Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hi Guys! Happy Holidays

Okay, I'm BACK!

Christmas was an adventure.  I got to visit with my family --went to Illinois to see my Mom, so did my sister and her husband (my brother lives there with his whole clan), and my son flew out too.  Wonderful!  But heading back my flights were canceled, and I had to wait at the airport for hours to find that out.  Then a day and a half later I got to fly back.

Typical conversation:

"Will your boss be upset?"
"No clue.  But hey, not much I can do about it.  Even if he fires me . . . I can't exactly walk down to Texas."
"Fair enough."

Fortunately, the boss wasn't upset.  He understands that there are things in life you have no control over.  The weather and the airlines are among them.

ANYWAY, because of the delay, I am behind on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.  But I'm glad to be home. The critters are glad to have me home.  And all will eventually be well -- probably in time to start the new year.

Hope you all had a great holiday.



Sunday, December 02, 2012

Household Stuff Today

I have a million things to do.  I don't feel much like doing any of them.  But I will do them anyway.  And while I do I may blast the Trans Siberian Orchestra's Christmas albums.  Then maybe transition into Doo Wop or Heavy metal (BIG fan of 80s hair metal).

And by the time it's done the house will be clean, stuff will be done, and maybe I'll be in a better mood.

I'm sorry I've been such a bummer lately.  I'm working on fixing what's wrong.  A lot of it is external--things I have no control over.  But I can control how I react to it.  And that is something I need to work on.



Thursday, November 29, 2012


In an effort of good cheer and in nowhere near particular order:

1)  The auction went well.

2)  I'm getting over the crud.

3)  I have a book coming out in January.

4)  I have a brand new series I'm working on.

5)  I have both a day job and a writing career that support me and my critters.

6)  I have a terrific son I love who loves me.

7)  I have a terrific rest of my family whom I love and who also love me.

8)  I have friends.  Good ones.  Lots of 'em.

9)  My truck is paid for and still runs well.

10)  I own my house (in conjunction with the bank, but I'm working on that.)

Thanks God.  Really.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Need it.  Now.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting Better

Okay, I've been pushing myself pretty hard.  There are reasons.  But then, there always are.  Unfortunately, the Wednesday before the holiday I caught a bug.  So, I've spent most of the holiday weekend sleeping and taking decongestants.  The good news -- the decongestants work.  The bad news, they make me depressed.  I know it.  I am trying to ignore it.  It will pass.  And I need to take the decongestants because I DO NOT NEED another case of bronchitis or pneumonia.  I already have scarring on my lungs from previous cases.

I will be fine.  It will be fine.  Eventually I will get everything done that I need to.  But I really didn't want to spend the holiday weekend feeling like crap.  Seriously, what a nuisance!

Hope you all had a happy and HEALTHY Thanksgiving.

Best always.


Friday, November 16, 2012


I mean well.  I do.

I try very hard.

SOMETIMES it works.

Sometimes, less so.

I have now been up since 2:30 making sure that there are blurbs and photos for all of the charity auction items that we want to post.  This after having had TDFH (The day from HECK) yesterday that ended with me not being able to get the FLIPPING SITE working because of various EBAY related headaches.

But today is another day.  All blurbs are written.  Photos are available for all items that have actually been received (still missing stuff from one author, but it will get here eventually).  Promo has been lined up.

It will be fine.


Anyway, I'll post the link when it's available.  I'll send the link.  I'll try my best to make this a success.  But then I AM SO FREAKING DONE.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012



This evening the charity auction will go up.  I'm excited, happy, and hope that it makes lots of money for the charities.  Lots of busy, busy people have helped me out on this!  But I have to say, authors are good and generally generous types (oh, there are a few exceptions, but only a few).

It is time for me to knuckle down and work on the Fey book.  I'm excited and NERVOUS.  Starting a new series is always a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally.  Hard work, laced with "Will they like it?" nerves.

Anyway, off I go to DO that voodoo that I do.


Monday, November 12, 2012


Okay, I have a whopping two minutes until I have to get down to the day job.

First, I went onto Ebay.  It appears that it is going to be EASY to do the charity auction.  WHOOO  HOOOO!!!! WOOT WOOT WOOT!!

That is a huge relief.

I completely revamped the personal website.  I LOVE it with a couple of quibbles.  I will work on those tonight.


Have a great day!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Charity/Trying to Help/Oh CRAP WHAT HAVE I DONE!

Okay, I am quite moved by the Sandy disaster.

So I tried to do something nice.  I contacted a few of my author friends and suggested that we each contact our fan base and have a contest where they donate to charity and we provide one winner with a prize.

WELL IT MORPHED.  It GREW.  And it become something bigger and HOPEFULLY much better.

There is going to be an e-bay auction with proceeds going to charity (The Red Cross and an animal rescue charity that has been active in the disaster).

MAJOR AUTHORS have contributed and are being hugely nice.  EVERYBODY is being hugely nice.  But I'm trying to organize this thing that I've never done before and have a big bad case of the OH SHIT WHAT'VE I DONE?S.

I will get this done.  I will get through this.  A friend's assistant has offered to help.  It will be fine.  BUT OH SHIT WHAT'VE I DONE?!

I have autographed books from some NYT bestsellers I'm going to donate (so that they can participate if they're on the road and can't be reached in time).  Other NYT bestsellers are putting together baskets and signing books.  There will be items signed by (in no particular order):

Cat Adams and C.T. Adams (DUH)
Shannon Butcher
Jim Butcher
Jade Lee
Kathy Lyons
Linnea Sinclair
Brenda Novak
Rachel Caine
Carole Nelson Douglas
Deeanne Gist

And probably more.  Some people haven't had a chance to get back to me.

In other words.  It's gotten huge.  Which is exciting, and terrifying if I screw it up.

So I won't.  I just WONT.

So there.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom's birthday.  I will call her later and wish her a happy one.  I love her very much.

A part of me is considering wearing something funky to work, but it's a pretty conservative place, so I probably won't.  Sigh.

Depression is a very insidious thing.  It sneaks up on you, putting you to sleep, keeping you immobile, until you've lost touch with everything and don't even much care.  Life keeps moving on irregardless. 

I am trying hard to get back on track.  But I run out of energy and give-a-damn pretty quickly.

Still, I have to keep moving. 

So I will.

I have much to be grateful for. 

And I want to thank God that the devastation from hurricane Sandy wasn't worse.  Oh, it's terrible.  Don't get me wrong.  The pictures are humbling and hard to wrap your head around.  But it could have been so much worse.  Think back to the times when we didn't have the kind of technology to warn us that this sort of disaster was on the way, and that it really was that bad, so that people had warning to evacuate out of the storm's path.  How many more lives would have been lost?

I am so sorry for those families who lost members.  I am sorry for the people who died--for the animals who died.  (I do wonder about the zoos.  How did the animals there fare?)  Life will change for everyone in the areas devastated by the storm.  That is a hard fact we learned from Katrina and other major hurricanes. 

But people are strong.  They will rebuild.  And other people, whose lives weren't shattered, will help.  It's what we do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I pray.  A lot.

Tonight I'm praying for a number of things.  But among them are the people and animals in the path of what is probably going to be a horrific hurricane.  For my country, which is in the process of an election where I truly would rather vote "None of the above" for opposite reasons, and for which I am seriously worried on many many fronts.

I am praying for guidance, because I feel quite lost.

And I am saying thank you, because despite all of the above, I do appreciate that my life is far, far better than so much of the rest of the world.

Gratitude is important.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Venality vs. Banality


Had a REALLY rough week at the day job last week.  Spent the weekend recovering.  I bake when I am stressed.  On Sunday I made:  Chocolate cupcakes; carrot cake cupcakes; a casserole, and fresh bread (by hand, the breadmaker died and the replacement was crushed in delivery).  All are in the freezer to be doled out so that I don't go completely carb crazy over the next little bit.

I am thus feeling much better. 

Of course I am also fretting a bit.  I re-read the big knock-down fight scene in the book I turned in and it needs some revision.  UGH.  Contacted the editor, but she said wait until it's going through edits.  So I shall.  But I will fidget in the meantime hoping she likes the book as a whole.

In the meantime I started reading several fantasy works written in 3rd person.  My individual series coming up is a fantasy series, and the editor is hoping for third person.  (Not my favorite.  I can do it, but writing in 1st is MUCH more natural for me.)  I picked up the first 4 in a WILDLY popular series that is praised hugely by the critics, and pulled out my faithful classics from the storage boxes they were languishing in.

And I discovered something.

The new series is beautifully written, undeniably brilliant, compelling . . . and I really don't like it.  I can read it for a bit, then I have to put it down and look at something else.  But then it nags at me and I go back--but I can't keep reading because . . .


I mean, seriously!  I picked these books up because I wanted to read and study them to see what the guy did right.  So why can't I read them? But why can't I put them down?

My conclusion.  I can't put them down because they are beautifully written, brilliant, and the characters are compelling.

I can't keep reading it because they are also just incredibly venal, base, and really pretty disgusting.  Aside from the main characters nearly everyone in the book is just a hideous human being--power grubbing, manipulative, vicious.  Pick a vice, any vice, and it is brilliantly and meticulously portrayed. 


Okay, I know that incest, rape, murder, infidelity, and the like are common.  Laws and religion wouldn't be necessary if people didn't do heinous things.  BUT EVERY FREAKING CHARACTER except the heroes?  Really? 

Yes, there are those who help the heroes--but they are always serving their own agenda.

How depressing.

And the violence is staggering.  Yes, it is a barbarianesque set of cultures in a midieval-style world.  It's a dark setting.  I don't generally mind dark.  Hell, I've been accused of being pretty damned dark in my own writing. (Don't believe me?  Re-read Touch of Madness.)

I dislike the books pretty intensely.  And yet I am desperate to find out what FINALLY happens to the main leads.  (Other than the two that are already quite messily dead, and the one that has gone bug nuts mad.)

Brilliant.  The equivalent of book crack.  You know it's bad for you, but you can't stop.  When I read this stuff I am depressed.  But I can't seem to not read it. 

I doubt myself, wondering if I will ever create anything that compelling, if my talent can stretch that far.  I love writing, and I want to be brilliant.  But I wanted to be a brilliant visual artist as well.  And I just flat didn't have the chops.  I have the eye.  I can SEE what needs to be there (in my head), I can see what works and doesn't (although I can't always explain why).  But I couldn't execute what I saw.  I simply wasn't good enough.  And while you can learn techniques and craftsmanship, hard work will only take you so far.  It is the difference between an average college hoops player and Michael Jordan at his prime.

Writing is the same.  You can practice your craft.  But ultimately there is an element that is pure talent.  That indefinable "magic." The author of the new series (and the authors of the older ones too) absolutely have it.

I hope I do.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The taxes went out with checks BEFORE THE EXTENSION DEADLINE.  I am checking the post office tracking today, but they should have ARRIVED!

THEN, on top of that, THE BATHROOM SINK IS FIXED.  Yes, to anyone else this is not a big deal.  Nor was it a big deal two years ago or so when I had to work on it.  But last weekend it was the (DAH DAH DUM) Sink FROM HELL that would NOT be fixed.  I don't know why.  It just WOULD NOT work.

But today it went together on the first try-slick and easy.  Go figure.  But this is WONDERFUL because now (a) I don't have to worry about it; (b) I can use the bucket for other things; and (c) I have time to actually relax this weekend and can go see ARGOS.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Just a Quick Moment

Spent the entire lunch hour running.  I'm feeling frazzled because of it.  BUT, the package to the IRS went.  (YAHOOO,  THEY ARE PAID!!!  IT IS *****DONE****!)  I AM going to get next year's filed by 4/15.  I do not want to deal with this crap ever again!

In other good news -- Got the French version of Blood Song  It is SO AWESOME to see the book in a foreign language.  WOOT!

Okay, gotta go.


Sunday, October 07, 2012

Status of THINGS

Okay, let's see.

1.  The book went in.  For good or for ill.  We'll find out which when the editor gets back to me.

2.  The check arrived.  (Sings the Hallelujah Chorus briefly.  Stops when dog starts howling.)

3.  The check will be going right back out to the IRS (who seem to feel that I earn more money than I think I do, but who "Have what it takes to take what I've got.").  I console myself with the knowledge that I LIKE roads, and PBS, and bridges, and airport security, etc.  I think the military need to get paid.  (They should probably get paid more, really, but I figure most people like me, think that the IRS thinks they make more money than they think they do.)  So paying taxes goes to many things I think need to happen and (sadly) some that I really don't.  But taken as a whole they are a necessary evil and I will send the $.

4.  I have started on the next book.  It will be written in 3rd person rather than first at the editor's request.  It is a fantasy/urban fantasy, and is hopefully going to be quite a lot of fun.  I had a whole slew of it previously written (for the proposal) in first person, so a lot of time will be spent on the old pages changing I and my to Brianna, she, and her, etc.  But that should be much quicker than actually doing a first pass on those pages.

I am happy.  I am excited.  And I will be even happier and more excited when I'm not quite so pooped.

I am also reading fantasy books in 3rd person to get my head back into writing in that form as opposed to the more-traditional-for-urban-fantasy 1st person (which I actually prefer).

5.  I have to do a newsletter.  I believe we haven't done one since something like JULY.  (Um, oops.)  I have also fallen off of the map on my website, social media, etc. because I quite frankly had a book that needed to be written that was fighting me tooth and nail.

6.  Since so few people actually commented on the previous post, all of those (5) who did will EVENTUALLY get a set of the audiobooks mailed out.  SO, if you're here again, please e-mail your snail mail address again with REALLY, AGAIN in the Re to  If not it will take longer because I have like a million and one e-mails that came in when I was avoiding the computer and I now have to weed through them all.  (UGH!)

Okay, off I go to do those things that need to be done.  Be well, be happy.  Keep reading.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The book will go in Monday.

The Celia book-after-next (the next is THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY) is in the can.  Cathy is going over it.  She may make changes.   But come Monday it is off to the editor.


It is tenatively titled DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, which I think is perfect.  Unfortunately back in 2003 Sherrilyn Kenyon had a book with the same title and there are several others as well.  Of course most are a few years old, so maybe they'll let me use it anyway.  We'll see.

I am behind on absolutely EVERYTHING but there are a couple of personal items that have reached CRISIS status while I was wrapped up in meeting the deadline.  Today and tomorrow they HAVE TO BE SOLVED or there will be nasty consequences, so I am keeping this brief. 

But I am happy.  It's done.  I think it's quite good.  (A little short, but that's fixable.)

Anyway, I am off to deal with the crisis.  After which I will rest a few days and then try to catch up on things like newsletters, prize mail-outs, and the next thing. 

No rest for the weary (I don't think I qualify for wicked right now.  I'm too busy to be bad.).

Be well, be happy.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Contest, Contemplation, and stuff.

First, I want to see if anyone is paying attention. 

SO, a contest.  If you read this, comment (and send a return e-mail address sent to with COMMENT in the re).  Assuming I get more than one entry, I will randomly select somebody to get the first 4 Bloodsinger books on audio, e-mail you that you've won, and get a snail mail address to send them to.  Good Luck.

Second, something happened today that made me laugh.

When I was in 5th grade my mother was getting rid of a hat.  I took it.  It was a big, floppy tan felt hat with a brown vinyl/pleather band around the crown. (Yeah, I know, I should look up the right word, but I don't wanna, so there).  I sewed fake pearls every two inches along the band, and it became my "Hippie Hat."  I wore it everywhere.  They even took my picture for the newspaper in it.  (I believe my mother was mortified.  My friend was JEALOUS.)  At some point I wore it out, it fell apart, or became victim of a familial cleaning frenzy.  Either way, it disappeared before I made it to junior high.

TODAY HOWEVER I was looking at the Avon catalog.  Holy CRAPOLA BATMAN.  Page 104.  IT'S MY HAT.  Okay, it's got a ribbon around the band instead of pleather, but IT'S MY FREAKING HAT. 

Needless to say, I bought it.  I suspect my mother will be mortified.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Took today off because I was exhausted and puny.  Not sick . . . yet.  But deep cough with wheeze and just complete and total exhaustion. 

I got up to feed the animals at 6:00 (they're used to 4:30, so by 6:00 they were in the YOU WILL NOT IGNORE ME mode), took my meds and back to bed.

Had a short conversation with my sis at 9:00 or 10:00, did a couple of quick things and, back to bed. 

Finally GOT UP at Noon.

Yup NOON. 

And for the first time in longer than I can remember I actually wasn't completely weary.  Since then I have done a bit of housework, but mostly I ran up to the nearest city and went to the Walgreens, the bookstore, and bought myself seafood at Long John Silver's.  I fed the critters on the evening shift and am now messing around. 

It is glorious.

I don't take many days off.  I have the full time day job, the full-time writing, a house to tend to, and animals.  But every once in a while I need to remember to rest.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Up Early. Working Hard.

Up early.  Working hard.  It's worth it, but I do get tired.

The dog, however, is tired of waiting.  She wants her walk.  NOW.  Never mind that it's still dark and I'm busy.  NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I am not that person anymore.

Life changes and we change with it. 

Seems obvious. 

What's less obvious is that, because we're along for the ride, we generally don't notice how much we've changed or how. 

I have been looking back, and forward, and at where I am now, trying to figure out a path to where I want to be and who I want to be.  In doing so, I've actually looked at how much I've changed since I was a teenager.


Oh, there are a lot of things that are still 'me'.  But huge swaths of my personality from then just don't apply any more.  The situations don't arise.  (Possibly because I've become old enough not to put myself in them.)

It's very strange.  Not bad.  But strange.

If I live long enough, will who I am now be as inapplicable to the future me?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Early Morning

Another early morning writing away.  The book is actually progressing nicely, although I will say yet again that I HATE transition scenes.  I have to segue from where I'm at to the two big final scenes, giving relief for a brief second before ratcheting the tension up to the breaking point.

I've done it before.  I can do it again.  But damn it, it's HARD. 

Of course if it wasn't, they wouldn't pay me to do this for a living they would hire a trained monkey.

Gotta go.  Pages to write and agonize over.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

A quickie.

I am about to go feed the cats, rest for an hour, then attack the manuscript.  Before I do I wanted to take a minute to say hi and thank the folks who actually still check in on the blog once in a while.

A few thoughts.

First, I do not like politics.  Talking about them makes me queasy.
That said, I will risk nausea to state that I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do.

I do not like a number of Obama's extreme liberal policies;

I equally dislike the Republican extreme conservative policies -- particularly those relating to women, gays, and the lingering sense I have that they believe that in this land of opportunity (and yes, it still is) we all get equal opportunities (we most assuredly DON'T).  And that if you're poor, it's your own damned fault.

I really feel like "a plague on both of your houses."  But that won't select a President, or congressmen, or teach both sides of the aisle to "PLAY NICE DAMMIT."

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Thank you Jim Butcher.

Okay, I am a professional writer.  I have close to 20 books under my belt and innumerable short stories.

But a few days back I "hit the wall."

"Hit the wall" is the phrase I use when the story that seemed to be going so well suddenly and abruptly stops. 

"Oh crap."  I say at first.  "I'm on deadline.  This isn't good."
If it lasts a little longer, I say.  "Oh SHIT.  I'm on DEADLINE.  This is NOT GOOD."
If it lasts a little longer than that I panic, even though it has happened before and I know I will fix it.  Because it could take time and I DON'T HAVE ANY.

So I went to Jim Butcher's website and to his blog (LiveJournal).  And I re-read his writing advice for newbies.  Even though I am not a newbie, I sure needed advice.  And going through his posts I remembered some things I had forgotten, and learned some things I hadn't, and wound up with this wonderful flash of inspiration.


Holy crapola Batman.  I can DO this.  And I am doing this.  Feverishly.  There is still hope of making the deadline.  (Sleep deprivation may become an issue, but that's another problem for another night). 


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

New Purse

Got a new Laurel Burch (sp?) purse.  I'd done a favor for a friend, and this is the repayment.  Tres cool.  Bright colors and pussycats.  :)

Took today off to write.  It is progressing.  Slower than I would like, but still I am taking all the progress I can get. 

Back to it.


Monday, September 03, 2012

Writing Status

At twelve pages thus far today.  Less than I wanted, but more than I had expected.  I still have several hours left too.  But I need to take a break in a few minutes to clear my head, feed the critters, and get myself excited again.  Inspiration makes writing much faster and easier.  Failing that, there's craft, practice and hard work. 

I've done both.  But I actually have some inspiration today, and I don't want to lose it.

So, off I go.

Be well.  Be happy.


Status and Stuff

Small decisions consistently made = huge changes.

I did not gain this weight from one snack or meal.   I gained it as the result of small choices.  Eating the chocolate.  Not doing the exercises.  Yes the thyroid condition and the pituitary tumor mean I'm going to have a tendency to be heavy.  But only a tendency.  I knew about those conditions and made the decisions anyway.  And voila. 

And that's just one (the most physically obvious) example.

The bad news.  I've made quite a few bad choices.

The good news.  Changing small things is really kind of easy if you take them one at a time.

SO time to take hold of the little decisions and make the big changes.



Saturday, September 01, 2012

Goal Setting and Tony Robbins

A lot of people make fun of the Tony Robbins thing.  I'll admit he seems a bit over the top sometimes.  And whoo boy howdy, the thing where folks got burned on the coals recently.  Um, OOPS?  OW!  Oh OW!

But the fact is that whenever I am stuck, and depressed, and feel as if I'm getting nowhere, I pull out my Tony Robbins Personal Power II tapes or CDs and start the program.  It gets me motivated and moving again.  Maybe it doesn't work for everyone.  Maybe it's a little silly.  But it works for me, and since I'm the only one I'm trying to impress or get action out of, I've no reason NOT to.

SO, I've been stuck, and a little depressed.  So out with the CDs.  I am now getting ready to do some serious goal setting, then back to the writing.

Wish me well. 


Friday, August 31, 2012

Holiday Weekend Fast Approaching

Welcome to another holiday.  Summer is officially closing.  Can't say I'll miss the triple digit heat (assuming it is on its gone).

Writing needs to be the priority this weekend, but there's loads of other stuff to get done too.

Finalized negotiations on the contract for the new series.  SO HAPPY!  BIG BIG BIG thanks to Lucienne Diver my great and wonderful agent and to Melissa Singer my editor at Tor and all of the other folks who make all of it possible.


That said, I HATE deadlines.  They stress me out more than they should.


Gotta run.  Life awaits.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Life is what it is

I am sitting here pondering life, the universe and everything.

Life can be wonderful.
It can also be a pain in the patootie.
Sometimes it's both.

I got to sleep in my own bed last night after a week of sleeping in the living room on whatever surface seemed most comfortable.  You see, the big pecan tree in the back yard died in last year's drought and suddenly began shedding branches that were approximately 9-12 inches in diameter (some bigger) in the yard and then tilting in the direction of the yard and house at an angle whose trajectory included my bedroom.

If that tree had fallen it would've squished me flat.

Needless to say, sleeping in the bed wasn't an option.  Getting the tree down was a priority.  But these things take time, money, and are always more trouble than you think they're going to be.  But it is gone.  Chopped down, hauled away, and there is this huge blank spot in the middle of the back yard.  BUT I CAN SLEEP IN MY BED and did.  For hours LOTS of glorious hours.

And I broke my glasses.  They got soldered together by the jeweler this morning, but I've been wearing the spares for about two weeks and not seeing as well.  Very annoying.

The driver's side door handle on my truck broke completely.  I now have to leave the window down and open it with the handle inside, or crawl across the seat to open it around the gear shift knob.  The truck is a 1995.  It is not that easy to get parts.  Of course it has now started raining after months of completely dry weather.  I am glad for the rain, but the truck handle seems to have had impeccable timing.

I think that my house may have gotten hit by lightning in last night's storm.  I am not certain, but various items that were plugged in are acting quite odd.  My cell phone that was on the charger is beeping and flashing at odd intervals for no apparent reason.  The breadmaker (yes, the breadmaker I was so ecstatic to have actually GOTTEN that worked and has provided much loved home made bread) is dead.  I am terrified of going into the office for fear that the new computer (that has my manuscript and all of my notes, and yes I KNOW I should have backed up more often, but I got busy and didn't OKAY.  MY Bad.  Got it) may be affected.

I am writing this at the office, because I was switching out the art work on my desk before heading out to buy a lottery ticket.

Now I am signing off to go buy the ticket, go home, and find out if I have a working computer and available book.  Wish me well.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oddly Enough

Oddly enough, it seems as if generally when I'm totally weary and just about ready to give up, but decide to give it one last big push that I break through.  It's as if I need to PROVE my commitment over and over.  I WILL do this.  Fortunately, every time that this happens it reaffirms to me that there's a REASON I'm so blasted stubborn.

Life is hard.

It's good, it's beautiful, it's wonderful, and it goes by surprisingly fast.

But it is hard.

You're struggling to deal with the sleep schedule (NOT) of a newborn.
You're struggling to deal with medical bills, ear infections (Tubes?  Yes/No?) and teething.
You're struggling to deal with school supplies, bullying and Cub or Brownie projects.
You're struggling to deal with saving for college (oh SHIT I should've done this sooner), panic over driving (oh SHIT I have to give him/her the keys?) and insurance rates, and grades.
You're struggling to deal with the first heartbreak, not getting invited to the party/prom/whatever.
You're struggling to deal with them finding a job.
You're struggling to deal with college or first apartment and being gone.

And then you look up and HOLY SHIT 18-20 years have passed.  I was 23 last time I looked.  Now I'm 43?!!!  Where in the hell did all this weight come from?  I've got GRAY HAIRS?  HUNH?  But I just BLINKED.

I am incredibly proud of my adult son.  But I miss him.  I keep working at the day job, at the writing, taking care of the house and the animals, all the stuff of life, but I look up occasionally from having my nose pressed to that grindstone (gotta get it all DONE, gotta) and realize that even more years have rolled by.

My body is a workhorse.  I am very proud of what it's survived.  But it sure as hell doesn't look like a supermodel.  It creaks (I was going to say in the morning, but I'd be lying to us both) like the floorboards of an old house.  But it IS an old house.  It is the building that has housed my soul all these many years.  It gave me my son.  Gave me pleasure.  Endured pain.  But it is sagging and needs a bit of rehab, perhaps a coat of fresh paint. 

I am okay with that.  I've earned every scar.

But I think that I am going to try from now on to look up from the grindstone a bit more often, to see the sunrise (Yeah, I get up that early) and the moonrise, listen to the birds (that the cats haven't gotten to).  Take a walk.  Go to a movie. 

Yeah, the work needs to be done.  But it'll always be there.  It is a fact.  There is always more work.  It expands exponentially to fill every void.  If you don't take control of your time someone else will, and you won't be happy with the result.

So today I stopped to blog.  It was going to be about persistence and its value.  That's there.  It's valuable.  But somewhere along the way we hit a detour into general musings.  And that's okay too.  The happy man is the one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Enjoy the scenery.


Thursday, July 05, 2012


Hope you had a happy 4th of July holiday.  Mine was wonderful--productive and restful at the same time.  Spent a lot of the day working on editing my separate website.  It was SO out of date, and I'm still not completely happy with the look of it.  But it is getting there.

Health is finally back to normal!  YAY!  About freaking time.

Pat Elrod's Kickstarter funded.  I'm so glad!  It makes me VERY happy. 

No, there wasn't a visiting dignitary yesterday, what with the holiday and all.  But I'm trying to get back on track.  We'll see how that goes next week.

Now, if I'm going to continue catching up on things I have to go.

Have a great day!


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Evening Post

Working full time;
Writing full time;
Having NO time.

Truly, I am so far behind right now that the pack is about to lap me.  Still, I AM going to finish the race, and since it is a marathon, I can actually still win it. 

But I am tired.

There is SO much to do.  Seriously, I'm too busy to even take the time to farm out stuff to others to help me be LESS busy.  It's insane. 

And while I shouldn't (REALLY) I'm going to take the afternoon and do something fun with a friend so that I don't LOSE MY FREAKING MIND.

Somehow it will work out for the best.  It always does.

But I do occasionally wonder how.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting Dignitary David Coe AKA DB Jackson

I am FINALLY back to having dignitaries visit.  And so I want to present to you our newest, multi-name dignitary who is here to discuss pseudonymity.

What's in a name?  Well, let's let DB/David tell you --

I was at a convention this past weekend, signing books, postcards, con programs, etc. -- in the past I have been asked to sign e-readers and yes, even body parts. At one point during this most recent con, someone put something in front of me and I raised my pen to sign, only to stop again and stare blankly at the person in front of me. For that one moment, for the very life of me, I couldn’t remember which name I was supposed to sign.

     I have been writing epic, alternate-world fantasy for over fifteen years. I’ve published a dozen books under my own name, and enjoyed some success both commercially and critically. So why would I now be writing under a different name? What sense is there in essentially “starting over” as this creature known as D.B. Jackson? To be honest, there really is more sense in it than you might think.

     Cie, who has been kind enough to invite me to her site today, knows all about this writing-under-multiple-names stuff -- far more than I do, actually. I’m pretty new to the whole pseudonym phenomenon. But I have to admit that I’m enjoying it so far.

     The basic point of the new name is this: THIEFTAKER, my first book as D.B. Jackson (due out from Tor Books on July 3), marks a significant departure from my previous work. How? Well, it is a historical urban fantasy. It is a stand-alone novel, the first in a series of stand-alones. And it is different in tone, style, and voice from my other work. Let’s take those one at a time.

     Historical urban fantasy. What does that even mean? The historical part is easy. The Thieftaker books and stories are all set in Colonial Boston, specifically in the 1760s, when the first rumblings of rebellion were sweeping through the British colonies. THIEFTAKER begins on August 26, 1765, the night of the Stamp Act riots. I have a Ph.D. in U.S. history, and I have done all I could to make the setting as accurate as possible. But I have also inserted a murder into the time line, and I have made my lead character not only a thieftaker -- a sort of 18th century private detective -- but also a conjurer who can cast spells in pursuit of those who have committed crimes. That’s where the urban fantasy element comes in. The murder mystery, the urban setting, the thieftaker angle, and most of all the use of magic make this a pre-Revolutionary urban fantasy, which is kind of uncommon.

     Unlike my other novels, most of which were parts of extended story-arcs, each of the Thieftaker books stands alone as a mystery with a beginning, middle, and end. Each of the stories is also linked in some way to a historical event. (The second Thieftaker book, THIEVES’ QUARRY, which comes in the summer of 2013, revolves around the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768.) So readers will be able to pick up any book in the series and start reading; there is no need to read them in any particular order. And finally, because these books are mysteries, they have a different tone than one might expect from an epic fantasy. The prose is leaner, the voice of the main character in more hard-boiled; they almost have a “noir” feel, even as the characters speak in the vernacular of the 1760s.

     For all of these reasons, it seemed like a good idea to write the books under a new name. As David B. Coe [Link:] I wrote those sprawling fantasies I mentioned before. D.B. Jackson’s work is different, and so needs to be packaged differently. Publishers call it “author branding” and it’s actually not nearly as painful as it sounds . . .

     More to the point, for me at least, the pseudonym has become more than a marketing tool. It has become a license to experiment, to try new things, to break out of the creative patterns I had established over the course of my career. Recently I have been writing a lot of short fiction in the Thieftaker “universe” -- a couple of my stories can be found on the samples page of the D.B. Jackson website [Link:] -- and I have found myself trying things as D.B. Jackson that I wouldn’t have done under my own name. It’s not that my new work is so “out there” as to be unrecognizable, or unreadable. But I feel a certain sense of liberation simply because I can use plot lines or draw characters that are different, innovative, that don’t necessarily dovetail with expectations that might have grown out of work I’ve done before. I’m enjoying that freedom, and in large part because of it, I believe I’m producing some of the best writing I’ve ever done.

     I’ve also found that as I start to promote my new book in earnest, I am less inhibited as D.B. Jackson than I have been in the past as David B. Coe. I am willing to shout about his book from the rooftops, even if people think I’m crazy. Maybe that’s because it feels like I’m talking about “someone else’s” book. Or maybe it’s because I’m so excited about THIEFTAKER.

     Whatever the reason, I feel that my new career as D.B. Jackson is getting off to an exciting start. Pretty soon the book will be out and I’ll be off on a signing tour to promote it. I hope to see many of you along the way, and I promise to do my best to sign the correct name in your book!


D.B. Jackson [Link:] is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of a dozen fantasy novels. His first book as D.B. Jackson, THIEFTAKER, volume I of the Thieftaker Chronicles, has been called “a noteworthy series opener,” by Publishers Weekly and a “diverting, fast-paced ‘what-if’ novel,” by Booklist. It will be released by Tor Books on July 3. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back At It

Trying to wrap my head around work again.  Edits have gone to editor.  Working on the next book in the series.  Proposal with chapters has gone out and it is being reviewed by the editor for a possible offer.  Chatting with agent about a mystery that is of a completely different and non-paranormal nature and what I should/want to be doing with it.  Short story is half-finished for the antho.  It's due at the end of the month.  I've been reminded by people of (a) things that need to be mailed out; and (b) blogs that need to be posted in the Visiting Dignitary area.

I am mostly back to normal.  Yesterday, of course, was hard.  And odd things will hit me at unsuspecting moments.  But life does go on, whether I'm ready or not.  SO, I'd best be ready.  Still, I do hope people will be understanding if I'm not at 100% for a while.  Because honestly, I won't be.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


Funny how the sadness hits you in waves.  You're doing okay--maybe not great, but okay.  Then you see something and think - "Oh, I should pick that up for Father's Day, he'd like it." and it all crashes.  Or you just sit, kinda numb, but sad, even though you know there's a ton of crap that absolutely needs to be done.  Because you just aren't motivated enough to do it. 

It's getting better.  It will get better.  But I miss my Dad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Morning

Hello again,

I am FINALLY almost over the bronchitis.  Down to the last little bit of the antibiotics as well.  I still have a bit of a cough, but not anything too serious.

Cathy, however, has come down with a different form of crud today.  So she is home ill.  I hope it's just a 24 hour bug of some sort and that she's fine tomorrow.

This weekend I actually hope to start catching up on the backlog of crap that has come from life interfering with my . . . well, life.  The crises ate all of my time, energy and attention, so that now I'm looking at this MONSTER composed of the STUFF I normally take care of on a daily or weekly basis.  So I will be off to slay the dragon over the weekend.  Until then, I have the day job to deal with.  And I am off to that in just a second.

Many thanks to all who offered their condolences.  I appreciate it.  Hope you are enjoying the books.  I spent the week that I was sick re-reading the Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris novels.  Jim's Dresden series from Proven Guilty through Ghost Story (including short stories), and the last three of the Sookies as well.  I didn't try to read anything new because, honestly, I kept falling asleep from being sick and I wouldn't have wanted to miss something in a new book.  Besides, those two authors are "comfort reads" for me.  When I feel like crap they both manage to completely take my attention away from real life and get me lost in the story.  That's what I want a good book to do. I hope to one day feel that I do that as well as those two.

Now I am off to work.  Be happy.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back from the Doc

I have bronchitis.  Sigh.  AGAIN.  I am SOOOOOO glad I live in a world with antibiotics, decongestants, and tissues with aloe.


Okay, I thought it was allergies, then a cold.  NOPE.  I have some sort of crud that is driving me to the doctor.  In less than 48 hours it's gone into my chest and I was running a 101.5 fever.  Fever is down at the moment, but I really didn't need this crapola.  Alas, there you go.
So I'm back to bed.  Everything -- the day job, the book, life, is just going to have to wait until I recover.


Back from the doctor.  Bronchitis.  Again.  Sigh.  I am very glad I live in a world with antibiotics and decongestants.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


As you probably guessed from the previous post about my Dad.  Things have been hard of late.  There's no getting past that.  Loss happens to every single one of us at one time or another.  You get through it.  You keep moving forward because, frankly, there is no going back. 

That's part of life.

It is not, fortunately, all of life.  But without the darkness, there would be no contrast for the light.  The light wouldn't burn near so bright were there no end to it, no knowledge of its absence. 

I need to get back to writing.  It's hard to focus, and I suspect that the loss will in some ways color the book I am writing.  That's good.  Because good art reflects life, illuminating reality in ways both beautiful and ugly.  And I would like to think I can create good art.  I would like to believe that my words can touch others.  Judging by some of the things readers say to me, they occasionally do.

I will spend the holiday weekend writing, and working around the house, and thinking about my family.  I won't do the social things because I'm not feeling particularly social.

I will probably start blogging regularly again soon.  Maybe I'll get to doing the newsletter and the interviews and all of the other stuff that has been backlogged.  I'll go through the e-mails and try to figure out who I owe prizes to, and get back to the beta readers and potential assistants.

But not today. 

Not even this weekend.

I wish you all happiness.  Memorial Day is about remembering those who have fought for, and sometimes died for, our freedoms, so do that.  Then go celebrate those freedoms whichever way suits your fancy.  Eat a grilled burger or raise a glass for me.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Goodbye and Thanks

My father is dead. 

You couldn't ask for a better man or parent.  He was a hero, and my hero.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Long, Long Ago . . .

A random FaceBook post reminded me of something from a long time ago.

My son worked odd shifts at a grocery store.  He would also go out late with his buds.  When he got home, he was invariably hungry, and would pop some food into the microwave.

Two or three times in a row I found myself out of bed and in the shower at like 2:00 in the morning because I thought the alarm had gone off.  Instead, it was the microwave ding (which was the exact same tone as my alarm clock.)

I got a different microwave.  Packed up the other one for when he moved out.  I mean, SERIOUSLY!  Yeah, I could have gotten a different alarm, but I was seriously pissed at that microwave.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Welcome Back.

Okay, I am behind on everything.  There are reasons.  The biggest is that my Dad has not been doing well and it has taken a toll. 

Also, the day job has been just nuts and the book had a deadline, my health has been iffy, and well, it's been crazed and I wasn't up for it.  I plugged along, am getting through it all, but it hasn't been a wonderful time.  Certainly it hasn't been the kind of time you want to write about.  So I haven't.  I will eventually catch up on everything.  But it won't be today.  And I'm not going to push myself too hard.  It'll get done when it gets done.

But know that I appreciate everyone's patience. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Holy CRAP it's the Middle of April

Holy CRAP it's the middle of April.  How in the BLEEP did that happen? 
Life has been nuts.  Work has been nuts.  Dad is hanging in there.  I'm hanging in there too. 

But I am behind on everything and not terribly together as far as getting it all done.  I have to.  I know I do.  But I can't seem to do it. 

STRESS is not my friend.

Hang in there everybody.  I'll get my act together sooner or later.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Update on What's Happening

For those of you who wonder where I've been, my father was ill and in the hospital and I flew off to Illinois to be with the family.  He is now out of the hospital, and doing as well as can be expected, but there are some things that just "can't be fixed."   I love my parents desperately, but they are in their eighties, so there will be things like this trip happening. 

It was a wonderful visit, despite the circumstances, and I am SO glad I went, but it has changed all of my travel plans (as in canceled).  I will no longer be attending RT in two weeks.  I am sorry.  I hope no one is too disappointed.  But there you go.

I must go now.  A friend is picking me up at the hotel to go home and I need to be ready.  But I thought I'd let everyone know.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Okay guys, besides being a terrific author, Shannon is a really good friend of mine.  So be nice.  Comment lots, and buy her books, not just because I said so, but because they are WONDERFUL.

I give to you (but only on loan and for a limited time)  SHANNON BUTCHER:


What releases do you have coming out in 2012?

I just had an eSpecial novella come out in February, titled BOUND BY VENGEANCE. It’s part of the Sentinel Wars world, featuring Liam and Dakota in a hunt for the demons who killed her brother. In March book 6 of the Sentinel Wars, DYING WISH, comes out. This is Jackie and Iain’s story. After that, I have another novella coming out in late summer titled FORGET ME NOT, and the third book in the Edge series, EDGE OF SANITY, coming this fall.

If you had to be “stuck in an elevator” with one of your characters for several hours, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I’m not sure I’d want to be that close to any of my characters. They all have demons, fanatical scientists, and killers after them. Way too much stress. J
You write romance (and do it well may I add), why that genre?

I grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi. I didn’t pick up a romance until 1998 (after years of nagging from some of my friends and family). I’d always scoffed at them as those books my mom read. Finally, I gave into the pressure and picked one up. I was totally and utterly hooked. This was what all of those other books I’d read had been missing—that deep connection and the thrill of falling in love. Even if I were to ever branch out beyond straight romance, I don’t think I’d ever be able to do so without that fundamental romantic core.

Do you listen to music as you write? If so, which artists? What is your playlist?

I need music for inspiration, and typically listen to rock and alternative rock. But when I write, I need silence or white noise. Anything else is simply too distracting. 

Does having another writer in the house make the process harder or easier? 

Both. There are times when there is twice the stress or double deadlines in the house. That makes things tough. But on the flip side, we also totally get what each other is going through. There’s no need to explain why I need to spend the next week with my fingers attached to the keyboard to the exclusion of all else. Jim just gets it. And being able to talk shop is nice, too.

The best part is the flexibility we have. If we want to run off on a date in the middle of the day, we can. Assuming there are no looming deadlines. J

The business of writing is changing rapidly. Do you find the change scary? Invigorating? How (if at all) have you changed your career plans/path as a result?

You know, if I worried about this stuff, it would eat me alive with stress. I’ve decided just to worry about that part that’s within my control, so I write the books I want to write as well as I can, as quickly as I can, and let people smarter than me worry about the future of publishing and strategizing.

What is one key bit of advice you would give to a prospective writer?

Write. A lot. Every day. Even if it’s only a few words you get down, your head will stay in book space, and your subconscious will work even while you’re not. Plus, one of the great benefits of writing a lot is that each word you write becomes less precious. One of the keys to writing a great book is cutting out all the crap that isn’t good. If you’ve written 100k words, you’re much more likely to cut out the bad 10k than if you’ve only written a total of 20k, and you’re looking at cutting half. And there’s that whole thing where you actually get better when you write more, and have less to cut. That doesn’t suck. J 

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Reminder -- we have a signing today at the B&N in Round Rock, Texas.  Hope lots and lots of folks show up to keep us company.

Who in the @#*$& is Boone Carter?

Sara and my mother died in the crash.  I was thrown from the wreckage on the way down.  Knocked me out, broke my leg, but I lived:  lived to testify against Abe, who'd been driving the truck that hit us.  That testimony, combined with the DNA evidence that Sara's baby was his, convinced the judge and jury to send him away for a long, long time.

It didn't bring them back.  Nothing could.  At fourteen years old I was alone, with enemies that wanted me dead.  I stayed with a foster family until I graduated high school at seventeen.  They were nice enough folks.  They took good care of me.  But I didn't love them, and I don't think they were heartbroken when I went out on my own.

After Katrina I went down to New Orleans, started over in a new place with a new name. 

But you carry your past with you wherever you go.  It's part of who you are.  It may not be as immediate as it was.  But it's there. 

And now the enemies of my past where here.

The question was, what was I going to do about it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Ladies and gentlemen, I want to take a minute to do a bit of a special introduction for our Visiting Dignitary this week.  Melissa Singer is our editor, the editor at Tor who has worked with us for several years and gives us the kind of advice that is sometimes hard to hear but ALWAYS makes the book better.  She is a wonderful person, too, and I feel absolutely privileged to work with her.  She even took time from her hectic schedule to stop by and do a blog post.  So please give her an especially warm welcome.  I give you - Melissa Singer.


Melissa Ann Singer is a Senior Editor at Tor/Forge Books, where she has worked for more than 25 years. She began her career in publishing at the ripe old age of 19, as an assistant in the science fiction and fantasy department at Berkley Books, and survived at least three corporate mergers before moving to Tor, where she began by editing horror and a series of nonfiction books on parenting—topics which any parent will tell you dovetail nicely. In the years since, Melissa has edited just about every category of genre fiction there is, from sf/f to westerns, from woman-and-child-in-jeopardy to disaster thrillers, from historical novels to police procedurals. She edits Tor’s monthly email newsletter, supervises the graphic fiction publishing program, occasionally acquires fiction for, and goes to far too many meetings. Melissa is a 3rd-generation native of New York City, where she is currently raising a teenage daughter. In her wild youth she studied stage combat and could periodically be seen slinging steel in Central Park, often while very oddly dressed.


I am a lucky, lucky woman.  I grew up with parents who not only understood genre fiction; they were fans.  In my household, Star Trek was fodder for dinnertime conversation (which series? which captain? would you rather be in engineering, science, or command?); as a teenager, when I finished my weekly stack of comic books, I’d pass them to my dad; my mother still reads sf. 

So I grew up surrounded by titans of category fiction (all kinds of categories, not just sf/f).  When I was 19, I started working in publishing, first in sf/f, later in horror, and even in comics, a tiny bit.  Now I edit pretty much any category that appeals to me.  I was in my early 20s when I started meeting some of the writers who had shaped my literary life.  I am eternally grateful for their courtesy and tolerance for what I am sure was a fair amount of fangirl squee. 

Cool as meeting some of my idols was, actually working with them was utterly terrifying.  I mean, how dare I tamper with their words?  What would convince them to take editorial advice from me, snot-nosed child that I was? 

At some convention in the mid-to-late 1980s I walked up to my boss, Tom Doherty, who was chatting with an older man, and Tom introduced me to:




I almost fell on the floor.  The man was a god.

He was also one of the nicest human beings in the entire world.  (This is true of many horror writers, btw.  Nice, nice people.  All the nasty goes into the writing, I guess.)  He and his wife invited me to their home (!!!) and introduced me to their cats, who were sweethearts too.  Bob and Ellie Bloch were completely, devotedly in love with each other; it was wonderful to see. 

And then we worked together.

I. Edited. Robert. Bloch.

I cannot tell you how terrified I was to send off my first editorial letter to Bob. I just kept thinking, Are you people all insane?  Why are you trusting me with this?

Bob was a gentleman, so even if I had sent him a letter full of twaddle, he would have found a polite way to express his displeasure. Bob had been a working writer for decades longer than I’d been alive.  I think I entertained him with my youthful enthusiasm, and once I stopped treading on eggshells around him, we developed a good relationship.

Bob really enjoyed his work.  Once we had lunch at  convention (probably the first World Horror Convention) and talked shop through most of it, working out plot details for the book he was writing and hashing over the Crippen case, which we were both fascinated with.  We were deep in discussion of various methods of disposing of bodies (quicklime, dismemberment, etc.) when the restaurant’s manager came over. 

Apparently we had terrified our waitress to the point where she refused to serve us!

We gaped at the poor man before bursting out laughing.  I reassured the manager that no actual crimes were being plotted, only fictional ones.  I gave him my business card and introduced Robert, author of Psycho, Bloch.  The manager went off to calm the waitress, who eventually returned, bringing tea and the check.  I tipped her a little extra in an attempt to compensate for the scare we’d given her. 

Bob was not-so-secretly delighted that he’d frightened the woman.  As he often said, he had “the heart of a small boy.”  (“I keep it in a jar on my desk.”)

Scaring people was what he did.  On the page, on the screen, and in real life.  I’m so happy I got to witness some of it.

I’ve been lucky to work with many authors whose writings I’ve enjoyed, but there are only two others for whom I felt similar youthful passions.  One is Kit Reed.  The first thing of hers I remember reading is the short story “Automatic Tiger,” which was published in 1964 but which I suspect I read sometime around 1971, when I had begun devouring my dad’s sf library.  Reed’s feminist and subversive sf changed the way I looked at the world.  I edited three novels of hers, and one of them, Thinner Than Thou, is a powerful and important work that I will always be proud of being associated with.

The other is Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, whose Hotel Transylvania was published in 1978.  I read it that year, shortly before I started working in publishing.  I was 18, just a few years older than the novel’s heroine, and Hotel Transylvania was the major romantic vampire story of my youth.  Quinn and I have now done ten books together and I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve learned from her.  On every book, I try to think, what will make people feel about this novel what I felt when I first read Hotel Transylvania

Editors want to kindle passion in people.  When we get to do that with writers who inspire passion in us, it’s a huge bonus and one that we treasure.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Evening Post, BLEECK

Hi Guys. 
It is Saturday, it is Evening, and therefore I post.  But I post quickly because I am not feeling well.  Which sucketh big pond scum covered rocks.

No, it is not serious.  Nothing to worry about.  Just annoying.  VERY annoying.  I have a cold.  I also am having . . . ahem, digestive distress.  Simultaneously.  Which seems mightily unfair to me. 

But in a day or two the cold will be gone.  The distress is already waning.  So I will rest and all will be well. 

EXCEPT that there will be fewer pages produced this weekend than I needed to.

Le sigh.

At least the pages that have been produced thus far are keepers.

Take care.  Be well.  Be happy.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Yes folks, indeed, in honor of the release of THE ISIS COLLAR we have the other half of the dynamic duo visiting today.  Give a warm welcome to CATHY L. CLAMP!  (WOOOO HOOOO!!!!)

The Making of a Hero

In THE ISIS COLLAR, our heroine Celia Graves continues to struggle with which of her two favorite guys she prefers. Bruno DeLuca is low-key and thoughtful but funny. He’s caring but sometimes thoughtless, while John Creede is flashy but surprisingly private. He’s supportive but sometimes condescending. In other words, two very typical alpha males. They’re both heroic in their own ways, and both can often clash with what Celia needs or wants.

How does an author create a hero? What traits do they need to be BOTH a knight in shining armor while still realistic enough to have conflicts with the heroine. Most alpha males have things in common that make them the modern equivalent of knights. They frequently have a willingness to help others (or at least can be talked into it with money or power.) They’re physically and mentally tough enough to get through a crisis. They’re driven to excel in what they do and have a high opinion of their talents (usually justified.)

But the flip side of those coins are what are often exasperating to a likewise driven female warrior. They have egos. Oh, lord do they have egos! They expect to get their own way (read as: tough and driven), whether or not anyone has other plans. They’re often moody when they’re losing or likely to lose.

So what makes them so darned endearing? At least for Celia, it’s the caring. Her alpha heroes care about doing the right thing. Yes, sometimes they tromp on the flowers on the way to saving the forest, but by hell or high water, the forest will be saved! They’ll give their last dying breath to be sure they attain their goal. And who doesn’t find that loveable?

We recently did a poll at Coffeetime Romance to ask whether Celia should wind up with Bruno or Creede. So far, Creede is in the lead. But Bruno is the shining star of THE ISIS COLLAR, so will the polls change once everyone has had a chance to read it? Only you can be the judge! Here’s an exclusive excerpt of a kiss from each of the guys. Which one rung Celia’s chime more? Let us know and you’ll be in a drawing to WIN an autographed copy of THE ISIS COLLAR!

First is Creede (because I created Creede so he’s my fav to win!)

Creede knelt in front of me, his hands still on my shoulders. His gaze locked with mine and the compassion in his eyes made me believe the words he spoke next. “I don’t know. But I’m going to find out. I promise.” His fingers squeezed just a bit. “All right?”

A promise from him could be put in the bank. “Okay. Thanks. What should I do until then?”

The corner of his mouth turned up a fraction and his hands moved until they were on either side of my face. “Quit trying to be superwoman. Ask for help when you’re hurt. Remember that if you’re hurt, it’s serious.”
It sounded so logical when he said it. But . . . “That’s not so easy for me.”

The quirk of a smile became an amused flash of teeth. “Tell me about it.”  Without any warning, he leaned forward and eased his lips against mine. I found myself being pulled into the kiss before I realized what was happening. His hand slid around my head, fingers twining in my hair and my eyes closed automatically. I leaned into him before I realized I was doing it. My breath froze in my lungs and I couldn’t seem to think past the dual sensations of magic and gentle pressure as he slowly moved his soft, full lips against mine. Warm breath on my cheek, magic sweet as candy and the caress of his tongue made my knees weak and my stomach do flip-flops. His hand, lightly stroking my hair, sent electric shocks to my scalp. It was a good thing I was sitting down. My heart began pounding hard and my fingers buried themselves in the fabric of the armrests to keep from wrapping around him and pulling him into my lap. I wanted to . . . a lot. The strength of the desire terrified me.

The kiss was probably over in seconds, though it felt like it lasted a week. He drew back slowly and I wound up suspended, eyes closed, enjoying the remaining pull of the magic that tugged at my stomach. A quick, nearly chaste kiss in the back of a store shouldn’t really be that big a deal.



And now it’s Bruno’s turn (Bruno is Cie’s favorite, so he always gets equal time!):


Bruno arrived first and wrapped me in a hug when I opened the door that left me warm but breathless. Then the kiss he bestowed turned what was left of my muscles into jello. “How you doin’?”

I let out a slow sigh and allowed myself to rest against his muscled chest. “Better. The feds used some magic on me. Apparently, my vampire healing doesn’t work on burns. I could still use a little more rest. You?”

He nodded and lowered his mouth to mine once more. I could feel his warm breath on my face as his mouth ate at mine gently. God, those lips. I’d missed them. He smoothed his hands down my back, knowing just where to touch to make me moan. I pulled away after a few moments, shaky but pleased. “Mmm. Much better now. Actually, I’m headed back to New Jersey. Just stopped by on the way to the airport.”


Which of Celia’s guys do you like better, and why? We really want to know!

Oh, and if you’re intrigued (and you know you are) go out and buy THE ISIS COLLAR by Cat Adams right away! And if you’ve never heard of Celia Graves’ earlier adventures in BLOOD SONG, SIREN SONG and DEMON SONG, they’re on sale until the release of ISIS! It’s a really good sale, too: only $2.99 for a Kindle download. Heck, that’s three for the price of one! And if you’re a print fanatic, they’re also on sale at Amazon on a 4-for-3 special. But lots of other retailers have them on sale too, so go to our publisher’s website ( , scroll all the way to the bottom and choose your favorite store.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Edits going well, closing in on the end./Breakfast Serial

Edits are going well.  I'm closing in on the end.  YAHOO.  Not there yet, but progress is being made.  So is research.  LOL.

Okay, I'm doing a short serial this week so I can get back to my edits. 


Who in the @#$&* is Boone Carter
(Who is, alas, still in flashback mode.  Were this a book I'd be checking to see if it was too long and needed editing.  Good information, but need to get back to the main plot.)

Even seeing the headlights, knowing it was probably them, the first impact was a hell of a shock.  My mother swore, fighting for control of the truck, Sara roused enough to scream.  They hit us again right before the next curve.  The truck swerved.  Metal screamed as we scraped against the guard rail.  The truck bucked and wove.  Mom might have recovered control if they hadn't chose that precise moment to hit us again.

There was a horrible, sickening moment when the guardrail gave, and we were airborne.



Friday, March 02, 2012

Hanging in there.

Sometimes I just get tired.  Part of it is physical.  Part of it is mental and emotional.

I'm VERY glad it is Friday.  I truly hope to get some rest this weekend.  It doesn't look like I should.  But I think I may do it anyway.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Okay guys, life occasionally (oh, who am I kidding, FREQUENTLY) gets away from me.  I've been working really hard on scheduling the Visiting Dignitaries.  Lots of e-mails, lots of talks with old friends and new ones.  Pull out the calendar and write down the dates.  Fun, not to hard.

And then (cue danger music)

The dog (who spends most of her time in the office) decided to chase the cat across the desk and corner him.  They were just playing.  The animals are fine.  My calendar -- not so much.  February and March don't exist.  I have a ten month calendar--starting in April. 

Which is how I ended up with two people scheduled for today, Leap Day.  So I'm calling it a Leap Day Bonus.  You are going along with me on this.  Right?  I said RIGHT?

So, for our first guest I am proud and pleased to introduce the lovely, talented (and possibly shizoid--just kidding folks, but she does have work with a number of pen names).  JADE LEE.  (Cue the applause).

Our second lovely guest is a friend from the convention circuit and a wonderful author of short fiction.  She is also the voice of a redhead, from the apocalypse.  Give a HUGE WARM WELCOME folks to RHONDA EUDALY!

Riff This... By Jade Lee

Ever get up and try to be funny? Really clever, cute, and funny? Lots of people do because they’re naturally delightful. My brother-in-law for one. He’s hysterical which is good because he’s in advertising. For me to be clever and funny/delightful, I need (a) coffee and (b) someone to play off of. Another person who can sparkle back at me. And I need rhythm. Dialogue rhythm, setting rhythm, alcohol rhythm.

Which is why–in my split personality–I am funny as Kathy Lyons for my Harlequin Blazes. They’re short, sweet, contemporary, and I can set up a situation and just riff. Those are my funny books, written mostly in the afternoon, and with a large sense of the ridiculous. My historicals as Jade Lee are dark, sensuous character stories of people struggling in a difficult time. Jade is SEXY (and yes, I managed to find a way to be sexy first thing in the morning. Well...after my latte). But when my editor asked me to bring my Kathy Lyons humor to the regency for the new series, I thought she was...well, joking. Jade Lee was serious. She wasn’t...oh right. She’s not really a person. She’s ME and I can be funny. Or so I promised my editor.
It took me a LONG time to get the right note. A long, struggling time of bad jokes, worse puns, and really nothing at all delightful except for when I hit the delete key. Apparently, I sucked at HISTORICAL funny. And then I remembered something really key. I remembered all those regency romances from when I was a kid. The ones that were sweet and funny and could still manage sexy. It’s what brought me to the time period in the first place. So I embarked on a remember-why-you-love-the-regency campaign. I found it. In lots of places. And, I have to admit, in writing a lot of bad words until I found the right ones.
I’m happy to say that I think I succeeded. Publishers Weekly said I had charming verbal fencing, clever retorts, and an entertaining read. WOO HOO! But that’s not what really counts. What counts is what YOU think is funny. So click on this link [] and you’ll get one of my most favorite scenes in the book. Someone who comments on this excerpt will get a free copy of Wedded in Scandal! And for those of you who feel left out, click on this link [ ] and you’ll get a free e-copy of the prequel novella Engaged in Wickedness. tell me. Did I succeed in being funny? Or do I need to get some more alcohol and try again? PS. You can also tell me what books you run to get your love of the regency back!


I want to thank you for having my as a Visiting Dignitary. Though, seeing some of the other dignitaries here, I have to admit I don't feel very "Dignified". I will do my best to entertain you - or at least sound coherent.

For those who don't know me, I'm Rhonda Eudaly. I've done a lot of short fiction work both in print and online. I'm moving into longer work. I'm best known for my collaborative work, The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse with Yard Dog Press. I write the character, Zoe - who is Death. What most people don't realize is that I do write more than humor fantasy. I have a wide range of stories, including one really dark Science Fiction piece which was part of a Bram Stoker nominated anthology in 2006 put out by Apex Book Company.

Now that you know a little bit about WHO I am, let's talk about more about what and how I do what I do. All writers get the "how do you get your ideas" questions. But I've also been asked "HOW do you become a writer?" almost as much. The really simplistic answer is: apply behind to chair, write a story, finish the story, and submit the story -- even though there is so much more to it these days. A writer isn't a JUST a writer any more.

I've spoken and written about the "American Idol Effect" (or if you're "of a certain age", the "MTV Effect") for writers where NOW it's not enough to write a brilliant story writers are now required to market, promote, have an active online presence and even (sometimes literally) sing and dance - and that's if you're traditionally published. If you choose self-publishing you have all that PLUS editing, proofreading, and actually PUBLISHING added on.

It can be a tedious and daunting task to figure out the time management aspects of what constitutes a writing career. But we have an outlet. We have CONVENTIONS. This is a marketing/promoting outlet that lets writers get out among their fellow writers, editors, and readers. Even as we sit on panels talking about various aspects of writing, we are recharged creatively by being among people who think we are the universe's MOST SPECIAL OF SNOWFLAKES. And that can be exhilarating (and a bit embarrassing if YOU are trying to be a fan and have a book signed, and you're pulled out of said line to sign one of YOUR books for someone else - but embarrassing in a cool way).

However, Special Snowflake Syndrome (as fun as it is) has a shelf life of 3-5 days (depending on the length of the convention). It's like Cinderella's dress and coach - it expires when you pull back into the driveway of your home. We all want to still be that Special Snowflake even after the convention - but it's hard to hold on to that when sorting laundry and putting unsold books back on a shelf.

And that's the reality of writing. Depending on how many conventions or If you're on major signing tours - a writer like me spends at the most 10% of the year in the Special Snowflake Zone. The other 90% of the time is dealing with the "chore" part of this industry - writing, typing, market research, editing, and market research. We are feeding families, housecleaning, and paying bills -- just like everyone else and it's a hard thing (sometimes) to readjust to - because we all want to hold on to the Special Snowflake feeling.

So if you think you're not getting anywhere in your writing, keep at it. Keep plugging along in that 90% or so range, because for what it's worth? Those times when you're in the Special Snowflake Zone? It really does help motivate you (well, me) to keep moving forward. To keep producing new material to keep the buzz going with the loyal fans and to bring in new ones. It makes it all worth it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday Evening Post AND Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial

That's right folks, "Two great tastes that taste great together."  No, wait, that's a Reeses.  But still.

Yesterday I was working on edits.  Hard.  When I got stuck I would do housework or attack the weeds in the back yard with the scythe.  Nothing like a little physical labor to clear the head.

I made excellent progress, but I was at it until bedtime so, no post.

Now it is Sunday morning and since I skipped the serial last week, I really feel like I should do it too.  I mean, I left my poor guy in the middle of a flashback/escape with the girl of his dreams.  How sad is that.  SO, since it's been two weeks I'm going to post the last couple of sentences of the last post to remind you where you left off and go from there. 

Oh, and YES I am behind on sending prizes AGAIN.  I just get caught up and then you guys go and win things.  JEEZ.  (LOL)  But I will get it done.  Probably next weekend. 

Now, without further ado, I give you. . . . (drum roll)

Who in the @#$@# is Boone Carter?

"Bitch." Abraham's wife had a bright red handprint on one side of her face and blood at the corner of her mouth. "You'll pay for that." She stomped out of the room, slamming the door shut behind her. Even from where I stood I could hear the bolt shoot home.

My mother wasted no time. She scrambled over to the window, unlocked it and pulled it open. "Come, quickly. We don't have much time."

I climbed in seconds before she went out.  "Wrap her up in the blankets and bring her out through the window.  I'll get a car."

That wasn't going to be as easy as it sounded.  This was a 'closed compound.'  Abe didn't want any of the followers just wandering off.  But I didn't question her.  There was no time.  Another contraction had hit Sara.  She was screaming, and there was more blood. 

I ran to the bed.  It took a minute or so for the contraction to pass, when it did, and she opened her eyes she saw me there.

"Sam."  She whispered, giving me a weak smile that tore at my heart.

"I'm here.  I'm here."  I pulled the sheets and blankets off of the edge of the bed, wrapping them all around her.  "Hang on.  We're getting you to the hospital."

"I'm glad you're here." 

I bent to pick her up.  She wasn't heavy, more awkward than anything else.  She tried to help, reaching up to put her arms around my neck, but she there was no strength in them.  She was so weak.

Getting through the window with  her was difficult, but I managed.  Just in time too.  My mom came peeling up in a battered old truck that had belonged to my dad before he died and she joined up.  She flung open the door and I dashed up as lights came on and shouts were heard.

"COME ON!"  My mom ordered.  I didn't argue.  I set Sara on the seat as gently and quickly as I could and climbed in.  We were moving before I could even shut the door, sending the guards scrambling and diving for cover when it was clear we weren't stopping for anything. 

We blasted through the gate, and were down the drive and onto the highway.  Looking over my shoulder I saw men running for the garage and the other vehicles.

Mom drove as fast as she dared.  We needed to get a lead on our pursuers, and get to the hospital soonest, but the narrow, twisting roads, with their sharp drops guarded only my thin metal rails required care and moderation.  I held Sara close, her moans of pain tearing at my heart and prayed that we'd make it as I looked over my shoulder again and again.

We were less than halfway down when I saw what I'd been dreading.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


GUYS I WANT A REALLY WARM WELCOME for a very interesting author.  He's clever, he's charming, he's eminently readable.  (Well, his work is.  You get the point.  I'm not sure if he is actually.  Keith, do you have any tattoos?  MANY tattoos?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Of course, if not, we could just go for palm reading.)  ANYWAY, without further digression or ado, I present:



OH and guys.  Prizes to random commenters.  Be sure to leave your e-mails.  :)


by Keith R.A. DeCandido

I've always been a huge fan of police procedurals. I think it can be blamed on watching Hill Street Blues at an impressionable young age (I was 12 when the show debuted). Probably my favorite nonfiction book of all time is David Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, the book that served as the direct basis of the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Streets, and the indirect inspiration for Simon's HBO TV series The Wire.

What fascinates me are the elements you often don't see on most cop shows (though you did see them on HSB, Homicide, and The Wire, as well as such shows as DaVinci's Inquest and The Shield), to wit, the politics, the difficulties, the frustrations. What I like are stories about cops who aren't (necessarily) noble paragons of order and justice who view the job as a calling (the Dragnet model), nor do I like stories where the crimefighting tools are all available, reliable, and instant (the CSI model). I prefer it when the good guys don't always win, when the cases are messy and difficult, and when the lab results aren't always fast or accurate or definitive. And I prefer it when the cops have to deal with the day-to-day realities of budgetary and political expediency instead of magically having everything they need.

Plus, of course, you have the interrogations. There are few things more fun to read than interrogations, a cop and a suspect doing a verbal fencing match as the former tries to get the latter to talk through deceit and manipulation and cleverness. Simon put it best in his Homicide book: the interrogating detective is "a salesman, a huckster as thieving and silver-tongued as any man who ever moved used cars or aluminum siding—more so, in fact, when you consider that he's selling long prison terms to customers who have no genuine need for the product."

I've always wanted to write procedurals, which fall under the mystery rubric, but I'm at heart a science fiction/fantasy writer. Luckily, the two genres mix quite well—SF/F is a genre of setting, where mystery is a genre of plot.

My very first novel, Spider-Man: Venom's Wrath in 1998 (written with José R. Nieto), had Spider-Man working with NYPD detectives on a case—and I wrote another Spidey novel (solo this time) in 2005, Down These Mean Streets, that also showed the hero collaborating with New York's Finest. I did other tie-ins that brought cops into the storyline (Supernatural: Nevermore, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Blackout), and I always tried to follow the example provided by Hill Street and by Simon's amazing book.

(I also wrote a CSI: NY book, Four Walls, which proved an interesting challenge, as that franchise exists in a world where DNA tests happen instantaneously and lab techs carry guns and solve cases. I did, however, have fun giving one murder scene the trace evidence of a black cotton/polyester blend fiber. As anyone who lives in New York knows, that does nothing to narrow the suspect pool, since everyone 'round here wears black...)

It was so much fun to insert cops into Marvel's New York, or amidst the Winchester Brothers' monster-hunting, or the demon-infested world of Vampire Slayers, that I needed to do it some more.

Hence, my two original series.

Dragon Precinct (2004, reissued in 2011) and its sequels, Unicorn Precinct (2011) and the spring 2012 release Goblin Precinct, puts cops in a very traditional fantasy setting, one that wouldn't be out of place in Tolkien or your average Dungeons & Dragons game. The port city of Cliff's End is a crossroads of humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings, and the Castle Guard is tasked with maintaining law and order—including a squad of detectives who solve the bigger crimes in the city-state. There's an M.E. who inspects the crime scene—a magical examiner on loan from the Brotherhood of Wizards—and interference from politicians who are more concerned with expediency than crime-solving.

The crimes themselves are, of course, fantastical variants on what we come to expect from our mysteries: a serial rapist who uses a store-bought spell to turn himself invisible; a succubus whose disguise as a human interferes with the M.E.'s "peel-back" spell; a magickal drug that causes people to overdose; bank robbers who use glamours to disguise themselves; and so on.

The other series is called SCPD—the first book, The Case of the Claw, is now out digitally, with the trade paperback edition due shortly, and the second, Avenging Amethyst, is in the works. It's about the adventures of the Super City Police Department. Like Metropolis or Gotham City, Super City is a fictional environment that is full to bursting with superheroes: the Superior Six, the Terrific Trio, the Bruiser, the Cowboy, Spectacular Man, and more.

But this isn't their story. It's the story of how the cops deal with the property damage, the insufficient evidence, the nightmare of solving the "murder" of the Clone Master who has multiple versions of himself, and, of course, heroes who don't testify in court, lest they risk their secret identities. The Cowboy stops a purse snatcher and ties him to a lamppost, but by the time the cops arrive the Cowboy and the victim are long gone, and the suspect must be kicked for lack of evidence. The Bolt is arrested on a DUI with no ID; when he sobers up, he blows a hole in the holding-cell wall. When the Superior Six battle the Brute Squad, one of the latter misplaces a ray-gun that is found by an abused woman who uses it on her husband when next he beats her.

The best part of all of these? Writing the interrogations. Whether it's Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald getting Bogg the Barbarian to admit to who he and his friends were after in Dragon Precinct, or Detectives Peter MacAvoy and Kristin Milewski talking to a bunch of high school kids who may or may not have witnessed a murder in The Case of the Claw, the give-and-take of the interview process is some of the most compelling stuff to write—and, I hope, to read.

(To purchase SCPD: The Case of the Claw, Dragon Precinct, or Unicorn Precinct, go to, where there are purchasing links for Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and directly from the publisher—Crossroad Press for SCPD, Dark Quest Books for the Precinct books.)

Keith R.A. DeCandido is the author of 45 novels, as well as a mess of short stories, comic books, novellas, and more. In 2009, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award for his body of licensed work in multiple media universes. His other recent work besides the procedurals mentioned above include Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun, Guilt in Innocence: A Tale of the Scattered Earth, the post-"Peacekeeper Wars" Farscape graphic novels, -30- (with Steven Savile), and stories in the anthologies VWars (edited by Jonathan Maberry), Dragon's Lure, Tales from the House Band, Liar Liar, and Bad-Ass Faeries 4: It's Elemental. Friend him on Facebook (, follow him on Twitter (@KRADeC), read his blog (, and listen to his twice-monthly podcast Dead Kitchen Radio (