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 (

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Working Hard on Edits

Working hard.  Think it's going well.  :)

But it means I'm not going to be doing much online for a bit.  I'll try to post the serial tomorrow.  But if not, forgive me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Okay folks, edits have arrived.  This will probably mess a bit with the schedule as I put my nose to the grindstone and WORK.  I'm excited though.  Good things are about to happen writing-wise.  I just know it!

Be good while I'm gone.


A Meandering post . . .

Today typing in the address I put ciesBOG.  It kind of suits.  I'm feeling very bogged down lately.  I'm trying to get my head together, gather some momentum, really kick ass, but it's kind of hard to kick at all when you're knee deep in mud.  I have too many things going on in my mind, and too many of them are negative.  I need to look on the bright side.  Which I'm going to do here.


My teeth don't hurt any more.  I can't tell you how WONDERFUL that is.  Really.  The pain was hideous, and now it isn't.  That SOOOOOOOO rocks my world.

My health is basically pretty good.  Oh, there's the ongoing chronic stuff, but it's pretty minor really.  Considering how bad I was a decade ago, I never EVER would have imagined that I'd be able to do what I do easily today.

I'm employed.  My son is employed.  He's healthy and basically happy.

I have people and pets who love me and who I love.

I never have to go hungry.  (I probably SHOULD considering my weight, but we're looking for positives here, LOL).

And speaking of employed, it's time for the day job.  Gotta run.  Be well, be happy.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


GUYS, I WANT YOU TO WELCOME NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR RACHEL CAINE, a wonderful author and dear friend, whose Revivalist, Weather Warden books and Morganville Vampire Series are great MUST read books.    SHE SO ROCKS.  Trust me on this.


Two weeks ago, I was happily immersed in deadlines. I know that sounds contradictory, right? Deadlines are HELL, ask any working writer ... they eat our time and warp our lives around them like black holes. You can almost hear us complaining as we disappear over the event horizon: DAMN YOUUUUUUU DEEEEEAAAAADDDDLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNN ... but we never get to the last "E" because of the time distortion.


Happily immersed in deadlines. I finished edits on the second Revivalist novel, TWO WEEKS' NOTICE; I also did proof check on BLACK DAWN, the 12th Morganville Vampires novel coming out in May 2012. And then on February 1, I popped my head up out of my little foxhole, thinking I would take a short breather before diving into the next book, due Very Soon Indeed. I was looking forward to some rest and relaxation.

And the pile-on began.

Like, home repair. Some of you may remember my Great Squirrel Invasion of Ought Six, where squirrels chewed through my giant-sized, multi-level roof and set up their own playgrounds, parks, and condominiums, and were evicted only with great effort. Well, this turns out to be Invasion 2: Bigger and Better! Because this time, they brought their friends: Birds. Rats. Raccoons. Oh, and sappers, because we had possums and armadillos digging under our foundation, too.

This is what happens when you have four or five books a year, plus travel: you really don't do those property walk-arounds like you should to make sure everything's cool with the trim and roof and foundation. Nah, you say to yourself, it's fine, and I have another deadline, so it'll wait.

Indeed. UNTIL IT DOESN'T. Which is now, for me. As I write this, there is yelling, hammering, singing, loud music, sawing, and a very nice repairman looking in my window and waving as he replaces rotted soffit under the eaves of my house.

And yes, I've been writing while this is going on. It will go on another full week, after which we will have another set of contractors coming to fix even more issues. Deadlines don't stop coming for these things.

I laugh a little bit when I hear would-be writers say they can't write unless conditions are completely right, because this is how life is, at least for most writers I know ... a continuous parade of distractions that attempt to keep them from doing the work. We're especially vulnerable to it because we're working "at home" generally -- a condition that leads to family interruptions, soliciting phone calls, deliveries, friends dropping in, and a thousand other reasons not to write. It's dead easy to find a convenient distraction ... my construction example is extreme, but the fact is that you can make your own distractions even if none exist. Tile to be grouted. Something you just HAVE to watch on TV. Etc.

But as a writer, the job is to somehow ignore your way through all of that and come out the other side, with words. Good words. 

Excuse me for a sec ...

Back now. My construction guy rapped on the window and asked me if I was a writer or something. I said I was. He wanted to chat about how he'd always wanted to be a writer but never found the time. I told him you never find the time, because time isn't just laying around ... you cut the time out of your schedule, every day. Then I apologized, put my headphones on, and sat back down to finish this blog.

Concentration, see?

I haven't done really well on my concentration these two weeks. My immediate family had, in no particular order, construction, a fire, a flooded apartment, doctor appointments, hair appointments, hospital visits, surgery consultations, surgery, refinancing of the house, another surgery, dental appointments, meetings with producers, and a reptile show. 

And a near miss with death.

On Friday a few days ago I was heading home after a day of running errands, sitting at a major stoplight, when a giant crane truck bulled through the intersection at right angles to me, crane raised, and took out light poles, traffic lights, and about a ton of high-voltage wires. Transformers exploded like bombs. In the chaos, something hit my car, and at first I thought it was the light pole ... but no, it was LIVE HIGH VOLTAGE WIRES, draped over the roof and across the driver's side and passenger doors. 

And my very first thoughts were, (a) wow, I can use this in a book! then (b) dammit, if I die now, I'll never get to finish writing BITTER BLOOD. Okay, my third thought was (c) how do I get out of here? ... but it was definitely third in line.

After 20 minutes on the phone with 911 (I suspect they thought I try to grab a live wire), the Arlington Fire Department pushed the cables off my car, and I was finally able to escape my brush with doom. While sitting there, I saw one of the most interesting, yet appalling, demonstrations of concentration I've ever seen ... a BMX bike rider raced down the street and effortlessly jumped through the obstacle course of all of the hissing, sparking downed wires. Never even slowed down.

Now THAT'S concentration. I think it was a great visual example of what we all have to do as writers: avoid those potentially lethal distractions that could ground us.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to concentrate. Noise-cancelling headphones full power!

-- Rachel Caine

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day folks.  This is one of those holidays people either love or hate.  I do not have a Valentine this year, so I am looking forward to chocolates being on sale tomorrow rather more.  LOL.

HOWEVER, in honor of the holiday (and in hopes that your love life is moving along more swimmingly than my own) we are having something special going on at the forums.  (Forums?  You have FORUMS?  When did this happen?!!!) (Yes, we have forums.  Go forth and foray.  There will be a link at the bottom of this post.)

There are two surveys up and one winner will be chosen from the replies to each.  Prize is an autographed book and a RomCom DVD.

#1 - Who should Celia end up with?

#2 - Who is your favorite Sazi of all time?

Again, foray into the forums forthwith!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Tomorrow, in honor of Valentine's Day we'll be doing some fun stuff at the forums.  ("Forums?  You have forums?" Why YES we do.  And in the morning I will post a link and further information.  STAY TUNED!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial - Who in the @#$*& is Boone Carter?

Who in the @#$^ is Boone Carter?
Chapter Whatever

It took a few phone calls to find them.  They were registered at the Hyatt.  No surprise.  Jacob (and I had a sinking feeling it really was Jacob) likes to go in style.  He justifies it by saying that a cheap hotel is the fastest way to scare of a high dollar mark.  And yes, he does call them marks.  Just not to their face, of course.

My stomach was roiling as I picked up my keys and headed down to the truck.  I needed to go see for myself. . . needed to be sure.  But I didn't want to. 


Shit, shit, shit.

The word kept running through my mind like an obscene mantra.  My past, the past I'd run so far and fast from, looked to finally have caught up with me. 

I shook myself.  "Stop it Carter.  Stop now.  You're not a fifteen year old kid any more.  You're a man.  If it's Jacob, you'll deal with it, and him."  It was true.  I'd grown up in the years since I'd left, and not just physically.  Still, I couldn't help but remember that last night.

It had been cold.  Damned cold.  Cold enough that the hairs in your nose froze when you took a breath.  I was supposed to be in bed, but I couldn't sleep.  Sara, the love of my life, was in labor.  Not my baby.  Nope.  I wasn't old enough to be given a wife, and she was too pretty for them to leave her alone until I was.   Never mind that it was what we both wanted.  It was irrelevant.  The only people whose wants were important were Abe and his oldest son, Jacob.  So she was the youngest wife of Abraham himself.   It was supposed to be a big f'ing honor.  I know she wasn't honored, and I had spent the last year avoiding my 'spiritual leader' so that I didn't do or say something that would earn me an even worse beating than the last one.

A scream tore through the night, and through my soul.  Yeah, women in labor scream.  It happens.  But this . . . this was Sara, and it was wrong, worse somehow.  Casting a furtive glance to make sure none of the men on guard could see me I crept up to the window.  Using my sleeve I wiped a clear spot on the part of the glass that wasn't iced over. 

Sara was on the bed, her eyes closed.  There was blood.  So much blood.  Something was wrong.  I heard my mother whispering urgently to Jacob's mother, Miriam.  "She needs a hospital.  We're going to lose them both."

"You know better than that.  She's underage.  No hospital."

"Talk to him.  You have to at least try.  She'll die."

Miriam shook her head, her lips compressed tightly.  Looking at her I saw . . . something in her expression.  Grim satisfaction.  Sara was lovely, and young, and had been a favorite of Abraham.  The older woman might not kill her outright, but she'd be glad to see her dead, glad not to have to share her husband with a smart-mouthed slip of a girl.

My mother saw it too.  Her eyes blazed in anger.  Fast as a snake her hand shot up.  She slapped Miriam hard enough to send her stumbling into the wall. 

"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."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Evening Post/From Thursday On

Okay, it's Thursday.  But I'm going to schedule this for Saturday, and will edit it UNTIL Saturday, so that the previous Visiting Dignitary blog has time to stew and get comments.  Although, honestly, I think it probably has as many as it's going to get.

Today is the first day of my vacation.  Yes, a real vacation.  No travel.  No conference.  No nuthin.  I'm resting folks.  I've been stressed out of my mind for a while now (to the point where I was having muscle twitches in my left eye -- made me look like I was winking at strangers.  Uh, SO no.).  So I'm off until Tuesday and trying to relax.  Yeah, I'm doing stuff.  But in spurts.

Like today I've actually accomplished a bunch.  But I don't feel bad about it.  In no particular order:

1)  Got the mower fixed. (Shout out to Keith's Ace Hardware for a job well done).
2)  Got the front yard mowed.  (Back needs weed whacked first since it's almost hip deep.)
3)  Did 2 interviews/blogs.
4)  Found out from a friend where she gets her bags.  Went online there and found the bags I want to order for The Intergalactic Bar and Grille. (and was treated to punch and birthday cake in the process).
5) Cleaned out the litter boxes.
6) Answered the questions on the Visiting Dignitary Blog
7) Tweeted and Facebooked. 
8) Prayed. 
9) Scheduled Visiting Dignitary interviews and sent out questions.

And now I'm done.  Pooped.  Ready to recreate in some VERY sedentary way. 


A Confession

Okay guys, I'm about to confess something.

I'm getting old. 

Or maybe stodgy. 

Or both.

But I am not hugely comfortable with x rated writing.  I'm NOT talking about romance, or the average sex scene.  Sex is a part of life.  None of us would be here without it.  What people want to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms (or on the kitchen table, shower, floor, or washing machine with the drapes drawn) is none of my business.  No, what makes me uncomfortable is the very detailed and very sensual, multi partner, multi-creature, whatever.   I'm okay with consenting adults doing what they want and have negotiated between them.  But I don't want to read about it.

So sue me.

I don't care how brilliantly you write (in fact, the more brilliant you are the more uncomfortable I'll get -- consider it a compliment if you will).  It's not my bag. 

LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of people love that sort of thing.  I am happy for them.  They are not me.  So while I have friends and acquaintances who write brilliant erotica, I don't read it.  Love them.  Wish them good things.  But their work is not going to be on my bookshelves.

There are people who think that to be wildly successful you have to be seriously erotic, that it's what the audience wants.  It's what part of the audience wants.  But I think there are plenty of folks out there who skip past the sex scenes to get back to the plot.  I could be wrong.  But I don't think I am.

I am not meaning to be judgmental.  There are other things I don't read too.  Frankly a lot of "literature" bores me out of my mind.  I am the girl that, when forced in high school to write a report on something written by Nathaniel Hawthorne (because the modern book I wrote my first report on was considered too "easy" by my teacher,) I read 4 (yep) 4 Nathaniel Hawthorne books because I couldn't find one I didn't loathe.  I wound up writing a report on The Scarlet Letter because I ran out of time and it was the one I hated least.  I still remember clearly not being able to FIND the first chapter in one of the books because the prologue was so long.  One (possibly the same, I've blocked the traumatic memory from my mind) went on for four or six pages about the fabric (green velvet) in the drapes in the room, so that I had to page back and find out what the character had walked into the room FOR.  It was an exercise in frustration which I don't care to repeat.

Everybody gets to have their own personal preferences.  If we all were exactly alike the world wouldn't run right, and would be a very boring place indeed.  I am religious.  But I don't think that's the issue.  It's a matter of taste.  I like broccoli, I detest spinach.  That sort of thing. 

I do hope that this is not going to lead to a lot of hostility.  But I figured I'd be up front about this.

Have a wonderful day.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Hi Guys!  It's me.

Yep.  Me.  I am going to open the comments up for questions from the audience, but until then, I figure I'd give ya'll a little more of a glimpse into this side of the partnership.  So at the risk of sounding schizoid/all MPD, here we go.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I've wanted to write since I first learned to read.  In fact, until my water heater went out last year and flooded out the garage I still had files with things I'd written back to grade school.  They were hideous of course.  But the drive was there.

Who are some of  your favorite authors?

There are too many to count, really.  And it really depends on my mood.  Sometimes I will be looking for humor, or a good mystery, or a thriller, or an urban fantasy.  Whichever I want will determine my favorite of the moment.  Still, I can always count on Jim Butcher, Dick Francis, Robert B. Parker, Rachel Caine, Dorothy Parker, Agatha Christie, Charlaine Harris, Shannon Butcher, Janet Evanovich.  I re-read my early Laurell K. Hamilton books frequently and am still amazed at her creativity and skill as a writer.  The worldbuilding is absolutely amazing, and it set the stage for an entirely new genre.  How cool is that?!

Which of the books you've worked on was the hardest?

The hardest was Howling Moon of the Sazi.  It was originally the first book, but it didn't get published first, and we kept dropping hints in other books that led back to it.  But that meant that when it finally DID get re-written (to accommodate all of those changes) the time line was INSANE.  We had a chart with where some of the main characters of the Sazi series were at any given time in 15 minute increments to make sure nobody was in two places, and that we weren't asking them to do the impossible.  UGH.

Which was the easiest?

Every once in a while you'll get a book that just races through your brain and out your fingers.  Touch of Madness (in the Kate Reilly/Thrall series) was like that.  MAGIC.

You haven't been to a lot of signings or conferences the past couple of years.  Why?

Real life has been a little intense the past two years.  Not bad, but definitely busy.  Also, Cathy and I both have a day job -- in the SAME OFFICE.  So it isn't always feasible for us to both be off at the same time.  BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS we have a couple of signing events coming up shortly and each of us will be going to a couple of conferences this year.  So there's a good chance of you seeing either or both of us soon.  Keep an eye out, check the Newsletter and the website for details.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Sometimes.  But more often I run into something that inspires me, then write after in silence.  Sometimes there will be a song that just GETS to me and shows me an insight to a specific character, or opens up inspiration on a whole new world.  Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You" (written by

Christy, Lauren; Spock, Scott; Edwards, Graham; Lavigne, Avril Ramona) inspired a YA series that I'm preparing a proposal on, but current responsibilities have kept me from actually being able to write the silly thing all the way through.  There was an Evanescence song that captured Celia's sense of loss at Vicki's death perfectly for me, and another, "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson that really hit me as to the damage done to her children by Lana Graves' alcoholism. 

Do you have a favorite character?  Who would you want to be stuck on a desert island with?
I have lots and lots of favorites.  Don't make me choose!
What bit of advice would you give prospective authors?
Work hard.  Work consistently.  Keep working when you're tired and think there's no chance.  Know that there will be golden moments, and leaden moments, but that it's all part of the process.  You may not succeed if you try, but you will DEFINITELY fail if you don't.  So try.  And keep trying. 
Okay -- now everybody else ask your questions.  Since it's Wednesday, and I'm at the day job, you'll have to wait until after 5:00 for your answers, but I WILL answer.  And one lucky winner will get an autographed copy of both Howling Moon (because it was mentioned above as the hardest) and Touch of Madness (because it was mentioned above as the easiest).

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast Serial/Boone Carter

Who in the Hell is Boone Carter?

There were no marks on the truck when I walked up to it.  Apparently Trey had made it the few blocks from the apartment to the job site without incident.   Oh happy days.  I was climbing into the cab when Joe stopped yelling at the delivery truck driver and started heading my way, but Darlene's shout from the top step of the trailer stopped him halfway across the yard.  He gave me a hard glare, I gave him a cheery wave in response.  Petty?  Childish?  Hell yeah.  But it put a smile on my face even bigger than the healthy stack of Benjamins in my pocket.

I drove back to the apartment.  I wanted to put most of the money away.  One of the fastest ways to blow through cash is to keep it in your pocket.  It's just too easy to see something you've been wanting and think "what the hell."  Whereas, if you have to go home and get the money, or get it out of the bank, you may think twice about whether or not you really want it that bad.  Trey says I'm tightfisted.  Sometimes.  But when you've actually gone hungry you like having a bit of a safety net.

I parked the truck in my usual spot on the corner, next to the big old flowerbed filled with roses.  I ducked automatically when I walked past the front of the truck.  Mrs. Cunningham installed the security light a little low on the fence and I have to be careful not to bean myself on the noggin when I go past it.   Since she's about four foot nothing, even standing on her little four-step stool she couldn't reach high enough to keep it out of my way.  I would've put it up for her, but she didn't ask.   And hey, other than it being a little low, she did a great job.  The thing works like a champ too.  Lights up the whole yard bright as day. 

As I unlocked the front door I heard her querulous voice raised loud enough to be heard over the blaring television.  "Mr. Carter?  Is that you?  What're you doing home this time of day?  You didn't go and get yourself fired from that job did you?"  She didn't come to the door, didn't need to.  She had the old parlor door that was now the door to her living room wide open.  I could see her perched on the edge of her old floral couch sucking on a cigarette as she watched "The Price is Right."

"No ma'am.  Boss just has me working a special project today.  I needed to get something from the house."

"All right then.  You just make sure you don't lose that job.  I expect my rent money first of the month.  No excuses!"

"No ma'am."  I agreed.  I've never been late with the rent, never made any excuses.  But it didn't matter.  Someone, some time, had, and everyone since has had to pay for it.  I walked pass the open door up the stairs and let myself into the apartment.  Closing and locking the door behind me I went into my bedroom. 

It was the work of a moment to pull a phillips screwdriver from the drawer of the battered nightstand next to the bed I used it to take off the ornate metal grill of the heat vent from the old furnace.  There, hidden right where I left it, was one of those small fire and waterproof cash boxes I'd picked up at the office supply store.  Not the best hiding place in the world, but better than nothing.  And I'd both screwed and glued it down, so a thief would have to work at getting it loose.  I didn't think that Trey knew about the safe.  We have a standing agreement about not going into each other's bedrooms.  Still, I'm careful.  I trust him, don't think he'd steal from me.  But why tempt him?

The box opened easily with a turn of the right key from the ring in my pocket.  There was already a fair amount of money in there.  Added to what I had in my pocket I had enough that I could make a good downpayment on a new truck and buy a big screen tv.  But then my insurance would go up, and I'd have to pay for cable.  And Trey's brothers would be parking their asses on the couch every weekend wanting to watch the game.  Nah.  Better to have the cash.  That way if it was Jacob I'd have enough cash to pick up stakes and move. 

Only I didn't want to.

Damn it anyway!  I liked my life here.  I glanced around the bedroom.  This place wasn't much, but I liked it:  the turret windows gave a great view of most of the neighborhood.  The wood floors were easy to keep clean.  Mrs. Cunningham was a nosy old bat, but she took good care of the place.

Maybe it wasn't Jacob.  Or maybe he'd left the Children of Abraham.  Maybe the whole group had broken apart when Abe got sent up the river.

Lot of maybes there.  Any one of them could be true.

But I didn't think so.

Only one way to find out.  I retrieved the battered old phone book from my bookshelves and sat on the edge of the bed.  Time to start investigating.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


I am up on a Saturday morning (for the Saturday Evening Post) trying to make sure that life goes a little more according to plan.  Unh hunh.  RIGHT.  LOL.

Life is BUSY.  We have a release coming out in March.  I really NEED to do a bunch of promo stuff.  But I'm snowed under and my head is a little foggy from stress. 

Still, WE HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT NEXT MONTH.  Sometimes I need to remind myself amidst all the hubub just how freaking cool my life is.  I mean, seriously.  I've wanted to be an author since I was FOUR YEARS OLD.  I'm writing books.  They're getting published.  People actually (GASP) LIKE them.  (Maybe not as MANY people as I'd like, but hey, I'm working on it.)

We also got the prospective cover for the next one and it SOOOOOO rocks. 

But today I'm in the trenches.  I'm updating the release calendar, editing the personal website for the big release that I WANTED to do in January, but didn't get done.  (I'm thinking of doing it in March with a big launch called "MY March Madness" or "March Book Madness" with all kinds of promo during the month of March. 

I am looking at finding myself an assistant.  I am studying what I need to do for promotions.  And while I'm doing all that I'm doing laundry, and waiting for the sun to come up so I can mow the lawn.  The dog needs walked.  That's 15 minutes from now.  Oh, and I haven't eaten and need to.  My blood sugar gets wonky if I'm not careful.

ATTENTION BETA READERS FOR MY INDIVIDUAL WORK.  You know who you are.  Look for the e-mail from me on March 1.  I hope.  Barring disaster.

And because I've been told that blogs are more interesting with pictures I now give you a [not very good, but he's a beautiful cat] photo of Gonzo.  :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Welcome to the blog.  Sahara Kelly is a well known (and much loved) author of erotic fiction.  A friend of Cie's from "The Fairie Court" it is a great pleasure to have her here for a visit.  Please give her a warm welcome. 


Thanks so much for inviting me over, Cie. It's lovely spending some time with you again – we had a lot of fun flitting around in our wings, didn't we? LOL

I understand you have a fairly significant backlist.  Could you give us a list (or link) of titles? 

Yes, somehow – over the last decade or so – I've managed to amass nearly sixty books with my name on 'em. About 30 or so in print. Not sure how that happened, and I'm not going to list them all (sigh of relief, right?) but there's a complete list on my website. I've tried to sort most of them by genre, but it’s a bit daunting. LOL 

When were you first published?

I'm always surprised to realize it's been over 25 years since Kensington/Zebra published my first book. It was a sweet Regency and came out two months before my son was born. After that, my next submissions were rejected and motherhood sort of took over my life. LOL I didn't get back to serious writing until around 2000.

I understand you're originally from England.  Do you think that influences your writing?  If so, how?

I absolutely believe that being born and raised in England has influenced my work. My schooling emphasized literature and writing from the get-go, and I remember having to produce several essays a week. Shakespeare was a staple and we digested Dickens, Thackeray, Defoe, Hardy, the Brontes and of course Miss Austen with regularity. That sort of education gave me a foundation and a love of words, and I think it's helped me an enormous amount when it comes to putting my own words on paper. (Or the monitor as the case may be. LOL)

I understand you're dipping your toes into self-publishing.  What made you decide to do that? 

I think it was time. When I got into ePublishing, it was a decade ago – a geological era in Internet time - and there was a "pioneering" spirit surrounding us. Editors were open to anything and everything, readers devoured whatever we wrote and genres could be taken out and shaken, or twisted into something new, at will. That environment has changed…metamorphosed into today's climate of big business. Now it's more about what sells than what we want to write.

I ran out of patience, I guess. I've always been about writing what's in my head and my heart, not what makes an impact on the bottom line. Conflict was inevitable and it drove me out of the pack and into the lone wolf mentality. Honestly? I love it. I feel as if I got my soul back. LOL I still have ties to ePublishing, and haven't walked away completely. But overall it's working very well for me. My first three novellas based around a fictitious Boston steampunk club continue to do well and are now in print as an anthology (Steampunk Seductions).


What are some of the ups (and downs) of self-publishing versus traditional publishing?

There are both, that's for sure. The downs? Editing is a worry for many of us. I'm lucky, since I have not only the Brit school system, but many years of working in an environment where I needed to write and edit effectively. (Not books, but scientific materials.) Cover art has to be created – again I'm okay since I do freelance art when I'm not writing. Biggest headache can be formatting for the various sales venues, but with patience, even that can be accomplished.

The ups? The freedom to let the characters take shape as I wish. To imagine a story and write it as I see it. To know that the final product will reach my readers as I intended it to be, not re-shaped or revised by others for purely fiscal reasons or because of someone else's opinions. I can write what I see in my imagination, which is what writing should be, IMHO. My books are mine again. It's a wonderful feeling.

What titles do you have coming out in 2012?  Would you mind if I add them to my "Big list of 2012 books" on my individual website?

I'd be thrilled, Cie. Thank you! I have quite a few books on the drawing board for 2012. I hope to get the final story out in my series of romances based around Renaissance Faires – tentative title for Book 3 is ROUGH KNIGHT and that is on sale right this minute. LOL. The first two, ONE KNIGHT ONLY and KNIGHTS OF PLEASURE are already available. They’ll be bundled into the print anthology MY RENAISSANCE ROMANCE sometime late spring, I hope.


Then I'll switch gears and follow that with a rather decadently elegant novel set in a palatial estate tucked away in the Italian Alps. I love the classy sensuality of the 1930s and am having so much fun with an insanely bizarre cast of characters. I like to think of this one as a “Merchant and Ivory remake of Debbie Does Dallas, with a script by Noel Coward and Hugh Hefner”. LOL See why I'm having fun putting out my own books? No publisher would touch that one! (grin) Title is tentatively VILLA D'AMORE. After that…well I'll have to see who screams the loudest in my head.

What is one bit of advice you would give an aspiring writer?  (And would you mind if I add this to the "Craft Corner" advice spot on the website I share with my co-author, Cathy L. Clamp?)

I'd love to be anywhere with you and Cathy! That's an enormous honor and compliment!!! There are two things I tell people when they ask for advice. First, read, read and read more. I'm a firm believer that the more books you read, regardless of topic, the better writer you become. You absorb the "feel" of a story and the way it should flow, along with pacing, and it becomes second nature when it's your turn to write your own novel.

Second…write your book. LOL Don't tell me you're thinking about it, or half way through your notes for it or have this wonderful idea for a novel. Just write the damn book. Once it's real, then you can start messing with it. Sounds harsh, but you'd be surprised how many aspiring writers blink, look stunned and then say… "hey, yeah. Maybe I should do that." Duh. LOL

So let me wrap up by thanking you, Cie, for the chance to chat with your readers and talk a little about self-publishing, which is still in the mildly controversial phase. If anyone is curious, I welcome visitors to my publishing website – - and of course my writing website – I put out a newsletter on an irregular basis, which has book and contest information, if I'm hosting one. If anyone would like to get on my list, they can subscribe here. For instant updates on my world, I have an app for iPhones and iPads – available at the App Store under “Sahara Kelly – Writer”. Oh, and it’s free. Cool stuff. LOL

(I’d love to giveaway a download of the three Steampunk Seduction novels… Letting Off Steam, Stripping Her Gears and Winding Her Up. I’ll let you tell me how that will work because I SOOOO suck at this whole blog process. I can offer all these stories in pdf format and a couple of others, ePub and so on.. I think. Gotta check that. LOLLOL)

Thanks so much for popping by.  Please stay in touch. 

Visiting Dignitary -- SAHARA KELLY

Okay folks.  The Visiting Dignitary is on for tomorrow instead of today -- mainly because the schedule went wonky and it didn't post.  Which is actually good because now I get to promo the heck out of it.  SO TUNE IN TOMORROW AND COMMENT and on Saturday Evening I will announce all winners since the last time prizes were awarded.

Gotta run.  Gotta promote the heck out of this.