel dinner with agent pal. Spent entire day thinking I was probably about to die. No, seriously. I was sweaty. I was shivering. I was extremely ill. Couldn' keep anything down. Horrible.

6. Left NY, still felt sick.

7. Virginia. OMG what a gorgeous state.

8. Witnessed accident right in front of us in SC. Was totally one guy's fault. Gave statement to awesome, manly sherrif.

9. Couple of days in Atlanta. Finally felt better yesterday, which was Saturday for those keeping rack. Told you I was sick.


11. Headed to FL today. Saw PT Cruiser inferno on side of highway. Seriously. Big ball of flame. Ack!

12. Florida!! How I missed you. I hated you when I lived here but still.

...and that's basically it so far. I'll try to check in more often now, since I have a power adapter for my laptop.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Recommend A Book


As I type there's a very nice man packing up all our DVDs, and of course the Faerie is insisting on helping him hold the boxes shut and tape them up. :-)

So. A few weeks ago I posted about sameness in urban fantasy, and mentioned that I was considering opening up the blog periodically to book recommendations. The response was fairly enthusiastic, so here you go.

Recommend a book. One you loved. One you think other people might love. Any author, any type of story. Talk to each other about books; what you like, what you look for, what you don't.

I won't be here to keep an eye on things, so...I'm sure I don't have to tell you guys to be nice and polite.

I'm also sure I don't have to tell you that this thread is for READERS to make recommendations. If you're a writer, you're also a reader. Recommend somebody else's book if you like.

I'm also sure I don't have to tell you that my regular readersknow each other, and know who they are. And that through their other internet wanderings they know other readers, and who they are. Quite frankly, if you're a self-published author leaping in to do drive-by promo, you're wasting your time. Seriously. Please don't do that.

Okay, all. Have fun; I hope you do, and I hope you find something new and useful, and I hope you all participate.

I'll try and pop in when I can. Hugs to you all!

***Late breaking addition!!! Demon's Triad, the superdirty erotic paranormal novel Anna J. Evans and I wrote together, is now in print!! We'll be signing this book at the Romantic Times convention; here's your chance to get a copy ahead of time! Be aware, though; the warning on the listing is ACCURATE. This is a very dark book, and may not be everyone's cup of tea; m/m content, f/f content, sexual violence, non-gratuitous incest and rape...Seriously, guys. I think it's an awesome book but it is intense.***

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I think about stuff

Okay, lots of stuff to cover and get through and all of that.

First, the other day I cam across this cool blog/site called Best Fantasy Another site had a link to this post about ARCs and reviews that I thought was really interesting.

Most of my thoughts on the subject are covered in my comment, which is the fifth comment down:

I think the disconnect comes from something I’ve seen a lot, which is the idea that reviews are written for the gratification of authors, or solely in order to provide them with pretty shiny quotes they can put on their websites and blogs. But they’re not. Reviews are for readers, plain and simple.

And more than that, reviews don’t sell books if the books aren’t readily avilable either. I might see an enthusiastic review somewhere. I might then jot down the title of the book and look for it on Amazon or next time I go to the bookstore. But when I do those things, I’m looking for something to read THEN. If the bookstore doesn’t have it I’ll grab something else. If Amazon or B& or Borders or whatever is going to have to order it for me and I’ll have to wait three weeks or six weeks for it, I might very well not buy it then either, especially if I have the money in hand and don’t know if I will when the book ships and I’m charged for it. Or heck, I don’t know I’ll get the book at all.

A really, really stellar review for a book that speaks to a very specific interest of mine might inspire me to go the extra mile. But in general, if the book isn’t readily available, I’ll buy something else. Reviews are for readers, to help them choose books at the store. While it’s always fun to get a shiny quote, and it’s always nice to see small-press books get some attention and reviews, the fact remains that if the book isn’t available there’s little point.

See, here's the thing. I'm pretty sure that the good reviews Personal Demons got contributed directly to the nice level of sales the book had; certainly it sold more than I'd expected it would. But that's also because those reviews were backed up by the book being available in stores. The book had a professional (if small) publisher, with professional distribution that got it on the shelves. So when people read one of those nice reviews, they could go to the store and buy the book. In that sense the reviews were extremely helpful.

But they were also legitimate reviews. Well-written reviews, which stated what the reviewer liked or did not like. Those ego-stroke reviews you see vanity press authors giving each other in a big, sloppy, "This book is the most wonderful thing ever, it totally swept me away and I couldn't put it down" circle-jerk? Useless. You think readers don't see through those things? Of course they do. Readers by definition are not stupid; they read.

But I do seem to see more and more the attitude the Best Fantasy Books gentleman describes: entitlement. I sent you a free book, so you owe me a review. More than that, you owe me a good review. If you read any of the review blogs or websites you'll see this more and more; reviewers being harrassed by authors, called names, yelled at, argued with, all because they either did not review or did not like the book in question.

This is an unprofessional attitude, frankly. Nobody owes you shit.

Which brings me to Agentfail.

Here's what bugs me about things like Agentfail. It's a great idea. It could be a really useful and informative discussion. Instead, it ends up becoming much like the last discussion the lovely BookEnds ladies (I really like them, and their blog; I had occasion to deal with Ms. Faust back when I was querying Personal Demons and was left with nothing but positive impressions); a gang of unagented writers complaining--raging--about the query process, with such viciousness it makes the stomach churn.

And in doing so they obscure the legitimate points that have been or might be made. The "No response=no" policy, for example. I don't have a problem with it. I never have. I certainly don't understand why it inspires such fury in people, or why they feel entitled to a response from people they don't know. If I send JK Rowling a fan letter, I don't expect that she's going to respond to me. Just like if I send the guy who lives two streets over a letter asking if he'd like to meet for a drink, I don't expect him to respond to me. Because neither of them owe me shit. Why would you not only expect that a total stranger go out of his or her way to speak to you, but then get angry because they don't use your name and include a few lines about how special you are?

Yes, I know the agent/querier situation is different. It's a potential business relationship. Okay, then. Here's an example. When we were planning our wedding I bought a box of chocolates. The company who made the chocolates was a small company that apparently does custom work as well. I emailed them and asked if they would be interested in making chocolates for my wedding. They never replied.

Oh, well.

I didn't feel the need to burn them at the stake. I didn't feel the need to start spreading their name all over the internet because how dare they IGNORE me when I sent them an unsolicited email for a job which did not interest them.

Here's the thing, guys, and I know it might be hard to believe but it's true. When your project is sellable, agents will respond. It really is that simple, and I knew that two or three years ago, long before I started seriously querying. If you're not getting replies, it's because nobody's interested, and while that's tough to deal with it is the simple truth.

That isn't to say I approve of "no reply=no" as a policy, or rather, I don't have a problem with it but do think agents who have that policy should set up an auto-responder for their email so the querier knows the thing was received. It's not hard and it saves everyone a lot of trouble.

But again, that reasonable request--have an auto-responder--gets lost under piles and piles of "You're not giving me feedback/you're not using my name/you're not calling me up to say hello/how dare you ask me to write your name on the query and then send me a form reply," comments, couched in combative and abusive language.

I realize I look at this from a different perspective now. Quite frankly, I want my agent reading the stuff I send him and working on deals for me, rather than spending extra time giving feedback to people he doesn't represent. Every minute he spends on that is a minute during which he could be doing something for me. Sorry, but it's true. I (and all his other clients) pay him 15% to work for me, to read my submissions and work on them, to vet my contracts, to use his connections on my behalf.

You, on the other hand, do not pay him a dime to query him. Which means, to put it bluntly, I'm paying his salary during the time in which he's reading and responding to your queries.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind this. I don't even think of it this way; I'm just using this as an example of how my view of it is different now, and why agents handle queries the way they do (because it's first and foremost in their mind, as well, or at least it should be; clients should be the priority). I don't begrudge the time it takes for him to handle his queries--or do things for his other clients--and I don't know a single writer who does. But again, I never thought I was entitled to anything from an agent. I never thought I deserved feedback (although again, I agree that a personalized response on requested materials--at least on fulls requested after partials--would be nice).

My point isn't that writers don't have the right to complain or be upset or hate the way things work or be irritated or have opinions. My point is that when the opportunity comes up to discuss issues in which agents could handle things differently or better, the anger doesn't do anyone any good. The sheer hatred permeating that thread, leaking from my laptop screen in a choking mist...does nothing to make the points expressed look better or more valid. It just makes it easier to dismiss all of the comments and complaints as the frustrated rantings of a mob of wannabes.

And it's depressing.

Okay. Moving on. Yes, we leave here next week; the movers are coming on Monday. My Monday post will be a short one; I'm going to open the blog to book recommendations from all of you, and I'm hoping that you'll all have a great discussion while I'm away, so please, link to the post, tell your pals, whatever you want to do. (Or don't, in which case I'll just feel unpopular and unloved because nobody's commenting on my thread.)

I'm not sure what my internet access will be. I will try. Later today or tomorrow I'm going to try and download Twitberry (or Tweetberry, whichever it is; I have it written down somewhere) so I can Tweet from my phone. So if that works, you'll still be able to follow me on Twitter.

I am able to update my Facebook page from the phone already, so if I don't manage to stop in here, and you're not on Twitter or whatever, you can check in there if you like.

(BTW, yes, I am fully aware that your lives will move on exactly as before while I'm away from the internet, and that it's not like my absence--or at the very least, very sporadic presence--for the next month or so is going to cause a huge gaping hole in the internet from which no one will recover until I return. :-) But A) it makes me feel better to list this stuff, as I then feel as if I have some control over the move and all the Big Scary Changes; and B) some of those who follow me or keep up with me in various places online are real-life friends or family members who might reasonably be expected to want to keep tabs on me and make sure I'm safe and sound.)

Turned in the final draft--or rather, my final draft--of the third Downside book yesterday. Final word count: 105,761. New title (yes, another one): GHOST BOUND.

We're currently looking for a new title for the second book; we want to change the title structure up a bit with the second book rather than doing it suddenly with the third. Still want the word GHOST in there if possible. I know you guys don't know much about the story or characters, and I'm not going to tell you because that would be a big old spoiler, but make some suggestions anyway, huh? Maybe it will spark something, who knows.

Goodness this is a long post! And I could have sworn I had something else to talk about too, but I don't remember it.