Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bouchercon 2011 Under the Arch


*** Giveaway Winners are ***
*** LINDA and DONNAS ***

The St. Louis Arch, that is. My home town. Ta da! I can go to the World Mystery Conference by driving about thirty miles. Last time that happened with a major local conference was Eyecon '99, the Private Eye Writers of America conference. (This year's Shamus award nominees just announced; hat tip to Janet Rudolph.)

Bouchercon, named for mystery critic Anthony Boucher, has been held continuously since 1970. The location moves around and out of the country from year to year. The Anthony Awards are associated with the conference; winners are selected by attendees.This year it's at the
Renaissance St. Louis Grand, St. Louis, from September 15th-18th. 

My panel is "Night Chills - Making Things Go Bump in the Night", on Thursday, September 15th, 8:30am-9:30am, room Majestic A,B,C. Yes, that's 8:30 in the morning, on the first day. Please, please, if you are going to Bouchercon, set your alarm and come to my panel!! It'll be fun and I hope to see you there--awake--in the audience. We're moderated by Monette Draper (aka Monette Michaels) and the other panelists are Angie Fox, Sarah Glenn, M.R. Sellars, and Jason Starr

I'll also be volunteering at the Bouchercon registration table and staffing the International Thriller Writers Outreach table. If you want information on joining ITW, stop by and talk to some genuine ITW authors. I'm currently on the board of ITW, printed out the brochures, and had a banner made for the front of the table, so I need to make sure the table looks busy. :) Stop by and talk paranormal stuff and I'll give you a Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2 pen. 

I've saved the best for last. HarperCollins is sponsoring the opening ceremonies during Bouchercon this year. The opening ceremonies will take place from 7pm-9pm on Thursday, September 15th (roughly twelve hours after my panel, so I hope I'm still functional by then). The Barry and Macavity Awards will be presented during the opening ceremonies, and immediately afterward, HarperCollins will host a book signing and reception in the lobby outside the opening ceremonies room. I'll be there, handing out FREE copies of Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2 to the first fifty takers, along with some see-through solar calculators. 

I'll give away two copies of Sacrifice (paperback or ebook format) plus two calculators right now to a pair of lucky winners, just for practice. All you have to do is leave a comment below by Thursday, September 1st and I'll do a random drawing. If you include your (disguised) email, I'll contact you; otherwise, you can check back on Friday to see the winners named at the top of this post. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reasons Why You Never Want to Make an Author Mad *

Come on, you've seen us. We're all very lovely people, us authors. We smile at the cameras, sign books, hug fans, and so on. Surely, making an author mad must be akin to swatting at a dust bunny, right? I mean, what are we going to do? Cry into our keyboards?

Well. Sort of.

See, yesterday I found myself in the middle of a task that I do actually need for this current run of books I'm plotting. And as I scrolled through pages and pages of data, I thought to myself, Karina, it's a damn good thing your profession is what it is.

Because how else am I to explain why my internet history is full of information on modern day torture techniques?

That's right. Let's talk about reason number one: We know how make you scream. We've researched it down to the last details—certainly not for ourselves, oh, no, but what out characters know, we know. And if we're carrying around a character who is an inquisitor, or a character who was tortured, or worse, we know.

Would we use it? Oh, of course not, officer! We'd never use this information for evil. We're entertainers, not in the business of making the things we know actually happen. Right?

Heh. Heh heh. Right.

Reason number two to avoid making us angry? We know how to hide the body. We've thoroughly researched it. Currents, erosion, garbage truck route details, you name it, we know it. We're a little obsessive when it comes to details, you might have noticed. After all, how else can we guarantee that the extra we offed in chapter 4 doesn't come to light until chapter 15?

The devil is, in fact, in the details.

And speaking of details, let's talk about reason number three: we know things about weapons even the movies get wrong. In that obsession with details, we'll travel all over the information highway to get the facts. Which means we know what kind of weapons a SEAL carries, we know which weapons jam underwater and which can fire in below freezing temperatures. We know which bullets will turn your brain into so much pink mist and which will leave a neat little exit wound, and which sniper rifle will make this easy.

We know about ninja stars, and the different kinds of knives. We know which guns have suppressors and which can be made to have suppressors, and that the potato suppressor doesn't actually work.

Oh, and I certainly don't mean we'd use these tidbits of terminal information on you! I mean characters, of course! We know how to kill characters. As I said, we're in the habit of making up stories, not in shaping reality. Rest easy, dear reader.

Unless, of course, you'd like to make us mad...?

Which brings us to reason number four: Odds are, we have fans in the police department. No joke! If it's not the boys in blue who love us, it's the women. Or the wives. Regardless of who or how, the reality is, we have people who would love to give us alibis.

Wouldn't any of you give me an alibi if I rang you up one day? "Hey, listen, I'll make a character of your choice and thank you in the acknowledgements if you just tell these nice people where I was yesterday. You know, at your house. Watching Friends. And eating cheddar cheese."

Then there's reason number five: You remember school, when there'd be this rumor going around about "that girl" who did this one horribly embarrassing thing, and you knew—just knew—that everyone was talking about you?

Imagine having a character based on you. A character who reveals all your secrets—or makes them up. A character who is murdered in the most grisly way. Or a character who survives, but gets exactly what he or she deserves?

Yeah. In our worlds, baby, we're the gods. And we will talk about you in our godly land of godliness.

You don't want that, do you?

So there you are. Five very good reasons not to piss off your favorite authors. Or even your not so favorite authors. They're really logical, aren't they? I mean, can't you just see the gorgeous Vicki Petersson cackling with glee as she comes up with creative ways to use a coin slot machine and a pair of dice to off somebody?

Or the fabulous Eve Silver, coming up with a viable scientific theory as to how a contagion plague could be released just at a certain point for maximum efficacy?

Let's not discount Merrie Destefano, who knows all the good places in New Orleans to hide a body, or Joss Ware, who knows seventeen ways to dismember a man beyond recognition. Juliana Stone knows what kind of wounds look like animal attacks—"I have no idea, officer, it looks like a jaguar attack to me."—and Pamela Palmer who is an engineer, and you know how devilishly clever engineers are. I wouldn't mess with her with a twenty-foot pole and a getaway driver on speed dial.

Ahhh, authors. So innocent, and yet...

Mwahaha.

* Note: This post is entirely tongue-in-cheek and not actually a commentary on the likelihood of authors to commit heinous crimes against real, living people. This is a joke. A post devoted to the rather hilarious fact that we tend to research the most horrible things in our bid to get it right.

Murder is bad, mmkay?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BIG news!

Congratulations to Virginia from PA for winning the signed V&C book and t-shirt!! Thank you all for the wonderful comments! Please come back next month when I'll be giving away the Be Still My Vampire Heart t-shirt and book!

Lots of stuff happening around here--my husband's getting ready for a business trip to China, my daughter's getting ready to move back to Texas A&M, my son's getting married, and of course, I always have a deadline looming--but the really BIG news is this: It rained last night!!

Summers are always terribly hot here in Texas, but it's usually green and lush in the Houston area. It's normal to have a little rain shower every afternoon, so no rain at all has been shocking. So sad to see tall, stately oak trees turning brown and dying. Grass alongside the roads is dead and turning to dust. Our four-month-old kitty freaked out last night over the thunder and rain. He'd never experienced it before.

More big news: Phineas' book now has a title--Wanted: Undead or Alive-- and a release date--April 24, 2012. I've also updated my website, so now you can read an excerpt to Sexiest Vampire Alive, Gregori's book that releases Sept 27th. In the Vampire World section of my website, I've updated the Cast list and Games. On Sept. 6th, the 100-page e-book, A Very Vampy Christmas, will be released for the low price of $1.99! Originally published as a novella in the anthology, Sugarplums and Scandal, it chronicles the story of Maggie O'Brian and Don Orlando de Corazon. Chronologically, it occurs between books 2 and 3, so Vanda is still single and Ian still looks fifteen.

And speaking of books 2 and 3, I have discovered T-shirts in my closet with the covers of books 2 and 3 on them. So today, I'm offering to a lucky winner the Vamps and the City T-shirt plus a signed Vamps and the City book. I did wear the T-shirts a few times, so they're not absolutely brand new, but they are washed and clean. Once I finish revisions on Phineas' book, it will be time to start book # 13, and the question circling around my head is-- Who will be the next hero? Who do you want to see next? Leave a comment for a chance to win the Vamps and the City T-shirt and signed book. Good luck!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Tapping fingers on desk. Checking phone to make sure it's still on. Wandering around the house, picking something up and putting it down again. Looking out the window. Back to check on the phone...

We all have moments like this - anticipating news, not sure whether to be excited or to dread it. As an author, it happens much too often.

So what do you do? Well, you keep writing. In my case I've just finished my first contemporary romance and I'm about to start submitting it - yep, more waiting :) And you find other things to occupy your time. I've actually been doing some reading lately. Can highly recommend three books by fellow Supernatural Undergrounders - Melissa Marr's Graveminder, Joss Ware's Night Betrayed and Pamela Palmer's Hunger Untamed.

I've been doing lots of papier mache to make handbags - messy and smelly and at times I feel like a child again. I've been actually GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE (shock!). On Saturday, I attended a fantastic event here in Canberra where a whole lot of scientists talked to us about various aspects of their field of expertise to help us get the facts right in our writing. The three forensic guys were the best. Did you know that from DNA ALONE, they can now work out hair, eye and skin colour? It's entirely possible that in the not-to-distant future, they'll be able to put out a photo ID of a criminal based just on the tissue they left behind at the scene. Wow!

My favourite story from the day - the forensic guy that discovered a partially decomposed body in a shed on country NSW (the killer had chopped the body up to make it fit in the grave then poured acid on it to destroy it before burying it but used the wrong acid so the body wasn't destroyed enough) and sent it to his local coroner, only to have Sydney detectives turn up and say the case was getting noticed and the body had to go to Sydney for investigation. Rather than give it up to these detectives, this guy went and fetched the body, put it in the back of his car and drove it to Sydney. He realised the error of putting a partially decomposed body on the back seat after about half an hour - the stink! But he maintained seniority on the case :)

I've been watching some television as well. Fell madly, deeply in love with Downton Abbey within the first five minutes and am now very sad it's over. DVD is on my Christmas list. There was a fantastic two-part documentary that aired on the SAS - Australia's elite army unit. As the hero in an upcoming book is ex-SAS, it was perfect timing. Another DVD for the Christmas list.

And now, it's time for me to pout because we don't have cable and True Blood has just started screening here in Australia and now my friends will be going on and on about it and I won't be able to see it until the DVD comes out NEXT YEAR...

Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Tapping fingers.

Waiting sucks.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Vampires, Faeries, Immortals and "more"...

In the Supernatural Underground there's a dungeon for everyone.

The Diamond Eyes trilogy falls into the cell for "more..." characters with supernatural gifts - humans who are cursed by the beastly gene that (in real life) is dormant in almost half the world population.

Science fantasy: Mira Chambers can see the past, and is being manipulated by a sociopath who can hear the future...

And here’s the first glimpse of all three covers together! YAYYY!

You saw it here first! We’re still tweaking the cover for Leopard Dreaming while the manuscript is still in editing stages – but in the meantime:

I’m excited to report:
* The giveaway for Hindsight attracted over 2100 entries!
* The giveaway for Diamond Eyes is in the top 12 most requested books over at Goodreads, with entries approaching 3000!

And AMAZING NEWS:
Since winning the prestigious Hemming Award for Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Themes, the book trailers and original theme song have achieved over 215,000 views on youtube!!

And to top off a perfect month, I was lucky to spend 3 days in a workshop with Geoffrey Rush and 300 other movers and shakers in the Australian film industry… but as my luck would have it, I was struck dumb - literally - by a dreadful rare allergy to a certain brand of cigarette smoke that I walked past in the street that weekend, and then I couldn’t utter a single word all week!! ARGHHH!!!
The luck faerie certainly has it in for me this year!
So until next month, I'm off to hunt a certain faerie... *evil laugh*

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saving the Planet 101

The winner is Miss Marmelstein.

Please email me so I can gift you the Quantum Encryption Series. enchantment at kimfalconer dot com

Thank you all who have read and posted. Your thoughts are appreciated!


With the eminent launch of Journey by Night the theme of saving the planet comes to the forefront. Both Quantum E. series focus on magic, intimacy, shape-shifting, witchcraft and martial arts and the action plays against the backdrop of two worlds – Gaela, a magical hegemony where energy is derived from thought, and a future Earth where environmental disaster, geo-engineering, totalitarian governments and tectonic plate shifts are taken to a horrific extreme. Journey by Night concludes a six book saga begun with The Spell of Rosette, wrapping up every thread so that closure is assured. (If you can think of anything I left out, email me!)

I’m not going to say how it ends for Earth and Gaela, but I can assert that ten years of research has brought me to some horrific, as well as enlightening, conclusions. It has been quite a journey, by day and night, into the current state of our planet and where in the world we can find ways to reverse the environmental threats hanging over us. Some big answers are embedded in the books, woven like a magic spell among the ‘stunning tattoos, hot bards, wild warriors and environments on the brink of destruction . . .’ but I’ll give you my short list here.

Four Steps to Saving the Planet

1) Awareness –Ritual magic, witchcraft, deliberate creation, prayer, chanting, evoking, shamanism … these are all words that describe a state of being—a state of awareness. We get what we are and the witch, shaman, devotee or the ‘regular Joe’ who hires a Good Vibe coach is practicing deliberately the art of awareness. This is the #1 key to making a difference in the world – know thyself.

2) Intention – Setting an intention is the next step. You might start with saying I am making a difference. I am going to accomplish . . . I am discovering . . . I am grateful for . . . This is the #2 key to making a difference in the world and simple to do. Just start by saying, ‘I am . . .’ and follow with your heart.

3) Meditation – We do not emphasis the stillness and listening aspect of being in our culture but the benefits for the entire planet are astounding. Over 500 studies have been completed on the physiological, psychological, and sociological effects of TM meditation, making it perhaps the most intensively studied technology in the field of human development. Meditation is the #3 step in making a difference in our world.

4) Contribution – From an evolutionary biologist’s point of view, human beings are hardwired to connect to 150 others. That’s right, 150 people/beings that we know intimately and care for and relate to. In our isolated lives, it’s easy to see why so many people feel like something’s missing. (This is one reason why we LOVE the characters in books, celebrities and public figures. They become ‘our people’.) By making a contribution of energy, time, intention, support, we extend our connections to others while participating in the evolution of our planet.

Which of these four steps do you practice/find most accessible? Post a comment to win all three Quantum Enchantment books, #1 Path of the Stray, #2 Road to the Soul, #3 Journey by Night.

Thank you! Kim

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption. Book #1, Path of the Stray, and book #2, Road to the Soul are out now. Book #3, Journey by night is out Sept 1, 2011. Currently she’s writing an entirely new series. You can find out more about her at kim.falconer.com. She posts on the 16th of every month.

It's August Already?!?!?! WHAT?!?!

Prepare yourselves. I'm going to say a very, very dirty word. In fact, I might even scream it. You ready? Here it goes....
HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right. I dared utter that word in August, but oh my GOSH it's AUGUST! Where the heck did the rest of the year go, and more importantly, am I the only one who gets a tiny knot in their tummy right about now that slowly grows, week by week until it's a boulder you're dying to have surgically removed on Jan 1??

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays. In theory. Cool weather, me and the hubster cuddling in front of the fireplace, the kids on Christmas morning, the family gathered in the kitchen to cook a huge Thanksgiving feast. But in reality, it never quite turns out that way. I live smack in the middle of my parents and my in laws, so stress for me begins with trying to decide how to split our time without hurting the other family. Add to that, DEADLINES! I'm totally cool with deadlines, but the people who don't live in my house don't seem to understand them. Pile on top of that the growing number of people who require gifts, most of whom are harder to shop for than the Queen of England. So where you do you put your foot down? Where do you finally say "no" to people who just want to spend time with you when all you want to do is stick tightly to your deadlines, or heaven forbid, try to create new traditions with your OWN family and not necessarily carry traditions given to you by your parents or your spouse's?

I can't be the only pushover. Right?? Please say I'm not.

As a little treat, here's a little something to help us all destress. Juliana, I know you'll appreciate it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Who's in control here, left brain or right?

THANKS FOR TAKING THE QUIZ AND CHIMING IN! THE WINNERS ARE:

Bonnie Ferguson

llamannerdymama

BJ @ Dark Side of the Covers

PLEASE EMAIL ME AT Pamela@PamelaPalmer.net, TELL ME WHICH ONE OF MY BOOKS YOU'D LIKE ME TO SEND, AND INCLUDE YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS.



We've all heard the terms 'right brain' and 'left brain' and the theory that the right brain is home to our creative sides and the left to our logical. And most of us, I think, consider ourselves more one than the other. Creative or logical. Right-brained or left-brained. So which would you expect an engineer-turned-fiction writer to be? That's an interesting question, at least to me. Because it turns out, I am one. For the most part, I'm a logical person--calm, thoughtful, rarely emotional. So I always assumed I was firmly left-brained. Then I took a left-brain/right-brain quiz and landed squarely in the middle. It probably shouldn't have surprised me, considering I'm a novelist, but it did.

So what does this mean for my writing? Some days I feel like I'm two people battling for control of one brain. Here's my current situation: I'm finishing up the first book in my Vamp City series (which is a good thing since it's due in three weeks). The thing is, this series is different from the ones I've done before. Yes, it's a romance, but it's a multi-book romance with the same hero and heroine throughout. Five books, one story. The problem is, the left side of my brain (we'll call her Left-Brain Pamela, or LBP for short) is in a panic. And Right-Brained Pamela (RBP) is laughing at her.

LBP (in her neatly-pressed business casual work clothes): "We can't send the story out like this! It's only a fifth of the way done."
RBP (in gym shorts and bare feet): "Darling, it's the first book of five. Of course the story is only a fifth done. But we're sending it out anyway. It's due."
LBP (crossing her arms, expression turning mulish through the panic): "We don't know the rest of the story. What's going to happen in book 2 and book 3, let alone 4 and 5? And what about that character we were supposed to have saved at the end of book 1? We left them hanging!"
RBP (swaying to the music blasting from the stereo): "You worry too much."
LBP: "What if we get to book 3 and realize we should have set up something differently? What if we get to book 5 and find we should have set up EVERYTHING differently? What if...?"
RBP (giving a careless shrug): "We'll figure it out when we get there. We always do, you know that. We always write this way."
LBP (throwing up her hands): "That's the problem! I hate writing this way. I need to know what's going to happen. Everything that's going to happen. Now. Before we write it."
RBP: "You always say that and every time I let you try to map out the whole story in advance, it never works out."
LBP: "It would work if you didn't always yell, 'Stop! The character wouldn't DO that.'"
RBP: "Well, he wouldn't."
LBP (getting that mulish look again): "It still would have worked."
RBP: "No, it wouldn't. You can't force the characters to do something they don't want to do just because you thought it might work before we started writing the story." (smiling gently): "I know you like to control every aspect of the process, but it doesn't work that way. Not for us. It's best to discover the story as we go along."
LBP (expression starting to turn panicked again): "But this story isn't one book. It's five! And once the first one is on the shelves, there's not going to be any going back to change it."
RBP: "Of course not. But that's real life, doll. We rarely get to go back and fix things. We have to deal with the situation that exists, not the one we wish existed."
LBP: "But we're writing fiction. It has to work out in the end."
RBP (smiling): "That's where you come in. That's what you're so good at."
LBP (huffing with an exasperated roll of the eyes): "So it's all going to be up to me to get us out of this mess."
RBP (laughing): "What mess? It's unexplored territory, that's all. And we'll find our way through together as we always do. I'll think up all kinds of exciting twists and turns and you'll sort them into one logical series of events after another. It'll all work out, you'll see."

So now you know what a day in my brain is like. And if you were wondering if all authors are a little crazy, I've probably answered your question.

Actually, LBP has been hounding me for the past couple of weeks (ever since I finished the first draft of this book). "I need to know what's going to happen in the rest of the series. I need to know, I need to know!" I finally heard RBP's calm, reassuring voice through the racket this morning and LBP's voice began to die down. There are still things I want to make sure I've thought about and looked at, but I'm no longer crazed about knowing the whole story up front. I can't know it, not really. Not until I write it. And I don't need to. I haven't with any of the books I've written yet and all have been part of a series, if not quite as intertwined as the Vamp City series is going to be.

Come September 1st, when Vamp City book 1 (A Blood Seduction), is off to my editor, I'll be setting aside the entire series for six months as I dive back into the Feral world to write Feral Warriors #7. LBP will be in a minor panic, as usual, preparing to read all six of the previous Feral Warrior books to make sure she's one hundred percent back into that world as she gathers plotting charts and character charts and various other tools. Meanwhile, RBP will be kicking back on the sofa with the the t.v. remote in hand and a stack of movies by her side as she prepares to launch into her favorite activity to fill the creative well--a good old fashioned movie marathon.

And it will all begin again.

If you're interested in taking a left-brained/right-brained quiz yourself, here's a quick one: http://www.intelliscript.net/test_area/questionnaire/questionnaire.cgi

I'm giving away a signed copy of one of my books to three commenters. Your choice. If you take the quiz, tell me what you thought of it and if you were surprised by the results. If not, just tell me whether you think you're more right-brained or more left-brained. Or, like me, if you come down squarely in the middle.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Viva Las Mermaids!

Today I'm headed down to fabulous Las Vegas (after spending the last three weeks of July in Sin City before finally making the move to Seattle) for a heavy dose of mermaid extravaganza.

First up will be the Mermaid Ball, a fabulous multi-author, multi-mermaid event at the Barnes & Noble on North Rainbow at 7:00pm tonight. In addition to mermaid-friendly authors, there will be actual mermaids in attendance. Sounds like a party to me.

Then on Friday, the first annual MerCon will take place at the Silverton Hotel and Casino. There will be a big mermaid pageant from 2:00-4:00pm, followed by an author panel.

I'm hoping to see some of my favorite mermaids while I'm there.

Aquamarine

Ariel

Madison

Who is your favorite mermaid?

Hugs,
TLC


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

let's talk about sex... and giveaway! =)

*a portrait of Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye
from Fury of the Phoenix.

yes.

i've had sex on my mind a lot
lately, as i'm rough drafting my third
novel. it wasn't until i actually finished
writing Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix
that i realized how much sex played as a theme
in my series. in the Kingdom of Xia that i created,
girls, once they were of age (when their monthly
letting began), were immediately shown The Book
of Making
by their mothers, an illustrated tome
educating the girls on how to pleasure their future
husbands, and how best to get with child.

because this was their place in the world, to stay
within the inner quarters and make babies.

it's not much of a leap. this type of thinking
is part of many cultural histories, part of, perhaps
some cultures and thinking to this day.

so much of my stories are about how the girls
navigate this culture and these expectations of
them:

ai ling, my heroine, who runs away from home to
avoid a betrothal to a vile merchant in his fifties
looking for a third wife. she's terrified by the very
idea of being sequestered in the inner quarters for
the rest of her life, embroidering and minding children.
and throughout the two novels, sex is expected of
her, forced upon her, and used by her as a weapon.

silver phoenix, a handmaid to mei gui in the imperial
palace, given away at twelve years as a song girl
(prostitute) because she was a third daughter. she
yearns for children, and a family of her own.

mei gui, an imperial concubine, one of thousands
in the imperial palace. most never cross paths with
the emperor their entire lives, much less make it to
his bedchamber. her best hope of rising in status is
to bed the emperor, and bear a son for him.

each of them feel very differently about sex,
and each are strong and heroic in her own
ways in dealing with sexual expectations.

sex as a theme rose subconsciously for me in
these two novels. but i shouldn't be surprised,
as i've always been intrigued by the notion of
sex as something a woman can give or withhold.
be forced upon as a duty. to use (or not use)
to her advantage.

which is also why strong female leaders in history
fascinate me, such as Elizabeth I and Cleopatra,
how these women were portrayed and how they
portrayed themselves. and how sex always tied in.
Elizabeth I, refusing to take a husband to become
The Virgin Queen. Cleopatra, famous for her affairs
with both Julius Caesar then Mark Antony.

now, as i'm drafting my third novel, the theme of
sex crops up again in a very different way. my
heroine is a shape shifting serpent demon,
very well known in chinese folklore, similar to a
succubus. and i'm faced with an entirely new
set of rules and issues here. haha!

it's going to be interesting. 8)

giveaway:

if you want to read about the serpent demon
who makes an appearance in my debut, Silver
Phoenix, simply comment to enter. i'll give away
a paperback copy for every 38 individual entries.
contest is open to US mailing addresses only. i'll
announce winners in my september post. good luck!

cindypon.com
follow me on twitter!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Salute to True Blood

All right everyone! Sorry this is a day late. So without further ado, the winner of their choice of either Hunger, Embrace or the newest release, His Darkest Salvation, is Katie! Please email me at my website!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am deep in deadline hell and coupled with the business that is summer I'm finding my time is getting more than a little stretched! As I'm sure most of you are!

For my post today I thought we'd have a little fun. If you're like moi, than you're happily settling in each Sunday night to watch True Blood. You've got your wine ready, your snacks and your girlfriends. The lights are lowered, the surround sound is on and the children have learned that mommy is not a nice person if A) they've hidden the remote and it's 8:59 and B)do not under any circumstance save for bodily harm, interrupt True Blood.

I love this show. I love everything about it. The characters. The setting. The writing. I've not read the books (I know....wtf?) and maybe that's why I'm loving it so much. It's all fresh and wonderful. From the simple yet sexy Jason, to Lafayette to Eric...to Alcide. I love them all.

But let's be honest here. True Blood has the sexiest men on television. Hands down. And amongst my girlfriends we have a healthy debate over who is the sexiest. so I thought we'd have a little pole here on the Underground. Shifter VS Vampire VS adorable human with hawt body.

Who do you think is the sexiest man on True Blood?

Eric?




Jason? (who let's face it, gets a lot of good lines)





Or Alcide?





I know who my fave is, so who's yours and why? I think I'll let a random commentator choose one of my Jaguar Warrior Books! sound cool? comment and you can win either, His Darkest Hunger, His Darkest Embrace or my latest release, His Darkest Salvation!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The End of Vacation

[Edited: Winner Announced! The winner of the complete Dark Days series signed is "Coast to Coast with Costina"! Please email me at jocelynnDOTdrakeATgmailDOTcom with your name and address so I can ship you your prize!

Thanks to everyone for all your comments! I loved reading them and dreaming about all the places that I need to visit now.]


My computer is calling.
My unwritten books are calling.
Characters that have been neglected too long are calling.

Sorry for the late post, but I'm slowly getting back from vacation in Hawaii and I'm trying to get myself behind my computer again. I don't have anything interesting to say in relation to writing or books or really much of anything. But wait.... There's still more.

While on vacation, I did the unexpected.

I got married. I was in Oahu with my fiance, and while there we were swept up in the beauty and wonderfulness of the island. And decided, what the heck! Let's get married.

So we did.

To celebrate my new marriage, the wonderfulness of vacation and summer, I am going to give away a signed set of the Dark Days series. That's Nightwalker, Dayhunter, Dawnbreaker, Pray for Dawn, Wait for Dusk, and the newest book, Burn the Night. All you need to do is tell me either where you had your honeymoon or where your dream honeymoon would take place. I will be announcing the winner on Thursday, August 11.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Freebies!

ETA: Updated to announce the winners! As usual they were chosen at random, but say congrats to...

Faith Holt for winning Prize 1, an Arc of One Grave at a Time!

and Freda Burkett for winning Prize 2, pick of a book from my backlist!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I read all your comments and it made my day :).



Today is my blog day at SU, and I have an apology to make. I am so behind the gun on my current deadline that I don't have time to write an insightful, interesting, funny, or even marginally coherent post.

But wait, don't click away! My lack of time/wit/intelligence may as well be put to good use. In lieu of a worthwhile post, I give you contest prizes instead. Free stuff is probably better than listening to me blather on anyway.

Prize 1: An Arc of my upcoming novel, One Grave at a Time. If you're not familiar with this book, here's a description from the back of it:

How do you send a killer to the grave when he’s already dead?

Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans’ voodoo queen just keeps on giving–leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity–forever. But one wrong step and they’ll be digging their own graves.




And here is my shiny new book trailer to further highlight the plot. Click the Play button to view:

video


But wait, there's more! Prize 2 is a free book from any of my backlist, including Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, Destined for an Early Grave, First Drop of Crimson, Eternal Kiss of Darkness, and This Side of the Grave. You pick which one you want. If you're brand new to my books, I'd recommend starting with Halfway to the Grave (first in the Night Huntress series) or First Drop of Crimson (first in the Night Huntress World spin-offs). This giveaway is open to everyone no matter where in the world you live.

The Rules:

Leave a comment telling me which prize you're interested in: Prize 1 (Arc of One Grave at a Time) or Prize 2 (pick of one book out of my backlist). Be sure to include your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. No, you can't win both prizes - only one winner per prize category. Contest opens now and closes at 6am EST tomorrow, August 5th. I'll update this post with the winners tomorrow, as well as contact the winners by email.

Good luck!
Jeaniene Frost

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How I'm surviving a deadline

Like many of us, time is a precious commodity when under a deadline, possibly up there with caffeine. I’m a writer, a full time secretary, a wife, a dog owner, an aunt, and a pretty wicked cupcake maker. And don’t tell my editor, but I’m still cranking out pages for the second book in the Diaries of an Urban Panther series. Days are usually something like this:

Wake up
Work for nine hours
Drive home in rush hour traffic and 110 degree heat
Feed my husband and the pups
Do other household chores so my house doesn’t look like something from Hoarders
And then I open up the laptop and start typing for about 5 hours. Some days I use an egg timer and some days I forget to look at the clock all together and end up writing until 2 am.

There’s not a lot of time for Amanda. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. But my brain hurts! Its sort of a rattley feeling, like pennies in a coffee can. The planning of a hostile take over of the Dallas Metroplex is very hard work and might be literally sucking my brain dry. The 31 days of triple digit temperatures isn’t helping either.

According to an article I read in PARADE at two in the morning, fifteen minutes is all it takes to change your day and make you feel happier and refreshed.

15 minutes? I can spare 15 minutes so I won't go completely insane.

So now, I’m trying to be mindful of taking break brains. Just like how every 55 minutes you should stretch your hands to prevent carpal tunnel, I’m taking 15 minutes every 4 hours to rejuice my brain.

They seem to be working. The three keys are quick, cheap, and effective.

Looking at something pretty helps. My pretty of choice these days is Jensen Ackles and James Mcavoy. Just a simple image search on the internet and there is something relaxing about just looking at a page of a pretty man staring back at you. But technically, you’re still at the computer, and the mind might not equate that with relaxing. Sometimes you have to get away from the computer screen.

Recently, I’ve rediscovered nail polish. It’s quick and pretty and something that I can focus on something that’s not work, the house, or the hell that I’m putting my main character Violet through. I’ve also discovered crackle nail polish. Addicted! My current favorite combination is neon pink under a grey crackle. Right now, I’m wearing purple under silver sparkles. My husband said that it reminded him of my book cover. Which inspired me to do InterVamption toes (Kristin Miller’s new novel): blood red under a black crackle. It looks pretty wicked.

If the nails are in good shape, I find that making tea is a good way to break away for a while. There is something in the ritual to boiling the water and steeping the tea that is calming. And you get a yummy treat when you’re done!

The last thing I now look forward too at night is playing with my dogs. Unfortunately, when I’m under dead line, I tend to just sit for hours with my laptop and my dogs have learned to despite it. I think they are planning a hostile kidnapping and one of these days I'm going to find it burried under a tree. So playing with them for 15 minutes a night relaxes me and makes sure that my computer will survive another day.

GIVE-AWAY!!!

What do you guys use for your brain breaks? What small treats do you give yourself after a rough day of work when you’ve only got a few moments to rejuvenate? You share yours and I’ll share mine. The best/creative/innovative /cost effective comment will get a small set of crackle nail polish to help with your brain breaks.


Amanda Arista
Twitter: @pantherista

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reading for the Hugo Awards 2011 & Diversity In Speculative Fiction—Plus Giveaway

Giveaway Result:

Amanda's post on "How I'm Surviving A Deadline" is now up, which means my giveaway has closed and here's the result:

1 x copy of Charlaine Harris's Dead Reckoning goes to CaseyH.

1 x review copy of Nalini Singh's Archangel's Consort goes to Na.

CaseyH, I already have your address from an earlier giveaway
—but Na, if you email me through my website, contact [at] helenlowe [dot] info with your postal address, I'll get your book in the post as well.

Thanks to everyone for participating in the discussion & congratulations to the draw winners! I'll see you all again next month. :)


Over the past month since I finished the final edit of The Gathering of the Lost, The Wall of Night Book Two, I have been having fun reading the fiction finalists for this year's Hugo Awards. I am eligible to vote as well, which meant the reading wasn't just about what I "read and enjoyed," but also about deciding which of the works really wowed me, both as a good story that swept me along and one that used speculative elements in a compelling and persuasive way—given that the Hugos are awarded for excellence in speculative fiction. And remembering always that the Hugo Award is meant to be for the very best SFF novel (or short story, novelette, or novella) published in the world during the previous year.

As a novelist myself, my focus was very much on the novels as opposed to the shorter works of fiction. Time pressure was also a factor here, as I only had a month to read them all—and seriously, some of those novels were "doorstop" works in terms of size! Officially there are only five finalists in the novel category, but Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear have been treated as one work for the purposes of the award. Yet whether one counts the list as five or six works I was intrigued by the variety of speculative themes addressed.

NK Jemisin's The One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is set in an alternate world where war in heaven has resulted in the losing gods being bound into servitude in the human realm, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn, another episode in her long-running miles Vorkosigan saga, is classic space opera: action adventure in a far-future space milieu. Mira Grant's Feed addresses the fallout from a zombie apocalypse in a world where live-feed "reality blogging" has become mainstream media, while Connie Willis' Blackout/All Clear explores World War 2 and the Blitz through the lens of time-traveling historians. Ian McDonald's The Dervish House is nanopunk SciFi meets magic-realism in a near-future Istanbul where the city is as much a character as the human protagonists.

I enjoyed all six novels and reading them reminded me of one of the many reasons I love SFF, which is because of its diversity—there are just so many wonderful speculative story ideas out there and a wealth of ways to tell them. Following awards like the Hugos is also a great way of keeping up with some of the genre stories that are making waves each year.

But how about you? What are your favorite subgenres of speculative fiction? And what is your favourite way of checking out new books and new trends in those genres?

And now for the giveaway!

To help the discussion along, I have a copy of Charlaine Harris's latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Reckoning, and a review copy of Nalini Singh's Archangel's Consort to give away.

Just post a comment to enter the draw, which will close when the next Supernatural Underground author posts their blog. I will then draw the two winners via Random Number Integer and post the result here.



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Supernatural Underground author Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, is published in the USA, UK, Australia, NZ, and The Netherlands, and forthcoming in France. The Heir of Night recently won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011 for Best Novel, and was a Catanetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2010. Helen's first novel, Thornspell, (Knopf, 2008) is also an award-winning novel. Helen blogs every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site and on the first day of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground.