Friday, October 30, 2009

Contest Winner & New Interview

Phew. I finally made it. My laptop is about two steps from being broken in half out of sheer frustration. Nearly twenty minutes just to boot up and get online...lots of stops and starts between pages...popups...yeah, terrific.

But I got here, so I can post the winner of the Countdown: October Contest! And the winner, by random number drawing, is....


His favorite monsters are:

1. The "thing" from John Carpenter's The Thing

2. Amon Göth from Schindler's List

3. Mr. Gray from Stephen King's Dreamcatcher

Congrats, Bill! Send your mailing information to: mail (at) and I'll get your prizes out (thanks to my Blackberry, I can at least read my email without this stinking computer).


And in other news, a new interview and giveaway is up today over at Dark Faerie Tales. Be sure to stop by and comment for a chance to win!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why "Chopped" is Like a Writing Challenge

Yeah, that's what I said. Bear with me for a minute...

So I'm sitting here watching "Chopped" on the Food Network. Food Network, by the way, is my crack right now. It's on all the time while I'm working at home, and I've even picked up a few tips along the way. But I digress...

Anywho, to the uninitiated, "Chopped" is a show in which four chefs are given a basket of secret ingredients and must create dishes using those ingredients in under thirty minutes. Usually, the ingredients make little sense together (recent dessert round: ripened plantains, prosecco, crystalized ginger, and bacon), but the chefs have to make them work together and taste good. It's fun to watch. I love to see what these folks come up with off the tops of their heads.

During a commercial break, I jumped over to Twitter and a friend made a comment about the upcoming NaNoWriMo Challenge. To the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo means National Novel Writing Month. It's a writing challenge held every November, in which participants are challenged to write at least 50,000 words between Nov 1 and Nov 30. That's about 1700 words a day, minimum. That's a lot of words.

Now, not everyone takes NaNo seriously. Many folks do it in order to take a break from more serious endeavors--they allow their writing to go completely wild, without the pressure of making it "good." They use it as a way to get into a writing groove and to improve upon their daily word count output. To do this, challenges are issued to other participants, by participants. The challenges are usually to include random, odd elements in the story.

From this, my brain took another hard-left tangent back to my days writing fanfiction. I participated in a mailing list in which similar writing challenges were issued. We were given a list of random elements, and we were challenged to include them all in a story. The list could have looked something like this: a stuffed gorilla, banana ice cream, a clown riding a skateboard, fireworks, and a length of rubber hose. And people would write stories. Usually very good stories. Some folks went goofy, but many of us chose to use this as an exercise to improve our skills.

We did the very best we could with the ingredients we were given, and we put together the best final product possible.

Kind of like the chefs on "Chopped."

Now I miss those old fanfiction challenges.

(And don't forget to comment in the Countdown: October Contest!!! Still two days!)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Countdown: October Contest!

It's finally here. October. The last Countdown Contest leading up the wide release of THREE DAYS TO DEAD. I can't believe I started these in April. The summer has flown by, and so has autumn. Release day will be here before you know it!


In honor of it being nearly Halloween, this contest has a Monster theme. I'm not doing anything flashy or too hard on my brain (that other, Super Seekrit Promo stuff has my brain a little wonked out already, but it's worth it!). So...wanna see the contest prizes?


It's a mixed bag of items that are in some way related to the monsters in the Dreg City world. There are three books: The Gargoyle (Andrew Davidson), Goblin Moon (Teresa Edgerton), and The Five People You Meet in Hell (a parody, by Rich Pablum). There is also a DVD of Gremlins, a Wee Little Garden Gnome, a vampire ornament, and some swaggish stuff: a signed bookmark and two buttons (one is anti-Dreg, the other anti-Triad).

A winner will be randomly selected from the comments section, and you get everything in the picture above.

So what's the contest part?

In honor of Halloween, I want to know your top Three Monsters. They can be movie monsters or book monsters, real people or imaginary creatures, unkillable or very mortal. Define "monster" in your own way, but tell me who they are!

I'll start off with my top three:

1. Freddy Krueger, from the Nightmare on Elm Street films.
2. General Woundwort, from Watership Down, by Richard Adams.
3. Randall Flagg, from Stephen King's The Stand.

What are yours?

Contest closes midnight on Thursday, October 29th!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Round-Up

I can't believe I've hit the One Month mark. One month from today, and THREE DAYS TO DEAD will finally (FINALLY!) be in the wild! *happy dance*

November promises to be an exciting month. I have a handful of interviews set up, as well as different giveaways. Not to mention the Big Seekrit Promo Thingie I was teasing about the other week. That will also include giveaways, an interview or two, and a nifty banner.

I'll be putting up the final, Countdown: October Contest soon. Since Halloween is right around the corner, it's going to have a Monster theme. So stay turned for that, as well!

I also feel the need to include a small Public Service Announcement: Don't sit in a public parking lot, in the driver's seat of your car, in broad daylight, and drink a conspicuous can of Budweiser while smoking a cigarette. Some concerned citizen may just call the cops on your ass.*

That is all.

*No, I was not the driver. I'm not that dumb. But I did witness the resulting drama.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Never Let Me Go Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another book I picked up because I'd seen it reviewed online. The same someone also mentioned it was being turned into a movie.

I don't think a movie could possibly capture this book. It builds up with layers upon layers of questions, right from the opening lines, until it finally becomes clear just what's happening to these characters. You maybe suspect it, but you just aren't sure. It's devastating in both its brilliance and simplicity.

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Website Changes

I don't think I ever officially announced that my website has changed. Or if I did, my brain did not record the event.

Anyhow, my official site has switched over to a Wordpress format. I made the decision for a variety of reasons, including ease of updating for myself. I can play and add content* to my heart's content without bothering the amazing, patient woman who's helped me with it this last year or so. It's still, but if you still see the old site, you may need to clear your cache (I did).

Even though it's a Wordpress site, I won't approve comments on the pages (most are disabled anyway). And I'm keeping this blog where it is, because I've had it for years and I love it.

*For example, I've created a soundtrack for THREE DAYS TO DEAD, and the page for it is now live. Rhapsody subscribers can find the playlist by searching the book title. If there's a way to create a playlist on iTunes without buying all the tracks first, I haven't figured that out.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Song Specific 2

In my ongoing quest to compile a soundtrack for THREE DAYS TO DEAD, I've been listening to lots of music. Especially from artists with which I'm unfamiliar. So I was quite happy to stumble across Remy Zero and realize they did the cool song used in the "Smallville" credits.

After listening to some of their albums, I found a song that, to me, really encompasses another of the book's supporting characters: Alex Forrester. Alex is the roommate and best friend of the dead woman my heroine, Evy, is resurrected into. He's completely unaware of the Triads, Dregs, or that anything untoward is happening in the city after dark. He's also my favorite character, because he's a Nice Guy. Loyal, generous, and a good friend.

So just as Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins) worked perfectly for hero Wyatt Truman, here's Perfect Memory (Remy Zero):

Friday, October 16, 2009


This has been a topsy-turvy week, I must say. I've been working extra hours at the day job, because one of the managers is on vacation until tomorrow, so all I've wanted to do when I come home is veg. Which I have, for the most part. But I've also been doing book stuff--scheduling some guest blogs, developing that "thing" I was teasing about last week, and doing a final read-through of AS LIE THE DEAD.

Yes, book two is now revised and back with my lovely editor. One of the benefits of not having read it all the way through in many months is fresh eyes. I was able to "see" little inconsistencies I hadn't noticed. I was also able to add little world-building details I hadn't considered during the first drafts. All in all, it's a much stronger book (as it should be).

Remember those short stories I've been working on? Good things have developed. More on that later. *g*

I also had the great fortune to score an ARC of Kelly Gay's THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, which releases November 24 from Pocket. Order it. Now. And I'm not just saying that. Her alt-Atlanta is so unique, and I love her heroine, Charlie. How often does UF give us a protag who's a single mom? There's so much I'd like to say, but won't for fear of spoilers.

Also, I haz swag!


They are 1.25" buttons, designed by a super-cool moderator at AbsoluteWrite. For clarity, Dregs are the city's non-humans, and the Triads are the folks who hunt/kill them. So yeah, they mostly don't like each other.

I'm not sure how I'll use them yet. We shall see...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Disney Undone

Twitter is an amazing repository of random links and tidbits. In the last few days, two different Disney character-related links have popped up. These are not your fairy tale characters, either. At least, not the way Disney interpreted them.

Most recently is Twisted Princesses - zombie-fied princesses, to be exact. I think Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are my favorite. Look at the dwarves!

Last week was These Ain't Ya Mama's Disney Princes - and duuuuuuuude. I admit, seeing Peter Pan on there was a tad disturbing, but it's worth scrolling to the bottom (er, no pun intended) for the Prince Edward from Enchanted.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Something's Coming....


...and I don't necessarily mean my book's impending release. Nor do I necessarily mean the Countdown: October! Contest.

No, something else is coming. And this new something may or may not include the following: free books, another author, receipts, one hundred bucks, Q&A's, a quiz, and/or shameless self-promotion.



Just plain puzzled?

Details to come...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New Interview

It's a drive-by posting. A new interview with me is up at Stop... Drop... And Plot! The blog is run by a fellow AbsoluteWrite member, and she was cool enough to drop me a note ask me a couple of questions about THREE DAYS TO DEAD and writing in general.

Stop by and give it a look-see!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Debut Release: The Shifter


Today is the release day for Janice Hardy's debut Middle Grade novel, THE SHIFTER: THE HEALING WARS, BOOK 1. Janice is a friend from AbsoluteWrite, where she dispenses her wisdom and thoughts on writing and publishing with great frequency and forthrightness.

The blurb:

Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers' League apprentices, Nya's skill is flawed: She can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she'd be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya's life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she's faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?

Congrats, Janice!!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tag der glücklichen Freigabe!

(aka, Happy Day of Release!)

Today In drei Tagen bist du wieder tot releases into the wild in Germany.


We sold the translation rights to THREE DAYS TO DEAD and AS LIE THE DEAD back in late January to Droemer. They bought it for part of their new PAN imprint, which focuses exclusively on urban fantasy and paranormal. I also find myself in the awesome company of Maggie Stiefvater and Kathryn Smith.

So yes, I am in the strange position of having my very first novel release in a foreign country before it releases here. It's actually pretty cool.

I hope you like it, Germany! *kisses*

Friday, October 02, 2009

September Winner!

You guys rock! There were so many awesome and hilarious captions for that photo that I want to make them all into t-shirts. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Countdown: September Contest! has spoken, and the winner is:


"Do me a favor, Clark. Lose your sense of humor!" -Batman

Shoot me your info [mail (at) ] and I'll get your books and secret prize out to you!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy October!

Happy October! Another month down, only three more to go in 2009. Can't quite believe it.

There's still time to enter in the Countdown: September! Contest, so be sure to check it out. Contest closes at midnight, Pacific time, which leaves about sixteen and a half hours to play. I love all of the entries so far. You guys rock!

Today also kicks off Halloween Havoc, over at the League of Reluctant Adults.


It's a month-long celebration that will include interviews, guest blogs, and any other random miscellany we can come up with to entertain you. So be sure to hang out over there!

September ended on a high-note for me. Not only did I connect a couple of dots in my series's over-all story arc, but I also got my editorial letter for AS LIE THE DEAD! Double-score! Dear Editor loved it, said it was tight and well-executed. I've heard so many stories from other authors who've struggled with "second book syndrome" that I feel extremely lucky. ALTD was almost easier to write than TDTD--I think because I'd already built the world and laid out the groundwork. All I had to do in the sequel was expand upon what was there, instead of starting it all from scratch.

The trick, of course, was matching or surpassing the emotional impact of the first book, and sounds like I hit the mark. Phew! And Dear Editor's suggestions will make the book shine. The value of a terrific editor is impossible to put into words, but she is amazing and I can't wait to dig into this.

Plus, five pages of edits versus nine for TDTD? *pumps fist*