Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July Contest Winner and Another (Not Mine) Contest

And the randomized winner of the Countdown: July! Contest is:


Congrats! Be sure to email me [ mail(at) ] with your mailing address, and I'll get your books out to you!



Over at Literary Escapism, Jackie is holding a contest that is very dear to my heart. Her Devil Speak Contest is an answer to the recent way that covers for UF and PNR novels have come under fire. These are the questions she asks:

What other novels have been grossly underappreciated due to the Tramp Stamping trend? For all those “meh cover, story not worth it” attitudes, what have they missed out on?

So run over and speak your mind. There are even prizes involved. *G*

Monday, July 27, 2009

Countdown: July! Contest

(side note: I just realized this is my blog's 300th post!)


This month's Countdown Contest is a simple one, inspired by an email conversation I had last week with my crit partner, Nancy. I couldn't decide on which book from my massive TBR pile was next for consumption. So many choices, so little time, and I didn't know what I was in the mood for.

She emails me back: start from the left and count over five books. Read the sixth.

To which I promptly replied: which shelf? There are three.

Her answer: Third shelf (damn woman!)


Usually, it doesn't take three emails for me to pick a book. If I just bought something new I've been waiting for, it gets read. If I'm in the mood for a particular type of story (romance, werewolves, vamps, other...), I pick one of those.

What does this have to do with the contest? The contest is a simple drawing from the comments section. In order to enter, please Comment and tell me how you usually decide what to read next. Do you keep all new purchases in order and read them that way? Do you close your eyes and pluck a book off the shelf?

How do you choose?

The prizes for this contest are two books releasing this week that I'm eager to read:

DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE, Jeaniene Frost (okay, so eager isn't quite a powerful enough word for how much I want to read this)

THE THORN QUEEN, Richelle Mead (2nd Dark Swan book)

Contest is open until Wednesday 7/29, Noon EST.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Not Really Gone

Yes, I am alive. Sorry for the extended absence.

Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like the needle has fallen off your compass, so you can't tell if you're going around in circles or making progress? That's been me. I can't say for sure if the needle is firmly attached yet. We'll see.

News that has nothing to do with anything important: I have a tan for the first time in several years. Okay, so it's a farmer's tan (shorts and sneaker lines), but my arms and face are a lovely shade of honey brown now. And the weather is holding steady in the mid-eighties. I wonder if we can make it all the way to August without turning on the air conditioning....

We went to the Delaware State Fair last night. First time in several years that I've been here and able to go. I have so many memories of the Fair. Attending with my grandparents and walking through each and every barn (horses, cows, and goats, oh my!). Going on the midway rides on coupon day with my sister and dad (and nearly having a sun stroke one year). Eating fried chicken at the Grange. Fresh kettle corn. The World's Smallest Horse. Vendors and freebies and shows...

It was my niece's first year at the Fair, and she just had a blast. She pet her first goat and her first horse. *g*

And yes, there will be a Countdown: July! contest. I'll either do it tomorrow or Monday, I haven't decided. So stay tuned!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Experiment in Writing

As promised, a bit more about the manuscript I mentioned having finished over the weekend. Normally, I don't try to get any real work done while I'm attending a convention, but I was in the middle of the final chapter and I knew the ending. I was thinking about it for the entire 3-hour drive to Baltimore. Not finishing it was impossible.

So what's this one about? Four words: djinn, vampires, Necromancy, hostages. (Oh my!)

Yeah, I know, it doesn't tell you much. Writing this one (and I'll call it DVNH, because I can't come up with a title I like yet) was a bit of an experiment for me. I brainstormed the initial idea in the wee hours of a Friday night sangria-and-movie fest with my best friend. Ever seen the movie Feast? It's an awesome horror film, so go out and rent it (but avoid the sequels, they kind of, they really sucked). There's a line in the film, in which a character says, "We're being held hostage." Something about it clicked--monsters holding people hostage.

No, wait, vampires holding people hostage! But where? And why? And who would deal with such a crisis?

That's how it started.

I woke up Saturday morning (May 2, as a matter of fact) amazingly not hung over, spent about three hours doing some basic research on a few things and coming up with a handful of characters. Then I started writing it. I wrote almost every day for the entire month of May and banged out 50k words (it was like my own NaNoWriMo). In June, I put it aside for a while to do some revisions on other things, and came back to writing it again around the middle/end of June. It was hard getting back into the story, but once I did the last 35k poured out.

Granted, it needs some work, because I allowed myself to do something a little different while writing this draft--I used placeholders. If I didn't know a location, I wrote PLACE or TOWN. If I wasn't sure about a specific detail, I left RESEARCH in the paragraph. So the draft is littered with little roadsigns, places I need to return to and expand on. I need to expand on the world building quite a bit, and add tidbits of backstory now that I know my characters better.

I have a different book with my agent right now, so I don't have any immediate plans for DVNH, beyond shaping it up and coming up with a title that actually stands for something. Fortunately, I have an awesome crit partner (*waves at Nancy*) who's listened to me blather on about this book since I started it, so knowing she'd waiting to read it makes me happy.

So I chalk this up as an experiment gone right. We'll see what the end results bear in the future.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shore Leave Recap

Home again.

Shore Leave 31 was a blast, as always. I arrived fairly early on Friday, so I was able to lounge by the pool and read for a bit. Over the weekend, I finished reading one book and started another, so yay! Spent a lot of time Saturday bouncing around to different writing-specific panels. For the last few years, I've been attending a Screen (and Other) Writing Workshop lead by tie-in and comics author Howard Weinstein, and it was really cool to speak with him afterward. Mostly to say thanks for the advice over the years and tell him about my book. It's awesome to be able to tell someone that their workshop has affected you in a meaningful way. So thank you, again, Howie!

And having my niece Jade around was cool. She was a big hit with people. She's such a happy baby. And having a stroller helps get you through the autograph line quicker. Hehe. She was quite taken with actor Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager).


Saturday night they turn the ballroom into a kind of techno dance club called Ten-Forward, and there's a cash bar. I spent the night dancing with a Klingon. Yes. I did. It was a lot of fun (*waves at To's*), if somewhat exhausting.

If you're a SF fan, and you ever get a chance to see Robert Picardo and Ethan Phillips speak together, DO IT. They are hysterical, and their comic timing is genius.

Over the weekend, I also finished writing another book. I think I've teased this WIP a bit, but I'll do a longer post on it later in the week. More the process than the contents.

How else had a good weekend? Bueller?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Shore Leave Ahoy!

Yep, it's that time of year again. Tomorrow I shuttle off for Shore Leave 31, a fan-run convention in the Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn, just a few miles outside of Baltimore, MD. This is my eighth or ninth year attending (they're starting to blur), and it's always a fun weekend of geekery, fandom, fun and entertainment.

Plus I'm going early tomorrow in order to lounge by the pool for a few hours. Yay!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Go Deeper....

Deeper Deeper by Megan Hart

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
With each new release, Megan Hart takes us on a journey of emotion--love, pain, anger, regret, joy, all of it. DEEPER is a journey through regret. Choices made and pasts we can't escape. Loves we never forget.

It's nearly impossible to say what I loved about this book without spoiling it. For both its simplicity and complexity, it's a wonderful story, and the ending (which is also the best kind of new beginning for heroine Bess) was a perfect fit. I think DEEPER has just surpassed BROKEN as my favorite Hart novel.

It doesn't hurt that I have a soft spot for the location of the novel. Having been raised at the Delaware beaches, I loved that this one was set in Bethany Beach. Spot on.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Say What Now?

So part of what made last week so stressful was the sudden, conscious realization that I had one month to pack up a house, find a place, and move. One month. And I'm a pack rat with a pack rat roommate, so yes, we have lots of stuff.

What happened Saturday morning at 8am? The phone rings, and it's our landlord. He's decided not to sell, he tells us, and is sorry he didn't let us know sooner. After I about fell over laughing, I wanted to slap myself for not following up on the whole moving thing sooner. Yes, I take some responsibility for this. *sigh*

The good news, though, is that we're no longer moving. I really do love living here (even though the bathroom door is having closing issues). I love the town and the huge kitchen and the back porch. So we get to stay at least another year, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. *happy dance*

Now I just need to unpack all 13 cartons of books I'd already boxed up, and hope the recycle guys take these dozens of empty boxes I toted home from work last week.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

It's been a bit of a bummer week, so instead of trying to be interesting or funny, I'll leave you with one of my favorite film speeches of all time.