Monday, December 27, 2010

The Year in Review

'Sup, folks? I hope everyone had a good holiday. Mine was much better than last year, and I got some nice things (new slow cooker, some gift cards, jewelry). We even had a white Christmas, and it got even whiter yesterday. The winter storm dumped about a foot of snow on us, which killed the big after-Christmas sales up and down the eastern seaboard. Right now the wind is gusting up to 45 mph, which is making it hard to keep the roads clear.

It's been an interesting weekend.

The year is winding down, and it's hard to believe that it's only five days until 2011. The new year is almost upon us, so I've been thinking a lot about the year that's almost over. After checking back through older posts, I realized I never did post my goals for 2010 here. I did post them over on Absolute Write, so I brought that list over.

1. Sell at least two more books in the Dreg City series to my editor
2. Submit a second adult series (if my current editor decides not to take it on)
3. Discuss and prepare with agent a YA project
4. Continue writing short stories and submit to short story markets
5. Promote the hell out of my July '10 release
6. Continue blogging
7. I hit my goal of reading 100 books/novellas this year, so I'm putting next year's goal at 115.
8. Write, write, write to keep those muscles limber

So how did I do?

1. Sold. ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD releases 7/26/11 and WRONG SIDE OF DEAD sometime in 2012.
2. Did that. Sold it to Pocket. The first book, WARDEN'S TRANCE, releases 11/1/11.
3. Did that, too. Details forthcoming.
4. Er, not so much. I've fiddled with a few shorts, and I suppose my chapter of A GLIMPSE OF DARKNESS counts.
5. Did that. My readers are awesome.
6. I didn't blog as often as I would have liked, and it's something I hope to do more often next year.
7. Epic fail. As of yesterday, my Read List is 40 books. It'll probably be 41 before the year ends.
8. Definitely did this. I wrote Dreg City #4, a spec novel that's currently in limbo, finished the aforementioned YA book, and dabbled in a few other side projects. Not to mention the rewriting/editing of some other works.


So 2010 was definitely a productive year for me. I haven't written up my 2011 goals yet. Turning in the second book in my Pocket contract is the only outstanding thing I have to do in the new year. I also hope to do a few more conventions this year, so stay tuned for those details.

How did 2010 treat you?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cover Art: Another Kind of Dead

I can now unveil the cover for Dreg City #3, ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD. And can I just say how much I love this? I have truly been blessed with some amazingly awesome covers, and this one is no exception.

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The background is a train yard, which see a little action this time around. And the super-cool lightning is a fun plot point, as well. Evy looks particularly bad-ass in this one, and the tag line says it all: She was born for this fight--no matter how many times it kills her.

Love. It.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Release Day: A Glimpse of Darkness

A GLIMPSE OF DARKNESS, my collaborative short story with fellow Del Rey/Spectra authors Lara Adrian, Harry Connolly, Stacia Kane and Lucy A. Snyder, is now available as an ebook! You can get the entire adventure for just 99 cents!

To help celebrate the release, each of us briefly blogged on the Kindle Daily Post about our experiences writing a collaborative story, as well as submitted questions to each other about the process. Check out the first post by Lara Adrian here.

In other news, I finished page proofs for ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD. It's always an exciting step to see what the actual book pages will look like. Couple that with having seen cover art, and it's starting to feel like a real book! I'll share the cover as soon as I can, promise!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Food Court Serenade

If this doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will.



How come I'm never at the mall when cool stuff like this happens?

Thanks to SciFiGuy for the link.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Thanksgiving Day....

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...I'm thankful for a lot of things. But rather than boring you to tears with a long list, I figured I'd go for five. Five is a nice number.

5. I'm thankful I didn't have to cook and host the entire Thanksgiving meal this year. We three siblings (myself, sister and half-brother) put it all together and took it to my parents' house. Dad couldn't travel because of #4.

4. I'm thankful my Dad finally got the surgery on his leg that he's needed for months, and that it went well.

3. I'm thankful that I have an amazing agent who sold 4 books for me this year.

2. I'm thankful to have a happy, healthy kitty cat who is eating well, doing well, and is all-around terrific. This time last year she was just starting to get sick, and every time she purrs for me I remember how lucky I am to still have her.

1. I'm thankful for you, Readers, for making it possible to get paid for what I love to do: write.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Five by Five?

In what is probably one of the most bizarre studio decisions I've read about in a long while, Warner Bros is developing a reboot of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." Without the brains behind the cult hit, Joss Whedon.

No, that wasn't a typo. Check it.

I'm not even going to go into all of the reasons why this feels like a terrible idea. There are probably enough blog posts and editorials surfacing that across the internet that pretty much cover it. And so far, the 'net response has been overwhelmingly negative. I have a feeling this reboot is either going to fail dismally, or it will be wildly successful--the jury is still out on which, since there is no director attached, the script isn't finished, and no one's been cast.

I am just a little tired of the reboots. For frak's sake, Hollywood, do something a tiny bit original! Or at least wait for the franchise you're trying to reboot is at least twenty years old. Let the corpse cool!

Yes, I understand that WB wants to jump on the hot paranormal bandwagon and make a crapload of money, but rebooting a franchise that is one of the best loved cult shows out there? *facepalm*

We'll see, I guess.

And as a slight aside for anyone who read the comments section of the article I linked above, someone in there decided that since the attached screenwriter, Whit Anderson, is from Delaware that she must be a rich, upper class snob with absolutely no real attachment to the series.

To which I call bullshit.

As someone born and raised in DE, that commenter needs to get his head out of his own ass and realize that there is more to DE than duPont and New Castle County. Also, posting a laundry list of personal information about Whit proves...what? That you like to assume a lot about people you don't know, because it makes you feel better about yourself? Uh huh. Y'all know what happens when you assume, right?

*sigh*

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Radio Interview

It's kind of bizarre to hear yourself on the radio. You don't realize how you sound to other people until you hear yourself talking to someone. The only reason I know this is because I was interviewed on a local radio show last Saturday, 92.7 WGMD, by Jared Morris.

I admit to being terrified at first, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and you can listen to the podcast here. We chat about the Dreg City series, publishing in general, and how it feels to be a "local personality."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Pre-Order Links

Thanks to a fabulous Twitter follower, I just found out that ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD, Dreg City 3, is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca! Very cool news, indeed. Hopefully I'll have a cover to tease y'all with very shortly...

Also, the first book in my Pocket series is up for pre-order on Amazon. Just bear in mind that the release date is changing. I don't know to when, yet, but I'll let everyone know when I find out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Home Again

I'm back from my long weekend in New York City. Lots of pictures were taken, and lots of yummy food was sampled. I'll have a longer, more detailed post up this week. Once I stop feeling like I was run over by a truck. I took cold with me to NYC, and it's still hanging around. Blah.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Glimpse of Fire Alarms in the Dead of Night

There's nothing quite so disorienting than being terrified awake by a loud, obnoxious noise.

Especially if said noise is a fire alarm, it's blasting in your living room, and it's 2 o'clock in the morning. That was my Thursday night. And being two a.m., it took me several seconds to have an actual, coherent thought, which was, "Shit, where's my cat?" I didn't know if it was a real fire somewhere in the apartment building, or if some bastard had pulled the alarm for kicks--but I wasn't leaving Anya behind.

Which lead to a frantic search for her carrier (I could remember the first place I put it, but not where it actually was). And then a frantic search for the cat, who I had to yank out from under the bed where she was cowering. All while this alarm is flashing and squawking loudly enough to give me a headache. Then I realized, "Hey, pants! Coat!" All good things when it's about forty degrees outside.

It occurred to me later that I had the forethought to grab three things (clothes notwithstanding) -- my cat, my cell phone, and my car keys. I didn't even *think* to grab my purse.

Fortunately, it wasn't a real fire. Alarms had gone off in multiple buildings, so it took a while for the fire department to get to ours and turn them off. Forty minutes of sitting in my car (some of you may have seen my Tweets on the experience), and I finally got back inside.

Not cool.

***

So who's excited to see how A GLIMPSE OF DARKNESS ends? I know I am. It's been such a blast participating and seeing this story come together, and I just can't wait to see how Lara Adrian wraps it all up tomorrow!

***

I'll see in New York City this weekend for Halloween! I've made day trips to NYC, but this is my first overnight stay, and I'm ecstatic to get away. I never managed a real vacation this summer, so this (along with June's D.C. trip) kind of make up for that. We aren't making too many plans, because part of the fun is discovering things to do, but we are going to take in a Broadway show, as well as hit Central Park and a recommended restaurant. I'm also going to meet Agent J!

Anyone else have fun plans for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Darkness and Hunger

Chapter five of A GLIMPSE OF DARKNESS, by Stacia Kane, is now posted and open for voting! This is your last chance to vote on the course of the final chapter, which will be written by Lara Adrian. Voting is open until Thursday!

Also, HUNGER, by Jackie Morse Kessler, is officially on sale. It's a YA novel about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I've been waiting on this one ever since Jackie read an excerpt last year at Dragon*Con, and I'm eager to dive in. A portion of proceeds is being donated to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Monday, October 04, 2010

It Gets Better

Who let October in? Seriously, who's the blame? I had to turn the heat on last night, and I've begun the process of swapping winter clothes for summer clothes. *sigh*

You guys remember my post about the horror flick THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE? Well, I have to say, the French film MARTYRS? Way worse on the "what kind of fucked up things can one human being do to another?" level. *shudders*

Chapter Three of A GLIMPSE OF DARKESS, by Lucy A. Snyder is now live on Suvudu! Go vote! I'm up next, so this is your chance to tell me what to write about. And the two choices are awesome. I think I'll have a lot of fun, no matter which way it ends up going.

****

IT GETS BETTER

Recently in the news, there have been several different stories about teenagers committing suicide. Yes, teenagers. Committing suicide. Why? They were being bullied because they were (or were assumed to be) gay. It's heartbreaking.

Katiebabs, over at Babbling About Books, and More, has an amazing post on the subject. She has made a pledge to donate $500 to The Trevor Project and The Matthew Shepard Foundation, so please help spread the word. Stop by and comment.

Her post also directed me to a movement called It Gets Better. Started by columnist Dan Savage, he has this to say:

I've launched a channel on YouTube—www ­.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don't dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we've gone and things we've experienced—that we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves then.


My heart breaks every time I hear about another child killing him or herself because of being bullied. It isn't just gay kids, either. Our children are being bullied for a lot of reasons--their weight, their looks, their religion, their sexual orientation. This should not be happening.

Don't turn your back on bullying. Ignoring is tantamount to participating.

And please spread the word that IT GETS BETTER.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Several Things at Once

So a funny thing happened last week - I finished writing another novel. This one is kind of special, though, for several reasons. The first of which is that it's my twelfth completed novel (I know, it boggles my mind, too). The second reason is that I started writing this particular novel back in the spring of 2007, before the Dreg City series was even a glimmer of an idea. It was one of my "what am I going to write next" beginnings, and it's started/stopped several times over the last few years. The third reason it's special, though, is also why I've stuck with it these years - it's my first real YA attempt, and I like it a lot.

So at a healthy 70k words, the Untitled YA of 2007 is finally complete! It needs some work, of course, including the ironing out of world-building details. Stayed tune...

Also happening around the internets: I have a new interview up HERE. The very awesome Ray Wong (The Pacific Between) asked me to partake in his "I, the Author" interview series, and he asked some pretty cool questions about writing, my adventures in fanfic, and why I write "dark and twisty."

Two of my fellow Leaguers have releases tomorrow, so be sure to check them out! First is the mass-market release of JF Lewis's REVAMPED (Void City #2). Second is fellow Dell/Spectra author Carolyn Crane's DOUBLE CROSS (The Disillusionists Trilogy, #2).

Copy edits for Another Kind of Dead have landed, so I'll be working on those this week, as well as crossing my fingers and turning Wrong Side of Dead (Dreg City 4) in to my editor.

And make sure you check out Suvudu.com later today for Chapter 2 of A Glimpse of Darkness, this one written by Harry Connolly!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goodnight, Jennifer

It's with a heavy heart that I say goodnight and good-bye to a fine lady and very talented Urban Fantasy author. Jennifer Rardin (the Jaz Parks series, Orbit) passed away Monday, June 20th.

I never met Jennifer in real life, but had the good fortune to know her online, via the League of Reluctant Adults. My thoughts are with her family, friends and fans.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Glimpse of Darkness

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If you haven't seen this yet on Suvudu or Twitter, let me explain: A Glimpse of Darkness is a multi-author, fan-driven original story featuring myself, Lara Adrian, Stacia Kane, Harry Connolly, and Lucy A. Snyder. Each week, one of us writes a different chapter based on what you, the readers, decide should happen.

I'm a little late in posting about this, because Chapter One is UP! And the voting deadline is today! Then it's Harry's turn!

Spread the word and join the adventure! My turn is the second weekend in October, and I'm very excited to play in this amazing world we've created together.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Bad Kind of Excitement

So this has been a mostly uneventful week for me. I'm fond of saying I'd rather have boring than the bad kind of excitement, which is very true.

Although last night was kind of fun, in a voyeuristic sort of way. My sister, her SO (significant other), and their 3 kids were at the Outer Banks this weekend, and they came back last night to return SO's sons to their mother (school and all), and to turn their daughter (Lovely Niece) and house (cats and dog) over to me until Saturday. The plan was to go back to the OB last night and finish up the vacation.

I was expecting them back around dinner time; arrival ended up being 8pm. Not terrible. The boys got picked up, Niece was in bed, things were unpacked...and then SO realized the water pump wasn't working. Uh oh.

So he spends the next hour and a half trying to fix the thing, with Sister and me in the kitchen flipping switches and faucets. Eventually, he gets it working around ten. He still wants to drive back (it's about 4 hours from their house). So they pack up and plan to go. I'm exhausted, so I go to bed. A bit later, I hear something creak, open my eyes and there's a person in the doorway.

Yes, I kind of screamed.

They came back because the engine was leaking anti-freeze. SO plans to try and fix it. Plans go awry. They decide to take the other car. I think they eventually hit the road around 11:30 pm, arriving back in the Outer Banks around 3:30 am.

*facepalm*

Yeah, bad excitement.

Anywho, Dreg City 4 is finished and now in my agent's capable hands. Lots of twists and turns in this book, so I'm curious to get some fresh eyes on it.

Also, just a reminder that I'll be signing copies of THREE DAYS TO DEAD and AS LIE THE DEAD at the Christiana Mall Barnes & Noble (Newark, DE), this Saturday at 4pm. So if you're in the area, stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How Did It Happen?

I'm talking about September. About back to school, Labor Day weekend, the end of summer, and all of the things I didn't get to do yet. Like take any sort of vacation.

It has definitely been one of the most hectic summers in recent memory. Moving pretty much ate up a month of time during July and August. But I'm settled in, loving my new place, and about to go drop off rent (not loving that part so much, but what can you do?).

Book-related things are going well, too. My editor accepted my revisions for ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD (Dreg City 3) and it's heading off to production. What can you expect from this book? SPOILER BITS! More relationship development (and angst) for Evy and Wyatt, a brand-new paranormal creature, answers about the hybrids found at Olsmill, and a sacrifice or two.

I've also completed the first draft of Dreg City 4, and will be giving it a thorough read-through very soon. It had a huge twist I didn't see coming, and I'm excited to see how it affects things in the future.

Also a reminder for anyone in the Eastern PA/Northern NJ/DE area, I'll be at the Christiana Mall Barnes & Noble in Newark, DE on Saturday September 11th. The signing starts at 4pm!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Blogger: Paul Jessup

I have something a little different for you today, friends. Writer Paul Jessup is stopping by as part of his Virtual Blog Tour, and he's chatting a little bit about his thoughts on Urban Fantasy.

Welcome, Paul!

****

Urban Fantasy as a Reaction to Classic Horror

I make no bones about it, I love me some classic horror. In the movies, on television, in my books, whatever, whenever I can find it. The pitch perfect time was those three decades where low budget meant bad acting and limited special effects, but it was made up for with sheer terror.

But let's be honest. The golden decades (60's, 70's and 80's) had a small problem. Especially in serial killer/slasher films, but in monster films as well. And that was, plainly put, sexism. It continues onto this day, and it's not just sexism, it's violence towards women glorified to pornographic levels. Especially any woman that's not the "last girl" (the good girl who doesn't have sex or do drugs and ends up surviving the terrifying ordeal somehow).

Look at most most posters for Horror Films. It shows women crying, screaming, or abused. What does that say, when this is your advertisement for a movie? What does it say about your genre?

IMHO, Urban Fantasy is a straight up rebellion against that. Their is no Last Girl. The Last Girl was a victim who fought back. Urban Fantasy protagonists are not victims and they are definitely not good girls who don't have sex or do bad stuff. It's a moral grey area, the entire existence of the heroine of an UF novel. The good guys do bad shit. And they kill. And they are the ones fighting monsters.

And it's not like Epic Fantasy where the good/evil lines are drawn clearly in the sand. No. A lot of UF protags end up risking becoming the very monsters they fight. They are the ones in power, and they are the ones taking risks. Sure, it uses all the horror tropes and horror monsters, but it turns the very groundwork of the horror genre on it's head.

For the longest time I wondered why there was so much vile hate in the Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror community towards Urban Fantasy. Esp. from the old guard. And now I realized this is the core of it- they want their female characters abused and victims. They don't want strong, sexy woman kicking the crap out of some terror that walks in the night.

***

Paul Jessup is a guest blogger, going on a small virtual tour of the internet to promote his new book Werewolves. It's an illustrated book about the journey of one High School teen named Alice, and her voyage into the violent werewolf community. She tries to find a cure, help her brother, and survive violent pack conflicts. You can purchase a copy here. The art is done by Allyson Haller, and it's published by Chronicle Books. You can view the rest of the blog tour as it chugs along this week at his website, http://pauljessup.com.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Am Thrilled to Finally Announce....

You remember that "other good news" I was teasing about early this summer, but couldn't talk about yet? I can talk about it now!

Here it is (cribbing from the original Publisher's Marketplace announcement):

Kelly Meding's WARDEN'S TRANCE, the first book in a new series in which adult children of the world's slaughtered heroes suddenly regain their lost superpowers after a mysterious, fifteen-year absence, only to face a fearful public, a leery government, and the villain responsible for the deaths of their parents, to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket, in a two book deal, by MY SUPER-AWESOME, AMAZING AGENT!


So that wasn't exactly how it appeared in PM. I might have embellished one part.

*happy dance*

For those of you who've followed my publication struggles these last few years, I wrote WARDEN'S TRANCE a year before I wrote THREE DAYS TO DEAD. I submitted TW to agents, received a lot of rejections, and a handful of requests. I admit now that the book did need some work. And through the wisdom of a lot of people, including my agent and an amazing crit partner, plus what I learned by writing TDtD and its sequel, I whipped WT into shape and we sold it to Pocket!

So my advice to folks who are querying agents, feel they have a strong query, but find that they aren't having any luck? Write another book. Not all good books are good FIRST books.

Also, the awesome site i09.com did an interview with me back in late May, when the deal was first announced. You can read it here.

The first in this new superhero series, WARDEN'S TRANCE, should be out some time next summer/fall. Book two, QUEEN'S CAPTURE, will follow at some point after that. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peeking Out of the Cave

The last two weeks have just flown by, and I truly cannot believe it's already August 11th. What's happening to my summer????

I'm all moved into the new apartment. There were only three casualties on moving day - two glass tumblers and the carafe of my big coffee pot (the little one survived). The apartment is just as spacious as I remember, and except for a few minor tweaks here and there, all decorated. Kitteh is settling in, as well. We're settling into a routine, and the new place is starting to feel like home.

So here's the laundry list of stuff to catch y'all up on....

BOOK SIGNINGS - I have two events coming up.

Saturday, August 14th, 1-3 pm
Borders
Camp Hill, PA


Saturday, September 11th, 4-7pm
Barnes & Noble, Christiana Mall
Newark, DE


Following that is the sad news that I'm no longer able to attend Dragon*Con this year. Something came up, and it was a hard decision to make, but it had to be made. However, I have every intention of being there next year (and some other cons/events, as well).

I'm thrilled to say that AS LIE THE DEAD is an August Pick for the Barnes & Noble Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Book Club. It's easy to become a member and join in the discussion.

Reviews for AS LIE THE DEAD have been popping up on various sites and blogs.

The wonderful Carol, at Bitten By Books, had some lovely things to say. On Evy's emotional journey:

Evy’s struggle to accept and embrace the melding of her former identity with that of Chalice’s memories, emotions, and physical reality results in confusion and pain, but she never doubts that her purpose remains the same – to fight to protect the innocent and those unable to defend themselves.


ALTD also received 4.25/5 stars at Nite Owl Reviews. Among the lovely comments was this gem that just made me squee for joy:

But it did bring Phineas to the forefront so, there you go. If there was going to be teams, I would so be Team Phineas!


*loves*

We'll see what happens, shall we?

Now it's time to go back to my cave. I have Dreg City 3 edits due back in two weeks, plus Dreg City 4 due to my editor by October 1 (and hoo-boy, is this one going places I didn't expect...).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The End is Nigh!

Well, the end of living in this lovely old house with my roommate of seven years. Tomorrow, I'll be packing up my stuff (way too many boxes of books, God help us), and Saturday, moving into my new apartment with Kitteh. I'm both excited and terrified.

Preparing for the move is one of the reasons the blog has been kind of boring lately (huge apologies for that). But once I get settled in, I hope to post more regularly again. My brain can't seem to concentrate on much besides the move, and trying to write Dreg City #4.

So the internet goes out tomorrow night, and it won't be back at my new place until Monday afternoon. Until them, my lovelies, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Release Day: As Lie the Dead

It's here! It's here! I'm a multi-published author!

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AS LIE THE DEAD is now available for purchase from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Powell's, Book-A-Million, and other retailers nation-wide, in both paperback and e-book formats. It's a HUGE release day for urban fantasy, with new titles from Stacia Kane, Jeaniene Frost, Jeri Smith-Ready, Seressia Glass, Marjorie M. Liu, Kelley Armstrong, Jocelynn Drake, and Mark Del Franco, so I hope you've been saving those pennies!

Two new interviews are available for your perusal.

At Larissa's Bookish Life, I'm chatting about Urban Fantasy, writing, and my favorite characters. I'm also giving away a signed copy of AS LIE THE DEAD.

At Writer's Grove, I'm chatting about superheroes, comics, coffee versus tea, and vampire trends. Stop by and say hello!

I'll also be doing an event at Bitten by Books tomorrow, with a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. RSVP for extra contest entries!

***

I can't quite believe I'm moving in four days. The house is mostly packed, and I have a list. I'd be lost without my lists.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seven/Eleven Isn't Just a Convenience Store...

Are you excited yet? I'm excited. For two reasons. In seven days, AS LIE THE DEAD hits store shelves nationwide! And in eleven days, my cat and I are moving into our brand-new, beautiful apartment (with an office, I'm so happy to have an office!).

I have lots of stuff coming up in the next two weeks or so, including somethings going on right now. There's a fun interview up at Book Lovers, Inc, in which I'm answering questions about Evy, Wyatt, and their future shenanigans, so please stop by and ask me something. I'm giving away a signed copy of AS LIE THE DEAD to one lucky commenter!

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The ladies at Book Lovers,Inc, were also awesome enough to post an ARC-review of AS LIE THE DEAD. There are very minor spoilers, and it's a great review, so thank you!

The characters are wonderful and the story is full of revelations and has it's fair amount of action. A highly recommended read that will keep you on the edge of your seat and won't let you stop till you read the last page.


Okay, I think I've used quite enough exclamation points for one post. *g*

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Anyone who is waiting on a prize from me - everything is in the mail and should be arriving shortly.

Also, I'm happy to announce that Dreg City #3, ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD, has a release date. Brace yourselves. It hits stores July 26, 2011. I know it's a whole year from now, but I hope to write a couple of short stories in the interim to keep y'all jazzed for book three (I know I am, I just loooove the bad guy in this one).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twitter Giveaway

I've run giveaways on my blog before, but I haven't done one on Twitter yet. Until today. It's open to all of my followers (I Tweet as @KellyMeding), today only. At around 10am today, I will tweet that the giveaway is open. All you have to do is Tweet back the answer to my question, and you'll be entered.

I'm posting this here on my blog for easy reference.

Rules:

1. One entry per person. Even if you tweet me six answers, you're entered once.
2. You have to tweet me an answer. Just RT-ing my question isn't enough.
3. Open to international Twitter peeps.
4. Contest is open all day, until around 8pm Eastern. I'll tweet when it's over.
5. Winners will be randomly chosen.

What do you win? A signed, early copy of AS LIE THE DEAD (due in stores July 27!). TWO lucky winners will be announced later tonight!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Linkage Round-Up and Stuff

Two more weeks! Fourteen days! Wheee!!!!!

Bitten By Books hosts weekly polls over on their site, and this week AS LIE THE DEAD is nominated in their Best Paranormal/UF Cover for July 2010 poll. There's some stiff competition and lots of lovely covers, but if you have a moment to stop over and vote, please do. Several fellow Reluctant Adults (Dakota Cassidy, Stacia Kane, Nicole Peeler) are also nominated!

I was also interviewed by the talented and very funny Shennandoah Diaz here on her blog. I talked about writing a series, plotting, and the future of Dreg City.

There's also a fantastic review of THREE DAYS TO DEAD up at Book Lovers, INC. It's wonderful to know that even eight months later, folks are still reading, enjoying, and talking about the book. I also have an interview coming up on their site on July 19th, so keep an eye out for that.

For anyone who followed my #ShoreLeave tweets this weekend, much fun was had. I met some really cool people, networked a bit, and even signed two copies of TDTD for the con bookseller! But the best part of the weekend? Three words: Edward James Olmos.

SO SAY WE ALL!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Reading, Reviewing, and Ranting (just a little)

So people who aren't me, my agent, or my editor are reading AS LIE THE DEAD and liking it. Larissa's Bookish Life has a lovely ARC review posted here.

A favorite quote:

If you haven't checked out Kelly Meding’s Dreg City series yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. There are so many Urban Fantasy novels and series out there, it’s great to read something that at the same time is faithful to the classics and brings something fresh to the table.


AS LIE THE DEAD was also reviewed in the August '10 issue of "Romantic Times Book Reviews," and received a 4-star rating!

The reviewer had some super-cool things to say:

Solving her own murder was just the warm-up for newly resurrected dreg hunter Evy Stone. Rising star Meding returns to the ominous world and gutsy heroine first introduced in her exceptional debut. Menace oozes from the pages, as Meding places her heroine in the middle of a maze where deceit and betrayal run rampant. Evy is an unforgettable heroine and Meding an author to watch!


Yay!

It certainly balances out the craziness that was this past weekend. I supposedly had an apartment all lined up, move-in ready on July 31. I even put a $100 GOOD FAITH deposit down on the apartment on June 25. The leasing agent called me July 3 and said the current tenants were no longer vacating, so the apartment was no longer available. So sorry, and by the way, we only have two other empty units for $200 more a month than what we promised you.

Er...uh...?

Alas, I'm a non-confrontation person, so I didn't give this guy hell on the phone. I hung up and cried (yes, I'm that person). I got really, really mad. It pretty much ruined my weekend.

I'm better now that I'm distanced from it. I'm looking at a place tomorrow, and I have a good feeling about it. I'll still be writing some very angry letters to this other management company, but overall, I'm over it. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Big Birthday Giveaway Winners!

Huge thanks to everyone to left a comment in the Big Birthday Giveaway! It was great to see such an amazing response, so thank you, thank you!

The 3 winners of the signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, a bookmark, two Dreg/Triad pins, and a "Note to Self" mini-notebook are:

unseelieme
RobinK
Marguerite Butler

Congrats!

Aaaaand, the Grand Prize Winner of all this stuff

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is... *drumroll*

Jessica!

Congrats! To all the winners, please email your postal address to mail(at)kellymeding.com.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Babies, Vampires, and Shapeshifters, Oh My!

Wow! The response so far to the Big Birthday Giveaway has been awesome! You guys rock so hard! If anyone hasn't checked it out yet, scroll down or go here.

Author Scoop is running a series of posts in which they ask authors about the saying "my book is my baby." Head over to see what I have to say on the subject.

I also participated in a joint interview for Flames Rising, in which I sound off on vampires, along with fellow Reluctant Adults Dakota Cassidy, Mark Henry and Nicole Peeler.

Last but not least, I am guest posting in the Paranormal SummerFest over at All Things Urban Fantasy. Abigail was kind enough to invite my THREE DAYS TO DEAD heroine, Evangeline Stone, back for another round of information sharing. Check out Shapeshifters 101 and enter to win a signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, plus swag!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big Birthday Giveaway!

ETA: GIVEAWAY CLOSED

In less than four hours, I officially leave my twenties behind and enter my thirties. And I'm way more okay with that than I thought I'd be. When I think back to where I was ten years ago, as I entered my twenties, it's boggling to see how far I've come.

Since I turned twenty, I....

lived in four different states.
interned for John Wells Productions, in California.
graduated college pretty high in my class.
wrote ten novels.
wrote three full-length screenplays.
wrote two television episode scripts.
wrote a LOT of fanfiction.
welcomed my niece into the world.
made some amazing new friends.
lost my paternal grandmother.
said goodbye to two kitties.
bought my first car all on my own.
signed with a wonderful agent.
sold six novels.
sold foreign rights to two of those novels.
realized my dream of being a published author.

There are a lot of in-between things I'm missing, for sure. A lot of milestones, heartbreak, excitement, and boredom. There are things I haven't done yet and am sad to be turning thirty without those experiences. But I have time. And I came to a very Zen-like conclusion the other day: my twenties were about work, and my thirties will be about play.

I want to travel more. I want meet that someone special. I want to experiment more with my cooking. I want to learn a foreign language (my Spanish is terrible, and Pig Latin doesn't count).

So...this post has been all about me so far. Time to make it all about you, my loyal blog followers and fans. Talk to me. In the comments, I want you to tell me one thing you want to do if you were granted the wish. You'd be given the money, the access, the opportunity to do one cool thing (realistically, no "I want to grow six inches taller" or "I want to colonize the moon").

Do you want the chance to meet a famous person? Do you want to take a bike tour of Italy? Do you want a week-long Alaskan cruise with your significant other? Tell me a little dream in the comments section, and I'll enter you in the giveaway.

What am I giving away?

Glad you asked.

Three lucky winners will each get a signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, a bookmark, two Dreg/Triad pins, and a "Note to Self" mini-notebook.

One Grand Prize winner will get this loot:

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What's in the photo: a signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, a bookmark, two Dreg/Triad buttons, a "Blah, Blah, Blah" sticky note pad, Romance Novel magnetic poetry, a little vampire VooDoo doll keychain, and an AS LIE THE DEAD cover flat (signed or un-signed, as the winner prefers).

The giveaway is open until 10pm Eastern, Monday, June 28. I will randomly select and announce the winners on Tuesday, June 29.

Remember, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me something you really want to do, given the chance. What's your fun wish?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Release Day, Jackie & Caitlin!

Today is the official release day of SHADES OF GRAY, the second book in the very awesome series co-written by fellow Reluctant Adults Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge. Congrats, ladies! I can't wait to get my copy!!!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Moving Again...plus other stuff

So anyone who follows me on Twitter might have seen my hashtag #inpackinghell. What does this mean? It means I'm moving house again.

No, it's not a false alarm like last summer. Nor is it a move across state lines like the summer before. It will be a move up the highway, to a town closer to my day job, my sister and her family, and to more than one grocery store (ah, bliss!). While I will miss the small, historic town I've made my home for the last two years (neighborhood dogs who come up to your door, a mailman who knows my name, antique shops right around the corner), I'm looking forward to the change.

This move will also mark the first time I'll be living completely alone (not counting my kitty). I've always had a roommate (or several, counting college), so having a place of my own will be quite the change. I've already found a nice, affordable apartment in a quiet complex, complete with a pool and weight room (the complex, not the apartment). The biggest task now is sorting all of my stuff, boxing up things that I can temporarily store at my parents house, and packing the stuff that's coming with me.

Have you ever divided up a household that's been together for seven years? Minus the emotional angst, it feels a bit like a divorce. Yes, my current roomie and I have lived together for seven years. I made a long list of things that I have, things that I don't have, and it's a strange and scary list. For example, I have two coffee makers, but I don't own a vacuum cleaner. I have a tool box full of stuff, but no phone for land lines.

Also? I have a lot of books. A lot. I've already packed up nine banana boxes worth, and I could probably fill at least five more. My arms hurt just thinking about carrying those up two flights of stairs....

All this doesn't happen until July 31. And between now and then, I have to launch AS LIE THE DEAD (five more weeks, my pretties!), which will include a lineup of guest blogs, interviews, and giveaways. I also have to pack and clean the house, and keep working on Evy #4. And we're reorganizing the stock room at the day job next week, so that's going to be exhausting.

Busy, busy, busy.

But I'm enjoying it. I'd much rather have Teh Busy than Teh Bored.

What else? For anyone in the Baltimore area, I'll be at Shore Leave, July 9-11, so if you see me be sure to say hello.

I've also committed to Dragon*Con again this year. Four words: Jim Butcher, Sam Trammell.

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Yum.

Check back later this week for a new giveaway to celebrate the release of AS LIE THE DEAD, and to mourn my birthday and the loss of my twenties!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shades of Gray Contest

Nope, not my contest. But friend and all-around awesome lady Jackie Kessler (remember that serial novel she's posting on her blog? Good...) is hosting a ginormous pre-order contest for the release of SHADES OF GRAY, the second book in the superhero series she co-writes with Caitlin Kittredge.

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Run, don't walk, over to Jackie's site for more information on this huge giveaway.

SHADES OF GRAY releases June 22, so don't wait!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Dreg City Series Continues!

Long-time followers of this blog know I had a pretty rough couple of months this past winter. 2010 wasn't going well for a while. Then my kitty got better. And then, at the end of April, I got the awesome news I can now officially share with everyone.

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My awesome editor at Bantam bought two more Dreg City books! Yes, ladies and gents (and everyone else), the Dreg City series is now officially four books long. Evy gets to share a few more adventures with y'all. And I get to work with my editor and all the other fantastic people at Bantam again! Win!

The new books are tentatively titled Another Kind of Dead and Wrong Side of Dead. While I was fortunate that the first two titles in the series didn't change, I know there's always a chance these might so don't be surprised if they do.

For more details, there's an awesome write-up on Whitney Sullivan's Romantic Times blog. I didn't reveal any actual spoilers, but did drop a few hints as to what to expect as the series progresses, so please check it out!

Big thanks must go to my amazing agent. They say that a good agent is worth their weight in gold, and I have a great agent who is working on more fantastic things for me as I write this.

And of course, a huge round of thanks to you, Dear Readers. Without your support and your willingness to give Evy's story a shot, I couldn't type this post. You allow me to continue playing in her world for a while longer. So THANK YOU!!!!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Excerpt 2: As Lie the Dead

Seven weeks and counting until AS LIE THE DEAD hits shelves! I admit, I'm on pins and needles waiting for reviews. Second books always seem to carry more expectations than first books, and I really hope AS LIE delivers for you guys. I absolutely adore some of the new characters in this book, and I think at least one of them will capture your attention (*cough*wingedhawtness*cough*).

So to further entice you, here's the rest of Chapter One. I posted an excerpt several weeks ago that you can find here.

Enjoy!

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Yeah, not my fault. Maybe if I said that a few more times, I'd even believe it.

The Hunters and Handlers continued collecting bodies as the sun inched higher into the morning sky, turning purples and crimsons into pinks and golds. The odor of rot intensified as the cool morning gave way to warmth. A different sort of body pile was rising near our Jeep—six dead Hunters, each carefully covered with a cotton blanket. While fewer in number, those losses hit much harder. Adding in the death of Rufus's entire Triad team yesterday, we had lost forty percent of our trained forces.

The battle had ultimately lasted only an hour, but the effects would be felt for a long time—not only among the Triads but also among the many species that inhabited both the city and the surrounding mountains. The goblins—a scavenger species that spent more time in the city's sewers and subterranean tunnels than aboveground—had shown their manipulative hands by joining forces with Halfies and openly attacking us. They'd be hunted mercilessly for it. The Halfies—not fully vampire but no longer fully human—had no real power other than as thugs and roving street gangs, but someone had managed to keep them organized long enough to cause serious carnage tonight.

Their collective status had just gone from Irritant to Public Enemy Number One.

The Triads could handle the goblins and Halfies. We'd been doing it for years, in secret, keeping the existence of such creatures from the general public. No, it was the orchestrator of their activities that had the potential to cause the most upheaval. The Fey Council, humanity's largest champion, had been betrayed by one of their own—an elf named Tovin, one of the very few elves known to exist. He had tried to release a demon into our world by transplanting the thing's consciousness into Wyatt. We'd stopped Tovin and trapped the demon.

Temporarily trapped. Amalie, Queen of the sprites, would likely send someone along shortly to collect the lemon-sized onyx crystal the demon had hardened into, for proper storage and disposal. She'd given me the magic spell to stop the demon; I trusted her to handle it from here.

But perhaps the most important outcome of tonight's battle was that the Triads had found a tentative ally in the vampires—something I'd never expected three days ago from a species who did their collective best to ignore us and, when they didn't, looked down their noses at us. It was an alliance that sprang out of more than just a unified view that all Halfies should be wiped out, only I couldn't put my finger on the more.

And I was too exhausted to worry about it now. "Let's just get the hell out of here," I said.

"You going to file an official report on this, Truman?" Baylor asked.

Wyatt snorted. "Are you offering me my job back?"

"Not mine to offer, but you had a huge part in this. Once a Handler, always a Handler, right?"

"Yeah." That time he seemed to mean it.

I grabbed Wyatt's wrist and tugged him away. He came without further prompting, seemingly as ready to get out of there as I was.

"Stone!"

Christ, what now?

Gina Kismet jogged over from the direction of the pavilion opposite the Visitors' Center and pulled to a dead stop in front of us, not even out of breath. Her left leg was bandaged, red already seeping through, but the red-haired, pint-sized Handler seemed unbothered by the wounds. She held out a black cell phone; I eyed it.

"Instinct tells me this isn't over," she said.

"Me, too."

"Then take this, just in case."

I did, slipping it into the rear pocket of my jeans. "Thanks."

"We'll see you."

"Undoubtedly."

She wandered back, already barking orders at someone else. I didn't know her well but decided then that I liked her. Ballsy and strong, like a Hunter—only not. Flaming red hair disappeared among the remaining figures, though I knew I'd see her again. Probably a lot sooner than I wanted.

Last night, Wyatt and I had come in via the forest, but we decided on a more convenient route back to our hidden car. Several dozen yards down the potholed access road, barely halfway back to the main road, he started laughing. I stopped in the middle of the leaf-strewn pavement and stared at him. He waved one hand at me, not overcome, just privately amused at something in his own head. I glared at him, waiting for an in on the joke.

"I was just thinking," he said. "Here we are walking a mile back to the car when you could probably teleport us both in less than a second."

I hadn't even considered using my newfound Gift to get us back. It would take time to orient to it, just as it would take time to orient to the fact that I'd just taken full possession of my current body. A week ago, I'd been tortured to death by goblins. Three days ago, I'd been resurrected into the body of Chalice Frost, recently deceased via suicide. Less than two hours ago, the magical bargain that gave me only a three-day afterlife had been broken in a flurry of memories and physical sensations. Permanent possession of someone's body apparently also came with the memory of that body's life experiences.

Weird didn't even begin to cover it.

Wyatt and I had also stumbled onto the fact that, unbeknownst to her, Chalice had a Gift. A direct tether to the Break—the source of magic for the world. Only a handful of humans possessed that tether, giving each a unique Gift. Wyatt's was summoning inanimate objects; Chalice's—now mine—was teleportation. I just needed to learn to use it better.

"Not this morning, pal," I replied. "I'm barely over teleporting three people through the force field Tovin put around the Visitors' Center; I haven't slept more than a few hours at a time since, oh, I was dead; and I'm so hungry I could close down a buffet house. I'm done teleporting for the immediate future. Come to think of it, I'm done doing a lot of things for the immediate future."

"Like?"

I started walking again. A gentle breeze swirled from behind, bringing with it the acrid odor of burning things. Not sweet like charred meat but heavy and oily. Disgusting.

"I'm exhausted, Wyatt," I said. "Mentally, physically, emotionally, and any other l-y you want to toss into the mix. I just want to find a motel in the middle of nowhere and sleep for a week. Then take a long, hot bath and sleep for another week."

"And after you've slept for two weeks?" he asked, from somewhere behind me. A second, unvoiced question followed, hinting at the one thing I'd left off my list—him, sharing in these activities.

Maybe after the first week of sleep, I'd have the stamina to contemplate my new Evy/Chalice supercombo existence and his place in it. Part of me wanted to haul him into that hypothetical motel and physically celebrate surviving the battle until we were exhausted and sore. But fear of my reaction to him the last time we'd attempted intimacy kept sex firmly out of my near-future plans. My new body may have given me a physical distance from the memories of being tortured and raped by a goblin, but Wyatt was right—three days was nowhere near enough time to process it all. With my deadline over, I had time to figure out this thing I felt for Wyatt. The attraction had started in Chalice and been fueled by my memories of him, and it was now something entirely its own.

Something I was unable to articulate.

I'd figure out how to articulate it later. "After I've slept for two weeks, maybe I'll use this cell phone to give Kismet a call and make sure the world hasn't gone to hell in a handcart while I've been asleep."

"Hell seems pretty keen on crossing the Break."

"Well, Tovin's dead, the Tainted is contained, and the Fair Ones still guard First Break. I'd say their chances of getting across are looking pretty damned bleak, wouldn't you?"

"Sure, until someone else decides to take over where Tovin left off."

I sped up my pace, unable to outrun the stench of the bonfire that was raging out of sight. "There's always been someone trying to unite the species against us, Wyatt."

"Before Tovin, no one ever actually got them to do it. Especially the goblins, who are notorious for not playing well with others."

I didn't want to admit that he had a good point. Saying it would give his point power, and I was sick of others lording power over me. Sick of being spun around, manipulated, and used. The Triads had done it, Wyatt had done it, and Tovin had done it. No more.

"Hey, look at me."

He grabbed my left wrist. My stomach clenched. I pivoted, twisting my wrist at the same time, then ducked and spun around behind him, effectively bending his arm backward and up against his own back.

"Do not grab me," I said in his ear.

"I'm sorry."

I let go and stepped back, breathing hard for no good reason. Not like that little defensive move had winded me. No, it was the damned adrenaline pumping through me. My heart hammered as my body caught up to my brain. His grabbing my wrist should not have caused such a reaction. Of course, maybe it wasn't my reaction at all.

I had a lot of Chalice Frost to sort through while my brain became acclimated to her residual memories. Taking permanent residence in a dead woman's body was going to require some getting used to. Especially a woman dead by her own hand. My entire life was about not giving up no matter the agony or overwhelming odds. Chalice had killed herself rather than face the figurative demons fueling her depression. I knew now it was rooted in her undiscovered Gift, but she hadn't. She just gave up.

I wanted nothing to do with it. But did embracing her attraction to Wyatt mean embracing her fatal weakness, too? If I couldn't have one without the other…it wasn't in me to give up. Not the me that was Evy Stone.

"I really don't want to talk about this, Wyatt," I said. "I don't want to talk about Tovin, or the Fey Council, the goblins, the Bloods, or anything else that isn't related to me getting some time off from this unholy shit storm called my second life."

"You can't ignore it forever, Evy," he said as he turned to face me.

"I'm not planning to ignore it forever. Just for the immediate future."

"You also going to ignore Chalice for the immediate future?"

"Kind of tough to do now, wouldn't you say?"

"I don't know. You haven't exactly been forthcoming with the details of what happened when I died."

I looked at the ground, wishing he'd stop saying that. Stop talking about dying so casually—it was my routine, not his. Maybe Wyatt's death had broken the resurrection deal and allowed me to live, but the healing crystal I'd accepted from an elderly gnome named Horzt almost hadn't worked. We'd almost lost.

A single finger touched the bottom of my chin and pressed. I let him raise my head high enough to stare right into his coal black eyes. Full of curiosity and pain and life. And deep down, probably so as not to scare me, love. Not the platonic love of a Handler for his longtime Hunter but the love of a man who'd willingly exchanged his soul to give me a second chance at life.

The kind of love I wanted to return and couldn't. At least, not physically. Not until I reconciled Chalice's past with my own. "You really want to know what happened when you died?" I asked.

"Yes."

"My heart shattered in my chest. Metaphorically. Happy now?"

He made a strangled sound in his throat, caught between a gasp and a cry.

"About five seconds later," I continued, "I saw a blinding gray light, had about a thousand different memories flash through my mind, felt a hundred unfamiliar sensations all over my body, and nearly combusted when I realized how powerful my connection to the Break had become."

My new body's Gift of teleportation had been strengthened by this connection, in turn strengthening me. In the instant Chalice and I had finally became one entity, my perspective had changed. My senses had altered. The world wasn't quite the same shade as it had been two hours ago. I didn't know what sort of residual "self" remained behind when a body died, but bits of Chalice had made themselves at home in my brain.

"You saw her memories?" Wyatt asked.

"Some of them, I think, but it's not like how I remember my life. More like emotions and sensations attached to events. Growing up and feeling like an outsider, how she felt about Alex."

God, what about Alex? Chalice's best friend had given his life to help me. I knew nothing about his family, his job, his friends. People in his life would be wondering where he'd disappeared to. They'd want answers. I certainly couldn't tell them he'd been turned into a half-breed vampire, and that I'd shot him in the head to put him out of his misery.

Grief tightened my throat. My eyes watered. I bit the inside of my cheek—no more tears. I had to keep it together.

Wyatt's hand drifted to my shoulder and squeezed. I reached up, twined my fingers with his, and smiled.

"We should keep going," I said. "It's still a long walk back."

I knew him well enough to see how much he held back—the things he wanted to say or do, and didn't. "Okay," he said.

We reached the main road and continued along the shoulder. No cars passed this early in the morning, and we arrived at our hidden (stolen) car a few minutes later. The gas station was just waking up, its neon "Open" sign blazing orange in the window. I smelled bitter coffee—the kind you buy only when no other option presents itself and it's down to overbrewed sludge or falling asleep at the wheel.

My stomach grumbled. Too bad. We were both slathered in blood—human and other. The clerk would call the police before we got five steps inside the door.

"We'll have to ditch this car soon," I said once we were back on the road to the city. The guy we stole it from should be waking up soon—if he hadn't already—and reporting the incident. Regular cops knew nothing about the Triads, and I didn't like the idea of spending the day in a holding cell.

"We also need to figure out where we're going," Wyatt said. "A motel's a good idea, but we need food and fresh clothes."

"What about the were-cat's apartment? The one we stayed in a few days ago?"

He shook his head, slowing the car for an approaching intersection. We were coming out of the forest, into the outskirts of the city, and the road expanded into four lanes. "He'll be back in town today."

"Damn." It was my best idea. "I don't suppose they kept our old place on Cottage?"

"It was the first place the Triads ransacked when you went rogue."

Figured. The two-bedroom apartment on Cottage Place was a hole, but it had been home for the last four years. I'd inherited the closet-sized single room from the dead Hunter I replaced, while Jesse and Ash bunked in the moderately larger second room. It was big enough for sleeping in and close enough to Mercy's Lot for convenience hunting. I hadn't been back since the night before my partners were killed. It never seemed necessary. I had no personal possessions to collect, nothing sentimental to mourn.

Maybe it was why I kept the cross necklace close. I reached into my back pocket and pulled it out. A smudge of blood darkened one corner of the silver cross, but the words etched on the back—"Love Always, Alex"—were still visible. A little piece of her and a little piece of him.

"It's a safe place to rest for a while," Wyatt said.

My head snapped sideways. He was right, and I hated it. I didn't want to go back to the apartment Alex and Chalice had shared; I just didn't see much of a choice. The Triads knew about it, but now that we were on their side again, we didn't have to worry about a sneak attack. Kelsa knew me as Chalice, but she was dead—no reason to think the goblins had a clue. Isleen and her Bloods had no reason to attack us.

"What if Alex told the Halfies who he was?" I asked as I put on the necklace. "They could know about the apartment."

"Most of them are dead, Evy."

"The patio door is busted out."

"Then we won't stay long. But frankly, it's our best option."

"Fine."

The city passed by in a familiar blur. South into Mercy's Lot, then west on the Wharton Street Bridge, and into the nicer neighborhoods of Parkside East. I directed him to the correct block, more out of some strange instinct than actual memory. Chalice knew this place; it was part of her. The first time I was here, three days ago, I'd felt uneasy in the clean, wealthy surroundings. Coming back today felt natural. Like home.

I pointed out the building when we passed—just another apartment complex with clean walls, decorated balconies, and underground parking structures. Wyatt drove around the block and down an alley between the freestanding buildings. He parked near a row of Dumpsters. We wiped the car down before we exited.

"We're going to attract some attention," I said. The neighborhood was waking up around us, more and more cars emerging onto the road for their commute into the city. I joined him in front of the parked car.

Wyatt looked at his shirt, one sleeve dirty white and the other dark red. "Maybe we'll start a trend."

"Or a panic. Her apartment's a block away, on the fifth floor."

"You could—"

"I'm not teleporting us."

"You may have to anyway, once we get to the door."

I tilted my head. "And why's that?"

"Do you have keys?"

My hands went to my pockets. I hadn't had Chalice's keys since… Well, I wasn't sure. Two days ago, when I returned to her apartment to ask Alex for help, I let myself in with her keys. After that? "I must have put them down in the apartment. Shit." I spun and slammed my heel against the car's fender. It scuffed but didn't dent. I didn't feel any better for it.

"It's not the car's fault, Evy."

"It's nobody's fault, right? It just happened."

His eyebrows furrowed. "What the hell—?"

Metal screamed and squealed. Glass shattered, tinkled to the ground, and pinged off nearby metal. Rubber popped; air hissed. Bits of debris hit my left arm and cheek. Wyatt grunted and we fell sideways, away from the noise. Pavement scraped my other elbow.

Something heavy had landed on the car. I looked up at a male figure, semi-backlit by the lightening morning sky. He stood on the sunken roof of the car, back straight and arms by his sides. Tall, lean, and muscular, in jeans and shoes and nothing else. I stared, my mouth falling open as two new shadows fell across us.


Shadows cast by his twelve-foot wingspan.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Number Two

This post is brought to you by the number 2.

All sorts of interesting things are coming together today, and they all have to do with the number 2.

For instance, two years ago today I received an email about a manuscript that had been referred from an agent I queried to an agent she thought might be interested. Turns out he was, and within that email was an offer of representation. Okay, so it was like a week later that I officially said yes and mailed back the agency agreement, but it was my first ever offer and turns out it was the only one I needed. I couldn't be happier, so Happy Two-Year Anniversary to my amazing agent Jonathan Lyons.

Going along with the theme of two's, said amazing agent has also brokered two new deals for me in the last month. I can't talk about them quite yet, but soon all shall be revealed! Yay for good news!

Today also marks two months before the release of AS LIE THE DEAD, book two in the Dreg City series.
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Eep! In a couple of days I'll be able to say my book comes out next month, and that's when panic set in last time. I haven't seen any reviews yet, but I sincerely hope it lives up to THREE DAYS TO DEAD. I think it does. But I'm slightly biased. *grin*

And if I really want to stretch this out, two relatives who live in Nashville (and whose house was spared flood damage) came out to visit last weekend, so I got to see them. One is a cousin who spent five months in Los Angeles learning to do makeup and styling and effects. Check out her awesome website!

So what's happening folks? Good news? Great news? Any news at all?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hell to Pay

Jackie Kessler was one of the first authors I met online (through AbsoluteWrite.com), and also the first author to read and blurb THREE DAYS TO DEAD. Naturally I was thrilled to meet her last fall at Dragon*Con, and she was just a blast to hang out with.

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She's also the author of some of the best books you might not be reading. The "Hell on Earth" series (HELL'S BELLES, THE ROAD TO HELL, HOTTER THAN HELL) features a succubus who is on the run from Hell and hides on earth as a stripper. She's also co-author of the awesome superhero novel BLACK AND WHITE (with Caitlin Kittredge). That's not even counting her various anthology stories, and her new YA coming out this fall.

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So why the Jackie bio? And what's up with the post title?

The post title is also the title of Jackie's new serial novel - the fourth book in the "Hell on Earth" series. HELL TO PAY launches today with the prologue, and Jackie will post a new chapter every Tuesday, concluding the novel on the last Tuesday in December 2010.

I think the wait is going to kill me.

If you haven't read anything by Jackie...well, first of all why the hell not? Second, get thee to a bookstore or Amazon or your online vendor of choice. The Hell series is amazing fun. Jezebel is sassy, sarcastic, sexy, and occasionally vulnerable. And who doesn't love a demon who has to learn to be human? (And no, the fact that I named my cat Anya after the former vengeance demon from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer does not mean I am biased in this matter.) Also, HOTTER THAN HELL has the honor of being one of the rare books that has made me cry buckets.

So check out the Hell series, and while you're at it, check out BLACK AND WHITE, too (sequel SHADES OF GRAY due out June 22!).

Your funny bone will thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Never Judge a Movie by Its Trailer

I love movie trailers. Sometimes they can be as good as (or better than) the movie itself. I think two of my all-time favorite trailers are for THE GREEN MILE and WATCHMEN. They both give an amazing sense of their films' content, story, and overall atmosphere. I can watch them over and over.

This trailer has the distinction of being the only film trailer that's actually made me tear up.



Good movie trailers should sell the movie to audiences. But sometimes they are deceiving. I've seen comedy trailers that put all of the funny bits in the trailer, and the rest of the movie is spectacularly un-funny. I've seen trailers that highlight a certain sequence that is maybe a blip of the overall story.

And because it's so easy to edit clips together, movie trailers can make a film look like whatever they want. Have you seen some of the awesome mash-ups on YouTube? I love the one that turns SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE into a horror film.

My most recent encounter with "Good Trailer, Disappointing Film" was the remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. I admit, I was annoyed when the remake was first announced. I mean, why mess with a classic? (And if I had a good answer to that, I could probably put an end to the equally-pointless, upcoming remakes of POLTERGEIST, ARMY OF DARKNESS, ALIEN, THE THING, and HELLRAISER.)

And then the first trailer surfaced, and I was in love:



It looked dark, scary, creepy, and I didn't even mind the recast Freddy Krueger. I started getting excited that the remake would do justice to the original.

I wish.

While the the movie wasn't bad, it wasn't as good as it should have been. It was easy to pick Nancy as the lead in the original 1984 film. In this movie? I couldn't figure out who our main character was. And the actress who played Nancy was in a coma the entire film. I don't think she cracked an expression, even when she was supposed to be scared.

And the rewrite of Freddy's backstory? HATED IT. Why? (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS) Because for a brief period of time, we were led to believe that Freddy was innocent of the crimes against him, and that killing the Elm Street kids (although it was never established that they all lived on the same street, just that they all attended the same pre-school, so what the hell?) was some sort of justified revenge. Not only that, but instead of Freddy being arrested for multiple murders and then let off on a technicality, the parents in the remake went after him on their own because of lack of evidence. *facepalm*

I did like a few things. It had good atmosphere, and the dream sequences were cool. Some of the deaths were interesting. And I just love me some Clancy Brown, even if he was completely wasted in his role. There were also some fun nods to the other films: the Springwood Diner, the pool party bit, a character on the swim team, burning her arm to stay awake.

And Jackie Earl Haley as Freddy? Meh. The problem was he kept using his Rorschach voice from WATCHMEN. He was creepy at times, and had a few good lines at the end, but overall...I'm undecided.

So yeah, Trailer Win, Movie Fail.

But on to the actual inspiration for this rather lengthy post.

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (The First Sequence)

The trailer is probably not work safe, but here you go:



The internet is abuzz with talk about this movie and it's "shocking" science. People are comparing it to SAW and HOSTEL and other gore-fest films that rely on shock value. Naturally, this caught my attention. After I watched the trailer, I was equal parts appalled and intrigued.

And now I'm determined to watch it, if for no other reason than I can say I SAW IT AND AM JUDGING THE MOVIE FOR MYSELF. About half an hour ago (as of this writing) I read a rant by someone online calling for people to boycott this movie, to not watch it, to not support such awful, disgusting filth, lest it turn into the next SAW franchise.

Erm, okay....

All this based on having seen the TRAILER. I mean, jeez. It's about as bad as people who say "don't read this book, it has magic and is therefore awful and satanic."

Also? Check out this review at Babbling About Books. It's from someone who's actually, you know, seen the movie. Which apparently isn't as awful and graphic as people are assuming.

It's what helped cement my decision to watch it. And when I do, I shall report back.

Monday, May 03, 2010

In the Wild: Germany

One of the benefits of having friends in other countries is that they send you awesome photos likes this:

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Spotted at a military exchange in Stuttgart, Germany! And if you don't already follow the amazing @JasonTudor on Twitter, get to following!

Thanks so much, Jason!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Excerpt: As Lie the Dead

Just in time for Teaser Tuesday (which I've seen all across the blog-o-sphere, but never actually participated in), I found an excerpt from Chapter One of AS LIE THE DEAD posted on the Random House website.

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It's about the first half of the chapter. The entire first chapter will available in the near future, I'm sure. But for now, enjoy the tease!

^*^

Chapter One


Friday, 5:56 a.m.

Deep red bled into the predawn sky above the defunct Olsmill Nature Preserve, and I didn’t want to be around when the sun fully rose above the mountain treetops. Once sunlight hit the plethora of vampire and Halfie bodies strewn around the sea of pavement that surrounded the preserve’s Visitors’ Center, it was game over. I’d smelled burning vampire bodies—acrid and heavy, like scorched rubber. More than forty corpses littered the ground, victims of last night’s semi-epic battle.

They’d smell it in the city all day.

I wandered away from the grisly mess, back toward the line of Jeeps that created a barrier between the carnage and the dense forest, past the human Hunters collecting goblin corpses for the bonfire. I wanted out before they lit that, too. Even dead and rotting as they were, just the sight of the hunched, oily-skinned goblin warriors set my skin crawling.

Voices on the forest side of the Jeep trickled over.

“. . . you see how she got them inside the Visitors’ Center?”

“People can’t teleport. That’s impossible.”

“Can’t come back from the dead, either, but she did.”

“Like a friggin’ zombie or something.”

“She moves too fast to be a zombie.”

I was being discussed. Not surprising. How often did a Dreg Bounty Hunter get brought back from the dead, lead an attack on a possessed elf, discover she could teleport, and continually heal from wounds that would kill any regular human being? We lived in a city where magic existed, where teenagers were recruited to kill the beasts of nightmares, and the only way those guys could understand my existence was to go Romero on me?

Terrific.

The two gossipers shuffled to my side of the Jeep, carrying a goblin corpse between them. They froze when they saw me. I knew their faces but not their names. Each Triad unit consisted of three Hunters, with each unit working independently of one another and overseen by a trained Handler. Handlers kept in contact with other Handlers, but anonymity among Hunters protected us from attack by our enemies.

Today’s mass battle in the mountains north of the city was the first time I’d seen more than three Triads in one place, ever.

I narrowed my eyes at the pair and lowered my voice to a guttural growl. “Mmm, brains.”

The taller of the two grunted, his thickly lashed eyes going wide. His companion, shorter by several inches and with skin the color of strong coffee, snorted. He seemed the most familiar, and it finally struck me where I’d seen him before—Burger Palace. He belonged to a Handler named Rhys Willemy and had helped arrest my own Handler two days ago.

Huh.

They continued carrying their burden toward the bonfire pit to add more organic fuel to what was sure to be a disgusting fire. As they wandered off to collect the next corpse, I was glad I wasn’t required to help with cleanup.

Probably my reward for, you know, stopping the bad guy and keeping a demon from running amok.

I turned my attention back to the sprawl of dead things in front of me. My target hadn’t been collected. Kelsa’s broken body had shriveled from blood loss. The fuchsia liquid gelled on the blacktop around the goblin Queen to create a kind of paste. It squelched around my sneakers, which were already stained with blood and dirt. I breathed through my mouth, but it didn’t help. The cloying seawater stench was thick enough to taste.

The goblins would be furious when they learned of her death. I knew little about the specific hierarchy within hidden goblin society, but Kelsa was a rare and revered female. She’d led a horde of warriors. She had orchestrated the goblins’ end of Tovin’s plan to summon a demon. She had power within the goblin ranks. And I had killed her—payback for killing me last week. It was only a matter of time before they regrouped and came after me.

Again.

“Evy?”

I did a careful one-eighty in the puddle of blood. Wyatt Truman—my Handler and the man who’d almost become a demon suit—walked across the pavement toward me, and I nearly tackled him with another hug. Nearly. One sleeve of his shirt was stained red, darkening as it dried—a constant reminder of how I’d felt an hour ago when he’d been shot with an anticoagulant bullet and had died in my arms. A constant reminder, also, of the power of the gnome healing magic that had brought him back to me.

“How’re those?” he asked, pointing at my stomach.

My hand went to the torn, soaked fabric of my T-shirt. Below it, scabbed slash marks were slowly healing—gifts from my throw-down with Kelsa. An inch deeper and she would have gutted me, and I doubted my healing ability could have saved me from having my intestines stomped all over the blacktop. An ability I seemed to have retained, even though my three days were up. The bite on my ankle, the cuts on my cheek, and other gashes across my torso and legs were also healing, creating an itchy sensation not unlike rolling in dry grass.

“I’ve had worse,” I replied. “You ready to get out of here? Sun’ll be up soon.”

“Yeah, there was just one thing I wanted to do first.”

“Which is?”

Another pair of Hunters strode past us. One walked with his shoulders slumped, head turned away. Wyatt reached out and tapped him on the shoulder. The kid stopped and looked up. I saw his swollen lip an instant before Wyatt’s fist slammed into his nose. The kid squealed and stumbled backward, hands covering his face. Blood streamed between his fingers and down his chin.

“Wyatt,” I said. He glared at me and I glared right back. Like I cared if he punched that little shit in the nose. “I already did that.”

Wyatt shrugged. “Hey, you got to kill the bitch who killed you. Give me something here.”

“You have a good, if somewhat morbid, point.”

“You broke my nose,” the kid who’d fired that fatal anticoagulant shot said. Though muffled beneath his hands, it sounded closer to “You bruk by doze.”

“Hey, Truman! Ease up, will you?” Adrian Baylor’s question was barked from a brief distance. The burly Handler strode toward us from the other end of the Jeep line, bristling like an angry dog. “The kid’s a week out of Boot Camp, and it was an accident.”

“The kid,” Wyatt said, “is too skittish to be using live rounds. Who the hell’d he pay to graduate?”

“The kid has a fucking name,” snarled the kid in question. Color flamed both cheeks. He’d dropped his hands, allowing his broken nose to bleed freely. Half a foot shorter than Wyatt, he stood up like the class nerd facing down the playground bully. For a rookie, he had brass ones.

Wyatt crossed his arms over his chest. “Which is?”

“Paul Ryan.”

“Okay, then.” Wyatt tilted his head toward Baylor. “Paul Ryan is too skittish to be in the field with live ammo.”

Paul’s entire face turned beet red.

Baylor growled low in his throat—a challenge. “Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be taking training advice from a guy who got his whole team killed.”

Wyatt flinched. I tensed, expecting more punches. Or at the very least, a couple of choice insults. When nothing happened, I got pissed. For Wyatt and for me, being one of the three dead people referenced in Baylor’s snarky comment.

I was across the blood puddle and in Baylor’s face before anyone could stop me. I balled my fist in the front of his black turtleneck and leaned in until we were nose to nose. I’d just crossed an unspoken line of code among Hunters and Handlers, but I didn’t much care. It’s not like I worked for them anymore.

“Our deaths were not Wyatt’s goddamn fault, understand? You fucking asshole.” I let him go, and he stumbled back a step.

“Evy, stop,” Wyatt said.

I rounded on him, my hands clenched. His shoulders had slumped. He didn’t seem angry anymore, only sad, but that just fueled my anger. “Why, Wyatt? Our deaths were not your fault.”

“Yeah.” His tone said otherwise, but it wasn’t a fight I was prepared to relive in front of the others. Maybe not again until I’d had a few days’ sleep. I thought he’d accepted the fact that Jesse and Ash, my late Triad partners, had been killed as part of a larger plan. Their deaths—and, ultimately, mine as well—were orchestrated, unpreventable. Not his fault. Not my fault, either.

Yeah, not my fault. Maybe if I said that a few more times, I’d even believe it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tot bist du noch lange nicht

An email from a curious fan in Germany (*waves*) prompted me to check out the Droemer website, and I found both the cover art and release date (October 4, 2010) for the German edition of AS LIE THE DEAD.

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I love the intensity of Evy's expression here. She looks like she's about to rip somebody a new one. *grin*

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some Food For Thought (No Fish-Pun Intended)

Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen C. Lundin


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My boss gave me this slim book to read in advance of a manager meeting. I was skeptical, but it really spoke to me. It's a story about making changes in the workplace, but the lessons in the book can really be applied to our everyday lives.CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDEPLAYMAKE THEIR DAYBE PRESENTDefinitely recommend to anyone. It's only 110 pages of large font. Go read it. It might just change your attitude about work.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, March 26, 2010

Meet Anya

video

It's a little blurry, because I took this on my cell phone. But I couldn't resist a little vid of Anya playing. I grin like an idiot every time she plays with a toy or acts this adorable.

The voices in the background are from an episode of "Hoarders."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Winner: Good News Giveaway

Sorry I didn't get this up last night!

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Good News Giveaway post and for sharing your well-wishes and news with me. Y'all are awesome!

Random.org has spoken, and the winner of a signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, two buttons, plus a surprise book is:

Ciara E. Laine!

Congrats!

Send your info to mail[at]kellymeding.com and I'll get your prizes into the mail!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Good News Giveaway!

Edit: CONTEST CLOSED FOR ENTRIES!

Anya came home from the vet a few hours ago, sans feeding tube! *Snoopy dance* Everyone at the office was so kind and thrilled that she's recovered from this crazy nonsense that was plaguing her, and we all hope to not see each other again until it's time for her next regular checkup. I want to say a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to the staff at both Berlin Animal Hospital and the Atlantic Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center for everything they did for us.

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There she is! The sweater is still on to protect her bandage, but both can come off in a day or two! I barely remember what she looks like without that on! Ha!

Anywho... So as I said in yesterday's post, I'm jumping back into the swing of things with blogging and interaction.

This is the best news I've had all year. Seriously. So to celebrate, I'm giving stuff away.

First giveaway is the GOOD NEWS GIVEAWAY. All you have to do is comment on this blog post, and tell me some good news. It can be as simple as the awesome plasma TV you just bought with your tax refund money, or as complicated as...well...whatever. If it's good news, I want to hear about it!

I will randomly select a winner from everyone who comments with their good news, and that winner shall receive a signed copy of THREE DAYS TO DEAD, two Dreg City buttons, and a second, surprise book. Comments are open until noon, Tuesday, March 23, and I'll post the winner that night.

So tell me your good news!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Apology and a Celebration

Spring has sprung, and along with a sunny and sixty-degree day, March has also brought me news I've waited to hear since December 7th--my kitty, Anya, is finally getting her feeding tube removed!

WOOHOO!

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For a while there, I had given up hope that I'd ever see this day come (or technically, tomorrow, since her removal appointment is Friday). She was so sick for so long, and then boom! She starts getting better. I still don't understand fully why she got sick, or even how she got better, but I'm grateful. So, so grateful.

And I feel like I need to offer an apology. My blogging and tweeting have been very sparse this year, and I know it's been partly because of this kitty crisis. My entire life felt like it had been put on hold, while I waited to hear if Anya would live or die. To someone who isn't a pet lover, I know that sounds crazy. But Anya is my baby girl, and I love her.

She started getting sick a week after THREE DAYS TO DEAD came out, and I know I let myself think it was some sort of dirty, universal joke. In the summer of '08, my other cat Hannah died just a few weeks before I got my book deal. It felt like the universe was telling me now that my book was out in the world, my other cat had to go.

Silly, huh?

So I didn't blog much, and I didn't really interact with you guys, my readers, and for that, I do apologize. But now, with the tube coming out and Anya back to her old self, I feel as if this gigantic weight has been lifted off my chest. I can breathe again. I can take my life off pause and be happy again.

Thank you for being patient with me, and I hope y'all feel like celebrating. Because I feel like celebrating. So stay tuned this weekend, because I'll be doing some giveaways, starting tomorrow!

*hugs*